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  1. #81
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    Thanks for comments on the previous chapter. Along with Chapters 3, and 10, it was one of the ones I really enjoyed writing.

    I normally try and write a Chapter every week, but have decided to take a rest this week (busy and tired from work). Based on my rough plot, which keeps changing each week as I write, it should be around a 60-80 chapter story.

    Chapter 18 should be up in the next couple of days. In this chapter, Yeung Yin Siu meets Bak Fung Wan and the plot thickens with the arrival of another elite fighter who calls himslef, Ka Kim Mo, ie the 'Fake Swordsman'. Things also get interesting when Bak Fung Wan discovers that his daugther has fallen in love, just days before the urgent summit.
    "Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare

  2. #82
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    Default Chapter 18: Return of a Gentleman

    Chapter 18: Return of a Gentleman

    It is a dark and gloomy day on the streets of Luoyang. Black clouds hang above in the sky as the rain pours down onto people rushing through the streets below. Loud continuous ‘tapping’ sounds can be heard as the rain lands on the tiles of the many shopfronts. There are various people rushing through the city whilst trying their best to keep warm and dry. Many of the people are wearing a bamboo rain hat, and a bamboo cape to shield from the rain. Others carry an umbrella in hand. The strong, harsh, and cold wind blows fiercely through the streets, making it almost impossible to keep dry as the rain is blown sideways. The rain and the wind combined makes it impossible for the various street vendors and merchants to do business as most people prefer to be in doors on this particular day. Whilst some curse at the rain, the many farmers on the outskirts of Luoyang are praising it. It has been a very dry Spring and Summer. The yearly rain is particularly important for a good harvest. There’s a cold and eerie feeling through the city. Almost as if it were a warning from the gods that something terrible is about to happen.

    Just at this very moment, one could vaguely see through the rushing crowd, an old monk walking through the falling rain whilst carrying a small umbrella in hand. The long beard on the monk’s face has gone all white. He appears to be around 100 years of age. Despite the old age, one could see that the old monk’s body looks physically fit and strong. A long staff is resting in his right hand as he walks. He appears to be using it to support himself. A red sash is worn over his shoulders. There are nine incense marks burnt on top of his bold head. A chain of holy beads is worn around his neck. This man appears to be none other than Reverend Guy Hung, an elder of the Meditation Hall at Shaolin.

    He continues down the street for another 10 minutes before walking into an old shopfront. An old brown wooden sign hangs above the entrance. Four words have been carved into the sign in dark blue ink. They read, ‘The Fat Elephant’s Tavern’. Taking a moment to observe the surroundings, Reverend Guy Hung, notices a scholar wearing grey robes slumped over a table for four at the centre of the tavern. He was laying face first on the table. The table is littered with broken clay cups and jugs. It was a total mess. Despite it only being lunchtime, the scholar in grey robes appears to be passed out. He could be heard snoring softly. This man appeared to be none other than, the ‘Thousand Cups Drunkard – The Lucky Doctor’ Wah Yek Si. The waiters in the tavern appeared to be ignoring the Wah Yek Si as they walk back and forth whilst serving the various other customers.

    “Amida Buddha! Sinful! Sinful!”, remarks Reverend Guy Hung with a long sigh upon observing the scholar in grey robes a little more closely.

    Turning his attention back on surveying the tavern, Reverend Guy Hung, notices four swordsmen occupying a table towards the front of the tavern. By the dress and appearance of the four swordsmen, one could tell they were from the Kunlun Sect. All four swordsmen are wearing dark green robes with white trimmings. Four long broad swords are resting on the table before the men. Three of the men have their hair neatly combed and tied up in a bundle at the back by a dark green scarf. One of the men is wearing a black rectangle hat on his head. This man looked to be around 35 years of age. A short moustache covered his rounded face. This man was none other than Yip Sai Yuk, the current Head Master of the Kunlun Sect. He obtained the leadership of the Kunlun Sect shortly after the death of his father Yip Mo Fong. They are at this moment drinking and laughing amongst themselves.

    Towards the back of the tavern sat a group of twenty swordsmen all wearing red robes with black trimmings. By the dress and appearance of these swordsmen, one could tell that they were from the Songshan Sect. Five of them wore a red rectangle on their heads. They were none other than the renowned ‘Fabulous Five’ of the Songshan Sect, Chor Heung Lau, Kong Tin, Hong Bo, Jiu Fei, Lam Wu, and Kwok Ming. Chor Heung Lau appeared to be around 34 years of age. He had a rather handsome face that had no blemish. A red paper fan was strapped to the right side of his waist. A long broad sword rested on the table before him. The other swordsmen wore a red scarf to tie their hair neatly into a bundle at the back. The apprentices from the Songshan Sect appeared to be having a very good time amongst themselves as well.

    Chor Heung Lau appeared to be keeping a close eye on a lone man sitting at the corner towards the back of the tavern. That man appeared to be in his mid 40s. He had a rather handsome face that is covered by a short moustache and a long beard. A light blue robe with white trimmings is wrapped around his medium built body. A light rectangle blue hat with white trimmings is resting on his head. A white belt was worn around the waist with the words ‘Chancellor of Wulin’ written in red at the centre. This man appears to be none other than the ‘Gentleman Sword’ Bak Fung Wan. A jug of fine wine and a couple of wine cups is resting before him. He was, at this moment, casually drinking his wine.

    Reverend Guy Hung immediately recognises Bak Fung Wan as he slowly approached the table with a smile. Holding his right hand in front of his chest in a praying pose, Reverend Guy Hung remarks whilst bowing slightly, “Amida Buddha! May god bless you! May god bless you!”.

    Noticing that Bak Fung Wan seemed to be a little distracted and preoccupied, he added, “Young Chancellor, have you heard any further news about your daughter?”.

    “Reverend Guy Hung! Greetings and thank you for your concerns!”, replied Bak Fung Wan after a short while as he cupped his hands together to acknowledge an old friend. He followed by stretching out his right arm towards an empty seat on the table. Reverend Guy Hung pulled out the chair before sitting down.

    “Young? I’m nearly 47 years of age and you still refer to me as Young Chancellor after all these years! It’s probably about time to change the way you address me!”, added Bak Fung Wan with a little laugh upon focusing his attention on Reverend Guy Hung. He had previously been starring out of the window admiring the heavy rain and the rushing crowd. His thoughts and attention were miles away.

    “Compared with me! You’re still a very young man! So There’s no need to call you ‘Old’ just yet!”, replied Reverend Guy Hung as he folded up his umbrella before resting it to the side of the table.

    “Of course! Of course!”, nodded Bak Fung Wan in agreement upon realising that Reverend Guy Hung was right when it came to comparisons of age.

    “What brings you here?”, continued Bak Fung Wan. He did not expect to meet Reverend Guy Hung at the tavern. He had actually wanted to speak with Reverend Guy Hung at Shaolin, many weeks ago. But Abbot Guy Jang advised him that Reverend Guy Hung had decided to meditate for a year at a secret location in the Meditation Halls to further refine his skills and abilities.

    “My junior apprentice brother, Abbot Guy Jang, had advised me that you had left Shaolin in search of your daughter! So I thought I’d come to see if there’s anything I could do to assist you!”, replied Reverend Guy Hung. He had always respected the ‘Bak’ family, and the heroic deeds of Lin Chun Fa. Besides he had always thought of Bak Tin Kiew as a goddaughter.

    “You’re too kind!”, replied Bak Fung Wan upon realising that Reverend Guy Hung had broken his meditation in order to assist him in locating his daughter.

    There was a deep look of concern on Bak Fung Wan’s face. Taking a moment to pour a cup of wine, he added, whilst shaking his head, “I’m afraid that I have no further news to report about my daughter! My apprentices are currently scouting for her whereabouts throughout the city!”.

    Bak Fung Wan had spent the past few weeks at Shaolin holding lengthy talks with the current Abbot of Shaolin, Reverend Guy Jang, Priest Integrity the Head Master of Wudang, and other elders from both clans about the position of Chancellor of Wulin. They wanted to reach a definite decision prior to the urgent summit, which is to be held in the next couple of days. Bak Fung Wan had received news from his two senior apprentices, Yik Ching Fung and Ling Wu Mun, advising him that Bak Tin Kiew had been found and was safe. He was aware that Bak Tin Kiew had been travelling with Hua Ling Do and that they were slowly making their way towards Shaolin to meet up with him. He began to relax and was no longer concerned about his daughter’s safety from that day onwards. But that event happened around 7 days ago. No news had been heard about them since that time. Yesterday, Bak Fung Wan got a terrible freight when Bak Tin Kiew’s white horse turned up at Shaolin without a rider. He could not have known that Bak Tin Kiew had lost her horse a long time ago when it was stolen by Rain, and that she was no longer travelling with it. But Bak Fung Wan sensed that something was wrong. So he decided to leave Shaolin in search of his daughter with the help of his apprentices and the monks from Shaolin.

    “Chancellor Bak! You should not be so concerned! Buddha is merciful and will look after the safety of your daughter! I’m sure she’s safe and well at this moment! In time you’ll see! Just have a little patience!”, remarked Reverend Guy Hung whilst sighing a little, upon noticing the worried expression on Bak Fung Wan’s face.

    “I only wish that were true! If not for the warning in my heart! I have the uneasy feeling that she’s in some great danger!”, replied Bak Fung Wan as he downed a cup of wine in one gulp.

    Turning to Reverend Guy Hung, he continued, “Also it is very unusual that my 3 senior apprentice, Hua Ling Do, has not sent me a message for the past 7 days! He normally keeps me well informed of his intentions when he is roaming around wulin all by himself!”.

    “It’s been raining long and hard for the past few days! So perhaps that’s the reason why they haven’t been able to deliver a message to you at Shaolin! Maybe they are just sheltering at an abandoned temple on the outskirts of Luoyang, right at this moment, waiting for the rain to clear!”, replied Guy Hung trying sound very reassuring.

    “I hope you’re right!”, replied Bak Fung Wan taking a sip from his cup.

    His face still carried with it an air of deep concern. He explained upon downing another cup of wine, “I wouldn’t be so concerned about my daughter, Tin Kiew, if I knew that she possesses excellent kung fu! But she doesn’t know any kung fu at all! So she’s totally defenceless at the moment! So how can I be not concerned!”.

    “Are you regretting the decision to forbid anyone from teaching your daughter kung fu?”, asked Reverend Guy Hung as a slight smile appeared on his face.

    “To be truthful! I do regret that decision in some way!”, replied Bak Fung Wan as he picked up the ‘exquisite snake sword’ from the table before partially unsheathing it. A tinge of metallic blue glowed from the blade and reflected onto his face.

    Looking directly at Reverend Guy Hung, he added, “But you must understand my reasons! I did not wish my daughter to be involved in the affairs, matters, and conflict in wulin! I wanted her to live a normal and peaceful life!”.

    Reverend Guy Hung shook his head as he gave another sigh. He said, “Chancellor Bak! Your intentions are honourable!”.

    Turning to face Bak Fung Wan, he continued, “But have you ever considered that there’s no way of avoiding conflict? People are conflict! Conflict are people! It’s all around us! How can we avoid it?”.

    “Oh! I don’t quite understand!”, replied Bak Fung Wan with a rather shocked expression on his face. He was at the stage in his life where he wanted to retire and live out the remaining years of his life in peace and seclusion. He no longer cared whether he was the Chancellor of Wulin or not. In fact he had planned to hand over his leadership of the Taishan Sect to Yik Ching Fung very shortly. So he was slightly curious in what Reverend Guy Hung had to say.

    “Conflict is ever constant in the minds of an individual! In its most pure and basic form, the decisions and choices one makes at the expense of another is conflict! From such a simple form it escalates into conflict between two people, groups of people, and nations of people! How can total peace ever exist in this world when some form conflict exists in each and everyone of us? Even when one is alone, there is still internal conflict!”, continued Reverend Guy Hung with a smile. He knew that smiling and not smiling was a form of conflict in itself.

    “Interesting! I never thought of that before!”, replied Bak Fung Wan as he poured himself a cup of wine. He stroked his moustache for a while as he pondered over Reverend Guy Hung’s reasoning.

    After a while he added, “So all you’re saying is that we humans can only strive for and achieve partial peace! Total peace is but a construct that cannot be achieved!”.

    “Amida Buddha! My god bless you! May god bless you!”, replied Reverend Guy Hung whilst stroking his beard.

    He added after a little while, “Take a look at me for example! I’m an elder of the Meditation Hall at Shaolin! I’ve devoted my entire life to meditation and the study religion! I should not be interfering in the events, affairs, matters, and conflicts of wulin! Yet somehow I managed to get involved in all this!”.

    “I see! So even if I retire and live in seclusion! That alone does not guarantee total peace for the rest of my life! Perhaps only for a short space of time!”, remarked Bak Fung Wan out loud to himself. He gave a little sigh upon realising that he could only achieve partial peace. The old saying of, ‘one can run, but they can never hide forever’, is indeed true.

    Laughing a little Reverend Guy Hung added, “That’s right! There’s no denying that we’re all creatures of conflict, in one way or another!”.

    Pausing for a moment he continued, “There’s also something that I need to tell you!”.

    “What’s that?”, asked Bak Fung Wan not knowing what Reverend Guy Hung had wanted to say.

    “Your daughter is not totally defenceless! She does know some form of kung fu!”, replied Reverend Guy Hung.

    “What? I don’t understand!”, continued Bak Fung Wan looking a little puzzled.

    Taking out a couple of figurines from his pockets before placing them on the table, he continued, “These figurines demonstrate the second stance to my ‘Shadow Fist’ and ‘Shadow Kick’! Please give these to your daughter when you have the opportunity! It will build on the foundation that she has learnt from the first set of figurines that she received as a gift on her 16th birthday!”.

    “So Tin Kiew does knows some kung fu after all!”, remarked Bak Fung Wan upon looking at the figurines. He immediately understood what Reverend Guy Hung had done. He was initially shocked and angered at the fact that someone had defied his orders, and secretly instructed his daughter in martial arts. But he gave a sigh upon realising that it was dangerous times in wulin indeed. He became rather glad now upon realising that Bak Tin Kiew knew how to defend herself. Even though she had only been instructed in one stance of the ‘Shadow Fist’ and ‘Shadow Kick’. But how could have Bak Fung Wan possibly known that his daughter had also been instructed in the arts of Wudang, Divine Butterfly Sect, and Divine Red Moon Sect. She could now be considered as a moderate fighter and quite capable of defending herself.

    Guessing what was on Bak Fung Wan’s mind, Reverend Guy Hung, added with a slight laugh, “Chancellor Bak! You must understand that I did not break your clan rule! Nor did I defy your orders in sending these figurines to your daughter on her 16th Birthday! It was done out of good intentions!”.

    “Besides your daughter managed to activate the mechanisms all by herself! So one could say that I did not teach her any kung fu at all! That she’s mastered the first stance of the ‘Shadow Fist’ and the ‘Shadow Kick’ by her own skills and abilities!”, continued Reverend Guy Hung down a rather skewed line of reasoning.

    “I guess you’re right!”, replied Bak Fung Wan as he thought of how crafty Reverend Guy Hung had been in his explanation. He knew that Reverend Guy Hung had a good heart and had been technically correct from a certain point of view.

    Stroking his long beard Reverend Guy Hung continued with a praise, “Your daughter is indeed very clever! Just like her father! Ha! Ha!”.

    “In that case, I should thank you on behalf of my daughter for these two gifts!”, replied Bak Fung Wan with a smile as he placed the two wooden figurines into his pockets.

    Turning to Reverend Guy Hung he continued whilst cupping his hands together, “I should also be thanking you personally for these gifts and kind intentions!”.

    “Not at all! You and your late wife are very much respected in the highest circles in wulin! So that’s the least I can do to assist you!”, replied Reverend Guy Hung whilst waving his hand to indicate to Bak Fung Wan that he did not need to thank him.

    Noticing that Reverend Guy Hung was sitting before him without any refreshments, Bak Fung Wan, continued by asking, “Reverend Hung! Would you like something to drink? It’s my treat!”.

    “Just herbal tea! Thanks!”, replied Reverend Guy Hung whilst fixing a gaze at the ‘exquisite snake sword’ resting on the table before Bak Fung Wan. It was now resting back in its sheath.

    Signalling to a waiter nearby, Bak Fung Wan, ordered, “Waiter! Can I please have a pot of the finest herbal tea in the house please!”.

    “Sir! Coming right up!”, replied the waiter as he motioned to walk towards the bar upon taking the order.

    “What’s the matter?”, asked Bak Fung Wan upon noticing that Reverend Guy Hung had fixed his gaze at the ‘exquisite snake sword’. He unsheathed the blade before presenting it to Reverend Guy Hung for closer inspection.

    Reverend Guy Hung ran his fingers across the blade of the sword. He said after a little while, “Excellent sword! Excellent sword!”.

    “Oh! An excellent sword? How?”, asked Bak Fung Wan in some shock. Many years ago, when he had shown the sword to his father, Bak Tin Fei, and Priest Integrity upon slaying the Black Snake Assassin, they all advised him against using the sword. Bak Tin Fei advised him that the sword was evil and cannot be wielded by an honourable man. Priest Integrity advised him that the sword carried a bad omen and would eventually lead to his death. But he ignored the advice that had been given to him as he was determined to wield and master the ‘exquisite snake sword’. This has been the first time that someone had ever praised the sword. He could have never expected the person to finally praise the sword was none other than Reverend Guy Hung. So he became quietly curious as a result.

    “The blade is flexible but strong! Thin but though! It can cut through the most precious metal like butter! It’s indeed a very good sword! It’s just a pity that…”, remarked Reverend Guy Hung before stopping short. He continued running his finger along the edge of the sword.

    “Pity? How?”, remarked Bak Fung Wan seeking an answer. Before Reverend Guy Hung had an opportunity to respond, the waiter had already returned before placing a pot of hot tea on the table.

    “Sir, here you are! A pot of hot tea as promised!”, remarked the waiter as he turned to leave. He suddenly leapt up in shock as a cold and chilling feeling ran down his back. The waiter turned to cast a glance at the sword with a suspicious look before walking away. It was a reaction to the aurora of death that still surrounded the sword.

    “Amida Buddha! Chancellor, you have wielded this sword for over 20 years! Though you have used it only for the purposes of good to defeat evil! The cold and chilling aurora of death remains edged into the sword! It is because the lives of over 500 innocent people had been murdered at the edge of the blade! It is something that you can never totally vanquish in your lifetime despite your efforts!”, remarked Reverend Guy Hung sounding rather serious.

    Bak Fung Wan smiled upon realising that Reverend Guy Hung was the only person who understood the true intentions behind why he had wielded the ‘exquisite snake sword’. When Bak Fung Wan defeated and murdered the Black Snake Assassin, the ‘exquisite snake sword’ glowed a metallic black and not blue. The sword emitted a very strong aurora of death. Bak Fung Wan was aware that the Black Snake Assassin had used the sword to kill over 500 innocent lives. He thus wanted to use the use the sword to perform good deeds in the hope that he vanquish the chilling aurora of death that surrounded the sword, and put the souls of those slained at its blade to rest. Though he had achieved his goal to some extent, the chilling aurora of the sword remained deeply entrenched in the sword after all these years.

    “You’re right! I know that I cannot totally vanquish the cold chilling aurora of the death that surrounds the blade! We cannot bring back to life those slained at the edge of the blade! But I must try, never the less, to help those slained find peace in the underworld!”, replied Bak Fung Wan with a sigh as he looked at the blade.

    “Some would say this sword is an evil sword and can only be used for evil purposes!”, added Reverend Guy Hung as he handed the sword back to Bak Fung Wan.

    Bak Fung Wan just smiled and let out a loud laughter upon sheathing the sword and placing back on the table. Feeling proud and defiant, he said in a loud tone, “Reverend Hung! You and I both know that’s total nonsense! Weapons are not evil! Nor do they kill or do wicked deeds! It’s those who wield the sword for the purposes of evil that are evil! It is those who wield the swords that do the wicked deeds and do the killing! The sword is but an object at the whim of its master! It has no will of its own!”.

    “Amida Buddha! My god bless you! You’re totally correct! A sword branded as evil may be used for the purposes of good just as a sword branded as good may be used for the purposes of evil!”, interrupted Reverend Guy Hung to the side.

    “That’s correct! It is the men and not the sword who are good or evil! Even without a sword or weapon, men can still kill and do evil deeds! The sword is but an object that makes it easier for men to accomplish their goal! But the sword alone takes no action by itself!”, added Bak Fung Wan. He knew that the ‘exquisite snake sword’ was not evil an evil sword. Nor did the sword have a will of its own, despite the fact that it was surrounded by a chilling aurora of death.

    Nodding in agreement Reverend Guy Hung elaborated, “But often men do not take responsibility for their own actions! Always putting the blame on others and elsewhere! They thus blame the swords and weapons by labelling them as evil!”.

    “Once a sword is labelled as evil! People only see the sword and not the one who wields it!”, agreed Bak Fung Wan as he downed a cup of wine.

    “Amida Buddha! My god bless you! You’re totally correct!” replied Reverend Guy Hung with a sigh.

    Guessing what was on Bak Fung Wan’s mind, he added, “That’s why the shallow and narrow-minded people in wulin label you as a ‘hypocrite’! They see the ‘exquisite snake sword’ in your grasp and make assumptions that you’re up to no good without knowing the entire truth!”.

    Bak Fung Wan did not respond. He nodded to indicate that he agreed with Reverend Guy Hung’s comments. He knew all the various rumours being spread throughout wulin that labelled him a hypocrite for using the ‘exquisite snake sword’. But how could these people possibly understand his true motivations for using the sword. Often too many people make assumptions and pre-judge others without knowing the entire truth. The majority of trouble in this world are started and created through others inaccurate assumptions and prejudgements without knowing the entire truth. There are too many shallow people on this earth. Reverend Guy Hung was just about to ask another question, when he noticed that Bak Fung Wan had fixed his gaze outside towards the main street.

    Just at this moment one could notice a lone beggar walking through the rain in a huddled position with his arms folded in front of his chest. He did not carry an umbrella in hand and tried his hardest to keep warm. His torn black robes, and travelling bag were soaking wet. A sword was strapped to his back. It had been covered by a silk cloth. The old beggar coughed and sneezed loudly as he went. Using his sleeve as a handkerchief now and again. It appeared as if he had caught a minor cold or fever. His face and nose were slightly pale. There was a large black bruise covering the right side of his face. His eyes looked a glazed and reddish colour. It appeared as if he had been exhausted and had not slept much for the past few days. A thick long beard and moustache covered his entire face. His hair was a total mess. It was untied and looked as if it had never been combed before. Judging by the way and manner in which he strode down the street, the old beggar appeared to be lost. The various people rushing about through the rain were bumping him left, right, and centre, knocking him off balance now and again. But he did not appear to care. Every time he slipped and fell on the ground, he merely picked himself up and kept on walking as if nothing had happened. He was neither angry nor upset. As he approached closer to the tavern, one could see the sad look in his face. One couldn’t help but pity him slightly.

    “Amida Buddha! Chancellor Bak! Look at that man! He seems to have lost his soul! Sinful! Sinful!”, remarked Reverend Guy Hung whilst observing the old bearded beggar as walked down the street.

    Bak Fung Wan smiled, before saying, “Those who’s hearts are full of pain take shelter in the pouring rain!”.

    “But he does not appear to be in pain because of true love however!”, remarked Reverend Guy Hung as he observed the expression on the face of the old beggar.

    “No! He’s just in a daze! It’s the pain of emptiness that one feels when losing something special! Or the pain that one feels upon failing to accomplish a life long ambition!”, agreed Bak Fung Wan with a nod. He knew that he had looked and felt exactly the same way when he was defeated at the hands of the Black Dragon Swordsman over 20 years ago.

    Just at this moment the old bearded beggar approached the entrance of ‘The Fat Elephant’s Tavern’. Around twelve horses had been tied to the side of the tavern near the alley. A white horse seemed to have caught his attention as he walked over to examine it more closely. He noticed that a ‘ying yang’ had been carved into the saddle of the horse. Gently stroking the horse to the side of the neck before giving a sigh, he remarked, “Dumb horse! You didn’t get far after all! So here you are!”.

    “Dashing off like that the other night! Making me run and walk all of the way to Luoyang! Dam you!”, cursed the old bearded beggar underneath his breath. But he didn’t really appear to be that upset with the horse however. In fact his spirits had picked up somewhat upon finding it again.

    It was obvious that the old beggar was none other than Yeung Yin Siu, and that the white horse was the same white horse that had originally belonged to Bak Tin Kiew. He had been saddened and depressed after parting with Siu Wai in unusual circumstances the previous night. Yeung Yin Siu, originally thought about tracking her down to explain himself a little bit more clearer. But after around three hours of back tracking towards Kaifeng, he did not find any signs of Siu Wai or Black Snow. He realised that Siu Wai’s lightness kung fu was far superior to his, and thus he could not track her down. Besides he knew that Siu Wai needed sometime to herself to sort things out in her mind. Upon reaching that conclusion he headed back towards Luoyang. He feared for the safety of Bak Tin Kiew. He had been travelling all night and did not get an ounce of sleep as a result.

    Yeung Yin Siu was just about to untie and reclaim the horse as his own, when he heard a loud ‘swooshing’ sound through the air. It was a sign that a projectile had been launched towards him. Taking a step backwards before ducking his head, Yeung Yin Siu just managed to sway out of the way. A loud ‘cling’ sound echoed through the air moments later as the projectile struck into the wall. One could see that the projectile was nothing but a rounded metallic circle. A ‘ying yang’ had been edged onto both sides of the projectile. Yeung Yin Siu immediately recognised that the projectile were the kind normally used by apprentices and the Head Master of the Taishan Sect. Shifting his attention towards the direction of the attack, he noticed a middle aged swordsman in blue robes and white trimmings.

    Just at this moment, Bak Fung Wan, slammed a fist on the table before standing up. Pointing an index finger towards, Yeung Yin Siu, he shouted in a demanding tone, “Shameful! Since when have members from the Beggar Clan resorted to stealing? Who are you? To which Beggar Clan elder to you report to? Speak!”.

    “That man must be the ‘Gentleman Sword’, Bak Fung Wan!”, Yeung Yin Siu though inwardly upon noticing the words, ‘Chancellor of Wulin’ written at the middle of the belt worn around the waist of the swordsman in blue.

    Yeung Yin Siu was normally very cheeky and roguish in nature. But he knew that he needed to tread a fine line, as the man who stood before was none other than a potential future father-in-law of his. Clearing his throat, Yeung Yin Siu, remarked, “Eh! Chancellor Bak! You’re very much mistaken! I’m a Beggar! But I’m not from the Beggar Clan!”.

    “You’re not from the Beggar Clan?”, remarked Bak Fung Wan in total surprise. Orthodox clan members always assume that all beggars of the world belonged to the Beggar Clan. That’s why Yeung Yin Siu had to explain himself repeatedly.

    After a while, Bak Fung Wan, continued, “Who are you then? To which clan do you belong and where does you allegiance lie?”.

    Cupping his hands together, Yeung Yin Siu replied, “My name is not important! Most people refer to me as ‘Beggar Ho’! I am a nomad of wulin and belong to no clan! I have no allegiances!”.

    “Amida Buddha! My god bless you! Chancellor Bak! This man is a loner and appears to be an honourable person! Perhaps this is just a misunderstanding!”, interrupted Reverend Guy Hung to the side. He did not believe that the old bearded beggar had really intended to steal Bak Fung Wan’s horse.

    “Beggar Ho?”, Bak Fung Wan remarked to himself as he searched his memory bank for the name. He had never heard of it before and thus assumed that Beggar Ho was just a ‘no namer’ in wulin. Besides no one has ever mentioned anything bad or evil about ‘Beggar Ho’. So he agreed with Reverend Guy Hung’s assessment that the old bearded man was an honourable person.

    But he wanted to make sure as another thought crossed his mind as he asked, “Are you any relation to Fisherman Ho?”.

    “Very clever! He nearly managed to guessed who I am! He’s not a total fool after all!”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly as a slight smile flashed across his face. It was obvious that Bak Fung Wan was a very wise and knowledgable person. He had heard lots about Bak Fung Wan from a variety of sources in his lifetime. So said that the ‘Gentleman Sword’ was nothing but a fool, whilst others praised him for being wise. Yeung Yin Siu was actually glad to meet him in person in some way.

    Pausing for a moment, he replied, “I am not related to Fisherman Ho!”.

    “Why did you try to steal my horse?”, asked Bak Fung Wan not totally satisfied. Moments earlier he had seen the old beggar trying to untie his horse, so he immediately throw a projectile to prevent it from happening. It appeared to him as if the old beggar had indeed tried to steal his horse.

    “Chancellor Bak! I did not try to steal your horse! This has all been a big misunderstanding!”, replied Yeung Yin Siu, trying to think a way out of his current predicament.

    After a while he continued, “I lost my horse in Kaifeng several nights ago! This horse looks very identical to mine! I therefore mistaken it to be my horse!”.

    “Humph! Beggar Ho! I can honestly tell you that the horse belongs to the Taishan Sect! You can have a look at the ‘ying yang’ carved into the saddle if you don’t believe me!”, replied Bak Fung Wan as he resumed sitting down to enjoy the fine wine. He was certain, now, that it had all been a misunderstanding.

    “Of course! Of course! I believe the ‘Gentleman Sword’ to be an honourable man who would not lower himself to steal the horse from an old beggar like myself! This horse is definitely not mine!”, remarked Yeung Yin Siu with a hand raised as a sign of sincere apology as he walked into the tavern. Bak Fung Wan did not respond. He just let out a, “Humph”, before resuming chatting with Reverend Guy Hung.

    Yeung Yin Siu felt a little better upon clearing the little misunderstanding. Taking a moment to observe those who had gathered inside the tavern, Yeung Yin Siu, noticed the many swordsmen from the Kunlun Sect, and the Songshan Sect. He also remembered what Dik Ho Tin had told in earlier. That Chor Heung Lau and Yip Sai Yuk had sought to obtain the ‘frost palm’ and ‘frost sword arts’. His suspicions were confirmed upon seeing the way the Songshan Sect apprentices were keeping a watchful eye on Bak Fung Wan, he thought inwardly, “Something is going to happen! These men are not as honourable as they appear!”.

    Noticing that Doctor Wah Yek Si was slumped over on a table of four by himself, Yeung Yin Siu, decided to walk over and sit himself down at the same table. He noticed that Wah Yek Si was still snoring softly whilst sleeping face first. Yeung Yin Siu just shook his head upon observing this sight. Raising a hand, he signalled to a waiter, “Boy! Bring me a jug of the finest red wine!”.

    “Yes! Sir!”, replied the young waiter as he approached the table to take the order. He disappeared before returning moments later to place a jug of red wine of the table. Yeung Yin Siu poured himself a cup of wine and drank it casually. He had intended to sit in the tavern for a little to scout for news about the location of Bak Tin Kiew. It was by chance that he had arrived at the same tavern that Bak Fung Wan was currently drinking at.

    “Where’s Mischievous Monk and Chopstick Lee?”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly as he glanced around at the tavern for a second time. He knew that the ‘3 Freaks of Kaifeng’ normally travel together as a group. Where there’s one freak, the other two are normally close by. In fact Yeung Yin Siu had not seen Mischievous Monk since the encounter at Hennan. He was not at the ‘Dragon Tavern’ in Kaifeng either.

    Around half an hour had passed by when a young Shaolin monk entered the tavern before walking over to the table occupied by Reverend Guy Hung and Bak Fung Wan. Bowing slightly in a praying pose the young monk could be heard saying, “Amida Buddha! My god bless you! Greetings master! Greetings Chancellor!”.

    “Where I have heard this voice before?”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly as he listened into the conversations. The voice of the young monk did sound very familiar to him. But the young monk had his back was turned towards Yeung Yin Siu so he could not see what the monk looked like.

    “Reverend Hung! Who’s this? He looks very familiar!”, asked Bak Fung Wan in a curious tone, after a little while. He seemed to creased his brow a little upon observing the facial features of the monk. He appeared to look very familiar to Bak Fung Wan as well.

    “Chancellor Bak! This is my personal apprentice! You’ve not met him before! He’s name is ‘Ethical Monk’! He’s one of the disciplinary monks at Shaolin! Responsible for upholding the rule and commandments!”, replied Reverend Guy Hung with an arm out stretched. Bak Fung Wan and Ethical Monk then exchanged some pleasantries to greet each other. Bak Fung Wan motioned his hands towards an empty seat on the table but Ethical Monk did not sit down. He remained standing in an upright position. It was an indication that he was not going to stay for much longer.

    “What are you doing here?”, questioned Reverend Guy Hung upon noticing that his young apprentice had not taken a seat to join them.

    Bowing slightly to acknowledge his masker, Ethical Monk answered, “Master! The Abbot has sent me to fetch you! The Head Master of the Qincheng Sect, Priest Tin Do, and his junior apprentice brother, Priest Tin Chi have just arrived at Shaolin! They heard that you have broken off your meditation and now seek an appointment with you!”.

    “In that case I should be heading back!”, remarked Reverend Guy Hung as he stood up to leave. He and Priest Tin Do and Priest Tin Chi have been long time friends. It was obvious that Priest Tin Do and Priest Tin Chi wished to discuss the position of Chancellor of Wulin with him also.

    Turning to face Bak Fung Wan, he continued, “Chancellor Bak! It’s been great to have finally meet and caught up with you all of these years! I had intended to stay and assist you in locating your daughter! But I must get going now!”.

    “Of course! You have other matters at hand! I’ll see you back at Shaolin!”, replied Bak Fung Wan with an arm out stretched.

    “Chancellor Bak! Priest Tin Do and Priest Tin Chi would also like to seek an appointment with you!”, added Ethical Monk upon seeing that Bak Fung Wan had remained seated and did not intend to return with them.

    “Ethical Monk! Tell Abbot Guy Jang, Priest Tin Do, and Priest Tin Chi that I would be delighted to meet them if the time were convenient! But I am in the process of trying to find my daughter! You must understand that nothing on this world is more important than a father’s love for his missing daughter! I therefore cannot meet with them at this particular point in time! But I’ll make arrangements to meet with them upon finding my daughter!”, replied Bak Fung Wan as he downed a cup of wine before slamming it on the table. Besides he had been doing nothing but talking for the past few weeks. So he was growing tired of the whole affair. He figured he would step down if it were proven that everyone from the orthodox clans had lost faith in his leadership. Abbot Guy Jang, Priest Integrity, and Reverend Guy Hung were the ones trying to convince him to serve out another term as the Chancellor of Wulin.

    “Amida Buddha! My god bless you! Chancellor Bak! In that case, I’ll advise Priest Tin Do and Priest Tin Chi of your intentions! I’m sure they’ll understand your reasons for not meeting with them today. We’ll see you back at Shaolin! Goodbye!”, continued Ethical Monk whilst cupping his hands. Reverend Guy Hung picked up his umbrella before disappearing with Ethical Monk moments later.

    Bak Fung Wan watch them leave before pouring himself another cup of wine. He resumed casually drinking whilst starring out of the window to admire the pouring rain once more. He appeared to be lost in thought again. But it was obvious that he was resting at the tavern to wait for news of his daughter to be delivered by his senior apprentices, Yik Ching Fung and Ling Wu Mun. Yeung Yin Siu sat to the side quietly drinking his wine whilst keeping a close eye on Bak Fung Wan, members from the Songshan Sect, and Kunlun Sect.

    Around an hour had passed by in this manner, when a very young beggar boy around 7-8 years of age, wearing grey and torn robes walked into the tavern. His hair, face, and arms were a total mess and covered in mud. He carried a porcelain basin in his right hand. By his dress and appearance, it was obvious that he was a member of the ‘Dirty’ Beggar Faction of the Beggar Clan. He shouted in a raised voice as he ran around the tavern, “Which one of you is the Chancellor of Wulin, Bak Fung Wan?”.

    Bak Fung Wan snapped out of his daze upon hearing the young beggar’s comments. He responded with an arm raised, “I am Bak Fung Wan! What do you want?”.

    Running over to the table occupied by Bak Fung Wan before delivering him a short note, the young beggar said, “Someone asked me to deliver this letter to you! They said that it was a very urgent matter!”.

    Bak Fung Wan immediately took the letter from the young beggar’s hands. He rewarded the young beggar by placing 5 taels of silver into the porcelain basin for his trouble. Wasting no time, Bak Fung Wan immediately opened the letter and read it. A loud ‘whack’ sound echoed through the tavern as Bak Fung Wan slammed a fist on the table. Everyone gathered at the tavern became silent as they turned their attention towards Bak Fung Wan. It was obvious that something was wrong. He could be heard cursing underneath his breath, “How dare they insult me by capturing and holding my daughter and 3rd senior apprentice as hostages! Who do they think they are?”.

    He immediately reached for his sword as he had been initially upset upon reading the letter. But another thought crossed his mind upon reading the letter a second time, “Perhaps this is just an evil plot to start trouble!”.

    “Wait! Where are you going? I have something to ask you!”, shouted Bak Fung Wan upon noticing that the young beggar boy who had delivered the letter was about to leave the tavern. He immediately utilised his kung fu before grabbing the boy tightly by the arm to prevent him from leaving. He thought the young beggar boy may have been part of the evil plot.

    The little beggar boy became slightly startled upon hearing that Bak Fung Wan had raised his voice. He became slightly terrified upon realising that Bak Fung Wan had gripped him tightly by the arm. He mumble, “Sir… Sir… What… What do you want? Please let go of my arm! It hurts!”.

    Bak Fung Wan realised that he was acting a little rashly upon observing the expressions on the faces of some of the patrons who had gathered at the tavern. They glanced at him in an unapproving manner. He knew that his image as a ‘gentleman’ would be tarnished so he decided to release his grip on the young beggar boy. But he remained standing in front of the little beggar boy to prevent him from leaving. He demanded, “Who asked you to deliver this letter to me? Speak!”.

    “It was a young lady in white robes with red trimmings!”, answered the little beggar boy. He was still slightly startled and afraid. It was obvious that he had no idea why Bak Fung Wan had become so upset upon reading the letter.

    “What did she look like? Please tell me!”, continued Bak Fung Wan not totally satisfied with the response from the young beggar boy.

    “I could not see her face clearly. A white veil covered the lower portion of her face! But there was a red half crescent moon painted in the middle of her forehead!”, replied the young beggar boy once more.

    “Tit Yum Ching? Why would she want to capture Bak Tin Kiew?”, Yeung Yin Siu thought to himself upon hearing the descriptions given by the little beggar boy. But he did not know what was written in the letter. But it was obvious that Tit Yum Ching was the one who had asked him to deliver a message to Bak Fung Wan. What her intentions were, he could not guess for certain.

    “Oh! So it was the Chancellor of the Demon Cult who had asked you to sent me this message!”, Bak Fung Wan remarked out loud to himself after a little while. A smile flashed across his face again, as he appeared to calm down a little. After a while he asked, “Boy do you know what was written in this letter?”.

    “No! I dared not to open it!”, replied the little beggar boy whilst shaking his head. It was obvious that he was telling the entire truth.

    “It says here that Ma Sai Kang, the Leader of the ‘Clean Beggar Faction’ and the Deputy Chief of the Beggar Clan has captured my daughter! That she’s being held hostage at the abandoned General Yu Fei temple on the outskirts of Luoyang near the ‘Forgetting Villa’!”, replied Bak Fung Wan with a laugh. It was obvious that Bak Fung Wan did not believe the message that had been written in the letter. As the Chancellor of Wulin, he had reasons to doubt the credibility of the newly elected Chancellor of the Demon Cult. They were rivals after all. So it was totally illogical in his own mind that Tit Yum Ching would be so kind as to assist him in locating his daughter. He like many other orthodox clan members believed that the Demon Cult wished to wipe them out.

    “So Tit Yum Ching did not capture Bak Tin Kiew after all! Perhaps one of her scouts had located Bak Tin Kiew and she decided to forward the news onto Bak Fung Wan!”, guessed Yeung Yin Siu as he listened into the conversation intently. He had total faith in Tit Yum Ching.

    After a short pause Bak Fung Wan continued, “It is obvious that this is just a mere joke! The Chancellor of the Demon Cult is only trying to create a feud between the Beggar Clan and the Taishan Sect! But I won’t fall into this trap of hers!”.

    Turning to the young beggar boy he asked, “Where’s your Deputy Chief Ma Sai Kang resting at the moment? I wish to speak with him!”.

    “I don’t know! But Disciplinary Elder Leung would know! Why don’t I take you to see Disciplinary Elder Leung instead!”, replied the young beggar boy after a little while. From the tone of the voice of the little beggar boy, it was obvious that he did not think highly of Deputy Chief Ma.

    “Which faction is Disciplinary Elder Leung from?”, asked Bak Fung Wan once more. By which faction he meant whether elder Leung was from the ‘Clean’ or ‘Dirty’ Beggar Faction. These two factions were currently at war over the leadership of the Beggar Clan. So this was a very important question for Bak Fung Wan. As Chancellor he did not want to be seen as favouring one faction over another.

    “Disciplinary Elder Leung is a member of the ‘Dirty’ Faction of the Beggar Clan! He is also the current leader of the ‘Dirty’ Faction following the death of Beggar Hung!”, proudly replied the young beggar boy. It was obvious that he thought highly of Disciplinary Elder Leung.

    “Fine! I’ll come along with you to see Disciplinary Elder Leung in that case! But only to find the location of your Deputy Chief Ma! I won’t be discussing the leadership of the Beggar Clan with him!”, replied Bak Fung Wan as he followed the young beggar boy and exited the tavern. He mounted his horse and disappeared from sight moments later.

    “Dam fool! He’s walking into a trap and doesn’t even know it!”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly as he watched Bak Fung Wan disappear from the tavern. Unlike Bak Fung Wan, Yeung Yin Siu, believed that Tit Yum Ching was telling the entire truth, and that Ma Sai Kang was holding Bak Tin Kiew as a hostage at the old General Yu Fei temple on the outskirts of Luoyang. He was just about to leave the tavern when he noticed that the members of the Songshan Sect had gotten up to leave as well. So he remained seated to observe them more closely.

    As members from the Songshan Sect walked past the table occupied by Yeung Yin Siu, Chor Heung Lau could be heard saying to one of them, “Go and tell my father that the ‘Gentleman Sword’ has sought an appointment with Disciplinary Elder Leung of the ‘Dirty’ Beggar Faction! This can’t be good as he may persuade them amongst others to support him as Chancellor of Wulin for another term! The ‘Gentleman Sword’ is nothing but an old ‘fox’! He’s is not going to retire or step down after all as father had predicted!”.

    “Yes senior apprentice brother! I understand!”, replied the young swordsman in red as he exited the tavern before untying his horse. A rider and a horse could be seen galloping off in the direction of Songshan moments later.

    “The rest of you follow me! We have some work to do!”, continued Chor Heung Lau as he waved his red fan left and right as he casually strode out of the tavern.

    “Yes senior apprentice brother!”, replied the rest of the apprentices from the Songshan Sect, including the rest of the ‘Fabulous Five’ as they followed closely behind Chor Heung Lau. From the grins and sly smiles, Yeung Yin Siu, knew they were up to no good. He watched 19 red riders disappear down the main street moments later.

    Yeung Yin Siu was going to pursue after the apprentices from the Songshan Sect, when he noticed that members from the Kunlun Sect had remained seated. It appeared as if the four men were arguing amongst themselves. He became a little curious and remained behind to keep a watchful eye on them. He channelled his inner energy so that he could listen into the their conversations.

    “Senior Head Master apprentice brother! Why did we let those Songshan Sect apprentices be so cocky and arrogant whilst sitting here in this tavern?”, questioned one of the swordsman as he slammed a fist on the table.

    “Chor Ngo Tin has led his men on a series of raids and attacks against the Lion Prestige Escort and us for the past 20 years! Aren’t we going to do anything about it?”, agreed another swordsman whilst nodding in agreement.

    “Your father, Yip Mo Fong, hated Chor Ngo Tin to the bones! Now that your father has passed away we should continue to confront Chor Ngo Tin for all the anguish that he caused on our Sect just before his death! But why aren’t you doing anything about it?”, questioned the third Kunlun Sect swordsman.

    “3rd, 4th, and 5th junior apprentice brothers! Thank you for your concerns! I’m a peaceful man unlike my father! I have reached an agreement with the Head Master of the Songshan Sect that will guarantee peace between us and wish to leave it at that! Our feuds are now in the past!”, replied Yip Sai Yuk as he downed a cup of wine.

    The three apprentices from the Kunlun Sect sat with shocked and stunned looks on their faces. It was obvious that it was the first time that they had heard of such allegiance with the Songshan Sect. Noticing the expression on the faces of his three junior apprentice brothers, Yip Sai Yuk rushed in to say, “I hope you all respect the decision that I’ve made as the new Head Master of the Kunlun Sect! The feud between the Songshan Sect and the Kunlun Sect is over! You should now look towards them as a friend and an alley in difficult times!”.

    Slamming a fist on the table the 3rd apprentice said, “Humph! Respect your decision? How can you ask me to respect you decision to form an allegiance with the Songshan Sect when you did not consult with us!”.

    Nodding his head in agreement the 5th apprentice added, “You made this decision on your own! I don’t support you here! But you’ve forced our hands on this matter! There’s nothing we can do to change your decision! But I hope that you can live with the consequences!”.

    “What about the other allegiance that your father forged when he was still alive? What should we do when they catch wind of our new alliance? Surely they’ll not let us off the hook that easily!”, demanded the 4th apprentice in a raised voice.

    Pausing for a moment, Yip Sai Yuk replied, “We don’t have to worry about that! My father is my father! The choices he made are now in the past and are therefore not binding on the rest of us! I’ll explain that to our former alliances and friends! Besides they had agree to help us deal with the Songshan Sect! Yet after all these years they have failed to eliminate them! They weren’t helping us out that much! Instead they forced father to undertake a number of acts against his own will! As the saying goes, ‘if you can’t beat them join them’! And that’s what I’ve done! It will end our feud with the Songshan Sect! That’s all I care about!”.

    “Also I have spoken to the Head Master of the Songshan Sect on this matter! He has agreed to protect us against our enemies as long as we continue to support him!”, added Yip Sau Yuk in a reassuring tone upon noticing the worried looks and expressions on the faces of his three junior apprentices. They had reason to doubt that an old enemy would agree to help and protect them, given the bloody wars between the Songshan Sect, Kunlun Sect, and the Lion Prestige Escort for the past 20 years.

    “I hope that you’re right in this matter! You’ve made a critical decision that could affect the survival of the Kunlun Sect!”, replied the three swordsman simultaneously. The 3rd senior apprentice still looked rather hesitant. It appeared as if he was lost in thought. The other men did not appear to notice this however.

    Just at this moment, Yip Sai Yuk stood up from the table. He said, “I want the three of you to head to Shaolin first! I’ll meet up with you guys in a couple of days!”.

    “Why? Where are you going senior Head Master apprentice brother?”, asked the three other swordsmen in total shock. They had expected to journey to Shaolin together.

    “I’ve got some urgent business I need to attend to! I therefore cannot afford to travel to Shaolin with you!”, replied Yip Sai Yuk trying to keep his motivations and intentions a secret. It was obvious that he had other matters at hand.

    “We’ll see you at Shaolin in that case!”, replied the other three apprentices as they cupped their hands together before leaving the tavern. They disappeared from sight moments later, but one could see that they had taken the path towards the Songshan Valley where Shaolin was located. Yip Sai Yuk walked out of the tavern moments later. But he took a totally different path. He appeared to be heading in the same direction as the apprentices from the Songshan Sect.

    Yeung Yin Siu was very intrigued as he watched Yip Sai Yuk leave. He thought inwardly whilst stroking his beard, “Where’s he off to?”.

    Realising that he wasn’t going to get an answer to that particular question by sitting and drinking at the tavern, he decided to stand up and track Yip Sai Yuk closely behind. Wah Yek Si remained slumped over the table snoring softly as Yeung Yin Siu left the tavern. Yeung Yin Siu maintained a 50-metre distance away from Yip Sai Yuk. The large number of beggars in the city of Luoyang assisted him in remaining hidden whilst tracking Yip Sai Yuk closely behind. Despite this, Yip Sai Yuk, did not appear to be at ease. He moved swiftly and rapidly through the large crowd of people. Despite the pouring rain, he did not carry an umbrella with him. That was most unusual Yeung Yin Siu thought to himself. Looking directly forward, Yeung Yin Siu, could see that Yip Sai Yuk had turned down a narrow back path towards his left away from the main road. Yeung Yin Siu remained following him closely behind. Yip Sai Yuk then turned right back into another main road before heading across to a couple of beggars who were standing at the corner of the street. These beggars were all wearing clean grey robes. Their hair was neatly combed and tied at the back by a white scarf. It was obvious that Yeung Yin Siu had entered the territory of the ‘Clean’ Beggar Faction within Luoyang.

    Yip Sai Yuk seemed to have dropped a couple of taels of silver along with a tiny note into the porcelain basins of those beggar clan members before moving on. It happened so fast that an ordinary person would not be able to suspect a thing. But Yeung Yin Siu had the eyes of a hawk and spotted the tiny piece of paper amongst the taels of silver. He was becoming more intrigued by the moment.

    “He’s up to something!”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly again.

    Just at this moment Yip Sai Yuk turned down another back narrow path to his right, then left, then right, and then right again. The two beggars standing towards the corner of the street immediately dashed down the main road in different directions. One went towards the right and the other towards the left. Yeung Yin Siu was starting to feel a little dizzy upon observing Yip Sai Yuk, and the two beggar members disappear before his eyes. He was trying his hardest to keep a watchful eye on all of them. But he realised that he could not follow them all at once. He thought inwardly, “Who should I follow?”.

    He made a decision to follow Yip Sai Yuk in the end. He figured that the ‘Clean’ Beggar Faction was probably responsible for capturing Bak Tin Kiew and so there was no need to follow them. He knew where they were hiding. According to the message delivered by Tit Yum Ching to Bak Fung Wan, they were holding Bak Tin Kiew hostage at the old General Yu Fei temple. He would travel that way later in the evening to rescue Bak Tin Kiew in any case. But he wanted to know what Yip Sai Yuk was doing and whom he was going to meet. At this moment Yip Sai Yuk had back tracked towards ‘The Fat Elephant’s Tavern’. He was now travelling on the main road. But he was still twisting right and left amongst the crowd to hid himself. He looked very nervous. It was almost as if he had noticed that someone had been tracking him. But from the way he was turning his head left and right, it did not appear as if he was concerned about Yeung Yin Siu. It was obvious that someone else had been following him.

    “What is he doing?”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly as he watched Yip Sai Yuk twist his head left and right towards the brick wall. He took this opportunity to slowly pan around to observe the surroundings more closely himself. Perhaps he too was being followed and did not notice himself.

    “What the heck? What on earth are they doing here?”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly as something caught his eye whilst he was looking around. He became slightly distracted as a result. What he saw was a lady and a man drinking and dining together at a table for two at a restaurant across the road. Taking a moment to observe the sign above the shopfront, he read, “The Grand Empire Restaurant”. But the two people siting at the table were not just any ordinary man and woman. They were two renowned kung fu experts.

    The man sitting at the table wore white robes with red trimmings. A red sash was pined across his left shoulder. A moustache and short beard covered his face. He looked to be in his early thirties. A headband with a red half-crescent moon at its centre was worn around his head. He appeared to only have three fingers on each hand. A black zither rested to the side of the table. This man appeared to be none other than the ‘3 Fingered Demon Zither’. One could see that the woman was a very pretty and slim lady. There were three long streets of white hair amongst the thicket of silky black hair. She wore a flowing purple dress that was wrapped around her soft body. Her lips were blood red, but her face was thin and pale. A long broad sword rested by the side of the table. The head of a red wolf carved at its hilt. This lady appeared to be none other than Fung Lau Sit, the Chief of the 7 Vixens Clan.

    It was now obvious to Yeung Yin Siu that the 3 Fingered Demon Zither and Fung Lau Sit were currently on a date. They appeared to be very happy in each other’s company as they laughed and joked with each other. Both were in the process of raising a glass of red wine in the air to toast each other. It was actually quite brave for the two of them to be opening entertaining each other this way in public, given the number of warriors from the orthodox clans that had gathered in Luoyang. But they did not appear to be afraid at all. Love is like that sometimes. It makes one feel as if they’re totally invincible. Besides their skills were quite impressive and would take a highly skilled fighter to defeat them both. Yeung Yin Siu smiled a little upon realising that the 3 Fingered Demon Zither and Fung Lau Sit had probably fallen in love with each other, shortly after their duel at the Demon Valley.

    “That’s why the 3 Fingered Demon Zither had shown mercy to Fung Lau Yin!”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly upon remembering the duel between them at the Demon Valley. Yeung Yin Siu had also recalled what 3 Fingered Demon Zither had said upon winning the duel. Just at this moment another thought crossed Yeung Yin Siu’s mind.

    “Where’s the 7 Fingered Demon Flute and Tit Yum Ching?”, he thought as he glanced left and right in search for them. It was very rare not to see the 3 Fingered Demon Zither and the 7 Fingered Demon Flute by Tit Yum Ching’s side to protect her. They were her most loyal subjects after all. But the 7 Fingered Demon Flute and Tit Yum Ching appeared to be no where in sight. He was certain, however, that Tit Yum Ching had also came to Luoyang for one reason or another. He was not entirely sure of her real intentions however. All he knew for certain was that there were a number of Demon Cult members moving through the city of Luoyang unimpeded. This was most unusual. In fact, apart from apprentices from the Songshan Sect and Kunlun Sect, he had hardly seen apprentices from other orthodox clans wandering through the street.

    Turning his attention back on Yip Sai Yuk, Yeung Yin Siu cursed, “Dam! Where the heck has he gone?”, upon realising that he had totally lost signs of Yip Sai Yuk’s whereabouts. He had spent too much time observing the 3 Fingered Demon Zither and Fung Lau Sit that he had allowed Yip Sai Yuk to escape from his view. It had also stopped raining at this moment, but Yeung Yin Siu was concentrating too hard on finding Yip Sai Yuk through the large crowd of people to notice or care.

    Yeung Yin Siu was just about to turn around when a loud ‘whack’ sound echoed through the air. The back of his head suddenly felt very numb. He starting feeling very dizzy as a result. The ‘yang’ energy of the strike surged through his body. He felt as if he would collapse in a heap and pass out at any moment in time. His body was swaying left and right. It was obvious that he had received a chop from behind. But the person who attacked him did not appear as if they wished to take his life. Otherwise they could have thrusted a knife into his back and he would be dead by now. He had been totally caught off guard by the surprise attack. In a last stitched effort to uncover the identity of the attacker he twisted his body in an attempt to turn around. But he fell to the ground in a heap. What he saw amazed him. There was a shadow at the front of the brick wall. But he could not see anyone at all. Suddenly the shadow vanished from sight. He finally understood and muttered, “Brown Wood! I should have known!”, before passing out.

    Yeung Yin Siu had not slept the night before. In fact he did not sleep much for the past few days. So he fell into a very deep sleep upon being struck across the head. Normally a highly skilled kung fu expert would only pass out for around half an hour before waking up. But Yeung Yin Siu was passed out for around six hours. Brown Wood had moved on upon striking him across the back of the head. In fact, Brown Wood did not know whom he had struck across the back of the head. Brown Wood was also in the process of spying on Yip Sai Yuk when Yeung Yin Siu moved into his sphere. He did not want to be disturb and was afraid that Yeung Yin Siu my uncover him hiding in secret. Brown Wood thus acted straight away to prevent it from happening before moving on.

    Yeung Yin Siu was totally oblivious as to what had happened to him in the six hours that had flown by. It was now around 8.00pm in the evening. A bunch of little rich kids had found him laying unconscious on the ground. They immediately dragged him out of the city gates before binding his hands, arms, and legs with rope in a clearing nearby. They had searched his body and stole all of his money. It wasn’t much though. All Yeung Yin Siu had left on him was 40 taels of silver which the little kids divided amongst themselves. Not that they needed the money in the first place, being the little rich kids they were. But it always seems to be more fun to be taking money from other people. That wasn’t the end of the ordeal for Yeung Yin Siu however. Whilst he was unconscious the little kids had decided to string him up before tying him upside down from a tree. It took a great deal of effort but there were around 10 of them. They were now sitting around on the ground laughing their hearts out whilst admiring their handy work. Being little rich kids, they thought it was all in good fun to humiliate an old beggar, whom they thought was totally defenceless. Kids can be a little annoying and nasty at times.

    One of the little kids picked a long stick from off the ground, before starting to strike Yeung Yin Siu as hard as he could across the head. He treated the body of Yeung Yin Siu as if it was sack containing wonderfully delicious candy inside and that they would need to smash the sack first to get to the goodies. The other little kids did the same. A series of small wounds immediately opened up on Yeung Yin Siu’s forehead upon being struck by the long sticks. He was still asleep and thus could be harmed just like an ordinary person could. A couple of the little kids were shouting and laughing at the same time, “Who’s hanging up side down from the tree? He’s so dirty that I can’t bloody see!”.

    The other little kids replied whilst striking Yeung Yin Siu hard with their sticks and laughing hard, “It’s just a stinky old beggar can’t you tell? The same old beggar stinks like hell! Let’s throw him down the well! Then the stinky old beggar can go to hell!”.

    Just at this moment, Yeung Yin Siu, was awoken from his sleep when tiny drops of blood flowed down from his forehead to the side of his cheeks. His head hurt like hell as a result of being struck many times across the head by the little kids and as a result of being hung upside down for the past few hours. Initially he thought he had been captured and was in the process of being tortured by a bunch of elite martial artists. He was slightly worried as a result as he thought his pressure points may have been sealed. Taking a moment to observe the surroundings he noticed that it was only a bunch of little kids. He laughed out loud to himself. But he found no joy upon realising that a hero like himself had been tied up and beaten up by a bunch of little kids. His reputation would surely be ruined if this ever got out. But it’s not always glorious being a hero. There are many hardships that one has to endure. So he gritted his teeth and began circulating his inner energy to free himself from the ropes. He also channelled his inner energy to protect the soft parts of his body. The little kids could no longer harm him as a result.

    “Dam bloody little rich kids! Spoilt like hell by their parents! They have no sense of right or wrong! I’m going to teach them a bloody lesson!”, Yeung Yin Siu cursed underneath his breath upon noticing how the little kids were running about, calling him names, whilst striking him with their little sticks. This was indeed a low point of in his life. He had experienced this kind of treatment once before.

    Rage immediately filled Yeung Yin Siu’s heart as memories of his childhood flashed through his mind. When he was just a young boy around the age of 7 he noticed a bunch of little rich kids flying beautiful kites by the Yellow River. That day Fisherman Nam had gone to sell the day’s catch of fish in the markets in the city of Hennan. He was thus by himself and wanted to join in the fun of flying the kites in the sky. So he immediately raced up to the group of little kids wanting to make friends with them. But the little kids tricked him before binding his hands, arms, and legs. Despite knowing a little kung fu he was unable to defend himself against a group of 16 kids who were a lot bigger and stronger than him. So he was captured as a result. Those little kids then strung him upside down from a tree and were beating him in the same manner that these same little kids were now beating him. They were also calling him names, just like they were now. He suffered a lot of pain and humiliation that day. Despite having grown up he had kept memories of that day in his heart as he promised that he would never be humiliated or looked down upon again from that day forth. How could he have guessed that it would happen to him again when he was an adult. What was worse it was still the little rich kids that were beating him up.

    “Ahhhhhhhh!”, roared Yeung Yin Siu out loud like an uncontrollable wild animal that had been caged up for years as those memories went through his mind. The ‘chi’ energy of his scream made the birds scatter from the treetops and knocked the little kids off their feet. Most of them landed on their backsides in the mud. Yeung Yin Siu managed to laugh a little upon seeing the little brats land in the mud. He had partially gotten his revenge.

    The little kids were a little startled by his scream as they picked themselves off from the mud. The majority of them were a little scared out of their wits, except for one. He picked up his stick before trying to strike Yeung Yin Siu hard across the head again. The little boy cursed, “Dam stinky beggar! This is for making me fall into the mud and getting my favourite silk robes all wet and muddy!”.

    Yeung Yin Siu saw the strike coming and started to channel his inner energy. The little kid was sent flying towards a puddle of mud once more as the stick contacted Yeung Yin Siu’s forehead. The ‘chi’ energy had dispersed down the stick and sent a huge jolt through the little kid’s body. Yeung Yin Siu gave a little laugh as he said, “You little kids are going to pay for this! If your parents aren’t going to teach you any manners and respect for your elders! Then I certainly will!”.

    As those painful memories faded, Yeung Yin Siu, became a lot calmer. A little teardrop trickled down his cheeks all of a sudden as a feeling of warmth and comfort entered his heart. He remembered that it was none other than Siu Wai who had found and saved him from being beaten to death by those nasty little rich kids that day, many years ago. It was Siu Wai who freed him that day and chased away all of the little nasty kids. He remembered that he had cried his heart out on her bosom that day. She hugged and comforted him throughout the entire ordeal and told him that everything would be okay. That’s how they became to be really good friends. From that moment forth Siu Wai would keep Yeung Yin Siu company and play with him. No one ever dared to harm Yeung Yin Siu again. As he grew older, his kung fu got better, to the point that he did not fear being bullied by others. Eventually he had become accustomed to being a loner, spending time by himself, and doing what he liked. It made him grow up a stronger person than most people. He did not rely on others and fought his own battles.

    “Siu Wai!”, Yeung Yin Siu shouted out loud as those memories flashed before his eyes.

    Suddenly as if on cue a loud ‘swooshing’ sound could be heard through the air as a small black dagger had been launched through the air towards Yeung Yin Siu. It cut through the rope binding his hands before cutting through the rope that was suspending Yeung Yin Siu in mid-air. The small dagger stabbed into a tree nearby shortly after. Yeung Yin Siu gave a loud, “Oomph!”, as he crashed into the ground. He immediately unsheathed the black dragon sword that was strapped over his back before freeing his legs. In one motion he rotated his sword before slashing it towards the faces of the 10 little kids. They all received a minor flesh wound on the right side of their faces. It wasn’t a permanent wound and would heal within a couple of days. But Yeung Yin Siu was in a little bit of a fury and wanted to teach those kids a lesson. He shouted, “Now that’s punishment for tying me up to a tree and trying to beat me to death! Be gone and thank your lucky stars that I’m in a good mood tonight!”.

    “Let’s get out of here! He’s a devil who possesses supernatural powers!”, shouted one of the kids as he turned to run away. The other little kids scattered as well.

    “Humph! Bloody spoilt little kids!”, snorted Yeung Yin Siu upon seeing the 10 or so little kids disappear into the distance. He was still slightly upset at the fact that, even at such a young age, the little kids were so devious. But that was the way of the world. Without proper discipline and moral grounding little kids like these grow up as adults who commit countless crimes with the expectation that they’ll get away with it. But Yeung Yin Siu let them go as he knew that the little kids were capable of changing their ways. At least he hopped they would.

    Moments later Yeung Yin Siu walked over towards the tree to retrieve the little black dagger that had freed him. Taking the dagger into his hands to examine it more closely, he noticed the hilt was black. There was a small red wolf carved into the hilt of the dagger. He immediately recognised the weapon as the kind normally wielded by members from the 7 Vixens clan. Being black was a good indication that the small dagger had belong to Siu Wai. So he cried out loud, “Siu Wai! I know you’re here! I know it was you who had just freed me! Why don’t you come out to see me? I want to talk to you!”.

    But there was no response. He was met with the silence of the wind, although he was certain that Siu Wai was hiding close by. But it appeared as if she did not want to see him for some reason. He thought, “She just needs a little more time to herself! I should not demand or force her to see me if she’s not yet ready!”, as he cleaned himself by taking a small silk scarf from his pockets before wiping away the blood that was flowing down from his face. He knew that Siu Wai was still emotionally hurt at the moment, but he was glad that she still cared about his safety.

    With that thought in mind, he turned around to examine his surroundings more closely. He had been asleep for the past few hours and therefore had no idea where he was at this moment. Reading the words carved into a large rock towards the side of a small pavilion near the tree from where he was hung, Yeung Yin Siu remarked out loud to himself, “The South Gate”.

    “The old temple of General Yu Fei is somewhere around here!”, he thought to himself as he followed the dirt path leading out of the city towards a dense forest of willow trees and scrubs.

    He walked along the path for around half an hour when he heard the sound of a couple of horse hoofs racing in the distance. Yeung Yin Siu immediately slumped to the ground so that he could detect were the sounds were coming from and in which direction they were heading. He estimated that the riders to be coming from the dirt path from the direction of Luoyang. They appeared to be heading directly towards him. As the sounds of the horse hoofs got closer, Yeung Yin Siu, decided to move off the dirt path towards the thicket of bushes towards the side. That way he could remain hidden and unseen to the riders. He utilised his lightness kung fu so that he would be able to stay ahead and then keep up with the riders when they caught up with him. He ran for around another 15 minutes when he noticed two black riders on two black horses riding along the main dirt path. Both of the men wore a plain black mask to cover their face from sight.

    “These men are dressed in exactly the same manner as the men who ambushed us on the outskirts of Hennan! These are also the same men who launched an attack at the Beggar Clan and the Divine Butterfly Sect!”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly as he kept up the pace with the horses to the side. It was pitch black and Yeung Yin Siu was moving like a black shadow, so the riders did not notice him.

    Not long after the riders approached an old temple at the end of the dirt path amongst the clearing in the forest. Yeung Yin Siu saw a couple of beggars dressed in clean grey robes guarding the entrance of the temple. Their hair had been neatly combed and tied at the back by a white scarf. They were obviously men from the ‘Clean’ Beggar Faction. Both of the beggars carried a short stick in their right hand. They could be heard shouting as the two masked men approached them, “Be on guard! There are two masked riders approaching us! It’s obvious they’re up to no good!”.

    “Yes!”, responded a number of people from inside the temple. It was obvious that there was more than just one beggar inside.

    “This must be the old General Yu Fei temple!”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly as he approached the temple. He immediately dashed towards one of the thicker trees to the side of the temple to observe events to come. He acted so quickly and swiftly that the two beggars at the entrance, including the two black riders did not notice his presence.

    Just at this moment the two black riders pulled on the reigns of their horses before dismounting just in front of the temple. They tied the horses to the base of one of the rounded pillars next to the stone steps leading up to the entrance.

    “Halt! Who goes there? What do you want? Speak!”, demanded the two beggars guarding the entrance with their sticks raised in an attacking position.

    “What we want is inside the temple! Stand aside if you want to live!”, replied one of the masked men in a cheeky tone. From the tone of his voice one could tell that he was probably a young man in his early 20s.

    “That’s right! We’ve come to claim our hostages! Hand them over to us now! Or die!”, agreed the second masked man. As he said the word ‘die’ he drew a plain black sword strapped across his shoulders. From a distance one could notice that a skeleton was carved into the hilt of the sword.

    “Gwai Mo Ming? So he did betray us after all!”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly upon recognising the sword in the grasp of the second masked man. He was certain he had guessed correctly.

    “You want our hostages? Over my dead body!”, rebutted one of the beggar clan members with a snicker.

    “It might come to that! This is your last warning! Step aside!”, continued the first masked man whilst drawing his sword. One could noticed that the sword in his hand was rounded like that of a fencing sword. This swordsman was obviously one of the ‘Unrivalled Tiger Swordsman’.

    “Humph! Step aside? I’ve never thought of that! Besides we’re well prepared! We knew you’d be coming for them tonight! We have been well informed!”, replied the other beggar guarding the door. There was not an ounce of fear in his voice.

    “You leave us with no choice then but to kill you all at will!”, shouted the second masked man as he charged forward, with the tip of his sword aming towards the mid-stomach region of the beggar guarding the right side of the entrance. The other masked man aimed to slash the head off the other beggar clan member at the head from the shoulders.

    “Ah Ya!”, shouted the two beggars guarding the entrance of the old General Yu Fei temple as they slumped to the ground and died. Soft tapping sounds could be heard as the head of one of the Beggar Clan members rolled slowly down the steps.

    “Attack!”, shouted the Beggar Clan elder named Che from inside upon hearing that the two masked men had attacked and killed the two beggars guarding the door.

    “Yes!”, shouted a number of Beggar Clan members as they raced out of the temple.

    Moments later they formed two separate ‘16 men dog hitting’ formations’ around the two men. It was a square formation with four swordsmen on each side. The formation based itself on having two swordsmen attack whilst the other two defended. One could now see that there were a total of 41 Beggar Clan members standing outside of the temple to confront the two masked men. Eight of them acted as reserves for the two formations, whilst Elder Che stood at the top of the steps to call the shots and direct the formation. Who knows how many more Beggar Clan members were still hiding inside the temple to guard their hostages. But one thing was certain. They would not give up their prize hostages that easily. Weapons clashed violently moments later as the two masked men tried to break the ‘16 men dog hitting’ formation. This formation had become further refined since the battle against the Black Bat Assassin in Chongqing over 20 years ago, when this same formation failed terribly. The two masked men struggled within the formation.

    “Attack! Defend! Thrust low! Block high! Force him back!”, Elder Che could be heard shouting at the top of his lungs as he directed the formation.

    “Ah Ya!”, a couple of Beggar Clan members could be heard shouting as they slumped to the ground. Two more beggars jumped in from the side to bridge the formation.

    “Dam it!”, cursed the masked man wielding the rounded fencing sword as he was forced backwards by the formation. It was obvious that the masked man wielding the black sword was the higher skilled fighter out of the two. But even he could not break through then formation.

    “Spinning Tiger!”, shouted the black masked man wielding the rounded fencing sword as he launched into the air to create a small black hurricane. He wanted to knock the 16 beggar clan members off their feet.

    “Brace! 4 sticks to the ground! Support the others! 4 Sticks defend! The rest attack!”, shouted Elder Che. The beggars immediately listened to his commands. One beggar from each side of the formation stabbed their sticks into the ground for support. They then channelled their inner energy to support the other fighters. One beggar from each side of the formation defended the three other beggars. Two beggars remained on attack. This forced the masked man to abandon his move and resume his defensive stances. He could not knock the beggars off their feet with his ‘chi’ energy. It was obvious that his inner energy wasn’t as advanced as the top 20 fighters in wulin.

    “Humph! Don’t think your hurricane move will defeat us this time! We’ve figured out a way to neutralise it following the battle with Fisherman Ho!”, snickered Elder Che as he continued to direct the formation. He noticed that the two masked men were being slowly worn out. Their strikes were becoming slower and slower. They were both cursing underneath their breaths.

    Yeung Yin Siu took this opportunity to leap onto the roof of the temple. No one noticed his presence as loud ‘clangs’ and shouts echoed through the air as weapons continued to collide. All of the beggars focused their attention on the battle before them. It was becoming very heated by the moment. The two masked men were uncertain as to whether they should retreat or proceed ahead. They had badly underestimated the powers, skills, and abilities of the Beggar Clan who had suffered a number of cursing defeats and setbacks in the past against some elite fighters. But who could have guessed that they could have refined their formations in such a short space of time. Most of the flaws in their large formations had been fixed by now.

    Crawling softly along the rooftop, Yeung Yin Siu decided to remove a couple of tiles so that he could see inside the temple. What he saw surprised him a little. There was a large campfire at the centre of the table providing much needed light. He could see two people had been tied around two separate rounded pillars before the large clay statute of General Yu Fei. Their hands, legs, and arms had been tied by rope. It seemed as if their pressure points had also been sealed. One of the hostages was a young girl wearing a torn green dress. A black silk cloth had been wrapped across her mouth to prevent her from speaking. She was none other than Bak Tin Kiew. The other hostage was a young man wearing a light blue robe with blue trimmings. A black silk cloth had also been wrapped across his mouth. He appeared to be none other than Hua Ling Do. Two broad swords rested on the ground before the statute of General Yu Fei. One of the swords had two black butterflies carved into the hilt of the sword. The other sword had a ‘ying yang’ carved at the hilt of the other sword. It was obvious that the swords belonged to Bak Tin Kiew and Hua Ling Do. But they had been temporarily confiscated.

    Removing a few more tiles from the roof so that he could see inside the entire temple, Yeung Yin Siu, started working on his plan of rescue. Taking a closer look inside, he noticed that there were a total of eight beggars inside the temple. Four of the men were sitting around the fire to guard Bak Tin Kiew and Hua Ling Do. Another two beggars stood hidden behind the entrance of the temple. There were two beggars guarding the rear entrance. Crawling along to the back of the temple he noticed that a number of horses had been tied at the back to the base of a tree. These horses obviously belonged to members from the Beggar Clan. Yeung Yin Siu had come up with a plan to rescue Bak Tin Kiew and Hua Ling Do. He immediately picked up a couple of tiles before throwing them into the thicket of bushes were all of the horses had been tied up. The horses immediately leapt up onto their hind legs before giving a loud neigh.

    “You two! Go outside and investigate the noise! Be on your guard!”, demanded one of the beggars sitting around the fire whilst pointing with an index finger towards the source of the noise.

    “Elder Tong! Right away!”, replied the two men whilst cupping their hands together. They went outside to investigate moments later.

    Yeung Yin Siu waited for the two beggars to walk over to the thicket of bushes near where the horses were tied before taking action. He immediately launched two tiles towards the two beggars when they had their backs turned towards him. Both of them gave a soft cry of, “Ah Ya!”, before slumping to the ground. They fainted upon being struck on the back of the head by the tiles. The man named Elder Tong, along with the other three beggars sitting around the fire immediately rushed out to investigate. Yeung Yin Siu took this opportunity to jump down through the roof of the temple. Upon landing he unsheathed his sword. The two Beggar Clan members appeared not to notice him as they fixed their gazes outside towards the heated battle on the steps of the temple. They heard what Elder Tong had said earlier, but assumed it was a false alarm. Rolling towards the two beggar clan members guarding the entrance of the temple, he managed to catch both of them off guard before sealing their pressure points, including the vocal pressure points to prevent them from speaking.

    “All too easy!”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly as he walked towards the large clay statute of General Yu Fei.

    Moments later Yeung Yin Siu picked up the two long broad swords from off the ground before cutting the ropes binding Bak Tin Kiew and Hua Ling Do to the rounded pillars supporting the roof. Placing a finger over his mouth, he indicated to Bak Tin Kiew and Hua Ling Do to remain silent before releasing their pressure points. Bak Tin Kiew and Hua Ling Do immediately reclaimed their weapons before stretching to relieve the numbness in their arms and legs. It was obvious that they had been tied up for a long period of time. Upon being freed, Bak Tin Kiew, could not resist the temptation to give Yeung Yin Siu a big hug. Yeung Yin Siu returned the favour and hug her tightly as well. She became a little concerned upon seeing the sorry state that Yeung Yin Siu was currently in. He looked very sick and beaten up. Bak Tin Kiew was going to ask him, ‘what happened’, but Yeung Yin Siu just shook his head upon guessing what was on her mind.

    Yeung Yin Siu turned his attention back on Elder Tong and the other beggars that had rushed out of the temple. They were currently outside trying their best to revive the two beggars that had fainted. Elder Tong could be heard saying, “Be on guard! It’s obvious there are more masked men hiding about!”, as he glanced left and right towards the thicket of bushes. The other beggars walked into the thicket of bushes to search for signs of hidden danger.

    Yeung Yin Siu took this opportunity to call Hua Ling Do and Bak Tin Kiew over by his side. He asked Bak Tin Kiew in a very low voice, “What happen to you two? Why did you not meet me back at the Dragon Tavern as promised?”.

    “Senior apprentice brother Hua and I sought an appointment with Disciplinary Elder Leung and Deputy Chief Ma Sai Kang on advice from Dik Ho Tin!”, replied Bak Tin Kiew in a low voice.

    “Did you see either Disciplinary Elder Leung or Deputy Chief Ma Sai Kang?”, asked Yeung Yin Siu turning to both Hua Ling Do and Bak Tin Kiew. He noticed that Ma Sai Kang was not at the temple as he had expected.

    Shaking his head, Hua Ling Do replied, “We did not see Ma Sai Kang or Disciplinary Elder Leung at all! We openly sought an appointment with Ma Sai Kang but Beggar Clan elder’s Che and Tong seized us as hostages for no reason whilst we were waiting for him! They have tied us up here for the past few days without an explanation!”.

    It was obvious that both Hua Ling Do and Bak Tin Kiew did not meet with Ma Sai Kang, and were totally unaware that Ma Sai Kang had actually given an order for Elder Che and Elder Tong to capture them as his hostages. What his true motives were, Yeung Yin Siu, could not guess for sure. But he assumed it had something to with the death of Lin Chun Fa or the leadership of the Beggar Clan. He knew that it was possible that Ma Sai Kang may have been involved in the plot to murder Lin Chun Fa many years ago. On the other hand he was aware of the current feud between the ‘Dirty’ and ‘Clean’ faction of the Beggar Clan. So Ma Sai Kang might have captured Bak Tin Kiew in the hope of forcing Bak Fung Wan as Chancellor to recognise him as the legit leader of the Beggar Clan.

    Turning his attention to back on escaping, Yeung Yin Siu whispered to both Bak Tin Kiew and Hua Ling Do, “I’ll create a distraction so that you two can escape by horseback!”.

    “But I want to stay with you!”, protested Bak Tin Kiew looking a little annoyed. They have been separated for a little while now so she was keen to keep Yeung Yin Siu company.

    “No! It’s too dangerous! I don’t know how many more beggars and masked men are hiding about! You go ahead and escape with Hua Ling Do! I’ll be right behind you!”, continued Yeung Yin Siu whilst shaking his head. He knew that Bak Tin Kiew would only distract and divide his attention had she stayed behind.

    Taking Bak Tin Kiew’s hands into his own whilst glancing affectionately at her he added, “Besides we’ll only be separated for a little while!”.

    “Okay! I’ll see you in a little while in that case!”, replied Bak Tin Kiew as she leant forward to give Yeung Yin Siu a quick goodbye hug.

    “Go! Quickly!”, shouted Yeung Yin Siu as he rushed out of the temple first, by himself, and attacked Elder Tong who was at this moment, standing next to the horses and stroking his beard. He had his back turned to the temple, whilst keeping a watchful eye on the fellow beggar clan members who had gone into the bushes to search around.

    “What the heck? Ah Ya!”, cried Elder Tong as he was struck across the back of the head with a chop. He passed out from the pain.

    “Elder Che! Help! The hostages are escaping with the help from an elder of the ‘Dirty Faction’!”, shouted the beggars in the bushes as they hurried back to try and prevent Bak Tin Kiew and Hua Ling Do from leaving.

    “What? Dam that Disciplinary Elder Leung! Everyone to the back of the temple!”, shouted Elder Che as he rushed towards the back of the temple. They immediately stopped battling with the two masked men on the steps for they were only concerned about protecting their hostages. That was their most important priority.

    Upon seeing that a number of members from the Beggar Clan rushing into the temple, Bak Tin Kiew and Hua Ling Do wasted no more time. They immediately charged out from the temple, before untying and mounting a horse each. Giving their horses a hard kick to the backside, they rode off towards the front of the temple back in the direction of Luoyang. They rode down the main dirt path. As they passed through the front of the temple, they noticed a couple of masked men rushing towards the rounded pillars to untie their horses to give pursuit.

    At this moment, Yeung Yin Siu, decided that it was time for him to escape as well, otherwise the Beggar Clan would overwhelm him, despite his superior kung fu. He immediately released all of the horses tied at the back into the wild. That way members of the Beggar Clan had no way of pursuing after them. Yeung Yin Siu kept one for himself and mounted it. He gave the horse a hard kick to the backside and pursued after Bak Tin Kiew and Hua Ling Do.

    “Dam it! Curse the ‘Dirty Faction’! They’re going to pay for this!”, shouted Elder Che whilst raising a fist in the air upon seeing that Yeung Yin Siu had managed to escape.

    As Yeung Yin Siu rode to the front of the temple he could see in the distance two black riders pursuing after Bak Tin Kiew and Hua Ling Do. Realising that the two masked men would overmatch them, he thought, “I must catch up and assist them!”.

    He gave his horse a harder kicked to the backside to make it go faster. But it seemed as if the horse he was riding on had reached its top speed. It could not go any faster. Yeung Yin Siu remained a good distance behind the two masked men, and a greater distance behind Hua Ling Do and Bak Tin Kiew. He rode like this for another 15 minutes when suddenly a loud ‘swooshing’ sound could be heard through the air. Yeung Yin Siu looked around to see the direction in which the projectile was coming from so that he could guide the horse to take safe evasive action. But it was already too late. The horse gave a loud ‘neigh’ before jumping up on its hind legs. It was obvious that it had been injured by the projectile. Yeung Yin Siu was thrown off the back of the horse as a result before crashing hard on the ground. He watched the horse disappear into the darkness as he picked himself off the ground.

    “Dam it!”, Yeung Yin Siu thought to himself as he realised that he would be slowed in catching up with the masked men without a horse. At this moment the masked men, Hua Ling Do, and Bak Tin Kiew were getting further and further away from him.

    Yeung Yin Siu was going to utilise his lightness kung fu to catch up when something caught his eyes as he peered into the distance ahead. The projectile that had struck the horse had been dislodged as it rushed off. Walking over to retrieve it into his hands, he noticed that the projectile was nothing more than a short blue dagger. The head of a red wolf was carved into its hilt. Yeung Yin Siu immediately jumped up upon this discovery, as he thought, “Siu Wah! She’s come to seek me out on behalf of her sister!”.

    Just at this moment, Yeung Yin Siu, could hear a booming voice being carried by the wind. It said, “Ha! Ha! Ha! All the wicked and heartless men of this earth deserve to die!”.

    Not long after a blue blur rushed out from behind the dense thicket of bushes to the side of the dirt path before standing around 5 paces before him. She had an evil grin on her face whilst holding the pair of twin blades in her hands in an attacking position. Yeung Yin Siu had guessed correctly. It was none other than Siu Wah who stood before him. It was followed by a loud vampire ‘screech’ that sent a shiver down his spine. Yeung Yin Siu turned to the source of the screech and noticed a purple blur jumping from treetop to treetop before descending towards the ground. She took up an attacking position next to Siu Wah. Her twin blades were also drawn in an attacking position. This lady was none other than Fung Lau Sit, the Chief of the 7 Vixens clan. Following closely behind Fung Lau Sit, were seven young females wearing flowing white dresses with red, green, purple, orange, pink, blue, and black trimmings respectively. It was obvious that these females were the apprentices of Fung Lau Sit, and the next generation of elite fighters from the 7 Vixens clan. They immediately surrounded Yeung Yin Siu upon landing on the ground.

    “Pleas let me explain!”, shouted Yeung Yin Siu whilst holding both his hands forward before his chest not wanting to engage in a battle with the 7 Vixens. Thoughts of running away had crossed his mind, but he knew that his lightness kung fu was a just a level below that of the 7 Vixens. So he could not outrun them. He did not fear the 7 Vixens, but did not want to harm them either. He was presently caught in a very difficult position.

    “Save your breath! There’s no need for explanations or honey combed words! We don’t tolerate rascals and scumbags who go around breaking our little darling’s heart! Prepare to die!”, Fung Lau Sit shouted in return as she gave the signal to attack to her 7 apprentices.

    Just when the seven apprentices were about to launch a series of attacks at Yeung Yin Siu, a young lady emerged from behind the thicket of bushes. She said, “Wait! Please let him go!”.

    End of Chapter 18.
    "Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare

  3. #83
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    Not to poke holes in plot devices but wouldn't those kids have discovered, and removed his sword while he was unconscious? They really should be poking him with his own newly forged sword
    HK47: Now do you understand the travails of my existence master? Surely it does not compare to your existence but still...
    You: I survive somehow
    HK47: As do I. It is our lot in life I suppose master. Shall we find something to kill to cheer ourselves up?

    -KotOR

  4. #84
    Junior Member Quantum's Avatar
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    Kids will be kids

    The plot seems to be very deep...from a thick one to a thicker one

    The story and plot seems to be a mystery to me sometimes.....

    Well one thing's for sure, there are lots of conflicts.........
    ........very entertaining
    To live life like a dream is rare. To let it happen in reality is even more rare.

  5. #85
    Senior Member Long's Avatar
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    This is a story about love/life and the choices/decisions one makes. Love/life is not as clear cut as one would expect and a little confusing. But I hope I'm not boring people already as I've only started. I didn't really want to write a traditional love story were it's either one extreme or the other and a little unrealistic at times. The sub theme is power/peace/conflict.

    Ps - If you're thinking 'what the heck with kids beating up yys idea and where i got it'! I was actually waiting for a bus when i saw a bunch of kids running around and calling a drunken bum who had passed out names and being really nasty to them. i was going to type the event up as something that happened to Wah Yek Si (but won't fit his character, you'll see why later) and have him being saved Reverend Guy Hung but decided to change it to YYS and link it with his past/relationship with Siu Wai. I thought it would make people understand YYS more and what happens later on between him and Siu Wai.

    Also the young lady who walks behind the bushes at the end of Chapt 18 to speak with Fung Lau Sit is not Siu Wai by the way. It's someone else, but I bet most of you can guess who it is already. Chapter 19 should be more interesting and up soon.
    "Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare

  6. #86
    Moderator Suet Seung's Avatar
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    Long! Can I call you Ah Long?

    Heheh...I wish you'd make your chapters shorter like 10 pages down to 6-7 pages? Or lesser, I'm finding a hard time to catch up. It's not like I can print them out, I'm a poor college student, I can't afford print inks. I suggest you shorten your chapters but update more often. Since your chapters are long, you can split it and make more chapters out of one. You know what I mean?

    Well, keep it up! I hope I can catch up and grow to love your story too.

    I just love how you Captivate My Mind

    Self reminder - Update blog more often and continue editing/writing for TOV fanfic.

  7. #87
    Senior Member Long's Avatar
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    Originally posted by darkcser
    Not to poke holes in plot devices but wouldn't those kids have discovered, and removed his sword while he was unconscious? They really should be poking him with his own newly forged sword
    Chapter 18 was a little top heavy - will need major editing in the revision (wasn't one that I enjoyed writing, but needed to grind through it to set the rest up).

    As with the little kids - in revision, I'll probably have them try to steal his sword but too heavy for anyone of them. Since kids hate sharing toys/objects ect... - and not knowing that its a precious sword - they just ditched it on the ground.

    Most heroes I read always seem invincible - so I was trying to make a point with the little kids that we all have low moments as we cannot ever predict what may happen to us at any given time (ie he vowed never to be shamed again - but it happened - we can't always control that).
    "Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare

  8. #88
    Senior Member Long's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Suet Seung
    Long! Can I call you Ah Long?

    Heheh...I wish you'd make your chapters shorter like 10 pages down to 6-7 pages? Or lesser, I'm finding a hard time to catch up. It's not like I can print them out, I'm a poor college student, I can't afford print inks. I suggest you shorten your chapters but update more often. Since your chapters are long, you can split it and make more chapters out of one. You know what I mean?

    Well, keep it up! I hope I can catch up and grow to love your story too.

    Hi there Suet Seung - always a pleasure to interact with you. I'll probably keep my chapters around 20 to 30 pages (New Times Roman, 12pt font). But I'll probably update in parts, ie 6 pages at a time. I'll see how that goes down with the other readers, ie whether they want an entire chapter update or they're happy with more frequent updates but less of the story.
    "Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare

  9. #89
    Senior Member Bubeng's Avatar
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    Hi Long,

    I've been a silent reader of your story. I appreciate and enjoy your creative writing. It's amazing how you can whipped out the story updates so fast.
    Looking forward to the next update.

    Cheers!
    There's a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

  10. #90
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    Default Chapter 19: The Reunion (Part I)

    Chapter 19: The Reunion (Part I)

    It’s a dark night in the forests on the outskirts of Luoyang. Black clouds are still hanging above high in the evening sky. It was obvious that it would rain again sooner or later. The large willow trees within the thick forest are partially bare. The many yellow leaves are caught gently in the evening breeze and fall softly to the ground. It is dead silent at this moment but one could see that there is a group of 9 female warriors surrounding an old bearded man in torn and black robes. They were all standing in the middle of the dirt path between the willow trees. Seven of the female warriors were wearing a flowing white dress. One was wearing a flowing blue dress and another was wearing a flowing purple dress. It was obvious that the female in blue was none other than Siu Wah, the female in purple was none other than Fung Lau Sit, and the seven female warriors in white were her apprentices. It was also obvious that the old man they had surrounded was none other Yeung Yin Siu.

    As before the 9 female warriors from the 7 Vixens were holding their twin blades in an attacking position with the tips of their swords pointed forward towards Yeung Yin Siu. He had now drawn his black dragon sword to defend himself. But it was just a stand off at the moment as no one dared to strike the first blow. In fact none of them appeared to be overly concerned with each other at this particular moment in time. All of them had their gazes fixed towards one of the larger willow trees to the right side of the dirt path. Moments earlier they heard someone shout, “Wait, please let him go”, from within the forest. They could vaguely see a young woman in a flowing black dress with red trimmings walking slowly towards them. She was still quite some distance away at the moment. So everyone was a little curious as to whom she could be and more importantly what she could doing in the forest alone at such a late hour.

    Eager to uncover the identity of the young lady in black, Siu Wah, shouted in a demanding and hostile tone, “Who the heck are you? How dare you interfere in the business of the 7 Vixens? You must be extremely brave!…”.

    “Or just looking for an early death…”, agreed one of the females in a flowing white dress with red trimmings. She was the most senior apprentice of Fung Lau Sit, named Lai Sing Lam. She is also the eldest daughter of the former Chief of the 7 Vixens, Lai Kit Ying.

    “Or incredibly stupid”, added another one of the female in a flowing white dress with purple trimmings. This young lady was the second senior apprentice, named Seung Yee.

    Fung Lau Sit did not say a single word during this time and remained silent in thought. She gave a signal to her apprentices to be quiet. They immediately shut their mouths and did as they were told. Being the Chief of a clan and through her many years of experience, Fung Lau Sit recognised that it was very unusual for a young lady to be travelling at night by herself. Taking a moment to observe the surroundings more closely, she could not see anyone close by however. But she understood that nothing in wulin was as it seemed and thus maintained a cautious approach. She wasn’t about to open her mouth to offend someone without first knowing who or what they were up against first. For all she knew it could have been one of the greatest fighters in wulin approaching them. It could have been someone they knew also, otherwise she would not interfere in this matter.

    Fung Lau Sit squinted her eyes trying her best to see who the young lady in black robes was. She had a thought upon realising that the young lady was wearing a black dress, “Surely it can’t be Siu Wai! She is aware of the clan rules and won’t interfere in this matter”.

    Yeung Yin Siu watched the young girl in black slowly approach them with a slight smile on his face. He had pretty much guessed who the young lady in black was. He thought inwardly, “It must be her! It can be no other!”.

    Suddenly the ground next to them shook as if an earthquake was passing underneath them. They were slightly startled as a result but they all managed to stand their ground. The shaking ground was followed by a very strange kind of ‘buzzing’ noise from underneath. A pile of soft earth suddenly appeared on the once flat surface to the side of the main path. It was followed by the voice of a man. He shouted in an aggressive tone, as he climbed out from the soft pile of earth, “Nonsense! Absolute nonsense! How dare you greet our Chancellor with such hostility!”.

    A man in very muddy and dirty white robes with red trimmings now stood before them. A red half-crescent moon had been embroidered onto the top right hand corner of his robes. His face, arms, and hands were covered in dirt. A green bandanna was worn on his head. This man was none other than Green Earth, one of the 5 Guardians of the Demon Cult. He was an expert in digging tunnels and often travelled underground. These abilities made him a great spy as he could sneak in and out of great fortresses and secret places with ease. He now stood three paces away from the main group with his arms folded and a stern look on his face. It was obvious that he did not appreciate the various comments that he had just heard from members of the 7 Vixens clan. He decided to show himself for this reason and was now waiting for the young lady in black to approach them.

    “Ha! What do you mean?…”, asked Siu Wah and the seven apprentices in white in some amazement. They were totally shocked at the quick turn of events. They had initially assumed that the young lady in black was nothing more than a naive young lady looking to undertake some heroic deed without knowing the great danger in doing so. But Green Earth had just mentioned that the young lady in black was none other than their very own Chancellor. They realised that they could not afford to offend her, if that was the case, as she would have many cruel and wicked ways of punishing them. But they were not yet certain that the young lady in black was indeed their Chancellor. They immediately shut their mouths whilst fixing their gaze towards the young lady in black. She was only a short distance away now but they could already see that she was wearing a black veil to cover the lower portion of her face.

    But before Green Earth had a chance to respond, one of the old willow trees from behind them appeared to come alive as a shadow and then a man stood in front of it. He walked over to the group shortly after. One could notice that this man was wearing a plain white robe with red trimmings. A brown bandanna was worn on top of his head. He was none other than Brown Wood, the top spy within the Demon Cult. He had collected numerous pieces of information over the past few weeks. Yeung Yin Siu was actually quite surprised to see that Brown Wood would reveal himself at this moment in time. He rubbed the back of his neck slightly as he remembered it was Brown Wood that had given him a hard chop to knock him out early in the day. But he was not angry at Brown Wood, however, rather he was in some awe over his ability to camouflage himself against any backdrop, regardless of where he was. Yeung Yin Siu was no certain that he had correctly guessed the identity of the young lady that was now approaching them.

    Nodding his head, to indicate that he agreed with Green Earth’s comments, Brown Wood added whilst walking towards them, “That’s correct! You people are actually the brave ones! How dare you offend our Chancellor? Please apologise! Now!”.

    “There’s no need! It’s obvious that they didn’t know who I was!”, the young lady in black remarked whilst waving her hand towards Green Earth and Brown Wood to indicate to them to back off and remain silent. Green Earth and Brown Wood nodded to indicate that they understood before taking a step backwards. Both of them stood quietly to the side to observe the events that would take place. The lady in black had now arrived before the group of people and stood around 5 paces away from Yeung Yin Siu. There was no mistake. The young lady in black was indeed the Chancellor of the Demon Cult, Tit Yum Ching. The red half-crescent moon painted in the middle of the forehead confirmed it.

    Turning to cast a sharp glance at members of the 7 Vixens she added, “I can’t blame them either as they probably didn’t expect to meet me here! I’ll let them off the hook in this instance! Next time they won’t be so lucky”.

    “Greetings Chancellor! Thank you for your kindness!”, remarked the 9 female warriors from the 7 Vixens clan whilst cupping their hands together and bowing slightly. Siu Wah and Fung Lau Sit’s seven apprentices had an apologetic look on their faces as they bowed. Since obtaining the position of Chancellor of the Demon Cult, Tit Yum Ching, had ruled with a very hard but fair hand. She had no hesitation about disciplining those who broke the rules of the clan, and respecting the Chancellor was amongst one of those rules.

    “Miss Tit, greetings! A pleasure to meet you once more!”, Yeung Yin Siu diplomatically said whilst cupping his hands and bowing slightly. He wasn’t sure how much Tit Yum Ching knew about him at this moment in time. So he felt it best to greet her as an outsider whilst maintaining his identity as Beggar Ho. He hasn’t cleared his name yet and felt that the less people who knew his real identity the better.

    Tit Yum Ching appeared to ignore Yeung Yin Siu for the time being. Looking directly at Fung Lau Sit, she enquired, “Chief Fung, greetings! May I have the pleasure in knowing what brings you and members of your 7 Vixens here to Luoyang?”.

    Cupping her hands together, Fung Lau Sit replied, “Chancellor, greetings. We were in Louyang to meet up with our 6th uncle apprentice sister, Fung Mun Kit! She sought our assistance on a separate matter a few weeks ago! But we’ve finished what we set out to do! We were just about to leave Luoyang and return to Chengdu Valley! But we had one final matter we needed to take care of first. That’s why we’re here standing before you at this moment in time”.

    “So the White Maiden is here also!”, remarked Tit Yum Ching to herself as she glanced around towards the forest on either side of the dirt path. But it was obvious that Fung Mun Kit was not close by at this moment.

    Turning to cast a side-glance at Yeung Yin Siu for the first time, Tit Yum Ching continued probing whilst pointing an index finger, “What has this gentleman done to offend the 7 Vixens clan that you wish to take his life?”.

    “Errrr….”, hesitated Fung Lau Sit as she shot a glance towards Siu Wah. She did not know what to tell the Chancellor. She knew the old man who stood before her was none other than Fisherman Ho and that they had surrounded him to take revenge on him for breaking Siu Wai’s heart. But she was uncertain as to how much she should be telling the Chancellor.

    After a short pause, Fung Lau Sit decided to change her tact. She wanted to test whether Tit Yum Ching knew the identity of the old man before her. She decided to asked in return, “Chancellor, do you know this person? Is he a close friend of yours? Why are you so concerned about his safety? The feud we have is a private matter between the 7 Vixens clan and him only! No one else need interfere!”.

    One could just see behind the black silk veil that a slight smile appeared on Tit Yum Ching’s face as she thought, “I’ve asked her a straight forward question! Not only has she refused to answer it. She has asked another question instead. That’s bordering on defying my orders”.

    Since becoming the Chancellor, Tit Yum Ching, hated nothing more than when someone defied her orders. Being a young Chancellor she felt that it was a sign of disrespect towards her leadership. But she needn’t be concerned, as she had been a great leader since becoming the Chancellor. So much so that Lightning of the 5 Storms, and Miu Tit Sie of the Red Wolf Fang have been unable to succeed with their plots to overthrow her as the Chancellor. This was mainly due to the fact that the majority of the Regional Commanders within the Demon Cult still supported her. But never less she was quite a stern leader.

    Turning to Siu Wah, Tit Yum Ching asked, “Deputy Rule Elder Siu, what is the 41st rule of our clan?”.

    “The 41st rule states that when speaking with the Chancellor, a question shall be answered truthfully and in totality”, replied Siu Wah whilst shooting a glance at Fung Lau Sit. It was obvious that Siu Wah saw nothing wrong with telling the Chancellor the entire truth.

    Fung Lau Sit on the other hand was a very experienced person in wulin. She knew that the Chancellor must have a reason and purpose for stepping into this matter. She was also aware that prior to the elections at the Demon Valley that Fisherman Ho and the Chancellor had become good friends. So she wanted to know what Tit Yum Ching’s actual motive was. She hesitated again and just managed to say, “Err…”.

    Noticing that Fung Lau Sit wasn’t going to give her a straight answer any time soon, Tit Yum Ching decided to swallow her pride a little. She decided to say whilst pointing an index finger at Yeung Yin Siu, “I barely know this man. But he is a close friend of Fisherman Ho. Brown Wood tells me that he’s called Beggar Ho! Since Fisherman Ho and I are friends, I must therefore interfere in this matter on his behalf!”.

    Fung Lau Sit and Siu Wah glanced at each other again. They assumed that Tit Yum Ching knew that the old man was none other than Fisherman Ho. But from her response it appeared as if she did not. Siu Wah shrugged her shoulders a little, and Fung Lau Sit smiled slightly. She responded by asking, “Chancellor, you’re a beautiful young lady like the rest of us! Wouldn’t you say that a man who breaks a young maiden’s heart deserves to die?”.

    Yeung Yin Siu knew what Fung Lau Sit was getting at. He rushed in to say, “Young miss Tit, please let me explain!”.

    “Humph! No one asked you to speak! Be quite!”, shouted Siu Wah to the side as she shot a chilling glare back at Yeung Yin Siu. If looks could kill, then Yeung Yin Siu might have suffered a mortal wound upon meeting Siu Wah’s glance. She was clearly in rage. Different to the friendly manner in which they were addressing each other only a few days ago in Kaifeng.

    Turning to Yeung Yin Siu, Tit Yum Ching replied in a reassuring tone, “You’ll get your chance to speak! No one is going to harm you unjustly as long as I’m here!”.

    Staring directly into Tit Yum Ching’s gentle and soothing green eyes, Yeung Yin Siu, suddenly felt very relaxed and at ease. A warm feeling surged through his heart for some reason. He had never felt this way before and was a little shocked by it. But the warm tinge seemed to make his heart ache for some reason. As if he had been pricked by a rose petal. He winched a little from the pain as a result. Upon recovering he replied, “Young miss Tit, thank you for understanding”.

    Tit Yum Ching ignored Yeung Yin Siu’s last comment. Turning her attention back to Fung Lau Sit she responded by saying, “A man who deliberately sets out to hurt a young maiden’s heart deserves to die! A man who is unfaithful to his wife or lover deserves to die. A man who loves one after another also deserves to die”.

    “Is he such a man?”, asked Tit Yum Ching turning to cast an uneasy glance back at Yeung Yin Siu. Though Tit Yum Ching was aware that the men in China may have a wife and many mistresses, she was very much against this custom and tradition. She was one who believed in true love between two people only.

    Fung Lau Sit was lost for words. All she knew was that Siu Wai and Fisherman Ho were lifetime friends. That they had some sort of history together. She was aware that Fisherman Ho had attempted to kiss Siu Wai during Lantern Festival over two years ago. But she knew that Fisherman Ho had just recently broken Siu Wai’s heart. This was what Siu Wah had told her. She had acted on this advice alone. How it actually happened she was unsure. But she knew the rules and customs of her race of people. Looking directly at Yeung Yin Siu, she responded by saying, “I honestly don’t know whether he is such a man or not”.

    Turning to Tit Yum Ching she continued, “But it is a custom for our race of people that when two people are in love they swear an oath and agree to share an eternity together in this life and in the underworld. The male agrees to the oath when he accepts both the baby and adult fangs of the female”.

    “So what? I don’t think that I quite understand what the problem here is!”, remarked Tit Yum Ching with a blank expression on her face and shrugging hers shoulders a little.

    Siu Wah stepped forward and explained, “When two people fall in love it is also a custom for the female to mark the male as hers by biting down on his right shoulder. When this happens everyone knows that they belong to each other. The blood of the male and female becomes as one. From that moment forth they share the same joy and they share the same pain. It is a unique bond that can only be broken through death in this life. But if they’re true to each during their lifetime they’ll still spend an eternity together in the underworld”.

    “But if either of the lovers cheat on each other prior to the death of one of their partners, the blood of the one who cheated will boil, and they’ll die a horrible death by their own unfaithfulness. But not only will they die, but the one who they share the bond with will die as well. If this happens both partners are condemned an eternity in hell as punishment for the broken bond of true love rather than share an eternity in heaven”, added Siu Wah after a short pause.

    “That’s why we have to choose our partners carefully as the actions of one will cause the death of the other”, added Fung Lau Sit in a very serious tone.

    “Are you saying that this man has taken an oath of love with a member of the 7 Vixens but has gone back on his word? Therefore you must kill him in order to save the life of the one who swore an oath with him? Is that correct?”, asked Tit Yum Ching as she shot another glance over at Yeung Yin Siu. If her eyes had been filled with soothing gentleness before, it was now filled with a look of slight content. Women hated nothing more than when a man is unfaithful to another.

    “That’s correct! We must kill him for that reason”, replied Fung Lau Sit whilst nodding.

    Seeing the hostile glare on Siu Wah’s face, Tit Yum Ching decided to ask, “Who’s the one whom he swore an oath with?”.

    “She’s my younger sister, Siu Wai! This rascal has accepted her baby fangs, and has also allowed my sister to mark him as hers! It’s only after she completed this act that he decides to tell her that he does not love her! Does he deserve to die or not?”, replied Siu Wah as she shot another glare at Yeung Yin Siu.

    “Ah! So this involves your younger sister, Siu Wai. No wonder there are nine elite fighters from the 7 Vixens here looking to take his life!”, remarked Tit Yum Ching out loud. She gave a little sigh as she turned around to cast a glance at Yeung Yin Siu. But it was obvious that she was determined not to allow members of the 7 Vixens to harm him, despite his actions.

    Turning to look at Siu Wah, Tit Yum Ching continued, “But whether he deserves to die or not remains to be seen! Where’s the evidence that you’re telling me the truth?”.

    Pointing an index finger towards Yeung Yin Siu, Siu Wah said, “If I’m not mistaken he is still wearing a baby vampire fang necklace around his neck! There should be two fang marks on his right shoulder! You can ask him to show you if you don’t believe me!”.

    “Beggar Ho, is that true?”, asked Tit Yum Ching as she walked over to Yeung Yin Siu. She stood 3 paces before him and stared directly into his eyes.

    Yeung Yin Siu felt as if he had been sliced and diced up inside upon meeting the stare from Tit Yum Ching. He felt slightly uneasy for some reason. There was a slight glint of evil in her eyes. It was the first time he had ever seen her look this way. But he still had total faith that she would help him out of this tight situation. So he took off the baby vampire necklace from around his neck before handing it over to Tit Yum Ching for a closer examination. He then loosened his torn black robes to reveal his right shoulder blades. One could see that there were two adult fang marks on his right shoulder blade. They were blackened and looked rather swollen. He said, “What they’ve been saying is true to a certain extent. The baby vampire fang necklace was given to me as a gift by Siu Wah over two years ago during Lantern Festival and she did indeed bite down on my right shoulder only a few nights ago”.

    Taking the necklace back into his hands before turning to cast a glance at Siu Wah, Fung Lau Sit, and the others, he continued, “But never once was I made aware of the rules and customs of your race of people. Nor did I ever swear an oath of love with Siu Wai. It has all been a misunderstanding”.

    “We’ve been the best of friends! I didn’t even know that she loved me! You must believe me!”, added Yeung Yin Siu whilst looking directly into Tit Yum Ching’s sharp green eyes.

    “Don’t deny that you once loved her. Otherwise my sister would have no reason or would she ever decided to complete the oath of true love with you”, replied Siu Wah. She wasn’t going to let Yeung Yin Siu off the hook that easily. In her eyes, Yeung Yin Siu, had tricked Siu Wai into thinking that he had loved her and thus doomed her for the rest of her life and in the underworld as well. As long as Yeung Yin Siu was alive, Siu Wai, could not love another man. Otherwise she would die a terrible death through being unfaithful to the man whom she took an oath of true love with.

    “Besides the oath of true love is not something that is said between two people who are in love! We all know that words can be minced with lies and that ‘I love you’ is all too easily said to fool others. The oath of true love is taken purely through our actions alone”, added Fung Lau Sit to the side. She had her arms folded at this moment in time. She wasn’t going to let Yeung Yin Siu off the hook that easily either.

    “I admit that I once loved your sister, Siu Wai. But that was over two years ago”, replied Yeung Yin Siu whilst looking directly at Siu Wah.

    “See! I told you he was a deceiver! I told you he was a rascal! He admitted it himself”, remarked Siu Wah whilst pointing an accusing index finger at Yeung Yin Siu and shifting her glance from Fung Lau Sit to Tit Yum Ching for extra support.

    Pausing for a moment, Yeung Yin Siu maintained his innocence in this matter. He added, “Honestly I did not know the customs of your people. Had I know I would have explained it to Siu Wai before she completed the oath of true love by biting down on my shoulder”.

    “Whether you knew our customs or not is no longer important. But Siu Wai was under the impression that you loved her. She has therefore chosen you as the person that she’ll spend the rest of her life and also an eternity with in the underworld. The main fact is that the oath of love has been completed. You’ve both been condemned to doom if you do not love each other”, replied Fung Lau Sit, trying to make Yeung Yin Siu and Tit Yum Ching fully understand the seriousness of the matter.

    Tit Yum Ching spoke up, “Chief Fung, so all you’re saying is that Siu Wai cannot fall in love with another man as long as Beggar Ho is alive. Otherwise she would die a terrible death and be condemned to an eternity in hell along with Beggar Ho”.

    Turning to Yeung Yin Siu she continued, “That Beggar Ho shares the same fate. That he cannot fall in love with another woman as long as, Siu Wai, is alive. Otherwise he would die a terrible death and be condemned to an eternity to hell along with Siu Wai”.

    Upon hearing the blunt manner in which Tit Yum Ching had just described his fate, Yeung Yin Siu couldn’t help but gasp inwardly, “Oh No”, as it would have destructive ramifications for his relationship with Bak Tin Kiew. A number of thoughts ran through his mind as he was momentarily lost in thought.

    “That’s correct. You now understand why we need to kill him. We cannot let Siu Wai die nor can we let her be condemned to death”, replied Fung Lau Sit with a nod.

    “I understand the serious nature of the problem. But I don’t see how any one person can be blamed for this current situation. If anything, they’re both to blame for this. In my mind this has been just a terrible misunderstanding. If either of them die as a result of this, its been through their own fault”, Tit Yum Ching decided to say as she shifted her glance from Yeung Yin Siu, to Fung Lau Sit, and then to Siu Wah. She knew it was a very difficult problem, but couldn’t see how one person could be blamed for the incident. She was trying to be diplomatic as possible.

    Turning to Fung Lau Sit she explained, “Certainly it could be said that Beggar Ho deserves to die in some way, but I cannot allow you, or anyone else for that matter, to kill him tonight”.

    “Why?”, asked Fung Lau Sit in total amazement. Siu Wah just casted a glare back at Tit Yum Ching. She loved her sister dearly and knew that she had condemned herself to doom by completing an oath of love with someone that did not love her. She thus wanted Yeung Yin Siu dead so that Siu Wai’s heart could be freed again.

    “Because I need him to locate Fisherman Ho! I need his assistance on a particular matter!”, replied Tit Yum Ching as she folded her arms and turned away from Fung Lau Sit and Siu Wah to indicate that she would not allow them to harm Yeung Yin Siu.

    “What? Don’t you know who this is? He’s… He’s…”, mumbled Fung Lau Sit whilst pointing a finger at Yeung Yin Siu. She was a little hesitant as to whether she should reveal Yeung Yin Siu’s real identity or not.

    “Beggar Ho is actually none other than, Ho Yin Siu! Or better known as Fisherman Ho! They’re the same person! Couldn’t you tell?”, shouted Siu Wai in a mocking tone. She had no reservations about revealing who the old man who stood in front of them really was. In her mind Yeung Yin Siu was now an enemy of hers.

    “Deputy Rule Elder Siu, watch your mouth!”, protested Green Earth upon hearing Siu Wah’s words. She sounded a little rude towards Tit Yum Ching.

    “That’s right! You dare mock our Chancellor!”, agreed Brown Wood whilst folding his arms.

    “Eh! Green Earth, Brown Wood, this is none of your business!”, shouted Tit Yum Ching whilst waving her hand in the air. Green Earth and Brown Wood nodded their heads once more and stood to the side.

    Tit Yum Ching just smiled and did not appear to be shocked at all. A warm smile flashed across her face as she shot a side-glance at Yeung Yin Siu. She remembered her conversations with the man named Beggar Ho in the garden at the ‘Golden Dragon Inn’ and thought, “Yes. It must be him. Only he could have been so brave to approach me at the garden”.

    Turning her attention to Siu Wah she said, “So he is Fisherman Ho after all! It is as I had expected!”.

    “Chancellor, now that you know who he is what are you going to do? We are only here to enforce the customs and rules of our people by killing him for breaking an oath of true love with Siu Wai!”, asked Fung Lau Sit whilst casting a glance over at Yeung Yin Siu.

    “Must you kill him? Apart from death is there no other way?”, questioned Tit Yum Ching in a curious voice. Now that she knew that the person who stood before her was none other than Fisherman Ho, she was willing to do everything in her powers to save him.

    “We don’t necessary need to kill him. If he doesn’t want to die, he could marry Siu Wai and fulfil the oath that he has completed”, replied Fung Lau Sit sounding very serious.

    “Death or marriage! That doesn’t seem like much of a choice to me”, remarked Tit Yum Ching out loud to herself.

    Casting a side-glance at Yeung Yin Siu, she added, “Besides, Fisherman Ho, has already explained that it has all been a mistake and that he treats Siu Wai like a friend only! Therefore we cannot ask him to marry someone he does not love”.

    Pausing for a long while to think through a number of issues, Tit Yum Ching finally decided to say, “Chief Fung, I have a suggestion but I don’t know whether you’ll agree to it or not”.

    “Chancellor, normally in such a private matter that concerns only the 7 Vixens clan we are not required to seek the agreement or consensus from any outsiders. We may do and take any actions as we see fit. But I’m also aware that we must place rules of the Demon Cult above our own. So please tell me what you have in mind and I’ll consider it”, replied Fung Lau Sit sounding very diplomatic.

    “I cannot allow you to kill Fisherman Ho as I need his assistance on a number of matters. He is also a close friend of mine”, Tit Yum Ching decided to say with a slight sigh whilst looking directly at Yeung Yin Siu.

    “Nor can I prevent you from enforcing the rules and customs of your people. I understand that it is a difficult position for everyone to be in! However, can I ask you and members of the 7 Vixens clan to delay taking any action on Fisherman Ho for breaking the oath of love for a further 5 years from today? After that time you may do as you wish and I’ll no longer interfere in this matter!”, suggested Tit Yum Ching after a little while as she shifted her glance from Yeung Yin Siu, back to Siu Wah, and then Fung Lau Sit.

    “5 years? Why 5 years? What has she in mind?”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly upon hearing the proposal. He then shot a suspicious glance at Tit Yum Ching. He knew she was a very calculating person and must have some kind of plan in mind. But he did not know what it was.

    Fung Lau Sit remained silent as she pondered over the proposal. “Five years is not that long of a time to wait to punish Fisherman Ho for breaking the oath he has taken with Siu Wai! It sounds very reasonable”, Fung Lau Sit thought inwardly. After a while she decided to shoot a glance towards Siu Wah. She hoped that Siu Wah would have some information that could assist her in making a final decision. But Siu Wah just stood with her arms folded and was starring down at Yeung Yin Siu and Tit Yum Ching with a hostile expression on her face. She then shifted her glance towards Tit Yum Ching and smiled slightly. She noticed the determined look on Tit Yum Ching’s face and became slightly concerned as a result. A worried expression temporarily appeared on Fung Lau Sit’s face as she said, “Chancellor, since you have insisted, we will agree not to pursue this matter with Fisherman Ho until another five years”.

    “But on one condition”, added Fung Lau Sit upon noticing the happy expression under the black silk veil on Tit Yum Ching’s face.

    “What’s that?”, replied Tit Yum Ching sounding a little surprised

    “We will agree if Fisherman Ho agrees that he’ll spend the next 5 years of his life alone. He mustn’t be romantically involved with another woman or he’ll suffer a terrible death by his own hands”, Fung Lau Sit decided to say in a very authoritative tone.

    “Fisherman Ho, do you agree to this?”, questioned Tit Yum Ching. The smile and happy expression on her face had suddenly vanished. There was a slight glint of evil in her eyes as if she had been plotting some evil scheme in her mind at this very moment in time.

    Yeung Yin Siu did not respond immediately. He was thinking about how this would affect his relationship with Bak Tin Kiew. He remembered the various romantic moments they had down at the cave on the outskirts of Hennan. He missed kissing and caressing her in his arms. He could not, at this moment in time, imagine spending the next five years without Bak Tin Kiew’s love. He made up his mind that he was not going to agree and take his chances in battling through the 7 Vixens. He knew for sure that Tit Yum Ching would help him. As these thoughts flashed through his mind, Yeung Yin Siu, felt a warm tinge and then slight pain built up in his heart all of a sudden. He raised his right hand to clasp it in an attempt to stop the pain. But he felt no relief and winched a little. But the pain did not last for long and disappeared as quickly as it emerged.

    Seeing that Yeung Yin Siu had hesitated, Siu Wah stood forward and shouted, “It’s only fair that you agree to this. Siu Wai must also spend the next five years of her life alone. So its only fair”.

    Yeung Yin Siu felt slightly ashamed of himself upon hearing Siu Wah’s comments. He had only been thinking of himself all of this time. He finally understood that Siu Wai had been his only true friend all these years and now must face the next five years of her life alone because of the misunderstanding. He also realised that if he would die a terrible death if he and Bak Tin Kiew are engaged in a romantic relationship during the next few years. He also realised that Bak Tin Kiew had not yet avenged the death of her mother, and therefore would not fully commit herself to him. He finally made up his mind. Clearing his throat, Yeung Yin Siu, finally spoke up. He said, “Chief Fung, I agree that I won’t marry another woman in the next five years. But I won’t agree to spending the next five years of my life alone. That’s almost impossible!”.

    “Why you… you… you…”, protested Siu Wah in some disgust whilst pointing her index finger towards Yeung Yin Siu once more.

    “Humph! Have it your own way then!”, shouted Fung Lau Sit upon hearing Yeung Yin Siu’s comments. She turned her head away in some angst as well.

    A slight smile appeared upon Tit Yum Ching’s face once more upon hearing those comments. Just at this moment Fung Lau Sit regained her composure and realised that she could not go against the will of the Chancellor. Upon turning around, Fung Lau Sit, caught Tit Yum Ching’s affectionate glance at Yeung Yin Siu. She said in a very hostile tone, “Fisherman Ho, I’ll agree to let you go tonight at the Chancellor’s request”.

    Turning to Yeung Yin Siu, whilst shooting a side glance at Tit Yum Ching she continued, “But I must warn you about a number of things. Heed my advice if you want to live. Firstly, you’ll experience a warm tinge in your heart every time you have romantic thoughts towards another woman other than Siu Wai. This warm tinge will build to unbearable pain the more romantic thoughts you have about other women. Secondly you’ll experience a sharp pain in your heart when another woman kisses you or touches your body and skin. Finally, you’ll die a most terrible death should you decide to sleep with another woman!”.

    Yeung Yin Siu did not say a word. He clasped his heart with his right hand and realised that Fung Lau Sit had been telling him the truth. He had just experienced an uncomfortable pain in his heart upon thinking about Bak Tin Kiew. It was almost as if he had been bewitched by some evil spell. He finally understood why Siu Wai’s eyes had been glowing so brightly after bitting down on his right shoulder. That was the point in which the oath had been completed. “Oh no”, he thought inwardly upon shifting his glance towards Fung Lau Sit. She had an evil smile on her face as she starred back at him. It was almost as if she could guess what Yeung Yin Siu was thinking inside.

    “Chancellor, I have nothing further to say. Goodbye”, added Fung Lau Sit as she cupped her hands together before turning to leave.

    She could be heard shouting, “Well? Let’s return to Chengdu Valley! What are you all waiting for?”, moments later as Siu Wah an her apprentices seemed reluctant to leave. The 7 apprentices followed their Chief and disappeared from sight shortly after upon hearing her commands.

    Siu Wah was the last to leave. Starring down at Yeung Yin Siu for the last time, she gave a, “Humph”, before utilising her lightness kung fu to disappear like a blue blur from sight. But Siu Wah travelled in an opposite direction to that of Fung Lau Sit. So it was obvious that she wasn’t returning to the Chengdu Valley with them.

    “Where’s she off to?”, Yeung Yin Siu thought to himself as he watched Siu Wah disappear from view. He thought it may have something to with where Siu Wai was currently hiding. So he gave it no further thought.

    Tit Yum Ching fixed her gaze into the wilderness upon watching everyone disappear from view. She did not appear to be at ease for some reason. Waving a hand towards Green Earth and Brown Wood, she remarked, “Leave us! This is no longer any of your business!”.

    “Chancellor, but… but…”, remarked both Green Earth and Brown Wood upon casting a glance towards Yeung Yin Siu. They did not seem to trust him for some reason.

    “Don’t worry. Fisherman Ho is my friend. I trust him with my life. He’ll protect me should any danger arise”, replied Tit Yum Ching in a reassuring tone. She looked across at Yeung Yin Siu expecting him to back up her statement, but he appeared to be totally lost in thought as he stared into the darkness.

    Seeing that her two loyal subjects weren’t going to leave her alone, she decided to reach into her pockets to take out a couple pieces of paper and a small ink pen. She wrote something onto both pieces of paper before signalling over to Green Earth and Brown Wood. As they walked over towards her, she decided to say, “Besides you two have more urgent business to attend to. Your new missions are written inside. Take one each and read it”.

    Brown Wood and Green Earth reluctantly took a note each. Upon reading the note in their hands, Green Earth and Brown Wood both cupped their hands together before saying, “Chancellor, we understand. We’ll try our best to accomplish our new missions. Goodbye and take care”.

    Just like that Green Earth jumped back into the ditch that he had dugged up underneath the dirt path and disappeared from sight. A strange ‘buzzing’ sound could be heard moments later as he disappeared. Soon the night become silent and the buzzing sound could no longer be heard. But it was obvious that Green Earth had gone. Brown Wood on the other hand utilised his lightness kung fu before disappearing into the thicket of bushes. Shortly after he disappeared from sight. But one could not be sure as to whether he was still hiding somewhere near by to track them and protect Tit Yum Ching or whether he was really gone.

    Yeung Yin Siu finally snapped out of his daze upon seeing Brown Wood vanish into thin air for a second time on the same day. Turning to face Tit Yum Ching, he noticed that she was preoccupied with something and thus decided to interrupt her. Looking along the ground he noticed that Green Earth had accidentally dropped the little piece of paper that had his mission written onto it on the ground. Yeung Yin Siu bent down to pick it up and was about to return it to Tit Yum Ching, when she could be heard remarking with a sigh, “Fisherman Ho! Fisherman Ho! Of all the things you’ve done, this has to be the worst. You’re very lucky that I was passing through. Otherwise you’d be minced meat by now”.

    As a natural reaction, Yeung Yin Siu, placed the note into his pockets. Tit Yum Ching did not appear to notice that Yeung Yin Siu had picked up the piece of paper and had placed it into his pockets. He heard Tit Yum Ching’s comments and knew it was far from the truth. He would have been able to defend himself and escape from members of the 7 Vixens clan had he made up his mind to fight. But the misunderstanding had now been resolved at least for the time being. Managing a slight smile he replied, “You knew that it was not my fault! Nor was it my intention to break Siu Wai’s heart! Otherwise you would not have interfered in this matter! Besides I still consider her to be a very close my friend!”.

    “Do you think she’ll ever forgive you for what you’ve done?”, questioned Tit Yum Ching in a curious tone. Her eyes seemed to be probing deep for a true answer.

    “I hope so! It’ll be a shame that our friendship is ruined through this little misunderstanding!”, remarked Yeung Yin Siu with a sigh as he fixed his gaze into the thicket of bushes on both sides of the dirt path. He had a strange feeling that someone was currently watching or keeping an eye on him. But he did not know for sure. Perhaps Siu Wai was still close by his side. So he gave it no further thought.

    Trying to change the subject, he decided to ask in a curious tone, “Why did you ask Fung Lau Sit to delay taking action for 5 years?”.

    “It’s only now that you’re asking me? It’s a little late don’t you think? If you wanted a longer time you should have told me earlier and I would have considered it!”, replied Tit Yum Ching with an innocent expression on her face. A slight smile appeared underneath the black silk veil covering the lower portion of her face.

    Looking directly at Yeung Yin Siu, she added, “To tell you the truth I don’t know why I said 5 years. It was the fisrt number that came into my mind. I just thought that 5 years was a short enough of a time for Chief Fung to have to wait so she would agree with my proposal. 5 years is also a long time. Who knows what will happen during this period of time”.

    Turning her head away from Yeung Yin Siu, she remarked in a soft voice, “Perhaps in five years time, Chief Fung, would have no reason to pursue after you!”.

    “What do you mean?”, questioned Yeung Yin Siu in a curious voice once more. He could see the slight hint of evil covered up by the innocent smile on the face of Tit Yum Ching. He was a little worried as a result. But Tit Yum Ching did not respond. She remained silent and deep in thought. Her intentions and motivations remained a mystery.

    Realising that he wasn’t going to get a straight answer, Yeung Yin Siu decided to ask, “Earlier you said you were looking for my assistance on a particular matter. What is it?”.

    (To Be Continued)
    "Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare

  11. #91
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    must you end it juz like that? Trouble's brewing for YYS... i can sense it...lol... poor guy...must you really give him a hard life? But than i guess it's one of those things that makes the story interesting with all those twist and turns... but still... I wonder what else is going to happn. Anyway, really good job with your story. I enjoyed it.

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    Once again, great story thus far.

    I don't get how the 7 vixens can accuse yss of being a cad and tricking sw. I mean, there is no benefit in it for him, he's gonna die now if he took another lover.

  13. #93
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    i just finished the first chapter and i must say that it's TERRIBLY GOOD! no time to read the rest right now as i should be studying for all of my exams. however, i want you to know that i enjoy the effort you took to develop the characters (their backgrounds, personalities, blah blah blah). i am so in awe of your style so far that i have no REAL complaints. i'm just sadden by the knowledge that the yeung couple will die (i really enjoy their relationship and their desire to live a happy life with each other and not be pursued by everyone). well, i will definitely comment in the future when i finish another chapter. keep up the great job.
    if you have the time and enthusiasm, please join in on the new and fabulous wuxia rpg fic /rpg discussion. (<--- click here)

  14. #94
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    Default Chapter 19: The Reunion (Part II)

    Chapter 19: The Reunion (Part II)

    But Tit Yum Ching did not appear to have heard Yeung Yin Siu’s question. She was standing still whilst panning left and right with her eyes towards the bushes and their surroundings. She did not appear to be at ease. Seeing the troubled expression on Tit Yum Ching’s face, Yeung Yin Siu couldn’t help but ask, “What’s the matter? Is something wrong?”.

    “I don’t know! But it seems as if we’re not alone!”, replied Tit Yum Ching whilst keeping her gaze into the wilderness. But she couldn’t see anything. Nor could she hear any sound that would suggest that there were people hiding near by. But her natural instincts told her that they were not alone. She decided to remain cautious as a result.

    Yeung Yin Siu took this opportunity to take a quick glance into the wilderness for himself as well. But like Tit Yum Ching, he could not see a single thing. Nor could he see anyone close by. If there was indeed someone hiding in the thicket of bushes, they were well hidden and did not make a sound. Besides Yeung Yin Siu was still convinced that it was none other than his good friend Siu Wai whom he knew had been tracking him, for one reason or another who was now hiding in the thicket of bushes nearby. So unlike Tit Yum Ching he was not overly concerned at all. He said in a reassuring tone, “Don’t worry! I don’t think we’re in any sort of danger!”.

    “Perhaps you’re right!”, remarked Tit Yum Ching as she finally snapped out of her daze.

    Fixing her gentle and soothing green eyes back on Yeung Yin Siu she added, “What were you saying earlier? I wasn’t paying attention!”.

    “You said you needed my assistance on a particular matter! What is it?”, repeated Yeung Yin Siu once more turning to Tit Yum Ching.

    A slight smile appeared on Tit Yum Ching’s face as she remarked, “Yes! That’s right! I nearly forgot!”.

    Grabbing Yeung Yin Siu by the arm she continued, “Come with me! I’ve got something to show you! Then you’ll understand!”.

    “Ouch”, cried Yeung Yin Siu out loud upon being grabbed on the arm by Tit Yum Ching. To Yeung Yin Siu, her once soft and gentle hands, felt like a sharp thorn bush that had pricked him on the exact spot that she grabbed him.

    “What’s the matter?”, questioned Tit Yum Ching as she immediately released her grip. Her voice carried with it an air of concern. She was also slightly shocked at Yeung Yin Siu’s reaction to being grabbed by the arm. At first she did not truly understand what had just happened.

    Looking at the painful expression on Yeung Yin Siu’s face, it suddenly became quite clear. She apologised in soft voice, “Fisherman Ho, I’m very sorry. I didn’t mean to cause you any discomfort! I momentarily forgot about the warning that Chief Fung has just given you!”.

    “It’s not your fault!”, replied Yeung Yin Siu whilst shaking his head and clasping his heart a little as a warm feeling surged through it.

    He gave a sigh afterwards as he pondered what was ahead for him. If he experienced such a sharp pain from being touched by Tit Yum Ching, whom he considered as a friend, then he was sure to experience greater pain when he is in the company of Bak Tin Kiew. Upon this realisation he was no longer in such a hurry to unite with her. He still loved her of course, but he had now found himself in a very awkward position. He didn’t know how he could possibly explain his present situation to her. Beside he couldn’t be sure that she would believe or forgive him either. As these thoughts ran through his mind, he remembered that he was in the process of trying to rescuing Bak Tin Kiew and Hua Ling Do from two masked men before running into the 7 Vixens, who stopped him in his tracks. He decided to say in an apologetic tone, “Sister Tit, I’m afraid I can’t assist you at the moment! I have momentarily forgotten that I have other important matters at hand! I need to take care of this particular matter first before doing anything else!”.

    “Oh!”, remarked Tit Yum Ching sounding a little shocked.

    Noticing the uneasy expression on Tit Yum Ching’s face, Yeung Yin Siu, decided to say in a reassuring tone, “Please tell me where you’re currently lodging! I’ll come to assist you once I’ve finished doing what I’ve set out to do! It won’t take long! Trust me!”.

    Tit Yum Ching became a little curious upon observing the look of deep concern and worry on Yeung Yin Siu’s face. It was quite obvious to her, from the expression on his face, that Yeung Yin Siu appeared to be quite concerned about the safety of a loved one and that he was thinking about her right at this moment in time. Though he tried his best to hide his true feelings from Tit Yum Ching, the way he was grabbing his chest near the heart region to ease the sharp pain, confirmed it. She thought inwardly, “So that’s the reason why he won’t help me! He’s worried about someone else! I wonder who’s in his heart at the moment?”.

    Appearing to smile slightly on the outside, Tit Yum Ching asked in a curious tone, “What is the other important matter that you must attend to? Are you able to tell me?”.

    Seeing that a little smile had emerged on Tit Yum Ching’s face, Yeung Yin Siu, became a little relaxed. He thought it wouldn’t hurt to tell her what he was up to. So he responded by saying, “Two of my friends are currently being pursued by two masked men! Their skills are just modest, so I’m worried about their safety! They passed this way not long ago and are now heading back towards Luoyang!”.

    “Oh! Their skills are modest so you have to help them! What about me? My skills are modest also! Are you just going to leave me here all alone when Green Earth and Brown Wood have gone? There’s no one else to protect me! I thought we were friends!”, protested Tit Yum Ching sounding a little annoyed as she turned her head away and folded her arms. Though she sounded annoyed one could not tell by her facial expression. It was still quite calm and there was actually a slight smile on her face. She appeared to be testing and mocking Yeung Yin Siu a little at the same time. After a while she turned and glanced at him with her soothing green eyes once more. At all times she was observing the way Yeung Yin Siu would react to her every word.

    Yeung Yin Siu was unsure as to what to do or say at this moment in time. He hesitated as he did not want to offend his good friend and the Chancellor of the Demon Cult. A number of thoughts ran through his mind as he tried his hardest to guess what was on Tit Yum Ching’s mind and why she was behaving the way she was. A slight smile suddenly flashed across his face as he guessed, that, Tit Yum Ching being the young girl that she is, was just poking fun at him. Besides he was well aware that Tit Yum Ching was not as weak or as fragile as she appeared to be. Being the Chancellor of the Demon Cult was a very tough task, especially for a pretty young girl in her early 20s. Yet she had somehow managed to handle and control the affairs of the large cult with great success. No one had dared to defy her orders thus far. She was a person who was pretty much on top of everything.

    Clearing his throat Yeung Yin Siu responded by saying, “If you’re not afraid of the danger ahead, why don’t you come with me! I could do with a little bit of extra help! After I’ve rescued my two friends I’ll be assist you right away!”.

    “That sounds like a very reasonable!”, Tit Yum Ching thought inwardly. But she was still eager to know the identities of the two people whom Yeung Yin Siu had set out to rescue. She maintained her gaze towards Yeung Yin Siu. Her soothing green eyes were still closely observing his every reaction and facial expressions all of the time. She wanted to know the truth, and she wanted to know right away.

    Pausing for a moment she responded by saying, “Fisherman Ho, I’ll come with you! There’s nothing in this world that I fear! Let alone a little danger!”.

    Looking directly at Yeung Yin Siu, she continued by asking, “But who are these two friends of yours that we’re setting out to rescue? Are you able to tell me?”.

    Yeung Yin Siu was filled with delight upon hearing that Tit Yum Ching was willing to go along with him to save Bak Tin Kiew and Hua Ling Do. He thought he had just managed to kill two birds with one stone. He was able to protect Tit Yum Ching from possible danger whilst at the same time save Bak Tin Kiew. Giving it no further thought he replied, “The two people I’m going to save are not really that well known throughout wulin! So you may never heard of them before! One of them is the Chancellor of Wulin’s daughter, Bak Tin Kiew, and the other is his third senior apprentice Hua Ling Do!”.

    “Ah so he’s only concerned about the safety of Bak Tin Kiew, the daughter of Bak Fung Wan and Lin Chun Fa!”, Tit Yum Ching thought inwardly upon hearing Yeung Yin Siu’s comments.

    Yeung Yin Siu had actually underestimated Tit Yum Ching’s knowledge. She knew a great deal about the matters, affairs, and events of wulin than he could have ever imagined. She virtually had spies in every corner of China and within every clan. So nothing escaped her attention. In fact she knew every detail about her great rival the Gentleman Sword, Bak Fung Wan. She was aware that Bak Fung Wan had a young daughter who turned 16 years of age earlier in the year. Whether she was pretty or not, Tit Yum Ching did not know for sure. In fact she does not yet know that Bak Tin Kiew was none other than Lok Tin Kiew who travelled with Yeung Yin Siu to the annual general meeting of the Demon Cult at the Demon Valley. But she has heard a great deal about the beauty of ‘Heroine Lin’ from her late father, Tit Hit Wong. She was also aware of the various rumours that indicated that Bak Fung Wan was a very handsome man. So she assumed that the couple of Bak Fung Wan and Lin Chun Fa would have a beautiful daughter based on their good genes. But once again she left nothing to chance and wanted to know for certain. Smiling outwardly, Tit Yum Ching asked, “The Chancellor’s daughter, is she pretty?”.

    “What?…”, replied Yeung Yin Siu slightly shocked at Tit Yum Ching’s question. He was unsure as to whether he had actually heard her question properly and sought to clarify the matter.

    “Yes, she must be pretty!”, Tit Yum Ching thought inwardly upon noticing that Yeung Yin Siu had hesitated to answer her question.

    After a little while, she continued, “Nothing! It’s nothing! I was just thinking something out loud to myself that’s all!”.

    “Well if you have no further questions, let’s head back to Luoyang and scout for news of about my two friends whereabouts! We can devise a plan to rescue them after that!”, replied Yeung Yin Siu as he motioned to walk back in the direction of Luoyang.

    Tit Yum Ching did not move an inch. She was at this moment looking up at the moon that had emerged in the sky. She appeared to be lost in deep thought. The moonlight reflected off her gentle soothing eyes. She looked a little confused, happy, and then sad at the same time. How could Yeung Yin Siu have known what she was actually be thinking at this moment in time. Finally she appeared to have reached a resolution to the many thoughts running through her mind and was at ease again. Seeing that Yeung Yin Siu had already travelled a little distance away from her towards Luoyang, she shouted, “Wait! Before we set off I want to promise me one thing!”.

    “What’s that?”, replied Yeung Yin Siu as he kept walking without turning around. He was unsure as to what Tit Yum Ching had in mind. But he was in a rush to return to Luoyang to save Bak Tin Kiew. That was all that was on his mind at this moment in time. Nothing else mattered.

    “Now is not the time to tell you! But I want you to remember that you owe me a great favour tonight! After all I did intervene to save your life from the hands of the 7 Vixens! I want you to promise that you’ll never forget this incident and that when the time comes you’ll repay me a favour in return!”, replied Tit Yum Ching in a serious voice as she folded her arms. There was a very stern look on her face as she said this.

    Yeung Yin Siu stopped in his tracks before glancing over his shoulder towards Tit Yum Ching. It was the second time that she had asked what he thought to be a very unusual question. He realised that he did owe Tit Yum Ching a great favour after tonight. Even if Tit Yum Ching had not asked him directly, he had already made up his mind that he would repay her the favour when he had an opportunity. He responded by saying, “What do you want me to do? Just say it and I’ll do my best to make sure that it is done!”.

    “I don’t know yet! But you must promise me that when the time comes, you’ll do whatever I ask of you regardless of what it is!”, continued Tit Yum Ching in a very demanding tone as she glanced up at the full moon for a second time.

    Yeung Yin Siu did not immediately respond as he pondered over Tit Yum Ching’s intentions. He had good reasons to be a little cautious and hesitant. He thought inwardly, “Why is she behaving so oddly all of a sudden?”.

    But Yeung Yin Siu just smiled once more. He had total faith in Tit Yum Ching and believed that she would never ask him to do something against his will. Eager to return to Luoyang, he did not give her question any further thoughts. He replied, “Sister Tit, I’m your friend! So of course I’ll agree to do anything that you ask of me in the future!”.

    So that there would be no misunderstanding, he decided add, “Provided that its something that will not harm my reputation!”.

    “Do you swear an oath to do so?”, questioned Tit Yum Ching once more. She was generally happy that Yeung Yin Siu had agreed but she was not to be totally satisfied with the answer. She wanted something more definite.

    Raising two fingers in the air whilst kneeling down on the ground, Yeung Yin Siu remarked, “Let the Moon Maiden be the witness! I Fisherman Ho hereby swear a deadly oath that I owe young Sister Tit a favour! That I agree repay her in the future by doing anything that she asks of me in return! Provided that it does not harm my reputation to do so!”.

    Looking directly at Tit Yum Ching he added, “Should I fail to uphold my end of the bargain then let me die a most horrible death at her hands!”.

    “That’s enough! I trust you!”, remarked Tit Yum Ching as she walked over and helped Yeung Yin Siu back up onto his feet. She had momentarily forgotten about the warning given by Fung Lau Sit a second time. Yeung Yin Siu gave a slight grunt of discomfort as Tit Yum Ching’s hands touched his body.

    Upon completing his oath, Yeung Yin Siu stood up, and started to walk in the direction towards Luoyang again. But once again Tit Yum Ching did not move an inch from where she presently stood. Smiling slightly, she continued, “There’s no need to head back to Luoyang to save your friends! There are other important matters that we need to take care off first! Come with me!”.

    “What do you mean? What can be more important than saving the life of my two friends Bak Tin Kiew and Hua Ling Do?”, questioned Yeung Yin Siu as stopped walking before turning around to cast a curious glance at Tit Yum Ching. He could not think of anything that was more important to him at the moment besides saving the life of Bak Tin Kiew.

    “There’s no need for us to rescue your friends anymore! I can assure you they’ll be quite safe!”, replied Tit Yum Ching as she started walking in an easterly direction into the thicket of bushes to the side of the dirt path.

    Yeung Yin Siu rushed up to her side before asking, “How can you be so sure?”.

    Turning to the side, Tit Yum Ching replied, “Because I’ve already dispatched 3 Fingered Demon Zither, 7 Fingered Demon Flute, Red Flame, and Blue Water to rescue them!”.

    “So that’s why the ‘Divinity Swordsmen’ aren’t by her side to protect her!”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly upon realising that neither 3 Fingered Demon Zither and 7 Fingered Demon Flute were close by as they usually are. He thought it was quite strange not to see them by Tit Yum Ching’s side when she first appeared. But he had no time to ask her. In fact it never even crossed Yeung Yin Siu’s mind to ask Tit Yum Ching directly as to what business brought her to Luoyang in the first place.

    Seeing the confused look on Yeung Yin Siu’s face, she explained, “Before you arrived here at the dirt path, we saw two masked men pursuing after a young man and a young girl! According to Brown Wood those two riders were none other than the Chancellor of Wulin’s daughter Bak Tin Kiew and Hua Ling Do! So I immediately dispatched my men to rescue them!”.

    Laughing a little she added, “I was just about to leave when I noticed that you had arrived at the main dirt path and were being surrounded by members from the 7 Vixens clan! At that time I was a little curious as to what all you people were doing here at such a late hour in the night!”.

    Looking at Yeung Yin Siu with a warm and affectionate smile she continued, “But I’m glad that I have decided to stay though!”.

    Yeung Yin Siu was still a little confused. He asked, “Why would you want to help the Chancellor of Wulin by saving his third senior apprentice and daughter? Are you sure you have no hidden ulterior motive by doing this?”.

    “Humph! Fisherman Ho, what do you take me for?”, protested Tit Yum Ching shooting a cold glare towards him.

    After a while she continued in a clam voice, “Since you’re the one who presented me with the Iron Blood Sword, I’m sure you’d know about the legend of Yeung Kai Seng and my great ancestor Tit Miu Lan!”.

    “Yes! So what? I don’t think I understand!”, asked Yeung Yin Siu still a little confused.

    “You’ll understand that in order to unite and keep the peace within wulin, Yeung Kai Seng, married a lifetime enemy in Tit Miu Lan! Though they eventually fall in love with each other. It was a big sacrifice and a risk for such a great hero to make at that time!”, replied Tit Yum Ching with a smile.

    Turning to Yeung Yin Siu she added, “So why can’t I do something to keep the peace between the Demon Cult and orthodox clans in return? Besides I’ve never considered the Gentleman Sword as an enemy! In his 20 year reign as the Chancellor of Wulin he has never once sought to eliminate the Demon Cult nor has he rallied all of the orthodox clans against us! He is a true ‘gentleman’ indeed! He does not seek to dominate wulin or conquer the world! There are few people in high positions like him!”.

    Yeung Yin Siu did not reply. He nodded to indicate that he understood and agreed with what Tit Yum Ching had just said. Yeung Yin Siu was no longer concerned about the safety of Bak Tin Kiew and Hua Ling Do upon hearing that the ‘Divinity Swordsmen’, Red Flame, and Blue Water had been sent to rescue them. The combined skills of those four Demon Cult elders were superior to his own. So he was sure that they would be capable of rescuing Bak Tin Kiew and Hua Ling Do from the grasp of the two masked men. He could now focus on assisting Tit Yum Ching. After a while he asked, “What was that important matter that you wanted me to help you with?”.

    “Come with me!”, replied Tit Yum Ching as she walked into the thicket of bushes to the side of the dirt path. Moments later she signalled towards Yeung Yin Siu to follow her.

    Yeung Yin Siu wasted no time and rushed up by Tit Yum Ching’s side. They walked in an easterly direction through the thicket of bushes for about 30 minutes without an incident. The night appeared to be calm and peaceful. The moon above provided much needed light for late travellers. The ground was still a little moist and muddy from the early evening rain. During this time, Tit Yum Ching and Yeung Yin Siu discussed a number of things that had happened since the annual general meeting at the Demon Valley. Tit Yum Ching just nodded and listened intently to Yeung Yin Siu’s story. She became a very interested upon hearing about the encounters that Yeung Yin Siu had with Du Fu, Fai Fei Sit, Jin Mo Ying, Cheung But Tung, and Mo Yung Bak. Now and again, Tit Yum Ching, would stare into the bushes with an air of concern. Yeung Yin Siu would repeatedly ask, “What’s wrong?”. But she would only shake her head and did not offer a reply. In fact she did not even tell Yeung Yin Siu what she was up to and what the important matter that she needed his assistance was. She just kept on walking at great speed. Yeung Yin Siu had now fallen a little bit behind Tit Yum Ching as a number of thoughts crossed his mind. It was obvious that she was up to something. But he did not know what it was.

    They approached a jetty near a small lake around 15 minutes later. A small bamboo raft was resting by the side of the bank. Tit Yum Ching immediately pushed the small raft into the water, before grabbing a long bamboo pole to steer it. Seeing that Yeung Yin Siu had fallen slightly behind her, she turned and waved Yeung Yin Siu over to the bank. It appeared as if she wanted to set off as soon as possible. Yeung Yin Siu felt a slight chill run through his back and became a little cautious as a result. Taking a moment to look around, Yeung Yin Siu, noticed that they were walking into very open territory. They no longer had the cover of the thicket of bushes, making it very easy for someone to ambush them. But it seemed as Tit Yum Ching was determined to cross the lake, and would take a slight risk to do so.

    Yeung Yin Siu hesitated for a little while and was just about to follow her over to the bank of the lake when around 20 men suddenly emerged from the bushes nearby before surrounding them. All of the men wore bright yellow robes with red trimmings. A pair of red wolf fangs were carved into the top right hand corner of their robes. The men who surrounded them were none other than members from the Red Wolf Fang.

    “Ha! Ha! Chancellor Tit, where do you think you’re going? Please stay for a little while! We’d like to seek an audience with you!”, said a short and stocky man in his late 60s. He wore a red rectangle hat on his head. A black patch was worn over the right eye. A pair of red wolf fangs was worn around his neck. He carried a long broad sword, curved at the end like the fang of a wolf, in his right hand. This man was none other than Miu Tit Sie, the Chief of the Red Wolf Fang. Hung Ngan, along with the 8 District Commanders, and another 10 elite fighters were standing next to him. All of the men were rather rough and rugged looking. They were an intimidating sight indeed. All of them stood with their weapons drawn in an attacking position. They were awaiting the final command from their Chief, who at this point was gently stroking his beard and admiring his handy work.

    Despite being surrounded by 20 elite fighters from the Red Wolf Fang, Tit Yum Ching did not appear to be overly concerned at all. She immediately understood what they were up to. At the same time Tit Yum Ching was aware that someone as clever and cunning as Miu Tit Sie would never take action unless there was at least 75% of success. She glanced around to observe the surroundings one more time before shooting a cold glance at Miu Tit Sie . She replied in a stern voice, “Clan Leader Miu, you should know the rules by now! I do not meet people without a prior appointment! If you wish to discuss something, then I suggest you wait until I return to the Demon Valley! I’ll make an appointment with you then! But this is not an appropriate time to be discussing matters of the Demon Cult with me! I have other matters at hand!”.

    Noticing that many of the men had drawn their weapons in an attacking position, Tit Yum Ching added whilst pointing an index finger towards all of them, “Humph! Is this how you teach your men to greet their Chancellor? What are you all doing here? Speak?”.

    Miu Tit Sie was a little taken aback by the confident manner in which Tit Yum Ching had just spoken to him. She had a tone of authority about her. There was not an ounce of fear in her eyes. But it was obvious that he had planned to overthrow Tit Yum Ching as the Chancellor of the Demon Cult this very night and that he been planning to do so for months. He saw a golden opportunity when he heard from his senior apprentice, Hung Ngan, that Tit Yum Ching had left the Demon Valley for one reason or another. He has been spying and keeping a close eye on her movements all of this time, and thought it was the perfect opportunity to act now and force her to hand over the leadership. Besides he had been lobbing and gained some support within the Demon Cult ranks for the past few months. Besides rumours within the Demon Cult had it that two of the Regional Commanders, Crazy Barber Wu and Butcher Poon had already betrayed Tit Yum Ching, and that other Regional Commanders would follow suit. Tonight Tit Yum Ching appeared to be totally defenceless. It was rumoured that she only possessed very mediocre kung fu and could easily be over powered. None of her bodyguards were by her side at the moment. It was all too easy. Yet Miu Tit Sie hesitated. He was a very experienced person in the matters, events, and affairs of wulin. He knew that nothing was as easy as it seemed. Every little step towards great success could also be a step closer to failure.

    Miu Tit Sie was also aware that Tit Yum Ching was a very cool and calculating person. It would not be out of the question that she had already anticipated that he would rebel against her and have a plan in mind to deal with him. He half suspected that he had walked into a trap. But he could not see anyone close by. Though he was a little confused he was still confident that he had managed to catch Tit Yum Ching totally off her guard. But at the same time he also realised that he had to tread very carefully in this matter. As long as he did not attack her, she would have no reason to pursue after him. Though she would become more cautious of him. He did not yet know whether he could count on his loyal followers to back him up and retain the leadership after they overthrow Tit Yum Ching either. Giving a little laugh before signalling to all of his men to put their weapons down, he replied, “Chancellor Tit, don’t take it the wrong way! My men were just eager to protect you that’s all!”.

    Turning to his men he said, “Isn’t that right?”.

    “Yes that’s right! Greetings Chancellor”, they all replied simultaneously whilst politely cupping their hands together. But many of them still had sly smiles on their faces.

    “Oh! Protect me? From what?”, replied Tit Yum Ching in a very calm voice. As she said this she took a glance around towards the bushes and smiled a little. She had moved in such a way that it almost appeared as if she had an entire army hidden behind the bushes and was in the process of signalling to them to wait for further instructions before acting.

    Miu Tit Sie squinted his eyes as he glanced towards the bushes to the side once more. But he couldn’t see anything. But he now realised that he was engaging in a battle of wits with Tit Yum Ching. It was like a dangerous game of ‘cat’ and ‘mouse’ that he needed to desperately win. He wanted to test whether Tit Yum Ching was only using delay tactics on him or whether she really had people hiding down in the bushes ready to strike him down should he give an order for his men to attack. He had a sudden thought as he looked across at Yeung Yin Siu. Though he appeared to be an ordinary beggar on the outside, Miu Tit Sie, realised that he must possess excellent abilities, otherwise Tit Yum Ching wouldn’t be so confident. Gently stroking his beard, he said whilst pointing towards Yeung Yin Siu, “When we arrived, we saw a member from the Beggar Clan by your side, and assumed that you were being held captive! But obviously this has just been a misunderstanding!”.

    “That’s right! We thought you were being held as a hostage by that dirty old beggar!…”, agreed Hung Ngan whilst nodding his head. He immediately recognised the old beggar as the same man whom he had fought with on the outskirts of Kaifeng many days ago. He wanted to warn his master about the old beggar’s abilities but could not do so at this moment in time.

    “That’s why we immediately came to your rescue…”, added another one of the Regional Commanders of the Red Wolf Fang.

    “We didn’t realise that the two of you were friends!”, concluded another Red Wolf Fang member sounding slightly apologetic.

    Walking forward, Miu Tit Sie, asked in a very curious voice, “Who is he?”.

    Pointing to Yeung Yin Siu, Tit Yum Ching, smiled as she said, “Oh him! He’s called Beggar Ho! He isn’t a member of the Beggar Clan! He’s just a nomad from wulin whom previously owed his allegiances to no one! But tonight he has agreed to join the Demon Cult!”.

    “What on earth is she doing? What is she up to?”, thought Yeung Yin Siu inwardly upon hearing her comments. It was obvious to him that Tit Yum Ching, for whatever reason, had been caught off guard by Miu Tit Sie’s sudden revolt against her. Looking around he could not see anyone to help her out of the predicament either. Yet she remained as cool as ice and intended to win in a battle of wits against Miu Tit Sie. He couldn’t quite understand what she was up to or what she had in mind.

    Seeing that Yeung Yin Siu had hesitated to reply, Tit Yum Ching, gave him a slight wink before motioning towards the bushes to his right. He immediately shot his glance over to the side and noticed a black blur had shifted to the left side of the dirt path. The black blur disappeared from sight moments later. Indeed Siu Wai had remained by Yeung Yin Siu’s side all of this time. It appeared as if Siu Wai had dashed off to seek assistance. Yeung Yin Siu now understood what Tit Yum Ching was doing. He noticed that Miu Tit Sie had hesitated to take any action towards them, so he went along with Tit Yum Ching’s plans. Cupping his hands politely, he said, “That’s correct! Today I heard that the Chancellor of the Demon Cult was recruiting skilled fighters in Luoyang to assist her to maintain dominance in wulin and therefore decided to offer my services!”.

    Smiling confidently as he shot a glance towards Miu Tit Sie he added, “Chancellor Tit, now that I am at your service, I will encourage other nomads within wulin to join up with the Demon Cult also!”.

    Clapping her hands gently, Tit Yum Ching said, “Excellent! Excellent! I am glad that you have decided to join forces with us this evening! With many more skilled fighters like you joining us each day, I’m sure we’ll be able to maintain our dominance within wulin!”.

    Just at this moment, Hung Ngan took a step across to whisper a few words into his master’s ears. Miu Tit Sie suddenly looked at Yeung Yin Siu in some awe. He did not appear to look as confident now as he did when he initially surrounded them. Miu Tit Sie knew that it would be difficult to overthrow Tit Yum Ching if she had indeed recruited many elite nomad fighters in the past few days to join the Demon Cult. But his scouts who had been keeping a close eye on Tit Yum Ching did not mention anything about this to him. Normally he would back his own judgement and order an immediate attack to seize power. But he had been more cautious than he would be in the past. Another thought flashed past his mind. He wanted to change his tactic hoping to force Tit Yum Ching into an error. Stroking his beard and smiling delightfully, he said, “Ha! Ha! Chancellor Tit, that is indeed good news that you have recruited so many of the elite nomad fighters to join us! Are you expecting to many more people to join up tonight?”.

    Starring coldly at Miu Tit Sie, Tit Yum Ching replied, “Of course! I’m expecting another 50 nomads to join up tonight! We agreed to meet up here with them! They should be here shortly!”.

    “Oh! Is that so?”, remarked Miu Tit Sie out loud as a worried expression appeared on his face. After all 50 men were greater than his current force of 20.

    Miu Tit Sie, stroked his beard again as another thought ran through his mind. After a while he continued with a sly smile, “In that case you won’t mind if I personally wait here to greet them with you? As you may already know, I’m always curious as to the skills and abilities of all of our new recruits!”.

    Realising that Miu Tit Sie wasn’t going to leave, Tit Yum Ching responded by saying, “Chief Miu, of course I wouldn’t mind! You can stay here as long as you like and meet all of the new recruits if you have no other pressing matters at hand that you need to attend to! They should be here any moment now!”.

    Miu Tit Sie knew that with every moment that passes by, his chances of successfully overthrowing Tit Yum Ching would diminish. Particularly if Tit Yum Ching was just using delay tactics on him. He knew that there were now two options before him. He either had to attack right away and take his chances, or abort his plan and wait for another opportunity later on down the track. He knew that he had already revealed his true intentions to Tit Yum Ching, and that she would monitor him closely in the future. So he would not get another opportunity again for at least another few years. But at the same time, if he had guessed wrongly and had actually fallen into a trap, he knew that his life would end tonight by the bank of the lake. Thinking that his life was at stake, Miu Tit Sie, became very hesitant to order an immediate attack. 75% chance of success was no longer good enough. He wanted to be 100% certain before acting.

    “Where’s the 3 Fingered Demon Zither and the 7 Fingered Demon Flute at the moment? Are they also recruiting men nearby in the city of Luoyang?”, asked Miu Tit Sie after a little while. They were two of the best fighters within the Demon Cult. So he was eager to learn of there whereabouts. If they weren’t close by at this moment in time, his chances of success would greatly improve.

    Tit Yum Ching just smiled, before responding by telling another outright lie, “The 3 Fingered Demon Zither and the 7 Fingered Demon Flute have already left to start recruiting more men from Kaifeng! In fact they set off around six hours ago!”.

    Looking directly at Yeung Yin Siu, she added by throwing in a little bit of the truth to confuse Miu Tit Sie, “Beggar Ho is the only one keeping me company tonight whilst we wait for the new recruits to arrive!”.

    Miu Tit Sie became delighted upon hearing Tit Yum Ching’s comments. He was just about to raise his hands to order his men to attack, when he thought over what had just been said a second time. He knew that wherever Tit Yum Ching went the Divinity Swordsmen were normally by her side to protect her. But now she had just casually mentioned that they were not by her side and were now heading towards another city. He would have believed her story had she said that the Divinity Swordsmen were somewhere close by. So Miu Tit Sie became a little suspicious as a result. He guessed that Tit Yum Ching had told him a lie and was trying to lure him into a mistake. In fact it almost seemed as if Tit Yum Ching was almost inviting him to order an attack on her. Besides she did not appear to fear him. He glanced nervously around the bushes once more. He thought inwardly as he glanced across at Tit Yum Ching, “This must be a trap!”.

    Another thought crossed Miu Tit Sie’s mind as he fixed his gaze at the bank of the lake. He noticed for the first time that Tit Yum Ching and Yeung Yin Siu were both standing on a bamboo raft. It appear as if they had planned to journey across to the other side of the lake as soon as possible. This contradicted what Tit Yum Ching had just said about waiting for new recruits. He regained his confidence again upon guessing that Tit Yum Ching was just using stalling tactics against him. Besides around 15 minutes had passed during this time, and not one person had approached them by the bank. He was confident that he had guessed correctly.

    Miu Tit Sie was just about to raise his hands to order an attack, when he heard the voice of a young female say, “Chancellor Tit, good evening! I have just recruited 20 men from the ‘Forgetting Villa’! They are all elite fighters who have decided to ‘un-retire’ from wulin! They are all eager to meet you!”.

    “Chancellor Tit, greetings! We are delighted to offer our services to you!”, a number of people could be heard shouting shortly afterwards. Tit Yum Ching nodded her head and raised her hands to acknowledge the group of people who were approaching them.

    Upon turning around to the source of the voice, Miu Tit Sie saw a pretty young lady in her early 20s wearing a flowing black dress. She had a slim figure and elegant curves. Her eyes appeared to be red and glowed in the dark. She carried a broad sword with the head of a red wolf is carved into the hilt. She was none other than Siu Wai of the 7 Vixens. Following closely behind her were a group of 20 people dressed like local fisherman and hunters. Some of them were very muscular around the chest and arms, whilst others looked thin and weak. It was hard to tell whether any of the men knew kung fu or were even elite fighters or not. But it was well known throughout wulin that there was a place called the ‘Forgetting Villa’ on the outskirts of Luoyang that harboured a number of elite fighters who chose to live a very secluded life. Those residing in the ‘Forgetting Villa’ all possessed unique abilities, but many of them refuse to participate in the matters, events, and affairs of wulin. But it not out of the question that some of those fighters would become tired of the peaceful life and thus ‘un-retire’ from wulin. This has happened before, when Yeung Kai Seng and Tit Miu Lan retired at the ‘Forgetting Villa’ after the Mongol Rebellion. But the returned many years later in an attempt to murder Chu Yin Cheung to avenge the death of the Chancellor of the Demon Cult, Tit Kiu Sam. Other great warriors have also 'un-retired’ in the past. Miu Tit Sie did not move an inch. He stood to the side to observe Siu Wai and group of 20 people who had just arrived by the bank.

    Yeung Yin Siu was delighted to see Siu Wai in person. He smiled outwardly and nodded to acknowledge her presence. But Siu Wai only took one glance at Tit Yum Ching, but decided to totally ignore him. Siu Wai then turned her attention towards Miu Tit Sie. She appeared to smile slightly upon seeing the shocked expression on his face. The 7 Vixens, being carers for the wolves in the wild, hated nothing more than the Red Wolf Fang who slaughtered wolves for a living. They were bitter rivals most of the time, but yet were on the same side, as they both have allegiances with the Demon Cult. Cupping her hands together she said in a cheeky tone, “Chief Miu, greetings! Which wind blew you and your men here tonight?”.

    Miu Tit Sie did not respond. He just gave a loud, “Humph”, as he stood to the side with his arms folded. He kept a watchful eye on the supposed new recruits. But he did not notice anything special about any of them. His curiosity and suspicions were aroused once more. He assumed it was just another delay tactic being employed by Tit Yum Ching. But he wasn’t sure as he did not expect that Siu Wai would suddenly appear unannounced before him. He did not spot her presence when he initially approached the bank. So he was a little confused by the sudden events.

    “Perhaps members of the 7 Vixens clan are nearby”, he pondered as he glanced towards Siu Wai. It would not be unlikely that a rival clan of his would foil his plans.

    But another thought entered his mind as he shot a glance towards Tit Yum Ching who was as calm and collected as always, “Could she really be recruiting many elite nomad fighters to the Demon Cult here tonight?”.

    Guessing what was on Miu Tit Sie’s mind, Tit Yum Ching asked whilst motioning towards the group of 20 people who stood behind Siu Wai, “Sister Siu, who are these people? What unique skills and abilities do they possess? Are you able to advise me?”.

    Siu Wai replied whilst pointing an index finger towards the group of 20 people, “These people are the apprentices of the once famous ‘Iron Vest’ clan!”.

    Signalling to a very buff man in his late 30s, Siu Wai added, “This is the leader of the group! He’s name is Wong Ba San!”.

    “Ha! Wong Ba San! You mean the legendary Wong Ba San who once smashed three mountain robber tribes in one night without a worthy opponent!”, remarked Tit Yum Ching in some awe. The deeds of Wong Ba San was well known throughout wulin. It was rumoured that he had perfected the art of the ‘Iron Vest’ and that no weapon could penetrate through his body. But he suddenly vanished from wulin without trace over 10 years ago. Many people assumed that he had passed away as a result. Others thought that he had retired from woollen and resided within the ‘Forgetting Villa’. So it was not out of the question that Siu Wai had located him and convinced him to join the Demon Cult.

    Striding forward the man in his late 30s said in a very coarse and rough voice, “Yes, that’s me! But that’s over 10 years ago! I’m grateful that anyone is even able to remember those heroic deeds of mine!”.

    Miu Tit Sie just stood to the side and stroked his beard. The man in his late 30s spoke in a very slow manner. He half mumbled and stuttered as he spoke. It was obvious that he was not a well educated man and that he had problems with his speech. He has heard about the deeds of Wong Ba San during his lifetime, but he was not yet convinced that the buff man in his late 30s was the real Wong Ba San. If he proved to be fake, he would order an immediate attack.

    Tit Yum Ching saw the expression on Miu Tit Sie’s face. She knew what he was thinking. Turning her attention back to Siu Wai and the man in his late 30s, she continued, “Mister Wong, rumours have it that you have perfected the arts of the ‘Iron Vest’! Are you able to give me a demonstration of your superior skills?”.

    The buff man in his late 30s appeared to glance a little nervously towards Siu Wai who shot glare back at him. Striding forward he replied in a low voice, “Chancellor Tit, of course I am able to give you a demonstration!”.

    He stood in a mounting stance moments later, with his feet shoulders apart and his hands forward from his chest. He flexed his well-toned and defined muscles. His body looked un-penetrable like iron indeed. A loud ‘cling’ echoed through the air moments later as Siu Wai drew one of her medium sized black daggers. The length of the dagger was half that of a standard broad sword. The sheath of the dagger was unusually long. She immediately thrusted the sword at the buff man’s body with all her might. A soft tearing sound could be heard as the sword penetrated through that man’s clothes. It was followed by another ‘cling’ sound as the blade of the dagger appeared to have bent against iron muscles of the buffed man. One could see that the dagger was unable to penetrate through his body. Siu Wai withdrew her dagger moments later before sheathing it. It had been done in such a swift and convincing manner, that Miu Tit Sie no longer doubted the identity of the buff man in his late 30s. He truly believed he was none other than the real Wong Ba San. His jaws nearly dropped to the ground as a result as he realised that his 20 elite fighters would not be able to overthrow 20 apprentices from the once famous ‘Iron Vest’ clan. He realised that he needed to abandon his plan.

    “Excellent! Excellent! Mister Wong, you definitely live up to your expectations! Welcome aboard!”, remarked Tit Yum Ching with am arm out stretched and looking across at Miu Tit Sie at the some time.

    “It’s really nothing! We’re delighted to form an alliance with you!”, replied the buff man in his late 30s whilst cupping his hands together. He shot a glance across at Siu Wai as he said this. He appeared to be as shocked in his own abilities as everyone else was. Siu Wai on the other hand, had a slight grin on her face. It was obvious she was quite pleased at herself.

    Striding forward towards, Tit Yum Ching, Miu Tit Sie decided to say whilst looking towards the buffed man in his late 30s, “Chancellor Tit, I’m glad that you have been able to recruit so many highly skilled fighters to our clan!”.

    Pausing for the right words to say, he continued, “You must excuse me as I have some urgent business that I need to attend to! Goodbye!”.

    Smiling slyly Tit Yum Ching replied, “Chief Miu, goodbye!”.

    But she wasn’t going to let him go that easily. She added in a serious tone whilst half laughing inside, “I’ll see you back at the Demon Valley in a months time! You can make an appointment with me then to discuss whatever you wanted to discuss with me tonight!”.

    Miu Tit Sie stopped in his tracks before turning around. He saw the cold expression on Tit Yum Ching’s face. Giving a little snort he replied, “Chancellor Tit, there’s no need for a further appointment! The matter I wanted to raise with you is no longer urgent!”.

    Turning to his men, he shouted, “What are you waiting for? Let’s leave this place!”.

    Tit Yum Ching stood on the spot and carefully watched each and everyone of the Red Wolf Fang members disappear from sight. She let out a sigh of relief moments later. When she was certain that they had all gone, she turned to Siu Wai. She said whilst cupping her hands, “Sister Siu, thank you for intervening and saving our lives tonight! We owe you a great favour!”.

    Siu Wai turned her back on both Tit Yum Ching and Yeung Yin Siu. She replied in an ironic tone, “Oh? Is that so?”.

    After a while she continued in a mocking tone, “Chancellor Tit, I want you to remember this incident tonight and that when the time comes you’ll return the favour in kind!”.

    “Why you…”, thought Tit Yum Ching inwardly upon hearing Siu Wai’s comments. It was obvious that Siu Wai had followed Yeung Yin Siu all this time and had overheard them speaking to each other earlier in the night. She also knew what Siu Wai had been getting at.

    But Tit Yum Ching, did not want to show any signs of anger. She bottled up her true feelings deep inside her heart. She wasn’t going to let Siu Wai off the hook that easily for insulting her, but at the same time, she realised that it was not the time for her personal revenge. She just smiled a little before saying in a very calm voice, “Sister Siu, I’ll never forget that you saved my life tonight! When the time comes, I’ll repay you a favour in kind! All you have to do is ask and I’ll make sure that it is done! You have my word!”.

    “Humph! We shall see if you live up to your word or not when the time comes!”, coldly replied Siu Wai as she motioned to leave. All she was concerned about was the safety of Yeung Yin Siu. Now that he was safe, she wanted to leave. She hated and loved him at the same time. But she could not bring herself to forgive him either at this moment in time. She was still slightly confused.

    Tit Yum Ching ignored Siu Wai’s comments once more. Under normal circumstances, Tit Yum Ching would have immediately punished Siu Wai according to clan rules for treating her with disrespect. But she realised that Siu Wai was not in a good frame of mind, and had a right to be upset. Besides, Siu Wai had just stepped out to save both their lives. So how could she be angry at her in return. Seeing that Siu Wai was about to leave, Tit Yum Ching rushed to say, “Sister Siu, wait!”.

    Stopping in her tracks, Siu Wai asked, “What is it?”.

    Pointing an index finger towards the group of 20 people, Tit Yum Ching, continued, “Who are these people really? Are you able to tell me?”.

    “They’re just common fisherman and hunters who live nearby! They do not know an ounce of kung fu at all! There was no one else nearby who could help us! But I knew I could use them to scare away Miu Tit Sie”, replied Siu Wai still with her back turned.

    In her rush to leave, Siu Wai had momentarily forgotten about the 20 common people whom she had dragged into the dangerous game of ‘cat’ and ‘mouse’ with Miu Tit Sie. Pointing an index finger towards them she said, “You people may leave! I’ve already paid each of you”.

    “Thanks!”, replied the 20 local hunters and fisherman simultaneously as they all turned to leave.

    One of them remained behind. It was none other than the buffed hunter in his late 30s. He was still standing there with a shocked expression on his face. He had actually expected to meet death at the edge of Siu Wai’s black dagger. He couldn’t help but ask, “Young miss Siu, I have a question to ask if you don’t mind!”.

    “You want to ask me how it is that an ordinary person like you would be able to survive a stab from my dagger…”, guessed Siu Wai.

    “That’s correct!”, replied the buff man in his late 30s. Both Yeung Yin Siu and Tit Yum Ching were listening intently into the conversation. They also wanted to know how Siu Wai had managed to trick Miu Tit Sie.

    Taking out her medium sized dagger, Siu Wai said whilst pointing at a small device on the hilt of the sword, “This mechanism allows me to turn this dagger into a switch blade!”.

    Siu Wai then proceeded to press the blade against her left hand. It was only then that Yeung Yin Siu, Tit Yum Ching, and the buffed man in his late 30s noticed that the blade actually disappeared into the hilt of the sword. But when Siu Wai had performed the move earlier, she had acted so quickly that Miu Tit Sie was unable to detect that it was actually a switched blade, and thus had been fooled by the act. Besides the buffed man made the entire act look very convincing. His muscles were so toned that they were like plates of steel. His entire body looked virtually impenetrable.

    “Sometimes the smartest individuals are the ones that are easily fooled”, remarked Siu Wai to herself upon sheathing her black dagger. She motioned to utilise her lightness kung fu to leave.

    Yeung Yin Siu took this opportunity to utilise his lightness kung fu to rush up by her side. He managed to grab Siu Wai’s hand just in time to restrain her from leaving. Tit Yum Ching watched the events unfold from the side with a frown as she folded her arms. She was clearly annoyed. But Yeung Yin Siu did not noticed as he focused his attention on Siu Wai. He asked in a gentle voice, “Sister Siu, wait! Where are you going?”.

    “Humph! Where I’m going is none of your business? Please let go of my hand!”, protested Siu Wai still with her back turned towards Yeung Yin Siu.

    Yeung Yin Siu did not release his grip on her. He held Siu Wai tightly by her left hand. A loud ‘cling’ echoed through the air as Siu Wai suddenly drew her sword with the right hand. Turning in one motion, before twisting her body, she thrusted the sword towards Yeung Yin Siu’s adam’s apple pressure point. It happened so quickly and swiftly that she had managed to catch both Tit Yum Ching and Yeung Yin Siu off guard. Though Tit Yum Ching’s heart race a little upon seeing the tip of a sword pointed towards Yeung Yin Siu’s adam’s apple pressure point, she was not overly concerned at all. She was a female after all and thus understood the frustration and confusion being felt by Siu Wai. Yeung Yin Siu did not attempt to defend himself at all. He just looked into Siu Wai’s eyes and said, “Kill me, if you truly think that I deserve to die! I won’t blame you when I’m in the underworld!”.

    Pausing for a moment he continued, “But we’ll be good friends for the past 12 years! All I want to know is where you’re heading off to so that I may visit you in the future!”.

    Since becoming good friends over 12 years ago, Siu Wai, and Yeung Yin Siu had constantly kept in touch with each other. When Siu Wai was on the road, travelling by herself throughout wulin, she would always send a note by the pigeons to let Yeung Yin Siu know where she was and that she was okay. Yeung Yin Siu on the other hand was very easy to find as he only roamed within the Hennan province between, Kaifeng, Luoyang, and Hennan. Regardless they had agreed that they would always meet up for special occasions like birthdays, festivals, and celebrations. Early in the year, Siu Wai, had celebrated Yeung Yin Siu’s 20th birthday in Kaifeng. As Siu Wai’s birthday was coming up soon, it was Yeung Yin Siu’s turn to make an effort to celebrate with her.

    Siu Wai immediately knew what Yeung Yin Siu was thinking. This made it harder for her to take as she gave a slight snort. As the anger and pain of a broken heart surged through her heart, she actually felt inclined to thrust her sword forward and take Yeung Yin Siu’s life. She would then take her own life and ensure that they would spend an entirety in the underworld together. She starred into Yeung Yin Siu’s eyes as these thoughts entered her mind. Her own eyes radiated with a bright red glow as she creased her brows. She half wanted to thrust the sword forward and half of her couldn’t bear to do so. Tit Yum Ching became a little concerned watching on the side. Even she could not guess what was on Siu Wai’s mind. But she did not want to speak up or say a word. Afraid that Siu Wai, having lost her mind, may actually proceed ahead with murdering Yeung Yin Siu. But another thought crossed Siu Wai’s mind as she thought that love is a confusing game. She did not totally believe that she had lost Yeung Yin Siu’s heart.

    After a long while Siu Wai appeared to have regained her composure. She lowered her sword before turning her back on Yeung Yin Siu once more. She was still angry at him of course. She gave a long sigh before saying, “I’m heading down South to investigate a personal matter! Don’t worry! I’ll write!”.

    Yeung Yin Siu relaxed upon receiving reassurances from Siu Wai that she would continue to write to him. She was just about to disappear into the darkness when she stopped in her tracks. This surprised both Yeung Yin Siu and Tit Yum Ching. Reaching into her pockets she took out four small porcelain bottles before lofting them in the air towards Yeung Yin Siu. She shouted, “These are for you! Catch!”.

    Yeung Yin Siu stretched out a hand and caught all four bottles in his grasp. He asked in a curious tone, “What are these for?”.

    Folding her arms, Siu Wai explained, “Two of the bottles are filled with my blood and two of the bottles are empty!…”.

    “Filled with your blood? Whatever for?”, questioned Yeung Yin Siu a little stunned.

    “Humph! Don’t interrupt!”, protested Siu Wai sounding very annoyed.

    Casting a glance over her shoulders at Yeung Yin Siu, she continued, “I’m sure you understand what Chief Fung has already told you! That our blood have become as one and that you’ll feel a burning pain whenever I’m not in your company! If you take two drops of my blood a day, it will help to ease that pain! But you’ll still feel a slight tinge but it will still be bearable”. She still did not want to mention that Yeung Yin Siu would only feel the pain if he thought, was touched, or slept with another woman. By doing so she would admit that she had totally lost Yeung Yin Siu’s heart. Besides he had heard Yeung Yin Siu’s promise to Fung Lau Sit earlier in the evening, that he would not marry another woman for another 5 years. So there was still plenty of time in her mind to convince Yeung Yin Siu that he truly loved her.

    “Thanks!”, replied Yeung Yin Siu as he placed the two heavier bottles in his pockets. It was obvious that these two were filled with Siu Wai’s blood.

    “You want me to fill these two bottles with my own blood?”, questioned Yeung Yin Siu whilst starring at Siu Wai.

    “That’s correct!”, replied Siu Wai.

    Yeung Yin Siu proceeded to take out a small knife from his pockets before slashing his left wrist. He placed it over the opening of one of the empty porcelain bottles to fill it was his blood. After filling the first bottle he proceeded to fill the second. He then sealed his pressure points around his wrists to prevent further bleeding. Throwing the two bottles back towards Siu Wai, he remarked, “Sister Siu, these are for you! Catch!”.

    Siu Wai twisted her body and caught the two bottles in her grasp. She immediately placed them into her pockets before turning to leave. But she had one final thing she wanted to explain to Yeung Yin Siu. She said, “These bottles of blood will only last for around 2 months! You’ll need another two bottles from me in two months time!”.

    “Of course! I’ll visit you on your birthday!”, replied Yeung Yin Siu with a smile.

    Siu Wai did not reply. She utilised her lightness kung fu before disappearing out of sight. Tit Yum Ching waited for Siu Wai to leave. She remarked after a little while, “Well aren’t you going to take a couple drops of blood to ease your pain?”.

    “Whatever for? There are only two bottles here, so I have to save every drop of blood for whenever I need them the most!”, replied Yeung Yin Siu without giving Tit Yum Ching’s question too much thought.

    Tit Yum Ching folded her arms again before giving a slight, “Humph”. She gave a slight cursory look at Yeung Yin Siu.

    Yeung Yin Siu and Tit Yum Ching proceeded back towards the bank of the lake. They stood on the small bamboo raft once more. Yeung Yin Siu picked up the long bamboo pole and started to guide the raft across the lake. It had become quite foggy by now so he could not see to the other side of the bank. He asked in a curious tone, “Why are we crossing the lake?”.

    “To save the Chancellor of Wulin!”, replied Tit Yum Ching as she stared at the moon.

    “Save the Chancellor of Wulin? From what?”, asked Yeung Yin Siu in total shocked as he increased his speed in guiding the small bamboo raft across the lake.

    “Don’t you know? He’s walking into a direct ambush! Many men have set out to murder him tonight, prior to the urgent summit at Shaolin! They see him as a threat! We can’t allow that to happen so we must hurry”, replied Tit Yum Ching in some urgency.

    Yeung Yin Siu didn’t have to think twice about it. Earlier in the day he had seen Bak Fung Wan drinking at the ‘Fat Elephant’s Tavern’ with Reverend Guy Hung. He knew that he had ignored a warning from Tit Yum Ching and had gone to seek an appointment with Beggar Leung of the ‘Dirty Faction’. He also knew that the ‘Fabulous Five’ of the Songshan Sect along with the many apprentices had followed after Bak Fung Wan. So it was certain that countless trouble confronted the ‘Gentleman Sword’. He remembered the poem from his dreams and couldn’t help but wonder whether Bak Fung Wan’s time was up.

    “I must do my best to save him”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly as he channelled his inner energy into the long bamboo pole and made rapid progress across the lake. He knew that he needed to save Bak Fung Wan from the impeding danger at all cost. As they reached the other side of the lake, they could hear a number of people shouting out loud and the sounds of clashing weapons in the distance nearby. But the sound seemed to be echoing and rebounding off the mountain ranges. So they couldn’t really tell the direction in which those sounds were coming from. A thick mist covered the ground preventing everyone from being able to see clearly. Yeung Yin Siu and Tit Yum Ching immediately hopped off the bamboo raft before racing up towards the jetty. They raced in the general direction of the sounds of the clashing weapons. The violent clashing of weapons seemed to have ceased in around 10 minutes time. The frantic shouting had also disappeared. The night was suddenly dead silent. It gave Yeung Yin Siu and Tit Yum Ching an errie feeling as if something bad has just happened.

    “Dam! Have we taken the wrong turn?”, remarked Yeung Yin Siu out loud as he stopped in his tracks. Looking around to observe their surroundings more closely, he noticed that they had run into another dense forest. Thick willow trees blocked their way forward. They could only turn left or right or go back the way they came.

    “I don’t know! I think we’re lost!”, replied Tit Yum Ching whilst shaking her head. Unlike Yeung Yin Siu, her lightness kung fu and inner energy appeared to be very low. She was at this moment panting a little, trying her hardest to catch her breath.

    “Shhh! I think I hear something!”, interrupted Yeung Yin Siu whilst placing his right hand in the air. He listened carefully to the gentle evening breeze, and could just make out faint ‘metallic scrapping’ sounds towards the right side from where they stood. Placing a finger over his lips to indicate to Tit Yum Ching to remain quite, he proceeded cautiously towards the source of the sound. He drew his black dragon sword in preparation for a battle. Tit Yum Ching followed him closely behind. She also drew her iron blood sword to defend herself from a surprise attack. As they approached closer and closer to the source of the strange ‘metallic scrapping’ sound they could hear a loud thunderous ‘scream’ that sent a shiver down their spines. It appeared as if someone had just been brutally murdered. The ‘metallic scrapping’ sound only got louder and louder as they approached. Yeung Yin Siu’s heart beat faster and faster as a result. Soon they approached a clearing in the forest. He gripped his sword tightly as he had no idea what they were up against.

    End of Chapter 19.
    "Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare

  15. #95
    Senior Member Grundle's Avatar
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    WAH!!! What a way to end the chapter lor!!!! This was great, I can't wait to see what comes next. Been a silent reader for some time, I just want to say you area good writer I really like your style. Keep up the good work!!
    --=={Grundle}==--

  16. #96
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    Some people have wondered when my next update will be.

    I can advise that the complete 'Chapter 20 - The Rescue' will be up within the next couple of days. I've taken a break from writing the past month as a result of dedicating free time to watch the NBA play-offs and Euro 2004 championships. Now that they're over, things should be back to normal.
    "Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare

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    hey! you got really really lots of twist and turns in ur story. I wonder how in the world you are going to tie the ends together. It would be interesting to watch. Are you going to leave them there and never appear again in the story or what? lol... update soon!

  18. #98
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    Chapter 20 - The Rescue

    Below is the first installment of prehaps the longest Chapter in this story. Yes, even longer than Chapter 4 - The Duel. A number of complex issues to explore within as our heroes attempt a rescue clouded with plenty of confusion....
    "Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare

  19. #99
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    Default Chapter 20: The Rescue

    Chapter 20: The Rescue

    As the night looms, the temperature drops. The fog provides a thick white blanket shielding one’s ability to see clearly into the distance. It is said that wherever there is a fog there is deep confusion that lies within. The harsh wind is blowing gently across the lake in the direction of the forest nearby. Soft rustling sounds echo through the valley as the branches on the willow trees sway back and forth in the evening breeze. Red, brown, and yellow leaves trickle gently down to the ground in the clear moonlight shining brightly from above. A number of loud splashing sounds could be heard through the sheering cold breaking the calmness of the night. The sounds are the type that is normally generated by the long bamboo poles piercing through the surface of the water to guide the tiny rafts down the lake. Indeed one could now see a thick cloud of black gliding through the mist above the lake. Like a swarm of black flies circling the carcass of a dead bull.

    “Quickly, they’re coming”, a coarse voice could be heard through the thick mist.

    “Who’s that? Didn’t I tell everyone not to speak until we’ve crossed the lake? Who’s coming?”, asked the confused voice of a man who had not expected the silence to be broken. But as this man peered into the darkness, all he could see was men dressed like him in black robes making their way across the lake. It was hard to tell whether the voice he heard came from his own group of men, or whether the voices heralded the presence of another group. His suspicions were further aroused when no further voice could be heard. Around five minutes has elapsed and yet there was still no response. This man began getting a little restless and nervous at the same time.

    “Who’s there?”, demanded the man once more.

    “Shh! Everyone maintain silence?”, shouted another man through the thick white fog.

    “Who’s that? How dare you give the orders”, replied the man initially confused by the breach of the code of silence amongst his group.

    A loud, “Humph”, was all that could be heard in response and the night became silent again. Everyone had stopped speaking for fear of creating further confusion amongst the group of people travelling through the lake. Not long after the black cloud reached the jetty on the Northeast corner of the lake. The old wooden jetty was lit up by over 20 bright peach blossom coloured lanterns strung high above on each side. Underneath the dim pinkish light, around 40 men wearing black robes, black hoods, and a black sash to cover the lower portion of their face could be seen emerging from the white haze. They quickly hide their small bamboo rafts in the thicket of bushes nearby before surrounding a lone man who was holding a red paper fan at the centre of the jetty. It was obvious that this person was the leader of the group.

    Counting with his fingers all of the men who stood before him, the man holding the red fan said, “Good you’re all here! But before we get to work I want to know who it was that spoke up earlier on!”.

    Casting a glance back at the lake, he could not see anyone. It was dead silent in the lake at the moment, so he was certain that they were alone. All of his men who travelled across the lake stood before him. Looking directly at the 39 men before him he said, “Well who was it? Speak up?”.

    But no one dared to respond. There was a kind of soft murmur as the men spoke silently amongst themselves to work out what was going on. Like their leader they were had all become confused by the event that took place just moments ago. So they were trying to uncover amongst themselves exactly who it was that spoke up. The man holding the red fan was just about to repeat his question, when he suddenly held his hand up in the air to indicate to his men to remain silent. Soft footsteps could be heard approaching them from the Southwest corner of the dense forest.

    “Someone’s coming!”, whispered the man holding the red fan as the men bunch closely together so they could communicate with one another without being heard by others.

    “Senior apprentice brother, what shall we do?”, asked another man.

    “Could it be that he’s here already?”, questioned another man.

    “No I doubt it! It was agreed that we would meet up elsewhere! He couldn’t have arrived already!”, reassured the man holding the red fan.

    “But what should we do? We can’t afford to have over covers blown! Otherwise our mission will fail!”, added another one of the men.

    Gently stroking the bottom of his chin to think for a moment, the man holding the red fan said, “We must succeed tonight regardless of whom comes across our paths! Two of you stay here to see what’s going on! Report back to me if you have any news! The rest of you follow me! We have work to do! Let’s move quickly and swiftly before that person gets here and uncovers our presence!”.

    “Yes senior apprentice brother!”, replied all of the men as 37 followed him closely behind, whilst two of the masked remained behind to observed the events that would unfold near the jetty. Wasting no time, they immediately leapt up onto the thick willow trees next the jetty. One to the right and the other one to the left. The night became silent once more as the two men watched and waited for the unknown person to emerge from the thicket of bushes and appear before them. Around 20 minutes had elapsed and yet nothing had happened. The yellowish light appeared to be approaching closer and closer to the jetty, but ever so slowly.

    The men were suddenly distracted when the silence of the night was broken by the sounds of soft ‘splashing’ once more as the calm waters are disturbed by a long bamboo pole. From a distance, even through the mist, one could just manage to see a small bamboo raft floating across the lake from the northern end. But the bamboo raft did not appear to be captained by anyone. The bamboo pole appeared to be dipping into the water to guide the raft across the lake all by itself. This was an unusual sight indeed. Could it be possible that the bamboo raft is carrying some sort of evil spirit, ghost, or even a deity across the river? For it is widely rumoured throughout wulin that a famous Heroine named Chow Ling So had drowned herself in the lake after her lover, a general named Fong King Bo, had died during the war against the Mongols fighting alongside Yeung Kai Seng, Chu Yin Cheung, and Tit Kiu Sam. Local legends have it that Chow Ling So’s and Fong King Bo’s bodies have never been found and that their souls remained trapped in the earthly world. For it was widely whispered that Chow Ling So had, prior to her death, vowed that she would not enter the underworld until she had found the soul of her lover so that they could share an eternity together. Had it been a local villager who had witness such a sight, they would have claimed that it was the sprit of Heroine Chow arising from the underworld to search for the soul of her lover.

    As the small bamboo raft approached closer and closer to jetty one could just manage to see that a lady had arrived and was now standing to the side of a large willow tree. But this was no ordinary lady. On closer inspection one could see that she was a toaist priestess of medium height and of slender built. She wore a flowing white and pink gown. Her hair had been neatly tied into a bundle at the back by pink and white ribbons. A chain of black holy beads was worn across her shoulders. Her face carried with it an air of youthfulness and the experience of the ages at the same time. It was obvious that she was a lot older than her outwardly appearances. A white dust pen was carried in her right hand. A pair of butterflies had been carved into the wooden handle. This lady was none other than the ‘Iron Priestess’ Cheung Cum, the former leader of the Divine Butterfly Sect. Judging by the way she was standing and peering out towards the lake it was obvious that she was waiting for someone. Her facial expression carried with it a an air of uneasiness and restlessness as she slowly moved the holy beads around her neck, one by one, with her left hand.

    Just at this moment a cold and chilling voice could be heard from the lake, “Why have you decided to seek me out tonight? I’ve already told you that we’ll resolve our 45-year feud after I’ve finished all that I have returned to China to do? What do you want? Speak!”.

    One could now see that the small bamboo raft had reached the jetty. The bamboo pole had been thrown to the side of the bank. But the captain of the bamboo raft was no evil spirit, ghost, or a deity. A lady emerged from out of the thick white haze. Her skin was as white as snow. A flowing white silk dress was wrapped around the slender body. She had a very pretty and youthful face, but her hair had gone all white. Indicating that she was actually quite old. Her hair was untied and was brushing up against the side of her face as she approached the jetty very slowly. Two long broad swords were carried in her right hand. Both of them were white, but one had the head of a red wolf and the other a pair of black butterflies carved into the hilt of the sword. This lady was none other than the ‘White Maiden’, Fung Mun Kit of the 7 Vixens. Her white dress was perfect camouflage in the thick white mist. Her facial expression was rather fierce and full of hate.

    “Humph! When will you realise that this world does not revolve around you and your own personal agendas. Whatever feud we have shall be resolved here tonight!”, replied Cheung Cum as she fixed her gaze at Fung Mun Kit. Her face looked as cold as a piece of ice. She walked up to the jetty moments later and stood around five paces before her former senior apprentice sister and foe.

    Giving a slight snicker she added after a little while, “I’ve known all along that you could not resist the strong urge to return to China for revenge! I’ve waited for this very day for a very long time! Why should I wait a few more years when I know that you’ve returned! Let’s get it over with now! Only one of us will live tonight!”.

    “Humph! Do as you wish but I won’t be the one to die tonight! You may not be aware but your life is entirely in my hands!”, smirked Fung Mun Kit in a confident tone whilst glaring at down at Cheung Cum.

    “Humph! That’s ridiculous! How can you be so sure that you’ll defeat me?”, questioned Cheung Cum as she shot a curious look back at Fung Mun Kit. A touch of surprise and shock appeared on her face. She was no longer as confident as before.

    Seeing the puzzled look on Cheung Cum’s face, Fung Mun Kit added, “A clairvoyant once told me that on a night when the cloud descends from the heavens to cover the earth with a white haze that luck will be on my side! And it so happens that tonight is such a night!”.

    Pausing for a moment she continued, “But before I kill you! I must ask you one thing!”.

    “Humph! You place too much trust in clairvoyants! That will be your downfall!”, snickered Cheung Cum as she turned her head away.

    As she turned around she gave a slight sigh. It was almost as if she could guess what was on Fung Mun Kit’s mind. Folding her arms as continued, “What do you wish to know?”.

    “We were the best of friends since childhood! I treated you like a little sister! Why did you decide to turn against me? I know that it can’t possibly be over the leadership of the Divine Butterfly Sect, as I had previously thought, because you’ve given that up to your 3rd senior apprentice after only just 20 years! I want to know the truth! Speak!”, demanded Fung Mun Kit in a raised voice.

    “You want to know why? We were only friends because you managed to fool me into thinking that you were human! But the truth is that you aren’t! You’re nothing but a wicked vixen! Therefore I must defy and kill you! Good and evil cannot co-exist!”, responded Cheung Cum as she waved her dust pen so that the threads went from resting on the side of her right arm to left.

    “Humph! I don’t believe you’re telling me the truth!”, shouted Fung Mun Kit as she turned her head away.

    Pausing for another moment, she explained, “Besides I never knew my own origins and background when master accepted me as an apprentice! I was just five years old then and I thought that I was an ordinary human orphan just like everyone else! It was not until I reached 13 years of age that I realised the truth! I was born this way and that’s something that I cannot change!”.

    As a child Fung Mun Kit liked eating her meat raw but she did not know why. In fact most of the Divine Butterfly Sect apprentices were vegetarians and her eating habits were particularly unusual. But her master never suspected anything. When Fung Mun Kit reached the age of 13 years of age, she finally realised that there was indeed something strange about herself. She could smell drops of flesh blood being spilled miles away and whenever she smelt hot blood she started to get hungry. 13 years of age is the age at which a vixen reaches puberty and required hot blood to quench their hunger. One time she could not control her cravings and drained the blood from a cow. At the time she was really puzzled by it all, but she really enjoyed the taste of hot blood in her system. From that night onwards she has been draining the blood from a range of animals to feed her hunger. But she could never bring herself to kill a human being. Particularly as she had grown up amongst them and had considered them her kin. She also treated her master like a mother and knew that it would break her heart if she carried out some cruel and inhumane acts.

    When Fung Mun Kit’s master uncovered this unusual habit about her senior apprentice she decided to let Fung Mun Kit live. She knew that Fung Mun Kit had a good heart and was a good person. Otherwise she would have killed and drained the blood from humans to survive like a normal vixen would. Besides, her master had no idea that Fung Mun Kit was actually a vixen to begin with and had treated her like a daughter from the beginning. But vixens are required to drain the blood of humans at their sexual peak in order to preserve their youthful appearance. That’s why Fung Mun Kit’s hair had gone all white by now. Even though she was quite old even in terms of her own race of people, her excellent inner energy meant that she would have preserved her youthful appearance had she drank human blood. Fung Mun Kit was one who relied totally relied on her supreme Divine Butterfly inner energy to preserve her youthful appearance.

    These and various other thoughts crossed Fung Mun Kit’s mind as she pondered over what had just been said by Cheung Cum. Turning around she defended herself by saying, “But I have never committed an evil act! That’s why master had decided to hand over the leadership of the Divine Butterfly Sect over to me even though she knew that I was a vixen! Why did you decide to turn against me? Tell me the truth!”.

    Cheung Cum did not immediately respond. She kept her arms folded and gave a little snort. She said, “Senior apprentice sister, don’t tell me you still don’t know after all of these years! You were the one who turned me into what I am today!”.

    Fung Mun Kit was slightly stunned at first by those comments. Taking another glance at Cheung Cum, she thought about how her junior apprentice sister was given the nickname of the ‘Iron Maiden’ by the masters of wulin and has now become a Priestess. It suddenly struck her like lightning. She asked, “Don’t tell me this has all been over a stinky man!”.

    “Humph, to you he was probably just another man! But he was the love of my life!”, shouted Cheung Cum in response unable to control her own emotions.

    When Cheung Cum was just 16 she saved the life of a young apprentice from the Kunlun Sect. Because his injuries were so severe at the time, she decided to take him back to the Butterfly Valley so that her master could heal him. Upon being healed of his injuries that same young apprentice from Kunlun Sect stayed at the Butterfly Valley for around two months. He and Cheung Cum became very close during that time. In fact Cheung Cum had become obsessed and fell deeply in love with that Kunlun Sect apprentice in just a very short space of time. But love is like that. There’s never a good and a bad time for it. It just happens, and when it does, it can overflow and take over everything that was once more important.

    Cheung Cum’s master then became very concerned upon realising that she had fallen in love. Cheung Cum’s master also notice that a number of her other apprentices had also been captivated by the young Kunlun Sect apprentice. He had a reputed name and fame after all. One night her master had enough and decided to request the Kunlun Sect apprentice to leave the Butterfly Valley the following day. That same night the Kunlun Sect apprentice had asked Cheung Cum to run away with him. Cheung Cum agreed without hesitation and had immediately packed her things to leave. But to her surprise, on the way to the meeting place to re-unite up with the Kunlun Sect apprentice, she stumbled across and overheard him asking the same question of her senior apprentice sister, Fung Mun Kit. But Fung Mun Kit turned him down outright and refused to leave the Butterfly Valley. Being the first time that Cheung Cum had been in love she never blamed the apprentice from the Kunlun Sect for breaking her heart. Though hurt, Cheung Cum still deeply loved him and kept him deep in her heart even after that night. In fact she had several encounters with the Kunlun Sect apprentice later on, and each time, he was able to convince her that she was the only one who was in her heart. That’s why Cheung Cum has carried a deep hatred of Fung Mun Kit ever since. In her eye’s Fung Mun Kit was the one most responsible for denying her of experiencing true love and prevented her from marrying that apprentice from the Kunlun Sect. Finding out that Fung Mun Kit was actually a vixen later on, only further fuelled her anger. After all vixens are renowned for their powers of seduction on men. So it was absolutely clear in Cheung Cum’s mind that Fung Mun Kit was the one to blame.

    As these various memories and thoughts stirred through her mind, Cheung Cum’s anger grew. She could feel her heart boiling and she looked upon Fung Mun Kit with total vengeance. Pointing an accusing finger she continued, “You knew I loved him! Why did you seduce and used ‘witch craft’ to take him away from me! Why?”.

    Suddenly Fung Mun Kit leant her head back to look at the moon in the sky. She then bursted out into loud continuos laughter. Such was the force of the ‘chi’ energy created by the laugh that surrounding trees vibrated and the many old leaves from the willow trees feel softly to the ground like a cloud of red and yellow in the white haze.

    “What the hell are you laughing at?”, questioned Cheung Cum, unable to control her emotions. To her it seemed as if Fung Mun Kit was mocking her in some way.

    But Fung Mun Kit did not respond. She just kept on laughing. Her laughter echoed in the valleys once more. It made various birds scattered from the treetops nearby. The laughed carried with it a touch of anger, mixed with deep sorrow. It was bitter sweet. For it was obvious that she too had suffered and endured much throughout her life. That’s why was has spent the majority of her prime, wondering through wulin all alone. After a while Fung Mun Kit shouted, “I seduced him? I used ‘witch craft’ to take him away from you?”.

    She laughed a little more before starring coldly back towards Cheung Cum. She continued in a little bit of a rage, “Let’s make one thing clear! He was never in love with you at all! That scoundrel was not capable of love! He’s just like any other typical male who is only concerned with world domination! He just wants to use people to gain dominance in wulin! That’s all he cared about! But you could not assist him in any way at the time! I am the senior apprentice and was always going to obtain the leadership of the Divine Butterfly Sect! That’s why he turned to me!”.

    “I don’t believe you! How dare you insult a great hero like him!”, protested Cheung Cum as she drew her dust pen and stood in an attacking position.

    Giving a slight sigh, Fung Mun Kit continued, “Junior apprentice sister, I don’t care what you think of me, or whether you think I'm right or wrong! But he truly deserved what he got in the end! I do not regret what I did!”.

    “You killed him and took away his secret kung fu manuals! Yet claim that you’ve done no wrong? I don’t believe you!”, rebutted Cheung Cum as she turned away.

    Smiling slightly, Fung Mun Kit added, “That’s what the rumours say and the shallow people in wulin will have you believe! Though he did not die personally under my blade, he did die because of me! And though I have possession of his kung fu manuals, I did not steal nor did I take them away from him! They did not belong to him in the first place!”.

    Seeing that Cheung Cum still did not believe that she was telling her the truth, Fung Mun Kit added, “If you don’t believe what I have said, you can ask Reverend Guy Hung and Priest Integrity for the truth! They were both there when he died!”.

    “I don’t care! Tonight is the anniversary of his death! Therefore I must kill you to avenge his death!”, shouted Cheung Cum once more unable to control her emotions.

    But Fung Mun Kit ignored her. She was still looking at the moon and could not resist giving a bittersweet laugh once more. She shook her head continuously in disbelief as she said whilst laughing at the same time, “So it was all because of a scoundrel! A man! That you’ve decided to defy me and took the leadership of the Divine Butterfly Sect with force! It was also because of this same man that you wished to kill me all those years ago and ruined my life! It is also because of that stinky man that you wish to kill me tonight!”.

    Cheung Cum did not elect to respond. She folded her arms and gave a loud, “Humph”.

    After her master had died, she handed over the leadership of the Divine Butterfly Sect over to Fung Mun Kit. Fearful that her two other senior apprentices, but particularly Cheung Cum, would try to overthrow Fung Mun Kit she wrote her intentions on a formal letter. She then sent a copy to Reverend Guy Hung and Priest Integrity, who were young heroes at that time with great influence in wulin to protect Fung Mun Kit should anything happen. Cheung Cum was able to successfully overthrow Fung Mun Kit from the leadership by exposing her as a vixen. Reverend Guy Hung and Priest Integrity were helpless to do anything about the sudden overthrow. After all it was said that wolves, vixens, and humans could not live together in peace. But Cheung Cum did not stop there. She convinced the young Chancellor of Wulin at that time, Bak Tin Fei, to pursue after Fung Mun Kit with all of the orthodox clans. Cheung Cum had set Fung Mun Kit up and claimed that she had become a spy for the Demon Cult and was plotting a devious scheme to control all of wulin. Bak Tin Fei and others fell for the trap. Fung Mun Kit nearly died at the hands of Bak Tin Fei as a result. It was lucky that her younger sister, Fung Lau Yin, and members from the 7 Vixens came to her rescue in her darkest hours that she managed to survive at all. That’s when Fung Mun Kit discovered that she was actually the missing 6th apprentice of the reigning leader of the 7 Vixens at that time. She was actually lost during a skirmish with the Divine Butterfly Sect many years ago and assumed to be dead. Upon this discovery, Fung Mun Kit, resided at the Valley of the Wolves for 5 years and resumed her place as a member of the 7 Vixens. But many of the noble heroes of wulin knew that Fung Mun Kit was misunderstood and still welcome her and consider her as a member of the orthodox clan.

    Fung Mun Kit’s snow white skin suddenly turned red as various thoughts and memories entered her mind. Her bitter past still very much haunted her. It made her heart fill up with fire and rage. She spoke up once more, “Junior apprentice sister, I did not blame you for many of the things you’ve wronged me past as you were obviously blinded and fooled by love! But at the same time I cannot ever forgive for all you’ve done and your involvement in leading the rest of wulin against the Poison Fungus!”.

    Now it was time for Cheung Cum to burst out in some laughter as she said, “Senior apprentice sister, now aren’t you just a total hypocrite? So this has all been over a stinky man as well! Ha! Ha!”.

    “Shut up! What would you know? At least the man I loved was an honourable person and a hero!”, protested Fung Mun Kit as she drew her white butterfly sword and held in her right hand.

    “Hero?”, continued Cheung Cum in a mocking tone.

    Smiling slyly for the first time she added with an insult, “You would consider a vicious murder a hero? You’d become a the biggest laughing stock of wulin if this ever got out!”.

    “He’s no murder! He’s never killed a single person who did not deserve to die! What he did was just and righteous! He ridded wulin of all of the so called ‘Heroes’ who are nothing more than just hypocrites!”, loudly protested Fung Mun Kit.

    After many years of hunting and trying to kill Fung Mun Kit without success, Cheung Cum, heard a rumour that she had fallen in love with the notorious Poison Fungus from the 5 Poisons Sect. Cheung Cum was a very vengeful and jealous person. The thought that Fung Mun Kit had found true love and happiness made her all the more angry. She then rallied a number of kung fu experts from the orthodox clans to eliminate the Poison Fungus. Cheung Cum was still young and very pretty at that particular point in time. She had no problems convincing a number of male suitors to help her in her quest for revenge. For many men had tried to woo her and sought her hand in marriage in those early years before she was given the nickname of the ‘Iron Maiden’. Though she hated many men, she found them very useful in helping her achieve her goals. But at the same time she would not allow any of them to get close to unlocking her heart. Her original nickname was actually the ‘Spring Maiden’. She was called as such because everyone considered her the most beautiful lady in all of China. Just by here mere presence she would light up a room with her grace and beauty. They were the good old days in her early adult hood, before she became really wicked and twisted.

    When the Poison Fungus was murdered, Fung Mun Kit, was not in China. She had gone on a quest to Japan with a group of elite fighters from the orthodox clans who still trusted her. They sought to recover a stolen treasure that belonged to Shaolin. Priest Integrity, and Reverend Guy Hung were amongst the group. When Fung Mun Kit heard news of her lover’s death, she became outraged and immediately left the group she was travelling with to return to China. She wanted to kill Cheung Cum to avenge the death of Poison Fungus. But she never did manage to make it back to China. When she had left the group, rumours had spread throughout wulin that she was a traitor and had betrayed a number of heroes who met an untimely death on the way to Japan. With many elite kung fu experts seeking to eliminate her upon her return to China, Fung Mun Kit had no choice but to take a detour passing through the outskirts of China before travelling to Nepal where she settled down for the next 40 years. But she kept abreast of all of the news and events that occurred in wulin during this time. When she heard news of the deaths of many of her enemies, she felt it was the right time to return to China to seek Cheung Cum out for revenge. But she had also returned for another purpose. To maintain peace in wulin.

    “Fine, I’m not going to argue with you any more! We’ve both reached the point of no return!”, interrupted Cheung Cum as she drew her butterfly sword from around her waist and held it in her left hand. She raised her dust pen in her right hand and stood in an attacking position.

    Staring down at Fung Mun Kit she added, “You’re here to avenge the death of your lover and so am I! Let’s get it over and done with! Draw your sword!”.

    Fung Mun Kit had in fact already drawn one of her swords. She was just about to attack forward when she decided to take at the pair of black butterflies carved into the hilt of the sword. It seemed to stir a memory that had been buried deep in her heart all of these years. The complexion of her skin went from red to snow white again. She gave a slight sigh as she unexpectedly stuck the point of the butterfly sword in the ground. It was a sign that she did not intend to use the sword during the battle. Taking a moment to collect her thoughts, she then drew the other sword with the head of a red wolf carved into its hilt and held it in her right hand. A flicker of red light flashed on the edge of the blade underneath the dim light. Just when she was just about to attack, Cheung Cum could be heard asking in a rather curious tone, “What are you doing? Why aren’t you using both of your weapons?”.

    “Because I’ve made a promise! It was master’s dying wish that members of the Divine Butterfly Sect do not feud amongst themselves and kill each other! So I won’t use the butterfly sword or any kung fu from the Divine Butterfly Sect to defeat you! Tonight when I fight you I am a member of the 7 Vixens clan, and you are my enemy!”, replied Fung Mun Kit. She now stood in an attacking position with two fingers pointed forward in place of her butterfly sword, and the red wolf sword above her head pointing down towards her enemy.

    “Fine, do as you wish! If you wish to fight me in a disadvantaged position, it is of your own choosing! It doesn’t really matter one way or another! Because tonight I will rid wulin of one more evil vixen!”, shouted Cheung Cum as she twisted forward and slapped at Fung Mun Kit with her dust pen.

    The attack came hard and fast cutting diagonally down towards Fung Mun Kit’s right shoulder. Fung Mun Kit dodged to the side having not expected this kind of move from her junior apprentice sister. She was caught a little unexpected as she had been moving to the right and was nearly caught by the fine silk threads of the dust pen. As personal apprentices of the former leader of the Divine Butterfly Sect, both Fung Mun Kit and Cheung Cum had duelled and sparred with each other to refine their techniques many years ago. Cheung Cum had always attacked from the left and thus Fung Mun Kit had expected an attack on that side of her body. But how could Fung Mun Kit have guessed that Cheung Cum had changed her fighting techniques a little since those battles many years ago. Besides Cheung Cum was now using a dust pen with her right hand, instead of sword. Cheung Cum had also guessed Fung Mun Kit’s strategies to defeat her. She knew that Fung Mun Kit was aware of her attacking and defensive strategies. So she decided to alter them for the night to throw Fung Mun Kit off. They exchanged another 20 to 30 stances in quick succession without breaking a sweat.

    From a distance Cheung Cum appeared as graceful as a butterfly in Spring flying casually from flower to flower. Her moves were refined, soft, and elegant. Fung Mun Kit on the other hand looked as fierce as a hungry wolf. Her moves carried with it sheer destructive power. Bits of dust and debry flew up from wherever she went. Trees shook whenever these two elite fights exchanged blows and clashed weapons. Such was the strength of these two fighters. After the 33rd stance, Cheung Cum appeared to be struggling and her moves became slower and slower. The dust pen in her right hand moved just one step to slow to be causing Fung Mun Kit any kind of trouble. The sword in her left hand appeared to be moving a little bit slower to defend her vulnerable body from Fung Mun Kit’s continuous thrusts. Fung Mun Kit’s eyes lit up upon seeing that Cheung Cum was struggling slightly. She immediately visualised and then executed three stances which she thought would defeat her junior apprentice sister.

    With the first stance, Fung Mun Kit, attacked towards the right kneecap of her enemy. It was a low attacking move and with the sword thrusted down, would expose her entire upper body to a potential counter attack. Cheung Cum recognised and immediately seized this opportunity. She lowered the sword in her left hand in a diagonal motion to cover her right knee. She then slapped down with her right hand aiming directly for Fung Mun Kit’s exposed forehead. A ‘clang’ echoed through the forest as the two swords clashed just before Cheung Cum’s right knees. But the dust pen continued in a downward motion. Just when it appeared as if the dust pen would strike on Fung Mun Kit’s forehead and take her life, Cheung Cum let out a loud cry of “Ah Ya”. A soft ‘thud’ sound was heard moments later as the dust pen dropped to the ground.

    “Incredible”, shouted Cheung Cum in awe and amazement as she looked down towards her right forearm.

    With two fingers pointed forward like an extra sword, Fung Mun Kit, had managed to seal the pressure point on Cheung Cum’s right forearm with her second stance. Such was the force of the blow that it caused Cheung Cum to drop her dust pen. Fung Mun Kit had left enough angle on her attack to ensure that the dust pen would not strike her forehead and take her life. She had also executed the move late enough to lure Cheung Cum into continuing with the attack to the point that she could not retract the dust pen in time to defend herself against the counter attack. Fung Mun Kit had created an extra sword when she had none in her hand and gained the advantage. Having dropped her primary weapon, Cheung Cum, was slightly paralysed and unsure as what to do next. But before she had a chance to react, she cried out loud, “Ah Ya”, once more as she was sent crashing against a tree. Fung Mun Kit had continued forward with her left hand and struck her with a ‘Phantom Palm’.

    Cheung Cum coughed up a mouthful of blood as she struggled back onto her feet. She had dropped her sword when she collided into the tree and was now frantically turning her head left and right to search for it on the ground. But it was all in vain as she lost sight of it. Perhaps it was because she was in a frantic rush and panic stricken that she was unable to locate her weapon. Either way she knew for certain that Fung Mun Kit would attack again. She groaned inwardly as a white blur raced across from left to right. A flash of red aiming directly for her heart. A move she knew she could not avoid. A move she knew she could not defend against. A move she knew would end her life. Cheung Cum figured that she only had seconds to live if that. Her heart was racing still. Half wanting to pick up a weapon to defend herself, and half wanting to give up. She had lived many years on this earth. As Fung Mun Kit charged at her, it seemed to happen all in slow motion. Reaching into her pockets she took out a finely crafted piece of a square jade. It had the character “forever” carved into it. Cheung Cum was suddenly filled with peace. All of the anger that had stirred in her heart disappeared. Though it was still filled with some sorrow as a singular tear rolled slowly down her face. But she still managed a smile. Looking directly forward she saw the tip of a sword that was to end her life. And she seemed to be welcoming it with open arms. She closed her eyes to meet death never expecting to open it again.

    (To Be Continued)
    "Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare

  20. #100
    Senior Member rourou's Avatar
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    one word - WOW

    can't wait for the next update!!

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