looks like Cheung Cum isn't so bad after all. LOVE. Looks like it really brings alot of trouble for everyone.
looks like Cheung Cum isn't so bad after all. LOVE. Looks like it really brings alot of trouble for everyone.
I'm just posting to get this thread back online. It was lost during the transition to this new look website.
The rest of Chapter 20 should be up shortly. Have just decided to take a rest from writing for a little while...
"Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare
Glad this fan fiction is going to continue. I been a silent reader for a while. Keep up the good work Long.
I have been reading your writing long
I think it is great and I really enjoy reading it
Please do continue the story
But as the stroke of death fell upon Cheung Cum, a loud swooshing sound suddenly broke through the silent air of the night. The source of the sound came directly from behind. It temporary distracted Fung Mun Kit has she bent at the waist before twisting to avoid the small projectile that had been launched towards the middle of the back. A piece of fabric was torn from Fung Mun Kit’s white silk dress as the projectile flew past. Indicating that she had just managed a narrow escape from the clutches of death. It was obvious that the mysterious swordsman who had launched the projectile was highly skilled. A loud ‘clank’ echoed through the air moments later as the projectile struck into the tree. It was followed by a loud ‘puff’ sound as bits of dust and debry rose from the ground. Fung Mun Kit’s face lit up with a touch of horror upon turning around. All she could see was a cloud of purple and pink smoke, where Cheung Cum once stood. But she was no longer there. Just like that Cheung Cum had vanished into thin air. It was plainly obvious that someone had just distracted Fung Mun Kit, used a smoke bomb, and escaped with Cheung Cum. Whether the rescuers were Cheung Cum’s friends or enemies, one could not tell for certain.
Throwing her head back to glare up at the moon full, Fung Mun Kit, couldn’t help but give a loud curse of annoyance. She followed by slapping her right thigh in disgust. Cheung Cum had just been defeated but once again had somehow managed to escape from her grasp at the last minute. Feeling slightly disappointed, Fung Mun Kit walked over to retrieve her red wolf sword from the ground before sheathing it. She then proceeded towards the old willow tree to examine the small projectile that had struck into it moments earlier. Taking the small object in her hand, Fung Mun Kit, noticed that the projectile, was nothing more than a black metallic insignia in the shape of a square. At first glance the black metallic insignia did not seem like much. It was a plain insignia that was very sharp at the edges and could cut through flesh as if it were butter. It was a common weapon that was used by members of the orthodox clans. Just when Fung Mun Kit was about to throw the insignia away into the dark forest, she noticed that some words had been carved on the other side. Running her fingers across the surface of the insignia she gasped out loud, “Ha! The Mo Yung family!”.
Fung Mun Kit’s pulse raced as she took a quick glance around the dark forest. It was well known throughout wulin that where one member of the Mo Yung family appeared there were certain to be many more others lurking about. But she could not see or hear a single soul nearby. The forest appeared to be baron. Being a very experienced fighter Fung Mun Kit knew that something was not quite right and she was weary of falling into a possible ambush. Gripping her red wolf sword tightly she proceeded down the jetty towards the large willow trees on either side at the end. The chilling wind blew across her face as she walked. There was suspicion of death in the air, that made her shiver slightly. Though Fung Mun Kit was an elite fighter in her own right, she still had to respect the powers and abilities of the fighters from the ‘Mo Yung’ family clan. Each member of the ‘Mo Yung’ family were highly skilled in combat and could be considered as elite fighters in their own right. Her senses became alert of the potential lurking danger. At the same time, she felt the eerie sensation that she was being watched. That made her feel slightly uneasy and put her on the defensive.
After a while Fung Mun Kit regained her composure. After walking around to examine her surroundings it appeared as if she was indeed alone and not in any great danger. She was just about to walk over to the bank and retrieve her bamboo raft to make her way back across the lake, when she took a moment to reflect over the various possible reasons as to why the ‘Mo Yung’ family had intervened during the duel. Fung Mun Kit, became slightly confused as she thought out loud, “Why would members of the Mo Yung family want to save junior apprentice sister Cheung?”.
It was a troubling thought that weighed heavily on her mind. For it is well known to throughout wulin that the ‘Mo Yung’ family are very secretive in nature, and do not meddle in other people’s business without an ulterior motive. Besides, Fung Mun Kit knew that it was highly unlikely that Cheung Cum would have friends or associations within the ‘Mo Yung’ family. She has never heard of such associations in the past either. As these questions entered Fung Mun Kit’s mind she began to visualise the duel that had just taken place. It suddenly became apparent and obvious that Cheung Cum had been defeated all too easily by her, and that Cheung Cum’s powers had been greatly weakened. Though Fung Mun Kit still appeared to be slightly confused, it appeared as if she had finally stumbled across an obvious answer.
“Could it be that junior apprentice sister Cheung was seriously injured before the duel tonight?”, Fung Mun Kit thought inwardly. Though it appeared to be the most obvious reason, Fung Mun Kit still had her doubts. She started feeling a little uneasy as she folded her arms and pondered over all of the events leading up to the duel on this particular evening. Fung Mun Kit recalled the battle against the masked men on the Yellow River and realised that Cheung Cum’s powers had been suspect even then. It was now certain that Cheung Cum was just a shadow of the former elite fighter that was once ranked amongst the top 20 elite fighters in the orthodox clans.
“But if she wasn’t injured! What else could it be?”, Fung Mun Kit thought once more as she ran other possible scenarios through her mind.
Suddenly the most unlikely and yet most logical answer entered her mind. Wasting no time she immediately raised her right sleeve to reveal her forearm. Looking directly at the red dot near the elbow, she thought inwardly, “Could it be that she’s… She’s…?”.
After a while, she remarked, “No… That’s impossible…”.
Fung Mun Kit could not bring herself to believe that Cheung Cum had lost 50% of her inner energy. So she immediately dismissed the answer. Besides she knew the personality of her junior apprentice sister well, and was certain that she had only ever loved one single man in her lifetime, and that was many years ago. Cheung Cum’s over had also he died a long time ago. That’s why Cheung Cum had become a Priestess, or so Fung Mun Kit thought. But as the doubts surfaced in her mind, she took a glance towards the moon. It was now shinning gloriously above in the night sky. But something else had caught her attention as she was admiring the moon. She noticed a couple of shadows above the willow trees to the right and left of the jetty. Wasting no time, she immediately reached into her pockets before launching a couple black butterfly projectiles in the air towards the two shadows.
She yelled, “Sneaking about in the dark! How shameful! Get down here now!”.
The two masked men hiding above the willow trees took evasive action to avoid the projectiles. Both of the men landed on the ground moments later. The two men appeared to be slightly startled and surprised at being uncovered. They had momentarily lost their composure and were a little uncertain as what to do next.
“Who the heck are you two people? What are you doing here? Where do your allegiances lie? Speak!”, demanded Fung Mun Kit as she drew her butterfly and red wolf sword to defend herself.
The masked man on the left was the first to regain his composure. He immediately said to the other masked man, “Quick, let’s report this incident to senior apprentice brother!”.
The masked man on the right nodded. Wasting no time, the man on the left utilised his lightness kung fu and raced in a northerly direction. The masked man drew his sword and was dragging it on the ground, making a sort of metallic scrapping sound as he ran. The man on the right utilised his lightness kung fu and ran in an easterly direction. He too had drawn his sword and was scrapping it along the ground as he ran. The metallic scrapping sound was caught in between the mountain ranges and echoed back and forth, making it almost impossible to trace the source of the sound. They had intended to use the metallic scrapping sound as a distraction so that they could lose Fung Mun Kit.
Thinking that both men were somehow connected to the ‘Mo Yung’ family, and were somehow involved in the earlier rescue of Cheung Cum, Fung Mun Kit became slightly outraged. She was determined to capture and question the men. Glancing in a northerly and then easterly direction, Fung Mun Kit could still hear the metallic scrapping sounds. Although they were getting fainter and fainter with each passing moment. But she was still able to determine that the two masked men were still very close by. Fung Mun Kit guessed that both of the masked men were using the metallic scrapping sounds, to distract and confuse her. She was certain that they would meet up at a predetermined location upon losing her. Upon reaching this conclusion she immediately utilised her lightness kung fu and dashed off on a northwesterly direction. She hoped to cut both of them off along the way. As she ran into the dark forest she continued to pay close attention to the metallic scrapping sounds.
As Fung Mun Kit raced deep into the forest, she unexpectedly ran into a clearing near a ridge. Another five masked men in black robes stood before her with their backs turned. They stood in a crouched position behind a thicket of bushes and did not appear to notice her presence. All of their gazes were fixed on a small dirt path below the ridge. The five men appeared to in the process of laying an ambush. Having gotten themselves into a desired advantageous position, they were just merely were waiting for the unsuspecting fool to fall into their trap. Even though these men had their backs turned towards her, Fung Mun Kit could notice that they were dressed slightly differently than the other two masked men that she had encountered earlier. These five men wore a black mask to shield the upper portion of their face from sight. The two masked men she encountered earlier wore a black sash to cover the lower portion of their faces.
“Could these men be on the same side as the other two masked men?”, Fung Mun Kit thought inwardly upon approaching the group of five men in some stealth from behind.
Suddenly another thought crossed her mind, “Perhaps these men are the ones connected with the ‘Mo Yung’ family!”.
Either way she was certain to capture at least one of the masked men alive, so that she could question them. She had now become quite curious as to what all these people were doing in the dark forest. She was also a little troubled upon realising that there were two different groups of masked men lurking about. It was obvious that something was going to happen, and that these men were up to no good. Otherwise they wouldn’t have covered their faces with a black mask or a black sash. In fact she had now recognised that these were the same group of people whom had attacked the Divine Butterfly Sect on the Yellow River. She had previously clashed with this group of people and had in fact been tracking them ever since that event. So it was by pure luck that they had unexpectedly appear right before her eyes on this very night. It seemed as if fate was presently on her side.
As Fung Mun Kit snuck up towards the five men to seal their pressure points, they could be heard remarking to each other, “Did you hear that weird scrapping sound? It appears as if someone is approaching us from the south!”.
“Could it be him?”, another one of the masked men questioned.
“Impossible!”, said another man. After a pause that man continued, “It’s not time yet!”.
A loud ‘snap’ echoed through the ridge as the men conversed with each other. Fung Mun Kit had accidentally stepped on a small branch and snapped in half. She was at this moment cursing herself for the untimely error. The five men jumped up in shock and amazement at having been caught off guard. They immediately reached for their swords before turning to the source of the sound. Upon seeing that it was Fung Mun Kit, the five men simultaneously remarked, “Ha! What the heck?”.
“It’s the White Maiden! How did she get here!”, remarked another.
“Quick! Let’s get out of here and report back to second senior apprentice brother!”, remarked one of the men.
Thrusting both of her swords forward to attack the men, Fung Mun Kit shouted, “Not so fast! You’re not going anywhere!”.
Sparks fly from the edges of the swords as the blades collided. Providing a sparkle of golden yellow light, red and white flashes as Fung Mun Kit attempted to defeat and then capture the five masked men. Such was the high intensity of the fighting that the clashing of the swords and the loud shouting echoed between the mountain ranges. The sounds of the fierce battle could be heard miles and miles away. It was certain to attract unwanted attention. The masked men were weary that Fung Mun Kit had help close by, and vice versa. After 50 exchanges and lethal passes against their powerful foe, one of the masked men finally spoke up, “Quick, let’s retreat and meet up at the secret location!”.
The other four men complied as they threw a smoke bomb towards Fung Mun Kit before racing off in different directions. Fung Mun Kit was helpless to prevent them from retreating. All she could do was to retreat several paces to avoid the poisonous fumes being emitted by the smoke bombs. Once the smoke and the fumes had cleared the five masked men had escaped, leaving no trace or clues as to where they had gone.
“Dam it!”, cursed Fung Mun Kit as she changed directions and raced in a southerly direction.
“Why are they retreating when they outnumber me 5 to 1? Something must be wrong!”, Fung Mun Kit thought to herself. Though she was a highly skilled fighter, the five masked men were also very powerful fighters and would be difficult to overcome. In fact she would have been slightly overwhelmed had they continued to fight.
Fung Mun Kit was just about to sheath her sword when she heard some faint metallic scrapping sounds close by. She ran for what it seemed like 5 minutes, before the sound of the metallic scrapping became louder and louder. It appeared as if one of the earlier masked men was racing fast towards her. Just when Fung Mun Kit thought that she was finally going to be able to capture one of the masked men, the metallic scrapping suddenly ceased. A extremely loud shriek of “Ah Ya”, suddenly echoed through the evening air.
Despite being an experienced fighter, the pitch and horrid nature of the scream sent a shiver down her back. Wasting no time, Fung Mun Kit, increased her pace to investigate the scream. Not long after she arrived at a headless corpse laying in the middle of the narrow dirt path. Walking nervously over to the dead corpse Fung Mun Kit carefully examined the body. She leapt back upon seeing the wound on the shoulders. It was a very clean and crisp cut. Indicating that it was a very skilful swordsman who had just killed the masked man. In fact other than the Black Snake Assassin of the 13 Ghost Mountain Assassins, none one else in wulin had such capability to decapitate someone so cleanly. But word throughout the orthodox clans was that he was killed in a duel with the Gentleman Sword, Bak Fung Wan, many years ago. But it was obvious that it was a swordsman of equal skill who had just murdered the masked man.
“But where’s the head?”, Fung Mun Kit thought to herself as examined her surroundings. There was not a speck, drop, or trail of blood leading away from the body that would given an indication as to which direction the mysterious swordsman had taken upon murdering the masked man. That was particularly unusual given that the decapitated head was sure to bleed from the neck region.
Just as Fung Mun Kit was about to leave the scene and take a narrow path leaving back towards the jetty, another faint metallic scrapping sound could be heard directly west of her. The sound was slightly different to that of a sword being dragged along the ground. It sounded more like some kind of metallic spade or shovel digging into solid rock. Or the sound of a metallic chain and ball scrapping along the ground. It was hard to distinguish as it was being echoed back and forth through the mountain ranges close by. But the sound did appear to be coming from an open clearing in the forest. Fung Mun Kit’s curiosity was arose once more, and she was keen to investigate the sound. But she wasn’t as keen to meet the mysterious swordsman who had murdered the masked man. She kept both of her twin swords in front of her to guard against another possible ambush and proceeded towards the clearing in the forest. The metallic scrapping sounds got louder and louder in around five minutes time, indicating that she was getting closer and closer to the source of the sound.
She was about to part an opening in the thicket bushes for a better view of the events taking place within the clearing, when she heard some faint rustling sounds behind her. It sounded as if there were people making there way across the thicket of bushes just behind her. She immediately took precautions by hiding herself behind one of the larger willow trees next to her. She was fearful that she might run into the mysterious swordsman and thus sought to lay an ambush and gain the upper hand.
Not long after an old bearded man and a young lady dressed in black emerged from the clearing. The young lady could be heard remarking, “Be careful! I thought I saw something earlier!”.
“Where?”, asked the old bearded man as he stopped in his tracks and was panning around left and right.
“Over there!”, replied the young girl whilst pointing a finger towards the old willow tree where Fung Mun Kit was presently hiding.
Though the voices of the old bearded man and the young lady sounded familiar to Fung Mun Kit, she could not see them clearly through the thick mist and cover of darkness. She could not recognise whom the two people were. But she did notice that the old bearded man and the young lady were carrying very unusual weapons in their hands. The old bearded man carried a black sword that emitted a golden glow underneath the moonlight. The young lady carried a long broad sword that had a reddish glow.
“Who are these two people?”, Fung Mun it thought inwardly as she tried to examined them more closely. But she was out of luck, the thick white fog blinded her view.
But as Fung Mun Kit pondered over their identities, the old bearded man approached the old willow tree with his sword pointed in an attacking position. Moments later he appeared to have split into three people attacked forwards towards the old willow tree.
“Ha! The Divine Red Moon sword arts!”, remarked Fung Mun Kit out loud. She had lived for over 60 years and was thus aware of the move being executed by the old bearded man. It was a move she had not seen for many years. For it was well known throughout wulin that these arts had been lost following the death of Yang Kai Seng. That occurred shortly after the establishment of the Ming Dynasty. Fung Mun Kit was knowledgeable of the essence behind the sword arts being wielded by the old bearded man and knew she was in for a fight. She did not attempt to attack or defend, but instead, leapt back several paces before unleashing a number of butterfly projectiles against the three images of the old bearded man. Each of the projectiles covered the exact same spot on all three of the images. Fung Mun Kit used this strategy as she was certain that one of the images would be real, even though the chi energy was spread across the three images. Her constant projectile attacks forced the old bearded man several paces backwards. He was forced to defend and evade all of the projectiles being launched at him.
From the old bearded man and young lady’s perspective, Fung Mun Kit, appeared to be invisible. She was well hidden by the thick white fog, that it appeared as if she was a ghost who was launching projectiles at them. The old bearded man and young lady also seemed to be a little fearful as if they had just ran into the mysterious swordsman that had beheaded the masked man. So they were fighting against her as if they were fighting for their very lives.
Seeing that the duel was at a stand off the young lady in black gained enough courage to charge forward with the tip of the sword aiming towards Fung Mun Kit’s mid-stomach region. The attack from the young lady in black forced Fung Mun Kit to retreat several paces backwards once more. She was also forced to ceased her projectile attack on the old bearded man in black. A loud ‘clang’ echoed through the air as Fung Mun Kit lowered her red wolf sword to block the iron blood sword that was being wielded by the young lady in black. Suddenly a warm stream of energy travelled up to the red wolf sword, causing Fung Mun Kit a slight shock to the right arm. It came so unexpectedly that she was forced to drop the red wolf sword from her grasp.
“Ha! The Iron Blood Sword?”, remarked Fung Mun Kit out loud. She was aware that the Iron Blood Sword belonged to the ‘Tit’ family that had ruled the Demon Cult over many generations. But it was well known that the sword had been lost following the death of Tit Miu Lan, the wife of Yang Kai Seng.
A stream of cold sweat ran down Fung Mun Kit’s back as she thought, “Could it be that Yang Kai Seng and Tit Miu Lan are still alive?”.
Then another thought crossed her mind, “Impossible! They’re both mortals, and couldn’t have possibly lived this long! Could it be that this young lady in black is our…”.
Lost in momentary thought, Fung Mun Kit was caught slightly off guard as the iron blood sword came at her again. This time it was a diagonal slash cutting upwards towards the left arm. Fung Mun Kit straightened her black butterfly sword and just manages to block the attack. Though she suffered a slight flesh wound as a result of being late to block the attack. A stream of red blood started to flow down the white sleeve of her arm. She gave a curse at being injured so carelessly before reaching forward with her right hand in clawing motion. But she narrowly missed the young lady in black’s throat. From the corner of her eyes Fung Mun Kit could now see that the old bearded man was preparing to launch another series of attacks towards her. He had already spilt into three images and his attacks were aimed towards the right shoulder region. Fung Mun Kit knew that she was going to be overwhelmed and thus needed to capture the young lady in black to force the old bearded man to retreat. Sweeping forward with her right foot she managed to trip the young lady in black onto her backside. Fung Mun Kit was about to grab onto the throat of the young lady in black and hold her as hostage, when she noticed the half crescent red moon that had been painted on the young lady’s forehead.
Fung Mun Kit immediately recognised the young lady in black as the Chancellor of the Demon Cult, Tit Yum Ching. It was plainly obvious that the old bearded man with her was none other than Yeung Yin Siu. They had gone to investigate the metallic scrapping sound, before coming across Fung Mun Kit.
Pulling back her right hand, Fung Mun Kit frantically remarked, “Stop! We’re all on the same side!”.
Looking directly at her attacker for the first time, Tit Yum Ching cried, “It’s the White Maiden!”.
“Too late!”, cried Yeung Yin Siu as he was unable to pull back his strike.
Noticing that a sword was about to penetrate into her right shoulder, Fung Mun Kit, bent at the waist and narrowly missed the blow. Fung Mun Kit then picked herself up before retrieving and sheathing her red wolf sword. She then proceeded to reach into her travelling bag to find a piece of cloth to bandage up the wound on her left arm. Yeung Yin Siu also picked himself off the ground before sheathing his sword. He had a slight grin on his face. Never could he have imagined that he would run into the White Maiden in such a muddle headed manner, and begin attacking her without first finding out whom she was. After awhile, Yeung Yin Siu, started to pan his head around to observe their surroundings. He appeared to be alert for more danger.
Helping Tit Yum Ching back onto her feet, Fung Mun Kit said, “Greetings Chancellor Tit! My sincere apologies if I have offended you!”.
Tit Yum Ching was grateful to see that it was the White Maiden whom they had come across rather than some other elite fighter who may cause them harm. Smiling delightfully she replied, “Sister Fung, no offence taken! It’s difficult to recognise anyone through this thick mist! We thought you were someone else!”.
Casting a glance towards the old bearded man, Fung Mun Kit asked, "Chancellor Tit, who’s that?”.
“He’s my friend, Beggar Ho!”, replied Tit Yum Ching as she waved over to Yeung Yin Siu to join them.
“Beggar Ho?”, remarked Fung Mun Kit as she stared up and down at the old bearded man who was presently dressed like a Beggar Clan member from the ‘Dirty Faction’. She immediately recognised him as the same beggar whom assisted the Divine Butterfly Sect when the masked men were ambushed them on the Yellow River. But Fung Mun Kit noticed that there was something else unusual about the old bearded man in black. He was bleeding slightly from a couple of the flesh wounds that he obtained during the battle. Being a member of the 7 Vixens clan, Fung Mun Kit could smell drops of blood miles away. Fung Mun Kit, found it a little weird that she was able to smell Siu Wai’s blood right before her, when Siu Wai was no where in sight. So she was a little curious about it, but had no time to question the old bearded man.
Turning her attention back towards, Tit Yum Ching, Fung Mun Kit questioned, “Chancellor Tit, what business brings you here tonight?”.
“I’ve been tracking a group of masked men ever since we uncovered them operating near the base of the Demon Valley! With the help of Yellow Air and Brown Wood, I’ve uncovered a secret plot to murder the Gentleman Sword here in Luoyang! I’ve ordered my men to station themselves on the outskirts of the Forgetting Villa nearby to prevent it from happening! We’re in the process of meeting up with them!”, replied Tit Yum Ching as she brushed the dirt away from her black silk dress and sheathed her iron blood sword.
After a while she asked, “Sister Fung, what business brings you here?”.
Looking back across towards the old bearded man, Fung Mun Kit replied, “I too have been tracking a group of masked men, ever since they ambushed us on the outskirts of Hennan following elections at the Demon Valley! I’ve tracked them to all the way to Kaifeng when they ambushed the Divine Butterfly Sect on the Yellow River! I was hoping to locate their headquarters but I’ve just lost them not that long ago!”.
Fung Mun Kit decided not to reveal that she had a duel earlier in the night with the Iron Priestess, Cheung Cum. It was a personal and private matter after all. Looking at the iron blood sword in Tit Yum Ching’s hands, Fung Mun Kit decided to ask, “Chancellor Tit, how did you manage to recover the iron blood sword?”.
Tit Yum Ching, was just about to respond, when Yeung Yin Siu, raised his right hand to indicate to them to stop speaking. He whispered, “Quickly, let’s hide!”.
“Why?”, questioned Tit Yum Ching looking blankly.
“Someone’s coming!”, replied Yeung Yin Siu as he leapt up onto a willow tree.
“I hear it too!”, replied Fung Mun Kit as she too leapt up onto a willow tree.
Tit Yum Ching’s inner energy wasn’t as well refined as that of Fung Mun Kit and Yeung Yin Siu, and thus could not hear over a great distance. So she was unable to detect that someone was now approaching them from the open clearing in the forest. She was thus the last to react and take evasive action. Just as she was leaping up onto one of the old willow trees to hide, she could hear the sounds of metallic scrapping directly underneath her. Looking down she noticed that someone had a firm grasp of her right foot and was pulling her towards the ground. Moments later it felt as if she had been slung over someone’s shoulders and that she was floating on air. Tit Yum Ching nearly passed out upon looking towards the side of the dirt path. The old willow trees seemed to be passing by at such a rapid rate that she could not distinguish between the individual trees and the thicket of bushes. It all seemed like a blur thus made her very dizzy. Indicating that the individual that had captured her possessed excellent lightness kung fu.
Tit Yum Ching wanted to roll away and escape, but then realised that her pressure points had been sealed. Her body felt numb all over. But she could not get a good view of the person who had just captured her. All she could do now was cry out, “Please help me!”. Her voice echoed through the mountain ranges.
(To be Continued)
"Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare
Chapter 20 - The Rescue (Continued)
It happened so fast, that Yeung Yin Siu, and Fung Mun Kit did not have time to react, before Tit Yum Ching was captured. Upon hearing the cries of “help” echoing in the distance, Yeung Yin Siu immediately leapt down from the willow tree and attempted to pursue after the black blur that had just raced towards the end of the narrow dirt path. The mysterious kidnapper had appeared to have taken a left turn. Just ahead of him, about 10 paces behind the black blur raced a white blur. It was obvious that Fung Mun Kit, with all of her experience, had been the fastest to react out of the two and thus managed to keep steady pace with Tit Yum Ching’s mysterious kidnapper. Despite being handicapped as a result of carrying the body of another person over his shoulders, the mysterious kidnapper was able to maintain a 10 pace lead over Fung Mun Kit. Yeung Yin Siu on the other hand was struggling to keep pace, despite his excellent hybrid of 13 Ghost Mountain and 7 Vixens lightness kung fu. Further demonstrating that the lightness kung fu of the other two far exceeded his own. By the time Yeung Yin Siu had turned the corner and taken a left turn, he had virtually lost sight of both Fung Mun Kit and the mysterious kidnapper.
He would have lost them totally had it not been for the constant cries for “help” from Tit Yum Ching echoing between the mountain ranges. Taking a moment to stop in his tracks to carefully listen to the various sounds echoing in the night, Yeung Yin Siu was able to estimate that the mysterious kidnapper was heading into a north westerly direction from where he presently stood. Yeung Yin Siu recalled that the mysterious ‘Forgetting Villa’ was situated close to the lake. He had also recalled the numerous rumours in wulin, which stated that there were many elite fighters who were living in seclusion in the dense forest where they presently were. It was said that many of these elite fighters were very protective of their territory and did not wished to be disturbed and that they would harm those that invaded their personal space.
Having gone through this line of thinking, Yeung Yin Siu immediately guessed, “I wonder if the mysterious kidnapper is connected to the Forgetting Villa?”.
This gave Yeung Yin Siu an idea. He immediately changed directions and started running in a northerly direction so that he would arrive at the main dirt path leading directly to the gates of ‘Forgetting Villa’. He wanted to get there first and block off the mysterious kidnapper’s path. For he was pretty certain that he had guessed correctly and that the mysterious kidnapper was indeed headed back to the ‘Forgetting Villa’ with Tit Yum Ching. What the kidnapper’s motives were, he was uncertain. With that thought in mind Yeung Yin Siu put his head down and charged forward into the dense forest to the side of the narrow dirt path without looking back. But his speed was slowed somewhat as a result of having to travel through the rough terrain of the dense forest. He also needed to zigzag and weave across the thicket of bushes to avoid colliding head on into the various willow and bamboo trees blocking his path. He proceeded running for what seemed like 10 minutes before arriving at another narrow dirt path. A headless corpse laying at the middle of the path obstructed his way forward. A little curious, Yeung Yin Siu knelt down to carefully examine the body. He could not help but notice the extremely the clean and crisp cut that had managed decapitated the head from the body in one fowl stroke.
“But where’s the head? And who could this man possibly be?”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly as he looked along the ground in an attempt to locate the missing head. But it was no where in sight. What was even more puzzling was that there wasn’t even a single drop of blood on the ground or leading away from the body that would provide clues as to where the mysterious murder had gone.
Yeung Yin Siu, noticed that the man laying on the ground, wore a plain black robe to cover his medium built body. Interested to uncover his identity, Yeung Yin Siu, reached across to remove the black robe and search through the man’s belongings. But he did not manage to uncover anything special clues that would enable him to identify or guess who the deceased man was. All he noticed was that the man laying on the ground wore a red robe with black trimmings underneath the black outer robe. The style and design of the robes were similar to that worn by the Songshan Sect apprentices that he had come across earlier in the city of Louyang.
“I wonder if this man is connected to the…”, Yeung Yin Siu pondered as he stood up. Though the man laying on the ground was dressed in a similar fashion to the Songshan Sect, he could not take it as being conclusive evidence. It is well known throughout wulin that it was not uncommon that the various clans within the orthodox, unorthodox clans, and even the Demon Cult had similar uniforms and attire.
But Yeung Yin Siu was still slightly troubled upon stumbling across the deceased body of the man laying along the ground. He recalled that he had heard a very loud and terrifying shriek earlier in the night. That occurred just moments before he had clashed with Fung Mun Kit. Immediately reaching a conclusion in his mind, Yeung Yin Siu guessed, “This must be the man who was murdered by the mysterious swordsman earlier in the night!”.
Yeung Yin Siu got back onto his feet moments later. He planned to move on, but something seemed to have caught his eye. Taking a moment to examine his surroundings more carefully, Yeung Yin Siu immediately froze on the spot and appeared to be totally shocked by what he saw. So much so that his eyeballs nearly pooped out from his head. There was a clearing in the forest nearby. Not far from the clearing stood three large willow trees in a triangular pattern. There were tiny drops of blood underneath one of the willow trees to the left. Bits of bark had been broken off from around the trunk of the willow tree on the right. It was obvious he had been there before.
Yeung Yin Siu looked bewildered whilst scratching his head. He remarked out loud, “How on earth did I manage to arrive back to where I started?”.
Totally confused, Yeung Yin Siu, decided to take another closer look at the surroundings. Peering directly into the dense willow forest, Yeung Yin Siu noticed something strange for the very first time. All of the trees were planted in a triangular formation and all of the bamboo trees in between seemed to be planted in an octagonal shape. From his current perspective, Yeung Yin Siu, now recognised that the dense forest consisting of various willow trees, bamboo trees, and dirt paths, appeared to be some kind of gigantic maze. When he originally cut across the dense forest he was required to weave around the various willow and bamboo trees. He now realised exactly how he had come to return to exactly the same location in the forest as when he set off. Smiling slightly, Yeung Yin Siu thought, “The only way to safely cut across this dense forest is if I mark the trees that I’ve passed with an X”.
With that in mind, Yeung Yin Siu, ventured back through the dense forest once more. This time he would mark every fourth tree with an ‘X’ as he proceeded forwarded. Though he had now lost valuable time as a result of taking the wrong turns within the dense forest, he was still certain that he would be able to rescue Tit Yum Ching from the clutches of her mysterious kidnapper upon reaching the gates of the ‘Forgetting Villa’. Although he was aware of the main path that led to the gate, he wasn’t exactly sure as to where the entrance to the ‘Forgetting Villa’ was located. After a short while, Yeung Yin Siu appeared to have been able to travel a lot deeper into the forest than on his previous trip. Not long after he appeared to be coming out towards another clearing. As he exited from the dense forest for the second time, he noticed that the night hand become dead silent. The only sound that could be heard was the sound of the gentle water in the lake brushing up against the bank. Tit Yum Ching’s cries for help had also ceased.
“Have I taken the wrong turn?”, Yeung Yin Siu couldn’t help but think inwardly.
He was totally shocked once more upon taking the narrow dirt path that led to the open clearing. Directly in front of him was a jetty that was lit up by over 20 peach blossom coloured lanterns. Over 40 small bamboo rafts and poles had been thrown over to the side of the bank. Indicating that a large group of people had already crossed the lake earlier in the night on the north side. He and Tit Yum Ching, on the other hand, had crossed the lake from the south. Carefully examining the ground, Yeung Yin Siu, noticed that the grass and surrounding area had been disturbed. There were various drops of blood splattered all around, indicating that a fierce battle had taken place earlier in the night. Following the trail of blood, he arrived at a small willow tree. The bark of the tree had been stained in blood, providing evidence that someone had coughed up a mouthful of blood onto it. He was just about to leave the scene when he noticed a whitish flash of light being emitted from the bushes nearby. Walking towards the thicket, he retrieved a long broad sword in his hands. Upon carefully examining the sword, he noticed the two black butterflies carved at the hilt of the sword. He immediately recognised the sword as that being commonly being wielded by the personal apprentices from the Divine Butterfly Sect. In fact the sword was exactly identical to Bak Tin Kiew’s own sword.
Yeung Yin Siu immediately assumed the worst as he cried out loud, “Tin Kiew! Tin Kiew! Where are you? Tin Kiew…”.
But there was no response. His voice echoed between the mountain ranges. After examining the sword, Yeung Yin Siu looked at his hands and noticed that it had been covered in blood. His heart raced once more. As is often the case when one is in love, that they fear the worst had happened upon uncovering the slightest clue that are remotely connected with their loved ones. Anxiety immediately swelled in his heart, even though he was aware that Red Flame, Blue Water, 3 Fingered Demon Zither, and 7 Fingered Demon Flute had been dispatched by Tit Yum Ching to save Bak Tin Kiew, and that they were supposed to meet up on the outskirts of the 'Forgetting Villa'. So it would be unlikely that Bak Tin Kiew would be in any great danger.
But at the same time, he knew that it was possible that something may have gone wrong during the rescue attempt or somewhere along the way. Yeung Yin Siu’s heart started to beat rapidly as the emotions of fear, worry, and concern grew over the safety of Bak Tin Kiew. He now had an urge to find her for himself to cast all of his fears aside. For he knew that his heart would not be at ease, nor could he rest, until he was certain that she was safe. The only way to be sure, was to actually find her. But he did not presently know where she was. He immediately cursed himself for taking Tit Yum Ching’s advice earlier in the night instead of pursuing the masked men who had attempted to capture Bak Tin Kiew.
“One cannot trust others to take care of matters of personal importance! Next time, I’ll take care of it myself!”, Yeung Yin Siu muttered underneath his breath as he recalled how he was persuaded by Tit Yum Ching. But how could Yeung Yin Siu, have known that he had actually stumbled across the same place were Fung Mun Kit and Cheung Cum had duelled earlier on in the evening and that the butterfly sword in his grasp actually belonged to Cheung Cum and not Bak Tin Kiew.
Yeung Yin Siu was just about to shout out loud again, when all of a sudden his earlier calls seemed to be answered as a young girl could be heard crying out loud in the distance, “Help! Please help me! Quickly! Help…”.
“Tin Kiew? Is that you? Tin Kiew…”, shouted Yeung Yin Siu in hastily reply, but he received no further response.
Channelling his inner energy to heighten all of his bodily senses and functions, Yeung Yin Siu could now hear the sounds of clashing swords not far from where he stood. Estimating the precise location of the cries for help, Yeung Yin Siu immediately utilised his lightness kung fu and raced off in that direction, thinking that it was either Bak Tin Kiew or at worst Tit Yum Ching who were calling out for his assistance.
Just a few moments had passed when Yeung Yin Siu arrived at another clearing in the forest. There was a small pavilion at the centre of the clearing. Two small lanterns were hung above the pavilion to provide much needed light inside. A small stone bridge ran across to the right side of the pavilion leading into another dense forest full of green bamboo trees. Not a single willow tree could be seen within this dense forest. The sounds of clashing appeared to be coming from directly within. Wasting no time, Yeung Yin Siu, immediately charged forward without hesitation. But just as he was about to enter the bamboo forest, after running across the stone bridge, two long bamboo spears shot out from within. Both spears were aiming for his right and left shoulder.
As Yeung Yin Siu had charged so recklessly forward without taking any precautions, he was almost caught off guard and was nearly struck across the shoulder by one of the bamboo poles. But he managed to react in time by twisting and bending down onto his right knee before sheathing his black dragon sword to chop the two bamboo spears in half. They immediately split into four pieces upon contacting his black dragon sword. As the severed bamboo spears landed on the ground, another eight bamboo spears shot out towards him. This time Yeung Yin Siu twisted left, before jumping into the air, and running up one of the larger bamboo trees. He then hopped across to the right side and landed safely to avoid all of the bamboo spears. He hacked, in half, with his black dragon sword those bamboo spears that came close to striking his body. Not long after, a shower of over 20 bamboo spears shot out towards Yeung Yin Siu. Realising that he was now in great danger and that he was going to be overwhelmed, he darted back over towards the tiny stone bridge, before jumping down into the tiny stream. The shower of over 20 bamboo spears narrowly missed him as a result. Also the chi energy contained in the bamboo spears had been diffused upon somewhat upon landing in the water. They could not penetrate his body even when the spears struck him before floated harmlessly away down the tiny little stream.
Upon having the narrow escape, Yeung Yin Siu jumped back onto his feet, before utilising his lightness kung fu to race into the forest. As he reached the entrance of the bamboo forest, another four bamboo spears shot out towards him. This time Yeung Yin Siu decided that he would utilise the ‘reflection in the moon’ stance, to split into three different images to dodge from the bamboo spears. They narrowly missed him once more.
As he proceeded forward, Yeung Yin Siu heard a voice on the left of the forest remarking, “What the heck! Which image do we aim for?”.
A voice could be heard replying, “I don’t know!”.
Upon overhearing these two voices, Yeung Yin Siu reached into his pockets and launched two 13 Phantom Venon poison needles into the forest. He would not normally use the 13 Phantom Venom needles during a battle, but he wanted to gain a quick and decisive victory so that he could rush to aid the young lady who had called for his assistance. The needles swished through the air at amazing speed, making it almost impossible to detect through the darkness, and various bamboo trees. Two to 13 Phantom Venom needles managed to pierce through the right shoulder of the two people hiding in the forest. Such was the precision and accuracy of the throw from Yeung Yin Siu. In fact only the ‘Romantic Swordsman’ Lee Siu Yan could have launched his projectiles with more accuracy under such similar circumstances.
The two people hidden within the forest could be heard crying out, “Ha! The 13 Phantom Venon needles! Who the heck are you?”. And then a loud scream of, “Ah Ya!”, simultaneously before coughing up a mouthful of blood. They twitched uncomfortably, as if they had been struck down by lightning, as a natural reaction to the poison. They rolled over and died without a murmur moments later. Indicating that they did not possess a high level of inner energy that was capable of withstanding the deadly effects of the poison before it reached the five vital pressure points. Eager to uncover the identities of his attackers, Yeung Yin Siu, raced into the bamboo forest before standing over the two deceased bodies to carefully examine them.
Kneeling over one of the deceased bodies, Yeung Yin Siu noticed that the attackers that he had just ran into were the ones dressed in a black robe, and wore a plain black mask to cover the upper portion of their face from sight. He immediately recognised these people as the same ones as that had pursued after Hua Ling Do and Bak Tin Kiew earlier on in the evening. In fact he recalled having fought on numerous occasions against these group of people. So he was now certain that the young lady who was calling out for his assistance was none other than Bak Tin Kiew. Before Yeung Yin Siu rushed off he decided to remove the black robes worn by the two people whom he had just slained. Upon uncovering the robes, he noticed that both of his attackers were wearing a plain jade green robe underneath. What was even more remarkable was that his attackers were both females, and not male as he first assumed. They were both wearing a white brassier underneath the green robe. Yeung Yin Siu was a little taken back by his latest discovery.
“Who are these people? Where are they from?”, he immediately pondered as he examined the various personal belongings of his two attackers. It was not the first time that he had been utterly confused and completely dumbfounded during the evening. But he was able to uncover some useful clues that would lead him to the identity of the female warriors that attached him. He uncovered that both of them had strapped by the side of their waist a short green bamboo stick. Neither of them were carrying a sword of any kind.
“Where have I seen these types of weapons before?”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly once more. He knew he had come across similar types of warriors, dressed in exactly the same manner as his two female attackers before, but he could not recall where. He was not able to think clearly at this particular moment as a result of his concern over the safety of Bak Tin Kiew. That was his primary focus for the time being.
But before he could give it any further thoughts, the loud cries of, “Help!”, echoed once more through the bamboo forest. It seemed to be a little more urgent than the previous cries. Once again Yeung Yin Siu utilised his lightness kung fu and ran forward to assist the young lady calling for his aid. Upon arriving at the scene of battle, he noticed a young girl around the age of 20 attempting to defend herself against 4 swordsmen dressed in black. The young girl was wearing a light blue dress that showed of her slender and slim body. A light blue veil covered the lower portion of her face. A pair of jade carefully handcrafted into the shape of a butterfly hanged down from her waist. The young girl wielded a long broad sword that had two black butterflies carved into its hilt.
From these features alone, Yeung Yin Siu was immediately able to recognised who the young lady in blue was. It was none other than a friend who he had met along his journeys. The one known as the ‘Jade Dragon’, and one of the ‘3 Jade Maidens’ of the Divine Butterfly Sect. The female in distress was none other than Yuk Long. It was the first time that Yeung Yin Siu, had seen Yuk Long, since the battle he had witness on the sidelines between the Divine Butterfly Sect and Siu Wai of the ‘7 Vixens’ clan on the outskirts of Kaifeng. What she was doing all alone in dark forest, one could not know for sure. But it was certain that she was in great trouble and was struggling to hold off her four mysterious attackers.
All of Yuk Long’s attackers were dressed in the exact same manner as the two that had attempted to prevent Yeung Yin Siu from entering the bamboo forest. They were all wearing a black mask to cover the upper portion of their faces from sight. One of the attackers wielded a sword that was rounded at the tip like that of a fencing sword. It was obvious that this swordsman was connected to the ‘Divine Tiger Sect’. Another swordsman wielded a halberd. The other two swordsmen wielded a standard broad sword. The hilt and handle of the their swords were made of black ivory. The four masked men were the aggressors in this battle, and were taking up an attacking formation. Each of the strikes from the masked men were executed with the intention to kill or cause serious harm to their opponent. Yuk Long on the other hand was simply using her butterfly sword and in combination with her sheath, as if it were twin swords, to defend the five vital pressure points on her body from being struck. On closer examination one could notice that blood was flowing freely from the right arm, and left thigh. It was obvious that she had already sustained various minor cuts and wounds during the battle. Further providing evidence that it had been on for quite some time.
After carefully examine the battle on the side and at the same time closely observe the various abilities of the four masked men, Yeung Yin Siu, cried out, “Sister Yuk, don’t be afraid! I’ve come to assist you!”.
Though grateful and relieved, Yuk Long was unable to acknowledge his presence however. She was, at this very moment, ducking her head to avoid a high slashing cut that aimed to decapitate her head, whilst blocking a diagonal slash towards her right chest with the sheath of her sword, and at the same time blocking the two direct forward thrusts aiming for her mid-stomach region with her butterfly sword. It was actually a miracle that she was not injured during the heated exchange. But she managed to bend here, twist there, and narrowly avoided the tips of the swords from cutting into her. Initially none of the masked men, including Yuk Long, seemed to pay much attention to Yeung Yin Siu when he had first arrived. They were all busy and were in the process of engaging in a series of heated exchanges. In fact they only became aware of his presence when he called out to let Yuk Long know that he had arrived to help her.
The intrusion from Yeung Yin Siu came so unexpectedly that all five of the fighters became startled and momentarily stopped fighting with each other. The four masked men leapt several paces back in defence before standing side by side. Their weapons were still drawn in an attacking position, but they did not take any action, as they stood back to carefully examine Yeung Yin Siu. Trying their best to figure out exactly whom he was and what his motivations were. After a while the four men huddled closely together to discuss amongst themselves the possible identity of Yeung Yin Siu, and whether to proceed ahead with their attack, or retreat to meet up with the others.
Yuk Long other the other hand took the opportunity to leap several paces away from the group of masked men to stand alongside Yeung Yin Siu. Looking at Yeung Yin Siu with a touch of relief and joy, Yuk Long remarked, “Beggar Ho! I am so glad to see you!”.
After a while she added, “What are you doing here?”.
But Yeung Yin Siu cut her short and immediately placed a finger across his lips to indicate to her to lower her voice. He did not want her to give away his identity so easily, even though he was just using a false name. This was a very critical matter, he thought, for he already had in mind a plan to force the four masked men to retreat without having to confront them. When observing the battle, Yeung Yin Siu, was well aware that the masked men were highly skilled and that even he would be overwhelmed if he were to fight alongside Yuk Long against them. He could not hope to gain any kind of advantage fighting against them 4 to 1. It was most obvious to him that the four masked men possessed excellent kung fu. So in order to defeat them, he needed to resort to deception and strategy. Something he knew he could achieve given the present location.
Noticing that the masked men were still chatting away amongst themselves, Yeung Yin Siu couldn’t help but ask Yuk Long in a low voice, “What on earth are you doing here and alone?”.
“I was sent by master to look for my…”, replied Yuk Long before stopping short.
The blood stained butterfly sword that was now strapped to Yeung Yin Siu’s waist had caught her eye. She asked, “Beggar Ho, how is it that you came across that sword?”.
“I picked it up not that long ago! I found it in a thicket of bushes near the jetty not too far away from here!”, replied Yeung Yin Siu with a curious glance.
After a while he added, “Why is it that you want to know? This sword belongs to a friend of mine!”.
“Your friend?…”, muttered Yuk Long slightly surprised by Yeung Yin Siu’s comments.
Following the battle between the Divine Butterfly Sect and Siu Wai, Yuk Long and the other apprentices headed back to report the incident to Cheung Cum and To Guk Fa. Cheung Cum was most displeased upon hearing that the younger generation from the Divine Butterfly Sect were unable to defeat and had allowed Siu Wai to escape. Making matters worst was that members of the Divine Butterfly Sect had grossly out numbered Siu Wai on that particular occasion. So her temper had reached a peak when she heard that Yuk Wah had challenged Siu Wai to a one on one duel without success. Siu Wah was subsequently punished to face the wall and mediate for three days and night without eating for her failure.
Such was Cheung Cum’s hatred for the 7 Vixens clan that she decided to ventured off alone to search of Siu Wai and challenge her to life and death duel herself. She had hoped to murder, or at minium teach Siu Wai a lesson for being so arrogant. For Yuk Wah vastly exaggerated her accounts of what was said during the duel. Informing Cheung Cum that Siu Wai had boasted and claimed that she would be capable of winning a duel with Cheung Cum within 10 stances. This made Cheung Cum even angrier. But despite her efforts, Cheung Cum was unable to locate Siu Wai. Her pride had suffered somewhat as a result. Her hatred only grew as memories of how her lover had been, according to her, seduced by her senior apprentice, Fung Mun Kit, who was a 7 Vixen, re-surfaced in her heart. Making matters worse was the fact that the anniversary of her lover’s death was fast approaching. So as the bitterness, anger, and grief swelled in her heart, she could not longer resist the temptation to write a personal letter to Fung Mun Kit requesting that the postponed duel be brought forward to settle their past differences. That’s how Cheung Cum arrived to be at the jetty earlier on in the evening.
As Cheung Cum had been away from the Divine Butterfly Sect for many days without contacting the Divine Butterfly Sect, To Guk Fa, became slightly concerned over her safety. She decided to sent Yuk Long on a mission all over Luoyang to locate her. Yuk Long wandered around Luoyang until the late hours of the evening. That was when she was informed by a local villager that had seen a Priestess dressed in white and pink robes making her way towards the dense forest near the lake, shortly after purchasing a lantern. Upon receiving this information Yuk Long decided to purchase a bamboo raft from the villager to cross the East Lake before entering into the dense bamboo forest. That’s when she stumbled across the four masked men who were in the process of setting up an ambush on an unsuspecting foe. Yuk Long knew she would be overwhelmed and thus immediately cried out loud for help. Fortunately for her, Yeung Yin Siu, happened to be passing through the jetty at that particular moment in time.
That’s why she had been curious about the butterfly sword currently in Yeung Yin Siu’s grasp. Yuk Long was almost certain that it belonged to her grandmaster, Cheung Cum, and no one else. She said, “Are you able to pass me the sword? I wish to examine it!”.
Yeung Yin Siu on the other hand believed the sword to be the property of Bak Tin Kiew and was thus reluctant to hand it over. After a while he unstrapped the sword before presenting it to Yuk Long for inspection. By now, he had relaxed somewhat upon realising that apprentices of To Guk Fa also wielded a similar type of black butterfly sword. So he was aware that it was highly possible that the sword did not belong Bak Tin Kiew after all, as he previously though. Seeing the anxious look on Yuk Long’s face Yeung Yin Siu became slightly curious and couldn’t help but ask, “Why are you so concerned? Do you know who this sword belongs to?”.
“I think it belongs to my…”, replied Yuk Long as she examined the handle and hilt of the sword very carefully.
But she was cut off, by one of the masked men, before she was able to finish her sentence. It was the masked man who wielded the sword rounded at the end like a fencing sword. That man shouted, “Old stinky beggar, who the heck are you? Why do you insist on being so nosy?”.
“Humph! He must be incredibly brave…”, remarked the masked man wielding the halberd.
“Or the biggest fool on this earth…”, added another.
“Or he must be tired of living!”, agreed the last masked swordsman.
Yeung Yin Siu folded his arms, and grinned slightly. He had already thought of a good plan to force them to retreat with little effort. He replied, “Humph! I’m afraid that I’ll only frighten you four by just merely mentioning my name! Besides the skills possessed by you four are so modest that you’re not even worth the effort!”.
Laughing he added, “Your two friends back at the forest died of fear upon noticing my presence! Ha! Ha!”.
“Ha! They’re dead!”, remarked the four men simultaneously whilst looking at each other in total disbelief and shock. But it was certain that Yeung Yin Siu would not be able to enter into the bamboo forest without first eliminating the two that had been sent to guard the pass. So the four masked men believed that Yeung Yin Siu was telling the truth. But they did not believe the other two warriors had died through fear of Yeung Yin Siu’s reputation and abilities alone, as he so claimed. So they huddled together once more to discuss and debate the situation amongst themselves. Yeung Yin Siu knew he could not hope to run away at this moment in time. Otherwise his plans would have failed. So he decided to stand firm until the four masked men had reached a decision. Perhaps he had caused enough doubt and confusion in their minds that they would immediately leave without a fight.
“What on earth is Beggar Ho doing? He’ll only make them angry and incite them to fight against us!”, Yuk Long couldn’t help but think inwardly with a touch of amazement. The last thing she wanted was to continue the battle she had earlier with the four men. She was in dire straits and struggling just before Yeung Yin Siu had arrived to lend a helping hand. Besides she was well aware of the skills possessed by both Yeung Yin Siu and the four masked men. Though Yeung Yin Siu’s skills were highly refined, she was not totally confident in his abilities to defeat the four masked men all by himself or even with her help. But how was Yuk Long to know what Yeung Yin Siu was up to at this moment in time. So she quietly stood to the side with a stun expression on her face. For there wasn’t anything else she could do or think off that would get them out of their current predicament.
Upon seeing the troubled expression on Yuk Long’s face, Yeung Yin Siu, decided to tap her gently on the shoulder and gave her a cheeky little wink. He did it to attempt to calm Yuk Long down and reassure her that he knew what he was doing. But Yuk Long saw right through this act and maintained a very troubled expression on her face. She also trembled slightly whilst clutching onto the blood stained butterfly sword that she had obtained from Yeung Yin Siu in her left hand. She gripped tightly onto her own butterfly sword in her right hand. It was obvious that Yuk Long was not yet content with dying on this particular evening.
Seeing that the four masked men had reach a unanimous decision amongst themselves and were about to confront them, Yeung Yin Siu decided to act first to further confuse them. He gave a loud, “Humph!”, before turning his head away in disgust. That was to indicate to them that he did not fear nor respect their abilities. After a while he added with an insulting laugh whilst waving his hand casually about, “Why haven’t you four decided to leave yet? You’re all very lucky that I am in a good mood tonight and do not wish to spoil the evening by getting my hands dirty with blood! So I’m allowing you four to leave here with your lives! Get out of my sight now! Otherwise I’ll have to change my mind”.
“Humph! How arrogant is this old bastard!”, immediately protested the masked swordsman with the halberd.
“We ought to teach him a good lesson!”, agreed the masked swordsman with the rounded fencing sword.
“Don’t worry about him! He’s only boasting here! I doubt his true abilities are as good as he says the are!”, added another masked swordsman.
“Let’s just attack them and see what he’s capable off!”, shouted the masked swordsman as he raised his halberd in an attacking position.
“Wait! Don’t act so rashly!”, interrupted the masked swordsman who had remained quiet during all this time. He seemed a little hesitant and cautious as he glanced up and down at the old beggar who stood before him.
“Why?”, questioned the masked man with the rounded fencing sword.
“He’s only a Beggar Clan member from the ‘Dirty Faction’! His skills can’t be that good!”, agreed the other masked swordsman with the broad sword.
“Let’s just attack and get rid of them so that they cannot foil our plans tonight”, insisted the swordsman with the rounded fencing sword.
“You’re forgetting were we are currently at!”, replied the masked swordsman with an arm out stretched to prevent the others from attacking. He wanted to remind his colleagues that they were near the ‘Forgetting Villa’ and thus should not take their opponents lightly or underestimate the skills of their opponent. This despite the fact that they were all highly skilled themselves. But regardless of how high one’s skills were, one always had to be cautious when dealing with an unknown enemy. For all the masked man knew, the old beggar could have been one of the former Chiefs of the Beggar Clan who had retired to live in seclusion. If that were the case, it would indeed be a powerful enemy who stood in front of them. For up until recently, the Chief of the Beggar Clan was always considered to be amongst the top 10 elite fighters in all of China.
Yeung Yin Siu couldn’t help but smile inwardly upon noticing his plan had started to work, and that the four masked men had become slightly cautious about attacking him. In a few moments, he was certain that they would retreat out of fear. But as it happened, luck and fate was not on Yeung Yin Siu’s side on this particular evening. Just when the four masked men were in the process of nodding their heads in agreement to retreat and throw a smoke bomb to cover their trail, five pairs of footsteps could be heard approaching them from the jetty. The sound seemed to be coming from exactly the same path as the one Yeung Yin Siu had taken earlier to venture into the bamboo forest. At first the four masked men assumed that that Yeung Yin Siu’s men had arrived to assist him. This would of course increase Yeung Yin Siu’s chances of victory. But the masked men did not immediately leave as they were curious to see whom those five people were. Besides each of the masked men possessed advanced lightness kung fu, and were confident of their abilities to escape from a large group of power foes when they needed to.
Yuk Long’s and Yeung Yin Siu’s spirits immediately dampened. For both of them knew that it was unlikely that the five swordsmen who were headed their way were going to help them. Just to make sure, Yuk Long glanced across at Yeung Yin Siu, as if to question whether he knew the identity of the people who were approaching them. Yeung Yin Siu shook his head in response. Looking a touch of despair towards the narrow dirt path Yuk Long just let out a long sigh. She could not believe all of the bad luck that she’s had on this particular evening. Especially when she knew that she had been sent on a rather simple mission to locate her grand master. Never in her wildest dreams did she ever imagine that her life would be in constant danger, one incident after another. Not long after, five men wearing black robes, and a facemask to cover the upper portion of their face emerged from around the bend. They were initially surprised and shock to see that a young lady wearing a light blue dress and an old beggar were standing before them to block the way forward. But their spirits picked up upon noticing the four masked men from their group standing on the opposite side, and would assist them to confront the two unwanted intruders. Of the new arrivals three of the men were wielding a standard broad sword, whilst the other two were wielding a rounded fencing sword.
“3rd senior apprentice brother, what are you doing here? Why aren’t you at your post?”, shouted a masked swordsman wielding a rounded fencing sword from the new group of four that had just arrived.
The masked swordsman with the rounded fencing sword from the original group replied, “We were on our way there until this little witch got in the way!”.
After a while the masked man known as 3rd senior apprentice brother questioned, “8th junior apprentice brother, what are you doing here?”.
“We ran into some unwanted company and were in the process of reporting this back to 2nd senior apprentice brother!”, replied the other masked swordsman known as the 8th junior apprentice brother.
“Who was it that you ran into? Return to your post at once! I can send someone to report back to 2nd senior apprentice brother from here! Our target will be here any moment now!”, shouted the man with the halberd in an authoritative tone.
“It was the White Maiden!”, replied the man known as the 8th junior apprentice brother. It was obvious that these five masked men were the ones that had fought with Fung Mun Kit earlier in the night. They had been making their way back across the dense forest to meet up with their second senior apprentice brother at the secret location. But like Yeung Yin Siu they had lost their way in the maze of willow and bamboo trees. In fact they only managed to escape from the maze upon stumbling across one of the trees that Yeung Yin Siu had carved an ‘X’ to the side. After that they basically followed the trail trees with an ‘X’ marked on it. So they had basically taken the same path as Yeung Yin Siu did to arrive at their present location.
“Dam it! How can the five of you fear someone like the White Maiden!” cursed one of the men carrying a broad sword.
“Get back to your post at once!”, ordered the masked man carrying the halberd.
“But before you guys take off! Help us eliminate these pests!”, added the masked man known as the 3rd senior apprentice brother. They had been cautious of Yeung Yin Siu’s abilities. But they no longer feared him as there were now 9 of them. The only person whom could assist Yeung Yin Siu was the ‘Jade Dragon’ Yuk Long. But they did not rate her abilities as they had fought and were about to overwhelm her moments before Yeung Yin Siu had arrived on the scene.
“Yes, 3rd senior apprentice brother!”, replied the four men as they cupped their hands together and bowed slightly. Moments later all eight men drew their weapons and stood in attacking formation.
Yeung Yin Siu groaned inwardly upon realising that his plans had failed. He was certain that the masked men would now be eager to challenge him to a fight. Especially after the way he had boasted about his abilities. Yuk Long, on the other hand, let out another sigh. Glancing across towards Yeung Yin Siu with a touch of anxiety, she asked, “Beggar Ho, what should we do?”.
Taking a glance to the right and then left, to examine both groups of masked men, Yeung Yin Siu replied, “Look for an opportunity to escape and go for help! I can handle these men by myself!”.
Though Yeung Yin Siu had tried to sound confident to reassure Yuk Long that he would be okay, his heart was actually trembling slightly inside. He knew these men were far tougher than any of the masked men that he had encountered previously. For it seemed that they were on an extremely urgent mission prior to being interrupted. At the same time, Yeung Yin Siu, knew that his chances for survival were better if he were alone. He would be able to utilise his lightness kung fu and attempt to lose them by venturing back into the dense forest. Yuk Long’s abilities were several notches lower than his and would only hinder him in his efforts to escape. So he worked on a plan of holding off all of the masked men and allow Yuk Long to escape first. He would then be able to escape after she’s gone.
But Yuk Long did not want to comply with his request, however. She had regained her confidence upon realising that Yeung Yin Siu would risk his own life to save her. Upon this realisation she no longer feared anything. She replied, “I’m not going anywhere! I’d rather stay here and fight alongside you to the death!”.
“Just get out of here! Please! I’ll be okay! Trust me!”, shouted Yeung Yin Siu getting slightly annoyed. He knew time was pressing on them. But how could Yeung Yin Siu possibly know what was going through Yuk Long’s mind at this moment in time. He was the type of person would who risk his life for anyone whom he thought was a friend, or an innocent person, and thus acted without any fear for his life to save them. He was thus not aware that the many ladies of this word are actually attracted to such selfless and heroic qualities. Right at this moment the masked men pressed towards them with their weapons drawn in an attacking position. They immediately closed slowly towards Yeung Yin Siu and Yuk Long in a circular pattern.
“How can you ask me to leave when you’ve come here to save me! Please let me stay! I can help you!”, protested Yuk Long as she swung around to stand behind Yeung Yin Siu. That way they stood back to back against their enemy and were able to cover for each other against the various attacks from the masked men.
Glancing across his shoulders, Yeung Yin Siu urged, “You’re not going to help me by staying! Please leave when you have the opportunity! I can take care of myself! I don’t need any help!”.
“Why are you forcing me away? I fear neither pain nor death!”, replied Yuk Long in defiance.
“Humph! What a fool! He doesn’t even realise how much that young girl loves him!”, remarked one of the masked swordsman. It was obvious that this masked swordsman was a female by the tone of her voice.
“Then let him die a dam fool then! What do we care?”, replied another female swordsman.
Yuk Long turned a little red upon hearing the two masked female’s comments. But she did not care as she was certain that she would die this very night. As a result she no longer cared about her reputation and what other people might say about her in the future. Yeung Yin Siu was concentrating on the masked men advancing towards them that he did not pay much attention to what was being said to the side. In fact he did not even realise that he had won Yuk Long’s heart with his bravery.
Casting a side glance at Yeung Yin Siu with a touch of affection, Yuk Long continued, “Please don’t ask me to leave again! For I’ll not be leaving you to die here alone! If its our fate that we should die here tonight then it’s best if we die together! I’d die contently fighting along your side!”.
“Dam it! You women are sure troublesome!”, grunted Yeung Yin Siu upon glancing back over his shoulders and seeing the determination written on Yuk Long’s face. It was obvious that she wasn’t going to leave.
Giving a sigh, Yeung Yin Siu conceded, “Okay you can stay if you want! But whatever you do, please stick close to me!”.
Yuk Long did not respond, but nodded to indicate that she understood. Deep inside she was glad that Yeung Yin Siu had allowed her to stay. She thought that perhaps it meant that Yeung Yin Siu had conceded something else to her as well. She smiled slightly as a result.
“Ha! Ha! Look at them! What a loving couple!”, another one of the masked men continued to mocked with a slightly wicked laugh.
“Then we’ll grant them their wish and make sure that they’ll die together!”, added another masked men. But this masked man appeared to be a little bit twisted and bitter. He gave a rather cold and cynical laugh upon finishing his comments.
After another couple of rounds of laughter, the nine masked men finally closed in around Yeung Yin Siu and Yuk Long, standing 3 paces away, before launching their first series of attacks. All of their attacks were aimed at their opponents mid-stomach region. Yuk Long immediately dropped onto her back on the ground to avoid the strikes. Rolling along forward whilst tapping the butterfly sword in her right and left hand, she launch a series of continuous counter attacks towards the ankle and feet of her opponents. This forced them to leap several paces backwards to avoid being tripped up onto their backsides. Yeung Yin Siu on the other hand immediately split into three images to confuse his attackers. On a couple of occasions the masked men thought they had slained Yeung Yin Siu only to realise that they had only penetrated their swords through one of the reflected images. Fighting at night gave Yeung Yin Siu the advantage as his opponents would not be able to detect the shadow that would normally away his real location.
As the battle intensified, the sounds of clashing swords and the shouting echoed between the mountain ranges. Fearful that it might attract the unwanted attention of the many elite swordsmen from the ‘Forgetting Villa’ the nine masked men increased the ferocity and the strength of their thrusts, hoping to overwhelm their opponents. The wanted to gain a quick and decisive victory. But the masked men could not simply overcome Yuk Long and Yeung Yin Siu with brute force alone. Yuk Long was quite capable of defending herself having obtained an extra butterfly sword in her grasp. Besides, she no longer feared death like she had done previously when she was battling the four masked men all by herself. She thus fought bravely and courageously, taking many uncalculated risks that she would not otherwise take and managed to force her attackers back most of the time. For the masked men still valued their lives, whereas Yuk Long no longer cared whether she lived or died. Besides she only had 3 masked men to deal with during this battle rather than the four she had previously.
The other six masked men sought to battle and overcome Yeung Yin Siu, who was clearly by far the stronger fighter. In fact Yeung Yin Siu’s individual skills and abilities were just a notch above most of his opponents, with the exception of two men carrying broad swords. He was at present causing plenty of trouble for those six swordsmen who had surrounded him. All except two of the masked men had sustained a flesh wound during the skirmish. But even with Yeung Yin Siu’s slightly more superior skills, he realised he could not hope to survive by just defence alone. He knew that he would be overcome sooner or later as the fight raged on. The longer the fight went on, the more inner energy he would burn. Eventually he would become exhausted to the stage that he would no longer be able to fight. He thus sought to eliminate his opponents one by one, and worked on a plan in between the many lethal exchanges and passes with his opponents.
Reaching into his pockets Yeung Yin Siu started to launch the 13 Phantom Venom needles towards his attackers. Seeing the tiny glimpses of golden light reflected underneath the moonlight, and the gentle swishing sound whispering in the wind, the six masked recognised that projectiles had been launched in the air towards them. This forced them to take immediate evasive action and they were forced to leap several paces backwards to create some distances between themselves and the on coming projectiles. Four of the masked men cried out in shock and horror as the needles whisked passed in front of their eyes, “Ha! The 13 Phantom Venom needles!”.
The other two, who were more skilled, and had easily dodged the needles, cried out, “Who the heck are you? Speak!”.
“Ha! Ha! Didn’t I tell you people to run away earlier? Are you starting to regret not taking on my earlier advice?”, mocked Yeung Yin Siu as he launched another shower of needles towards his attackers. This forced the six men to dash around to avoid them. For they were well aware that the poison contained in the 13 Phantom Venom needles were very deadly and worked very fast, even on the most skilled fighters. So they could not afford to be careless.
“Humph! Dam arrogant punk! I’m going to teach you a lesson that you’ll never forget!”, snorted the man carrying the halberd as he suddenly launched himself directly forward towards Yeung Yin Siu. Attacking the right shoulder with all of his might. He did not seem to have an ounce of fear in his eyes, and looked determined to smash Yeung Yin Siu in half.
“What the heck?”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly as he had been caught out by surprise of the sudden attack. Everyone had been forced back by the 13 Phantom Venom needles except for this man. Yeung Yin Siu was thus dumbfounded as to how this man had actually managed to dodge all of his needles at such a close range. If he had not been paying much attention to this man previously, his full attention was on him now. For the masked man carrying the halberd was now within striking distance and was ready to split him in half with the halberd if he didn’t do something about it. Ceasing his 13 Phantom Venom needle strikes, Yeung Yin Siu, immediately split into three separate images. The halberd came smashing down on the central image. Bits of dust and dirt rose in the air as the halberd contacted the ground.
“Dam it! Missed that little punk again!”, cursed the masked man carrying the halberd.
But as the masked man cursed, the tip of the black dragon sword was inches away from penetrating through his heart. He looked to be doomed as he could not retract his halberd in time to block the strike. Thinking that he would triumph, Yeung Yin Siu, shouted, “Ha! Ha! Gotcha!”.
Moments later a rough tearing sound could be heard as the black dragon blade penetrated through the outer and inner layer of clothing worn by the masked swordsman. Then to everyone’s surprise, just when appeared as if they would hear the terrifying scream of, “Ah Ya”, they instead heard a loud ‘cling’ echoing through the mountain ranges. Following their gazes to the tip of the sword, the various masked men could see that Yeung Yin Siu’s sword had failed to penetrate through the body of the masked man carrying the halberd.
“Perhaps it’s because that old beggar’s sword is blunt!”, thought the masked man known as the 3rd senior apprentice brother as he watched on in amazement. All of the other masked men had totally shocked expressions on their faces. It was obvious that the man carrying the halberd had hidden his true abilities from them also. But in a fit of rage he decided to exert all of his abilities in order to defeat Yeung Yin Siu.
“Ah Ya!”, a masked female warrior could be heard remarking moments later to the side. She had sustained a cut across her right shoulder blade. Yuk Long had used the distraction to catch one of Yeung Yin Siu’s attackers off guard with a diagonally upward thrust. The masked female carrying the rounded sword was now bleeding freely and was quite annoyed. She immediately charged and assisted three other masked swordsmen to attack Yuk Long.
As that battle raged on, Yeung Yin Siu, diverted all of his inner energy through his right arm and then the sword in an attempt to kill the masked man carrying the halberd. But his efforts were in vain. The masked man carrying the halberd breathed in, and it seemed to have tighten his muscles. It made them as tough as a plate of steel. As a result the tip of the sword did not move an inch and could not penetrate through the body of the masked man.
“The ‘Iron Vest’!”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly as he recalled earlier in the night how Siu Wai had used a villager as a decoy to fool Miu Tit Sie. Never did he expect that he would meet a real member from the ‘Iron Vest’ clan on this particular evening. Whilst he was struggling to come up with a plan to defeat his opponent Yeung Yin Siu could just see, form the corner of his eyes, that the other four masked men had recovered from their initial shock, and were now preparing to launch another strike towards him. He was at this moment twisting and turning whilst exchanging a series of blows with the masked man carrying the halberd.
“What can I do?”, he thought once more as the four masked men slowly circled around him once more.
Taking a quick glance to the side, Yeung Yin Siu, could see that Yuk Long was battling bravely, but was starting to be overwhelmed by her four attackers. It looked as if she could not fend them off for much longer before sustaining a serious injury. He had also gotten into a tight position as a result of wasting too much of his inner energy in an attempt to overcome the man carrying the halberd with sheer force. Finally Yeung Yin Siu thought of another idea. Reaching into his pockets with his left hand, Yeung Yin Siu, launched two 13 Phantom Venom needles towards the groin of the masked man. It was rumoured throughout wulin that the ‘Iron Vest’ clan were particularly vulnerable around that region. Even if they had perfected the art of shrinking their balls, the groin area could still be penetrated by a tiny needle. So Yeung Yin Siu was confident that his attacks would force the masked man backwards.
But to Yeung Yin Siu’s amazement, the masked man carrying the halberd just smiled menacingly before continuing with his series of attacks. A ‘cling’ sound echoed through the air moments later as both of the 13 Phantom Venom needles bounced off from the masked man’s groin.
“What the heck?”, remarked Yeung Yin Siu out loud. As the two needles landed on the ground, Yeung Yin Siu, noticed a couple of holes left behind by the needles on the robes of the masked man near the groin region. Underneath, he could see a couple of specks of golden light being reflected underneath the moonlight. Indicating that the masked man had worn some kind of golden metal plate to protect the groin region. It was plainly obvious that he wasn’t going to be able to defeat the masked man with the halberd with his sword fighting and projectile launching abilities alone.
But Yeung Yin Siu was presently in great strife. Just at this moment the other four masked man had launched an attack towards him again. This time each of them were aiming for one of the five main pressure points on his body. He had become completely surrounded as a result. Splitting into three images only gave him temporarily relief from the attacks as the masked men were once again confused as to his actual location. This allowed him another narrow escape. Yeung Yin Siu was just about to leap over the masked men, to escape from the circular attacking formation when he realised that something was holding him back. The masked man with the halberd had grabbed onto his black dragon sword to restrain him from leaving. By doing so the masked man had also revealed the exact location of Yeung Yin Siu to his colleagues.
“He’s over there! Attack and finish him off!”, ordered the masked man known as the 3rd senior apprentice brother upon seeing that they had Yeung Yin Siu exactly where they wanted him.
Wasting no time, one masked man aimed to puncture Yeung Yin Siu’s throat, another through the heart, another for the stomach, and finally another for the right thigh. There was only one thing that Yeung Yin Siu could do to escape. That was drop his black dragon sword. But that would guarantee his own doom. He thus decided against it. Yuk Long was at this very moment struggling to defend her against her four attackers. But upon seeing that Yeung Yin Siu was in some strife, she attempted to flip over the masked men to be by his side at the final stroke of death. But the masked men managed to hold her back. Much to her disgust.
Just when the four swords of the masked men were about to pierce through Yeung Yin Siu’s body, a white blur floated over the masked men. The white blur appeared to be nothing more than a gigantic snowball. Such was the unusual nature of the sight that the four masked men were temporarily distracted, allowing Yeung Yin Siu to use a ‘phantom palm’ to strike the masked man carrying the halberd and force him several paces backwards. Having recovered his sword, Yeung Yin Siu leapt out of trouble.
Moments later, the gigantic snowball landed on the ground. A tall, and very handsome young man emerged at the centre of the narrow dirt path once all of the dust and bits of dirt that had flown in the air had settled. He carried a white sword in his right hand. A cloud of mist and frost surrounded the sword. The handsome young swordsman wore a plain white robe, plain white cape, and a white marble cap to tie his hair neatly at the back. The young swordsman that had arrived at the scene was none other than Fa Fie Sit. It was anyone’s guess as to what brought him to the scene. But Yeung Yin Siu was extremely glad that he had unexpectedly arrived to assist them. For it was certain that Fa Fei Sit was not in league with the masked men. The five masked men attacking Yeung Yin Siu immediately leapt back to carefully observe the white swordsman. For they were eager to uncover his identity and intentions before taking action against him.
“Brother Fa, what on earth are you doing here?”, questioned Yeung Yin Siu with a touch of relief whilst keeping a close eye on the four masked men. With Fa Fei Sit’s help, the odds of overcoming the masked men took a dramatic improvement.
Fa Fei Sit maintained a cold and icy disposition. He wore a very stern and emotionless expression on his face. Turning towards Yeung Yin Siu, he remarked in a chilling and rather unfriendly tone, “Humph! It’s none of your business! Why should I tell you?”.
Without saying another word, Fa Fei Sit unsheathed his sword and attacked the man carrying the halberd. Thinking that he was immune to sword attacks because of he had perfected the art of the ‘Iron Vest’, the man carrying the halberd laughed slightly as he stuck out his chest to meet Fa Fei Sit’s sword. A loud ‘cling’ echoed through the air moments later. Just as before Fa Fei Sit’s sword failed to penetrate through the masked man’s body. But Fa Fei Sit appeared to be totally unphased. With two fingers pointed forward he used his left hand to channel his frost energy down through his sword. Not long after the masked man felt a cold stream of energy entering through his body. He started to feel very cold and immediately retreated several paces backwards. His face had suddenly turned totally pale with terror.
But Fa Fei Sit would not allow him to escape so easily. He did a summersault over the masked men and managed to cut him off upon landing. He then launched a frost palm towards the middle of the masked man's chest. The masked man responded by meeting the frost palm with a palm attack of his own. Little did the masked man anticipate that his hands would suddenly become numb upon receiving the frost palm. Having lost all feeling down his right arm, the masked man had no idea it had started to become extremely stiff, hard, and brittle. His body temperature began to drop rapidly, and he started to feel extremely cold inside. Guessing that he had become overwhelmed by his opponent’s superior inner energy, the masked man carrying the halberd tried pulling back his right hand to disengage from the test of strength. Just at this moment Fa Fei Sit slashed upwards with his frost sword.
“AH YA!”, cried the masked man with the halberd could be heard crying out loud. He had just witnessed his right arm being severed from his shoulders. After a couple of rotations in the air, his arm landed on the ground with a soft thud. A stream of hot blood shot out from the socket of the shoulders. He began to bleed freely and continuously. The masked looked as if he was about to pass out from the pain as his body started to shake uncontrollably.
After a while he cried, “Ha! The frost palms!…”, before coughing up a mouthful of blood. Eventually he passed out cold and landed face first on the hard turf with a thud.
“The frost palms?”, remarked the other masked men in total shock and disbelief. They now looked upon Fa Fei Sit with a touch of respect, admiration, and fear at the same time. For they too were familiar with the reputation of Lin Sap Sam, who was rumoured to be the founder of the frost palms, and frost sword arts. They were also aware that Lin Sap Sam dominated as the Champion of Wulin for an entire generation. Besides, they could have never expected that someone with the ‘Iron Vest’ would be capable of being defeated so easily. But how could they possibly know that the ‘Iron Vest’ was only a strong ‘outer’ defence mechanism against the various weapons and projectiles being wielded by the many experienced kung fu experts. But even with the ‘Iron Vest’ one could be capable of being hurt and servery injured internally. Red Flame, with his ‘Heat Palm’, and Lightning of the ‘5 Storms’ with his ‘Electric Palms’ were capable of breaching the ‘interior’ defence of even the most elite fighter with the ‘Iron Vest’.
“Who the heck are you? How do you know the frost sword arts and the frost palms?”, questioned one of the masked men carrying the standard broad sword.
But Fa Fei Sit did not immediately reply. Looking with a touch of disrespect towards his fallen opponent, he scoffed, “Humph! Who would have guessed that the ‘Iron Vest’ clan only enjoys a hollow reputation! They’re not even worthy of being mentioned!”.
Without another word, Fa Fei Sit, appeared to have rolled himself up into a gigantic snowball and floated away, leaving Yeung Yin Siu and Yuk Long alone to defend against the masked men once more. Yeung Yin Siu had wanted to urge him to stay but it was already too late. Fa Fei Sit had already disappeared from visible view.
“What an eccentric odd ball!”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly as he was a little puzzled as to why Fa Fei Sit had left in such a rush and did not even attempt to help him fight off the rest of the masked men.
“Beggar Ho, please help me!”, shouted Yuk Long to the side. Throughout all of this time, Yuk Long, and her four attackers had continued on with their heated exchange. Largely ignoring the fight between Fa Fei Sit and the masked man with the halberd. They were aware that one of their own had been injured but they did not appear to be overly concerned about him. All they appeared to be concerned about was eliminating Yuk Long and then Yeung Yin Siu. At this point Yuk Long looked very tired and exhausted. He defensive stances looked as if they were falling apart.
The five masked men who had surrounded Yeung Yin Siu, were still looking totally shocked at the fact that the masked man carrying the halberd had been injured. Pouncing on this opportunity Yeung Yin Siu split into three images once more before launching a series of counterattacks to fend off the masked swordsmen. The four masked men attacking Yuk Long immediately leapt back to avoid receiving a series blow across the right shoulder. Soon the other four masked men had recovered from their initial shock and joined up with the others. Once again they surrounded Yuk Long and Yeung Yin Siu in a circular attacking formation. Though Fa Fei Sit had eliminated one of the more highly skilled masked men, the odds of 4 to 1, were still in their favour. Both Yuk Long and Yeung Yin Siu knew this as they exchanged a glance at each other. Although tired, Yuk Long, wore a peaceful expression on her face. Yeung Yin Siu on the other hand decided to crease his brows. He was thinking hard for a way out of their present predicament. But he was presently out of ideas. Besides most of them had failed thus far.
“There’s nothing we can do besides fight to the death!”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly once more as he glanced across at Yuk Long who was now standing beside him.
As the masked men launched forward, Yeung Yin Siu, gritted his teeth to block their various attacks. He was at all times keeping a watchful eye on Yuk Long. He would jump to the side, in front, and behind her at times to block the various lethal blows when it appeared that she was incapable of blocking them. After another 50 violent exchanges, Yeung Yin Siu, felt a burning sensation in both of his arms and feet. Indicating that he had nearly spent all of his inner energy. Sweat was dripping down his forehead, back, arms, and legs. Looking over at Yuk Long, he noticed that she too was sweating freely and appeared to be totally exhausted. But something drove her to fight on when she would not otherwise have the strength.
“Be careful!”, shouted Yeung Yin Siu upon noticing that one of the masked men had unexpectedly abandoned attacking him to launch a low diagonal cut across the shoulders of Yuk Long.
The attack came from behind, so Yuk Long was not aware of it until it was nearly too late. A soft tearing sound could be heard as the sword ripped through Yuk Long’s clothing, before tearing her travelling from the shoulders. She somehow only managed to escape with a minor flesh wound. A tiny white jade unicorn statute came lose from Yuk Long’s travelling bag as it hit the ground. Yeung Yin Siu was too busy trying to fend off the masked men to notice. But Yuk Long immediately swooped onto the ground, risking her life and all her limbs from a low slashing cut to recover it. It was obvious that she had greatly treasured the little jade unicorn statute. Just when Yuk Long was about to place the jade unicorn statute back into her pockets, the faint sound of metallic scrapping could be heard in the distance nearby. The source of the sound seemed to be heading directly towards them.
“What the heck!”, everyone including Yuk Long, Yeung Yin Siu remarked out loud. For whenever they have heard this sound something terrible had happened.
Amongst the midst of all the confusion another masked man attempted to launch an attack behind Yuk Long’s back to catch her off guard. She was so tired by now that she could not react in time. Just when it appeared that Yuk Long was going to be penetrated through the middle of her back by a long broad sword, a loud swooshing sound could be heard through the air. The sound came directly from behind the masked man and travelled at great speed. Shortly afterwards the masked man could be heard crying, “Ah Ya!”, out loud as a sharp projectile had lodged squarely into his the back. The masked man fell forward before landing on the ground. He died without a murmur upon coughing up a mouthful of blood. One of the masked men immediately ran across to examine the projectile that had lodged into his colleague’s back, he cried out in shock, “Ha! The Mo Yung family!”.
“The ‘Mo Yung’ family!”, repeated some of the other masked men with stunned expressions once more. For never did they expect that there would be so many highly skilled fighters roaming through the dense forest on this particular evening. They had suffered a set back and had already lost four of their warriors as a result.
Even from a distance Yeung Yin Siu, could see that the projectile that had lodged into the masked man’s back was nothing more than a black metallic square that was sharp around the edges. The words, ‘Mo Yung family’, had been carved onto the surface of the metallic insignia. Slightly stunned himself, Yeung Yin Siu pondered, “Why would members of the Mo Yung Family want to save Yuk Long?”.
But before he could give it any further thought, a number of smoke bombs were thrown in the middle of the masked men. They immediately took evasive action by leaping backwards to get as far away as possible from the smoke bombs. Yeung Yin Siu did the same. A puff of purple, pink and blue smoke, including bits of dust and debry rose in the air as the smoke bombs exploded upon hitting the ground. But as the masked men and Yeung Yin Siu avoided the poisonous fumes being emitted by the smoke bomb, the sound of the metallic scrapping had become louder and louder. Not long after a black blur raced past the group of men and appeared to have gotten hold of something before racing off. The black blur appeared have something slung over his shoulders as he disappeared. A large gust of wind swept pass the group of men as he exited on the opposite side from which he came. It happened so quickly that all of the masked men, including Yeung Yin Siu, did not even realise what had happened. Before long the metallic scrapping sound became fainter and fainter, as the black blur got further and further away.
Soon a young lady could be heard crying out loud, “Help… Beggar Ho, please help…”.
“Ha! What the heck!”, gasped Yeung Yin Siu out loud. Upon looking around he noticed that Yuk Long was no where in sight. It was obvious that she had been captured by the black blur during all of the confusion. Yeung Yin Siu saw some strange markings on the ground left behind by the black blur. It appeared as if the black blur had been dragging a chain and ball. It was imprinted on the soft dirt. This gave Yeung Yin Siu an idea. Noticing that the black blur had taken the path towards the jetty, Yeung Yin Siu immediately utilised his lightness kung fu and pursued after him. He knew that he didn’t have a chance to catch up, but wanted to follow him, and uncover his resting place and identity never the less.
As Yeung Yin Siu raced off, a masked man could be heard shouting, “3rd senior apprentice brother, look! That old beggar is getting away!”.
“Quickly, let’s chase after him!”, added another as he motioned to give chase.
“Halt! Get back here! All of you!”, demanded another masked man with a tone of authority.
“3rd senior apprentice brother, why? Are we just going to let him go? Just like that?”, questioned another one of the masked mam a little confused.
“It’s better that he’s gone now! At least we know that he won’t interfere any longer in our business!”, replied one of the masked female swordsman.
“Yes, we did not specifically come to deal with that beggar tonight! Or are you all forgetting? We have other urgent matters at hand!”, agreed another one of the masked swordsman.
“That’s correct! Besides, its best not to interfere in the business of the ‘Undertaker Tao Mok Jiu’! This is his territory, so just let it be!”, nodded the man known as the 3rd senior apprentice brother in agreement.
After a while he added, “Return to your posts at once! The person we’re after should be here shortly! I’ll go and report all that has happened to 2nd senior apprentice brother!”.
“But what about them?”, questioned a masked man whilst pointing towards the two bodies of their fallen comrades on the ground. One had been killed upon being struck in the back by a projectile, whilst the other had passed out from the pain of losing his right arm.
Looking over at his fallen comrade, the masked man known as 3rd senior apprentice brother said with a touch of discontent, “That man has already lost his right arm! He’ll never recover the abilities that he once had! So he’s no longer of any use to use! Whether he lives or dies is no longer any of our concern! Just leave him there! We have no time to waste!”.
“Yes 3rd senior apprentice brother!”, replied the masked men as they cupped their hands together and bowing slightly. Four of the men dashed back towards the jetty, and the three others continued along another narrow dirt path leading towards the south.
Yeung Yin Siu glanced over his shoulder slightly upon noticing that four masked men were headed in his direction. He thought that they had made up their minds to pursue after him. Looking along the ground he noticed the trail led him back into the maze like dense forest of willow and bamboo trees. He immediately thought of an idea. Picking up a handful of rocks Yeung Yin Siu decided to follow the trail, whilst at the same time randomly throwing the rocks in his hands to mark the trees in no particular order. That way he would totally confuse the masked men if they attempted to follow him. He smiled a little upon noticing that the masked men were unable to catch up to him. But how could he have possibly known that the various masked men were headed back towards the clearing near the ridge. They had no intention of pursuing after him at all.
After a short while following the trail left behind the black blur, Yeung Yin Siu, arrived at a clearing in the forest. He shivered slightly upon fixing his gaze directly forward. The mist and the fog was particularly thick in this region. The temperature had appeared to drop significantly, sending a chill up his spine. Upon entering the clearing, Yeung Yin Siu, noticed a large grey stone tablet to his left. It looked rather old, and worn down. It was covered in fungus, and green slime. There were various large and small cracks on the surface of the rock. Indicating that this place had existed for many generations. Though the words, had faded, Yeung Yin Siu could still recognise what they were. He remarked, “The ‘Graveyard of Wandering Souls’!”.
“The ‘Graveyard of Wandering Souls’!”, he pondered once more after a little while. For he had never heard that such a place had existed on the outskirts of Luoyang. But it appeared as if this graveyard had been around for many generations.
As he pondered over the name of the graveyard, the sound of faint metallic scrapping could be heard in the distance ahead. It appeared to be coming from the other end of the graveyard, directly in front of where he stood. Yeung Yin Siu became a little curious as a result, and decided to enter the ‘Graveyard of Wandering Souls’. As he walked along the rather soft and muddy turf, he noticed that he had passed through many old tomb stones and burials. But he did not recognise many of the names that had been carved into the stone tablets. But something managed to catch his eyes as he approached the mid-way point of the large graveyard. Erected to his left was a large tombstone in the shape of a half-crescent moon. A tiny red dragon had been carved into the tombstone just below the calligraphy inscribed onto the tablet.
“Here lies Yeung Kai Seng! Grand Champion of Wulin and the leader of the rebellion against the Mongol Yuan Dynasty! May he rest in peace!”, remarked Yeung Yin Siu upon reading the characters on the stone. Looking directly behind the tombstone, Yeung Yin Siu noticed an empty 2 metre wide by 1 metre deep trench. There was no coffin in sight.
Reading the tiny little words inscribed at the bottom of the tombstone that read, ‘Location of death unknown! Body never recovered!’, Yeung Yin Siu, remarked, “So this was the intended final resting place of Yeung Kai Seng! It’s a pity that he died in the deep cave on the outskirts of Hennan!”.
Yeung Yin Siu recognised many of the names that had been inscribed onto the tombstones at the mid point region of the graveyard. These included, Lin Sap Sam, Tit Kiu Sam, Tit Miu Lan, Du Ming Yit, Mo Yung Kei, Lok Kung King, Lai Kit Ying, Tit Hit Wong, amongst others. Walking over to the tombstone with the characters of ‘Lok Kung King’ written on it, Yeung Yin Siu bowed three times to pay his respects. It was rumoured throughout wulin that there were three renowned scholars during the uprising against the Mongol rebellion, and that these three men had greatly contributed to the overthrow.
Du Ming Yit was a renowned scholar from the Hennan province who served as a military counsellor under Chu Yin Cheung. It is rumoured that he is the great ancestor of Du Fu, and thus the ‘Du’ family benefited from the Ming Government. In fact Du Fu’s late father, Du Ching Fung, was granted the title of the ‘Marquise of Hennan’, and his sister, Du Gum Ling, was bestowed acres of land and the title of ‘The Lady of the Eternal Spring’. Though Du Fu was also offered riches and grand titles, he declined all of them, stating that he was a member of the Wudang Sect and that it would be inappropriate to have close associations with the Ming Government.
Mo Yung Kei was a scholar from the Guangdong province who served as an adviser for the Chancellor of the Demon Cult at the time, Tit Kiu Sam, and also aided in the rebellion. Though he was a highly intelligent man, it was said that his methods were brutal, cruel, and unethical. Rumours throughout wulin, indicated that Mo Yung Kei was a distant relative of the great ‘Mo Yung’ family.
Lok Kung King on the other hand was not a renowned scholar. For he did not receive any formal education nor did he ever attended or graduated from a University in China. He lived a peaceful and secluded life on the outskirts of Luoyang as a fisherman, and a hunter. Despite this, Lok Kung King, had a profound reputation as being a ‘rare talent’ in a million years. It was widely whispered during his generation that Lok Kung King possessed the military strategy equivalent to that of Sun Tze, the wisdom of Zhuge Liang, and the foresight of Gwai Guk Chi. It was said that Yeung Kai Seng had paid 9 separate visits to Lok Kung King before he finally agreed to venture out to assist the rebels in the fight against the Mongol Yuan Dynasty. He was bestowed the title of Primary Military Counsellor, by Yeung Kai Seng. With his aid the Mongols were finally driven out of China. But rumours had it that Lok Kung King was betrayed and died shortly after the rebellion as he refused to accept the post of Defence Minister offered to him by Chu Yin Cheung. Rumours through wulin and the historical chronicles appear to indicate that that Lok Gum Fa was actually a distant relative of Lok Kung King.
After paying his respects to the three heroes, Yeung Yin Siu proceeded towards the end of the graveyard. There he noticed another couple of tomb stones that had the words, ‘Yeung Tin Lung’, and ‘Lok Gum Fa’ carved into them. Except for the two empty 2 metre by 1.5 metre trenches, there was nothing behind the tombstone. Indicating that Yeung Tin Lung’s and Lok Gum Fa’s bodies had never been found or recovered. Directly opposite this pair of tombstones, was erected another two with the words, ‘Lin Chun Fa’ and ‘Bak Fung Wan’. But earth behind Lin Chun Fa’s tombstone had been covered. Indicating that her body had somehow been moved from the foot of Taishan to be buried in the ‘Graveyard of Wandering Souls’. Like that of the others, there was nothing behind the Bak Fung Wan’s tombstone, other than an empty trench.
“Why would Bak Fung Wan’s tombstone be here?”, Yeung Yin Siu pondered. This was particularly unusual given that Bak Fung Wan was still alive. But what was even more puzzling is the fact that Bak Fung Wan’s tombstone looked as if he had just been newly made. It seemed as if someone had anticipated that Bak Fung Wan’s life was fated to end on this particular evening and that someone had made the necessary preparations to bury him. Not far from Bak Fung Wan’s tombstone was another one with the words, ‘Reverend Guy Hung’ written on it.
“What’s the meaning of this?”, cried Yeung Yin Siu out in shock and horror upon noticing the last tombstone directly in front of him. It had the words, ‘Here lies Yeung Yin Siu’, carved into them. Like Bak Fung Wan’s and Reverend Guy Hung’s, his tombstone looked as if it had been freshly made also. There was an empty trench behind the tombstone with his name.
Suddenly he could hear a voice within the graveyard. The voice was very coarse. The tone of the voice was travelling so slow through the air that it was almost dream like. It said, “Ha! Ha! Young man, what see you here that has made you so pale?”.
But Yeung Yin Siu did not respond. He immediately panned around in an attempt to locate the person whom had just spoken up. But he could not see anything. All that was in front of him appeared to be over 40 fresh tombstones, and 40 empty trenches.
“What on earth is going on?”, Yeung Yin Siu thought inwardly upon seeing all of the empty graves ahead of him. All Yeung Yin Siu could see was at the moment was the trench, and the spade moving in a semi-circular pattern to remove dirt from the ground. He could not yet see the exactly who it was currently digging the grave. But the presence of the spade indicated that someone was actually currently standing underground, deep in the trench, to remove the earth from within. The spade was located in the trench that was only a few metres away from where he presently stood. Also Yeung Yin Siu finally recognised that the metallic scrapping sound that he had heard earlier was nothing more than just the spade digging against the hard rock. So he began to relax a little. For it appeared very unlikely that the black blur would be somehow connected to this man who was currently digging the trench.
Hearing no response to his earlier question, the voice snickered slightly before continuing, “Young man, why have you come here tonight?”.
“I was just passing through!”, replied Yeung Yin Siu trying to sound honest.
“Passing through?”, remarked the voice with a touch of surprise.
He appeared to coughed a couple of times before continuing, “Young man, no one just passes through here! This is a graveyard! The only ones who come here are those who are dead, the people who bury them, and the ones looking for an early death!”.
Giving an evil chuckle he continued, “Which one of these people are you?”.
“I’m neither!”, replied Yeung Yin Siu with a slight grin.
After a while Yeung Yin Siu added, “Besides I think you’re wrong when you say the only people who pass through the graveyard are the dead, those who bury them, and those looking for an early death! There are many more others who could pass through here!”.
“Oh! What do you mean to imply by saying that?”, replied the voice.
Laughing slightly, Yeung Yin Siu replied, “Now I hope you won’t take any offence when I say what’s on my mind!”.
“I won’t! Please continue!”, replied the voice.
“Well, there are also those who come to the graveyard to visit their love ones, those who are lost, those who rob the dead, and those who seek to kill the ones who burry the dead!”, continued Yeung Yin Siu in a cheeky voice.
“Humph! What a cheeky little punk!”, snorted the voice clearly unimpressed by Yeung Yin Siu’s comments. The spade appeared to stop in mid-air. Indicating that the man digging the grave had stopped for a temporary break as he pondered over what had been said by Yeung Yin Siu.
After a while he questioned in a curious tone, “Well! Which one of these people are you? Have you come here to visit a relative then? Or are you lost? Or are you here to rob the various graves here? Or do you think you’re capable of killing me?”.
Grinning even more, Yeung Yin Siu, responded by saying, “I’m here to visit a good friend of mine!”.
“Oh! And who’s this friend of yours?”, questioned the voice.
“I’m standing right in front of his tombstone! He’s name is Yeung Yin Siu! But it appears as if his body isn’t here!”, replied the voice.
“Humph! You know where he his body is! So why bother asking me about him?”, snorted the voice once more.
“What do you mean?”, questioned Yeung Yin Siu in shock.
“Humph! You know yourself, so why do you have to ask? Are you not Yeung Yin Siu?”, replied the voice with a snicker.
“Ha! How on earth did you know? Who on earth are you? Show yourself?”, shouted Yeung Yin Siu out in shock.
“I’m the one they call ‘Undertaker Tao’! You can attempt to deceive others about your real identity! But you cannot hope to deceive me! My astrological calculations revealed who you were when you first arrived here!”, replied the voice, with full of pride that he had been able to correctly guess Yeung Yin Siu’s identity.
After a while it continued, “I’m right before you! How is it that you’re not able to see me?”.
Leaping forward so that he stood directly above the trench with the spade, Yeung Yin Siu, finally noticed that the man doing all of the digging appeared to be very frail, and weak old man. He appeared to have lived for over an eternity on this earth. One could not tell by appearances alone, exactly how long he has actually lived. The old man’s body resembled more of a skeleton than that of a living human being. His skin was very wrinkly and saggy, that would could see the exact positioning of the bones in his body. Four strands of white hair rested on his bold head. It appeared as if they had fallen out one by one. The old man wore a dirty black robe that was torn at various places. There was a hump on his back. Probably as a result of the many years of digging. A thick chain bounded his hands together and legs together. He was dragging some kind of metallic steel ball between his feet.
Yeung Yin Siu immediately drew his black dragon sword upon recognising the grave digger as the black blur who had captured Tit Yum Ching and then Yuk Long earlier in the night. Looking directly across at the five tombstones before him, Yeung Yin Siu noticed the names, Tit Yum Ching, Bak Tin Kiew, Yuk Long, Siu Wai, and Cheung Jiu Wan carved on them. He knew four out of the five names, but did not recognise the name of Cheung Jiu Wan, however. There was a coffin laying behind each of the five the trenches. Yeung Yin Siu noticed there was a piece of green cloth caught in between the lid of the coffin that was resting in the trench behind the tombstone bearing Bak Tin Kiew’s name. Wasting no time Yeung Yin Siu immediately leapt down to the trench before opening the lid to the coffin. What he saw amazed him. Bak Tin Kiew was actually laying motionlessly inside the coffin. Yeung Yin Siu immediately assumed the worst, but relaxed upon placing two fingers underneath Bak Tin Kiew’s nose. She was still breathing. Indicating that her pressure points had just been sealed. It was now obvious to him that Undertaker Tao had also placed Tit Yum Ching and Yuk Long in the coffins below the trenches behind the tombstones bearing their names.
Just when Yeung Yin Siu was about to unseal Bak Tin Kiew’s pressure points and free her from the coffin, he suddenly felt numb before falling forwards. He ended up rolling over the lid of the coffin. He could not get up as his entire body had felt as if it had been paralysed. It was obvious that Undertaker Tao had taken this opportunity to ambush Yeung Yin Siu from behind and sealed his pressure points. Moments later Yeung Yin Siu felt as if he was floating in the air as Undertaker Tao leapt up form the trench before placing Yeung Yin Siu inside a coffin below the trench with the tombstone bearing his own name. All Yeung Yin Siu could see in front of his was darkness as Undertaker Tao had closed the lid over him. Moments later Undertaker Tao proceeded to cover the lid to Bak Tin Kiew’s coffin, before leaping back into the trench to continue his digging.
No long after a mysterious swordsman wearing white robes, with red trimmings approached the graveyard. This man was of medium built and of medium height. He appeared to be around 60 years of age. His hair had gone all white. A plain white paper fan was strapped by the side of his waist. Stroking his long moustache, the mysterious swordsman said, “Undertaker Tao, did you manage to catch all of the trespassers? And have you made all of the necessary preparations?”.
“What do you think all of these graves are here for? Do you think that I just enjoy the digging?”, replied Undertaker Tao with a slightly wicked grin.
Casting a glance back towards all of the graves, he continued, “There’s one for each of them!”.
“Excellent! The master of the Forgetting Villa would be pleased with your work!”, remarked the mysterious swordsman with a laugh.
Upon leaping back up to stand next to the mysterious swordsman, Undertaker Tao remarked, “I’ve done my job! But have you reconfigured the 72 Heaven and Earth Celestial Maze?”.
“Don’t worry! That’s been taken care off! All of the intruders will find there way here, one way or another! They’ll have to resolve their differences here as the master of the Forgetting Villa wishes!”, replied the mysterious swordsman as he removed the paper fan from his waist, opened it, and began fanning himself.
Looking ahead into the distance he continued, “Someone is coming right now!”.
“Quickly, let’s leave this place then!”, remarked the Undertaker Tao as he turned to leave.
“No! I must stay!”, replied the mysterious swordsman.
“Why?”, questioned Undertaker Tao.
Looking down at his paper fan, the mysterious swordsman replied, “Because its time for me to repay a 20 year old favour to an old friend of mine!”.
“Do as you wish!”, snickered Undertaker Tao. Moments later he utilised his lightness kung fu before disappearing without a trace.
The mysterious swordsman took this opportunity to leap into one of the trenches before finding and hiding himself in an emptied coffin. Not long after a couple of pairs of footsteps could be heard making their way towards the graveyard. The two men heading towards the ‘Graveyard of the Wandering Souls’ appeared to be in some distress. Even from quite a distance away, one could still hear them panting and puffing very loudly as they ran. Indicating that they were in the process of escaping from some kind of trouble.
The End of Chapter 20.
"Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare
I'm glad you decided to update this. Your writing style and characterizations are impressive. However I do feel that your plot has become rather fragmented. The number of complications you have injected into the story makes me forget at times what the original plot was. While complications do make the story more interesting and multi-dimensional, at the same time it detracts from its cohesiveness and sense of purpose.
It also feels like you've hit the DBZ syndrome where you've powered up your character too quickly, and now have martial arts experts coming out of the woodwork just to present a challenge.
This story reminds me of the GL style of writing where the main characters (and by extension the readers) are mostly clueless about the world around them, and at the end have to be bludgeoned by a narrative that ties everything up.
My 2 cents.
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?
Geez guy, what a harsh review lol.......but the way I feel is that, (well I'm not sure how long this story is, but still don't know where the story is heading.) In most of these wuxia style stories, there is an overall theme to it.....Originally Posted by darkcser
There's only 10 Chapters left to Volume 1 - Rage and Revenge, which is 30 Chapters long. The next volume is 'Battle of Good and Evil' which is also intended to be 30 Chapters long. The final volume is 'Grand Champion of Wulin' is also intended to be 30 chapters long. So although it may appear to be overly complicated at the moment, it needs to be, in order to survive over 90 chapters.
Most 3 volume novels I'm read don't really make much sense in the first volume, so just hang with me folks. I know I've introduced a lot of side characters in this story, but i intended to write about them in the 'Wuxia Chronicles' as a backdrop, so when people read the 'Wuxia Chronicles' and 'Black Dragon Swordsman' together they'll get a complete view of what wuxia is about. It know that its a strange style of writing, but not really attempted successfully before...
Also YYS isn't that powerful at the moment. He's fighting style is based on deceptive reflection, and he can also diffuse other people's inner energy. But they are good for defence only and not for attack. You'll notice he possesses really weak palm skills... That's why he's broken even, or lost most of his battles. For example he cannot hope to defeat someone with the 'Iron Vest' with his skills alone - that's where one of his many weaknesses lies.
Fa Fei Sit on the other hand has superior inner energy and superb swords skills. So he can defeat most people except for those with opposing inner energy like Red Flame, Lightning, YYS amongst others. I won't give away too much... But throughout the story you'll noticed that everyone fighter has at least one weakness... Even the strongest fighter can fall to a weaker opponent if that weaker opponent has perfected a specific skill that can defeat him...
"Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare
I thought YYS is weaker because he knows only 30% of the deceptive sword skill ? Is he going to learn the full 100% ??Also, He knows only 25% of the essence dissolving arts yet, right ? He should become a lot more powerful if he learns the whole thing...
requesting a little spoiler... btw....GREAT STORY !!!!! please dont stop....
Last edited by greyman; 10-22-04 at 05:04 PM.
You're right here in that YYS has only mastered around 33% of the deceptive swords skills, and 25% of the essence dissolving arts. He also possesses other arts such as Fisherman Nam's slippery fish (ie, arts of escaping from capture, not yet utlilised), and the Black Bat Assassin's and Fung Lau Yin's skills... But although he's nearly mastered 80% of the skills, he'll never use them openly... That puts him at a disadvantage at times against other fighters... that's of course before the incident which will be revealed later, when he won't give a dam if people know who he is or not..Originally Posted by greyman
Not to be a spoiler, but it was already referred to in the opening chapter 1, of what is required to learn the 'divine 9 dragon' sword arts and inner engergy. So I'll leave it at that.
"Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare
C'mon Long, dont make us wait tooo long .... Let's get the Rage and Revenge out there ..... wondering if YYS will get his revenge in this volume itself.... !!! wondering who are all the people getting revenge....just wondering.......wondering...
Watching ,waiting and wondering
about the Rage and revenge....
and all in a tattle -
about the battle
of good and evil
and just realllly drooling
about reading the part about the
Grand Champion of Woolin .....
Okay I've re-read all of my previous Chapters. Since I've been away from writing for so long, I thought I'd go over what I've written to make sure that the rest of the story is still consistent with what I had in mind.
I'm back writing again and the next 10 chapters should be completed pretty quickly given the Xmas break...
The next chapter - "Chapter 21: The Ultimate Betrayal" should be up shortly and will be a good read...
"Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare
thanx for the great wuxia novel, you're sure an establish writer. If you complete all three volumes make sure you published them, I'm sure going to buy them
Last edited by atlantean0208; 12-19-04 at 09:28 AM.
I hate it when the hero need someone to help him at the last millisecond before death. This Fa Fei Sit guy seems like a resemblance of Ah Fei from XLFD. Anyway thanx again for the great read, I'm now nearly finishing chapter 20
I don't think YYS is powerful right now, he only learn the kung fu for only two months. He will only become powerful if he can produce 9 deception of himself, however I agree there are to many plot in here, a mystery will introduce a mystery and so on and so forth. After chapter 20, I lost track all the types and variety of the group of masked man in this story.Originally Posted by darkcser
Previously I'm thinking that the main plot is Murong family helping the tiger sect through their various disguise to be the grand champion of wulin. However we now have another mysterious group - the forgetting villa.
The plot until know:
- Fa Fei Sit and the frost palm and Song shan
- beggar clean and dirty faction fighting for control
- Demon sect inner struggle
- Tiger sect plot for Grand champion of wulin
- Bak Tin Kiew revenge and Lin Chun Fa mysterious death
- The murong plot
- Lovers feud which I lost track already
- YYS and Siu Wah blood oath
- Forgetting villa
- Reappearance of Black Dragon Swordsman
- YYS searching for the black dragon manual
Last edited by atlantean0208; 12-20-04 at 07:50 PM.
Chapter 21: The Ultimate Betrayal
It’s late in the evening in the city of Louyang. Various common people, merchants, and scholars are still walking up and down on the main street going about their business. A couple of drunken men stumble down the road shoulder to shoulder. They are reciting some kind of poem as they stumble slightly and then pick themselves up again before continuing on their way. Their poem is carried in the wind and echoes with a haunting tune above the rushing crowd.
With a heavy heart
A warrior stands by the sea
With a sorrowful face
A reflection of his shadow does he see
Unsheathing his blade
He curses at the sky
Clenching his fists
He starts to break down and cry
The joy of victory is short-lived
From star to fallen hero
Defeated and now forgotten
Reduced to a mere zero
For end of the beginning is near
The blade pierces through the heart
Swearing with his last once of breath
In total dismay another warrior will soon depart
Soon the two drunken men disappear into the distance until they can no longer be heard and the streets are quiet once more. The heavy rain earlier on in the day has now subsided. A thick fog now covers the city with a thick white haze. Amongst the wandering crowd an old man and a young boy can be seen turning to take a narrow dirt path towards the ‘Poon’ lake. It was named after the ‘Poon’ general family who ended up betraying the ‘Yang’ general family during the Southern Song Dynasty. They appeared to be making themselves towards an abandoned temple on the outskirts of the city on western side. The older looking man wore a light blue robe with white trimmings. A rectangle light blue hat rested on his head. He appeared to be a man in his late 40s. He wore a white belt with the words ‘Chancellor of Wulin’ was written in red. It was obvious that this man was none other than the Gentleman Sword, Bak Fung Wan, and the young boy was the same young beggar boy whom had delivered a message to him at the ‘Fat Elephants Tavern’ earlier in the day. The young boy was obviously leading Bak Fung Wan towards the main headquarters of the ‘Dirty’ Beggar Faction in Luoyang.
As they approached the temple one could notice that it had been draped in white silk cloth. Bits of white ceremonial paper were being caught in the gentle breeze. Forming into a little twister on the ground and were being blowing wildly here and there. A pile of paper blew towards them and appeared to be circling around Bak Fung Wan as they walked. These were the kinds of ceremonial paper used as a sacrifice to honour the death of a fallen hero. A strange chilling aurora of death filled the air. It was obvious that the ‘Dirty’ Beggar Faction were still in mourning over their leader, Deputy Chief Beggar Hung. Shortly after the young boy opened the gate and led Bak Fung Wan into the courtyard of the temple. As they approached the entrance one could just see that here was a small fire burning inside. Four very fat and large wild boar were skewed onto long sticks just above the fire to roast. Two men wearing dirty white robes sat around the fire to turn the wild boar meat to ensure that it is properly cooked. A delicious aroma filled the air as the wild boar meat sizzled and cooked.
A young girl around 7 to 8 years of age sat around the fire with the two men. She was wearing a grey dress with white trimmings. It was obvious this little girl was none other than Ah Sing. She had obtain Rule Elder Lau’s assistance in removing the deceased bodies of the various Beggar Clan members from the ‘Forest of the Lady of the Eternal Spring’. But she had decided to travel with the Beggar Clan members to Luoyang as she knew that her master, Du Fu, had other private matters to take care of before travelling to Shaolin.
Noticing the 50 white coffins placed towards the front of the old temple, Bak Fung Wan became a little curious. Glancing across at the small boy who was guiding towards the entrance of the old temple, Bak Fung Wan couldn’t help but ask whilst pointing his index finger towards the pile of coffins, “Boy can you tell me what has happened here? What are those 50 coffins for?”.
“Umm….”, mumbled the young boy unsure as to what he should say.
But before the young boy had a chance to continue, a stocky middle aged man in his late 40s stepped out from within temple to greet them. A long beard and moustache covered his face. There were a few streaks of white hair amongst the thick black hair that appeared to have never been combed before. He wore a torn and dirty white robe. A short dog beating stick was strapped by the side of his right waist and he carried some kind of old scroll in his left hand. Nine small bags were stitched onto his robes. Glancing towards the young boy and shaking his head, to indicate to him to remain silent, the old beggar bowed slightly before cupping his hands together. He said, “Chancellor, I am Rule Elder Lau! What an unexpected honour to finally meet you in person! What business brings you here tonight?”.
Returning the polite gesture, Bak Fung Wan replied, “I’m here to see your Disciplinary Elder, Beggar Leung! Is he in at the moment?”.
“Chancellor, Beggar Leung is currently resting inside the temple! What good fortune! I was about to set out and seek an audience with you! It would seem that we are fated to meet tonight!”, replied Beggar Lau with a slight smile whilst stretching out his arm towards the entrance, before guiding him inside.
“Seek an audience with me? Whatever for?”, questioned Bak Fung Wan become even more curious by the moment.
Pausing for a long while to think for the right words to say, Beggar Lau replied, “It’s best if I let Beggar Leung explain! I’m not very good with words! But don’t worry as you’ll know in a few moments time! This way!”.
“Why’s he hesitating to tell me? What’s he trying to hide?”, Bak Fung Wan thought inwardly just as he was about to step inside the temple. He immediately assumed that it must have something to do with the 50 coffins laid out at the entrance and gave it no further thought.
But something strange followed as soon as Bak Fung Wan stepped into the temple. The young boy had turned around and dashed off into the night. He appeared to be headed back towards the city. A little startled Bak Fung Wan asked, “Beggar Lau, where’s that young boy off to?”.
Waving a casual hand, Beggar Lau replied, “Oh! It’s nothing! He’s our usual messenger and has just been sent on another errand! That’s all!”.
Having been satisfied with the response, Bak Fung Wan relaxed a little. Looking around, he noticed that there were around 50 to 60 Beggar Clan members sitting inside the temple drinking and talking with each other. All of the men were dressed in white robes like the others. But there robes had been stained in red blood, indicating that these men had vowed to avenge the death of Deputy Chief Hung and had taken an oath to do so. They appeared to be slightly hungry and were waiting for the wild boar meat to cook. There was a short hush as everyone fixed a curious gaze towards Bak Fung Wan upon noticing that he had entered. It made Bak Fung Wan feel a little uneasy inside for some reason. As a natural reaction he immediately decided to channel his inner energy as his suspicions were slightly aroused. It was obvious that something was not quite right but he could not place his finger on it. But he would never show his concern on the outside, but instead maintained a calm disposition. Bak Fung Wan followed Beggar Lau’s lead and soon arrived towards a small tent wrapped in white cloth at the back of the temple. One could see that there was a coffin laid out in the middle of the tent. The coffin was also draped in white sheets which were stained with the blood of various Beggar Clan members who had come to pay their respects. This was another sign, indicating that a number of Beggar Clan members had taken an oath of revenge and would not rest until Deputy Chief Hung’s murder had been brought to justice. There was a small table placed before the coffin. It contained trays of fruit, a plate of roast wild boar, and a small tray containing burnt ash. It was obvious that someone had just burnt some sacrificial money paper for Beggar Hung. A wooden plark with the name “Beggar Hung” carved into it to rested at the centre of the table.
One could now see that there’s a medium built man kneeling on the ground to pay his respects to Beggar Hung. He looked around 40 years of age, and was of medium built. He wore a dirty, blood stained, white robe like the rest of the men. Nine small bags were stitched onto the corner of his robes. A short dog beating stick was strapped by his waist. A large red drinking vessel was strapped over his right shoulder. He appeared to be saying some kind of prayer as a stream of tears roll down his eyes. Although he had his back turned, Bak Fung Wan could guess that he was none other than Beggar Leung. But Beggar Leung appeared to be lost in thought, and did not appear to notice Bak Fung Wan’s presence. Upon arriving at Deputy Chief Hung’s final resting place, Bak Fung Wan could not help but pay his respects. During his tenure as the Chancellor of Wulin, Bak Fung Wan, had heard a great deal about the heroic deeds of Deputy Chief Hung and was touched with sadness upon seeing his grave. Getting down on his knees Bak Fung Wan bowed three times. He remarked upon standing up, “Beggar Hung, in life you were a true hero! May you rest in peace in the underworld!”.
Shortly after making this remark, Bak Fung Wan felt a slight chill in his body as the gentle wind blew past him. The cold wind that brushed pass him appeared to have gave a soft howl of vengeance. But only he appeared to have heard it. Gripping his heart slightly for a moment with his right hand, Bak Fung Wan felt uneasy. He was slightly startled and puzzled by this feeling of dread. But it seemed to have awoken a memory that he had buried deep in his heart. He suddenly remembered that it was members from the Beggar Clan who had delivered the body of his deceased wife to Taishan over 12 years ago. To this day he did not know how his wife had died, or who had murdered her. He had been so busy these past few years that he did not even have time to grieve for her. But as these thoughts raced through his mind, he immediately clutched tightly onto his ‘exquisite snake sword’ ready to unsheath it in an instant. For it was widely known that when one gets a slight chill upon paying their respects to a recently deceased person, that it was a warning of hidden danger nearby from the sprit world.
As Bak Fung Wan regained his composure, Beggar Leung stood up and dried the tears from his face with his right sleeve. He appeared to have heard Bak Fung Wan’s previous comments and appeared to be in a little bit of a rage. Giving a slight snort of disrespect he said, “Humph! Peace! What rubbish! Do you think Beggar Hung will ever find peace in the underworld? Knowing that his death is yet to be avenged! And knowing that Deputy Chief Ma Sai Kang is still making an unjustly claim to the leadership?”.
“That’s right his death along with the deaths of our other Beggar Clan members need to be avenged! That’s what we wish to discuss with you this evening!”, added Beggar Lau in a little bit of a rage also.
Seeing the anguish on the faces of Beggar Leung and Beggar Lau, Bak Fung Wan immediately guessed what they were up to. It was obvious to Bak Fung Wan that Beggar Leung and Beggar Lau had just deliberately tried to use emotional blackmail to try and gain his support. He was never going to allow this to happen and did not want to get in the internal feud between the ‘Dirty’ and ‘Clean’ Beggar Clan factions. Thinking of a diplomatic solution out of his present predicament, Bak Fung Wan replied, “Eh, you’re both very much mistaken in my intentions today! I’m not here in a official capacity! So don’t mention revenge or the leadership of the Beggar Clan to me again! It’s a matter best left for discussions at the urgent summit at Shaolin! I’m here on a personal matter!”.
“And what personal matter might that be?”, asked Beggar Lau in shock as he shot a glance towards Beggar Leung.
To that Bak Fung Wan replied, “I’m searching for my daughter and have received news that Deputy Chief Ma might know of her whereabouts! So I was just seeking information on how to find Deputy Chief Ma, since nobody seems to know where he’s currently residing! Are you two able to assist me?”.
“Humph! If that’s true that Deputy Chief Ma has information about your daughter, then your daughter has obviously been captured by him!”, scoffed Beggar Leung turning to shoot a glare directly at Bak Fung Wan.
“It’s true! Everyone knows that he’s now working for the Demon Cult and that he’s seized your daughter to gain your support for the leadership!”, added Beggar Lau to the side to support Beggar Leung’s comments.
“He has allegiances with the Demon Cult? How can you tell?”, questioned Bak Fung Wan upon becoming a little startled and curious at the same time. He then thought about the letter that the young boy from the ‘Dirty’ Beggar Clan faction had delivered to him earlier in the day. He remembered that the letter claimed to have been from the Chancellor of the Demon Cult, advising him that Ma Sai Kang had captured his daughter. Suddenly another thought crossed Bak Fung Wan’s mind as he remembered the feud between the two Beggar Clan factions. He immediately thought, "Could it be that Beggar Leung is trying to set up Deputy Chief Ma and the Demon Cult!”.
Seeing the hesitation on Bak Fung Wan’s face, both Beggar Leung and Beggar Lau could guess what was on his mind. Wasting no more time, Beggar Leung led Bak Fung Wan out of the temple back towards the entrance were the 50 coffins had been laid outside. Both he and Beggar Lau then opened up the coffins one by one. Pointing towards the first coffin, Beggar Leung remarked, “Here’s your evidence! See the wound marks on these bodies?”.
Bak Fung Wan walked over to the coffin and examined the bodies one by one. He immediately recognised the body of the first man to be one of the Regional Commanders in Beggar Jong. How these men came to meet their deaths he was not yet certain. As a result of being concerned over the safety of Bak Tin Kiew over the past few months, Bak Fung Wan, had not kept abreast of the events that had occurred in wulin during this time. After examining Beggar Jong’s body he proceeded to examine the others. He became slightly troubled upon noticing that the majority of the men had been murdered by a weapon with short and jagged edges that match the weapons commonly wielded by members from the Beggar Clan. Others died as a result of wounds received from broad swords and others died from the ‘black widow’ poison commonly used by the late Black Widow Assassin of the 13 Ghost Mountain Assassins. In fact he had recognised that one of the wounds on the deceased bodies matched a wound that he had seen on his wife’s body over 12 years ago. He was a little puzzled and so decided to ask in a stern voice, “Beggar Leung, what is this all about? How did these men die?”.
Beggar Leung replied without hesitation. He said whilst pointing an index finger towards the 7-8 year old girl sitting by the fire, “These bodies were delivered to us by young Ms Sing, an apprentice of the great Calligraphy Swordsman, Du Fu!”.
“A couple of weeks ago our Deputy Chief Hung was ambushed and murdered by Fisherman Ho who also happened to steal our clan’s jade bog hitting stick!”, interrupted Beggar Lau to the side.
“Yes, that’s correct! And Beggar Jong went to track Fisherman Ho down with all of his followers! He was subsequently ambushed and murdered by Fisherman Ho, and those with allegiances to the Demon Cult!”, concluded Beggar Leung as he pointed over towards the coffins.
“We are in the process of delivering these bodies, along with that of Deputy Chief Hung to Shaolin for the Urgent Summit! They are the evidence that the Demon Cult are up to no good and that members of the orthodox clans have joined into their plot!”, added Beggar Lau in support of Beggar Leung’s arguments.
Though their statements appeared to make sense Bak Fung Wan was not entirely convinced that Deputy Chief Ma was involved and had allegiances to the Demon Cult. So he decided to ask, “Beggar Leung, even if Fisherman Ho and members of the Demon Cult were involved in murdering Beggar Jong and the others, how can you be so sure that Deputy Chief Ma was ever involved? Where is your evidence?”.
“Who else but Deputy Chief Ma would want to steal the jade bog hitting stick from Deputy Chief Hung and claim the leadership of the Beggar Clan for himself?”, replied Beggar Leung.
“That’s right! Who else would have the authority to order members of the Beggar Clan to murder other members from the Beggar Clan? He already has possession of the 36 Jade Dog Beating kung fu manual! All he needs to do now is obtain the jade dog hitting stick so that he can finally master its arts!”, added Beggar Lau once more.
It was widely known throughout wulin that only the Chief of the Beggar Clan could master the arts of the 36 Jade Dog Beating technique passed down from one generation to the next. To safe guard other’s from learning the arts, the jade dog beating stick was given to Deputy Chief Hung for safe keeping and the kung fu manuals were given to Deputy Chief Ma after the death of Chief Yik Fei Hung by the 9 Regional Commanders of the Beggar Clan. But none of the Deputy Chiefs could fully master the arts of the 36 Jade Dog hitting stick without possession of the other item. So it would not be out of the question for one of the Deputy Chiefs to be corrupted by power and seek to obtain the leadership of the Beggar Clan through evil and ruthless tactics.
Bak Fung Wan was aware of the plight of the Beggar Clan many years ago but was unsure as to how the trouble had all started between the Dirty and the Clean Beggar Factions that were previously united under the leadership of Yik Fei Hung. There were a number of rumours throughout wulin that indicated that the trouble with the Beggar Clan had actually started in that fated night in Chongqing over 20 years ago. That was the same night that Fung Lau Yin of the 7 Vixens had injured Yik Fei Hung. He decided to ask, “Beggar Leung, how is it that after all these years that a Chief of the Beggar Clan has never been elected? My wife had previously advised me that the former Chief, Yik Fei Hung, in his will had in fact favoured Deputy Chief Ma Si Kang over Deputy Chief Hung! So why would Deputy Chief Ma want to kill Beggar Hung or harm members from your Dirty Beggar Faction?”.
Shaking his head in disbelief, Beggar Leung replied, “Nonsense! Absolute nonsense! Where on earth did your wife hear that? The night our Chief was ambushed by Fung Lau Yin, he was afraid that he would not make it and thus wrote a will indicating that he supported the leadership of Deputy Chief Hung and not Deputy Chief Ma! Everyone within the Beggar Clan knew that!”.
“When Deputy Chief Ma found out he was very upset! So it is obvious that it was Deputy Chief Ma who murdered Chief Yik and forged a new will to enhance his prospects of becoming the next Chief! That’s why we Dirty Beggar faction did not support him despite his claims!”, added Beggar Lau whilst nodding his head in agreement with Beggar Leung.
Just when Bak Fung Wan was going to ask Beggar Leung to show him the will from Chief Yik that indicated that he had supported Deputy Chief Hung for the leadership, two men approached the temple and tapped Beggar Lau on the shoulder. They could be heard remarking in an excited voice to Beggar Lau, “Rule Elder Lau, we’ve found them…”.
Beggar Lau shook his head once more, and immediately held a hand up to indicate to the two men to stop talking. The two men did as they were told, and for the first time appeared to have noticed Bak Fung Wan’s presence. Seeing that members of the Beggar Clan had behave in such a secretive manner, Bak Fung Wan couldn’t help but ask, “Beggar Lau, is there anything wrong?”.
Beggar Lau did not immediately respond. Instead he walked over towards Beggar Leung and whispered something into his ear. Beggar Leung gave a slight smile as his eyes seemed to have lit up with some excitement. He decided to ask, “Chancellor, what would you do if you discover that we’ve been telling you the truth. That Deputy Chief Ma has been working for the Demon Cult and has captured your daughter?”.
“Would you support Deputy Chief Hung’s claims, and therefore our claims for the leadership of the Beggar Clan?”, added Beggar Lau.
“If indeed you’re both telling me the truth, then I’ll punish Deputy Chief Ma accordingly! As for the leadership of the Beggar Clan, that’s a matter to be better left to the Urgent Summit at Shaolin! It’s out of my hands!”, repeated Bak Fung Wan, not wanting to get involved in the internal affairs of another clan.
Pausing for a short while to observe the two men, Bak Fung Wan added, “Where’s my daughter? I would very much appreciate it if you can advise me where to find her!”.
But Beggar Leung chose not to reply. He asked again in a very stern and forceful voice, “Chancellor, I’ll ask you for the last time! Are you going to support us in our leadership claims or not?”.
Getting slightly annoyed, Bak Fung Wan gripped onto the sheath of his ‘exquisite snake sword’ and motioned to leave the temple. As he walked by Beggar Leung he decided to add, “Beggar Leung, I have made it clear already that I’m not here in an official capacity! All I’m concerned about is the safety of my daughter and nothing else!”.
Taking a big stride out of the courtyard of the temple before turning to leave, he added, “I’m going to find her now! With or without your help! Goodbye”.
Seeing that Bak Fung Wan was dead serious about leaving, Beggar Leung waved his stick towards Beggar Lau and the rest of his men. They immediately dashed out of the temple and surrounded Bak Fung Wan in a circular pattern. But none of them had raised their sticks to attack. They were just merely blocking Bak Fung Wan’s path forward and were awaiting further instructions.
“Beggar Leung, what is the meaning of this?”, asked Bak Fung Wan as he observed the 60 odd Beggar Clan members in front of him. He gripped onto the hilt of his sword, ready to sheath it in an instant, upon saying this.
Just when it appeared as if Beggar Leung was going to raise his hands and order his men to attack, Beggar Lau walked forward and gently used his right hand to prevent Beggar Leung from raising his. Exchanging a quick glance with Beggar Leung, before shaking his head, Beggar Lau decided to say, “Chancellor, please calm down and relax! We mean you no harm!”.
“If that is true, then why don’t you ask your men to back off so that I can continue on my way!”, questioned Bak Fung Wan looking a little annoyed by the whole affair as he motioned to walk forward once more.
Walking forward to block Bak Fung Wan’s path, Beggar Lau said in an urgent rush, “Chancellor, Wait! You don’t know where look! We’ll show you show you where she is!”.
Upon hearing this Bak Fung Wan stopped in his tracks and folded his arms. He realise that Beggar Lau was right and that he could stumble off into the dark and look hours for his daughter throughout the city of Luoyang without much success. It appeared as if the members of the Beggar Clan knew where she was. He hesitated for a little while and he pondered over the strange behaviour from Beggar Lau and Beggar Leung.
“That’s right! We’ll come along and assist you! Follow us!”, added Beggar Leung with an arm out stretched upon noticing that Bak Fung Wan was hesitating. He then waved his hand to the other men and started walking in the direction of the Yang Lake on the opposite side of the city. He also nodded to acknowledge Beggar Lau’s idea. Moment’s later the various Beggar Clan members that had blocked Bak Fung Wan’s path forward parted like the red sea. Bak Fung Wan did not move and remained frozen on the spot. He was still deep in thought. The rest of the Beggar Clan members made their way out of the courtyard of the temple. Beggar Leung lead his fellow clan members from the front. Beggar Lau remained standing besides Bak Fung Wan with an arm out stretched. Eight of the men went back inside the temple to retrieve the wild boar meat before cutting them up and passing the cooked meat to the others as they walked. Many of the Beggar Clan members ate as they walked into the darkness.
Noticing that Bak Fung Wan had not yet proceeded forward, Beggar Lau repeated, “Chancellor, this way please! After you!”.
Bak Fung Wan finally snapped out of his daze. Strapping the sheath of his sword to his waist he returned the polite gesture, before replying, “Beggar Lau, after you!”.
He followed members from the Beggar Clan from the edges of the Poon lake all the way across the city to the other side of the Yang lake. But there were no signs of his daughter. He would constantly question Beggar Lau, about whether they had taken the right path or not. To which Beggar Lau would reply by nodding his head to indicate, “yes”. Bak Fung Wan would not normally be this way, but he had not seen his daughter for many months now and was thus very keen to find her and make sure that she was safe from harm. Not long after the Beggar Clan members appeared to be taking the narrow dirt path towards the abandoned General Yu Fei temple. Bak Fung Wan immediately became curious. He asked, “Beggar Lau, doesn’t this path lead to the abandoned General Yu Fei temple?”.
Smiling a little, Beggar Lau replied, “Yes!”.
“So Deputy Chief Ma Sai Kang of the Clean Beggar Faction has captured my daughter!”, Bak Fung Wan thought inwardly upon remembering the letter that had been delivered to him by the young beggar boy earlier in the day.
Another thought crossed his mind as he remembered that it was Tit Yum Ching who had asked the young boy to deliver him the letter, “But why would the Chancellor of the Demon Cult want to help me by finding in finding my daughter?”.
But before Bak Fung Wan could give it any further thoughts, two horses galloped passed them. They bore two riders in white robes with red trimmings. One of the men wore a red bandana on his head and the other man a blue bandana. They were obviously Red Flame and Blue Water. Red Flame was riding a black horse and Blue water was riding a white horse. As they rode past the group of Beggar Clan members one could notice a young girl wearing a flowing green dress was sitting behind Blue Water. Bak Fung Wan immediately recognised her, as he cried out loud, “Tin Kiew! Tin Kiew! Where are you going?”.
Bak Tin Kiew turned to cast a glance at the man who was calling out her name and appeared to recognise him as her father. Though she appeared to be happy, she did not cry out or call for help. It was obvious that her pressure points had been sealed. But Blue Water and Red Flame did not pull the reigns on their horses however, but instead whipped them, to make them go faster and faster. They appeared to be in some hurry. Not long after another two horses bearing riders in plain black masks rode passed. It was obvious that these two masked men were pursuing after Red Flame and Blue Water.
“What the heck?”, cried Beggar Leung and Beggar Lau as they jumped to the side of the path so as not to be run over by the two galloping horses.
Wasting no time, Bak Fung Wan immediately utilised his lightness kung fu to pursue after Red Flame and Blue Water thinking that they had captured his daughter, Bak Tin Kiew. He immediately sheathed his sword as he ran. He could hear both Beggar Leung and Bagger Lau shouting from behind them, “Chancellor, wait!”.
But he ignored their pleas and kept racing back towards the city of Luoyang. Seeing that Bak Fung Wan had dashed off into the night Beggar Leung and Beggar Lau, waved the rest of the men and pursued hotly after him. They could not keep up however as their lightness kung fu were lower than that of Bak Fung Wan’s. Although he possessed excellent lightness kung fu, Bak Fung Wan soon lost track of the two masked riders in black. Looking along the ground he noticed that the tacks had turned from the main dirt path into the dense forest. So he decided to follow the trail of horse hooves imprinted on the ground. He arrived at a clearing near the bank of a clear lake in around half an hour’s time. Taking a moment to observe his surroundings, he noticed that a white and black horse had been tied to the base of a tree. The soft clay dirt near the bank had been slightly disturbed. Three pairs of foot prints could be seen in the mud.
“So they’ve crossed the lake!”, Bak Fung Wan thought inwardly, as he peered forward into the darkness. He noticed that a thick cloud of mist had formed above the surface of the water, making it very difficult to distinguish exactly where he was.
Taking a moment to walk along the bank, Bak Fung Wan stumbled across an old bamboo pole, and a small bamboo raft. He immediately placed the bamboo raft on the edge of the bank before using the bamboo pole to guide himself across the lake. Not long after Bak Fung Wan approached an old jetty on the opposite side of the lake. The wood on the jetty was broken and in total decay. White ants had attacked and eaten away at the structure. There was a tiny bamboo raft and pole thrown on the bank of the lake. Three pairs of footsteps were imprinted into the mud, and appeared to be leading away towards a main dirt path. There was a large stone tablet inscribed on the opposite side of the jetty. A little curious, Bak Fung Wan decided to wonder across for a closer look. He read the words inscribed on the rock out loud, “The Forgetting Villa, trespassers beware!”.
“So this is the entrance to the Forgetting Villa!”, Bak Fung Wan thought out loud to himself.
But as Bak Fung Wan pondered over the exact location of the Forgetting Villa, he could hear a strange scrapping sound in the distance. It appeared to be coming from the main dirt path directly ahead of him. Thinking that Bak Tin Kiew was in grave danger, he dashed off once more towards the strange metallic scrapping sound. As he turned the bend, he felt a burning sensation throughout his body. It made him feel as if he had lost all strength in his body. His body began to shake slightly as his own inner energy attempted to repel the alien stream from his system. It felt as if he had been hit by a bolt of lightning. Turning around towards the source of the strike, Bak Fung Wan noticed five pairs of luminous blue eyes starring back at him. Although he could only see the eyes of his attackers, they looked rather menacing.
“The Five Storms!”, Bak Fung Wan thought to himself as he immediately sat in a meditating position so that he can properly channel his inner energy to heal himself. He was aware of the abilities of the Five Storms of the Demon Cult. Although the powers of Thunder, Cloud, Wind, and Rain were far inferior to his own abilities, it was well known that Lightning was regarded as one of the top 10 fighters in wulin. Bak Fung Wan knew he had a tough fight on his hands. Besides Lightning had gain the upper hand with his ambush attack. There were also five of them that he had to deal with. It was also rumoured throughout wulin that the Five Storms working together in a team had never been defeated.
Walking forward with a wicked laugh, Lightning said in a chilling tone, “Well… Well… What do we have here? It’s none other than the Chancellor of Wulin!”.
“You mean former Chancellor of Wulin…”, remarked Thunder as he stepped forward with the iron nail in his left hand and the hammer in his right hand. He immediately walked towards Bak Fung Wan before standing about three paces away. In a flash he raised his hammer high in the air before pulling down with all of his might to smash Bak Fung Wan’s skull into a million tiny pieces. Bak Fung Wan appeared helpless to do anything about it.
(To Be Continued)
"Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare
thanx long for another update, best wishes
Thanks - Best wishes to everyone for the Xmas and Holiday period. Been so flat chat at work that I had no time to write so hopefully I can finish more of the story during the 8 days I have off.
"Seems, madam! Nay it is, I know not seems!" - Hamlet, William Shakespeare