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Kangxi Emperor (康熙帝)
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    Default Kangxi Emperor (康熙帝)

    Kangxi Emperor (康熙帝)




    Table of Contents

    Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

    List of Characters:

    Huang Ying - Swordsman. Is ambitious and ruthless.
    Hong Zheng - Young man. Son of Hong Yangling.
    Hong Yangling - Father of Hong Zheng.
    Hong Lung - Brother of Hong Zheng. Martial Artist.
    Wang Mang - Respectable Martial Artist.
    Ming - Young Mistress and swordswoman.
    Chiang Weng - Abbot of Shaolin.
    Qing Xu - Taoist Priest.
    Kangxi - Qing Emperor
    Kang Ling - Old eunuch
    Hu Er - Qing officer
    Last edited by Christos200; 06-21-15 at 10:11 AM.

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    Chapter 1 - Massacre at Wang Manor


    The servant rushed into his Master's room. His Master, Wang Mang, was surrounded by tens of candles that formed a circle around him and was meditating. The only sound that could be heard in the room was that of Mang's deep breath. An aura of calmness could be felt by anyone walking into that room. That's why Mang had the nickname 'Calm Mang'. The seventy years old Chief of the Wang Sect was greatly respected by all pugilists and his name was known throughout the Jiang Hu.

    "Master!", the servant said and immediately kowtowed three times before Mang.

    For a few seconds, neither of them uttered a word. Finally, Mang sighed and said, "What is it?"

    "A man wants to see you. He is waiting in the Guests' room. Should I tell him to leave?"

    "No. I'll go see him."

    "As you wish, my Lord!"

    The servant left the room. A few minutes later, Mang arrived to the Guests' room. He sat on a high golden throne that was overseeing the whole room. On each side of the room, there were twenty chairs for guests to sit on them. All of them made from the finest wood and decorated with gems.

    Mang set his eyes on the man that had come to see him: a young man in his late twenties with a scruffy light beard and long black hair. He was wearing a long black tattered poncho. He was emitting an aura of death that was clashing with Mang's calmness.

    Besides that man, there were five students of the Wang Sect standing besides him, ready to intervene if their Master ordered them to do so.

    "Honorable sir, what can I do for you?", Mang asked.

    "I've learned that you have taken possession of the Xiang Yang Manual. Is that true?"

    Mang laughed. "What if it is?"

    Mang had an air of confidence and his smile was broad. In contrast, the man's face was stern and serious.

    "I would like to buy it."

    Mang looked at the man's tattered poncho and laughed.

    "I do have the money", the man assured him.

    "Even if you do, which I very much doubt, I cannot sell it. You see, this manual is too precious to be sold to anyone."

    "Too bad". The man paused for a moment. "For you!"

    Immediately, Mang ordered his five students to attack the man. The students drew their swords and quickly encircled the man. This formation was the famous 'Wang's Circle Formation', which was known throughout the Jianghu.

    Mang, still smilingly, asked the man, "Do you want to leave peacefully or do you want to leave this place inside a coffin?"

    "Personally, I prefer the coffin."

    Mang shouted at his students to kill the man. All of them charged at the man, but he took a deep breath, jumped high and landed outside of the student's circle. Their attempt to encircle him had failed. In a split of a second, the man had drawn a short knife and had charged at the students. With a few swift moves, he killed all of them. His moves were so fast, that the servants witnessing this scene took a few seconds to realize that their comrades had been killed. Only Mang was able to witness all of the man's movements, as he had fifty years of experience in Jiang Hu.

    Mang walked towards the man and bowed slightly before him. Then, he drew a sword made out of pure gold and decorated with purple gems. The man retreated by a few steps. As Mang's sword was longer than his knife, Mang could attack him from a far greater distance than he could. So, he was at a disadvantage. The only way he could hope to kill Mang, was to get quite close to him, so that his knife could reach him.

    Both men stood still for a few seconds. Those seconds felt like centuries. Inside their minds, they were thinking of hundreds of moves which they could use to kill their opponent. The man took a small step forward. Mang did not move at all. The man took an other step forward. Mang again did not move.

    Suddenly, Mang sprinted forward. The man dodged his sword literally in the last second, as the sword was only once inch away from his neck. He immediately retreated by a few steps and threw tens of darts at Mang, which the old Master easily deflected using his sword.

    The man bowed before Mang. "You are indeed a powerful warrior. I overestimated my skills. Can I still leave?"

    Mang, instead of replying, charged at the man, but he did not move. As his sword was three inches away from the man's chest, he retreated.

    "You seem sincere", Mang said. "Alright. You can leave."

    "Thank you", the man replied and kowtowed thrice before Mang. Just as Mang turned his back on the man, the man attempted to stab him with his knife. Mang's sword clashed with the man's knife.

    "I knew it!", Mang shouted.

    But what he did not knew was that while holding the knife with his right hand, the man was drawing a second knife with his left hand. With a swift move, the second knife was stabbed on Man's chest. Mang vomited blood and fell on the ground.

    The man, who all this time was stern and serious, laughed.

    "What is your name?!", Mang asked.

    "Huang Ying. Now, where is the manual?"

    Coughing, Mang said, "I..I..I shall never tell you! Go to hell!"

    Furious, Ying kicked with a swift back kick Mang's chest, finishing him off. He then threw tens of darts at the old Master's servants, killing them too. With everyone dead, Ying sprinted towards the old man's room. When he entered the room, he searched Mang's golden desk and found on it the Xiang Yang Manual. Ying took it and, before leaving the room, kicked Mang's candles, causing a fire to begin.

    As Ying was riding away from the Manor of the Wang Sect on his white horse, the Manor was burning to the ground.

    As the horse was galloping forward and a cold wind was blowing, Ying was laughing. His laughter could be heard from miles away. "At last, I have the most powerful Kung Fu manual in the world! It is mine! I will become the greatest swordsman of all of Jiang Hu!"

    500 years later, 1669

    "I told you to study calligraphy but instead you went our to flirt with girls!", the middle-aged mustached man wearing a blue silk robe shouted at his son. The man's name was Hong Yangling.

    He was talking to his eighteen years old son, Hong Zheng. Zheng was tall and slender with a handsome face but he was not much muscled nor strong. In fact, he was quite thin and weak. "Father, I...just wanted to breath some fresh air so as to clean my mind and-"

    Before he could finish his sentence, his father shouted, "How will you become a scholar if you do not study hard!?". Yangling gave to his son a blue book and said, "I want you to have it all copied with calligraphic letters. You shall not be allowed to go out until you finish this task!"

    Yangling left the room, leaving Zheng alone sighing. Zheng had a good reason to sigh. He was always bored by calligraphy and was much more interested in learning Kung Fu. But his father was only teaching martial arts to Zheng's elder brother, Lung. His brother was quite muscular and was learning quite fast his father's Kung Fu. As a result of this, all the girls of Sheng village were chasing Lung so as to get a kiss from him. Not that Lung was quite interested in flirting with those girls. He was somewhat shy, unlike Zheng who was, unsuccessfully, trying to flirt with the village's girls.

    "If only my father could teach me some of his Kung Fu...."

    Meanwhile, as Zheng was daydreaming, Lung was studying in the house's backyard, under the overview of his father.

    "Dragon's tail!", Yangling shouted and Lung pulled three successive back kicks.

    "Tiger's roar!"

    Lung launched two high kicks.

    "Deer's charge!"

    Lung sprinted forward while spearheading his attack with his his elbows. The strength of his elbows' attack was immense and if they were used against a living enemy, then that enemy would surely be heavily injured, if not killed by the elbows' brute strength.

    Yangling threw at Lung a sword, which the young man easily grabbed.

    "Snake's sword!"

    Lung attacked horizontally with his sword.

    Yangling then pointed at a peach blossom tree and shouted, "Elephant's strike!"

    Lung somersaulted and landed on top of one of the tree's branches. Despite the height and the lightness of the tree's branch, Lung was able to execute several sword moves that caused a gust of air. The gust of air was so strong, that one would think that a storm was coming.

    "Excellent!", Yangling commended. "You will soon be ready for your mission."

    "Which mission?", Lung, who had jumped down from the tree, asked.

    "I will tell you when the time is right."
    Last edited by Christos200; 06-18-15 at 08:00 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Glad you are writing again.

    Interesting start, look forward to reading the rest.

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    Thanks for the comment. Hope you like the next chapter too.

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    Chapter 2 - Dance of Swords


    Hong Zheng's hands were trembling. His back was hurting. He felt dizzy. He had been writing for hours. He was putting all his efforts into copying the book. Yet, his calligraphy was disappointing. "Dammit!", he shouted. "I hate calligraphy!".

    He walked out of his room and went to the backyard to get some fresh air and relax. It was cold outside. A northern wind was blowing. As he was walking in the backyard, he heard a 'clang' sound. Then a scream. He sprinted forward to see what had happened. Zheng saw his brother, Lung, lying on the ground and screaming and his father, Yangling, asking Lung, "what happened?"

    Zheng asked his father the same question.

    "Lung and me were having a sword duel", Yangling said. "Suddenly, he fell on the ground and started screaming. Go and call a doctor! Now!"

    "Yes..father!"

    Zheng was not much of a runner, in fact he was easily exhausted, but this time his concern for his brother gave him almost supernatural speed. He was sprinting towards the home of herbalist Yang. When he finally reached the herbalist's home, he knocked frenetically the door but he got no reply. Unknown to Zheng, Yang had gone to a neighboring village to see a gravely ill patient.

    Zheng was confused as to what to do next. Would he return back to home or ask one of his fellow villagers about Yang's whereabouts? As he was thinking, he bumped onto a Taoist Priest.

    "You seem nervous?", the Priest asked. "What is it?"

    "Oh, I'm sorry...My brother is sick and herbalist Yang is gone and-"

    Before he could continue, the Priest interrupted him. "I have medical skills. I could go with you and help him get healed."

    Once they arrived to the backyard, Zheng said: "Father, Yang is not here but a Taoist Priest with medical skills is willing to help us."

    Yangling bowed before the Priest and thanked him for his kindness.

    "It's nothing", the Priest replied. "No need to thank me. After all, as a Taoist Priest it is my duty to help anyone I can."

    He then headed towards Lung, who was still screaming in pain. He touched Lung's forehead.

    "He must have used wrongly his internal powers during a fight. If this was his only problem, then, as a Kung Fu expert, I would have been able to easily heal him. But it seems that he had also eaten or drunk something which, in coordination with the wrong use of his internal powers, has made him suffer immense pain. In order for him to be healed, he needs to drink a juice made out of the Ha plant."

    "Ha plant?", Zheng asked. He had not heard of this plant before.

    "It is a rare plant. It can be found in the northeast, in the Fu Forest. Since I do not have any urgent business to do, I can go fetch one of those plants."

    "Zheng!", Yangling shouted. "You should go along with the Priest to find the Ha plant."

    "As you wish father."

    "Good!", the Priest commented. "It is nice to have some company from time to time. I have been traveling on my own for more than six months."

    The Priest then gave to Yangling a box full of pills. "Give him one every day, so as to relieve him a bit from his pain. The journey will take more than a few weeks. For those few weeks, he must rest and not move at all from his bed."

    500 years earlier

    Huang Ying was galloping away from Wang Manor on his white horse. He had just stolen the Xiang Yang Manual, which contained the essence of Teacher Hui's teachings. Teacher Hui was a great swordsman who had roamed the Jiang Hu during the Tang Dynasty. His sword skills allowed him to beat the best martial artists of his days and made his name known in all of China. During his final years, he secluded himself on top of the Kunlun Mountain and wrote the Xiang Yang Manual.

    For a long time, this Manual was considered to be just a legend. But many martial artists would nevertheless spend their entire lives searching for this Manual. Much bloodshed was caused by the ambition to obtain this manual. 'Calm' Mang had killed quite a few people to obtain the Manual from an explorer who had discovered it on top of Kunlun by accident. In turn, Mang too was killed by Ying. Now, Ying was galloping forward knowing that soon it would be his turn to be hunted down.

    He nevertheless hoped that the skills of the Xiang Yang Manual would make him invincible. Suddenly, Ying heard a weird sound. He immediately drew his sword and used it to deflect tens of incoming darts. He jumped down from his horse and turned around to see who had thrown the darts. Instead of a terrifying enemy, he saw a young woman. Her long black hair was shining, her lips were redder than the fire, her skin was almost as white as snow, her face was so beautiful that it dazzled anyone who looked at her, her cheeks emanated the rosy glow that the sunset clouds reflect, her eyes shone like the clear and piercing light of the moon. She was wearing a blue silk robe.

    "I was expecting to face a real enemy!", Ying exclaimed. "I do not fight with women."

    The woman laughed. "Firstly, do not underestimate women. Secondly, give me the Xiang Yang Manual."

    "How did you know that I have the manual?"

    Ying was puzzled. He had only stolen the manual a few hours ago. How could the news have spread so fast?

    "I saw you killing Mang and his men."

    "How did you know I was going to kill Mang?"

    "I did not", she replied, still smiling. "I was going to steal the manual from Mang, but seeing that you had come first at his Manor, I decided to let you do all the hard work and then steal it from you."

    "Oh, I see."

    Before Ying could continue, the woman had already thrown hundreds of darts at him. Ying knew that it would be impossible for him to deflect all of them with his sword, so he somersaulted, so as to avoid the darts, and landed behind the woman. But before he could attack her from the back, the woman had already turned around and was attacking him with two swords.

    Ying was barely able to defend himself. The woman was not using any exquisite sword style. Instead, her moves were quite simple. But what made them lethal were their speed and ferocity. Her attacks were ruthless.

    'Clang!' and the three swords clashed once again. This time, the woman's two swords were falling on her enemy's sword with extreme ferocity. 'Clang!', Ying's sword broke in half. Ying retreated by a few steps and drew his two knifes.

    The woman, laughing, asked, "Now, do you think I am a real enemy or not?"

    "You are good. For a woman.", Ying smilingly replied. "But this is not over yet. And do not think that just because you are a woman I shall spare you. No one gets in my way!"

    Ying was once again in a situation similar to the one he faced when he was fighting Mang. His enemy, being equipped with swords, could attack him from a far greater distance than he could attack her with his knifes. So, he was at a disadvantage. And the trick he used to kill Mang would be useless in this case. But he was not willing to give up the manual. He did not care if he was to die. He preferred to be in a coffin than to be branded a coward and giving up the most coveted martial arts manual to a woman.

    While he was still thinking as to what strategy he would follow, the woman had already sprinted forward and her swords were attacking him. His knifes clashed with the woman's swords. As expected, Ying was pushed back. But instead of retreating, Ying decided to make an all out charge against his enemy. He did not defend himself at all, but instead launched a vicious attack, having no care for his life. When someone attacks with no care about defending himself and having decided to die, his attacks become erratic and unpredictable, thus making the attacker a formidable enemy. This was the case with Ying.

    Now it was the woman's turn to be pushed back. The two opponents exchanged about a hundred moves without a clear result. It was a draw as none of them could beat the other. The woman was the first to realize this and said, "Since I cannot defeat, I admit my defeat."

    Ying could not hide his happiness. He was exhausted and he may not have lasted much longer. "Since you admit your defeat, I will spare you. Now, get lost!"

    The woman begun walking away while Ying was heading towards his horse. Unexpectedly, he felt a pain on his back and collapsed. Three darts had been struck on his back. They were thrown by the woman. She had actually used the same trick Ying used to kill Mang. As Ying had faked his admission of defeat and had ambushed Mang, so she had too lied to Ying and then threw her darts at him.

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    Chapter 3 - Pit of Death


    Dizzy. Darkness. Silence.

    He opened his eyes. At first, there was only darkness. Then, he could see the light of some candles. And a golden statue of Buddha looking at him with a strict face. He closed his eyes. "Is this a dream?", he asked himself. "Am I dead?". He opened once again his eyes. He slapped himself so as to make sure that he was not dreaming. He then realized that he was lying on the ground inside a small room, most likely the room of a Buddhist temple, considering the Buddhist statues and candles.

    Huang Ying got up and was about to leave the room when an old Buddhist monk with a long white beard entered the room, accompanied by five younger monks.

    "Buddha bless you!", the monk said.

    "Where am I?", Ying asked.

    "You are at Shaolin."

    "How did I get to Shaolin?!"

    "Young Mistress Ming brought you here."

    Ying realized that the one who brought him to Shaolin was the woman that had stolen the Xiang Yang Manual from him. "Thank you for your hospitality, but I've got to leave."

    Ying bowed thrice before the old monk and was about to step out of the room, when the monk stopped him. "Young Mistress Ming brought you here because she wanted you to repent. She asked us to not allow you to leave unless you become a monk or beat us."

    Ying was about to draw his knifes, when he realized that they had been taken away. Not discouraged by this, he sprinted forward at the monk and attacked him with his fists. The old monk deflected Ying's fists using his elbows. He then launched a series of kicks that forced Ying to retreat. Then, the old monk attacked Ying with a combination of kicks and fists. His right fist punched Ying's left cheek, causing him to vomit blood, while he kicked Ying's chest with his left leg, pushing him back.

    "Buddha bless you!", the old monk said. "Have you had enough?"

    "Good Kung Fu. For an old man.", Ying commented. "What is your name?"

    "My name is Chiang Weng. I'm the Abbot of Shaolin."

    Ying laughed.

    "You asked me if I had enough. The answer is: No!"

    At once, Ying somersaulted and landed behind Abbot Weng. Ying attempted to kick the back of Weng, but the old monk dodged the kick. The two men exchanged about three hundred moves before Weng could push back once again Ying with a powerful back kick which hit Ying's nose and broke it.

    Blood was pouring from Ying's nose and mouth, but he did not give up. He immediately launched a counter-attack. Ying used the 'Chain Fists'. His fists were coming one after the other nonstop, thus making his punches look like a 'chain'. He was able to punch thrice Weng's chest before Weng was able to grab his left arm and break it with a swift move.

    Screaming in pain, Ying fell on the ground. Before he could get up, Weng kicked with a quite powerful kick Ying's head, thus making him lose his consciousness. Bleeding, with his left arm broken and unconscious, Ying had been decisively defeated by Abbot Weng.

    "Give him some medical care.", Abbot Weng said, sighing.

    500 years later, 1669

    Zheng and the Taoist Priest, Qing Xu, had finally reached the Fu forest after a few weeks of traveling. They had taken on this quest in order to find the Ha Plant which would be able to heal Zheng's brother, Lung. The Fu forest was a 'sea' of green, with thousands of bamboo trees. The wind was cool and it was a bit cold.

    Zheng and Xu were riding two black horses. As they were galloping forward inside the Fu forest, Xu found the chance to tell Zheng about the forest. "It was in this forest that a warrior of the old times, now known only as 'Divine Swordsman', lived in seclusion after the death of his loved one. Legend has it that that he was a devil who became a saint and that his sword skills were unbeatable. He was able to defeat all of his opponents. But he accidentally killed the woman he loved. Grief overtook him and he secluded himself in this forest. Most people think this is just an old legend, but there are some people who think that this is a true story."

    "Priest, do you think this story was real or just a folk story?", Zheng asked.

    "Who knows? Maybe it is just a legend, but at least part of this story is most likely based on real events. Without fire, there is not smoke."

    "Indeed."

    Suddenly, an arrow pierced Xu's back, causing him to fall off his horse. Zheng too jumped off his horse and ran at Xu. "Are you alright, Priest?"

    Blood was pouring from Xu's mouth. Zheng heard some yells. He turned around and saw tens of bandits charging at them. They were holding swords and spears and some of them were firing arrows. Zheng at once rode his horse and galloped away. But three arrows pierced his horse, causing it to bleed and lose speed.

    "Dammit!", he shouted. "Why must I be so unlucky?!"

    His horse fell on the ground, but Zheng quickly got up and started running. Hundreds of arrows were being fired at him every second, but none of them pierced Zheng. As Zheng was sprinting forward, he suddenly felt the earth collapsing. In fact, he had fallen on a pit, which was covered by thousands of fallen leaves and was thus impossible to detect.

    He screamed in pain. His head was bleeding. His eyes closed. He lost his consciousness.

    A few hours later

    Numbness. Darkness. Coldness. Loneliness.

    His head was hurting. He could see the blood pouring from his head. With great effort, he managed to get up only to fall again on the ground. "My legs hurt!", he yelled.

    He sat down for a minute or two and then tried once again to get up. This time, he succeeded. But it was so pitch dark inside that pit, that he could not see anything. Although he could not see anything, he begun searching the floor with his hands. After a few minutes, he managed to find a long branch. If he could use it to light a fire, he would have more chances of escaping alive from this pit. He searched the floor for stones and found two medium sized stones.

    Zheng ripped some cloth from his gown and warped it around the upper part of the branch. He then tried to make a fire using the stones. At first, the stones flashed, but with no real spark. After trying a few more times, he finally managed to start a fire. He placed the wrapped with cloth part of the branch on the fire and so he managed to create a torch. Now, he could at least see his surroundings; the pit was very deep and cyclical in formation. He could not climb upwards because it had smooth surface. He looked around and finally found a gate; a huge stony gate.

    Zheng approached the gate. He touched it and it suddenly collapsed, thus creating a path leading to a dark room. Zheng walked into the room. It was quite dark and Zheng was able to walk around only due to the torch he had made. Suddenly, tens of arrows were fired at once at Zheng from an unknown location. Zheng dodged the arrows, but one of them pierced his left elbow. Blood was pouring from the wound.

    Zheng ripped some cloth from his gown and wrapped it around his wound. He then moved forward. He continued walking for about three minutes, when he found a golden altar. It was the only object shining in this dark pit. He approached it and saw that there was a book on top of the altar. He came closer and looked at the blue cover of the book. 'Xiang Yang Manual'.

    "Weird", Zheng commented. "Why would there be an altar deep down in this pit? And why would there be a manual on this pit?"

    Zheng had no idea what kind of manual the 'Xiang Yang Manual' was, but he decided to read it, out of curiousness mostly.

    "Weird. This book details sword moves."

    Zheng decided to follow the instructions of the book and so, using his torch as a 'sword', he imitated the moves detailed in the manual. The moves looked more like a dance than swordsmanship. The moves were gentle and fast, but at the same time lethal and powerful. At first, Zheng was unable to imitate exactly the moves, but as time went, he became more and more proficient in the manual's moves.

    He trained for about five hours nonstop. Usually, he would have been exhausted at half an hour of training, especially since he was wounded. But, somehow, the moves of this manual gave him the strength to practice for so many hours. Also, Zheng felt as he had practiced before those moves. It seemed to him like he knew them and he was just rediscovering them, despite the fact that he had never trained in swordsmanship before.

    After only five hours of training, he had learned one third of the manual. He was feeling quite powerful too. Zheng could not hide his excitement:

    "Interesting. It seems that this manual energizes me. I will take it with me."

    So, Zheng took the manual and walked forward. Walking, he discovered a stairway. He walked on the stairway, which led him back to the Fu forest. The sun was still shining on the sky and the feeling of freshness and of the cool air gave a pleasant feeling to Zheng. Now, he was going to find Priest Xu and the Ha Plant.

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    Chapter 4 - Impressing an Emperor

    Zheng had come out of the pit and was back at Fu forest. He walked at the location where the Taoist Priest Xu was wounded. But when he reached that location, he found only traces of blood. The Priest was gone. Same with the bandits.

    "Weird, where could he have gone?", Zheng asked himself. "He most likely is alive and has left this place."

    As Zheng was thinking about what to do next - either return back to home or trying to find by himself the Ha plant - he saw two men walking towards him. The first was an old eunuch dressed with a blue silk robe and seemed to be a Qing official. The other was a man dressed in a yellow silk robe whose appearance resembled almost to the last detail that of Zheng. One would think that they were twins brothers.

    Before the two men could speak, a yelling was heard and three bandits appeared before them. All of them were holding swords.

    "Your Majesty!", the eunuch shouted. "I told you to bring the Imperial Guards with you, why you did not listen to me?"

    The leader of the bandits, a bald and ugly man, yelled: "Give me all your money!"

    At once Zheng somersaulted. He was still holding in his hands the wooden stick which he had used as a torch. Now, he was going to use it as a sword. 'Clang'. His stick clashed with the man's sword. One would expect that the wooden stick would be broken in half by the sword's power. Instead, Zheng felt a heat all over his body which gave him superhuman strength and pushed back the bandit. It was his internal power which had increase immensely after training with the Xiang Yang Manual.

    The two other bandits charged together at Zheng, but he faced them with gentle but powerful moves. His stick hit hundreds of times the chests and faces of the bandits and soon Zheng begun hitting their vital organs, forcing them to run away. The leader of the bandits threw tens of darts at Zheng, but he dodged all of them. His speed and prowess surprised even himself. The bandit leader attacked him horizontally with his sword but Zheng's stick pushed him back once again. Seeing that he could not defeat Zheng, the bandit fled away.

    "Are you alright, your Majesty?", the eunuch said.

    Upon hearing those words, Zheng realized that the man in front of him was the Emperor of China, Kangxi. At once, he fell on the ground and kowtowed thrice.

    Kangxi was still not able to comprehend how it was possible for a person to resemble him so much.

    "Get up!", he said. "Who are you?"

    "Your Majesty, my name is Hong Zheng", he said smiling.

    "You resemble me so much that no one would be able to distinguish us if we were to wear the same clothes! You Kung Fu is incredible too. You should come with me at the Imperial Palace!"

    At first, Zheng was a bit hesitant. But since the Emperor himself ordered him to come at the Palace, how could he refuse? "Alright. I will come with you, Your Majesty."

    "Great!", Kangxi commented. He then turned to the Eunuch: "Bring the Imperial Guard to accompany us back to the camp, so we can begin the journey back to the capital."

    "As you wish, your Majesty."

    500 years earlier

    Huang Ying had woken up. He was still in that small wooden room in Shaolin. He was practicing his Kung Fu in order to beat the Monk. He was sweaty and tired, but he still practiced. "I will beat the bastards!", he thought. At that time, a Shaolin monk entered the room.

    "Sir, the Abbot has told me to get you to the chant room."

    "Why should I do this?

    "Because the Abbot wants you to get rid of evil influences and become a monk."

    "I will not come there!", Ying shouted.

    The monk immediately launched a series of kicks at Ying, which Ying blocked. But before Ying could counterattack, the monk was already throwing kicks and fists at him. Ying was forced to retreat. He tried to counterattack with two back kicks, but the monk easily dodged them.

    "Dammit!", Ying yelled. "Alright. I shall come with you."

    The monk led Ying to a huge room filled with golden Buddhas and incense sticks. Tens of monks were chanting Buddhist chants. The room exuded an aura of calmness and peace. Even Ying, who was furious, when he entered the room, he immediately relaxed and felt a calmness.

    "Sit down and chant.", the monk ordered.

    Ying had no other choice. He had to do as the monk said, for now at least. At night, he would train hard and in a few weeks, he would be able to beat the Abbot. So, he sat down and begun chanting. At first, he could not chant well and missed many words, but as time went he was able to learn the Buddhist chants and chant them as the other monks did.

    When he finally returned back to his room, Ying was much calmer and more energized than before. He was not tired anymore. So, he begun training once again. As he was training, he begun to think about the Abbot's weaknesses.

    "He was not able to defend against my 'Chain Fists' and defeated me only because he grabbed my arm.", he thought. "That means, if I become faster, then he will not be able to grab my arm. And if he does not grab my army, then there is no other way for him to defend against my 'Chain Fists' and thus.....I can defeat him!"

    Upon coming to that conclusion, he immediately begun training in order to become quicker. All night he was practicing his 'Chain Fists'. The next night, after another day of chanting, he brought at his room a bawl of hot water and put his fists into the water. The water was so hot that his fists became red due to burning and blood was pouring from them. But he did this in order to make himself get used to pain. He then put his fists into a bawl of salt. As his fists were bloody, the salt inflicted him terrible pain but he withstood it.

    Then, he trained once again at 'Chain Fists'. One fist after the other was coming forward at immense speed. The prowess of his moves was awe-inspiring. At the same time, he was able to remain calm unlike in the past, when he would get furious while fighting. The Buddhist chanting had done him good, actually.

    "It seems that I will be able to defeat the Abbot!", Ying said as he got on his bed. "I will get a good sleep tonight and tomorrow morning I shall beat the old bastard!"

    500 years later, 1669

    Zheng was following on horseback the Imperial Carriage. Kangxi had given him a white horse which he had bought from Ottoman merchants. It was a rare horse from Ottoman Arabia and only Kangxi had rode it before. Zheng was also wearing a golden mask to hide his face. The Kangxi Emperor did not want anyone else to know how much Zheng was resembling him. His officials, which had accompanied him to the journey to the South, asked their Emperor again and again who the mysterious man who was treated with such respect was, but Kangxi did not tell anyone.

    The Imperial Entourage had almost reached Beijing, capital of the Qing Empire. Before going to the capital, the Imperial Entourage camped a few miles away from the city. Zheng was ordered to come to Kangxi's tent. Upon entering the Emperor's tent, he kowtowed thrice before him.

    "Zheng!", the Emperor said. "Do not talk to anyone when entering the city and do not let anyone look at your face."

    "Alright, your Majesty! I shall do as you order!"

    "Good. You will take off the golden mask only when you are with me in the Imperial Palace. Now, go!"

    Zheng came out of the tent. As he was walking out, a muscled Qing officer in his mid-thirties with a long black beard and two swords in his hands approached him.

    "Who are you?!", he shouted at Zheng. Zheng, as ordered by Kangxi, did not speak. "Are you ignoring me?!", the man yelled. That man was Hu Er, a Qing officer who was one of Kangxi's most trusted advisers and so was furious with Kangxi not trusting him with the man's identity and treating him with such respect.

    At once, he threw one of the two swords at Zheng. Zheng grabbed it but Er immediately attacked. 'Clang!', the two swords clashed. Er was putting all his strength in his moves and was trying his best to push Zheng back but Zheng was holding his ground against all odds.

    Er retreated by three steps and then attacked once again. The two swords clashed once again. But this time Zheng counterattacked. He launched a combination of quick but ruthless moves, forcing Er on the defensive. At that time, the Eunuch who had accompanied Kangxi to Fu Forest, Kang Ling, shouted at them: "Stop this!"

    "Who is he?!", Er yelled.

    "None of your business.", Ling replied. "He is a guest of the Emperor. By offending him, you offend the Emperor. So, get lost!"

    Er was forced to leave, but he was furious and already planning for his revenge.

    The eunuch then turned to Zheng. "Nice swordsmanship. Your Kung Fu is truly excellent. The Emperor should make you Chief of the Imperial Guards. If you train our men with your swordsmanship, then neither the Wudang nor the Shaolin nor the remnants of the Ming will be able to resist us."

    Zheng just bowed before Ling and did not reply. He was tired and confused and just wanted to rest. So, he walked back to his tent to rest.

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