Hi. the ROCH translation is complete but I want to edit the chapters I did, especially the earlier chapters. Whoever posted chapters in reading room and wuxiapedia, please update. Thanks.
Hi. the ROCH translation is complete but I want to edit the chapters I did, especially the earlier chapters. Whoever posted chapters in reading room and wuxiapedia, please update. Thanks.
I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Chapter 1: Loveless Under the Wind and Moon
‘The Yue maiden gathers the lotus by the autumn bank, as her narrow sleeves glides out, two gold bracelets are revealed. The reflection of hers is just a facade, on the inside her heart is like a string struggling to be free of entanglement. The stream ripples along with the night wind, the heavy fog breaks into mist, yet reunion is still delayed. A faint song returns to the boat from afar, carrying sorrow from the Jiangnan banks.’
A soft and graceful tune floated across the lake’s surface under the cover of the mist. The song originated from a small boat. The boat carried five girls who sang and laughed, picking lotuses as they went. The lyrics the girls sang were from the poem ‘The Butterfly Loves the Flower’ written by the Song poet Ouyang Xiu. The song was an outlook on the Yue maiden and although only sixty words long, the season, time of day, place, scenery, the maiden’s face, clothes, hair adornments, and her emotions were all described meticulously. The next part of the song is as if someone is narrating a scene, a love story, one that is close at heart yet far away, but a love that still remains.
Ouyang Xiu spent a long time as an official in Jiangnan and his poetry captured everything he knew and loved about the place. The Song people, no matter whether they were a high ranking official or a lowly worker, they all enjoyed their song and poetry. From joyous new lyrics to songs from the well, as the spring willow breaks through the banks of Jiangnan, when lotuses are gathered on an autumn lake, an Ou poem is their companion.
It was now the time of the reign of the Southern Dynasty’s Lizong and the place is Jiaxing’s lake Nan. It was near mid autumn, as water lilies began to decay, and when lotus buns were at their best. The song carried across the lake into a Taoist priestess’s ears. She has stood quietly underneath the willow tree for a while now and the night winds fluttered the lower part of her apricot robe. They also disturbed the countless soft strands of hair on the flywhisk that she had secured on her neck. Her mind was filled with thoughts just as in the line ‘her heart is like a string struggling to be free of entanglement’. The singing gradually moved away and now it was another verse from Ouyang Xiu’s ‘The Butterfly Loves a Flower’. A light breeze carried the two lines ‘There is no secret exchange under the moon and wind, the memories are like a dream painfully cut short’. The singing stops and is followed by the sound of laughter.
A sigh was let out and a left hand was raised, revealing a bloody palm. She mumbled to herself, “What do you find so funny? You little girls are just singing blindly, you don’t understand the regret and sorrow within the song at all.”
Standing behind about ten zhangs away from the priestess, a bearded old man dressed in a green robe was also standing in silence. Only when he heard the two lines ‘There is no secret exchange under the moon and wind, the memories are like a dream painfully cut short’ did he let out an extremely quiet sigh.
The little boat gently glided across the lake. Three of the girls on the boat were around fifteen, sixteen years of age. The other two were only nine years old. The two younger girls were cousins. The older of the two was called Cheng Ying; the younger was called Lu Wushuang. The difference in age was about six months.
After the three older girls finished singing, they guided the boat out of a cluster of lotus flowers
Cheng Ying said, “Cousin, that old man is still there.” Pointing to a man beneath a willow tree as she spoke.
The hair on that man was all messed up, his beard loose and prickly. The colour of his hair and beard was black like a crow’s, indicating that he was not very old but his face was covered with wrinkles, like those of an seventy, eighty year old. He was dressed in patchy blue clothes and around his neck hung an old and weary satin bib that had an embroidery of cat thrown itself at a butterfly.
Lu Wushuang said, “That strange man has sat there for half a day now, why doesn’t he move?”
Cheng Ying said, “If you want to call him something, call him old grandpa. If you call him strange, surely he would get angry.”
Lu Wushuang laughed, “Is he not strange? He’s old but he is still wearing a bib. If he gets angry, his beard would stand up on its ends, now that would be amusing.”
She picked up a lotus plant and threw it towards the man’s head.
The boat is several zhangs away from the man. Although Lu Wushuang is young, she actually had good strength in her arms. Her throw was quite accurate.
Cheng Ying shouted out, “Cousin!”
She wanted to stop her but it was too late; she watched as the lotus plant flew towards the strange man’s face.
The man raised his head and bit down on the lotus plant, instead of using his hands to get a hold of it, he used his tongue and wrapped it around the lotus plant before beginning to chew. The five girls saw that he didn’t bother removing the fruit from the lotus plant and ate the plant whole, even the bitter petals. The girls looked at each other and began to giggle. The rowed the boat ahead and came ashore.
Cheng Ying ran towards the man and tugged his clothes saying, “Old grandpa, those are not nice to eat.”
She reached into a pocket and pulled out a lotus plant. She began to split it open and removed several pieces of lotus fruit from the plant. She then removed the green skin of the lotus and removed the bitter core before passing it into the man’s hand.
The man put it into his mouth and started to chew, feeling a fragrant sweet taste, completely different to what he had ate before. He cracked a smile at Cheng Ying and nodded his head. Cheng Ying did this again and gave another lotus to the man. The man put it in his mouth and chewed for a while. He then looked up at the sky and said, “Come with me?” He strode in a westerly direction as he said this.
Lu Wushuang grabbed hold of Cheng Ying’s hand and said, “Cousin, lets follow him.”
The other three girls became concerned and said, “Let’s go home now, your mother will scold you if go any further.”
Lu Wushuang put on an annoyed face. She saw that the strange man had ran away extremely quickly and said, “If you don’t come fine”, she then released her cousin’s hand and chased the man. Cheng Ying had come out to play with her cousin, she couldn’t leave her alone and so followed.
The other three girls were older than them but they were shy and timid, they just called out a few times before watching the old man disappeared into the mulberry forest followed by the two cousins.
The strange old man ran very fast, he saw that the two cousins couldn’t keep up so stopped and waited. He did this a few times before in the end he ran out of patience. Suddenly he turned around, grabbed the girls held them beneath his armpits, and flew towards his destination. The two girls could only hear the sound of the wind in their ear, the stones and grass on the floor changing within their eyes.
Lu Wushuang became frightened and shouted, “Let me go! Let me go!” The strange man ignored her, and instead moved even quicker. Lu Wu Shuang looked up, and bit fiercely on the man’s hand. The old man flicked his palm, knocking it against Lu Wushuang’s teeth. It was quite painful for her. She could only loosen her bite and screamed with all her life. Cheng Ying however stayed quiet.
The old man ran for a while before putting the two girls down onto the ground. They had arrived at a cemetery. Cheng Ying’s face was pale white, while Lu Wushuang face was swollen and red.
Cheng Ying said, “Old grandpa, we need to go home, we don’t want to play anymore!”
The strange man stared at her without flinching. Cheng Ying saw that his eyes revealed a sorrow and pained expression that caused her to fill up with pity. She said softly, “If you’ve got no one to play with, then come by the lake again tomorrow and I’ll peel lotus fruits for you to eat.”
The strange man sighed and said, “Yes, it has been ten years, I’ve had no one for company within these last ten years.” His eyes suddenly exuded a menacing light and said with venom, “Where’s He Yuanjun? Where did He Yuanjun go?”
After seeing his sudden stern expression, Cheng Ying became frightened. Quietly she said, “I… I… I don’t know”.
The man grabbed her arm and shook her a few times. His lowered the tone of his voice and said, “Where’s Yuanjun?”
Cheng Ying was so frightened by him that she wanted to cry, tears rolled down from her eyes but she didn’t cry out.
The old man bit his teeth and said, “Cry, cry. You won’t cry? Hmm, you were like this ten years ago. I won’t let you marry him. You said you couldn’t bear to leave me yet you said you had to leave with him. You said you were touched by my kindness, leaving me would leave you heartbroken. Rubbish! Those are all deceitful words! Suppose those feelings are sincere, why do you cry?”
He stared at Cheng Ying with hate. Cheng Ying had been pale with fright but still the tears wouldn’t come. The man shook her. Cheng Ying clenched her teeth and said to herself, “I won’t cry, I won’t cry!”
The strange man said, “You won’t even cry one tear for me, not even one. What reason have I for living?” He suddenly let go of Cheng Ying, bent his legs, shortened his body, and forced himself into a tombstone causing a crashing sound. He laid on the floor unconscious.
Lu Wushuang said, “Cousin, quickly run.” She grabbed hold of Cheng Ying’s hand, turned and ran. Cheng Ying hurried a few steps, but as she saw the strange man lying with blood over his head, her heart couldn’t bear it and said, “I don’t think old grandpa is dead, let’s take a look.”
Lu Wushuang said, “If he’s dead, won’t he turn into a ghost?”
Cheng Ying gulped, she was scared that he would turn into a ghost and was scared that he would suddenly wake up to grab her once again like before. But seeing his face covered with blood made her feel sorry for him. She comforted herself, by saying, “Old grandpa is not a ghost, I’m not scared, he won’t grab me.” She slowly walked towards the old man. “Mister, are you hurt?”
The man let out a groan but didn’t reply. Cheng Ying got a bit braver, and tended to his wounds with a handkerchief. But the force of the collision was great; the wound on his head was very serious. The handkerchief was soaked in blood. She used her left hand to press hard on the wound, and after a while the bleeding stopped. The man began to open his eyes, and saw Cheng Ying by his side.
“Why did you save me? It’ll be better if you just let me die.”
Cheng Ying became happy when saw him wake up. She said softly “Does your head hurt?”
The strange man shook his head and said with sadness, “My head doesn’t hurt, it’s my heart that’s hurting.”
Cheng Ying was puzzled and thought, “There is a large wound on his head, yet while his head doesn’t hurt, his heart does.” She thought no more of this as she untied her waistband and tied up his wound.
The man let out a sigh and stood up. “You don’t want to see me ever again, why did we have to part like that? Won’t you shed a single tear for me?”
Cheng Ying heard him speak with great pain and although his blood-covered face was quite frightening, his eyes were full of earnest, and she couldn’t help but be filled with sorrow as two drops of tears emerged. As the man saw the tears, his face changed to a more joyful expression but at the same time a mournful look appeared. He then cried out.
Seeing his pained sobs, Cheng Ying’s own tears flooded out and rolled down her cheeks. She gently reached out and hugged his neck. The sight of the two of them sobbing and hugging each other was bizarre to Lu Wushuang. An urge to laugh out appeared in her and soon, she was unable to hold it in and burst out a laugh.
The strange man heard this, and said to the heavens, “Yes, the words that came out of your mouth said you won’t leave me, but as you grow older you forgot the things that you’ve said, all you can think about is that newly met little white face. You laugh with real joy!” He lowered his head and looked at Cheng Ying carefully. The strange man said, “Yes, yes, you are Yuan, my little Yuan. I won’t let you leave, I won’t let you leave with that bastard little white face”, as he held tightly onto Cheng Ying.
Lu Wushuang saw that he was emotionally unstable and didn’t dare laugh out again.
The strange man said, “Ah Yuan, I’ve finally found you. Let’s go home, from now on you will be with father forever.”
Cheng Ying said, “Old grandpa, my father died a long time ago.”
The strange man said, “I know, I know. I’m your stepfather, you don’t recognize me?”
Cheng Ying shook her head. “I don’t have a stepfather.”
The strange man gave a howl, and pushed Cheng Ying away with hate. “Ah Yuan, you don’t even recognise step father?”
Cheng Ying said, “Old grandpa, my name is Cheng Ying, not your Ah Yuan”.
The strange man mumbled, “You’re not Ah Yuan… you’re not Ah Yuan…” He froze for a while before saying. “Hmm, around twenty years ago Ah Yuan was your age. Now Ah Yuan has grown up and doesn’t need father anymore. In your eyes, there’s only that swine Lu Zhanyuan.”
Lu Wushuang let out, “Oh,” and said “Lu Zhanyuan?”
The man asked, “You know him, don’t you?”
She smiled, “Of course, he’s my uncle.”
The strange man’s face suddenly became vengeful. He grabbed hold of Lu Wushuang’s shoulders and asked, “Where is that bastard? Lead me to him.”
Though Lu Wu Shuang was very frightened, she still had a smile on her face. She quivered, “My uncle lives close by. You really want to find him? Haha!”
The strange man said, “Yes, yes. I’ve been searching in Jiaxing for him for three days, so I could settle my debt with that swine. Little girl lead me to him and old grandpa won’t trouble you.” As he said this, his voice gradually became gentler and he released his grasp.
Lu Wushuang used her right hand to rub her left arm and said, “You really hurt me. I don’t know where he lives anymore.”
The man’s eyebrows stood up and wanted to vent his anger once again. However, thinking that it was not right at all to bully a little girl, his unsightly face revealed a smile and he put his hand in his pocket. He said, “It was grandpa’s fault. I apologise. Grandpa has some sweets for you.” But his hand remained in his pocket. It appeared that he wasn’t able to find any.
Lu Wushuang clapped and smiled, “You don’t have any sweets, you’re a liar, aren’t you embarrassed? Alright, my uncle lives over there.” She pointed to two faraway giant locust trees. “It’s just over there.”
The man reached out his long arms and carried the girls beneath his armpits again before running quickly towards the two trees. He ran with great speed until they came upon a stream but he cleared it in one leap. In a flash, the three of them where by the two locust trees. The strange man dropped the two girls, and saw two grand tombs below the trees, on the tombstone wrote, “Here lies the grave of Lu Zhanyuan.” On another wrote, “Here lays the wife of Lu.” The grass around here was knee deep, indicating that the tombs have been here a long time.
The man just stared at the tombstone and mumbled, “Lu Zhanyuan is dead? How long ago.”
Lu Wushuang laughed as she replied, “Three years ago.”
The strange man chuckled, “He deserved to die, good, just a pity that he didn’t die by my hands!” He laughed towards the heavens as he finished. The laugh could be heard from faraway, but the laugh was an angry, lamenting laugh, not one of joy.
The skies were darkening and mist had already descended down on the grass.
Lu Wushuang tugged at her cousin’s sleeve and whispered, “Let’s go now.”
The strange man said, “The little white face is dead, Ah Yuan, what reason have you for staying here? I’ll take you back to Dali. Hey little girl, take me to your dead uncle’s wife.”
Lu Wushuang pointed to the tombstone, “Can’t you see? My aunt also died.”
The man leapt up and with a voice like thunder, shouted, “Are those words the truth or lies? She … she really is dead?”
Lu Wushuang face turned pale, and in a quivering voice said “Father said not long after uncle died, my aunt followed. I don’t know anymore, I don’t know. Don’t frighten me, I’m scared!”
The man struck his chest and shouted, “She’s dead, she’s dead? It’s not true, you haven’t seen me yet, you cannot die. I told you, I would come and see you again in ten years. Why didn’t you wait for me?”
He shouted wildly and jumped around madly like a wild tiger. Suddenly he swept his leg out and with a thud, kicked out at the large locust tree that was on the right. The tree swayed and the branches of the tree bustled as it shook. Cheng Ying and Lu Wushuang held each other hands and retreated a few steps, how could they dare stay close? He suddenly grabbed hold of that locust tree and shook it violently as if he were trying to pull it out. But the tree trunk was wide and its roots were sturdy, how could he pick it up?
He cried out, “Could you have broken the promise that you made yourself? You said we would meet again. Why has your promise become worthless?” He cried so loud that his voice gradually broke down. He crouched down and gathered strength into his two arms, steam slowly rose up from his head like a steamer, the muscles in his arms clenched and his bent body straightened. He roared, “Rise!” The tree remained rooted but a loud cracking sound was heard, the tree was actually ripped from its trunk. He hugged the part of the tree that he had in his arms as he stood there in a trance before quietly saying, “She’s dead! She’s dead!” He lifted the tree and shot it away with great might, the locust tree flew far away. It was as if a parasol had appeared in midair.
He stood in front of the tomb quietly before mumbling, “It’s true, the wife of Lu is indeed Ah Yuan.”
His eye blurred and the two tombs become the image of two people. One of them is a young girl with a bright smile and eyes filled with hope, the other a handsome young man. The two of them were standing shoulder to shoulder.
Last edited by Noodles; 10-21-06 at 01:55 AM.
I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
The strange man stared and cursed, “You seduced my lovely obedient daughter, I’ll kill you with my finger.” He stretched out his right hand’s index finger and charged forwards, fiercely striking out at the chest of the young man. A severe pain went through his index finger as though as if it were broken. He had hit the tombstone. The image of the young man disappeared. The strange man was furious and shouted, “Where are you?” He struck out twice with his left palm, making two sounds, aimed at the same tombstone. The longer he kept striking out, the more forceful the palms became. After ten palms, blood began to seep through.
Cheng Ying could watch no longer and said, “Old grandpa, stop hitting, you are going to hurt your hand.”
He laughed and shouted back, “I feel no pain, I’m going to kill the swine Lu Zhanyuan.”
His laughter suddenly stopped. He froze for a little while before saying, “I must see your face, I must see your face.” With ferocious strength in his two hands his fingers plunged into the ground like a drill in front of the tomb of “the wife of Lu”. When he pulled back his arms, two lumps of the ground came out with them. His two palms were like an iron spade digging in and out of the ground, removing lump after lump of earth from the grave.
The Cheng and Lu cousins face were scared witless and both ran away at the same time. The man was busy digging and did not notice them leave. The two girls sprinted away. After running past several turns, they looked back and saw that the strange man had not followed; only then were they able to calm down. The two girls were unfamiliar with the place and so they asked locals for directions as they tried to make their way back home. It was dark when they finally reach the front door of the Lu manor.
Lu Wushuang shouted, “Oh no, oh no! Father, mother, come quick! A madman is digging up the graves of uncle and auntie!” She ran into the hall, only to see her father Lu Liding in a trance as he stared at the wall.
Cheng Ying followed into the hall, and along with Lu Wushuang’s eyes, followed Lu Liding’s. They saw three sets of palm prints on the wall, two at the top, two in the middle, five at the bottom, in total there were nine. Each palm print was blood red.
Lu Liding heard his daughter’s cries and quickly asked, “What are you talking about?”
Lu Wushuang said, “There is a madman digging up the graves of uncle and auntie.” Her father was shocked. He stood up and shouted. “Nonsense!”
Cheng Ying said, “Uncle, its true.”
Lu Liding knew what his daughter was like, mischievous and naughty but Cheng Ying has never lied. He asked, “What’s happened?” Lu Wushuang relayed the events that had just happened to her father.
Her father knew something was wrong and didn’t wait for her she to finish as he picked up a sabre from wall and then hurried towards the graves. When he got there, not only did he saw the graves had been disturbed, but the coffins had been opened. When he heard from his daughter that someone was digging up the graves, he had known what to expect, but when he saw it with his own eyes, his heart raced. There was no sign of the bodies, the ash in the coffins, the paper money, cotton cushions and the like were all in a mess. He steadied his nerves and saw that on the lid of the coffins were traces of what appeared to be iron tool marks. He was angry and distressed at the sight. Before, he didn’t carefully question his daughter about who did this and now wondered who could have such debts with his brother and sister in law that even after their death, their graves and corpses wouldn’t be left alone? He gripped his sabre and chased after the culprits.
His brother was the one who taught him the martial arts he knew. He was a steady family man and not adventurous and so never roamed the realm of Jianghu, he had very little experience and wasn’t a sharp thinker. He did not have the skills to track down the perpetrators. He circled around a few times before returning to the graves. He had no idea on what to do next and so could only return home.
He entered the main hall. He sat down on a chair and placed his sabre by his side, and stared at the nine blood prints on the wall. He thought, “Before brother died, he said he had an enemy, an Taoist priestess, named Li Mochou, with the nickname ‘Serpent Deity’. Her martial arts are extremely high and she was ruthless. He predicted that on the tenth anniversary of his marriage, she would come and seek revenge on the couple. At the time Lu had said ‘My illness is not getting better, the Serpent Deity will not be able to get avenge herself in this blasted feud. In three years time, it will be time. You must persuade my wife to go into hiding.’ I tearfully promised him but who could have guessed that on the night he passed away, my sister in law would cut her throat out of grief for her husband. It has been three years now since my brother has passed away and so it appears that it is now the time of that priestess’s coming. But the couple has already passed away; all of their feuds should have been wiped clean so why does she still come? My brother also said that before the priestess kills, she would place bloody handprints on the wall of her victim’s home, with one print meaning one life. My home only has seven people in total so why nine prints? Yes, could it be that she placed the handprints here first before she found out about the passing of my brother and sister in law and so sent people out to ravage their graves? That witch really is frightening, I’ve been at home all day, when on earth did that evil witch leave her prints? With such unnerving movements, this person… this person…” He shivered as he thought about her.
Footsteps could be heard from behind, a small soft pair of hands covered his eyes. He recognised it was her daughter’s voice when she spoke.
“Father, who am I?”
This was a game that she always played with her father. When she was three years old, she started to play this game with him. This made him laugh and so from then on, whenever she saw that her father was angry she would use this method to try to cheer him up. Under normal circumstances this would have worked. But today he was in no mood for such games and he pulled her daughter’s hands away, saying, “Father is busy, go inside and play!”
Lu Wushuang stood there. She always had the love of her father and it was rare for him to have no time for her. She pouted her lips and wanted to stay to argue playfully with father when she saw the male servant Ah Gen rushing in.
Ah Gen said, “There’s a guest outside master.”
Lu Liding waved his hand and said, “You tell them I’m not at home.”
Ah Gen said, “Master, the woman doesn’t want to see you. She’s a traveller and just wants to spend the night here.”
Lu Liding was alarmed and said, “Who? Is it a woman?”
Ah Gen said, “Yes, it’s a mother with two small boys.”
When Lu Liding heard it was a mother with her two sons, he was able to relax a little. “It’s not a Taoist priestess?”
Ah Gen shook his head, “No. She’s a well dressed woman, she looks like a mother of a respectable family.”
Lu Liding said, “Alright, take them to the guest room to rest. Be hospitable and give them something to eat.”
Ah Gen hurriedly went out. Lu Wushuang said, “I’m going to take a look.” She then ran out.
Lu Liding stood up and was about to go inside to discuss how to face this enemy with his wife when he saw that she had already made her own way to the hall. He showed her the prints, and told her about the desecration of the graves with the disappearance of the corpses.
Mistress Lu creased her brows and said, “Where are we are going to hide the two girls?”
Master Lu pointed at the wall. “The girls are included on the list, I fear that the monster who did this won’t let them escape so easily. The time we spent practising martial arts were wasted, we haven’t even notice that someone had entered our home…”
Mistress Lu stared at the wall. Holding the back of a chair, she said, “There are nine prints? We only have seven people within the household.”
As soon as these two sentences came out, her limbs went numb and stared at her husband before breaking out into tears. Lu Liding reached out and held her arms. He said, “Dear, things are coming to a head, there’s no need to be afraid. The top two palm prints are for my brother and his wife, the middle two are ours. In the last group, two are for Wushuang and little Ying, there other three are for Ah Gen and our two maids. I guess this family will be drowned in blood.”
Mistress Lu quivered and said, “Brother and sister in law?”
Lu Liding, “I don’t know what deep debt the witch is after, but even with my brother and my sister in law dead, she still sent people to desecrate their graves as an insult.”
Mistress Lu said, “You are saying that madman was sent by her?”
Lu Liding said, “It makes sense.”
Mistress Lu had seen her husband’s head was covered in sweat and dirt. She said softly, “Go to our room and clean yourself up, change your clothes and have a rest before we discuss this again.”
Lu Liding and his wife walked side by side to their room. He said “Wife, even if the Lu family die today, we will die without tarnishing the good name of our brother and sister in law.”
Mistress Lu’s heart panged and said, “You’re right.”
The two of them thought that although Lu Liding is not a famous name, his brother Lu Zhanyuan’s and his wife He Yuanjun’s valour was famous throughout the Jianghu world, the Lu manor of Jiaxing was a name that everyone in the Jianghu realm respected.
The two of them had made their way to the back garden when heard a sudden sound from the east wall. Near the top was a person. Lu Liding stepped in front to shield his wife. He looked up and saw a young boy sitting on the wall, trying to pick a flower from a trumpet vine. By his leg, someone shouted out, “Careful, don’t fall.”
Cheng Ying, Lu Wushuang and a boy were standing behind a bush by the wall.
Lu Liding thought, “Those boys must be from the family who are seeking shelter for the night here, why are they so undisciplined?”
The boy on the wall managed to pluck a flower.
Lu Wushuang shouted, “Give it to me, give it to me!”
The boy smiled, and threw it to Cheng Ying instead. Cheng Ying caught it and gave it to her cousin. Lu Wushuang was angry, she threw the flower onto the ground before stamping on it a few times. She shouted, “Who cares? I don’t want it anymore.”
Lu Liding and his wife saw how the kids were playing without a care, unaware of the danger they were about the face. He sighed and they withdrew to their room.
Cheng Ying saw Lu Wushuang had crushed the flower and asked, “Cousin, why are you angry?”
Lu Wushuang pouted her lips and said, “I don’t want his. I’ll pick one myself.”
As she said this, she tapped her right foot, leapt into the air and grabbed hold of purple creeper that was hanging from a flower shelf. With a pull, she lifted herself up a few meters and aimed for a branch on a cinnamon tree that she managed to cling onto.
The boy on the wall clapped. “Over here!”
Lu Wushuang braced herself on the branch a few times before releasing her grip, throwing herself at the wall.
With the basic lightness kung fu that she knows, performing this leap was very dangerous. But since she was angry with the boy giving the flower to Chen Ying and not her, she wanted to keep her pride in front of the boy and so ignored whatever danger there was and leapt.
The boy was shocked and called, “Careful!” while reaching out. If the boy didn’t reach out, Lu Wushuang would have made it, but when she saw his hand in midair to help her she shouted, “Move!” and leant to the side to avoid his hands. The ability to twist in the air is an extremely advanced skill in lightness kung fu; she has seen her dad performed this once before but even her mother was not able to perform this skill so how could she? With this twist, her hand wasn’t able to grip the top of the wall. She shouted, “Oh no!” before descending to the ground.
The boy near the foot of the wall rushed out to catch her. The wall was over a zhang tall. Though Lu Wushuang was light, the force of her hitting the ground would still be great. The boy managed to grab her waist and the both of them fell onto the ground. Two ‘ka ka’ noises was could be heard, the bone in Lu Wushuang left leg snapping. The boy’s head smashed against an altar stone and blood spouted out.
When Cheng Ying and the other boy saw the chaotic events, they both rushed over to help. The boy got up, and pressed hard on his wound. Lu Wushuang had already fainted. Cheng Ying hugged her cousin and shouted, “Uncle, auntie, hurry!”
The Lu couple rushed out of their rooms when they heard the cries. They saw that two of the children were injured, as well as a middle-aged woman who also rushed out from the western room. It must be the woman who had come to seek shelter for the night. They saw her pick up the injured children and rushed into the hall. Ignoring her own child’s injuries, she tended to Lu Wushuang’s leg first. Mistress Lu fetched a handkerchief and tied it around the boy’s head before going to see her injured daughter.
The woman first pressed down on the ‘bai hai’ (white sea) acupoint on the side of Lu Wushuang’s broken leg and then the ‘wei zhong’ (Bend Centre) acupoint behind the knee to ease the pain. She then placed one hand each either side of the break and moved the bones back in place. Lu Liding saw her movements were swift and her acupointing skill was at a respectable level. He became suspicious as a result and asked, “Who are you? Why did you come here?”
The woman was busy tending to Lu Wushuang’s leg and didn’t reply to the questions.
At that exact time, a sudden laugh came from the roof. A woman’s voice said, “Apart from the nine members of Lu family, everyone else leave!”
The woman was treating Lu Wushuang’s leg at that time and when she heard the chilling laugh from the rooftop, she jumped and couldn’t stop herself from twisting her hands. A ‘ka’ sound was heard before Lu Wushuang let out a scream in sheer pain and fainted once more.
Everyone lifted their heads, only to see a young priestess standing by the overhang of the roof. The moonlight lit up her face, she was about fifteen, sixteen years of age and had a sword hung across her back. The sword had a blood red sash on it and it fluttered in the wind.
Lu Liding said clearly, “I’m Lu Liding. Are you under the command of priestess Li?”
The priestess’s lips were skewed when she replied, “It’s good that you know! Go collect your wife, daughters and servants, kill them and then kill yourself to spare me the trouble.”
The words were said casually, at a speed neither too slow nor fast, with complete disregard of the audience. When Lu Liding heard these words, his body shook with anger and said, “You…you…”He didn’t know what to do. He wanted to jump on to the roof and fight the girl but she was young and was a girl, it was not appropriate for him to fight her. As he hesitated, suddenly something swept passed his body. He realized it was the woman who had come to ask for shelter. She was now on the rooftops with in a long sword in her hand, engaging that young priestess in battle.
The woman wore a grey traditional dress, the priestess an apricot yellow robe. Under the moonlight, the images of grey and yellow resembled some sort of flying dance. Within that sight three flashes of light was produced and the sounds of clashing weapons could be heard. His brother taught Lu Liding’s his martial arts and though he had no experience of fighting, his eyesight weren’t poor and was able to see every stance of the two fighters. He watched as the priestess’s sword suddenly turning defence into attack and attack into defence; her swordplay was very swift. The woman concentrated on her opponent and waited for a chance to strike out. Suddenly the sounds of clashing blades were heard, both swords turned over and the young priestess’s sword flew into midair. The young priestess quickly leapt back, her face became flustered and she shouted out, “I’m under the order of my master to take the lives of the Lu family. Who are you, why are you meddling in these affairs that do not concern you?”
I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
The woman chuckled and said, “If your master is so powerful then she should have sought out Lu Zhanyuan long ago, but even with the knowledge that he’s dead, she still wants vengeance, shouldn’t she be ashamed?”
The young priestess waved her right hand and shot out three silver needles. Two were aimed at the woman, one at Lu Liding who was standing in the middle of the courtyard. This was completely unexpected. The woman fended off the needles with her sword while Lu Liding cursed under his breath as he caught the needle with two fingers.
The little priestess chuckled and jumped down from the building, the sounds of her footsteps lightened as she flew away. The woman jumped back into the hall and saw that Lu Liding was still holding onto the silver needles. She shouted, “Drop it!” Lu Liding did so immediately. She cut off a piece of her belt and wrapped it tightly around his right wrist.
Lu Liding was alarmed and said, “The needles have poison on them?”
The woman replied, “Nothing can compare to this poison.” She gave him a granule of medicine to take. Lu Liding’s middle and index fingers swelled up and became uncomfortable numb. The woman used her sword tip to cut into the two infected fingers. Drops of black blood seeped out.
Lu Liding was shocked and thought to himself, “My finger wasn’t cut, I only touched the silver needles yet the effects are still so severe. If the needles actually cut me then wouldn’t my life have gone down the drain?” He then bowed to the woman and greeted, “I have eyes but I fail to see Taishan Mountain, I dare not ask for madam’s name.”
The woman replied, “My husband is named Wu, Wu Santong.”
Lu Liding was in awe and said, “So it is Madam Wu. I’ve heard the Wu’s are under the tutelage of Reverend Yideng in the south in Dali, is that right?”
Madam Wu said, “Yes. Reverend Yideng is my husband’s master. I have learnt a little in terms of martial arts from my husband, it really is nothing, I hope master Lu won’t laugh.”
Lu Lideng thanked her many times for the helping hand. He had heard from his brother, out of all the martial artists he has seen, those under the tutelage of Reverend Yideng were the best; after Yideng had abdicated as the ruler of Dali, he became a monk and had four students, ‘Fisherman, Woodsman, Farmer, Scholar’, the farmer was called Wu Santong. A feud existed between Wu Santong and his brother, but his brother had not told him how the feud between them started. Why did Madam Wu not treat them as enemies but instead help them by fighting off the Serpent Deity’s disciple, the reasons behind all of this are hard to fathom.
Everyone went back to the main hall. Lu Liding carried his daughter in his arms. She had regained her consciousness and her face was now white but she endured the pain and did not cry out. He couldn’t stop himself from worrying about her.
Madam Wu said, “Now that witch’s disciple had escaped, she herself will come here. Master Lu, I’m not looking down on you but even if you and your wife joined forces with me, we are never going to be able to compete with her. But even if we run it will be no use. We might as well wait for her and let the heavens decide our fate!”
Mistress Lu then asked, “Who exactly is this witch? And what feud has our family with her?”
Madam Wu looked at Lu Liding in the eye and said, “Master Lu never mentioned this before?”
Mistress Lu replied, “He only mentioned that it has something to do with our brother and sister in law, something to do with love affairs, he isn’t exactly sure himself.”
Madam Wu sighed, “It’s something to do with that. I’m an outsider so I may as well speak. Master Lu’s brother went to Dali ten years ago. Li Mochou, the Serpent Deity is now infamous throughout the Jianghu world, but ten years ago she was a gentle and beautiful maiden and wasn’t yet a priestess. It was karma. She fell in love with your brother after they met. After many twists and turns, your brother eventually married He Yuanjun. Since we’re talking about your sister in law, I must mention my husband. This kind of business is best kept under wraps but today’s events lead me with no choice. He Yuanjun was my stepdaughter.”
The Lu couple exclaimed simultaneously.
Madam Wu stroked her injured son’s shoulder lightly. She stared into the flame of the candle and said, “Your sister in law He Yuanjun was an orphan. We took her in and she became our stepdaughter. We loved her dearly. Eventually she met your brother, and fell in love with each other, and wanted to get married. My husband refused permission because firstly, he didn’t want her to leave home and secondly, he didn’t liked people from Jiangnan, saying that were sly and deceitful, you could never rely on them. Ah Yuan however, secretly eloped with your brother. On the wedding day, both my husband and Li Mochou went to find the couple to give them grief. Luckily, there was an eminent monk from Dali’s Celestial Dragon monastery at the banquet and he took the matter into his own hands. He requested, on his behalf, that they would grant the couple ten years of peace. Li Mochou and my husband were forced to agree to this. My husband was furious and his anger drove him to become mentally unstable. No matter whether if it was his master, fellow students and even me, we were all unable to comfort him. He just counted down the ten-year deadline. According to my calculations, today ten years exactly has passed. Who knew that the couple could not fully enjoy the ten year of bliss that they had.” She dropped her head after she finished, her face filled with sorrow.
Lu Liding said, “So according to what you have said, then the person who dug up my brother and sister in law’s grave was you husband.”
With an ashamed look, Madam Wu replied, “After hearing what the two misses has said, it is indeed my husband.”
Lu Liding said with resentment, “Your husband’s actions are not trivial. There wasn’t reason for a feud in the first place. Even if there was, now that my brother and sister are dead, things should be bygones. But now he’s stolen the corpses, is that the action of a man?”
When it comes to status, the Wu couple are higher than that of Lu but with his heart filled with anger right now, his words did not carry the proper tone of respect.
Madam Wu sighed, “Master Lu has every right to be angry at my husband. My husband has lost his mind and will not listen to reason. The reason I’ve bought my children along was to stop my husband from doing something stupid. Right now, I’m the only person who he takes notice of.” When she finished she looked at her two children and said, “Go and kowtow to master and mistress Lu to apologise for your father.” The boys did as they were told.
Mistress Lu quickly helped the boys up and asked what their names were. The one who fell down and cut his forehead was called Wu Dunru, the older brother; the younger was called Wu Xiuwen. The difference in age was one year, one of them twelve, the other eleven. The two came from an eminent family of the martial world yet they had scholarly names. Madam Wu explained that she and her husband had the children in their middle age and knew of the dangers of the Jianghu realm. They had hoped that they would abandon the martial arts and become scholars but their children were still drawn to the martial arts and not to the arts that their names hinted at.
Madam Wu sighed with sadness after her explanation and thought, “I cannot give the full explanation. I cannot reveal the truth to outsiders.”
In reality, when Yuanjun had reached eighteen, nineteen years of age, she had become a beautiful woman. The feelings that Wu Santong had did not stop itself at just fatherly love. He was considered a hero in the Jianghu world so he could do nothing. He was relatively content but when he saw that she had fallen in love with a Jiangnan youngster, he was angry that it wasn’t him. As for his attitude towards people from Jiangnan, part of it was down to He Yuanjuan’s lover but the other reason was because he had once fallen for one of Huang Rong’s tricks, replacing Guo Jing in pushing down an ox and large stone with no way to escape. Although this matter was cleared up afterwards, the words ‘Jiangnan people are untrustworthy’ were etched into his head.
Madam Wu then said, “To think that even before my husband has arrived, Li Mochou is already here seeking revenge…”
As she said this, a voice was heard from the rooftops.
“Ru’er, Wen’er, come out!”
The words came out of nowhere, no one had noticed any sounds of footsteps on the roof before the call came out. The Lu couple was alarmed when they realised it was Wu Santong. Cheng Ying and Lu Wushuang also recognised it was the strange lotus eating man.
They saw a blur as Wu Santong flew down and grabbed his sons, one in each hand before returning the roof.
Madam Wu shouted, “Hey, why don’t you come down and see master and mistress Lu, where did you take the corpses? Hurry and bring them back.” Wu Santong did not reply as he had already long gone.
He ran for a while before dashing into the forest. He suddenly put Xiuwen down but still held on to Dunru. He continued running and soon all trace of him disappeared as his son was left alone in the forest.
Wu Xiuwen shouted, “Father, father!” He watched as his father carried his brother away, already over ten zhangs into the distance. He heard his father’s voice from afar, “Wait there. I’ll come back for you.”
Wu Xiuwen knew his father’s actions have always been a bit mad and so didn’t think too much into his instructions. Although being alone in the dark forest frightened him he thought his father wouldn’t be long and so sat down by a tree as he waited. After a long while, there was still no sign of his father. He said to himself, “I’ll go and find mother!” He headed back to the Lu home.
Jiangnan’s countryside is filled with windy and criss-crossing paths, it was difficult enough to find your way around in the daytime so what about at night? As he ran, the paths got narrower and he stepped into the fields on numerous occasions, leaving both his feet muddy. Eventually he found his way into a forest. The ground beneath him was uneven and all he could see was darkness. He began to panic, and shouted, “Father, father! Mother, mother!” Who would hear him out here in the middle of the night?
‘Coo’, ‘coo’, a falcon called out. He once heard, that falcons love to count the brows on people and if it counted every single hair, the person would die immediately. Immediately he spat out some saliva to wet his fingers, and then moistened his brow, so that it would be difficult for the falcon to count. But the falcon did not stop calling. He lent on a tree trunk and kept his brows covered with his fingers, keeping still as his heartbeat ran. After a while he was able to close his eyes and fell asleep.
He slept until the skies got bright where in a sleepy haze, he heard screeching from above his head. He opened his eyes and looked above. Two extremely large white eagles hovered in the air. With their wings spread out wide, they were about a zhang in length. He has never seen this type of bird before. Feeling astonishment and amusement, he called out, “Brother, come look at the big bird,” not realising he was alone since he has always been by his brother’s side.
Suddenly he heard two whistles behind him, the sound was gentle and clear and it appeared that they came from the mouth of a little girl. The two eagles circled a few times before descending. Wu Xiuwen turned around and saw a young girl stepping out from behind a tree. She signalled with hands and the eagles came down by her side. The girl glanced at Wu Xiuwen and then stroked her the back of her two eagles saying, “Good eagle, clever eagle.”
Wu Xiuwen thought, “So the two birds are eagles. He looked at the magnificent eagles; they were exuding an air of superiority and stood taller than the girl.
Wu Xiuwen walked up and asked, “Are those eagles yours?”
The girl pouted, and with a dismissing look said, “I don’t recognise you. I’m not going to play with you.”
Wu Xiuwen didn’t take notice of her attitude and touched the back of an eagle. The girl whistled, and the eagle suddenly raised its left wing. There was a large force behind the wing that took him completely unprepared. He was sent to the floor tumbling.
After a few rolls, Wu Xiuwen got up and looked at the eagles with admiration. He said, “Those eagles are great and they really listen to you. I’ll get father to catch me a pair so I can train them.”
The girl said, “Huh, you think your father can catch one?”
This was the third time that she had ridiculed him. He studied her carefully; she was wearing a light green dress, a pearl hung around her neck, her face delicate and white as milk, her eyes glistened, her brows delicate and slender.
Although Wu Xiuwen was a child, he thought that she was extremely beautiful and couldn’t stop himself from wanting to get close to her. However, she was giving a cold look at him and couldn’t help but feel uneasy.
The girl stroked the eagles’ back with her right hand, and examined Wu Xiuwen. She asked, “What’s your name? Why are you alone?”
Wu Xiuwen said, “My name is Wu Xiuwen. I’m waiting here for my father. How about you? What’s your name?”
The girl turned her lips up and said, “I don’t play with wild kids,” before walking away.
Wu Xiuwen stood there before saying, “I’m not a wild kid”, trying to chase the girl at the same time.
He saw that the girl was younger than him by two, three years and she was short, it wouldn’t take long for him to catch up with her. Just as he began to use his lightness kung fu, the girl sped up and it didn’t take her long to cover a distance of several zhangs, leaving him behind as she did so. The girl ran a few more steps and then shouted back, “Hey, can you catch me?”
Wu Xiuwen replied, “Of course,” immediately stepping up his efforts to chase her.
The girl turned and ran before suddenly bursting forward to hide behind a pine tree. Wu Xiuwen followed. As soon as he was near, she suddenly stretched out her left foot and tripped him up. He was caught out and fell forward. He wanted to use the [Iron Tree Stump] stance to steady himself but the girl stuck out her right foot and kicked him fiercely in the behind. Wu Xiuwen fell down, his nose hitting a stone as he fell. His nose bled and covered his clothes.
When the girl saw the blood, she panicked. She showed no concern for the boy and wanted to run away when suddenly a voice from behind shouted, “Fu’er, you are bullying again, aren’t you?”
Without turning her head, she argued, “Who says? He just tripped over by himself, what does it have to do with me? Don’t say anything to my father.”
Wu Xiuwen his nose. Although his nose didn’t really hurt, the blood made him panic. He could hear that the girl was talking to someone and he turned around to saw a lame old man holding a metal staff. The hair on the man’s temple was like frost and he had a frail appearance, his eyes where white; he was a blind man.
He heard the chuckled and say, “Just because I’m blind doesn’t mean you can lie to me, I can hear everything. Just look at your behaviour now young lady, what’s going to happen when you get older?”
She walked over to the man and held his arm before pleading, “Grandpa, don’t tell father, please? He tripped and he’s got a nosebleed, help him!”
The old man walked forward and grabbed Wu Xiu Men’s arm with his left hand. He used his right hand to press on the ‘wen xiang’ (smell fragrant) acupoint by the nose. Wu Xiuwen’s nosebleed had began to slow anyway but as the man touched his nose, the bleeding stopped. He felt the man’s fingers were like iron pliers, long and hard, holding his arm tightly. He was scared and tried to struggle a little but found that he couldn’t move so he jerked his arm and used the [Joint Locking] technique that his mother taught him. He pushed outwards a palm in a semi circle. The old man had no idea that this child would possess such splendid techniques and was actually forced to let go. He gave out a surprised response before immediately grabbing his wrist. Wu Xiuwen tried to distribute his chi to break free but no matter what he did, nothing worked.
The old man said, “Little fella, don’t be scared. What’s your name?”
Wu Xiuwen said, “My surname is Wu.”
The old man said, “Your accent is not local. Where are you from? Where are your parents?” As the man said this he released his wrist.
When he mentioned parents, Wu Xiuwen remembered that he has been away from his parents for a night and didn’t know how they were. He wanted to cry.
The girl tried to tease him and sang, “Little puppy, your eyes are red, ready to cry!”
Wu Xiuwen exclaimed, “I’m not going to cry again!” He then explained how his mother was waiting at the Lu manor for the enemy, how his father came and took him and his brother away and how he came to spent a night alone in the forest. He was hysterical and his words came out jumbled but the old man was able to make sense of it. He continued to say that his family were from Dali, his father’s name is Wu Santong and his most proficient was the [Solitary Yang Finger].
The old man said, “Your father is a disciple of Reverend Yi Deng, correct?”
Wu Xiuwen said with joy, “Yes, you know our emperor? You’ve seen him? I’ve never seen him before.”
Wu Santong was a general of Dali’s imperial army during the reign of Duan Zhixing. Later, Duun Zhixing abdicated from his throne to become a monk with a new name ‘Yideng’. Whenever Wu Santong talked about the past to his sons, he would still use the title emperor and that is why Wu Xiuwen also calls him ‘our emperor’.
The old man said, “I have yet to be fortunate enough to meet him. I have long admired the great name of the ‘Southern Emperor’. This girl’s parents were the recipients of great kindness from him. That’s means we are not really strangers. Do you know who your mother’s enemy is?”
Wu Xiuwen said, “I heard from mother and master Lu that it’s Serpent something, something Chou.”
The old man raised his head and mumbled, “Serpent something?” He suddenly slammed his staff and said loudly, “Could it be the Serpent Deity, Li Mochou?”
Wu Xiuwen said, “Yes! It’s the Serpent Deity!”
The old man’s face complexion became grave and said, “You two play here. Don’t take a step away from here. I’ll go and take a look.”
The little girl said, “Grandpa, I want to come.”
Wu Xiu Wen added, “Me too.”
The old man quickly said, “No! Never! That witch is extremely wicked, I can’t beat her. But when one finds their friends in danger, one must go. You must listen to me.”
He limped away with his staff with great speed when he finished.
Wu Xiuwen said respectfully, “Old Grandpa is blind and lame, yet he moves so fast.”
The girl straightened her lips and said, “What’s so strange about that? You will be even more shocked if you saw my father’s and mother’s lightness kung.”
Wu Xiuwen, “Your father and mother are also blind and lame?”
The girl angrily replied, “Nonsense! Your parents are blind and lame!”
It was well into the day. Farmers are in their fields; every man and women are singing folk songs. He was originally from these parts. Though he was blind, he was familiar with the roads here and with some assistance, it was not long before he reached the Lu manor. From afar he heard the exchange of blades, the ‘ping ping pang pang’ clashing indicating someone was in the heat of battle. The Lu Zhanyuan family is a famous family in this area. He was just a lowly man and although he too was a well-known martial artist from Jiangnan as well, he has never had contact with them. He also knew that he wasn’t the Serpent Deity’s match, rushing in would just produce another corpse but the matter involved a disciple of the reverend Yideng, he owed reverend Yideng too much and so he couldn’t just stand by. He increased his efforts and hurried to the front of the manor.
He heard fierce fighting on the roof involving four people. He lent his ear to one side to listen more carefully. From the breathing and sword clashing sounds, he could tell it was one versus three but the three wasn’t able to make their numerical advantage count, they were losing.
Last night, after Wu Santong had carried off his sons, the Lu couple wondered what he was up to now.
Madam Wu’s face however lit up and said, “Though my husband is normally mad, this time he is thinking clearly.” Mistress Lu asked what she meant by this.
Madam Wu just smiled and said, “I don’t know if I’ve guessed correctly. We’ll get our answer soon enough.”
It was nighttime by then, Lu Wu Shuang had fallen asleep in her father’s arms. Cheng Ying was also struggling to stay awake. Mistress Lu wanted to take the children into their rooms.
Madam Wu said, “Leave them for a little longer.” Suddenly, at that moment, someone shouted from the rooftop, “Throw them up here!” It was Wu Santong’s voice. His lightness kung fu was superb, the Lu couple had no idea that he was on the roof.
Madam Wu took Cheng Ying to the entrance of the hall and threw her up to Wu Santong who caught her. While the Lu couple were in shock, Madam Wu threw Lu Wushuang up to Wu Santong as well.
Lu Liding was alarmed and called out, “Where are you doing?” He leapt onto the roof but it was pitch black, there wasn’t a trace of Wu Santong and the girls. Master Lu wanted to give chase but Madam Wu shouted out, “There’s no need to chase them, he’s trying to help.”
Lu Liding could only believe what she said and jumped down back into the hall. He asked, “Help?”
Mistress Lu understood and said, “Wu Santong is afraid that the witch is going to harm the children, so he has hidden them in a safe place.” After hearing his wife, it became clear to him and said, “Yes, that must be it.” But as he thought about how Wu Santong took the corpses of his brother and sister in law away, he started to worry.
Madam Wu sighed, “Ever since Ah Yuan married your brother, every time he looked at a little girl, he would get angry. I couldn’t have predicted that he would actually care about your two girls. The first time he came here and took Ru’er and Wen’er away, I caught him glancing at the girls a few times and saw that there was an affectionate and caring look on his face. That was the way he would look at Ah Yuan in the past. Indeed, he did come back for the girls. Oh, I wish that he’ll back to normal from now on.” She gave two long sighs before continuing, “You two better get some rest, we don’t know when that witch is coming, there’s no need to torture ourselves worrying about her arrival.”
I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
At first, the Lu couple were extremely worried about their daughter and niece but with their main worry taken care of, their fears gradually lessened and were now prepared to face the enemy. They went into the hall, the both of them carrying swords and projectiles on them. They closed their eyes and rested. The couple have been married for over ten years; through that time, the everyday business of running the home had its fair share of problems but this was something else. They pondered on what their brother and Madam Wu said about the enemy’s martial arts and ruthlessness and knew that it was more than likely that they would die. They didn’t have much time left together as husband and wife anymore and couldn’t help but hold each other.
After a long while, in the midst of silence, a quiet song from afar could suddenly be heard, seemingly a very far distance away, the lyrics were still crystal clear, ‘O mortals, what is love? That binds beyond life on earth? To all corners, in pairs we fly.’
With every word sang, the song sounded closer. The person was approaching extremely fast. Before the third line was finished, the person had arrived at the door.
The three of them looked at each other in shock, when suddenly a crashing sound was heard; the bolt on the main door had broken and the door flew apart. A beautiful priestess smiled as she stepped in. She was dressed in an apricot yellow gown. It was the Serpent Deity Li Mochou.
Ah Gen at the time was cleaning the courtyard; he approached and shouted, “Who are you?”
Lu Liding quickly called out, “Ah Gen, runaway!” But how could he warn him in time?
Li Mochou waved out her flywhisk and Ah Gen’s head was split open, dying without making a sound. Lu Liding drew his sabre and advanced. Li Mochou leant to the side and brushed past him before killing the two maids with a wave of her flywhisk. She laughed, “Where are your girls?”
The Lu couple had just seen her take three lives in the blink of an eye. They knew they were done for. They bit down on their teeth and with a sword and sabre in their hands they rushed to attack her from the left and right. Li Mochou raised her flywhisk and was about to strike down when she saw Madam Wu by the side holding a sword. She smiled and said, “So an outsider wants to interfere, fine, it looks like there’s no need to kill just in the house!” Her voice was soft and elegant, her form exuding a delicate air, she had a pair of bright pupils and her skin was white, she really was an extremely beautiful woman.
They didn’t see how her legs moved as she floated to the rooftop. The Lu couple and Madam Wu leapt up to follow.
Li Mochou swept her flywhisk, and scattered the weapons. She elegantly said, “Master Lu, if your brother was still alive, all it would have took was for him to plead with me and then divorce that **** He Yuanjun and maybe I could have spared your whole family. But now, oh well, it seems that luck is not on your side. Don’t blame me, blame your short lived brother.”
Lu Liding called out, “Who asking for you to spare us?” before chopping down with his sabre. Madam Wu and mistress Lu both followed up with an attack. Li Mochou saw Lu Liding’s martial arts were very average but the way he used his blade, his kicks and palms, they all reminded her of Lu Zhanyuan. Her heart ached, and wanted to see this type of skill for as long as she could. If she killed him, the [Jiangnan Lu Family Sabre] technigue would be lost forever, so she flung her flywhisk casually, allowing her three opponents to circle her. Her mind was clouded with thoughts of love and the ruthlessness seen in her previous attacks disappeared.
Suddenly Li Mochou gently whistled, and from the house, headed towards the riverbank to a lame old man holding an iron staff. She sent her flywhisk down, aiming to wrap it around the man’s head. Before her legs had even touch the ground, the attack had reached its target, threatening all the vital areas. This stance left her open to attacks but it was also extremely vicious, leaving the opponent with no choice other than defence.
The old man could hear the incoming attack clearly and raised his staff up before suddenly thrusting out, aiming to pierce her right wrist. The iron staff is a heavy, clumsy weapon and has always been used to sweep and smash only. The old man however was using a ‘piercing’ intent and actually using the staff like a sword, unleashing swift and nimble stances. Li Mochou tilted her flywhisk. The strands on the flywhisk had turned around, wrapping itself around the head of the old man’s staff. She shouted, “Let go!”
Borrowing strength to use strength, the thousands and thousands strands of silver hairs of the flywhisk diverted the force from the staff to the flywhisk. The old man’s arm’s shook harshly and he struggled to hold on. In this urgent situation he leapt up, and with a slanting body he darted across before neutralising this skilful stroke of hers. Alarmed, he thought, “This tyrant does indeed live up to her name.”
Li Mochou’s stances of [Great Granddad Goes Fishing] followed by [Luring the Old Man] were designed to draw on the strength of the opponent to snatch their weapons away. The outcome of using these stances had been assured but who knew that it would fail to snatch away the iron staff. This was completely unexpected. She thought, “Who is this lame old man? He actually possesses such a level of martial arts?” She turned slightly and saw that his eyes were white; he was a blind. It suddenly hit her and called out, “You are Ke Zhen’E!”
The blind lame man was indeed the head of the Jiangnan Seven Freaks, the ‘Flying Bat’ Ke Zhen’E.
After Guo Jing and Huang Rong had participated in the Mount Wah martial arts tournament, Huang Yaoshi organised their wedding and they settled on Peach Blossom Island. Huang Yaoshi had always been eccentric and disliked company, so after a few months of living with his daughter and son in law, he became annoyed and so left a letter, saying he’s going to find another place to live in seclusion before leaving the island. Huang Rong knew her father’s temperament and although she couldn’t bear to see him leave, there was nothing she could do. At first her father would send news of him to her every few months, but soon a year passed without any new from him. Huang Rong missed her father and her teacher Hong Qigong, so along with Guo Jing, they went out in search of them, wandering Jianghu for months, but something made them return to the island; Huang Rong had become pregnant again.
She’s always had an odd personality. She was unwilling to be tied down once again, and was also annoyed at the inconvenience of being pregnant. She felt that this was all Guo Jing’s fault. Being pregnant made one prone to mood swings and although she loved Guo Jing deeply, she always found a reason to quarrel with him during this time. Guo Jing knew what his wife was like, and so whenever she became unreasonable, he didn’t take notice of her and smiled. Whenever Huang Rong was extremely agitated, he would comfort her and make her laugh.
Ten months passed in the blink of an eye. Huang Rong gave birth to a baby girl, and was named Guo Fu. Huang Rong was unhappy during the pregnancy but after she gave birth, she spoilt her daughter, and when she was just one, she had already exhibited the signs of disobedience and being spoilt. Sometimes Guo Jing would not let things stand and scold his daughter but each time Huang Rong would stand up for her daughter; the result was that the daughter became even more of a spoilt brat. When Guo Fu was five, Huang Rong began to teach her martial arts. By doing this, the creatures on the island could breathe a sigh of relief. Where it once was a haven for wildlife, Guo Fu turned the island into her playpen where animals would run at the sight of her. If it weren’t some poor animal being stripped of it’s feathers and hair, it was them having their tails cut off. Guo Jing loved his wife dearly and he loved his mischievous daughter very much. As a result he found it was hard for him to punish her; whenever he tried to teach her a lesson, she would put on a face of pity and hugged his neck as she pleaded forgiveness; he could only let out a long sigh and slowly put down his raised hand.
In those years, they still received no news of Huang Yaoshi and Hong Qigong. They were now of an old age and whenever the Guo couple thought about them, they couldn’t help but miss them.
Guo Jing also tried a few times to invite his master Ke Zhen’E to the island to enjoy his old age. But Ke Zhen’E loved the lowly company he held and enjoyed gambling and drinking. He didn’t want to have a quiet life on Peach Blossom Island so declined the invitation. One day he turned up at the island by his own accord. What had happened was that he was having a poor run of luck, the more he gambled the more he lost and ended up with great debts as a result. With no other option available, he went to Guo Jing’s home to avoid his debts. Guo Jing and Huang Rong were delighted to see him, and kept him on the island no matter what. Huang Rong eventually found about the debts, and secretly sent out someone to pay the debts.
Ke Zhen’E however did not know about this, as he dare not return to Jiaxing and so, he resided on the island with nothing to do and become a playmate for Guo Fu.
Years flowed by and Guo Fu had become nine. Huang Rong missed her father and was going to leave the island with Guo Jing in search of him. When Ke Zhen’E knew about this, he insisted that he had to come along and that meant that Guo Fu had to come as well. When they left the island, Ke Zhen’E said, “We can go anywhere, anywhere but Jiaxing.”
Huang Rong laughed, “Master, you don’t know, I’ve already paid off your debts a long time ago.”
With great joy, Ke Zhen’E insisted they went to Jiaxing first.
Once the four had arrived in Jiaxing, the four of them stayed at an inn. Ke Zhen’E contacted his sources and one of them revealed that a few days ago, an old man dressed in a green gown was drinking alone in the Misty Rain inn. From the description it sounded like it was Huang Yaoshi. Guo Jing and Huang Rong were delighted by this news. They went off to the villages and towns of Jiaxing to search for news.
That morning, Ke Zhen’E took Guo Fu along with the eagles to the forest to play, and in a coincidence bumped into Wu Xiuwen.
After a few exchanges with Li Mochou, Ke Zhen’E knew that he was no match for her and thought, “It appears that her martial arts are not below that of Mei Chaofeng.” He then used the [Demon Subduing Staff], defending his front tightly.
Li Mochou praised him to herself, “I’ve heard from that heartless brother Lu that among the wulin seniors of Jiaxing, there is a group called the Seven Freaks of Jiangnan who possessed respectable martial arts. They have a famous disciple and his name is hero Guo, Guo Jing. This old man is the leader of the Seven Freaks; he indeed lives up to his name. He is blind and lame, and now very old, yet he can handle more than ten of my attacks.”
She then heard the shouts from the Lu couple as they attacked; they and Madam Wu were attacking her back. She made up her mind, “It would be easy to injure Ke Zhen’E but if I do, I’ll have the Guo couple on my back and that would be trouble, I’ll just let him go today.”
She flicked her flywhisk and the silver threads stood up; the flywhisk now spear like headed towards Ke Zhen’E’s chest. Though the flywhisk is a soft weapon, with an exquisite force flowing through it and the vital areas targeted, this piercing attack was rather powerful.
Ke Zhen’E’s had planted his iron staff into the ground and used it to jump backwards. Li Mochou dashed ahead and appeared to continue her attack. However, she suddenly leapt backwards Her waist was very flexible, she flipped over backwards and was within two meters within madam Wu. In alarm, madam Wu quickly sent out a left palm towards her forehead. Li Mochou bent her waist slightly, like a flower flapping under a light breeze, and avoided the attack easily. She sent out a palm, hitting mistress Lu in the abdomen.
Mistress Lu stumbled forward three paces before falling to the ground. When Master Lu saw injured wife, with his right hand, he shot his sabre at Li Mochou before opening up his arms and rushed at her, wanting to take her down with him.
After her bitter experiences with love, she hated everything to do with it. When she saw Lu Liding rushing at her, she was filled with immense hate, after knocking the sabre out of the air with the handle of her flywhisk, she then swept out, and after a ‘shua’ noise, he was struck on the crown of his head.
Li Mochou had wounded the couple in the blink of eye, even if Ke Zhen’E and Madam Wu wanted to help them, it was too late. She laughed and asked, “Where are the two girls?” She did not wait for Madam Wu’s reply. A yellow blur darted into the manor. Li Mochou searched hi and low but there was no trace of the girls. She got embers from the kitchen stove and set alight the firewood in the kitchen. She leapt out of the manor and laughed, “I don’t have past feuds with Peach Blossom Island, or Reverend Yideng. You two can leave.”
Ke Zhen’E and Madam Wu saw how ruthless and malicious she was and their eyes filled with hate. The iron staff and steel sword attacked her together. Li Mochou lent to the side and dodged the staff before waving out her flywhisk that tangled with Madam Wu’s sword. Two forces were sent from the flywhisk to the sword, one in and one out, ‘ka’, the sword broke and the blade headed towards madam Wu while the handle went towards Ke Zhen’E’s face.
Madam Wu was already alarmed at losing her sword but she was shocked that Li Mochou was able to snap her sword in two with her flywhisk and immediately fire out the pieces towards them. The blade was coming at her extremely fast; she quickly lowered her head, and felt the blade brush past her head; a portion of her hair was cut off.
Ke Zhen’E heard the sound of a blade coming though the air, he lifted his staff and knocked the sword handle away. He heard the cries of madam Wu and immediately waved out his staff, creating gusts of wind as he attacked incessantly. Though his left hand held three poisonous thistles ready, he had heard of how poisonous the ‘Serpent Deity’s’ deadly ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’ were. He couldn’t see so there was no need to make life difficult for himself by enticing her to use her deadly projectiles; though the situation was becoming desperate, he held onto the thistles.
Li Mochou held back on her attacks against him and thought, “If I don’t show him what I’m really made of, he wouldn’t know that I’ve been holding back.” She lightly twisted her waist and used her flywhisk to wrap around the old man’s iron staff. Ke Zhen’E felt a strong force pulling his stick away from him so he quickly gathered his strength to channel into the staff but as soon as he did so the force from Li Mochou had disappeared; during this short period of time, Ke Zhen’E felt his strength draining away from his limbs. Li Mochou used her left hand to push the staff to one side before placing her palm lightly onto his chest. She laughed, “Old Man Ke, the [Divine Serpent Palm] has hit you in your chest!”
Ke Zhen’E had no way to defend himself and shouted, “Lowlife, just finish me, why the toying?”
Madam Wu saw what was happening and wanted to come to his aid. Li Mochou leapt up and darted away from the iron staff. While in midair she suddenly stretched her palm out towards madam Wu and gently touched her on the face.
She chuckled, “You chased away my disciple, you sure have guts.” She laughed before disappearing into the distance.
Madam Wu felt that her palm was soft and gentle, her face seems comforted by her touch. She watched as Li Mochou disappeared into the dense willow forest. Though she only exchanged a few stances with her, each exchange was life threatening. She had exerted all her energy and slumped to the floor motionless.
Just now, Ke Zhen’E felt as if a large stone had been placed on his chest that left him with an indescribable suffocating feeling. He gasped for air for a while before his breathing returned to normal.
A short while passed before madam Wu forced herself up. Smoked filled the air as the Lu manor burned in a ferocious fire. The fire was starting to spread towards them. Ke Zhen’E helped the Lu couple up. He noticed their shallow breathing and knew that they wouldn’t last much longer. He thought, “I’ll just aggravate their injuries further if I move them but I can’t leave them here, what shall I do?”
In this predicament, a voice suddenly shouted out, “Wife, are you alright?” It was the voice of Wu Santong.
Last edited by Noodles; 10-20-06 at 10:05 PM.
I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
A Friend’s Son
Just as Madam Wu was trying to take in the situation they were in, she heard the calls of her husband. Her response to his arrival was mixed, thinking what on earth has taking him so long to turn up. She saw that his clothes were all old and torn, and around his neck hung the bib that He Yuanjun used to wear when she was younger. He hurried over to her and asked, “Wife, are you okay?”
He has never shown a touch of concern towards her over the past ten years and so she was delighted when she heard this. She replied, “I’m over here.”
Wu Santong made his way to them and then began to carry the Lu couple in his arms. He said, “Quickly follow me,” and went on his way before he even finished his sentence. Ke Zhen’E and Madam Wu followed behind him.
Wu San Tong swerved east and twisted west for a few lis before leading the two to an old, broken kiln. It was a large old kiln for making wine bottles. Madam Wu entered and saw her two sons, Xiuwen and Dunru safe and sound. She let out a sigh of relief.
The Wu brothers were sitting on the ground playing with stones with Cheng Ying and Lu Wushuang. When Cheng Ying and Lu Wushuang saw the state that the Lu couple were in, they threw themselves onto them and sobbed.
When Ke Zhen’E heard Lu Wushuang cry out mother and father, the words of the Li Mochou came back to him and he cried out, “Oh no, we’ve been leading the demon, that witch is going to be her soon!”
Madam Wu had already been frightened to death by the last exchange and quickly asked, “What?”
Ke Zhen’E replied, “That witch wants the Lu girls, but don’t know where they are.”
Madam Wu suddenly realised what he meant and said with alarm, “Yes, she deliberately let us go so she can track us.”
Wu Santong shouted out with fury, “If the Serpent demon insists on hanging around, she’ll have to face me.” He stood at the opening of the kiln.
Lu Liding’s skull had been smashed in but he had one last wish so he held his breath with everything he had and said to Cheng Ying, “Ying, take out the handkerchief that I’ve got in my chest.”
Cheng Ying wiped her tears and took out the handkerchief. It was a white satin handkerchief with red flowers sewn into the corners. The red flower looked withered and by it was a jade green leaf. The white satin was old and had become yellow. The embroidery of the flower and leaf were beautiful, resembling the real thing.
Lu Liding said, “Ah Ying, tie the handkerchief around your neck, you mustn’t untie it, do you understand?”
Cheng Ying didn’t know what her uncle meant, but did as she was told and nodded.
Mistress Lu was struggling to remain conscious but when she heard her husband’s words, she forced her eyes open and said, “Why aren’t you giving it to Shuang’er? Give it to Shuang’er!”
Lu Liding said, “No, how can forget what I promised to her parents?”
Mistress Lu replied, “You’re heartless. Aren’t you worried about your own daughter’s safety?” As she said this her eyes rolled over and her voice faded out. Lu Wushuang didn’t know what her parents were arguing about, and only cried out, “Father, Mother!”
Lu Liding said softly, “My dear wife, you love Shuang’er very much, what’s wrong with letting her follow us?”
Originally, the handkerchief was a lovers’ gift from Li Mochou to Lu Zhanyuan. The red flower was the famous angel’s trumpet from Dali and Li Mochou used this represent herself; Lu sounds like green and so she used a green leaf to represent her beloved, the imagery signifying “The green leaf will always accompany the red flower.”
Before Lu Zhanyuan passed away, he knew that on the ten-year deadline, Li Mochou and Wu Santong would come for him. He had a plan to deal with the two, but didn’t expect his sudden illness. He knew that Lu Liding’s kung fu was mediocre and would not be able to resist them and so, he gave him the handkerchief with clear instructions; if it was Wu Santong who had came and seek revenge, hide if you can and if not, fight a losing battle but fret not as he does not intend to take any lives; but Li Mo Chou had become infamous in Jianghu in recent years with her cruel and ruthless methods, meeting her would be your death. When the time comes, tie the handkerchief around your neck and hopefully this will stir up any old memories that witch would have of your brother and maybe she will let you go. But Lu Liding was a proud man and had refused to use the handkerchief to beg Li Mochou for his life.
Cheng Ying was the daughter of his brother in law. Before her parents died, they placed her in Lu Liding’s care. He had made a promise and so, with danger beckoning, he gave the life saving handkerchief to Cheng Ying.
At the end of it all, Mistress Lu valued her daughter above all else and when she saw that he was sacrificing his own daughter, it sent her into a state of panic and aggravated her pain, falling unconscious as a result.
Cheng Ying saw that the handkerchief was the cause of her aunt’s troubles and so took off the handkerchief and gave it to her cousin saying, “Auntie said to give this to you, take it!”
Lu Liding shouted, “Shuang’er, its your cousin’s, don’t take it.”
Madam Wu understood what was happening and said, “I am going to tear the handkerchief in half, each can have half, how about that?”
Lu Liding wanted to say something but he could not muster even half a breath so how could he talk, he just nodded. Madam Wu tore the handkerchief in half, and gave each half to the cousins.
Wu Santong was standing by the entrance when he heard all the commotion, and went inside to see what all the fuss was about. He saw his wife’s face and on her left cheek was a black patch, startled, he pointed out to his wife’s face and asked, “Why is you face like that?”
Madam Wu touched her face and said, “Like what?” before realising she had no feeling in her left cheek. Her heart skipped a beat and realised it was where Li Mochou had touched her. Could it be that she was poisoned with just a light touch from that palm?
Wu Santong wanted to ask more questions someone chuckled from the entrance of the kiln, “The two little girls are inside, aren’t they? Dead or alive, just hand them over to me. If you don’t, I’ll burn you all in this kiln.” The voice was crisp but gentle.
Wu Santong quickly jumped out of the kiln and saw Li Mochou standing at the entrance. He thought in wonder, “How come she still looks so young and beautiful even after these past ten years?”
He first laid his eyes on Li Mochou at Lu Zhanyuan’s banquet; Li Mochou was about twenty or so years old, and so now she is thirty, but apart from her Taoist attire, she was the same beautiful girl. He saw her fiddle with her flywhisk a little, standing there casually, a eyes glimmered and her cheeks were peach, if one did not know that she was in fact a cold blooded murderer you would have mistaken her for a girl from a well off family.
When Wu Santong saw her flywhisk, he remembered that he left his weapon back in the kiln; if he returned to retrieve his weapon she would probably take the opportunity to rush in and attack the children inside. He saw there was a coarse and slender chestnut tree by the entrance of the kiln; he pushed it with his two hands, and after a shout, he snapped the tree in half.
Li Mochou smiled and said, “Impressive strength.”
Wu Santong held the tree across him and said, “Miss Li, it has been ten years, how have you been?”
In the past, he had addressed her as miss Li and even though he saw that she was now a nun, he still addressed her in the same way. During these past ten years, no one has called her ‘Miss Li’; now hearing these words suddenly, her heart panged, her memories and feelings as a young girl rushed to her chest. But then she remembered she could have spent her life with the person she loved, except there existed a He Yuanjun who took her love away, resigning her to being alone forever. As she thought about this, her sentimental feelings disappeared; hate and vengeance filled its place.
Wu Santong was another whose love abandoned. Although that he and Li Mochou’s circumstances were different, they felt the same pain. But since that day at Lu Zhanyuan’s banquet, he saw with his own eyes Li Mochou ruthlessly kill the fist master He Lao and his family. Over twenty people were killed; men, women, old and young. This event left him with chills. The fist master He Lao and her had never met, they had no feuds and no relations to He Yuanjun but because they shared the same surname, it stirred her hate. She went and killed every last member of the He family. Even before they died, they didn’t know the reason for their deaths. At the time Wu Santong didn’t intervene as he didn’t know the background to the matter. Afterwards, he found out that Li Mochou did this just to vent her anger of her own misfortune. From then on, he feared and detested that girl. He saw that she had a gentle, kindly expression on her face but it turned to one of malevolence in the blink of an eye. He couldn’t help but worry about the safety of the two girls.
Li Mochou said, “Since I left nine palm prints on the Lu’s wall, I must kill those two girls. Just step aside.”
Wu Santong replied, “Lu Zhanyuan and his wife are dead now, his brother and wife died under your hands, they are just two young girls, just leave them be.”
Li Mo Chou grinned and shook her head, saying “Master Wu, step aside please.”
Wu Santong gripped the chestnut tree tighter and said, “Miss Li, the reason for your hatred is Ah Yuan….”
When the words ‘Ah Yuan’ came out, Li Mochou’s faced immediately changed and said, “I once swore that whoever mentioned that ****’s name in front of me will be killed by me or I’ll perish trying. I once destroyed sixty-three hauling boats on the river Yuan simply because their plaque carried that despicable word. Surely you’ve heard of this? Master Wu, it is your fault, don’t blame me.” When she finished, she swung her flywhisk at Wu Santong’s head.
Though the flywhisk seemed a flimsy weapon, that swing was fierce and quick, the wind produced from the attack scattered the hairs of Wu Santong. She knew that Wu Santong was a veteran disciple of Reverend Yideng and although he was mad, he possessed great martial arts; she immediately went all out on him. Wu Santong raised his left hand and the tree trunk suddenly poked out before sweeping across ferociously. Seeing how powerful the incoming attack was, she floated away. She didn’t wait for the attack to finish and immediately flew forwards to attack his front side. Wu Santong saw that she was getting close to him so he raised his right hand and extended his finger, aiming at her forehead. Though the [Solitary Yang Finger]’s acupoint attack was not a quick move, it possessed many variations and was hard to avoid. Li Mochou used [Strike the Golden Clock] and immediately jumped back ten feet.
Wu Santong noted her swift and sudden movements, when he saw that she could advance and retreat several times in the blink of an eye, he became alarmed. He immediately motioned the tree trunk to force her a zhang back but as soon as a gap appeared, Li Mochou would advance forwards like lightning; if it wasn’t for the might of the [Solitary Yang Finger], he wouldn’t have been a match long ago. The tree trunk was heavy, and eventually he noticed how draining it was while Li Mochou was getting closer and closer. Suddenly there was a yellow blur as Li Mochou leapt up landed on a branch of the tree that Wu San Tong was holding. She swiped her flywhisk and attacked in midair. Wu San Tong was alarmed, and hurriedly turned the branch towards the ground. Li Mo Chou laughed, as she dashed along the tree trunk. Wu Santong turned his body and reached out, extending a finger. She bent her waist and went back to the branch. Over the next ten moves, no matter what Wu Santong did, Li Mochou was glued to the tree and looked to attack during the swings of the tree trunk.
By fighting like this, Wu Santong will be wasting even more energy, though she was fairly light she added to the weight of the tree that she was standing on and since she was on the tree, the trunk could not hit her while she could attack him; she couldn’t be beaten. Wu Santong knew that he was gradually losing; he wasn’t too concerned about his own life, it was the lives of the people inside the kiln that were important. He called upon everything he had and motioned the tree trunk wildly, hoping the greater force would knock her off the tree.
He was battling when he heard Ke Zhen’E shout out, “Fu Er, you’re here? Quickly, get the eagles to bite that evil woman.”
Afterwards, a girl’s whistle could be heard, two white images descended from the sky, it was the two large eagles, flanking Li Mochou as they attacked. It was Guo Fu arriving with the two eagles.
Li Mochou saw the two eagles were coming at her with great force so she rolled below the tree, hanging tightly to the tree with her left foot. The two eagles’ attack wasn’t successful and headed back to the sky. The girl whistled again a few times. The two eagles came in for a second attack, and aimed at the underside of the tree. Li Mochou had heard Peach Blossom Island’s Guo Jing and Huang Rong had a pair of giant eagles who were rather intelligent. She wasn’t worried about the eagles, but rather their owners; if they were nearby, this would complicate matters. Li Mochou dodged a few times and then launched her own attack on the eagles, striking the male eagle’s left wing; the eagle screeched and white feathers floated to the ground.
When Guo Fu saw her eagle being hit, she shouted out, “Eagle don’t be scared, bite that evil woman.”
Li Mochou looked at the girl who said this and saw a beautiful little girl with white skin. She thought, “I’ve heard that heroine Huang was one of the most beautiful women in the realm, I wonder how she compares with me? Is that girl her daughter?”
While she was being distracted, her moves slowed. Wu Santong saw although the eagles were helping, they could still not force Li Mochou off the tree. He lost his patient and gathered his strength to his arms before shooting the tree away. Li Mochou could not predict that he would unleash such an unusual move, and couldn’t stop herself from flying several zhangs into the air. When the eagles saw that she was in the air, they went in for another attack from above.
If Li Mochou was on the ground, the eagles could not really harm her but now she is in the air with nothing to brace herself against, how could she defend herself against the flying beasts? Under this desperate situation, she waved her flywhisk in front of her face to protect her head, and with a sweep of the sleeve, three ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’ were shot out with great speed. Two were aimed at the eagles, the other one at Wu Santong’s chest. The eagles quickly flew up to evade them, but the needles were travelling at a very high speed, and after a ‘chi’, ‘chi’ sound, the needles brushed past the male eagle’s claw and broke its skin.
Wu Santong was looking upwards when he saw a flash of silver; he quickly leapt out of the way but was hit on his left leg. Wu Santong got up after a roll but immediately his left knee slumped to the ground; he had no longer had control of his left leg. He forcefully circulated his internal energy around and tried to get up but the numbness had spread to both legs. He fell to the ground and tried to prop himself up with his hands but eventually, he collapsed to the ground, motionless.
Guo Fu shouted, “Eagles, eagles come here quick.” But the two eagles had flown far away, and didn’t turn back.
Li Mochou chuckled, “Little girl, is your surname Guo?”
Guo Fu saw that the woman standing in front of her was beautiful, she had a friendly disposition; it appeared that this wasn’t the ‘evil woman’ and so replied, “Yes, my surname is Guo. What’s yours?”
Li Mochou laughed and said, “Come, I’ll take you to play.” She walked forwards and reached out for her hand.
Ke Zhen’E slammed his iron staff and darted out of the kiln, shouting out, “Fu’er, quickly run!”
Li Mo Chou chuckled, “Scared I’m going to eat her up?”
At that time, a young boy in ragged garments holding a chicken in his left hand appeared. He was singing a folk song and hopping along. When he saw the people in the kiln he called out, “Hey, what are you people doing in my home?”
He went over to where Li Mochou and Guo Fu were and looked at them. He smiled, “Wow, you’re pretty lady and you’re a cutie, are you two looking for me? However the one named Yang hasn’t got any beautiful friends.” His face carried a smirk while his words were flattering.
Guo Fu bent her lip and said angrily, “Little beggar, who’s looking for you?”
The boy chuckled, “If you are not here for me then why are you at my home?” He pointed to the kiln, indicating it was his home.
Guo Fu said, “Who wants to come to such a place?”
Madam Wu saw that her husband was on the floor and didn’t know whether he was dead or alive, she came rushing out of the kiln to his side and said, “Brother San, are you alright?”
Wu Santong groaned and struggled, but in the end he could not stand up. Guo Fu gazed afar but couldn’t see the two eagles. She shouted, “Eagles, eagles, come back here!”
Li Mochou thought, “Let’s not waste time, there’s no need to wait for the Guo couple to arrive and make things difficult.” She smiled and headed into the kiln. Madam Wu rushed to cut her off and waving her sword, she shouted, “You can’t enter!”
Li Mochou smiled and replied, “This is the little brother’s home, how can you decide?” She positioned her left palm towards the tip of the sword before heading straight for it, Just as it looked like that she was going to touch the blade, she twisted her palm and three fingers flicked the face of the sword, the sword flipped towards madam Wu’ forehead; a ‘cha’ sound was head as a cut landed on her forehead.
Li Mochou laughed, “Apologies!” She placed her flywhisk in her collar and headed into the kiln. She picked up Lu Wushuang and Cheng Ying in each hand, and without turning, she flipped herself over and headed out of the kiln while at the same time, she kicked out and knocked Ke Zhen’E’s iron staff into the air.
The ragged young boy had seen her injuring madam Wu and now kidnapping two girls, he felt a great injustice and when he heard the cousin’s cries, he immediately leapt up with open arms towards Li Mochou shouting, “Hey pretty lady, you’ve injured and kidnapped in my home, and you haven’t even greeted the owner yet, you are too rude, let the girls go.”
Li MocChou was carrying the girls in both her arms, and had not expected that the boy would actually grab her. When she suddenly felt someone grabbing her below her ribs, her heart skipped a beat and didn’t know what to do. Her whole body became limp. She immediately gathered energy into her palms and with a light flick, sent the two girls a couple of feet away before grabbing the boy’s back. Ever since the age of ten, she has never let a man touch her skin and though she is now thirty years old, she was still a virgin. In the past when she was in love with Lu Zhanyuan, she still maintained her decency. A lot of men in the Jianghu realm had seen her beauty and couldn’t help but be drawn to her but if they ever expressed any interest in her, a violent death under the ‘Serpent Deity’s’ palm would soon follow.
Who would have thought that today, she would be held by a young boy. As soon as she grabbed him, she wanted to shatter his heart and lungs with her palm but she thought about how he had praised her beauty sincerely and couldn’t help but feel pleased deep down; when those word came from the mouth of men, she loathed it but coming from the mouth of this thirteen, fourteen year old boy, the words felt different. In this moment of weakness, she was unable to go through with the strike.
Suddenly she heard the cries of the eagles; they had returned and were attacking once again. Li Mochou swept her left sleeve and two silver needles shot up into the air. The pair of eagles had experienced the pain from this projectile just moments ago and rushed to higher ground, but the silver needles were coming at them at a fast pace; the eagles could fly fast, but the needles were faster and eagles cried out in fright. Li Mochou saw that the eagles were not going to be able to avoid this attack. Just as she was feeling pleased with herself, the sounds of two small objects passing extremely fast through the air could be heard. She heard a noise; the two small objects had flown up and knocked her silver needles out of the air.
This projectile seemed extremely powerful. Li Mochou was shocked by this and lowered the young boy. She went over to examine the projectile and saw that they were just two small ordinary stones. She thought, “The person who shot out the stones must be extremely skilled, I’m not a match for them. I better lose him first and think about this later.” She turned around and stretched out her palm, striking out at Cheng Ying’s back. She wanted to injure the two cousins first before escaping.
Just as her palm was about to strike her back, Li Mochou saw there was a satin handkerchief tied around her neck, the embroidery on it was of a red flower and green leaf; it was the handkerchief that she had personally sewn for her lover. She couldn’t stop herself from going into a trance and lowered her palm. Her mind was filled with memories of the past, and thought, “Although he married the He ****, he could not forget me and kept this handkerchief. He wants me to spare his heirs, should I spare them or not?” She could not make up her mind and decided to kill Lu Wushuang first and ponder this thought later. Her flywhisk swung out, the silver end striking out Lu Wushuang’s back.
In the sunlight however, she saw another handkerchief tied around Lu Wushuang’s neck. She thought, “How come there are two handkerchiefs? One of them must be a fake.” She changed her strike to a grab, wrapping the flywhisk around Lu Wushuang’s neck to turn her around.
Right at this time, the sound of an object cutting through the air was heard again, a small stone was flying towards her back. Li Mochou turned her flywhisk towards the stone and with the steel handle, struck the stone. She immediately felt a great pain in her hand and her palm heated up while her body trembled uncontrollably. A small stone like this was able to possess such power, whoever threw it must be extremely skilled. She didn’t dare stay here any longer, and grabbed Lu Wushuang before using her lightness kung fu and ran like a gust of wind brushing across the ground. She disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Last edited by Noodles; 10-23-06 at 02:56 PM.
I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Cheng Ying saw that her cousin had been taken away and shouted out, “Cousin! Cousin!” and tried to follow. But with Li Mochou’s pace, how could she catch up?
The Jiangnan countryside was covered with rivers and streams, after a while Cheng Ying came upon a river that blocked her way. She was running and calling out along the riverbank when suddenly she saw a yellow image on a bridge to the left of her, a person was crossing the river from the other side towards her. Cheng Ying froze up as Li Mochou stood in front of her; Lu Wu Shuang wasn’t anywhere to be seen.
Though Cheng Ying was extremely frightened by her return, she bravely asked, “Where’s my cousin.”
Li Mochou saw she that was a beautiful girl with delicate white skin and chuckled, “With your looks, you’re either going to hurt somebody or be hurt yourself when you grow up, why don’t you die early and save the world some trouble.”
She raised her flywhisk, and struck out, wanting to smash her head in.
Just as she was about to unleash her attack with her flywhisk, her swing stopped; something was pulling onto its tail, stopping her flywhisk from unleashing its attack. She was shaken by this and wanted to turn her head around but suddenly her body flew backwards, a great force had sent flying a zhang into the air before landing.
This event left her in a great shock; she quickly protected her chest with her left palm and concentrated her energy into her flywhisk before sending an attack forwards. However, there was no one there. She then used the [First Mixing Form], her flywhisk forming a circular boundary shielding everything within five feet of her before she turned around again.
She saw standing by Cheng Ying was a lean, tall strange man dressed in a green gown, with no discernable expression on his face; he looked alive but also looked like a zombie. As soon as she saw him, fear filled her mind and she took two steps back. She could not recall who in the wulin world this powerful person might be. As she was about to inquire who he was she heard the man say to Cheng Ying, “Little girl, that woman is really evil, go and hit her.”
How could Cheng Ying dare hit her, she lifted head and replied, “I dare not.”
The man said, “What are you scared of? Go ahead.” Cheng Ying maintained her stance. The man grabbed her back and pushed her towards Li Mochou.
This was no ordinary situation that Li Mochou found herself in, instead of reacting as she normally would, she thought that using her flywhisk wouldn’t be the best idea so she sent out her left palm to meet her. Just as her palm was about to hit Cheng Ying on the waist, she suddenly heard a ‘chi’ sound, her arm had become numb all of a sudden and was not able to lift it up. Cheng Ying bumped into her chest and at the same time, she sent out a palm and struck her crisply.
Li Mochou has never suffered such an insult in her life, and under the cloud of anger, she forgot her worries and struck out with her flywhisk. But as she did so, her palm suddenly trembled violently and her flywhisk almost flew out of her hand; the man had shot out another pebble, striking the handle of the flywhisk. Cheng Ying was still standing securely in her place.
Li Mochou knew that there was to be no more gain to be reaped from this day, if she didn’t escape now her life would in danger. She laughed lightly and turned around to run away. A few paces later, she waved out both sleeves behind her. A glimmer of silver light appeared, over ten ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’ were shot out towards the strange man in green. She had shot her projectiles out without turning her head, but every single needle was aimed at the vitals of that man. The man was caught off guard, he didn’t know that her projectile throwing skills was so deadly. He immediately flew backwards to evade the needles. The needles were coming at him at a fast pace, but his leaps were quicker. He heard the needles strike the ground in front of him. Li Mochou knew that she wouldn’t be able to hit him, the were meant to distract him, as soon as she heard the gusts of winds from his leaps, her sleeve waved again, a lone needle was shot out at Cheng Ying. She knew that the needle must hit the target; afraid of engaging the man in battle, she did not look back and increased her efforts in her legs. She ran across the bridge and disappeared into the mulberry forest.
The man in the green gown called out, “No!” He went over and picked her up. As soon as he saw the needle in her shoulder, his expression changed. He headed east quickly with her in his arms.
Seeing Li Mochou eventually succeeding in capturing Lu Wushuang left everyone in shock. The ragged young man said, “I’ll take a look.”
Guo Fu replied, “What is there to look at? That evil woman is going to kick you to death.”
The young man laughed, “You kick me to death? I don’t want to see that.” As he said this he headed in the direction of Li Mo Chou.
Guo Fu said, “Idiot! I didn’t say I was going to kick you.” Guo Fu didn’t realize that boy made had teased her by calling her the ‘evil woman’.
After running for a while he suddenly heard the calls of Cheng Ying shouting out, “Cousin, cousin!” He followed the sound of the calls. He ran tens of zhangs to where the calls seemingly came from but when he got there, there wasn’t a trace of the two girls.
He looked around and on the floor glimmering were ten or so silver needles, the needles had a pattern on them, they had been exquisitely made. He stooped down and picked up the needles, holding it in his left hand. Suddenly he saw a dead centipede, lying belly up by a needle. He was amused by this and took a closer look. He saw that there were many dead ants around but only a few steps away, there were many ants climbing around the place. He held a needle and poked at them, some of the ants rolled over a few times before going belly up. The same happened when he tried it out on a few other insects.
The young boy was happy, thinking this would be great to use on mosquitoes and flies, but suddenly felt that his left hand was going numb and not responding normally. It suddenly hit him, “The needles have poison on them! Isn’t it dangerous to hold them?” He opened his left palm and threw away the needles. He saw that his palms had already become black, especially his left palm. He became scared and quickly rubbed his palms on his leg. The numbing sensation in his left arm started to spread. A poisonous snake had once bitten him and the experience was near fatal; the numbing sensation he had felt then was the same he felt now. He knew he was in trouble and couldn’t stop himself from crying out.
Suddenly a voice from behind said, “Little kid, do you now know how dangerous they are?” The tone of the voice was ear-piercing, sounding as if it had come from within the ground. He quickly turned around and gulped as he saw a man standing upside down. The boy retreated a few steps and asked, “Who, who... who are you?”
The man pushed with his palms and leapt three feet, landing in front of the young boy.
He said, “Who am I? It would be great to know who I am.”
The boy was even more frightened and started to run away. Only to hear a ‘du’ ‘du’ ‘du’ noise behind him. He looked around and was scared witless; the man was actually using his hands as his feet and holding a stone in each hand, he was walking upside down. The man was actually extremely fast and was not more that a few feet away from him.
Scared for him life, he ran even faster only to suddenly hear a ‘fu’ sound as the man jumped over his head and landed in front of him.
The boy shouted out, “Mother!” and turned around to escape but wherever he went, the strange man would follow and jump in front of him. He had two feet, but he wasn’t a match for a person using his hands to walk. He changed directions a few times but the man was getting closer so he stretched out his palm to try to push him away. However his hand was completely numb and didn’t listen to his commands. His head was covered with sweat and he didn’t know what to do, his legs became limp and he slumped down to the ground.
The strange man said, “The more you run and move about, the quicker the poison will spread.”
The boy was very sharp and quickly got down on his knees calling out, “I beg old grandpa to save my life.”
The strange man shook his head and said, “It’s difficult, it’s difficult.”
He boy replied, “Your have great abilities, you can save me.”
After the strange old man heard these words of praise, he was pleased and laughed, “How do you know that I have great abilities?”
The young boy heard his tone had become friendly and replied, “You’re upside down yet you can still run so fast. No one on earth can compete with you.” The boy had casually added the phrase ‘No one on earth can compete with you’, he didn’t know that these words would particularly please the old man.
The old man laughed loudly, his laugh shaking the trees in the forest. He said, “Flip upside down, let me take a look.”
The boy’s assumptions were right. Him standing upright and he upside down did make it difficult for him to see, he didn’t really want to do it but he did as he was told and flipped his body upside down so that his head was on the floor. His right hand still had feeling in it and he used it to support himself on the ground. The strange man glanced at him a few times, deep in thought with his brows creased.
The boy was upside down but still managed to take a clear look at the man; he had a tall nose and sunken eyes, his face covered with a short white beard, his limbs were like metal. He heard the man mumble gibberish to himself; it wasn’t a pleasant experience on his ears. The young boy was scared that the man wasn’t going to save him and so pleaded, “Kind grandpa, please save me.”
The strange man saw he was a handsome boy and liked the look of him. He replied, “Fine, it’s not going to be hard to save you, but first you got to promise me one thing.”
The boy said, “I’ll promise you whatever you want. What do you want me to promise you?”
The strange man smiled and said, “I only want you to promise me this. Whatever I say, you must obey.”
The boy thought, “I must obey everything you say? I’ve got to listen even when you tell me to be a dog or eat shit?”
The strange man saw that he was hesitant and slow to reply. He said, “Fine, you can die!” As he said this his arms braced itself before pushing out, sending himself into the air several feet away.
The boy was scared that the man was going to run away and wanted to chase him to beg for help but he forgot that he could not walk upside down like the man, so he got back upright and chased after him, calling out, “Grandpa, I agree. I will obey whatever you say.”
The strange man turned around and said, “Fine then, swear it.”
The numbness in the boy’s left arm had reached his shoulder, he was becoming increasing concerned about his life so he could do nothing but swear an oath.
“If grandpa saves my by ridding my body of the poison, I will listen to whatever he says. If I don’t, then let the poison return to my body.” He thought, “If I never pick up any more silver needles, then how will the poison return? I wonder if the strange man will accept such an oath?”
He glanced at the old man, and saw that he seemed to be pleased, he thought, “The old man believes me.”
The old man nodded and suddenly went upright. He grabbed hold of the boy’s arm, and massaged it a few times before saying, “Good, good, you are a good boy.” When the boy was squeezed on the arm, he felt the numbness had lighten, and shouted out, “Grandpa, do that a few more times!”
The strange man creased his eyebrows and said, “Don’t call me grandpa, call me father!”
The little boy replied, “My father’s dead, I don’t have a father.”
The strange man shouted at him, “The first thing I ask and you don’t even listen, what use have I with a son like you?”
The boy thought, “Oh, the man wants to take me in as his son.” He has never seen his father before, and heard from his mother that his father had died before he was born. Whenever he saw other children with their father he would envy them. It was just that this man was extremely weird and acted a bit mad, he didn’t want someone like that to be his stepfather.
The strange man shouted at him, “You don’t want to call me father, fine. There are other people who are willing, I won’t agree to my promise.” The boy tried to come up with a way to trick him into saving him. The man suddenly bellowed out a strange noise that sounded like a curse before starting to walk away.
The boy quickly said, “Father, father where are you going?”
The strange man gave out a great laugh and said, “Good boy, come, I’ll teach you a method to rid your body of poison.” The boy walked over to him. The strange man said, “You have contracted the poison of Li Mochou’s ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’, it is quite difficult to cure this poison.”
He then taught him a set of codex and the method to practise it, and said that this method will reverse his circulation; one must be upside down and when both chi and blood circulates in an opposite direction, the poison will slowly start to drain away from where it entered. As he is a beginner, he can only remove a few drops of poison everyday; it will take about a month before all the poison could be removed from his body.
The boy was extremely clever, he understood and memorized his words as soon as heard them. He then followed the method and indeed, the numbness decreased. After a little while, small drops of black blood seeped from his fingers. The strange man was pleased and said, “Good! You don’t have to practise anymore today, I’ll teach you something new tomorrow. Follow me.”
The boy was startled and said, “Go where?”
The strange man replied, “I am your father, wherever a father goes, the son of course follows.”
As he said this, the air was filled with the calls of eagles, the two large eagles were flying in the air. The strange man looked at the eagles and hit his head, his brows creased as struggled to recall something from his mind. Suddenly, he seemed to have found what he was looking for, his face changed and shouted out, “I don’t want to see them, I don’t want to see them!” As he said this he took a stride; the stride was extremely large, and by the second stride he had moved over a zhang. After a few more strides he disappeared into the mulberry forest.
The boy shouted out, “Father, father!” and tried to follow. He eventually wounded up to a willow tree when suddenly he felt a gust of wind behind him; a pair of eagles flew over from behind him and started to descend. From behind the willow tree out came two people, a man and a woman; the eagles stopped by the two.
The man had a bushy brow and large eyes, a broad chest and a straight waist, he was about thirty years of age and top lip had the beginnings of a moustache. The woman was about twenty-six, twenty seven years of age, she had a beautiful face and her eyes sparkled. She studied the boy and said to the man, “Who do you think that boy looks like?”
The man turned and looked at the boy. He replied, “You say he looks like…” He did not finish his sentence.
The two people were Guo Jing and Huang Rong. That day they were at a restaurant searching for news of Huang Yaoshi, when they suddenly saw a fire in the distance. After a while, a person in the street relayed, “The Lu manor is on fire!”
Huang Rong was startled. She recalled that Jiaxing’s Lu manor belonged to Lu Zhanyuan, a fairly famous person in the wuxia world, and although they have never met, she has long admired the name, in the Jianghu world many people knew of ‘the two Lu manors of Jiangnan’. There are countless Lu manors in Jiangnan, the two that the wuxia community were referring to were the Lu manor by the lake Tai and Lu manor of Jiaxing. For Lu Zhanyuan to be mentioned in the same breath as Lu Chengfeng, he surely must be a great personality. After asking a few questions, it turned out it was Lu Zhanyuan’s manor that was being burnt. The two hurried to the site but by the time they got there, the fire had died down and the manor had been burnt to the ground. The bodies at the site were burnt beyond recognition.
Huang Rong said, “Something strange is afoot.”
Guo Jing asked, “What?”
Huang Rong replied, “Lu Zhanyuan is a fairly famous name in the Jianghu word, his wife He Yuanjun is also a heroine of our generation. If it were a normal fire, how come no one managed to escape? The only explanation is that an enemy of theirs had set the fire.”
Guo Jing thought this must be the reason and replied, “Yes, let us look for clues as to who the culprit might be, why were they so ruthless?”
The two examined the site but found no traces of any evidence. Huang Rong suddenly saw something on one of the remaining walls and shouted, “Look, what’s that?”
Guo Jing looked up and saw a few bloody handprints on the wall; after being burnt, the bloody prints looked even more menacing. The wall had collapsed and only two of bloody prints remained.
Guo Jing was troubled. He then spurted out, “The Serpent Deity!”
Huang Rong replied, “It must be her. I have long heard of Li Mochou, the ‘Serpent Deity’. She possesses great martial arts, and when it comes to her ruthlessness, she is comparable to the one called ‘Western Poison’. Since she’s here in Jiangnan, let’s go challenge her.”
Guo Jing nodded his head, “People in wulin have said she is extremely difficult to deal with, it would be a great help if we could find your father.”
Huang Rong laughed, “The older one gets, the less brave they become.”
Guo Jing said, “You’re right. The more someone practise martial arts, the more that one notices their own inadequacy.”
Huang Rong laughed and said, “Your are modest master Guo! I find the more I practise the better I become.”
The two laughed and joked, but secretly there were on the guard as well. They looked around, and by a pond they saw two ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’. One of the needles was dipped in the pond; the ponds’ eighty or so gold fishes’ were dead, belly up. The poison from the needle really was frightening. Huang Rong’s broke off two twigs from a tree and carefully used them to fish the needle out before wrapping it in a handkerchief. She then placed it in her pocket. While searching, they saw the two eagles and came across the boy.
Guo Jing thought that the boy looked familiar, but at the time couldn’t think whom he looked like. His nose suddenly picked up a strange scent, and after a few sniffs, he felt his head beginning to ache. Huang Rong had already noticed this, and knew the origin was nearby. She turned around to search for the source and saw the male eagle had a wound on its left claw, and after a closer examination, she knew the source of the smell was indeed from the wound. The two were startled when they examined the wound, the skin was broken only slightly yet the leg had swollen to more than twice its size, the skin and flesh had started to rot. Guo Jing thought, “What could have caused such a severe wound?” He suddenly saw that the boy’s hand was black and asked in alarm, “You’ve fallen to the same poison as well?”
Huang Rong took his hand and looked at his palm. She quickly pulled up his sleeve and took out a knife to cut the boy’s wrist to allow the poisoned blood to flow out. However, she saw that the blood flowing out was red. She wondered, “His palm’s black so why doesn’t his blood have any poison in it?” She didn’t know that when the strange man had bestowed his skills to the boy, the poisoned had been forced into his fingertips and would remain there for the time being. From her bag, she took out a ‘Pill of the Nine Jaded Flowers’, and said, “Swallow this.” The boy took the pill and smelt it; he noticed it had a fragrant scent. He then put into his mouth and chewed. He felt a sweet fragrance fill his mouth and a cool comforting air filled his ‘dan tian’ (solar plexus). Huang Rong took out another two pills and fed it to the two eagles.
Guo Jing was immersed in thought when he suddenly let out a whistle. The boy was caught unaware by the sudden whistle in his ear and jumped. The whistling was transmitted afar; startled flocks of birds in the forest flew in all directions, the branches of nearby willow trees were shaking incessantly. Before the first whistle died out, he let out another, the combination of the two whistles resonated like the sound of galloping horses.
Huang Rong knew her husband was issuing a challenge to Li Mochou. As the third whistle came, she filled her ‘dan tian’ with, and produced a whistle of her own. Guo Jing’s whistle was booming while Huang Rong’s was crisp and clear. The two’s whistles combined together was like a large and a small bird flying together, as they flew the higher they got with the small bird always in tow with the large. When the two were on Peach Blossom Island they refined and cultivated their internal energy, it has now reached new levels. The combined whistles could have reverberated through the nine heavens and travelled many lis.
When the whistles reached the strange man, he quickened his steps, as he hurried to hide.
When it reached the green-gowned man who was carrying Cheng Ying, he laughed and said, “You’ve finally arrived, this old man better run away to avoid getting caught.”
Li Mochou was rushing away while carrying Lu Wushuang under her arms when she suddenly heard the whistles; she halted in her tracks, and waved her flywhisk as she turned around. She chuckled, “Hero Guo’s name is famed throughout the wulin world, I must take a look to see if he lives up to his name.” She then heard a clear, crisp whistle follow the last one, the two whistles melted into each other and within the whistles contained both a forceful and gentle nature, sounding even more impressive. Li Mo Chou’s heart shivered and knew she had met a formidable foe. She thought about how the Guo couple were travelling through the realm with each other for company, yet she was on her lonesome, grey thoughts filled her head and she gave out a long sigh before taking hold of Lu Wushuang’s back and ran away.
At that time, madam Wu was supporting her husband and with her kids, were parting ways with Ke Zhen’E. After the battle with Li Mochou, Ke Zhen’E was afraid that Li Mochou would come back and harm Guo Fu. He was about to take her to a safe place to hide when suddenly to his delight, he heard the whistles of Guo couple. Guo Fu shouted out, “Father, mother!” and ran out.
The one old and one young followed the sounds of the whistles and hurriedly rushed to the Guo couple. Guo Fu threw herself into Huang Rong’s arms and smiled as she said, “Mother, grandpa fought off an evil woman, his skills was unbelievable.” Huang Rong knew she was lying but could only smile.
Guo Jing reprimanded her, “Young children should always tell the truth.”
Guo Fu stuck out her tongue as she said, “Grandpa’s skills are not good? How can he be your master?” Scared that her father will scold her again, she immediately ran away and signalled to the boy saying, “You go pick some flowers for me and arrange it into a crown for me to wear!”
The boy went over to her. Guo Fu saw his black palm and said, “You hand is disgusting, I don’t want to play with you, the flowers that you’ll pick will be covered by your stink.”
The boy calmly said, “Who wants to play with you?” before striding away.
Guo Jing said, “Little fella, don’t run. The poison in your body has not fully been removed, it will be extremely painful when it flares up.”
The boy hated people who looked down on him, after hearing the mocking words of Guo Fu, he proudly lifted his head and walked away, ignoring Guo Jing’s words. Guo Jing blocked his way and said, “How did you get infected with this poison? Let me cure it for you first, it won’t take long.”
The boy replied, “I don’t know you, what had this got to do with you?” He increased his speed and wanted to walk past Guo Jing. Guo Jing saw that the boy’s face seemed angered but his face reminded him of an old friend. His mind lit up and asked the boy, “Little fella, what’s your surname?”
The boy rolled his eyes and lent his body to the side, wanting to dash past him. Guo Jing grabbed his wrist. The boy struggled a few times but couldn’t break free so he punched Guo Jing in the stomach with a left-handed fist.
Guo Jing smiled and ignored him. The boy wanted to pull back his fist to throw out another punch, but his fist seemed to be held within the man’s stomach, unable to pull it free. His face became red, and pulled back with all his strength until his arm ached, but still he couldn’t over come the draw of the man’s stomach. The man smiled and said, “I’ll let you go if you tell me what your surname is.”
The boy replied, “My surname is Ni, first names Laozi, now let me go.”
Guo Jing was disappointed with the answer and relaxed his abdomen, he didn’t realise that the boy had tricked him when he called himself, “Ni Laozi’; it meant ‘your father’.
The boy’s hand was now free and looking at Guo Jing, he thought, “You’ve got great skills, your father can’t compare to his good son.”
Huang Rong saw the boy had a crafty expression on his face and still felt that he looked like someone from the past so she tested him again.
She smiled and said, “Little fella, if you are my husband’s father, doesn’t that mean you’re mine too.” She stretched out her left hand and held the boy’s neck from behind. The boy felt the hold was extremely forceful and immediately struggled. Huang Rong loosened her grip suddenly and the boy fell over backwards. Guo Fu clapped and laughed. The boy got up and backed away. He was about to start cursing when Huang Rong dashed over towards him and holding his shoulders as she looked into his eyes, she said slowly, “Your surname is Yang, first name Guo. Your mother’s surname is Mu, right?”
The boy was indeed named Yang Guo; he had the shock of his life when he heard Huang Rong say his name. The shock stimulated blood and chi flow, sending the poison back into his body. His mind became a blur and he fainted.
Huang Rong was alarmed and held him up. Guo Jing massaged him a few times but his eyes remained closed. The boy had bitten his tongue and his mouth was filled with blood Guo Jing was happy but was also worried at the same time. He said, “He…he is brother Yang Kang’s son.” Huang Rong saw that Yang Guo’s poison was serious and said quietly, “Let’s first get to an inn, and find some medicine for him in the city.”
Huang Rong had noticed that the boy looked extremely like Yang Kang, and recalled the time when Wang Chuyi tested Mu Nianci’s martial arts at the Chongdu Inn; he held the back of her neck, but Mu Nianci instead of falling forwards she fell backwards, this was the system of chi circulation that Hong Qigong used. If the boy was Mu Nianci’s son, then their martial roots would be of the same school. Huang Rong was a disciple of Hong Qigong’s and knew the arts of her master well, she was able to reveal the truth about him with just one test.
Guo Jing carried the boy and returned to the inn with Ke Zhen’E, Huang Rong, Guo Fu and the pair of eagles. Huang Rong wrote out an herb list, and gave it to the inn’s waiter to go to the medicine shop and pick them out. However the herbs she picked out were all rare, even in a large place like Jiaxing, it would be difficult to gather all the herbs immediately. Guo Jing saw that Yang Guo remained unconscious and was extremely worried about him. Huang Rong knew that after Yang Kang had died, her husband had felt responsible. He would be understandably delighted with fate leading him to the boy today but of all the situations, they had to come across him while he was poisoned with his life hanging in the balance. She said, “We will go and gather the herbs ourselves.”
Guo Jing knew that if there was a glimmer of hope to cure the poison, she would try to reassure him but when he saw that the expression on face was one of worry, he became even more concerned. He instructed Guo Fu not to run around as she pleased and the couple left to gather the herbs.
Night had fallen and Yang Guo had not woken up once. Ke Zhen’E checked up on him a few times but there was nothing he could do. The poison on his thistles was completely different to that of the ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’ and so could not use the antidote that he has. He was afraid that Guo Fu would slip away and so he tried to make her fall asleep.
Yang Guo didn’t know how long he had been unconscious for when suddenly; he felt a palm massaging his chest. He slowly woke up, and opened his eyes. He saw a black blur, something had darted out of the window. He forced himself up and with the support of a table, he made his way to the window. He saw a man on roof, the man was upside down with his head below his feet; it was the strange man from before who had wanted him to call himself father. He was wobbling about as if he were about to fall off the roof.
Last edited by Noodles; 10-23-06 at 03:06 PM.
I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Yang Guo was happily surprised and said, “It’s you.”
The strange man replied, “Why aren’t you calling me father?”
Yang Guo said, “Father!” but thought, “You the one who’s my son, I’ll just turned the roles around and call you father for now.”
The man was very pleased and said, “Come up here.” Yang Guo climbed out of the window and leapt onto the roof. But his body was weak due to the effects of the poison, he wasn’t at full strength and his fingers weren’t able to grab the roof edge. As he was falling he called out, “Ah!”
The man stretched out his hand and grabbed the boy’s back before gently placing him on the rooftop. He turned upright, and was about to say something when he heard someone from a room in the west blow out a candle. He knew that someone had discovered him and quickly escaped with Yang Guo in his arms. By the time Ke Zhen’E had leapt on the roof, there wasn’t a trace of anyone to be seen.
The strange man carried Yang Guo to open land outside the town and put him to the ground. He said, “Use the method I taught you and force some of the poison out.” Yang Guo followed his instructions and after a short while, a few drops of poisoned blood came out. His chest immediately felt a lot more soothed.
The strange man said, “You are a clever boy, all you needed was one lesson. You are even intelligent than my real son. Alas! My Son!”
As he thought about his deceased son, his eyes became watery and he stroked Yang Guo’s head, and gave out a sigh.
Yang Guo has never had a father in his life and his mother passed away due to illness when he was eleven years old. Before she died, she told him that his father died in Jiaxing’s Iron Spear temple, and instructed him to cremate her and bury her outside the temple. After he had taken care off his mother’s burial, he wandered around Jiaxing and lived in the old kiln, spending his days as a vagrant. Mu Nianci had taught Yang Guo some of basic martial arts but her own skills weren’t great themselves, and Yang Guo at the time was young so couldn’t learn much. Within these few years, Yang Guo has had to endure being looked down upon and being bullied by others, and although he has never met the strange man before, the man treated him kindly with sincerity, he was touched by this and leapt up and grabbed the man around his neck, calling out, “Father, father!”
Ever since he was three years old, he always wished he had a loving father. Sometimes in his dreams he would see a heroic and loving father but when he woke up his father had gone and he would often cry because of this. His wish for many years has suddenly come true, and buried within the calls of ‘father’ were real feelings of affection, he no longer wished to take advantage of him anymore.
Seeing Yang Guo’s emotional reaction, the strange man was even happier than him. When they first met, Yang Guo was forced to call him father to save his life, something he was completely unhappy to do, now the two of them had made a connection, like the bond that exists between a father and son; both felt that if the other was in danger, they would be more than willing to give up the lives to save them.
The strange man was laughing and calling out at the same time, he said, “Good son, good son, obedient son. Call me father again.”
Yang Guo called him twice, and then lent on his body.
The man laughed and said, “Good son, come here, I will teach you the martial arts that I’m most proud of.” As he said this he dropped down and made three strange noises and then pushed his hands out. The sound of an explosion was produced, the mound of earth in front collapsed in the direction of his hands; mud flowed everywhere and dust filled the air.
Yang Guo looked on with awe and shock, he said, “What is that martial art called, could I learn it?”
The strange man replied, “Its called the [Toad Stance], as long as you’re willing to put the effort into it, you will be able to learn it.”
Yang Guo said, “If I learn it then no one can bully me again?”
The strange man raised his eyebrows and said, “If anyone bullies my son I’ll rip their skin off and tear their muscles.”
The strange man was the ‘Western Poison’ Ouyang Feng.
Ever since Huang Rong had made him mad at the second Mount Hua tournament, he has wandered the land for the past ten years, always asking himself one question, “Who am I?”
Whenever something seemed familiar, he would linger on for a while, trying to find himself. He has been in Jiaxing for the past few months because of this reason. These past few years he has been practising the corrupt version of [Nine Ying Sutra], his internal energy has made great advances and his mind has been becoming clearer and clearer. Although he was still mad, his memories were slowly returning to him but the one thing that eluded him was the knowledge of who he was.
Then, Ouyang Feng imparted the internal system of practising the [Toad Stance] to Yang Guo. The [Toad Stance] is one of the top skills in the martial arts word, the variations clever and exquisite, its internal energy aspect of the skill is extremely hard to practise; if it is practised wrong, the practioner will suffer a serious injury, maybe even death. Because of this, he didn’t even pass it on to his son Ou Yangke when he was alive. Right now, he was emotional and wasn’t of a clear mind, he couldn’t differentiate between what is important or not and so, without a care, he passed on this skill to his new stepson.
Yang Guo did not possess a good base in martial arts, though he learnt and memorized the codex to the skill, how would he be able to understand the meanings behind the words?
Fortunately Yang Guo was an intelligent boy; he was able to use his own ideas to roughly interpret the things he didn’t understand. Ouyang Feng taught him for half a day and when he listened to Yang Guo’s inaccurate explanations, he became angry and wanted to hit him but when he saw his handsome face under the moonlight, a face that was more pleasing that his own son when he was younger, he lowered his hand and sighed, “You’re tired, go back and rest, we’ll carry on tomorrow.”
After Guo Fu had ridiculed him because of his hand, he had a dislike for her family and said, “I want to follow you, I don’t want to return.”
Ouyang Feng didn’t understand his own problems but he was aware of the world’s troubles and said, “I have got some trouble with my mind, I’m scared I can’t take care of you if you follow me. You return first and when I’ve solved one particular problem of mine I will come and collect you, we won’t part, okay?”
After the death of his mother no one has spoken such affectionate words to him, he grabbed his hand and said, “Collect me as soon as you can.”
Ouyang Feng nodded and said, “I will secretly follow you, wherever you go I’ll be there. If someone bullies you, I’ll break their ribs into seventy, eighty pieces.” He then picked up Yang Guo and returned him to the inn.
Ke Zhen’E had gone to check on Yang Guo during this time and found that he wasn’t in his bed. He searched the entire inn but still couldn’t find him; he became extremely concerned. Yang Guo had returned to the inn when he began his second search for him. He was about to ask where Yang Guo had been when suddenly, he heard the wind generated by someone passing by the roof. He knew that there were two people of extremely high martial arts on the rooftops, he quickly picked up Guo Fu and then placed her by Yang Guo’s side. He guarded the window with his iron staff, afraid that the two people were enemies. He listened carefully and from the wind sounds, he knew that the two were returning from afar and were on the rooftops above him.
One of the voices said, “Who do you think it was?”
The other person replied, “Strange, strange, was it really him?”
It was Guo Jing and Huang Rong.
Ke Zhen’E was relieved and opened the door to let them in. Huang Rong said, “Great master, did anything happen?”
Ke Zhen’E replied, “Nothing,”
Huang Rong turned to Guo Jing and said, “Could we have been mistaken?”
Guo Jing shook his head and replied, “No, I’m ninety percent certain it was him.”
Ke Zhen’E asked, “Who was it?”
Huang Rong tugged on Guo Jing’s sleeve, trying to tell him not to say. But Guo Jing didn’t dare lie to his master and said, “Ouyang Feng.”
Ke Zhen’E despised this man, as soon as he heard his name his complexion changed and quietly said, “Ouyang Feng? Isn’t he dead?”
Guo Jing said, “When we came back from gathering herbs, we saw someone on the roof, the person’s movements were quick and strange, we immediately went over to take a look but by then, the person had already gone. It looked like Ouyang Feng.”
Ke Zhen’E knew that Guo Jing was always honest and trustworthy, if he said it was Ouyang Feng then it could be no other.
Guo Jing was concerned about Yang Guo so grabbed a candle and went over to the bed. He saw that Yang Guo’s face was red, his breathing relaxed and sleeping peacefully. He was pleasantly surprised and called out, “Rong’er, he’s better!” Yang Guo was pretending that he was asleep; he closed his eyes and listened in on the three. He heard from them that his stepfather was a man called ‘Ouyang Feng’ and from their reactions, it appeared that the three of them were concerned about Yang Guo; he was pleased about this deep down.
Huang Rong went over and took a look; she was greatly surprised, before, his arm’s poison had started to spread up his arm and after a few more hours, the arm would have blacken and swell up even more, but now, the poison seemed to have lessened, this was extremely strange. She and Guo Jing had searched for medicine all day but still could not gather everything they wanted so they decided to return with what they had and give it to him for the time being.
The next day, Guo Jing, Huang Rong, Ke Zhen’E with the two young ones headed west from Jiaxing, intending to return to Peach Blossom Island, and firstly cure Yang Guo’s poison before deciding to do anything else. That night they were in another inn, Ke Zhen’E and Yang Guo was in one room, the Guo family in another.
The Guo couple were sleeping when suddenly in the middle of the night, they heard a noise from the roof, followed by a shout from Ke Zhen’E before he darted out of the window. Guo Jing and Huang Rong quickly leapt out of the bed and went over to the window to see Ke Zhen’E fighting barehanded with a man on the rooftops; his opponent was tall man with long arms; it was Ouyang Feng. Guo Jing was alarmed; he was frightened that Ouyang Feng would take his master’s life in one move. He was about to leap up onto the roof when he saw Ke Zhen’E cry out and fall off the roof. Guo Jing flew over to him, and before Ke Zhen’E’s head had met the ground, he lightly pulled his collar upwards before gently placed him down on the ground.
He asked, “Great master, are you okay.”
Ke Zhen’E replied. “I’m not dead yet. Go and fight Ouyang Feng.”
Guo Jung replied, “Yes.” He jumped onto the roof.
On the rooftop, Huang Rong was using her palms in a heated battle with her old nemesis that she not seen for ten years. Her martial arts has improved tremendously over the last few years, her internal energy now very forceful, the palms she was using had exquisite variation; after ten stances, Ouyang Feng had gained no advantage.
Guo Jing called out, “Mr Ouyang, how have you been.”
Ouyang Feng replied, “What did you say? What did you call me?” His face was covered with confusion. In his current duel with Huang Rong, he stopped attacking and just defended, he had a feeling that the two words ‘Ou Yang’ was significant to him. Guo Jing was about to say something when Huang Rong interrupted him; she saw that he wasn’t clear about who he was and said, “You are called Zhao Qian Sun Li, Zhou Wu Chen Wang!”
Ouyang Feng was stunned and said, “I’m called Zhao Qian Sun Li, Zhou Wu Chen Wang?”
Huang Rong replied, “Correct, your first name is Zuo Feng Cheng Chu Wei, Jiang Shen Han Yang.” Huang Rong had recited names from ‘The Hundred Surnames’. Ouyang Feng was already in a state of confusion but after hearing her call him many names, his confusion deepened and asked, “Who are you? Who am I?”
Suddenly someone shouted out from behind, “You are the old venom that killed my five brothers.” Before the sentence was finished, an iron staff had arrived; it was Ke Zhen’E. When Ouyang Feng knocked him off the roof with the force of his palms, he wasn’t hurt and went into his room to get his iron staff to battle him again. Guo Jing shouted out, “Careful master!” Ke Zhen’E smashed down his iron staff on Ou Yang Feng’s back, the staff was within one foot away from making contact when instead, a ‘fu’ noise sounded as the staff flew backwards. Ke Zhen’E couldn’t hold on, the iron staff flew out of his hands and he fell into the courtyard.
Although Guo Jing knew that his master was falling, it wasn’t going to be serious but if Ouyang Feng continued to attack, his moves will be ruthless so he shouted out, “Take this!” He bent his left leg and circled his right palm before pushing out; it was the [Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palm’s] [Overcoming the Dragon with Regret]. He had practised this particular stance night and day without a break, when he first learnt the stance its power was obvious, but after ten years off practising, it was now at a flawless level. When he first unleashed it, it looked light and fragile but when it meets an opposing force, it will be able to unleash its additional force in thirteen levels, the next level stronger than the last one, it will yield the unyielding, no force it can’t overcome. He developed this ingenious principle from the [Nine Yin Sutra]. Even when Hong Qigong was in his prime, his version of this palm did not possess such mastery.
Ouyang Feng had just knocked Ke Zhen’E off the roof when he suddenly felt a gentle gust of wind blowing towards him, although the wind wasn’t strong, it caused his breathing to be uncomfortable, he knew something was wrong so quickly crouched down and pushed out his two palms, it was his proudest skill, the [Toad Stance]. The three palms collided with each other; both of their bodies shook. Guo Jing’s palm strength increased, the next level higher than the last, like torrential waves throwing itself forwards. Ou Yang Feng made two ‘Ka Ka’ noises and his body wobbled as if he was going to fall down any minute but the stronger the palms of Guo Jing, the stronger his opposing force.
The two haven’t fought for over ten years and now they meet again in Jiangnan, both of them wanted to test how the other has advanced. Long ago at the Mount Hua tournament, Guo Jing wasn’t a match for Ouyang Feng, but his martial arts have improved greatly since then. Ouyang Feng got what he deserved from practising the corrupt sutra but though his version was corrupt, the genuine parts of his version exceeded the fake sections; Guo Jing and him were fighting neck and neck, unable to distinguish who has the upper hand. Huang Rong wanted her husband to win by himself so stood to one side and didn’t interfere.
The roofs in the south were very different to the roofs of the north. The roofs in the north had to support the amassed snow in winter; their roofs were solid. In the south it was wet weather that had to be addressed; the roofs were covered in tiles, with removing rain in mind.
Guo Jing and Ouyang Feng were resisting each other with their palms, their legs taking the force. After a while, the sounds of ‘ge ge’ could be heard from below their feet, before suddenly, a loud ‘ka la’ noise was made, some roof beams snapped at the same time and a hole was made in the roof; the two of them fell in.
Huang Rong was alarmed and quickly jumped down the hole with them, only to see the two still competing with their palms, their feet supported by some more beams, but there were above one of the inn’s guests. The guest was sleeping at the time so how would he know that the sky was falling in; the person’s legs were broken immediately and cried out in pain.
Guo Jing didn’t want to hurt any innocent bystanders and so didn’t use his legs for support, but Ou Yang Feng didn’t care if anyone dies because of them. The two of them had been equally matched but because Guo Jing didn’t use the beams as support, his palms had nothing to brace against and so was on his way to losing. He was using one hand to push against his opponent’s two palms, all his strength was channelled into his right hand and although his left hand was free, there was no strength for it to use.
Huang Rong saw her that husband was being pushed backwards slightly; although it was only half an inch or so, he was losing. She shouted, “Hey, Zhang San Li Si, Hu Tu Wang Ba, watch out,” and aimed a light palm at Ouyang Feng’s shoulder.
Though this palm seemed light, it was from the advanced martial art [Palm of the Falling Petals and Divine Sword], when it lands on the opponent, the internal energy would spread through the internal organs. Though Ou Yang Feng is one of the most powerful martial artists within his time, he would still suffer under this blow. When Ouyang Feng heard Huang Rong address him with strange surnames a second time, he paused for a moment but as he did so, he saw her suddenly attack. He pushed his palms and forced Guo Jing back half a feet; during this short respite, he went to grab Huang Rong’s shoulder, his five fingers were like an hook, trying to tear a piece of her flesh off.
As soon as this claw landed, the three of them were forced into a shock. Ouyang Feng felt severe pain in his fingers; she was wearing armour underneath and the pins of the armour forced him to loosen his hand. At this time, the force from Guo Jing’s palm returned once again; Ouyang Feng opposed this with a palm of his own. In the midst of danger, both men unleashed all their power. After a ‘peng’ sound, the both of them moved back quickly; dust filled the air and the room wobbled.
Both men had unleashed palms of a hard nature but it was hard to make out the opponent in the darkness, the great force of the [Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms] and the [Toad Stance] landed on their respective opponent’s shoulders. The two of them were sent through opposite walls and the roof fell in. Though Huang Rong suffered a claw on her shoulder she wasn’t hurt but it gave her a fright. In the midst of all this she flew out of the room before the roof collapsed. She saw Guo Jing and Ouyang Feng standing motionless about have a zhang away from each other; it appeared the two of them had suffered internal injuries.
Huang Rong didn’t attack the enemy and instead just walked over by her husband’s side to guard him. They two men closed their eyes as they circulated their chi but after two stuttering noises both of them spat out a mouthful of blood.
Ouyang Feng said, “The [Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms], good stuff, good stuff!” A mad laugh followed before he ran away; in a blink of an eye he was nowhere to be seen.
Presently, the inn was in the midst of chaos. Huang Rong knew that they can’t stay here any longer, she picked up Guo Fu from Ke Zhen’E’s hand and said, “Master, you carry brother Jing, we better leave!.”
Ke Zhen’E put Guo Jing on his shoulder and step by step slowly headed north. After a while, Huang Rong suddenly remembered Yang Guo, she didn’t know where he had gone to but because she was more concerned about her husband’s injuries she decided to leave this matter for the time being.
Guo Jing understood but because of the injury caused by Ouyang Feng, he couldn’t speak. He evened his breathing and circulated his chi to unblock his channels while Ke Zhen’E carried him on his shoulders. After they had travel about seven, eight lis, his channels cleared and he said said, “Great master, I’m okay.”
Ke Zhen’E put Guo Jing down and said, “You’ve recovered?”
Guo Jing shook his head and said, “The [Toad Stance] is a great skill!” He saw his daughter sleeping on her mother’s shoulder and became alarmed, he said, “Where’s Guo’er?”
Ke Zhen’E did not know who Guo’er was and struggled for words.
Huang Rong said, “Don’t worry, first we’ll find a place to rest. Then I’ll go back and look for him.”
The sky was beginning to brighten and one could start to make out the trees and buildings along the roads. Guo Jing said, “My injury is not serious, we’ll go find him together.”
Huang Rong creased her brows and said, “That boy is extremely clever, you don’t have to be too concerned.” As she said this, suddenly she saw someone’s head popping out behind a white wall by the side of road before it disappeared again. Huang Rong went over there and grabbed the person; it was Yang Guo.
He laughed and addressed her as “Auntie,” before carrying on saying, “You guys finally arrived? I’ve been waiting for a long time now.”
Huang Rong had some questions but just casually replied, “Fine, follow us!”
Yang Guo laughed, and followed. Guo Fu opened her eyes, and asked, “Where have you been?”
Yang Guo replied, “I went to catch some crickets to see them fight. It was great fun.”
Guo Fu said, “What’s so fun about that?”
Yang Guo said, “Huh, who said it’s not fun? A large cricket was fighting with an old cricket. When the old one lost, two little crickets came to help out, three versus one. The large cricket jumped around, kicking out a foot here and biting out over there, haha, it was extremely powerful.” When he reached this point, he stopped.
Guo Fu had listened carefully and asked, “Then what happened?”
Yang Guo said, “You said it’s not fun, so why are you interested?”
Guo Fu became angry and turned her head away from him.
Huang Rong could tell that his words were helping Ouyang Feng and ridiculing the couple and Ke Zhen’E. She said, “Tell auntie, who won in the end?”
Yang Guo laughed and said nonchalantly, “Just when things were getting interesting, you came along, the cricket jumped away.”
Huang Rong thought, “Like father like son.” She couldn’t help but feel a little angry.
After a while, they arrived at a village. Huang Rong went to a large residence to look for the owner. The owner was very hospitable, when they heard someone was hurt, they immediately instructed their servants to prepare the guest rooms for them. Guo Jing ate three bowls of rice, and then sat on the couch, closed his eyes and mediated. Huang Rong saw that her husband was resting comfortably and knew he was fine now. She sat next to her husband and guarded him. She thought about Yang Guo in all the situations they have been in, and felt although he was young, there are a lot of strange things that have happened that was hard to explain. If she asked him about this, she felt that he would most likely lie to her. She made a mental note to herself to pay extra attention to Yang Guo. They didn’t speak that day and after supper, they went to bed.
Yang Guo and Ke Zhen’E were sharing the same room, and in the middle of the night he quietly got up. When he heard Ke Zhen’E snoring in a deep sleep, he quietly opened the door, he slipped out of the room and went over to a wall. He climbed a cinnamon tree and slipped over the wall. The dogs outside the wall picked up a human scent, and started to bark. Yang Guo was prepared; he took out a bone out of his pockets, and threw it to them. The dogs immediately chewed on the bone and stopped their barking.
Last edited by Noodles; 10-20-06 at 08:02 PM.
I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Yang Guo checked his bearings, and headed southwest. About seven, eight lis later, he arrived the Iron Spear temple. He pushed open the temple doors and called out, “Father, I’m here!” He heard a groan from within. It was Ouyang Feng’s voice. Yang Guo was pleased, he went inside and felt out a table before finding some candles. He lit it and saw Ouyang Feng reclining on some mats in front of a statue, he looked in pain and his breathing was weak. He and Guo Jing have suffered similar injuries, but because Guo Jing was in the prime of his life, he was able to recover fairly quickly; Ouyang Feng was closer to old age, his stamina wasn’t anywhere as good.
What had happened on the previous night was that Ouyang Feng had come again for Yang Guo, but Ke Zhen’E woke up and so they started to fight. Afterwards when Huang Rong and Guo Jing came and joined in the battle, Yang Guo watched from the side. Ouyang Feng and Guo Jing eventually became injured at the same time, and Ouyang Feng escaped. In the chaos, everyone forgot about Yang Guo and he took the opportunity to chase after Ouyang Feng. At first Ouyang Feng was moving at a fast pace and Yang Guo could not catch up, but Ouyang Feng’s injury eventually flared up and he found it hard to move. Yang Guo caught up with him and took him by the side to rest. Yang Guo knew that if he didn’t return Huang Rong and Ke Zhen’E would come and look for him, and he feared his stepfather’s life would then be in danger. He arranged with Ouyang Feng to meet up in the Iron Spear temple. Both had ties with the temple and knew what each other were referring to when it was mentioned. Yang Guo stayed by the road alone and eventually met up with Guo Jing and the others. He waited until deep into the night before making his way to the temple.
Yang Guo took out seven, eight buns out of his bag and handed it over to Ouyang Feng. He said, “Father, eat something.”
Ouyang Feng hadn’t eaten a thing for a whole day; he was frightened he would meet one of his enemies if he ventured out so he stayed in the temple. After a eating a few buns, he felt revitalised and asked, “Where are you lot at?” Yang Guo told him everything.
Ouyang Feng said, “The one named Guo took one of my palms, it would be difficult for him to recover within seven days. His wife will have to look after him and won’t leave his side unless its important, I’m just worried about blind man Ke. If he won’t come tonight, he will be here tomorrow. Alas, I just don’t have an ounce of strength left in me. Hmm… I think I did kill his brothers but I don’t know whether is it four or five...” He began to cough violently.
Yang Guo sat on the floor with his hand on his cheeks, many ideas were going through his little mind when suddenly he thought to himself, “I’ve got it, I’ll put some sharp objects on the floor so if that old blind man comes, he’ll get injured.”
He then went over to the table with the candles and collected four candleholders. He tipped out the remnants of old candles and placed the holders by the entrance. He then closed the door but left it ajar, placing an incense holder above the door.
He looked around for more booby trap set-ups. On either side of the hall, hung a large metal bell. Not even three people working together could move the bell; it weighed about a thousand jins. On the bell’s neck was an extremely thick metal hook, hanging onto a large wooden bracket. The Iron Spear temple was old and hasn’t been maintained for a long time, but the large bell and bracket were still in good working condition. Yang Guo thought, “If that old blind man comes, I will climb up onto the bracket, he won’t be able to find me.”
He had a candleholder in his hands and just as he was about to go into the back hall to look for a sharp weapon, he suddenly heard a ‘du du du’ sound of a metal staff from the road; he knew that Ke Zhen’E had arrived. He was going to blow out the candles when he thought, “That old man is blind, I don’t need to blow them out.”
The sounds came closer. Ouyang Feng suddenly sat up; he wanted to make the first strike fatal and transferred all his remaining strength into his right palm.
Yang Guo turned the metal carvings on the candleholder up, and guarded Ouyang Feng. Though he knew his martial arts were of low standard, he was going to do everything he could to aid his stepfather against the old man.
Ke Zhen’E knew that Ouyang Feng had a serious injury and would not be able to travel far. With the Iron Spear temple close by and an old hang out of his, it was more likely than not that he would hide in the temple rather than staying at an inn or at a local’s home. Today, he had the chance to avenge the deaths of his brothers, how would he be able to refuse?
He woke up in the middle of the night and lightly called out, “Guo’er, Guo’er!” When he heard no reply, he thought he was sound asleep. He didn’t check on him and hurriedly went out over the wall. The two dogs outside the house was busy gnawing on the bone that Yang Guo had thrown at them. They growled but didn’t bark when they saw him.
He slowly made his way to the front of the temple and listened carefully. Indeed, there was the sound of breathing within the temple. He shouted out, “Old venom, blind man Ke is here, if you’ve got balls, come out now.” He slammed his iron staff into the ground. Ouyang Feng was afraid that his gathered chi around his solar ‘dan tian’ (solar plexus) would be disturbed and didn’t make a sound.
Ke Zhen’E called out a few times but there was no reply. He used his iron staff and knocked open the doors of the temple. He entered only to hear a clattering noise from above as a heavy object fell towards head and at the same time his left foot stepped onto the candleholders’ metal juttings and pierced his boot with the sole of his foot feeling a sharp pain. Ke Zhen’E didn’t understand what this was and waved his iron staff about. There was a large ‘dang’ noise as he knocked away the incense holder and he immediately rolled onto the floor, stopping the metal juttings from piercing his foot. However, there more of these candleholders on the floor; he felt a sharp pain on his shoulder as one the candleholders stabbed him. He pulled it out with his left hand and blood poured out of the wound. He didn’t dare to be careless anymore and listened out for Ouyang Feng’s breathing. He slid his feet across the ground, getting closer step by step. When he was about three feet away, he raised his iron staff and shouted out, “Old venom, what have you got to say today?”
Ouyang Feng had already transferred all his remaining strength into his right arm; as soon as his opponent smashes down with the staff, he would send out his palm, taking his foe down with him. Although Ke Zhen’E knew that his enemy had suffered a serious injury, he didn’t know how serious, he held his ground waiting for the opposition to move first; then he will know how much strength remains in his foe. The two of them stood there silently, motionless.
Ke Zhen’E could hear his breathing was heavy. His mind suddenly filled up with voices of his stepbrothers Zhu Cong, Han Boju, Nan Xiren and the others. The voices seemed to be urging him to act; he couldn’t resist no longer and with a loud shout, unleashed [King Qin’s Whipping Stone], sending the iron staff smashing downwards. Ouyang Feng moved to the side and was about to strike out with his palm but as it moved forwards half a yard, he struggled for breath and slumped to the ground. He heard a loud noise and sparks flew everywhere as the iron staff smashed downwards onto tiled ground.
Ke Zhen’E missed with his first move and continued with a second, he raised his weapon again, and struck out in the direction of Ouyang Feng. If this was any other day, Ouyang Feng could just lightly pushed back and force the iron staff out of his hand or even just jump past him but right now Ouyang Feng’s body was weak, he wasn’t even able to use an ounce of his strength, he could only roll on the floor to avoid the strike. Ke Zhen’E used the [Demon Subduing Staff], with each stance faster than the last. Ouyang Feng was struggling to avoid the strokes, and eventually was hit by the [Concealed Medicine Poke] on the left shoulder.
Yang Guo was listening by the side with his heart beating like mad, he wanted to help his stepfather but with his level of martial arts, he would just be sending himself to death.
Ke Zhen’E managed to hit Ouyang Feng again, this time on the body. Ouyang Feng should have died today, but fortunately for him his internal energy was profound, though he had no power to attack, he could still avoid and parry the attacks, dispersing the power behind the strikes. Only superficial injuries were apparent on him, his bones and his internal organs remained unharmed. Ke Zhen’E praised his opponent, thinking to himself, that old venom’s abilities are amazing, my strikes are clearly hitting him but they seem to slide away on his body, he’s managing to dissipate ninety percent of the power in my hits. However, it is unlikely that he is able to use this type of soft technique with his head. He readied his staff and attacked his head.
Ouyang Feng moved his head and managed to avoid the attacks for a few times but all of a sudden, he was trapped by the iron staff’s wind, he knew he was in trouble; if a blow landed on his head, it would surely be fatal. With no other choice, he suddenly threw himself at Ke Zhen’E and grabbed his chest. Ke Zhen’E was shocked, his staff was out of reach of the enemy and could only use his hands to resist. The both of them rolled to the ground.
Ou Yang Feng didn’t dare release his hands and held his opponent’s chest tightly. His left hand reached out to grab his waist when suddenly he felt something solid, he quickly grabbed it and found that it was a knife. It was Zhang Asheng’s weapon, the ‘Slaughtering Cow Knife’, however contrary to its name, it wasn’t used to slaughter cows. The knife can chop gold and break jade; it was an extremely sharp blade. Ever since Cheng Asheng died under the hands of Chen Xuanfeng in the steppes of Mongolia, Ke Zhen’E had kept the knife by his side as a reminder of him and it never left him.
Ouyang Feng was fighting at close quarters with his opponent and pulled the knife out; he twisted his left arm and raised the knife, aiming for his foe’s waist. At precisely the same time, Ke Zhen’E released his iron staff and threw out a right fist. With a thud, Ouyang Feng was sent tumbling. Ouyang Feng was dazed and in this state, he threw the blade towards his opponent. Ke Zhen’E heard the knife’s wind, and dodged.
A loud ringing ‘dang’ sound was heard; the knife had struck the hall’s large bell. Although this throw by Ou Yang Feng didn’t carry much force, the knife’s blade was extremely sharp and actually pierced the bell. The knife quivered.
Yang Guo was standing next to the bell and the knife flew past his face, almost cutting his cheeks. This made Yang Guo’s heart skip a beat. He quickly scrambled himself onto the top of the bell’s bracket.
Ouyang Feng had an idea and went behind the bell. The bell’s ringing had not resided so Ke Zhen’E could not hear his breathing sounds. He lent his head to the side and listened carefully.
Moonlight graced the hall. Under the moonlight, one could see his hair was a mess and he was leaning on his staff, listening intently with a frightening air.
Yang Guo had saw what had happened and reached out for the knife. With the knife’s handle, he struck the bell heavily, causing a loud ‘dang’ sound, covering up their breathing sounds.
Ke Zhen’E heard where the sound came from and headed in that direction but Ouyang Feng had already moved behind the bell. Ke Zhen’E swept his staff and Ouyang Feng leapt to the side to avoid it. The staff struck the bell and caused a loud deafening noise. Yang Guo felt his eardrums starting to hurt. Ke Zhen’E realised something and he kept on striking the bell. Before one ring finished, another began and the ringing got louder and louder. Ouyang Feng knew something was up, although Guo Jing is hurt, if the ringing continues, Huang Rong would eventually come and help. While the bell rang, Ouyang Feng lightened his steps and tried to slip out from the back hall. But Ke Zhen’E had very sensitive hearing, he could still distinguish between light sounds even with the loud ringing going on. He heard the steps of Ouyang Feng and pretended that he hadn’t notice. He continued to ring the bell, waiting for Ouyang Feng to make his move. As soon as Ouyang Feng was away from the bell, he would launch a sudden attack at his head.
Though Ouyang Feng’s strength was lost, he has experienced a lifetime of storms and squalls, how would he not know the tactics and tricks used in battle? When he saw Ke Zhen’E raise his right shoulder slightly, he knew what was going on, he didn’t wait for the iron staff’s attack and moved back behind the bell. After he had suffered the serious injury, Ouyang Feng had already found it difficult to move; but with his life threatened, he somehow managed to stir up latent energy that even he didn’t know existed from the profound internal energy he has cultivated over the years.
Ke Zhen’E angrily called out, “Even if I don’t kill you, I’m going to tire you out.” He chased him around the bell.
Yang Guo saw the two circling around the bell; if this continued, his godfather will be the first to tire. With the situation becoming desperate, an idea sprang into Yang Guo’s mind. He climbed up on top of the bell’s bracket and waved his hands about, trying to signal with his hands. Ouyang Feng was preoccupied with his enemy and didn’t see this; only after two more circles did he see Yang Guo signalling to him to move away. He didn’t understand what he meant, but if he wanted him to move away, he must have a plan so he took a risk and ran away.
Ke Zhen’E stopped and tried to figure out which way his opponent was going. Yang Guo took off his shoes and threw it to the back of the hall, making two thud sounds as it landed. Ke Zhen’E was baffled, he was sure that Ouyang Feng was moving towards the main doors so how come there was a noise at the back of the hall? When Ke Zhen’E was distracted, Yang Guo grasped the ‘Slaughter Cow Knife’, and with all his strength chopped at the wooden bracket holding the large bell up. The beam was thick and Yang Guo was weak, even with a sharp knife, how could he sever the beam? However the metal bell was extremely heavy and with notches in the beam being cut out, the beam could not support the bell any longer. A creaking sound followed and the beam snapped, the large bell generated a wind as it fell, heading straight down on Ke Zhen’E’s head.
Ke Zhen’E had already heard that there was a strange noise above him and just as he was wondering what it was, the bell fell on him. There was no time for him to jump out of the way but somehow, his iron staff had got in the way and obstructed the bell. With the bell hindered he took this chance and rolled out of the way. He then heard a snapping noise, and the iron staff snapped in half. The bell tipped over and rolled along the ground, hitting Ke Zhen’E in the shoulder, and flinging him out of the hall. His rolled around a few times; he had a cut on his forehead and a bloody nose. Ke Zhen’E was blind and didn’t know what caused this. He was afraid that there was some kind of strange being acting up in the hall so he picked himself up and left.
Ouyang Feng was by the side watching this and couldn’t stop himself from being slightly shocked. He kept on calling out, “What a pity, what a pity!” He also said, “Good son, very clever!”
Yang Guo climbed down from the bracket. He was pleased with himself and said, “That old blind man won’t dare come back.”
Ouyang Feng shook his head saying, “His hatred for me runs deeper than the sea, as long as he still has a breath of life in him, he will come back.
Yang Guo said, “Then let’s go quickly.”
Ouyang Feng shook his head again and said, “My injury is very serious, I won’t be able to get far.” He was now out of danger and his body felt like it was going to fall apart; even taking one step would be too much for him.
Yang Guo said anxiously, “What should we do?”
Ouyang Feng thought for a while and said, “There is a way. Break the other bell’s beam, and hide me beneath the bell.”
Yang Guo said, “How would you get out?”
Ouyang Feng said, “I’ll be meditating under the bell for seven days. After my strength has returned, I will be able to lift the bell and escape. Even if the old blind man returns within these seven days, he doesn’t have the ability to lift the bell up. If Huang Rong doesn’t come, I doubt if there is anyone that can break through. If Huang Rong does come, then it’ll all be over.”
Yang Guo thought carefully, and knew that this was the only plan that’ll work so he made sure and asked him again whether he will be able to escape from the bell without anyone’s help. He then said, “You won’t have anything to eat within these seven days, will you be alright?”
Ouyang Feng said, “Go fill a basin with clean water and place it beside me. There are still a few buns left. This will last for seven days if I ration them.”
Yang Guo went to the kitchen and found a large basin, and then filled it with clean water. He then placed it underneath the other bell, and helped his stepfather directly underneath it, and sat him down.
Ouyang Feng said, “Son, go with the one called Guo. I will come and find you later on.”
Yang Guo agreed and climbed up to the bell’s bracket before breaking the beam, sending the bell down, covering Ouyang Feng.
Yang Guo shouted out ‘Father’. When he didn’t hear a reply, he knew that he couldn’t hear from within the bell. As he was about to leave, a thought popped into his head and he went to the back hall to fill another basin with water. He placed it on the floor and then flipped over, placing his left hand in the basin. He followed the method of reversing meridans taught by Ouyang Feng to force some poison out. Because this type of art was very tiring and he had just begun practising this skill, he could only force out ten or so drops of blood before his head was covered with sweat. Afterwards, he ripped off some of the cloth from the statues, and then wrapped it around a rod before dipping it into the bloody water mixture and covered the bell with it. He thought that if blind man Ke returns and tries to move the bell, he would definitely be poisoned for sure.
Another thing that came to his attention was that his stepfather would definitely suffocate to death under the bell in seven days so he would use the knife to dig out a brick tile next to the bell, and dug out a hole the size of a fist to allow the circulation of air. As he was digging the hole, the blade struck at another slab of hard stone underneath the tile and snapped. The knife was sharp but it was very thin, with Yang Guo treating it like a shovel, the knife snapped. He didn’t know how precious the knife was and anyway, it wasn’t his so he felt no pity when he threw it away. He knelt down on the ground and spoke through the opening, “Father, I’m going now. Come and collect me soon. Be careful when you come out, there is poison on the bell.” Yang Guo then lowered his ear to the opening and heard Ouyang Feng reply weakly, “Good son, I’m not scared of poison, the poison should be scared of me. You be careful. I will definitely come back for you.”
Yang Guo sat there for a while and didn’t want to leave but soon he started to hurry back. He was extremely careful when he climbed back into the house in case Ke Zhen’E noticed. However to his surprise, when he got back to the room, he saw that Ke Zhen’E had not returned to the room.
When morning came, he heard someone knocking on the door with a branch. He leapt out of his bed and opened the door. He saw it was Ke Zhen’E supporting himself on a wooden branch, his face grey and pale. As soon as he took a step into the room, he fell onto the floor. Yang Guo noticed that his hands were black, he did indeed return to find Ouyang Feng and had fallen for his poisonous booby trap. He was rather pleased about it and faked concern by calling out, “Grandpa Ke, what’s the matter?”
Huang Rong and Guo Jing heard the shout and hurried to see what was the matter; they were shocked when they saw Ke Zhen’E lying on the ground. Though Guo Jing could walk, he had no strength in him and so it was Huang Rong who helped Ke Zhen’E to the bed. She asked, “Great master, how are you feeling?”
Ke Zhen’E shook his head, and didn’t reply. Huang Rong saw his hands were black and said angrily, “It was that Li ***** again. Brother Jing, I’ll go and battle her.” She tied her belt and walked out.
Ke Zhen’E said quietly, “It wasn’t her,”
Huang Rong stopped and asked, “Who was it then?”
Ke Zhen’E couldn’t defeat a man who hasn’t even got the strength to kill a chicken, and it was instead him in return that was injured, it reflected badly on him. Ke Zhen’E was a proud and stubborn man, it was what was called ‘the older the ginger the more bite it has’; he didn’t say a word about how his wound came about.
The two knew his character, if he wants to say, he will say it. He’ll just get angry if they question him. It was lucky that the poison only got on his skin; the potency of the poison wasn’t strong. He’ll just feel a bit light headed. He was fine after taking a ‘Pill of the Nine Jaded Flowers’.
Huang Rong planned what she should do; at the moment Guo Jing and Ke Zhen’E are injured, Li Mochou’s poison is trouble, the children and two wounded must be sent to Peach Blossom Island. She will settle the score with Li Mochou later on. They spent the morning resting in the house, in the afternoon they got on a boat and headed east.
Yang Guo was happy with the fact that Huang Rong did not attempt to find Ouyang Feng and thought, “Father was afraid that auntie Guo will come and search for him, auntie Guo is such a beautiful lady, could it be that she is much more powerful than blind man Ke?”
They had travelled by boat for half a day now and the sky was now getting dark. The boat anchored by the shore and the owners of the boat prepared supper. Guo Fu saw that Yang Guo was ignoring her. She was angry and bored. She sat by the window, and looked out. Suddenly, she saw that under the shade of willow trees were two boys sobbing, it looked like the Wu brothers Wu Dunru and Wu Xiuwen.
Guo Fu shouted out, “Hey, what are you doing there?”
Wu Xiuwen replied, “We are crying, can’t you see?”
Guo Fu said, “What’s the matter, did your mother beat you?”
Wu Xiuwen said, “My mum’s dead!”
Huang Rong was shocked when she heard this and leapt onto the shore. She saw the boys sobbing over their mother. Madam Wu’s face was completely black, she had died a long time ago. Huang Rong asked for news of Wu Santong and Wu Dunru cried, “We don’t know where he went.”
Wu Xiuwen said, “Mother had sucked the poison out of father, a lot of black blood came out. Father got better, while mother died. When father saw that mother had died, he went mad again. We called after him, but he ignored us and went away.” He cried again when he said this.
Huang Rong thought, “Madam Wu sacrificed herself for her husband, she is an great woman.” She asked, “Are you hungry?” The boys nodded their head.
Huang Rong sighed and ordered the boat keeper to take the boys on board and feed them. When they reached a town, she bought a wooden coffin for Madam Wu, and prepared her body for it. There was no time to bury her that night. The next morning, she bought a piece of land and buried the body. The brothers sobbed in front of the grave.
Guo Jing said, “Rong’er, the two boys have lost their parents, why don’t we take them back to Peach Blossom Island and we’ll care for them.” Huang Rong agreed, and comforted the boys. They travelled on the boat until they reached the sea where they then hired a large boat and headed east, towards Peach Blossom Island.
I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Lots of edits in Chapter 1, mainly correcting myself for reading the chinese sentence structure wrongly when I first started out. Mainly who said what to who etc,. Sorry about that guys. A few corrections in chapter 2 but nothing really major.
Have hopefully put the names as should be, surname first and first names together. I generally bracketed the names of the martial arts. Changed pressure pointing to acupointing. I have also tried to make the kids sound more like kids. Hopefully everything should flow better. I will be doing the first couple of chapters asap as these require most attention I feel. The later chapters are fine but obviously editing will still be required. The translation shoud be better spaced out than previously because the chapters I used when I first started translating didn't have any. Thats it for now. Thanks for reading and once again, apologies for initial chapters!
I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Hi Noodles! I just wondered if you edited from the chapters posted in the Reading Room at SPCNETTV or from your original translation. As for the completion of the translation, I think that because you completed so much of it that it became the driving force behind the later group to finish it. Thankfully the impetus has carried over to LOCH.Originally Posted by Noodles
Hopefully it'll carry over to HSDS too. It's just 16 chapters, from Chap 25-40.Originally Posted by JamesG
Last edited by dgfds01; 10-20-06 at 11:25 PM.
Just one comment:
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Wow! The man who started it all. Welcome back!
lol, only 16 chapters... yeh i hope so too...Originally Posted by dgfds01