“Aiyo,” suddenly Xiao Zhao called out in alarm. Zhang Wuji looked up only to see Wind and Cloud, Three Emissaries, was taking someone to the presence of the eleven Precious Tree Kings. That person was a hunchback, with a walking stick in her hand; she was none other than Jin Hua Popo.
Zhihui Bao Shu Wang who was sitting on the second chair shouted her some questions. Jin Hua Popo leaned her head sideways and shouted back, “What are you talking about? I don’t understand.”
Zhihui Wang sneered; he stood up and reached out with his left hand, pulling the entire white hair from Jin Hua Popo’s head, exposing a clump of silky hair as black as crow. Jin Hua Popo turned her head sideways, trying to hide her face. But Zhihui Wang’s right hand reached out suddenly to peel a layer of skin from her face.
Zhang Wuji and the others could see clearly that what Zhihui Wang peeled was a human skin mask. Instantly Jin Hua Popo turned into a very beautiful woman, with creamy white skin, almond shaped eyes, and cheeks like peach. Her countenance was glowing; her beauty was truly indescribable.
As Taj-kis’ true appearance was exposed, she might as well throw away the walking stick, and she stood there smiling bitterly. Zhihui Wang asked her some questions again, and she replied in Persian. As those two people exchanged words, the countenances of the eleven Precious Tree Kings were getting more and more serious.
“Miss Xiao Zhao,” suddenly Zhao Min asked, “What are they talking about?”
With tears in her eyes Xiao Zhao said, “You are so smart, you knew everything; why didn’t you prevent Xie Laoye Zi from talking?”
Zhao Min was puzzled, “Prevent him from talking what?” she asked.
Xiao Zhao replied, “Initially, they did not know who Jin Hua Popo was. Later on, they found out that she is the Zi Shan Long Wang; but they had never guessed that Zi Shan Long Wang is the Holy Maiden Taj-kis. Popo had made a great effort in concealing her identity from them. Xie Laoye Zi’s second condition was for them to release Sheng Nu Taj-kis; although his intention was good, he inadvertently revealed her secret to Zhihui Bao Shu Wang. Xie Laoyezi’s eyes cannot see, of course he did not know that Jin Hua Popo’s appearance was radically changed that nobody would recognize her. Miss Zhao, you can see everything clearly, could it be that you haven’t thought about it?”
In reality, when listening to Xie Xun’s story on the little boat, Zhao Min had early on guessed correctly that Jin Hua Popo was the Persian Ming Cult’s Holy Maiden Taj-kis, but she had never guessed that in the eyes of the Persian leaders, her true identity was by no means uncovered. She was about to open her mouth to retort back, but noticing that Xiao Zhao was speaking miserably, she vaguely guessed that Xiao Zhao must have had some unusual relationship with Jin Hua Popo. She did not have the heart to speak harshly and only said, “Xiao Zhao Meizi [(younger) sister, term of endearment], I certainly have not thought about it. If I had an ill-intention to harm Jin Hua Popo, let me die a horrible death.”
Xie Xun was even more remorseful; he did not say anything. But he had made a decision in his heart that even if he had to lose his life, he would save Taj-kis from danger.
Sobbing, Xiao Zhao said, “They blame Jin Hua Popo, saying that she got married and committed apostasy against the Cult, they … they are going to burn her to death.”
“Xiao Zhao,” Zhang Wuji said, “Please don’t worry, as soon as there is an opportunity, I am going to go over and save Jin Hua Popo.” He was accustomed to call her ‘Popo’, but if he looked at Zi Shan Long Wang right now, even though she was middle-aged, but her gracefulness and beauty was not inferior to Zhao Min, Zhou Zhiruo, and the others; she even looked like Xiao Zhao’s elder sister.
“No, no,” Xiao Zhao said, “You cannot fight Eleven Bao Shu Wang, plus the Wind and Cloud Three Emissaries; don’t deliver your life in vain. Right now they are discussing how they are going to take the Pingdeng Wang back.”
“Humph!” Zhao Min hatefully said, “Even if they take Pingdeng Wang back, his face has already imprinted with these lines of characters; he will look so ugly.”
“What imprinted characters?” Zhang Wuji asked.
“That yellow bearded emissary’s Sheng Huo Ling struck his left cheek …” Zhao Min said, “Ah, Xiao Zhao!” suddenly she remembered something. “Xiao Zhao Meizi,” she asked, “Do you know Persian characters?”
“I do,” Xiao Zhao replied.
“Come here and look,” Zhao Min said, “What is written on Pingdeng Wang’s face?”
Xiao Zhao came near Pingdeng Wang and leaned over his head; she saw his left cheek was swollen badly and three lines of Persian characters were imprinted on it. Turned out each one of the Sheng Huo Ling was engraved with characters. Miaofeng Shi had accidentally struck Pingdeng Wang, and the characters on the Sheng Huo Ling were transferred to his flesh. Only, the part where Sheng Huo Ling met the flesh was no more than two ‘cun’s wide and three ‘cun’s long [1 cun is approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm)], so the inscription was incomplete.
Xiao Zhao had followed Zhang Wuji into the secret passage of the Brightness Peak, and had memorized the Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi manual; although Zhang Wuji had never forbidden her, she had never trained it, but she knew the theory of this martial art by heart. When Zhang Wuji encountered a difficulty during training of the seventh level and he was forced to skip several lines, Xiao Zhao had memorized those lines well. Presently, looking at the characters on Pingdeng Wang’s face, she could not help from blurting out, “This is Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi theory!”
“Did you say Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi theory?” Zhang Wuji wondered.
“No, it’s not,” Xiao Zhao said, “At first, I thought it was it, but it’s not. Translated into Chinese, those lines mean: ‘reacting to the left is actually to the front, to the right is actually to the rear; three voids, seven solids, something exists out of nothing …’ something, ‘the heaven square, the earth round …’ and the next line is unreadable.”
Listening to these dozen or so characters, Zhang Wuji felt as if among the black clouds in the sky suddenly he saw a flash of lightning; but after the lightning passed, the sky was still dark. Nevertheless, this flash of lightning gave him hope, that in the midst of a five-‘li’ dense fog he could see a glimpse of a way out. His mouth muttered, “Reacting to the left is actually to the front, to the right is actually to the rear …” He tried hard to integrate these cryptic lines with the Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi theory he already mastered. Several times did he think he see the connection, each time it appeared right but actually was wrong; in the end everything was still dark to him.
“Gongzi, watch out!” suddenly he heard Xiao Zhao calling out, “They are issuing an order: the Three Win and Cloud Emissaries are to attack you, Qinxiu Wang, Zhen’E Wang, and Gongde Wang, three kings are to take Pingdeng Wang back.”
Xie Xun heaved the Pingdeng Wang and held him across his chest, while tossing the Tulong Dao to Zhang Wuji and said, “Just chop them up with this Saber.”
Zhao Min also took the Yitian Sword and handed it over to Zhou Zhiruo. This time they were on the same boat sharing the same fate; fighting a common enemy together was more important than their differences.
Zhang Wuji took the Tulong Saber, and absentmindedly inserted the Saber to his waist, while his mouth was still mumbling, “Three voids, seven solids, something exists out of nothing …”
“Idiot!” Zhao Min anxiously said, “This is not the time to ponder some martial art theory; quickly prepare yourself to face the enemy.”
Before she finished speaking, Qinxiu, Zhen’E, and Gongde, three kings had already jumped over with their palms extended to attack Xie Xun. They were afraid to injure Pingdeng Wang, hence they did not dare to use weapons. They were hoping that by attacking with their palms and fists, they might have a chance of snatching him back as soon as one man managed to get hold of Pingdeng Wang’s body.