Thread: RoCH Chap 33 Onwards

  1. #761
    Senior Member Bangs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IcyFox
    To come here and post something. That sounds kind of lame.
    Not like that. Tell them that ROCH is now complete and that they are invited to make an appearance and say something about the novel, say something for themselves, etc. and more importantly to celebrate this great accomplishment which each and everyone of you translators had contributed so much of your time for. And also for us the avid readers to have a chance to voice out our most heartfelt thanks for all of you translators to hear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bangs
    Not like that. Tell them that ROCH is now complete and that they are invited to make an appearance and say something about the novel, say something for themselves, etc. and more importantly to celebrate this great accomplishment which each and everyone of you translators had contributed so much of your time for. And also for us the avid readers to have a chance to voice out our most heartfelt thanks for all of you translators to hear.
    OK, I think I'll just copy and paste this whole chunk of text in the PM.



    @JamesG : On standby mode again.
    Anyway take your time. You're already very efficient.

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    Translation of this wunnerful novel, ROCH is complete!

    we fans of wuxia novel who can not read chinese, would like to express our gratitude to all the translators for their valuable effort to translate this novel
    many many thanks to all the translators and other readers for encouraging them to translate

    (By the way, let us all wuxia fans encourage the translater to move on to LOCH )
    Rose blooms best near death
    You are in full bloom, Pal!

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    Quote Originally Posted by of_the_fire_roots
    you know, its an estimated 1000 pages that you would have to print out... thats a whole lot. your printer would catch a fire if you tried to printed it all out at once.
    It'll really be a thousand pages? Even though I'll still print it out

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdotlu
    It'll really be a thousand pages? Even though I'll still print it out
    I'm also thinking to do the same thing!
    Rose blooms best near death
    You are in full bloom, Pal!

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    Quote Originally Posted by IcyFox
    @JamesG : On standby mode again.
    Anyway take your time. You're already very efficient.
    Just finished the 2nd edit of chp 38 and am on coffee break then will start chp 39. Got to remember to set my vcr to record the 2nd 1/2 hr of a new Chinese series that started last night. I watched the 1st episode tonight and only recognized some familiar bit players but no big name (to me) actors. Don't know why I watch it since the only Chinese skill I have is to be able to recognize whether the cast is speaking Mandarin or Cantonese!

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    After an incredibly long and debilitating existential malaise, I come back here and actually hover around for more than a minute to read through the threads, and holy of all holies I realize the proverbial Truth -- that orange is EVIL! Kidding -- that the gather-up-let's-help-translate-the-book project is finally over! I am astounded and overwhelmed hand-flying-to-my-mouth in the face of such uncanny dedication...I am near tears.

    In short, I am happy. Yay!
    "It's good to know what you don't know." - The Twit

    Xiao Shiyi Lang Book 2 - plodding thru Chap 27

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    Quote Originally Posted by rayon
    After an incredibly long and debilitating existential malaise, I come back here and actually hover around for more than a minute to read through the threads, and holy of all holies I realize the proverbial Truth -- that orange is EVIL! Kidding -- that the gather-up-let's-help-translate-the-book project is finally over! I am astounded and overwhelmed hand-flying-to-my-mouth in the face of such uncanny dedication...I am near tears.

    In short, I am happy. Yay!

    Oh you're back? That's great!
    1 down, 5 more to go. You just saved me a PM.


    @Bangs : Thanks a lot for that idea!




    Edit : I don't think Wuxiapedia has Xiao_Long_Nu's e-mail address. Anyone has any idea on how to contact her?
    Last edited by IcyFox; 02-22-06 at 07:20 PM.

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    u are not the only one who is overjoyed
    TaZzY InC

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    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    In case you guys are wondering what's going on, we're inviting all the previous translators to come back here and celebrate the completion of RoCH.


    Here's the WELCOME PARTY!!!











    Thanks for joining us.
    Last edited by IcyFox; 02-22-06 at 08:37 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IcyFox
    @JamesG: Please take note of the translation markings when you do your editing. Each chapter should clearly state who translated which part. Tks.
    IMHO: do we really need to know which translator did which paragraph? I understand that we need to give proper credit for everybody, but I kind of confused myself trying to give proper credit to everybody in Chapter 34.

    Here is the list:

    The first several paragraphs was translated by JYF, edited by Foxs
    Then Foxs added several paragraphs, sent it back to JYF, and she posted it.

    The second installment was done pretty much the same way. I do not remember exactly which paragraphs was by JYF and which were by Foxs. I am too lazy to scroll up. I believe when JYF posted them, she wrote down which one is which.

    The third part was translated by IcyFox (to be precise: excerpt), to which Foxs expanded it. It was quite a bit of work. That was the reason I put (Translated by IcyFox and Foxs)

    The fourth part was translated by IcyFox, I did not change a lot, only some spelling error and double words.

    The fifth part was translated by Foxs

    The sixth (and the last) part was from excerpt by Noodles, and expanded quite a bit by Foxs. For the same reason I put (Translated by Noodles and Foxs)

    To make matter more complicated, the first, second, fifth and sixth were also edited by IcyFox and Da Bao.

    I don't know how to put everything without making it looks too much clutter.
    foxs

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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesG
    I probably caught those when I spell checked them. The top two miss-spelled words by just about every translator were, disciple(s), listen(s)(ed) Some words like 'suddenly' and 'just' were used when they weren't required.
    When looking at the chinese original, I noticed that actually Jin Yong used those words a lot. And everytime somebody said something, he used the character 'dao', there is no different if you simply say something, asking something, or answer something. I took the liberty to change a lot of those 'dao's to: say, ask, answer, continue, countered, etc. (well, you got the idea).

    Anyway, what I am saying is that: true, sometimes we don't need those words, but if we want to be as accurate as possible, than we might be forced to use it. But I also agree with you: you can edit it to conform to the english structure better.

    Eliza, I don't owe you anything ... Chapter 34 is done!
    foxs

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    Default Chapter 34

    CHAPTER 34 - SETTLING A DISPUTE

    (Translated by Jin_Yong_Fan & Foxs)

    Above them was none other than Yang Guo. During these sixteen years his heart ached and yearned for Xiao Long Nu. He wandered around with his condor and did lots of heroic deeds, earning him the title ‘Condor Hero’. He knew that he was young and handsome and attracted lots of girls already. Miss Gong Sun sacrificed herself for him, Cheng Ying and Lu Wushuang loved him dearly. So he often wore Huang Yu Shi’s human mask, to conceal his real looks. That night he had an appointment with the Xishan Ghosts; but after waiting for half a night without seeing any of them, he came looking and arrived at the forest.

    The Xishan Ghosts were holding tight to their dear lives in the battle against the beasts. Upon hearing Yang Guo’s voice they were desperate. With one more formidable enemy they lost all hope of ever escaping alive. They thought, “It’s over. It’s over. This might possibly be our last battle.”

    “You others are The Beastly Mountain Villagers, the Shi brothers?” Yang Guo called, “Can you hold your palms and listen to me for a second.”

    Shi Bo Wei said, “Our surname is indeed ‘Shi’. Who are you, Sir?” He paused a moment and said, “Ah! I believe you are the Condor Hero?”

    Yang Guo said, “You are correct. I am the Condor Hero. Quickly call off your beasts or else the Xishan Ghosts will turn into real ghosts.” Shi Bo Wei said, “Everybody will turn into real ghosts.” Yang Guo said, “The Xishan Ghosts have an appointment with me. If they do die, who will speak to me?”

    Shi Bo Wei heard him say all this and gave out a cold laughter. Yang Guo said, “You know I am the Condor Hero, why aren’t you listening to me?” Shi Bo Wei said, “So what if you are the Condor Hero. If you have any skills, come down here and pull the animals yourself.”

    Yang Guo said, “OK. Brother Condor, lets get down.” One man and one condor leapt from the tree.

    Shaking out his sleeve, he jumped down with the Condor. Several beasts immediately pounced on them as soon as their feet touched the ground. The Condor waved its wings left and right. The wolves and other smaller animals were pushed back by the gust of wind alone. The bigger animals were down or pushed back staggering by each hit. Suddenly a very big lion and a very big tiger with loud roars pounced on them. The Condor again parried the attack with its formidable wings. The lion and the tiger were knocked upside down. The Condor’s left wing struck the tiger’s head and it died instantly. This incident scared the other animals away.

    Shi Bo Wei was furious. With all his fingers open like a claw he leaped and tried to grab Yang Guo’s chest. Yang Guo only smiled, move his body a little bit, and shook his empty sleeve. “Smack!” the sleeve hit Shi Bo Wei’s hands as if it was hit by a saber. Bo Wei cried in pain.

    Walking slowly Shi Shu Gang tried to push Yang Guo with his both hands. “Good!” cried Yang Guo, parried the attack with his left hand. He only exerted 30% of his energy. After training against the tidal waves for many years, Yang Guo’s strength was already incredible. He could push a big tree down, let alone a mere flesh and blood human.

    Shi Shu Gang had received some lesson on internal energy, thus he had a strong internal energy. Even so, when Yang Guo’s hand touched his, he could not help but stagger back. He tried with all his might to hold his stand.

    “Watch out!” shouted Yang Guo, while pushing him back. Shi Shu Gang’s sight was darkened and he knew he was going to die.

    “Ah! You’re sick?” suddenly he heard Yang Guo’s voice. Immediately he felt the enormous power pushing him back, vanished and Shi Shu Gang was spared. He was startled and stared at the Condor Hero blankly.

    Looking at him, Shi Bo Wei, Shi Zhong Meng, Shi Ji Qiang and Shi Meng Jie thought that their brother was heavily injured. Roaring loudly they attacked Yang Guo in unison.

    In a flash Yang Guo leaped and grabbed a tiger in the neck, which he then used as his weapon to parry the four brothers’ attack.

    As we can remember, Yang Guo had used the heavy black-steel sword; weight about 70 catties, even before he trained against the tidal waves. Now, the tiger was only a little over 100 catties. Thus he easily lifted and used the tiger as a weapon against its own master. The tiger clawed and bit frantically.

    Guo Xiang watched this incident from the sideline. She was delighted; laughing and clapping she shouted, “Goody! Condor Hero, goody! Shi Brothers, you’d better surrender now.”

    Yang Guo looked at the girl with the corner of his eyes, wondering in his heart, “Who is this girl? She plays with leopards, yet does not take Shi Brothers’ side.”

    In the meantime, Shi Shu Gang tried to circulate his ‘chi’, and finding nothing amiss, he understood the Condor Hero had shown him mercy. He thought, “Based on our true skills, even if the five of us go together, we would not be his match.” Looking at his brothers he shouted, “Brothers, stop! We have to know the limit.”

    Hearing his shout, Shi Zhong Meng who was thrusting his silver pipe immediately pulled his weapon back. But Immortal of Giant Strength Shi Ji Qiang, the reckless of the family, didn’t listen; he thought, “What limit? Let him eats my pestle first, then we talk.” He kept attacking Yang Guo’s head with his [elephant opening a mountain] stance. This attack mimicked how an elephant used its trunk. His copper pestle was shaped like an elephant trunk; small in front, bigger and a little curved toward the back. His force was a mixture of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’; no less than 1000 jins strong.

    Yang Guo did not budge. He threw his tiger away, flipped his hand, and caught the end of the rod. He smiled and said, “OK let’s have a duel and see who is stronger.”

    Shi Ji Qiang used all his strength to push down. His Elephant Trunk Staff was above Yang Guo’s head but no matter how much force Shi Ji Qiang used the staff would not go down.

    Shi Shu Gang said, “Fourth brother, don’t be rude.”

    Shi Ji Qiang tried to retreat and pull his staff away but it wouldn’t budge. Shi Ji Qiang tried to pull back three times but still couldn’t retrieve his staff. Yang Guo thought, “He has a powerful strength; if I don’t overcome his with my strength this man will not give in.”

    So Yang Guo used his powerful strength, his left hand came up and grabbed the middle of the staff. The force was focused towards the middle of the staff forcing Shi Ji Qiang to release it. But Shi Ji Qiang did not let go forcing the staff to bend upwards.

    Yang Guo shouted out, “Good!” He used his strength and internal energy and caused the staff to bend down. But Shi Ji Qiang still refused to let go.

    ”Crack!” the staff broke in half. Shi Ji Qiang’s palms were both bleeding, but he still held the staff in his hands. Yang Guo saw Shi Ji Qiang’s tenacity and thought it was amusing and started laughing. He picked up half of the staff and threw it to the ground. It struck the ground and went deep until it was completely buried underground.

    He looked around and saw the Shi brothers, Shi Shu Gang, Shi Meng Jie and the others were trying to calm down and control all the beasts. But because they had smelled blood; the beasts were out of control. Yang Guo signaled to Guo Xiang to plug her ears. Guo Xiang did not understand but still listened and did what she was told. She saw Yang Guo opened his mouth and roared to the sky. It was like a tiger or dragon’s roar.

    Even though Guo Xiang had stopped her ears, she could still hear the roar. Her heartbeat sped up and she could barely stand up. But luckily she had practiced the purest form of internal energy from her father Guo Jing and her mother Huang Rong ever since she was little so even though she was young, her internal energy was better than average martial artists and she didn’t fall down but only staggered a few times.

    Yang Guo’s dragon roar seemed like it would never end. Everybody’s faces changed color. The animals started to fall down one by one, leaving only the elephants still standing. Slowly one by one the Xishan Ghosts fell down. Next the Shi Brothers also fell down; leaving only two people barely stood up. They were Shi Shu Gang and Guo Xiang. Yang Guo was amazed and impressed that this sick man, Shi Shu Gang, was able to stay standing. He knew that if he continued he would hurt Shi Shu Gang even more.

    So he waved his sleeve and his dragon roar stopped. The Condor looked proudly at Yang Guo. Only then did everybody and the beasts slowly stood up. The wolves and other small animals had not awakened yet; their bodies still scattered throughout the snow. The larger animals did not wait for Shi Brothers’ command, they tucked their tails between their legs and scampered away deep into the woods, did not even dare to look back. The Shi Brothers and Xishan Ghosts have never met such opponent in their entire life. They just stared at Yang Guo and could not utter a single word. Yang Guo said, “Shi Brothers, I apologize for the disturbance. I have an appointment with Xishan Ghosts; but since you have started fighting, I had to intervene. After taking care of this small problem, I will let you continue your fight and I promise not to be in anybody’s side.” He turned his body around and continued, “Well? Are you going to fight me one on one, or are all of you going to fight me together?”

    The one supposed to answer his question would be the Ghost Fairy, the burly man with a body like an iron tower, whose ears was cut by the Condor Hero. But since he was still in dazed from the roar, he couldn’t say anything. The Long Beard Ghost then moved a step forward. He clasped his fists in respect, bowing to the ground and said, “Condor Hero, your skill and ours are like heaven and earth apart. We the Xishan Ghosts do not dare to fight you. Our lives have been saved by you. In the future, if Great Hero (Da Xia) ever has any need of our service, even if we have to go through the water or fire, we will comply. If Da Xia wants us to leave Shanxi, we will not stay another second.”

    As soon as he saw the Long Beard Ghost, Yang Guo was already suspicious. And now after hearing his voice, he asked straight away, “Are you not the one surnamed Fan with a given name Yi Weng?”

    The Long Beard Ghost was indeed Fan Yi Weng, the first disciple of Gongsun Zhi, master of the Passionless Valley. Ever since Yang Guo spared his life at the Valley, he had run away and hid himself. About ten years later he reentered the Jianghu world and with his level of martial arts, he managed to attain the first position of the Xishan Ghosts. During the battle at the Heart Wrenching Cliff Yang Guo’s arm had not been chopped by Guo Fu yet. Besides, Yang Guo was wearing a mask now. Therefore, he did not recognize him. Hearing the question, he bowed and answered, “The lowly one is indeed Fan Yi Weng. What is your command, Great Hero?”

    Yang Guo smiled and lifted his hand. “Don’t use such humility. If you want my command, I will say it: Do not move away from Xishan. Ghost Fairy! You’d better let your four concubines go!”

    “Very well,” said the Ghost Fairy. He was silent for a moment and then continued, “If they don’t want to go, I’ll beat them up with a stick.”

    Yang Guo was taken aback. He recalled what happened that day, how this Ghost’s wife and four concubines kneeled down and begged him for mercy. He laughed and said, “No! You can’t beat them up. If they want to leave, just let them leave; but if they want to stay with you … ‘Sigh!’ An outsider certainly cannot interfere. Uh, did you say you were going to take four more concubines to make yours exactly eight?”

    The Ghost Fairy blushed. “Because of my concubines the Condor Hero has had some trouble and my brothers and sisters were almost harmed,” he embarrassedly said. “Even if I want to do that, Big Brother certainly wouldn’t let me.” Everybody laughed hearing his response.

    “Very well, this business is settled,” said Yang Guo. “Now you can continue your fight.” He moved aside and together with his condor they were ready to be the spectators of the Shi Brothers versus the Xishan Ghosts battle.

    Fan Yi Weng moved a few steps forward and said to Shi Bo Wei, “Xishan Ghosts have met an ill-fated event today, and we are hurting; therefore, we’ll have to ask for a leave. However, may we know where your Beastly Mountain Village will be: in Shanxi or Liangzhou? The reason I asked is that we can pay a visit in the future.”

    Shi Bo Wei understood the threat very well, he said, “We will wait for your visit in Liangzhou. But if … if … my third brother can’t be saved because of this, you don’t have to come to Liangzhou; the four of us will certainly pay you a visit wherever you are.”

    Fan Yi Weng was shocked. “What have we to do with Third Brother’s illness?” he wondered.

    (Translated by Icyfox & Foxs)

    Shi Bo Wei’s face turned red and he shouted, “My Third Brother…” Shi Shu Gang sighed, “Eldest Brother, never mind. The Xishan Ghosts were unintentional; it was your younger brother’s fate. We don’t have to add unnecessary enmity.”

    Shi Bo Wei struggled to control himself and said, “Fine!” He lifted one hand toward Fan Yi Weng and said, “The green hill will not change; the green water always flows; we will meet again.” He turned to Yang Guo and said, “Condor Hero, even if we train for another 30 years we are still not your match. We admit defeat. We will never dare to cross your path again.” Yang Guo laughed, “There’s no need for that.”

    Fan Yi Weng was feeling uncomfortable with what had been said and asked, “Eldest Brother Shi, please wait. The Third Brother Shi said we unintentionally did something wrong. What did we do besides entering your territory without authorization? We, the Xishan Ghosts are not afraid to lose our heads; we are certainly not afraid to kowtow to apologize to you.”

    Shi Bo Wei had seen that when they were under the animals attack they were throwing the fur hat to each other. Each one of them was certainly did not fear death. They were also the kind of people who knew right from wrong. So mournfully he said, “You startled the ‘jiu wei ling hu’ [nine-tailed spirit fox] which my Third Brother needs for treatment of his internal injury. Even if we kill you a thousand times, or even ten thousand times, what good would that be?” Fan Yi Weng was shocked; he recalled how the Shi Brothers were leading a large pack of animals to pursue that little fox and wondered why the fox was so important to them.

    The Killer Ghost said, “What’s the use of this little fox? Mmm … since it is important to the Thirdd Brother’s well-being, let us join forces and capture that small fox. Wouldn’t it be great?” Shi Ji Qiang shouted, “What do you mean ‘great’? If you can catch that fox I will kowtow to you a hundred times, no, a thousand times!” He was getting emotional.

    Fan Yi Weng thought, “The Shi Brothers are animal experts without equal in the world. If they say it was difficult, what chance would other people have?” Thinking this he involuntarily cast a glance at Yang Guo.

    Guo Xiang could not contain herself any longer. “Why do you keep talking? Why don’t you ask the Condor Hero for help?” she quipped. Shi Zhong Meng’s heart was stirred; he thought, “This Condor Hero is highly skilled, maybe he can really help us.” But he said, “What do you know? Unless ‘da luo jin xian’ [the great golden immortal surnamed Luo – I think he is one of Taoist deities] coming down to earth, who else would be able to catch that animal?” Yang Guo knew he deliberately provoked him; so he simply smiled. Guo Xiang said, “What’s so special about the fox? Would the Second Shi Uncle care to explain?”

    Shi Zhong Meng sighed and said, “Toward the end of the year before last my Third Brother had defended against injustice in Liangzhou, but the enemy was playing dirty. My Third Brother was not careful and was severely injured …”

    Guo Xiang said, “The Third Uncle Shi’s skills are good. Who’s capable of hurting him?” Shi Shu Gang said, “You’re flattering me. My skill is like the faint glow of a firefly compared to the sun. What you just said, I am afraid The Condor Hero would laugh to my face.” Guo Xiang cast a glance at Yang Guo and said, “Him? He is different. I am talking about other people here.”

    Shi Zhong Meng said, “It was a Mongolian Prince called Hou Du. I heard he is the disciple of Jin Lun Fa Wang.” Yang Guo softly sighed, “It was he. No wonder.”

    Guo Xiang said, “Condor Hero, please punish this Mongolian Prince severely for the Third Uncle Shi’s sake.” Shi Zong Meng said, “We do not dare to bother the Condor Hero. As soon as the Third Brother’s injury is cured, we will find him and fight him fair and square. I am sure we won’t be defeated. Only my Third Brother’s internal injury will need a long time to heal; additionally, he will need to drink the blood of the fox for treatment.”

    ”So that’s the story,” Guo Xiang and the Xishan Ghosts murmured.

    Shi Zhong Meng said, “The ‘jiu wei ling hu’ is a rare animal; extremely skittish. We, five brothers have spent almost a year to track it down. This fox’s habitat is also in unusual places like a big marsh located about thirty li’s [about 15 km] northwest.” The Killer Ghost asked, “Big marsh? Is it the Black Dragon Marsh?” Shi Zhong Meng said, “Precisely. You have lived in the ‘jin nan’ area for a long time, naturally you know that place. This Black Dragon Marsh’s surrounding area is covered with sludge for a few li’s around; no man or beast is able to live there. It’s been a very big effort in our part to simply lure it to this forest.” The Killer Ghost said, “Oh, no wonder you won’t allow us to enter the forest.”

    Shi Zhong Meng continued, “We Shi Brothers are newcomers to this area, naturally we can’t act impolitely. But this is an urgent matter; we did not have any other choice. That fox can run really fast, you have seen it with your own eyes. We have led the animals to surround this forest and had actually hoped we would catch it; unexpectedly you lighted a fire in the forest that our animals were scared and using that opportunity the fox escaped. We are ashamed that even with all our might we weren’t able to catch that animal. Once the fox went back to its lair I doubt if we will ever be able to lure it out again. In the meantime my Third Brother’s injury is not getting better. We are running out of time. That was the reason we acted to unreasonably.” He then looked at Yang Guo imploringly.

    Fan Yi Weng said, “We are partly responsible for this mishap. But may I know how did you lure the fox in the first place? Why can’t we repeat it?” Shi Zhong Meng said, “The fox is a very suspicious animal, it was extremely difficult to lure it out. We have sacrificed more than a thousand roosters. We put a roasted chicken every day a few feet apart. Only after about two months did its suspicions gradually subsided and we slowly led it to this forest. After this incident, I doubt it would ever fall into our trap again in ten years.” Fan Yi Weng nodded, saying, “That is so. But what if we try to capture it in its lair?”

    “The Black Dragon Marsh is surrounded by several li’s of more than ten feet deep sludge. Nothing can step on it, not even a boat or light wooden raft would float. The fox’s body is light, its feet wide and thick, plus it is agile so it can run on the surface,” Shi Zhong Meng explained.

    Guo Xiang suddenly remembered her family’s pair of condors which she and her siblings used to ride to the air. The Divine Condor is bigger than hers, capable of carrying two people; hence she said, “Condor Hero, if you are willing to help, I have a way.” Yang Guo smiled and said, “The Shi Brothers are animal experts, yet they were not able to catch it, even if I am willing what could I do?”

    Shi Zhong Meng heard willingness in his voice. This was a matter of life and death for his brother, so without hesitation he bent his knees and knelt down on the snow in front of Yang Guo and asked, “Condor Hero, my younger brother’s fate is in your hand. Please help us.” Shi Bo Wei, Shi Ji Qiang and Shi Meng Jie also knelt down.

    Yang Guo quickly lifted them up and said, “I do not dare.” Then he turned to Guo Xiang, “You said if I am willing then you have a way. I will listen to your respected opinion.” Guo Xiang said, “You can ride on the Divine Condor and fly over the marsh.”

    Yang Guo laughed heartily, saying, “Ha ha ha, my Brother Condor is different from other birds; his body is too heavy, he can’t fly. His strong wings can sweep tigers or leopards away, but they won’t help him soar.” Still, he turned his head to the Shi Brothers and said, “Even though I am useless, I will try my best to help. I beg your forgiveness if I am inadequate.”

    The Shi Brothers were very happy. They knew this well-known hero’s reputation; he would do what he promised to do. And if he couldn’t do it, nobody could. Shi Bo Wei and his brothers kowtowed and said, “Then we invite the Condor Hero and the Xishan Ghosts to draw up a plan together at our place.”

    Fan Yi Weng said, “This trouble started by our brother. We will listen to you.” Shi Bo Wei said, “We don’t dare. At least we made a few friends out of this.” The Xishan Ghosts and Shi Brothers did not have any enmity to begin with, now that they have agreed on something, each uttered polite words and their enmity was quickly forgotten.

    Yang Guo, however, disagreed. “Brothers, let me go directly to the Black Dragon Marsh. No matter if I succeed of fail, I will come and pay my respect to you within five days.” The Xishan Ghosts and the Shi Brothers knew he usually handled matters alone; so even though they wanted to come they did not dare to propose otherwise. Yang Guo lifted his arm in respect and turned around, heading north.

    Guo Xiang thought, “I came to see the Condor Hero and I’ve seen him now. Although he looks ugly, his skills are astonishing and he likes to help those in need; he’s a real hero. So if I am looking for a ‘Da Xia’, I have found one.” She was curious to see how he would catch the fox so she unwittingly followed him.

    The Big Head Ghost was about to call her, but changed his mind in the last moment. “She came to see the Condor Hero; perhaps she has something to say to him,” he thought. The Shi Brothers did not know Guo Xiang to begin with, so they did not say anything either.

    Guo Xiang was following about ten feet behind Yang Guo. However, Yang Guo and the Condor moved faster and faster like a speeding horse; that a moment later Guo Xiang fell far behind. All she could see was Yang Guo’s sleeve floating in the wind; the distance between them was getting greater and greater. Guo Xiang used her family’s lightness skill with all her might but very soon all she could see was two spots on the horizon. She anxiously cried, “Hey, wait for me!” She lost her concentration and fell onto the snowy ground. She was upset and started to cry.

    Suddenly she heard a gentle voice saying, “Why are you crying? Who bullied you?” Guo Xiang looked up and saw that it was Yang Guo. She did not know how he could get back that fast. She was both surprised and happy, but also embarrassed. She searched for her handkerchief to dry her tears but it was gone. She thought it fell to the ground because she was running frantically.

    Yang Guo groped his sleeve pocket and produced a handkerchief which he hold between his thumb and index finger and asked with a smile, “Are you looking for this?” Guo Xiang saw that it was her own embroidered flower handkerchief so she said, “It was you who bully me.”

    “How did I bully you?” Yang Guo asked. “You took my handkerchief away, didn’t you bully me?” Guo Xiang answered. Yang Guo laughed, “You dropped it yourself and I was kind enough to pick it up for you. How could you say I took it away?” Guo Xiang also laughed, “I was behind you, so how could you have picked it up? Obviously you took it from me.” Actually Yang Guo was aware that Guo Xiang was following them. He wanted to test her skills; so he intentionally ran faster. He thought this young girl’s martial art seemed to come from a famous expert. After she fell he was afraid she might be injured, so he took a detour behind her and saw a handkerchief several feet behind, so he picked it up.

    (Translated by Icyfox)

    Yang Guo smiled, “What’s your name? Who’s your master? Why are you following me?” Guo Xiang countered, “What’s your great name? You tell me first then I’ll tell you.” Yang Guo had been unwilling to even reveal his looks for the past decade, so obviously he was not going to tell a stranger his name. He said, “Young lady, you’re a strange one. If you won’t say then never mind. Here’s your handkerchief.” He waved his hand slightly and the handkerchief spread out and flew steadily to Guo Xiang. Guo Xiang found it fun and took it, saying, “Condor Hero, what skill is this? Can you teach me?”

    Yang Guo saw that she was young and innocent and his repulsive mask did not scare her, so he thought, “I must scare her a bit.” He suddenly said sharply, “You’re very daring. Why aren’t you scared of me? I’m going to hurt you now.” He stepped forward and raised his hand as if about to strike. Guo Xiang was shocked but recovered and laughed, “I’m not afraid. If you really want to hurt me, would you say it first? The Condor Hero is chivalrous and valiant, why would you want to hurt a little girl like me?”

    For someone past caring about worldly affairs, even if a great man praised him sincerely, he would not care. Although he was not desperate to be praised, when he heard Guo Xiang earnestly complimenting him, he smiled, “You don’t know me, how do you know I won’t harm you?” Guo Xiang said, “Although I don’t know you, I heard a lot about your great deeds at Fenglingdu last night. I said to myself, ‘I must definitely meet such a great hero.’ So I followed the Big Head Ghost here to find you.”

    Yang Guo shook his head, “I’m no hero. After you’ve seen me you’ll know that my fame is exaggerated.” Guo Xiang quickly said, “No, no! If you’re not a hero, then who is?” After she said this she realized she said something wrong – it implied her father was not on the same level as he was. So she said, “Of course there’re several great heroes apart from you, but you’re definitely one of them.”

    Yang Guo thought, “You’re just a teenage doll, how can you know about the great men of the time?” He smiled, “So who are those heroes?” Guo Xiang felt that his tone was quite dismissive of her statement, so she said, “OK, I’ll say it. But if I’m right, you’ll take me to catch that 9-tailed Fox, OK?” Yang Guo said, “OK. Name me a few.”

    Guo Xiang said, “OK. There’s one hero who defends Xiang Yang and repels the Mongol invaders with all his might to protect the people. Is that a great hero?” Yang Guo held up his thumb and said, “Correct! Hero Guo Jing can be counted.” Guo Xiang continued, “There’s also a female hero who protects the people, defends the country, is really intelligent and predicts like the Gods. Is she a great hero?” Yang Guo said, “You mean Madam Guo – Chief Huang? Hmm… she can be considered a great hero too.” Guo Xiang said, “There’s also an old hero who’s a master of the Five Elements and the Divine Flicking Finger and is a great prodigy. Is he considered a great hero?” Yang Guo said, “This must be Island Master Huang, a senior in the Wulin community. I’ve always respected him.”

    Guo Xiang saw that he knew the 3 people she mentioned so she was quite pleased with herself. She said, “Then there’s yet another, he commands the Beggars’ Sect, kills the mighty enemy, serves the country and the people, and toils laboriously. Is he considered a great hero?” Yang Guo said, “Are you referring to Chief Lu You Jiao? Although his martial arts are not that fantastic and he never accomplished much, but based on you saying he ‘kills the mighty enemy, serves the country and the people’, he can be counted as a great hero too.” Guo Xiang thought, “You’re so great yourself and your standards are so high; if I continue then you may not agree already. Moreover after Father, Mother, Grandfather and Uncle Lu, I can’t think of anyone else.”

    Yang Guo saw her hesitating and thought, “Uncle Guo, Aunt Guo, Island Master Huang and Chief Lu are all very well-known heroes. It’s nothing strange for this young lady to mention them.” He said, “If you can name one more correctly, I’ll take you to the Black Dragon Marsh to catch the 9-tailed Fox.”

    Guo Xiang wanted to mention her brother-in-law Yelu Qi but felt that although his martial arts were high, he did not qualify to be a ‘great hero’ yet. Her martial brothers Wu Dun Ru and Wu Xiu Wen were even worse candidates. She was greatly troubled when she suddenly thought of something and said, “OK, here’s one more: he helps people in trouble, protects the weak and is widely praised – the Condor Hero! Whether this is considered a great hero is for you to decide.” Yang Guo said, “Young lady, your words are very amusing.” Guo Xiang said, “So are you taking me to the Black Dragon Marsh?” Yang Guo laughed, “Since you called me a great hero, how can a great hero disappoint the young lady? Let’s go.”

    Guo Xiang was overjoyed and stretched out her hand and held his left hand. She was friendly with the heroes in Xiang Yang since young and they treated her like their goddaughter, hence she did not pay attention to the proper behavior between males and females. In her excitement, she did not treat Yang Guo as a stranger.

    Yang Guo felt his hand being held by her and felt that it was soft and smooth. He was at a loss of what to do because if he withdrew his hand, it might have seemed rude. He glanced at her and saw her hopping and skipping with joy written all over her face and without any other thoughts, so he smiled and pointed north, saying, “The Black Dragon Marsh is over there; it’s not very far from here.” As he pointed, he managed to take his hand away from Guo Xiang’s hold descreetly. Yang Guo was a great flirt when young but after separating with Xiao Long Nu, he restrained himself and paid great attention to the proper behavior between males and females for the past 10 years while roaming Jianghu. Although he saw that Guo Xiang was sweet and innocent, he was still careful with his behavior and did not even dare to touch her hand.

    Guo Xiang did not bother about that but walked shoulder-to-shoulder with him. After walking a few steps, she saw that although the Divine Condor was ugly, it looked proud and majestic, so she stretched out her hand to pat its wings. She played with a pair of white condors since young and patted the condors’ wings as a game. However the Divine Condor spread its wings and pushed her aside with an “Ah”. Guo Xiang was shocked and exclaimed, “Ah!”

    Yang Guo laughed, “Brother Condor, relax! Why treat this young lady so coldly?” Guo Xiang stuck out her tongue and walked to Yang Guo’s right, not daring to go near the condor. She did not know that her condors were pets while Yang Guo’s condor was sort of his master as well as his friend, and considering its age it was an elder, so its status was different.

    So the two people and the condor headed towards the Black Dragon Marsh. They found it quite easily as there was no plants or trees for 7 or 8 miles. The Black Dragon Marsh was originally a large lake, but the water source dried up later and it was clogged with slit year after year, so the place became a desolate marsh. With only a bit of effort, Yang Guo and Guo Xiang made it to the marsh. They looked around and saw a heavy cloud of death with only dried bushes scattered around the vast marsh. The 9-tailed Fox should be hiding somewhere around here.

    Yang Guo took a twig and threw it into the marsh. At first the twig settled on the snow, but it sank slowly and steadily without stopping. Soon there was not a trace of the twig. Guo Xiang exclaimed, “The twig is already so light and it sank, so how can we walk on it?” She stared at Yang Guo and wondered what clever tricks he was thinking of.

    Yang Guo broke off two few branches which were a few feet long and tied it to his feet. He said, “Let me try it and see if this works.” He bent forward and jumped onto the snow, skiing quickly on the surface. He skied left and right without pausing and turned several times on the frozen marsh before returning to his original location.

    Guo Xiang laughed, “Great skills!” Yang Guo saw the admiration in the glint of her eyes and knew she was really eager to trap the fox, but she did not have such lightness skills so he laughed, “I promised to take you to the Black Dragon Marsh to catch that 9-tailed Fox, are you afraid?” Guo Xiang sighed gently and said, “I don’t have such skills like you; even if I were very brave it’d be useless.” Yang Guo smiled without a word and broke off another two branches. He then gave them to Guo Xiang and said, “Tie them to your feet.”

    Guo Xiang was surprised and delighted and immediately tied the branches as instructed. Yang Guo said, “Bend forward and remember not to exert any strength with your feet.” He grabbed her arm and shouted, “Fear not!” Guo Xiang was dragged by him and she found herself skiing on the snow. She panicked at first, but after a few meters she felt herself floating like the wind and she repeatedly shouted, “This is so fun!”

    After skiing for some time, Yang Guo suddenly shouted, “Oh!” Guo Xiang asked, “What?” She lost her concentration and her left foot sunk into the snow. The mud splashed onto her leg and she exclaimed in surprise. Yang Guo lifted her out and said, “Remember, always move continuously and you must not stop suddenly.” Guo Xiang said, “OK. What do you see? Is it the 9-tailed Fox?” Yang Guo said, “No! It seems like someone is living in the middle of the marsh.” Guo Xiang curiously asked, “How can someone live here?” Yang Guo said, “I don’t know either. But the plants and trees here are arranged into some sort of formation; definitely man-made.”

    They were getting closer to the formation and Guo Xiang looked carefully, saying, “Correct, Wood at the east, Fire in the south, Earth at the centre but it’s not Water at the North but Metal.”

    She had heard her mother talk of the changes of the Five Elements since young so she managed to pick up some of it. Her character was quite different from her sister Guo Fu’s – she was frank but not uncouth and she was much more intelligent than her sister. Huang Rong always said, “If your grandfather ever saw you, he would really like you a lot.” Huang Yao Shi was very well-versed in medicine, astrology, the arts and warfare. Guo Xiang was very much like her grandfather but she was distracted easily, so her martial arts improvement was slow. Still, she was always day-dreaming and did as she pleased and her conduct was usually extraordinary, causing Guo Jing and Huang Rong a lot of headaches, hence her nickname at home was “Little Eastern Heretic”. For example on this occasion she followed the Big Head Ghost whom she did not know to look for the Condor Hero, and now she followed another stranger, the Condor Hero, to catch the fox. She boldly did as she wanted and was different from Huang Rong and Guo Fu years ago.

    When Yang Guo heard that she knew how the formation was arranged, he was quite surprised and asked, “How did you know? Who taught you?” Guo Xiang laughed, “I saw that in some books, I don’t even know if it’s correct. But from what I see there’s nothing extraordinary about this formation, so it can’t be some expert living in there.”

    Yang Guo nodded, “Hey, that person can survive in such an inhospitable place, that’s strange.” So he said loudly, “My friend in the Black Dragon Marsh, you have guests.” After a while, there was still no response. Yang Guo repeated his words but still received no response. Yang Guo said, “Looks like although someone made this formation, the person doesn’t live here. Let’s go over and take a look.” He skied several meters ahead and went right up to the formation.

    Guo Xiang suddenly felt as though she had set foot on solid ground. Yang Guo finished his examination and laughed, “There’s nothing weird about this. There’s an island in the middle of the marsh.” As he said this, there was a sudden movement in the snow and two little foxes came out from behind a bush. It was a pair of 9-tailed Foxes and one headed northeast while the other headed southwest, both running very fast.

    Yang Guo shouted, “Stay here and don’t move.” He turned and chased the fox heading northeast. Now that he didn’t have to look after Guo Xiang, he was able to utilize his full skills and ski on the snow swiftly like a bird. However the fox was extremely fast and agile too and dashed in front of Guo Xiang. Suddenly as the wind blew, Yang Guo threw out his sleeve and almost caught the fox but it was too agile and somersaulted in midair, causing Yang Guo’s sleeve to miss only by a few inches. Guo Xiang exclaimed, “What a pity!”

    The man and the fox dashed through the snow with lightning speeds and Guo Xiang was filled with excitement and could not stop cheering for Yang Guo, shouting, “Condor Hero! Faster! Little fox, you can’t escape, just surrender!” The other fox zigzagged around, sometimes moving close to Yang Guo. Yang Guo knew it was there to distract him so he did not bother and only concentrated on the first fox, wanting to tire it out. But although the fox was small, its stamina was excellent and showed no signs of fatigue after dashing around for so long.

    Yang Guo increased his pace and the other fox ran alongside its companion in an attempt to save it. He scolded, “You little animal, do you think I can’t catch you?” He swiftly bent down and grabbed a ball of snow and squashed it until it was like a stone. He shot the snowball out and hit the fox in the head, causing it to fall down and roll over. Yang Guo did not want to kill it, so he threw the snowball very lightly. The fox rolled several times and stood up again, quickly dashing into a clump of bushes, not daring to come out again.

    If Yang Guo hit it again, he could catch the fox, but he purposely wanted to compete with it, saying, “Little fox, if I hit you with a snowball, you won’t die in peace. I’m an upright man and if I can’t catch up with you, I’ll let you off.” He took a deep breath and launched himself forward, sliding on the snow and got right up to the fox. The fox was shocked and tried to escape right. Yang Guo was prepared for that and shot out his sleeve, hitting the fox. He then grabbed its head with his left hand. He felt proud of himself and laughed heartily.

    When he stopped laughing, he saw that the fox was motionless and appeared to be dead. Yang Guo thought, “Oh no! My sleeve must have hit it too hard, so this fox is very delicate, I wonder if the dead fox’s blood can be used to treat the 3rd Shi.” He took the fox and skied to Guo Xiang, saying, “This fox is dead, I’m afraid it’s of no use to us, let’s go catch the live one.” He threw the fox onto the ground, and as he was afraid it was pretending to be dead, he flung his sleeve out to catch it back if it moved. But the fox remained motionless and seemed to be really dead.

    Guo Xiang said, “The fox was cute when alive, maybe it dropped dead from fatigue.” She took a branch and said, “I’ll go chase the other fox here. You wait here.” She walked a few steps forward and hit the bushes with the branch.

    When she hit the bushes, she wanted to hit again but could not lift the branch up. It seemed like the branch was being bitten by some animal. She exclaimed in surprise and tugged harder, but she lost her grip and the branch was dragged into the bushes.

    With a strange sound a person emerged from behind the bushes; it was an old woman with white hair and dressed in black. She stared at Guo Xiang fiercely and raised the branch to hit her. Guo Xiang was shocked and immediately jumped back, retreating behind Yang Guo.

    At this time the ‘dead’ fox sprang up and jumped into the old woman’s embrace and stared at Yang Guo with its beady eyes. It was feigning death after all.

    When Yang Guo saw this, he was angry yet amused. He thought, “Today I lost to a small animal; looks like it belongs to the old woman. I don’t know who she is and I never heard about such a person in Jianghu. This might be problematic if I insist on taking the fox.” He lifted his hand and said, “I have offended you, Elder, please forgive me.”

    The old woman stared at the branches at their feet and appeared surprised. However she quickly masked it and waved her hand, saying, “This old woman lives in seclusion and doesn’t entertain any guests. Go away!” Her pitch was sharp and thin and her brows showed traces of an unfriendly aura.

    Yang Guo saw that her appearance was intimidating but her brows and eyes were delicate, so it seemed she must have been beautiful when young. He really could not figure out who this could be and said politely, “I have a friend who has suffered some internal injuries. I need the blood of the 9-tailed Fox to treat him. I hope you will be generous and save a life. My friends and I will be very grateful to you.”

    The old woman faced the sky and laughed, “Haha haha heh heh.” She did not stop for a while and her laughter was filled with hatred. Finally she said, “He has suffered internal injuries, so you need to save him. Fine. Why did no one want to save my son when he was severely injured?” Yang Guo was shocked and said, “What injuries did Elder’s son suffer? Now can we still save him in time?” The old woman laughed again. She said, “In time? He died several decades ago and has already turned to ashes, what are you talking about?”

    Yang Guo knew she was thinking about her past, so he did not say much. He only said, “Our visit here to request for this fox is really inappropriate, if elder has any orders I shall carry them out if they’re within my capacity.”

    The old woman cast a gaze at him and said, “I live here alone and have no kid or kin – only these foxes as companions. If you take them away, no problem. You must leave this girl here to accompany me for 10 years.” (Seems like a lot of folks want Guo Xiang to be their disciple.)

    Yang Guo frowned but before he could answer, he heard Guo Xiang say, “This place only has rotten mud and firewood, it’s no fun here. I don’t want to live here. If you’re bored here, then you may come to my home. My parents will definitely welcome you and you can live with us for 10 or 20 years. Isn’t that better?” The old woman angrily said, “What do you think your parents are? How can they invite me?” Guo Xiang was very broad-minded and if anyone was rude to her, she would just laugh it off, so she hardly got angry. The woman seriously offended Guo Jing and Huang Rong and if Guo Fu heard this, she would fly into a rage immediately. Guo Xiang however just smiled and stuck her tongue at Yang Guo.

    Yang Guo felt this young lady was very familiar and did not wish to bring her trouble. He nodded at her and faced the old woman, saying, “Elder’s invitation to this girl is indeed generous and is a rare opportunity for her but without her parents’ permission, she can’t decide for herself…”

    The old woman said sharply, “Who are her parents? What are you to her?” Yang Guo found these questions hard to answer. Guo Xiang immediately said, “My parents are villagers, even if I tell you, you wouldn’t know them. He? He’s my… brother!” She looked at Yang Guo.

    At this time Yang Guo was also starring at her and they made eye contact. Although Yang Guo was wearing a mask and his face looked dead and zombie-like, his eyes radiated a warm and protective aura. Guo Xiang felt her heart tremble and thought, “If I only had such an older brother, he’ll definitely look after me. He won’t be like my sister who nags and scolds all the time, grumbling about this and nitpicking on that.” As she thought of this, her face showed signs of respect. Yang Guo said, “Yeah, my sister is young and ignorant, so I took her out to see the world…” Guo Xiang was initially afraid that Yang Guo would not acknowledge her as his sister but when she heard this, she was extremely delighted. She heard him continue, “She saw that this 9-yailed Fox looked so majestic and knew it must be some exalted elder who owns it so she has come with me on this visit. She is really fortunate to meet you.”

    The old woman laughed coldly, “What’s the use of talking such rubbish? The way you chased my fox – is that showing respect for an elder? Quickly get lost and don’t come back!” She waved both palms and thrust one palm at Yang Guo and the other at Guo Xiang. The 3 of them were standing about a meter apart and although they were out of range of her palms, Guo Xiang felt a cold wind suddenly rush towards her. Yang Guo waved his sleeve and completely dissipated the wind blowing towards Guo Xiang and did not even bother about the wind blowing towards him.

    The old woman was originally not afraid of them and only wanted to chase them out of the Black Dragon Marsh so she only used 50% of her strength but when she saw that it did not affect them in the least bit, she was shocked and angry. She increased her strength and struck out with two palms again, not bothering if she took their lives. Once Guo Xiang felt the wind coming, she felt the chill immediately, but Yang Guo waved his sleeve and dissipated the wind again. She knew they were competing internal strength and she saw that the old woman’s expression was terrible while Yang Guo looked calm as he had the upper hand.

    The old woman quickly ducked and stepped away, suddenly lashing out with a strange move, hitting Yang Guo squarely in the chest with a thud. She immediately retreated and did not wait for Yang Guo to retaliate, and was several meters away in a moment. Guo Xiang was shocked and pulled his arm, asking, “Are… are you injured?” The old woman said sharply, “You’ve been struck by my [Yin Frost Arrow Palm], you won’t live till tomorrow. You brought this upon yourself, so don’t blame anyone.”

    Yang Guo’s martial arts have far surpassed this old woman’s martial arts even fifteen years ago, by now he had already reached such a high level of internal and external martial arts mastery, so of course the old woman’s [Yin Frost Arrow Palm] did not hurt him. However he had no feud with her and he also wanted her precious pet, so he did not want to be rude and thus did not retaliate for 3 palm strikes.

    The old woman had trained her [Yin Frost Arrow Palm] for the past 2 decades and one palm stroke could smash 17 bricks together and the shattered pieces did not fly everywhere, showing that her palm strikes were fierce and concentrated. She thought when Yang Guo was hit, he would collapse from his injuries but he smiled as if nothing happened, so she thought, “This kid is still so stubborn at the verge of death.” She said, “While you’re not dead yet, quickly take this girl and leave, don’t die in my Black Dragon Marsh.”

    Yang Guo lifted his head and said clearly, “Elder lives in seclusion and is very knowledgeable.” (Some of their speech somehow become meaningless when translated.) He laughed loudly and clearly, his voice robust and vigorous, showing his profound internal strength.

    When the woman heard this, she realized that he was not even slightly injured and her face darkened. It was only now that she knew he had actually given in for 3 moves and she was far from his match. She did not wait for him to finish and carried her fox, whistling for the other. The other came out from the bushes and jumped into her embrace. The old woman said sharply, “Martial arts expert, I admire you. But if you want to snatch this old woman’s foxes, never! If you step one foot closer I’ll strangle them and you can return empty-handed.”

    Yang Guo heard that her words were resolute and saw that her character was stubborn and unyielding, he hesitated. If he suddenly charged forward and seal her accupoints before snatching her fox, it looked like she might die of anger. This way even if he saved Shi Shu Gang’s life, it would be at the expanse of another innocent life.

    At this time, they heard a voice from behind. “Amitofo.” Then the voice said, “Old monk Yi Deng wishes to see you, Ying-gu, please meet me.”

    Guo Xiang saw that there was no one all around her and was very curious. The voice seemed to come from close by but there was nowhere anyone could conceal himself in the surroundings, so where could this person be? She had once heard from her mother that Reverend Yi Deng was a highly-skilled elder and had once saved her mother’s life and he was also the master of Wu San Tong who was the father of the Wu brothers. She had never met him before, so when someone suddenly called himself Yi Deng, she was surprised and happy.

    When Yang Guo heard Yi Deng’s voice, he was very delighted too. He knew that Yi Deng was now using the [Voice Transmitting Over 1000 Miles] skill. Of course Yi Deng was not literally 1000 miles away, but if there was no mountain in the way, someone with high martial arts could project his voice over several miles and yet sounded very near. The higher the internal energy, the gentler the voice would sound. Yang Guo only heard these 2 sentences and was full of admiration and admitted to himself that this monk’s internal energy was profound and refined and that the monk was superior to him. He then thought, “So this old woman is Ying-gu. I wonder what Yi Deng wants to see her for. Maybe with his intervention I could get the fox.”

    The old woman living in the Black Dragon Marsh was indeed Ying-gu. Years ago when Yi Deng was the King of Dali, Ying-gu was one of his concubines. She had an affair with Zhou Bo Tong and had a son with him. Later Qiu Qian Ren used his Iron Palms to injure their son severely but King Duan (Yi Deng) refused to save the child and he died. Following that King Duan became a monk and took on the name of Yi Deng. When Ying-gu could not kill Qiu Qian Ren on Mt. Hua, she chased Zhou Bo Tong for some time before touring the Jianghu and finally settling down in the Black Dragon Marsh. At this time Yi Deng was already outside the marsh for seven days and transmitted his voice to seek permission to visit her everyday. However Ying-gu remembered how he totally refused to save her son many years ago and her hatred had still not diminished, so she refused to see him.

    Yang Guo saw Ying-gu retreat a few steps and sit on a pile of firewood. Her eyes were filled with hatred. After a while, they heard Yi Deng again, saying, “Old monk Yi Deng has come from a thousand miles away, Ying-gu, please grant us permission to visit.” Ying-gu just played with her foxes and ignored him. Yang Guo thought, “Yi Deng’s martial arts far surpass hers, then she can’t stop him from coming, so why does he beg her to see him?” They heard Yi Deng repeat once more and they did not hear him again.

    Guo Xiang said, “Brother, this Reverend Yi Deng must be some great man, can we go see him?” Yang Guo said, “OK! I want to see him too.” Then they saw Ying-gu stand up and cast her fierce gaze at them and felt uncomfortable with her starring at them. He grabbed Guo Xiang’s hand and said, “Let’s go!” They skied away together.

    Guo Xiang was pulled for several feet by Yang Guo. Then she asked, “Brother, where’s Reverend Yi Deng? When I heard him speak, it’s as though he’s right beside me.” Yang Guo heard her call him “Brother” twice and her voice was gentle and sweet, his heart shivered and thought, “I must never let her get entangled in the web of love. This girl is young and naïve and ignorant, it’s best to split up early before there’s any trouble.” But they could not stop in such a desolate place and he could not let go of her hand now. Guo Xiang asked, “I’m asking you, didn’t you hear?”

    Yang Guo said, “Reverend Yi Deng is in the northwest and is several miles away from here. He can speak from far as though he’s nearby using the [Voice Transmitting Over 1000 Miles] skill. Guo Xiang happily asked, “You know it too? Can you teach me? When we’re a thousand miles apart I can use this skill to communicate with you, won’t that be great?” Yang Guo laughed, “Although this skill is the [Voice Transmitting Over 1000 Miles] skill, if you can project your voice over several miles, it would already be considered excellent. If you want to reach Reverend Yi Deng’s level, even with your intelligence you’ll only master it when you have white hair.” Guo Xiang heard that he was praising her for being intelligent, she was overjoyed and said, “How am I intelligent? If I were only 10% as intelligent as my mother, I’d be satisfied.”

    Yang Guo’s heart trembled and he saw that her brows resembled Huang Rong’s, so he thought, “Among all the people I’ve met in my life, whether male or female, when it comes to intelligence none can compare to Aunt Guo, could she really be Uncle and Aunt Guo’s daughter?” But he laughed nonchalantly and thought, “Is there really such a wonderful thing? If she’s really their daughter, Uncle Guo would never let her come out and wander around like this.” He asked, “Who’s your mother?”

    Although Guo Xiang said that her parents were great heroes, now she was shy to admit that she was Guo Jing and Huang Rong’s daughter, so she laughed, “My mother, is my mother. You wouldn’t know her anyway. Brother, between you and Yi Deng, whose skills are better?”

    Yang Guo was almost a middle-aged man now and he experienced the agony of separation with Xiao Long Nu, so his proud nature had waned with age. He said, “Reverend Yi Deng is a famous character in Wulin and his name is as well-known as the Peach Blossom Island. He was the Southern King among the Five Greats, how can I be compared to him?” Guo Xiang said, “If you were born several decades earlier, then there would be 6 Greats. East Heretic, West Poison, North Beggar, Central Divinity and the Condor Hero. Ah, there’s also Hero Guo and Madam Guo. So there would be 8 Greats.” Yang Guo could not help it anymore and asked, “You’ve met Hero Guo and Madam Guo before?” Guo Xiang said, “Of course, they like me a lot. You know them personally? After we finish this business, we’ll meet them together, OK?”

    Yang Guo had already forgotten the incident in which Guo Fu hacked off his arm, but he could not stop hating Guo Fu for poisoning Xiao Long Nu and causing their 16-year separation. He blandly said, “Next year, I might visit Hero Guo and Madam Guo, but I must meet my wife first, then I’ll go with her.” When he mentioned Xiao Long Nu, he was extremely excited inside.

    Guo Xiang suddenly felt his palm become hot and asked, “Your wife must be really beautiful and highly-skilled.” Yang Guo sighed, “There’s no one else as beautiful as her on Earth. Hmm, I think she has already far surpassed me in terms of martial arts.” Guo Xiang was full of admiration and said, “Brother, you must take me to meet your wife. Can you promise me that?” Yang Guo laughed, “Why not? She’ll definitely like you a lot. When the time comes you can call me ‘Brother’.” Guo Xiang was surprised and asked, “Why not now?”

    She stopped and her foot sank into the mud again. Yang Guo pulled her out and skied another few meters. Then they saw a man standing some distance away on the snow. His white beard was flowing freely and he was wearing a loose grey robe. It was indeed Yi Deng. Yang Guo said in a clear voice, “Disciple Yang Guo greets Reverend.” He dragged Guo Xiang and ran up to him.

    (Translated by Foxs)

    He bent his knees as soon as he came near the Reverend.

    The place where Yi Deng stood was already beyond the Black Dragon Marsh. Yi Deng was also very happy and quickly pulled the young man up. “Brother Yang,” he said, “How have you been? I am delighted to see your skill has improved thus far.”

    As soon as he stood up, Yang Guo saw another monk lying on the ground behind the Reverend. The monk’s face was sheet white and his eyes closed; he looked like a corpse. After looking at him for a moment he recognized the monk as Ci En. “What happened to Reverend Ci En?” he was surprised and asked.

    Yi Deng heaved a heavy sigh. “He has been injured by an enemy and my effort to help him was in vain,” he said.

    Yang Guo quickly checked Ci En’s pulse and found it was very weak. He knew that Ci En would have been dead if he did not possess a profound internal energy. “Reverend Ci En has a very high level of martial arts. Your disciple is puzzled how could he be injured that badly?”

    “For a long time he and I had lived a secluded life in the Hunan province,” explained Yi Deng. “A while ago we heard that because they were not successful in taking over Xiang Yang, the Mongolians had turned their attention to the south and attacked Da Li; with the intention of using it as a stepping stone to attack the central plains from both north and south. Because he saw my concern about the safety of my homeland, Ci En had gone out to investigate. Unexpectedly he met an enemy and was engaged in a battle for one whole day and night. As a result he suffered a heavy injury.”

    Yang Guo stomped his feet. “(Sigh!) Jin Lun Fa Wang has come back to the central plains,” he said.

    “Big Brother, how did you know the enemy was Jin Lun Fa Wang? Reverend Yi Deng did not say it was him,” asked Guo Xiang.

    “I guessed it was Jin Lun Fa Wang because the Reverend said they were battling each other for one whole day and night,” he answered. “From what the Reverend said, Ci En was not injured by some kind of trickery and the number of people who can do that is only a handful. Among those people, Jin Lun Fa Wang is the only enemy.”

    “Big Brother,” Guo Xiang said, “Please find that man and avenge Senior Monk.”

    At that moment Ci En slowly opened his eyes. He looked at Guo Xiang and shook his head. “What is it? You don’t want revenge?” asked the girl. “Ha! You worry that Big Brother will lose?”

    “Little Miss has guessed incorrectly,” Yi Deng said. “My disciple has committed many crimes in the past. He had repented of his past sins and done so much of good deeds to repay those sins. There is only one thing disturbing his heart. Without resolution he will die with regrets. He doesn’t want revenge; he doesn’t want his enemy’s demise. All he wants is someone’s forgiveness. Then he will close his eyes in peace.”

    “Does he want the forgiveness of that granny who lives in the middle of the marsh?” asked the girl. “That granny is so hardhearted. She won’t easily forgive you if you offended her.”

    Yi Deng again heaved a heavy sigh. “That’s true,” he said. “We have camped out here for seven whole days and nights. She still has not responded!”

    Yang Guo was surprised. He suddenly remembered the granny mentioned something about her child, whom she said was injured but nobody was willing to help. “Is this about the death of a child?” he asked.

    Yi Deng slightly shivered. “So Brother Yang knew,” he said.

    “Disciple does not know the details,” said Yang Guo. “I said that because the granny mentioned it.” He proceeded by narrating the reason of his visit to the [Black Dragon Marsh] and his conversation with the granny.

    “She was my wife, her name is Ying Gu,” said Yi Deng softly. “She has a very strong character … (sigh!) If this situation persists, Ci En wouldn’t be able to hold on.”

    Yang Guo sighed and sadly said, “Who has never done anything wrong? Whenever somebody repents, all could be forgotten. Ying Gu is rather shortsighted.”

    Seeing Ci En was nearing his end, Yang Guo’s valiant character was stirred. “Reverend, by ignoring my meager ability, I would like to force her to come out,” he said. “Would you allow me?”

    Yi Deng thought for a moment, “Ci En and I have come this far to ask Ying Gu’s forgiveness. We can’t force her, but we have been here a long time without meeting her; looks like our effort will be in vain. If this Yang Guo has any idea, might as well try it. Worst case we still cannot meet her.” So finally he said, “If Brother Yang could persuade her to come out, I would be delighted. But in your effort, I wish for you not to cause any trouble and deepen this already deep hatred.”

    Yang Guo nodded and took a handkerchief and tore it into four pieces. He put two pieces in Ci En’s ears and gave the other two to Guo Xiang; signaling her to put them in her ears. Guo Xiang understood and immediately did as she was told.

    Yang Guo then exerted his internal energy and gathered his ‘chi’ in his [dan tian – The 'dan tian' is somewhat below the navel and between the kidneys. It's somewhere in the centre of the cross-section of the body. All the 'chi' arises from this central point].

    He bowed in front of Yi Deng and said, “Disciple will show off my inability, I hope Reverend won’t laugh at me.”

    Yi Deng clasped his hands and said, “Not many people in this world can match Brother Yang’s skill. This old monk had always wanted to see it.”

    Yang Guo put his hand on his waist; looked up, he shouted loud and long. The shout was loud and sharp, slowly getting unbearable. It was like earth shattering thunderbolts. Even though her ears were stopped, Guo Xiang heart pounded and her face paled. Not too long after there came a sound like the tidal waves, continuously crashing into the shore; one after another, the next one was louder than the previous one.

    “Big Brother, stop! I can’t hold it any longer!” shouted Guo Xiang. But her cried was overcome by Yang Guo’s cry that she could not even her own voice. She felt like her spirit was snatched out and her body swaying. At that time she suddenly felt Yi Deng held her hand and out of his hand came a warm energy flowing into her body. Guo Xiang understood Yi Deng was helping her with his profound internal energy. Therefore, she quickly exerted her own energy and calmed her perturbed heart. A moment later her heart was steadied and her mind cleared.

    Yang Guo’s voice was not weakened after about the time needed to eat a bowl of rice. On the contrary, the intensity was increased. Yi Deng was very impressed, because he had not achieved that level when he was Yang Guo’s age.

    In the time it took to light a joss stick a black shadow went out of the [Black Dragon Marsh]; immediately Yang Guo shook his sleeve and stopped the roar.

    “Emperor Duan,” a voice was heard. “You are too much! You forced me to come out. What do you want?”

    “It wasn’t me. It was Brother Yang’s voice,” said Yi Deng.

    While still speaking the shadow kept coming near and when it stopped, all can see that it was Ying Gu.

    She looked puzzled. “Is that true, that there is someone besides Emperor Duan who possesses internal energy that profound?” she asked in her heart. “Even though he is wearing a mask, I can tell from his hairs that he is only thirty-something. It’s amazing for him to reach that level.”

    She was forced to come out of her lair by the loud roar. She realized that if she refused, the roar would get louder and she will be heavily injured, possibly her nerve system ruined. So even though she was irritated, she had to comply. Little did she know that the roar came out of Yang Guo’s throat.

    After calming herself she turned to Yang Guo and coldly said, “Take my fox. I admit defeat. But I want you to leave immediately.” She lifted the fox by its neck and gave it to Yang Guo.

    “Hold a moment,” Yang Guo said. “The fox can wait. Reverend Yi Deng wants to talk to you. Please listen to him.”

    Ying Gu looked coldly at Yi Deng. “Very well, I await the Emperor’s decree.”

    “Let bygones be bygones,” said Yi Deng. “Why do you still use that term? Ying Gu, do you know him?” He pointed to Ci En who was still lying on the ground.

    Ci En was wearing a monk’s robe. His face had changed much from the Mount Hua [Huashan] Sword Meet 30 years ago. Ying Gu looked at him for a minute and then said, “How would I know this monk?”

    “Who hurt your son then?” Yi Deng asked.

    The granny’s body shuddered, her fair countenance turned red, and from red it turned back to white. “That scoundrel Qiu Qian Ren,” she answered. “Even if he turned into dirt I will still remember him.”

    “’Sigh!’ It has been tens of years. You have not rid of your heartache.” Yi Deng sighed. “This man is none other than Qiu Qian Ren. You don’t recognize his face any longer, but your heart is still full of hatred.”

    Ying Gu leaped and stretched her fingers like claws, she was going to pierce Ci En’s breast. Before her hands reached their target, she looked at him again. That face was only slightly resembled Qiu Qian Ren that she knew. He was lying motionless, no different than a corpse. “If he really is Qiu Qian Ren, why did he want to see me?” she asked doubtfully.

    “He is indeed Qiu Qian Ren,” explained Yi Deng. “He repented from his great and many sins; shaved his head and became my disciple. His Buddhist name is Ci En.”

    The granny snorted. “Great sinners always think they can redeem their sins by becoming a monk,” she said.

    “You are wrong,” said Yi Deng patiently. “Sin is sin. By becoming a monk he is still a sinner. But he is heavily injured and is dying. He remembered his sin toward you in the past. He knew he injured your child, his heart is troubled; and before he sees you, he won’t die peacefully. Therefore, enduring his pain we have come from thousand of li’s away to ask for your forgiveness.”

    The granny looked at Ci En for a long time. Her eyes shone with an unleashed hatred. Guo Xiang was really scared. Slowly the granny lifted her hands up to hit Ci En. Even though Guo Xiang was scared, her valiant heart prevailed. “Hold it!” she shouted. “He is heavily injured. It’s not proper for you to hit him.”

    Ying Gu coldly laughed. “Not proper?” she asked. “He murdered my child and made me suffer for tens of years. Right now – even though it was a bit late, I have a chance for revenge. Not proper? What do you mean ‘not proper’?”

    “He has repented and regretted his sins,” said the girl. “Why do you insist?”

    Ying Gu looked up and laughed maniacally. “Kid, don’t talk rubbish!” she snapped. “What would you do if he killed your child?”

    “I … I … I don’t have child,” Guo Xiang stammered.

    The granny made a noise with her nose. “What if he killed your husband, your lover … your big brother? What would you do?” she asked again.

    Guo Xiang blushed. “You talked rubbish,” she said, “Where did my husband or my lover come from?”

    Ying Gu was seething with anger. She ignored the girl and lifted her hands to hit her archenemy’s head. Suddenly Ci En sighed and opened his eyes. A smile formed on his lips. “Thank you Ying Gu, for helping me.”

    The granny was stunned, her hands stopped mid-air. “Help you what?” she barked. But then she realized Ci En’s intention. She knew that now the monk was dying, he wanted to die in her hands. An eye for an eye. He would pay his old debt.

    Ying Gu then coldly laughed. “Hm! How could you die that easy?” she said. “Now I don’t want to kill you, yet I don’t want to forgive you either!” That word left her mouth with such a cruelty that all who heard her shivered.

    Yang Guo was certain that as a monk Reverend Yi Deng would not use force against his ex-concubine who was mad with anger. Guo Xiang was still too young to be regarded by the granny. He was the only one who could do something, anything. He thought for a moment and then said, “Senior Ying Gu, I do not know the details of your enmity toward Ci En. But I can tell from your words that you are a little bit too much. Therefore, whether I want it or not, I’ll have to intervene.”

    Ying Gu was startled and looked at Yang Guo with flame in her eyes. She recalled her three failed attacks, and she recalled his magnificent roar. She realized her skill was not in par with the Condor Hero; who, judging from his words, would resort to force against her. She also remembered her suffering. From anger she turned sad, and then sobbed uncontrollably.

    Yang Guo and Guo Xiang, even Yi Deng, were perplexed; they didn’t understand why the granny cried. A little while later she said, still sobbing, “You! You wanted to see me and after I ignored you, you used force against me. But that person is not willing to see me; none of you care about it.”

    “Who?” asked Guo Xiang quickly. “Who don’t want to see Senior? We can help you.”

    “You can only bully women,” said Ying Gu. “But you are scared to meet a highly skilled pugilist.”

    “I am indeed useless,” said the girl. “But with Reverend Yi Deng and Big Brother here, we are not scared of anything.”

    After thinking for a while, Ying Gu stood up. “If you can take him to see and talk to me, I will do whatever you want me to do,” she said. “You want a fox, you want me to make peace with Qiu Qian Ren, whatever.”

    “Big Brother,” Guo Xiang turned to Yang Guo. “What do you think?”

    “Whom do you want to see? Why is it so difficult?” asked Yang Guo.

    “Ask him,” said the granny, pointing to Reverend Yi Deng.

    For an instant Guo Xiang thought the granny was blushing. She was surprised and asked in her heart, “She is this old, yet she is still shy?”

    Realizing Yang Guo and Guo Xiang were looking at him, Reverend Yi Deng softly said, “It was the Old Urchin, Brother Zhou Bo Tong.”

    “The Old Urchin?” Yang Guo asked. He was delighted. “I know the old man very well. Very well, I will try to find him.”

    “My name is Ying Gu,” the granny said. “You have to tell him up front that the person who wants to see him is me. If not, he would run away as soon as he sees me; and if that happens, don’t ever think of finding him again. If you succeed, I will do whatever you want me to.”

    Yi Deng was shaking his head. Yang Guo saw that, and realized what he got himself into. He guessed that there must be an unusual affair between Ying Gu and the Old Urchin, that made the old man unwilling to see her. But he also knew that Zhou Bo Tong was capricious and loved to play. Yang Guo hoped to somehow trick him. And so he asked, “Where is the Old Urchin? Does Senior know?”

    “If you walk for about two hundred li’s (around 100km) north, you will arrive at a valley. It’s called the [bai hua gu – hundred-flower valley],” explained the granny. “He hid himself in the valley, spending his days keeping bees.”

    Hearing the word ‘keeping bees’ Xiao Long Nu immediately came to Yang Guo’s mind. He remembered sixteen years ago Zhou Bo Tong had learned how to keep the jade bees from his wife. Because of the thought tears welled up in his eyes. “Very well,” he said. “Junior will try to find him. Please wait here.” Having said that he asked a clearer direction to the valley and immediately set foot to walk. Guo Xiang followed him behind.

    “You’d better stay here,” whispered Yang Guo. “That grandpa has a very high martial arts skill, and he is kindhearted too. You can use this opportunity to ask him a lesson or two. I believe you will gain tremendous advantage for the rest of your life.”

    “No, I want to come with you to see Zhou Bo Tong,” said the girl.

    Yang Guo creased his brows. “Ah, you are wasting a golden opportunity,” he said, regrets in his voice.

    “After we see Zhou Bo Tong, I can go home alone if you have to go someplace else,” said Guo Xiang, “But for now, let me come with you.” Yang Guo was touched. “Ah! If only I had a little sister like her, I wouldn’t feel so lonely roaming the Jianghu,” he said in his heart. He smiled and said, “You haven’t had any sleep last night. Aren’t you tired?”

    “I am, but I still want to come,” she answered.

    “Very well,” said Yang Guo, grabbing her hand. Utilizing their lightness kungfu they ran to the north.

    With Yang Guo pulling her along, Guo Xiang felt she could run faster without using too much energy. “If only I could run this fast without your help,” she said, laughing.

    “Your kungfu base is excellent. If you keep training, you will reach this level someday,” said Yang Guo. Suddenly he looked up and shouted. The girl was startled, but then she understood. He was calling his bird. “Brother Condor,” Yang Guo said, “We need to go north for a business. You’d better come along.” Whether the bird understood his words or not, he chirped and followed behind them.

    About one li later the Condor ran faster and even with Yang Guo pulling her, Guo Xiang could not keep up. The Condor lost its patience. He bended his knees to make his body shorter. Yang Guo chuckled and said, “Brother Condor wants to carry you. Say ‘thank you’ to him.”

    Guo Xiang did not dare to be disrespectful toward the Divine Condor. She bowed in reverence and then mounted the bird’s back. The Condor immediately stretched his legs and ran like the wind; Guo Xiang felt like the trees along the way, were dancing passed them. Yang Guo exerted his energy and ran alongside them. He talked and told Guo Xiang what he knew about the places they were passing. The girl was ecstatic! She had never experience this much fun. She wished in her heart the Condor would not run too fast that she could enjoy the ride longer.

    About midday they had run for two hundred li’s. By following Ying Gu’s direction they entered a path way between two hills. Beyond this path they found a very beautiful valley. Beautiful because it was full of colorful flowers. They slowed down and walked leisurely. In between the flower bushes they could see ponds with water clear as the sky. They felt like the place was out of this world.

    Guo Xiang clapped her hands and exclaimed, “The Old Urchin is so lucky. How could he find a place this beautiful? Big Brother, how could this place so pretty?”

    “This place is facing south, so the mountains act as a barrier to the cold north wind,” explained Yang Guo. “Besides, I think there are sulfurs or other minerals underground, that the ground is warmer and the spring comes early. That’s why while other places are still covered with snow; the flowers are already blooming here.”

    Guo Xiang slid down the Condor’s back and say, “Brother Condor, many thanks to you.” Then she walked side-by-side with Yang Guo entering the valley. After a few turns saw a couple of stone walls on each side of the path, with three pine trees in the between, forming two natural gates. As soon as they came near the gates, they heard buzzing sound and saw thousand of jade bees flying around amidst the trees and flowers.

    Yang Guo knew Zhou Bo Tong must be around, so he called, “Old Urchin! Your younger brother Yang Guo and little sister come to visit you and play.”

    If we look at the proper level, Yang Guo was actually three levels under the old man. He should have called ‘Great Grand Martial Master’, but he knew that the old man did not care much about ‘propriety’ and might not like to be called ‘Great Grand Martial Master’; therefore, he called him ‘Old Urchin’.

    A moment later an old man came out from the gates. Yang Guo was startled. He had not seen Zhou Bo Tong for more than ten years. He thought he would see an old man with white hair and beard. Contrary to his thought, Zhou Bo Tong’s face did not change a bit, and his hair and beard had more black than white. In short, Yang Guo saw a younger Zhou Bo Tong!

    As soon as he saw Yang Guo, the old man laughed heartily. “Brother Yang, what business do you have with me? Aha! You are wearing a mask to scare me off?” Having said that his hand moved toward Yang Guo’s left side to snatch his mask. Yang Guo lifted up his right shoulder a little bit and slanted his head to the left. Zhou Bo Tong’s attack fell to an empty space. The old man was surprised, but he laughed and shouted, “Little Brother! Good! You are really good! I did not reach your level when I was your age.”

    In that short encounter both experts had exchanged their skills. Zhou Bo Tong’s snatch, while it looked like an ordinary snatch, had actually blocked Yang Guo’s movement. Even if he would leap back, he shouldn’t able to elude that attack. If it were not Yang Guo, the opponent would parry the attack with another attack. But Yang Guo had used a more sophisticated move. When he lifted his right shoulder up, his right sleeve made a move like it was going to attack Zhou Bo Tong’s chest. As an expert Zhou Bo Tong could see the move and readied himself to fend off the attack. Because his concentration was now split, his snatching power was reduced so Yang Guo was able to neutralize Zhou’s snatching by merely slanting his head a little bit.

    Guo Xiang was inexperienced; she could not see the exchange between these two experts. But she was delighted to hear the old man praised her big brother. “Grandpa Zhou,” she said, “Tell me, is your skill higher now than when you were younger, or the other way around?”

    “When I was young, my hairs were white, but now my hairs are black,” he answered, grinning. “Of course my skill is much higher now than when I was younger.”

    “You can’t beat my big brother now, how you could beat him then?” said the girl.

    Zhou Bo Tong was not offended, he laughed and said, “Little girl, don’t speak rubbish!” Suddenly his hands flew toward Guo Xiang’s back and waist. He lifted her up to the air, spun her around, threw her up in the air, held her back and slowly put her back to the earth.

    His mischievousness had angered the Divine Condor. Suddenly the Condor swept Zhou Bo Tong with its wings. Zhou Bo Tong saw the wings’ attack and said in his heart, “Let me try this winged beast’s strength.” He exerted his energy and fended off with both hands. Crash! Two formidable forces collided. The old man was still standing and the Condor’s wings passed through his side. The Condor was about to attack again when Yang Guo suddenly shouted, “Brother Condor, don’t be rude! We are in the presence of a highly skilled senior.”

    The Condor halted his attack and stood proudly still. “His strength is indeed formidable, no wonder he is so arrogant,” said the Old Urchin, laughing heartily.

    “Brother Condor is more than a hundred years old. He is much older than you are,” said Yang Guo. “Uh, Old Urchin, how did your become young again and your hairs turned black?”

    The old man laughed heartily. “My hairs and beards have their own will; I cannot control them,” he said. “From black they turned white, and now turned back to black again.”

    Guo Xiang giggled hearing his foolhardy answer. “Old Urchin, I think you are going to turn to a young boy,” she said. “After you shrink to a young boy then people will pat your head and call you ‘little brother’. It will be fun!”

    Hearing that the old man was worried and he stood staring blankly. Actually, there were a couple of real reasons behind this change of color. First, he was always happy, his body was healthy, and his internal energy was profound. Second, he ate a lot of energy-booster food like [Fu Ling], jade-bee’s honey, and the like. But probably the main reason was simply because his body was different from average people, so that even though his age was close to a hundred, he was not getting weaker, but on the contrary, he was getting stronger.

    Listening to their conversation Yang Guo had an idea. “Brother Zhou,” he said. “If you agree to see someone, I guarantee you won’t get smaller.”

    “Who? Who …?” he asked hastily.

    “Before I tell you, you have to promise me one thing,” Yang Guo answered, “You have to promise you won’t run away as soon as I mention this person’s name.”

    The Old Urchin Zhou Bo Tong was capricious and naïve, but he was not stupid. If he were, how could he reach such a high level in the martial realms? Therefore, as soon as he heard what Yang Guo said, he deduced correctly. “In this whole wide world there are two people I do not dare to see,” he said. “The first one is Emperor Duan, the other is Concubine Ying Gu. Other than these two, I am not afraid of anybody else.”

    “Looks like the only way is to provoke him,” Yang Guo thought. So he said, “You do not dare to see them because you were defeated in their hands.”

    “No, it’s not like that,” the old man contradicted. “Old Urchin has sinned against them, that was why I don’t have any face to see them.”

    Yang Guo was surprised. Now he understood why the old man acted like he did. Yang Guo tried approaching from different direction. “They are in grave danger and their lives are threatened,” he said. “Do you have any heart not to do anything?”

    Zhou Bo Tong was shocked. He loved and respected Yi Deng and Ying Gu very much. If they were in trouble, he wouldn’t hesitate to help up to the point of sacrificing his own life. However, he saw Guo Xiang was smiling, and her countenance did not show any sorrow. He realized Yang Guo’s trick and laughed heartily. “Are you trying to trick me?” he asked. “Emperor Duan has a very high level of martial arts. How could he be in grave danger? Even if he is facing a formidable enemy and he lost, do you think I could win?”

    Yang Guo didn’t know what to do. “All right, let me just tell you the truth,” he said. “Ying Gu has been thinking about you, she wants to see you and talk with you.”

    The old man’s face changed abruptly. “Brother Yang!” he snapped. “If you mention that name one more time, you’ll have to leave [Bai hua gu]. Don’t blame me if I don’t make an exception.”

    Even though he had been through a lot of things, Yang Guo was still a proud man. He waved his sleeve and with a loud voice said, “Brother Zhou, I don’t think you’ll easily achieve your desire to drive me out of this valley.”

    “Huh! Huh! Do you want to fight with me?” asked the old man.

    “Yes, I want to ask a lesson or two from you,” he answered. “Let us make a bet: if I lose, I will leave this valley without further ado. But if you lose, you’ll have to see Ying Gu.”

    “No! Can’t be!” shouted the Old Urchin. “First, how could I lose from a kid? Second, If I did, I still don’t want to see Concubine Liu [Liu Gui Fei].”

    “Aren’t you ashamed?” asked Yang Guo irritated. “If you win, you are free not to see her, but if you lose, you still don’t want to see her, what kind of bet is that?”

    “Just shut you mouth up!” snapped the old man. “I don’t want to see her, I am not going too. Engarde!”

    This time the Condor Hero was really dumbfounded. He could not be persuaded, he could not be forced. If they really fight, Yang Guo didn’t have any confidence of victory. He stood there blankly, uncertain of what to do.

    (Translated by Noodles & Foxs)

    As we know, Zhou Bo Tong was crazy about martial arts. Even when he lived alone at the [Hundred-Flower Valley] he trained everyday. He always wanted to find a sparring partner; however, with his high level of martial arts, where could he find a suitable match? Therefore, seeing Yang Guo was willing to spar with him, he was itchy to start the fight. Without wasting a single moment Zhou Bo Tong cried, “Watch out!” and started the fight with his Vacant Fist. Yang Guo parried with a palm but felt there was something wrong with the power of the fist; it seemed as if it weren't there. He considered using soft palms as a response but decided against it, as it would be too risky so he used hard palms even though it wouldn't match. He used the palm techniques that he developed over the years against the tidal waves. Three stances later, petals were flying around everywhere and after another three, branches from trees fell. At first Yang Guo was worried that Zhou would not be able to take his fierce and overbearing palms because of his advance age, he held the power from his palms as soon as he sent it out but after six stances, Yang Guo knew Zhou's internal energy was very profound and so did not hold anything back any longer because the Vacant Fist's ingenuity was above the martial arts that he was using.

    “Good! You are very good!” shouted Zhou Bo Tong. “This is a match I have always wanted.”

    The perimeter of their forces was getting larger as the fight progressed, which forced Guo Xiang to step back. The Condor stayed close to Yang Guo, protecting its breast with its left wing while the right wing was a little bit open. The Condor understood the fierceness of this match and it never left its piercing gaze from Yang Guo, ready to step in if Yang Guo had any trouble.

    After a while, Zhou had used all 72 stances of his Vacant Fist. He had the advantage of better technique but his internal energy could not compare with overbearing and boundless force of Yang Guo. With eyes open wide Guo Xiang watched these two people exchanging blows. She knew they weren’t fighting as enemies; still, a fight between two highly skilled martial artists was very unpredictable. The slightest mistake could mean death. Her cold sweat poured out involuntarily.

    After seeing his Vacant Fist could do nothing to Yang Guo, he secretly praised him and then suddenly changed stances and used his left-right technique to fight. His left and right hands used different fist techniques that suddenly Yang Guo was fighting against two Zhou Bo Tongs.

    Yang Guo was already at a disadvantage when it was one hand versus two, now it became even more so. That time when Xiao Long Nu battled Jin Lun Fa Wang and ended up learning the [dividing mind] from Zhou; when the couple met again, Yang Guo had already lost his right arm. Xiao Long Nu was afraid she might make him sad, so she did not say anything that such technique existed. Yang Guo was slightly alarmed and could only increase the power in his palms and used his sleeve to take some of the attacks.

    As somebody who had trained martial arts since she was little, even though Guo Xiang did not understand the fist techniques being exchanged, but she could see who had gained the upper hand and who was having difficulty. She was flustered. Then Guo Xiang remembered her father’s lesson on the [dividing mind] skill, which he demonstrated before Guo Polu and herself. She saw what Zhou Bo Tong was doing and looked to her he was using her father’s skill. She wasn’t sure whether her father learned the skill from this old man, or the other way around. Anyway, she saw an opportunity to give Yang Guo a hand, so she shouted, “Old Urchin! Stop! Not fair! Big Brother does not want to fight you anymore!”

    Surprised, Zhou Bo Tong leaped back. “Why not fair?” he snapped. “You stole that skill from my father and used it against Big Brother,” she answered. “Aren’t you ashamed?”

    After hearing the young girl called Yang Gou ‘Big Brother’ naturally Zhou Bo Tong thought she was Yang Guo’s younger sibling. And because he did not know Yang Guo’s father, he only laughed and said, “This skill was my own invention. How could you say I stole it from your father?”

    “Fine,” said the young miss. “Even if what you said was true, you still used two arms, while Big Brother only has one. Is that fair? If my Big Brother had two arms, you would be beaten a long time ago.”

    “What you said is true,” the old man confessed. “But I am sure that even if he had two arms; he still could not use this skill of mine.” Then he laughed jovially.

    Guo Xiang grunted. “Shame on you!” she mocked, “You just said that because you know Big Brother’s arm cannot re-grow. If you are a valiant man (ying xiong), you wouldn’t take any advantage on your opponent’s disability.”

    “Fine. In that case I am going to use only one fist technique,” said the old man.

    Guo Xiang stuck out her tongue. “Still shame on you, still unfair, because you use two arms against Big Brother’s one,” she snickered.

    “Darn it!” shouted the old man, annoyed. “What should I do then? Shall I ask a woman to chop down one of my arm?”

    Guo Xiang was shocked, “Which woman had chopped Big Brother’s arm?” she wondered in her heart. Then she smiled and said, “It’s OK then. You don’t have to chop your arm. It would be fair if you just tie one arm and fight Big Brother using only the other one.”

    The Old Urchin laughed a big laugh. He thought that way of fighting would be fun. Besides, he thought that he wouldn’t necessarily lose even if he is using a single arm. So he placed his right hand in his belt to fight. He said, “Come now! This way you would not regret even if you lose.”

    When Zhou Bo Tong and Guo Xiang were having a debate, Yang Guo didn’t say anything. He was never afraid others would mock him because of his disability. On the contrary, he was proud because with only one arm he could beat anybody. Therefore, he was slightly miffed when he saw Zhou Bo Tong did this because he felt he was looking down on him. “Old Urchin!” he said, “By doing that you are looking down on me. Aren’t you thinking that one-armed Yang Guo couldn’t beat you? Huh! If I lose, I would immediately …” Lashing his anger out, he was going to say that he would immediately kill himself right then and there. But suddenly he remembered his upcoming rendezvous with Xiao Long Nu. Hence he stopped before finishing his sentence.

    Guo Xiang regretted her words. She was childishly thinking that she was doing Yang Guo some good. She did not remember that Yang Guo was a Chivalrous Hero (Da Xia), therefore, he would not want anybody to look down on him. Quickly she approached Yang Guo and said, “Big Brother, my mistake …” and then she came to the old man and took his arm out of the belt. She said, “Old Urchin, with his single arm Big Brother will defeat you. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and try.”

    Without waiting for his answer, Yang Guo leaped and chopped out a left palm. Zhou replied with a left fist and didn't use his right arm. He felt it was unfair to use both arms.

    Twenty stances passed. Yang Guo was upset since even with one arm the Old Urchin was not easy to defeat. The ‘yang’ness [from yin-yang: yin – soft, cold, yang – hard, hot] in Zhou's fist and palms gradually surfaced. This type of energy was opposite to Zhou Bo Tong’s ‘yin’ energy of the Vacant Fist technique. Yang Guo noticed the changed and suddenly recognized the Demon Subduing Fist of the Nine Yin Manual in the tomb. Yang Guo shouted, “What’s so special about the 'Demon Subduing Fist'? Use two hands and take my 'An Ran Xiao Hun Zhang' [Melancholic Palms.].

    Zhou was shocked; one, Yang Guo actually knew what technique he was using and two, what in the world was 'An Ran Xiao Hun Zhang'? Zhou was knowledgeable in the martial arts from the sects of the world but he has never heard of this martial art before. He looked at Yang Guo and saw him with his arm bent, his eyes seemingly far away. His legs seemed ‘floaty’ and his front was completely open – his form contradicted martial arts norm. Zhou went forward to test him out and threw a fist towards Yang Guo's stomach.

    He was afraid that he would hurt his opponent so he only put thirty percent power in his fist. Just as he was about to make contact, Yang Guo's stomach and chest contracted and extended outwards. Zhou leapt back in shock – skilled fighters contracting their bodies to avoid attacks was fairly normal but he has never seen someone use their chest and stomach to actually attack someone. He was utterly surprised and shouted, “Uh, what kind of technique was that?”

    “This was An Ran Xiao Hun Zhang's thirteenth stance, 'Xin Jing Rou Tiao’ [Muscles Jumping with the Frightened Heart],” came the answer.

    “Huh? I’ve never … never heard such technique before,” he said.

    “Of course you haven’t,” said Yang Guo, “I developed this 'An Ran Xiao Hun Zhang' myself. This technique has seventeen stances.”

    As we remember, after being separated from Xiao Long Nu at the Heart Wrenching Cliff, with the Condor’s encouragement he trained against the tidal waves. Apart from gradually strengthening his internal energy, he practiced no new martial arts. He couldn’t forget his wife and as time passed, he was more depressed from loneliness. One day while walking by the sea, out of boredom he started to throw a few fists and kicks about. By now, his internal energy was at a very high level – anything he threw out contained great power. One of his light palms landed on a turtle back and smashed its shell. From then on, he developed a complete set of palm techniques that were completely different to conventional martial arts. The palms relied on internal energy and not on complicated fist technique.

    Yang Guo had learned various first class martial arts from the experts since his childhood. From Quan Zhen, he learned the purest nei-gong technique. From Xiao Long Nu, he learned the Jade Maiden Sword and Palm techniques. From the manual inscribed on the Ancient Tomb’s wall, he learned the Nine Yin Manual. From his adopted father, Ouyang Feng, he inherited the Toad Stance and the Reversing Blood Flow technique. From Hong Qi Gong he got the Dog Beating Stick, from Huang Yao Shi he received the Divine Flicking Finger and Jade Flute Swordplay. Except for the Solitary Yang Finger from the Southern Emperor, it could be said that he had mastered the specialty of the Eastern Heretic, Western Poison, Northern Beggar and the Central Divinity. By analyzing and combining these various techniques, it was not too difficult for him to create a brand new fist technique.

    Because he had one arm, he did not try to achieve victory in variation in stances but instead he deliberately chose to go against martial arts norm. Also, the names of this palm technique came from a line in one of Jiang Yan’s works (a poet of the Southern Dynasties). This was the first time that the palms have come across such a strong opponent such as Zhou Bo Tong.

    Zhou Bo Tong became even more excited when he heard this was a palm that Yang Guo had invented himself and said, “Good! I want to see this brand new technique.” He continued to fight – with one hand. Yang Guo faced the sky as if he didn’t even notice that Zhou was there and arched a palm towards his face and then downwards. The palm’s power dispersed all around.

    Zhou knew that there was no way to avoid the palm’s power and sent out his palm to meet it. The palms collided and Zhou wobbled; he felt his chest tightened – his martial arts were not weaker than his opponents but palm for palm, he could not compete with Yang Guo’s heavy and overbearing palms. “Good!” he praised, “What was that stance?”

    “It was ‘Gei Ren Yau Tien’ [Causing One to Worry or Overbearing Sadness].” Yang Guo called out, “Watch out! The next stance is ‘Wu Zhong Sheng You’ [Out of Nothing Came Something].”

    The Old Urchin laughed heartily, “Interesting! Very interesting!” he shouted, “Kid, how did you come out with those weird names?”

    Yang Guo hung his arm down in a completely unprepared form. As soon as Zhou’s fist came near him, Yang Guo suddenly moved everything; his left palm, right sleeve, kicks, head, butt, even his chest, back, stomach and waist attacked – they all contained a level of energy capable of injuring the opponent.

    Zhou could never predict a move such as this. In a flash, over ten different stances came at him at once. ‘Out of Nothing’ was ‘one’ stance but it contained tens of variations within. Even someone with martial arts as high as Zhou was forced to step back by it. In this situation, he couldn’t help but also use his right arm to fend off the attack. He had to use all his efforts to block this attack, counterattacking never came into the equation. Nevertheless, he managed to block all the attacks and quickly leapt back in case of some more weird moves.

    “Old Master Zhou!” cried Guo Xiang, “Two arms are not enough! You need three!” The old man laughed heartily and repeatedly nodded his head as a very high compliment to Yang Guo.

    Yang Guo was impressed that Zhou was able to block all these profound sudden attacks and called out the next stance, “Watch this next stance: ‘Tuo Ni Dai Shui’ [Dragging Mud with Water].”

    Both the old man and the young girl cheered, “Very nice! That sounds very nice!” he shouted.

    “Don’t you praise me yet. Take this!” Yang Guo countered. His right sleeve flowed like water and his left palm slid out heavily like flowing mud and sand.

    Zhou recalled something that his apprentice brother Wong Zhong Yang told him about Huang Yao Shi. Huang Yao Shi had a palm technique he invented called the ‘Palms of the Five Elements’, the five elements contained within the palms. Right now, Yang Guo’s right sleeve was like north’s water and his left palm was like Central’s earth, light and swift along with heavy and fierce, Zhou did not dare to delay and immediately used the [Vacant Fist] with his left hand and the [Demon Subduing Fist] with his right; light against light, heavy against heavy. After the two attacks came together, they both shouted and moved back a couple of steps.

    After those four stances, they both had great respect for each other. Yang Guo stood and stared blankly for a moment. He understood that Zhou was the strongest opponent his palms had ever met and if there was going to be a victor; an internal energy competition would be needed. If they did that, there was a possibility that one or maybe both of them would be heavily injured or even died – something he was not prepared to do after what happened to Hong Qi Gong and Ouyang Feng. Why would he do something like that to such a benevolent man like Zhou Bo Tong? He swallowed his pride and bowed to him saying, “Senior Zhou, I admit defeat.” He then turned to Guo Xiang and said, “Little Sister, we failed to invite Senior Zhou. Let us leave!”

    “Hold it! Hold it!” shouted the old man. “Didn’t you say the 'An Ran Xiao Hun Zhang' has seventeen stances? You’ve just used four of them, what about the other thirteen?”

    “There is no enmity between us,” said Yang Guo. “Why should we fight to death? Junior admits defeat.”

    Zhou Bo Tong shook his head, “Not right! Not right!” he said, “You have not lost yet, and I haven’t won. Don’t ever think of leaving this valley before you show me all the palms.”

    Yang Guo chuckled, “Senior, you acted strange. I was trying to invite you, and now that I failed, I just want to leave. Why would you hold me here?”

    Zhou Bo Tong – who was crazy about martial arts, was baffled. “Good Brother,” he begged, “How could I guess thirteen stances of the 'An Ran Xiao Hun Zhang'? I wish you’ll have pity on this old man. Please show me, I am willing to trade with any skill of your fancy.”

    An idea clicked on Yang Guo’s head. “It’s not difficult to learn my technique,” he said, “I don’t want anything in return; as long as you follow us to see Ying Gu.”

    The old man creased his brows and said, “I won’t see her even if you chop my head”

    “In that case, let me bid you farewell,” said Yang Guo, turning his body around.

    Suddenly Zhou leaped to block Yang Guo’s path and threw out a fist. “Good Brother, please show me just one more stance,” he begged. Yang Guo defended using Quan Zhen martial arts. Zhou changed his fist techniques but Yang Guo kept to using Quan Zhen palm techniques and Nine Yin martial arts to defend.

    The Nine Yin Manual contained all kind of martial arts techniques; therefore, it was more than enough for Yang Guo to defend himself. If Yang Guo wanted to defeat Zhou Bo Tong, it would be no easy task but now that he’s just concentrating on defending, Zhou was not able to do anything to him. No matter what kind of dummies or tricks that Zhou tried, Yang Guo did not fall for any of them. He did not use any new stances of his Melancholic Palms but he repeated the four stances of his Melancholic Palms that he had previously used with different variations to agitate Zhou Bo Tong even more.

    The two fought for almost an hour. Zhou Bo Tong was an old man, his vigor had been depleted and his internal energy was no longer the same as it was at the start of the fight. He knew now it would be difficult to get Yang Guo to use a new palm from his ‘An Ren Xiao Hun Zhang’ so he leapt back and begged Yang Guo, “All right! All right! I will kowtow eight times and take you as my master. Master Yang, disciple Zhou Bo Tong kowtows to you!” And he really kowtowed to Yang Guo!

    Yang Guo chuckled again, “How could I be your master? Nevertheless, it’s OK for me to tell you the names of the rest of the stances.”

    “Good! Aw …! You are so nice,” said the old man, ecstatic.

    “Big Brother, don’t tell him unless he is willing to come with us,” said Guo Xiang.

    Yang Guo smiled, “It’s OK. He will only hear the names.”

    “Right! What’s the problem if I only hear the names?” said the old man hastily.

    Yang Guo went over to a big tree and sat underneath it. “Brother Zhou, hear this: the other stances are ‘Pai Huai Kong Gu’ [Wandering The Valley Of Emptiness], ‘Li Bu Cong Xin’ [Strong Desire Weak Strength] ‘Xing Shi Zou Rou’ [Dead Man Walking – Good For Nothing] ‘Yong Ren Zi Rao’ [Disturbing Oneself – Confused Fool] ‘Dao Xing Ni Shi’ [Walking Upside Down – Perverse Action] … “

    Listening to this Guo Xiang was howling with laughter, rolling around holding her stomach, but Zhou Bo Tong listened attentively. Yang Guo paused and smiled seeing Guo Xiang’s behavior, then continued, “’Fei Qin Wang Shi’ [Restless Thought], ‘Gu Xing Zhi Ying’ [A Lone Form Is Merely Shadow] ‘Yin Hen Tun Sheng’ [Drink To Swallow One’s Hatred – Cherishes Hatred Suppresses Sobs] ‘Liu Shen Bu An’ [Six Disturbed Spirits/Ghosts] ‘Qiong Tu Mo Lu’ [Entering A Dead End], ‘Mian Wu Ren Se’ [Face Without Feeling], ‘Xiang Ru Fei Fei’ [Longing For Emptiness], ‘Dai Ruo Mu Ji’ [Stupid As A Wooden Chicken].”

    The old man only scratched his head and grinned. After acting bewildered for a while he finally said, “Strange …! Wonderful …! Take ‘Face Without Feeling’ for instance, how would you use that to defeat an enemy?”

    “That stance contains not only one but numerous variations,” explained Yang Guo. “Somebody who uses the stance has to be able to change his countenance, from upset to happy. The opponent would be affected by that change. We look sad, he would be sad, we look happy, he would follow. This one stance can defeat the enemy by manipulating their emotions.”

    “Is that stance based on [Soul Altering Spell – ‘hypnotism’] from the Nine Yin Manual?” asked Zhou Bo Tong.

    “That’s right,” answered Yang Guo.

    “What about ‘Walking Upside Down’?” asked Old Urchin further.

    Yang Guo immediately turned upside down and throw a punch. “This is one of the thirty seven variations of the stance.”

    Zhou Bo Tong nodded his head. “I know,” he said, “This is from Ouyang Feng.”

    “Right again,” Yang Guo leaped back up, “but in my stance there are ‘bends among the straights’, that ‘bends’ and ‘straights’ work together.”

    “What does it mean?” asked the old man.

    “That is a secret, I can’t tell you.”

    The old man opened his mouth, but then closed it again without saying anything. He knew, begging wouldn’t do him any good. He scratched his head and looked so disappointed.

    Seeing him like that, Guo Xiang’s heart melted. She approached him and softly said, “Senior Zhou, why don’t you want to see Ying Gu? I bet Big Brother would be willing to teach you his skill.”

    Zhou Bo Tong sadly sighed. “About Ying Gu, it was my own foolishness when I was young,” he said. “It was an embarrassing story.”

    “Why would you be?” asked the young miss. “If you have something in your heart, better to talk it out than keep it yourself. Every time I’ve done something wrong, I always admit it to my parents. True, they would scold me, but then that’s it. If I lied, even though I did not get any scolding, I felt depressed. This time I disobeyed them by coming over here without their permission. My mother will scold me for sure, but I will tell her the truth.”

    This young girl’s honest words touched the old man’s heart. He glanced at Yang Guo and softly said, “Very well, I will tell you what I did. Only please do not laugh in my face!”

    “Who would mock you?” said Guo Xiang. She held the old man’s arm, leaned on him and continued, “You can always tell the story like it happened to other people, or you could pretend it was an ancient lore. Afterward, I will also tell you my mischief.”

    Zhou Bo Tong looked at her innocent face, smiled and asked, “You have done mischief?”

    “You think I can’t be naughty?” Guo Xiang countered.

    “Well then,” Zhou Bo Tong said, “Let me hear what you did first.”

    “I have done many mischief. Let’s see … a soldier was on guard duty one night on the city wall; and he fell asleep. Father had him arrested and was going to have him beheaded the next morning. I saw him and my heart melted. I quietly let him go around midnight, and told him to run away as fast as he can. Father was furious. He found out it was my doing and he beat me up. Another time I saw a poor peasant girl was looking longingly at my mother’s golden bracelet. I stole it and gave it to that poor girl. Afterward Mother looked for it everywhere but could not find it. I laughed secretly, but did not say anything. Finally I told her the truth. She was not mad at me, but my elder sister insisted that I get the bracelet back from the girl.”

    Zhou Bo Tong sighed heavily, “What you did is incomparable to what I’ve done.” Then with an embarrassment in his voice he told how in his youth he tagged along his martial brother Wang Zhong Yang visiting the Emperor Duan; how Concubine Liu had learned martial arts from him; how he secretly made love to her; how the Concubine had always wanted to see him but he kept avoiding her, and how – because of anger the Emperor had abdicated his throne and became a monk.

    Guo Xiang and Yang Guo listened attentively. After the old man finished, timidly she asked, “Besides Concubine Lu, did the Emperor have any other wives or concubines?”

    “Even though he was incomparable to the Song Emperor, but he certainly had three palaces, six courtyards and dozens of other women: his queen and other concubines,” he answered.

    “There! You see?” said the girl, “Emperor Duan had many other women, but you, you didn’t have a single woman. Therefore, as a friend, he could give Concubine Liu to you.”

    Yang Guo nodded his head, “This girl does not adhere strictly to common etiquettes and tradition. Truly she is a girl after my own heart.”

    “At that time Emperor Duan had said the same thing,” said the old man. “But I know that he loved Concubine Lu very much. Because of this scandal he had become a monk. This proved how deeply I have offended him.”

    Listening to this, Yang Guo intervened, “Reverend Yi Deng became a monk because he thought he sinned against you and not because you have sinned against him. Don’t you know that?”

    “What did he do?” Zhou Bo Tong wondered.

    “Well, there was a man who injured your son and he had refused to help him,” Yang Guo answered.

    For a long-long time Zhou Bo Tong had never known that Ying Gu had born him a son. “My … my son?” he stammered.

    “I don’t know the details,” answered Yang Guo, “I heard this from Reverend Yi Deng.” He immediately narrated what he heard at the Black Dragon Marsh.

    Zhou Bo Tong was spellbound. He stood silently, recalling how Ying Gu had suffered for many-many years. A feeling of love, compassion and guilt slowly crept into his heart.

    Yang Guo noticed this old man’s behavior; he said in his heart, “This Senior is a compassionate man. His character is almost the same as mine. To a man like this, how could I hold the seventeen stances of ‘An Ren Xiao Hun Zhang’?” Having had this thought he then said, “Senior Zhou, let me show you the entire ‘An Ren Xiao Hun Zhang’. I beg you to give me some pointers.” And then he demonstrated all the stances of ‘An Ren Xiao Hun Zhang’ except the ‘Face without feeling’, because he was wearing a mask.

    As a highly skilled martial artist – plus he had a profound knowledge of the Nine Yin manual, Zhou Bo Tong immediately was able to understand the stances. The only two he had some difficulty were ‘Dead Man Walking’ and ‘Entering a Dead End’. Yang Guo explained several times, but he still could not grasp the essence of the stances. “Senior Zhou,” Yang Guo finally said, “I was separated from my wife fifteen years ago. Day and night I kept thinking about her. In agony I created these two stances. Senior is a carefree man; you have never known suffering in your life. No wonder you cannot grasp the essence of the stances.”

    “Ah! How did you get separated from your wife?” the old man was surprised. “She was beautiful and kind hearted. No wonder you cannot forget her.”

    Yang Guo did not want to mention Guo Fu, so he told him how his wife was gravely injured, and was taken by Goddess of the South Sea as her disciple, and how he had to wait for sixteen years before they could see each other again. He also mentioned how he prayed everyday for his wife’s safety. Finally he said, “I just want to see her one more time. Afterward, I don’t care if I will have to die. I will die a satisfied man.”

    Listening to Yang Guo, Guo Xiang was saddened and tears flowing down her cheeks. “Oh God! Let them see each other earlier,” she said with a trembling voice.

    Since his separation with his wife, this was the first time somebody had prayed for him earnestly. He was so touched and vowed not to forget her kindness. He heaved a sigh and bowed to Zhou Bo Tong. “Senior Zhou, I bid you farewell.” He took Guo Xiang’s hand and left.

    Only after a few steps Guo Xiang looked back and said, “Senior Zhou, did you see that? Big Brother is thinking about his wife all the time. Ying Gu is the same. She is thinking about you. Do you have a heart not to see her?”

    Zhou Bo Tong was startled and his countenance paled.

    “Little Sister, let it go,” Yang Guo whispered. “Everybody has their own thought; we have no right to tell him what to do.” Slowly they left the Hundred-Flower Valley. Their hearts were heavy.

    “Big Brother,” Guo Xiang asked, “Are you going to be sad if I ask you about your wife?”

    “No,” he answered, “We are going to see each other in a few months.”

    “How did you meet her?” asked Guo Xiang.

    Yang Guo then told her his life story. How as an orphan he was bullied by the Quan Zhen priests, how he ran away to the Ancient Tomb and met Xiao Long Nu, and how after several years of living together they fell in love with each other, and finally how they got separated at the Heart Wrenching Cliff

    Guo Xiang was listening with a sad heart. After Yang Guo finished his story, she said earnestly, “I pray to Heaven that you will meet her safely.”

    “Thank you, thank you very much!” Yang Guo said. “I will not forget your prayer. I will let my wife know about your loving kindness toward us.”

    “Every year, right on my birthday, Mother will pray to Heaven for our safety,” Guo Xiang continued. “That day she always tells me to say three wishes. Oftentimes I could not figure out what to wish even after thinking about it for half a day. But this year, I’ve already known what to wish. I will wish that Big Brother will meet your lovely wife much earlier.”

    “And the other two wishes?” asked Yang Guo.

    Guo Xiang laughed, “That’s a secret. I cannot tell you.”

    A moment later they heard somebody called behind them, “Brother Yang, wait! Brother Yang, wait for me!” It was Zhou Bo Tong.

    Yang Guo was overjoyed! Quickly he turned his head and saw the old man came to them with a blinding speed. “Brother Yang!” he shouted, “I have carefully thought. Take me to see Ying Gu.”

    “Now, that is the proper thing to do,” Guo Xiang was so touched. “You don’t have any idea how great her suffering was.”

    “After you left, I kept thinking about what Brother Yang had said,” explained the old man. “I won’t be able to sleep for the rest of my life unless I see her. I have an important question I’d like to ask her.”

    If it were up to him, Zhou Bo Tong wanted to continue the journey overnight. But Guo Xiang was too tired, so he reluctantly agreed to stop and rest underneath a big tree. Very early the next morning they started walking again. They arrived at the Black Dragon Marsh before noon.

    Seeing Yang Guo was successful to bring Zhou Bo Tong along, Yi Deng and Ying Gu’s delight was indescribable. From afar Zhou Bo Tong had already shouted his question, “Ying Gu, how many cowlicks are there on our son’s head?”

    Ying Gu was surprised. Not in her wildest dream did she think that Zhou’s first question would be a seemingly meaningless one like that. But she answered anyway, “Two.”

    “Aha! Same as me!” cried the old man. “That kid must be very smart.” He paused a moment and then regretfully said, “Too bad he died!”

    Ying Gu was happy and sad at the same time, she sobbed uncontrollably. The old man playfully punched her on the waist and said, “There, don’t cry, don’t cry …” He turned his head toward Yi Deng and said, “Emperor Duan, I seduced your wife, and you did not help my child. It’s a draw. Nobody owes anybody anything. Let us forget the past.”

    “This is the man who injured your son,” Yi Deng said, pointing toward Ci En. “You can kill him.”

    “Ying Gu, go ahead!” said Zhou Bo Tong.

    The old granny looked at Ci En intently and then softly said, “If not because of him, I won’t be able to see you for the rest of my life. Besides, we cannot raise the dead. With the joy I experienced today, I am willing to forgive and forget what had happened!”

    “Right … that’s right,” said Zhou Bo Tong. “Very well, let us forgive him.”

    In his half conscious state, Ci En was still able to comprehend what was happening around him. He was so relieved. He turned his eyes toward Yi Deng and weakly said, “Thank you Shifu for perfecting me.” Then to Yang Guo he said, “Thank you benevolent master for toiling on my behalf.” Upon saying that he closed his eyes and gave up his ghost, smiling.

    Reverend Yi Deng immediately read a prayer and bowed, “Ci En … Ci En …” he said hoarsely. “Officially we are master and disciple, but in reality you are my friend. For many-many years we have lived together and you always wanted to redeem your sins. Today you went to that eternal place. My heart is saddened, but I am happy.” Then with Yang Guo and Guo Xiang’s help he dug the earth and buried the monk.

    Yang Guo stood in front of the grave, staring blankly. He recalled the time when they were newly wed couple, how Xiao Long Nuu and he met Ci En at the hut on the snow covered mountain, and how Ci En was lashing out his sickness. But now, one of the experts in the Jianghu world was laid underneath the earth. He could not help but feel very sad.

    A moment later Ying Gu took the two foxes from her robe. “Master Yang,” she said, “I don’t have anything to repay your kindness. Please take these two animals.”

    Yang Guo took one and said, “Thank you. I think one is enough.”

    Suddenly Yi Deng said, “Master Yang, you take both of them, but don’t kill them. Just slit their knees. Alternately take one small cup of blood everyday. After taking two cups, no matter how bad your friend’s injury is, he will certainly recover.”

    Ying Gu and Yang Guo was thrilled. “It would be great if we don’t have to take their lives,” Yang Guo said. And then he took both animals and bade Reverend Yi Deng, Zhou Bo Tong and Ying Gu goodbye.

    “After you are done, just let them go,” said the granny, “They’ll know the way home.”

    Suddenly Zhou Bo Tong said, “Emperor Duan, Ying Gu, I invite you to take a rest for a few days in the Hundred-Flower Valley. Brother Yang, after your friend is cured you and little sister have to stop by and we’ll have a good time together.”

    “If everything goes as plan, I will certainly come and visit you three seniors,” he answered, paid his respect and left.

    The foxes’ eyes were looking at Ying Gu, they whimpered softly like begging for mercy. Ying Gu shouted, “Master Yang won’t take your lives, what are you afraid of?” Guo Xiang stretched her hand, put up a comforting smile and stroked the foxes’ heads.

    End of Chapter 34
    foxs

  15. #775
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    YAHOO!!!

    The final part released FINALLY!!!


    Thanks to :
    Jin_Yong_Fan, Fox-s, IcyFox, Da Bao and Noodles.
    For translating Chap 34.
    Last edited by IcyFox; 02-22-06 at 09:25 AM.

  16. #776
    Member fox-s's Avatar
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    Wouldn’t it be nice if somebody (perhaps Wuxiapedia) publish wuxia novels in hardbound and on good quality paper, with nice pictures and all? I am sure they will be a nice addition to anybody’s book collection.

    I know, I know … although I don’t think I am alone here, but I am dreaming … There are legal and financial issues to be solved.

    I for one, am not seeking fame or fortune (if I were, why did I use alias instead of my real name), and I think (not sure though) other translators share my sentiment. We are doing it because we love wuxia; even though we won’t mind extra money if the publisher made a lot of it … But … all kidding aside: the writers (Jin Yong, Gu Long and the others) need to receive royalty; and then there are printing cost, the distribution cost, etc. etc. So even with a non-profit organization this is a complicated matter.

    Anyway, I throw this idea in this forum with the hope that somehow someday somebody will have a better idea on how to publish it.

    BTW:

    Quote Originally Posted by of_the_fire_roots
    you know, its an estimated 1000 pages that you would have to print out... thats a whole lot. your printer would catch a fire if you tried to printed it all out at once.
    The chapters average more than 25 pages on my MS-Word. Even with 10pt font you will still get between 20-30 pages per chapter. I doubt you would want to read anything smaller than 10pt. So, with a total of 40 chapters, 1000 pages is a correct guesstimate.
    foxs

  17. #777
    Registered User JamesG's Avatar
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    Yippee! I should finish my bit by tomorrow at the latest.

    To IcyFox: I did leave the translators names at the beginning of the section they translated.

  18. #778
    Senior Member duguxiaojing's Avatar
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    Thank sfor all the hardwork translators/editors/editor(?) !!! I cant wait to read through your completed work!!!!
    wow..04-08....4 years just like that..time flies..

  19. #779
    Junior Member googee's Avatar
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    At last we can read whole chpaters of ROCH.
    I dont know how to show my appreciation to you guys, both the translators and editors.
    What I can do is wishing you guys good luck and have a happy life.
    I love you guys

    Cheer
    A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

  20. #780
    Moderator Han Solo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fox-s
    Wouldn’t it be nice if somebody (perhaps Wuxiapedia) publish wuxia novels in hardbound and on good quality paper, with nice pictures and all? I am sure they will be a nice addition to anybody’s book collection.

    I know, I know … although I don’t think I am alone here, but I am dreaming … There are legal and financial issues to be solved.

    I for one, am not seeking fame or fortune (if I were, why did I use alias instead of my real name), and I think (not sure though) other translators share my sentiment. We are doing it because we love wuxia; even though we won’t mind extra money if the publisher made a lot of it … But … all kidding aside: the writers (Jin Yong, Gu Long and the others) need to receive royalty; and then there are printing cost, the distribution cost, etc. etc. So even with a non-profit organization this is a complicated matter.

    Anyway, I throw this idea in this forum with the hope that somehow someday somebody will have a better idea on how to publish it.

    BTW:



    The chapters average more than 25 pages on my MS-Word. Even with 10pt font you will still get between 20-30 pages per chapter. I doubt you would want to read anything smaller than 10pt. So, with a total of 40 chapters, 1000 pages is a correct guesstimate.
    First up, congratulations to all of you for managing this great group effort to translate ROCH.

    Second, regarding the idea of publishing, obviously Jin Yong and the rights holders to ROCH needs to be contacted regarding translations rights. Following that, you will need to get a publishing house that is willing to make a print run of this translation.

    It can be done, and i implore you to try. Fame+money, in small ammounts, awaits all of you.

    Han Solo

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