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Thread: RoCH Chap 33 Onwards

  1. #41
    Senior Member Bangs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Da Bao
    Must... Read... Next... Translation... Soon...

    My withdrawal symp- *passes out*
    LOL! Da Bao find some other things to do while waiting for the translation.

  2. #42
    Senior Member Da Bao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bangs
    LOL! Da Bao find some other things to do while waiting for the translation.
    I.. Can't... Even if I read something else... My mind... Wanders... back to novel... Must have new translations soon... *to pass the time rereads the beginning chapters*
    有缘千里来相会
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    Are you really so obsessed, or are you just joking?
    I wish people would back their assertions about facts with facts.

    Just because something is your opinion, doesnt necessarily make it true.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faustus1982
    Are you really so obsessed, or are you just joking?
    its no joke!!!!!!!! we all here r obsessed w/ ROCH........we all hav the with drawal symptons......teehee
    The purpose of the ninja is to flip out and kill people.

  5. #45
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    Post Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by atlantean0208


    Thanks. i never thought of looking there since the title of the thread is 'ROCH chap 26 onwards'. but anyway, THANKS AGAIN.

  6. #46
    Senior Member Da Bao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jin_yong_fan
    its no joke!!!!!!!! we all here r obsessed w/ ROCH........we all hav the with drawal symptons......teehee
    Nopes It's no joke! We all love RoCH!!! Anyonw who doesn't... What are you doing if you don't like it?
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  7. #47
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    Default Last part of Chap 33

    Alamak... got delayed again... If I were going round the world in 80 days this delay would've been fatal...

    Anyway it seems like the faster I try to translate, the slower I get. Maybe it's because I didn't read this part (couldn't stand Guo Fu so I skipped to Chap 34).


    Moved to Posting #49.
    http://www.spcnet.tv/forums/showpos...54&postcount=49


    END OF CHAPTER 33.
    Last edited by IcyFox; 12-13-05 at 09:32 AM.

  8. #48
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    Oh YES! Chap 33 is completed. So now what? Chap 34?

    By the way just some comments :
    Since I'm not that pro at translating yet, sometimes the English text is not that fluent as I am trying to keep as much of the flow of the Chinese text as possible to reduce any loss of accuracy. Hope you guys don't mind.

    And in future, should I translate the whole chapter before releasing it or should I post sections of translations regularly? (It would take 5-7 days for me to translate a chapter, FYI.)

  9. #49
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 33 - Tales In The Night

    The whole of Chapter 33 has been moved here for your convenience.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    CHAPTER 33

    The Song Emperor Li Zong celebrated the start of the year, the ninth year after Meng-ge (or Mongke) became the Mongolian Khan. In the early spring of February at the tumultuous north bank of Yellow River's Fenglingdu area, the donkeys and the horses called out together with the sounds of people and carts. The weather was cold and warm, the Yellow River had just melted, but the north wind blew on this day and it started snowing, freezing the river water. The water surface disallowed the movement of boats while the carts could not travel on the ice, forcing many visitors heading south to be stranded at the Fenglingdu area and be unable to continue their journey. Although the Fenglingdu area has several inns, travelers arrive from the north continuously and in less than half a day, the inns were already fully occupied and the travellers who arrived later had no place to stay.

    In the town the biggest inn was the "An Du Old Inn", occupying a location supposedly bringing good luck. In this inn the guest-quarters were spacious, all travelers who could not find any accomodation came here, and therefore the inn was particularly crowded. The innkeeper tried his best to arrange matters and so each room was packed with 3 to 4 individuals. Around 20 people who were waiting to get a room had to sit in a circle in the great hall. The inn assisiants moved the furniture and lighted a fire in the hall. Outside, the north wind howled, the cold wind together with the snow managed to enter through a crack in a door, causing the fire to flicker continuously. It looked like the numerous visitors still would not be able to continue their journey the next day and they were full of worries.

    The sky became darker, the snow got heavier and heavier. Suddenly horses' hoof sounds were heard. Three people riding anxiously rushed up but stopped at the inn entrance. In the hall an old guest knited his brows, saying, "Yet another visitor has come."

    A female voice said, "Innkeeper, prepare two good spacious and clean rooms." The storekeeper greeted her with a smile and said, "Sorry, the inn is already fully occupied. I really cannot prepare the rooms for you." That female said, "OK, then one room will do." That storekeeper said that, "Really sorry, honored guest, but the inn must also please others and now the visitors have really filled the inn." That female lashed the horse whip, making a "Pa!" sound, and scolded, "Rubbish! You run the inn, but do not prepare rooms, what kind of inn is this? Canít you ask others to give way? Iíll pay you more." Saying that, she then rushed into the hall.

    The crowd saw this female when the figure became clearer, and she looked around 30 years old, with a peach cheek, elegant appearance and wearing a valuable blue color fur-lined coat, with the neckband revealing smooth skin, the clothing being quite expensive. Behind this young girl was a male and female, around 15/16 years old, the male with thick eyebrows and big eyes, with a straightforward facial expression, the female simple, elegant and beautiful. The 2 youths wore light green satin fur-lined coats, around the young girlís neck hung a string of pearls, with each grain around a small fingerís size and with a light halo. The numerous guests saw these three peopleís imposing manner and although they chatted all day they stoped talking and stared silently at the 3 people.

    The inn assistant bowed with a smile, saying, "Madam, look, these guests cannot find any accomodation. If you three do not mind the discomfort, I will let everybody occupy this space and keep warm by the fire, carelessly passing the night, if the river melts tomorrow, you can cross the river." That young woman got impatient, but it looked like this was reality, so she knitted her brows wordlessly. A middle-aged woman siting nearby the fire said, "Madam, sit here, keep warm by the fire, get rid of the cold air then talk about this again." That beautiful woman said: "Good, many thanks to you." A male guest to side of that middle-aged woman hurriedly moved away, giving up his place.

    The three people sat down and soon, the inn assistant delivered their meals. The food was sumptuous, with chicken and pork, and a big pot of wine. That beautiful young womanís alcohol capacity was really good, having drunk bowl after bowl, the youth and the refine young girl also accompanied her in drinking, the three of them addressed each other as brother and sister. The youth looked older than the refine girl, but called her "elder sister".

    The people sat in a circle around the fire, listening to the wind whistling outside, all not feeling sleepy for a while.

    A man with a Shanxi accent said, "This weather really is unfavourable; it changes rapidly. God doesnít allow man even to have a good day." A short person with a Hubei accent said, "You canít blame Heaven and Earth, we have in here a fire to keep warm, food to eat, what else do you want? If you have lived in the besieged city of Xiangyang, even the worldís most bitter places will turn into a cozy nest."

    That beautiful young woman upon hearing " besieged city of Xiangyang ", exchanged glances with her brother and sister.

    A visitor with a Guangdong accent asked, "Excuse me, elderly friend, that besieged city of Xiangyang - how is life there?" The Hubei visitor said, "The Mongoliansí cruelty, which all of you know, need not be mentioned. That year the Mongoliansí 100,000-strong army fiercely attacked Xiangyang, the garrison was controlled by Governor Lu, a stupid and incompetent person, fortunately the heroic couple Mr. and Mrs. Guo bravely repelled the enemy forces... ... " The young woman upon hearing "heroic couple Mr. and Mrs. Guo", started paying attention. Listening to that Hubei visitor continue, "Xiangyang Cityís hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians also defended the city with their lives and none has cowered away. A small-time merchant like myself, though only able to move earth and stones, has also helped to defend the city. This old arrow scar on my face was caused by a Mongolianís arrow." The numerous people looked at his face simultaneously, saw that under his left eye was really a teacup-size arrow scar and could not help but respect him.

    That Guangdong guest said, "Our great Song has much lands and many people, if everybody acts like the old friend here, even if the Mongolians were ten times fiercer, they also canít conquer our lands." The Hubei man said, "Yes. Look, the Mongolian army has been attacking Xiangyang for more than ten years, but canít take the city, while other cities fall easily. I heard dozens of countries in the western region all got destroyed by the Mongolians, while our Xiangyang throughout stood erect like the mountain. The Mongolian prince Kublai Khan personally directed the combat, but also cannot overcome our Xiangyang people." After saying that he greatly felt satisfied.

    The Guangdong guest said: "The common people will all fight the Mongolians with their lives, if the Mongolians come to Guangdong, our Guangdong men will also fight them with all our might." The Hubei man said, "Even if we donít go all out with the Mongolians, we will also die. The Mongolians cannot take Xiangyang, so they seized the Han people outside the city, tied them up next to each other and beheaded them near the city, and even some 4/5 year-old or 6/7 year-old children were tied up, then pulled by horses in circles under the city, and usually in less than half a circle, the children would die. We can hear the children crying aloud at the top of the city wall, and it hurts the heart greatly. The Mongolians use such cruel methods, trying to frighten us into surrendering, but the more vicious they are, the more we defend the city tightly. That year all of Xiangyangís grain was eaten, the water supply finished, we even had to drink the water condensed on tree barks, but the Mongolians could never force their way in. Afterwards the Mongolians gave up and withdrew the army." The Guangdong man said, "For more than ten years, if Xiangyang didnít persevere unyieldingly, I fear half of the great Song Empire has already disappeared."

    The numerous people all asked about Xiangyangís defence situation, and the Hubei man talked dramatically, praising Guo Jing and Huang Rong to be like the deities, so the people called out their approval unceasingly.

    A visitor with a Sichuan accent suddenly sighed, "Actually good officials who can defend a city are numerous, but the imperial court is treacherous, often allowing the disloyal subjects to enjoy riches and honor, while the loyal ministers die unjustly. The previous dynastyís General Yue need not be mentioned. For instance, our Sichuan has several loyal ministers which were killed by the imperial court." The Hubei man said, "Who were they? I must ask." The Sichuan man said, "The Mongolians attacked Sichuan for more than 10 years and we all depended on Marshal Yu to defend us, so the entire Sichuan population treated him like a living Buddha. Who knew the Emperor believed the words of his disloyal subject Ding Daquan who said Marshal Yu was too powerful and dangerous, so the emperor bestowed poison wine upon him and compelled him to commit suicide, replacing him with an incompetent and deceitful jerk to be marshal. Then when the Mongolians attacked again, the northern Sichuan province could not defend itself. The soldiers were Marshal Yuís former subordinates, so everyone fought to the death. But the new marshal could only polish his superiors so as soon as we went to war, he deployed the troops hopelessly and naturally we could not defend ourselves. Ding Daquan and Chen Dafang, the deceitful duo, both shielded that useless marshal, and instead maligned the brave and unyielding General Wang Weizhong of colloborating with the enemy, resulting in his entire family in Beijing being captured and General Wang beheaded." Saying this, his voice had a sobbing sound, so the numerous people sighed simultaneously.

    That Guangdong visitor said indignantly, "Our countryís affairs are all thrown into disarray by these disloyal subjects. I heard the imperial court has three dogs, so this disloyal subject Ding Daqian must be one of them." A fair youth was listening silently, but he said, "Correct, the imperial courtís disloyal subjects Ding Daquan, Chen Dafang and Hu Dachang are the top three dogs. The Linan people added a dot to their 'Da' character, changing them to Ding Qianquan, Chen Quanfang and Hu Quanchang." (Playing with the Chinese characters) Hearing this, the numerous people all laughed heartily.

    The Sichuan man said, "From your voice, you must be from the capital Linan." The youth said, "Precisely." The Sichuan man said, "Then have you heard of the matter concerning General Wang Weizhongís punishment?" The youth said, "I saw with my own eyes. Before dying General Wangís manner did not change and fiercely shouted that Ding Daquan and Chen Dafang will bring disaster on the nation and the people. But moreover there is also a different matter." The numerous people asked, "What different matter?"

    The youth said, "General Wang's death was caused by Chen Dafangís plotting. When General Wang was tied up and he was moving to the execution ground, he shouted loudly in the street, saying that he will definitely voice his greviences to the Jade Emperor (the Emperor of Heaven). The third day after General Wang died, that Chen Dafang was killed in his own home, his severed head actually displayed above the Linan east gateís clock tower, suspended on a long bamboo pole. Even apes and monkeys also cannot reach this place, let alone a person, if it wasnít the Jade Emperor, who could have done it?" The numerous people expressed admiration. The youth said, "This matter is known throughout Linan and not made up by me. If you people go to Linan, you would know as soon as you ask."

    The Sichuan man said, "This brother's speech is indeed good. However the one who killed Chen Dafang, certainly wasnít a deity or god, but actually was a great hero." The youth shook his head and said, "That Chen Dafang was a high official in the imperial court and has many soldiers and he was guarded closely, how can the average man kill him? Also, to hang this disloyal subject's severed head above the bell tower, one must have wings; only then can one have that ability." The Sichuan man said, "A chivalrous hero with such extraordinary abilities must still exist in the world after all. But if I didnít witness this myself, I may also find this unbelievable." The youth curiously asked, "You saw how he hung up Chen Dafangís severed head the high bamboo pole with your own eyes? How did you see that?"

    The Sichuan man hesitated for a while and said, "General Wang Weizhong has a son, when General Wang was arrested the son escaped outside. The imperial courtís disloyal subjects wanted to nip the problem in the bud, so they send the army to pursue and capture him, General Wang son was also a military officer, although he has some martial arts, he actually is overwhelmed by sheer numbers and saw that he was about to be caught, but a saviour came and empty-handedly trashed dozens of soldiers soundly. Young General Wang then told the saviour how his father fought bravely for the country but got framed by the disloyal subjects. That chivalrous hero rushed at the same night to Linan, wanting to rescue General Wang, but was late by 2 days and General Wang was already killed. That chivalrous hero swelled with anger and that very evening he severed Chen Dafang's head. Although that bell tower is out of reach of apes and monkeys, that chivalrous hero only jumped gently but reached it in one attempt."

    The Guangdong man asked, "Who is this hero? Whatís his appearance like?" The Sichuan man said, "I did not know this hero's name, I only saw that he was short of a right arm, the facial expression... ... The facial expression was also very unusual, he rode a horse and pulled another horse with a huge strange-looking bird riding on it... ... " He had not finished talking when a man with a straightforward facial expression loudly said, "Correct! This must be the world-famous ' Condor Hero ' !"

    The Sichuan person asked, "He is called the ' Condor Hero ' ?" The other man said, "This chivalrous hero valiantly upholds justice, defends the good against evil, but is never willing to reveal his name, Our friends in Jianghu (the pugilistic world) always see him and a queer bird together, so they gave him a nickname called the ' Chivalrous Condor Hero ' (Shen Diao Da Xia). He said he was not fit to be called a 'chivalrous hero' (da xia), so the other people only called him the ' Condor Hero '. But based on his actions, whatís wrong with calling him ' chivalrous hero ' ? If he isnít one, who is?"

    The beautiful young woman suddenly said, "You are a chivalrous hero, I am also a chivalrous hero, humph, there are rather too many chivalrous heroes."

    That Sichuan person imposingly said, "Madam said that? Although I donít understand Jianghu matters, but the Condor Hero rushed Linan from Jiangxi for four consecutive days and nights, without sleeping or resting, in order to save the life of General Wang. He didnít even know General Wang, but because of the Generalís utter loyalty to serve the country and being framed by the disloyal traitor, he acted boldly without regard to his safety and braved much danger to seek justice for General Wangís orphan, so should you call him a chivalrous hero?"

    That young woman made a Ďhumphí sound and was about to argue, but the refine young girl beside her said, "Elder sister, from what this gentleman did, of course one should call him a ' chivalrous hero ' ." Her words were clear; upon hearing this, everybody else could not say anything as pleasant to hear.

    That young girl said, "What do you know?" Turning her the head to that Sichuan man, she said, "How did you know so well? Is this not hearsay? In Jianghu news, around 90% is not accurate."

    That Sichuan person hesitated for a while before saying, "My surname is Wang, General Wang Weizhong is my father. My life was saved by the Condor Hero. I am a fugitive and the imperial court has issued a warrant for my arrest, wanting my head. But this involves my savior's reputation, so I do not dare fear death and keep this matter from coming to light."

    The numerous people were shocked to hear him say that. That Guangdong man curled his thumb upwards, saying "Young General Wang, you are a good man. Anyone who dares to inform the government authorities of your whereabouts may have a white knife entering him, a red knife coming out." The numerous people loudly praised this. That beautiful woman heard him say so and could not argue.

    The refine young girl looked at the flickering fire and was lost in thought, gently mumbling, "Condor Hero, Condor Hero... ... " Turning her head to young General Wang, she said, "Uncle Wang, the Condor Hero has such excellent martial arts, how could he lose an arm?" That beautiful womanís face changed greatly, the lip moved slightly, wanting to speak, but controlled herself. Young General Wang shook his head saying, "I even didnít get to ask his name, how could I ask about his life story?" The beautiful woman made a Ďhumphí sound, saying "Of course you donít know."

    That Linan youth said, "The Condor Hero killed the traitor which young General Wang witnessed with his own eyes, then naturally it was not the deities who did it. But that traitor Ding Daquanís face turned green in one night, so it must be due to heavenís punishment." That Guangdong man said, "How did his face turn green in one night? This is really strange." The Linan youth said, "Formerly the Linan people all called Ding Daquan as Ding Quanquan, but now he is called ' Ding Qing Pi ' (Ding Green Skin). His originally fair skin suddenly turned green in a night, and it doesnít go away. Even all the wise doctors were not able to treat him. I heard the emperor also once asked but that disloyal official said that he wholeheartedly served the emperor and his anxiety over national affairs caused him to lose much sleep, so his complexion turned green. But in Linan everyone said this deceitful scoundrel brings disasters on the nation and the people, so the Jade Emperor turned his face green." That Guangdong man smiled shaking his head, saying, "Indeed this is very strange."

    The man with the straightforward face suddenly laughed loudly, patted his leg and called out, "This was also the work of the Condor Hero, heh heh, this makes me happy." The numerous people quickly asked, "What, the Condor Hero did this too?" That guy only laughed and said, "Ha ha, this is funny." The Guangdong guest desired to know the details and ordered the servant to bring two catties of wine and invited that guy to drink.

    He drank a big bowl of wine and was satisfied and happy, loudly saying, "This matter is not a cock and bull story; I also had a bit of credit. That evening the Condor Hero suddenly arrived in Linan, called me to lead some followers and we tied up the Linan Qian Tangxian Yamen (Something like a District Court) officers, removed their clothes and let us play the roles of the officers. Everybody was pleasantly surprised, as we did not know why the Condor Hero gave such instructions, but we wanted to play along and so we acted accordingly. Soon the Condor Hero arrived at the Qian Tangxian Yamen, he put on the magistrateís costume, sat the hall, banged the wooden block and shouted, 'Bring that scum Ding Daquan here!' " Saying this, his saliva splattered and he drunk a big mouthful of wine.

    The Guangdong guest said, "Friend what did you work as in Linan at that time?" That man returned his gaze and said, "What job? I drank a lot, ate a lot, had much money but I was a businessman without capital." (Hinting he was a robber, I guess.) That Guangdong visitor was startled and did not dare to ask again.

    The guy also said, "At that time when I heard ' Ding Daquan ' , I got a shock, carefully thinking 'The dog Ding Daquan is currently the prime minister, how did the Condor Hero bring him here?' The Condor Hero only hit the wooden block again, then two burly men actually brought a man dressed in official court dress before him. A year earlier Ding Daquan went to a Taoist temple to burn incense and obtain blessings so I saw him outside the temple, now when I looked again, it was really Ding Daquan. His whole body trembled, not knowing whether to kneel or not. Our brothers kicked his knees, he fell over and knelt down, ha ha, the Condor Hero asked, 'Ding Daquan, are you aware of the charges against you?' Ding Daquan said 'I donít know.' The Condor Hero shouted, 'You engage in corrupt practices for your own personal gains, caused the deaths of loyal men, cruelly harm the common people, colloborate with the enemy to invade the country; all these henious crimes - quickly confess now!' Ding Daquan said, 'Who are you? You insult the prime minister, do you not know the law?' The Condor Hero said, 'Do YOU not know the law? Officers, hit him 40 times then we shall talk again!' Everybody already hated this scum, so this time we hit doubly hard but we only hit this scoundrel several times before he begged for mercy again and again. The Condor Hero asked several questions and he answered willingly, not daring to act stubbornly. The Condor Hero brought a pen and paper and demanded him to write a confession. He hesitated slightly so the Condor Hero commanded us to hit his buttocks and slap his mouth."

    The refine young girl smiled and said silently, "Interesting!"

    The guy drank another huge mouthful of wine, saying with a smile, "Yes. This is very interesting. That Ding Daquan was never hit before so he had no choice but to write the confession, but he suffered from the beatings so he wrote extremely slowly. The Condor Hero had to urge him on repeatedly but he was not willing to write any faster. Soon the Sun rose, outside the Yamen the sounds of people got louder, and a large troop of soldiers arrived, probably because the matter got leaked out. The Condor Hero got angry and shouted, 'Behead him!' and cast a glance at me. I knew the Condor Hero would not easily take someoneís life, so I drew out my broad sword and brushed Ding Daquanís neck, then when I chopped the sword down, I turned it in midair, chopping the neck with the back of the sword. But this scared the living daylights out of Ding Daquan, causing his complexion to turn green suddenly and he fainted. The Condor Hero laughed heartily, calling us to put back the Yamenís officers clothes sneak off through the side door and return home. After he went off we never fought with the soldiers, so everybody withdrew safely. I heard the following day the Condor Hero personally sneaked into the imperial palace, and handed Ding Daquanís confession to the emperor. But we did not know how that Ding Daquan managed to sweet talk the emperor into believing him and allowing him to continue as prime minister."

    Young General Wang sighed, "If the emperor is not stupid, the disloyal subjects cannot do evil. When Qin Hui was gone, Han Tuozhou came; When Han Tuozhou has gone, Shi Miyuan came; Now Shi Miyuan has gone, Ding Daquan comes. We saw Jia Sidao in power and saw how this brought disaster upon the nation and the people. Oh, since the disloyal subjects are numerous, our great Song empire may not last long." The other guy said, "Only if we ask the Condor Hero to be prime minister can we repel the Mongolians and restore peace throughout the country."

    The beautiful woman said, "Humph, is he qualified to be the prime minister?" That guy got angry, "If heís not are you?" The young woman became furious and shouted, "What the hell are you, how dare you be impolite to me?" The guy picked an iron rod from the fire, she grabbed a few sticks of firewood and struck his rod. The guyís arm trembled and felt half his body go numb so he let go of the burning rod, which fell onto the ground causing sparks from the fire to fly and scorch strands of his beard. The numerous people called out in alarm. Although the guy is hot-tempered, he tasted her good martial arts, suffered a loss and did not dare to act rashly, only stroking his burnt beard, not even wanting to drink the wine anymore.

    The refine young girl said, "Others have been talking about the Condor Hero and it was all going fine, why do you not like to hear?" Turning her head to the guy she gave a sweet smile, saying "Uncle, please do not be offended." That guy was originally filled with anger, but seeing her sweet smile, the anger disappeared immediately, his big mouth also made a smile, wanting to say something polite but did not know how to start talking.

    That young girl said, "Uncle, how did you get to know the Condor Hero?" That guy looked at the young woman, hesitated and did not speak. That young girl said, "Just agree not offend my elder sister and that will do. How old is the Condor Hero? Are his looks good?" She did not wait for the guy to reply and turned her head to the woman saying, "Elder sister, I wonder how his divine condor compares with our pair of condors?"

    The young woman said, "Compare with our pair of condors? In this world which eagle or condor can hold a candle to our pair of condors?" The young girl said, "Not necessarily true. Father often said, 'A person who studies military theories must know that superior parties always exist and so one cannot be complacent.' If that applies to humans, then it applies to our condors too, so more magnificient birds should exist." The young woman said "At your young age, what do you understand? When we go out, our parents told you to listen to me, have you not remembered?" The young girl said with a smile, "That also depends on whether what you say is right. Younger brother, say, am I right or is elder sister right?"

    The youth next to her is big and sturdy, but actually looked very naive, so he hesitated for a while then said, "I donít know. Father said we should listen to elder sister, and told you not to talk back to elder sister." The young woman looked very pleased and said, "Isnít that so?" That young girl saw that her younger brother was helping her elder sister, but she was not angry and said with a smile, "You don't understand anything either." Turning her head to that straightforward man she said, "Uncle, continue the Condor Heroís story, please."

    The guy said, "OK, since the lady wants to hear, I shall say, although I, whose surname is Song, has poor skills, but I am an honest man, what I say is true and definitely doesnít contain half a word of lies, the lady if does not believe me, then thereís no need to listen."

    That young girl took the wine pot and poured out a bowl of wine for him, then said with a smile, "Why would I not believe you? Come on, quickly start talking!" She also called out, "Waiter, bring ten catties of wine again and cut 20 catties of beef, my elder sister requests all of you to drink merrily and drive out the cold air." The servant repeatedly agreed and relayed the order. The numerous people smiled from ear to ear, expressing their gratitude with one voice. Before long, three waiters brought the wine and meat.

    The young woman calmly said "Even if I wanted to give a treat, I would also not invite people who utter rubbish. Waiter, the bill for the wine and meat money should not be charged to my account." The servant gawked, looked from the young woman to the young girl, not knowing what to do. The young girl took off a golden hairpin from her hair and gave it to the servant, saying, "This hairpin is made of real gold, it's worth several taels (a unit of currency) of silver. Take it away and exchange it for money. And bring another ten catties of wine and 20 catties of mutton."

    The young woman got angry, "Younger sister, you must surely be spiteful with me, is it not? Even a pearl on this hairpin alone is worth more than 100 taels of silver, you bothered and begged Uncle Zhu for it, but you casually use it to treat people to a drink. When you return to Xiangyang, if Mother asks how would you answer for it?" The young girl stuck out her tongue and said with a smile, "I shall say it has fallen on the road, and I cannot find it." The woman said "I will not lie together with you." The young girl used her chopsticks to clamp a piece of beef and put it in her mouth. She then said, "After all we have already eaten, how can I withdraw now? Everybody, please tuck in, there is no need to be polite."

    The numerous people saw the two arguing and all found it interesting, but they liked the young girlís naÔve character, so even those who did not drink carried the liquor bowl to drink the wine, helping the young girl secretly. The young woman spitefully closed her eyes and used her hands to cover her ears.

    The young girl said with a smile, "Uncle Song, my elder sister is sleeping, itís OK if you speak loudly, you wonít wake her." The young woman opened her eyes widely, getting angry, "When did I sleep?" The young girl then said, "Thatís even better, even if we talked loudly we wouldnít disturb you." The young woman said loudly, "Xiang-er, let me tell you, if you anger me, I will not allow you to follow us around tomorrow." The young girl said, "Itís alright, I can travel together with Younger brother." The woman said "Younger brother will come with me." The young girl said, "Younger brother, say, who will you follow?"

    The youth was caught in a fix, if he helped his big sister, his other sister would be worried, if he helped his other sister, his big sister would be angry, so he said, "Mother said, the three of us must always travel together and not be separated." The young woman stared at her younger sister and snapped, "If I knew earlier that you are so disobedient, I would not have been anxious to find you back when you got kidnapped by the thugs when you were small."

    The young girl heard her say that, causing her heart to soften, so she hugged the young woman's shoulders, begging, "Good elder sister, please donít be angry, itís my fault." The young woman was angry and paid no attention to her. The young girl then said, "If you donít smile, I will tickle you." That young woman turned her head away instead. The young girl suddenly extended her right hand and poked at the young womanís armpit from behind. The young woman did not counter the move but swept her left hand backwards. The young girl used her left hand to block and her right hand continued to move forwards. The young woman sank her right elbow slightly, pressing down on her sister's arm. The young girl then circled her palm and avoided the elbow, excuting a graceful move beautifully. In that short moment, the two people exchanged 7 or 8 moves, all orginating from the ingenious "Subtle Hand-arresting Technique". Although the young girl did not manage to tickle her elder sisterís armpit, the young woman also could not catch her sister's arm.

    Suddenly a person at a corner softly said, "Good skills!" Both sisters stopped and looked at that corner and saw a person curled up into a ball, the head buried between the knees sleeping soundly. The sisters sat on the pile of firewood looking at him resting in such a position without moving at all, with the other people being unable to see his face, so it looked like this comment was not made by him.

    The youth said, "Big sister, elder sister, Father warned us not to reveal our martial arts casually." The young girl smiled, "Young old man, you are right." She turned her head to that straightforward guy and said, "Uncle Song, sorry, we sisters were busy arguing and forgot to listen to your story, please continue."

    The guy names Song said, "Iím not spinning a yarn, this is the absolutely truth and nothing but the truth." The young girl said, "Uncle Song, what you say is naturally true."

    The guy drunk the wine, saying with a smile, "Iíve consumed much of the ladyís wine and meat, how can I not tell all? If I had not lost all my money last night due to three confounded dices, I would really repay the lady. You keep addressing me as Uncle, how can I disappoint you? How did I get to know the Condor Hero? It was similar to young General Wang; it was also the Condor Hero who saved my life. But this time he actually didnít use his Wugong (martial arts), he used money buy my life back." The young girl said with a smile, "Well, this is curious, he used money to buy your life? Eh, how much is it worth?"

    That guy laughed aloud and said, "My worthless body actually cost more than beef and pork because the Condor Hero unexpectedly forked out 2,000 taels of silver for it. More than five years ago, I tried to uphold justice in Shandong and I killed a crook. Since murder carries the death penalty, I was sentenced to death so there was nothing for me to say. Who knew several days later, the Licheng county magistrate interrogated the local evil tyrant and later brought me forward for a torture session accusing me of crimes that local tyrant commited : murder, extortion, rape; all the blame was pushed to me and the tyrant was aquitted. Afterwards the prison warden told me that the tyrant bribed the county magistrate with 1,000 taels of silver, so the county magistrate transferred all his capital charges to me. A capital offence was punished with death, ten capital offences were also punished with death, so I was made a scapegoat. When I heard such injustice, I shouted loudly in my cell, scolding the corrupt official, but what use was that?

    "After several days, the corrupt official called for a retrial and that local tyrant was also kneeling next to me. I shouted, 'You corrupted dog, you accepted bribes and distorted justice, you will not have a peaceful death!' That corrupt official grinned, 'Song Wu, you do not have to speak thus, I investigated clearly and found that you were sentenced unjustly. That crook was not killed by you but by this tyrant!' Saying that, he ordered the Yamen attendants to hit him hard, and used the bamboo torture method (something like squeezing the fingers between bamboo sticks) on him, forcing him to confess that he killed that crook and pushed the blame on me. I wasnít able figure this out; that crook was obviously killed by me, how could this charge be transferred to someone else?"

    The young girl heard this and smiled, saying, "This magistrate must be really blur."

    Song Wu said, "He was definitely not blur, when I got home, my mother told me after I was sentenced to death, my mother wept bitterly daily on the street, this day she happened to meet the Condor Hero passing through who asked her what was wrong. The Condor Hero asked around and discovered the truth, he said he has a matter on hand and didnít have the time to find this corrupt official to settle the score so he gave my mother 2,000 taels of silver to buy my life. After three months, everyone in the town said the county magistrate got into a fit of anger and was so mad he coughed up blood as one late night he was robbed of 4,000 taels of silver. I knew this surely is the doing of the Condor Hero, so I didnít dare to continue living there and moved to Jiangnan. After more than a year, some people told me, a great master with a missing arm was by the seashore, he brought a big queer bird and he was looking blankly into the sea, and had been doing so for the past few days. I hastily hurried up to him and kowtowed (kneel and bow) to him as an expression of gratitude."

    The young woman suddenly said, "Thank him for what? He paid 2,000 taels of silver but robbed 4,000 taels of silver, so now he made a profit of 2,000 taels of silver. How could this Yang jerk do business in such an unscrupulous manner?" The young girl said, "Yang? The Condor Hero is named Yang?" That young woman said, "I donít know, I didnít say his name is Yang." The young girl said, "I clearly heard you say so." The woman said, "Surely you heard wrongly."

    The young girl said, "OK. I wonít argue with you, even if the Condor Hero gained 2,000 taels of silver, it must also be used for helping the poor and needy people. He is a generous and chivalrous hero, how would he use the money for his own personal gains?" The numerous people cheered with one voice, all saying, "The lady is right!"

    The young girl asked, "Uncle Song, why did the Condor Hero stare at the sea? Is he waiting for someone?" Song Wu shook his head, "I donít know, I didnít dare to ask about this."

    The young girl took up two pieces of firewood and threw them into the fire, looking at the dark flame turn bright red, gently saying, "Although Condor Hero is ever eager to help the distressed, but perhaps he actually has a problem of his own? Otherwise why does he always look at the sea?"

    A middle-aged woman sitting in a western corner suddenly said, "I have a younger female cousin who has seen the Condor Hero before. She also once saw the Condor Hero blankly looking at the sea with a strange expression, thus she personally asked him. The Condor Hero replied, 'My beloved wife is at the other end of the sea, so we canít meet.' " Numerous people all said "OhhhhĒ at the same time.

    The refine young girl said, "So he has a wife, why did she end up at the other end of the sea? His has such excellent abilities, why doesnít he cross the sea to look for her?" The middle-aged woman said, "My younger female cousin also asked him that. He said, 'The sea is so vast, I donít know how we can meet.' " The young girl gently sighed, "I expected that such a character would have such a personality, so itís actually true." She also asked, "Is your younger female cousin very pretty? In her heart she secretly likes the Condor Hero, is it not?" The beautiful young woman shouted clearly, "Younger sister, are you fantasizing again?"

    The middle-aged woman said, "My younger female cousin may also be considered to be beautiful. The Condor Hero has killed her father in order to save her mother. Whether my younger female cousin secretly liked the Condor Hero or not, nobody knows, and she has since married an honest farmer. The Condor Hero gave her a great sum of money and now her life is pretty good." The young girl said, "The Condor Hero killed her father in order to save her mother? How strange." The beautiful woman said "This person has a very strange temperament, when heís good he saves lives, when heís wicked he murders people. Yes, he was like that from young." That young girl curiously asked "He was like that from young? How do you know?" The woman said, "I just know."

    The young girl persistently asked about the matter but the young woman refused to say. The young girl said, "Fine, since you wonít say then I donít want to hear. Even if you said, I may not believe you." She turned her head to the middle-aged woman and said, "Madam, please tell me about your younger female cousin's story, alright?"

    The woman said, "Alright. My younger female cousin and I are cousins, our age gap is 17 years, her mother is my aunt... ... " The young girl said with a smile, "And her father is your uncle." That woman replied with a smile, "Oh, Iím droning non-stop again, causing the lady to be impatient. My uncle is from Henan, that year the Mongolians invaded our lands and captured my uncle to work as a slave. My aunt led my cousin, begging for food along the way, went to Shandong from Henan, then went to Shanxi from Shandong, looking for my uncle's whereabouts." Young General Wang sighed, "Travelling thousands of miles to find her husband, that is really rare." That woman said, "But because my aunt and my cousinís appearances are good, travelling on the road is doubly hard. The two people spread their faces with black mud to prevent evil men from seeing colour and coming up with ideas... ... " (Meaning lusting after them.)

    The young girl said, ďSeeing colour and coming up with ideas??Ē Half of the numerous people sitting round the fire started laughing. The beautiful young woman hurriedly said, "Younger sister, if you donít understand then donít talk nonsense, youíre a big lady, people will laugh at you." That young girl muttered, "I donít understand thatís why I ask, if I understood why should I ask?"

    The middle-aged woman smiled and said, "These are awful words, if the lady doesn't understand itís better for her. Mmm, my aunt and cousin searched for four years and heaven helped them, so they finally found my uncle in Huaibei, actually he was serving as a Mongolian officialís slave. The official is very evil, when my aunt saw my uncle, he had just massaged the Mongolian officialís left leg. My aunt was extremely grieved and begged the Mongolian official to allow him to return home. The Mongolian official was not willing to agree, saying he bought this lackey for 100 taels of silver, so unless me aunt has 500 taels of silver to redeem his freedom, the official would rather kill him then set him free. My aunt didnít even have 50 taels of silver, how could she find 500 taels of silver? She thought for a long time, finally deciding not to be concerned about face and so she and her daughter sold their flesh... ... "

    The young lady did not understand, but her previous question caused much laughter, so now she did not dare to ask again, and continued to listen to the woman. The woman said, "After several years like this, the mother and daughter only had a little savings, but to raise 500 taels of silver, it was easier said than done. Fortunately their clients had known about their plight, so they often paid more than necessary. The mother and daughter suffered great humiliation, and on this new year's eve, they finally raised the 500 taels of silver. The two people went to the Mogolian officialís residence, thinking that the whole family can finally be reunited and have a happy new year."

    The young girl heard this and was happy for the mother and daughter. However she heard the woman say, "That Mongolian official received the 500 taels of silver, then called my uncle to come out, leting the family meet. My uncleís family kowtow-ed (kneel and bow) to that Mongolian official and bade farewell. Who knew that when the Mongolian official saw my cousin, he suddenly had an evil intention, saying, 'Good, you are here to redeem this slave, nothing could be better, now hand over 500 taels of silver!" My aunt was shocked, she had already given the Mongolian official 500 taels of silver, how could she hand over the money again? The Mongolian officialís face changed, shouting, 'I am a high Mongolian official, would I cheat my slaveís money?' My aunt was afraid and sad, so she immediately cried loudly in the main hall, then that Mongolian official said, "Fine. Today is new yearís eve, I shall show mercy and let your family be reunited, but I fear when this lackey is gone he will not return, so you must leave your girl behind. ' My aunt knew he harboured evil intentions but how would she be willing to comply? That Mongolian official shouted for his attendants who then threw my uncle and aunt out of his office.

    "My aunt wasnít willing to give up her daughter and shouted in front of the Mongolian officialís office. The numerous common people knew perfectly well that she has been wronged, but Huaibei was not part of great Songís territory, the Mongolian soldiers killed the Han people like trampling on ants, so who dared to say a word of fairness? Instead my uncle said, 'Since the Mongolian official has taken a liking for our girl, that is a fortune others cannot have, so why do you cry?' So now he actually behaved like a slave since he has been a lackey for a long time. He then asked where that 500 taels of silver came from. At the beginning my aunt was not willing to say, but was forced persistently and she finally said. My uncle got angry, saying my aunt ruined his reputation, not following the traditional womanís ethics, became depressed, did such a despicable act as to write a divorce paper immediately and has since divorced my aunt." The numerous people sighed with one voice, all saying her aunt really has such an unfortunate life.

    The middle-aged woman said, "My aunt toiled through untold hardships for 7 to 8 years but reached such a wretched state, so she did not want to live. Then she went to the woods and loosened her belt to hang herself. But heaven is just and fair, and just then the Condor Hero passed by and rescued her. He found out the whole story and his face flushed with anger. That very evening he jumped into the Mongolian officialís office, only seeing the Mongolian official trying to coerce my cousin and my uncle unexpectedly urging my cousin to submit, saying since she has been in that kind of job all these years, so she isnít a decent girl anymore and didnít have to respect her chastity. The Condor Hero killed my uncle with one punch and grapped that Mongolian official and threw him into the Huaihe River, thus saving my cousin. He said my aunt sold her flesh to save her husband so she deserved much more respect than the common chaste ladies. He also said the people he hates most are ungrateful people, so he would never spare people like my uncle."

    The young girl heard this and started to day-dream, casually lifting the wine bowl and drunk a big mouthful then gently said, "So many of you were able to meet the Condor Hero, but I actually do not have such luck. If I can just see him once and listen to him to say a few words, I... ... I would be overjoyed."

    The young woman loudly said, "This personís martial arts are good, but comparing with Father, he is way behind. A young girl like you doesnít know anything, when others exaggerate such matters, you immediately proclaim how great this person is. Actually you have also seen this person, and he has also carried you before." The young girl blushed and said, "You are my elder sister, yet you speak so frivolously, who would believe you?" The woman said "If you donít believe thatís up to you. That whatever Condor Hero is named Yang Guo, and has lived on our Peach Blossom Island (Tao Hua Dao) in his childhood. His arm was ... ... Eh... ... Mmm, he carried you the day you were born."

    This beautiful young woman is Guo Fu, the young girl is her younger sister Guo Xiang and the youth is Guo Xiangís twin brother Guo Polu. More than ten years ago, Guo Fu had married Yelu Qi and now Guo Xiang and Guo Polu have also grown up. The three of them were carrying out an assignment by their parents which was to proceed to Jin Yang and invite Quanzhenís senior priest Qiu Chuji, styled Changchun Ji (Everlasting Spring), to preside over the heroesí congress in Xiangyang. On this day the three siblings were on their way to Jin Yang, but they were held up here as the snow had frozen Fenglingduís (part of the Yellow River) mouth, so they listened to the numerous people talk throughout the night.

    Guo Xiangís face had a happy expression and she mumbled to herself, "He has carried me the day I was bornÖ" She turned her head to Guo Fu and said, "Elder sister, the Condor Hero really lived in our Peach Blossom Island (Tao Hua Dao) in his childhood? How is it Iíve never heard our parent mention this before?" Guo Fu said "What do you know? Our parents have never mentioned many things to you before."

    Actually Yang Guo losing his arm and Xiao Long Nu getting poisoned was all caused by Guo Fu acting rashly. Whenever this matter was mentioned, Guo Jing would get very angry, although his daughter had gotten married, he would still scold her fiercely, not giving any face to his daughter or son-in-law, therefore everyone in the Guo family stopped talking about this matter, so Guo Xiang and Guo Polu never heard of Yang Guoís affairs.

    Guo Xiang said "So, since he and our family have such deep ties, why hasn't he visited us? Hey, he must surely be attending the heroesí congress on the 15th of March in Xiangyang." Guo Fu said, "This person does things strangely and has such an arrogant character, most probably he wouldít come." Guo Xiang said, "Elder sister, it would be good if we think of how to deliver an invitation to him." Turning her head to Song Wu, she said, "Uncle Song Wu, can you think of a way to forward the letter to the Condor Hero?" Song Wu shook his head saying, "The Condor Hero wanders around the world, not having any definite destination. If he has any matters requiring our assistance, he would just pass the word down. If we try to look for him, even a lifetime may not be enough."

    Guo Xiang was very disappointed, she listened to the various people talking about how Yang Guo saved Wang Weizhongís only child, executed Chen Dafang, interrogated Ding Daquan, redeemed Song Wu, killed the father to save the mother and all sorts of chivalrous and magnanimous acts and could not help but daydream, listening to her elder sister say he carried her when she was young. Her heart was on fire and she wished she would be able to see him once, but she heard he would most probably not participate in the heroesí congress and could not help but sigh, saying, "At the heroesí meeting not everyone would necessarily be a hero, but the genuine hero who is so outstanding actually may not go."

    Suddenly a ďPoĒ sound was heard and a person from the corner somersaulted and stood up, so it was actually the person who was rolled into a ball and sleeping soundly. The numerous people heard the rumbling sound, caused by that person speaking. He said, "If the lady wants to meet the Condor Hero itís not difficult, tonight I shall bring you to see him." When the numerous people heard him they were startled, then when they saw his appearance, they were even more surprised. His height was less than four feet, his body was really skinny, but his head was huge, arms were long, hands and feet were big, larger than the ordinary personís, even if they were on an ordinary person they wouldnít fit. Thus on his small body, it was very weird.

    Guo Xiang was filled with great happiness and said, "Excellent, but I am unknown to the Condor Hero, rashly seeking an audience may tresspass on his patience; I donít know if he will see me." That dwarf loudly said, "If you do not see him today, I fear you may never see him in future." Guo Xiang curiously asked, "Why?"

    Guo Fu stood up, saying to the dwarf, "What is your great name?" The dwarf coldly laughed, "I am such an ugly person, how can there another on this Earth? Since you donít know, go home and ask your father and mother."

    At this time, a distant voice slowly and softly said, "On Xishan are a group of ghosts, he is the ninth out of ten of them and his is called Big Headed Ghost! (Da Tou Gui) If you donít find out now, then when?" This voice was rather incoherent, worn out and had a ghostly tone, but everybody heard every word clearly.

    That big headed dwarf got shocked, made a loud noise and a ďPengĒ sound was heard, the flame became dark and that dwarf disappeared without a trace. The numerous people got startled, saw the front door had a large hole, made by the dwarf when he exited. Breaking down a door was not unheard of, but this person dashing through a door was really uncommon. (Something like the Roadrunner dashing through the wall in those Warner Brothersí cartoons, if you donít get the idea.)

    Guo Polu said, "Big sister, this dwarf has such good skills!" Guo Fu followed her parents for a long time, and saw much of the pugilistic world, but their parents never mentioned this dwarf before, so she was struck dumb for quite a while. But Guo Xiang said, "Among Fatherís teachers, the Jiangnan Seven Freaks, there was a short guy named Grandpa Ma Wangshen. Third brother, you called others a dwarf, if Father knew he might not be too happy. You should call him Senior." Guo Jing never forgot the Jiangnan Seven Freaks' kindness, was very respectful towards them and treated any blind person or dwarf kindly, teaching the children to do that too.

    Before Guo Polu could reply, a ďHuĒ sound was heard suddenly and the big headed dwarf stood in front of him, with wind and snow blowing in through the broken door, causing sparks from the fire to fly rapidly. Guo Fu feared that the dwarf would injure her brother and sister so she rushed forward and blocked him from Guo Xiang and Guo Polu.

    The dwarf poked his big head towards the side of Guo Fuís waist and said to Guo Xiang, "Young lady, if you want to see the Condor Hero, follow me." Guo Xiang said, "Alright! Elder sister, Younger brother, letís go together." Guo Fu said, "Whatís so nice to see about the Condor Hero? Donít go. We donít even know this person well." Guo Xiang said, "Iíll just go for a while and return, you guys wait here for me." Song Wu suddenly stood up and said, "Lady, do not go. This person is... ... is one of theÖ Ö Ghosts of Xishan... ... If you go... ... something unfortunate might happen to you." The dwarf grinned cunningly, saying, "You know the Xishan Ghosts? You know we are bad people?" His left palm suddenly struck out, hitting Song Wu in his shoulder. A ďpengĒ sound was heard, Song Wu flew backwards and hit the wall and immediately fainted.

    Guo Fu got angry and loudly said, "Sir please leave! My younger sister is naive, how could she go along with you and create trouble in the middle of the night?" She turned her head and fiercely shouted at her younger sister, "Stop this rubbish. You are not going!"

    At this moment, that distant voice was heard again, saying, "The ninth of the ten Xishan Ghosts, Big Headed Ghost; our spirits are restless, we have been waiting for a long time!" This voice sounded miles away, yet seemed very close, causing much confusion, causing everybody to be terrified.

    Guo Xiang made up her mind resolutely, "Tonight even if I meet evil spirits and ghosts, I must still meet the Condor Hero." She said, "Senior, please lead me there!" Upon saying that, her legs made a spring and she dashed through the broken door. Guo Fu anxiously called, "What are you doing?" She put out her hand to grab her younger sisterís arm but missed, so she leaped quickly, and pursued through the door.

    Who knew that when her body was about to pass through the door, the hole swiftly disappeared, Guo Fu immediately dropped her body in midair. Her dash was blocked and she had to land her feet onto the ground, her toes less than one foot from the door. She looked carefully, nearly calling out in alarm - actually the dwarf was using his body to block the door, the distance between them was only several inches and the tip of his nose nearly bumped into her chest, how could she not get startled? She hurriedly leapt back when a gust of cold wind blew at her body and the big headed dwarf was gone. Guo Fu called loudly, "Younger sister, come back!" She leapt out, only hearing a distant rumbling laughter, but Guo Xiangís shadow was nowhere to be seen.

    The dwarf made Guo Fu retreat in fear, turned around and leapt onto the snow saying: "Good! The lady is very courageous." Holding Guo Xiangís hand, he jumped forwards. He utilised a rather uncommon qing gong (lightness skill), like a big frog, jumping forwards continuously, and although he was short, each leap covered a great distance.

    Guo Xiangís wrist was being pulled by him, and she felt like a metal circlet was round her wrist felt rather painful, her heart thumping madly and she did not know where this dwarf would bring her to. Since childhood Guo Jing and Huang Rong taught her martial arts personally, so her wugong (martial arts) had quite a strong foundation, but she found it difficult to keep in pace with the dwarfís leaps, So later on she was actually being dragged by him, forcing them to jump and land together.

    After jumping like this for a little while, someone behind the mountain suddenly said, "Big Headed Ghost, why are you so late? Ha ha, you even brought a beautiful doll!" The dwarf said, "She is Guo Jing and Huang Rong's daughter, she wanted to meet the Condor Hero, so I then led her here." That person gawked, saying, "Guo Jing and Huang Rong's daughter?" Another person behind the mountain errily said, "Hurry up, letís get going!" The voice became distorted, and dozens of horses appeared from behind the mountain ridge.

    By now the heavy snow still did not stop, and the white snow gave a shiny reflection. Guo Xiang saw nine strange people mounted on the horses, but most of the horses had no riders. The dwarf pulled two horses forwards and gave the reins to Guo Xiang with himself mounting another horse, shouting, "Letís move!" He whistled, and the horses neighed and galloped towards the northwest.

    When Guo Xiang looked at the nine people, she saw two females, one of which was a senile old woman while the other was dressed in scarlet from head to toe, she looked like she was on fire and appeared to be even more glaring than the snowís reflection. The other seven peopleís appearances could not be seen clearly. Guo Xiang thought carefully, "From what I heard, the whatever Xishan Ghosts consist of ten of them. At present there are exactly ten people, so this group of people must be the Xishan Ghosts. Uncle Song Wu only warned about me getting into trouble with them and that person already knocked him out with one palm; this really looks ominous. They said they will bring me to meet the Condor Hero, so they shouldnít be deceiving me. They must already be acquainted with the Condor Hero, so they canít be that evil."

    In a short while they already covered ten miles, then the first person made a "de er" sound and the horses stopped at once. He lead the horse up a small hill and then turned around. Guo Xiang saw his appearance and found it startling yet funny - this person was also a dwarf, his upper body was less than two feet, but his beard was actually three feet long, hanging over the horse. His face had wrinkles, his double eyebrows tightly knitted and his face was filled with worry.

    She heard him say, "From here to Ma Ping Yi is less than 3 miles. The Jianghu (pugilistic world) people say that the Condor Heroís martial arts are superb, we must discuss in advance and not spoil the Xishan Ghostsí reputation." The old woman said, "Then we request Eldest brother to issue an order." The long bearded man said, "Should we fight with him on chariots or surround him?" Guo Xiang was shocked and thought, "From his tone, they must be enemies with the Condor Hero."

    The old man said, "How are the Condor Hero's abilities like? Seventh brother, please explain clearly." A burly man with a body like an iron tower said, " although I have seen him, I never fought with him, I saw... ... I saw... ... that he had some sort of demonic aura."

    The red clothed woman said, "Seventh brother, how did you become enemies with the Condor Hero? Now is the time to explain clearly so that before everybody starts fighting, we would know whatís going on. You always stammer and stutter and you usually fail to reveal the whole truth." The guy got angry, saying, "We Xishan Ghosts will live and die together, since this person dares to come forward and find us, do we cower away?" A tall and skinny person with a gloomy voice said, "Who said anything about cowering away? But even if Ninth sister didnít ask, I would ask. We have not offended him. Why did he want to expel the Xishan Ghost from Xishan?" The guy got angry and said, "Everybody, look, he cut off my ears. If you wonít help me get back at him, what good brothers and sisters are you?" As he said this he took off his felt hat. Under the bright reflection of the snow, everyone plainly saw his head missing both ears. The Xishan Ghosts all got angry and started cursing and swearing with thunderous rage, all wanting to fight the Condor Hero to death.

    The red clothed woman said, "Seventh brother, why did he cut off your ears? What offense did you commit? You were harassing decent women again, was it not?" A person with a laughing face got angry and said, "Even Seventh brother harasses decent women, other people have no right to intefere." This person was born with a really unusual face; although he was angry, the smile on his face did not disappear. Guo Xiang looked carefully and saw that the corners of his mouth curled upwards with both squinting, so even if he was sobbing sadly, it would seem like he was smiling from ear to ear.

    The guy said, "No, no! On that day my wife and four concubines were quarrelling over some small matter and things were about to turn violent. This whatever Condor Hero passed and saw this, he was such a busybody and unexpectedly persuaded my wives to stop, my third wife had no shame and smiled at him... ... " The red clothed woman said, "Ah ha, I know, Seventh brother got jealous and forbade her to smile." The guy said, "Get jealous? I donít need other people to poke their noses into my affairs. I punched my concubineís three front teeth and told broken-armed dirt-bag to scram."

    When Guo Xiang heard this she could not bear it and said, "He gave you well-intentioned advice, why did you speak so impolitely? You are wrong there." The numerous people turned their heads to look at her and could not believe this young girl dared to act so boldly.

    The guy got really angry and shouted, "Little twit, how dare you teach me what to do! Fifth brother, is this doll your girl?" That big headed dwarf said, "She wants to see the Condor Hero so I brought her along to take a look, I donít care about other matters." The guy said, "Good, then I shall teach her a lesson." He raised his horse whip and lashed down towards Guo Xiangís head with a "pa" sound.

    Guo Xiang lifted her whip and blocked, the 2 whips struck each other and interlocked together. The guy used his arm to seize the whip and Guo Xiang felt a great force vigorously tugging her whip. She could not hold on any longer and released her whip, causing her palms to be scratched with searing pain. The guy took back his whip, raised it and wanted to lash down again, but the old man shouted, "Seventh brother, itís getting late, letís hurry, why do you lower yourself and fight with a kid?" The guyís whip was in midair, but he did not strike down.

    That long-sleeved old man sneered, "The Xishan Ghosts are not afraid of the sky and the ground, even Guo Jing and Huang Rong's reputation does not scare us. Little doll, if you talk again, I will butcher you immediately." He leant forward, saying, "Seventh brother, a true man will get up again if he falls, my long beard was cut off by my enemy several years before. How were your ears sheared off?" (Sounds familiar? Can you guess who he is?)

    The guy then said, "I told the Condor Hero to get lost, so he smiled, turned around and walked away. Itís all my third concubineís fault, she cried out, saying she was forced to marry me strongly and at that time she was not willing, now she was bullied by my first wife; She added that after I married her, I also married a fourth concubine and did not have any conscience. That Condor Hero turned around, his expression changed greatly and asked, 'Is this woman speaking the truth?' I said, 'So what if it is? So what if itís not? My nickname is Ghost Fairy and I kill without blinking, do you know that?' His said calmly, 'If you like her, why you marry someone else after you married her? If you do not like her, why did you marry her at all?' I laughed loudly and said, 'At first I liked her, now Iím tired of her. Itís common for a man to have three wives and four concubines. I even want to marry another four.' He said, 'You heartless creatures are far too many, how can the worldís females live in peace?' Suddenly he stepped forward, drew out a dagger from my waist and sliced off my ears. Then he pointed the dagger at my chest, shouting, 'Dig your heart and liver out to take a look, what colour are they?' "

    Guo Xiang became delighted, could not bear it and wanted to cheer, but saw the Xishan Ghostsí fierce and strange expressions and swallowed the "Good!" she wanted to shout.

    The guy continued, "Then my concubines knelt down to beg for mercy, they even cried loudly, saying they would rather be killed than me, because if I died, they must commit suicide to accompany the husband, damn, this is really disgusting. Hey, I have really lost my face! I angrily shouted, 'Hurry, just kill me! The Xishan Ghosts will come and haunt you!' He wrinkled his brows and said to my wives, 'Why do you still plead for such heartless scum?' My five wives only kowtowed (kneel and bow). He asked my third concubine, 'You said you were forced to marry him against your will. If I kill him wonít it be good?' My concubine said, ĎAt that time I wasnít willing, later on I changed my mind. Please donít kill him.' I got angry, saying, 'Just kill me, there are nine more of us.' He said, 'OK! I wonít kill you today. The Xishan Ghosts, so what? On the night at the end of this month, I shall wait at the horsesí plains for you. Call all your ghosts to find me. If you do not dare, Xishan Ghosts must get lost from Xishan forever and never come back.' "

    After they heard him say that, they did not speak for quite a while. Then the old woman said, "What weapons does he use? What school is his Wugong (martial arts) from?" The guy that, "He only has a left arm and he does not carry any weapons. Wugong... ... I couldnít tell." The woman said, "Eldest brother, this person subdued seventh brother in one stroke, he must be extremely swift and agile and his Wugong must be quite unorthodox. We rely on numbers to win, you take the lead, I and fifth brother will help from the side, three against one, butcher him straightaway. Do not allow him to use his skills."

    The long-sleeved old man lowered his head and pondered for a while, then he raised his head and said, "This Condor Hero has a good reputation, in these ten over years many people have been defeated by him, he must have some astonishing skills. Todayís fight is a no small matter. I and Second sister will launch a sudden frontal attack, Third and Fourth brother will get close to him then attack his lower body, Fifth and Sixth brother will attack from behind, Seventh and Eighth brother will use long weapons to strike his flank, confusing him, Ninth sister will throw consealed projectiles, Tenth brother will discharge poison gas. Since the Xishan Ghosts have sworn brotherhood, the ten of us have never attacked simultaneously, today is the first time, if we canít butcher him, let us all turn into real ghosts!"

    The big headed dwarf said, "Eldest brother, if ten of us attack a single person, we wonít win honorably, if this is spread, all the Jianghu heroes will despise us." The old woman said, "We shall butcher the Condor Hero tonight. Apart from this doll, who else knows about this matter?" Once she said this she raised her arm. The big headed dwarf waved his left sleeve and blocked her from Guo Xiang, then he took out a fine needle from her sleeve and said, "Elder sister, I brought her along, please donít take her life." He turn to Guo Xiang and said, "Young lady, you want to meet the Condor Hero, you cannot mention this matter to anyone, otherwise you should quickly go back."

    Guo Xiang was alarmed and afraid and also angry, thinking, "This old woman has such vicious strikes, if not for the short uncle saving me, I could have died from her silent needles without a trace." So she said, "Alright I will not say it." But she continued, "You have ten brothers, doesn't he have a single helper?"

    The big headed dwarf laughed loudly and said, "The Condor Hero only appeared in Jianghu for around ten years, but we never heard that he has any assistant. He has this big bird which is unable to speak to accompany him." He then raised the horseís reins, loudly shouting, "Letís go!" The numerous people galloped and the dwarf said to Guo Xiang, "Later when we start fighting, you must not leave my side." Guo Xiang noded, she knew that the Xishan Ghosts were quite cruel and merciless, but this big headed dwarf is looking after her, he prevented his companion from harming her; but his ways were rough, although he spoke in a low voice, the other nine people heard him.

    Guo Xiang rode along with the other people. She saw the Xishan Ghosts all having unique skills, no matter how strong the Condor Heroís wugong might be, how could he fight ten people alone? She thought, "If father and mother were here it would be good, they wonít stand by and do nothing."

    At this point of time, several tiger roars could be heard in the dark forest in front and the horses gave a startled neigh, some standing motionless, some trying to escape. The skinny man waved his horse whip and was the first to rush into the woods. The old woman scolded, "You lousy animals, you even fear a small cat eating you up?" The group charged forwards and entered the woods. They moved round ten feet when suddenly a person in front fiercely shouted, "Who are these brave people who dare to enter the beastly mountain village at night without permision?"

    The Xishan Ghosts stopped their horses, only seeing a person standing on the path, a brave tiger squatting next to him. The group of horses heard the tiger growling and were alarmed. The long-sleeved old man put his hands together to greet that person, immediately saying, "The Xishan Ghosts entered this place without informing you, pardon our rudeness." That person said, "Oh, the Xishan Ghosts? You must be the Long-Sleeved Ghost?" The old man said, "Precisely. We have an important matter on hand and we are rushing to the horsesí plains, when we return we will apologize for this." He knew this character was not very affable but at this moment they needed all their strength to deal with the Condor Hero, so he hoped not to complicate matters and spoke very politely.

    That person said, "Gentlemen, please hold on." He raised his voice and called, "Eldest brother, itís the Xishan Ghosts going to the horsesí plains, they said they will apologize when they return." The group of ghosts heard this and were disgruntled, thinking, "We said we would return and apologize, but those are only polite words. Would the Xishan Ghosts really bow down to this person?" The Xishan Ghosts all had outstanding skills, before they became sworn brothers they already gotten over many troubles, creating much havoc in Shaanxi in recent years and the Wulin (martial arts world) people all dreaded them. Now the ten people are assembled together and if they had no prior appointment with the Condor Hero on that night, they would whack this person good and proper just based on his words alone.

    They heard a sreeching voice deep in the forest saying, "Apologizes are not needed, let them go around the forest."

    When they heard this they got angry immediately. The skinny person with the bamboo staff sneered, "The Xishan Ghosts never take detours!" He raised the horseís reins and charged straight towards the person standing on the path.

    That person raised his left hand and 2 tigers next to him threw themselves forwards immediately, causing the skinny man's horse to be frightened and he stood up. The skinny manís riding skills were really good; he bended down on the saddle, both hands holding a short spear, fiercely piercing at the 2 tigers. The tiger on his left leap aside while the tiger on the right scratched the horse's belly with its paws, but that tiger gave a roar because it was injured by the spear. The skinny man jumped onto the ground, shouting, "Watch my weapons!" He thrust the spears forth, one high one low, displaying the "Double Dragon Fu Yuan Skill", but he did not advance forwards.

    That person coldly said, "You injured my familyís watch-cat, now whether you take the detour or not is not up to you. Wu Chang Gui (Uncommon Ghost), leave your spears behind!" When Wu Chang Gui found that that person knew his nickname, he said, "Who are you, sir? The beastly mountain village was supposed to be in Western Liang, why has it moved to Southern Jin? You want me to leave my spears, thatís very easy." That person said, "If our beastly mountain village wants to move, must we report to the Xishan Ghosts? We were tired of living at Western Liang so we moved to Southern Jin to play. My eldest brother by telling you to take a detour was already being extremely polite. My third brother is sick and doesnít like outsiders harassing us, do you understand?" When he said this, he suddenly stretched his left hand out and grabbed Wu Chang Guiís right spear near the edge. Wu Chang Gui never expected him to move so fast, so he pierced his left spear forwards and increased his right handís strength. That person extended his right hand and grabbed Wu Chang Guiís left spear as well. The 2 people had great strength, and no one let go of the weapons. A "pa" sound was made and the two spears snapped.

    The Xishan Ghosts shrugged and the long-sleeved old man said, "Sir are you the Eight-Handed Monkey Immortal Shi? Is the Golden Claw Lion King ill? At this moment we have a matter on hand, tomorrow at this time, we shall meet here again."

    The masters of the beastly mountain village are 5 brothers, the eldest being White Forhead Mountain Lord Shi Bowei, the second Caring Eyesight Sage Shi Zhongmeng, the third Golden Claw Lion King Shi Shugang, the fourth Immortal Of Giant Strength Shi Jiqiang, the yoingest Eight-Handed Monkey Immortal Shi Mengjie was the one present here. The five brothers inherited the animals from their ancestors, these five people all live unusually and they not only have superb taming skills, they also learnt martial arts from the animalsí movements. The brothers had these beasts as companions since childhood, unexpectedly taking the beasts as their masters, learning martial skills. Shi Shugang entered the mountains when he was 20 years old and met an outstanding person, learning advanced internal strength techniques from him. He then went home and taught his brothers. The five people raised many wild animals and improved their wugong tremendously. The beastly mountain villageís reputation gradually became better in Jianghu and the wulin people called them "Tiger leopard lion elephant monkey". Now when the long-sleeved ghost heard Shi Shugang was sick, he was relieved, he thought no matter how good the Shi brothers were, the Xishan Ghosts would not be afraid, now that the central pillar of the "Tiger leopard lion likely monkey" Lion King was sick, it would definitely not be a problem to handle them, so he proposed a duel the next evening.
    (What strange namesÖ wonder if I got them correct.)

    Eight-Handed Monkey Immortal Shi Mengjie said, "Tomorrow night we shall wait outside the forest for you at 11 p.m." Saying that he put his hands together to salute and shot the broken spear heads into a tree next to the long-sleeved ghost. The long-sleeved ghost was startled, thinking, "Why does he not allow us to cut through the forest? What do the Shi brothers have in this forest?" He also put his hands together and saluted, "The Xishan Ghosts bids farewell!" He nudged the horse with his legs and moved forwards. Shi Meng Jie said loudly, "Hold it! My eldest brother told you to take a detour, didnít you hear?"

    The long-sleeved ghost pulled the reins and was about to reply when he heard people at the northeast and northwest of the woods laughing loudly at the same time, then a thick cloud of smoke appeared. A person called out, "What the heck are you doing in the woods? You canít hide it from the group of ghosts." Another person said, "You are just meeting your ancestors." (Making puns with the Chinese words.) Actually the eigth and tenth ghost had sneaked behind Shi Mengjie and set a fire while he was talking to the long-sleeved ghost.

    The flame leapt upwards, then he heard the 2 ghostsí voices call out in alarm, wildly dashing back to the group, breathless, the facial expression bearing great fear. the long-sleeved ghost shouted, "What?" One of them said, "Tigers, tigers! 100, 200 of them... ... "

    When Shi Mengjie saw the fire in the fores, he got really angry, shouting out, "Eldest brother, second brother, this is important, let them go, we can easily find them later."

    Suddenly everyone saw a blur figure, a dog-like creature squirmed through the woods and dashed away in the blink of an eye. This was pretty small, had four long legs, a snow white coat, had a black tail, looked like a dog yet looked like a cat. Shi Mengjie called loudly, "The nine-tailed fox has emerged!" and started persuing, his face looking anxious and panic-stricken.

    A fierce voice was heard from the back of the woods, sounding like a lionís or a tigerís roar, yet sounded like someone shouting loudly. When Guo Xiang heard this shout carries chill went down her spine. When this sound died down, a hundred beasts roared from all directions, including lions, tigers, leopards, wolves, elephants, monkeys and 'orangutans'... ... For a while it was not very clear, then with a thundering rumble the wild animals rushed out from the forest. Then someone said, "Eldest brother head towards the northeast, second brother go towards the northwest, fourth brother hurry to the southwest... ... " This voice and the howl was similar.

    However Guo Xiang only saw several shadows flashing around, leaving the jungle. She knew perfectly well there was danger, but her curiosity took over and she hurriedly chased them out of the woods. The big headed ghost called out, "Miss Guo, donít wander about!" He then pursued her.

    Guo Xiang exited the woods and saw a strange sight; five people leading a group of wild animals each, moving rapidly in 5 directions on the snowy plain. These wild animals were all well-trained, not fighting among each other, forming packs, running around orderly. Guo Xiang was scared but also thought this was amusing. The five groups of animals got closer and formed a big circle.

    Suddenly a white flash appeared - that dog-like animal squeezed out of the encirclement, zooming in front of Guo Xiang, really moving like a lightning. Guo Xiang was startled and bent down to catch it with her hand, but that small animal already dashed several feet away. It stood still, suddenly turning its head to look at Guo Xiang with itís fiery red eyes, looking like 2 meteors in the dark.

    The Shi brothers called out, "The nine-tailed fox! Itís over there!" The group of animals rushed forwards together like a moving mountain.

    Guo Xiang rode towards the side to avoid them, but when the horse saw so many wild animals, it got frightened till its legs became soft, its legs curved and it knelt down on the ground. Guo Xiang got shocked thinking, "The group of beasts are rushing towards me, they are going to trample me into minced meat!" She lept away from the horse and dashed off. She still smelt the animals, the group of beasts rushed by her like the torrents of a river and went far away before long.

    By now all the Xishan Ghosts have also gotten out of the forest. The long-sleeved ghost said, "No matter how strong the Shi brothersí Wugong is, we are not afraid, but these many animals are not easy to deal with. Tonight we wonít provoke them so that weíll still have our strength to deal with the Condor Hero, everybody letís go!" The old woman said, "Good, tonight after we kill the Condor Hero we will burn the lions and roast the tigers tomorrow!" She then raised the reins and started to gallop around the forest.

    The fierce roars of the lions and tigers were heard again, the group of beasts were returning on separate paths. But this time the roars didnít sound so vicious and the animals were not running very fast. The long-sleeved ghost suddenly turned green and called out, "Oh no, hurry, letís go!" But the wild animals were shouting in all directions; they were surrounded by the group of beasts. The long-sleeved ghost whistled and the ten people leapt off the horses, standing in five positions, each drawing their weapons, silently waiting for the enemy to arrive.

    The big-headed ghost softly said, "Young Lady, quickly return, you shouldnít risk your life here." Guo Xiang said, "Whereís the Condor Hero? You agreed to take me to him." The big-headed ghost knitted his brows, "Have you not seen all these wicked beasts?" Guo Xiang said, "You try to reason with the animalsí masters, saying you and the Condor Hero have an appointment, and you shouldnít delay much longer." The big-headed ghost said, "Humph, the Xishan Ghosts never reason with anyone."

    While saying that, the Shi brothers have led the wild animals back. The five people were all wearing animal skins, standing 40 to 50 feet away from the Xishan Ghosts. The fifth brother Shi Mengjie said, "The beastly mountain village and the Xishan Ghosts have no bad blood, why did you set the forest on fire and scare away the nine-tailed fox?"

    Guo Xiang heard him say this with deep anger and thought, "That small animal may be cute, but itís nothing great, why should they kick up such a big fuss? It obviously has only one tail, how could it be called the nine-tailed fox?"

    The red-clothed female said, "As for todayís matter, the fault lies with the Shi brothers. This beastly mountain village has been at Gan Liang for a long time, suddenly it moved to Shanxi and you donít allow people to pass through the main road in the middle of the night. With such actions how could you blame others?"

    The White Forhead Mountain Lord Shi Bowei shouted, "Since it has come to this stage, what more can be said? The Xishan Ghosts shall not live." Loudly roaring, he charged unarmed to the long-sleeved ghost, his palms imitating tigersí claws, causing wind to be generated before his palms arrived; even a firece tiger could not compare to its ferocity.

    The long-sleeved ghost slipped aside, moving back towards the left. He shouted and swept a long pointed weapon towards Shi Bowei. Shi Bowei stretched his claws out, grasping the end weapon, which was a thick steel rod. Before his palm held firmly, he felt heat shot through his palms and he hurriedly let it go, the left palm executed an advanced stance to avoid the steel rod. If he were not quick enough his chest would already have been pierced by the rod. Shi Bowei was startled, "The Xishan Ghostsí reputation have rose in recent years, so they actually live up to it." He did not dare to be careless and drew his weapon with a "chia lang langĒ sound - it was pair of double hooks. The right hook weighed 18 catties while the left hook weighed 17 catties, it was a fierce and sharp weapon, with the hooks giving off yellow light. He then fought fiercely with the steel rod.

    Now Shi Zhongmeng grasped the rod, fighting one-on-two, sparring with Cui Ming Ghostís knife and Shang Meng Ghostís chain spear. Shi Jiqiang and the old woman grappled along a long rope, although his strength was great, but it was useless against the old womanís soft sleeve. He roared again and again, exibiting his giantís strength, but was unable to utilise it. Shi Mengjieís foe was the copper hammer-wielding big-headed ghost. Shi Mengjieís pen stances were complex and strange, so the big-headed ghost found it hard to defend himself, then the red clothed woman raised her knife and went forward to help him.

    On the snowy ground, the ten people were divided into four groups fighting viciously under the heavy snow, unable to decide victory or defeat.

    The Xishan Ghosts still had six people not in action yet while the opponents only had the Lion King standing by. They saw him leaning on a lionís body, being sickly and without any strength. In this battle the Xishan ghosts fought with numbers, showing the potential for victory, but the Shi brothers only had to whistle and the group of beasts would attack, causing the Xishan Ghosts to go from victory to defeat.

    Guo Xiang saw the group of beasts surrounding them and was afraid, she also remembered she wanted see the Condor Hero, so she said, "Uncle Big Headed Ghost, stop fighting, you have more people, even if you win it wouldnít be honourable. You offended them, just appologize!" But who would bother about her?

    Ten people fought violently for a long time. The long-sleeved ghost and Shi Bowei were on par. The old womanís long rope moved flexibly and had many changes within, forming big and small circles, if Shi Jiqiang lost his focus, he would have been hanged by her rope, luckily his broadsword made big moves with great ferocity, so the old woman could not afford to be careless. The Big Headed Ghost and the Clever Ghost were hard and soft respectively, complementing one another, but Shi Mengjieís moves were quick yet strange, as the saying goes a quick hit counters three slow, the three people were fighting in circles, but Shi Mengjie did not lose the upper hand yet. The big-headed ghost roared like the rumbling thunder while the Clever Ghost chatted in a gloomy tone, dividing the enemyís attention. Shi Mengjie turned a deaf ear to them and just concentrated on their battle.

    On this side the Cui Ming Ghost and the Shang Men Ghost actually could not withstand Shi Zhongmengís silver rod. His silver rod was short and hollow, using strange moves, the three people fighting till the border of the forest, the Shang Men Ghost pierced his spear forwards, Shi Zhongmeng aimed his rod at him and thrust directly at the spear, causing the spear to go right through into the hollow rod. The Shang Men Ghost was greatly startled but he was not willing to let go of his weapon. The Tao Zhai Ghost leapt up to help them, hitting his slab towards Shi Zhongmengís silver rod. Shi Zhongmeng drew his rod back and retreated, allowing the Shang Men Ghost to regain his weapon. The Tao Zhai Ghostís weapon resembled an iron block and it was actually an accounts book cast in iron. The book had 5 pages, each page could be flipped about, its sides sharper than knives and it made a strange and sharp weapon.
    (The Xishan Ghosts also have such queer namesÖ I couldíve been wrong about some of them.)

    The Xishan Ghosts originally had their respective surnames, but ever since the "Xishan Ghosts" was known, they discarded their real names and used ďGhostĒ as their nicknames. The ten people all had unusual and strange appearances so they ten brothers said, "The Jianghu heroes call us ghosts, so we shall see if the people are good or the ghosts are fierce?" That Tao Zhai Ghost made himself that iron book because he avenged any minor wrongs, never willing to let off anyone who offends him even slightly, so the martial arts world nicknamed him the "Tao Zhai Ghost (Debt-collecting Ghost)". He was very pleased with this nickname and cast an iron accounts book, carving the names of those who offend him on the iron pages, writing off those names after he has settled the debt.

    The silver rod was a unique weapon, but the iron accounts book was actually more unusual, with five iron sheets attacking together, making ďdang dangĒ noise. The Cui Ming, Shang Men and Tao Zhai Ghosts fought Shi Zhongmeng together, gradually gaining an advantage.

    Guo Xiang stood at the side, watching the group of ghosts and the Shi brothers fighting non-stop, thinking that their appointment with the Condor Hero was long overdue and feared that he left after waiting impatiently, she became more and more anxious, but was incapable of stopping the fight.

    The hundreds of beasts lay around them, forming a tight circle. The Xishan Ghosts looked around them and saw the bright glitter of eyes everywhere in the darkness and knew that even if they killed all the Shi brothers, it would be difficult to get out of the animalsí siege. The old woman wanted to use her rope and tie down Shi Jiqiang to force the Shi brothers to recall their animals, making a pathway for their exit. But Shi Jiqiangís martial arts were at the same level as her, how easy could that be? The Laughing Ghost called out, "Second sister, let me help you." He drew his weapon from the waist and threws himself towards Shi Jiqiang.

    Shi Jiqiang was fighting anxiously when he saw the Laughing Ghost jumping forward, but it suited him and he said, "Great!" he brought his bronze weapon fiercely down on that ghostís head. The Laughing Ghost leant aside blocking with his 2 whips, but the whips snapped with a ďPuĒ sound. The Laughing Ghost was greatly startled and quickly rolled away. ďPeng!Ē The bronze weapon struck the ground. The Laughing Ghost dipped his hand into his clothes and grasped some poisonous powder, standing up immediately and flung it towards Shi Jiqiang. Shi Jiqiang suddenly saw a red mist and was whocked, losing his footing, falling immediately. The old woman cast her rope and lassoed his legs.

    Shi Bowei, Shi Zhongmeng and Shi Mengjie saw their brother fell and were all startled and angry. If he was captured, they could not rescue him. Guo Xiang called out, "What are you doing? You used trickery to hurt him, what kind of man are you?" She was not helping any party, but she saw the Laughing Ghost using such a dirty move, so she could not bear it and criticized him.

    At this time suddenly a low roar was heard, the Lion King Shi Shugang stood up slowly, lowly growling, "Put down my fourth brother!"

    Shi Jiqiang had passed out. The old woman used her long rope so to tie his hands up as well, but was wary of his great strength, fearing that he would suddenly awaken and snap her rope, so she blocked his acupoint and said, "Get your animals to move away then we will release him!" She saw Shi Shugang's dull eyes and sallow face, walking unsteadily; he was obviously seriously sick, so she paid no attention to him.

    Guo Xiang saw Shi Shugang slowly walking towards ghosts, hands and feet unsteady, meeting the enemy in spite of his illness, just like a real man, so she quickly said, "Hey, youíre sick, donít fight." Shi Shugang nodded to her and said, "Thanks." But he did not stop and continued towards Shi Jiqiang. The Laughing Ghost exchanged glances with the old woman (Hanging Ghost) and stood forward together, wanting to snare him as well.

    They threw themselves onto Shi Shugang, stretching out their hands when Shi Shugang growled fiercely, his left hand smacking the Hanging Ghostís head, his right hand tugging the Laughing Ghostís back and the two people felt a great strength suddenly pressing down on them. Their legs gave way and they nearly fell down, so they hurriedly leaped away. Fortunately for them Shi Shugang did not pursue them. Two people looked at each other in amazement and broke out in cold sweat, not expecting this sick person to be so strong.

    Shi Shugang bent down to clear his brother's acupoint. He pulled gently and snapped the Hanging Ghostís rope in several places. But Shi Jiqiang was poisoned and did not awake. Shi Shugang wrinkled his brows and shouted, "Hand over the antidote!" The Laughing Ghost said, "You recall your animals, then I give up the antidote."

    Shi Shugang snorted and walked shakily to the Laughing Ghost. The Laughing Ghost did not dare take him head-on and stepped aside quickly. Shi Shugang was sick and could not chase after him, but continued to walk weakly to him. The four ghosts watching by the side jumped up while the Laughing Ghost also turned round to fight. Shi Shugang struck out with his palm slowly, but his palm strength was really great. The five ghosts encircled him, punching here and chopping there, but did not dare get closer to him. The Laughing Ghost feared that he would poison his own brothers, so he did not release the poison gas.

    Guo Xiang thought, "This man lost to dirty tricks, heís really pitiful!" She grapped some snow and rubbed on Shi Jiqiangís forehead, then she put a snowball in his mouth. The poison gas effects were not long-lasting and Shi Jiqiangís body was tough, he felt cold, and slowly awoke. He saw Guo Xiang still picking up snow for him and said, "Many thanks, young lady!" He rolled and stood up, rubbed his eyes and saw the five ghosts besieging Shi Shugang, so he loudly called out, "Third brother step aside!" He stretched out his hand and twisted the Laughing Ghosts neck.

    Shi Boweiís hooks and the Long-sleeved Ghostís steel rod were clashing rapidly, then he saw Shi Jiqiang awoke, he felt very happy and cheered loudly. The beasts lying by the side heard this cheer and all stood up immediately, waiting to pounce forward. Shi Bowei cheered again and the beasts followed with their roars.

    The Xishan Ghosts have had many battle experiences, but this time they could not help but tremble in fear. Before the beastly roars died away the animals charged towards the Xishan Ghosts.

    Guo Xiang shouted "Ah!", and her face turned pale. Shi Shugang stretched out his hand and shoved a tiger pouncing on Guo Xiang away, he took off his skin hat and placed it on Guo Xiangís head. The animals have been trained for a long time, as soon as they saw her put on the skin hat, they left her alone and turned their attention to the ten ghosts. Tigers, wolves, leopards, apes and bears all bit and scratched at the ten ghosts. The Xishan Ghosts furiously killed 7 or 8 beasts, but the Shi brothers attacked from the side and the beasts kept coming and coming, becoming too many to handle. The ten people were all injured, their clothes tattered and dripping with blood, they were about to lose their lives and could not escape from the animalsí clutches.

    Guo Xiang saw three lions surrounding the big-headed ghost, his bronze hammer fallen to the ground, his right arm trapped in a lionís mouth, relying entirely on his left palm to block the lions. Guo Xiang remembered him defending her before and saw him so distressed, she could not help it and without hesitation, she took off the skin hat and immediately placed it on his head, but his head was too big for the hat, so it looked extremely funny as it kept bouncing around his head. When the Shi brothers trained their animals, they specially made the skin hats for the animals to differentiate between friend or foe, so when they saw the big-headed ghost put on the hat, they moved away immediately. But now four leopards surrounded Guo Xiang.

    Shi Shugang was now trying to snatch away the Long-sleeved Ghostís steel rod to prevent him from injuring too many animals when he heard Guo Xiang calling for help, he turned his head to look and was startled, but they were too far apart and he could not go to her rescue. But strangely, the four leopards did not sttack Guo Xiang; they only smelt and walked around her, being very friendly to her. Guo Xiang was shocked speechless, but saw the four leopards not harming her and she remembered her mother and sister once told her that she drank leopard's milk when young, so these four leopards must have mistaken her for one of them. She was pleasantly surprised and bent down to hug the leopards' necks while they licked her hands and cheeks. Guo Xiang felt somewhat itchy and started laughing. Since the Shi brothers started training their animals, they have never seen something like this before and were all greatly surprised.

    The big-headed ghost managed to avoid any trouble with the skin hat, but he saw his brothers and sisters all in a dire situation and did not want to get away alone. Although the Xishan Ghosts were not honorable gentleman and usually did heretical things, but their loyalty towards one another was very deep, so he grasped the hat immediately and threw it to the red clothed woman, saying, "Ninth sister, you quickly escape." She caught the hat and threw it towards the Long-Sleeved Ghost and called out, "Eldest brother, you leave first, just avenge us in future." But he threw the hat to the Laughing Ghost and said, "Tenth brother, itís never too late for revenge, I wonít live any much longer anyway." The ten people were actually unwilling to use this life-saving device.

    The Laughing Ghost was tying down five wolves and did not throw the hat. However wolves were extremely savage, when they smelt blood, they ignored the hat on the Laughing Ghost and did not want to give up their meal. The Laughing Ghost cursed loudly, but his face was still carrying a happy expression.

    Then out of nowhere a person with a clear and cold voice said, "The Xishan Ghosts do not keep their words, they made me wait for half a night, so they are here fooling around with animals!"

    Guo Xiang became very happy, saying in her heart, "The Condor Hero is here!" She lifted her head and saw a person sitting on a big treeís branch with a large headed and magnificiently ugly condor. This person wore a long grey gown, his right sleeve stuffed in his waistband, showing his missing arm. She looked at his face and could not help but felt her goosebumps rising, she saw a sallow complexion and a grotesque face, not looking like a live person. He looked like a zombie. The Xishan Ghosts all looked strange and weird, but definitely were not as ugly as he was.

    Before Guo Xiang saw him, her young girl's heart imagined him to be like a suave Confucian scholar, outstandingly handsome, but when she saw him, she was greatly disappointed and thought, "So there is such an ugly person in the world!" She could not bear it and looked at him again and saw his pupils glinting, exuding a heroic aura. When the eyes flashed across and gazed at her face, as if they sensed something slightly strange. Guo Xiang felt her heart racing and could not help but lower her head, slowly finding the Condor Hero not to be so ugly anymore.


    END OF CHAPTER
    Last edited by IcyFox; 01-04-06 at 12:58 AM.

  10. #50
    Senior Member Bangs's Avatar
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    Woah!!!! Very nice!

    Thank you very much ur Icyfoxyness!!!

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    Senior Member Da Bao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IcyFox
    When the eyes flashed across and gazed at her face, as if they sensed something slightly strange. Guo Xiang felt her heart racing and could not help but lower her head, slowly finding the Condor Hero not to be so ugly anymore.

    Nooo.... Not another one!! And he's like... 20-23 years her senior!! AAARRGGHHH!!! Why? AAAHHH!!!! lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by Da Bao
    Nooo.... Not another one!! And he's like... 20-23 years her senior!! AAARRGGHHH!!! Why? AAAHHH!!!! lol
    Cause Yang Guo is just so damn cool!

    This quote fits him perfectly -> "He is every woman's dream and every man's nightmare." Erm just heard it somewhere, if I remember correctly, I heard it from a video game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IcyFox
    Oh YES! Chap 33 is completed. So now what? Chap 34?

    By the way just some comments :
    Since I'm not that pro at translating yet, sometimes the English text is not that fluent as I am trying to keep as much of the flow of the Chinese text as possible to reduce any loss of accuracy. Hope you guys don't mind.

    And in future, should I translate the whole chapter before releasing it or should I post sections of translations regularly? (It would take 5-7 days for me to translate a chapter, FYI.)
    Wow, thankz

    IMHO, you should post the whole chapter at once... its more enjoyable... but that it is if you can keep motivated to translate everything at once... if you like the feedback by every part then its better you post by parts... but again thasts only my point

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    Senior Member Da Bao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bangs
    This quote fits him perfectly -> "He is every woman's dream and every man's nightmare." Erm just heard it somewhere, if I remember correctly, I heard it from a video game.
    So true... He sounds like the type of guy my friends would fall in love with, but... He's someone I would resent... greatly. I don't really like him... Psh... I don't get why all these girls would fall in love with him... Especially Cheng Ying...
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    actually...i love having the individual posts then the whole chapter at the end

    gives me something to look forward to everyday

    and i get to leave lots of comments

  16. #56
    Senior Member Bangs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Da Bao
    So true... He sounds like the type of guy my friends would fall in love with, but... He's someone I would resent... greatly. I don't really like him... Psh... I don't get why all these girls would fall in love with him... Especially Cheng Ying...
    What's not to like? He is smart, good looking, strong, loves XLN deeply. Well he has only one arm, maybe you don't like that eh?

    @Icyfox: Post it partially just like you did with CH33.

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    Senior Member tweety365's Avatar
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    Where would I be able to find the past translations on chapters 1-32 of ROCH? Any help is very much appreciated! Thanks in advance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tweety365
    Where would I be able to find the past translations on chapters 1-32 of ROCH? Any help is very much appreciated! Thanks in advance.

    Chapters 1-30 can be found here. (Chapter 25 is incomplete.)
    http://www.wuxiapedia.com/novels/jin...gallant_knight


    Chapter 31/32 can be found somewhere around here:
    http://www.spcnet.tv/forums/showthread.php?t=10180

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bangs
    What's not to like? He is smart, good looking, strong, loves XLN deeply. Well he has only one arm, maybe you don't like that eh?

    @Icyfox: Post it partially just like you did with CH33.

    PPHHHFFF!! It's not the one arm thing I dislike, it's his behaviour and plus I have this mutual dislike for anyone popular. Yang Guo (although it's PARTIALLY not his fault) has this weird way of flattering girls and making them fall in love with him. He ALREADY HAS A LOVER!!!! He shouldn't be doing this and making other girls suffer!! HHMMPPHHH!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Da Bao
    PPHHHFFF!! It's not the one arm thing I dislike, it's his behaviour and plus I have this mutual dislike for anyone popular. Yang Guo (although it's PARTIALLY not his fault) has this weird way of flattering girls and making them fall in love with him. He ALREADY HAS A LOVER!!!! He shouldn't be doing this and making other girls suffer!! HHMMPPHHH!!!!
    I guess I wouldn't know how you feel because I'm a guy eh. Dont be mad, Im just joking bout that one arm thingy.

    And of course, if you try to analyze it more clearly, its not because YG flattered those girls that they are head over heels in love with him, flattery was the firestarter but it is YG's heroic and kind nature that made them fall for him and still loved him despite knowing that he only loves XLN. Some of the girls are like you Da Bao, they didn't fall for YG's heroic aura (example is Guo Fu and Li Mo Chou).

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