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Thread: LOCH Chapter 10

  1. #21
    Senior Member eliza bennet's Avatar
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    So what happens now?

  2. #22
    Senior Member rayon's Avatar
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    Jan 2005


    Quote Originally Posted by eliza bennet
    So what happens now?
    I think traveller's going to do chapter 11. It should be posted on the old thread for Chapter 4 onwards. This thread will serve as a parking lot for advance chapters.
    "It's good to know what you don't know." - The Twit

    Xiao Shiyi Lang Book 2 - plodding thru Chap 27

  3. #23
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    under the southern cross


    Quote Originally Posted by rayon
    I think traveller's going to do chapter 11. It should be posted on the old thread for Chapter 4 onwards. This thread will serve as a parking lot for advance chapters.
    OK - I'll make a start this weekend. Too busy to do much during the week

  4. #24
    Senior Member rayon's Avatar
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    Jan 2005


    No hurries, traveller. You deserve a break after that excellent job.

    Dugu said he'll do Chapter 12. I'll do chapter 13 if no one protests to that.
    "It's good to know what you don't know." - The Twit

    Xiao Shiyi Lang Book 2 - plodding thru Chap 27

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


    For anyone translating Chapter 12, Patudo has already done the first two pieces of that chapter.


    Chapter 12-1, 12-2

    Hong didn't need to be told twice: without even drinking the wine, he brandished his chopsticks and seized two meat sticks that he engulfed voraciously. An exquisite taste filled his mouth: this was not merely beef! Whenever he chewed, different sensations struck him; sometimes an oily and juicy flavour, sometimes a succulent freshness. Scents succeeded themselves in complex and unpredictable variations, like the blows of a martial arts expert. Startled and delighted, Qi Gong examined the sticks more closely, and saw that each of them was formed by four small different intertwined sticks. He shut his eyes to savour the taste better:

    " Hmm," he said, " there is mutton thigh on one stick, another of pig ears of milk, a third one of calf kidney, and the last one...the last one..."

    " If you guess," said Huang Rong with a grin, "you're really fantastic..."

    She had barely finished her sentence before Qi Gong cried:

    " Deer thigh mixed with rabbit!"

    " Bravo!" applauded the girl. " Well guessed! "

    Guo Jing was completely stunned: " These meat sticks needed so much work!" he said to himself. " And Qi Gong is truly astonishing to have known to distinguish the five different meats! »

    " There are only five meat types," Qi Gong went on, " but the blend of pork and mutton gives a certain taste, the deer with beef another... how many variations there is in all, that, I wouldn't like to say..."

    " If one does not count the order of the variations," said Huang Rong with a smile, " there are some twenty-five, corresponding to the five times five petals of the plum flower. As the meat stick resembles a flute, then this dish has a name- it is called "Plumflowers fall to the jade flute's song" The « that » in the question means that there is a placement sort to the test. Qi Gong, you passed the test, you are the champion of all the gourmets!"

    " Bravo!" the beggar cried to himself.

    No one knew whether he applauded the name of the dish or his own skillfulness in discerning the tastes. Then he placed two cherries in a spoon and says while laughing:

    " This bowl of lotus-leaf soup, with those bamboo sprouts and cherries, is so pretty to look at, one regrets almost to have to eat it!"

    He swallowed and cried: « Ah! », Then he said to himself, astonished: « Eh? ». He took two more and exclaimed again: « Ah! » The freshness of the leaf of lotus, the taste of the bamboo sprouts, sweetness of the cherries, all that, obviously, leaps to the tastebuds, but what's more, the cherries, after having been pitted, had been stuck something..."

    " In the cherries," says Qi Gong while hesitating, " what's there?"

    He closed his eyes again, trying to recognize the taste:

    " This is lark's meat!" he mumbled to himself. " No...if this is not partridge, this is turtledove! Yes, that's it, this is turtledove!"

    He opened his eyes, saw that Huang Rong raised her thumb and was all to trust to have found:

    " So what's the complex name of this soup with lotus leaves, bamboo sprouts, cherries and turtledove?"

    " Elder," said Huang Rong, " you haven't mentioned one more ingredient."

    " Ah yes?" Hong said, astonished.

    He regarded the soup again:

    " Yes," he agreed, " there are these flower petals..."

    " Exactly!" confirmed Huang Rong. " The name of this soup, can you imagine it from these five ingredients?"

    " If this a riddle game, I declare I've lost. Tell me quickly..."

    " I'll give you a clue," said Huang Rong, it suffices you to think about the Book of the Odes!"

    " Ah no!" Qi Gong protested, " I know nothing in the books!"

    " The flower hints at a beauty's complexion," explained Huang Rong, the cherries to her small mouth, isn't that right?"

    " Ah, this is therefore the «Beauty's Soup»?"

    " No, said Huang Rong while shaking the head, the bamboo is a symbol of modesty, it therefore characterizes a gentleman, just as the lotus is the most eminent of the flowers. Thus, bamboo and lotus relate to a gentleman."

    " Oh," said Qi Gong, " this is therefore the «Gentleman and Beauty's Soup »?"

    " What about the turtledove?" said Huang Rong. Indeed, all these elements meet again in the first poem of the Book of the Odes, that finishes thus: "The gentleman is in good company". Thus, this soup is called the "Soup of Good Company"!"

    Qi Gong burst out laughing:

    " Since there is such a complex and strange soup, it's good that it has such a complex and strange name. Very well! Very well! You're a complex and strange little one yourself, I would like to know which complex and strange father that sired you...In any case, this soup is truly exquisite, much better tasting than the soup with cherries that I ate, approximately ten years ago, in the kitchen of the Imperial Palace."

    " You have a pass to the imperial kitchen?" asked Huang Rong. " Tell me, and see if I'll try to prepare something that will please you just as well."

    Qi Gong devoured literally, and didn't have time to reply. He halted himself when he had reached the bottom of the bowls:

    " In the imperial kitchen," he explained, " there are lots of good things of course, but nothing is worth the two dishes that here... Ah, if, there is well a «Five-flavoured slices of Mandarin duck » that was delicious, but I don't know how it was prepared."

    " And it was the emperor that invited you?" asked Guo Jing.

    " Absolutely," said Qi Gong while laughing, " the emperor treated me, but he didn't know that! I lived hidden on a big beam of the imperial kitchen for three months, while tasting each of the dishes intended for the emperor. If I found it to my taste, I kept it for me, otherwise, I left it to him! The cooks believed that there were ghosts!"

    " This person really is excessively greedy, " thought Guo Jing and Huang Rong to themselves, " but he is also insanely audacious!"

    " Little chap," said Qi Gong while laughing, your little girlfriend is the best cook in the world, your happiness is assured! Goodness! Why didn't I meet such a woman when I was young?"

    He seemed sincerely sorry.

    Huang Rong, with a hint of a smile, prepared the remainder for Guo Jing and for her. One bowl of rice was more than enough for her, while the young man put away four big bowls. As for the exquisite placement, it did not seem to make a difference to him. Qi Gong shook his head while sighing:

    " Like a bull chewing on peonies! What a shame! What a shame!"

    Huang Rong put a hand in front of her mouth to prevent herself from laughing.

    "Bulls... do they like peonies?" Guo Jing asked himself. " There are many bulls in Mongolia, but no peonies, then indeed I have never seen bulls eating peonies. But why does he keep saying 'What a shame'?"

    Qi Gong patted his stomach and says:

    " Good, you are both practitioners of the martial arts, I clearly saw that right away. The little one, that went to such trouble to prepare such exquisite dishes for me, certainly has bad intentions, such as, for instance, to persuade me to give you some instruction. Is that not correct? Good, I recognize that, after having so well eaten, I would have scruples to leave me without giving something in return. Come, come with me!" He took up his gourd, his bamboo cane, and went out.

    Guo Jing and Huang Rong followed until they reached outside of town.

    " What would you want to learn?" Qi Gong demanded of Guo Jing.

    " Martial arts are so varied," said the young man to himself, "if I want to learn something, how is he sure that he'll be able to teach it to me?"

    While he reflected, Huang Rong had begun to speak:

    " Qi Gong, his gongfu is inferior to mine, and so he gets angry often, because he's always trying to beat me."

    " When do I get angry?" protested Guo Jing.

    Huang Rong glanced at him, telling him to be quiet.

    " For my part," said Qi Gong while laughing, "I have the impression that all his movements are firm and assured, this that means that it has a good basis of neigong. How would he be inferior to you? Good, why don't you match skills a little?"

    Huang Rong moved aside some steps and cried:

    " My Jing, come on!"

    Guo Jing hesitated again.

    " If you don't show what you're capable of," said Huang Rong, " how do you expect this Elder to correct you? On guard!"

    She jumps on him and attacked with a palm stroke, Guo Jing blocked the blow, but she already had changed tactics, and attacked with a kick.

    " Well done, little one!" Qi Gong said. "Pretty blow!"

    " Fight seriously," advised Huang Rong in a low voice.

    Guo Jing itself concentrated and executed conscientiously the powerful " Southern Mountain Palm" taught by Nan Xiren. Huang Rong defended herself nimbly, jumping upwards and downwards. Then suddenly, she modified his technique and executed the « Palm of the divine sword falling the hero », created by his father. This palm technique resembled its name, « divine sword », for it was adapted from a sword technique. She shook her arms in all direction, her opponent was encircled by the palm shadows, incapable to determine if they were feigned or real. It was as though if the wind had got up in the wood of fishings, dropping a thousand flowers: the beauty of the gestures resided in their lightness and their aerial grace, so well that Huang Rong resembled a butterfly taking flight. As her neigong lacked again power, its blows were not as violent and also as terrifying as they should have been. It was of little importance, for Guo Jing, stunned by the multiplicity of the shadows in front of his eyes, had lost all means to resist: in some seconds, he received four palm blows, on the two shoulders, on the chest and on the back, but he was not injured, since Huang Rong had not struck with force. She stepped back with a smile.

    " Well done, Rong-er!" Guo Jing exclaimed in genuine admiration. " What a beautiful palm demonstration!"

    " Your father is so powerful," said Hong in an icy voice. " Why do you want me to give lessons to this simple-minded one?"

    Huang Rong was startled. " According to Father," she said to herself, "since he created this « Palm of the divine sword falling the hero », he not some again never is served himself, how the Venerable Seventh recognized it? »

    " Qi Gong," she demanded, "you know my father?"

    " Indeed, he is the « Eastern Heretic», and I, «The Northern Beggar », don't you think that we lacked occasions to match skills?"

    " He matched blows with Father," Huang Rong said to herself, " and managed to survive, that's really astonishing. Now I understand how the « Northern Beggar » can be ranked alongside the « Eastern Heretic»!"

    " And how did recognize you me?" she demanded again.

    " Just look at yourself in a mirror!" replied Hong. " Your nose and your eyes, are they not even as those of your father? At first, I did not think about that, I felt only that your face appeared familiar to me, but next your demonstration unveiled the jar to the roses! You believe that this old beggar does not recognize the gongfu of the Peach Blossom Isle? Even if I again never had not seen this Palm, I doubted myself well that alone a crafty fellow as your dad would have been able to invent it. Hehe...and the names of your two dishes, what were they? "Plumflowers fall at the Jade Flute's song", and the « Soup of Good Company", it was doubtless your dad that invented them?"

    " You really can read minds," said Huang Rong while laughing. " Then, according to you, my dad is very strong, isn't that right?

    " Of course he is powerful," said Qi Gong coldly, " but he is not the most powerful in all the world!"

    " Then, surely you're the most powerful in this world?" Huang Rong exclaimed while applauding.

    "Not necessarily," Qi Gong said. " Twenty years ago, we met all five of us, Eastern Heretic, Western Venom, Southern Emperor, Northern Beggar and Central Divine, at the summit of Huashan (Mount Hua), to match ourselves. The confrontation lasted seven days and seven nights. Finally, Central Divine revealed himself to be the most powerful, and we all gladly recognized it."

    " Who then is this Central Divine?" asked Huang Rong.

    " Your father never told you?"

    " No. Father said that, in the martial arts world, there are more bad things than good, and that there was no point for girls of good family to hear to speak, then it about it speaks me. And then after, he scolded me very strongly, he didn't love me anymore, so then I ran away. And he doesn't want anything to do with me..."

    Her eyes fell, her face sad.

    " Ah, that old monster!" Qi Gong swore. " What ...!"

    " I won't allow you to insult my father!" Huang Rong exclaimed.

    " What a pity that I was always too poor!" exclaimed Qi Gong, while laughing. " No one ever wanted to marry me! Otherwise, I would have a kind girl like you, and never would I have left you..."

    " Indeed!" said Huang Rong while bursting out laughing. " If I left, what would you do to eat?"

    " Fair enough!" Qi Gong agreed with a sigh. " Well, to answer your question, the Central Divine is Wang Chongyang, master of the Quanzhen Sect. But, after his death, it's difficult to say who's the world's most powerful."

    " The Quanzhen Sect?" Huang Rong said. " There is a fellow called Qiu, another called Wang, and yet another named Ma. This are all of the Taoist obtuse one, but I find their gongfu rather pathetic: they fought with people, and in two times three movements did to spread themselves!"

    " Ah yes? They were doubtless disciples of Wang Chongyang. It seems that, among his seven disciples, Qiu Chuji is the most powerful... But, it is certain than they are not even close to their martial uncle, Zhou Botong."

    Upon hearing this name, Huang Rong was startled; she was about to say something then stopped herself.

    Guo Jing, who was himself just satisfied to listen their conversation, interrupted:

    " It's true, Master Ma said that they had a martial uncle, but he did not mention the name of this Taoist master."

    " Zhou Botong is not a Taoist," Qi Gong replied. " He is a secular person, who was personally taught by his martial brother, Wang Chongyang... Eh, I say, my simple-minded one, you seem me well clumsy! This that your father-in-law, so fine and so crafty, really appreciates you?"

    Guo Jing, who had never thought he had a « father-in-law », stammered, without knowing how to reply.

    " My father is yet to see him again," said Huang Rong, smiling. " If you could be kind enough to give him some pointers, then, thanks to you, my dad will have some appreciation for him!"

    " Little rogue!" Qi Gong grumbled. " Who has learned not even a tenth of her father's gongfu, but who has inherited all his trickery and cleverness! I don't like your flattery and your toadying! And, also I never take disciples! Who wants a stupid one like that? To leaves you, that seem to consider it as a treasure? You planned to get me to teach your little dumb husband! Huh, this old beggar will not fall in such a trap!"

    Huang Rong bowed her head, red to the forehead. She never had not applied to learn the martial arts. His father himself was so strong, she not nothing had learned seriously of him, why would she want to learn from Qi Gong? Only, see that the gongfu of Guo Jing was not up to the mark, that his six Shifu considered her to be a «little witch », she rejoiced at having met such a master as Qi Gong, hoping that he would accept passing on a little of his knowledge to his well-loved one. So that, in front of his masters and in front of Qiu Chuji's Taoists, Guo Jing would not have to be scared, like a mouse in front of the cats. Now, Qi Gong was very greedy and always grinning, but he was not stupid, and he had seen through her act all along!

    The old beggar, muttering to himself, left without a backwards glance.

    The two young people stood silently for a long moment.

    "Rong-er," Guo Jing finally said, " this Elder has a rather original character!"

    Huang Rong heard a light rustle in the foliage, above their head, and realized that Qi Gong had done a big turn before returning, discreetly, to the top of the tree.

    " He's a really kind person," she said then. " And his gongfu is much stronger than my father's."

    " He hasn't shown his skills," Guo Jing wondered aloud, " how do you know that?"

    " My dad told me so."

    " What exactly did he say?"

    " He said that, in today's world, there was only one person who could beat him, and that was the Divine Nine Fingered Beggar, Hong Qi Gong. Unfortunately, as this Elder is always is by mounts and by is worth, he has seldom had the occasion to see him and exchange pointers."

    In fact, after he had moved away, Qi Gong had deployed his incomparable qinggong and had returned to the top of the tree, high above the heads of the young people. He wanted to hear their conversation, and to assure himself that they had not been sent by Huang Yaoshi (French translation: "Huang the Alchemist") to steal his skills. The words of Huang Rong filled him with pride:

    " So," he said to himself, " Huang Yaoshi never wanted to accept my superiority, but deep within himself, he admires me nonetheless!"

    How could he have guessed that it was all pure and simple invention from the girl?

    " I didn't learn great things from my father," Huang Rong went on, " but that's my fault: I enjoyed having fun too much, and never wanted to apply myself! Now, having had the fortune to meet Elder Hong, if he had wanted to give me some lesson, that would have been again better than with my father! What a shame I offended him, without wanting to!"

    And she herself started to sob. At first, she pretended, and Guo Jing tried to console her with softness, then she thought about the death of her mother, the intransigence of her father, and started to truly weep. Qi Gong, atop his tree, in was all returned one...

    " I heard Father say," continued Huang Rong while sobbing, " that Elder Hong had an exceptional skill, of incomparable power, of which even Wang Chongyang was afraid. It's called... It's called... How was it called? I can't remember... Anyway, I had it on the tip of my tongue all the time, I wanted to beg him to teach you- it's's called..."

    Indeed, she not some knew nothing, and talked big progressively.

    Hearing her hesitate, searching without finding, Qi Gong could not hold back, and cried, while jumping to the foot of the tree:

    " That is called the «Dragon-mastering Eighteen Palms»!"

    Guo Jing and Huang Rong bounded up in surprise, one's surprise was real, the other's was feigned...

    "Ah, Qi Gong", Huang Rong cried, " how did you get up in the tree? By flying? Yes, that's it: the «Dragon-Mastering 18 Palms»! Exactly! How could I have forgotten it? Father often told me that the gongfu that he admired most in the world was the «Dragon-Mastering 18 Palms»! "

    Qi Gong was delighted:

    " Then your dad knows what the truth is! I believed that, after the death of Wang Chongyang, he considered himself to be the most powerful in the world!"

    He turned towards Guo Jing:

    " Indeed, your gongfu isn't inferior to that of your little friend. The problem is that your palm technique is not at all up to the mark. Good, granddaughter, you return to the inn!"

    Huang Rong realized that he was going to give a lesson to Guo Jing, and she went away, all satisfied...

    Qi Gong addressed Guo Jing solemnly:

    " You will kneel down and promise me: without my permission, you do not must transmit my gongfu to no one else, even to your crafty little woman!

    Guo Jing was greatly embarrassed: "If Rong-er insists that I teach her," he said to himself, " how could I refuse?"

    " Qi Gong," he says then, " I do not want anymore to learn, so what if she is stronger than me..."

    " And why?" asked Qi Gong.

    " If she wants me to teach her, I cannot refuse without offending her, and I cannot accept without offending you..."

    " Simple-minded though you are," said Qi Gong while laughing, " you have a good heart, and you speak straight. That is good. Very well: I will teach you a stroke called «Resisting the Dragon means Regret» (author's interpretation - original French translation is "The Inflexible Dragon Repents"). I would imagine that Huang Yaoshi has enough pride that he won't, although he would crave to, copy my superior skills. In any case, our schools are completely different, I cannot learn his gongfu, he cannot learn mine..."

    At that, he bent his left knee, pivoted and straightened his arm, made a circle with the upright hand and pushed outwards with the other. His palm touched a great pine and « crack », its trunk broke!

    Guo Jing stood petrified, shocked by the power contained in this blow.

    " This tree cannot move," said Qi Gong, " if it was a human, it would obviously try to avoid the blow. The difficulty of this technique, is precisely to strike so that your opponent cannot, no matter what, avoid it. So well that once you land your blow, «crack », the enemy will collapse like this pine!"

    He repeated the demonstration twice, explaining in detail how to concentrate and project the internal energy. It was only one stroke, but the lesson took more than an hour.

    Guo Jing was not clever, but he had a good basis in neigong. And to learn a move such as this, made with simple movements but having unequaled power, suited him perfectly. He trained conscientiously and, at the end of two hours, had grasped the majority of this technique...

    " In that little imp's technique," said Qi Gong, " there are many more feints than real attacks. If you try to follow her, she will run around you like you were a donkey and you will always fall, since you never will be able to be as quick as she. You will think that, after all these feints, the next blow will be real, but no, it will be a feint! And the blow following after, you will believe that it is a feint, but no, she will strike a real blow, and you will be in trouble!"

    Guo Jing nodded his head in agreement.

    " Thus, to fight her, the clever way is to completely put the thought of whether it is a feint or not out of your mind. When she attacks you with a palm blow, whether it is a feint or not, return it with a blow of "Opposing the Dragon means Regret". Against of the power of your attack, she will be well obliged to withdraw and to defend herself, so well that all her tricks falls to water!"

    " And after that?" asked Guo Jing.

    " What do you mean, 'and after that'?" Qi Gong replied, his face suddenly darkening. " You great idiot, do you think she is able to withstand this blow that I taught you?"

    " But if she can't withstand it, " said Guo Jing, very worried, " won't she be injured?"

    Qi Gong shook his head and sighed:

    " If, in such a blow one seeks only to send out the force and not to keep it, if one cannot somehow control its lightness or its power, firmness or softness, how can one consider himself a master of these unique 'Eighteen Dragon Mastering Palms'?"

    Guo Jing was eager to consent, but he had taken an inner decision: " As I haven't learned to control my force perfectly, I won't fight with Rong-er!"

    " You don't believe me?" said Qi Gong. " In that case, try it!"

    Guo Jing took up position, imitating his senior's posture, picked a pine with a particularly slender trunk and he struck it a violent blow. The pine was a little shaken but not at all itself broken.

    " You big idiot," Qi Gong said, " why are you shaking this tree for? To catch squirrels? Or to drop pinecones?"

    Guo Jing, red with shame, laughs with an air of denial, not knowing what to reply.

    " I already repeated it for you," said Qi Gong, " it is necessary to put the opponent in a position such that it cannot back up or get away. Your blow just now had enough force, but all it needed was for the pine to shake itself a little for it to escape the full force. It is necessary that you learn to approach and strike in such a way that the tree cannot budge, in order to be able to break it at one go."

    This was, for Guo Jing, an illumination:

    " Then," he cried joyously, " it's necessary for the force to be particularly swift, delivered in such a way that the opponent has no time to defend himself!"

    Qi Gong shot him a black look:

    " Absolutely! That goes without saying! You sweated blood for such a long time, and you only now understand this truth? One really can say that you aren't clever! For this stroke, known as "Resisting the Dragon Means Regret"- it's essence is not found in the word "Resisting" but rather in the word "Regret". If one concentrated only on pure violence, brute power, a little forces in the muscles would suffice. But then, how could this technique be admired by Huang Yaoshi? As the old saying goes: « The inflexible Dragon itself repent, the surplus will not last a long time ». This is the reason that if there has transmission, there must be rétention. When you send out a force of ten, it is necessary again to preserve within yourself a force of twenty. The day where you will know to appreciate the full meaning of the concept "Regrets", then you will be able to consider that you assimilated thirty percent of this blow. Just as a fine old wine, that has had time to season: at first taste, it is not strong, but afterwards that it releases its full heady flavour, that explains the concept "Regret"."

    Guo Jing didn't understand anything about these matters, but he tried to memorize them, in order for him to calmly reflect upon them later. To learn the martial arts, he always had adopted the same method: "That which others may assimilate in a morning, I will devote ten days!" Then he concentrated on the study of the palm technique.

    At first, the pine balanced itself to each of the blows that it received. Towards the end, these became more and more powerful, but the tree moved less and less. He realized that he had progressed and rejoiced somewhat. The face of his palm had become red and swollen, but he did not treat it, and continued to train with determination, never relaxing.

    Qi Gong, that some had quickly had laughs to see it to persist, had stretched himself on the ground and snored calmly.

    Little by little, Guo Jing felt more comfortable, he attained a mastery of his energy, to carry the blow and to keep it. He brought up his breath into his dantian, advanced his palm violently, withdrawing his force immediately, so well that the tree did not move at all. Delighted, the young man repeated in the same way while concentrating his force on the edge of his palm: he heard a creak, and the small pine broke apart.

    " Bravo!" cried Huang Rong, who had seen the scene from a distance.

    She approached slowly, carrying a heavy shopping basket.

    Before even opening his eyes, Qi Gong had smelt the delicious aroma of the food that she brought.

    " That feels good! That feels good!" he cried while jumping to his feet.

    He seized the basket from the girl's hands and opened the lid. He beheld a dish of roasted frogs thighs, a very fat duck suited to the Eight treasures, and a big bowl of white and immaculate money noodles. With joyful cries, he pounced on the foods, not drying up any praises on this that it devoured to beautiful teeth. But, as his mouth was full, one couldn't understand anything he said. In an instant, the bowls containing the frog thighs and the duck were emptied. Realizing that Guo Jing again had not eaten, the old beggar felt a little ashamed of his gluttony:

    " Go on, eat up," he says, " these noodles aren't bad..."

    And as he felt really bothered, it added:

    " They are even better than the duck!"

    Huang Rong laughed and says:

    " Qi Gong, you haven't yet tasted my best dishes!"

    Surprise and delighted, the old beggar eagerly asked:

    " What dishes? What dishes?"

    " You can't name them all," replied Huang Rong. "For example returned cabbage in the wok, steamed tofu, hard eggs, roasted meat..."

    As a well-informed gourmet, Qi Gong knew well that it was in the most simple dishes that the true masters really showed their talents. The same applied to martial arts: wondrous executiion of the most simple techniques, that was the hallmark of the great masters! These words of Huang Rong delighted him, therefore, so well that his face itself was almost imploring:

    " Good, good!" he says. " I always said that you were a brave little you want me to buy you cabbage and tofu? Please?"

    " It's not worth your while", said Huang Rong while laughing. " And then, what you will buy will not suit me necessarily."

    " Fair enough," said Qi Gong. " None other than you can choose your ingredients..."

    " Just now," Huang Rong said again, " I saw him break the trunk of a pine: he's already more powerful than me!

    " Not at all," Qi Gong protested, shaking his head. " He isn't up to standard at all! It's necessary that the point the trunk breaks be perfectly neat. Look, it's all twisted, like a saw's teeth- what pathetic gongfu! And then this pine is as slender as a stick, no, as slender as a toothpick! This kid isn't up to the mark at all!"

    " But if he attacks me with this Palm," objected Huang Rong, " I will not be able to defend myself. This is all your fault: if he bullies me later, how will I do?"

    Qi Gong, who wanted to get back into her good books, did not want to keep annoying her, even though he clearly saw that she was being duplicitous:

    " So what, according to you, must I do?"

    " Teach me a skill with which I can beat him. After that, I'll cook for you."

    " Very well, we're agreed," said Qi Gong. " He learned only a single blow, it's easy to beat him. I will teach you a fist technique called "Wandering Strides"."

    No sooner had he finished speaking that he rose to his feet to demonstrate: he jumped to right and to the left, with grace and nimbleness, while his big sleeves flew away...

    Huang Rong not some lost a crumb and silently memorized every movement. When the old man had finished the complete chain, she had already half-learned it. After it him given all the supplementary indications, it didn't take two hours for the girl to execute perfectly the thirty-six movements of the "Wandering Strides". At last, she executed the skill at the same time as Qi Gong: they themselves tinrent coast to coast and sprang in concert, the one to right, the other to the left, twirling as a jade swallow and a great eagle gliding in the skies. At the end of the thirty-six movements, they landed on their feet at the same time, regarding each other, and burst into laughter, while Guo Jing applauded vigorously.

    " This little one is hundred more intelligent times than you," says Qi Gong to Guo Jing.

    " So many movements and variations," marvelled the latter while scratching his head, " how did she learn so quickly? And how does she manage not to forget? Me, when I remember second movement, I've already forgot the first one!"

    Qi Gong burst out laughing:

    " Indeed you absolutely cannot learn this «Wandering Strides»! Even if you memorized the steps, you are incapable, in the practice, to produce the spirit of striding! Executed so painstakingly and clumsily, this fist technique would become a real chore!"

    " You've got a point!" conceded Guo Jing while laughing.

    " This «Wandering Strides»," Qi Gong said, " is a gongfu that I practiced in my youth. I have brought it out again to match the direction of the original gongfu of the little one, indeed, it doesn't correspond to the martial arts that I use currently. Thus, I myself haven't used it once during the last ten years."

    He wanted to mean that the «Wandering Strides» was a lot less powerful than the «Eighteen Dragon Mastering Palms».

    Huang Rong was delighted:

    " Qi Gong, if I beat him again, he'll surely be unhappy, so teach him again some blows."

    She herself had no real intention to learn, it was only a pretext to push the old beggar to give more lessons to her lover. If she really had wanted to obtain martial arts, she had at her disposal a great master in the person of her father, of which she not never all could have learned.

    " This dumb kid," said Qi Gong, " He hasn't even fully digested the single blow that I learned for him. Who too kisses poorly embraces! It suffices that you prepare me a lot of dishes, and I will grant all your wishes!"

    " Very well," said Huang Rong, smiling. " Then I leave for the market."

    Qi Gong laughed heartily and himself returned to the hostelry, leaving Guo Jing alone in the pine wood, where he returned to training with determination, late into the night.

    That night, Huang Rong indeed prepared a cabbage dish and a plateful of tofu for Qi Gong. She had carefully selected the most tender cabbage heart and leaves, than she had done to return with hen grease and filaments of duck leg. But the plateful of tofu was really extraordinary: she had cut a ham in two, then dug twenty-four small spherical cavities, in which ones had placed balls of tofu, before closing the ham and beginning to steam it. At the end of cooking, the whole flavour of the ham had passed into the tofu, while the ham himself was left out. After tasting of this dish, Qi Gong evidently was conquered. This steamed tofu had an equally inspired name of poetry Tang and was called « Full Moon Night on the twenty-four bridges ». If the girl had not had at his disposal the family technique called « The Orchid Skims the Point », her ten nimble and delicate fingers would not have been in a position to cut twenty-four small balls in the fragile mass of the tofu. To do that demanded as much delicacy as to engrave characters on a grain of rice, or to sculpture a boat in a nutshell. It would have been easy to cut pieces of tofu in cube, but where had one seen square full moons?

    After the dinner, each went to go to bed. Qi Gong was astonished to see Guo Jing and Huang Rong going to separate rooms:

    " Huh? Aren't you husband and wife? Why don't you sleep in the same room?"

    Huang Rong, that had not stopped joking with him without reserve, felt all embarrassed. Her cheeks blushing, she looked upset.

    " Elder, if you continue to talk nonsense, I won't cook for you tomorrow!"

    " What's this?" Qi Gong was astonished. " What did I talk nonsense?"

    After an instant's reflection, he realized:

    " I'm old and senile, indeed," he said while laughing. " You're clearly dressed as a girl, and not as a wife. You are yourself therefore promised to each other secretly, without the consent of the parents or a matchmaker, or the wedding ceremony. Don't worry, I will be your go-between. If your dad does not accept, I'll provoke a duel and we'll fight, my goodness! for seven days and seven nights if we have to, until he yields!"

    Huang Rong was precisely worried about this matter: she feared that her father would not like Guo Jing. The words of the old beggar filled her with joy and she returned to her room, her face radiant.

    The next day, Guo Jing went back to the pinewood at dawn. He practiced to about twenty rounds with much sweat, but rejoiced at the progress he accomplished, when he suddenly heard a voice speaking behind the trees.

    " Shifu," says a voice, "we must have traverse more than thirty li this time, isn't that right? "

    " Indeed," replied another voice, " you've achieved some progress in endurance..."

    This voice seemed very familiar to Guo Jing, who then saw four individuals appear, of which the first one had white hair and ruddy complexion: it was none other than his number one enemy, Liang Ziwong, the Thousand-Year Ginseng! He pesta internally and took to his heels.

    But Liang Ziwong already had recognized him:

    " Where do you think you're going?" he cried while thrusting himself forward in pursuit.

    The three other men were his disciples. See their Shifu running after an enemy, they themselves split up in order to surround the young man.

    " I need to get out of the pinewood and get back to the inn in order to be safe," said Guo Jing to himself, while running even faster.

    The first disciple of Liang Ziwong barred the way and shouted, while crossing the two palms:

    " Little peasant, kneel!"

    He attacked with a technique of qinna taught by his master and sought to seize Guo Jing to the chest. The young man folded his left leg lightly, the straight arm turned in, made a circle with his right palm and struck powerfully outward: it was precisely the blow that it had just learned, "Resisting the Dragon Means Regret". His opponent feels the sudden power, and attempted to dodge it, but it was so powerful that it broke his arm, throwing him a distance of six or seven feet, and made him lose consciousness. Guo Jing, that never would have believed that his blow was going to be so strong, demeura forbids, before resuming his race.

    Surprise and irritated, Liang Ziwong jumped in front of him. Guo Jing had just left the pines when he found the immortal one in front of him. Very frightened, he himself got in position and launched once more his "Resisting the Dragon Means Regret". Liang Ziwong did not know this blow but, in front of its power, knew that he could not handle it. He had to roll to earth to avoid it. Guo Jing took the opportunity to flee.

    When Liang Ziwong itself recovered, the young man had reached the front of the inn and screamed:

    " Rong-er, big trouble! Here's the evil one that wants to drink my blood!"

    Huang Rong poked her head out the window. " How did this old monster get here?" she asked herself. " That's good, I'll try out on him this new "Wandering Strides" that I have just learned."

    " My love," she cried. " Don't be scared of this old crust. Begin the fight, I'll come to help you, we'll teach him a good lesson!"

    " Rong doesn't know the power of this old monster," said Guo Jing to himself, " that's why she speaks so lightly." But Liang Ziwong already jumped on him. In front of the violence of the attack, the young man had no other option but to launch once more his "Resisting the Dragon Means Regret". Liang Ziwong twisted and dodged several feet to the side, but his straight arm was almost touched by the breath of the palm, that left a burning and painful track. The immortal one, frightened inside, was amazed that this kid, in the space of some months, had progressed so much. " This must be," he said, " due to the absorption of the precious blood of the snake." This thought the mit outside him and it jumps to the attack. Guo Jing defended himself again with the same blow. Conscious that he could not oppose it, Liang Ziwong retreated, but, seeing that the young man did not have at his disposal other such fearful blows to press his advantage, his fear lessened:

    " Little idiot," he cried, " Do you know only that one blow?

    Guo Jing tumbled right into his trap:

    " Even this one blow," he replied, " you still won't be able to avoid it!"

    And he advanced, launching once again his "Resisting the Dragon Means Regret". Liang Ziwong dodged and jumped behind Guo Jing to attack it. He turned and attempted to attack again same manner, but his opponent was itself, once of more, slipped behind him. Thus, the young man, that knew only to attack in front, was completely perturbed and did not arrive anymore to face.

    Seeing him on the verge of losing, Huang Rong cried:

    " My love, let me take me care of him!"

    She sprang forward and interposed herself between the two fighters, attacking Liang Ziwong with palms and kicks, who returned the attack. Guo Jing retreated two steps to watch them. Huang Rong had well learn this wonderful technique that was the «Wandering Strides», but, besides the fact that she had obtained it too recently to truly master it, Liang Ziwong was in fact a lot stronger one than she. Thus, without the protection given by her soft armour, she already would have received several blows and certainly would have been injured long ago. Before even to have deployed the thirty-six movements of the "Strides", she was located already in bad posture. The disciples of Liang Ziwong, surrounding their elder injured brother, observed the fight and, see their Shifu was winning, shouted out, the better to encourage him.

    Guo Jing prepared himself to assist Huang Rong when all of a sudden Qi Gong was heard to shout, from behind the window:

    " His next blow is called "The nasty dog blocks the road"!"

    Very surprised, Huang Rong lives that Liang Ziwong, the legs firmly spread in the "Rider Stance", the stretched fists horizontally, indeed taking the stance of the "Terrible Tiger blocks the road". She couldn't prevent herself from laughing internally. "Qi Gong changed the name of this blow! But how was he able to guess that this would be that one?"

    She heard then the old beggar shout again:

    - And his next blow is "The stinking snake inhales water"!"

    She comprit that it was a matter of the «Green Dragon inhales water », for which one lengthened the fist forward, this that unveiled a rift to the back, in the back. Venerable seventh had at pains finished to speak that she already had slipped herself behind Liang Ziwong. He attacked effectively with « Green Dragon inhales water », but as the girl, warned in advance, had the advantage and the attacked in the back, he made himself safe only because of his exceptional technical mastery, that allowed him to change position right in the middle of a movement, and to fly away itself more far. He landed on the tips of his toes, surprised and furious at once:

    "Who is the powerful master that breaks me the shack? he cried towards the window. "Why don't you show yourself?"

    But there was only silence behind the window. Liang Ziwong lost himself in wonderment: " How could this person succeed in predicting my blows?"

    Fortified by the support of a great master, Huang Rong now feared nothing: she regained the initiative and launched herself to the attack. Liang Ziwong resorted to killer blows so that the girl herself was forced to give up the upper hand.

    " Don't fear anything!" Qi Gong cried then. " He will do as a «Monkey with a rotten bottom climbs to the tree »!

    Huang Rong burst out laughing, leva the fists and attacked downwards. Liang Ziwong effectively had sketched a « phenomenal Gorille climbs to the tree », and had, after to have jumped in the air and attack downwards. But Huang Rong had preceded him, then if he continued to jump, that meant that he simply was going to offer the head to the falling fists! He had to change his technique immediately... If, in a fight, the opponent knew in advance all your blows, it would not take long for him to overcome you! The immortal one, fortunately for him, was a lot stronger one than Huang Rong, this that him permit to pull itself of a bad step to the last moment. Sudden, he jumps behind and shouted

    " If you persist not to show yourself, I won't hesitate to be ruthless towards this girl!"

    Changing his tactics, he rained down his blows like hail in a storm, so much so that Huang Rong absolutely could not adorn, and that Qi Gong had not the time to call out his blows.

    Seeing his loved one in danger, reduced to dodging right and left, Guo Jing leapt forward and sent out once more his "Resisting the Dragon Means Regret". Liang Ziwong jumped back.

    " My love," said Huang Rong, " give him again three blows!"

    She turned and went back into the inn.

    Guo Jing took position, awaiting the approach of Liang Ziwong and, no matter what technique the Immortal employed, he returned it with a "Resisting the Dragon Means Regret". His opponent not some could but, furious and entertained at once: " Where on earth," he asked, " did this dumb little fellow learn this strange blow? And why does he know only that one!"

    But even if he knew only one blow, the dumb little fellow held it in respect and it there could not nothing. All two restèrent therefore immobilized on their position.

    " Silly fellow!" Liang Ziwong cried then. " You'd better watch out!"

    He jumps on his young opponent, who turned to his many times tested formula. Now Liang changed direction squarely flight and sudden struck out three «Acupoint Piercing Bones», that jaillirent towards the young man according to three different trajectories. Guo Jing hurriedly dodged, Liang Ziwong took advantage to thrust himself forward with the speed of light, and seized him by the nape of his neck. Very frightened, the young man struck an elbow blow at the chest of his opponent but, to his great astonishment, he felt the impression that his elbow had sunk itself in a soft mass, like cotton.

    Liang Ziwong prepared himself to deal a fatal blow when he heard Huang Rong scream:

    " Old monster! Look here!"

    Knowing that she was very crafty, he decided not to take any risk: he empoigna Guo Jing upoon the «Jianjing» point, so that he was unable to move, before turning the head. He saw then the girl advancing slowly, being anxious the hand a bamboo stick, its green as clear as jade, which froze him in terror.

    " Hong..." he stammered, stunned. " Grand Master Hong!"

    " So, why haven't you released him!" threatened Huang Rong.

    At the time, when he had heard someone calling out his blows before he even carried them out, Liang Ziwong already was very surprised, but he had not thought that it could be Qi Gong. Now, at the appearance of the green bamboo stick, he realized that the voice behind the window was indeed that of the person that he dreaded most in the world. Terrified, he quickly freed Guo Jing.

    Brandishing the stick, Huang Rong approached him and said severely:

    " Qi Gong wants to ask you how, while he deigned to speak, you dare again to do evil here? What impudence!"

    Liang Ziwong tumbled to his knees:

    " Your servant did not know that Grand Master Hong was there," he stuttered. " Even if I had courage, I never would have dared to offend Grand Master Hong."

    " This fellow is, nonetheless, very powerful," Huang Rong said to herself, astonished. " How is it that he is so terrified of just the mention of Qi Gong's name? And why does he call him Grand Master Hong?"

    But she didn't allow any of her thoughts to appear and assumed a threatening air:

    "And which punishment do you deserve?"

    " I beg you to please say some words in my favor with Grand Master Hong! Said him that Liang Ziwong recognizes his great sins and that he implores Grandmaster Hong to spare his life!"

    " To say a word in your favor, why not? But several words, this would be really too much to ask. In the future, you mustn't cause trouble to both of us."

    " Your servant offended you in his ignorance," said Liang Ziwong. " I you taken of not to hold some for me harshness. In the future, indeed, I will not dare anymore to do..."

    Huang Rong, very proud of herself, smiled and reentered the inn, hand in hand with Guo Jing. They found Qi Gong sitting in front of a well-laid table, a knife in the left hand, chopsticks in his right hand, in the process of treating himself.

    " Qi Gong," said Huang Rong while laughing. " He's on his knees and doesn't dare to move even a hair."

    - Will give him a hiding to unwind you, it will not dare certainly to defend itself.

    By the window, Guo Jing saw Liang Ziwong kneeling petrified, with his three disciples behind him, also kneeling, all four looking miserable. He felt pity for them and said:

    " Qi Gong, why not forgive them?"

    " Little good-for-nothing without character," Qi Gong reprimanded. " Someone comes here to trouble you, you aren't capable of defending yourself, I you except the placement and you want to forgive to your enemy! To what that resembles, I ask you?

    Guo Jing wasn't sure how to reply.

    " I'll take care of him," said Huang Rong while laughing.

    She took up the bamboo stick and went out of the inn. Liang Ziwong remained kneeling respectfully, his face full of fear.

    " Qi Gong said that you persist to do evil," thundered Huang Rong, " and that was absolutely necessary to cut your throat today! Fortunately, my dear Jing has a good heart, he did not stop pleading your cause, so much so that Qi Gong, finally, agreed to spare you."

    She leva the stick and him donna a blow on the buttocks while screaming:

    "You go in!"

    Liang Ziwong addressed himself to the window:

    "Grandmaster Hong! I want to see you, to thank you for sparing my life!"

    Only silence greeted his plea. Liang Ziwong did not dare to rise, and continued to kneel humbly. Shortly after, Guo Jing came out and waved his hand:

    " Qi Gong is asleep," he said in a low voice. " Do not disturb him..."

    Then Liang Ziwong got up, shot a hate-filled look at the two young people, and left, along with his disciples.

    Huang Rong, heart full of joy, re-entered in the inn. She saw Qi Gong laying on the table while snoring. She touched him on the shoulder to awaken him:

    "Qi Gong!" she cried. " Your magic precious stick has a wonderful strength, now you not some done nothing... Why would you give it to me?

    Qi Gong raised his head, yawned and s'étira itself:

    - You about it speak with your comfort! he says while laughing. That is the work instrument of your old man! A beggar without a dog-beating stick, what would that look like?"

    Huang Rong continued to tap it while simpering:

    " You have such powerful gongfu! Those wicked ones bolt nothing that while hearing your name, to what serves you again to have this stick?"

    " You rotten imp! said Qi Gong while laughing. " Quickly prepare me some dishes, I'll explain it for you presently..."

    Huang Rong obeys and itself in was some cooks to prepare three small dishes.

    Right hand holding a wine cup, left hand squeezing the bone of a ham that he gnawed slowly, Qi Gong began:

    - The proverb says: « That resembles itself assembles itself ». The full richards to the have form a clan, the outlaws of the highway who rob the passersby form a clan, us others that freely pass our lives begging food leftovers, let us form also a clan...

    " I understand," exclaimed Huang Rong while clapping her hands. " That old Liang called you «Grand Master Hong », are you thus the chief of the beggars!"

    " Precisely. Us beggars, one we walk over, one launches the dogs on us, if one did not group together oneself in a band, how could we survive? The ordinary citizens, in the north of the country, are for the moment under the authority of the Jin; in the south, they are under the authority of the Song emperor; but every beggar in the country..."

    " Whether they be in the south or the north," interrupted Huang Rong, " are placed under your authority!"

    " Eh, yes!" Qi Gong agreed with a smile. " This bamboo stick and this gourd have been from generation to generation, since the end of the Tang dynasty until today, in other words, for several centuries ago, between the hands of the Grand Master of the Beggar Clan. This is as the jade seal of the little emperor, or the seal of now mandarin chinese."

    " Just as well you didn't give it to me," said Huang Rong, sticking out her tongue.

    " Why not?"

    " If every little beggar in the country came to find me, for me to sort out their affairs, that would be a catastrophe!"

    " You have completely reason," Qi Gong soupira. "As I am of a lax and lazy nature, the weight of grandmaster of the Beggar Clan is really too heavy for my shoulders. But I can't find a person to whom I can entrust it. Then I have well to do with... "

    " So that's why old Liang fears you so much: if all the beggars of the country came to give trouble to him, he would be well embarrassed. If each one dropped a louse in his collar, that would trouble him until the end of his days!"

    Qi Gong and Guo Jing burst out laughing.

    " No," the old beggar said at last, " not just for that; he's also scared of me."

    " What is that?"

    " Nearly twenty years ago, he was committing a fixed price when I fell on him...

    " What fixed price?"

    " That old monster," said Qi Gong hesitantly, " believed a section of the adage «Gather the yin to nourish the yang... » He had obtained for himself several virgins, of which he violated their bodies, supposedly to obtain immortality."

    " What's that, to violate the body?" asked Huang Rong.

    The girl, whose mother had died in childbirth, had been taught by her father. After the treachery and escape of Chen Xuanfeng and of Mei Chaofeng, Huang Yaoshi, furious, had crippled his other disciples and they had all fled. No others remained on Peach Blossom Island than some mute servants. No one had therefore spoke to the girl of the things that happened between men and women. Since that she had met Guo Jing, she felt a joy and an unspeakable softness in his company, a melancholy and an unbearable solitudes when she was separated of him even for an instant. She believed that to be husband and wife meant nothing more than never to part from each other, that was why for so long she had considered Guo Jing as her husband, without knowing the nature of conjugal relations.

    Her question therefore put Qi Gong in great difficulty.

    " To violate the body of the virgins," the girl insisted, " this is to kill them?"

    " No," Qi Gong responded, " when a woman undergoes a such outrages, this is sometimes more painful than the death itself. The proverb says: «To be dishonoured is grave, to die of hunger is nothing». That says well what I want to say..."

    Huang Rong did not understand not yet:

    " Does that mean to cut the ears or the nose with a knife?"

    " Peuh!" said Qi Gong, bothered, " not at all! Little imp, you better ask your mother when you get back home..."

    " My mother is dead..."

    " Ah!" said the beggar. " Then you will understand after your wedding night with our silly young fellow!"

    Huang Rong reddened, understanding at last that it was a matter of shameful things. She said softly:

    " If you do not want to explain, so worse... Therefore, you fell on the old monster in the process of committing this fixed price, than itself is it passed then?"

    Qi Gong, relieved to see that she did not put anymore embarrassing questions, souffla:

    " Well, I intervened, well heard. I caught this rascal, I gave him a good thrashing and pulled out all his hair! After, I obliged it to bring back these girls at their place and to promise solemnly that it would not recommence anymore never. If I resumed it to do that, he would regret ever having been born! It would seem that, for all these years, he never broke his promise, that's the reason why I spared him today. He said then, goodness, did his hair grow back?"

    " Oh yes! said Huang Rong while bursting out laughing. Pull out all the hair of the head, that would have been really funny!"

    All three finished the meal.

    "Qi Gong," Huang Rong then said, " now, even if you wanted to give me this bamboo stick, I not some would want. But we cannot anyway to remain close to you all our lives! Now, what if we come across this Liang fellow, and he says to us: "Well, little brat, last time, you sheltered yourself under the name of Grand Master Hong and you hit me with his bamboo stick, today I'm going to avenge myself: I will pull out you all your hair!" That will we do then? When my Jing fought with him, his one and only blow, "Resisting the Dragon Means Regret", that is of course powerful, but that means little all the same, no? I am sure that Liang said in his heart: " Grandmaster Hong has gongfu of an infinite power, but when it begins teaching to a disciple, this is really not that terrible!"

    " I know well," said Qi Gong, " that you hurl all these stupidities, provoking and threatening, so that I'll sign off all my skills to you two! Well, so long that you get ready some good dishes for me, I won't disappoint you."

    Huang Rong, delighted, took Qi Gong by the hand to go in the pine wood.

    Qi Gong imparted then to Guo Jing the second blow of the «Eighteen Dragon-Mastering Palms», called " Flying Dragon in the Heavens". In this blow, it was necessary to jump in the air and strike from the top down, an extremely powerful attack. Guo Jing took three days to assimilate it. During these three days, Qi Gong took the snack occasion to about ten more delicious placement them a than the others. Huang Rong, for its part, asked nothing from him for herself; provided that he consented to teach her loved one, she was more than enough satisfied.

    In the space of a month, Qi Gong had taught to Guo Jing fifteen of the «Eighteen Dragon-Mastering Palms», from "Resisting the Dragon Means Regret" to "Sighting the Dragon in the Field".

    These "Eighteen Dragon-Mastering Palms" were Qi Gong's ultimate skills. He had originally learned them from his Shifu, instrumental invented himself. The number of blows of course was limited, but each of them was full of exceptional power. At the time of the first Huashan tournament, when the five supreme Masters had measured themselves, these Eighteen Palms were not completely up to the mark, but they had already given rise to respect and general admiration. Thereafter, Qi Gong often had expressed his regrets: if he had concentrated all his efforts to perfect this technique some years earlier, the title of "First in the Martial World" might not have been fallen to the grandmaster of the Quanzhen Sect, Wang Chongyang, but to himself!

    At first, Qi Gong had no intention to pass on more than two or three of these Eighteen Palms to Guo Jing, which would already have far sufficed for him to defend himself. But Huang Rong was really an unparalleled cook; every day she prepared new dishes of exceptional taste, never repeating herself, and the old beggar could not resolve himself to leave. So, day after day, he ended up teaching the fifteen blows. Guo Jing did not understand quickly, but the little that he learned, he retained, and repeated day and night, working with determination, so well that he achieved a good mastery of the fifteen blows, lacking no more in power than time and practice alone could give to him. Thus, in a little more of a month, his gongfu had achieved such progress that he was no longer the same person!

    That morning, after breakfast, Qi Gong said, while sighing:

    " My children, we've been together for more of a month, it's time we took leave of each other."

    " Ah, but no," protested Huang Rong. " I have many more small dishes for your taste..."

    " There is not endless banquets, but there is an infinity of dishes... I never have, of all my life, taught anybody for more than three days. This time, I've done that for more than thirty days! If this continues, it'll be a catastrophe!"

    " How's that?"

    " Well, you will strip me of all that I know!"

    " You've started a good work, why not go to the end! Teach him therefore the Eighteen Palms, that would be an accomplishment!"

    " Peuh, that would be an accomplishment for you two, but not for me..."

    Huang Rong, full of worry, wondered what strategems she could invent to get Qi Gong to teach the three remaining blows to Guo Jing, but the old beggar did not give her the time: hitching his gourd over the back again, he left without speaking further.

    Guo Jing chased after him, but Qi Gong went so quickly that he had disappeared in a wink. The young man raced to the pines and cried, "Qi Gong, Qi Gong!" Huang Rong had followed him and joined her cries to his.

    Sudden, a shadow arose from the pines, it was Qi Gong, who addressed them angrily:

    - That do You Have, dirty kids, to stick me to the truss? If you want me to teach you more, this is absolutely impossible!

    " You have already taught us too much," said Guo Jing. " I am more than satisfied, how could I wish to want more? It's only that I did not thank you once again for your kindness!"

    He knelt then and kowtowed, striking the ground with his forehead, several times.

    Qi Gong paled:

    " Stop," he cried, " That which I taught you, is nothing other than a suitable payment for the small dishes that she prepared for me. There has never been a relationship of master and disciple between us!"

    At that, he knelt also and himself kowtowed in front of Guo Jing. Stunned, he attempted to kowtow again, but Qi Gong extended a hand and touched on a point under the armpit of the young man, who remained petrified, legs half bent. The beggar released him only after to have prostrated itself four times in front of him:

    " Remember, you," he cautioned, " Never mention that you kowtowed to me and that you are my disciple!"

    Understanding that he had a stubborn character, Guo Jing didn't attempt to contradict him.

    " Qi Gong," sighed Huang Rong, " you were so good for us, now we must part. I had the intention to prepare you again small dishes, when we would review ourselves, but... Unfortunately... I fear that this be not anymore possible... "

    " And why not?" Qi Gong asked.

    " Many people want to do evil to us... leaving aside that old monster Immortal Ginseng, there are many more evildoers! One day, we will end up dying at their hands!"

    " What is death?" Qi Gong said with a smile. " Everyone must die one day."

    " Of course," replied Huang Rong while shaking the head, " it's not a big deal to die, but I'm scared that they would capture me and, learning that I received your teaching and that I cooked for you, they would force me to do them all these flat vouchers that I prepared you. This would be a stain on your reputation!"

    Qi Gong knew well that the girl was trying to trick more skills out of him, but, at the thought that someone might force her to cook, while himself could not taste these succulent dishes, he couldn't prevent himself from feeling great anger.

    "Who are these villains that scare you?" he demanded.

    " There is," replied Huang Rong, " a certain old monster of the Yellow River, Sha Tongtian. He eats in such a disgusting way! This would be really shame for him to have my delicious dishes!"

    " There's no need to fear Sha Tongtian!" said Qi Gong while shaking his head. " In one or two years, this dummy Guo Jing will be stronger than him. There's nothing to fear..."

    Huang Rong mentioned again the Tibetan monk Ling Zhi and Peng Lianhu. To which Qi Gong replied again: " Nothing to fear!"

    But when Huang Rong mentioned the young master of White Camel Peak, Ouyang Ke, Venerable Seventh seemed taken aback. He questioned her on the technique and the steps of this new opponent, before nodding the head:

    " That's indeed him!"

    In front of the seriousness of his face, the girl s'inquiéta herself:

    " He's very powerful, isn't that right?"

    " There's nothing to fear from Ouyang Ke!" said Qi Gong. " It's his uncle, the old Venom, that is fearsome."

    " The old Venom? But no matter how fearsome, he cannot be stronger than you, isn't that right?"

    Qi Gong didn't reply. He thought for a while, before he stated:

    " At the time, we were equals. But that was twenty years ago... For those twenty years, he's surely trained harder than me, who's lazy and gluttonous. Huh, but to beat this old beggar, nonetheless, won't be easy... "

    " Then he certainly can't beat you!"

    " We will see," said Qi Gong, shaking his head. " Good, since the nephew of the old Venom, Ouyang Feng, is after your head, we must be careful. I will eat of your cooking for fifteen days. But let's make one thing clear: if, during these fifteen days, you present the same dish to me twice, I'll get up and say good-bye..."

    Huang Rong was delighted. She was decided to give the measure of all sound talent: thus, not only she never repeated the same dish, but she proposed even infinite variations in the accompaniment in noodles and rice, in different takings to every meals: fried doughnuts to the frying pan, steamed stuffed dough boulettes, ravioli to the vapor, flat noodles in broth, Cantonese rice, soft rice, rice cake slimy, Rice, tofu, etc. Qi Gong, for his part, itself donna of the evil to learn to the two young people the art to adapt itself to all the fight positions, to react and to better defend themselves. Only, he never taught the three blows lacking in the « Eighteen Dragon-Mastering Palms». Guo Jing deepened of course his mastery of the fifteen blows, but he increased equally in the power of all the martial arts he had learned with the Jiangnan Odd Six. Qi Gong had, before the age of thirty-five, practiced a very diversified gongfu, learning innumerable fist techniques and of palm, among which ones he deliberately chose bizarre types for Huang Rong, but it was just as a joke. These techniques were beautiful to look at, but their real effectiveness in battle were far inferior to the fifteen Palms, simple and direct. Huang Rong herself looked only to have fun, without really to invest herself in this apprenticeship.

  6. #26
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005


    Quote Originally Posted by rayon
    No hurries, traveller. You deserve a break after that excellent job.

    Dugu said he'll do Chapter 12. I'll do chapter 13 if no one protests to that.
    No protests here, just encouragement :P

    Great work on chapter 10!

  7. #27
    Senior Member eliza bennet's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004


    ok so most of the Chapter 10 is done by Rayon and it will be finished by Traveller,

    while Traveller is doing Chapter 11

    Dugu will do Chapter 12 and Rayon Chapter 13

    this looks like a superhero team thank you all so much

  8. #28
    Senior Member rayon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005


    Quote Originally Posted by eliza bennet
    ok so most of the Chapter 10 is done by Rayon and it will be finished by Traveller,

    while Traveller is doing Chapter 11

    Dugu will do Chapter 12 and Rayon Chapter 13

    this looks like a superhero team thank you all so much
    Uh, Chapter 10 is done.
    "It's good to know what you don't know." - The Twit

    Xiao Shiyi Lang Book 2 - plodding thru Chap 27

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