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Thread: Demi-God Semi-Devils

  1. #221
    Member jsamador's Avatar
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    Oh my! i was laughing so much reading this part. sorry for not commenting earlier RWX.this is the best read so far . I don't read chinese but "evil beyond human capacity" seems to lack something...

  2. #222
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    yea man that fight scene really cracked me up. thanks for translating, i throughly enjoyed it. o and i like the sound of "overflowing with evil" better but it doesnt bug me if he's called "Evil Beyond Human Capacity".

  3. #223
    Moderator Ren Wo Xing's Avatar
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    Emperor Baoding, seeing his brother getting entangled in the dispute with the two women, turned his head away and laughed secretly. He said to Chu Wanli, “Go inside and check the place out.” Chu Wanli replied, “Yes sir!”

    The Four Imperial Guardians Chu, Gu, Fu, and Zhu rushed into the room. Right as Gu Ducheng’s left foot crossed over the threshold, he felt a cold wind rush towards the crown of his skull. Before his left foot had touched the floor, his right foot had already leapt backwards. He saw an extremely thin but broad sabre slice downwards in front of his face. The distance between him and the blade was but a few inches. If he had been but a moment slower to dodge, even if he had lucked out and his head wasn’t split in twain, his nose would have been sliced off at the very least. Cold sweat trickled down his back. He saw that the hidden figure was a middle aged woman with elegant features. It was ‘No Evil Left Undone’, Ye Erniang. Her thin sabre was rectangular in shape. In all four directions, the blade was surpassingly sharp. Holding on to the short sabre-handle, she brandished it about, forming a circular halo about her.

    Gu Ducheng was extremely startled at first. After calming himself, he let out a loud cry, then with a wave of his broad axe, chopped towards her thin blade. Ye Erniang’s thin sabre continually spun around, not daring to directly meet such a heavy weapon as an axe. Gu Ducheng executed the seventy two strokes of his “Chaotic Whirlwind Hatchet” technique, his twin axes chopping upwards and downwards towards her. Ye Erniang was possessed of a weird temperament, and alternated between gently cooing towards Gu Ducheng and speaking boldly towards him. Zhu Dancheng, seeing how leisurely she fought and how strange her sabre techniques were, conjectured that if the battle went on for too long, Gu Ducheng wouldn’t be able to hold out much longer. Immediately, he struck out with his twin judge’s pens in a pincer attack towards her.

    At this time, Ba Tianshi and Yun Zhonghe were still happily running around in circles. Their qinggong abilities were on par, and it would take a long time before victory or defeat could be determined. At this time, what they were really competing in was the relative superiority of their internal energy. After having ran over a hundred circles, Ba Tianshi knew that although Yun Zhonghe’s skill in his lower legs was abundant and graceful, he was unable to center himself perfectly. In this respect, Yun Zhonghe was inferior to his own movements, with its elegant and perfectly executed leaps and bounds which had no left-over energy. All he had to do was to come to a sudden halt and strike with three palms, and Yun Zhonghe surely would not be able to take it. But Ba Tianshi was determined to defeat Yun Zhonghe solely through superior qinggong, and not through superior fighting ability. Thus, he continued to run with all his might.

    Suddenly, a coarse voice let fly a stream of curses. “Goddamnit, you guys are kicking up such a racket that your old man here can’t even sleep. What type of rabbit whelp has come?” The Divine Crocodile of the Southern Seas suddenly appeared, Crocodile Maw Scissors in hand, as he leapt closer and closer.

    Fu Sigui called out, “Your master’s father has come!” The Divine Crocodile yelled back, “What are you talking about, ‘my master’s father’?” Fu Sigui pointed towards Duan Zhengchun. “The South-Subduing Prince is the father of young lord Duan. Young lord Duan is your master. Are you trying to deny it?” Although the Divine Crocodile had done many vile things, he had one good quality. He never reneged on anything he said or agreed to. Upon hearing these words, he was so angry that his face turned bright yellow, but couldn’t deny them. He angrily replied, “What ****ing business is it of yours, you son of a turtle, with regards to what goes on between me and my master?” Fu Sigui laughed. “I’m not your son. Why are you calling me the son of a turtle?”

    The Divine Crocodile was confused. Only after a long moment had passed did he realize that the other person had insulted him and called him a turtle in a roundabout way. After coming to this realization, with a series of loud ‘wa’ cries, he repeatedly opened then chomped closed the two sides of his Crocodile Maw Scissors, then attacked Fu Sigui. He was a dim-witted person, but truly capable in martial arts. The Crocodile Maw Scissors were filled with a forest of white ‘teeth’, similar to the sharp needles on top of a wolf’s fang cudgel. Fu Sigui received three of his attacks using his copper truncheon, and already felt his two arms turn sore. Chu Wanli waved his long pole, flourishing the soft steel-wire whip attached to the top of the pole and attacking the face of the Divine Crocodile. The Divine Crocodile drew his Crocodile’s Tail Whip and blocked the attack.

    Watching the battle scene, Emperor Baoding felt that none of his people were in any real danger. He said to Gao Shengtai, “Stay here and watch over things.”

    Gao Shengtai replied, “Yes sir!” He stepped aside.

    Emperor Baoding entered the room and called out, “Yu’er! Are you here?” But no one responded. He opened the door to a side-room and called out again. “Yu’er! Yu’er!” Only to see a fifteen or sixteen year old girl come out from behind the door and ask, “You...who are you?” Emperor Baoding replied, “Where is Duan Yu?” The girl replied, “Why are you looking for him?” Emperor Baoding replied, “I’m going to rescue him.”

    The girl shook her head. “You won’t be able to rescue him. He’s been locked inside a stone house, and sealed in with a large boulder. Someone is guarding him too.” Emperor Baoding replied, “Take me to him. I’ll knock down the guard and push aside the boulder. Then I’ll rescue him.” The girl shook her head again. “I can’t! If I took you there, my daddy will kill me.” Emperor Baoding asked, “Who is your father?” The girl replied, “My surname is Zhong. My daddy is the master of this gorge.” The girl was Zhong Ling, who had escaped from Mt. Wuliang.

    Emperor Baoding nodded. He thought that for such a little girl, using words to threaten her or martial arts to force her to reveal the secret would be degrading to his stature and position. Since Duan Yu was definitely in the gorge, it wouldn’t be too hard to locate him. He immediately exited the room, intending to find someone else to take him to Duan Yu.

    Inside the stone room, upon hearing that the freak in green was actually the most vile man in the world, he who was known as ‘Evil Beyond Human Capacity’, Duan Yu and Mu Wanqing were terrified. In their shared fright, they rushed over and embraced each other. Duan Yu said in a low voice, “So we fell into the hands of ‘Evil Beyond Human Capacity’, the most evil man in the entire world. This is really, really bad.” With a ‘wu’ sound, Mu Wanqing rested her head against his chest. Duan Yu gently stroked her hair. He consoled her, “Don’t be afraid.”

    Both of their clothes were moist with sweat, as though they had just climbed out of a pool of water. Their bodies were burning hot, as though filled with steam. Smelling each other’s breath, they were even more attracted towards each other. One was a healthy and vigorous male youth; the other was a young woman filled with deep love. Even if they hadn’t been excited by the aphrodisiac, it would be difficult for them to control themselves. Much less now, having eaten the ‘Yin and Yang Conjoining Powder’, which had an abnormally powerful effect and possessed a despotic might. It was enough to turn an honorable scholar into a lewd lowlife, a chaste woman into a prostitute. It bewildered minds, turning even virtuous sages into beasts. At this moment, everything depended on one thing remaining bright in Duan Yu’s mind; the pure and honorable reputation of the Duan dynasty. Only this allowed him to restrain himself.

    The man in green was extremely pleased. His strange voice laughed. “You two, brother and sister! Hurry up and become husband and wife. The sooner you two have a baby, the sooner you will escape your imprisonment. I’m leaving!” After speaking, he leapt over the tree wall.

    Duan Yu yelled loudly, “Yue Number Three! Yue Number Three! Your master is in trouble! Hurry up and help out!” He called out for a long time, but how could there be any response?

    Duan Yu thought to himself, “We’re in such a critical state. I can’t even accept him as my master now, even if I wanted to. If I had made a wrong choice and accepted an evil man as my master, that would only be my personal business. I wouldn’t have implicated my uncle and my father in this.” Following this train of thought, he loudly shouted, “Divine Crocodile of the Southern Seas! I’m willing to accept you as my master now! I’m willing to be the heir of the Southern Seas sect! Quick, come and rescue your apprentice! If I die, you won’t have a student anymore!”

    He wildly shouted and cried out for a time, but never heard the Divine Crocodile’s voice. He suddenly thought to himself, “Oh no! Not good! The one person whom the Divine Crocodile fears the most is his superior, the most evil person in the world, ‘Evil Beyond Human Capacity’. Even if he heard me shouting, he wouldn’t dare to come rescue us.” His heart was filled with pure bitterness.

    Mu Wanqing softly said, “My darling Duan, after we become husband and wife, do you want for our first baby to be a boy or a girl?” Duan Yu replied, in a dazed voice, “A boy!”

    Suddenly, the sound of a female voice drifted in from outside the stone house. “Mr. Duan, you’re her big brother! You definitely can’t marry her!” Duan Yu was startled. “You...are you Miss Zhong?” That girl was indeed Zhong Ling. “Yes, it’s me! I eavesdropped on what that evil man in green said. I’ll definitely find a way to rescue you and Miss Mu!” Duan Yu was ecstatic. “That’s great! Quick, find and steal the antidote to the poison for me!” Mu Wanqing angrily shouted, “Zhong Ling! You little devil, scram! Who wants you to save us?” Zhong Ling said, “It’d be best if I first thought of some way to push this boulder away and rescued you two.” Duan Yu replied, “No, no! You go find the antidote. I...I can’t hold on much longer. I’m...I’m about to die.” Frightened, Zhong Ling cried, “What’s wrong? What do you mean, you can’t hold on much longer? Does your tummy hurt?” Duan Yu replied, “It isn’t my stomach that hurts.” Zhong Ling asked again, “Is it your head that hurts?” Duan Yu replied, “That isn’t it either.” Zhong Ling asked, “So where exactly do you feel uncomfortable?!”

    Duan Yu was filled with uncontrollable lust. How could he possibly explain this to the little girl? He only replied, “My entire body is uncomfortable. Just think of a way to steal the antidote for me.” Zhong Ling wrinkled her forehead. “If you can’t tell me the symptoms, I won’t be able to find the antidote for you. My father has lots of antidotes, but I need to know if it is your stomach that hurts, your head that hurts, or your heart that hurts.” Duan Yu let out a sigh. “I’m not hurting, precisely. I just...I was poisoned by something called the ‘Yin and Yang Conjoining’ powder.” Zhong Ling clapped her hands. “Since you know the name of the poison, it’ll be no problem at all. Big brother Duan, I’ll go and get the antidote from my daddy right now!”

    She hurriedly climbed over the tree wall, intending to go find her parents and convince them into giving her the antidote for the ‘Yin and Yang Conjoining’ powder. The ‘Yin and Yang Conjoining’ powder actually belonged to the man in the green, but as soon as Zhong Wanchou heard the name of it, he knew what type of thing it had to be. His horse-like face stretching in disapproval, he said, “Little girl, why are you asking about such inappropriate things? If you keep on talking such rubbish, I’ll grab you by the ear and give you a spanking.” Zhong Ling hurriedly replied, “I’m not talking rubbish.”

    Just then, Emperor Baoding and the rest of the party had entered the Ten Thousand Calamities Gorge. Zhong Wanchou had hurriedly rushed out to confront the enemies, leaving Zhong Ling by herself in the room. She heard the sounds of a ferocious fight brewing outside, with weapons clashing, but ignored them. She focused her energies on rummaging through her father’s secret medicine cabinet. Zhong Wanchou had over a hundred medicine bottles with the names of the medicine written on them, but none of them were the antidote for the ‘Yin and Yang Conjoining’ powder. She had no idea what to do. Suddenly, she heard someone entering the house. Exiting the room to see who it was, she had run into Emperor Baoding.

    Emperor Baoding looked for someone to lead him to Duan Yu, but couldn’t find anyone at all. Suddenly, he heard someone running towards him from behind. Turning his head, he saw Zhong Ling rushing towards him. He immediately stopped and waited for her. Zhong Ling ran towards him and said, “I couldn’t find the antidote! I guess it’ll be best to take you there. I wonder if you can push the boulder aside.” Emperor Baoding was baffled. “Antidote? Boulder?” Zhong Ling said, “Just follow me. As soon as you see everything, you’ll understand.”

    Although the pathways within the Ten Thousand Calamities Gorge were complex and winding, with Zhong Ling leading the way, Emperor Baoding arrived at the tree wall in a matter of moments. Emperor Baoding grasped Zhong Ling’s arm. His body did not jump or flex, but suddenly levitated into the sky, smoothly and steadily flying past the tree wall. Zhong Ling clapped her hands excitedly. “Wonderful, wonderful! You fly so wonderfully! Wait! Oh no!”

    Someone was in front of the stone house. It was the man in green!

    Zhong Ling was absolutely terrified of this half-dead, half-living person. She whispered, “Hurry, let’s leave. We’ll come back after this person has left.” Upon seeing this freak, Emperor Baoding was also extremely astonished. He comforted Zhong Ling. “With me here, you don’t need to be afraid. Duan Yu is inside this stone house, right?” Hiding behind him, Zhong Ling nodded.

    Emperor Baoding casually strolled forward. “Honored sir, please step aside.” But the man in green seemed to have neither heard nor saw him, sitting there unmoving.

    Emperor Baoding said, “Honored sir, if you refuse to move, then please do not blame me for offending you!” Leaning sideways, he flashed past the man in green from the left. Slanting his right palm, he pressed it against the side of the boulder. Just as he was about to exert his energy to push it aside, he saw the man in green take out a thin steel cane and point it at his ‘Quepen’ acupoint. When the steel cane reached within a foot of his body, it came to a halt, then began to quiver. If Emperor Baoding exerted any energy on the boulder, the steel cane would immediately attack, and he would be unable to dodge it at all.

    Emperor Baoding’s heart was filled with cold fear. He thought to himself, “This man’s acupoint sealing technique is extremely brilliant. Who can he be?” His right palm fluttered slightly, then chopped towards the steel cane. His left palm snaked underneath his right palm, resting itself against the boulder once more. The man in green shifted the position of his steel cane. It was now pointing at his ‘Tianchi’ acupoint. Emperor Baoding’s palm moved as swiftly as the wind, shifting positions seven times. But each time, the man in green would simply move his cane to point at a different acupoint, adapting to the situation.

    The two exchanged many stances. Each time, the man in green’s threatened attack would prevent Emperor Baoding from exerting any energy to pushing the stone aside. His knowledge of the various acupoints on a persons body was extremely accurate. Emperor Baoding felt that it was on par with his own, and above that of his brother, Duan Zhengchun. Suddenly, he turned his palm into a finger, and with a ‘chi’ sound, exercised the power of his ‘Solitary Solar Finger’. He pointed at the steel cane. If his attack managed to connect with it, the cane would definitely be bent and warped. But suddenly, a ‘chi’ sound came from the cane as well as it pointed back. Their energy streams met in the middle of the air. Emperor Baoding moved one step back while the man in green’s body trembled. A red light flashed across Emperor Baoding’s face. At the same time, a faint layer of even distributed blue light appeared on the man in green’s face as well.

    Emperor Baoding was astounded. He thought to himself, “Not only is this man’s martial arts extremely high, but he definitely must have some sort of past relationship with me. His cane technique is clearly related to the ‘Solitary Solar Finger.’ Immediately, he cupped his hands towards him. “Senior, what is your respected name? I hope you can tell me.” Only to hear a voice sound out. “Are you Duan Zhengming, or Duan Zhengchun.” Emperor Baoding saw that he was able to speak without his lips moving and was all the more flabbergasted. He replied, “I am Duan Zhengming.” The man in green let out a ‘hngh’ of contempt. “So you are the current Baoding emperor of the country of Dali?” Emperor Baoding replied, “Exactly so.” The man in green asked, “How does your martial arts compare with mine? Who is superior, who is inferior?”

    Emperor Baoding hesitated for a long moment, then said, “In martial arts, you are slightly better than me. But if the two of us are really to fight, I can defeat you.” The man in green replied, “Correct. After all, my body is crippled. Sigh! I would never have thought that after becoming an emperor, you would have continued to practice martial arts so assiduously and not slack off in the slightest.” Although the voice which emanated from his abdomen was extremely strange, one could still discern a sense of anger and despair.

    Unable to guess the origins of this person, countless questions flooded into Emperor Baoding’s heart. Suddenly, he heard an urgent cry from inside the room. It was Duan Yu’s voice. Emperor Baoding called out, “Yu’er! Are you alright? Don’t panic, I’ve come to rescue you!” Zhong Ling cried out in fear, “Mr. Duan! Mr. Duan!”

    Duan Yu and Mu Wanqing were suffering the powerful effects of the aphrodisiac. It was become harder and harder to resist their lustful desires. As time passed, Mu Wanqing had become so dazed that she had long-since forgotten that Duan Yu was her elder brother. She cried out, “My darling Duan, hold me. Hug me.” She was a virgin, and thus had only a smattering of knowledge with regards to conjugal relations between men and women. All she knew was that her body felt so very dry and hot, and that only Duan Yu holding her would make her feel better. She threw herself at Duan Yu. Duan Yu cried out, “I can’t do that!” He dodged sideways, his feet unconsciously moving in the pattern of the ‘Graceful Steps Upon the Waves’. Mu Wanqing, having missed her mark, fell onto the bed and fainted.

    Duan Yu walked a few more steps, and his internal energy automatically began to flow along his meridians. He walked faster and faster. An incredible suffocating feeling welled up in his stomach, making him feel as though he could hardly breathe. He couldn’t help but let out a loud cry. Suddenly, the feeling of suffocation diminished. He immediately walked a few more steps, then let out another cry. The feeling of lust diminished a bit. He heard but ignored the conversation between Emperor Baoding and the man in green, as well as Emperor Baoding’s exhortations to him to not panic.

    The man in green said, “This kid’s self control is not bad. After taking my ‘Yin and Yang Conjoining’ powder, he can actually hold out for so long.” Emperor Baoding was startled. “What type of poison is that?” The man in green replied, “It isn’t poison. It’s just a very strong type of aphrodisiac.” Emperor Baoding asked, “What are your intentions, for you to feed him something like that?” The man in green replied, “Inside the room, there is a female as well. His sister!”

    As soon as Emperor Baoding heard this, he immediately understood this person’s treacherous plot. Even if his level of self-cultivation were much higher, he wouldn’t have been able to control the huge surge of anger he felt. Waving his sleeves, with a ‘chi’ sound he struck out with a finger towards the man in green. The man in green blocked that attack with his steel cane. Emperor Baoding struck again with a second finger, this one aimed at his ‘Qitu’ acupoint, right beneath his larynx. That was a fatal acupoint, and he expected the man in green to fiercely defend and counterattack.

    Who would have thought that the man in green only let out two cold chuckles. He neither defended nor dodged. Emperor Baoding, seeing him ignore the attack, felt the situation was extremely strange and retracted his attack. He asked, “Why are you willing to die?” The man in green replied, “It couldn’t be better if I died under your hands. Your sins will become yet another level deeper.” Emperor Baoding asked, “Who are you?” The man in green whispered a single sentence.

    Upon hearing that sentence, the color of Emperor Baoding’s face changed. He said, “I don’t believe you!” The man in green switched the steel cane in his right hand to his left hand, then with his right hand, pointed at Emperor Baoding with a ‘chi’ sound. Emperor Baoding slanted his body, dodging the attack, then returned a finger. The man in green then struck out with his middle finger. Emperor Baoding’s countenance grew heavy, and countered the attack with his own middle finger. The man in green’s third attack came with a sweeping motion from his ringer finger, then his fourth attack came from his pinky finger. In each case, Emperor Baoding countered with the exact same stance. When the time came for the fifth attack, the man in green pressed forward with his thumb. The thumb is the shortest of all fingers, and thus is the most ineffective and clumsy of them as well. But the power from this finger of his was the strongest yet. Emperor Baoding dared not to ignore it, and struck out with his own thumb as well.

    Watching from the side, Zhong Ling felt quite curious and baffled. She forgot how afraid of the man in green she was. Laughing, she said, “What are you guys doing? Playing rock, paper, scissors? He’s pointing at you, then you’re pointing at him. Who is winning?” While speaking, she walked closer to them. Suddenly, a powerful gust suddenly appeared, pushing at her. Startled, Zhong Ling suddenly felt her left shoulder hurt, so badly that she almost fainted. Turning his hand over, Emperor Baoding waved his palm towards her, smoothly pushing her body backwards, then leapt backwards as well and supported her. He said, “Stand here and don’t move.” Startled, Zhong Ling asked, “Is he trying to kill me?” Emperor Baoding shook his head. “No. We’re competing martial arts. Other people can’t get close to us.” Stretching out his hand, he gently patted her on the back a few times.

    The man in green said, “Do you believe me yet?” Emperor Baoding rushed forward, then bowed towards the person. “Zhengming pays his respects to his senior!” The man in green said, “You only refer to me as your senior. Are you refusing to fully recognize me, or is there still doubt in your heart?” Emperor Baoding replied, “I, Zhengming, am the guardian of an entire country. My words and actions must therefore be correspondingly serious and certain. I, Zhengming, have no sons. A heavy national responsibility is therefore laid upon the shoulders of this boy, Duan Yu. I ask for you, senior, to please release him.” The man in green replied, “I want for Dali’s Duan dynasty to collapse and engage in evil, incestuous acts, then come to an end. Such a rare opportunity as this, do you expect me to so easily let it slip away?” Emperor Baoding said in a stern voice, “I, Duan Zhengming, definitely will not allow it!”

    The man in green laughed. “Heh, heh. You claim you are the emperor of Dali, but in my eyes, you are nothing but a rebel who coveted and stole the throne. If you have the courage to do so, feel free to go back and call out the national army and the imperial bodyguards. Let me tell you this. My influence is vastly less than yours, but for me to kill Duan Yu first would be accomplished as easily as turning over my hand. If you want to fight with me, you might be able to overcome me after several hundred stances. But if you want to actually kill me, that will be an incredibly difficult thing for you to accomplish. And as long as I am not dead, you will not be able to rescue Duan Yu.”

    The color of Emperor Baoding’s face alternated between blue and white. He knew that this man’s words definitely were not false. There was no need to call for the national army or the imperial guards; all he needed was a single helper, and this man in green wouldn’t be able to hold out against them. But this would badly injure the reputation of the Duan family, and would not be in keeping with his own station. He couldn’t kill this man either. He said, “What do you want, before you are willing to release him?” The man in green said, “Something that is easily done, very easily done. All you need to do is to go to Tianlongsi, the Heavenly Dragon Monastery, and become a monk. Give the title of emperor back to me, and I will dissolve the drugs in Duan Yu’s body. I will return to you your good nephew, who is utterly without moral flaw or deficit, a rare dragon amongst men.” Emperor Baoding replied, “How can I casually discard the inheritance which my ancestors have passed down to me?”

    The man in green laughed. “Heh, heh. So it was meant to be your inheritance, and not my inheritance? To return a possession to its original owner cannot be considered as ‘casually discarding’ it. For me to not pursue the matter of you conspiring to seize my throne is already a sign of my magnanimousness. If you aren’t willing to do as I suggest, then you might as well wait for a while. After Duan Yu and his sister have a son together, I’ll release them.” Emperor Baoding replied, “Better that you kill them instead!”

    The man in green replied, “Aside from this, there are two more options.” Emperor Baoding asked, “What are they?” The man in green said, “The first option is to come up with a devious plot to murder me. Then, you can let him out.” Emperor Baoding said, “I cannot plot against you.” The man in green said, “Even if you wanted to scheme against me, you might not succeed. The second option is for you to call out Duan Yu and have him fight me himself, using the ‘Solitary Solar Finger’. If he is able to defeat me, then he can leave, of course. Hah hah.”

    Emperor Baoding felt his temper rising, and almost flared out. Only with a powerful effort did he manage to curb it. “Duan Yu doesn’t know a single shred of martial arts, much less know the ‘Solitary Solar Finger’.” The man in green replied, “The nephew of Dali’s Duan Zhengming doesn’t know the ‘Solitary Solar Finger?’ Who can believe that?” Emperor Baoding replied, “Ever since he was young, Duan Yu studied the classics and Buddhist texts. He has a merciful character, and steadfastly refused to learn martial arts.” The man in green said, “Yet another hypocrite putting on airs of false righteousness. If a person like this becomes the monarch of Dali, it definitely will not be a good thing. Better for me to kill him first!”

    Emperor Baoding asked forcefully, “Senior, are there truly no other options available?” The man in green replied, “Years ago, if other options were available, would I have fallen to such a state? Half living, half dead. Others gave me no options back then. Why should I give you other options now?”

    Emperor Baoding lowered his head and hesitated for a long moment. With a powerful effort, he raised his head. A resolute, unyielding expression was on his face. He called out, “Yu’er, I’ll think of a way to rescue you. Never forget that you are a scion of the Duan family!”

    Only to hear Duan Yu call out in reply, “Uncle, you...come in and kill me with a single finger.” At this time, he had halted his footsteps, and was resting against the large boulder which was blocking the doorway. He clearly heard the second half of the conversation between Emperor Baoding and the man in green. Emperor Baoding said in a stern voice, “What? Have you acted in a way which would destroy the reputation of my Duan family?” Duan Yu replied, “No! No, I haven’t. Your nephew...your nephew is suffering from extreme heat. I won’t be able to live much longer.”

    Emperor Baoding sighed. “Life and death are determined by fate. Let things take their course!” Grasping Zhong Ling’s arm, he ran across the open plains, then flew over the tree wall. He said, “Little girl, thank you for leading the way. In the future, I will definitely repay you.” Retracing his steps, he returned to the main building.
    ______________

    Another nice long update. Enjoy!
    Blademaster. Hero. General. He was the best there ever was.
    Butcher. Murderer. Traitor. All that he loved, he had destroyed.
    Matheius Randas.
    That Merciless Blade - Legend of the Arctic Wolf.

  4. #224
    Senior Member jadebunny9's Avatar
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    The dear Goddess in the stone cavern is ten times more beautiful than sister Wan. If I must marry, only by marrying that dear Goddess will I have not married in vain.
    Isn't Duan Yu just so lovable?


    Qin Hongmian was startled, then angrily replied, “What’s with the ‘dearest phoenix’, ‘beloved peacock’ crap? You’re so affectionate towards her!”
    What an endearing line.


    At this time, Ba Tianshi and Yun Zhonghe were still happily running around in circles.
    What the....they're still running around in circles the whole time? Happily?


    Mu Wanqing angrily shouted, “Zhong Ling! You little devil, scram! Who wants you to save us?”
    Haha, she's so cute!



    You're doing an awesome job bao bei. Keep it up! And those extra history lessons aren't too bad either.

  5. #225
    Senior Member PJ's Avatar
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    Emperor Baoding said in a stern voice, “What? Have you acted in a way which would destroy the reputation of my Duan family?”
    Is it just me or does Duan Zhengming seem to have a weird standard? I mean, he doesn't say jack shit when his brother facks around with other women, but he is more concerned about his family reputation than Duan Yu's safety?
    Quote Originally Posted by CC
    So what if 1000 arrows are targetted at our wuxia hero? LHC's missile breaking stance can deflect thousands of projectiles in 1 stance and send them back to the enemy. The more arrows the better!

  6. #226
    Moderator Ren Wo Xing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ View Post
    Is it just me or does Duan Zhengming seem to have a weird standard? I mean, he doesn't say jack shit when his brother facks around with other women, but he is more concerned about his family reputation than Duan Yu's safety?
    Actually, that seems to be quite normal to me. As Jinyong stated in an earlier history lesson, there is nothing wrong with (and indeed, it is quite commonplace) a royal family member having multiple mistresses or concubines.

    Actually, during the Northern Song dynasty, the north was occupied by the Khitan, the center was occupied by the Great Song, the northwest was occupied by the Western Xia, the southwest ruled by Tibet, and the south by Dali. The princes and dukes of these five countries all had, in addition to a ‘formal wife’, a large number of concubines. At the very least, they would have three or four; some even had dozens. Even high ranking nobles or officials would have a few concubines. This is how it had been since ancient times, since the beginning of the imperial system. Most people had long since accepted it as a matter of course.
    But for a person to have sex with/have a kid by his sister is an utmost perversion which will destroy the family name and reputation; as we should all know by now, a hero "can be killed but not humiliated"; if this is true on an individual level, how much more so on the level of a royal family? Duan Yu and Mu Wanqing felt the same way as well; Duan Yu asked Mu Wanqing to kill him if he lost control, and Mu Wanqing even was preparing to commit suicide so as to not cause him to do something which would utterly destroy the good name of the Duan family.

    I am suddenly reminded of the famous poem by Wen Tianxiang, with the last two lines as follows:

    "人生自古誰無死,留取丹心照汗青".

    "Every man who was ever born shall one day die,
    Leave behind a noble heart to illuminate posterity."

    I think this summarizes the situation neatly.
    Last edited by Ren Wo Xing; 08-04-08 at 02:56 PM.
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    This was another great fight scene. Emperor Baoding is the only fighter i know who is very graceful and dignified even under such circumstances.

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    Funnily enough, this description of Yiyangzhi makes more sense than the ROCH descriptions of Wu Santong using the technique. Here, the finger is described as being aimed at individual acupoints, whereas Wu Santong's execution of the technique has him aiming at multiple acupoints. Does Wu Santong have unusually large fingers or something?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pannonian View Post
    Funnily enough, this description of Yiyangzhi makes more sense than the ROCH descriptions of Wu Santong using the technique. Here, the finger is described as being aimed at individual acupoints, whereas Wu Santong's execution of the technique has him aiming at multiple acupoints. Does Wu Santong have unusually large fingers or something?
    Since it's highly probable that Wu Santong is not superior to Duan Zhengming and the man in green, I find it more likely that since in this battle, both parties are experts in the Yiyangzhi, they mutually understand its many variations, changes, and possible threats to other acupoints, so that only the 'main' acupoint which is being pointed at is really at risk.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ren Wo Xing View Post
    Actually, that seems to be quite normal to me. As Jinyong stated in an earlier history lesson, there is nothing wrong with (and indeed, it is quite commonplace) a royal family member having multiple mistresses or concubines.



    But for a person to have sex with/have a kid by his sister is an utmost perversion which will destroy the family name and reputation; as we should all know by now, a hero "can be killed but not humiliated"; if this is true on an individual level, how much more so on the level of a royal family? Duan Yu and Mu Wanqing felt the same way as well; Duan Yu asked Mu Wanqing to kill him if he lost control, and Mu Wanqing even was preparing to commit suicide so as to not cause him to do something which would utterly destroy the good name of the Duan family.

    I am suddenly reminded of the famous poem by Wen Tianxiang, with the last two lines as follows:

    "人生自古誰無死,留取丹心照汗青".

    "Every man who was ever born shall one day die,
    Leave behind a noble heart to illuminate posterity."

    I think this summarizes the situation neatly.
    I guess it makes more sense historically. It just reminds me how twisted and ****ed up conditions have been in history.

    And I thought it was commonplace for a person to marry his sister/cousin/relative in Ancient China
    Last edited by PJ; 08-06-08 at 10:56 AM.
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    So what if 1000 arrows are targetted at our wuxia hero? LHC's missile breaking stance can deflect thousands of projectiles in 1 stance and send them back to the enemy. The more arrows the better!

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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ View Post
    I guess it makes more sense historically. It just reminds me how twisted and ****ed up conditions have been in history.

    And I thought it was commonplace for a person to marry his sister/cousin/relative in Ancient China
    Second cousins, yes.

    Siblings and first cousins, no.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChanceEncounter View Post
    Second cousins, yes.

    Siblings and first cousins, no.
    It can also depend based upon which side the cousins are on; if it is on the mother's side, 'biao', then it is considered more permissible than if the relationship is on the father's side, 'tang'.
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    oooo....to marry cousines might be acceptable in some clans...but here evil baddy is trying to make siblings marry each other...funny yet disgusting!

    RWX...i cant wait more for the next update....thanks in advance

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ren Wo Xing View Post
    It can also depend based upon which side the cousins are on; if it is on the mother's side, 'biao', then it is considered more permissible than if the relationship is on the father's side, 'tang'.
    'tang' should be a no-no too. Rule of thumb: if you share the same ancestral temple then you can't marry.

    Someone from my village did just that and was disowned by his father and removed from the genealogical listing. In terms of blood they were probably far enough removed as to be genetically safe, but convention ...

    There is even a saying: "same family name, related 30%" (tong xing san fen qin / tung sing saam fun tsun).

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    Quote Originally Posted by CFT View Post
    'tang' should be a no-no too. Rule of thumb: if you share the same ancestral temple then you can't marry.

    Someone from my village did just that and was disowned by his father and removed from the genealogical listing. In terms of blood they were probably far enough removed as to be genetically safe, but convention ...

    There is even a saying: "same family name, related 30%" (tong xing san fen qin / tung sing saam fun tsun).
    never understood why the 'tang' cousins were "more related" than any other first cousin (i think it has to do with the whole patriarchal society thing), but i have some 'tang' cousins who are also related to me on my mother's side, so that would be doubly taboo. but still, just thinking about marrying a cousin grosses me out a bit.

    ren wo xing, you are absolutely awesome & i'm so looking forward to the next bit!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CFT View Post
    'tang' should be a no-no too. Rule of thumb: if you share the same ancestral temple then you can't marry.

    Someone from my village did just that and was disowned by his father and removed from the genealogical listing. In terms of blood they were probably far enough removed as to be genetically safe, but convention ...

    There is even a saying: "same family name, related 30%" (tong xing san fen qin / tung sing saam fun tsun).
    That's what I said; 'biao' is more permissible than 'tang'. Different trees/listings, usually.

    And yes, in the Three Kingdoms, one of the excuses that Zhao Yun gave to not accepting the offer to marry a stupendously beautiful Widow Zhao when she was offered to him by her brother (whom Zhao Yun did not trust), he said that their surnames were both Zhao, and therefore he viewed him and her as his own siblings.
    Last edited by Ren Wo Xing; 08-07-08 at 12:11 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ren Wo Xing View Post
    That's what I said; 'biao' is more permissible than 'tang'. Different trees/listings, usually.
    It's also a Northern/Southern Chinese division--Southern Chinese generally are less permissive (closer to the "no-marriage with any cousins" side of the spectrum) than Northern Chinese. At least those are the vibes I get.

    And yes, in the Three Kingdoms, one of the excuses that Zhao Yun gave to not accepting the offer to marry a stupendously beautiful Widow Zhao when she was offered to him by her brother (whom Zhao Yun did not trust), he said that their surnames were both Zhao, and therefore he viewed him and her as his own siblings.
    Specifically, Zhao Yun had sworn brotherhood with the brother of Widow Zhao, which would make them siblings.

    Thanks, RWX!
    Last edited by dewyloony123; 08-08-08 at 10:40 AM.
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    It's also a Northern/Southern Chinese division--Southern Chinese generally are less permissive (closer to the "no-marriage with any cousins" side of the spectrum) than Northern Chinese. At least those are the vibes I get.
    really? my family is from southern china/hong kong & i've never heard that before. interesting..... must go ask the parents about that one.

    & it should be universally known that RWX totally rocks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mleung View Post
    really? my family is from southern china/hong kong & i've never heard that before. interesting..... must go ask the parents about that one.

    & it should be universally known that RWX totally rocks.
    This is still his best translation effort though.

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    Emperor Baoding saw that despite Chu Wanli and Fu Sigui teaming up against the Divine Crocodile, victory or defeat was still yet to be determined. But Zhu Danchen and Gu Ducheng, under the pressure of Ye Erniang’s rectangular sabre, were find it difficult to cope. To the side, although Yun Zhonghe’s feet movements hadn’t slowed in the slightest, he was panting heavily, as though he were feeling weary. But Ba Tianshi showed great ease and relaxation with his ceaseless leaps and bounds.

    His hands folded behind his back, Gao Shengtai was casually strolling about as though he were utterly indifferent to the life-and-death battles which were being played out before him. But in actuality, his senses were keenly attuned, and he was keeping track of the entire overall situation. So long as no one appeared to be in imminent danger, there was not yet a need for him to intervene.

    Duan Zhengchun, Dao Baifeng, Qin Hongmian, and Zhong Wanchou had disappeared.

    Emperor Baoding asked, “Where is younger brother Chun?” Gao Shengtai responded, “After the South-Subduing Prince chased away gorge-master Zhong, he left with the princess to locate young lord Duan.” Emperor Baoding called out loudly, “At this moment, there have been unexpected developments in the situation. Everybody, withdraw!”

    Ba Tianshi suddenly halted in his footsteps. Yun Zhonghe directly rushed towards him, and immediately, with a ‘peng’ sound, Ba Tianshi sent out a palm towards Yun Zhonghe, who blocked with his own twin palms. Yun Zhonghe felt as though his mind, his qi, and his blood were all thrown into turmoil, and almost vomited blood on the spot. He forcefully suppressed the urge, but his vision had turned blurry. He was unable to see clearly where his opponent had gone. Ba Tianshi, however, did not follow up on his victory and press home the attack. With a clear, cold laugh, he said, “Thanks for the lesson!”

    Suddenly, Duan Zhengchun’s voice could be heard from behind the copse of trees to the west. “He isn’t here either. Let’s return to the back of the house and check again.” Dao Baifeng’s voice followed. “Let’s just find someone and interrogate them. Can it be that this place really has no servants at all?” Next came Qin Hongmian’s voice. “My martial-sister told them to all go into hiding.”

    Emperor Baoding, Gao Shengtai, and Ba Tianshi exchanged incredulous glances and smiles. All three of them felt that the South-Subduing Prince’s ability truly was vast and godlike. None of them had a clue as to what brilliant technique he used to cause these two women, who previously had been locked in a battle of life and death, to set aside their differences and work together to search for Duan Yu.

    Only to hear Duan Zhengchun say, “Then let’s go find your martial-sister. She certainly knows where Yu’er has been imprisoned.” Dao Baifeng angrily said, “I won’t allow you to go see Gan Baobao! You scheming bastard!” Qin Hongmian said, “My martial-sister has already sworn to never see you ever again.”

    While chatting, the three of them exited the tree line. Seeing Emperor Baoding, Duan Zhengchun said, “Elder brother, did you resc-...did you locate Yu’er yet?” At first, he was going to ask if Duan Yu had been rescued, but seeing that his son wasn’t here, he changed the sentence midstream. Emperor Baoding nodded. “I found him. Let’s talk about it when we get back home.”

    Chu Wanli, Zhu Danchen, and the others had heard the emperor’s order to cease fighting, and had every intention of doing so, but Ye Erniang and the Divine Crocodile were enjoying the battle. They had no intention of stopping, and continued to embroil their opponents in this deadly battle. Emperor Baoding’s brows furrowed slightly. “Let’s go.”

    Gao Shengtai replied, “Yes sir!” He withdrew his iron flute from his breast pockets, and with a ‘ting’ sound, pointed it at the Divine Crocodile’s throat. Following that, he raised his arm and flipped his hand, sweeping the flute against Ye Erniang. These two attacks with the flute were both aimed at critical cracks in the enemy’s defense. The Divine Crocodile managed to dodge by somersaulting away. With a clapping sound, the iron flute repeatedly struck Ye Erniang’s left arm. Ye Erniang let out a loud cry, then hastily glided away, beating a retreat.

    Actually, Gao Shengtai’s level of martial arts wasn’t that much superior to these two. But he had been watching the fights progress for a long time, and had long since devised masterful strokes to deal with those two. Although his attack seemed as though it was meant to deal purely with the Divine Crocodile, it was actually a feint. His fierce, unexpected, genuine attack was actually aimed towards Ye Erniang, repaying her for the injury that palm of her had inflicted upon him. Although it appeared as though he executed these strokes as casually as another might write a few lines of free verse, in actuality, he had contemplated this attack in his heart many times. He had gathered all of his power, then struck out with full force with this attack.

    The Divine Crocodile’s bean-like eyes widened. He felt both alarmed and respectful. “Sonufa*****, what a guy! I couldn’t tell that you...” He didn’t complete the line of thought, but the meaning was naturally, “I couldn’t tell that you’re actually this fearsome. Looks like your old man here isn’t your match, kid.”

    Dao Baifeng asked Emperor Baoding, “Emperor, how is Yu’er?” Emperor Baoding’s mind was filled with worry, but didn’t allow a single flicker of it to show on his expression. He said, in a voice devoid of passion, “He’s fine. This is an excellent opportunity for him to build up his self-discipline and to temper his character. He’ll come out in a few days. We’ll discuss this at length when we return to the palace.” After these words, he turned and immediately left.

    Ba Tianshi took the front and led the way, while Duan Zhengchun and his wife stayed behind the emperor. Following them was Chu, Gu, Fu, and Zhu, the Four Imperial Guards, with Gao Shengtai bringing up the rear. With that outstandingly brilliant attack earlier, he had managed to cow those two people. Although the Divine Crocodile was violent and ferocious, he didn’t dare to go up and challenge him.

    After walking thirty or so meters, Duan Zhengchun couldn’t help but turn his head and gaze back at Qin Hongmian. Qin Hongmian was also watching his receding figure. Their two pairs of eyes met, and both of them were struck dumb.

    Suddenly, Zhong Wanchou brandished his large-ringed sabre and rushed out, flustered and exasperated, from the back room. He called out, “Duan Zhengchun! On this visit, you weren’t able to see my wife. Consider that your good fortune! I won’t give you trouble on your way out. My wife has already sworn an oath that she will never see you again in the future. But...but...but I can’t rely on that alone! If she sees you again, maybe she’ll ****ing...she’ll...bah, to put it briefly, you aren’t allowed to come here again!” After fighting with Duan Zhengchun and being unable to achieve victory after many stances, he had immediately retreated, going back to guard his wife, so as to prevent Duan Zhengchun for coming for her and seducing her. After hearing his wife swear an oath that she definitely would never see Duan Zhengchun again, he was hugely relieved, and then hurriedly ran out again to make this demand towards Duan Zhengchun.

    Duan Zhengchun’s heart was saddened. He secretly said to himself, “Why? Why is it that you refuse to see me in the future? You are already another man’s wife. How could I possibly act to ruin your chastity? Although the second son of Dali’s Duan dynasty is dissolute and lascivious, he isn’t a shameless, contemptible thug. Just let me see you again. Even if the two of us stood far away from each other and didn’t say a single word to each other, I would be happy.” Turning his head, he saw that his wife was gazing at him coldly. His own heart suddenly trembled, and he sped up his footsteps, leaving the gorge.

    The party returned to Dali. Emperor Baoding said, “Everybody, let us discuss the situation at the palace.” Arriving at the royal study in the imperial palace, Emperor Baoding sat on a chair covered with leopard fur in the middle of the room. Duan Zhengchun and his wife sat on the ground next to him. Gao Shengtai and the others cupped their hands, awaiting further orders.

    Emperor Baoding ordered that stools be brought for each of them, then ordered for them to be seated. Dismissing the servants, he explained how it was that Duan Yu fell into the enemy’s hands. Everyone knew that the man in green was the key to the situation. Upon hearing Emperor Baoding say that not only did this person know the ‘Solitary Solar Finger’, but that his skill in it was above the emperor’s own, everyone present didn’t dare to interrupt. Each of them lowered their heads in thought. They all knew that the ‘Solitary Solar Finger’ was something which was passed down from one generation to the next within the Duan family. Only the sons were trained in it, and not the daughters, much less outsiders. If the man in green knew this art, he must be the offspring of the royal line.

    (Note: This rule was unbroken until a later descendant of the Duan family, Duan Zhixing, also known as master Yideng, broke the ancestral proscriptions by teaching this divine art to Wang Chongyang in order to subdue Ouyang Feng. He later passed the teachings of it to his four disciples: The fisherman, the woodcutter, the farmer, and the scholar. For a comprehensive overview, see ‘Legend of the Eagle-Shooting Heroes’.) [Translator’s note: This note was not put in by me, but was included in the text of my copy of the novel.]

    Emperor Baoding said to Duan Zhengchun, “Younger brother Chun, try and guess who this person is.” Duan Zhengchun lowered his head. “I can’t guess it. Can it be that someone from the Heavenly Dragon Monastery has returned to the secular world?” Emperor Baoding said, “No. It is Crown Prince Yanqing!”

    After these words were spoken, everyone present was extremely shocked. Duan Zhengchun said, “Crown Prince Yanqing left the mortal world long ago! This man surely must be an imposter who is faking his identity!” Emperor Baoding replied, “His identity can be faked, but the ‘Solitary Solar Finger’ cannot be. It’s a commonplace occurrence in the wulin for someone to secretly learn the martial arts of another sect. But how could anyone possibly manage to pilfer his way into this type of internal energy learning? This person is definitely Crown Prince Yanqing. There is no mistaking it!”

    Duan Zhengchun pondered this for a long time. He asked, “Then he is a noble figure within our Duan family. Why would he choose to destroy pristine and pure reputation of our house?” Emperor Baoding sighed. “This person’s entire body is crippled. His temperament is strange as well. Nothing can be understood through conventional reasoning. Much less, I now sit on Dali’s imperial throne. His heart is naturally filled with resentment and melancholy. He wants for us brothers to have our reputations swept away.”

    Duan Zhengchun said, “Elder brother, you assumed the throne long ago. The ministers and the common folk alike support you, and the borders are peaceful. Forget about Crown Prince Yanqing, even if Emperor Shangde [Duan Yanqing’s father] was reborn, he couldn’t reclaim the throne.”

    Gao Shengtai rose to his feet. “The South-Subduing Prince’s words are absolutely correct. Let’s just have Crown Prince Yanqing deliver young lord Duan into our hands. In fact, there’s no need for us to recognize him as a Crown Prince at all. We should only view him as the leader of the four most evil villains in all the world, whom every man must condemn and punish. Although he possesses a high level of martial arts, in the end, he can’t overmatch all of us.”

    [This excerpt is translated partially by Laviathan, partially by me.]

    More than ten years ago during the fifth year in the reign of the Emperor Shangde Duan Lianyi, a great and sudden upheaval occurred in the court of Dali. The Emperor Shangde was killed by the treacherous official Yang Yizhen. Consequently, Duan Shouhui, the nephew of the deceased emperor, sought the assistance of the eminent monks of the Heavenly Dragon Temple and the loyal minister Gao Zhisheng to have Yang Yizhen killed. After ascending the throne, Duan Shouhui became the Shangming emperor. Emperor Shangming did not want to be an emperor. After reigning for but a single year, he abdicated and became a Buddhist monk at the Heavenly Dragon Temple, giving his position to his younger cousin Duan Zhengming, who became the Baoding emperor. The Emperor Shangde had a son, whom the court addressed as Prince Yanqing. During the coup of Yang Yizhen, the situation had been so chaotic that no one knew where Prince Yanqing had gone. He was soon presumed dead, killed by Yang. Therefore, no one had expected that Prince Yanqing would suddenly reappear so many years after the incident.

    [Excerpt completed.]

    After hearing Gao Shengtai’s words, Emperor Baoding shook his head. “The position of emperor originally belonged to Crown Prince Yanqing. It was only because he could not be found that Emperor Shangming accepted the throne, then passed it to me. Since Crown Prince Yanqing has appeared, I should resign my position to him.” Turning his head, he said to Gao Shengtai, “If your esteemed father was still alive, he would be of like mind.” Gao Shengtai was the son of Gao Zhisheng, a minister who had rendered outstanding service. The wiping out of the rebel forces in the past was completely due to the great efforts Gao Zhisheng had exerted.

    Gao Shengtai took a step forward, then knelt down. “My late father was loyal to his lord and loved his citizens. This freak in green claims to be the leader of the Four Evils. If he became the monarch of Dali, who can imagine how much the people would suffer under his reign? Even if I, your servant, were threatened with ten thousand deaths, I cannot accept your abdication!”

    Also kneeling down, Ba Tianshi said, “Earlier, I heard the monstrous voice of the Divine Crocodile calling out and saying that their leader, the head of the Four Evils, was known as...what was it again? ‘Evil Beyond Human Capacity’? If this person is not Crown Prince Yanqing, he naturally cannot be allowed to achieve his goals. But even if he is Crown Prince Yanqing, how can such a vicious, treacherous knave be allowed to rule over the people of Dali? If that were to happen, the country would certainly collapse, and many lives would be lost.”

    Emperor Baoding waved his arm. “The two of you, please rise. Your words are full of sense and reason. But Yu’er has fallen into his clutches. Aside from me abdicating, what method is there for us to get Yu’er back home?”

    Duan Zhengchun said, “Elder brother, we, the subjects, should be the ones giving away our lives to help protect our emperor. Even though you love Yu’er, how can you throw away your important position for him? Even if Yu’er manages to escape using your method, he would become the greatest sinner of all Dali.”

    Emperor Baoding rose to his feet. With his left hand, he stroked his long beard, while he lightly tapped his forehead with two fingers of his right hand. He began to pace in a circle in the study room. Everyone here knew that he always pondered in such a way when he was unsure as to how to best deal with an important issue. No one dared to make a sound, for fear of derailing his train of thought. Emperor Baoding walked back and forth. Only after a long time had passed did he speak again. “Crown Prince Yanqing is a poisonous and vile schemer. He fed Yu’er the ‘Yin and Yang Conjoining’ powder. The strength of this drug is very profound. It’s difficult for ordinary people to resist. I fear...I fear that his brain has already been fully bewildered by this drug.” He sighed. “This is is a villainous plot indeed. We can’t hold Yu’er responsible for what he does.”

    Duan Zhengchun lowered his head. His sense of shame was boundless. He thought to himself that the root of this disaster came from his dissolute, lascivious way.

    Emperor Baoding returned to his seat. “Minister Ba, issue a decree. Have the Imperial Hanlin Academy prepare a written edict, conferring up on my brother, Zhengchun, the position of Huang Taidi, ‘Imperial Crown Brother’. [This is a title conferred upon a sibling of an Emperor which puts that sibling first in the line of succession for the throne, above that of even the Emperor’s own children.]

    Duan Zhengchun was startled, then hurriedly knelt down. “Elder brother, you have always been benevolent and upright, and have governed the people virtuously. The heavens will surely protect you, and you will have countless sons and grandsons. Please rescind your edict!”

    Extending his hand, Emperor Baoding lifted Duan Zhengchun up. “You and I are brothers. The country of Dali should’ve been administered by the both of us to begin with. Forget about the fact that I don’t have sons or grandsons. Even if I had both, I would transfer my throne to you. Younger brother Chun, I made the decision to make you my heir long ago. Everyone in the country knows that. Today, we’ll make it official, to let Crown Prince Yanqing know that he will not achieve his heart’s desire!”

    Duan Zhengchun declined multiple times, but Emperor Baoding refused to allow him to. He had no choice but to kowtow and thank the emperor. Gao Shengtai and the others rushed forward to congratulate him. As Emperor Baoding was without sons, the imperial throne would definitely go to Duan Zhengchun in the future. This is something which had been long anticipated, and no one was surprised at all. Emperor Baoding said, “Everyone, go get some rest. This affair with Crown Prince Yanqing can only be told to Minister of Education Hua, and Minister of War Fan. Besides those two, this secret cannot be divulged.” Everyone agreed in one voice, then left after paying their respects. Ba Tianshi immediately left for the Imperial Hanlin Academy to publicly declare the imperial order.

    Emperor Baoding ate some food, then took a little nap. When he woke up, he faintly heard the sounds of celebration from outside, as firecrackers exploded ceaselessly. A servant helped him into his robes, then reported, “After hearing that your majesty conferred the position of ‘Imperial Crown Brother’ upon the South-Subduing Prince, the common people were filled with joy and started to celebrate. It’s quite lively outside.” In the past few years, military ventures had become outmoded in Dali, and the imperial court was pure and bright. The citizens lived and worked in peace and happiness. They absolutely loved and respected such rulers as Emperor Baoding, the South-Subduing Prince, and the Marquis of Virtuous Enlightenment.

    Emperor Baoding said, “Send forth my decree. Tomorrow, hang out colored lanterns in celebration everywhere. Cancel the usual curfews. Reward the entire army, and bestow a gift of wine and meat to all the elderly and all the orphans.” After this edict was passed out, the joy of the common people only increased even more, to the point of the entire city boiling with it.

    At the fall of night, Emperor Baoding changed into cheap clothes and left the palace by himself. He covered much of his face with a big hat, hiding his features behind it. Everywhere he went, he only saw the common people clapping and singing songs of praise, with young men and women singing and dancing together.

    At the time, the people of the central plains considered the people of Dali to be barbarians, as their etiquettes and customs were very different from that of China proper. The streets were filled with young men and women holding hands, flirting, and laughing together as though they were in a secluded area. No one thought this was strange at all. Emperor Baoding secretly prayed, “If only the people of Dali can forever be so happy.”

    After leaving the city, he hastened his steps, traveling more than twenty li before he entered a mountain range. The farther he walked, the more barren was the land around him. After passing through four mountain cavities, he arrived in front of a small monastery. At the monastery gates were written the words, “Flower Gathering Monastery”. The national religion of Dali was Buddhism. There were tens of large monasteries outside the nation’s capitals, and over a hundred small ones. The ‘Flower Gathering Monastery’ was far away from civilization, and few joss sticks were burning in front of it. Even if one was a citizen of Dali, one might not know of the place.

    Emperor Baoding stood silently in front of the monastery for a short moment, then strode forward and lightly knocked three times at the gate. After quite some time, the monastery gates opened and a novice monk came out. He politely asked, “A respected guest has brightened our doorway. What worthy purpose has led you here?” Emperor Baoding replied, “I’d like to trouble you to inform Master Huangmei [lit. ‘Yellow Brows’] that an old friend, Duan Zhengming, is requesting to see him.” The novice monk said, “Please, enter.”

    Turning, he respectfully waved him in. Emperor Baoding lifted up his foot, preparing to step inside the monastery. He suddenly heard two clear ‘ding’ sounds emanate from a chime the inner courtyard. All of a sudden, his entire body felt cool and pure. His thoughts became tranquil, and his spirit filled with peace.

    Freed of anxiety, he entered the monastery and headed for the inner courtyard. The novice monk said, “Respected guest, please wait here. I will go report to my master.” Emperor Baoding said, “Alright.” Folding his hands behind his back, he stood in the middle of the courtyard.

    There was a gingko tree standing in the courtyard. He watched as a single yellow leaf slowly drifted down from it. In his entire life, there had been extremely few instances of him standing outside and waiting for someone else. But as soon as he entered the ‘Flower Gathering Monastery’, customs and conventions died away. He totally forgot that he was the emperor.

    Suddenly, an aged voice laughed. “My worthy younger brother Duan, what problems do you have in your heart?” Emperor Baoding turned around, seeing a tall, lofty old monk with a face full of wrinkles push open the door from a small residence. On this old monk’s face was two long, sickly yellow eyebrows, the tails of which sagged downwards. It was the Yellow Browed Monk.

    Cupping his hands, Emperor Baoding said, “Excuse me for disrupting your meditations.” The Yellow Browed Monk laughed. “Please, enter.” Emperor Baoding strode forward and entered the small residence. Two middle-aged monks immediately cupped their hands, paying their respects to him. Emperor Baoding knew that they must be the disciples of the Yellow Browed Monk, and quickly returned their salute. He sat down on a prayer mat to the left of the main prayer mat, which the Yellow Browed Monk took.

    After the Yellow Browed Monk seated himself, Emperor Baoding said, “I have a nephew named Duan Yu. When he was seven, I carried him here, and we listened to you, martial brother, expound on the scriptures.” The Yellow Browed Monk let out a small smile. “That child has an extremely remarkable comprehension. He’s a good kid. Good kid!” Emperor Baoding said, “He has been enlightened by Buddhism doctrine and has a merciful heart. He was unwilling to learn martial arts in order to avoid killing others.” The Yellow Browed Monk said, “If one doesn’t know martial arts, one can still kill others. If one learns martial arts, one still might kill others.”

    Emperor Baoding replied, “Yes!” Thereupon he related the story of how Duan Yu was firmly opposed to learning martial arts and ran away from home, how he met Mu Wanqing, and how he was trapped by ‘The Most Evil Man in the World’, Crown Prince Yanqing, inside the stone house. A small smile on his lips, the Yellowed Browed Monk listened quietly, not interjecting a single time. The faces of his two disciples, who were standing behind him and waiting on him, didn’t change in the slightest.

    After Emperor Baoding was finished, the Yellow Browed Monk slowly said, “This Crown Prince Yanqing is your older male cousin. It’s inappropriate for you to fight with him. It’s even inappropriate for you to send your subordinates to fight with him.” Emperor Baoding replied, “Martial brother, you see things clearly.” The Yellow Browed Monk said, “The elder monks of the Heavenly Dragon Temple are extremely virtuous, and their martial arts exceed yours as well, worthy brother. But by entering Buddhist orders, they have severed their ties with the Duan dynasty. It’s also inappropriate for them to side with you, worthy brother, in an internicine dispute. Thus, you cannot request aid from the Heavenly Dragon Temple as well.” Emperor Baoding said, “Exactly so.”

    The Yellow Browed Monk nodded. He extended his middle finger slowly, then pointed towards Emperor Baoding. Emperor Baoding let out a small smile, then pointed out with his own finger as well. Aiming at the Yellow Browed Monk’s middle finger, he pointed towards it. Their figures swayed, and they immediately withdrew their fingers. The Yellow Browed Monk said, “Worthy brother Duan, the force from my ‘Vajra Finger’ cannot overcome your ‘Solitary Solar Finger’.” Emperor Baoding replied, “Martial brother, your wisdom is deep and your intelligence is vast. You can achieve victory without purely relying on the power of your fingers.” The Yellow Browed Monk lowered his head and was silent.

    Emperor Baoding rose to his feet. “Five years ago, you told me to revoke the salt taxes. But I did not, for two reasons. First, the country did not need it. And secondly, I desired for Duan Zhengchun to assume the throne after me, and intended for him to do it in my stead, thereby winning the hearts of the populace. But tomorrow, I will immediately order for the salt taxes to be abrogated.”

    The Yellow Browed Monk stood up, then knelt and respectfully prostrated himself before the Emperor. “Worthy brother, you take such care of your people. This old monk is endlessly gratified.” Emperor Baoding also knelt down and returned the bow. He said nothing more, and quickly glided away from the monastery.

    Returning to the palace, Emperor Baoding immediately ordered the servants to summon Minister Ba. He ordered him to abolish the salt tax. Ba Tianshi kowtowed, thanking the Emperor for his benevolence. “Majesty, your great benevolence is the utmost fortune of the common people.” Emperor Baoding said, “Make sure that our own use of salts is reduced and restrained whenever possible in the palace. Go discuss this with ministers Hua and Fan and see if you can think of any areas where we can cut back.” Ba Tianshi agreed and left the palace.

    Ba Tianshi immediately arranged for a meeting with Minister Hua Hegen, and together they arrived at the manor of Fan Hua, the Minister of War. He informed them of the abolishment of the salt tax. With regards to the matter of Duan Yu being kidnapped, he had already informed them earlier.

    __________________

    New update!

    RE Pannomian: LOL! I totally forgot about that thing! Thanks for bringing it up. Good times, good times...

    Personal thoughts: I can't believe JY specifically referenced one of his books in another. I'm hoping that was put in by someone else, otherwise it's a shameless, immersion-breaking shill

    I liked the line by the Yellow Browed Monk; even if a person doesn't know martial arts, he can still kill others; and likewise, just because a person learns martial arts, it doesn't necessarily mean he has to use it to kill others.
    Last edited by Ren Wo Xing; 08-10-08 at 12:01 AM.
    Blademaster. Hero. General. He was the best there ever was.
    Butcher. Murderer. Traitor. All that he loved, he had destroyed.
    Matheius Randas.
    That Merciless Blade - Legend of the Arctic Wolf.

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