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Thread: The Sword and the Exquisiteness Unabridged

  1. #21
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 20 A Blast From The Past

    Zhu Lei'Er continued telling this tragedy:"All these years my mohther did her best in becoming a perfect wife and mother. Although her martial arts didn't decline but she didn't improve either."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"Not improving is the same as declining really, everyone else will continue their training and cultivation. Whereas you will remain stuck at the same level of all those years ago."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"At the most critical moment a figure dashed through the roof. The figure looked like a descending phoenix and in an instant this figure stood in front of my mother. Even I at that time knew that this person was superior to my mother."
    Everyone thought:That must be Feng San.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"My mother was shocked to see a man suddenly standing in front of her. She raised her palm and attacked but that man casually diverted her palm."
    She turned around and asked everyone:"Do you know who that figure was?"
    Everyone nodded, because their suspicions were confirmed it was Feng San.
    Zhu Lei'Er had a gentle smile on her face and said:"My third uncle
    wore a white brocade that night. It made him look like an immortal descending from heaven."
    Granny Hu said:"I have admired and heard of the he grace of Mr. Feng too for many years."
    Zhu Lei'Er continued:"All those 20 odd experts were shocked, all of them thought they didn't have such martial arts as this man. Dongfang Daming was the first to ask [Who are you, sir?]."
    Granny Hu said:"Dongfang Daming lived far away from the central plains. So he isn't really that afraid of Mr. Feng. But Heavenly King Li and my sister are familiar with the fame and abilities of Mr. Feng. They must have guessed who Mr. Feng really was, only the famous Feng San had such amazins skils."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"At that time my mother and carried me and quickly left the house and when she heard granny Hu call out my third uncle's name she stopped running. She went back to the house and knew third uncle could clear her name and help her."
    Feng San sighed deeply:"But....I....wasn't......."
    Zhu Lei'Er wept:"It isn't your fault third uncle."
    Feng San said to her:"Carry on."
    Zhu Lei'Er composed herself and said:"My third uncle explained what happened, about the letter the merchant, etc. He scolded Dongfang Meiyu fiercely and everyone remained silent."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"Even if they didn't believe the explanation they wouldn't dare to raise objections."
    Zhu Lei'Er continued:"That Heavenly King Li was an arrogant and proud man and Dongfang Daming had heard of my third uncle's reputation a few times. Both of them thought that they had my third uncle outnumbered and shouldn't be afraid. They looked at each other and nodded. Both of them suddenly launched an attack on my uncle."
    Granny Hu sighed:"Those two are really ignorant and stupid, haven't they heard of Under the entire sky only the phoenix in the southern provinces is mighty, when he cries heaven and earth will shake on its' foundations."
    Yu Peiyu had never heard of this saying before and was wondering whether granny Hu was sucking up again. Nonetheless he was filled with admiration and respect to Feng San.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I saw them attacking and saw that Heavenly King Li raised his heavy pagoda shaped mace and aimed for third uncle's head and that Dongfang Daming took out his pair of sun and moon wheels and attacked from the side. The powerful force released from the mace was very strong even I could feel it. And my mother and I were standing about 10 metres away from them. I was very afraid and started to cry again."
    Everyone was very anxious now and Zhu Lei'Er said:"My uncle whistled very loudly it was not unpleasant. In fact it sounded very melodic."
    Granny Hu said enthusiastically:"That is called The Whistle Of The Phoenix can be heard through a thousand miles. Its' Resonance Is As Clear As The White Clouds. When The Phoenix Is Heard, Demons And Goblins Will All Perish. A famous saying when Mr. Feng roamed the realm."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"My uncle quickly disarmed the Heavenly King Li, and struck him aside and easily bent his iron mace."
    Everyone was most impressed by this ability, when they heard Zhu Lei'Er saying what Feng San did.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"When Dongfang Daming saw that my uncle disarmed and defeated Heavenly King Li with one stance he was afraid. He quickly retreated back and stood still. My uncle scoffed:[I will spare because of your daughter-in-law.] And he casually threw the mace through the window mace struck a tree down a tree metres away. At that point no one dare to attack anymore."
    All of them felt relieved but wondered how Zhu Mei died in the end, and how was Feng San injured.

    It was dusk now.
    Yu Peiyu asked:"What lead to the terrible change of events, Miss Zhu?"
    Zhu Lei'Er helped Feng San to a cup of tea first and said:"My mother thanked my uncle for his help and kowtowed to him. My uncle asked my mother how she wanted to punish Dongfang Meiyu."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"Lady Zhu still loved him, right? And didn't want to see Dongfang Meiyu hurt, did she?"
    Zhu Lei'Er sadly nodded and said:"Women are always too sentimental for their own good."
    Guo Pianxian smiled:"Some can be very ruthless, too ruthless."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked pensive and continued sadly:"My mother cried sadly when she heard my uncle's question. My uncle asked her whether she wanted Dongfang Meiyu dead. My mother cried even harder and shook her head. My uncle asked her whether she wanted Dongfang Meiyu to leave now. But my mother shook her head again."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"What did Lady Zhu want?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said softly:"She....she.....she..."
    Feng San said:"Rest now. I will finish the story."
    Zhu Lei'Er wiped her tears and nodded.
    Feng San said:"At that time I was very confused, suddenly that granny Hu asked if Zhu Mei wanted to reconcile with Dongfang Meiyu."
    Yu Peiyu smiled sadly:"Only women will understand women."
    Feng San said:"Before I could say anything else, granny Hu asked Zhu Mei again whether reconciliation is what she wanted. I was very angry and said that was impossible, Dongfang Meiyu couldn't be forgiven for his deeds. But Zhu Mei sobbed again and granny Hu turned to me and said:[Master Feng, you can see for yourself what Lady Zhu wants?] So I asked Zhu Mei again but she didn't say yes or no."
    Silver Blossom said:"Silence gives consent."
    Feng San said:"I was very confused but if that's what Zhu Mei wanted I couldn't object. But I did feel that Dongfang Meiyu got out of this too easy."
    Yu Peiyu sighed deeply.
    Feng San said:"All those people saw that I had no objections anymore were relieved. Dongfang Daming and Dongfang Meiyu both aplogized to Zhu Mei."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"How did Dongfang Meiyu act?"
    Feng San said:"He looked very remorseful of course, Zhu Mei was still looking a bit angry in the beginning, but after awhile the anger was gone too. Granny Hu was mediating between them. Granny Hu also came up with another idea."
    Yu Peiyu frowned and asked:"What kind of idea?"
    Feng San said:"Granny Hu felt that Zhu Mei and Dongfang Meiyu should have a proper wedding ceremony. Before they got married without consent from Dongfang Daming. Now they could officially get married and those experts and I would be the guests."
    Granny Hu laughed:"That is a good idea."
    Feng San said coldly:"I thought the same thing, we organised the ceremony in this house and were about to toast the newly-weds."
    Yu Peiyu exclaimed with surprise:"A toast?"
    Feng San nodded and said:"A toast."
    Yu Peiyu said calmly:"There was something wrong with the wine, wasn't there?"
    Feng San sighed:"Even a young man has such insight. I was too negligent and stupid."
    Yu Peiyu thought:Master Feng was very confident about his own martial arts and thought no one could or dared to use this kind of trick on him.
    Of course he didn't say that, but Feng San said:"You must think that I was too confident about my martial arts and didn't anticipate a trap. But you weren't there at the time, everyone was happy and glad. You wouldn't have suspected a thing."
    Yu Peiyu said:"But if they were planning something against you, they will conceal their true faces and intentions."
    Feng San remained silent. Yu Peiyu has become more vigilant and cautious over these few months. His mystious adversary is a very intelligent fiend so in these few months he learnt to become extra careful.
    Feng San on the other hand relied on his practically invincible martial arts to roam the realm. He had never suffered a terrible defeat before and was therefore too confident and not as cautious as Yu Peiyu.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"There were several reasons, my uncle knew that these people were famous orthodox martial arts experts and wouldn't resort to low tricks like using poison."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"If those so-called orthodox martial arts experts resorted to evil trickery. They are more vicious and dangerous than any heretic experts."
    Zhu Lei'Er remained silent for a moment and said:"Secondly, with my third uncle's internal energy he isn't afraid of poisonous wine. Furtheremore everyone drank from the same bottles."
    Guo Pianxian looked at granny Hu and said:"Normal poison wouldn't harm master Feng, but granny Hu is one of the top venom users in the realm. Even master Feng might not be able to withstand that type of poison."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Afterwards my third uncle knew that they didn't put venom in the wine, but smeared a thin layer of poison on the inside of the cups of my uncle and mother."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"But when wine and poison are mixed together. The flavour tastes differently, didn't master Feng noticed something strange about it?"
    Guo Pianxian asked:"Didn't Lady Zhu notice something odd about the wine? Lady Zhu is also an expert in using poison."
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"Because the wine was cold and when the wine was poured into the first cup everyone toasted. So there was only a small portion that mixed with the wine."
    Guo Pianxian said:"But..."
    Zhu Lei'Er continued:"Afterwards the poison and the wine intermingled faster and faster. My third uncle and mother had finished several cups and they're a bit slow and woozy. At that time my mother was very happy and didn't suspect that they had poisoned her and third uncle."
    Guo Pianxian sighed:"Granny Hu is really the matriarch of using poison."
    Yu Peiyu who stood very close to granny Hu, made sure he stood very far away from her. His resentment and antipathy grew for this granny Hu. Zhong Jing didn't look at her anymore.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"After a few more cups, my mother walked to my third uncle and respectfully kowtowed to him and thanked him for his help."
    Feng San sighed:"Although I felt it was a bit strange but I didn't really pay any more attention to it. Zhu Mei walked to Dongfang Meiyu and took him by the hand and walked over to me and said: [Thank you everyone for being our guests. No matter what I'm most grateful.] Dongfang Meiyu smiled:[I too am most grateful.] Zhu Mei said:[It is said that husband and wife will stay together no matter what. Through and life and death, do you agree?]
    I thought it was not very appropriate to say such unauspicious words. Dongfang Meiyu smiled:[You shouldn't say such words on a happy occasion.]
    Zhu Mei smiled:[I just asked you whether you agree or not?]
    Dongfang Meiyu was a bit taken by her strange words but managed to smile:[Of course I'm willing.]
    After he finished Zhu Mei grabbed his hands and flung him heavily on the ground and breaking his arms.
    Everyone was surprised and shocked to see this."
    Yu Peiyu said sadly:"Lady Zhu must already know the poison had already entered her body. And couldn't be saved anymore. So she thanked master Feng for his help, didn't she?"
    Silver Blossom sighed:"She planned to die and kill that heartless man first."
    Feng San sighed:"At that time I didn't know what was going on and asked her what she was doing. Dongfang Daming and others were about to attack her. Zhu Mei picked Dongfang Meiyu up and took him by the neck and shouted:[Don't come closer! Or else I will kill him!] Dongfang Daming and his men backed away. Zhu Mei told me that she was severly poisoned and was beyond help. She asked me to take care of Lei'Er.
    I secretly took a deep breath and found out I was poisoned too. The venom travelled very slow but when I took a deep breath it travelled very fast. My hands suddenly turned purple. Zhu Mei saw that I was poisoned too and my condition was even more serious than hers."
    Everybody was very anxious, Zhu Lei'Er continued:"I sat there on a chair at that time eating a some pastry my mother made. But when I saw what happened I dropped the pastry.
    My third uncle whistled loudly, granny Hu's face changed and said:[This poison was compounded by lord Dongfang. He used 81 different kinds of poison to compound this poison, if you use force you will only die quicker.]
    She quickly backed away from my third uncle."
    Yu Peiyu said with surprise:"How come Dongfang Daming compounded this poison?"
    Guo Pianxian smiled:"Granny Hu was afraid of master Feng that's why she tried to put the blame on Dongfang Daming."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"What an evil woman!"
    Zhu Lei'Er continued:"She still underestimated my third uncle, my uncle used his powerful internal energy to surpress the poison and stormed towards Dongfang Daming. My mother quickly shouted:[It isn't Dongfang Daming but granny Hu, seize her and there might be an antidote.]
    At that time Dongfang Daming and my third uncle had already exchanged three palms. As result Dongfang Daming's arms were broken and suffered a heavy blow on his chest. He fell down and vomitted blood. The famous Dongfang Daming of the Sun and Moon island coudn't withstand three stances of my third uncle. The other experts wanted to run away as quickly as possible, they feared the wrath of my uncle.
    But third uncle was furious and didn't give them the opportunity to escape and I could hear a series of screams and breaking of weapons. More than 20 martial arts experts were killed in matter of moments, and their blood splattered across this entire room."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"What about granny Hu?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"She was still alive, my uncle only broke her legs and forced her to give the antidote."
    Guo Pianxian said:"I'm afraid she doesn't have an antidote either. The venom she created was compounded from 81 different kinds of poison."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"That's what my mother said to at that time, my mother asked her what the names were of those 81 kinds of poison she used. If we knew the names we could analyze it and compound our own antidote."
    Guo Pianxian nodded and said:"Of course."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"But....but didn't she reveal it?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"The old crone feared for her life and quickly started to tell us what type of venoms she used, but after only revealing two, someone shot a needle in her back. She was dead and we could hear Dongfang Daming laughing:[Although I cannot live anymore, Feng San! But you won't live any longer either! No one can save you now!]
    Because he had strong internal strength he wasn't killed instantly when he received that blow from my uncle. And he saw an opportunity to kill granny Hu with his dying breath and prevented us to know the compound of the poison."
    After she reached this point she remained silent again, this was what really happened, a true tragedy. Everyone felt sad and melancholic. They didn't know what to say and stayed quiet too.
    After a long time granny Hu sighed:"I was wrong. I am so wrong...."
    She got up and bowed to Feng San and said:"Master Feng, my sister wasn't killed by you. Futhermore.....futhermore she was responsible for your current illness, even if you did kill her I wouldn't resent you."
    Everyone was surprised that she was able to speak such reasonable words.
    Feng San said calmly:"Those who deserved to die are dead. Let bygones be bygones. You can go now."
    Granny Hu said:"Thank you, master Feng. But Dongfang Daming was wrong too. He thought that no one in this world can provide an antidote for you. But he forgot about me."
    Zhu Lei'Er happily said:"Of course, she must have an antidote for the poison her sister compounded."
    Granny Hu smiled:"Miss Zhu, you're only right about one part, the poison was compounded by me. That's why my sister didn't have an antidote."
    Everyone was glad to hear this good news, Zhu Lei'Er happily asked:"Do you have the antidote with you now?"
    Granny Hu took out a small bottle out of her robe and said:"Here it is."
    This was too sudden, Zhu Lei'Er looked at that little bottle and trembled.
    Granny Hu sighed:"Originally I did not want to give you the antidote. But the grandeur and chivalry of master Feng has impressed a lot. I think it unfair if a great man like master Feng should suffer any longer."
    Zhu Lei'Er said with a shaky voice:"I never thought you would have a conscience."
    She took the little bottle and held it tightly. She was afraid someone would steal it away.
    She said happily:"Third uncle, you....we....are saved. It is like we're waking up from a nightmare. Our nightmare is over."
    Even Feng San was getting emotional too, there was finally hope of getting recovered. He didn't know what to say.
    Zhu Lei'Er shed tears of happiness and Feng San gently touched her hair. He wanted to say something but didn't know what.
    Granny Hu seemed to be touched too and said softly:"It pays to do good in life."
    She wanted to turn around and walk downstairs. Yu Peiyu blocked her way and asked:"Is that really the antidote?"
    Granny Hu smiled:"Young man, you're too paranoid. Have you met too many evil, treacherous men these days? Do I look like someone who wants to harm Feng San?"
    Yu Peiyu said calmly:"I did meet too many evil and treacherous men and women recently. I even know that good man like master Feng could be injured too by evil tricks."
    Guo Pianxian said:"Futhermore master Feng absorbed a large part of your internal energy. Why do you want to save him? I'm suspicious about your motives too."
    Guo Pianxian suspected granny Hu's motives from the start she told them she had the antidote. But he didn't say anything, because it was not his concern. But seeing Yu Peiyu speak up his mind he thought he might as well do a good deed too.
    Zhu Lei'Er was hesistating too and looked at granny Hu and asked:"Tell me! this really the antidote?"
    Granny Hu sighed:"Miss, if you don't believe me give me back the bottle."
    Zhu Lei'Er sternly said:"Not that easy! If this isn't the antidote I will kill you."
    Granny Hu smiled wryly:"What does it take to convince you?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"You will test the antidote first."
    Yu Peiyu thought that granny Hu will eventually die at her own hands, but suddenly Guo Pianxian said:"If she had taken an antidote first, and when the pills in the bottle are really poisonous she won't be harmed."
    Granny Hu sighed:"Nothing I do will please you. But fortunately I have a way to test the pills."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What kind of way?"
    Granny Hu took out a little red box out of her robe and said:"In here was the poison my sister used to poison master Feng."
    She took a small paper package out of the box in it was a red powdery substance. She put the substance in her mouth and swallowed it. Everyone was shocked, granny Hu said to Zhu Lei'Er:"If I'm not mistaken you're an expert in using poison too. I see it in your eyes."
    Zhu Lei'Er grunted but praised this old woman in her heart for her sharp eyes.
    Granny Hu asked:"Miss, you seem to be resilient to poison. May I ask how this is possible?"
    Zhu Lei'Er thought for a moment and answered:"You're right. Because I had to find out what kind of poison was used on my uncle. So I sampled every type of known venom in the world and analysed its' features and symptoms. And tried to analyse and compound an antidote."
    Granny Hu smiled:"If you don't overtake the amount, nothing will happen. And your body will slowly become immune to that type of poison."
    Granny Hu sighed:"But not many people in the world have that kind of bravery and tenacity. Miss Zhu, you earn my respects."
    Zhu Lei'Er didn't only earn the respects of granny Hu, even Yu Peiyu, Guo Pianxian, Zhong Jing and Silver Blossom respected the courage and tenacity of this young girl.
    Zhu Lei'Er said casually:"There is nothing special to it. Most venoms are very sweet in fact."
    Granny Hu laughed:"The most lethal venom is sweet and the best medicine tastes bitter."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Exactly."
    Granny Hu said:"In my opinion the venoms you have sampled are not very rare. I can guarantee you that you are not immune to the poison I have found or compounded."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at her and was shocked, and everyone followed her look. They saw that granny Hu's face turned purple. She looked very frightening.
    Granny Hu said:"Miss Zhu, you can see whether my symptoms and features coincide with those of master Feng now."
    She started to shake and she couldn't speak clearly now, the poison was beginning to take effect.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"It is similar."
    Feng San said:"Take the antidote, the poison is starting to take effect now."
    Granny Hu took a pill from the bottle she gave to Zhu Lei'Er. The smell was awfull everyone could smell the foul air of it.
    Granny Hu smiled:"I told you that the best medicine is sometimes very bitter."
    Zhong Jing sighed:"I'm beginning to believe that now."
    Granny Hu laughed:"Remember little girl! The sweet words of a man can be more dangerous than any venom in this world."
    Zhong Jing casually looked at Guo Pianxian. After some time granny Hu's face turned back to normal. She asked:"Do you believe me now?"
    Zhu Lei'Er lowered her head and said:"Please forgive for not believing you earlier, Madame Hu."
    Zhu Lei'Er didn't suspect her anymore and took the antidote to Feng San. She felt a bit embarrassed for accusing her.
    Granny Hu looked at Yu Peiyu and Guo Pianxian and asked:"May I go now?"
    Yu Peiyu had still some doubts but the truth was that she gave the antidote. But he still felt something was amiss and couldn't really put his finger on it. Nonetheless he said:"Please forgive me for being rude."
    Granny Hu smiled and stared at Guo Pianxian. Guo Pianxian regretted for creating doubt and hoped she wouldn't resent him.
    He smiled with difficulty:"Please forgive, Madame Hu. I....I...."
    Granny Hu interrupted:"Don't be afraid! I won't blame you, I even admire your abilities. If you have the time, come and visit me some day."
    She turned to Zhong Jing and said:"You won't be jealous of an old woman, will you?"
    Guo Pianxian didn't know what to say and granny Hu had left the house.
    Feng San had taken the antidote and Zhu Lei'Er kept asking what Yu Peiyu saw earlier when he delivered the message. She sounded very happy and sweet.
    Yu Peiyu told them what he saw and did.
    Feng San sat cross-legged and frowned:"It is master Nu they have asked. I heard that his internal energy is quite powerful, what do you think?"
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"No question about it he is very powerful."
    Zhu Lei'Er said happily:"No matter in a short while third uncle will be allright again. He will easily defeat them all."
    Yu Peiyu was silent for a moment and said:"Master Feng, although you're a very chivalrous hero but they have their rights of being here."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What rights do they have?"
    Yu Peiyu said seriously:"It's about what Miss Zhu did here....."
    Zhu Lei'Er leapt up and shouted:"They told you I'm responsible for those missing men, didn't they?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"That is what they told me."
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"Did they also tell you why those men entered our house?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"No, they didn't."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Some of those men came here because they wanted to .....bully me. And the others came here planning to rob us. They had evil intentions first and came to us. I think you wouldn't let those rogues go if you saw them."
    Yu Peiyu smiled wryly:"Miss, you could be right. But still....."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"My uncle is ill because he tried to save people. I don't see anything wrong with absorbing the internal energies of rogues anyway."
    Yu Peiyu didn't know what to say and in the end he sighed deeply:"It seems nothing in this world is that black and white."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"There is one disadvantage of absorbed energy, if disperses quicker the normal accumulated energy."
    Guo Pianxian asked:"But if master Feng can force out the poison out of his body with internal power. Why all those strange creatures under his blanket?"
    Zhu Lei'Er explained:"When my uncle uses his internal strength to force out the venomous cold qi out of his body, his pores will have the chance to breathe again. But by doing so the pores will breathe in the cold venomous qi again. After many months he finally discovered what went wrong. So he decided to use those venomous creatures to immediately absorb his cold qi, when his body rejects the cold qi."
    Everyone was amazed about such a method.
    Yu Peiyu said:"So both of you stayed here because it was not convenient for master Feng to travel anymore."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"When my uncle killed Dongfang Daming and his entourage, he was too weak to do anything else anymore. If my uncle didn't have those Bone Deliquesent pellets we wouldn't know what to do with all those corpses."
    Guo Pianxian asked:"Did you use the Bone Deliquesent pellets on those missing men too?"
    Zhu Lei'Er sneered:"Actually those men were unworthy of those precious pellets. It was such a waste to use it on them. You should know that the Bone Deliquesent pellets are not easily made and it is an ancient formula that was written by a great master in medicine and poison."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"Now everything falls into place, all my queries are answered."
    Zhong Jing yelled:"Look at master Feng! He is in pain!"
    Feng San was breathing heavily and his body trembled. But he took the antidote already what is wrong.
    Zhu Lei'Er wept:"Third uncle, can you hear me?"
    Feng San closed his eyes and his teeth clattered.
    Zhu Lei'Er yelled:"You saw it too. It was the antidote, wasn't it? What is going on here? .........Can someone explain to me what is going on here?"
    Silver Blossom suddenly said with a smile:"I know what happened."
    Zhu Lei'Er rushed over to her and asked:"You know what happened?"
    Silver Blossom nodded.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"How did granny Hu do it? Wasn't that the antidote in the bottle? Or were the poisonous pills and the antidote mixed in the same bottle? Or did she change the bottle when she gave it back to me? What was it?"
    Silver Blossom said:"She gave you the antidote, she wouldn't dream of tricking you in front of so many people."
    Zhu Lei'Er said anxiously:"Well, what is it?"
    Silver Blossom sighed:"Using so many different types of venom to compound a new poison is not easy. The features and effects of every type of venom are different from each other. Blindly mixing venoms could result that the new poison may not be lethal at all. For instance mixing the colours yellow, orange, red, green, black, blue and purple you'll get white."
    Guo Pianxian sighed:"Compounding new poisons isn't easy at all, that's why granny Hu is the leading expert on this field."
    Silver Blossom continued:"If you're to compound a new poison consisting numerous venoms, you've to analyse very carefully how much of each you use. Because creating an antidote often relies on the percentage of ingredients you've used. After all these years master Feng has disturbed the amount of poison in his body, some of it has been forced out of his body via his internal energy. That's why the antidote of granny Hu is useless now, instead detoxifying the antidote has upset the forcibly set balance by master Feng. This is also the devious part of granny Hu."
    Zhu Lei'Er grabbed her hand and said:"Why didn't you say something before?"
    Silver Blossom smiled lightly:"Would you tell, if you were me."
    Zhu Lei'Er didn't know what do about her, Silver Blossom said:"Besides I could have thought about that just a moment ago."
    Everyone thought about what Silver Blossom said and thought she was right. They all resented granny Hu for her evil tricks.
    Feng San was sweating heavily and the poison which he forcibly surpressed all these years ago has come free.
    Zhu Lei'Er was crying, Zhong Jing consoled:"Don't worry. Master Feng used his internal energy once to surpress the poison, he can do it again."
    Zhu Lei'Er sobbed:"You're right, but my uncle's internal strength isn't what is used to be."
    Silver Blossom said casually:"Furthermore our enemies are about to arrive."
    Although it seemed that Silver Blossom was concerned about Feng San, but everyone could hear her tone was filled with pleasure about the miserable situation of Feng San.
    Zhu Lei'Er angrilly said:"Why are you so happy? Don't forget if we're to die you will go with us."
    Silver Blossom said coldly:"I don't care. Besides I have lost my martial arts anyway. I'm practically an invalid."
    Everyone was very anxious at this time.
    Guo Pianxian wasn't concerned about the health of Feng San, but Feng San was his backer now. If Feng San dies Guo Pianxian is also done for.
    There are another four hours left now.
    Yu Peiyu jumed and loudly said:"Miss Zhu, take care of Master Feng and get out of this town now.....Everyone else should go too."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"What about you?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"It is obvious that they have surrounded the town, but with the combined strength of Miss Zhu and Guo Pianxian, you're able to escape. However I fear you must hurry because if master Nu is alarmed.......I will....."
    Zhu Lei'Er interrupted:"You're staying here to stall them?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Although I'm no match for all of them but I can buy you some time. By the time they've defeated me, you should be long gone. We have no other choice now, we can't just sit here and be killed. Furthermore they might not even kill me."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"They're not after you? Why should you stay behind?"
    Yu Peiyu said slowly:"Everyone is bound to defy death some time."
    Silver Blossom scoffed:"I always thought you were a cautious man. But now you're about to commit one very stupid and rash move."
    Yu Peiyu said slowly:"One is about to be rash and stupid once in his life."
    Guo Pianxian smiled:"Every man has to do what he thinks is right! Brother Yu is truly a hero, we shouldn't discard his wishes."
    Yu Peiyu said:"My mind is made up. You should go now!"
    At this point Feng San opened his eyes and said loudly:"Do you think that I am a coward!"
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"I didn't imply that."
    Feng San said sternly:"Life and death are concepts which humans can hardly grasp and understand. But a true man never fears death."
    Yu Peiyu lowered his head and said:"I know and understand."
    Feng San said:"That's why you want to stay behind, isn't it?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Indeed."
    Feng San angrilly said:"Allright! All of us will stay here and fight to our deaths. If we can manage to last for about an hour, we're very lucky."
    Feng San asked Yu Peiyu:"Do you think we will lose?"
    Yu Peiyu answered:"Master Feng is not able to fight at the moment, I think our chances of winning are very slim."
    Feng San loudly said:"I'm not afraid to die, but I will not be humiliated by a group of rogues."
    Zhu Lei'Er sobbed:"Third uncle, you cannot use your martial arts."
    Feng San looked at Yu Peiyu and said:"I can absorb the energies of others, but I can also transfer my energy to someone else."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"But if you lend your internal strength to someone else how will you surpress the poison?"
    Feng San shouted:"I rather die of the poison than being captured by those thugs."
    Guo Pianxian and Silver Blossom regained hope again, but thought Feng San's internal energy wasn't that abundant anymore. Even if he lend his internal energy to one of them they wouldn't be able to defeat all those experts and especially an expert like master Nu."
    Zhong Jing suddenly asked:"Master Feng, why can't you use that portion of internal strength you have to fight those aggressors?"
    Feng San smiled wryly:"The energy left in my body is sufficient to surpress the poison in my body. It flows slowly like the water in a stream or brook. But when use it to engage in combat the power I have unleash is similar to the eruption of a volcano within three stances the poison will take effect and I will die. I cannot defeat those rogues within three stances."
    Zhong Jing said:"I don't know if I can help out, master Feng."
    Feng San praised her:"Although I took away your internal power. It's very good and admirable of you to offer your help. But you're to weak at the moment to receive my internal strength, the force might even kill you."
    He looked at Yu Peiyu now.
    Zhong Jing stuttered:"Young master Yu, won't you......"
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"I want to help master Feng too, but I won't take advantage of the situation."
    Zhong Jing loudly said:"But master Feng wants to give you his internal energy. It is not like you're stealing it away from him."
    Yu Peiyu remained quiet for a moment and suddenly knelt down in front of Feng San and respectfully said:"Master Feng, would you accept me to be your disciple?"
    Yu Peiyu is not only a very intelligent young man, but also very kind and considerate. If he became the pupil of Feng San, he can receive Feng San's internal power and fight on behalf of his teacher, Feng San. Furthermore he will protect the reputation of Feng San.
    Feng San looked at him and said:"You're not willing to take advantage of the situation, but I'm not too keen on exploiting your kindness. Becoming my disciple....becoming my're not doing this for yourself but doing this for me."
    Yu Peiyu said:"But I..."
    Feng San interrupted him:"If you would call me brother you'll make me most happy. Besides the relationship between two brothers is closer than of teacher and pupil. If I can see my brother fight on behalf of me I will die with no regrets."
    At this point Zhu Lei'Er knelt down and called Yu Peiyu [uncle].
    Yu Peiyu was very pleased when he heard Zhu Lei'Er call him uncle. Becoming the sworn brother of this magnificent hero is something to be proud of. But when he realised that the upcoming battle is going to be fierce and they're not permitted to lose, he felt worried again.

    The weather changed, storm was approaching. The lights were out and Feng San sat on his bed with his eyes closed. He looked like he was dead.
    Zhu Lei'Er was standing next to Feng San, she had a weird feeling that her time being together with her third uncle are soon to be gone.
    Yu Peiyu sat too, he was slowly letting his body accept his new internal energy. A few hours ago he never thought he would have the chance of battling a martial arts expert like master Nu. Even if the chances of winning are slim, he is quite anxious and excited.
    How many people in this world can fight master Nu?
    The storm has come now, the wind was blong fiercely. Branches were broken, doors and windows banged.
    Guo Pianxian said suddenly:"THEY ARE HERE........"
    A group of men and women carrying lamps moved towards the house.
    A gentle voice said:"This lowly Taoist, Shiyun of the Heavenly Excellence Temple on Mount Qingcheng is here to deliver a card and to pay my respects."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked softly:"Who is this Shiyun?"
    Yu Peiyu answered:"He is the disciple of master Nu."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"(*Humph) The door is open. You can come up."
    They heard someone walking up the stairs judging by his steps his martial arts were very good. His pace was slow, revealing he was a gentle person, but his steps were stable revealing his footwork was excellent.
    They saw a young Taoist looking very handsome and friendly. Everyone was surprised to see that a hot-tempered man like master Nu would have such a gentle and friendly pupil.
    Shiyun stood there respectfully, Zhu Lei'Er coldly said:"We're over here, don't stand there like an idiot."
    Shiyun didn't say anything back to her, he just glanced at her and lowered his head. He slowly and respectfully said:"Shiyun pays his respects to master Feng."
    Feng San said:"No need to be courteous."
    Shiyun held out a card and said:"The chancellor of Wulin, old master Yu and my teacher are outside. Would master Feng like to receive them?"
    Zhu Lei'Er sneered:"If third uncle said no, they will barge in here anyway."
    Shiyun said:"I am just here to deliver this card, I'm not aware of the other issues."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What do you know?"
    Shiyun replied:"I do not know anything concerning this matter."
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"Is the pupil of master Nu a good-for-nothing?"
    Shiyun smiled:"My teacher's only regret is not having a decent disicple."
    Shiyun's answer was very good. He doesn't get angry at any situation.
    Zhu Lei'Er was taken by surprise by the good temper of this young Taoist. Feng San sighed:"Master Nu is very fortunate of having a good disciple like you."
    Shiyun bowed and said:"Thank you master Feng for your kind words. But I'm unworthy of them."
    Feng San said:"Please inform your teacher and Yu Fanghe I await them here."
    Shiyun's hands formed a palm and said:"I will inform them."
    He slowly turned around and walked to the stairs again.
    Zhu Lei'Er sneered:"They're here to kill people and why act all friendly and so. Makes me sick."
    She said loud enough for Shiyun to hear, but he just ignored the remark and walk down the stairs.
    Feng San said:"These people are leaders or experts of the orthodox schools, they have their manners and etiquette. If we want to be respected, we should learn to respect others."
    Zhu Lei'Er didn't say anything but she was annoyed by Yu Fanghe and co.
    And thought:They know we cannot leave, that's why the're pretending to be courteous. In other circumstances they would have stormed up here like a hungry pack of wolves.
    The a group of people carrying lamps walked up the stairs. The first one was Yu Fanghe.
    Although master Nu's fame and martial arts are superior to Yu Fanghe but he was still the chancellor of Wulin. So nobody could walk in front of him.
    Yu Peiyu felt uncomfortable seeing this man. Yu Fanghe bowed to Feng San and said:"Yu Fanghe has admired the fame of master Feng. I'm very pleased to finally meet you, master Feng."
    Feng San said calmly:"You're the present chancellor of Wulin?"
    Yu Fanghe said:"Indeed."
    Feng San looked at him for an instant and diverted his eyes again. He seemed to be disappointed in this chancellor of Wulin and said coldly:"Take a seat."
    Everyone could smell a flowerly sweet fragrance, Guo Pianxian backed into a corner with Zhong Jing.
    Yu Peiyu knew that Madame Hai Tang was here and was very anxious. He wondered if Lin Daiyu was here too.
    He could only see that Madame Hai Tang looked very pretty and graceful.
    She seemed to notice Yu Peiyu too and smiled. She turned to Feng San and said:"Jun Haitang (*) pays her respects to Mr. Feng."
    Even women would stare or glance at this beautiful woman a bit longer, but Feng San just said coldly:"Very good! Have a seat."
    A person just stood there, he wore rags and looked quite arrogant.
    Feng San looked at him and said:"The leader of the Beggars Association?"
    That man replied:"Yes, I am Hong Lianhua."
    He walked over to a window-ledge and sat down. Yu Fanghe and Madame Hai Tang just stood there. In fact there weren't any chairs here upstairs.
    Suddenly a short skinny Taoist walked up with big paces and looked at Feng San and said:"You're Feng San?"
    Zhu Lei'Er interrupted:"You're master Nu?"
    Master Nu angrilly said:"No little wretch can call my name that casually!"
    Zhu Lei'Er said coldly:"My third uncle's name cannot be called out casually too. And certainly not by an annoying old Taoist."
    There was fire in the eyes of master Nu and he yelled:"Shiyun! Come over here!"
    Shiyun respectfully approached and asked:"Master, you summoned me."
    Master Nu ordered:"This little wretch has a foul mouth, wash it for me!"
    Shiyun said:"Yes, master."
    But he didn't move. Master Nu yelled:"Why won't you do as I ordered!"

    End of chapter 20

  2. #22
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 21 A word of Honour

    Shiyun lowered his head when he heard his teacher's command, but still didn't move.
    Master Nu angrilly yelled:"Are you deaf!"
    Shiyun replied:"Master, I'm not deaf."
    Master Nu said:"Go over there and do as I ordered."
    Shiyun answered respectfully:"Master, I wouldn't dare."
    Master Nu angrilly said:"What are you afraid of? If Feng San tries to stop you I will deal with him. Pupil against pupil, teacher against teacher. Now go!"
    Shiyun shook his head and said:"Master, I....I...cannot."
    Master Nu slapped him and yelled:"Are you going or not?"
    Shiyun's face was red and swollen now but he still looked very friendly and gentle. He gently replied:"Master, I cannot fight with ladies."
    Master Nu leapt and yelled:"What if women want to kill you! Do you let them take you head!"
    He slapped Shiyun a dozen times.
    Shiyun received his punishment and still looked very respectful and friendly. He smiled:"But this Miss doesn't want to kill me."
    Everyone looked at master Nu and Shiyun, such a strange and funny teacher and student.
    Zhu Lei'Er was quite happy when she saw that young Taoist being slapped but now she spoke on his behalf:"I was the one who insulted you. You should be the one to teach me a lesson."
    Master Nu yelled:"If I would fight a little girl like you, people will laugh at me!"
    Zhu Lei'Er coldly said:"Acting like a madman and hitting your own pupil for nothing. Won't people laugh at that too?"
    Everyone thought master Nu was going to exlplode with anger.
    Master Nu looked at her for some time and laughed loudly:"Good lass! Brave little lass!"
    Everyone was surprised to see his reaction, and thought nobody can guess what this Taoist will do in a minute.
    Madame Hai Tang stared at Zhu Lei'Er for some time and said gently:"How old are you, little Miss?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said casually:"About your age."
    Madame Hai Tang laughed:"About my age? Do you know what my age is?"
    Zhu Lei'Er glanced at her and said calmly:"If I look at your face you should be about 20."
    Madame Hai Tang unintentionally touched her own face and said:"Really?"
    Zhu Lei'Er continued:"If I look at your figure, you should be 20 something too."
    Madame Hai Tang laughed happily:"Little Miss, you do know how to please someone."
    Everyone likes to be praised. Charming women in their thirties who still look beautiful, like to hear that they still look like they're 18 to 20 years old.
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at her hands and said:"Your hands tell me you're about 18."
    Madame Hai Tang again unintentionally put out her hands.
    Zhu Lei'Er added:"So if I added all three together that would be 58. So you're not 60 yet, are you?"
    Everyone almost laughed out loud, even Feng San was amused by Zhu Lei'Er's joke.
    But nobody dared to laugh out loud, Madame Hai Tang couldn't smile anymore. Yu Peiyu had no ill intentions towards Madame Hai Tang, he even thanked her for helping him out some time ago. Furthermore he knew that Lin Daiyu was her pupil.
    He quickly interrupted:"Where are the rest of your friends, chancellor Yu?"
    Yu Fanghe answered:"I know that master Feng's room is a bit too small to receive too many guests. My friends are waiting downstairs."
    Zhu Lei'Er sneered:"You're confident that the four of you are capable enough to deal with us. The rest of your friends have surrounded the house."
    Yu Fanghe calmly said:"Miss, I know you've a very sharp tongue. But I think you're wrong to think that master Nu and Madame Hai Tang with their high statuses will quarrel with you."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"You're quarreling with me now. So your status is lower that theirs."
    Yu Fanghe didn't know what to say and pretended not to hear that remark. He turned to Feng San and said:"Master Feng, I think you must know our intentions. We came here to ask master Feng to hand out a certain person."
    Feng San just grunted.
    Yu Fanghe continued:"This person is this Miss Zhu."
    Again Feng San just grunted.
    Yu Fanghe said:"Miss Zhu has done a few things in these years, a lot of friends in Wulin are not very pleased. As the chancellor of Wulin I have to look into this matter. I hope master Feng will not interfere in this affair, and let us take Miss Zhu away. I can promise you we will give Miss Zhu a chance to explain herself."
    Feng San grunted again.
    He grunted three times, Yu Fanghe didn't understand whether that was a yes or a no.
    After some time Feng San sighed:"You have the audacity to come here and ask me to hand over Zhu Lei'Er."
    Yu Fanghe smiled lightly:"The Feng San we see before us, isn't as fearful as the Feng San of years ago."
    Feng San turned to master Nu and said:"They talk the talk, you must walk the walk."
    Master Nu laughed:"Indeed, although the present Feng San isn't as fearful as the old one. But some types of weed are very difficult to eradicate. Not a lot of people are capable of receiving your stances, and I belong to that small group who can."
    Feng San nodded and said:"Very good!......Fourth brother, see how many stances you can receive."
    Yu Peiyu walked up and said:"Reverend, I await your stances."
    Hong Lianhua, Madame Hai Tang, Yu Fanghe and master Nu were shocked to see Yu Peiyu walk towards them and accepting the challenge. Master Nu angrilly shouted:"Why do you order a little boy to fight on your behalf! What is the meaning of this!"
    Feng San closed his eyes and didn't answer.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Don't you understand?"
    Master Nu yelled:"I don't understand!"
    Zhu Lei'Er explained:"With your lowly abilities my third uncle doesn't need to fight you personally. Furthermore people might talk if my uncle defeated you."
    Master Nu yelled:"How can I fight this little child! He couldn't even defeat my pupil."
    Feng San coldly interrupted:"The Feng San you see before you isn't as fearful as the old Feng San. The Yu Peiyu you see before isn't the same Yu Peiyu as a few hours ago."
    Yu Fanghe's eyes glittered for a moment and asked:"This battle with him is decisive?"
    Feng San nodded:"Indeed."
    Yu Fanghe asked:"If young master Yu loses...."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I will go with you and accept your punishment."
    Yu Fanghe asked:"Do you mean that?"
    Feng San said:"How dare you question me decisions?"
    Yu Fanghe looked extremely happy and said:"In that case......
    Reverend Nu, you can begin now."
    Master Nu angrilly shouted:"You want me to fight that kid!"
    Yu Fanghe smiled:"Young master Yu has become the sworn brother of master Feng. When reverend duels with him no one will say that reverend Nu bullied a youngster."
    Madame Hai Tang added:"Reverend, nobody will laugh you at you when you fight with the sworn brother of Feng San."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked casually:"But what if reverend Nu loses?"
    Master Nu leapt up and angrilly shouted:"If l lose I will kowtow to this kid three times and call him master."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"That isn't necessary, my fourth uncle isn't to keen on having an old and hot-tempered pupil like you. He will have his hands full on you."
    Master Nu shouted:"If I lose within 50 stances I will leave immediately."
    Initially he didn't want to fight Yu Peiyu, but now his anger was aroused and nobody could stop him from fighting Yu Peiyu.
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"50 stances....make it 500 stances....but don't you think you can even touch the sleeves of my fourth uncle. However shouldn't we ask the opinions of the other people too?"
    Yu Fanghe smiled:"Let's make it 300 stances.....if within 300 stances reverend Nu is unable to defeat young master Yu we will leave at once. And won't bother you anymore."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at Madame Hai Tang and asked:"What about you?"
    Madame Hai Tang said sweetly:"Young master Yu is an old friend of mine. I hope when master Nu defeats him he won't be injured."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked Hong Lianhua:"And you?"
    Hong Lianhua looked pensive and just said coldly:"Very well!"
    Nobody believes that Yu Peiyu could withstand 300 stances with master Nu. Everyone saw the martial arts of Yu Peiyu, they knew that it was very difficult for Yu Peiyu to receive 300 stances of Shiyun. It would be a miracle if Yu Peiyu could last 50 stances
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"It is a deal! No one is allowed to argue later on."
    Master Nu grunted:"If someone is going to argue I will chop off his head!"
    He turned to Yu Peiyu and said:"Yu kid! Attack first I will give you the advantage of three stances."
    Yu Peiyu didn't reply, he was very nervous before these people arrived. He was worried whether he could pull it of. But now he was calm and thought:Master Nu is only human too, why fear him?
    He put his entire concentration on master Nu. He was observing him very carefully, every move of master Nu didn't escape his attention.
    Everyone thought:Is he scared silly?
    Yu Fanghe smiled happily.
    Master Nu lost his patience and stamped his feet and shouted:"You......."
    Before he could finish Yu Peiyu advanced forward with lightning speed and aimed his palms for the knees of master Nu.
    Martial arts experts like master Nu have reached the level where their martial arts have been integrated into their normal everyday actions. For example professional dancers have a more graceful walk than average people.
    But when you're angry or upset you've disturbed that fine balance. If you raise you feet and you do not want to kick someone you have created a flaw in your footwork.
    Yu Peiyu was looking for a window of opportunity for himself to attack. Even master Nu was surprised and shocked, he twirled around in mid-air and counter-attacked.
    He chose the offense as the best form of defense, which was a marvellous move, fit only to a true martial arts expert.
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"Giving the advantage of the first three stances?"
    Master Nu went into offensive when he counter-attacked Yu Peiyu. Suddenly he whistled loudly and shot backwards. He broke of his attack and retreated to his original position. Everyone was shocked to see his movement, it was like magic. Master Nu's generated his energy to that whistle and during his exhale he propelled himself backwards, everyone was amazed by the internal energy of master Nu.
    Hong Lianhua even praised:"Excellent internal power!"
    Yu Fanghe asked:"Master Hong Lian, in your opinion how many stances can young master Yu withstand?"
    Hong Lianhua, who was a bit sorry to see this young man die, answered:"Around 100 stances."
    Yu Fanghe turned to Madame Hai Tang and asked:"What do you think, Madame?"
    Madame Hai Tang smiled:"I have a lot of faith in the words of master Hong Lian."
    Both Hong Lianhua and Madame Hai Tang didn't look at Guo Pianxian, he was standing in the corner of this room.
    Guo Pianxian was pleased and thought:They didn't see me.
    But then he understood and thought:It is impossible for them not to see me. They must know that Yu Peiyu isn't a match for master Nu, so that's why they are not worried that I'll escape from them.
    Guo Pianxian broke out in a cold sweat.
    At this point, the three stances advantage have passed and master Nu could attack now.
    At first sight it seemed like there was nothing special about his techniques. It was like his fame did not match his abilities, but after three, five stances the power of his techniques began to show.
    Although there was nothing special about his techniques, but the techniques fluently merged into each other. No loopeholes or flaws were made.
    Initially Zhu Lei'Er thought:The famous master Nu is just overestimated. But after a few stances she began to worry.
    These simple techniques may look ordinary, but in fact they were most lethal. Every stance was powerful enough to split open rocks and iron and the attacks came quickly after each other with no pause.
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at Feng San, with the hope he could tell her whether Yu Peiyu stood a chance.
    But Feng San had his eyes closed, and seemed not be interested in this battle to live or death.
    In a moment almost 30 stances were over, master Nu's attacks became fiercer and fiercer. Yu Peiyu could only defend himself and not attack.
    It seemed that Yu Peiyu was pondering about every stance before he received master Nu's attacks. Everyone thought that it was silly of him. During a battle you won't have the time or could spare the the concentration.
    They were certain that Yu Peiyu couldn't last till the 100th stance.
    Yu Fanghe smiled:"It is a shame that a lot of people will have to miss this fight."
    Shiyun smiled:"In that case I'll draw open the curtains. So everyone can watch."
    Shiyun rapidly drew the curtains and the light lit the room, Guo Pianxian wanted to sneak out of here in the dark but no it was too late.
    He sighed and stood up and looked at Madame Hai Tang. He nodded to her and smiled, he was feeling shocked and happy to face her again. Somewhere he wanted to go to her and take her hand and talk about how much he missed her.
    However Madame Hai Tang didn't look his way and turned to Yu Fanghe and asked:"Chancellor Yu, there is something very strange I want to ask you."
    Yu Fanghe answered:"Madame, please ask."
    Madame Hai Tang said:"In your opinion how does master Nu compare to the late reverend Tiangang of Kunlun?"
    Yu Fanghe smiled:"The martial arts of the Kunlun School are known for being fast and furious. Reverend Tiangang was also respected by all for his internal and external skills, but........"
    He didn't finish his sentence.
    Madame Hai Tang said:"But master Nu should be at least one level higher, isn't it?"
    Yu Fanghe smiled but didn't answer. But the answer would be obvious master Nu is superior to the deceased reverend Tiangang.
    Madame Hai Tang continued:"More than ten years ago my late teacher and I went to Mount Kunlun. At that time we saw that reverend Tiangang was engaged in combat with someone. His adversary looked like a lama from Tibet, this lama had very powerful internal strength too."
    Yu Fanghe said:"That lama must be the one of three top martial arts experts of Tibet, Hongyun lama. He has a deep feud with the Kunlun School, he has challenged Kunlun for many times."
    Madame Hai Tang continued:"That time I stood away from reverend Tiangang and Hongyun lama for about 30 metres away from them. But I could still feel the force released by reverend Tiangang's techniques, even my clothes sort of swayed with the wind. However I do not sense anything from master Nu's attacks and we're standing quite close to them."
    Yu Fanghe smiled:"Master Nu has reached a higher level in internal energy control. He is able to focus his power only on Yu Peiyu not a drop of energy is wasted unnecessarily. When his attack is in vain, he will redraw his energy and use it into a new stance. If not all of us would have been blown outside by the force of his stances. Perhaps even the entire room would collapse."
    Madame Hai Tang sighed:"Fortunately I'm not Yu Peiyu."
    Zhu Lei'Er sneered:"He might not be in such a dire position as you think."
    Madame Hai Tang laughed:"How would you know? Please tell me?"
    Zhu Lei'Er ignored her and started counting softly:"90,.......91......92......"
    She was counting a bit too fast, at this point master Nu and Yu Peiyu had only exchanged about 80 stances. Yu Fanghe and others were certain that Yu Peiyu couldn't meet up with the 300 stances margin.
    And they thought they wouldn't be bothered by a few extra stances. And no need to start a debate with a young girl over it.
    We could compare Yu Peiyu to a nail and master Nu to a hammer at this time. Yu Peiyu's situation is rather dire, but it is not easy for the hammer to bend a nail either.
    He noticed that the attacks of master Nu were fierce and powerful and when he couldn't think of a way to counter a certain stance, master Nu would would (un)intentionally redraw that certain stance.
    Zhu Lei'Er continued counting:"101....102....103..."
    Yu Fanghe turned to Hong Lianhua and smiled:"It is amazing he's still standing. They've exchanged 100 stances now."
    Hong Lianhua casually said:"Very amazing."
    Shiyun suddenly said:"It seems that benefactor Yu's internal power has increased by a lot."
    Hong Lianhua said:"It seems so."
    Shiyun sighed:"It is most strange that someone could gain so much internal power and only after half a day."
    Yu Fanghe smiled:"Reverend Shiyun, rest assured. No matter how much internal energy he has gained it will be impossible for him to withstand the 100 stances of your teacher."
    Shiyun said:"They've already exchanged over 100 stances now."
    Yu Fanghe explained:"Your teacher wants to see what the level is of young master Yu and the skills of him. If not during the 86 stance young master Yu would have been defeated."
    It seemed like he was explaining to Shiyun, but he made sure that it was loud enough everyone could hear it.
    Master Nu laughed arrogantly:"Exactly I just wanted to see what great skills Feng San had taught him! Now I've seen enough!"
    He increased the speed and the power to his attacks.
    However Yu Peiyu could adapt to his speed and receive his attacks.
    We should know that Yu Peiyu is remarkable young man, however how much can he grasp from Feng San's abilities in a short few hours.
    That's why in the beginning the techniques he used to counter master Nu were stances he made up in a flash. That's why he was a bit slow in the beginning. But after 100 stances he began to feel more secure and his reaction to create stances ad hoc was also quicker. And his stances were becoming better and more special. It's like when a layman plays go for the first time, at first you're cautious and hesitating but after awhile you get the hang of it.
    Also when dealing with an martial arts master like master Nu your potential will be pushed beyond limits. And your latent energy will be awoken as time progresses.
    Zhu Lei'Er continued:"160.....161....."
    Yu Fanghe smiled:"Miss Zhu, you're mistaken. They've just exchanged their 153th stance."
    At first he wasn't concerned about an extra one, two stances. But now he saw that Yu Peiyu was not losing he started to count too.
    Zhu Lei'Er giggled:"Weren't you feeling very confident earlier? You're worried now, aren't you? 167......168......"
    She continued to count at her own pace and ignored Yu Fanghe's comments.
    Yu Fanghe smiled:"Miss Zhu, you can count in your own pace but we'll minus those extra eight stances....."
    Master Nu shouted:"Does it matter, those extra eight stances? Do you think I won't defeat this brat within 300 stances!"
    During his shout he hit out his fist, Yu Peiyu drew two circles in the air with his hands and blocked that stance. However the stance was blocked but the force was still quite powerful and hit Yu Peiyu.
    CrackkkkkThere was a hole in the floor, Yu Peiyu did seem like a nail and was hit through the board.
    At this point Zhu Lei'Er counted till 171...She stopped and shrieked.
    Yu Fanghe smiled happily:"Young master Yu has already lost, but it is admirable that he was able to receive more than 100 stances of master Nu."
    Zhu Lei'Er stared at him and said:"Who says my fourth uncle has lost?"
    Yu Fanghe laughed:"Isn't this losing?"
    Before Zhu Lei'Er could answer, Yu Peiyu flew back out of the hole and whisked his hand towards master Nu.
    Zhu Lei'Er clapped her hands and giggled:"Can't you see? The only thing broken are the stairs to the first floor. There isn't a hole in the stomach of my fourth uncle. If making a hole in the floor is considered winning I'll puch seven, eight holes for you, allright?....179.....180....."
    She started to count again and ignored Yu Fanghe.
    Master Nu and Yu Peiyu had exchanged another eight stances now, Yu Fanghe laughed:"Young master Yu, don't forget the hole in the floor saved your life!"
    Yu Peiyu also understood that the floor saved his life, if the floor didn't crack he would have injured by the internal force of master Nu. Fortunately he fell through the hole, the energy dispersed because the energy swayed away with his body.
    And in a normal duel Yu Peiyu would have already lost, but this fight concerned the lives of several other people. So he pretended not to hear Yu Fanghe's cynical remarks and continued to receive master Nu's attacks.
    After another twenty, thirty stances the usual smile on Yu Peiyu's face was gone. Everyone inside and outside the room could hear the wind blowing and everyone whispered to each other.
    "They've exchanged more than 200 stances now. Do you think he can last another 100?"
    "Can't really say."
    "It's strange that this young brat is that fierce. In the beginning I thought he wouldn't last ten, twenty stances. He seems to grow more vigorous as the battle progresses."
    Master Nu angrilly yelled:"SHUT YOUR TRAPS! Whoever opens his damned mouth again! I will personally chop off his frigging head!"
    Nobody dared to whisper again, but they understood that master Nu was worried too now.
    Zhu Lei'Er continued to count loudly:"212.....213....."
    Guo Pianxian's eyes glowed with happiness.
    But only Yu Peiyu's heart began to sink, he knew he couldn't meet up with the 300 stances limit anymore.
    Yu Peiyu also understood that he might not even withstand another 30 stances.
    Even Feng San opened his eyes and look worried. Only he and Yu Peiyu knew that Yu Peiyu had almost used up all his internal energy. And had to rest and to regenerate.
    Feng San had his eyes closed the entire time, but he could hear force released from the palms, fists of Yu Peiyu. Awhile ago master Nu gained the upperhand but Feng San was not worried because he knew Yu Peiyu had still abundant energy to protect himself.
    But now every stance of Yu Peiyu was generated with strong internal power but when he redraws his stance the energy is gone.
    Every time he uses a stance his internal energy will diminish by a bit.
    And when he's exhausted and his energy gone, he won't be able to withstand the powerful techniques of master Nu.
    Suddenly master Nu's fist came crashing down on Yu Peiyu, the force released was as sharp as a blade. Yu Peiyu quickly blocked but was still pushed backwards.
    Master Nu immediately knew he was becoming weaker and weaker and increased his attacks. He attacked fiercely with tree first techniques and forced Yu Peiyu into a corner.
    The Wulin people who were here with Yu Fanghe were shocked and happy. They didn't understand why Yu Peiyu was weakening and also didn't understand why he could have lasted this long.
    Zhu Lei'Er counted:"226......227......"
    Her voice trembled a bit.
    There were still more than 70 stances over, and even Zhong Jing, the girl with the least martial arts insight, understood that Yu Peiyu couldn't last for another 70 stances.
    Madame Hai Tang sighed and said softly:"He won't make it to 260."
    Yu Fanghe smiled:"I think 250 is enough."
    Master Nu shouted:"I SAY 240 IS ENOUGH!"
    Both his fists came down on Yu Peiyu as lightning bolts, Zhu Lei'Er at this moment counted:"238."
    Yu Peiyu was confused by the numerous shadows of the palms and fists of Master Nu. He did not know how to block it and even if he knew he couldn't cope with the overwhelming internal force generating this stance.
    There was no other option than for him to be defeated.
    Yu Fanghe laughed happily, Hong Lianhua got of the ledge and stood up, Madame Hai Tang shook her head and Shiyun recited softy with a smile:"May the deities be merciful."
    Yu Peiyu received that blow and his back was forced backwards by the overpowering energy of Master Nu.
    It looked his back was about to snap.
    Master Nu yelled:"Are you giving up now?"
    Yu Peiyu gritted his teeth and shook his head.
    Master Nu increased his energy to his palms and said:"Fall over!"
    However Yu Peiyu didn't fall over but he was slowly being pressed to the floor and he sweated heavily.
    Everyone held his breath and looked in awe at this scene.
    They heard a soft crackling noise, it came from the spine of Yu Peiyu. His spine was about to snap into two halves.
    Zhong Jing wept and sobbed:"Young master Yu, please give up! Surrender!"
    Guo Pianxian was wiping away his sweat.
    Madame Hai Tang sighed:"Poor child! Why must you.......(*sigh)."
    Zhu Lei'Er cried too and wanted to urge Yu Peiyu to surrender too.
    She couldn't watch anymore, Hong Lianhua called out:"Master Feng, do you really want to see this young man dead?"
    Feng San said sadly:"Enough. I see no other choice, but to...."
    Yu Peiyu loudly interrupted:"NO! We haven't lost yet. I'm not done for it yet."
    Master Nu angrilly said:"Stubborn child! Pigheaded temper! Do you think I really will not kill you!"
    He stepped forward with one foot and accidentally stood on a linen bag. With his omnipotent energy he easily stepped a hole in the linen bag.
    But doing so countless snakes, centipedes, lizards, etc. all kinds of strange venomous creatures jumped on his body.
    Master Nu was shocked and quickly stepped backwards, he was covered with those creepy crawlers. Everyone was shocked and some even shrieked loudly.
    Master Nu was angry, he raised his arms to throw a few of his body and used his feet to stamp them to death. But there were too many so he kept using his hands to brush, hit those creatures. He lifted his legs to kick and to fling the creepy crawlers of his legs.
    If it wasn't for his magnificent internal strength he would have been bitten a couple of dozen times by those venomous creatures.
    Zhu Lei'Er eyes glared up and counted clearly:"241, 242, 243...."
    She continued to count and had reach the number 280 in a few moments. At this point Yu Peiyu realised what she was doing and called:"No, that doesn't count. That doesn't count."
    She ignored him and continued to count:"281, 282, 283........"
    By the time master Nu crushed the last centipede with his foot she had reached 300.
    Everyone was quiet and did not know what to say now. Yu Fanghe laughed:"Of course that doesn't count."
    Zhu Lei'Er sneered:"Has my fourth uncle been defeated?"
    Yu Peiyu leant against the wall and was panting heavily but he was still standing.
    Yu Fanghe was silenced. Zhu Lei'Er said:"My fourth uncle is still standing, master Nu's 300 stances are over. We've won."
    Yu Fanghe retorted:"But master Nu's final stances were not aimed at young master Yu, everyone here could see that."
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"Master Nu was engaged in combat with my fourth uncle, his every move, stance should be directed towards my fourth uncle. It is not our fault if he likes to hit himself instead aiming for my uncle."
    Yu Fanghe said:"Those creatures......"
    Zhu Lei'Er interrupted:"Those creatures were in a linen bag, they didn't attack him for no reason. He stamped on them first and we didn't release them. Furthermore he has killed them and should really pay for them."
    Yu Fanghe did not know how to retort this clever girl and her sharp tongue, he was stunned for a minute and turned to master Nu. He forced a smile and said:"I think master Nu should decide for himself."
    Master Nu said loudly:"This kid is able to receive 300 stances of mine. Splendid! Good boy!"
    Yu Fanghe said:"But you haven't exchanged 300 stances."
    Master Nu stared at him and said:"Who says we haven't. We were engaged in combat, every move counts! It is my own fault that my techniques did not injure him."
    Yu Fanghe stood there like an idiot not knowing what to say.
    Zhu Lei'Er hugged Yu Peiyu and said happily:"Fourth uncle, we've won! We've won!"
    Yu Fanghe composed himself and smiled:"Master Nu said you won. So you won."
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"Those are finally words fitting of the chancellor of Wulin."
    Yu Fanghe smiled lightly:"You can leave this place, I promise you we won't trouble you."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Leave? This is my house. Why should I leave?"
    Yu Fanghe looked annoyed, but master Nu said loudly:"They shouldn't leave! WE SHOULD LEAVE......."
    Two men leapt into the room through the window, one of them with sharp eyes and a face full of pimples said sternly:"Right! We should leave but before we go we shall chop off their heads!"
    Zhu Lei'Er angrilly asked:"Who are you?"
    Yu Fanghe smiled and said:"This is the famous master Zhao Qun, his nickname is Outer Sky Heaven. His iron palms and his 72 golden darts are well-known through the realm."
    He pointed to the other man who stood next to the man with pimples, he was a tall man and his face was long like the head of a horse. Yu Fanghe said:"This is master Huang Feng, his nickname is A Thousand Mile Stallion. His flying kicks of the northern province are the best."
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"Why would anyone be a horse? But he does have a face like a horse. And the other one should wash his face properly, all those pimples."
    Huang Feng and Zhao Qun were really angry now, Huang Feng sneered:"Master Nu is too benevolent, but we won't let you go. We don't need to uphold any Wulin rules when we're dealing with heretic fiends like you. Little b-i-t-c-h- come with us!"
    He wanted to grab Zhu Lei'Er, but someone suddenly stood in front of him. It was Shiyun who smiled friendly:"My teacher has agreed to let them go. Benefactor Huang leave them alone, please."
    Huang Feng sternly said:"The affairs of Wulin seniors are not your concern!"
    He lifted his arm again and pushed out towards Shiyun in the hope to push him aside. But his attack was not successful and Shiyun still stood there smiling.
    Huang Feng looked annoyed, master Nu walked over and said earnestly:"My pupil is rude, so you wish to teach him a lesson."
    Huang Feng had seen him ordering, hitting Shiyun around. He thought Shiyun wasn't master Nu's favourite student.
    So Huang Feng said:"Indeed. On your behalf I would like to......"
    Master Nu angrilly interrupted him:"Who do you think you are! You're not fit to teach my student a lesson! How dare you lay your filthy hands on him!"
    Master Nu grabbed Huang Feng's wrist with incredible speed, and broke his wrist.
    Huang Feng cried out in pain, he kicked out with his right leg. He is famous for his kicks, he could even smash a rock with his powerful kicks. Master Nu didn't avoid that kick and even allowed it to hit his body. But the only thing that broke was Huang Feng's leg.
    Huang Feng cried out in pain and fainted. Master Nu didn't look at him anymore and turned to Zhao Qun and coldly said:"Do you discard my words too and want to chop off their heads."
    Zhao Qun looked scared but as he's also a famous martial artist. So he had to uphold his reputation.
    He managed to smile:"Master Nu, since you're not willing to interfere in this matter. We will take care of it for you."
    Master Nu angrilly shouted:"Give them to you! What idiotic skills do you have? Now you see that they're too tired you want to take advantage of the situation! That Yu kid is even too weak to stand now."
    Master Nu grabbed Zhao Qun by his robe and lifted him up.
    Zhao Qun was angry and shocked, he generated his full internal power to his palms and struck out at the shoulders of master Nu.
    His iron palms were a respected skill in Wulin. He could break bricks with a mere blow. However his iron palms became as fragile as egg shells when facing master Nu. Zhao Qun called out in pain and broke out in a cold sweat.
    Master Nu easily lifted Huang Feng with his right hand and with his left hand Zhao Qun.
    Everyone was shocked to see his omnipotent martial arts and realised how good Yu Peiyu was. Zhao Qun and Huang Feng were famous martial artists with good martial arts and could not even exchange one stance with master Nu.
    And young Yu Peiyu was able to receive 300 of his blows, everyone admired him and were impressed by his martial arts.
    Master Nu yelled:"Who else dares to question my words!"
    Nobody dared to say another word, master Nu grunted and walked away with big paces.
    Shiyun put his palms together and said gently:"This lowly Taoist is very fortunate to meet so many skilful masters. I hope to see you very soon and learn from your teachings."
    Although he addressed everyone in the room, but his eyes were concentrated on the pretty Zhu Lei'Er.
    Zhu Lei'Er softly pouted:"Leave, you little Taoist with your shifty eyes!"
    Shiyun smiled and seemed not to hear that remark and bowed to Yu Fanghe:"After you, chancellor Yu."
    Yu Fanghe smiled:"Take care of yourself master Feng. You too, young master Yu. I will take my leave now."
    Madame Hai Tang paid her respects to Feng San and left too, Guo Pianxian turned pale. But Madame Hai Tang just ignored him, she looked at Zhong Jing and asked:"Are you a pupil of Xu Shuzhen?"
    Zhong Jing didn't want to look weak answered:"Yes, I am."
    Madame Hai Tang sighed:"Poor child.....poor child....."
    Zhong Jing was angered by her reaction and loudly said:"I don't need your compassion. Save that for women whose husband left them."
    Madame Hai Tang smiled casually and walked away. She didn't even feel angry, she felt she was above that. Zhong Jing felt she was being looked down by her rival. She started to cry.
    Hong Lianhua looked at Guo Pianxian, he looked at Feng San and at Yu Peiyu.
    He made a somersault through the window and was gone.
    Everyone left, Yu Peiyu felt relieved and finally passed out.
    The light shone on Yu Peiyu's pale face, Zhu Lei'Er quickly went over to hug him and sobbed:"Fourth uncle, I....I....don't know how to thank you."
    Zhu Lei'Er cried and lowered her head, Yu Peiyu smiled with difficulty:"At least we've won. Why are you sad?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I'm not sad. I'm just very very happy." But she continued to sob.
    Feng San said:"Lei'Er, no need to say thanks to your fourth uncle."
    Guo Pianxian coughed dryly and smiled:"Brother Yu has managed to defeat master Nu. From now on everyone will respect brother Yu...."
    Zhu Lei'Er scolded:"How dare you call my fourth uncle [brother]? You're not fit."
    Guo Pianxian smiled dryly:"Young master Yu has become very famous now, however....."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"However what?"
    Guo Pianxian said:"However we cannot stay here anymore."
    Zhu Lei'Er said with indignation:"Why not? This is my home!"
    Guo Pianxian said:"I'm afraid that Yu Fanghe won't let this matter rest that easily. He may very well have another plan to deal with us."
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"If they're really up to something, there is no use in running. Besides my third uncle isn't a coward."
    Guo Pianxian retorted:"But staying here isn't a good plan."
    Zhu Lei'Er sneered:"You're welcome to leave at any time. We won't keep you."
    However Guo Pianxian was afraid when he stepped out of the house Hong Lianhua and Madame Hai Tang were waiting for him. Guo Pianxian looked embarrassed by Zhu Lei'Er sneer.
    The wind blew strongly, everyone stayed silent and looked worried when they knew that Yu Fanghe might return.
    Suddenly a dorg barked loudly and awfully shrill, Zhong Jing said:"Why is that dog barking that awfully eerie?'
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"Maybe Yu Fanghe stepped on his tail." But she too was a bit afraid now.
    Suddenly the dog's barking died out like that. The barking was awful enough but the silence now was even more frightning.
    At this point the air turned omnious, like something sinister was about to happen. Zhu Lei'Er wanted to say a few words to break the silence but she too didn't know what to say.
    All of a sudden a burst of fire flew towards their house and the house caught fire and started to burn at rapid speed.
    Guo Pianxian yelled:"That old fiend wants to burn us to a crisp."
    Yu Peiyu said:"That's why he gathered the villagers outside the town, he wanted to burn the entire Family Li village down if everything failed. So much for the chivalry of the orthodox schools."
    The fire had already surrounded them. Guo Pianxian said anxiously:"We can still make it now. We must hurry!"
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at Feng San, Feng San didn't say a word. Guo Pianxian said:"We can't hesitate anymore! We should go now!"
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"There is no other choice."
    Zhu Lei'Er said anxiously:"But what about third uncle....."
    Yu Peiyu said:"I will carry third brother on my back, and you follow me closely."
    Silver Blossom shrieked:"WHAT ABOUT ME! YOU CANNOT LEAVE ME HERE!"
    Zhu Lei'Er gritted her teeth and said:"Fourth uncle, I will carry third uncle. can carry her."
    Guo Pianxian looked at Zhong Jing and carried her on his back. He said:"No more hesitation! We must go now!"
    Feng San said:"All of you go now!"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Third uncle....."
    Feng San looked angry and said:"I will not be carried away out of here. What do you take me for?"
    Yu Peiyu said:'But now....."
    Feng San interrupted him angrilly:"If word would spread out that Feng San was carried out of here and fled. I will not stand for such humiliation, I will rather die!"
    Yu Peiyu urged:"Third brother, you can't...."
    Feng San said loudly:"My mind is made up!"
    Zhu Lei'Er was about to go mad with frustration, but she knew when Feng San had made up his mind no one could change it.
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"Brother, I know you're worried that you will burden me. But I'm still strong enough to storm out of here with you."
    Feng San closed his eyes, the fire was spreading rapidly. It seems that Yu Fanghe and his lackeys have made the necessary arrangements to make the fire spread faster.
    Guo Pianxian said:"If you don't leave, I will leave now. Everyone......"
    He didn't know what to say and in a flash he was gone. He had already stormed out with Zhong Jing.
    Feng San said sternly:"You should go too."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"If you won't go, I won't go."
    Feng San said angrilly:"You dare to disobey me."
    Zhu Lei'Er sobbed:"I will listen to your every word, but not this time."
    Feng San pushed her away and said:"If you disobey me, I will kill you now!"
    Zhu Lei'Er said resolute:"I won't go. Kill me if you must, third uncle."
    Silver Blossom shouted:"Yu Peiyu, won't you go?'
    Yu Peiyu just stood there, stunned.
    He couldn't just leave Feng San here to his fate.
    Silver Blossom cursed angrilly:"You're all mad! Mad! Just my luck to run into a group of madmen!"
    She wanted to use her art of levitation to leap out of the window. But her internal strength was practically gone and fell down and bruised her leg.
    Yu Peiyu sighed.
    Feng San sternly said:"You really want to stay here!"
    Yu Peiyu looked at Zhu Lei'Er and said:"Brother, I....."
    Feng San said:"Very well! I will go first!"
    He lifted his palm and was about to strike his own skull.
    Zhu Lei'Er and Yu Peiyu quickly dashed forward to try and prevent him from committting suicide.
    BANNNNNG! The wall crumbled and a figure dashed into the room, because of the thick smoke Yu Peiyu couldn't see his face.
    This figure was incredibly fast and picked up Feng San from the bed and was gone again.
    Zhu Lei'Er yelled:"Who are you? What are doing with my uncle?"
    But they could hear Feng San and the mystery person saying
    "Who is it?"
    "It is me!"
    They could hear Feng San sighing, Zhu Lei'Er and Yu Peiyu dashed out to follow him.
    But this mystery person was too fast and the fire caused them to a lot of trouble too. And before they knew it Feng San and that mysterious figure were gone.
    Zhu Lei'Er sobbed:"Give me back my uncle! I beg you please return him to me....."
    She fell to the ground and started to cry, Yu Peiyu now noticed that they had already stormed out of the flaming house.
    Although their clothes were scorched a bit, but they weren't injured.
    Zhu Lei'Er sobbed:"Who was that? Why did he take my third uncle?"
    Yu Peiyu sighed but said gently:"Don't worry! I don't think that person had any ill intentions. If it wasn't for him or her we would still be in the fire."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What about third uncle?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"I think third brother knew that person. Probably his friend. With such high martial arts third brother won't be in any danger."
    Zhu Lei'Er wasn't sobbing that sadly anymore but asked:"You're right. Judging from what they said to each other, they must know each other. But why did that person leave me behind?"
    Yu Peiyu said gently:"Perhaps he didn't know who you were."
    Zhu Lei'Er said sadly:"You're right. I don't know any of third uncle's friends. Nobody knows me.......I......I......"
    Zhu Lei'Er started to cry sadly again when she realised she was all alone again. No parents, no uncle and no home.
    Yu Peiyu felt sad too and consoled:"At least fourth uncle knows you. And you know me too, right?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said sadly:"Will you leave me too, fourth uncle?"
    Yu Peiyu sighed in his heart and said:"Of course not. I will never leave you behind. I will take you along wherever I go."
    But in his current state he couldn't take care of himself let alone someone else."
    The fire came to their direction and they could hear the voices of angry people. Those must be the villagers, they must be furious to see their homes burnt to a crisp.
    A loud voice said:"Everyone stay calm! We will pay for the construction of your destroyed houses. Don't worry!"
    Yu Peiyu frowned and said:"That is strange. The rebuilding of so many houses costs a lot. It is most strange that they would actually burn down an entire village just because of us. Or is there more to it?"
    The fire slowly died out, and it was still very dark. Zhu Lei'Er sat on the ground looking sad and exhausted. Yu Peiyu had taken her to the cemetary, and she had not said a word since."
    Yu Peiyu said:"They did not set fire to kill us that simply."
    Zhu Lei'Er stared at a new grave and said:"Hmmm."
    Yu Peiyu said:"If they wanted us dead they would have placed a number of henchmen around the house. We could easily escape and did not see a single man."
    Zhu Lei'Er again said:"Hmmm."
    Yu Peiyu said:"They did everything just to get us out of your house."
    Zhu Lei'Er was paying attention now and said:"Are they mad? Just to get us of out of there, they burnt down the entire Family Li Village and have to pay the heavy compensation for it! Why?"
    Yu Peiyu said softly:"There must be a reason.....there is bound to be a reason......"

    End of chapter 21

  3. #23
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 22 Ridding Your Enemies By Your Adversary's Hands

    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"Fourth uncle, I thought their intentions were obvious, but after hearing your words I'm confused again."
    Yu Peiyu said:"There must be a reasonable explanation for all of this."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Do you have an explanation?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"There must be a hidden secret in your home, one of great value."
    Zhu Lei'Er said with surprise:"Secret?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Because of this secret that's why your fa.....Dongfang Meiyu didn't leave. Also the reason why granny Hu came and it explains why Yu Fanghe set fire to the entire town."
    Zhu Lei'Er eyes looked surprised and said softly:"Secret? What kind of secret?"
    Yu Peiyu asked her:"Did your mother say anything extraordinary before she passed away?"
    Zhu Lei'Er frowned and said:"My mother said nothing special. She only told me that the house was the only thing she left me. She hoped that I would treasure it, that's why I am not keen on leaving it."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked enlightened and looked at Yu Peiyu, Yu Peiyu looked at her too.
    They both stood up and quietly went back to Zhu Lei'Er's house.
    Although the fire was extinguished but there were still some small fires here and there, the smoke was very thick too.
    But the house was burnt down, like the larger part of Family Li Village. Some of the walls were standing. Some men in black robes were cleaning up the mess and putting out small fires.
    The villagers and Yu Fanghe and co were nowhere to be seen.
    Yu Peiyu stood in a corner of the house and carefully observed the surroundings.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Fourth uncle, shall we look now? Or shall we wait and see what they're up to first?"
    Yu Peiyu said earnestly:"You haven't noticed anything all these years. So the secret must be hidden very well. Furthermore now the fire has been put out for the larger part, they will soon be here."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Will we look for a place to hide now?"
    Yu Peiyu nodded.
    Zhu Lei'Er looked around and said:"Let us hide in that house there."
    Yu Peiyu shook his head and said:"There are still a few small fires there, they will soon go over to put it out."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Fourth uncle, what do you suggest?"
    Yu Peiyu answered:"The kitchen."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked in the direction of the kitchen and said:"But the kitchen has been burnt down entirely, we cannot hide in there."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"Although the kitchen is gone, there is still something that's still there."
    Zhu Lei'Er immediately understood and smiled:"Of course the furnace*, that wasn't destroyed in the fire. Fourth uncle, you're very smart."
    They entered the kitchen and saw that the water vat was still intact too, Yu Peiyu took a bucket and poored water on the furnace to cool it down.
    After a few buckets they quickly hid in there.
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at saw that her home was burnt to a crisp and felt very sad, but she smiled to Yu Peiyu:"Look uncle, my home is burnt down entirely."
    She didn't want Yu Peiyu to know that she was sad, how could she not be sad? This was her home, she was born here and grew up here too. She spent her entire life in this house and now it was gone.
    Yu Peiyu gently consoled her:"Don't be sad. If you like this place we can rebuild a house on the same spot."
    Zhu Lei'Er remained silent for a moment and sighed sadly:"We can rebuild the house, but we cannot go back to the past."
    Yu Peiyu too was saddened.
    He thought back about his home, his courtyard and those happy, tranquil days with his father. His benevolent, kind smile and his wise teachings......
    That was just six months ago, but it seemed like a lifetime away.
    He said sadly:"What is in the past cannot be brought back. You're right."
    Zhu Lei'Er said sadly:"I used to get up very early in the morning. I went to the kitchen and started to cook congee for my third uncle. Sometimes I would put in half a pig's liver and entire chicken. Third uncle would praise me and eat the entire bowl empty. But now......."
    She lowered her head and sighed:"The furnace is still here and I can still cook congee, but who will eat it......"
    Yu Peiyu was very saddened and comforted her:"Fourth uncle will eat your congee."
    Zhu Lei'Er lifted her head and said with happiness:"Really!"
    It was dawn now and the light shone on her beautiful face. Her watery eyes were filled with happiness and joy. Although there were still some tears on her face but her sadness was gone now.
    Yu Peiyu was a bit startled to see her happy expression, his heart skipped a beat. He quickly turned away his head.
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"I know that fourth uncle is just saying that to make me feel better. A hero like you will have plenty of important matters to attend to, you won't have time to eat congee of a small girl like me."
    Her voice sounded ever so sad, Yu Peiyu couldn't bear to see her like this and said with a smile:"Fourth uncle isn't lying to you. I do have a lot of things to do, but those businesses will be over one day. At that day I will come here and eat your delicious congee."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled sweetly:"I will prepare a large pot just for you everyday. I won't let you go unless you've eaten every bit."
    Yu Peiyu said seriously:"Eating congee everyday isn't good either, not very nutricious. You have cook me an egg once in awhile. You don't want to starve your fourth uncle, do you?"
    Zhu Lei'Er giggled:"Congee is only in the morning, for lunch I will poach you some eggs. Also a bowl of chicken soup and deliciously roasted beef. I can guarantee that you'll be addicted to me cooking in just one day."
    Seeing that she was happy again, Yu Peiyu was pleased too. However when he remembered that his family and home were gone, he hadn't avenged his father yet. He was sad again, that fake Yu Fanghe used the name of his father to do all kinds of evil things. He was facing this war alone with no help, I think the only time he has for a bowl of congee will be in another lifetime. All of a sudden the tears welled up in his eyes.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked gently:"Fourth uncle, why are you crying?"
    Yu Peiyu quickly wiped away his tears and said with a smile:"Fourth uncle wan't crying. I'm a grown man, some dust just entered my eyes."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at him for some time, she laughed:"Uncle, you think that you're very mature, aren't you? If you weren't the sworn brother of third uncle I should call you [fourth brother]."
    Yu Peiyu was happy but also a bit melancholic when he saw her pretty and happy face. He didn't know what to say.
    At this point some people walked over.

    Four men entered the inn next to the house of Zhu Lei'Er, the four men looked agile and muscular. In one look one could see that they were strong men but by their walk they didn't seem to have any superior martial arts.
    The first man carried a long spear, the second used a long fork and the other two both carried a sabre and a shield.
    They were using their weapons to poke at the ashes of the building, it seemed that they were looking for something.
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at Yu Peiyu, her eyes were filled with respect and admiration. She praised his intelligence in her heart.
    The wielder of the spear laughed:"The warden is too punctual, nobody is still here."
    The man with the fork laughed too:"Do you think the warden was responsible for this order?"
    The man with the spear asked:"Whose order is it?"
    The man with the fork waved his hand to call them around him. And he lowered his voice and said:"I heard that our warden is aiding the chancellor of Wulin in search of something."
    The man with the spear said:"So setting fire was also his idea?"
    The man with the fork answered:"Of course it was his idea. Otherwise the warden wouldn't have come here personally."
    Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er understood now, these were not the henchmen of Yu Fanghe. Yu Fanghe had conveniently found a scapegoat, and if something happened the scapegoat would be blamed.
    Those men whispered and walked to a different location and continued to poke between the ashes.
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"This Yu Fanghe is very crafty. He has planned and thought of everything. He has found some fool to take the fall and protect his reputation as chancellor of Wulin."
    Yu Peiyu sighed too:"He is the real mastermind behind all these plots, and if someone would find out he would easily shift the blame away."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"For killing he had asked master Nu. But who is this warden they kept talking about?"
    Yu Peiyu said seriously:"I think it must be the warden of the Thunderbolt Clan. I've heard many things about the secretive weaponry of the Thunderbolt Clan and their mastery of gunpowder. Only they are capable of burning down an entire town in a few moments."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Fourth uncle, do you know the name of the warden of the Thunderbolt Clan?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Lei Feng."
    Zhu Lei'Er repeated softly:"Thunderbolt Clan....Lei Feng.....Thunderbolt Clan....Lei Feng....."

    She was repeating those names a few times, Yu Peiyu was puzzled and asked:"Are you planning on taking revenge on them?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Although they were just following orders. But they're responsible for burning down my home. I will burn down their homes too, or else I won't be able to live with myself."
    Yu Peiyu didn't say anything but just sighed.
    This young girl was very proud and stubborn. If you had mistreated her she will always remember and try to take revenge.
    However if you're good to her, she will always remember your kindness and will try to repay you.
    Yu Peiyu was worried about her and couldn't leave her to her fate.
    At this point a loud voice said:"The Lightningfire of the Thunderbolt Clan is very formidable. I'm most fortunate to see this amazing skill."
    It was the Flowered Chestnut Sword, Lin Shoujuan.
    He deliberately spoke loudly, so everyone will be conviced that it was the Thunderbolt Clan which was responsible for this fire.
    Another voice said:"This fire has also burnt away lots of our money."
    The man sounded proud and arrogant, it was the warden of the Thunderbolt Clan Lei Feng.
    Zhu Lei'Er whispered softly:"This Lei Feng is an idiot, he doesn't know that he's scapegoat."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Let us not talk anymore. We might be discovered."
    A group of men walked over smiling and chatting.
    Yu Fanghe and an imposing old man were walking ahead. Lin Shoujuan and a few others were following them.
    The Thuderbolt Clan was not only famous in Wulin, but they also held monopoly in the sell of products related with fire, i.e. lamps, flints, oil, etc.
    They were one of the most richest clans in the world, and this warden felt very proud and was very arrogant.
    The four men ealier respectfully stood there to await their warden.
    Lei Feng asked sternly:"Did you find anyone else?"
    One of the men answered:"Except for that woman, we didn't see anyone else."
    Yu Peiyu knew that the woman was Silver Blossom. He was glad to know that Silver Blossom was allright. He also felt guilty for leaving her behind and felt very bad about it.
    He felt that he should have taken better care for her, since she was travelling with him.
    Lin Shoujuan suddenly walked over to the four and said:"Sorry to have troubled you."
    The four of them bowed and one of them said:"It is nothing."
    Lin Shoujuan said:"Seeing the way you've put out the fire that fast, you must have a lot of experience in these situations."
    The man said:"Very true, I've done this sort of thing many times."
    Lin Shoujuan suddenly turned very angry and said:"How dare you! So you're admitting setting fire and killing is something you've done often!"
    He drew his sword and before they understood what happened, they were already killed by Lin Shoujuan.
    Lei Feng turned around and yelled:"Lin Shoujuan! Are you insane!"
    Lin Shoujuan took out a white cloth and wiped off the blood of his sword. He turned to Lei Feng and said coldly:"These four just admitted that they've set fire to villages before. And they admitted this in front of chancellor Yu. Now that I know what they've done in the past, I cannot allow them to continue to cause evil."
    Lei Feng angrilly said:"What the hell are you talking about? Chancellor, do... have you heard what this fellow is saying?"
    Yu Fanghe said casually:"Everyone is allowed to kill rogues like these. He is right."
    Lei Feng backed away from Yu Fanghe with three paces and said with fear:"But.....but set...setting fire was your idea! You promised us 30,000 taels of silver if we burnt down this village. We did all the work and....and now you're saying this kind non....nonsense."
    Yu Fanghe looked a bit angry and scolded:"I have always upheld chivalry in my life. I would never instruct to do such a vile act. How dare you slander my reputation? If you don't watch your mouth, don't blame me for being fair."
    Lei Feng was sweating like a pig and understood what was going on. He shouted angrilly:"You despicable hypocrite! Why..why do you want to frame me!"
    All of a sudden someone attacked him with a sword, it was Lin Shoujuan. He attacked swiftly with seven, eight stances and Lei Feng couldn't even draw his sabre. His shoulder was cut and he fell down. He turned to the group of martial arts experts and yelled:"How can you allow him to do this! You're famous martial artists too!"
    The men who came with Yu Fanghe looked up into the sky and were chit-chatting with each other.
    There was little left of Lei Feng's expensive brocade. The Thunderbolt Clan was never famous for their martial arts and this Lei Feng was spoiled by his father and grandfather when he was a child. So he never trained intensively in his life.
    And Lin Shoujuan was a good swordsman and didn't give him the opportunity to use his famous Thunderbolt Clan secretive weaponry.
    Lei Feng managed with difficulty to withstand ten stances, he was panting heavily and laughed arrogantly:"Yu Fanghe! You want to silence me, don't you? You can have my life!"
    He leapt towards the tip of the sword of Lin Shoujuan, he didn't want to be humiliated anymore. The sword pierced through his chest, Lin pulled out his sword.
    Lei Feng put his hands on his wound on his chest. He laughed sadly:"Good! Marvellous! I've finally seen the chivalry of the so-called orthodox schools! HAHAHAHAHAHA..........."
    His final laughter sounded very eerie, most of those men got goosebumps when they heard Lei Feng.
    And some of them even lowered their heads. Lei Feng said with his dying breath:"It is a shame that Hong Lianhua isn't here, he wouldn't.......wouldn't......."
    Before he could finish he was dead.
    Zhu Lei'Er grabbed Yu Peiyu's hand tightly and was sweating, she was very afraid of what she just saw. Even Yu Peiyu was astounded and shocked.
    Another two men quickly walked to Yu Fanghe, they wore masks and wore black robes. Obviously they were henchmen of Yu Fanghe. They were also holding two shovels.
    Lin Shoujuan said loudly:"Don't bury them! Take their bodies and show them to the villagers of this town. They were the responsible for the fire here and chancellor Yu has punished them accordingly. Also inform them that chancellor Yu will investigate and try to recover the compensation for their losses."
    The two men bowed and said:"I understand."
    A voice from a burnt house said:"Marvellous! Someone has to pay for the lost of their homes."
    Lin Shoujuan yelled:"Who is it! Reveal yourself!"
    The voice said:"Mr. Lin, don't be startled. I am just a harmless old woman, Mr. Lin can easily kill an old woman like me."
    Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er recognized the voice, it was that horrible granny Hu. Zhu Lei'Er gritted her teeth with anger and hate, Yu Peiyu knew that she hated this old woman very much and would love to kill her on the spot. He gently took her hand and pulled her closer to him, he felt that her hand was very cold. His heart was filled with tender affection for her. He held on to her hand and didn't let go. Zhu Lei'Er lowered her head and didn't dare to look at Yu Peiyu now. But her hand was not cold anymore in fact she was feeling very hot, like she was on fire. However Yu Peiyu did not notice this change.
    Granny Hu slowly walked to Yu Fanghe and entourage and she was chewing on some beans.
    She laughed:"Teethless people love to chew on beans for some reason. Must be the funny sound we make, don't you think so too?"
    Lin Shoujuan who originally wanted to silence this talker now stood still and slowly observed granny Hu.
    As an experienced martial arts expert he knew that this old woman must be a famous expert too. He turned to Yu Fanghe for advice.
    Yu Fanghe's face changed a bit and managed to smile with difficulty:"Madame, are you........"
    Before he could finish, granny Hu interrupted:"Mr. Yu, don't be friendly and courteous with me. I'm just an old woman, I will die if the chancellor of Wulin would treat me with such respect."
    She now turned to Lin Shoujuan and said:"Mr. Lin is not only a famous swordsman but he is also a very capable orator."
    Lin Shoujuan smiled forcibly:"Madame, you're too kind."
    Granny Hu just giggled and continued:"The place where I'm standing used to be the general convenience store in this town. Although it was a small shop but it was still worth about 3500 taels of silver. I think if I added all those shops, houses together I think you should pay about a few thousand taels of gold. Do you agree with me?"
    Lin Shoujuan said:"I think so too."
    Granny Hu continued:"But saying chancellor Yu will investigate and try to recover their losses is just putting the blame on someone else. That way chancellor Yu won't have to pay even one tael of silver."
    Lin Shoujuan and the other men's face changed, but Yu Fanghe smiled:"In that case I will pay Madame a large sum now. Just to compensate for your losses."
    Granny Hu giggled:"Madame? I'm not married yet, nobody likes an old hag like me. And now nobody will love me either."
    Yu Fanghe laughed:"In that case. Miss, what do you want? I will see what I can do for you."
    Granny Hu laughed loudly:"Miss?!? I haven't heard that in about 60 years now. I'm feeling all weak now just hearing you call me Miss. I will let you go just because of that."
    Yu Fanghe was still smiling, but a few of those martial artists looked annoyed.
    Shadowless Du Fei angrilly scoffed:"The chancellor is a great man, who doesn't want to lower himself to your level. Old crone, if you're wise leave now!"
    Granny Hu smiled:"I wouldn't dare to be rude against the chancellor and all the heroes here. Just Du Fei alone can handle me."
    Du Fei grunted.
    Granny Hu sighed:"But I've lived long enough. Great Mr. Du, please kill me."
    Du Fei looked at Yu Fanghe, who remained emotionless. Du Fei saw that the old woman was still chewing beans and looked really like she wanted to be killed.
    Du Fei laughed dryly:"Since you know my name, you must know you're no match for me. I don't like to kill old women, I don't want to be mocked by friends."
    Granny Hu laughed loudly:"I used to think that Du Fei was a real man. But now.....he is even too afraid to kill old woman. I think his friends will laugh at him for being such a coward."
    Long Beard Xiang and Lin Shoujuan both smiled when they heard that.
    Du Fei felt humiliated, he knew that this old woman must know a thing or two. But he didn't care anymore. He yelled:"Don't blame me, old crone! You sought this upon yourself!"
    He was called Shadowless Du Fei, his art of levitation was very high and he had already drew his sabre. He was storming towards granny Hu at very fast speed.
    Before they knew it, they saw Du Fei about to hack granny Hu. But suddenly Du Fei dropped his sabre, his hands clutched to his throat and was breathing heavily. He looked very angry.
    Everyone didn't understand what was going on. Granny Hu sighed:"Silly child! Just because I gave you a bean that doesn't mean you have to spare me."
    Now they understood, when Du Fei roared this old woman shot a bean in his mouth."
    Everyone was surprised and shocked. Yu Peiyu thought:This granny Hu is even better than Tang Wushuang.
    Suddenly he realised that the fake Tang Wushuang wasn't here. Too many thing happened in these two days, that fake Tang Wushuang was his only lead.
    Zhu Lei'Er saw that Yu Peiyu was sweating heavily and his hand was very cold. She used her sleeve to gently wipe away his sweat. But he was in a trance.
    However Du Fei was sweating even more, he clutched his throat and said:"Bean.....bean........"
    Granny Hu laughed:"Is it stuck? Well, cough it out!"
    Du Fei put his finger in this throat and tried to vomit, but his hand was too big. He could only fit three fingers in there. He tried to use his fingers to scrape out the bean, but it only made it worse. He's choking and coughing.
    Suddenly he had spasms, he fell down and blood came out of the corners of his mouth. He was waving his arms in the air, blood splattered everywhere around him. There were only two fingers on one hand, he bit off his own fingers during his seizure.
    Long Beard Xiang wanted to help him out and stepped forward, but he quickly stepped back again. He turned to Lin Shoujuan and said:"The bean.....there must be poison on it."
    Lin Shoujuan nodded.
    They could hear a gargling sound, it was Du Fei. He was choking on his own fingers. Everyone was frigntened by this type of poison and didn't dare to speak now.
    Granny Hu laughed at Du Fei:"Those beans are very tasty, I wonder how they taste with those fingers. I must admire you for trying out this new method of eating beans. Unfortunately I cannot taste such delicacy."
    Everyone saw the blood on Du Fei's face and the awfully gargling sound he was making. Everyone felt sick and after granny Hu's words they even felt worse. Long Beard Xiang couldn't help it anymore and threw up.
    At this point Du Fei's arms to stop waving, and the gargling noise slowly died out.
    They saw that there was still blood oozing out of his fingers, but it was as black as ink.
    Granny Hu said softly:"It is amazing that Shadowless Du Fei couldn't cope with a mere bean."
    Yu Fanghe sighed deeply:"Granny Hu is here......"
    Everyone shrieked when they heard granny Hu's name. She turned to Yu Fanghe and said:"It seems that you've just recognized me."
    Yu Fanghe apologized:"Forgive me. I should have guessed it was Madame Hu all along."
    Granny Hu looked at him for some time, her usual wicked face was gone. She looked surprised and shocked, it was like the first time she saw Yu Fanghe.
    Yu Fanghe was still smiling but he felt uneasy being stared at by her.
    Granny Hu shook her head and sighed:"Just awhile ago, you wanted Du Fei to kill me. Now he is dead and you're still pretending. You're some formidable man, even I don't know what you're thinking."
    Yu Fanghe smiled:"I really do not......"
    Granny Hu scoffed:"You don't know me! Twenty years ago we have met before. Anyone who has seen me once will never forget my ugly face. And besides we can even be considered friends."
    Yu Fanghe couldn't smile anymore. Nobody noticed except Yu Peiyu.....
    Zhu Lei'Er felt that his hand was warm again and noticed his heart was beating very fast and his body was shaking.
    Granny Hu said:"Why pretend not to know me?"
    Yu Peiyu almost bursted out:He doesn't recognize you because he isn't the real Yu Fanghe. Twenty years ago you met my father, this man is an imposter.
    He used with tremendous difficulty to surpress that urge. He looked like he was in pain. Zhu Lei'Er shivered when she saw his face like that. She had never seen him in such pain before.
    Yu Fanghe laughed loudly:"Twenty years ago....I forgot about what happened twenty years ago a very long time ago. And I do not wish to remember those events. Why should you also remember those issues?"
    Granny Hu said coldly:"I will never forget that event."
    Yu Fanghe's laugh was also dying out and he felt very uneasy when he heard granny Hu's words.
    Yu Fanghe laughed dryly:"So you want to settle that score today, don't you?"
    Granny Hu looked at him for some time and said:"You're right. I do want to settle that score. You must know that I tend to repay my enemies and let us not forget to add the twenty years of interest."
    She was still chewing on beans and looked at Yu Fanghe in a strange manner.
    Lin Shoujuan loudly said:"Madame, you shouldn't forget the present status of master Yu."
    Granny Hu said:"What status?"
    Lin Shoujuan said sternly:"Master Yu is now the chancellor of Wulin, if you deliberately make things difficult for chancellor Yu. You will become the common enemy of Wulin."
    Granny Hu giggled:"The entire Wulin? I just see the five of you, I'm confident that an old woman like me can handle the likes of you."
    Lin Shoujuan grabbed his sword tightly, Long Beard Xiang looked nervous. Both were sweating now.
    Long Beard Xiang backed away a bit and said:"Madame Hu, I would not dream of interfering between you and chancellor Yu."
    Granny Hu said calmly:"Now there were four."
    A man next to Xiang stepped forward and said:"I am not busybody either. And I will not question the affairs of Wulin seniors."
    Granny Hu said:"Three."
    Another man said:"I fully agree with brother Song. I too am not a busybody."
    Granny Hu laughed:"Only two. Chancellor Yu does know how to make good friends."
    Lin Shoujuan wanted to attack now, but Yu Fanghe grabbed his hand and shook his head.
    Lin Shoujuan asked:"Chancellor, you want to engage her first?"
    Yu Fanghe smiled:"She doesn't want to fight us yet. If she wanted that, she wouldn't waste her time talking to us."
    Lin Shoujuan was still hesitating, granny Hu laughed:"It seems you became chancellor because you have some talents. Right, I'm still talking to you because I want you to answer a few questions. You cannot escape me now, so I suggest you would cooperate."
    Yu Fanghe asked:"What is that you want to know?"
    Granny Hu said:"These men are all famous people from the orthodox schools, but to be honest they are just a bunch of losers. Why did you deliberately trick Hong Lianhua, Jun Haitang and others to leave this place? And why are you here again?"
    Yu Fanghe stayed quiet for a minute and said slowly:"Do you not know my motives?"
    Granny Hu said:"I want you to confirm my suspicions."
    Yu Fanghe said:"I'm looking for something extremely valuable. I take it that granny already knows this."
    Granny Hu said:"If you would find this object, will you share it with me?"
    Yu Fanghe smiled:"I will share it with everyone present."
    Granny Hu picked up a shovel and threw it at Long Beard Xiang and yelled:"What are you waiting for? Dig!"
    The men started to dig now, and after some time a few of them started to pant heavily. Their expensive brocades were soaked with their sweat.
    One of the sighed softly:"If word would get out that the head of the The Tranquil Distance Armed Guard Agency, Han Dayuan and the young keeper of the Myriad Wood Manor Song Hongxing are doing this sort of degrading jobs........(*sigh). We would become the laughing stock of Wulin."
    Song Hongxing was embarrassed by his remark and smiled forcibly:"But we agreed to do this."
    Han Dayuan said softly:"We agreed to do this out of our free will. But I'm afraid that if we found that item......They will forget about our efforts."
    He looked around and saw that granny Hu and Yu Fanghe were standing very far away from them. He felt a bit relieved.
    Song Hongxing saw that those two were very far away, so he said softly:"But why would he invite us over? If he isn't planning to share....."
    Han Dayuan whispered:"He is just looking for a few workers."
    Song Hongxing wiped away his sweat and said softly:"Yu Fanghe doesn't seem like that kind of man."
    Han Dayuan scoffed softly:"That's what I thought too, but after seeing what he did to Lei Feng. I fear our fates will be similar to Lei Feng."
    He turned to Long Beard Xiang and said:"Old Xiang, did you hear me?"
    Long Beard Xiang wiped his sweat and said:"Yes, I heard you. But what can we do now."
    Lin Shoujuan yelled loudly:"Did you find something?"
    Xiang answered:"Nothing, nothing yet."
    Granny Hu coldly said:"I suggest you would put more effort in it, or else....."
    Xiang retorted:"But what if that thing isn't here."
    Granny Hu said casually:"If it isn't here, I will bury you three into that hole."

    At this point Zhu Lei' Er whispered:"They can't hear us now, right?"
    Yu Peiyu nodded.
    Zhu Lei'Er said softly:"What are they looking for? My mother has not hidden anything here. She just wanted to become an ordinary housewife."
    Yu Peiyu said:"They aren't looking for jewelry and such."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"How come?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"If they were they could have taken that parcel we left behind. It was full of invaluables."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"But we wrapped it tightly with a few layers of cloth."
    Yu Peiyu said:"With their Wulin experience and eyesight, they're bound to see what was in the parcel."
    Zhu Lei'Er frowned and said:"What could it be?"
    Yu Peiyu didn't answer her, because he didn't know the answer either."
    The three men had already dug a deep hole, but there was still no trace of the object they wanted.
    They just found some wood, dirt and after digging further they were a bit worried.
    Lin Shoujuan asked:"Could it be that Zhu Mei didn't hide that object here?"
    Granny Hu said:"She took it with her and it must be here."
    Lin Shoujuan asked:"Madame, why are you so certain?"
    Granny Hu scolded:"Idiot, anyone with half a brain can figure that out."
    Yu Fanghe explained:"Dongfang Meiyu knew that she hid that item here, that's why he didn't leave her. Dongfang Daming used the item to lure Heavenly King Li and the others over to assist him."
    Lin Shoujuan was puzzled and asked:"But why didn't Zhu Mei use that item in her own benefit. Why hide it?"
    Granny Hu sneered:"She just wanted to become a good wife and an excellent mother. If a woman really loves a man she will occasionaly do the most strangest things."
    Suddenly granny Hu, Yu Fanghe and Lin Shoujuan turned around they heard the noise of a carriage riding their way.
    Zhu Lei'Er whispered:"I think I know what they're looking for."
    Yu Peiyu just said:"Hmmm?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"They must be looking for some secret powerful martial arts codex. My mother must have found that codex but did not have the time to study it. She must have hidden it here somewhere, however Dongfang Meiyu found out about this secret."
    Yu Peiyu kept nodding when he heard that reasonable explanation, he couldn't come up with a better explanation than hers.
    After she was finished the carriage had almost reached Yu Fanghe and others. There were 16 horses pulling the carriage, and the carriage was the most biggest carriage anyone has seen. It was bigger than an ordinary house.
    Yu Fanghe frowned and asked:"Did you secure this place?"
    Lin Shoujuan answered:"I've instructed our men to surround the village."
    Yu Fanghe said:"But why is this carriage here? Have they fallen asleep during their watch? They should have stopped this carriage and if they failed they should send out the alarm."
    The carriage stopped, and a voice inside laughed:"Don't blame those men! They did wanted to release a signal but before they could, their heads were chopped off. If someone was to lose his head, he isn't very capable of doing anything anymore."
    The voice sounded very friendly, funny. One would almost believe the voice belonged to the friendly bloke next door.
    But granny Hu's face changed, she looked terrified.
    She wanted to leave as soon as she heard the laughter. But she couldn't just leave the item behind.
    But now it was too late, the doors of the carriage were opened, ten strong muscular men carried a large bed outside.
    The bed was the largest anyone had seen before, and lying on the bed was the fattest man one has ever seen before.
    Furthermore they were a dozen plates of delicasies on the bed and the fat man was eating happily.
    Yu Fanghe and others weren't smiling anymore. This man was disgustingly fat, it was like he was one big lump of talking blob of fat.
    Long Beard Xiang, Song Hongxing and Han Dayuan got out of the hole and were bemused to see this fatty.

    The fat man laughed:"I think I would be the fattest man in the history of China. If there was a competition who the fattest man was, I would win it for sure. Do you agree?"
    Granny Hu couldn't laugh at this joke, in fact it seemed like she aged a lot in a matter of seconds.
    The fat man laughed:"Why aren't you laughing? Isn't it funny to see a fatty like me?"
    Granny Hu managed to produce a smile on her face and said:"I don't see a fatty. Is there a fat man here? Why can't I see him."
    The fat man said:"I'm just standing here. Can't you see me?"
    Granny Hu smiled:"Sir, you're just a bit muscular. You can't be considered fat."
    The fat man angrilly shouted:"What! Do you think every fatty doesn't like to be called fat! I don't need you flattering to me."
    Granny Hu sort felt relieved to see him angry and smiled apologetically:"I'm just telling the truth."
    The fat man shook his head and said:"You're lying. I should really cut off your tongue."
    But he sighed:"But I'm just too fat and I'm too lazy to move. Do me a favour and cut off your own tongue. No, your nose will also do."
    This fat man was actually telling people to cut off their tongues or noses and he sounded like he was engaging in pleasant conversation. Everyone thought he was mad.
    Granny Hu took away the sword from Lin Shoujuan and immediately cut off her own nose.
    Her nose fell on the ground and she ran away as fast as possible.
    Lin Shoujuan and others were too shocked to say or laugh.
    The fat man laughed:"What a stupid old woman! Why did she cut off her own nose? Don't you think that was hilarious?"
    Xiang, Song, etc. looked at each other and couldn't laugh. The fat man sighed:"These men don't have a sense of humour."
    He pointed at Song Hongxing and asked:"What's your name?"
    Song Hongxing stuttered:" Song......Hongxing."
    The fat man said:"Why won't you laugh? I remember seeing you smiling earlier."
    Song Hongxing tried his best to smile or laugh but it looked like he was crying now.
    The fat man sighed:"You don't know the first thing of humour. Do me a favour cut off your own ears."
    If someone else would say this to Song Hongxing he would become very angry and laughed at the arrogance of that person.
    But now he didn't know what to do. He knew that this fatty must be quite lethal otherwise granny Hu wouldn't run away like that.
    But he wasn't too keen either to cut off his own ears. And he thought:I certainly can't defeat you, but I can try and run away.
    He quickly used his best form of the art of levitation to get away from the fatty.
    The fat man laughed:"Look he is running from me. Why?"
    Song Hongxing can be ranked as an first rate expert of this era and by the time the fat man laughed he was already 20 metres away from him.
    Everyone was certain that this fat man couldn't catch up with Song anymore.
    Suddenly the saw a silver flash flying towards Song with incredible speed, and the silver object made a turn and flew back to the fat man. They saw it was just a silver plate.
    Song Hongxing was still running, but after two extra paces his upper body fell off. And blood gushed out of his lower body like a fountain.
    His legs walked another two steps before the lower body fell too.
    Everyone was horrified, the fat man used the plate to slice the body of Song in two halves.
    They had never seen such martial arts before.
    The fat man laughed:"Isn't that funny? Do you see that? That body still walked another two steps. It is hilarious, isn't it?"
    Before he could finish Han Dayuan already laughed very loudly.
    The fat man said:"Someone is finally laughing. What's your name?"
    Han Dayuan stuttered:"Han.....Dayuan."
    The fat man smiled:"You laughed so loudly. You must find me very entertaining."
    Han Dayuan said quickly:"Yes, a fat man like you is very entertaining."
    The fat man laughed:"You have a sense of humour. I like that in a man. Say, can you do me a favour."
    Something snapped inside Han Dayuan and he screamed:" do you a fav.....favour?"
    The fat man laughed:"Of course you, who else?"
    Han Dayuan leapt up and cursed:"You damn fat pig! I...I...Take this!"
    He raised his shovel and stormed towards the fat man. He hit the fat man with full force with the shovel. But there was no hole in him, in fact his fat sort of absorbed the shovel. Han Dayuan tried his best to pull out the shovel from the fat man, however in vain.
    The fatty casually slapped Han Dayuan, and Han flew backwards and made a few somersaults in mid-air. When he landed his head was mutilated beyong recognition.
    Long Beard Xiang was called the Invincible Fists but he had never seen or dreamt that such prowess existed.
    The fat man turned to him and asked:"What's your name?"
    Xiang knelt down and said:"My family name is Xiang. Sir, if you want me to cut off my ears I will cut them off. If you want me to cut off my nose I will do so. I won't run and won't resist."
    The fat man sighed:"Initially I wanted you to cut off that long beard of yours. But if you really want to cut off your nose and ears, by all means."
    Xiang collapsed on the ground, he could almost cry.
    The fatty said:"Well, what are you waiting for?"
    Xiang gritted his teeth and drew his sabre and cut off his nose and ears.
    He fainted of the pain.
    The fatty turned to Yu Fanghe and smiled:"I hear that you're the present chancellor of Wulin."
    Yu Fanghe said:"That is right."
    Yu Fanghe still remained calm and dignified, both Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er admired his strong will.
    The fat man smiled:"You do have something of a chancellor in you. Could you do me a favour?"
    This time it was Yu Fanghe's turn. Yu Peiyu tightly held on to Zhu Lei'Er's hand. He didn't know whether he should be happy or excited.
    He wanted to see the imposter dead for a very long time, but he wasn't too keen to see him die at the hands of another. But he had no choice, because he too realised he was no match for that fatty.
    Yu Fanghe smiled:"If the famous Tian Chixing The Day Eats The Constellation has something troubling him. I'm most willing to help."
    Tian Chixing was a bit startled and asked:"How do you know my name?"
    Yu Fanghe smiled:"I have heard of your fame and appearances for a very long time. It is indeed a honour to finally meet you. The Star Constellation devours everything, he has eaten countless martial artists. His stomach can hold a thousand people."
    Tian Chixing asked seriously:"Who told you that?"
    Yu Fanghe used his hand to make a gesture, unfortunately both Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er couldn't see what that sign was.
    Yu Peiyu saw the startled expression on Tian Chixing's face, Tian Chixing asked earnestly:" recognize that person?"
    Yu Fanghe smiled:"That person doesn't dislike me, so we became quite close."
    Tian Chixing grabbed something from a plate and started to eat, he was called the world's biggest omnivore for a reason.
    He smiled:"Since you know that crazy person I won't ask you to do me a favour. But I do have a few questions."
    Yu Fanghe said politely:"Ask away, sir."
    Tian Chixing said:"Feng San helped out the late Zhu Mei once and that's why he lived here for some time. Is that true?"
    Yu Fanghe nodded and said:"Yes."
    Tian Chixing asked:"Where is he now? Did he die in the fire?"
    Yu Fanghe shook his head and said:"We didn't find the remains of Feng San, in fact nobody died in this fire."
    Tian Chixing frowned and said:"I hear that Zhu Mei managed to get hold of something. It is said that whoever owns that item will rule Wulin. Is that correct?"
    Yu Fanghe smiled:"True too."
    Tian Chixing asked:"So you were looking for that item earlier, right? And have you found it?"
    Yu Fanghe replied:"Yes, we're looking for it. But we haven't found it yet."
    Tian Chixing smiled:"Why won't you continue to dig?'
    Lin Shoujuan and Yu Fanghe looked at each other and smiled wryly. They both picked up the shovels and started to dig, they dug and dug and even struck a water source.
    Lin Shoujuan and Yu Fanghe were soaked and Yu smiled wryly:"Still nothing."
    Tian Chixing said seriously:"Zhu Mei must have hidden it somewhere else."
    Yu Fanghe sighed:"I believe so too."
    Tian Chixing laughed:"It is better that way, otherwise that thing will only cause trouble."
    He started to laugh very happily.
    Yu Fanghe coughed and asked:"Do you have anymore requests, sir? If not we will take our leave."
    Tian Chixing laughed:"Nope! Go, quickly leave! My head hurts when I think of that strange character."
    Yu Fanghe and Lin Shoujuan swiftly left this place, Yu Peiyu shook his head and sighed when he saw those two escaping that easily.

    End of chapter 22

  4. #24
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 23 Who Is To Blame?

    After Yu Fanghe and Lin Shoujuan were gone for some time, Tian Chixing laughed:"It is very hot and stuffy under there. Come out now."
    Except for those men who carried the bed, there was no one here. Yu Peiyu didn't know who he was talking to. Tian Chixing pointed at their location, now Yu Peiyu was scared out of his wits. He knew that they were discovered by him.
    Zhu Lei'Er mumbled softly:"It is said that fat people are quite useless. This one must be an exception."
    She crawled out the furnace, Yu Peiyu couldn't stop her. She was a very bold young girl.
    Tian Chixing was surprised to see a beautiful young girl coming out.
    Zhu Lei'Er walked in front of him and smiled:"Wow! So many delicious dishes. Can I have some I am quite hungry."
    Without waiting for his answer she took an apple from the plate and started eating.
    Tian Chixing looked at her and asked:"Aren't you afraid of me?"
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"Why should I be afraid of a funny and friendly man like you."
    Tian Chixing said:"Didn't you see me kill those men?"
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"A great hero like you, wouldn't kill a young girl like me. I'm very assured."
    Tian Chixing laughed:"Very amusing! Such a sweet tongue and at your age. Old crone Hu can learn a few things from you. You're so adorable, you can even be my daughter."
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"Being your daughter is quite nice, I think. I can eat everything I want and nobody will bully me."
    Tian Chixing laughed:"Enough flattering already. Tell the other person to come out too. Who is it anyway?"
    Zhu Lei'Er giggled:"Do you think he is afraid of you? You're wrong. Do you know who he is?"
    Tian Chixing laughed:"Having a lover at your young age."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Don't spout nonsense. My fourth uncle is a very gentle man, but when he's angry even my third uncle is a bit afraid of him."
    Tian Chixing asked:"Who is your third uncle?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said casually:"You've heard of him too, you even mentioned his name."
    Tian Chixing was startled and shocked and said:"F...Feng San is your uncle?"
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"You must know about my third uncle's abilities."
    Tian Chixing clapped his fat hands and laughed:"Hilarious! The brother of Feng San is hiding in the furnace."
    Yu Peiyu was still in there and didn't come out. Zhu Lei'Er was surprised because she knew that Yu Peiyu wasn't a coward. There must be a reason why he was still there.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"How dare you to be rude against my third uncle and fourth uncle!"
    Tian Chixing laughed:"That is some joke, me afraid? Afraid of Feng San? Some joke."
    Zhu Lei'Er was a bit surprised, this was the first time she saw someone not being afraid of her third uncle.
    Before she could speak again a voice from the furnace said:"That is some joke, me afraid? Afraid of Feng San? Some joke."
    His voice and laughter sounded exactly the same like Tian Chixing.
    Zhu Lei'Er was shocked, that wasn't the voice of Yu Peiyu. But if it wasn't Yu Peiyu who was there now.
    Tian Chixing was also taken by that voice, he managed to put a smile and said:"Why are you imitating me? Come out!"
    The voice laughed too:"Why are you imitating me? Come out!"
    Tian Chixing shrieked with fear:"Who....who are you?"
    The voice shrieked too in the same way:"Who....are you?"
    Tian Chixing was stunned and after a moment he composed himself and shouted:"I am a bastard! I am an idiot! I only know how to mimic the voices of others."
    The voice from the furnace said:"I am a bastard! I am an idiot! I only know how to mimic the voices of others."
    Tian Chixing said:"The most despicable and vile man on this world is the Parrot of Echo Valley."
    The voice said:"The most despicable and vile man on this world is the Parrot of Echo Valley."
    Whatever Tian Chixing cursed this Parrot would repeat. Zhu Lei'Er was quite amused but when she thought about it it was quite eerie. Someone repeating every word you say.
    Tian Chixing was sweating like a pig now, he screamed:"If...if you keep repeating my words. I will kill you!"
    The Parrot repeated:"If...if you keep repeating my words. I will kill you!"
    Tian Chixing yelled:""
    The Parrot repeated:""
    Tian Chixing stormed back into his carriage, his carriers followed and the carriage rode away from this place like they were being pursued by some monster.
    Zhu Lei'Er was too surprised and the Parrot stopped repeating anything now. She walked back to the furnace and called:"Fourth uncle!"
    But no one answered, it seems that Yu Peiyu wasn't there anymore. But when she took a look, she saw Yu Peiyu still in there.
    She smiled:"So it was you, fourth uncle. That was most impressive, you gave that fat man quite a scare."
    Yu Peiyu didn't answer, he just looked at Zhu Lei'Er.
    Zhu Lei'Er was shocked and asked:"What's wrong?"
    She pushed him but he had no reaction, his acupoints were sealed.
    She also noticed there was a hole in the furnace at the other side.
    Luckily Zhu Lei'Er learnt the skills to seal and unseal acupoints from Feng San. Feng San knew all the different types of sealing acupoints techniques in the world.
    She unsealed Yu's acupoints and asked:"Fourth uncle, what happened? Who came by?"
    Yu Peiyu sighed deeply and said:"Someone did come by. But I didn't see who it was."
    When he wanted to follow Zhu Lei'Er out, someone sealed his acupoints.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"That person must have punched a hole through the furnace."
    Yu Peiyu nodded.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Didn't you hear something? There is a hole in the wall behind you."
    Yu Peiyu shook his head and said:"I did not hear a thing. The bricks around the furnace are very hard, but this person punched a hole through like it was tofu."
    Zhu Lei'Er was very scared to know that this person had such powerful palm energy. She asked:"What happened?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Someone crawled in the furnace and stayed behind me."
    Zhu Lei'Er said with surprise:"That hole is very small. He can't fit through there."
    Yu Peiyu said:"This man must have reached the highest level of the Skeleton Shrinking Skill."
    This skill wasn't a very amazing technique, usually some ordinary thieves would have learnt something of this skill. But the level of this mysterious person was unbelievable.
    Zhu Lei'Er was silent for awhile and asked:"That's when he started to repeat the words of Tian Chixing."
    Yu Peiyu nodded:"Exactly."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Did you see how he looked like?"
    Yu Peiyu shook his head and sighed:"No, unfortunately not. I couldn't turn around to see his face."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"That person must be very agile."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"This man is truly awesome."
    Zhu Lei'Er frowned:"Tian Chixing said this person came from the Echo Valley. But I've never heard of the valley before, third uncle never mentioned it to me. Tian Chixing is not even afraid of my third uncle and he ran as fast he could when he heard of the Echo valley. That sign Yu Fanghe made to Tian Chixing could that refer to them."
    Yu Peiyu looked very troubled and repeated:"Echo Valley? Echo Valley? What place is that?"
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"Even if I knew where that place was, I will never go there. My heaven! Someone repeating my every word I will go mad."
    The mere thought of it was quite frightning, she didn't want to think of it anymore.

    Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er now heard some soft moaning sounds. Zhu Lei'Er held on to Yu Peiyu's hand, they carefully walked closer to look and they saw a man covered in blood standing up.
    His face and clothes were covered in blood, if it wasn't for his long beard no one would know who he was.
    Zhu Lei'Er was relieved to see it was only Long Beard Xiang.
    She whispered:"He is still alive, Long Beard Xiang."
    Yu Peiyu wanted to tend to his wounds, but when he noticed that Xiang was behaving suspiciously he stopped.
    Xiang began to laugh wickedly, his mad laughter made him look even more ghastly.
    A man without a nose and ears is a terrible sight, but a man with no ears and a nose laughing like a lunatic is even more terrible.
    Zhu Lei'Er held on to Yu Peiyu's hand even more tightly.
    Xiang said happily:"Yu Fanghe....Yu Fanghe, I've won from you. I have found it, you did not."
    He jumped back into the hole they dug.
    Zhu Lei'Er whispered happily:"He must have found the object. He is going to hide the thing back there again."
    Yu Peiyu was a bit happy too, Zhu Lei'Er and he swifly moved over to the hole.
    They saw old Xiang sitting in the hole like an old child, his hand were tightly around a small metalic box.
    He was laughing:"It is mine. All mine! I will become invinicible, everyone will bow before me. My time for recognition has finally come."
    Zhu Lei'Er sneered:"Don't count your chicks before they hatch."
    Old Xiang jumped up and stared evily at Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er and asked frantically:"What...what do you want?"
    Zhu Lei'Er responded:"We just want that little box."
    He put his hands behind his back and said:"What box? What are you talking about?"
    Zhu Lei'Er was amused by this childish act of his, but she was also feeling a bit sorry for the old man. She shook his head and sighed:"There is no point in hiding it."
    Xiang jumped up and down and yelled:"It's mine! I sacrificed my own ears and nose for this small box. You can only have it after you kill me."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"After killing you. That wouldn't be too much trouble."
    Xiang shouted:"You......"
    Suddenly he fell down with spasms and after awhile he was motionless.
    Zhu Lei'Er leapt down and took his pulse and sighed:"He is dead. I never believed that anger could kill."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"The shock of losing his treasure was too much for him."
    Zhu Lei'Er pouted:"You can't blame me for that. But I can't let him keep that box, can I?'
    Yu Peiyu smiled wryly:"I'm not blaming you. It is his own fault for being greedy."
    Zhu Lei'Er wanted to take the box from him, but Xiang clutched tightly to the box. She had to use a shovel to jack open his hands.
    She said softly:"I wonder what is in here. He wouldn't let go of it even when he is dead."

    There was only a notebook in the small box, and there were no characters in the notebook either. It was available in all the bookshops in the land. And a bamboo tablet with no markings on it.
    Zhu Lei'Er was very disappointed and sighed with indignation:"These are treasures. For these little things Yu Fanghe burnt down this entire village? For this all these people died? What? Why?"
    She threw the items on the ground and wanted to stamp on it.
    Yu Peiyu picked them up and said:"Anyway we went through a lot to get these things. Let's keep them around, as a sort of souvenir."
    Zhu Lei'Er pouted:"Souvenir of what? Of this old man Xiang? I might as well let him keep it."
    Yu Peiyu said:"I think there is something to these two objects. Your mother wouldn't secretly burry these two objects if they were useless."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Is there something special to this useless treasure?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled and shook his head, Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"Fourth uncle, you can have it if you want it. I don't want to keep these useless objects around. I don't people to think I'm some sort of silly dumb girl."
    Yu Peiyu laughed:"No matter what, nobody will think you're a silly dumb girl."
    Yu Peiyu put the notebook and the bamboo table away in his robe
    and started to burry the corpses of those men.
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed and said:"Fourth uncle, you're really a nice man. Your future wife must be one very lucky girl."
    Yu Peiyu sighed too and thought of Lin Daiyu and Jin Yanzi, he remained silent for a moment and said sadly:"I'm an unfortunate man, everyone will be cast in my misfortune too."
    Zhu Lei'Er blinked her eyes and said:"Does that mean you won't take me along?" She paused for a minute and lowered her head:"I know that I am an poor orphan and can't go anywhere. But I don't want to become your burden, fourth uncle. I will leave."
    Yu Peiyu patted her gently on her back and smiled:"Little girls shouldn't think too much. Even if I didn't want to take you along, after hearing you, I will have to change my mind."
    She happily raised her head and smiled:"Where are we going?"
    Yu Peiyu didn't know how to answer her question, because he had no idea too.
    He thought for awhile and said softly:"I wonder whether the Tang Clan has discovered that Tang Wushuang is missing. I wonder if Jin Yanzi is still there."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Fourth uncle, are we going to the Tang Manor?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Why not? Let us have a look."
    Zhu Lei'Er clapped her hands in happiness and smiled:"I have heard that the Tang Manor is a very fun and exciting place."
    Suddenly they heard a group of people crying and cursing coming their way. They must be the villlagers.
    Zhu Lei'Er took Yu Peiyu by his hand and walked the other way.
    Outside Family Li Village it was already day, the awful burnt smell and the cries of the villagers couldn't be smelled or heard.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Do you think that Yu Fanghe will really pay up?'
    Yu Peiyu said:"I think he will. He wants to win support over from all kinds of people."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"But they can't compensate for the emotional losses. The pain to see your home destroyed is really very overwhelming."
    Yu Peiyu consoled her by saying:"Time will heal everything. And the fond memories of the past will always stay with you."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled sweetly:"You're right. If you keep thinking about the unhappy events in your life, there is no point in living anymore."
    It was a very bright and sunny day and the day was filled with hope.
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed deeply first but afterwards she smiled:"Anyway I'm still young and alive. The world is a big place and there are so many places I want to see and visit."
    She opened up her arms and dashed forward into the wind, Yu Peiyu was very happy to see her smiling and happy again. He too felt cheerful again. However suddenly they heard a soft moaning coming from the tall grass.
    A voice sighed:"Young people shouldn't be depressed, only old woman like me......"
    She started to cough violently, Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er were startled to hear this voice.
    Zhu Lei'Er ran back to Yu Peiyu and held on to his hand again and said:"Granny Hu? Is that you?"
    Granny Hu coughed and panted:"Yes, it is me. Please give me some water, I beg you. Please be benevolent good sir and Miss."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at her and said:"You, cunning old witch! What are you up to again?"
    Granny Hu panted:"Miss, no tricks this time. I am very thirsty....I just want some water. That damn sun......."
    Zhu Lei'Er pulled Yu Peiyu's hand and said:"Let's leave! I don't want to see this awfull old woman again."
    Seeing granny Hu's face bloody and mutilated, Yu Peiyu felt sorry for her. She tried to get up but fell down again.
    She begged:"Young master Yu, I know you're a kind man. Please some water."
    Yu Peiyu gently pushed aside Zhu Lei'Er's hand and walked over to granny Hu.
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"Old crone, listen carefully. My fourth uncle is a good man. Don't try to trick him, if you do I will cut off your tongue personally."
    She too walked over to the tall grass and to a look at granny Hu.
    Her mouth was very dry and her clothes were covered with mud and blood.
    When she saw Zhu Lei'Er wanted to smile, but when she tried she almost fainted of the pain.
    She panted:"Miss, I am too weak now to do anything. How can I harm anyone now?"
    Zhu Lei'Er was a bit surprised to see in her in this state but retorted:"That is your own fault for doing all those evil deeds."
    Granny Hu said sadly:"I know it is too late to repent now. But if I weren't that old I wouldn't be that weak of a mere wound."
    Zhu Lei'Er knew that her weak state wasn't caused by the lost of her nose. In fact the real reason was that she lost the lion's share of her internal power to Feng San and Yu Peiyu. That took a heavy toll on her old body, plus the fact that she lost a lot of blood when she cut off her own nose.
    Zhu Lei'Er also felt a bit sad for her now, and wondered why it took Yu Peiyu that long to get some water.
    She asked granny Hu:"Of all the people why ask us for water?"
    Granny Hu answered:"Maybe because I'm afraid of other people. I only trust a good young man like young master Yu now."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why all the confidence in my fourthy uncle?"
    Granny Hu said:"Only men like him can make women feel secure and safe. He is to be trusted, although I'm old but I am still a woman."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled sweetly:"It seems you have good taste."
    Granny Hu asked:"Why do you call him fourth uncle? He isn't that much older than you."
    Zhu Lei'Er ignored her and was playing with some long grass straws.
    Granny Hu secretly looked at her and said:"If I were your age and I saw a man like young master Yu, I wouldn't let him go. I will try to do everything possible just to be around him and to marry him. I wouldn't call him fourth uncle."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"Do you think I'm old enough to get married?"
    Granny Hu said:"Why not? Some girls at your age are mothers already."
    Zhu Lei'Er suddenly stood still and was daydreaming, the sun shone on her beautiful face, she was blushing. But she didn't look like a child anymore. Children who grew up under tough circumstances will mature quicker.
    Also Zhu Lei'Er didn't hate this old woman that much anymore.
    However granny Hu knew exactly what words to say, to make this young girl happy. But why go through all that trouble? Whenever she spoke she would be in pain, what is she up to?

    Yu Peiyu came back with a gourd of water, and he was sweating. He went through some work to get this water.
    Granny Hu happily said:"Thank you, young master Yu. Thank you! I knew you are a good man."
    Yu Peiyu didn't say anything, he put the gourd in front of her. Granny Hu tried to get up and take the gourd but she fell down again. She couldn't life a pebble in her present state.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Be careful, if you spill it we won't get you anymore."
    Granny Hu panted:"I know.....I know......."
    She took the gourd with difficulty but she was really too weak and couldn't hold on to it. Fortunately Zhu Lei'Er quickly caught the gourd.
    Zhu Lei'Er said in an irritated tone:"I told you to be careful."
    Granny Hu panted:"I know, but......I didn't know I was that weak. I fear my end is nearing......"
    She started to sob now, Zhu Lei'Er sighed and put the gourd to granny Hu's mouth. She immediately drank heartily.
    Zhu Lei'Er was amused by her actions and turned around to Yu Peiyu and laughed:"Fourth uncle, look at her. She is just....."
    All of a sudden her laughter was gone, she quickly leapt aside and the remaining splattered on granny Hu.
    Yu Peiyu went over to Zhu Lei'Er and asked:"What is wrong?"
    Zhu Lei'Er angrilly cursed:"The ungrateful crone...."
    Yu Peiyu didn't trust that old woman for a bit, but he did not notice anything strage about her. But now he was furious and yelled:"What do you want!"
    Granny Hu panted:"My nails were too long, I am sorry to have scratched you, Miss."
    Yu Peiyu immediately took Zhu Lei'Er's hand and saw a scratch.
    He asked:"Is there poison on her nails?"
    Zhu Lei'Er nodded and said:"Hmmm."
    Yu Peiyu asked softly:"Are you immune to it?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"If I took it in, it won't harm me. But now this poison directly entered my bloodstream. I fear......."
    Yu Peiyu sighed deeply and turned around to face granny Hu. He said very slowly:"What do you want from us?"
    Granny Hu panted:"I am very sorry, I didn't mean to. But.....young master Yu, kill me."
    Yu Peiyu said coldly:"You know I won't kill you."
    Granny Hu laughed loudly:"I know that. I am very old and if a young girl like her can accomapany me in the netherworld......."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"What are your conditions for the antidote?"
    Granny Hu said calmly:"This is one of my best tricks, I won't keep the antidote on me. If she does not take the antidote within the next three days, she will surely die a horrible death."
    Yu Peiyu wiped away his sweat and asked:"Where is the antidote?"
    Granny Hu laughed:"Listen to my commands and I will give it to you."
    Zhu Lei'Er said loudly:"Don't listen to her. Don't let her threaten you!"
    She pulled out a short sword out of her sleeve and wanted to chop off her arm.
    Yu Peiyu quickly grabbed the sword and said:"What are you doing!"
    Zhu Lei'Er explained:"The poison has only travelled through my arm, if I would....."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"Silly child! She will give us the antidote, don't worry. Why....why....."
    He was impressed and touched by her courage to chop off her own arm.
    Zhu Lei'Er wept:"I cannot let fourth uncle to do her every command."
    Yu Peiyu was very touched and smiled:"You're willing to sacrifice your arm for me. I will find a way to get the antidote. Don't worry about me."
    Granny Hu clapped and laughed:"What a sweet pair of lovebirds! Even the famous Zhu Yingtai and Liang Shanbo* are nothing compared to you."
    Zhu Lei'Er blushed and stamped her feet:"Don't talk rubbish in front of my fourth uncle."
    Granny Hu giggled:"You're resent me for saying that, but I know in your heart you're very happy. I just said that you and your fourth uncle are a made for each other. You forgot to pay attention to me when I just told you that young master Yu is made for you."
    Zhu Lei'Er ran into Yu Peiyu's arms out of embarrassment and said softly:"Don't believe a word she says."
    Yu Peiyu coughed and said seriously:"Where is the antidote?"
    Granny Hu said:"I have a home too and there is the antidote. If you can bring me back within the next three days, you will receive your reward."
    Granny Hu said:"Go and rent a carriage, I will give you the directions."

    Granny Hu sat in the carriage and she looked like she was about to die any minute. Her eyes were closed and saliva dripping out of her mouth. It was a disgusting sight, Zhu Lei'Er was very annoyed by her and said angrilly:"You sly old witch! You were waiting for us there, weren't you?'
    Granny Hu giggled:"Not really, but I hate to pass out on a great opportunity."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at her for some time and smiled:"Thank you! I will repay you somehow for your generosity."
    If Zhu Lei'Er said that in a mean way, granny Hu wouldn't bothered by it. She has heard those lines perhaps thousands of times in her life. But seeing that Zhu Lei'Er was saying those words in this manner she really got goosebumps.
    She smiled difficultly:"You shouldn't be angry with me, in fact you should even thank me."
    Zhu Lei'Er said with indignation:"Thank you?"
    Granny Hu laughed:"If I didn't arrange this little test, you wouldn't know that your fourth uncle cared that much for you."
    Yu Peiyu felt a bit embarrassed and coughed dryly, he quickly changed topics and asked:"What unsolved matters do you have with that Yu ....person?"
    Granny Hu didn't answer and looked at Yu Peiyu and asked:"Your family name is Yu too. Is he a relative of yours? And judging by your accent you're both from the same province."
    Yu Peiyu's heart ached and said:"No, I don't even know him."
    Granny Hu laughed:"Well, I suppose I can tell you. Either this Yu Fanghe has gone senile or I am sure this is not the real Yu Fanghe. The Yu Fanghe, we see now is an imposter. I am sure of that."
    Yu Peiyu was extremely excited in his heart, finally someone understood believed him. Even it this person was the awful witch granny Hu.
    He made a fist and tried not to reveal his emotions and asked casually:"Imposter? I don't think anyone who believe your assumptions."
    Granny Hu sighed:"I know that too, nobody will believe me."
    Yu Peiyu just said:"Hmmmm?"
    Granny Hu continued:"Twenty years ago I met Yu Fanghe. We did not have any unresolved animosities, in fact he saved my life."
    Yu Peiyu was suprised and asked:"Saved your life?"
    Granny Hu said:"When he saved my life, he didn't know who I was. But afterwards when we exchanged names, he knw. He wasn't sorry for saving me. He even advised not to do so much evil anymore. Good men like him are becoming a rarity. If he mentioned this incident I wouldn't have given him any trouble. However the Yu Fanghe I saw yesterday didn't even know of that incident, he even thought I was an enemy of the real Yu Fanghe. So what do you think? It is most strange."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"It is quite funny."
    She casually looked at Yu Peiyu and saw he was emtionless.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Since you know that, why won't you use it against the imposter?"
    Granny Hu sighed:"Don't think that the imposter is a weakling. In my opinion the imposter might be even more dangerous than the real Yu Fanghe. Especially when it comes to martial arts."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"You haven't fought each other, how do you know?"
    Granny Hu said:"Because he keeps a low profile that makes him dangerous. Even I wasn't ill I wouldn't dare to engage him in battle."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"You think he is better than the ten martial arts masters?"
    Granny Hu said:"Everyone in Wulin fears the leaders of the prominent schools and sects, don't they?"
    Zhu Lei'Er nodded.
    Granny Hu said:"Those leaders are very much afraid of the ten of us, correct?"
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"Afraid is a big word, let us say they don't like to see you lot."
    Granny Hu said:"But the ten of us aren't that powerful as everyone thinks. There are a few others that exceed us. The reason why I'm still around is that I don't underestimate my adversaries."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"If that Yu Fanghe is a martial arts master too, why would he degrade himself to ask master Nu to aid him."
    Granny Hu said:"Maybe he doesn't want to expose his true martial arts yet. Furthermore I see that he has big plans and isn't too concerned about doing a few degrading jobs."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Is that the reason why that fat man left him alone, he made a sort sign to him."
    Granny Hu quickly asked:"What sign was that?"
    Zhu Lei'Er shook her head and said:"I coulnd't see."
    Granny Hu said softly to herself:"What is wrong these days? Those long lost experts are coming out again. I fear Wulin will become a restless place, if I can survive all of this I will stay home and enjoy my final years in peace....."
    Granny Hu slowly closed her eyes and fell asleep, Zhu Lei'Er looked at Yu Peiyu and saw he had his eyes closed too. She sighed and looked outside.
    It was a nice day, and they were travelling very fast. Zhu Lei'Er saw that the rider used his whip to speeden the horses.
    She was enjoying the scenery, but suddenly she thought of something and her face changed.
    How could Yu Peiyu find a carriage that fast and by the looks of the carriage and horses, those were impossible to find in a small town like the Family Li Village.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked softly:"Fourth uncle, where did you rent this carriage?"
    But Yu Peiyu was sound asleep, in the beginning she thought he was just pretending. But she shook him a bit, he was still asleep.
    Zhu Lei'Er pushed him a bit harder and said in his ear:"Wake up! There is something wrong with this carriage."
    Yu Peiyu opened his eyes for a moment and mumbled:"What is wrong with the carriage......"
    But he fell asleep again, granny Hu was snoring.
    Zhu Lei'Er panicked and called out:"Sir, could you stop the carriage please? I feel a bit sick."
    The rider laughed:"If you're sick just sleep a bit. You will feel a bit better."

    The rider was an extremely ugly fellow, he looked even uglier when he laughed. Zhu Lei'Er tried to open the doors, but she was too weak now.
    Zhu Lei'Er yelled:"Who sent you? What do you want from us?"
    She now understood that Yu Peiyu and granny Hu were knocked out by intoxicating incense. Because she was rather immune to all kinds of poisons, she remained awake. But the incense was having an effect on her too.
    She thought:It must be Yu Fanghe.

    She noticed that there was a white smoke emitting from the roof, she held her breath and took out a silver blade and wanted to disperse the smoke with her palms. But she was too weak now and when she stood up she fell down again.
    At this moment a piece of the roof fell down, because they riding on a bumpy mountain path. There was a secret compartment in the carriage. These people must have hidden the intoxicating incense in there.
    Zhu Lei'Er saw that the incense was almost burnt up, it was ingenious of these people to hide the incense there. They could even knock out an expert like granny Hu and a cautious man like Yu Peiyu.
    With difficulty she went over to the secret compartment.
    She blew out the incense and hid it in her sleeve, she also saw a sack there. When she touched it, it was soft and she opened to see what was in it. It was a young woman, Silver Blossom. She was put in the sack here.
    Zhu Lei'Er was sure that Yu Fanghe was behind this, Silver Blossom was also unconscious. Zhu Lei'Er pretended to pass out too.
    The carriage rode very fast and it seemed that they were riding over a bumpier road now.
    Slowly the carriage slowed down, and Zhu Lei'Er heard a man saying:"Eldest martial arts brother, sorry to have troubled you."
    This man helped the rider down, the rider was this so-called [eldest martial arts brother]. Was he the head disciple of Yu Fanghe, but to Zhu Lei'Er's knowledge Yu Fanghe hasn't accepted any disicples yet.
    The eldest brother grunted. The other man smiled:"Have you found the second Miss?"
    The eldest brother slapped him and scolded:"That is none of your business."
    The man smiled apologetically:"Yes, forgive me. I will keep my tongue in the future."
    The eldest brother grunted:"I have also brought back three other persons for the hierarch. They will serve as sacrifices and tie them to the altar. Tie second Miss to the altar too."
    The man obeyed his commands.
    Zhu Lei'Er thought:Why is this [eldest martial arts brother] so fierce to his other martial arts brothers? Judging by his words he seem to know Silver Blossom, do they belong to the same sect? Are there any connections with them and Yu Fanghe?
    Zhu Lei'Er did not know that Silver Blossom belonged to the Heavenly Silkworm Sect and they did not have any links with Yu Fanghe.
    A few men opened the door of the carriage, Zhu Lei'Er secretly looked at these men. They were all hideous, even Zhu Lei'Er was shocked to see them. They said:
    "Why is the second Miss injured?"
    "Are these people responsible for that? Who are they?"
    "Look the old crone, she doesn't have a nose. And look at that girl."
    "She is pretty, unfortunately a bit too young for my taste."
    One of those ruffians pinched her cheek lightly.
    She was disgusted that this ugly man touched her, she almost threw up.
    One said:"Hurry up! Otherwise eldest martial arts brother will be angry again."
    When they heard he said [eldest martial arts brother] they shut up and carried them away.
    A man asked:"Second martial arts brother, do we tie second Miss to the altar too?"
    The second martial arts brother said:"Those were the orders of the eldest brother."
    The man sighed:"Second Miss has always been favoured by the hierarch. Will she receive the ultimate punishment too?"
    Zhu Lei'Er secretly saw that this cave was lightened and decorated with all kinds of strange statues.
    There were fires everywhere and small boxes next to the fires. You could hear hissing sounds from those boxes. It was obvious that in those boxes were snakes and such.
    Yu Peiyu, Zhu Lei'Er, Silver Blossom and granny Hu were tied to the altar.
    Zhu Lei'Er saw that the eldest brother coming out, he was wearing an expensive robe and had a fan in his hand.
    He looked very distinguished, but if you saw his face you would be horrified.
    His face was mutilated beyond words, he was missing half a nose, there were countless bite marks in his face.
    Also he only had four fingers in total, right hand three. And on his left hand only one.
    The other men respectfully called:"Eldest martial arts brother, we await your orders."
    He just grunted and looked viciously at Yu Peiyu and others. He laughed evily:"They should be awake now."
    He opened his fan and waved to them, Zhu Lei'Er could smell a foul air. Zhu Lei'Er wasn't feeling woozy anymore and Yu Peiyu and others instantly woke up.
    The eldest martial arts brother laughed at granny Hu:"The famous granny Hu has been outsmarted by me, Sang Erlang."
    Yu Peiyu and granny Hu stayed calm when they heard him, Zhu Lei'Er deliberately said loudly:"Who are you? What do you want from us?"
    Sang Erlang used his fan to point at Zhu Lei'Er and said:"You're the daughter of the Keeper of the Palace of Enchantment?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Aha! Since you already know who I am. I suggest you will let me go now."
    Sang Erlang scoffed:"You really have a sharp tongue little girl. But if you would open your mouth one more time, I will slap you very very hard."
    Zhu Lei'Er immediately remained quiet. She knew that experts like master Nu and Madame Hai Tang would try to uphold their statuses and not slap a young girl. But she knew that men like San Erlang would do almost anything.
    Sang Erlang asked:"Are you Yu Peiyu?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Yes, I am."
    Sang Erlang smiled:"Very handsome! Not surprising that our Three Magnificent Flower Ladies would fall for you. I used to be very handsome too and after awhile I will make sure that you look as ugly as I do now."
    Yu Peiyu calmly retorted:"I think you hope that everyone in the world has the same ugly face like you."
    Sang Erlang looked very angry and slapped him and said:"You think you're very handsome......I.....I.....used to......"
    He became very frantic and upset.
    Granny Hu sighed:"Poor child, you must have suffered the Silkworm's feast. That's why you look like this."
    Zhu Lei'Er could resist to ask:"What is this Silkworm's feast?"
    Sang Erlang scoffed:"No need to ask, you will soon find out personally."
    Granny Hu retorted:"I have no ties with this Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei' Er. Furthermore I have no grudges with the Heavenly Silkworm Sect. Why tie me up?"
    Sang Erlang ignored her and granny Hu deeply sighed:"Yu Peiyu, young master Yu. How could you rent this carriage with your intelligence?"
    Yu Peiyu sighed too, at that moment he was too worried about Zhu Lei'Er and her condition. He was too negligent and didn't think clearly.
    When Zhu Lei'Er saw Yu Peiyu's reaction, her eyes were watery and bit her lip. She said:"I know fourth uncle was too concerned about me. If he wasn't that worried about me, he wouldn't have fallen for their tricks. It is all my fault."
    Yu Peiyu consoled her:"It's not your fault, I should have guessed that the Heavenly Silkworm Sect wouldn't let Silver Blossom go that easily......"
    Silver Blossom screamed:"Sang Erlang! What is the idea of tying me up here! Release me now!"
    Because she lost her internal strength, she was the weakest of the four. And she was also the last one to wake up.
    Sang Erland looked at her and smiled:"Second Miss, you're in no position anymore to order me around."
    Silver Blossom said:"Sang Erlang, don't forget who saved you."
    Sang Erlang nodded and said:"Yes, you saved me. But let us not forget that you told the hierarch that I tried to rape you. That is why I had to endure the Silkworm's feast."
    He looked very sinister now and said coldly:"You have betrayed the hierarch now, and nobody will plead for you. Soon you will suffer the same fate as I did all those years ago. But I will beg the hierarch to spare your life too. You too will learn how it feels to live your life as an ugle person!"
    Silver Blossom looked petrified and stammered with difficulty:"Do...don't forget. The hierarch is my father. He....he won't punish me that severly."
    Sang Erlang scoffed:"He won't, will he?"
    Silver Blossom yelled:"Of course he won't. Now release me."
    Sang Erlang said earnestly:"You stole the treasure of the Palace of Enchantment, mislead the hierarch. However the hierarch was secretly spying on you. And if you would have begged for forgiveness and mercy at the graveyard of the Family Li Village. He wouldn't punish you this severly. aligned yourself with outsiders and forget about the sect. Your desire to betray us is evident."
    Silver Blossom yelled:"You were at the cemetary too! So it wasn't my father."
    Sang Erlang said:"Yes, it was me. If it was the hierarch you were dead now."
    Silver Blossom angrilly said:"You animal! I knew you weren't a real man, but now I'm sure of that."
    Sang Erlang laughed sinisterly:"You haven fallen into the hands of an animal. I waited outside the Family Li Village for you, and when you were captured by Yu Fanghe's henchmen I rescued you. With the purpose of letting you sample the Silkworm's feast."
    He laughed even louder now:"But it was an extra surspise when Yu Peiyu came to us too. The little fool was so happy to see the carriage, he thought I was his saviour. But in fact I am your nemesis!"
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"Now I know what is going here. You were just lucky."

    end of chapter 23

  5. #25
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 24 Escaping With Luck

    It was very hot inside the cave because of all those bonfires. Sang Erlang picked up a box and used his fan to tap on it, there was a strange sound coming from the box.
    Sang Erlang laughed:"Be patient! You will soon be fed."
    Silver Blossom looked at the box and she was horrified.
    Zhu Lei'Er couldn't help to ask her:"Are those silkworms in that box?"
    Silver Blossom nodded.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Do silkworms eat men?"
    Silver Blossom shivered with fear.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I heard that silkworms don't like the cold, is that why there are so many bonfires here?"
    Sang Erlang looked at the two girls and sinisterly laughed:"Still chit-chatting? When my little silkworms will crawl over your body, you will begging for a quick death."
    Zhu Lei'Er said calmly:"No need to scare us, right fourth uncle?"
    She turned around to look at Yu Peiyu, she saw him looking very pale and anxious.
    Zhu Lei'Er thought:Fourth uncle is afraid of dying too? Maybe because I have never experienced the joys of life, that is why I'm not afraid to die.
    Yu Peiyu turned to granny Hu and asked:"After three days not even you can cure Miss Zhu's poison, is that correct?"
    Zhu Lei'Er's eyes became watery, she was touched and saddened by Yu Peiyu's words.
    Zhu Lei'Er was daydreaming on Yu Peiyu's gentle words, she didn't pay attention to granny Hu's answer. She did not care about the antidote anymore.
    After hearing Yu Peiyu's words she felt that she could die in peace. Besides her late mother and her third uncle, she now knew that there was another person who cared deeply for her.
    This person treasured her life above his own.
    After a long time, everyone could hear a strange sound coming from outside the cave.
    Sang Erlang leapt off the altar in one go and sternly asked:"Who is there?"
    Nobody answered. The noise came closer and closer, Sang Erlang waved his hand and told his six other martial arts brothers to hide.
    He was planning a surprise attack for the unwanted visitor, Zhu Lei'Er saw that Sang Erlang's martial arts were much higher than his other martial arts brothers.
    Sang Erlang stood there not moving, he looked rather impressive standing like that. It was also a display of his superior martial arts.
    Granny Hu sighed softly:"No wonder this brat is so arrogant. I don't think that the hierarch of the Heavenly Silkworm Sect is much better than him."
    At this point everyone an old donkey came into the cave. The rider was a very old man, his face was as wrinkled as granny Hu. Many thought that granny Hu and this old man would make a perfect pair.
    The rider seemed to have closed his eyes and the donkey kept moving forward.
    Zhu Lei'Er whispered to granny Hu:"This old man has the audacity to come in here. Is he an expert? Do you recognize him?"
    Granny Hu shook her head and said:"I've met many martial arts experts in my life, but I don't know this old man. And he doesn't look like an expert in my opinion."
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed, the donkey and the rider were approaching Sang Erlang.
    Everyone knew that Sang Erlang had to give the signal and all his martial arts brothers would attack and the old man would likely be killed instantly.
    Yu Peiyu suddenly shouted:"This is a dangerous place, old sir. Leave at once!"
    The old man opened his eyes and looked in the direction of Yu Peiyu.
    Sang Erlang laughed evily:"It is too late to go back now."
    The old man said:"I must have taken a run turn somewhere. I will go now."
    Sang Erlang laughed:"It is too late, die!" He flickered with his hand and seven strange silvery projectiles shot towards the old man.
    Yu Peiyu and others knew those must be those infamous lethal silkworms, Zhu Lei'Er was horrified and she could imagine that those silkworms would mutilate the old man beyond recognition.
    However the old man lifted his arm and the seven silkworms flew into his sleeve and he was unharmed.
    Zhu Lei'Er was extremely happy, she thought that this old man would be able to save them all.
    Sang Erlang yelled:"Who are you!"
    He leapt up and dived towards the old man, he used his fan as a weapon. He aimed for seven, eight different spots of the old man.
    Every move was set for the kill, everyone thought it was impossible for this old man to defend himself.
    Even Yu Peiyu thought he himself might not be able to counter this attack.
    However Sang Erlang shot backwards and fell to the ground. The old man was holding the fan of Sang Erlang and turned to granny Hu:"Although the martial arts of Sang Erlang are quite allright, but compared to the hierarch of the Heavenly Silkworm Sect......He has still a long road ahead of him."
    The old man was the hierarch of the Heavenly Silkworm Sect, no wonder he could defeat Sang Erlang in less than one stance. Sang Erlang's martial arts were all taught by him.
    Zhu Lei'Er's heart sank again, their saviour belonged to these people.
    Sang Erlang knelt to the hierarch and respectfully said:"Please forgive this lowly disciple for not receiving you earlier."
    The hierarch coldly said:"I have heard of your arrogant behaviour. But now I've experienced that from first hand."
    Sang Erlang didn't dare to look up and said:"I didn't know the hierarch was coming and I didn't recognize your brilliant disguise. I thought it was an intruder."
    The hierarch angrilly said:"Even so, you can't just attack people with the silkworms. You have experienced the pains inflicted by those silkworms. Do you really wish others to share your fate too?"
    Sang Erlang said:"I know my faults, hierarch."
    The hierarch continued:"Everyone in Wulin knows about the lethalness and viciousness of our sect. But we're also very fair, we will hunt down our enemies to corners of the world. But we will help out our friends if they need our support.
    We have also very strict regulations about using certain methods against strangers. As the head disciple of our sect you should know better."
    Sang Erlang said:"Please punish me accordingly."
    The hierarch said:"I know you were punished too severly in the past, for that I've granted you more privileges than the others. I hope that you will change in the future but if you won't (humph*). You will pay the ultimate price for your arrogance."
    Yu Peiyu was rather impressed by the grandeur of this hierarch, it is hard to believe that he was the old man with one arm who trapped him and Jin Yanzi in the Palace of Enchantment. His art of disguise is truly amazing even his own students didn't recognize him.
    Sang Erlang ripped open his clothes, revealing his mutilated body.
    He removed his girdle and placed it on the floor and kowtowed three times.
    There were seven silver blades on the girdle, he kowtowed another three more times.
    Everyone was surprised of his actions, the hierarch frowned and asked:"What are you doing?"
    Sang Erlang said:"After hearing the hierarch's words I feel that I'm beyond redemption. I just want to die and thank you for your years of gratitude."
    Everybody was amazed by his words.
    The hierarch said:"You know that one the ritual of the silver blades is started, it cannot be revoked."
    Sang Erlang said:"I know, hierarch."
    The hierarch said:"I've forgiven your crimes, why do you want to die?"
    Sang Erlang said sadly:"I'm willling to die, I cannot repay the kindness the hierarch has shown me. I just hope that with my death the other martial arts brothers and sisters can learn from my past mistakes."
    The hierarch looked somewhat pleased and said:"I will forgive you for your mistakes. It is good to see that you've learnt from your errors."
    Zhu Lei'Er thought:This Sang Erlang really knows how to act, first he deliberately repents deeply and now he is just waiting to be pardoned.
    However Sang Erlang sighed:"Although the hierarch has forgiven me, I can't forgive myself. I just want to confess my crimes before I die."
    The hierarch said:"I know of your crimes, get up now."
    Sang Erlang sighed sadly:"The hierarch is all-knowing, but I did manage to conceal a few secrets from you. If I can't confess my crimes before I die, I will have failed you as a pupil."
    The hierarch looked startled, Zhu Lei'Er thought:What is he up to? Does he really want to die?
    The hierarch said:"So be it, tell me of your crimes."
    Sang Erlang said:"The hierarch has treated me like a son, and the three Misses have also regarded me as their brother. However I do not deserve your love and affection."
    He looked at Silver Blossom and said:"Five years ago on a summer's night, second Miss was bathing in a pond. She was very young at that time and didn't suspect my ill intentions. When I saw her beautiful body, I couldn't control my earthy desires for her anymore. tried to rape her."
    He was very honest about what he did, Zhu Lei'Er was bemused and thought:There is no need to say it that bluntly.
    The hierarch was pleased to see him that honest and said:"And I've punished you for that incident, there is no need to bring this matter up again."
    Sang Erlang continued:"But I keep thinking about that night everyday. I keep thinking of second Miss and my earthly desires are awoken then."
    He picked up a blade and stabbed it in his leg.
    The hierarch asked:"What else?"
    Sang Erlang said:"Not only have I been deceiving you, but I have also abused my power as the head disciple of our sect. I have treated my other martial arts brothers too strictly. And I have caused the death of the eldest martial arts brother."
    The hierarch said:"San Dalang was about to betray our sect and I. I would have dealt with him sooner or later."
    Sang Erlang said:"But still I have been bullying around the other martial arts brothers....."
    The hierarch said:"Being strict is no crime, furthermore you have a responsibility to be strict as the head disciple of our sect."
    Originally it was the hierarch who was lecturing Sang Erlang on his arrogant behaviour. But now Sang Erlang was reproaching himself and the hierarch was making excuses for him.
    Sang Erlang said:"But I have really been bad to them, hierarch you can ask second martial arts brother about it."
    The hierarch turned to the skinny second martial arts brother and asked:"Did your eldest martial arts brother really cross the line?"
    The second martial arts brother was stuttering.
    Sang Erlang said:"Don't hold back anything, tell the hierarch what I did to all of you."
    All of a sudden the second martial arts brother shouted:"Right, eldest martial arts brother doesn't consider us human beings. He used whips or canes to struck us. Once I accidentally hit the dog of him and he made me bow and kowtow to his dog and ordered me to eat the s-h-i-t- of that filthy beast. And....and....another time......"
    The hierarch interrupted him:"Enough! I've heard enough!"
    Sang Erlang said:"He is right! I.....I.....know that I'm beyond forgiving."
    He picked up another blade and stabbed it into his other leg.
    The hierarch looked shocked and said:"No matter what you've done.....I admire your honesty. I will forgive you for your crimes. I just hope you won't commit more atrocities again in the future."
    Sang Erlang was weeping:"Hierarch, too good to me. I will never be able to repay you in my life."
    He was sobbing, and picked up another blade and was about to stab it into his chest.
    The hierarch quickly grabbed the wrist of Sang Erlang and yelled:"You can't die! I won't allow you to die!" He wanted to grab the silver blade to prevent Sang Erlang to stab himself.
    But suddenly a silvery object flew towards the face of the hierarch. He was completely taken by surprise.
    His face was hit by that strange object.
    He angrilly wanted to strike down Sang Erlang, but he had already rolled away a few metres away from the hierarch.
    The hierarch cursed:"You bastard!"
    Sang Erlang laughed arrogantly:"Sang Mukong.....Sang Mukong! Finally, you know how powerful and good I really am."
    Silver Blossom shrieked and granny Hu was surprised too.
    Sang Erlang laughed sinisterly:"You must know what I've concealed in the handle of my blade. If you're wise you would sit down and use your internal power to surpress the poison."
    The hierarch, San Mukong yelled:""
    He fell down and tried to get up but a few a few spasms he fell down and remained emotionless.
    Sang Erlang laughed loudly and the other martial arts brothers were shocked beyond words.
    Sang Erlang continued to laugh arrogantly:"Sang Mukong, Sang Mukong! I knew it was you all along, I just played along."
    Zhu Lei'Er couldn't help but to say:"Now I really know why you are feared that much. But why the charades."
    Sang Erlang said:"When I first attacked the old goat, I immediately saw that he didn't teach me everything he knew. I'm no match for the old goat, so I had to find a different way to defeat him."
    Sang Erlang was feeling very happy and was very eager to tell everyone how he could defeat his enemy.
    Sang Erlang continued:"I've known the old fool for many years. I know everything there is to know about his personality. He loves to be called all-knowing, he thinks he knows everything. Furthermore he loves people to confess his crimes to him, he hates people lying to him. So I know exactly how to deal with him!"
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why did you attack him? Did you want to avenge yourself?"
    Sang Erlang said:"Exactly, but there is another reason."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Well, what is that reason of yours? Do you want to become the hierarch yourself?"
    Sang Erlang said:"You have too many questions."
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"I don't think you have a lot support, hierarch Sang."
    Sang Erlang looked at his other martial arts brothers and said coldly:"Well, do you have anything to say?"
    All of them knelt down and said:"I have nothing to say."
    Sang Erlang laughed:"Very good! I will not forget your support. For many years we are hated and feared for being a heretic sect. But soon everyone in Wulin will fear and respect our sect. We will become equal to schools like Shaolin, Wudang and E Mei. Nobody will dare to look down upon us ever again."
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"You must be dreaming."
    Sang Erlang said:"In about one hour I will prove it to you."
    Zhu Lei'Er remained quiet and thought:In one hour he can turn a heretic sect into an orthodox school?
    The second martial arts brother begged:"I've always wanted to see the eldest brother become the hierarch."
    Sang Erlang said casually:"Really."
    The second brother said:"I would not dream of lying to you."
    Sang Erlang said:"I am a cold and mean man, I did not treat you as human beings. Why would you support me? Is there something wrong with you?"
    The second brother was trembling heavily.
    Sang Erlang said:"There really is something wrong with you."
    The second brother got up and wanted to run out of the cave, Sang Erlang anticipated that and blocked his way.
    He said coldly:"Going somewhere?"
    The second brother begged:"I was just spouting nonsense earlier. Please forgive, hierarch Sang......."
    He suddenly shot out 10 metalic objects towards Sang Erlang. The two of them stood very close to each other and the second brother was confident he wouldn't miss.
    But the discrepancy between his martial arts and Sang Erlang's is as big as Sang Mukong and Sang Erlang.
    Sang Erlang used his fan to fan back the metalic objects and hit the second brother on the chest.
    He yelled with pain and screamed:"Please kill me! Please just kill me!"
    The poison on those metalic objects were very lethal, but the poison would not kill instantly. It made sure that the victim had suffered tremendously before dying.
    Sang Erlang ignored him and said loudly:"This will serve as an example of traitors to our sect."
    The second brother was rolling and yelling in pain, everyone felt sorry for him but couldn't help him.
    Sang Erlang turned his attention to Silver Blossom.
    Sang Erlang said calmly:"You must still remember what happened five years ago, right."
    Silver Blossom nodded.
    Sang Erlang said:"You knew I was there because I was training. You deliberately took your clothes off and seduced me. When I couldn't control my desires anymore and stormed out. You pretended to be innocent and told the old goat I tried to rape you. Why did you do that?"
    He became very emotional and upset and shouted:"I have been thinking about why you did that all these years. However I cannot come up with an answer. But now I know you were trying to get me insane. You want people to get insane over you."
    Silver Blossom said:"I.....I.....didn't mean that to happen."
    Sang Erlang asked:"What were your intentions?"
    Silver Blossom stuttered:"I...I...was in love with you. That....that day I just wanted you to hug me......But you stormed a me with such fierceness and scared me. Also....also I was very young so I told my father."
    Her voice sounded very seductive and sweet, she (un)intentionally panted heavily making her bosom moving up and down.
    Sang Erlang's eyes were glowing and said:"Aren't you afraid now?"
    She bit her lip softly and said:" am....."
    Silver Blossom gave him a very meaningful look.
    Sang Erlang laughed loudly, he went over to her and ripped her clothes open. Revealing her beautiful figure and white and smooth skin. All the other martial arts brothers looked at her too and their eyes were glowing with lust too.
    Sang Erlang laughed:"All these years I wanted to see you naked again. I wanted to see whether you've changed."
    Silver Blossom said softly:"Have I changed?"
    Sang Erlang said softly:" haven't changed."
    He was starting to tremble and to sweat.
    Zhu Lei'Er was very scared when she saw the crazed look on Sang Erlang's mutilated face.
    Silver Blossom remained calm, that is because she has closed her eyes for some time now.
    She said romantically:"If you've been waiting for me all this time, why won't you......"
    Sang Erlang shouted:"No, you haven't changed. But I have."
    He chucked away his fan and threw himself on Silver Blossom. He started to kiss, scratch, bite, pinch, hit, slap her. He was smelling her, he acted like a mad dog.
    Sang Erlang panted heavily:"After a man has to endure the silkworm's feast, he changes. Do you know in what he changes? I will tell you, he won't be a man anymore. Because of you I'm not a man anymore and I won't let you be a woman any longer."
    Silver Blossom was scared beyong her wits and stammered:" o....."
    Sang Erlang yelled:"You're right! I can't be with women anymore thanks to you!"
    Even granny Hu diverted her eyes to what Sang Erlang was doing to Silver Blossom. He was too cruel.
    Not only was Sang Erlang not a man anymore, he had also lost his humanity. The things he did to her couldn't be described with words.
    Silver Blossom was weeping and begging:"Please don't! Please stop! Just kill me! Please just kill me!"
    Initially she begged for him to spare her life, but then she couldn't live with the pain she now endured and wanted to die.
    But Sang Erlang didn't stop and laughed evily:"I won't let you die that easily."
    The beautiful body of Silver Blossom was covered with her own blood, the pain was too much for her and she fainted.
    Sang Erlang was also covered in blood and his heavy panting also stopped.
    The evil glow in his eyes was gone, his surpressed emotions were finally released. He was a broken man now.
    The entire cave was silenced.

    After a very long time, they could hear a horse coming this way. This time Sang Erlang looked very happy and did not went forward to shout who it was.
    It seems he was waiting for the rider to come.
    Zhu Lei'Er thought:Could that be his partner in crime? He must have planned this all along and that's why he dared to betray and ambush his own teacher. But who could this person be?
    Zhu Lei'Er became very anxious and hoped to device a plan soon or else all of them will die very quickly now.
    But what can they do against a madman?
    A horse entered the cave, it was a splendid stallion. The rider was a muscular man wearing an expensive long robe.
    Zhu Lei'Er softly asked granny Hu again:"Do you know that fellow?'
    Granny Hu said softly:"No, I don't."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"It seems that you don't know anyone at all, do you? And especially experts."
    Granny Hu said:"If this rider is an expert I will poke out my eyes right away."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"You are already missing a nose, now you want to become blind as well. Won't you become even more uglier."
    Zhu Lei'Er knew that this muscular man wasn't an expert either. Although his riding skills were passable, but he lacked the grandeur of a martial artist.
    And when he dismounted one could see that he had hardly learnt martial arts. But Sang Erlang looked very happy.
    Was he waiting for this man? Was he the key for transforming this heretic sect into an orthodox school.
    This was the most anxious moment of Yu Peiyu and others, their survival depended from this man.
    The man walked over to Sang Erlang and said:"I have message for master Sang Erlang."
    Sang Erlang said:"I'm Sang Erlang, I've been waiting for you."
    The man said:"Master Sang, I have a ........."
    Sang Erlang drew a dagger with incredible speed and stabbed it through the throat of the messenger.
    The man fell down and looked at Sang Erlang with disbelief and anger. He will never know why he was killed, Zhu Lei'Er also almost shrieked with surprise.
    Why would he kill the messenger, and didn't he want to know what the message was. Even a cunning woman like granny Hu was puzzled about his intentions.
    Perhaps Sang Erlang knew that this man was carrying an important document, so he killed him first.
    Sang Erlang kicked the body of the man far away and he pulled the horse closer and stroke the horse.
    He laughed:"Do you think I was waiting for the rider? I was waiting for the horse."
    He was waiting for a horse! Is he even more insane than they thought. Was he thinking that the horse would talk to him?
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"It seems only a horse can communicate with a mad dog."
    Before Zhu Lei'Er could say anything else, Sang Erlang smashed the head of the horse with his iron palms. The horse died instantly, now nobody understood what he was up to.
    Zhu Lei'Er gave up on following the logic of a madman. Yu Peiyu sighed to her:"I failed you. I failed to take good care of you......"
    Zhu Lei'Er said sadly:"It is not your fault, fourth uncle. It is my fault, fourth uncle."
    Yu Peiyu shook his head and didn't know what he could say.
    Granny Hu scoffed:"You're about to die anyway. Why worry about the lives of others."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"People like you will never understand good men like fourth uncle. You only care about yourself. But fourth uncle, he cares for everyone else....."
    Granny Hu scoffed:"I don't see him caring for me."
    Zhu Lei'Er ignored her and was feeling touched and sweet. She knew for sure that there was one person who cares so much for her. Even more than his own life, she wasn't afraid to die now.
    Yu Peiyu didn't understand what went through the heads of young girls even if he understood he wouldn't hurt her feelings.
    Sang Erlang used a sabre to hack open the horse and removed the intestines of the horse.
    Zhu Lei'Er almost threw up when she saw this revolting scene. She used to believe that the most vile creatures in this world would be the snake and the wolf. However she knew that those two animals couldn't be compared to this madman.
    Yu Peiyu said gently:"If you're afraid, just close your eyes."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I am not afraid, I'm just sad."
    She sighed softly:"I could have escaped but I missed out on that opportunity."
    Granny Hu looked at her and said:"What!"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"When you were knocked out by that incense I managed to conceal some of that incense in my sleeve."
    Granny Hu looked very happy and said softly:"Do you still have it? Throw it into the bonfire now, they aren't watching us now."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I've thought about that too, when you and fourth uncle were unconscious I just pretended."
    She sighed deeply:"It is too late now."
    Granny Hu asked:"Why?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"When the hierarch of the Heavenly Silkworm Sect was talking to Sang Erlang I tried to throw the incense into the bonfire next to us. But......"
    Granny Hu almost shouted:"You missed!?!"
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"I was too anxious and nervous at the time. So I used too much force."
    Granny Hu asked:"Where is it now?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Do you see that strange thing in front of the dead hierarch? That is it."
    They could see that the incense in front of the dead Sang Mukong. It was just a few centimetres away from the fire.
    Granny Hu cursed:"You idiot, fool! Why didn't you give it to someone else? You should chop off your useless hands."
    Zhu Lei'Er received the scolding.
    Yu Peiyu said:"If you would given it to me, I would have missed too."
    Zhu Lei'Er said softly:"Granny Hu is right. I wanted to prove myself in front of you. I wanted you to see me being capable....."
    Granny Hu interrupted:"You're an idiot, an useless idiot! Not only have you doomed me, you and you've also doomed Yu Peiyu.
    You wanted Yu Peiyu to praise you and love you. He only treats you like a niece, furthermore he has plenty of beautiful lovers. He won't fall for a little b-i-t-c-h- like you......."
    Zhu Lei'Er trembled and said:"You old crone,......."
    Suddenly one of the martial arts brothers of Sang Erlang yelled:"My hand........"
    His hand was black and swollen up, Sang Erlang didn't even look up. He was still looking for something in the intestines of the horse.
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"Is this your doing again?"
    Zhu Lei'Er bit her lip and pouted:"He shouldn't have touched me."
    Granny Hu looked happy again and asked:"So when he touched you, his hand became like this?"
    Zhu Lei'Er nodded.
    Granny Hu said happily:"Good, sweet Miss. If you would let Sang Erlang touch you too. Won't we be rescued?"
    Zhu Lei'Er didn't answer and looked very serious now.
    Yu Peiyu said:"Life and death are pre-ordained. I won't allow him to touch her."
    Zhu Lei'Er lowered her head and was again touched by Yu Peiyu's words.
    Granny Hu smiled:"But if he would touch her anyway."
    Yu Peiyu said:"If he wants to do that, I will warn him of the poison on Miss Zhu."
    Granny Hu was stunned and said:"You would rather die!"
    Yu Peiyu said casually:"I will not survive by using low-down tricks."
    Granny Hu stayed silent for awhile and said softly:"Sang Erlang is a madman, Yu Peiyu is a fool. Just my luck meeting these two in one day."
    Sang Erlang yelled:"I have found it."
    Everyone wondered what he has found, only Yu Peiyu could vaguely see him holding a pellet or something like that.
    The poisoned disiple knelt in front of Sang Erlang and begged:" hand........"
    Sang Erlang was surprised and asked:"Are you poisoned?"
    The disicple kowtowed:"Eldest.....hierarch I've always respected you. I hope you can......"
    Sang Erlang angrilly said:"You think I was the one who poisoned you."
    The disciple begged:"Please forgive me.....please forgive me...."
    Sang Erlang laughed sinisterly:"You don't even know who poisoned you or how you were poisoned. Useless fool!"
    The disciple said:"Hierarch....."
    Sang Erlang used the same sabre he used to hack open the horse to stab the disciple in the stomach. The blood splattered on Sang Erlang's body.
    He didn't even bother to wipe his face, he laughed:"Do you know why I am leaving you life for another hour?"
    He was talking to Zhu Lei'Er.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Because of that thing you've found in the stomach of the horse."
    Sang Erlang held out the pellet and said:"Indeed."
    It was a wax pellet, and Sang Erlang squished it and there was a small letter in it.
    He laughed loudly:"Do you now understand?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said casually:"So much fuss over a letter."
    But she was also very much impressed about the writer of this letter. He went through all that trouble to send a letter to Sang Erlang, sacrificing a henchman and a horse.
    But he made sure that the contents of that letter wouldn't leak out.
    Sang Erlang read the letter a few times and looked very happy.
    Granny Hu had her eyes fixed on the incense and was hoping that the wind would blow that incense into the fire. But that was just wishful thinking.
    Zhu Lei'Er wanted to know what was in the letter too, Sang Erlang turned to her and asked:"Do you want to know what is in the letter?"
    Zhu Lei'Er was happy and surprised but said casually:"A mere glare won't hurt."
    Sang Erlang laughed:"I don't mind, because I know that dead people can keep secrets best."
    He held the letter in front of Zhu Lei'Er, the letter said:
    Dear Hierarch Sang,

    When you have received this letter, I take it you have successfully become the new hierarch of the Heavenly Silkworm Sect. My congratulations.
    With your talents and abilities you will not only be able to bring glory to your sect but also to the entire Wulin.
    The issues we have discussed are not a problem, I will personally see to it that the agreed will be carried out.
    I shall also proclaim a new gathering at Lake Huang and nominate you to be the chancellor of Wulin.

    I sincerely hope you will meet up with me within the next ten days. I will await your arrival with fine wine and food.

    Yours sincerely,

    (there was a strange seal at the bottom of the letter).

    Sang Erlang laughed:"You see? From now on we will not only be equals of Shaolin and Wudang. We will even be their superiors."
    When Yu Peiyu saw the seal, he trembled and asked:"Who wrote this letter?"
    Sang Erlang said:"Only chancellor Yu Fanghe is fit and has the right to write such a letter."
    Yu Peiyu sighed deeply.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"No wonder you went insane over this letter. Yu Fanghe has promised to help you in becoming the chancellor of Wulin."
    Sang Erlang laughed happily:"Only he has such power."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"You will only trust his words and promise."
    Sang Erlang said:"Correct."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"He addressed you as [hierarch]. So in other words he knew about your plan to kill Sang Mukong. If you failed you would be killed by Sang Mukong and he wouldn't know about the letter. So his secret won't be exposed."
    Sang Erlang smiled:"That is the clever part of chancellor Yu."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"So he must contacted you before he went to Family Li Village. That's why you were there and was able to take Silver Blossom here."
    Sang Erlang laughed:"Exactly."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"But do you believe the words of Yu Fanghe? Will he really help you?"
    Sang Erlang smiled:"That is not your concern anymore. Now, how do you want to die? Eaten by silkworms or cut up in small pieces with our golden blades."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"I like to be bitten to death by a mad dog."
    Sang Erlang laughed:"That is a good choice, unfortunately we don't have a mad dog here."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Who says there isn't? I am looking at one right now."
    Sang Erlang was furious and laughed arrogantly:"Good! I will use our sect's three great torture methods on you first. I want you to suffer before you die!"
    He turned around and continued to laugh.
    Zhu Lei'Er got goosebumps all over and knew there was no escape now. She might as well curse till her death.
    Granny Hu at this point whispered:"Don't say a word."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at the same direction as Granny Hu and saw that the incense was gone.
    It rolled into the fire, she was extremely happy and wanted to ask how.
    Granny Hu quickly whispered:"Sang Mukong isn't dead yet, look he still panting weakly."
    Zhu Lei'Er saw that it was Sang Mukong who unintentionally softly blew the incense into the fire with his weak breathing.
    Zhu Lei'Er was very excited, she closed her eyes and pretended to await her fate.
    Sang Erlang laughed:"Do you want to see how my precious silkworms look like? There are the most beautiful creatures in the world. But when they crawl over your body you will have a good look."
    Zhu Lei'Er closed her mouth tightly.
    Sang Erlang laughed:"Closing your eyes won't help! When the silkworms are crawling over you, you will look at them."
    Zhu Lei'Er knew that she was about to be saved but the mere thought of those disgusting worms crawling over her was really revolting.
    Sang Erlang was very happy to see her scared like this.
    Yu Peiyu scoffed:"I have seen many madmen in my life, but I've never seen a revolting madman like you before."
    Sang Erlang yelled:"What!"
    Yu Peiyu continued:"There are two kinds of mad people, you have madmen and madwomen. But you're neither one of them. You're just an useless eunuch. I'm wrong even eunuchs are better than you."
    Sang Erlang was trembling again with anger, the words of Yu Peiyu struck a sensitive nerve.
    Yu Peiyu laughed:"Because you can't make women happy anymore, you hate them. You don't even have it in you to spare young girls. Why won't you try our methods on me?"
    Zhu Lei'Er was surprised that a nice young man like Yu Peiyu would say such words. But in a moment she understood, he was afraid that the incense hadn't taken effect yet. And Sang Erlang would have started to torture her.
    So he made Sang Erlang angry and hoped he would direct his anger at himself and spare Zhu Lei'Er.
    Zhu Lei'Er was happy, sad, touched by Yu Peiyu's actions. Her heart now fully belonged to him. She started to cry.
    Sang Erlang gritted his teeth and said:"Allright! I will begin with you, I will take ten days to deal with you."
    Granny Hu shouted:"Just a minute!"
    Sang Erlang angrilly shouted:"Wait for what!"
    Granny Hu said:"You're going to torture him for the next ten days anyway. Give me a few moments to tell an interesting story."
    She didn't want to save Yu Peiyu, but if she didn't started to speak, Zhu Lei'Er would. And knowing that young girl she might say the wrong thing again. So granny Hu quickly intervened.
    Sang Erlang laughed evily:"I want to hear him cry in pain and will listen to your interesting story at the same time."
    Granny Hu said:"But with his cries you won't be able to listen carefully to my story. My story concerns the gathering at Lake Huang."
    Granny Hu had the attention of Sang Erlang, the only thing that could draw his attention was the the gathering.
    Sang Erlang put the box with silkworms aside and Yu Peiyu was relieved. Although he has experienced numerous times of near deaths but being eaten by those revolting worms is still not a very pleasant way to go.
    At this point he felt woozy and tired, his hands began to shake. He could hardly keep his eyes open. Before he knew it he passed out.
    When he opened his eyes he saw the beautiful Zhu Lei'Er looking at him very happily.
    She had in her hands a fan, she had woken him up again by using the fan of Sang Erlang.
    He asked her:"Are you allright?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Shouldn't I be asking that question?"
    She helped him up and said:"I never thought the incense would take effect this quickly, Sang Erlang sneezed and fell down."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Well the such a big fire the smoke emitted quicker. And the intoxicating part of the incense was at the thicker part of the incense."
    Suddenly he noticed her hand was wrapped up and asked:"What happened to your hand? How did you get injured?"
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"It doesn't matter, the ropes were very tight. So I had to burn myself loose."
    She paused and bit her lip and asked:"Are you really fine?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"I'm still feeling a bit weak."
    Zhu Lei'Er happily said:"That's quite natural. You will feel fine in a day or two."
    She looked at granny Hu and Silver Blossom and sighed:"Although this girl is very annoying, but she is also very sad. We should take her with us."
    Yu Peiyu nodded and said:"You're right."
    He grabbed granny Hu by her shoulders and asked sternly:"Where is your antidote? Can we still make it?"
    Granny Hu smiled:"You, little brat. Do you still remember the antidote?"
    Yu Peiyu angrilly said:"How can I forget such a thing? If you don't give me the antidote to cure Lei'Er, I will......."
    Granny Hu said calmly:"If we're too late, there is no point in killing me. But if we hurry I can promise you she will be allright."
    Yu Peiyu felt relieved when he heard that and said:"Let us go now!"
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What about the hierarch of the Heavenly Silkworm Sect?'
    Yu Peiyu said earnestly:"This hierarch is not too bad and he does have the grandeur of a true leader. We should really save him, but we don't know how to cure his wounds."
    Granny Hu said:"Just put him out of his misery, kill him."
    Yu Peiyu said:"It is wrong not to help out, and killing defenseless people is totally out of the question."
    Granny Hu said:"If you don't kill him now, he will kill you sooner or later."
    Yu Peiyu said calmly:"I will cross that bridge when I get there."
    Granny Hu scoffed:"You think you're being heroic? That is plain stupidity what you're doing."
    Yu Peiyu said:"If that's stupidity, it is fine with me. Rather a stupid person than a honourless monster."
    Granny Hu said softly:"Men like those are becoming very very rare. You know why? That is because men like you won't live very long."
    Zhu Lei'Er picked up a sabre and walked over to Sang Erlang.
    Yu Peiyu asked:"What are you doing?"
    Zhu Lei'Er lowered her head and said:"I will listen to everything you say, fourth uncle. But I cannot allow this monster to stay alive, otherwise I won't be able to live with myself if he would harm others again."
    Suddenly a voice said:"Miss Zhu, you don't have to worry about him. I will deal with him personally."
    That voice was coming from next to them, but with the exception of the three of them there was nobody else.
    The rest have fainted already.
    Zhu Lei'Er held Yu Peiyu's hand tightly and asked:"Who are you? And where are you?"
    The voice laughed:"I'm just in front of you, Miss. Can't you see me?"
    During this laughter a man got up, it was the Sang Mukong. He isn't heavily injured at all. In fact he was not injured at all.

    End of chapter 24

  6. #26
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 25 The Vicious Teacher And The Evil Disciple

    The smoke of the fires made the cave very eerie, it resembled the netherworld.
    The face of Sang Mukong was mutilated and one couldn't distinguish his face anymore. He looked monstrous.
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"Oh, it is you."
    Although she was laughing, her hands were very cold.
    She was getting ready to attack Sang Mukong, Yu Peiyu didn't try to stop her. Their survival depended on whether her attack was successful.
    Sang Mukong said coldly:"Miss is a very clever and bold young girl, however even after another ten years you're not my match. Perhaps with the help of young master Yu and granny Hu, the three of you could meet a draw with me. Unfortunately granny Hu and young master Yu are still weakened by the incense."
    Zhu Lei'Er knew he was telling the truth.
    Sang Mukong laughed:"Furthermore I saved your lives, you should be thanking me."
    Zhu Lei'Er was stunned:"You saved us?"
    Sang Mukong said:"I was the one who used my internal strength to blew the incense into the fire. Furthermore I used my energy make the fire burn faster."
    Zhu Lei'Er said loudly:"Even so! If I didn't throw that incense in front of you, you couldn't have blown it in the fire."
    Sang Mukong laughed loudly:"Miss, you're still a young girl."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked annoyed and said:"Don't ......"
    Sang Mukong interrupted her:"This traitor had concealed a lethal poison in the handle of his dagger. Just a drop can melt your body away in about an hour."
    Zhu Lei'Er retorted:"I saw that watery substance hit you in the face."
    Sang Mukong said:"That traitor thought I was doomed for, but he forgot one important thing."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked quickly:"What is that?"
    Sang Mukong ripped off his face, Yu Peiyu saw his true appearances.
    He looked very handsome even for his old age, he must have been a very handsome man in his younger years.
    Yu Peiyu wondered why he always had to diguise himself strangely, the old man with one arm the old wrinkled fellow.
    Zhu Lei'Er was very surprised and said:"You were wearing a death mask?"
    Sang Mukong smiled:"This mask is one of my best inventions, cannot be destroyed by water and fire. The poison, he used is lethal but he can penetrate through the mask."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled sweetly:"You look very handsome, why wear a mask?"
    Sang Mukong said:"I won't allow people to see my true face, if someone will see my true appearances they will die!"
    Everyone was startled when they heard this,
    Zhu Lei'Er stuttered:""
    Sang Mukong laughed:"Don't be afraid, this isn't my true appearence either."

    After everyone was stunned by his words, Sang Mukong continued:"At least I know that this traitor in cahoots with Yu Fanghe. It is hard to believe that the benevolent Yu Fanghe is nothing but a powersick hypocrite."
    Yu Peiyu said angrilly:"You......."
    But then he remembered Sang Mukong was talking about the imposter. Yu Peiyu felt very sad that his late father's reputation was being tarnished by that evil fake Yu Fanghe.
    Sang Mukong looked pensive and did not notice Yu Peiyu's angry tone.
    Zhu Lei'Er was still very much surprised and wanted to ask how he really looked like. But she quickly stopped herself.
    Instead she asked:"What are you planning to do with us?"
    Sang Mukong said slowly:"To be honest I'm not a benevolent man and you know that. You know too many of my secrets, I cannot let you live."
    He paused for a minute and continued:"However you did not try to take my life earlier, and neither will I take advantage of this situation either. If we should meet again in the future we will neither be friends nor enemies."
    Zhu Lei'Er was very anxious when she heard the first part, and thought they were done for. However she was relieved to hear that he would spare them.
    Sang Mukong looked at Yu Peiyu the entire time when he spoke. Granny Hu was very happy and said:"Hierarch Sang is a true hero."
    Sang Mukong looked at her coldly and sternly said:"Shut up! If you weren't travelling with Yu Peiyu I would love to kill you right now! Or at least chop off your two hands!"
    Granny Hu immediately kept quiet.
    She saw that Yu Peiyu wanted to say something, she was afraid his words might offend Sang Mukong. She quickly said to Yu Peiyu:"We should go now, if we're delayed any longer. I can't vow for her recovery."
    Yu Peiyu shook his head, and looked at Silver Blossom one more time and hoped she will sincerely change her ways after this incident and sighed deeply.
    Sang Mukong saw Yu Peiyu and said seriously:"I will take care of her, she is still my daughter. No matter what she has done."
    Yu Peiyu nodded at him as a sign of thanks.

    Yu Peiyu saw that outiside the cave their carriage and horses were still there.
    Although he has never ridden a carriage before, he could manage and he quickly followed the directions closely of granny Hu.
    His heart was filled with worries and questions, Zhu Lei'Er saw that there was a small window and she could talk and speak with Yu Peiyu.
    She asked gently:"Fourth uncle, are you allright? What are you thinking about?"
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"The hierarch of the Heavenly Silkworm Sect is a very mysterious man, nobody can tell whether he is good or evil. But one thing is for sure he will surely seek out Yu Fa....that Yu fellow."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"That Yu Fanghe is a very cautious man, I don't think that Sang Mukong can openly accuse him of anything. There was no signature at the bottom of that letter. Even if there was a signature Yu Fanghe could find a scapegoat again."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Anyway Yu Fanghe has made a formidable enemy by aggrevating Sang Mukong."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Well Sang Erlang can't rendezvous with Yu Fanghe, I think Sang Mukong will go in his place to create trouble for Yu Fanghe."
    Yu Peiyu nodded and said:"Very true."

    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"Fourth should have asked Sang Mukong some more questions. You don't have to worry about me, an extra few hours won't hurt me."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"I really don't have any questions."
    Zhu Lei'Er blinked her eyes and said:"Fourth uncle, don't you want to know where Sang Erlang is going to meet Yu Fanghe."
    Yu Peiyu shook his head and said:"No, I'm not interested."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why not?"
    Yu Peiyu didn't answer her.
    After awhile Zhu Lei'Er said:"I know why, fourth uncle is afraid when you know the location, you will rush over there at once. But you cannot leave me alone. Because of me you're dropping everything."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Could you do something for me please?"
    Zhu Lei'Er looked happy and said:"Anything you want."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Sit back and take a nap. Don't worry too much."
    Granny Hu kept giving Yu Peiyu directions, she wouldn't tell him where she lived. She was afraid he would leave her behind and go to her house straight away. This old woman was really paranoid.
    It was evening now, Yu Peiyu was feeling quite tired now. But he didn't allow himself to rest and continued. He couldn't waste anymore time now.
    Because the next morning it would be the third day, they had little time over. They stopped in a small town, Zhu Lei'Er bought some oranges. She peeled them carefully for Yu Peiyu. She looked very worried, but it wasn't about her condition it was about something else.
    She was carrying around with a secret, and it looked like she wanted to tell Yu Peiyu her secret a few times. But she stopped at the very last minute.
    Yu Peiyu was wondering what her secret was, he didn't know what went through the little head of this clever and lovely young girl.
    The villagers in this town all looked up when they saw this luxurious carriage riding by.
    When they passed an expensive inn, granny Hu called out:"Stop the carriage!"
    The aroma of the delicious food was very tempting and made the company of three very hungry.
    Yu Peiyu asked quickly:"What is it?"
    Granny Hu said:"For the last two days I've only been eating cold buns and fruit, if I don't have a warm meal I will die of hunger."
    Yu Peiyu was startled and asked:"You want to eat here?"
    Granny Hu said:"I can smell the roasted mutton here already. This inn is called Delicious Cuisine and I think they are quite good at preparing northern dishes."
    Yu Peiyu couldn't believe his ears, he was travelling as fast as he could hoping to be on time. Now this old hag wants to eat and rest in this inn. Someone else would have cursed the old woman or even hit her, but Yu Peiyu knew that would be useless and said casually:"Very welll."
    Zhu Lei'Er was very surprised and called out:"You agree with her wishes?"
    Yu Peiyu nodded.
    Granny Hu smiled:"This youngster is smarter than you, he knows that there is no point in argueing with me. And in the end he has to comply with me anyway."

    The Delicious Cuisine Inn does know how to prepare a good Peking Duck. It looked absolutely magnificent and it tasted even better.
    Zhu Lei'Er was very surprised to see granny Hu wrap only a piece of roasted skin of the duck in a thin pancake and dip it into a sweet-and sour sauce. And she was even more surprised to see her ignored the meat.
    She asked:"Why won't you eat the meat?"
    Granny Hu laughed loudly:"You, silly girl! The roasted skin is the best part of the Peking duck, only a fool would eat the meat."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Really?"
    Granny Hu said:"Of course, haven't you eaten Peking duck before?"
    Zhu Lei'Er remained quiet and after awhile she said calmly:"So what if I haven't eaten it before. You haven't eaten my congee before either."
    Granny Hu laughed loudly, but Yu Peiyu felt sad for Zhu Lei'Er. She hasn't even eaten Peking duck before, a very ordinary dish. There are so many joyous things in life she hasn't experienced before, but she had had her fair share of bitterness in life.
    Yu Peiyu was feeling sad, so he didn't notice that a man walking in. And when this man saw them, he quickly hid behind a screen and spied on them. After a look or two he quickly left the inn and released a smoke signal into the sky.

    Later that evening, the company of three continued their journey. And they had exchanged those two good stallions for two ordinary fine horses. The stallions were too tired after two days. Although these two horses aren't that fast but at least they were strong and energetic.
    There was nobody on the road anymore, granny Hu smiled:"Don't worry! There is plenty of time."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Are we there yet?"
    Granny Hu said:"Not far from here."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Who is still left in your family?"
    Granny Hu said:"Not too many and not too little."
    Zhu Lei'Er gave up asking this old witch anything anymore, she won't reveal a thing anyway.

    All of a sudden they saw a flare in the sky, and a soft noise.
    Granny Hu was startled and asked:"What is that?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Probably nothing." But he knew better than that and knew that it was a signal of some sort.
    But who could it be, were they after them? Could it be that Yu Fanghe was on their trial again.
    Yu Peiyu was very anxious and worried and now they saw road-block up ahead. Eight men wearing black robes blocked the road looking fierce. Yu Peiyu gritted his teeth and whipped the horses to dash through, he ignored the cries of those men.
    Yu Peiyu yelled:"Out of the way!"
    But those men didn't move, Yu Peiyu was no alternative but to dash trough them.
    However from both sides long spears stuck out and stuck through the wheels of the carriage.
    The wheels were broken now but the horses continued to drag the carriage ahead, the carriage made an awful shrieking noise over the ground.
    Yu Peiyu continued to whip the horses but it was no use they couldn't move anymore.
    One of those men yelled:"Give up now!"
    Two men walked forward and used their fists to hit the horses on their heads, the horses fell down and were dead. Those two men were awfully strong.
    Yu Peiyu was surprised by their strengths and granny Hu and Zhu Lei'Er were still too shocked as to what happened just a minute ago.
    Granny Hu said softly to herself:"This Yu Peiyu is only trouble, why do so many people want to look for him."
    Zhu Lei'Er jumped out of the carriage and ignored those men and asked:"Fourth uncle, do you recognize these men?"
    Yu Peiyu shook his head and said:"No, I don't."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Are they his henchmen?"
    [His] of course refers to the fake Yu Fanghe, but Yu Peiyu said:"They don't look like his men."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Are they robbers?" Now she turned around and looked at these men, she saw the leader was a young and skinny man. He looked quite handsome but had a very proud expression.
    But he looked somewhat surprised to see such a young and gorgeous girl coming out of the carriage.
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"Being a robber at your young age? You should be ashamed of yourself."
    The young man didn't answer and turned around to his men:"Are you sure? Didn't you make a mistake?"
    One of those eight men said:"I am very sure it is her."
    The young man stared at Zhu Lei'Er and asked earnestly:"Is your family name Hu?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said in an annoyed tone:"Your family name is Hu! What kind of ridiculous nonsense is this!"
    The young man turned to Yu Peiyu and said:"You're her senior, talk for crying out loud!"
    Yu Peiyu smiled casually:"You block our way middle in the night, you destroy our carriage and killed our horses. What do you expect me to say?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Don't think because you're a bit strong you can order my fourth uncle aroun. If my uncle is angered he will slap you silly for being rude."
    The young man laughed arrogantly:"Young Miss, you're the first person who has dared to be this insolent around me."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"So in others you must be a famous person in Wulin."
    The young man said:"You can ask old woman Hu, who I am."
    Yu Peiyu said:"You're here for granny Hu."
    The young man stopped laughing and said:"What is your relationship with her? Is she your elder or teacher?"
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"I don't have any connections with granny Hu, and if you should have any unresolved affairs with her I shouldn't interfere. But now....."
    The young man said sternly:"Now you want to interfere."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"What has she done to all of you?"
    The young man laughed:"What she has done?!? Allright I will tell you."
    He turned to one of those men and said:"Second brother Wang, tell him what business you have with granny Hu."
    That second brother Wang shouted:"The old b-i-t-c-h- killed my entire family of nineteen people. wife knelt to her and begged to spare my seventy year old mother. But....but....she....."
    The man started to cry loudly.
    The young man said:"Brother Zhao, tell him what the old woman did to you."
    Brother Zhao said:"My parents are dead, so the old hag couldn't torture them. But I did have a wife and five children. Because my late teacher once offended her, she killed my wife and five children. My youngest son wasn't even one years old."
    The young man said:"Brother Sun, tell him."
    This man had only one arm and used his arm to pull up his robe, you could see his scorched flesh.
    He didn't speak, but the young man said:"Brother Sun once unintenionally offended the daughter of granny Hu. So she tied him up and used fire to roast him for six whole hours."
    Yu Peiyu didn't want to hear these horrible tales anymore and said:"I understand."
    The young man said:"Six of our friends have died in order to find out where she lives, and we have waited here for an entire year just to await her arrival. Do you think your presence will prevent them for extracting revenge."
    Yu Peiyu remained silent, he was stunned and didn't know what to do. These people had the right to avenge their families and granny Hu also deserved to die. But he couldn't see Zhu Lei'Er die either.
    Besides he is still recovering from the intoxicating incense and because of the travelling is also quite tired. He knew he wasn't a match for this young man now.
    The young man said:"I'm telling you this, not because we're afraid of you. But I respect you for being a brave man and I hope you will back away from this affair."
    Yu Peiyu said:"If I don't."
    The young man said arrogantly:"If you can defeat me, I will let her go."
    Yu Peiyu leapt of the carriage now and said:"Allright, it is a deal."
    Zhu Lei'Er said loudly:"I have a few words I want to say to my fourth uncle."
    Yu Peiyu said:"I know what you're going to say, but.....I have to do this."
    She took Yu Peiyu by her hand and said:"I have to say it, come over here please."
    Yu Peiyu looked at the young man, the young man scoffed:"Rest assured, I won't harm old woman Hu before I have defeated you."
    Zhu Lei'Er said softly:"Fourth uncle, why do you have to fight for granny Hu."
    He didn't answer her.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I know you're doing this because of me, that youngster seems reasonable to me. If we would tell him our problem...."
    Yu Peiyu interrupted:"If granny Hu knew that after she gives us the antidote, she will fall in the hands of these men. She won't give the antidote to us. Furthermore these people might not even believe our words."
    Zhu Lei'Er was silenced and said softly:"Fourth uncle, you have really thought everything over."
    Yu Peiyu said:"There is no other alternative, I must save granny Hu first and then she will save you. Words mean nothing now."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"But...."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"Don't worry! That young man might be strong but I'm not weak eiter. Besides I have recovered more than half of my strength now."
    She gently pushed away Zhu Lei'Er's hand and walked over.
    Zhe Lei'Er looked at him with love, sadness, respect, worry and melancholy. She knew that if Yu Peiyu has made his mind not even the might Jade Emperor can change his mind, so there is no point in debating or urging him to stop. All she can do is hope he will win.
    But she saw that young man looking very confident. He must have extraordinary skills and have an awesome background.
    Can Yu Peiyu defeat him?
    Zhu Lei'Er lowered her head and sobbed.
    The young man carefully observed Yu Peiyu and asked:"Do you really want to fight?"
    Yu Peiyu said resolutely:"There is no other alternative."
    The young man sighed:"It is a shame."
    Yu Peiyu was observing him too and saw his adversary was very tranquil and calm. Even more so than the famous master Nu, not that this young man could defeat master Nu. But because he was more careful, cautious than the hot-headed master Nu, he was a more dangerous foe to Yu Peiyu.
    Just standing like that the young man didn't reveal any flaws at all, and he hasn't even prepared himself for battle.
    Yu Peiyu took a deep breath and generated his internal strength, he noticed that the effects of the incense were almost gone. However he felt a bit weak and his muscles ached a bit. Not strange if considering that Yu Peiyu hasn't sleapt for the last few days and has been travelling in haste. To be honest he knew that he wasn't in top condition to fight a formidable adversary but he had no choice.

    Yu Peiyu used with difficulty to focus and said:"You go first."
    The young man said:"I never show mercy in battles."
    In a flash they had already exchanged three stances, both knew that they were facing a formidable opponent.
    Although both were young they possessed the grandeur of great martial arts experts.
    There were another 10 men hiding in the bushes and surrounded the carriage too, they were friends of the young man.
    All of them looked angrilly at the carriage and were confident the young man would defeat Yu Peiyu.
    Both didn't have any amazing techniques and used very simple ordinary stances but they both generated powerful internal energy.
    The simple stances of this young man were quite unique, it didn't resemble any of the ordinary simple techniques in the entire realm.
    It lacked the impressive grandeur of Shaolin and it didn't have the elusive element like Wudang. Furthermore it wasn't lethal, vicious or anything. In fact they looked very useless but Yu Peiyu felt that those stances were everything but useless.
    Zhu Lei'Er was happy to see this young man's techniques were that simple, she wondered who his teacher was. Teaching such lowly and worthless martial arts.
    She wondered why Yu Peiyu didn't use those impressive techniques he used against master Nu. Within three stances he would be able to defeat this arrogant young man.
    She thought:This young man said he wouldn't show mercy, why are you showing mercy?

    Unfortunately she didn't know the dire situation Yu Peiyu, his powerful will prevents him from admitting defeat.
    Those simple, stupid stances are extraordinary in the eyes of Yu Peiyu.
    He understands the power of this techniques.
    Like true masters in go (*Chinese chess) a simple move in they eyes of laymen are actually wonderful moves in the eyes of experts.
    Yu Peiyu never thought that such stances had such omnipotent power, if your every move has been cut off even if your internal strength is a bit more powerful. You will only be defeated sooner or later.
    The young man was gaining the advantage, and it seemed he was going to win.
    The young man sighed:"You're also a very good, unfortunately your teacher is an idiot."
    Yu Peiyu was angered by his remark and said loudly:"Not necessarily."
    The young man laughed:"You have some extra wonderful techniques up your sleeve."
    The degrading words of this young man has awaken his latent power now.

    Furthermore Yu Peiyu was feeling very tired, he was even too tired to think of those difficult techniques anymore. He rely just relied on raw power. And he attacked this young man ferociously.
    Both hands draw a circle in the air, and the two circles fluently followed each other up.
    It was like an endless series of circles followed, the young man was taken by this attack. He quickly backed away and carefully examined Yu Peiyu's attack before countering.
    At this point Zhu Lei'Er saw that this young man was a powerful martial artist.
    Because he could easily escape from Yu Peiyu's all-embracing technique.
    After looking for some time and avoiding Yu Peiyu's attack variations and noticed Yu Peiyu's internal energy was not that abundant anymore and he was getting tired.
    He used a very simple but swift move to advance to a weak spot of Yu Peiyu and attacked.
    Although Zhu Lei'Er saw that if Yu Peiyu would add another small variation into his technique he would be able to strike this young man down. However Yu Peiyu couldn't add an extra variation, firstly he was too exhausted now and secondly the young man had used simple moves to block Yu Peiyu from creating more variations.
    Zhu Lei'Er became very worried now and thought:It is amazing those simple dumb moves of him could render fourth uncle defenseless.
    At this time they two of them had exchanged another ten stances, suddenly the young man yelled:"Stop!"
    The young man leapt up in a vertical line for about 12 metres or so. Even if Yu Peiyu didn't want to stop he had to now, his adversary was not in front of him anymore.
    Zhu Lei'Er had never seen such impressive display of the art of levitation before.
    The young man asked earnestly:"Are you related to the Feng family in the south?"
    Zhu Lei'Er asked quickly:"Do you know my third uncle?"
    He looked at Zhu Lei'Er with a confused and shocked manner:"Your third uncle is Feng San?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"(*Humph)Since you know my third uncle, you have a lot of nerve to block our way."
    The young man said:"You call him fourth uncle, so he's the brother of....."
    Zhu Lei'Er interrupted:"My fourth uncle is the brother of my third uncle."
    The young man turned at Yu Peiyu and asked:"You're the brother of Feng San?"
    Zhu Lei'Er answered on behalf of Yu Peiyu:"Of course."
    The young man looked at Yu Peiyu for some time and sighed:"The brother of Feng San is working for granny Hu. No wonder that the Feng family isn't that glorious anymore."
    Zhu Lei'Er said loudly:"My fourth uncle is fighting you because of me. Not because of granny Hu."
    The young man was confused and said:"Because of you?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Even you must know that granny Hu is the leading expert in using poison. And only she knows how to create the antidote for her poison."
    The young man laughed arrogantly:"Those monkey tricks are hardly worth mentioning."
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"You'll be singing in a different tone when you're injured by those monkey tricks."
    The young man laughed coldly:"Even if she had ten sisters and they worked together, she still wouldn't be able to use her poison on me."
    But now he looked at Zhu Lei'Er and said:"Are you poisoned by her?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Yes, my fourth uncle is taking her back to her home to get the antidote. You should know too that dead people cannot produce antidotes."
    The young man frowned:"Why didn't you tell me earlier?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Would you have believed us if we told you?"
    The young man stayed quiet for awhile and sighed:"I wouldn't have believed you. I would have thought it was a trick by granny Hu and you were either her disciples or relatives."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"You're at least honest."
    The young man said:"Even if you've convinced me, and I agree to look for her after she's given the antidote. She won't give it to you, because she knows her demise is near when she has cured you."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"You're right. My fourth uncle understood this from the very beginning, so in order to save me he has to save granny Hu first."
    The young man looked at Yu Peiyu and said:"You have gone through a lot of effort just to save her."
    Yu Peiyu smiled lightly:"Wouldn't you do the same thing?"
    The young man sternly said:"But do you realise how many innocent people have died at the hands of granny Hu. And how many more lives she's going to take. Just because you want to save this girl, you discard the lives of so many others."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"I've thought about this too."
    The young man looked at him carefully:"Are you planning on delivering her to us after she's provided the antidote?"
    Yu Peiyu couldn't answer him.
    Those were his thoughts, but he couldn't let granny Hu hear them.
    The young man continued:"So you were planning to defeat us first, before delivering her to us later."
    Yu Peiyu still remained quiet.
    The young man said:"Either way we have to fight."
    Yu Peiyu said:"It seems so."
    The young man said:"You must know now, that you're not match for me in your present state. It is likely I will be able to kill you."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Even so, I will have to battle you."
    The young man said:"It is most strange that you put so much value in the life of someone else. But you seem to have little interest in your own life."
    Yu Peiyu said:"I just know that a man should do what a man has to do."
    The young man smiled:"Well said! It's been a long time since I heard such heroic words. It pleases to hear these words today."
    He walked over to the carriage during his smile, Yu Peiyu blocked him. He said:"If you want to harm granny Hu, you have to defeat me first."
    The young man laughed:"I just want her to give you the antidote."
    Yu Peiyu said surprised:"She will give you the antidote like that?"
    The young man laughed:"I have my ways of persuading her."

    Yu Peiyu asked:"What do you suggest?"
    The young man said:"You don't believe me. If granny Hu doesn't give you the antidote, I will give you my head."
    The young man walked to the carriage, there was no sound in the carriage. Has granny Hu fainted of fear of this young man? Who is he that could strike fear in the heart of granny Hu?
    Does he really have the ability to force granny Hu to give Yu Peiyu the antidote?
    He opened the door and said:"You....."
    He stopped talking and was shocked, the moonlight lit up the carriage. Everyone saw that black blood flowed from granny Hu's eyes, ears, mouth and nose. There was a sinister smile on her face: The smile said: Nobody could force me to give you the antidote! Zhu Lei'Er will accompany me in the netherworld.
    Yu Peiyu almost fainted, he turned pale and was sweating. He hated granny Hu and could imagine someone being this ruthless and evil.
    The young man turned to Zhu Lei'Er said:"Is she really the only one who can cure you?"
    Zhu Lei'Er stood there and didn't move, she didn't hear him.
    Yu Peiyu said angrilly:"Even if there is someone else, we don't have the time now."
    The young man asked:"What do you mean?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"She only has six hours!"
    The young man asked frantically:"How many hours before dawn?"
    Yu Peiyu didn't answer, one of the friends of the young man answered:"About six hours."
    The young man was stunned and repeated softly:"Six hours.....six hours....."
    Yu Peiyu turned around and shouted:"You have your revenge! Are you happy! If not slice up granny Hu's corpse, to proof yourself!"
    He couldn't control his temper anymore, he vented his anger towars these men.
    All those men lowered their heads in embarrassement. These men were normally good men, but because of their tragedies and their will to extract revenge they have become unreasonable rogues.
    But seeing their reactions Yu Peiyu felt uneasy for falling out to them, those men bowed to Yu Peiyu and left.
    Yu Peiyu lowered his head and wept.
    Zhu Lei'Er hugged Yu Peiyu and sobbed:"Fourth uncle, it's my fault. I....."
    Yu Peiyu interrupted her:"It's not your fault, I......I.....have failed you."
    Zhu Lei'Er wept:"Fourth uncle, listen to me...."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Don't call me fourth uncle!"
    Zhu Lei'Er trembled and said:"What do you mean?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled sadly:"I'm not that much older than you, you should call me brother. Besides they didn't want to be my niece, you want to be my little sister right?"
    Zhu Lei'Er raised her head and looked at Yu Peiyu dazzled. Her eyes were filled with happiness, surprise, revelry but in a moment it turned into sadness.
    Yu Peiyu looked at her innocent, bright, pretty face and watery eyes, he too was filled with sorrow.
    He hated himself.
    I knew her feeling all along, why did I just tell her that. I should have said those words a long time ago. Her life was filled with tragedy I should make her happy.
    The young man sighed too and turned around not to look at them. He looked into the carriage and saw characters on the wall.
    Granny Hu carved those characters on the wall with her nails:
    First there is the constellation eating the day, now there is a celestial wolf.
    The world is a big place, but I cannot hide anywhere. Only death is my salvation, but rest assured. Return my body and I will grant you......"
    Zhu Lei'Er now walked over and read those characters, she asked:"Who is this celestial wolf?"
    The young man said:"I am that celestial wolf."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at him and said:"Such a vicious name."
    The young man said:"It is also a name of a constellation."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"A constellation?"
    The young man arrogantly said:"According to the Han analects: In the east there is a star named Wolf. It is very difficult to see this star because it appears next to the sun."
    Zhu Lei'Er frowned and said:"Don't you have another name than this?"
    The young man said:"Yes, I have. Namely Hai Dongqing."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Hai Dongqing isn't that some sort of bird of prey? What does that have to do with celestial wolf?"
    Hai Dongqing said calmly:"Isn't a bird of prey a wolf in the sky."
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"Wolf and eagle both nasy animals."
    Hai Dongqing said coldly:"The wolf is the most agile animal and the eagle is the most magnificen bird."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at him and said:"Granny Hu compares you to Tian Chixing, are you his brother? He is fat and pale, you're dark and skinny."
    Hai Dongqing looked annoyed, but didn't answer.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"You're a wolf, are your friends celestial pigs?"
    Hai Dongqing frowned but didn't say a word.
    Zhu Lei'Er deliberately said these words to annoy him, she couldn't stand his cold and arrogant behaviour.
    Yu Peiyu went into the carriage and tore off that part of the wall, he said:"Granny Hu didn't have time to finish the final characters, what could she grant if we returned her body."
    Hai Dongqing looked pleased and called:"The antidote."
    Yu Peiyu nodded and said:"I think you're right. She must mean the antidote."
    Hai Dongqing asked:"Are you planning on bringing back her body?"
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Could brother Hai tell me where granny Hu lives?"
    Hai Dongqing stayed quiet for a minute and said:"She lives around here, about four hours away from here. But how do you know that thisn't a trick of her?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Correct! She might want to lure her back to her home, and hope her relatives to avenge her. Furthermore when her relatives know that she is more or less killed by us, will they give us the antidote."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"Even so, this is our only chance. Even if this is trap I will have to go and see for myself."
    Zhu Lei'Er sobbed:"But....but I would rather die, than seeing you harmed."
    Yu Peiyu said softly:"If I was poisoned, wouldn't you do the same thing."
    Zhu Lei'Er sobbed:"But.....I....I....."
    Hai Dongqing loudly interrupted:"I will go with you, with me around you will not be in any danger."
    Zhu Lei'Er wiped her tears and said:"No need! We don't need your help."
    Hai Dongqing ignored her and whistled loudly, a beautiful stallion walked out of the forest. It was a splendid steed.
    Yu Peiyu said:"Brother Hai, could you lend me this horse for half a day? I promise to return it after I have found the antidote."
    Hai Dongqing said calmly:"This is my fault, I have a responsibility to retrieve the antidote."
    Zhu Lei'Er pouted and scoffed:"Splendid! But in my eyes....."
    Yu Peiyu interrupted her:"Lei'Er, don't be rude! Brother Hai's intentions are good."
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"I know his intentions are good, but I just don't like his tone."

    Zhu Lei'Er rode the horse, Yu Peiyu and Hai Dongqing used their arts of levitation.
    After travelling for some time Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Who is still left in granny Hu's family?"
    Hai Dongqing answered:"She still has a mother."
    Zhu Lei'Er was surprised and said:"She is very old herself, it is amazing that her mother is still alive."
    Hai Dongqing said:"She only has a mother and a husband, the rest of her family...."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"A husband? Did you say she has a husband?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"Yes, she has a husband."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"The old hag has a husband? How very strange?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"Most women have husbands, there is nothing strange to that."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Nobody in Wulin has mentioned she has a husband."
    Hai Dongqing said:"Most people in Wulin are very bad informed."
    Zhu Lei'Er pouted and asked:"Who is her husband anyway?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"You will know when you see him."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Why are always that arrogant and unfriendly?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"I always talk like this, if you don't like my tone don't talk to me."
    Zhu Lei'Er was angry and stayed quiet. After some time Hai Dongqing said to Yu Peiyu:"You must be tired after travelling so many days without resting."
    He took over the wooden board with granny Hu's body and dragged it along.
    Yu Peiyu smiled apologetically to Hai Dongqing.
    Zhu Lei'Er suggested:"Why won't you tie the board to the horse."
    Hai Dongqing said:"No matter whether she's alive or dead, she is not fit to ride my steed."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"You're carrying granny Hu now, so you're inferior to your own house."
    She thought this time she would embarrass Hai Dongqing, however Hai Dongqing replied:"This horse is my friend, I don't mind doing a bit extra work for my friend."
    Zhu Lei'Er was surprised about his answer and smiled wryly:"You're very strange."
    Hai Dongqing dragged granny Hu, and he didn't slow down. It seemed he was floating over the road.
    Zhu Lei'Er was very interested who his teacher is and how he learnt such high martial arts.
    She asked:"What happened between you and granny Hu? Is she your nemesis?"
    Hai Dongqing just said:"Hmmmm."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Well, what happened?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"That is not your concern."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Couldn't you reveal a bit?"
    His answer was resolute and short:"No!"
    Zhu Lei'Er was very annoyed and angry but laughed:"At least you have one advantage....."
    She stayed quiet and hoped he couldn't resist to ask her.
    However he stayed quiet, Zhu Lei'Er gritted her teeth and said:"Your advantages are that you're too pig-headed, arrogant and proud."
    Hai Dongqing said coldly:"I have another advantage....."
    He didn't finish his sentence.
    Zhu Lei'Er thought:You want me to ask you to finish the sentence. Ha! But I won't.
    Hai Dongqing stayed silent and continued to walk, it seemed he forgot what he said earlier himself.
    Zhu Lei'Er couldn't help it anymore after some time and asked:"What is that advantage of yours?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"I won't debate with young girls."
    However Hai Dongqing was cold and not very talkative but he seemed to be very talkative around this young girl, even he himself couldn't understand why. However somehow in his heart he just wanted to protect this sweet and beautiful young girl. But why?

    End of chapter 25

  7. #27
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 26 Looking At Flowers From A Balcony

    Zhu Lei'Er was furious by his remarks, this man was belittling her in front of Yu Peiyu.
    She hated when someone would belittle her in front of Yu Peiyu, but she didn't know what to say to him.
    Yu Peiyu hoped that they would continue to talk, he hoped that Hai Dongqing could make Zhu Lei'Er forget about her tragedy. Furthermore he hoped Zhu Lei'Er forgot about himself.
    Yu Peiyu also noticed that this proud and arrogant Hai Dongqing had a wonderful charisma.
    He hoped that those two would get together when Zhu Lei'Er was cured again.
    He knew that Hai Dongqing was a reliable man.
    After travelling for a few hours they reached a wall, Hai Dongqing asked them:"Can you leap over this wall?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Over this wall?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"Granny Hu lives here in this city, you would expect her to hide in a remote place."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I can leap over here with no problem, but your four-legged friend cannot."
    Hai Dongqing said:"If you can do it, my friend can do it too."
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"I would like to see that."
    She turned to Yu Peiyu and said gently:"I'm feeling a bit woozy, could you hold me hand please."
    The truth was she wasn't feeling woozy, she was afraid Yu Peiyu was still too exhausted and may not make the leap.
    Yu Peiyu patted her hand and said gently:"Everyone thinks you're a naughty and playfull young girl, but in fact you're really gentle and kind girl."
    Zhu Lei'Er blushed, and she felt warm and touched inside. But Yu Peiyu meant those words for Hai Dongqing to hear.
    Hai Dongqing had passed over the wall with granny Hu's body without effort.
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed coldly:"Look at his arrogant behaviour, he just learnt some martial arts and can't wait to display his skills to everyone."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"It is not surprising that he's a bit arrogant, young men should feel proud for their superior martial arts."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"But you're very young too and your martial arts are very good. But you're not arrogant."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Because I'm not as good as brother Hai."
    Zhu Lei'Er said sincerely and gently:"In my opinion one Yu Peiyu is better than ten Hai Dongqings."
    She didn't give him the chance to answer and they both leapt over the wall.
    Because this was an era of peace, China is prospering now. The soldiers are very lazy now and didn't pay any attention to their duties. The four of them could easily escape their notice.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked Hai Dongqing:"Well, how will your horse leap over the wall."
    Hai Dongqing smiled:"Since when have you heard that horses can learn the art of levitation."
    Zhu Lei'Er was stunned and said:"You said your horse could do it."
    Hai Dongqing said:"I was just telling a joke to a young girl."
    Zhu Lei'Er was very angry and couldn't retort, if she did she would become a petty girl again.
    Hai Dongqing was really getting on her nerves.
    It was late in the evening, the streets were deserted. After a few streets, they heard some loud noises.
    They saw some drunken men leaving a brothel, some fancy-dressed young women were smiling and talking to rich men. And the servants of the brothel were smiling respectfully to the customers.
    Some of those conversations were quite lecherous and disgusting.

    Zhu Lei'Er had never seen this before and didn't know what they were doing. So she asked:"What are these people doing here?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"This is the world's oldest profession."
    Zhu Lei'Er was still confused and wanted to ask more. In awhile she understood what he meant and pouted:"Why do you take us to this place?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"This is the place we are looking for."
    Yu Peiyu was shocked:"This is where granny Hu lives?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"Unbelievable isn't it?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled wryly:"Of course, this is the last place where her enemies will
    look for her. She opened a brothel to fool her enemies, what a cunning woman."
    Hai Dongqing said:"Also when people enter a brothel and see the courtesans they will relax and won't be that vigilant. That's how granny Hu gain her information on Wulin."
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"You know a lot about this place, you must be a regular."
    Hai Dongqing said calmly:"You're right, there are a least seven, eight courtesans who I regularly visit."
    Zhu Lei'Er pouted, Yu Peiyu asked:"Brother Hai, how did you find out that this is granny Hu's home?"
    They walked ahead and saw the characters Apricot Pavillion.
    Two men dressed in servant's clothes were attending the front door, suddenly a forty year old man who looked very handsome and distinguished came out.
    It is strange that such a character would be a pimp in this place, when a servant saw Hai Dongqing he said:"Young master Hai, you haven't been here for months. Let me tell the Miss Xiangxiang that you're here."
    Another servant said:"It is a good thing that Miss Xiangxiang hasn't slept yet."
    Hai Dongqing ignored them, and walked to that handsome man said coldly:"You're the proprietor of this place."
    The man smiled:"Yes, indeed. Have we met before?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"No, because most people who come here are for the courtesans. They're not here for mere servants."
    That man still smiled, but he knew something was amiss.
    He wanted to turn around and leave, Hai Dongqing yelled:"Stand still!"
    The man said:"I'm just about to call Miss Xiangxiang."
    Hai Dongqing said:"I'm here to see you."
    The man was surprised and said:"Me?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"I know who you are."
    The man said with an enforced smile:"Did one of our girls offend you, sir?"
    The man said:"Who was it, Xiangxiang? Xiaoxiao?"
    Hai Dongqing kept shaking his head and said:"No, a granny. Namely granny Hu."
    The man's face changed but laughed:"You must be joking, sir."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Don't harass this man! Tell granny Hu's husband to come out."
    Hai Dongqing asked:"Do you know who this is?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said with shock:"He is the husband of granny Hu."

    The husband of that old crone is this handsome middle-age man.
    Hai Dongqing continued:"Do you know why he is hiding here and doesn't want to see anyone?"
    Zhu Lei'Er shook his head:"I don't know."
    Hai Dongqing said:"Because he used to be a famous orthodox martial artist. If his family and friends would know he is a pimp here. (*Humph)."
    Zhu Lei'Er was curious now and asked:"Who is he? How famous was he?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"He's rather famous, he used to be the young master of The Myriad Wood Manor on Mount Huang. The famous Flower Swordsman Xu Ruoyu."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Nice name! However it is a shame that his wife is the hideous granny Hu."
    Hai Dongqing said:"You know that young women sometimes marry old men about thrice their age. This is a similar case."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"That is different."

    Hai Dongqing said:"It is no different those young girls marry to the old men for their wealth. He married granny Hu because of her martial arts."
    Xu Ruoyu stood there looking a bit embarrassed, Zhu Lei'Er thought he would attack Hai Dongqing. But after a minute Xu Ruoyu composed himself and said with a smile:"Please enter my house for a cup of tea."
    Hai Dongqing scoffed:"We were about to enter anyway even without your invitation."
    He gave the body of granny Hu to the two servants, Hai Dongqing had wrapped the body in a cloth to avoid attention from local authorities.
    The two servants were a bit startled when they were handed this strange thing.
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"It is a priceless gift."
    One of the servant smiled:"It must be a present for Miss Xiangxiang from young master Hai."
    Zhu Lei'Er joked a bit with those servants, the servants felt unappropriate to answer anymore and remained silent.
    After passing a few corridors they reached the main courtyard of the Apricot Pavillion. It was nicely decorated and looked very tranquil, however there were loud noises of laughter and heavy panting and moaning.
    The sounds of moaning and panting were coming from lots of rooms from upstairs.
    Zhu Lei'Er turned to Hai Dongqing and said coldly:"Those girls upstairs must be your friends."
    Hai Dongqing grunted, Zhu Lei'Er said:"You really should pay them a visit, now that they're ill."
    Hai Dongqing was stunned and repeated:"Ill?"
    Zhu Lei'Er looked a bit annoyed and said:"Of course, they're ill. Can't you hear their moaning and panting? If they aren't ill why would they make such noises."
    Hai Dongqing was very much amused and started to laugh.
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at him very annoyed and said:"Why are you laughing? What is so funny?"
    Hai Dongqing looked at her again and his laughter was gone. There was compassion and sadness in his eyes now.
    Yu Peiyu sighed too in his heart, this young girl grew up under tragic circumstances. She is very innocent and naive, she is like an unspoilt white piece of paper.
    Zhu Lei'Er figured out that she said something wrong but didn't know what that was. She didn't want to ask, so she remained quiet and was angry.
    Xu Ruoyu came to her help and said:"I would convey your friendly messages to the girls. Thank you, Miss."
    Zhu Lei'Er said loudly:"I'm not really interested in their health, so you don't need to convey any message. I know very well why and what they caught."
    Although she said that but she had no clue why those people were moaning but she was grateful that Xu Ruoyu came to her help.
    Before long they reached the private quarters of this brothel, the two servants put the body of granny Hu on the floor and wanted to leave.
    Hai Dongqing said coldly:"Carry it inside."
    One of the servant said:"These are the private quarters of the old Madame, we cannot enter."
    Xu Ruoyu laughed and patted the two men on the shoulders and said:"It doesn't matter, do as you're told."
    The two men picked up the body of granny Hu and walked inside and put it down again.
    Yu Peiyu turned to Xu Ruoyu and sighed:"You're a very vicious man."
    Xu Ruoyu couldn't smile anymore and praised:"You have very sharp eyes, sir."
    Yu Peiyu ignored him and turned to the servants and asked:"Do both of you have a family?"
    One of them replied:"Ding San is still single, but I have a wife."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"I suggest that you go home immediately, you might be able to see her for the last time."
    Both men were stunned and didn't know what he was talking about.
    Yu Peiyu said sadly:"The two of you already know too many of his secrets, he won't let you live."
    They looked at Xu Ruoyu and asked:"Sir, what is he saying?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Look at your shoulders and you will understand."
    They quickly took off their clothes and saw bruises on their shoulders, and a small puncture.
    Black blood dripped out of their wounds and it smelt awful.
    They begged for their lives, Hai Dongqing's eyes were filled with admiration and praise when he looked at Yu Peiyu. He now knew that Yu Peiyu was much more vigilant and observant than himself.
    Xu Ruoyu smiled to Yu Peiyu:"You have very sharp eyes, but you're wrong about one thing. Even now they won't make alive out of this yard."
    The two servants ran as quickly as they could but after a few paces they fell down and died.
    Xu Ruoyu closed the door and said:"Please take a seat."
    This man wouldn't think twice about killing a few men about a trivial matter, Yu Peiyu disliked him at once.
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"You and granny Hu are really made for each other."
    Xu Ruoyu smiled:"I did manage to pick up a few abilities from her in our marriage."
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed again:"So she should have learnt your eloquence when she had the opportunity."
    Xu Ruoyu thanked her, Zhu Lei'Er continued:"However silencing those two won't do you any good. You should kill another three extra people to secure your secrets."
    Hai Dongqing said:"He doesn't want to us to live either. That is why he invited us in here. But he doesn't have what it takes to deal with us."
    Xu Ruoyu remained quiet and kept smiling. Hai Dongqing asked:"You know whose body this is, right."
    Xu Ruoyu smiled:"If my guess is correct, it should be my wife."
    He didn't seem to be sad about her death, in fact he sounded a bit happy too.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked with surprise:"Aren't you sad or something?"
    Xu Ruoyu said calmly:"She has this coming for a long time, she made many enemies and I knew she would die at the hands of her enemies sooner or later."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:" fine with this."
    Xu Ruoyu laughed lightly:"You do know that I married because of her skills, if I pretended to be sad now you'll probably laughed at me."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"In that case, we even helped you regain your freedom?"
    Xu Ruoyu smiled but didn't answer, but that smile said it all.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"It is bad enough that you married because of her martial arts, you could have run away after learning it. But why do you want to see her dead."
    Her voice sounded sad, and she attacked him ferociously. Xu Ruoyu quickly glided away from her attacks and said with surprise:"Miss, why are you suddenly this angry?"
    Yu Peiyu gently intervened now.
    Zhu Lei'Er yelled:"Men like you deserve to die!"
    Hai Dongqing was also a bit surprised by Zhu Lei'Er's actions, but he didn't know that this incident reminded her of her own parents.
    Hai Dongqing frowned and said:"Don't you want the antidote anymore?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said angrilly:"I want to kill him first."
    Suddenly an old voice said:"Who is poisoned? This must be the work of my little girl again."
    This person called granny Hu [a little girl], she can only be the mother of granny Hu.
    A very old woman came out in an old expensive brocade, she was holding a Buddhist rosary and held a dragon-headed staff in her other hand. Two maids accompanied her.
    It was quite a surprise to see this elderly, distinguished and amicable old woman to be the mother of that awful granny Hu.
    Xu Ruoyu respectfully walked up and whispered something in her ear.
    Old Madame Hu trembled and pointed at the body, she said:"That....that is her."
    Xu Ruoyu said:"Indeed."
    Old Madame Hu said:"Good! She is finally dead. I have told her so many times to stop harming innocent people, but she wouldn't listen. She sought her own death."
    She started to weep, she said:"Take her outside and burry her. I don't want her near me again. I will just pretend I didn't have this daughter."
    Yu Peiyu was surprised to see that the mother of granny Hu was such a reasonable woman. Although he hated granny Hu, he was feeling a bit sad for old Madame Hu now.
    Old Madame Hu asked with a trembling voice:"Who is poisoned here?"
    Xu Ruoyu said:"This Miss over here."
    Old Madame Hu looked at Zhu Lei'Er and sighed:"Such a shame, how could she? Ruoyu, take a look and see what type of poison she used."
    Xu Ruoyu wanted to walk over, but Zhu Lei'Er said:"She used the poison under her nails."
    Old Madame Hu cried out:"She scratched you? Where and when?"
    Zhu Lei'Er answered:"Tomorrow morning it will be the third day, and she scratched my hand."
    Old Madame Hu felt relieved and said:"We are not too late."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Can she be saved?"
    Old Madame Hu said gently:"Yes, of course. The Jade Emperor is mercifull and will be benevolent to good people."
    Yu Peiyu was very happy, all the trouble wasn't in vain. But now his fatigue kicked in, he almost fainted.
    Yu Peiyu composed himself and said:"I am most grateful that old Madame Hu is so considerate. But there is something I have to tell you."
    Old Madame Hu asked gently:"What is it?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"We did not kill granny Hu, she committed suicide with her final breath. I have even brought along her final words, in there she mentioned the antidote."
    Old Madame Hu smiled:"You're afraid that I won't rescue this young Miss, right?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Anyway I am most grateful for you help, thank you."
    Old Madame Hu said:"You must be tired now, rest here I will get the antidote."
    The maids carried granny Hu's body away and Xu Ruoyu accompanied old Madame Hu away.
    Yu Peiyu wanted to say something but he was too tired and sat back into the chair.
    Hai Dongqing said:"Don't worry, she will give us the antidote."
    Zhu Lei'Er pouted:"If she doesn't?"
    Hai Dongqing said coldly:"If she doesn't I will make sure she does. And she doesn't have the courage to do anything against us."
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"She doesn't even know who you are."
    Hai Dongqing said arrogantly:"When she sees the wooden board with granny Hu's final words, she will know."
    Suddenly they heard a series of Bang! Hidden doors came down and sealed off the doors and windows in this room.
    Yu Peiyu immediately jumped up and yelled:"We're tricked!"
    Hai Dongqing said angrilly:"This woman is even slyer than her daughter."
    Zhu Lei'Er said coldly:"Furthermore she isn't afraid of the famous Celestial Wolf."
    Hai Dongqing walked to the door and looked very angry and generated his full power to his fist and struck the doors.
    They heard a loud clap but the extra wall stayed intact, it was made from iron.
    Hai Dongqing turned pale, Zhu Lei'Er ran into Yu Peiyu's arms and cried:"This is all my fault......I......I....."
    She couldn't continue and started to cry louder. She was like this for days now, she wanted to say something but in the end she wouldn't.
    There was even strange smoke coming in from different sides of the room, Yu Peiyu yelled:"Poisonous gas!"
    They quickly held their breaths. But how long can they hold their breaths.
    Hai Dongqing gritted his teeth and used his palms, fists to hit the walls. But in vain.
    The entire room turned into an oven now, it was very hot inside. Zhu Lei'Er was starting to sweat at her forehead, Yu Peiyu used his sleeve to wipe it away. Suddenly he saw that his sleeve was white, it was cement but where did it come from. When he looked up he saw a small hole in the roof.
    Hai Dongqing's powerful energy couldn't punch a hole through an iron wall, but he made the ceiling shake and the ceiling was covered with iron plates.
    Yu Peiyu leapt up and used his body and palms to smash a bigger hole in the roof, Hai Dongqing did the same.
    After that, Hai Dongqing, Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er escaped through the hole on the top.
    They were standing on the roof, Hai Dongqing looked around and couldn't see anyone.
    Zhu Lei'Er frowned and said:"The old hag and Xu must know that that room couldn't keep us trapped for long. They must be gone now."
    Hai Dongqing said angrilly:"I won't believe that they're willing to leave this place. They will return sooner or later."
    With that he leapt of the roof and continued his search, Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er came down too.
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"He is so arrogant and thinks he knows everything. But in fact he knows nothing."
    Yu Peiyu said softly:"You mustn't forget about his good sides, he did save us back there."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"It was you who saw the hole in the roof, he should thank you."
    Yu Peiyu smiled, he gently caressed her hair and said:"I will go upstairs again for a look."
    He didn't want to use the word antidote, he was afraid he would make her unhappy with those words.
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"It is no use, they've already left. They wouldn't leave behind the antidote and we don't even know what the antidote looks like."
    Yu Peiyu said sadly:"But they left in a hurry so they might not have the time to pack things. They might even have hid themselves somewhere in the brothel."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Maybe you are right."
    Yu Peiyu said:"I will start my search now."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"No, I don't want you to look."
    She pulled his hand, Yu Peiyu said gently:"But why?"
    Zhu Lei'Er didn't answer and just look in front of her daydreaming.
    Yu Peiyu followed her look, it was dawn.
    The three days are up, at any moment Zhu Lei'Er would die.
    Zhu Lei'Er said sadly:"Do you now understand why I don't want you to leave me?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"I....will stay."
    His voice changed, he really hoped a miracle would happen. Could Hai Dongqing bring back Xu Ruoyu and the old woman.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I've never drunk wine before, I would like to drink to my heart's contend. Would you accompany me?"
    Yu Peiyu was still too shocked and said:"Where is wine?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said sweetly:"This place is bound to have wine."
    She pulled Yu Peiyu's hand and they walked through a few corridors. It was ironic to see that the flowers in the courtyard are withering away.
    Suddenly they heard sounds of people being slapped and cursing. A group of men ran out with their clothes in their hands, Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"What is that strange cold youngster up to again."
    Yu Peiyu thought it was a funny sight too, but he couldn't laugh.
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"If he thinks that old woman would hide there, he is too stupid."
    In a flash he stood in front of them, he looked rather tired and he was sweating.
    Zhu Lei'Er laugh at him, Hai Dongqing looked at her and didn't argue with her. What is the point in argueing with someone who is about to die.
    Yu Peiyu asked:"No sign of them?"
    Hai Dongqing shook his head and said:"I will see if they have left the city. The two of you stay here, they can't escape."
    He was gone again, Zhu Lei'Er said:"Just a minute."
    Hai Dongqing stopped and asked:"What else?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I want to know where Miss Xiangxiang is."
    Hai Dongqing was a bit surprised but pointed at a room and he was gone again.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I think the wine of Miss Xiangxiang is very good, let us go there."
    She walked ahead and pulled Yu Peiyu's hand.
    Xiangxiang had a birdcage with a parrot, the parrot said:"Xiangxiang come out! You have visitors, if you're too late I will break your legs."
    Xiangxiang said:"Naughty bird!"
    She laughed and came out, she looked rather pretty. Zhu Lei'Er recognized her as one of the courtesans they saw earlier.
    She seemed to be an entire different person, she was a good host and prepared wine for Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er.
    She was talking and smiling with Zhu Lei'Er, it seemed that they were old friends.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Haven't you noticed that something happened?"
    Xiangxiang said:"I heard some noises, but that is it."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Do you know what is going on? Aren't you afraid?"
    Xiangxiang smiled:"In our line of work we have to keep our customers happy no matter what. If not we won't receive our payment. No matter how we feel we still have to entertain our guests."
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"Do you mind entertaining me?"
    Xiangxiang smiled:"I would love to be friends with a sweet and beautiful girl like you."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"Initially I wanted to pester you because of a particular man. But now....nevermind!"
    Xiangxiang said:"I would rather chit-chat with you than entertain any rich client."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"Let us drink."
    Xiangxiang said:"That is a coincidence, I have a few bottles of fine wine here. An excellent vintage, unfortunately there aren't any fine dishes here. I will see what I can find in the kitchen."
    These courtesans have been trained to be very eloquent and being a naive and innocent girl, Zhu Lei'Er is totally mesemerized by this Xiangxiang.
    When the feast was prepared, Zhu Lei'Er wanted Xiangxiang to leave. But she didn't know how to say that. But Xiangxiang understood and smiled:"I really should stay here and be a good host, but I think you want to discuss something first. I will drop by later."
    She walked out and closed the door, Zhu Lei'Er smiled to Yu Peiyu:"I thought she would try to entertain you, but she totally ignored you."
    Yu Peiyu smiled faintly.
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"Perhaps she saw that I have a terrible temper, that's why she is afraid to entertain you."
    She doesn't know that courtesans like Xiangxiang can distinct in a flash who she should flatter to and how to use her "kind and considerate" character.
    Many men have lost their fortunes because of her so-called kind and considerate character.

    The wine was great, but Yu Peiyu could only taste the bitterness, after a few cups Zhu Lei'Er started to blush.
    She smiled:"Now I know why so many people like to drink wine, it makes me feel so happy and free."
    Yu Peiyu said softly:"If you like it, drink a few more cups."
    Initially he wanted to advise her not to drink too much, but when he realised she was about to die he didn't want to spoil her fun.
    Zhu Lei'Er said sweetly:"Drink with me."
    Yu Peiyu said with an enforced smile:"I will always drink with you."
    Zhu Lei'Er stayed quiet for some time and said:"You don't want to stay by my side."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Why would you say a thing like that."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why are you this sad?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"I......"
    He didn't know what to say, he couldn't be happy now.
    Zhu Lei'Er said softly:"I know that I'm not very important to you."
    Yu Peiyu said sincerely:"Don't say that......"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"What do you want me to say? I don't even know whether you truly like me."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Of course I truly like you."
    Zhu Lei'Er lowered her head and pulled her own sleeve and asked softly:"Why do you like me?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Because.....because......"
    Zhu Lei'Er continued:"I know why you can't say it. It is because you don't love me."
    She started to cry softly, Yu Peiyu gently caressed her hair and said gently:"Who says I don't love you."
    Zhu Lei'Er lifted her head and her eyes were glowing with joy.
    She looked deeply in his eyes and asked slowly:"Do you really love me?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Of course I love you."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Do you love me be my husband."
    Yu Peiyu was taken by surprise.
    Zhu Lei'Er said gently:"I'm a dying woman, but I will be your loving and faithful wife till my last breath. And after I'm dead I won't mind if you would remarry immediately."
    Yu Peiyu's heart ached, her every word were like needles piercing through his heart.
    She looked at Yu Peiyu and said:"If you don't want to I won't blame you."
    Yu Peiyu said suddenly:"Nothing would make me more happier."
    Zhu Lei'Er trembled with joy, she asked with surprise:"Really? You're not doing this out of responsibility."
    Yu Peiyu said gently:"No, I am doing this because I love you. It is the wish of every man to have an enchanting wife like you."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at him with her dreamy eyes and she suddenly hugged him:"I am so happy. I am too happy! I want everyone to know about my happiness. I want to share my joy."
    She ran to the door and called:"Xiangxiang! Could you tell your friends to come here. I want them to attend my wedding banquet."

    All the courtesans came and brought different gifts, they said the most auspicious words.
    Although those weren't expensive gifts, but Zhu Lei'Er had never seen them before. She was thrilled when she received them.
    This was happiness which Zhu Lei'Er had never experienced before.
    All the courtesans were filled with admiration and envy, Yu Peiyu was the husband that every woman was looking for.
    But only Yu Peiyu's heart was filled with sorrow.
    Zhu Lei'Er pulled Xiangxiang aside and whispered something in her ear.
    Xiangxiang said:"Allright, I will take you there."
    Zhu Lei'Er went over to Yu Peiyu and said:"I will come back in awhile."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Where are you going?" Zhu Lei'Er blushed and said:"You won't understand."
    Xiangxiang smiled:"He should start to learn."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled and disappeared out of the door with Xiangxiang.
    Yu Peiyu felt melancholic when he saw her gone through the door, the courtesans all whispered:
    "Miss Zhu is very fortunate to marry a perfect man like young master Yu."
    "Look he can't even bear to be separated from her for a short moment."
    Yu Peiyu's heart was filled with sorrow when he heard their whispering.

    Yu Peiyu was very tired and the only thing that kept him awake was his concern for Zhu Lei'Er.
    He was hoping she would come back soon, but for a long time he didn't see her returning.
    After another short time he heard footsteps and Xiangxiang came back. Yu Peiyu asked:"Where is she?"
    Xiangxiang laughed:"Don't worry! Your bride won't run away."
    Yu Peiyu felt a bit embarrassed but asked anyway:"When will she return?"
    Xiangxiang said:"She is upstairs, she is doing something....She asked me to give you this letter."
    All the girls were giggling.
    One of them said:"Some say not seeing for one day is like not seeing for three Autumns."
    With Zhu Lei'Er around those girls ignored Yu Peiyu. But now they're swarming up to Yu Peiyu.

    Yu Peiyu was trembling when he read that letter. He read the following:
    Dear Peiyu,

    For the past few days I have been trying to tell you something. But everytime when I want to tell you my secret, I was afraid you would scold me and hate me. I was never poisoned by granny Hu, that little poison of her cannot harm me. I pretended to be poisoned to test your feelings for me.
    I wanted to see whether you really cared for me or not. But when I saw the impossible trials we had to endure, even almost losing your life several times. I was too afraid to tell you the truth.
    At several occasions I wanted to tell you everything, but when I saw the trouble you went through I was afraid to tell you.
    I know you must detest and hate me very much, however I do not care because my wish has been fulfiled I was your wife.
    My biggest wish has been fulfiled, I can leave with a peaceful heart. I want today to last forever, there is only way to do that.
    By dying that is the only way I can repay and make up for my mistakes.......

    His sight became blurry, his tears were clouding his vision. Yu Peiyu stormed out the room and yelled:"LEI'ER YOU CANNOT DIE! WAIT......."
    But Zhu Lei'Er couldn't hear him anymore, when he stormed open the door he saw Zhu Lei'Er holding a dagger. And her robe was red with her blood.
    If Yu Peiyu was still the stubborn young man he would kneel to Zhu Lei'Er's body and cry loudly.
    But now he didn't know how to express his sadness and sorrow anymore, he just stood there completely broken. He felt he had nothing to live for now.
    Xiangxiang said coldly:"She is dead and you're just standing here. Although you didn't kill her, but she is dead because of you."
    Yu Peiyu said in a stunned way:"Yes, I know."
    Xiangxiang said:"She used death to repay you, how do you plan to repay her."
    Yu Peiyu just stood there and didn't answer.
    Xiangxiang scoffed:"You agreed to marry her because she was dying. If she wasn't poisoned you would have never given her any consideration."
    Yu Peiyu didn't know how to answer her.
    Xiangxiang said sternly:"So you admit it! You're the most heartless man I've ever seen. I want to kill you."
    She raised her hand and wanted to slap Yu Peiyu. He didn't want to avoid that slap, he felt he deserved it.
    He wanted to be hurt, he wanted someone to hit him. That way he felt that in this way he would punished accordingly.
    But the hand of Xiangxiang didn't hit his face, in fact her index and middle finger sealed the acupoints on Yu Peiyu's chest.

    End of chapter 26

  8. #28
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 27 The Shock

    Xiangxiang's fragile hands became as hard as stone, Yu Peiyu's acupoints were sealed. He fell down and looked at Xiangxiang with shock and disbelief.
    Xiangxiang gently patted him on his face and laughed softly:"She is dead now and I know that you won't want to live anymore too. I will let the two of you see each other again........" Yu Peiyu passed out now.

    When Hai Dongqing returned he went straight to Xiangxiang's room.
    All the courtesans were still there, their faces were red and they looked happy and tipsy. Hai Dongqing didn't see Zhu Lei'Er and Yu Peiyu, he wanted to ask Xiangxiang.
    When Xiangxiang saw Hai Dongqing, she looked a bit melancholic and happy.
    She pulled his sleeve, and said:"Young master Hai, you have changed a lot since the last time we saw each other. All the other sisters were scared to death by you earlier, why are you so cold?"
    She continued:"After examining my room, you know I haven't concealed a man in there."
    He flung aside her hand and said coldly:"What is the meaning of those red candles*?"
    (*Those red candles were only used during weddings.)
    Xiangxiang smiled:"Haven't you seen those candles before?"
    Hai Dongqing scoffed:"You get "married" at least once everyday, why the candles?"
    Her face turned red and her eyes were watery. She lowered her head and said:"Women like me are not fit to use these candles. I know you look down upon me, but you don't have to say such mean words."
    Hai Dongqing said coldly:"Is it possible for you to be sad? I want you to understand that I am not here to look for entertainment. Spare me those feeble words! You should know that I'm not a gentleman."
    Xiangxiang started to cry and said:"I.....I....understand."
    Hai Dongqing said:"Answer my questions clearly."
    Xiangxiang said:"Yes, I will."
    Hai Dongqing said:"What happened here?"
    Xiangxiang said:"They got married."
    Hai Dongqing asked:"Who are [they]?"
    Xiangxiang said:"Your friends young master Yu and Miss Zhu."
    Hai Dongqing was shocked and stunned, he lifted Xiangxiang and yelled with surprise:"Why would they get married here! Do you expect me to believe those lies!"
    He used force in his hands, Xiangxiang called out in pain. She said:"I wouldn't dream of lying to you. Let me go, if you don't believe me you can ask them too."
    Hai Dongqing asked:"Where are they now?"
    Xiangxiang said:"They entered that room to consume their marriage. I can take you there."
    He released her and looked stunned, shocked and sad.
    Xiangxiang looked at him and laughed:"You're jealous, aren't you?"
    Hai Dongqing said angrilly:"What!"
    Xiangxiang pouted:"I know that you're in love with Miss Zhu, but she......"
    Before she could finish Hai Dongqing slapped her. She fell down and all the other courtesans were too afraid to speak.
    Xiangxiang sobbed:"How could you? Why won't you just kill me?"
    Hai Dongqing was very annoyed and shouted:"Don't think your tears will affect me. If you continue to cry I will kill you at once."
    Xiangxiang stopped crying, she didn't dare to pout or create a scene anymore.
    Hai Dongqing said:"Get up and take me to them."
    Xiangxiang said:"Very well. But they aren't there anymore."
    Hai Dongqing scoffed:"I knew your words were rubbish. Where are they now!"
    Xiangxiang said:"Miss Zhu was very ill, young master Yu agreed to marry her to fulfil her final wish. So we agreed to help them prepare for their marriage."
    Hai Dongqing believed this and sighed deeply:"What happened afterwards."
    Xiangxiang said:"After they went into that room to consume their marriage, but when I entered with the wine.......Miss Zhu........."
    Hai Dongqing asked anxiously:"What happened?"
    Xiangxiang continued:"I saw Miss Zhu fell down and blood was coming from her mouth, eyes and nose. She looked very eerie, young master Yu picked up her body and screamed and yelled. He suddenly turned mad and ran out of here, he was gone in a flash."
    Hai Dongqing said:"Why didn't you tell me this earlier."
    Xiangxiang said:"The other sisters don't know about this, so I did not want to tell them. I am afraid that when they know that someone died in this room, they won't want to use it anymore. And they might even tell the customers, that way it might affect the business of our establishment."
    This was a very convincing story and Hai Dongqing believed her.
    If the customers would hear that people died here, they might go to another brothel and stay away from the Apricot Pavillion.
    And Zhu Lei'Er's death was something Hai Dongqing has anticipated and Yu Peiyu being grief-stricken was also logical.
    Hai Dongqing wasn't someone who was easily tricked but this story sounded very convincing.
    He stayed quiet and looked sad after awhile he said:"If I find out that you lied to me......."
    Xiangxiang said:"You will kill me, right. I will be here waiting for you."
    Hai Dongqing turned around and walked away, Xiangxiang said:"Are you leaving now?" She ran up and pulled his sleeve, Hai Dongqing said:"I'm leaving now."
    Xiangxiang said softly:"My feelings for you are true, but why are you so heartless."
    Hai Dongqing scoffed:"Do you take me for an idiot! You don't have any true feelings."
    He flung her hand aside and walked out with big paces.
    Xiangxiang waited when he was out of the Apricot Pavillion, she scoffed:"You think you're very smart, don't you. But in my eyes you're nothing but a big fool."
    A courtesan walked up and said:"That youngster is mean and nasty, why won't you think of a plan to kill him? Why did you let him go?"
    Xiangxiang sighed:"Although he is a fool, his martial arts are very good. We may not succeed in killing him, I just made sure he left this place."
    Xiangxiang said:"But if he returns I will know how to deal with him, furthermore our cover is blown. We're about to leave this place anyway."
    The courtesan asked:"Have you killed that Yu Peiyu?"
    Xiangxiang said:"No, our superior wants him alive, that's why brother Xu is looking after him now."

    Yu Peiyu gradually woke up and saw Xu Ruoyu sitting at a table drinking wine.
    Xu Ruoyu laughed:"Brother Yu, you're awake. I was disappointed that you did not know how to drink this fine wine. You should sip and savour the wine slowly, if you drink it like how you did. You will get drunk very easily."
    Yu Peiyu knew this too, but at the time he was too sad and did care about how to drink wine.
    Xu Ruoyu smiled:"It is fortunate that you did not teach your friend how to drink this wine."
    Yu Peiyu asked anxiously:"What do you mean?"
    Xu Ruoyu said:"Look for yourself, brother Yu." Xiangxiang came in and she was holding a beautiful young girl, it was Zhu Lei'Er she was still alive.
    Yu Peiyu called out with shock, surprise and joy:"You're not dead!"
    Zhu Lei'Er didn't look up.
    Xu Ruoyu smiled:"Because this Miss Zhu did not know how to drink this wine, she became weak and tipsy very fast. She wanted to slit her throat but because her hands became very weak. So instead of slitting her throat she made a cut on her chest and fainted of the wine and the pain. The cut wasn't deep and you were too shocked to take her pulse."
    Yu Peiyu was filled with joy and wanted to hug her but he noticed that his acupoints were still sealed.
    Zhu Lei'Er begged:"Xiangxiang, I beg you kill me please. I can't see him anymore."
    Yu Peiyu said gently:"I don't blame you, Lei'Er. Don't say those things, I want you to live."
    Zhu Lei'Er sobbed:"But it is my fault that you're captured by them. I.....I...."
    Xu Ruoyu laughed:"What a touching scene! Even I am touched, but this isn't the time for this sort of romantic nonsense."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Granny Hu died because of him, and you hate granny Hu so you really should let him go. Please I beg of you."
    Xu Ruoyu sighed:"I'm most grateful that brother Yu killed that awful wife of mine, but I have my orders not to release you."
    Zhu Lei'Er sobbed:"Tell the mother of granny Hu to come here, I will talk to her."
    Xiangxiang smiled:"I'm afraid it is too late, she is dead." Zhu Lei'Er said:"Did Hai Dongqing kill her?"
    Xiangxiang said:"He doesn't have that sort of ability yet."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Where were you at the moment?"
    Xu Ruoyu laughed:"When you stormed out through the roof, I entered the room you just left. You turned the entire brothel upside down but forgot to look for one place."
    Yu Peiyu sighed and praised Xu Ruoyu for being clever in his heart.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Who killed the old woman?"
    Xu Ruoyu smiled:"It was I."
    Zhu Lei'Er exclaimed with surprise:"You?"
    Xu Ruoyu said:"I think by the time you came here her body was already rotting away."
    Xiangxiang laughed but suddenly her voice changed:"Good! She is finally dead. I have told her many times not to kill innocent people anymore."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at her and said:"You were that old woman?"
    Xiangxiang smiled sweetly:"That was me."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"After you escaped from that room, you removed your disguise and went back to your own room. No wonder Hai Dongqing couldn't find the old crone."
    Xiangxiang said:"You're right."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"The two of you wanted to betray granny Hu for a long time, so when she left her home you killed her mother. And because of the old woman hardly revealed herself to others nobody suspected a thing."
    Xu Ruoyu smiled:"As you know I married her because of her martial arts, I have learnt almost 90 percent of her skills. I couldn't stand her hideous face anymore and everytime when I saw her I wanted to throw up. Unfortunately the opportunity never arose, but now."
    Xiangxiang said:"Originally we wanted to kill her after she returns but now this way saved us a lot of work."
    Zhu Lei'Er blinked with her eyes and said:"But we helped you, you should really let us go."
    Xu Ruoyu said:"As I said we have our orders from our superior."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Superior? Who is that?"
    Xu Ruoyu said:"You will soon find out."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Do we know your master?"
    Xiangxiang said:"I think you might have met."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at Yu Peiyu and Yu Peiyu looked at her, both thought of the same person: Yu Fanghe.
    Yu Fanghe used a similar trick in the Heavenly Silkworm Sect.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"So do you not want to avenge granny Hu."
    Xu Ruoyu yawned and rubbed his eyes, he said:"If we wanted to avenge the old crone we will look for Hai Dongqing."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Have you planned something against him."
    Xiangxiang said:"If our superior wants us to deal with him, we will deal with him. If not, he is not worthy of our attention."
    After awhile both looked very sleepy and tired, Xiangxiang looked like she aged with ten years in a short while.
    They were yawning and rubbing their eyes, and Xu Ruoyu kept blowing his nose.
    Zhu Lei'Er was surprised to see this sudden change in them.
    Xiangxiang yawned:"Do you have something left?"
    Xu Ruoyu said:"Hmm?"
    Xiangxiang scoffed:"I knew you were hiding out on me, give me some if not you will be sorry."
    Xu Ruoyu was even too tired to open his eyes, he yawned:"If I have hidden some, I am your son."
    Normally these two would talk rather politely to each other, but now they were quite rough.
    And what was that thing they needed.
    Yu Peiyu was suspicious too, suddenly the courtesans said:"Our master is here."
    Xu Ruoyu and Xiangxiang looked excited and walked to the door and stood there respectfully.
    A group of nine people entered wearing long cloaks and big straw hats.
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"The chancellor of Wulin is even too afraid to show us our true face."
    One of the nine said:"I'm not the chancellor of Wulin, at least not yet. But are you talking to me?"
    The voice sounded clear and beautiful, it belonged to a young woman.
    The nine removed their cloaks, they were all young pretty women. One of them was a bit taller than the other eight. And ten times prettier than the other eight women.
    Zhu Lei'Er pouted:"Yu Fanghe, show yourself!"
    The taller girl laughed:"Do you think I am Yu Fanghe?"
    Yu Peiyu recognized this girl as the horrible and maniacal Ji Lingfeng, it was a long time since they met.
    Ji Lingfeng smiled:"You are surprised to see me, weren't you expecting me?"
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"I should have guessed it was you. When I saw their changes I should have guessed you had a hand in this."
    Ji Lingfeng sighed:"It is too bad you did not have the time to taste my precious pills for a longer period."
    Ji Lingfeng pointed at Xiangxiang and Xu Ruoyu and said:"Look at these two, the man is lecherous pig and the woman is a nymphomaniac. But I can tell you that these two do not have an affair and haven't even touch each other."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why is that?"
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Because their interest lies somewhere else now. And do you know what that is?"
    Zhu Lei'Er stayed quiet, Ji Lingfeng continued:"Because they are addicted to my pills of happiness. And when they're addicted to my pills they won't have any interest except working for me."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked with surprise:"Pills of happiness?"
    Ji Lingfeng smiled:"It is a gift from the gods themselves. Do you
    wish to try?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I wouldn't mind tasting it, I like poisonous things. The more poisonous the better."
    Yu Peiyu shouted:"Do you want to become like those two! Look at them because of those damn pills they are slaves of her! They don't have their freedom and lives anymore. For those pills they are willing to betray themselves!"
    Zhu Lei'Er had never seen Yu Peiyu this angry before, he must really hate these pills she thought.
    Xu Ruoyu and Xiangxiang lowered their heads, when they heard Yu Peiyu's words. They felt embarrassed.
    Yu Peiyu said:"I was addicted to these pills too, it is possible to break free from it. If you have the courage and the tenacity you will succeed. You can regain your freedom and lives."
    Xu Ruoyu and Xiangxiang looked anxious, they wanted to fight their addiction like Yu Peiyu said.
    Ji Lingfeng took out a small box and took out a few pills. She said:"These pills were for you, but now you don't want them anymore. I will just have to give them to someone else."
    Their ambition to fight it was gone now, they knelt down and started to kowtow to Ji Lingfeng. They begged:"I want them, I do not want to stop using those pills."
    Ji Lingfeng said coldly:"So you have no intentions of rebelling against me."
    Both of them said:"I wouldn't dare."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Are you willing to be my slaves for the rest of your lives."
    Both of them said:"Yes, I am willing."
    Ji Lingfeng scoffed:"Useless slaves! Here take it!"
    She threw the box and the pills on the floor, Xu Ruoyu and Xiangxiang were acting like dogs and were picking up those pills like frantic lunatics.

    End of chapter 27

  9. #29
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 28 A Mysterious Youngster

    Yu Peiyu closed his eyes, he didn't want to see their degrading actions.
    Ji Lingfeng said calmly:"Now you understand the power of my pills, not everyone can be like you. Only you have the tenacity and the willl power to break from my pills."
    She smiled to Yu Peiyu. He still ignored her.
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Why do you ignore me? We are old friends and I have helped you many times. Why do you always run away from me when you see me."
    Yu Peiyu stayed quiet for a moment and sighed in the end:"You're right. You have helped many times, but......"
    Ji Lingfeng smiled:"Don't worry, I don't want you to repay me."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"What do you want from me?"
    Ji Lingfeng answered:"I just want to make a deal with you."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"What kind of deal?"
    She walked around Yu Peiyu and stared at him, she said:"From the very first time we met, I knew you're extraordinary."
    Yu Peiyu stuttered:"What....what is so extraordinary about me?"
    Ji Lingfeng waved her hand and Xu Ruoyu, Xiangxiang and the other eight girls left. She closed the door and said calmly:"Firstly, you're the only son of Yu Fanghe, but......."
    Before she could finish, Zhu Lei'Er loudly interrupted:"You say that he is the son of Yu Fanghe?"
    Ji Lingfeng smiled:"You don't know? You're right, with the exception of me and old man Gao. Nobody knows this."
    Zhu Lei'Er was stunned and looked at Yu Peiyu with her startled eyes.
    Ji Lingfeng said:"It is very glamorous to be the son of the chancellor of Wulin. But why did he have to pretend to be dead and assume the identity of a new Yu Peiyu?"
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why....why is that?"
    Ji Lingfeng said:"He doesn't acknowledge this Yu Fanghe as his father, he even broke his ties with his fiancee Lin Daiyu. That day when I saw her stabbing you with her sword, I felt sad for you. You would rather see her hating you than explaining your problems to her."
    Zhu Lei'Er bit her lip and said:"Because perhaps they do not understand him......But I do understand, because I too......"
    She stopped talking, Ji Lingfeng said:"Do you think his father did something bad to him?"
    Zhu Lei'Er stayed quiet and Ji Lingfeng said:"Your situation is different than his."
    Ji Lingfeng said calmly:"It is different because this Yu Fanghe is an imposter too."
    Zhu Lei'Er called out with surprise, Yu Peiyu's face changed. Ji Lingfeng smiled:"So many people in history think that their secrets would never be exposed. However they are too foolish and naive, you can never keep secrets hidden too long from the world. Heaven works in strange ways, I must be the last person you expect to see here."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Are you talking about that day in the inn?"
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Exactly, it was fate that brought us together in that inn."
    Yu Peiyu repeated softly:"Fate.....fate......"
    Ji Lingfeng said:"When I saw you together with Lin Daiyu, I was startled too."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"I was meaning to ask you, what were you doing there anyway?"
    Ji Lingfeng said:"I was following Ximen Feng and others, I suspected that they were up to no good."
    Yu Peiyu smiled wryly:"So you followed them and they lead you to me."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"I didn't expect to find you there, it was also a surprise to see Hong Lianhua there. I knew that the Beggars Association was holding an assembly in Sichuan province."
    Yu Peiyu said:"So many coincidences."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Hong Lianhua was even more surprised to see you and Lin Daiyu. The normally ever so cold Miss Lin Daiyu was travelling with a mysterious young man. And you lodge in the same inn and stayed in the same room."
    Zhu Lei'Er wanted to ask something, but she looked at Yu Peiyu and didn't ask.
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Hong Lianhua was suspicious, so he sent a disciple to investigate."
    Yu Peiyu smiled coldly:"So that waiter was sent to spy on us, I found him very suspicious from the start. He kept staring at Miss Lin and he came into our room with feeble excuses."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Didn't you suspect that waiter was sent by Hong Lianhua?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Although I did suspect a bit, but I wasn't sure."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"That Song Si is also my subordinate, that is something you and Hong Lianhua didn't know."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Is he addicted too?"
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Yes, before he reported to Hong Lianhua he made a report to me. He told me that you and Miss Lin were both behaving strangely, the second time he entered he saw Miss Lin in tears and you were facing the wall."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"What did Song Si have to say?"
    Ji Lingfeng said:"He told me that he and Miss Lin had met before when she was in trouble some months ago. She also gave him a message to deliver to Hong Lianhua."
    Yu Peiyu remembered Hong Lianhua telling him that story, she gave him a pouch with there were the characters Trust Yu Peiyu and help him.
    It was only months ago, but to him it seemed like an entire lifetime.
    Ji Lingfeng said:"I was very curious when I heard Song Si's report so I decided to have a look. It was a coincidence to see Hong Lianhua and Ximen Feng there too."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"It was a busy day that day in the inn."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Afterwards I saw Miss Lin storming out of her room holdin her sword. She was crying, cursing creating quite a scene. Why was that?"
    Yu Peiyu looked pensive and said:"Because I did not tell her who I was, and she hates me for doing something horrible to her. So she wanted to kill me."
    Ji Lingfeng smiled:"She may fool Ximen Feng and Hong Lianhua with this charade, but not me."
    Yu Peiyu said:"You don't believe this?"
    Ji Lingfeng shook her head:"Not a word."
    Yu Peiyu said:"What happened in your esteemed opinion?"
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Firstly, she knew you and the so-called deceased Yu Peiyu are the same person. Otherwise she wouldn't travel with you."
    Yu Peiyu stuttered:"Maybe.....maybe she just wanted to wait for an opportunity to kill me."
    Ji Lingfeng laughed:"If she wanted to kill you she had plenty of chances. Why would she try and kill you there? She just wanted to put up a show and hoped to trick the spies of Yu Fanghe."
    Yu Peiyu looked awfully pale and said:"A show?"
    Ji Lingfeng said:"She knew that Ximen Feng and others were following you and were spying on you. She created that scene to fool them that you're not the Yu Peiyu they want."
    Yu Peiyu stayed silent for a moment before asking:"What else?"
    Ji Lingfeng said:"There is nothing else, I just have great admiration for your fiancee. Miss Lin is a very intelligent and courageous girl, she will be the perfect wife."
    When Zhu Lei'Er heard the word [wife], her face turned red and then pale again. She wanted to cover her ears.
    Ji Lingfeng continued:"Also I wanted to warn you that you may fool Yu Fanghe for a moment but not forever. He is bound to get to the bottom of this. But when you saw me you ran away as fast as you could."
    Yu Peiyu now asked very earnestly:"What sort of deal were you suggesting earlier?"
    Ji Lingfeng said:"If I revealed your secrets in open, you will be dead within a few days. But rest assured I will protect your secrets very well and I am even planning to help you."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Help me?"
    Ji Lingfeng said slowly:"I want to help you destroy that fake Yu Fanghe."
    Yu Peiyu sighed deeply:"Of course you want to become the new chancellor of Wulin in order to become it, you have to eliminate Yu Fanghe. And the only way you can successfully remove him is by working together with me to expose his crimes."
    Ji Lingfeng smiled:"We have a common goal."
    Yu Peiyu said:"What if I refuse?"
    Ji Lingfeng said calmly:"I will kill you now."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"It seems I have no other choice."
    Ji Lingfeng smiled:"It seems so. And I will fully support you, you have no idea how much my power has grown. There are subordinates of me spread across the entire land. With only one order they are at your disposal."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"With that much power why do you want to become the chancellor of Wulin."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Some people like to drink, some people like women but I love power!"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Power?"
    Ji Lingfeng said:"If one hasn't tasted it before, one doesn't know the joys of it. My biggest wish is to see everyone in Wulin bow before me. At this point my operation is only conducted in secret, if I fail everything is gone."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"It is said that drinking and prostituting kills, but in my eyes power is even more awful."
    Ji Lingfeng's eyes were burning with passion and said:"But power is something that is desired and wanted by many."
    Yu Peiyu said:"But now that Yu Fanghe is the chancellor, you are plotting against him. But when you're the chancellor someone would rebel against you too."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"When you become an emperor, there are bound to be usurpers or rebels. However if most of the people fear and respect you, those few traitors won't matter to me."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"How long can you stay the chancellor?"
    Ji Lingfeng said:"If my wish comes true.....Even if it was one day I will be very happy."
    Yu Peiyu sighed deeply and said softly:"Power.....power, what an abominable concept!"
    Ji Lingfeng said:"We are not here to discuss ethics or philosophies of life. There are two roads for you to pick, one work with me. Two: Die!"
    Yu Peiyu said seriously:"I have one condition too, if you won't comply I will rather die."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"What is that condition?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"I don't want anything to do with those pills of happiness, I don't even want to hear that name."
    Ji Lingfeng smiled:"You think it is cheap to make those pills? Since you already agree to help me I won't waste those pills on you."
    Yu Peiyu said:"My word is enough for you?"
    Ji Lingfeng smiled sweetly:"I can only trust one person in this world and that is you. Besides I know too many of your secrets, you wouldn't dream of defying me. But most important we have a common enemy we need to deal with."
    Yu Peiyu smiled wryly:"It seems in order to defeat Yu Fanghe I have to work together with people like you."
    Ji Lingfeng said seriously:"Indeed, all those Wulin people from the orthodox schools are at his side. They won't believe your story and help you."
    The funny thing is that the mission of Yu Peiyu was righteous and good, but in order to succeed he has to work with evil and heretic people. The irony of life!
    In order to live Yu Peiyu had to die once, for the past months he had experienced the most strange events.
    Zhu Lei'Er now understood that Yu Peiyu's tragedy was even sadder than her own tragedy. Furthermore Yu Peiyu had never told her about his own events, she looked at him dreamily and was sobbing.
    Ji Lingfeng smiled:"Zhu Lei'Er........Zhu Lei'Er.......what an interesting name. Do you have a lot of tears."
    Zhu Lei'Er angrilly said:"At least I'm not a coldhearted monster like you."
    Ji Lingfeng sighed:"Most people can't curse and sob at the same time."
    Zhu Lei'Er retorted:"Some people can smile friendly and kill innocent people at the same time."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"When it comes to that I'm no match for Lady Zhu and Miss Zhu."
    Zhu Lei'Er was startled and asked:"How do you know who I am?"
    Ji Lingfeng said calmly:"If I don't know who you are, I wouldn't tell you all that I know."
    Zhu Lei'Er sternly asked:"How do you know?"
    Ji Lingfeng said:"I want to become the new chancellor of Wulin, if I don't even know these little secrets how can I defy Yu Fanghe. By the way congratulations! I forgot today you got married to our young master Yu."
    Yu Peiyu didn't say a word but just looked at Zhu Lei'Er, she looked very pale and started to cry again.
    She trembled and sobbed:" don't have to mock me."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Who is mocking you?"
    Zhu Lei'Er bit her lips and said:"You know that he isn't willing to marry me. He doesn't take this......marriage......serious."
    She started to cry sadly now, Ji Lingfeng:"What do you mean not serious? Marriage is a very serious matter."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"But......I......"
    Ji Lingfeng said gently:"Don't worry. Yu Peiyu is not the kind of man who will not acknowlegde you as his wife, because you did not die."
    Zhu Lei'Er was trembling and looked at Yu Peiyu, Ji Lingfeng smiled:"You don't have to ask him, I will teach you a method if he doesn't acknowledge you. That method is dying in front of him."
    Yu Peiyu sighed in his heart, he saw Zhu Lei'Er looking at him dreamily. She said softly:"Don't worry I won't do such a thing......."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Why not if a man loves a woman, he is allowed to do all kinds of strange methods to court her and keep her. If he succeeds he will be praised, why can't women do the same?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"But men and women are different......."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"What difference? Why should women be inferior to men, my every move and plan is meant to bring glory to women."
    She asked Zhu Lei'Er:"Are you inferior to most men? Of course not, why do you look down upon yourself?"
    Ji Lingfeng held Zhu Lei'Er's hand and said gently:"Little sister, we're both women. And if we work together we can bring glory to all the women in the world."
    Yu Peiyu looked at them and thought that Ji Lingfeng was practically brainwashing Zhu Lei'Er.
    She unsealed Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er's acupoints and put the hand of Zhu Lei'Er in the hand of Yu Peiyu.
    She smiled to Yu Peiyu:"I'm giving her to you, take good care of her. If not I will be looking for you."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"Thank you."
    Ji Lingfeng was a bit startled by him and asked:"Thank me? Why?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"I was afraid she won't understand, but thank you for consoling her."
    Ji Lingfeng smiled:"You must be blaming me in your heart."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"I wouldn't dare. But do you really know what happens kilometres away?"
    Ji Ling smiled mysteriously:"Have you forgotten that song I sang to you?"
    Yu Peiyu was amused and laughed:"Don't tell me that you understand the language of the birds?"
    Ji Lingfeng smiled:"If I didn't understand their tongue, I wouldn't save you out of that well in my manor."
    Yu Peiyu said:"But that was Miss Ji Lingyan......"
    Ji Lingfeng laughed:"How do you know that I am not Ji Lingyan? Who is Ji Lingyan? And who is Ji Lingfeng? Can you tell the difference? How well do you know them?"
    Yu Peiyu was very confused and scared now, originally he knew who was who but now.......
    These two sisters were filled with mystery, Ji Lingfeng was intelligent and ambitious. Ji Lingyan was mentally handicapped, but that could be an act too.
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Do you now know who I am?"
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"I really can't tell."
    Ji Lingfeng laughed:"The biggest weakness of humans is that they are too confident."
    Suddenly someone knocked at the door:"I have something to report, mistress."
    It was Xiangxiang, Ji Lingfeng became her regular self again.
    Ji Lingfeng asked:"What is it?"
    Xiangxiang said:"There are three customers here."
    Ji Lingfeng frowned and said:"I told you to put up a notice that we will be closed for the next few days."
    Xiangxiang said:"I did what you told, mistress. I have already told a lot people to go somewhere else. But these three were adamant in coming in."
    Ji Lingfeng said earnestly:"Go and see how they look like?"
    Xiangxiang said:"Xiaofang at the door didn't know what to do, so she informed me. The three won't leave and are still standing in front of the main door."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Have you seen how they look like?"
    Xiangxiang said:"I couldn't see clearly because it is dark outside, but at least two of those men are quite old. And they were riding steeds that are only available in the northern regions. It seems that they came from a long way."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"And their faces?"
    Xiangxiang said:"They are wearing long cloaks and large straw hats with veils in front. But one of them only has one arm."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"They don't want anyone to see their true appearances."
    Xiangxiang said:"I think so too, mistress."
    Ji Lingfeng looked pensive and scoffed:"Are they here to deal with me? Let me have a look myself."
    Zhu Lei'Er was very much herself with Ji Lingfeng around but now she was gone, she felt uneasy again.
    Zhu Lei'Er didn't know what he was thinking, he looked very charming and tranquil like ever.
    She didn't know that Yu Peiyu was feeling very restless too, how must he treat her in the future.
    Yu Peiyu couldn't bear to hurt her self-esteem and feelings. Furthermore Zhu Lei'Er had her share of tragedies, she was also very stubborn and sensitive.
    Even if Zhu Lei'Er wasn't still a bit too young, and if Yu Peiyu loved her deeply. He couldn't ask her to become his wife, because.......because...........
    Because he could not forget Lin Daiyu.
    He did not know what to say to Zhu Lei'Er, they two of them were alone and didn't know what to say to each other. There was an awful silence.
    When they heard Ji Lingfeng walking back again both got up and rushed to the door, when they met each other at the door they stopped. They looked at each other, Zhu Lei'Er hoped that Yu Peiyu didn't see her face. However Ji Lingfeng just lit up the room and Zhu Lei'Er's pretty face was blushing.
    Ji Lingfeng laughed:"All the brides are the same in the world, all of them have to blush sometime."
    Zhu Lei'Er lowered her head further, she never thought her face could become even redder than that.
    Yu Peiyu coughed dryly:"Who are those men?"
    Ji Lingfeng answered:"I don't know, I didn't went to look. They came here to meet up with someone. Wulin people meeting up with each other in brothels isn't strange."
    Yu Peiyu said:"But why the long cloaks and large hats."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"They are up to no good, that is for sure. But so long as it has nothing to do with us, I really don't care."
    Yu Peiyu looked pensive and said:"I want to have a look."
    Ji Lingfeng smiled:"I never thought our young master Yu is a busybody, haven't you got enough worries of your own?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled wryly:"Because I have so many worries an extra few won't matter. Furthermore I just have this feeling that these men might be connected to that Yu person."
    Ji Lingfeng looked interested too and said:"It is not a problem if you want to observe them, Xiangxiang is now entertaining them and she will be able to trick them into revealing their secrets."
    Zhu Lei'Er sneered:"Unlikely."
    Ji Lingfeng smiled:"If a girl become a courtesan for three years, she will become very observant. Nothing can escape from her eyes, who is rich and poor cannot fool her."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled.
    Xiangxiang came in again, Ji Lingfeng asked:"Well?"
    Xiangxiang said:"They are in the master room."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Why didn't you stay behind to entertain them?"
    Xiangxiang sighed:"The three of them ignored me the entire time, I really wanted to look in the mirror if I have aged."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"Perhaps they are deaf."
    Xiangxiang giggled:"Not at all. One of those old man leapt up and walked over to the window with every sound."
    Yu Peiyu frowned and asked:"How does that old man look like?"
    Xiangxiang said:"He is about sixty, seventy years old, he looks very imposing. With one eye you could tell that he is a man of wealth. His beard is entirely white. I have seen many old men who become lecherous at their old age, but this one is different."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Why is he different?"
    Xiangxiang explained:"Old men who become lecherous are always very eager to crop up a feel when they see us. But he is very nervous and jumpy like he is about to engage enemies at any time."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"What about his accent?"
    Xiangxiang shook her head and said:"He didn't say a word. But the old man with one arm seems to be from the Su province region. I heard that from his accent when he ordered for wine and food."
    Yu Peiyu asked quickly:"How does he look like?"
    Xiangxiang looked disgusted now and said:"He only has one arm and is covered with strange red wounds on his face and hands."
    Yu Peiyu's face changed a bit and asked:"How about the third man?"
    Xiangxiang said:"That is a young man, he looks most normal out of these three. However he is very skinny, it looks like he hasn't eaten for weeks."
    Yu Peiyu turned to Ji Lingfeng and said:"You said that it was not a problem to spy on them."
    Ji Lingfeng smiled:"True, most brothels have something strange about them. But strangest one must be this one, it is opened by granny Hu."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Strange? How come?"
    Ji Lingfeng didn't answer her and said:"Look don't you think it is a bit too bright in this room?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Not really, but now you mention it yes."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"There are four lamps here in total, those two on that wall are redundant. They are there to spy on people in the next room."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"So those lamps are there to fool people."
    Ji Lingfeng praised:"Very clever."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"So it is possible for us to look through those lamps. No wonder granny Hu knows everything that happens in Wulin."
    Xiangxiang said:"It is there for another purpose too."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What do you mean?"
    Xiangxiang said hatefully:"She knew that when men came into a brothel, they will act very degrading. She wants to look at those humilating acts of those men. And she is very happy when she sees those men bully, torture us. So she often dragged her husband over to watch us being humiliated. Only this way......she.....she can be satisfied. She is so old.....that......that.....she does...not have the interest anymore, this is the only way....."
    Ji Lingfeng interrupted her:"Enough! Are you afraid we won't understand, spare us the details."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at them with a puzzled look:"She is still not clear engough because I still don't understand."

    Ji Lingfeng laughed:"The less you know about this, the better."
    Xiangxiang gritted her teeth and said:"One of the main reasons why she opened this brothel is to see us being humiliated. The old crone is also a disgusting sick old b-i-t-c-h."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"She is dead now, your hate for her should also be gone."
    Yu Peiyu looked through the hole and broke out in a cold sweat, the old imposing man of wealth was Tang Wushuang, the man with one arm was Wang Yuluo.
    He hadn't seen Wang Yuluo for some time now, Yu Peiyu remembered that Wang Yuluo was heavily injured during the first encounter with the Three Magnificent Flower Ladies.
    He looked very angry and sinister.
    The other man had his back turned to Yu Peiyu.
    There was a knock on the door, Tang Wushuang dropped his tea cup. He nervously jumped up. Wang Yuluo looked at him angrilly, Yu Peiyu was certain that this Tang Wushuang was an imposter.
    His hands revealed that he was a fake, the hands of a true expert in secretive weaponry are rough and steady. But the hands of this man were smooth and soft, and the real Tang Wushuang wouldn't drop his cup that easily.
    Although the mastermind was able to create the perfect replacement of Tang Wushuang, but he couldn't copy the hands of the real Tang Wushuang.
    Yu Peiyu felt happy, this masterplan wasn't that perfect after all.

    The knock on the door came from Xiangxiang and a maid who came in with food and wine.
    Xiangxiang kept looking and smiling seductively at Tang Wushuang and Wang Yuluo.
    But the two of them just ignored them.
    Xiangxiang smiled:"Normal guests can't drink from this wine, I save this wine for special guests. Seeing that you are famous heroes."
    Tang Wushuang sternly said:"How do you know we are famous heroes?"
    Xiangxiang smiled:"I'm just guessing, your grandeur is awesome."
    Tang Wushuang grunted:"We are just merchants."
    Xiangxiang said:"My mistake, but I think you must be one of the wealthiest merchants I've ever met."
    Wang Yuluo took out a golden ingot and heavily put it on the table, he said coldly:"Do you want this?"
    Xiangxiang bit her lip and said:"Sir, do you want......."
    Wang Yuluo said coldly:"Take the ingot and get out."
    Xiangxiang smiled:"Yes, sir. Thank you." She put the ingot in her sleeve and was about to leave.
    Suddenly the third man said:"Wait." His voice sounded young and indifferent.
    He took out a golden flower with a series of expensive pearls. The craftmanship was excellent, with one eye one could tell that even with a 100 taels of gold you cannot buy this golden flower.
    The young man said:"It is yours if you stay and drink with me."
    Xiangxiang looked very excited and happy, this golden flower would be hers. She first looked at Wang Yuluo and Tang Wushuang, they looked startled and angry but didn't object.
    Yu Peiyu was interested in this young man, he was travelling with Wang Yuluo and Tang Wushuang so he has to be a lackey of Yu Fanghe. But why did he make things difficult for the two of them, furthermore why didn't Wang Yuluo object. Was he afraid of him?
    The young man laughed:"Hypocrites......hypocrites......Although I'm a rogue too but at least I'm honest about it."
    Xiangxiang who sat on his lap now smiled:"You're also sweeter and cuter than hypocrites."
    The young man laughed:"Well said! Let us drink."
    Wang Yuluo and Tang Wushuang raised their cups but weren't pleased.
    Zhu Lei'Er whispered:"This man could be the sworn brother of Xu Ruoyu."
    Ji Lingfeng whispered:"He is ten times more dangerous and cunning than Xu Ruoyu."
    Yu Peiyu whispered:"He is truly a honest rogue."
    The young man now loudly said:"I'm a bit tired now, come let us rest."
    He got up and gently pulled Xiangxiang out of the room, the two of them entered the room next door to "rest."
    It was quiet again in the room, Tang Wushuang and Wang Yuluo looked at each other and weren't looking very happy.
    After some time Tang Wushuang sighed:"It is strange that chancellor Yu would us to travel with him."
    Wang Yuluo said earnestly:"The chancellor has his reasons."
    Tang Wushuang asked:"Do you know who this arrogant brat is?"
    Wang Yuluo said:"I don't know either. I just know that chancellor Yu has put a lot of faith in him and ordered us to follow his commands."
    Tang Wushuang sighed:"How can a brat like him be put in charge of such an important task."
    Yu Peiyu and others now knew that even these two didn't know who this young man was.
    Yu Peiyu managed to see the young man's face when he left the room, he was rather handsome but too skinny. Yu Peiyu had never seen him before.
    The two of them stopped drinking and eating, they looked very nervous now.
    Suddenly Tang Wushuang laughed:"I hope he will come soon, when we've accomplished our task I wonder how that brat is going to explain himself to chancellor Yu."
    Wang Yuluo looked at him and scoffed:"Aren't you afraid you will be exposed now?"
    Tang Wushuang asked:"What do you mean?"
    Wang Yuluo asked:"Do you know who you are?"
    Tang Wushuang said:"Of course I know."
    Wang Yuluo said coldly:"It is good that you remember. You're the famous leader of the Tang Clan, I hope you can maintain your grandeur as the leader of a Wulin school. The expression and words you said earlier were only fit for lowly slaves or lackeys."
    Tang Wushuang looked embarrassed and was angered, he said:"I know you look down upon me because I was a stable boy. But what about you? Do you think you really are the hero Wang Yuluo?"
    Wang Yuluo shouted:"Shut up!"
    Tang Wushuang was angry and continued:"I won't shut up. What do you want to do? Kill me?"
    Wang Yuluo said angrilly:"If you don't I will kill you."
    Tang Wushuang sneered:"Don't forget that I am the leader of the Tang Clan now. Furthermore if you kill me where are you going to find a new Tang Wushuang."
    Wang Yuluo looked at him angrilly for a few moments, he soon recomposed himself and laughed:"Don't take my words too seriously. If you're exposed all of us are in trouble."
    Tang Wushuang laughed too:"I have been trained properly in these two years, don't worry."
    At this point Yu Peiyu was very anxious, this Tang Wushuang was a stableboy. He must be recruited because he looks like the real Tang Wushuang and has been trained for the last two years.
    But what were the true identities of Wang Yuluo, Lin Shoujuan, Ximen Feng and the Dragonking? They could be cooks, beggars, servants.......
    And how about the fake Yu Fanghe, how much better can he be?
    Perhaps he was trained longer because he does know and is well-versed in the arts of the Xiantian Wuji School. But still his original identity cannot be much better.
    When Yu Peiyu thought of this his anger grew.

    Tang Wushuang and Wang Yuluo looked very nervous, Tang Wushuang softly said:"Why isn't he here yet?.......Why isn't he here yet?"
    Wang Yuluo frowned and said:"If he doesn't come there is no point in worrying."
    Tang Wushuang said:"This matter doesn't concern you, if he doesn't come what am I supposed to do?" He stroked his beard angrilly.
    Wang Yuluo said:"This is an important matter, he will show up."
    Tang Wushuang sighed:"I wish he would hurry up."
    Who were they waiting for? It is bound to be someone important for their masterplan.
    Zhu Lei'Er wanted to ask the opinions of Yu Peiyu and Ji Lingfeng, suddenly they heard the cry of an owl.
    Tang Wushuang leapt up and moved over to the window and imitated the cry of an owl too.
    The person outside imitated the sound two more times and entered the brothel.
    Before long he entered the room of Wang Yuluo and Tang Wushuang, it was a rather young man who wore a shabby green robe. His face was covered with dirt deliberately so no one would recognize him, his robe looked very dirty too.
    When Tang Wushuang and Wang Yuluo, Wang Yuluo asked:"Where are you from?"
    The man answered:"I was blown over here by the south east wind."
    Wang Yuluo asked:"Did you see something on your way here?"
    The man replied:"I saw adults eating sweets, and children drinking wine."
    It was a very strange and silly dialogue but it was not uncommon that people in Wulin used these strange incoherent phrases to recognize each other.
    Wang Yuluo looked pleased now and said:"Thank you for coming."
    The man asked softly:"Why are we the only customers here?"
    Wang Wuluo said:"The courtesans here are ill and refuse to accept anyone."
    The man asked:"Ill? What kind of illness?"
    Wang Yuluo smiled:"Women troubles, I think."
    The man looked relieved and looked at the wine and food on the table.
    Wang Yuluo asked:"Have you eaten yet?"
    The man sighed:"To tell you the truth I haven't eaten for two days now."
    Yu Peiyu has never seen this man before in this life, who was he? And why did he rush over here in this hurry?
    What was he up to with Tang Wushuang and Wang Yuluo?
    The man started to eat although he was very hungry, he was still very mannered.
    Yu Peiyu knew that this man was bound to come from a distinguished family.
    After he was full, the man told Tang Wushuang:"Take off your trousers and robe."
    Zhu Lei'Er pouted and thought that man was shameless, but Tang Wushuang actually took off his trousers.
    Fortunately Tang Wushuang still wore his underpants, revealing his hairy legs. Wang Yuluo pointed at a scar and said:"I made this wound personally after seeing the scar of the real Tang Wushuang, it is identical."
    Tang Wushuang smiled wryly:"The real Tang Wushuang's body is like a puzzle, it took us three whole days to make the identical wounds on my body. I had to keep drinking wine to drink away the pain."
    The man nodded and said:"Very good, how about this wound?"
    Tang Wushuang said:"Tang Wushuang......"
    The man interrupted him coldly:"Don't forget you're Tang Wushuang."
    Tang Wushuang quickly said:"Yes, of course. This wound was inflicted when I was young. I fell in love with a Yunnan girl and she asked me to retrieve her clan's treasure, golden sand worth 10.000 taels of gold. I personally went to Yunnan and fought with the Eight Gangs of The Golden Sand. I challenged the eight elders of the gangs and killed them with my Tang secretive weapons, however I was hacked in the leg. Fortunately I had the famous White Ointment from Yunnan or else my leg would have been gone."
    The man asked:"What happened afterwards?"
    Tang Wushuang said:"Afterwards I found out that that girl lied to me, she used me to retrieve the golden sand. She already had a lover and eloped with him when I was still recovering from my wound."
    The man sighed deeply:"That is why from then on you hate women from Yunnan, you claim that all of them are just cheap w-h-o-r-e-s-. That is also the reason why you forbade your son to marry Miss Golden Blossom."
    Yu Peiyu now understood Tang Wushuang's hate for the Three Magnificent Flower Ladies. He resented all women from Yunnan because of his own personal drama.
    Wang Yuluo now pointed at a scar on the back of Tang Wushuang and asked:"What about this one? Good enough."
    The man said:"Very good, it is identical."
    Tang Wushuang said:"This wound was inflicted when I was 27 years old. My cousin was killed by the Myriad Victories Blade, so I challenged him. Although he hacked me in the back, but I still could use my sword to pierce his throat."
    The man asked:"How many wounds do you have on your body?"
    Tang Wushuang said:"Nine scars in total, four inflicted by sabres, four infliced by swords, one scar was left behind by the famous Eight Armed Heavenly King, he used his lethal fire projectiles to injure my shoulder."
    He paused for a minute before he continued:"Those four sword wounds were left behind by the Silver Bell Swordsman. He humiliated a senior of our clan, so at the age of 28 I sought him three times, the first two times I almost died at his hands. But the final time I was able to kill him."
    The man asked:"Are there anymore old injuries?"
    Tang Wushuang thought for a minute and said:"No, there aren't."
    The man said:"Your teeth......"
    Tang Wushuang said:"Of course I'm missing three teeth. In my younger years I was reckless and arrogant, so I challenged The King of Mount Changbai. He was proclaimed to be invincible in the field of palms and fists and was a respected Wulin senior of his time. Needless to say I lost and my three teeth were knocked out of my mouth, I couldn't eat and speak properly for 5 days."
    The man said:"Don't forget this is one of your most glorious events in your life. The King of Mount Changbai was said to be very hot-tempered man, many experts had challenged him in the past. Most of them were killed but not you, you only lost three teeth. Although you lost that fight you felt very proud and would often show your children, disciples and grandchildren which teeth were missing."
    Tang Wushuang laughed:"I will remember this."
    Yu Peiyu was very impressed by what he heard, The Eight Armed Heavenly King, Myriad Victories Blade and the Silver Bell Swordsman were all famous martial arts experts of who Yu Peiyu had heard of.
    And the King of Mount Changbai Gongsun Huo was even more famous. He was the patriarch of the Changbai School and when he was alive he put his school on top of Shaolin and Wudang.
    Tang Wushuang had the courage to seek up these experts, that showed that he was a fearless hero in his younger days. But now he was a coward who betrayed Yu Peiyu, Yu Peiyu doesn't hate him anymore in fact he pities him.
    The fate of Tang Wushuang could only be worse from now on.
    The man sighed:"Some people will notice the slightest change, you have to be careful if not your life and the plan will be endangered."
    Tang Wushuang said:"I understand."
    The man looked pensive and said:"Now that you've retired you don't interfere with the affairs of the Tang Clan anymore, however your opinion is still asked when dealing with important decisions. Also everyday your disciples, sons, daughters will come at a regular time to listen to your teachings."
    Tang Wushuang said:"That time is after my breakfast."
    The man asked:"Do you know what you eat everyday?"

    Tang Wushuang said:"People in Sichuang province don't eat congee. I eat fried rice with eggs every morning and an extra plate of tofu with peppers. The hotter the better."
    The man asked:"Are you accustomed to that?"
    Tang Wushuang said:"In the beginning I was dying, but after two years I'm used to it."
    The man asked:"After how many days do you bathe?.........."
    The man kept asking Tang Wushuang little questions about everything, even how many times Tang Wushuang goes to the lavatory.
    From this they could conclude that they have gathered all the necessary information on the real Tang Wushuang.
    Ji Lingfeng whispered:"Yu Fanghe really put a lot of time and energy in this matter."
    Yu Peiyu whispered back:"There is a big price."
    Ji Lingfeng whispered:"The famous Tang Clan which has existed for more than 200 years is almost his."
    Zhu Lei'Er whispered:"They were waiting for this man. This man is their informant on the habits of the real Tang Wushuang, but who is he?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Needless to say he is related to the Tang Clan."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Futhermore he must be very close to Tang Wushuang."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"He betrayed Tang Wushuang. If Tang Wushuang knew someone would betray him, he wouldn't that easily betray others."
    At this time the man had stopped talking and everyone stayed quiet.
    Yu Peiyu and others also stopped whispering, Wang Yuluo and Tang Wushuang were waiting him to continue.
    Wang Yuluo asked:"Is there something wrong, my friend?"
    The man didn't answer immediately and poured a cup of wine first:"The art of disguise has been around for hundreds of years, there are legends of people managing to fool with the art of disguise even destroying entire clans in the end. However I never believed these stories. But now, chancellor Yu is able to bring a new meaning to the art of disguise and with his ingenious plans....... Truly amazing!"
    Tang Wushuang and Wang Yuluo both looked pleased.
    The man looked at Tang Wushuang and said:"Chancellor Yu is really a genius for creating a lifelike imitation like you."
    Tang Wushuang looked pleased and asked:"Can I go to the Tang Manor now?"
    The man smiled:"Your trip to the Tang Manor will be perfect, no one will suspect a thing."
    The man raised his cup and said:"Let us toast to our success."
    Suddenly a voice said:"Don't forget about me."

    The young man came back again and stood at the door, the man was very nervous and shouted:"Who are you?" He put his hands in his robe.
    The young smiled:"Don't use your projectiles, I'm very much afraid of the Tang weaponry."
    The man looked at Wang Yuluo and asked:"Don't you know that someone else is here too?"
    Wang Yuluo smiled:"Don't be startled, my friend. He is with us."
    The young man said:"I'm your friend, I'm also a friend of Yu Fanghe."
    The man looked puzzled, how dare this young man call out the name of Yu Fanghe in front of Wang Yuluo.
    The man asked:"May I ask what your name is, sir?"
    The young man smiled:"I wish I had a famous and imposing nickname, but I'm just a nameless youngster."
    Wang Yuluo coughed dryly:"This is young master Yang Zijiang, his family is an old friend of chancellor Yu....."
    The young man laughed:"No need for that. Yu Fanghe doesn't even know who my parents are, even I don't know who my parents are. So no such thing as an old family friend."
    Wang Yuluo looked embarrassed, the man looked even more confused.
    Yang Zijiang asked:"Do you know why my name is Yang Zijiang?"
    The man was too puzzled and confused and just said:"I'm sorry but I really do not know."
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"You must be surprised why I'm asking you this silly question. I was found by someone near the Yangtsekiang River hence my name. My parents must have found me very annoying and dumped me near the river. They were very smart."
    The unknown man, Tang Wushuang and Wang Yuluo all thought:At least he knows that he is annoying himself.
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"Fortunately I'm not here to make friends, you must find me annoying. No matter because I dislike you too, if Yu Fanghe didn't beg me to come here. I wouldn't be caught here alive with all the gold in the world."
    All three men looked annoyed, the unknown man said coldly:"I would like to ask why chancellor Yu asked you to come here."
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"You really don't know? Yu Fanghe was afraid that all of you might get killed, so he asked me to protect you."
    The man scoffed:"Even so, we are very capable of protecting ourselves."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Really?"
    The man grunted.
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"So you are of the impression that your martial arts are very good."
    The man said coldly:"Not to be arrogant or anything, but my martial arts are passable enough to survive in the realm."
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"In my eyes your martial arts are worthless, I can kill you like squashing tofu."
    The man angrilly grunted and stood up and readied himself. Wang Yuluo and Tang Wushuang both didn't stop him, they too wanted to see what skills this Yang Zijiang had.
    Yang Zijiang sighed:"You really want to compete with me?"
    The man said angrilly:"Yes indeed."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Good."
    In a flash he was gone, the man was stunned he wanted to turn around. But suddenly he felt someone blowing in his neck.
    Yang Zijiang said calmly:"If I wanted your life, your head would be on the floor now."
    The man angrilly shouted and ten odd projectiles shot out of his hand towards Yang Zijiang.
    The projectiles hit the wall and Yang Zijiang was standing where he stood before, it was like he never left his spot.
    Wang Yuluo and others were shocked to see the swift movements of this Yang Zijiang, even Yu Peiyu was shocked.
    He felt when it came to the art of levitation he was definetely inferior to this Yang Zijiang even the arrogant Hai Dongqing may not be his match.
    The man's anger was gone, he looked shocked, scared and disappointed. He was sweating heavily.
    Yang Zijiang asked casually:"Convinced? You shouldn't feel bad, in fact you should feel glad that someon like me is protecting you."
    Wang Yuluo laughed:"My friend, your art of levitation is excellent. I have never seen such display before."
    Tang Wushuang smiled too:"When it comes to this field, you must be number one in the realm."
    These were meant as compliments but somehow Yang Zijiang looked very serious now and said coldly:"It doesn't matter that you say those words here, but if word would spread out........(*Humph)I will die because of your words."
    Tang Wushuang smiled:"My good friend, why would you say something like that?"
    Yang Zijiang sneered:"In your eyes my art of levitation is very high, but that is because you've never seen true masters in this art before. In my opinion you haven't even heard of them."
    Tang Wushuang said:"Although I'm not that well-informed, but I still know a few masters in that field."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Who are those masters?"
    Tang Wushuang said:"For instance the Lotus Fairy Xu Shuzhen of the Huashan School, Madame Hai Tang, master Hong Lian, the Seven Birds of Wulin, the Four Swallows of the South and the heroic robber of Liaodong province the Shadowless......"
    Yang Zijiang scoffed:"Those are not experts."
    Tang Wushuang said:"Of course they aren't your match, but still they are top martial artists of the realm."
    Yang Zijiang sneered:"Top? You must be joking?"
    Tang Wushuang now stayed quiet, he wasn't very pleased now.
    Yang Zijiang poured a cup of wine before saying:"You have roamed the realm for some time now too. Have you heard of a place called Echo Valley?"
    Wang Yuluo and Tang Wushuang looked at each other and said:"Never heard of it before."
    Yang Zijiang said:"I know that you haven't heard of that place before, if you did you wouldn't be sitting here that tranquil."
    Tang Wushuang asked:"Are the people in the Echo valley well-versed in the art of levitation?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"Well-versed? You could say they have reached the level of perfection. It is unbelievable. Do you know why it is called Echo Valley? Because all the people there are like echos you can hear them but you can't see them. If you have offended them, they won't kill or anything but they repeat your words as soon as you speak. If you stay quiet for three days, you won't hear them but as soon as you speak again they will repeat your words again."
    Wang Yuluo looked pale now and smiled:"But just repeating your words. That isn't really too scary."
    Yang Zijiang said:"But just repeating your words. That isn't really too scary."
    Wang Yuluo was stunned but smiled:"My friend, don't joke around please."
    Yang Zijiang said:"My friend, don't joke around please."
    Wang Yuluo looked very nervous and stuttered:"My friend,"
    Yang Zijiang said:"My friend,"
    Wang Yuluo was sweating now and stayed quiet. Yang Zijiang smiled:"After three sentences you are becoming anxious and nervous now. Imagine what would happen after an entire month. Picture it, someone whom you cannot see following you and repeating your every word. Can you stand it?"
    Wang Yuluo sighed deeply:"I think I will go insane."
    Yang Zijiang said coldly:"That is their purpose, they won't kill you but you will eventually commit suicide because you can't stand it anymore. To my knowledge only one person has managed to put up with them for three months before killing himself."
    Tang Wushuang exclaimed with fear:"Are they really that omnipotent?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"Words cannot describe their level? You have to see it yourself."
    Tang Wushuang said:"Let us be careful in the future, we don't want to offend them."
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"Rest assured they won't come after you, even if you trained for another 30 years."
    Tang Wushuang grunted.
    Yang Zijiang continued:"They are the true swallows, those people you mentioned are only worms compared to them."
    Wang Yuluo asked:"How about you?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"I'm a little sparrow."
    The unknown man scoffed:"With your head gone, who is going to protect us?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"I'm very capable of dealing with those who want your head. As for those who want my head.......They won't even want your head if you would present it on a silver plate."
    The man angrilly grunted and walked out of the room with heavy paces, Tang Wushuang and Wang Yuluo wanted to apologize and urge him to stay. But Yang Zijiang coldy said:"Let him go."
    Wang Yuluo said:"Although he is a double-crossing fiend, but we shouldn't antagonize him now."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Are you afraid he will betray us?"
    Wang Yuluo said:"Chancellor Yu has made a deal with him, however he could betray his own family so why can't he turn on us."
    Yang Zijiang said calmly:"In that case why won't you go after him and kill him."
    Wang Yuluo looked confused for a minute but soon understood and said:"My friend, you deliberately drove him away."
    Yang Zijiang poured another cup of wine and said:"I really don't mind killing but killing people in a nice place like this........I'm not so keen on ruining my mood yet."
    Wang Yuluo said earnestly:"Another four hours before dawn. That gives us plenty of time."
    Yang Zijiang looked into his cup and said coldly:"If you haven't completed your task before dawn, I suggest you would find a good place to hide for the rest of your life."
    Wang Yuluo looked afraid and quickly left.
    Yang Zijiang suddenly looked melancholic, Tang Wushuang was too afraid to say anything now.
    After some time Yang Zijiang asked:"Do you know why I want him to kill that fellow? And why I am sitting here drinking wine."
    Tang Wushuang thought:If you give me a choice too I would rather drink wine too and relax here.
    But Tang Wushuang just smiled apologetically:"I do not know."
    Yang Zijiang said seriously:"It is because I haven't killed anyone before in my life, I really do not wish to kill."
    Tang Wushuang was surprised and asked:" really haven't killed before?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"You don't believe me?"
    He now turned very serious and said:"It is because ever since I stared to roam the realm I have not met anyone who is worthy being killed by me."
    Tang Wushuang asked:"May I ask what kind of people is worthy of your attention?"
    Yang Zijiang looked at him and said casually:"I will let you know when I see such a person."

    End of chapter 28

  10. #30
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 29 A Deadly Pursuit In The Night

    Tang Wushuang shivered when he saw that Yang Zijiang looking at him like that.
    Yang Zijiang got up and said softly to himself:"There is a Miss waiting for me in the room next door."
    Tang Wushuang smiled nervously:"Does that cour....Miss know of our secrets?"
    Yang Zijiang said casually:"I want her alive now, at least I don't want to see her dead at this moment. I can't say the same thing after a few days. So she doesn't know a thing and is sleeping."
    Tang Wushuang smiled nervously:"In that case, you should not keep her waiting. I will......"
    Yang Zijiang interrupted him:"Aren't you leaving?"
    Tang Wushuang was confused and asked:"Leaving? Where to?"
    Yang Zijiang answered:"The Tang Manor, of course. Tang Wushuang should go home now."
    Tang Wushuang said with surprise:"Alone?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"Of course alone, you're not a child anymore. Should I still hold you by your hand?"
    Tang Wushuang stuttered:"But....but....."
    Yang Zijiang asked:"Have you forgotten who you are?"
    Tang Wushuang lowered his head and said:"I will leave now."
    Yang Zijiang smiled happily:"Your children and pupils are waiting for you. And don't forget your mission."
    Tang Wushuang said:"I wouldn't dream of forgetting."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Very good! You will arrive at Tang Manor tomorrow night. It is best that you will accomplish your mission in the next three days. If you fail I suggest you would find a place to hide for the rest of your life too."
    He turned around and walked to the door, he now turned around again and laughed:"You should also be careful about what you say. I might be listening right behind you."

    Tang Wushuang swiftly left the brothel, Yu Peiyu, Zhu Lei'Er and Ji Lingfeng followed him out of the brothel. Of course using a different route.
    Ji Lingfeng frowned and asked:"Tang Wushuang is our key to unravel the mystery of Yu Fanghe. Why won't you go after him?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"The other man is also a key to Yu Fanghe's plans. I cannot allow Wang Yuluo to kill him."
    Ji Lingfeng asked:"Who do you think he is?"
    Yu Peiyu shook his head and said:"I really don't know and this isn't the time to speculate about his identity."
    Ji Lingfeng looked pensive and said:"Whatever this Tang Wushuang's mission is, it must be extremely important."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Indeed, if he returns all the Tang disciples are at his disposal. He can give them the order to kill everyone Yu Fanghe wants."
    Ji Lingfeng added:"Also the Tang secretive weaponry and poison are famous throughout the realm, we cannot allow Yu Fanghe to get those secrets."
    Yu Peiyu said:"All these are very important, but I still feel that the unknown man of earlier is of greater importance now."
    Ji Lingfeng said:"Very well! You two can track that Wang Yuluo and the unknown man down. I will stay here and observe that Yang Zijiang."
    Before Ji Lingfeng left she smiled sweetly:"Don't forget our pact! Be careful about what you say too, I might be listening at your back you too."

    Zhu Lei'Er and Yu Peiyu were walking through the streets, the streets were deserted and it was still night.
    Zhu Lei'Er listened to the silence of the nights, she kept listening and thinking.
    She thought about what happened between her and Yu Peiyu, she couldn't help getting emotional again.
    The moonlight lit up her beautiful sad face.
    Yu Peiyu walked very fast and he was looking about hoping to trace Wang Yuluo or that unknown man.
    But he didn't look at Zhu Lei'Er.
    She thought:He think I'm just in the way.
    Suddenly she stopped and said:"I'm leaving too."
    Yu Peiyu stopped too and asked with surprise:"Where are you going?"
    Zhu Lei'Er bit her lip and smiled:"There are many places I can go, do not worry about me."
    Everyone could see that her smile was extremely sad and tragic. Only a blind person cannot see that she is trying to be strong, Yu Peiyu wished he was blind at this very moment.
    He wished he could say:Very well! You should leave. Although I'm very worried about you when you're alone roaming the realm. But staying with me is even more dangerous, I cannot even protect myself now let alone take care of you. Because of circumstances I cannot take you by my side, if you stay with me you will only become sadder and sadder. Furthermore I cannot stay with you for the rest of my life, can I?
    But he couldn't say those heartless words to her, how can he say them.
    He didn't say anything but gently held on to Zhu Lei'Er's hand and knew by this he would only complicate matters. But he couldn't care anymore, he cannot harm her feelings.
    It is a cold and harsh world out there, he cannot imagine and will not allow this girl to suffer anymore.
    Zhu Lei'Er wept softly. Out of happiness or out of sorrow, only she knows that.

    Suddenly both heard a carriage coming their way and very quickly too. It is most uncommon that a carriage would ride this quickly especially this late. Unless there is an urgent matter the passengers have to attend to.
    The carriage stopped near a drinking pond for the horses, Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er quickly hid in an alley and could clearly observe the carriage.
    It was an ordinary carriage, but Yu Peiyu knew that the passengers were not ordinary people. He looked around the corner, a woman put her head out of the window. Unfortunately Yu Peiyu couldn't see her face and only saw her long hair.
    The driver of the carriage said:"Just in front is the Imperial Plaque bestowed by the emperor to widow Wang."
    The woman said:"We will wait here. We're late, how come he isn't here yet."
    She sounds very anxious and nervous, like a young girl planning on eloping with her lover.
    There was another feminine voice saying:"Perhaps he got tired of waiting and left. We should look for him." This woman sounded younger than the other woman.
    The other woman replied:"He knew we were waiting for him here. Why wouldn't he wait a bit longer."
    The younger woman said:"Don't worry, I'm sure he will be here soon."
    Just after she had finished, a shadow came sliding down a roof top. Yu Peiyu saw it was the unknown man. This man had already provided himself a getaway all along.
    The man said with a hint of reproach:"Do you know that you're late?"
    The woman said:"Because we're trying to make haste, one of our wheels broke. you....realise how worried I was?"
    The man said:"I noticed someone was following me, so I deliberately made an extra few rounds in town."
    He quickly got into the carriage now.
    The woman asked:"Is everything settled?"
    The man said:"We will talk about this later, let us go."
    The driver whipped the horses and they rode away.
    Although Wang Yuluo only has one arm now, he is still a martial arts expert. This unknown man could get away from his pursuit, meaning he was also not an easy character. And the women in the carriage were not to be looked down upon either.
    If they follow too closely they will easily be discovered, Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er couldn't follow them on foot the entire time.
    Yu Peiyu was trying to think of a plan, suddenly he saw Zhu Lei'Er moving swiftly to the carriage. She was agile like a cat and disappeared under the carriage in a flash. She held on to the bars beneath the carriage and rode off with the carriage.
    When Yu Peiyu wanted to stop her but it was too late, she had already hid herself under the carriage.
    Yu Peiyu shook his head and thought that this girl was really too bold for words.
    He followed them but kept a distance, he wanted to find out who these people were first. He didn't want to engage into any unnecessary conflicts now.
    After following for some time, he lost sight of the carriage but he could still hear it.
    He was gradually weakening after following for hours, no matter how strong Yu Peiyu was he couldn't keep up with horses the entire time by foot.
    He had no choice but to continue, he was very worried about Zhu Lei'Er now. She could be in danger now, also Yu Peiyu now realised he was very hungry too. He hadn't eaten properly for days now. He could hardly focus but he kept following the sound of the carriage, he didn't even know where he was or what time it was now.
    Suddenly he noticed it was dawn and when he took a deep breath and realised he was back where he started. The carriage stopped near the same drinking pond.
    They had been riding in a circle, the driver got off the carriage and went over to a stall for some noodles. Yu Peiyu was thinking what these people were up too, the driver sat down and was waiting for his noodles.
    Yu Peiyu stood there waiting, but the aroma of the noodles kept calling him. For a hungry man it is very difficult to resist the temptation.
    The driver's noodles finally arrived, the driver started to eat slowly. Yu Peiyu was very anxious and hoped he would hurry up. In a few moments the driver finished his noodles and still sat there, he even ordered another bowl of noodles.
    Yu Peiyu was beginning to feel something was amiss, why would the man and two women stay in the carriage and not come out. Furthermore they were trying to get away from here as fast as possible hours ago. Why would they allow the driver to take his time to finish his breakfast.
    Yu Peiyu was still hesistating on what to do, he finally made a decision and walked over to the driver. He asked:"Is it possible that I can ride with you?"
    The driver smiled:"Of course! There is no one else in the carriage. Where do you want to go?"
    Impossible, Yu Peiyu broke out in a sweat, he opened the door to the carriage and indeed no one was there. When he looked under the carriage Zhu Lei'Er was missing too.
    He grabbed the driver and asked sternly:"Where are those passengers?"

    Zhu Lei'Er attached herself to the bottom of the carriage, the dust and the bumping were almost unbearable.
    She also had to breathe softly and had to focus to hear what those mysterious people were saying.
    Fortunately those people started to talk and diverted her attention away from her suffering.
    The woman sighed:"I have been thinking of you a lot, lately. Have you been thinking about me too?"
    The man just coughed, the woman asked:"Haven't you been thinking of me?"
    The other woman giggled:"Don't be afraid. I won't look or listen to your conversation, just pretend I'm asleep."
    The man sighed deeply:"I....too....have been thinking of you. If not I wouldn't make a pact with them."
    The woman asked him:"Do you regret you decision?"
    The man said gently:"No, for you everything is worth it."
    The woman stayed quiet, Zhu Lei'Er wondered what they were doing now.
    She now knew that this man betrayed the Tang Clan because of this woman. But who is she?
    After some time, Zhu Lei'Er heard the woman sigh, suddenly she pouted:"You said you were asleep, why are you spying on us."
    The other girl giggled:"I was awoken by the two of you."
    The woman said:"I think you're just suffering from lovesickness. That's why you can't sleep."
    The other girl said:"I think the two of you are suffering from lovesickness, if this was a room........" She giggled.
    The man coughed dryly:"Is everything arranged?"
    The other girl said:"Don't worry. My sister has already arranged everything as soon as she received your letter. It is safer that we travel during the nights, up ahead we have rented a small farm for us to rest for the day. We will continue our journey tomorrow."
    The two sisters seemed pleased, however the man still seemed a bit worried.
    He asked:"Who did you ask to assist you?"
    The elder sister said:"Someone we can trust."
    The man said:"There are only few people in this world you can trust......."
    The elder sister said:"We just told him to rent a farm for us, he doesn't know anything about you and our relationship........After we've arrived there, we will silence him."
    Zhu Lei'Er was shocked that these young women were that vicious.
    The man asked:"Do you know where that farm is?"
    The elder sister said:"After we're out of town we will meet up with him."
    The man stayed quiet for a minute and said:"In that case tell the driver to ride around the town a few times."
    The elder sister was suprised and asked:"Why?"
    The man said:"We'll jump out of the carriage further ahead, we will leave town by foot. We will instruct the carriage to keep riding around in town, that way if someone is following us they will only follow the carriage."
    The younger sister smiled:"You've become very careful."
    The elder sister asked:"Has something changed?"
    The man said:"No, they've agreed to our terms."
    The elder sister said:"In that case everything has been settled. Why are you that afraid?"
    The man sighed:"Because everything has been settled, we have to be extra careful."
    The elder sister asked:"Why?"
    The man said:"I think they want to silence us."
    The elder sister said:"Who did you meet today?"
    The man said:"A lackey of Yu Fanghe, Wang Yuluo and Tang......that fake Tang Wushuang."
    The younger sister scoffed:"If they're smart they won't even consider following us, but if they do they will not make it alive to see Yu Fanghe again."
    The man said:"Those two men are hardly worth our attention, but there is someone who is ten times more formidable."
    The younger sister asked:"Who is that?"
    The man said:"He says his name is Yang Zijiang, I'm not sure whether that is true or false."
    The younger sister asked:"Are his martial arts very high?"
    The man sighed:"In my entire life I have never seen someone with such high martial arts. Around him my years of training are useless."
    The sisters were shocked and surprised and stayed silent.
    The man said:"Anyway you have to be careful now. Especially........"
    He paused for a moment and said:"I have even more reservations."
    The younger sister smiled:"Don't tell us those sad events anymore, otherwise my sister will stary crying again."
    She now turned to the driver and said loudly:"Old Wang! We will get out just further ahead. Don't stop the carriage and continue to ride circles around town. Do you understand?"
    The driver said:"Yes, I understand."
    The elder sister said:"If you reveal a word to anyone we will come back and kill you."
    The driver said:"I wouldn't dare."
    The elder sister smiled:"I know."

    When Zhu Lei'Er knew that they were getting out any minute now, she was getting anxious.
    If she would follow these three, Yu Peiyu would lose track of them. If she stayed behind these three would get away.
    How would they know where they would hide?
    She suddenly remembered a little box of rouge, it was a wedding gift from one of those courtesans of Apricot Pavillion.
    She particulary liked this colour and put it away, she opened the box and used her fingers to write I'm following them, they've left town. with the rouge. She could only write this much, her hands were also quite exhausted from clinging on to the bottom of the carriage.
    The man said:"Let us get out here."
    They opened the door and three figures leapt out, it seems that the movements of the sisters were faster than the man.
    Zhu Lei'Er released her grip and she fell down hard on the ground, she almost fainted with pain. But she couldn't rest now and immediately got up and followed those three.
    She also noticed that these three persons weren't her match when it comes to martial arts.
    The driver didn't notice that they had an extra passenger. Zhu Lei'Er felt very proud and pleased about herself. She felt she was bold, cautious and ingenious. She even thought that people who have roamed the realm aren't as good as her.
    But she doesn't know that the longer you roam the realm, the more careful you become. Because you will be afraid to die. People like Zhu Lei'Er won't have a very long life expectancy in Wulin, if they don't change.
    The three have left the city far behind, and were moving to the remote outskirts.
    Zhu Lei'Er thought:"Do you really think you have left your pursuers far behind.
    She was feeling very proud and pleased again.
    The movements of the two sisters were very graceful, and with their long dresses they looked like fairies moving in the night.
    Unfortunately Zhu Lei'Er still couldn't see their faces.
    They have reached a series of farmhouses, this place looked very idyllic. A pond with fishes and ducks, geese. And all sorts of the farm animals.
    But Zhu Lei'Er felt that there was something missing in this picture, but she couldn't put her finger on it.
    The younger sister said loudly:"This is the place." Zhu Lei'Er could clearly hear her words.
    The man asked something, but Zhu Lei'Er couldn't hear it clearly. But it should be something like:"Are you certain?"
    The younger sister said:"Haven't you notice that we have no roosters here? People working in the country always have chickens and roosters."
    The elder sister smiled:"A rich young master like you won't know the goings-on of the country."
    The man still looked surprised and puzzled, the elder sister said:"People around the country always raise chickens and roosters. But because roosters are animals we don't like, that's why we have ordered them to be killed."
    Zhu Lei'Er now understood, what was missing. She softly said to herself:"So you and I are both users of poison."
    Roosters are feared by users of poison, because roosters have the ability to kill and eat all sorts of poisonous insects.
    Someone in the farmhouse was already alarmed by the barking of the dog and walked out. When he saw the two sisters, he respectfully said:"This lowly disciple welcomes the two elders."
    One of the sisters waved her hand and the man walked back inside again, the dog was still barking. The man kicked the dog and the dog quickly went away.
    Zhu Lei'Er swiftly moved to a big haystack, although the dog saw her but it didn't dare to bark anymore.
    Zhu Lei'Er wondered what she should do now. Should she meet up with Yu Peiyu and tell them where these mysterious people are hiding? Or should she stay here and observe them?
    She was still doubting about what to do, she accidentally brushed againt the haystack softly.
    Before she knew it, the two sisters stood next to her, now Zhu Lei'Er had finally seen how they looked like. They looked really pretty and sexy.
    The younger sister smiled:"Little sister, aren't you afraid of the nippy morning air?"
    Zhu Lei'Er blinked her eyes sweetly and said:"I live here too in the neighbourhood. And I didn't like to stay at home the entire time, so I came out for some fresh air."
    The younger sister smiled:"In other words we're neighbours."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Yes, we are."
    The younger sister smiled sweetly:"We just prepared a large pot of beef soup, please join us. It's better than standing here in the cold morning air."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"Very well, I'm a bit hungry too. Beef soup, nice."
    The elder sister stood there and smiled:"Very good, I was feeling sad that we don't know anyone around here. I'm so happy that we're able to be friends with a sweet and dear girl like you."
    Both were not afraid of Zhu Lei'Er and thought a young girl like her is hardly a threat.
    Both of them accompanied Zhu Lei'Er inside, Zhu Lei'Er wanted to see what kind of spectacular abilities these sisters had.
    She thought:You will be in a surprise if you plan something against me.
    When she entered that farmhouse, she noticed that it was very tidy and orderly decorated.
    That man was not here anymore and also the man that came to greet them was also gone.
    Zhu Lei'Er was a bit startled and thought:Have they killed that person?"
    The younger sister asked:"What is your name? How old are you? How long have you been living here?"
    Zhu Lei'Er gave them some answers and thought that she was quite a good liar.
    However she doesn't know that most women are born liars, men on the other hand have to be trained properly if they want to lie well.
    The elder sister and the younger sister went into the kitchen and brought out bowls, chopsticks, spoons and a pot of soup.
    The elder sister poured a bowl for everyone, the younger sister said:"Little sister, eat up while it is hot."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I'm afraid to eat it."
    The elder sister was a bit surprised and asked:"Why?"
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled innocently:"Poor people like me, hardly eat meat. So I'm afraid my stomach cannot take it."
    The elder sister smiled:"Don't worry. I haven't put in any strong spices, so I'm very confident you won't have a stomach-ache."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled sweetly:"Won't I die after eating this soup?"
    The elder sister was a bit taken by her remark and turned to her younger sister.
    The younger sister smiled:"Why would you say a thing like that, little sister?"
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"In that case, I will drink it now. Thanks!"
    Zhu Lei'Er started to drink the soup with delight, both sister looked pleased.
    The younger sister gave the younger sister a meaningful look and asked:"Did you put in the special ingredient?"
    The elder sister said:"How can I forget?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Delicious! Unfortunately I don't really like that special ingredient."
    The two sisters looked startled, the younger sister said:"There is nothing special about that ingredient, it is just our own home-made spice."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Oh, alright. But why does my tongue feel funny now."
    The elder sister laughed:"Perhaps I put in too much salt."
    Zhu Lei'Er said softly:"Too much salt.......but that's not very good either."
    Suddenly she fell down and didn't move anymore.
    Both sisters cried:"Are you allright? What is wrong?"
    When she saw that Zhu Lei'Er was unconscious they felt relieved.
    The younger sister patted herself on the chest and smiled:"She gave me a scare, I thought she was an expert on using poison too."
    The elder sister smiled:"If she was an expert she wouldn't drink an entire bowl of our soup."
    The younger sister asked:"Did you put enough in it?"
    The elder sister said:"Enough to even knock out an expert like granny Hu."
    At this time the unknown man came in and when he saw Zhu Lei'Er, he asked:"Why did you kill her?"
    The elder sister looked annoyed and said:"Why can't I kill her? Do you know her?"
    Before the man could speak, the younger sister said:"Be careful about what you say, my sister is a jealous shrew."
    The man sighed and smiled wryly:"Because I don't know her, that's why I want her alive."
    The elder sister looked a bit angry and said:"Why? Do you want to become friendly with her?"
    The man said anxiously and was nervous now:"I just want to question her about who sent her? And if she has any other accomplices. Don't you believe me?"
    The elder sister looked happily now and said sweetly:"I was just joking with you, of course I trust you."
    The younger sister pouted:"Why are you angered? If my sister doesn't love you she won't be jealous. If someone would be jealous because of me I will be very happy."

    The man smiled:"I'm not angry, but I just......"
    The elder sister smiled:"Don't worry, I didn't put anything lethal in the soup. She won't die, I will revive her in an instant."
    Before she could say anything else, Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"No need for your help, I've revived myself."
    She got up and immediately grabbed the man's hand and rendered him immobile. The man wanted to take her pulse at the time and before he knew what was going on he couldn't move anymore.
    He was also amazed that this young woman's martial arts were that high.
    Both sisters were surprised and looked at each other and thought why didn't it work on her?
    The elder sister was even more amazed, she personally put the poison it was enough to knock out ten horses. How could this young girl take it?
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at them and smiled.
    The younger sister composed herself and smiled:"Little sister, we didn't put any poison in your soup. We were just joking with you, if there was really poison in it you won't be dead now."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Yes, I think so too."
    The younger sister said:"Yes, that special ingredient was perhaps a bit too spicy for you. But although it was a home-made recipe, it was composed by someone else and not by us."
    The younger sister ran into the kitchen and came back with a small bottle, she said:"This is the bottle with our home-made spice."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Really, there is no poison? I would like to taste it."
    The younger sister was surprised and happy, she was thinking how to trick this young girl to take in this bottle of poison.
    The younger sister said:"If it is really poison, you can settle the score with me later on."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"But if it is poison, won't I die? That way I can't settle any score with you anymore."
    The younger sister was a bit shocked, and smiled:"This......"
    She didn't know what to say, but Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"Throw me the bottle and I will taste it myself."
    Zhu Lei'Er caught the bottle with her right hand and drank the entire contents. But she still held on to the man's hand.
    The sisters looked pleased and thought this young woman was an idiot and felt relaxed now. They also felt sorry that they had that this strange young woman drank the entire bottle. It was not easy to compose this poison.
    Zhu Lei'Er praised:"Delicious, it is worth getting killed over."
    The younger sister sighed and said:"One.......two.......three......."
    At the count of three she saw Zhu Lei'Er still standing. They had never seen this before, even martial arts experts couldn't withstand this poison.
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:""
    The two sisters were shocked and afraid now.
    Zhu Lei'Er continued:"Too bad there is so little, could you spare me a few bottles."
    The sisters were too shocked, they had never encountered someone who could withstand their poison before.
    The man saw that they were no match for this young woman so he sighed:"Please forgive me, for not recognizing an expert....."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"I'm not an expert, my stomach is just a bit better than normal people."
    The elder sister stuttered:"I admit defeat, you want with him?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Nothing I just want......." She didn't finish the sentence because she now saw that there is another person in this room. She didn't know when he came in.
    He was sitting in a chair and was yawning. It was a young man who was quite handsome and very skinny. Although the sisters were shocked too to see this young man, but Zhu Lei'Er and the unknown man were even more shocked.
    It was Yang Zijiang.
    The unknown man hoped Yang Zijiang could save him, Yang Zijiang yawned a few more times before looking at them. He smiled.
    The unknown man asked:"Brother Yang, do you recognize this Miss?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"I think she is your friend, she is holding your hand very tightly."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"Yes indeed, we're good friends, aren't we?" She put a bit of extra force in her hand, the man broke out in sweat because of the pain.
    Yang Zijiang said softly:"No wonder you didn't want to stay at the Apricot Pavillion. It is because you have hidden so many beautiful young women here. How dare you keep them for yourself!"
    The sisters looked angry, the man said:"I have told them that master Yang Zijiang is a famous young hero in the realm."
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"Since when did I become a famous young hero."
    Zhu Lei'Er thought for a minute and said:"Master Yang must be hungry now, won't you have some soup?"
    The sisters were hesitant, but the eldest sister saw Zhu Lei'Er's hand on the unknown man. She said:"I will get a bowl for you."
    Yang Zijiang said:"No need! I'm not the son of the Lady Zhu of the Palace of Enchantment nor am I the pupil of Feng San. I cannot stand that soup."
    Zhu Lei'Er was shocked that he would know her name and the sisters were surprised that this young woman's antecedents were that spectacular.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"How do you know me?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"Miss, you're a very famous person now in Wulin. When I heard what you did in the Family Li Village I wanted to meet you at once. You and I are both rogues."
    Zhu Lei'Er angrilly reproached:"Mind your language! I'm not a rogue."
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"All those men who disappeared in the Family Li Village must be dead because of you. With your young age you're that formidable after a few more years you will even be greater. That's why we are made for each other."
    Zhu Lei'Er was angered by his arrogant words and behaviour, she wondered how to deal with this Yang Zijiang.
    The younger sister smiled:"I think you're a bigger rogue than her."
    Yang Zijiang clapped his hands and said:"Nobody in this room is a good person."
    The younger sister said seductively:"I think we're a match for each other."
    Yang Zijiang looked at her lecherously, the younger sister felt he was stripping her with his eyes. She wanted to poke out those eyes of him but she kept smiling.
    The younger sister bit her lip and asked:"What do you want from me?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"You can be my second concubine, the more the merrier."
    The younger sister took out her handkerchief and smiled:"You're so greedy."
    She now looked confident because she thought this Yang Zijiang would fall down because the powder in the handkerchief.
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"That handkerchief cannot seduce me, my heart is gone a long time ago."
    The elder sister saw this wasn't going anywhere, she raised her hand and seven golden projectiles shot out of her sleeve towards Yang Zijiang.
    Yang Zijiang gently brushed his hand and the seven projectiles flew back, the elder sister quickly dodge but unfortunately a few strings of her long hair were cut off. Seven golden blades were stuck into the wall.
    Zhu Lei'Er and the two sisters were very worried now.
    Yang Zijiang put his feet on the table and laughed:"What do you think of this technique? If you want to see more skills use all your rusty secretive weapons on me."
    The younger sister sighed:"We give up."
    The unknown man said sternly:"Kill me now! But leave these women alone."
    Yang Zijiang sighed:"You're not a heartless man are you. Why do you think I'm here to kill you. I might even rescue you."
    Zhu Lei'Er sneered:"Spare me your lies, Yang Zijiang."
    Yang Zijiang yawned:"If I want to kill him, it will be extremely easy."
    The younger sister asked sweetly:"Do you want to kill him or rescue him now?"
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"The truth?"
    The younger sister nodded.
    Yang Zijiang said:"First I will save him from the hands of Miss Zhu, afterwards...."
    The younger sister asked:"Afterwards what?"
    Yang Zijiang said casually:"Afterwards I will kill him myself and have a good time with three beautiful girls here. After I grow tired of you I will sell you to a brothel."
    The unknown man, the sisters and Zhu Lei'Er were furious when they heard Yang Zijiang's arrogant words.
    Yang Zijiang continued:"I'm capable of doing almost everything."
    He looked at Zhu Lei'Er and smiled:"Watch out! I'm going to save him from your hands."
    Zhu Lei'Er released her grip of the man and said earnestly:"Go! I will deal with him."
    The man was surprised and when he saw that Zhu Lei'Er swiftly flying up and storming towards Yang Zijiang with attacking stances, he wanted to leap through the window.
    When Zhu Lei'Er reached where Yang Zijiang stood he was gone. The man was pushed back from the window and fell down. Yang Zijiang was sitting on the table yawning again.
    He said:"Look I've saved him from Miss Zhu."
    The elder sister stuttered:""
    Yang Zijiang said calmly:"Now I will kill him, don't worry he won't suffer."
    He walked over to the man, the man couldn't move now.
    The sisters took off their dresses revealing their underwear. They looked very sexy and their skin was smooth and white.
    The elder sister shouted:"Move one more step and we will all die together."
    Yang Zijiang sighed:"Do we really have to fight to the death."
    The sisters said:"Yes." They took out two golden daggers and pointed towards their own chest.
    Yang Zijiang frowned and asked:"Is this the infamous Blood Dissolving Dexterity?"
    The younger sister said:"Since you know what this skill is, I suggest you would leave now."
    Yang Zijiang said:"If I don't want you to die, you won't die."
    Yang Zijiang flew up, the sisters gritted their teeth and wanted to use their daggers to stab their own chests.
    Zhu Lei'Er was a bit stunned by this scene, she wasn't eager to see these two sisters die like that. She knew that when just a drop of blood of those sisters made contact with Yang Zijiang he would not survive.
    Before Zhu Lei'Er could see what was going on, the sisters were in the arms of Yang Zijiang and the daggers on the floor.
    He smiled to Zhu Lei'Er:"I am so sorry, I only have two arms."
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"No matter, I will take them from you."
    She knew that the unknown man was very important to Yu Peiyu, she had evaluated the situation and knew that Yang Zijiang couldn't block or avoid her full potential attack with two girls in his arms.
    She leapt up and crashing down on Yang Zijiang and raised her palms. However Yang Zijiang gently pushed the two sisters towards Zhu Lei'Er. Zhu Lei'Er had to redraw her palms and she felt someone blowing in her neck.
    Yang Zijiang whispered in her ear:"Even if you studied with Feng San for another thirty years, you still wouldn't be my match. Stay with me and make me happy, I might teach you a thing or two."
    Zhu Lei'Er felt weak all over and wanted to kick this annoying man to death, but she too couldn't move anymore.

    Yang Zijiang placed the three young women in chairs, Zhu Lei'Er wanted to curse him but she and the sisters couldn't speak because their speech acupoint was sealed.
    The sunlight shone on the beautiful naked bodies of the two sisters.
    Yang Zijiang said seriously:"This is an important day for me. Today is the day that I will kill for the first time, I would like see that the three Misses would be my witnesses and give me some pointers."
    He bowed and said:"This is the first time I will kill someone, I really didn't want to kill a man like him. But I have no choice."
    The sisters were crying, Yang Zijiang had use the golden dagger to remove the remaining garments of the sisters.
    Yang Zijiang said:"If there are any friends of these beautiful ladies here I hope they will come now. It would be a shame that only three people would witnes such an important day."
    Zhu Lei'Er originally hoped Yu Peiyu would come soon, but now she hoped he would stay away. Because this Yang Zijiang is too frightening for words.
    Yang Zijiang sighed softly:"People tell me that killing is very exciting, why can't I feel that."
    He turned to the man and smiled:"If you're in pain, blink to me. I hate to see people in pain."
    He was about to hack the unknown man, when a voice from outside said:"If you're in pain, blink to me. I hate to see people in pain."
    Yang Zijiang's face changed and stormed to the window and shouted:"Who is there?"
    The voice outside said:"Who is there?"
    Yang Zijiang turned pale and said:"Are you.....?"
    He didn't finish his question, he dashed through another window and was metres away in a flash. Everyone could hear him say:"Parrot! There are no grudges between you and me. I'm not to be trifled with either."
    The two sisters were stunned, Zhu Lei'Er was shocked and surprised. This Parrot had helped her out two times, she was hoping to see his true appearances today. She looked at the window and hoped he would come through it.
    Indeed, someone came through the window.

    End of chapter 29

  11. #31
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 30 An Unforeseen Disaster

    A figure came through the window, everyone was surprised to see this person. It was Yu Peiyu.
    The sisters looked surprised and happy to see him, Yu Peiyu looked amazed too to find the sisters here.
    He went over to Zhu Lei'Er and unsealed her acupoints and said:"Unseal their acupoints and follow me."
    Zhu Lei'Er got up and immediately asked:"Do you know these two?"
    Yu Peiyu picked up the unknown man and had already left the house, he didn't answer her question.
    She bit her lip and looked at the sisters for a moment, Yu Peiyu said from outside:"Hurry up! Yang Zijiang could come back. I will be waiting for you in the abandoned barn up ahead."
    Zhu Lei'Er picked up the clothes of the sisters and threw them at their feet. She looked at them bemused and unsealed their acupoints, she said:"Put your clothes on! I don't like my husband seeing naked women."
    The sisters were stunned for a moment, the younger sister said with indignation:"Husband?"
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at them and said:"Don't you recognize my husband?"
    The elder sister nodded, the younger sister said:"We know young master Yu, but who is your husband?"
    Zhu Lei'Er looked annoyed and said:"Young master Yu is my husband, my husband is young master Yu. Do you understand?"
    The younger sister sneered:"Oh really! Congratulations. For a moment there I thought you were the daughter of young master Yu."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked angered and said:"I knew it. You have an eye on my husband. But if I see you trying to seduce him I will kill you."

    Yu Peiyu had reached the barn, he put the man down and unsealed his acupoints.
    The man got up and bowed to Yu Peiyu, he said the following:"Thank you my friend for saving me. I take it you are befriended with the sisters."
    Yu Peiyu said calmly:"I do know them and we are indeed befriended. But I wouldn't sell out my own family because of them."
    The man backed a bit away from Yu Peiyu and stuttered:"What...what do mean? I..I don't understand."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"Tell me the truth, Tang Yue. Second young master Tang, please no more lies."
    The man was trembling and looked very nervous.
    Yu Peiyu sighed again:"I never guessed it would be you. I never guessed that you could betray your family and clan like that. But when I saw Miss Golden Blossom and Iron Blossom, I figured it out. You betrayed your father because he objected to your relationship with Miss Golden Blossom."
    Yu Peiyu paused for a moment before continueing in a stern voice:"So you helped them to create a perfect imposter who will approve of your relationship with Miss Golden Blossom. However by doing so you have not only betrayed your father but also the entire Tang Clan."

    Tang Yue backed to the wall and shouted:"My father is dead already. I did not kill him and by helping them I'm giving my brothers and sisters a father again. My brothers and sisters won't have to deal with the tragedy of losing our father. I have done nothing wrong! I am right!"
    Yu Peiyu angrilly scolded:"So you rather have your brothers and sisters acknowledge an imposter to be their father. Don't you even realise what he can do if returns? The entire Tang Clan will be ruined, the hard work of generations will be lost."
    Tang Yue looked like a defeated man and said:"Do you realise the pain I will be in, if I cannot see her. I know my crimes are unforgivable and I will rot in hell, but I don't care."
    He looked at Yu Peiyu and continued:"Do you know what love means? Have you any idea what love can do to you? I suppose not. If you do understand you won't blame me for my actions."
    Yu Peiyu looked sad now and smiled wryly:"I understand what you're going through. I too know what love is and I am still in love with someone. I won't blame you if you would elope with Miss Golden Blossom."
    Tang Yue smiled sadly:"Eloping? If things were that simple?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"If the two of you truly love each other that deeply, you can find a remote place in the world and spend the rest of your life there. Both of you are people who can live without any luxuries of life."
    Tang Yue said:"Someone else could perhaps do that, but........"
    Yu Peiyu asked:"But what?"
    Tang Yue continued:"Do you know how the Tang Clan deals with those who violate the family directives? They will hunt us down to the corners of the world. Besides the Heavenly Silkworm Sect is ten times more vicious than the Tang Clan."
    Yu Peiyu said:"To my knowledge hierarch Sang doesn't oppose your relationship."
    Tang Yue said sadly:"He doesn't object, because he wants me to wed his daughter officially. He knows that this will never happen. If this doesn't happen he won't allow us to be together."
    Yu Peiyu said:"But you can run away."
    Tang Yue said tragically:"Maybe we can escape the pursuit of my clan but we cannot escape from the Heavenly Silkworm Sect."
    He said even more tragically:"If Golden Blossom betrays her father and sect, she will die horribly after seven months. After seven months her body will slowly rot away."
    Yu Peiyu was worried and said, he quickly asked:"How is that?"
    Tang Yue continued sadly:"Only hierarch Sang knows how to compose the antidote to prevent the caterpillars to come out from the Heavenly Silkworm Cocoon."
    Yu Peiyu sighed deeply:"So because of this you would rather sacrifice the lives of others including your family......"
    Tang Yue said:"But I'm not a heartless man, but I will know how to deal with those conspirators too."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"What do you mean?"
    Tang Yue explained:"I can help them succeed, but I can also foil their plans. Sooner or later I will expose their crimes."
    Yu Peiyu said with surprise:"Sooner or later? You are going to wait?"
    Tang Yue said:"I will wait when I'm married with Golden Blossom."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Do you realise the damage they can do in the meantime?"
    Tang Yue said:"This......"
    Yu Peiyu sternly said:"The secretive weaponry can fall in the hands of outsiders, all the Tang disciples would obey the commands of the imposter and become his slaves. Furthermore have you thought of how many people can die at the hands of those conspirators, including your brothers and sisters. Your entire family can be destroyed before you can take actions against them."
    Yu Peiyu added calmly:"Most important, can you live that long to expose them?"
    Tang Yue was now a broken man, he was crying and said softly:"Am I wrong? Have I really made a grave mistake?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Are you still unaware of your mistakes?"
    Tang Yue said:"That day my father ordered me to switch places with you. He told you to wear a mask and wear my clothes, he instructed my brother and I to contact Yu Fanghe......"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Yes I know this already."
    Tang Yue smiled wryly:"That day he ordered me to go and see Yu Fanghe, but he warned me not to pull anything on him. Or else he would make sure I will never see Golden Blossom again."
    Yu Peiyu said grimly:"But you didn't listen to him, did you?"

    Tang Yue said sadly:"If someone didn't offer me all sorts of advantages, I wouldn't betray my father. But Yu Fanghe told me that my father and my brother were dead. If this news would spread the entire Tang Clan would be in chaos, the entire Wulin would be thrown in chaos too. So he asked me to help him to create an imposter."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"And you believed him?"
    Tang Yue said:"I found his idea ridiculous too, but this way was the only solution. Furthermore there would be a great advantage for me."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Except for agreeing your marriage with Miss Golden Blossom, I think he also promised you to be the new leader of the Tang Clan."
    Tang Yue lowered his head and said:"In a fit of confusion I agreed, but afterwards I regretted my decision. I knew too that they would silence me."
    Yu Peiyu sighed deeply:"You're quite an intelligent man, but sometimes you are a bit too naive. This is what they call......."
    He didn't finish his sentence:greed makes blind. He felt that this Tang Yue was very sad already, he didn't want to make him feel worse anymore.
    Tang Yue continued:"I have kept contact with Golden Blossom via letters. When I arranged a meeting with Yu Fanghe, I told her to meet up with me after meeting with Yu Fanghe."
    Yu Peiyu said:"A very clever move."
    Tang Yue sighed:"That is why people say that life is similar to a game of go. I have made one major move, which I cannot correct......"
    Before Tang Yue could finish, Golden Blossom stormed in and hugged Tang Yue, she sobbed:"You have done nothing wrong.....I was wrong....This is my fault."
    Yu Peiyu was saddened by this scene, their love for each other was touching.
    Although Tang Yue's actions were unforgiveable but understandeable.
    But their undying love for each other really touched Yu Peiyu.
    Zhu Lei'Er quietly approached Yu Peiyu and asked:"Did you see my characters under the carriage?"
    Yu Peiyu just nodded, initiallty he wanted to scold her for bold and rash actions. However when he saw her again, he couldn't scold her anymore.
    Zhu Lei'Er just gently pulled her sleeve, looking like she was awaiting a scolding or a praise. But either way she would accept it, because both would come from her beloved Yu Peiyu.
    Yu Peiyu said gently:"If I didn't see your message, I wouldn't be here."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled sweetly:"When did you arrive? Did you see the Parrot?"
    Yu Peiyu laughed:"Nobody can see the Parrot."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked pensive for a minute and said sweetly:"If the Parrot wasn't here. Were you the one who scared away Yang Zijiang?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled and nodded his head, he added softly:"That is why I am afraid he will return."
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"That Yang Zijiang must think that they real Parrot is chasing him. He won't dare to open his mouth to speak, by the time he figured it our we will be long gone."
    Iron Blossom stood some metres away from them, but she had her eyes on Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er the entire time. Their soft and intimate whispering pained Iron Blossom to her heart. She bit her lip and turned away from them, she felt that nobody cared for her anymore. The sobbing of Tang Yue and her sister were sad enough, but the initimate talking of Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er were even more depressing. She wished she was dead now.
    Suddenly Yu Peiyu smiled to her:"Miss Iron Blossom, I haven't seen you for months you look slimmer than the last time."
    If Yu Peiyu stayed silent, she wouldn't be this sad but now her tears almost poured out.
    She thought:Yu Peiyu.....Yu Peiyu......Do you know why I've become this slim? If you're really that concerned about me, how could you marry someone else?
    She wanted to hug Yu Peiyu and cry her eyes out. She even wanted to bite him a few times.
    She was confused, she didn't know whether to feel sad or happy to hear him talking to her again.
    She doesn't know what to say now, and before she knew it Yu Peiyu turned his attention to Tang Yue again. It seemed that that sentence was just normal pleasantry. Her heart sank away to her feet, it was like her blood was sucked away from her body in one go. Yu Peiyu didn't understand the hearts of young women.
    Yu Peiyu sighed to Tang Yue:"I'm not blaming you, you should decide what you should do now."
    Tang Yue stayed silent for a moment, suddenly he said resolute:"I will go with you."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Where to?"
    Tang Yue said:"Back to the Tang Manor and expose their crimes."
    Yu Peiyu looked pleased and praised:"That is the true way of a hero. If you've made up your mind nothing can stop you. Furthermore if you have the tenacity you can solve any problem."
    Zhu Lei'Er was happy too that Yu Peiyu had accomplished so many things today, she was happy that his mission for the truth has made incredible progress. Everyone was feeling happy, except Iron Blossom.
    Tang Yue wiped away the dirt on his face and vowed to correct his mistakes and change his ways in his heart. Golden Blossom just stared at him with praise and tears in her eyes, she felt proud that her man was able to take responsibility for his actions.
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"We have wasted enough time already, we should be on our way."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Indeed, we can discuss the necessary on our way."
    A voice from outside the barn said:"Indeed, we can discuss the necessary on our way."
    Although everyone knew that this wasn't the real Parrot and had to be Yang Zijiang. But in their eyes Yang Zijiang was equally scary as the Parrot.
    Zhu Lei'Er turned pale and shouted:"Yang Zijiang, come out like a man! Stop playing tricks!"
    Golden Blossom tightly held on to Tang Yue's hand and scoffed:"You ran away like a coward earlier. How dare you to come back again, have you no shame!"
    Yu Peiyu said loudly:"Yang Zijiang, since you're here there is no need to hide yourself anymore."
    When Zhu Lei'Er and Golden Blossom there was no reply but as soon as Yu Peiyu spoke the voice repeated:"Yang Zijiang, since you're here there is no need to hide yourself anymore."
    Zhu Lei'Er gritted her teeth and shouted:"Yang Zijiang, it could be that other people fear you. But Yu Peiyu doesn't fear the likes of you!"
    Golden Blossom shouted too:"Are you a man or not! Come out!"
    They few of them continued to scold, curse but in vain. However when Yu Peiyu opened his mouth the voice would repeat the words of Yu Peiyu.
    The few of them exchanged looks and nodded, they all stormed out the barn together.
    When outside there wasn't even a shadow of another person.
    Yu Peiyu said sternly:"If you're insulted that I've tricked you earlier, come out now. I will fight you to the death."
    The voice repeated:"If you're insulted that I've tricked you earlier, come out now. I will fight you to the death."
    This time the voice came from behind the barn, when they rushed over there nobody was there again.
    Zhu Lei'Er suddenly said to Yu Peiyu:"You stay here and the rest of us will each take a different position."
    Yu Peiyu nodded and waited when they were in position and shouted:"Yang Zijiang, come out!"
    The voice repeated:"Yang Zijiang, come out!"
    The voice came from the east, Yu Peiyu, Zhu Lei'Er, Golden Blossom and Iron Blossom all rushed over to Tang Yue's position.
    They saw Tang Yue looking frantically, he was looking all around him. Zhu Lei'Er asked Yu Peiyu:"Did you hear where that voice was coming from?"
    Yu Peiyu nodded, Golden Blossom held Tang Yue's hand and asked Tang Yue:"Did you see anyone?"
    Tang Yue looked extremely pale now and said trembling:"The voice came from behind me but when I turned around the voice shifted again and my back was faced to him again. When I turned for another time he was gone and the voice too."
    Golden Blossom said to Tang Yue:"We will stay together this time, back to back."
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"But that way there will be an opening he can take advantage of."
    They all looked together and were stunned. After some time Zhu Lei'Er said:"I don't think it is Yang Zijiang that is playing tricks with us."
    Tang Yue asked:"Why do you say that?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Yang Zijiang has orders to take your life, he could have taken your life when you faced him with your back. So therefore I conclude this voice isn't Yang Zijiang."
    Tang Yue shivered and asked with a trembling voice:"Who.....who do you think it is?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"If it isn't Yang Zijiang it must be the real Parrot......"
    When she said this she herself was stunned and shocked, she unintentionally backed closer to Yu Peiyu.
    Yu Peiyu stayed silent for some time and said earnestly:"No matter what, our plans stay the same. I don't care who he is, if he doesn't have the courage to face me. I am not afraid of him, just because he's repeating my words."
    Although he said this to assure Zhu Lei'Er and the others, he was very worried now in his heart.
    The voice repeated his words again now.
    As soon as Yu Peiyu said something the voice would repeat it.
    Everyone was feeling worried and scared, this mysterious martial arts expert was following them and spying on them. The mere thought was enough to make them gloomy.
    Whenever Yu Peiyu spoke the voice would repeat it, it was unbearable. And any lesser man would have cracked already.
    Near dusk they reached a rather big town, they found the best inn and decided to lodge and eat there.
    When they entered the inn, they saw it was rather crowded. There was no sign of Yang Zijiang. But could one of these customers be the infamous Parrot?
    Yu Peiyu now loudly said:"Listen, I'm talking again. Repeat my words."
    His voice carried very far and everyone heard him. The customers of the inn and the waiters all looked up and stared at him. They all thought why he talked that loudly and his words made no sense at all. Everyone stayed quiet, and nobody repeated his words. The customers stared at Yu Peiyu for a moment now and thought this man was mad. They ignored him and continued to eat and talk again.
    But Yu Peiyu and his friends were very happy for him and laughed happily and loudly now.
    The customers and waiters looked up again and wondered how this group of madmen had money to eat and lodge here.
    Zhu Lei'Er almost cheered with happiness, she used a lot effort to control her emotions before saying:"The Parrot is gone now, isn't he? Can you hear it too?"
    Golden Blossom and Tang Yue said simultaneously:"You're right, he is gone. We can hear it too."
    Some of the waiters and customers looked at them again and wondered:What are they talking about? There wasn't any noise earlier? These people are madder than I thought."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"It seems it really was the Parrot, Yang Zijiang wouldn't leave us alone like that."
    Yu Peiyu was still a bit restless and tried one more time, he said loudly:"If he really wants to harass me, why would he leave so soon."
    Fortunately there wasn't a voice to repeat him, the imitator was really gone now.
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"Perhaps he didn't really want to harass you, he just wanted to teach you a lesson for using his fame. So he played a little joke on you too."
    Golden Blossom smiled too:"I agree, now that the joke is over he has gone weary of you."
    This dinner was a very cosy, there was a lot of talking. However not on the side of Yu Peiyu and Tang Yue. With three women in the company men can hardly talk.
    But of the three women, the least talkative was Iron Blossom. She kept looking and observing Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er. She wondered whether they were really married and whether they really were husband and wife.
    After the dinner she had her answer.

    Yu Peiyu ordered five rooms in total he said:"Well, we need to rest properly now. Furthermore we need the energy to face the possible troubles ahead. He turned to Tang Yue and laughed:"You have neighbouring rooms and there is a door linking to both rooms. Although I asked for five rooms but I'm not a conservative man."
    Yu Peiyu was feeling quite pleased and even joked a bit now.
    Golden Blossom looked at Tang Yue and Tang Yue looked at her. When their eyes met they both blushed, it seems they had never been intimate with each other before.
    Golden Blossom blushed and said timidly:"We need all the rest we need, we won't make use of that door."
    It would have been best if she kept quiet, but now everyone started to laugh loudly including Tang Yue.
    Golden Blossom blushed even more and pouted to Tang Yue:"Laugh all you want now. I will lock that door and see if you can laugh tonight."
    Before she could finish, she herself started to laugh. She quickly entered her room and closed the door.
    Yu Peiyu patted on Tang Yue's shoulder and joked:"We have a long day ahead of us, that day will come very soon."
    Both he and Tang Yue entered their own rooms, they all felt relaxed now. Their sorrow and troubles were not so threatening anymore at this moment.
    However Iron Blossom was the happiest of them all.
    She smiled to Zhu Lei'Er:"My sister and my brother-in-law aren't officially married yet, so that's why they sleep in different rooms.
    But why are you sleeping in different rooms too?"
    Zhu Lei'Er was looking at Yu Peiyu's closed door and felt quite melancholic as it is.
    But hearing the words of Iron Blossom was like pouring oil on fire.
    She angrilly said:"That is a matter between him and me. It is not your concern."
    She walked into her room and heavily closed the door.
    Iron Blossom looked at Yu Peiyu's door too for a moment and looked through the window to stare at the moon. She suddenly sighed deeply:"It is a long night.......perhaps too long....."

    There was indeed an extra door in Golden Blossom's room. When she entered her room, she immediately fell down on the bed. She wanted to sleep but couldn't fall asleep and kept tossing and turning.
    In the end she sat up and looked at the door, it was quiet on the other side.
    Is he asleep now? What is he doing? Those were the thoughts of Golden Blossom.
    She kept waiting and waiting, she was confident that Tang Yue would look for her. But he didn't come, she thought:If you're not coming here, I will look for you myself.
    She got off her bed and gently walked to the door, because she was a girl from Yunnan she was accustomed not to wear shoes.
    And the inn was very clean.
    Suddenly she heard a soft knock on the door, she immediately went back to her bed.
    She laughed softly:"I knew you couldn't resist the temptation, but...but.....there is time for that later on."
    It remained silent on the other side, was Tang Yue angry now.
    Golden Blossom said gently:"It is not that I don't want to let you over, but they might hear us and laugh at us tomorrow."
    But there was still no sound on the other side, the last words of Golden Blossom would at least trigger a response. Golden Blossom asked:"Are you angry with me?"
    It was still quiet on the other side, after some time Golden Blossom became annoyed and said:"Are you dead or something? Answer me!"
    Again there was not a sound coming from the other side. She know realised something was amiss and stormed into Tang Yue's room.
    Iron Blossom was lying in her bed too and she was smiling. All her worries were over now. Because Zhu Lei'Er and Yu Peiyu were sleeping in separate rooms.
    Although she was not sleeping with him either, but at least nobody else was sleeping with him.
    That thought made her very happy and secure again, Yu Peiyu was still available.
    She suddenly felt that life and the psyche of women was very strange downright funny even.
    She could also overhear the words of Golden Blossom, she secretly laughed at her sister.
    After some time she heard the door opening of Golden Blossom's door to Tang Yue's room. She blushed because she could imagine how things would end.
    She smiled and felt happy for her sister.
    However she heard her sister shriek very loudly. That didn't sound like the sound of two lovers meeting in the night. She got up at once at rushed over to see what was wrong.

    Zhu Lei'Er was lying in her bed and was sobbing. She was crying because Yu Peiyu humiliated her in front of Iron Blossom. Not because he didn't want to sleep with her.
    She didn't even mind if she would be sleeping on the floor, she wouldn't even mind if she crawled out through the window and went back to her own room later on.
    She just wanted that Iron Blossom could see her and Yu Peiyu enter the same room together.
    She couldn't hear the words of Golden Blossom, but she could hear the shriek over Golden Blossom clearly.
    The shriek sounded awfully eerie, when she opened her door she saw that Yu Peiyu and Iron Blossom had opened their doors at the same time.
    What happened in Tang Yue's room?
    They heard Golden Blossom cyring loudly now, and when they looked inside Tang Yue's room.......
    They saw Tang Yue lying on the floor, his normal handsome young face looked awful now. His hands made a fist, his face was contracted together.
    The other lodgers of the inn were also aroused by the noise, they all came out to have a look.
    Yu Peiyu walked in and closed the door, he and the rest were not in the mood for gawkers.
    Iron Blossom was stroking the hair of her sister and consoling her softly. But soon she broke out in tears too and didn't know how to console her sister anymore.
    Yu Peiyu was angry, sad and upset, he was trembling now. Zhu Lei'Er walked over to him and asked softly:"How did he die?"
    He shook his head and didn't answer, he picked up the body of Tang Yue and placed him on the bed.
    There were no visible wounds, how did he die.
    Yu Peiyu stayed silent after awhile he asked Zhu Lei'Er:"Was he poisoned?"
    Zhu Lei'Er examined the pot of tea on the table, she tasted a bit and shook her head.
    Yu Peiyu asked:"There is no poison in the tea?"
    Zhu Lei'Er shook her head and said:"None."
    Yu Peiyu looked at Tang Yue's body and noticed something, it seemed he was clutching to something in his hand.
    He wanted to see what that was, Zhu Lei'Er stopped him and said:"Let me have a look."
    She opened the hand of Tang Yue and saw blood dripping from his palm, the blood was black.
    She pulled out a small metallic object shaped like a flower, with tiny sharp spikes.
    Zhu Lei'Er said earnestly:"What a lethal poison! I wonder whether I could handle this poison myself."
    Yu Peiyu also looked very serious and said:"This is one of the Tang secretive weapons, the spiked bludgeon. It is extremely lethal and the victim will practically die instantly."
    Zhu Lei'Er said with surprise:"Tang secretive weapon? So do you mean he comitted suicide?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Perhaps three months ago he would but now......"
    He didn't finish his sentence he looked sadly at the weeping Golden Blossom.
    Zhu Lei'Er said loudly:"It must be that Yang Zijiang."
    The night slowly passed, it was dawn now. Golden Blossom gradually came by her senses. She paid the proprietor a lot of silver to buy a coffin and order the best undertakers in the town. She personally supervised every detail when the undertakers came, Yu Peiyu, Zhu Lei'Er and Iron Blossom sat down and saw her walking about being busy.
    Zhu Lei'Er said sadly:"Let her be. It will give her some distraction."
    Yu Peiyu said sadly:"It won't be usy to recover from this tragedy."
    All of a sudden Iron Blossom asked them:"Do you think Yang Zijiang is really the killer?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"If it isn't him who could it be."
    Iron Blossom said:"If it was him he could have killed my brother-in-law at the barn."
    Yu Peiyu smiled sadly:"Maybe he thought we couldn't escape from him anyway. So he deliberately played with us and waited for a good chance to surprise and shock us. He has his revenge now."
    Iron Blossom stayed quiet and said softly to herself:"Yes, he is that kind of man."
    She looked at Yu Peiyu and said:"Perhaps he hasn't left at all and is spying on us this very moment."
    Yu Peiyu nodded.

    Iron Blossom looked in front of her and said slowly:"He won't stop at one, he will kill us all one by one."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at a willow tree, she shivered when she heard the words of Iron Blossom.
    After some time Yu Peiyu smiled:"Killing us all, that won't be that easy."
    They noticed that Golden Blossom wasn't in the yard of the inn anymore.
    A strong wind was blowing now, everyone shivered a bit and felt it was a bad omen. It seemed like Yang Zijiang was spying on them.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked Iron Blossom:"Where is your sister? Will she commit......"
    Yu Peiyu quickly interrupted her:"She is a very strong woman, both she and Miss Iron Blossom are not those who seek death."
    He didn't want to hear the word suicide.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"If she was feeling sad and heart-broken, I would feel secure. However she was looking so determined and calm earlier, she couldn't have put away her sadness that easily."
    Iron Blossom immediately got up and started to look for her sister, Zhu Lei'Er looked sad and sighed:"With Tang Yue dead, I am afraid that Golden Blossom won't want to live either......."
    Yu Peiyu suddenly noticed that Zhu Lei'Er has become more mature and adult over these two days.
    Zhu Lei'Er noticed Yu Peiyu looking at her and she seemed to understand what he was thinking. She lowered her head and said:"Men need more time to mature, but women can mature very quickly sometimes even overday."
    Yu Peiyu stayed quiet and didn't know what to say.
    Suddenly he remembered something he heard about:Girls become women after they get married.
    He wasn't sure if Zhu Lei'Er meant that and he was too afraid to ask. He didn't want to talk about this matter at least not now.
    Fortunately Iron Blossom came back with Golden Blossom, Golden Blossom wore a beautiful dress with bright colours.
    Yu Peiyu thought it was strange that she would something like that now, shouldn't she be wearing mourning clothes instead.
    Golden Blossom sat down in front of Yu Peiyu and asked:"What do you think of this dress?"
    Yu Peiyu was dumbfounded by this question and smiled awkwardly:"Very nice."
    Golden Blossom smiled:"My mother told me once if a person is tired and exhausted, you should freshen up and wear new clothes. You will feel perky again."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"Do you feel better now?"
    Golden Blossom didn't hear that question, she gently touched the embroided flower on her dress. She turned to Yu Peiyu and smiled:"I embroided this flower myself, even little Yue hasn't seen this dress before. You're the first man who sees this dress."
    Her voice sounded very gentle. Yu Peiyu didn't know how to react.
    Zhu Lei'Er was a bit taken by her words too and thought:Why is she saying these words to Yu Peiyu, Tang Yue died only less than half a day ago. Is she looking for a replacement now?
    Zhu Lei'Er knew that this possibility was not big but she couldn't stop herself from thinking about that.
    Golden Blossom said:"I know that everyone is very tired, I have ordered the kitchen to prepare a few of their famous dishes. Let us rest and drink some wine."
    Her fiance just died, how can she drink?
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Can you really eat and drink now?"
    Golden Blossom laughed faintly:"He is dead now, even if we cried our eyes out he cannot be brought back. We should take good care of ourselves if not he won't die peacefully."
    These words that others should console her, but she was using them to console them.
    Zhu Lei'Er was dumbfounded again.
    In awhile the waiters brought in the dishes and wine, she poured a cup and raised her cup and said:"Let us drink."
    Yu Peiyu was a bit hesitant, Zhu Lei'Er was looking at Yu Peiyu and saw him drinking a cup too.
    Golden Blossom said:"Miss Zhu....."
    Zhu Lei'Er said loudly:"I do not have the mood to drink, perhaps you do."
    Golden Blossom smiled:"Anyway I have to drink this cup, Miss Zhu......"
    Zhu Lei'Er said coldly:"Anyway I won't drink this cup."
    Golden Blossom looked into her cup, the red son shone on the wine. The wine looked red, like blood.
    Her smile was gone now and said recited:"I urge him to drink another cup, in the west there are no friends anymore......"
    She drank the wine and laughed:"Who says that I do not have friends anymore, at least I have little Yue."
    Iron Blossom raised her cup and wanted to drink too, but she dropped her cup and shrieked:"Eldest sister.........."
    Golden Blossom said gently:"I am fine, I am very happy. I have never been happier before. Because in a few moments I will be together with little Yue forever......Nobody can separate us again."
    Zhu Lei'Er quickly took the cup from Golden Blossom's hand and wanted to taste to see what poison she used.
    Yu Peiyu also stood up with surprise, Golden Blossom gently held Zhu Lei'Er's hand and said:"You don't have to taste it, there is no poison in my cup."
    Zhu Lei'Er said sadly:""
    Golden Blossom said gently:"The poison was in my heart, when little Yue died I had already......."
    She couldn't finish her words. At least she didn't suffer, staying alive and living on was suffering in her eyes.

    It was dusk, the wind was howling and there were soft cries of weeping. Yu Peiyu, Zhu Lei'Er and Iron Blossom looked at the new graves.
    Zhu Lei'Er kept blaming herself and sobbed:"If only I had drunk that wine too. Why didn't I drink the wine?........"
    The night set in now, Zhu Lei'Er continued to sob:"She was planning on dying all along, why didn't I act? Why didn't I stop her?"
    Yu Peiyu looked at the two graves and thought why these loving couple had to die? Why did so many loving couples have to die?
    He wiped away his tears and said:"Let us go."
    Zhu Lei'Er raised her head and cried:"Let us go? Is that the only thing you can say now?"
    Yu Peiyu said tragically:"What can I say? What else is there that I can say?"
    Iron Blossom suddenly said:"At least we shouldn't stay here and cry."
    Zhu Lei'Er sobbed:"Why? Why?"
    Iron Blossom looked around her like there could be spies all around them. She said:"If he sees us this sad, he will be very happy. Why will we allow him to be happy? I will let my tears flow somewhere else."
    Zhu Lei'Er and Yu Peiyu knew who [he] was, Zhu Lei'Er stood up and looked around too, she thought:Could the eyes of him really be looking at us and is he laughing now?
    Yu Peiyu wiped away the tears on the tombstones and said:"Let us go now."
    Zhu Lei'Er nodded and said:"Let us go."

    The three of them moved in the darkness, Yu Peiyu felt very sad. Tang Yue died, he didn't deserve to die, he was about to correct his mistakes.
    Furthermore with him dead, Yu Peiyu's quest was set back too.
    The disappointment was really big for Yu Peiyu.
    Zhu Lei'Er walked beside him, although she understood what he was thinking she didn't interrupt his thoughts.
    After for walking for some time Yu Peiyu didn't speak, all of a sudden he said loudly:"Why should I give up! I lost this round, but I won't give up not while I am still breathing."
    Although he was talking to himself, Zhu Lei'Er looked at him full of praise and love. She said gently:"Exactly as long as we are still standing, we will be able to topple him."
    Yu Peiyu looked up and said:"Indeed that day will come. Although brother Tang Yue has died we still have to go to Tang Manor. We cannot allow a mere old stable-boy become the leader of the Tang Clan."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled again when she heard the words [a mere old stable-boy].
    She smiled and said:"We will degrade him again to the stable-boy he is. Miss Iron Blossom, what do you.........?"
    She turned around and saw that Iron Blossom was gone.
    Iron Blossom was walking behind them. She felt like a third wheel in the company of Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er.
    Both Zhu Lei'Er and Yu Peiyu started to look in the vacinity and yelled:"IRON BLOSSOM, WHERE ARE YOU! COME OUT! CAN YOU HEAR US! PLEASE ANSWER US!"
    Suddenly Yu Peiyu rushed over to Zhu Lei'Er's position and held Zhu Lei'Er's hand. He was afraid that she will disappear into nothingness too."
    The moon lit up a brook near them, Yu Peiyu started to follow the stream and hoped to spot Iron Blossom near it.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked softly:"Do you think she would have left us without telling."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Will she really leave us like that?"
    Zhu Lei'Er bit her lip and said:"Do you think that Yang Zi...zijiang seized her?"
    Suddenly Yu Peiyu saw something in the bushes, it was a shoe of Iron Blossom.
    When Iron Blossom was around Zhu Lei'Er hoped she would go away, the look Iron Blossom gave Yu Peiyu always got on her nerves. But now she wished she was back.
    She started to sob when she realised that Iron Blossom might be gone forever.
    She dug a little hole and burried the shoe and said:"Perhaps she really did leave on her own and wasn't captured or attacked by Yang Zijiang."
    Yu Peiyu sighed deeply and said in the end:"Maybe."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"If she was attacked, she would have at least put up a struggle. She wouldn't be overwhelmed in one go, she is strong enough to ward off a few stances."
    Yu Peiyu nodded in agreement.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Futhermore if she is dead, there is bound to be a body. But there isn't one so it is safe to presume that she is still alive now......."
    She suddenly broke out in tears and said:"Why am I lying? She is probably dead now and it must be that Yang Zijiang that is behind this. He won't allow us to make it alive to the Tang Manor."
    Yu Peiyu let her cry and said after some time:"Let us move on."
    Zhu Lei'Er composed herself again and said:"Yes, let us move on. Let us find him."
    Yu Peiyu shook his head and said:"We're not looking for him."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What are we going to do now?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"We will await his arrival."
    Zhu Lei'Er bit her lip and sighed:"You're right. He is bound to look for us, but are we going to stay here and wait for him?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Our goal is still the same, we go to the Tang Manor and stop the imposter."
    He looked very determined and resolute, nothing and nobody in this world could change his mind about his plan.
    His stern and executive tone made an impact on Zhu Lei'Er too, she said firmly:"We will go to Tang Manor, no matter what."
    She said loudly, she wasn't afraid that Yang Zijiang would hear her. In fact she was hoping he would hear their determination.
    Yu Peiyu patted her on the shoulder as a meaning to praise her.
    He tightly held on to her hand and was afraid the mysterious black oblivion would swallow her too like it did to Iron Blossom.

    They were extra careful now and it made their journey even more difficult. With extreme difficulty they reached the next town, Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er went to an inn.
    Yu Peiyu told her:"We will rest in this town and travel to Tang Manor tomorrow morning."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at him gently and sighed:"You really need to rest too."
    The proprietor of the inn asked how many rooms Yu Peiyu wanted.
    Yu Peiyu looked at Zhu Lei'Er and said to the proprietor:"Just one room will do."
    Zhu Lei'Er's heart skipped a beat, the proprietor was disappointed because the business of his inn wasn't doing too well. And he also thought these two didn't really look like husband and wife, they were acting too formal.
    When they entered the room, Zhu Lei'Er's heart was beating very fast.
    Yu Peiyu locked the door and secured the windows, he now turned to Zhu Lei'Er and smiled gently:"Sleep now."
    Zhu Lei'Er lowered her head and asked:"How about you?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"I will put two chairs together and sleep on it."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"You should sleep on the bed because you need a good rest."
    Yu Peiyu looked at her, he noticed she looked very tired and pale.
    His affection for her grew when he saw her like that.
    He thought:Yang Zijiang could appear at any moment, why should I even bother with those damn etiquette. I will only make her feel worse, I want her to sleep properly. Why can't we share a bed?"
    Zhu Lei'Er was making up the bed for Yu Peiyu and smiled with difficulty:"I can sleep in a chair, I'm used to that. When I took care of my third uncle I did the same."
    Yu Peiyu said with soft and gentle:"We will share the bed, it is a big bed. And I am not fat."
    Zhu Lei'Er was just holding a pillow at this moment and when she heard his words she dropped the pillow immediately.
    She wanted to look at Yu Peiyu now but was afraid to do so, she just stuttered:"Aren't"
    Yu Peiyu didn't let her finish and interrupted":"Afraid of what? Don't tell me that you hit people when you're asleep?"
    Zhu Lei'Er blushed and giggled:"No I don't hit people in my sleep, but I tend to occasionaly kick people in my sleep. You might end up sleeping on the floor after all."
    It wasn't a very big bed, the proprietor had really no intentions that their guests would share beds even if they were husband and wife.
    Yu Peiyu was really exhausted and he was asleep very soon.
    Zhu Lei'Er was very anxious and didn't even dare to look at Yu Peiyu. She didn't even dare to touch his blanket.
    One day ago she wished she could share a room with Yu Peiyu but now they were sharing a room she was scared out of her wits.
    She backed to the wall and tightly held on to her blanket, her heart was beating faster and faster.
    If Yu Peiyu would reach out to her, what will she do?
    Zhu Lei'Er was too afraid to think about that but she couldn't resist the temptation to think about what would happen.
    She felt very warm but didn't dare to put her head out.
    Fortunately Yu Peiyu was asleep and she could put her head out for some air, but when he suddenly turned again she quickly retreated back under her blanket.
    But in her heart she was filled with happiness because Yu Peiyu was sleeping next to her. She wanted to scream on the rooftops and let everyone know what happened here. But if people would come now and enter their room she would hide herself under her blanket again.
    The happiness of a young girl..........the happiness and innocence of a young girl.

    End of chapter 30

  12. #32
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 31 As Unpredictable As The Weather

    Yu Peiyu was pretending to be asleep, after a long time when he noticed that Zhu Lei'Er was really asleep he opened his eyes.
    Zhu Lei'Er was asleep, she was really tired a lot of happened in these days. He thought she was still young and still very innocent, when he saw the sweet, tranquil and beautiful face of Zhu Lei'Er he smiled.
    To be honest although Yu Peiyu was a true gentleman, he was still a healthy young man. Sleeping next to him was a beautiful young girl who was madly in love with him, if he said he wouldn't feel anything right now he would be lying.
    Furthermore if he really would embrace her, he knew she wouldn't resist him. Yu Peiyu gently caressed her hair, suddenly he felt warm. But then he remembered Lin Daiyu, he remembered that night with Lin Daiyu.
    Even if Yu Peiyu didn't tell Lin Daiyu who he really was, but she already knew.
    Her love for Yu Peiyu told her that he was her fiance.
    When she stabbed him, her heart was also filled with sorrow and pain. Yu Peiyu removed his hand of Zhu Lei'Er's hair.

    The night slowly passed, fortunately Yang Zijiang made no appearance. Zhu Lei'Er woke up first and saw she was sleeping next to Yu Peiyu.
    She realised it was her first night with a man, she was happy and nervous.
    Albeit nothing happened but she felt she was no longer a girl she was now a woman.
    She couldn't help herself from giggling.
    The sun shone into the room now, she carefully looked at Yu Peiyu. He was still asleep, he looked like an innocent boy too.
    Zhu Lei'Er also gently caressed his face and said gently:"If this was our home, it would be perfect. I will cook congee for you every morning and you will have to eat at least eight bowls before leaving the table."
    Yu Peiyu laughed now:"Eight bowls only, I can eat at least ten bowls at this moment."
    Zhu Lei'Er was scared out of her wits and quickly pulled away her hand.
    She pouted:"I thought you were gentleman but you're so embar......."
    She didn't know what to say.
    Yu Peiyu looked at her and was dazzled, her hair was loose and her cheeks were reddish. She looked absolutely gorgeous now, he wondered he should feel happy or sad.
    He got up and said softly:"Strange, why hasn't Yang Zijiang made an appearance yet."
    Zhu Lei'Er turned pale when she heard the name Yang Zijiang and said with fear:"Perhaps he is afraid of us?"
    Yu Peiyu stayed quiet, Zhu Lei'Er said:"What other reason could there be?"
    Yu Peiyu looked pensive and sighed:"I really don't know, but I'm sure he isn't afraid of us."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled sweetly:"Maybe he is dead, or maybe he got blind. Or even better he has caught leprosy. Anyway he isn't here and we shouldn't waste our time thinking about him."
    Yu Peiyu said with a smiled:"The only thing I am thinking about is a big bowl of noodles."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"And two fried dough sticks would be nice too."
    She was feeling perky and happy today and after breakfeast they went on their way. Around noon they had reached the territory of the Tang Clan.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"How much further is it?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"About one hour walk from here."
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed deeply:"We're finally here."
    Yu Peiyu sighed too:"That imposter must have arrived yesterday, he could have done a lot these two days."
    Zhu Lei'Er said gently:"Don't worry, he only arrived two days earlier than us. Besides he has to deal with a lot of formalities, I don't think he has time to do anything evil at the moment."
    Yu Peiyu said:"I hope so too, but I'm afraid........"
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What are you afraid of?"
    Yu Peiyu said earnestly:"I am afraid that the people from the Tang Clan won't believe my story. Imagine some stranger walkes up to you and tells you, your father is an imposter. Will you believe him like that?"
    The most problematic thing at the moment is convincing the members of the Tang Clan, not reaching the Tang Manor.
    How can he convince them that this Tang Wushuang is a fake.
    Zhu Lei'Er frowned and asked:"Do you know any Tang disciples?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled wryly:"I don't know them at all."
    Zhu Lei'Er exclaimed with surprise:"Not even one?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Just one a Miss Tang Lin."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at him bemused and said:"Tang Lin.....Tang Lin.....a very pretty name. She must be very pretty too."
    Yu Peiyu felt he had said too much and just said:"Hmm."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Are you very close to her?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"I just met her once."
    Zhu Lei'Er pouted:"Only once and you remember her name that clearly. Not easy."
    With a strange, easy jealous girl at his side, he was a bit dumbfounded what to do. The best option was to keep quiet.
    They passed a local road stall, the noodles and pancakes smelled wonderful.
    Yu Peiyu bought a few of those fried pancakes for Zhu Lei'Er and himself, if they would eat they couldn't talk about those embarrassing matters like Tang Lin.
    Zhu Lei'Er only took one bite and was still chewing on it.
    Yu Peiyu laughed:"Are you still angry?"
    Zhu Lei'Er pouted:"I'm not that quickly jealous as that Zhong Jing."
    She regretted those words and blushed out of embarrassment. She finally swallowed that piece of pancake and said:"I suddenly thought of something."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"What is it?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Maybe Yang Zijiang has reached the Tang Manor too." Yu Peiyu nodded in agreement.
    Zhu Lei'Er continued:"He knew that we're heading for the Tang Manor."
    Yu Peiyu nodded again and said:"Very likely."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Maybe he has devised a plan with the fake Tang Wushuang, when we reach the Tang Manor they will have many nasty surprises waiting for us."
    Yu Peiyu didn't speak, but his face looked very serious. He too has thought about this problem. But he didn't know how to deal with such a situation if it arose.
    He also knew that the chance of exposing this Tang Wushuang was very small.
    But he didn't want to tell Zhu Lei'Er about his worries, he didn't want to upset her. He knew she was feeling happy today, he would rather suffer alone than see her sad and worried again.
    He was the type of person who would share his happiness gladly with others, but would keep his sorrow in his heart and suffer alone.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"If we go to the Tang Manor like this, we will likely be attacked at once. The Tang Manor is filled with experts and that imposter only has to issue an order."
    Yu Peiyu took a deep breath before saying:"There is no other alternative now."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"But......"
    She didn't finish her sentence, because a party or riders were coming their way.
    Leading these riders was a carriage, Zhu Lei'Er whispered:"They're not from the Tang Manor."
    Yu Peiyu nodded but looked very serious now, Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Shall we ask them what they know about the Tang Manor?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"No, that will only arouse their suspicion."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I understand."
    The group of riders rode by on their horses, Zhu Lei'Er couldn't resist to look at them.
    She saw two muscular men leading now, they wore expensive brocades. There were two strange-looking flags on the carriage, all the men were talking and laughing.
    After they passed Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er, she asked:"Are those people from an armed guard agency?"
    Yu Peiyu answered:"Yes, they are."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"I have never seen those before untill now. It looks like fun, if I were a man I would like to be an armed guard for one day."
    Yu Peiyu laughed:"But the fun would be over if you would meet robbers."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I have heard that usually two or three guards would shout the slogan of their agency to scare off potential robbers. And their flags would be raised highly. But now their flags are put away and there are no guards shouting."
    Yu Peiyu said:"That is because they are respecting the Tang Clan. Did you see the casual looks of those men earlier, because they are certain that no one has the audacity to ambush them on Tang territory."
    Zhu Lei'Er pouted:"Just a mere Tang Clan! Please?!? If I wasn't busy right now I would certainly try them out."
    Yu Peiyu laughed and thought the daughter of Lady Zhu, the niece of the famous master Feng San wouldn't take the Tang Clan seriously. But how many people can learn the skills of Zhu Mei and/or Feng San.
    Suddenly two riders rode by them with incredible speed and yelled:"Chief Wang, chief Qian! Wait a minute!"
    Two armed guards recognized the riders as disciples of the Tang clan and said:"Chiefs, two masters of the Tang Manor are here."
    The two chiefs came back and asked:"What is wrong?"
    Yu Peiyu became extra alert when he knew that those two men were Tang disciples. They wore black robes and looked sad and anxious.
    That chief Qian spoke first:"Because it was too early we didn't want to impose on you, so that is why didn't go to the Tang Manor. But we will pay a visit to you after we have finished our job."
    He was afraid that the Tang Clan would blame them for being rude, that is why he quickly explained why they didn't pay respects to the Tang Manor.
    Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er looked at each other and thought:Could the imposter want to create turmoil in the Wulin of Sichuan province? Are these two sent here to kill these armed guards?
    Yu Peiyu couldn't see these innocent people getting killed, if these two would draw their weapons he would immediately intervene.
    One of the Tang disciple said:"I received your cards and realised that chief Wang and Qian of the Grand Far Agency were passing by. Please forgive us for not greeting you earlier."
    Chief Wang said:"You're too kind."
    Chief Qian said:"What brings masters Tang here?"
    The other disciple said:"It is because......"
    He now lowered his voice and Yu Peiyu, Zhu Lei'Er couldn't hear a word. Zhu Lei'Er looked annoyed and angry.
    Both Qian and Wang looked surprised and shocked and said:"No!"
    The two Tang disciples only nodded.
    Chief Wang whispered something in the ears of the guards and everone rode along with the two Tang disciples.
    When they were gone, Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What has happened in the Tang Manor, why were they so shocked?"
    Yu Peiyu looked pensive Zhu Lei'Er added:"Maybe it is all a ruse of that imposter to trick those group of men to the Tang Manor. We really should find out more about the current situation of the Tang Manor, before we enter."
    Yu Peiyu suddenly said:"Can you promise me something?"
    Zhu Lei'Er was a bit surprised and said:"Tell me what it is first."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Promise me first."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"You're acting like a boy right now, how can I promise you something if I don't know what it is. For all I know you want me to give you a ki....."
    She stayed silent and her cheeks turned red.
    Yu Peiyu said sincerely:"I have never begged you to do anything before, but now I want you to promise me this."
    Zhu Lei'Er bit her lip and said:"Allright, I promise you."
    Yu Peiyu said seriously:"After we enter the Tang Manor I want you to go to the restaurant left of the courtyard. That is where the Tang Clan entertain their guests, according to their ancient family directives no one is allowed to use force there."
    Zhu Lei’Er remained silent afrer some time, she said sadly:”Do you really think I can stay there and enjoy food and drinks there.”
    She noticed that Yu Peiyu’s hand was very cold. She understood what he was thinking, she smiled faintly:”But no matter what, I will listen to your request.”
    When they are walking on the main road to the Tang Manor, they saw more and more Wulin people walking to the Tang Manor. They all looked at Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei’Er, they were all captivated by the charisma of Yu Peiyu and the beauty of Zhu Lei’Er. Some of them were a bit surrpised to see Yu Peiyu, it seems that they recognize him, but didn’t speak to him. All of them looked troubled and a bit sad.
    What was the reason why these people were going to the Tang Manor? What happened in the Tang Manor.

    Zhu Lei’Er tightly held on to Yu Peiyu’s hand tightly, she asked softly:”Are these people invited over by the imposter? Why would he gather all these people in the Tang Manor, is he planning to ambush them all in one place with the secretive weaponry of the Tang Clan.”Zhu Lei’Er shivered when she remembered the evil tactics of Yu Fanghe and Yang Zijiang. She added:”That way all the important Wulin people of Sichuan province will be eliminated.”
    Yu Peiyu smiled with difficulty:”They wouldn’t dare to plan something that bold.” Zhu Lei’Er said:”But everyone in the realm will only look at the Tang Clan, their objectives are to create chaos. The more chaotic, the better in their eyes.”

    Yu Peiyu said with an uneasy feeling:"Even it they planned something like this, the Tang Clan has bound to have some disciples with some insight, who won't follow orders blindly." But he said those words to convince himself, he knew that the leader of the Tang Clan was also the head of the clan. The order of the clan head cannot be disobeyed, the orders of the leader of the Tang Clan were even followed closer than the orders of the leaders of Shaolin and Wudang.

    They now reached the main doors of the Tang Manor, they heard a lot of weeping sounds and many Wulin people were kneeling in front of the main doors. There were even ten odd Tang disciples wearing mouring clothes kneeling and crying too. Yu Peiyu recognized two of them as the Thousand Armed Arhat Tang Shouqing and the Iron-faced Yama Tang Shoufang.
    These two were outstanding disciples of the Tang Clan and also famous martial artist in the realm. They are in mourning clothes too and are receiving the guests, Yu Peiyu could conclude from this that someone died in the Tang Clan. He can also make up that this person must be a respected senior in the Tang family. Zhu Lei'Er whispered:"We are too late, he has already killed someone.

    Who knows how many people have died at their plots? It is strange that he would kill people in the Tang Clan first." Although she was whispering and nobody could hear what they were talking about, but they all looked around and looked at them. Everone was kneeling down and they were the only ones standing. Yu Peiyu frowned and pulled Zhu Lei'Er' sleeve, both of them knelt too but Zhu Lei'Er wasn't pleased at all.

    They heard someone cry:"Life is so unpredictable, I never thought that old master Tang would pass away. All of us hoped he would live till another 100 years, who would have thought you would leave us now." Another person said:"Do not be too sad, what has happened has happened.
    With old master Tang gone, the Wulin affairs in Sichuan rely on the Tang disciples."
    The speaker was an old man with a long white beard, he must be a respected Wulin senior and he more or less emphasized the character [disciples]. Meaning he is a senior of the Tang disciples. The Tang disciples all nodded but were still crying.
    The person who is dead is none other than Tang Wushuang.
    Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er were shocked beyond words and both wondered what had happened in the last few days. When everyone got up Zhu Lei'Er quickly whispered:"I don't think the imposter has died, even Tang Yue said that he couldn't detect any flaws in the fake. The Tang disciples couldn't have seen through him in just two days. Perhaps this is all a ruse to lure these people over here......"
    Yu Peiyu shook his head and whispered back:"There are many ways to lure them over, feigning death is not really an option. Judging by the expressions the Tang disciples are really mourning for the lost of their beloved teacher and/or father."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Could it really be that they saw through him and really killed him?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Unlikely! Because if they found out he was an imposter they wouldn't declare an official mourning like this." Zhu Lei'Er said:"Could he really just have died like that?" Yu Peiyu said:"Impossible too! Because with Yu Fanghe's intelligence they wouldn't pick a sickly old man for this job. They put too much time and energy in this imposter and it is too much of a coincidence if he really just died of any illness."

    Zhu Lei'Er said:"You're right, but what could it be?"

    Yu Peiyu shook his head and did not know how to answer Zhu Lei'Er. Because he really could not guess what happened and did not have a clue where to start to investigate now.

    A lot of people entered the Tang Manor with the intentions of paying the last respects to Tang Wushuang. The coffin was in the inner hall of the main hall and a lot of people were weeping in front of it. They could now see that the women of the Tang clan were here and were weeping sadly too.
    There were also rows of large tables with food and drinks, Yu Peiyu wondered how many were actually here to pay their final respects to Tang Wushuang.

    There are bound to be some who came here for a free meal. Zhu Lei'Er and Yu Peiyu both sat down, but both of them couldn't eat. Zhu Lei'Er whispered:"Are we just going to eat something and leave? What are we going to do now?" Yu Peiyu smiled wryly.
    Zhu Lei'Er bit her lip and said:"Why won't you look for Miss Tang Lin? Try to gain some information via her." Yu Peiyu could hear the jealous tone in her words and was bemused. At this moment a young maid walk to their table and asked softly Yu Peiyu:"Are you young master Yu Peiyu?" Yu Peiyu wondered how this maid recognized him and what her intentions were, he got up and said respectfully:"My name is indeed Yu Peiyu." The maid looked at him and even spoke softer now, she gave Yu Peiyu a rather mysterious stare and said:"Young master Yu, you cannot sit here. Please follow me I will lead you to the hall where we entertain our important guests."
    Yu Peiyu wondered when he became a VIP, nonetheless he said:"Thank you Miss. But I am fine just here." The maid said softly:"My third Miss has instructed me to take you there, if young master Yu doesn't follow me I will be blamed by my third mistress." When Zhu Lei'Er heard the the maid say [Third Miss], she became uneasy and said:"In that case, please lead the way." She got up and pulled Yu Peiyu along with her. The maid looked at Zhu Lei'Er for a moment before saying:"I am afraid there is only one seat in there, it is better Miss if you would stay here." Zhu Lei'Er just ignored her and continued to pull Yu Peiyu along with her. The maid sort of panicked a bit and said anxiously:"My mistress only ordered that young master Yu could enter. Miss, I suggest....."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled to her:"Not Miss, but Madame Yu." The maid was shocked beyond words and repeated:"Ma.....Madame Yu....." Zhu Lei'Er said:"Yes, Madame Yu. Anywhere young master Yu goes, Madame Yu will follow." The maid was still shocked but she composed herself now and said softly:"Follow me please." Yu Peiyu did not know whether to smile or be angry with Zhu Lei'Er now. Zhu Lei'Er looked at him in a funny way and whispered:"I knew she would look for you sooner or later."
    He was lead to a table, sitting at that table too was the old martial arts expert that spoke earlier. Yu Peiyu did not feel for any formalities, so as soon as he sat down he started to eat a bit. Just to avoid to talk to those people. The other guests who were sitting in this hall were all looking at these two youngsters. They all thought it was strange that the Tang Clan would lead them to this place only reserved for the important guests. The other guests all looked down upon Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er deliberately and ignored him.

    Yu Peiyu was glad to see that. A dark and muscular man in a black robe started to say loudly:"Old master Tang was one of the most respected and prominent Wulin senior in the realm, it is such a shame that he has passed away. All of us are grieved beyond words." The same words have been said and heard over and over again for numerous times, everyone looked at this man and wondered why he had to repeat these words so loudly again.

    The man added:"Old master Tang has seldom shown himself in public these last years, not many people have the luck to see him. Now that old master Tang has gone, none of us will be able to see him again. I really think we should openly be able to pay our respects to old master Tang and give us the opportunity to see him for one final time."
    A Tang disciple stood up and said:"The coffin of our late teacher has been sealed, we thank you for your good intentions. We thank again for your respect towards our late master." It was a very polite refusal to the man's request, and the man should be satisfied. However, the man said loudly:"If we cannot see old master Tang for the last time, we will regret it for the rest of our lives."
    The Tang disciple said seriously:"The coffin cannot be opened, I hope you can understand this."
    All the Tang disciples were all alarmed now and paid attention to this man.
    The man did not see the annoyed faces of the guests and the angered faces of the Tang disciples, he continued loudly:"I travelled miles and miles to get to the Tang Manor, I won't be denied in paying my final respects to old master Tang."
    He walked over to the coffin with big steps, everyone thought this man was an idiot. Yu Peiyu knew this man had to be here with ulterior motives. Zhu Lei'Er wanted to open the coffin too and wanted to examine the body. She wished to see whether the imposter had really died and how he died. All the Tang disciples who were kneeling in front of the coffin now got up. Normally they would have already seized this man for his insolence, but because they were mourning and did not want to engage in any fights in front of the coffin of their teacher.
    Another disciple said:"My friend, I think you're drunk."
    The man shouted:"I am not drunk! I haven't even drunk a single drop. I just want to see old master Tang for the last time, is that against the law?"
    A man sitting at the table of Yu Peiyu, hit the table and said loudly:"My friend, I suggest you would sit down right now. The friends of the Tang Clan are not in the position to engage in any fights now. But if you would continue to cause trouble, I Yang Rongtai will deal with you personally!"
    The Stone Splitting Palms Yang Rongtai is a famous martial arts expert in Sichuan province, his words made a deep impact on everyone.
    A voice from outside the hall said coldly:"Yang Rongtai, you shut up! If you're smart you will keep out of this, otherwise I will tell everyone what you did in Shaping City." Everyone looked in the direction of the voice, but couldn't see anyone. Yang Rongtai trembled and finally sat down again.
    But now another man stood up and looked angry he was about to speak, but the old man who sat next to him said:"Brother Hu, this is an affair of the Tang Clan. They will know how to deal with it."
    That man sat down and listened to the old man. Yu Peiyu deducted that the man who was creating a scene was a lackey of Yu Fanghe. And the voice that spoke earlier was also another of Yu Fanghe's henchmen. It seems that this Tang Wushuang died under mysterious circumstances too. Now the Tang disciples who were outside came in too, the Tang disciples had more or less surrounded that man.
    The man was not flustered in fact he even shouted louder:"Why do you prevent us from seeing old master Tang for the last time. Did he die under suspicious conditions? If that is the case I must examine that for myself."
    At this point all the Tang disciples were furious. One of them said angrily:"I suggest you would mind your language!" Some of the guests were starting to believe the words of that man and were already whispering. The man said loudly:"I say what I want! All of you must be afraid of something or hiding the truth, why......"
    A voice interrupted him:"Enough!" The voice was not very loud but it travelled very far. A young woman in mourning clothes walked up, she looked sad but also very imposing. She was the second daughter of Tang Wushuang, Tang Qi. Left to Tang Qi was Li Peiling, the eldest daughter-in-law of Tang Wushuang and the right was Tang Lin. Tang Lin looked sad and melancholic, she (un)intentionally looked at Yu Peiyu with sadness.
    Tang Qi bowed to the guests and the rest of the disciples followed her example. Tang Qi said respectfully:"This unfilial daughter thanks everyone for coming her. I on behalf of the entire Tang Clan would like to thank everyone for coming."
    Everyone said:"You're too kind, Miss Tang."
    Tang Qi said:"Initially I did not want to come out here, I was afraid I would be an unworthy host......." She paused for a minute and looked at the man who was creating the scene. She looked very sharp and stern at him and asked:"May I ask what your name is?"
    The man coughed dryly before saying:"My name is Wei Senlin. I am a nobody in
    Wulin. But....."
    Tang Qi coldly interrupted:"Very good! Wei Senlin, I would like to ask you who sent you here?"
    Yu Peiyu praised Tang Qi in his heart:This Miss Tang is really formidable, she is a perceptive and intelligent woman. She figured out that a fool like Wei Shenlin must be instructed to come here and create a scene. Wei Shenlin cannot answer that question and by that the Tang Clan also does not have to explain anything to Wei Shenlin.
    Wei Senlin's face changed and said:"I....I am here to pay my final respects to old master Tang. Nobody instructed or sent me."
    Tang Qi said coldly:"This is not the appropriate place for us to engage anyone in battle, but if you do not tell us the truth....." She waved her hand slightly and everyone could hear a gong ringing very loud.
    Tang Qi asked Wei Senlin:"Can you hear that gong?"
    Wei Senlin stuttered:"Yes....yes....I can......"
    Tang Qi said:"If the gong rings another two more times, you will die here on the spot. However if you would tell the truth now....." There was no anger in her voice only tranquility but it was enough to scare Wei Senlin out of his wits.
    Wei Senlin turned pale and said with fear in his voice:"I am telling the truth."
    Tang Qi ignored him now and folded her hands. Wei Senlin turned around and wanted to run out of here, but when he reached the doors he saw he was blocked by two persons. They were the Thousand Armed Arhat Tang Shouqing and the Iron-faced Yama Tang Shoufang.
    Tang Shoufang was known for being ruthless in battles, he was looking he was about to kill. Wei Senling shivered and backed away from him.
    The gong rang another time, but at the same time everyone called out with surprise.
    Everyone looked at the direction of the coffin and Tang Qi turned too and shrieked with surprise.
    The lid of the coffin was removed and Tang Wushuang's body was erected up. His face was pale and looked awfully eerie now.
    Tang Qi said sternly:"There is someone behind the coffin."
    Tang Shoufang and Tang Shouqing quickly advanced towards the coffin. Suddenly the corpse of Tang Wushuang flew out of the coffin and into the air, Yu Peiyu guessed that someone was using powerful internal energy to force Tang Wushuang's body out of the coffin. But he was feeling quite nervous too now.
    Tang Shoufang and Tang Shouqing did not want to touch the body of their teacher but had no choice to catch, otherwise it would fall on the ground.
    A voice from the coffin said:"Tang Wushuang has come out of his coffin now, pay your respects to him."
    Everyone recognized it was the mysterious voice they heard earlier that warned Yang Rongtai.
    Five Tang disciples surrounded the coffin and one of them said:"Come out now!" All of them had taken out their Tang secretive weapons now. There was no response and all of five them shot out their projectiles, the special projectile techniques of the Tang Clan are unmatched in the world. The speed, accuracy and it seemed that the projectiles were manoeuvre themselves in mid-air.
    The voice laughed and the projectiles changed course and flew back towards the Tang disciples.
    The speed and accuracy was ten times better than the Tang disciples shot out.
    The disciples used their right arms to cover their faces and their left palms to block their chests. They leapt backwards and the projectiles landed a few centimetres away from them. Still some projectiles hit them on the shoulders and arms, they quickly took out a bottle and swallowed the antidote. They immediately sat down and did not move again. These disciples very well knew the lethalness of the Tang poison, so the quickly shielded their faces and chests. If the poison entered the body via the chest even with antidote one would die. If you're hit in the face one could survive by cutting off the flesh which has infected. However the pain is unimaginable.
    Now Tang Shoufang and Tang Shouqing have caught the body and put it down, they now slowly moved towards the coffin. Their martial arts were much higher than the other disciples and they were more vigilant. But suddenly the coffin was split into two halves and each halve flew towards the two of them with incredible speed. The wooden parts came crashing down on them with incredible force and speed, they did not dare to use their hands to block it and jumped backwards with a few steps but the wooden boards was still flying towards and they had no choice but to roll aside to avoid that blow. The wooden boards hit the wall and it completely shattered. The debris hit some of the guests here and there, they all called out in pain.
    Everyone was shocked by this person's incredible martial arts, now everyone noticed a young man in a green robe was standing next to Tang Wushuang's body.
    He was smiling and seemed to be indifferent that he was completely surrounded by the Tang disciples at this moment. Only Zhu Lei'Er and Yu Peiyu recognized this young man and the rest of the people were amazed to see a young lad like him have such extraordinary martial arts.
    It was Yang Zijiang. He was finally here, all the disciples were waiting for one order and they would attack this arrogant man.
    Tang Qi shouted:"Stay calm everyone!"
    All the disciples obeyed her command and backed away a bit from Yang Zijiang. Tang Qi has more or less assumed actual command of the Tang Clan when Tang Wushuang retired years ago. With Tang Wushuang actually dead now, they now see Tang Qi as the actual leader of the Tang Clan.
    Tang Qi looked at Yang Zijiang coldly and said:"Judging by your martial arts you must be a pupil of an esteemed martial arts expert. However what is the reason for creating chaos here, in our eyes your actions are regarded as a humiliation. Are your actions now also one of your teachings your master taught you?"
    Her words were very fitting, she deliberately mentioned the teacher of Yang Zijiang. By this she more or less made sure that Yang Zijiang's words would affect him and his teacher, by this Yang Zijiang could spout nonsense.
    Yang Zijiang looked at Tang Qi for a moment before saying:"No wonder people say that Miss Tang Qi is a fierce woman. A true shrew......."
    He yawning after he was done and looked around and said:"My name is Yang Zijiang, I am not a disciple of any famous orthodox school. Nor do I belong to any prominent Wulin family. I would not dare to be rude against old master Tang but I am here to address the grievance of old master Tang."
    Everyone saw the trouble he went through to open the coffin and when everybody heard him say [grievance]. They started to believe his story.
    Tang Qi slowly lost her patience and scoffed:"So Wei Senling was instructed by you to create a scene, therefore you could have sneaked up at my father's coffin and opened it."
    Yang Zijiang said indifferently:"I am willing to do anything if it means I can address the grievance of old master Tang."
    Tang Qi said sternly:"My father died of natural causes, even if my father had any unsolved matters. We as their sons, daughters and pupils will take care of it personally."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Really? You really can take care of it personally?"
    Tang Qi said:"Of course!"
    Yang Zijiang said:"Very well! Let us see how old master Tang died and......" He pulled up Tang Wushuang's body at the same time. Tang Qi yelled:"How dare you! Do not touch the body of my father."
    She knew that Yang Zijiang's martial arts were very high and it was also the reason why she did not order an attack on him yet. But now she had no choice but to attack. Her two hands formed a pair of claws and she aimed for his throat and eyes. A most lethal stance.
    Both Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er knew she wasn't his match and were worried for her.
    Tang Shoufang and Tang Shouqing followed her example and attacked too now,

    Yang Zijiang smiled:"Is that the best the Tang disciples can do?"
    He twirled around and used the body of Tang Wushuang as a shield. The three of them couldn't use their stances on the body of Tang Wushuang and retreated back.
    Tang Shoufang angrilly shouted:"Let go of the body of our late teacher and we will spare you!"
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"I couldn't die anyway, so you don't need to spare me."
    He started to remove the clothes of Tang Wushuang's body, Tang Qi turned pale and yelled:"No matter what! I will kill you first!"
    She did not care for her own safety anymore and attacked with everything she had.
    Yang Zijiang shouted:"Everyone can see for yourself! The Tang Clan are trying to cover up the real cause of old master Tang's death."
    All of the guests were confused and even some of the Tang disciples were hesitant now. Tang Shoufang and Tang Shouqing exchanged looks and did not join the attack on Yang Zijiang with Tang Qi.
    Some guests even urged:"Miss Tang, please let him examine the body of old master Tang. That way all of us will feel secure."
    At this point Tang Qi had already attacked almost with forty stances but she couldn't touch a corner of Yang Zijiang's robe. Even now she knew that Yang Zijiang was a formidable expert and she was no match for him. She stopped her attack and tears were flowing from her eyes, she sobbed:"Even you say that now....If I continue it will only make us more suspicious.... late father's body cannot be tarnished by....a this...."
    She was crying loudly and almost fainted with anger and sorrow, Li Peiling and Tang Lin quickly helped her up.
    Tang Shoufang said sternly:"Yang Zijiang, you can examine all you want but if you cannot discover anything.....All the 500 disciples of the Tang Clan will be your enemy!"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"If I cannot discover anything I will kill myself right here, there is no need to trouble all of you."
    He now looked very serious and added:"Because I know that old master Tang died at the hands of his own clan."
    Everybody was shocked when they heard this and numerous Tang disciples yelled:
    "Nonsense! Prepare to die!"
    "How dare you accuse us of such a crime!"
    "Nobody will believe those fantastic lies of yours! Show us any evidence if you have!"
    Yang Zijiang said loudly:"You want proof? This is the evidence you want to see!"
    He raised his hands and lifted Tang Wushuang's body up highly. A large number of Tang disciples now stormed towards him and Yang Zijiang held Tang's body with one arm and leapt up high and was sitting on a beam high above everyone else.
    The Tang disciples could not use their secretive weapons, they were afraid they might hit the body of Tang Wushuang.
    Some disciples leapt up too but were forced down by Yang Zijiang's powerful palm energy.
    Yang Zijiang shouted:"Old master Tang was killed by a Tang projectile and was found dead in his own home. So the killer is obviously a Tang disciple!"
    The Tang disciples were furious but there was nothing they could except curse Yang Zijiang for his lies.
    Yang Zijiang said loudly:"I will present the evidence to you, but I want a few prominent people to be a witness."
    Tang Qi composed herself again and said calmly:"Very well! I would like to ask The Celestial Monkey of Mount Su old master Yuan, Golden Sabre uncle Hu, The Stone Splitting Palms uncle Yang and young master Yu Peiyu."
    Yu Peiyu was surprised to hear his name being mentioned, Zhu Lei'Er pulled his sleeve and whispered with happiness:"Haven't you realised that you're a famous martial arts expert nowadays."
    The old man with the long white beard, who ignored Yu Peiyu earlier, now stood up and walked over to Yu Peiyu and said respectfully:"So you're the famous young master Yu. Even master Nu has only praise of you, please forgive me for being rude earlier."
    News travels fast in Wulin, something which only happened just less than one month has now reached the ears of many. Those arrogant men like Yang Rongtai and Hu Yi now carefully observed Yu Peiyu and thought this exceptionally handsome young man was responsible for so many spectacular deeds recently.
    Yu Peiyu was shocked and modestly said:"I do not deserve such fame, sir."
    The old man said:"My name is Yuan Gongming of Mount Su, I hope young master Yu can give me some pointers and advice in the future."
    Yu Peiyu repeated several times modestly:"Please do not say such a thing, old sir. I wouldn't dream I should come by and listen to your teachings."
    The rest of the guests and Tang disciples made some room for the people in question.
    Tang Qi asked:"Do you agree with these four witnesses?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"Even if I don't agree with the other three, I truly believe in young master Yu Peiyu. I have heard that Yu Peiyu is a famous honest gentleman for a long time, it is my pleasure to finally to meet you."
    He gently came down and smiled friendly towards Yu Peiyu, Yu Peiyu wondered why Yang Zijiang was so friendly towards him. It made Yu Peiyu even more vigilant towards Yang Zijiang.
    Yang Zijiang put the body down and said:"Take a look at the wound of old master Tang."
    He removed an oil plaster from Tang Wushuang's chest. The plaster was covered with a dust of make-up and was not easily detected.
    Yang Zijiang rubbed away the layer of make-up and revealed a black wound and he added:"Look what I am holding in my hand." He opened his palm and there was a metalic shaped flowery object, the famous Tang projectile: The poisoned spiked bludgeon. This is one of the most original secretive weapons of the Tang Clan. Everyone recognized it and now stayed quiet and looked very serious.
    Tang Shoufang angrilly shouted:"Where did you get that spiked bludgeon?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"Your fellow martial arts brothers shot 28 spiked bludgeons towards me. I repelled 27 and kept only one. If you do not believe me count them if you please."
    Tang Shoufang's face looked awfully pale and kept quiet.
    Yang Zijiang placed the spiked bludgeon on the wound of Tang Wushuang's body, it was a perfect match.
    Yang Zijiang said:"Old master Tang was killed by his own weapon, you can see for yourselves now."
    When they saw the colour of the wound they already knew Tang Wushuang was killed by a Tang secretive weapon, every type of poison has a different effect.
    For instance, The crane's red spot causes one to bleed from his eyes, ears, nose and mouth before he dies. The silver moss causes one to have convulsions before dying, the silver kiss will make one's body as hard as rock before one dies. The silver steps grass will make your body rot away slowly before you die with extreme pain, the bite of the spotted serpent will make your body break out in red spots. The poison of the Tang Clan will colour one's body to a deep, dark purple.
    Yang Zijiang scoffed:"Old master Tang died in his own manor, he was ambushed with a Tang projectile. It is obvious that a Tang disciple is responsible for this."
    Yang Zijiang looked at Yuan Gongming and said:"You tell me."
    Yuan Gongming looked pale but did not speak.
    Yang Zijiang coldly said:"I knew you are sly old fox, but will never be able or have the courage to become an evil man."
    He now turned to Hu Yi and said coldly:"Normally you compare yourself with heroes from the Warring States Period like Zhu Hai and Han dynasty hero like Guo Jie. Aren't you going to say something?"
    Hu Yi's face turned red out of embarrassement and said:"Perhaps someone... someone stole a Tang spiked bludgeon and used it to kill old master Tang."
    Yang Zijiang scoffed:"If that is the case why wouldn't the Tang Clan publicly announce that, but instead they said that Tang Wushuang died of old age."
    Hu Yi kept quiet.
    Everyone was convinced that Tang Wushuang died at the hands of a Tang disciple. All of them looked serious now especially the people from the Tang Clan looked most angry and serious now.
    Yang Zijiang looked at Yu Peiyu for a moment but soon he turned to Tang Shoufang:"Normally you're a righteous and honest man, how about today?"
    Tang Shoufang gritted his teeth and everyone saw that there was blood dripping from the corners of his mouth. He gritted so hard with anger that he actually grinded a few of his teeth.
    Tang Shouqing coughed dryly first and sighed:"It is most unfortunate that this happened. We would like to thank you for pointing out this terrible crime, the entire Tang Clan owes you. But how did you know that our late teacher died under suspicious circumstances?"
    His talking skills were as formidable as Tang Qi, he sounded very friendly but in fact there was a lot hate and anger hidden in his words.
    Translation of his words would be:"Our teacher did not die because of natural causes, nobody knew this. How do you know this? Are you connected to this crime in some way?"
    Everyone now (un)intentionally looked at Yang Zijiang and suspected him to be involved somehow.
    Yang Zijiang said casually:"Well, there are no secrets that can be hidden from men. Besides I parted with old master Tang three days ago. He was in excellent condition when I saw him, that is why I became suspicious. How can someone die JUST LIKE THAT in two days.....most strange, wouldn't you agree?"

    Yang Zijiang emphasized the words [just like that]. When he noticed his words made an impact on the people he added:"Although I just met old master Tang recently I cannot allow him to die under strange circumstances. Wouldn't everybody here do the same thing?"
    His words sounded most righteous and there were no flaws in his reasoning.
    Tang Shouqing sighed deeply:"I am most impressed by your deductive skills, all of us are grateful for your help so far. However there are more than 500 adult Tang disciples and only about 130 people are trained in using the spiked bludgeon. It will be most difficult to find out who the killer is, I hope you trust us to deal with this internally. We will give you a satisfying answer when this is over and find a way to repay your kindness."
    Yang Zijiang sneered:"Initially affairs of the Tang Clan should not be questioned by outsiders, but now......I think your words mean little to us at the moment."
    Tang Shouqing said:"I can guarantee you......"
    Yang Zijiang interrupted him:"Guarantee? Did old master Tang die in his private quarters?"
    Tang Shouqing stuttered:"This....this...."
    Yang Zijiang said:"If he didn't die in his private quarters, all of you would have known how he really died. I wouldn't be standing here wasting my breath now."
    Tang Shouqing had no choice but to say:"Indeed, our late teacher did die in his own private quarters."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Let me ask you another question: Of those 130 people how many can enter his private quarters casually?"
    Tang Shouqing was silenced now, everyone knew that this Yang Zijiang was not only a powerful martial artist but also a skilled orator.
    All the Tang disciples lowered their heads, nobody dared to look at Tang Qi. Because they were afraid to look at her, they now revealed she and only a few other Tang female members could enter the private quarters of Tang Wushuang casually. But they felt that this was a total embarrassment and did not want outsiders to know about it.
    With the exception of the Tang disciples, everyone now looked at Tang Qi with a strange look. Not many people can endure such a look.

    End of chapter 31

  13. #33
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 32 Cataclysm From Nowhere

    The normal ever so calm and intelligent Tang Qi was now being suspected of killing her own father.
    She was trembling with anger and sorrow now, she did not know what to say now.
    Suddenly one of the guests yelled:"In others you're saying that one of his own daughters killed old master Tang?"
    This person sounded like he was defending Tang Qi, but in fact he himself has said the words and thoughts of everyone else. Which made Tang Qi even more suspicous.
    Yang Zijiang scoffed:"Men and women are both capable of doing anything when it comes to power."
    Another guest shouted:"So you think that Miss Tang Qi killed her father so she could be leader of the Tang Clan. Nobody will believe your lies!"
    This person was not helping at all, he should have stayed quiet. With his words he only convinced more and more people that Tang Qi really did kill her father because of power within the Tang Clan.
    Yang Zijiang scoffed:"If she wasn't involved why would she not agree to my suggestion to examine the body of old master Tang. Furthermore wouldn't she have noticed how old master Tang died when she found her father's body."
    A lot of guests exclaimed with surprise and even Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er were beginning to believe the story of Yang Zijiang.
    Yu Peiyu thought:If Tang Qi really killed her father because of a power struggle, that would be truly be a funny twist of fate. Because this imposter was partly responsible for the death of her real father, so she kind of avenged her father now.
    Yang Zijiang looked at Tang Qi with his sharp eyes and said sternly:"What do you have to say now, Miss Tang?"
    Tang Qi said calmly:"You really want me to tell the truth?"
    Yang Zijiang scoffed:"Will you tell the truth?"
    Tang Qi said sternly now:"I will tell you the truth, all of you will know."
    She took a deep breath and was about to speak now.
    "Stop, I will tell them what happened!" The speaker was Tang Lin, this normally very shy girl who hardly spoke at all was now about to tell everyone who her "father" really died.
    Even Yu Peiyu was a bit shocked to hear her now.
    Tang Qi looked at her sister with surprise and said:"You......"
    Tang Lin interrupted her with a serious face:"When our father passed away only I was present. It is best that I would tell everyone what happened."
    Yang Zijiang too was a bit surprised and asked:"You?"
    Tang Lin nodded and said:"Yes, me."
    Yang Zijiang frowned and asked:"Are you responsible for the death of old master Tang?" He was really surprised this was something he did not count on Tang Lin killing Tang Wushuang. Tang Lin had no motive at all.
    Li Peiling gently held Tang Lin's hand and said softly:"You must be overwhelmed by sorrow now. Stay aside we will deal with this our way."
    Tang Lin said resolutely:"I'm not overwhelmed by sorrow at all, if I do not tell the truth eldest sister will be wrongfully accused."
    Tang Qi looked at her little sister with surprise and gratitude.
    Tang Lin started to tell:"That night when everyone was asleep, I remembered that I had to ask my father something. So I went to his room."
    Yang Zijiang asked:"What was it that you wanted to talk to your father about?"
    Tang Lin said coldly:"That is a private matter, do you wish to know the personal affairs of other people too?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled and remained silent now.
    Tang Lin continued:"However when I reached my father's room I heard him talking to someone else. I was quite surprised to see my father receiving guests at this late. Furthermore if there were guests we should also be informed, so I figured this guest was not an unwelcome guest."
    Yang Zijiang said coldly:"The Tang Manor is well guarded, it is not easy for someone to sneak into the private quarters of old master Tang."
    Tang Lin said:"It is practically impossible to sneak inside."
    Yang Zijiang said:"How did this "guest" enter?"
    Tang Lin said:"There is a secret tunnel from outside the manor leading to my father's quarters. It seems that this guest has arranged to meet my father and my father received via the tunnel."
    When she even told everyone about the secret passage in her father's quarters, people were beginning to believe what she had to say.
    Tang Lin said:"I thought it would be impolite to eavesdrop but I did not just want to leave like that because I wanted to talk to my father urgently. While I was hesitating I heard my father saying loudly:[Although you and I are close friends I cannot lend you the secretive weaponry of my clan! That is against my clan's ancient directives!"
    Yang Zijiang commented:"This person is very bold and arrogant, how dare he try to borrow Tang secretive weapons from old master Tang."
    Tang Lin said:"At that moment I thought this person was too arrogant and my father had denied his request. However he tried again to persuade my father to lend him a few Tang weapons."
    Yang Zijiang asked:"What did he say?"
    Tang Lin said:"That man said[This matter is very serious, if I succeed you and your clan will benefit from it too. If you're not willing to join me personally, at least lend me a few of your Tang weapons.]"
    Yang Zijiang asked:"Was old master Tang convinced by him?"
    Tang Lin said:"No, my father had to uphold the regulations set by our ancestors."
    Yang Zijiang said:"So old master Tang did not give him the weapons he wanted, so he isn't the killer."
    Tang Lin said:"That man continued to persuade my father, I was afraid my father would not say no in the end. So I entered my father's room with the hope that he would leave my father alone."
    Yang Zijiang asked:"Did that man see you?"
    Tang Lin said coldly:"Of course he did, he isn't blind. He was a bit surprised to see me but he continued to persuade my father."
    Yang Zijiang asked:"Does he recognize you?"
    Tang Lin nodded and said sadly:"Because he knows me, he knew I wouldn't be too protective. So he managed to steal a spiked bludgeon from my pouch."
    Yang Zijiang scoffed:"So this man is also a skilled thief......"
    Tang Lin sighed:"He was very fast, even my father did not see him move."
    Yang Zijiang stared at her with his stern eyes and said loudly:"Why are you carrying your projectiles in your own home? You even had them on your body when you went to your father's room! Why?"
    Tang Lin said:"Tang disciples are supposed to carry their weapons even when they're asleep."
    Yang Zijiang asked coldly:"Is that another ancient Tang regulation?"
    Tang Lin replied:"Yes, indeed."
    Yang Zijiang said:"So he used that stolen spiked bludgeon to kill your father?"
    Tang Lin said sadly:"When my father saw him out through the secret tunnel, he suddenly turned around to make an about to leave gesture. However he patted with his left hand on my father's chest, concealed in his left palm was the spiked bludgeon. Neither my father and I suspected a thing."
    Everyone now believed about 70 per cent of her story. Although some of the pieces of the puzzle were not entirely in place yet, but she had something to do with her father's death.
    Yang Zijiang sighed deeply:"In other words you were present when that man killed old master Tang."
    Tang Lin said:"Yes, I was."
    Yang Zijiang said sternly now:"Why didn't you say a thing earlier! Why did you wait till now!"
    Tang Lin lowered her head and said sadly:"Because....because he was my fiancee. My father has betrothed me to him."
    Everyone was surprised by this and some people even called out with surprise.
    All the people looked at her with compassion, surprise and sorrow, Yu Peiyu sighed too in his heart and felt sorry for her. He did not know that it would be this complicated.
    Tang Lin was in tears now and said:"I wanted to kill him when I saw what he did, but he knelt in front of me and begged me to help him. When I saw him like that I could not bear to expose him......"
    Yang Zijiang said coldly:"Women betrothed are no longer worried about their own parents anymore. You're not the only one and shall never be the final to betray their parents for their lover."
    Tang Lin cried:"Don't say those nasty words now! I know I deserve to die and I regret my decision. That is why I was so eager to lead the funeral to cover up for my crimes."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Are your other brothers, sisters also involved in this?"
    Tang Lin sobbed:"They know nothing about this entire incident."
    Yang Zijiang scoffed:"You're very brave, very very brave. This way only you will take the fall for this crime!"
    Tang Lin sobbed:"I will take responsibility for my own crimes."
    Yang Zijiang said:"What about your fiance? Doesn't anyone know who he is?"
    Tang Lin said:"My father arranged for this engagement in private and wanted to announce it during my 18th birthday.....but I never guessed that my father would be....gone before....."
    She started to cry loudly again.
    Yang Zijiang sternly said:"So you wish to keep protecting this man!"
    Tang Lin was sobbing sadly.
    A lot of other people were saying:
    "Tell us who that bastard is!"
    "If you don't tell us, how can you face your late father and ancestors, Miss Tang."
    Tang Lin now looked up and looked very determined. She gritted her teeth and pointed to a man and said:"It is him!"
    Nobody in this world would have thought she would point at Yu Peiyu.
    Yu Peiyu himself was completely dumbfounded, he thought Tang Lin was pointing at the person standing behind him and turned around to look.
    However Tang Lin added:"It is him, Yu Peiyu!"
    All the Tang disciples roared angrilly and surrounded Yu Peiyu now, they would love to tear Yu Peiyu apart right now.
    Yu Peiyu went through a lot in these months, he has been wrongfully accused several times for being mad, killing his teacher, etc.
    But still he was too shocked by this sudden twist of fate, he did not even know what to say in his own defense.
    Now the guests started to curse and swear too. Some were saying the following:
    "So this fellow is responsible for the death of old master Tang! He has a lot of nerves to show himself here!"
    "He looks like a distinguished young gentleman, I never thought he would be such a despicable vile fiend!"
    "He looks very charming and handsome, it is not surprising that Miss Tang fell for him and is so much in love with him."
    Zhu Lei'Er was also too shocked to say anything, however she quickly composed herself when she heard those people cursing Yu Peiyu. She came to his defense and yelled:"It is not him! You are all wrong!"
    She pushed aside the people surrounding Yu Peiyu and tightly clung on to his arm and yelled:"He wouldn't do something like this! Besides two days ago he was with me, we're miles away from the Tang Manor. He couldn't have come here at all!"
    Tang Shoufang sternly asked:"What is your relationship to this man?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said loudly:"I am his wife!"
    Tang Shouqing sighed:"Miss, I think you too are deceived by him. He is probably just using you."
    Zhu Lei'Er shouted:"Why....why don't you believe me? Why do have to wrongfully accuse me!"
    Tang Shouqing sighed:"He is not worth it Miss. He will betray too sooner or later."
    Zhu Lei'Er yelled:"Who did he deceive? Tell me!"
    Tang Shoufang angrilly said:"He was to supposed to be son-in-law of our clan, but he still has an affair with you. Such a despicable monster! How dare you speak on his behalf!"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"He was never supposed be any son-in-law of your clan!"
    Tang Shouqing asked:"How do you know?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Ever since I met him, I have been around him and have never left his side."
    Tang Shouqing asked sharply:"How long have you known him?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I......"
    She did not know what to say now, because she only knew Yu Peiyu for about a month. She did not know what he did before she knew him and Yu Peiyu had never told her much about himself. She was now not even sure if Yu Peiyu was his real name. Tang Shouqing noticed the change on her face and said
    softly:"Miss, this doesn't concern you, stand aside please."
    Zhu Lei'Er woke up from her thoughts and said:"What...what are you going to do?"
    The Tang disciples looked very serious now, nobody answered her question but it was obvious they were about to attack at any moment. They had already taken out their most lethal secretive weapons, nothing would make them happier than to kill the murderer of their teacher. They had Yu Peiyu surrounded.
    Yu Peiyu sighed and told Zhu Lei'Er:"This doesn't concern you, go over
    He knew it was impossible to escape from the Tang Manor now, he did not want to see Zhu Lei'Er getting hurt over him. Furthermore he too noticed the change in Zhu Lei'Er, he felt that she too began to question him.
    Zhu Lei'Er said resolutely:"No matter what, I don't believe that you are involved in this!"
    Yu Peiyu smiled wryly:"It doesn't matter whether you believe me or not, they believe I killed Tang Wushuang and they will not believe your words."
    He looked up and sighed deeply:"Even if they are others who believe me, will they really come out and speak on my behalf."
    Zhu Lei'Er broke out in tears, Tang Lin pushed aside everyone and walked up to Yu Peiyu.
    She said:"Yu Peiyu, please forgive me. I....I did not want it to end like this either."
    Yu Peiyu smiled tragically to her:"Good! Very good!"
    Tang Lin sobbed:"When you die I don't want either....."
    Zhu Lei'Er was furious when she saw and heard Tang Lin, she angrilly shouted:"You, despicable woman! You're responsible for all of this! How dare you say such things to him now!"
    She flew up and raised her palm to strike Tang Lin down.
    Tang Lin did not defend or avoid, she just stood there and said:"Very well! Let us all die together today!"
    Zhu Lei'Er could instantly seize her throat, Tang Shouqing wanted to intervene but was by Tang Shoufang. He said earnestly:"She is shame to the family, let her die! Do you wish to save her!"
    Tang Shouqing looked at Tang Lin for a moment and when he saw her pale face, he did not want to intervene anymore.
    Most of the guests were scolding to:
    "Yu Peiyu, if you have any shame you would kill yourself on the spot!"
    "Tang brothers, what are you waiting for!"
    "We want to see the blood of this ruthless killer flow!"
    Yu Peiyu stayed quiet, because he realised that these people were blinded by hate and were beyond reasoning.

    Suddenly a young clear voice outvoiced all these people:"Yu Peiyu, Yu Peiyu! What kind of misfortune do you keep encountering? Somehow you managed to become the killer of Tang Wushuang, it is best that you die at my hands that way you will be spared the humiliation."
    It was Yang Zijiang who was sitting on a roofbeam again drinking wine and eating an apple.
    Tang Shoufang sternly said:"What do you mean? Yu Peiyu is responsible for the death of our teacher!"
    Yang Zijiang scoffed:"Really? Where is the evidence? Who saw him actually kill old master Tang?"
    Tang Shoufang said:"You heard the words of third Miss Tang too."
    Yang Zijiang shook his head and sighed:"Just because of the testimony of one girl, you are passing verdict on someone....I think you're being too rash."
    Tang Shoufang angrilly yelled:"Are you saying that Tang Lin is lying?"
    Some of the other guests are shouting:"Miss Tang has no reasons to lie!"
    Yang Zijiang said:"Besides bringing doom over Yu Peiyu she also brought doom over herself. I don't know why she is lying but I AM SURE SHE IS LYING!"
    Tang Shoufang asked angrilly:"How do you know? Why do you believe this Yu Peiyu is innocent!"
    Yang Zijiang said:"Because I know he was miles away from the Tang Manor when Tang Wushuang was murdered."
    Tang Shouqing sneered:"Why should we believe you?"
    Yang Zijiang sighed:"I know I cannot convince all of you. I will stay quiet now."
    Suddenly there was a loud Crack and the beam broke into two halves and a large part of the roof came toppling down on the people below.
    Everyone started to panick and people were pushing to get out of harm's way, people were inferior martial arts were pushed down on the floor and yelled in pain.
    Experts like Tang Shoufang, Tang Shouqing and others were also trying their best to avoid being hit by bricks and wooden beams. They covered their heads and try to get to a safer place. However a wooden beam landed on Tang Shoufang's leg and broke it, he broke out in a cold sweat because of the pain. Still he managed to yell:"Don't let Yu Peiyu get away! Block the
    But everyone in the hall was in a frantic state and did not listen or hear Tang Shoufang.
    Tang Shoufang added:"Search the entire manor! Don't let him escape!"
    A group of lightly injured disciples rushed to the doors to pursue, but suddenly a shower of bricks knocked them out of the way.
    They heard Yang Zijiang laughing on another beam:"Pursue? Who are you pursueing? If you keep doubting my words I will have to tear down the entire Tang Manor."
    In the commotion, Yu Peiyu heard Yang Zijiang saying softly to him:"I will deal with this lot here, storm your way out of here. Someone will receive you when you have left the Tang Manor....."
    Before he could finish, Yu Peiyu had already picked up the unconscious Tang Lin and pulled Zhu Lei'Er along.
    Yu Peiyu stormed outside the hall and some of the people who heard the commotion wanted to go inside and have a look. But they bumped into Yu Peiyu and fell down, Yu Peiyu stormed outside with incredible speed and accidentally knocked down tables and doors. The people outside were also panicking now, most of these people here were not Wulin people. They were just people who live near the Tang Manor, ordinary people who come here with their families for a free meal. But things did not turn out as they expected, people were pushed over and lightly injured.
    Women were screaming, children were crying.

    Fortunately Yu Peiyu was an extremely calm person and after all those inhuman trials he was even more adaptive in chaotic situations.
    Yu Peiyu pulled Zhu Lei'Er to a small alley in the Tang City.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why aren't we going outside the Tang Manor?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"That Yang Zijiang's words are still questionable, although he saved us but we should still not entirely trust him."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I agree. I have no clue as why he saved us instead of killing us in the commotion earlier."
    Yu Peiyu lead Zhu Lei'Er to a rather remote place of the Tang City, Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What is this place?" She saw a lot of rooms and chambers around but nobody could be seen right now.
    Yu Peiyu answered:"These are the private quarters of the Tang disciples."
    Zhu Lei'Er was surprised and shocked:"Why should keep a distance between us and the Tang Manor. Why are we doing here? Haven't we had enough trouble because of the Tang disciples?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"This is the only way we can take now."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Of course! Now everyone will be searching for us outside, they won't think we will be here."
    Before Yu Peiyu could answer, they heard a voice from behind:"Don't move! Do you really think you can escape!"
    A group of ten odd young men lead by Tang Shoufang were here, Tang Shoufang was crippling but he was a tough man and did not want people to see he was injured.
    Zhu Lei'Er angrilly shouted:"You again!?! Why do keep following us around!"
    Tang Shoufang did not know he would find Yu Peiyu here, because the main doors were blocked by Yang Zijiang he had to take a different route. It was pure coincidence to find Yu Peiyu here.
    Sometimes one tries to move mountains and seas to find somebody or something but in the end it is all in vain. However sometimes one will meet or encounter that person or object one has been looking for in the places one least expect.
    When Tang Shoufang and those disciples heard Zhu Lei'Er they quickly scattered themselves around Zhu Lei'Er and Yu Peiyu. They were ready to engage the enemies.
    But they were afraid that they might injure Tang Lin so they did not attack yet. Zhu Lei'Er understood that and put her palm on Tang Lin's head and smiled:"We are not responsible for the death of old Mr. Tang Wushuang, there are no grudges between us and the Tang Clan. Let us go and we will return Miss Tang to you, what do you say?" Zhu Lei'Er felt that her words were very apropriate and even Wulin seniors could not say it better than her, which was true.
    But Tang Shoufang did not reply to her, in fact he just ignored her words. He just sayed sternly:"Virulent Sand!"
    The Virulent Sand of the Tang Clan was the most aggressive venoms they had. It could not travel very far but it was very suitable for engaging enemies who stood very close. When the sand was released the adversary will be shrouded in a cloud of lethal sand. If you are hit by even one grain of sand you will have to use cut off your infected flesh using the method of the famous physician Hua Tuo in the Three Kingdoms Period, if not the wound will rot and within three days you will die horribly.
    Tang Shoufang was not called the Iron-faced Yama for nothing, amongst this group of young Tang disciples there were some who were quite fond of Tang Lin. They were hoping to save her, but when they heard the order from Tang Shoufang, they all looked worried and sad. But they did not dare to defy Tang Shoufang's order and put on their leather gloves and reached for the pouch with the virulent sand.
    They had their hands in the pouches, Yu Peiyu knew that in a matter of moments they will be surrounded by a cloud of deadly dust. Yu Peiyu immediately came to action and stormed to the left.
    Yu Peiyu saw that those two young men looked sad when they heard the order of Tang Shoufang. He took advantage of their hesitant state and hoped the three of them could escape from the lethal grains of sand. But those Tang disciples could use the virulent sand to attack in the backs, that way it will be extremely difficult to avoid that assault.
    Suddenly a voice said:"Stop right now!" It was Tang Qi.
    Li Peiling and Tang Qi rushed over, there were eight maids with martial arts following them.
    Tang Shoufang yelled:"Use the sand, don't let them escape!"
    Tang Qi shouted:"Stop!"
    Tang Shoufang ordered:"Attack!"
    Tang Qi sternly said to Tang Shoufang:"Shoufang, do you really want to kill third sister too?"
    The Tang disciples were in a state of confusion and did not know what to do, by this time Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er were long gone.
    Tang Shoufang said in an annoyed tone:"Second Miss, if you continue to let emotions guide you.....the entire clan will be ruined at your hands!"
    Li Peiling suddenly said:"You don't need to concern yourselves about this affair. I promise you they won't escape, we will take care of this problem."
    Li Peiling always had a very high status in the Tang Clan, she hardly gave her opinion about any matters normally. This was the first time she actively participated into a Tang Clan affair, her opinion was respected and Tang Shoufang had no choice but to comply.
    He said:"Very well, I will leave this matter to you." He lead the other disciples to the other side and hoped to catch Yu Peiyu there. Li Peiling and Tang Qi lead the maids to pursue Yu Peiyu.
    Because Yu Peiyu was unfamiliar with the Tang Manor, he soon found himself trapped, up ahead was a mountain cliff and some old houses.
    He turned around, he did not want to fight the Tang disciples but he had no choice now.
    Tang Qi and Li Peiling stood there watching them from afar, she did not order an attack. She just made a gesture to Yu Peiyu telling him to run.
    Yu Peiyu was a bit surprised but he pulled Zhu Lei'Er along and entered one of the houses.
    It was a very nice decorated house, with a lot antique furniture. Zhu Lei'Er said:"It is strange already that Yang Zijiang would help us, but even Miss Tang Qi saved us now. What is going on here?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"There are many strange and unpredictable things in life."
    Zhu Lei'Er now coldly said:"Yes, for instance that Tang Lin would frame you. Did you expect that?"
    Yu Peiyu sighed deeply and did not answer her.
    Tang Lin was still unconscious and he put her on a chair, he was looking around and moving furniture. Zhu Lei'Er wondered what he was looking for and asked:"What is this place and what are you looking for?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"This is the study of Tang Wushuang."
    Zhu Lei'Er was a bit shocked and said:"Tang Qi gave us time to escape, what are we doing in the study of Tang Wushuang."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Looking for a way out of here."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What do you mean?"
    Before Yu Peiyu could answer a wall suddenly opened, the secret tunnel.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"There really is a secret passage here. Tang Lin said you came in via this tunnel, she really knows how to tell a good lie."
    Yu Peiyu just smiled wryly, he picked up Tang Lin again and entered the secret tunnel.
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"It seems that you cannot bear to leave her for moment, you really should use a rope to tie you two together."
    Yu Peiyu turned around and said sternly:"This is not the place to argue! Could you be quiet!"
    Zhu Lei'Er was stunned, tears started to flow from her eyes. Yu Peiyu had never talked to her that way before.
    After walking for some time, Yu Peiyu sighed:"We can talk now, what did you want to say earlier."
    Zhu Lei'Er kept quiet.
    Yu Peiyu said:"Miss Tang started all of this, she is also the only one who came clear my name. So I cannot let her die and have to take her along with me."
    Zhu Lei'Er still did not speak.
    Yu Peiyu said:"I know you did not harm her with your internal strenght but I think you must have used one of your poisons on her. If you understand what I mean that she is the only who can help me, please give me the antidote."
    Zhu Lei'Er was still silent, Yu Peiyu frowned and asked:"What won't you
    Zhu Lei'Er used her finer to point at him and afterwards pointed at her own mouth.
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"You're a grown-up woman, why is that you still behave like a little girl."
    When she heard Yu Peiyu's words about her being a grown-up woman she laughed and said:"You told me to keep quiet, I'm always very obedient."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Could you please give her the antidote?"
    Zhu Lei'Er felt sad again and tears were welling up again:"Why do you keep asking me to save her? You're only concerened about her, why won't you ask whether I am allright. She uses poison too."
    Yu Peiyu said gently:"Although the Tang disciples use poison too, but....."
    Zhu Lei'Er interrupted him:"But what? I'm a woman of poison in your eyes. Everyone I touch will be poisoned, right? Why aren't you poisoned yet?"
    Yu Peiyu was a bit surprised and shocked to see her this upset and said:"When I saw that Silver Blossom slapped you she was poisoned. And when that disciple of the Heavenly Silkworm Sect pinched you he was poisoned too. So I thought....."
    Zhu Lei'Er loudly said:"But Miss Tang Lin did not slap me or pinch me, did she? If I cannot control the poison in my body, third uncle would be dead for a very long time!"
    Yu Peiyu said:"So she is not poisoned?"
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"Do you think I'm a fool? I know she is vital for the restoration of your reputation!"
    Yu Peiyu sighed and said gently:"I am most sorry. I saw that Miss Tang was still not awake so......"
    Zhu Lei'Er did not respond to him and walked to Tang Lin and said coldly:"Miss Tang, you're not only a great liar but also a great actress. If you don't wake up now I will tear the clothes off your body."
    Tang Lin immediately opened her eyes.
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at Yu Peiyu and said:"Do you understand now what is going on? She did not want to answer your questions so she pretended to be unconscious. Intelligent man, stop accusing innocent people!"
    Yu Peiyu did not retort back, he accept every word she threw at him because he felt too he deserved it.
    Zhu Lei'Er turned to Tang Lin again and scoffed:"Miss Tang, can't you walk and stand on your own now? Or do you like to be in the arms of young master Yu?"
    Tang Lin's pale face became red of embarrassement, she said softly:" sealed the acupoints in my leg.....I can't walk and stand......"
    Zhu Lei'Er said calmly:"Occasionally I like to tease people too. Why is it that you are allowed to wrongfully accuse people and I not."
    Tang Lin was very angry but did not speak.
    Yu Peiyu sighed and asked Tang Lin:"Miss Tang, why did you frame me for the death of your father?"
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"You can accuse me, she accused you.....You're made for each other."
    Yu Peiyu was very bemused by Zhu Lei'Er, Yu Peiyu knew that he couldn't tell Zhu Lei'Er to keep quiet now. He learnt that he would better not tell woman to stay quiet again, otherwise they might nag onto the matter for the rest of his life.
    Tang Lin stayed quiet this time.
    Yu Peiyu said softly:"Miss Tang, I know you have a reason to frame me. I know you're not liar, please tell me what is wrong here?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said coldly:"Because she is not a liar her words make a heavy impact on people. If she was a infamous liar would her words carry any weight?"
    Every time Yu Peiyu asked Tang Lin a question, she would stay quiet and not reply. Zhu Lei'Er would continue to give sarcastic comments.
    Yu Peiyu stayed calm and asked Tang Lin earnestly again:"I think you must have a very good reason for telling that lie. Please tell me why, I will not blame you."
    Zhu Lei'Er sneered:"Maybe her real lover killed Tang Wushuang and to cover up for her lover she implicated you."
    That sounded like a reasonable deduction.
    Yu Peiyu asked Tang Lin:"Do you know who the killer is?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said coldly:"Of course she knows, but the way you ask her she won't say a word."
    She walked in front of Tang Lin and sternly asked:"Tell me, who killed Tang Wushuang? If you don't speak I will......"
    Suddenly a voice from their backs said:"I killed Tang Wushuang."
    They saw a figure in a white long dress, but they could not see clearly how it was.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Who are you?"
    That person walked up holding a torch, when she walked closer, Yu Peiyu exclaimed with surprise:"You?"
    That person sighed:"Yes, it was me."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"I never guessed it would be you."
    Zhu Lei'Er said coldly:"Why are you telling us this? Are you planning on silencing us?"
    That person said coldly:"If I wanted to kill you, I wouldn't have saved you earlier."
    The killer was the second daughter of Tang Wushuang, Tang Qi.
    Tang Lin sobbed:"Second sister, why did you come? I don't want to live anymore. Let me take the blame for everything."
    Tang Qi said sadly:"I know you're a good girl, you sacrificed yourself for me. And I....."
    Tang Lin cried:"I know you had to protect our clan, that is why you had to kill him."
    Zhu Lei'Er said loudly:"Both of you are honourable, but what did Yu Peiyu do to deserve this?"
    Tang Qi said deeply:"We know that we should not have dragged young master Yu into this. But this is a very delicate matter which might endanger our entire clan."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Don't we at least deserve to know the truth now?"
    Tang Qi said:"That is why I am here, I'm going to tell you the truth."
    She paused for a moment before saying:"You must be wondering why I killed my father?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"That thought did cross our minds."
    Tang Qi said:"I hope both of you could keep this secret safe."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"You still doubt Yu Peiyu now?"
    Tang Qi said:"I know that young master Yu is a true gentleman and can be trusted."
    She added:"The man I killed was not my father."
    She looked at Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er and expected them to be shocked.
    Zhu Lei'Er said calmly:"This is not a secret, we knew that already."
    Tang Qi was the one who was shocked now and asked:" did you know?"
    Yu Peiyu nodded and said:"We know."
    He was never a very talkative person but with Zhu Lei'Er around now he even had less chance to speak. But he did not mind, in fact he liked to listen to her voice.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"It is not strange that we know it, but it is most strange that you would know that this man is an imposter."
    Tang Qi smiled wryly:"This is a secret of our clan, only I knew of it. It is most strange that you would know it too."
    Zhu Lei'Er added:"We even know that this Tang Wushuang used to be an old stable-boy."
    Tang Qi repeated with surprise:"Stable-boy?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Yes, he is a lackey of Yu Fanghe. We eavesdropped on his plans in Apricot Pavillion."
    Tang Qi was totally confused now and did not know she was talking about.
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"This is a very confusing affair. But Miss Tang, most important is that Yu Fanghe is behind all of this."
    Tang Qi said with surprise:"The chancellor of Wulin? Old Mr. Yu?"
    Yu Peiyu gritted his teeth and said:"Yes."
    Tang Qi asked:"He is involved in this matter? How?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"He wants to take over control over your clan, he abducted the real old master Tang. And replaced him with an imposter who looks identical to the real old master Tang. Fortunately we discovered this plot of theirs."
    Zhu Lei'Er added:"We came here to expose this plan of theirs."
    Tang Qi was dumbfounded for a minute before she started to laugh loudly.
    Zhu Lei'Er and Yu Peiyu looked at each other and wondered why she was laughing.
    Tang Qi stopped laughing and said softly:"The net of heaven has large meshes, but it lets nothing through. All our planning has been in vain."
    Zhu Lei'Er frowned and asked:"What do you mean?"
    Tang Qi said earnestly:"To tell you the truth, my father passed away more than ten years ago."
    Yu Peiyu was shocked and called out:"Ten....ten years ago.....but that is not possible...."
    Tang Qi said:"When my father was seriously ill years ago, something terrible happened in the Wulin of Sichuan province our clan was also implicated into this matter. The only way to avoid this calamity was with the fame of our late father, our father knew that when he died chaos would erupt again. So before he died he found someone to impersonate himself."
    She smiled lightly now and continued:"My father found a distant cousin of him who looked very alike him. This distant uncle of mine was not a stable-boy and we used the art of disguise to make him look more alike. Furthermore if someone would see something different we would say that because of the illness my father's looks had changed a bit."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"So that means the old master Tang I saw was your distant uncle."
    Yu Peiyu now understood why the Tang Wushuang he met was such a coward and lacked the grandeur of a true leader of a famous Wulin family. And he began to understand why that Tang Wushuang betrayed him.
    Tang Qi said:"That uncle of mine was never an intelligent and wise man, so before my father died he instructed me that he could never be put in charge of the Tang Clan. He could only be my puppet and if he tried to usurp the power of our clan my father ordered to kill him immediately."
    She sighed:"This was my father's final wish, in order to preserve and protect my clan I had to stay single."
    Yu Peiyu felt sad for her, because it was not easy to sacrifice your own happiness for the fate of the family.
    Tang Qi said:"For all these years my uncle listened to me and never tried to
    to anything on his own. However this time when he returned he issued some orders on his own without my consent. Obeying my father's final wishes, I had to kill him."
    She paused before sighing:"But it is a surprise to hear that there is an imposter impersonating the fake......It seems that the Jade Emperor holds many strange surprises for us mortals."
    Zhu Lei'Er was dumbfounded too and said softly:"What an incredible secret! It is not easy to protect the fame and reputation of a Wulin family is not
    Tang Qi said tragically:"Everyone just sees the glory of our clan, but they do not realise how many tears, blood there really is behind our glory."
    Tang Qi started to weep too, talking about this brought back a lot unhappy thoughts. Yu Peiyu realised that every time she was about to get married her fiances would die under mysterious ways. Was it coincidence, or is there more to that it meets the eye. Yu Peiyu shivered at the thought, he also understood that Tang Qi was a most unfortunate woman.
    Glory and a prestigious reputation were not easy to preserve, how much tears, blood and bodies were used to preserve those two concepts. Is it worth it, Yu Peiyu wondered.

    Zhu Lei'Er asked sadly:"Does Tang Yue know about this?"
    Tang Qi said:"No, he doesn't."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"No wonder, he would....."
    She did not finish her sentence, Tang Yue was dead there would be no sense to reveal his faults.
    Yu Peiyu looked at her and his eyes were filled with praise. She was a very kind and considerate young woman, sometimes she would say the wrong things at the wrong time. But a lot of people make that same mistake.
    Tang Qi said:"Only my uncle and I knew about this, my father felt that my other brothers and sisters were still too young to know about this, so my father decided not to tell them anything."
    Yu Peiyu sighed, he knew if Tang Yue knew about this he would not help Yu Fanghe to create another Tang Wushuang.
    That distant uncle was a mere puppet for years, he had enough of that role as a symbol. That is why he made a deal with Yu Fanghe, he wanted to boast his status in the clan. He betrayed Yu Peiyu to Yu Fanghe, but he remained loyal to the Tang Clan and did not reveal a word of this to Yu Fanghe.
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"No matter what, your uncle stayed loyal to the Tang Clan till the end."
    Tang Qi added:"Nobody knows the difficulty members of a Wulin family have to endure, the difficulty of protecting the fame established by generations of hard work."
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"I used to admire people from big famous Wulin families, but now....."
    She too had a burden, being the daughter of the Lady Zhu from the Palace of Enchantment was not an easy position.
    After some time Zhu Lei'Er asked:"How did third Miss Tang know about this secret?"
    Tang Qi sighed:"She only knew that night when that imposter was killed. That night she did go to the room of Tang.....Tang Wushuang. She did stop outside and did overhear a conversation between that Tang Wushuang and the killer. Needless to say that killer was I."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"When she saw you killing that Tang Wushuang, you had no choice but to tell her about that family secret."
    Tang Qi smiled wryly:"That is what happened."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"That is why I thought it was strange you wouldn't tell the truth earlier."
    Tang Qi said:"We did not know that our secret contained so many other concealed plots in it. And we did not know that our uncle was dead now and was replaced by someone else."
    Zhu Lei'Er suddenly scoffed:"But why did you need to sacrifice Yu Peiyu in order to protect the fame of your clan?"
    Tang Qi just sighed, she did not know what to say.
    Zhu Lei'Er turned to Tang Lin and said:"Third Miss Tang, there is something I would like to ask you?"
    Tang Lin had lowered her head and did not dare to face anyone.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why did you have to implicate Yu Peiyu? You could have picked anyone else you knew? But why him?"
    Tang Lin started to cry again.
    Tang Qi sighed:"Why do you have to force her to tell the truth, I will tell you why."
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"Is it because she was acting on your instructions?"
    Tang Qi sneered:"If she acted on my orders she would not have implicated Yu Peiyu. Although he is the most handsome young man I have ever seen, but I have no interest in him at all."
    She was angered by Zhu Lei'Er attitude and retorted back in an unfriendly tone.
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled now:"Wonderful! That is exactly what I want.I want every woman in this world to treat Yu Peiyu like you see treat him."
    Tang Qi looked at her and all her irritation vanished, she realised that Zhu Lei'Er was just a sweet innocent young woman who still had to mature.
    She smiled a bit before sighing:"It is because my little sister has met young master Yu once and....."
    Tang Lin raised her head and shouted with anxiety:" can you....."
    Tang Qi said gently:"There is nothing to feel embarrassed about, it is perfectly normal for a young woman to fall in love with a handsome young
    Tang Lin blushed now.
    Zhu Lei'Er said with a bit of indignation:"You mean she framed Yu Peiyu because she loved him. That is some way to show her affection and love for him."
    Tang Qi said:"She is deeply in love with Yu Peiyu, when she found out that he was married to you she was heartbroken. And the tragedy of our family also saddened her beyond words."
    She looked at Zhu Lei'Er and added:"Love and hate are very close to each other, the other side of love is hate. Would you not do the same thing if you were in her position?"
    Zhu Lei'Er looked sad and looked at Yu Peiyu for a moment before saying softly:"I might be even more vicious......."
    Tang Qi said:"Only young master Yu has enough power to convince those
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why?"
    Tang Qi said:"She was punished once before because of young master Yu. Fortunately because nothing serious happened, otherwise she would have been executed some time ago for breaking an ancient family rule."
    Now, Yu Peiyu asked:"Did she take Silver Blossom into that cave because of me?"
    Tang Qi smiled sadly:"Young master, you remember that incident. Because of that incident you should forgive her."
    Yu Peiyu looked at the weeping Tang Lin, he did not know what to say.
    Zhu Lei'Er said softly:"I would like to apologize to you, initially I hated you for what you did. But now I feel sorry for you."
    Tang Lin turned around and screamed:"I don't need your apology, I don't need your compassion. I hate you.....I hate you....."
    She wanted to run away but because her acupoints were sealed too long she still could not move and soon fell down again.
    Zhu Lei'Er bit her lip and smiled sadly:"You do not have to hate me. I tell everyone that I am his wife, but I'm just saying that to lie to myself. He only loves Miss Lin Daiyu, you and I are very much similar to each other. Much more than you think."
    Zhu Lei'Er started to weep too, Tang Qi looked at them and said softly:"What a misfortune.....what a misfortune."
    She raised her head and said coldly to Yu Peiyu:"Young master Yu, you really do know how to make young women sad, don't you?"
    Yu Peiyu stared in front of him looking pale and said softly:"I have made so many women sad and miserable......"
    He kept repeating these words over and over again to himself. But no matter how many times he would repeat it, Tang Qi will not feel sorry for him.
    Tang Qi helped Tang Lin up and said:"We have said and explained that was necessary now, you can leave now."
    She suddenly really disliked Yu Peiyu and wanted nothing do with him anymore.
    This thirty year odd year old woman was still single especially hated heartless men, in her eyes Yu Peiyu was a heartless man.
    In her heart she knew Yu Peiyu was not to blame too, but she could not control her hate towards men. She did not hate Yu Peiyu but hate men in general.
    Zhu Lei'Er walked over to Tang Lin and asked:"Miss Tang, are you planning on telling everyone about this secret?"
    Tang Qi said:"No."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What is the use of telling us all of this?"
    Tang Qi said:"No use at all."
    Zhu Lei'Er said anxiously:"But if you don't everyone will think that Yu Peiyu really killed old master Tang."
    Tang Qi said coldly:"Does a heartless man like him deserve your concern?"
    She turned around and walked away not looking at them again.
    Zhu Lei'Er was stunned and wanted to chase them, Yu Peiyu pulled her back and said:"Let them go."
    Zhu Lei'Er turned around and asked loudly:"Nevermind? How can you let this go like this? You like to be called a murderer for the rest of your life?"
    Yu Peiyu looked sadly and smiled:"I have been wronged of so many crimes, an extra one does not matter."
    Zhu Lei'Er stamped her feet and said angrilly:"I really don't know what is wrong with you! If people wrongfully accuse you, you're not angry or anxious at all! But when people come up for you, you act indifferent!"
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"You think I'm a heartless man too, why do you care for me at all."

    End of chapter 32

  14. #34
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 33 Competing In Wit

    When Zhu Lei'Er heard the words of Yu Peiyu she was stunned, she started to weep again and said:"Am I wrong? Should I not have said those words? There is only Lin Daiyu in your heart? Am I wrong in that?"
    Yu Peiyu did not say a word.
    After crying for some time Zhu Lei'Er continued:"Maybe I am really wrong. I like to cry and I talk too much. I say the wrong things to anger you, why won't you continue without me."
    Yu Peiyu did not say a thing, he just gently took her hand and pulled her along with him. Sometimes not talking is the best method.
    Yu Peiyu knew that they would come out at that abandoned temple on the other side of this secret tunnel. That is where Yu Fanghe captured Yu Fanghe and killed Tang Yu. That is also the place where Yu Peiyu met Guo Pianxian for the first time, he also remembered that poor young girl Zhong Jing. What happened to them? Are they still alive?
    He also thought of Silver Blossom and her cruel punishment for her wicked ways. The images of Golden Blossm, Iron Blossom, Jin Yanzi appeared in front of him.
    Of course, he could not forget about Lin Daiyu. Yu Peiyu sighed, he was thinking:The unhappy events they encountered, are those really my fault?
    Every girl he met so far had met with tragedy, why?
    It is said that beautiful women bring disaster with them, does that go for handsome men too.
    Yu Peiyu did not know whether he should laugh loudly or cry sadly now. He held on to another sad girl now and the two of them stayed quiet and continued to walk.
    Yu Peiyu gently pushed the fake wall aside and was welcomed by laughter:"The two of you are late. I have been waiting for some time now."
    Yu Peiyu pulled Zhu Lei'Er behind him and backed backwards with a few steps.
    Zhu Lei'Er exclaimed:"Yang Zijiang, why do you keep following us!"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"Perhaps it is fate that we should meet again."
    He was sitting on the floor, with a bottle of wine and plate of steamed vegetables on his leg. There was a candle and flint next to him on the floor.
    He smiled:"I took this plate from the Tang Manor, although it is cold but it still quite tasty. Come join me and drink some."
    Yu Peiyu just looked at him for a moment and said with a smile:"Thank you."
    Yu Peiyu sat down and poured himself a cup of wine and drank without hesitation. Yang Zijiang looked at him and laughed:"Brother Yu, your martial arts are passable and you're quite handsome although I am not bad looking myself. But what I truly admire is your ability to stay calm and tranquil no matter what situation, that is something I cannot do myself."
    He turned to Zhu Lei'Er now and smiled:"Miss Zhu, don't worry there is no poison in the wine. I know many ways to kill but using poison is not one of them."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at him casually and said:"I just know one method in killing and that is to use poison. I can randomly use it and my victims won't even know what hit them. When they find out that they are poisoned it is too late and have no idea who killed them."
    She now smiled to Yang Zijiang:"Maybe there is poison in your cup already now."
    If the same words would have been said by someone else Yang Zijiang would laugh in that person's face. But the speaker now was the daughter of the once dreaded Lady Zhu of the Palace of Enchantment, that made everything different.
    Yang Zijiang looked at his cup for awhile and smiled:"If there really was poison you wouldn't tell me, would you?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said sweetly:"Why won't you drink up?"
    Yang Zijiang was a bit stunned and did not drink the wine. Even though he was quite sure there was no venom in it.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Aren't you supposed to be a very courageous man?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"Normally I am, but when I'm provoked I turn into a coward."
    Zhu Lei'Er took his cup from his hands and poured the wine into the cup of Yu Peiyu, she smiled to Yu Peiyu:"It is pity to waste such a good wine, would you like to drink it?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled and drank the wine without hesitation.
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"There was no poison at all in the wine, see! You must feel awfully awkward now."
    Yang Zijiang stayed the same without looking awkward and laughed:"Being a bit cautious in life doesn't hurt at all. Furthermore the host should allow the guest to drink first."
    He took the bottle and poured another cup for himself and said:"Now it is my turn."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"By the way there is no poison on the cup."
    Yang Zijiang looked at his cup for a moment and smiled:"I have had too much already, I will pass."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled sweetly:"When I told you that there was poison you wouldn't believe, now I am saying that there isn't poison you don't believe either. What does it take to convince you?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"No matter what you say I won't drink now."
    He put down his cup and said softly to himself:"I saved her life, but she ruined my mood to drink. I think I won't save anyone anymore in the future."
    Zhu Lei'Er now said sternly:"Nobody told you to save us! You killed Tang Yue, caused Golden Blossom to commit suicide and you also murdered Iron Blossom. Why won't you kill us too?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"Does killing you really please you?"
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"Well, you're smart enough not to mess with us. Or else you might find out we're not that easy to deal with."
    Yang Zijiang said:"I select my victims on basis whether they deserve to die, not on whether they are easy to deal with or not."
    He looked seriously now and added:"If a certain person can betray his father, brothers and sisters just to be with the woman he loves, does that man deserve to live?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"You and your friends forced, tricked him to betray his family!"
    Yang Zijiang asked:"Can I successfully force or trick you to harm Yu Peiyu?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said loudly:"Of course not!"
    Yang Zijiang said:"You see what I mean, if you're determined about something nobody can force you to do anything. If Tang Yue was really loyal to his family he wouldn't betray his family, even if we promised him the entire world."
    Zhu Lei'Er was a bit taken by his remark but soon said:"How about Golden Blossom? Why did you....."
    Yang Zijiang interrupted:"Golden Blossom commited suicide because Tang Yue was dead. I did not touch her that day when Tang Yue died, there are plenty of dumb women like Golden Blossom in the world who commit suicide that easily. Does that mean I am responsible to for their deaths?"
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"How easy you shift the responsibility away from yourself? Does that mean you are a good man?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"I wouldn't dare to say that. But I will never kill an innocent man."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at him for a moment and continued:"What about Iron Blossom? Why did you kill her?"
    Yang Zijiang answered:"Iron Blossom? Who told you I killed her?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I did."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Did you actually see me kill him? Have you seen her body? How do you know she is dead?"
    Zhu Lei'Er sneered:"Irrelevant! I know you had something to do with her disappearance. She is probably dead."
    Yang Zijiang said:"If she isn't dead?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"If...if she is still alive, I will swallow this bottle of green liquor."
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"You cannot swallow this bottle. If people see you they will wonder why this young girl is looking that green."
    Zhu Lei'Er said angrilly:"Who says I look green?"
    Yang Zijiang said calmly:"You are already a green eyed monster, how would you look like if you swallow this entire bottle of green wine."
    Zhu Lei'Er was utterly dumbfounded by this man, she did not know what to say to him. She stared at him angrilly and in the end she just laughed:"I're one formidable shrew. I shiver at the thought if you were actually a woman."
    Yu Peiyu laughed:"Brother Yang, I take it you're here for another reason except debating with Miss Zhu."
    Yang Zijiang was a bit taken by Yu Peiyu's remark, Zhu Lei'Er tried so hard to dumbfound him with no luck. But Yu Peiyu managed to stun him with one mere remark.
    Yang Zijiang laughed now:"Now I understand the saying Barking dogs don't bite! I will now look at brother Yu with a new perspective."
    Yu Peiyu just kept smiling friendly.
    Yang Zijiang now looked serious and said:"I am here, because I know brother Yu is a true gentleman."
    Yu Peiyu answered:"You're too kind."
    Yang Zijiang said:"I really admire your tranquility and ....."
    Zhu Lei'Er said loudly:"Get on with what you want to say, he does need your flattery."
    Yang Zijiang smiled dryly and said:"I just want to ask brother Yu one question, I hope you can tell me the truth."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Let me hear that question first."
    Yang Zijiang said:"I just want to know who killed that Tang Wushuang. Was it really Miss Tang Qi? What was her motive? Did she see through his disguise? And how did you come to know about this?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"That is not one question, but five."
    Yang Zijiang looked at Yu Peiyu and said:"Very well, I would like to ask brother Yu to answer my five questions."
    Yu Peiyu looked earnestly and said:"Brother Yang, since you have asked me this sincerely I cannot refuse your request. However......"
    Yang Zijiang asked:"However what?"
    Yu Peiyu did not speak anymore and just shook his head.
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"Don't you understand? He cannot tell you the truth so the best way is to keep quiet. Now I know what the best method is in dealing with shrews."
    Yang Zijiang sternly said:"You refuse to tell me!"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"What are you planning to do?"
    Yang Zijiang looked angry and pale now, Zhu Lei'Er was getting nervous and knew that if he attacked now it would not be easy to ward off his attacks.
    However Yang Zijiang smiled:"If that is the case, forget I ever asked."
    Zhu Lei'Er was a bit surprised and said:"Why so friendly all of a sudden?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"I really want to become friends with brother Yu and I hope he can join me for a cup of wine in my home."
    Zhu Lei'Er said with surprise:"You have a home too?"
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"What is so strange about having a place of my own. Most people do have their own homes."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Where is your house?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"It is quite near and my wife is preparing a few dishes, I think, as we speak."
    Zhu Lei'Er was surprised again and said:"You have a wife?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"What is so strange about that?"
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"I'm totally confused now. You never ceases to amaze me, I really want to meet your wife. I wonder why she would marry a strange man like you."
    Yang Zijiang smiled to Yu Peiyu:"Does brother Yu have the time now?"
    Yu Peiyu just laughed lightly, Zhu Lei'Er interrupted:"I know he is very interested in meeting your wife too."
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"Excellent, I think brother Yu won't defy the wishes of Miss Zhu?"
    Yu Peiyu's curiosity was also aroused, he began to see the different side of Yang Zijiang.....the funny and sincere side of him.
    Yang Zjiang's house was indeed quite close after walking for about a hour or so they saw a thacthed house. There was smoke coming out of the chimney.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Your wife is very dilligent, preparing breakfast for you already."
    Yang Zijiang said:"That is because she knows we have guests."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"How does she know we would come today?"
    Yang Zijiang said seriously:"If I would not come home with two esteemed guests, she won't allow me to enter the house."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why? Does she know us?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled and shook his head.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why won't you answer?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"I'm just following brother Yu's example of not talking."
    Zhu Lei'Er pouted:"I will see for myself anyway."
    The surroundings were very idyllic and nice, at first sight there was nobody strange or dangerous about this place.
    When they entered the house, they saw that the table was spreaded already and there was food on the table.
    Zhu Lei'Er sat down and started to eat, she had not eaten for an entire day and was really quite hungry.
    She smiled:"Your wife really knows how to cook. You're are very fortunate to have found such a caring wife."
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"I am afraid that these dishes will not be to your liking."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Where is Madame Yang, if I may ask?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"I think she must be in the kitchen preparing some dishes."
    There was noise coming from the kitchen, Yu Peiyu said:"There are so many dishes already here, we wouldn't dare to impose on you."
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"She really wants her guests to taste her food."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"Tell Madame Yang to join us."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Very well."
    It was very strange that these three people would sit down at the same table and eat together. One was a misunderstood young heroic gentleman fighting for a noble goal. The second one was a strange young man with mysterious intentions and third one was the daughter of the late Lady Zhu.
    If anyone would see them here together they would probably be to scared to even stay to watch them. Because anyone of the these three are formidable characters in the present realm of martial arts.
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"It is time that you would show yourself to our guests."
    A voice very clear and pretty said:"After cooking these prawns I will come out."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"That voice sounds so familiar."
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"Can't you tell by the voice?"
    Zhu Lei'Er shook her head and said:"There are too many additional noises in the kitchen I cannot hear clearly."
    At this time a young woman walked out of the kitchen and she had a plate of prawns in her hand.
    Zhu Lei'Er and Yu Peiyu were stunned to see this woman here.
    The wife of Yang Zijiang is Iron Blossom.
    They were expecting to be in a surprise but this was even beyond their wildest dreams.
    Iron Blossom smiled sweetly:"I hope you won't mind if it is not that good."
    Yu Peiyu stuttered:"'re too mo...modest, Mada....Madame Yang."
    Although he always remained calm and clear under the most dire circumstances but this even shocked him and he had no idea what to say. The only thing he could thing of was to put something in his mouth to prevent himself from saying the wrong things.
    When Iron Blossom heard Yu Peiyu calling her [Madame Yang], she blushed.
    At this time Zhu Lei'Er loudly asked:"You're actually married to him?"
    Iron Blossom smiled:"Well, I have to get married eventually."
    Zhu Lei'Er shook her head and sighed:"Why would you like to marry a strange character like him."
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"Everyone to his own! I mean if every woman has the same taste like Miss Zhu then brother Yu would have a lot of female admirers."
    He added:"I wonder if this wine is as good as the green wine of earlier."
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"You don't have to make me angry, I lose I am jealous little girl. I know that."
    Suddenly they heard horses galloping this way, Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Are you expecting guests?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"It seems so."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"They must come from afar."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Yes, I think so."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Who are those people?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"How do you know I would know these people?"
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"Probably those fiendish friens of yours."
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"How did you guess?"
    The horses came closer and closer to the house of Yang Zijiang, Zhu Lei'Er looked at Yu Peiyu to see what his intentions were. But Yu Peiyu just smiled and did not say a thing.
    Yang Zijiang loudly praised:"Yu Peiyu.....Yu Peiyu, I really admire your courage."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"Thank you."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Only you with extraordinary courage would dare to come to my home? Aren't you afraid I will sell you out to those men?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"I love the surroundings here and I enjoyed Madame Yang's cooking. And I don't think you're the kind of man who will sell me out."
    Yang Zijiang said:"You shouldn't blindly trust people, brother Yu."
    Yu Peiyu said calmly:"If you wanted to harm me, you would have done so a long time ago. There is no need for all of this, is it?"
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"You shouldn't trust me alltogether! I'm not a good man."
    Yu Peiyu said sincerely:"I think you are a decent person."
    Zhu Lei'Er was very much bemused by this, one was self-reproaching the other was consoling him. Just half a day ago these two young men could be said were mortal enemies.
    However Zhu Lei'Er still did not trust this Yang Zijiang. But it was too late, the horses stopped in front of Yang Zijiang's house. One of the riders called:"Is someone here?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"You know I'm here, why pretend?"
    One of the riders smiled friendly:"We wouldn't dare to barge into the home of young master Yang."
    Yang Zijiang frowned and said:"Enough formalities, enter!"
    Three men came in with three large boxes big enough to put in grown men.
    One of the men walked in with a big smile, Zhu Lei'Er thought she had seen this man before. She remembered that she did see him with Yu Fanghe at her home and Yu Peiyu saw him with the entourage of Yu Fanghe watching Yu and Tang Wushuang playing go.
    When he saw Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er his smile was gone.
    Yang Zijiang asked:"Have you brought the things I want?"
    One of the other men said:"Yes, it is in here."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Are you sure?"
    The man said:"Absolutely, we personally saw to it."
    But they saw Yu Peiyu too and they did looked at him with bad intentions in their eyes.
    Yang Zijiang deliberately said loudly:"Oh! You have met each other before?"
    The man stuttered:"Not...not...really."
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"Let me introduce you to each other."
    He pointed to one of the man and said:"This is Mountain Splitting Sabre Song Gang. This is Tiger Subdueing Fists Zhao Qiang. It is said that they are famous martial artists."
    Both Zhao Qiang and Song Gang said with a proud smile:"You're too kind."
    Yang Zijiang coldly added:"In my opinion this mountain splitting sabre is only fit to chop wood and tiger subdueing fists can never subdue tigers. Even cats might be a problem."
    Both Zhao Qiang and Song Gang were furious now but did not dare to show it and really tried their best to surpress their anger. Zhu Lei'Er was amused and felt pity for them.
    Yang Zijiang pointed at the third man and said:"He has somewhat higher martial arts than these two. He is called The Jade Celestial Sabre Cao Ziying. That sabre of his may not be able to slash through everything, but it might be worth a few taels of silver at the market. But his stances are not too bad."
    Cao Ziying looked pleased and smiled:"Thank you, young master Yang."
    Yang Zijiang added:"But people also say that you're hypocritical fiend and your head is filled with dirty tricks. But you still have a long way to go if you want follow the footsteps of your ancestor Cao Cao."
    Cao Ziying was still smiling but his smile was not that radiant anymore.
    Yu Peiyu said:"It is my pleasure to meet all of you."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Did the three of you came here to take our lives?"
    Cao Ziying smiled:"That really depends on young master Yang, we follow his commands."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at Yang Zijiang.
    Yang Zijiang said indifferently:"I don't care whom you want to kill, it really depends on your own abilities. Now there is food on the table, do you expect me to feed you personally."
    Cao Ziying, Zhao Qiang and Song Gang looked pleased now.
    Zhu Lei'Er said angrilly:"You really have intentions to betray us!"
    Yang Zijiang sighed:"I said I was not a good person, but brother Yu wouldn't believe my words."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"I won't blame anyone."
    The three men looked at each other and Cao Ziying said:"In that case...."
    Iron Blossom interrupted:"I don't care what you want to do! But first you have to finish all the food on the table, I have stood in the kitchen the entire morning to cook this!"
    Cao Ziying said coldly:"Miss is...."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Not Miss but Madame, Madame Yang. My wife."
    Cao Ziying immediately said with a smile:"I would love to eat Madame Yang's quisine. I will eat all the dishes after business first."
    Iron Blossom said:"That way the food will get cold, it won't be that good anymore. And if anyone of you would die that means that the mood will be ruined."
    Yang Zijiang sighed:"I think it is best that you won't upset my wife. Furthermore upsetting women is not really a wise move, I suggest you would eat first."
    Iron Blossom smiled:"Indeed, eat up. You might get some extra energy."
    She went into the kitchen to get extra chopsticks, cups and bowls.
    In the beginning Zhao Qiang and Song Gang ate with difficulty but because they were quite hungry now, so they soon ate heartily.
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"If they fight as quick as they eat, brother Yu is in big trouble."
    Iron Blossom gently slapped him and laughed:"What kind of host are you? You should urge them to eat some more."
    The two of them were joking around as an ordinary couple much to the discomfort of Zhu Lei'Er. She originally thought that Iron Blossom was planning something for these three, but it did not seem like that.
    Zhu Lei'Er saw with one look that there was no poison in the food or on the bowls, chopsticks and such.
    Zhu Lei'Er felt very worried and wondered what to do, these three men were not a problem. But Yang Zijiang was.
    She saw that Yu Peiyu was sitting and enjoying this meal very much, she asked with sarcasm:"Have you never eaten prawns before in your life?"
    He drank a cup of wine and laughed:"I think I won't have the chance to eat such delicious prawns anymore in my life. I can't passed out on this opportunity."
    Zhu Lei'Er almost jumped up with anger, but when she realised that after all this time Yu Peiyu now lost to Yu Fanghe she almost started to sob sadly.
    Yu Peiyu put a piece of duck in her ricebowl and said gently:"Try this duck cooked with tea-leaves, it is a special dish famous only in Sichuan province. Not as good as Beijing duck in my opinion, but not bad either."
    She quietly ate the duck, it tasted very good but she could not really enjoy it. In fact to her it tasted bitter.
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"It seems it is a wise choice to marry a woman who can cook wonderfully. Miss Zhu, you really should learn how to cook."
    Zhu Lei'Er said hatefully:"I think you have married the wrong woman."
    Yang Zijiang asked:"Why do you say that?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"The prawns are in my opinion not very good."
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"Next time I would love to taste your cookery Miss Zhu."
    Zhu Lei'Er coldly said:"There will be time for that soon enough."
    She suddenly asked:"What is that you and your lackeys want from Yu Peiyu anyway?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"The chancellor went to the Family Li Village to look for a certain object, but he couldn't find it. He was also surprised to find out that both of you were alive and not killed in the fire, so he thought that that object might be in your hands."
    Cao Ziying kept coughing the entire time as to remind Yang Zijiang not to reveal any secrets to these people.
    Yang Zijiang ignored his coughing and continued:"Besides chancellor Yu has gone through great difficulty to investigate the antecedents of brother Yu, but in vain. Could brother Yu just be like the Sun Wukong, exploded from a rock?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"But the antecedents of brother Yang are also very mysterious."
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"Maybe you don't know, but at least the chancellor knows."
    Yu Peiyu just nodded.
    Yang Zijiang said:"You're very mysterious, your martial arts are good. And you keep giving the chancellor problems, it is naturally that he wants to get rid of you."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"The chancellor has a too high of an opinion of me."
    Cao Ziying, Zhao Qiang and Song Gang turned pale, Iron Blossom looked at her husband with love.
    Zhu Lei'Er took advantage of this opportunity to put poison on the plate of ribs, she was a great user of poison and nobody saw a thing.
    However nobody touched the plate of ribs, she was so anxious. She deliberately picked a rib and ate it, she softly said:"Very good. Not too salty and not too spicy."
    But again none of the people touched the plate of ribs, Yu Peiyu smiled:"I would like taste it, since you say it is that good."
    Those who are supposed to eat it are not eating, those who really must not eat this are going to eat it.
    Zhu Lei'Er was almost going mad and quickly used her chopsticks to prevent Yu Peiyu from eating, she pouted:"Don't eat those greasy things, aren't you afraid of becoming fat. I hate men with big bellies."
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"Some men are detestable even without big bellies, take for instance brother Cao here. I can't stand him and he is as skinny as one can be."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled to him:"Why aren't you eating?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"I'm muslim, I am not allowed to eat pork."
    Zhu Lei'Er turned to Iron Blossom and smiled:"It is waste to leave such a delicious plate or ribs untouched."
    Iron Blossom said:"I will feed it to the dogs later on."
    Cao Ziying initially wanted to pick a piece but when she heard the words of Iron Blossom, he put down his chopsticks and smiled:"I wanted to taste it, but I don't want to steal away the food of the dogs."
    Zhu Lei'Er was furious but she couldn't force force them to eat those ribs, could she?
    Cao Ziying touched his belly and smiled:"I'm full, I can't eat another thing."
    Yang Zijiang said casually:"Well now, you can do what you have to do now."
    Cao Ziying said with a smile:"I will help Madame Yang cleaning up the table."
    Yang Zijiang said:"No need, I just love to hear the noise of breaking plate and bowls and such."
    Cao Ziying said:"In that case, please forgive us for being rude."
    He looked at Song Gang and Zhao Qiang, he sinisterly smiled to Yu Peiyu:"I advise you to come with us peacefully."
    All of three of them stood up and readied themselves.
    Yang Zijiang pulled Iron Blossom back and smiled:"I don't want your new dress getting dirty."
    Yu Peiyu stood up too and told Zhu Lei'Er:"This doesn't concern you either, go over there first."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"This isn't a new dress and I'm not afraid that it will get dirty."
    She raised her palm and attacked Cao Ziying, Cao expected that much and avoided that blow. He said with smile:"If you're not willing....."
    Suddenly he broke out in spasms and fell down, Zhao Qiang and Song Gang followed his example and broke out in convulsions too.
    In a moment all three of them were dead.
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"Why all the charades after a good meal."
    Iron Blossom said:"They should entertain us, after all I cooked a good meal for them."
    Yang Zijiang sighed:"The silver moss really is something special....."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at him and exclaimed:"Silver moss?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"Yes, only Silver Blossom is capable of turning the silver moss into a powerful poison."
    This type of poison was often used by emperors, they would bestow this poison to concubines, ministers who have become expendable.
    Together with the crane's red dot and the silver kiss, these are three most famous used poison in history.
    Even Yu Peiyu has heard of this type of rare poison too and asked:"Was the poison in the wine?"
    Iron Blossom answered:"Don't worry it was not in the wine nor in the food."
    She picked up the cup Cao Ziying used and smiled.
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"Wonderful! The two of you are really made for each other!
    Both of you like to trick people."
    She turned to Yu Peiyu and smiled:"It seems you were correct, they really had no bad intentions towards us."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Not necessarily."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Well, if not why would you kill these three."
    Yang Zijiang said:"I killed them because I cannot stand them, if one day I cannot stand the both of you I will kill you too."
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"You really are strange aren't you? Normal people like to hear people praise about themselves, only you like to be mocked."
    Yang Zijiang said:"I am not a good man, I like it when people say that I am a fiend."
    Iron Blossom laughed:"He got scolded a lot when he was young. If he isn't scolded for three days, he will get uncomfortable all of a sudden. That is why I married him, I like to scold people."
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"You really are made for each other. I truly envy you."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Well if you envy her, won't you be my wife too?"
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"I'm afraid not, and you have a wife already. Otherwise..."
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"The more the merrier."
    Iron Blossom laughed:"I wonder if he can put with two wives scolding him."
    Zhu Lei'Er pouted:"Unfortunately, I don't like to scold people."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Oh! You're like me, you like to be scolded."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Here you go again, after just saying you're a decent man, now you're becoming all cheeky again."
    Yang Zijiang said seriously:"I am not a decent man, if I was decent I would continue to carry out Yu Fanghe's orders and stay loyal to him."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"So in other words, if you kill us you are really a decent man."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Not necessarily, I only have to seal your acupoints and put in these boxes and present you to Yu Fanghe."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at those boxes and thought she would easily fit in one of those boxes.
    She asked:"What is in them?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"It is a gift for Madame Hai Tang from Yu Fanghe."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What kind of gift?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"Care to guess, Miss Zhu?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I am not Zhuge Liang, how should I know?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"You have seen the contents of these boxes before...."
    Yu Peiyu laughed:"May I guess?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"Of course."
    Yu Peiyu said:"I think there are two humans in the box, correct?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"Hmm!"
    Yu Peiyu continued:"A man and a woman?"
    Yang Zijiang answered:"Hmm!"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Guo Pianxian and Zhong Jing?"
    Yang Zijiang looked at Yu Peiyu with amazement, he now sighed deeply:"No wonder Yu Fanghe wants to get rid of you. If you were my enemy I would also be restless."
    Zhu Lei'Er exclaimed:"Is that Guo fellow really in here?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"Yes, he is."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"How did he end up here?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"He passed out by the smoke that day in the Family Li Village and someone found him and put him in the box."
    Zhu Lei'Er walked over and wanted to take a look in the box, but Yang Zijiang quickly sat on the box and calmly said:"Only Madame Hai Tang is allowed to open this box."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Who said that?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"The chancellor of Wulin."
    Zhu Lei'Er exclaimed:"Ha! Now you listen to him."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Hmm!"
    Zhu Lei'Er said earnestly:"Yang Zijiang, tell us. Are you a friend of ours, are are you just another lackey of Yu Fanghe?"
    Yang Zijiang asked:"What are the advantages of being your friend?"
    Zhu Lei'Er was a bit stunned:"There are plenty advantages, I can't name so many at once."
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"Shall I name them for you? One, you can join me during meals. Two, if I have nothing to do I can save you lot. Three.....hahahah there are too many to mention, but I would rather pass on these advantages if you don't mind."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"So you admit you're a lackey of Yu Fanghe."
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"I'm no lackey."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What do you mean?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"I'm just me. I have no friends, and I am not any lackey. I just do what I like and please."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"So you act on your own interests."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Absolutely correct! I like what you say."
    Zhu Lei'Er was furious and did not know what to say. Suddenly they could hear a carriage coming their way from afar.
    Yang Zijiang said:"I don't have any friends, but I do have a lot guests all of a sudden."
    He suddenly flew up and kicked those three bodies out into the backyard and returned to his seat in a flash.
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"Are they hear to bring presents too? However those presents are probably not for you, you just have to safeguard them."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked outside and saw that the driver of the carriage was a man with only one arm and he rode very quickly to the house of Yang Zijiang.

    End of chapter 33

  15. #35
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 34 Shadows Of The Sabres And The Swords

    There was a large box on the carriage. Iron Blossom laughed.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why are you laughing?"
    Iron Blossom giggled:"I'm just happy for finding a good husband like him."
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"Don't count your chicks before they hatch."
    Iron Blossom said:"I thought this is a funny sight."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What is so funny?"
    Iron Blossom said softly:"The famous hero Wang Yuluo is driving a carriage."
    Yang Zijiang said:"He just trying to make up for his mistakes."
    Iron Blossom said:"Mistakes?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"Yes, he couldn't even keep his eyes on Tang Yue and even let him escape. I should have chopped off his other arm too."
    Wang Yuluo and the carriage came closer and when Wang Yuluo saw Yu Peiyu he turned pale, but immediately smiled friendly:"It is such a pleasant surprise to find you here, young master Yu."
    Iron Blossom smiled sweetly:"Do you just remember young master Yu, don't you remember me anymore?"
    Wang Yuluo exclaimed with anger:"The Three Magnificent Flower Ladies?!?"
    Iron Blossom smiled:"Oh! You still remember me."
    Wang Yuluo looked at his missing arm and smiled evily:"How can I forget your gratitude, Miss?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"Not Miss. But Madame."
    Wang Yuluo looked at Yu Peiyu and said:"Madame Yu."
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"Not Madame Yu, but Madame Yang."
    Wang Yuluo was surprised but soon composed himself and said with a big smile:"Young master Yang, you forgot to invite me over for the ceremony. Congratulations!"
    Wang Yuluo now entered the house, Yang Zijiang said:"We just finished the wedding banquet, there is still a plate of ribs which is untouched. If you don't find this a bit too simple, you can consider that a sort of banquet itself."
    Yang Zijiang took out a bowl and a pair of chopsticks for Wang Yuluo, if Iron Blossom took out the bowl and chopsticks, Wang Yuluo would have been very suspicious. But he was quite surprised and happy to see that Yang Zijiang was attending him personally, he thanked him respectfully several times.
    Wang Yuluo said:"It is a pity that there is only this plate of ribs left, but I still thank young master Yang for your generosity."
    Zhu Lei'Er was afraid he would not eat but strange enough Wang Yuluo started to eat without a hint of suspicion.
    Wang Yuluo was normally a cunning man and facing such a strange situation he should even be more careful. But he really trusted Yang Zijiang, this must mean that Yang Zijiang was very close to Yu Fanghe and Yu Fanghe must have ordered Wang Yuluo and others to listen to Yang Zijiang's orders, instructions.
    Yu Fanghe was a very intelligent man and knew how to use people, there must be a reason why he trusted Yang Zijiang that much. But the actions of Yang Zijiang were too strange and unpredictable. He is now even poisoning Wang Yuluo, why is he doing that?
    What is his relationship to Yu Fanghe?
    Yang Zijiang asked:"Have you brought the box?"
    Wang Yuluo said:"Young master Yang, I will not dare to make any mistakes."
    He drank a cup of wine and continued:"As instructed I went to see young master Hai, young master Hai ordered me to deliver the box to you. I did not even open the box to see."
    Yang Zijiang asked:"Did young master Hai ask you to deliver any message?"
    Wang Yuluo said:"Young master Hai said he discovered some suspicious people, he is going to investigate this matter. He won't be able to meet up with you for a few days."
    Yang Zijiang was thinking for a moment before saying:"I'm very pleased about this. If you have any final wishes please tell me, I will take care of it for you."
    Wang Yuluo turned pale and stuttered:" wish...wishes..."
    Yang Zijiang said casually:"You've taken a poison of the Palace of
    Enchantment, do you think you can continue to live?" Wang Yuluo dropped his chopsticks and stood up and said:"Young....young
    master Yang, are...are you joking?"
    Yang Zijiang looked earnestly and said coldly:"Who is joking with you?"
    Wang Yuluo was trembling, he was looking awfully pale and kicked the table upside down, he shouted:"The chancellor has put so much trust in you! How dare!"
    He suddenly stopped talking and turned around struck his palm towards Zhu Lei'Er.
    He knew he was no match for Yang Zijiang, that is why he attacked Zhu Lei'Er with everything he had in him. He knew he was going to die anyway, but he wanted at least one of these people to accompany him while he died.
    The entire time he was looking at Yang Zijiang, nobody suspected he would attack Zhu Lei'Er. This attack of his was both lethal and vicious.
    Zhu Lei'Er had little combat experience and was completely taken by surprise, it was too late for her to avoid this blow.
    Yu Peiyu had already stepped between her and Wang Yuluo and used his own palm to accept the stance of Wang Yuluo.
    When the two exchanged palms, they could hear a pats and Wang Yuluo flew back and landed on the floor with his back. However before he actually fell to the floor, the poison had already kicked in and he was dead when he landed they all saw that his face had turned silver.
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"Brother Yu, I thought you were quite tired from the events of these past days. It amazes me that you even have such powerful internal energy in your exhausted state, I must evaluate your martial arts again."
    Iron Blossom smiled:"Don't underestimate young master Yu, he has extraordinary strength unmatched in the realm."
    Zhu Lei'Er had now composed herself again and asked:"What did he deliver anyway?"
    She wanted to ask this question for some time now.
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"If I stop you again, you will start a fight with me I think...."
    He opened the box and Zhu Lei'Er took a look and called out:"What?"
    The person in the chest was no other than Ji Lingfeng. Even Yu Peiyu was surprised to see her in this state.
    She was unconscious and tied up with ropes, the normal ever so high and mighty Ji Lingfeng was defeated and tied up and put in a box.
    Yang Zijiang asked:"Do you know her?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled wryly:"Yes, I do."
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"We're supposed to meet each other at Tang Manor, I was wondering why she did not show up. I never thought she would be captured by you."
    Yu Peiyu said:"With her martial arts and intelligence, Wang Yuluo is certainly no a match for her. Who was it....."
    Yang Zijiang interrupted:"Did you not hear him say that a certain young master Hai instructed him to deliver this chest to me?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said with surprise:"Young master Hai? Do you mean Hai Dongqing?"
    Yang Zijiang was a bit surprised and asked:"You know Hai Dongqing?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Of course I know him, but I'm surprised you know him too."
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"I knew him when I was just one years old."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"One years old? That means that you're...."
    Yang Zijiang said:"He is my elder martial arts brother."
    Zhu Lei'Er was a bit stunned in the beginning but after a moment she smiled:"No wonder both of you are so strange. Both of you crawled out of the same...." She didn't finish her sentence.
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"I have seen the martial arts of brother Hai before, Miss Ji is not his match. But what kinds of grudges do you have with Miss Ji?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"No grudges, only we have orders from Yu Fanghe to bring her back to Murder Manor."
    Zhu Lei'Er said with surprise:"Hai Dongqing is also working for Yu Fanghe?"
    Yang Zijiang laughed:"Both of us crawled out of the same nest, so our objectives are pretty much the same."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Since both of you are so loyal to Yu Fanghe, why did you kill Wang Yuluo?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"Because of me."
    Suddenly he yelled:"Who is there?" His face changed.
    The door was barged open and everyone felt a powerful wind blowing inside, Zhu Lei'Er saw a figure and thought who this person was with such incredible speed.
    Zhu Lei'Er now saw who it was and smiled:"Speak of the devil....."
    But she did not finish her sentence because she saw that Hai Dongqing's robe was drenched with blood. And he looked awfully pale.
    Yang Zijiang did not speak, he immediately tore open Hai Dongqing's robe to inspect and tend to his wounds. There were about 17, 18 wounds on his body,

    Yu Peiyu and Zhu Lei'Er knew what Hai Dongqing was capable of and were shocked to see him in this state.
    Yang Zijiang was also shocked and asked:"Who were responsible for this?"
    He was certain that a group of people ambushed Hai Dongqing, because no man alone can injure Hai Dongqing like this.
    Hai Dongqing gritted his teeth and said:"It...."
    At this pointed he fainted, his wounds were very severe and his amazing tenacity was the only factor that prevented him from fainting a long time ago.
    But now that he was in care of his friends he was completely exhausted and passed out.
    Iron Blossom put Hai Dongqing in a chair and looked after his wounds, Yang Zijiang angrilly said:"I will pursue these people to the corners of the world if I have to."
    A voice from outside said:"Not necessary. I'm already here."
    The voice sounded sharp and cold, it made one feel most uncomfortable when you heard it.
    A man appeared in front of the door, he looked quite handsome but somehow he had a very eerie, cold aura around him. Like his voice it made one very uncomfortable, he wore a black robe and had a red girdle with a moon curved sabre.
    Yang Zijiang was shocked but soon composed himself and asked:"Were you responsible?"
    That man smiled indifferently:"Yes, your martial arts brother was wounded by Shade*." (*Shade as in ghosts, ghouls etc.)
    Yang Zijiang asked:"Shade? Are you Shade?"
    That man laughed:"Yes."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Excellent, tell your comrades to come out too!"
    Shade laughed:"Shades do not need help when they kill."
    Yang Zijiang exclaimed with surprise:"You alone were responsible for this?"
    Shade smiled:"Only one Shade is enough."
    Everyone was shocked because they knew that Hai Dongqing had superb martial arts, at this moment Zhu Lei'Er noticed that Yang Zijiang could stay very calm too in dangerous situations. He asked:"Who ordered you?"
    Shade smiled:"Shade acted on nobody's orders."
    Yang Zijiang asked:"What unsolved issues did you have with him?"
    Shade smiled again:"Shade does not have any issues with him."
    He did not use the word "I" but "Shade."
    Yang Zijiang shouted:"Who are you?"
    Shade recited:"The mysteries of Heaven and Earth, flowing through the universe."
    This was the first line of the classical text Thousand-character Classic, but when Yang Zijiang heard that his entire face turned pale. Why did that mere sentence have so much impact on him.
    Shade smiled:"Shade let him escape, because he hoped to he would lead Shade to you. Because you are Shade's next target."
    Nobody saw when or how he drew his sabre but they could see that he was slashing towards Yang Zijiang's throat. A most powerful and swift move.
    Iron Blossom shrieked, during the shriek there was a clang sound. Even as quick, Yang Zijiang drew a short sword and blocked Shade's sabre.
    Both did not move and had already exchanged ten odd stances in a few moments, but nobody could hear the clattering sound of weapons. In the eyes of laymen it seemed that both men were just displaying their stances individually. But Yu Peiyu knew how dangerous this battle really was.
    The two of them really fought at close range, Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why aren't they moving to avoid the opponent's blows?"
    Yu Peiyu kept his eyes on the battle and explained:"Because both of them are extremely fast, if Shade hacks Yang Zijiang has already counter-attacked, as result Shade has to change stance to protect himself. He chooses the attack as the best form of defense, so Yang Zijiang's initial stance has to be broken off to protect himself again. However Yang Zijiang's also chooses the same tactic as Shade using the attack as the best form of defense. All the stances, techniques they have used are extremely lethal but cannot harm each other yet."
    Zhu Lei'Er said with shock:"So if Yang Zijiang is just a bit slower, he will be hacked with one stroke."
    Yu Peiyu looked at Hai Dongqing and sighed:"I fear that there will be more than one strokes.
    Zhu Lei'Er was really anxious when she realised the danger Shade forms and sighed:"Where does this madman come from?"
    Yu Peiyu sighed too:"Now I know that the realm of martial arts is truly a big place, filled with mysterious unknown experts."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Although this Yang Zijiang's motives are questionable, he did save us. We really should aid him."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Do you want to join him in this battle?"
    Zhu Lei'Er whispered:"We can sneak up on that Shade and attack him in the back, he won't suspect a thing."
    Yu Peiyu did not reply, he picked up a pair of chopsticks and slowly walked behind Shade. He was now several metres away from Shade and threw out the chopsticks using the commonly known Hand arrow's technique.
    A sharp Cling sound could be heard, around this time both Shade and Yang Zijiang were standing on a different spot and the pair of chopsticks were stuck into a wall. The chopsticks broke into seven pieces, Zhu Lei'Er had no idea how it was sliced into seven pieces and what method was used to ward off the chopsticks.
    Yu Peiyu walked back to Zhu Lei'Er and asked:"And?"
    Zhu Lei'Er was too surprised to speak.
    Looking at Yang Zijiang and Shade, Yang Zijiang looked very anxious and earnest now. But Shade was still smiling, he kept the same smile from the moment he looked like if the smile was carved onto his face, never changing no matter what circumstance.
    Yu Peiyu knew that if the battle continued, Yang Zijiang will lose. When it came to martial arts both were equal to each other, but as the fight will progress Yang Zijiang will soon feel frustrated and worried.
    No matter how calm he is, he knows what the consequences will be when he loses. His martial arts brother is severly injured and his wife is absolutely no match for this Shade.
    Shade, on the other hand is just a walking corpse with no thoughts to trouble him. Nothing can affect his condition, because of that Hai Dongqing probably lost to him.
    Suddenly Yang Zijiang sighed and leapt away, he knew that he could not defeat Shade like this and hoped to use a different method.
    But Shade followed him and both exchanged another seven, eight stances mid-air. And when they landed they stood again just about 2 metres apart from each other again.
    No matter how Yang Zijiang changed his stances, Shade could adapt immediately to his variations and changes.
    Yang Zijiang began to sweat, actually he broke out in a cold sweat. He was not the only one, Zhu Lei'Er was too breaking out in a cold sweat and Iron Blossom was trembling with fear.
    Yu Peiyu now stepped out of the house, Zhu Lei'Er knew he was not the type of person to walk out alone and leave everything behind. But she could not guess what he was up to now. Although it was awesome and interesting fight, but in Zhu Lei'Er's heart Yu Peiyu was even more awesome and interesting. Even if the fight was ten times more interesting and awesome, she would still only have eyes for Yu Peiyu.
    He was back in a blink of an eye carrying a tree, six months ago he used a pillar in Murder Manor to defeat 20 odd Kunlun and Diancang experts. After observing Shade's techniques he remembered something, clumsiness over ingenuity. So he pulled out a tree from outside and came in again, Zhu Lei'Er knew he had immense strength but seeing in his exhausted condition still
    pulling out trees was new even to her. She looked at Yu Peiyu with awe, Yu Peiyu broke all the branches just leaving behind the trunk. He roared now and used the trun to sweep through the house.
    Shade had already heard the sweeping sound and twirled his sabre behind his back to hack away the object that was coming towards him. He used the same technique to ward off the chopsticks, but this was not a pair of chopsticks but an entire tree trunk. Shade had powerful internal energy but he could not
    use a sabre to hack a tree trunk into two. His sabre was stuck into the trunk and Yang Zijiang quickly took advantage of this and stabbed Shade about 17, 18 times too.
    Shade was still smiling and said:"Good! Good! But remember that Shade never dies, nobody can kill Shade....."
    He pulled out his sabre and stabbed himself in his heart, the sabre pierced through his body.
    Shade smiled:"Do not run! Shade will come any moment now to extract revenge."
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed with relief:"Not only did he have eerie martial arts, the entire person was eerie."
    Yang Zijiang sighed:"I think only ten odd people in Wulin can handle ten of his lethal, eerie techniques."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"But you killed him. So only ten odd people in Wulin can handle ten stances from you."
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"Thank you."
    Zhu Lei'Er said coldly:"Your swordsmanship is very good, but without Yu Peiyu's help you would be dead now."
    Yang Zijiang was not angry and said:"Very true."
    He turned to Yu Peiyu and smiled:"Brother Yu, you keep surprising me. The first time we met I thought you were just a good-looking young fellow with no special talents, but the second time I had a better impression of you.
    However I was still not impressed by you, but now this is the third time I saw you in action and everytime you seem to raise in my esteem with two points. I do keep wondering how high your martial arts, I really have no clue as how to estimate you."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Brother Yang, you're too kind but even I would not last ten stances with this Shade."
    Yang Zijiang said:"Maybe you're right. Perhaps your martial arts at this point are not very superb, however within three years you will not be inferior to me anymore."
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"Since when did you become so friendly?"
    Yang Zijiang said seriously:"I'm not being friendly, I'm just telling the truth. I don't need to flatter to brother Yu. What level of martial arts one achieve is really predestined, no matter how diligent one is sometimes they will not reach the ultimate level. The same goes for chess, painting, etc. it really depends on your own talent, otherwise you can practise till you drop dead but still reach only beginnings; only capable of learning the form but not the essence. That is why in all these hundreds of years only a few great masters are produces for instance Wu Daozi (painter), Wang Xizhi
    He paused for a minute before adding:"However if you do not train properly, all the talent in the world won't do you any good."
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"Why are you that talkative at this moment, are you afraid of Shade coming back for you?"
    Yang Zijiang smiled:"I wasn't afraid of him when he was alive and I certainly don't fear him when he is dead."
    Everyone was laughing now and glanced at the corpse of Shade, but to their surprise the body was gone, their laughter was gone now. The body of Shade began to rot and in an instant all that was left was a pool of blood and pus.
    Yu Peiyu remembered that day when he saw that fake Xie Tianbi's body washed away by the rain. His body melted away in the same way, Yu Peiyu was shocked and happy.
    That fake Xie Tianbi was a lackey of Yu Fanghe and this Shade too. Because both bodies were dissolved by the same type of poison and it seemed that Shade's poison was also concealed in a hollow tooth. He was afraid that when he died people would find out more about his identity.
    But both Shade and Yang Zijiang were working for Yu Fanghe, why would Shade want to kill Yang Zijiang. Could it be that Yu Fanghe knew that Yang Zijiang had betrayed him?
    No matter whether it is Yang Zijiang or Shade both seemed to have superior martial arts to Yu Fanghe, why did they not take over his position in this secret organisation? Why would they follow his commands like this?

    Yu Peiyu's heart was filled with questions, but he did not show it. He also was thinking about Yang Zijiang's mysterious actions. Suddenly he asked casually to Yang Zijiang:"What does [The mysteries of Heaven and Earth, flowing through the universe] mean? I know it is the first line of the Thousand-character Classic, but I think brother Yang knows why he recited that part."
    Yang Zijiang was silent for a moment and said:"This is an extremely difficult and great matter....."
    A voice interrupted him:"Shade will never die, nobody can kill Shade. Shade is here to extract revenge."
    Before everyone knew what was going on, a figure appeared at the door again.
    A man with a mysterious smile on his face, he wore a black robe too with a red girdle with a black sabre stuck in it. He looked identical to the other Shade and when they looked down the body of the dead Shade was gone. Could it be that Shade can never die? He has come back to avenge himself.....
    Even men with great courage like Yu Peiyu and Yang Zijiang shivered when they saw this man, Zhu Lei'Er and Iron Blossom shrieked with fear.
    Yang Zijiang did not speak and attacked immediately he aimed for his throat. He was afraid to make the same mistake as earlier, he stepped forward with three paces and attacked Shade from the left.
    He used a stance with tremendous variations and hoped to gain the upperhand.
    However this Shade seemed to have anticipated his attack and slashed into Yang Zijiang's direction three times with his sabre. Shade seemed to know how and what the stances of Yang Zijiang are.
    Yang Zijiang had no choice but to abort his attack and block the sabre, Shade seemed again to anticipate that move and chopped towards Yang Zijiang's elbow. Yang Zijiang quickly changed stance to block that stance after four stances he could with difficulty divert Shade's attack but he could not move forward or backward. He did not want to repeat the tactics like earlier with
    the first Shade, but now he had no choice but to fight like earlier.
    No matter what kinds of changes he brought into his stances, they were all in vain. Because Shade always blocked his attacks before he could utilize them.
    Shade was gaining the upperhand now and this Shade had figured out Yang Zijiang's techniques. It is comparable to two people playing go, and one of the players already knew which move the other would make.
    Shade smiled:"You know you can never escape from the Shade, give up and you will die swift and painless."
    Yang Zijiang stayed quiet, but he knew he was fighting a losing battle.
    Shade smiled:"You must be surprised why Shade knows your martial arts so well, that is because Shade has already fought you before."
    Yang Zijiang was really scared now, he was never that scared before in his life. Was this Shade really the same Shade he fought before, did he come back to take revenge now? He began to believe that Shade can never die and will always come back.
    Shade said:"Die now! Shade can promise you, you will die very swiftly and painless."
    His voice had also a hypnotic effect on Yang Zijiang too now.
    If Yang Zijiang was a disciple of Shaolin, Wudang it is not strange that Shade could see through his stances. Shaolin and Wudang have existed for many generations and their skills have been around for decades in Wulin now. Every stance, technique was performed with a certain flair, although every generation or so one, two experts from these schools could "glue" all the stances together not revealing any flaws.
    But it is not surprising that most people recognize the skills of the great orthodox schools, that is why most experts of these schools do not place emphasis on their stances but rather on internal energy cultivation. And rely on internal strength to defeat their adversaries. But the martial arts of Yang Zijiang were very mysterious and could be said that no one in Wulin knew who his teacher was.
    But how is possible that Shade knew the style of Yang Zijiang. He was beginning to lose faith in this fight. Although Zhu Lei'Er and Iron Blossom did not understand the style of Yang Zijiang, but they could see that he was losing and his life was in danger.
    They were surprised why Yu Peiyu did not step in yet to help.
    They heard Yu Peiyu shouting:"He doesn't know your martial arts, he examined your style from Hai Dongqing."
    Zhu Lei'Er was a bit stunned but immediately understood what he meant, Yang Zijiang regained his confidence now.
    He said loudly:"Of course! Of course!"
    He casually stabbed out with his sword towards the stomach of the Shade.
    There was nothing special to this stance, but it did force Shade in a defensive position.
    Yang Zijiang attacked with another three stances and Shade back away with one step, there was nothing special about these three attacks. Zhu Lei'Er pondered long and suddenly smiled sweetly:"I understand now...." But then she frowned again:"No, I'm wrong I do not understand." And shook her head again.
    Iron Blossom asked:"What do you not understand?"
    Zhu Lei'Er did not reply, he picked up the sabre of the dead Shade and hacked casually towards this Shade.
    Yu Peiyu just slowly hacked towards the shoulder of Shade, even if Yu Peiyu was able to hit him Shade would not be severly injured. Furthermore Shade does not have to avoid such a slow and seemingly worthless attack. But when the blade almost reached his shoulder it was too late to avoid. Yu's attack
    was very slow everyone could easily avoid it, but when Shade actually wanted to avoid it Yu Peiyu twirled the sabre around.
    The sabre sort of turned into a iron wheel, Yu Peiyu twirled the sabre so fast now that it turned a spinning wheel. To the laymen such a technique is of no use. But how could Shade not pay attention to a whirling blade that close to him. Zhu Lei'Er had no idea what Yu Peiyu was doing, but at this point she understood the beauty of Yu Peiyu's move. That round twirl was not a stance and had no flaws in it even if Shade wanted to break this stance he would not know how.
    This attack was not a stance, but it did have a sabre. If there is a sabre Shade must avoid that is the sabre not the non-existing stance.
    Shade smiled:"Excellent sabre! Excellent sabre!"
    After saying this Yu Peiyu had already hacked him down. Because he did not know how to avoid Yu's attack, but even so he had to ward off Yang Zijiang's techniques first. But when he focussed his attention to ward off those stances, he will be hacked down by Yu Peiyu.
    And if he turned around and paid attention to Yu, he will be pierced by Yang Zijiang.
    Shade turned around to counter Yu Peiyu, but was already stabbed in the back by Yang Zijiang.
    Shade fell down but kept smiling:"Good! Very good! Unfortunately Shade never dies and nobody can kill him......"
    Yang Zijiang did not look at the body of this Shade but only kept his eyes on Yu Peiyu for some time, in the end he sighed:"It is said that the legendary general Li's blade techniques were unmatched throughout the analects of Wulin. Nobody could withstand his sabre, because every time he drew his sabre he became one with his weapon. People could only see his [stance] but not the essence and his sabre. In other words the stance is visual but the sabre is everywhere, that is why nobody could block his stances."
    Yu Peiyu said:"I too have heard about the tales of the famous general Li, many seniors have told me about his tale."
    Yang Zijiang smiled a bit:"Very much the same about you, your name was also be mentioned many times in the future."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Me?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"Yes, you!"
    He sounded a bit angry and annoyingly pointed at Yu Peiyu's blade and said:"Not because of your personality not because your handsome face, because you created a new unfounded style of using the sabre."
    Yu Peiyu just smiled, not because he was praised but because he remembered the words of a wise man:"An arrogant man will always become slightly angry when he is forced to praise another man."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"I have never studied how to use a sabre before."
    Yang Zijiang smiled wryfully:"That is why you're so formidable! No techniques in the blade is much more sophisticated and superior to no blade but visible forms."
    Zhu Lei'Er suddenly laughed:"Men always say that women are so talkative, but I think you're too talkative now at this moment. This is not the time to chit-chat about martial arts."
    Yang Zijiang laughed too:"You're absolutely right, this is not the time to chit-chat."
    Zhu Lei'Er said with a serious face:"Shade can never die and will come back instantly to extract revenge."
    She could imitate the voice of Shade very good and when everyone thought about Shade nobody could laugh anymore.
    Yang Zijiang wiped away his sweat and said:"Brother Yu, I know you have a lot queries at the moment. However I can tell you that I am not your enemy, I am your friend."
    The reply of Yu Peiyu was very short and resolute:"I believe you!"
    Yang Zijiang said with relief:"Very good! I hope you can help me."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"What can I do for you?"
    Yang Zijiang said:"There is a secret tunnel in this house, take the women and the wounded through that tunnel. Take those chests with you too."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"How about you?"
    Yang Zijiang said casually:"I can look after myself, I also don't need your concern and your help here."
    Yu Peiyu said:"But you....."
    Yang Zijiang said with an annoyed tone:"If I cannot defeat him I can at least run away. But with you here, I cannot even run away with a peaceful heart."
    He helped Hai Dongqing up and said:"If you're still suspicious about us, ask my martial arts brother when he wakes up."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"But you....."
    Yang Zijiang frowned and said:"I'm leaving my wife in your care too, do you actually think I will never return."

    The tunnel was rather stuffy and damp, the entrance of the tunnel was under the kitchen's furnace. Not even Iron Blossom knew of the existance of this tunnel.
    It really smelled awful in the tunnel and after awhile Zhu Lei'Er could not stand the air anymore and said softly:"Great!?! Why did we listen to him in the first place. What are we doing in this rat hole anyway. Who knows what lies up ahead, a pit full of poisonous animals, traps. As the saying goes:[There is a way leading to heaven, but we deliberately opened the road to hell]."
    Iron Blossom bit her lip and said:"Can't you trust anybody in your life?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"At least I know that I should not marry to anyone without knowing him properly."
    Iron Blossom stared at Zhu Lei'Er, Zhu Lei'Er stared back. Both looked like two cats about to fight each other. After awhile Iron Blossom lowered her head and said softly:"I am not like you, I don't have anyone who loves and cares for me. If somebody just treats me nicely, very happy."
    Zhu Lei'Er did not know what to say and walked ahead with big paces, but soon she turned around and walked back to Iron Blossom and hugged her. She said:"Don't be angry with me, I was blurted out what was on my mind. I...I don't have a home too and nobody was there to teach me etiquette. I often say the
    wrong things to upset people."
    Iron Blossom looked at her and smiled with difficulty:"Who says you always upset people. I think you're one of the most adorable and cute girls I have ever met."
    Zhu Lei'Er lowered her head and smiled, she looked at Yu Peiyu and said softly:"I know why you married Yang Zijiang, you wanted to investigate Yang Zijiang and protect us from him."
    Iron Blossom sighed:"That was my original plan, but afterwards I found out that he is not bad at all. Just a bit annoying at times...."
    Yu Peiyu said with a smile:"I think that annoying side of his is just an act...."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why would he do something like that?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Some people have great ambitions and have to hide their desires from the world....They hope not to be noticed by some."
    Suddenly they head a loud Boom from above, Zhu Lei'Er said with fear in her voice:"Another Shade must have come."
    Iron Blossom turned pale and began to tremble.
    Yu Peiyu suddenly smiled:"Have you heard of the tale that of the Child Prodigy exhausted the Blood Shadow?"
    They were a bit surprised to hear Yu Peiyu asking them such a strange question, but Zhu Lei'Er always like to hear stories and this story would be told by Yu Peiyu. She smiled:"Blood Shadow, judging by his name he is probably not a good fellow."
    Yu Peiyu nodded:"You're right. He was bloodthirsty killer and was hated by almost everyone in the realm. But nobody was able to kill him."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Did he have very high martial arts?"
    Yu Peiyu answered:"Yes, he had also a superb, unmatched level in art of levitation. Once he was surrounded by more than ten experts but in the end he still managed to escape them."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Who is this Child Prodigy?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"The Child Prodigy was just a little boy and new in the realm of martial arts. Nobody knew where he came from and actually nobody was really interested in it either. However one day he did a most amazing thing that caught the attention of everyone in Wulin."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What was it?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"He hired a lot of people to write notices throughout the realm, he wanted to compete with Blood Shadow in the art of levitation. If Blood Shadow did not appear he would be coward."
    Iron Blossom also listened attentively and asked:"Did Blood Shadow go?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Blood Shadow was a very arrogant man and looked down upon almost everyone. Within three days he looked up the Child Prodigy and said that whoever would reach the city of Wuhan would win. They started in Beijing and the finish would be in Wuhan, the distance was about 2500 kilometres. The loser would fall into the victor's hands and the victor could do anything as he pleases with the loser."
    Iron Blossom asked:"Why did Blood Shadow not kill the Child Prodigy at once, he was already an infamous butcher."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Because he was so arrogant, he agreed to compete with the Child Prodigy. If he used another method to kill the Child Prodigy, he would become the laughing stock of Wulin."
    Yu Peiyu added with a smile:"Besides Blood Shadow's level in this art was really high, not even the famous reverend Feilong (Flying Dragon) from Kunlun School could catch up with him. And he knew that the Child Prodigy was not even 15 years old yet, so he did not think he would have a high level in this art."
    Zhu Lei'Er frowned and said:"If that is the case, didn't the Child Prodigy make a big mistake?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Everyone in Wulin thought the same, and feared for the life of the Child Prodigy. However the outcome was a big surprise to everyone."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled sweetly:"So the Child Prodigy won!"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Both started in Beijing and during dusk Blood Shadow had reached Shijiazhuang."
    Iron Blossom said with surprise:"He is really fast this Blood Shadow."
    Yu Peiyu said:"He thought he had left the Child Prodigy far and far behind, and he found an inn and sat down and wanted to take dinner now. But suddenly he looked outside and saw the Child Prodigy passing by the inn and he did not look tired at all."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"This Child Prodigy is not to be trifled with."
    Yu Peiyu continued:"Blood Shadow did not stop for dinner anymore and rushed out to give chase after travelling for many kilometres he finally stopped. He was getting a bit tired now."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I would have passed already with fatigue."
    Yu Peiyu said:"He noticed that up ahead was a road stall that sold tofo soup and other dishes. It smelt very nice and was hungry now, so he walked over to it."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"But when he reached that stall he saw the Child Prodigy passing by, right?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"You're right, the Child Prodigy did not look tired at all.
    Blood Shadow did not rest and gave chase again."
    Iron Blossom asked:"Could he have been mistaken this Blood Shadow?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Blood Shadow was also a top expert in using secretive weaponry. It was even said he could see flies from a 500 metres away, a bit exaggerated in my opinion but still he had excellent eyesight."
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"He had a pair of thieving eyes."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"This Blood Shadow was really an amazing talented man, but nonetheless he was just another man and when he reached Wuhan he finally fell down from fatigue."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Did he not rest on his way to Wuhan?"

    End of chapter 34

  16. #36
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 35 The Reincarnation Of The Shade

    Yu Peiyu continued:"Not only did he not rest, he did not even eat nor drink."
    He smiled a bit before he continued:"Everytime he wanted to sit down to eat or drink he would see the Child Prodigy passing by. That is why he did not rest and hurried over to Wuhan City and he finally reached The Yellow Crane Restaurant. However when he looked up he saw the Child Prodigy already sitting at the first floor and waving at him."
    Zhu Lei'Er clapped her hands and said:"A wonderful story!"
    Iron Blossom asked:"What happened with Blood Shadow? Did he commit suicide?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"He was an evil man but he always kept to his word, besides when he reached Wuhan he was too exhausted to even stand. Even if he had the intention to run the attending heroes will not let him escape."
    Iron Blossom said:"So an infamous villain died at the hands of a small boy."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Exactly."
    Zhu Lei'Er said enthusiastically:"A small boy of only 14 years old having such tremendous martial arts is truly amazing."
    Yu Peiyu shook his head and smiled:"The Child Prodigy had good martial arts but compared to Blood Shadow he still had a long way to go."
    Zhu Lei'Er did not understand and asked:"But how did he win?"
    Iron Blossom thought for a minute and said:"Perhaps because he was younger than Blood Shadow, he could outrun him."
    Yu Peiyu shook his head and smiled again:"No, that is not it."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Well, what was it?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"Care to guess a few times?"
    Zhu Lei'Er lowered her head and looked pensive for some time, after some time she clapped her hands and said:"I understand now, the Child Prodigy were twins, so the brothers could deceive Blood Shadow. Everytime one brother would quickly travel ahead to fool Blood Shadow."
    Yu Peiyu laughed:"Not right."
    Zhu Lei'Er was surprised and said:"Wrong again?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Blood Shadow was an amazingly clever man, he couldn't be deceived that easily. Furthermore even with a good steed it was quite impossible to catch up with him."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Maybe...maybe...they took a short cut."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Blood Shadow's route was already the shortest."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled wryly:"I.....I....give up, I really don't have a clue."
    Iron Blossom suddenly said loudly:"I know!"
    Yu Peiyu looked at her and just said:"Hmm?"
    Iron Blossom said:"The Child Prodigy found a group of children about his age and size and told them to dress up like him and fool Blood Shadow. In every small town or stop Blood Shadow would see a small boy passing by."
    Yu Peiyu shook his head and said:"No, you're wrong again."
    Iron Blossom said with surprise:"Wrong again?!?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"As said before Blood Shadow is not a man who is easily fooled, he had very keen eyes so it would have impossible to use your plan to fool him."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"You're right, there is bound to be a flaw in all those disguises if that plan would be used. Besides finding more than ten children about the same size as the Child Prodigy would also be extremely difficult."
    Yu Peiyu added:"Also because the Child Prodigy studied a rather unique type of martial arts, it was impossible for others to imitate his movements. That is why Blood Shadow did not see through the Child Prodigy's plan."
    Iron Blossom smiled wryly too:"I'm totally confused! How did the Child Prodigy succeed?"
    Yu Peiyu laughed:"Actually it is not that difficult to guess at all, not twins but quintuplets. Five brothers looking identical."

    Yang Zijiang was adamant not to let the people out of the boxes, and everyone had tied a box to their backs. That was why Zhu Lei'Er was not that happy and also all of them were quite tired, that is why Yu Peiyu told a story to keep everyone's spirit up. After listening to Yu Peiyu's tale Iron Blossom and Zhu Lei'Er did not feel that tired anymore.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Originally I thought you weren't a good story teller, but it turns out you're absolutely wonderful in telling stories."
    Iron Blossom said:"A story of five brothers looking identical, truly hilarious."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"These five brothers will never get married."
    Iron Blossom asked:"Why do you say that?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Girls will never want to marry them after hearing this tale."
    Iron Blossom asked:"Why?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"What if they decided to play the same joke on their wives, no girl can take that."
    She blushed immediately after saying that.
    Iron Blossom laughed:"You're right, if there is even a small mistake the outcome would be disastrous."
    She too now blushed.
    Yu Peiyu laughed:"Do you know why I told you this story?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Do you mean that those Shades are quintuplets too?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"No, they're not quintuplets, but were created to look like each other."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I couldn't see they were wearing disguises."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"The normal type of the art of disguise can only fool people for a short time and can easily be seen through. However if one can successfully combine the art of disguise with sophisticated surgical techniques and when these "alterations" were brought on when they were young they can easily made
    identical to each other. And with herbal drugs they are being controlled and they are instructed to move exactly the same as each other. They have been manipulated to become mere puppets."
    He paused for awhile before sighing again:"This may sound unbelievable, but I can guarantee you that there are people who are capable of doing this."
    Zhu Lei'Er was amazed and scared when she heard this and said:"So with those drugs people will fall into the spell of this evil mastermind and their faces will be carved as he pleases."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Right."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"In other words the second Shade was responsible for injuring Hai Dongqing, because he knew all the stances and variations of Yang Zijiang."
    Yu Peiyu said:"True! Because Hai Dongqing and Yang Zijiang are martial arts brothers and studied, learnt the same type of martial arts."
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"That is why Yang Zijiang regained his confidence when he heard you. Initially he was scared out of his wits why Shade would know his martial arts."
    Yu Peiyu said:"If there is a third Shade, he would not be a threat. Because the third Shade would not know his martial arts, but Yang Zijiang had fought the two Shades already and has naturally grasped how to defeat them. Furthermore the changes, variations in Shade's martial arts are not many."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"That is why you're not worried about him now, right?"
    Yu Peiyu just smiled and did not answer, Iron Blossom sighed:"One can count himself very lucky if he is a friend of young master Yu."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"No matter what, I still do not entirely trust Yang Zijiang. His actions are most peculiar and strange, I have no idea what his objectives are."
    Someone sighed:"He has his reasons for being secretive, he won't reveal anything till it really is necessary."
    Hai Dongqing had awaken now, Yu Peiyu was carrying him all the way here and he now gradually had woken up.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Thank goodness! You're awake, till when are you going to keep this a secret? And when is this necessary time of yours?"
    Hai Dongqing said earnestly:"I cannot tell you now, it is still too soon."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why?"
    Hai Dongqing now got up and stood on his own said:"Because this secret is no longer a secret anymore."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"What do you mean? This is obviously a secret."
    Hai Dongqing said:"There are some people who cannot keep a secret and you....."
    Zhu Lei'Er interrupted:"Fine....fine! I don't care about your secret! I just want to ask you who are you? And what does [The mysteries of Heaven and Earth, flowing through the universe] mean?"
    Hai Dongqing stayed quiet for a minute and said:"Yang Zijiang and I were orphans and our teacher could be said is our parent."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I already know you're orphans but who is your teacher?"
    Hai Dongqing looked a bit angry and said coldly:"This is a long story, if you want to listen do not interrupt."
    Zhu Lei'Er pouted:"Well! It is not that I have to listen to your story."
    Hai Dongqing said:"Even if you don't want to hear it, I have to tell it."
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"A typical stubborn mule!"
    Hai Dongqing did not pay attention to her and turned to Yu Peiyu:"I wanted to tell you this for a long time, because this story does involve you brother Yu."
    Yu Peiyu's face changed a bit but still did not speak. Hai Dongqing added:"My teacher has retreated from wordly affairs a long time ago. I doubt it that you would have heard of my teacher's name, I do not wish to boast about my teacher. But I can guarantee you that my teacher is truly an amazing person and my teacher was already invincible in the realm 50 years ago."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Perhaps because your teacher did not encouter people like master Feng San and only met other lesser opponents."
    Hai Dongqing still ignored her and said:"My teacher had only one adversary, this person was also an amazing character. He not only had exceptional martial arts but he was also well-versed in numerous fields, however he was too vicious and evil. My teacher and another Wulin senior forced him to flee to the outskirts of China and made him promise never to set foot again in China as long as my teacher and that other Wulin senior are still alive."
    Yu Peiyu was surprised and asked:"Who is this adversary?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"My teacher did not reveal his name but just said he is called Mr. Dongguo."
    Yu Peiyu frowned and said:"Mr Donggou?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"It is not strange that brother Yu has not heard of his name, because he has kept his promise and has lived in the western borders of China for 30 years and has not set foot in China."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"The heretic experts of 30 years ago knew how to keep their word, the present heretic martial artists cannot be compared to the old ones."
    Hai Dongqing said:"This Dongguo fellow did not repent for his past crimes, it is just that he doesn't dare to openly commit atrocities."
    He sighed deeply before continueing:"According to my teacher he has been planning something big in the past 30 years and wants to dominate the realm of martial arts. Now my teacher has retired and the other Wulin senior has passed away years ago, so he believes his time has come. He....he....."
    At this point Hai Dongqing was feeling very tired and couldn't even stand properly now.
    Iron Blossom put down her box and helped him sit on it, she cared a lot for Hai Dongqing because he is the martial arts brother of her husband, Yang Zijiang.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked with great concern:"Do you mean that old Dongguo has returned with his evil plans?"
    Hai Dongqing sighed:"Although my teacher has kept a watchful eye on this Dongguo even in retirement. But Dongguo is a very cunning old fox and has managed to conceal his crimes perfectly without evidence my teacher cannot openly expose him yet. However a few months ago my teacher left without a word and came back three months later and told us to do something after return."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"What was that task?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"My teacher instructed us to spy on the present chancellor of Wulin, Yu Fanghe."
    Yu Peiyu looked very serious and said:"So Yu Fang... this Yu person is just a puppet of Dongguo, I knew he would have a powerful person helping him."
    Hai Dongqing said:"My teacher never likes to say too much, we as disciples just put the pieces together and deducted this much. Mr. Dongguo has not revealed himself yet and has a man with a wonderful reputation doing his dirty jobs. Yu Fanghe is a hypocritical fiend and using him is perfect."
    Yu Peiyu's face changed but still did not speak yet.
    Zhu Lei'Er suddenly remembered something and said:"No wonder when Yu Fanghe made a gesture to Tian Chixing, Tian Chixing immediately stopped creating trouble for Yu Fanghe. He too must know of the skills of Mr. Dongguo."
    Hai Dongqing said coldly:"With the exception of my teacher no one in the world can withstand a blow from Mr. Dongguo. Feng San......*humph."
    He did not finish his sentence but his meaning was obvious.
    Zhu Lei'Er did not retort back this time, because she knew that Tian Chixing's martial arts was about the same with her third uncle. And if Tian Chixing feared Mr. Dongguo, imagine how powerful Dongguo could be.
    Zhu Lei'Er did not wish to discuss that matter right now but asked:"But what does [The mysteries of Heaven and Earth, flowing through the universe] mean?"
    Hai Dongqing explained:"Mr. Dongguo could not meet up with Yu Fanghe himself so he sent two emissaries on his behalf. These emmisaries were intercepted by my teacher and found out that the sentence [The mysteries of Heaven and Earth, flowing through the universe] was their secret code."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why did they reveal that secret code to your teacher?"
    Hai Dongqing said casually:"Almost everyone will have to tell the truth when they face my teacher."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"So your teacher instructed you to pass off as the two emissaries as to fool Yu Fanghe."
    Hai Dongqing said:"Indeed."
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"That is why Yu Fanghe would trust you two that much."
    Hai Dongqing continued:"Mr. Dongguo has entrusted Yu Fanghe with that much authority, meaning that Yu Fanghe is also a formidable man. After meeting up with him a few times we noticed that Yu Fanghe is a very cunning and intelligent old fiend. It will not be easy to deal with him, so we do as we are told by him."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"That is why you brought presents for him?"
    Hai Dongqing said coldly:"What do the lives of a few matter, when the entire Wulin is at stake. Besides we will not take the lives of innocent, all these we have dealt with are people who deserve this fate. If we are truly vicious brother Yu would have been dead a long time ago."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"At least you still know to differ good from evil, if not you wouldn't live till now."
    Although she knew that Hai Dongqing and Yang Zijiang stood at their side, but still she could not prevent herself from argueing with Hai Dongqing.
    Hai Dongqing ignored that remark and continued:"Our cover was flawless, but we did not anticipate that Mr. Dongguo would send a few extra emissaries to Yu Fanghe. When they met Yu Fanghe our cover was blown and Yu Fanghe sent people to deal with us."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Do you mean those Shades?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"Correct, our teacher has mentioned that Mr. Dongguo had five Shades as his students, lackeys. And every Shade has six identical look-alikes, Mr Dongguo is well-versed in the art of disguise and his medical skills are also excellent. He combined both together and surgically changed the appearances of the Shades."
    Yu Peiyu looked very pale now, the secret he hoped to unravel was finally beginning to make sense now to him.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Since your teacher already told you about Shade, why was Yang Zijiang still afraid when he saw them?"
    Hai Dongqing explained:"My teacher had only recently discovered this secret and just a few days ago I saw my teacher and was told about this. Younger brother Yang was still with Yu Fanghe at the time, so he was not informed about the Shades. This is the first time I saw him since a long time."
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"No wonder when Shade recited those two lines Yang Zijiang's face changed, because he knew his identity was exposed."
    Iron Blossom said worriedly:"This Shade has another six look-alikes, but...but....that means that another four of them will be .........Can he handle all of them?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"Every Shade consists of seven bodies, I killed two bodies of this Shade."
    Iron Blossom said worriedly:"But....but there are still three of them....."
    Zhu Lei'Er said gently:"Do not worry, an expert like Yang Zijiang is not afraid of three mere ghosts. He wouldn't be afraid of 300 ghosts."
    Iron Blossom smiled but everyone could see she was dying of worry.
    Hai Dongqing said:"When three of those Shades would attack, Yang Zijiang will not be able to withstand their combined attack. However because they are controlled by drugs which makes them very slow. That is why I could even escape when I was severly injured. I think that Yang Zijiang can surely escape from them
    even when he is outnumbered by them."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What about us? What is this place? Who created this tunnel and for what purpose?"
    Hai Dongqing said casually:"This is not our concern, our main concern is that exit out of here."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Are you sure there is an exit? What if there is only a dead end here?"
    Hai Dongqing frowned and said:"At least I am quite sure this tunnel won't lead us to the netherworld."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I have to differ on that, the entrance of this underground tunnel could be compared to the entrance to the ........"
    She did not finish her sentence, she felt a cold breeze that made her shiver till her spine.
    Yu Peiyu turned to Hai Dongqing and asked:"Brother Hai, I....I would like to ask you for a favour....."
    Hai Dongqing said:"Brother Yu, do you wish to meet my teacher?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Yes, indeed."
    Hai Dongqing shook his head and said:"This is most difficult."
    Yu Peiyu said:"I really have important matters to discuss and to ask your teacher."
    Hai Dongqing asked:"Why?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"I have an important secret that I have to tell your teacher."
    He looked very sad now and continued:"Maybe because only your teacher will understand and believe what I have been through. I just hope your teacher will be able to grant me an audience, brother Hai I just want you to inform your teacher that I would like to meet him. Whether he sees me or not is really up to heaven."
    Hai Dongqing stayed silent for a minute before saying:"Does this have to do with the plans of Mr. Dongguo?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Indeed and it is of great importance."
    Hai Dongqing asked:"Could you tell me what this is?"
    Yu Peiyu sighed deeply:"It is not that I do not trust brother Hai, but....but.....this....this...."
    He started to shiver and could not continue.
    Hai Dongqing saw Yu Peiyu's expression and sighed:"It is not that I do not wish to help you, but our teacher has not seen outsiders for more than 20 years. Our teacher has strictly forbidden us to reveal the whereabouts and goings concerning master. I cannot go against the orders of my teacher I hope you can understand."
    Yu Peiyu smiled sadly and nodded, he said after some time:"I understand."
    Hai Dongqing said:"Our teacher might meet up with you at any time in the future, who knows you might
    have met master already. My teacher's habits are most peculiar."
    Yu Peiyu nodded and was suddenly stunned like he remembered something.
    Hai Dongqing got up and said:"We don't know how long this tunnel is, let us continue."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"What about these three chests? Why do we have to carry them along? Can't we just free the people insided the chests and let them walk on their own?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"The people in the box won't wake up for some time and it is no use letting them out. Let us carry the chests along with us."
    Zhu Lei'Er stamped her feet and said:"How very fortunate."

    The tunnel was illuminated by old lamps and gave the tunnel an extra eerie feeling.
    Zhu Lei'Er suddenly said:"Do you know how many lamps we have passed?"
    Yu Peiyu knew that she could never keep quiet and would always come up with some new questions after some time. And those questions would be most strange.
    Nobody understood why she would ask a question like that and nobody know how to answer her so they kept quiet.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Till now, we have passed 39 lamps. Isn't that strange?"
    Hai Dongqing could not control himself and asked:"What is so strange about that?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said coldly:"You don't think this is strange because you see but do not observe. Furthermore you do not think ahead."
    Hai Dongqing coldly replied:"Because I have more pressing matters to think about than a few lamps."
    Zhu Lei'Er did not retort but just stared at a lamp, Hai Dongqing stopped too and stood still and looked at the lamp too. After some time he said:"I can't see anything strange about this lamp."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Really?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"Have you noticed something?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Yes, I have. Strange, very strange, most strange."
    Hai Dongqing asked:"What is strange?"
    Zhu Lei'Er pouted:"Well, if this is so unsignificant why bother asking."
    Hai Dongqing was angry now but did not know what to say back. A worried Iron Blossom was very amused to see this and even smiled. She noticed that Zhu Lei'Er had a fantastic ability to make people angry, even surpassing using poison.
    When men meet girls like her, the best thing for them to do is to keep silent.
    However Zhu Lei'Er has met her match too, when she is with Yu Peiyu she is always very obedient and nice.
    Because Yu Peiyu will not speak when it is not the proper time to talk.
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled proudly:"There are in total 39 lamps at this moment in this tunnel, there are at least four, five strange clues about these lamps. If you are as intelligent as I you will see what I mean."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"Girls are more precise than men, I don't know and I have been thinking about your question too for some time."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled even happier now and said:"We passed 39 lamps and still have not found the exit yet. This means that this is a very long tunnel and there aren't that many long tunnels."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Indeed."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"The person who constructed this tunnel must have a special reason for constructing such a long tunnel. If he wanted an escape route he could have made the exit anywhere there is no need to create such a long passage."
    Yu Peiyu looked very earnest now and said:"True."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"The construction of such a long tunnel should take about three to five years, Yang Zijiang started to roam the realm only recently. This means this tunnel was not built on his orders."
    Iron Blossom asked:"Could it be their teacher?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"No. If so he would also know about this passage." And she looked at Hai Dongqing.
    Iron Blossom nodded in agreement.
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"The person who constructed this must have an secret plan for this tunnel, but how and why would Yang Zijiang know about this."
    Iron Blossom said:"Maybe this passage was constructed a very long time ago and Yang Zijiang only discovered it recently."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Impossible."
    Iron Blossom asked:"Why?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"The cottage in which you live in must be build at the same time when the construction of this passage begun. The cottage is not very old, taken very broadly about ten years."
    Iron Blossom said:"It could have been renovated....."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"The house is just a cover to protect this secret passage. Furthermore there is an even more important reason."
    Iron Blossom asked:"What is that?"
    Zhu Lei'Er pointed at a lamp and said:"These lamps."
    Iron Blossom said with surprise:"Lamps?"
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Right, these lamps. Let me ask you, how long can lamps like these burn without adding oil?"
    Iron Blossom said:"Without adding oil an ordinary lamp will burn out in just one evening. These bronze lamps are bigger so I would say an entire day."
    Zhu Lei'Er clapped her hands and said:"There! These lamps are still burning and that means that everyday someone is adding oil to them."
    She blinked and continued:"Furthermore Yang Zijiang was not here recently so someone else must have added the oil."
    Iron Blossom was most surprised and exclaimed:"Who can it be?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said seriously:"Maybe the person who constructed this passage or his servant. But one thing is sure there is someone else in this passage and he may be spying on us right now."
    The soft wind blew through the passage and the fires swayed with the wind giving the tunnel an extra chilly and horrifying atmosphere.
    Iron Blossom looked around and could imagine someone looking at them with an evil smile.
    She shivered and smiled with difficulty:"Why am I such a coward now?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I hear that women become cowards after getting married."
    Hai Dongqing said:"Even if there is another person here, he has no ill intentions otherwise Yang Zijiang would not tell us to go in here."
    Zhu Lei'Er said coldly:"Not necessarily."
    She did not give Hai Dongqing to speak and added:"It could be that he doesn't know that there is another person in this passage. Or perhaps he coincidentally found this empty house and decided to reside here since nobody lives here anyway....."
    Iron Blossom said:"Exactly! When he first took me to this place I noticed the house was covered with a thick layer of dust."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"On the other hand he must have discovered this place a long time ago, otherwise he would not arrange a meeting with Wang Yuluo and others here."
    She looked at Hai Dongqing and continued:"You must know of this place, right? If not you would not flee here."
    Hai Dongqing said:"Wang Yuluo told me about this place, before I did not know of its existence." He looked a bit unsecure now and continued:"Anyway there is someone else here. There is no point in guessing let us find that person first."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"We don't need to look for him, he is bound to look for us."
    Iron Blossom looked around and said:"I don't know who this person is. But I do hope he would show himself soon."
    Zhu Lei'Er said indifferently:"If it is person there is no reason why we should fear him, but if he isn't human then we have a problem."
    Iron Blossom shivered and unintentionally moved closer to Yu Peiyu, Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"I don't think you are really scared, you just want to...."
    Before Zhu Lei'Er could finish her sentence the fire died out. They all could see a flash of light up ahead of the next lamp and everyone rushed over to it, however when they got there the fire died out too.
    It was pitch dark now in the passage and everyone was very worried now.
    Zhu Lei'Er said softly:"If I could buy a lamp or lamp oil now I would give the vendor all the taels of silver I had just for one lamp and a bit of oil."
    Hai Dongqing said:"I have a paper flint."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"How long can your paper flint last?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"I have used it twice already, we could use it for another hour or so."
    Zhu Lei'Er said loudly:"Take it out! We might find the exit in that hour or so."
    Yu Peiyu said:"What if we cannot?"
    Zhu Lei'Er was stunned but said:"Let us try anyway."
    Yu Peiyu said:"No we cannot try. This paper flint is our only hope if the flint dies out too we will be stuck here and will never see another sunrise again."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"We can always go back."
    Yu Peiyu said:"No, we cannot go back."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"This passage looks like it is just one straight route however it has its corners and turns. We cannot recognize the way back just by touching the wall, we might walk around in circles in the end."
    Iron Blossom said with fear:"So the lamps were extinguised by that person?"
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Did you see anyone?"
    Iron Blossom said:"No...but.....but...."
    Zhu Lei'Er smiled:"Don't tell me that you think that person knows how to cloak himself?"
    Although she was joking she could not help herself but to grap hold of Yu Peiyu's arm.
    Hai Dongqing said:"We can't stand here either."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"You're right, when outside we could wait till it is day. But we cannot stay here and wait till the lamps burn again."
    Yu Peiyu said:"We move forward by touching the wall and we will use the paper flint only if necessary."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"But when is necessary?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"This....this...."
    Hai Dongqing said:"This time I have to agree with Zhu.....Miss Zhu. We should use the flint and dash forward and hope we can make it before the flint dies out too."
    Iron Blossom said:"I agree. It is all or nothing now."
    Hai Dongqing said:"To move quicker we have no choice but to leave the chests behind, when we find the exit we will find a way to come back for them and save them."
    Yu Peiyu said:"And if we cannot find the exit?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"If we cannot find the exit all of us are doomed."
    Yu Peiyu stayed quiet for some time and sighed in the end:"I don't know if you're doing the right thing. However three minds are better than one I believe....."
    The paper flint could not shine very far but at least there was some light. Everyone was very anxious because the oblivious darkness could really destroy the spirit and courage of everyone.
    Yu Peiyu lead the way with the flint in his hand, they walked very fast. Although Hai Dongqing was injured he was pulled along by Yu Peiyu making sure he would not fall back.
    However this passage was too long, really too awfully long......
    Hai Dongqing looked at the paper flint of Yu Peiyu and sighed:"The flint will die out soon."
    The flame of the flint was gradually becoming weaker and weaker. Zhu Lei'Er said hatefully:"Why are our clothes not made of paper!
    Yu Peiyu remembered that notebook he found in the Family Li Village, the same notebook Yu Fanghe was after. But Yu Peiyu did not notice anything strange about it, he even put the notebook in water to see whether Zhu Mei used special ink to write.
    However Yu Peiyu knew that Yu Fanghe would not burn down an entire village for an empty notebook, so he kept it in his robe ever since.
    Finally that notebook could be put into use, he took it out and thought that every page could be used slowly. But the strange thing was that the pages did not catch fire. In fact the normal blank pages were covered with characters now.
    Zhu Lei'Er cried out with surprise:"Why....why isn't it burning?"
    Yu Peiyu surpressed his surprise with difficulty and said:"I think the pages are wet."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Why?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"It must be my sweat."
    Zhu Lei'Er stayed quiet for some time and said:"You're right everyone is bound to be anxious in a position like this. It is only natural that you would sweat."
    Iron Blossom said:"Now the flint has died out too. What can we do?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"What CAN we do? Feel free to suggest anything! Why did you lot insist on using that paper flint earlier?"
    Iron Blossom retorted:"But...but that was your idea."
    Zhu Lei'Er shouted:"Why did you listen to my idea? Why didn't you listen to Yu Peiyu's plan? It is your own fault that you are trapped in here!"
    Suddenly Iron Blossom heard someone crying softly, it was Zhu Lei'Er.
    Hai Dongqing said coldly:"It is a pity that tears cannot provide fire, otherwise all of us could sit here and cry."
    Zhu Lei'Er got back up and shouted:"Who says I am crying? Why should I cry? Although we can't see a thing we can still walk."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Exactly! I will hold brother Hai's hand, you hold his hand and Iron Blossom will hold your hand. That way we will not be separated from each other."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I rather hold on to the paw of a dog than hold his hand."
    Iron Blossom said:"Allright, I will hold his hand and you will hold my hand."
    Zhu Lei'Er grunted.
    She held out her hand into the direction of Iron Blossom's voice and held on to a hand, it was not too big and not too small. She guessed it was the hand of Iron Blossom.
    Suddenly Hai Dongqing laughed:"You're holding on to the paw of a dog."
    Zhu Lei'Er was shocked and wanted to let go but did not, she smiled:"At least you're grand enough to admit it."
    The girl who was sad and crying was now smiling again, who can stay angry with a girl like that.
    Yu Peiyu lead the way and used his other hand to touch the wall to move forward, he also noticed that the wall was really rough like it was built in a hurry.
    They walked for a very long time, and were looking for subjects to talk about. Because if you cannot see a thing at least you would like to hear some sound.
    But in the end everybody ran out of subjects to talk about, even Zhu Lei'Er was surprised that she did not know what to talk about anymore.
    Everyone was exhausted and desperate, their only hope was that the exit would soon appear before them.
    After walking for some time Zhu Lei'Er tripped over something and she dragged along Hai Dongqing in her fall.
    Iron Blossom asked with fear:"What is it?"
    Nobody answered her, she shouted loudly:"Why won't anyone answer me?"
    But in fact everybody knew what that was, but they did not want to admit it. In the end Yu Peiyu said:"It is a chest."
    Iron Blossom repeated:"A chest.....a chest......The same chests we left behind?"
    She mustered all her courage to say those words and when she heard Yu Peiyu say:"Yes, they are." She was completely gone, she called out and sat down with despair.
    It felt like they walked for seven, eight hours and in the end they came back where they started.
    Zhu Lei'Er sat down, she was exhausted too and she had no hope of getting out anymore. Nothing in the world could make her walk again.
    After some time Yu Peiyu said:"Guo Pianxian or Ji Lingfeng might have paper flints on them."
    Zhu Lei'Er immediately jumped up and said:"Right! Why didn't we think of that earlier?"
    She moved slowly into the direction of the chests and used her hands to guide herself to them. Iron Blossom wanted to do the same thing but suddenly she heard two sharp cr. It was Zhu Lei'Er and Yu Peiyu.
    Iron Blossom asked with fear:"What is wrong?"
    Zhu Lei'Er stuttered with fear:"The.....the.....chests.....are....are....emp ty......."
    Iron Blossom jumped up and fell back again and said:"Empty.........? Could it be that they woke up and left
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Impossible! The locks were forced open from the outside."Iron Blossom said:"Could perhaps one of them had woken up and freed the others?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"No, all three locks were broken from the outside."
    She tried her best to stay calm but her voice was trembling. They already guessed that someone else was here in this passage too, but they hope their own deduction was inaccuarate. However this deduction became a fact now and this person was spying on them and was lurking about.
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"Why won't he show himself to us?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"Don't you understand?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"No, I don't."
    Hai Dongqing said:"Because he wants us to slowly die in here."
    Iron Blossom said fearfully:"But why? We have done nothing to him...."
    Hai Dongqing said:"We have discovered his secret, for that alone we will have to die."
    Suddenly they heard a series of strange noises like crying, sighing and sneering. This only made their spirits even more desperate and scared.
    Iron Blossom smiled wryly:"Why scare us? We are already suffering now."
    Hai Dongqing said:"Some people have difficulty staying quiet."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"What and who do you mean with those words?"
    Hai Dongqing laughed:"I'm just surprised how you can make those noises."
    Zhu Lei'Er said coldly:"Some people don't have the courage to admit their own deeds and try to shift the responsibility to others."
    Hai Dongqing said:"So you're shifting it to me now."
    Zhu Lei'Er angrilly said:"Are you deaf? That was a voice of a man!"
    Hai Dongqing stayed quiet now and said after some time:"So it wasn't you?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said with indignation:"Of course not! Who would make a sily joke like that now!"
    Hai Dongqing said:"It wasn't me."
    Iron Blossom stuttered with fear:"But if it wasn't you,"
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"Wasn't it you?"
    Iron Blossom quickly said:"Of course not! I'm scared out of my wits at this moment, I don't have the mood to scare other people at this time."
    No one asked Yu Peiyu, because they knew Yu Peiyu would never make a meaningless joke like that. All of a sudden they were dumbstruck by fear, there was another fifth person near them now.
    Nobody could see this fifth person and they had no idea where he was hiding.
    Zhu Lei'Er suddenly loudly shouted:"Yes, I saw you already! Come out now, there is no point in hiding!"
    Iron Blossom was shocked but immediately guessed that Zhu Lei'Er was using a ruse to lure that fifth person out.
    She too loudly said:"Come out! There is no use in hiding now!"
    Both of them loudly called out for some time, but nobody made an appearance. Their words had no impact on the fifth person but the two of them were breaking out in a cold sweat because of the fear.
    Yu Peiyu slowly said:"There is no voice, you're just mistaken."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I....I heard it myself....."
    Yu Peiyu said:"I did not hear a thing."
    He suddenly held tightly to Zhu Lei'Er's hand and whispered:"Hold on to each other's hands. We will form a circle to surround him"
    Zhu Lei'Er held Iron Blossom's hand and Iron Blossom held on to Hai Dongqing's hand. After walking foward seven, eight paces they did not encounter anyone.
    Zhu Lei'Er suddenly said with shock:"Why is this place so broad now?"
    The passage was quite narrow and with difficulty four persons could walk next to each other but no nobody could even touch the walls anymore of the passage.
    Suddenly Iron Blossom pouted to Zhu Lei'Er:"Stop squeezing my hand so hard."
    Zhu Lei'Er said with a slight indignation:"What? I did not do such a thing."
    Hai Dongqing said:"It is not me."
    Iron Blossom said with a sharp tone:"Yes, you're on my right side. But my left hand....."
    She did not finish her sentence, she suddenly noticed that she was not holding on to Zhu Lei'Er's hand. Zhu Lei'Er herself also noticed that she was not holding Iron Blossom's hand. The hand they were holding was cold and hard.
    Both let go and yelled:"Who are you?" And jumped backwards.
    In the darkness they could hear some laughing.
    The laughing came from between them and in an instant it came from metres away from them. Zhu Lei'Er and Iron Blossom thought that this man could have killed them most easily when he was holding their hands and both broke out in a cold sweat again.
    They could hear Yu Peiyu say:"This is not the same route we took earlier."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"But those boxes...."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Those chests were moved over here to make us belief we have walked in a circle."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"What is this place?"
    From a narrow passage they now were in a most strange and mysterious place.
    Yu Peiyu did not answer he was thinking deeply about this.
    Suddenly a voice said:"This is my home, it is quite allright. There is food and wine on the table, help yourselves."
    The voice sounded sharp and soft like that of an child. Normally Zhu Lei'Er would be amused to hear this kind of voice but now it sounded like the cry of a ghost.
    Suddenly the lamps here were lit and they saw that they were in a stone hall, althought the light was not too bright but not having seen light for hours, the light made their eyes blink.
    They saw about more than ten men in the hall, some were playing go others were reading and admiring paintings. Some were sitting behind a zither.
    It looked very distinguished and refined, but these men wore worker's clothes and did not look like literary people.
    A group of men were sitting at a table with food and drinks, they looked like a ruffians but were sitting very elegantly and were gracefully holding a cup of wine. But both of them were not drinking.
    Zhu Lei'Er never thought that there would be so many people here and was a bit shocked. Although these people did not look like martial arts experts, but their appearance here made them very mysterious. Nobody dared to look down upon them.
    The voice of earlier spoke again:"The host has invited you, why so formal? Please join me." The voice came from the table with food and wine, the man was not very tall but wore a straw hat normal people would wear to protect themselves from the sun. This way his face was hidden from Yu Peiyu and others.
    Yu Peiyu said calmly:"In that case, we will kindly oblige."
    None of the other people moved and were quite indifferent to the coming of Yu Peiyu and others. Zhu Lei'Er was a bit angry by that.
    There was four, five empty seats just enough for them.
    Yu Peiyu sat down and smiled:"May I know your family name, sir?"
    The speaker was still wearing his big straw hat and said:"We ask for my family name, since you are actually unexpected guests."
    The other persons did not look at Yu Peiyu and the others at all, and the host was not revealing his face and identity to them.
    These people wore normal worker's robes but did have quite expensive hats decorated with pears.
    Zhu Lei'Er said loudly:"Your clothes and hat are out of place, don't you all think so?"
    She deliberately wanted to provoke an emotion from these lot.
    Only the host answered, he smiled:"We should embrace everything we have whether it is expensive or cheap."
    His clothes matched him perfectly, which made him rather the odd man out.
    Zhu Lei'Er said coldly:"Why won't you remove your straw hat?"
    The man laughed:"You have very inquisitive, but shouldn't you be eating with your mouth instead of asking a lot questions."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Not necessarily."
    The man laughed:"If you don't eat, you will starve to death."
    Zhu Lei'Er said coldly:"If you tell me to keep silent and ever to talk again, I would rather die."

    End of chapter 35

  17. #37
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 36 The Demon In The Underground Hell

    Zhu Lei'Er was telling the truth, Iron Blossom almost laughed out loud but she prevented herself from laughing.
    The man with the big straw hat laughed:"Little Miss is right, when you cannot not speak that is most sad too. But eating is also a
    necessity in life. There is no poison in the food, pleas help yourselves."
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"If there is poison in the food I will be able to tell in an instant."
    There is a plate of steamed salmon Zhu Lei'Er used her chopsticks to pick a part however she was unsuccessful, she used a bit more force and the entire fish broke into pieces. It was made from wax.
    All the dishes were made from wax, Zhu Lei'Er was very bemused by this and wanted to scold the man with the hat. However she suddenly noticed Yu Peiyu looked awfully pale and Yu Peiyu said earnestly to the man with the straw hat:"I ask again, sir. What is your family name?"
    The man was holding a cup the entire time in his hand but did not really drink, he seemed to be admiring the cup in his hand and the wine in it. He seemed to be oblivious to Yu Peiyu's question.
    Zhu Lei'Er's temper was never really great and she immediately shouted:"Are you deaf!"
    During her talking she poked out her chopsticks to the man's elbow's acupoint, she wanted him to drop his cup as to embarrass him.
    But the pair of chopsticks pierced right through him and the man did not even yell in pain, [he] was made from wax too. All the other men were made from wax also.
    Zhu Lei'Er was surprised and after a moment she scoffed:"At least there is one real man here."
    But when they looked up the only living man was gone too and only the big straw hat was on the table.
    Zhu Lei'Er shivered but scoffed:"That is why these figures wear old clothes but wear big new hats."
    She now figured out that that man was playing a joke on them and dressed up these wax statues and had them wear big hats to cover their faces.
    She removed the hats of all the wax figures and saw that all of them looked most lifelike.
    Zhu Lei'Er sighed:"No matter what, this man is really talented."
    Hai Dongqing sighed too:"Even the famous sculptor Zhang of Beijing is nothing compared to this man."
    Yu Peiyu said earnestly:"His martial arts are quite high too, none of us could see where he fled to?'
    Iron Blossom said:"Are....are all these wax statues?"
    There were more than ten lifelike statues in this stone hall, they were so lifelike that it became creepy.
    Yu Peiyu asked her:"What is he doing?"
    He pointed at a wax figure, Iron Blossom answered:"He is playing the zither."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Have you heard the zither?"
    The entire hall was silent.
    Iron Blossom said:"But why did he make all these statues and put them here."
    Zhu Lei'Er said coldly:"Perhaps he was just feeling lonely." She added with a smile:"At least wax figures are better than real men."
    Iron Blossom asked:"Why?"
    Zhu Lei'Er answered:"At least wax statues cannot attack us."
    Iron Blossom felt most uncomfortable here, but after hearing Zhu Lei'Er she was a bit reassured and was not that afraid anymore. And Zhu Lei'Er was right, wax figures cannot form a threat.
    But Yu Peiyu said earnestly:"We cannot stay here, let us leave immediately."
    He looked most troubled and was very pensive ever since he arrived in this stone hall.
    Zhu Lei'Er laughed:"Why? Real people can escape but these wax statues are harmless."
    She walked over to a wax statue and smacked a wax statue on the face.
    The wax statue was [reading] but after it got slapped it fell down and broke in little pieces.
    She smiled:"You see, after being slapped he cannot return the favour." She looked at the broken pieces of the figure and smiled:"I am so sorry, are you hurt? Let me help you up."
    She was still a small child in her heart, she never got the chance to play with dolls when she was little and she was really amused and interested in these big dolls.
    Like a child playing she helped the broken figure up and smiled softly:"Be good! Let mother see where you are hurt."
    Iron Blossom was very amused to see this, but suddenly she heard Zhu Lei'Er scream loudly and jumped away from the figure. She threw the broken figure away from her and it fell to the ground breaking it in smaller pieces.
    Yu Peiyu quickly went over to her and asked:"Everything allright?"
    Zhu Lei'Er hid behind him and pointed at the figure:"This....this figure has...has bones....."
    Iron Blossom called out with surprise:"Bones?!? How can it be?"
    But she too saw bones in the broken pieces of wax, Yu Peiyu picked up a piece of the wax statue and looked at it carefully. Suddenly his face changed and he looked like he wanted to vomit with disgust.
    Zhu Lei'Er asked with concern:"Are you allright?"
    Yu Peiyu took a deep breath and said slowly:"These are not figures of wax, but these are corpses and I think they build this secret tunnel."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked with amazment:"What do you mean?"
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"The person who ordered for the construction of this tunnel was afraid that they might reveal his tunnel to others, so when they finished the construction he killed them. And he poured hot wax over them and made them into these wax statues we see before us."
    Zhu Lei'Er got goosebumps all over and said:"No wonder these statues look so lifelike."
    Hai Dongqing sighed:"I thought it was strange that such lowly looking people would be this refined. If we would be more precise we should have seen this a long time ago."
    Zhu Lei'Er gritted her teeth and said:"At that time we did not know that there would be such an evil, maniacal madman here."
    Suddenly a voice crackled:"You're wrong, little Miss. I am not mad nor am I maniacal. I am a very friendly and benevolent man."
    Everyone heard his laughter but could not hear where it came from precisely.
    Zhu Lei'Er said angrilly:"You don't have a conscience! You betrayed your conscience a long time ago."
    The voice laughed:"I know building this tunnel was very hard for them, so when they finished I treated them to a good rest. They don't have to sweat again in their lives, without me they cannot enjoy such luxury like this. How can you say that I am evil?"
    Zhu Lei'Er cussed:"You're not fit to be called a man! You're just some disgusting, revolting sick creature!"
    She wanted to antagonize the man, so he would jump out and face them. However the man did not come out and stopped talking now.
    Zhu Lei'Er said hatefully:"This is not a very big place, let us find him in here."
    Iron Blossom said:"We should count ourselves lucky that he is leaving us alone, you want to find him?"
    Yu Peiyu turned to Hai Dongqing and smiled:"Would you mind telling us everything now? There is no point in hiding anything now."
    Hai Dongqing was taken by surprise by Yu Peiyu's remark and stuttered:"What.....what do mean?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"I really do not know why you and brother Yang want to lure me here. "
    Hai Dongqing said:"What are you saying? I did not lure you anywhere. Even I do not know what this place is and I certainly do not know that madman."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Perhaps brother Hai really did not see this place before, but I think you must be acquainted with this old sir."
    Hai Dongqing said anxiously:"How should I know him? I...I...have no reasons to lie to you."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"I too do now know why brother Hai want to lie to me. Furthermore brother Hai's tale about [Mr. Dongguo] was most convincing, I believed every word you said. But now I am beginning to doubt that story."
    Hai Dongqing said:"Why?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"This old sir places a lot value to this tunnel, he is even prepared to kill for it. These ten poor odd men are the best example. Am I right?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"Yes, exactly."
    Yu Peiyu said:"In that case, isn't it strange that the cottage above is abandoned? Won't an empty house in the middle of nowhere raise suspicion?"
    Hai Dongqing was taken by surprise and stuttered:" was not empty...."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Indeed the cottage was not empty, it was occupied. But where are the people?"
    Hai Dongqing answered:"Perhaps they were killed by Yang Zijiang."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"Would brother Yang really kill inocent people for a mere empty house?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"This....."
    Yu Peiyu continued:"Furthermore the occupants were probably instructed to keep watch by this old sir, if brother Yang would kill them wouldn't he know? Would he allow brother Yang to stay?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"So brother Yu, you're saying....."
    Yu Peiyu said:"I'm just saying that brother Yang and this old sir have already met. When he told us to flee into the tunnel, it was all premeditated."
    Hai Dongqing's face turned pale and said:"Why....why didn't he tell me? Why did he do this?"
    Yu Peiyu looked at him carefully and asked:"Do you really not know, brother Hai?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"I really do not know."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"But why would you bring Miss Ji Lingfeng here?"
    Hai Dongqing asked:"What does that have to do with this?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"I thought it was strange why brother Hai would capture Ji Lingfeng. Capturing Zhong Jing and Guo Pianxian and delivering them to Madame Hai Tang, was just a ploy to win over the Baihua Association over. I couldn't figure out to whom you were going to deliver Ji Lingfeng. But now I know."
    Hai Dongqing asked:"What? What do you understand?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Brother Hai captured Ji Lingfeng for the purpose of delivering her to this old sir."
    Hai Dongqing said:"Why would I want to do that? Who is he? And why does he want Ji Lingfeng?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"Maybe because of these wax figures, perhaps for different reasons alltogether. I think brother Hai would be better informed about it than I."
    Hai Dongqing took a deep breath and said:"I do not know what is going on here. But I know you're mistaken, I have nothing to do with this here. If brother Yu doesn't believe me, I will......"
    Suddenly he was interrupted by two loud screams, Iron Blossom and Zhu Lei'Er screamed.
    Two wax figures grabbed hold of them.
    Zhu Lei'Er was terrified now but shrieked:"These two are not corpses, they are alive."
    Iron Blossom almost fainted with fear and could not speak anymore.
    One of the wax figures said:"If you want them alive, stay where you are!"
    When he spoke bit and pieces of the wax fell off.
    Yu Peiyu did not speak and did not move.
    Hai Dongqing asked:"What do you want?"
    That was a redundant question, even silly. But everyone in such situations is bound to say ridiculous things.
    The two figures playing chess stood up and walked over with big paces, one of them said:"Whoever moves, the two girls die!"
    Yu Peiyu sighed, before he could finish his sigh he was seized and someone sealed 17 of his acupoints.
    Zhu Lei'Er shrieked:"Why are doing this? Don't let them capture you, because of me....."
    She started weeping and did not finish her sentence.
    A voice laughed:"Little Miss, do you know understand that wax figures are not inferior to real men. And can be more dangerous than real persons."
    A old, short man with a big hat walked out, it was very strange big hat. Very out of touch with his seize and clothing making him look ridiculous. But nobody could laugh now.
    Zhu Lei'Er started cursing:"You sick old man,.........."
    She cursed him with every expletives she knew, but the old man was not angered in fact he was pleased and amused by her.
    And when Zhu Lei'Er stopped cursing he smiled:"Little Miss, you're good at crying and cursing. I like girls like you, after awhile I turn you into a beautiful wax figure. You will be most beautiful."
    Zhu Lei'Er shouted:""
    She wanted to curse him, but when she heard what he was going to do with her fear struck her in the chest.
    The old man turned to Yu Peiyu and said:"Young man, are you Yu Peiyu?"
    Yu Peiyu nodded and replied:"Yes, I am."
    The old man chuckled:"Although we never met, I could recognize you in one go."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"Although we have never met too, I know who you are too."
    The old man was a bit stunned but laughed:"If you know who I am, you're quite capable."
    Yu Peiyu said:"You're not a demon. You're just a corpse, because you died a very long time ago."
    The old man laughed:"I am a corpse? Am I just a corpse?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Yes, you are. You never saw me, but I did see you."
    The old man asked:"Where did you see me?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"In a grave."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked at Yu Peiyu with amazement, she did not understand what Yu Peiyu was saying. She almost believed that Yu Peiyu had lost it.
    However the old man's face turned and said:"You have been to the grave?" He looked at Yu Peiyu for some time.
    Yu Peiyu said:"Yes, I did. I even stayed there for some time."
    The old man asked:"How did you escape?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"I crawled out via your behind."
    Now Zhu Lei'Er really believed Yu Peiyu had lost it, Iron Blossom and Hai Dongqing thought Yu Peiyu had gone mad.
    The old man turned awfully pale now and yelled:"Granddaughter, come here!"
    Everyone except Yu Peiyu was amazed to see his granddaughter, no one thought this old man's granddaughter was Ji Lingfeng. Yu Peiyu knew it had to be Ji Kuqing, who pretended to be dead years ago.
    He was also very good at making wax statues, Ji Kuqing turned to Ji Lingfeng and asked:"Is it true, what this youngster is saying?"
    Ji Lingfeng said:"I do not know."
    She looks very weak and broken, but her reply was very resolute.
    Ji Kuqing asked:"Did he go to Murder Manor?"
    Ji Lingfeng answered:"If he did not visit Murder Manor I wouldn't know him. He is not the only one who went to Murder Manor."
    Ji Kuqing laughed and softly touched Ji Lingfeng's cheek and said:"Good granddaughter, you should show more respect when talking to your grandfather."
    Ji Lingfeng pouted:"I am tired, I just want to sleep now."
    She turned around and walked away, she did not even look at Yu Peiyu the entire time.
    Ji Kuqing said softly:"This girl must be spoilt rotten by her mother."
    He turned to Yu Peiyu and looked at him for some time, before saying:"I hear that Yu Fanghe had a son called Yu Peiyu too."
    Yu Peiyu said:"It seems so."
    Ji Kuqing said:"It was said that he died in Murder Manor."
    Yu Peiyu said:"I heard that too."
    Ji Kuqing's eyes glittered and said slowly:"Perhaps he did not die, he just made a stroll in the grave and stayed alive and someone changed his appearances."
    He suddenly grabbed Yu Peiyu's robe and said loudly:"Maybe he is you, you are the son of Yu Fanghe."
    Initially Yu Peiyu did not understand why Ji Lingfeng would lie, but now he understood and his hands were covered with sweat.
    Ji Kuqing could be working together with the fake Yu Fanghe, they perhaps lured Yu Peiyu over here with the purpose of investigating whether the two Yu Peiyus were really one person.
    Only two people knew of the change of appearance of Yu Peiyu, and Ji Lingfeng was one of them. Yu Peiyu did not know why she would conceal the truth from Ji Kuqing but he was very thankful to her.
    Ji Kuqing looked at Yu Peiyu sternly and asked:"Are you the son of Yu Fanghe?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"Whose son I am is no concern of yours."
    Ji Kuqing said:"If you admit your the son of Yu Fanghe, nothing will happen."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"I beg your pardon, what do you want me to say again?"
    Ji Kuqing looked sinister now and suddenly laughed loudly:"Young lad! You are very stubborn. If you don't like to tell the truth, I will make sure you will never speak again."
    The stone hall was becoming warmer and warmer, there was big furnace and a large pot with wax was put on it to cook.
    Ji Kuqing took out an metalic hook and stirred in the cettle of wax, the wax was becoming fluid. The damp coloured the face of Ji Kuqing green, making him look like a mad demon. He gradually had a mad look in his eyes and said:"It is not easy to turn a living person into a wax figure. Firstly, the wax must be poured onto the person when it is ready. The wax must be completely liquid but it must not be too hot. So timing is essential."
    He chuckled:"It is similar to how Cantonese prepare oil chicken, your hands must be firm and you must be careful. You have to pour the wax carefully on the person and very precise. The first layer must be hardened then the second layer can only be applied. If even your hands are slightly unstable everything will be ruined."
    He explained with great enthusiasm, like a famous chef telling people about his best recipe and dish.
    However they are not the eaters, they are the chickens in this case. If chickens could really feel, would they feel the same thing as Yu Peiyu and others are feeling right now.
    Zhu Lei'Er was angry, scared (perhaps similar what chickens might feel), she wanted to poke the eyes and hands of this horrible old man.
    Iron Blossom was afraid she would go mad and shouted:"Just kill me now! Quickly!"
    Ji Kuqing said calmly:"I want to creat perfect wax statues in order to make perfect statues I need live persons. With corpses I cannot create perfect statues."
    Iron Blossom screamed:""
    She did not know what to say and choked on her words.
    Ji Kuqing smiled to her:"Madame Yang, I won't trouble you. Don't be afraid! Also Yang Zijiang won't like to share the bed with a wax figure."
    Hai Dongqing turned pale and said:"Yang Zijiang is really working with you?!?"
    Ji Kuqing laughed:"Precise, he is smarter than you and knows to make the right friends. He picks the cook holding the knife and you picked to be friends with the chickens."
    Hai Dongqing was stunned and after some time muttered:"Yang Zijiang, Yang Zijiang. Have you entirely forgotten about our teacher? How could betray our teacher like this, have you forgotten our teachings alltogether."
    Tears flowed from his eyes.
    Zhu Lei'Er said hatefully:"No wonder he was not afraid of those Shades! After he saw us off, all he had to to was explain to the Shades that he was one of them. That little fiend is capable of doing almost everything, the filthy hypocrite."
    Iron Blossom started crying half way when she heard the words of Zhu Lei'Er.
    Zhu Lei'Er scoffed:"Madame Yang, why are you crying? Having a husband like Yang Zijiang you should feel happy."
    Iron Blossom sobbed:"I....I...."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I just want to ask you to take this Madame Yang away, I can't stand the sight of her."
    Ji Kuqing smiled:"I almost forget, thank you for reminding me. I have to invite Madame Yang to take a seat."
    Iron Blossom screamed:"Do not touch me! I am not the wife of Yang Zijiang! I will rather become a wax figure than become his wife! I will never become the wife of a vicious man like that."
    Ji Kuqing said casually:"I don't care who you are, but I control life and death of whoever enters this place."
    Hai Dongqing looked at Yu Peiyu and said sadly:"I was wrong about Yang Zijiang, please forgive for dragging you into this."
    Yu Peiyu said:"This is his fault, you're not responsible for this. You needn't apologize."
    Hai Dongqing sighed:"No matter what, he and I are brothers. I.....I....."
    Ji Kuqing loudly yelled now:"Quickly hoist the cettle, this is the righ time."
    The wax was ready.
    Ji Kuqing laughed:"The first layer would hurt a lot, young master Yu can stand a lot of pain I hear. Well, anyway after the second, third layer is brought on you won't feel the pain anymore."
    He put a stick into the wax and showed Yu Peiyu and others how the wax slowly hardened. Ji Kuqing muttered:"Exactly how I want it. Remove the clothes of Yu Peiyu immediately."
    Zhu Lei'Er yelled:"Why won't you start with me first?"
    Ji Kuqing laughed:"It will be your turn sooner or later, why so anxious."
    Zhu Lei'Er screamed:"I'm begging you start with me! I will be most grateful if you would fullfil this wish."
    Ji Kuqing laughed:"You like to be naked in front of them?"
    Zhu Lei'Er was stunned and started to cry.
    Iron Blossom yelled:"You can start with me! I....I am no....not afraid!"
    Ji Kuqing carefully examined her and said slowly:"You have a good figure, I would love to start with you. It would be most wonderful to see a naked pretty woman like you. Very good.....very good indeed."
    But he added with a sigh:"Unfortunately you're the wife of Yang Zijiang, pity.....pity...."
    Hai Dongqing screamed:"You old sick monster, old bastard! Son of a b-i-t-c-h-!"
    Ji Kuqing laughed:"You are trying to make me angry so I will turn you into wax first."
    Hai Dongqing yelled:"Start with me if you have the nerves!"
    Ji Kuqing smiled:"Since all of you are such good friends, I will make your wish come true!"
    He added with a maniacal smile:"Remove their clothes and place them together. Let them embrace each other! I will make a very special wax sculpture, everyone will be able to see that they are friends in one go."
    Hai Dongqing and Zhu Lei'Er both screamed, Zhu Lei'Er had encountered a lot of life and death experiences too but until now she has never been afraid.
    Yu Peiyu was still silent, but he was furious and he was also very sad. Why did he have to die in this horrible way.
    If he knew he would die this horribly, he would prefered to die at the hands of Sang Erlang, although that man was mad too. At least he wasn't a sexually frustrated sick old man like Ji Kuqing. Not even Sang Erlang could come up with such sick twisted method of killing.

    Suddenly a man flew in very fast and was sort of dancing gracefully like a puppet being pulled by a invisible strings.
    Ji Kuqing looked surprised and shouted:"Who is it?"
    The man kept dancing and knocked over the cettle with hot wax (un)intentionally and he was covered with the wax and screamed loudly and painfully. Everyone was dumbstruck by fear when they heard the screaming of this man. A few drops of hot wax landed on Zhu Lei'Er and it was enough to cause intolerable pain. Another man flew in and landed in the cettle and he shouted with pain too.
    Ji Kuqing flew away to avoid being splattered by the wax and shouted angrilly:"Who is it?"
    During his shout a third person came flying towards him, he shifted away from the flying living object with a few centimetres mid-air. With was an amazing accomplishment, however a fourth and a fifth man came flying towards him too. Even with his incredible level in the art of levitation he could not avoid these two men.
    The movements in the art of levitation are dependent from one puf of internal energy qi. When in mid-air it is impossible to change or inhale another puf of qi, changing position in mid-air is already most difficult.
    Ji Kuqing struck out his fists and his energy released repelled the two flying men but he too was flung backwards and staggered back to the wall.
    Zhu Lei'Er was surprised and happy to see this, she recognized those five men as the wax henchmen of Ji Kuqing. She was ambushed by these figures earlier, although they had the element of surprise but she knew they were not weak fighters and had swift movements.
    But now these five henchmen were thrown inside and it seemed they did not even have the opportunity to put up any resistance. This unexpected guest must have great skills.
    Ji Kuqing looked very angry and looked at Yu Peiyu, he said:"I never thought you would have helpers to rescue you. You have a lot of friends!"
    A voice said:"I do not know him, but we are old friends."
    The sound sounded soft and gentle, and very sweet. Zhu Lei'Er and Iron Blossom were also captivated by the voice of this guest. Zhu Lei'Er was the daughter of the famous Zhu Mei, she was born with a certain grace, beauty, elegance inherited from her mother. The other was Iron Blossom was one of the Three
    Magnificent Flower Ladies, (in)famous for their mesmerizing skills. Her voice was a special weapon against men too. But when they heard this voice they felt they could not compare to her and kept quiet.
    But when Zhu Lei'Er heard these two were friends, her heart sank away again.
    But only Hai Dongqing was extremely happy and said softly:"My teacher has arrived."
    Zhu Lei'Er was surprised and said with amazement:"Your teacher is a woman."
    Hai Dongqing did not answer her question, there is no need to answer because a woman in a black dress gracefully walked in. She wore a black veil in front of her face, although Zhu Lei'Er could not see her face but she knew this woman must be a matchless beauty.
    This woman slowly walked inside, it seemed like she was floating on air instead of walking, she wore a long black dress and one could only see the tips of her shoes if one looked very careful. She also wore black gloves, Zhu Lei'Er was captivated by her elegance and stood there looking at this woman with amazement.
    She completely forgot where she was for the moment, she had only eyes for this strange woman.
    Ji Kuqing was completely taken by surprise and after awhile said:"It is you!"
    The woman in black said calmly:"Are you surprised?"
    Ji Kuqing sighed:"I thought you were dead a long time ago."
    The woman in black did not reply, but it looked like she smiled faintly. She slowly walked over to Ji Kuqing, this place looked awful, corpses everywhere, wax, strange statues but this woman maintained her gracefulness despite all of this. She did not lose her dignity in front of this old maniacal madman. Nobody could guess that this woman was an extremely powerful martial arts expert and nobody would think she killed those five men earlier.
    Ji Kuqing was beginning to sweat and said with an enforced smile:"We haven't seen each other for more than ten years, you do not wish to fight me."
    The woman in black said:"I have no intention indeed to fight you."
    Ji Kuqing seemed to be relieved and said:"Please would you mind staying away from me, with you around my heart will always beat faster."
    The woman replied:"You do not have a heart, how can it beat."
    She was still advancing forward to Ji Kuqing.
    Ji Kuqing was feeling very nervous and shouted:"What do you want from me?"
    The woman in black did not answer his question but asked:"You are 72 years old now, aren't you?"
    Ji Kuqing said:" remember very clearly."
    The woman in black said calmly:"Anyone who has reached the age of 72 has lived long enough, don't you agree?"
    Ji Kuqing wiped away his sweat and asked:"What....what do you mean with that?"
    The woman in black asked:"Do you honestly not know?"
    Ji Kuqing smiled wryly:"Who has been able to know your intentions in the past 20 years?"
    The woman in black sighed softly:"I hope you won't force me to kill you."
    Ji Kuqing looked very afraid now and awfully pale, he suddenly laughed loudly:"After seeing all these years, you really want to take my life!"
    His laughter sounded like crying, however at this time he leapt up and in mid-air he did not look like a disgusting skinny, short old man but a vulture crashing down on its prey.
    The woman in black just slowly awaited his attack, if the Ji Kuqing was a vulture she could be called a wolf.
    When Ji Kuqing was almost near her, she gently brushed with her sleeve.
    Nobody expected that a mere twirl with the sleeve could block Ji Kuqing's vicious attack, however they heard a sharp cry and Ji Kuqing was flung almost 10 metres away from the woman in black. He crashed into the wall with his back, he looked very pale now and looked at the woman in black and said:"Seraphic energy...."
    Before he could finish he coughed up blood.
    The woman in black said calmly:"Yes, you are right. It is the pre-heaven seraphic energy, you really do have sharp eyes."
    Ji Kuqing started to laugh arrogantly:"Pre-heaven seraphic energy! Good, invincible throughout the realm! I can die with no regrets now."
    During his laughter he started to move his hands and legs frantically, like he was dancing. During his erratic movements he kept coughing up blood, his blood splattered al around him and on his own robe. In the end he ran out of blood to cough and slowly started to make a gargling sound and Zhu Lei'Er turned around and did not look.
    Yu Peiyu had heard of pre-heaven seraphic energy before, but he always believed it belonged to legends of Wulin. Much like terms like [sword energy, silent acoustic voice], perhaps these skills did exist in the ancient times but were lost in the present era of realm of martial arts.
    He never dreamt that he could see the power of such a famous art. Ji Kuqing was lying in his own pool of blood, like a frog he was still make a gargling sound. Suddenly his body jumped up in the air and fell down again, this time there was no gargling noise and he did not move anymore.

    The woman in black turned around and looked at Yu Peiyu, her eyes were most penetrating and it seemed that she could see right through Yu Peiyu. He lowered his head and did not dare to look at this woman in black.
    The woman in black asked:"Are you young master Yu Peiyu?"
    She knew the name of Yu Peiyu and she was quite polite to him, if another person was standing in Yu Peiyu' shoes he would be very happy and even thrilled.
    Fame was comparable to an expensive, precious brocade, it can bring one a lot of attention but also there is a downside to it.
    Hai Dongqing saw that Yu Peiyu was contemplating and did not hear his teacher's words, so he said:"Brother Yu, my teacher is talking to you."
    Yu Peiyu sort of woke up from his thoughts and said:"Yes, my name is Yu Peiyu."
    The woman in black said:"Good, follow me please."
    She gently brushed with her sleeve again and the acupoints of Yu Peiyu, Hai Dongqing and Zhu Lei'Er were unsealed.
    Hai Dongqing knelt down and said:"Disciple has something....."
    The woman in black interrupted him:"I know everything about you and Yang Zijiang, there is no need to talk about that right now."
    She turned around and was standing at the door already.
    Zhu Lei'Er quickly walked over to Yu Peiyu and held his arm and ask softly:"Are you really going with her?"
    Yu Peiyu noticed her hands were shaking and his heart was filled with affection, he said gently:"Of course, you will be coming with me."
    Zhu Lei'Er's eyes brightened up and she even held Yu Peiyu's arm tighter and asked sweetly:"Will you really take me everywhere you go?"
    Yu Peiyu sighed in his heart but said:"No matter where I go you will always be at my side."
    But the woman in black said:"This time you cannot go with him."
    Zhu Lei'Er was startled and let go of Yu Peiyu, after a moment she said with a shaky voice:"Why?"
    The woman in black said:"Because I say so."
    Zhu Lei'Er said with indignation:"Why....what authority do you have to separate us from each other! our lives, but if it wasn't your disciple we wouldn't be in this mess."
    She now started to weep and continued with a sobbing tone:"You should have saved us, it was your responsibility. What right do you have to order me around."
    Hai Dongqing turned pale and knelt down, he said:"She is just a child, she doesn't know any better. Master, please forgive her."
    Zhu Lei'Er looked up with tears in her eyes and said loudly:"You don't have to plead to your teacher! I am not afraid, let her kill me! Even when I'm dead I will follow Yu Peiyu."
    She pulled Yu Peiyu's arm and said:"You promised me to take me everywhere you go, are.....are you coming back on your words?"
    Yu Peiyu did not speak, he looked at her with affection and gently wiped away her tears and he turned around and said to the woman in black:"I promised her and her third uncle to take care of her. I cannot leave her behind."
    The woman in black said coldly:"If you cannot look beyond mere love tribulations, how can you accomplish important matters in life."
    Yu Peiyu said calmly:"If I cannot keep my word, how am I going to face myself in the future."
    The woman in black looked at him for some time and her eyes turned warm and said:"Good! You're a good child!"
    She floated towards Zhu Lei'Er and raised her hand.
    Hai Dongqing and Yu Peiyu both held their breaths, they knew that the woman in black could smash Zhu Lei'Er's head with only one mere blow.
    The woman in black asked:"Do you really want to stay with him?"
    Zhu Lei'Er gritted her teeth and said resolutely:"No matter what I will stay with him, if you want to separate us kill me first."
    Yu Peiyu looked at the hand of the woman in black and his heart skipped a beat.
    The woman in black gentrly stroked Zhu Lei'Er's long hair and said gently:"You're a very kind sweet child. But if you truly love him you should not create more problems for him, give him the chance to finish his important quests first."
    Zhu Lei'Er was surprised and started to cry loudly.
    The woman in black added:"I am not telling him that he should abandon you forever, just spend some time apart from each other. The two of you are still young, you will bound to see each other again in the near future."
    Zhu Lei'Er turned around and said:"Allright! I will leave, I will leave alone......."
    She ran towards the door sobbing, Yu Peiyu chased her and grabbed her arm and said gently:"Where are you going?"
    Zhu Lei'Er bit her lip and said:"No need to concern yourself about me, I will find a place to go."
    But she could not hold back her tears no matter how hard she tried.
    The world is a big place, but where can she go to?
    The woman in black sighed:"Dongqing, take her back to our mount. I will tell young master Yu to look for her there afterwards."
    Hai Dongqing was surprised and happy, he said:"Are you accepting this Miss as your disciple?"
    The woman in black smiled a bit:"She is a good girl."

    The weather outside was most radiant, although it was Autumn but it felt like Spring. For the first time in a long time Yu Peiyu felt that the warmness of the sun again.
    Everything is different now, Zhu Lei'Er has new hope now. Standing in the warm sun, he could almost sing out of happiness.
    The only regret is that he could not find Guo Pianxian and Zhong Jing, Ji Lingfeng was also missing. She must have taken those two along, he still could not figure out why Ji Lingfeng helped him and why she took Guo Pianxian and Ji Lingfeng with her.
    But that is only a small matter compared to the rest.
    The woman in black said:"Although Yang Zijiang has betrayed me but he was honest about a certain few matters. And with Dongqing at his side he had no option but to be honest."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Is Ji Kuqing that [Mr. Dongguo]?"
    The woman in black said:"No, Ji Kuqing is just another of Mr. Dongguo's lackeys. When it comes to martial arts and intelligence Ji Kuqing is nowhere near Mr. Dongguo."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Madame, you....."
    The woman in black sighed:"To be honest, not even I am capable of defeating that rogue."
    Yu Peiyu said:"But Madame, you have mastered the pre-heave seraphic energy, aren't you invicible with that omnipotent skill?"
    The woman in black said:"The pre-heaven seraphic energy is capable of penetrating practically everything, however eveything in this world has a something to match it. For instance a centipede is very poisonous but a rooster is capable of eating it."
    The woman in black sighed:"Mr. Dongguo has learnt a new technique that can top my seraphic energy, if not he would not dare to wreak havoc again."
    Yu Peiyu was most surprised and asked:"What skill would that be?"
    The woman in black said:"The ephemeral form dexterity."
    Yu Peiyu said:"If he has mastered this ephemeral form deterity, can he truly run amok throughout the realm?"
    The woman in black said:"Nobody in the realm is likely to be his match, there is only one person capable of dealing with him."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Who?"
    The woman in black answered:"You."
    Yu Peiyu was flabbergasted and stuttered:"But....but...I....I...."
    The woman in black said:"When it comes to martial arts you are no match for him, not even ten Yu Peiyus might be able to defeat him. But you are both very intelligent and insightful, furthermore you have an exceptional tenacity that no one else has."
    Yu Peiyu said:"But....."
    The woman in black interrupted him:"Have you heard of the tale *the emperor and the assassin?"
    Yu Peiyu answered:"Yes, I have heard of this story."
    The woman in black said:"When it came to swordsmanship Jing Ke was nowhere near the great swordsman of that time [Gai Nie], but prince Dan of Yan Kingdom selected Jing Ke for the task to assassinate Ying Zheng king of the Qin Kingdom. Because prince Dan believed only Jing Ke was fit for such a task. Do you
    know why?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Because Jing Ke was willing to sacrifice his own life to complete his mission, he wanted to die along with the ruthless Qin Kingdom."
    The woman in black shook her head and said:"You are wrong."
    She added:"The ruthless methods of the King Zheng of Qin were infamous, lots of people hated him and wanted his head. And in the Kingdom of Yan there were a lot of brave warriors like [Gao Jianli, Song Yi, Wu Ping, Qin Wuyang]. All of them were heroic and courageous warriors who did not fear death, but why did prince Dan select Jing Ke?"
    Yu Peiyu stayed quiet and respectfully listened to the woman in black.
    The woman in black continued:"That is because Jing Ke had extraordinary tenacity, he was able to stay calm and logical during the most dire situations. King Zheng of Qin was known for being an awesome man, everyone who entered the Qin palace would quickly be intimidated by the awe there. However Jing Ke
    calmly entered the palace without showing a trace of fear or anxiety, even a cunning ruler like Ying Zheng did not see the assassination coming. Jing Ke had something special that many lacked and that was why prince Dan chose him."
    Yu Peiyu looked most pensive and asked:"Madame, are you asking me to assassinate Mr. Dongguo?"
    The woman in black said:"Although ambushing, assassinating are not the way of of people in Wulin, but when we are facing a diabolical menace like Mr. Dongguo we cannot uphold conventional rules anymore."
    Yu Peiyu said:"But......but Jing Ke still failed in the end."
    The woman in black said:"Jing Ke did fail, but you stand a better chance than Jing Ke."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Why do you say that, Madame?"
    The woman in black explained:"There were about a thousand armed soldiers in the Qin palace, Mr. Dongguo likes to travel alone, that is one. Jing Ke was not skilled in close range combat with a dagger but you are already a martial arts expert of the realm, that is two. She paused for awhile and looked at Yu Peiyu
    and continued:"But most important king Zheng still did not entirely trust Jing Ke when he presented the map, but Mr. Dongguo will not be suspicious of you."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Why so?"
    He added:"Jing Ke had at least [the map of Du Rong] and the head of Fan Yuqi to buy King Zheng's trust, but I do not have anything to present to Mr. Dongguo."
    The woman in black smiled:"You have something to win his trust, but you do not know it yourself."
    Yu Peiyu said respectfully:"Madame, please enlighten me."
    The woman in black asked:"Do you still have those items Lady Zhu of the Palace of Enchantment hid?"
    Yu Peiyu replied honestly:"Yes, I have."
    The woman in black's eyes glittered and asked:"Is there a plaque made from bamboo?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Yes."
    The woman in black asked:"Do you still have it now?"
    Yu Peiyu answered:"Fortunately I still have it."
    The woman in black said:"This is not an ordinary bamboo plaque, many people are willing to die for this piece of wood. It is more valuabe than all the gold in the world in some people's eyes, do you know why?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"I could not figure the secret out of this bamboo plaque, Madame."
    The woman in black said:"This is a personal item of Mr. Dongguo."
    Yu Peiyu exclaimed with surprise:"His personal item?"
    The woman in black said:"Whoever holds this plaque becomes the benefactor of Mr. Dongguo. No matter what task you give him, he must accomplish it."
    Yu Peiyu was very surprised and asked:"Why?"
    The woman in black explained:"Mr. Dongguo is a very evil and cunning fiend, but he is also very proud. He does not like to accept favours from anyone but if he did he will try to repay that person back no matter how. About 30 years ago someone did him a great favour but that person had nothing to ask of Mr.
    Dongguo. As result Mr. Dongguo carved this bamboo plaque and said:[See this plaque is like seeing me.]"
    Yu Peiyu said:"I understand now, but who was that person who held this plaque originally?"
    The woman in black said:"That is of no importance, he is long dead now. Most importantly you have the plaque now and Mr. Dongguo said himself [See this plaque is like seeing me], so you have now become his benefactor. You can order him to do anything and he won't refuse you."
    She casually added:"As I said, he is an extremely proud man and will never go back on his own words."
    Yu Peiyu said seriously:"Madame, are you suggesting that I should go and see him with this plaque and order him to chop off his own head?"
    The woman in black laughed:"Although he won't go back on his words, but telling him to kill himself to repay you is something he won't do either. Maybe 30 years ago he might have done that, but the older one gets the more value one places on life."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"What do you suggest, Madame?"
    The woman in black said:"Take this plaque and see him and ask him to teach you the ephemeral form deterity."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"And then?"
    The woman in black said:"Learning the ephemeral form deterity is nothing something that can be accomplished in two, three days. When you study with him, you have more opportunities to make contact with him."
    Yu Peiyu nodded.
    The woman in black added:"Not being able to repay this favour is his biggest regret in life, and if you see him you are helping him to complete one of his long wishes in life. He will be extremely happy and probably won't ask about your antecedents. He won't be suspicious about you, furthermore as the saying goes: [Even a tiger will be negligent once in awhile.] And at that time you have plenty of chances to kill him."
    Yu Peiyu said:"But...."
    The woman in black interrupted him:"You already know the secrets of Dongguo. Why do you have so many reservations? Are you not willing to rid Wulin of this rogue? Don't you want to avenge your father?"
    Yu Peiyu was surprised and asked:"Madame, you know of me antecedents?"
    The woman in black smiled:"Do you know who that person was who changed your looks?"
    Yu Peiyu said sadly:"I will never forget the gratitude the old sir has bestowed me, however I do not even know the name of the old sir."
    The woman in black said:"His own antecedents are quite mysterious and has not used his true name for decades. However I can reveal to you that he is probably the best friend I have. Together with him we were able to scare Mr. Dongguo from wreaking havoc all these years, because old Dongguo feared the both of us.
    Even if he had mastered the ephemeral form deterity the two of us can still defeat and kill him, but....but...."
    She did not finish her sentence but sighed.
    Yu Peiyu quickly asked:"But what, Madame? Has...has something happened to the old sir?"
    The woman in black looked very sad and was panting heavily now, after a long time she sighed deeply:"I fear he has been killed by Dongguo."
    She quickly continued:"I do not have evidence of this, but if he was still alive old Dongguo would not be this bold. Because Dongguo knows my good friend is not alive anymore he has begun to put his evil plans into action."
    Yu Peiyu gritted his teeth and said:"Madame, I will obey your command without any doubt. But this Mr. Dongguo must live somewhere very remote, how can I find him."
    The woman in black said:"No need for you to find him, he will be looking for you."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Madame, are you suggesting that I would openly announce that the plaque of repay has fallen in my hands?"

    End of chapter 36

  18. #38
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 37 The Yama Debt Book

    The woman in black said:"When Mr. Dongguo finds out that you are in possession of the plaque of repay, he will be bound to look for you."
    Yu Peiyu said:"But Mr. Dongguo has said that he will help out whoever is in possession of that plaque, before I can personally hand the plaque back everyone can steal it from me."
    The woman in black said:"But who is capable of stealing that plaque from you?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled wryly:"I am not being modest here, but there are a lot of martial arts experts in the realm."
    The woman in black said:"You're right. With your present skills there are to my knowledge about 13 people who can defeat you. Possibly even more but most of these experts are in retreat and when they hear the news they will probably come out and try to steal that plaque from you. Even by all means necessary."
    She did not give Yu Peiyu time to ask and added with a smile:"But you have the Yama Debt Book of Lady Zhu, why should you be afraid of them."
    Yu Peiyu said with surprise:"Yama Debt Book?"
    The woman in black said:"You have the plaque of gratitude, how can you not have the book of debts."
    Yu Peiyu seemed to understand and said:"Madame, are you referring to that black notebook?"
    The woman in black said:"Indeed." She paused for a short moment before adding:"Everyone is bound to make mistakes in life, even sages are not perfect. In this short lifetime one is sure to err occasionally, especially famous people. We see their glory and their high status and the ever so mighty grandeur of them, are we aware how many people were sacrificed to gain that glory and wonderful status."
    Yu Peiyu sighed deeply too, because he too knew the road to fame was not easy and when one reaches that point the road is probably full of corpses.
    The woman in black said:"For instance, Hong Shengqi was able to become the leader of the Fengwei (Phoenix tale) Association, because he framed his elder martial arts brother and poisoned his teacher. This secret leaked out eventually, but before this secret was uncovered everyone believed that Hong Shengqi was an awesome true hero."
    Yu Peiyu still did not speak and sighed softly.
    The woman in black continued:"Hong Shengqi was just unlucky that his secret was exposed. Many similar events happen all the time in the realm but we are just unaware of it."
    Yu Peiyu said:"If one does not want someone to know about something, one should not have done it in the first place. Crimes like that will be solved in the end, no matter what."
    The woman in black said:"True! Every secret is bound to be solved one time. However the person who accumulated most secrets is Zhu Mei of the Palace of Enchantment."
    Yu Peiyu looked surprised.
    The woman in black explained:"Lady Zhu kept every men spellbounded with her beauty and she had numerous lovers. And men are most vunerable when they are lying on a bed with a beautiful woman next to him."
    She said it rather indirectly but one could easily imagine what situation would arise. It is the truth that most men cannot really keep any secrets hidden when there is a beautiful woman lying next to him gazing at him with pretty eyes.
    The woman in black said:"Lady Zhu suddenly was overwhelmed with secrets, she carefully wrote every secret down in a black notebook. Secrets of her lovers, admirers or mysteries those people overheard, found out and told her about it to gain her love and grace. She was a very intelligent woman and knew that every secret was invaluable, so she carefully protected her notebook because she knew that these secrets would be useful some day."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"In the end she did not use those secrets."
    The woman in black said:"That is because she became stupid suddenly."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Stupid?"
    The woman in black said:"Yes, stupid."
    She continued:"There are two types of stupid people in this world, the first one type are old men who fall in love with young girls. Some of those old men are very intelligent men and had seen the world. But because of a mere young girl with pretty face, they do the most foolish, stupid things and lose everything they worked so hard to gain in life. They are very sad but nobody feels sad for them, in the end they were themselves to blame for their pitiful state."
    Yu Peiyu smiled wryly, he too knew some of these tragic tales. Sometimes it was downright a farse.
    The woman in black said:"The second type are women who fall head over heals in love. Normally smart women will become ignorant and dumb when they fall for a man completely. The man they love is a rogue, a thief, but in their eyes he is the most honest, likeable man on the world. Even if he told her that the sun rises in the west or that snow is black, she will believe it."
    Yu Peiyu thought of Zhong Jing now and sighed deeply.
    The woman in black sighed:"However Zhu Mei became even more stupid than these two types of people, she fell madly in love with a despicable, horrible little bastard who was so young that he could have been her son."
    Yu Peiyu sighed too:"Lady Zhu sacrificed a lot for this awful man, she of course did not want to use any incriminating secrets to blackmail her father-in-law."
    The woman in black said:"Indeed with your intelligence, you could put this notebook to good use and nobody will try to harm you."
    Yu Peiyu said:"But..."
    The woman in black interrupted him:"I know what you are thinking. Everything in life has two sides, it really depends on the user. You should understand that."
    Yu Peiyu lowered his head and said:"Yes, I do."
    The woman in black smiled now:"This is all I have to say, go now. When you have completed your task we will meet again. Till that time I sincerely wish good luck with your mission."
    When Yu Peiyu's back disappeared into the horizon, she was still standing there and as the sun was setting her facial expression changed. Her face suddenly changed awfully mysterious and eerie, she seems to have two identities in the day she is human. However in the night she turns into a [shade]. Another ghost krept towards her, it was the ghost of Ji Kuqing.
    His clothes were still drenched with blood but his face was cleaned up now, his eyes were glittering wtih laughter and laughed loudly:"You have a lot to say today."
    The woman in black said casually:"To rid our troubles, I don't mind talking a bit more."
    Ji Kuqing said:"Won't killing him be more easy?"
    The woman in black shook her head:"You do not understand."
    Ji Kuqing sighed:"I just don't understand why you want me to play dead earlier and left him alive....."
    The woman in black said:"Only this way he will reveal his secrets to me."
    Ji Kuqing asked:"Did he tell you?"
    The woman in black said:"Yes, he admitted he was the son of Yu Fanghe, just like I thought that old dog was responsible for changing his face."
    Ji Kuqing said:"Now you know, why leave him around?"
    The woman in black shook her head and said:"You don't know, but soon everything will be clear to you..."
    Ji Kuqing said:"I just hope you are right."
    The woman in black said:"When was I ever wrong?"
    She backed away from him and asked:"Where did all that blood come from anyway?"
    Ji Kuqing laughed:"Even you think this is blood? It seems that my abilities are becoming better and better."
    The woman in black smiled:"I was always impressed by your abilities."
    Ji Kuqing asked:"How about your pupil?"
    The woman in black said:"Hai Dongqing?"
    Ji Kuqing said:"Yes."
    The woman in black said:"He is taking Iron Blossom and Zhu Lei'Er back to my place."
    Ji Kuqing asked:"Does he know about our plans?"
    The woman in black said:"To succeed, the fewer people know about our plans the better."
    Ji Kuqing asked:"How about Yang Zijiang?"
    The woman black said:"In order to succeed, we must have a few scapegoats ready."

    It was a chilly Autumn day, he travelled with extreme caution every day now. He thought that every day could be his last one, he was relieved when he managed to make through the day. He noticed that he looked very dirty and he wished he could change his robe and take a warm bath. But he did not have much money on him, when you're running from death one tends to forget the value of money quite easily.
    Near dusk Yu Peiyu reached a small town, he used his remaining copper coins to buy four paper flints and two bowls of noodles. After that he had not a coin on him anymore.
    Still he was very excited. Reading secrets of dignitaries of Wulin was most intriguing, being curious of other people's mysteries is also a rather nasty character trait of all humans.
    Yu Peiyu left the town and found a remote place to shelter himself from the wind, he made a small fire and held the notebook near the fire. The characters slowly appeared.
    Yu Peiyu was shocked to read the names on the notebook, everyone in the book were famous martial arts experts Yu Peiyu had heard of. Some were even more even more shocking: the lord of Nocturne City Dongfang Daming, Heavenly King Li, Granny Hu, master Nu, the Flying Hunchback Yi Kun, the celestial dragon swordsman......
    Besides the names of the ten great martial arts masters, also some of the 13 leaders of the orthodox schools were on the list. But three other names were most shocking to Yu Peiyu, namely Ji Kuqing, Feng San and his father Yu Fanghe. He could not believe his eyes, his father was righteous and fair throughout his entire life it was impossible that he did something wrong in his life.
    He did not want to look and did not want to believe it.
    He also did not read about Feng San, Feng San was his brother and his good friend. Even if he did something wrong he did not want to read about it.
    However he did not pass on Ji Kuqing, under the name Ji Kuqing were the characters [incest between brother and sister].
    Yu Peiyu felt disgusted when he read that, he could not believe that such revolting things could actually be commited.
    But he believed it was true, because he remembered the son of Ji Kuqing, Ji Zanghua. He was obviously a product of the sick revolting relationship between Ji Kuqing and his sister. But it was strange that Ji Lingfeng and Ji Lingyan looked normal, they did not inherit the bad genes from their sick, midget father Ji Zanghua.
    Could it be that they were not the daughters of Ji Zanghua?
    Yu Peiyu thought back when he was in that secret passage beneath Murder Manor, he found a piece of jade left behind by the lover of Madame Ji.
    That piece of jade was a family heirloom of the Yu family, so her lover was someone of the Yu family without any doubt.
    Could this be that secret of Yu Fanghe?
    Yu Peiyu did not want to think about it, but he wanted to get to the bottom of this. So he flipped the page to Yu Fanghe. His hand was trembling and his heart was beating faster and faster.
    Under the name of Yu Fanghe stood: [disowned his own brother and banned him from the family, his brother looks like a gentleman but is in fact a despicable murderous rogue].
    Next to his father's name stood:[The elusive cloud a rogue of the north and brother of Yu Fanghe. Banned from his family when he was young because of his awful ways. The elder brother is a sage, but the younger brother is thug. Marvellous, marvellous].
    Yu Peiyu broke out in a cold sweat when he read this. He remembered that he had a second uncle when he was very young, Yu Peiyu's mother was still alive that time whenever he asked about his second uncle his mother would look unhappy and stern. She would tell him that his second uncle was already dead and told him never to ask about his second uncle again.
    Now he knows his second uncle is not dead, so the secret lover of Madame Ji could be his uncle. And the sister Ji Lingfeng and Ji Lingyan would likely be the daughters of that uncle of his. That perhaps also explained why Ji Lingfeng would often help him out and wanted him to join forces with her. In the end blood is really thicker than water.
    Yu Peiyu was contemplating and was trying to digest the information he just read, after some time he heard a carriage coming his way.
    In the dark Yu Peiyu could not see what was in the carriage but he could smell a very strong scent of herbs.
    The man pushing the carriage was wearing a big dark outer robe, which is worn to protect oneselves from rain.
    In Sichuan province, there were many mountains and hills making transportation via carriage quite difficult. One could also find a lot herbs in the mountain range, and people from Sichuan are known herb collectors.
    Nothing strange about this in the eyes of all and sundry, but Yu Peiyu was immediately suspcious.
    From afar he could tell that the carriage was transporting something heavy, but herbs are not that heavy. It does not rain often in Sichuan and it was raining now, but this man was still wearing a rain robe to protect himself. He was pushing an extremely heavy carriage with a lot of ease, by this alone this man must know martial arts. It was now night time but this man was still travelling at this hour, meaning he was making haste to go somewhere.
    Yu Peiyu was not really interested in the affairs of others now, although he found a bit strange but he did not want to poke his nose into this matter.
    But suddenly Yu Peiyu heard the galloping of a horse, a horse came his way and it was mighty fast. When the horse was about ten metres away from the carriage the rider leapt of the horse and made a somersault in mid-air and landed gracefully in front of the carriage.
    The horse also stopped on its own, Yu Peiyu praised in his heart: An excellent rider and a wonderful steed.
    The other man seemed to be oblivious to the rider and continued to push his carriage.
    Yu Peiyu was sitting on the slope and when he heard the carriage he had already put out his fire, and in the dark both men could not see Yu Peiyu. Furthermore Yu Peiyu now positioned himself between some bushes to observe the two men.
    The rider also did not notice when the carriage almost hid him, he stood there steady as a mountain.
    Yu Peiyu saw that the rider was short and fat, he carried a long sword on his back making him look rather ridiculous.
    But there was something about him, he had a rather powerful grandeur that made people look at him in awe. Although Yu Peiyu could not see his face clearly he had already guessed who this rider was. When the carriage bumped into him, the man also stopped pushing the carriage.
    The rider laughed loudly:"Lord Ouyang, since when have you started to sell herbal medicine?"
    The man pushing the carriage was the leader of the 72 branches of water heroes of the Changjiang River, Yu Peiyu thought he looked familiar but could not see his face clearly because he had covered his face.
    Ouyang Long smiled:"Master Yu, you have sharp eyes. My respects." He removed his big straw hat and continued:"I thought that Master Yu was staying nicely at Hainan Isle, what brings you in these parts? Don't tell me that you have retired from being the leader of the Hainan School and have become a herb collector too?"
    Yu Peiyu was sure of it now, this fat, short man was Yu Xuan, The Flying Fish and the Swift Sword. The leader of the Hainan School, Yu Peiyu saw him once during the gathering at Lake Huang. But it was coincidence that these two men met each other here in the remote skirts of Sichuan province.
    What were they doing here and what were they up to?

    Yu Xuan said:"Lord Ouyang, do you have an idea why I am here?"
    Ouyang Long said:"Please enlighten me."
    Yu Xuan smiled:"Lord Ouyang, I am here because of the same reason why you are in Sichuan."
    Ouyang Long stayed quiet for awhile before taking out something from his robe, he asked:"Did Master Yu receive this too?"
    He was holding an ordinary invitation card, there was nothing special to it, but it was strange that he was trembling when holding this invitation.
    When Yu Xuan saw the invitatin he stopped laughing too and sighed:"This year I am the unfortunate fool."
    Ouyang Long laughed sadly:"This year, it is the 70th birthday of eighth squire Fu. He has sent you an invitation even though you live far, far away. That means that brother Yu's fame and reputation is well-known throughout China, why would you say that you are an unfortunate fool?"
    Yu Peiyu thought Yu Xuan's remark was strange too, if you are invited to attend to feast far, far away from you that usually meant your prestige and reputation were very high. And the person who invited you had a very high regards of you, furthermore with Hainan School and Yu Xuan's status a gift would not be too much to be asked.
    Yu Xuan laughed dryly:"Lord Ouyang is right, I should be happy that I am invited by eighth squire Fu, however after searching for two months I still could not find a suitable present for him."
    Yu Peiyu felt this was very strange, I mean presents are not that important it is about the intention. Anything can be seen as a present, a piece of antique, taels of gold, silver, jewelry and even pastry, silk etc.
    How come the leader of the Hainan School is unable to find a present for this eighth squire Fu? Nobody would believe him.
    Ouyang Long sneered:"Master Yu is both rich and powerful, everyone knows that in Wulin. If you would say that you are uncapable of finding a present nobody would believe you."
    Yu Xuang stayed quiet for awhile before asking:"Have you heard of a man called Deng Xuan?"
    Ouyang Long said:"Of course even I am not a well-informed man in Wulin, I still know that Lord Deng is the lord of the Purple Sand Isle, and one of the best friends of master Yu."
    Yu Xuan asked:"Do you that he is dead for about a year?"
    Ouyang Long was surprised and exclaimed with suprise:"What kind of illness did lord Deng contract?"
    Yu Xuan said:"He was always very healthy and never even coughed, he did not die because of any illness."
    Ouyang Long asked:"If he wasn't bedridden? Was he ki....killed by someone?"
    Yu Xuan said:"Yes, he was killed."
    Ouyang Long said:"Lord Deng's pair of sun and moon wheels were said to be imparted by late master Dongfang Daming of Nocturne City, for the last couple of decades lord Deng was said never to have met a match. Who is capable of killing him?"
    Yu Xuan said:"Eighth suire Fu."
    Ouyang Long's face changed and did not speak anymore.
    Yu Xuan said:"Last year Deng Xuan received an invitation to attend the birthday feast of eighth squire Fu, Deng Xuan searched for two days and finally found a piece of beautiful coral about one metre high. He was very pleased about it and thought his present would be the most eye-catching one, at least eighth squire fu would be happy."
    Ouyang Long nodded and said:"Hmmm."
    Yu Xuan continued:"When Deng Xuan presented his present to eighth squire Fu, he did say a word to Deng Yuan and lead him to chamber. When he opened that room Deng Yuan saw corals at least two to three metres tall."
    Yu Xuan sighed:"When Deng Xuan saw this fear struck him into his chest, eighth squire Fu did not invite him to attend the feast and asked him to leave. He personally accompanied Deng Xuan out of his estate."
    Ouyang Long asked:"What happened?"
    Yu Xuan sighed again:"Deng Xuan hurried back home on his steed and when he reached home he coughed up blood and fainted. He himself did not know how he got injured, he only remembered that eighth squire Fu made a farewell gesture to him and he felt his chest was a bit warm."
    Ouyang Long asked:" many days till he got home?"
    Yu Xuan said:"Seven days, he coughed up buckets of black blood and he died that very same night."
    Ouyang Long stayed silent and looked very earnest, he softly said:"Very formidable Hundred Paces Divine Fist! Harming one without knowledge and dying of injuries after seven days.......Eighth squire Fu has really awesome martial arts."
    Yu Xuan sighed:"Almost everyone in the realm knows that the invincible fists of eighth squire Fu are lethal, and if he doesn't like your present you might get a hit on the chest."
    Ouyang Long looked at his cargo on the carriage.
    Yu Xuan said:"With Deng Xuan serving as an example I do not dare to present my gift like that. When I received the invitation I immediately started to look for a present, but even now I could not find a present suitable enough to present to eighth squire Fu. Now there are only two days left before the birthday of eighth squire Fu, what should I do lord Ouyang?"
    Yu Peiyu now understood what was going on, he was quite bemused by this. People using their birthdays as excuse to receive presents was not uncommon, but the way this eighth squire Fu was using his martial arts to force people giving him present was unheard of.
    Yu Peiyu also knew that the Hundred Paces Divine Fist was a Shaolin special technique, could this eigth squire Fu be a secular disciple of Shaolin?
    Ouyang Long and Yu Xuan were both famous and strong martial artists in the realm, seeing that both of them feared this eighth squire Fu that meant that he was not to be trifled with.
    However Yu Peiyu could not think of who this man was.
    Ouyang Long stayed quiet for some time before saying:"I fully understand master Yu's predicament. However I too am most worried and fear for my own life, I really do not have the ability to help you."
    Yu Xuan looked at the cargo on the carriage and said coldly:"So lord Ouyang has found a suitable present for eighth squire Fu?"
    Ouyang Long said with an troubled smile:"I found a simple object which I tend to present to eight squire Fu. I too hope it is suificient."
    Yu Xuan laughed loudly:"Lord Ouyang must be joking."
    He suddenly stopped laughing and said:"Let us be honest! If your present is not suitable how would you even dare considering presenting it. Furthermore I think this object is most adequate too."
    Ouyang Long's face changed and asked:"You know what it is?"
    Yu Xuan said casually:"Well, I think I have a vague idea."
    Ouyang Long said sternly:"So you were spying on me the entire time!"
    Yu Xuan said:"Lord Ouyang, on your way here you met with no trouble at all not even a small thief. Do you honestly believe because you have disguised yourself perfectly?"
    He laughed arrogantly:"Let us not even mention thieves even laymen can see that you are not transporting herbs. Heavy herbs like this do not exist."
    Ouyang Long sneered:"Even if there were small thieves who would consider attacking me, I am still quite capable of dealing with those."
    Yu Xuan said:"I helped lord Ouyang chase away numerous of unwelcomed thugs, even if you're not grateful you should at least show a bit of consideration for my hard work."
    He laughed:"I think lord Ouyang won't object if I want some repayment for my efforts."
    Ouyang Long was stunned and knew what Yu Xuan wanted from him. He asked earnestly:"Master Yu wants this carriage."
    Yu Xuan sighed:"I wish there was another option, but unfortunately there isn't."
    Ouyang Long said:"Allright, I will give it to you."
    He pushed the carriage forward and wanted to use to it bump into Yu Xuan.
    Yu Xuan anticipated that and leapt up and in mid-air he drew his sword and stabbed towards Ouyang Long with incredible speed.
    Yu Xuan is proclaimed to be the best swordsman of the Southern Sea regions, all his moves were conducted with lightning speed. Ouyang Long put his hand on his shoulder and ripped open his rain robe and used it curl it up and blocked that stance. This rain robe of his was made from the silk spun by golden silkworms, swords and sabre cannot punch a hole through it. It was his weapon in combat, it was not handy in assaults but excellent when used to defend oneself. The sword stabbed a few times on the robe causing sparks.
    Ouyang Long twirled the robe again and swept it towards Yu Xuan and right behind the robe he flung ten odd metalic objects towards Yu Xuan's chest.
    One of Ouyang Long's lethal stances, Golden Robe Followed By The Iron Swallow. Ever since Ouyang Long started to roam the realm few have been able to avoid this attack of his.
    However suddenly Yu Xuan's body was not in front of him anymore and the sword of Yu Xuan's also made a twirl and before he could turn around the sword pierced through his back.
    This was a famous technique from the Hainan School called The Flying Fish Move, Yu Xuan has mastered this technique to perfection.
    Ouyang Long was a famous martial artist on the waters, perhaps he should have stayed there. As the saying goes if the dragon leaves the sea, he might perish on the land.
    Yu Peiyu was also surprised that Ouyang Long could not even handle three stances of Yu Xuan. He was wondering whether he should interfere but when he was still doubting Ouyang Long was already killed.
    Yu Xuan pulled out his sword and said softly:"Lord Ouyang, I really did not want to kill you. But if I don't kill you I will surely meet death. You should not blame me, you should blame eighth squire Fu."
    He started to push the carriage himself.
    Suddenly a voice said:"You should really learn to share.......I take carriage you can have the corpse."
    When the first word was uttered the person was about 40 metres away but when the final word was said, the speaker was standing in front of Yu Xuan.
    While he advanced forward Yu Peiyu and Yu Xuan heard a soft bell sound. Yu Peiyu could not see this man clearly, but Yu Xuan backed away and it looked like he shrunk when he saw this man.
    This man moved like a spirit and was very tall, but he had a lump on his back. When Yu Peiyu saw the fear Yu Xuan showed towards this man and the sound of the bells and the posture, he remembered something.
    When the bells of the hunchback are sounded, you will perish right away.
    Could this man be one of the ten great martial arts masters along with Yinghua Shi-tai, divine dragon swordsman, granny Hu, master Nu, etc. the hunchback of the north Yi Kun?
    Yu Xuan smiled apologetically:"I have heard of old master Yi's fame for many years, it is most fortunate that I can finally meet you."
    Yi Kun ignored him and had his eyes on the carriage, Yu Xuan deliberately stood in front of the carriage hoping to block Yi Kun from seeing it.
    Suddenly Yi Kun moved forward and passed Yu Xuan he removed the packages of herbs and was holding a metal box in his hand.
    Yu Xuan's eyes were fuming with anger but he did not dare to advance forward to reclaim the box.
    Yi Kun opened the box and took a look, he laughed:"Excellent, marvellous!"
    Yu Xuan smiled apologetically:"Not good, not excellent. These are mere silly stone statues, even I cannot see anything special about them. Why would old master Yi like such rubbish?"
    Yi Kun laughed:"In that case you won't mind me keeping them."
    Yu Xuan now could not even smile apologetically, he stuttered:"These.....these are really not worth anything.....if....if old master Yi really likes them....I....I will instruct the best sculptor of Beijing to make another better than this set for you.....completely made from....from jade."
    Yi Kun said:"No need, I like these."
    Yu Xuan wiped away his sweat and said:"But....but...."
    Yi Kun looked at him and said sternly:"I hardly want anything in life, now that I do how dare you spoil my mood! Are you only afraid of old Fu's Hundred Paces Divine Fist, so you're not afraid of my Wind Chasing Palms?"
    Yu Xuan was sweating like a pig now, he was looking at the sword in his hand, he was wondering whether he should attack or not.
    Yi Kun smiled coldly:"I heard that your swordsmanship is said to be very swift. There must be a reason why you are the leader of the Hainan School, you must know a few monkey tricks..... Come, show me what tricks you have learnt."
    Yu Xuan gritted his teeth and said:"In that case forgive me for being rude."
    He stabbed out with everything he had, during this point he could not hold back. In an instant his sword almost reached the throat of Yi Kun, Yi Kun seemed to be oblivious to the sword and did not pay any attention to it.
    Yu Xuan was pleased and thought this old fool is too confident, in a flash Yi Kun raised his hand and used his index- and middle finger to hold the blade of the sword.
    Yu Xuan was shocked and wanted to twirl the sword as to slice off the fingers of Yi Kun, however the sword could not move an inch. He used his full power hoping to pull out his sword again, but in vain. He could hear the laughter of Yi Kun, he used a bit more force and Yu Xuan was pushed back and Yi Kun was holding the sword now. He used a bit more energy and the sword broke into two. The sword was made from fine metal, it was amazing that he could break without much force.
    Yi Kun laughed:"Old Fu's birthday is in two days, but it is my birthday tomorrow. I just learnt the same method as old Fu, forcing people to give me presents. If you refuse I will kill you, it is your choice."
    Yu Xuan looked awfully pale and could not speak anymore.
    Another voice suddenly laughed:"It is your birthday tomorrow, but today is my birthday. So shouldn't you give that present to me?"
    A young man gracefully walked down from the slope, his robe was torn and dirty. But he did not look ordinary at all, it was Yu Peiyu.
    Yi Kun was shocked that he did notice that another person had arrived, furthermore it has been decades since someone had the nerves to retort him, he looked at the speaker and angrilly said:"Give it to you? Who are you?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"My name is Yu Peiyu, people call me the world's number one graceful swordsman."
    Before he was finished Yi Kun laughed loudly:"The world's number one graceful swordsman?.....hahahahaha I have met many arrogant people in my life, but you are the most arrogant one I have ever seen."
    Yu Xuan was surprised too and thought it was funny but he could not laugh now.
    Yu Peiyu walked over to Yi Kun and now he noticed he was very tall, even with a hunchback he was taller than Yu Peiyu half a head. He was not really a Taoist priest, nonetheless he wore a Taoist robe. He was at least 60 years old and had a long beard. His laughter was loud and clear, everyone's ears felt a bit numb, not only had this man swift techniques his internal power was also incredible. No wonder that the famous leader of the Hainan School was unable to withstand a single stance from him.
    However it seems that Yu Peiyu was not really impressed by him, he smiled gently:"I am just like you, when I do not receive my present I will get extremely angry too."
    Yi Kun stopped laughing and carefully observed this young man like he was some strange creature. After some time he started to laugh again:"Angry? I would like to see you angry!"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Very well."
    With the tip of his foot he kicked up half the sword of Yu Xuan and caught with his hand and immediatley launched an attack on Yi Kun.
    Yu Xuan was most surprised that this young man was so bold as to attack one of the ten great martial arts masters, Yi Kun. That sword stance of his was gentle and elusive, without any force at all and also very slow.
    As a matter of fact that stance is worthless and Yu Xuan was convinced that Yi Kun could blast that sword from his hand with one blow.
    However when Yi Kun saw that attack he paced back with three steps and shouted strangely:"Good! I never expected that a young lad like you has some abilities!"
    Yu Xuan was stunned, how could an attack like that be called [good]?
    His attacks were not fast, but they followed each other fluently without openings. After ten odd of these attacks Yi Kun still did not counter-attack yet.
    Yu Xuan was a famous swordsman too but after looking for some time he did not see the power of these slow techniques. He did not even see what stances he used.
    Yi Kun kept praising Yu Peiyu:"Good lad! People like you could be called swordsmen with some difficulty, you are ten times better than those so-called worthless idiots who do not understand the essence of the sword. Yet they are called swordsmen and are leaders of orthodox schools, your nickname as the world's number one swordsman is not entirely too arrogant."
    Although Yi Kun did not use a name but it was evident his sarcasm was directed towards Yu Xuan.
    Yu Xuan was furious but did not dare to retort but could not leave it at that so he scoffed softly. He thought that Yi Kun could not see his scoffing, but Yi Kun could see everything and hear everything around him even in a fight ten times fiercer than this.
    He suddenly floated towards him and said:"Why are you laughing? Do you think your swordsmanship is better than this young man?"
    Yu Xuan could not restrain himself anymore and said:"I really cannot see the power of his swordsmanship."
    Yi Kun sneered:"If you can understand the excellence of his stances, his swordsmanship wouldn't be that good, right? For example like the great historical musician *Bo Ya, his unmatched play of the zither can only be admired by other true musicians. Simple riff-raff would not understand the beauty of it."
    Yu Xuan was furious when he heard that, he even forgot that Yu Peiyu helped him out here. He aimed his fists towards Yu Peiyu's chest and struck out with two fist techniques.
    Yu Peiyu did not forsee that this man was as stubborn as a mule and saw that his fists were very fierce, he casually twirled his sword to block those two fists.
    That twirl looked very gentle and casual, but like *Wang Xizhi or *Huaisu even a simple stroke with the brush has reached the level of excellence and perfection.
    Yu Xuan felt that his half sword became a circle of sword energy, impenetrable he himself was about to throw himself in that circle of sword energy. He had no choice but to break off his attack and retreat. He changed several movements and was finally able to escape from that sword energy, however a flash of energy did slightly pass him although he was not injured but his robe was torn.
    Yi Kun laughed:"Now do you understand the excellence of his techniques?"
    Yu Xuan looked very pale suddenly he turned red from embarrassement and bowed to Yu Peiyu, he said:"Your swordsmanship is far superior to mine, my respects."
    Yi Kun said:"Well, you're not entirely worthless. You know when to acknowledge your faults when you are confronted with it."
    Yu Xuan said:"I have heard of a young man with the same name as the late son of chancellor Yu Fanghe, in a short period of three months he has done several great deeds."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"News travels fast in Wulin."
    Yu Xuan said:"It is said that young master Yu has good martial arts and is very gentle, humble. Furthermore he is very cautious....."
    Yi Kun laughed:"Well, in my opinion everyone could be called gentle, humble but not this youngster here."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Hmm?"
    Yi Kun smiled:"Someone who calls himself [the world's number one graceful swordsman] cannot be called gentle and humble, can he?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"You are very right."
    Yi Kun said:"Your swordsmanship is very good, but you're still no match for me."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Yes, I won't lose in the intial 300 stances but I cannot win either."
    Yi Kun said:"If you can't win, that means you will lose. After the inital 300 stances you will lose. Besides you seem to want to battle me, how can such a person be called cautious."
    Yu Peiyu laughed a bit:"Everyone changes, the I you see before you is not the same Yu Peiyu of yesterday."
    Yi Kun asked:"Now, why do want to change?"
    Yu Peiyu stayed quiet for some time before saying:"I want to become very famous now."
    Yi Kun said:"People are afraid to become famous and pigs are afraid to become fat, haven't you heard of this saying before? If you're famous a lot of people will be looking for you, that way you won't live very long. There is nothing good about being famous."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"I want people to look for me."
    Yi Kun shook his head and said:"Listen to my advice, go home and peacefully spend your life in recluse. I like you, young lad. I won't harm you today."
    Yu Peiyu said:"If you give me that box, I will leave at once."
    Yi Kun stared at him and asked:"Do you know what is in it?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"I do not know."
    Yi Kun asked:"Why do you want it?"
    Yu Peiyu asnwered:"For no reason."
    Yi Kun was stunned and asked with surprise:"If there is no reason, why do you want it?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Since all of you want it that much, why can't I have it."
    Yi Kun looked a bit angry and said slowly:"So you deliberately want to look for trouble here."
    The two of them were fighting again.
    Yu Xuan thought that Yu Peiyu was mad, he hoped both would perish at each other's hand in this fight that way he could reclaim the box again.
    He decided to observe the fight and hope to gain the advantage in the end. However after some time Yu Peiyu' sword energy became weaker but the stances of Yi Kun became fiercer and fiercer.
    Yi Kun still had the iron box under his arm-pit and it seemed that he did not fight Yu Peiyu with full potential.
    Yu Xuan wondered why Yu Peiyu deliberately sought death.
    It was obvious now that within moments Yi Kun could defeat Yu Peiyu, but suddenly Yu Peiyu moved forward and whispered something to Yi Kun. Yu Xuan could not hear what Yu Peiyu whispered, but Yi Kun turned pale and made a somersault backwards.
    He was not 7 metres away from Yu Peiyu and stared at him with fear, he was also trembling.
    Why was Yi Kun so afraid now?
    Yu Xuan was flabbergasted too.
    After a long time Yi Kun stuttered:" you? do know this?"
    Yu Peiyu just calmly looked at him and did not reply.
    Yi Kun was sweating heavily now.
    Again after a long time, Yi Kun sighed deeply:"29 years......29 years. In another 17 daysy it will be exactly 29 years. I never thought that people would still know about this after 29 years.....who would have guessed?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Have you forgotten about that?"
    Yi Kun said sadly:"I wish I could forget about it, but I can never forget what happened."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Since you cannot forget about it, how can others?"
    Yi Kun said:" many people know about that incident."
    Yu Peiyu said:"If you do not wish people to find out about that, you should not have done that in the first place......I know about it."
    Yi Kun asked with a shaky voice:" related to that incident?"
    Yu Peiyu said casually:"Everyone with a conscience and a heart is related to that incident."
    Yi Kun looked up into the sky and said softly:"I know I have to pay for that mistake sooner or has come back to haunt me now, after 29 years......."
    He suddenly turned to Yu Peiyu and said fierecely:"I don't care who you are, but I just want you to know that Yi Kun is not a person who is afraid to pay for his mistakes."
    Yu Peiyu said:"I do not want you to pay for that mistake, I just want you to repent for that incident."
    Yi Kun laughed loudly:"If I did not repent for that mistake, I could have killed you now. So nobody might find out about that incident."
    He put the iron box down on the ground, he sighed deeply before saying sadly:"One mistake you will live to regret if for a thousand years, looking back a hundred years are not enough.....a hundred years are not enough....."
    He sudenly raised his palm and struck himself on the skull.

    Yu Peiyu softly recited the final words of Yi Kun and suddenly he felt very sad and earnest.
    A mistake made in an instant and it keeps haunting one for the rest of one's life. It is not fair and even wicked. If Yi Kun did not feel remorse he would not have commited suicide. Since he did feel remorse why can't we forgive him?'
    Yu Peiyu was saddened and said softly:"I was wrong......I am wrong....."
    Yu Xuan was complete dumbfounded by what happened, he now asked Yu Peiyu:"What did he do 29 years ago?"
    Yu Peiyu looked at him and said sternly:"Shouldn't you be wondering what you have done?"
    Yu Xuan said:"Me?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Just for a few stone figures you killed Ouyang Long."
    Yu Xuan said:"If I don't kill him I will die. So I have no choice but to kill him, if he killed me I have no regrets either. The survival of the strongest that is the universal rule of the realm of martial arts, we as people of Wulin face death numerous times and from the very beginning you should know that you might get killed some day."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"Maybe you are right, we as people of the martial arts realm should not place so much emphasis on life. But if that is the case why are....are you afraid of eighth squire Fu?"
    Yu Xuan's face turned red now, he said:"I am not afraid of death, but I am afraid of ghosts."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Is he a ghost?"
    Yu Xuan sighed:"In my opinion he is even worse than a ghost."
    He added sadly:"His family name is Fu, everyone says secrectly he is [the rich bastard], but nobody of course dares to say that in his face. Once the golden sabre, Chen Xiong of Luoyang blurted out this nickname, when he stepped out of the main hall of the Fu estate he started to vomit blood......."
    Yu Peiyu suddenly asked:"Does he have a wife, name eighth Madame Fu?"
    Yu Xuan said:"Yes, it is said that eighth Madame Fu is an exemplary wife, gentle and caring. She is also a faithfull Buddhist and hates to see killing, that is why eighth squire Fu kills people outside his residence."
    Yu Peiyu looked pensive for a moment, suddenly he said softly:"Now, I....I remember now."
    Yu Xuan asked:"What do you remember?"
    Yu Peiyu smiled but did not answer his question, he said:"He is a very funny man, I would like to meet him."
    Yu Xuan said:"My word! Funny?!? You say he is funny, my heaven! When you see him you won't find him funny anymore."
    He now looked at the box and said sternly with a pale face:"There is only one present here, if you want to go...."
    Yu Peiyu said:"You deliver your present, I do as I please."
    Yu Xuan said:"But without a present do you want to enter?"
    Yu Peiyu said with a smile:"I don't need to bring a present, I will pretend to be your servant. It is not strange that a prestigious leader of a great orthodox schools is travelling with a servant."

    The Elegant Assembly Estate, that was the home of eighth squire Fu. Many thrifty, greedy rich people like to consider themselves as elegant, refined. This Elegant Assembly Estate is not different from other manors from rich people, however how much space does one need after one is gone.
    But the most strangest thing when you enter this estate is seeing servants, a lot servants in green robes. All seem to know martial arts but all of them walk like women.
    A short and a tall servant approached Yu Xuan and Yu Peiyu, the short servant looked very white but had a few pimples on his face, he kept giving Yu Peiyu meaningful looks. It seems he was trying to flirt with Yu Peiyu, Yu Peiyu had received a lot of those meaningful looks but this was the first time a man gave him one.
    He felt digusted the way these two servants were staring at him, he wanted to poke out their eyes.
    The tall servant put his hand on his waist and said in a feminine way to Yu Xuan:"Who are you? What are you doing here?"
    If it was not for the moustache you would almost think he was a woman.
    Yu Xuan coughed dryly:"I am Yu Xuan from Hainan, I came here to congratulate eighth squire Fu."
    The tall servant used his hand to cover his mouth and laughed:"You're the great leader of the Hainan School, master Yu. Where is your present?"
    Yu Xuan said:"The present has been prepared, would you mind announcing me?"
    The tall servant looked at Yu Peiyu and said:"Who is this and what is he doing here?" His awful feminine voice really got on one's nerves, one would love to smack his teeth out of his mouth.
    But the ever so hot-headed Yu Xuan respectfully said:"He is Yu Er, he is a servant of mine. Please take good care of him while he is here."
    The tall servant giggled:"Yu Er......He looks very handsome, does he have wife?"
    The short servant suddenly took Yu Peiyu by the hand and giggled too:"Master Yu can join our lordship's feast, brother Yu Er can drink with us."
    The hand of the short servant was greasy and wet, like someone put slime on the hand of Yu Peiyu and he could not wipe it away.
    Yu Peiyu could almost throw up now.
    Fortunately someone called from the main hall:"Our lordship says master Yu can enter, please come in with the present."
    Yu Xuan said hurriedly:"Yes...yes....right away."
    He started walking inside after two paces he said:"Yu Er, why are you standing there? Follow me inside!"
    Yu Peiyu felt relieved and was grateful that Yu Xuan helped him to escape from those two admirers.
    The short servant seemed not too willing to let go of Yu Peiyu and said:"Don't forget to look for me afterwards, I'm called Little Clever."
    Yu Peiyu thought this little creep is called [Little Clever]??!!??
    Yu Peiyu wanted to kick him away from himself, he felt disgusted also quite amused by this. He said something back like I will see later on or so and quickly followed Yu Xuan in.

    There were already eight, nine other guests sitting here, all of them looked quite impressive. They must be leaders of prominent martial arts experts, but they were looking worried now.
    Sitting at the head were eighth squire Fu and his wife eighth Madame Fu. The infamous eighth squire Fu was a strange looking old man. His eyes were just ordinary eyes, his nose was at the right place, in fact he looked very normal but somehow he made people feel uncomfortable when they saw him.
    The wife of his looked like an elderly rich lady, but she wore a lot of make-up too much in fact. But it was only natural, women who have reached a certain age love to cover the liver spots and wrinkles with make-up.

    Yu Xuan who did not want to look like a coward in front of the other guest tried to keep his grandeur, however unsuccessful before he knew it himself he bowed and said:"This humble person is Yu Xuan of Hainan, I wish you a pleasant birthday and may you live another thousand years lordship."
    Eight squire Fu smiled a bit:"Yes, thank you for coming today even living so far away."
    Like the servants his voice sounded feminine too, making everyone uncomfortable again.
    He opened the box and took it the marble figurines, he looked very happy now and admired those figures with beady eyes. He kept saying [nice, good, great craftmanship].
    He patted Yu Xuan on the shoulder and laughed:"Great! Thank you for this wonderful present, please take a seat here at the honorary seat. The efforts you have gone through to bring me this present, thank you very much."
    Yu Xuan was thrilled in his heart the other nine martial arts experts looked a bit upset. But that was the rule here eighth swuire Fu only lets the guest with best present sit at the honorary seat, it does not matter whether whether you are older or more famous but the present are most important.
    Every guest was either the leader of the a prominent martial arts school, association or armed guard agency, so all the presents were invaluable.
    One person presented 18 pearls as big as lychees the sizes of each pearl was identical to each other. The pearls would give light in dark places.
    One presented a jade cup with nine dragons carved on it, during humid air the cup would emit clouds and fogs and when the weather turned better the clouds and fog would disappear. When plain water is poured in it, it will have the flavour of a fine wine.
    Some of these treasure were so rare that the Imperial Palace might not have them, all the leaders were initially not to happy to give away their prized treasures but keeping their lives was even more important. Furthermore they wanted to show off their riches in front of the other martial arts experts, nobody understood why those stone figures got eighth squire Fu's attention.
    By this time everyone felt hungry and wondered when the dinner was going to be served, they did not even had a cup of tea ever since they arrived.
    Eighth squire Fu seems to have intention of letting his guest eat now, he looked like he had fallen asleep.
    Fortunately eight Madame Fu was aware of the hunger of their guests, she called the servants and said:"It is not time to eat yet, but all of our esteemed guests have come from afar they must be hungry. Go to the kitchen and let them eat some pasty first."
    Everyone was pleased when they heard that, suddenly they thought that eighth Madame Fu looked quite pretty and young for her age.
    After awhile servants came out with big plates and when they put the plates in front of the guest, everyone was disappointed. The so-called pasty were buns with some salted vedgetables in it, just plain big buns.
    However everyone was hungry and the buns looked quite tasty when you are feeling hungry.
    Eighth Madame Fu smiled with difficulty:"I am sorry, but please bear with us. I do not know when my husband will wake up but please help yourself to these buns."
    Most of these guests hardly even touched buns normally why should they even they can have feasts, but since dinner is postponed indefinitely some helped themselves to those buns.
    Yu Peiyu was both angry and amused when he saw this, but he worried about eighth Madame Fu's laughter. He was worried her make-up might drop off when she was laughing, fortunately she put layers and layers on it.
    The salted vedgetables made everyone extremely thirsty and those ate the buns started to drink water cup after cup. But because of water the dough rose in their stomachs and in an instant those who ate were full and stuffed.
    Those who did not eat thought: I will eat later one when the good food is served, those idiots have stuffed themselves.
    After a moment eighth squire Fu woke up and called repeatedly:"Quickly serve the food and drinks! We cannot keep the guests hungry."
    Some of the guests thought:Those who ate those buns are idiots, the banquet is being served now.
    When the servants came out the brought big plates of delicious dishes fit for kings and emperors, the wine was also of a good vintage. In an instant the aroma of the food and wine filled the main hall, those who ate the buns regretted stuffing themselves.
    Eighth squire Fu suddenly said:"Wine is bad for our health, when Di Yi created wine the Yellow Emperor said that wine could very well be the cause of the destruction of empires. Wine is truly poisonous I cannot let my esteemed guests drink from poison. Impossible....impossible."
    He waved his hand and added:"Put the wine back and give my esteemed guests water flavoured with sugar, but don't put too much sugar because sugar is bad for the teeth."
    Those who enjoyed wine were disappointed and angry that this old goat is this thrifty.
    Eighth squire Fu poured himself a cup of wine and said softly:"I am old......I have lived long enough, even if I die of this poison called wine I will not mind. Here let us drink! Thank you my good friends for coming to my birthday."

    End of chapter 37

  19. #39
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 38 Fortuitous Occurrences

    Everyone was surprised and annoyed that the wine was being replaced by water with sugar. After seeing eighth squire Fu drinking a cup, he was looking radiant he added with a big smile:"Sugar water is better than wine......Hahahahahaha let us eat!"
    Some of the smarter people were waiting for that sentence for some time now and could not wait to pig out on the banquet.
    Suddenly eighth squire Fu looked angry again and said earnestly:"Who prepared these dishes? Do you want to kill my guests?"
    The smarter people were afraid again, some of them smiled apologetically:"What is wrong with these dishes?"
    Eighth squire Fu said seriously:"These dishes contain too much fat, fat can harm the body......That is why it is said that plain vedgetables and tofu guarantee a long and healthy life. Especially practioners of martial arts should be more careful about our health, eating food with too much fat will only do harm. One can easily become fat and when one becomes fat his body won't be that flexible anymore, in battle an unflexible body is most dangerous. I will feel most sad if anything happens to my guests."
    He had sound reasons, no one could say that his reasoning is flawed. Everyone was both angry and disappointed, eighth squire Fu made it seem like he had the well-beings of his guests as his first priority.
    He himself sighed when he looked at the succulent dishses in front of him:"I am old already, I am not afraid of becoming fat."
    He drank and ate heartily and said softly:"I don't mind suffering for my friends I will eat these dishes on your behalf. Please drink my friends."
    Eveyone stared at each other and cursed this old goat in their hearts and hoped he would choke on the food or stuff himself to death.
    Now Yu Peiyu began to understand why people called him [the rich bastard], he met some thrifty and greedy men in his life but this eighth squire Fu really was too outrageous. How could such a person exist?

    Suddenly a voice from the main hall said loudly:"As your good friend I will help you. Friends should share the problems and wealth, let me share your disaster."
    This sentence was in the minds of all the guests and they were happy that finally someone had the nerves to say them.
    All of them were worried and wondered how had the audacity to challenge eighth squire Fu.
    Eight squire Fu's face changed and put down his chopsticks, he laughed coldly:"I never had any good friends, all my friends are dead now. Who are you?"
    That person laughed:"Little brother came from afar to congraluate eighth brother. Why would you say that I am dead."
    When he first spoke he sounded like he was very near but nobody could see him, but now he sounded very far away.
    In a moment a figure appeared at the door, a very tall figure and very skinny. He wore greenish long robe with a strange-looking sword in his girdle, he wore a big straw hat covering his face.
    Eight squire Fu seems to have recognize the unwelcome guest also eighth Madame Fu seemed to look restless now . The strange man staggered in and laughed:"Won't you invite an old friend to a seat anymore?"
    Eighth squire Fu's face was looking very dark now, but still said:"Yes, of course. Take a seat."
    But he did not do anything additional to welcome this old friend.
    The man in green robe said:"I understand only people who bring nice gifts are allowed to sit, those with no gifts or worthless presents will even get a spanking. Am I right?"
    He searched his robe and sighed:"I think I forgot to bring a present, what shall I do? Of couse, as the saying goes a poor scholar can present a piece of paper too. It is the thought that counts, isn't it?"
    He took out a old piece of paper, gods knows what he used it for and put it in front of eighth squire Fu and laughed:"I wonder if this gift is suitable."
    And the other guests looked surprised and upset including Yu Xuan, everyone who came here brought the most valuable treasure they could find. Even a coral of 2 metres was not good enough and the bringer was even killed of it, this fellow has the audacity to give eighth squire Fu a piece of old paper.
    But strange enough eighth squire Fu said:" is good enough."
    The man in green robe said:"Since eighth brother says it is enough, I will share brother's discomfort too."
    He suddenly moved to a guest with incredible speed and picked the man up by his neck and flung him out of the main hall, this guests' nickname was "Half A Mountain" meaning he was quite fat. But the man in green robe picked him up with ease and chucked him out of there with no effort.
    The man in green robe started to drink from the bowl of shark fin' soup and drank heartily from the expensive wine of eighth squire Fu.
    Eighth squire Fu did not move or talk.
    The man in green robe suddenly said:"I have never suffered this nicely for a long time, eighth brother let me share all your troubles in one go."
    Eighth squire Fu suddenly looked pale and red, he loudly shouted:"You dare to call yourselves famous martial artists of Wulin, shouldn't you pay respects to the famous Mr. Tian."
    Everyone was suprised that he was scolding them instead of the man in green robe, Yu Peiyu secretly smiled this way eighth squire Fu did not have to share his expensive food with the others. He really was too thrifty.
    Yu Xuan looked at the sword of the man in green robe, suddenly he got up and walked over. He respectfully asked:"Sir, since your surname is Tian. Are you related to the famous divine dragon swordsman Mr. Tian, who subdued Mount Tian and roamed and won the respect throughout the entire realm."
    The man in green robe did not answer he removed his big straw hat and revealed a long pale face. He looked very smart at first look but when you look carefully his face was covered with scars making him look mysterious and scary.
    When Yu Xuan saw his face he backed away with three steps.
    All the other guests got up too, Yu Xuan bowed and said:"It is indeed old master Tian."
    The man in green robe laughed:"Yes, I am Tian Longzi."
    When he laughed all his scars sort of moved making him look even more ugly and scary.
    Yu Peiyu had heard of the name divine dragon swordsman Tian Longzi, he is said to be very elusive and his martial arts are very lethal. Yu Peiyu had fought his son, Tian Jiyun so he looked at Tian Longzi a bit longer.
    Tian Longzi observed Yu Peiyu with his sharp eyes and smiled:"And who is this young friend?"
    Yu Xuan quickly answered with a smile:"He is Yu Er, he is one of my pupils."
    Tian Longzi scoffed:"You look very smart and I am surprised that the Hainan School can produce outstanding young men like you."
    He looked at Yu Peiyu a bit longer, suddenly he turned to Yu Xuan and said:"It is said that the Eight Beauties of Wulin are in your possession, is that true?"
    Yu Xuan lowered his head and secretly looked at eighth squire Fu:"Ehh....this.....euh......"
    Tian Longzi clapped his hands and laughed:"I understand, no wonder old Fu asked you to sit at the honorary seat. You gave him the eight beauties of Wulin as present."
    Everyone wondered are those little stone statues called the eight beauties of Wulin?
    Tian Longzi smiled:"Eighth brother, are you still upset because I ate your food and drank your wine? Well, you won't be upset when I just want to look at those eight beauties of Wulin, will you?"
    Eighth squire Fu did not look happy and did not speak.
    Tian Longzi also looked unhappy and said seriously:"I just want to have a look, they won't be damaged by a mere look."
    Eighth squire Fu looked pale and suddenly smacked the table, he loudly said:"Tian Longzi, don't think I am afraid of you! My hundred paces divine fist is not inferior to your Advancing, Linking 18 Dragon Touring Moves."
    Tian Longzi said casually:"Also not superior to it either."
    Eighth squire Fu grunted.
    Tian Longzi smiled:"I knew that eighth brother won't fight a battle in which the outcome is unknown. Just let me take a look at those statues, that is all I want."
    Eighth squire Fu gritted his teeth, eighth Madame Fu smiled apologetically:"Brother Tian is always known for being honest. A look won't do any harm to it? I think everyone here would like to have a look too."
    Everyone thought that eighth Madame Fu was a very mannered and considerate hostess.
    Eighth squire Fu remained quiet for awhile before saying:"Very well, get my crystal bowl and fill it with clear water."
    Everyone wondered why water and a crystal bowl were needed to look at a few stone statues, everyone just had to stay patient and wait.
    A beautiful large crystal bowl was brought out filled with water, eighth squire Fu put it on a table. Everyone in the hall knew that such a bowl was priceless and wondered what purpose it served.
    Eighth squire Fu said:"In the last 30 years many experts were produced in Wulin, the amount of famous heroes is uncountable. However there are only eight women who are proclaimed to be matchless beauties in the last 30 years in Wulin, their ages and backgrounds are different from each other. Still their stories and beauty can captivate many men."
    In one of his hand he held the iron box and continued to say:"Master Yu presented me this, eight statues carved to likeness of these eight beauties."
    Everybody was disappointed when they heard this, even the statue of the world's most beautiful woman could not interest these people very much. A statue is still a statue, what is so wonderful about a lifeless figurine.
    Eighth squire Fu said:"A statue is still a statue.....lifeless. But these are different, these are alive."
    How can stone statues by alive?
    Eighth squire Fu took out a statue and placed it on the table, he asked:"Do any of you recognize her?"
    The statue was carved with utmost precision, even the eyelashes, eyebrows were carved on with perfection. It was almost that this beauty was alive. She wore the clothes of girls in Xinjiang giving her a different charm from Han Chinese beauties.
    Tian Longzi smiled:"Is she the Miraculous Flower of Xinjiang Red Peony."
    Eighth squire Fu said coldly:"Brilliant observation, you really are well-informed."
    Tian Longzi smiled:"Red Peony is the favourite concubine of the number one expert of the Tibetan Mi Zong Buddhism, lama Hongyun. She was not only beautiful but her mere smile could dazzle any man, many men tried to look for her only to have a look at her unmatched beauty. However Hongyun lama is a very jealous man and does not allow other men to look at his favourite concubine."
    Eighth squire Fu said proudly:"But now we can watch to our heart's contend, carefully observe."
    He put the stone figurin into the water, when the statue was in water it became [alive]. Also her clothes slowly disappeared revealing a beautiful body and figure dancing gracefully in the water.
    Eighth squire Fu could not help himself but to laugh:"Lama Hongyun has protected her like a treasure never letting anyone look at her, he will kill everyone who lays an eye on her. We can look at her as we please and even play with her......"
    Almost everyone was dazzled by the appearance of Red Peony, some were even drooling. Only a few intelligent men were thinking that eighth squire Fu is a bit too strange.
    Tian Longzi smiled:"Eighth brother, why don't you look for a partner for Red Peony to dance with."
    Eighth squire Fu said:"That is a good idea."
    He looked into the iron box and said:"Red Peony is not that young anymore, I will look for a young lass whom she can dance with."
    He took another stone figure and put it in the bowl of water, he smiled:"Do you know who the most beautiful woman is in the southern regions of China? I will place the most beautiful woman of Xinjiang and Su province together, they will dance for us. Except for me who can arrange such a enchanting sight."
    When he finished, Yu Peiyu looked awfully pale. The statue chucked in the water was of Lin Daiyu.
    Lin Daiyu was dancing in the water she was smiling and pouting, like she was telling Yu Peiyu with her facial expressions her tragic encounters.
    Yu Peiyu could not control his temper anymore, he got up and kicked the table.
    Everyone was angered and got up, they all thought that this young man has gone insane. This time it was Yu Xuan who turned pale.
    Even eighth squire Fu was surprised and shocked, he never thought that this young man would have the nerves to be so bold in his presence. Only Tian Longzi was smiling, he looked at Yu Peiyu it seemed that he knew who Yu Peiyu really was.
    After a moment eighth squire Fu composed himself, he was not angry he even laughed:"Since you do not wish to live anymore, let me fullfil that wish of yours.
    He pushed away the table in front of him, he patted his robe that was wet of the water and slowly walked to Yu Peiyu.
    Everyone knew the power of the hundred paces divine fist and in his fit of anger he must use his full power, everybody made sure they stayed away from Yu Peiyu. They were afraid that they might be accidentally hurt too
    Yu Xuan felt a bit responsible for Yu Peiyu being here and did not want to abandon him, but he was very afraid of eighth squire Fu. He was still hesitating what to do when he was pulled aside by Tian Longzi.
    All of the people Yu Peiyu was the most calm at this moment, but he was still very angry. When eighth squire Fu walked his way he did not greet, walked to him or back away from him.
    He just said calmly:"You are not my match, let Madame Fu take your place in this battle."
    Everyone was shocked again, the hundred paces divine fist of eighth squire Fu were known throughout the realm. But nobody knew that eighth Madame Fu was also a martial arts expert.
    Eighth squire Fu looked scared now and exclaimed with shock:"What do you mean with that?"
    Yu Peiyu said coldly:"You know perfectly well, what I mean. Do you want me to say it even more evidently?"
    Eighth squire Fu now even looked more afraid and the ever high and mighty eighth squire Fu has fallen today.
    His wife eighth Madame Fu stayed the same, but it seems that layers of her make-up were falling off her face.
    Yu Peiyu smiled casually and picked a statue from the floor, he said:"Actually you don't need these statues, you are not interested in women. But you can't help it that other people gave them to you."
    Eighth squire Fu backed away from Yu Peiyu with big paces and stuttered:" know?"
    Before Yu Peiyu could answer, eighth Madame Fu advanced forward with three steps and struck out her fist towards Yu Peiyu. The power released from that fist came crashing down on Yu Peiyu, nobody guessed that the refined nice old lady would know such fierce stances. Because eighth Madame Fu attacked first she soon gained the upperhand, Yu Peiyu could only defend and not counter-attack. He was forced back with several steps and had difficulty catching his breath now, suddenly a flash of bright light was directed towards eighth Madame Fu's chest.
    She cried out and made a somersault backwards and stood six metres away from Yu Peiyu now, her robe was sliced open revealing her chest. Her hairy bossomless chest.
    Tian Longzi held his sword in his hand and laughed loudly:"Just as I thought, eighth Madame Fu is a man......"
    All the guests were stunned. Eighth squire Fu crawled into himself and covered his face, eighth Madame Fu used her hands to keep her robe closed preventing people seeing her chest. A most pitiful and hilarious sight.
    Both of them had good martial arts, they still had good martial arts and could very well still attack Yu Peiyu and Tian Longzi. However their secret was revealed and were most embarrassed now, they were reluctant to fight anymore.
    Furthermore this secret was well kept for decades, the only person who knew about this was dead for years. How come this young lad knows about it, this normal young man.....Could it be that more people knew about it? Fear struck them in their chests.

    Now they were afraid, nobody else feared them anymore and most of them started laughing at them.
    Tian Longzi laughed:"No wonder you have a bunch of feminine male servants, you like those disgusting creatures because you are two revolting creatures too. A man marrying a man, this is new.......Wonderful!"
    Suddenly someone said:"If he likes to marry a man, that is his business, for all we care he marries a monkey. If he likes that who are we to say no. As long as he doesn't want you to become his wife, you should not interfere with affairs of others."
    A man walked inside, he sounded very tired like he has not eaten for days. He looked very strange, his skinn was hanging loosely from his face, he wore an expensive robe but it looked too big for him. Three people could fit in it.
    Who was this strange man, how dare he retort Tian Longzi, not many people in the world had that ability or the nerves to do that.
    He looked strange but not very impressive, everyone was of opinion that Tian Longzi could kill him with one slap.
    Tian Long Zi was both angry and amused by this man, but he smiled:"I take it you too have a man as wife, judging from your appearances no woman would like to marry you."
    Everybody started laughing loudly.
    This strange man had too much skin haning over his body, he laughed three times very loud before saying:"Even so it is none of your business is it?"
    His laughter was loud but he did not look amused at all even now he stayed emotionless, everyone wondered how he produced that laughter. They were starting to find this strange man eerie.
    Tian Longzi coughed:"What will happen to women if men started to marry men, this matter I have to look into."
    That strange man said:"Are you certain?"
    Tian Longzi said:"Indeed, I will look into this no matter what."
    Suddenly everyone heard two loud slapping sounds, and Tian Longzi's cheeks were red and imprints could be seen on his cheeks. He also swayed to left and right quickly after each slap.
    The strange man looked at Tian Longzi indifferently, Tian Longzi thought he was dreaming, fortunately his cheeks were not hurting too much.
    But everyone looked at his cheeks with amazment, he unintentionally touched his cheeks and noticed they were feeling very hot. He started to lose feeling in his cheeks and called out.
    The strange man laughed:"Still meddling in other people's affairs?"
    Tian Longzi made a strange gargling sound.
    The strange man patted eighth squire Fu on his shoulder and said:"Well, how are you going to repay me for helping you out?"
    Eighth squire Fu stuttered:", sir......."
    He was already scared out of wits by the martial arts of this strange man, he felt his body was paralyzed when this man patted him on his shoulder.
    The strange man said:"If you don't know how to repay, let me tell you."
    He picked up the iron box and started to put the stone figurines in and said:"If you can give me this, I will be content."
    Eighth Madame Fu scraped her courage and said:"May I ask what your name is, sir?"
    The strange man asked:"Don't you recognize me?"
    He shook his head and sighed:"If others did not recognize, nevermind. But you? I am most saddened by this, very sad...."
    Suddenly he took out a bag from his very very big robe and out of that bag he took out a drumstick, he look peckish and smelt the drumstick. Suddenly he sighed again and put the drumstick away.
    When eighth Madame Fu saw his strange behaviour, his face changed and stuttered with fear:"Ti......Ti......Tia.......Tian........"
    She repeated the character [Tian] over and over again but could not say the another word.
    Yu Peiyu suddenly knew who this person was and exclaimed with surprise:"Sir, are you Tian Chixing?"
    The strange man laughed loudly:"You're right! Very good that a young man like you knows who I am......not bad....not bad at all."
    Yu Peiyu also knew why he looked so strange now, he used to be extremely fat and that is why his clothes do not fit anymore. When a fatty becomes skinny too quick, he will look like this present Tian Chixing.
    But how did the ever so fat Tian Chixing lose so much weight in only three months, it is not easy for fatties to become thin in the first place.
    Eighth Madame Fu stuttered:"Sir, this.....healthy...looking all of a s....sudden?"
    Tian Chixing sighed:"You do not know the state I was in, I cannot eat a thing nowadays. Every time I eat my stomach hurts terribly, so if a person hardly eats how can he not become skinny."
    He sighed again:"My nickname should be changed into [the hungry constellation] now."
    Tian Chixing is known for having "eaten his way to invincibility" why is he even afraid to eat a drumstick now? Everyone was curious but did not dare to ask.
    Yu Peiyu suddenly asked:"Sir, how long were you pursued by the Parrot? Those days must have been awful."
    Tian Chixing stared at Yu Peiyu with amazement and said:"You know about that too?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"I know a bit about that."
    Tian Chixing kept staring at him and said softly:"This youngster knows a lot.....he knows a lot....."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"Everyone pursued by the Parrot will feel most terrible, you will have sleepless nights. You cannot even enjoy a decent meal anymore. After one or two months one is bound to look most sickly."
    Tian Chixing sighed:"You are absolutely right. In these past two months I wanted to die several times, fortunately he left me alone after two months. But after my stomach could not really take heavy eating anymore, so from being a big eater I am now hardly eating at all."
    He was practically crying at this point, if one cannot even find the interest to eat delicious food anymore. That must be most tragic.
    Yu Peiyu looked at the box with the stone figues he was holding now and said coldly:"So sir is find a differnt interest now?"
    Tian Chixing laughed:"Not entirely, I want these figures because I am looking for someone."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Who are you looking for?"
    Tian Chixing said:"No matter what she too is one of the eight beauties of Wulin, her statue is bound to be on of them here. Well, I am afraid to look at her true self but I am not afraid of a mere figurine."
    Yu Peiyu frowned but asked:"Who is she?"
    Tian Chixing blinked with his eyes and made a gesture with his right hand.
    When Yu Peiyu saw that gesture he looked pale and exclaimed with surprise:"That day did Yu......chancellor Yu made the same gesture to you, sir?"
    Tian Chixing was stunned too and said:"You know about that too? Very strange.......very strange."
    Yu Peiyu said:"According to my knowledge that gesture refers to [Mr. Dongguo]."
    Tian Chixing said:"Mr. Dongguo? Who told you that this gesture refers to Mr. Dongguo? Since when is Mr. Dongguo a matchless beauty."
    Yu Peiyu's heart skipped a beat and said:"That gesture refers to......?"
    Tian Chixing looked very afraid now and said:"If you don't know, how should I know?.........."
    His sentence was interrupted suddenly there was a persimmon in his mouth, how did it get there? Nobody saw how it flew into his mouth.
    A voice said:"Nowadays it is most difficult to find a good place to rest."
    The voice came from the roof and when everyone looked up they saw a big cloth sack, the voice came from inside that sack. Was someone in that sack? How did a sack got up there? Why would anyone hide in a sack like that.
    Yu Peiyu was most surprised, some of the guests called out loudly:"It is the sack of universal mystery..........The preceptor of the sack is here......."
    Eveyrone fled out of the main hall except Yu Peiyu, Tian Chixing did not even spit out the persimmon out of his mouth he did not even take the iron box with him. He knew that one should run as fast as possible when the sack of univeral mystery appears.

    The entire main hall was deserted, Yu Peiyu was standing alone in this big main hall where a series of strange events happened.
    He too was feeling a bit scared at the moment and was wondering whether he should leave too.
    Suddenly a voice from the sack said:"Young lad, since you are still here. Why won't you help this old man out of the bag?"
    Yu Peiyu was shocked and wondered what he had to do now.
    The voice said:"Well, are you going to let me suffocate in this bag?"
    Yu Peiyu was looking pensive and replied:"Since you got into that bag yourself, why can't you come out by yourself?"
    The voice stopped talking and started to make squirming sounds like he was really suffocating in there after some time the squirming sounds stopped too.
    Yu Peiyu stamped his feet and leapt up, however when he reached that beam the sack fall down. Yu Peiyu leapt down again and opened the bag, but there was no one in the sack.
    That is impossible because Yu Peiyu heard a voice coming from inside the sack himself. Yu Peiyu could not believe his eyes he heard a voice of an old man coming from the sack himself, he could not have just disappeared like that.
    Suddenly he heard a voice from that beam again and saw his pair of feet and white long beard. The feet were small but the beard was very long.
    Yu Peiyu took a deep breath, other people would think they encountered an immortal or a demon. But Yu Peiyu knew that when the old man got out of the sack when he leapt up and took advantage when Yu Peiyu looked at the sack falling down. But the martial arts of this old man were truly awesome, he could even trick someone like Yu Peiyu.
    Yu Peiyu still remained very calm and smiled faintly:"Well, since old sir has such pleasure in playing hide-and-seek I won't disturb you anymore."
    The old man asked:"Do you want to leave too? Look at this first!"
    Before Yu Peiyu had the chance to respond something dropped down, Yu Peiyu was afraid to catch it with his bare hands and used the sack to catch it.
    Under the lights of the lamp it was a stone figurine, when Yu Peiyu looked on the floor he noticed that the iron box with the eight beauties of Wulin were gone.
    The old man must have taken the box when Yu Peiyu was busy opening the sack, but that was also in an instant the old man was really too fast for words.
    Yu Peiyu was really getting scared now.
    The old man laughed:"Young lad, take a good look at the beauty in your hands. It would be a waste to pass out on such a wonderful opportunity."
    Yu Peiyu held the figure in the light and the figure seemed to come alive, she wore a black long dress. She was most beautiful but she also had an air of indifference and coldness, making her stand very far apart from one.
    The old man asked:"Do you recognize her?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"No, I do not."
    The old man sighed:"You were born too late, that is why you don't recognize her. About 30, 40 years ago almost all men in the realm were willing to die for Madame Dark Jade."
    Yu Peiyu said calmly:"I find her a bit too cold."
    The old man laughed:"Because she was acting very cool a lot of people wanted to get to know her better. Nine of the ten men are fools, don't you know that?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Even the most beautiful woman has to die some day, what does this Madame Dark Jade have to do with me?"
    The old man said:"If you don't know her, I would not let you see that stone statue of hers."
    Yu Peiyu looked surprised and confused.
    The old man said:"That gesture you made to Tian Chixing refers to her."
    Yu Peiyu's heart started to beat faster and faster, but he remained calm and said:"Still I do not know her."
    The old man said:"Think carefully, have you really not seen her before? To my knowledge you should at least have met her once."
    Yu Peiyu's heart skipped a beat and remembered Hai Dongqing's teacher. She was true beauty too but she had her face veiled.
    He also remembered a carving of a sack on the bamboo plaque.
    At this point he could not control himself anymore and blurted out:"Are you Mr. Dongguo?"
    The name [Mr. Dongguo] is filled with a sense of mystery and Yu Peiyu was a bit shocked too when he said that name.
    The old man laughed:"In face we are old friends too, don't you recognize me anymore?"
    The old man gracefully descended from the beam, slowly like a leaf floating down and his beard was swaying with the wind.
    When he landed Yu Peiyu saw that he was a skinny, short old man with a very long white beard. He looked very familiar to Yu Peiyu and suddenly he called out with surprise:"It's you!"

    Yu Peiyu met this old man before.
    The first was when everything started his father was killed and he was forced out of his home by those imposters, at that moment he did not know how to live on. Then he was a strange old man wanting to commit suicide, Yu Peiyu saved the old man and also refound his courage to live on too.
    The second time was when he lost confidence in his own martial arts and then he met the old man again. Because he was pondering heavily he did not recognize the old man. The old man had a painting in his hand of a mountain that did not look like a mountain but captured the essence of the mountain. He remembered the words of the old man clearly:[It is a mountain but I drew it so it wouldn't look like a mountain. But if you look carefully it is a mountain. Although I didn't give it the form of the mountain, I managed to put the essence of the mountain in my painting. Other people may not see it, but I can. If I painted the mountain it will appear like a mountain to me. In my eyes and in my heart I know I painted a mountain. The beautiful part is I understand it but other people do not.]
    Because of these words Yu Peiyu was able to place himself in the ranks of a true martial arts expert of the realm
    The theory of Xiantian Wuji School is based on the emphasis of essence over form, if one is able to leave the form and is able to enter the world of no boundaries no extremes.
    Simplicity over complexity Yu Peiyu has reached the advanced level of the martial arts of his own school, although Yu Peiyu has not yet reached the level of perfection yet of no extremes and boundaries but he is close.
    Yu Peiyu felt that this old man has no ill intentions towards him, in fact every time he needed help he was there to aid him. If he was supposed the evil mastermind of everything, it would be impossible. But the words of Madame Dark Jade sounded so convincing.
    Yu Peiyu looked up and saw Mr. Dongguo looking at him, he smiled:"Have you recognized me?"
    Yu Peiyu said respectfully:"I always remember your wise teachings, old sir."
    Mr. Dongguo pointed at the statue of Madame Dark Jade and said:"Have you seen her?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Yes, I have."
    Mr. Dongguo said softly:"It is strange that she left you alive."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Why does she want to kill me?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Because you are the only one who can expose her secrets."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"What secrets?"
    Mr. Dongguo asked:"Do you know what her name is?"
    He did not give Yu Peiyu the chance to ask and immediately answered the question:"It is not strange that you don't know her actual name, not many people know her real name. It is a big secret."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Why?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Her name is Ji Beiqing."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Ji Beiqing? Is she related to Ji Kuqing?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Yes, they are......she is his younger sister and wife."
    Yu Peiyu was flabbergasted.
    Mr. Dongguo sighed:"Unfortunate.......most unfortunate......"
    He added with a wry smile:"All the members of Ji family are strange, they all are very pretentious and believe that they are better than everyone else. Nobody is fit to marry into their family."
    Yu Peiyu said with a scary tone:"So.....their is.....created through innbreeding?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Indeed, for generations brothers and sisters are.........married to each other and because of this incestual relationships most of their descendants are mentally retarted or mad or even both. Ji Beiqing may look beautiful but she too is mad."
    Yu Peiyu broke out in a cold sweat now.
    Mr. Dongguo said:"She is a very proud madwoman and when she saw what kind of son she brought into this world she left everything behind in disappointment. That is why Ji Zanghua has no brothers or sisters so he was forced to marry an outsider, however he has never spent the bed with his wife."
    That is why Ji Lingfeng did not acknowledge Ji Zanghua as her father and he also understood the pain of Madame Ji now.
    So his original theory was correct Ji Lingyan and Ji Lingfeng were father by someone else, probably someone of his own family. Probably his [second uncle].
    But he also wondered why Ji Beiqing would kill her brother and husband Ji Kuqing, that is something he saw with his own eyes.
    Mr. Dongguo said:"From then onwards Ji Kuqing went even more insane and the same time Wulin was startled by a series of murders and thefts. Large quantities of treasures were stolen, numerous famous martial artists were killed, but nobody would have guessed that Ji Kuqing was behind these crimes."
    Yu Peiyu heard of this story before, at Murder Manor old man Gao told him of this story this also meant that Mr. Dongguo was telling the truth.
    Mr. Dongguo said:"More than ten odd top martial arts experts were investigating this matter, but only one deducted the culprit was Ji Kuqing but nobody believed him."
    Yu Peiyu quickly asked:"Sir, do you know him?"
    Mr. Dongguo smiled:"Of course I know him, he is my own younger brother, the [thousand mile eagle] Dongguo Gao."
    Yu Peiyu always knew that old man Gao must have an impressive background, but he never guessed that he would be the brother of Mr. Dongguo.
    Mr. Dongguo looked at Yu Peiyu and smiled:"I know you must know him too."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"I owe old master Dongguo a lot, he saved my life several times."
    Mr. Dongguo said:"My brother has reached the level of perfection in the art of levitation, he is honest, fair and righteous. Furthermore his medical skills are unsurpassed in the realm, even Hua Tuo might not be much better than my brother."
    Yu Peiyu unintentionally touched his face and respect welled up in his heart.
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Ji Kuqing was unable to withstand my brother's actions against him, so he feigned his death and fled to the western borders to meet up with his wife, sister Madame Dark Jade Ji Beiqing."
    Yu Peiyu asked with surprise:"Ji Beiqing was in the western borders?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Yes, the two met up with each other there. They had still intentions of realing the realm of martial arts and were preparing themselves to enter China again. However they feared my brother and I a lot and used another famous martial artist as a puppet."
    Yu Peiyu looked very pale and stuttered:"Sir, you......mean......that Yu.....that Yu person......"
    Mr. Dongguo looked sympathetic now and he said gently:"Your father, Mr. Yu was a true gentleman he would not assist them in these awful crimes. They knew that too and used a vicious ploy to kill your father and they found someone to impersonate him and manipulate the reputation of the late Mr. Yu."
    Yu Peiyu was now both angry and very emotional, he remembered the day his father died tragically. He was also most grateful because finally someone knew that his father was not hypocrite and was innocent.
    Mr. Dongguo patted him on his shoulder and said gently:"The net of Heaven has large meshes, but it lets nothing through. Although you have suffered a lot these months and you have been ridiculed and mocked. But soon you will be able to clear your father's name and make a difference in the realm."
    Yu Peiyu felt very warm and tears were welling up in his eyes, he kowtowed to Mr. Dongguo and said respectfully:"Sir, were you aware about my real identiy all this time?"
    Mr. Dongguo helped him up and said:"Of course I know, from the very first day misfortune fell upon you I saw you and urged you to keep on living."
    Yu Peiyu took a few deep breaths to calm himself again, he said sadly:"There is still something I do not understand."
    Mr. Dongguo asked:"What is it?"
    Yu Peiyu gritted his teeth and asked:"Who is that fiend who is impersonating my father? How does he know the skills of the Xiantian Wuji School? He is capable of imitating my father to the spitting image."
    Mr. Dongguo stayed silent for awhile, he sighed deeply:"A dragon has nine sons, each son different from the others. Your father Mr. Yu Fanghe is a remarkable, friendly gentleman. But his younger brother, Yu Duhe is thieving, murdering thug."
    Yu Peiyu remembered reading somehting about that in the Yama book of debts and his limbs turned cold, he said with a trembling voice:"That fiend.....that my very own.....uncle?!?"
    Mr. Dongguo said sadly:"I should not pass judgement of family affairs of others but you must know that your uncle was disowned by his own family. Your father did nothing bad to him in fact he did everything possible that could lead his brother to the right way, however in vain."
    Yu Peiyu looked very sad and could only nod now.
    Mr. Dongguo said:"When Yu Duhe left your father, he turned even worse he was truly runnin amok in the realm. He killed and stole as he pleased and made many enemies, because of his superior martial arts and intelligence he was able to escape from his enemies several times. Everyone wanted to slice up his body, he was really hated that much."
    He continued:"One day he was at a famous brothel in Luoyang city, he was drinking heavily with the famous courtesan [Grand Qiao] till he got drunk. Little did he know that Grand Qiao was working for his enemies. That is almost 18 years ago around the second month."
    Yu Peiyu repeated softly:"18 years ago.......second month......."
    He remembered that in Murder Manor that a certain Yu person came there 18 years ago around the second month of that year.
    Mr. Dongguo said:"That Yu Duhe was an exceptional fighter, even in his drunk state he could fight a way out of an encirclement of more than ten martial arts experts, he fled to Murder Manor."
    He continued with a sigh:"Yu Duhe knew that someone would protect him there in Murder Manor and he knew his way in the manor........."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Was it not his first time there?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"He had an affair with Madame Ji for a long time, Ji Lingyan and Ji Lingfeng are his daughters."
    Yu Peiyu was still stunned, although he guessed that already but now his suspicions were confirmed. So the piece of jade was really a family heirloom of the family Yu.
    And the embroided characters on that pouch:Always at your side, never leaving never stop hoping.
    The lover of Madame Ji was his uncle. That is why Ji Lingfeng and Ji Lingyan treated him differently because blood is really thicker than water, they are cousins.
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Madame Ji hid Yu Duhe in the secret passage and thought he would be save there. However at that time Ji Kuqing pretended to be dead there too and saw Yu Duhe."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Why.....did.....?"
    Mr. Dongguo understood what he wanted to ask and sighed:"Ji Kuqing wanted to silence Yu Duhe, but suddenly he realised that he could use this man also he saw a lot of resemblance in him. So he took Yu Duhe with him."
    Yu Peiyu knew this too, because if not why would Yu Duhe leave behind that piece of jade.
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Ji Kuqing made a clever choice because Yu Duhe was the younger brother of the late Mr. Yu Fanghe he now everything of his brother. Furthermore he had no difficulty in learning the habits of his brother, because they are brother they resembled each other a lot in appearances and height."
    He sighed deeply:"It is not sheer coincidence, everything was thought of with utmost precision. If they did not have Yu Duhe, their target would not have been Mr. Yu."
    Yu Peiyu looked pensive before asking:"Is Ji Kuqing well-versed in surgical skills?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Not him, but Madame Dark Jade has that ability. I have heard that she learnt those surgical skills and the art of disguise from Persia. It is different from my brother's but the outcome is very similar."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Sir, do you know that she has two pupils?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Do you mean Hai Dongqing and Yang Zijiang?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Yes, indeed."
    Mr. Dongguo said:"These two young men are not too bad, unfortunately they are been used by them . To my knowledge they are not aware of the secrets of their teacher."
    Yu Peiyu said softly:"Of course! Even an outsider like me believed her words........How can her own students not believe her? But who sent the shades?"
    Mr. Dongguo answered:"Ji Beiqing of course."
    Yu Peiyu asked with surprise:"Why would she send her own subjects to kill her own disciples?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Perhaps Yang Zijiang and Hai Dongqing were starting to know too much about her, if you're a disciple of such a person knowing too much is really dangerous. Furthermore she might think that she has almost won and has no more need for Hai Dongqing and Yang Zijiang."
    He continued with a serious tone:"No matter what, Ji Kuqing and Ji Beiqing are really madmen. Their actions cannot be explained with logic."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Except for the shade I encountered, are there other four shades?"
    Mr. Dongguo laughed:"Those are mere futile words of her to scare people, telling a few lackeys to impersonate ghosts is quite easy."
    Yu Peiyu was pensive again and softly said to himself:"So Hai Dongqing and Yang Zijiang were also deceived by their teacher.
    So when he told us to hide in the tunnel, he had no ill intentions. And Hai Dongqing truly believed the lies his teacher told him, so he was being honest to me in that secret passage....."
    He broke out in a cold sweat, because Hai Dongqing was taking Zhu Lei'Er and Iron Blossom to the home of Ji Beiqing. He did not even know how to save them, he did not even know where she lived. Furthermore was Mr. Dongguo telling the truth?
    Mr. Dongguo said:"I discovered these secrets too by digging for many years, but most of it is just my deduction. There is no proof and no one will believe it like that....... Who will believe me when I say that the Yu Fanghe of now is just Yu Duhe pretending to be his brother."
    Yu Peiyu sighed:"Sir, even I am not totally convinced by your story. How can others?"
    Mr. Dongguo carefully observed him and said calmly:"I know you still have some questions and doubts now, but I will take you to see someone."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Who?"
    Mr. Dongguo smiled:"You will know when you see him."

    So Mr. Dongguo lead Yu Peiyu to his place to meet this mysterious person.
    They walked off the main road and took a small path, they passed a brook and came to idyllic place with a cottage there. Yu Peiyu could smell the scent of herbal medicine.
    Was someone ill in the cottage? And who was preparing the medicine?
    The medicine was still cooking on the furnace outside, but no one was to be seen.
    Why did Mr. Dongguo lead Yu Peiyu here?
    A small cat jumped towards Mr. Dongguo, he smiled and caught the cat:"Little Black, Clever little back. Don't pull out my beard."
    Yu Peiyu was not interested in meeting the pets of Mr. Dongguo and wondered why he was here.
    Suddenly he heard a voice from behind him:"It is has been a long time, young master Yu. How are you doing?"
    Yu Peiyu turned around and saw a familiar face, an old face with a pair of clear, sharp eyes.
    Yu Peiyu was both surprised and happy, he called out with happiness:"Old sir, you're here."
    It was old man Gao, it seemed like an eternity ago when he last saw him.
    Old man Gao, Dongguo Gao was holding a bucket of water and silently walked up to the back of Yu Peiyu. Suddenly he saw the scar on Yu Peiyu's face and observed a bit carefully, he smiled:"It seems that the Jade Emperor does not allow us mortals to be perfect. Being flawless is perhaps not good at all."
    Yu Peiyu seemed to be stunned and did not know what to say anymore.
    Dongguo Gao patted him on the shoulder and laughed:"I know what you want to say, no need. There is someone in there who is very concerned about you and keeps wondering whether you are allright. Go in quickly."
    Who could it be in the cottage?
    And who is ill?
    Is it Ji Lingyan?
    Is it Xie Tianbi?
    Or even Lin Daiyu?
    Yu Peiyu's hands trembled when he opened the door.
    He saw a man in a white robe lying in bed, he looked very distinguished but sickly. His eyes brightened up when he saw Yu Peiyu.
    When Yu Peiyu saw him he was going mad with happiness and shouted:"Brother Feng San! You are here!"
    After seeing old man Gao/Dongguo Gao and Feng San, Yu Peiyu believed Mr. Dongguo but there were still some questions in his heart that he could not explain.
    He saw Madame Dark Jade, Ji Beiqing kill Ji Kuqing with his own eyes.
    But he quickly narrated what happened to him and Zhu Lei'Er for the past few months to Feng San, Yu Peiyu felt sad and ashamed.
    Feng San consoled:"Ji Beiqing won't harm Lei'Er, she just wanted to keep her as a hostage so you will listen to her commands."
    Yu Peiyu lowered his head and said:"I should have thought about this earlier, why did I allow her to be taken away by her."
    Feng San smiled:"Don't worry too much about Lei'Er, she is a clever and naughty girl. She could very well outsmart Ji Beiqing."
    Yu Peiyu felt somewhat assured, he now took out the black notebook and bamboo plaque and said:"I found this at the house in Family Li Village......"
    Feng San frowned and said:"Why would Lady Zhu treasure this so much?"

    end of chapter 38

  20. #40
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 39 The Beginning Of Chaos

    Yu Peiyu said seriously:"This notebook contains all the secrets of every martial artist in the realm, with this in her possession Lady Zhu held control over almost everyone in Wulin. Nobody would dare to confront her actions, because they were afraid she would use their secrets against them."
    Feng San nodded but then he shook his head again and said:"That is true, but there is also one very big disadvantage. This Yama debt book can also lead to great disaster to the holder."
    Yu Peiyu immediately understood what Feng San meant and said:"I understand what you mean, third brother. Those who have their secrets noted in here want to have this book. On the one hand they can hide their own secrets, on the other hand they could control the other people in this book."
    Feng San nodded and said:"Indeed, since you already took a look into this book. I suggest you burn it, before trouble comes
    your way."
    Yu Peiyu smiled:"I was thinking that I could use it the other way. If people knew I have the Yama Debt book, they won't believe I have burnt it."
    Feng San was confused and asked:"Why?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Nobody will believe that I would have burnt this book. Trouble will come no matter what, but I want to start the
    turmoil a bit sooner than someone is anticipating."
    Mr. Dongguo was listening and stroking his long white beard, but when he heard Yu Peiyu's words he quickly interrupted:"Young man, if I hear correctly you want to create chaos in the realm."
    Yu Peiyu nodded his head and explained:"Right, I want to expose the contents of this book tomorrow. I have two motives for doing this. Firstly I can avenge my late father, secondly I can restore balance in the realm. By this all the secrets will be revealed, not allowing some hypocrites to continue deceiving and lying."
    All three men looked at Yu Peiyu with amazement but also with respect.
    Mr. Dongguo was still stroking his beard and kept nodding. Suddenly he said earnestly:"Young man, I admire your spirit and
    your plan to benefit the realm. However if you casually expose the contents like this, I would say........."
    Yu Peiyu asked:"Sir, what do you want to say?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"I would say you have a death wish."
    Yu Peiyu said:"Sir, I understand what you mean. With my present martial arts I cannot face the upcoming chaos."
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Very smart. You're right."
    Feng San said earnestly:"Fourth brother, you have to think carefully. I too respect your spirit but do you have the ability to
    back it up."
    Yu Peiyu laughed:"Third brother, I have already thought this over carefully before making this decision."
    Again everyone stared at him.
    Feng San asked:"What else do you have to protect yourself? Please don't keep us in suspense."
    Yu Peiyu held out the bamboo tablet and said:"With this plaque I don't have to fear anyone."
    Mr. Dongguo was startled and said with amazement:"Young man, are you mad? Do you want to shift the blame of this upcoming
    chaos into my shoes?"
    Yu Peiyu said seriously:"No, sir. That is not my intention. I would to use this plaque to ask you to teach me the ephemeral form
    Mr. Dongguo was shocked and asked:"How do you know that I have learnt the ephemeral form dexterity?"
    Yu Peiyu said:"Madame Dark Jade, Ji Beiqing told me. She also said that only the ephemeral form dexeterity could overcome her pre-heaven seraphic energy."
    Mr. Dongguo angrilly said:"So I am your target now? Are you threatening me with that plaque?"
    Yu Peiyu respectfully held the plaque in front of him and said:"Sir, don't be angry. I am not threatening you at all. I was just hoping that you would assist me in restoring peace in the realm."
    Mr. Dongguo grunted and took the plaque back, also he struck out his palm towards the chest of Yu Peiyu.
    Feng San and Dongguo Gao shouted with fear.
    But it was too late, when they noticed that Mr. Dongguo was using the ephemeral form dexterity they heard Yu Peiyu cry out in
    pain. His body was flung outside the house and landed near the brook.
    Feng San was shocked and sad, he angrilly shouted:"Old Dongguo, have you gone mad? Why did you kill him!"
    Mr. Dongguo smiled:"You worry too much."
    He swiftly left the house and when Feng San rushed out too he and Yu Peiyu's body were gone. He could only see a grey
    figure moving with incredible speed in the horizon, but in a flash the figure was gone too.
    Feng San was dying with anxiety, suddenly he heard a voice coming from behind him:"Don't worry now! We cannot catch up
    with him now. But I know where he is hiding, when you are better we will look for him together."
    Feng San turned around and said anxiously:"When....when I am better? But...but my fourth brother....."
    Dongguo Gao said:"You really worry too much. Yu Peiyu isn't dead, he won't die."
    Feng San looked at him with his confused eyes...................
    The sun came through again, lighting up the ground with her radiance. Also the clouded look of Feng San was gone now, he
    understood what just happened.

    Meanwhile there was a place where the sun and her radiance could never reach, the secret tunnel of Ji Kuqing. Three people
    were still walking there endlessly to the exit. After resting for a few days in the horrible quarters of Ji Kuqing, they had now
    regained much energy and left earlier to leave this horrible tunnel behind.
    They were Zhu Lei'Er, Hai Dongqing and Iron Blossom.
    They did not speak but just held each other's hands and moved forward by touching the wall, Zhu Lei'Er held on to Iron Blossom, Iron Blossom held on to Hai Dongqing. They were not in a talkative mood, in fact each and every one of them were feeling gloomy.
    If Madame Dark Jade did not appear they would have been turned into wax statues earlier, they would still shiver if they
    thought back about that. They were now going the same way back, but different now. The group was not complete anymore, Yu Peiyu was not here with them. Especially Zhu Lei'Er felt down and gloomy, without Yu Peiyu around her she felt that this dark tunnel was even darker.
    They still had a long way before reaching "the 39 lamps."
    Hai Dongqing could not stand the silence anymore and said loudly:"Somebody once said:[Not talking is worst than dying.] But now the sayer of this wonderful sentence is awfully quiet. Don't you think this is strange?"
    Zhu Lei'Er stopped walking and said:"Are you referring to me?"
    Hai Dongqing said:"If the shoe fits, I would rather argue all the way back than walking back in this gloomy silence."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"I am not in a good mood, so spare me your sarcasm."
    Hai Dongqing was stunned and said:"Not in a good mood?"
    Zhu Lei' Er was also bit confused by his stunned expression.
    Iron Blossom interrupted:"It is obvious. Miss Zhu is missing Yu Peiyu, with him gone she is also missing her spirit. Men cannot
    understand this."
    Zhu Lei'Er blushed, fortunately nobody could see her in the dark.
    Hai Dongqing retorted:"Well, there is no reason to be upset about that. They will only be separated shortly, furthermore my
    teacher wants to accept Miss Zhu as her disciple. That will be most wonderful and most people will be very envious of such an
    Iron Blossom said:"Those are your thoughts, do you know if those are the wishes of Miss Zhu?"
    Hai Dongqing was stunned and kept quiet, he thought he might keep quiet now. The three of them continue to move forward
    without any sound, they hoped they could quickly leave this hell behind them.
    Suddenly Zhu Lei'Er stopped and whispered:"Do you hear that? What is that sound?"
    There were all kinds of eerie soft noises in this tunnel, but this sound was different and had rhythm. It sounded like something, someone was floating or walking very fast. Because of the echo they could not hear clearly, but one thing was clear another person appeared and was coming their way with incredible speed.
    Zhu Lei'Er reacted very fast and pulled Hai Dongqing and Iron Blossom to the wall and all three stayed quiet and waited.
    At this point a gush of wind moved by them and they could vaguely see a dark figure moving by them, the figure moved very
    fast and was gone in an instant.
    They could not see who that figure was, it looked like a raven or a bat.
    After some time Zhu Lei'Er whispered:"Strange....strange....."
    Iron Blossom gently pushed her and said:"Why do you say [strange] a few times? Did you notice something odd?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Just......that shadow reminded me of Yu Fanghe, the chancellor of Wulin. I cannot explain it, it is just a feeling."
    Iron Blossom said:"What would he want here?"
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"Well, the only way to find out is to go back and eavesdrop."
    Iron Blossom said immediately:"I have no interest in that. I am not going back to that hideous place."
    Hai Dongqing said:"I support the idea of Miss Zhu, furthermore all those wax henchmen were killed by my teacher. There won't be a dangerous situation like earlier, rest assured."
    Zhu Lei'Er added adamantly:"If that really is Yu Fanghe, it might be linked to Yu Peiyu. I really have to go back and investigate."
    Iron Blossom had no choice and gave in to Hai Dongqing and Zhu Lei'Er.

    The stone hall was dark, there was only one lamp burning. A woman in black was sitting in a chair, she was Ji Beiqing also known as Madame Dark Jade.
    It was silent in the hall, she was looking pensive too like she had a lot on her mind. She is a very proud woman but after hearing Ji
    Kuqing's words she too felt that her plan to deal with Yu Peiyu was a bit too bold. However being a proud woman she rather
    continue to make a mistake than admitting her fault.
    The stone hall was a cold place, but the expression on her face was even colder.
    After some time she softly said to herself:"
    Am I wrong?.........Have I really made a mistake?........."
    She was of the impression that nobody was here and nobody would hear her confession. But she was wrong.
    Suddenly a voice said:"Yes, you're wrong. You made a grave mistake."
    Ji Beiqing woke up from her pensive mood and yelled:"Who is it?"
    The voice said:"You didn't even recognize my voice. That shows that you are really frustrated now."
    A figure appeared it was Ji Kuqing.
    Ji Beiqing stared at him and said coldly:"You are quick?"
    Ji Kuqing said:"You should ask this question to someone else. You really should ask that brat why he made such a hasty decision."
    Ji Beiqing said with surprise:"Do you mean Yu Peiyu?"
    Ji Kuqing said:"Yes! That brat is really troublesome!"
    Ji Beiqing anxiously asked:"What is this decision of his? Tell me!"
    Ji Kuqing said:"He has done what we feared most, he has openly revealed the contents of the Yama book of debts."
    Ji Beiqing still remained dignified but stood up with surprise and said:"Could you repeat that once again clearly?"
    Ji Kuqing laughed bitterly:"Repeating it again? The outcome is still the same, he exposed our secret also the secrets of a lot of
    other people. Even your affair with Yu Duhe is exposed."
    Ji Beiqing was trembling and said hatefully:"I want to kill him......I want to kill him myself......."
    Ji Kuqing said:"It is too late now. I told you that killing him would be much easier, well now it is too late all the secrets Zhu Mei accumulated have been openly exposed."
    Ji Beiqing said angrilly:"It is not the time to question whose fault it is now!"
    Ji Kuqing shook his head and said:"I am just telling the truth. Furthermore that brat is very cunning and has hidden himself
    very good, I have tried to look for him but in vain."
    Ji Beiqing said:"That is just a matter of time. I want him to die painfully and slowly when get my hands on him."
    Ji Kuqing said slowly:"We have another person we have to deal with."
    Ji Beiqing asked:"Who?"
    Ji Kuqing said:"Our arch-enemy-------Mr. Dongguo."
    Ji Beiqing was surprised and asked:"What does he have to do with this?"
    Ji Kuqing was now fuming with anger and said loudly:"That old goat is supporting the little brat now. Well, your initial plan to
    use that plaque and Yu Peiyu to deal with the old fool has failed miserably. Now we are in trouble because of it."
    Ji Beiqing said angrilly:"Are you still blaming me?"
    Ji Kuqing sighed:"I am not blaming anyone now, there is no use of that now. Our main priority is dealing with the young and old
    Ji Beiqing said:"Yu Peiyu is not difficult to deal with. But the old goat is quite troublesome."
    Ji Kuqing said:"There is no other option now, we have to use Yu Fanghe now. Let him use his authority as the chancellor of Wulin to proclaim Yu Peiyu and old Dongguo as the enemies of the realm."
    Ji Beiqing coldly scoffed:"Don't forget that his true identity is the infamous rogue, elusive cloud Yu Duhe. Will he that easily be used by us?"
    Ji Kuqing said:"That wouldn't be too difficult. Not taking into account that you and he have a special relationship, he would
    not just stand by and do nothing. He too is mentioned in the Yama book of debts."
    Ji Beiqing was still thinking and did not speak.
    Ji Kuqing suddenly looked at the door and shouted loudly:"Who is there!"
    A cold voice from the door said:"Friend or foe really depends on you."
    They recognized the voice and looked at each other and when they saw the speaker both Ji Kuqing and Ji Beiqing looked
    awkward. The speaker was none other than the present chancellor of Wulin, Yu Fanghe.
    "Yu Fanghe"/Yu Duhe looked at them and sneered:"Spare me your theatricals, please. It is only today that I know what your
    relationship is with each other."
    Ji Kuqing looked at him and said:"So you think you had the lesser end of this alliance."
    Yu Duhe said coldly:"Neither of us can say we have the better or lesser deal in our alliance. Furthermore there are too many unsolved issues between us, let us not dwell on those matters now."
    Ji Kuqing said:"I have been sharing my wife for many years. What right do you have to be angry!"
    Ji Beiqing angrilly said:"Shut up! How dare you say such things in my presence!"
    Ji Kuqing felt he was being mocked by the two of them now, he angrilly left the stone hall.
    After some time Ji Beiqing sighed:"You should not have come, you made things very awkward for me."
    Yu Duhe said:"Well, I have to discuss this matter with someone."
    Ji Beiqing said:"Do you mean the incident with the Yama book of debts being openly revealed."
    Yu Duhe nodded and said:"It seems that you are also well-informed, forget everything else now. We should strike now and
    perhaps there may be hope for us after all."
    Ji Beiqing shook her head and said:"It is too late now, the only thing we can do is kill Yu Peiyu and old Dongguo to avenge
    Yu Duhe said:"No, if we strike now we might have a chance to get out of this mess without too much damage."
    Ji Beiqing said with surprise:"But the secrets are now exposed how can we change that fact."
    Yu Duhe said:"Up till now it has been all hearsay. No one has actually seen the book of debts yet, so everyone in Wulin is still
    quite suspicious about the claims they heard."
    Ji Beiqing said:"So what you are suggesting that we still have a chance to succeed, do you want me to accompany you in this
    Yu Duhe said:"Yes, I know where old man Gao lives. If my calculations are correct they should be there."
    Ji Beiqing said:"Wait! I have to return to my mount first."
    Yu Duhe was surprised and asked:"Why? This is more pressing than everything else."
    Ji Beiqing said:"I have tricked Zhu Lei'Er back to my mount, with her in our hands we control Yu Peiyu."
    Yu Duhe said:"Very well, I will go with you."
    Ji Beiqing nodded and the two swiftly lef the stone hall, but in their anxious mood they were too negligent and forgot that
    there are three people listening to their conversation.
    Zhu Lei'Er and others followed Yu Duhe in and hid themselves in the stone hall and they even breathe very softly.
    Now, that Yu Duhe and Ji Beiqing were gone they were still very careful and stayed hidden to be sure for some time.
    After some time Hai Dongqing got up and sighed and stamped his feet:"I regret that I have a teacher like that! I hate myself for not
    discovering their secrets sooner."
    Zhu Lei'Er said:"However I am most luckly, if not I would have been their captive if I went back to her mount."
    Iron Blossom said:"We can talk about this another time, we have to get out of here and notify young master Yu immediately."
    Zhu Lei'Er frowned and said:"But we don't know where he is now." Tears were welling up in her eyes.
    Iron Blossom said:"That Yu Fanghe said that young master Yu is probably at old man Gao's place, if we follow that direction we might end up where we want to go."
    Hai Dongqing said:"But we don't know where old man Gao lives, so we are still clueless."
    Zhu Lei'Er mustered all her strength and said:"First things first, let us get out of this cave first. We should hurry, otherwise
    young master Yu might be taken by surprise by them."
    So the three of them started to rush out of this tunnel, they did not know about the coming dangers......they did not care.

    In the early morning in an idyllic place, a place fit for immortals to dwell. In the distance one could hear a waterfall, the only noise that disturbed the tranquil peace in this picturesque place.
    Two figures moved swiftly towards the waterfall, judging from their movements both of them had superior martial arts.
    In an instant they reached the top of a hill overseeing the waterfall, it was a magnificent scene. Grand and spectacular!
    Dongguo Gao looked around and said:"Right, he should be around here. There is no other place he wants to go."
    Feng San sighed with admiration:"When did he find a wonderful place like this to cultivate?"
    Dongguo Gao smiled:"Not long ago he accidentally revealed to me that he found this spot to cultivate. I think only I know of
    this place in the entire world."
    Feng San was looking around too and said:"Where is he?"
    Through the sound of the waterfall an old voice said:"Why do the two of you keep following me around. You even managed to
    find my secret hiding place."
    Mr. Dongguo was hanging upside down in a pine tree behind them, his long white beard covered up his face making him look like some sort of monster.
    Feng San laughed:"You oldie! Since when have you rejuvenated, playing children's games here."
    Mr. Dongguo said:"If you want, you can join me here. I can promise you that this a wonderful exercise in training martial arts."
    Dongguo Gao kept shaking his head and Feng San laughed loudly.
    Suddenly Mr. Dongguo propelled forward neither of them could see clearly whether he had turned around but there he was standing in front of them.
    Feng San anxiously asked:"Where is my brother?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"What is all this fuss about? Are you afraid that I would kill him over his money?"
    Feng San said:"Well, you can't blame us for thinking that. You took away your plaque used your ephemeral form dexterity to
    send my young brother flying. What is the meaning of that?"
    Mr. Dongguo said loudly:"That is my rule, no matter who it is. I have to use the ephemeral form dexterity to test whether he is
    ready to learn my skill yet."
    Feng San said with surprise:"That is your way to test whether someone is ready to learn your skill?"
    Mr. Dongguo said casually:"Well, I can't be blamed for your lack of knowledge in martial arts theories. When I tested him I only used thirty percent of my internal power. People who have not reached the appropriate level will die on the spot, all the vital organs will have been shattered to a mere pulp. This young man is not bad at all, he did not even cough up any blood."
    Dongguo Gao interrupted:"Yes, yes. But where is young master Yu now?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Well he is on a platform behind the waterfall. He is studying martial arts there."
    Feng San said with surprise:"The noise of the waterfall is ear deafening, how can he stay there and study martial arts."
    Mr. Dongguo said:"You really do have to brush up on your knowledge in superior martial arts theories, this is the beautiful part of the ephemeral form dexterity."
    Feng San said:"Yes, I know that I have to brush up on that. But I just want to know what is going on here."
    Mr. Dongguo stroked his beard and said:"The key of mastering the ephemeral form dexterity depends on the will and cultivation of the learner. If the will is strong enough, one would not frown if a mountain collapsed in front of one. Let alone the mere sound of a waterfall, if the learner cannot withstand the rough sounds of the waterfall that means he is not ready to learn the ephemeral form dexeterity yet. Without the will it is very difficult to produce the qi to master this skill. We will see if this child has the will to master this skill."
    Feng San asked:"How is he doing?"
    Mr. Dongguo laughed:"He is doing better than I anticipated. I bet that within seven days he will have mastered the ephemeral form dexterity."
    Feng San said with amazement:"That fast?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Anyone else would not be able to do that. But this child was born with extraordinary strenght and he
    received a very strict training from his father. However he cannot be disturbed these seven days, otherwise his life migh be in danger."
    Dongguo Gao asked:"Can we look at him from far away?"
    Mr. Dongguo said with a bit of surprise:"Allright, otherwise you two would think I would have killed him and hid his body."
    The three of them walked over to a cliff, the three of them were splattered wet with the water and soon they saw Yu Peiyu
    sitting there with his eyes closed and looking very dignified.
    It may seem easy for laymen, but even experts like Feng San and Dongguo Gao with powerful internal energies were feeling
    troubled hearing the waterfall's noise here.
    Yu Peiyu seemed to be oblivious to the sound, which was remarkable.
    The three of them observed Yu Peiyu for awhile and Mr. Dongguo nodded at them suggesting they should leave him alone now, the three top martial arts experts left Yu Peiyu alone.
    After walking back Feng San thought of something and asked:"So you used the ephemeral form dexterity to knock him unconscious and took him here to teach him your skill?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Of course, what else do you think I would. Play hide-and-seek with you lot?"
    Feng San said:"So he was unconscious on his way here. Did he meet anyway on his way?"
    Mr. Dongguo was stunned and asked:"What are you suggesting here?"
    Dongguo Gao said:"On our way here, we heard that the contents of the book of debts were already exposed. Is that true?"
    Mr. Dongguo laughed proudly:"Since the brat was sleeping I took the liberty of exposing it for him."
    Feng San sighed:"Goodness me! You old fool, what have you done?"
    Mr. Dongguo was confused and asked:"What do you mean?"
    Feng San said:"My young brother Yu needs another seven days to master his skill, but I can bet that within three days Wulin will
    be thrown into chaos and trouble will be looking for the four of us."
    Mr. Dongguo looked startled and said:"Damn! I got carried away and did not think it over thorougly. Damn it!"
    Dongguo Gao said earnestly:"We can only hope that they do not know how to find this place."
    Feng San said:"Normally they won't find this place that easily. But because of the upcoming turmoil those implicated in the book of debts will try awfully hard to find us. I think we should prepare ourselves that this place will be discovered by them very soon."
    Mr. Dongguo stroke his long beard and shook his head, he said:"Well, what done is done we cannot retract what we have
    openly exposed now. What we can do now is--------"
    He did not finish his sentence and carefully observed the two of them.
    Feng San said:"Well, continue. I mean our main priority is to protect young master Yu now. I am willing to throw in my old life
    to protect him."
    Mr. Dongguo clapped his hands and said happily:"Right! I was waiting for this sentence of yours. Enough said, the three oldies
    here will guard him with our lives."
    Dongguo Gao said:"Needless to say we have to guard young master Yu no matter what. But we must also calculate which
    experts would look for revenge or whose reputation have been damaged beyond repair by the book of debts."
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Too many to mention.......Not counting the fake Yu Fanghe and brother and sister Ji. We have eighth squire
    Fu and eighth Madame Fu, master Nu, etc. Almost everyone in Wulin who is a bit famous is in the book, even you Feng San is
    Feng San was startled and pointed at himself:"Me?!? I have nothing to hide, have I?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Maybe you have forgotten about it yourself, but I clearly read it myself."
    Feng San put out his hand and said:"Let me have a look, I want to see it myself. Let's see whether you are slandering me!"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"I have put the book back into the robe of the brat, if you really want to know I will tell you now."
    Feng San looked at him with surprise and said:"You?"
    Mr. Dongguo laughed:"Ten years ago, you were smitten by the top courtesan named Little Zhaojun (Wang Zhaojun*). Anyway
    in the end your gold ran up and you were chased out naked out of the brothel by the duenna."
    Feng San quickly retorted:"I was not naked, I had my undergarments on."
    Mr. Dongguo stroked his beard and laughed loudly:"Anyway it did happen, I just made up the part about being naked. Just to provoke your reaction."
    Feng San's face turned red out of embarrassement.
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Don't feel embarrassed! Even my old name is mentioned in the book of debts, my encounter was quite similar to yours."
    Feng San asked:"Did you also often went to brothels when you were young?"
    Mr. Dongguo shook his head heavily and said:"No, I had no such interest. But I was in love with a young Buddhist nun when I was young. But I could not get her affection and almost committed suicide over it."
    Feng San and Dongguo Gao looked at each other with surprise and in a moment the three old men laughed heartily.

    However somewhere else walking under the moon a girl walked by a stream. It was Zhu Lei'Er, she, Iron Blossom and Hai Dongqing decided to split up to look for Yu Peiyu. That way the chances of finding him were also bigger, but where could he be. The world is a big place, where is Yu Peiyu now?
    She did not care, she only wanted to find him and warn him. She looked at the possible places Yu Peiyu could have gone and
    was not afraid to suffer, because Yu Peiyu meant everything to her.
    With the last two days she has looked high and low for him and was exhausted but still no news on him.
    Furthermore she has been very cautious, ever since she knew that Ji Beiqing had the intention of using her against Yu Peiyu
    she was afraid she would bump into her.
    She also heard that the contents of the book of debts have been exposed openly, just like Ji Kuqing and Ji Beiqing said. She was very worried about Yu Peiyu' safety."
    For example this afternoon she saw a lot of Wulin people riding on horses riding on the main road, she overheard these people
    talking that they were looking for Yu Peiyu. She wished she could see him immediately now and tell him what she discovered.
    Most important is that she has to tell Yu Peiyu that Ji Kuqing feigned his death and Ji Beiqing is their real foe and not Mr. Dongguo.
    She could imagine Yu Peiyu's dire position now, at seeing that a lot of Wulin people were around here she guessed that Yu
    Peiyu should be somewhere here. Also she remembered that her third uncle used to refer to an [old man Gao] sometimes too,
    could it be that the old man Gao Feng San mentioned was the same person Ji Kuqing talked about? She could remeber that her
    third uncle mentioned that old man Gao lived in these parts too. She was not sure but it was at least one clue she could
    investigate now.
    After travelling without resting for two days she was really tired now and if she did not rest and eat she could pass out at any moment.
    She finally saw a house in the horizon, it was about dinner time now. She could ask and pay for a meal there, but there were
    no lights burning in the house. She knocked on the door a few times and called:"Is someone here?" But there was no response
    and she hoped that this house was not abandoned, she carefully entered the house and hoped to at least find something edible
    When she pushed open the door something black and furry jumped her, she caught the thing and yelled out with fear. When she took a closer look it turned it was just a big black cat.
    She gently stroked the cat and said:"Dear little cat, where is your master?"
    The cat looked at her with her green eyes filled with amazement. She cat purred.
    Zhu Lei'Er almost forgot that the cat could not talk and patronized it like a child:"You must be hungry, let me find you something to eat."
    She took out a paper flint and lit a lamp, suddenly she saw something familiar on a bamboo chair. It was the robe she made for Feng San, she recognized her own made robe. Could it be that this really was the house of old man Gao? That would be a
    wonderful coincidence.
    But where would third uncle and old man Gao be?
    In her excitement and happiness she forgot all about her hunger, at this point the cat jumped out of her embrace and ran outside into the fields.
    The cat seemed to know where it was going, Zhu Lei'Er was surprised and thought the cat might be heading for its' master and followed the cat.
    The cat continued to run forward but sometimes it would stop and look backward like it was afraid that Zhu Lei'Er would lose
    track of itself.
    Zhu Lei'Er was also amazed and wondered where the cat would lead her too and followed closely. Fortunately it was a bright
    night and the moon lit up the fields making it easier for Zhu Lei'Er to follow the cat.
    The cat kept running forward through bushes, over fields, across the stream. Suddenly Zhu Lei'Er felt something was amiss
    like someone was watching her, but she only cared about following the cat.
    After following the cat for about four hours, she was blocked by a mountain. The cat stopped and purred to Zhu Lei'Er and
    started to climb the mountain, however Zhu Lei'Er was really too tired to climb the mountain she could hardly pace up with the cat now.
    In a blink of the eye the cat was gone too, she could only hear the sound of a waterfall nearby. Because the mountain was very
    grand, she could not clearly distint where the waterfall was. She really felt lost and did not know what to do, but she did not
    give in to this dire situation.
    She mustered her strength and decided she should at least try to find the cat again and started to walk a few steps foward
    when a hand, a beautiful hand grabbed her right wrist.
    This change happened too quick and Zhu Lei'Er was completely taken by surprise and Zhu Lei'Er turned around to look who or
    what grabbed her.
    The first thought that passed her mind was a demon living on this mountain, but when she saw she captured by a most elegant
    and beautiful woman she was scared beyond her wits. She fell down and sat on the ground looking at this woman with surprise,
    shock and fear.
    This woman was more dangerous than any demon and she stuttered:""
    Ji Beiqing smiled:"Yes, it is me. Surprise isn't?"
    Zhu Lei'Er did not know what to say now.
    Ji Beiqing said:"I praised you that you were a good girl, why aren't you good now?"
    She smiled:"I thought I ordered Dongqing to take you back to my mount, when I reached there no one was there."
    Zhu Lei'Er shouted:"Why should I listen to you!" Her voice was loud and her tone was sharp, she regained her confidence and
    courage now.
    Ji Beiqing said calmly:"Because those who listen to me will live on happily. You wish to live on happily, don't you?"
    Zhu Lei'Er stood in defiance and sneered:"But I am still living now and I did not listen to you. I will never listen to you."
    Ji Beiqing laughed:"Such a silly girl! Wait and see, you will find out what the consequences are of defying my wishes."
    Zhu Lei'Er asked:"What do you mean?"
    Ji Beiqing said:"Do you really want me to explain clearly to you? Very well, it might as well serve as a warning to you."
    Zhu Lei'Er suddenly understood what she was getting at and was feeling very worried.
    Ji Beiqing said:"Yesterday evening I started to follow you and by my other companions."
    Zhu Lei'Er was worried and asked:"Who? Where are they?"
    Ji Beiqing laughed:"Too many to mention, but I might as well reveal a few names. Master Nu, eighth squire Fu, eighth Madame
    Fu, Yu Duhe, Ji Kuqing and Tian Chixing......and many more. They are all headed for the waterfall, do you know why?"
    Zhu Lei'Er did not answer but her face turned pale.
    Ji Beiqing said:"Well, they are going to pay a visit to an esteemed guest. You know that person by the way, I think you have been
    trying to look for him for these two days now. Without your help I would not have found him this fast, think carefully about what
    might happen to those who defy my orders."
    Zhu Lei'Er stood there dumbstruck.
    Ji Beiqing laughed sarcastically, but Zhu Lei'Er did not care and shouted loudly:" is all my fault!"
    She suddenly ran up the mountain, after two steps she was pulled back needless to say it was Ji Beiqing who pulled her back.
    Zhu Lei'Er cried:"Madame Ji, I was responsible for the book of debts. You can kill me, but please spare young master Yu."
    Ji Beiqing shook her head and sighed:"Love is really grand, isn't it? It can make people forget about their own lives."
    Zhu Lei'Er sobbed:"Yes, I want to die! I don't want to see him hurt........I am willing to die a thousand, a million times....... I will
    have no regrets..........."
    Suddenly Ji Beiqing turned very cool and said coldly:"But that is life, those who must die, shall die! Those who do not have to
    die yet, will not die!"
    Zhu Lei'Er was stunned by her strange remark and asked:"Madame, who doesn't have to die?"
    Ji Beiqing said:"You are a clever girl, you should know the answer."
    Zhu Lei'Er felt like she was thrown into a bottomless pit, she knew that pleading would only make this vile woman happy. She
    started to run from her with tears still flowing from her eyes, suddenly she bumped into someone.
    She looked up and saw a sinister face looking at her with an evil smile, it was a shade. That eerie, cold face with that strange smile wearing a black robe and red sabre in his girdle.
    Zhu Lei'Er diverted her eyes from him, she was afraid of this monster.
    Ji Beiqing said:"Take her back!"
    And in an instant Ji Beiqing was gone, quicker than the appearance of the Shade.
    Shade grabbed Zhu Lei'Er and carried her with one arm and swiftly moved away here, one could say that the Shade moved
    like a vulture making Zhu Lei'Er a poor chick.
    She was terrified to be captured by this madman and did not know what to do, Shade laughed evilly at her:"Come, Shade takes you home now."
    Zhu Lei'Er was even more afraid when she saw him smiling at her, in her terrified state she suddenly regained her sense and
    drew a short blade and stabbed him in the chest.
    The Shade let go of Zhu Lei'Er but was still smiling:"Don't forget Shade can never be killed."
    The events were too overwhelming for Zhu Lei'Er at this moment and she almost fainted.
    Fortunately she heard a familiar voice calling:"Lei'Er, Lei'Er!"
    It was the voice of her third uncle, the voice she knew from ever since she was an infant.
    She called out:"Third uncle! Third uncle!"
    After calling two times, she was pulled away by someone force. Feng San saw her like a paper being blown away by a powerful wind and gave chase to a second Shade who came.
    Feng San saw that the person who abducted Zhu Lei'Er was a man wearing a black robe with incredibly fast movements and
    was almost gone in an instant. He quickly gave chase, suddenly he saw three figures moving towards the place where Yu Peiyu
    was studying. He had no choice but to break of his pursuit and propelled himself back to protect Yu Peiyu.

    Ji Beiqing was standing 20 metres away from the waterfall and next to her where Ji Kuqing and Yu Duhe. The three of them
    were looking about and were hoping to find the person who yelled at them.
    With their eyesights and the clear sky they could even spot a small rodent in the fields but after carefully looking around they
    could not see a thing.
    Ji Kuqing could not control his temper anymore and shouted:"Who was it that spoke earlier! Show yourself before I start cursing!"
    A voice said:"Are you blind? Can't you see my right in front of you?"
    This time they heard it clearly, the speaker was hidden amidst a pile of rocks about 10 metres away from them. But the only thing they saw was a rock that was sort of swaying, Ji Beiqing grunted:"Oh, it is him."
    Ji Kuqing was surprised and asked:"Who do you mean?"
    Ji Beiqing coldly said:"Look closely, do you really think that is just a rock."
    Ji Kuqing carefully observed better and said:"It looks like a grey sack."
    Ji Beiqing said:"Exactly, the colour is the same as the stones. If you can't guess who that is now, you really are as stupid as a pig."
    Ji Kuqing said loudly:"Of course! It is the sack of universal mystery. The preceptor of the sack is here."
    Mr. Dongguo laughed:"Very good! Cuckold friend!"
    And the bag rolled in front of the three, it was obvious that someone was in the bag because the bag was moving.
    Ji Kuqing was furious when he heard the word [cuckold] and lifted his palm and struck at the bag. Ji Kuqing knew that old Dongguo often hid himself in the bag to make fun of people. The bag exploded and they heard a cry and a man rolled out of the bag vomitting blood.
    Ji Kuqing looked stunned, both Ji Beiqing and Yu Duhe were shocked too.
    The man who rolled out of the bag was Tianchi Xing and was heavily injured now.
    Tian Chixing was one of the experts they enlisted to capture Yu Peiyu, somehow he must have been captured by Mr. Dongguo
    and put into his sack. Now Ji Kuqing had heavily injured him too.
    Mr. Dongguo who was sitting on a stone was laughing happily, because he was rather short his long beard reached the ground
    covering his entire body. Normally it would be funny to see such a scene, but Yu Duhe, Ji Beiqing and Ji Kuqing were not at all amused.
    Mr. Dongguo stroked his long beard and said seriously:"Enough of this nonsense! Why aren't the three of you, husbands and
    wife at home? Why brings you here to my old place, could it be that you miss one more player for mahjong?"
    Ji Beiqing was shivering with anger, that [why aren't the three of you, husbands and wife at home?] angered her to the bone,
    not to mention humiliated her deeply.
    Both Yu Duhe and Ji Kuqing were furious and embarrassed too and wanted to kill this Dongguo old dog at once.
    After awhile Ji Beiqing composed herself and said:"Mr. Dongguo is a renowned and respected Wulin dignitary, I believe if I have a question you would answer me honestly."
    Mr. Dongguo laughed:"Well, Madame Dark Jade is really formidable. With only one sentence I have to be serious again."
    Ji Beiqing said:"I just want to know if young master Yu is here."
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Since all of you have come here, there is no point in saying no."
    Ji Beiqing said:"Well, it is good that he is here. Would you ask him to come out, I have a few questions for him."
    Mr. Dongguo looked a bit surprised and asked:"Do you want to instruct him to assassinate me again?"
    Ji Beiqing shivered a bit with anger and said:"I was wrong there, I should have killed him on the spot. That way I would have
    had the plaque and the book of debts, that I would have controlled the entire realm."
    Mr. Dongguo smiled:"It seems that this is the first time that you ever admit that you were wrong, especially in front of anyone.
    I feel most honoured."
    Ji Beiqing laughed wryly:"It is too late.....too late. But there still one thing that isn't too late."
    Mr. Dongguo asked:"What is that?"
    Ji Beiqing said hatefully:"Kill him."
    She emphasized these two words heavily, meaning she hated Yu Peiyu to the bone.
    Mr. Dongguo said:"I was the one who openly exposed the contents of the book of debts."
    Ji Beiqing was surprised and asked:"Did you really do that?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Why should I lie about something like that, it is the truth."
    Ji Beiqing looked pensive and said:"Even so, he asked you to do it for him. Yu Peiyu is the guilty one."
    Mr. Dongguo said:"So you really hold that little boy responsible is it?"
    Ji Beiqing said politely:"I sincerely hope that Mr. Dongguo could keep out of this incident."
    Mr. Dongguo said resolutely:"Nothing and nobody in this world can change my mind."
    Ji Beiqing sighed:"If that is the case, forgive us for being rude."
    Mr. Dongguo said:"If you don't want to be rude, I suggest that you leave now with your friends."
    Ji Beiqing was a bit surprised to see old Dongguo this bold and said:"What do you mean, could you be more precise?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Ignorance is a bliss, remember that."
    Ji Beiqing said:"Enough of this nonsense! There are two options for you, Mr. Dongguo. I am speaking on behalf of the realm, Mr. Dongguo you can choose with option you take."
    Mr. Dongguo nodded and said:"Well, let me hear those options."
    Ji Beiqing became very solemn and said earnestly:"Hand out Yu Peiyu and let him be trialed according to the directives set at
    the gathering of lake Huang."
    Mr. Dongguo loudly said:"Elusive cloud, Yu Duhe! Did you hear that?"
    Yu Duhe was a bit surprised but remained calm and said:"Who are you talking to?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"I am calling Yu Duhe, which happens to be you."
    Yu Duhe scoffed:"I think you are becoming senile, don't you even recognize the chancellor of Wulin Yu Fanghe."
    Mr. Dongguo said loudly:"Yu Duhe, stop pretending! Your secrets have already been exposed now by the book of debts, if you
    continue to feign I will turn your elusive cloud into a dispersing cloud."
    Yu Duhe looked furious but stayed silent.
    Mr. Dongguo continued:"Did you hear the words of Madame Dark Jade?"
    Yu Duhe said:"Of course I did, that is the main issue we are discussing at this moment."
    Mr. Dongguo said:"I think this option is comparable to lodging a complaint against a thief in a den of rogues. Futile and stupid!"
    Yu Duhe turned to Ji Beiqing and said:"Madame Ji, would you proclaim what the second option is?"
    Ji Beiqing said hatefully:"Death!"
    Mr. Dongguo stroked his beard and laughed happily:"Nope, I won't pick that option. I am not even married, I don't have any
    children. When I report to King Yama in the netherworld I will become a laughing-stock. Neither of your options appeal to me,
    can we discuss a third option, Madame Ji?"
    Ji Beiqing was surprised and said:"A third option?"
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Let us solve all the problems in the realm once and for all, just give me seven days. That little boy Yu will be
    looking for you too, so don't worry you will bound to meet him soon."
    Ji Kuqing loudly shouted:"Old Dongguo, stop stalling for time!"
    Mr. Dongguo said calmly:"Is that my cuckold friend who is talking again? temper, temper. No wonder the wife goes out a lot."
    Everyone could hear he was mocking Ji Kuqing again, he leapt up and stormed forward towards Mr. Dongguo.
    His attack from the sky was fierce and powerful, Mr. Dongguo stroked his beard one more time before leaping up too to
    engage Ji Kuqing. Mr. Dongguo raised his palm too both exchanged palm energies in mid-air, when the two forces met a small whirwind was created. Mr. Dongguo floated backwards with three steps, Ji Kuqing made seven, eight somersaults backward
    and fell on the same spot where he stood before. Blood was dripping from the corners of his mouth and he was looking very
    Ji Beiqing sneered:"The ephemeral form dexterity of Mr. Dongguo is very powerful. Let me remind you that besides the three of us there are about ten odd top martial arts experts here too, I don't think you can deal with all of them that easily too."
    Mr. Dongguo looked around and saw that indeed more than ten people were slowly emerging from the woods.
    Mr. Dongguo said:"Are there more? Let me deal with all of them, I don't want to trouble the youngsters with trivial matters like this."
    Ji Beiqing said:"It seems that Mr. Dongguo is not backing away from this."
    Mr. Dongguo said:"It seems all of you are interested in sampling my ephemeral form dexterity."
    All the other experts gathered behind Ji Beiqing now.
    Ji Beiqing laughed:"Well, if that is the case Mr. Dongguo we have no alternative. By the way don't think we don't know where
    young master Yu is hiding."
    Mr. Dongguo was suprised and looked at Ji Beiqing carefully with his sharp eyes.
    Ji Beiqing said:"Let me tell you, we know he is hiding behind the waterfall."
    Mr. Dongguo praised the keen eyes and intelligence of her in his heart.
    Ji Beiqing said:"I urge to reconsider, because you are now dealing with the entire Wulin here."
    Mr. Dongguo turned around and saw his brother Dongguo Gao and Feng San holding guard at the waterfall, he felt slightly secured now.
    With the three of them they could not face all these experts but they had no other choice now.
    Mr. Dongguo was not afraid and said loudly:"Good! I hope the three of you, husbands and wife will attack together. Don't
    forget that my universal sack can hold anything in this world, including repulsive sick people like you."
    When all those experts heard the words of Mr. Dongguo they were scared, during the banquet of eighth squire Fu everyone
    fled when they heard his name. Now they were facing him in person.
    Although no one was running now, but they all were very much afraid now and thought if they were on the losing they would
    immediately surrender to Mr. Dongguo.

    Now the time for negotiations were over.
    Yu Duhe said loudly:"Master Nu, you lead a group to attack Dongguo Gao!"
    Yu Duhe used his status as the chancellor of Wulin, Yu Fanghe to order these martial arts experts.
    Master Nu replied and lead a group of eight martial artists to attack Dongguo Gao.
    Yu Duhe turned to eighth squire Fu and said:"Eighth squire!"
    Eighth squire Fu replied:"Here!"
    Yu Duhe said:"Lead a group to attack Feng San, capture Yu Peiyu at all costs!"
    Eighth squire Fu nodded and responded with [yes] and lead another group to attack Feng San.
    All that remained were two and a half people, the two were Ji Beiqing and Yu Duhe, the half was the wounded Ji Kuqing.
    Yu Duhe stared at Mr. Dongguo with angry eyes and said:"I hope your sack is big enough to keep up us in there."
    He leapt up and dashed towards Mr. Dongguo ferociously.
    Yu Duhe struck with three palms making whoosing sounds, but the ever sly him avoided the palms Mr. Dongguo directed to
    him. It was obvious that Yu Duhe feared the ephemeral form dexterity of Mr. Dongguo and was afraid to engage it head on.
    The palms of Mr. Dongguo were most powerful, the energy released send stones flying and leaves twirling. The energy he
    released formed an invisble forcefield around him.
    Even Ji Beiqing looked startled and thought the old goat is putting everything he has in this battle.
    After a few bouts, Yu Duhe was only retreating. Fortunately his strategy was to avoid instead engaging the enemy, otherwise
    he would have been wounded now by the omnipotent force released by Mr. Dongguo.
    A black figure entered the fight, it was Ji Beiqing.
    Her arms made a circle and she pushed out.
    A lould Bammm could be heard, her top skill the pre-heaven seraphic energy collided with the ephemeral form dexterity.
    Ji Beiqing backed away with several large steps, Mr. Dongguo was still standing but was swaying back and forth.
    Ji Beiqing looked at him with amazed eyes and Mr. Dongguo looked back angrilly.
    Suddenly Mr. Dongguo felt a palm attacking him from the back.
    He shouted:"What kind of chancellor of Wulin are you! Attacking people in the back!"
    He blocked that attack of Yu Duhe with the stance the willow swaying in the wind, not only did he block the attack but
    Yu Duhe could not deal with the remaining power in that stance and was flung backwards for about three metres.
    He was almost severely injured, but luckily for him Ji Beiqing attacked Mr. Dongguo from the front with her pre-heaven
    seraphic energy, so Mr. Dongguo left Yu Duhe and directed his attention to Ji Beiqing again.
    Now Mr. Dongguo was fighting both Ji Beiqing and Yu Duhe, Ji Beiqing was quite concerned about Yu Duhe and said:"Chancellor Yu, don't engage him head on. Tire him out!"
    This is what Mr. Dongguo feared because using the ephemeral form dexetiry was quite fatiguing for the body, but if he did
    not use this skill he could not ward off these two top martial artists.
    Mr. Dongguo looked at his brother and Feng San, he saw that those martial artists were gaining the upper hand on Feng San
    and Dongguo Gao. Feng San and Dongguo Gao were each facing seven, eight martial arts experts and they had to make sure
    that these people did not reach Yu Peiyu. Their situation was most dire.
    Mr. Dongguo could not help them because he was being detained by Yu Duhe and Ji Beiqing, he looked around with his sharp eyes and saw a pile of dirt was between him and Ji Beiqing and Yu Duhe.
    He suddenly blasted that pile of dirt with his powerful energy, the dirt and sand were sent flying creating a dust cloud.
    Ji Beiqing and Yu Duhe retreated backwards and when the cloud settled, they saw Mr. Dongguo shooting towards the waterfall like a comet.
    In mid-air he shouted:"The sack of universal mystery, the preceptor of the sack is here! Cowards, leave!"
    He dashed towards eighth squire Fu.

    end of chapter 39

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