It is kinda weird.
It is kinda weird.
It was not too long after I took over the Sect Leader position of our school when your Shibo [martial (older) uncle] Gu Hongzi made an appointment for a martial arts match with a young master from the Devil Cult. They agreed to fight one-on-one, not allowing anybody to receive help from anybody else. Your Shibo knew that although his opponent was young, his martial art skill was actually very profound. Thereupon he came to me to borrow the Yitian Sword.”
As Zhou Zhiruo heard the phrase ‘a young master from the Devil Cult’ she could not help her heart thump madly, and her face involuntarily blushed; but she immediately remembered, “It was not him, I am afraid at that time he was not even born yet.”
Meanwhile Miejue Shitai continued, “At that time I wanted to go along and help him, but your Shibo insisted that he wanted to keep the good faith; saying he stated clearly with that devil-head that no third-party participation was allowed; therefore, he was firm in not letting me go along. In that martial art match your Shibo’s skill was certainly not below his opponent; but because the devil-head employed a dirty trick, in the end he managed to land a palm on your Shibo’s chest and snatched away the Yitian Sword before it even came out of its sheathe.”
“Ah!” Zhou Zhiruo exclaimed, remembering how Zhang Wuji snatched away the Sword from Miejue’s hand on the Brightness Peak.
Her Shifu continued, “That devil-head laughed coldly several times and said ‘What a big reputation Yitian Sword has! In my eyes it is no different that scrap copper and rusty iron!’ Casually he threw the Sword to the ground and swaggered away. Your Shibo picked the Sword up and went back to the mountain to return it to me. Who would have thought that because of his proud character, the more he thought about the lost, the more he was grieved. He only managed to take a three-day journey when he caught an illness along the way and was not able to get up again. The Yitian Sword fell into the hands of the local authorities who in turn presented it to the royal government. Do you know who was this evil disciple of the Devil Cult who angered your Shibo Gu Hongzi to his death?”
“No …” Zhou Zhiruo replied, “I wonder who that was?”
“It was he who later on harmed your Shijie Ji Xiaofu; that devil-head Yang Xiao!” Miejue Shitai replied.
Right at that moment Lu Zhangke banged the door and shouted, “Are you done talking? I can’t wait much longer!”
“Don’t be impatient,” Miejue Shitai said, “We will be done very soon.” Quietly to Zhou Zhiruo she said, “We don’t have much time; we can’t talk too much. This Yitian Sword was later on granted by the Tartar Emperor to the Ruyang Prince so I went to the Ruyang Palace to steal it back. It is so unfortunate that by an evil plot the Sword has fallen into the hand of the Devil Cult.”
“No, it was that Miss Zhao who stole it,” Zhou Zhiruo said.
Miejue Shitai stared at her and said, “This surnamed Zhao girl is obviously in cohort with that Cult Leader of the Devil Cult. Don’t tell me that up to this point you still don’t believe your Shifu?”
In all honesty it was hard for Zhou Zhiruo to believe her; but she did not want to argue with her master. Miejue Shitai continued, “I have a strong reason why I want you to take over the Sect Leader position. This time I fall into the crafty villains’ hands, my reputation is falling down the drain; I do not want to get out of this Pagoda alive. That lecherous man surnamed Zhang has dirty thoughts toward you, but I believe he won’t harm your life. You may pretend to get close to him, and then seize the opportunity to take back the Yitian Sword. The Tulong Saber is in the hand of his foster father, that wicked bandit Xie Xun. This kid will not reveal Xie Xun’s whereabouts no matter what; but I know there is one person in this world who will be able to get this Saber.”
Zhou Zhiruo knew her Shifu was talking about her; she was startled and shy, and happy but scared at the same time.
Mie Jue Shitai said, “That person is you. I want you to use your beauty to obtain the treasured sword. I know this is not a very chivalrous thing to do, but for an important matter I don’t want to worry about little things. Just think about it: presently the Yitian Sword is in that surnamed Zhao girl, while the Tulong Saber is in that wicked bandit Xie Xun’s hand. Both have close relationship with him. If by any chance he acquires both the Sword and the Saber, and if by chance he obtains Guo Daxia’s military strategy and martial arts manual; then it will be catastrophic for the common people. I don’t know how many innocent people in the world will lost their lives, families will be broken, not to mention the great undertaking of driving out the Tartars will be more difficult to accomplish. Zhiruo, I know perfectly well that this matter is too difficult, in all honesty I don’t want you to bear it; but what is the purpose of us training martial arts all our lives? Zhiruo, I beseech you for the sake of the common people in the world.” Speaking thus, she suddenly stood up, and then bent her knees and bowed in front of Zhou Zhiruo.
To say that Zhou Zhiruo was mildly shocked is certainly an understatement; she hastily knelt down and called out, “Shifu! Shifu! You …”
“Quiet!” Miejue Shitai said, “Don’t let the wicked bandit outside hear. Do you agree? If you don’t, I won’t get up.”
Zhou Zhiruo was utterly confused; in just a short moment her Shifu had just asked of her three very difficult matters. The first was to make the heavy oath that she would not to fall in live with Zhang Wuji, the second was for her to take over the Sect Leader position; afterwards she wanted her to utilize her beauty to entice Zhang Wuji to obtain the Tulong Saber and the Yitian Sword. Each one of these three might take her ten years to decide. Based on her gentle and warm character, chances are she would not agree to any of them, much less she was given just a short time to accept. Her head was spinning and she passed out, losing her consciousness completely.
Suddenly feeling a sharp pain on her upper lip she opened her eyes and saw her Shifu was still kneeling in front of her. Crying she said, “Shifu, please get up.”
“Do you agree to my request, then?” Miejue Shitai asked.
Bursting into tears Zhou Zhiruo did not have any choice but nodding her head; she almost fainted again. Miejue Shitai grabbed her hands and in a low voice said, “After obtaining the Tulong Saber and the Yitian Sword, here is how you’ll get the secret inside: With one hand holding the Saber and the other the Sword, exert your internal energy and strike the Saber and the Sword to each other. Both the Sword and the Saber will break simultaneously, and then take the secret scrolls from inside the Saber’s body and the Sword’s blade. This is the only way to take the secret out of those precious Sword and Saber, and to destroy them at the same time. Do you understand?” She spoke in low voice, but her tone was very urgent.
now the secret which took youth of yudaiyan and which made xiexun's life miserable is unfolding.....i wonder, if in real history, such things ever happened? really do heros existed with great fighting abilities?
It is interesting how the stories are all tying together now.
It's amazing how the seemingly unrelated facts start to meld into a cohesive story. Thanks fox for the amazing translations.
You are all very welcome!
Zhou Zhiruo nodded her head. Miejue Shitai continued, “This is our Sect’s greatest secret; ever since Guo Daxia husband and wife passed it on to our Sect’s Guo Zushi, only the Sect Leaders of our school are aware of it. To think that the Tulong Saber and the Yitian Sword are weapons with matchless sharpness, let’s just say that someone getting hold of these precious sword and saber at the same time; who would dare to strike the Sword and the Saber to each other and thus risking the destruction of these valuable weapons? After you obtain the military strategy book, go and find a good and honest warrior, a patriot who is undoubtedly loyal to the country; give the book to him, tell him to make an oath to drive the invaders away. Take the martial arts manual and train yourself in it. The Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palm is a pure positive, hard and ferocious technique; it is not suitable for you. You may learn the Nine Yin Manual. According to my ‘en shi’ [benevolent master], Guo Zushi said that the original Nine Yin Manual was so broad and deep that it would be impossible to master it in a short period of time. But Huang Nuxia had thought that obliterating the Tartar’s fierce and ruthless government is an urgent matter; accomplishing it one day sooner means sparing the common people one less day of suffering. For that reason among the secrets inside the Yitian Sword she had written some chapters that can be learned intensively. However, after the important matter is accomplished, you must go back and revisit the prescribed path to strengthen your foundation. Those intensive courses can only be used temporarily. It was created from Huang Nuxia’s profound intelligence and wisdom to provide a quick fix. It is by no means a true matchless-under-the heaven’s martial art method. You have to keep this firmly in your mind.”
Zhou Zhiruo nodded her head absentmindedly. Miejue Shitai continued, “Our Sect has two greatest desires: the first is to drive out the Tartars and get our mountains and rivers back; the second is to make Emei Pai the leader in the martial arts world, surpassing Shaolin, Wudang, and the other schools, to become the Number One Sect in the Wulin world of the Central Plains [zhong yuan]. These two goals are very difficult to achieve; but now we have a way. As long as you comply with your Shifu’s injunction, you can achieve it one by one. At that time your Shifu in the next world will be very grateful to you.”
As she finished speaking Lu Zhangke again knocked on the door. “Come in!” Miejue Shitai said.
The door opened and to their surprise instead of Lu Zhangke it was Ku Toutuo who walked in. Miejue Shitai did not think differently; she thought these people were the jackals from the same lair anyway, so whoever came in did not make any difference. “Please take this child out,” she said. She was not willing to commit suicide in Zhou Zhiruo’s presence, to spare her from grieving.
Ku Toutuo came closer and in a low voice he said, “This is the antidote; take it quick. As soon as you hear commotion outside, everybody get out and join hands to kill the enemy.”
Miejue Shitai was surprised. “Who are you, Sire?” she asked, “Why are you giving the antidote to me?”
“I am the Ming Cult’s ‘guang ming you shi’ [Brightness Right Emissary] Fan Yao,” Ku Toutuo replied, “I managed to steal the antidote and come here to rescue Shitai.”
“Devil Cult traitor!” Miejue Shitai was angry, “You still want to play joke on me!”
Fan Yao smiled and said, “All right! Let’s just say I am playing a joke on you. This is a poison to add the effectiveness of the poison in your system. Do you have the guts to take it? Once it goes into your belly, within a couple of hours your intestines will ruptured and you will die miserably.”
Without saying anything Miejue Shitai reached out into his hand, took the powder, and swallowed it.
“Shifu … Shifu …” Zhou Zhiruo called out in alarm.
“Quiet!” Fan Yao said, stretching out his other hand, “You must also take this poison.”
Zhou Zhiruo was shocked, but Fan Yao had already grabbed her cheeks and poured the powder in her mouth, followed by a cup of water; very soon the powder had entered her throat.
Miejue Shitai was shocked too; she thought with Zhou Zhiruo’s death her meticulously planned scheme would go down the drain. Disregarding her own safety she threw herself with an open palm toward Fan Yao. Unfortunately her internal energy was lost; although her palm technique was exquisite, but it was devoid of any strength. With only a light push Fan Yao sent her body flying to the wall.
Fan Yao laughed and said, “All Shaolin monks and all Wudang heroes have taken my poison. Whether our Ming Cult is good or evil, you’ll find out really soon.” With a big laugh he turned around, went out the room and slammed the door closed.
When Zhao Min took Fan Yao for a rendezvous with Zhang Wuji, his mind was still fully occupied by how to steal the antidote. As soon as Zhao Min told him to wait in the outer hall of that small restaurant, he left immediately, rushing toward the Wan An Temple, straight to the Pagoda. When he reached the tenth floor, he saw Wuwang Apu was standing on guard in front of his own room. As Wuwang Apu saw Fan Yao, he greeted him respectfully, “Ku Dashi.”
Fan Yao nodded while laughing in his heart. “Good!” he thought, “The Old Lu disregards the honor of his own school; he is hiding inside, having a good time with Wangye’s [Prince, lit. King Master] beloved concubine, while he orders his disciple to guard the door. I’d better rush in and seize the antidote while this old man is doing the Heaven-knows-what.” Slanting his body sideways he slipped through Wuwang Apu’s side and suddenly stretched out his finger, sealing the acupoint on Wuwang Apu’s lower abdomen.
It would still be very difficult for him to avoid this attack even if he was completely alert not to mention Wuwang Apu was taken by surprise. Once his acupoint was sealed, his body went numb and he was paralyzed. Inwardly he was feeling very strange; when did he offend this mute Toutuo? Could it be that his ‘Ku Dashi’ greeting just a moment ago was not respectful enough?
Fan Yao shoved the door open and quick as lightning he plunged into the bed. Before his feet even touched the floor his palm had already struck toward someone on the bed. He fully realized the level of Lu Zhangke’s martial art skill; if he failed to inflict serious injury with this one palm strike, then it would not be easy to determine victory or defeat in a life and death fight, hence he had exerted his whole strength in this one strike.
“Splat!” the quilt burst open; cotton fibers flew everywhere. Fan Yao opened the cotton-waded quilt and as he looked, he saw Concubine Han with blood coming out of her mouth and nose. She was as dead as a jade statue. But Lu Zhangke’s shadow was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly Fan Yao got an idea; he turned around and went out the room. He pulled Wuwang Apu inside and stuffed him underneath the bed. He had just closed the door when he heard Lu Zhangke’s angry voice outside, “Apu! Apu! How dare you leave your post?”
Turned out Lu Zhangke had been waiting outside Miejue Shitai for quite a while; he wondered how long these mother and daughter would fussily talk to each other. He did not dare to offend Ku Toutuo, so he did not dare to crash in. His heart wandered toward Concubine Han and he missed her already; thereupon he returned to Wuwang Apu’s room, only to see that his always-obedient main disciple was unexpectedly not guarding outside the door. He was really angry. Shoving the door open he was relieved not to see anything unusual. Concubine Han was still lying on the bed facing inward, her body was still covered by the cotton quilt.
Lu Zhangke bolted the door behind him before turning around and smiled, “Pretty girl, I am going to unseal your acupoint, but you must not make any noise.” While speaking he stretched out his hand toward the bedding, his finger aimed toward Concubine Han’s spine. Suddenly a strong hand, with its five fingers as hard as a pair of iron pliers, grabbed the main artery on his wrist; at once his body weakened, not a bit of strength was left in his body. He saw from the cotton quilt a head covered in long hair came out; it was none other than Ku Toutuo.
I'm liking Fan Yao more and more. What a quick-witted fellow! I'm really enjoying all the quasi-comedic elements in the last few chapters - all the deception, impersonation and unexpected snags in Ku Toutuo's scheme. Thanks Foxs!
thanks Foxs!!!!!!! i see that you are machining your way through another chapter....and to answer your last question...its only like the greatest compliment you could give a translator
wow..04-08....4 years just like that..time flies..
I love Zhou Zhiruo!!! Being one of my favourite characters I can't help but squeal every time I see her name. Miejue is just so mean...
I digress... THANK YOU FOXS!! You are a wonderful translator, you've no idea how grateful and happy I am to see you have stayed and you are now translating HSDS.
It's probably not a good time to note this, as there's just been a minor deviation, but ISTM that HSDS 86 is very close to the text, as faithful an adaptation given the limitations as LOCH 03.
You are very welcome, Folks. God willing, I am going to continue as far as possible. Your support is greatly appreciated.
With his right hand Fan Yao held tight Lu Zhangke’s main artery, while at the same time his left hand moved like the wind, sealing nineteen major acupoints all over Lu Zhangke’s body. Lu Zhangke was paralyzed; he lay on the floor with his eyes full of anger. Fan Yao pointed his finger to him and said, “The Old Man here has never changed his surname, nor has he changed his name. I am the Ming Cult’s Right Emissary of the Brightness; surnamed Fan, given name Yao. Today you have fallen into my hand. You are always proud of your peerless intelligence, but you are actually a stupid and useless man. If I kill you now, I am neither a hero nor a real man; therefore, I am going to spare your life. If you have the ability, look for Fan Yao to seek your revenge in the future.”
He was not done yet; he stripped Lu Zhangke naked and lay him down next to Concubine Han’s dead body, and then he covered both people, one dead the other alive, under the cotton quilt. Now at last he took the antler staff, unscrewed the tip of the antler to get the antidote; and then went to the prisoners’ room one by one to distribute the antidote to Kong Wen Dashi, Song Yuanqiao, Yu Lianzhou, and the others. In doing so he had spent a lot of time; especially since he had to explain everything to the prisoners again and again. Finally he reached Miejue Shitai’s room, and when she did not believe it was the real antidote, he bluffed her by saying it was another poison. Fan Yao hated her for killing so many of his Ming Cult brethrens, so if he could hurt her some, he was very pleased.
Finished distributing the antidote Fan Yao felt very pleased of himself, but suddenly he heard clamoring noise of people shouting outside the Pagoda; among those people He Biweng’s voice was the loudest, “This Ku Toutuo is a spy, get him down here, quick!”
Fan Yao groaned inwardly, “This is bad, really bad!” he thought, “Who helped this fellow out?” Poking his head outside he saw He Biweng leading a large number of warriors surrounding the Pagoda.
As they saw Ku Toutuo’s head, Sun Sanhui and Li Sicui shot their arrows while cursing, “Wicked thief Toutuo, you harmed us really bad!”
Actually, when He Biweng and the other two’s acupoints were sealed, they should not be able to get out of trouble for a while; moreover, they were hidden inside Lu Zhangke’s room, so normally nobody would dare to rashly go in. Who would have thought that Ruyang Palace dispatched a lot of warriors everywhere, including to the Wan An Temple. When they failed to see the Prince’s beloved concubine’s track, someone remembered Lu Zhangke’s lecherous nature. But these warriors were always afraid of him; although they suspected the missing of the Prince’s beloved concubine was somewhat related to him, who would dare treading on a tiger’s head by offending him? After contemplating for a long time, the captain of the guards, Captain Ha, finally made up his mind. He sent a low ranking soldier to knock on Lu Zhangke’s door; he figured out that a person of his rank, although Lu Zhangke was angry, he would not stoop so low as to harm this lowly soldier.
The soldier knocked on the door several times, but nobody answered. Captain Ha clenched his teeth and ordered the soldier to just shove the door open and take a look. To their surprise they saw He Biweng, Sun Sanhui and Li Sicui were lying on the floor. By this time He Biweng had managed to circulate his internal energy, trying to unseal his acupoints. He had unsealed three, four passages; and then Captain Ha helped him unseal the rest. Very soon he was able to move about freely.
He Biweng’s anger had reached the heaven; he inquired about Lu Zhangke and Ku Toutuo’s whereabouts and was told that they went to the Pagoda. Thereupon he led the warriors to surround the Pagoda and then shouted loudly, calling Ku Toutuo to go down and fight to the death.
Fan Yao was secretly alarmed, “Fight to the death then fight to the death, do you think the one surnamed Fan is scared of you?” he thought, “Only these stinky monks and old nun have not taken the antidote for too long; they will still need about one and a half hour to recover their internal strengths. This He Biweng has heard my conversation with Lu Zhangke; although I kill the old Lu, I still cannot close his mouth. What should I do?”
At a loss of what to do Fan Yao paced back and forth for a while. He Biweng called out again, “Deserve-to-die Toutuo, if you don’t get down, I am going up!”
Fan Yao returned to the room to get Lu Zhangke and Concubine Han who were still bundled inside the cotton quilt; he brought them to the railings and lifted them high in the air. “Old He!” he called out, “If you come near the gate even for one step, I am going to throw this old lecher Lu down.”
The warriors were carrying torches high in their hands, which made the surrounding area as bright as day; but the Pagoda was too tall that the light could not reach Fan Yao. However, in spite of the dim light they could still recognize Lu Zhangke and Concubine Han’s faces.
He Biweng was greatly shocked. “Shige [martial (older) brother], Shige, are you all right?” he called out. After calling out several times without hearing Lu Zhangke’s reply, he started to think that his Shige was killed by Ku Toutuo. “Thief Toutuo, you killed my Shige. I swear I won’t live on the same earth as you do.”
Fan Yao unsealed Lu Zhangke’s mute acupoint. Immediately Lu Zhangke shot some abusive words, “Thief Toutuo, you are the enemy’s spy! I am going to cut you into thousand pieces …” Fan Yao let him shout curses for a while before sealing his mute acupoint again.
Seeing his martial brother did not die, He Biweng was somewhat relieved; he was afraid Ku Toutuo would really throw his martial brother down, so he did not dare to come near the gate.
This deadlock situation dragged for quite a while; He Biweng did not dare to rescue his martial brother, while Fan Yao only hoped to gain as much time as possible. Half an hour by half an hour passed by, Fan Yao stood by the railings and laughed loudly, calling out, “Old He, your Shixiong [martial brother] has such nerve that he dared to kidnap the Prince’s beloved concubine. I caught them red-handed and captured them on the spot. You are still thinking of protecting your Shixiong? Captain, Sire, quickly arrest this old man. These two martial brothers are staging a rebellion, committing a capital crime. If you arrest him, I am sure the Prince will heap you with rewards.”
Captain Ha cast a sidelong glance toward He Biweng; he wanted to take an action, but lack the courage to do so. He felt strange to suddenly see Ku Toutuo open his mouth and speak, but the evidence in front of his eyes was that Lu Zhangke and Concubine Han were wrapped together in one cotton quilt. Besides, he had already had some previous suspicions, so in his heart was 90% believed what Fan Yao said. “Ku Dashi, please get down,” he loudly called out, “Let us go together to the Prince and sort this thing out. The three of you are senior masters, Xiao Ren [lit. little/lowly person] does not dare to offend any of you.”
Fan Yao was very bold and he thought that while he went to the Prince’s palace to sort out right from wrong, the prisoners would have had enough time to recover from their poisoning. “Wonderful! Wonderful!” he called out immediately, “I am just about to go to Wangye to receive the reward. Captain, Sir! Please look after this Old Man He, don’t ever let him escape!”
While he was still speaking suddenly they heard sound of hoof beats, a rider was coming fast toward the temple, straight to the Pagoda. The surrounding warriors immediately bowed to pay their respect, “Xiao Wangye! [Young Prince]” they greeted.
From the Pagoda looking down Fan Yao saw that the crown on this person’s head glittered under the flame light. When he was dismounting from a big and tall white horse, Fan Yao noticed that that person was wearing an embroidered gown. He was none other than the Ruyang Prince’s crown prince, Kuku Temur, whose Chinese name was Wang Baobao.
“Where is Concubine Han?” in stern voice Wang Baobao asked, “Fuwang [father king] is extremely angry; he ordered me to come over and investigate.”
Captain Ha stepped forward to give his report; he said that Lu Zhangke and Concubine Han did indeed in the temple and were currently in Ku Toutuo’s hands. He Biweng hastily said, “Xiao Wangye, don’t listen to this rubbish; that Toutuo is a spy, he frames my Shige …”
Wang Baobao raised his eyebrows and called out, “All of you, get down here to talk!”
Fan Yao had been serving in the palace for a long time, he knew Wang Baobao was very astute and competent; he was not inferior to his father. Fan Yao might be able to deceive others, but it would be difficult to hide the truth from this young prince. If he went down, the young prince might be able to see through his scheme in just a few sentences. Then if the young prince ordered the warriors to besiege him, He Biweng alone would give him enough trouble, making it difficult to escape, not to mention rescuing the imprisoned heroes on the Pagoda. In loud voice he said, “Xiao Wangye, I have Lu Zhangke in my hand. His Shidi [martial (younger) brother] hates me to the bones. If I came down, he would surely kill me.”
“Just get down quickly, Mr. He will not kill you,” Wang Baobao said.
Fan Yao shook his head and shouted, “It is still safer for me to stay on this Pagoda. Xiao Wangye, for all my life Ku Toutuo has never spoken; today the circumstance has forced me to open my mouth. I am doing it all to repay Wangye’s kindness to me. If you don’t believe me, Ku Toutuo would rather jump into the ground to meet my death to show my loyalty to you.”
Listening to him, Wang Baobao knew that 70, 80% of what he said was nonsense; so it was obvious that he was trying to stall. In a low voice Wang Baobao asked Captain Ha, “What conspiracy is he in? He is deliberately stalling. Is he waiting for someone to come?”
“Xiao Ren does not know …” Captain Ha replied.
“Xiao Wangye,” He Biweng cut him off, “This bandit Toutuo has stolen my Shige’s antidote; he must be planning on rescuing the rebels imprisoned in the Pagoda.
Wnag Baobao realized it immediately. “Ku Dashi,” he called out, “I know your loyalty. Quickly get down here; I am going to heap rewards on you.”
“My legs were kicked by Lu Zhangke earlier,” Fan Yao said, “Both legs are broken. I must not move now. Xiao Wangye, please wait a moment, as soon as I can move, I’ll come down immediately.”
“Captain Ha,” Wang Baobao barked his order, “Send some men to go up and carry Ku Dashi down.”
“No, no,” Fan Yao said, “As soon as I move, my two legs will be crippled.”
This time Wang Baobao did not have any suspicion anymore. With his own eyes he saw Concubine Han and Lu Zhangke were wrapped together inside the cotton quilt. Even if there was nothing going on between the two, he was certain his father king would not want to have Concubine Han anymore. In a low voice he said, “Captain Ha, set the Pagoda on fire. Set your men around with their bows and arrows. Whoever jumps down from the Pagoda, shoot him dead.”
Captain Ha complied; he passed the order around. His archers surrounded the Pagoda with bows and arrows, ready to shoot; while the other warriors spread around to gather firewood and grass to light up the fire.
He Biweng was shocked. “Xiao Wangye,” he called out, “My Shige is up there.”
Wang Baobao coldly said, “This Toutuo can’t stay up there forever; as soon as the Pagoda is on fire, he will come down.”
He Biweng called out, “What if he throw my Shige down? Xiao Wangye, please don’t light the fire.”
“Humph,” Wang Baobao snorted, ignoring his plea.
A short moment later the warriors had gathered enough kindling material and they set the Pagoda on fire.
He Biweng had always enjoyed good reputation in the Wulin world; even when he entered the service in the Ruyang Palace he had always been highly revered. Unexpectedly today not only he had fallen into Ku Toutuo’s sinister plot, he was also ignored by the Young Prince. Seeing his martial brother in grave danger he did not care anymore whether it was the ‘Xiao Wangye’ or the ‘Da Wangye’ [lit. old king master]. Raising his pair of crane-beak pens he charged toward the warriors who were lighting the fire. ‘Bang, bang!’ two warriors were thrown away.
Wang Baobao was very angry. “Mister He,” he shouted, “Are you defying my command?”
“If you did not set the Pagoda on fire, I would not dare to defy your command,” He Biweng replied.
“Set the fire!” Wang Baobao shouted. With a wave of his left hand five foreign monk wearing red robes jumped from behind his back; they snatched away the torches from the warriors’ hands and tossed them to the firewood and grass on the base of the Pagoda. As soon as the kindling material was lit, the fire was raging wild.
He Biweng was very anxious. He snatched a spear from a warrior’s hand and frantically beat the wood and grass, trying to extinguish the fire.
“Arrest him!” Wang Baobao shouted.
Those five foreign monks in red unsheathed their sabers and surround He Biweng immediately. He Biweng was very angry; he dropped the spear and snatched the saber of a foreign monk to his left. Eluding his hand the foreign monk flipped the saber over and hacked his shoulder. He Biweng moved sideways to elude, while from behind came a gust of saber wind; as a result two sabers struck each other.
There were a total of eighteen foreign monks with high level of martial art under Wang Baobao’s command; they were known as the ‘Shi Ba Jin Gang’ [eighteen Buddha’s warrior attendants], consisted of Five Sabers, Five Swords, Four Staves, and Four Cymbals. These five monks were the ‘Five-Saber Buddha’s Warriors’. Each one of them alone was far below He Biweng in term of martial art level; however, with five of them fighting together, they complement each other in defense and offense. Furthermore, He Biweng’s martial art level was high, but Zhang Wuji struck him until he vomited some blood the previous day; his internal energy suffered serious damage. On top of everything right in front of his eyes the fire was raging wild, his martial brother was in a precarious condition; unavoidably he could not keep himself calm and steady. As a result, it was difficult for him to score a quick victory.
In the meantime, Wang Baobao’s subordinates kept adding wood and grass to make the fire even bigger. The Pagoda was constructed of brick and wood. Very soon the first several lower floors were starting to burn. Fan Yao dropped Lu Zhangke and dashed toward the room in which the Wudang heroes were imprisoned. “The Tartars are burning the Pagoda,” he called out, “Has everybody’s internal energy recovered?” But Song Yuanqiao, Yu Lianzhou and the others were still sitting cross-legged, cultivating their internal energy in full concentration. Nobody replied; apparently they were at a critical moment of their recovery process.
Several guards came to attack him. Fan Yao struck and grabbed them one by one; throwing them to their death at the bottom of the Pagoda. The rest of the guards scrambled downstairs over the fire, trying to save themselves.
A moment later the fire had reached the fourth floor, where the people from Huashan Pai were being imprisoned. They did not have time to wait for the recovery of their internal energy; in this dangerous situation everybody fled to the fifth floor. But the fire kept creeping upward to the fifth floor, causing the Kongtong Pai people also ran to the sixth floor. Some were rather slow, resulting in their clothes to catch fire. Fan Yao was at a loss.
Suddenly he heard someone calling out, “Fan Yaoshi [Right Emissary Fan], catch!” It was Wei Yixiao’s voice.
Fan Yao was greatly delighted; looking toward the direction of the voice he saw Wei Yixiao was standing at the rooftop of a big building behind the Wan An Temple. Wei Yixiao swung his arms to throw a long rope toward Fan Yao and Fan Yao caught it.
“Tie it on the railings, we’ll make a rope bridge,” Wei Yixiao called out.
Fan Yao had just tied the rope to the railings when ‘swish!’ Zhao Yishang of the ‘Shen Jian Ba Xiong’ [Eight Divine Archers] shot an arrow and cut the rope. Simultaneously Fan Yao and Wei Yixiao opened their mouths to curse; they knew that if they want to build a rope bridge, they would have to get rid of these Eight Divine Archers.
“Shoot your granny,” Wei Yixiao cursed, “If that one does not drop his bow and arrow, the Old Man will butcher him first.” While cursing he drew his sword and jumped down.
His feet were barely touching the ground when five foreign monks wearing dark green robes surrounded him with swords in their hands. They were the ‘Five-Sword Buddha Warriors’ from the ‘Eighteen Buddha Warriors’ under Wang Baobao’s command. The swords in their hands glittered, their sword moves were strange; and they attacked Wei Yixiao together.
He Biweng brandished his pair or crane-beak pens, fighting a fierce battle. “Xiao Wangye,” he loudly called out, “If you don’t order your men to put off the fire, don’t blame me for being impolite to you.”
Wang Baobao did not pay any attention to him. Four foreign monks with long Buddhist staves in their hands stood around the Young Prince, guarding him from any possible sneak attack.
He Biweng’s anxiety rose up; his double-pen suddenly moved in ‘heng sao qian jun’ [sweeping a thousand soldiers], forcing the three foreign monks in front of him to retreat two steps. He Biweng anxiously rushed toward the Pagoda. The five foreign monks ran after him. He Biweng’s feet kicked the ground and he flew to the eaves of the first floor. Seeing the fire was raging wild, the five foreign monks did not pursue.
He Biweng jumped from floor to floor. When he reached the eaves of the fourth floor Fan Yao poked out his head from the seventh floor; lifting high Lu Zhangke’s body he loudly called out, “Old He, stop! If you move one more step, I am going to throw the Old Lu down, let him become deer mince meat.” [Translator’s note: the ‘Lu’ of Lu Zhangke means ‘deer’]
He Biweng obediently did not dare to move again. “Ku Dashi,” he called out, “We, martial brothers, have never offended you in the past, we still don’t have any enmity against you today, why do you make things difficult for us? If you want to save your old sweetheart Miejue Shitai and your beloved daughter Miss Zhou, then rescue them. I will not stop you.”
After taking the antidote from Ku Toutuo, Miejue Shitai thought that she had taken a poison and would die soon; but then Zhou Zhiruo had also taken the poison. Her lifetime hopes were shattered; how would her heart not bitter? While she was grieving suddenly she heard commotion at the base of the Pagoda; she heard Ku Toutuo and He Biweng’s argument, then she also heard Wang Baobao issued an order to set the Pagoda on fire. She heard it all, one by one, clearly. She felt strange, “Could it be that this devil-like Toutuo is really rescuing us?”
She thought she might as well try, whether good or bad. Immediately she felt warm energy flowing up from her ‘dan tian’ [pubic region]; which was different from when she was still under the influence of the poison. She would rather starve herself to death than obeying Zhao Min’s order to get out to the mail hall and contend in martial arts, as a result, she had been fasting for six, seven days. Her stomach was completely empty; therefore, as the antidote entered her belly, it rapidly entered the blood and neutralized the poison in her system. Her recovery was faster than everybody else. Furthermore, her internal energy was profound; it was even higher than Song Yuanqiao, Yu Lianzhou, He Taichong and the others, perhaps it was somewhat inferior only to the Abbott of Shaolin Pai, Kong Wen Shen-seng [divine monk].
As the effect of the ‘Ten Fragrance Muscle-weaken Powder’ was gradually dispersed by the antidote, her own internal energy was able to push the toxicity away. In less than an hour later her internal energy had been recovered 50, 60%. She was still cultivating her internal energy intensively when suddenly from outside came He Biweng’s voice; each word was like an arrow piercing her ear, “…If you want to save your old sweetheart Miejue Shitai and your beloved daughter Miss Zhou, then rescue them. I will not stop you.”
How could she not get angry hearing this ‘Old Sweetheart’ and the other nonsense? In big strides she walked out of her room toward the railings. “What nonsense are you blabbering about? Such a dirty mouth!” she shouted angrily.
He Biweng looked at her imploringly, “Lao Shitai [Old Shitai], please tell your old … old friend to let my Shige down. I guarantee your family of three will be able to leave safely. Xuanming Elders always say one as one, two as two; in no way we will fail to keep our words.”
“What family of three?” Miejue Shitai asked angrily.
Although he was in a precarious situation, Fan Yao could not help to laugh aloud. Feeling very proud of himself he said, “Lao Shitai, this old man said I was your old sweetheart, and that Miss Zhou was our daughter.”
Miejue Shitai was really, really angry, that under the flickering light of the fire downstairs her face looked terrifying. “Old He,” she roared, “Come up here! I want to exchange a hundred palms with you before we talk again.”
If it was different time, when He Biweng was challenged to come up, he would come up; he was not scared of the Sect Leader of Emei. But this time his martial brother had fallen into the enemy’s hand; he did not dare to act recklessly. “Ku Toutuo,” he called out, “It was you who said that; I certainly would not talk irresponsibly.”
Miejue Shitai shifted her gaze toward Fan Yao and in stern voice she asked, “Did you say such thing?”
Fan Yao laughed heartily; he was about to take that opportunity to ridicule her when suddenly he heard loud shouts at the bottom of the Pagoda. He looked down and saw by the flames a shadow was dancing like a fluttering butterfly among the flowers. That shadow moved around the warriors and the foreign monks. ‘Bang! Clank! Clank! Bang! Clank! Clank!’ everywhere he went a weapon fell down to the ground. The Cult Leader Zhang Wuji had arrived.
Zhang Wuji attacked the five wielding-swords foreign monks who were surrounding Wei Yixiao; sending their swords flying high into the air. Wei Yixiao was delighted; like a flash of lightning he dashed toward Zhang Wuji. “I am going to set the Ruyang Palace on fire,” he said in a low voice.
Zhang Wuji nodded; he understood his intention. They had only a few people on their side; if they failed to rescue the masters of the Six Major Sects in a short period of time, the enemy might send more reinforcement. With the Green-winged Bat King went to set the Ruyang Palace on fire, the enemy would be forced, first and foremost, to protect the Prince. It was an excellent ‘luring the tiger out of the mountain’ or ‘removing firewood from under the pot’ plan.
Wei Yixiao’s dark green shadow flashed by and flew over the tall wall surrounding the Temple. Zhang Wuji looked around him to assess the situation. “Fan Youshi,” he called out loudly, “How are you?”
“It’s bad!” Fan Yao called back, “The escape route is completely on fire; we are trapped here.”
By this time, fourteen out of the eighteen foreign monks under Wang Baobao’s command had spread our and surrounded Zhang Wuji. Zhang Wuji thought that to defeat the enemy he had to capture the leader first; thereupon he turned his attention to that young Tartar prince wearing a golden helmet. If he could capture him, than he could force the Prince to order his people to put off the fire and release the prisoners. Immediately he leaned sideways and slipped from among the foreign monks; he went straight to Wang Baobao fast and fluid like a fish swimming in the water.
Ok, I'm really starting to like Fan Yao now. As far as Zhang Wuji, he sure seems limited skill-wise for someone who is the supposed top martial artist alive. Lack of experience?
I think this must be my favorite chapter in the whole novel! I love the scene with ZWJ and ZM in the teahouse. It was one of the most romantic parts in the '86 TVB version. After that, the scene with Miejue Shitai's righteous indignation over her name being soiled was hilarious too.
thanks foxs!!!...whao this is a pretty cool chapter...
wow..04-08....4 years just like that..time flies..
it really is a very good chapter. miejue's fight with he bewing is also worth mentioning.
^ Hmmmm....thanks a bunch, we hadn't gotten to that part yet had we? SPOILER FUNCTION!