Folks, this is the continuation of Efflix's translation above. I only want to make small correction: the distance was not 180,000 li, but 108,000 li (not 'gong li', as 'gong li' is modern day kilometer, or so I think ... )
(Continued by Foxs, Edited by Eliza Bennet)
Later, after walking for more than twenty days, the two children’s clothing were tattered, their appearances were wan and sallow. The thing that vexed Zhang Wuji most was that Yang Buhui constantly asked for her Mama. She would frequently cry for half a day because Mama did not fly back down from the sky. Zhang Wuji tried his best to distract her by telling her stories, by saying that their journey to the west this time was also to look for her Mama, by making faces and all kinds of things that would turn her tears into laughter.
One particular day they arrived at Zhumadian [a city in Henan]. It was the end of autumn, early winter. The new moon wind was blowing hard. Since the two children only had the clothes on their backs, they were shivering incessantly. Zhang Wuji took out his tattered outer garment and put it on Yang Buhui.
“Wuji Gege,” Yang Buhui asked, “Aren’t you cold?”
“I am not cold,” Zhang Wuji replied, “I feel unbearably hot,” while doing some jumping jacks to keep himself warm.
“You are so good to me!” Yang Buhui said, “I know you are cold, but you give your clothes to me.” The little girl spoke like an adult, Zhang Wuji could not help but feel astonished.
Right that moment, they heard the sound of clashing weapons coming from the other side of the hill, followed by footsteps coming closer. A female voice called out, “Evil thief, you have been hit by my ‘wei du sang men’ nail [lit. feed the poison, mourning gate, loose translation: as soon as you are hit, you are at the death door]. The faster you run, the quicker the poison will flare-up!”
Zhang Wuji quickly pulled Yang Buhui to hide under the bush by the roadside. They saw a sturdy-looking man, about thirty some years of age, flying their way. Several ‘zhang’s behind him, a woman ran after him with a pair of sabers in her hand. The man staggered, his legs turned weak and he stumbled down on the ground.
The woman soon arrived by his side. “Finally, you will be dead under the Miss’ hands!” she called out.
The man suddenly sprang up and struck her with his right palm. ‘Bang!’ the palm hit the woman’s chest. The force behind the strike was very strong. The woman fell backwards the pair of sabers in her hands was flung far away.
The man reached to his back to pull the nail out. “Give me the antidote,” he said hatefully.
The woman laughed coldly and said, “This time Shifu ordered us to pursue and capture you; he gave us the poisonous secret projectiles, but did not give us the antidote. Since I have fallen into your hands, I accept my fate, but do not even think that you can live either.”
With the saber in his left hand on her throat, the man’s right hand searched inside her pocket, and sure enough, there was no antidote. The man got very angry. He took the ‘wei du sang men’ nail and stabbed the woman shoulder with all his might. He roared, “Now you can taste your own ‘wei du sang men’ nail! You, Kunlun Pai …” Before he finished speaking, the poison on his back flared up and he crumpled to the ground.
The woman struggled to crawl up; but ‘wah!’ after vomiting a mouthful of blood, she fell back down. She pulled the nail on her shoulder and tossed it to the ground. The man and the woman both lied on the grass by the roadside. Their breathing was labored; they constantly gasped for air.
Ever since he treated Jian Jie and Xue Gongyuan and almost died in their hands, Zhang Wuji was extremely wary towards the Wulin characters. This time, as he watched the drama unfold in front of him, he did not dare to come out.
After a while the man heaved a long sigh and said, “Today I, Su Xizhi, will lose my life at Zhumadian; yet I still do not know my offense against the Kunlun Pai. I will die with my eyes wide open. You have pursued me for a thousand ‘li’ and determined to kill me, in the end, what was that for? Miss Zhan, why don’t you be nice and tell me!” There was no trace of hostility in his voice anymore.
The woman, Zhan Chun, knew her school’s ‘wei du sang men’ nail was very fierce, so she realized that both of them were going to die together. She was completely disheartened and quietly said, “Who told you to peek when Shifu was training his sword technique? This technique, the ‘Kun Lun Liang Yi Jian’ [double-appearance sword], should be personally taught by him, the Senior, if anybody is caught looking without permission, even our own School’s disciple must suffer punishment by his or her eyes being gouged; much less you, an outsider?”
“Ah,” Su Xizhi exclaimed. “Damn it! Should die! Should die!” he cursed.
Zhan Chun angrily said, “Your death is imminent, you still cursed my Shifu?”
Su Xizhi said, “I want to curse him. What are you going to do? Isn’t this injustice? I was just passing through Bai Niu Shan [White Ox Mountain], and accidentally saw that your Shifu was practicing his sword. Because I was curious, I stopped and watched for a moment. Do you think that by watching for a moment I would be able to master this sword technique? If I have that kind of ability, how can you, a bunch of Kunlun disciples, possibly defeat me? Miss Zhan, let me tell you this: your Shifu, Tie Qin Xiansheng [Mister Iron ‘Qin’ – zither] is too narrow-minded. Not to mention that I did not learn even half a stance of the Kunlun Liang Yi Jian, even if I did, can you really say that I have committed a capital crime?”
Zhan Chun was silent. Inwardly she agreed that her master had made a big fuss over a minor issue. Just because he found out that Su Xizhi saw him launching the sword technique, he dispatched six disciples to pursue and kill him for thousands of ‘li’. In the end, she was going to die together with this man. She believed at this moment this man had no reason to lie, so if he said that he did not steal the martial art technique, then she believed he was telling the truth.
Su Xizhi also said, “He gave you these Wei Du secret projectiles, but did not give you the antidote. Is there such custom within the Wulin world? Damn it …”
In a soft voice Zhan Chun said, “Su Dage [big brother], Xiaomei [little sister – referring to self] has harmed you. Right now my heart is heavy with regret. It’s good that I will accompany you to the other world. This is called fate. I only feel sorry for your family, your wife and children [Translator’s note: the original Chinese text was much more polite; she called his wife ‘Da Sao’ (eldest sister-in-law), and the children ‘gongzi’ and ‘xiaojie’ (young master and young miss).] I really have no idea what I had done.”
Su Xizhi sighed and said, “My woman died two years ago, leaving behind a boy and a girl to me, one is six years old, the other is four. Tomorrow they will become orphans with no father and no mother.”
“Do you have any other family member?” Zhan Chun asked, “Anybody to look after the children?”
“Presently my sister-in-law is looking after them,” Su Xizhi said, “But she is rather short-tempered; oftentimes she is mean and unreasonable, I think she is a bit jealous of me. Ay! From now on these two babies will have to suffer a lot of pains.”
Zhan Chun said in a low voice, “It’s all my fault.”
Su Xizhi shook his head and said, “I can’t blame you on this. You have received your school’s strict order, and thus have no choice but to obey; it’s not like you have a personal enmity against me. In fact, after I got hit with your Wei Du secret projectile, I will certainly die; why should I strike you with my palm and use the secret projectile to injure you? Otherwise, I am saying this with all honestly: I know you have a good conscience, certainly you would be willing to look after my two cruel-fated children.”
Forcing a smile, Zhan Chun said, “I am the murderer who killed you, how can you say I have a good conscience?”
Su Xizhi said, “I really do not blame you, I do not blame you at all.”
Just now, the two of them were fighting a life and death battle, but as they realized they were going to die soon, they both were reluctant to leave the world of the living and their hearts were filled with nothing but kindness and goodwill.
Listening to this point, Zhang Wuji thought, “Looks like these man and woman are not bad people; besides, that surnamed Su still have two small children.” Remembering the hardship Yang Buhui and he suffered because they were orphans, he came out of his hiding place underneath the bushes and said, “Miss Zhan, do you know the kind of poison you have on your Wei Du nail?” To see a teenager and a little girl suddenly appear from the bushes, Su Xizhi and Zhan Cun had already felt strange. They were even more surprised to hear Zhang Wuji asking the question.