To Trinie:You're welcome and thanks. ^_^
To Wang ChongYang: I always thought that He ZuDao was a mix of LingHu Chong and Duan Yu. Both he lacked the heroic features of Guo Jing and Yang Guo. Those were the qualities (I think) Guo Xiang were looking for, both He ZuDao and Zhang JunBao/Zhang SanFeng lacked that quality.
But He ZuDao was still very strong compared to the younger generation of WuLin persons with the exception of Yang Guo of course.
By the way philistine is a person who has no interest or understanding of the arts, or is hostile to them.
He ZuDao drew the broken sword of Guo Xiang in his left hand and blocked Pan TianGeng's attacks and used his right hand to play the zither.
He ZuDao displayed his special ability, one hand playing the zither and the other hand using a sword. He managed perfectly well with one hand playing the zither. He also used a puff of air to play another chord of the zither.
Pan TianGeng attacked rapidly with a few violent techniques, He ZuDao easily blocked them and his eyes were concentrated on the zither and was afraid his puff of air will disperse.
Pan TianGeng became angrier and angrier, his sword techniques were becoming fiercer and fiercer, but still He ZuDao easily warded them off.
Guo Xiang was listening to the music and didn't pay any attention to the attacks of Pan TianGeng. However the sounds of the2 swords intersecting was disturbing the music. She softly clapped her hands and raised her eyebrows and said to Pan TianGeng:"Your techniques are not in unison, are you not familiar with music? If you listen carefully the sounds of the swords won't disrupt the music."
Pan TianGeng didn't pay any attention to her and saw that the enemy was sitting on the ground and was concentrated on the zither. And still he wasn't able to overcome He ZuDao, Pan became very anxious and his stances changed to rapid attacks and the clatter of the sounds were becoming very dense. This sound was the total opposite of the gentle soft music. He ZuDao raised his eyebrows and passed strength to his sword and the sword of Pan TianGeng made 'clank' sound and broke into two halves. However one of the chords of the zither broke as well. Pan TianGeng looked very pale and didn't say a word and left the pavilion. The 3 martial arts brother mounted their horses and quickly rode up the mountain.
Guo Xiang was a bit surprised to see that and said:"These 3 men were defeated, how come they're still headed towards the ShaoLin Monastery? Do they really want to fight to the end?"
She turned to He ZuDao and saw him looking sad and was touching that broken chord and looked very unhappy. Guo Xiang thought:"Just a broken chord why so unhappy?" She picked up the zither and removed the broken chord and was tuning the zither again.
He ZuDao sighed:"After all these years of training, I still cannot focus properly. I used force in my left hand breaking his sword but also breaking that chord."
Now Guo Xiang understood and knew he was unhappy that his martial arts was still not perfect and smiled:"You want to fight with your left hand and play the zither with your right hand. This form of using your concentration of 2 matters is only known to three persons in the realm. You haven't reached that level yet, why worry so much about it."
He ZuDao asked:"Who are these three people?" Guo Xiang said:"The first one is "The Old Imp" Zhou BoTong, the second one is my father and the third one is Madame Yang, Xiao LongNu. Apart from these 3 people even people with great martial arts like my grandfather the lord of the Peach Blossom Island, my mother and "the Condor Hero" Yang Guo are unable to that."
He ZuDao said:"It's hard to believe that there are so many astonishing people in the realm. You must introduce me to them."
Guo Xiang faintly said:"If you want to meet my father that is not difficult, as for the other two I don't even know where to look." She saw He ZuDao looking disappointed she said:"You've defeated "The 3 Saints of KunLun" which is a amazing thing. Why fret over such a small incident like a broken chord."
He ZuDao was shocked and asked:"The 3 Saints of KunLun? What are you talking about? And how did you know?"
Guo Xiang smiled:"Those 3 old men came from the western borders, they must be "The 3 Saints of KunLun." They do have their unique abilities, but challenging ShaoLin is a bit too arrogant....."
She saw that He ZuDao was looking very strangely and asked:"What's so strange?"
He ZuDao softly said:"The 3 Saints of KunLun, The 3 Saints of KunLun, He ZuDao. That's me."
Guo Xiang was surprised and asked:"You're "The 3 Saints of KunLun"? Where are the other 2?"
He ZuDao said:"The 3 Saints of KunLun" is one person, there were never 3. I have established a small reputation in the western borders, and the local friends say that my chess, sword and zither skills are superb. Also they say I'm fit to be a saint in the zither, a saint if chess and a saint in swordsmanship. But I knew that the saint was not something that could easily be assumed. So I changed my name to He ZuDao ('not worth mentioning'). So when other people hear my name they won't think I'm an arrogant, overbearing man."
Guo Xiang smiled and clapped her hands:"Now I get it. I thought that "The 3 Saints of KunLun were 3 persons. But who were those 3 old men?"
He ZuDao answered:"They? Those were ShaoLin disciples."
Guo Xiang was even more confused and said:"So they belong to ShaoLin. Right their martial arts were firm and strong. Indeed that red-faced man used "DaMo" swordsmanship and the sickly-looking man used "WeiTuo"Demon-Subdueing Sword techniques. But there were a lot of changes and alterations to them I couldn't recognize them. Why did they come here?"
He ZuDao said:"This is not without reason. Last year Spring, I was at Mount KunLun, peak JingShen playing the zither. Suddenly I heard fighting noises and took a look and saw 2 men were struggling on the ground. Both were heavily injured but both were still wrestling with each other. I yelled at them to stop but they still continued and walked over to push them aside. When I did so one of them fell down and died, the other was still breathing. I took him to my home and gave him some medicines after half a day he was revived. But he was mortally wounded and no medicine could prolong his life anymore. Before he died he said his name was Yin KeXi....."
Guo Xiang called out in surprise and asked:"Was the other man called Xiao XiangZi? He was very tall and skinny and his face looked like a corpse, right?"
He ZuDao was surprised and said:"Yes, how did you know?"
Guo Xiang said:"I saw them once, I never thought they 2 would fight each other to the death."
He ZuDao said:"That Yin KeXi said he did a life full wicked deeds, there was no use in feeling sorry for himself anymore. He said that he and Xiao XiangZi went to the ShaoLin Monastery and stole a manuscript, both of them were suspicious of each other. Both of them didn't trust each other and were afraid if the other one learnt the manuscript he would kill the other one and keep the manuscript for himself. Both ate at the same table, slept in the same bed and didn't leave the other out of sight. But, both were afraid that one would put in poison in the food or sneak up on him in the night and kill him. Both were extremely edgy and couldn't eat or rest properly also they were afraid that ShaoLin monks would catch up on them. So they went to the western borders and at Peak JingShen, both were extremely weary and knew if this continued both of them would be tired to death. So they fought it out there and then, according to Yin KeXi Xiao XiangZi's martial arts was better than his and attacked first. Yin KeXi suffered a blow, but in the end Yin KeXi gainged the advantage. Then Yin realised that Xiao XiangZi was heavily injured at Mount Hua and hadn't recovered yet. If otherwise they wouldn't have made to Mount KunLun."
After Guo Xiang heard this story she thought of the situation Yin KeXi and Xiao XiangZi were in and became gloomy and sighed:"Just because of a manuscript, this isn't worth it."
He ZuDao said:"After telling this, Yin KeXi was having difficulty breathing and begged me to go to the ShaoLin Monastery and tell a monk called JueYuan something about the manuscript was in the oil. ("Jing Zai You Zhong.') I found this sentence very strange and didn't understand what he meant with the manuscript in the oil. Just when I wanted to ask him what he meant, he fainted. I thought after he rested for awhile I will ask him again. But he never woke up again. I thought perhaps he hid the manuscript in an oilcloth, but I couldn't find anything in their clothes. Anyway I have been entrusted to deliver a message so I decided to carry this mission out. Furthermore I've never been to China before so I decided to tour around for some time and ended up here.
Guo Xiang asked:"Why did you leave a note at ShaoLin? And challenged the ShaoLin monks?
He ZuDao smiled and said:"This is has to do with those 3 old men earlier. They are the ShaoLin disciples of the Western ShaoLin Monastery. According to the people there they belong to the same "Tian" generation as the TianMing abbot of this ShaoLin. It seems that their patriarch had a disagreement with his martial arts brothers here and in a fury he left and founded the Western ShaoLin Monastery. Originally the martial arts of ShaoLin came with Master DaMo of India to China and from China to the western regions. Which wasn't a strange thing. These 3 men heard of my reputation as "The 3 Saints of KunLun" and wanted to duel with me. On their way here they kept boasting that ShaoLin martial arts were unequalled in the realm, I was permitted to be a saint in chess and the zither but not in swordsmanship. So I had to be the 2 saints instead of 3. And this happened before I met Yin KeXi so I thought I could finish 2 tasks in one go. I sent someone to notify those 3 old men to meet me at the ShaoLin Monastery. Anyway the 3 of them were travelling very fast and could catch up with me."
Guo Xiang laughed:"I guessed entirely wrong. I wonder what those 3 old men will say when they reach the ShaoLin Monastery."
He ZuDao said:"I don't have any grudges against ShaoLin so I left a note that I will come 10 days later. I did this because I wanted those 3 old men to arrive at ShaoLin and battle them. But now duel is over, let us go to ShaoLin together and after I delivered the message we will leave again."
Guo Xiang frowned her eyebrows and said:"The rules of these monks are very strict, women may not enter."
He ZuDao said:"Pooh! What damn rules! We're just going to enter and what are they going to do about it? Kill us?"
Guo Xiang is a rather meddlesome girl, but after meeting reverend Wuse she has no bad feelings towards ShaoLin and shook her head and smiled:"I'll wait for you outside, you just enter and deliver the message. There's no need to create unneccesary trouble."
He ZuDao nodded and said:"Alright! I haven't finishe playing my song for you after delivering the message I'll played once again for you."
End of chapter one