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Thread: LoCH BOOK 3

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    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    LoCH Chapter 21 - The Thousand-Pound Rock


    Ouyang Feng felt his the surroundings become hotter and the deck of the boat was shaking trememdously and he knew the boat would sink any moment. But Hong Qigong was attacking more furiously and did not slacken his pace so if he did not use his special skills now he might not get out of this alive so he withdrew his Snake Rod with his right hand and kicked out heavily with his right leg.

    Hong Qigong used his bamboo rod to chase the Snake Rod while using his left hand to block the incoming kick but Ouyang Feng suddenly twisted his arms and punched towards Hong Qigong’s ‘Right Sun’ Accupoint. This [Agile Viper Boxing] was developed through Ouyang Feng’s own harsh training and was meant for use during the 2nd Hua Shan Tournament. He had not used this snake-like boxing skill even after exchanging 1000 strokes with Hong Qigong on Peach Blossom Island.

    A snake seems to be boneless and could turn in all directions at will, so the main point of this boxing skill is to be able to twist the arms unpredictably, so that when the opponent blocks the fists, the exponent would be able to throw out a punch from an unexpected angle at close proximity. Of course to expect the arms to move exactly like a snake would be unreasonable but in the eyes of the opponent, the movements of the arms greatly resemble snakes.

    Originally, with Ouyang Feng executing such a strange move in this critical moment, Hong Qigong would have found it hard to defend; even if he were not injured, he would also be in danger. However Ouyang Ke had already used it against Guo Jing before, and although he won, he actually gave Hong Qigong a chance to spot a flaw in the move.

    That day he did not attend the feast with Li Sheng and the of group beggars but was instead deeply thinking of how to counter the move. Now when Ouyang Feng finally used this move, he secretly rejoiced, extended his fingers to form a claw and caught hold of his fist. This was perfect as he managed to swiftly and accurately counter the special move of the [Agile Viper Boxing].

    It looked like it happened by chance, but in reality it was Hong Qigong who pondered over it for many days and nights, followed by long hours of practice which finally allowed him to deal with the entire [Agile Viper Boxing]. Although it had not been perfected yet, but it had the element of surprise, which managed to catch him off guard.

    Ouyang Feng originally expected Hong Qigong to be in great surprise and be rendered helpless, allowing him to seize the opportunity and move in for the kill, but unexpectedly it was he who ended up surprised himself and was forced to retreat several steps. Suddenly a cloud of fire decended upon him, immediately covering his whole body. Hong Qigong was also startled and leapt back and saw that it was actually a large sail which caught fire.

    With Ouyang Feng’s Wugong, even if that sail fell several times faster ot would not hit him. But now he suddenly saw the [Agile Viper Boxing] which he painstakingly created over many years unexpectedly being so carelessly neutralized, his mind was lost and he did not attempt to evade the burning sail. The sail with the mast weighed several hundred jin and Ouyang Feng was not able to lift the sail even after jumping twice.

    Although he was in great danger, he was still calm and he raised up the Snake Rod to lift the sail, but the Snake Rod was pinned under the mast and could not be lifted upright. In his heart sighed, "Forget it! I’ll return to heaven today!" Suddenly he felt the weight lifted and his head was no longer blocked by the sail and saw that Hong Qigong had raised the anchor, hooking it onto the sail and pulling the sail away. Actually Hong Qigong did not want to see him being burnt alive so he went forth to save him.

    Now Ouyang Feng’s clothes and brows were on fire and he immediately jumped up and rolled on the deck of the boat frantically attempting to put out the fire. Unfortunately bad things do not come singly and the boat suddenly lunged to one side, causing a huge chain to sweep right into him.

    Hong Qigong shouted, “Ah!” and dashed forward to grab the chain. The chain was already heated by the fire and caused a sizzling sound when it came into contact with his hand, scalding his palm. He let go immediately and threw it into the sea. He was just about to jump when he felt a slight numbness on his back.

    He stopped for a second and a thought flashed through his mind, “I saved West Poison’s life, can it be possible that he’s using his snake to poison me?” He turned around and saw that it was indeed a snake with fresh blood in its mouth. In his rage he threw 2 palms towards Ouyang Feng. Ouyang Feng stepped aside impassively and Hong Qigong’s palms hit a mast, splitting it into 2.

    Ouyang Feng was happy that his sneak attack worked but when he saw Hong Qigong lashing out crazily he became more serious and did not dare take the blows head-on, avoiding them instead. Guo Jing shouted, “Master! Climb aboard the small boat.” Hong Qigong suddenly felt dizzy and staggered.

    Ouyang Feng charged forward and hit out with his palms which landed right on Hong Qigong’s back. Ouyang Feng’s snake’s lethal poison was unmatched, but fortunately he already used up most of the poison when he made a bet with Zhou Bo Tong days ago, so the poison was not so lethal that day.

    So when Hong Qigong was bitten, he was not very severely poisoned and due to his high internal energy, the poison took some time to take effect. When he was hit by Ouyang Feng he was in a daze and he did not circulate his qi to protect himself, causing him to throw up blood and collapse.

    Since Hong Qigong was very highly-skilled, Ouyang Feng knew that this blow would not kill him, so when he recovered some time later, Ouyang Feng would be in trouble. He jumped over and raised his foot to strike his chest. Guo Jing had just climbed aboard from the small boat and saw that the situation was very urgent but he might not be able to save Hong Qigong in time, so he struck out with both palms using the [Double-Dragon Water Rationing] stance to attack Ouyang Feng’s waist.

    Although Ouyang Feng knew his martial arts were not weak, he did not think very highly of him and used his left hand to block the strike while his right foot slammed down. Guo Jing was shocked and did not care about his own safety and jumped up, hugging Ouyang Feng’s head, but by doing this he left his accupoints exposed and his side was swept at by Ouyang Feng.

    Although this counterattack was not very forceful, every of his strike was enough to kill the opponent, so if not for Guo Jing’s good internal strength, he would have suffered serious injuries. He felt a sharp pain followed by numbness in half his body, but he continued to cling on tenaciously to Ouyang Feng’s head.

    Ouyang Feng assumed that with his vicious strike, the opponent would retreat, but he did not expect the dumb kid to use such a move that would get them both injured. Thus he had to retract the foot which was halfway towards Hong Qigong to twist his waist around to attack Guo Jing. At such close proximity, he could not execute any of his refined Snake moves.

    For highly-skilled exponents, whenever they fight, they would not allow the opponent to get close to them even if they were targeting accupoints, so there was hardly any close-contact grappling involved. When it came to advanced martial arts, there were no moves for scuffling.

    Ouyang Feng felt his throat being gripped forcefully by Guo Jing and he struck out backwards, but Guo Jing managed to avoid the blows. He felt that it was becoming harder to breathe, and felt that the grip was becoming tighter, so he jabbed his elbow backwards. Guo Jing evaded right and had to release his left hand, but also used his legs to execute a Mongolian wrestling technique while his left hand slipped past Ouyang Feng’s shoulder.

    He slammed down forcefully on Ouyang Feng’s back, causing Ouyang Feng to suffer intense pain even with his good martial arts. This technique was called the [Camel’s Pull], and it was so effective that only a wrestling expert could deal with it. Ouyang Feng did not know wrestling, so he suffered the whole extent of the strike.

    Guo Jing was happy and his right hand released its grip and slipped upwards behind Ouyang Feng’s back. With a loud yell he pressed both palms down. In wrestling this move was called the [Mountain Breaking Move] and was used when the opponent had fallen, so that no matter how strong his shoulders were or how good his wrestling techniques were, there would be nothing much he could do as his shoulder would break if he tried to move.

    However Ouyang Feng’s martial arts were much better than the Mongolian wrestlers, so even with such a disadvantage he still managed to think of a way to turn defeat into victory. When Guo Jing’s hands came down, he used his Qinggong to duck aside and rolled away under Guo Jing’s waist.

    With his status as a highly skilled martial arts master, rolling under a junior’s waist was a great disgrace, but that did not bother him. He broke free from the [Mountain Breaking Move] and immediately threw out his fists to counterattack Guo Jing’s back. He did not expect that before his fists reached Guo Jing, his left leg was immobilized.

    Guo Jing knew he was no match for his opponent, but with such a close-combat situation and his wrestling background, coupled with the fact that he disregarded his safety, Ouyang Feng could not get any closer to his master to injure him. At this point the fires became fiercer and the planks listed, causing them to lose their balance and fall and their clothes caught fire.

    Huang Rong was anxious and worried sick as she saw Hong Qigong’s motionless body slumped on the side of the boat and she could not tell if he was dead or alive. Meanwhile Guo Jing and Ouyang Feng were still rolling and struggling about without showing signs of stopping. Their clothes were on fire and the situation was getting dangerous, so she lifted her oar and smashed it towards Ouyang Ke’s head.

    Although his right arm was broken, his martial arts were still good enough for him to evade the oar and he stretched out his left hand to grab Huang Rong’s bracelet. Huang Rong stomped her feet fiercely and the small boat almost capsized. Ouyang Ke could not swim and he was about to fall overboard, so he had to let go of Huang Rong. When the boat stabilized, Huang Rong took the opportunity to jump into the sea.

    She swam a few strokes and rushed towards the big boat. The boat was already half submerged in water and the deck was almost touching the water surface. Huang Rong climbed aboard to help Guo Jing and took out the ‘Moth-Eyebrow’ Spike from her waist. Guo Jing and Ouyang Feng were deadlocked into a bundle and rolling about. Ouyang Feng’s martial arts were better and he managed to pin Guo Jing underneath, but Guo Jing tenaciously held on to his shoulders, causing him to be unable to counterattack. Huang Rong fought through the smoke and went up to Ouyang Feng, piercing his back with the spike.

    Ouyang Feng was struggling madly with Guo Jing, but when he felt the prick, he was surprised and twisted around forcefully, causing Guo Jing to land on top. Huang Rong now wanted to poke Ouyang Feng’s head with the spike, but Ouyang Feng’s agility allowed him to evade her attacks and she finally pierced the spike into the deck.

    A gust of wind blew some thick black smoke over, causing her eyes to smart. Just as she was about to rub her eyes, she suddenly felt pain in her leg and she fell over. It was Ouyang Feng who kicked her. Huang Rong rolled over and jumped up, but her hair caught fire. She was about to attack him when Guo Jing shouted, “Save Master first!” Huang Rong agreed in her mind and ran towards Hong Qi Gong, grabbed him and jumped into the sea, extinguishing the fire on her body.

    Huang Rong placed Hong Qigong on her back, kicked her legs in the water and swam to the boat. Ouyang Ke stood at the side of the boat and raised the oar up high, shouting, “Put the old beggar down, I’ll only let you board alone!” Huang Rong said, “Fine! Let’s meet in the water!” She shook the boat violently. The boat rocked terribly and looked like it was about to capsize. Ouyang Ke became frantic and gripped the side of the boat tightly, saying, “Don’t… don’t shake, the boat is going to overturn!”

    Huang Rong laughed, saying, “Quickly pull my master up. And watch out; if you try any tricks, I’ll dunk you in the water for 6 hours.” Ouyang Ke had no choice but to comply and held on to Hong Qigong’s back, pulling him onboard.

    Huang Rong smiled and praised him, “From the first time I met you, this is the first good deed you’ve done.” Ouyang Ke’s heart stirred and wanted to speak, but could not open his mouth. Huang Rong was about to swim back to the large boat to help out in the fight when she suddenly heard a thunderous rumble – a huge wall of water loomed over her head.

    She was utterly shocked and quickly held her breath, waiting for the water to hit the boat, but when she looked again and touched the back of her wet hair, her jaw dropped. A whirpool had formed on the surface of the sea and the large burning boat had disappeared together with Guo Jing and Ouyang Feng.

    At this moment, her mind was completely blank and she completely did not feel anything or think of anything, and she became completely lost, not knowing where she was. Suddenly, the salty water filled her mouth and she found herself sinking into the water. She started and her senses were awoken as she swam upwards. When she broke through the surface, all she could see in all directions was the small boat; everything else had gone disappeared under the waves.

    Huang Rong dived into the water again and struggled to go deeper. Her swimming skills were fantastic and her strokes were powerful, but she could only swim along with the current. She covered the entire area to search for Guo Jing but he had disappeared without trace. Even Ouyang Feng could not be found – it seemed like they had gone down with the boat.

    After some time, she was completely exhausted, but she refused to give up, and swam about wildly in the sea. She could only hope Heaven would be merciful and let her bump into Guo Jing, but she was surrounded by mountains of waves and there was totally no trace of him. She had been swimming for over an hour now and she could not continue any longer, so she headed towards the small boat, intending to rest for a while before resuming the search.

    Ouyang Ke pulled her up. He saw that his uncle was missing and was also equally anxious, asking, “Have you seen my uncle?” Huang Rong was too exhausted and she suddenly see everything go black and she fainted. After some time, she slowly regained consciousness but felt like her body was afloat, like as though she was floating among the clouds while the sounds of the winds and waves beat against her ears. She sat upright and realised that the boat was just following the currents.

    Right now they did not know how far were they from the sunken boat and Guo Jing could not be found. Huang Rong suffered great sadness and fainted again. Ouyang Ke could only grip the sides of the small boat tightly as he feared that the next wave would send him tumbling out of the boat into the water.

    After another hour, Huang Rong awoke again and thought that since her Brother Jing was buried at the bottom of the sea, it was meaningless for her to live on. When she saw Ouyang Ke’s eyes tremble and his pale lips, she felt disgusted and thought, “How can I possibly die together with this beast?” She stood up and snapped, “Jump overboard!” Ouyang Ke was shocked and exclaimed, “What?” Huang Rong said, “You’re not jumping? Let me capsize the boat then we shall speak again.”

    She jumped towards the right, causing a reaction which resulted in the boat springing leftwards. She then jumped towards the left, and the boat rocked even more violently. When she heard Ouyang Ke’s frantic shouting, her sadness became joy and she jumped again.

    Ouyang Ke knew that if she jumped around a few more times, the boat would definitely capsize, and when he saw her jump again, he quickly jumped to the other side. They landed exactly at the same time and their forces cancelled out, causing the boat to momentarily dip deeper into the water.

    Huang Rong repeated this trick twice, but he managed to stop her. Huang Rong said, “Good! I’ll make a hole in the boat and see what you can do.” She took out the steel spike and jumped to the middle of the boat, but when she saw Hong Qigong lying down motionless at the bottom of the boat, she realised that she had completely forgotten about her master as she yearned for Guo Jing. She hurriedly bent down to place a finger at his nose, and she felt his faint breathing.

    She was relieved and supported Hong Qigong up. His eyes were tightly closed and his face was white as sheet, and his pulse was weak. Huang Rong became worried about her master and did not bother about Ouyang Ke, so she undid his shirt to check his injury.

    Suddenly the boat trembled violently and Ouyang Ke shouted out excitedly, “Land ahoy! Land ahoy!” Huang Rong lifted up her head and saw a dense cluster of trees in the distance. The boat had now stopped moving as it was grounded on a reef.

    They were still some distance from shore but they could see the sea bed; the depth was only up to their waist-level. Ouyang Ke jumped into the water and ran a few steps forward before turning back to look at Huang Rong, then he headed back. Huang Rong saw that Hong Qigong’s shoulder had a black handprint which seemed to be quite deep, so she could not help but think, “How could Western Poison’s palm strike be so powerful?”

    Just then she noticed 2 fine teeth marks on his shoulder. If she did not look carefully, she would have missed them. She pressed them lightly with her fingers and suddenly felt a sharp pain in her hand, so she hastily withdrew it and asked, “Master! How are you now?” Hong Qigong only moaned but did not answer her. Huang Rong said to Ouyang Ke, “Pass me the medicine.”

    Ouyang Ke threw up his hands impatiently and said, “The antidote is with my uncle.” Huang Rong said, “I don’t believe that.” Ouyang Ke said, “Search me.” He undid his outer gown and emptied his stuff onto his hand. Huang Rong saw that there was indeed no medicine and said, “Help me get Master ashore!”

    The 2 of them took each arm of Hong Qigong and placed them over their shoulders. Huang Rong stretched out her hand and held Ouyang Ke’s hand and allowed Hong Qigong to sit on their arms. They then proceeded to the shore. Huang Rong felt her master shiver unceasingly and felt extremely worried. Ouyang Ke on the other hand was rather pleased as he only only felt a warm and smooth hand tugging his, which was what he could only dream of previously. Unfortunately for him, it was not long before they reached the shore.

    Huang Rong bent down and placed Hong Qigong on the ground, saying, “Quick, get the boat ashore, don’t let the tide sweep it out to sea.” Ouyang Ke released his hand but stared blankly, vaguely hearing Huang Rong’s voice but not paying attention to what she was saying. Luckily Huang Rong did not know what he was thinking inside and only stared at him and repeated what she said. Ouyang Ke then dragged the boat up to shore and saw that Huang Rong had turned Hong Qigong over and let him lie on the grass so that she could give him first aid. He then thought, “Where on Earth are we?”

    He ran up a small hill and looked around, and could not help but be extremely surprised and pleased. In all directions were the vast sea, and they were on a remote island. The island was filled with lush greenery but there was no sign of human life. He was surprised as there was no sign of food or accomodation, so how could they survive? On the other hand, he was pleased because it seemed like he was fated to be on this deserted island with that angel-like beauty, and with the old beggar was seriously injured, he would not bother them. He thought, “With her staying here, this god-forsaken island is like a paradise; even if I had to die, I would die happy.”

    When he thought of this, he subconsciously waved his arms about but he suddenly felt a sharp pain in his right shoulder, causing him to remember that it was broken, so he broke off 2 branches and tore a strip of cloth and tied his arm into the splint. Huang Rong was at that time trying to suck out the poison from her master’s back. She did not know how else she could help him so she let him lie down on a rock in a cave and shouted over to Ouyang Ke, “Go look around and see if there’s any inn around here.”

    Ouyang Ke laughed, “This is an island, there’s absolutely no inn here. Let’s see if we’re lucky to find anyone else here.” Huang Rong was slightly shocked and said, “You go do that.” When Ouyang Ke heard her instruction, he was very excited and utilised his Qinggong and ran east, but all he saw were even more wild trees and found no traces of humans. Along the way he killed 2 wild hares and headed north before making his way back in a loop. He told Huang Rong, “It’s a deserted island.”

    That night Huang Rong did not dare sleep for fear of Ouyang Ke attacking them and also due to her anxiety over Hong Qigong. It was only at dawn the following morning did she catch a few hours of sleep. In her sleep she dreamt that Hong Qigong called her several times and she was jolted awake and asked, “Master, how are you?” Hong Qigong pointed at his mouth and moved his teeth. Huang Rong laughed and took out some of the unfinished rabbit meat from the previous night and fed him.

    Once he consumed the meat, he felt the Qi stirring within him and he sat upright to breathe properly. Huang Rong did not dare utter a word and only scrutinized his expression. But she saw the reddish tint on his face turn pale, then red again. This cycle repeated several times and soon his head was emitting steamy mist and his sweat decended like the rain, and his body was shivering terribly. Suddenly there was a flash of a shadow – Ouyang Ke was trying to get over.

    Huang Rong knew that her master was attempting to treat his injuries, which was a life-and-death situation, so if he forced his way in and distracted her master, nothing would save him then. So she softly snapped, “Get out now!” Ouyang Ke laughed, “Let’s discuss how we can survive here on this deserted island. The days would get longer from now, you know!” Hong Qigong blinked and asked, “Is this really a deserted island?” Huang Rong said, “Master, please concentrate, ignore him.” She turned to Ouyang Ke and said, “Come, let’s talk outside.” Ouyang Ke was elated and followed her out of the cave.

    The weather was good this day, but Huang Rong only saw the edge of the vast seas meet the sky, and apart from a few clouds, there was nothing else. She went to their landing ground and was suddenly shocked, and asked, “Where’s the boat?” Ouyang Ke said, “Huh, where is it? It must have been swept away by the currents! Ah, damn it!”

    Huang Rong saw his expression and deduced that it was he who pushed the boat out to sea so that she could not get away from here and felt that it was absolutely despicable. Since Guo Jing’s apparent death, she had no intention of living on. Besides, the small boat would not be able to make it across the fierce waves and the situation was bleak, but in that case she would not be able to get her master to safety.

    She stared at Ouyang Ke without any change in her expression, but in her heart she was actually thinking of how she could kill him and save her master at the same time. Huang Rong jumped onto a large rock and looked into the distance. Ouyang Ke thought, “If I don’t use this chance to get close to her now, then when?” He also leapt up the rock and waited her for her to sit down. After some time she was not angry and did not shift her position, so he moved closer and said, “Little sister, the 2 of us can live here till old and still live like the deities. I must have done something wonderful in my past life to deserve this!”

    Huang Rong laughed and said, “This island has 3 of us including Master, wouldn’t we be lonely?” Ouyang Ke felt that her tone was harmless and was ecstatic, saying, “With me by your side, why would it be lonely? Moreover, when we have children in future, it would be even less so.” Huang Rong laughed, “Who will have children? I wouldn’t.” Ouyang Ke laughed, “I’ll help you.” Saying that, he stretched out his hand to hug her. He then felt warmth in his palm and realised that Huang Rong had already held his hand. Ouyang Ke’s heart beat madly.

    Huang Rong slowly moved her hand up his arm, then said in a low voice, “Sister Mu Nianci’s chastity was destroyed by you, is it not?” Ouyang Ke laughed aloud, saying, “That girl did not want to submit to me. What kind of man am I, Gentleman Ouyang, to force her?” Huang Rong said, “So, it must be others who slandered her. Her lover had a big quarrel with her because of this.” Ouyang Ke said, “Her reputation suffered because of this, what a pity!”

    Huang Rong suddenly pointed to the sea and shouted, “Ah, what is that!” Ouyang Ke looked in that direction and was about to ask when he suddenly felt his wrist go stiff under her firm grip and his body went numb and he could not move. Huang Rong drew her spike and stabbed it towards his abdomen. Their distance was extremely small and Ouyang Ke was in a state of confusion, coupled with the fact that his arm was immobilized, how could he block it?

    Still, all his training under expert guidiance at White Camel Mountain was not wasted; he suddenly twisted his body and used his chest to smash towards Huang Rong’s back in a split second. Huang Rong evaded him and jumped off the rock, causing the spike to gash his leg, resulting in a deep wound that was almost 1 foot long.

    Ouyang Ke jumped off too and saw her spike. He stood there and grinned but he actually felt terrible pain. He bent down and saw his gown stained blood red and realised that he just escaped with his life, but still he was severely injured. Huang Rong said, “We were talking fine, why did you try to bump into me for no reason? I won’t bother about you now.” She then turned and left. Ouyang Ke was filled with love and hatred, shock and joy, and just stood rooted there silently.

    As Huang Rong went back to the cave, she blamed her poor skills for allowing her to waste such a good opportunity and let him escape. When she went inside, she saw Hong Qigong asleep and saw a pool of black blood on the ground, she started and asked, “Master, how are you? Are you better?” Hong Qigong said, “I want wine.” Huang Rong felt distressed; she did not know how to find wine on this deserted island. Yet she agreed and said, “I’ll try to get it. Master, your injury isn’t serious, right?” Her tears dropped as she said that.

    Despite having gone through so much, she had never cried. Now that her tears fell, she could not control herself and buried herself in Hong Qigong’s bosom and cried her heart out. Hong Qigong stroked her hair and patted her back, trying to console her. The old beggar roamed Jianghu for so many decades, but had never had to deal with a crying girl before, so he did not know what to do. He could only say, “Good girl, don’t cry, Master’s here for you. Please don’t cry. I don’t want the wine already.”

    Huang Rong stopped after a while and lifted her head. When she saw that Hong Qigong’s clothes were wet with her tears, she smiled and said, “I didn’t manage to kill that evil jerk, what a pity!” She then told the whole story to him. Hong Qigong was silent for a moment before saying, “Master is useless now. That jerk is better than you in martial arts. For now you can only pit your wits against him.” Huang Rong said, “Master, after resting a few days, you’d recover and then take his useless life with one palm, won’t that settle it?”

    Hong Qigong regretfully said, “I’ve been poisoned by the poisonous snake as well as Western Poison’s deadly palm. I’ve already used all my martial abilities to purge the poison but there is some left within me. Even if I survive, my martial arts would be affected. Your master is just another old man without any powerful skills.” Huang Rong quickly said, “No, no, Master, you won’t, you won’t!” Hong Qigong said, “I the old beggar have never taken this seriously, but now it has come to this, I can’t deny it.”

    He paused, then said gravely, “Child, Master hasn’t got a choice, but I have to request a huge favour from you – it’s extremely difficult to accomplish – will you accept?” Huang Rong hastily said, “Yes, yes! Master, tell me.” He sighed, then said, “Our time together as master and disciple is not long, I didn’t get to teach you much martial arts. Now that you’re also facing a strong opponent, I have no choice but to entrust a great burden to you, or I would not be at ease.”

    Huang Rong saw that usually he was carefree and easygoing but this time he was so hesitant, so she knew it must be some extremely important responsibility, so she said, “Master, please tell me. Your injuries are caused by you trying to help your disciple escape from Peach Blossom Island. Even if I died a horrible death, I would hardly be able to repay you. I’m just afraid I’m too young to carry out your instructions.” Hong Qigong happily said, “So you agree to it?” Huang Rong said, “Yes. Please say it.”

    Hong Qigong stood up unsteadily and cupped his hands, bowing to the north and said, “Ancestors, the Beggars’ Clan you founded has come to my hands. I am unfortunately incapable of bringing virtue to our clan. Today the matter is urgent and I have to pass on my responsibility. May Ancestors in Heaven bless us and help this child avoid trouble and also to bring our clan to greater heights.” When he finished, he bowed to the north. Huang Rong was shocked and curious when he said that.

    Hong Qigong said, “Child, kneel down.” Huang Rong knelt down and Hong Qigong took his green bamboo rod and raised it over his head. He saluted it and placed it in her hands. Huang Rong was extremely shocked and said, “Master, you want me to be the Beggars’ Clan… the Beggars’ Clan…” Hong Qigong said, “Exactly, I am the 18th generation Leader of the Beggars’ Clan, and you are hence the 19th Leader. Now let’s thank our ancestors.”

    At this stage Huang Rong did not dare to disobey and could only imitate Hong Qigong’s actions and bowed with both hands cupped. Hong Qigong suddenly coughed and spat out some phlegm which landed on Huang Rong’s clothes. Huang Rong was secretly sad and thought, “Master’s injuries are indeed serious – he doesn’t even have the strength to spit properly.” She pretended that nothing was amiss, however. He sighed, “When the Beggars pay obeisance to you in future, there will be a disgusting ritual. Ah, this will be hard on you.”

    Huang Rong smiled, thinking, “The beggars are filthy and rough, how could any of that be missing?” Hong Qigong drew a long breath. His face was pale but in his heart it was as though he has just put down a large rock and he was very pleased. Huang Rong helped him lie down. He said, “Now that you’re the Leader, I am an Elder in the Clan. Although the Elders are respected by the Leader, but when there’s something to be done the Leader has to give the order. This rule was laid down by our Ancestors, so you must follow it to the letter. When the Leader relays an order, all the beggars must obey you.”

    Huang Rong became depressed and worried, thinking, “On this deserted island, I don’t know how we can return to the Central Plains. Moreover Brother Jing is dead, and I have no desire to live, but suddenly Master wants me to be some whatever Clan Leader and command all the beggars under the sky, how on Earth am I going to do that?” But when she saw her master’s condition, she did not want to worry him further, so she could only agree to anything he proposed.

    Hong Qigong said, “On the 15th day of the 7th month of this year, the 4 Elders of our Clan will hold a gathering at the lakeside Cave-Courtyard of the Yue Yang City to hear my announcement for the new Leader. You only need to bring the bamboo rod there and they will understand my intention. Every matter within the Clan will be dealt with by the 4 Elders, so I can leave it to them. But I have to send you this adorable doll into the midst of the filthy beggars; this is really hard on you.”

    He then laughed heartily but because of his injury, he coughed before he finished laughing. Huang Rong massaged his back for a while before he stopped coughing. Hong Qigong sighed, “This old beggar is really useless now, ah, I don’t know when I’ll recover, so I have to rush into teaching you the [Dog Beating Skill].” Huang Rong was wondering why this rod skill had such a horrible name. She then thought that no matter how fierce a dog could be, she could kill it with one punch, so she saw no need to learn this skill, but her master was gravely serious, so she could only agree.

    Hong Qigong said, “Although you are now the Clan Leader, you don’t have to change your personality; if you want to be playful and mischevious, go ahead and be, we are all beggars, we have no restrictions and we do as we please. If this won’t do and that won’t do, we might as well be judges and ministers. If you do not think highly of the [Dog Beating Skill], just say it simply!”

    Huang Rong laughed, “Disciple is wondering what kind of dog could be so tenacious that it requires a specialised skill to handle it.” Hong Qigong said, “Now that you’re the head of all the beggars, you’ll have to act like one. With your rich dress and your rich girl’s attitude, the dog would be only too pleased to listen to you, why would you need to hit it? But if us beggars run into such dogs the it’s a different story. The old saying is: the poor not armed with rods get bullied by dogs. You have never been poor, you don’t know what it’s like to be one.”

    Huang Rong clapped and laughed, “Master, you’re wrong here!” Hong Qigong was perplexed and asked, “Why?” Huang Rong said, “On the 3rd month of this year, I escaped from Peach Blossom Island to play, and I disguised myself as a beggar. Whenever there are fierce dogs bothering me, all I have to do is give them a kick and they would scramble away.” Hong Qigong said, “Yup, if the dog is too fierce then you’d have to use a rod to hit it.”

    Huang Rong thought, “What dog could be so fierce?” Then she realised and shouted, “Ah, yeah, bad guys are dogs too!” Hong Qigong smiled and said, “You’re really clever. If…” He originally wanted to said that Guo Jing did not know, but his heart turned sour and he stopped.

    When Huang Rong heard him stop midway, she understood what he was thinking and felt bitterness in her heart and wanted to cry out loud, but now Hong Qigong needed her help and she seemed all grown-up while Hong Qigong seemed like a youth, so she controlled herself and only turned her head away. The tears, however, dropped like pearls.

    Hong Qigong was as sad as her, so he knew that consoling her was useless, so he talked about serious matters, saying, “The 36 moves of the [Dog Beating Skill] was created by our Ancestors and can only be passed down from one Clan Leader to the next without letting anyone else know about the skill. Our Clan’s 3rd Leader far surpassed future Leaders and so he greatly improved this skill. After hundreds of years, when our Clan faces any strong opposition, our Leader would personally come forward and use this skill to defeat our enemies.”
    Huang Rong started to pay attention and then sighed softly, asking, “Master, when you were fighting with Western Poison on the boat, why didn’t you use it?” Hong Qigong said, “This skill is very important in our clan, and even if I didn’t use it, he may not have won. Who’d know he could be so despicable as to poison me after I saved his life?” Huang Rong saw that he was becoming depressed, so she tried to distract him and said, “Master, please teach me so that I can kill him to avenge you.”

    Hong Qigong made a stone-faced laugh and picked up a piece of firewood and leaned against the rock wall. He recited the formula and executed the steps, thus passing down all 36 moves to her. He knew Huang Rong was extremely intelligent but was afraid that he would not live long, so he passed everything down to her in one shot. Although the name of the [Dog Beating Skill] was crude, the changes within were subtle and the techniques profound, and was one of the best martial arts skills ever created. It was thus that this skill was passed down like a precious heirloom.

    Although Huang Rong was very clever, she could only remember the general picture and had forgotten some of the finer details. How could she understand the skill in such a short time? After he was done, Hong Qigong took a deep breath amidst his sweat and said, “I didn’t teach well, but… that’s all I can do now.” With a groan he collapsed and fainted. Huang Rong was shocked and shouted, “Master! Master!” She hurriedly supported him up but felt that his limbs were cold and his breathing was weak; he seemed somewhat beyond hope.

    Huang Rong was severely tried for the past few days but now she could not cry. She listened to his heart beat and found it barely audible so she quickly massaged his chest to aid his breathing. Just at this critical moment, she heard noises behind her and a hand stretched out to reach for her wrist. She was concentrating fully on saving her master and did not even notice when Ouyang Ke entered the cave. Now she forgot that the person behind her was a vicious wolf and just said naturally, “Master may not make it, think of something to save him.”

    When Ouyang Ke heard her plead so sincerely, the tears welled up in her eyes and her face became pitiful, his heart shook. When he bent down to look at Hong Qigong, he saw that his face was white as sheet and his eyes were rolled up, he became more happy. The distance between Huang Rong and himself was less than 1 foot and he could even feel her breathing and smell her fragrance. A few strains of hair were caressing her face and his heart thumped madly until he could not restrain himself any longer, and he grabbed her waist.

    Huang Rong was taken aback and struck out with force and took the chance to jump away when he evaded her. Originally Ouyang Ke was afraid of Hong Qigong so he did not dare be disrespectful to Huang Rong, but now he saw that Hong Qigong was half dead, he did not worry anymore and laughed, “Good girl, I wouldn’t bother about other girls, but for such a beauty like yourself, I’ll make an exception; come kiss me.”

    He then moved menacingly towards her. Huang Rong was scared out of her wits and thought, “This situation is terrible. Looks like I’ll get killed here, though with indignation.” She then took out her needles. Ouyang Feng smiled and used his outer gown as a weapon and even advanced another 2 steps. Huang Rong waited for him to advance another step before crouching low and dodging to the left.
    Ouyang Ke followed her and Huang Rong waved her hand. He waved his long sleeve and blocked the spike and Huang Rong knew that she was like an arrow away from the bow and anxiously tried to run out. Still, Ouyang Ke was faster. Huang Rong heard the wind behind her back and knew he was attacking her back. She was wearing the soft armour so she was not afraid of that and furthermore she was prepared to die, but she wanted to injure him first, so she did not defend herself but returned a strike towards his chest.

    Ouyang Ke did not mean to injure her and his strike was only to tire her out, so he readily hit out towards her wrist, neutralizing her move. At the same time, he jumped to the entrance, effectively trapping her inside. But the entrance was narrow and he could hardly turn about, so with Huang Rong’s fierce onslaught coupled with her indifference to her defence, her power seemed to have increased tremendously. Although Ouyang Ke was better than her, he did not want to injure her, so he was at a disadvantage.

    In a brief moment they had exchanged 50-60 moves and Huang Rong was in danger. Her martial arts were taught to her by her father while Ouyang Ke’s was taught by his uncle. Huang Yaoshi’s and Ouyang Feng’s martial arts were about the same level, but Huang Rong was only around 15 while Ouyang Ke was almost 30, so the difference in their martial arts was worth almost 20 years’ worth of training. Moreover Huang Rong was not as hardworking as Ouyang Ke and although she learnt some skills from Hong Qigong before, she hardly practised them. Now even with Ouyang Ke’s injury, she was still unable to gain any advantage.

    Suddenly Huang Rong launched herself forward and pierced her spike towards him in a backstroke. Ouyang Ke blocked it away and Huang Rong followed up closely with a fierce stab towards his right shoulder. His shoulder was dislocated and he could not exert any strength there, so he tried to use his left hand to intercept that move but the spike made a semi-circle and changed directions midway, stabbing right into his injured shoulder. Huang Rong was elated but suddenly felt her hand go numb and had to drop the spike because her wrist accupoint had been hit.

    Ouyang Ke was swift and agile, and saw that she was about to escape, so he hit her ‘Xuan Zhong’ and ‘Zhong Tou’ Accupoints with his legs consecutively. Huang Rong was in midair when she was struck so she fell towards the ground. Ouyang Ke moved forward and threw his outer gown on the ground, laughing, “Ah, don’t hurt yourself.” Huang Rong spun the spike around and tried to jump up but her legs were numb and only managed to get a foot off the ground before falling again.

    Ouyang Ke came to help her up. Huang Rong used her only non-immobilized hand and punched him. But in the confusion, her punch lacked the strength and Ouyang Ke laughed, sealing her last accupoint. This time Huang Rong was totally immobilized and she inwardly regretted, “I did not stab myself just now, now I can’t even beg for death.” She was on fire inside and everything went dark and she fainted. Ouyang Ke smoothly consoled her, saying, “Don’t be afraid!” He stretched his hand out to hug her. Suddenly he heard a cold voice above his head, saying, “Do you wish to live or die?”

    Ouyang Ke was shocked and twisted his head around and saw Hong Qigong standing at the entrance looking at him with the side of his eye. He once heard his uncle mention the incident where Wang Chong Yang jumped out of his coffin and nearly killed him, so he immediately thought, “The old beggar pretended to be dead, I’m dead now!” He tasted Hong Qigong’s skills before and knew he did not even come close, so in his shock he knelt down and said, “I was just playing with Miss Huang. Uncle Hong, please don’t be angry.”

    Hong Qigong spat and shouted, “Scoundrel, aren’t you going to free her accupoints or do you need me to do it?” Ouyang Ke repeatedly agreed and hurriedly unblocked her accupoints. Hong Qigong said coldly, “Enter again and I’ll show no mercy. Scram!” Ouyang Ke darted out like a rabbit.

    Huang Rong awoke as though from a dream. Hong Qigong could not hold on any longer and collasped. Huang Rong was shocked and excited and quickly held him up and found his mouth filled with blood and three teeth fell out. Huang Rong was very sad as she thought, “Even with Master’s wonderful abilities, such a fall could actually break his teeth.”

    Hong Qigong took his teeth and laughed, “Teeth ah teeth, you don’t want to savour the exquisite food together with me anymore. I never expected you to leave before I do!” He was actually in a bad shape this time, with the snake poison in his body and with a palm strike by Ouyang Feng which almost shattered his spine, but fortunately with his high skills, he was spared from death, still, now he was as weak as someone without martial arts.

    When Huang Rong’s accupoints were blocked, Hong Qigong did not have the strength to unblock them for her and had to use his reputation to scare Ouyang Ke into doing it for him. He saw Huang Rong’s grave face and said, “Don’t worry. With this old beggar around, he wouldn’t dare disturb you.” Huang Rong asked, “When I’m inside the cave, that creep wouldn’t show up, but what about our food?” Though resourceful, she was flustered now and could not think straight.

    Hong Qigong asked, “You’re thinking of ways to obtain food right?” Huang Rong nodded. Hong Qigong said, “Support me to the beach to view the Sun.” Huang Rong complied immediately and said, “OK! Let’s go fishing.” She let him rest on her shoulder and they walked slowly to the beach.

    The weather was good on this day and the sea seemed endless, moving gently under the sea breeze. The Sun shone on her and their spirits were lifted. Ouyang Ke was also standing on the beach, but when he saw them coming, he retreated several zhang immediately and stopped to watch them only when they did not chase him.

    They both worried, “This slimy creature is really hard to shake off; he might discover our weakness sooner or later.” But now they could not care too much and Hong Qigong sat on a rock while Huang Rong broke off a tree branch and used it as a fishing rod. The fish population was thriving on this island because no one molested the fish, so within a short time, she caught 3 big fishes.

    Huang Rong used the same method of cooking chicken to cook the fish, allowing them to eat their fill. After resting for a while, Hong Qigong instructed Huang Rong to display the moves of the [Dog Beating Skill] and gave some pointers along the way. Huang Rong understood more of the finer profound changes of the skill. When evening came, she had practised till she was very hot and removed her outer coat and jumped into the sea to bathe. Suddenly she had a thought, “I heard that the Dragon Palace at the bottom of the sea has a very beautiful Dragon Princess, I wonder if Brother Jing had gone to the Dragon Palace?”

    She dreamily kicked in the water but felt a sharp pain in her foot and quickly retracted it but felt as though it was being grabbed by something and it could not go free. She played in the sea since young and was not even afraid of large oysters and was about to stretch out her hand to catch it but got a shock instead. The oyster was almost as big as a table; it was larger than any oyster she had seen at Peach Blossom Island. She stretched out both hands to pry it open.

    The oyster was incredibly strong and even with both hands she could not force it open. The oyster gripped her even tighter and her leg got even more painful. Huang Rong smacked through the water, hoping to grab it out of the water but she had not expected it to feel like it weighed around 200-300 jin. The oyster had been on the seabed for many years and had already become part of the reef, how would it be easy to move it?

    Huang Rong struggled a while more but felt her foot become even more painful, so she was worried and gulped down 2 mouthfuls of water and thought, “Although I have no wish to live, but if I leave Master alone here to be bullied by that scoundrel, I won’t die in peace.” She quickly grabbed a large stone and smashed it on the oyster, but because its shell was tough and she could not exert much strength in the water, she had to hit it repeatedly but it did not budge.

    As the oyster was attacked it tightened its grip further and Huang Rong swallowed the water again but she suddenly thought of something and quickly put the stone down and grabbed a handful of sand and threw it into the oyster. The oyster was indeed allergic to sand and hurriedly opened up, wanting to expel the sand. As soon as her leg was free, she wasted no time in swimming to the surface and heaved in the fresh air.

    Hong Qigong noticed that she was submerged for such a long time and became worried as he knew she must have met some trouble in the water and wanted to help her. He anxiously splashed around in the water for a brief moment before he saw Huang Rong surface and hailed her in his excitement. Huang Rong waved to her master and wanted to dive again. This time she was prepared and dived some distance away from the giant oyster and shook it, then used the reef as a pivot to lift it up.

    She dragged the oyster back to the shore. When the oyster left the water surface, it lost its bouyancy and became as heavy as a large rock and Huang Rong could not move it further. She then grabbed a large stone and struck the oyster to vent her anger. When she saw the deep wound the oyster had inflicted on her, she thought of her close brush with death and stopped hitting it.

    On this night the two of them made the oyster into a good meal and they felt that it tasted really good. The next day when Hong Qigong awoke, he felt that the great pain in his body was less intense. His stomach felt really comfortable and he uncontrollably sighed.

    Hong Qigong said, “After sleeping for a night, my injury seemed to have decreased by quite a bit.” Huang Rong was elated and exclaimed, “It must be the oyster meat which helped you.” Hong Qigong laughed, “The oyster meat didn’t help much, but because the food was delicious, it satisfied my mouth. After that my recovery follows automatically by a slight bit.”

    Huang Rong giggled and rushed out to the beach to find the remains of the oyster meat. In her eagerness, she forgot about Ouyang Ke. Just as she cut off 2 slices of the meat, she suddenly saw a figure which was moving closer to her. Huang Rong bent her waist and grabbed part of the oyster’s shell and threw it out and jumped away at the same time, reaching the water line.

    After observing Hong Qigong from a distance for a day, Ouyang Ke felt that he was becoming more suspicious as he could hardly walk, but Ouyang Ke did not dare go into the cave, so now he forced himself forward and said, “Sister, don’t go, I want to talk to you.” Huang Rong said, “I’m ignoring you, yet you disregard that, you’re really shameless.” She then made a face at him.

    Ouyang Ke saw her girlish attitude, causing his face to be deviod of colour and his heart to be itchy, so he advanced 2 steps and laughed, “It’s your fault; it’s because you’re so beautiful that you can’t get people to ignore you.” Huang Rong laughed, “I said I’m ignoring you and I mean it. It’s useless to sweet-talk me.” Ouyang Ke advanced yet another step and said, “I don’t believe you.”

    Huang Rong’s face became a shade darker and said, “Move another step forward and I’ll ask Master to club you.” Ouyang Ke said, “Forget it, can he even walk? I’ll go in and carry him out, OK?” Huang Rong got a shock inside and retreated 2 steps. Ouyang Ke grinned, “If you like to jump into the sea then go ahead. I’ll wait here for you. Let’s see who can last longer.”

    Huang Rong said, “Fine, you’re bullying me, I’ll ignore you forever.” She turned and ran, but tripped on a stone and fell down. Ouyang Ke sort of expected this so he laughed, “You’re really mischevious and naughty, but I love it.” He held his gown in his hand to catch any secret needles she might throw and walked towards her. Huang Rong shouted, “Don’t come over!” She struggled up but fell again after 3 steps.

    This time her fall was more serious and half her body was in the sea and she seemed to have fainted. Ouyang Ke thought, “This girl is very crafty, I won’t fall for her trick. With your skills, how did you fall without any apparent reason?” He stood there and observed her. After some time, he saw that she was still motionless and the tide was about to engulf her whole body.

    Ouyang Ke became worried and thought, “This time she has really fainted, if I don’t save her she might drown.” He ran forward and tried to pull her legs. When he tugged her legs, he got a shock as he felt that her body was stiff, so he quickly hugged her up but Huang Rong hugged his legs instead and called out, “Go down!” Ouyang Ke could not stand properly and the 2 of them went into the water together.

    In the water, despite his high skills, he could not use them and thought, “Even with such precautions, I fell for her trick, this time my life is lost!” Huang Rong originally wanted to dunk his head in the water to appease her anger. However as Ouyang Ke felt the water fill his mouth, he could not feel where his body was and struggled wildly, wanting to grab onto Huang Rong.

    However she had already expected that and swam around him, so how could he catch her? In the struggle, Ouyang Ke drank a few mouthfuls of water and his body sank deeper with his feet touching the seabed. Though his martial arts were good and he was quick-thinking, he was at a great disadvantage in the water and he felt his body float aimlessly in the water. He hurriedly grabbed a rock on the seabed and used his internal energy to hold his breath and looked around to find the direction to the shore. But the water was murky and he could not tell east from west.

    He walked around for a few steps and felt that walking upwards was a good idea, so he hit the rock and took large steps towards the shallower region. With the reef on the seabed, his movement was very difficult, but he used his internal energy to dash across in one go. Huang Rong saw that he did not surface for some time, so she quickly looked around and saw him walking in the water and was surprised. She swam behind him and used her spike to pierce towards him.

    Ouyang Ke felt the water flowing faster, so he quickly evaded and moved even faster. Now he felt the lack of air in his lungs and let go of the large stone he was carrying and tried to surface to breathe, and when he stuck his head out, he saw that he was already close to the shore. Huang Rong knew she could not stop him now so she sighed and dived again.

    Ouyang Ke did not die and crawled onto the beach completely drenched and his senses were blur. He threw up all the water he drank and felt his body go weak as if he suffered from some great illness. He was very angry and thought, “I’ll go kill that old beggar and see if that girl listens to me!”

    Although he had such thoughts, he was still wary of Hong Qigong and breathed for a few moments to get rid of his fatigue, so he broke off a tree branch and used it as a makeshift weapon then ran towards the cave.

    He avoided going in directly and tried to slip in at the side. He listened for a moment and did not pick up any movements in the room, so he looked in and saw Hong Qigong sitting down on the ground, meditating; his face showed no signs of any injury.

    Ouyang Ke thought, “I’ll test him to see if he can move.” He said in a loud voice, “Uncle Hong, this is bad, this is bad!” Hong Qigong opened his eyes and asked, “What?” Ouyang Ke pretended to be in a state of panic and said, “Sister Huang tried to catch a rabbit but fell into a deep valley and is injured. She can’t climb out now!”

    Hong Qigong was shocked and said, “Quickly save her!” Ouyang Ke was excited and thought, “If he could walk, why doesn’t he come out and save her?” He walked in and laughed, “She tried ways and means to take my life, why should I help her? You go save her.”

    Hong Qigong observed his expression and knew that he was faking it, and thought, “This scum has discovered that I’d lost my martial arts, I’m in danger!” In this situation, he could only try to bring him down as well, and secretly channeled all his strength to his arm, and waited for him to come before he would strike. However when he did that, he felt a sharp pain near his heart and his body felt like it was about to collaspe apart, but when he saw Ouyang Ke’s perverted smile, he gave a long sigh and waited for death.

    Huang Rong saw Ouyang Ke hit the shore and got worried, thinking, “At this point the scoundrel would be prepared against me; it would be harder to scheme against him now.” She swam outwards and headed left. After a while she saw the lush foliage and felt that this beach was different.

    She then thought of Peach Blossom Island and became sad, but then she thought, “If I can find a safe place here for us to hide for a while, that scoundrel might not find us.” It was not a fantastic plan, but it was better than their situation now and he might not actually find them, giving her master time to recover.

    Thus she went ashore but she did not dare explore too deep as she was afraid of bumping into Ouyang Ke so she stuck close to the sea, thinking, “If I wasn’t too playful in the past and mastered Father’s Five-Element skills, then I’d be able to handle that scoundrel. Hai, no, Father gave him the map to Peach Blossom Island and he’d surely be able to understand it.”

    She was so absorbed in her thinking when she tripped on a tree vine and stumbled, and above her was some rustling noise followed by the mud and small pebbles raining on her. She dashed aside but hit a tree behind, so a few of the pebbles hit her head. Fortunately she was wearing the Soft Armour, so she was not really hurt. She looked up and was shocked; her heart banged rapidly.

    She saw a sheer cliff face with a gigantic rock at the edge of the cliff. Half the rock was sticking out and any slight disturbance could bring the rock crashing down. The top of the cliff had many think vines winding about and the very vine she tripped on just now was connected up to the rock. If she snapped a vine connected directly to the thousand-pound rock, this rock would have smacked right into her, turning her into mincemeat.

    The rock vibrated but was not dislodged. Huang Rong became extremely careful and watched where she was going, jumping now and stopping then. She moved back several dozen metres and became curious. She knew that if she could pull the rock down with just an arm but no one ever came here; there was not even a bird in sight and the rock had been here for hundreds of years.

    The cliffs surrounded this place and even the sea breeze could not get through, and it seemed like this rock had already vibrated in the wind for the hundreds of years. Huang Rong went back to find her master but along the way she suddenly had this idea, “Heaven wants this scoundrel dead and has presented such a wonderful opportunity; how could I be so dense?” She became excited and sommersaulted twice.

    She hurriedly returned to the cliff and carefully examined the place and saw that the trees reached up to the sky and if one wanted to avoid it, one could only jump 4-5 feet away at most, so if that rock came crashing down, even birds and squirrels might not evade it.
    She took her spike out and cautiously walked to the base of the cliff and noted the 7 or 8 vines directly connected to the rock so that she would not touch them, then she cut off the remaining vines. When she cut a vine she held her breath as she was afraid that one small mistake and it would be her who would be flattened.

    When she finished, she was drenched in sweat and felt that it was more tiring than a fierce battle. She then connected the cut vines together and placed a few heaps of dry grass as markings then memorized the route she took before going back and she hummed a few tunes along the way, feeling proud of herself.

    When she got near the cave she still did not see Ouyang Ke’s shadow and suddenly heard a perverted laugh coming from inside followed by someone saying, “You claim to be among the best martial artists, yet today you are in Grandfather’s power, how do you feel? OK, on account that you’re an elder, I’ll let you have a 3-move advantage, how’s that? You can display each and every one of the [Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms]!” Huang Rong softly exclaimed, “Ah!” She saw that the situation was threatening and shouted, “Father, you’re here? Ah, Uncle Ouyang, you’re here too!”

    Ouyang Ke had already assessed Hong Qigong’s abilities and was about to strike when he heard Huang Rong shout, so he was happy and thought, “How is it Uncle and Old Heretic Huang are here?” Then he thought, “It must be that girl shouting rubbish to save that old beggar. Fine, since that old beggar is under my control anyway I might as well go take a look.” He then exited the cave.

    He saw Huang Rong waving towards the beach and shouting, “Father! Father!” Ouyang Ke looked out but of course he did not see Huang Yaoshi. He laughed, “Sister, you want to trick me out to play, how could I refuse?” Huang Rong laughed and said, “Who’s lying?” She then ran to the beach. Ouyang Ke laughed, “This time I’m prepared, you want to drag me into the sea again, let’s try it.”

    He then chased her. His Qinggong was good and he was catching up fast. Huang Rong inwardly exclaimed, “This is bad! I might get caught even before reaching that cave.” She ran another few dozen metres and Ouyang Ke was almost reaching her. Huang Rong broke left and left the beach. Ouyang Ke had learnt his lesson and did not dare go near, so he laughed, “OK, let’s play hide-and-seek.”

    Though he did not stop, he was prepared for any trick she might play. Huang Rong stopped and laughed, “There’s a large worm in front, if you chase again it’ll eat you in one gulp.” Ouyang Ke laughed, “I’m a worm too and I’m going to eat you!” He pounced forward but Huang Rong just laughed and ran ahead.

    The 2 came close to the cliff wall soon enough. Huang Rong ran even faster and shouted, “Come on!” Just as she was about to reach the wall, she saw 2 figures on the beach. At this time she was really curious but did not have the luxury to stop, so she looked at the piles of grass carefully then ran all the way to the cliff’s base.

    Ouyang Ke laughed, “Where’s the worm?” He also ran faster and reached the cliff wall like an arrow. The spot where Huang Rong landed was already cleared of vines, but Ouyang Ke naturally did not suspect any trap and stepped right into it, wrenching the rock out of its place. The vines snapped and Ouyang Ke felt a great pressure descending on him. He looked up and it scared the living daylights out of him and saw a mountain of a rock smashing down towards him.

    Although the rock was very high up, the gust of wind was so strong that he could hardly breathe, so he hastily jumped backwards, but he smacked right into a tree with such a great force that the tree cracked and the splinters pierced him. At this point he only fled for his life and ignored the pain, so he jumped away, but only managed to jump 3 feet.

    Now he was shocked into a daze but suddenly felt as though someone jolted him awake, dragging him several feet away; but it was too late, and with a thunderous rumble the dust flew everywhere and then he fainted.

    Huang Rong saw that her plan worked, so she was really happy and did not expect the deafening rumble which seemed to shove her aside. Her head was hit by the countless grains of dirt and dust. She bent over and held her head for a moment before opening her eyes, and she saw 2 shadows through the dust.

    When the dust settled, she rubbed her eyes and saw that it was actually West Poison Ouyang Feng and the other was none other than the one she so deeply missed – Guo Jing. Huang Rong exclaimed and jumped for joy. Guo Jing had also never expected to meet her here, so he rushed forward and hugged her. In their excitement, they had forgotten that their enemy was just close by.

    The other day when Guo Jing and Ouyang Feng were fighting on the junk, they both could not gain any advantage and at the same time the junk was sinking, so it took them down. In the deep sea the water pressure was very high and they felt the water forcing its way into their ears and noses, causing great pain, so they had to stop their struggle and cover their ears and noses.

    The bottom of the sea had a swift undercurrent moving in a different direction from the surface current, so before they knew it they were swept some distance away. When Guo Jing managed to get up to the surface to breathe it was already dark and the boat seemed very far away. Guo Jing shouted; and at that very moment Huang Rong was looking for him, but they were so far away, how could they meet?

    Guo Jing shouted again but felt a tug on his leg, followed by another head hitting the surface – it was Ouyang Feng. He was also at a disadvantage in the water, so although he was a martial arts master, he struggled wildly in the water and then refused to release Guo Jing’s leg.

    Guo Jing struggled harder but his other leg was grabbed too. They wrestled for a brief moment before submerging again. When they hit the surface, Guo Jing shouted, “Let my legs go, I won’t desert you.” Ouyang Feng also knew that this would kill them both, so he released the legs and grabbed his shoulder.

    Guo Jing also supported him, allowing them to float. At this time, they saw a large wooden board float by and hit Guo Jing. Ouyang Feng shouted, “Careful!” Guo Jing grabbed it, shouting, “Catch it, don’t let go!”

    They looked around but did not see any boats. Ouyang Feng’s Snake Staff was lost and he worried, “If we meet any sharks, we can only hit them wildly like Zhou Botong. At that time I saved him, but who’ll save me now?” They floated for some time and saw many fishes swimming by, so they had to depend on the fishes for survival.

    As the ancient saying goes, “Helping each other on the same boat ( 同舟共济 )”, these two men who fought a bitter battle just a while ago could share the same raft. For several days they fortunately did not meet any danger. This time the current brought them to the island where Hong Qigong and Huang Rong was, and only 2 days after they arrived.

    When they hit the shore they lay down for some time when they suddenly heard someone laughing, so Ouyang Feng jumped up and followed the laughter, and so coincidentally met Ouyang Ke who had just fallen into the trap. Ouyang Feng tried to rush forward to save him. He managed to pull him several feet away but Ouyang Ke’s legs were crushed and he fainted from the pain.

    Ouyang Feng was suspicious and looked around but did not find any more danger, so he went to check on his nephew. He felt that he was still breathing so he tried to push the rock, but it did not budge an inch. He then knelt down and tried again with both hands and grunted. Though his strength was tremendous, how could he move a thousand-pound rock?

    He bent down and Ouyang Ke opened his eyes and shouted, “Uncle!” Ouyang Feng said, “You’ll have to bear with it for a while.” He hugged him up and pulled him, but Ouyang Ke screamed and fainted again. The rock had pinned his legs underneath, so this pull would only worsen his pain but not free him.

    Ouyang Feng was startled. Guo Jing held Huang Rong’s hand and asked, “Where’s master?” Huang Rong pointed, saying, “Over there.” Guo Jing heard that his master was alright and was elated, wanting her to lead him there but heard Ouyang Ke’s scream, so he could not bear it and said to Ouyang Feng, “I’ll help you.” Huang Rong tugged his sleeve, saying, “Let’s go see master, ignore this bad guy!”

    Ouyang Feng did not know that this was a trap set up by her as he saw the rock tumble down and it was impossible for anyone to lift it up the cliff, but when he heard Huang Rong stop Guo Jing, his anger flared up and then he heard that Hong Qigong was here, so he was startled, thinking, “That beggar took one of my palms and was also poisoned by my snake, yet he’s not dead; but even then he should be 90% dead, why should I fear him?”

    He saw Guo Jing and Huang Rong about to leave so he knelt down again and pretended to push the rock and waited for them to turn away before saying, “Don’t worry, I’ll save you. For now just concentrate on circulating your Qi to protect your heart and take it that those legs are not yours.” He then followed them and saw them holding each other’s waist and talked romantically, he was flabbergasted and thought, “If I don’t torture you till you’re worse off than dead, I’m not West Poison.”

    Huang Rong took Guo Jing to the cave opening. Guo Jing launched himself in and shouted, “Master!” He then saw that Hong Qigong’s eyes were closed and there were no blood in his face. He had been insulted by Ouyang Ke and his injury relapsed. Huang Rong quickly undid his outer gown while Guo Jing massaged his limbs.

    Hong Qigong opened his eyes and saw Guo Jing so he was naturally very happy and smiled, saying in a low voice, “Jing’er, you’re here too!” Guo Jing was about to reply when a rough voice cut in from behind, “Old beggar, so am I.” Guo Jing turned around to block the entrance. Huang Rong snatched her master’s bamboo stick and stood beside Guo Jing.

    Ouyang Feng laughed, “Old beggar, come out, if not I’m going in.” Guo Jing and Huang Rong looked at each other, thinking, “Even if it costs our lives, we must not let him molest Master.” Ouyang Feng laughed and stepped in. Guo Jing stepped forward to block.

    Ouyang Feng moved aside to evade his palm strike and went to his right, then a bamoo stick flew over and made a circle yet seemed to aim for 3 separate spots at the same time, making it difficult to deal with. He waved his left hand up and swept his leg to force his opponent away. He did not expect Huang Rong’s stick to hit the centre of the circle.

    Ouyang Feng was surprised and jumped back, looking carefully. Huang Rong was using the [Dog Beating Skill] and managed to force her stronger opponent backwards, so she was feeling proud. Ouyang Feng did not expect this girl to learn the old beggar’s wonderful rod skill. He snorted and advanced again to hit her bamboo stick. Huang Rong executed the stick skill she just learnt and poked, hit, circled and flew around, and although she could not injure him, she managed to evade 7-8 of his moves continuously.

    Guo Jing was shocked and happy and kept cheering, “Good Rong’er, good rod skill!” He then attacked with a fist and palm from the side. Ouyang Feng shouted in anger and knelt down launching both palms out. Even before the palms came the palm wind caused the dust to fly. Guo Jing saw that the strikes were very powerful and was afraid that Huang Rong might get injured if she took the strike, so he hurriedly pushed her aside and they managed to evade the strike together.

    Ouyang Feng stepped 2 steps forward and struck out with both palms again. His attack was terribly strong and fought to a draw with Hong Qigong on Peach Blossom Island a few days ago. Guo Jing and Huang Rong were far from his match and were forced to retreat step by step. Ouyang Feng rushed into the cave and flipped his palm, hitting the stone wall and causing bits of stone to drop off. He brought the other palm up above Hong Qigong’s head and held it there to observe him.

    Huang Rong said, “My master saved your life, yet you want to hurt him, aren’t you ashamed?” Ouyang Feng pushed Hong Qigong’s chest slightly and felt his chest muscle contract, showing that his martial abilities were really lost, so he was secretly happy and lifted him up, saying, “If you rescue my nephew, I’ll spare the beggar’s life.”

    Huang Rong said, “Heaven released the rock to pin him down, you saw that yourself, who could save him? Try any more tricks and Heaven will crush you with a rock too.” Guo Jing saw that Ouyang Feng had raised Hong Qigong higher and prepared to throw him down but doubted that he would really do it. Still he was worried and quickly said, “Put him down and we’ll go save your nephew.”

    Ouyang Feng missed his nephew and was very eager to rush down but he kept his face impassive and put Hong Qigong down very slowly.

    Huang Rong said, “Helping him is not difficult, but let’s make an agreement.” Ouyang Feng said, “What do you want?” Huang Rong said, “After we save your nephew, you must not harm the 3 of us while we’re here on this island.” Ouyang Feng thought, “My nephew and I are afraid of water, if we want to get back I may need to depend on this 3 people.” He nodded his head, saying, “OK, I’ll not kill the 3 of you now, but I can’t promise you anything after we leave this island.”

    Huang Rong said, “When the time comes, even if you leave us alone we’ll come after you. Another thing is that my father had betrothed me to him, and you saw that for yourself. If your nephew bothers me again, you’re worse than a pig or dog.” Ouyang Feng spat, saying, “OK, that only applies on this island too, once we leave, we’ll see then.”

    Huang Rong smiled, saying, “Finally, although we’ll try our best to help you, we’re not the gods, if fate has decreed that your nephew must die, you can’t blame us.” Ouyang Feng said, “If my nephew dies, you 2 can forget about living. Little girl, shut up and go save my nephew.” He then ran to where the rock was.

    Guo Jing was about to follow when Huang Rong said, “Brother Jing, later when he uses his strength to push the rock, you can strike his back when he least expects it.” Guo Jing said, “We must honour our word, let’s save his nephew first then try to avenge Master.” Huang Rong sighed and knew that it was useless to get him to backstab someone.

    For the past 2 days she had thought that he had died in the sea, now that she was with him again her heart exploded with happiness, so even if Guo Jing made any unreasonable demands, she would just listen to him, moreover his actions were of an honourable gentleman’s so she smiled gently and said, “OK, you’re a saint, I’ll listen to you.”

    They ran to the cliff and heard Ouyang Ke groaning in the distance. Ouyang Feng shouted, “Hurry up!” They went over and stood beside him and the 3 pairs of hands pressed the rock together. Ouyang Feng said, “Up!” and they pushed at the same time. The rock moved an inch before slamming down again. Ouyang Ke screamed and his eyes rolled up.

    Ouyang Feng was shocked and immediately supported him, but felt that his breathing was weak, and to bear with the pain he bit through his tounge, filling his mouth with blood. Even with Ouyang Feng’s outstanding martial arts, he was powerless to move the rock. Now he had made it worse for his nephew and also burried his shoe in the sand.

    Ouyang Feng bent down to pick his shoe and was shocked again – the tide was rising slowly and was already reaching the rock. Ouyang Feng said urgently, “Little girl, if you want your master to live, you’d better save my nephew faster.”

    Huang Rong was already thinking, but this rock was enormous and there was no one else to help him, how could they move it away? She had come up with more than 10 ideas in a flash, but none worked, then when she heard Ouyang Feng, she said, “If Master weren’t injured, we could easily move this rock with his tremendous strength. Now…” She threw up her hands to indicate that it was useless.

    Though this sentence was said out of anger, Ouyang Feng thought, “Maybe it’s really fate; if the old beggar wasn’t injured, with his chivalrous nature, he’d definitely help. Who knew that when I injured him, it was as good as killing my own nephew?” Although Ouyang Ke was his nephew, he actually had an affair with his sister-in-law and he was in fact his son.

    Ouyang Feng was usually cold-hearted, but now he felt regretful. He turned his head and saw the water rising in by another few feet. Ouyang Ke yelled, “Uncle, kill me with one strike! I… I can’t take it anymore!” Ouyang Feng took out a sharp knife and gritted his teeth, saying, “You bear with it for a while, even without your legs you can still live.” He went forth with the intention of severing his nephews legs.

    Ouyang Feng exclaimed, “No, no, Uncle, just stab me to death!” Ouyang Feng said angrily, “With so many years under my guidiance, how could you be so useless?” Ouyang Ke hugged his chest and tried to bear with the pain, not daring to say another word. Ouyang Feng saw that the rock pinned him up to the waist, even if he amputated his legs, he may not live, so he hesitated.

    Huang Rong saw that the uncle and nephew had nothing to say and were both looking dejected, so her heart went soft and she thought of how her father moved the rocks on Reach Blossom Island, she exclaimed, “Wait! I’ve got a way, but I’m not sure if it works.” Ouyang Feng was elated and said, “Good lady, just say it!”

    Huang Rong was thinking, “Now that you want to save your nephew, you’re not calling me names anymore but ‘Good Lady’!” She smiled and said, “OK, you must listen to me now. Let’s cut some tree bark and make a rope strong enough to lift this rock.” Ouyang Feng said, “Who’s going to pull the rope?” Huang Rong said, “Pull like a sail…” Ouyang Feng immediately understood and said, “Yes, yes, just like that!”

    Guo Jing heard Huang Rong talk about using tree bark but did not question her; instead he just pulled out his dagger and began cutting off some tree bark. Ouyang Feng and Huang Rong followed his lead and within a short time, they had cut many strips of tree bark. Ouyang Feng was cutting the bark when he looked at his nephew and suddenly exclaimed, “Don’t cut anymore!” Huang Rong curiously asked, “What? Why not?”

    Ouyang Feng pointed at his nephew and Guo Jing and Huang Rong looked over. They saw the tide rising faster and had already submerged half his body. He would be drowned even before they had gathered enough material. Ouyang Ke was motionless in the water. Huang Rong said, “Don’t fret. Just cut!”

    Although Ouyang Feng was a monster, he meekly obeyed her. Huang Rong jumped down the tree and ran to Ouyang Ke and used several big stones to support him. This way his nose was still above the water.

    Ouyang Ke said in a low voice, “Miss Huang, thanks. Even if I can’t live, I’ll die contented knowing that you tried to save me.” Huang Rong felt apologetic and said, “Don’t thank me. Do you know that I was the one who laid this trap?” Ouyang Ke said, “Don’t speak so loudly, if my uncle hears it, he won’t let you off. I knew long ago; to die in your hands would leave me with no regrets.”

    Huang Rong sighed and thought, “Although this person is irksome, he treats me nicely.” She returned to the tree and began binding the bark. She joined three together to form a thin rope and then 6 ropes together to form a thick rope and again joined several thick ropes together to form a massive rope. Ouyang Feng continuously cut the tree bark while Huang Rong unceasingly connected the ropes.

    Although they were fast, the tide was faster and even before the massive rope was half-complete, the water had risen up to Ouyang Ke’s mouth, and soon only his nose was left sticking out. Ouyang Feng jumped down and said, “You can go. I want to speak with my nephew. You have tried your best and I appreciate it.” His voice was heavy and seemed resigned to the situation.

    Guo Jing saw that it was hopeless and went off together with Huang Rong. They walked several metres and Huang Rong whispered, “Let’s go behind the rock and listen to what he says.” Guo Jing said, “This doesn’t concern us. Besides, he’d discover us.” Huang Rong said, “Once his nephew dies, he’ll try to harm Master, so we must keep ourselves informed to be prepared. If we’re found out, we’ll just say that we’ve come to send his nephew off.”

    Guo Jing nodded. They turned around the corner and went behind the trees, stealthily creeping back behind the rock. They heard Ouyang feng say, “Go in peace, I know what you’re thinking, you want Old Heretic Huang to marry his daughter to you, but I fear I can’t grant your wish.”

    Guo Jing and Huang Rong were startled, thinking, “He’s about to die, why did Ouyang Feng say that?” As they heard more, they became more angry. Ouyang Feng was actually saying, “I’ll go kill that girl and bury her with you. Everyone dies; if you can’t live with her then you can die with her and have no regrets.”

    Ouyang Ke’s mouth was beneath the water and he could not speak. Huang Rong took Guo Jing’s hand and they left stealthily. After the corner, Guo Jing angrily said, “Let’s confront that old poisonous thing.” Huang Rong said, “With him we must compare wits, not strength.” Guo Jing asked, “How?” Huang Rong said, “I’m thinking.”

    As they walked near the canyon, she saw some reeds. Huang Rong thought of something and said, “If he weren’t so evil, I could save his nephew.” Guo Jing quickly asked, “How?” Huang Rong took out her knife and cut a hollow reed and put it to her mouth, breathing through it for a while. Guo Jing laughed, “Ah, this is really a good idea. How did you think of that? Should we save him?”

    Huang Rong pouted, “Of course not. That old poisonous thing wants to kill me, just let him do it, hmm, I’m not scared.” But when she thought of Ouyang Feng’s cruel methods, she could not help but gasp. His martial arts were much stronger than his nephew’s and he was much more cunning. If they fell into his trap, it would not be good. Guo Jing remained silent.

    Huang Rong tugged his hand, saying gently, “Don’t tell me you want me to save that scumbag? You’re worried for me, right? This 2 scumbags may not treat us well.” Guo Jing said, “You’re right, but I’m worried about you and Master. Since that old poisonous thing is a head of a sect, what he says has some credibility.” Huang Rong said, “OK, let’s save him then talk; we’ll plan as we go along.”

    They turned back and saw Ouyang Feng standing in the water, supporting his nephew. He saw the duo coming and his eyes glinted and it was obvious he wanted to kill them. He said roughly, “I told you to leave, why did you return?” Huang Rong sat down on a stone and laughed, “I came to see if he’s dead yet.” Ouyang Feng snapped, “So what if he’s dead, so what if he’s alive?”

    Huang Rong said, “If he’s dead then there’s no use now!” Ouyang Feng jumped out of the water, hastily saying, “Good… good lady, he’s not dead yet, you must have a way. Say it… say it quick.” Huang Rong threw the ‘straw’ over and said, “Put it in his mouth and he won’t die.” Ouyang Feng was happy and jumped into the water and stuffed the thing into his nephew’s mouth.

    The water had already covered his nose and he was exhaling the last bit of air but his ears could still hear their conversation, so when the ‘straw’ reached his mouth, he breathed hard and felt comfortable and he momentarily forgot about the pain in his legs. Ouyang Feng said, “Quick, hurry, let’s connect the ropes.”

    Huang Rong laughed, “Uncle Ouyang, you want me dead to accompany your nephew, right?” Ouyang Feng started and thought, “How did she hear what I said?” Huang Rong laughed, “If you kill me and then you meet some trouble later, who’s going to help you?” Now that Ouyang Feng was depending on her, he could only pretend not to hear her and went to work on the tree bark.

    They worked for more than 2 hours and made an enormously thick rope nearly 100 metres long; the sea level was already up to half the rock. Ouyang Ke’s head was a few feet under the water and only the tip of the ‘straw’ was exposed. Ouyang Feng was still worried and occasionally stretched his hand under water to check on him.

    After another hour, the water receded and Ouyang Ke’s head was slowly surfacing. Huang Rong measured the ropes’ length and shouted, “Enough, now I need 4 massive poles for the ‘masts’.” Ouyang Feng was doubtful, he knew that on this deserted island, even a knife was hard to find, not to mention an axe sturdy enough for their task. He asked, “How do we get that?” Huang Rong said, “Don’t worry, just find the wood first.”

    Ouyang Feng was afraid she would throw a tantrum and refuse to help him, so he did not ask further but ran around looking for trees with thick trunks. He crouched down and gathered his strength and launched his palms at each of the trees. The trees fell after a few strikes. Guo Jing and Huang Rong witnessed this powerful display of internal strength and shuddered. Ouyang Feng found a long and flat rock and he used that to cut away the tree leaves.

    Now Guo Jing and Huang Rong tied the rope round 3 of the thick tree trunks and looped the rope around the large rock before tying the end to the final tree trunk. That trunk was a centuries-old oak tree and even 3-4 people were not enough to circle the tree. Huang Rong said, “I guess this tree can handle the rock, right?” Ouyang Feng nodded.

    Huang Rong tld them to connect one more thick rope and they currounded the 4 tree trunks around the rock, forming a ‘#’ shape and looped the rope round the top. Ouyang Feng praised her, “Good lady, you’re really smart, just like your father.” Huang Rong laughed, “But how can I be compared to your nephew? Let’s start!”

    They acted together and used the oak tree as the pivot to pull the ‘#’-shape formation. The rope became taut and the rock was lifted slowly. The Sun was about to set and the sky was red, illuminating the golden surface of the water.

    The tide had already gone out and Ouyang Ke’s body was in the mud and his eyes were fixed onto the rock. It moved slowly and steadily with a creaking sound, causing him to be anxious yet happy. Though the rope had made one complete turn around its loop, the rock had only moved an inch and it was already causing great strain on the pivot.

    Although Ouyang Feng did not believe in divine intervention, he was silently praying throughout the process. Suddenly the rope snapped and the rock slammed down onto Ouyang Ke again, and he tried to scream but no sound came out. The rope flew up and hit Huang Rong, throwing her off her feet. Guo Jing quickly helped her up.

    At this stage Ouyang Feng lost all hope while Huang Rong could hardly smile. Guo Jing said, “We can join them back and add another rope and try again.” Ouyang Feng shook his head, “That’d be harder, the 3 of us aren’t enough.” Guo Jing mumbled to himself, “If only someone would help us.” Ouyang Feng got angry and snapped, “Obviously!” He knew Guo Jing had good intentions, but in his depression he vented his frustrations on him.

    Huang Rong thought for a while then jumped up, clapping and laughing, “Yes, yes, there’s someone who can help us.” Guo Jing asked, “Who might that be?” Huang Rong said, “Hmmm, it’s just that Brother Ouyang would have to bear with more discomfort and wait for the tide to come in again before he can be set free.” Ouyang Feng and Guo Jing both looked at her thinking, “Are you thinking that when the tide comes in, someone will come to our aid?”

    Huang Rong laughed, “We’re all tired and hungry; let’s find some food.” Ouyang Feng said, “Miss, you said someone will help us, please explain.” Huang Rong said, “At this time tomorrow, Brother Ouyang will be free. For now I can’t reveal the secret.” Ouyang Feng saw that she had great confidence in herself and his doubt decreased. But he was still skeptical so he simply accompanied his nephew.

    Guo Jing and Huang Rong caught a few wild hares and cooked one for the uncle and nephew, then they shared the rest with Hong Qigong.

    When Guo Jing learnt that the trap was laid by her, he was surprised and happy. They knew that now Ouyang Feng was with his nephew and would not bother them, so they only lit a fire at the cave entrance to prevent any wild animals from coming in, and they slept very well. The next morning, Guo Jing saw a shadow at the entrance so he quickly jumped up. He saw Ouyang Feng standing there saying, “Is Miss Huang awake?”

    Huang Rong was already awake but she pretended to be soundly asleep. Guo Jing whispered, “Not yet. What is it?” Ouyang Feng said, “When she wakes up, invite her to save him.” Guo Jing said, “OK.” Hong Qigong said, “I let her drink the ‘100-Day-Drunken-Stupor’ Wine as well as hit her Sleeping Accupoint. Within 3 months, it’s hard to wake her.”

    Ouyang Feng started and Hong Qigong laughed heartily. Ouyang Feng realised that he was joking and became angry. Huang Rong sat up and laughed, “If we don’t tease the Old Poison now, when will we get to do that?” She then combed her hair and washed her face extremely slowly and then went to fish and catch rabbits for breakfast. Ouyang Feng paced up and down several times just like a pan of ants of fire. Guo Jing said, “Rong’er, when the water rises, will there really be someone to save him?”

    Huang Rong said, “What do you think?” Guo Jing shook his head, saying, “I don’t really think so.” Huang Rong laughed, “Me neither.” Guo Jing was startled, “So you lied to him?” Huang Rong said, “Not really, when the tide rises, I’d have a way to save him.” Guo Jing knew that she was very intelligent and resourceful so he did not question further. They then went to play around the flowers.

    Huang Rong had no companions since young and always played on the beach at Peach Blossom Island by herself. Now that she had Guo Jing with her, she was extremely happy. They played and laughed endlessly on the beach. Huang Rong said, “Brother Jing, your hair is terribly messy, let me help you comb your hair.”

    They sat together on a rock. Huang Rong took out a small golden-jade comb and combed his hair finely, then sighed, “Why don’t we think of a way to get rid of those 2 poisonous creatures and then we’ll live here together with Master and not leave this place, what do you think?” Guo Jing said, “I was thinking of my 6 masters.” Huang Rong said, “Hmmm, and Father too.”

    After a while she said, “I wonder how’s Sister Mu doing now. Master has also asked me to be the Leader of the Beggars’ Clan, so I’m starting to miss those beggars too.” Guo Jing laughed, “Looks like we have to think of a way to get back.” Huang Rong finished with his hair and tied it up. Guo Jing said, “The way you comb my hair reminds me of my mother.”

    Huang Rong laughed, “You can call me Mother.” Guo Jing smiled without replying. Huang Rong tickled him and asked, “Aren’t you going to say it?” Guo Jing laughed and jumped up, messing his hair again. Huang Rong laughed, “Fine if you won’t say it. You think no one will call me ‘Mother’ in future? Sit down.”

    Guo Jing sat down and Huang Rong wiped his sweat away and kissed his forehead lightly. She thought of the previous day’s fight with Ouyang Feng and remembered that Guo Jing praised her [Dog Beating Skill], so she wanted to teach it to him. Huang Rong saw that his martial arts improved a lot and was actually more excited about that than her own skills.

    Since she was Huang Yaoshi’s daughter, she had access to all the wonderful martial arts skills from young so she did not really pay attention to other wonderful skills; just like a rich man’s son would not bother about gold or silver. But she thought, “This skill is meant exclusively for the Beggars’ Clan Leader, so I can’t teach him” She asked, “Brother Jing, do you want to be the Beggars’ Clan Leader?”

    Guo Jing said, “Master wants you to be the Clan Leader, why do you ask me?” Huang Rong said, “I’m a young girl, I don’t resemble the Beggars’ Clan Leader. Why don’t I give up this appointment to you? With your commanding appearance the beggars will listen to you. Besides, when you become the Leader, this marvelous skill will be yours.” Guo Jing said, “No, no. I can’t be the Leader. I’m not intelligent enough even to handle small matters, not to mention important matters.”

    Huang Rong thought he was right – though Hong Qigong had no choice but to make her succeed him during this crisis, but he must have known that despite being young, she was very intelligent and probably no less capable than the 4 Elders and he also did not give her permission to give this responsibility to someone else; not every silly boy who knew the [Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms] and [Dog Beating Skill] could become the Leader. So she laughed, “OK, fine, but I’m afraid you can’t learn this skill, then.”

    Guo Jing said, “There’s no difference between you and me knowing it.” Huang Rong heard that this sentence came from his heart so she was touched and said, “When Master recovers I’ll return the appointment to him. Then… then…” She wanted to say “Then we can get married” but somehow the words could not come out of her mouth. She asked, “Brother Jing, do you know where are babies from?”

    Guo Jing said, “I know.” Huang Rong said, “Where?” Guo Jing said, “When people get married, they have babies.” Huang Rong said, “Yes I know that too. But why will married people have babies?” Guo Jing said. “This I don’t know.” Huang Rong said, “Me neither. I asked Father, but he said they crawl out from nests.”

    Guo Jing was about to ask more but they suddenly heard a sharp voice saying, “Making babies? You’ll know when you grow up. The tide is rising already!” Huang Rong gasped and jumped up; she had not expected Ouyang Feng to be listening to them. Although she did not understand male-female relationships, she knew that saying such stuff is embarassing, so her face turned red and they quickly ran to the cliff.

    Ouyang ke had been under the rock for 24 hours and had been suffering much. Ouyang Feng kept a straight face and said, “Miss Huang, you said that someone would come to help when the tide rises, this is not a joke.” Huang Rong said, “My father knows the changes of the Five Elements, so his daughter would of course know a bit, although I can’t compare with him, I can still predict a bit of the future.”

    Ouyang Feng knew about her father’s abilities, so he said, “Your father is coming? Splendid.” Huang Rong paused, then said, “Such a small matter wouldn’t need my father’s presence. Moreover, if my father knows that you hurt my master, he won’t let you off. Including the 2 of us, how can you win? So what are you happy about?” Ouyang Feng could not argue and remained silent sullenly.

    Huang Rong said to Guo Jing, “Brother Jing, go get some tree branches. The more the better.” Guo Jing agreed and went. Huang Rong mended the rope which snapped the previous day with more bark. Ouyang Feng kept asking who was coming but she just hummed some tunes without replying.

    Ouyang Feng was dissatisfied but when he saw Huang Rong’s relaxed expression, he kept up his hopes and went to help Guo Jing. He saw Guo Jing execute the [Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms] and only needed a few strikes to bring down a sturdy tree. He thought, “His martial arts are good. Coupled with the [Nine Yin Manual], he spells disaster for me.”

    He decided that he had to extract his nephew dead or alive. He crouched down between 2 trees and then sent out his palms simultaneously and each palm hit a tree, causing them to break. Guo Jing was awed and said, “Uncle Ouyang, I wonder when I can reach your standard.” Ouyang Feng did not reply but thought, “In your next life.”

    They carried all the wood to the cliff. Ouyang Feng looked out into the sea but did not even see the smallest speck of a sampan. Huang Rong asked, “What are you looking for? No one’s coming.” Ouyang Feng was surprised and angry, raising his voice, “No one?” Huang Rong said, “This is a deserted island, no one will come here.” Ouyang Feng was flabbergasted and could not speak, only waiting to kill someone.

    Huang Rong did not look at him directly but turned to Guo Jing, saying, “Brother Jing, what’s the most you can lift?” Guo Jing said, “Around 200kg.” Huang Rong said, “Hmmm, how about a 600kg rock?” Guo Jing said, “I think not.” Huang Rong said, “How about a 600kg rock in the water?”

    Ouyang Feng realised it and yelled happily, “Yes, yes, it’s correct!” Guo Jing however had yet to understand it. Ouyang Feng said, “When the tide rises, it half-submerges this rock, causing it to be lighter, let’s do it again and it’ll definitely work.”

    Huang Rong coldly said, “Yeah, but the trees will be half-submerged too, how are you going to work underwater?” Ouyang Feng bit his teeth and said, “Leave that to fate.” Huang Rong said, “Hmmm, it doesn’t have to be so difficult. Go tie the branches to the the rock.”

    When she said that, Guo Jing understood too and cheered, working together with Ouyang Feng and began tying several large branches around the rock. Ouyang Feng was afraid that the bouyancy would not be enough , so he tied 7-8 large pieces of wood together then helped Guo Jing connect the rope that snapped the previous day. Huang Rong stood aside and smiled, watching them work. Within 2 hours, it was all ready and they only lacked the tide.

    Guo Jing and Huang Rong went to accompany their master. In the afternoon, the tide started to rise and Ouyang Feng ran up to inform them and the 3 of them went down together. After some time, the tide had reached its highest and they stood in the water and looped the rope around the oak tree again. They then operated the ‘#’-shape mechanism again.

    This time with the pieces of wood tied to the rock, the bouyancy was very high and it seemed like there were many strong men helping to lift the rock. The 3 of them did not need much effort to move the rock. After turning a few rounds of rope round the coil, Ouyang Feng held his breath and hugged his nephew up to the surface of the water.

    Guo Jing saw that they were successful and could not help but cheer. Huang Rong too clapped continuously and actually forgot that it was she who laid the trap.


    END OF CHAPTER.
    Last edited by IcyFox; 11-26-06 at 12:38 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    People, comments please.

    I've only edited the chapter once, so if you folks spot any mistakes please post them here. Thanks.

    Another thing is that when I have finished posting the entire chapter, I'll move all other chapters from Book 3 over here as well.

  4. #4
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    GOOD STUFF MAN!

    I'm not sure of things in the grammatical sense, but you have indeed conveyed the feelings meant to be conveyed. I think that the word?

  5. #5
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    That's nice.

    Anyway, I won't be posting in this thread often due to some 'subtle' change in my job (which many of you know I'm a conscripted soldier).

    Updates will still be regular, though, because the entire chapter is ready.

  6. #6
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    good job Icyfox. I've been longing for this chapter.

  7. #7
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    This chapter will be updated weekly.

    Next update : 5 Nov 2006.

  8. #8
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    Activity in this thread seems to be low.

  9. #9
    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Perhaps because there is no constant updates yet?

    Anyway, folks, JamesG just reminded me that there is a possibility of the spcnet closing this translation thread due to copyright issue. We might need to move everything someplace else. Any ideas?

  10. #10
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    As I told James, I'll fight to keep this forum alive.

    But first, I'll need us to check out the relevant copyright laws. All of us, please.

  11. #11
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    wait, what?

    Just THIS translation thread. Or the whole translation subforum.

  12. #12
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unlimited
    Just THIS translation thread. Or the whole translation subforum.
    The whole darn Wuxia Translations forum.

    See this thread : http://www.spcnet.tv/forums/showthread.php?p=610346

  13. #13
    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    I'll say we prepare for the worst: find a new home. Just in case.

    If Unlimited has enough space, we can migrate the translation thread ONLY to a new home, hence relieving the spcnet from any liability.

  14. #14
    Senior Member duguxiaojing's Avatar
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    The whole darn Wuxia Translations forum.
    WTfack ...... I hope not. The main reason I(and probably others as well) was drawn to this forum was due to the translations. Hopefully the admin will work this out.


    Anyways, thanks for the translations, translation team..cant wait until i get my next fix
    wow..04-08....4 years just like that..time flies..

  15. #15
    Registered User JamesG's Avatar
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    Take a read of Han Solo's response in the Technical Section.

    I made 4 cd copies of ROCH for some of my mainland engineer friends in Calgary which they read and loaned to other mainlanders there. Not one of them knows where their copy is at the moment.
    Last edited by JamesG; 11-03-06 at 05:16 PM.

  16. #16
    Moderator Han Solo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foxs_
    I'll say we prepare for the worst: find a new home. Just in case.

    If Unlimited has enough space, we can migrate the translation thread ONLY to a new home, hence relieving the spcnet from any liability.

    Just curious,

    As there's already a well-established site in Wuxiapedia as a backup, why not liase with Linh et al?

    Han Solo

  17. #17
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Han Solo
    Just curious,

    As there's already a well-established site in Wuxiapedia as a backup, why not liase with Linh et al?
    Just in case even Wuxiapedia is forced to cease its operations, I suppose.

    But I for one wouldn't just sit by and watch that happen.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Da Bao's Avatar
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    Thanks for another great translation!!!

    It does seem like the translation threads are kind of dying...
    有缘千里来相会
    无缘对面手难牵

  19. #19
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    Actually, it's just LoCH.

    The others like Legendary Siblings and Smiling Proud Wanderer seem to be doing fine.

  20. #20
    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Hey! I am still working hard with the later chapters ... I still have less than 5 and a half chapters to go. Anyway, I will post mine in daily updates as soon as my turn comes.

    About the wuxiapedia, I do not have the sligthest doubt that they will take over the FINISHED translation. However, they do not have a discussion forum like we do here. And just like IcyFox feels, I believe feedbacks from the readers are as important than the translation itself. It's true that we, the translators, do most of the works, but do not forget the editors, the proofreaders, the encouragers, those who make little corrections here and there. I feel like with wuxiapedia, these factors will be gone forever ... Unless ... wuxiapedia opens up a forum like this. Huang Yushi, Linh, Candide, what do you guys think?

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