Zhang Wuji could still hear Zhu Jiuzhen’s tender laughter coming from afar, he felt anger rise in his heart. Just a little over five years ago he adored her as a goddess. She only needed to lift her little finger, even if she wanted him to climb the mountain of blades or go down the boiling oil, he would do so without the least bit of hesitation. But seeing her again tonight, for some unknown reason, her charms on him had unexpectedly completely vanished.
Zhang Wuji thought that it was because of his mastery of the Nine Yin Manual, or perhaps because he had discovered her treacherous scheme toward him. He did not realize that most young men would experience this kind of blind infatuation stage of the first love, in which he would neglect sleep and food for the sake of a young girl that he would live and die for that particular girl. However, this kind of passionate infatuation comes quickly, also vanishes as quickly, someday his mind would clear up and he would laugh at his own former days' wallowing.
In the meantime, his stomach was growling with hunger. He was thinking of tearing off a dog leg and eating it, but he was afraid that Zhu Jiuzhen and Wei Bi would return and find out that he had not died yet, and he had eaten her general. In which case he would have committed a grave offense against her; he was not Wei Bi's match while his legs were broken.
Early in the morning the next day, he saw a bald eagle eyeing the dead people and dead dogs on the ground. The eagle wheeled several times in the air before finally diving down to feed. This eagle really deserved to die, because instead of going down on the dead man or the dead dogs, it flew straight toward Zhang Wuji's face. Zhang Wuji reached up and caught the eagle's neck. With a light pinch he killed the bird.
"It is truly a heaven-sent breakfast," he muttered happily. He plucked the feather, tore the eagle's leg, and took a big bite. Although it was raw, he ate it with gusto because he had been hungry for three days.
Before he finished the first eagle, the second eagle came down. And thus Zhang Wuji appeased his hunger with eagle meat, while lying down on the snowy ground waiting patiently for his broken bones to heal completely.
A few more days passed. Surprisingly, he did not see any humans wandering around in the wilderness. There were three dead dogs and one dead man by his side; fortunately it was the depth of the winter, the weather was bitter cold, so that the corpses did not decay. He was accustomed to spending his days alone, so he did not suffer from loneliness.
One afternoon, after circulating his internal energy for one round, he saw two bald eagles flying high in the sky. The eagles circled around for a long time without daring to fly down. One eagle suddenly swooped down, fast, but when it was about three feet away from Zhang Wuji, it suddenly turned around and soared high to the sky. The movement was extremely swift and amazing. All of a sudden Zhang Wuji had an inspiration, "This movement can be used in martial art; attack when the enemy expects it the least, and when the attack fails, swiftly retreat far away."
In the past, although Jueyuan Dashi's entire body was filled with the divine energy, when he received attack from Xiao Xiangzi and He Zudao, his hands and feet moved randomly without any ability to resist. Zhang Sanfeng had to ask Yang Guo to teach him four stances first before he was able to fight Yin Kexi.
Zhang Wuji had learned martial arts ever since his childhood, so he had a far superior foundation compared to Jueyuan and Zhang Sanfeng. However, Xie Xun only taught him the theory of martial art, without the actual practical stance or style. Right now Zhang Wuji understood the painstaking effort of his foster father. Yifu's mastery of martial art was broad and profound; supposing he imparted his knowledge by step by step instructions, perhaps even twenty years would not be enough to teach Zhang Wuji everything he knew. Knowing that their time together was limited, he insisted that Zhang Wuji firmly remember all the key theories of the martial arts, so that he could comprehend it on his own later on.
The only martial art ZhangWuji really learned was the thirty-two stance Wudang Long Fist, which his father taught him on the wooden raft. He realized that from now on, other than continue cultivating the Jiu Yang Shen Gong until he reached perfection, he should try to integrate his excellent internal energy with the martial art theory Xie Xun passed on to him. Thereupon every time he saw a flower blown by the wind or fell down to the earth, strange tree shape reaching out to the sky, as well as the movements of birds and beasts, the changing of the wind and cloud, he would often think about martial art movements.
This moment, he was hoping that the bald eagles would circle back and display their various movements. While he was deep in thought, suddenly he heard footsteps on the snowy ground from a distance. The steps were light and intermittent; the newcomer appeared to be a woman. Zhang Wuji turned his head and saw a woman carrying a bamboo basket, approaching him in quick steps.
When she saw bodies of people and dogs lying around on the snow, she exclaimed, “Ah!” and halted her steps in fright. Zhang Wuji focused his eyes and saw that she was a young girl, about seventeen, eighteen years of age. Her dress was simple; apparently she was a poor peasant girl. Her countenance was rather dark, she seemed to suffer some kind of skin disease, with bumps and indentations all over her face. In short, she was very ugly; only her eyes were bright, her posture was also slender and elegant.
She took a step closer and was slightly startled to see that Zhang Wuji was staring at her. “You … you are not dead yet?” she asked.
“Maybe not,” Zhang Wuji replied. Both the question and the answer did not make any sense; once both of them realized what they were saying, they could not help but laugh.
“Since you are not dead, why are you lying down here without moving?” she asked with a laugh, “You frightened me.”
“I fell from the mountain and broke my legs,” Zhang Wuji replied, “I have no choice but to lie down in here.”
“Was that man your companion?” the girl asked, “Why are there three dead dogs over here?”
"These three dogs were very vicious," Zhang Wuji said, "They bit this Dage to his death, but they also turned into dead dogs."
The girl said, "What can you do, lying in here? Are you hungry?"
"Naturally I am starving," Zhang Wuji said, "But I cannot move. I have to submit to the will of Heaven."
The girl smiled slightly. She took two wheat cakes from her basket and handed the cakes over to him.
"Thank you very much, Miss," Zhang Wuji said, but as he received the cakes, he did not immediately eat it.
"Are you afraid my cakes are poisonous?" the girl asked, "Why don't you eat it?"
In the last five years, other than occasional exchange through the cave with Zhu Changling, Zhang Wuji had never tasted anything else; furthermore, he had never spoken even half a word with another human being. This time he met this girl, although her appearance was ugly, her manner of speaking was actually quite charming; his heart was delighted. He said, "Because Miss gave me these cakes, I can't bear to eat it."
His words carried a somewhat teasing tone. He was always honest and frank; he had never smooth talked anybody, but in front of this girl, he felt comfortable and almost without thinking had blurted those words.
When she heard it, the girl's countenance darkened. "Humph," she snorted.
Zhang Wuji immediately regretted his words; busily he took a big bite of the cake. But because he was in a hurry, the cake choked his throat, and he coughed it out.
The girl's anger turned into delight, "Thanks the Heaven and thanks the Earth," she said, "May you be choked to death! This ugly freak is not a good person, no wonder Laotianye [God, lit. old master of the sky] punished you. How come nobody else broke his dog-legs, and only you fell down and broke your bones?"
Zhang Wuji thought, "For five years I never cut my hair or shave my face, of course I look like an ugly freak. But you are not necessarily more beautiful than I am. We are the same ['ban jin ba liang' - half a pound eight ounces]. The eldest brother does not speak ill about the second brother." But of course he kept this thought to himself. With all seriousness he said, "I have been lying down in here for nine days. To see Miss passing through is such a blessing indeed. Now that Miss gave me these cakes, I thank you very much."
The girl pursed her lips, laughed and said, "I asked you: How come nobody else broke his dog-legs, and only you fell down and broke your bones? If you do not answer, I am going to take the cakes back."