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Thread: New Heavens Sword and Dragons Sabre

  1. #21
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dongfang Xue View Post
    Mandred where is the next chapter?
    Thanks for popping in. Hope you like the chapter

  2. #22
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Chapter 11




    Wuji smiled as he finished reading the letter from Buhui. The last time he had seen her was five years ago, when he had delivered her to Yang Xiao. However at least once a month, Buhui would send him a letter from Bright Summit. Wuji was glad to know that Buhui was happy in her new home and wrote back to her just as regularly. Carefully he folded the letter back into its envelope and put it into a small chest stacked with other letters. Here he kept his letters from Buhui, his maternal grandfather, his cousin Yin Li and his friend Baoxin. Of the latter he had the least letters owing the the great distance between them but he treasured every one he got.

    He was thrilled to read about his friends adventures in hunting rogue Martial Artists and suppressing local bandits. A part of Wuji was envious of his friends exciting life, compared to his rather dull existence but for the most part Wuji was happy with his quiet life. Locking the chest he picked up a sealed jar and a large bundle then walked outside. He had one more task to do before he went to see his Tai Sifu. As he rounded a corner he heard a familiar voice and his heart dropped.

    In front of him was Qingshu and a group of his friends. Wujis and Qingshus eyes met for an instant, then the latter turned and continued walking, followed by his lackeys. It had been this way ever since Wuji had defeated him three years ago. As Baoxin had predicted, Qingshus attacks had stopped, instead he treated Wuji as if he did not exist. As much as possible Qingshu avoided being in the same place as Wuji and even when they did meet Qingshu completely ignored. For his part Wuji was glad to be left alone, even though he wished things could be different between them.

    Shrugging off the depressing thought Wuji continued walking. He soon arrived at Yu Daiyans room and knocked gently on the door. Entering after receiving permission Wuji saw his Third Uncle sitting in wicker chair, attended by Qing Feng and Ming Yue. Wuji placed the jar and bundle down, then knelt beside his uncle:

    How are you today San Si-bo?

    Very well. In fact I thought I might do a little dance. joked Daiyan, smiling as his spirits lifted at seeing his nephew.

    Wuji smiled back then turned to the attending priests:

    I have brought some ointment and bandages. Remember to change them for San Si-bo first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

    Wuji, would you stop fussing. Qing Feng and Ming Yue know how to look after me. You better hurry and not keep your Tai Sifu waiting.

    As Wuji left, Daiyans smile widened in pride. The third of Wudangs seven heroes never had any children but if he did, he could not have wished for a better son than Wuji. Having watched the boy grow into manhood, he felt honoured to have been part of his upbringing. Fondly he remembered the time they spent together, where Wuji would treat is injuries and he would advise the boy on how to improve his technique. Daiyan only wished that he could have taken up a sword and actively taught Wuji. When Wuji closed the door Daiyan made a silent prayer for him to succeed in his upcoming trial.

    ####

    Zhang Sanfeng watched Wuji approach, the priests face gravely sombre . The boy bowed deeply to his Tai Sifu. Zhang Sanfeng replied with a nod then turned and pointed to the cave mouth:

    Inside is water and dried rations for three months. Are you ready?

    Wuji nodded then walked solemnly inside. Zhang Sanfeng placed his hand on a large rock at the side of the cave, then slid it over the cave mouth completely sealing Wuji of from the world. The priest let out a sigh. Ten years of hard work culminated into this one moment. Wuji had entered into totally isolation in order to master the Ninth and last level of Nine Yang Divine Art. After three months the boy will either emerge as one of the great powers of the world or perish. Zhang Sanfeng felt a moment of blind panic and the urge to cast aside the large rock and bring Wuji back.

    Common sense however prevailed. The boy had made his choice and as much as he wanted to, even Zhang Sanfeng could not protect him from every single danger in life. With a heavy heart the priest turned and walked away, silently praying with all his heart that he had not just sent Wuji to meet his parents.

    ####

    The iron doors swung open and two women stepped out. Two dozen apprentices dropped to their knees and in one voice greeted the pair:

    Congratulation to Sifu for obtaining supreme power. May you bring glory to Emei and forever enlighten the world.

    Miejue basked in the adulation of her apprentices, then turned smiling to Zhou Zhiruo. The girl had blossomed into a ravishing beauty, with porcelain white skin, lush black hair, a graceful body and large doe like eyes. Just looking at her would gladden ones heart. But it was her intelligence that made her Miejues favourite. Zhiruo was by far the most gifted her her apprentices and the only one who could fully comprehend the supreme art of Nine Yin Divine Art. Even so, Miejue had been reluctant to take the girl fully into her confidence, remembering the betrayal of her former favourite.

    However one year ago, the Abbess had finally decided to teach the skill to Zhiruo when she witnessed the girls actions in a raid on a Mongolian camp. Zhiruo had been utterly merciless, killing not only soldiers but also every Mongolian woman and spawn she could get her hands on. Such a display of righteous fury had convinced Miejue of her worthiness to study Emeis most sacred art. For an entire year Miejue had subjected the girl to the most intensive of training, pushing her slim frame to breaking point.

    It had all been worth it, for finally Zhiruo had mastered enough of the art that she had been able to use it to cure Miejue of her injuries that had prevented her from fully mastering the art. Although recovered, Miejue estimated that she would still need to spend another five to ten years studying Nine Yin Divine Art, before she could challenge the likes of Zhang Sanfeng. Still, even at this early stage she could feel the immense power welling up inside of her, firing her imagination of what the future might hold.

    ####

    Miejue took her seat at the front of the Hall, with Zhiruo standing to her right. Below them were assembled the apprentices of Emei, who stood silently as they waited for the Abbesss command. Miejue gestured for one of her senior apprentices, a nun by the name of Bei Jinyi to come forward and was instantly obeyed:

    Has anything of interest occurred, while I was in isolation?

    Nothing worthy of your attention, Sifu. However, a letter did arrive from Guild-Master Shi. replied the nun as she reached into her sleeve and pulled out a sealed envelope, which she promptly handed to the Abbess.

    Miejue ripped it open and took out a folded red letter. Swiftly her eyes scanned the letter and a smile spread across her lips. Zhiruo noticed her Sifus expression:

    Good news, Sifu?

    The best. The Beggars Guild is hosting a gathering at Mount Hua, on the Winter solstice.

    Whatever for? asked Zhirou

    They are calling this the Wolf expelling gathering. Answered Miejue.

    Zhirous smile mirrored her Sifus. Wolf was the secret word used amongst the Martial Arts schools and revolutionaries to represent the Yuan dynasty. By choosing this name for the gathering, the Beggars Guild was making their motive very clear. Both women were overjoyed by the prospect of the upcoming gathering. Zhirou welcoming the chance to kill the hated Mongol and Miejue for the opportunity to display her new found powers. Sifu and apprentice shared this moment of mutual satisfaction.

    ####

    Daiqisi looked into the brazier, seemingly mesmerized by the dancing flames. Holding out her right hand, she hovered her palm above the fire. Slowly she lifted her hand up and a ball of fire, the size of a fist came with her, as if drawn by the magnetic pull of a lodestone. The fireball stood suspended in mid air, its flame feeding of the gentle stream of Qi energy, that Daiqisi was flowing into it. Suddenly the flames flared up, turning from orange to white, then blue. Daiqisis gaze shot towards Xiaozhao, who was sitting on the other side of the room, legs crossed and eyes closed.

    The flaming blue ball shot across the room in blinding speed, covering the distance of a dozen feet in the blink of an eye. It seemed certain that the burning missile would slam into the young womans face but when the ball was less than an inch away it suddenly stopped dead. Xiaozhaos eyes sprang open, and her wonderful sapphire gaze bore into the blue fire hovering before her. The intensity of the flames died as quickly as they had been born, the blue flames swiftly turning to white, then orange and finally dispersing harmlessly in the air.

    Daiqisi tapped a finger onto the rim of a bronze bowl, and the water within it sprang up in a white fountain. The water froze instantly in the air then flew towards Xiaozhao like an icy spear. Like the fireball, the ice spear also crashed into the invisible barrier but instead of coming to a dead stop, it shattered into a glittering shower the wreathed the young woman in a sparkling aura. Xiaozhao looked at her mother with hopeful eyes, then smiled as she received a satisfactory nod.

    ####

    Daiqisi looked proudly at her daughter as she walked into the room, carrying a tray of warm tea and fresh pastries. With the doting eyes of a mother, the Mistress of the Ming Cult studied Xiaozhao. The young woman had a small but shapely body. Slim in waist, strong of limb and full of breast she had the kind of figure that men desired and women envied. Daiqisi felt a moment of nostalgia, remembering how her own body once looked so good. However, if Xiaozhao body was beautiful, then her face was divine.

    The perfect blend of classic Chinese beauty and alluring exoticism it was a face that would melt the heart of anyone who looked upon it. Yet for all her daughters physical attraction, it was her intellect that truly made her mother proud. Xiaozhao had a keen mind coupled with an almost supernatural level of empathy, allowing her correctly assess people and situations to a frightening degree of accuracy. The young womans talents extended into the Martial Arts and she had mastered the Heaven and Earth Great Shift almost as well as her mother.

    Daiqisi had been cultivating the art for twenty years, ever since she had discovered her adopted parents bodies in the Sacred Caves. However it was only in the last few years that she had made real progress in the art, thanks largely to the Holy Tablets. The text written on the sacred artefacts were in fact a secret Qi cultivation formula, which complemented the Heaven and Earth Great Shift, allowing Daiqisi to reach level seven of the art, a feat never matched by any of her predecessors. Daiqisi had shared the secret with her daughter and the earlier trial of fire and ice had proven that Xiaozhao had now reached the same level as her mother.

    Xiaozhao set the tray down on the table beside her mother and saw a red letter lying there. Daiqisi noticed her daughter looking at the letter:

    It is an invitation from Shi Huolong.

    Xiaozhao nodded her head. The Beggars Guild was one of the few orthodox institutions that the Ming Cult had regular dealings with, as both of them were major players in the movement to oust the Yuan Dynasty. As such, they had developed a professional relationship, that while not friendly was respectful. Daiqisi tapped her finger on the letter:

    It seems the old beggar is trying to organize a gathering, to discuss the Yuan Dynasty situation.

    You mean they want to make a bid for the leadership of the movement? asked Xiaozhao.

    It seems so. I am a little surprised though. The Beggars Guild prestige has greatly diminished since the fall of Xiang Yang and the continued prosecution from the Mongol, has reduced their influence even further. That they would make such a bold attempt for power is unexpected.

    I take it we will be attending? said Xiaozhao, her tone indicating that it was more a statement than a question.

    Of course we will. It is time we showed the orthodox schools where the real power of the Martial Arts world lies. Daiqisi spoke the words with utter certainty and a smile that was not completely friendly.

    Xiaozhao made a half hearted attempt to match the smile but Daiqisi could see the sadness in her eyes. Part of Daiqisi was disappointed in her daughters softness but another part was glad of it, for it showed that the girl had not been jaded by life. Silently Daiqisi made a prayer that her daughter could keep her innocence even while she doubted it.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Dongfang Xue's Avatar
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    Thanks for the updates update Mandred

  4. #24
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Chapter 12



    Baoxin walked into the inns common room and took in his surroundings at a glance. Outside night had just fallen and the inns nocturnal customers had still to come out in force, so it was easy for Baoxin to find an empty table. Sitting himself down, he waved to a serving girl who walked over to him, carrying a steaming kettle. The girl poured some boiling water into a teacup then asked Baoxin for his order. Baoxin requested a meal and room. The girl leaned in closer and asked if there was anything else he wanted, her voice and smile making it obvious what kind of service she was offering.

    Baoxin was a little taken back and wondered if all Chinese girls were this forward. He spent a moment studying the girl. She was in her twenties and had a pleasant if unremarkable face. Her buxom figure was obvious even under her baggy serving dress. Not wishing to be rude Baoxin smiled back and the girl took this as an invitation:

    It will be the best ten copper pieces you would ever spend. she whispered in a husky voice.

    Baoxin sighed inwardly in relief. So the girl was an Earth-maiden. Dorje had introduced him to these ladies of the night during their visits to a city near the monastery and Baoxin had found that he enjoyed the company of the opposite sex. However, the thought of Dorje dampened his passion and he shook his head. The girls smile fell:

    Tell you what. As you are such a handsome lad, I will only take five copper pieces?

    Reaching into his sleeve Baoxin pulled out ten copper pieces:

    Perhaps another time. For now please bring me a meal and prepare a room. he said, keeping his pleasant smile. The girl took the coins then sauntered off, swinging her hips in an exaggerated manner. Baoxin chuckled to himself then took a sip of tea.

    ####

    Baoxin sat in his room and studied a map that he had taken from the monasterys library. He had parted ways with the trade caravan three days ago and had been continuing his journey alone. His fingers traced over the area that marked the location of Wudang Mountain. Logically he should try to make his way there as soon as possible, as he would need their help to accomplish his mission. However, his eyes drifted to another area on the map and his gaze took on a longing gleam. There was another place he really wanted to visit first. Surely a few more days would not make any difference.

    There was a knock on the door and then it swung open. The serving girl from earlier walked in, carrying a basin of warm water. Closing the door behind her, the girl gave Baoxin the same smile as before, then reaching up she undid her dress and let it slip to the floor. Baoxin rolled up his map and this time took the girl up on her offer.

    ####

    Dorje rode up to the mansion, that was only a little less grand than a palace and was greeted by a middle aged man, dressed in the traditional furs of the steppes people. The man stood with a straight back and looked at Dorje with alert eyes. Dorje recognised a fellow soldier standing to attention as was pleased by being met by such a man. The man introduced himself as the steward of Prince Ruyang and asked Dorje to accompany him. Dismounting Dorje removed a circle shaped bundle from the saddle then handed his horse to a waiting servant.

    The steward lead Dorje through the back door to the barracks and showed him to a well size but, sparsely furnished room. There was a simple meal and a tub of steaming water ready for Dorje to refresh himself. The steward asked if there was anything else Dorje wanted and then left when Dorje told him there was not. Alone Dorje assessed his situation. His greeting by a steward and being housed in the barracks, meant that Prince Ruyang considered him as a servant. However, his private accommodation and the preparations made for his comfort showed that he was a valued servant.

    Dorje shrugged and placed his bundle against the wall. It did not matter how they viewed him, they would learn his worth soon enough. Carefully he unwrapped the Great Golden Wheel, then pulling out a piece of cloth he started carefully polishing it. The artefact was one of the most sacred weapons of his Order but it was a recreation, the original having been destroyed by the Condor Hero Yang Guo a hundred years ago. The monk Da'erba had retrieved the broken pieces of the Wheel and returned them to the monastery.

    The weapon-masters of the Order had been shocked by the destruction of the holy weapon and had spent twenty years recreating it. However, merely repairing the damage was not enough for them. Using secret techniques, they had mixed powdered black diamonds to the golden metal, strengthening the weapon a hundred folds. The weapon-masters had been confident that this new Wheel, was all but indestructible. Dorje let out a sigh, disappointed that he would never have the chance to avenge the shame done to his Order, for Yang Guo was long dead and his Heavy Iron Sword lost.

    Inspecting the Wheel, Dorje nodded in satisfaction then placed it carefully against the wall. Stripping off his travel stained clothes he stepped into the bath to find the water pleasantly warm. He spent nearly half an hour relaxing and cleaning himself before deciding to get out of the bath. As he was drying off, there was a knock on the door and a maid stepped in after receiving permission. The girl informed him that Prince Ruyang had arranged a feast and that a servant would come to get him at the appointed time. Dorje dismissed the girl then picked up a handful of grapes from the table, deciding to restrict himself to fruit so as not to spoil his appetite.

    ####

    Dorje entered the Hall wearing his dress uniform. He had taken great care in choosing what to wear for his first meeting with Prince Ruyang. By appearing as he did, he was showing the Prince great respect but, also telling him that he was dealing with a proud warrior and not some toadying lackey. The Hall was large enough to comfortably seat dozens of people but, was only occupied by five. Dominating the Hall was Prince Ruyang, sitting on his gilded throne set on a dais he towered over everyone. The Prince was a large man, whose muscular physique showed under the fur and leather he wore. His thick beard was streaked with grey and Dorje guessed his age to be in the mid fifties.

    At the foot of the dais were two desk size dining tables. The right table was unoccupied. On the left table sat a grotesquely fat man. He was the same age as the Prince and was dressed in a similar manner. In his right hand the fat man held a golden goblet full of wine, while his left hand fondled the buttocks of a comely maid. Dorje took an instantly disliking to the fat man. While he had been pleased at the appearance of Prince Ruyang, whose martial bearings matched his own, the leering smile on the fat mans face repulsed him.

    Lower down were four more dining tables, two to the left and two on the right. Two men with the look of seasoned warriors sat on the tables to the right, while another man sat on the left table closest to the dais. Prince Ruyang opened his arms in greeting but did not rise:

    Master Dorje. Welcome to my home. Please be seated. said the Prince as he indicated to the vacant table on the far left.

    Dorje struggled to hold his temper at the slight. By seating him so far away from the host, Prince Ruyang was making Dorjes place within the hierarchy very clear. With great effort Dorje kept his anger in check and stalked towards his seat. The man he was to sit next to rose and walked up to him. He was well into middle age, had a thick beard and strong build. As Dorje approached the man offered his right hand in greeting:

    Master Dorje. I am Asan, humble servant to his Highness. My I say what an honour it is to make your acquaintance. he said with a friendly smile. Dorje took the arm wrist to wrist in a warriors shake and saw Asans smile turn into a wicked grin.


    Asan tightened his grip, channelling Qi through his strong fingers he was determined to humble Dorje. To his surprise Dorje showed no signs of discomfort or make any effort to break away. Asan pressed down harder, determined to break the man but, even as he channelled more power through his fingers, Dorje just stood there passively as if unconcerned by Asans iron grip. Furious at having his attack so casually ignored Asan activated his most powerful technique, the Vajra Iron Fingers. Instantly his fingers became as hard as diamonds as they dug into Dorjes arm with enough strength to crush bones and tear apart tendons.

    Asans grin widened, sure in the knowledge that soon the Tibetan will be on his knees begging for mercy. Suddenly a shudder ran through Asans body. At first he ignored it and tried tightened his grip but, to his shock his right hand refused to respond. In fact his entire right arm, from the elbow downwards felt completely numb. Another shudder rang through his body and the numbness spread to his shoulder. A third shudder took hold, only this time it did not pass and his entire body spasm uncontrollably. Terror took grip of his heart and Asan looked up to see a cruel smile on Dorjes lips.


    Dorje knew he should have ended it here. Asan was at his mercy and he should just let him go graciously but, the insult from before still stung and he was determined that someone would pay. Dorje heard the sound of chairs being pushed aside and looked up to see the men sitting to the right come running to Asans aid. Dorje threw Asan into the air like a rag doll, intending to send him crashing into his rescuers. A blur shot from the dais and the fat man caught Asan by the shoulder brining him gently to the ground. For moment Asan continued to twitch, then the fat man tightened his grip and the spasms stopped.

    The fat man smiled coldly as he met Dorjes eyes:

    Yin Feng Claw (Cold Wind Claw). Most impressive. the fat man said in a voice so deep that it was almost a growl.

    Dorje returned an equally frosty smile. If the fat man was impressed by his display, then Dorje was equally impressed at his. That anyone outside of his Order could recognize his secret technique was surprising but, the fact that the fat man could suppress its effect so quickly was nothing short of spectacular. Dorje suspected that with the exception of himself, the fat man was the most dangerous individual within the Hall. The tension between them grew as they continued staring at each other, then the voice of a woman spoke from the Halls entrance:

    Impressive would be an understatement, Master Skainud. the words were spoked in a clear voice that was as pleasing to the ears as the tinkling of silver bells.

    Dorje turned to see what was perhaps the loveliest woman he had ever seen. In her early twenties, she had a tall and slender figure. Her complexion was slightly tanned showing a liking for the outdoors. Lush black hair was braided with precious stones, giving her an exotic allure. Strong yet smooth cheek bones highlighted a pretty face, that was dominated by a pair of stunning eyes that were as beautiful as they were sharp and Dorje doubted that there was much that these eyes did not catch. Prince Ruyangs voice boomed proudly from his throne:

    Ah my darling daughter Minmin. Come and greet our guest.

    Minmin courtesied to Dorje as she would a respected elder and he responded with a polite nod, pleased to be given the proper respect:

    Master Dorje. It is an honour to meet you. Please be seated. Minmin said.

    Dorje started walking towards his seat but, Minmin stood in front of him with a look of shock on her face:

    Master Dorje this is my seat. Yours is over there. she said as she indicated to the seat on the right hand side nearest to the dais.

    Dorje looked up to see Prince Ruyang nodding in agreement. Dorje turned back to Minmin and smiled dotingly at her. Despite having only just met her, he took an instant liking to her. It would seem that her great beauty was matched by her intelligence and charm. Although in the back of his mind Dorje suspected that he would need to be very careful in his dealings with her, he could not help but be charmed. Turning once more he ascended to his proper seat.

    ####

    Well. What do you think? asked Prince Ruyang.

    He is definitely a mighty warrior, your Highness. I would rate his powers as greater even then the Xuanming Elders. replied Skainud.

    Skainud had been summoned to the Princes study at the end of the feast. Now he discussed the merits of Dorje with Prince Ruyang and his daughter:

    And how does he compare to you? asked the Prince.

    Skainud smiled as if the Prince was jesting but, in his heart the seeds of doubt were being planted. Asan was the weakest of his three senior apprentices, yet even so his powers were at least the equal to the Heads of most of the Han Chinese Martial Schools. The ease with which Dorje had humbled him, showed that he was a man of terrifying power. The question that the Prince now asked had been one that Skainud had pondered on throughout the feast. Yet even now he did not have an answer:

    Speaking of the Xuanming Elders, has there been any word from them and gege (elder brother)? asked Minmin.

    Skainud smiled. While the Prince was an intelligent man, he was also blunt. Minmin however, had her fathers intelligence coupled with an incredible sharp womans intuition. She could read a persons intent from the smallest gesture. Here she had correctly interpreted his reluctance to answer as a sign of his unease and had changed the subject to avoid further embarrassing him. Skainud would have made her his woman, if only she was not the Princes daughter:

    They have met up with Cheng Kun, your Highness. I expect we will hear word of their success very soon. replied Skainud, taking advantage of the opportunity to extricate himself, that Minmin had provided.

    Prince Ruyang seemed to catch on to his daughters intent and allowed his previous question to drop. Instead he smiled to himself proud to have such a clever daughter.

  5. #25
    Senior Member yanfeng's Avatar
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    Yay! I haven't been here in awhile and am glad that you decided to continue the story!

    Also I see that you have also continued Jinyong's tradition of populating the story with many beautiful women... ha! Wuji is up for 'tormenting' here too I predict, what with all the pretty girls he wants to be nice to.

    I look forward to your next chapter!

  6. #26
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    Hi Mandred, any chance of reading the next chapter soon?

  7. #27
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Chapter 13




    Nearly a hundred years of neglect had reduced the once mighty walls to ruin. Great gaps in the stonework, showed where powerful war-machines had breached the fortifications that had once been thought impregnable. Yet despite the walls battered conditions, in his minds eye Baoxin could still picture how formidable they once were. It was here that the heroes of the dying Song Dynasty had made their last stand against the irresistible might of the Khan. Closing his eyes, Baoxin could almost hear the roar of battle being waged around him and feel the ghosts of those who had fallen.

    Dorje had brought him up on stories of the great battles fought here at Xiangyang, where the mighty heroes Guo Jing and and Yang Guo, defied the greatest Empire the world had ever seen. Baoxins young mind had made Xiangyang into a mythical city, whose walls soared up into the Heavens and battlements were defended by golden heroes. Although as he had long abandoned those childish fantasies, he still felt a pain of sadness at the sorry state of the city. Was this really the place where so many brave warriors had fought and died? Were these dilapidated ruins really the cause of such much suffering for countless millions?

    For all the sacrifices that had been made, the city was now home to only wild animals and long dead ghosts. The futility of it all touched Baoxin and he felt the sorrow welling up in his heart. Removing the jade flute from his belt, he placed it to his lips and played. The melody was as haunting as it was beautiful, listening to it was akin to hearing the cries of a child for its parent, painful to hear but, impossible to turn a deaf ear to. Another melody drifted on the breeze, an equally melancholy tune played on a qin. The new music complemented Baoxins perfectly, matching the sadness and creating another voice that cried to the uncaring Heavens.

    Continuing to play his flute, Baoxin walked towards the sound of the qin. His unseen music partner, seemed to be playing from within the abandoned city. Quickening his pace, Baoxin ran through the broken gates, his tune never missing a single note. Baoxin came to a dead stop and nearly stopped playing at the sight that greeted him. A pavilion of golden silk had been erected in the citys main street. Beneath the bright canopy was a young woman. She wore a silk dress of the same color as the pavilion and she sat cross-legged on a mat while playing the qin. Behind her were eight female attendances, the four to right dressed in black and the four to the left dressed in white.

    As Baoxin walked closer his eyes widened with interest and his lips curled up in a smile. He noticed that the qin player was abut his age and quite simply the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her long black hair hung loosely over her shoulders, kept in place by a simple yellow ribbon. Her face was completely free of cosmetic, allowing her breathtaking natural beauty to shine. There was an ethereal grace to her, that went beyond this world giving her the air of an angel. Without stopping her performance the woman looked up and met Baoxins eyes. Her stare was neither hostile nor inviting, merely curious.

    Baoxin nodded politely and received the same greeting. For a few minutes they continued the melody, before bringing it to a natural conclusion. Tucking the flute back into his belt Baoxin bowed politely:

    Young Ladys musical skills are divine, I thank you for the privilege of allowing me to witness your performance.

    The woman rose and courtesied:

    Young Sir is to kind. My meager skills are nothing when compared to your amazing talent. If it pleases sir, I would like to invite you to share some tea with me.

    It would be my honor lady. However, I have been remiss in my manners, for I have yet to introduce myself. My family name is Zhao and my given name is Baoxin.

    The woman dipped her head politely:

    It is a pleasure to meet you sir. My family name is Yang and my given name is Suaying.

    ####

    Shi Huolong smiled as he watched his daughter picking flowers. Soon she would have enough to make into a chain, which he would have to wear on his head. Although he knew it made him look ridiculous, the Master of the Beggars Guild would gladly indulge his daughter and play the fool. The sound of tea being poured caused him to turn his head and his smile widened. His wife had laid out a simple tea set on a blanket rolled out on the grass. Well into middle age, the woman had never been beautiful, or even pretty but, to Shi Huolong she and their daughter were the loveliest women to have ever lived.

    Running a winkled hand through his thick gray beard, he indulged in this rare moment of domestic bliss. It was a fine summer day and his family had convinced him to abandon Guild matters to have a picnic in the nearby hills. However, Shi Huolongs good mood evaporated as he looked up to see the dozens of beggars standing in a loose circle around his family. These were fourth generation Guild apprentices, each one a fierce warrior capable of killing a dozen ordinary men and they formed his familys personal guards. Shi Huolong knew each of them by name and counted them as close friends, yet their presence was a reminder that he would never truly be free of Guild matters.

    His smile took on a weary light and was spotted by his wife immediately:

    Worrying about the Gathering again? she asked, in a tone that suggested she already knew the answer.

    I should never had let Chen Youliang talked me into it. replied Shi Huolong with a sigh.

    Things might still work out. Besides, even if we do not win the leadership of the revolutionary forces, you would still have done a great service to our people by bringing everyone together against the Tartars.

    The weariness left Shi Huolongs smile. As ever he could always count on his wife to be the still center, amongst a sea of turmoil. Her quiet intelligence, along with her unobtrusive nature made her his most valued adviser and although she never made her opinions public knowledge, he always acted in accordance to them. Suddenly the smile vanished from Shi Huolong's face and he reached down to grasp the Dog-Beating Staff that lay on the ground next to him. His head snapped to the side. The outline of three horsemen could just about be made out as they appeared on the horizon. Shi Huolong prepared to shout a warning to his guards but, it was already too late.

    A yellow blur slammed into the beggars on the left, hitting them with the force of a storm. Two men were hurled into the air, their bodies dead before they fell back to earth. The surviving beggars surrounded their attacker and lashed out with their sharpened bamboo sticks, hoping to overwhelm him with weight of numbers. A wave of heat, so intense that Shi Huolong could feel it from several dozen yards away, flowed from the yellow robed attacker and struck the beggars bearing down on him. The beggars let out a collective scream that lasted scant seconds as their charred corpses fell to the ground.

    Knowing that it was too late to save the unfortunate souls, Shi Huolong instead took to the air and flew in the direction of where his daughter was staring in wide-eye terror at the horrendous. Shi Huolong reached the girl in a matter of heartbeats, then taking her in his arms spun around and flew back to where his wife was standing. The remaining beggars rushed towards their charges, forming a tight circle of flesh and sharpened bamboo around the family. The horsemen stopped a few yards from the beggars, revealing themselves to be three men. The one in the center looked to be in his mid twenties, dressed in the Mongolian style his clothes were of the highest quality.

    His flat features were typical of the Steppe people and he looked impassively, almost board at the beggars. The men to either side of him looked to be in their late fifties, their goatee beards speckled with gray. The older men looked very similar to each other and could easily be taken for brothers. The horsemen were joined by the yellow robed killer and Shi Huolong blinked in surprise as the assassin turned out to be a monk, with his yellow robes marking him out as a acolyte of Shaolin. For several moments the two groups stood motionless, the beggars tense and scared, while the horsemen and monk seemingly unconcerned.

    With eye-blurring speed the older men leapt from their horses and landed on the beggars like a pair of foxes amongst chickens. Sharpened bamboo sticks were brushed aside like dry twigs and the men struck back with lightning fast palm strikes. The palms struck like a blizzard killing three men with every strike. However, these were no normal palm strikes, for the dead bodies instantly froze up, as if concentrating the intense cold of the bitterest winter in seconds. Shi Huolong felt a moment of unbridled horror but, quashed it savagely his warriors instincts taking over. As the last of his guards fell, Shi Huolong shoved his staff into his wifes hands and charged his assailants.

    The Guild-master also used a palm technique, striking with a speed that surpassed even those of his attackers. The air around the combatants roared like an enraged animal, as Shi Huolong unleashed the full power of his 18 Dragon Taming Palm. Although his skills were but a pale shadow of his illustrious ancestors, the power of his attack was still frightening. A storm of palms erupted around the three men as they battled, with blows exchanged that would have killed dozens of normal men in a heartbeat. Shi Huolong knew he was going to die. He would have been hard pressed to defeat just one of his opponents, now against them both, he stood no chance of winning.

    Just as the realization of imminent defeat of dawning on him, Shi Huolong felt a powerful stab in his back. The blow was struck quickly and cleanly, hitting precisely the right acupoint to instantly paralyze him. The Guild-master tried resisting the effect with his Qi but, this was no ordinary acupoint sealing attack and he felt his power being cut off. Barely an instant after being struck in the back, Shi Huolong received a pair of palm strikes to the chest. Screaming in pain he felt the soul numbing cold enter is body and knew that it was over. The knowledge of certain death made him angry and he used that anger to do the impossible.

    Knowing that it would collapse all of his vital acupoints and destroy his internal organs, Shi Huolong released all of his Qi in an instant, holding back nothing. His three assailants were hurled into the air as his power manifested itself as a transparent dome that spread out from his body. The dome pushed the men back several feet and Shi Huolong found he had a clear line of sight to the young man who had remained on his horse. Swift as the wind Shi Huolong flung himself at the man ripping him from the saddle before he could react. The young man tried to rise but Shi Huolong fastened his fingers around the mans throat and started to squeeze.

    The sound of running feet came from behind and Shi Huolong swung around to glare at the mans companions:

    STOP! One more step and he dies. roared the Guild-master.

    The three of them froze immediately and Shi Huolong turned to his family:

    Quickly, take one of the horses and run. he shouted to his wife.

    The woman responded instantly, picking up their daughter she rushed to one of the horses and sprang into the saddle. She rode away without looking back even as tears flooded for eyes as she knew she would never see her husband again. Shi Huolong smiled as his family fled. His wife knew exactly where she had to go in a situation like this and he had absolute confidence that she would make it. With this unshakable belief that his family was safe, Shi Huolong continued to smile even as deaths icy fingers quickly closed around his heart.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yanfeng View Post
    Yay! I haven't been here in awhile and am glad that you decided to continue the story!

    Also I see that you have also continued Jinyong's tradition of populating the story with many beautiful women... ha! Wuji is up for 'tormenting' here too I predict, what with all the pretty girls he wants to be nice to.

    I look forward to your next chapter!
    Thanks for popping by. Guilty as charged. What can I say, I like beautiful women.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryosuke View Post
    Hi Mandred, any chance of reading the next chapter soon?
    Sorry for the wait. Been a bit busy. Enjoy.

  10. #30
    Member Christos200's Avatar
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    Just read the first chapter. It is pretty good. Keep up the good work!

  11. #31
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christos200 View Post
    Just read the first chapter. It is pretty good. Keep up the good work!
    Thanks for popping in. Just finished reading your story. Have fun as well.

  12. #32
    Senior Member yanfeng's Avatar
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    Hey Mandred, hope you're planning to continue this- intriguing start!

  13. #33
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yanfeng View Post
    Hey Mandred, hope you're planning to continue this- intriguing start!
    Thanks for the support. Been a bit lazy, will pick up the story soon.

  14. #34
    Senior Member yanfeng's Avatar
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    Still hopeful

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