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Thread: ROCH unabridged

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
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    Default ROCH unabridged

    This is the translation of Noodle's ROCH gathered in one uninterrupted thread. Thanks for the unbelievable amount of work in translating this wonderful story!

    Only a moderator or translator should post in this thread.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 1: No Love Under the Wind and Moon

    ‘The girl picks lotuses by the autumn bank, as she pulls on her narrow sleeves, two gold bracelets are revealed. On the surface is a picture of beauty, but underneath her heart is like a string struggling to be untangled.’

    The fog has lightened due to the strong winds, but as the time approaches solitude lies by the stream. A mysterious song is heard from afar, seemingly from the Jiang Nan province. A soft and graceful tune was played and carried across the lake’s surface under the cover of the mist. Once the song has finished, a small boat appeared. Within the boat were five girls who were singing and laughing, picking lotuses onto the boat. The lyrics the girls sang were from the poem ‘The Butterfly loves the Flower’ written by the Song poet Ou Yang Xiu, the words they sang matched what the girl was feeling inside; though only sixty words were sang, the season, time of day, place, scenery and the girl’s face, clothes, hair adornments, emotions were all described meticulously. The next part of the song is as if someone is narrating a scene, a love story, one that is close at heart yet far away, but a love which isn’t yet exhausted.

    Ou Yang Xiu was in Jiang Nan as a court official where he lived a leisurely lifestyle, doing as he pleased, absorbed in what he was doing (reading, writing etc.,). People of Song shouldn’t use their position to abuse the town’s people, but didn’t forbid using poetry for leisure. As long as a line of poetry came out, as long as there is well water to accompany a song, as the Jiang Nan spring comes and the willow breaks, as lotuses are on the autumn lake, everything that follows is a Ou poem.

    It was during the year when Southern Song was established when the South Lake became popular. It was near mid autumn, as lotus leaves began to decay, and when lotus buns were at their best. A song spread across the lake to a Taoist nun’s ear. As she sat alone underneath a willow tree quietly, the night winds forced her to place an apricot yellow robe on. The winds managed to brush a piece of dirt on her neck. She hid her feelings, as ‘a lonely heart like a string struggling to be untangled’. The song gradually moves away, the song is a verse of Ou Yang Xiu’s ‘Butterfly loves a Flower’. A light breeze carried two sentences ‘there are no lovers meeting under the wind and moon, the past is like a dream cut short’. The song comes to a rest. A smile came upon her lips.

    A sigh was let out and a left hand was raised revealing a bloody palm. “What do you find so funny?” she mumbled to herself. She sang to herself, without understanding the regret and sorrow within the poem.

    Standing about one hundred foot away from the nun, a plainly dressed bearded old man was standing silently, unmoved but as he heard the two sentences he let out an extremely quiet sigh.

    A little boat gently glides across the blue jade lake. The girls on the boat were young, three of them about fifteen, sixteen, the other two were around nine. Two of the girls were cousins. The older of the two was called Cheng Ying; the younger was called Lu Wu Shuang. The difference in age was about six months.

    The other three girls were singing songs constantly, the boat emerging from a pile of lotus leaves.

    Cheng Ying said, “Cousin, can you guess who that old man is?” pointing to the man underneath the willow tree.

    The hair on that man is all messed up, his beard loose, the colour of his beard was black like a crow’s, indicating that he is not very old, although his face has traces of wrinkles, like those of an seventy eighty year old, he is wearing blue, around his neck hung a bright satin bib, on it was an embroidery of cat thrown itself at a butterfly though the picture is now old and fading away.

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “That strange man has sat there for half a day now, why doesn’t he move?”

    Cheng Ying said, “If you want to call him something, call him old grandpa. If you call him strange, surely he would get angry.’

    Lu Wu Shuang laughed, “Is he not strange? He’s old yet he is still wearing a bib. If the bearded guy gets up and becomes angry, that is surely something to be watched.”

    Within the boat a dishevelled lotus is lifted up and is thrown towards the man. The boat is about ten feet from the man. Lu Wu Shuang is young but the strength in her arms is not feeble, just one stroke is very accurate.

    Cheng Ying shouted out, “Cousin!”

    It was meant to delay her but she only saw the lotus that was in front of her face flew past.

    As the man looked up, the lotus flying towards him, he didn’t put his hand up to catch it and let it hit him in the face. He started to eat the petals on his face and clothes even though the petals were bitter, and couldn’t help but smile as the boat rowed closer and eventually moored on the shore.

    Cheng Ying ran towards the man and tugged his clothes saying, “Old grandpa, those are not nice to eat.”

    She reached into a pocket and pulled out a lotus flower, split it open, peeled off eighteen petals, then split open the blue green skin of the lotus and removed the bitter core, and then passed it onto the man’s hand. The man put it into his mouth and started to chew, and felt an extremely sweet taste, completely different to what he had ate before, he cracked a smile at Cheng Ying and nodded his head. Cheng Ying did this again and gave another lotus to the man. The man put it in his mouth and chewed for a while and then looked up at the sky and said, “Follow me?” While he said this he was striding in a westerly direction.

    Lu Wu Shuang grabbed hold of Cheng Ying’s hand and said, “Cousin, lets follow him.”

    The other three girls dared to speak and said, “Let’s go home now, if you leave now, Lady will scold at us.”

    Lu Wu Shuang put on a ghost face after she saw that the strange man had ran away extremely quickly and said, “If you don’t come fine”, she then released her cousin’s hand and chased the man. Cheng Ying had come out to play with her cousin, and couldn’t leave her alone and so followed.

    The other three girls were older than them, but they didn’t have the same courage and just call out a few times, as they watched the old man disappeared into the mulberry forest followed by the two cousins.

    The old man ran very fast, but saw that the two cousins couldn’t keep up so stopped and waited. However in the end he could not wait any longer and turned around towards them, grabbed the girls, one in each arm underneath his armpits, and flew towards his destination. The two girls could only hear the sound of the wind in their ear, the stones and grass on the floor changed within their eyes. Lu Wu Shuang became frightened and shouted, “Let me go! Let me go!” The strange man ignored her, and instead moved even quicker. Lu Wu Shuang looked up, and bit fiercely on the man’s hand. Teeth marks were left on the man’s palm as he hid the pain. Lu Wu Shuang loosened her teeth. She shouted and screamed with all her life. Cheng Ying stayed quiet.

    The old man hurried for a while and then put the two girls down onto the ground. They had arrived at a cemetery. Cheng Ying’s face was pale white, while Lu Wu Shuang face was swollen and red. Cheng Ying said, “Old grandpa, we need to go home, we don’t want to play anymore!”

    The strange man stared at her without flinching. Cheng Ying saw that his eyes revealed a sorrow, a lonely aura, and filled her with pity. She gently said, “If you’ve got no one to play with, then wait by the lake again tomorrow and I’ll peel lotus for you to eat again.”

    The strange man sighed and said, “Yes, it has been ten years, I’ve had no one for company within these last ten years.” His eyes still exuding an ominous light. He then fiercely said, “Where’s Yuan Jun? Where do you lie?”

    Cheng Ying heard his serious voice, and became frightened. Quietly she said, “I, I… I don’t know”.

    The man grabbed her arm, shook her a few times. His voice sunk, “Where’s Yuan Jun?”

    Cheng Ying was scared and wanted to cry, tears rolled down from her eyes. Yet she didn’t cry.

    The old man bit his teeth. “Cry, cry. You won’t cry? Hmm, you were like this ten years ago. I won’t let you marry him. You said you couldn’t bear to leave me, so why did you leave with him. You said you were touched by my kindness, leaving me would leave you heartbroken. Ha! Those are all deceiving words! If you are really hurt, why don’t you cry?”

    He held onto Cheng Ying fiercely. Cheng Ying had been pale due to fright but still the tears won’t come. The man shook her again. Cheng Ying clenched her teeth and said to herself, “I won’t cry, I won’t cry!”

    The strange man said, “You won’t even cry one tear for me, not even one. What use is my life now?” He suddenly let go of Cheng Ying, bent his legs, shortened his body, and forced himself into a tombstone causing a crashing sound. He laid on the floor unconscious.

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “Cousin, quickly escape” and grabbed hold of Cheng Ying’s hand, turned and ran. Cheng Ying hurried a few steps, but as she saw the strange man lying with blood over his head, her heart couldn’t stand it and said, “Old grandpa is dead”. Lu Wu Shuang said, “Now he’s dead, won’t he turn into a ghost?”

    Cheng Ying gulped, scared that he would turn into a ghost, scared that he would suddenly wake up, and remembers the mad words he was saying. She saw his head covered in blood and felt pity, she comforted herself, by saying, “Old grandpa is not a ghost, I’m not scared, he won’t blame me”. She slowly walked towards the old man. “Grandpa, are you hurt?”

    The man let out a groan. Cheng Ying got a bit braver, and tended to his wounds with a handkerchief. But the force of the collision was great, so the wound on his head was very severe. The handkerchief was soaked in blood. She used her left hand to press hard on the wound, and after a while the bleeding stopped. The man began to open his eyes, and saw Cheng Ying by his side. “Why did you save me? Why don’t you let me die?” As Cheng Ying saw he had woken, her spirits raised and said softly “Does your head hurt?” The strange man shook his head. “My head doesn’t hurt, my heart hurts.” Cheng Ying thought this was strange thinking, “There is a large wound on his head, yet while his head doesn’t hurt, his heart does.” She thought no more of this as she untied her waistband and gave it to the man to tie his wound.

    The man took a breath and sat up. “You agreed not to see me ever again; we are going to part now. You won’t shed a single tear for me?”

    Cheng Ying heard his words were full of sorrow; saw his head full of blood, eyes full of earnest, and couldn’t help but be filled with sorrow as two drops of tears emerged. As the man saw the tears, his face changed to a more joyful expression, but at the same time a mournful look, cried out. Cheng Ying saw his sobs, her own tears like drops of pearls, rolled down her cheeks, then reached out and hugged his neck. Lu Wu Shuang saw how these two strangers are sobbing together, wanted to laugh out. She couldn’t hold it in any longer and burst out a laugh.

    The strange man heard this, and said to the sky, “Your words that came out of your mouth said you won’t leave me, but as you grow older you will forget the things that you’ve said; just remember the little white face. You laugh with real joy!” He looked down at Cheng Ying. “Yes, yes, you are Yuan, my little Yuan. I won’t let you leave, I won’t let you leave with the little white face”, as he held tightly onto Cheng Ying. Lu Wu Shuang saw he became deeply disturbed and didn’t dare to laugh out again.

    “Yuan, I’ve finally found you. Let’s go home, from now on you will follow father.” Cheng Ying said, “Old grandpa, my father died a long time ago.” The strange man said, “I know, I know. I’m your stepfather, you don’t recognize me?” Ying shook her head. “I don’t have a stepfather.”

    The strange man gave a howl, and pushed Cheng Ying away. “Yuan, you don’t even recognise step father?”

    Cheng Ying said, “Old grandpa, my name is Cheng Ying, not your Yuan”.

    “You’re not ah Yuan… you are not ah Yuan…” he was expressionless for half an hour. “Hmm, around twenty years ago ah Yuan was your age. Now Yuan has grown up and don’t need father anymore. The only thing in your heart is Lu Zhan Yuan, that swine.”

    Lu Wu Shuang sighed knowingly, “Lu Zhan Yuan?”

    The man asked, “You know him, don’t you?’ She shook her head smiling, “I just recognise that man is my uncle.” The man’s complexion changed to a vengeful colour. He grabbed hold of Lu Wu Shuang and asked, “Where is that swine? Lead me to him.”

    Though Lu Wu Shuang is scared inside, she puts on a smile and said, “My uncle lives close by. You really want to find him?”

    “Yes, yes. I’ve been searching for him for three days, so I could settle my debt with that swine. Little girl lead me to him and old grandpa won’t trouble you.” As he said this, his voice changed tones from angry to gentle and released his grasp.

    She used her right hand to rub her left arm.

    “You really hurt me. I don’t know where he lives anymore.”

    The man’s eyebrows stood up, as if he was about to go mad again. Thinking it is not right to force a little girl, he put on a clown like smile, put his hand in his sleeve and said, “Its was grandpa’s fault. You don’t have to follow me. Grandpa has some sweets for you.” He reached around his sleeve but can’t find any sweets. Lu Wu Shuang smiled and clapped.

    “You don’t have any sweets, aren’t you ashamed to lie? Alright, my uncle lives near here.” She pointed to two faraway giant trees. “Its near there.”

    The man reached out his long arm and carried the girls underneath his armpits again, and hurriedly flew towards the two trees. He followed the path in front, until there is a small obstruction but cleared it in a leap. In a flash, the three of them where by the two trees. The strange man dropped the two girls, and saw two grand tombs below the trees, on the tombstone wrote ‘Here lies the grave of Lu Zhan Yuan’. On another wrote ‘Here lays the wife of Lu.’ The grass around the path to the tombs was knee deep, indicating that the tombs have been here a long time.

    The man just stared at the tombstone and said, “Lu Zhan Yuan is dead? How long ago.” Lu Wu Shuang laughed as she replied, “Three years ago.”

    “He deserved to die, good. What a pity that he didn’t die underneath my hands!” he said as he laughed at the sky. The laugh could be heard from faraway, but the laugh was a regretful, lamenting laugh, not one of joy.

    It was deep within the night, the field of grass covered by fog. Wu Shuang tugged at her cousin’s sleeve. “Let’s go now.”

    The strange man said, “The little white face is dead. Ah Yuan, where can you go now? I’ll take you back to Dali. Hey little girl, take me to your dead uncle’s wife.”

    Lu Wu Shuang pointed to the tombstone, “Can’t you see? My aunt also died.”

    The man picked himself up and his voice like thunder, shouted, “Are those words real or fake? She … she really is dead?”

    Lu Wu Shuang face turned pale, and in a quivering voice said “Father said not long after uncle died, my aunt followed. I don’t know anymore, I don’t know. Don’t shout at me, I’m scared!”

    The man beat his chest and shouted, “She’s dead, she’s dead? No, you can’t die before seeing me again. I followed your instructions; ten years later, we’ll meet again. You didn’t wait for me?” He shouted wildly and jumped around madly, his cries like a wild tiger. He swept his leg across the right tree, which shook the branches of the tree. Lu Wu Shuang and Cheng Ying held each other tightly, they reclined a few steps not daring to be closer. The man suddenly grabbed hold of one of the trees, and shook it violently, and tried to pull it up. The tree is around a thousand pounds so how could he pick it up?

    “You promised, but now you break it? You said we would meet again. Does the promise not count?” After a cry, the noise became quieter. He crouched down, and moved his chi through his two arms, his head gradually heated up and steam arose, the muscles in his arm clenched, and his back straightened. He shouted, “Rise!” As the tree was being pulled, a strange noise occurred and amidst the noise, there was now two pieces of the tree. He picked up of one part of the wood and stood still before saying quietly, “Die! Die!” He exerted some strength and flung the piece of wood away far away, like the handle of an umbrella as it was flying through the air. He stood in front of the tomb and mumbled, “You are right, the wife of Lu is indeed ah Yuan.’

    His eye blurred, the two tombs had become the image of two people. One of them a smiling young girl with the pupils in the eyes full of hope, the other is a well dressed, collected young man. The couple are sitting together.

    The strange man opened his eyes and said, “You seduced my daughter, I’ll kill you with my finger.” He stretched out his right hand and finger (the shi finger), and stood up straight, blocking the paths of the young man. A severe pain went through his index finger and he released the pain. It hit the tombstone. However the image of the young man remains. The strange man shouted, “Where can you escape to now?” He struck out twice with his left palm, making two sounds, aimed at the same tombstone. He kept on hitting out, with each palm getting more severe each time. After ten palms, blood began to seep through.

    Cheng Ying could no longer hold back and shouted, “Old grandpa, stop fighting, you are going to hurt yourself.”

    He laughed and shouted back, “I’m not hurt, I’m going to kill the swine Lu Zhan Yuan.”

    He then laughed heartily, stopped and then said, “I must see your face, I must.” With ferocious strength in his two hands he plunged ten fingers into the ground of Mrs Lu’s tomb. He pulled back with two arms, and two lumps of the ground came with him. His two palms like an iron spade, he dug lump after lump out of the ground.

    The two cousins’ face had become colourless, and they had the chance to escape. While the man was busy digging, they could leave unnoticed. The two girls hurried around a few bends, and as they saw the man didn’t follow, they relaxed a bit. The two girls were unfamiliar with the place, so looked for locals to help them along the road. They walked deep into the night when they eventually found their way back to the Lu house.

    Lu Wu Shuang shouted, “Something terrible is happening, something bad! A madman is digging up the graves of uncle and aunt!” She ran into the hall, only to see her father Lu Li Ding raise his head and stare at the wall. Ying followed into the hall, and their eyes followed Lu Li Ding’s, and saw three sets of palm prints, two at the top, two in the middle, below five, in total there were nine. Each one was printed with blood. Lu Li Ding saw his daughter and asked, “What are you talking about?”

    “There is a madman digging up the graves of uncle and aunt,” said Lu Wu Shuang. Her father stood up. “Nonsense!”

    “Uncle, its true!” Cheng Ying replied. Lu Li Ding knew what her daughter was like, mischievous and naughty but Cheng Ying never tells lies. “What’s happened?”

    Lu Wu Shuang told her father what happened. Her father was troubled, and before she finished, he had picked up a blade and hurried towards the grave. When he got there, not only did he saw the graves had been disturbed, but the coffins had been opened. When he heard that someone was digging up the graves, he had known what to expect, but when he saw it with his own eyes, his heart skipped a beat. There was no sign of the bodies, the ash in the coffins, paper money, cotton cushions were all in a mess. It must be a god, only to see on the lid of the coffins are traces of what looks like an iron tool. He looked in despair at the state of the grave. He didn’t ask his daughter who did this, but wondered who could have such debts with his brother and sister in law that even after their death, their graves and corpses won’t be left alone. He held tightly to his sabre.

    His brother taught the martial arts he knew. He was a careful, generous, dependable man, who didn’t dabble in Jiang Hu affairs, a learned man. After he circled the area, and couldn’t find any traces of the suspect, he waited for an hour before finally returning to his home.

    He approached the main hall. He sat down on a chair and placed his knife by his side, and stared at the nine blood prints on the wall. He thought, “Before brother died, he said he had an enemy, an Taoist nun, named Li Mo Chou, with the nickname ‘Serpent Deity’, who’s kung fu was extremely high, a cruel and vindictive person. He anticipated that after ten years of marriage, she would come and seek revenge on the couple. At the time Lu had said ‘My illness is not getting better; I guess the Scarlet Deity cannot take her revenge. In three years time, it will be time. You must persuade my wife to go into hiding.’ I had promised him, but who could have guessed that on the night he had passed away, sister in law would cut her throat. Brother has passed away for three years, and the time approaches. The couple has passed away so why does she still come? Brother also said that before the nun kills, she would place blood handprints on the wall on the targets home, with one print meaning one life. My home only has seven people in total so why nine prints? The two prints are for my brother and sister in law, but now they are dead she must have dispatched people to ravage their grave. I’ve been at home all day, so how did that evil witch manage to place the prints? Could she get in here without disturbing even gods and ghosts …” He shivered.

    Soft footsteps can be heard behind him, a small soft pair of hands covered his eyes. He recognised it was her daughter’s voice when she spoke.

    “Father, who am I?”

    Lu Wu Shuang had always been close to her father. When she was three years old, she played this game with him. This made her parents laugh. He was sad, so now his daughter was trying to cheer him up. Under normal circumstances this would have worked. But today it would be no use as he pulled her daughter’s hands away.

    “Father has no time to play, go inside and play!”

    Lu Wu Shuang stood there. She always had the love of her father and now he had no time for her. She let out a sigh and wanted to share in her father’s misery only to see the male servant Ah Gen hastily arriving.

    “There’s a guest outside master.”

    “You tell them I’m not at home.”

    “Master, she doesn’t want to see you. She just wants to spend the night here.”
    Lu Li Ding said, “Who? Is it a woman?”

    “Yes, it’s a mother with two small boys. They’ve been waiting a long time”

    When Lu Li Ding heard it was a mother with her two sons, he was able to relax a bit. “Its not a Taoist nun?”

    Ah Gen shook his head, “No. It’s a plainly dressed women, she looks like a mother of a respectable family.”

    “Alright, take them to the guest room and treat them well. Give them something to eat.” Ah Gen hurriedly went out. Lu Wu Shuang said, “I’m going as well” as she hastily exited.

    Lu Li Ding stood up, and wanted to go inside to discuss how to face this enemy with his wife. He made his way into the hall. He showed her the prints, and told her about the disappearing corpses. Mistress Lu pondered and said, “We are going to have to hide the two girls?”

    Master Lu pointed at the wall. “The girls are inside, but I fear that the monster who did this won’t let them escape so easily. We have practice kung fu for several years now, when the person enters our home remember not to show any emotion.”

    Mistress Lu stared at the wall, “There are nine prints? We only have seven people within the household.” As soon as Lu Li Ding heard this, his limbs went numb and looked at his wife startled, and cried. He reached out and held her arms.

    “Dear, when the time comes, there is no need to afraid. The top two palm prints are for Brother and his wife, the middle two are ours. In the last group, two are for Ying and Wu Shuang, there other three are for Ah Gen and our two maids. Blood will fill this house tonight.”

    Mistress Lu quivered and said, “Brother and sister in law?”

    “I don’t know what deep debt the witch is after, but brother and his wife are dead, she has sent people to dig up the grave and disturb the corpses.”

    “You are saying that madman was sent by her?”


    Mistress Lu had seen her husband’s head was full of sweat. “Why don’t you go into your room and clean yourself up, and rest a while before we discuss this again.”

    Lu and his wife went into their room. “Wife, today it will be hard for the Lu family to avoid death, but if we survive we will honour Brothers and sister in law’s name.” “You are correct,” replied mistress Lu.

    The two of them thought that although Lu Li Ding is not a famous name, the Lu Zhan Yuan, He Yuan Jun couple was famous through the Jiang Hu world, the Lu name was famous and no one in the Jiang Hu dared make fun of the name.

    The two of them went to the back garden, after they heard a sudden sound from the east wall. Near the top was a person. Lu stepped in front to shield his wife. He looked up and saw a young boy sitting on the wall, trying to pick a ling flower. By his leg, someone shouted out, “Careful, don’t fall.” It was Cheng Ying, Lu Wu Shuang and a boy picking flowers by the wall.

    Lu thought, “The girls are naughty, getting someone else to do their errands.”

    The boy on the wall managed to pick a flower. Lu Wu Shuang shouted, “Give it to me, give it to me!”

    The boy smiled, and threw it to Cheng Ying. Cheng Ying caught it and gave it to her cousin. Lu Wu Shuang was angry, and palmed the flower onto the ground. She took a few steps, and angrily shouted, “Who cares? I don’t want it anymore.”

    Lu and his wife saw how the kids were playing and arguing, and sighed. They withdrew to their room.

    Cheng Ying saw Wu Shuang had crushed the flower and asked, “Cousin, why are you angry?”

    “I don’t want his. I’ll pick one myself.”

    As she said this, she moved her right foot a little, and leapt. She hung onto a purple cane hanging from the tree. She used her strength and managed to leap up higher a few times, and landed on a silver branch of the Cinnamonum cassia tree (common name?). The boy on the wall clapped. “So you are joining me!”

    Wu Shuang swung on the branch a few times and released her grip, throwing herself at the wall. Although she has learnt a little lightness kung fu, this leap was very dangerous. But since she was angry with the boy giving the flower to Chen Ying and not her, she wanted to keep her pride in front of the boy. She wasn’t used to jumping such a distance. The boy swallowed and said, “Stretch your hand out” while reaching out. If the boy didn’t reach out, Wu Shuang would have made it, but when she saw his hand in midair she shouted, “Move!” and leant to the side to avoid his hands. The ability to twist in the air is part of a higher level of kung fu; she has seen her dad performed this once before, but without the supervision of her parents how could she try it? As she turned, her hand wasn’t able to reach the top of the wall. She shouted, “Oh no!” before descending to the ground. Another boy near the foot of the wall reached out to catch her. The wall was about ten foot tall. Though Wu Shuang was light, the force of her hitting the ground would still be high. The boy managed to grab her waist, the both of them falling onto the ground. Only to hear two ‘ka ka’ noises, the bone in Lu Wu Shuang left leg snapping. The boy changed colour to that of the flowers on the stone altar, as the blood spouted out. Cheng Ying wanted to help the boy who stopped the disaster up. The boy got up, and pressed hard on the heavy wound. Lu Wu Shuang had already fainted. Cheng Ying picked up her cousin and shouted, “Uncle, aunt, hurry!”

    The couple rushed out of their rooms to see to injured children, as well as a middle-aged woman who also rushed out from her room. It was the woman who had come to seek for shelter for the night. They saw her pick up the injured children and rushed into the hall. Ignoring her own child’s injuries, she tended to Lu Wu Shuang’s leg, putting the snapped bone in place. Mistress Lu fetched a piece of cloth and tied it around the boy’s head before going to see her daughter. The woman then pressed down on the ‘bai hai’ (white sea) pressure point and the ‘wei zhong’ (middle gathering) pressure point on Lu Wu Shuang’s leg to ease the pain. She placed one hand each on the broken pieces of bone, putting the bone into place. Lu Li Ding saw her movements were swift, her pressure point (dim yue) kung fu was at a respectable level, and his curiosity was raised. “Who are you? Why did you come here?” The woman was busy tending to Lu Wu Shuang’s leg and didn’t reply to the questions.

    At the same time, a laugh was heard on the roof.

    “I’m here to take the nine lives of the Lu family, come out.”

    The woman heard the chilling laugh from the rooftop, swallowed, and continued to tend to Lu Wu Shuang’s injuries. As she twisted her hands, Wu Shuang let out a scream in sheer pain and she fainted again.

    Everyone went outside, only to see a young nun standing by the overhang of the roof, the moonlight lit up her face; she was about fifteen, sixteen years of age, a long sword with a blood red sash hung on her back, the sash moving in the wind.

    Lu Li Ding said calmly, “I’m Lu Li Ding. Are you under the command of nun Li?”

    The nun’s lips were skewed when she replied, “Its good that you know. Go collect your wife and daughter, kill them and then kill yourself to spare me the trouble.”

    The words were said with coldness, at a speed neither too slow nor fast, and with disregard of the audience. When Lu Li Ding heard these words, his body quivered. “You…you…” He wanted to jump on to the roof and fight the girl, but she was young and was a girl, how could he fight her? As he hesitated, suddenly something swept passed his body; it was the woman who had came to ask for shelter, in her hand was a long sword, ready to fight that young nun.

    The woman wore a grey traditional dress, the nun an apricot yellow robe. Under the moonlight, the images of grey and yellow resembled some sort of flying dance, three flashes of light was produced as three sword-clashing sounds were made. Lu Li Ding’s skills were taught by his brother, and though he has never fought an enemy before, his eyes weren’t poor, and saw every stance of the two fighters. He saw the sword held in the nun’s hand turned from defence into attack, attack into defence, her sword stances were without mercy. The woman’s sword matched hers. Suddenly the sounds of clashing blades were heard, both swords turned over, the young nun’s sword flew into midair. The young nun chased after her sword, her face losing her calmness and shouted out, “I’m under the order of my master to take the lives of the Lu family. Who are you, why are you meddling in these affairs?”

    The woman gave out a cold laugh and said, “It seems like you master has great ability, she went out to find Lu Zhan Yuan to settle her debts, but she knew that he was dead, so she’s taking out her anger on his loved ones, isn’t that correct?”

    The little nun wielded three small silver needles with right hand and threw them ferociously, two at the woman, one at Lu Li Ding who was standing in the middle of the courtyard. It was such an unexpected movement, as the woman fended off the needles with her sword, Lu Li Ding managed to catch the needle with two fingers. The little nun laughed out coldly and jumped down from the building, and quickly flew away after hearing the chasing footsteps.

    The woman jumped down to the courtyard, and saw Lu Li Ding was still holding the silver needles. She shouted, “Drop it!” Lu Li Ding hesitated before doing so. She cut off a piece of her belt and wrapped it firmly around the wound on his right hand.

    Lu Li Ding jumped. “The needles have poison on them?”

    The woman replied, “Nothing can compare to this poison.” She gave him a granule of medicine to take. Lu Li Ding felt his arms swelling and numbed. The woman used her sword tip to cut deeply into the two infected fingers of Lu, and saw drops of black blood seeping out.

    Lu Li Ding jumped and thought to himself, “My finger wasn’t cut, I only touched the silver needles and the effects are so severe. If the needles actually cut me then my life would surely have been gone.” He then looked in the direction of the woman and said, “I have eyes but I fail to see TiaShan Mountain*, please can madam tell me her name?” (*This phrase basically means he didn’t see his benefactors even though they are in front of them)

    The woman replied, “My husband is named Wu, Wu San Tong.” Lu got up in awe and said, “So it is Madam Wu. I’ve heard the Wu’s are under the order of Reverend Yi Deng in the south in Dali, is that right?”

    “You are right. Reverend Yi Deng is indeed my husband’s master. I have learnt a little in terms of martial arts from my husband, who is nothing more than a farmer. I hope master Lu won’t laugh.”

    Lu thanked her for the helping hand. He had heard from his brother, out of all the martial artists he has seen, those under the teachings of Reverend Yi Deng were the best; after Yi Deng had abdicated as the ruler of Dali, he became a monk and had four students, ‘Fisherman, Woodsman, Farmer, Scholar’, the farmer was called Wu San Tong. Wu disliked his brother, but at the time his brother had not told him how the feud between them started. Why did Madam Wu not treat them as enemies but instead help them by fighting off the Serpent Deity’s disciple? The reasons are hard to fathom.

    Everyone went back to the main hall. Lu Li Ding carried his daughter inside, and saw she had regained her consciousness, her face now white. She’s holding in the pain and refraining from crying, not particularly aware.

    Madam Wu said, “Now that witch’s disciple had escaped, she herself will come here. Master Lu, I’m not looking down on you but even if you and your wife joined forces with me, we are never going to be able to compete with her. But even if we run it will be no use. We might as well wait for her and let fate decide.”

    Mistress Lu then asked, “Who exactly is the witch waiting for? And what feud has our family with her?”

    Madam Wu looked at Lu Li Ding in the eye and said, “Master Lu never mentioned this before?”

    Mistress Lu replied, “He only mentioned that it was something to do with brother and sister in law, something to with love affairs, he isn’t exactly sure himself.”

    Madam Wu sighed, “It must be something to do with that. I’m an outsider so it is not my place to speak. Master Lu’s brother went to Dali ten years ago. Li Mo Chou, the Serpent Deity is now infamous throughout the Jiang Hu world, but ten years ago she was a gentle beauty, and wasn’t yet a nun. This was before she sinned, after she saw your brother and fell under the enchantment of love. After many twists and turns, your brother eventually married ah Yuan Jun. However this wasn’t any fault of Yuan Jun. This kind of business is best kept under wraps; its just today events have forced me to retell these events. Yuan Jun was my stepdaughter.”

    The Lu couple simultaneously gave out an understanding sigh. Madam Wu touched her injured son’s shoulder in comfort. She stared into the flame of the candle and carried on.

    “Your sister in law He Yuan Jun was an orphan. We took her in and she became our foster daughter. We loved her dearly. Eventually she met your brother, and fell in love with each other, and wanted to get married. Firstly, my husband didn’t want her to leave the family; secondly, he was too strict saying Jiang Nan people were crafty and cunning; they can’t be relied upon and forbade the wedding. Ah Yuan secretly ran away with your brother. On the wedding day, both my husband and Li Mo Chou went to find the couple and cause them trouble. Luckily, a high monk from the Dali Celestial Dragon monastery passed by and took the matter in his own hands. He requested, on his behalf, that they would grant the couple ten years of peace. Li Mo Chou and my husband agreed to this. My husband was angry, and after this event he became confused and disturbed; his master, fellow students and even me was unable to persuade him, or understand him. He just counted down the ten-year deadline. According to my calculations, today ten years exactly has passed. It is hard to predict that the couple could not enjoy the ten year of bliss that they had.” She dropped her head after she finished, her whole complexion changed to a mournful look.

    Lu Li Ding said, “So according to what you have said, then the person who dug up brother and sister in law’s grave was you husband.”

    Madam Wu replied ashamedly, “After hearing what the two misses has said, it is indeed my husband.”

    Lu shaking his head said, “Your husband’s actions are not trivial. There wasn’t a feud in the first place. Even if there was, now that my brother and sister are dead, things should be bygones. But now he’s stolen the corpses, is that the action of an hero?”

    When it comes to status, the Wu couple are higher than that of Lu’s but now that his heart is full of fury, his words did not carry the proper tone of respect.

    Madam Wu sighed, “Master Lu is right to blame husband. He is confused and has stopped talking; he doesn’t deserve any pity. I’ve brought my two children along here, to try and stop the wrong doings of my husband. Right now, I’m the only person who he takes notice of.” She looked at her two children and said, “Go and kowtow (kneel down) in front of master and mistress Lu to apologise for your father.” The boys did as they were told.

    Mistress Lu gave a hand to help the boys up and asked what their names were.

    The one who threw himself down and cut his forehead was called Wu Dun Ru, the older brother; the younger was called Wu Xiu Wen. The difference in age was one year, one of them twelve, the other eleven. The two were taught martial arts and was relatively learned. Madam Wu and her husband were getting old, and hoped that they could reach a good level of kung fu and schooling, so they could withhold the Wu name in wulin, and not just rely on it.

    Madam Wu did not divulge the darker reason for husband’s behaviour. She sighed and thought, “Those lies are only good for now. I mustn’t tell anyone about the truth.”

    In reality, when Yuan Jun had grown to eighteen, nineteen she had become a beautiful women. The feelings that Wu San Tong did not limit itself at the father daughter stage. He was considered a hero in the Jiang Hu world so he could do nothing and he was relatively content but when he saw that she had fallen in love with a Jiang Nan youngster, he was angry that it wasn’t him. That’s why he said Jiang Nan people are untrustworthy and unreliable, to get rid of his love rival. The reason he said this was that he had suffered the craftiness of Huang Rong, replacing Guo Jing in pushing down an ox and large stone, and couldn’t escape. Although this matter was cleared up afterwards, the words ‘Jiang Nan people are untrustworthy’ were etched into his head.

    Madam Wu then said, “To think that before my husband has arrived, Li Mo Chou is already here seeking revenge.”

    As she said this, a voice was heard from the roof.

    “Ru Er, Wen Er, come with me!”

    The words were heard unexpectedly, as no footsteps could be heard on the rooftop, yet someone was up there shouting. The Lu couple gulped as they realised it was Wu San Tong. Cheng Ying and Lu Wu Shuang also recognised it was the weird lotus eating man. They saw as blur, as Wu San Tong flew down and grabbed his sons, one in each hand before returning the roof. Madam Wu shouted, “Hey, why don’t you come and see master and mistress Lu, and return the corpses that you took to them? Hurry.” Wu San Tong did not reply as he had already long gone.

    He ran wildly for a while, and hurriedly entered a forest. He put down Xiu Men but still held on to Dun Ru, as his trace disappeared and his son was left alone in the forest. As Xiu Men saw that his father had gone over hundred feet away, he shouted, “Father, father!” He heard a voice far away.

    “Wait there. I’ll come back for you.”

    Wu Xiu Men knew his father was always acting strange, and doesn’t plan anything. Although he was frightened alone in the black forest, he thought his father won’t be long and sat down on a log. After a long while, his father still didn’t come. He said to himself, “I’ll go and find mother!” as he headed back to the Lu home.

    Jiang Nan is a place where roads lead in all directions, where paths are twisty and windy; it is had to travel by day so what about travelling at night? As he ran, the paths got narrower, and on numerous times he stepped into the middle of muddy fields. Eventually he came across a forest, and realised he had gone in circles. He wanted to cry, and shouted, “Father, father! Mother, mother!” Who would hear him in the middle of the night? He heard a few noises, and recognised it was the call of a falcon. He once heard, that falcons love to count the brows on people and if they counted clearly, it would be an ominous sign for the person. Immediately he spat out some saliva to wet his fingers, and then moistened his brow, so that it would be difficult for the falcon to count. But the falcon did not stop calling, He hid behind the trunk of a tree, keeping his brows covered with his finger, his heart jumping, not daring to move. After a while he closed his eyes and fell asleep.

    In the morning, in a sleepy haze, he heard a few clear screeches. He opened his eyes and looked above, and saw two extremely big white eagles hovering, wings spread out, looking magnificent. He has never seen this type of eagle before, he interests were raised and shouted, “Brother, come look at the big eagle,” not realising he was alone, as he was always by his brother’s side.

    Suddenly he heard two whistles behind him, the sound was gentle and soft, coming from the mouth of a little girl. The two eagles circled twice before descending. Wu Xiu Men turned around and saw a young girl, who was raising her arm to the sky. The eagles came down by her side. The girl gave one look to Wu Xiu Men and then stroked her two eagles saying, “Good condor, clever condor.” Wu Xiu Men thought, “So the two eagles are condors. He looked at the condors, which were exuding an air of superiority, standing taller than the girl. He walked up to the girl and asked, “Are those condors yours?”

    The girl pouted, and changed complexion. “I don’t recognise you. I’m not going to play with you.”

    Wu Xiu Men touched the backs of the condors without any intent. The girl whistled, and the condors raised their left wing. There was a strong force behind the wings, and Xiu Men didn’t guard against it; he ended up on the floor. He rolled around on the floor, eyes fixed on the condor, and said admiringly, “Those condors are great and they really listen to you. I’ll get father to catch me one so I can train it.”

    “Huh, you think your father can catch one?”

    Wu Xiu Men was just curious, but each time she caused embarrassment. He looked at her closely; she was wearing an elegant green dress, a pearl hung around her neck, her face’s was white, almost like butter’s, her eyes moving and face delicate. Wu Xiu Men thought she was extremely beautiful, and wanted to approach her but saw she was cold, and stayed back in fear. The girl stroked the condors’ back with her right hand, and examined Wu Xiu Men. “What’s your name? Why are you alone?”

    “My name is Wu Xiu Wen. I’m waiting here for my father. What about you, what’s your name?”

    “I don’t play with naughty boys,” said the girl as she turned her back and walking away.

    Xiu Wen stood there before saying, “I’m not a naughty boy”, trying to chase the girl at the same time. He saw that the girl was younger than him by two, three years; her steps aren’t very large and should catch up with her very soon. Though he used his lightness kung fu, the girl’s steps were very fast, and in a flash a distance of ten feet were between them. The girl hurried a few steps and then shouted back, “Hey, can you catch me?”

    “Of course”, replied Xiu Men and immediately stepped up his efforts. The girl turned and ran, and then hid behind a tree. Wu Xiu Men followed. As soon as he was near, she suddenly stretched out her left foot, and tripped him up. He didn’t anticipate this and fell forward. He wanted to use the [Iron Tree Stump] stance but the girl stuck out her right foot and kicked him fiercely in the behind. Wu Xiu Men fell down, his nose hitting a stone as he fell, causing a nose bleed and blood poured over his clothes. When she saw the blood, she stopped, and wanted to run away and leaving the boy there but suddenly, a voice from behind said, “Fu Er, you are bullying again, aren’t you?”

    “Who says? He just tripped over by himself, what does it have to do with me? Don’t listen to what father say.” she replied without turning back.

    Wu Xiu Wen stood up and held his nose. Although it didn’t really hurt, the blood made him nervous. As he heard the voice talking to the girl, he turned around and saw an old man holding a metal staff. The hair on the man’s temple was like frost, he appearance was strange, his eyes where white; he was a blind man. He heard the man laugh and say, “Just because I’m blind doesn’t mean you can lie to me, I can hear everything. You act terribly now, what’s going to happen when you get older?”

    She walked over to the man and held his hand, and gently said, “Grandpa, don’t listen to what father is saying, okay. He tripped and he’s got a nosebleed. Can you stop the bleeding?”

    The old man walked forward and grabbed Wu Xiu Men’s arm, then stretched out his right hand and used his finger to press on the ‘Wen Xiang’ (Smell Fragrant) pressure point by the noise. Wu Xiu Men’s nosebleed began to slowly stop, and as he touched his nose a few times, it did. He felt the man’s fingers were like iron pliers, long and stiff, holding his arm tightly. He was scared, and didn’t move; as soon his hand was released, he used the grabbing hand kung fu taught by his mother, he pushed out a palm in a semi circle to repel the man. The old man wasn’t anticipating this kid would strike out, and was hit by a sweetly timed palm. The man didn’t react and gave out an approving sigh, while holding to his wrist. Wu Xiu Men tried to distribute his chi in case he can’t escape and have to fight.

    The old man said, “Little fella, don’t be scared. What’s your name?”

    “My name is Wu.”

    “Your accent is not local. Where are you from? Where are your parents?” As the man said this he released his wrist. When he mentioned parents, Wu Xiu Men remembered that he has been away from his parents for a night and didn’t know how they were. He wanted to cry. When the girl saw his expression she sang, “Ashamed dog, eyes are red, ready to cry!”

    Wu angrily replied, “I’m not going to cry again!”

    The family was waiting at the Lu home for the enemy, when his father came and took him and his brother away; he spent a night alone in the forest. He was getting aggravated, his words were jumbled but the old man managed to make out seventy, eighty percent of it. They were from Dali, his father’s name is Wu San Tong; his most refined kung fu was the ‘Solitary Yang Finger’.

    “Your father is a disciple of Reverend Yi Deng, correct?”

    “Yes, you know our emperor? You’ve seen him? I’ve never seen him before,” said Wu Xiu Men.

    Wu San Tong was the head of the imperial wood transport, when the emperor was brother Duan Zhi but he became a monk, with the new name ‘Yi Deng’. But Wu San Tong couldn’t let the past go and still called him emperor, that’s why his sons also called him emperor.

    “ I haven’t yet had the luck to meet the legendary ‘Southern Emperor’. It’s just that this girl’s parents were the receivers of great kindness from him. That’s means we are not really strangers. Do you know who your mother’s enemy is?”

    “I heard from mother and master Lu that it’s Serpent something, something Chou."

    The old man raised his head and mumbled, “Serpent something?” He slammed his staff and said loudly, “Could it be the Serpent Deity, Li Mo Chou?”

    “Yes! It’s the Serpent Deity!”

    The old man’s complexion changed completely. He said, “You two play here. Don’t leave. I’ll go and take a look.”

    The little girl said, “Grandpa, I want to come.”

    “Me too,” added the boy.

    The old man said, “No! Never! That witch is really powerful; I can’t beat her. But when there are friends in need, one must go. You must listen.”

    He walked away, his staff digging into the ground as he took each step.

    Wu Xiu Men said respectfully, “Old Grandpa is blind and lame, yet he moves so fast.”

    The girl bent her lips and said, “What’s so strange? If you saw my father’s and mother’s lightness kung fu you will be even more shocked.”

    “Your father and mother are also blind and lame?”

    The girl angrily replied, “Your parents are blind and lame!”

    It was now deep into the day, the farmers are in their fields; every man and women are singing folk songs. He was originally from these parts. Though he was blind, he walked and asked for help at the same time, and not long he had reached the home of the Lu’s. From afar he heard the exchange of blades, the ‘ping ping pang pang’ clashing indicating some ferocious stances. The Lu Zhan Yuan family is a famous family in this area; though he is now a fairly famous martial artist in Jia Xing (his hometown) he regarded himself as a commoner, so he didn’t approach; he also knew that he wasn’t the Serpent Deity’s match, and that rushing in would just produce another corpse, but the matter involved a disciple of the Reverend Yi Deng; his debts to him were too much too measure (N.B. not exactly his debts, what the girl’s parents owed Yi Deng), he couldn’t stand by. He used more energy, and hurried to the village.

    He heard fierce fighting on the roof involving four people. He lent his ear to one side to listen more carefully. From the breathing and sword clashing sounds, he could tell it was one versus three, though the three couldn’t fend off the enemy and were losing.

    Last night Wu San Tong had carried off his sons, and the Lu couple wondered what he was up to now.

    Madam Wu’s spirits raised and said, “Though my husband acts wildly, when in danger he thinks clearly.” Mistress Lu asked what does she mean by this. Madam Wu replied, “I don’t know if I’ve guessed correctly. Let’s just wait and see.”

    As the night went on, Lu Wu Shuang fell asleep in her father’s arms. Cheng Ying also eventually fell asleep. Mistress Lu wanted to take the children into their rooms.

    Madam Wu said, “Leave them for a little longer.” At that moment, someone shouted from the rooftop, “Throw them up here!” It was Wu San Tong. His lightness kung fu was superb; mistress Lu didn’t even notice he was on the roof. Madam Wu took Cheng Ying outside and threw her up to Wu San Tong who caught her. The Lu couple swallowed, as Madam Wu threw Lu Wu Shuang up to Wu San Tong as well, who then took them away.

    Lu Li Ding was concerned and said, “Where are you taking them?” as he leapt onto the roof. But it was pitch black, there wasn’t a trace of Wu San Tong and the girls. Master Lu wanted to give chase, but Madam Wu shouted out, “There’s no need to chase them, he’s trying to do good.”

    Lu jumped down back into the hall and quivering asked, “What good deed?”

    Mistress Lu said, “Wu San Tong is scared that the witch is going to harm the children, so he has delivered them to a safe place.” After he heard his wife say this he said, “Yes, it must be this.” But as he thought about how Wu San Tong took the corpse of his brother and sister in law away, he started to worry.

    Madam Wu said, “Ever since ah Yuan got married, every little girl he looked at reminded him of his troubles. I predicted that he would come back to carry the girls away and try to protect them. The first time he came here and took Ru Er and Men Er away, I caught him glancing at the girls a few times, his face giving an affectionate look, with no evil intent. He’s pretending that they are ah Yuan. Indeed he did come back for them. I wish this time he’s not going to do anything stupid.” She sighed twice, “You two better get some rest, we don’t know when the witch is coming, there’s no need to wait anxiously.”

    The Lu couple were extremely worried about their daughter and niece, but decided to rest a little. Their fear and hate for the enemy filled them as they waited for the enemy in the main hall, the both of them carrying swords and concealed weapons. They did not rest anymore. The couple have been married for eighteen years; through that time, the everyday business of running the home had its fair share of problems, but now when they think about the enemy, and what Brother and Madam Wu said about the enemy’ strength, her cruel and vindictive ways; they knew time was running out and held each other.

    After a long while, in the midst of the solitude, a soft song was heard from afar, seemingly a very distance away but the lyrics were crystal clear, ‘O mortals, what is love? That binds beyond life on earth? To all corners, in pairs we fly’ (N.B not my translation J)

    Each word seems to be getting closer and closer, the person singing the song seems to be approaching extremely fast. By the beginning of the third line, the person had arrived at the door.

    The three of them were startled, as suddenly a crashing sound was heard; the bolt on the main door had broken, the door flew in two different directions. An attractive nun, with an evil smile gently stepped in, she was dressed in an apricot yellow gown. It was the Serpent Deity Li Mo Chou.

    Ah Gen at the time was cleaning the courtyard; he spoke first. “Who are you?”

    Lu Li Ding said quickly, “Ah Gen, runaway!” Could he escape?

    Li Mo Chou moved her hand in a sweeping motion; Ah Gen’s head was split open, dying without a sound. Lu Li Ding drew his sword. Li Mo Chou leant to the side and brushed past him, and another sweeping motion with her flywhisk, causing the two maids to die. She laughed evilly, “Where are your girls?”

    The Lu couple had just seen three lives taken in the blink of an eye. They knew they would have no luck today; with swords in their hands they rushed to attack her from the left and right. Li Mo Chou was about to attack again when she saw Madam Wu by the side holding a sword and cackled, “So an outsider wants to interfere, fine, you can join the dead in this house today!” Her voice was soft and graceful, her form exuding a delicate air, a pair of bright pupils, her skin white; she was real beauty. They didn’t see her leg movements as she floated to the rooftop. The Lu couple and Madam Wu leapt up to follow. Li Mo Chou swept her flywhisk, and the weapons flew out of their hands. She gracefully said, “ Master Lu, if your brother was still alive, begged me, divorce (kill/remove?) He Yuan Jun that **** then I could have spared your whole family. But now, your luck is bad; you can’t blame me, blame your short lived brother.”

    Lu Li Ding said, “Who asked you to spare us?” as he waved and chopped his blade at her. Madam Wu and mistress Lu both attacked from the front. Li Mo Chou saw Lu Li Ding’s skills were very average, but the way he used his blade, his kicks and palms, reminded her of her love one. Her heart ached, and wanted to see this type of kung fu as long as she could. If she killed him, the ‘Jiang Nan Lu Family Sabre’ kung fu would be lost forever, so she flung her flywhisk without any care, and allowed her three enemies to circle her, her heart in a tangle, unable to use her normal array of ruthless moves. Suddenly Li Mo Chou gently whistled, and from the house, headed towards the river bank, to a lame old man holding a iron staff, and swept her flywhisk at him trying to wrap it around his throat. Before her legs have touched the ground, she had already unleashed an attack on her enemy, unleashing it when he isn’t prepared, her moves ruthless; she could teach the enemy how to kill at all costs.

    The old man heard the incoming attacks clearly; he lifted his staff across his body, getting ready to fight. He was aiming to pierce her right wrist. The iron staff is a heavy and clumsy weapon, only able to sweep and smash. The old man is using a ‘piercing’ type of kung fu, using the staff as a sword, the moves he will unleash will be light and leisurely. Li Mo Chou waved her flywhisk, the silver threaded end up, wrapping it around the old man’s weapon. She shouted, “Let go!”

    They struggled, borrowing strength to use strength, the flywhisk using the force in the iron staff to pull and drag the enemy towards it. The old man’s arm’s were shaking severely, and struggling to hold on, he jumped and leapt up, his body slanting in midair to escape, and managed to fend off a skilful stroke of hers. He thought, “This tyrant does live up to her name.” Li Mo Chou used the stance [Great Granddad Goes Fishing] (tai gong diao yu) followed by [Luring the Old Man] (yuan zhe shang diao) (N.B. This does not sound stupid in Chinese), to snatch away the enemy’s weapon. Originally this is great move and would guarantee success, but before she could snatch away the iron staff, the man anticipated this move. She thought, “Who is this lame old man? His has the ability to last this long?” On closer inspection, she could see that he was blind and immediately called out, “You are Ke Zhen E!”

    The blind lame man was the head of the Jiang Nan Seven Freaks ‘Flying Bat’ Ke Zhen E.

    After Guo Jing and Huang Rong had participated in the Wah Mountain martial arts tournament, Huang Yao Shi organised their wedding on Peach Blossom Island. Huang Yao Shi had always been eccentric and disliked company, so after a few months of living with his daughter and son in law, left the island in search of a more peaceful place to reside and left a letter. Huang Rong knew her father’s temperament, but couldn’t think of a solution so she reluctantly did nothing. At first her father would bring news every few months, but after a year, news of him disappeared. Huang Rong missed her father and her teacher Hung Qi Gong, so along with Guo Jing, they went out in search of them, wandering Jiang Hu for months, but something made them return to the island; Huang Rong had become pregnant during this time. Huang Rong’s body and health wasn’t like normal people, and didn’t have a moment’s peace; as she was pregnant, travelling was not convenient, her mind was troubled, and she blamed her problems on Guo Jing. A pregnancy reduces the body’s ability to handle stress, although she loved Guo Jing deeply, she always found a reason to quarrel with him as he didn’t care about searching. Guo Jing knew her wife’s temper, so ignored what she said and treated it as a joke. She had a great deal on her mind and eventually stopped smiling; this troubled Guo Jing. Ten months passed and Huang Rong gave birth to a baby girl, and was named Guo Fu. Huang Rong was unhappy during the pregnancy but after she gave birth, she spoilt her daughter, and when she was just one, she exhibited the signs of disobedience and being spoilt. Sometimes Guo Jing would not let things stand and scolded her daughter, but every time Huang Rong would protect her daughter; the result was that the daughter became even more of a spoilt brat. When Guo Fu was five, Huang Rong began to teach her martial arts. Once, Guo Fu had turned her room into her own animal playground when she cut and plucked every single insects’, birds’ and beasts’ on the island; their feathers and fur were gone, not even leaving their brows. Firstly, Guo Jing loved his wife dearly; secondly, he also loved his mischievous daughter very much. Whenever he tried to teach her a lesson, she would put on a face of pity and said she was sorry; he would just sigh, and slowly put down his raised hand.

    Time went on, and still there was no news of Huang Yao Shi and Hung Qi Gung. The couple missed them relentlessly whenever they thought about them. Guo Jing also tried a few times to invite his Great Master Ke Zhen E to the island to enjoy his old age. But Ke Zhen E was a city dweller at heart, drinking and gambling was a hobby to him and so declined the invitation. One day he went to the island by himself, not being picked up by Guo Jing. What had happened was that he was having no luck, the more he gambled the more he lost, and he ended up in great debts. He had nowhere to go, and had to escape his debts. Guo Jing and Huang Rong were delighted to see him, and kept him on the island not permitting him to leave. Huang Rong eventually found about the debts, and secretly sent out someone to pay the debts. Ke Zhen E didn’t know about this, as he dare not return to Jia Xing, and resided on the island with nothing to do, he had become a playmate for Guo Fu.

    A couple of years passed and Guo Fu had become nine. Huang Rong still missed her father and with Guo Jing were going to leave the island in search of him. When Ke Zhen E knew about this, he insisted to he would come along, that meant that Guo Fu had to come along with him. When they left the island, Ke Zhen E said, “We can go anywhere, anywhere but Jia Xing.”

    Huang Rong smiled and said, “Great Master, you don’t know, I’ve already paid your debts a long time ago.”

    Ke Zhen E laughed and insisted they went to Jia Xing first.

    Once the four had arrived in Jia Xing, the four of them stayed at an inn. Ke Zhen E heard from his sources that a few days ago, an old man dressed in a blue green gown was drinking alone in the Smoke Rain inn. From the appearance it sounded like it was Huang Yao Shi. Guo Jing and Huang Rong were delighted by this news, and searched the town and villages of Jia Xing. It was beautiful day, so Ke Zhen E took Guo Fu along with the condors to the forest to play, and in a coincidence bumped into Wu Xiu Men.

    After Ke Zhen E exchanged a few moves with Li Mo Chou, he knew that he wasn’t her match and thought, “That witch’s skills are high, not below the once alive Mei Chao Feng. He used the Ambush Evil cane moves, guarding the door. Li Mo Chou thought, “I’ve heard from brother Lu that in Jia Xing the more famous of the martial artists were the Jiang Nan Seven Freaks, their kung fu not at all simple, and they had a famous disciple, Gou Jing. He is the head of the Seven Freaks; he indeed lives up to his name. He is blind and lame, and now very old, yet he can still manage to last ten or so moves with me.” Suddenly she heard the shouts from the Lu couple and Madam Wu heading an attack at her. “Hurting that old Ke Zhen E is not a hard thing to do, but if I have the Guo couple tracking me then that would make things hard. Today I’ll just let him go.”

    The flywhisk extended, the silver threads stiffened, the flywhisk now like a spear heading towards Ke Zhen E’s chest. The flywhisk’s threads are soft but behind a skilled force, the pen is able to harm the major pressure points, any hits it lands will be lethal. Ke Zhan E’s had planted the iron staff in the ground, relying on it to jump backwards. Li Mo Chou jumped ahead, advancing into attacking the behind. Her waist extremely soft, she turned and jumped behind him, with madam Wu not further than two metres from her shoulder. Madam Wu gulped, and hurried a left palm aimed at her forehead. Li Mo Chou gently moved her waist, like a flower floating in the wind, and escaped while unleashing a palm, hitting mistress Lu in the abdomen.

    Mistress Lu walked forwards three steps, and fell to the ground. Master Lu saw his wife on the ground, he waved his blade with his right hand, using his lone blade to drive Li Mo Chou back, then used his two hands and rushed at her, wanting to perish together. After she failed in love, Li Mo Chou detested signs of love, and when she saw Lu Li Ding rushing at her, she was filled with immense hate, and used her flywhisk to hit the lone blade, she swept her dust pen, and after a ‘shua’ noise, he was hit on the crown of his head.

    Li Mo Chou had seriously wounded the couple in just a wink, even with the help of Ke Zhen E and Madam Wu. She laughed and asked, “Where are the two girls?” Before Madam Wu could reply, a flash of yellow went into the house; Li Mo Chou searched hi and low but there was no trace of the girls. She got a torch from the kitchen, and set the firewood alight in the room. She came out and laughed, “I don’t have past feuds with Peach Blossom Flower Island, or Reverend Yi Deng. You two can leave.”

    Ke Zhen E and Madam Wu saw how ruthless and malicious she was; full of hatred in their eyes, they attacked her. Li Mo Chou dodged the sword and staff, and waved her pen; Madam Wu’s weapon was tangled. The two pulled their weapons, but the force behind the flywhisk was greater and after a sound, the sword had been broken into two pieces, the sword tip heading towards Madam Wu, and the handle towards Ke Zhen E.

    Madam Wu had lost her weapon, she swallowed, and couldn’t believe that she could use her flywhisk to break a sword in half and immediately deflect the two pieces of sword towards them two. The blade was coming at her extremely fast; she quickly lowered her head, and felt the blade brush past her, cutting a segment of her hair.

    Ke Zhen E heard the sound of a sword breaking, and used his staff to dodge the flying handle. He heard madam Wu shout out. He moved his staff like wind, attacking with every movement. His left hand holding three small poisonous projectiles, poised, but then thought about Li Mo Chou’s deadly ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’ (or Icy Silver Needles, whatever you prefer). If he used his projectiles, she would certainly use hers; since he’s blind, he would not be able to see them so he refrained from using his.

    Li Mo Chou went soft on him, thinking, “The blind old man’s not resorting to concealed weapons, he must be scared of me returning the favour.” She lightly twisted her waist, and used her pen to wrap around the old man’s iron cane. Ke Zhen E just felt a strong force pulling him, wanting to take his weapon out of his grasp; he circulated his internal energy, channelling it through his iron staff, and contested internal energy with his opponent but didn’t know exactly where she was. In a flash, his bones started to shake, his strength draining out of him. Li Mo Chou had used her left hand to push away the cane to one side; a left palm had already gently pushed Ke Zhen E in the chest. She laughed, “Old Man Ke, the [Divine Scarlet Palm] has hit you in your chest!”

    Ke Zhan E has no ability to defend himself now, and thought, “Lowlife, you can finish me, what do you want now?”

    Madam Wu saw this, and felt deeply responsible. Li Mo Chou leapt up from the iron staff, and in midair stretched her hand out towards Madam Wu gently touching her on the face. She laughed and said, “You chased away my disciple, you sure have guts.” She cackled, and after a few graceful laughs, fled. Madam Wu had felt her soft and gentle palm, the place where she had touched had become relaxed. She saw her back heading towards the thick growth of willow trees, and in a flash disappeared. She thought about the few moves she exchanged with Li Mo Chou, her moves seemed to let her live and wasn’t at full strength. Suddenly she felt she had no strength and fell to the floor paralysed, unable too move. Ke Zhen E was touched in the chest and he too was struggling by a rock, he breathed in quickly before slowing his breaths.

    After a long while, Madam Wu exerted some strength to get up, and saw black smoke rising, the Lu home in flames. At the time, Ke Zhen E tried to carry the Lu couple out but saw they were short of breath and thought to himself, “If I move them now, they are just going to die quicker, but I can’t leave them here. What should I do?”

    In the middle of this problem, a loud voice suddenly called out, “Wife, are you alright?” It was Wu San Tong’s voice.

    End of Chapter 1
    Last edited by Mojo Jojo; 03-25-05 at 12:22 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 2 A Friend’s Son

    Madam Wu was caught unaware when she heard her husband’s shout. Her mind was in a jumble, thinking what sort of trouble the madman has got himself into now, but when he arrived, she only saw that his clothes were all old and torn, around his neck hung the bib that He Yuan Jun used to wear when she was younger, and he immediately asked, “Wife, are you okay?”

    These past ten years he has never shown a touch of concerned towards her, so she was delighted when she heard this, and replied, “I’m over here.”

    Wu San Tong leapt in front of her, the Lu couple carried in each hand. He said, “Quickly follow me,” and went on his way. Ke Zhen E and Madam Wu followed behind him.

    Wu San Tong swerved east and twisted west for a few miles, and lead the two to an old, broken kiln. It was a large old kiln for making wine bottles. Madam Wu entered, and saw her two sons, Xiu Men and Dun Ru safe and sound. She let out a sigh of relief. The Wu brothers were sitting on the ground playing with stones with Cheng Ying and Lu Wu Shuang. When Cheng Ying and Lu Wu Shuang saw the Lu couple, they threw themselves onto them, shouting and crying.

    Ke Zhen E heard Lu Wu Shuang cry out mother and father and immediately said, “Oh no, we’ve lured the ghost out, that witch is going to be her soon!”

    Madam Wu’s heart was afraid. She asked, “How?”

    Ke Zhen E replied, “That witch wants the Lu girls, but don’t know where they are.”

    Madam Wu suddenly realised what he meant and swallowed. “Yes, she deliberately let us go, so she can secretly follow us.”

    Wu San Tong shouted out, “If the Serpent witch is following, then I’ll go and face her.” He turned around and stood at the opening of the kiln.

    Lu Li Ding’s skull had been severely injured but he had one last wish so he strained out a breath and called out to Cheng Ying.

    “Ah Ying, take out the handkerchief that I’ve got in my chest.”

    Cheng Ying full of tears stretched out her hand and took out the handkerchief. It was a white satin handkerchief, in the four corners were sewn a red flower. The red flower looked withered and by it was a jade green leaf. The white satin was old and had become yellow, the embroidery of the flower and leaf were beautiful, almost like the real thing. Lu Li Ding said, “Ah Ying, tie the handkerchief around your neck, you mustn’t untie it, you understand?”

    Cheng Ying didn’t know what her uncle meant, but did as she was told and nodded.

    Mistress Lu was severely hurt but when she heard her husband’s words, she forced her eyes open and said, “Why aren’t you giving it to Shuang Er? Give it to Shuang Er!” Mistress Lu quickly added, “You haven’t got a heart. You are not worried about your own daughter’s safety?” As she said this her eyes went white, her voice faded. Lu Wu Shuang didn’t know what her parents were arguing about, and only cried out, “Father, Mother!” Lu Li Ding softly said, “Dear wife, you love Shuang Er very much, so why don’t we let her follow us?”

    Originally, the red flower and green leaf handkerchief was a lovers’ gift from Li Mo Chou to Lu Zhen Yuan. The red flower was the famous Man Tuo Luo flower from Dali. Li Mo Chou figured that Lu sounds like green, the green leaf representing her beloved, and thought “Red Leaf Green Flower, will be always together.”

    Before He Yuan Jun died, she knew that on the ten-year deadline, Li Mo Chou and Wu San Tong would come and cause trouble. She had a plan to deal with the two, but didn’t expect the sudden illness of the Lu Zhan Yuan. She knew Lu Li Ding’s kung fu was average, and wouldn’t be able to escape when the time comes, so gave him the handkerchief, and made him understand, if it was Wu San Tong who came and seek revenge, act normal and restrain from attacking as he does not intend to take any lives; but Li Mo Chou had become infamous in Jiang Hu in recent years with her cruel and vindictive methods, meeting her would be your bad luck. If it was her, tie the handkerchief around your neck, this will stir up any old memories that witch would have of your brother and hopefully she will let you go. But Lu Li Ding was a proud man, and would not beg Li Mo Chou for his life.

    Cheng Ying was the daughter of his brother. Before he died, he requested that Lu Li Ding would bring up his daughter like his own. He was under the request of a good friend, but in the danger that they are in know, he would not be able to fulfil this request so gave the life saving handkerchief to Cheng Ying. Mistress Lu had realised what he was doing, and saw that he was sacrificing his own daughter; under this strain she suffered severe pain and left the world.

    Cheng Ying saw that the handkerchief was the cause of her aunt’s troubles took off the handkerchief and gave it to her cousin saying, “Aunt said to give this to you, take it!”

    Lu Li Ding said, “Shuang Er, its your cousin’s, don’t take it.”

    Madam Wu was standing to the side when she heard all this and said, “I am going to tear the handkerchief in half, half each, is that a good idea?”

    Lu Li Ding had not the strength to reply anymore, and just nodded. Madam Wu tore the handkerchief in half, and gave each half to the cousins.

    Wu San Tong was standing by the entrance when he heard all the commotion, and went inside to see what all the fuss was about. He saw his wife’s face and on the left cheek was a black patch, and startled he pointed out to his wife’s face and asked, “Why is you face like that?” Madam Wu reached out and touched her face and said, “Like what?” only to feel no sensation on her left cheek, her heart jumped and realised it was where Li Mo Chou had touched her. Can it be that when she touched her face her face gently she used the chance to emit poison?

    Wu San Tong was inside asking questions when a voice from the entrance said, “The two little girls are inside, aren’t they? They can’t live so just give them to me. If you don’t, I’ll burn you all in this kiln.” The voice was clear and gentle.

    Wu San Tong jumped out of the cave, and saw Li Mo Chou standing at the entrance, and thought in wonder, “It has been ten years, yet she still looks like she did then?”

    He first saw Li Mo Chou when he was searching for Lu Zhan Yuan; Li Mo Chou was about twenty or so years old, now she is thirty years old, but apart from her clothes and nun adornments, she is the same graceful, striking girl. She lightly waved her dust pen, her body exhibiting a relaxing attitude, a sense of hope flowing from her eyes, her cheeks were peach, not giving the impression that she was a cold hearted killer, but a girl from a well off family. Wu San Tong saw her flywhisk and remembered that he left his weapon back in the kiln; if he returned to retrieve his weapon he would give her the chance to rush in and attack the children inside. He saw there was a coarse and slender chestnut tree by the cave entrance; he pushed it with his two hands, and after a shout, he snapped the tree in half.

    Li Mo Chou smiled and said, “Good strength.”

    Wu San Tong held the tree across him and said, “Miss Li, it has been ten years, how have you been?”

    He had recognised that she had now become a nun, but he couldn’t change his way of greeting her, and greeted her as he did before as Miss Li. Within these past ten years, no has called her ‘Miss Li’; now when she heard those words, her heart moved, her memories and feelings as a young girl rushed to her chest. But then she remembered she could have spent her life with the person she loved, but there existed a He Yuan Jun who caused her to lose her loved one, resigned to being alone forever. As she thought about this her emotions came all over her again, unable to resist the pain.

    Wu San Tong is another one who had his love rejected; even though their love was a different sort, it is still love. When he was searching for Lu Zhan Yuan, he saw with his own eyes Li Mo Chou kill He Lao Quan Shi’s family, a total of twenty men, women, old and young without remorse and feeling. To think about it makes him shiver. He Lao Quan Shi and her had never met, they had no feuds and no relations to He Yuan Jun but because they shared the same surname, it provoked her hate and fury and killed every last member of the He family. Even before He died, he didn’t know the reason for his death. At the time Wu San Tong didn’t intervene, as he didn’t know the background to the matter, only after did he heard that it was because if this simple reason. He swore to himself that he would treat her with the utmost hate and disgust. He saw that she had a gentle, kindly smile but she can change that to a cold and evil smile immediately. He was extremely worried about the safety of the two girls.

    Li Mo Chou said, “I only printed nine palms on the Lu’s wall, I must kill those two girls. Wu San Tong, please step aside.”

    Wu San Tong replied, “Lu Zhen Yuan and his wife are dead now, his brother and wife died under your hands, its only two girls, you can just leave them.”

    Li Mo Chou grinned and shook her head, gently saying “Wu San Tong, step aside please.”

    Wu San Tong gripped tighter to his chestnut tree and said, “Miss Li, the reason for your hatred is Ah Yuan.”

    When the two words ‘Ah Yuan’ was said, Li Mo Chou’s faced changed and said, “I once swore that whoever mentioned that ****’s name in front of me will be killed by me or perish trying. I once destroyed sixty-three families in their boats on the river Yuan simply because they shared the names of that ****. Surely you’ve heard of this? Master Wu, it is your fault, don’t blame me.” While she said this she swung her weapon at Wu San Tong’s neck. Though she seemed to have swung her flywhisk lightly, the stroke was fierce and quick, causing Wu San Tong to fly right and left above her to avoid the strokes. She knew that Wu San Tong is a high disciple of Reverend Yi Deng, although he is under a state of confusion, his kung fu was still solid, when the need arises he could still kill. Wu San Tong left hand straightened, the tree trunk came out with great force, and swept across. Li Mo Chou saw the power in this, and immediately floated away, avoiding getting struck by the trunk. She didn’t wait for him to use the trunk again and flew in front attacking trying to break inside. Wu San Tong saw that she was heading into the cave, and raised his right hand, and pointed a finger at one of her pressure points, and unleashed ‘Solitary Yang Finger’ at her. Though his ‘Solitary Yang Finger’ wasn’t fast enough to hit a pressure point, the move had many changes, and had to avoid. Li Mo Chou used [Strike the Golden Clock] and immediately jumped back ten feet. Wu San Tong saw her moving forwards and backwards, in a flash she had advanced and retreated so many times, his heart secretly swallowed. When she was retreating he used his strength and used the tree trunk again to force her back. But as soon as he did this, she advanced right in front of him, if it wasn’t for the ‘Solitary Yang Finger’, he wouldn’t have been a match long ago. The tree trunk was heavy, and every time he moved it, he would exert a lot of strength, Li Mo Chou had noticed this, and tried to wear him down using this method. Suddenly a flash of yellow went over to Wu San Tong, Li Mo Chou had landed on the tree branch that Wu San Tong was holding, and swept her flywhisk at him forcing him to drop it. Wu San Tong jumped, and hurriedly picked up the branch from the floor. Li Mo Chou laughed, as she dashed over to the tree trunk and stepped on it. Wu San Tong turned around and extended a finger. She moved again, heading back towards the tree branch. After ten moves or so, when Wu San Tong tried to sweep her with the branch, she flew onto the top of a willow tree. She let him attack with the tree trunk. This way, Wu San Tong will use even more strength, and although she was fairly light she added to the weight of the tree that she was standing on, the trunk would not be able to knock her off. This position also allows her to attack the cave; she was in a place where she could not lose. Wu San Tong glanced at her, and knew he must be patient; he wasn’t too concerned about his own life, but if the cave full of old and young fell into her hands it would be terrible. At that time the tree trunk was flying wilder and quicker, it fiercely colliding with the tree trying to shake Li Mo Chou off it.

    After a moment he heard Ke Zhen E shouted, “Fu Er, you have arrived, quickly, get the condors to get rid of that evil woman.” Following this a girl’s whistled could be heard, in the sky were two white images in formation descending down, it was the two large condors, attacking Li Mo Chou from the left and right. It was Guo Fu arriving with the two condors. Li Mo Chou saw the two condors coming at her so she held on to the tree tightly with her left foot. The two condors’ attack wasn’t successful and headed back to the sky. The girl whistled again a few times. The two condors came in for a second attack, and aimed at the underside of the tree. Li Mo Chou had heard Peach Blossom Island’s Guo Jing and Huang Rong had a pair of giant condors, who were almost telepathic with each other. At the time the condors were coming together for an attack. She wasn’t worried about the condors, but the fact they belong to the Guo couple meant that the Guo couple must be nearby. This would complicate matters. Li Mo Chou dodged a few timed, and then launched her own attack on the condors, injuring one of the condors’ left wing; the condor screeched and fell down to the ground. When Guo Fu saw the her condor was hurt, she shouted out, “Condor don’t be scared, keep attacking that evil woman.” Li Mo Chou looked at the girl who said this, and saw a little girl that seemed to have come from a beautiful painting and thought, “I’ve heard that heroine Huang was one of the most beautiful women in the world, I wonder how she compares with me? Is that girl her daughter?” While she was being distracted, her moves slowed. Wu San Tong saw although the condors were helping, they could still not force Li Mo Chou off the tree, and so amongst the chirping and screeching he fiercely hit the ground with his two hands, and caused Li Mo Chou to fly off the tree. Li Mo Chou could not predict that he would unleash such an unusual move, and was forced tens of feet into the air. When the condors saw that she was in the air, they went in for another attack from above. When she had a secure holding, the condors could not really harm her but now she is in the air, how could she compete with the condors? Under this desperate situation, she waved her flywhisk in front of her face to protect her head, and withdrew three ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’, and shot it out hurriedly. Two were aimed at the condors, the other one at Wu San Tong’s chest. The condors saw the needles coming and quickly flew higher to evade them, but the needles were travelling at such a high speed, and after a sound, the male condor was hit in its claw. Wu San Tong was looking up when he saw the incoming needle, and leapt out of the way in a rush, but was still hit in his left leg. Wu San Tong got up after a roll, he knew he had got hit in his left leg but didn’t call out, his left kneeling. He circulated his inner strength to allow him to support himself, his legs now were swollen and numb. He stooped down, and used his hands to try to support himself; he couldn’t support himself anymore and eventually fell down on to the floor motionless.

    Guo Fu shouted, “Condors, condors come here quick.” But the two condors had flown far away, and didn’t turn back.

    Li Mo Chou said, “Little girl, is your name Guo?”

    Guo fu saw that the woman standing in front of her was beautiful, she had a friendly disposition and not like a ‘evil woman’ and replied, “Yes, my name is Guo. What is yours?” Li Mo Chou laughed and said, “Come, I’ll take you to play,” while slowly walking towards, her intentions were to grab her.

    Ke Zhen E supported himself with his iron staff, and rushed out of the cave shouting, “Fu Er, quickly run!” Li Mo Chou laughed and said, “Scared I’m going to eat her up?”

    At that time, a young boy in ragged garments holding a chicken in his left hand, and singing a folk song, leapt over and saw the people in the kiln cave said, “Hey, what are you people doing in my home?” He went over to where Li Mo Chou and Guo Fu and laughed and said, “Hehe, old beauty you’re pretty, little beauty you are cute, are you two here to find me? However the person named Yang hasn’t got any beauty for friends.” His face carrying a smirk, his attitude was sly.

    Guo Fu bent her mouth and said, “Who wants to look for you?”

    The boy replied, “If you are not looking for me, why are you at my home?” and pointed to the kiln cave, indicating it was his home.

    “Huh, who wants to go to that unsightly place?”

    Madam Wu saw that her husband was on the floor, and didn’t know whether he was dead or alive, and came rushing out of the cave to his side and said, “Brother San, are you okay?” Wu San Tong gave out a sound and struggled to get up, but in the end he could not stand up. Guo Fu gazed afar but still couldn’t see the two condors, and shouted, “Condors, condors, come back here!”

    Li Mo Chou thought, “There are a lot of dreams in the night, if I wait for the Guo couple to arrive, it will be hard for me to escape.” She laughed evilly and headed for the cave. Madam Wu rushed to cut her off, and waved her sword saying, “You can’t enter!”

    Li Mo Chou smiled and replied, “This is the little brother’s home, how can you be in charge here?” Her left palm was facing the sword’s tip, and headed straight for it, wanting to touch the blade, her palm twisted; her three fingers now holding the sword’s face, she flipped the sword tip towards madam Wu, pointing towards madam Wu’s forehead, and after a sound, her forehead had been cut. Li Mo Chou laughed and said, “Sorry for the offence!” She placed her flywhisk in her belt, and headed into the cave. She grabbed Lu Wu Shuang and Cheng Ying in each hand, and without turning her back, she flipped herself over and headed out of the cave, avoiding Ke Zhan E’s iron staff.

    The ragged young boy saw Li Mo Chou had hurt madam Wu and snatched the two girls so didn’t dare to step out of line again. But when he heard the cousin’s cries, he leapt out and jumped onto Li Mo Chou shouting, “Hey old beauty, you’ve hurt and snatched people, you haven’t even greeted the owner, you are too rude, let the girls go.”

    Li Mo Chou was carrying the girls in both her arms, and had no way to stop the young boy grabbing onto her. Her heart shivered and her whole body softened involuntary, as the pair of arms held on to the side of her body. At this time she charged her palms, and flung the two girls away, and immediately grabbed the boy. Within these last ten years a man has never touched her, and though she has lived for thirty years she is still a virgin. In the past when Lu Zhan Yuan was infatuated with her, he still treated her with respect. A lot of young heroes in Jiang Hu had seen her beauty but dare not show their feelings as they would know that the will die a violent death under the ‘Serpent Deity’s’ palm. But today, a young boy is holding onto her; she grabbed him and intended to charge her palm and shatter the boy’s heart, but thought about when he praised her beauty sincerely, in her heart she was pleased, when those word came for the mouth of men, she loathed it but in the mouth of an thirteen, fourteen year old, the words felt different, in a moment of weakness she did not lower her palm onto him. Suddenly she heard the cries of the condors, they had come back for another raid. Li Mo Chou gathered two ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’ and immediately shot it out. The pair of condors had previously suffered under this concealed weapon, and rushed to fly higher, but the silver needles were coming at them at a fast pace; the condors could fly fast, but the needles were faster and condors cried out in fright. Li Mo Chou saw that the condors had retreated once again, and was extremely pleased. But suddenly she heard two shouts, two small objects rapidly appeared in the sky and after a loud noise, the two small objects had knocked the needles out of the air in a flash. Whoever threw the objects, their power must be extremely high. She gulped and dropped the young man, and went over to see. It was two small stones. She thought, “The person who shot out the stones must be extremely skilled, I’m not their match, I better evade him first and think about this later.”

    She turned around and stretched out her palm, facing Cheng Ying. She wanted to hurt the two cousins first and then escape. As her palm was about to reach her chest, Li Mo Chou saw there was a satin handkerchief tied around her neck, the embroidery on it was of a red flower and green leaf, it was the handkerchief that she had personally sewn and had given it to her lover. She didn’t move and lowered her palm, her heart was turning over with memories of before, and thought, “Although he married the He ****, he could not forget me and kept this handkerchief. He wants me to spare his heirs, should I spare them or not?” She could not decide, and decided to kill Lu Wu Shuang and discuss this later. She took out her flywhisk, the silver thread end facing Lu Wu Shuang, and as she headed for her chest, she saw another handkerchief tied around Lu Wu Shuang’s neck. She thought, “How come there are two handkerchiefs? One of them must be fake.” She curled up her flywhisk, and held Lu Wu Shuang’s neck as she shook and moved her around.

    At this time, a sound cutting through the air was heard, a small stone was flying towards her chest. Li Mo Chou took out her flywhisk and immediately struck out, knocking the stone out of the air. She shouted out in pain, her palm heated up, her body shaking. Just a small stone has so much power, whoever threw it must be extremely skilled. She couldn’t stay her anymore, and grabbed Lu Wu Shuang, and used her lightness kung fu. She swept over the ground like a gust of wind and in a flash there was no trace of her.

    Cheng Ying saw that her cousin had been taken away, she shouted out, “Cousin! Cousin!” and tried to follow. Li Mo Chou’s steps were extremely rapid, how could she catch them?

    Jiang Nan is a wet area and full of rivers, and after a while Cheng Ying had come upon a river blocking her way, with no way to proceed. She followed along the bank, and suddenly saw a yellow image on the left side, a person crossing the bridge alone. Cheng Ying waited a while and saw that Li Mo Chou was on her own, Lu Wu Shuang wasn’t seen anywhere. Cheng Ying saw her turn around and though extremely frightened, you dared to ask, “Where’s my cousin?” Li Mo Chou saw her white skin and handsome smile and coldly laughed, “You two look the same, she has many days in front of her, don’t worry about her. You should worry about yourself. Why don’t you die early, the world will have less trouble.” She raised her flywhisk, and hit it out. She saw that the stance she was going to use to strike the chest had become slow and light. With the flywhisk behind her back, she was going to attack in front of her but as she sped up, something was holding onto the flywhisk’s tail unable to fling it. She swallowed and turned around to look, and saw the ground was raised over her about ten feet in the air and collapsed. It was an extraordinary situation. She protected her chest with her left palm and channelled energy through her flywhisk and pierced through the dirt. How can it be that there was no one behind it, just empty space? She has fought hundreds of battles throughout her life, but has never encountered a situation like this, her brain flicking through many scenarios, “A monster? A demon?” A stance of [First Mixing Form] was used, the dust pen forming a circular boundary shielding herself before she turned around again.

    She saw standing by Cheng Ying was a tall, lean strange man dressed in a blue jade gown, with no expression on his face; who was he, and as she looked at him she couldn’t think of anything to say. She took two steps back and in this short space of time she could not think who in wulin this powerful person might be. As she was about to inquire who he might be she heard the man speak to Cheng Ying.

    “Little girl, that woman is really evil, and you went to fight her.” Cheng Ying raised her hand and head and replied, “I wouldn’t dare.” The man said, “What are you scared of? Go ahead.” Cheng Ying didn’t dare to. The man grabbed her and pushed her towards Li Mo Chou.

    In this situation, Li Mo Chou didn’t know how to react. She planned to use her flywhisk; she stretched out her left hand to reach it, aiming to hit Cheng Ying in the waist. Suddenly a ‘chi’ sound was produced; her arm was bent and sore, unable to pick up her weapon. Cheng Ying approached her with her palm out, and after a clashing sound, Li Mo Chou was struck clearly in the chest with a palm. Li Mo Chou has never suffered such an insult in her life, and under this rage, forgot her worries and reached out for her weapon and struck out in fury. Her flywhisk flew out of her hand, causing her to shake; the man had shot out another pebble, knocking her weapon on to the floor. Cheng Ying was standing there steadily.

    Li Mo Chou knew that she has met trouble today; if she didn’t escape now her life would in danger. She laughed lightly and turned around and hurried away. After she was many steps away she waved her hands behind her. A glimmer of silver appeared, ten plus ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’ were shot out towards the man in light green. She shot her concealed weapons without turning back, but every single needle was heading towards the man. The man was caught off guard, not knowing that her needle throwing skill was so deadly. He immediately flew backwards to evade the needles. The needles were coming at him at a fast pace, but his leaps were quicker. After he had heard all the needles had hit something did he stop and return to ground. Li Mo Chou knew that she wouldn’t be able to hit him, the ten or so needles were meant to distract him, when she heard the wind sounds caused by him retreating backwards, her hand waved again, a lone needle was shot out at Cheng Ying. She knew that the needle must hit the target; scared of exchanging blows with the man she didn’t look back and increased her efforts in escaping, her body disappearing into the mulberry forest. The man in the blue green gown said, “Ah!” and picked up Cheng Ying and saw a needle had hit her shoulder, her face had changed colour and gave out a quiet moan. Carrying her he hurriedly headed west.

    The kidnapping of Lu Wu Shuang had startled Ke Zhan E. The ragged young man said, “I’ll take a look.”

    Guo Fu replied, “What is there to look at? That evil women is going to kick you to death.”

    The young man smiled and replied, “You kick me to death? I don’t want to see that.” As he said this he headed in the direction of Li Mo Chou.

    Guo Fu said, “Idiot! I didn’t say I was going to kick you.” Guo Fu didn’t realize that boy made a play on the words and said she was the evil woman.

    The boy hurried as fast as he could for a while when he suddenly heard the calls of Cheng Ying shouting out, “Cousin, cousin!” He followed the sound of the calls. He ran over a great distance following the calls and he eventually arrived to where the calls seemingly came from. But when he got there was no trace of the two girls in any direction. He turned his head and on the floor glimmering was ten or so silver needles, the needles forming a pattern. He stooped down and picked up a needle, holding it in his left hand. By the needles there was a large centipede with its underside facing up, dead. He thought this was strange, and took a close look and saw a large number of ants were dead, but a few steps away were many ants rushing and moving. He picked up a needle and poked at them a few times, and some of the ants rolled over a few times before facing up. The same happened with a few other insects. The young boy was happy, thinking this would be great to use on mosquitoes and flies, but suddenly felt that his left hand was not responding as normal. A fierce voice from behind said, “The needles have poison on them! You are holding it in your left hand how can it not be dangerous?” He opened his left palm and abandoned the needle. There was a black mark already forming in the place where the needle was held, and his two fingers were also turning black. He was extremely frightened, and stretched out his hand and rubbed it on his leg fiercely. The numbness on his left hand slowly increased, and within minutes the numbness had reached his joints. He was once bitten by a poisonous snake, and almost lost his life; at the time, the place where he was bitten became numb. He was in danger and he eventually cried out due to the pain. A voice from behind said, “Little baby, you know how powerful it is now huh?” The sound was like the clanging of metals piercing his ear, as if it was coming from the ground. He turned around and gulped as he saw a man standing upside down. The boy retreated a few steps and asked, “Who, who….who are you?”

    The man’s hands were on the ground supporting himself, his body upright and in a jump, he travelled thirty feet to face the boy.

    “Who am I? It would be great to know who I am.”

    The boy was startled and started to run away. Only to hear a ‘du’ ‘du’ ‘du’ noise behind him. He turned around and was so scared that his soul jumped out of his body. The man is using his hands as his feet, in each hand a stone, and was walking upside down. His speed was faster than even walking on two feet, and was not just a few metres behind him. He ran even faster scared for his life only to hear a sound as the man jumped over his head and landed in front of him. The boy shouted out, “Mother!” and turned around to escape but wherever he went the strange man would jump in front of him. He had two feet, but he wasn’t a match for a person using his hands to walk. He turned around a few times but the man was getting closer so he stretched out his palm wanting to push him; his hand was numb and he had lost control over it long ago. His head was full of sweat and now didn’t know what to do, his legs went soft and he sat down on the ground.

    The strange man said, “The more you run and move about, the quicker the poison will spread.” The boy worried for his life, got down on his knees and said, “I beg old grandpa to save my life.”

    The strange man shook his head and said, “It’s difficult, it’s difficult.”

    He boy replied, “Your have so much skill, you can save me.”

    After the old man heard these words of praise, he was pleased and grinned, “How do you know that I’m so skilled?” The young boy heard his tone had become friendly and replied, “You run so fast while upside down. No one on earth can compete with you.” The boy had added the phrase ‘No one on earth can compete with you’ knowing that words of praise would please the old man. The old man laughed loudly, his laugh shaking the trees in the forest and said, “Flip upside down, let me take a look.”

    The boy was right, and immediately flipped upside down by himself, he couldn’t tell if the man was sincere but he did as he was told and flipped his body upside down so that his head was on the floor, his right hand still had feeling in it and managed to support himself firmly. The strange man glanced at him a few times, his brows lowered and wrinkled. The boy was upside down but still managed to take a clear look at the man; he had a tall nose and deep eyes, his face covered in a short white beard, his limbs like metal, he talked to himself in strange phrases which was hard on the ear. The young boy was scared that the man wasn’t going to save him and said, “Good Grandpa, please save me.” The man saw he was a strapping boy and was pleased by his flip and replied, “Fine, saving you is not hard, but you got to promise one thing.”

    “Whatever you say, I’ll listen. What do you want me to promise you?”

    The strange man smiled and said, “I only want you to promise me one thing. Whatever I say, you must obey.” The boy thought, “I must obey everything you say? I’ve got to listen even when you tell me to be a dog or eat shit?”

    The man saw that he was hesitant and slow to reply said, “Fine, you can die!” As he said this he got onto his hands and leapt away several metres.

    The boy was scared that the man had gone too far, and wanted to chase him to ask for help but he forgot that he could not walk upside down like the man, so he got back upright and chased a few steps and called out, “Grandpa, I agree. Whatever you say, I will obey.”

    The man turned around and said, “Fine, you have to swear it.” The boy’s left hand was increasingly becoming number, he was becoming increasing concerned about his life so he could do nothing but swear an oath.

    “If grandpa saves my by ridding my body of the poison, I will listen to whatever he says. If I don’t, then let the poison return to my body.” He thought, “If I never pick up any more silver needles, then how will the poison return? I wonder if the strange man will accept this oath?”

    He looked at the old man, and saw his expression had changed and he seemed pleased, and he in turn became pleased as well as he thought, “The old man believes me.”

    The old man nodded and went upright. He grabbed hold of the boy’s arm, and pushed it a few times and said, “Good, good, you are a good boy.” When the boy was pushed in the arm, he felt the numbness had lighten, and shouted out, “Grandpa, push me a few more times!” The strange man creased his eyebrows and said, “Don’t call me grandpa, call me father!” The little boy replied, “My father’s dead, I don’t have a father.” The man shouted at him, “The first thing I ask and you don’t even listen, what use have I with a son like you.”

    The boy thought, “Oh, the man wants me to be his son.” He has never seen his father before, and heard from his mother that his father had died before he was born. Whenever he saw other children with their father he would envy them. Now he sees this strange man in front of him, acting weird and crazy. He doesn’t want to accept this old man as his godfather. The strange man shouted at him, “You don’t agree to call me father, fine. There are other people who are willing, I won’t agree to my promise.” The boy tried to think of another way to deceive him into saving him. The man suddenly bellowed out a strange noise, and said a curse and started to walk away. The boy quickly said, “Father, father where are you going?”

    The man gave out a great laugh and said, “Good boy, come, I’ll teach you a method to rid your body of poison.” The boy walked over to him. The strange man said, “You have contracted Li Mo Chou’s ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’ poison, it is quite difficult to cure this poison.”

    He then passed on the words of circulating air and the method to practise it, the head must be below the legs, so the blood will flow the opposite direction, the poison will eventually flow out from within the body. As he is a beginner, he can only remove a few drops of poison everyday, but within a month, all the poison would be removed from his body. The boy was extremely clever, he absorbed everything and memorized it. He then followed the method and indeed, the numbness decreased. After a little while, small drops of black blood seeped from his fingers. The strange man was pleased and said, “Good! You don’t have to practise anymore today, I’ll teach you something new tomorrow. Follow me.” The boy was startled, and said, “Go where?” The strange man replied, “I am your father, wherever a father goes, the son of course follows.”

    As he said this, the air was filled with the sound of condor calls, the two large condors were approaching. The strange man looked at the condors, and hit his head as he creased his brows, searching for something in his mind. Suddenly, he seemed to have found what he was looking for, his face changed and shouted out, “I won’t see them, I won’t see them!” As he said this he took a stride; the stride was extremely large, and by the second stride he had moved over ten feet. After a few more strides he disappeared into the mulberry forest.

    The boy shouted out, “Father, father!” and tried to follow. He eventually wounded up to a willow tree when suddenly he felt a gust of wind behind him, as the condors flew over from behind him and started to descend. From behind the willow tree out came two people, a male and female, the condors stopped behind the two. The male had dense brow and large eyes, a broad chest and waist, he was about thirty years of age, his top lip had the beginnings of a moustache. The woman was about twenty-six, twenty seven years of age, she had a beautiful face, her eyes sparkled, and looked at the boy a few times and said to the man, “Who do you think that boy looks like?” The man turned around to the boy and replied, “You say he looks like somebody” as he said these words he stopped.

    The two people were Guo Jing and Huang Rong. That day they were at a restaurant searching for news of Huang Yao Shi, when they suddenly saw a flame far away and after a while, a person in the street hurriedly said, “The Lu’s mansion is on fire!” Huang Rong shivered as she remembered that Jia Xing’s Lu’s mansion belonged to Lu Zhan Yuan, a fairly famous person in the wuxia world, and although they have never met, she had admire the name, in Jiang Hu many people have mentioned that ‘Jiang Nan has two Lu mansions’. There are countless Lu mansions in Jiang Nan, the two that the wuxia members mentioned were the Lu mansion by the Tai Lake and Jia Xing’s Lu mansion. For Lu Zhan Yuan to be mentioned in the same breath as Lu Cheng Feng, he was surely not an ordinary person. After asking a few questions, it turned out it was Lu Zhan Yuan’s mansion that was being burnt. The two hurried to the site but once they got there, the fire had died down, the mansion had been burnt down to the ground, a few bodies where found at the scene but they were burnt beyond recognition.

    Huang Rong said, “Something strange may have occurred.”

    Guo Jing asked, “What?”

    Huang Rong replied, “Lu Zhan Yuan is a fairly famous name in Jiang Hu, his wife Yuan Jun is also a heroine of this generation. If the mansion caught fire, how come no one managed to escape? The only explanation is that an enemy of theirs had come to take their revenge.”

    Guo Jing thought this must be the reason and replied, “Yes, let us think, who can the suspect be?”

    The two examined the site but found no traces of any evidence. Huang Rong suddenly saw something on one of the remaining walls and shouted, “Look, what’s that?”

    Guo Jing looked up and saw a few blood handprints on the wall; after being burnt, the blood prints became more prominent. The wall collapsed and on the lower section was two prints. Guo Jing gathered himself and suddenly spurted out, “The Serpent Deity!”

    Huang Rong replied, “It must be her.”

    They have long heard of Li Mo Chou, the ‘Serpent Deity’. Her kung fu was high, and no one can compare with her poisonous ways, she was comparable to the one called ‘Western Poison’. She was in Jiang Nan and now was a chance to track her down.

    Guo Jing nodded his head, “People in wulin have said she is extremely difficult to deal with, if we can find your father it would be great.”

    Huang Rong laughed and said, “The older they get, the less we have to worry.”

    Guo Jing said, “You’re right. The more someone practise martial arts, the less work they have to do.”

    Huang Rong laughed and said, “Your are modest master Guo! I find the more I practise the worse I get.”

    The two laughed and joked, but secretly there were on the guard as well. They looked around, and by a pond they saw two ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’. One of the needles was half submerged in the pond, the ponds’ eighty or so gold fishes’ white belly was facing up. It was the deed of the poison of the needle. Huang Rong’s tongue hung out as she broke off two pieces of twigs from a tree and used it to fish the needle out, and then placed it in her gown sack. The two searched everywhere, and then saw the two condors and eventually met the boy.

    Guo Jing thought that the boy looked familiar, but at the time cannot think whom he looks like. His nose suddenly picked up a strange scent, and sniffed a few more times and felt his brain started to smother. Huang Rong had already noticed this, and knew the origin was nearby. She turned around to search for the source and saw the male condor had a wound on its left claw, and after a closer examination, the source of the scent was indeed from the wound. The two gulped, and carefully examined the wound, the skin was broken only slightly yet the leg had swollen to more than twice its size, the skin and flesh had started to rot. Guo Jing thought, “What caused this wound, why is it so severe?” He suddenly saw the boy’s hand was black and asked, “You’ve been poisoned as well?” Huang Rong went over and took his hand and looked at this palm; she pulled up his sleeve and took out a knife and slit the boy’s wrist to draw out the poison blood. Only to see that the blood flowing out was red. She thought this was strange and thought, “His palm’s is black and definitely has poison so why doesn’t his blood have it? She didn’t know that when the strange man had bestowed his skills to the boy, the poisoned blood had already flown out of his fingertips, and the poison did not rise back. From her bag, she took out a ‘Nine Flower Reveal Jade’ pill, and said, “Swallow this.” The boy took the pill, smelt it first and noticed a nice scent, and put it into his mouth. He felt a fragrant scent fill his mouth, the sweetness was incomparable. A cool clear air filled his ‘dan tian’ (solar plexus). Huang Rong took out another two pills and fed it to the two condors.

    Guo Jing was immersed in thought, but he still managed to whistle a tune. The boy heard his high tune and knew it wasn’t easy; this gave him a surprise. Suddenly, a whistling sound came from afar, flocks of birds in the forest flew in all directions, the branches of a nearby willow tree was shaking incessantly. As soon as the first song was finished, a second one followed, the sound of the two combined resonated and folded, herd of horses galloped hurriedly far away. Huang Rong knew that it was her father sending an invitation to Li Mo Chou for a battle. As the third whistle came, she filled her ‘dan tian’ line, and followed the whistle with her own, Guo Jing’s whistle was loud and spacious, Huang Rong’s was high and soaring. The two’s whistles combined together was like a large fabulous bird and a small bird in a competition to see who can fly higher, as they flew the higher they got, the little bird not settling for being behind the large bird. When the two were on Peach Blossom Island they refined and cultivated their internal strength, their internal energy had reached new levels. Right now, their sounds soared and resonated for many miles.

    When the whistles reached the strange man, he quickened his steps, as he hurried to escape. When it reached the blue green-gowned man who was carrying Cheng Ying, he laughed and said, “You’ve finally arrived, this old man better run away to avoid getting caught.”

    Li Mo Chou was carrying Lu Wu Shuang by her side, hurrying in her escape when she suddenly heard the whistles; she halted in her tracks, and waved her flywhisk. She turned around and laughed coldly, “Hero Guo’s name shakes through wulin, I must take a look to see if he lives up to his name.” She then heard a clear, crisp whistle follow the last one, the two sounds superimposed on each other produced a sharp yet soft sound, the power of it was increased further. Li Mo Chou’s heart shivered, she knew she had met a formidable foe; she thought about how the Guo couple swept wulin, supporting each other, yet she was on her lonesome, her thoughts became grey, and sighed as she carried Lu Wu Shuang across her chest and ran away.

    At that moment, madam Wu supported her husband, taking her two children with her preparing to leave along with Ke Zhan E. After the battle with Li Mo Chou, Ke Zhan E was afraid that Li Mo Chou would come back and harm Guo Fu, he wanted to take her to a safe place and hide for a while. When he heard the calls by the Guo couple his was glad and relieved. Guo Fu shouted out, “Father, mother!” and ran out. One old, one young followed the sounds of the whistles and hurriedly rushed to the Guo couple. Guo Fu threw herself into Huang Rong and smiled as she said, “Mother, grandpa fought off an evil woman, his skills was unbelievable.”

    Huang Rong knew she was lying but could only smile. Guo Jing reprimanded her “Young children should always tell the truth.” Guo Fu stuck out her tongue as she said, “Grandpa’s skills are not good? How can he be your master?” Scared that her father will scold her again, she ran on ahead and pointed to the boy saying, “You go pick some flowers for me and arrange it into a crown for me to wear!” The boy followed her. Guo Fu saw that his palm was black and said, “You hand is disgusting, take the flowers you pick and cover your smell with it.”

    The boy calmly said, “Who wants to play with you?” and took large steps as he walked away.

    Guo Jing said, “Little brother, don’t run. The poison in your body has not fully been removed, when it reacts it would be painful.”

    The little boy wished that he would mind his own business, and after being spoken to like that by Guo Fu, he carried on walking ahead, ignoring the man’s words. Guo Jing walked in front of him and said, “Why have you contracted poison? Let me cure it for you first, it won’t be long.”

    The boy replied, “I don’t recognise you, what had this got to do with you.” He increased his speed and wanted to walk past Guo Jing. Guo Jing saw that the boy’s face seemed to carry a noble air, his face looking like someone he has met before, his feelings were aroused and asked the boy, “What’s your surname?”

    The boy gave him a glance and walked around him, still wanting to get away. Guo Jing caught his wrist. The boy couldn’t shake himself free, and formed a fist with his left hand punching Guo Jing in the stomach. Guo Jing just smiled, and took no notice of the punch. The boy wanted pulled back his fist again, but his fist seemed to be held within the man’s stomach, unable to move. His face became red, and pulled back with all his strength until his arm ached, but he couldn’t over come the pull of the man’s stomach. The man smiled and said, “If you tell me what your name is, then I’ll let you go.”

    The boy replied, “My surname is Ni, first names Lao Zi, now let me go.” Guo Jing was disappointed with the answer and relaxed his abdomen, he didn’t realise that the boy had tricked him and called himself, “I’m your father’. The boy’s hand was now free and thought, “You’ve got great ability, your father can’t compare to his good son.” Huang Rong saw the boy had a devious expression on his face, and still felt that he looked like someone from the past so tested him again.

    She smiled and said, “Little brother, if you are my husband’s father, that means you mine too.” She stretched out her hand and held the boy’s neck from behind.

    The boy felt the hold came from an extremely strong force, and tried desperately to pull away. Huang Rong loosened her grip, the boy got a glimpse of the sky before falling over. Guo Fu clapped and laughed. The boy hid his embarrassment and got up, and took a few steps back, and swore at her. Huang Rong was already standing in front of him, she held his shoulder and looked him in the eye and gently said, “Your surname is Yang, first name Guo. Your mother’s surname is Mu, isn’t that correct?” The boy was indeed named Yang Guo, and somehow Huang Rong had called it out, the shock was too much for him, his felt pain in his chest, the poison in his hand had returned, his brain started to get blurry and he fainted.

    Huang Rong managed to hold onto him. Guo Jing pushed him a few times using his internal energy, but his eyes did not open, his teeth had bitten his tongue, his mouth full of red blood, and he didn’t wake up. Guo Jing was happy and worried at the same time and said, “He…he is brother Yang Kang’s son.” Huang Rong saw that Yang Guo’s poison was serious and gently said, “Let’s first get to an inn, then we’ll mix up some medicine for him.”

    Huang Rong had seen that the boy looked extremely like Yang Kang, and remembered that she had met Mu Nian Ci in a inn; then she held the back of her neck, but Mu Nian Chi instead of pushing forwards she pushed backwards, this was a secret skill of Hung Qi Gong’s, it was part of his circulating air and practising energy method. If the boy was Mu Nian Chi’s son, then their kung fu would be the same. Huang Rong was a disciple of Hung Qi Gong’s and knew the arts of her master well, so she tested him, and indeed he was whom she thought he was.

    Guo Jing carried the boy, and along with Ke Zhan E, Huang Rong, Guo Fu and the pair of condors returned to the inn. Huang Rong wrote out an herb list, and gave it to the inn’s waiter to go to the medicine shop and pick them out. However the herbs she picked out were all rare, even in a place like Jia Xing the shops will not have it. Guo Jing saw that Yang Guo was still unconscious and was extremely worried about him. Huang Rong knew that after Yang Kang had died, her husband had felt responsible, and now he had found his son, he would be ecstatic but now the boy had contracted a lethal poison, his life in the balance, and said, “We will go and gather the herbs ourselves.”

    Guo Jing knew that if there is a glimmer of hope to cure the poison, she would try to reassure him but he saw her expression was one of worry, and ordered Guo Fu that she mustn’t run around as she pleased, and the couple went off to gather the herbs and grasses.

    Yang Guo sleep quietly without waking until it was night. Ke Zhan E checked up on him a few times, using his hands to feel him. The poison on his darts could not compare to that of the ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’ and so could not use the antidote that he has. He was scared that Guo Fu would slip away, so he made sure she was asleep.

    Yang Guo was unconscious for a long time when suddenly someone placed a palm on his chest and used their internal strength to wake him up. He slowly woke up, and opened his eyes. He saw a flash of black, as someone escaped out of the window. He strength slowly returned as he supported himself on the table to the window so he could have a look. He saw a man on the overhanging of the room, the man was upside down, it was the strange man earlier on who wanted him to call himself father. He was moving about, and could drop down to the room when he pleased.

    Yang Guo was surprised and said, “Its you.”

    The strange man replied, “Why aren’t you calling me father?”

    Yang Guo said, “Father!” but thought, “You are my son, I’ll just turned the roles around and call you father for now.”

    The man was very pleased and said, “Come up here.” Yang Guo climbed out of the window and leapt onto the roof. But his body was weak due to the poison, he wasn’t at full strength and his fingers weren’t able to grab the roof edge. As he was falling he called out, “Ah!”

    The man stretched out his hand and grabbed the boy’s back and gently placed him on the rooftop. He turned upright, and was about to say something when he heard someone from a room to the west blow out a candle. He felt that someone had discovered him and so he carried Yang Guo and hurriedly escaped. Ke Zhan E had leapt on the roof, but there wasn’t a trace of anyone.

    The strange man carried Yang Guo outside the small town and reached a piece of uncultured land and put him down. He said, “Use the method I taught you to force some of the poison out.” Yang Guo got into position, and after a short while, a few drops of poisoned blood came out, his chest became relaxed and more comfortable.

    The strange man said, “You are a clever boy, you can use it straight away just after one lesson. You are even better than my real son. Ai, Son ah!” He thought about his deceased son, his eyes became watery as he stroked Yang Guo’s head, and gave out a sigh.

    Yang Guo had never had a father in his life, his mother passed away due to illness when he was eleven years old. Before she died, she told him that his father died in Jia Xing’s Iron Spear temple, and instructed him to cremate her and bury her outside the monastery. After he had taken care off his mother’s burial, he wandered around Jia Xing and lived in the old kiln cave, in poverty. Mu Nian Ci had taught Yang Guo some of her family’s kung fu but her skills weren’t great, and Yang Guo at the time was young so couldn’t learn much. Within these few years, Yang Guo had made trouble and enemies, and although he has never met the strange man before, the man had treated him well and the feelings was real, he was touched and leapt up and grabbed the man around his neck and called out, “Father, father!” Ever since he was three years old, he always wished he had a loving father. Sometimes in his dreams he would see a heroic and loving father but when he woke up his father had gone and because of this he would cry for a while. His wish for many years had come true, and buried within the calls of ‘father’ were real feelings of joy and respect, not the calls of lies and deceit.

    Yang Guo was very emotional right now, the strange man was even more happy and emotional inside. When they first met, Yang Guo was forced to call him father to save his life, and didn’t want him as a father, now both of them had the same feelings, they were like a real father and son, but he felt that the man had something in his mind. He feelings was so strong that he was willing to die for the him if needs be. The strange man was laughing and crying at the same time and said, “Good son, good son, obedient son. Call me father again.” Yang Guo called him twice, and then lent on his body.

    The man smiled and said, “Good son, come here, I will teach you all the martial arts I know.” As he said this he dropped down and made three strange noises and then pushed his hands out. The sound of an explosion was produced, the earth in front of him stood up in a violent grey mudflow and then the dirt scattered. Yang Guo looked on with his mouth opened, his tongue out, shocked and asked, “What is that skill called, can I learn it?”

    The strange man replied, “Its called [Ge Ma Stance] (toad stance), if you work hard, you will be able to learn it.”

    Yang Guo said, “If I learn it then no one can bully me again?”

    The man’s eyebrows raised and said, “If anyone bullies my son then I’ll rip their skin and tear their muscles.”

    The strange man was the ‘Western Poison’ Ou Yang Feng.

    Ever since Huang Rong had made him mad at the second Mount Hua tournament, these last ten years he has travelled to the edge of the world and always asked one question, “Who am I?” Whenever he is near a ripe land, he would always linger on trying to find the answer to his question; these past months he has been staying in Jia Xing. These few years he has been practising the [Contrary Nine Ying Manual], his internal energy has been increasing to new levels, his mind had become clearer, but he was still mad, his memories slowly coming back but he still could not remember whom he was.

    Right now, Ou Yang Feng was passing on the formula to practise [Toad Stance] to Yang Guo. The [Toad Stance] is one of the top skills in the martial arts word, the changes refined, mysterious and clever, its internal energy aspect hard to beat, if it is practised wrong, not only will the body be harmed, but the practitioner will expel blood and die. Because of this, he didn’t even pass it on to his son when he was alive. At this moment in time, he was touched and added to the fact he was mentally unclear, he couldn’t differentiate between important things. He didn’t take this into consideration and taught the skill to his godson.

    Yang Guo does not have a good martial arts foundation, though he learnt the formula to the skill and memorized it, would he be able to understand the meanings behind the words?

    Though he was extremely clever, there were phrases which he didn’t understand. Ou Yang Feng had taught him for half a day now, and when he listened to Yang Guo’s explanations, they weren’t making sense, he had another mental attack and wanted to hit him, but when he saw his handsome and cute face under the moonlight, it reminded him of his own son when he was younger, and then lowered his hand.

    “You’re struggling. Go and rest, I’ll carry on tomorrow.”

    After Guo Fu had ridiculed him because of his hand, he had a dislike for her family and said, “I want to follow you, I don’t want to return.”

    Ou Yang Feng didn’t understand his own problems but he was aware of the world’s problems and said, “I have got some trouble with my mind, I’m scared I can’t take of you if you follow me. You return first and when I’ve solved one problem I will come and collect you, we won’t part, okay?”

    After the death of his mother he has never talked to someone as if they were family and grabbed his hand and said, “Collect me earlier.”

    Ou Yang Feng nodded and said, “I will secretly follow you, wherever you go I’ll be there. If someone bullies you, I’ll break their ribs into seventy, eighty pieces.” He then picked up Yang Guo and returned him to the inn.

    Ke Zhen E had gone to check on Yang Guo and found he wasn’t there. He searched the entire inn but still couldn’t find him; he became extremely concerned. He checked on Yang Guo’s room again; Yang Guo had returned. He was about to ask where Yang Guo had been when he heard the wind generated by someone passing along the rooftop. He knew two people had passed along on the roof, their skills extremely high, he picked up Guo Fu and then placed her by his side. He went over to the window with his iron staff, afraid that the two people were enemies. He listened carefully and heard that the wind created by the two people was coming closer and eventually had arrived on the roof above them.

    “Did you see who he was?”

    “Strange, strange, was it him?” replied the other person.

    It was Guo Jing and Huang Rong.

    Ke Zhen E was relieved and opened the door to let them in. Huang Rong said, “Senior master, did anything happen?”

    “Nothing,” replied Ke Zhen E.

    Huang Rong turned to Guo Jing and said, “Did we recognise the wrong person?”

    Guo Jing replied shaking his head, “No, I’m ninety percent certain it was him.”

    “Who was it?” asked Ke Zhen E.

    Huang Rong tugged on Guo Jing, trying to tell him not to say. But Guo Jing didn’t dare to lie to his master and said, “Ou Yang Feng.”

    Ke Zhen E despised this man, as soon as he heard his name his complexion changed and quietly said, “Ou Yang Feng? Isn’t he dead?”

    Guo Jing said, “When we came back from picking the medicine, we saw someone on the roof, the person’s movements was quick and strange, when we went to take a look, the person had already gone. It looked like Ou Yang Feng.”

    From the description, Ke Zhen E knew it must be Ou Yang Feng and no one else. Guo Jing was concerned about Yang Guo so grabbed a candle and went over to the bed. He saw that Yang Guo’s face was red, his breathing relaxed and sleeping peacefully. He was pleasantly surprised and called out, “Rong Er, he’s better!” Yang Guo was really awake, he was just pretending to be asleep, he had secretly listened in and now knew his stepfather was called Ou Yang Feng. The three of them was extremely concerned about him, and now they were all relieved and pleased.

    Huang Rong took a closer look, and was surprised, before his arm’s poison had returned but now after just a few hours, the black colour of the poison has faded, the poison seems to have disappeared. She was greatly surprised by this. She and Guo Jing had searched for medicine all day, but could not gather everything they wanted, so they decided to return with what they had and give it to him for the time being.

    The next day, Guo Jing, Huang Rong and Ke Zhen E with the two small ones headed west from Jia Xing, intending to return to Peach Blossom Island, and firstly cure Yang Guo’s poison before deciding to do anything else. That night they were in another inn, Ke Zhen E and Yang Guo was in one room, the Guo family in another. The Guo couple slept into the middle of the night when suddenly they heard a noise on the rooftop. They heard Ke Zhen E call out through the wall, and jumped out of the window. The couple quickly jumped out of the window only to see on the rooftop Ke Zhen E was fighting barehanded with someone, the enemy was tall and had long hands, it Ou Yang Feng. Guo Jing swallowed, frightened that Ou Yang Feng would take his master’s life in one move and he jumped up onto the roof to help. Only to hear Ke Zhen E shout out and fall of the roof. Guo Jing flew over to him, and before Ke Zhen E head had met the ground, he lightly caught him from behind and gently placed him gently down on the floor.

    He asked, “Senior master, are you okay.”

    “I’m not dead yet. Go and fight Ou Yang Feng.” Replied Ke Zhen E.

    “Yes,” replied Guo Jing and he jumped onto the roof.

    At the time, Huang Rong was fighting with her palms, the palms like a flying dance. It has been ten years since she has seen her old enemy, and right now they were fighting ferociously. Her internal energy has improved tremendously over the last few years, her internal energy is now very forceful, the palms she was using were changing mysteriously and cleverly; after ten moves, Ou Yang Feng didn’t gain any advantage.

    Guo Jing called out, “Mr Ou Yang, how have you been.”

    Ou Yang Feng replied, “What did you say? What did you call me?” His face changed, in the fight with Huang Rong he did not attack, he had a feeling that the two words ‘Ou Yang’ was significant to him. Guo Jing was about to say something when Huang Rong interrupted as she saw that he wasn’t clear about who he was and said, “You are called Zhao Qian Sun Li, Zhou Wu Chen Wang!”

    Ou Yang Feng listened, “I’m called Zhao Qian Sun Li, Zhou Wu Chen Wang?”

    Huang Rong replied, “Correct, your nickname is Zuo Feng Cheng Chu Wei, Jiang Shen Han Yang.” Huang Rong had randomly picked out some surnames. Ou Yang Feng was originally confused but after hearing her call him many names, he scratched his head and asked, “Who are you? Who am I?”

    Suddenly someone behind shouted out, “You are the old animal that killed my five brothers.” Before the sentence was finished, an iron staff came out, it was Ke Zhen E. When Ou Yang Feng knocked him off the roof, he wasn’t hurt and went into his room to get his iron staff to battle him again. Guo Jing shouted out, “Careful master!” Ke Zhen E smashed down his iron staff on Ou Yang Feng’s back but he didn’t move, he made a strange noise and the staff fiercely came back out at Ke Zhen E. Ke Zhen E couldn’t hold on, and let go of his walking stick and fell into the courtyard. Although Guo Jing knew that his master was falling, it wasn’t going to be serious but Ou Yang Feng had used his back to launch a lethal attack so he shouted, “Watch out!” His left leg bent, his right palmed circled, and then pushed out; it was the [Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palm’s] [Overcoming the Dragon with Regret] (Kang Long You Hui). He had practised this particular stance night and day without a break, when he first learnt the stance its power was obvious, but after ten years off practising, it was now at a flawless level. When he first unleashed it, it looked light and fragile but when it meets an obstruction, it will be able to unleash its force in thirteen levels, the next level stronger than the last one, it will yield the unyielding, no force it can’t overcome. He had incorporated ideas in the [Nine Ying Manual] into the palms and modified them, like Hung Qi Gong had modified the palms years ago, although it was only the stances and not the mysterious energy behind it.

    Ou Yang Feng had just knocked Ke Zhen E off the roof when he suddenly felt a gust of wind throwing itself at him, although the wind wasn’t strong, it caused his breathing to be uneven, and knew it wasn’t something ordinary so quickly crouched down and pushed out his two palms, it was his most refined skill [Toad Stance]. They exchanged three palms, both of them were hit once. Guo Jing’s palm strength increased, the next level higher than the last, like a torrential waves throwing itself forwards. Ou Yang Feng made two ‘Ka Ka’ noises, his body getting lower, as if he was going to fall down any minute. Guo Jing’s palms were getting stronger, his counteracting strength also increased.

    The two haven’t exchanged moves for over ten years, now they meet again in Jiang Nan, they must test each other to see how they have advanced over the years. Long ago at the Mount Hua tournament, Guo Jing couldn’t match Ou Yang Feng, but ever since he has refined his internal energy, his skills have vastly improved. Ou Yang Feng has been practising the [Contrary Nine Ying Manual] and got what he deserved. However one phrase real and one phrase fake, eventually he produced a learnable copy from the fake and up until now, Guo Jing was fighting him to a draw, unable to distinguish who has the upper hand. Huang Rong wanted her husband to win by himself so stood to one side and didn’t interfere.

    The roofs in the south were very different to the roofs in the north. The roofs in the north had to support the amassed snow in winter, the roofs were solid. In the south it was wet weather that had to be addressed, the roofs were covered in tiles, with removing rain in mind. Guo Jing and Ou Yang Feng were matching internal energy through their palms, and braced their legs, and after a moment, the sound of something creaking was heard below their feet, with one sound followed by another, the beams of the roof snapped, a hole was made in the roof as the two of them fell in. Huang Rong gulped and jumped down the hole and followed them, only to see the two still competing, their feet supported by some more beams, but there were above one of the inn’s guests. The guest was sleeping, how would he know the sky was falling in, at that moment, his legs broke, screaming out in pain. Guo Jing didn’t want to hurt any innocent bystanders and so didn’t use his legs for support, but Ou Yang Feng didn’t care if anyone dies because of them. The two of them were equally matched but because Guo Jing didn’t use the beams as support, his palms had no foundation to rely on and so was on his way to losing. He used one hand to push against Ou Yang Feng’s two palms, he channelled all his strength in his right hand, his left hand was empty, there was no strength for it to use. Huang Rong saw her husband was being pushed backwards, although it was only half an inch or so, he was losing. She shouted, “Hey, Zhang San Li Si, Hu Tu Wang Ba, watch out,” and aimed a light palm Ou Yang Feng’s shoulder. Though this palm was light, it was from the [Descending Brave Divine Sword Palm] (Luo Ying Shen Jian Zhang) skill, when it lands, the internal energy will spread through the internal organs.
    Though Ou Yang Feng is one of the most powerful martial artists within his time, he would still suffer under this blow. Ou Yang Feng heard her call out weird surnames at him and was distracted for a second. As he saw the palm come in, he pushed his two palms, forcing Guo Jing back another inch, and in a flash he held onto Huang Rong’s shoulder, his five fingers like an hook, trying to tear a piece of her flesh off. When this move came out, the three of them gulped simultaneously. Ou Yang Feng felt severe pain in his fingers; she was wearing soft armour with needles, he couldn’t loosen his hand. At this time, Guo Jing’s palm’s power increased again, and Ou Yang Feng pushed out a palm to counteract this, in the midst of this danger he used all his strength. After a clashing sound, the both of them moved back, the room full of dust and dirt as the walls collapsed.

    When the two clashed palms, it was under the shroud of night and the both of them could not see each other clearly, the large force of the [Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms] and the [Toad] stance hit each other in the shoulders. The two of them were sent through opposite walls; half of the roof fell in. Huang had suffered a blow but she wasn’t hurt although she had a fright and made her flush. In the midst of all this she flew out of the room before the roof collapsed.

    She saw Guo Jing and Ou Yang Feng five feet apart motionless, the both of them had suffered internal injuries. Huang Rong didn’t attack the enemy and instead just walked over by her husband’s side to guard him. The both of them shut the their eyes to try to control their chi, but after two stuttering noises both of them spat out a mouthful of blood.

    Ou Yang Feng said, “The [Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms], good stuff, good stuff!” A mad laugh followed as he ran away, in a blink of an eye he was nowhere to be seen.

    Presently, the inn was in the midst of chaos. Huang Rong knew that they can’t stay here any longer, and from the hand of Ke Zhen E grabbed her daughter and said, “Master, you carry brother Jing and follow us.” Ke Zhen E put Guo Jing on his shoulder and step by step slowly headed north. After a while, Huang Rong suddenly remembered Yang Guo, she didn’t know where he had gone to, but she was more concerned about her husband’s injuries so left this matter until later on. Guo Jing understood, but because of the injury caused by Ou Yang Feng, he couldn’t speak. He breathed evenly while on Ke Zhen E’s back, circulating his energy to unravel his veins, after they had travel about seven, eight miles, his veins had all been cleared and said, “Master, I’m okay.” He put Guo Jing down and said, “You’ve recovered?”

    Guo Jing shook his head and said, “[Toad Stance] is a great skill!” He saw his daughter supporting herself on her mother’s shoulder sleeping peacefully, and said, “Where’s Guo Er?” Ke Zhen E had forgotten about Yang Guo, and struggled for words.

    Huang Rong said, “Don’t worry, first we’ll find a place to rest. Then I’ll go back and look for him.”

    The sky was beginning to brighten, and under the moon they recognised a house by the forest. Guo Jing said, “My injury is not serious, we’ll go find him together.”

    Huang Rong creased her brows and said, “That boy is extremely clever, you don’t have to be too concerned.” As they said this they arrived at the house, suddenly they saw someone come out from behind the white wall and then were about to return again. Huang Rong went over there and grabbed the person, it was Yang Guo.

    He laughed and said, “Auntie,” and carried on saying, “You guys arrived? I’ve been waiting for a long time now.”

    Huang Rong couldn’t explain but she suspected something and replied, “Fine, follow us.”

    Yang Guo laughed, and followed. Guo Fu opened her eyes, and asked, “Where have you been?”

    Yang Guo replied, “I went to catch some crickets to see them fight. It was great fun.”

    “What’s so fun about that?” Said Guo Fu.

    “Huh, what’s not fun about that. A large cricket was fighting with an old cricket.

    When the old one lost, two little crickets came to help out, three versus one. The large cricket jumped around, kicked out a foot there, and bit one over there, it was extremely powerful.” When he reached this point, he didn’t add anything else. Guo Fu had listened carefully and asked, “Then what happened?”

    Yang Guo said, “You said it’s not fun, so why are you interested?”

    Guo Fu touched her nail, and angrily turned her head away, ignoring him. Huang Rong could tell that his words were helping Ou Yang Feng and ridiculing the couple and Ke Zhen E. She said, “Tell auntie, who won in the end?”

    Yang Guo laughed and said, “Just when things were getting interesting, you came along, the cricket jumped away.”

    Huang Rong thought, “Like father like son,” and kept her suspicions on him.

    After a while, they arrived at a village. Huang Rong went to a large residence to look for the owner. The owner was very hospitable, when they heard someone was hurt, they quickly prepared two rooms for the guests. Guo Jing ate three bowls of rice, and then sat on the couch, closed his eyes and mediated. Huang Rong saw that her husband was resting, and managed to relax, sitting next to her husband guarding him. She thought about Yang Guo in all the situations they have been in, and felt although he was young, there are a lot of strange things that couldn’t be explained, and when his was asked for detailed explanations, half of it was a lie. She made a mental note to herself to pay extra attention to Yang Guo and be wary of him. She had a tireless day, and after a meal of supper, she went to bed.

    Yang Guo and Ke Zhen E were sharing the same room, and in the middle of the night he quietly got up. When he heard Ke Zhen E snoring in his deep sleep, he quietly opened the door, he slipped out of the room and went over to the wall, and to a Cinnamonum cassia tree, climbed it, and leapt over the wall slipping away. The dogs outside the wall picked up a human scent, and started to bark.

    Yang Guo was prepared; he took out a piece of bone out of his bag, and threw it to them. The dogs bit onto the bone, and stopped their barking.

    Yang Guo checked his bearings, and headed southwest, and in seven, eight miles, he had reached the Iron Spear temple. He pushed open the doors and called out, “Father, I’m here!” He heard a noise coming in from within. It was Ou Yang Feng. Yang Guo was happy, he went inside and felt out a table, and found a candle. He lit it and saw Ou Yang Feng reclining on top of some statues, his body unwell, his breathing weak. He and Guo Jing have suffered similar injuries, but because Guo Jing has amassed an abundant amount of rich internal energy over the years, he is able to recover very rapidly; Ou Yang Feng is closer to old age, his energy isn’t as good.

    What had happened on the previous night was that Ou Yang Feng had come again for Yang Guo, but Ke Zhen E was awake in the room, so they started to fight. Afterwards when Huang Rong and Guo Jing came and joined in the battle, Yang Guo was watching. Eventually both Ou Yang Feng and Guo Jing had suffered injuries, and so Ou Yang Feng escaped. In the chaos, everyone forgot about Yang Guo, and he sneaked away after Ou Yang Feng. At first Ou Yang Feng was moving at a fast pace, Yang Guo could not catch up, but Ou Yang Feng’s injury was agitated, moving was hard. Yang Guo eventually caught up and took him by the side to rest. Yang Guo knew that if he didn’t return Huang Rong and Ke Zhen E would come and look for him, and feared his stepfather’s life would be in danger.
    So he arranged with Ou Yang Feng to meet in the Iron Spear temple. Both were familiar with the temple so knew where it was. When Yang Guo was guarding the road, Guo Jing and the others had come up behind them, only now in the middle of the night was he able to come and check. Yang Guo took out seven, eight buns out of his bag and handed it over to Ou Yang Feng, “Father, eat something.” Ou Yang Feng was hungry, he had nothing to eat for the whole day, he was frightened he would meet one of his enemies, and was stuck in the monastery all day. He ate a few of the buns and was conscious for a while and asked, “Where are you lot at?” Yang Guo told him everything.

    Ou Yang Feng said, “The one named Guo took one of my palms, it would be difficult for him to recover within seven days. His wife will have to look after him, she won’t leave his side, I’m just worried about that Ke old man. If he won’t come tonight, he will be here tomorrow. It’s a pity I don’t have an ounce of energy in me. Hmm… I think I did kill his brothers but I don’t know whether is it four or five.”

    As he said this he gave out a cough.

    Yang Guo sat on the floor, his hand on his cheeks, many thoughts going through his little mind and suddenly thought to himself, “I’ve got it, I’ll put some sharp objects on the floor first, so when the old man comes he’ll suffer some injuries.”

    He then went over to the table with the candles on, and tipped out the candles and collected the holders, and placed them by the entrance, and then closed it.

    He then emptied an old incense holder and placed it on top of the door. He looked around, trying to think of more traps for any enemies, and saw a large bell hung in the room. Three people could not move the bell; it weighed about a thousand kilos. On the bell’s neck were an extremely thick metal hook and a large wooden system. The Iron Spear temple was old and hasn’t been maintained for a long time, but the large bell and system was undamaged. He thought, “If that old man comes, I will climb into the bell, he won’t see me.” He held the candle holders and was looking for sharp objects in the hall, when he suddenly heard a ‘du du du’ sound from the road, caused by a metal rod, and knew it Ke Zhen E. He was going to blow out the candles when he thought, “That old man is blind, I don’t need to blow it out.” The sounds came closer, Ou Yang Feng sat up and wanted to transfer all of his body’s strength into his right hand, wanting to attack first and cause a violent death. Yang Guo turned the metal carvings on the candle holder up, and guarded Ou Yang Feng and thought, although my martial arts skills are low, I will do my best to help godfather to rid the old man.

    Ke Zhen E knew that Ou Yang Feng had a serious injury and would not be able to travel far, the Iron Spear temple was close by and an old hang out of his, he won’t stay at an inn or at a family’s shelter, he would hide in the monastery. He thought about his five brothers dying at his hands, today he has a chance to get revenge, how would he be able to say no? In the midst of the night he woke up and called out, “Guo Er, Guo Er!” and when he heard no reply, he thought he was sound asleep. He didn’t check and hurriedly went out. The two dogs outside the house was busy gnawing on the bone that Yang Guo threw at them and didn’t bark when they saw him. He slowly made his way to the monastery, and listened carefully. Indeed there was the sound of breathing within the monastery. He shouted out, “Old animal, old man Ke is here, if you’ve got balls, come out now.”

    As he said this he slammed his staff into the ground. Ou Yang Feng was scared that he will lose the chi in his ‘dan tian’ and didn’t move.

    Ke Zhen E called out a few times, and stabbed his staff outside the monastery doors. He entered only to hear a clattering noise from above as the incense holder fell, his left foot stepped onto the candleholders metal juttings and pierced his boots. Ke Zhen E didn’t understand and waved his metal staff about, when suddenly there was an extremely loud noise deafening him, he knocked away the incense holder and it rolled onto the floor, luckily the metal juttings didn’t pierce his foot. By his side were some more of these candleholders, one of them piercing his shoulder. He pulled it out with his left hand and blood poured. He didn’t dare to be careless anymore and listened out for Ou Yang Feng’s breathing. His foot sliding across the ground, getting closer step by step, until he was three metres away. He held out his iron staff and said, “Old animal, what have you got to say today?” Ou Yang Feng had already transferred all his energy into his right hand, when the opposition raises his weapon he will send out a palm, and take Ke Zhen E with him. Ke Zhen E knew that his enemy had suffered a serious injury, but didn’t know how serious, he held his ground waiting for the opposition to move first; then he will know how much strength the opposition has. The two of them stood there silently, motionless. Ke Zhen E could hear his breathing was heavy, his mind suddenly filled with voices of his stepbrothers Zhu Cong, Han Bo Ju, Nan Xi Ren and others. The voices urged him to act, he couldn’t resist and with a loud shout, unleashed [King Qin’s Whipping Stone] (qin wang bian shi), sending the iron staff smashing downwards. Ou Yang Feng moved liked lightning, wanting to strike out his palm, but as he moved his arm half an inch he couldn’t hold on and fell down to the floor. He heard a loud noise, sparks flying everywhere, the iron staff smashing down on the bricks on the floor. Ke Zhen E missed with his first move, and raised his weapon again, and struck out in the direction of Ou Yang Feng. The other day, Ou Yang Feng just lightly pushed back and managed to force the iron staff out of his hand, and forced him to leap over, but today Ou Yang Feng’s body is weak, he can’t even use an ounce of his strength, he could only roll on the floor, trying to avoid the strikes. Ke Zhen E used the [Dropping the Demon] set of strokes, with each stance faster than the last. Ou Yang Feng was struggling to avoid the strokes, and eventually was hit by the [Concealed Medicine Poke] (Chu Fu Yao Cha) on the left shoulder. Yang Guo was listening by the side, and couldn’t hide his anguish, he wanted to help his stepfather, but with his level of martial arts, he would just be sending himself to death. Ke Zhen E managed to strike Ou Yang Feng again, this time on the body. Ou Yang Feng deserved what he was getting today, but his internal energy was deep, though he had no power to attack, he could still avoid and parry some attacks, only superficial injuries were apparent on him, his joints and his internal organs was still unharmed. Ke Zhen E was slightly surprised, and thought to himself, that old animal’s ability is certainly not simple, every time when it seems like I’m about to hit him, he manages to slip away, he manages to dissipate ninety percent of the power in my hits. If I utilise a soft type of attack, he won’t be able to dodge. He then transferred his energy into his staff, and attacked his head. Ou Yang Feng moved his head and managed to avoid the attacks for a few times but all of a sudden, he was trapped by the walking stick’s wind, and he suffered a blow on the head. He managed to keep a hold of his life. By luck he found himself within grasping range of Ke Zhen E and grabbed his chest. Ke Zhen E swallowed, his staff out of reach of the enemy. He could only retaliate with his hands. The both of them rolled down together. Ou Yang Feng didn’t dare to release his hands, and held on tighter, his left hand reached for his waist, he felt something solid and reached out to grab it, it was a knife. It was Zhang A Sheng (One of Ke Zhen E’s stepbrothers) weapon, the Slaughtering Cow Blade, however contrary to its name, it can’t actually be used to slaughter cows. The knife can chop gold and break jade; its sharpness cannot be compared. After Cheng A Sheng was killed by Chen Xuan Feng in the plains of Mongolia, Ke Zhen E has kept the knife by his side to remind himself of him, and it never left him. Ou Yang Feng went closer in to his body and snatched the knife out; he twisted his left arm, and aimed to pierce down on his enemy’s waist. As the knife was about to enter, Ke Zhen E released his staff, and punched Ou Yang Feng with his right hand a few times. Ou Yang Feng was dazed, and waved the knife in the direction of the enemy. Ke Zhen E heard the wind of the knife, and dodged away, only to hear a ‘dang’ sound, the sound didn’t die down; the knife had struck the hall’s large bell. Although this thrust by Ou Yang Feng didn’t carry much force, the knife’s blade was extremely sharp, and caused it to quiver.

    Yang Guo was standing next to the bell, the tip of the knife was heading for his cheeks. Yang Guo was frightened, his heart jumping out of his mouth, quickly scrambled himself on top of the bell. After this move, Ou Yang Feng went behind the bell. The bell’s ringing had not resided so Ke Zhen E could not hear the breathing sounds, he went to the side and tried to pick up the sounds. The moonlight shone on the hall in the monastery, his hair was a mess, leaning on the staff listening, his appearance frightening. Yang Guo had saw what had happened and reached out for the knife, and then thrust it at the bell, causing a loud ‘dang’ sound, covering their breathing sounds. Ke Zhen E heard where the sound came from and headed in that direction, Ou Yang Feng still behind the bell.
    Ke Zhen E stuck out his staff, Ou Yang Feng evaded it. The staff struck the bell and caused another loud deafening noise. Yang Guo felt his eardrums starting to hurt. Ke Zhen E understood, and didn’t aim for the bell. The ringing sound had not disappeared when another noise came from behind, getting clearer. Ou Yang Feng was concerned, although Guo Jing is hurt, if the ringing continues, Huang Rong would eventually come and help. While the sound of the bells was deafening, he would take the chance to lightly step away and escape from the back of the hall. But Ke Zhen E had very sensitive hearing, even in the loud ringing noise, he could still distinguish between light sounds, and heard the steps of Ou Yang Feng. He knocked the bell with his staff, to lure out Ou Yang Feng; when he is out in the open, he would attack his upper body with his staff.
    Although Ou Yang Feng strength is weak at the moment, he has experienced a lifetime of storms and squalls, how would he not know the tactics and tricks used in battle? When he saw Ke Zhen E’s right shoulder was raised, he knew what was going on, before the iron staff was raised, he moved back behind the bell.
    After he had suffered the serious injury, Ou Yang Feng had already found it was hard to move; though he has developed a profound level of internal energy in the last ten years, in this life-threatening situation he is unable to call upon it.

    Ke Zhen E called out, “Even if I don’t kill you, you are going to die,” and went over to the bell. Yang Guo saw the two circling around the bell, if this is kept up, his godfather will definitely weaken. He suddenly thought of something, and climbed up on top of the bell and waved his hands about, trying to signal with his hands.

    Ou Yang Feng was preoccupied with his enemy and didn’t see this, only after two more circles did he see Yang Guo, his hands pointing to the floor and telling him to move away. He didn’t understand what he meant, but if he wanted him to move away, he must have a plan so he hurried move out the way. Ke Zhen E didn’t move, he first needed to hear which direction his enemy moved in. Yang Guo took off his shoes and threw it to the back of the hall, making two thud sounds. Ke Zhen E was baffled, he had heard Ou Yang Feng was moving towards the doors so how come there was a noise at the back of the hall? When Ke Zhen E was distracted, Yang Guo grasped the ‘Slaughter Cow’ knife, and with all his strength chopped at the wooden beam holding the large bell up. The beam was thick, Yang Guo was weak, the precious blade sharp; could he chop the beam in half?

    However the metal bell was extremely heavy, and after a few chops by the blade, the beam could not support the bell any longer. A creaking sound followed and the beam snapped, the large bell generated a wind as it fell, heading straight down on the Ke Zhen E’s head.

    Ke Zhen E had already heard the wind generated above him, thinking it was strange. The large bell fell down, he couldn’t escape but the bell landed straight down on the iron staff, the staff held up the bell. As the bell was hindered he took this chance and slipped out of the way. He then heard a snapping noise, and the metal staff snapped in half. The bell tipped over and rolled along the ground, hitting Ke Zhen E in the shoulder, and flinging him out of the hall. His rolled around a few times and eventually landed on his nose, causing a nosebleed, his forehead also had a cut. Ke Zhen E was blind and couldn’t see anything, and didn’t know what caused this. He was scared that there was some strange being in the hall, and got up and escaped.

    Ou Yang Feng was by the side watching this, his heart able to relax and said, “What a pity, what a pity. Good son, very clever!”

    Yang Guo climbed down pleased with himself and said, “That old man won’t dare to come back.”

    Ou Yang Feng shook his head saying, “He has a profound hatred for me, after a while, he will come back.

    Yang Guo said, “We must go quickly.”

    Ou Yang Feng shook his head again and said, “My injury is very serious, I won’t be able to get far.” He had escaped temporarily, but now he felt his bones were coming loose, he couldn’t even move one step.

    “What should we do?”

    Ou Yang Feng thought for a while and said, “There is a way. Break another bell’s beam, and put me underneath it.”

    “How would you get out?” asked Yang Guo.

    “I’ll be meditating under the bell for seven days. After my strength has returned, I will be able to escape. If the old man returns within these seven days, he doesn’t have the ability to lift the bell up. If Huang Rong doesn’t come, I doubt if there is anyone that can break through. If Huang Rong does come, then the plan may fail.”

    Yang Guo thought carefully, and knew apart from this plan, nothing else will work.
    So he asked carefully again will he be able to escape from the bell without anyone’s help and then said, “You won’t have anything to eat within these seven days, right?”

    Ou Yang Feng said, “Go and find a basin, and fill it with clean water and place it beside me. There are still a few buns left. This will last for seven days if I slowly eat them.”

    Yang Guo went to the kitchen and found a large basin, and then filled it with clean water. He then placed it underneath another hung up bell, and supported his stepfather directly underneath it, and sat him down.

    Ou Yang Feng said, “Son, follow the one called Guo. I will come and find you later on.”

    Yang Guo agreed and climbed up to the bell, and broke the beam, sending the bell down, covering Ou Yang Feng.

    Yang Guo shouted out ‘Father’. When he didn’t hear a reply, he knew that he couldn’t hear from within. As he was about to leave, he couldn’t let go and went back to find another basin and filled it with water and placed it next to the bell.

    He then flipped over and placed his left hand in the bowl, and followed the method to reverse blood flow taught by Ou Yang Feng to force some poison out.

    As he had just begun practising this skill, he could only force out ten or so drops of blood before his head was full of sweat. Afterwards he ripped off some of the cloth from the statues, and then wrapped it around a rod, dipped it into the blood and water mixture, and covered the bell with it. He thought that if Ke Zhen E does return and tries to move the bell, he would definitely be poisoned for sure.

    Another thing that came to his attention was that his stepfather would definitely suffocate to death under the bell in seven days, so he would use the knife to dig out a brick tile next to the bell, and dig out a hole the size of a fist to allow the circulation of air. As he was digging the hole, the blade struck at another slab of stone underneath the tile and snapped. The blade was sharp, but it was very thin, and as he was digging the precious blade snapped. He didn’t know the blade was precious, it wasn’t his and he didn’t feel it was a pity and threw the knife away. He knelt down on the ground and spoke through the opening, “Father, I’m going now. Come and collect me soon. Be careful when you come out, there is poison on the bell.” Yang Guo bent his ear to the opening and hear Ou Yang Feng replied weakly, “Good son, I’m not scared of poison, the poison should be scared of me. You be careful. I will definitely come back for you.”

    Yang Guo sat there for a while not willing to leave yet, but then started to hurry back, worried that Ke Zhen E will notice that he has gone. When he got back to the room, he saw that Ke Zhen E had not returned to the room, neither was he outside.

    When morning came, he heard someone using a branch knocking on his door. He leapt out of his bed and opened the door. He saw it was Ke Zhen E supporting himself on a wooden branch, his face grey and pale; he leant over into the room and fell onto the floor. Yang Guo noticed that his hands were black, he indeed did return to find Ou Yang Feng. He was pleased that he had fell into the trap that was left for him and pretended to be concerned, and shouted, “Grandpa Ke, what’s the matter?”

    Huang Rong and Guo Jing heard the shout, and hurried to see what was the matter; when they saw it Ke Zhen E on the floor they gasped. Guo Jing was still injured and struggled to walk, and so it was Huang Rong who supported Ke Zhen E on the bed. She asked, “Senior master, what did you do?”

    Ke Zhen E shook his head, and didn’t reply. Huang Rong saw his hands were black and said angrily, “It was that Li ***** again. Brother Jing, I’ll go and battle her.” She tied her belt and walked out.

    “It wasn’t her,” said Ke Zhen E.

    Huang Rong returned and asked, “Who was it then?”

    Ke Zhen E couldn’t defeat a man who hasn’t even got the strength to kill a chicken, and it was him in return who was injured, it reflected badly on him. Ke Zhen E was a stiff, it was what was called, ‘tired of the ginger being old and not spicy’, and didn’t say a word about his wound.

    The two knew his behaviour, if he wants to say, he will say it. The more they ask the angrier he’ll get. It was lucky that the poison only got on his skin; the potency wasn’t that strong. He’ll feel a bit light headed, but after taking a ‘Nine Flower Reveal jade’ pill, he’ll be alright.

    Huang Rong already planned what they should do; at the moment Guo Jing and Ke Zhen E are hurt, Li Mo Chou’s poison is trouble, the children and two wounded must be sent to Peach Blossom Island. Later on she will find Li Mo Chou and settle this score. They spent the morning resting in the inn, in the afternoon they got on a boat and headed east.

    Yang Guo was happy with the fact that Huang Rong did not attempt to find Ou Yang Feng and thought, “Father was scared that auntie Guo will come and search for him, auntie Guo is such a beautiful lady, could it be that she is more powerful than Ke Zhen E?”

    The boat had travelled for half a day, the sky now getting dark. The boat anchored by the shore, the owners of the boat preparing the rice for supper. Guo Fu saw that Yang Guo had ignored her when she wanted to talk and argue with him. She sat by the window, and looked out. Under the shade of willow trees were two boys sobbing, it looked like the two Wu brothers. Guo Fu shouted out, “Hey, what are you doing there?”

    Wu Xiu Men replied, “We are crying, can’t you see?”

    Guo Fu said, “What’s the matter, did your mother beat you?”

    Wu Xiu Men said, “My mum’s dead!”

    Huang Rong gasped when she heard this and leapt onto the shore. She saw the boys sobbing over their mother. Madam Wu’s face was completely black, she had died a long time ago. Huang Rong asked for news of Wu San Tong and Wu Dun Ru replied, “We don’t know where he went.”

    Wu Xiu Men said, “Mother had sucked the poison out of father, a lot of black blood came out. Father got better, while mother died. When father saw that mother had died, he went mad again. We called after him, but he ignored us and went away.” They cried as they said this.

    Huang Rong thought, “Madam Wu sacrificed herself for her husband, she is an great woman.” She asked, “Are you hungry?” The boys nodded their head.

    Huang Rong sighed and ordered the boat keeper to take the boys on board and feed them. When they reached a town, she bought a wooden coffin for Madam Wu, and prepared her body for it. She bought a piece of land and buried her at dawn. The brothers sobbed in front of the grave.

    Guo Jing said, “Rong Er, the two boys have lost their parents, why don’t we take them back to Peach Blossom Island and we’ll care for them.” Huang Rong agreed, and took the boys under her wing. They travelled on the boat until they reached the sea, and then hired a large boat and headed east, towards Peach Blossom Island.

    End of Chapter 2
    Last edited by Mojo Jojo; 03-25-05 at 12:51 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 3

    Seeking Tutelage in Mount Zhong Nan

    Guo Jing meditated on the boat, and after a few days, his energy has recovered by more than half. Huang Rong and Guo Jing raised the topic of Ou Yang Feng, saying they haven’t seen him in ten years. Not only does it seem he hasn’t aged much but his kung fu has improved, that palm he struck in Guo Jing’s chest was lethal, it will take at least ten days to half a month to fully recover. The two moved on to Hung Qi Gong, they didn’t know where he was and missed him very much. Huang Rong lived on the Peach Blossom Island, but she held the position of the Beggar Clan’s leader so all the clan’s affairs had to be cleared through her. One of the reasons she returned to Jiang Nan was to meet with elder Zhu and discuss what was happening with the clan, and to search for news of Hung Qi Gong. But Guo Jing had suffered an injury, so they had to return to the island first. Then they talked about Yang Guo, and Huang Rong called him into the boat and told him to explain everything. Yang Guo told them that his mother had died due to illness, and after how he had wandered around in Jia Xing. The Guo couple reminisced about their friendship with Mu Nian Ci and couldn’t help but be depressed. After Yang Guo had returned to the deck, Guo Jing said, “I’ve always had one wish, you know this. Today, heaven has given me this chance to see Guo Er, my wish can be completed.”

    Years ago, Guo Jing’s father Guo Xiao Tian and Yang Guo’s grandfather Yang Tie Xin became brothers, and both their wives were pregnant. The two agreed that if their wives gave births to boys, they will became brothers; if they were girls they would be sisters; if it was one girl and one boy then they would be arranged to be married. Eventually they had two boys, Guo Jing and Yang Guo’s father Yang Kang became brothers. However Yang Kang recognised the enemy as his father, his deeds unchivalrous and eventually he died tragically near Jia Xing’s Iron Spear temple. Guo Jing still felt responsible for this. When he mentioned this, Huang Rong understood his intentions and said, “I won’t agree.”

    Guo Jing asked in a slight surprise, “Agree what?”

    Huang Rong said, “Fu Er won’t be married to that boy”

    Guo Jing said, “His father didn’t do any good, but our families friendship is a long one, Yang Guo has a handsome face, he’s extremely clever, under our teachings he will achieve great things in the future.”

    Huang Rong said, “I’m scared that he is too clever for his own good.”

    Guo Jing replied, “Weren’t you clever? What is wrong with that?”

    Huang Rong laughed and said, “I eventually fell for a dumb boy.”

    Guo Jing chuckled and said, “When Fu Er grows up, she may not find a dumb boy to love. Anyway, another boy as dumb as me, I doubt there’ll be another one.”

    Huang Rong put on a shy face and said, “Are they rare?” The two joked around for a few words before Guo Jing turned serious and said, “My father only had one wish, Uncle Yang Tie Xin also relied on me before he died. I didn’t do my best with brother Yang and sister Mu. If I don’t treat Guo Er as my own, how can I face father and uncle Yang?” He sighed, and looked disappointed.

    Huang Rong gently said, “The two of them are young, there is no need to rush. If in the future Guo Er doesn’t develop any bad points, then you can do what you like.”

    Guo Jing got up and clapped his hands, his spirits raised and said, “Thank you for permitting, I can’t say how thankful I am.”

    Huang Rong replied, “I didn’t agree anything. All I said was watch what becomes of Guo Er in the future.”

    Guo Jing stood up to the ground, his waist straightened. He knew what Huang Rong had meant and said, “Brother Yang Kang was raised in the palace of the Jin’s, and learnt his ways from them. Guo Er will be on our island, he won’t turn bad, it was I who named him those years ago. His name is Yang Guo, the meaning within change, if he does do wrong he will be able to change and right it. You can relax.”

    Huang Rong laughed and said, “How can a name decide things? You are called Guo Jing, are you peaceful and quiet? Ever since you were young, you would jump around like a big monkey.”

    Guo Jing thought about what she said, and wasn’t able to respond. Huang Rong smiled, and changed the subject, and didn’t mention this affair again.

    The boat was quiet and they reached the island. Guo Fu was ecstatic that she had gained two little friends who were about the same age as her. Yang Guo had taken Huang Rong’s antidote, and now his poison had dissipated completely. He and Guo Fu had their arguments when they first met, but they were still kids.
    After a few days they had forgotten about it. However in a few days, the four would argue again in game of catching crickets.

    One day, Yang Guo came out of the house, looking for crickets again. He was relaxing, enjoying the scenery and whistling to himself when he suddenly heard laughing and joking behind the hills. He rushed to have a look, and saw Guo Fu and the Wu brothers lifting rocks and pushing aside grass; they were looking for crickets. Wu Dun Ru was holding a bamboo tube, Guo Fu was holding a basin. Wu Xiu Men moved a rock and gave a laugh, a large cricket jumped out. Wu Xiu Men jumped on it, and held it with his two hands and laughed joyfully.

    Guo Fu said, “Give it to me, gimme.”

    Wu Xiu Men picked the cricket up and said, “Fine, I’ll give it to you.” He opened the lid of the basin and put the cricket in. The cricket’s head and legs looked healthy, it had a thick waist and abdomen, and it looked like a spirited cricket.

    Wu Xiu Men said, “This cricket is going to be an invincible general, brother Yang, all the crickets that you have caught won’t be a match.”

    Yang Guo was unconvinced and took out a few bamboo tubes containing crickets.

    He picked out his liveliest one to fight. After a few rounds, the large cricket bit the waist of Yang Guo’s cricket, causing it to slip out of the basin, fluttering its wings, looking weird.

    Guo Fu laughed, “I won!”

    Yang Guo said, “Wait, I’ve got more.” He took out three but they lost too, the third one bitten in half by the large cricket.

    Yang Guo faced turned and said, “I’m not playing,” and turned around and walked away. Suddenly he heard three ‘ji’ noises behind him in the grass, it was the call of a cricket, but it sounded different than normal.

    Wu Dun Ru said, “Another one.” He parted the grass and suddenly jumped back, gasping, “Snake…snake!”

    Yang Guo turned around and saw a stripy poisoned snake, raising its tongue out of the grass. Yang Guo picked up a stone, and aimed the stone at the snake. It struck it on the head, the snake twisted and turned a few times and died. He saw beside the dead snake was a black cricket, its appearance strange, spreading out its wings calling out.

    Guo Fu laughed and said, “Brother Yang, catch the black one.”

    Yang Guo heard that there was a ridiculing tone behind her words, Yang Guo’s proud character rose and said, “Fine.” He then went and caught it.

    Guo Fu chuckled and said, “That thing, what do you want it for? You want to battle with my invincible general?”

    Yang Gou said, “If you want to battle fine, this little one won’t let others bully it.”
    He placed the black cricket into Guo Fu’s basin.

    What was strange was that when the large cricket saw the small black one, it looked startled and seemed to shrink away from it. Guo Fu and the Wu brothers shouted and called out to encourage it. The little black cricket raised its head and jumped in front of the big one, the big cricket not daring to face it in battle, wanting to jump out of the basin. The black cricket jumped up and high, and in midair bit the end of the large cricket, and both of them fell out of the air, the large cricket shook a few times, and then turned on its abdomen and died.
    Amongst crickets, there are types, which likes to live with poison worms, with poison centipedes; this type is called the ‘Centipede Cricket’ and those which live with poison snakes and are called ‘Snake Crickets’. Because of the poison on it, the normal types of cricket aren’t their matches. Yang Guo’s cricket was a ‘Snake Cricket’.

    Guo Fu was very displeased with the fact that her invincible general had died, and after thinking for a while said to Yang Guo, “Brother Yang, give the black one to me.”

    Yang Guo replied, “Giving it to you originally wasn’t a problem, but why did you scold the little black one.”

    Guo Fu replied, “If you don’t give it to me fine, who wants it?” She picked up her basin and turned it over, the little black cricket fell onto the floor, she squashed it with her right foot, killing the cricket.

    Yang Guo gasped, his blood began to boil, his face red, he couldn’t control himself and hit her hard by the side of the ear.

    Guo Fu didn’t know whether to stay quiet or cry. Wu Xiu Men shouted at him, “The little boy hits people!” and threw a fist towards Yang Guo’s chest. His family’s skills are deep, ever since he was little his parents have taught him martial arts, his martial arts roots are good, the fist that was coming towards chest was not light. Yang Guo flared up, and threw a fist back but Wu Xiu Men dodged it. Yang Guo leapt up to attack, Wu Dun Ru stuck out his leg to hooks Yang Guo’s leg, Yang Guo fell on the floor. Wu Xiu Men turned around and jumped on Yang Guo’s body. Held down by the two brothers, four fists rained down fiercely on him.

    Though Yang Guo was two years older than him, but it is difficult for two fists to defend against four, the Wu brothers have been taught some higher martial arts, Yang Guo has only learnt very basic martial arts from Mu Nian Ci, he wasn’t their match. He bit on his teeth and didn’t make a sound.

    Wu Dun Ru said, “If you apologize and beg we’ll let you go.”

    Yang Guo shouted, “Bull!”

    Wu Xiu Men threw out another two fists. Guo Fu was watching by the side, pleased that the Wu brothers was helping her to get revenge.

    The Wu brothers knew that if they attacked the head, it would leave wounds, if Guo Jing and Huang Rong found out, they would be blamed so they treated Yang Guo’s body with fists and kicks. Guo Fu saw the beatings were severe and was a little bit scared but when she felt the red mark left by Yang Guo on her, she felt pleased and shouted out, “Hit him harder, harder!” The Wu brothers listened, and hit harder.

    Yang Guo was on the ground, and when he heard Guo Fu’s instructions he thought, “Guo Fu you evil little *****, I’m going to get you for this.”

    But he felt extreme pain all over his back and it looked as if he endure anymore.

    The Wu brothers have practiced martial arts since they were young, their punch and kicks were strong, a normal adult wouldn’t withstand it, if Yang Guo never practiced a bit of internal energy, he would have long fainted. He bit his teeth harder and waved his hands wildly, when he suddenly felt a cold and slippery object, it was the dead poisonous snake. He picked it up and threw it back at the Wu brothers.

    When the Wu brothers saw the stripy poisonous snake, they gasped. Yang Guo turned his body around, and threw a fierce fist, hitting Wu Dun Ru in the noise causing a nosebleed. Yang Guo scampered up and quickly ran away. The Wu brothers were indignant, and chased after him. Guo Fu shouted out, “Catch him, catch him!” and followed.

    Yang Guo ran on for a while and then turned around to see Wu Dun Ru’s face full of blood, the expression on his face was furious, and knew if he was caught by the two brothers he would suffer an even more severe beating than before so he ran and hurried to the foot of ‘Practising Sword Peak’, and climbed up.

    Though Wu Dun Ru’s face was full of blood, the wound didn’t really hurt, it was just that seeing his face full of blood that made him angry, and he hurried after Yang Guo. Yang Guo climbed up the peak with the Wu brothers close behind unrelenting. Guo Fu was at the foot of the peak, hearing the steps she looked up and was pleased to see what was happening. Yang Guo hurried for a while, only to see a cliff, with nowhere else to go. Years ago, whenever Huang Yao Shi invented a new stance, he would jump across the chasm and then go the peak top and practice it. Could Yang Guo jump across? He thought, “I’d rather jump and die, then get caught by them two and get beaten up again.”

    He turned around and shouted, “If you come one step closer I’ll jump down!” Wu Dun Ru stopped, while Wu Xiu Men shouted back, “Jump if you want, who cares about you? You don’t have the guts anyway!” as he said this he crept closer.

    Yang Guo’s blood rose again, and was about to jump when he saw a large rock in the corner of his eye, the large rock on resting on several small stones, not at all steady. In a rush of blood and not thinking about the consequences, he stretched out his hand to move the smaller stones, the large stone did indeed began to move. He moved behind the large stone, and pushed with all his strength, the stone bounced twice and after a crashing sound, the stone began to roll down the hill.

    The Wu brothers were shocked when they saw him push the stone, the colour of their faces change, and hurriedly moved out of the way. The large stone carried numerous pieces of dirt and sand, and after moving past the Wu brothers, turned over many flowers and plants before heading into the sea. Wu Dun Ru panicked, and his foot slipped, and started to roll down. Wu Xiu Men caught him a rush. The two of them couldn’t stand up on the slope and the both of them rolled down for about sixty, seventy feet, luckily a tree managed to block their path.

    Huang Rong was in the house when she heard a sound far away, and followed the sound quickly to ‘Practising Sword Peak’, only to see a field of dirt and sand, her daughter hidden in the grass, so frightened that she couldn’t cry, the Wu brothers’ head and face full of blood. Huang Rong picked up her daughter and asked, “What happened?” Guo Fu buried herself into her mother and cried. After she finished crying she explained that Yang Guo had hit her for no reason, and when the Wu brothers helped her, Yang Guo wanted to roll a stone on them to kill them. She pushed all the blame onto Yang Guo, she didn’t say anything about her squashing his cricket, or the Wu brothers beating Yang Guo. Huang Rong listened, and saw the red mark left on Guo Fu’s face, the slap must have been strong, and sympathised with her and comforted her.

    Guo Jing also hurried to the scene, and saw the Wu brothers hurt and asked what happened. He was angry but also concerned about Yang Guo, and hurried up to the peak, he searched around but couldn’t see a trace of him. He raised his voice and called out, “Guo Er, Guo Er.” The high voice resonated out for miles, but he did not see Yang Guo come out, nor did he hear a reply. Guo Jing waited a while becoming increasingly concerned and eventually descended down from the peak. He rowed around the island in a boat, searching for him until it was dark but still he couldn’t see a trace of Yang Guo.

    When Yang Guo pushed the stone and saw the Wu brothers roll down the peak, he had saw Huang Rong coming from faraway, and knew he would face a heavy punishment so hid himself among the rocks in the cliff. He heard Guo Jing’s call but did not reply. Yang Guo was hungry but he did not move from his hiding place among the rocks, he saw it was approaching dusk, the sea beginning to darken, there was no sound of people anywhere nearby. After a while, the sky was lit up with stars, the cool wind blowing, he felt cold and came out of his hiding place and gazed down the mountain and saw clearly a light coming from out of the window, and imagined the Guo couple, Ke Zhen E, Guo Fu and the Wu brothers, the six of them eating a meal around the table; chicken, duck, fish and meat filling the table, and couldn’t stop by drool. But he thought of how they were talking about his punishment behind his back, and couldn’t help but be furious. He stood there at the foot of the mountain, in the sea breeze he thought about how he has been bullied all his life, everyone looking at him coldly; he was filled with a feeling of indignity.

    In reality, when Guo Jing could not find Yang Guo, how could he eat? When Huang Rong saw that her husband was troubled, she knew he wouldn’t listen to her so she did the same as him, and accompanied him in tormenting himself. Before the day was bright the two went out searching again.

    Yang Guo had endured hunger for a day and a half now, and in the second morning he gave in and descended the peak, and went to a stream and caught some frogs, peeled off their skin and picked up some dry leaves, wanting to roast it on a fire. He was by the streamside and wanted to immediately cook the frogs to cure his hunger but thought that Guo Jing and Huang Rong might see the smoke, so he went into a cave and prepared the fire. As soon as the frog’s leg was golden, he ate straight away, eating it one big bite. He suddenly heard Guo Jing’s voice calling out, “Guo Er, Guo Er!” He thought, “You want me to come out so you can beat me, I’m not going to come out.”

    That night he slept in the cave and after he had slept for a while, he suddenly saw Ou Yang Feng came into the cave who said, “Son, I’ve come to teach you kung fu in order to avoid you getting beat up by the two little Wu’s.” Yang Guo was happily surprised and followed him out of the cave, only to see him crouch on the floor, and gave out a few ‘gu’ sounds before pushing out two palms. Yang Guo tried to follow, but his palms and kicks wasn’t the same. Ou Yang Feng curled is hand into a fist and threw it out, Yang Guo couldn’t avoid it and it landed on top of his head, the pain was severe and he got up.

    After being hit on the head, he woke up; it was all just a dream. He felt his head, and came across a pimple, it ached severely and sighed repeatedly, thinking, “It looks like father has recovered and has escaped from the bell. When is he going to come and collect me, and teach me kung fu so I can avoid being bullied by others.”

    He went out of the cave, and looked up at the sky, and saw many stars hanging within the branches of the trees, and remembered that Ou Yang Feng has taught him kung fu, he had forgotten about this, he crouched down, gave out a few ‘gu’ calls, and wanted to use the formula of the toad stance that Ou Yang Feng had taught him in Jia Xing to use in his fists and legs, but whatever he did, he couldn’t use it. He searched his mind, and threw out two palms, like he did in his dream, but that was a completely different thing.

    He was alone at the foot of the peak, and stared out at the sea, the lonely feeling in his heart was stronger than ever, and suddenly he heard a gentle voice from the sea calling, “Guo Er, Guo Er.” He immediately replied, “I’m here. I’m here.” He ran down onto the beach where Guo Jing could see him from faraway, and in high spirits rowed quickly to the shore, and jumped onto the beach. The stars shone on the two as they rushed to each other. He picked up Yang Guo into his chest and just said, “Come back and have supper.” He was emotional, his voice almost cracking.

    When they reached the house, Huang Rong had prepared supper for them. They never mentioned what had happened again.

    At dawn the next day, he called Yang Guo, the Wu brothers and Guo Fu out the hall, and invited Ke Zhen E out to the hall as well. He instructed the four disciples to kowtow to the six Jiang Nan freaks headstone, and then said to Ke Zhen E, “Senior master, I request your permission to take in four grand apprentices.”

    Ke Zhen E was delighted and said, “That will be for the best, I congratulate you.”

    Guo Jing then instructed Yang Guo, the Wu brothers to first kowtow to Ke Zhen E and then undergo the ritual to a new master towards the Guo couple.

    Guo Fu smiled and asked, “Mother, I need to this as well?”

    Huang Rong replied, “Of course.”

    Guo Fu gleefully kowtowed to the three.

    Guo Jing said seriously, “From today onwards, you four are apprentice brothers.”

    Guo Fu interrupted, “Wrong, its apprentice brother and sister.”

    Guo Jing gave his daughter a look and said, “When father has not finished speaking, don’t open your mouth.” He waited and then said, “From now on you four must treat each other with love and respect, share in good fortune and suffer in misery together. If there are any disturbances or conflicts, I won’t look lightly upon it.” He looked at Yang Guo when he said this. Yang Guo thought, “As long as you treat your daughter the same, then I won’t push her around.”

    Ke Zhen E took over, and passed on the rules and regulations of their school, it was the usual don’t bully the weak, don’t harm the innocents. The Seven Freaks had numerous rules but Ke Zhen E couldn’t remember all of them so just said the main ones.

    Guo Jing said, “I have learnt a variety of skills, apart from the skills of the Jiang Nan Seven Heroes (N.B. this is what GJ called them.), Quan Zhun Sect’s internal energy, the Peach Blossom Island and Beggar Clan’s skills, I have all learnt a bit. You mustn’t forget your roots so today I will teach you Grandmaster’s skills first."

    As he was about to pass on the formula, Huang Rong saw that Yang Guo’s head was down and his body was sticking out, his face had an indescribable aura, like Yang Kang’s, her heart was troubled, and thought, “Although his father didn’t die directly under my hands, it could be said that I caused his death, if I don’t watch over him, he will become trouble in the future.” She smiled as she thought of a plan, “Teaching four of them will be hard work, I’ll teach Guo Er.” Before Guo Jing could agree, Ke Zhen E clapped his hand and said, “What an excellent idea! Your intelligence are comparable, you can definitely make something out of this disciple.” Guo Jing was pleased in his heart, he knew his wife was infinitely cleverer than him, her methods must exceed his. He didn’t open his mouth to object.

    Guo Fu was scared of her father’s strictness and said, “Mother, I want you to teach me.”

    Huang Rong smiled, “You want me because you can cause trouble, you won’t be able to learn any kung fu, it will be better if your father teaches you.” Guo Fu sneaked a glance at her father, and saw him staring at her; she turned around and didn’t dare speak out.

    Huang Rong spoke to her husband and said, “We will set a rule, you mustn’t teach Guo Er, and I won’t teach your three. The four of them can’t pass on to skills with each other, just in case if they practise incorrectly, there is no need to get hurt for no reason.”

    Guo Jing replied, “Of course.”

    Huang Rong said, “Guo Er, follow me.”

    Yang Guo loathed Guo Fu and the Wu brothers, when he heard what Huang Rong had said, about not mixing with the other students, it was what he wanted, and followed her into the inner hall. Huang Rong led him to the study, and picked up a book saying, “You teacher had seven teachers, their name were the Jiang Nan Seven Freaks, first master is grandpa Ke, second master was the Swift Hand Scholar Zhu Cong, now I will teach his skills to you.”

    As she said this she opened the book and read clearly, “Zi Yue: When practicing what you are taught, can you change? If you’ve got friends all over, is it extreme?” (N.B. Sorry about this translation, its supposedly from ‘The Analects of Confucius’, my Chinese is not at the level where I can decipher old sayings and writings. Apologies J) the book that she picked was ‘The Analects of Confucius’.

    Yang Guo thought this was strange but didn’t dare to question her, and just repeated what she read and wrote down what she said. Throughout the day, all Huang Rong taught him was reading and writing, and refused to mention teaching kung fu.

    One day after Yang Guo finished studying, Yang Guo went to the back of the mountains to take a walk, and remembered Ou Yang Feng and didn’t know where he was, he thought of fond memories, and at that moment flipped his body upside down, and copied the movements of Ou Yang Feng. After a while, following the formula for contrary blood flow, he felt the more he stayed upside down, the smoother it felt; he flipped upright and after a loud ‘gu’ call, pushed out his two palms, he felt his body was smooth and relaxed, the gracefulness incomparable, his body full of sweat. He didn’t know that after a session of practising, his internal energy had increased a level. Ou Yang Feng’s kung fu were all dangerous, the most lethal types of the higher set of skills, Yang Guo’s intelligence and comprehension was high, although he has learnt very little in the past few days, now he has begun to practise, his internal energy improved.

    From now on, he would study and recite books and manuscripts with Huang Rong everyday, and whenever he has spare time in the evenings he would go to the secluded mountainside and practise his martial arts. He didn’t intend to practise in order to learn the frightening skill; it is because every time he practised, his body will be filled with a relaxed feeling, after he has achieved this then he would stop.

    He secretly practised, Guo Jing and Huang Rong didn’t know. Huang Rong taught him literature, and within three months she had taught him the whole of ‘The Analects of Confucius’. Yang Guo’s was able to memorize the texts quickly, and objected to the texts and manuscripts but didn’t raise the problem.

    In reality, Huang Rong was not happy just teaching him how to read and study, but thought, “His intelligence is not below mine, if his character is like his father and he learnt kung fu he would definitely cause a lot of trouble in the future, why not teach him to study, and shape him into a worthy and honest person. That has its good points.” That’s why she picked ‘The Analects of Confucius’, now she will follow it with ‘Meng Zi’.

    A few months past, Huang Rong had still not passed on any martial arts, nor had Yang Guo asked about it. Ever since the fight with the others, he has not tried to mingle with them, and kept himself to himself, becoming more of a loner. He thought although Guo Jing had taken him in as a student, he didn’t have the intention of passing any skills to him. He already wasn’t a match for the Wu brothers, if he had a fight with them after a year or so under Guo Jing’s teachings, it would be difficult for him not to die under their hands. He made a decision, when there would be a chance to leave the island, he would take it.

    One afternoon when Yang Guo was supposed to study a few passages of ‘Meng Zi’, he slipped out of the library and went out for a walk by the beach. He looked out at the sea, the white waves and foam, and thought when will he be able to leave this place, and happily leave them where they were. As he was gazing, he suddenly heard some wind sounds from the Peach Blossom forest. Curious he went over to have a look, and eventually found his way, and from a distance could see it was Guo Jing in the forest teaching the Wu brothers some fists and kicks. He was teaching them a stance of the [Trapping Hand], [Holding the Bridge, Changing the Pillar] (tuo liang huan zhu). Guo Jing gave them pointers, and then demonstrated it, instructing the Wu brothers to copy. Yang Guo just took a glance, and recognised the essence of the stance immediately, but the Wu brothers practised and practised but couldn’t get it. Guo Jing himself wasn’t the best at picking things up immediately, and knew how hard things could be so did not lose his temper with them, and repeated this move again.

    Yang Guo sighed and thought, “If uncle Guo was willing to teach me, I won’t be as stupid as them.” Feeling unhappy, he returned to his room and slept. After supper he read a few more books, but thought this was a waste of his time and so he went to the beach again. He practised the punch and kicks that Guo Jing taught, and went over it a few times before he started to feel troubled and thought, “If I secretly practise their skills to a much better standard than the Wu brothers, I won’t have to be scared of them.” This idea initially was good but as he thought about it he changed his mind. “Uncle Guo doesn’t want to teach me so why should I learn it in secret? Hmm.. even if he decides to teach me, I won’t learn it. I may get beaten to death but who cares?” As he thought about this, he felt pride but also sadness. He lent on the cliff face, the soothing sound of the waves of the sea eventually sending him to sleep.

    In the morning, Yang Guo did not go for breakfast, nor did he go to the library to study, he was by the sea and managed to fish several large clams which he roasted on a fire and ate. He thought, “Even if I don’t eat Guo food, I won’t starve to death.” He saw a large boat and a small boat by the shore. “I won’t be able to operate that large boat, and I can’t row far in that small boat, how can I escape from this island?”

    He thought about this for half a day, having nothing to do, he went besides a large cliff face and flipped his body, and practiced the internal energy that Ou Yang Feng taught.

    At the point where his blood was beginning to flow quickly, where his body felt lucid and smooth, he suddenly heard a shout from behind, he was caught unawares and fell down, his legs and arms numb, he couldn’t crawl back up, it was Guo Fu and the Wu brothers arriving at the scene. Behind the cliff face was an extremely quiet and peaceful area, with no one around, but because the paths of the island was designed to follow the five changes, Guo Fu and the brothers didn’t dare to run about blindly. They were looking for a place to play and followed a path, eventually wounding up here to where Yang Guo was practising.

    It was fortunate that Yang Guo’s internal strength was shallow; otherwise the interruption by the three would have scrambled his veins and meridians, causing him to suffer paralysis.

    Guo Fu clapped her hand and said, “What are you doing here?”

    Yang Guo supported himself on the cliff face and slowly pulled himself up, gave Guo Fu a stare and turned around and walked away.

    Wu Xiu Men called out, “Hey, apprentice sister asked a question, are you pretending to not care or are you ignoring us?”

    Yang Guo coldly said, “How can you take charge in this matter?”

    Wu Xiu Men was offended and said, “We only care about having a good time, not greeting mad dogs.”

    Yang Guo replied, “You are right, mad dogs will bite when they see people, three mad dogs have just come, barking and howling madly.”

    Wu Dun Ru angrily said, “You said three mad dogs? You abuse people?”

    Yang Guo laughed and replied, “No, I only scold dogs, not people.”

    Wu Dun Ru could not take anymore and curled a fist and threw it out at Yang Guo, who managed to avoid it. Wu Xiu Men remembered what their teacher had said, about not fighting amongst each other, if news of this ever got to teacher, they would be punished so he grabbed hold of his brother’s arm and laughed coldly at Yang Guo saying, “Big brother Yang, you’ve been under the care of master wife learning martial arts, us three from master. A few months have passed but we don’t know who has advanced the most. How about sparring with each other, comparing skills, do you dare to?”

    Yang Guo was aggravated and originally wanted to say, “I don’t have your luck. Master wife has not taught me any kind of martial arts.” But when he heard the four words ‘do you dare to’, he extinguished his angry feelings and prevented himself from saying what he intended to. He gave out a grunt and stared coldly at him.

    Wu Xiu Men said, “We are here to test each others skill, no matter who wins and who loses, no one is allowed to tell master or master wife, even if your head is cracked open, you must say you fell over. If the loser complains about the winner, then they are from dogs, a bastard; big brother Yang, do you dare to?”

    As he said the words ‘do you dare to’ his eyes went black, as Yang Guo threw a heavy fist into Wu Xiu Men’s left eye. Wu Xiu Men jumped back to prevent himself falling over.

    Wu Dun Ru said, “You don’t care about face do you with a punch like that.” He then used the punches and kicks that Guo Jing taught him, and attacked Yang Guo in the abdomen. Yang Guo could not avoid this punch and got hit, he saw that Wu Dun Ru threw out a kick at him, and then he suddenly thought of something, he remembered the moves that Guo Jing taught to the Wu brothers yesterday. He bent his right leg, and with his left hand pushed the incoming right leg, it was the ‘Secret Hero in the Noisy City’ Quan Jin Fa’s [Trapping Hand], the stance of [Holding the Bridge, Changing the Pillar] (tuo liang huan zhu), though it wasn’t a very special move, it is useful when facing an enemy. Yesterday when Guo Jing repeated the move, the Wu brothers learnt it, but when it was put in use for real, it couldn’t compare with the Yang Guo’s, who only had a glance at it and just went over it once. Wu Dun Ru fell over after this move by Yang Guo.

    Wu Xiu Men was already aggravated with the punch he received in his eye, but when he saw his brother fell his picked himself up and threw out a left punch, Yang Guo dodged to the left, but he only knew very little of the stances of the punches, so he couldn’t compete as a right fist of Wu Xiu Men hit him squarely on the right side. Wu Dun Ru picked himself up and the brothers attacked from both sides. The brothers’ martial arts foundation was already stronger than Yang Guo’s, and he wasn’t a match. Added to the fact that the Wu brothers have been training under Guo Jing for a few months, how would he be able to stand up against them? After a while, seven, eight punches had landed on Yang Guo’s head, back and waist. Yang Guo flared up and thought, “Even if I get beaten to death by you, I won’t try to escape.” He wildly threw some punches out; they weren’t at all from any set of orthodox skills.

    Wu Xiu Men saw the state that Yang Guo was in and was slightly afraid, they had already taught him a lesson and didn’t want to carry on. He said, “You’ve already lost, we’ll let you go, there’s no need to fight.”

    Yang Guo shouted, “Who wants you to ease off?” and dashed at him, attacking fiercely. Wu Xiu Men stretched out his left hand and with his right hand grabbed hold of his chest, trying to pull him forward in a rush. At this time, Wu Dun Ru threw two punches at Yang Guo’s back. Yang Guo couldn’t stand steadily, and fell forwards. Wu Dun Ru held his head with two hands and said, “You ready to give up?”

    “Who wants to give up to you mad dogs?”

    Wu Dun Ru was offended and pushed Yang Guo’s face in the sand and said, “If you don’t give up then suffocate to death.”

    Yang Guo’s eyes, nose, and face were full of sand and dirt, he couldn’t breathe, after a while, his body felt like cracking. Wu Dun Ru was holding his head with two hands, Wu Xiu Men was on his back, Yang Guo could not escape and as he was finding it difficult to breathe, the internal energy of the ‘Toad Stance’ that he has been practising over the last few days suddenly became fluent, a warm chi was flowing through his ‘dan tian’. All of a sudden, his body was full of energy as he leapt up fiercely, his eyes closed when he threw out two palms.

    It hit Wu Xiu Men in the lower abdomen; Wu Xiu Men gave out a cry before falling to the ground and unconscious. The palm’s power came from Ou Yang Feng’s [Toad Stance], the power of it of course could not compare to Ou Yang Feng’s, and Yang Guo did not intentionally used it, but as he was in danger he involuntarily used it, Wu Xiu Men could not withstand it.

    Wu Dun Ru jumped back but when he saw his brother didn’t move and eyes rolled, he knew that Yang Guo had killed his brother. He was startled but shouted out, “Master, master, brother has died!” He sobbed as ran to bring the news to Guo Jing.

    Guo Fu was scared, and followed.

    Yang Guo spat out the sand and dirt, and rubbed the sand of his face, but felt he didn’t have an ounce of strength left in his body, it was extremely difficult for him to even move one step. He saw Wu Xiu Men in front of him, not flinching, and heard Wu Dun Ru cry out, “My brother is dead!” and knew something was wrong but he didn’t have the strength to run away.

    Some time passed before he saw Guo Jing and Huang Rong hurriedly leaping to the scene. Guo Jing picked up Wu Xiu Men and placed his palm on Wu Xiu Men’s chest. Huang Rong ran to Yang Guo’s side and asked, “Where’s Ou Yang Feng? Where is he?” Yang Guo did not reply. Huang Rong asked, “When did he teach you the [Toad Stance]?” It looked like Yang Guo was listening, but it also seemed that he wasn’t, his eyes losing their senses, just staring in front, his mouth tightly closed, scared of letting one word slip out. Huang Rong saw that he didn’t care, so held his two arms and said, “Tell me! Where’s Ou Yang Feng?” Yang Guo still did not move.

    After a while, Wu Xiu Men regained consciously after Guo Jing had channelled his internal energy into him. Guo Jing then bought Ke Zhen E and Guo Fu to the scene. When Ke Zhen E heard from Guo Fu that Yang Guo flipped his body, and heard that he had killed Wu Xiu Men, he knew that Yang Guo was Ou Yang Feng’s heir. Full of hate and revenge, he rushed to Yang Guo’s side, hearing Huang Rong ask, “Where is Ou Yang Feng.” But Yang Guo still didn’t care. He walked up to Yang Guo and held his iron staff high, and shouted out, “Where is Ou Yang Feng that scoundrel? If you don’t tell me, I’ll kill you with one strike!”

    Without care for his life he shouted back, “He’s not a scoundrel, he’s a good person. You can kill me if you want, but I won’t say a word.” Ke Zhen E was angry and raised his weapon, ready to strike down. Guo Jing shouted out, “Senior master, don’t” only to hear a thudding sound, as the stick evaded Yang Guo’s body and placed into the sand. Ke Zhen E had wanted to scare him into saying but as the weapon reached his head, there was still no reply so he let his weapon slip.

    Ke Zhe E shouted out, “You refuse to speak?”

    Yang Guo shouted back, “If you’ve got guts go ahead and kill me, I’m not scared of you blind man.” Guo Jing rushed over, and slapped Yang Guo across the face fiercely. “You dare to be disrespectful towards your grandmaster!”

    Yang Guo did not cry, and calmly said, “You lot won’t raise your hands to kill me, fine. I’ll do it myself!” He turned around and rushed to the sea.

    Guo Jing shouted, “Guo Er, come back!” Yang Guo walked even faster. Guo Jing went over to stop him but Huang Rong said, “Stop.” Guo Jing stopped only to see Yang Guo enter the sea, heading into the waves.

    Guo Jing gasped and said, “He can’t swim well, Rong Er, we need to save him.” And went to rescue Yang Guo.

    Huang Rong said, “He’s not dead yet, there’s no need to rush.” After a while, Yang Gou had not returned. She admitted defeat to Yang Guo’s pride, and went into the sea. She was a good swimmer, rescuing someone by the shore was a walk in the park for her, she dived into the water and pulled up Yang Guo and carried him back to the beach and put him on the Cliffside rocks, letting him spit out the sea water by himself and slowly regaining consciousness.

    Guo Jing looked at his master, and then his wife and asked, “So?”

    Huang Rong replied, “He learnt his kung fu before arriving on the island, even if Ou Yang Feng did come, we would know about it.” Guo Jing nodded. She asked, “How’s little Wu’s injury?”

    Guo Jing replied, “It looks like he’ll need at least two months rest.”

    Ke Zhen E said, “Tomorrow I’ll leave for Jia Xing.”

    Huang Rong and Guo Jing looked at each other, understanding his intentions; he would never live with someone who was related to Ou Yang Feng in any way.

    Huang Rong said, “Senior master, this is your home, why do you give in to the child?”

    That night Guo Jing summoned Yang Guo to his room and said, “Guo Er, all that has happened is in the past, we won’t mention it. You were disrespectful to senior master, I cannot allow you to stay under my school, from now on, call me uncle Guo. I’m scared that uncle Guo’s inability to teach you will lead to your future failures. In a few days, I’ll take you to Mount Zhong Nan (From the south), to ‘Chong Yang Palace’ and request Quan Zhen sect’s elder Chang Chun Zi (Eternal Spring) to accept you into their sect. Quan Zhen sect is famous for its martial arts, I hope you take this opportunity in Chong Yang Garden to hone your skills and reflect on your character, so hopefully you will become a gentlemen.”

    Yang Guo replied, “Yes, uncle Guo.” He changed his greeting, and didn’t regard Guo Jing as his teacher anymore.

    Guo Jing got up early in the morning, prepared money and the luggage, he said goodbyes to his wife, master, daughter and the Wu brothers. He left with Yang Guo by boat. They arrived at Zheijang’s Red Sea. Guo Jing bought two horses, and he and Yang Guo travelled north. Yang Guo has never rode a horse before, but now his internal energy has some foundations, and after a few days of adjusting, he could freely control the reins. He was young and eager, always riding ahead of Guo Jing.

    The next day, the two passed the Yellow River (Yangtze) and arrived at Xia Xi.

    Ever since the Jin’s lost to the Mongols, everywhere north of the Yangtze is under the influence of the Mongols. In Guo Jing’s younger days, he once was a general in the Mongol army. If he met any one who knew him, he knew there would be trouble so he changed his two horses for two rough looking mules and changed into old torn clothing; he disguised himself as a troubled villager. Yang Guo also changed his clothing and wore a blue green hat, and then got on the mule. The mule was bad tempered, and it was slow, Yang Guo spent the next few days trying to break its temper.

    One day they arrived at Cage Village (fan chuan), it was in the area of Mount Zhong Nan, the village got its name from the Kai General Fan who had successfully captured a city. Along the way they passed winding mountain ranges, pine forests, fields of vegetables and orchards of cotton, its scenery not unlike that of Jiang Nan.

    After Yang Guo had left Peach Blossom Island, his feelings towards the events on the island were still there and would not mention the island but he couldn’t hold onto this stance, and slipped out, “Uncle Guo, this place is quite similar to our island.” When Guo Jing heard him say ‘our island’ he was pleased to no end and said, “Guo Er, we are not far from Mount Zhong Nan, remember to take this opportunity at Quan Zhen and learn from their teachings, a few years later on, I will come back for you and take you back to the island.”

    Yang Guo shook his head and said, “I will never go back to the island.” Guo Jing forgot about Yang Guo’s young age, the words that he said came straight from his heart. Guo Jing had no reply to this. After a while he said, “You are angry with uncle and auntie Guo?”

    Yang Guo replied, “How can I dare to? Its you that should be angry with me.” Guo Jing resigned, and didn’t open his mouth again.

    The two of them went up a hill, and in the afternoon, they arrived at a temple at the hill’s peak. Guo Jing saw three words were written on top of the doors, ‘Light Everywhere Temple’. He tied the mules on a pine tree outside the temple and went inside for a meal. Inside the temple were seven, eight monks, when they saw he was plainly dressed, the monks calmly gave them two bowls of noodles and seven, eight buns for them to eat. Yang Guo and Guo Jing sat on a stone rack underneath the pine tree to eat their noodles; they turned around and saw there was a large stone slab behind the pine tree. Tall grass was concealing what was on the slab, only two words could be seen, ‘Chang Chun’. Guo Jing was moved, and went over to take a closer look. It was Chang Chun Zi Qiu Chu Ji’s writing, and on it was a poem left by him; ‘The gloomy sky has come to ground, why doesn’t it teach ten thousand souls to be bitter? The ten thousand souls wants to be delayed, the cries of the dead has no sound. Shouting up to the sky but it won’t reply, their fragmented slender forms toil. The thousands are confused in peace, teaching the living to live their soul.”

    When Guo Jing saw this poem, it reminded him of the events ten years ago when he was in the plains of Mongolia, touching the stone slab without saying a word, reminiscing about the time when he first met Qiu Chu Ji.

    Yang Guo asked, “What is written on the stone slab?”

    Guo Jing replied, “It is a poem written by your grandmaster Qiu (He was the teacher of Yang Kang). He has seen the troubles of the world and was extremely sad.” He then explained the poem to Yang Guo and said, “Elder Qiu’s martial arts are outstanding; cares about the common people and is a respected teacher. Your father was an able student of elder Qiu. I’m sure that on your father’s behalf, he will treat you especially well. Do your best at studying the martial arts here, and you will definitely become something in the future.”

    Yang Guo asked, “Uncle Guo, I have one I want to ask you.”

    “What is it?”

    “How did my father die?”

    Guo Jing’s faced lost its colour, as he remembered the events of the Iron Spear temple, his body trembled, unable to speak.

    “Who caused my father’s death?”

    Gu Jing did not reply.

    Yang Guo remembered when he asked his mother the same question, she responded the same way, although Guo Jing treated him like his own son, Huang Rong was neglectful to him. Although he was young, he felt that there was a hidden secret to this matter. He couldn’t hold back and shouted, “My father’s death was caused by you and auntie Guo, isn’t it?”

    Guo Jing was shocked, and slammed down his hand on the stone, and bellowed angrily, “Who told you these lies?” The power in his palm was great; under his angry reaction the stone slab continually shook. Yang Guo saw his angry reaction and said, “I’m sorry, I won’t ever say these sort of things again, don’t be angry uncle Guo.”

    Guo Jing loved him very much, and when he heard Yang Guo’s apology, his feelings dissipated and he was about to comfort him when he heard a ‘hey’ shout from behind, the voices behind it were startled. He turned around, and saw it was two middle aged Taoists standing at the entrance to the mount, their eyes fixed on him, their faces with a furious expression, taking great interest in the stone slab, wanting to take a closer look at the two. The two Taoists gave a glance and then moved. Guo Jing saw that their steps were light; they possessed martial arts. He thought about how Mount Zhong Nan is not faraway; the places around here should be filled with people from the Chong Yang Palace. The two Taoists were about forty, and were the students of the Quan Zhen Seven Masters. Ever since Guo Jing lived on Peach Blossom Island in seclusion, he hasn’t sent news to Ma Yu. He isn’t familiar with the students of Quan Zhen, and only knew that Quan Zhen had become famous, Ma Yu, Qiu Chu Ji, Wang Chu must have accepted many students, their name in wulin have become increasingly familiar, they have done heroic deeds, solved troubles and disasters, countless good deeds, whenever someone hears the name Quan Zhen in wulin, they could only admire. He wanted to ascend the mount and greet Qiu Chu Ji, and it was luck that he could be accompanied by two of their students.

    He stepped up his pace and to the entrance of the mountain, only to see the two Taoists step up their pace to about one hundred feet of him, not turning back.

    Guo Jing called out, “Please wait Taoist brothers, I have a request.” His voice was clear and strong, his voice could be heard near and far but the two Taoists did not stop but speeded up again. Guo Jing thought, “Could those two be deaf?” He increased his efforts and within a few steps his was in front of them. He turned around and said, “Greetings.” He said this while carrying the luggage.

    The two saw how swift his movements were, their face changed. They saw he was full of luggage, and thought he was going to circulate his chi and ambush them so they took a few steps and one evaded right, the other left then turned around and asked, “Who are you?”

    Guo Jing said, “Are you two the students of Mount Zhong Nan’s Chong Yang Palace?”

    The leaner of the Taoist replied, “Why are you here?”

    Guo Jing said, “I’m an old friend of elder Qiu, I’ve come to see him, sorry for the trouble.”

    The other shorter Taoist replied, “If you’ve got guts go, why don’t you move!” as he said this he struck out a palm quickly. Guo Jing had to move right to avoid it.

    The two Taoists moved into position immediately after the palm moving left and right, wanting to attack together. Guo Jing was cut off in the middle. The two moves were called [Cutting off the Door]. It was the refined skills of the Quan Zhen sect, how would Guo Jing not know it? He saw that the two Taoists did not ask for an explanation and had already used force to try to harm people. He was slightly startled, wondering whether there was a misunderstanding, he didn’t try to clear it up, nor did he try to evade as he heard two sounds, as two palms landed on the side of his body from the two Taoists.

    From the two palms, Guo Jing had already known how strong they were. Guo Jin felt that the two Taoists internal energy was able, confirming that they were the students of Seven Masters of Quan Zhen, and thought that he could be classed in the same generation as them. When the two palms were coming at him, Guo Jing had already circulated his chi for defence, all he needed to do was bring his internal strength up to the right level and he wouldn’t be hurt, but he also didn’t return the power in the palms, causing the Taoists palm to hurt and swell, but it wasn’t serious, after some initial pain the feeling dissipated.

    The Taoists had practised that move for ten years, but the move didn’t even seem to affect him one bit, and was astonished. They both gave a whistle; they leapt up and ferociously kicked out at Guo Jing’s chest. Guo Jing thought this was odd, “The students of Quan Zhen have been taught the values of Taoism, and they treat people with great respect, why have these students started to use violence for no reason?”

    He saw that the two used [The Mandarin Duck’s Looping Kick] (yuan yang lian huan tui) set of stances, but still his face did not change and ignored the attack.

    Only to hear numerous crashing sounds as various footprints were left on his chest. The Taoists kicked out six times in all, like as if they were kicking a sand bag. The relaxed only to see the enemy motionless, not even being harmed one bit, astonished as they had attacked harder than last time by several levels. They thought, “How come that crook is so powerful? Even our teacher and his apprentice brothers do not have this amount of skill.” They carefully studied Guo Jing; he had a dense brow and large eyes, a sturdy body, clothed in rough clothes, like a villager, he had no intention of leaving and stood there, without making a sound.

    Yang Guo saw that the Taoists were punching and kicking uncle Guo but Guo Jing did not retaliate. He couldn’t stand it and shouted out, “You two smelly Taoists, why are you hitting uncle Guo?”

    Guo Jing quickly said, “Guo Er, keep your mouth shut. Come over here and greet the two Taoist brothers.”

    Yang Guo walked forwards and thought, “What’s the matter with you uncle Guo, why are you protecting them?”

    The two Taoists gave each other a glance, and after two ‘sha’ noises, they withdrew their swords from their waist. The short Taoist used the stance [Scour the Ocean to Slaughter the Dragon] (tan hai tu long) and aimed for Guo Jing’s lower body, the other used [Starry Wind Sweeping Leaves] (gang feng sao ye) and aimed to cut down Yang Guo’s right leg.

    Guo Jing did not pay attention to the sword that was coming in at him, but instead looked at the skinny Taoist who was unleashing a lethal move and thought, “The child has not done anything to you, so why such a lethal move? How can it be that the sword is aiming to cut his leg in half?” He then moved his body, his left hand placed on the short Taoist’s sword handle, [Smoothly Pushing the Boat], and lightly pushed to the left. The short Taoist turned his sword around involuntarily, and after a clashing sound, the skinny Taoist’s sword was intercepted, stopping his stance. Guo Jing used the enemy to fight the enemy, the move coming from the [Empty Hands Entering A Hundred Blades] set of kung fu, right now there is only two enemies, even if there was eight or ten people attacking at once, he could still used the enemy’s knife to attack the enemy’s sword, the enemy’s spear against the enemy’s whip, utilising the enemy to attack the enemy, one beating many.

    The two Taoist felt their wrist were getting numb, and starting to feel a pain; they slanted their body and jumped away, turning their bodies. They stared at Guo Jing, frightened but also admiring him at the same time, they whistled out again and their swords was thrust out, once again.

    Guo Jing thought, “You two have just learnt the [Big Dipper Formation], though it is a higher set of sword skills, there are only two of you, your foundation for sword skills are not yet good enough, what use is it?”

    Scared that their swords would strike Yang Guo, he moved his body and evaded the two swords, and picked up Yang Guo with his right hand. He shouted out, “I am elder Qiu’s old friend, there is no need for this.”

    The skinny Taoist said, “Even if you are elder Mao Chong Ma’s old friend it wouldn’t matter.”

    Guo Jing said, “Elder Ma has indeed taught me kung fu.”

    The short Taoist angrily replied, “You lying crook, the next thing you are going to tell me is that ancestor Yang has taught you kung fu.” They straightened their swords and aimed for Guo Jing’s chest.

    Guo Jing saw that the two did belong to Quan Zhen sect, he could not believe that they are treating him as an enemy. His relationship with the Seven Masters of Quan Zhen wasn’t anything ordinary, he wanted Yang Guo to learn martial arts at Chong Yang Palace; he couldn’t be rude to the Palace’s Taoists so he just evaded and did not attack.

    The two Taoist were frightened and scared, they had known long ago that their opponent was superior to them, and wouldn’t be able to hit him so they made a hand signal, and changed their sword style. After they sent out many strokes, now all aimed at Yang Gou’s chest, sides and back, every stance they used was intent on killing.

    Guo Jing saw that Taoists did not hold anything back with their sword strokes towards a child; he couldn’t hold back his anger for any longer. The short Taoist came in with a ferocious stroke, Guo Jing suddenly shot out his right hand, the first and second fingers opened, and held the blade of the sword. He twisted his wrist inwards, his elbow now facing the short Taoist’s nose. The short Taoist used his strength to pull free, but couldn’t move his long sword, he saw that Guo Jing’s elbow coming towards him, and knew that if he wouldn’t die from it he would be seriously hurt so he let go and jumped back.

    Guo Jing’s martial arts were at a level where he could do what he wants, no matter if he lifts his hand or raise his foot, the result would be the same. He moved the fingers of his right hand, the sword now stood erect, the handle flicking upwards. The skinny Taoist was aiming for Yang Guo’s neck, his sword tip was struck but the sword handle, and a after a clashing sound, his right arm heated up, his body shaking and could do nothing but let go.

    The two said together, “The perverted scoundrel is too powerful, lets run!” they turned around and as they said this.

    Guo Jing had been insulted many times in his life, he has been called, ‘fool’, ‘idiot’, a ‘crook’ even, but this is the first time that someone has called a perverted scoundrel. He didn’t put Yang Guo down, carrying Yang Guo he hurried after the two, after one step with his right foot, he leapt over the two Taoists, he turned around and shouted, “What did you call me?”

    The short Taoist was frightened, but managed to say, “If you don’t want to marry the one named Long, then why have you come to Mount Zhong Nan?” As he was speaking, he was scared that Guo Jing would attack and retreated three steps at the same time.

    Guo Jing stopped and thought, “I want to marry the one named Long, who is this girl named Long? Why do I want to marry her? I’ve already have Rong Er, why would I want to marry someone else?” He stood there as he thought about what was going on. The two Taoists saw that he was standing still, he seemed to be distracted, they glanced at each other and quickly ran past his body, hurrying up the mountain.

    Yang Guo saw that Guo Jing was not fully awake; he lightly came down to the ground and said, “Uncle Guo, the two smelly Taoists have escaped.”

    Guo Jing woke from his daydream and grunted, before saying, “They said I wanted to marry the girl named Long, who is she?”

    Yang Guo said, “I don’t know, the two didn’t even try to clear things up before using force, they must have recognised the wrong person.”

    Guo Jing smiled, “It must be this, how come I didn’t think of this? Let’s go up the mountain!”

    Yang Guo picked up the two swords that the two Taoists left. Guo Jing looked at the sword handle; ‘Zhong Yang Palace’ was imprinted on the handle. The two went on their way. After about an hour, they came across the Golden Lotus chamber, they carried on up through the rugged terrain. They stepped on some loose rocks as they reached Mao Yuan Cliff (Hanging Brave Cliff), the two ascended up it. As they passed the Sun and Moon (ri yue) cliff, the sky was getting dark, when they got to Holding Son (bao zi) cliff, the new moon came out.

    The appearance of the Holding Son cliff was peculiar, like a mother holding on to her son. The two travelled for a while, before Guo Jing said, “Guo Er, are you tired?”

    Yang Guo shook his head and said, “No.”

    Guo Jing said, “Okay, we’ll continue on our way.”

    They walked on, only to see a large rock formation blocking their way, the impression of the rocks was like being in a haunted forest, overlooking them, like an old woman bending over them. Yang Guo was frightened slightly, only to hear a sound from behind the rock, as four Taoists leapt out, blocking the way and motionless.

    Guo Jing placed the luggage in front of him and said, “I am Peach Blossom Island’s Guo Jing, and I am here to see elder Qiu.”

    A tall Taoist stepped forward and chuckled, “Hero Guo is known by everyone, he is also senior Huang’s son in law, how can you be so shameless and pretend to be him? Quickly leave!”

    Guo Jing thought, “How am I shameless?” He held his temper and said, “I am indeed Guo Jing, could you request elder Qiu to sort this matter out.”

    The tall Taoist retorted, “You’ve come to Mount Zhong Nan with force, you must be tired of your life. I don’t care how powerful you are, you are incapable of reaching Chong Yang Palace.” As he was speaking the short and skinny Taoist thrust out a sword, and as soon as he finished his sentence he stepped up and ran along the peak of the rock and used [Separating the Flower, Brushing Away the Willow] (fen hua fu liu) aiming at Guo Jing’s waist.

    Guo Jing thought, “I haven’t been in Jiang Hu for ten years, have the rules changed?”

    He moved his body to evade the strike, and as he was about to speak, the other three Taoists extended their sword, surrounding Guo Jing and Yang Guo.

    Guo Jing said, “What can I do to convince you four that I am Guo Jing?”

    The tall Taoist snorted, “If you could remove my sword from my grasp.” As he said this, he performed another move, this time the sword heading straight for the chest. The sword that was coming at him was light, the tip of the sword swaying, it wasn’t like an ordinary knife hacking downwards, he didn’t give any respect to Guo Jing, he performed this move casually.

    Guo Jing chuckled and thought, “How hard is it to remove your sword?” As he saw the tip coming towards him, he held his second finger with his thumb and flicked out at the sword tip, after a ‘weng’ noise, the Taoist couldn’t hold on to the sword, and sword was released into midair. Guo Jing didn’t wait for the sword to come down, three flicking sounds followed by three ‘weng’ noises were heard, the handles of the three long swords were up in the air, the blade of the swords brightly shining under the moonlight.

    Yang Guo shouted out, “Are you convinced now?” Normally Guo Jing would aim to keep the opponent standing, but just then he was offended by the tall Taoist’s lack of respect in his stance so he used the [Divine Snapping Finger] skill. This was Huang Yao Shi’s most refined skill; Guo Jing had lived on Peach Blossom Island for a few years and was taught it, his internal energy is profound, when he used the skill, it was something out of the ordinary.

    The four Taoists’ swords were all forced out of their hands, and didn’t know what move they enemy used did to this. The tall Taoist shouted out, “The scoundrel uses witchcraft, let’s go.” As he said this he jumped behind the Old Woman Cliff, and hurriedly escaped. The other three followed as they disappeared into the night.

    Today, Guo Jing heard someone call him a ‘scoundrel’ for the first time, and now someone said he uses witchcraft, he didn’t whether to be angry or whether to laugh. He said, “Guo Er, place the swords neatly on a rock near the path.”

    Yang Guo said, “Yes.” He picked up the swords, and along with the two he was holding, placed them on a green rock, he was in awe of Guo Jing’s skills, his mouth wanted to open up and say the words, “Uncle Guo, I don’t want to learn from the smelly Taoists, I want to learn from you” but then he remembered all the events of Peach Blossom Island; he swallowed the words.

    The two turned around two bends and eventually wounded up to what seem to be a large area of wilderness, when suddenly the sound of weapons unsheathing could be heard, seven Taoists leapt out from the pine forest, each one holding a long sword.

    Guo Jing saw that they had leapt into a formation, four to the left of him, three to the right; it was the [Big Dipper Formation]. His heart shivered, and thought, “There will be some difficulty in facing this formation.” He didn’t dare to be over confident, and quietly whispered to Yang Guo, “Go back to the rock behind us and wait for me there, go as far as possible so I won’t be hindered by looking after you.”

    Yang Guo nodded. He didn’t want them to look weak in front of Taoists, so he loosened his slacks and called out, “Uncle Guo, I’m going to the toilet.” After he said this, he turned around and hurried to the rock. Guo Jing was pleased, “The child is very clever, catching up to Rong Er, but I hope he goes on the righteous path and learn well.”

    Guo Jing turned around to face the seven Taoists, the seven had their backs facing the moon, he couldn’t see their faces that clearly, but he saw that the first six had a long beard, they were not young, the seventh was smaller, his age must be lower compared to the others. He thought, “The most important thing is to go up the mountain and explain any misunderstanding to elder Qiu, why should I tangle with these people.” He shifted his body, and shimmied to the left, assuming the ‘Northern Star Position’.

    The seven didn’t hear him say anything, only seeing him hurried moving to the left, and didn’t know what he was up to. The Taoist in the ‘Tian Quan’ position whistled, ordering the six others to the left, wanting to circle Guo Jing. Guo Jing knew they would move together so he moved right two steps to force the enemy to move, still assuming the ‘Northern Star Position’. The Taoist in the ‘Tian Quan’ position wanted three of them to attack, but saw Guo Jing’s position was strange, the three of them wasn’t able to attack him, instead the seven of them was open to attack; the seven of them wasn’t able to defend each other, each of them suffered a sudden attack, their left hand all waved, and then turned their formation around. As they were moving their feet, Gou Jing moved two steps forward maintaining the ‘Northern Star Position’, spreading the position of the [Big Dipper Formation]. The seven were in an ineffective position, it was hard for them to attack and hard for them to defend.

    The [Big Dipper Formation] was the Quan Zhen sect’s highest kung fu, at its most refined state, when seven people of extremely high martial arts combined together, it could be said that it has no match under heaven. Guo Jing knew the essence of the formation; only by assuming the ‘Northern Star Position’ was he able to drive the position, and control its movements, not allowing it freedom.

    However, its because the seven of them wasn’t fluent with the formation that allow him to do this, if it was Ma Yu, Qiu Chui Ji who were controlling the formation, the enemy would not be allowed so easily to assume the ‘Northern Star Position’. The eight of them changed positions a few times, Guo Jing dominated the formation, he didn’t make a sound, just concentrating on maintaining the important position.

    The Taoist in the ‘Tian Shu’ (Hinging Sky) position was experienced and noticed that something wasn’t right and called, “Change formation!” The seven Taoists scattered, heading right and swerving left, hurrying from east to west, wanting to jumble up the formation, trying to confuse the enemy. After a short while, the seven Taoists were in formation again. The Taoists had changed positions amongst themselves, and now they had moved from a western position to a southeast position where they arranged the formation. Once they were in position, the Taoists in the ‘Tian Xuan’ (Jade Sky) and ‘Yu Heng’ (Weighing Jade) positions pointed out their swords and rushed forwards, seeing the enemy in a northern position from their rearrangement, his feet motionless and his palms uneven, a smile crept upon their faces. However they suddenly realised, “If us two go and rush forward, the positions ‘Kai Yang’ (Opening Sun) and the ‘Tian Xuan’ (Jade Sky) will be in great danger.” As they stopped, the Taoist in the ‘Tian Shu’ shouted out, “Don’t attack, quickly retreat!” After a motionless while, the startled Taoist in the ‘Tian Quan’ position ordered the other six to change formation.

    Yang Guo didn’t understand, only seeing the Taoists moving around wildly, Guo Jing would either move east, west, south or north a few steps, the seven Taoists still did not unleash even half a move. The more he watched, the more interested he became, as suddenly Guo Jing clapped his palms together shouting, “Apologies!” and moving left two steps.

    The [Big Dipper Formation] was now at Guo Jing’s control, and he rushed to the left, if the seven Taoists didn’t follow, their backs will be exposed with no way to defend, in martial art terms this was extremely serious and ominous so the seven Taoists had no choice but to follow to the left. After a while, the seven Taoists fell into the trap, unable to hold the formation. When Guo Jing ran fast, the seven Taoists ran fast, when Guo Jing slowed down, the seven Taoists slowed down.

    The young Taoist had the weakest internal energy, after being forced to circle around over ten times in a urgent manner by Guo Jing, his head spun, his breathing wasn’t smooth, he felt like he could collapse at any minute but he knew that if the [Big Dipper Formation] has one less person, the whole formation will break down, he could only grind down on his teeth and exert all his energy to hold on.

    Guo Jing wasn’t young, but ever since he has lived on the island with Huang Rong, he has had little contact with the outside world, he has lost little of the young Guo Jing, when he saw the seven Taoists were rushing around amusingly he thought, “Today I have suffered insults for no reason at all, not only did they call me a perverted scoundrel, they said I used witchcraft, if I don’t use a little witchcraft for you to see, then won’t that mean I’ve been insulted in vain?” He then loudly called out, “Guo Er, watch me use some witchcraft!” He suddenly leapt up to the tall rocks. The seven Taoists were under Guo Jing’s control, they of course had to follow, if they didn’t follow, the weakness of the formation will be revealed, as a few of them hesitated the Taoist in the ‘Tian Quan’ position quickly ordered everyone to leap up, bringing the formation onto the cliff. Before their legs had steadied themselves, Guo Jing swiftly moved onto the top of a pine tree.

    Although they were at a distance from each other, it wasn’t too far nor too close, he was still maintaining the ‘Northern Star Position’, it would be convenient for him to attack from above.

    The seven Taoists all secretly feared the worst and thought, “Where on earth did this tyrant appeared from, today our sect will lose its face.” With these thoughts in their minds, they couldn’t afford to stop and each one leapt up to a tree branch.

    Guo Jing laughed, “Come down!” He leapt down from the tree and stretched out his hand towards the Taoist in the ‘Kai Yang’ position and grabbed his leg.

    The strongest aspect of the [Big Dipper Formation] is being able to respond from the left and right, mutually aiding each other, as Guo Jing attacked the ‘Kai Yang’ position, the ‘Yao Guang’ (moving light) and ‘Yu Heng’ position could not come down and help, if the two did come down, the ‘Tian Shu’ and ‘Tian Quan’ positions would have to come down with them, the whole formation will be pulled down.

    Yang Guo was watching closely by the side, being surprised endlessly, thinking, “If I could reach the level of uncle Guo in the future, I wouldn’t mind suffering a lifetime of hardships.” But then he changed his thoughts, “How can I ever achieve the level that he is at? Only Guo Fu and the Wu brothers have that sort of luck. Uncle Guo knew that the rotten Taoist’s kung fu couldn’t compare with his, that is why he sent me here to learn martial arts.” The more he thought, the more troubled he became, he almost cried. He turned his head away from the
    Guo Jing battling the seven Taoists, but he was still a child, and eventually could not resist but to turn his head back to fight.

    Guo Jing thought, “By now, you should believe that I am Guo Jing. One mustn’t overdo things, it wouldn’t look good for elder Qiu.” He saw that the Taoists were turning around quickly but he stood still and folded his arms in salute and said, “Taoist brothers, I have offended you many times and apologize, please give way.”

    The Taoist in the ‘Tian Quan’ position was hot tempered, he saw that the opposition was highly skilled and knew the [Big Dipper Formation], and assumed he had nothing but evil intent towards his sect. He clearly shouted out, “Scoundrel, you’ve carefully studied our sect’s formation, you intent is ruthless. You’ve come to Mount Zhong Nan to cause troubles, our Quan Zhen sect regard all evil as our enemy, we can’t sit around and do nothing.”

    Guo Jing was startled, and asked, “How have we caused trouble?”

    The ‘Tian Shu’ Taoist added, “Judging from your kung fu, you do not belong with the dirty, I can give you some advice, you better leave the mountain quickly.” His tone reflected his respect of Guo Jing’s skills.

    Guo Jing said, “I have come from thousand of miles from the south up here to the north, I have a matter which I want to discuss with elder Qiu, if I can’t see the elder, then how can I leave?”

    The ‘Tian Quan’ Taoist said, “You persist on seeing elder Qiu, what do you want?”

    Guo Jing said, “I am in debt of elder Ma and elder Qiu, I haven’t seen them in ten years, I long to see them. Apart from paying my respects, I also have another matter to request of them.”

    The ‘Tian Quan’ Taoist hate for the enemy increased when he heard this, his face changed colour as if he had something on say. In the world of Jiang Hu, the words debt and revenge are not looked upon lightly, sometimes when one has made enemies and say they have come to pay their debts, in reality they have come for revenge. The Taoist said, “Twenty years ago I chopped off someone’s upper arm, the debts that I have to pay, how can it be forgotten? Today I am going to receive what I am owed.”

    A request in these cases seems to have evil intent, and after being beaten by someone stronger, they would normally reply, “Us brothers here are short of food and clothing, and want old man here to help, to spare us some money to use.”

    But today, Quan Zhen sect is facing its enemies, the ‘Tian Quan’ Taoist knew this, Guo Jing polite words were turned around and interpreted the other way by the Taoist, and he calmly said, “I’m afraid that my defeated teacher elder Yu Yang is also indebted to you.”

    As Guo Jing heard this, he remembered the events years ago at King Zhao’s palace, Yu Yang Zi Wang Chu wasn’t concerned about danger, and faced a flock of enemies and helping to save his life, his debts to him were not trivial. He said, “So Taoist brother here is under the teaching of elder Yu Yang. Elder Wang has also been kind to me, if he is at the palace, then it will be great.”

    The seven Taoists were all disciples of elder Wang, after hearing this; they extended their swords, the seven swords all moving at the same time towards Guo Jing’s body. Guo Jing raised his eyebrow, the more respectful he was, the fiercer the enemy’s reaction, he didn’t know what the reasons was for this. It is a pity that Huang Rong was not here, if she was she could sort out the misunderstanding in the blink of an eye. He slanted his body and moved forwards, and stood in the ‘Northern Star Position’. In a clear voice he said, “I am Jiang Nan’s Guo Jing, I have no evil intent in this sacred mountain, how can I make you believe me?”

    The ‘Tian Quan’ Taoist said, “You have already removed six swords off Quan Zhen sect’s students, can you take our seven swords?” The Taoist in the ‘Tian Xuan’ position has not said anything so far, he broke his silence and said, “Scoundrel, you have come here for the girl called Long, does that mean you think its good for you to provoke our sect?”

    Guo Jing said, “Who is this girl named long, I have never seen her before.”

    The ‘Tian Xuan’ Taoist laughed and said, “Of course you have never met her. What man under heaven knows her? If you’ve got guts, loudly insult her and call her a little ****.”

    Guo Jing was startled, he didn’t know who this Long girl is, how can he for no reason slander her? He said, “Why should I insult her?”

    Three, four Taoists said at the same time, “Why don’t you confess?”

    The Taoists have accused Guo Jing innocently, the more he heard, the stranger it sounds. He thought that if he break into Chong Yang Palace and see elder Ma, elder Qiu and Wang Chu, everything would become clear. He calmly said, “I must go up to the mountain, if everyone here tries to stop me, don’t blame me for offending you.”

    The seven Taoists pointed out their swords, and leapt forward two steps.

    The ‘Tian Xuan’ Taoist loudly said, “Don’t use your witchcraft, we will just use our kung fu to compete.”

    Guo Jing smiled, he already had thought of something, and said, “I want to use some witchcraft. You watch, my hands will not touch your weapons, but I will still be able to take your long swords out of your hands.”

    The seven Taoists all looked at each other, their faces had a look of disbelief, and thought, “Although your skills are high, can it be that without using your hands you can rid us of our weapons? Even if you’ve reached the peak of [Empty Hand Entering a Hundred Blades] kung fu is, you still need your hands.”

    The ‘Tian Shu’ Taoist said, “Fine, we will see how good your kicking kung fu is.”

    Guo Jing said, “I will also not use my legs. If I touch your weapons, hands or legs, then I admit defeat, I will turn around and immediately leave, never entering your sacred mountain again.”

    The Taoists heard his wild claims, and they mulled over it. The ‘Tian Quan’ Taoist waved his sword, and led the formation.

    Guo Jing slanted his body and rushed forward, assuming the ‘Northern Star Position’, ready to move to the left of the [Big Dipper Formation]. The ‘Tian Quan’ Taoist knew they would be in danger and led the formation quickly to the right.

    Whenever two enemies fight each other, they must face the opposition, if the opponent moves behind you, turning around to face your enemy is something that shouldn’t be done. Right now, Guo Jing was heading for this position, wanting to aim for the back of the formation, he didn’t need to attack, while the seven Taoists would have to move the formation and attack, so that they can face each other. But Guo Jing just kept on heading left, and didn’t turn back, only sometimes he would move fast, sometimes slow, sometimes straight and sometimes in a crisscross, but he kept on hurrying to the left. He was in the ‘Northern Star Position’; the seven Taoists could do nothing but follow him to the left.

    The more he hurried, the quicker he got eventually his speed surpassing that of a horse, his form a blur, he had ran for tens of feet. The seven Taoists kung fu were not ordinary, though they were in the face of adversity, they managed to stay in formation, the ‘Tian Shu’, ‘Tian Xuan’, ‘Tian Ji’ (Sky Pearl), ‘Tian Quan’, ‘Yu Heng’, ‘Kai Yang’, and ‘Yao Guang’ Taoists held their positions, but they were being forced to hurry around not of their own accord.

    Guo Jing could not help but think, “Sure enough, the students of Quan Zhen are not ordinary.” He took a deep breath, and increased his speed; it appeared that his legs were not even touching the ground.

    At first the Taoists could just about manage to keep up by exerting all their strength, but as time passed, the difference in each one’s lightness kung fu can be seen, the ‘Tian Shu’, ‘Tian Quan’ and ‘Yu Heng’ Taoists lightness kung fu were the highest, and move quickly, the others slowly fell away, the [Big Dipper Formation] cracked. They were all afraid and thought, “If the enemy attacks the formation now, I’m afraid we will not be able to defend.” At the present time, they couldn’t keep up by his side, and could only use their internal energy to try to go around and hit him.

    One game that children play is sling throwing. A rock is threaded onto a string, spun around and then at its fastest point, the sling is released, the stone taking the string with it faraway. At the moment, the formation was winding around hurriedly, it was similar to a sling spinning around, the seven Taoists were scurrying around Guo Jing, their swords held up to their heads, the faster they went, the harder it was for them keep the sword still, it was as if a strong force was pulling onto the swords outwards, wanting to pull the swords out of their grasp.

    Suddenly, Guo Jing shouted out, “Let go!” as he flew away to the left. The seven Taoists were caught unaware, and could only follow him quickly, they didn’t know what happened as the seven swords all flew out of their hands, like seven silver snakes, and flew into the surrounding pine forest. Guo Jing stopped, and laughed as he returned.

    The seven Taoist’s faces were grey, and stood there without moving, but each one was still holding their position, the formation was still held. Guo Jing saw that after being forced to hurry and rush around madly, they still kept the formation and didn’t allow it to get out of shape, he knew they spent a lot of time practising their skills. The ‘Tian Quan’ Taoist gave a sigh of resignation and the seven Taoists escaped behind the cliff.

    Guo Jing called out, “Guo Er, let’s go up the mountain.” He called out twice, but there was no reply. He searched around, but he couldn’t see him anywhere but behind a tree he saw a small shoe. Guo Jing swallowed, “Besides the seven Taoists there was another one hiding nearby, he must have taken him away.” But then he thought that the flock of Taoists had just mistaken him for someone else, and they had a misunderstanding, Quan Zhen sect have always been righteous and do good, they would never dare to harm a small child, there was no need to be alarmed. He then took a breath, and hurried up the mountain. He had resided on Peach Blossom Island for ten years, though he practised martial arts every day, he has not face an enemy for a very long time, and sometimes he felt lonely.

    Today, having fought with a crowd of people and being able to respond to every move, he could not help but be satisfied.

    The mountain was now rugged and steep, sometimes he had to lean his body over to pass, and after travelling for less than half an hour, the moon was covered, the mountain became dark. Guo Jing thought, “I don’t know these paths well, these Taoists are sneaky, I must be on my guard.” He then eased down and slowly made his way.

    Another while passed as the moon came out again, the mountain lit up, he had only one thing on his mind. Suddenly he heard breathing sounds of a crowd of people coming from the nearby. Though the sounds were quiet, they were many people; Guo Jing had already noticed this. Guo Jing tightened his belt, and turned to the path.

    In front of him was a large plain, the four sides surrounded by the mountain, at the foot of the mountain was a large pond, and the surface of the water reflected the moon, the silver light shimmering. In front of the pond were about one hundred Taoists, wearing yellow hats and dressed in grey gowns, a long sword in their hands, the swords shone brightly into the eye.

    Guo Jing looked on, the crowd was made up of groups of seven, and formed fourteen sets of the [Big Dipper Formation]. Each group of seven sets of the [Big Dipper Formation] formed one single large [Big Dipper Formation]. From the ‘Tian Shu’ to the ‘Yao Guang’, the force of them was extraordinary. The two large [Big Dipper Formations] were different from each other, one normal, one odd, opposing each other, forming the angle of a wing. Guo Jing gasped, “I have never heard of this type of [Big Dipper Formation] from elder Qiu, presumably this formation has been created within the last few years, compared to the original one that ancestor Yang created, this is another level.” He slowly made his way forward.

    He heard a whistle from a person within the formations, ninety-eight Taoists scattered, moving forwards and backwards, the formations changed irregularly, and circled Guo Jing. Each one pointed their swords to the ground; their eyes fixed on Guo Jing and didn’t make a noise.

    Guo Jing folded his hands in salute and turned around once and said, “I have sincerely entered this sacred mountain to meet elder Ma, elder Qiu and elder Wang, I plead with you please do not block my way.”

    A long bearded Taoist from the formations said, “Our guest here has excellent martial arts, so why do you not use it for good, instead of causing trouble with the evil ones? I offer you some good advice, woman can cloud someone, your skills that you have trained hard for over the last ten years; it would be abolished and lost in a single day. Our Quan Zhen sect has never met you, and we have no quarrels, so why have you come to our mountain and cause so much trouble over this witch? If you leave immediately now, we could still meet again another day.”

    He spoke with a deep voice, but every word was crystal clear, it was clear that his internal energy was profound, his advice was sincere.

    Guo Jing was angry but was also laughing, he thought, “I don’t know whom the Taoists have mistaken me for, if Rong Er was by my side, then there wouldn’t be any of this misunderstanding.” He said, “I know nothing of being clouded by women or witches, if you allow me to see elder Ma, elder Qiu and elder Wang, then everything will become clear.”

    The long bearded Taoist coldly said, “You still do not heed the advice and persist on wanting to see elder Ma and elder Qiu and try out your skills on them, well first you are going to have to break our large ‘Big Dipper Formation’.”

    Guo Jing replied, “I am only one person, my skills are of a low level, how could I dare to come up against your sect’s greatest skill? Please release the child that came with me, and allow me to see your sect’s master and elder Qiu.”

    The long bearded Taoist shouted out, “You have come here and caused trouble, and put on a show, in front of Mount Zhong Nan’s Chong Yang Palace, how can we let a scoundrel be rude.” As he said this, he waved his sword in the air, the blade pierced the wind, the sound of the blade lingered. The crowd of Taoists waved their long swords, ninety-eight blades swept across, a wind was incited, the shiny swords resembles a shiny net.

    Guo Jing secretly was worried, “The two large formations are the opposite of each other, how can I maintain the ‘Northern Star Position’ by myself? Today’s matter is really troublesome.”

    Before Guo Jing made up his mind, the ninety-eight Taoists merged together from the left and right, the light from the sword weaved about, he was trapped like a fly and difficult to escape. The long bearded Taoist said, “Pick up a weapon! Quan Zhen sect will not harm an empty handed person.”

    Guo Jing thought, “This formation may be hard to break, but you may still not be able to harm me. The formation has many people, its power great, but each one’s skill varies, they will definitely be a weakness, I’ll study this formation first before I decide on anything.” He slowly turned around, and then quickly moved in a northwest direction and used the [Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms], the stance [Hidden Dragon Has No Use] (qian long wu yong), one palm out and one in, as he pushed out against the ground. Seven young Taoists swapped their swords into their left hand, each one joining together and stretched out their right palm, using their strength to repel the palm. The palm skill that Guo Jing used has been practised and refined, and now has reached its peak, the force he generated was extremely strong, and he has more powerful moves hidden. Each one of them used all their strength to block this fierce attack, they didn’t expect a strong force pulling them forwards, the seven could not stand still, and all of them fell onto the ground, though they got up straight away, each one of them had dirt on their faces, and were slightly embarrassed.

    The long bearded Taoist saw that Guo Jing had unleashed a powerful move, in just one move he had caused seven Taoists to fall onto the ground, he was frightened slightly. He gave a whistle and led the fourteen [Big Dipper Formations] and merged them together, even if the enemy’s palm strength was ten times stronger, it would be difficult for them to push away ninety-eight people.

    Guo Jing remembered the battle that he had on Jun Mountain (Lord Mountain), he and Huang Rong were battling the beggar clan, although individually they were weak, but once they united, it was hard to defend against. He didn’t dare to use force to overcome them; he could only use his lightness kung fu and escape from the formation, and try to find its weakness.

    He hurried to the east and leapt to the west, and drew the formation with him, in just a short while, he realised that if he wants to break the formation by himself, it will be a difficult task made harder. One, he doesn’t want to hurt anyone; two, the formation’s defence was second to none, there wasn’t a single weakness; three, Guo Jing is not the most astute, the formation changes quickly, even if there was a weakness, he would not pick it up in such a short period of time.

    Under the light of the full moon, the light from the swords resembled water, the scene like a wave, there was no point in trying to run away again.

    They fought for a period of time, the formation was getting tighter, it was becoming increasingly difficult to dodge within the gaps, and Guo Jing thought, “Why don’t I rush through the formation and make a dash for Chong Yang Palace and see elder Ma and elder Qiu?” He raised his head and faced west, he saw there was twenty, thirty buildings, a few of them had large open spaces, he thought that Chong Yang Palace must be one of them, he then hurried rapidly to the east, and after a few leaps, he turned and ran towards the west.

    The multitude of Taoists saw that he was increasing in speed, a grey blur was within the formation like a star rushing through lightning, it was almost impossible to see where he was, they were dazzled and dazed, and they slowed down. The long bearded Taoist called out, “Everyone be careful, don’t fall into the scoundrel’s trap.”

    Guo Jing was angry, he thought, “They still call me a scoundrel. If this spreads out throughout Jiang Hu, how would I be respected again?” He had another thought, “The formation is led by him, if I aim for him, I then could set up a way to break the formation. He separated his palms, and headed straight for the long bearded Taoist. One thing the formation tries to do is to lure the enemy to attack the one leading the formation, each small formation will use this and come for the east and west, the south attacking the north, the enemy would then fall into their trap. Guo Jing rushed seven, eight steps, before he felt something was wrong, the force pressing him from behind suddenly increased, the two sides were flooding in and coming to attack. He turned around and dodged to the right, the two small formations in front of him all attacked with their swords. The fourteen swords were placed so that the enemy will be forced into a harmful position; there was no place to run, no place to hide. Guo Jing was faced with danger all around him, but he did not panic, only his anger began to rise, he thought, “You still mistake me for some scoundrel, some evil person, Taoists are supposed to be enlightened and merciful, so why is the every stance that is used is aiming to kill the opponent? Unless you must have my life at all costs? And what is this about ‘Quan Zhen sect never harms an opponent without a weapon’?” He slanted his body and escaped, his right leg came out, his left hand came in search of something, he kicked a young Taoist and took his weapon, he saw seven swords came in to his waist from the right, he waved his left hand out, the eight swords clattered, after a sound, each one of the seven swords broke into two pieces in the middle, the sword in his hand was still in perfect condition. The sword that Guo Jing took wasn’t an especially sharp blade, but because he distributed his chi throughout the sword, he was able to use it to shatter the seven swords.

    The seven Taoists gasped, their faces blackened and stood still for a while, the two formations by the side came in immediately and raised their swords protecting each other. Guo Jing saw that the fourteen Taoists were using their left hands to hold on to the right shoulder of the Taoist next to them, the fourteen united the energy into one, he thought, “You want to see how strong my internal energy is exactly?” He waved his long sword, and placed the sword onto the fourteenth Taoist’s sword.

    The Taoist tried to pull away quickly, but the sword in his hand felt as if it were welded together with a copper anvil, unable to pull free. The remaining thirteen Taoists circulated their chi, wanting to use the combined force of the fourteen to repel the enemy. Guo Jing wanted them to do this, as soon as he felt that the force trying to pull free increased, he shouted out, “Take care!” His right arm roused, after an interlude of sound, twelve swords broke as a result of pushing against a seemingly large object. The remaining two swords flew into the air. The fourteen Taoists gasped and were frightened; they quickly jumped away. Guo Jing secretly sighed, “My internal energy has yet to reach its peak, there were still two swords that I was unable to break.”

    After this, the Taoists became even more wary of him, they were more careful in unleashing their moves, although twenty-one Taoists had lost their weapons, they resorted to using their palms, they were able to generate wind with their palms, their power was not weak. While Guo Jing was shattering swords, he wasn’t able to do what he wanted and now he felt the formation’s defence becoming increasingly tighter, he didn’t know what new techniques and formations for the [Big Dipper Formation] that elder Ma and elder Qiu had devised, if the enemy had more advanced formations, it would be difficult for him to deal with, he was afraid that he will not be able to escape the clutches of the Taoists, so he decided to act first right away and shouted out, “My Taoist brothers, if you still won’t give way, then forgive me if I don’t hold back.”

    The long bearded Taoist looked on, he knew that Guo Jing was skilled, and thought that even if Guo Jing was able to shatter all ninety-eight swords, you still won’t be able to escape from our formation. When he heard what Guo Jing said, he laughed coldly and did not reply, and made the formation even tighter.
    Guo Jing shortened his body against the ground and leapt to the northeast, but he saw the two small formations from the southwest coming towards him, he then pointed his sword towards them, in the blink of eye he had unleashed fourteen moves, the fourteen moves all unleashed at the same time, each stance pierced each Taoist’s right wrist on the ‘Positive Valley Point’ (yang gu yue). At the highest levels of swordsmanship, the sword will able to move like wind and flash like lightning, every move accurate to the millimetre, it would be no different to fourteen different concealed weapons firing at the same time. He unleashed the moves lightly, each Taoist had a numb feeling on their wrist, there were no strength in their fingers; the fourteen swords fell onto the ground. Under this shock, the Taoists jumped back quickly, and examined their wounds on their wrist, only to see the wound on the ‘Yang Gu Yue’ was slightly red, there wasn’t a drop of blood, they knew the opposition had use the sword tip to use his pressure point kung fu, he had just touched the pressure point only, their skin was not pierced. The Taoists gasped, and thought although the scoundrel was offensive, he was not ruthless, if he didn’t hold back, he could have harmed our palms without using the slightest effort.

    In this time, thirty-five swords had been forced out of their hands. The long bearded Taoist was very angry, Guo Jing had not even used his best kung fu, he had already made their sect lose so much face, if he managed to break into the palace, the effects would be disastrous, he then gave out an order, defend the formation closely, he wanted the ninety eight Taoists to surround him, and slowly crowd him to death.

    Guo Jing thought, “That Taoist does not know how to repay kindness, its unspeakable, I can only teach them a severe lesson.” He hid his left palm, and pushed his right palm to the left. A formation came and faced the palm. Guo Jing quickly went into the ‘Northern Star Position’, but another formation came to attack. There were fourteen [Big Dipper Formations], there were also fourteen ‘Northern Star Positions’, Guo Jing had no way to separate himself, and could not stand in all of the fourteen important positions at once. He used his lightness kung fu, as soon as he had stepped in the ‘Northern Star Position’ of one formation, he immediately leapt to another ‘Northern Star Position’, he did for a number of times and the formations became disorganised.

    The long bearded Taoist knew something was wrong and gave out an order quickly, he ordered everyone to scatter faraway, reorganise the formations and keep calm, he knew that if everyone went and chased Guo Jing wildly, the way he is moving, he would definitely create disturbances in the formations, but if they didn’t move and just held their position, the fourteen ‘Northern Star Positions’ would be far away from each other, even if Guo Jing was faster, he would not be able to assume the positions.

    Guo Jing gathered himself and thought, “That Taoist knows the important aspects of the formation, sure enough he saw the danger quickly. Now that they are standing still, I could head for the palace.” He then changed his mind, “Actually, better not, elder Ma and elder Qiu are not usually in the palace, otherwise how can it be that I have fought these Taoists for so long and they haven’t noticed.”

    He lifted his head towards the palace, and saw sparks flying around in the corner of the building, someone was fighting with weapons, but because he was faraway, he could not see clearly who was fighting, the sounds of the weapons clashing was also too far to hear.

    Guo Jing suddenly became alarmed, “Who would have the guts to raise their hands in Chong Yang Palace? There must be some reason behind tonight’s events.” He wanted to rush over there to take a close look, but the fourteen [Big Dipper Formation] came in closer and closer. He was in a rush, and with his left palm he unleashed [Seeing the Dragon in the Field] (jian long zai tian) and with his right he used [Overcoming the Dragon with Regret], he used the [Mutual Left Right Combat] technique to do this, and used two separate attacks to the left and right. But he saw that the forty-nine people in the [Big Dipper Formation] on the left blocking this attack, the other forty-nine people in the other [Big Dipper Formation] on the right blocking his attack. Before he has finished unleashing the two moves, he changed them around, the left hand had changed from [Seeing the Dragon in the Field] to [Overcoming the Dragon with Regret], his right hand changing from [Seeing the Dragon in the Field] to [Overcoming the Dragon with Regret].

    With the [Mutual Left Right Combat Technique], he was able to do the hard task of using two different stances at the same time, and then to interchange them in the middle of it; this was something that the Taoists have never seen nor heard of. Originally the formation on the left side was able to resist the [Overcoming the Dragon with Regret], the right was able to resist [Seeing the Dragon in the Field], when the two stances were swapped around, the Taoists on both sides were resisting, they didn’t know that Guo Jing could swap his stances around so easily.

    They then saw a flash as Guo Jing escaped from the formation, the forty-nine people on the left and the forty nine people on the right were pushing forward with all their might, at this moment how could do keep their legs in check? Only for them to hear a loud noise, the two formations collided with each other, swords wounded some from behind, some knocked their noses in front and thirty of them fell onto the ground.

    The long bearded Taoist who was leading the formation managed to dodge quickly and evade harm from the other Taoists, he couldn’t bear what had happened and quickly whistled again, rapidly setting up the formation again, he saw that Guo Jing was heading rapidly for the pond at the foot of the mountain, the Yu Qing Pond (Pure Jade). He led the fourteen formations and chased after him. The Quan Zhen sect’s kung fu was based on calmness and tranquillity, using softness to overcome hardness, letting anger control your actions is breaking one of the major rules of the sect, under anger and fury, it could be said that he was not considering the enemy carefully, he was just reacting to their actions.

    Guo Jing quickly reached the Jade Pond, in front of him the water glistened, he threw his sword out with his right hand, and chopped a coarse branch off a willow tree that was by the pond. He threw away the sword and picked up the branch with both arms, and flung it faraway into the pond. He increased the strength in his legs and his body soared into the air, his right foot touched the branch once and it sank, he used it to reach the shore on the other side. The crowd of Taoists rushed to the pond but they couldn’t stop in time. A splash followed another, as forty, fifty people fell into the pond. The last ten either stepped onto the back of those who had fell in or managed to stop themselves. A few of the Taoists couldn’t swim, and began to struggle in the pond. Those who could swim hurried over to rescue them. By the Pure Jade Pond, the Taoists made a commotion, as they were drenched in water and mud.

    End of Chapter 3
    Last edited by Mojo Jojo; 03-25-05 at 01:20 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
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    Chapter 4

    Under the Teaching of Quan Zhen Sect

    After Guo Jing escaped from the Taoists, he headed swiftly for Chong Yang Palace, when he suddenly heard the ringing of a bell; it was coming from Chong Yang Palace. The sound was urgent; it was the alerting signal. Guo Jing lifted his head to see what was happening, he saw sparks flying in the air, coming from the large courtyard in the back. He thought, “Sure enough, today Quan Zhen sect’s enemies have arrived, I better rush over there to help.”

    He suddenly heard a crowd behind him rushing up, he then understood, “The Taoists must have mistaken for being in cahoots with their enemy, in this danger, no wonder they wanted to fight to the death.” He ignored those behind him, and made his way up the mountain.

    He used his lightness kung fu, in a flash he had moved over one hundred feet, in less than the time to make a cup of tea; he was already at Chong Yang Palace. He saw flames and smoke, the dense smoke was unrestrained, the blaze was fierce, but what was strange was that in Chong Yang Palace are countless Taoists, yet no one had come out and tried to put the flames out.

    Guo Jing was afraid, he saw ten Taoist residencies scattered and untidy throughout the mountain, the flame in the back courtyard was large, but it has yet to breach into the main courtyard, however insults can be heard from there, as well as the clashing of weapons. He leapt up onto a roof, and saw a large group of people battling. He stood still and looked on, he saw forty-nine Taoists dressed in yellow gowns had formed seven [Big Dipper Formations] and were resisting about one hundred enemies. The enemies were all shape and sizes, tall and short, fat and skinny. According to the way they were dressed and the skills they used, it seems to be that they are all from different sects, some used weapons, some used their palms, but they were all attacking the [Big Dipper Formation] from all around. The attackers skills weren’t weak, and they were large in numbers, and eventually the Taoists began to lose. But because the enemy was fighting them separately, the [Big Dipper Formation] allowed them to help each other and was able to defend tightly, though the opponents were strong, they could still resist them. Guo Jing listened carefully, and heard there was breathing sounds in the hall, there were people battling there. From the sounds of the wind generated by the fists in the hall, the skill of the people battling in the hall were superior to those who were fighting outside. He jumped down from the roof, he twisted his body and then made a dash forward, he dodged east and then darted west, he was able to go through the cracks of three [Big Dipper Formations]. The Taoists were alarmed, and tried to follow, but because of the onslaught they were facing, they couldn’t separate and chase him.

    Normally the hall would be lit with ten large candles, but because of the flames from the back courtyard were coming in, it overpowered the light from the candles. He saw that there was seven mats lined up on the floor, seven Taoists were sitting on them, the left palm joined to the next person, their right palm out, resisting that attack of ten people around them.

    Guo Jing ignored the attackers and first studied the Taoists, he saw that there were three old and four young, the old were Ma Yu, Qiu Chu Ji and Wang Chu Yi, he could only recognise one of the four young Taoists and that was Yin Zhi Pin. The seven were sitting in the positions of ‘Tian Shu’ to ‘Yao Guang’ to form the [Big Dipper Formation]; they sat there and didn’t move. In front of the seven was a Taoist lying on the floor, he didn’t know whether he was alive or dead, he saw his hair was white but could not see his face. Guo Jing saw that Ma Yu and the others were in danger, his blood began to boil, he didn’t care who the enemy was and came out in a flash, and shouted out, “How dare you scoundrels, you dare to come and cause trouble in Chong Yang Palace?” He stretched out his hands, and grabbed the back of two attackers, and wanted to throw the attackers out, but he didn’t know that the two were good fighters, their feet stood firm to the ground, and couldn’t be pulled onto the floor. Guo Jing thought, “Where did all these good fighters come from? No wonder Quan Zhen sect feels that today will end in ruin for them.” He let go and swept his legs out. The two were using the [Thousand Kilogram Fall] (qian jin zhui) skill to resist the enemy, but they didn’t predict that he would suddenly change stance, and in a flash, the two soared in midair and crashed through the door.

    The attackers saw that powerful help had come for the Taoists and were alarmed, but they were curious and wanted to know his name, two of them came out and shouted out, “Who are you?” Guo Jing ignored them, two ‘fu’ sounds were heard, as two palms came out. The two were not near Guo Jing’s body, but they were hit by the palm’s power and couldn’t stand still, another two noises were heard as the two crashed against the wall, blood came out of their mouths. The remaining attackers saw that Guo Jing had wounded four of them in one go, they were frightened, and no one dared to confront him.

    Ma Yu, Qiu Chu Ji and Wang Chu Yi recognised whom he was and was delighted, and thought, “Now he’s here, our sect will escape danger!”

    Guo Jing did not even consider the attackers as he knelt down and kowtowed to Ma Yu and said, “Disciple Guo Jing greets you.” Ma Yu, Qiu Chu Ji and Wang Chu Yi nodded and greeted him back. Yin Zhi Pin suddenly called out, “Brother Guo, careful!” Guo Jing heard a noise from behind, and knew someone wanted to ambush him from behind, he pushed against the floor with his arm and elbow, his body in the air, and pushed out his knees and hit the two attackers on their ‘Soul Entrance’ (hun men) pressure points, the two of them fell immediately to the floor.

    Guo Jing remained kneeling down with two mats underneath his knee.

    Ma Yu smiled, and said, “Jing Er rise, I haven’t seen you in ten years, your skills have improved tremendously!”

    Guo Jing got up and said, “I’ll let elder decide on how I should get rid of the others.” Before Ma Yu replied, Guo Jing heard two laughs from behind; the laughs were very strange. He turned around, and saw two people standing there. One was wearing a red gown, his head was shiny, he body lanky, he was a monk. The other wore a light yellow embroidered gown, his hand holding a folded up fan, he was dressed like a wealthy man, and was about thirty, his face carrying an arrogant expression. Guo Jing saw that their breathing was measured and deep, and were completely different to the others; he didn’t dare to be rash. He asked, “Who are you? Why have you come here?”

    The nobleman said, “And who are you? Why have you come here?” His pronunciations weren’t exactly correct; he wasn’t from the central plains.

    Guo Jing said, “I am the disciple of the elders here.”

    The man chuckled, “Who would have thought that there resided a man like this in Quan Zhen sect.” He was younger than Guo Jing by a few years, but he spoke with the air of old man, and with arrogance. Guo Jing did not regard himself as a true disciple of the Quan Zhen sect, but when he heard them speak, he could tell they had a hidden agenda, he didn’t want to speak but under these circumstances he had to say something. “What is the story behind your relationship with Quan Zhen sect? Why have you bought so many people and set the place on fire?”

    The man chuckled again, “You belong to the lower generation of the Quan Zhen sect, how can you speak out.”

    Guo Jing said, “You have come here and have caused trouble, you have been too reckless.” The flames were getting closer, and it wouldn’t be long before the main courtyard is set on fire.

    The man opened his fan and took a step forward, he laughed and said, “I bought those people along, if you can receive thirty stances of mine, I’ll let the old Taoists go, how about that?”

    Gou Jing saw that they were in a urgent situation, he couldn’t linger and hesitate, he stretched out his right hand, and grabbed the man’s fan and pulled it backwards, the man did not let go of the fan, and tried to pull him closer.

    Under this pull, the man wobbled slightly but he held onto his fan. Guo Jing thought, “This man isn’t old, he could actually fend off my pull, the way he circulated his chi was similar to the monk Ling Zhi Shang Ren but compared to Ling Zhi Shang Ren his was more fluent, it appears that he must belong to a sect in the west. The frame of his fan is made of metal, it’s actually a weapon.” He increased the power in his hands and said, “Let go!” The nobleman’s face suddenly turned a shade of purple, but in a second it had disappeared. Guo Jing knew that he had urgently raised his chi to try to resist Guo Jing; Guo Jing too also increased his strength at the same time. He knew that if the man’s face turned purple three times, he would suffer serious internal injuries, but thought that learning this type of kung fu wasn’t an easy task and didn’t want to harm him seriously so he gave a sly smile and let go of the fan.

    The fan was in his palm, the man’s strength began to decrease but Guo Jing had transferred all the power in his palm into the fan and into the opponent’s palm, wanting to neutralize the man’s energy; the man used all strength he had accumulated in his life but he couldn’t transfer any of it into the fan, and was about to lose a hold of the fan. The man realized that the opponent skills exceeded his so he kept a calm face and let go of the fan and jumped back. His face was red, and said, “Please allow me to know your famous name.”

    Guo Jing said, “My name is not worth knowing, just know that elder Ma, Qiu and Wang are my teachers.”

    The man questioned this, and thought that he had just fought with the bunch of Quan Zhen’s old Taoists, if they fought one on one and didn’t rely on the power of the [Big Dipper Formation], they wouldn’t be a match for him, how could a student of theirs be so good, he took another look at Guo Jing to get the measure of him, his face looked ordinary, his clothes were coarse, he looked just like a villager, but he possessed great skills, he said, “Your skills are alarmingly good, I am in awe, I will come again in ten years time and test myself again. I have some unfinished business so I must leave now.” He folded his arms in salute as he said this. Guo Jing held his fist in salute and acknowledged, “We will meet again in ten years time.”

    The man turned around and walked out of the palace. As he was at the door, he said, “The affair between me and the Quan Zhen sect, I have decided to resolve this at a later date. I hope the members of Quan Zhen sect do not take this personally and come searching for me to settle their own private affairs.”

    According to the rules of Jiang Hu, if a person stops pursuing a matter and set a date later on to resolve it, and the persons involved meet during the time period, they must not settle their issues there and then, they must wait for the date.

    Guo Jing heard what he said and replied, “Of course.”

    The man chuckled and he spoke a few words in Tibetan to the Tibetan monk. As he was about to leave, Qiu Chu Ji shouted out, “There is no need for a ten year wait, I, Qiu Chu Ji will come in search for you.” His voice shook the tiles of the roof, demonstrating his profound internal energy. When the man heard this, he shivered, and thought, “That old Taoist’s internal energy is not weak, when I was fighting them a while back, he wasn’t at full strength.” He didn’t dare to linger and quickly dashed through the doors. The Tibetan monk in red stared at Guo Jing with fury, as he and the others left.

    Guo Jing looked at the men, they were all strange looking, they had high noses and deep eyes, they weren’t from the central plains, his suspicions were raised, but he heard the sounds of weapons clashing outside had died down, and knew the enemy were leaving.

    The group of seven including Ma Yu stood up, but the old Taoist who was lying on the floor did not get up. Guo Jing took a look, it was Guang Zhu Zi Hao Da Tong, and knew that though the seven were being affected by the fire, they had remained and sat there without moving, they wanted to protect their own people. He saw that his face was golden; his breaths shallow, his eyes closed and knew that he had suffered a serious internal energy. Guo Jing opened his gown, he gasped as he saw a hand print on his chest, five fingers were spread out, the print was deep purple, it had penetrated inside. He thought, “The enemy’s kung fu is indeed from western Tibet, it’s the [Great Handprint] skill. Although there is no poison on the palm, the power of it is much stronger than Ling Zhi Shang Ren.” He examined Hao Da Tong’s pulse, he was pleased to find that there was still a strong pulse, he had practiced martial arts for many years and had built up a high level of internal energy, his life would not be in danger.

    The fire from the back courtyard was coming closer. Qui Chu Ji picked up Hao Da Tong and said, “Let’s go!”

    Guo Jing said, “Where’s the child that I brought alone? Who took him away? I don’t want him to get harmed by the fire.”

    Qiu Chu Ji and the others were all occupied with fighting the enemy; they didn’t know anything about this. When they heard this they asked, “Whose child is it? Where are they?”

    Before Guo Jing could reply, a dark figure suddenly appeared, a small person jumped down from the beam of the roof and laughed and said, “I’m here.” It was Yang Guo.”

    Guo Jing was delighted, he quickly asked, “Why was you hiding up there?”

    Yang Guo chuckled and said, “You are with the seven rotten Taoists.”

    Guo Jing scolded, “Shut up! Come here quickly and greet the grandmasters.”

    Yang Guo stuck his tongue in and out of his mouth and kowtowed to Ma Yu, Qiu Chu Ji and Wang Chu Yi, when he reached Yin Zhi Pin and saw that he was young, he turned his head around and asked, “He’s not a grandmaster is he? I think I don’t know to kowtow anymore.”

    Guo Jing said, “That is martial uncle Yin, quickly kowtow.” Yang Guo didn’t want to but he still did it. Guo Jing saw that he stood up and didn’t kowtow to the other three, he scolded, “Guo Er, have come you don’t have no manners?”

    Yang Guo chuckled and said, “By the time I’ve finished kowtowing, it’ll be too late, don’t blame me.”

    Guo Jing asked, “Too late for what?”

    Yang Guo replied, “There is a Taoist who is tied up in a room, if we don’t go and save him, I’m afraid he’ll be burned to death.”

    Guo Jing urgently asked, “Which room? Quickly tell us!”

    Yang Guo pointed to the east and said, “I think it’s over there, I don’t know who tied him up.” He laughed after he said this.

    Yin Zhi Pin gave him a glance, and rushed to the eastern double room, he kicked open the door but saw no one, he then ran to the room where the third generation students cultivate their internal energy and opened the door, the room was full of smoke but he saw a Taoist tied to a column crying out, he was in danger. Yin Zhi Pin picked up a sword and cut the rope in half and rescued the Taoist.

    Ma Yu, Qiu Chu Ji, Wang Chu Yi, Guo Jing, Yang Guo and the rest of them left the hall and went up the mountain to a building where they watched the fire. They saw the back courtyard was in flames, the fire lighting up half the sky, there were little sources of water around, only a small spring that was used for everyday purposes, it would be useless to use it to try to put out the fire, they could only look on as the back courtyard was burnt down to ashes. The Quan Zhen students worked together to stop the fire from spreading, the other halls and buildings were not harmed. Qiu Chu Ji was originally blithe and didn’t have a care. But he was also rash and bad tempered, as he saw the fierce flames, he grinded his teeth and cursed.

    Guo Jing was about to ask who the enemy were, and why did they responded in this way when he saw Yin Zhi Pin’s right hand was around a large Taoist’s waist, he had came out from the smoke and flames. The large Taoist was smothered by smoke and continuously coughed up, tears were in his eyes, when he saw Yang Guo he was furious, and jumped towards Yang Guo. Yang Guo chuckled and hid behind Guo Jing. The Taoist did not know who Guo Jing was, he stretched out his hand and pushed his chest, wanting to move him out of the way and grab Yang Guo. But it was like pushing a brick wall; he didn’t move an inch. The Taoist stopped and pointed to Yang Guo and loudly shouted, “You little bastard, you wanted to kill me!”

    Wang Chu Yi sternly said, “Jing Guang, what are you talking about?”

    The Taoist Lu Qing Du was a apprentice grandson of Wang Chu Yi, after he had barely escaped with his life he was furious when he saw Yang Guo he wanted to jump and grab him, he ignored the fact the elders were there, only when he heard Wang Chu Yi call out once more did he realise he was out of order and he broke out in a cold sweat, he bowed his head and drop his hands and said, “Disciple deserves to die.”

    Wang Chu Yi said, “What exactly happened?”

    Lu Qing Du said, “It’s my fault for being useless, I request the elders to punish me.”

    Wang Chu Yi creased his brows and said, “Who said you were useful? I ask you what is this about?”

    Lu Qing Du replied, “Yes, yes. I was ordered by Zhao Zhi Jin martial uncle Zhao to guard the back courtyard, after a while, he came back with the little, little…” He wanted to say ‘Little bastard’, but he knew he couldn’t act out of order in front of the elders again so he changed his words and said, “Little boy and gave him to me, and said he was bought here by an formidable enemy of our sect, martial uncle Zhao had captured him and told me to guide him and don’t let him escape. So I took him to the eastern meditation room, after a while, he tricked me and said he needed the toilet and wanted me to untie him. I thought that he was just a small kid and wasn’t concerned that he would be able to get away so I untied him. I didn’t that he was just sitting on the toilet and pretended to go when he suddenly got up, picked up the bucket and threw the waste content at me.” When Lu Qing Du got to this point Yang Guo burst out laughing. Lu Qing Du angrily shouted, “What are you laughing at?”

    Yang Guo lifted his head, his eyes towards the sky and said, “I want to laugh, what can you do?”

    Lu Qing Du wanted to curse back when Wang Chu Yi said, “Don’t quarrel with the chid, continue.”

    Lu Qing Du said, “Yes, yes. Elder you don’t know, that little boy is very sly and crafty. When I saw the waste coming at me, I quickly dodged out of the way, but he laughed and said ‘Ah, Mr Taoist, you’ve got some on your clothes!’”
    When the crowd heard him impersonate Yang Guo, his voice sounded funny, the others secretly wanted to laugh. Wang Chu Yi creased his brow; he secretly cursed him for acting this way in front of others.

    Lu Qing Du continued, “I was angry, and wanted to go over and beat him, but he raised the bucket and threw it at me. I shouted out ‘Little bastard’ and quickly used [Rapid Flowing Retreat] (ji liu yong tui) and moved out of the way, one of my foot steeped into the waste but after two wobbles I managed to stay on my feet. I couldn’t predict that the boy took advantage of me when I was unsteady and took my sword from my waist and pointed the sword at my chest and said if I moved, he would pierce through my chest. I didn’t want anything to happen to me so I stood still. The boy held the sword with his left hand and with his right hand tied me up to a column, and then stuffed my mouth with a piece of cloth, eventually the room caught fire and I couldn’t move, I couldn’t call out, if it weren’t for martial uncle Yin, would I not have been burnt to death by that boy?” After he said this, he stared furiously at Yang Guo.

    After everyone heard this, they looked at Yang Guo and then looked at the Taoist, one was a small boy, the other a large fat man, they couldn’t help but burst out laughing. When Lu Qing Du heard them laugh out loud, he touched his ear and cheek; he didn’t know what to do with his hands and feet.

    Ma Yu chuckled and said, “Jing Er, is he your son? He takes after your wife, very quick and clever.”

    Guo Jing said, “No, he is my brother Yang Kang’s son.

    Qiu Chu Ji shivered when he heard this, he gave Yang Guo two glances and saw that he did indeed look like Yang Kang. Yang Kang was his first official student, though he wasn’t obedient, yearned for wealth and riches, and acknowledging a scoundrel as his father but every time Qiu Chu Ji goes over this in his mind, he felt that he was to blame for Yang Kang’s behaviour. He didn’t teach him properly and caused him to turn out like that, when he heard that Yang Kang had an heir, he was sad and delighted at the same time, he quickly asked for the details.

    Guo Jing glossed over Yang Guo’s situation, and told them he wanted Yang Guo to study under the Quan Zhen sect. Qiu Chu Ji said, “Jing Er, your martial arts have long exceeded ours, why don’t you teach him yourself?”

    Guo Jing said, “I will tell you everything later. I have offended a lot of Taoist brothers today on the way here, I’m very sorry, I apologise to all the elders, I hope you can forgive me. He held his hands together to those Taoists who he had fought.

    Ma Yu said, “If you didn’t arrive just in time, our sect would have been destroyed. We are not strangers, there is no need to apologise.”

    Qiu Chu Ji brows rose, and after Ma Yu had finished he said to him, “Zhi Jing led the formation outside, he couldn’t tell the difference between friend and foe. I thought it was strange that there was a strong formation placed outside, but when I looked away for a second the enemy managed to break through and attacked us. Huh, so it was him who led the formation away to try to catch you.” His brows squinted, his was livid, he summoned two disciple to him, and asked how could did mistaken Guo Jing for the enemy. The two disciples were frightened and changed colour, the older of the two said, “Apprentice brothers Feng and Wei ran up to us, and said hero Guo had smashed the stone slab at the Everywhere Light temple, and knew that he must have been with the enemy.” Guo Jing remembered the events, and couldn’t believe all the misunderstanding arose from that, he said, “You can’t blame these Taoist brothers. When I was at the Light Everywhere temple, I inadvertently slammed down a heavy palm on the stone slab that had your poem on it, it was because of this that the misunderstanding was created.”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “So it was because of this, what a coincidence. We had already known that the enemy would come today, and they would use the slamming of the rock as a signal.”

    Guo Jing said, “Who were there? How come they were so daring?”

    Qiu Chu Ji sighed and said, “It is a long story, Jing Er, come, I am going to show you something.” He then nodded to Ma Yu and Wang Chu Yi; he turned around and headed for the back of the mountain. Guo Jing turned around to Yang Guo and said, “Guo Er, stay here.” He followed Qiu Chu Ji. He saw him headed for the back of mountain, his steps rapid, like those of a young man.

    The two arrived at the peak of the mountain; Qiu Chu Ji went up to a large stone slab and said, “There are some words written here.”

    It was dark; on the back of the large stones were some words. Guo Jing reached out the back of the stone, and felt that there were some words written on it, he tried to recognise the words, it was a poem: “His will flows under the bridge. Assisting the Han to gain influence, a winding pillar under the sky, wanting to be free to roam, he walked away after succeeding. Raising people and raising books, the price is heavy. Zhong Yang raised Quan Zhen, his wish had been done, the hero’s disposition had gone, clearly marking his separation. Enduring this, the heart lives in a tomb. A person becomes a man of religion, two immortals will meet. Forever on Mount Zhong Nan, a mist will linger.” Guo Jing touched the rock and traced the writing with his fingers at the same time, he was startled, the writing matched the strokes of writing with his fingers, it was as if the writing on the rock was carved on using a finger, he exclaimed, “It was written using a finger?”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “It startles people when they hear this, indeed it was written using a finger!”

    Guo Jing said, “There is such a thing as a god on earth?”

    Qui Chu Ji said, “The poem was written by two people, the two of them are both famous people in the world of wulin. The person who wrote the first part of the poem is a very special person, eloquent in both kung fu and the arts, they had reached that stage with ease, its not a god, but an once in a hundred years outstanding personality.”

    Guo Jing was full of admiration, and asked, “Who was this senior? Could elder introduce me to them so I could meet them.”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “I have never seen that person before. Sit down, I will explain the reasons for today’s events.”

    Guo Jing sat down on the rock and looked on at the fire dying down on the foot of the hill, and said, “It is a pity that Rong Er is not with me, wouldn’t it be great if we could hear this interesting story together.”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “Do you understand the poem?” Guo Jing is now middle aged, but the tone that Qiu Chu Ji speaks in was the same as if he was talking to a young Guo Jing ten years ago, it wasn’t deliberate. Guo Jing understood the meaning and said, “The first part of the poem is talking about Zhang Liang, I have heard his story from Rong Er so I understand a little, he met a old man underneath a bridge and picked up his shoe, the man taught him like his son and taught him the arts. Later he helped to regain the land of the Han and became one of the three heroes, he eventually retired and lived free from care. The latter part is about ancestor Chong Yang, so I don’t know much about that.”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “Do you know what type of person ancestor Chong Yang was?”

    Guo Jing thought for a while and said, “Ancestor Chong Yang was your teacher, he was the one who built Quan Zhen sect, and at the first Mount Wah tournament he was the victor.”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “You are correct, what about when he was younger?”

    Guo Jing shook his head and replied, “I don’t know.”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “ ‘The hero’s disposition had gone, clearly marking his separation’. My teacher hasn’t always been a Taoist. When he was young, he first learnt the arts and then studied martial arts, and was a respected hero in Jiang Hu, but because of his hate for Jin soldiers entering his homeland, ruining his homeland and killing his people, he carried the flag and fought the Jin, he set up a boundary, and managed to do great things in the central plains, but eventually the Jin army broke through, my teacher lost the battles, many soldiers died, and he eventually became a Taoist. He became ‘the living dead’, for a few years he lived in the tomb in our mountain, he didn’t take a step out of the tomb, his meaning was that he was alive but dead, he didn’t want to live under the same sky as the Jin scoundrels, what was called ‘bu gong dai tian’ (will not live under the same sky as one’s enemy) and it was his intention.”

    Guo Jing said, “I understand now.”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “After a few years, an old friend of my teacher’s came and tried to persuade him to leave the tomb and do great things with him again. My teacher was still downhearted, and felt that he couldn’t face his old Jiang Hu friends anymore, and so didn’t leave the tomb. Eight years later, a lifelong rival of my teacher arrived outside the tomb and cursed and insulted him for seven days and for seven nights, my teacher couldn’t stand it anymore and came out of the cave to confront them. Who would have thought that the person gave a laugh and said, ‘You’ve come out know, there is no need to return!’ My teacher was startled at their words, and realised that the enemy had good intentions, they felt it was a pity that someone of his ability would hide themselves in the tomb and tricked him in coming out of the tomb. The two changed the relationship, from enemy into friends, and both re-entered the world of Jiang Hu.”

    When Guo Jing heard about this senior’s actions, he was curious and asked, “Who is this person? Are they in the same class as the four greats Eastern Heretic, Western Poison, Southern Emperor and Northern Beggar?

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “No. When it comes to martial arts, she is above the four greats, but because she is a woman, she doesn’t like to attract attention to other people and so outsiders do not know much about her, even her name was unknown.

    Guo Jing said, “Oh, so it was a girl.”

    Qiu Chu Ji sighed, “That senior was actually in love with my teacher, and wanted to get married to my teacher. That year they kept on arguing and fighting, but it was because the girl wanted to get closer to my teacher but she was a very proud women and didn’t want to be the one to show her feelings first. Eventually my teacher understood but my teacher could not forget that he had to help his country to drive out the enemy, and said, ‘I have not completed my wishes, how could I settle down now?’ My teacher rejected her love and didn’t know what to do. That senior thought that my teacher didn’t respect her feelings and the feud between them restarted. They had been enemies who turned friends but became enemies again due to love, and agreed a date to duel on mount Zhong Nan.”
    Guo Jing said, “There was no need.”

    Qiu Chu Ji replied, “Yes! My teacher knew her feelings and had let her win. Who would have thought the senior’s character was strange, she said, ‘If you let me win, then that means you have even less respect for me’. My teacher could do nothing else but to duel with her. The two then fought each other, a few thousand moves passed, my teacher did not use any powerful moves, and eventually it was hard to pick a winner. The person said, ‘You are not using all your ability to fight, who do you think I am?’ My teacher said, ‘It is hard to pick out a winner from duelling, how about we test our literature skills?’ The person said, ‘Fine. If I lose, I won’t ever see you again so you can be in peace.’ My teacher then said, ‘What do you want if you win?’ The person’s face turned red, and couldn’t reply, she eventually bit down on her teeth and said, ‘You’ve got to give up your living dead tomb for me to live in.’ The person had a hidden meaning behind her demand, if she won, she would live with my teacher and be together. My teacher felt awkward, he knew his martial arts skills were higher than hers slightly, he was forced to beat her otherwise he won’t have any more quiet days so he asked her how are they going to compete. She said, ‘Today we are both tired, we’ll meet again tomorrow night.’ When it was approaching dusk, the two met again. She said, ‘Before we compete, we need to set a rule.’ My teacher said, ‘What rule do you want to set?’ The person said, ‘If you win, I’ll immediately kill myself, I won’t see you ever again. If I win you have to give the Tomb of the Living dead to me, obey me forever and mustn’t question anything; if you don’t, you have to become a man of religion, I don’t care if you become a monk or a Taoist. Whether you become a Taoist or a monk, you will need to build a temple and accompany me for ten years.’ My teacher understood, ‘obey her forever’ means that she wants me to marry her. If I don’t and become a monk or a Taoist, I won’t be able to marry another. But how can I win and watch you kill yourself? It is also hard for me to accompany you for ten years here.’ My teacher hesitated on his decision. The senior excelled in terms of looks and martial arts, my teacher could was touched by her love, but when it comes to getting married, they just weren’t destined to. My teacher thought for a while, and eventually made his decision, and knew she would do what she had said, if she lost she would definitely kill herself, and decided no matter what they competed at he would let her win. He said, ‘Fine, as you said.’ The person said, ‘If we just competed in literature it would be too easy. We’ll write some words on that stone using our finger, whoever writes the best will be the winner.’ My teacher shook his head and said, ‘I’m not a god, how can I use my finger to write on that stone?’ The person said, ‘If I could then you’ll admit defeat?’ My teacher was forced with no other option, he knew that no one on earth could do this and so exploited this and thought of a way so that there will be no winner or loser, and the competition will end. He said, ‘If you’ve got the ability then I’ll admit defeat. If you can’t do it, there is no difference between us and we will not compete anymore.’ The person gave a laugh and said, ‘Fine, get ready to be a Taoist.’ As she said this, her left hand stroked the rock for a while, and after a while she said, ‘What should I write? Ah, the first hero who became a man of religion was Zhang Zi Fang. He gave up his name and wealth, he’s your ancestor.’ She then stretched out her right hand and extended her index finger, and wrote on the stone. My teacher saw her finger touch the rock, and dust flowed from the rock, she had carved a word, he had never been so startled in his life. She wrote the first part of the poem.

    My teacher had lost and had nothing to say, he immediately moved out of the tomb and let her move in, and near the tomb he built a small Taoist temple, it was the predecessor of the Chong Yang Palace.”

    Guo Jing also couldn’t believe it, he extended his finger and traced the writing on the rock, the carvings were indeed written with a finger and said, “That senior’s finger kung fu does indeed frighten people when they hear about it.”

    Qiu Chu Ji and raised his head and laughed out to the sky, “Jing Er, this event could trick my teacher, me and now even you. But if your wife was here, she would not be tricked.”

    Guo Jing opened his eyes wide and said, “Is there some kind of trick involved?”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “Could it be? Who on earth has the best finger kung fu?”

    Guo Jing said, “Of course its Reverend Yi Deng and his [Solitary Yang Finger].”

    Qiu Chu Ji replied, “Yes! But even with Reverend Yi Deng’s finger kung fu, it would be hard for him to accomplish this feat on a piece of wood, how would he be able to do it on a piece of rock? And could someone else achieve this? My teacher became a Taoist and still could not figure out what happened. Later, your father in law Island Master Huang came and visited my teacher, he knew that he was a very intelligent man and so told him the events, and asked him to help. Island master Huang thought for a while and then gave a chuckle, ‘I understand. I have yet to complete this type of kung fu, I’ll come back in one month’s time.’ He laughed as he left the mountain. After a month, Island Master Huang came back and went with my teacher to look at the rock again. When that senior wrote her poem, she ended it with ‘Raising people and raising books, the price is heavy’ her meaning was that she wanted my teacher to have the same fate as Zhang Liang, leave the world and enter religion. Island Master Huang stroked the rock slab with his left hand for a while, his right hand stretched out and extended his finger and wrote a few words, he wrote everything from ‘Zhong Yang raised Quan Zhen’ to ‘Forever on Mount Zhong Nan, a mist will linger’, he wrote to praise my teacher. My teacher saw that the words were deep, and were exactly the same as what happened last time, and was even more startled and thought, ‘Huang Yao Shi’s kung fu is definitely below me, how on earth did he managed to obtain such a powerful finger skill?’ He was suspicious and extended his finger into the rock, he managed to make a hole in the rock.’

    He then led Guo Jing’s hand to where his teacher had made the hole. Guo Jing felt the mark, and put his finger in it, true enough, it was as if someone had made it with their finger. He thought, “Could it be that the rock is especially soft, and not like any other rock?” He generated chi in his finger and pressed into the rock, but he felt his fingertip started to ache, the rock did not move.

    Qiu Chu Ji laughed, “Even the foolish little boy can’t figure it out. Before the woman wrote on the stone slab, her left hand had stroked the rock for a while. She was actually holding a piece of small rock, and made the rock surface soft, within the time it takes to burn an incense stick, the stone slab would remain soft. Island Master Huang saw through the trick, and went away to find a suitable stone to do this and then came back to demonstrate this.”

    Guo Jing didn’t say anything and thought, “My father in law’s intelligence is not below that of that senior, but where is he know?” He missed him a lot.

    Qiu Chu Ji didn’t know what he was thinking and carried on, “When my teacher first became a Taoist, he was still vehement, but as he read more Taoist books, he knew it was meant to be, he became enlightened and decided to spread our sect’s name. When you think about it, if it weren’t for that senior’s plan, Quan Zhen sect will not exist, I will not be here today, and we wouldn’t know where you Guo Jing would be.”

    Guo Jing nodded, and asked, “So what is that senior’s name, and is she still alive?”

    Qiu Chu Ji sighed and replied, “When that senior was in the world of wulin, she was always discreet, very few people actually saw her. Apart from my teacher, I don’t think anyone else knows her name, and my teacher never actually mentioned her name. That senior had passed away before the time of the first mount Wah tournament, otherwise with her martial arts and character, how can it be that she did not appear?”

    Guo Jing nodded his head and said, “It must be. Does she have any descendants?”

    Qiu Chu Ji sighed and said, “All of today’s trouble comes from this point. That senior didn’t take in a disciple during her life; she only had a maid with her. That maid did not enter the world of Jiang Hu, so no one knew about her, but she took in two disciples. The eldest disciple is called Li, you must know about this, in Jiang Hu they call her the ‘Serpent Deity’ Li Mo Chou.”

    Guo Jing gave an ‘ah’ sound and said, “That Li Mo Chou is vindictive and ruthless, so those are her origins.”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “You’ve seen her?”

    Guo Jing replied, “A few months ago, I came across her in Jiang Nan. Her kung fu is at a very high level.”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “You hurt her?”

    Guo Jing shook his head, “No, we didn’t actually meet each other, I only saw how she killed countless women, her ruthlessness have no comparisons, like Mei Chao Feng was when she was alive.”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “It was fortunate you didn’t hurt her, otherwise there’ll be trouble. Her apprentice sister is named ‘Long’.”

    Guo Jing shivered and said, “She is the girl called Long?”

    Qiu Chu Ji face changed colour slightly, and said, “What? You’ve seen her? How did this happen?”

    Guo Jing said, “Disciple has not seen her before. When I was coming up the mountain, the Taoist brothers insulted me and called me a perverted scoundrel, and said I came for the one called Long, this made me confused.”

    Qiu Chu Ji laughed out loud, and sighed at the same time, “Chong Yang Palace took the matter in their own hands. If we didn’t make this error, and created the misunderstanding, not only would the large [Big Dipper Formation] have repelled the attackers, you would have arrived here earlier, apprentice brother Hao would not have been hurt.”

    He saw that Guo Jing’s face was fascinated and continued, “Today is the one named Long’s eighteenth birthday.”

    Guo Jing opened his mouth and said, “Ah, its her eighteenth birthday!” However he did not understand that how could a girl’s eighteenth birthday cause so much trouble.

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “Outsiders do not know her first name so all them troublemakers call her Xia Long Nuu, we’ll call her that as well. One night eighteen years ago, there was the cry of a little baby girl outside Chong Yang Palace, the palace’s disciple came out to take a look, and saw a little baby girl wrapped in a bundle on the floor. It was inconvenient for the palace to take in a baby girl, but Taoists are supposed to be merciful so we couldn’t leave her there, at the time my apprentice brother who was the master of the sect, and I were not on the mountain, before any of the disciples of the palace could do anything, a middle aged woman suddenly came out from behind the mountain and said, “The little baby is unfortunate and pitiful, I’ll take her in!” The disciples couldn’t have asked for more, and so gave the baby girl to her. Later, apprentice brother Ma and I returned to the palace, when they told us about this event, from the description of the woman, we knew she was the maid from the Tomb of the Living Dead. She has met the seven of us a few times before, but we have never spoken. Although we are neighbours, because of our seniors’ relationship, it was difficult for us to talk about it. When I heard that the matter was resolved, I didn’t keep it in my mind. Later, her disciple the ‘Serpent Deity’ Li Mo Chou left the mountain, she was ruthless and vindictive, her martial arts were very high, and caused trouble around the world Jiang Hu. Our Quan Zhen sect requested to talk about this many times, to get her to do something about this. Eventually we didn’t act out in respect of her. We wrote a letter and sent it to the tomb, it was extremely respectful and polite. After we sent the letter, it was like a stone sinking into the sea, she still did not reply, and she tolerated Li Mo Chou’s actions, and didn’t govern her.

    After a few years, one day outside the tomb, we saw a white banner hung on a pine thorn thicket, we knew that the woman had passed away, so the six of us went to the tomb to pay our respects. As we were going through the ceremony, a thirteen, fourteen year old girl emerged from the pine thorn thickets, greeted us and thanked us for the ceremony, and said, “Master had left the world, and has ordered me to tell all you elders that if that person still causes trouble, my master has a plan to punish her, please don’t worry.” When she finished, she turned around and went back inside. We wanted to ask her some questions about this but she had already gone back into the tomb. Our master had made a rule; everyone under the order of Quan Zhen sect must not take one step into the tomb. When she left, we pondered and wondered, our Taoist friend is dead, how could she punish her student? We felt sorry for the little girl and so we sent her food and supplies, but each time she did not touch them, and ordered a servant to return them. She was strange, she was just like her teacher, and her ancestor. But she had a servant to look after her, so we didn’t worry about her. Eventually we all had business to attend to, and we rarely present in the palace, and we didn’t hear anything from the girl. For some reason, news of Li Mo Chou disappeared and she didn’t cause any more trouble. We knew that our Taoist friend had come up with an ingenious plan, and we all were in awe.

    Spring came, me and apprentice brother Wang had to go away to the Shan Xi for some business, we were at a hero’s home in Gan Zhou when we heard a startling news. We heard that one year later, all types of crooks, scoundrels and evildoers would descend on mount Zhong Nan and cause havoc. Mount Zhong Nan is the root of our sect, the reason they’ve come to mount Zhong Nan is to fight our sect, how could we not take precautions? Apprentice brother Wang and I were afraid that the news was unreliable, so we sent out people to investigate, true enough, the news was real. But it wasn’t because they wanted to duel with our sect, but it was to do with Xiao Long Nuu of the Tomb of the Living Dead.

    Guo Jing asked, “She is just a young girl, and has never left the tomb, how did she make enemies with all those people?”

    Qiu Chu Ji replied, “The reasons to all this weren’t related to us and originally we didn’t care. One day when the evildoers started to descend on Mount Zhong Nan, we decided we couldn’t just stand by, so we listened for more news, and discovered that Xiao Long Nuu’s apprentice sister Li Mo Chou started all this business.

    Guo Jing said, “Li Mo Chou?”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “Yes. Her master had taught her martial arts for a few years and had discovered her character was ill, and so said she had completed her training, and ordered her to leave the mountain. When Li Mo Chou’s master was still alive, although she did evil deeds, she was still worried slightly, but when her teacher died, she used the excuse of paying her respects to enter the Tomb of the Living Dead, and tried to expel her apprentice sister. She knew that she had not learnt everything from her master or her sect’s founder, and wanted to come to see if there were any kung fu manuals or manuscripts hidden in the tomb. She knew that there were many booby traps in the tomb, and remembered them. She entered through two sets of doors of the tomb, and by the third one she saw a letter left by her teacher. Her teacher had predicted that she would come back, and left this letter for her and part of the letter said: ‘On a certain year, month, date, it will be your apprentice sister’s eighteenth birthday, when that time comes she will become the leader of this sect. The will also said she should stop her deeds and repent, otherwise no good will come to her. Her teacher was saying that if she didn’t stop her evil ways, her apprentice sister will take on the leadership of the sect and expel her from the sect, killing her in the process.

    Li Mo Chou was furious, and burst though the third set of doors, and fell into the poisonous trap left by her teacher, if it weren’t for Xiao Long Nuu curing her poison, she would have died. She knew that it was lethal and so left the tomb. But now she had failed, would she let it go? Eventually she came back a few times but each time she suffered. At her last attempt, she actually fought with her apprentice sister. Xiao Long Nuu was only fifteen, sixteen years of age at that time, but her skills exceeded that of her apprentice sister’s, if she didn’t let her off, it would not have been a hard task to take her life.”

    Guo Jing interrupted, “I’m afraid that could be just a rumour of the Jiang Hu world.”

    Qiu Chu Ji asked, “Why?”

    Guo Jing replied, “My master hero Ke had fought with Li Mo Chou twice, and said that her skills had their fine points. Even Reverend Yi Deng’s high disciple Wu San Tong lost to her. Xiao Long Nuu has not even reached twenty yet, even if her skills were higher, it would be hard for her to beat Li Mo Chou.”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “That piece of news was heard by apprentice brother Wang from friend of his from the Beggar Clan. Whether Xiao Long Nuu did or did not defeat her apprentice sister, there wasn’t a third witness so no one knows apart from them; I only know that this was what people of Jiang Hu said. Li Mo Chou was upset and jealous that her teacher was biased, and passed on the higher set of skills to her apprentice sister. So she created a rumour, and said that on a certain year, month and date, the one called Xiao Long Nuu who lives in the tomb will have a martial arts competition to decide her marriage.”

    Guo Jing heard about this, he immediately thought about when Yank Kang and Mu Nian Ci met in Yanjing, and gave out a quiet sigh.

    Qiu Chu Ji knew what he was thinking and he too gave a sigh, and said, “She revealed: whoever beats Xiao Long Nuu, not only will they get to marry her, all the riches and kung fu manuals of the sect will be theirs. The evildoers did not know who Xiao Long Nuu was, but Li Mo Chou widely spread the fact that her apprentice sister’s beauty exceeded hers. The ‘Serpent Deity’ is said to be a very beautiful woman, her beauty is very rare within the world of wulin, even women from brothels, very few can compare with her beauty.”

    Guo Jing thought, “What is so special about that? My Rong Er exceeds her beauty over one hundred times.”

    Qiu Chu Ji continued, “Many evildoers of the wulin world lusted after Li Mo Chou. But those who give a prolonged glance, or did not treat her with respect she would immediately punish them, now they hear she had an apprentice sister whose beauty exceeded hers, and had publicly announced that she will have a competition to decide her marriage, so they all thought why not and try their luck?

    Guo Jing was startled and said, “So all those people that were here were in search of marriage. Its no wonder the students of the palace called me a perverted scoundrel.”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “I also heard that the evildoers did not even care about Quan Zhen sect. A large crowd of people descended to mount Zhong Nan, we wanted to intervene and become a needle in their eyes. Apprentice brother Wang and I had received the news, and decided to repel the evildoers, we had gathered all the students of our sect ten days earlier. Apprentice brother Liu and apprentice sister Sun were in Shan Xi and couldn’t return. We arranged to practice the [Big Dipper Formations] and we also sent a letter to the tomb to invite Xiao Long Nuu to the palace. The letter was sent, but there was no reply, Xiao Long Nuu had ignored us.

    Guo Jing said, “So she left the tomb.”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “No. From the top of the mountain and looking downwards, you could see smoke coming out from the tomb everyday. Take a look, it’s over there.” He pointed to the west. Guo Jing followed his finger and looked to the west, but all he could see for ten miles was forest, he did not know where the Tomb of the Living Dead was. He thought about the young eighteen-year-old girl, living in the tomb all the time, if it was Rong Er, she would be bored to death.

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “All our apprentice brothers were set to meet the enemy. Five days ago, the scouts who were sent out came back and discovered who the two most powerful people were from the crowd of evildoers. They had agreed to first meet at the foot of the mountain at the Everywhere Light Temple, and used the smashing of the stone slab as the signal. You inadvertently smashed the stone slab, and frightened people with your strength, it was no wonder my grand disciples made such a commotion.

    The two tyrants names are quite famous, they have entered the central plains this year to shake the world of wulin. You have resided on Peach Blossom Island so you wouldn’t know about the affairs of the outside world. That nobleman is a Mongolian prince, it was said that he is Genghis Khan’s close nephew. Other people call him prince Huo Dou. You’ve lived in the plains of Mongolia for a long time, and you were familiar with the royalty, can you remember meeting anyone like him?”

    Guo Jing quietly repeated “prince Huo Dou”, he recalled his face, but couldn’t remember whose son he could be, but he felt that his face was handsome, proud but also carrying a devious air. Genghis Khan has four sons, the eldest Shu Chi was violent and brave, the second son Cha He Tai was a clever planner, the third prince Wo Kuo Tai is the khan of the Mongols at this moment in time, he was easy going, the fourth prince Tuo Lei was the most humane, when he thinks about it, Huo Dou did not resemble any of the four princes.

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “I’m afraid that a man of his stature coming to create havoc here has an ulterior motive. His kung fu originates from western Tibet; he arrived in the central plains at the beginning of the year. He wounded the three heroes of He Nan, and later on he single-handed killed the seven Lords of Lan Zhou, his name was spread widely throughout the land, we didn’t predict that he would have the nerve to come to our sect and cause trouble. The other Tibetan monk is called Da Er Ba, he has supernatural strength, and his kung fu is from the same school as Huo Dou, it appears that he is the senior apprentice brother. He is a monk, of course he hasn’t come here to get married, he’s come here to aid Huo Dou.

    When the rest of the evildoers heard the two was coming, they remembered the matter of duelling for marriage, years ago in front of a crowd of people, Li Mo Chou had said the tomb contained mountains of treasures, and had countless kung fu manuscripts and manuals, saying there were the formulae to the [Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms], the [Solitary Yang Finger] and numerous others. Although the crooks and scoundrels were unsure, they thought that if they went up to the mountain and open up the tomb, they would be able to get a share of the spoils, about one hundred or so of them came up the mountain. Originally our [Big Dipper Formation] could have easily repelled them away from the foot of our mountain, not allowing them to come through and teach them not to take one step into Chong Yang Palace. We were resisting them when the misunderstanding occurred, there is no need to say anymore.”

    Guo Jing felt very guilty and apologetic, and wanted to say a few words of apology. Qiu Chu Ji waved his hand and laughed, “Letting a laugh out rids your worries, the moon is still in the sky above the western lake. The halls and buildings are just objects, human possessions means nothing, so why worry about them? You have honed your martial arts for the last ten years, could it be that you do not understand the meaning of this?

    Guo Jing laughed and said, “Yes!”

    Qiu Chu Ji laughed and said, “Actually when I saw the back courtyard being burnt down to the ground, I was very angry and furious, but after a while I calmed down. Compared to how calm apprentice brother Ma was, I am nowhere as enlightened as he is.”

    Guo Jing said, “You can’t blame yourself for getting angry at all those crooks and scoundrels.”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “As the you fought with the main [Big Dipper Formation], the two tyrants led a pack of scoundrels and took advantage of the situation and led them to Chong Yang Palace. As soon as they arrived, they set fire to the buildings; apprentice brother Hao led a formation out against prince Huo Dou. He was wary of Huo Dou’s skills as it was very strange. Apprentice brother Hao was careless and rash when he was fighting him, and ended up being struck in the chest. We set up a formation to protect him. Without apprentice brother Huo in the formation we had to replace him with students whose skills were much inferior, thus the power of the formation was reduced and limited. If you didn’t arrive just in time, today would be the day where Quan Zhen sect would have been destroyed. When I think about it, even if the other students didn’t mistake you for the enemy, though they would be able to stop all the scoundrels and crooks from entering the mountain, they would not be able to stop Da Er Ba and Huo Dou. If the two combined together and attacked our formation, we would not have lost, but we definitely would not have defeated them as quickly and as spectacularly as you did.”

    As he said this, they heard a sound from the west; someone was blowing a horn. The horn sound was pleasant and relaxing, as Guo Jing listened, he imagined himself back in the Mongolian plains, looking out at the yellow sands of Mongolia, giving out a beautiful glow.

    After a while, he heard that an intent to kill was beginning to emerge from the sounds of the horn, as it was trying to invite someone for a duel.

    Qiu Chu Ji’s face turned angry and shouted out, “Evildoer, evildoer!”

    He looked at the forest to the west and said, “Jing Er, you and that scoundrel has set a ten year date; you are going to meet again in these ten years, I advise to you not to intervene. Is there such a sincere and honourable thing under heaven? Let’s go!”

    Guo Jing said, “It is prince Huo Dou?”

    Qiu Chu Ji replied, “It is him. He is trying to get Xiao Long Nuu to duel with him.” While saying this, he was already flying down the mountain. Guo Jing followed.

    The two travelled for about a mile, when they heard the horn sound was getting closer, but within the sound of the horn, they could make out the sound of a weapon was being used; it was Da Er Ba.

    Qiu Chu Ji was angry and said, “How can two martial artists gang up and bully a young girl, they really don’t care about face.” He increased his efforts and sped up. In a flash, the two were at the foot of the hill, passing a stone slab. All Guo Jing could see in front of him was a black forest. Outside the forest stood one hundred short and tall scoundrels and crooks, it was the same people who had just attacked Chong Yang Palace. The two of them hid behind the stone slab, surveying their actions. They saw prince Huo Dou and Da Er Ba get up. Prince Hua Dou raised his horn and blew. Da Er Ba raised a large golden pestle (rod shaped object used for crushing) with his left hand. He tapped the golden bracelet on his right wrist with the pestle, and created a noise, the two noises combined, wanting to draw out Xiao Long Nuu. The two did this for a while, but no sounds came from the forest.

    Huo Dou put down his horn, and clearly said, “I am Mongolia’s Prince Huo Dou; I have come to congratulate Xiao Long Nuu on your birthday.”

    As he finished, three sounds from a zither was heard, it was Xiao Long Nuu replying with her zither. Hu Dou was happy and said, “It is known far and wide that Miss Long will have a duel to find a husband, I have dared to come forward, and meet this challenge, I ask Miss Long to make your move. A resounding sound was suddenly heard from the zither, clearly showing signs of anger. The rest of the crowd didn’t moved, they could hear from the zither notes the intent of the player, wanting them to leave. Huo Dou chuckled and said, “I am from a affluent family, handsome, sincere and willing, I wouldn’t dare to offend. Miss Long is a heroine on the world, please don’t be shy.”

    When he finished, the sound of the zither soared, a note of reproving could be heard from within the sound. Hou Dou glanced at Da Er Ba, the monk nodded. Huo Dou said, “If miss does not show herself, then I will have to enter.” He then picked up his horn, waved his right hand and leapt into the forest. The crowd of people also went forward, and all thought, “Even the famous Quan Zhen sect could not stop us, Xiao Long Nuu is alone and is just a young girl, aren’t we overdoing things?” But they were all thinking about getting to the treasure first and ignored this, pushing and shoving they entered the forest.

    Qiu Chu Ji shouted out, “This place is Quan Zhen sect’s ancestor Chong Yang’s old residence, quickly leave.”

    When the crowd heard this, they were all startled, but their feet didn’t stop moving forwards.

    Qiu Chu Ji was angry and said, “Jing Er, let’s use force!” the two emerged from behind the stone slab and was about to enter the forest, but they suddenly heard the cries of the crowd of people, and were dashing out of the forest.
    Qiu Chu Ji and Guo Jing stopped, they saw tens of people flying out of the forest, even Huo Dou and Da Er Ba came flying out, they were rushing out much quicker than they did when they were forced away from Chong Yang Palace. Qiu Chu Ji and Guo Jing wondered, “What method did Xiao Long Nuu used to drive these people away?” As they wondered, they suddenly heard the sounds of something approaching quickly, under the moonlight they saw a collection of white and grey blurs emerging from the forest, and were jumping onto the heads crowds of evildoers.

    Guo Jing asked, “What is that?” Qiu Chu Ji shook his head and did not reply, and looked closer, some of the people who were running slower were being pounced on the things, they immediately dropped down onto the floor, holding their heads and screaming out.

    Guo Jing was startled and said, “It’s a swarm of bees, why are they white?” As he said this, a swarm of jade coloured bees stung five, six people. In front of the forest were ten people who were rolling about on the floor, crying and screaming out, it would have sent shivers down the backs to those who could hear them. Guo Jing thought, “It does hurt if you get stung by a bee, but there is no need to cry out like that, could it be that the Jade bee’s poison is very potent?” He saw a grey image flying towards him, the Jade bees were like smoke, and were pouncing onto Guo Jing and Qiu Chu Ji. The bees were ferocious and it was hard to repel them, Guo Jing wanted to turn around and escape, Qiu Chu Ji circulated chi through his ‘dan tian’, and blew out through his mouth at the bees that was coming towards him. The swarm of bees were flying forwards fiercely, when they met the fierce gust of wind they were pushed back. Qiu Chu Ji’s first breath finished and sent out a second one. Guo Jing has learnt this type of skill, and then followed, he and Qiu Chu Ji created a gust of wind. The skills they used were advanced orthodox skills, the swarm of bees could not resist and flew past the two and chased after Huo Dou and Da Er Ba.

    The people who were rolling along on the floor were crying out in mercy, calling out for their fathers and mothers, and sobbing uncontrollably. Someone said, “I’m sorry, I beg goddess Xiao Long Nuu to save my life!”

    Guo Jing was startled, “He is a member of Jiang Hu world, even if his arm or leg was chopped off, he may not call out in pain. How can just a little sting by a bee be so lethal?”

    Suddenly the sound of the zither was heard from the forest, accompanying it was a white mist. Guo Jing and Qiu Chu Ji could smell the scent of an extremely sweet and fragrant flower. After a while, the sounds of the bees came closer, the bees sensed the aroma and returned to the forest, it was Xiao Long Nuu who had created the scent to order the bees back.

    Qiu Chu Ji and Xiao Long Nuu had been neighbours for eighteen years but he didn’t know that she has such skills, he was in awe but also felt amused, and said, “If we knew our fragrant neighbour was so prepared, Quan Zhen sect should have never been so nosy.” Although he was talking to Guo Jing, he had said it with his chi and wanted Xiao Long Nuu to hear it. The music from the forest changed, gentle and peaceful, the sense of appreciation was hidden within the music. Qiu Chu Ji laughed out loud, and said clearly, “Miss, there is no need for all this. Old Taoist here and disciple Guo Jing wishes you well on your birthday.” Two notes were heard from the zither and then nothing more was heard.

    Guo Jing felt that within the calls were a sense of sorry and pity and said to Qiu Chu Ji, “Elder, why did she save them?”

    Qiu Chu Ji replied, “Miss Long makes her own decisions, let’s go.” The two turned around and headed east, on the way, Guo Jing once again requested Qiu Chu Ji to accept Yang Guo into Quan Zhen.

    Qiu Chu Ji sighed, “Your godfather Yang Tie Xin was a great hero, how could he have no descendants? I played a part in the downfall of Yang Kang. Don’t worry, I will do my best and teach the boy how to be a good person.”

    Guo Jing was pleased, and got down on his knees to say thanks. The two chatted away as they reached Chong Yang Palace; the sky had now begun to get bright. Many Taoists were clearing up the back courtyard and tending to the damages.
    Qiu Chu Ji summoned a group of Taoists to meet Guo Jing, and pointed out to the bearded Taoist who had led the [Big Dipper Formation] against him and said, “That is apprentice brother Wang’s first disciple, his name is Zhao Zhi Jing. Out of all the third generation disciples, his kung fu is the highest, we’ll let him teach Guo Er kung fu.”

    Guo Jing had exchanged hands with that person, and knew his kung fu was high, and he was pleased, and ordered Yang Guo to undergo the custom of greeting a new master to Zhao Zhi Jing, and he himself apologised to Zhao Zhi Jing. Guo Jing remained on mount Zhong Nan for a few days, and repeatedly gave advice to him, and after saying goodbyes to him and the Taoists, he returned to Peach Blossom Island.

    Qiu Chu Ji remembered years ago when he taught Yang Kang kung fu, and let him do as he pleased in the palace. Eventually this led Yang Kang to make wrong choices and thought, “Being strict will give a good student, and being harsh will bring a filial son. I must be strict and keep a close eye on Guo Er, otherwise he will follow the same road as his father.” He then summoned Yang Guo, and then gave him a stern talking to, and told him he will have hardships ahead, he must listen to every word that his master says, and must not be lazy.

    Yang Guo did not even want to be on mount Zhong Nan, and for no reason he was given a strict scolding, he was angry, he held in his tears and didn’t reply, when Qiu Chu Ji left he let out a cry and sobbed.

    Suddenly a voice from behind coldly said, “What’s the matter? Has martial grandmaster wronged you?”

    Yang Gou was startled; he stopped crying and turned around only to see his master Zhao Zhi Jing, he quickly dropped his hands and said, “No.”

    Zhao Zhi Jing said, “Why did you cry?”

    Yang Guo said, “I was thinking about uncle Guo and became sad.”

    He had just heard Qiu Chu Ji giving a stern scolding to him, now Yang Guo is saying it is because he misses Guo Jing, he wasn’t convinced and thought, “He is so crafty already at such a young age, if I don’t punish him now, how could he change?” He then shouted, “You dare to lie to your master?”

    Yang Guo had seen Guo Jing had beaten the Taoists so spectacularly and convincingly, and had seen Qiu Chu Ji and the others being forced back onto their hands and feet by Huo Dou and the evildoers, they depended on Guo Jing to save them, he had already made up his mind on Quan Zhen kung fu being nothing but ordinary. He didn’t respect Qiu Chu Ji, what about Zhao Zhi Jing? Guo Jing had neglected to explain to him that Quan Zhen sect’s kung fu was orthodox and profound, years ago Wang Chong Yang’s kung fu was the best in the world, other family’s and other sect’s best fighters could not compare. The reasons for what he saw was not because of Quan Zhen sect’s kung fu was useless, but because the group of Taoists who he had seen fighting had not practised enough. Yang Guo then believed that it must be because that the Guo couple did not want to him as a disciple, and just gave him to anyone to learn martial arts, he had seen with his own two eyes that the Taoists swords had been forced out of their hands, even if Guo Jing explained, Yang Guo would not believe it. He saw that his master’s expression wasn’t pleasant, and thought, “I only became your disciple because I had no choice, even if I learned everything you knew, what use would it be? Why are you acting like you are in charge?” He didn’t reply.

    Zhao Zhi Jing was angry, his voice became even louder and said, “I asked you a question, you dare to not reply?”

    Yang Guo said, “Whatever master wants me to say, I’ll say it.”

    Zhao Zhi Jing heard that he was disrespectful, he could not hold his temper anymore, a slapping sound was heard; he had hit him across the face and left a deep red mark. Yang Guo cried out, and began to cry and quickly ran away. Zhao Zhi Jing quickly followed and caught him, and asked, “Where are you going?”

    Yang Guo said, “Let go of me, I don’t want to learn from you.”

    Zhao Zhi Jing was irate and shouted, “Bastard, what did you say?”

    Yang Guo immediately became bold, and shouted, “Rotten Taoist, you dog, you can kill me!”

    A disciple master relationship was looked upon as very significant, in the world of wulin, a disciple master relationship was the same as a father son relationship, if the master wanted to kill the student, the disciple would not dare to disobey. Yang Guo had dared to insult his teacher, it was a rarely seen and rarely heard event, it was treason and heresy. Zhao Zhi Jing face turned yellow, he raised his hand and wanted to give him another slap. Yang Guo suddenly jumped up, and grabbed his arm, and bit on his right index finger. After Yang Guo had received Ou Yang Feng’s method to practise internal energy, he would practise it occasionally, he now had a decent foundation. Zhao Zhi Ji was angry, and didn’t have his guard up against a small child; being grabbed onto and fiercely bitten, he couldn’t move and his finger was in pain, he couldn’t endure it. Zhao Zhi Jing raised his left fist and heavily hit Yang Guo on the shoulder, and shouted, “Do you want to die? Let go!” Yang Guo was furious, even if he were threatened by swords and spears he would not let go, but he felt pain in his shoulder, his teeth bit even harder, a ‘ka’ sound was heard, he had bitten through the bone. He shouted, “Ah!” and fiercely threw a left fist at Yang Guo’s head, and made him faint; he opened his jaw and took out his right index finger. He saw his hand was full of fresh blood, his finger snapped in half, though he managed to fix his finger back into place, his finger would not have the strength that it used to have, this will affect his kung fu, he became furious and kicked Yang Guo a few times.

    He ripped some cloth of Yang Guo’s sleeve, and wrapped it around his wound. He took a look around, it was lucky that no one was around, he thought that if someone saw this, it would be spread throughout the Jiang Hu world that Quan Zhen’s Zhao Zhi Jing’s finger was bitten off by his little disciple, he would lose all his respect. He then went and filled a basin with cold water and splashed it over Yang Guo to wake him up. When Yang Guo woke, he was like a madman and wanted to fight again. Zhao Zhi Jing grabbed his chest and shouted, “Animal, you really don’t want to live do you?”

    Yang Guo shouted, “Scoundrel, rotten Taoist, calling me an animal, after being beaten to the ground by my uncle Guo and eating faeces off the floor, begging for mercy won’t have use for your descendants, you’re the animal!”

    Zhao Zhu Jing extended his right palm and hit him again. He put his guard up, if Yang Guo wanted to attack him, how could he get near? In the wink of an eye he kicked him a few times. If Zhao Zhi Jing wanted to hurt him, it would be too easy, but he remembered that Yang Guo was his disciple, if he hurt him badly, how would he answer if my master or martial uncles asked about it? Yang Guo ferociously attack, as if Zhao Zhi Jing was his most hated person in the world, although he was punched and kicked, and couldn’t bear the pain, he did not intend to back down.

    Zhao Zhi Jing punched and kicked him, though in his heart there was some feeling of regret, he saw that although he was wounded all over, he became bolder as he fought, in the end he had no other choice but to stretch out his left finger and touched the side of his body, and sealed his pressure point. Yang Guo lied down on the floor and wasn’t able to move, his eyes full of hate and fury.

    Zhao Zhi Jing said, “You ingrate, do you submit now?” Yang Guo stared at him, with no intent to submit. Zhao Zhi Jing sat on a rock and recovered his breath. It was as he had just duelled with a highly skilled opponent, fighting until he was out of breath, at the moment it wasn’t because that his arms and legs were tired, it was because he was troubled.

    One disciple, one master; both looked at each other angrily, Zhao Zhi Jing tried to think of a good punishment for the rebel child, in the middle of his thoughts, he suddenly heard the bell ringing, it was the leader calling to gather the students. Zhao Zhi Jing was startled; he turned to Yang Guo and said, “If you don’t cause anymore trouble, then I’ll let you go.” He extended his finger and unsealed his pressure point. Yang Guo immediately jumped up and leapt up at him. Zhao Zhi Jing stepped aside two steps, and said, “I won’t hit you, how about that?”
    Yang Guo said, “You won’t ever hit me again?” Zhao Zhi Jing heard the bell ringing was becoming urgent, and didn’t dare to procrastinate and said, “If you are obedient, why should I hit you?”

    Yang Gou said, “Fine, if you won’t hit me, I’ll call you master. If you hit me again, I won’t ever acknowledge you are my master.”

    Zhao Zhi Jing was angry, but he put on a smile and nodded his head, and said, “The leader is summoning everyone, quickly follow me.” He saw that Yang Guo’s sleeve was ripped, his face swollen, he was afraid that someone will ask what happened so he neatened him up, took his hand, and quickly went to the assembly at the front of the palace.

    Zhao Zhi Jing and Yang Guo arrived, and both went into their respective groups. Ma Yu, Qiu Chu Ji and Wang Chu Yi were sitting in front of them. Ma Yu clapped his hand three times, and the clearly said, “Elder Chang and the Sage of Tranquillity has sent news from Shan Xi, and said the business they are attending to have become really troublesome. My two apprentice brothers and I have decided that elder Eternal Spring (Qiu Chu Ji) and elder Shining Jade (Wang Chu Yi) will take along ten disciples and will immediately set off to rendezvous with them.” The rest of the Taoists all looked at each other, some were startles, and others were excited. Qiu Chu Ji then called out the names of ten disciples, and then said, “Everyone get prepared, you will leave with elder Shining Jade and I first thing tomorrow. The rest of you are dismissed.” The Taoists were dismissed, they quietly discussed the news among themselves. “That Li Mo Chou is just a woman, how powerful can she be? Even elder Eternal Life martial uncle Liu can’t handle her? Another said, “Isn’t the Sage of Tranquillity martial uncle Sun a woman? There are capable woman, don’t be surprised.” Another Taoist said, “Now elder Qiu and elder Wang are going, that Li Mo Chou won’t be able to do anything.”

    Qiu Chu Ji went over to Zhao Zhi Jing and said to him, “Originally I wanted to take you along, but I’m worried that Guo Er’s progress in martial arts will suffer, so you will stay here.” He then saw the wounds on Yang Guo’s face, and was startled, and said, “What’s this? Who have you been fighting with?”

    Zhao Zhi Jing was afraid, he knew that if martial uncle Qiu found out what happened, he would be severely scolded at, he looked at Yang Guo and signalled to him with his eyes. Yang Guo had already decided what to do, when he saw the worried expression on Zhao Zhi Jing, he didn’t let him know what he was doing and didn’t respond to his pleas.

    Qiu Chu Ji sternly said, “Who hit you like this? Who did this? Quickly tell me.”

    Zhao Zhi Jing heard that martial uncle Qiu voice was becoming sterner, and became even more scared.

    Yang Guo said, “I wasn’t in a fight, disciple tripped over and fell down a ditch.”

    Qiu Chu Ji didn’t believe him, and said, “You are lying, how could you trip over for no reason? The wounds on your face aren’t from falling over.”

    Yang Guo said, “Just now, grandmaster told me to learn martial arts diligently.”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “Yes, what about it?”

    Yang Guo said, “After grandmaster had left, disciple thought that what you said was right, disciple must work harder that ever before, and must not disappoint the hopes that grandmaster has in me.” His pleasant words pleased and calmed down Qiu Chu Ji and he gave out a grunt. Yang Guo continued, “Suddenly a mad dog came out of nowhere, and for no reason leapt at me and started to bite, disciple tried to kick him away but he became more and more fierce. Disciple tried to turn around and run, I was careless and fell down a ditch. It was lucky that my teacher arrived, and rescued me.”

    Qiu Chu Ji listened, and then looked at Zhao Zhi Jing, signalling to him asking if it was the truth. Zhao Zhi Jing was startled and thought, “How dare he, how dare the little bastard, calling me a mad dog.” But in this situation he had no choice but to help him lie, he nodded his head and said, “It was I who saved him.”

    Qiu Chu Ji believed him, and said, “After I’ve left, teach him our sect’s kung fu well, every ten days, your martial uncle, our leader will test him.” Zhao Zhi Jing did not want to do this at all, but he couldn’t refuse an order from his martial uncle, and could only agree. Right now, Yang Guo was busy being pleased with himself for making Zhao Zhi Jing call himself a mad dog, and didn’t really digest what his grandmaster was saying. After Qiu Chu Ji had walked away about twenty paces, Zhao Zhi Jing’s blood rose to the surface, and he couldn’t resist and raised his hand, he wanted to hit Yang Guo across the face again.

    Yang Guo shouted out, “Grandmaster Qiu!”

    Qiu Chu Ji was startled and turned around, asking, “What’s the matter?”

    Zhao Zhi Jing’s hand was in midair, he did not dare to hit out, he was caught in an embarrassing situation and he reluctantly pulled his arm back and scratched the hair by his temples.

    Yang Guo ran towards Qiu Chu Ji, and said, “Grandmaster, after you’ve left, there will be no one to look after me, there are many martial uncles who wants to hit me.”

    Qiu Chu Ji’s faced changed and shouted, “Rubbish! Is there such a thing?” On the outside he appeared strict, but he was worried inside, he thought about how hard it is for an child to be on his own and clearly said, “Zhi Jing, you take good care of him, if anything happens, I’ll be asking after you.” Zhao Zhi Jing could only accept.

    After supper, Yang Guo slowly walked towards the room where his master was residing, and shouted out, “Master!”

    It was the time of day when they were refining the kung fu, Zhao Zhi Jing had already sat on his couch for half a day thinking, “That child is very mischievous, if I don’t tame him quickly, when his martial arts are high, who else could restrain him? But martial uncle Qiu and master ordered me to teach him kung fu, if I don’t teach him then I am not following orders.” He kept searching in his mind but couldn’t think of anything, he saw Yang Guo entering the room slowly, his eyes lit up, he gave a laugh in an ostentatious manner as he thought of a plan, “I’ve got it, he doesn’t know anything about our sect’s martial arts, I’ll just teach him the formula to our sect’s skills, I won’t teach how to practise it. Even if he remembers the few hundred sentences of the formulae what use is it to him? If master or the martial uncles ask about this, I’ll push the blame away and say it was his fault for not working hard enough.” Now his mind was made up, with a kind and pleasant expression he said to Yang Guo, “Guo Er, come here.”

    Yang Guo said, “Are you going to hit me?”

    Zhao Zhi Jing said, “I’m going to teach you kung fu, why should I hit you?”

    Yang Guo saw that he was lively, and had come out with a surprise, he slowly entered, his was on his guard, afraid that he has some evil scheme. Zhao Zhi Jing pretended nothing was going on and said, “Our Quan Zhen sect’s kung fu is learnt from within to the outside, it is very different to other types of kung fu. I am now going to pass onto you the formula of our sect’s internal energy, you must remember it clearly.” He then passed on the formulae to the sect’s internal energy theories, and recited a segment.

    Yang Guo just listened to it once, and had already remembered it, and thought, “That old goat hates me, why would he teach me real kung fu? He’s probably trying to make a fool out of me and teach me some useless fake formulae.”

    After a while, he pretended to forget, and asked Zhao Zhi Jing to repeat it again. Zhao Zhi Jing repeated it again.

    The next day, Yang Guo asked his teacher again, and heard that it was exactly the same as it was the day before, he then believed they were real, if the formulae were made up, then it would be impossible that every single word were the same when repeated three times.

    Ten days passed this way, Zhao Zhi Jing only taught him the formulae, and did not say one word on how to practise them. On the tenth day, Zhao Zhi Jing took him to Ma Yu, and said that he has taught him their sect’s formulae for practising internal energy, and told Yang Guo to recite it to grandmaster. Yang Guo recited the whole thing; he didn’t say one word wrong. Ma Yu was pleased, and praised him for being so clever. He was a kind and generous Taoist, a gentleman; he would never have thought that Zhao Zhi Jing had such a scheme.

    Summer went and autumn arrived, autumn passed and winter came, a few months passed in the wink of an eye. Yang Guo had memorised a stack of formulae, but he had not learnt an ounce of kung fu, he has not improved his martial arts or his internal energy ever since he has been at the mountain. A few days after he first began to remember and recite the formulae, he knew that his teacher was making a fool out of him, but he didn’t dare to complain, but he had no other ideas, the headmaster of the sect was peaceful and soft hearted, if he told him, he would only reproach Zhao Zhi Jing a few words, he was scared that the old goat would conjure up some other plan to torture him, he could only wait for his grandmaster to come back before he could do anything. But after many months, Qiu Chu Ji had still not returned. It was fortunate that Yang Guo did not respect the martial arts of the Quan Zhen sect, he didn’t care if he learnt them or not, but because Zhao Zhi Jing had used such a plan, he hated him even more, but Yang Guo didn’t want to suffer for no reason so he pretended to be even more respectful to him.

    Zhao Zhi Jing felt pleased with himself and thought, “You caused offence to your master, in the end who suffers?”

    Time passed and it was soon the last month of the lunar year, a custom that has been passed down by Wong Chong Yang requests that in the three days on the eve of the new year, all the sect’s students will spar with each other, testing how much each student has advanced in the last year. Every student knew the date was approaching, and each one of them trained non-stop.

    On the day of the celebration, the students of the Seven Masters of Quan Zhen had their own competitions, forming several small competitions. The students formed seven groups, the disciples and grand disciples of Ma Yu forming one group, Qiu Chu Ji, Wang Chu Yi and the others disciples and grand disciples formed the others. Although Tan Chu Duan was dead, his disciples and grand disciples still flourished and formed a group. Ma Yu, Qiu Chu Ji and the others often thought about his early death, and so would pay special attention to his students, because of this, at each year’s duel, the students of Tan Chu Duan would not lose to the other students.

    After this year’s incident at Chong Yang Palace, where the Quan Zhen sect were almost overthrown, all the students thought that although the sect’s kung fu is famous throughout the world for its orthodox style, they became a good challenge for many schools and sects, the title they have is highly dangerous, so everyone trained harder than ever before.

    Wong Chong Yang founded Quan Zhen sect, and he was the sect’s first generation. May Yu and the seven of them were his disciples, and they made up the second generation. Zhao Zhi Jing, Yin Zhi Pin, Cheng Yao Jia are the students of the seven, and they formed the third generation. Yang Guo was therefore in the fourth generation of the sect.

    After the morning, the Shining Jade elder’s students who included Zhao Zhi Jing and Cui Chi Fang and others assembled in the southeastern plain, where they duelled with each other. Wang Chu Ji was not present, so his eldest student Zhao Zhi Jing was in charge of the proceedings. The fourth generation students demonstrated their punches and kicks, then with swords and spears, after that they performed with projectiles and finally showed off their internal energy, with Zhao Zhi Jing and the other third generation students in the group were the judges.

    Yang Guo was the last one to enter the sect out of all of them; he sat by the side and watched. He saw Taoists who were older than him, some who were about the same age as him and others who weren’t Taoists demonstrate impressive skills, but he wasn’t envious, instead he was full of hate. Zhao Zhi Jing saw that something was up with him, and wanted to make a fool out of him again, and so waited for two Taoists to finish competing with projectiles and then called out, “Come here Yang Guo!”

    Yang Guo stopped for a second and thought, “You haven’t taught me an ounce of martial arts, why are you calling me out?” Zhao Zhi Jing called out again, “Yang Guo, come here now!”

    Yang Guo had no choice but to walk to where there were sitting, and then made a bow and said, “Disciple Yang Guo hereby greets teacher.”

    Quan Zhen sect was made up mostly of Taoists, but there were some members who were like Yang Guo and not Taoists, and so he performed the greeting for these members.

    Zhao Zhi Jing pointed out to the Taoist in the arena who had just won and said, “He’s only a few years older than you, you go and compete with him.”

    Yang Guo said, “Disciple does not know any martial arts, how can I compete with apprentice brother?”

    Zhao Zhi Jing scolded, “I’ve taught you for half a year, how can you say you don’t know any martial arts? What have you been doing for the last few months?”

    Yang Guo had nothing to say and hung down his head.

    Zhao Zhi Jing said, “You are lazy and mischievous, you don’t practise, of course your punches and kick will become rusty. I ask you ‘What use is there to study the scheme of life? The heart dies, and passion with it.’ What are the next two lines?”

    Yang Guo replied, “The pure air fills the tools of movement; The light of the soul shines brilliantly on the body.”

    Zhao Zhi Jing said, “Correct, I ask you again ‘The teacher passes on the secret and comprehended at first; Eventually there is no me.’ What are the next two lines?”

    Yang Guo replied, “Every year the dust is grinded to the end; One side of the soul becomes dazzles to emptiness.”

    Zhao Zhi Jing gave a wry smile, and said, “Very good, not one word wrong. Go and use those formulae, enter the arena and compete with your apprentice brother.”

    Yang Guo was startled once again, and said. “I won’t.”

    Zhao Zhi Jing was pleased with himself, his face was furious and he shouted, “You’ve learnt the formulae but don’t practice and only make up excuses, go down to the arena now.”

    Within those few lines are the most important ideas in cultivating internal energy, teaching that the heart must be calm, refining the chi, but each line needs a fist or kick to accompany it, only then will a set of Quan Zhen sect’s fist will be formed. The rest of the Taoists heard Yang Guo reciting the formulae with their own ears, and not one word out of place, and knew that he was scared of competing, and tried to encourage him by ridiculing and laughing mockingly. The students of Quan Zhen sect are all good people, but after their battle with Guo Jing where the Taoists were beating to the ground, he had offended many people, many of them shifted their anger onto Yang Guo, and wished misfortune on him, although they might not have really meant it, they just wanted a way to vent their anger.

    Yang Guo saw many people were urging him on, some were saying harsh words to get at him, he couldn’t control his anger and made a decision and thought, “Today, I’m not going to care what happens to me.” He then jumped into the arena, and moved his arms, running straight into the young Taoist. The Taoist saw that he didn’t show respect for the opponent, and not following the sect’s rules by politely requesting a duel; he was shocked. He saw that Yang Guo was running around and fighting like a madman, he was startled and moved back a few steps. Yang Guo had already decided to disregard his own life and ferociously attacked, every step going forward. The young Taoist moved back a few steps and saw that Yang Guo’s lower body was unstable, he slanted his body and threw a kick, the stance [Sweeping Wind Descending Leaves] (feng sao luo ye), and swept his leg. Yang Guo didn’t know how to dodge, he couldn’t stay upright and fell down on the floor, hitting his noise and blood flowed out.

    The Taoists saw how he fell, and some laughed out. Yang Guo flipped around and picked himself up, he didn’t wipe the blood away, he dropped his head and jumped out at the Taoist. The Taoist saw Yang Guo jumping at him and dodged to the side. Yang Guo did not use any orthodox kung fu, he reached with his two arms, and grabbed the opponent’s left leg. The young Taoist’s right palm came down, the stance [Wiping the Dust] (kai mo chen gou), it was a way to rid obstructions on your lower body, but Yang Guo had not learnt any martial arts when he was on Peach Blossom Island, and had not received any useful skills while at Chong Yang palace, and didn’t have a clue to what stance the opponent would use, he only heard a thudding noise, he felt a sharp pain on his shoulder, he was fiercely struck by a punch. The more he suffered, the more ferocious he became, he head butted the opponent’s right leg; the Taoist’s leg became unsteady and was forced onto the ground by him. Yang Guo whirled his fist, and ferociously struck out at his head.

    The young Taoist gained victory from the jaws of defeat, his elbow struck Yang Guo’s chest fiercely, causing him severe pain, and used the chance to escape, he pushed and flung his hand, and caused Yang Guo to drop again, he had used the stance [No Debts No Dues] (wu qian wu yu). The young Taoist checked and said, “Apprentice brother Yang, thank you!”

    Originally when duelling amongst each other from the same sect, once there is a clear winner the duel would stop, but he didn’t know Yang Guo was not finished, and came rushing forwards again. After two, three moves, Yang Guo was once again on the ground, but he became bolder as he went on, his punches and kicks coming out faster and faster.

    Zhao Zhi Jing shouted, “Yang Guo, you’ve already lost, why are you still carrying on?”

    Yang Guo ignored him, and kicked out, he had no plans to back down. The rest of the Taoists first thought it was funny but then thought, “When did our sect have such a reckless and rough kung fu?” After, they saw that he was fighting with his life and were afraid that someone might happen, many people shouted out, “Forget it, forget it. Its only sparring amongst apprentice brothers, there is no need to be serious.”

    They fought for another while, the young Taoist became frightened, all he did now was dodging and blocking, not daring to come close to him. There’s a saying: One man fighting for his life cannot be stopped by ten thousand men. Yang Guo had suffered for half a year on mount Zhong Nan, and he let it all out. The young Taoist’s skills were higher than Yang Guo’s, but how could he cope? He saw that he couldn’t block anymore, he could only hurry around the arena avoiding him.
    Yang Guo chased after him, and shouted, “Rotten Taoist, you’ve had fun hitting me, now you want to run?”

    The ten people who were by the side watching at that time, eight or nine of them were Taoists, when they heard him say rotten Taoist, scoundrel Taoist and other insults, they were angry but also thought it was funny, they all said, “That kid needs a good lesson.”

    The young Taoist was chased and harried, he was scared and shouted out, “Master, master!” and hoped the Zhao Zhi Jing would come out and shout at Yang Guo. Zhao Zhi Jing shouted out, but Yang Guo did not take any notice.

    When Yang Guo didn’t stop, a shout came out from the crowd, and out came a large Taoist, he stepped in and grabbed Yang Guo’s neck, picked him up, and struck three times across Yang Guo’s face, the slaps were fierce, half of Yang Guo’s face immediately swelled up. Yang Guo was dazed by the three slaps, when he looked up, it was the Taoist who he had a run in with Lu Qing Du. When Yang Guo first came to mount Zhong Nan, he was almost burnt to death by Yang Guo, after that, his apprentice brothers ridiculed him saying he got outsmarted by a little kid. He had always kept this in his mind, right now he saw Yang Guo was being rebellious, he couldn’t resist and acted out.

    When Yang Guo saw that it Lu Qing Du, he knew that he had no luck at all, as he was being held up, he couldn’t fight. Lu Qing Du smiled wryly, and struck him across the face three times again, and shouted, “You don’t listen to master’s orders, you are our sect’s traitor, anyone can hit you.” He raised his hand again, wanting to hit out once more.

    Zhao Zhi Jing’s apprentice brother Cui Zhi Feng had saw Yang Guo fight, and had not used any of their sect’s kung fu, he knew what kind of character Zhao Zhi Jing was, he was afraid that there was another reason for all of this, he feared someone was going to get hurt so he called out, “Qing Du, hold it!”

    Lu Qing Du heard his martial uncle’s shout, although he didn’t want to, he had to put Yang Guo down and said, “Martial uncle you don’t know, that child is extremely mischievous and crafty, if we don’t punish him heavily, how can there be order within our sect?”

    Cui Zhi Fang ignored him, and went over to Yang Guo, he saw that both sides of Yang Guo’s face was heavily swollen, they were blue and purple, his noise and mouth was bloody, he looked a very sorry sight, he softly said, “Yang Guo, your master taught you martial arts, why didn’t you work hard and practise, and instead cause fight among your apprentice brothers?”

    Yang Guo angrily said, “What master? He hasn’t taught me anything.”

    Cui Zhi Fang said, “I heard with my own ears you reciting the formulae, not one word was wrong.”

    Yang Guo remembered how on Peach Blossom Island Huang Rong had made him read books and recite manuscripts, and knew that Zhao Zhi Jing had taught him something that was not related to practising martial arts. He said, “I don’t know how to incorporate them, what use is being able to recite a few words?”

    Cui Zhi Fang pretended to be angry, and wanted to test did he really not now any of their sect’s kung fu, he then put on a face, and said, “You are talking to an senior, how can you have no manners?” He stretched out his arm and pushed his shoulder. Cui Zhi Fang is one of most skilled students of the third generation, although he can’t compare with Zhao Zhi Jing and Yin Zhi Ping, he was skilled, his internal energy high. His push was gentle yet it’s strength was judged just right, but he felt Yang Guo’s shoulder lent to the side, his internal energy emerged, and had already dispersed just under half the force in his push, although he stumbled back a few steps, he did not fall down.

    Cui Zhi Fang was startled, he became suspicious and thought, “He is young, and has only entered our sect for just over half a year, how can he have such strong internal energy? He has good internal energy, just now when he was duelling, he was fighting madly, could there be something wrong here?” He didn’t know that Yang Guo had practised Ou Yang Fang’s formulae for internal energy cultivation; unwittingly his internal energy has gone up another level. The White Camel Mountain’s sect’s internal energy is easy to learn, progress can be made very quickly, but it cannot compare with Quan Zhen sect’s kung fu foundations. Within the first ten years of practising, the students of White Camel Mountain’s students internal energy will have increased very quickly, that is up until ten years, then the students of Quan Zhen sect would have slowly caught up and start to overtake it. The two sect’s internal energies are very different, but because Cui Zhi Fang had just gave a push without any real intent, it was hard for him to tell the difference.

    Yang Guo had been pushed by him, and was winded, and knew that he wanted to fight him. Right now, he feared neither heaven nor earth, even if Qiu Chu Ji was here in person, he would still fight him, why would he care about Cui Zhi Fang? He then lowered his head and rushed forward, aiming for his lower abdomen. How could Cui Zhi Fang mess around with a child, he smiled and stepped aside, he wanted to see his real kung fu, so he said, “Qing Du, come and duel with apprentice brother Yang, watch yourself and don’t be too severe!”

    Lu Qing Du could not believe those words, he immediately jumped in front of Yang Guo, his left palm came down, Yang Guo escaped to the right, Lu Qing Du hit out his right palm, this palm was the [Tiger’s Way Hand], the strength behind it was not weak, a thudding sound, as Yang Guo was struck in the chest.

    If Yang Guo had not been practising the White Camel Mountain’s internal energy, he would have definitely threw up a pool of blood, but right now, he felt a severe pain in his chest, his face was as white as a sheet of paper. Lu Qing Du saw that he had not felled Yang Guo with this palm, and secretly felt that he was careless, his right fist now coming down at Yang Guo. Yang Guo stretched out his arms to attack, he didn’t understand the finer points of fist skills; so he didn’t know the best way to repel this incoming attack. Lu Qing Du moved his right fist and came out with his left fist, another thudding sound as he hit Yang Guo in the stomach. Yang Guo bent down with pain. Lu Qing Du didn’t hold back, a right palm came crashing down on Yang Guo’s neck. He wanted to hurt him, wanting him to fall over now, wanting to avenge what he did to him, his life was on the line now but he still did not fall down, but right now Yang Guo was dazed and didn’t have any strength to retaliate.

    Cui Zhi Jing knew then he didn’t know any martial arts skills and said, “Qing Du, hold it!”

    Lu Qing Du said to Yang Guo, “Do you respect me now?”

    Yang Guo shouted, “You ****ing Taoist, I’m going to kill you one day!”

    Lu Qing Du was furious, and punched him twice in the nose.

    Yang Guo was beaten badly, he was wobbling and was about to fall down, and didn’t know where he was when suddenly a flow of warm chi surged through his ‘dan tian’, he saw that Lu Qing Du was about to throw a third punch at him, there was no way to dodge, no where to escape, he spontaneously bent both legs and gave out a loud shout, his palm pushed out, hitting Lu Qing Du in the stomach. He saw a large body fly through the air, a thudding sound as dust flew everywhere in the arena, falling about ten feet away, the body lying on the floor, and didn’t move.

    The crowd of Taoists by the side watched Lu Qing Du taking advantage of his size and bullying someone smaller than him, hitting Yang Guo venomously, it wasn’t right, the older generation apart from Zhao Zhi Jing came over to stop him, they didn’t know there was a sudden reversal of fortune, Lu Qing Du had been sent flying by Yang Guo’s palm, his body lying there like a corpse not moving, everyone was astounded and rushed over to take a closer look.

    Originally Yang Guo would not have been able to use the [Toad Stance] normally, but in a life threatening situation, it would be used automatically, the first time this happened was on Peach Blossom Island where he knocked out Wu Xiu Wen, after many months, his internal energy has increased, plus the fact that he hated Lu Qing Du, it was comparable to the hate he felt for the Wu brothers, with this in mind, he was able to knock him flying across the arena. He heard the other Taoists say, “Oh no, it’s terrible, he’s dead!” “He’s not breathing, his internal organs have been hurt!” “Quickly go and tell the leader and bring him here.”

    Yang Guo knew he had caused a major incident, no one was thinking in the midst of this chaos, he picked himself up and ran away. The bunch of Taoists was too busy with Lu Qing Du’s life and didn’t notice that Yang Guo had slipped away. Zhao Zhi Jing saw that Lu Qing Du’s eyes were rolled over, and didn’t know whether he was dead or alive, he was startled and angry, and shouted out, “Yang Guo, Yang Guo, where did you learn this witchcraft?” He skills were high, but he had remained at Chong Yang Palace for most of the time, he didn’t know much, of course he would not recognise the techniques of the [Toad Stance].

    The Taoists turned around, but didn’t see Yang Guo. He then gave out an order, and told them to go and capture Yang Guo; they thought how far could a small child like him get to in a short space of time?

    Yang Guo didn’t know the roads, and just ran, he eventually chose to dive into a forest, after a while, he heard shouts behind him, everyone was calling out from all directions, “Yang Guo, Yang Guo, quickly come out!” He was nervous, and ran away again, he felt someone was in front of him, a Taoist had seen him, and came after him. Yang Guo quickly turned around, in the west was another Taoist, who called out, “Here’s over here, here’s over here.” Yang Guo crouched down and crawled underneath a bush. The Taoists were too big to crawl through, they had to go around it to find him, Yang Guo managed to escape but didn’t know where to go. After Yang Guo went through the bush, he headed straight, after rushing for a while, he heard the voices became quieter but he still didn’t dare to stop, he avoided the paths, and ran through the long grass and stones, he became bruised and cut up all over, he couldn’t move any more and sat down on a rock to catch his breath. He sat for a little while, but he thought, “Quickly escape, quickly escape.” But his legs felt like they weighed a ton, he almost couldn’t stand up straight. He heard someone laugh coldly from behind, Yang Guo was startled and turned around, his heart jumped out of his mouth, as he saw a man with deep brows and flared eyes, a beard hanging to his chest, it was Zhao Zhi Jing.

    The two stared at each other for half an hour; during this time they did not move an inch. Yang Guo suddenly shouted out and turned around to run away. Zhao Zhi Jing went forward and stretched out his arm and grabbed his chest. Yang Guo jumped forward and it was lucky he gained a few inches and managed to escape his clutches, he then picked up a rock, and flung it backwards with all his strength. Zhao Zhi Jing swerved to the side, he increased his speed and the distance between the two closed. Yang Guo ran madly for about twenty steps, and saw a deep ditch in front of him, he had ran out places to run to, he didn’t whether below was a deep valley or a mountain gorge, he didn’t give it a thought and threw his body forward.

    Zhao Zhi Jing ran to the steep ditch and looked on, he saw Yang Guo rolling through the grass down the slope, and eventually into a cluster of trees. From where he was standing to the bottom was about sixty seventy feet, he didn’t dare to jump down, he quickly ran down to the grassy slope, he saw the trail of flattened grass left heading into the forest, he didn’t see a trace of Yang Guo. As he went deeper it became tighter, eventually so dense that light was shut out. He went forward for about one hundred feet, he then suddenly stopped, he was now at the land of the Tomb of the Living Dead where the sect’s ancestor had spent his younger years, their sect had a strict rule, no one is allowed to take one step into the place, if Yang Guo had escaped into here… He wasn’t pleased, he shouted, “Yang Guo, Yang Guo quickly come out!”

    He shouted a few times, the forest became silent, he became bold and took a few steps forward, he saw a large stone slab and took a closer look. Some words were engraved on it, ‘Outsiders stop now’. Zhao Zhi Jing paced back and forth for an hour, he then loudly called out, “Yang Guo you little scoundrel, if you don’t come out I’ll catch you and beat you to death.” After he said this, he suddenly heard a sound coming from the forest, he saw a grey mist moving, a swarm of white bees came out from the leaves and pounced forwards.

    Zhao Zhi Jing was startled, he waved his sleeve trying to push away the bees, his internal strength was deep, there was considerable power in his sweeps, but after waving many times, the swarm of bees became two, one pouncing from the front, the other pounced from behind. Zhao Zhi Jing became even more frightened; he didn’t dare to be slow and waved his arms frantically, protecting his body. The swarms dispersed, but then came back to attack from all directions from top to bottom, east to west, north and south. Zhao Zhi Jing didn’t dare to defend anymore, he protected his face and turned around and ran out of the forest.

    The swarm of Jade bees followed, although they weren’t very quick there wasn’t anywhere to hide. Zhao Zhi Jing headed east, the Jade bees followed and headed east, he headed west, the Jade bees followed and headed west. His arm movements became slower; two bees flew through the gap and stung his right cheek. In a short while, Zhao Zhi Jing felt numb and it was hard to move, his internal organs began to itch, he thought, “My time is up today!”

    Eventually he couldn’t keep his legs still, and rolled in the grass by the forest, crying out loudly. The swarm of bees flew around his body for a while, and then returned to the forest.

    End of Chapter 4
    Last edited by Mojo Jojo; 03-25-05 at 01:32 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 5

    The Tomb of the Living Dead

    Yang Guo had felled down the hill, and rolled into the forest’s long grass, he passed out, he didn’t know how much time had passed when he suddenly felt his body being pierced, he opened his eyes and saw countless white bees flying around his body, he heard the buzzing sounds of the bees, he then felt his whole body itch to the bone, a white blur was all he saw, he didn’t know whether it was real or an illusion, and fainted again.

    Some time passed when he suddenly felt a cold and fragrant syrup in his mouth, slowly flowing into his throat and then into his stomach but he felt that he couldn’t speak; he opened his eyes and suddenly saw just two inches in front of him an ugly face full of warts and pimples, whose eyes were fixed on him. Yang Guo was startled, and fainted again. The ugly person stretched out their left arm and held his jaw, their right hand holding a container, and then poured some more of the sweet syrup down his mouth.

    Yang Guo felt that the strange itching pain he had slowly diminish, and noticed that he was now sleeping on a bed, and knew that the ugly person had rescued him, he gave a smile, trying to say thank you. The ugly person also smiled, she finished feeding him the syrup and then put the container down on a table. Yang Guo saw that her smile was also extremely ugly, but within the ugliness was a soft and gentle feeling, he was touched and there was a warm feeling in his heart, he pleaded, “Grandma, don’t let my master catch me!”

    The ugly old maid softly said, “Child, who is your master?”

    Yang Guo had not heard such a soft and caring voice for such a long while, he became hot and started to cry. The old maid’s left hand held his hand, she didn’t say anything to console him, she just smiled and looked at him, her eyes were full of love and care; she waited for him to finish crying and then said, “Do you feel better?”

    Yang Guo heard her tender voice; he couldn’t help it and cried out again. She wiped away his tears and comforted him, “Good child, good child, don’t cry, don’t cry, the pain will go away in a little while.” The more caring she was, the harder Yang Guo cried.

    Suddenly a soft voice from outside the curtain hanging said, “Grandma Sun, the child doesn’t stop crying, what is wrong?”

    Yang Guo raised his head; he saw a white jade hand lift the hanging, a girl entered. The girl wore an old fashioned delicate white dress, it was like her body was in the midst of smoke and mist, she looked like she was about sixteen, seventeen years of age, apart from her black hair, her body was as white as snow, her face was extremely beautiful, apart from a hint of redness on her cheeks, her face was pale and white. Yang Guo blushed, he immediately stopped crying, he lowered his head and felt slightly abashed. With the corner of his eyes he took a sneak peak, and saw that she was looking at him; he quickly lowered his head.

    Grandma Sun laughed and said, “I don’t have any ideas, you better take a look.” The young girl came by to the bedside, she looked at the wounds that was caused by the bee stings, she stretched out her hand and felt his forehead and felt that he wasn’t feverish. When her hand touched Yang Guo’s forehead, he felt that it was extremely cold; he couldn’t help but shiver a little. The young girl said, “It is nothing. You’ve already drunk the Jade Bee syrup; you’ll recover in half a day. Why did you enter the forest?”

    Yang Guo raised his head, and looked into her eyes, he thought that she was beautiful, there was no comparison, but she exuded an icy and emotionless aura, she was as hard as ice and as cold as ice, it was hard to tell whether she was pleased or angry, a friend or foe, he couldn’t help but think, “Is that girl made out of crystal or made out of snow? Is she a person or a ghost, or an angel?”

    Although he heard her voice was soft there was no warmth in her voice, he didn’t dare to reply.

    Grandma Sun laughed and said, “That sister Long is the owner of this place, if she asks you something, you better reply!”

    The beautiful girl in white was the owner of the Tomb of the Living Dead, Xiao Long Nuu. In reality her eighteenth birthday had passed, but because she has lived in the tomb ever since she was little and hasn’t seen the light of day, and the internal energy skill she has practised restricts her emotions, that is why she looked younger than she really was. Grandma Sun was her teacher’s maid, ever since her teacher left the world, the two looked after each other. She had heard the bees, and knew someone had entered the forest near the tomb, grandma Sun had come out to see who it was, and saw Yang Guo poisoned and unconscious on the floor; she rescued him and took him back here. According to the their sect’s rules, no outsiders can enter the tomb one step, a man entering the tomb was even worse. But Yang Guo was young, and she saw that his whole body was covered in wounds, grandma Sun could not ignore him and broke the rules and saved him.

    Yang Guo got up from the stone bed and got onto the floor, and gave a kowtow to grandma Sun and Xiao Long Nuu and said, “Disciple Yang Guo greets grandma Sun, greets Gu Gu (auntie) Long.”

    Grandma Sun laughed then quickly went over to pick him up and said, “Ah, your name is Yang Guo, there is no need for such formalities.” She has lived in the tomb for a few years, and had never interacted with outsiders, she saw that Yang Guo was handsome and polite; she was pleased. Xiao Long Nuu only nodded her head, and sat on a stone chair next to the bed.

    Grandma said, “How did you get here? How come you are wounded? Who beat you like this?”

    After she asked her questions she didn’t wait for him to reply and went out to get some dim sum and cakes, and insisted on him having some.

    Yang Guo ate a few delicacies, and told her his life story from start to finish. He was good with words, his story was already engaging, he added his emotions to it and it became even more touching. Grandma Sun kept on sighing, sometimes she would add her own comments, her words all favoured Yang Guo, she said that Huang Rong was a biased women and unjust in her actions, and commented that Zhao Zhi Jing was narrow minded, bullying a child. Xiao Long Nuu didn’t make a sound and sat still on the chair, but when Yang Guo mentioned Li Mo Chou, she and grandma Sun looked at each other. When grandma Sun heard Yang Guo had finished, she stretched out her arms and hugged him, and said, “My poor child.”
    Xiao Long Nuu slowly got up, and said, “His wounds are not serious, grandma, send him out!”

    Both grandma Sun and Yang Guo was startled. Yang Guo loudly said, “I won’t return, I’d rather die.”

    Grandma Sun said, “Miss, if he returns to Chong Yang Palace, his master will punish him.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “You return with him, find his master and tell him there is no need to punish the child.”

    Grandma Sun said, “Ah, it’s others sects’ business, we can’t do anything about it.”
    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Take a bottle of Jade Bee syrup with you, and then tell him, the old Taoist will listen.”

    Her words seemed to be suggestions, but there was strictness within her tone, it was hard for a sect member to disobey. Grandma Sun sighed, she knew she always spoke her mind, there was no use to try to argue, she looked at Yang Guo, her eyes had another intent.

    Yang Guo got up and made a bow, and said, “Thank you grandma and Gu Gu for tending to my wounds, I’ll leave now!”

    Grandma Sun said, “Where are you going to go?”

    Yang Guo stood still for a while and then said, “The world is a big place, there are many places for me to go.” But he didn’t know where he would go, his face revealed a mournful expression.

    Grandma Sun said, “Child, it’s not because Miss won’t dare to let you stay, it’s a rule of our sect not to allow outsiders, don’t be sad.”

    Yang Guo raised his head and said, “Grandma why do you say this? We’ll meet again some day.”

    He spoke like an adult, but his voice was young, when Grandma Sun heard this she thought it was funny, but also felt sorry for him. She saw that his eyes were watery, but he was holding back the tears. She said to Xiao Long Nuu, “Miss, it’s the middle of the night, why don’t we let him stay until morning and let him leave then?”

    Xiao Long Nuu shook her head and said, “Grandma, have you forgotten the rules set by master?”

    Grandma Sun sighed and got up, she quietly said to Yang Guo, “Come, child, I’ll give you an object to play with.”

    Yang Guo stretched out his hand and wiped his eye, he lowered his head and rushed out of the door and said, “I don’t want it, I’d rather die than return to the Taoists.”

    Grandma Sun shook her head and said, “You don’t know the way, I’ll lead you out.” She held his hand. Outside the room, all Yang Guo saw was darkness, he was led by Grandma Sun, he only felt them going around one corner and then another, he didn’t know how Grandma Sun recognised her way in the dark in these twisty paths.

    Although the Tomb of the Living Dead was called a tomb, in actual fact it was a large spacious underground storeroom. Before Wong Chong Yang had actually started to fight the Jin’s, he had used thousands of man-hours and many years to construct the tomb, he had secretly stored some supplies there, and it became an important base in the area, on the outside it looked like a tomb, but this was to disguise the building from the ears and eyes of the Jin’s, and even if they entered, the tomb had countless traps to repel the invaders.

    If Wong Chong Yang’s soldiers failed, they would retreat into the tomb. The were many rooms within the tomb, there were complicated tunnels, if outsiders entered, even with bright torches and candles they would get lost easily, let alone in the dark.

    The two exited the tomb, and in the middle of the forest they suddenly heard someone from the outside clearly shouting out, “Quan Zhen’s disciple Yin Zhi Pin, master has ordered me to greet Miss Long.” The voice was spaced out; it came from a distance.

    Grandma Sun said, “There are people outside looking for you, don’t go out.”
    Yang Guo was angry and alarmed, his body shivered and said, “Grandma, don’t worry about me. A person should be responsible for their actions, I accidentally killed someone, let them kill me.” When he finished he ran out.

    Grandma Sun said, “I’ll follow you.”

    Grandma Sun held Yang Guo’s hand and exited the forest, arriving in the open land in front of the forest. Under the moonlight they saw six, seven Taoists standing together, another four of them was holding torches, and carried the heavily wounded Zhao Zhi Jing and Lu Qing Du. The Taoists saw Yang Guo, they said a few quiet words amongst themselves and all took a few steps forward.
    Yang Guo escaped from grandma Sun’s grasp and ran forward and said, “I’m here, if you want to kill or torture me, its up to you.”

    The Taoists could not believe that such a small child was so bold; it was completely unexpected. A Taoist came forward and grabbed Yang Guo’s neck dragging him. Yang Guo chuckled and said, “I’m not going to escape, what’s the hurry?” That Taoist was Zhao Zhi Jing eldest student, he saw that his teacher suffered the pain of the Jade bee’s sting because of Yang Guo; he was in extreme pain and didn’t know whether his life could be saved. He had always respected his teacher, and felt that the worst offence anyone can do is to rebel against their teacher, when he saw Yang Guo coming out, he threw a punch at Yang Guo’s head.

    Grandma Sun and the Taoists had always been on relatively good terms, when she saw Yang Guo being dragged; she wasn’t pleased at all, now he is being beaten, how could she control her temper? She immediately took a large step forward; she swept her sleeve and brushed away the Taoist’s hand. The Taoist felt a severe pain in his wrist, and automatically loosened his hand, he was about to shout out when grandma Sun had picked up Yang Guo and turned around, walking away.

    When they first saw her, they thought that she was just an old and feeble maid, but she was rapid in her movements intaking Yang Guo, the Taoists stood still for a while, she had already taken Yang Guo about ten feet away. Three Taoists angrily shouted out, “Let him go!” and rushed forward.

    Grandma Sun stopped and turned around, she chuckled and said, “You guys want to stop us?”

    Yin Zhi Pin knew that the people of the Tomb of the Living Dead and his sect had a deep affiliation, and didn’t dare to offend them, he quickly stopped everyone and said, “Everyone scatter, have manners in front of senior.”

    He then walked up, and greeted Grandma Sun and said, “Disciple Yin Zhi Pin greets senior.”

    Grandma Sun said, “What do you want?”

    Yin Zhi Pin said, “That child is a disciple of Quan Zhen, can senior please return him.”

    Grandma Sun’s brows stood up, she yelled, “You beat him when you are still in front of me, when you take him back to your place, you are going to find ways to torture him. You want me to release him, not in a million years!”

    Yin Zhi Pin kept his temper and said, “That child is extremely disobedient and mischievous, he disrespected his seniors, and broke the rules of our sect. Amongst the wulin world, one of the most important rules is to respect your master and seniors, it is right to blame him.”

    Grandma Sun shouted, “Disrespecting seniors, its just words.” She pointed to the Taoist lying in the stretcher, Lu Qing Du and said, “The child duelled with that fat Taoist, it was your Quan Zhen sect’s rules. He originally didn’t want to compete, but you lot forced him on to the arena. If you are going to fight, of course there is going to be a winner and a loser, if that fat Taoist is useless, who else can you blame?” She was already ugly, but now she was angry and swelled up, she was even more frightening.

    In the middle of her words, another ten Taoists came and stood behind Yin Zhi Pin, discussing the situation; they didn’t know who the loud ugly old woman was.
    Yin Zhi Pin thought to himself, hurting Lu Qing Du wasn’t Yang Guo’s fault, but he couldn’t admit they were wrong in front of outsiders and said, “This matter is complicated, we will inform our leader, and let him be the judge of this. Can senior please return the child?"

    Grandma Sun chuckled, “How could your leader be a fair judge? Quan Zhen sect from Wong Chong Yang to now, there hasn’t been one good person. Otherwise, how come you live so close yet you don’t associate with us?”

    Yin Zhi Pin thought, “Its your sect who don’t associate with us, how can you blame our Quan Zhen sect? You’ve insulted out sect leader in your words, that may be a bit too disrespectful.” But he didn’t want to say anything to harm the relationship between the two sects, and said, “Senior please allow us, if our sect has offended you, then our sect leader will apologise to you publicly.”

    Yang Guo held grandma Sun’s neck and whispered into her ear, “That Taoist is sly, grandma don’t fall into his trap.”

    Grandma Sun had bought up Xiao Long Nuu in the last eighteen years, she had a desire to bring up a boy, now Yang Guo was warm towards her like she was towards him, she was extremely pleased and made up her mind, and thought, “Whatever they say, they are not going to take the child away.”
    She then called out. “You insist on taking the child, how exactly are you going to torture him?”

    Yin Zhi Pin was startled, and said, “Disciple here and his father are from the same sect, I wouldn’t dare to harm a friend’s son, senior you can relax.”

    Grandma Sun shook her head, “Old woman here never listens to outsiders words, leave me.” As she said this she continued on her way into the forest.

    Zhao Zhi Jing was lying on the stretcher, the wounds from the Jade bees was unbearable but he knew what was going on, he heard that Yin Zhi Pin couldn’t argue with grandma Sun, the more he heard the angrier he got, he suddenly leapt out of the stretcher, chased after grandma Sun and shouted, “He is my disciple, if I want to beat him and insult him, its my choice. Not letting the master order his disciple, where is there such a rule in wulin?”

    Grandma Sun had saw his face had swollen so much that he looks like a pig. When she heard these words, she knew that he was Yang Guo’s master, she didn’t have anything to say at the moment and could only make her way forward thinking, “I won’t let you order him, what can you do?”

    Zhao Zhi Jing shouted, “What relation is that child to you? How can you stick you nose in this matter?”

    Grandma Sun was startled, and shouted, “He isn’t a member of Quan Zhen sect anymore. He is now a member of our sect and has elected my master Xiao Long Nuu as his master; under heaven only Xiao Long Nuu can command him. There’s no need for you to meddle.”

    When she said this, the Taoists were shocked. According the rules of Jiang Hu, without the consent of your teacher, one must not have another teacher, even if that other teacher is ten times more skilled than their teacher, you are not allowed to do as you pleased and spread your wings whenever, otherwise they would have committed one of the worst offences there is, and will be despised by your peers in the Jiang Hu world.

    When Guo Jing took the Jiang Nan Seven Freaks as his masters, and later learnt from Hung Qi Gong, he didn’t call him master, only after did Ke Zhen E and the others allowed this did he and Hung Qi Gong have a master disciple relationship.
    Now because Zhao Zhi Jing had made grandma Sun speechless, and because she has never associated with people of wulin so didn’t know any rules, when she said this she didn’t know she had broken a major rule.

    Most of the Taoists had originally felt sorry for Yang Guo, and felt that Zhao Zhi Jing had not done the right things, but when they heard that Yang Guo had openly expel himself from the sect, there hasn’t been such a thing since the founding of Quan Zhen sect, they were incensed.

    Zhao Zhi Jing’s wounds reacted and he was in pain, it was difficult for him to bear the pain, and felt like dying but he suddenly said, “Yang Guo, is this the truth?”
    Yang Guo did not know how high the sky was or how deep the earth was, he only saw that grandma Sun was arguing with Zhao Zhi Jing to protect him, even if she said he did thousands, millions of wrongs things, he would have said he did it, and now its just a matter of changing sects, it was what he had wanted, she said he had made Xiao Long Nuu his master, even if he was going to make a pig or a dog his master he wouldn’t delay, he said, “Rotten Taoist, scoundrel face, dog brain, bull nose old goat, you hit me, why should I acknowledge you as my master? Correct, I have already kowtowed and accepted grandma Sun and Miss Long as my master.”

    Zhao Zhi Jing’s temper flared up, he flew over, his hands aiming to grab his shoulders.

    Grandma Sun insulted, “Scoundrel, you want to die?” Her right arm came out, aiming for Zhao Zhi Jing’s wrist. Zhao Zhi Jing was Quan Zhen’s third generation’s highest skilled fighter, when it comes to martial arts he was above Yin Zhi Pin, although he was carrying a serious injury, he was still able to produce a fierce attack. The two clashed, and both took two steps back.

    Grandma Sun gave a humph sigh, and said, “Scoundrel, you don’t have the skill.”
    Zhao Zhi Jing’s first attack failed, and so launched a second attack. Grandma Sun didn’t dare to clash with him and stepped aside, her leg came out of nowhere from under her skirt. Zhao Zhi Jing heard the wind sound, and tried to dodge but his wounds from the Jade bee stings started to itch, he called out an ‘ai’ noise and held his head and crouched down, before he finished his shout he was kicked by grandma Sun in the side of his body. Zhao Zhi Jing’s body flew into the air, whist in the air he called out ‘ai’ again due to the itching pain.

    Yin Zhi Pin rushed forwards two steps, stretched out his arm and caught Zhao Zhi Jing and passed him onto the other disciples. He saw that the ugly old woman skills were extremely strange, he was up against a strong opponent, he made a signal, six disciples came up and circled them, and formed a [Big Dipper Formation], with grandma Sun and Yang Guo in the middle.

    Yin Zhi Pin called out, “Apologies!” As the ‘Tian Shu’ and ‘Yao Guang’ Taoists on either side of him attacked. Grandma Sun didn’t know the formation, just after a few stances she knew she was dealing with something powerful, she could only fight with one hand, the danger became evident after twelve, thirteen moves, and every attack she made was neutralized by Yin Zhi Pin’s command of the formation, and the attack of the formation was relentless. Ten moves passed when grandma Sun’s right palm was trapped by two Taoists; on her left attacked another two Taoist, she had to drop Yang Guo and fend them off with her left hand. A whistle was made from within the formation; two Taoists burst forward and grabbed Yang Guo.

    Grandma Sun was alarmed and thought, “Those rotten Taoists do have some skill, old woman here can’t handle it.” She kicked away two of them, and a low ‘weng’ moaning noise was produced from her mouth. That moaning noise was initially quiet, and the Taoists did not take any notice of it, but after this noise, she made an opposite sound, high and low, the sound became louder.

    Yin Zhi Pin raised his hands against grandma Sun to guard himself. He knew the senior that used to live in the tomb had greats skills and competed with his sect’s founder to see who had the greater skill, he knew that her descendants must not be ordinary, when he heard the noise, he knew that this was a type of resonating sound skill, he quickly prepared himself in case the enemy tried anything; he listened for a while and her sounds were getting louder, he didn’t feel anything was wrong with himself and thought that this was strange, he suddenly thought of something and immediately became pale with fright. He was about to order the Taoists to leave, when he heard a ‘weng’ noise from far away, similar to the noise coming out of grandma Sun’s mouth, and then immediately called out, “Quickly run!”

    The other Taoists all stopped, and thought, “We have the upper hand here, we have captured the young and old in a short time, the old woman is just calling out madly, what is there to be scared of?”

    Suddenly a grey blur emerged from the forest, out came a swarm of Jade bees, all aiming to pounce on the Taoists upper body. The Taoists had all seen the suffering of Zhao Zhi Jing, all of them was scared out of their wits, and immediately scattered and ran away. The swarm of bees chased after them.
    When grandma Sun saw that the Taoists could not escape, she laughed loudly. She suddenly saw an old Taoist dashing out of the forest, his hands holding two torches; thick smoke came out of the flames and waved it at the swarm of bees. The black smoke smothered the swarm of bees, their formation became disorganised, they couldn’t hold on and flew away.

    Grandma Sun was alarmed, she looked at the old Taoist, she saw that he had white hair and brows, his face long, he looked like one of the highly skilled fighters of Quan Zhen sect, she shouted, “Hey, who are you old Taoist? You scattered away my bees.”

    The old Taoist laughed and said, “Old Taoist here is Hao Da Tong, greetings grandma.”

    Although grandma Sun did not associate with any people of the wulin world, but because she lived a stone throws away from Chong Yang Palace, she knew that Hao Da Tong was one of the seven disciples of Wong Chong Yang, she thought how Yin Zhi Pin, Zhao Zhi Jing and the other Taoists abilities were not below hers, now that old Taoist came out it would be troublesome, she smelt the thick smoke from the torches, it stunk and almost made her vomit, she then realised it was made from herbs that are used to kill insects, she saw that there were no bees around and had to leave while she can, she shouted, “You’ve harmed my mistress’s bees, you’ll pay for the damage, I’ll resolve this with you later.” She picked up Yang Guo and entered the forest.

    Yin Zhi Pin said, “Martial uncle, shall we follow or not?”

    Hao Da Tong shook his head and said, “Our founder had set a strict rule, no one can enter the forest, we’ll return to our palace and discuss what to do there.”
    Grandma Sun held Yang Guo’s hand and took him back inside the tomb. The two had just shared a difficult situation and had become closer. Yang Guo was worried that Xiao Long Nuu will not allow his to stay, grandma Sun said, “Don’t worry, I’ll be able to convince her to let you stay.” She then ordered him to rest in a chamber, and then went to look for Xiao Long Nuu to inform her of the situation.
    Yang Guo waited a long time, but still did not see her return, he became anxious and thought, “Long Gu Gu most probably decided not to accept me, even if grandma Sun forced her to accept, there would be no point in me staying here.” He thought for a long while and eventually made up his mind, he quietly went outside.

    As soon as he left the room, grandma Sun came over and asked, “Where are you going?”

    Yang Guo said, “Grandma, I’m going now, when I get a bit older, I’ll come and see you again.”

    Grandma Sun said, “No, I’ll take you to a place, and tell people not to bully you.”
    When Yang Guo heard those words, he knew Xiao Long Nuu had no allowed him to stay, he was disappointed and sad, he lowered his head and said, “There’s no use. I’m a mischievous child, where ever I go, no one will want me. There’s no need for grandma to waste your energy.”

    Grandma Sun had argued with Xiao Long Nuu for half a day, she saw that she will not be moved, she was troubled and didn’t know what to do, she felt sorry for Yang Guo, her blood rose and said, “Child, if no one wants you, granny wants you. You follow me, where ever you go, grandma will follow you.”

    Yang Guo was delighted, he extended his hand and grabbed her hand, the two of them exited the tomb. Grandma Sun was still angry and did not turn back to collect some luggage, she scoured around in her pockets and touched a container, and remembered she had to give Zhao Zhi Jing the antidote for the bee stings, she thought that the Taoist was detestable but death was maybe a bit too extreme, she didn’t want to leave the trouble behind in case it caught up with them so she took Yang Guo, and headed for Chong Yang Palace.

    Yang Guo saw that they were hurriedly heading for Chong Yang Palace, he was frightened, he quietly said, “Grandma, why are you going there?”

    Grandma Sun said, “I have to give your rotten master the antidote.” After a few paths, they had arrived. She leapt onto the roof, and was about to go for the courtyard, when suddenly the bell started to ring in the darkness, and she heard whistle sounds near and far. In a second she was surrounded by noise, and knew that she was heavily surrounded; she became alarmed.

    Quan Zhen sect is wulin’s number one orthodox sect, they were normally well guarded, things have happened recently and so they were more alert, they were lookouts everywhere, when they saw someone enter the palace, they sounded the alarm, the palace’s disciples all came to repel the foe. Another group of Taoists scattered around, one so they surrounded the enemy, and secondly so they can repel any reinforcements that the enemy might have bought along.
    Grandma Sun quietly cursed, “Old woman here has not come here to fight, who are you trying to scare?” She loudly called out, “Zhao Zhi Jing, quickly come out, I have something to say to you.”

    Someone called out from the main hall, “Coming here in the middle of the night, what do you want?”

    Grandma Sun said, “This is the antidote for the bee stings, take it!” She threw over the container. A Taoist caught it, and believed her but then thought, “Has she got good intentions, coming back to give the antidote.” He clearly called out, “What medicine is this?”

    Grandma Sun said, “Don’t ask so many questions, just give it to him to drink, and you’ll see the results.”

    The Taoist called out, “How do I know whether you’ve come with good or bad intentions, and how do I know if this is actually medicine or poison. Apprentice brother Zhao has been tortured enough by you, when did you have the heart of Buddha?”

    Grandma Sun heard his words, her good intentions had turned into some evil intent, she was furious and put Yang Guo down on the floor, then quickly jumped in front of the Taoist and snatched the bottle back, she opened the bottle, and said to Yang Guo, “Open your mouth!”

    Yang Guo didn’t understand but did as he was told. She tipped the bottle and poured the bee syrup into his mouth and said, “Fine, just in case you think its poison. Guo Er, lets go!” She held Yang Guo’s hand and ran to the edge of the roof.

    That Taoist was called Zhang Zhi Guang, and was Hao Da Tong’s second disciple, he was cursing himself and regretted his words when he saw that she had bought along the real antidote, Zhao Zhi Jing now had no antidote, it would be difficult for him to survive, he quickly dashed forward, and blocked them with his hands. He smiled and said, “Old senior, why are you so furious? I was just joking, there’s no need to take it seriously. We are neighbours, and have seen each other a few times, haha, please bestow us the medicine.”

    Grandma Sun did not like his smooth talking, she stopped, and chuckled, “There is only one bottle of medicine, if you want some more, there isn’t any. You can find your own way to cure Zhao Zhi Jing’s wound!” As she said this she sent out her hand and said, “Since you don’t greet a senior, I’ll teach you a lesson.” The palm was extremely quick, Zhang Zhi Guang couldn’t avoid it, a clashing sound was heard, he was struck on the cheek, his face was stinging.

    The two Taoists by the door faces changed, both of them said, “Even if you are a senior, how can we let you do what you want in Chong Yang palace?” One sent out his left palm, the other his right, the two of them attacking together from two side. Grandma Sun had fought the [Big Dipper Formation] before and knew it was powerful, she knew it would be best to avoid it, if she went to attack them, how could she fight them all in their formation? She dodged past the two palms, and picked up Yang Guo and headed for the rooftops. She saw that there was no one on the roof; she wanted to escape via this route when suddenly someone jumped up on the roof and shouted, “Drop down!” sending two palms out. Grandma Sun was in midair, she had nothing to lean against, and could only fight with her right hand, one palm clashed with two, both of them were forced back, both of them on either side of the wall. Six, seven Taoists whistled, and crowded her in the corner.

    The six, seven Taoists were the best fighters of Quan Zhen’s third generation, and had come out to protect the main hall. In a flash, they moved back, then rushed forward, the Taoists used a storming tactic and attacked many times. Grandma Sun was forced into the corner, and tried to break out with Yang Guo in her hand, but the Taoists formed a human wall and kept her back, she tried to break through many times but was forced back each time.

    Ten moves passed, the one in charge of guarding the main hall Zhang Zhi Guang knew that the enemy could not do anything and immediately lit a torch. Ten large candles were lit up all around the main hall, and shone on Grandma Sun’s pale face, an ugly face of a frightful person who hides in the forest.

    Zhang Zhi Guang called out, “Retreat.”

    The seven Taoists who were attacking grandma Sun took a step back, their hands across the chest, each holding their position. Grandma Sun caught her breath and then chuckled, “Quan Zhen sect is famous throughout the world, indeed they live up to their name. Over ten young and athletic men teamed up together to bully an old woman and a child. Haha, so powerful, so powerful!”
    Zhang Zhi Guang faced turned a shade of red and said, “We are only trying to catch the intruder of the palace. We don’t care if it’s an old woman or a young man, if they were tall when they enter, they’ll be short when they leave.”
    Grandma Sun chuckled and said, “What do you mean ‘short when they leave’? You want me to crawl out of here, isn’t it!”

    Zhan Zhi Guang had just been slapped painfully by grandma Sun, he wasn’t going to let her off lightly, and said, “If you want me to let you go, its not hard, just agree to three things. One, you called your bees to hurt brother Zhao, you have to leave the antidote. Two, that child is a student of Quan Zhen sect, without the permission of our leader, how can he expel himself from the school? You’ve got to leave him here. Three, you broke into Chong Yang Palace, you have to kowtow in front of ancestor Chong Yang to apologise.”

    Grandma Sun laughed loudly and said, “I long said to mistress Long that none of the Taoists here have a good future, aren’t old woman’s words true? Come, come I’ll go and kowtow.”

    Grandma Sun lowered herself and began to kneel down. This was unexpected for Zhang Zhi Guang, he was stunned, he saw grandma Sun lowering her head, when suddenly he saw a flash, a projectile was thrown straight at him. Zhang Zhi Guang cried out ‘ai ya’, he had tried to move out of the way quickly but the projectile was extremely quick and hit the corner of his left eye, his forehead was full of blood.

    Grandma Sun had scoured her pocket and had picked up the empty bee syrup bottle, and calmly used her sect’s projectile throwing technique to send the projectile out. Her sect’s kung fu were designed for females, the techniques were all soft and of a ying nature, the changes mysterious, this stance [First Bow Greet After] (qian ju hou gong) was unexpected, though it was just an empty bottle but because of the distance it was shot out at, Zhang Zhi Guang did not expect it and could not avoid it.

    The Taoists saw that Zhang Zhi Guang’s head was full of blood, they all shouted out at the same time, and took out a weapon. Quan Zhen’s Taoists all used swords, the courtyard lit up with the blades light. Grandma Sun got up and chuckled, she knew that it would be hard for her to complete this day, but she was strong and stubborn, she wouldn’t surrender, she turned her head and asked Yang Guo, “Child, are you scared?” When Yang Guo saw the long swords brandished, he had already thought to himself, “If uncle Guo was here, even if there were more Taoists I wouldn’t be scared. But with grandma Sun’s skills, we will not be able to break out.” When he heard grandma Sun ask him the question, he clearly replied, “Grandma, just let them kill me. This business has nothing to do with you, leave quickly.”

    Grandma Sun heard the child’s proud resilient air, and his concern for her, and loved him even more, she loudly said, “Grandma will die with you to grant the rotten Taoists their wish.” She suddenly shouted out “Now!” and dashed forward, she stretched out her arms, and caught hold of two Taoists’ wrist; she twisted their wrists and snatched their swords. Her [Empty Hands Entering a Hundred Blades] kung fu was extremely strange; it was reckless yet it was mystifying and not ordinary. The two Taoists could not defend this, and all of a sudden they had lost their weapons.

    Grandma Sun gave one of the swords to Yang Guo and said, “Child, do you dare to fight against the rotten Taoists?”

    Yang Guo said, “Of course I’m not afraid. It’s a pity that there are no other people here.”

    Grandma Sun said, “What other people?”

    Yang Guo loudly said, “Quan Zhen sect is world renowned, a heroic deed such as bullying an orphan and an old woman, if there isn’t anyone to spread this out, wouldn’t that be a pity?” He had heard how grandma Sun and Zhang Zhi Guang argued, and understood one of the points raised. He words were clear and simple, his voice were bright and loud.

    When the Taoists heard his words, half of them felt ashamed, they all thought how all of them ganging up on a small child and an old woman was a shameful thing to do. Someone quietly said, “I’ll go and tell our leader, and hear his decision.”

    Right now Ma Yu was ten miles away at the back of the mountain meditating in a small room, the sect’s affairs was handed to Hao Da Tong. The Taoist who said this was a disciple of Tan Chu Duan, he felt that the situation has got out of hand and now the sect’s reputation was on the line, this matter had to be dealt by their sect’s leader personally.

    Zhang Zhi Guang’s face was struck by the empty jar and had many cuts, his left eye was covered in blood, he was furious and acted out on impulse, he knew that their sect leader was peaceful, he would order them to release Yang Guo and grandma Sun, and he would have suffered for no reason so he called out loudly, “First we’ll catch that evil witch, then we’ll let leader decide what to do. Everyone, catch them.”

    The [Big Dipper Formation] gradually shrunk back; they saw that she only had one hand to fight with but who would have guessed that when the seven of them rushed up within three paces of her, her sword swirled, and defended tightly; they couldn’t advance another step. The formation was led by Zhang Zhi Guang, and needed a change in advancing, but he was scared that the projectile that struck him had poison on it, if he fought then the poison would spread faster, he closed his left eye and stood by the side controlling the formation. Since he decided not to fight, the formation’s power weakened. The Taoists fought for a long time but couldn’t make any progress and began to get impatient when suddenly grandma Sun gave a shout and flung her long sword away, she dashed forward three steps and dodged pass the Taoists’ swords, and grabbed a young Taoist’s chest and picked him up, she shouted, “Scoundrels, will or will you not let us pass?” The Taoists all stopped, but suddenly a body flew out from behind them and stretched their arm and attacked grandma Sun’s wrist. Grandma Sun did not see that person’s face clearly; she felt a numbing sensation in her wrist, the young Taoist she had in her hand was taking by him. She felt a strong wind coming towards her, the person was sending out a palm to attack her. Grandma Sun thought, “That person’s palm is extremely fast.” She quickly pushed out her own palms to repel the attack. The two palms met and made a clashing sound, and grandma Sun took a step back. The person also took a slight step back, about an inch or so, and immediately followed with a second palm without a pause. Grandma Sun also sent out her palms to attack, and was forced back another step. The person took half a step forward and sent out a third palm. The three palms that was sent out was faster than the last, and forced grandma Sun back three steps, she didn’t have a chance to see who her opponent was, by the fourth palm, grandma Sun’s back was forced up against the wall; she had nowhere to retreat. The person sent out a right palm, and locked palms with grandma Sun, and he calmly said, “Grandma, leave the antidote and the child here!”

    Grandma Sun raised her head, and saw that the person had a head full of white hair and white brows, his face was purple, it was the man who had earlier used poison smoke to fend off her bees, Hao Da Tong. After the first three palms, she knew that his internal energy was profound, and above hers, if he increased his palm’s power, she would not be able to hold on, but she was strong and stubborn, she would rather die than give in, she shouted, “If you want me to leave the child, you have first got to kill me.”

    Hao Da Tong knew their sect and his teacher had a deep history and didn’t wish to harm her, he held back on his palm, and said, “We have been neighbours for over ten years, why risk our friendship over a small child.”

    Grandma Sun chuckled, and said, “I originally came here to give you the antidote, so ask your disciples, what is this all about?”

    Hao Da Tong turned his head around to ask his disciples when suddenly grandma Sun sent out a kick, aiming for his legs. That kick came out of nowhere, her body or skirt didn’t move, the opponents leg was coming into his stomach, there wasn’t time to move back, under this threat he reacted, and channelled more strength into his palm, a ‘hey’ sound was heard as grandma Sun was pushed backwards. His push contained all the internal energy his has cultivated over the years using Quan Zhen’s advanced internal energy cultivation techniques. He heard a thudding sound as dust from the upper part of the wall fell down. Grandma Sun spat out a pool of blood, and slowly dropped down onto the floor.

    Yang Guo was shocked, and hugged her body and said, “If you want to kill someone, kill me. There is no need to harm grandma.”

    Grandma Sun opened her eyes and chuckled and said, “Child, looks like we are going to die in the same place.”

    Yang Guo loosened his arms, and guarded her, his back to Hao Da Tong and the others, he ignored his own safety. Hao Da Tong’s palm was serious, he saw that his opponent was injured and was very regretful about his attack, he wanted to go over and take a closer look at grandma Sun’s injury, and give her medicine to heal the wound, but Yang Guo blocked his way and he had couldn’t get close. He softly said, “Yang Guo, move out of the way, let me take a closer look at grandma.”

    Yang Guo didn’t believe him and held grandma Sun tightly. Hao Da Tong tried to persuade him a few time but saw that Yang Guo ignored him; he became impatient and stretched out his arm to pull his arm away. Yang Guo loudly shouted, “Rotten Taoists, scoundrels, you can kill me, I won’t let you harm grandma.”

    Just as he was saying he won’t give grandma Sun over, a cold voice from behind suddenly said, “Bullying a child and an old woman, how heroic is that?”

    Hao Da Tong heard the cold and icy voice, his heart shivered. He turned around to take a look and saw an extremely beautiful young girl standing at the entrance to the main hall, her clothes were as white as snow, her eyes froze those who looked at her. Once the palace’s bell rung, within ten miles the area would be tightly guarded yet the girl managed to enter without alerting anyone, no one knew how she managed to enter without making a sound.

    Hao Da Tong asked, “Miss who are you? What do you want?”

    The young girl glanced at him and didn’t reply, and went over to grandma Sun. Yang Guo raised his head and mournfully said. “Long Gu Gu this evil Taoists killed grandma!” The girl in white was Xiao Long Nuu. She had witnessed everything clearly from grandma Sun leaving the tomb with Yang Guo, going to the palace, and grandma Sun fighting. If Hao Da Tong had not used such a lethal move, she would not have shown herself, but now grandma Sun had suffered a serious injury, if she wanted to come out and help it was too late. She had seen with her own eyes how Yang Guo had disregarded his life to protect grandma Sun; his eyes were full of tears. She nodded and said, “Everyone dies, there is nothing special about death.”

    Grandma Sun had bought her up by herself and treated her like a daughter, but Xiao Long Nuu had lived in a detached state for these eighteen years, and cultivated the sect’s internal energy, she didn’t have a touch of grief or anger in her, she saw that grandma Sun was beyond help and so there was no need to feel sorrow, however for a split second she felt grief for a loved one, but no emotion was shown on her face.

    Hao Da Tong heard Yang Guo had called her ‘Long Gu Gu’, and knew that it was the Xian Long Nuu who had chased prince Huo Dou away, and he was surprised. The news of how Huo Dou had been forced to run away had spread throughout the world of Jiang Hu, though Xiao Long Nuu had never taken a step out of mount Zhong Nan, her name was now known throughout the wulin world.

    Xiao Long Nuu turned her head around slowly, and looked at the Taoists. Apart from Hao Da Tong who’s internal energy was deep and was able to keep a still body and mind, when the other Taoists saw that she her clearly, and looked into her frosty and captivating eyes, they could not stop their hearts from jumping.
    Xiao Long Nuu stooped down to take a closer look at grandma Sun and asked, “Grandma Sun, how are you?”

    Grandma Sun sighed and said, “Miss, I have never request anything from you in my entire life, I beg you, will you allow me the request or won’t you.”

    Xiao Long Nuu wrinkled her handsome brows slightly and said, “What do you want me to do?”

    Grandma Sun nodded her head, and pointed to Yang Guo, she wasn’t able to speak for the time being.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “You want me to take care of him?”

    Grandma Sun forced a deep breath and said, “I beg you to look after him forever, don’t let others harm him, can you promise me that?

    Xiao Long Nuu hesitantly said, “Look after him forever?”

    Grandma Sun sternly said, “Miss, if old woman here doesn’t die, I would look after you forever. Who clothed you, fed you and changed you when you were little, weren’t it all done by old woman here? How… have you repaid me?”

    Xiao Long Nuu bit her lip and said, “Fine, I promise.”

    A smile crept upon grandma Sun’s face. Her eyes looking at Yang Guo, she wanted to say something but couldn’t catch her breath. Yang Guo knew what she wanted and lowered his ear to her mouth and quietly said, “Grandma, you want to say something to me?”

    Grandma Sun said, “Lower you head a bit more.”

    Yang Guo lowered himself further, and placed his ear right by her mouth.

    Grandma Sun whispered, “Your auntie Long has no one to depend on, you…you…” when she got up to this point you couldn’t say anything more, as she suddenly spat out a mouthful of blood, Yang Guo’s face and clothes was speckled with blood, her eyes closed as she passed away.

    Yang Guo shouted, “Grandma, grandma!” He was grief stricken; he held her body and sobbed.

    The Taoists who saw this felt a touch of sorrow, and Hao Da Tong was even more regretful, he went up to grandma Sun and paid his respects and said, “Grandma, I didn’t mean to hurt you. This sin that has come upon me is down to your fate. Grandma, go peacefully!”

    Xiao Long Nuu stood up, but didn’t say anything and waited for him to finish, the two of them stared at each other. Half an hour passed when Xiao Long Nuu wrinkled her brow again and said, “What? You are not going to kill yourself to say sorry, you want me to do it for you?”

    Hao Da Tong was startled and said, “What?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “You’ve kill someone so you need pay the life back, kill yourself and finish this and I’ll spare all the lives of all the Taoists here.”

    Before Hao Da Tong could reply, the Taoists that were around him spoke out. There were about thirty, forty Taoists here at the main hall, all saying; “Little girl, leave quickly now and we won’t make it hard for you.” “What crap! What killing yourself and finish this, and you’ll spare our lives” “This young girl does not know how high the sky is and how deep the earth is.” When Hao Da Tong heard the Taoists clamour he quickly waved his hand to tell them to be quiet.

    Xiao Long Nuu ignored all the Taoists’ comments, and slowly took out a silk object from her pocket, she separated her hands, she placed a silk belt into her left hand with her right, the object was a glove and she slipped it on her right hand, she quietly said, “Old Taoist, you are a coward, you are afraid of killing yourself, take out a weapon and get ready to fight!”

    Hao Da Tong smiled and said, “Old man here hurt grandma Sun by accident, I don’t want to mess around with you, take Yang Guo and leave this place.” He thought that although she has become famous for forcing Huo Dou to run away, she just relied on the threat of her Jade Bees. She is of a young age, even if her skills have their fine points, she would not be any better than Grandma Sun, and so decided to let her leave; firstly because of their sects first generation’ relationship, secondly he was troubled by accidentally killing grandma Sun, it was for the best.

    He didn’t predict that Xiao Long Nuu would not take any notice of his words, her left arm raised, a strip of silk suddenly flung out from the ground, heading straight for Hao Da Tong’s face. That move came without making a noise and out of nowhere, there was no warning, under the candlelight, he saw a gold coloured sphere tied to the silk belt. Hao Da Tong saw that she unleashed her move extremely quickly, and the weapon she used was extremely strange, and was uncertain on how to react, he was old and his movements were slow, although he has faced many skilled fighters before, he didn’t dare to receive the attack head on and moved to the left.

    He didn’t know that Xiao Long Nuu’s belt could turn direction in midair, Hao Da Tong leapt to the left, the belt followed him to the left, three sounds were heard as the gold sphere shook three times, and hit his face’s ‘Meeting Fragrance’ (Ying Xiang), ‘Receiving Tears’ (Cheng Qi) and ‘Central’ (Ren Zhong) three pressure points. The stances moves used to hit the pressure points were extremely fast, nothing more could be done during this time, it was one best skills in the wulin world, he heard the gold sphere rattle two times, thought it wasn’t loud it was extremely strange, as it entered the ear it moved the heart and shook the soul. Hao Da Tong was alarmed and quickly used [Metal Board Bridge] (tie ban qiao), his body moved backwards; the silk belt swept swiftly inches away from his face. He was afraid of the gold sphere pursuing him and attacking, his kung fu was refined, as he was steeping back he suddenly leapt up three metres. Xiao Long Nuu didn’t predict this; a ‘zheng’ sound was made as the sphere hit the ground. Her pressure point hitting technique with the sphere were all linked and continuous, in the midst of danger, Hao Da Tong managed to luckily escape. Hao Da Tong straightened his body, his face changed colour. The surrounding Taoists were not his disciples, and were his martial nephews, they all respected his skills, though he wasn’t harmed, they were all astonished at the way he scampered out of the last attack. Four Taoists raised their swords and aimed for Xiao Long Nuu.
    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Yes, you should have used your weapons long ago!”

    She waved her hands, two silk belts moved out like a snake, two ‘ting’ sounds were heard, the ‘Spirit Channel’ (ling dao) pressure points on their wrists were struck, two clattering sounds were made as the four swords all struck the ground. The Taoists all changed colour, none of them dared to attack after that move.
    Hao Da Tong had initially thought Xiao Long Nuu’s skills were ordinary, who would have thought that he almost lost to her, his dislike for the enemy increased and he took a long sword out of the hands of one of the disciples, and said, “Miss Long’s skills are excellent, old Taoist here applauds, come, come, let old Taoist here test out some of Miss’ advanced skills.”

    Xiao Long Nuu nodded her head, two ‘ting’ sounds were heard, the two belts swept in from the left and right.

    According to seniority, Hao Da Tong was one level above Xiao Long Nuu, in respect of duelling with a senior, Xiao Long Nuu should hold back on the first three moves, but her stances were full of killer intent immediately, and ignore any rules of the wulin world.

    Hao Da Tong thought, “Although the girl’s skills are not weak, she doesn’t seem to understand, she hasn’t got much battle experience, I doubt that she can show much more ability in this battle.” His left hand followed the sword as his right hand held it, as he fought against the white silk belt.

    The Taoists all circled around and watched the battle closely. Under the flickering of candlelight, one could only see a girl dressed in white, an old Taoist in grey; the belt looked like a rainbow, the sword moving like lightning as they engaged in battle.

    Hao Da Tong had put in sweat and blood in training his sword skills, when it comes to sword skills, his was ranked third or fourth but Xiao Long Nuu flipped and rolled and avoided many of his stances, he wasn’t able to gain any advantage. Xiao Long Nuu’s silk belts were like an efficacious snake, circling around, plus the two gold spheres continuously sending out ‘ting’ sounds, it was even more disturbing for the opponent.

    Hao Da Tong had fought for a long while without gaining the upper hand, although he wasn’t losing he thought about how he was well known as a skilled fighter in the world of wulin; he had fought over one hundred stances with the young girl but still unable to gain any advantage, it was slightly embarrassing. He became impatient and changed his sword style, fast became slow, though his stances became much slower than before, the force behind the sword increased over many times. At first he was only able to avoid his sword tip being trapped by the silk belt, now the sword strength increased, he was able to cut and chop the belt.

    More stances passed when suddenly a clashing sound was heard, as the sword tip clashed with the golden sphere, Hao Da Tong’s internal energy was profound and knocked the golden sphere out of the way, hitting it towards Xiao Long Nuu, he then attacked forwards. The Taoists saw the sword passed the advance of the silk belt, heading for Xiao Long Nuu’s wrist, and thought that she had to let go of the silk belt otherwise her wrist would have been pierced.

    Who would have guessed that Xiao Long Nuu’s right hand turned over and caught the blade of the sword; a ‘ka’ sound was heard as the sword snapped in half.

    The Taoists all gasped out in shock, Hao Da Tong quickly jumped backwards, his hand holding the snapped sword, standing still in shock. He didn’t know that the opponent’s glove was made out of an extremely fine and extremely tough white gold thread, it was a unique weapon that was passed down by her ancestors, although it was fine and light, no blade or spear could pierce it, not even precious knives or sharp swords could damage it, she held the sword’s blade and used her strength to break it.

    Hao Da Tong was pale, he had just suffered a great defeat, and didn’t realise that there was something special about her glove and thought that she had mastered the advanced skills of being impenetrable by swords and spears. His voice quivered as he said, “Good, good, good, old Taoist here admit defeat. Miss Long, take the child and leave.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “You’ve killed grandma Sun, just a word admitting defeat and that’s it?”

    Hao Da Tong laughed out at the sky and said, “I’m really stupid!” He raised his broken sword and aimed for his neck.

    Suddenly a noise was heard, his hand shook severely, a coin came from beyond the walls, and knocked the sword out of his hand onto the ground. His energy was profound, to be able to knock the sword out his hand, how easy could it be?
    Hao Da Tong shivered, from the ability to use a coin to knock the sword out of his hand, he knew his martial brother Qiu Chu Ji had arrived, he raised his head and said, “Martial brother Qiu, little brother is useless.” He heard a long laugh coming from outside the walls, followed by, “Winning and losing is normal, if those who lost would then go and cut their throat, even if your martial brother had eighteen heads they would have all been cut down long ago.”

    Qiu Chu Ji leapt over the wall to the scene, his hand holding a long sword. He was a very straightforward man, he hated unnecessary talk, and stretched out his sword, pointing it at Xiao Long Nuu’s arm and said, “Quan Zhen’s Qiu Chu Ji wishes to test our neighbour’s great skill.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “You are very straightforward.” She stretched out her left palm and held Qiu Chu Ji’s sword.

    Hao Da Tong quickly warned, “Apprentice brother, careful!” But he was too late, Xiao Long Nuu exerted her energy, Qiu Chu Ji channelled his energy into his sword, the two of them competed, a ‘ka’ sound, the sword broke in half. But Xiao Long Nuu’s arm was shaken and was slightly numb, she felt a pain in her chest. Within this stance, she knew that Qiu Chu Ji’s ability was well above Hao Da Tong, she herself has not finished studying the [Jade Heart Manual], she would not be able to beat him. She threw the broken blade onto the floor, her left hand carried the body of grandma Sun, her right hand carrying Yang Guo, she leapt up, and soared into the air, flying away gracefully from the top of the wall.

    Qiu Chu Ji, Hao Da Tong and the others saw her demonstrate her lightness kung fu, they all looked on in astonishment. Qiu Chu Ji and Hao Da Tong had fought with her, they knew that she was blessed with refined skills, but her fighting skills were still below theirs, however they have never seen such an admirable display of lightness kung fu.

    Hao Da Tong sighed, and said, “It’s finished, it’s finished!”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “Apprentice brother, you have studied Taoism for many years, how could it be that you are not able to see pass a small mistake? Our brothers and sister in Shan Xi, didn’t we have our set of problems?”

    Hao Da Tong was alarmed and said, “What? Was anyone hurt?”

    Qiu Chu Ji said, “It’s a long story, we’ll go and see apprentice brother Ma first.”

    After Li Mo Chou had killed the Lu family she travelled to Shan Xi, in Jin Bei she killed a few more heroes of the wulin world. She eventually provoked public indignation; the leaders of the wulin world in that area sent our hero invitations, inviting them to attack her. The Quan Zhen sect was the receiver of one of these hero invitations. At that time, Ma Yu and Qiu Chu Ji discussed how although Li Mo Chou has done many evil deeds, her sect and theirs had a long history, it would be best if they solved it and give her a chance to turn over a new leaf. Liu Chu Xuan and Sun Bu Er were at Mei Bei. However Li Mo Chou hid her tracks, and travelled around discreetly, Liu Chu Xuan and Sun Bu Er couldn’t stop her and she hurt some more good men of Jin Nan and Jin Bei. Eventually Qiu Chu Ji and Wang Chu Yi bought with them ten disciples, and rendezvoused with them. Li Mo Chou knew that it would difficult for one person to fight off so many good fighters, and so she agreed with Qiu and Wang to a duel. The first day’s duel was with Sun Bu Er. Li Mo Chou secretly used her poison, she used her ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’ and pierced her, she immediately went up to them and gave them the antidote, and told Qiu Chu Ji they must accept it. This meant that they accepted a favour from her, according to the rules of Jiang Hu; they wouldn’t be able to chase after and fight her. The Taoists could only laugh bitterly as they made their way back. It was lucky that Qiu Chu Ji hurried back by himself first and not travelling with the group, and managed to arrive in time and saved Hao Da Tong’s life.

    After Xiao Long Nuu left Chong Yang Palace, she put Yang Guo down and carried grandma Sun’s body and took Yang Guo back in the tomb of the living dead. She put her body on the bed that she normally slept on, and sat down on the chair in front of the bed and didn’t spoke a single word. Yang Guo threw himself on grandma Sun’s body and cried incessantly. After a while Xiao Long Nuu said, “She’s already dead, why are you crying? Even if you cried some more, she wouldn’t know about it.”

    Yang Guo was startled, and felt that her words were cold and emotionless, but when he thought about it, her words made sense, he was struck with grief again and burst out crying once again.

    Xiao Long Nuu looked at him coldly, her expression remained the same, after another while she said, “We are going to bury her, follow me.”

    She picked up the body and exited the room. Yang Guo wiped away his tears with his sleeve and followed her. The tomb’s passageways were pitch black, he opened his eyes wide open but could see the white image of Xiao Long Nuu, he cold only tightly follow, he didn’t dare to lose track of her.

    She twisted east and winded west, after half an hour, she pushed open a heavy stone door and from her pockets she took a match and lit two oil lamps on the stone table. Yang Guo took a look around and shivered, he saw a large empty room with five stone coffins. He took a closer look, and saw that two of the tombs were tightly closed, another two was half open, he didn’t know if there were corpses inside.

    Xiao Long Nuu pointed to the first coffin on the right and said, “Ancestor grandma lies there.” She pointed to the second one and said, “Master lies there.”

    Yang Guo saw her pointing to a third coffin, his heart jumped, he didn’t know who she was going to say lies in that one, he saw that the lid was not closed, if there was a corpse wouldn’t it be extremely putrid? He heard her say, “Grandma Sun lies in that one.”

    Yang Guo knew it was an empty coffin, and swallowed his breath. He saw the other two coffins and became curious, he asked, “What about them two coffins?”
    Xiao Long Nuu said, “One is for my apprentice sister Li Mo Chou, the other is for me.”

    Yang Guo froze and said, “Li Mo Chou Miss Li is going to return?”

    Xiao Long Nuu replied, “My teacher had planned it all, she will return. There is one coffin short because my master didn’t plan for you.”

    Yang Guo was shocked and quickly said, “I don’t want one, I don’t want one!”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I promised grandma Sun that I was going to look after you forever. Since I won’t leave, then that means you won’t either.”

    Yang Guo heard her talk about his life and death, he lost any sense of concern and said, “Even if you don’t let me go, when you die, I’ll be able to leave.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I promised to look after you forever, I won’t die before you.”

    Yang Guo said, “Why not? You are older than me!”

    Xiao Long Nuu calmly said, “Before I die, I will kill you.”

    Yang Guo’s heart jumped out of his mouth, and thought, “Maybe not. People have got legs, won’t I run away?”

    Xiao Long Nuu went up to the third coffin and opened the lid, then picked up grandma Sun and placed her inside. Yang Guo didn’t want to abandon her just yet and said, “Let me take another look at grandma.” Xiao Long Nuu saw how they had just known each other for a over a day yet they managed to become so closely bonded, she agreed to his request, she creased her brow and picked up the corpse of grandma Sun not moving. Yang Guo looked at grandma Sun under the dim light, and wanted to cry again. Xiao Long Nuu looked at him, and placed grandma Sun’s body into the coffin, she pulled the lid over, a click sound as the lid locked into place tightly sealing the coffin.

    Xiao Long Nuu was afraid that Yang Guo would cry again and said, “Let’s leave!” She waved her left sleeve, the two oil lamps in the room were put out, the room was plunged into darkness. Yang Guo was afraid that she would trap him in there and quickly ran out.

    In the tomb, there is no difference between night and day. The two of them had a long day and were tired. Xiao Long Nuu ordered Yang Guo to sleep in grandma Sun’s room. Yang Guo had wandered around Jiang Hu by himself since he was very young, he would normally sleep rough or in old temples, and was brave, but now sleeping buy himself in this room, he began to think about the dead people in the coffins, and was scared out of his wits. Xiao Long Nuu said a few words but he did not reply.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Did you not hear me?”

    Yang Guo said, “I’m scared”

    Xia Long Nuu asked, “Scared of what?”

    Yang Guo replied, “I don’t know. I afraid to sleep by myself.”

    Xia Long Nuu creased her brows and said, “You can sleep with me in my room.” He then led him to her room. She was used to the darkness and would not usually light a candle, but because of Yang Guo she lit a wax candle. Yang Guo saw that she was beautiful, the clothes she wore was as white as snow, not a speck of dust, he thought that her room must be very elegant and refined. When he entered however, he was disappointed, he saw that her room was empty; it was like the room with the coffins. There was a blue green stone bed, there was a cover of long grass on the bed, a white cloth was used as a blanket, and apart from these objects there were nothing else in the room.

    Yang Guo thought, “Where am I going to sleep? I’m afraid that she wants me to sleep on the floor.” Then Xiao Long Nuu said, “Sleep on my bed!”

    Yang Guo said, “That’s not right. I’ll sleep on the floor.”

    Xiao Long Nuu’s faced changed and said, “If you want to stay here then you have got to do as I say. If you want to fight with the Taoists of Quan Zhen, it’s up to you. If you dissent against me, I’ll immediately punish you with death.”

    Yang Guo said, “If you don’t use these terrible punishments, then I’ll listen to you.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “You dare to talk back?”

    Yang Guo saw that she was young and beautiful, but she was strict and ruling, he stuck out his tongue and didn’t say a word.

    Xiao Long Nuu saw and said, “Why are you sticking out your tongue? You refuse to obey is that it?”

    Yang Guo didn’t say anything, he took off his shoes and climbed onto the bed and went to sleep. Once he slept on the bed, he felt his bones chilled, he was alarmed and quickly jumped off the bed. Xiao Long Nuu saw that he was scared out of his wits, and sympathised with him but there was a slight smile on her face as she said, “What is it?”

    Yang Guo saw that a smile was on her face, he smiled and said, “There’s something strange with that bed, so you wanted to make a fool out of me.”

    Xiao Long Nuu became serious again and said, “Who’s making a fool out of you? The bed is like that, quickly go to sleep.” As she said this she took out a broom from behind the door and said, “If you get of the bed again, you will get ten beats with this broom.”

    Yang Guo saw that she was serious, and could only climb onto the bed again, this time he was prepared, and wasn’t shocked, but it was as if there was a block of ice underneath the layer of long grass, the longer he slept the colder he became, his body shivered and his teeth chattered, making noise. After a while, the coldness went into his bones, he couldn’t endure anymore and got off.

    He turned around and saw Xiao Long Nuu looking at him, her face seemed to smile but didn’t smile, she had a punishment for him in mind, he secretly cursed himself in his heart, he held his teeth tightly and used all his strength to resist the coldness of the bed. He saw Xiao Long Nuu take out a rope, and tied one end to a nail on the eastern side of the room, and tied the other end to a nail on the western side of the room, the rope was off the ground at a height similar to that of a person. She lightly jumped up and laid across the rope, using it as a bed. She waved her left palm; the wind of the palm blew out the candle.

    Yang Guo was in awe and said, “Gu Gu, could you teach me this skill tomorrow”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “This skill is nothing. Practice hard, I have many great skills to teach you.”

    Yang Guo heard that Xiao Long Nuu was going to sincerely teach him martial arts, he then immediately wiped away his initially feelings about Xiao Long Nuu, he was grateful and tears were forming in his eyes, and said, “Gu Gu, you treat me very well, before I hated you.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I forced you out of the tomb, of course you would hate me, what is so strange about that?”

    Yang Guo said, “I thought you was going to be like my previous master, teaching me useless kung fu.”

    Xiao Long Nuu heard he shivered as he talked and said, “Are you cold?”

    Yang Guo said, “Yes, there’s something strange underneath this bed, why is it so cold?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Do you like it or don’t you?”

    Yang Guo said, “I…I don’t.”

    Xiao Long Nuu chuckled and said, “You don’t like it, there are many skilled fighters on this earth who wished they could have the chance to sleep on this bed.”

    Yang Gou asked, “You aren’t punishing me?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I treat you well, and you think I’m punishing you, you really don’t know what’s good for you.”

    From her tone, it seemed as she was saying that sleeping on this bed was a blessing, so he softly asked, “Gu Gu, what is so good about this cold bed, can you explain it to me?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “If you sleep on this bed for the rest of your life, you’ll find out the benefits for yourself. Close your eyes, don’t speak anymore.”

    In the darkness he heard her clothes rustle lightly, it seems like she was turning over, she was sleeping on a rope in midair, to be able to turn over when she wants to was uncanny.

    Her last two sentences were said with a strict tone, Yang Guo didn’t dare to question any further. He closed his eyes to sleep, by the cold air from below advanced on him, and he thought about grandma Sun and he was depressed again, how could he sleep? After a while he quietly called out, “Auntie, I can’t stand it.” He heard Xiao Long Nuu’s slow breathing; she was asleep. He quietly called out twice, but there was no reply and he thought, “If I get off the bed and sleep on the floor, she wouldn’t know.” He then quietly sneaked down from the bed, and stood on the floor, not daring to breathe out.

    Who would have guessed as soon as his feet touched the ground, a ‘se’ sound was made as Xiao Long Nuu leapt down from the rope, and bent his left arm around his back, and forced him onto the ground. Yang Guo shouted out in shock. Xiao Long Nuu grabbed the broom, and hit his backside with force. Yang Guo knew there was no use in pleading so he bit his teeth and took the beats. The first five hits were very painful, but by the sixth hit Xiao Long Nuu held back a little, and by the last two hits she was afraid that he won’t be able to endure it anymore and the hits were even lighter. After the ten hits, she put Yang Guo on the bed and said, “If you get off the bed again, I’ll hit you again.”

    Yang Guo laid on the bed, and didn’t make a noise; he heard her place the broom in the corner and then leapt back onto the rope. Xiao Long Nuu thought that he would definitely cry, but who would have thought that he didn’t make a sound. She was surprised and asked, “Why aren’t you making any noise?”

    Yang Guo said, “What is there to cry about, you said you was going to beat me, you would beat me, even if I begged it wouldn’t be any use.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Humph, you are cursing me secretly in your heart.”

    Yang Guo said, “I am not cursing you secretly in my heart, you are much better than my previous master.”

    Xiao Long Nuu asked, “Why?”

    Yang Guo said, “Although you hit me, you cared for my well being. The hits became lighter, you were afraid that I would be in pain.”

    Xiao Long Nuu blushed slightly when she heard those words, it was lucky that it was dark and Yang Guo didn’t see her, she scolded, “Humph, who cares for you, the next time you are disobedient I’ll beat you even harder.”

    Yang Guo heard her gentle tone and smiled and said, “If you beat me harder, I’ll like it even more.”

    Xiao Long Nuu spat out, “Little rascal, I’m afraid you won’t be able to sleep each day without a beating.”

    Yang Guo said, “It depends on who beats me. If it was someone who cared about me, then I won’t be angry, I’ll be pleased instead. If someone who hates me insults me one word, when I grow up, I’ll take my revenge on them.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Listen to your words, who’s going to hate you, who’s going to love you.”

    Yang Guo said, “This is all clear in my mind. There is no need to mention those who hate me; there are countless people. The people who loves me are my deceased mother, uncle Guo, my godfather, grandma Sun and you.”

    Xiao Long Nuu chuckled and said, “Humph, I won’t love you. Grandma Sun told me to take care of you, I will take care of you. There is no point in hoping that I will treat you well.”

    Yang Guo was feeling cold already, but when he heard those words it was like someone had poured a bucket of cold water over him. He asked, “What’s wrong with me? Why do you hate me?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Whether you are feeling good or bad, what is that to do with me? And I don’t hate you. I have lived in this tomb all my life, I don’t love anything, I don’t hate anything.”

    Yang Guo said, “Is there anything fun around here? Gu Gu, have you ever been outside?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I have never left mount Zhong Nan, there’s just trees and mountains, the sun and moon outside, what is so good about that?”

    Yang Guo clapped his hand and said, “Ah, then you haven’t lived properly. There are many colourful and interesting objects in the city, you should see them.” Then he described all the things he has seen in his life. He was a good speaker, he added his own colourful descriptions and the objects he were describing sounded even more interesting and strange, he described hundreds of things. It was fortunate that Xiao Long Nuu had lived in the tomb for the past eighteen years, she didn’t question his descriptions and believed them all, after he had finished, she gave out a sigh.

    Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu, I’ll take you out to play, how about that?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Don’t say such things! Ancestor grandma had passed down a rule, those who has lived in the Tomb of the Living Dead must not leave mount Zhong Nan one step.”

    Yang Guo was shocked, and thought, “Peach Blossom Island is an island in the middle of the sea, I went there and was able to leave, how can this large tomb keep me here?” and he asked, “Miss Li Mo Chou is your apprentice sister, she has lived in the Tomb of the Living Dead, how did she leave mount Zhong Nan?
    Xiao Long Nuu said, “She didn’t obey my master, it was my master who sent her out of the tomb.” Yang Guo was pleased and thought, “If there is such a rule, when I want to leave all I’ve got to do is disobey you and you will send me out of the tomb.” He thought how he mustn’t let this slip otherwise his plan wouldn’t work.

    The two of them talked, just for a moment, Yang Guo forgot all about the cold but after a while his body started to shiver and shake, he then pleaded with Xiao Long Nuu, “Gu Gu, spare me please. I don’t want to sleep on this bed.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “When you was fighting with your master in Quan Zhen sect, you didn’t say a word of mercy, why are you like this now?”

    Yang Guo laughed and said, “Those who ill treat me, even if they beat me I won’t say a word. Those who treat me well, I’ll be willing to die for them, what’s a word of mercy compared to that?”

    Xiao Long Nuu gave a ‘humph’ sound and said, “Little rogue, who’s going to treat you well?”

    Xiao Long Nuu was bought up her teacher and grandma Sun, for these last eighteen years they were the only company. The two of them treated her well but because her master wanted her to learn the ‘Jade Heart Manual’, ever since she was little she was told to purge her emotions, when she cried or smiled she would have been punished heavily, grandma Sun was a warm person but she didn’t dare to disturb her refinement of the skill, and so Xiao Long Nuu became a cold, unfeeling, lonely girl. Now Yang Guo came, he was a hot-blooded, emotional person, he was young, the way he spoke was completely the opposite of grandma Sun and her master. Xiao Long Nuu heard him talk, she was aware that something was strange, but she listened to him talking and forgot about their tiredness. When she first agreed to take in Yang Guo, it was at the request of grandma Sun, but later on when she heard Yang Guo say that she treats him well, she felt that she indeed did treat him well.

    Yang Guo heard her tone had no more strictness within it, he said loudly, “It’s cold, it’s cold, gu gu, I can’t endure it anymore.” Indeed he was cold, but it wasn’t anything too serious.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “There’s no need to be noisy, I’ll tell you about the bed.”

    Yang Guo was pleased and said, “Great, I won’t call out anymore, please tell Gu Gu.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I said that there are many fighters who wished that they had the chance to sleep on this bed, that wasn’t a lie. The bed is made out of an ancient chilled jade, it aids those who practises advanced type of internal energy.”

    Yang Guo asked, “Isn’t it just a stone?”

    Xiao Long Nuu chuckled and said, “You’ve said that you have seen countless strange and wondrous objects, haven’t you ever seen a icy cold piece of rock before? It was ancestor grandma who wasted seven years of blood and sweat in the extreme cold of the northern plains, and dug out the chilled jade from under thousands of feet deep of ice and snow. If you practise your internal energy on this bed, one year is equivalent of ten years practising normally.”

    Yang Guo was surprised and said, “Oh, so it has such benefits.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “When you first sleep on it, it is extremely cold and hard to endure, only by circulating your chi to oppose it and slowly getting used to it, you’ll be able to practise your internal energy in your sleep. A normal person who practises internal energy, even the most energetic will have to spend a few hours each day in sleep. You have to be aware that practising internal energy is opposing the natural flow of things, chi and blood intermixes, it is completely different to what happens normally, but each night when you sleep, the chi that is produced in your sleep not only does it not waste the energy you have accumulated in the day, it also enhances your internal energy.

    Yang Guo understood and said, “If you sleep on ice and snow at night, then you will have the same effect.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Not so. Firstly, when you sleep on ice or snow, your body’s heat will eventually melt the snow and ice into water; secondly, the chilled jade is much colder than ice and snow many times. Another good point of the bed is that when you are refining internal energy, the most important thing to avoid is fire deviation, when you are practising normally, half of you refined energy clashes with the fire in your heart. The chilled jade bed is the world’s most yin and cold object, when sitting on the bed and refining your internal energy, the fire in your heart is cooled and neutralised, that means you will be able to press on further when cultivating your internal energy, how can that not be faster than practising internal energy normally?”

    Yang Guo was delighted, and said, “Gu Gu, you treat me very well, you lend the bed for me to sleep on, that means I won’t be scared of the Wu brothers and Guo Fu. Although Zhao Zhi Jing and the rest of the Taoists have practised martial arts for so long, I will still be able to catch up with them.”

    Xiao Long Nuu calmly said, “One of the decrees that ancestor grandma passed down was that once you have lived in the tomb, you must forget your struggles with other people.”

    Yang Guo quickly said, “Even though they bullied me and killed grandma Sun, we will just leave it just like that.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Everyone will have to die, even if grandma Sun did not die under the hands of Hao Da Tong, in a few years she would die of old age. Live a few more years, or live a few less years, what difference does it make? Don’t mention anything about revenge to me again.”

    Yang Guo felt that although her words made sense, he could not let go; he wasn’t able to think of a reply to what she said. Right then, the cool air of the bed entered his body again, he shook continuously.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I’ll teach you a method to oppose the cool air of the bed.”
    She then passed on the formulae and the way to practise internal energy to him; it was their sect’s foundation kung fu. Yang Guo practised according to the instructions, he only practised it for a while when he felt the coolness resided, by the third repetition, his body felt like it was on fire, he didn’t feel the bed’s coolness, and instead felt that sitting on the bed was extremely comfortable, his eyes closed, and slowly he fell asleep. He slept for half an hour, his hot chi disappeared, and was woken by the bed’s coolness, and he then repeated the method again. He spent the night this way, falling asleep and waking up again, but when he was suddenly woken up he didn’t feel any tiredness. In just a night, his internal energy level increased further.

    The two of them ate breakfast, and then Yang Guo took the bowls and chopsticks into the kitchen and washed them, before returning to the main hall.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “There is one thing you must understand. If you really want me to be your master, you must obey me for eternity. If you don’t want me to be your master, I will still teach you martial arts, if in the future you become better than me, then you can leave the tomb on account of your skills.”

    Yang Guo replied without considering, “I am willing to take you as my master. Even if you don’t teach me a drop of martial arts, I will still do as you say.”
    Xiao Long Nuu asked, “Why?”

    Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu, don’t you think I don’t know that you care for me?”

    Xiao Long Nuu put on a face and said, “Whether I treat you well or not, don’t talk about it. Since you decided to enter my sect, then follow me and you will undergo the ritual.”

    Yang Guo followed her into the back hall, only to see the back hall was sparse and empty, apart from two paintings on the eastern and western wall. On the western wall was a picture of two girls. One of them was around twenty five, six years of age, facing a mirror combing and adorning her hair, the other was a fourteen, fifteen years of age maid, her hand holding a bucket, standing by the side. The tall girl looking in the mirror was extremely beautiful, her brows tidy, in her eyes there was an air of death. Yang Guo took a few looks at the painting, and felt fear and respect towards the girl.

    Xiao Long Nuu pointed to the tall girl in the painting and said, “That is our ancestor, kowtow to her.”

    Yang Guo strangely asked, “That’s our ancestor, why is she so young?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “She was young in the picture, later she wasn’t as young anymore.” Yang Guo focused on the two sentences, ‘She was young in the picture, later she wasn’t as young anymore’, he felt sorrow and angst in his heart and tears came out of his eyes.

    Xiao Long Nuu didn’t notice what he was thinking and pointed to the young girl and said, “That is my master, quickly kowtow.” Yang Guo looked at the painting, and saw the young girl, who could believe that she would become Xiao Long Nuu’s master; he didn’t hesitate and immediately kowtowed.

    Xiao Long Nuu waited for him to stand up and then pointed to the painting hung on the eastern wall and said, “Spit at that Taoist.” Yang Guo took a look at the painting and saw the Taoist was quite tall, a long sword by his waist, the index finger on his right hand pointing to the north eastern corner, his back facing out, his face could not be seen.

    He was curious and asked, “Who’s that? Why should I spit at him?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “That is Quan Zhen sect’s founder Wong Chong Yang, our sect has a rule, after kowtowing to our ancestor we need to spit at him.”

    Yang Guo was pleased, he hated the Quan Zhen sect, he felt this rule of the sect was an suiting finish, he spat out at the painting, and felt that this was not enough and spat out twice, he was about to do it again when Xiao Long Nuu said, “Enough!”

    Yang Guo asked, “Did our ancestor really hate Wong Chong Yang?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Correct.”

    Yang Guo said, “I hate him as well. How come the painting is hung on the wall but not destroyed?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I don’t know, I only heard from grandma Sun and my master that there isn’t one good man on earth.”

    Her voice suddenly became strict and she said, “When you become older and do bad things, shall I spare you or not?”

    Yang Guo said, “Of course you’ll spare me.”

    Xiao Long Nuu originally meant this as a warning, she didn’t know he would answer, she was startled and didn’t know what to do with him and said, “Quickly greet your master.”

    Yang Guo said, “Of course, I must kowtow to my master. But first you have to got to promise me one thing otherwise I won’t kowtow.”

    Xiao Long Nuu thought, “According to grandma Sun, before accepting a disciple, only the master can request things from the disciple, how can it be turned around and the disciple requests something from the master?”

    She was an emotionless person and didn’t get angry, she said, “What is it? Let me hear what have you got to say.”

    Yang Guo said, “I regard you as my master, I respect you and obey you, but I don’t want to call you master, I want to call you Gu Gu.”

    Xiao Long Nuu was bemused again and asked, “Why?”

    Yang Guo said, “I had taken that rotten Taoist from the Quan Zhen sect as my master, he didn’t treat me well at all, in my dreams I curse my master. That’s why I want to call you Gu Gu, in case I mistakenly insult you when I insult my master.”
    Xiao Long Nuu smiled slightly, and felt that the way in which this child thinks was amusing, and said, “Fine, I agree to this.”

    Yang Guo then knelt down grandly, and kowtow loudly eight times in front of Xiao Long Nuu and said, “Disciple Yang Guo hereby pay respect and acknowledge Xiao Long Nuu Gu Gu as my master, Yang Guo will obey her words forever, if Gu Gu is in any sort of danger, I will give up my life to protect her, if someone insults Gu Gu, then I will kill them.” In reality Xiao Long Nuu skills were better than his by ten fold, but he saw that she was a beautiful, gentle and fragile girl, a feeling of duty to protect weak girls stirred, and he came out with those words.

    Xiao Long Nuu heard his sincere words, although he spoke with a childish tone, she was touched nonetheless.

    Yang Guo finished kowtowing and picked himself up, his face full of glee.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Why are you so pleased? My skills can’t compare with Quan Zhen’s Qiu Chu Ji or your uncle Guo.”

    Yang Guo said, “I don’t care if they were even more skilled, but you are really going to teach me kung fu.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Actually there isn’t much use in learning kung fu. Its just that there isn’t much to do in the tomb, that’s why I’m teaching you.”

    Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu, what’s our sect called?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “When our ancestor came and lived in the tomb, she didn’t have any contact with the wulin world, our sect doesn’t a name. Later my apprentice sister Li Mo Chou left and wandered around the world of Jiang Hu, others said she was a disciple from ‘Gu Mu Pai’ (Ancient Tomb sect), so let’s call our sect the Ancient Tomb sect!”

    Yang Guo shook his head, and said, “Ancient Tomb sect isn’t a good name.”
    He had just entered the sect and found fault with the name, but Xiao Long Nuu wasn’t too concerned and said, “Does it matter if the name is good or not? Wait here for me, I’m going outside for a while.”

    Yang Guo remembered that he would be on his own in the tomb and became scared and said, “Gu Gu, I’ll go with you.”

    Xiao Long Nuu looked at him and said, “You said you’ll obey for eternity, my first order and you don’t listen?”

    Yang Guo said, “I’m scared.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “You are a man, what is there to be scared of? You said you was going to help me rid bad people.”

    Yang Guo thought for a while and said, “Fine, quickly come back.”

    Xiao Long Nuu calmly said, “I can’t be certain how long, I don’t know if I can catch them so quickly.”

    Yang Guo said, “Catch what?” Xiao Long Nuu didn’t reply and walked away.

    As soon as she left, there wasn’t a sound in the sect. Yang Guo wondered what on earth was she going to catch, she said she will never leave mount Zhong Nan, that means she was going to catch a Quan Zhen Taoist, but who could it be, after capturing him I’ll torture him for a while, that’ll be fun but Gu Gu is by herself, she might be in danger. He thought wildly for a while, and then exited the hall, and headed west in the passageways, but after ten or so steps, it was pitch black in front of his eyes. He was afraid that he going to get lost, he touched the wall and made his way back but after twenty steps or so he lost the light of the main hall. He was afraid, and walked forward faster. He had originally been on the wrong path, but as he carried on, he became even more lost. He ran faster and faster, he crashed into the east and bumped into the west, but felt that there were paths everywhere; he was never going to reach the main hall again. He then loudly called out, “Gu Gu, Gu Gu, quickly save me.” The echo resonated for a while before disappearing.

    He ran around again for a while, but felt the ground was damp, his foot had stepped into some mud, he wasn’t on the level of the tomb but had run into one of the passageways underground, he was scared and thought, “If I got lost in the tomb, Gu Gu will be able to find me. Now that I’m running around, she won’t be able to find me, when she finds out I escaped she will be very upset.” Then, he didn’t dare to run around anymore, he felt out a stone and sat down, he wanted to cry out but he couldn’t.

    He sat there for over an hour when he suddenly heard the faint calls of ‘Guo Er, Guo Er!” Yang Guo was delighted and quickly got up and shouted, “Gu Gu, I’m over here!” The calls of ‘Guo Er, Guo Er’ became fainter. Yang Guo was in a rush and shouted at the top of his voice, “I’m over here!” After a while, he didn’t hear anything, when suddenly he felt his ear being tugged, someone was pulling on his ear.

    At first he was alarmed but now he was pleased and shouted out, “Gu Gu, you’ve come, how come I didn’t notice anything?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Why are you here?”

    Yang Gou said, “I took a wrong turn.”

    Xiao Long Nuu sighed and took his hand and walked, though it was pitch black, it was as if she was under the sun, she went around corners and turned around paths, she walked extremely fast.

    Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu, how can you see in here?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I grew up here in the darkness, so I don’t need any light.”

    Yang Guo had sat there for over an hour and was frightened and regretful, now he was rescued, he was delighted but he didn’t know what to say.

    After a while, Xiao Long Nuu took him to the main hall again. Yang Guo sighed and said, “Gu Gu, just now I was really worried.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Worried about what? I’ll eventually find you.”

    Yang Guo said, “I’m not worried about that, I was afraid that you might have thought that I had escaped and become sad.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “If you did escape, I wouldn’t be able to keep the promise I made to grandma Sun, what is so sad about that?”

    Yang Guo heard this and knew there was no use, and said, “Gu Gu, you’ve caught it then?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I’ve caught them.”

    Yang Guo said, “Why did you go and catch them?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I caught them so you can start learning kung fu. Follow me!”

    Yang Guo thought, “So she has caught a Taoist to fight with me, that will be interesting, it will be best if she caught that Zhao Zhi Jing, after being taken care of by Gu Gu, he would have to endure my punches and kicks, without being able to retaliate, that’ll be great fun, he followed Xiao Long Nuu, the more he thought about it, the happier he was.

    Xiao Long Nuu turned a few bends, and pushed open a door, and entered the chamber, the chamber was lit with candles. The room was small, it was difficult to turn around with the two of them in there, the ceiling was low, if Xiao Long Nuu stretched out her arm, she will be able to touch the ceiling. Yang Guo didn’t see any Taoists; he was slightly disappointed and asked, “Where is the Taoist you caught?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “What Taoist?”

    Yang Guo said, “Didn’t you say you was going to catch some people to help me practise kung fu?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Who said anything about people? It’s in there.” She went over the corner of the room and picked up a bag, she untied the bag and tipped it upside down, three sparrows flew out.

    Yang Guo thought, “Oh, so Gu Gu went out to catch some sparrows.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Catch the three sparrows and give it to me, you mustn’t harm their wings or claws.”

    Yang Guo said, “Fine!” He threw himself forward to catch them. But the sparrows were swift and quick, the flew to the west and darted to east, Yang Guo was out of breath, his head full of sweat, he couldn’t even touch a feather of theirs.
    Xiao Long Nuu said, “You won’t catch them like that, I’ll teach you a way.” She then taught him the technique to jump high and dart low, and the ability to catch things quickly. Yang Guo had realised that she caught the sparrows to teach him kung fu; he made sure he remembered this. Although he understood the formulae and method, it wasn’t easy to use it straight away. Xiao Long Nuu let him practised in the room, and exited the room.

    On the first day Yang Guo wasn’t able to catch one, after supper he practised on the chilled jade bed. On the second day, he could jump higher before, and his arm movements were much quicker. On the fifth day he eventually managed to catch one. Yang Guo was excited and quickly told Xiao Long Nuu. He couldn’t predict that she didn’t have any words of praise or encouragement, and calmly said, “What use is catching one, you must catch all three.”

    Yang Guo said, “I’ve already caught one, how hard could it be to catch all three?” He was mistaken; he tried for two days but wasn’t able to catch them. Xiao Long Nuu saw that the sparrows were tired, so she fed them and then let them fly off, and then caught another three for him to practise. By the eighth day, Yang Guo managed to catch all the sparrows in one go.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “It’s time to go up to Chong Yang Palace.”

    Yang Guo was alarmed and said, “Why?”

    Xiao Long Nuu didn’t reply and took him out of the tomb. Yang Guo had not seen daylight in seven days, when he was in the daylight again, he struggled to open his eyes. The two of them arrived at Chong Yang Palace. Yang Guo was worried, he kept on glancing at Xiao Long Nuu but she was expressionless on her face, her couldn’t tell what she was thinking, he only heard her call out in a clear voice, “Zhao Zhi Jing, quickly come out.”

    When two of them arrived at Chong Yang Palace, they were people who had gone in and gave the message of their arrival, after she finished speaking, out came ten’s of Taoists. Two young Taoists supported Zhao Zhi Jing, his face was haggard, his eyes deep, he had no way of standing up by himself. When the Taoists saw the two of them, they all held their weapons tightly and angrily stared at them.

    End of Chapter 5
    Last edited by Mojo Jojo; 03-21-05 at 08:52 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 6

    The Jade Heart Manual

    Xiao Long Nuu took out a container from her pocket and placed it in your Yang Guo’s hand and loudly said, “This is the antidote to the Jade Bee stings, give it to Zhao Zhi Jing.”

    When Yang Guo saw Zhao Zhi Jing, he grinded his teeth in fury, but he didn’t want to disobey Xiao Long Nuu so he quickly walked up to Zhao Zhi Jing and placed the bottle down heavily in front of him. When the Taoists heard that Xiao Long Nuu had returned to the palace, they thought that she had come back to avenge grandma Sun, they put up their guard and quickly told Ma Yu, Qiu Chu Ji and the other elders the news, they couldn’t have guessed that she had come back to bring the antidote, they were startled and could not think of anything to say.

    After Yang Guo put down the bottle, he looked at Zhao Zhi Jing, a vicious expression was on his face; he turned around and walked away.

    When Lu Qing Du saw Yang Guo, his blood began to boil, and shouted out, “Little punk, you’ve been kicked out of our sect, why have you come back?”

    That day when the [Toad Stance] struck him, he had lost his breath, but because Yang Guo’s internal energy was shallow, he wasn’t seriously hurt, after a few restoring palms by Qiu Chu Ji and a few days rest, he had recovered. Now, he immediately dashed out, wanting to avenge that day’s push.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Guo Er, if you want, fight back.”

    Yang Guo heard footsteps behind him, and heard the wind of a palm, someone was aiming for his neck. In the Tomb of the Living Dead he has slept on the bed for eight days, and has practised eight days of sparrow catching techniques, though Xiao Long Nuu only taught him how to catch sparrows, the Ancient Tomb’s lightness kung fu is outstanding, his skills today and that day on the arena was completely different. He didn’t move backwards or forwards, and waited for Lu Qing Du hand to arrive, he crouched down and darted out of the way, and tugged on the sleeve of that hand. Lu Qing Du could not believe that in just a few days, his lightness kung fu had increased dramatically, under the impulse of anger he had acted out without thinking about the enemy, he had quickly dashed out and his body was inclined, and after being tugged by Yang Guo, his legs were unsteady and heavily fell down onto the ground.

    By the time he picked himself back up, Yang Guo had already hurried to Xiao Long Nuu’s side. Lu Ding Du shouted and cursed, and wanted to go over when suddenly a Taoist hurried out from the crowd, grabbed his arm, and pulled him back into the crowd. When Lu Qing Du was grabbed, he froze, he looked up to see martial uncle Yin Zhi Pin, and he cursed under his breath and retreated.
    Yin Zhi Pin clearly called out, “Thank you miss Long for the antidote.” He bowed down and greeted her.

    Xiao Long Nuu didn’t take any notice and held Yang Guo’s hand and said, “Let’s go.”

    Yin Zhi Ping said, “Miss Long, Yang Guo is a disciple of Quan Zhen, you insist on taking him away, how can we resolve this?”

    Xiao Long Nuu was startled and said, “I don’t want to hear annoying words.” She held Yang Guo’s arm and went back into the forest. Yin Zhi Ping, Zhao Zhi Jing and the other Taoist all stood there startled.

    The two went back into the tomb.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Guo Er, your kung fu has improved, but you hitting the fat Taoist was wrong.”

    Yang Guo said, “That fat Taoist beat me up badly last time, it’s a pity that I wasn’t able to get enough punches in. Gu Gu, why shouldn’t I hit him?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “It’s not that you shouldn’t hit him, it’s the way you hit him that was wrong. You shouldn’t have pulled him to the ground, you shouldn’t have raised your hands to make him drop, and let him drop by himself.”

    Yang Guo was pleased, and said, “That’s a fun method, Gu Gu, teach me.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I’ll be Guo Er, you’ll be the fat Taoist, come and catch me.” She then walked forwards slowly.

    Yang Guo laughed as he went to catch her. It was as if Xiao Long Nuu had eyes on the back of her head, when Yang Guo ran fast, her steps were fast, when he slowed down, she slowed down, the distance between her and Yang Guo stayed at around three feet.

    Yang Guo said, “I’m going to catch you now!” He threw himself forward, Xiao Long Nuu didn’t move. Yang Guo saw that his hands was going to grab her shoulders, but his hands grasped onto thin air as Xiao Long Nuu darted backwards, escaping his clutches. Yang Guo quickly turned around to try to catch her, but this move was rushed, he used a force opposite to his momentum, his legs became unsteady, he looked at the ceiling and his back ached as he fell on the floor.
    Xiao Long Nuu took him by the right hand and picked him up. Yang Guo said, “How come you are so fast?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “If you catch sparrows for a year, then you can do this as well.”

    Yang Guo said, “I’ve caught them already.”

    Xiao Long Nuu chuckled and said, “That counts as catching sparrows? How can our sect’s kung fu be learnt so easily? Follow me.” She then led him to another room. This room was larger than the room where Yang Guo first practised catching sparrows, at least twice the size, there were six sparrows in this room. This room was larger than before; catching the sparrows will be more difficult. Xiao Long Nuu passed on some more lightness kung fu and catching techniques to him, eight, nine days after Yang Guo was able to catch the six sparrows all in one go.

    After, the stone chambers became larger and larger, the numbers of sparrows also increased, eventually he moved to the main hall, with eighty-one sparrows.
    The Ancient Tomb sect’s formulae for internal energy were wondrous, the chilled jade bed’s ability to enhance internal energy cultivation was great, in just three months, Yang Guo could catch all eighty-one sparrows in one go. Xiao Long Nuu was pleased with his rapid progress, and said, “We will now go outside and catch sparrows.”

    Yang Guo had lived in the tomb for three months, and was becoming slightly restless, when he heard that he was going outside to practise, his expression changed to one of delight.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “What is there to be pleased about? This kung fu is hard to master. There are eighty-one sparrows, you must not let one go.”

    The two arrived outside. It was March, on the eve of spring. In front of them was a deep green forest, Yang Guo breathed in deeply, and felt the fragrance of flowers and grassed flowing into his chest, it was extremely relaxing.

    Xiao Long Nuu opened the bag, the sparrows flew out, then, her pair of delicate hands flew out, checking to the west, and tapping in the east, and forced the sparrows that had flew out to return. The flock of sparrows suddenly got their freedom back, how come they didn’t all scatter everywhere? It was strange but Xiao Long Nuu was checking and tapping, the eighty-one sparrows were all kept within three feet of her. Her arms were as if there were engaged in a flying dance, her palms formed a thousand hands and a thousand palms, no matter how hard the sparrows tried to fly away, they couldn’t escape from the boundary of her palms.

    Yang Guo looked on with his mouth opened, he was startled and pleasantly surprised, he pulled himself together and thought, “Gu Gu is teaching me a wondrous palm technique. Quickly concentrate.” He studied her hand movements, how she attacked and how she took her palms back. Her palm technique was extremely quick, but each and every palm was clear, forming the different stances. Yang Guo studied them for over half an hour, although he didn’t understand completely the essence of the palms, he understood a bit more than he did at the start.

    Xiao Long Nuu demonstrated the palms again, then she separated her palms and placed them behind her back, the sparrows suddenly flew up towards the sky. Xiao Long Nuu waved her long sleeves, the two gust of wind from the sleeve pushed out, the sparrows were all pushed back, after a clamour, the beat their wings again to fly away.

    Yang Guo was delighted; he tugged her sleeve and said, “Gu Gu, I don’t think even uncle Guo could do that.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “This set of palms is called the [Force of Nets Above and Snares Below] (tian luo di wang shi), it is one of the Ancient Tomb sect’s foundation skills. Work hard and learn it!” She then taught him the stances of the palms; Yang Guo remembered all of them. Within ten days, Yang Guo learnt all eighty-one stances of the [Force of Nets Above and Snares Below], and made progress in his skills.

    Xiao Long Nuu caught a sparrow, and told Yang Guo to rebel it with his palms. At first he could only repel two or three times before the sparrow escaped through the spaces in his hands. Xiao Long Nuu was standing by the side, she stretched out her hand and sent the sparrow back. Yang Guo continued with his palms, but because his palms weren’t fast enough, in just two, three stances again the sparrow flew away. Xiao Long Nuu again forced the sparrow back so Yang Guo can practise again.

    He continued practising, spring turned to summer, as he advanced his skills a little further. Yang Guo was naturally gifted, and he worked tirelessly, his palm skills kept on improving, by mid autumn, he had mastered this set of [Force of Nets Above and Snares Below], when he used the palm skills he was now able to force the eight-one sparrows under his control. However because his internal energy wasn’t refined enough, there were times where there were gaps in his stances and allowed the birds to escape and so he wasn’t able to do it all in one go.
    That day Xiao Long Nuu said, “Now you’ve completed this set of palms, when you meet that fat Taoist you’ll be able to trip him up a few times without using any effort.”

    Yang Guo said, “What if I fight with Zhao Zhi Jing?”

    Xiao Long Nuu didn’t reply and thought, “When Zhao Zhi Jing fought grandma Sun, if he wasn’t poisoned, grandma Sun may not have won. At the moment, your skills can not compare with his.”

    Yang Guo knew what she thinking when she didn’t reply and said, “It doesn’t matter if I can’t beat him now, in a few years, I’ll be able to beat him. Gu Gu, our Ancient Tomb sect’s skills are better that Quan Zhen’s, aren’t they?”

    Xiao Long Nuu looked up at the ceiling and said, “On this earth, only you and I believe that. Last time when I fought with that Quan Zhen Taoist named Qiu, I couldn’t beat him, but this isn’t because our Ancient Tomb’s skills cannot compete with Quan Zhen’s, it’s because I have yet to complete our sect’s most refined kung fu.”

    Yang Guo had believed all along that Xiao Long Nuu skills exceeded Qiu Chu Ji’s, when he heard about this he was curious and said, “Gu Gu, what is this skill? Is it hard to learn? Why don’t you practise it again?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I’ll tell you a story, then you’ll understand our sect’s origins. Before you kowtow to me as your master, you also kowtow to our ancestor. Her surname was Lin, her first names Chao Ying, years ago; the two most skilled fighters were our ancestor and Wong Chong Yang. Originally, it was hard to decide who was better, later on Wong Chong Yang was busy with fighting the Jin’s, he was occupied night and day, our ancestor concentrated on her martial arts and eventually became a level higher than him. But our ancestor did not meddle in the affairs of wulin, she didn’t like showing off, and so hardly anyone in the world of Jiang Hu knew who she was. Eventually, Wong Chong Yong failed in his quest to repel the Jing’s and resided in the Tomb of the Living Dead, he had nothing to do and refined his martial arts. Our ancestor wasn’t feeling well, and had two serious illnesses, and so by the time Wong Chong Yang left the tomb, our ancestor was below him. Eventually the two duelled somehow and made a bet, Wong Chong Yang admitted defeat to our ancestor, and gave the tomb to her. Come, I’ll show the things that the two left behind.”

    Yang Guo clapped and said, “So this stone tomb was taken out of Wong Chong Yang’s hands by our ancestor grandma. If I had known earlier, I would have been even more pleased with living in the tomb.”

    Xiao Long Lu smiled slightly, and took him to another chamber. Yang Guo saw that the room was extremely strange, it was narrow at the front and wide at the back, the east side was a semi circle, the west side was triangular, and he asked, “Gu Gu, why is this room so strange looking?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “This is the room where Wong Chong Yang refined his skills, at the front he practised his palms, at the back his practised his fists, at the east side he practised with swords and the west side he practised projectiles.”
    Yang Guo looked around the room but didn’t find anything special about it.
    Xiao Long Nuu stretched out her hand and pointed upwards and said, “The essence and core of Wong Chong Yang skills is up here.”

    Yang Guo looked up, but all he saw were some markings and scribbles, they were made by projectiles, some were deep and some were shallow, how could you pick up the essence from that?

    Xiao Long Nuu went over to the east side and pushed an arc a few times, a large stone slowly moved across, revealing a door. She held a wax candle and told Yang Guo to enter. It was another room. It looked like the previous wrong but it was the complete opposite. The front was wide and the back was narrow, the west side was round and the east triangular. Yang Guo looked up, and again the ceiling was marked in carvings and symbols.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Those are the kung fu left by our ancestor. She used her intelligence to win the tomb, if she used her martial arts, she would have lost to Wong Chong Yang. After she moved into the tomb, she discovered the martial arts skills left by Wong Chong Yang. Then she painstakingly developed a set of skills to counter all the skills left by Wong Chong Yang. It’s all marked down here.”
    Yang Guo was delighted and said, “That’s great. Even if Qiu Chu Ji, Hao Da Tong and the rest of their skills were higher, they could not be better than Wong Chong Yang. All you’ve got to do is practise the skills left by our ancestor and you’ll be able to beat all the Taoists.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “You are correct, but it’s a pity that there isn’t anyone to help me.”

    Yang Guo said, “I’ll help you.”

    Xiao Long Nuu glanced at him and said, “It’s a pity that your skills aren’t good enough.” Yang Guo blushed and was embarrassed.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “The skill that ancestor grandma left is called the [Jade Heart Manual], it requires two people to practise it, mutually helping each other. Back then, ancestor grandma practised it with my teacher. Ancestor grandma had not practised for long before she passed away, my master did not complete it.”

    Yang Guo suddenly became delighted again and said, “I’m your disciple, we could learn it together.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Yes! Let’s take a look. The first step, you have to learn our sect’s skills. The second step is to learn the skills of Quan Zhen sect. The third step is to learn the skill that counters Quan Zhen sect’s skills, the [Jade Heart Manual]. When my master passed away, I was fourteen years old. I have learnt all our sect’s skills, and had just started to practise Quan Zhen’s martial arts; there is no need to talk about the [Jade Heart Manual]. The first step I can teach you, the second and third steps we’ll study and practise together.”

    From that day, Xiao Long Nuu passed on all the martial arts of the Ancient Tomb sect to him; palm skills, fist techniques, projectile throwing and weapon stances. After two years, Yang Guo learnt it all, plus with the help of the chilled jade bed, his progress was amazing, but his internal energy was not developed as much. A woman developed the Ancient Tomb sect’s skills, and the three generations have been women, it was unavoidable that the skills were of a soft nature, the hardness was inadequate. Yang Guo was impatient and rash; the way his skills developed reflected this.

    Xiao Long Nuu became slightly older, and became even more beautiful. That year, Yang Guo was sixteen, he became taller, his voice broke, and was now a teenager, he was completely different to boy that first entered the tomb, but Xiao Long Nuu still looked upon him as the child that first came here. Yang Guo was becoming more and more respectful of his master, in these two years, he curbed his rebellious nature. Before Xiao Long Nuu opened her mouth to tell him what to do, he had already completed it. But Xiao Long Nuu’s cold and emotionless persona did not change, she didn’t casually smile at him, she was detached, she did not show any sign of caring for a loved one. Yang Guo did not mind though. Sometimes Xiao Long Nuu would play the zither, the music from it was peaceful and serene. Yang Guo would listen quietly by the side.

    One day Xiao Long Nuu said, “You have already learnt all the Ancient Tomb’s kung fu, tomorrow we’ll learn Quan Zhen’s kung fu. It will not be easy, back then, even my master did not understand it all, and I of course understood even less. We’ll learn from the beginning again, feel free to comment whenever you like.”

    The next day, the two of them went to the strange shaped room, and practised according to the markings and symbols that Wong Chong Yang left. Because Yang Guo’s foundation was now strong, he was able to understand most of the points, and made rapid progress. But after the first ten days, though he practised for many days instead of making progress he felt that he was going backwards, the more he practised the worse it got. Xiao Long Nuu and him discussed this, and both felt there were some difficulties. Yang Guo was impatient and got in a strop.
    Xiao Long Nuu said, “When my master and I learnt Quan Zhen’s kung fu, after practising for a while, we found it was difficult to make any sort of progress, and because ancestor grandma had passed away, we could not ask anyone. We didn’t know the formulae to accompany it, and so we couldn’t solve this problem. I once wanted to go and steal the formula from Quan Zhen, and give it to master to study. This is all there is of this skill, it’s only Quan Zhen’s skills, it’s not too important if we can’t learn it now. There is no need to be angry, there is a solution, all we got to do is go can capture a Quan Zhen Taoist and force the formulae out of him, then our problems will be solved. Let’s leave.”

    These words suddenly awoken something in Yang Guo, and he remembered that Zhao Zhi Jing had taught him ‘The Quan Zhen Taoist Song’. ‘When first practising one must open the nine openings, the first originating from the ‘Back’ (wei luu) pressure point. First the spring flows from the bottom of the feet to the knee. Pass the knee up to the back, the back intent quickly reaching the peak. The gold lock passes under the magpie bridge, twelve palaces topple as it goes.” He then recited those words out.

    Xiao Long Nuu listened to the meaning of the song and said, “It does sound like the important aspects of practising Quan Zhen’s kung fu. If you know more, that’ll be great.” So Yang Guo recited all the formulae that Zhao Zhi Jing had taught him. The formulae that Zhao Zhi Jing had taught him was the basics of Quan Zhen’s advanced internal energy cultivation, but because he wasn’t taught how to use it, the ‘spring flows’, ‘twelve palaces’ and ‘back intent’ were all words to him and didn’t understand, so he just remembered it and didn’t use it.

    Xiao Long Nuu was more experienced and pointed out the key points, and then Yang Guo understood immediately. Within a few months, the two managed to understand and grasp the essence of the skills that Wong Chong Yang left on the ceiling.

    One day, the two were in the room sparring with swords when Xiao Long Nuu sighed and said, “At first when I heard that Quan Zhen’s martial arts was the most orthodox in the world, I didn’t think too much of it, but today, I know now Quan Zhen’s kung fu is actually very profound. Although we have grasped the essence of these skills, if we wanted to learn it to a state where body and mind becomes one, I don’t know how many years and months it is going to take.”
    Yang Guo said, “Although the skills of Quan Zhen sect are refined, ancestor grandma did leave a way to counter their skills, the ability to beat them. That’s called each mountain has its own peaks.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “From tomorrow onwards, we will learn the [Jade Heart Manual].

    The next day, the two went to the second strange room, and practised according to the markings left on the ceiling. It was much easier to learn than Quan Zhen’s skills, as the techniques that were used to counter Wong Chong Yang’s originated from her own kung fu. A few months passed, and the two had learnt the external skills of the [Jade Heart Manual]. Sometimes, Yang Guo would use Quan Zhen sword skills, Xiao Long Nuu would then use the Jade sword skills to counter it, when Xiao Long Nuu used Quan Zhen sword techniques, he would use the Jade sword techniques to neutralize it. The Jade sword technique was indeed the black star to Quan Zhen’s sword techniques, every stance was designed to stop the attack of Quan Zhen’s sword techniques, every stepped matched the other, every move restricted the opponent and predicted their next move, no matter what the user of Quan Zhen sword skills did, it could not break the confinement of the Jade sword technique.

    The external skills had now been learnt; it was time to advance into learning the internal techniques. Quan Zhen’s internal energies were deep and profound, to invent a method to defeat Quan Zhen’s internal energies, how easy could it be?
    Lin Chao Ying’s intelligence was unbeatable; she actually did find a way using unorthodox techniques. Xiao Long Nuu raised her head and looked at the symbols on the ceilings, she was deep in thought and didn’t speak; she looked at it for days on end without saying a single word.

    Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu, is it hard to learn?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I heard from master that the manual’s internal energy requires two people to practise at the same time, but I know I will not be able to practise it with you.”

    Yang Guo was shocked and quickly said, “Why not?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “If you were a girl, then we could.”

    Yang Guo said, “What is the difference? Aren’t a boy and girl the same?”

    Xiao Long Nuu shook her head and said, “No, not the same, look up at the ceiling, what kind of shapes are they?”

    Yang Guo looked in the direction she pointed, and saw the ceiling was marked with countless forms of body shapes, there were about seventy, eighty of them, a closer look revealed that it were the shape of women, the bodies had lines going away from them. Yang Guo didn’t understand and turned around to look at Xiao Long Nuu.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “The manual states, when practising the whole body will emit heat, a spacious and deserted place is required, the body will need to be free of clothes to practise, this will enable the heat to disperse immediately, there mustn’t be any obstructions, otherwise it will return to the body, a small consequence will be a serious illness, at worst the body will be destroyed.”

    Yang Guo said, “We’ll take off our clothes to practise.”

    Xiao Long said, “Eventually, the two people will need to use their internal energy to protect the other, you are a boy and I am a girl, how can we do that with decency?”

    Yang Guo had concentrated on practising his kung fu for the last two years, and didn’t take any notice of the difference in sex between him and his master, he felt there was nothing wrong with taking off their clothes and facing each other to practise the manual, he couldn’t say what exactly was wrong with this. Xiao Long Nuu was now twenty years old, she has lived in the tomb ever since she was little, and didn’t know anything about the outside world, one of the important points of her sect’s kung fu is to purge your emotions, although the two were of different sexes and faced each other night and day, one was cold and emotionless, the other was honest and respectful, and so there wasn’t any formalities between them. But now when they were talking about taking their clothes off to practise, she felt awkward and didn’t agree with his viewpoint.

    Yang Guo suddenly said, “I’ve got it! We could practise on the chilled jade bed.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “We mustn’t. The heat will be drawn back by the coolness of the bed, after practising for a few days, we both would be dead.”

    Yang Guo thought for half an hour and asked, “Why do you need two people to practise it? We could practise it by ourselves, if I don’t understand anything, can’t I ask you later?”

    Xiao Long Nuu shook her head and said, “It won’t work. With this type of internal energy, every step is extremely dangerous, you will go wrong at certain points, if there isn’t anyone to help you, you will fire deviate, only if we mutually aid each other can we pass the dangerous phases.”

    Yang Guo said, “Learning this type of internal energy is indeed troublesome.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “If we master the external techniques, we will be able to beat the Taoists. We aren’t really going to fight with the Taoists, even if we can’t beat them, so what?”

    Yang Guo heard his master’s words and agreed, and didn’t leave the matter at heart.

    One day after finishing practising his kung fu, he went out of the tomb to forage for food. After a while, he chased after a grey rabbit, the rabbit dodged west and darted east, its agility was not like a normal rabbit’s, Yang Guo’s lightness kung fu was proficient, but he couldn’t catch it. He was surprised, he didn’t want to use a projectile to hit it, he wanted to chase after it with his lightness kung fu until the rabbit couldn’t run anymore. The boy and rabbit ran faster and further away as they went on, the rabbit turned into an enclosure in the mountain, and suddenly darted into a thicket of red flowers. The thickets of red flowers were tens of feet wide, the layers close together, a fragrant scent was produced from them, after he went around the thickets, the rabbit had long disappeared. Yang Guo had chased the rabbit for half a day, but he liked living things, if he had caught up with it, he would have let it go, if he didn’t catch it, it didn’t matter. Yang Guo saw the thickets, it had red petals and green branches, it was beautiful to look at, surrounding it were low hanging branches hiding it, forming a natural room made of flower and a house made of trees. Yang Guo thought for while, and quickly hurried back and got Xiao Long Nuu to take a look.

    Xiao Long Nuu calmly said, “I don’t like flowers, if you like it, you can play here.”

    Yang Guo said, “No, Gu Gu this is a good place to practise martial arts, you go on one side, I’ll be on the other. When we take off our clothes, we won’t be able to see each other. Isn’t that a good idea?”

    Xiao Long Nuu heard this and thought this made sense. She leapt up onto a tree and looked around, all she could hear was the sound of a spring flowing and birds chirping, it was peaceful and serene all around, there wasn’t any trace of human activity, it was a good place to practise martial arts, and so said, “It was lucky that you came up with this, we’ll come here tonight and practise.”

    That night, the two of them delved deep into the enclosure. In the still of the night, the flowers were even more fragrant. Xiao Long Nuu then recited the formulae to practise the internal energy of the [Jade Heart Manual]. Yang Guo made sure he understood the intricacies of the manual, and the two went either side of the thickets and took their clothes off, and started practising. Yang Guo’s left arm went through the thicket, and met with Xiao Long Nuu’s right palm, whoever came up with difficulties during the practise, the other will notice and immediately circulate their chi to help them.

    The two then used the night for work, and the day for rest. It was summer, the night was cool when they practised, after two months of practising, there were no problems. The [Jade Heart Manual] was divided into nine sections, one night, Xiao long Nuu had reached the seventh level, and Yang Guo the sixth. That night, the two was practising their own levels, their whole body emitted great heat, the scent of the flowers were carried in the heat, and were even more aromatic. Gradually the moon moved into the middle of the sky, another half an hour and the two would have finished completing their respective levels. Suddenly the sound of footsteps and people talking came out from behind the mountain, two people were talking and coming closer.

    On the odd levels of the [Heart Jade Manual] the practitioner has to ‘Yin Jin’ (forcing yin to the limit), the person on the even levels has to ‘Yang Tui’ (Drawing back the yang). Yang Guo was practising the ‘Yang Tui’ techniques, and could rest at any time, but Xiao Long Nuu was practising the ‘Yin Jin’ technique, which had to be completed in one go without the slightest pause. Right now she was at the most important phase of the technique, and ignored the sounds of speaking and footsteps.

    Yang Guo heard this clearly, his was alarmed, and forced the chi that was in his ‘dan tian’ out of his body, and breathed in three times and stopped practising. He heard the two people gradually getting closer, their voices seemed familiar; one of them was his previous master Zhao Zhi Jing, the other Yin Zhi Ping. The voices became louder as they went on, the two were arguing.

    He heard Zhao Zhi Jing say, “Apprentice brother Yin, there is no point in denying it. I’ll go and tell martial uncle Qiu, and let him judge.”

    Yin Zhi Ping said, “You keep on forcing me, what do you want? You think I don’t know? You want to become the head of the third generation students, so in the future you can become the sect’s leader.”

    Zhao Zhi Jing chuckled and said, “You don’t keep by the rules, and broke one of sect’s rules, how can you be the head of the third generation disciples?”

    Yin Zhi Ping said, “What have I done wrong?”

    Zhao Zhi Jing scolded, “The fourth rule of Quan Zhen sect, wanton!”

    Yang Guo hid in the thicket and peeped out, and saw two Taoists standing facing each other. Yin Zhi Pin’s face was pale, under the moonlight he was colourless, he deeply said, “What wanton crime?” As he said these words he reached for the handle of his sword.

    Zhao Zhi Jing said, “Ever since you have seen that Xiao Long Nuu from the Tomb of the Living Dead, you daydream all the time, you have thought about taking Xiao Long Nuu many, many times and do unspeakable things to her. Our sect aims to bring enlightenment, but with these thoughts, how have you not broken the ‘wanton’ rule?”

    Yang Guo respected his master very much, when he heard those words from Zhao Zhi Jing, he was angry and furious, and hated the two Taoists even more.
    He heard Yin Zhi Pin trembling saying, “What rubbish, how can you know what I think?”

    Zhao Zhi Jing chuckled and said, “The thoughts in your heart, of course I don’t know them, but when you mumble in your sleep, is there anyone to hear it? When you write Xiao Long Nuu’s names repeatedly, is there anyone to see it?”
    Yin Zhi Ping trembled twice, and didn’t say anything.

    Zhao Zhi Jing looked smug, and took out a piece of paper from his sleeve and waved it around and said, “Isn’t this your handwriting? I’ll show this to our leader martial uncle Ma and your master martial uncle Qiu.”

    Yin Zhi Ping couldn’t endure this anymore, and drew out his sword with a shout and stabbed out. Zhao Zhi Jing lent to the side to avoid it, and put the piece of paper in his sleeve and laughed, “You want to kill me and shut my mouth? I’m afraid it won’t be easy.”

    Yin Zhi Ping didn’t say a word and thrust out his sword three times, but each thrust was avoided. By the fourth thrust, a sound was made as Zhao Zhi Jing drew out his sword, and fought with him by the thicket of red flowers. The two of them were the highest skilled fighters of Quan Zhen’s third generation, one was a disciple of Qiu Chu Ji, and the other was a disciple of Wang Chu Yi. Yin Zhi Ping bit down on his teeth and fought with his life, within the exchange of moves, Zhao Zhi Jing would say a few sarcastic words, angering his opponent into mistakes.
    Yang Guo had learnt all the stances of Quan Zhen’s sword skills, and saw them fight, attacking and defending, though the stances were quick and changes numerous, he saw through all of it and thought how his Gu Gu had indeed taught him correctly. He saw the two struggled for tens of stances; Yin Zhi Ping had used all his attacking stances as Zhao Zhi Jing kept on moving. He chuckled, “I have learnt all that you have learnt, you have learnt all that I have learnt. You want to kill me, dream on.” He defended smoothly, Yin Zhi Ping had used all his strength but each stance was blocked. After a while, he saw that the two was getting closer to Xiao Long Nuu, Yang Guo was alarmed and thought, “If they two fight until they get to Gu Gu, then it would be terrible!”

    Suddenly Zhao Zhi Jing counterattacked, and forced Ying Zhi Ping back. He quickly sent out three stances, Yin Zhi Ping moved back three steps. When Yang Guo saw the two getting further away from his master, he was pleased, but suddenly Yin Zhi Ping handed his sword over to his left hand and sent out a palm, aiming for the chest.

    Zhao Zhi Jing laughed and said, “Even if you’ve got three hands, you’ve only got the ability to be a petty thief, you can’t kill me.” He then sent out his left palm to meet it. The two exchanged sword stances and palms, and the struggle became fiercer.

    Xiao Long Nuu was concentrating, and ignored everything that was around her. When the two took a few steps closer, Yang Guo became worried, when they took a few steps further away he relaxed a bit.

    After a while, Yin Zhi Ping suddenly called out and attacked, he ignored the opponent’s sword and just rushed forward. Zhao Zhi Jing thought about it, and knew that he had nothing to lose, if he killed him, then he wouldn’t be able to blackmail him. Although the two weren’t on friendly terms, he had no intent on killing him, and after a while, he was on the way to losing. After a number of moves, Yin Zhi Ping then stabbed out his sword, threw out a palm and his left leg swept out, it was Quan Zhen’s [Three Circulations]. Zhao Zhi Jing leapt up ten feet, and cut his sword down. Yin Zhi Ping threw his sword away, and threw himself at his opponent, a ‘hei’ sound was made by him as he threw out his two palms. Yang Guo saw that the last few stances were ruthless, it wasn’t how he knew them to be, he broke out in a cold sweat, he saw Zhao Zhi Jing’s body in midair, one was yielding, one was firm, it looked like the two palm were aiming to break his bones. How could it be that under this urgent and dangerous situation, Zhao Zhi Jing managed to flip himself in midair and flew back tens of feet and lightly landed.

    From the way he was going to land, it looked like he was going to land right in front of Xiao Long Nuu, Yang Guo was alarmed and had not time to think, he stood up, his left palm shot out from below his right palm, and pushed the back of Zhao Zhi Jing, a stance of [Bright Building Flinging the Ball] (cai lou pao qiu), he pushed out with strength, and hit him away about twenty feet. But right now his internal energy wasn’t enough, he had used an enormous amount of strength in this attack, his strength all concentrated in his left arm, his lower body was weak, he could not stand up properly and his left leg stepped on a branch. The branch quickly rebounded back to its original position, and touched Xiao Long Nuu in the face. It was only a slight touch, but Xiao Long Nuu was greatly disturbed, she broke out in a sweat, at that time she was in the middle of rapidly circulating her chi and holding it in her ‘dan tian’, it didn’t disperse and she fainted.

    All of a sudden Yin Zhi Ping had saw Yang Guo jump out, and saw the woman he has been thinking about hiding in the thicket, he froze, and didn’t know whether this was real or an illusion. Zhao Zhi Jing had steadied himself by this time, and under the moonlight he was able to recognised Xiao Long Nuu’s face. He said, “Ah, so she’s here? With a man.”

    Yang Guo was alarmed and shouted out, “Don’t go anywhere you two rotten Taoists, I’ll come back and finish this.” He saw Xiao Long Nuu had falling onto the floor and was not moving, he remembered that he was told that when they were practising they must stay together to help each other, if there where any disturbances a disaster would happen, right now Xiao Long Nuu was shocked, she would have serious injuries, he was seriously frightened and touched her forehead, it was cold as ice, he quickly grabbed her clothes and covered her up. He picked her up and said, “Gu Gu, are you alright?” Xiao Long Nuu moaned by didn’t say anything.

    Yang Guo was slightly more relaxed and said, “Gu Gu, we’ll go back to the tomb first, then I’ll come back and kill the two Taoists.” Xiao Long Nuu had no strength and lied in his arms. Yang Guo advanced in large steps, and went pass the two Taoists. Yin Zhi Ping stood there like a statue.

    Zhao Zhi Jing laughed and said, “Apprentice brother Yin, you dream lover and that man over there had just did dirty things, you want to kill me, you should kill him!” Yin Zhi Ping didn’t take any notice and didn’t reply.

    Yang Guo heard the words ‘did dirty things’, although he didn’t know what exactly he meant, he knew it was an insult, he was furious. He lightly put Xiao Long Nuu down and rested her against a tree and took a branch in his hand, and pointed to Zhao Zhi Jing and shouted, “What rubbish are you talking about?”

    Two years had passed, Yang Guo had changed from a small child to a tall young man, at first Zhao Zhi Jing didn’t know who he was, when he heard him a second time and saw his face under the moonlight, he recognised it was his disciple. He had been made to fall by him and was angry, he saw his body was exposed and shouted, “Yang Guo, so its you, you little bastard.”

    Yang Guo said, “You can insult me, but why are you insulting my Gu Gu?”

    Zhao Zhi Jing laughed and said, “Everyone knows the Ancient Tomb sect is a female sect, skills are only passed on to women and not men, all of them are pure and untouched virgins, but it’s a filthy sect, secretly hiding a man, doing these things in the open!”

    Xiao Long Nuu had just woken up and heard what he said, and was alarmed. Her chi had begun to flow normally but now it flowed the opposite way, her chi and air were both stimulated and knew that she was suffering from internal injuries, she could only shout out “You talk rubbish, we have not” before she spat out blood violently from her mouth, a column of blood shooting out.

    Yin Zhi Ping and Yang Guo were worried when they saw this, and both of them rushed closer.

    Yin Zhi Ping said, “How are you?” and bent down to take a closer look at her injuries.

    Yang Guo knew that he wanted to harm her and pushed him in the chest with his left hand. Yin Zhi Ping moved his to block it. Yang Guo was familiar with every stance of Quan Zhen’s kung fu, he turned his palm over and grabbed his wrist, he first pulled and let go after, and flung him away.

    Presently, Yang Guo’s kung fu could not actually compare with that of Yin Zhi Ping’s, if Yang Guo fought with other sect’s fighters who were of the same ability as Yin Zhi Ping he would definitely have lost. But years ago Lin Chao Ying had invented techniques to counter Quan Zhen’s, every stance matched every stance, after she invented these techniques they have never been used in practise, so Quan Zhen’s disciples does not know that there is a kung fu which is the black star of theirs. Yang Guo now used it; Ying Zhi Ping was not prepared and wasn’t concentrating, and didn’t have any way to respond, although he didn’t fall, he was flung over twenty feet, standing next to Zhao Zhi Jing.

    Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu, ignore them, I’ll take you back to the tomb first.”

    Xiao Long Nuu struggled for air as she said, “No, kill them two so they won’t...won’t be able to talk about me outside.”

    Yang Guo said, “Fine.” He leapt out at them, his branch pointing at Zhao Zhi Jing’s chest. Zhao Zhi Jing didn’t care about Yang Guo and waved his sword, cutting down at his branch. He didn’t know that Yang Guo was using the black star of Quan Zhen’s sword skills, the branch swivelled past and struck the pressure point on Zhao Zhi Jing’s wrist. Zhao Zhi Jing’s wrist went numb, and secretly cursed. Yang Guo’s left hand chopped across, aiming for his left cheek, this was an extremely strange move, and it was the most unexpected move. If Zhao Zhi Jing wanted to keep his sword, he would have to straighten his head and suffer the chop, if he wanted to avoid the chop, the sword will definitely be lost.

    Zhao Zhi Jing was skilled, although he was in a precarious situation he kept his calm, he let go off his sword and ducked his head, if he followed it be a left palm, he will be able to get his sword back in the blink of an eye. How could he have guessed that years ago Lin Chao Ying had thought of how the enemy would react, and developed techniques to counter any changes, no matter how good, clever or lethal, of any highly skilled Quan Zhen fighters. Zhao Zhi Jing felt that he made the best decision possible, and would allow him to definitely gain victory from the jaws of defeat, but he didn’t knew that Xiao Long Nuu and Yang Guo had learnt all the techniques that would counter their changes.

    Yang Guo removed the enemy’s weapon and saw his left palm move, and knew what he was going to do, he pushed the sword forward, aiming to pierce the opponent’s wrist. Zhao Zhi Jing was alarmed and quickly moved his arm back. Yang Guo pointed his sword tip at his chest and shouted, “Get down!” as his left leg hooked out. Zhao Zhi Jing was afraid of being pierced and had to move, he was hooked and fell backwards. Yang Guo raised the sword, wanting to thrust out at his stomach.

    Suddenly, a wind came from behind him, a sword was approaching and someone shouted out, “You dare to kill your master?” That stance was to attack first and then allow him to rescue Zhao Zhi Jing, Yang Guo was in the middle of an angry attack but could still see what was happening, he immediately parried it with his sword, the two swords clashed. Yin Zhi Ping saw that the sword was extremely fast and couldn’t help from secretly praising it, and suddenly felt his sword going out of his control, sticking to the opponent’s sword. Alarmed, he quickly circulated his chi to get it back. His internal energy was profound, the two competed, and Yang Guo’s sword was lead along. He didn’t know that Yang Guo lured him into doing this, he held the sword for a split second before letting go, his arms straightened and attacked the enemy’s chest, at that point the sword handle rebounded up, two palms and a sword, the three of them with the same intent, even if Yin Zhi Ping’s skills were higher, he would not be able to block this extremely strange attack.

    At this moment in time, Yin Zhi Ping could only throw away his sword and sent out his own palms, he quickly put his hands across his chest to block this move, but because his arms were two bent, he could not put any strength in them. Yang Guo’s internal energy wasn’t high enough and wasn’t able to break his arms in this move, but was still able to strike his chest painfully, Yin Zhi Ping arms became numb, he moved back three steps and circulated his chi to protect the important pressure points in his chest. Zhao Zhi Jing got up. The two swords were in Yang Guo’s hand, and he attacked both of them.

    In just a few moves, the two of them were made to hurry around and scamper by a teenager, they were both afraid and angry and didn’t dare to be careless. The two of them stood up, and used their palms skills, they only defended and didn’t attack, they wanted to find out more about their opponents techniques before doing anything. Although Yang Guo had weapons to fight against his empty handed opponents, the two defended tightly, and weren’t beaten as badly as they did at the start. The [Jade Heart Manual’s] sword techniques did not have any stances that countered Quan Zhen’s fists and kicks. Lin Chao Yin wanted to defeat Wong Chong Yang’s techniques completely, she felt that using weapons to defeat his hand to hand combat techniques was unfair and below her so she did not give it any thought, plus the fact that the two Taoists internal energy were well above Yang Guo’s, and all they cared about was to remain undefeated, Yang Guo’s swipes and chops did not have much effect, and eventually he started to lose.

    Zhao Zhi Jing’s internal energy was profound, he incessantly kept on producing palm winds that aimed at Yang Guo’s sword.

    Yin Zhi Ping stopped, and thought secretly thought that here they were, two seniors attacking a young boy, how ridiculous did they look? He saw that victory was in sight but worried about the safety of Xiao Long Nuu so he shouted, “Yang Guo, quickly take you Gu Gu away, what are you doing tangling with the two of us?”

    Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu hates you for talking rubbish, and told me that I must kill you.”

    Yin Zhi Ping sent out a palm and shook Yang Guo’s sword in his left and then jumped left three steps and said, “Leave!”

    Yang Guo said, “You want to escape?”

    Yin Zhi Ping said, “Yang Guo, you want to kill us but that will not be possible, but your Gu Gu can relax, if the one named Yin reveals a single word about what happened today, I will immediately kill myself to apologise. If I don’t do this” as he said this, he suddenly leapt towards Yang Guo and took the sword in his left hand and said, “then I’ll be like this finger!” He spread his left hand and cut down with his right, and cut the last two fingers off his hand.

    Those few moves happened extremely quickly and Yang Guo wasn’t prepared. He stopped and knew that he was sincere and thought, “It is indeed difficult to kill them both, why don’t I first kill the one named Zhao and then come back and kill him.”

    He then shouted, “The one called Yin, what use is cutting off your finger? Unless you cut off your head, then I’ll believe you.”

    Yin Zhi Ping smiled and said, “If you want me life, all I need is a word from your Gu Gu, then why not?”

    Yang Guo said, “Go!” He leapt forward two steps and suddenly thrust out behind him, straight at Zhao Zhi Jing’s chest.

    The move [Orchid Shoots Back] (mu lan hui she) was extremely ruthless, Zhao Zhi Jing was listening to what they were saying and didn’t predict that he would suddenly ambush him, he was frightened. The tip of the sword pierced his stomach. Zhao Zhi Jing felt a slight pain, and immediately circulated his chi throughout his ‘dan tian’, and his stomach pulled back half an inch, he raised his right leg and kicked Yang Guo’s sword out of his hand. Yang Guo didn’t wait for his leg to come and down, and extended his finger and pointed at his pressure point on his knee. Although Zhao Zhi Jing had escaped with his life, he couldn’t stand up, his right knee kneeling down in front of Yang Guo.

    Yang Guo caught the descending sword and pointed at Zhao Zhi Jing and said, “I once kowtow eight times to you as you were my master, now you are not my master anymore, give the eight kowtows back.”

    Zhao Zhi Jing had completed circulating his chi, his face became purple, almost becoming black. Yang Guo pressed the sword tip into his throat.

    Zhao Zhi Jing shouted, “If you want to kill me, kill me, why are you talking so much?”

    Yang Guo was about to thrust the sword forward when suddenly he heard Xiao Long Nuu say, “Guo Er, killing your master is inauspicious, tell him to swear that he won’t reveal today’s event and let him go!” Yang Guo regarded Xiao Long Nuu’s commands above all else, and after hearing what she said, he said, “Swear it.”

    Zhao Zhi Jing was angry, but his life was more important and said, “I won’t say anything, what need is there to swear it?”

    Yang Guo said, “That won’t do. You must swear a venomous oath.”

    Zhao Zhi Jing said, “Fine, today’s events will be kept between the four of us, if I reveal it to a fifth person, then let my name be in ruins, expelled from my sect, everyone in wulin will be against me, and I’ll have a terrible death.”

    Xiao Long Nuu and Yang Guo did not know much about the world’s matters, and thought that he was really swearing a venomous oath.”

    Yin Zhi Ping heard that there was a hidden meaning in his oath and wanted to warn Yang Guo but felt that it wasn’t right to help outsiders; he saw Yang Guo carrying Xiao Long Nuu, his steps extremely quick, and disappeared around the mountain. His fingers didn’t stop bleeding; he stood up sentimentally without stopping the bleeding.

    Yang Guo carried Xiao Long Nuu back to the tomb and placed her on the chilled jade bed.

    Xiao Long Nuu sighed and said, “I’m seriously injured, how can I oppose the chilled jade bed?”

    Yang Guo said ‘ah’ and was alarmed, he secretly thought, “So the Gu Gu’s injury is very serious.” He then carried her to her room. At first when she let Yang Guo sleep on the chilled jade bed, she slept in the same room as him, after about a year she then moved into the next room. As soon as she arrived in her room, she spat out another pool of blood, and covered Yang Guo’s exposed body. Yang Guo was so scared that he couldn’t move his arms and legs, and started to cry.
    Xiao Long Nuu calmly laughed and said, “After I spat out this pool of blood, I won’t throw up anymore, what is there to be sad about?”

    Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu, don’t die.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “You are scared of dying aren’t you?”

    Yang Guo was startled and said, “Me?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Before I die, I will kill you first.”

    These words were said two years ago, Yang Guo had forgot long ago, and didn’t know that she would bring it up again now.

    Xiao Long Nuu saw that Yang Guo was astounded and said, “If I don’t kill you, how will I be able to see grandma Sun? If you are along in the world, who will look after you?”

    Yang Guo’s mind was scrambled, and didn’t know what to say.

    Xiao Long Nuu kept on throwing up blood, but she looked fine as if nothing was wrong. Yang Guo thought of something, he quickly went to find a jar of Bee syrup and gave it to her to drink. The syrup did have healing properties, after a while she stopped throwing up blood and slept on her bed. Yang Guo was able to relax, but he was worn down with worry, and wasn’t able to endure anymore, he sat down and slept against the wall.

    After some time, he felt someone cold against his throat, and was woken up. He has lived for a long time in the tomb, although he wasn’t able to see things as clearly as Xiao Long Nuu can in the dark, he could still see things without the aid of candlelight. He opened his eyes, and saw Xiao Long Nuu sitting forward on the bed holding a sword, pointing at his throat. He was alarmed and said, “Gu Gu! You...”

    Xiao Long Nuu calmly said, “Guo Er, my injury won’t get better, after I kill you we’ll both see grandma Sun together!”

    Yang Guo quickly replied, “Gu Gu!”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “You are scared, aren’t you? It will be quick, one slash and that’s it.”

    Yang Guo saw Xiao Long Nuu’s eye lit up, and knew that she wanted to kill him immediately. He wanted to live, and didn’t consider what will happen any more, he rolled around and kicked out at Xiao Long Nuu’s sword. Though Xiao Long Nuu’s internal injuries were serious, she was still very swift, not slower than normal; she avoided his kick and pointed the sword at his throat again. Yang Guo used many different stances, but each one of them was taught by Xiao Long Nuu so how would she not know what he would do? The sword moved swiftly, not leaving him by more than three inches.

    Yang Guo was frightened, his body was full of sweat. He thought, “If I don’t want to die today, then I must kill Gu Gu.”

    Under this urgent situation he pushed out his two palms, he took advantage of her not having any strength after her injury, her stances were refined but she did not have the internal energy to clash palms with him. Xiao Long Nuu knew what he was thinking, she slanted her body slightly and let his palms’ power skim over her shoulders and called out, “Guo Er, don’t fight anymore!” Her sword extended out, the tip quivered a little, an incomparable stance in terms of mastery and exquisiteness was used, [Separating Flower Splitting Willow], shimmering to the left but moving to the right, and the sword pointed at Yang Guo’s throat. She then circulated her remaining energy and wanted to pierce his throat, but she saw his pleading eyes, and felt pain in her heart. At that instant, her eyes went black, her body went soft, a ‘dang’ sound was made as the sword dropped on the floor, as Xiao Long Nuu fainted.

    If the sword was thrust forwards, Yang Guo would have died, he didn’t know that she would have fainted at the most vital point. He stopped, wondering if he really escaped death, and quickly ran out of the tomb. The sun dazzled in his eyes, the light breeze blew his clothes, the scent of flowers was around him, birds sang in the trees, isn’t this better than living in the tomb?

    Yang Guo made his decision, he utilized his lightness kung fu and ran down the mountain, he became quicker as he ran, and by midday he was at the foot of the mountain. When he saw Xiao Long Nuu had not chased after him, he relaxed, and slowed his pace. After a while, he stomach growled. He had wandered the world of Jiang Hu ever since he was little, his ability to search for food was brilliant, he looked all around, and in the western slope, he saw a large field of corn and went over, and then picked five stalks. The corn wasn’t ripe but it was still edible. He had a match and was about to light a fire to smoke it and eat, when he suddenly heard footsteps behind him, someone was approaching.

    Yang Guo first hid the corn in case a farmer caught him in the act of stealing, and then peaked out, it was a Taoist nun, dressed in apricot yellow, her steps were light and she was slowly advancing. A pair of swords hung on her back, a blood red tassel was tied to the handle, floating in the breeze. Yang Guo thought that this person must a member of the Quan Zhen sect, and was likely to a disciple of Sun Bu Er. Yang Guo was still slightly afraid and didn’t want to cause any trouble so he looked down at a branch.

    The Taoist nun went up to him and asked, “Hey, what is the way to Chong Yang Palace?”

    Yang Guo secretly thought, “If this girl is a disciple of Quan Zhen, then how come she does not know the way up there? Something was wrong here.” He then pointed to the mountain without looking around and said, “Just follow that main road.”

    The Taoist nun saw that Yang Guo’s upper body was uncovered, he was wearing a pair of old and worn trousers, and was here picking up firewood, and assumed that he was just a villager. She regarded herself as a attractive woman, any man that looked at her will stare at her without blinking for half an hour, that young boy just took a glance at her and didn’t look back, like if he was blind, she couldn’t refrain from getting angry and suddenly thought, “What does a stupid villager like him know?” She then said, “Stand up, I have something to ask you.”
    Yang Guo hated everyone in the Quan Zhen sect, so he pretended to blind and dumb, and pretended not to hear.

    The Taoist nun said, “Foolish boy, you didn’t hear what I said?”

    Yang Guo said, “I heard, it’s just that I don’t want to stand.”

    When the Taoist nun heard him she laughed and said, “Look at me, I told you to stand up!” Her voice in the last two sentences was soft, enchanting and sweet. Yang Guo shivered and thought, “Why does she speak so strangely.” He looked up and saw her skin was smooth and white, her cheeks were red, her eyes were like a pool of water staring into him, there didn’t seem to be any evil intent; after looking at her again, he lowered his head again.

    The Taoist nun saw that his expression had a childish air, though he did look at her for a second time, he wasn’t moved, instead of being angry she laughed, and thought, “It’s just a kid who doesn’t know anything.” She took out two silver ingot’s from her pockets, two ‘ting’ noises were heard as they collided with each other, she said, “Little brother, if you follow my instructions then I’ll give these ingots to you.”

    Yang Guo originally didn’t want to have anything do with her, but he heard that her words were strange and wanted to find out what she wanted so he pretended to be stupid, and looked at the ingots and said, “What use does those shiny rocks have?”

    The Taoist nun smiled and said, “It’s money. If you want new clothes, chickens, rice, you could buy them with this.”

    Yang Guo put on a baffled expression and said, “You want to lie to me, I don’t believe you.”

    The Taoist nun laughed and said, “When have I lied to you? Hey, little kid, what is your name?”

    Yang Guo said, “Everyone calls me ‘Sha Dan’ (Dumb Egg), don’t you know that? What’s your name?”

    The Taoist nun laughed and said, “Sha Dun, you can call me angelic nun, where’s your mother?”

    Yang Guo said, “My mum just scolded me, and went over the other side of the mountain to chop firewood.”

    The Taoist nun said, “I need a hatchet, go to your home and get one, and then lend it to me.”

    Yang Guo was curious, he opened his eyes wide, drooled and made himself look even more look a stupid person, he shook his head incessantly and said, “I can’t, I can’t lend my family’s hatchet. If dad finds out I’ll be punished.”

    The Taoist nun smiled and said, “When your parents see the money, they’ll be too pleased to punish you.” As she said this she passed an ingot in his direction. Yang Guo extended his hand to catch it, and then pretended to miss it, and let the ingot hit his shoulder and when it came down it hit his right foot, he held his right foot with his hands and hopped on his left foot and called out, “Ah, ah, you hit me! I’m going to tell mother!” He called and shouted out, he ignored the ingot and ran forward.

    The Taoist nun thought that he was interesting, and smiled. She took off her belt, and waved it at his right foot. Yang Guo heard the wind sound and turned his head around, he was alarmed, and thought, “That’s our Ancient Tomb sect’s kung fu! Isn’t she a disciple of Quan Zhen’s?” He didn’t dodge and let her belt wrap around his right leg, he fell on the floor and relaxed his body, letting her pull him towards her, and secretly feared, “Is she going up the mountain to attack Gu Gu?”
    He thought about Xiao Long Nuu, he didn’t know whether she was dead or alive, he was extremely worried about her, he made up his mind, even if he was going to die under her hands he needed to see her. As he was thinking he was pulled up to the Taoist nun, she saw that although his face was full of dirt, he was handsome, and thought, “This country hick is handsome, it’s a pity that although the top is like a beautiful flower, the lower part is a pile of grass.” She heard that he was shouting and calling out, making a commotion; she smiled and said, “Sha Dan, do you want to die or want to live?” She took out her sword and pointed at his chest.

    Yang Guo saw that she used the stance [Flower from the Embroidery Pen] (jin bi sheng hua), it was a sword stance of the Ancient Tomb sect, he was perplexed, “This person is probably a disciple of martial uncle Li Mo Chou, and has come to find Gu Gu, she must have ill intentions, from her belt and sword stances her kung fu is good, I’ll keep on pretending to be dumb so she’ll be off guard.”
    He put on a frightened expression and begged, “Xian Gu (angelic nun), don’t…don’t kill me, I’ll listen to you.”

    The Taoist nun laughed and said, “Good, if you don’t listen to me I’ll kill you with one sword stroke.”

    Yang Guo called out, “I’ll listen, I’ll listen.” The Taoist nun waved her belt, and it returned to her waist, her expression was leisurely. Yang Guo quietly said, “Great!” but his face still had a blank expression. The Taoist nun thought, “How could the stupid boy appreciate this skill? I might as well show it off in front of a blind man.” She said, “Quickly go home and get the hatchet.”
    Yang Guo hurried to a farmer’s house in front of him, he pretended to limp, his footsteps were heavy, strutting and staggering, appearing clumsy. The Taoist nun saw he wasn’t a pleasant sight and shouted, “Don’t tell anyone, hurry.”
    Yang Guo replied, “Okay!”

    He quietly opened the door to the farmer’s house, and saw no one was inside, and assumed that they were farming in the field; he picked up a short hatchet that was used to chop firewood from the wall. He also took an old shirt from a rack and wore it, and then returned still carrying the dumb expression.

    Although he was trying making a fool out of the Taoist nun, he was worried about the safety of Xiao Long Nuu, and couldn’t refrain from giving a burdened look on his face.

    The Taoist nun angrily said, “What’s with the crying face? Quickly smile for me.”
    Yang Guo opened his mouth and laughed foolishly.

    The Taoist nun wrinkled her brows and said, “Follow me up the mountain.”

    Yang Guo quickly said, “I can’t…I can’t, mother told me not to run around.”

    The Taoist nun shouted, “If you don’t listen then I’ll kill you immediately.” She stretched out her left hand and held his ear, while her right hand raised her sword, as if she was about to chop down.

    Yang Guo quickly blurted out, “I’ll go, I’ll go!”

    The Taoist nun thought, “That person is as stupid as a pig, just what I need.” She then pulled on his sleeve and went up the mountain. Her lightness kung fu was not weak so naturally her steps were quick. Yang Guo kept on stumbling about, his left foot high, right foot low, he was far behind her and after a while he sat on a rock by the roadside, wiping away his sweat incessantly and was out of breath. The Taoist nun ran on ahead.

    Yang Guo said, “You run like a rabbit, how can I keep up?”

    The Taoist nun saw that the sun was in the west, she was troubled and impatient, she returned and grabbed his arm, and hurriedly went up the mountain.
    Yang Guo couldn’t keep up, his arms and legs were everywhere, and soon kicked her in the back of the leg.

    The Taoist nun shouted “Ai ya!” and angrily said, “Do you want to die?” But she saw that he was out of breath and extremely tired, so she stretched out her left hand and grabbed his waist and said, “Let’s go!” She seized his body and headed up the mountain, she utilized her lightness kung fu, and in a few moments she had passed over many miles.

    Yang Guo was being carried by her, he felt her soft body and smelt her feminine scent, he didn’t waste an ounce of energy and let her carry him up the mountain. She hurried for a while and then looked down and saw a smile crept upon his face, looking comfortable, she couldn’t refrain from being angry and loosened her arm, and tossed him on the floor and angrily shouted, “Are you feeling happy?”
    Yang Guo rubbed his backside and called out, “Ai yo, ai yo, the Xian Gu hurt Sha Dan’s backside.”

    The Taoist nun was angry but was amused at the same time and said, “Why is your surname Sha (Foolish)?”

    Yang Guo said, “Yes, I’m called Sha Dan. Xian Gu, mother said my surname is not Sha; it’s Zhang. Why is your surname Xian (angel/immortal)?”

    The Taoist nun said, “Just call me Xian Gu, don’t worry about my surname.” She was the ‘Serpent Deity’ Li Mo Chou’s disciple Hong Ling Bo, and was the young Taoist nun who was sent to kill the Lu couple and madam Wu. Yang Guo wanted to know her surname but she didn’t reveal it. The Taoist nun sat on a rock, the wind scattered her hair. Yang Guo secretly glanced at her and thought, “That nun is quite pretty, but can’t compare with Peach Blossom Island’s auntie Guo, and of course cannot compare with my Gu Gu.”

    Hong Ling Bo glanced at Yang Guo, smiled and said, “Sha Dan, why are you staring at me?”

    Yang Guo said, “I’m just looking what reason is there? If you don’t let me look, I won’t look, what’s so special?”

    Hong Ling Bo said, “Look then! Hey, am I nice to look at?” She then took out a comb from her pocket, and slowly combed her hair.

    Yang Guo said, “You are nice to look at, but…but…”

    Hong Ling Bo said, “But what?”

    Yang Guo said, “But you are not white enough.”

    She had always regarded her skin as white and smooth as gems, when she heard him say this, she couldn’t refrain from getting angry, she stood up and shouted, “Sha Dan, do you want to die, saying I’m not white enough?”

    Yang Guo shook his head and said, “Not white enough.”

    Hong Ling Bo said, “Who’s whiter than me?”

    Yang Guo said, “The person that slept by my side last night is much whiter than you.”

    Hong Ling Bo said, “Who? Is it one of your family members?” The thought of killing the woman who had whiter skin than her crossed her mind.

    Yang Guo said, “Nope, it’s my family’s white lamb.”

    Hong Ling Bo turned her anger into laughter and said, “You really are stupid, how can you compare a person with an animal? Let’s go!” She took his upper arm and hurried up the mountain. Straight ahead was the road to Chong Yang palace, but Hong Ling Bo headed west, in the direction of the Tomb of the Living Dead.
    Yang Guo thought, “Indeed she is trying to find my Gu Gu.”

    Hong Ling Bo ran for a while and then took out a map from her pocket, looking for her destination.

    Yang Guo said, “Xian Gu, we can’t go ahead, there are ghosts in the forest.”

    Hong Ling Bo said, “How do you know this?”

    Yang Guo said, “The forest has a large tomb, the tomb has evil spirits, no one dares to go near it.”

    Hong Ling Bo was delighted and thought, “True enough, the Tomb of the Living Dead is around here.”

    In the past few years, she has been under the tutelage of Li Mo Chou, and her martial arts made good progress, in Shan Xi, she helped her master to defeat many people of the wulin world, and pleased her master. She heard her master mention the matter of duelling with the Quan Zhen elders, and said if she mastered the [Jade Heart Manual], she wouldn’t have feared the Quan Zhen Taoists, and that there were a pile of manuals and scriptures of their sect’s skills in the tomb. Hong Ling Bo asked why she didn’t go to the tomb and study their sect’s skills. Li Mo Chou ambiguously replied, saying that she conceded the place to her younger apprentice sister, there wasn’t much friendly feeling between the two, and are not in contact with each other. Li Mo Chou was extremely proud, the many times she tried to enter the tomb, being found out and being sent scurrying away were not mentioned to her disciple, and instead said that her apprentice sister was young, her martial arts were ordinary, being the elder apprentice sister it wasn’t right to bully the younger one. She then encouraged her master to enter the tomb and take the manuals. In reality, there wasn’t a day that Li Mo Chou didn’t think about this, but she wasn’t familiar with the booby traps of the tomb, and so did not dare to do anything, when she heard her disciple talking about this she just smiled and did not reply.

    Hong Ling Bo mentioned this many times, but saw that her master did not care one way or another, she secretly decided to be more attentive, and asked her about the way to mount Zhong Nan’s tomb, and managed to draw a map, but she didn’t know that Li Mo Chou had not revealed everything to her. This time, Li Mo Chou had sent her on a mission to kill one of their enemies, after she finished, she went up mount Zhong Nan by herself, and by coincidence met Yang Guo; she now ordered Yang Guo to chop down the pine trees that were in the way to the tomb.

    Yang Guo thought that even with a year and a half of pine chopping, they would not be anywhere near the tomb, but he pretended to be dumb and followed her orders. More than half an hour later, the sky became dark, they had not even travelled a mile, they were still very far from the tomb. He was becoming more and more anxious about Xiao Long Nuu, he thought why not lead her forward to the tomb and see what she has planned, so he raised his hatchet and hacked down a few times, and then hacked down on a rock, sparks flew and the head of the hatchet rolled up.

    He loudly shouted, “Ai ya, ai yo, there’s a rock here. The hatchet is ruined; father is going to beat me. I…I need to go back home.”

    Hong Ling Bo was extremely anxious, she looked for the way to the tomb, she must enter the tomb tonight, and shouted out, “Sha Dan, stay here!”

    Yang Guo said, “Xian Gu, aren’t you scared of ghosts?”

    Hong Ling Bo said, “If ghosts tries to scare me then I’ll chop them in half with my sword.”

    Yang Guo was happy and said, “You aren’t lying to me?”

    Hong Ling Bo said, “Why should I lie to you?”

    Yang Guo said, “Since ghosts are scared of you, I’ll take you to the large tomb. If ghosts come out, you must scare them away!”

    Hong Ling Bo delightedly said, “You know the way to the tomb? Quickly take me there.” Yang Guo was afraid that she was going to become suspicious and so made her promise three times that she must kill the evil ghosts. Hong Ling Bo comforted him, and told him to relax, and promised him that even if ten ghosts come out she will kill them all.

    Yang Guo said, “A few years ago, I was grazing my lambs near the tomb and fell asleep, when I woke up it was the middle of the night. I saw a female ghost dressed in white exiting the tomb, it scared me to death, and I tripped while I was trying to run away and cracked my head, look there’s a scar here.” He then walked up to her, wanting her to feel his forehead. She had held him all along the way, but he felt that she had an air of orchids around her, leaning against her was quite relaxing. He continued with his plan, and put his forehead in front of her face.

    Hong Ling Bo laughed and said, “Sha Dan!” and just felt his forehead, she didn’t feel any scars but didn’t really notice and said, “Quickly take me there.”
    Yang Guo took her hand and lead her out of the forest, and took her to the secret path leading to the tomb. It was nearing the middle of the night, there was no light from the stars or moon. Yang Guo took her hand, and felt a warm and soft hand and wondered, “Gu Gu and her are girls, why is it Gu Gu’s hands are cold as ice and hers is warm.” He took her hand and pulled it. If anyone from the wulin world treated Hong Ling Bo with any disrespect, she would have killed them, but she knew that Yang Guo was just a simple fool, and she wanted his help and felt that he was handsome, she was secretly quite pleased and quietly said, “That Sha Dun is not completely stupid, he knows that I’m good looking.”

    Very soon, Yang Guo had led Hong Ling Bo to the tomb. When he left the tomb he was confused and flustered, he didn’t close the tomb’s door, but now he saw the large slab of stone that was used as the door was still by the side. His heart jumped around and prayed, “I hope Gu Gu is not dead so I’ll be able to see her again.” He decided that he couldn’t mess around with Hong Ling Bo, and said, “Xian Gu, I’ll lead you forward, if a ghost eats me up and I become a ghost, I’ll haunt you forever.” They then entered.

    Hong Ling Bo thought, “That Sha Dan is strangely brave.” She didn’t have any more thoughts, and followed closely in the dark, she had heard from her master that the paths in the Tomb of the Living Dead were complicated, all you need to do is take one wrong step and you’ll be lost, she saw Yang Guo moving without delaying for the slightest second, turning to the east and then twisting to the west, opening a door there, and pushing a stone over here, like he knew the way.
    Hong Ling Bo thought, “What’s so hard about the paths in the tomb? Could it be that master lied to me, in case I entered alone?” In just a few moments, Yang Guo had led her deep into the tomb, outside Xiao Long Nuu’s room.

    He opened the door lightly, and listened carefully, he couldn’t hear anything and wanted to call out “Gu Gu!” but remembered that Hong Ling Bo was right behind him so he quietly said, “We’re here!”

    Hong Ling Bo was now deep within the tomb, although she was skilled in martial arts and daring, she felt uneasy, when she heard Yang Guo say this, she quickly entered and took out a match, and lit the candle on the table. She saw a girl in white lying on a bed. She knew she would meet her martial uncle in the tomb, but she didn’t know that she would find her lying down peacefully, not knowing whether she was sleeping or ignoring her, she held her sword across her chest and said, “Disciple Hong Ling Bo greets martial uncle.”

    Yang Guo opened his mouth as if his heart jumped out of it, he concentrated on the Xiao Long Nuu’s movements, but she didn’t move an inch, after a while, she gave out a quiet ‘en’ sound. From when Hong Ling Bo first said something to Xiao Long Nuu up to Xiao long Nuu’s reply, Yang Guo was extremely anxious and worried, he wanted to throw himself on Xiao Long Nuu and hold her and cry, when he heard her reply he was extremely relieved, he was extremely delighted and wasn’t able to hold in his tears and cried out.

    Hong Ling Bo asked, “Sha Dan, what’s wrong with you?”

    Yang Guo said, “I’m…I’m scared.”

    Xiao Long Nuu slowly turned around and quietly said, “Don’t be scared, I’ve just died once, it wasn’t painful at all.”

    Hong Ling Bo saw that she was extremely beautiful face, and was startled. She thought, “Such a beautiful girl living on this earth!” She couldn’t but feel inferior, and said, “Disciple Hong Ling Bo greets martial uncle.”

    Xiao Long Nuu quietly said, “My apprentice sister? Is she here?”

    Hong Ling Bo said, “My master told me to come here first, and asked about martial uncle’s well being.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Just leave, this place is not for you, even your master can’t come here.”

    Hong ling Bo saw that her face looked unwell, there were bloodstains on her chest, she was short of breath when talking, it looked like she had a serious injury, she then let down her guard slightly and asked, “Where’s grandma Sun?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “She’s died a long time ago, just leave now.”

    Hong Ling Bo became even more relaxed and thought, “It’s fate, who would have thought that I Hong Ling Bo would become the heir of the tomb.” She saw that Xiao Long Nuu seemed to be on death’s doorsteps, and was afraid that if she died, no one will know the where about of the [Jade Heart Manual]. She quickly said, “Martial uncle, Master ordered me to obtain the [Jade Heart manual]. If you give it to me, then I’ll immediately help your cure your wound.”

    Xiao Long Nuu had practise the tomb’s martial arts for a long time, she didn’t have any emotions, nothing was able to affect her, but now she was suffering a serious internal energy and lost her self control, when she heard what she said, she was alarmed, and fainted again. Hong Ling Bo dashed over and searched her body, Xiao Long Nuu woke up and said, “Where’s my apprentice sister? Get her here, I have something to say to her.”

    Hong Ling Bo saw that their sect’s highest arts were within her grasp, she couldn’t wait quick enough, she chuckled and took out silver needles from her pocket, and said, “Martial uncle, you recognise these needles, if you don’t give the [Jade Heart Manual] to me then don’t blame for being impolite.”

    Yang Guo had tasted the poison of the ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’ before, he only held it in his hand and he felt the effects, if it pierced the body, what’s going to happen then? He saw the danger and quickly called out, “Xian Gu, there’s a ghost, I’m scared.” He threw himself over her, hugging her back, and used his finger to press down on the ‘Chaste Shoulder’ (jian zhen) and ‘Main Entrance’ (jing men) pressure points. Hong Ling Bo could not have dreamt that ‘Sha Dan’ would possess such advanced martial art skills, her whole body became numb and she stood there paralyzed. Yang Guo was afraid she had the ability to unblock her pressure points so heavily pressed down on ‘Large Bone’ (ju gu) pressure point, and said, “Gu Gu, this girl is really evil, should I prick her a few times with these needles?” He wrapped his hand with his garment and picked up the needles.

    Hong Ling Bo wasn’t able to move an inch, and she heard what he said clearly. He saw him pick up the needles and laughing ‘haha’ towards her, she was scared out of her wits, she wanted to plead but couldn’t open her mouth, her eyes revealed the state of mind she was in.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Guo Er, close the door to the tomb in case my apprentice sister arrives.”

    Yang Guo said, “Yes!”

    He was about to turn around when he heard an enchanting female voice from behind saying, “Apprentice sister, how are you? I’ve arrived a long time ago.”

    Yang Guo turned around alarmed, under the candlelight, he saw a beautiful Taoist nun standing at the door, her cheeks peach, her mouth seemed to form a smile but it did not, it was the ‘Serpent Deity’ Li Mo Chou.

    When Hong Ling Bo first started to ask about the whereabouts of the Tomb of the Living Dead, she knew that Hong Ling Bo would go to the tomb herself to steal the [Jade Heart Manual], when she sent Hong Ling Bo to Chang An to kill, she had really planned it all. She had secretly followed all along, she saw how Hong Ling Bo had met Yang Guo, how they entered the tomb, how she tried to force Xiao Long Nuu to hand over the manual and how she lost. Because she was extremely quick and her steps extremely light, Hong Ling Bo and Yang Guo did not notice her, only now did she reveal herself.

    Xiao Long Nuu got up and called out, “Apprentice sister!” then coughed incessantly.

    Li Mo Chou coldly pointed at Yang Guo and said, “Who is he? Ancestor grandma’s rule, no man is allowed to take one step into the tomb, and you allow him here?” Xiao Long Nuu was coughing violently, and had no way to reply. Yang Guo stood in front of Xiao Long Nuu protecting her and clearly said, “She’s my Gu Gu, this is none of your business.”

    Li Mo Chou chuckled and said, “Good Sha Dan, you’ve got balls!” She waved her flywhisk three times, making three ‘fu’ sounds. Although the three moves were done one after the other, it arrived at the same time, it was one of the lethal stances of the Ancient Tomb sect, other sect’s fighters do not know the essence of the stance and would have their bones broken as soon as she used this. Yang Guo was familiar with all the skills of the Ancient Tomb sect, though his internal energy wasn’t as profound as Li Mo Chou’s he was still able to dodge the three moves in one [Three Swallows in the Forest]. Li Mo Chou’s flywhisk returned, she was secretly alarmed, she saw that his dodging techniques were from their sect, she sternly said, “Apprentice sister, who is that little scoundrel?”

    Xiao Long Nuu was afraid that she was going to throw up blood again and didn’t dare to raise her voice, and quietly said, “Guo Er, greet your martial uncle.”

    Yang Guo gave a ‘humph’ sound and said, “She counts as my martial uncle?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Bend your ear over, I’ve got something to say to you.”

    Yang Guo knew that she wanted him to kowtow to Li Mo Chou, he didn’t want to, but he still lowered his ear.

    Xiao Long Nuu quietly said, “On the corner of the bed by my leg, there is a stone panel, turn it to the right and quickly leap up onto the bed.”

    Li Mo Chou thought that she was ordering her disciple to apologise to her, in front of her was a seriously wounded, the other was a youngster, why would she care about them, she was thinking of a way to torture them and force her apprentice sister to hand over the [Jade Heart Manual].

    Yang Guo nodded his head, and clearly said, “Disciple greets martial uncle!” He slowly stretched out his hand towards the part of the bed near Xiao Long Nuu’s leg, indeed there was a stone panel, so he turned it with his strength and quickly leapt onto the bed.

    Li Mo Chou was shocked, and remembered there were booby traps everywhere in the tomb, her master was biased, she concealed them from her and taught her apprentice sister where there were and how to use them, she immediately dashed over to grab Xiao Long Nuu.

    Presently, Xiao Long Nuu had no strength to retaliate, though the bed was heavy, Li Mo Chou had spotted this early and she was extremely quick in her movements and was about to grab Xiao Long Nuu off the bed. Yang Guo was alarmed, and with all his strength pushed out a palm and repel her hand away, he saw darkness in front of him, two thudding sounds after, the bed had dropped into the lower level. The stone slab on the ceiling automatically pushed up, Xiao Long Nuu and Yang Guo was separated from Li Mo Chou and her disciple.

    Yang Guo could make out there was a table and some chairs in the room, he made his way to the table and took out a match and lit a half worn candle.
    Xiao Long Nuu sighed and said, “There isn’t enough blood in my body, I am unable to circulate my internal energy to heal myself. Even if I wasn’t hurt, the two of us would not be able to beat my apprentice sister”, when Yang Guo heard her say there wasn’t enough blood in her body, he raised his left arm, and singled out his vein on his wrist and bit down on it with his life, blood came flowing out. He placed his wound by Xiao Long Nuu’s mouth, and his blood dripped into her mouth.

    Xiao Long Nuu’s body was ice cold, when the warm blood entered her, her body started to warm up, she knew this wasn’t right and wanted to struggle, but Yang Guo knew what she was thinking and pressed down on a pressure point on her waist, stopping her from moving. After a while, the wound started to dry up, Yang Guo bit on it again, and then bit his right wrist, after donating blood several times, Yang Guo felt faint and dizzy, he sat up straight and unsealed her pressure point. Xiao Long Nuu looked at him for a while and didn’t say anything, and started to heal herself. Yang Guo saw that the candle was about to be burnt up, and replaced it.

    That night, the two of them meditated by themselves. Yang Guo was recovering from his lost of blood. After taking in Yang Guo’s blood, Xiao Long Nuu strengthened, and knew that her life was saved; she opened her eyes and smiled slightly towards Yang Guo. Her cheeks were normally white, but Yang Guo now saw that they were red, like rouge on white jade, he was delighted and said, “Gu Gu, you’ve recovered.” Xiao Long Nuu nodded her head. Yang Guo was happy but didn’t know what to say.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “We’ll go to grandma Sun’s room, I have something to say to you.”

    Yang Guo said, “Aren’t you tired?”

    Xiao Long said, “I’m fine.”

    She stretched out her hand and pulled on one of the brackets on the wall, a stone slab moved and revealed a path. Yang Guo had never seen this path before. Xiao Long Nuu led him in the darkness and eventually arrived at grandma Sun’s room.

    She lit a candle, and turned Yang Guo’s garment into a bag, and placed her gold silk gloves in it. Yang Guo stood there looking at her and asked, “Gu Gu, what are you doing?”

    Xiao Long Nuu didn’t reply, and placed two jars of Jade bee syrup into the bag.
    Yang Guo delightedly said, “Gu Gu, we are leaving, aren’t we? That will be great.”
    Xiao Long Nuu said, “You go by yourself, I know you are a good boy, you treat me very well.”

    Yang Guo was shocked and said, “What about you?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I made an oath to my master, I must stay in the tomb and never leave. Unless…unless…I won’t leave.” She shook her head as she said this.
    He saw that her face was stern, her voice still, she wasn’t going to allow any back chat from him so he didn’t say anything, but this was an important matter, he eventually plucked up the courage and said, “Gu Gu, if you don’t go, I won’t go. I want to stay with you.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Right now, my apprentice sister is probably guarding the paths out of the tomb, she wants to force me to hand over the [Jade Heart Manual]. My kung fu is not near hers, and I’m hurt, I won’t be able to beat her, am I?”

    Yang Guo said, “Yes.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “The food we’ve got left will only last twenty days if we stretch it, if we also eat the Jade bee syrup, we’ll last a month. A month later, what then?”

    Yang Guo stood there for a while and said, “We’ll rush out, although we won’t beat martial uncle, it may be possible to escape with our lives.”

    Xiao Long Nuu shook her head and said, “You know your martial uncle’s martial arts and temper, and should know that we won’t be able to escape. Not only will she torture us, our deaths will be unbearable.”

    Yang Guo said, “If this is the case, it will be even harder for me to escape by myself.”

    Xiao Long Nuu shook her head and said, “No! I’ll fight with her and lure her deep within the tomb, this will give you a chance to escape. When you leave, shift the large stone on the left, and pull on the brackets, two large stones weighing ten tons will drop down, sealing off the tomb forever.”

    Yang Guo became even more startled as he heard this, and said, “Gu Gu, you’ll be able to open the brackets, won’t you?”

    Xiao Long Nuu shook her head and said, “No. Years ago when Wong Chong Yang was rebelling against the Jin’s, he made a plan, this stone tomb was his storage place for money, supplies and weapons. It is heavily booby trapped, the layout a secret, and he set up two large ten tonne stone slabs at the entrance, called the ‘Dragon Snapping Stone’ (duan long shi). In case they fail and the Jin’s found out about this place, and came to attack, it will be a few against many, then he would lower the stone, sealing off the tomb, and the attackers of the tomb would not be able to leave with their lives. Once the stone drops, it will not open again. You know how narrow the path leading into the tomb is, it only allows for one person at a time, even if there were thousands of enemies who entered the tomb, they could only form a long line, only one person could touch the large stone, one person will not be able to lift the stone. With this plan, that old Taoist is saying that even in death he will not give in, and wanted to perish with the enemy. After he failed against the Jin’s, he lived by himself in the tomb, the Jin king knew where he was, and sent tens of martial artists to kill him, in the end they were all captured or killed by Wong Chong Yang, not one returned. Later, that Jin king had a sudden death, a new king was appointed, and left him alone, and so the two ‘Dragon Snapping Stone’ were never used. When Wong Chong Yang left the tomb, he told ancestor grandma about all the tomb’s booby traps.
    The more Yang Guo listened the more startled he became, with tears in his eyes he said, “Gu Gu, I’ll follow you in life and death.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “What use is there in following me? You said the outside world was a great place to play, just go and play. With your standard of martial arts, the Quan Zhen Taoists will not be able to do much to you. You manage to trick Hong Ling Bo, you are much cleverer than me, there is no need for me to look after you.”

    Yang Guo rushed up to her and hugged her, crying, “Gu Gu, if I’m not able to leave with you, I won’t be able to enjoy my life.”

    Xiao Long Nuu was cold and loveless, her words were cold and harsh, but right now for some reason she felt a rush of warm blood rushing to her chest, her eyes ache, wanting to cry. She became startled and remembered what her master had told her before she died, “The kung fu you are practising is a emotionless type of advanced martial arts, if later on however you cry and reveal your true feelings, not only your martial arts will suffer, you life will be in danger. Remember this.” Then she pushed Yang Guo away and coldly said, “Whatever I say, you have to listen.”

    Yang Guo saw that she was still strict and stern, and didn’t dare to say another word. Xiao Long Nuu put the bag on his back and took a long sword off the wall, and gave it to him and then sternly said, “When I tell you to go, you must immediately go, once you are outside, immediately lower the stone to close the tomb. Your martial uncle is extremely ruthless, the chance will be gone very quick, are you going to obey me?”

    Yang Guo choked, “Yes.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “If you don’t do as I have told you, when I’m dead in hell, I’ll hate you forever. Go!” She took hold of his hand, opened the door and left. Whenever Yang Guo touched her hand, it always felt like ice, but now in her grasp, she felt her palm was sometimes cold, sometimes warm, completely different to normal, but right now he was too emotional, he had no time to think about such trivial things, and followed her out. After travelling for a while, Xiao Long Nuu touched a stone slab and quietly said, “They are just in front, I’ll lure my apprentice sister away, and you’ll leave by rushing to the exit in the north west corner. If Hong Ling Bo chases you, attack her with ‘Jade Bee Needles’.” Yang Guo’s heart was all over the place, and just nodded.

    The ‘Jade Bee Needles’ is a skill of the Ancient Tomb sect, years ago Lin Chao Ying had two lethal projectiles, one was the ‘Soul Freezing Needles’, the other was the ‘Jade Bee Needles’. The ‘Jade Bee Needles was a gold needle that was as thin as a hair, sixty percent was made of gold, the other forty percent consists of steel, and had a drop of poison from the Jade Bees on it, although it was a small, the gold was heavy and allowed it to be thrown over a long distance. This projectile was too venomous, Lin Chao Ying rarely used it, after her middle age, her kung fu had reached the acme of perfection, and so there wasn’t a need to use them at all. Because Li Mo Chou had not agreed to swear an oath that she will remain in the tomb forever, after her master passed on the skill of the ‘Soul Freezing Needles’ she did not teach her the ‘Jade Bee Needles’.

    Xiao Long Nuu waited, and then rotated the brackets on the wall, ‘zha’ ‘zha’ two sounds were made as the wall slowly opened to the left. Her pair of silk belts immediately flew out, the left heading for Li Mo Chou, the right heading for Hong Ling Bo, her body flying extremely swiftly forwards. Li Mo Chou had long unblocked Hong Ling Bo’s pressure points, she shouted at her for a little while. They were in the room trying to figure out where they were and looking for a way out when suddenly they saw Xiao Long Nuu attacking, the both of them were startled.

    Li Mo Chou’s flywhisk flew out to block Xiao Long Nuu’s belt. The flywhisk and the silk belt were soft objects, soft against soft, but Li Mo Chou’s internal energy was superior to that of Xiao Long Nuu’s, the two weapons clashed, and Xiao Long Nuu’s weapon was sent back. The belt in her left hand returned, the right was sent out, in just a short while many stances were exchanged, the two silk belts were gentle and swift. Li Mo Chou was startled and angry, thinking, “So master was biased, when has she taught me these skills?” But she was able to defend against it, and didn’t want to try to kill her, firstly the [Jade Heart Manual] wasn’t yet in her hand, if she killed her it would be difficult to find the manual in this large stone tomb, and secondly, she wanted to see what other great skills that her master had bestowed on Xiao Long Nuu.

    Hong Ling Bo had always regarded herself as intelligent, but today she was tricked by a boy, she was fooled into thinking he was a dumb boy for over half a day and wasn’t able to see through it, she was furious with him, she saw that her master and Xiao Long Nuu was fighting heatedly, and said, “Sha Dan, you little scoundrel’s trickery isn’t bad.” She took out her swords, and took half a step and called out, “See if I can cut your nose off.” Her swords chopped and slashed, ‘chi’ ‘chi’ ‘chi’ as several stances was unleashed. Yang Guo saw that she was advancing fiercely and could only raise his sword to block. If under normal circumstances, Yang Guo would make some sarcastic comments and joke around with her, but now he was thinking about having to part with Xiao Long Nuu, warm tears were in his eyes, everything was blurry in front of him, he made a few stances, but there wasn’t any intention of attacking.

    Hong Ling Bo had used many stances, although she wasn’t able to hurt him, she saw that there was no strength in his stances, and thought that he must possess average skills, she became even more careless, and didn’t even consider the fact that he had sealed her pressure points before.

    Li Mo Chou and Xiao Long Nuu fought for another ten moves, Li Mo Chou’s flywhisk flipped up wrapping around her left belt and said, “Apprentice sister, take a look at my skills.” She dispersed her chi into her weapon and the belt was cut into two pieces. In normal duels with weapons, it was difficult for one person’s weapon to shatter the enemy’s weapon, the duster and the silk belts were extremely soft objects, she had just used her flywhisk to split the belt in half, this was ten times as difficult than using a sword to shatter another sword. Li Mo Chou demonstrated her skills and her face swelled with pride.

    Xiao Long Nuu didn’t react, and said, “How good are your skills?” Her belt that was in half shot out and wrapped itself around the thread end of the flywhisk, the belt in her right hand shot out and tangled the handle, one pulled to the left and one to the right, the flywhisk snapped in half. In terms of power, this move was lower than when Li Mo Chou had snapped the belt in half, but it was extremely fast and the technique of dispersing her chi into the belt was exquisite, Li Mo Chou’s move cannot compare with Xiao Long Nuu in this department. She was slightly alarmed and threw down her weapon; she snatched the belts, gradually forcing Xiao Long Nuu back. Another ten moves passed and Xiao Long Nuu was forced to the eastern wall, and saw that she had nowhere else to go. She suddenly touched the wall and called out, “Guo Er, Quickly escape!” A ‘ka’ sound was heard as an exit appeared in the northwest corner.

    Li Mo Chou was shocked and quickly turned around, wanting to stop Yang Guo. Xiao Long Nuu threw down her belts and threw out two palms with intent to kill. Li Mo Chou had to turn around to block it.

    Xiao Long Nuu shouted, “Guo Er, why aren’t you leaving?”

    Yang Guo looked at Xiao Long Nuu and saw that there was no over turning of this decision and shouted, “Gu Gu, I’m going now!” He quickly threw out three stances, the sword tip pointing towards Hong Ling Bo.

    Hong Ling Bo had seen Yang Guo’s sword stances were weak, but of a sudden it had strengthened so much, she could only jump back in the danger. Yang Guo darted out of the door, he turned around, wanting to look at Xiao Long Nuu for one last time.

    Xiao Long Nuu and her apprentice sister was fighting bare handed, although she was seriously wounded, after practising the [Jade Heart Manual] her variation of stances had greatly increased, she managed to hold her own after tens of moves. She saw the image of Yang Guo’s back at the door, and thought how they would never meet each other again, her chest heated up, her eyes ached, wanting to cry out tears. She has never shown her true emotions before; today she wanted to cry out twice. She couldn’t refrain from being scared.

    When clashing palms with a highly skilled fighter, how can one allow oneself to be slow? Li Mo Chou saw Xiao Long Nuu standing there and took the opportunity to advance; she grabbed her wrist and sealed the ‘Returning Orthodox’ (hui zong) pressure point, and hooked out a leg. Xiao Long Nuu wasn’t able to stand upright and fell onto the floor.

    Yang Guo turned his head around, only to see Xiao Long Nuu hooked onto the floor by her apprentice sister. He then saw Li Mo Chou was about to harm his master, blood rushed through his chest and he called out, “Don’t harm my master!” He darted back into the room, then leapt over to her and grabbed Li Mo Chou and grabbed her waist. This move didn’t belong to the stances of any school or sect, it was just a urgent reaction from Yang Guo in this dangerous situation.

    Li Mo Chou was preoccupied with wanting to pick up Xiao Long Nuu, and wasn’t prepared for Yang Guo coming back and grabbing her, for the time being she wasn’t able to escape.

    She was ruthless and violent, not restrained under the practise of religion like she should be, but she guarded her body like a treasure, after spending many years wandering the world of Jiang Hu, she was still a virgin, and now suddenly she was held tightly by Yang Guo, but all she felt now was the warmth of a man spreading from her back into her heart, her heart stirred, her whole body softened, her face was red, there was no strength in her hands. Xiao Long Nuu took the chance to unblock her pressure point, but Hong Ling Bo was now pointing her sword towards Yang Guo’s back.

    Xiao Long Nuu was looking up from the ground, when she saw the sword coming she rolled to the left, and moved Yang Guo and Li Mo Chou at the same time, Hong Ling Bo’s sword pierced thin air.

    Xiao Long Nuu leapt up and shouted, “Guo Er, get out quickly!”

    Yang Guo held tightly onto Li Mo Chou’s waist and called out, “Gu Gu, get out quickly, I’m holding her down, she won’t be able to move.”

    During this time, Li Mo Chou’s head was filled with thought, she knew that this was a urgent situation where there is only a hair separating life and death, but being held by Yang Guo caused her heart to be enchanted, and didn’t think of escaping.

    Xiao Long Nuu was curious and wondered, “With my apprentice sister’s martial arts, how could she be held down by Guo Er, not moving an inch? Could it be that her pressure points have been blocked?”

    She saw that Hong Ling Bo’s left hand was about to try to pierce Yang Guo again, so she stretched out two fingers and pushed the flat side of the sword in her right hand, the sword leapt up, heading for the sword in Hong Ling Bo’s left hand. A clashing sound, Hong Ling Bo’s hand became numb, the handles of the swords dropped on the floor, and jumped back in shock.

    When the swords clashed, sparks flew, it was during this time when Li Mo Chou had noticed that Xiao Long Nuu had looked at her strangely, she couldn’t refrain from being furious and shouted, “Little punk, do you want to die?” She generated chi into her arms and escaped from Yang Guo’s hold, she leapt up and was about to throw out a palm towards Xiao Long Nuu.

    Xiao Long Nuu was busy concentrating on Yang Guo’s movement when she suddenly felt Li Mo Chou’s palm arriving, there was no time to use stances to neutralize the palm, she could only return a palm to block, but she felt her apprentice sister’s profound internal energy, she felt pain in her chest. She saw Yang Guo had picked himself up, and was coming to help her, she shouted, “Guo Er, you aren’t going to listen to me, are you?”

    Yang Guo said, “I’ll listen to whatever you say, but I won’t listen to what you are saying now. Gu Gu, I’ll follow you in life and death.”

    Xiao Long Nuu heard his sincerity in his words, and was touched again, she saw that Li Mo Chou was about to throw out another palm, she knew right now that with her serious internal injuries, she would not be able to take this palm, so she ducked and darted to the side and picked up Yang Guo, and hurried out of the room through the stone door.

    Li Mo Chou followed the blur, and stretched out her hand to grab her back and shouted, “Don’t go!”

    Xiao Long Nuu waved her hand back, ten or so ‘Jade Bee Needles’ was shot back. Li Mo Chou suddenly smelt the sweet scent of honey, and knew that this projectile was lethal, she was startled and quickly bent back, she knocked into Hong Ling Bo and both of them dropped onto the floor.

    They heard extremely quiet ‘ding’ ‘ding’ ‘ding’ sounds, the needles had struck the wall, then they heard two ‘zha’ ‘zha’ sounds, it was Xiao Long Nuu who had taken Yang Guo out of the room, and had turned the switch, closing the door.

    End of Chapter 6
    Last edited by Mojo Jojo; 03-21-05 at 09:28 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter Seven

    Chong Yang’s Markings

    Yang Guo and Xiao Long Nuu rushed through the passages of the tomb, and hurriedly exited the tomb; Yang Guo was delighted and took some deep breaths under the starlight. He said, “Gu Gu, I’ll lower the ‘Dragon Snapping Stone’ and trap the two evil women in the tomb.” As he said this he searched around for the switch to the booby trap.

    Xiao Long Nuu shook her head and said, “Wait, let me return inside first.”

    Yang Guo was alarmed and quickly asked, “My master instructed me to guide the tomb, and mustn’t allow it to fall into other people hands.”

    Yang Guo said, “If we block the door, they won’t be able to live.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “If that’s happens, I won’t be able to return into the tomb. I will never dare to disobey my master. Not like you!” She stared at him.

    Yang Guo’s blood rose through his chest, he held her arm and said, “Gu Gu, I’ll listen to you orders.”

    Xiao Long Nuu resisted her feelings, she was afraid of getting emotional, she didn’t dare to say another word and pulled his arm off, she entered the tomb and said, “Lower the stone!” She kept her back to him, she was afraid she was going to change her mind so she didn’t look at him again.

    Yang Guo made up his mind, he breathed in deeply, his chest was filled with the fragrance of flowers and grasses, he looked up and saw the sky filled with stars, glittering continuously, and thought, “This is the last time I’ll be able to look at stars.” He quickly went to the left of the tomb’s monument, and followed the instructions of Xiao Long Nuu, he used his internal energy to shift a stone, behind it was a round stone, he held the round stone and pulled out. The stone revealed a hole, sand started to pour out, the two large stones above the tomb’s door descended down slowly.

    The two stones weighed over ten tonnes, years ago when Wong Chong Yang was designing the tomb, he had used the combined strength of hundreds to complete it. Now the tomb was being sealed, even if Li Mo Chou, Xiao Long Nuu and Hong Ling Bo’s skills were higher, they will not be able to escape from the tomb.

    Xiao Long Nuu heard the sound of the stones descending, she couldn’t hold back her tears and turned around. Yang Guo waited for the stone to be two feet away from the ground and then suddenly used a stance [The Jade Girl’s Dive] (yu nuu tou suo), his body like an arrow darting through the space.

    Xiao Long Nuu gave out an alarmed call, Yang Guo got up, smiled and said, “Gu Gu, you can’t send me out anymore.” As he finished, heavy loud sounds were heard, the two large stones had reached the ground.

    Xiao Long Nuu’s tears and emotions reached their peak, her face looked as if she was going to faint again, she lent against the stone wall and was out of breath, after a while she said, “Fine, we’ll die together.” She held Yang Guo’s hand and went back into the heart of the tomb.

    Li Mo Chou and her disciple were searching around for the switch everywhere, they didn’t have the slightest clue and was getting anxious, when the two suddenly appeared, they couldn’t help from being pleased. Li Mo Chou’s body immediately darted behind the two, first stopping their paths to escape.

    Xiao Long Nuu coldly said, “Apprentice sister, I’ll take you to a place.”

    Li Mo Chou didn’t reply and thought, “There’s traps everywhere in the tomb, don’t listen to her. If she’s up to something then I won’t be able to guard against it.”
    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I’m taking you to see master’s tombstone, if you don’t want to, fine.”

    Li Mo Chou said, “There is no need to use master’s name to lie to me.”

    Xiao Long Nuu chuckled and didn’t reply, and walked out of the door. Li Mo Chou saw that her words seems like an order, it sounded like no one can disobey, and so the two of them followed, taking care in every step, not daring to be careless. Xiao Long Nuu held Yang Guo’s hand and led the way, she wasn’t scared of being ambushed by Li Mo Chou, and led the two to the coffin room.

    Li Mo Chou has never been here, she remembered the teachings of her master and became slightly touched, but she thought how her master was biased, her emotions immediately turned to anger, she didn’t kowtow to her master’s tombstone and said, “Our master disciple relationship have long been cut up, why have you bought me here?”

    Xiao Long Nuu calmly said, “There are two empty coffins, one for me and one for you. I’ll let you pick, which one do you want?” She pointed to the two coffins.
    Li Mo Chou was alarmed and shouted, “You dare to make fun of me?” As she finished she threw out a palm towards Xiao Long Nuu’s chest. She didn’t know that Xiao Long Nuu would ignore the palm when she saw it coming.

    Xiao Long Nuu was alarmed and thought, “This palm will kill you.” The palm was inches away from her chest, when she took the palm back.

    Xiao Long Nuu said calmly, “Apprentice sister, the tomb’s ‘Dragon Snapping Stone’ has been activated!”

    Li Mo Chou’s face immediately turned white, although she didn’t know much about the tomb’s booby traps, she knew that the ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ were the tomb’s most powerful and last line of defence, years ago her master had come up against a strong enemy, she almost activated the ‘Dragon Snapping Stone’, blocking the enemy outside, eventually she was able to hurt the enemy with the ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’ and ‘Jade Bee Needles’. She would never have guessed that her apprentice sister will trap herself in the tomb, alarmed and frightened, she quivered, “You have another way out, don’t you?”

    Xiao Long Nuu calmly said, “When the ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ are set, there is no other way out of the tomb, don’t you know this?”

    Li Mo Chou clutched Xiao Long Nuu’s dress and said, “You lie!”

    Xiao Long Nuu didn’t move and said, “The [Jade Heart Manual] that master left is over there, if you want to take a look, go ahead. Guo Er and I are here, if you want to kill us, go ahead. But if you want to leave the tomb alive, then I’m afraid it won’t be possible!”

    Li Mo Chou’s hand gradually loosened, and stood still, she saw that Xiao Long Nuu had a carefree air, and knew that she wasn’t lying and said, “Fine, I’ll kill you two first!” She threw out a palm at Xiao Long Nuu. Yang Guo quickly moved in front of Xiao Long Nuu’s body, shielding her and called out, “Kill me first!”

    Li Mo Chou’s palm became heavy, when the palm reached Xiao Long Nuu she wasn’t able to exert its power, she looked at Yang Guo with hate and said, “The way you are protecting her, you are willing to die for her, aren’t you?”

    Yang Guo calmly said, “That’s correct!”

    Li Mo Chou’s left hand darted out and took the sword from his waist, and pointed it at his throat and said, “I am only going to kill one person. Tell me, is it going to be you or her?”

    Yang Guo didn’t reply, he only looked at Xiao Long Nuu and smiled. The two of them had already disregarded life and death, they didn’t care who Li Mo Chou was going to kill.

    Li Mo Chou sighed and said, “Apprentice sister, your oath has been released, you can leave the mountain now.”

    Years ago, the ancient Tomb’s founder Lin Chao Ying recollected her feelings over Wong Chong Yang, and was unable to forget him in the end. A broken hearted Lin Chao Ying made a rule, those who wanted to be her heir will first have to swear an oath that they will live in the tomb forever, never to leave mount Zhong Nan, but if there was a man who was willing to die for them, then the oath will be released. But the man must not know this oath. Lin Chao Ying was positive that there wasn’t a man on earth who treat love above all, the hero Wong Chong Yang had now become a Taoist, there wouldn’t be a man who will die for willingly for their loved one, if there was such a man, her descendants will not leave the mountain in vain. Li Mo Chou entered the sect first before Xiao Long Nuu, but because she didn’t take the oath, Xiao Long Nuu became the heir.

    Li Mo Chou saw that Yang Guo was sincere towards Xiao Long Nuu, and couldn’t stop from becoming envious, she became angry again as she remembered how Lu Zhan Yuan rejected her, her brows creased as she called out, “Apprentice sister, you are really lucky.” She thrust the sword towards Yang Guo’s throat. Xiao Long Nuu saw that she was really going to kill him, when the time came, she wasn’t able to stop herself from saving him, she waved her left hand, over ten ‘Jade Bee Needles’ were shot out.

    Li Mo Chou quickly leapt back to avoid the poisonous needles. Xiao Long Nuu took Yang Guo’s hand and darted to the door, she turned around and said, “Apprentice sister, it doesn’t matter whether my oath has been released or not, our four lives will all perish in the tomb. I don’t want to see your faces, just go and die on your own.” She extended her hand to a switch and activated it, the stone door descended, separating the four again.

    Xiao Long Nuu was emotional; it was hard for her to walk. Yang Guo took her to grandma Sun’s room to rest, and took out two jars of jade bee syrup, he fed her a bottle and drank one himself.

    Xiao Long Nuu quietly sighed and said, “Guo Er, why were you willing to die for me?”

    Yang Guo said, “On this earth, only you treat me well, why should I be scared to die for you?”

    Xiao Long Nuu didn’t say anything, half an hour later she said, “If I’d known earlier, there was no need for us to return to the tomb and die with them. But if we didn’t return, I wouldn’t have known that you would have willingly die for me, my oath would not have been released.”

    Yang Guo said, “Why don’t we try to find a way to get out of here?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “You know about the tomb, so you should know that that there is no way out for us.” Yang Guo sighed.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “You regret it, don’t you?”

    Yang Guo said, “No, now I’m with you, outside, there’s no one that loves me.”
    Xiao Long Nuu had not allowed him to say ‘you care about me’ in the past, and Yang Guo never raised this again, but now she’s had a change of heart, when she heard this she couldn’t help but feel touched, and asked, “So why did you sigh?”

    Yang Guo said, “I was thinking that if we left the mountain, there are countless fun things to do, and with you by my side, life would be immensely enjoyable.”
    Xiao Long Nuu had grown up in the tomb, her heart has always been as cold as ice, her master and grandma Sun never mentioned the matters of the outside world, so of course she never imagined about it, now Yang Guo mentioned this, she felt her emotions soar, but felt blood rising up into her chest, and tried to circulate her chi to counter it, however she wasn’t able to make herself calm, and was frightened, she has never experienced this in her life, and knew that after recovering from her injury, she will not be able to recover her internal energy. She didn’t know that this method to suppress her emotions was against the natural flow of things, being loveless doesn’t mean you will be able to do this, only by applying chi strictly can one succeed. She was now past twenty, in her times of danger, a young man was willing to die for her, she didn’t want to reveal her true feelings and wanted to guard against injuring her wound further, and tried to repress her thoughts.

    She sat on the bed and meditated for a while, but became impatient, and got off the bed and walked around, she was becoming bored; her steps became quicker and was dashing around the room. Yang Guo saw that her cheeks were red, and seemed emotional, he has never seen her like this before, and couldn’t refrain from being startled. After walking around for a while she sat down heavily on the bed, and looked at Yang Guo, and saw a concerned expression on his face and thought, “Right now I am about to die, so is he. Why should we distinguish ourselves as master and disciple, auntie and nephew? If he comes and hugs me, I won’t push him away, and allow him to hold me tightly.”

    Yang Guo saw that she had tears in her eyes, she was gasping for breath and assumed that she was having a reaction to her injury again and quickly said, “Gu Gu, are you okay?”

    Xiao Long Nuu softly said, “Guo Er, come here.”

    Yang Guo went over to the bedside and Xiao Long Nuu grasped his hand and lightly brushed her face with it and quietly said, “Guo Er, do you love me?”

    Yang Gou felt her face was as hot as a fire, he was frightened and quivered, “Does your chest hurt?”

    Xiao Long Nuu smiled and said, “No, my heart feels extremely comfortable. Guo Er, I’m going to die soon, tell me, do you love me very much?”

    Yang Guo said, “Of course, on this world, you are my only loved one.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “If another girl treats you the way I treated you, would you treat them like you treat me?”

    Yang Guo said, “Whoever treats me well, I’ll treat them well back.” When he said this he felt the hand that Xiao Long Nuu held him with quivered, and immediately turned cold as ice, he raised his head and saw that her red face had now turned pale and white, as she was normally.

    Yang Guo was alarmed and said, “What did I say wrong?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “If you are going to love other girls then its better that you don’t love me.”

    Yang Guo smiled and said, “We’ll die in a few days, when will I be able to love other girls? Could it be that I’m going to treat Li Mo Chou and her disciple well?”
    Xiao Long Nuu smiled captivatingly and said, “I’m really stupid. But I want to hear you swear an oath with you own mouth.”

    Yang Guo said, “Swear what?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I want you to say, from now on you will only have me in your heart, if there is another girl, I will be allowed to kill you.”

    Yang Guo smiled and said, “Without saying I will never do this, if I actually did something wrong and don’t listen to you, then I deserve to die.” He then swore, “Disciple Yang Guo, I will only have Gu Gu in my heart in my lifetime, if my heart changes, there will be no need for Gu Gu to kill me, when I see her face I will kill myself.”

    Xiao Long Nuu was delighted and said, “Very good, I can relax now.” She held his hand tightly, not letting go. Yang Guo felt warmth returning to her hands.
    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Guo Er, I haven’t been kind.”

    Yang Guo quickly said, “No, you have always been kind.”

    Xiao Long Nuu shook her head and said, “I treated you terribly before, at first I kicked you out of the tomb, it was lucky that grandma Sun made me promise to take care of you. If I didn’t turn you away, grandma Sun would not have died!” When she said this, she couldn’t stop tears from flowing out of her eyes. She had began to practise martial arts at the age of five, and had never cried again; she cried out heavily, she was in a disturbing state of mind, her bones and joints made cracking noises, and felt her internal energy draining away from her.

    Yang Guo was alarmed and said, “Gu Gu, what’s happening? How are you feeling?”

    Just as he said this, two ‘zha’ ‘zha’ noises were heard from behind, the stone door opened, Li Mo Chou and Hong Ling Bo had entered. Once the ‘Dragon Snapping Stone’ had been set, Li Mo Chou thought they were going to die anyway so there wasn’t any need to be wary of the tomb’s booby traps, and boldly dashed throughout the tomb, and managed to go through some rooms before finally arriving at grandma Sun’s room. She knew she must have had extraordinary luck, she managed to avoid the booby traps but she didn’t know that the tomb’s booby traps were actually designed to repel Jin soldiers, once the large heavy stones had been set, someone must activate the traps to ambush the enemy, Xiao Long Nuu didn’t do this, and so the tomb’s booby traps were untouched.

    Yang Guo immediately darted across, and blocked Xiao Long Nuu.

    Li Mo Chou said, “Move out of the way, I have something to say to your master.”
    Yang Guo was afraid that she was going to harm his master and didn’t dare to move and said, “Just say it here.”

    Li Mo Chou stared at him for a while and sighed, and said, “There are very few men like you left in this world.”

    Xiao Long Nuu got up and asked, “Apprentice sister, is it good or bad that you have described him this way?”

    Li Mo Chou said, “Apprentice sister, you have never left the mountain, you don’t know how evil people’s hearts can be, someone who views love and passion as deeply as him, it’ll be difficult to find another like him under heaven’s skies.” She has been hurt by love, her anger and fury was great, and killed many men in the world who were loving and passionate.

    Xiao Long Nuu was extremely pleased and quietly said, “If that is true, then having him die with me won’t be in vain of my life.”

    Li Mo Chou said, “Apprentice sister, who exactly is that person to you? You want to marry him?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “No, he is my disciple. He said I treat him extremely well. But whether if I have been kind or not, I don’t know.”

    Li Mo Chou was puzzled, she shook her head and said, “Apprentice sister, let me see your arm.” She stretched out her left arm grasped Xiao Long Nuu’s arm, her right arm lifted her sleeve, but saw on her white skin was a red dot, it was the ‘shou gong sha’ (virginity dot) left by her master.

    Li Mo Chou was secretly respectful, “The two of them having a relationship like this in the tomb yet they’ve kept respect, she is still a pure and untouched virgin.” She then rolled up her sleeve, a ‘shou gong sha’ was on her arm, the two white arms next two each other was captivating, she had no alternative but to be chaste, however her apprentice sister has a lover who was willing to die for her, fortunate and unfortunate, they were both very different, she couldn’t stop herself from sighing, and let go of Xiao Long Nuu’s hand.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “What have you got to say to me?”

    Li Mo Chou had originally wanted to insult her, that she seduced men and bought the sect to shame, and anger her into revealing the way out of the tomb, but right now she had nothing to say. After a while, she had an another idea, and said, “Apprentice sister, I have come to apologise to you.”

    Xiao Long Nuu was shocked by this, she knew that her apprentice sister was a very proud woman, never has she lowered her head to anyone, she didn’t know what she wanted by saying this and so she calmly replied, “You do your own thing, and I do mine, we go our own ways, there is no need to apologise for anything.”

    Li Mo Chou said, “Apprentice sister listen to me, in my entire life as a girl, the happiest time was when I had a lover. There’s an old saying ‘It’s easy to get money and treasures, but it’s difficult to find a lover’. There is no need to talk about sister’s bitter life. That young man treats you well, you do not lack anything.”

    Xiao Long Nuu smiled and said, “Yes, I am very happy. I know that he will never forget about me.”

    Li Mo Chou’s heart ached and said, “You should leave the mountain and enjoy life. It’s a beautiful world, the two of you together will boundless pleasures.”

    Xiao Long Nuu raised her head and quietly said, “Yes, it’s just a pity that it is too late now.”

    Li Mo Chou said, “Why?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “The ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ has been set, even if our master was resurrected, will we not be able to get out of here.”

    Li Mo Chou quietly breathed out, blowing through her lips, you had hoped to take advantage of Xiao Long Nuu’s will to live, and rely on her familiarity of the tomb to find a way out, but in the end it was useless, she became angry and her will to kill suddenly emerged, her hand twisted slightly and raised a palm towards Xiao Long Nuu head.

    Yang Guo was by the side listening to the two of them talking when he suddenly saw Li Mo Chou attack, alarmed, he automatically lowered his body and threw out two palms and called out, and unleashed the [Toad Stance] that Ou Yang Feng had taught him. This was the kung fu he learnt when he was younger, ever since he lived in the tomb he did not practise it, but it was etched in his mind, at the most dangerous times, he would use it without thinking. Li Mo Chou’s palm had yet to lowered, when she suddenly felt an extremely powerful wind pushing her from the side, she quickly sent the palm out to block the attack. Yang Guo has practised martial arts in the tomb for two years, his internal energy has improved, though it was different to the internal energy of the [Toad Stance], the power behind the push was still great, a thudding sound was made as he sent Li Mo Chou across the room, and crashed into the wall causing pain in her back.
    Li Mo Chou was angry and she wiped her palms, in the middle of the battle she fell into someone’s trap. Xiao Long Nuu knew that Yang Guo’s last attack was a lucky hit, if her apprentice sister used her most refined [Divine Serpent Palm],Yang Guo and her would not be able to hold her off. She grabbed Yang Guo’s arm and dashed towards the door.

    Li Mo Chou sent out a palm, she couldn’t have guessed while her palm was in midair she was struck across the left cheek, although it didn’t hurt the sound was crisp, she heard Xiao Long Nuu call out, “You want to learn the skills of the [Jade Heart Manual], well here it is!” Li Mo Chou was struck on the right cheek while she was startled by what she said. She knew that the [Jade Heart Manual] was extremely powerful, right now she saw Xiao Long Nuu’s palm was extremely swift and quick, the variations mysterious, it was undoubtedly from their sect’s skills but she couldn’t see through and understand the essence of the palm, and knew that the skills just used belonged to the [Jade Heart Manual], she immediately became frightened, and stared as her apprentice sister took Yang Guo’s hand and exited the room, and then shutting the door. She felt her cheeks and thought, “At least she held back, if she used all her strength behind them palms, wouldn’t I have died?” She didn’t know that Xiao Long Nuu has yet to complete this kung fu, although the palm stances were refined, the power in them would not be able to hurt anyone.

    Yang Guo saw his master had struck Li Mo Chou’s cheek and was delighted and said, “Gu Gu, Li Mo Chou would definitely not be able to beat the manual’s skills’ before he finished he saw Xiao Long Nuu shaking and wasn’t able to control it, alarmed, he called out, “Gu Gu, how are you…you” and Xiao Long Nuu quivered, “I’m… I’m cold.”

    Just know although the attacks she used were light, she still had to use her internal energy, she has yet to recover her internal energy; this injury was serious. She has always practised on the chilled jade bed, her foundation was of this nature, now the strength to oppose this was gone, an extreme cold penetrated her, her tooth chattered incessantly.

    Yang Guo was alarmed and called out, “What should I do?” In this urgent situation he held Xiao Long Nuu tightly, using his body heat to counter the cold, but after a while he felt she was becoming colder, he himself gradually could not endure it for much longer.

    Xiao Long Nuu felt her internal energy dripping away, and said, “Guo Er, I’m won’t make it, take me to room with the stone coffins.”

    Yang Guo was distressed and couldn’t say anything, but he thought about how there only had a few days to live anyway, it would be the same if he was going to die with her now so he quickly replied, “Fine.” He carried her to the room and then placed her on one of the lids and lit a candle. Under the candlelight, and with the backdrop of the stone coffins, Xiao Long Nuu appeared even weaker.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Push one of the lids open and place me in the coffin.”

    Yang Guo said, “Yes!”

    Xiao Long Nuu couldn’t hear any sadness in his tone and was slightly surprised. Yang Guo pushed open one of the stone lids and placed her inside the coffin, and then leapt inside, lying together face to face with her. The two of them together in the coffin didn’t allow for any space to move.

    Xiao Long Nuu was happy and also puzzled, she asked, “What are you doing?”

    Yang Go said, “Of course I’m going to follow you. I’ll let the other two sleep in the other coffin.”

    Xiao Long Nuu gave a deep sigh, she was feeling calm and relaxed, her body’s coldness wasn’t as severe as before, she turned her eyes on Yang Guo and saw his eyes looking at her. Her dress was on top of Yang Guo, she wished that Yang Guo would put his arms around her, but she saw Yang Guo’s arms were straight; they were placed on his lap as they should be, afraid that he was going to touch her.

    Xiao Long Nuu was slightly embarrassed, her face turned red, she turned her face away not daring to stare at Yang Guo’s, her mind was enchanted for half an hour when she suddenly saw that something was written on the lid, she looked closely and indeed it was some words:

    ‘The Jade Heart Manual, it’s skills defeat Quan Zhen’s,
    In the life of Chong Yang, he was weaker than no one.”

    The words were written in heavy ink, the words refined and their form large. The lid was only half open yet it was very clear.

    Xiao Long Nuu gave an ‘hmm’ sound and said, “What does this mean?”

    Yang Guo followed her eyes and saw the words, he pondered and said, “It’s written by Wong Chong Yang?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “It looks like it was written by him. He is saying that our [Jade Heart Manual] is superior to Quan Zhen’s kung fu, but he is saying that he is not weaker than our ancestor grandma, isn’t it?”

    Yang Guo laughed and said, “That old Taoist is bullshitting.”

    Xiao Long Nuu looked at the words again, and saw that after them, there were many small words, because the words were small and they were lower down on the lid, Xiao Long Nuu couldn’t make it out and said, “Guo Er, get out.”

    Yang Guo shook his head and said, “I won’t leave.”

    Xiao Long Nuu smiled and said, “Just get out for a second and you came come back to be with me later.” Yang Guo climbed out of the coffin.

    Xiao Long Nuu sat up, and got Yang Guo to lower the candle, and then turned her body around to read the small words. She looked at the words and read each one, after she finished two passages she felt that she had no strength left and the candle fell onto her chest. Yang Guo’s hand quickly darted in and pulled her out of the stone coffin and asked, “What is it? What does the writing say?”

    Xiao Long Nuu regained her composure and then sighed again, and said, “After ancestor grandma died, Wong Chong Yang returned to the tomb.”

    Yang Guo asked, “Why did he come back?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “He came back to pay his respects to our ancestor. He saw the [Jade Heart Manual] martial art skills left on the ceiling of the training room had defeated all the skills of the Quan Zhen sect. The writing left on the lid says that the martial arts that our ancestor defeated were Quan Zhen’s basic and coarse skills, but compared with the most advanced skills of Quan Zhen, how could the skills of the [Jade Heart Manual] defeat them?

    Yang Guo gave an ‘humph’ sound and said, “Ancestor grandma is dead, he can say whatever he wants.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “He also said that in another room he has the techniques to defeat the [Jade Heart Manual], if her descendants were fated to, they will know it when they see it.”

    Yang Guo was curious and said, “Gu Gu. Let’s go take a look.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Wong Chong Yang stated that the room is below this one. I have lived her for a lifetime and don’t know that such a room exists.”

    Yang Guo begged, “Gu Gu, let’s think of a way to get there.”

    Xiao Long Nuu wasn’t strict with him anymore, although she was tired, she let him have his way and smiled, and said, “Fine!”

    They looked all around the room, and in the end they came back to the coffin they had just slept in and she said, “This stone coffin was left by Wong Chong Yang. The base opens.”

    Yang Guo was delighted and said, “Ah, I know, it’s the way to that room.” He leapt into the coffin and searched around, and true enough, he found a hollow for a hand, he pulled up tightly, but nothing happened.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “First turn to the left and then pull up.”

    Yang Guo followed the instructions, a ‘ka’ sound was heard as a stone panel on the base of the coffin responded to the switch, he was delighted and called out, “Let’s go!”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “There’s no need to rush, let the old air rush out first and then we can go.”

    Yang Guo was sitting restlessly, after a while he said, “Gu Gu, can we go now?”
    Xiao Long Nuu sighed and said, “With you impatient character, it must have been hard for you living with me for the last few years.” She slowly got up, and picked up a candle, and went down into the coffin with Yang Guo, below it was a series of stone steps and formed a short passageway, after a few turns they did indeed arrived at a stone chamber.

    The room was empty, and both of them looked up at the ceiling, it was littered with carvings and symbols, on the furthest right were written the words [Nine Yin Manual].

    The two of them didn’t know the [Nine Ying Manual] was martial arts at its highest level, they looked at it for a while and felt that it was hard to explain.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Even if that kung fu is unbeatable, it is of no use to us.”

    Yang Guo sighed and was about to lower his head when something got his eye in the southwestern corner, a picture, it had nothing to do with martial arts, he looked closer and saw it looked like a map and asked, “What’s that?”

    Xiao Long Nuu followed his finger and stared at it for a while, her body was like a corpse, not moving an inch. After a long while, she was still like statue, lost in thought as she examined the map closely. Yang Guo was frightened and tugged her sleeve, and asked, “Gu Gu, what is it?”

    Xiao Long Nuu gave a moan, and suddenly fell into his chest and started crying.
    Yang Guo softly said, “Your body hurts again, isn’t it?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “No, it’s not that.” After half an hour she said, “We can escape from here.”

    Yang Guo was delighted and leapt up, and called out, “For real?”

    Xiao Long Nuu nodded her head and quietly said, “That map reveals the secret passage out of here.” She was familiar with the layout of the tomb, one look and she understood the map.

    Yang Guo was ecstatic and said, “That’s great! Why are you crying?”

    Xiao Long Nuu contained her tears and smiled, and said, “I never used to fear death, I was going to live in the tomb forever, die early, die late, what difference would it make? However in the last few days I’ve felt the urge to go and see the outside world. Guo Er, I’m scared and happy.”

    Yang Guo pulled her hand and said, “Gu Gu, when we go outside together, I’ll pick flowers for you to wear, I’ll catch crickets for you to play, okay?”

    Although he has grown up, all his thoughts were either amusing or things that children play and do. Xiao Long Nuu has never played with anyone, she listened quietly to what he said, and thought, “It’ll be better if we leave as soon as possible.” But her body was sore, and had no strength, she wasn’t able to endure anymore and slowly rested on Yang Guo’s shoulder. Yang Guo talked for a while and didn’t hear her reply so he turned his head around to take a look, her eyes were closed, her breathing slight, she had fallen into a deep sleep. He was feeling tranquil; he was tired and eventually fell asleep.

    After a long while, he felt his back ached; someone had sealed his ‘Centre’ (zhong shu) pressure point on his back. He woke up alarmed, and wanted to leap up but someone was holding his neck down and stopping him from moving, he turned his head and saw Li Mo Chou and her disciple standing there laughing, his master also had her pressure points sealed. Yang Guo and Xiao Long Nuu didn’t have the Jiang Hu experience of guarding yourself, in their delight, they had forgotten to go back up and close the coffin lid, Li Mo Chou had discovered that there was a room below the coffin and succeeded in her ambush.

    Li Mo Chou chuckled and said, “Great, there is such a comfortable place here, the two of you escaped here to enjoy such comfort. Apprentice sister, think long and hard, you might be able to think of a way out of here.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Even if I knew, I won tell you.”

    Before Li Mo Chou had believed what she said, once the ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ were set, there was no way out, but judging from her tone in her last two sentences, it sounded like she did know the way out of here. When Li Mo Chou heard this she was delighted, and said, “Kind apprentice sister, if you take us out of here, I will never bother you again.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “You came here by yourself, you can find a way out by yourself, why do you need me to lead you out.”

    Li Mo Chou knew that her apprentice sister was tough to break, even in the days when master was still here, she still had to be wary of her, using force would be no use, but right now it is a matter of life and death, she still needed to try to force it out of her so she sealed the two’s ‘Charging Sky’ (tian tu) pressure points on their necks, and sealed the two’s ‘Fifth Centre’ (wu shu) pressure point on the abdomen. The ‘Charging Sky’ pressure point was the body holds together its yin, the main blood vessels returns here, the ‘Fifth Centre’ pressure point is where the ‘little yin’ vessel returns, Li Mo Chou used the pressure point skills of the Ancient Tomb sect, and knew not long, their body will start to become numb and hard to endure, they would have to reveal the secret.

    Xiao Long Nuu closed her eyes and ignored it. Yang Guo called out, “If we knew the way out, then why didn’t we escape and instead stay here?”

    Li Mo Chou laughed and said, “Just now you have revealed that you know the way out, don’t deny it. Of course she would know that the tomb has a secret passage out, when you two have rested fully, you would have got out. Apprentice sister, are you going to tell me?”

    Xiao Long Nuu quietly said, “When you get out, all you are going to think about is how to kill people, what good is leaving this place?”

    Li Mo Chou folded her arms and sat by the side, she chuckled and did not reply.

    Yang Guo couldn’t endure anymore and said, “Hey, Li Mo Chou, the pressure point sealing techniques that ancestor grandma passed down was supposed to be use on the enemy, why are you using it against ourselves? You are using it to harm your apprentice sister, how can you face ancestor grandma?”

    Li Mo Chou laughed and said, “You are calling me Li Mo Chou, we are not friends long ago.”

    Yang Guo whispered into Xiao Long Nuu’s ear and said, “Don’t reveal the secret path out, if she doesn’t find out, she won’t kill us, once she finds out she will kill us immediately.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Ah, you are correct, I didn’t think of this. I wasn’t planning on telling her.” She was lying on the floor, she opened her eyes and saw the map and thought, “It would be awful if apprentice sister finds out about the map. I mustn’t look at the map in case I draw attention.”

    Years ago, Wong Chong Yang had known that Lin Chao Ying had left the earth, and reminisced about her, his debts to her was immeasurable, people and ghosts are world apart, he wasn’t able to console the pain he had in his heart so he secretly entered the tomb, he avoided her maid, and stared at the things that his old friend left, and cried out, and then took a look around the tomb he designed, and saw the painting that Lin Chao Ying drew, and saw the markings left by her in the two training rooms. He saw the skills of the [Jade Heart Manual] were refined and ingenious, every stance was the black star to Quan Zhen’s martial arts, he couldn’t stop his face from turning grey and left the tomb.

    He retreated to deep into the mountain and built a thatch hut, he didn’t leave it for three years, studying a way to break the skills of the [Jade Heart Manual], although there were a few successes, he wasn’t able to develop a complete set of skills to counter it. He was down heartened, and respected Lin Chao Ying’s intelligence even more, he admitted defeat and stopped researching.

    Ten or so years later, he managed to get his hands on the extraordinary [Nine Yin Manual] after the mount Wah tournament. He made his mind up, he wasn’t going to learn the skills within the manual, but curiosity defeated him, and he couldn’t refrain from taking a look.

    His martial arts at that time was the world’s greatest, the skills in the [Nine Yin Manual] were all profound and refined, after a glance and pondering for ten days, he understood, he laughed out loud to the sky, and returned to the tomb, and left the main aspects of the [Nine Yin Manual] on the ceiling in the most hidden room in the tomb, and the stances that would defeat the [Jade Heart Manual’s]. He studied the tomb’s circumstances, and assumed that the heirs of Lin Chao Ying would use the empty coffin. They would only use it when they were about to die and wait for death, and at that time then they would know that the founder of the Quan Zhen sect has never lost to anyone in his life. He left words on the lid of the coffin, telling the descendants of Lin Chao Ying before they died, that the martial arts of the founder of the Quan Zhen sect would not be defeated by the skills of the [Jade Heart Manual].

    At that time, he was just impulsive and proud, he didn’t mean to leave the [Nine Yin Manual] behind in the world, and assumed that when the descendants of Lin Chao Ying saw the [Nine Yin Manual], they would be at their last breath and could only take the secret to the grave with them.

    Wong Chong Yang and Lin Chao Ying were both gifted in martial arts, and formed a heavenly pair. Between the two, there wasn’t a third person that interfered with the relationship; also they didn’t have any matters to resolve with relatives, apprentice brother, sister or enemies. Before Wong Chong Yang entered the priesthood, he concentrated on fighting the Jin’s, and had no time for relationships. When he lost the war and retreated to the tomb, it was Lin Chao Ying who came and comforted him, she was kind and touching, there wasn’t any reason for them not to be together. But from love it turned to hate, one became a Taoist; the other lived until death in the stone tomb. The actual reasons behind this, Qiu Chu Ji and the others did not know, it was difficult for Wong and Ling to explain themselves, the could only use the words ‘not destined’ to label what happened. But no one knew whether ‘not destined’ were a result of ifs or buts.
    The two’s martial arts were high; each assumed they were higher. Every time the seeds of love were about to sprout, they struggled about their martial arts, no one backed down, even until death. Lin Chao Ying invented the [Jade Heart Manual] o defeat the skill of Quan Zhen; Wong Chong Yang didn’t admit defeat and so left the [Nine Yin Manual] in the tomb. Wong Chong Yang thought about how Lin Chao Ying invented the [Jade Heart Manual] by herself, and he himself relied on a book written by someone else, after their exchange, he yielded. After that he always warned his students to allow times when they will be subdued, and learn the Taoist ways well.

    The map on the ceiling was left there when the tomb was first created, just in case if the Jin’s surrounded the tomb, they would still have a way to escape. Even Lin Chao Ying does not know about this passageway. Lin Chao Ying only knew that once the ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ have been set, they will perish with the enemy, she didn’t know that when Wong Chong Yang designed the tomb, he had a strong will to retake the central plains, how could he allow one defeat to stop him? Later on when Wong Chong Yang gave up the tomb to Lin Chao Ying, he was afraid that Lin Chao Ying would look down on him for leaving a way to save his life if he had to use the ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’, he would lose his manly air, so he didn’t tell her about it out of pride.

    Xiao Long Nuu didn’t dare to look at the map, her eyes looked at another corner, and the words [Unsealing Pressure Points Technique] caught her eye. She shivered, and look at the words and was delighted, almost too delighted in fact as she almost forgot to hide her joy by calling out. The technique shows how to unseal one’s pressure points, if one fire deviates when refining their kung fu, and the pressure points are sealed, they could use this technique to unseal it themselves. Those who practised the [Nine Yin Manual] would have reached an extremely high standard of martial arts, it will be very rare for them to have their pressure points to be sealed by someone else, this technique was devised to combat the evil that one may create in their hearts. But in Xiao Long Nuu’s present situation, it was a life saving technique.

    She thought, “If I’m able to unseal my vessels, but can’t defeat my apprentice sister then it will no use.” She then searched the writings on the ceilings, trying to search for a skill that she can use immediately, as soon as she uses it she will be able to subdue Li Mo Chou, but after a quick glance she can see that each skill was hard and complicated, even the easiest one will take ten of days, and so she didn’t dare to have any more looks, she was afraid that Li Mo Chou will follow her eyes and look above, and discover the ceiling’s map and [Nine Yin Manual].
    She heard Yang Guo calling and shouting out, arguing with Li Mo Chou. It was fortunate, her careful apprentice sister was now not taking any notice of her, she suddenly thought of a plan, she lifted her head and memorized the [Nine Yin Manual’s] [Unsealing Pressure Point Technique] and [Air Closure Technique] (bi qi mi jue) sections, she moved her lips over Yang Guo’s ear and quietly taught him. Yang Guo immediately understood.

    Xiao Long Nuu whispered, “First unseal your pressure point.”

    Yang Guo was afraid that Li Mo Chou and her disciple will find out, so he loudly called out and talked rubbish, “Ah ya, martial uncle Li, you are too ruthless, you are disrespecting ancestor grandma, you further disrespect ancestor grandma’s grandma, grandma’s great grandma.”

    The two followed the instructions of the [Unsealing Pressure Point Technique] left by Wong Chong Yang. The two of them have a good foundation, and in just a while they managed to unseal their two pressure points. On the outside the two appeared still, but Li Mo Chou felt something was wrong and shouted, “What are you doing?” and walked up to them. Xiao Long Nuu quickly got up and threw out a palm, lightly striking her shoulder, it was the more advanced skills of the [Jade Heart Manual]. Li Mo Chou could never have guessed in a million years that she had the ability to unseal her pressure points and was alarmed, and quickly jumped back.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Apprentice sister, do you want to leave?”

    Li Mo Chou was happy when she heard this, her kung fu seemed high, her intelligence rarely seen, right now she had been made a fool and had been struck by the palms of a girl who has never seen the outside world, and couldn’t stop herself from getting angry and furious, but she thought that she must hold her temper for the time being, first leave the tomb and then it wouldn’t be too late still to finish them off. Although her stances were strange, there was no power behind them, it wasn’t that she held back but because she didn’t have internal energy, this meant that she wasn’t anything special. Li Mo Chou laughed and said, “That’s a good apprentice sister, I’ve already apologised, take us out of here.”

    Yang Guo thought this would be a good chance to get in between the relationship of Li Mo Chou and Hong Ling Bo and said, “Gu Gu said that she is only able to take on you out, is it going to be you or your disciple?”

    Li Mo Chou said, “You little punk, shut your mouth.”

    Xiao Long Nuu didn’t what Yang Guo meant but protected him and said, “That’s right, I can only take one person, I can’t take anymore.”

    Yang Guo laughed and said, “Martial uncle, why don’t you let apprentice sister Hong leave, you are older than her, you’ve lived enough. She’s also prettier than you.”

    Though Li Mo Chou was older than Hong Ling Bo, she was more beautiful, when she heard this she became angrier, but didn’t make a sound.

    Yang Guo said, “Fine! We’re going! Gu Gu leads the way, I’m second, the last one will not be able to get out.”

    Xiao Long Nuu now knew what he meant and smiled, she held Yang Guo’s hand and left the stone chamber. Li Mo Chou and Hong Ling Bo moved forward at the same time and both reached the door, they were afraid that Xiao Long Nuu was really going to switch on a trap and leave the last person there in the tomb.
    Li Mo Chou angrily said, “You trying to take the place from me?” Her left hand shot out, wanting to strike Hong Ling Bo on the shoulders. Hong Ling Bo knew that her master was ruthless, if she didn’t stop she would die violently under the hands of her master, she knew she had to let her master go first; she was both angry and frightened.

    Li Mo Chou followed the back of Yang Guo tightly, making sure she was always within one step of him, she felt Xiao Long Nuu was just turning west and winding east, getting lower. At the same time she felt her feet getting damp, she knew that they would leave the tomb soon but she glanced up and saw there were branches in the path everywhere. After a while, the path suddenly became steep, almost like a straight drop, if the four of them didn’t have such good martial arts, they would have dropped long ago.

    Li Mo Chou thought, “Mount Zhong Nan is not high, if we keep going like this we’ll be at the foot of the mountain, could it be that we are in the depths of the mount?”

    After dropping for an hour the path became level, the damp air became stronger, and eventually they could hear running water, the water was up to their ankles. As they went further on, the water became higher, from the leg to the stomach, and gradually to the chest.

    Xiao Long Nuu quietly asked Yang Guo, “Do you remember and understand the [Air Closure Technique]?

    Yang Guo quietly replied, “I remember.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “In a minute remember to lock you air, and don’t take in any water.”

    Yang Guo said, “Yes, Gu Gu, you have to be careful yourself.” Xiao Long Nuu nodded.

    While they were speaking the water had reached their throats. Li Mo Chou was secretly alarmed, and called out, “Apprentice sister, you know how to dive under water?”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “I’ve lived in the tomb for all my life, how do I know how to swim underwater?”

    Li Mo Chou became slightly more relaxed, she took another step, and felt nothing was there, water seeped into her mouth. She was alarmed and quickly leapt back, but she saw Xiao Long Nuu and Yang Guo dive underwater, up to this stage, even if there were a knife mountain or a sword ocean she would still have to enter. She felt her back was tight, her dress was grasped by Hong Ling Bo, she quickly attacked behind her, that attack wasn’t light but she wasn’t able to fling her away. Right now the water was making a terrific noise, though it was flowing down into the ground, the sound was frightening. Li Mo Chou and Hong Ling Bo didn’t know how to swim, they couldn’t stand still and floated up. Li Mo Chou was a skilled fighter, but right now she was alarmed and flustered, she extended her arms and legs and madly waved, in the midst of this she felt something so she used her strength to hold on; it was Yang Guo’s left arm. Yang Guo was sealing his air, and was following Xiao Long Nuu on the floor walking forwards step by step. He was grabbed suddenly by Li Mo Chou and quickly tried to free himself, but Li Mo Chou was holding on tightly, how would she let go? Water rushed into her mouth and nose, even when she passed out she was still holding on. Yang Guo tried a few times but was unable to fling her away, he was afraid that he was exerting too much strength and will start drinking water, so he left her alone.
    The four of them ambled for a while, Xiao Long Nuu and Yang Guo couldn’t hold their breaths any longer and drank some water but luckily the water slowed and the ground began to rise, not long after, they managed to get above the water. After the time for an incense stick to be burnt, the path became brighter, and they exited though a cave. The two were exhausted and first circulated their chi to get rid of the water they swallowed, and laid on the floor, recovering their breath.
    Li Mo Chou was still holding onto Yang Guo tightly. Yang Guo loosened her fingers and took her off him. Xiao Long Nuu first sealed the two’s pressure points on their shoulders, and then placed them on a rock, and let the water seep out of them slowly. After a while, Li Mo Chou spluttered and gave a few ‘ah’ sounds, she gained consciousness first, she saw the sun in her eyes, she was actually seeing day again, she remembered being trapped in the tomb and the danger of diving into the water, though her body was aching and numb, she felt much better than before. Not long later, Hong Ling Bo slowly woke up.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Apprentice sister, you can go now!”

    The arms of Li Mo Chou and her disciple were both paralysed but their lower body could move freely, they got up and looked at each other and walked out.

    Yang Guo took a look around, and saw they were in a shaded area, flowers everywhere, he was delighted and said, “Gu Gu, isn’t this nice?” Xiao Long Nuu nodded and smiled. The two remembered the events of the past few days, it really was the complete opposite. There wasn’t anyone around; the cave was at the foot of mount Zhong Nan in a rare piece of uncultivated land. That night, the two slept under the shade of trees in the grass.

    They woke up in the morning, Yang Guo said they could now go out and play, but Xiao Long Nuu has never seen the outside world before, and didn’t know what it was like, she was frightened and said, “No, we’ll first recover and then we’ll finish learning the [Jade Heart Manual].”

    Yang Guo slapped his head and said, “I’m so dumb! I forgot about your injuries.” He thought again how it would be inconvenient here to take off their clothes and practise, so he first helped Xiao Long Nuu to cure her injuries. Within two weeks, Xiao Long Nuu injuries had recovered.

    Under a large pine tree, they built two thatch huts for shelter. The roof was filled with purple rattans. Yang Guo liked the scent of flowers, so in front of his hut he planted roses, jasmine and the like. Xiao Long Nuu however liked simple decorations, and said the scent of the pine leaves was better than a flower’s, and so there wasn’t anything in her hut, and surrounding it was just open spaces and grass.

    The two of them slept in the day and practised at night. In a few months, Xiao Long Nuu had completed learning the [Jade Heart Manual]. A month or so later, Yang Guo also finished. The two had completed everything and had nothing to do, and so Yang Guo mentioned going out into the world again.

    Xiao Long Nuu felt the way of life now was great, nothing in the world can compare to it, but she thought about how difficult it would be for Yang Guo’s character to stay here, and so said, “Guo Er, our kung fu is now much better than before, but how are they compared to your auntie and uncle Guo?”

    Yang Guo said, “We are still no where near them.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “Your uncle Guo pass on his skills to his daughter, and the Wu brothers, if we meet them, then we’ll have to suffer against them.”
    When he heard this Yang Guo leapt up and angrily said, “If they bully me again, how will I be able to just leave them?”

    Xiao Long Nuu calmly said, “You can’t beat them, it’ll just be in vain.”

    Yang Guo said, “You can help me.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “If I can’t beat you uncle Guo, then its no use.”

    Yang Guo lowered his head and tried to think of a plan. After a while he said, “In respect of uncle Guo, I won’t start trouble with them.”

    Xiao Long Nuu thought, “He has lived in the tomb for two years and practised the Ancient Tomb’s kung fu, his temper has mellowed.”

    Actually, when Yang Guo became older, he understood a lot of things, he knew that the way Guo Jing treated him was out of love and care, he was touched and was willing to back down, and he didn’t really have any serious feuds with Guo Fu and the Wu brothers, all they did was have a little argument over crickets when they were younger, as time passed, his feelings on this went away.

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “It’s good that you won’t have fights and arguments with others. But according to you, even if you concede to others, others will still come and bully you, if we don’t learn the kung fu that Wong Chong Yang left, once we meet skilled enemies, we won’t be able to fight them off.”

    Yang Guo knew that she didn’t want leave this peaceful place, but he couldn’t bear to go against her wishes and said, “Gu Gu, I’ll listen to you, from tomorrow onwards, we’ll begin practising the [Nine Yin Manual].

    As a result of this conversation, the two lived in the valley for over another year. The two went back into the tomb via the secret passage, and learnt the text of the [Nine Yin Manual]. When they were sure they remembered every single word, they left and practised outside. Within the year, the two’s internal and external skills improved in every aspect. But the markings that was left in the tomb by Wong Chong Yang were only parts which could defeat the [Jade Heart Manual] and consisted only a small part of the [Nine Yin Manual], comparing with what they know and what Guo Jing and Huang Rong knew, it was much inferior, but now, they weren’t the only two that knew it.

    One day after finishing practising their martial arts, both of them felt that had made great improvements. Yang Guo jumped up and down in delight, while Xiao Long Nuu was worried and unhappy. Yang Guo kept on telling jokes to help break her boredom. Yang Guo knew that they now have learnt all the kung fu that Wong Chong Yang left, if they wanted to learn it to its highest level, one wouldn’t know how many years it would take, but they grasped the essence and ideas behind the skills, all they needed to do now is keep practising and the skills will become more refined. He knew that Xiao Long Nuu did not want to leave the mountain, but there wasn’t anything to stop them now, he was troubled and said, “Gu Gu, if you don’t want to leave, then we’ll stay here forever.

    Xiao Long Nuu delightedly said, “Great” but as she said this she stopped, she knew that Yang Guo didn’t want to stay, she wouldn’t live happily, she quietly said, “We’ll talk about this tomorrow.” She didn’t eat supper, and returned to her hut and slept.

    Yang Go sat down on the grass and stared, up until there were stars in the sky, and then retired to his hut. He slept until the middle of the night, when he heard wind sounds, the sounds were urgent, something was wrong. He woke up alarmed, and listened, it was the sound of fists and palms. He quickly darted out of his hut, and went outside of his master’s hut and quietly said, “Gu Gu, can you hear?”

    Right then, the sounds of the winds were louder, Xiao Long Nuu would definitely hear it but there was no reply from the hut. Yang Guo called out twice, and then entered, the room was empty; his master was not here. He became even more alarmed, and searched for the origins of the wind sounds. He ran for about a hundred feet, he didn’t see anyone but from the wind sounds, he knew one of them was his master, but the opponent’s wind from their palms were heavy and severe, their kung fu would be above his master’s.

    Yang Guo dashed over, in the moonlight he saw Xiao Long Nuu and a built person hovering around, fighting frantically. Although Xiao Long Nuu was swift and quick, the opponent’s skills were powerful and strong, under the force of their palms, Xiao Long Nuu had to use all her strength to avoid them.

    Yang Guo was startled and said, “Master, I’m here!”

    The two of them came down, and Yang Guo was by their sides and faced that person, he was happily surprised, the person had a beard, his limbs like lances, his long face like a thorn, it was his godfather Ou Yang Feng.

    But he saw him standing there like a mountain, throwing out palms at Xiao Long Nuu, she could only dodge them, she didn’t dare to meet the power of the palms.

    Yang Guo called out, “We all know each other, there’s no need to fight.”

    Xiao Long Nuu was startled and thought how could this madman be a friend of theirs, while she was thinking she slowed down. Ou Yang Feng threw out a palm, a strong force threw itself at her, it was extremely powerful. Yang Guo was startled and quickly leapt in front of them only to see Xiao Long Nuu’s left palm meeting Ou Yang Feng’s right, he knew that his master’s internal energy couldn’t compare with his godfather, she will suffer a serious internal energy in a short while, so he stretched out his five fingers and stroke Ou Yang Feng’s elbow lightly, it was the newly learnt skill from the [Nine Yin Manual] [Hand Waves Five Strings] (shou hui wu xian). Though he wasn’t too familiar with this skill, he knew the aspects of this attack, Ou Yang Feng’s arm became numb, his body’s strength dispersed.

    Xiao Long Nuu saw a chance to gain victory, she felt the enemy had become weak and immediately attacked, in a flash Ou Yang Feng had become completely defenceless, just a light attack would have seriously hurt him.

    Yang Guo intercepted his master’s palm, and sandwiched himself between the two, he smiled and said, “Watch it you two, we’re friends.” Ou Yang Feng had not recognised him, he just saw that this young man was extremely skilled and angrily said, “Who are you? What friends?”

    Yang Guo knew he was mad and disturbed and was afraid he would forget who Yang Guo was so he loudly called out, “Father, its me, I’m your son.” His words were filled with emotion. Ou Yang Feng stood still, he took his hand and studied his face under the moonlight, it was the son he has been searching for the past few years, but because he had grown tall, and his martial arts were high, it was hard for him to recognise. He held Yang Guo and called out, “Son, I’ve endured many hardships searching for you!” The two of them held each other tightly, both of them producing tears.

    Xiao Long Nuu has always been cold and detached, she knew that the only person in the world whose emotions towards her were as hot as fire was Yang Guo, but right now when he saw Ou Yang Feng he was also like this, she feared about leaving the mountain and sat on by the side pondering.

    After Ou Yang Feng and Yang Guo separated at the Iron Spear temple, he hid under the large bell; Ke Zhen E couldn’t get at him. He meditated with his divine skills to cure his internal injuries, after seven days and night his internal energy had recovered. But his external injuries that he received from Ke Zhen E were not light, he wasn’t able to recover from them in such a short time. When he left the large bell, he went to an inn and rested his wounds for twenty days, when his wounds were healed; he went and looked for Yang Guo. But a month has passed, the world is a large place, how could he find him? He thought, “The child is most probably on Peach Blossom Island.” He got a small boat and sailed to the island, he didn’t dare to approach during the day, at night he anchored on the bay behind the mountain. He knew he wasn’t a match for Guo Jing and Huang Rong, plus he didn’t know that Huang Yao Shi wasn’t on the island, even if his skills was twice as good, he wouldn’t be able to fight all three of them, so during the day he hid in a cave in a wild piece of land, and patrolled at night. The layout of the island was ingenious; he didn’t dare to run around where ever he pleased. Over the year, he was extremely cautious, in the light of day he didn’t dare to take one step out of the cave, no one discovered him, until one night he heard the Wu brothers chatting and then he knew that Guo Jing had sent Yang Guo to Quan Zhen sect to learn martial arts. Ou Yang Feng was pleased, he stole a boat and left the island, and rushed to Chong Yang Palace. But he didn’t know about the incident between Yang Guo and the Quan Zhen sect, and was now in the Tomb of the Living Dead. Quan Zhen was ashamed of what happened, no one talked about this matter, Ou Yang Feng couldn’t get any news from them. He searched miles and miles around mount Zhong Nan, but he didn’t know that Yang Guo was underground so of course he couldn’t find him.

    Tonight by chance, he was walking by the valley when he saw a girl dressed in white folding her arms, sighing and looking at the moon.

    Ou Yang Feng asked madly, “Hey, where’s my son? Have you seen him?”

    Xiao Long Nuu glanced at him and ignored him. Ou Yang Feng went over to her and grabbed her arm, and shouted, “Where’s my son?”

    Xiao Long Nuu saw that his attacks were extremely powerful, she has never seen someone with such high skills, even the skilled fighters of Quan Zhen could not compare, she was startled and used her a little capturing hand kung fu to escape.

    Ou Yang Feng’s grab was a certainty but he could not have guessed the opponent could just lightly brush him off, he didn’t ask who she was and attacked. That’s how the two started their fight.

    The two of them told each other what has happened to them. Ou Yang Feng was half clear and half confused, he wasn’t able to explain clearly what has happened in the past, and didn’t understand much of what Yang Guo, but when he mentioned that in the past few years he has been learning martial arts from Xiao Long Nuu, Ou Yang Feng loudly said, “Her kung fu is not as good as mine. Why are you learning from her? Let me teach you.” Xiao Long Nuu didn’t want to argue with him, she smiled calmly and went over to another side by herself.

    Yang Guo felt this wasn’t polite and said, “Father, master has treat me extremely well.”

    Ou Yang Feng was jealous and said, “So she’s good and I’m not?”

    Yang Guo smiled and said, “You are good as well. On this earth, only you two treat me well.”

    Ou Yang Feng’s words didn’t make sense, but Yang Guo knew that he had suffered many hardships in the past few years searching for him.

    Ou Yang Feng held his palm, he laughed foolishly and after a while he said, “Your kung fu is not bad, it’s a pity that you don’t know the world’s two most powerful martial arts.”

    Yang Guo said, “What are they?”

    Ou Yang Feng’s brows erected and shouted, “You are a martial artist yet you don’t know the world’s two most powerful skill. What’s the point of having her for a master.”

    Yang Guo saw that he was pleased and angry, he was concerned about him and thought, “Father’s illness is serious, when will he able to recover from it?”
    Ou Yang Feng laughed loudly and said, “Hmm, let father teach you. The two most powerful skills are, one, the [Toad Stance], two, [Nine Yin Manual]. I’ll first teach you the foundation of the [Toad Stance]. He then recited the formulae for it.
    Yang Guo smiled and said, “You’ve taught me before, don’t you remember?”
    Ou Yang Feng scratched his head and said, “So you’ve already learnt it, that’s great. Show it to me.”

    Ever since Yang Guo entered the Ancient Tomb sect, he hasn’t practised the strange skill that Ou Yang Feng taught him, when he heard what he said, he immediately did as he was told. He had practised it when he was on Peach Blossom Island, now with the advanced internal energy he has developed; he was able to demonstrate it spectacularly.

    Ou Yang Feng laughed and said, “Great! Great! Even though the stances don’t match, it’s better than nothing. I’ll teach you the rest of it now.” He waved his hands and bent his legs, and started reciting non stop, he didn’t care if Yang Guo remembered it or not, he taught a section of [Toad Stance], and then taught him a section of the [Contrary Nine Yin Manual]. Yang Guo listened for half an hour, and felt that the formulae’s ingenuity was boundless, but it was complicated and strange, how would he able to understand in just a short while of time?

    Ou Yang Feng continued for a while when he caught a glimpse of Xiao Long Nuu in the corner of this eye, and called out, “Ah, it’s no good, I don’t want your baby master to secretly listen in on us.” He went over to Xiao Long Nuu and said, “Hey, little girl, I’m teaching my son kung fu, don’t secretly listen in.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said, “What’s so good about your kung fu? Who wants to steal it?”
    Ou Yang Feng thought for a while, and said, “Fine, just go faraway.”

    Xiao Long Nuu was leaning against a tree and calmly said, “Why do I want to listen? If I want to go, I’ll go, if I don’t want to go, I won’t.”

    Ou Yang Feng was angry, his brows raised and stretched out his hand to grab her face, but Xiao Long Nuu pretended she didn’t see and ignored it.

    Yang Guo called out, “Father, don’t disrespect my master.”

    Ou Yang Feng took his hand back and said, “Fine, fine, we are going to a faraway place, are you going to follow us and listen in?”

    Xiao Long Nuu thought that Guo Er’s godfather was extremely impolite, she didn’t want anything to do with him and turned around without a reply, she didn’t predict that her back would suddenly become numb, Ou Yang Feng had stretched out his arm and sealed a pressure point on her back, he was uncannily fast, plus Xiao Long Nuu wasn’t aware, by the time she felt something was wrong and put her guard up, it was too late, her whole body couldn’t move. Ou Yang feng then sealed another pressure point on her waist, he smiled and said, “Little girl, don’t be anxious, after I’ve completely taught my son kung fu, I’ll come back and release you.” He then laughed loudly and walked away.

    Yang Guo was memorising the formulae of the [Toad Stance] and the [Nine Yin Manual], and felt that some of it was unclear and a complete mess, but there were many ingenious points within it so he didn’t suspect anything was wrong, and pondered deeply, he didn’t know what was happening to Xiao Long Nuu.
    Ou Yang Feng came over and took his hand, and said, “We’ll go the another place so your master can’t hear.”

    Yang Guo thought why would Xiao Long Nuu try to listen it, even if you were going to teach her she wouldn’t learn it, but his godfather’s mind was confused and disturbed, there wasn’t a need to argue with him and so let him have his way and went faraway.

    Xiao Long Nuu was paralyzed on the ground, she was angry but also wanted to laugh, thinking that although her skills were refined, she has little experience in fighting real enemies, she was ambushed by Li Mo Chou and now her pressure points have been sealed by a crazy man, so she’s utilized her Nine Yin skills, and unseal the pressure points herself, she breathed in deeply to clear her pressure points. How could it be that the two pressure points did not show any sign of unsealing, but instead they became even more sore and numb, she couldn’t stop herself form being startled. Ou Yang Feng’s pressure point skill was from the [Contrary Nine Yin], she used the Nine Yin skills that Wong Chong Yong left, and so instead of unsealing it became worse. She tried a few more times, but the pain got worse so she didn’t dare to try it again, thinking that after that madman has taught his kung fu, he will come back and unseal the pressure points so she thought there was no need to rush, she looked up at the sky and looked at the stars, and soon closed her eyes and fell asleep.

    After a while she felt something brushing against her eyes, she could see things clearly at night as if it were in the day, now she couldn’t see a thing. Someone had blindfolded her eyes, and at the same time she felt someone’s arm holding her. When that person first held her, they were extremely afraid, but afterwards they gradually became more daring and didn’t show any restraint. Xiao Long Nuu was extremely afraid, she wanted to open her mouth and call out, but her mouth and tongue couldn’t move, and felt that person’s mouth was coming close and kissed her on the cheek. She first thought that it was Ou Yang Feng who was trying to rape her, but she felt this person’s face was smooth, not Ou Yang Feng’s face which was bearded. Her heart shook, and her fear gradually disappeared, a passionate desire secretly appeared; she thought that it was Yang Guo who had came back to her. She felt that his hands was beginning to become more and more improper, slowly taking her clothes off, Xiao Long Nuu had no way to move, and could only let him do as he pleased, she couldn’t stop herself from being embarrassed and surprised.

    Ou Yang Feng saw that Yang Guo was extremely clever, although he wasn’t able to understand the formulae he passed on completely, he memorized it all, he was pleased, he spoke until the sky became bright before he explained all the main aspects of the two skills. Yang Guo memorized it all and after a while said, “I have also learnt Nine Yin kung fu, but it is very different to your version. But what is the reason?”

    Ou Yang Feng said, “Rubbish, apart from this one, what other [Nine Yin Manual] is there?”

    Yang Guo said, “Take for example the method to learning the [Changing Muscle Forging Bone] technique, you said the third step was air and blood must flow contrarily, surging through ‘Sky Pillar’ (tian zhu) point. My master said first protect the ‘dan tian’ and then surge through the ‘Sealing Door’ (zhang men) point.”
    Ou Yang Feng said, “No, it’s not correct, wait” he did what Yang Guo told him, and felt the way his internal energy was circulating was already completely different. He didn’t know that the manual that Guo Jing wrote out for him had been changed; he couldn’t help but go mad. He murmured to himself, “Why? Am I wrong or is your baby master wrong? How is there such a thing?”

    Yang Guo saw that his eyes stared straight, he looked like he was out of it, he called him several times but there was no reply. He was scared that Ou Yang Feng was going to go act madly again and was deeply concerned. He suddenly heard a noise from the tree behind him, an image appeared; within the thickets of flowers he saw the corner of an apricot yellow Taoist gown. This place was secluded, why would someone be here? The person was sneaking around, showing they weren’t up to any good, he couldn’t help but get suspicious, and chased after him. The person’s steps was fast, and were flying forwards, from the back, it appeared to be a Taoist.

    Yang Guo called out, “Hey, who is it? What are you doing here?” He utilized his lightness kung fu and chased the person down.

    When the Taoist heard the shouts, he increased his speed; Yang Guo also increased his slightly, his body like an arrow shooting forward and grabbed the Taoist’s shoulder. He turned him around and saw that it was Quan Zhen’s Yin Zhi Ping. Yang Guo saw that his gown was untidy, his face was red for a while and then white for a while, he called out, “What are you doing?”

    Yin Zhi Ping was the head of the third generation students of Quan Zhen, his martial arts were high, and usually he has an air around him but for whatever reason now, his face was flustered and couldn’t speak a word. Yang Guo saw that he was extremely frightened, and remembered that day when he cut off his finger and swore an oath; he wasn’t a bad person and so loosened his hand and let him go. He said, “Since it’s nothing, go!” Yin Zhi Ping turned around and took a few looks and hurried away.

    Yang Guo laughed, “That Taoist looks like he’s lost his soul, very amusing.”

    He returned to the thatch huts and saw Xiao Long Nuu’s two legs appearing out of the thickets of flowers not moving at all, it looked like if she was asleep.
    Yang Guo called out twice, “Gu Gu!” But there was no reply. He went over there, only to see Xiao Long Nuu lying on the floor, a blue green cloth was covering her eyes.

    Yang Guo was slightly alarmed. He took off the blindfold; her eyes and cheek seemed to be different, seemingly showing a limitless delicate shyness.
    Yang Guo asked, “Gu Gu, who tied this blindfold?”

    Xiao Long Nuu didn’t reply, her eyes hinted at his responsibility. Yang Guo saw that her body was paralysed, it appeared that her pressure points had been sealed, he stretched out his hand to pull her up her, indeed, she couldn’t move. Yang Guo thought for a while and assumed, “It must be godfather who used his contrary pressure point sealing skill, otherwise no matter how high one’s pressure point sealing skill is, Gu Gu will be able to unseal it herself.” He then used the technique that Ou Yang Feng had just taught him and unsealed her pressure points. When Xiao Long Nuu pressure points were sealed, she wasn’t able to move but he couldn’t predict that when he unsealed them, she was still lying softly on his body, as if all her muscles and bones had melted away. Yang Guo stretched out his arm and supported her shoulder and softly said, “Gu Gu, my godfather does things without any thought, don’t take much notice of him.”
    Xiao Long Nuu placed her head in his chest and softly said, “You do things without thinking, you should be ashamed talking about other people like that!”

    Yang Guo saw that she was completely different than she normally was, he was confused and said, “Gu Gu, I…I”

    Xiao Long Nuu raised her head and irately said, “You still call me Gu Gu?”

    Yang Guo became even more confused and said, “If I don’t call you Gu Gu, what should I call you? You want me to call you master?”

    Xiao Long Nuu smiled and said, “The way you treated me, how can I be your master any more?”

    Yang Go asked, “How…how did I treat you?”

    Xiao Long Nuu rolled up her sleeve and revealed a arm that was as white as snow lotus, it was white as jade with no flaws, there was a red ‘Shou Gong Sha’ but now it had disappeared, she embarrassingly said, “Take a look.”

    Yang Guo touched his head and stroked his ear and said, “Gu Gu, I don’t understand.”

    Xiao Long Nuu irately said, “I told you, don’t call me Gu Gu anymore.” She saw Yang Guo was frightened, and unable to speak his feelings so quietly said, “The disciples of the Ancient Tomb sect have always been virgins. Every generation have been virgins. My master gave me the ‘shou gong sha’, last night…last night what you did to me, how would my hand arm still have the ‘shou gong sha’?”

    Yang Guo said, “What did I do to you last night?”

    Xiao Long Nuu turned red and said, “There’s no need to talk about it.”
    After a while she softly said, “Before, I was scared to leave the mountain, it’s different now, where ever you go, I’m willing to follow you.”

    Yang Guo was delighted and called out, “Gu Gu, you’re great.”

    Xiao Long Nuu’s face changed and said, “Why are you still calling me Gu Gu? Could it be that you’ve never treated me genuinely with all your heart?” She saw that Yang Guo did not reply, her heart was anxious, she quivered, “What exactly am I to you?”

    Yang Guo earnestly said, “You are my master, you took care of, you taught me, I swore that I will respect and revere you for the rest of my life, and listen to all you say.”

    Xiao Long Nuu said loudly, “Could it be that you don’t regard me as your wife?”

    Yang Guo has never ever thought about this, after being asked this he didn’t know how to reply, he mumbled, “No, no! You can’t be my wife, how could I be worthy to be your husband? You are my master, you are my Gu Gu.”

    Xiao Long Nuu’s chi in her body was aggravated; she spat out a pool of blood.

    Yang Guo arms and legs were flustered, and called out, “Gu Gu, Gu Gu!”

    Xiao Long Nuu heard that he was still calling her this way and stared at him with hate, she raised her left palm, wanting to strike down on his head, but the palm did not come down, her eyes turned from fury to blame, and then turned from blame to pity, she sighed and quietly said, “Since it’s like this, then there’s no need to see me ever again.” She waved her sleeve, and hurried down the mountain.

    Yang Guo called out loudly, “Gu Gu, where are you going? I’ll come with you.”
    Xiao Long Nuu turned around, beads of tears were swirling in her eyes, she said, “If you see me again, then I’m afraid…I’m afraid I won’t be able to control myself, I won’t be able to spare your life.”

    Yang Guo said, “You are angry at me for learning martial arts with my godfather, isn’t it?”

    Xiao Long Nuu coldly said, “Why would I blame you for learning martial arts from other people?” She turned around and flew away.

    Yang Guo was startled by all this and didn’t know what to do, he saw her white image gradually getting further away, eventually her image disappeared around the mountain, he couldn’t stop himself from filled with sorrow, he fell onto the floor and cried. He thought and thought, he didn’t know what he did to disrespect his master, what made her behave so strangely, she was gentle and tender one minute, the next she was furious and livid? Why did she say she wanted to be his ‘wife’, why wasn’t he allowed to call her Gu Gu anymore, he thought for half a day. “This must have something to do with my godfather, he must have disrespected master somehow.” So he ran to Ou Yang Feng, but Ou Yang Feng’s eyes just stared into space, he didn’t move an inch.

    Yang Guo said, “Father, what did you do to disrespect my master?”

    Ou Yang Feng said, “[Nine Yin Manual], [Nine Yin Manua]l.”

    Yang Guo said, “Why did you seal her pressure point and make her so angry?”

    Ou Yang Feng said, “Is it surge through ‘Sky Pillar’ contrarily, or is it surge through ‘Sealing Door’?”

    Yang Guo urgently said, “Father, why did my master run away? Tell me, what did you do to her?”

    Ou Yang Feng said, “Who is your master? Who am I? Who is Ou Yang Feng?”

    Yang Guo saw that his illness was acting up again, he was frightened and was sad, he softly said, “Father, you are tired, we’ll go and rest in the huts.”

    Ou Yang Feng flipped upside down, his head on the floor and called out, “Who am I? Who am I? Where is Ou Yang Feng?” He waved his palms wildly, his body flipping around, he used his hands to walk, and like the wind he flew down the mountain.

    Yang Guo called out, “Father!” He wanted to grab him but was kicked by his flailing leg hitting his chin. It was a heavy kick, Yang Guo couldn’t keep upright and fell backwards. By the time he got back up, Ou Yang Feng was over a hundred feet away.

    Yang Guo chased after him for a few steps, and stopped, he stood there for half an hour, and by that time there wasn’t a trace of Ou Yang Feng. He looked around, and saw the valley was empty, he could only hear the quiet sound of birds.

    He became frightened and called out, “Gu Gu, Gu Gu! Father, father!” After a while, the valley echoed back, “Gu Gu, Gu Gu! Father, father!”

    Within the past few years he has never been away from Xiao Long Nuu one step, like a mother and son, sister and brother, now she suddenly went away without an explanation, how could one tell him not to be sad? Under this grief he thought about crashing his head into a rock and kill himself. But there was optimism in his heart, if his master can suddenly leave, she can suddenly come back. His godfather may have disrespected her, but when she considers that I haven’t done anything, she will come back and search for me.

    How could he sleep well that night, as soon as he heard the wind blow, or the cry of birds, he would think that Xiao Long Nuu had returned, he would laboriously climb up and call out, “Gu Gu!” and go out to meet her, but each time he was disappointed. Eventually he decided against sleeping, he hurried to the summit of the mountain, and opened his eyes and looked around, he looked until the sky got bright, the peak was covered in mist, on this large earth, there was only Yang Guo left.

    Yang Guo suddenly thought, “Master isn’t coming back, I’ll find her myself. As long as I can see her, I don’t care if she shouts at me or beat me, I won’t ever leave her. If she wants to beat me to death, then I’ll let her.” He made up his mind, he felt rejuvenated. He put his and Xiao Long Nuu’s belongings into a bag and strapped across his back, and headed out of the mountain.

    As soon as he arrived at a place where there were people, he would ask if they have seen a beautiful girl dressed in white. In half a day, he asked tens of villagers, they all shook their head and said no. Yang Guo was anxious and asked again, but he didn’t have any manners in the way he asked. The villagers saw this young man boldly asking about the whereabouts of a beautiful girl, they couldn’t help but get angry, someone asked him back who the girl was. Yang Guo said, “That doesn’t concern you. I ask you have you seen a girl like that pass here?” That person wanted to question him instead.

    An old man by the side tugged at his sleeve, and pointed to a small path to the east, smiled and said, “Last night old man here saw a beautiful angel heading east, I thought that the goddess of mercy had appeared but it was your woman” Yang Guo did not wait for him to finish and quickly thanked him and headed in the direction he pointed, he heard a laugh behind him as he hurried, but he didn’t take any notice. He didn’t know that the old man had saw that he was young and impolite so deliberately lied to him.

    After a while, a fork appeared in the road, he didn’t know which one to pick. He thought, “Gu Gu doesn’t like crowds, it’s more likely she will pick a quiet and secluded road.” He picked the small twisty path on the left. How would he know that the path become wider as he walked, after a few turns, the road joined up with a large road. He hasn’t had anything to drink or eat for one whole day, his stomach growled, he saw a few buildings in front of him, it was a town, he hurried to the inn and called, “Bring me some rice and vegetable dishes.”

    The inn owner bought him some everyday vegetable dishes and rice, he took a few gulps before he started to feel sad, he was beginning to choke up, he couldn’t eat anymore. He thought, “Although it is dark, I still need to find Gu Gu, if I miss this chance to tonight, I’m afraid that I will never be able to see her again.” He pushed away the dishes and called out, “Inn owner, I have something to ask you.”

    The inn owner smiled and walked over, “What orders has master got for me? Aren’t the dishes to your taste? I’ll go and make something else, what does master like to eat?”

    Yang Guo waved his hand and said, “It’s nothing to do with the dishes. I ask you, have you seen a beautiful girl dressed in white pass by here?”

    The inn owner pondered and said, “In a white dress, hmm, why is the girl dressed like that? Has someone from her family died?”

    Yang Guo was getting impatient and asked, “Have you seen her?”

    The inn owner said, “A girl yes, and she was wearing white.”

    Yang Guo was pleased and said, “Which way did she go?”

    The inn owner said, “She’s been gone for half a day! Master, it’s best not to provoke that girl” he suddenly lowered his voice and said, “I offer you advice! Don’t go and try to find her.”

    Yang Guo was alarmed and pleased, he’s finally found the whereabouts of his Gu Gu, he quickly asked, “Where is she?” His voice quivered as he said this.

    The inn owner said, “I’ll ask you first, do you know that girl knows martial arts?”

    Yang Guo thought, “How wouldn’t I know?” He quickly said, “I know, she knows kung fu.”

    The inn owner said, “Why are you still looking for her? It’s dangerous.”
    Yang Guo said, “What exactly is happened?”

    The inn owner said, “First tell me, who exactly is that beautiful girl dressed in white to you?”

    Yang Guo had no other ideas, it looks if he didn’t answer his question the inn owner would not tell him the whereabouts of Xiao Long Nuu so he said, “She is…she is my older sister, I need to find her.”

    When the man heard him he immediately became even more respectful but shook his head and said, “It doesn’t look like it, it doesn’t look like it.”

    Yang Guo was impatient and grabbed him, then shouted, “Are you going to tell me or not!”

    The inn owner’s tongue hung out and said, “Yes, yes, it looks like it!”

    Yang Guo shouted, “What doesn’t look like and what does?”

    The inn owner said, “Master, first let go, my throat is being choked by you, ‘hei’ ‘hei’, I can’t talk. I can of course force myself to talk but…”

    Yang Guo thought about this person and decided that using force on him would be in vain so he let go.

    The inn owner coughed a few times and said, “Master, I said it doesn’t look like it because that girl, ‘hei’ ‘hei’, your bigger sister looks younger than you, it looks more like your younger sister, not older. When I said it looks like it, I was talking about your fiery temper was the same as hers, both of you like using your fists.”
    When Yang Guo heard this he became slightly more relaxed and a smile appeared, and said, “My…my sister fought someone?”

    The inn owner said, “Is that bad news? Not only did she fight, she hurt some people as well, look, look.” He pointed to some weapon marks on a table. He said, “It was extremely dangerous, your sister’s skills are great, one chop and she cut off two Taoists’ ears.”

    Yang Guo laughed and asked, “What Taoists?” thinking that it must have been the Quan Zhen Taoists who were causing trouble for his Gu Gu.

    The inn owner said, “They are…” as he said this, his face suddenly changed, his head shrunk back and he turned around and walked away.

    Yang Guo knew something was wrong and didn’t chase after him, he picked up his bowl of rice and chopsticks, and scooped rice into his mouth. He glanced over, and saw two Taoists entering the inn. The two were about twenty-six, seven years of age, there was a bandage across their cheeks and they sat at the table next to Yang Guo. A thick browed Taoist gave an order to quickly bring out some dishes and wine. The inn owner smiled and came over; he winked at Yang Guo and turned his lips. Yang Guo pretended he didn’t see and buried his head and started munching. When he heard news of Xiao Long Nuu his appetite was better, after one bowl came another. His clothes were Xiao Long Nuu’s work, they were rough and simple, travelling for one day and night made his body full of mud and dirt, he looked like a young villager. The two Taoists didn’t look at him; they talked to each other quietly.

    Yang Guo deliberately ate noisily, and turned his body over to listen to what they were saying.

    He heard the thick browed Taoist say, “Apprentice brother Pi, do you think Han and Chen will come tonight?”

    The other Taoist had a large jaw, he replied deeply, “Those two are good and honest men of the Beggar Clan, and has a friendship with our martial uncle Shen, at martial uncle Shen’s request, they will definitely be here.”

    Yang Guo took a closer look at them, and surveyed their faces, he didn’t know them and thought, “Quan Zhen have over a thousand Taoists, I can’t recognise them but they could recognise that I’m the little punk who was expelled from the sect, I better not face them. Huh, they can’t beat my Gu Gu, now they are meeting some Beggar Clan members to get help.”

    The thick browed Taoist said, “You really can’t say, it’s a long journey…” The Taoist named Pi said, “Hmm, apprentice brother Ji, there’s no use in about worrying now, forgive the fact that she is a girl, she has…”

    The Taoist name Ji quickly said, “Drink wine, don’t talk about it.” They talked to the inn owner, and ordered an upper class room, they were going to rest in the inn that night.”

    Yang Guo heard the two’s words, and thought that if he followed them quietly, he would be able to see his master. As he thought about this, there was no limit to his happiness. After the two went to their room, he ordered the inn owner to prepare a small room for him next to theirs. The inn owner took a lamp and quietly whispered into Yang Guo’s ear, “Master, you need to be careful, they want to take revenge on your sister for cutting their ears off.”

    Yang Guo quietly said, “My sister’s temper is extremely good, why would she cut off their ear?”

    The inn owner revealed a smile and quietly said, “Of course your sister treats you well, but not to others. Your sister was having a meal here… ‘hei’ ‘hei’, is she really your sister? I don’t really believe it, even if it was your sister, all the Taoists did was sit by her and stared at her leg a few times and your sister got into a rage, she took her sword and started to attack the Taoists…” he wanted to carry on. Yang Guo heard that the light next door had been distinguished, he waved his hand to tell him to keep quiet, he was angry and thought, “The Taoists must have seen that my Gu Gu was beautiful and stared at her, making her angry. Huh, why would there be any good people in Quan Zhen sect?” He then thought, “Gu Gu once had a fight with Chong Yang Palace, the two Taoists would recognise her, why were they staring at her face?”

    He waited for the inn owner to leave, and then distinguished his light and got into bed. He decided he wouldn’t sleep that night, he went over the two skills that Ou Yang Feng had taught him, but the two skill’s formulae were originally very complex, Ou Yang Feng had recited it confusingly, he could only remember at most twenty, thirty percent, he didn’t dare to give it much thought just in case he becomes lost in thought and become unaware of what happened next door.
    He quietly kept guard up until the middle of the night, when suddenly he heard two noises; someone was jumping over the wall from outside. The window next door opened.

    The Taoist named Ji asked, “Is it Han and Chen?”

    Someone replied, “It’s us.”

    The Taoist named Ji said, “Please enter!” He lightly opened the door and lit the oil lamp. Yang Guo concentrated and listened in.

    He heard the Taoist named Ji say, “We Ji Qing Xu and Pi Qing Xuan greets the heroes Han and Chen.”

    Yang Guo thought, “Quan Zhen follow the motto ‘Aim for Tranquillity’, those two Taoists are fourth generation disciples, I don’t know whether they are under the teachings of Hao Da Tong or Liu Chu Xuan.”

    He heard a person with a high voice say, “We’ve received the message from your martial uncle Shen, we didn’t even stop our horses and rushed over here. Is that little ***** so powerful?”

    Ji Qing Xu said, “It’s embarrassing, the two of us fought for a while but we weren’t her match.”

    That person said, “What kind of martial arts does she have.”

    Ji Qing Xu said, “Martial uncle Shen suspects that she is a disciple of the Ancient Tomb sect, though she is young she has very good martial arts.”

    When Yang Guo heard the three words ‘Ancient Tomb sect’ he couldn’t refrain from making two quiet grunts.

    He heard Ji Qing Xu add, “When martial uncle Shen mentioned the Ancient Tomb sect, the little ***** cursed and insulted the ‘Serpent Deity’ Li Mo Chou, but we don’t know what it is about.”

    That person said, “So it looks like you doesn’t have any powerful connections. You are going to meet tomorrow? How many people has the opposition got?”

    Ji Qing Xu said, “Martial uncle Shen and that girl agreed to meet tomorrow at high noon, at ‘Chai Lang’ (wolf) valley forty miles south west from here, using a duel to decide the matter. We don’t know how many the opposition’s got. With the help of the skilled Beggar Clan fighters Han and Chen, we won’t be afraid that the opposition has many people.”

    The other older voice said, “Fine, we’ll be at that place at high noon tomorrow, brother Han, let’s go.”

    Ji Qing Xu showed them to the door and quietly said, “We are not far from Chong Yang Palace, this duel must not be known to elders Ma, Qiu, Wang, Liu and the others, otherwise we’ll be punished severely.”

    The one named Han laughed and said, “Your martial uncle Shen had already said this in his letter, otherwise, why would you need the help of us two when Chong Yang palace has so many skilled fighters?”

    The one named Chen said, “Relax, we won’t leak anything. Without saying that elder Ma, Liu, Qiu, Wang, Hao, Sun mustn’t know about this, if your martial uncles find out about this I’m afraid that it’ll be the same result for you.” The two Taoists agreed at the same time.

    Yang Guo thought, “There are ganging up together to bully my Gu Gu, but are afraid that others will find out, huh, sneaking around like this, they know they are scoundrels.”

    He heard the four discuss a few words, and then Ji Qing Xu and Pi Qing Xuan escorted them to the wall where Han and Chen departed.

    End of Chapter 7
    Last edited by Mojo Jojo; 03-21-05 at 09:45 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 8

    Girl in White

    Yang Guo quietly opened the window and slipped inside the room of the two Taoists, and saw two bags on the bed, he lifted one up and felt its weight, there were about twenty taels of silver and thought, “Just what I need for travelling expenses.” He took in and placed it into his pocket. The other bag was around four feet long; it was two long swords. He took each one out separately and heavily snapped the two swords, and placed it back into their sheath, wrapping the swords up afterwards. He was about to leave the room when another thought crossed his mind, he took off his trousers and urinated all over the two Taoists quilt and covers.

    He heard the sounds of someone climbing up a wall, and knew that the Taoists’ lightness kung fu were very ordinary, they weren’t able to clear the wall in a single leap, they had to first climb up on top of the wall and then leap down. He quickly darted back into his room, quietly closing the window. The Taoists did not notice anything. Yang Guo placed his ear against the wall to hear what was happening. He heard the Taoists quietly talking, they seemed to think that victory in tomorrow’s duel was in their grasp, they were undressing when suddenly Pi Quan Xuan called out, “Hey, What are the blankets damp and wet? Ah, it stinks, apprentice brother Ji, why are you so lazy, wetting yourself on the blankets?

    Ji Qing Xu spat out, “What wetting themselves?” He picked up the blanket and called out, “When did a stinking cat come and urinate here?”

    Pi Quan Xuan said, “How can a cat urinate so much?”

    Ji Qing Xu said, “Hmm, that’s strange, where’s our money?” Suddenly the room was turned upside down as the two searched for their money. Yang Guo sniggered.

    He heard Pi Qing Xu call out loudly, “Inn owner, inn owner, this is an evil inn, isn’t it? Stealing money from guests in the middle of the night?”

    They called out a few times, the inn owner woke up from his sleep and came to ask what they wanted. Pi Quan Xu grabbed his chest and said that he was opening an evil inn, the inn owner made a clamour, and alerted the inn’s waiters, kitchen staff and the attendants, the guests of the inn also all came out to see what it was all about. Yang Guo hid himself amongst the crowd, only to see the inn owner have his way in the argument, his mouth and tongue couldn’t stop moving, refuting so much that the two Taoists couldn’t get a word in edgeways. That inn owner loves to argue, normally he would stir trouble with others when nothing has happened, now someone has started to provoke him first, and the fact was that justice was completely on his side. He spoke until his mouth started to foam up, and his spirit was becoming more and more intensified. The two Taoists were angry and embarrassed, and wanted to use force but they remembered the rules of their sect, they were now at the foot of mount Zhong Nan, how could they dare to start trouble? They could only swallow their anger and close their door, and sleep for the night. The inn owner continued to chatter and grumble outside non-stop.

    The next morning Yang Guo got up and ate a bowl of noodles, the chatty inn owner came over to greet him, he kept on mumbling curses and insults under his breath. Yang Guo smiled and asked, “How are those two villainous Taoists?”

    The inn owner brashly said, “Real bastards. Those Taoists wanted to eat and live here freely and so on respect of Chong Yang Palace I was going to allow them, but they dare to say that I am opening an evil inn. Huh, I’m definitely going to tell Chong Yang Palace. The Taoists of Quan Zhen are thousands and thousands, which one of them doesn’t adhere to the strict rules and regulations? I can clearly remember the scoundrelous face of those two villainous Taoists, I’m definitely going to point them out…” Yang Guo was amused and stirred in a few words, he gave his the money for the room and food, and made sure he knew the way to ‘Wolf Valley’ and then left.

    In the wink of an eye he had already travelled over thirty miles and weren’t far from the ‘Wolf Valley’, he looked up at the sky and saw that it was still early. He thought, “I’ll first hide by the side and watch how Gu Gu cope with the enemy. It’s best if Gu Gu does not recognise me first.”

    Yang Guo thought about the day when he fooled Hong Ling Bo and felt pleased with himself, he decided to do the same once more. He went to a nearby farmer’s house, and looked around in the back garden, he saw a large bull losing it’s temper, its horns raised knocking into the bull keep, making loud noises. Yang Guo’s brain lit up and thought, “I’ll pretend to be a farmer, Gu Gu will definitely not be able to recognise me.”

    He quietly sneaked into the house, in the house he saw two babies playing on the floor, he didn’t dare to make any sort of noise. He found a set of farmer’s clothes and changed into it and put on a pair of grass shoes, he got some dirt and rubbed it into his face. On the wall was a bamboo rain hat, which he took and wore. He picked up a grass rope and tied it around his waist, and then inserted a short flute in it. He then went and opened the gate. When the bull saw him coming, it began to get angry and when it saw the gate was open, it charged forward aiming to knock into his body. Yang Guo’s left palm pushed down on the bull’s head, and flew onto its back. The bull was tall and bulky, each leg weighed about seven hundred kilos, its tail long and horns sharp and it was extremely large, in the blink of an eye it had already charged onto the main road. It was angry, violent and hot-tempered at this moment in time, it used all its strength to jolt upwards, wanting to knock Yang Guo off its back. Yang Guo sat on it’s back steadily, and was extremely pleased with himself, he laughed out, “If you don’t obey you are going to suffer.” He raised his palm, and chopped down on the bull’s head. He only used twenty percent of his strength, and the bull already could not endure it and called out, it wanted to jump up again but Yang Guo sent down another chop. He chopped down about ten or so times, and the bull eventually did not dare to retaliate. Yang Guo then poked the bull’s neck with his finger on the left side and it turned right; when he poked it on the right side of the neck, it turned left, when he poked it on the back it moved forward, and at the front it moved back, he was able to control its movements with his finger. Yang Guo then used strength to poke its behind, the bull headed forward fiercely and dashed forward as it were a horse, in a short while they passed a forest, and came to a valley surrounded by mountains, it was how the inn owner described it. He leapt down from the bull’s back, and allowed it to eat grass on the mountain slopes. His hand held its rope as he laid down on the ground.

    He looked at the sun and saw it gradually approaching the middle of the sky. He was becoming more and more nervous, he was scared that Xiao Long Nuu would ignore the meeting and won’t show up. It was quiet and peaceful all around, with only the bull making a few grunting noises. Suddenly, at the entrance of the valley were the sounds of palms clashing, followed by more sounds of palm clashing in the direction of the south side. Yang Guo was lying on the slope, one muddy leg crossed over his knee, his bamboo hat was covering his face, only his right eye was revealed.

    After a while, three Taoists appeared at the opening of the valley. Two of them were the Taoists from last night at the inn, Ji Qing Xu and Pi Quan Xuan, the other was about forty years old, he was quite short, he was probably martial uncle Shen, Yang Guo studied his face and remembered that he has seen him at Chong Yang Palace before. Two men followed. One was a rugged looking man, the other had a head full of white hair and was an old man, they were the Beggar Clan members Chen and Han. The five all walked closer together and saluted each other and then formed a line, all looking around.

    At that time, a quiet trotting sound was heard from outside the mouth of the valley. The five men all looked at each other and stared at the entrance of the valley. They heard the sound getting closer and closer, there was a black and white reflection at the entrance of the valley, a girl in white was riding on top of a black donkey coming forward.

    When Yang Guo saw this his heart shivered, “It’s not Gu Gu! Could it be another one of their team?” Only to see the girl rein in the donkey at a few feet away from the five, she glanced at the five coldly, her face was filled with contempt, it looked like that she didn’t want to speak to them.

    Ji Qing Xu called out, “Little *****, well, well, well, you do have guts, you might as well call your help out.”

    The girl chuckled, a ‘shua’ sound was heard as she pulled out a small and thin sabre from her waist, it looked like the curved moon, the silver glittering in one’s eye.

    Ji Qing Xu said, “There are five of us, we can’t wait with patience for you help to arrive.”

    The girl waved her sabre and said, “This is my help.” The sabre producing a ‘weng’ noise as it was waved in the air.”

    As she said this, the six of them were shocked. The five of them were shocked that a girl on her own would have the guts to fight five skilled fighters without any help. Yang Guo was extremely disappointed and hurt, he was sure that he would see Xiao Long Nuu, how would he know that the so-called ‘beautiful girl in white’ was another person, an opposing air in his chest surged up, he wasn’t able to control it anymore and cried out.

    When he cried, the six others were alarmed, but all they saw was a farmer letting his bull graze on the slope, they didn’t take any notice of him, they thought that is was just a young country bumpkin who had suffered some problems and was crying out.

    Ji Qing Xu pointed out at the one named Han and said, “This is the Beggar Clan’s hero Han.” He pointed to the one named Chen and said, “This is the Beggar Clan’s hero Chen.” He then pointed to ‘martial uncle Shen’ and said, “Our martial uncle Shen Zhi Fan, you’ve seen him before.”

    The girl ignored him, her eyes cold, she glanced at them a few times, treating them as nothing.

    Shen Zhi Fan said, “You came on your own, we can’t fight with you. We’ll give you a deadline of ten days, ten days after you need to bring four helpers to meet us.”
    The girl said, “I’ve said I’ve already got my help, against you bunch of nobodies why do I need to get more people?”

    Shen Zhi Fan angrily said, “Little girl, you really are bold” His words were going to be insults but he managed to restrain himself to ask, “Are you from the Ancient Tomb sect?”

    The girl said, “So what if I am? So what if I’m not? You stupid old Taoist, do you have the guts to fight with me or don’t you?”

    Shen Zhi Fan saw that she was alone but was sure that she had strong backing, she must have them nearby, and he was also afraid that he would invite trouble from the Ancient Tomb’s Li Mo Chou so he said, “Miss, I have a question, why did you hurt members of my sect for no reason? If it was our fault, then I will publicly apologise to your master, but if miss can’t give a good reason then forgive us for being impolite.”

    The girl chuckled and said, “Of course it was those two bullish Taoists’ fault, I just taught them a lesson. If there weren’t so much scoundrels in the world, why must I cut off their ears?” Shen Zhi Fan saw that she extremely brash and couldn’t stop himself from becoming startled.

    The beggar named Chen was old but he still had a temper on him, he took a step forward and shouted, “Little girl, you are talking to seniors here, how come you haven’t got off your donkey?” As he said this he shot forward towards the black donkey and stretched out a hand to grab her right arm. His hand came out extremely quick, the girl wasn’t able to dodge it and she was grabbed immediately. Her right hand was also the hand that was holding her blade, so she wasn’t able to use her blade to repel the attack. Unexpectedly, the cold light moved, the girl’s arm twisted and the curved blade chopped down. Beggar Chen was startled and quickly let go. At least he was alert, and quickly changed his stance but the blade cut his two fingers. He quickly leapt back and drew out a blade and called out, “*****, you must be bored with your life.” The beggar named Han drew out a lead hammer, and Shen Zhi Fan drew out his sword. Ji Qing Xu and Pi Qing Xuan held onto their sword handles and pulled it out but felt that something was wrong with the sword’s weight. Both of them called out ‘Ai!’ and were shocked, the swords in their hands were broken.

    When the girl saw the two Taoists’ expression she couldn’t stop herself form laughing. Yang Guo was lamenting at this time, when he heard the girl laugh he looked at the two Taoists’ embarrassing expression. He couldn’t stop himself from turning his tears into laughter. He saw the girl bent her waist and hacked down with her sabre at Pi Qing Xuan’s head. Pi Qing Xuan quickly pulled back his head but he didn’t know the move wasn’t finished, a slight turn of the wrist and the sabre turned in the air and eventually cut Pi Qing Xu’s right cheek; blood started to flow out of it. The other four were alarmed and angry, they quickly surrounded her. The Taoists Pi and Ji retreated to the back, their hands holding onto the broken swords. They didn’t want to throw them away but they weren’t much use, they didn’t know what to do.

    The girl called out clearly, her left hand pulled on the reins and the dashed forward. Beggar Chen and Han were the closest, the blade and the hammer both attacked. Shen Zhi Fan followed in and used Quan Zhen’s sword techniques, every stance aiming for the important points of the enemy. Yang Guo saw that although his sword skills were vicious, compared with Zhao Zhi Jing and Yin Zhi Ping, their skills were far apart, out of the Taoists with the name Zhi, he was the lesser skilled. Yang Guo was now calm, he studied the girl’s face carefully; she saw that she had an oval face, pretty, she was younger than him by a year or so, no wonder the inn owner couldn’t believe that the ‘beautiful girl in white’ wasn’t his older sister. Though she wore white, her skin was slightly dark, it was very different to the brilliant snow white of Xiao Long Nuu’s. He saw that her sabre stances were light and swift, it seems to be derived from sword stances, there were more stabs and thrusts and rather less chop and hacks.

    Yang Guo watched for a few stances and thought, “Indeed she is using our sect’s kung fu, could it be that she is a student of Li Mo Chou?”

    Yang Guo thought how both sides weren’t good people, he couldn’t care less who won or loss but then another thought entered his mind, “How could you be the ‘beautiful girl in white’? You’re not even worthy to be my Gu Gu’s maid.” He folded his arms behind his head and lied down facing the sky, watching the battle.
    For the first ten moves or so, the girl was able hold her own, she was on the donkey’s back, attacking from above with the sabre, the five of them had no choice but to jump back and dodge. Another ten moves passed, Ji Qing Xu saw that the broken sword in his hand was useless, a thought suddenly entered him and he called out, “Apprentice brother Pi, follow me.” He quickly headed to the nearby woods and picked a fine small tree, he chopped its roots and branches with his broken swords and made a large stick. Pi Quan Xuan did the same. The two attacked from the left and right, thrusting forward at the donkey.

    The girl quietly said, “Shameless!” She waved her sabre at them to fend them off and became distracted; Beggar Han’s hammer and Shen Zhi Fan’s sword arrived. The girl quickly used a dangerous stance; she lowered her head and slanted her body, the hammer’s wind swept over her face. A clashing sound was heard as the sabre met with the sword, at that moment the black donkey cried out in pain, it’s front legs raised; Ji Qing Xu had struck it with the stick. Beggar Chen did a roll and used his sabre techniques, the flat side of his sabre heavily struck down on the donkey’s leg; the donkey immediately rolled over. The young girl was now unable to fight them on the donkey’s back. She saw a sword coming straight at her and immediately flew away, she grabbed Pi Qing Xu’s stick and snapped it in half. Her legs landed on the floor and she slashed across with her sabre, repelling beggar Chen’s chop.

    Yang Guo was startled, “What? Is she hurt?”

    The girl was actually slightly lame in her left leg, from the leap one can see her restricted movements, this is why she had refused to come down from her donkey. Yang Guo’s heroic nature was stirred and wanted to intervene and help her but a thought entered his mind, “Gu Gu and I were fine living in the tomb, it was that evil woman Li Mo Chou who made us like this. That girl pretends to be my Gu Gu, wanting people to call her the ‘beautiful girl in white’, she’s shameless!” He turned away and stopped watching.

    But he kept on hearing the sound of continuous clashing of weapons and wasn’t able to curb his curiosity, he turned his head again. He saw that the situation had now changed, the girl was now dodging east and evading west, she was defending more than attacking. Suddenly the Han beggar’s metal hammer came flying in, the girl moved her head and dodged it, at the same time, Shen Zhi Fan’s slashed across, a ‘ding’ sound was heard, her silver hair loop was cut; half her hair swept down. The girl’s brows raised, her mouth opened, a frosty look came upon her face as she turned her hand and slashed across.

    Yang Guo saw her angry expression and his heart shook, “When Gu Gu was angry, she looked exactly like this.” Because the girl became angry Yang Guo decided to help her, he picked up seven, eight stones and placed it in his pocket. He glanced at her again and saw that she was in a frantic situation.

    Shen Zhi fan called out, “What exactly is your relation to the ‘Serpent Deity’ Li Mo Chou? If you don’t tell us truthfully, don’t blame us on our actions!”

    The girl’s sabre slashed across, hooking across the back of his head. Shen Zhi Fan couldn’t predict that she would this and wasn’t able to block.

    Beggar Chen quickly called out, “Careful!”

    Ji Qing Xu fiercely struck the curved sabre with his large stick and managed to save the life of Shen Zhi Fan. The five saw that her stances were all ruthless, not leaving anything to chance. In a short while, the girl continuously unleashed a series of dangerous stances. Shen Zhi Fan was sure that she was connected to Li Mo Chou somehow, if news of this ever got to the evil serpent, he would have boundless trouble. He saw that she indeed did not have any back up, now was a good chance to kill her and seal her mouth so every stance he used were all aiming to wound the girl.

    Yang Guo saw that the girl was now staring at danger in the face, he had no time to delay, he flipped up and got on the bull’s back, he hung his legs on his back and dangled down underneath and then poked the bull in the buttocks. The bull started to dash at the six.

    The six of them was absorbed in battle when they suddenly saw mad bull rushing forward, they were all alarmed and leapt out of the way. Yang Guo was dangling below the bull and saw the pressure points on the back of the five men, the pebbles shot out, they were struck in the ‘Soul Entrance’ and the ‘Spirit Hall’ pressure points. He heard calls of ‘Ai Ya!’ and the five felt their arms become numb, their weapons dropped out of their hands. Yang Guo then sent the bull up to the slope. He dropped down from the bull’s stomach onto the ground and called out, “Oh no, the bull’s gone mad!”

    Shen Zhi Fan’s pressure points were sealed and his weapon escaped from his hand, but he didn’t see the enemy do this and thought that this was the deed of the girl’s backup, that person was highly skilled, how did he dare to fight anymore? Luckily his legs were still able to move, he quickly ran away but he still remembered his friends and called out, “Brother Chen, brother Han, let’s go!” The others didn’t think about this anymore and followed.

    Pi Quan Xuan lost his bearings and was actually running towards the girl.
    Ji Qing Xu called out, “Apprentice brother Pi, over here!”

    Pi Quan Xuan was about to turn around when the girl took a step forward and chopped down with her sabre. Pi Quan Xuan was alarmed, he didn’t have a weapon and quickly dodged to the side, but how would he know that the girl’s sabre wasn’t chopping down in a fixed direction, it went east and then west, the light of the blade glimmered as it was about to slash down across his face. Pi Quan Xuan raised his arm in danger, a ‘ca’ sound was made as the sabre hacked off four fingers. He had yet to feel the pain as he quickly turned around and ran away.

    Beggar Han ran ten or so steps and saw that the girl had not followed and thought, “That ***** is lame, how can she chase us?” When he considered that she was lame, he glanced at her left leg then turned around and hurried away. How would he know that look angered the girl, she couldn’t contained her fury and shouted out, “Scoundrel, don’t you think I can’t catch up with you?” She lifted her sabre and swung it around a few times, a ‘fu’ sound was made as she threw it out. She saw the sabre glimmer in midair, a ‘pu’ sound was heard as the sabre plunged itself in the left shoulder of beggar Han. That person kept on hurrying with the sabre in his back. In a short while, the five of them had escaped into the forest.

    The girl chuckled but was suspicious, “Could there be someone nearby? Why did they help me?” The beggar named Han had taken the sabre that she normally uses away, she felt that it was such a pity. She picked up the sabre that Beggar Chen had left and quickly went over to the forest to take a look but there wasn’t a trace of anyone around and returned to the valley.

    She saw Yang Guo sobbing miserably on the floor, calling and shouting out that woe is he.

    The girl asked, “Hey, little farmer, what woe are you talking about?”

    Yang Guo said, “The bull’s gone mad, it’s skin and body is ripped and bruised, when I get back to master’s house he’s definitely going to kill me.”
    The young girl took a look at the bull, but saw nothing was wrong with it and said, “Fine, your bull did help me out, I’ll give you some money.” As she said this she took out some money and threw it down to the ground. She thought that Yang Guo was going to thank her, but she couldn’t have predicted that Yang Guo still had the same expression on his face, shaking his head not picking up the money.

    The young girl said, “What’s wrong with you? Fool, it’s money.”

    Yang Guo said, “One ingot is not enough.” The girl took another ingot and threw it down to the ground. Yang Guo wanted to mess her around and shook his head.
    The young girl got angry and raised her brows, and shouted, “I’ve no more fool!” She turned around and walked away. When Yang Guo saw her angry expression, he couldn’t stop his blood in his chest and head rising. His eyes ached, he remembered the expression that Xiao Long Nuu had when she scolded him, he made a decision, “If I can’t find Gu Gu for the time being, I might as well look at that girl’s angry look.” He stretched out and grabbed her right leg and called out, “You can’t go!”

    The girl tried to pull away but he held her so tightly that she wasn’t able to escape; she became even angrier and shouted, “Let go! Why are you holding onto me?”

    Yang Guo saw that she that her anger was flourishing and was becoming happier, he called out, “I’m not going to return home, save me.” He then loudly called out, “Save me, save me!”

    The young girl was angry but was amused at the same time, she raised her sabre and called out, “If you don’t let go I’ll chop you to death in one go.”

    Yang Guo held on even tighter and pretended to cry, he said, “Chop me to death, I’ll be dead anyway if I return home.”

    The girl said, “Where do you want to go?”

    Yang Guo said, “I don’t know, I’ll follow you.”

    The young girl thought, “There’s no reason to get a little idiot to follow me around.” She raised her sabre and hacked down. Yang Guo thought that she wasn’t really going to chop down so he held tightly to her leg, he couldn’t have guessed that the girl was ruthless, her chop was really heading for his head, although she didn’t want to kill him she did want to cut down on his head and let him suffer a bit so he won’t dare to bother her again. Yang Guo saw the sabre coming down on him, when there was just a few inches between his head and the blade he rolled away and called out, “Murderer, murderer!”

    The girl became angrier and dashed forward wanting to chop down forward again. Yang Guo was lying on the floor, his legs flying everywhere, he called out, “I’m dead, I’m dead!”

    His muddy legs and hands were scrambling about everywhere, he made himself look as dreadful as possible but when the girl came hacking down with her sabre, his leg would kick her wrist and in the end she wasn’t able to chop down. Yang Guo saw her angry expression, it was what he wanted to see and he stared at her.

    The girl saw that he was looking weird and shouted, “Get up!”

    Yang Guo said, “Are you going to kill me?”

    The girl said, “Fine, I won’t kill you.” Yang Guo picked himself up and gasped deeply, he secretly restricted his blood flow, his face became pale, as if he was scared to death.

    The young girl was pleased with herself and gave an ‘humph’ sound, and said, “Let’s see if you still dare to trouble me.” She raised her sabre and pointed to the slope where Pi Quan Xuan’s fingers had been hacked off and said, “I’m fierce and violent, I slashed off his fingers.” Yang Guo pretended to be frightened and worried, he kept on shuffling backwards. The girl placed her sabre in her belt and turned around to search for her black donkey, but the donkey had long disappeared, she could only travel by foot.

    Yang Guo picked up the money and placed it in his pocket, he held the bull’s rope and followed her and said, “Gu Gu, take me away.”

    The girl ignored him and sped up, in a short while she had left him without a trace. Who could have guessed that when she was taking a little break, he was hurrying towards her with the bull calling out, “Take me away, take me away.”
    The girl brows raised and then utilized her lightness kung fu, in one breath she had gone over a few miles, and knew that he won’t be able to catch up, but in a short while she could hear a quiet call of ‘Take me away!”

    The girl became furious, she turned around and took out her sabre, raising it in the air.

    Yang Guo called out, “Oh no!” He held his head and ran away. The girl just wanted him to stop following and that was it, she then turned around and walked away.

    Soon, she heard the grunt of a bull, she turned around and saw Yang Guo about forty steps away, holding on to the bull following behind her. She stopped and waited for him. When Yang Guo saw that she stopped, he stopped moving as well, when she walked, he followed and when she chased after him with the sabre he ran away. This stopping and following continued until it started to get dark, the young girl was still unable to escape from Yang Guo’s pursue. The girl saw although he looked dumb, he pace was not ordinary, she thought that he must be used to running around in the mountains. She wanted him to chase up to her so she could knock him out or hurt his legs but each time he was able to roll out of the danger and escape.

    After a few while, the girl was becoming tired; her left leg was lame and moving was troublesome. She had an idea and called out, “Fine, I’ll take you away, you have to listen to what I say.”

    Yang Guo said delightedly, “You really are going to take me away?”

    The girl said, “Yes, why would I lie to you? I’m tired, you ride on the bull and then let me ride with you.”

    Yang Guo lead the bull forward and caught up, under the cloudy skies, he saw her eye glistened and knew that she was up to something. He climbed onto the back of the bull. The girl’s right leg pushed up and she lightly flew up onto the bull’s back, sitting in front of Yang Guo. She thought, “My donkey is gone, riding on this bull won’t be bad.” She kicked the bull hard on the side, The bull felt pain and dashed forward quickly. The girl chuckled and suddenly elbowed backward with strength, hitting Yang Guo in the chest. Yang Guo called out ‘Ai Ya!’ and rolled off the back of the bull.

    The young girl was extremely pleased and thought, “You little scoundrel, you suffered in my hands in the end.” She poked the bull in the side and the bull hurried forward even faster, she suddenly heard the calls and shouts of Yang Guo, the voice was just behind her, she turned her head to look around and saw him holding tightly onto the bull’s tail, his legs in midair. He was lifted up in the air by the bull, his face was full of dirt and mud, tears flowed, he was extremely frantic but he still held onto the bull’s tail tightly. The young girl had no other ideas and so raised her sabre aiming to slash down at his arm. She suddenly heard a clamour; the bull had reached a little town. In the crowd of people the bull had nowhere to go and stopped. Yang Guo wanted to mess the young girl around and see her angry face, he lied on the ground and called out, “My chest hurts, you’re beating me to death!” The town’s people all circled around and asked why.

    The girl was going to take this chance of being surrounded by people and slip into the crowd and escape, but she couldn’t have guessed that Yang Guo picked himself up and held onto her right leg and called out, “Don’t go, don’t go!”
    Yang Guo called out, “She’s my wife, she doesn’t want me and instead beats me.”
    A person said, “A wife beating her husband, what is the world coming to?”
    The girl’s brows raised and kicked out with her left leg. Yang Guo climbed up to the side of a burly man and gave him a push, the kick landed on his waist. The burly man shouted, “Little *****, kicking people?” He raised his massive fist. The young girl held the man’s elbow and used his strength to fling him away, the two hundred kilo body flew into the crowd, and caused the people in the crowd to scream and shout, making a scene. The girl used all her strength to pull free but how could she when Yang Guo was holding on with his life? She saw that another five, six people was coming up towards her and caused problems for her. She could only lower hear head and say, “I’ll take you away, quickly let go.”

    Yang Guo said, “Are you still going to beat me?”

    The young girl said, “Fine, I won’t!” Yang Guo loosened his hand and crawled up. The two of them rushed out of the crowd and headed out of the town, but they heard screams from behind. Yang Guo had managed to hold on to the bull.
    Yang Guo laughed out, and said, “People say that the wife cannot beat the husband.”

    The young girl angrily said, “Stupid Sha Dan, if you keep on talking this rubbish, saying I’m you wife and what not, watch me cut your head off.” She raised her sabre as she said this.

    Yang Gou held his head and jumped to the side and pleaded, “Miss, I won’t say it anymore.”

    The girl said, “Look at you, even an ugly old hag won’t marry you.” Yang Guo laughed foolishly and didn’t reply.

    Right now, the sky was dark, the two stood in the unkempt land and turned around, and saw smoke from cooking rising up from the town, and both felt hungry.

    The young girl said, “Sha Dan, go to the market and buy ten buns.”

    Yang Guo shook his head and said, “I won’t go.”

    The young girl’s face turned heavy and said, “Why not?”

    Yang Guo said, “I won’t go! You are tricking me to go buy some buns so you could sneak off.”

    The young girl said, “I said I won’t slip away so I won’t.” Yang Guo shook his head. The girl curled up her fist wanting to hit him but he quickly jumped to the side. The two of them ran around the bull like they were playing hide and seek. The girl was lame and wasn’t convenient for her to move. She saw the boy tripping up front of her crying and shouting out, yet although she possesses lightness kung fu, she was still unable to catch up with.

    The girl was furious, she thought about how she knew martial arts, yet for some reason, she had allowed an ugly and smelly country bumpkin Sha Dan to be on her tail and had no way to escape, it could be said that she was incompetent. Yang Guo had made himself so much like the character he was meant to be, otherwise, when the girl failed three or four times to kill the Sha Dan, she would have been suspicious long ago. She followed the main road south, she saw that Yang Guo was holding onto the bull catching up, she thought that she must find a way to kill him unexpectedly. In the short time it takes to cook rice, the sky had become even darker, she saw an old and run down stone house, it looked abandoned and thought, “Tonight I’ll sleep here, when that idiot is sleeping in the middle of the night, I’ll kill him with one slash.” She walked towards the house and entered, dust entered her nose, the chairs and tables were broken, it appeared that this house was deserted long ago. She cut some grass and wiped a long table clean, she laid across the table, closing her eyes and rested.
    She saw that Yang Guo didn’t follow her, and called out, “Sha Dan! Sha Dan!” She didn’t hear a reply and thought, “Could it be that the fool know that I was going to kill him and so left!” She wasn’t concerned with it, and after a while she fell asleep, but suddenly the smell of meat entered her nose. She got up and went outside, she saw Yang Guo sitting under the moonlight holding a piece of meat, opening his mouth to bite into it. Before him was a fire, on top of the fire was array of branches, meat was roasted on it, the smell of it floated towards her.
    Yang Guo saw her come out and laughed, and said, “You want some?” He picked up a roasted piece of the shank and threw it towards her. She caught it with her hand and looked at it, it was a shank of leg, she was hungry and started to eat it, although it had no salt, it was still tasty. She sat by the fire and politely ate the meat. She first tore the meat of the shank off first, and then placed it into her mouth slowly, but she saw Yang Guo munching noisily, annoying herself, but she was hungry so she turned around and looked away from him. When she finished her meat, Yang Guo gave her another piece.

    The young girl said, “Sha dan, what’s your name?”

    Yang Guo said, “Are you an angel? How do you know I’m called Sha Dan?”

    The young girl laughed and said, “Ha, so your name is Sha Dan. Where are your parents?”

    Yang Guo said, “They’ve been dead long ago. What’s your name?”

    The young girl said, “I don’t know. Why are you asking?”

    Yang Guo thought, “Since you won’t say then I’ll anger you.” He said brashly, “I know, you are called Sha Dan too, that’s why you won’t say.”

    The young girl got angry, she got up and punched him in the head and scolded, “Who said I’m called Sha Dan? You are the Sha Dan.”

    Yang Guo cried out and covered his head and said, “When someone asks me what I’m called, I say I don’t know so other people call me Sha Dan, since you don’t know, that means you are a Sha Dan as well.”

    The young girl said, “Who says I don’t know? I just don’t want to tell you. Do you know that me surname is Lu?”

    That young girl was the little girl who was picking lotuses in Jia Xing’s southern lake, Lu Wu Shuang. When she was plucking flowers with her cousin Cheng Ying and the Wu brothers, she broke her leg, when madam Wu was helping her to connect her leg back together, Hong Ling Bo had arrived to take their lives so her leg wasn’t connected properly, after it healed, her left leg was shorter by an inch or so, when she walks she walks like a lame. Although her skin is not white, she was still beautiful, when she had grown up she was even more so, but because her leg was lame, she was hateful.

    When Li Mo Chou killed her parents and took her away, she was going to kill her but when she saw the handkerchief on her neck she remembered Lu Zhan Yuan, and so she did not kill her. Lu Wu Shuang was clever, she knew that her life was hanging on a thread now that she was under Li Mo Chou’s grasp, that witch goes and come like the wind, she will not be able to run away, so she pretended to be obedient and tried to please her, and eventually the urge to kill of the ‘Serpent Deity’, who kills without blinking, calmed down. Sometimes Li Mo Chou remembered the hurtful events of the past and would summon Lu Wu Shuang and shout at her for a while. Lu Wu Shuang would put on a pitiful face and limp along. When Li Mo Chou saw her sorry look, and after shouting at her and getting rid of her anger that would be it. Lu Wu Shuang pleaded, and because she was just a little girl, Li Mo Chou did eventually allowed her to stay. She buried her thoughts of revenge for her parents in her heart. When Li Mo Chou asked her about it, she pretended that she had forgotten all about them. When Li Mo Chou and Hong Ling Bo were practising kung fu, she would stand by the side and pass over swords and towels, tea and fruits, concentrating. She already had a decent foundation, when she watched them practise she noted everything down, and when Li Mo Chou and Hong Ling Bo went out, she would secretly practise, and she would normally try to get Hong Ling Bo’s favour. Later Hong Ling Bo took advantage of the mood that Li Mo Chou was in and pleaded on behalf of Lu Wu Shuang, and eventually she became her disciple. A few years passed, Lu Wu Shuang’s kung fu improved every day, but Li Mo Chou was still suspicious of her so did not teach her the most advanced skills, even the intermediate skills were not passed on. Hong Ling Bo took pity on her and would give her some pointers in secret. Although it can’t be said that Lu Wu Shuang skills were high, her skills were not low either. That day when Li Mo Chou and Hong Ling Bo went to the tomb to search for the ‘Jade Heart Manual’, Lu Wu Shuang had saw that they did not return for a long time, so she decided to escape and go to Jia Xing in search of news about her parents. Although she saw with her own eyes Li Mo Chou seriously wounding her parents, she thought that she had not seen them die, there would still be a glimmer of hope, she held onto this glimmer of hope and went to find the truth. Before she left, she thought she might as well do things completely, and took Li Mo Chou’s book, the ‘Five Poison Codex’; it was a copy of a list of poisons and its antidote.

    Her left leg was lame, and she hated those who looked at it, one day in an inn, two Taoists looked at her leg and she immediately shouted at them. The two Taoists did not have a good temper, after a few words they used force, they started to fight and with her curved sabre, she cut off their ear and agreed to meet them at Wolf Valley the next day.

    That day when Li Mo Chou took her away and headed north, she and Yang Guo had met each other at the entrance of the cave, but then they were both young, their faces has now changed, they weren’t able to remember their encounter years ago.

    Lu Wu Shuang was full after she finished the second piece of roasted meat. Yang Guo used the light of the fire to look at her face, “Where on earth is my Gu Gu? If the girl in front of me was Gu Gu, and I was roasting meet for her, wouldn’t that be great?” He was deep in thought, and stared at her, like if he was mad.

    Lu Wu Shuang thought, “I’ll endure your disrespectful stare for now, I’ll kill you later in the middle of the night.” She then returned to the stone house and slept.
    In the middle of the night, she quietly got up, she went outside and saw Yang Guo by the fireside not moving, the fire had gone out long ago. She went over to him and slashed him with her blade across his back, her wrist suddenly trembled, it started to ache, she couldn’t hold onto the sabre and let go, she felt that the place she slashed across was like metal and stone. She became extremely frightened and leapt away, and thought, “Could it be that Sha Dan has reached the state of being impenetrable with blades and spears?” She moved away tens of feet, but Yang Guo had not chased after her, she turned around, he was still by the fireside, not moving an inch.

    Lu Wu Shuang was suspicious and called out, “Sha Dan, Sha Dan! I have something to say to you.” Yang Guo did not reply. She took a careful look, and saw Yang Guo’s body had formed a circle, it looked extremely strange, she boldly went over and saw that it did not look like the body of a person, she stretched out her hand and touched him, it felt like clothes were placed on top of a rock. She grabbed the clothes and lifted up, indeed there was a large rock below. Where was Yang Guo?

    She stood there for a while and called out, “Sha Dan, Sha Dan!” She didn’t hear a reply so she listened carefully, there seemed to be a snoring noise from the house. She went over there quietly and saw Yang Guo sleeping on the table that she had just slept on, his back towards her, snoring loudly in a deep sleep.
    Lu Wu Shuang was angry, and didn’t even think about how he ended up sleeping on the table, she immediately leapt forward and raised her sabre, and pierced into his back.

    The sabre’s tip had plunged into flesh but she didn’t feel any resistance in her hands but heard Yang Guo snore a few times and then said in his sleep, “Who’s scratching my back, don’t, don’t I’m scare.”

    Lu Wu Shuang was scared pale, her arms quivered, thinking, “Is this person a demon?” She turned around to run but her legs didn’t listen. She then heard him say, “There must be a mouse on my back trying to steal my meat.” He stretched out his hand to his back and took out a lump of meat, and threw it onto the ground.

    Lu Wu Shuang finally breathed out and understood, “So that Sha Dan put the meat on his back, just now I stabbed into that, I just suffered a fright in vain.”
    She had failed twice to stab him and she hated him even more, she bit her teeth and quietly said, “Rotten Sha Dan, see if I’m able to kill you this time.” She dashed forward and raised her sabre, then slashed down across his back. In the midst of the snoring, Yang Guo turned his body, the sabre slashed down deeply into the wood. Lu Wu Shuang circulated her chi around her hands trying to remove the sabre. Yang Guo pretended he was having a nightmare, “Mum, mum, the little mouse is biting me.” His muddy legs shot out, the left leg striking Lu Wu Shuang’s ‘Crooked Reservoir’ (qu chi) pressure point on the side of her body, his right leg landing on her shoulder sealing the ‘Shoulder Well’ (jian jing) pressure point. Those two points are two of the bodies important pressure points, when those legs came out, out of the places to hit, it hit those two places. Lu Wu Shuang wasn’t able to move, she stood there, becoming a support for his legs.
    Lu Wu Shuang was furious, although her body wasn’t able to move, her mouth still could, she shouted out, “Hey Sha Dan, quickly move your stinky feet away.” She just heard his snoring becoming louder. She didn’t know what to do, in anger, she opened her mouth and spat at him. Yang Guo moved his body, his right foot brushed across and struck her ‘Large Bone’ pressure point. Lu Wu Shuang’s body immediately became numb all over, even her mouth wasn’t able to open, the stench from his feet flowed into her nose.

    In a short while, Lu Wu Shuang anger stirred up again, and swore to herself, “Tomorrow when my pressure points are unsealed, I’m going to chop up Sha Dan into seventeen, eighteen pieces.”

    After a while, Yang Guo felt that he had enough fun, he released his legs and turned around, although it was dark, he was still able to look at her angry expression clearly. The angrier she got, the more she looked like Xiao Long Nuu, Yang Guo stared at her in a daze, how would he be able to close his eyes? In actual fact, Lu Wu Shuang and Xiao Long Nuu did not look like each other, it’s just that when all girls get angry they all have a similar look, Yang Guo missed his master and looking at Lu Wu Shuang’s angry expression reminded him of Xiao Long Nuu, like looking at a picture of her.

    After a while, the moon was in the west, its light shooting into the room. Lu Wu Shuang saw Yang Guo’s eyes were open, staring at her in a daze and shivered, “Could it be that Sha Dan is pretending to be mad? He sealed my pressure points, could it be that it wasn’t an accident?” When she thought about this, she couldn’t stop herself from breaking out in a cold sweat. At this moment in time, she saw Yang Guo’s eyes looking at the ground, she followed his eyes and saw three shadows on the ground, there were three people standing at the entrance. She looked carefully and saw that the three shadows were holding weapons, she secretly cursed herself, “Crap, the enemy has to come now when Sha Dan has sealed my pressure points.” Although she was suspicious, she couldn’t believe that this dirty and humble farmer could ever possess a set of good martial arts.

    Yang Guo closed his eyes and snored loudly. He heard someone call out from the door, “Little *****, come out, do you think Taoist master here will let you off by standing still?”

    Yang Guo thought, “Oh, it’s him again.”

    Another person said, “We don’t want your life, we just want to cut off your two ears and three fingers.”

    The third person said, “Old man here is waiting for you outside, just get it over and done with.” As they said this they moved outside. The three of them stood in a semi circle.

    Yang Guo stretched up and slowly sat up and said, “What are you calling outside, miss Lu, you are here? Why are you standing there without moving?” He pushed her in the back a few times. Lu Wu Shuang felt a surge of strong chi running into her body, her body shook and the three pressure points in her body unsealed. She didn’t bother thinking about what happened and immediately got up and took out her sabre. She leapt out of the house and saw three men with their backs facing the moon. She didn’t say anything and flipped her wrist and thrust out at the person on the left. That person was holding a chain, and saw the sabre slashing towards him. His chain was already heavy, its power was great and so was its accuracy, a clashing sound was heard as Lu Wu Shuang’s sabre flew out of her hand. Yang Guo was lying across the table and saw Lu Wu Shuang had leapt to the side, her left stretched out and thought, “Good, that Taoist will not be able to hold on to his sword.” Indeed when her wrist turned up, she used the Ancient Tomb sect’s kung fu, she had taken the Taoist’s sword and chopped down, a ‘pu’ sound, the Taoists shoulder had been struck by the sword.
    Lu Wu Shuang used her sword and fought with the man who used the chain. The other short man held a spear, he pierced east and west, but wasn’t out of order and stayed back. The man using the chain had good martial arts, after ten moves or so, Lu Wu Shuang gradually felt that she wasn’t able to stand still. That person’s steps seemed to be measured, he honoured his status, Lu Wu Shuang had failed many times yet he didn’t force the issue.

    The Taoist wrapped up his wound and pointed at Lu Wu Shuang and cursed, “Ancient Tomb *****, such evil attacks!” He ran up towards her attacking with his fists and legs. A white light glimmered, the Taoist’s back was pierced by the sword, at that time, the short man thrust his spear at Lu Wu Shuang’s back, and the man using the chain smashed down on her shoulders.

    Yang Guo thought, “Oh no!” His picked up two stones and flicked it out, one at the spear, the other at the man’s right wrist. He didn’t know that the man was skilled, once the stone had struck his wrist, he wasn’t able to smash down with his chain, but his left palm came out like lightning and struck Lu Wu Shuang in the chest. Yang Guo was alarmed, his was young and inexperienced and wasn’t able to tell that the man’s fists and palms were good, he quickly dashed out and held onto the man’s neck and flung him away. The man suddenly leapt up and was flung away tens of feet. The Taoist and the short man saw that Yang Guo was powerful, they picked up the man and ran away without turning back.

    Yang Guo lowered his head and took a look at Lu Wu Shuang, he saw that her face was golden and breathing weak, her injury was serious, he stretched out his arm around her back and slowly sat her up, but he heard ‘ge la’ ‘ge la’ two light sounds, it was the sound of bones breaking, two of her ribs had been broken by that man. She had passed out but once the bones moved, the pain was intense and woke her up, she gave out a quiet groan.

    Yang Guo said, “What is it? Does it hurt?”

    Lu Wu Shuang was in extreme pain, she bit down her teeth and scolded, “Why are you asking? Of course it hurts. Carry me into the house.”

    When Yang Guo picked her up, it was unavoidable that there was going to be some movements. Lu Wu Shuang’s bones touched each other and the pain ignited again, she scolded, “Fine, bastard Sha Dan, you…you want to torture me. Where have the three scoundrels gone?” When Yang Guo used his skills, she had already fainted and didn’t know that it was him who saved her life.

    Yang Guo laughed, and said, “They thought you were dead, they clapped and left.”

    Lu Wu Shuang scolded, “Why are you laughing? Bastard Sha Dan, the more pain I’m in the happier you are, isn’t it?” Every time she shouted at him, Yang Guo would remember how Xiao Long Nuu would scold him. He had lived in the Tomb of the Living Dead for a few years with Xiao Long Nuu, it was the happiest time in his life, each time Xiao Long Nuu scolded him, he couldn’t help but be moved as he knew that his master was treating him with her heart. At the present time he wasn’t able to find his master, but at the time when he was alone, he at least bumped into another girl in white. In actual fact, Xiao Long Nuu was cold and detached, when she scolded him it was just a few calm words, how was she like Lu Wu Shuang who screamed and shouted out insults and curses? In Yang Guo’s present state, having a young girl scolding him was better than having no one, he ignored her insults and curses and just smiled, he placed her on the table. When Lu Wu Shuang laid on the table, her broken ribs moved again, she couldn’t endure the pain and called out, when she called out in pain her lungs breathed out, this disturbed the ribs again causing further pain, she bit her teeth down as cold sweat poured on her head.

    Yang Guo said, “Shall I fix your ribs back in place for you?”

    Lu Wu Shuang scolded, “Rotten Sha Dan, what bones do you know how to fix?”

    Yang Guo said, “My dog at home fought with the neighbour’s dog, his bone was bitten in half, it was me who fixed its bone back in place. Also, when uncle Wang’s sow had its rib broken, it was me who fixed it back into place.”

    Lu Wu Shuang was angry, but she didn’t dare to shout out loudly, she huskily said, “You’re calling me a sow, a dog. You’re the dog, the sow.”

    Yang Guo laughed and said, “Even if I was a pig, I’ll be a boar. Furthermore, that dog was a *****, a male dog won’t be like that.”

    Although Lu Wu Shuang was clever and quick with words, every time she spoke a word her chest would hurt, she wanted to argue with him but she had no strength left, she closed her eyes and endured the pain and ignored Yang Guo.
    Yang Guo said, “Once I fixed that dog’s bone it recovered after a few days, when it fought again, it was as if its bone had never been broken.”

    Lu Wu Shuang thought, “It could be that Sha Dan really knows how to correct bones. If no one heals me I’ll be dead. But if he helps me to fix my ribs, he’s going to touch my chest, how can I let him? Hmm, if he doesn’t cure me, then we’ll die together, if he does cure me, I won’t let those who’ve seen my body live.”
    She’s had a tragic life since she was young, she endured it and fought for her life, her character was different to others, she has been with Li Mo Chou a long time, her ears and eyes have endured many things, she has learnt Li Mo Chou’s ruthless and vindictive streak, at such a young age she was already filed with such evil thoughts, she quietly said, “Fine! If you lie to me Sha Dan, I won’t let you die well.”

    Yang Guo thought, “If I don’t make it hard for her now, I’m not going to have a chance again.” He calmly said, “When uncle Wang’s sow broke its ribs, his daughter beg and pleaded me for help, she called me ‘Big Brother’ one hundred times, and then I helped her” Lu Wu Shuang said, “Bull, bull, bull, rotten Sha Dan, rotten Sha Dan, ai ya” her chest was filled with severe pain again.

    Yang Guo laughed and said, “If you don’t call me that then fine. I’m going home now, have a nice rest.” He got up and turned towards the door.

    Lu Wu Shuang thought, “If that person goes, then I’m definitely going to die.” She had to hold down her temper and said, “What do you want?”

    Yang Guo said, “Originally, all I wanted was you to call me ‘Good Brother’ one hundred times, but all along you have scolded and insulted me, I’ll help you if you call me it one thousand times.”

    Lu Wu Shuang planned in her heart, “I’ll promise him now, once I get better, it won’t be too late to get rid of him.”

    So she said, “I’ll call good brother, good brother, good brother ai ya ai ay”
    Yang Guo said, “Fine, there’s still nine hundred and ninety seven calls left, remember that, you can finish it when you are better.” He walked over to her, and stretched out his hand to take off her clothes.

    Lu Wu Shuang automatically shuffled back, she was alarmed and said, “Go away, what are you doing?”

    Yang Guo took a step back and said, “I don’t know how to put your bone back in place with your clothes in the way, the dog and sow didn’t have clothes when I fixed their bones.”

    Lu Wu Shuang thought this was funny but she felt embarrassed if she allowed him to take her clothes off. After a while she lowered her head and quietly said, “Fine, I won’t trouble you.”

    Yang Guo said, “If you don’t want to be healed, then don’t. I don’t care…”
    As he said this, he heard someone suddenly say from outside, “That little ***** must be within twenty miles from here, we’ll quickly search around here…” when Lu Wu Shuang heard this voice she immediately turned pale with fright, she didn’t care about her pain and covered Yang Guo’s mouth, the person who was talking outside was Li Mo Chou.

    When Yang Guo heard this voice he too was alarmed. He heard the voice of another girl say, “The sabre that was planted in that man’s shoulder looks like the silver sabre of apprentice sister, it’s a pity that we couldn’t get it for a closer look.” That person was Hong Ling Bo. After the two left the tomb, they returned to Scarlet Cloud manor, and discovered that Lu Wu Shuang had escaped, Li Mo Chou wasn’t too bothered, but they didn’t predict that she had also stole the ‘Five Poison Codex’. When Li Mo Chou roamed Jiang Hu, what the martial artists of the Jiang Hu world were afraid of were not her kung fu, but her ‘Divine Five Poison Palm’ and her ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’. In the ‘Five Poison Codex’, it had the types of poison and its concentration, the antidote and its processing technique of the ‘Divine Five Poison Palm’ and ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’, if the secrets were leaked it, the ‘Serpent Deity’ would be like a poisonous snake without its fangs. She had memorised the contents of the codex long ago, there was no need to take it with her, and she hid the codex in a secret place in the Scarlet Cloud manor. But she didn’t know that Lu Wu Shuang was especially aware and took down every detail, she knew the hiding place of her master. When she decided to escape, she took the book with her.

    Li Mo Chou was furious, she took Hong Ling Bo and chased after her night and day. But Lu Wu Shuang had left long ago, and she kept to the small roads. Li Mo Chou and her disciple went north and then south, she searched east to west, and then she went over the places again several times but still couldn’t find any trace of her.

    One night by coincidence the two of them were near Tong Guan, and heard members of the beggar clan spreading news that there was going to be a meet for the members along the western roads. Li Mo Chou considered the fact that there are numerous beggar clan members everywhere, their ears and eyes see and hear everything; there must be someone who has seen Lu Wu Shuang. The two rushed to the meeting place to scout for news. On the way there they saw a fifth band disciple being carried by another beggar clan member, around them were seventeen, eighteen beggar clan members escorting them. Li Mo Chou saw the person had sabre in his back; it was Lu Wu Shuang’s silver sabre. She slipped to the side to listen in, and heard a few angry beggar clan members talking, saying that it was a lame little ***** who did this. Li Mo Chou was delighted when she heard this, she knew that this person was recently wounded so she quickly rushed and scouted around, eventually coming up to the stone house. When she got there, she saw the remains of the fire and noticed the smell of fresh blood, under the moonlight she saw drops of blood on the floor, they were new stains. It displayed the signs of a recent battle. Li Mo Chou tugged her disciple’s sleeve and pointed to the house. Hong Ling Bo nodded, she took out her sword and charged in.

    When Lu Wu Shuang heard the voices of her master and apprentice sister she knew that she had ran out of luck, she decided to lay there and wait for her death. She heard the sound of the door, a person in yellow dashed in, it was her apprentice sister Hong Ling Bo. Hong Ling Bo had friendly sentiments towards her apprentice sister, she knew that this time her master would use every method that she knows to torture her and then slowly kill her. She saw that Lu Wu Shuang was lying on the table and thrust out at her chest, sparing her the pain. As the sword tip was about to pierce her chest, Li Mo Chou stretched out her hand and patted Hong Ling Bo’s shoulder; her hand lost all her strength immediately and hand lowered.

    Li Mo Chou chuckled, “Do you think I won’t kill her? Why do I need you to rush into it?” She faced Lu Wu Shuang and said, “You see your master in front of you and you don’t greet her?” Although she was furious, her tone was normal.
    Lu Wu Shuang thought, “Now that I’m in her clutches, even if I beg or plead, I’m going to suffer.” She calmly said, “You and my family have deeps feuds over the years, there is no need to say anything.” Li Mo Chou stared at her, one couldn’t tell if her eyes were filled with joy or hate. There was an expression of pity on Hong Ling Bo’s face. Lu Wu Shuang’s lips curled up, her expression was one of pride.

    The three of them stared at each other, after a while Li Mo Chou said, “Where’s the book? Give it to me.”

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “An evil Taoist and a beggar took it!” Li Mo Chou was startled on the inside. Although she hasn’t done anything to offend the Beggar Clan, she has had run ins with Quan Zhen, she knew that the Beggar Clan and the Quan Zhen sect had a deep history, what’s going to happen now that her book has fallen into outsiders hands? Lu Wu Shuang saw a wry smile on the face of her master and knew that she was thinking up of ideas to torture her. All along on her escape, the only thing she was scared of was that her master was going to catch up with her, now she has, instead of first feeling fear she thought, “Where’s Sha Dan? Where did he go?” She is facing death, when she thought about the ugly and dumb farmer, she unwittingly felt a warm feeling inside her. Suddenly a light from a fire appeared, a rumbling sound was heard.

    Li Mo Chou and Hong Ling Bo turned around to see a large bull heading inside, on the bull’s right horn there was a sabre attached to it, on the left horn was a torch, the force that it was approaching with was frightening, Li Mo Chou immediately leapt to the side but saw the bull turn around in the house and rushed out. When the bull first entered it was dashing ferociously, when it left it rushed away with the same speed, in the wink of eye it had travelled tens of feet.

    Li Mo Chou looked at the image of the bull running away and at first wondered, “Who attached the sabre and torch on the bull’s horn?” She turned around and both her and Hong Ling Bo called out in shock, the body of Lu Wu Shuang that was lying on the table had disappeared.

    Hong Ling Bo searched the house and leapt up onto the roof. Li Mo Chou thought that it must have something to do with the bull so she chased after it. In the darkness she saw the light of the torch on the bull’s horn entering the forest. Under the light of the torch she saw that no one was on the bull’s back, Lu Wu Shuang had not escaped on the bull. She then thought, “It must be this, someone outside sent the strange bull in to divert my attention and then rescued her.” She didn’t know which direction to chase after, she then sped up and in a flash she had caught up with the bull, she leapt up onto the bull and saw that there wasn’t anything strange so she leapt down again and then kicked the bull in the behind. She whistled and signalled Hong Ling Bo, one was going to scout north to south, the other west to east.

    Of course it was Yang Guo who sent the bull into the house. When he heard the voices of Li Mo Chou and her disciple, he slipped out through the backdoor and listened in through the window, after just one sentence he knew that Li Mo Chou had come to take Lu Wu Shuang’s life. He immediately thought of a plan, he went over to the bull and attached the sabre that Lu Wu Shuang had earlier drop to the bull’s horn, he then gathers some twigs and attached it to the other horn and lit them. He then hung below the bull and forced the bull to rush into the house quickly, he grabbed Lu Wu Shuang and hid underneath the bull, exiting the house. His movements were quick and the bull looked weird, Li Mo Chou had good eyesight but was unaware and didn’t notice anything wrong. By the time Li Mo Chou had caught up with bull, Yang Guo had carried Lu Wu Shuang into the long grass and hid. When she moved, she was in severe pain so all the things that had happened; how Yang Guo rescued her, how they hid underneath the bull and how they dived into the grass were all unclear to her, after a while she regained her awareness and gave out an ‘ah’ sound. Yang Guo quickly covered her mouth and whispered into her ear, “Don’t make a noise!” They heard footsteps and Hong Ling Bo’s voice saying, “How can someone disappear in the flash of an eye?” Further away Li Mo Chou said, “Let’s go. That little ***** must have gone faraway.” They heard the footsteps of Hong Ling Bo gradually moving away. Lu Wu Shuang was being smothered and was in pain, Yang Guo still held his hand over her mouth without loosening. Lu Wu Shuang struggled for a little, when she felt that she was being held in his arms she was embarrassed and anxious, she wanted to hit him.

    Yang Guo whispered in her ear, “Don’t move, your master is lying to you.” As soon as his words were said, they heard Li Mo Chou saying, “She really isn’t here.” Her voice was extremely close by, it seemed that they were right next to them.

    Lu Wu Shuang was startled and thought, “If it weren’t for Sha Dan, I would be dead!”

    Li Mo Chou had suspected that she was hiding nearby, when she was talking faraway, she immediately used her lightness kung fu without making a sound and arrived close by. Lu Wu Shuang almost fell into the trap.

    Yang Guo carefully listened, when the two had really gone he removed his hand and laughed, “There’s no need to be scared now.”

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “Let me go.”

    Yang Guo lightly placed her flatly onto the grass and said, “I’ll immediately push your bones back into place and then leave this place, if we wait until tomorrow we won’t be able to escape.” Lu Wu Shuang nodded.

    Yang Guo was afraid that she would call out in pain when he pushes the bone back into place and alert Li Mo Chou and her disciple. He sealed her numbing pressure points and stretched out his hand to take off her clothes, and said, “Don’t make a noise whatever you do.”

    After taking off her outer garment, a white undergarment was revealed, removing this revealed an apricot yellow brassiere. Yang Guo didn’t dare to take it off and looked up, and saw Lu Wu Shuang’s brows wrinkled, her eyes closed tightly, she was embarrassed and scared. Yang Guo had his first awakening of love, when he smelt the fragrant scent of a virgin girl, his heart pounded repeatedly.

    Lu Wu Shuang opened her eyes and quietly said, “Just cure me!” After she said this, she closed her eyes again and turned away. Yang Guo’s hand trembled as he unbuttoned her underwear, when he saw her breasts, he didn’t dare to touch her chest. Lu Wu Shuang waited a while but felt a cool breeze brushing across her naked chest, she felt cold and turned around opening her eyes, and saw Yang Guo looking at her in a daze, she angrily said, “What…What are you looking at?”

    Yang Guo was startled, he stretched out his hand and touched her ribs, when his hand touched her skin he shivered, like as if his hand was touching a fire, he immediately pulled back.

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “Quickly close your eyes, if you look at me again I’ll… I’ll…” When she said this, tears flowed down her eyes.

    Yang Guo quickly said, “Yes, yes, I won’t look anymore, don’t cry.” He closed his eyes and felt out the broken ribs and pushed them back into place, he quickly covered up her chest with her underwear and calmed down, he gathered four sticks and placed two across the front of her and two behind. He then got some vine and tied the sticks tightly into place so the bones won’t move out of place. He then buttoned up her garments and unsealed her pressure points.

    Lu Wu Shuang opened her eyes and saw the moonlight on Yang Guo’s face, his cheeks red, blushing, he was taking a look at her face and their eyes met, he quickly turned away. Her bones were now fixed into place, although they still hurt, it wasn’t as painful as before. She thought, “That Sha Dan does know how to seal pressure points.”

    She now saw that Yang Guo wasn’t an ordinary person, he is definitely not a ‘Sha Dan’, but even since she met him she insulted him and looked down on him, she has now seen him save her yet she didn’t change the way she talked to him
    She asked, “Sha Dan, what do you think we should do now? Shall we wait here or run away and hide.”

    Yang Guo said, “What do you think?”

    She replied, “Of course we should run. Are we going to wait here for our death?”

    Yang Guo said, “Where?”

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “I want to go Jiang Nan. Can you accompany me there?”

    Yang Guo said, “I need to find my Gu Gu, I can’t go far.”

    When Lu Wu Shuang heard this, her face dropped and said, “Fine, leave! Let me die here.”

    If Lu Wu Shuang kindly ask him Yang Guo would of course reject her request, but when he saw her angry face, it reminded him of when Xiao Long Nuu became angry, it was hard for him to reject her and thought, “Maybe Gu Gu headed south, if I escort miss Lu there, maybe good deeds will be repaid, heaven might pity me and let me see Gu Gu again.” He knew that this was a remote possibility but he had no way to reject Lu Wu Shuang’s request, so he convinced himself and sighed, and then picked her up.

    Lu Wu Shuang angrily said, “Why are you picking me up?”

    Yang Guo laughed, “I’m carrying you to Jiang Nan.”

    Lu Wu Shuang gave a smile and was delighted, she said, “Sha Dan, Jiang Nan is far from here, carry you carry me all the way there?” Though she said this, she was leaning on Yang Guo peacefully without moving.

    Right now, the large bull had disappeared. Yang Guo was afraid that they might bump into Li Mo Chou and her disciple so he kept to the small paths. Although his legs were quick, his upper body did not move and did not disturb Lu Wu Shuang’s wound. Lu Wu Shuang saw the trees by her recede, he was hurrying along the path like a dashing horse, he was much faster than she could be without carrying anything, his lightness kung fu was not below her master’s, she was curious and thought, “So this Sha Dan is highly skilled, how can he learn to a such a state at such a young age?”

    Not long, the east began to lighten, she lifted her head and saw that although his face was dirty, he was handsome, his eyes captivating, her heart was moved, and gradually forgot about the pain, after a while she fell into a deep sleep.
    When the sky became bright, Yang Guo felt a little tired, he dashed over to a large tree and placed her gently down, and then rested next to her. Lu Wu Shuang opened her eyes and smiled, she said, “I’m hungry, aren’t you hungry?”
    Yang Guo said, “Of course I’m hungry, fine, let’s find a restaurant and get something to eat.” He got up and picked her up again, but because he has carried her for half the night his arms felt numb so he lifted her onto his shoulders and slowly walked.

    Lu Wu Shuang’s legs were bouncing off lightly off Yang Guo’s chest, she laughed and said, “Sha Dan, what exactly is your name? If you don’t tell me I’ll call you Sha Dan in front of others.”

    Yang Guo said, “I don’t have a name, everyone calls me Sha Dan.”

    Lu Wu Shuang hurtfully said, “If you don’t want to say, fine! Who’s your master?”

    When Yang Guo heard the word ‘master’, he didn’t dare to mess around because he respected Xiao Long Nuu so much, he turned serious and said, “My master is my Gu Gu.”

    Lu Wu Shuang believed him and thought, “So his skill’s are passed on from his family.”

    She asked again, “What family or sect is your Gu Gu from?”

    Yang Guo dumbly said, “I don’t know whether she is at home or what rank she is.” (N.B Yang Guo is playing on her words, the word for family can also mean home, the word for sect can also mean order.)

    Lu Wu Shuang angrily said, “You idiot! I ask you, whose school of martial arts have you learnt?”

    Yang Guo said, “Are you asking about my family’s main door? It’s made out of wood.” (N.B Again, play on words)

    Lu Wu Shuang heart sank and thought, “Could this person really be a Sha Dan? His martial arts are good but he’s dumb?” So she softly said, “Sha Dan, tell me honestly, why did you save my life.”

    Yang Guo couldn’t think of a reply, after a while he said, “My Gu Gu told me to save you so I saved you.”

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “Who is your Gu Gu?”

    Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu is Gu Gu. Whatever she tells me to do I’ll do it.”

    Lu Wu Shuang sighed, and thought, “This person really is dumb.” She had some warm feelings for him but now they turned into loathing.

    Yang Guo didn’t hear her say anything so said, “Why aren’t you speaking?”

    Lu Wu Shuang gave a grunt. Yang Guo asked again. Lu Wu Shuang angrily said, “If I don’t want to speak, I won’t speak. Sha Dan, shut your mouth!”

    Yang Guo knew that her face right now was a nice sight, but since she is sitting on his shoulders he wasn’t able to see, he couldn’t help but feel what a pity.
    Not long after, they reached a little town. Yang Guo found a restaurant and ordered rice and dishes, and the two sat down together. Lu Wu Shuang smelt the stench of cow shit on him and wrinkled her brows, and said, “Sha Dan, sit over there, don’t sit on my table.”

    Yang Guo laughed and sat at another table. Lu Wu Shuang saw that he was still looking at her, she was vexed, the more she looked at him the more loathsome he was, she sunk her face and said, “Don’t look at me.” She pointed at a faraway table and said, “Sit over there.”

    Yang Guo gave a laugh and grabbed his bowl and sat at the entrance of the inn, and ate his rice.

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “That’s better.”

    Although she was hungry, her chest hurt, it was hard to swallow. She felt an urge to take her anger out on Yang Guo but he sat faraway, she wasn’t able to shout at him.

    Just as she was feeling troubled some people was outside singing, “Little miss do good deeds.” Another person followed, “Give the beggar a bowl of rice!”

    Lu Wu Shuang raised her head and saw four beggars outside lining up all looking at her, she could tell from their eyes that they have come with ill intentions, she was secretly alarmed. She heard the third beggar singing, “The path of heaven is not for you!” The fourth one sang, “Hell has no doors yet you’ve entered through!” The four beggars were singing the ‘Lotus Falling’ begging tune, each one holding a bowl in their right hand and a stick in their left. There were four coarse pockets on their shoulders. Lu Wu Shuang once heard her apprentice sister say that the beggar clan members use the coarse pockets to differentiate between rank within the clan, fourth band members will have four pockets, these beggars were fourth band members. She remembered has she fought beggars Han and Chen yesterday at Wolf Valley, it seems that they had five pockets, it seems they were a level higher than these people in front of her. If she wasn’t injured, she wouldn’t fear the beggars, now she hardly had any strength to pick up chopsticks, how could she fight the enemy? Sha Dan’s lightness kung fu maybe excellent, but he acts mad, even if he knows martial arts it won’t be too high, she couldn’t help but be at a wits end.

    Yang Guo was worrying about his stomach, it was as if he hasn’t seen the beggars yet. After he finished his bowl he went over to the rice bucket and filled another, he stretched out his hand and picked a fish up from the plates in front of Lu Wu Shuang, the soup and juices of the fish spilled all over the table, he laughed foolishly and said, “Haha, I’m going to eat a fish.”

    Lu Wu Shuang creased her brows slightly, she had no time to scold him. She heard the four beggars sing again, singing ‘Little miss’ again. The four beggars repeated this three times, the eight eyes all fixed on her. Lu Wu Shuang didn’t know how to deal with them, she slowly spooned the rice, pretending that she didn’t hear but she was extremely worried inside.

    One of the beggars loudly called out, “Little miss, if you won’t spare a bowl of rice, then how about sparing a curved sabre.” Another one said, “Come with us and we won’t make it hard for you. We just want to clear a few things up and come to a fair conclusion.” After a while someone said, “Just quickly go, do you really want us to use force?” Lu Wu Shuang thought that there would be no use whether she replied or kept quiet, she didn’t know what to do. The fourth beggar said, “We won’t use force against you, the heroes of Jiang Hu would laugh at the four of us for bullying a little girl, we just want you to come along and talk.” From their tone, Lu Wu Shuang can see that they were about to attack, she knew that it was hard for her to fight them off, yet she couldn’t sit and wait for defeat. Her left hand held the bench, when the enemy comes up she would use the bench to fight them off.

    Yang Guo thought, “Time for me to do my stuff!” He ran over to Lu Wu Shuang’s table and picked up the bowl of soup, his mouth was biting down on the fish, he mumbled, “I’m…I’m going to spill the soup!” The bowl tipped and half the hot soup spilled on the Lu Wu Shuang’s right arm. She was facing east, her arm was slightly inwards, and when the soup came she immediately pulled back and turned around to take a look.

    Yang Guo called out, “Ai Ya!” He wiped her arm and leg and at the same time, his left hand waved, four bamboo chopsticks flew out, each one shooting out the beggars. The four chopsticks were extremely fast, before the beggars could see it their arms were in pain, a crashing sound was heard as four bowls crashed onto the floor. Yang Guo used his garment and wiped Lu Wu Shuang’s sleeve continuously and said, “Don’t…don’t get angry…I’ll…I’ll…I’ll wipe it clean.”

    Lu Wu Shuang scolded, “Don’t mess around!” She turned around to look at the beggars and was shocked. She saw the backs of the beggars going around the street corner and disappearing, the floor filled with the remains of broken bowls.
    Lu Wu Shuang questioned, “Those four are strange, why did they leave all of a sudden?” She saw Yang Guo’s hands was filled with fish soup and vegetable sauce, and was wiping frantically on the table, she scolded, “Go away, aren’t you embarrassed?”

    Yang Guo said, “Yes, yes!” He wiped his hands on his clothes.

    Lu Wu Shuang creased her brows and asked, “Why did the four beggars go?”

    Yang Guo said, “They saw you were short tempered and didn’t spare anything, there wasn’t any use in begging anymore so they left.”

    Lu Wu Shuang pondered for a while and didn’t understand, she took out some money and told Yang Guo to buy a donkey with it, after she paid her bills she got on the donkey. As soon as she got on the donkey, her wound moved and she shouted out in pain.

    Yang Guo said, “It’s a pity that I’m dirty and smelly, otherwise I can support you.”
    Lu Wu Shuang said, “Humph, still talking crap.” She pulled on the rope, the donkey was extremely stubborn, it leant against the wall and forced her against the wall. Lu Wu Shuang had no strength in her arms and legs, she called out and fell off the donkey. Her right leg landed on the ground and slowly stood up, her wound was disturbed again and she was in pain, she angrily shouted, “You saw me fall yet you didn’t help me.”

    Yang Guo said, “I’m dirty.”

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “Can’t you wash first?” Yang Guo gave a stupid laugh and didn’t say anything.

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “Help me get on the donkey.” Yang Guo did as he was told and helped her onto the donkey. As soon as the donkey felt someone on its back it immediately started to buck.

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “Quickly lead the donkey.”

    Yang Guo said, “No, I’m scared that the donkey is going to kick me. It’ll be better if it was my bull.”

    Lu Wu Shuang was exasperated and thought, “He’s not completely stupid. Obviously he wants to hold on to me.” She had no alternative and could only say, “Fine, you can ride on the donkey as well.”

    Yang Guo said, “Remember you told me, don’t shout at me for being dirty and smelly.”

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “Yes, why are you wasting time?”

    Yang Guo laughed and climbed onto the back of the donkey, his arms gathered around her, he kicked with a bit of strength in his legs, the donkey felt pain and didn’t dare to cause trouble anymore and obediently walked forward.
    Yang Guo said, “Which way are we going?”

    Lu Wu Shuang had already planned out her route, she wanted to go east through Tong Guan and then through Zhong Zhou and then go south following the main road, but after seeing the four beggars, she knew that she would encounter more Beggar Clan members along the way so she thought about going along the small paths, go through the bamboo forest and towards Colt Dragon Stockade and then south via Purple Meadow, although this would make the journey longer, it was a lot safer and it would be harder for her master to catch up with her. After pondering for a while she pointed southeast and said, “That way.”

    The donkey trotted along slowly, as soon as they left the town, a small child rushed up to them and called out, “Miss Lu, I have something for you.” As the child said this the child flung a flower to them, and then turned around and ran away. Lu Wu Shuang stretched out her hand and caught it, and saw a letter wrapped around it, she quickly opened the envelope and saw a yellow piece of paper, it read; “Your master will be here shortly, quickly hide!” The yellow paper was coarse but the writing on it was elegant. Lu Wu Shuang gave out a shout and was alarmed, she pondered, “Who is that little kid? How do they know my name is Lu? And how do they know that my master is going to be here shortly?” She asked Yang Guo, “You know that child don’t you? It was your Gu Gu who sent him isn’t it?”

    Yang Guo had already read the letter from behind her and thought, “That kid was just a normal country kid, they must have been ordered to send the letter to us by someone. But who wrote the letter? It looks like it has good intentions. If Li Mo Chou really caught up, what should I do?” Although he has learnt the [Jade Heart Manual] and [Nine Ying Manual], and possessed two of the greatest skills in the world of wulin, he has only practised them for a short time, though he understood the essence behind them his internal energy wasn’t deep enough, if Li Mo Chou caught up he would not be a match for her, in broad daylight there wasn’t anywhere to hide. He was pondering but had no idea. When Lu Wu Shuang asked him he replied, “I don’t know that little Sha Dan, it looks like my Gu Gu did not send him.”

    As soon as he said this, he heard a noise, ahead was a carriage, tens of people were crowding and pushing around, there was a wedding taking place. Although it was the countryside, the event was done with an extravagant air, it was done with such enthusiasm and energy.

    A thought suddenly popped up in Yang Guo’s mind, he asked, “Do you want to be a bride?”

    End of Chapter 8
    Last edited by Mojo Jojo; 03-21-05 at 10:02 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 9

    A Hundred Ideas to Avoid the Enemy

    Lu Wu Shuang was frightened at this moment in time, when she heard him ask such a stupid question she angrily said, “Sha Dan! What the hell are you talking about?”

    Yang Guo laughed and said, “Let’s play bride and groom. Why don’t you pretend to be a bride? Won’t that be beautiful? With a red veil covering your face, when other people talk they can’t see your face.”

    Lu Wu Shuang was startled and said, “You’re instructing me to pretend to be a bride to avoid my master?”

    Yang Guo laughed and said, “I don’t know, you pretend to be a bride and I’ll be the groom.”

    This was an urgent matter, Lu Wu Shuang had no time to scold him, she thought, “Sha Dan’s idea is a strange one, but apart from this idea, there’s nothing else.” She asked, “How should we do it?”

    Yang Guo didn’t want to waste time, he lashed the donkey and it hurried forward. The small roads of the countryside were tight and narrow, with eight people carrying the carriage lining up along the road, the two had nowhere to pass. When the people saw the donkey charging forward they all shouted out, telling the riders to rein it in and slow down. Yang Guo squeezed his legs, and urged the donkey to go even faster, in a flash it had come up to the crowd. Two strong men had earlier stepped up wanting to pull the donkey back so that it won’t knock into the carriage. Yang Guo’s whip lashed out and wrapped around the two men’s arms, he raised his arm and let go, the two men fell onto the floor, He turned around to Lu Wu Shuang and said, “I want to be a groom.” He lent forward and stretched out his hand to grab the groom who was riding on a white horse.

    The groom was about seventeen, eighteen years of age, he was fitted out in new clothes with gold flowers on his head, and the sudden grab by Yang Guo frightened him. Yang Guo lifted his body and flung him up, his body flew up over a distance of ten feet, when he was about to land, the people all shouted and called out, stretching out their arms to catch him. There were about thirty people who were helping to celebrate, half of them were tall strong men of Guan Xi but when they saw his skills and the groom in his hands, how did they dare to attack? An experienced old man dashed up; thinking it was bandits, he said, “Please spare the groom Da Wang (king/magnate). The amount of money that Da Wang wants, we can discuss it.”

    Yang Guo turned around to Lu Wu Shuang and said, “Wifey, why are they calling me Da Wang? My surname is Da? I think he’s even more stupid than me.”

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “Don’t waste time, I think I can hear the bell sound of my master’s donkey.”

    Yang Guo was startled, he listened carefully, and indeed he could hear a faint ringing sound. He thought, “She’s quick.” He then said, “Ling Zi (Bell)? What Ling Zi? It’s a sweet seller? Great, let’s buys some sweets to eat.” He turned around to the old man and said, “If you listen to my instructions then I’ll let you go, otherwise” he lifted up the groom and threw him up in the air. The groom was so frightened that he began to cry. The old man made a bow and said, “We’ll do as Da Wang instructs.”

    Yang Guo pointed to Lu Wu Shuang and said, “That’s my little wifey, when she saw that someone was getting married she thought that it was amusing, she herself wants to take part too.”

    Lu Wu Shuang scolded, “Sha Dan, what did you say?”

    Yang Guo ignored her and said, “Quickly take the bride’s clothes and put it on her, I’ll be the groom.”

    It’s not unusual for kids to pretend to be a bride and groom. But who would have thought that a bandit on a narrow road would suddenly want to play this game, the people all looked at each other in dismay, and refused. Looking at the two, one was a young man, the other was a young girl, one could describe them as a married couple. But the crowd of people didn’t care. Yang Guo heard the ringing of the bell getting closer so he leapt off the donkey and placed the groom on the saddle letting Lu Wu Shuang guard him and went over to the carriage, he pushed aside the curtain and pulled the bride out. The bride screeched out in fright, her face was covered with a red veil and didn’t know what was happening outside. Yang Guo brushed aside her red veil and saw a face like the moon, a face with joy. He laughed and said, “The bride is beautiful.” He lightly touched her cheek. The bride froze in fright and didn’t make a sound.

    Yang Guo’s left hand held up the bride and called out, “If you want me to spare her, quickly take her clothes and give it to my wifey to wear.”

    Lu Wu Shuang heard the ringing of her master’s donkey getting closer, she gave him a stare and thought, “That Sha Dan doesn’t know how high the sky is and how deep the earth is, his mouth is still joking at this time?” She heard the old man following his instructions, “Quick, quick! Quickly change the bride’s clothes.” The nanny accompanying the bride quickly took off her phoenix headdress and her bridal costume and dressed Lu Wu Shuang with them. Yang Guo changed himself and took off the groom’s costume. He turned around to Lu Wu Shuang and said, “Good wifey, enter the carriage.” Lu Wu Shuang told the bride to enter the carriage first and then she entered, lowering the curtain afterwards.

    Yang Guo took a look at his grass shoes and wanted to change it when he heard the ringing sound from just around the mountain corner, he called out, “Return and head in a southeast direction, quickly! If someone comes and ask about us don’t say you’ve seen us.” He leapt onto the white horse and rode along with the groom on the donkey. When the crowd saw the couple had fallen into their hands, they didn’t dare to disobey; they raised their gongs and cymbals and started their tune.

    The carriage picked up and turned around but only after about a hundred feet, the ringing sound was becoming urgent, two donkeys trotted after them. Lu Wu Shuang was thinking about whether she would be able to escape from this danger and suddenly heard the ringing sound; her heart jumped and she carefully listened to the activities of outside.

    Yang Guo pretended to be embarrassed and lowered his head looking at the horse’s neck. He heard Hong Ling Bo call out, “Hey, have you seen a lame girl walking past here?”

    The old man from the crowd called out, “No…no…”

    Hong Ling Bo asked again, “Have you seen a girl on a animal pass by?”

    The old man said, “No.” The two passed the crowd and rushed on by. After a short while the two pulled the donkey back and returned. Li Mo Chou’s flywhisk flew out and wrapped around the curtain, she pulled out and after a ‘chi’ sound, the curtain ripped in half. Yang Guo was alarmed and rushed forward, as soon as the flywhisk come out a second time he will make his move and rescue her, but he didn’t know that after one look in the carriage, Li Mo Chou would smile and say, “The bride is handsome.” She raised her head and said to Yang Guo, “Little punk, your luck isn’t bad.”

    Yang Guo lowered his head not daring to face her, but heard them trotting away, the two had left.

    Yang Guo wondered, “Why did she spare miss Lu?” He opened the carriage only to see the bride scared out of her wits, and Lu Wu Shuang had disappeared.

    Yang Guo was even more baffled and called out, “Ai Ya, where’s my wifey gone?”

    Lu Wu Shuang laughed and said, “I’ve disappeared.” He saw the bride’s dress move and Lu Wu Shuang darted out; she had hid underneath the bride’s gown. She knew that her master was very meticulous and careful, she would examine all possibilities; she knew that her master would come back so she hid.

    Yang Guo said, “You can relax and be the bride from now on, sitting in the carriage is much more comfortable than riding on the donkey.”

    Lu Wu Shuang nodded and said the bride, “You are suffocating me, quickly get out.” The bride could do nothing and exited the carriage and rode on the donkey that was previously ridden on by Lu Wu Shuang.

    The bride and the groom had never met before, the groom saw that the bride was healthy and was attractive, the bride saw the groom and she too was pleased. The two were delighted underneath, and soon forgot that they were being held hostage by a bandit.

    They walked on for about twenty miles and the sky gradually became dark. The old man kept on pleading with Yang Guo to let them go in case they missed the wedding’s lucky period.

    Yang Guo scolded, “Why are you so annoying?” As soon as he said this, something flashed by the roadside; two people hurried into the forest. Yang Guo was suspicious and chased after them, and indeed he saw the backs of two people, their clothes were old and torn, they looked like beggars. Yang Guo reigned in his horse and thought, “Could the beggar clan have seen through us and has set up a trap ahead? But at this moment in time, all we could do is head forward.”

    Not long after, the carriage caught up with him. Lu Wu Shuang poked her head out and asked, “What did you see?”

    Yang Guo said, “Your curtain is torn and your face is not covered by the red veil. To be a proper bride one must cry and sob, even if the bride wants to get married, tears should flow and noses should run, calling out for your father and mother not daring to leave. Where can you find such an unabashed bride like you under heaven’s skies?”

    Lu Wu Shuang heard his words and understood the meaning behind it, their movements seemed to have been discovered. She lightly called out ‘Sha Dan’ and didn’t say anymore. After a while the mountain path in front of them became steep, narrow and rugged, the people carrying the procession were extremely tired long ago but didn’t say anything in case they incurred Yang Guo’s wrath.

    In the wink of the eye the sun was now above the mountain, crows screeched as they flew in the sky. At this time, suddenly voices were heard behind the mountain, they were singing, “Little miss do a good deed, please spare us a silver sabre.”

    Lu Wu Shuang’s face turned, and thought, “So the four beggars are hiding around here.”

    After the carriage was bought around the corner, three men could be seen in front of them, they were beggars. They were tall and built, they were completely different to the four beggars they previously encountered.

    Yang Guo saw that there were five pockets on their shoulders and thought, “These three fifth band beggars must be better than the four others, it looks like I’m going have to use my real skills.”

    The crowd carrying the couple had waited impatiently, one of them had taken a whip and lashed out at one of the beggars calling out, “Move out of the way, move out of the way!” The beggar did not move, he held the tip of the whip and pulled, the person holding the whip fell down. If this happened normally the crowd of people would have just rushed up but they have been frightened by Yang Guo previously and all thought, “So the three beggars are with him.” No one dared to move forward and instead took a few steps back.

    One of the beggars clearly said, “Congratulations miss, little beggar here just want to beg for some money.”

    Lu Wu Shuang quietly said, “Sha Dan, I’m injured at the moment and can’t fight, get rid of them for me.”

    Yang Guo said, “Fine.”

    He galloped forward on his horse and said, “Today’s is my wife’s special day, she doesn’t want any beggars to spoil it, now move.” One of the beggars took a few looks at Yang Guo but couldn’t recognise him from anywhere. The four beggars who had been struck in the wrist by the chopsticks all thought it was Lu Wu Shuang who did this and so did not tell their martial uncles about Yang Guo.

    One of the beggar’s waved out his right hand. Yang Guo’s horse was frightened and leapt up. Yang Guo pretended to wobble and fell off the back of the horse and didn’t pick himself up for a long time. The three beggars all thought, “So that person really is the groom.”

    The Beggar Clan is a righteous and chivalrous clan, they have always help the weak against the strong and aid those who are in danger, they have only decided to go after Lu Wu Shuang because she hurt a member of their clan. When they saw Yang Guo falling onto the ground and didn’t know martial arts they all felt apologetic, one of the beggars stretched out their hand to pull him up and said, “Sorry.”

    Yang Guo mumbled, “What’s wrong with you lot, if you want to beg for money then beg for money, why are you scaring my horse.” He took out some change and handed it out. The three beggars thanked him according to the clan’s rules.
    Yang Guo laughed out and said to Lu Wu Shuang, “You told me to give them change, I’ve already did it.”

    Lu Wu Shuang angrily said, “What use is there pretending to be stupid to me?”

    Yang Guo said, “Yes, yes!” He stepped to the side and brushed off the dirt off his body.

    Lu Wu Shuang saw the three beggars were still blocking the way, she calmly said, “What do you want?”

    One of the beggars said, “Miss is a skilled fighter of the Ancient Tomb sect, the three of us admire your skills and want a few pointers.”

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “I’m carrying a serious wound, how can I fight with you? If you don’t like it, then we can arrange a later date and test out each other skills after my injury has healed. You are skilled fighters of the Beggar Clan, today you are ganging up on a injured young girl, how can you still call yourself a hero!”
    After hearing her words, the three beggars felt that they were indeed in the wrong. Two of them said, “Fine! We’ll come back for you after your wound has recovered.”

    The other beggar said, “Wait, where exactly are you injured? You have to let me take a look to see whether it’s real or fake. If it is a real wound then I’ll spare you today.”

    He didn’t know that she was hurt in the chest, his words had no harmful intentions. But Lu Wu Shuang’s cheek immediately became red, and couldn’t stop herself from being angry. Under this anger she weren’t able to think of anything to say, after half an hour she scolded, “In Jiang Hu the Beggar Clan is known to be heroic and chivalrous, this is a lie, you lot are in fact shameless scoundrels.”

    When the three heard her disgrace the Beggar Clan’s name their faces
    immediately changed, one of them was rash and impatient, he dashed forward, stretching out his hand wanting to grab her out of the carriage.

    Yang Guo saw that the situation had become urgent, he called out, “Wait, wait. You lot asked for money, I gave you money, why are you still arguing with my wife?” He dashed forward in front of the carriage and said, “Although you three are beggars now, according to your faces you will became rich and become officials in the future, how can you do such disgraceful things and treat my new wife with such disrespect?”

    The three beggars were startled and had no reply. The impulsive beggar said, “Move out of the way, we just want to test out the Ancient Tomb’s kung fu, who’s bullying who?” He lightly pushed out his hand. Yang Guo called out loudly and dropped to the side. The Beggar Clan has a rule, one must not first hit out at someone who doesn’t know martial arts. The beggar didn’t know that this groom was so useless, just a light push and he fell onto the ground, if he was seriously hurt he would be punished within the clan, the other two would not be able to escape punishment as well. The three of them were startled and went over to pick him up.

    Yang Guo shouted and called out, “Ai Ya, Ai Ya, mum!” The three beggars could not see clearly if he was hurt or not.

    Yang Guo called out in pain and said, “You three are stupid, my wife is shy, how could she speak to strangers? How about this! What do you want to test out? First tell me. I’ll then go and ask my wife and them come back to speak with you, how about that?”

    The three of them saw that he was stupid but not stupid, they have had enough of this but it wasn’t convenient to attack him. The oldest of the beggars thought, “That Lu girl is pretending to be a bride, if that young man really is the groom then he shouldn’t help her. But if he is pretending to be a groom then he shouldn’t be so useless.” He carefully studied him but couldn’t find anything wrong.

    The impulsive beggar waved out his hand and shouted, “Are you going to move?”
    Yang Guo spread out his two hands and loudly said, “You can’t harm my wife.”

    Another beggar said, “Miss Lu, you are ordering that Sha Dan to block you, could it be that you think we won’t be able to get to you with this obstruction? Just get it over with and come out here.”

    Yang Guo said, “Oh, you know that I’m called Sha Dan, how strange.”

    The impulsive beggar faced Lu Wu Shuang and said, “We don’t have to fight, we just want to see how you used your sabre to hack into someone’s shoulder, what is this move called?”

    Lu Wu Shuang knew that Yang Guo was trying to annoy them but there wasn’t a result, she was thinking about how to escape when she heard the beggar’s question and replied without thinking, “It’s called [The Mink greets the Moon], what about it?”

    Yang Guo interrupted and said, “Correct, once my wife’s sabre comes out with a ‘fu’ sound, it will be in your shoulder.” His right hand extended out and found its way to the beggar’s shoulder. He pushed downwards and the palm of his hand lightly touched the shoulder. When the three beggars saw this move they were all startled, and all thought, “He pretended to be a fake groom all along to trick us.”

    Although Yang Guo had not put any strength into his palm, the impulsive beggar who was struck felt embarrassed, and called out, “Fine, you scoundrel, pretending to be dumb, come, let me first test out your skills.”

    Yang Guo said, “You said you want to fight with my wife first, why do you want to fight with me now?”

    The beggar angrily said, “It’s the same if I fight with you.”

    Yang Guo said, “Oh no, I don’t know what to do.” He turned around to Lu Wu Shuang and said, “My darling wife, my little wifey, tell me what should I do to them?”

    Lu Wu Shuang was beyond doubt now, she knew that he must be highly skilled, the palm he had just demonstrated was crisp and clean, she couldn’t manage something like that but she didn’t know what his martial arts origins were so she just said, “Do another stance of [The Mink greets the Moon] (diao chan bai yue).”

    Yang Guo said, “Fine!” He bent his waist and extended his hand, a clapping sound was heard as he struck down on the beggar’s shoulder again. The three beggars were astonished with that last attack. Yang Guo was definitely facing the other way from them but he didn’t take a step to turn around, all he did was stretch out his hand and the chop came down on his shoulder, that palm technique was extremely strange.

    Lu Wu Shuang’s heart shook, “That’s definitely my Ancient Tomb sect’s kung fu, how does he know it?” She then said, “A stance of [The West offers the Heart] (Xi Shi Peng Xin).”

    Yang Guo said, “Alright!” His left fist came out, and landed in the opponent’s chest. The beggar who was struck in the chest felt a strong force pushing him forward, he couldn’t stop himself from flying away about a distance of ten feet, he struggled to stay on his feet but the area of his chest where he was struck was not in pain, it was if someone had carried him and placed him further away. The other two beggars dashed up.

    Yang Guo called out urgently, “Wifey, I don’t know how to deal with them, teach me.”

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “[The Illustrious Gentlemen Pushes Out] (zhao jun chu sai), [The Numb Nun Offers Life] (ma gu xian shou).”

    Yang Guo’s left hand rose and slanted, the fingers on his right hand stretched out, his form was in the position of strumming an zither, his five fingers flicked out at the beggar on the right, this was [The Illustrious Gentlemen Pushes Out]; he immediately moved across and kicked the beggar on the left, his fists came together and pushed upwards, a clashing sound was heard as his fists struck the opponent’s jaw, he then called out, “This is [The Numb Nun Offers Life], isn’t it?”
    He didn’t want to hurt anyone so he didn’t put any strength behind his attacks.

    The four stances he used were all exquisite stances of the Ancient Tomb’s [Beauty Fist Techniques]. Ever since Lin Chao Ying founded the Ancient Tomb sect, all the arts were passed on to females, never males. Lin Chao Ying’s [Beauty Fist Technique] took the names of famous beauties for the name of its stances, when it is used it is elegant, graceful and enchanting, yet it was deadly at the same time. Yang Guo learnt martial arts from Xiao Long Nuu so of course he learnt this set of fist techniques but he felt although it was a refined set of skills, it’s nature meant that when a man practised it, it wasn’t appealing, when he was practising he inadvertently changed its soft nature into hard and yang, its changes became swift and stylish, though the nature of it was slightly different, the technique of this set of fists remained intact.

    The three beggars were all struck by the stances without knowing what happened but because they didn’t feel any pain from the stances, they weren’t in awe of Yang Guo’s skills, they whistled together and attacked all at once. Yang Guo dodged to the east and darted to the west, he called out, “Wifey, it looks like it’s becoming desperately serious, you are going to be a widow today!”

    Lu Wu Shuang scoffed and said, “[Heaven’s Grandson Weaves Cotton] (tian sun zhi mian)!”

    Yang Guo’s right hand wiped his left, his left pushed the right, his stance resembled a loom weaving cloth, one scatter one push, his hands struck the beggars on the shoulders again.

    Lu Wu Shuang called out again, “[The Civil Gentlemen as a Stove] (wen jun dang lu), [The Concubine is Drunk] (gui fei zui jiu)!”

    Yang Guo raised his hand like as if he was pouring wine and cut down on the impulsive beggars forehead and caught his body, he twisted him around and flung him out to the right, his shoulder hitting another beggar squarely in the chest. The three beggars were alarmed and angry, the three of them used the kung fu they have obtained throughout their life, yet now they couldn’t even touch the kid’s clothes. The boy looked and his hand waved out, whoever he wanted to hit he struck, although it wasn’t painful when they were hit, it was extremely weird.

    Lu Wu Shuang called out three stances in a row, “[Foolish Jade Blows the Flute] (nong yu chui xiao), [The Descending Goddess Encroaches the Wave] (luo shen ling bo), [Enticing Shoot Holding Fist] (gou yi wo quan).” Yang Guo did as he was told. Lu Wu Shuang was in awe, she deliberately gave a hard stance, as Yang Guo was throwing out his fist, she immediately called out, “[Ruling Sky Hangs] (ze tian chui).” According to his form at the moment, it was impossible to use this stance, but because Yang Guo’s internal energy was much higher than the enemy’s, he actually managed this, his body went forward, his palms hanging down. The three beggars saw that his chest was exposed and there was a weakness, they were delighted and dashed forward, but they didn’t know that his internal energy would hold them back and force them to retreat a few steps.

    Lu Wu Shuang’s was pleasantly surprised and called out, “[One Laugh Overturns the Country] (yi xiao qing guo)!” This was a stance that she had just invented. A captivating beauty could overturn cities and countries with a smile, but how could this be used to fight with others?

    Yang Guo was startled, he immediately laughed out loud, ‘ha’ ‘ha’ ‘ha’ ‘ha’, ‘hei’ ‘hei’ ‘hei’ ‘hei’, ‘hu’ ‘hu’ ‘he’ ‘he’, and circulated the profound internal energy of the [Nine Yin Manual]. Although he hasn’t refined this internal energy to a good level that could be used to fight off skilled fighters, the three band five beggars were just run of the mill fighters, when they heard this strange laugh, they couldn’t stop their heads from shaking and eyes from being dazzled, their body shook a few times and fell down onto the floor. Every person has a moon shaped small object in their ear which controls the balance of the person, if this object is forced to shake, headaches and feeling light headed will be unavoidable, and eventually they won’t be able to stand upright. Yang Guo’s laugh was created by his strong internal energy, everyone’s eardrums were being shaken continuously, it was like the earth and sky was flipping over. Lu Wu Shuang felt faint and urgently grabbed onto the carriage to support herself. Calls of ‘ai ya’ and thudding noises all sounded together, the well wishers of the wedding, the bride and groom all fell onto the floor.

    Yang Guo’s laughter stopped, the three beggars got up, their faces grey, they ran away without turning their heads back. The rest of the party rested for half an hour and then carried the carriage, now they treated Yang Guo’s order as words from gods, they didn’t dare to revolt.

    At ‘er geng shi fen’ (I assume it’s nine o’clock in the evening) they reached a town and Yang Guo let the people go. The people knew that they would be detained after being captured by this bandit, and would most likely suffer his wrath, how would they know that this bandit really wanted to have a laugh and pretend to be a newly wed, they were all surprised and all thanked and expressed gratitude to Yang Guo. The nanny was much more vocal and said, “Da Wang and his wife would stay together for hundred of years until both of you are old with white hair, you are going to have many little ‘Da Wangs’.” This made Yang Guo laugh out; Lu Wu Shuang was embarrassed and angry with this.

    Yang Guo and Lu Wu Shuang found an inn and called for some rice and dishes.
    They were about to eat when they saw someone enter and after seeing the two of them, they immediately turned around and walked away. Yang Guo saw something was wrong and went over to the entrance and saw two people standing in a pavilion, it was the two Taoists who fought with Lu Wu Shuang at Wolf Valley, Shen Zhi Fan and Ji Qing Xu. The two of them took out their long swords and darted forward.

    Yang Guo thought, “Why are you two trying to make trouble with me? Are you looking for pain?”

    The two approached but slanted their body and brushed past him, they hurried into the hall and headed for Lu Wu Shuang. At this time, the ringing of a bell was suddenly heard, ‘ding ling’ ‘ding ling’.

    By the time the ringing sounds were in their ears, the source had arrived. The two Taoists’ faces changed and glanced at each other, they darted to the first room of the western wing and closed the door, and didn’t come out again.

    Yang Guo thought, “Rotten Taoists, you’ve probably tasted Li Mo Chou’s pain before, that’s why you’re acting like this.”

    Lu Wu Shuang quietly said, “My master is near, Sha Dan, what do you think we should do?”

    Yang Guo said, “What shall we do? Let’s run!” As soon as he stretched out his hand to help her out, the ringing sound had arrived at the entrance of the inn.
    They heard Li Mo Chou say, “Guard the roof.”

    They then heard the waiter say, “Angelic nun, old senior’s room, ai ya, I …” A thudding sound was heard as he landed on the ground, there wasn’t another noise. He didn’t know that Li Mo Chou hated people who mentioned the word ‘old’, what about when someone called her ‘old senior’? The flywhisk was sent out and robbed the old waiter of his life.

    She asked another waiter, “There’s a lame girl here, where is she?”

    That waiter was already scared out of his wits, he couldn’t reply and just said, “I…I…” Li Mo Chou kicked him away with her left foot, her right foot kicked open the first room of the western wing. She went in and took a look; it was where the Taoists Shen and Ji were staying.

    Yang Guo thought, “It’s best if we left by the backdoor, although Hong Ling Bo will see us, it won’t be too much trouble.”

    He quietly said, “Wifey, escape with me.”

    Lu Wu Shuang looked at him and got up, thinking that if she was able to escape this time then heaven must be looking out for her. As soon as the two got up, a guest from the table in the eastern corner came up to them and quietly said, “I’ll lure the enemy away, quickly think of a way to escape.” That person sat inside in an out of sight place, Lu Wu Shuang and Yang Guo couldn’t see their face. When they were speaking their face was turned away, as soon as they finished what they were saying, they immediately left from the main door, they could only see the person’s back. That person wasn’t tall; they wore a flowing blue green gown. Yang Guo and Lu Wu Shuang looked at each other and then heard the bell ringing, going towards the north.

    Hong Ling Bo called out, “Master, someone’s escaping.” A yellow blur came out of the room; Li Mo Chou dashed out of the inn and chased after the escapee.

    Lu Wu Shuang quickly said, “Quickly run!”

    Yang Guo thought, “Li Mo Chou’s lightness kung fu is extremely quick, she will be able to catch up with that person in just a second, and then she will return here. I won’t be able to go that fast will Miss Lu on my back, we won’t be able to run away.” An idea dawned on him; he dashed into the first room of the western wing. He saw the Taoists Shen and Ji sitting by the bed, their faces’ were still carrying the shock from before. There was no time to delay, Yang Guo didn’t allow for the two to get up and ask questions as he dashed forward and moved his finger, sealing the two’s pressure points, keeping them still. He called out, “Wifey, enter.” Lu Wu Shuang entered the room. Yang Guo closed the doors and said, “Quickly take off your clothes!”

    Lu Wu Shuang’s face blushed and hissed, “Sha Dan, what are you saying now?”
    Yang Guo said, “It’s up to you whether you want to take off your clothes or not, I’m going to.” He took off his outer garment and put on Shen Zhi Fan’s Taoist gown and hat.

    Lu Wu Shuang then understood, and said, “Fine, we’ll pretend to be Taoists to cheat my master.” She stretched out her hand and undid her buttons. Her face turned red and kicked Ji Qing Xu, she said, “Close your eyes you ****ing Taoist!” The two Taoists could not move but still had control of their five senses, they closed their eyes immediately, how would they dare to look at her?

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “Sha Dan, turn around, don’t watch me change.”

    Yang Guo laughed and said, “What are you scared of, when I helped you fix your bone back into place, haven’t I already seen you?” As soon as he said this he felt that he was impolite and offended her, he couldn’t stop himself from feeling a bit embarrassed. All Yang Guo had to do was to lower his head and move away but he was in a trance, a slap came and he was heavily struck on the left cheek. Lu Wu Shuang thought that she could never have hit him in a million years, she didn’t hold back, she felt apologetic, she laughed and said, “Sha Dan, does it hurt? Who told you to speak such crap?”

    Yang Go touched his cheek and laughed, he turned around.

    Lu Wu Shuang changed into the Taoist gown and laughed, “Take a look! Don’t I look like a young Taoist?”

    Yang Guo said, “I can’t see so I don’t know.”

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “Sha Dan, turn around.”

    Yang Guo turned around and saw her Taoist gown was flowing, it showed off her figure even better, he was about to say something when Lu Wu Shuang gave a grunt and pointed to the bed, and saw a Taoist’s head sticking out of the covers, it was the Taoist whose fingers had been cut off by her, Pi Quan Xuan. All along he had been lying on the bed resting, when he saw Lu Wu Shuang enter, he immediately hid his head in the covers. The two of them were preoccupied with changing and didn’t notice him.

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “He…he…” She wanted to say ‘he saw me changing’ but couldn’t say the words. At this time, the donkey’s bell was heard. Yang Guo listened out and knew that Li Mo Chou had taken the donkey back, when the guest in blue green rode the donkey, the bell’s ringing was scattered, when Li Mo Chou rode her donkey, though she rode it fast the bell’s ringing was ordered. His mind lit, he picked up Pi Quan Xuan and sealed his pressure point at the same time. He opened the compartment underneath the bed and placed him in there. It’s cold in the north, in the winter nights the bed will be warmed by a fire underneath it, it was now summer, there was no need to light a fire underneath the bed but underneath there was ash and coal, Pi Quan Xuan’s face was covered in grey ash.

    The ringing sound of the bell stopped, Li Mo Chou had come back to the inn. Yang Guo said to Lu Wu Shuang, “Sleep in the bed.”

    Lu Wu Shuang’s brows raised and said, “A smelly Taoist has slept there, its dirty, how can I sleep on it?”

    Yang Guo said, “It’s up to you!” As he said this he stuck Shen Zhi Fan underneath the bed as well and unsealed Ji Qing Xu’s pressure point at the same time.

    Though Lu Wu Shuang felt that the bed and covers were dirty, she thought about how venomous her master was so she got on to the bed, her face facing the bed. As soon as she slept on the bed, Li Mo Chou kicked open the door and come to search the room for a second time. Yang Guo took a tea cup and lowered his head, drinking tea, his left hand covering the fatal pressure point on the back of Ji Qing Xu’s. Li Mo Chou saw that there were still three Taoists, Ji Qing Xu’s face was grey and was shaking, Li Mo Chou laughed and searched the second room.

    When she searched the room for the first time, she had studied the faces of the three Taoists carefully afraid that Lu Wu Shuang had disguised herself as one of them, she didn’t take a closer look the second time.

    That night Li Mo Chou and her disciple searched the town’s inns, disturbing everyone. Yang Guo and Lu Wu Shuang lied on the bed with their heads together, he smelt her womanly scent and was happy. Lu Wu Shuang had many thoughts, she felt that Yang Guo was an extremely strange person, if one said he was a ‘Sha Dan’, he was extremely clever, if one said he was intelligent, he would be act mad and crazy. She lied on the bed not daring to move, thinking that Sha Dan would definitely try to hug her, what should she do then? A while passed but there was no movement from Yang Guo, she was actually disappointed. She smelt the manly scent of Yang Guo and was captivated by it, time passed as she slowly fell asleep.

    When Yang Guo woke up the sky was bright, he saw Ji Qing Xu in deep sleep across the table, Lu Wu Shuang was quiet, her cheeks were rosy, her lips red slightly apart, he couldn’t stop himself from being moved and thought, “If I lightly kiss her, she won’t know.”

    He’s a young man who is experiencing his first awakenings of love (qing dou chu kai – I assume this is talking about puberty), he has never been close to a girl before, right now he was at his most emotional state, he thought about the time when he was fixing her ribs and saw her naked chest, it was even harder for him to resist. Yang Guo moved his head forward, wanting to kiss her on the lips. Before the lips met he smelt a fragrant scent his heart stirred, his blood rushed up, her brows crinkled, she seemed to still feel the pain of her broken ribs in her dreams. When Yang Guo saw her face like this he immediately remembered Xiao Long Nuu and then remembered the oath he swore, “I will only have Gu Gu in my heart in my lifetime, if my heart changes, there will be no need for Gu Gu to kill me, when I see her face I will kill myself.” He broke out in a cold sweat and two slapping sounds were heard, he slapped himself heavily across his cheeks and leapt off the bed.

    This woke up Lu Wu Shuang, she opened her eyes and asked, “Sha Dan, what are you doing?”

    Yang Guo was feeling embarrassed and guilty, he mumbled, “Nothing, it’s just a mosquito biting my face.”

    Lu Wu Shuang remembered how she slept with him last night, her face suddenly turned red, she lowered her head and gently said, “Sha Dan, Sha Dan!” Her voice carried a soft and caring tone.

    After a while she raised her head and asked, “Sha Dan, how come you know the Ancient Tomb’s [Beauty Fist Technique]?”

    Yang Guo said, “When I dream at night many beautiful woman and minks came and taught me a stance, that’s how I know.”

    Lu Wu Shuang gave an ‘humph’ sound, she knew that he won’t answer anything if she asked again, just as she was about to change the subject, she suddenly heard the ringing sound of Li Mo Chou’s donkey. They headed in a northwest direction and then returned. Li Mo Chou thought about how the ‘Five Poison Codex’ was in Lu Wu Shuang’s hands, another day without the book meant another day with danger, she didn’t dare to waste any time, before the sky became bright she rode her donkey and searched around.

    Yang Guo said, “When she can’t find us she will leave It’s a pity that you’re hurt and can’t move much, otherwise we would steal a pair of horses and gallop for one day and one night, how would she be able to catch up then?”

    Lu Wu Shuang angrily said, “You’re not hurt, why don’t you go and steal a horse and gallop for a day and night?”

    Yang Guo thought, “This girl is takes everything to heart, I just said something without thinking and she got angry.” But he wanted to see her angry expression and wanted to anger her further and said, “If it weren’t for you begging me to take you to Jiang Nan, I would have long gone.”

    Lu Wu Shuang was furious and said, “Just go, go! Sha Dan, just looking at you makes me angry, just go and die by yourself.”

    Yang Guo laughed and said, “Huh, I’ll miss you if you die.” He was afraid that Lu Wu Shuang was going to get angry for real and aggravate her injury so he laughed and exited the room, he found an ink block and returned to the room. He placed the ink block in a water of basin and rubbed it about, and then suddenly he touched Lu Wu Shuang’s face. Lu Wu Shuang wasn’t prepared for this hand coming towards her and touching her face, she scolded, “Rotten Sha Dan, bastard Sha Dan.” She then saw him take out a pile of ash from underneath the bed, he smeared the ash and brushed the water on his face, his face was dirty and unsightly, as if his face was full of pimples and boils.

    She then understood, “Although I’ve changed into Taoist clothes my face hasn’t changed, if my master catches up with me, how would she not recognise me?” She then smeared the ink water over her face. Girls naturally love to make themselves as beautiful as possible, although she was smearing ink water, she applied it as if she was applying make up.

    The two finished with their disguise. Yang Guo stretched out his leg underneath the bed and unsealed the two Taoist’s pressure points. Lu Wu Shuang saw that Yang Guo didn’t even take a look and after some kicks the two Taoists made a relieved grunt, she was secretly in awe of him and thought, “That Sha Dan’s kung fu is better than mine by ten times.” But she didn’t show any sign of this and instead kept on scolding him, as if she thought nothing of him.

    Yang Guo went to the market to look for a cart but the market was too small, there were no carts for rent, he could only buy two horses. That day, Lu Wu Shuang’s injury had lightened; both of them rode on the horse and slowly went southeast.

    They rode for a few hours, Yang Guo was afraid that she was tired so he helped her down off the horse and sat on a rock and rested. He remembered how he almost treated Lu Wu Shuang with disrespect, although he felt that treating Lu Wu Shuang with disrespect wasn’t anything serious, he would have done something sorry to his Gu Gu, he was a bastard. He was insulting and cursing himself when Lu Wu Shuang suddenly asked, “Sha Dan, why aren’t you talking to me.”

    Yang Guo smiled and didn’t reply. He suddenly thought of something and asked, “Ai ya, crap, I’m so dumb.”

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “You are dumb!”

    Yang Guo said, “When we disguised ourselves, the three Taoists saw us. If they tell your master, won’t that be a disaster?”

    Lu Wu Shuang pursed her lips and smiled, then said, “Those three Taoists have rode pass us long ago, my master is still behind us. What’s wrong with you Sha Dan, what were you in a daze about, you didn’t even see them ride pass us.”
    Yang Guo gave an ‘ah’ sound and laughed. Lu Wu Shuang felt that his laugh had a hidden meaning behind it, she remembered the words she just said, ‘What’s wrong with you Sha Dan, what were you in a daze about’, she couldn’t stop her face from turning red. At this time, they suddenly heard the neigh of a horse.
    Lu Wu Shuang turned around and saw two beggars approaching from around the corner. Yang Guo took a look and saw a head peep out and withdrew back behind the mountain, it was Shen Zhi Fan and Ji Qing Xu. He thought, “So the three Taoists told the Beggar Clan that we’ve dressed up as Taoists.”

    He held up his hand and said, “Beggar masters, if you want to ask for food or money, old Taoist here has already given as much as he could today, you’ll have to leave empty handed today.”

    One of the beggars had a voice like an overwhelming bell, he said, “Even if you shaved your head and disguised yourselves as a monk or a nun, you won’t be able to get past my eyes and ears. Don’t play dumb anymore, just get it over with and come with us to see the elder and sort this matter out.”

    Yang Guo thought, “Those two old beggars have eight pockets on their back, I’m afraid that they might be very skilled.”

    The two beggars were eight band members, they saw that the two of them were at most twenty years old yet they managed to defeat four band four members and three band five members, they thought that there must something strange going on here.

    Both sides were suspicious of each other. In the northwest the ringing of a gold bell could be heard, ‘ding ling’ ‘ding ling’, it was light and swift, it was pleasant to the ear.

    Lu Wu Shuang thought, “Crap, crap. Although I have disguised my face, I had to bump into those two old beggars at this time, once they’ve uncovered my identity, how will I be able to escape from my master? Oh crap, I’m really out of luck this time. There had to be someone with nothing to do with themselves once they’ve been fed, they had to come and find me.”

    In a short while, the bell’s ringing became closer. Yang Guo thought, “I won’t be able to beat her, the only thing I can do is to quickly find a path to escape on.” He said, “You two aren’t begging for alms, and you won’t come close, just let us pass.” As he said this he took large steps forward. The two beggars saw that his steps weren’t solid, it seems that he didn’t know any martial arts, each one stretched out their arm and grabbed him.

    Yang Guo chopped out his right hand and clashed with the two palms, the three palms pulled back and each one took three steps back. The two eight band Beggar Clan members have practised martial arts for tens of years, their internal energy was profound, in the world of Jiang Hu there were few who could match them, in terms of kung fu foundation they were ahead of Yang Guo but when it comes to the mastery and exquisite stances, they weren’t a match for Yang Guo. Yang Guo borrowed strength to use strength and dispersed the two’s palms but if he wanted to dash pass them, it would be impossible. The three of them were secretly startled. At this time Li Mo Chou and her disciple had arrived at the scene.

    Hong Ling Bo called out, “Hey, Beggar, Taoist, have you seen a limp girl pass by here?”

    The two beggars had a high status in the world of wulin, when they heard Hong Ling Bo question them like this they became angry but the Beggar Clan had strict rules, the members mustn’t get into feuds with others as they pleased so the two just replied, “No!”

    Li Mo Chou’s eyes were sharp and saw the back of Lu Wu Shuang, she was suspicious and thought, “I think I’ve seen them two before?” She saw three four facing each other, their weapons braced as if they were about to fight, she thought she should stand by the side and see what happens.

    Yang Guo glanced over and saw that she had a wry smile on her face, standing by watching the battle, he had a thought, “I’ve got it, if I do this I’ll erase her suspicions.” He turned around and went over to Hong Ling Bo to ask her something, he disguised his voice and said, “Greetings Taoist friend.” Hong Ling Bo returned the greeting.

    He said, “Taoist here was just passing by when these two evil beggars started to cause trouble, wanting to fight me. Taoist here has not got any weapons, I hope you borrow me a weapon on respect of Lao Jun.” As he said this he made another bow.

    Hong Ling Bo saw that his face was black and ugly, but his was respectful and modest, he referred to the Taoist’s Tai Shang Lao Jun, it didn’t seem right to reject his request so she held up her sword and glanced at her master. She saw that she was nodding her head and so handed the sword to him. Yang Guo bowed as he received the long sword, the tip pointing to the ground, he said, “If Taoist here can’t fight off the enemy, I hope that Taoist friend here will look upon the fact that we are people of religion and assist me.”

    Hong Ling Bo raised her brows and gave an ‘humph’ sound without replying.

    Yang Guo turned around and loudly said to Lu Wu Shuang, “Apprentice brother, sit by the side and watch, don’t move I’m going to teach the Beggar Clan beggars the skills of our Quan Zhen sect.”

    Li Mo Chou shivered, “So the two Taoists are from the Quan Zhen sect. But Quan Zhen sect and the Beggar Clan have always been good friends, why are they arguing?”

    Yang Guo was afraid that the two beggars would speak and reveal who Lu Wu Shuang was so he raised his sword and dashed forward, calling out, “Come, come, come, I’ll fight two by myself.”

    But Lu Wu Shuang was concerned, “Sha Dan doesn’t know that my master has fought Quan Zhen sect on many occasions, how would she not be able to recognise the stances of the Quan Zhen sect? There are many Taoist sects in the world, Zheng Yi, Da Dao, Tai Yi, they are all good choices for our cover why the hell did he pick Quan Zhen?”

    The two beggars heard him say ‘From the Quan Zhen sect’ and were alarmed, the both called out, “Are you really from Quan Zhen sect? You and…”

    Yang Guo didn’t allow them to mention Lu Wu Shuang and thrust his sword forward, separately attacking the stomachs of the two; it was Quan Zhen’s [Di Chuan] sword skills. The two beggars status were high, they could gang up and fight a yung boy like him but Yang Guo’s stance came out extremely quick, they had to attack together with their sticks. As the metal rods were raised, Yang Guo’s sword darted through the gap and aimed for their chests. The two Taoists could never have predicted that his sword skills were extremely quick; they quickly retreated. Yang Guo didn’t hold back, he kept on applying the pressure, in a flash he had unleashed eighteen swords, every stance had two intentions, when the sword comes out it was one stance, but within it was artifice, the sword stance separated into two. This was Quan Zhen’s [One Sword into Three Distinctions] (yi jian hua san qing) technique; every stance can be made into three. Every stance that Yang Guo threw out, the beggars moved back three steps, after the eighteen stances had been unleashed, the beggars had not even attacked back once, they retreated back a total of fifty-four steps. The kung fu of the [Jade Heart Manual] was designed to counter Quan Zhen’s kung fu, before Yang Guo practised the [Jade Heart Manual] he practised the kung fu of the Quan Zhen sect. But because he had not practised enough and it weren’t refined enough, he wasn’t able to do [One Sword into Three Distinctions], but he was good enough to turn it into two distinctions.

    Li Mo Chou saw that the young Taoist’s sword skills were refined, she couldn’t help from being shocked and thought, “No wonder Quan Zhen’s name is so famous, there are able people from the sect, in ten years time how will I be able to beat him? It looks the mantle of the Quan Zhen sect is going to fall into his hands in the future.”

    If she fought with Yang Guo, she would know that although the stances were real on the outside, underneath it was the Ancient Tomb’s kung fu, but from it’s appearance, it was hard to distinguish between the two. Yang Guo has learnt the Quan Zhen song from Zhao Zhi Jing, and practised it after, and so his Quan Zhen kung fu weren’t completely a fake. Lu Wu Shuang and Hong Ling Bo looked on, dazzled.

    Yang Guo thought, “If I slow down and allow the two beggars to talk, we’ll be finished.” Once the eighteen stances had passed, the long sword quickly turned around and attacked the two beggars back, another set of two distinctions. The two beggars quickly turned around to attack. Yang Guo didn’t allow the metal rods and the sword to collide, he quickly darted behind the two’s backs. The beggars turned around, Yang Guo darted behind the beggars again. He knew that if it came to a real kung fu contest, he would not be able to handle one beggar let alone two, he utilized his lightness kung fu and circled around the two beggars. In the Quan Zhen sect, as soon as one has refined their kung fu to a high level, they will practise lightness kung fu so later on they will be able to use it when practising the [Big Dipper Formation]. Although Yang Guo is now using the steps of Quan Zhen’s kung fu, but his breathing and circulation are from the formulae of the [Jade Heart Manual]. The Ancient Tomb’s lightness kung fu was second to none in the world, as soon as he used it, the two skilled Beggar Clan fighters were not able to catch up, they saw him moving like lightning, a white blur, the sword piercing forwards. If he wanted to kill them, even if twenty beggars were here he would be able to kill them. The two beggars quickly turned around and waved their rods for defence, right now they weren’t able to defend against the incoming stances, they used all their strength in defence and hoped that heaven was on their side. They ran around like this for around ten loops, the two beggars were dizzy and dazed, their feet rapid, they felt that they were about to faint.

    Li Mo Chou chuckled and said, “Hey, my Beggar Clan friends, I’ll teach you a method, stand back to back so you won’t have to keep on turning around.” With this pointer, the two beggars were filled with joy, there were about to follow this method when Yang Guo thought, “Crap! If this happen I’m going to lose.” He stopped circling them, two stances in one, as the sword was thrust forwards aiming for their backs. The two beggars heard the wind sound from the sword, they weren’t able to use their rods to block it so advanced forward. As soon as they took a step the stance arrived, they were shocked and quickly hurried out of the way. How could they have predicted though that Yang Guo’s sword was like a shadow, no matter how fast they ran away, they sword remained behind their backs. The two’s steps slowed, their backs were pierced by the sword. The two beggars knew that Yang Guo didn’t want to kill them, otherwise all he had to do was just add an ounce of strength and the sword would have moved an inch further, wouldn’t the sword have gone through their chests? But they still didn’t dare to slow their steps. The three used their energy and in a flash they had moved over two miles, leaving Li Mo Chou and the others behind. Yang Guo suddenly sped up and dashed in front of the two. He laughed and said, “Walk slowly, be careful of tripping!” The two threw out their rods at the same time. Yang Guo stretched out his left hand and held onto one of the rods, at the same time he extended the flat side of his sword and hit the metal rod to the left. His left palm opened and held the two rods. The two beggars felt something was wrong and quickly distributed their chi. Yang Guo’s internal energy wasn’t a match for theirs, he didn’t dare to try and match them, and swept the long sword across. If the two beggars didn’t let go, their eight fingers would be slashed off immediately, they could only let go and jump back, their faces carried an embarrassed expression. Not being able win and using such a way to escape may have been gone too far.

    Yang Guo said, “My sect and your clan have always been friends, please don’t believe what others say my friends. Every event has their source, the Ancient Tomb’s ‘Serpent Deity’ Li Mo Chou is over there, why aren’t you question her?”

    The two beggars did not know Li Mo Chou but knew that she was ruthless and vindictive, when they heard Yang Guo say this they both shivered and said at the same time, “Is this true?”

    Yang Guo said, “Why should I lie? That witch forced Taoist here until I had nowhere else to run, that’s why I had to fight with you two.” As he said this, he raised the metal rods and politely gave it back to the beggars. He said, “It is well known what objects the ‘Serpent Deity’ always carry by her side, haven’t you two heard about this?”

    One of the beggars understood and said, “Yes, she holds a flywhisk, her donkey has a golden bell. The woman in yellow is she?”

    Yang Guo smiled and said, “Correct, correct. The girl who used the silver sabre to hurt your clan member is her disciple.” He then made his voice slightly deeper and said, “I’m afraid that it’s ominous, it ominous.”

    The beggar with the voice like an overwhelming bell was impatient and asked, “What are you afraid of?”

    Yang Guo said, “Ominous, ominous.”

    The beggar urgently asked, “What’s ominous?”

    Yang Guo replied, “Li Mo Chou is notorious in wulin, everyone is afraid of her. Your clan may be powerful but no one is her match. Since it was a disciple of hers who injured one of your members, it would be best to leave it.”

    He angered that beggar; the beggar raised his metal rod and said, “Huh, I don’t care if she’s the ‘Serpent Deity’ or ‘Lizard Deity’, I must fight her today.” As he said this he headed back towards the path. The other beggar was more cautious, thinking how they could not overcome a young man, if they incurred the wrath of the ‘Serpent Deity’, aren’t they signing their death wish? He held the other beggar’s arm and said, “There’s no need to rush, let’s go back and plan this first.” He made a salute to Yang Guo with one hand and said, “Please can we have the pleasure of knowing your name.”

    Yang Guo smiled and said, “My surname is Sa, first names Hua Zi. Hope we’ll meet again.” He made a bow and turned around hurrying back to the others.

    The two beggars mumbled, “Sa Hua Zi, Sa Hua Zi? I have never heard of this name, this person’s skills are excellent at such a young age…” One of the beggars suddenly leapt up and cursed, “Scoundrel, animal!”

    The other beggar asked, “What?”

    The beggar replied, “He’s called Sa Hua Zi, it means kill beggars (Kill a beggar has the same Ping Ying as Sa Hua Zi), we’ve been insulted without knowing.” Though the two cursed, they didn’t dare to return to finish this matter with him.”

    Yang Guo laughed on the inside, he quickly returned and saw Lu Wu Shuang on top of the horse looking to the side, revealing how anxious she was. As soon as she saw Yang Guo her spirits immediately raised, she quickly met him on the horse and quietly said, “Sha Dan, you’re great, leaving me behind.”

    Yang Guo smiled and offered the long sword back to Hong Ling Bo with the handle end facing towards her. He bowed and said, “Thank you for the sword.” Hong Ling Bo stretched out her hand to receive it.

    Yang Guo was about to turn around when Li Mo Chou suddenly said, “Wait.” She saw that the young Taoist was skilled; she thought that if she let him go now he will become a problem in the future, while his kung fu was still lower than hers, she would get rid of the potential problem now.

    As soon as Yang Guo heard the word ‘wait’ he knew something was wrong, he lowered the sword a few inches into Hong Ling Bo’s hand and immediately took his hand away. Hong Ling Bo could only take the handle of the sword and smiled, she said, “Young Taoist has some fierce skills.”

    Li Mo Chou originally wanted to anger him into attacking and kill him in one stroke with her flywhisk, but now he did not have a weapon, she was of a high status and so could not use her weapon to harm him so she flung her flywhisk to one side and asked, “Which of the Quan Zhen seven masters is your master?”

    Yang Guo smiled and said, “I’m Wong Chong Yang’s disciple.” He had no good feelings towards the Quan Zhen sect, he had no respect for them, though Qiu Chu Ji treated him fairly well, he was only with him for a short while and before he left he strictly scolded him, he knew he didn’t meant any harm but in his heart he was still angry. When he remembers Hao Da Tong and Zhao Zhi Jing, he became even angrier. In the Ancient Tomb he had practised the important aspects of the [Nine Yin Manual] left by Wong Chong Yang, so technically he could say that he was his disciple. But according to his age, he could only be the disciple of Taoists in Zhao Zhi Jing’s and Yin Zhi Ping’s generation, when Li Mo Chou saw that his skills weren’t weak and ask him, which one of the Quan Zhen seven masters was his master, it was holding him in a lofty light. If Yang Guo replied Qiu Chu Ji or one of the others, Li Mo Chou would have believed him. But he didn’t want be a generation lower to the Taoist who killed grandma Sun, Hao Da Tong, so he said Wong Chong Yang. Wong Chong Yang was the person who founded the Quan Zhen sect, in his life he had only taken in seven disciples, everyone knew this in the wulin world, when this young Taoist was born Wong Chong Yang had left the world long ago.

    Li Mo Chou thought, “This ugly freak doesn’t know how high the sky is and how deep the earth is, and he doesn’t know who I am, how dare he talk such nonsense in front of me.” She then thought, “How could Quan Zhen Taoists use their founder for a joke? And how could they dare to say the words ‘Wong Chong Yang’? But if he isn’t a disciple of Quan Zhen, then how come each of his stances are from Quan Zhen?”

    Yang Guo saw that although she had a smile on her face, her brows were creased, she was in deep thought. He thought about the day where he pretended to be a farmer to trick Hong Ling Bo and in the tomb they had exchanged blows, he couldn’t let them find out who he really was through his words so without delay he carried on, he raised his hands in respect. He turned around and leapt onto the horse, and was about to gallop away.

    Li Mo Chou floated over in front of his horse and said, “Come down, I have something to say to you.”

    Yang Guo said, “I know what you want to ask me. You want to ask me have I seen a pretty girl, who is lame in her left foot, isn’t it? And where has she taken your book?”

    Li Mo Chou was shocked and calmly said, “Yes, you are clever. Where is the book?”

    Yang Guo said, “Just now, my apprentice brother and I were resting by the side, we saw that girl fighting with three beggars. One of the beggars suffered a slash from the girl but the other two beggars came up, she wasn’t a match for them, and eventually was held captive by them.”

    Li Mo Chou was always calm no matter what, but when she thought about how Lu Wu Shuang was caught by the beggars, her ‘Five Poison Codex’ would fall into their hands, she couldn’t stop herself from showing a sign of being alarmed.

    Yang Guo saw that the lie worked and continued, “One of the beggars fished out a book from the girl’s pockets, she wouldn’t give it to them and suffered disrespect from him.”

    Lu Wu Shuang glanced at him and thought, “Fine Sha Dan, talking rubbish about me, you think I won’t do anything to you?”

    Yang Guo that she was frightened but deliberately asked her, “Apprentice brother, doesn’t it get people mad? That girl was touched all over the place by the beggars and suffered great insults, didn’t she?”

    Lu Wu Shuang hung her head down and gave a grunt. As he said this, there were the sounds of horse hoofs around the hill, a crowd of horses and people came up, it was a group of Mongolian soldiers. Once the Jin’s were overthrown, everything north of the Mie River was under the control of the Mongolians. Li Mo Chou didn’t care about the soldiers, but she was in a rush to find out the whereabouts of Lu Wu Shuang and didn’t want anything to delay her so she stood by the side watching the ground shaking as over a hundred Mongolian soldiers were escorting an official. The Mongolian official wore a bright garment, a bow hung from his waist, his horse riding technique was excellent, he exuded an air of calmness as he rode across. Once the soldiers passed, Li Mo Chou wiped the dust away from her body using her flywhisk. Every time the flywhisk waved, Lu Wu Shuang’s heart missed a beat, she knew if the flywhisk was waved at her and not the dust, her head would have split open immediately.

    After she finished cleaning herself up she asked, “And then?”

    Yang Guo said, “The beggars took the girl and headed north. Young Taoist here couldn’t stand by and tried to interfere, and two of the beggars stayed behind to fight with me.”

    Li Mo Chou nodded her head and smiled, she said, “Great, thank you. My name is Li Mo Chou, people in Jiang Hu call me the ‘Serpent Deity’, and some call me the ‘Serpent Demon’. Have you heard my name before?”

    Yang Guo shook his head and said, “I have never heard of you. Miss, with your beauty you are like a deity, how can you be a demon?”

    Li Mo Chou was thirty, but she had profound internal strength, her skin was soft and tender, her face had no wrinkles, one could mistake her for a twenty year old. She had always regarded herself as beautiful, when she heard him praising her like that she was pleased, she fluttered her flywhisk and said, “You joked with me. Saying that you are the disciple of Wong Chong Yang, I should make you suffer and then kill you. Since you’ve said this, I’m going to teach you a lesson with my flywhisk.”

    Yang Guo shook his head and said, “That won’t do, that won’t do, young Taoist here cannot fight with someone in a lower generation than he is.”

    Li Mo Chou said, “You are about to die and you still joke. How am I in a lower generation than you?”

    Yang Guo said, “My master is elder Chong Yang, he is in the same generation as your ancestor, how am I not in an older generation than you? You are just a pretty young girl, old man can’t bully you.”

    Li Mo Chou gave a wry smile and said to Hong Ling Bo, “Let him borrow the sword again.”

    Yang Guo waved his hand and said, “That won’t do, that won’t do, I…” Before he finished his words Hong Ling Bo pulled out the sword from its sheath, a ‘ting’ sound was heard, her hand holding only the handle, the blade remained in the sheath. She was startled but then understood, when Yang Guo returned the sword he had done something to the sword, he broke the sword but kept the handle intact, as soon as someone apply some force to the sword, it immediately broke. Li Mo Chou’s face changed colour.

    Yang Guo said, “Originally I didn’t want to fight pretty girls who are beneath me, but since you are forcing me to fight, then I’ll let it be. I’ll face three stances of your flywhisk empty handed. Let’s make it clear first, as long as you can receive my three stances then I’ll let you go, but once the three stances are over, you can’t trouble me anymore.” In this present situation he knew that he must use force otherwise he won’t be able to get out of this situation, but if they really fought, he won’t be a match for her. So he acted like a senior and made her promise that she will only use three stances and not anymore. He was not her match anyway so it didn’t matter if he had a weapon or not, hopefully she will not use her most lethal flywhisk stances.

    How could Li Mo Chou not understand his intentions, she thought, “You think you can receive three of my stances?” She said, “Fine, senior, let junior here experience your skills.”

    Yang Guo said, “You’re too kind” but suddenly he saw a yellow blur, everywhere were traces of the flywhisk. This stance of Li Mo Chou is called [No Holes that can’t be Penetrated] (wu kong bu ru), attacking the enemy’s bones all over their body, although this is one stance, the threads were all over the place, in one stance it included tens of stances, attacking all the body’s main pressure points. She had seen him fight with the beggars and saw that his sword skills were refined, he wasn’t a weak opponent, hurting him in three stances was not going to be easy so she used her the technique that she was most proud about, [Three Without Three Without Hands] (san wu san bu shou). She invented these three stances; even Xiao Long Nuu has never seen these stances before. When Yang Guo saw this he jumped in shock. There was actually no defence to this stance, moving to the left and right would result in one’s pressure points to be sealed, moving forward would result in the pressure points on the back being harmed, only fighters who were much more skilful than her can force her back by attacking her front ruthlessly and force her to use her flywhisk to defend. Yang Guo did not have this ability, in this urgent situation he flipped around, his head below his legs, he used the skill that Ou Yang Feng taught him, [Reversal of the Veins], his pressure points were all closed, he just felt all his pressure points ache a little and then nothing more. He quickly flipped over and gave out a flying kick. Li Mo Chou had seen that she had strike many of his pressure points but he still had the ability to counter attack, she was shocked and followed with a stance of [Penetrate Everywhere] (wu suo bu zhi). This stance attacked all the pressure points on his sides. Yang Guo’s head was propped up against the ground, he stretched out his left hand to seal her right knee’s ‘Central’ pressure point. Li Mo Chou was even more shocked and leapt away, the [Three Without Three Without Hand] techniques third stance [Stop At Nothing] was immediately used.
    This stance does not aim to seal pressure points, instead it attacked the eyes, throat, stomach, the groin and all the places that are soft and delicate, that’s why its called [Stop At Nothing], it was ruthless and showed no respect towards the opponent. When she refined this skill she did not know that there were people who knew how to fight upside down, when she rushed out this stance, she used it as she normally would, but know where the attack hit the eyes, it struck the leg, where it attacked the throat it struck the lower thigh, where it attacked the stomach it struck the upper thigh, where it attacked the groin it struck the chest, it aimed for the soft points but struck the hard, the stance was not effective at all.

    This shocked Li Mo Chou to the extreme, she has seen many battles in her life, she has met those who were better fighters than her so she know what the enemy would do, how they attacked, defended, dodge, she knew it all, but she couldn’t have predicted this young Taoist had such unimaginable kung fu, as she stood there in a daze, Yang Guo opened his mouth and bit down on the flywhisk, he flipped his body and stood up. Li Mo Chou’s hand shook; her flywhisk was taken away.

    At the second mount Wah competition, Ou Yang Feng reversed his veins and bit down on Huang Yao Shi’s finger. When one reverse their veins, chi is distributed through their lips, the mouth will open and close, an intent to bit someone is automatically created. In the body, nothing can compare with the strength of teeth biting down, the teeth can shatter and tear things that hands can’t. Because of this, although Yang Guo’s internal strength was weaker than Li Mo Chou’s but once his teeth bit down on the flywhisk, he was able to pull it from her hands.

    This move shocked Lu Wu Shuang and Hong Ling Bo, both of them called out in surprise at the same time, Li Mo Chou was also shocked but she didn’t show any fear, her palms lightly came out, she was using her [Diving Serpent Palm] and jumping forward to snatch back her flywhisk. She was about to hit out with her palms when she suddenly called out, “What, it’s you! Where’s your master?”
    Yang Guo’s face had been covered in dirt but after a series of quick flips, some of the dirt was brushed off, revealing half of his face. At the same time Hong Ling Bo recognised Lu Wu Shuang and called out, “Master, it’s apprentice sister.” Before Lu Wu Shuang had dared not to face Li Mo Chou and Hong Ling Bo, when Yang Guo and Li Mo Chou was fighting, she was concentrating on watching the fight and forgot about hiding her face from Hong Ling Bo.

    Yang Guo’s left foot touched the ground lightly and flew onto Li Mo Chou’s donkey, at the same time his left hand flicked out, a ‘Jade Bee Needle’ was shot out at the head of Hong Ling Bo’s donkey. Li Mo Chou was furious and flew over to Yang Guo flew away from the saddle and flipped the flywhisk around, a ‘pu’ sound was heard as he struck the donkey on the head and called out, “Wifey, quickly take your husband away.” His body leapt on the back of the horse and he waved the flywhisk madly behind him. Lu Wu Shuang immediately spurred the horse on. Once Li Mo Chou utilizes her lightness kung fu, she could chase up to four legged animals that are within a mile or two. But after being shocked by Yang Guo’s strange stances she didn’t dare to chase too closely, she just used her trapping hand kung fu to snatch back her flywhisk, on her fourth stance three of her fingers on her left hand managed to grab hold of the threads of the flywhisk, she turned her hand and pulled. Yang Guo couldn’t hold on and the flywhisk flew out of his hand.

    Hong Ling Bo’s donkey had been struck with the ‘Jade Bee Needle’, it suddenly went mad, it rushed up to Li Mo Chou and started to bite.

    Li Mo Chou shouted, “Ling Bo, what are you doing.”

    Hong Ling Bo said, “The donkey is resisting.” She pulled the reign with her strength causing the donkey to have a mouthful of blood. Suddenly the donkey’s legs became soft and fell over, Hong Ling Bo leapt up and called out, “Master, let’s chase after them!” But by then Yang Guo and Lu Wu Shuang were half a mile away, they weren’t able to catch up.

    Lu Wu Shuang and Yang Guo rode hurriedly for a while, she turned around and didn’t see her master chasing after them and said, “Sha Dan, my chest really hurts, I can’t stand it anymore!”

    Yang Guo leapt off the horse and placed his ear against the ground, there weren’t any sound of footsteps behind and he said, “There’s no need to be scared, let’s go slowly.” The two then carried on normally.

    Lu Wu Shuang sighed and said, “Sha Dan, how did you manage to take my master’s flywhisk?”

    Yang Guo said, “I threw out some words of praise which pleased her and so she gave the flywhisk to me. Old man didn’t feel right taking young girl’s things so I gave it back to her.”

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “Huh, why was she pleased, she thought you was handsome?” As she said this she blushed.

    Yang Guo laughed and said, “She saw that I was an interesting fool, that’s why.”

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “Crap! What’s so interesting about you?”

    The two travelled slowly for a while but they were afraid that Li Mo Chou would catch up so they rode fast. They did this slowing down and speeding up until it was dusk.

    Yang Guo said, “Wifey, if you want to save your little life, you’ll have to endure the pain in your chest and ride throughout the night.”

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “If you talk crap again, watch if I continue to pay attention to you.”

    Yang Guo stuck out his tongue and said, “It’s a pity that our horse is tired, another night of riding and we could escape.”

    It was now getting dark but suddenly, the sound of horses could be heard ahead, Yang Guo was delighted and said, “Let’s change horses.”

    The two hurried on for about a mile and saw over a hundred horses outside a village, it was the group of Mongolian soldiers that they had seen earlier on. Yang Guo said, “Wait here, I’ll go and take a look.” He leapt down from the horse and headed towards the village. He saw a light coming from a window of a large house. Yang Guo darted forward and looked inside, he saw a Mongolian official sitting in the room with his back facing the window.

    Yang Guo’s mind suddenly lit up, “If we’re going to change horses why not change people.” He waited for a while and saw the Mongolian official stand up, walking up and down across the room. That man was about thirty years old, it was the official in bright clothing he had seen earlier in the day, he had an air about him, it appeared that his post wasn’t low. Yang Guo waited until he turned his back and quietly opened the window and slipped in. The official heard a wind sound behind him, he took a step forward and raised his left hand for protection and turned around, his ten fingers like an eagle’s claws came out ferociously, it was the lethal technique of the [Vigorous Eagle Claw Stance]. Yang Guo was slightly surprised by this, he didn’t know that a Mongolian official would know some kung fu, he slanted his body and dodged past his hands. The official clawed out many times but each time they were calmly dodged. That official had been under the tutelage of the Eagle Claw sect when he was younger, his kung fu was quite good, but after exchanging many stances with Yang Guo, he had no way of using his moves. Yang Guo saw that his hands were coming in ferociously once again, he suddenly leapt up, his left hand grabbed the man’s left should, his right hand grabbed the man’s right, he circulated his chi through his arms and shouted, “Sit down!” The official’s knees became soft and sat down on the ground, he felt his chest being smothered, it seemed like a surge of blood was rushing up. Yang Guo stretched out his hand and rubbed his pressure points on his chest, the official immediately felt his chest loosened, a breath of air was released and he slowly got up. He stared at Yang Guo, startled, after half an hour he asked, “Who are you? Why are you here?” Those two phrases in Han were spoken quite clearly.

    Yang Guo laughed and asked him some questions instead, “What is your name? What post do you hold?” The official’s eyes lit up in anger, he was about to jump out at him again. Yang Guo ignored him and sat down on the seat that the official had previously sat down on. The official’s arms came out waving up and down, attacking ferociously, Yang Guo just waved out his hands without trying and didn’t use any strength to neutralize his attacks, he said, “Hey, you’ve got a wound on your shoulder, it’s better if you don’t use any energy.”

    The official was startled and said, “What wound?” His left hand rubbed his right shoulder, there was a slight pain there, he quickly stretched out his right hand and checked his left shoulder, there was an identical pain, he had not moved he shoulders so didn’t notice the wound, when he used his fingers to touch his shoulder, there was a small area that ached to the bone. The official was shocked, he quickly took off his garment and looked over his shoulder, he saw a red dot on his left shoulder, there was a similar dot on his right. He understood, just know when yang Guo held his shoulders, he had a concealed weapon in his hands and now had fallen into his scheme, he was startled and shocked, he shouted, “What weapon did you use? Does it have poison or not?”

    Yang Guo gave a wry smile and said, “You’ve learnt martial arts, how come you don’t know the rules? Large concealed weapons have no poison, small ones of course have.”

    The official believed him but hoped that he made it up to scare him, his face’s expression seems to be convinced but also seemed to be suspicious.

    Yang Guo smiled and said, “You shoulder has fallen victim to my divine needle, its poison deepens an inch every day, by the sixth day the poison would have reached the heart, then you’ll be dead.”

    Although the official wanted him to cure the poison yet he didn’t dare to, under this anger he shouted, “Since it has ended up like this then master here is going to take you with me.” He threw himself forward again. Yang Guo slipped past him. He took out two ‘Jade Bee Needles’ and waited until his claws came out again, the hands came out, he sent the needles into his palms. The official felt a pain in his palms and stopped, he raised his palms to take a look and saw a fine needle in his palm, he immediately felt his palms go numb, he was shocked and didn’t dare to attack again. Another half hour passed before he said, “Fine, I admit defeat!”

    Yang Guo laughed out loud and asked, “What’s you name?”

    The official replied, “My name is Ye Luu Jin, can I have the honour of knowing hero’s name?”

    Yang Guo replied, “My name is Yang Guo. What post do you hold within the Mongolian government?” Ye Luu Jin told him everything. He was the Mongolians prime minister Ye Luu Chu Cai’s son. Ye Luu Chu Cai aided Genghis Khan and Wo Kuo Tai to take over many lands, his achievements were outstanding, that is why although Ye Luu Jin was of a relatively young age, he held the high position of ‘Bian Liang Jing Lue Emissary’, he has come south to He Nan to complete his mission.

    Yang Guo didn’t know what kind of position this was, he just nodded his head and said, “Great, great.”

    Ye Lu Jin said, “I don’t know what I have done to disrespect hero, please forgive my ignorance. If hero has an order please say.”

    Yang Guo laughed and said, “You haven’t done anything.” He suddenly darted out of the window.

    Ye Luu Jin was shocked and called out, “Hero Yang” and ran to the window, but there was no trace of Yang Guo. Ye Luu Jin was troubled, “This person comes and goes as he pleases, I’ve fallen victim to his poison needle, what should I do?” He quickly took out the needles from his palm and felt the numbness in his palms and shoulders to begin to feel unbearable. In the midst of all this the window opened, Yang Guo suddenly returned, the room had another person, it was Lu Wu Shuang.

    Ye Luu Jin said, “Ah, you’ve come back.”

    Yang Guo pointed to Lu Wu Shuang and said, “She is my wifey, kowtow to her!”

    Lu Wu Shuang shouted, “What did you say?” She turned her hand and gave a slap. If Yang Guo wanted to avoid it how would she be able to hit him? But for an inexplicable reason, when he was slapped and scolded by her he felt good, he didn’t move and a slapping sound was heard as his cheek suffered a slap. Ye Luu Jin didn’t know that the two always argued like this, he assumed that Lu Wu Shuang’s kung fu was stronger than Yang Guo’s, he stared in a daze at the two.
    Yang Guo rubbed his cheek and laughed at Ye Luu Jin. He said, “You’ve suffered the poison of my divine needles, but you won’t die straight away. All you’ve got do is listen to my orders and then I’ll heal you.”

    Ye Luu Jin said, “I’ve always admired heroes and good men, but I have never seen people with such abilities, today I have finally met someone worthy of this title, it is an honour. If hero Yang doesn’t tell me to live, I could still die with my eyes closed.” These words maintained his high status and praised the other at the same time. Yang Guo has never spoken with officials before, he didn’t know that they’ve all learnt how to praise their superiors, the higher the official, the better they are at flattery without being obvious. The officials from Mongolia were rough and coarse people but after they entered the central plains, they learnt the ways of the officials of china. After some words of praised, Yang Guo was pleased, he raised his finger and said, “Well, I didn’t guess that you are a man of honour as well. Come, I’ll immediately cure your poison.” He then used a sucking metal stone to remove the needles from his shoulder and them applied the antidote to the wounds.

    Lu Wu Shuang has never seen the ‘Jade Bee Needles’ before, she saw that the needles were as fine as hair and it looked like that if one places the needles on water, it will float. She thought, “A gust of wind can blow that away, how can you use it as a concealed weapon?” She was even more in awe of Yang Guo but the words from her mouth said, “That type of evil weapon isn’t honourable, aren’t you scared of others laughing at you?”

    Yang Guo laughed and ignored her, he said to Ye Luu Jin, “The two of us want to rely on you, your honour and be your attendants.”

    Ye Luu Jin was startled and quickly said, “Hero Yang jokes with me, whatever you want just tell me.”

    Yang Guo said, “I’m not joking, I really want to be your attendant your honour.”

    Ye Luu Jin thought, “So the two want work for the government and gain something for themselves.” He couldn’t stop himself from being pleased, he gave a cough and returned to a serious face and said, “Hmm, you’ve learnt great martial arts, working for our king will lead to great prospects.”

    Yang Guo laughed and said, “You’ve got it all wrong. We are being chased by an extremely powerful foe. We can’t beat her and want to disguise ourselves as your attendants to evade her.”

    Ye Luu Jin was disappointed, his serious face loosened and chucked, he said, “With your martial arts, who gives a care about enemies. If there are too many of them I’ll gather my troops and catch them and let you decide on what to do.”

    Yang Guo said, “Even I can’t beat them, there is no need for you worry about is your honour. Quickly order your attendants and give us some clothes to change into.” He said this casually but there was a stern tone within his voice. Ye Luu Jin ordered his attendants to bring some clothes for them to change into. Yang Guo and Lu Wu Shuang went to another room to change. Lu Wu Shuang got a mirror and examined herself, the person in the mirror was dressed in bright clothes, their pupils sparkled, it looked like a handsome Mongolian general, and she felt that this was going to be interesting.

    They left early next morning. Lu Wu Shuang and Yang Guo were in a carriage lifted by attendants, Ye Luu Jin was still on horseback, before noon they heard the faint sounds of a ringing bell, from afar it came near, and it brushed past the crowd of people. Lu Wu Shuang was delighted and thought, “Comfortably sitting here in the carriage resting my wound is an ideal situation. Sha Dan’s mad idea has its good points. I’ll let them carry me to Jiang Nan.”

    They travelled like this for two days and didn’t hear the bell sounds of Li Mo Chou anymore; Li Mo Chou must have gone straight ahead without turning back. There were also no trace of the beggars and Taoists that were looking for Lu Wu Shuang. By the third day they arrived at the Colt Dragon Stockade. This was an important trafficking point, many towns and cities flourished around here. After supper, Ye Lu Jin entered Yang Guo’s room and asked for martial arts advice. Words of flattery were said to Yang Guo, praising him highly. Yang Guo gave one or two pointers to him. Just as Ye Lu Jin was about to listen intently an attendant rushed in and said, “Your honour, our master has sent a letter here.”

    Ye Luu Jin was delighted and said, “Fine, I’ll come now.” He was about to stand up and say goodbye to Yang Guo when he had a thought, “If I open the letter in front of him and show that I don’t treat him as an outsider, he’ll definitely teach me with all his efforts.” He then said to the attendant, “Send the messenger in.”

    The attendant had a look of surprise his face and said, “That …that…”

    Ye Luu Jin waved his hand and said, “Don’t delay, tell him to enter.”

    The attendant said, “Its master himself.”

    Ye Luu Jin’s face turned heavy and said, “Why are you still wasting time, quickly go” before he finished someone laughed from outside and entered, and said, “Jin Er, you couldn’t have guessed that it was me.”

    Ye Lu Jin was shocked and pleased, he quickly dashed forward. He said, “Father, why are you…” That person laughed and said, “Yes! I’ve come here in person.” That person was Ye Luu Jin’s father, the Mongolian prime minister Ye Luu Chu Cai.
    Yang Guo heard Ye Luu Jin call that person father, and didn’t know how powerful that person was, he was under one person but above millions, the person with the most power in court, the prime minister. He saw that he wasn’t very old, his face elegant, within his air of authority was an air of peace, he couldn’t stop himself from respecting this person.

    As soon as that person sat down on a chair, two other people entered, they first greeted Ye Luu Jin and called him ‘big brother’. It was one male and one female, the male was around twenty-three, four years of age, the female was about the same age as Yang Guo. Ye Luu Jing was pleased and said, “Brother, sister, you are here as well.”

    He said to his father, “Father, I didn’t have a clue that you have left the court.”

    Ye Luu Chu Cai nodded and said, “Yes, there is an important business that must be attended to, if I didn’t do it myself I wouldn’t be able to relax.” He looked at Yang Guo and the rest of the attendants, indicating that he wants them to leave.

    Ye Luu Jin was in a dilemma, he should tell his attendants to leave but Yang Guo was a person you couldn’t mess around with, his face had an expression of being unsure on what to do. Yang Guo knew what he was thinking, he laughed and exited the room by himself. Ye Luu Chu Cai was aware of Yang Guo, when he entered by himself all the other attendants greeted and bowed to him except for one, the person did as he pleased and had a proud air, he couldn’t stop himself from being wary and asked, “Who is that?”

    Ye Luu Jin was a high official, if he said who Yang Guo was in front of his brother and sister he would have lost face, he answered ambiguously, “He is a friend that I made along the way. Father has made the trip to He Nan personally, what is this about?”

    Ye Luu Chu Cai sighed, his face looked troubled and slowly explained everything.
    When Genghis Khan died, his third son Wo Kuo Tai succeeded him. Wo Kuo Tai was the Khan for about thirty years before he died, his son Gui You succeeded. Gui You lost himself in drink and died just after three years of being the Khan, his queen took over the affairs. The queen trusted very few, the first generals and ministers caused the court to go into chaos. Ye Luu Chu Cai was a senior member of the court, and was one of the people who founded the state, whenever the queen made a wrong decision he would speak up truthfully. The queen saw that he opposed her orders, and of course was angry, but because he was a powerful minister and what he said was right, the queen could not take action lightly. Ye Luu Chu Cai knew that once he offended the queen, the hundred or so lives of his family would be in danger, and so he thought of a plan, he said that He Nan in the south was not under order, a minister was needed to go down there and sort it out and he nominated himself. The queen was delighted thinking the further this person goes the better so she can avoid getting angry everyday and so she agreed to the order. And so Ye Luu Chu Cai took his second son Ye Luu Qi and daughter Ye Luu Yan to He Nan, officially he was down here to dissipate the unrest, but unofficially he was down here to avoid a disaster.

    Yang Guo went into another room and chatted and joked with Lu Wu Shuang but Lu Wu Shuang turned away and ignored him. After getting no replies, Yang Guo bent his knees and sat down and meditated. Lu Wu Shuang wasn’t interested. She saw that he closed his eyes and didn’t move for half a day and said, “Hey, Sha Dan, why are you meditating now?” Yang Guo didn’t reply. Lu Wu Shuang angrily said, “There is no need to rush your kung fu, are you going to chat with me?” As she was about to move him with her hand, Yang Guo suddenly leapt up and quietly said, “There’s someone about on the roof!”

    Lu Wu Shuang didn’t hear anything, she raised her head and look up at the roof, she said, “Are you lying again?”

    Yang Gu said, “No, it’s on the roof two buildings over.”

    Lu Wu Shuang didn’t believe him and laughed, she quietly scolded him, “Sha Dan.” She assumed that he was playing dumb.

    Yang Guo tugged her sleeve and quietly said, “Let’s hide before your master finds us.”

    When Lu Wu Shuang heard the word ‘master’, her back broke out in a cold sweat and followed him to the window. Yang Guo lifted his head to the west, Lu Wu Shuang also lifted her head, and indeed, she saw someone in black on the roof of the building two rooms over. It was now the middle of the night, there was no light from the moon and stars, if one didn’t carefully examined the roof, it would be hard to spot anything, she admired him secretly, “How did Sha Dan detect this?” She knew that her master held herself up very highly, when she moved at night she would still wear her apricot yellow gown, she would never wear black. She went over to Yang Guo’s ear and whispered, “It’s not master.”

    As soon as the words were spoken, the person in black suddenly got up and flew across the roofs arrived outside the window of the room that Ye Luu Chu Cai was in. She kicked open the window, and leapt in holding a sabre, she called out, “Ye Luu Chu Cai, I’m going to take you to hell along with me.” It was a girl’s voice.
    Yang Guo’s heart shook, “That girl’s movements are extremely fast, her skills are above Ye Luu Jin’s, father here is afraid that his life will be in danger.”

    Lu Wu Shuang called out, “Let’s go.” The two hurried to the scene and witnessed what was happening through the window. He saw that Ye Luu Jin was holding up a bench moving back and forth, battling with the girl in black. The girl was young but her sabre techniques were vicious, the Willow Leaf Sabre in her hand was extremely sharp, a series of slashes hacked of the four legs of the bench. Ye Luu Jin saw he wasn’t going to hold on and called out, “Father, run away!” He then shouted, “Men, men!” The girl threw out a kick, Ye Luu Jin was not prepared for it and was kicked in the waist, his body flipped as he fell onto the floor. The girl dashed forward and raised her sabre above Ye Luu Chu Cai’s head and slashed down.

    Yang Guo thought, “Oh no!” Thinking that he should rescue that person first and then talk about it later, he held a ‘Jade Bee Needle’ and was about to shoot it out at the girl’s wrist when he heard Ye Luu Chu Cai’s daughter Ye Luu Yan called out, “One mustn’t have no manners!” She chopped out at the girl’s face with her right palm, her left hand used [Empty Hands Entering a Hundred Blades] kung fu to take her sabre. Those two moves suited each other exquisitely, the girl moved her head to avoid the palm and her wrist was held by Ye Luu Yan, she quickly threw out a kick, Ye Luu Yan had to move back, her blade wasn’t taken away. Yang Guo saw that the two girls’ attacks were swift and quick and was slightly surprised. In a flash the two had hacked and slashed, seven, eight moves had passed.

    At that time, over ten guards burst into the room, when they saw the two girls fighting, they dashed forward. Ye Luu Jin said, “Wait! Sister doesn’t need your help.”

    Yang Guo quietly said to Lu Wu Shuang, “Wifey, those two girl’s skills are better than yours.”

    Lu Wu Shuang was angered and threw out a palm. Yang Guo slipped away and laughed, he said, “Don’t get angry, it’s better to watch them fight.”

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “Tell me the truth, am I better or are those girls better.”

    Yang Guo quietly said, “One on one, the two girl’s have nothing on you. Two on one, based on kung fu only you will lose. But they are too honest in their attacks, they can’t compare with your tricks, ruthlessness and viciousness, and so you would win.”

    Lu Wu Shuang was pleased, and whispered, “What ‘tricks, ruthlessness and viciousness’, that doesn’t sound too nice! When it comes to trickery, no one can compare with out mister Sha Dan.”

    Yang Guo smiled and said, “Doesn’t that mean you are Mrs Sha Dan?” Lu Wu Shuang gave a quiet grunt.

    They watched the two battle on. Ye Luu Yan did not have a weapon and after many tries still could not take the girl’s sabre away, and now she was forced to defend and evade the attack with no way to attack.

    Ye Luu Qi said, “Sister, let me try.”

    He slanted his body and moved forwards, his right hand threw out three palms in succession. Ye Luu Yan stood by the wall said, “Fine, let’s watch you.”

    After Yang Guo saw Ye Luu Qi’s three stances, he couldn’t stop himself from being slightly surprised. He left hand was planted in his waist not moving, his right hand extended and pulled back, his feet didn’t move. He was able to fend off the girl’s sabre, his stances were refined, and positioning accurate, he wasn’t ordinary and Yang Guo thought, “That person is exceedingly good, his skills looks like Quan Zhen yet there are some things different.”

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “Sha Dan, his skills are much better than yours.”

    Yang Guo was in a trance as he watched on; he didn’t even hear what she had said,

    End of Chapter 9
    Last edited by Mojo Jojo; 03-21-05 at 10:36 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 10

    The Young Hero

    Ye Luu Qi said, “Sister, watch carefully. I’ll hit her ‘Scholar Arm’ (bei ru) pressure point and she would move her body and retreat, I’ll follow this by hitting her ‘Big Bone’ pressure point, she must raise her sabre to attack. At this time the attack must be fast and then you’ll be able to snatch her sabre.”

    The girl in black said, “Huh, it won’t be that easy.”

    Ye Luu Qi said, “It will be like that.” As he said this he used his right hand to attack her ‘Scholar Arm’ pressure point. This palm was sent out in a crisscross, blocking all her paths to the front, back and right, leaving only a space to the left. If the girl wants to avoid his palm she must retreat two steps. Ye Luu Qi nodded his head and indeed, he did strike her ‘Big Bone’ pressure point.

    The girl had always remembered, “I mustn’t raise my sabre to counterattack.” But in this situation the only way to get any sort of advantage is to raise the sabre and slash down, at that time she didn’t think for long, she raised her sabre and slashed down.

    Ye Luu Qi said, “Just like that!” Everyone thought he was going to snatch the sabre away but who would have thought that he would take his right arm back and put his hands together in his sleeve. The girl had not slashed down with her sabre yet, when she saw his arms in his sleeves she stopped momentarily. Ye Luu Qi suddenly stretched out his right arm, his two fingers held the sabre’s back and he lifted up, the girl could not hold on, her sabre was snatched away.

    After the crowd of people saw this great skill they stood there for a while, the room like an empty hall. The girl in black stood there without moving, her face looked dejected.

    Everyone thought, “Second master hasn’t made another move, he’s giving her a chance to run away. If she doesn’t escape, what does she want?”

    Ye Luu Qi slowly moved away and said to Ye Luu Yan, “She hasn’t got a weapon now, fight with her again, be a bit braver and be more aware of her palms and kicks.”

    Ye Luu Yan stepped forward two steps and said, “Wan Yan Ping, we are giving you a chance to run, but you still remain here and keep on forcing us, could it be that you won’t give up today?”

    Wan Yan Ping did not reply, her heard lowered in deep thought. Ye Luu Yan said, “If you want to fight with me then quickly get it over with!” After she said this she dashed forward and threw two fists towards her front. Wan Yan Ping leapt back and said coldly, “Give back my sabre.”

    Ye Luu Yan was startled and said, “My brother took away your weapon so we could have a fair fight, why are you asking for your weapon?” She said, “Fine!” She took the Willow Leaf Sabre from her brother’s hand and flung it towards her.

    A guard offered out his sabre and said, “Third mistress, you use a weapon as well.”

    Ye Luu Yan said “No.” But then she thought, “I can’t beat her empty handed, we’ll compete with sabres.” She took the sabre and tried out two slashes, the sword was a bit on the heavy side but she could use it if she had to.

    Wan Yan Ping’s face was pale white, her left hand raised her sabre, her right hand pointed at Ye Lu Chu Cai and said, “Ye Luu Chu Cai, you helped the Mongols to kill my parents, I won’t be able to take my revenge in this life. We’ll sort this out in hell!” After she finished her words her left hand raised the sabre and moved towards her neck.

    Yang Guo heard her words and saw that her eyes and expression was cold and mournful, his heart jumped, his chest was in pain, his voice cracked as he said, “Gu Gu!”

    At this time, Wan Yan Ping had raised her sabre to kill herself. Ye Luu Qi dashed forward two steps, his right arm came out and stretched out his two fingers and snatched the sabre back again, and sealed her arm’s pressure points. He said, “You’re fine at the moment, why must you be so short sighted?” The sabre raising to kill herself and it being snatched away happened in a flash, by the time the crowd of people saw what had happened, the sabre was in Ye Luu Qi’s hand. Everyone in the room let out a call of surprise, no one noticed Yang Guo’s shout of ‘Gu Gu’, but Lu Wu Shuang was by his side and heard what he had said, she quietly whispered, “Who are you calling? Is she your Gu Gu?”

    Yang Guo quickly replied, “No! No.” When he saw Wan Yan Ping’s eyes it showed a feeling of hurt and grief, her expression was grey, it was just like what Xiao Long Nuu had looked like when she left him. After he saw this he was sentimental and mad, he didn’t know where he was.

    Ye Luu Chu Cai slowly said, “Miss Wan Yan, you have tried to kill me three times. I am the prime minister of Mongolia; I overturned your country and killed your parents. But do you know who killed my ancestors?”

    Wan Yan Ping shook her head and said, “I don’t know.”

    Ye Luu Chu Cai said, “My ancestor were Da Liao’s royals, Da Liao was overturned by the Jin’s. The Wan Yan’s didn’t leave many of us behind. When I was young I made an oath, I will help the Khan of Mongolia to rid of you Jin’s. Ah… When will this cycle of revenge end?” When he said this two last sentences, he looked out of the window and thought about how helping these countries to fight for power has result in the lost of many lives, mountains of bodies and rivers of blood were a result.

    Wan Yan Ping had no reply, she revealed a few of her white teeth as she bit down on her lip, she gave a grunt and said to Ye Luu Qi, “I failed three times because my abilities aren’t good enough, I want to leave it at that. I want to kill myself, what does that have to do with you?”

    Ye Luu Qi said, “If miss promises that she won’t come back to seek revenge then you can go!”

    Wan Yan Ping gave another ‘huh’ sound and stared angrily. Ye Luu Qi used the handle of the Willow Leaf Sabre and touched her waist lightly, unsealing her pressure points. He then threw the sabre back towards her. Wan Yan Ping struggled to catch it but eventually did, she said, “Master Ye Luu, you have let me go many times and have held back, do you think I don’t know this? Its just that the debts between the Wan Yan’s and Ye Luu’s are as deep as the sea, I must avenge my parents.”

    Ye Luu Qi thought, “That girl insists on tailing us, that girl’s is not weak, if I leave father’s side just a few steps then what will happen? Ah, why don’t I force her into come after me only?” He clearly said, “Miss Wan Yan, you are seeking revenge on behalf of your parents, I admire your will. Its just that the older generations matter should be dealt with the older generations. We juniors have our own debts. The matter between our families should be dealt between us, if you want to take revenge, find me, if you go after my father again then next time we meet I will not make it easy for you.”

    Wan Yan Ping said, “Huh, my martial arts aren’t as good as yours, how can I avenge my parents? Just leave it, leave it.” She turned around and exited.
    Ye Luu Qi knew that as soon as she leaves she will plan to end her life, he wanted to save her and chuckled, “Huh, the girl of Wan Yan has no will.”

    Wan Yan Ping stopped and turned around and said, “How have I got no will?”

    Ye Luu Qi chuckled and said, “You are correct when you said my skills are higher than yours, but what’s so good about it? It’s only because I have been taught by a great master, and not because I have some kind of great ability. Your [Iron Palm] kung fu is one of the best palm techniques, it’s just that the person who taught you has not reached a refined stage, you have only began to practise it recently, of course it will be hard for you to defeat enemies with it. You are young, all you’ve got do is to find a better master, can’t you do this?”

    Wan Yan Ping was originally angry but after hearing these words she nodded.

    Ye Luu Qi continued, “Every time I fight with you I only use my right hand its not because I’m arrogant. It’s just that my left hand is strong, every attack aims to hurt someone. How about this, after you’ve studied under a better master, you can come and find me at anytime, all you’ve got to do is to force me to use my left hand and my life will be in your hands.” He knew that the differences between their skills are a mile apart, even after getting advice from a skilled teacher, it will be hard for her to beat his one hand; when someone wants to kill themselves its just an impulsive decision, once she goes and search for a master, her priorities will change and eventually the thought of killing herself would have gone.

    Wan Yan Ping thought, “You’re not a god, I’ll practise hard, do you think I won’t be able use my two hands to beat your one hand?” She raised her sabre in the air and slashed down, she said, “The words of a gentlemen”

    Ye Luu Qi finished, “A whip on a fast horse!”

    Wan Yan Ping did not look at the crowd and held her head high as she exited, but her face could not hide her anguish. When the guards saw that second master has let her go, they didn’t dare to block her, they all paid their respects to Ye Luu Chu Cai and exited. Ye Luu Jin saw that this event was like heaven and earth turning upside down, but Yang Guo did not show himself, he was surprised.

    Ye Luu Yan said, “Second Brother, why did you let her go again?”

    Ye Luu Qi said, “What?”

    Ye Luu Yan smiled and said, “If you want her to be my sister in law then you shouldn’t have let her go.”

    Ye Luu Qi’s face turned serious and said, “Don’t talk rubbish!” Ye Luu Yan saw that he was serious, she was afraid that he would get angry so didn’t joke around again.

    When Yang Guo heard Ye Luu Yan say ‘want her to be my sister in law’, for no reason at all his heart ached slightly, he saw that Wan Yan Ping was heading in a south east direction and said to Lu Wu Shuang, “I’ll go and take a look.”

    Lu Wu Shuang said, “Look at what?” Yang Guo didn’t reply and utilized his lightness kung fu and chased after her.

    Wan Yan Ping’s martial art skills weren’t strong but her lightness kung fu was good, Yang Guo chased after her but only saw her again after they were outside the Colt Dragon Stockade town. He saw her arriving at a manor, she opened the door and entered. Yang Guo followed and hid by the wall. After half an hour, a light could be seen from the double room in the western wing, followed by a long sigh. That long sigh contained much anguish, hate and worry. Yang Guo heard this from outside the window, he was startled and was moved, unconsciously he too gave out a long sigh. Wan Yan Ping heard that someone was sighing outside her window so she quickly blew out the light and went over to the wall and quietly asked, “Who is it?”

    Yang Guo said, “Someone like you, someone whose heart is in pain.”

    Wan Yan Ping was startled, she heard that his voice did not seem to carry any evil intent so she asked, “Who exactly are you?”

    Yang Guo said, “There’s a saying; ‘When a gentlemen wants revenge, ten year is not long’. You failed a few times and then want to kill yourself, are you viewing your life with disregard? What about your revenge, aren’t you disregarding that matter even more?”

    A creaking sound was heard as the doors were open, Wan Yan Ping lit a candle and said, “Please enter.” Yang Guo made a bow outside the door and entered. Wan Yan Ping saw that he was dressed in the clothes of a Mongolian general and was very young, she was astounded and said, “Your advice makes sense, could I have pleasure of knowing your name?”

    Yang Guo didn’t reply, he placed his arms in his sleeves and said, “That Ye Luu Qi talks big, thinking that only using his right arm makes him highly skilled. Sealing pressure points and snatching a sabre away, how hard can it be with no hands?”
    Wan Yan Ping objected to this but because she didn’t know he was she didn’t rebuke him.

    Yang Guo said, “I’ll teach you three stances and you’ll be able to force Ye Luu Qi to use both hands. I’ll fight with you now, I won’t use my arms and legs, how about that?”

    Wan Yan Ping was shocked, she thought, “Could it be that you know some kind of witchcraft, you could blow me down in one breath?”

    Yang Guo saw that she was hesitating and said, “Use your sabre, if I can’t avoid them then I’ll die without complaining.”

    Wan Yan Ping said, “Fine, I won’t use my sabre, I’ll only use my fists and palms.”

    Yang Guo shook his head and said, “No, you’ll only believe me if I could snatch away your sabre without using my arms and legs.”

    Wan Yan Ping saw that he seemed to be joking but serious at the same time, she was slightly angry and said, “I have never heard or seen someone who has your abilities.” As she finished she waved out her sabre and slashed down at his shoulder. She saw that Yang Guo’s hands were in his sleeves as if nothing was happening, she was afraid that she would hurt him so moved her sabre slightly to the side. Yang Guo understood, he didn’t move and said, “Don’t hold back, hack down for real!” The Willow Leaf Sabre hacked down; there were only a few inches between the sabre and his shoulder. Wan Yan Ping saw that he didn’t make body movements and respected his courage, she thought, “Is he a demon?” The Willow Leaf Sabre slanted and hacked down, she wasn’t holding back in this slash. Yang Guo lowered his body the sabre brushed past him; there were only a few inches in between. Wan Yan Ping concentrated; she raised her sabre and slashed down again.

    Yang Guo dodged past the slash and said, “You can add your palm attacks as well.”

    Wan Yan Ping said, “Fine.” The sabre slashed across, followed by a palm. Yang Guo slanted his body and evaded these attacks and said, “There’s no harm in going faster.”

    Wan Yan Ping started to use her sabre techniques, she used her palms in between, it became faster as she used them. Yang Guo said, “Your palms are swift, its better than your sabre techniques. Ye Luu Qi said this was the [Iron Palm] technique, is it?”

    Wan Yan Ping nodded, her attacks became even more lethal. Yang Guo’s hands were still in his sleeves, it floated around in between the sabre and palms. Wan Yan Ping used a sabre and her [Iron Palm] but didn’t even manage to touch his clothes. She had used over half her sabre techniques and Yang Guo said, “Careful, within three moves I’ll take your sabre.”

    Wan Yan Ping respected him but still did not believe him that he would be able to take her sabre in three moves, she couldn’t stop herself from holding the handle of the sabre even tighter and said, “Come and get it!” She slashed her sabre across using the stance [Qin’s Crossing] (yun heng qin ling) and slashed across his throat. Yang Guo lowered his head and darted below the blade, he slanted his head and his forehead struck her elbow’s ‘Crooked Pond’ pressure point. Wan Yan Ping’s arm went numb, her fingers lost their strength. Yang Guo moved his head up and opened his mouth, he lightly and skilfully snatched the sabre away. His head moved, the handle of the sabre struck her side, hitting her pressure point. Yang go raised his head and loosened his teeth, he flung the sabre upwards away so he could speak clearly, he said, “How about it, are you in awe?” As he finished the sabre dropped back down, he opened his mouth and caught it, he laughed as he looked at her. Wan Yan Ping was startled but pleased, she nodded her head.

    Yang go saw that her eyes were sparkling, its beauty was enchanting and moving, he couldn’t stop himself from wanting to hold her, kiss her, but this was too daring, he bit down on the knife as his face blushed.

    How could Wan Yan Ping know what he was thinking, she saw that he had a strange expression and was slightly surprised, she felt her whole body going soft, her legs were about to give way and fall over. Yang Guo stepped forward, he was just about an inch away, he wanted to fling the sabre away and kiss her on her eyelids when he suddenly thought, “She’s touched by the respect that Ye Luu Qi treats her with, could it be that I’m inferior to him? Huh, I want to beat him in every department.” He lowered his head and swung his jaw, the handle of the sabre touched her waist and unsealed her pressure points. He offered the handle to her.

    Wan Yan Ping did not take the sabre, her knees fell down onto the floor and said, “I beg master to teach me, I’ll be forever indebted to you if I can avenge my parents.”

    Yang Guo quickly picked her up and took the sabre from his mouth, he said, “How can I be your master? However, I can still teach you a method to take Ye Luu Qi’s life.”

    Wan Yan Ping was pleased and said, “As long as I can kill him, I’m not afraid of his brother and sister and then I’ll be able to kill his father.” She suddenly thought of someone and sadly said, “Ai… by the time I’ve achieved the ability to kill him, would master Ye Luu still be alive? I still won’t be able to avenge my parents death.”

    Yang Guo laughed and said, “That Ye Luu Chu Cai’s life will still be there for you to take.”

    Wan Yan Ping wondered, “How?”

    Yang Guo said, “How hard is it to take Ye Luu Qi’s life? I’ll teach you three stances, you’ll be able to kill him tonight.”

    Wan Yan Ping had tried to kill Ye Luu Chu Cai three times, but each time Ye Lu Qi stopped her, she knew that Ye Luu Qi’s skills were ten times better than her, she thought about how although the young Mongolian general in front of her was skilled, he may not be able to beat Ye Luu Qi, even if he could beat him, there is no way that teaching her three moves will allow her to kill Ye Luu Qi, and to kill him tonight was even more difficult. She was afraid that Yang Guo would get angry so she didn’t say anything to rebuke him, she just shook her head slightly, her eyes showed that she was thinking that he was mad.

    Yang Guo knew what she was thinking and said, “Correct, my kung fu may not be better than his, if we really fought, it could be that I have more losses than wins. But teaching you three moves to take his life is not a difficult task. I’m only afraid that because he spared you three times you won’t kill him.”

    Wan Yan Ping’s heart shook, and immediately said without any feelings, “Though he has been kind to me, I must avenge my parents.”

    Yang Guo said, “Fine, I’ll teach you the three stances. If you have the chance to kill him but spare him, what then?”

    Wan Yan Ping said, “I’ll do whatever you say. With your ability, you can beat me, kill me, how can I escape?”

    Yang Guo thought, “How can I kill you? If you kill him or not, what has that got to do with me?” So he chuckled and said, “Actually does three stances aren’t anything special. Watch carefully.”

    He picked up the sabre and slowly slashed from the left to the right, and said, “The first stance, it’s [Qin’s Crossing].”

    Wan Yan Ping thought, “I already know that move, who needs you to teach me?” She saw the sabre coming towards her and slanted her body to avoid it. Yang Guo suddenly stretched out his hand and grabbed her right hand and said, “The second stance is the stance that you’ve used twice before, [The Rattan Around the Tree].”

    Wan Yan Ping nodded and said, “Yes, its my [Iron Palm’s] trapping hand stance.”
    Yang Guo held her soft and smooth hand, his heart stirred and smiled and said, “You should have learned the Jade Flesh Palm kung fu, why did you learn the [Iron Palm’s] capturing hand kung fu?”

    Wan Yan Ping didn’t know he was joking and said, “Is there a Jade Flesh Palm? The name sounds beautiful.” She felt him holding her palm, tight and then loose, the force behind it was extremely light, she felt that this palm technique wasn’t as lethal as her [Iron Palm’s] capturing hand techniques and thought, “I know you’re the first two stances that you are teaching me, could it be that just with the third stance, Ye Luu Qi would be killed?”

    Yang Guo stared at her eyes and said, “Watch closely!” Suddenly he flipped his wrist and slashed the sword towards his neck.

    Wan Yan Ping was startled and called out, “What are you doing?” Her right hand was held tightly by Yang Guo, she quickly stretched out her left hand to snatch away his sabre. Even though it was an urgent situation, her [Iron Palm’s] capturing hand came out with great accuracy, she grabbed his wrist and pulled backwards, the sabre was pulled away from his neck. Yang Guo loosened his hand and took two steps back. He laughed and said, “Do you understand?”

    Wan Yan Ping wasn’t settled yet, her heart was jumping all over the place, and didn’t understood what he meant.

    Yang Guo laughed and said, “First use [Qin’s Crossing] and then use [The Rattan Around the Tree] holding tightly to his right hand, the third stance is to kill yourself, he will definitely rescue you with his left hand. He swore an oath to you, all you’ve got to do is to force him to use his left hand and he’ll let you kill him without objecting. Won’t that do?”

    Wan Yan Ping thought this would happen, she stared at him, startled.
    Yang Guo said, “Those three stances are without fail, if it won’t work I’ll kowtow to you.”

    Wan Yan Ping shook her head and said, “He said he won’t use his left hand, he definitely won’t. What then?”

    Yang Guo said, “What about it? Since you’ll never be able to avenge your parents then won’t dying be a clean solution?”

    Wan Yan Ping nodded her head mournfully and said, “You are right. Thank you for the advice. Who exactly are you?”

    Before Yang Guo replied, a girl’s voice from outside the window called out, “He’s called Sha Dan, don’t listen to what he says.”

    When Yang Guo heard that Lu Wu Shuang’s voice he laughed and didn’t reply. Wan Yan Ping went over to the window and saw a black image, a person leapt over the wall.

    Wan Yan Ping wanted to chase after them but Yang Guo pulled her hand and laughed, he said, “There’s no need to chase after them, it’s my companion. She loves to make trouble for me.”

    She looked at him and thought deeply for a while, and said, “Since you don’t want to tell me then I won’t force you. I believe that your have good intentions.” Yang Guo saw her eyes sparkled, her expression was crystal clear, he couldn’t stop himself from being filled with pity and sympathy, he pulled her hand and sat shoulder to shoulder on the bed. He softly said, “My surname is Yang, first name Guo, I’m a Han, not a Mongol. I’m like you, my parents are also dead.”

    When Wan Yan Ping heard this her heart felt sad, two drops of tears escaped from her eyes. Yang Guo was emotional and suddenly cried out. Wan Yan Ping took out a handkerchief from her pocket and gave it to him. Yang Guo took it and wiped his face, he remembered his past and more tears rained down.

    Wan Yan Ping smiled and said, “Master Yang, you’re making me cry now.”

    Yang Guo said, “Don’t call me master Yang. How old are you?”

    Wan Yan Ping said, “I’m eighteen, what about you?”

    Yang Guo said, “I’m eighteen as well.” He thought, “If I’m born later than her and she calls me little brother, it won’t seem right.” I was born in the first month, you can call me big brother Yang. I won’t be formal with you, I’ll call you sister Wan Yan.”

    Wan Yan Ping blushed, she felt that he was straightforward and extremely strange but it seem that he had no ill intentions towards her so she nodded her head. When Yang Guo saw that she nodded her head he was pleased. Wan Yan Ping’s face was elegant, she was slim but she’s had tragic experiences, it seemed that she was born to attract sympathy and pity, but what was most important was that her eyes and Xiao Long Nuu’s were extremely alike. He didn’t consider the fact that when someone’s heart is full of grief, their eyes will be filled with sorrow and anguish. Everyone is different in this world, when he said that her eyes looked like Xiao Long Nuu’s he was just consoling himself. As he stared into her eyes, he imagined her black clothes were white, he turned her slim and oval face into Xiao Long Nuu’s beautiful face, he was in a daze as he stared at her, his face revealed an expression of beseeching, of being sentimental, of affection, of love.

    Wan Yan Pin was slightly afraid and lightly pulled her hand away, she quietly said, “What are you doing?”

    Yang Guo woke up from his dream and sighed. He said, “Nothing. Are you going to kill him?”

    Wan Yan Ping said, “I’m going now. Brother Yang, are you coming with me?”

    Yang Guo was about to say “Of course” but then he thought, “If I’m there, she will know that she has strong backup, she won’t really commit herself to suicide, Ye Luu Qi will not fall into the trap.” He said, “I’m not going with you.”

    Wan Yan Ping eyes showed some signs of disappointment. Yang Guo’s heart softened, he was about to agree when Wan Yan Ping suddenly said quietly, “Fine brother Yang, I’m afraid I won’t see you again.”

    Yang Guo quickly said, “Why…why…I…”

    Wan Yan Ping shook her head she exited the manor and in a flash had arrived at the Ye Luu’s residence. At that time, Ye Luu Chu Cai and the others were about to go to bed. Wan Yan Ping knocked twice at the front door and clearly said, “Wan Yan Ping wants to see master Ye Luu Ye Luu Qi.” Some guards were about to go up to her and block her way when Ye Luu Qi opened the door and asked, “What can I do for Miss Wan Yan.”

    Wan Yan Ping said, “I want to test out your skills.”

    Ye Luu Qi wondered, “How come you don’t know your limits?” He slanted his body and stretched out his right hand and said, “Please enter.”

    Wan Yan Ping entered the room with her sabre and unleashed three strokes with it, sandwiched between the slashes were six [Iron Palms], this [One Slash with Two Palms] attacked together from the left and right. Ye Luu Qi’s left hand hanged down, his right hand chopped and grabbed as he neutralised the three slashes and six palms. He thought, “How can I force her away and stop her from bothering our family ever again?”

    The two fought for a while and Wan Yan Ping was about to use the three stances that Yang Guo taught her, when a girl’s voice from outside called out, “Ye Luu Qi, she wants to trick you into using your left hand, careful.” It was Lu Wu Shuang.

    Ye Luu Qi was startled, Wan Yan Ping didn’t give him time to think and immediately used a stance of [Qin’s Crossing] and waited for his to slant his body to dodge it. She stretched out her left arm and used [The Rattan Around the Tree], she grabbed his right arm, her right arm turned over and slashed the sabre towards her throat. In that short period of time many thoughts ran through Ye Luu Qi’s mind, “Must I save her? But she’s tricking me into using my left hand, once I use it my life will be in her hands. How can a gentleman stand by and do nothing?

    Yang Guo had seen through Ye Luu Qi’s thoughts, once the three stances were out, he would definitely try to rescue her, but he couldn’t have predicted that Lu Wu Shuang would have popped up and mess with the plan, informing Ye Luu Qi of the danger.

    The plan wouldn’t have worked, but Ye Luu Qi was heroic and generous, he knew that if he saved her his life would be hers, in this danger he still stretched out his left hand and blocked Wan Yan Ying’s right wrist, his wrist turned and took her Willow Leaf Sabre. After these three stances, each one of them took two steps back. Ye Luu Qi didn’t wait for her to open her mouth and threw the sabre back and said, “You have forced me to use my left hand, you can kill me but I have one request.”

    Wan Yan Ping’s face was pale and said, “What is it?”

    Ye Luu Qi said, “I beg you to stop harming my father.” Wan Yan Ping gave an ‘humph’ grunt and walked forwards, she raised the sabre, under the candlelight she could see that he was still calm, and saw his manly air, she thought about how he used his left hand to save her, how could she hack down? The intent to kill in her eyes slowly turned to peace, she threw down her sabre and left.

    She ran without thinking and followed her steps until she got arrived at a stream outside the town, she stared at the reflection of the stars in the stream, her mind and heart in a mess. After a while, she sighed.

    Suddenly, a sighing noise could be heard from behind. Wan Yan Ping was startled, she turned around and saw someone standing behind her; it was Yang Guo. She called out ‘Brother Yang’ and didn’t say anything.

    Yang Guo went forwards and held her hands, he consoled her, “Avenging your parents isn’t an easy thing to do. There is no rush.”

    Wan Yan Ping said, “You saw everything?” Yang Guo nodded. Wan Yan Ping said, “Of course it will be hard for one as useless as me to avenge their parents. All I need is half your ability and I wouldn’t be in this situation.”

    Yang Guo took her hand and led her to under a tree where they sat next to each other and said, “Even if you learned everything I know what use is it? Although you can’t avenge your parents now, at least you know who to take revenge against, won’t you have chances again in the future? What about me? I don’t even know how my father died, let alone who killed him, I can’t even talk about revenge.”

    Wan Yan Ping froze and said, “Your parents were killed by someone too?”

    Yang Guo sighed and said, “My mother died due to illness, my father died without reason. I have never seen my father before.”

    Wan Yan Ping said, “How do you know?”

    Yang Guo said, “By the time I was born, my father had died. I ask my mother how did my father die, who is our enemy? Every time I ask mother would always end up in tears and won’t reply, after I stopped asking. At that time I thought it won’t be too late if I ask her when I get a bit older but who could have guessed that mother would have died suddenly due to illness. Before she died I asked her again. Mother just shook her head and said, “Your father… your father… ai… son, don’t ever, ever think about revenge. Promise mother that you’ll never think about avenging your father.” I was sad and grief stricken, I called out, “I won’t promise, I won’t promise!” Mother didn’t breathe again and died. Ai … tell what should I do?” He wanted to say these words to console Wan Yan Ping but after he finished he himself was sad. There’s a saying, ‘One mustn’t live under the same sky as the person who killed your father”, if someone didn’t avenge their father, that is the most unfilial thing to do, they would suffer disgrace and humiliation and be despised by other people. Yang Guo didn’t even know the name of his father’s killer, he has hidden this matter in heart for a long time, now that he has got it off his chest, his voice was filled with sadness and anger.

    Wan Yan Ping said, “Who bought you up?”

    Yang Guo said, “Who else? It was me of course. Once my mother died I wandered around the world of Jiang Hu, I asked for a meal here and pleaded for shelter there, sometimes I couldn’t endure hunger any longer and would steal some a melon or a potato from a family, I always got caught and got beaten for a while. Look, I have many scars, my bones stick out, these are all from when I got beaten when I was younger.” He smiled and rolled up his leg for her to see. The stars and moonlight was indistinct, Wan Yan Ping could not see clearly, Yang Guo took her hand and rubbed it over the scars on his lower leg. Wan Yan Ping could make out the bumps of the scars and couldn’t stop her heart from aching, she thought about herself, how although she has lost her family, his father had many old friends and acquaintances, and had left even more money and treasures, compared to him, she was a lot more fortunate.

    The two were silent for a while, Wan Yan Ping pulled her hand lightly away from his leg but her hand was still held by him, she quietly asked, “How did you learn your great martial arts? And how did you become a Mongolian official?”

    Yang Guo smiled and said, “I’m not a Mongolian official. I’m wearing Mongolian clothes so I can hide from my enemy.”

    Wan Yan Ping was pleased and said, “That’s good.”

    Yang Guo asked, “What’s good?”

    Wan Yan Ping’s face turned slightly red and said, “The Mongols are the mortal enemies of the Jin’s, of course I hoped that you aren’t a Mongolian official.”
    Yang Guo held onto her soft and smooth hand, his mind wasn’t settled, and said, “If I was a Mongolian official, how would you treat me?”

    When Wan Yan Ping saw that he was handsome and skilled in martial arts, she had liked him a bit, in her troubled times she had his help and now she heard about his past and sympathised with him even more, right now, she heard his voice had some ill intent but she was angry and sighed, saying, “If my father was alive, whatever you want, my father could have given it to you. Now my parents have gone, what use it there in talking about this?”

    Yang Go heard her voice was gentle and peaceful, he stretched out his hand and placed it on her shoulder and whispered into her ear, “Sister, I have one request.”
    Wan Yan Ping’s heart jumped around, she had an inkling to what he wanted to ask for and quietly asked, “What?”

    Yang Guo said, “I want to kiss your eyes, relax! I just want to kiss your eyes, I won’t do anything to violate you.”

    Wan Yan Ping had thought that he wanted to ask for her hand in marriage, and was afraid that he wanted to get intimate, if she refused and he used a little force, how would she be a match for him?

    Now, she was a girl touched by young love, her hand was tightly held by his strong, coarse hand, she was enchanted by the tangles of love, without saying that he would use force, even if he didn’t use force, it was hard for her to refuse, who would have thought that all he wanted was to kiss her eyes, she couldn’t stop herself from letting out a sigh of relief, but there was a touch of disappointment in her heart, she felt surprise, her heart was tangled up like threads. Her eyes sparkled as she stared at him, startled, her eyes revealed a touch of shyness. Yang Guo stared at her eyes and remembered the time when Xiao Long Nuu left him, her shy and loving eyes stared at him, he couldn’t help from calling out and jumping up.

    Wan Yan Ping jumped up in fright, she wanted to ask what was it but couldn’t open her mouth. Yang Guo’s heart was in a mess, all he saw in front of him were Xiao Long Nuu’s eyes. That day when he saw her eyes, he was a young boy who wasn’t yet clear about things, he respected Xiao Long Nuu and so didn’t understood what she meant but after leaving the mountain he spent a few days with Lu Wu Shuang, and now he was brushing Wan Yan Ping’s face by the side of her ear, suddenly his heart came alive, he understood now, he now understood the affection and love of Xiao Long Nuu, he couldn’t refrain from feeling thousands of feelings of regret and grief, he wanted to run into a tree and kill himself, he thought, “Gu Gu loves me deeply and said she wanted to be wife, I unexpectedly rejected her good wishes, where on earth do I start searching for her?” He suddenly cried out and threw himself forward, holding Wan Yan Ping, and kissed her eyes forcefully.

    When Wan Yan Ping saw his forceful and mad actions she was frightened and pleased, she felt his arms were like metal, holding tightly to her waist, she closed her eyes and let him do what he wanted. She felt his lips kiss her eyes only and didn’t move from them, she thought about how although his person is forceful, he kept his words, but she didn’t know why he kissed her eyes only.

    Suddenly Yang Guo called out, “Gu Gu, Gu Gu!” The voice carried the warmth of love yet it carried extreme sorrow. Wan Yan Ping was about to ask him who is he calling out when suddenly a girl’s voice from behind said, “May I trouble you two!”
    Yang Guo and Wan Yan Ping were both startled, they both leapt away form each other and saw someone standing by the tree, they wore a blue green gown.

    Wan Yan Ping’s heart was still jumping, her face red, she lowered her head and tugged at the corner of her clothes, and didn’t dare to look at the person.

    Yang Guo recognised this person, it was the person who had lured Li Mo Chou away from the inn a few days ago, he and Lu Wu Shuang had their lives saved thanks to her, she had two knots of hair on her head, it was a girl, he bowed deeply and said, “I won’t forgot miss’ help that day.”

    The girl returned the greeting and said, “Master Yang, at this moment in time do you still remember your companion?”

    Yang Guo said, “You are talking about…”

    The girl clearly said, “Li Mo Chou and her disciple have just captured her!”

    Yang Guo was shocked, his voice quivered and said, “Really? Is she …she in danger?”

    The girl clearly said, “She will be alright for the time being. Miss Lu said that the beggars took the codex, the ‘Serpent Demon’ is holding her and chasing after them. Her life will be safe for the moment but she won’t avoid torture.”
    Yang Guo called out, “We’ll quickly go and rescue her.”

    The girl shook her head and said, “Master Yang’s kung fu is high but I’m afraid you are still not a match for the ‘Serpent Demon’. There is no use in us losing our lives in vain.”

    Under the flat starlight he saw that the girl’s face was unspeakably ugly, the flesh on the face did not move like the face of a dead person, when one sees it, they can’t refrain from being terrified, Yang Guo looked at her a few times and didn’t dare to look at her again but thought, “That girl is a kind and considerate person, but she has such an odd face, what a pity. If I look at her again, I won’t be able to show some signs of being shocked, I’ll offend her then.” He asked, “Can I have the name of miss?”

    The girl said, “There is no need to remember such a lowly name, Master Yang will know it in the near future, what’s most important now is to think of a way to rescue miss Lu.” When she talked, the flesh on her face didn’t move, if one didn’t hear words coming from her mouth, they would think that she was a walking corpse. But its strange, her voice was soft, gentle and simple, it can revitalise a tired person and make one forget their worries.

    Yang Guo said, “Since it is so, we’ll rely on miss to rescue miss Lu. I will listen to your orders.”

    The girl was courteous and said, “Master Yang please don’t be formal, your skills are better than mine ten times over, when it comes to intelligence, I’m even further behind. You are older than me, and you are a man, whatever you say we’ll do, young girl here will follow the decision.”

    Yang Guo heard that these words were polite and gracious, his heart had an unspeakable comfortable feeling, he thought that although the girl’s face was frightening, her words were gentle and soothing, one cannot judge someone from their looks, he pondered and then said, “How about we’ll follow in secret and make the rescue when the chance comes.”

    The girl said, “That’s a good idea. But what about Miss Wan Yan?” As she said this she moved away and let the two discuss the matter.

    Yang Guo said, “Sister, I need to go and rescue a friend, we’ll meet again some day.”

    Wan Yan Ping lowered her head and said, “Although I’m my abilities are low, I can still be of help. Brother Yang, I’ll follow and help you in your rescue.”

    Yang Guo was pleased and said, “Great, great!” He made he pitched his voice up and said to the blue green girl, “Miss, miss Wan Yan is willing to come along with us for the rescue.”

    The girl came closer and said to Wan Yan Ping, “Miss Wan Yan, you are of an important status, you must think about this. Our enemy is extremely ruthless and vindictive, people in Jiang Hu call her the ‘Serpent Demon’, it really is in one’s best interests to avoid her.” Her tone was still courteous and polite.

    Wan Yan Ping said, “Without mentioning the fact that I’m indebted to brother Yang, his business is my business. A friend like sister here is definitely worth making. I’ll follow sister and we’ll be cautious.”

    The girl came over and held her hand and softly said, “Nothing could be better than that. You are older than me, call me younger sister.”

    In the dark, Wan Yan Ping could not see her ugly face, but she heard he soft and gentle voice, a soft and tender hand held onto hers, she assumed that she was a beautiful girl, she was happy and asked, “How old you?”

    The girl lightly laughed and said, “Let’s not compare our ages. Master Yang, what’s most important now is to rescue your friend, isn’t it?”

    Yang Guo said, “Yes, please can miss show us the way.”

    The girl said, “I saw them heading in a south east direction, they must be heading for Wu Guan.”

    The three then utilized their lightness kung fu and hurried to the southeast. The Ancient Tomb sect’s kung fu’s forte is lightness kung fu, it could be classed as the world’s number one. Wan Yan Ping martial arts may not be anything special but her lightness kung fu was not weak. How was it that the girl in blue green followed behind her without breaking speed? When Wan Yan Ping was going fast, she went fast, when she slowed down, the girl slowed down, the gap between them remained constant at one, two paces. Yang Guo was secretly surprised, “What sect is that girl from, from her lightness kung fu, her skills are higher than sister Wan Yan’s.” He didn’t want to lead in front of the two girls and so slipped to the back.

    The travelled until the sky became bright, the girl took out some food from her bag and gave it to the two. Yang Guo saw that although her blue green gown was plain and natural, it’s design was exquisite, it fitted perfectly to the body. On her body, the gown showed off her slim, graceful and elegant disposition, it was superior to embroidered clothes. Water, food and all other supplies were all prepared by her, showing off how meticulous and careful she was.

    Wan Yan Ping saw her face and was startled, she didn’t dare to take any more glances and thought, “There’s such an ugly girl on this earth?”

    The girl waited for the two to finish their food and said, “Master Yang, Li Mo Chou knows you, yes?”

    Yang Guo said, “She’s seen me a few times.”

    The girl took out a thin towel like object from her bag and said, “This is a human skin mask, once you’ve worn it she won’t be able to recognise you.”

    Yang Go took it in his hand and saw that the mask had four holes for the eyes, mouth and nose, when he placed it on his face it matched the shape of his face, like as if he was born with it, he thanked her with joy.

    Wan Yan Ping saw Yang Guo put on the mask, his face was now extremely ugly and then she understood, “Sister, so you’re wearing a human skin mask as well, I’m really dumb, I thought you really was born with that weird face. I’m really sorry.”

    The girl gave a quiet laugh and said, “With Master Yang’s handsome face, wearing this mask is asking a lot from him. With my face, it’s the same whether I wear it or not.”

    Wan Yan Ping said, “I don’t believe that! Sister, could you take off your mask and let me see your face?”

    Yang Guo was curious and he too was anxious to see her face, but the girl took two steps back and laughed, and said, “Don’t look, don’t look, my face will scare you guys.” Wan Yan Ping saw that she won’t take it off and so didn’t ask her again.

    By midday the three arrived as Wu Guan. They found a restaurant in the town and had something to eat. The waiters saw Yang Guo was wearing Mongolian clothes and didn’t dare to be slow, they made sure they tended to his needs first. The three was halfway through their food when they saw three females enter the restaurant; it was Li Mo Chou and her disciple along with Lu Wu Shuang in captive.

    Yang Guo thought that although Li Mo Chou could not possibly recognise him at this moment in time, his strange face would attract her suspicions and won’t be convenient for him to act so he turned around and ate his rice, lowering his body to hear their conservation. But who could have known that Lu Wu Shuang didn’t make a sound, after Li Mo Chou and Hong Ling Bo ordered, they too didn’t make a sound.

    Wan Yan Ping had heard Yang Guo describe Li Mo Chou and her disciples before, she was anxious and dipped her chopstick into a bowl of soup and wrote on the table, “Time to move?”

    Yang Guo thought, “Even with us three and wifey, it’ll be hard for us to beat the two of them. We can only win by using our brains, we can’t use force.” He waved his chopstick.

    There were footsteps from the stairs, two people emerged. Wan Yan Ping glanced over, it was Ye Luu Qi and Ye Luu Yan. The two people also noticed that Wan Yan Ping was here and both were surprised, they nodded and then found a table to sit down. The two knew that Wan Yan Ping had left and wasn’t going to assassinate their father again so they left their father and brother and went travelling. They were even more relaxed when they saw Wan Yan Ping was here.

    Li Mo Chou was troubled by the fact that the ‘Five Poison Codex’ had fallen into the hands of the Beggar Clan, in these few days she had no appetite to eat, she just ate half a bowl of noodles and then placed her chopsticks on the table. She raised her head and looked out of the restaurant, on the corner of the street she saw two beggars, on their backs their were five pockets, they were five band beggar clan members. She had a thought and went over to the window, she signalled to the beggars and said, “Beggar Clan members, please come up, Taoist nun here has a message for your clan’s chief.” She knew that if she asked them to come up for no reason, they might not come, if she said she had a message for their chief, they would definitely come.

    Lu Wu Shuang heard her master calling the beggars and knew that she wanted to inquire about the whereabouts of the ‘Five Poison Codex’, her face couldn’t refrain from turning white. Ye Luu Qi knew that the Beggar Clan were a powerful force up here in the north, this beautiful nun actually had something to say to them, he didn’t know who she was, his curiosity was roused, he stopped drinking and watched them.

    In a short while, the sound of footsteps could be heard from their, two beggar clan members emerged and greeted Li Mo Chou and said, “What does angelic nun want, we’ll follow the request.” After they greeted her they stood up. One of the beggars saw that Lu Wu Shuang was present and his face immediately changed, he had tangled with her before, he pulled his friend and leapt to the entrance of the stairs.

    Li Mo Chou gave a wry smile and said, “Please take a look at the back of your hands.” The beggars looked on their back of their hands only to see three red prints on the back of their hands, they didn’t know on earth that she managed to do this, she used her [Divine Five Poison Palm] without disturbing ghosts and gods. The beggars didn’t even know she had done something, even Yang Guo and Ye Luu Qi couldn’t see clearly what had happened.

    The beggars were startled and both called out, “You’re… you’re the ‘Serpent Deity’?”

    Li Mo Chou softly said, “Go and tell your chief, your clan and the one named Li has always kept away from each other, ‘the river water does not mix with the well water’, I have always admire the heroes of the Beggar Clan, it’s just that I’ve never had the chance to acquaint myself with the clan, I really am regretful.”

    The beggars looked at her and thought, “It sounds nice but why did you use your poisonous techniques on us for no reason?”

    Li Mo Chou took a break and then carried on, “The two of you have fallen victim to the [Divine Five Poison Palm], don’t worry, all you’ve got to do is return the book you stole and I will help you cure it.”

    One of the beggars said, “What book?”

    Li Mo Chou laughed and said, “That old book isn’t worth much, if your clan won’t return it, its not too important. I’ll just take the thousand Beggar Clan member’s life as compensation.”

    The two beggars’ arm didn’t feel anything strange but each time they listened to one sentence, they would look down at their hands, they have heard about how evil and poisonous the ‘Serpent Deity’ was, after fallen victim to her, you will suffer an extreme pain as you die, their heart was now imagining things, the three red marks on their hands seemed to be getting bigger, they heard the ruthlessness and evil she spoke with, they wanted to go and tell their elders and plan what to do. They looked at each other and hurried down the stairs.

    Li Mo Chou thought, “If your chief wants you to live, she would definitely hand over the ‘Five Poison Codex’ obediently... crap, if they copy down the book and return the original to me what then?” She had another thought, “My divine palm’s and concealed weapons’ antidote are all written in the book, they’ve got the book, why will they beg me?” When she thought about this her face changed, she flew over to them and blocked their path, two palm clashes were heard as she returned them up the stairs. A yellow blur was seen as she moved up and down the stairs, when she returned upstairs she held one of the beggar’s arms and twisted it, a ‘ka la’ sound as the bone was broken. The other beggar was alarmed but he was loyal to his friend, he didn’t run away and dashed forward to protect his friend, he saw Li Mo Chou coming forward and threw out a fist. Li Mo Chou grabbed his wrist without trying and twisted it, the arm was broken.

    The two beggars saw that they suffered serious injuries in just one stance, they knew that they had no luck today, the two stood back to back and raised their good arm, deciding to fight to the end.

    Li Mo Chou said courteously, “You two better stay here and wait for your chief to bring the book here as ransom.”

    The two beggars saw her return to her table and drank wine, her backs to them, they slowly edged towards the stairs and wait for a chance to escape.

    Li Mo Chou turned around and laughed and said, “It seems that the two of you are going to remain here only if your legs are broken.” She stood up.

    Hong Ling Bo couldn’t bear it anymore and said, “Master, just let me guard them, I won’t let them escape.”

    Li Mo Chou chuckled and said, “Huh, you’ve got a good conscience.” She slowly walked towards the two beggars.

    Ye Luu Qi and his sister have been watching from the side, they couldn’t bear it any longer and both of them stood up.

    Ye Luu Qi whispered, “Sister, run away, this woman is really powerful.”

    Ye Luu Yan whispered, “What about you?”

    Ye Luu Qi said, “As soon as I’ve saved the two beggars, I’ll immediately run away.”

    Ye Luu Yan knew that there weren’t many people who his brother can’t beat, when he said that he needs to escape with his life, she couldn’t believe it.

    At this time, Yang Guo slapped the table with force, and went over the Ye Luu Qi and said, “Brother Ye Luu, how about we save them together?” He knew that if he wanted to save Lu Wu Shuang, he would eventually have to fight, with a skilled person who was willing to save someone like Ye Luu Qi, how could he not drag him down with him?

    Ye Luu Qi saw that he was dressed in the clothes of a Mongolian general, his face was extremely ugly, he has never seen this person in his life, he thought that this person was actually sitting with Wan Yan Ping and knew who he was, but with Li Mo Chou’s kung fu, it would be hard for him to win, if a normal person intervened they would definitely lose their life in vain. He couldn’t reply for the time being.
    Li Mo Chou heard Yang Guo talk and examined him, his voice seemed familiar but no one can forget a face like his, and decided that she didn’t know him.

    Yang Guo said, “I don’t have a weapon, I need to borrow a weapon.” As he said this he flew past Hong Ling Bo’s body and picked up her sword from her belt, he smelt her face and said, “Very fragrant!”

    Hong Ling Bo threw out a palm, he ducked and darted underneath it and stood between Li Mo Chou and the beggars. The essence to his movements were remarkable, it was the advanced kung fu he learnt while catching sparrows in the ancient tomb. Li Mo Chou was secretly alarmed.

    Ye Luu Qi was delighted and said, “What is this brother’s name?”

    Yang Guo swaggered his left arm and said, “Little brother here is called Yang.” He raised the sword sheath and said, “I stole a broken sword.” He took the sword out of its sheath, the sword was indeed broken.

    Hong Ling Bo realized who he was and called out, “Little punk. Master, it’s him.”

    Yang Guo took off his mask and said, “Martial uncle, apprentice sister, Yang Guo greets you.”

    When he said ‘Martial uncle, apprentice sister’, Ye Luu Qi was mystified, Lu Wu Shuang was even more surprised, “Why on earth is Sha Dan calling them martial uncle and apprentice sister?”

    Li Mo Chou chuckled and said, “Hmm, how’s your master?”

    Yang Guo’s heart ached a little, his eyes went red.

    Li Mo Chou coldly said, “Your master has taught a good disciple.”

    Days ago, Yang Guo had used unorthodox techniques to neutralise her most lethal stances the [Three Without Three Without Hands] technique, and after he took away her flywhisk with his teeth, his skills were strange, it was unimaginably strange, although she managed to take her flywhisk back and knew that her skills were much higher than his, she pondered, “This little punk is making very rapid progress, apprentice sister is even more extraordinary. So the [Jade Heart Manual] is this good. It was lucky that apprentice sister did not team up with him to fight me, otherwise, otherwise…” Right now she saw him appearing again, she was secretly afraid as she looked around, seeing whether Xiao Long Nuu was here or not.

    Yang Guo knew what she was thinking, he laughed and said, “My master asks for martial uncle’s health.”

    Li Mo Chou said, “Where is she? Us sisters haven’t seen each other for a long time.”

    Yang Guo said, “Master is nearby. You will see her shortly.” He knew that he wasn’t a match for her, even with Ye Luu Qi’s help it will still be difficult, so he used an ‘Empty City Idea’, frightening her with his master.

    Li Mo Chou said, “I’m disciplining my disciple, what has that got to do with your master?”

    Yang Guo laughed and said, “My master pleads martial uncle to let apprentice sister Lu go.”

    Li Mo Chou chuckle and said, “You have relations with your senior, you and your master have done such things, in front of others you say master this and master that, aren’t you ashamed?”

    Yang Guo knew that she was insulting his master, his blood boiled up to his chest, he picked up the sword sheath and unleashed his sword skills, and fiercely attacked.

    Li Mo Chou laughed and said, “You can do such unspeakable things, yet you are afraid of others talking about it?” Yang Guo used the sword sheath and attacked continuously, it was severe and pressed forward without resistance, it was the sword skills left by Wong Chong Yang to counter Lin Chao Ying’s Jade Sword techniques. Li Mo Chou didn’t dare to be careless, she used her flywhisk and concentrated on the incoming stances. The techniques of Li Mo Chou’s whisk originated from the Jade Sword techniques, many stances had passed and felt the opponent’s sword skills were extremely refined and ingenious, every stance and every move of hers were predicted by the opponent and was intercepted by him, if were not for the fact that she was much more powerful than him, she would have started to lose, she thought with anger, “Master is really biased, only teaching apprentice sister this set of sword technique. Huh, she probably wanted apprentice sister to use this to neutralise me. Although this sword technique is extraordinary, does that mean I’m going to be scared of it?”

    She changed her stance and suddenly moved forward, leaping onto the table, her right leg kicked out, her left leg supporting herself on the side of the table, her body moved back and forth without effort, like a leaf floating in the breeze. She laughed and said, “Did you lover teach you this move? I don’t think even she will know this.”

    Yang Guo was alarmed and angrily said, “What lover?”

    Li Mo Chou laughed, “My apprentice sister had swore a serious oath, if there wasn’t a man who was willing to die for her, she would spend eternity in the tomb and never set foot off the mountain. She has followed you down from the mountain, you two aren’t husband and wife, if she isn’t your lover then who is?”

    Yang Guo was extremely angry and didn’t reply, he rushed forward with the sword sheath and leapt onto the table. His lightness kung fu couldn’t compare with the opponents so he didn’t step on the side of the table, he stepped on some bowls but he remained steady and chopped across fiercely with the sheath.

    Li Mo Chou raised her flywhisk and repelled the sheath. She laughed and said, “Your lightness kung fu is not bad! Your lover has treated you well, it could be said that she was loved you very much.”

    Yang Guo was furious and couldn’t restrain himself, he shouted out, “The one called Li, are you a human? Are you speaking a human language?” He raised his sheath and quickly attacked forwards.

    Li Mo Chou calmly said, “If you don’t other to know then don’t give them anything to know about. My Ancient Tomb sect has come out with these two scum, we have lost all face.” As she was attacking, she incessantly came out with sarcastic comments. She may be ruthless but when she spoke, she was normally polite and courteous, what she was saying now was against her character, it was because she was worried about Xiao Long Nuu watching by the side, if she suddenly came out and attacked it would be difficult for her to fight them off so she kept up the insults, wanting to make Xiao Long Nuu so ashamed that she won’t come out.

    Yang Guo could not bear it, if she was insulting him, he wouldn’t care but Xiao Long Nuu was the one being insulted, under such anger, his arms and legs shivered, his head felt faint, his eyes suddenly went black and couldn’t stand up, and fell from the table. Li Mo Chou raised her flywhisk and attacked down onto his crown.

    Ye Luu Qi saw that this was an urgent situation, he picked up some wine cups and threw it at Li Mo Chou. Li Mo Chou heard the wind sounds and took a glance, it was some wine cups, she breathed deeply and protected her pressure points on her back, she had to kill Yang Guo now and worry about this later, thinking why should she be worried about two little wine cups. Who would have thought that before the cups arrived the wine splashed out, she felt her ‘To Yang’, and ‘Central’ pressure points felt numb after being hit by the wine, she secretly called out, “Crap! Apprentice sister is here. If the effects with the wine is like this, what about the wine cups?” She quickly turned her flywhisk around and knocked the two wine cups away just in time, she felt her arms shake, and was even more worried, “How did she get so strong?”

    When she turned around, she saw that it wasn’t Xiao Long Nuu who shot the cups out, it was a tall young man dressed in Mongolian clothes, she was extremely surprised, “There are so many good fighters in the younger generation?” She saw him take out his long sword and clearly said, “Angelic nun’s attack are ruthless, I want to experience a few stances.” Li Mo Chou saw him slowly advancing, his foot steps solid, he was about twenty or so, but from judging from how he shot out the cups and how he was moving with his sword, his internal energy exceeded this age, she examined him and laughed, “Who are you? Who is your master?”

    Ye Luu Qi bowed and said, “I am Ye Luu Qi, I’m under the tutelage of Quan Zhen sect.”

    Yang Guo had leapt to the side, when he heard that Ye Luu Qi was from the Quan Zhen sect he thought, “He indeed is from Quan Zhen, could he be Liu Chu Xuan’s disciple? Hao Da Tong can’t teach something to such a standard.”

    Li Mo Chou asked, “Is your master Ma Yu or Qiu Chu Ji?”

    Ye Luu Qi said, “No.”

    Li Mo Chou asked, “Is it Liu, Wang or Hao?”

    Ye Luu Qi said, “Wrong as well.”

    Li Mo Chou chuckled and pointed to Yang Guo, “He said he was the disciple of Wong Chong Yang’s, that makes you two apprentice brothers.”

    Ye Luu Qi was surprised and said, “Is not true is it? Elder Chong Yang has died a long time ago, how can that brother over there be his disciple?”

    Li Mo Chou’s brows wrinkled and said, “Hei, hei, Quan Zhen have many disciples who can lie without blinking, I’m going to change Quan Zhen’s name into ‘Quan Jia’, enguarde!” (Quan Zhen could be translated as Whole Truth, Quan Jia is translated as Whole Fake.) Her flywhisk moved and attacked the head.

    Ye Luu Qi’s left hand raised his sword, his left foot stepped forward, a stance of [Fixed Yang Needle], the sword was thrust upwards, it was the orthodox sword skills of Quan Zhen. This stance’s air and chi was absolute, the strength, power, stance all has its fine points, on first appearances it looks very ordinary, but to reach a state where there was no weakness, people whose talent was just slightly lacking may not be able to reach such a state with a lifetime of practise. Yang Guo has learnt Quan Zhen sword techniques in the Ancient Tomb so of course he knew the essence of the sword skills, but he just learnt it without really practising it, no matter what he would not be able to demonstrate this stance with such profoundness.

    When Li Mo Chou saw him unleashing this stance she knew that he was a strong enemy, she strode across and lashed her flywhisk. Ye Luu Qi saw a grey blur move, the flywhisk’s thread were to the left and back of him, sweeping in from all directions, his battle experience was shallow, this is the first time he has met a strong enemy, he concentrated and used all his strength to fight her. In a flash forty stances were exchanged, Ye Luu Qi coiled his sword back slightly, he saw defeat in front of him but if Li Mo Chou wanted to win right now, she will not be able to succeed.

    She secretly praised him, “This little punk is indeed using the refined skills of Quan Zhen, although he can’t compare with Qiu, Liu and Wang, he won’t lose to Sun Bu Er. There are indeed many able people in Quan Zhen.

    A few more stances passed when Li Mo Chou sold him a dummy. Ye Luu Qi didn’t know it was trap, he raised his sword and thrust forwards, Li Mo Chou suddenly threw out her left leg and struck his wrist, Ye Luu Qi’s arm was in pain, the sword escaped from his hands. Though he was being defeated he didn’t panic, his left hand slashed across, his right hand used the [Trapping Hand Techniques] to try to steal her flywhisk.

    Li Mo Chou smiled and praised him, “Very handsome kung fu!”

    After many moves, she felt that his techniques had extreme softness, Liu Chu Xuan and Sun Bu Er and the others did not have this, she was secretly surprised.

    Yang Guo interrupted with an insult, “*****, I’ll never acknowledge you as my martial uncle ever again.” He raised his sword sheath and attacked.

    Li Mo Chou saw Ye Luu Qi’s sword had fallen, she wrapped the sword with her flywhisk and shot it out at Yang Guo’s face and laughed, saying, “You are your master’s man, you could call me apprentice sister.” Yang Guo saw the incoming sword and raised his sword sheath forward. Lu Wu Shuang and Wan Yan Ping both called out in alarm, but there was a ‘shua’ noise as the sword was shot into the sword sheath exactly. The placement of the sheath to catch the sword was extremely, if the sheath was just a millimetre or so out; the force that Li Mo Chou shot the sword out with, the sword would have pierced through his chest. However, he has learnt the art of projectile throwing in the Ancient Tomb, the timing, weight and accuracy of his skills were reached to a stage where there wasn’t any errors, the hair like ‘Jade Bee Needle’ would hit its target as soon as he shoots it out, catching the sword with the sheath wasn’t a difficult skill for him. He took the sword out of the sheath and attacked with Ye Luu Qi.

    The tables and benches were all overturned, bowls were broken, all the guest had long gone. In all the time that Hong Ling Bo has been with her master, she has never seen her losing in battle, she lost out to Xiao Long Nuu in the Ancient Tomb because she couldn’t swim; her flywhisk was snatched away by Yang Guo but was taken back immediately and she forced Yang Guo to run away, but watching the two teaming up attacking her master, she was slightly worried about her but she stood to the side and watched. The three of them fought engagingly in battle, Li Mo Chou changed her stances, her flywhisk producing strong winds, forcing the two to wobble, in a flash, Yang Guo and Ye Luu Qi faced some dangerous stances.

    Ye Luu Yan and Wan Yan Ping both called out, “Oh no.” They both stepped up to help. After using just three stances, Ye Luu Yan was struck on the left leg with the flywhisk, she was flung to the side and knocked into a table. Ye Luu Qi saw that his sister was hurt and became flustered, under the fierce attack of Li Mo Chou he kept on retreating backwards.

    The girl in blue green saw the situation was urgent, she dashed forward to take Ye Luu Yan out of the danger. Li Mo Chou’s eyes saw every and ears heard everything, she saw that the girl’s movements were light, displaying signs that she was a disciple of a famous name, she swung her flywhisk across her face and asked, “What is miss’ name? Who is your master?” There was a distance of over ten feet between them, in a flash the flywhisk was swung in front of her face. The girl in blue green was startled, her right hand waved out, from her sleeve she took out a weapon, and blocked the flywhisk. Li Mo Chou saw that this weapon was extremely strange, it glittered like a gem, it was about three imperial feet long, it looked like a jade flute, she searched her mind, “Which sect or family uses such a weapon?” She quickly attacked wanting her to display her skills. The girl could not hold on, Yang Guo and Ye Luu Qi dashed forward to help. But it was hard to defend against Li Mo Chou’s her swift and fluent style, stances from the east and palms from the west, in a flash danger came again.

    Yang Guo thought, “All we’ve got to do is make one little mistake and our lives would be hard to protect.”

    He opened his mouth and called out, “My good wifey, sister, my sister in blue green, sister Ye Luu, let’s all leave the restaurant and take a break! That ***** is very lethal.”

    The four girls saw him calling out madly, no one could say a word of ‘fine’, their brows creased, they saw it was now a very urgent and desperate situation. Lu Wu Shuang first went downstairs followed by the girl in blue green who was supporting Ye Luu Yan. The two beggars saw the young heroes fighting Li Mo Chou because of them, they wanted to go forward and help but their arms were broken and couldn’t fight. The two were very loyal, although Li Mo Chou was not watching them, they didn’t dare to leave before Yang Guo and the others.

    Yang Guo and Ye Luu Qi fought together against Li Mo Chou’s stances, which were becoming more and more lethal, they carried Wan Yan Ping and retreated downstairs.

    Yang Guo said, “Brother Ye Luu, our movements are restricted, let’s go downstairs and fight.” He fought that once they were in a crowded place, they will be able to escape.

    Ye Luu Qi said, “Fine!”

    The two stood shoulder to shoulder and retreated down the stairs. Li Mo Chou kept on attacking, although she was winning she was angry, “In my life, whoever I wanted to kill I killed, today two young punks are blocking my way, if Lu Wu Shuang that little ***** escapes, where will the great name of the ‘Serpent Deity’ go?” She wanted to snatch back Lu Wu Shuang and so attacked down the stairs.

    Everyone fought with all their strength, they battled from the restaurant into the street, from the street they battled into the suburbs.

    Yang Guo kept on calling out, “Good wifey, my dear sister the further you run the better. Sister Ye Luu and my sister in blue green, you better leave, the two of us won’t die.”

    Ye Luu Qi didn’t say a word, he was older than Yang Guo by only a few years, but he had a serious and stern air, completely different to Yang Guo’s easy going, rash and hot-tempered manner. The two of them fought together against the enemy, Ye Luu Qi dealt with the ruthless attacks of the enemy, Yang Guo darted around to divert the enemy’s attention.

    Li Mo Chou saw that Xiao Long Nuu had not appeared and was now at ease, she concentrated on the battle. The internal energy that Yang Guo and Ye Luu Qi had accumulated could not compare with Li Mo Chou’s, as they battled to this point, the two of them were red and out of breath.

    When Li Mo Chou saw this she was pleased, “In under an hour I’ll be able to take their lives.”

    At this moment, the air was suddenly filled with the calls of birds, the calls were clear, two large condors attacked her head, four wings created gusts of wind, dirt and dust filled the arena, the force of the calls were frightening.

    Yang Guo knew that it was the pair of condors that belonged to the Guo couple. When he was younger, he had played with the condors on Peach Blossom Island, since the condors were here, the Guo couple would be nearby. He expelled himself from Chong Yang Palace and didn’t want to see Guo Jing again, he quickly leapt back many steps and put on the human skin mask.

    The condors flew left and right, up and down, their wings attacking Li Mo Chou incessantly. The two condors have a very good memory, they kept in their hearts what had happened years ago when they suffered the pain of the ‘Soul Freezing Needles’, when they saw her from faraway they immediately came and attack, but they were still afraid of her needles, every time she waved her hands, they quickly circled around.

    Ye Luu Qi was watching carefully and knew that it would be hard for the two condors to win, he called out, “Brother Yang, let’s go again, how would she cope with the four of us?” He was about to dash forward when he heard the sounds of horse hoofs from the southeast, a horse was galloping straight on.

    The horse was extremely fast, by the time the sounds of footsteps reached him, the horse was in front of him, it was long and tall, covered in red fur, its spirit was amazing.

    Li Mo Chou and Ye Luu Qi were both startled, “How can this horse gallop so fast?” The was a girl in red on the horse’s back, the girl and horse looked like an oncoming flame, the only thing that wasn’t red was the girl’s white face. Yang Guo saw the condors and red horse and knew that it was the daughter of Guo Jing and Huang Rong, Guo Fu. He saw her reign in the horse, the horse immediately held its ground. The horse stopped immediately after being ordered, it didn’t make a sound and was composed. Ye Luu Qi grew up in Mongolia, he has seen countless spirited horses, but one with such a magnificent air he has never seen, he couldn’t stop himself from being surprised. He didn’t know that this horse was a sweat and blood precious horse that Guo Jing obtained from the plains of Mongolia, then it was just a foal, now it was grown up and could be said to be in its senior years, but this extraordinary horse different to other horses in old age, its bones and muscles were extremely strong, it hasn’t lost any of its strength through its transition to old age.

    Yang Guo hasn’t seen Guo Fu for a long time, he remembered she was an arrogant and bullying little girl, now she has grown into a young girl who was as pleasant as a spring flower. After riding urgently for this time, sweat formed on her forehead, her cheeks reflected her red dress and looked even more glamorous. She looked at condors for a while and then glanced at Ye Luu Qi and the others, she saw Yang Guo dressed in the Mongolian uniform wearing the human skin mask, his face was extremely strange, her brows creased, showing signs of disrespect.

    Yang Guo and her had never got along since they were young, she saw her looking at him in disgust, the feelings of hate and humility were strengthened, thinking, “You don’t respect me but does that mean that I want you to look upon me with respect? Your father is a living hero, your mother is the chief of the Beggar Clan, your grandfather is one of the prominent martial artists in the world, there is no one who doesn’t look at the Guo family with respect. What about my father and mother? My mother is a country girl, I don’t know who my father is and he died without reason, I don’t want to compare myself with you, I’m born into hardship, suffering the abuse of others. If you try to insult me again I wouldn’t care.”

    He stood by the side, hurt and wretched, he felt that no one in the world looked upon him highly, there was no good reason to live on in this world. Only his master Xiao Long Nuu treated him with love, but where is she now? Is there going to be a day in this lifetime where they will see each other again? His heart was filled with sorrow, he heard the sound of horse hoofs, two more horses rode forward. One of the horses was green, the other yellow, they both were good quality animals but there was a big gap when compared to Guo Fu’s red horse. On the horses were two young men, both of them wearing yellow.

    Guo Fu called out, “Brother Wu’s, it’s the evil woman again.”

    The young men on the horse were the Wu brothers, Wu Dun Ru and Wu Xia Wen. Both of them saw Li Mo Chou; she was the person who killed their mother, in these past few years they wasn’t a day where they didn’t remember this, who could have thought that they would meet again here; they quickly leapt off the horse, each drew out a long sword and attacked from the left and right.

    Guo Fu called out, “I’m going as well.” She took out a precious sword by the horse’s reign and leapt off the horse to help.

    Li Mo Chou saw the longer the battle went on the more enemies there were; even though they were young; as soon as the two young men came forward their face and eyes were red, they fought fiercely with their lives, the sword techniques refined showing that there were under the tutelage of a famous master, the young girl in red joined in as well, as soon as she attacked the tip of her sword quivered slightly, sparkling in the eye, the sword thrust forwards, buried within the stance was an extremely lethal secondary aim, though the internal energy was weak, the sword technique was profound and ingenious, her heart shivered and called out, “You are Peach Blossom’s Island Miss Guo?”

    Guo Fu chuckled and said, “So you know me.” She unleashed two stances aiming to harm her chest.

    Li Mo Chou raised her flywhisk and blocked the stances, thinking, “This little girl is very arrogant, attacking me without respect with you lowly skills, if I weren’t afraid of incurring your parents wrath, even if there was ten of you I’ll kill you all.” The flywhisk flipped around, she wanted to take away her long sword when suddenly the sounds of wind came from her sides, the Wu brothers thrust forward at the same time. Guo Jing taught the Wu brothers and Guo Fu martial arts personally, the three lived and played together on the island, their sword skills were the same. The three sword skills were tightly matched, the advance and retreat complimented each other, although it wasn’t some kind of formation, as the swords came out, the force of it wasn’t weak. The three and the pair of condors continuously attacked, placing Li Mo Chou in their confinement. With the ability of the three, in a little while longer Li Mo Chou could definitely hurt one of them, and the other two will not be able to protect themselves. But in front of her were many enemies, if she attacked forwards it still won’t be easy for her, and if she forced the Guo couple to come out and attack, she wouldn’t be able to escape, she took back her flywhisk and chuckled, “Little babies, watch how the ‘Serpent Deity’ fight monkeys.”

    She unleashed six stances in a row, every stance aimed to harm, forcing Guo Fu and the Wu Brothers to scurry, leaping and jumping around to avoid the stances, they did look a bit like monkeys jumping around.

    Li Mo Chou stood on her left leg and laughed, she turned around and called out, “Ling Bo, let’s go!” The two of them ran away in a north west direction.
    Guo Fu called out, “She’s scared of us, go after them!” She ran after them. The Wu brothers utilized their lightness kung fu and followed.

    Li Mo Chou waved and brandished her flywhisk behind her, carefree and smoothly, not an ounce of dust rose from underneath her feet, she lightly floated away like walking slowly. Hong Ling Bo ran hurriedly. Guo Fu and the Wu brothers increased the energy in their legs but the distance between them and the Li Mo Chou master and disciple was getting further and further away. Only the pair of condors was faster, they repeatedly attacked. Wu Dun Ru saw that they would not be able to take their revenge today so he whistled and called the condors back.

    Ye Luu Qi and the others were afraid that the three of them would lose and hurried to meet up with them, only to see Guo Fu and the others return, they went forward and greeted them. All of them were young, and in just a few words they spoke with great joviality.

    Ye Luu Qi suddenly thought of something and called out, “Where’s brother Yang?”

    Wan Yan Ping said, “He left by himself. I asked him where he was going but he ignored me.” She hung her head down after she said this.

    Ye Luu Qi hurried to a hill and took a look all around, only to see the girl in blue green walking shoulder to shoulder with Lu Wu Shuang faraway, there wasn’t a trace of Yang Guo. Ye Luu Qi was as if he was at a lost, the first time they met they fought together against to repel an enemy, though it was just a short time, but their lives were on the line so many times and both shared a bitter hate for the enemy, now he has suddenly disappeared without a trace, it was as if he had lost an old friend.

    When Yang Guo saw the Wu brothers arrived, and with Guo Fu, they attacked Li Mo Chou, the three of them were very close, their sword skills they used were refined and in a few moves they had driven Li Mo Chou back. But he didn’t know that Li Mo Chou left because she was worried about the Guo couple and not because that buried within the sword stances were extremely strong internal energy, forcing her with no option but to flee. That day when Guo Jing took him to mount Zhong Nan to learn martial arts, he had seen him show his might, defeating countless Quan Zhen Taoists, his martial arts was extremely high. This was etched into Yang Guo’s young mind, he thought that disciples of Guo Jing would be ten times better than him, he had a thought of worrying about number one first, when he saw Guo Fu and the Wu’s unleash their superb stance, he assumed that must be some kind of ingenuity and mastery behind it. He was getting angrier as he watched on, he remembered how he had fought with the Wu brothers when they were younger, with Guo Fu by the side calling out, “Hit him harder, harder!” and remembered how Huang Rong deliberately chose not to teach him martial arts, and Guo Jing with his great skills did not dare to pass on any martial arts to him, sending him to Chong Yang Palace to suffer torture and abuse, he felt anger and hatred in his chest, he couldn’t stop himself, he saw Wan Yan Ping, Lu Wu Shuang, the girl in blue green, Ye Luu Yan all looking at him, they looked surprised and he thought, “You believe the insults that Li Mo Chou called out at my Gu Gu. It doesn’t matter if you looked down on me but how can you dare to look down on my Gu Gu? My face is angry because I’m angry at Guo Fu and the Wu brothers, uncle Guo and auntie Guo, you lot think that I’ve done unspeakable things with my Gu Gu and that’s why I look like this, isn’t it?” He suddenly ran away, he didn’t follow the main roads and just ran without thinking in their wild lands. Right now he couldn’t pull himself together, he thought that everyone in the world was against him, he didn’t remember the fact that he was wearing the human skin mask, although there was jealousy, hate and anger on his face, how could Wan Yan Ping and the others see this? Why would others laugh at him for no reason at all? Li Mo Chou’s infamy is well known throughout the wulin world, who can believe what she says?

    He originally was heading from northwest to southeast, but he wanted to get other from these people as far as possible so headed northwest instead. His heart was in a mess, he loathed the world, he took off his mask and ran madly in the wild hills and mountains. When he was hungry, he plucked some wild fruits and vegetables to cure his hunger. He travelled further and further, within a month, his face was wild and unkempt, his clothes old and torn, and reached a tall mountain. He didn’t know that this was one of the most famous five mountains in the world, mount Wah. He saw the mountain was dangerous and rugged, he became mad and climbed up the mountain furiously. Though his lightness kung fu was good, mount Wah is a dangerous place, one cannot climb it on a whim. By the time he was halfway up the mountain, the weather suddenly became cold, the grounds became hard, the north wind gradually blew closer, flakes of snow floated from the sky. His was angry and livid, he wanted to torture himself and did not find a place to avoid the snow, the stronger the wind and snow, the further he travelled. He carried on until the became night, the snow was heavy, the floor was slippery, it was even harder to recognise the paths, if he stepped into an empty space, he would definitely fall down to his death in the deep valleys. He didn’t care and looked lightly upon his life, he looked up and walked forward.

    After a while, he suddenly heard a light ‘chi’ ‘chi’ sound, it sounded like some kind of beast was travelling in the snow, he immediately turned around and saw the image of a person flash past, darting into a valley. Yang Guo was startled and quickly went over to take a look in the valley, he saw someone hooking his three fingers into the rock, hanging in midair. Yang Guo saw that the three fingers supported the whole body above the valley, this person’s martial arts were extremely high, it had reached an unimaginable level. So he politely greeted, “Old senior please come up!”

    The person laughed, his voice shaking the valley, his fingers pulled up and leapt up from the side of the mountain, the person suddenly shouted, “You are with the Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border aren’t you? What are you doing sneaking around here in the middle of the night during a snowstorm?”

    Yang Guo was scolded for no reason and thought, “What am I doing sneaking around here in the middle of the night during a snowstorm?” This disturbed his thoughts and he suddenly let out a cry, remembering how unlucky he was, suffering the abuse of others, and his most respected and loved one Xiao Long Nuu blamed him for no reason and disappeared, they would probably never meet again in this lifetime, as he cried about this all his life’s worries and all the resentment and abuse he has suffered surfaced in his mind.

    When that person saw him cry he was shocked, he heard that he was getting more pitiful as he cried, and was even more surprised. When the person saw that his cries weren’t going to end he suddenly laughed out, the laugh and cry joined together and shook the snow down from the mountaintops.

    When Yang Guo heard the laugh, his cries stopped and he angrily said, “What are you laughing at?”

    The person laughed and said, “What are you crying about?”

    Yang Guo was about to reply with hate when he remembered this person’s martial arts were extraordinary, he calmed down his anger and politely bowed and said, “Junior is Yang Guo, I hereby greet senior.”

    The person held a bamboo rod in his hand, and he lightly pushed him on the arm, Yang Guo did not feel any greet force yet his body couldn’t stop falling backwards. With the force of that push, one would fall down and struggle to pick themselves up, but he has learnt the [Toad Stance] where one’s legs are above their head, he flipped over in the air and remained upright.

    Both of them could not have predicted what had just happened. With Yang Guo’s present abilities, making him fall in one push wasn’t easy, even Li Mo Chou or Qiu Chu Ji and the like couldn’t do this to him; the other person saw him standing up steadily after flipping over in midair, he opened his eyes and looked at him and asked, “Why are you crying?”

    When Yang Guo examined him, he was a white bearded and haired old man, the clothes on him were old and torn, it appeared that he was a beggar, although it was dark, the white snow reflected off him, there was a red glow on his face, he looked graceful, Yang Guo’s respect of him became evident and replied, “I’m a person with a life full of despair, there is no point in living, I should just die.”

    The old beggar heard his voice was full of resignation, he was filled with resentment, the beggar nodded his head and asked, “Who’s bullying you? Quickly tell grandpa.”

    Yang Guo said, “My father was killed by someone, but I don’t know who. My mother died due to illness, there is no one left in the world who loves and care for me.”

    The old beggar gave a ‘en’ grunt and said, “That is sad. Who is the master who taught you kung fu?”

    Yang Guo thought, “Auntie Guo technically was my master but she didn’t teach me any martial arts. Mentioning the Quan Zhen Taoists fills me with hate. Ou Yang Feng is my godfather, not my master. My kung fu was taught by Gu Gu, but she said she wants to be my wife, if I said she is my master she will be angry. Wong Chong Yang and Lin Chao Yang ancestors left their martial arts on in the stone room, how can I say they are my master? I have many masters but I can’t mention any of them.”

    This question disturbed his feelings again and he let out a cry again, calling out, “I don’t have a master, I don’t have a master!”

    The old beggar said, “Fine, fine! If you don’t want to say, fine.”

    Yang Guo sobbed, “It’s not that I don’t want to say, it’s just that I don’t have one.”

    The old beggar said, “If you haven’t got one, you haven’t got one, what need is there for crying? Do you know the Five Clowns of the Tibetan?”

    Yang Guo said, “I don’t know them.”

    The old beggar said, “I saw you alone about in the dark and thought that you were the friends of the Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border, since you aren’t then that’s great.”

    This person was the nine-fingered wondrous beggar, Hong Qi Gong. After he passed on the position of the chief of the Beggar Clan to Huang Rong, he travelled alone, savouring the world’s finest foods. The weather of Guangdong was pleasant and the amount of exquisite food countless. After he went to Lingnan, he had all he wanted, over the last ten years, he has not returned to the central plains.

    In the lands of Guangdong, poisonous snakes were used in soups, tough cats were used in stews, fishes were like mice, the prawns were like dragons, fat snails were fried, dragon louses were steamed, the roast piglets had crisp skin, the flesh of simmered fruit were red, Hong Qi Gung was in heaven, his pleasure boundless. Whenever he sees injustice, he will secretly help, he killed evil and punished traitors, with his ability, no one knew where he was and where he went. Sometimes he would listen in on some Beggar Clan members talking, he knew that under the order of Huang Rong and Lu You Jiao, the Beggar Clan was calm, the internal fight between the ‘dirty’ clothed and ‘clean’ clothed factions was subsiding, so has the outside force of the Jin’s and the Iron Palm Clan. He had no worries, everyday he would just open his mouth, chew and swallow.

    This year, the second clown of the Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border killed innocents in cold blood, killing numerous people. Hong Qi Gong wanted to take revenge, he was going to kill that clown but thought killing one person is easy, finding the other four would be hard so he secretly followed the second clown, waiting for him to met up with the other four and then kill them all at once, but he didn’t predict that he would have to follow him north for thousand of miles, eventually winding up to mount Wah. Right now, four clowns were present, only the first one had yet to arrive. In the middle of the night, he bumped into Yang Guo in the snow.

    Hong Qi Gong said, “Let’s stop chatting, I can see you are hungry, let’s cure our hunger first and then we’ll talk some more.” He cleared the snow and found some firewood and made a fire. Yang Guo helped him pick up some firewood and said, “What are you going to cook?”

    Hong Qi Gong said, “Centipedes!”

    Yang Guo knew he was joking and he gave a chuckle and didn’t ask again.

    Hong Qi Gong laughed and said, “I’ve chased the Five Tibetan Border Clowns from Lingnan to mount Wah, if I don’t have something good to eat, how can I say sorry to this?” He patted his stomach. Yang Guo saw that his bones and muscles were distinguished, only his stomach was a bit superfluous.

    Hong Qi Gong continued, “Mount Wah is the world’s most cold and shady place, centipedes that are born here are soft and tender. Guangdong is a warm place, living things grow quickly, the centipedes here have tough and coarse flesh.
    Yang Guo heard that he was serious, it seems that he wasn’t joking, Yang Guo was confused.

    Hong Qi Gong surrounded the fire with four stones, he took a pan from his back and placed it on the stones, he took two lumps of snow and placed it in the pan and said, “Follow me in catching some centipedes.”

    After some up and downs, they came across a twenty feet tall Cliffside. Yang Guo saw the cliff was extremely steep and didn’t dare to leap up.

    Hong Qi Gong called out, “Useless boy, quickly come up!”

    Yang Guo hated people who looked down on him, when he heard this he bit down on his teeth, his spirit rose and thought, “What’s there to be scared of? If I fall to death then so be it.” His courage thickened, there was more intent in his lightness kung fu when he used it, he followed closely to Hong Qi Gong, in an extremely dangerous and slippery place, he actually managed to pull himself up.

    In a short while, the pair climbed up to a peak where there were traces of human activity. Hong Qi Gong saw that he possessed such courage and lightness kung fu and was very pleased, with his experience he couldn’t tell the boy’s martial arts origins, he wanted to ask but remembered about his food so he went over to a rock and dug the soil with his hands. Not long, a dead chicken was revealed.

    Yang Guo was curious and asked, “Hey, how come there’s a chicken here.” He immediately understood and said, “Ah, senior must have buried it here.”

    Hong Qi Gong gave a chuckle and picked up the chicken. Yang Guo could see clearly under the reflection of the snow, he saw over a hundred centipedes, each about seven, eight inches long, biting onto the chicken, the centipedes were large and were stripy with red and black, they were all wiggling about. He has wandered around the world of Jiang Hu ever since he was young, he wasn’t afraid of poison but when he suddenly saw the large centipedes he couldn’t refrain from being afraid.

    Hong Qi Gong was pleased with himself and said, “Centipedes and chickens are of the opposite nature, I buried this chicken yesterday and indeed it has lured centipedes from all over.” He took out a bundle of cloth and wrapped it around the chicken and centipede, he descended the peak delightedly.

    Yang Guo followed behind wondering, “Could it be that you can actually eat centipedes? But judging from his actions, it doesn’t seem like he’s scaring me.”

    The lumps of snow in the pan had now turned to boiling water, Hong Qi Gong opened his bundle and picked up the centipedes by the tale, and threw them into the pan. The centipedes struggled for a while but were soon burned to death.

    Hong Qi Gong said, “Before it dies, the centipedes excretes all of its poison, the poison in that pan is incomparable.” Yang Guo threw the pan of poison water down the valley. Hong Qi Gong took out a small knife and chopped off the heads and tails of the centipedes. He took the shell off to reveal the flesh, it was white as snow and was like a large shrimp, it was quite an attractive sight.

    Yang Guo thought, “With this method, I’m afraid that you can really eat it.”

    Hong Qi Gong melted another two lumps of snow and cleaned the flesh of the centipede so there would be no traces of poison, and then he took out seven, eight small and large boxes from his back pack, in the boxes were ingredients such as oil, salt, jams, vinegar and the like. He placed some oil in the pan and fried the centipedes, immediately an appetising scent flowed into the nose. Yang Guo saw that he was drooling, revealing his glutton side, he couldn’t stop himself from being startled and laugh at the same time.

    Hong Qi Gong fried the centipedes until they were slightly golden, and then mixed in some other ingredients. He stretched out his hand and placed an centipede in his mouth, he lightly bit it a few times and closed his eyes, he sighed and felt none of the pleasures in the world can be compare with this. He took a wine gourd from his back and placed it by the side and said, “When eating centipedes don’t drink wine, otherwise the taste of the centipedes will be ruined.” He ate ten or so centipedes in one go and then said to Yang Guo, “Just eat, why are you being so polite?”

    Yang Guo his head and said, “I don’t want to eat.”

    Hong Qi Gong was startled and then laughed, he said, “That’s right, that’s right, I’ve seen many heroes and good men who can kill without blinking but none of them dare to eat centipedes with this old beggar, hei hei, so you are just a cowardly punk.”

    Yang Guo angered by him and thought, “I’ll close my eyes and swallow without chewing, this’ll stop him from looking down on me.”

    He picked up two small twigs and used them as chopsticks and picked up a centipede. Hong Qi Gong knew what he was thinking and said, “You are going to close your eyes and swallow without chewing, that’s called being a scoundrel, not a hero.”

    Yang Guo said, “What’s so heroic about eating poison?”

    Hong Qi Gong said, “There are many people who talk big and class themselves as heroes, but those who dare to eat centipedes are few and far between.”

    Yang Guo thought, “Nothing is bigger than death.” He placed the centipede in his mouth and bit down. As soon as he bit down, he felt his mouth filled with a sweet taste, it was crisp and fragrant and extremely sweet, he has never tasted anything like it in his life, he chewed a few more times and swallowed, and then picked up a second centipede and said, “Extraordinary, extraordinary.”

    Hong Qi Gong saw that he was eating it with pleasure and was delighted. The two of them grabbed and snatched, the hundred or so centipedes were all gone. Hong Qi Gong licked the juices around his lips and wished that there could be another hundred centipedes for his stomach.

    Yang Guo said, “I’ll go and bury the chicken again, luring some more centipedes.”

    Hong Qi Gong said, “It’s no use, one, the chicken has lost it’s attraction, secondly, there aren’t anymore fat and large centipedes around here anymore.” Hong Qi Gong stretched and yawned, he got down onto snowy ground and said, “I have rushed here without sleeping for five days and five nights, now that I’ve had a great meal, I’m going to sleep for three days, don’t wake me even if the sky falls down. Look after me, don’t let any monsters bite my half my head off in one go while I’m not aware.”

    Yang Guo laughed, “Yes sir.” Hong Qi Gong closed his eyes and in a short while, he fell into a deep sleep.

    Yang Guo thought, “This senior is really an extraordinary person. Is he really going to sleep for three days? It doesn’t matter if he’s lying or telling the truth, I have nowhere to go anyway, I’ll just wait for three days.”

    The mount Wah centipedes are one of the coolest objects in the world, after Yang Guo ate them, he felt a chill in his stomach so he found a rock to sit on and after a while of meditating, his body became more comfortable. Right now the sky was filled with snow that was like the feathers of swans, it snowed without stopping. Hong Qi Gong’s head and body was covered with snow, he was like a lump of cotton wool. A person has warm air, as soon as a snowflake meets it, it will immediately melt, how did the snow remain intact o his face? Yang Guo did not understand at first but then it was clear to him, “That’s it, when he is sleeping he is circulating his divine internal energy, keeping the warm air within his body. He is a living person, but when he is sleeping he looks like a corpse, this level of internal energy is frightening. Gu Gu let me sleep on the chilled bed in hope that I will be able to refine my internal energy to a such profound state. Ai… chilled jade bed, chilled jade bed”

    It became dawn. Hong Qi Gong’s body was buried within the snow, nothing could be seen where he was except for the fact that the ground was higher. Yang Guo was not tired, everywhere was deep in snow. He suddenly heard footsteps in the snow by the mountains in the northeast, he looked carefully and saw five black shadows approaching, their movements were rapid, the sabres on the backs glittered.

    Yang Guo thought, “They are probably the Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border that senior mentioned.” He hid behind a large rock.

    In a short while, the five people arrived in front of the rock. One of them said ‘ah’, and called out, “It’s the old beggars gourd!”

    Another one’s voice quivered as he said, “He’s…he’s on mount Wah?” The five of them were frightened, they came together and quietly consulted with each other. Suddenly, the five of them separated, and descended down the peak. The paths of the peak were narrow, one of them dashed forward a few steps and stepped onto Hong Qi Gong, and felt something soft below their legs. The person called out ‘ai’. The other four stopped and drew near, they wiped away the layers of snow and saw Hong Qi Gong’s lying on the floor, appearing as if he had died a long time ago.

    The five of them were delighted, they stretched out their finger across his noise, there was no breathing, his body was as cold as ice. The five of them shouted out in joy and leapt about, they were a hundred times happier than the joy they would feel if they found precious treasures.

    One of them said, “The old beggar has been following all along, he has made things hard for me. So he died here.”

    Another person said, “Hong Qi Gong that scoundrel has extraordinary martial arts, why would he die all of a sudden?”

    Another one said, “Even if one’s martial arts are high, does that mean they don’t have to die? Just think, that old scoundrel it pretty old.”

    The other four called out together, “It’s lucky that the devil has come and taken him, otherwise he’ll be difficult to handle.”

    The one ranked first said, “Come, let’s vent our anger on the old beggar by chopping him a few times. Let him be the nine fingered wondrous beggar Hong Qi Gong hero of the world, in the end, he’s going to end up being chopped into seventeen, twenty eight pieces by the Five Heroes of the Tibetan Border.”

    Yang Guo thought, “So that old senior is Hong Qi Gong, no wonder his martial arts are so good.”

    He has heard Hong Qi Gong’s name and his famous [Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms] from Xiao Long Nuu before when they were talking, but Hong Qi Gong’s appearance and behaviour weren’t knowing to Lin Chao Ying let alone Xiao Long Nuu. His hand held some ‘Jade Bee Needles’, thinking fighting the five of them together would be hard, he could only ambush them with his projectile, after hurting two or three of them, he could deal with the remaining others. But he heard them say that they will chop up Hong Qi Gong to vent their anger, he was afraid that they will harm Hong Qi Gong, he didn’t shoot out the needles and immediately shouted out and leapt out from behind the rock. He didn’t have a weapon and picked up two twigs, he quickly unleashed his swift stances diverting the five. The five stances were extremely fast, it was a pity that he called out first and gave the five clowns some time to prepare, otherwise one or two of them would be hit. The five clowns were worried about themselves first and darted and dodged away to avoid the attacks.

    The five turned around and saw it was a young kid with old and torn garments, his hands holding two branches, their fright that had just now had dissipated.

    The big clown shouted, “Little punk, you’re a little beggar of the Beggar Clan aren’t you? Your old beggar ancestor has gone to heaven, quickly kneel and kowtow to us five masters.”

    Yang Guo saw how they moved; their movements revealed their kung fu. The five of them had a large sabre on their backs, their kung fu comes from the same master, there was some difference between their abilities but they all have the same type of stances. If it was one on one, he would definitely win, but if the five of them attacked all at once he would not be able to fight them off, he heard the big clown telling him to kowtow and replied, “Yes, junior here will kowtow to the five masters.” He took a step forward and bowed down. He kneeled and bowed according to the stance [First Greet Bow After], this move was used by Grandma Sun on the Quan Zhen Taoist Zhang Zhi Guang when he wasn’t expecting it, an empty container shot out and almost took his eye, right now, after Yang Guo used the stance [First Greet Bow After], he followed with a stance of [Push the Window to see the Moon], his arms swept across and the two branches came out from the left and right. On his left was the fifth clown; on his right was the third clown. This stance of [Push the Window to see the Moon] was extremely evil, the third clown’s kung fu was quite high, he quickly bought down his sabres to block it. The back of his sabre had been struck and his hand heated up, almost losing his sabre. The fifth clown was struck on the leg, a ‘ka la’ sound was heard, although the leg wasn’t broken it was still painful, he couldn’t stand up. The other four clowns were angry, four sabres chopped down, ‘fu fu fu fu’. Yang Guo was swift and nimble, he darted east and dodged west, the four clowns couldn’t do anything to him for the time being. After fighting for a while, the fifth clown joined in, he was extremely angry and fought with his life.

    Yang Guo’s lightness kung fu was much higher than the five clowns, if he wanted to escape it wasn’t hard, but he remembered Hong Qi Gong, he was afraid that if he leaves then the clowns will kill Hong Qi Gong. But he couldn’t beat the five of them fighting together, he unleashed some dangerous stances and in the middle of it he bent down and picked up Hong Qi Gong, his right hand fought with the branch as he found a path to escape. He took a deep breath and hurried over a hundred feet. The Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border chased after him.

    Yang Guo felt that Hong Qi Gong was icy cold, he couldn’t stop himself form being alarmed. He thought that if Hong Qi Gong was going to get in deeper into his sleep he won’t be able to wake up, could it be that he really was dead? He called out, “Senior, senior!”

    Hong Qi Gong didn’t move an inch, it appeared that he was dead but he wasn’t stiff like a corpse. Yang Guo stretched out his hand and felt his chest, there seemed to be a faint heartbeat but there were no indication of breathing from the nose.

    In this pause, the first clown caught up with them, but because he saw that Yang Guo’s skills were excellent, he was worried and didn’t dare to fight alone, by the time the second clown and four clown arrived, Yang Guo had gone another hundred feet. The Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border saw him ascending the peak and saw that there was only one road up there, they thought could it be that you know how to fly? There was no need to rush, the followed step by step.

    The mountain path was getting more and more treacherous as he went on, after Yang Guo turned around a corner, he saw an extremely narrow path before him. It wasn’t easy for one person to past. By the narrow path was a ten thousand feet deep abyss, the mist obscured the bottom of the abyss, he thought, “This is the best place, I’ll fend them off here.” He quickened his pace and got over the narrow path, he placed Hong Qi Gong down by a large rock and turned around, the first clown had reached the entrance of the narrow path.

    Yang Guo dashed over and shouted, “Ugly freak, do you dare to come over?”

    The first clown was really scared of being knocked over into the abyss by Yang Guo and hurriedly leapt back. Yang Guo stood at the entrance of the path, the morning sun was now in the sky, the eyes can see a fine jade mountain, gems circled the floor, the sunlight reflected off the white snow, the scene was magnificent.

    Yang Guo placed the human skin mask on his face and shouted, “Are you ugly or am I ugly?”

    The Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border were ugly, but there weren’t that ugly, the ‘Clown’ comes from their actions and the amount of crap they talk on the road. They saw Yang Guo touch his face and his face changed, his face yellow, the face looked wooden, like a corpse out of a cemetery, the five clowns looked at each other and all without exception was startled.

    Yang Guo retreated to the narrowest point on the path, he used [The Kicking Force of the Leading Star], his left leg stood on the ground, his right leg kicked out at the sky, his body moving lightly like the wind in midair. In the blink of an eye, his heroic air emerged, even if the enemy were thousand of soldiers and ten thousand of horses, I would still block them with one man like this.

    The five clowns muttered in their hearts, “Where from the Beggar Clan did this strange young kid come out from?” They saw that in front of them was dangerous ground, they didn’t dare to rush through and all of them consulted each other, “We’ll wait here and take turns to leave the mountain for food, within two days, he would definitely have no strength due to hunger.” Four of the clowns lined up at the mouth of the bridge and let the second clown descend the mountain to look for food.

    Both sides were deadlocked, Yang Guo didn’t dare to go over, the four clowns didn’t dare to go over either.

    By the second day, the second clown had come back with food, the five clowns took big bites and ate noisily. Yang Guo was already burning up with hunger, he turned around and looked at Hong Qi Gong and saw him looking the same as the day before and thought, “If he is sleeping, then he would toss and turn in his dreams, but he hasn’t moved an inch, I’m afraid that he really is dead. If I endure another day, I will have no strength, it will be even harder for me to defend, why don’t I leave now and I may have a chance of escaping.” He slowly stood up and thought, “He told me that he is going to sleep for three days and told me to look after him, I promised him with my own mouth, how can I leave him now?” He fought off the hunger and closed his eyes to rest.

    By the third day, Hong Qi Gong was still motionless like he was on the first day, Yang Guo looked on and began to question himself, “He’s already dead, and I’m still guarding him not leaving, that’s too dumb. If I endure another half a day of hunger, there would be no need for the five clowns to kill me, I would have already died due to hunger.” He picked up some snow on the rocks and swallowed some, his empty stomach gradually felt a bit better. He thought, “I haven’t been filial to my parents, I have hurt Gu Gu, I have no brothers or sisters, I haven’t even got a best friend, I should stop mentioning the words ‘personal loyalty’. The word ‘trust’, good and bad, I need to guard him.” He continued, “When auntie Guo and me were talking about literature, we talked about the meeting of an boy and girl underneath the bridge, the girl was stopped by a flood but the boy didn’t dare to lose the meeting, he held onto the bridge and died in vain, later, that person was famous for hundreds of years. I Yang Guo have suffered the world’s mistreatment, if I don’t keep to this promise then I’ll be even more despised by the world, even if it means death, I must guard him for three days.”

    A day and night passed by in the wink of an eye, early on in the fourth day, Yang Guo went over to Hong Qi Gong and checked his breathing, still there was no sign. He sighed and saluted him saying, “Senior Hong, I have kept to my promise of guarding you for three days, it’s too bad that senior has passed away tragically. Disciple has not got the power to protect your corpse, it would be best if I throw you into the deep valley and avoid the insults and disrespect of the scoundrels.” He picked up his body and went over to the narrow path.

    The five clowns knew that he couldn’t endure the hunger and now wanted to escape, they all called out and flew over. Yang Guo gave a shout and flung Hong Qi Gong down the deep valley, and dashed forward to the first clown.

    End of Chapter 10
    Last edited by Mojo Jojo; 03-24-05 at 06:21 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Mojo Jojo's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Northern NJ


    Chapter 11

    A Pause From Roaming

    Yang Guo dashed forward only two steps when suddenly a gust of wind brushed over his head, a person darted over his head and stood between him and the five clowns and laughed, “That was a great slumber!” It was the nine-fingered wondrous beggar Hong Qi Gong. Yang Guo was delighted while the five clowns were startled and shocked. When Hong Qi Gong first lied down on the snow he really was sleeping, but was woken up when the fifth clown stepped on him. He wanted to test the young man and see whether the young man can keep to his promise of guarding him for three days. Every time Yang Guo checked his breathing, he would stop breathing and pretended to be dead. Now he was standing at the mouth of the path with an awe-inspiring air. His left hand made a semi circle, his right hand pushed out a palm, it was his life’s most proudest work, the stance of [Overcoming the Dragon with Regret] from the [Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms]. The first clown couldn’t avoid it, he knew he couldn’t meet this stance head on but all he could was to push his palms out and use his strength to fend off the attack.

    Hong Qi Gong was keeping his palm’s power in check, he only used ten percent of his internal energy but the first clown felt his arms go numb and his chest ached. The second clown saw that his was in danger, he was afraid that Hong Qi Gong’s palms will force him into the deep valley so he quickly stretched out his hand and pushed the first clown’s back. Hong Qi Gong’s palm power increased, the second clown moved back, almost slipping down into the deep valley. The fourth clown was standing behind them and stretched out his arm to support them. Hong Qi Gong’s palm’s power spread through them, it spread towards the fourth clown who in turn passed it onto the third clown and the third clown spread it towards the final one in the line, the fifth clown. The clowns had nowhere to hide and nowhere to run, in the blink of an eye, they were defeated by Hong Qi Gong’s single palm.

    Hong Qi Gong laughed, “You five scoundrels are evil and wicked, you should be able to die without complaints under the single palm of old beggar.”

    The five of them steadied themselves into the mount posture, they flared up their chi and united their internal energy to resist the single palm but they felt the force of the palm getting heavier, their chests felt tighter and gradually it was becoming more difficult to take a breath.

    Hong Qi Gong suddenly gave out an ‘yi’ call showing his surprise, he took back eighty percent of his palm’s power and said, “Your internal energy has its good points, who is your master?”

    The first clown still had his two palms pushing out against him, he struggled for breath as he said, “We are… are under the tutelage of master Da Er Ba.”

    Hong Qi Gong shook his head and said, “Da Er Ba? Haven’t heard of him. Hmm, your internal energy can be spread mutually to each other, this kung fu is terrific.”

    Yang Guo thought, “To get Hong Qi Gong to say ‘terrific’, then it really must be terrific. Yet when I looked at their skills I thought they were very ordinary and none of them can beat me.”

    Hong Qi Gong asked, “What’s your sect?”

    The first clown said, “Our master is… is the second… second disciple of Western Tibet’s Holy… Holy Monk Jin Lun Fa Wang.”

    Hong Qi Gong shook his head again, and said, “Western Tibet’s Holy Monk, Jin Lun Fa Wang? Never heard of him. Western Tibet has a monk, his name is Ling Zhi Shang Ren, he I have seen, his kung fu is stronger than yours but his skills aren’t advance. Your kung fu is good, hmm, it makes sense. Go and get your grandmaster here to fight with me.”

    The first monk replied, “Our grandmaster is a holy monk, the living Buddha, Mongolia’s number one martial artist, all knowing and all powerful. How…how…”

    The second clown noticed from Hong Qi Gong’s tone that he was going to spare them, but with the way that the first clown was replying they are cutting off their escape route so he quickly interrupted and said, “Yes, yes. We’ll quickly go and get our grandmaster here to duel with Hong Qi Gong. Only our grandmaster can fight with senior Hong. Us juniors will raise our wine gourds and… and…”

    As he said this, a ‘duo’ ‘duo’ ‘duo’ sound, a person appeared from around the mountain corner, his body was upside down, his hands each holding a piece of rock, walking with his palms, it was Western Poison Ou Yang Feng.

    Yang Guo’s voice cracked as he called out, “Father!”

    Ou Yang Feng did not bother to find out what was happening and leapt behind the five clowns and stretched out his right foot and placed it on their backs, a strong energy rushed through the five clowns.

    Hong Qi Gong was shocked with the sudden appearance of Ou Yang Feng, he heard Yang Guo call him ‘father’ and understood that he was his son, no wonder he was so good. He felt his arm sunk as the opponent’s internal energy reached him, he quickly increased his strength and returned the attack.

    Even since the second mount Wah competition, Hong Qi Gong has not seen Ou Yang Feng for over then years. Although Ou Yang Feng’s mind was unclear, he practised the [Contrary Nine Yin Manual], the more he practised the stranger his kung fu became, the stranger it became the more powerful he became.

    Guo Jing and Huang Rong had recited a small portion of the manual to Hong Qi Gong, it made an impression on his kung fu and made great progress in his martial arts. The final stage of the [Nine Yin Manual] is superior to the [Contrary Nine Yin Manual], although Hong Qi Gong only knew a little, he wasn’t inferior to Ou Yang Feng.

    Tens of years ago it was difficult to separate the two, since then they have both met new boundaries, today they came across each other on mount Wah for the third time, once internal energy was sent out, it was indeed hard to differentiate between the two.

    The ones that should be pitied are the Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border being sandwiched between two of the world’s most powerful fighters, they became the apparatus for kung fu practice, a sandbag for punches and kicks, they were cold for a while, then hot for a while, their breathing was tight and then slow, the bones all over their body made ‘ka la’ noises, it was a hundred times more excruciating than the most severe punishments.

    Ou Yang Feng suddenly asked, “The five’s internal energy is very good. What sect are you from?”

    Yang Guo thought, “Even godfather say their internal energy is very good, the five clowns indeed are not run of the mill fighters.”

    He heard Hong Qi Gong say, “They said they are the grand disciples of Western Tibet’s Holy Monk Jin Lun Fa Wang.”

    Ou Yang Feng said, “That Jin Lun Fa Wang compared to you, who’s better?”

    Hong Qi Gong said, “Don’t know, I don’t think there’s much difference.”

    Ou Yang Feng said, “How about compared with me?”

    Hong Qi Gong said, “He’s better than you a bit.”

    Ou Yang Feng was shocked and called out, “I don’t believe it!”

    In between the exchange of words, the energy in the hand and foot increased. Hong Qi Gong sent out different levels of palms energy but were all dispersed by Ou Yang Feng’s foot energies; the power in the foot increased but it was difficult to move Hong Qi Gong back even half an inch. After this exchange both admired each other, they laughed and jumped back.

    The strong force within the Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border suddenly disappeared, they couldn’t stop themselves wobbling about as if they were drunk on wine. The five had the internal energies of two great fighters circulated to and fro between them, their internal organs have been seriously injured, the muscles weakened and bones softened, they have become invalids, they won’t be able to fight off even a small child of around seven, eight years of age.

    Hong Qi Gong shouted, “You five scoundrels, your lifelines haven’t reached its end today, it doesn’t matter anyway since you can't do harm anymore, just crawl away. Remember to go and tell your grandmaster Jin Lun Fa Wang to come to the central plains and find me so we can have a little spar.”

    Ou Yang Feng said, “With me too.”

    The Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border all agreed and limped away, supporting each other as they scampered down the peak.

    Ou Yang Feng flipped upright and stared at Hung Qi Gong and shouted, “Hey, your kung fu is very good, what’s your name.”

    After hearing this and seeing his face seemed to be confused and unclear, Hong Qi Gong knew that after he went mad over then years ago, he hasn’t recovered and so said, “I’m called Ou Yang Feng, what’s your name?”

    Ou Yang Feng’s heart shook, he felt that the words ‘Ou Yang Feng’ were very familiar but he couldn’t remember what he was called, and he shook his head and said, “I don’t know. Hey, what am I called?”

    Hong Qi Gong laughed and said, “You don’t even know your own name. Go home and think about it.”

    Ou Yang Feng angrily said, “You must know, tell me.”

    Hong Qi Gong said, “Fine, you’re called Smelly Toad.”

    The word ‘Toad’ was very familiar to Ou Yang Feng, when he heard this it felt right, but there was also a feeling that this was wrong.

    He and Hong Qi Gong have been adversaries for tens of years, the hate has been etched deeply into his mind, although he didn’t understand right now, when he saw him, Ou Yang Feng was still aggravated. Hong Qi Gong saw him standing there in a daze, a fierce glow was in his eye, Hong Qi Gong secretly put his guard up, indeed he heard Ou Yang Feng shout out and ruthlessly threw himself forward, he didn’t dare to hesitate and immediately used his [Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms]. The two fought in the wind and the slippery snow on a narrow path that was only about an inch wide, using their greatest skills with great effort in the battle. On one side was a ten thousand feet deep chasm, just one little mistake and they will fall to their deaths, this was much more dangerous than fighting on flat, even ground. The two of them were now fairly old, though their vigour has fallen back, their study of martial arts have reached an extremely pure level, the stances were pure and profound, so profound that everything was ingenious and masterly, only ten or so moves were exchanged and the two couldn’t stop themselves from admiring each other.

    Ou Yang Feng said, “The old beggar is very lethal.”

    Hong Qi Gong laughed and said, “Smelly Toad is also terrific.”

    Yang Guo saw that the terrain was extremely dangerous, he was afraid that Ou Yang Feng would drop down into the valley, but sometimes he would see Hong Qi Gong in distress and hoped that he would be safe. Ou Yang Feng was his godfather, he had deep feelings for him, nevertheless, Hong Qi Gong was gallant, he had the air of a great hero around him, as soon as he saw him an impression was left in his heart. He endured hunger, cold, extreme dangers in guarding Hong Qi Gong for three days and three nights, although they didn’t say a word to each other in the three days, in Yang Guo’s mind, it was like as if they both endured hundreds and hundreds of life threatening dangers together.

    After tens of stances later, Yang Guo saw that the two’s incomparable swift and powerful attacks were turned from danger into safety, he soon forgot about the safety of the two and concentrated on watching the mastery kung fu that was on display. The [Nine Yin Manual] is at the peak of the world’s martial arts, he only knew odd fragments of it, now he saw the two use the theories of the manual with their stances he couldn’t stop himself from being shocked and surprised, he thought, “So even an ordinary sentence of the manual has so many ways to express it.”

    Over a thousand stances passed, although the two had yet to use all their skills, their age was catching up with them, they felt they were getting out of breath and their heart beating fast, it was unavoidable that their arms and legs would get slower.”

    Yang Guo called out, “You two have been fighting for over half a day, you must be hungry, how about eating first and then carry on later?”

    As soon as Hong Qi Gong heard the word ‘eat’ he immediately jumped back and said, “Great idea, great idea!”

    Yang Guo had seen the fifth clown bought up cold food in a bamboo basket and placed it to the side. He went over and bought it over and then opened the lid, he saw cold chicken and meat, white wine and cold rice, everything that was needed was there. Hong Qi Gong was delighted, he picked up a cold chicken and bit down with large bits hurriedly, eating noisily.

    Yang Guo picked up some cold meat and passed it to Ou Yang Feng and softly said, “Father, where have you been during this time?”

    Ou Yang Feng stared at him and said, “I’ve been searching for you.”

    Yang Guo’s heart ached and thought, “There is someone on this world that actually loves me like this.” He held his arm and said, “Father, you are Ou Yang Feng. That senior Hong is a good person, don’t fight him.”

    Ou Yang Feng pointed to Hong Qi Gong and said, “He’s Ou Yang Feng, Ou Yang Feng is a bad person.” Yang Guo saw that his mind was confused and was sad.

    Hong Qi Gong laughed and said, “You’re right, Ou Yang Feng is a bad person, OU Yang Feng deserves to die.”

    Ou Yang Feng looked at Hong Qi Gong and then at Yang Guo, he exhausted his strength to remember but his mind and memories were still scrambled.

    Yang Guo fed Ou Yang Feng some food and then stood up, he said to Hong Qi Gong, “Senior Hong, he is my godfather. He has a severe mental illness, his mind is confused, please pity him and don’t make it hard for him.”

    Hong Qi Gong heard this and nodded a few times, and said, “Young man, so he’s your godfather.”

    Who could have expected that Ou Yang Feng would suddenly leapt up and called out, “Ou Yang Feng, we can’t find a winner using our fists and kicks, we’ll compete again using weapons.”

    Hong Qi Gong shook his head and said, “There’s no need to compete, let’s just say you win.”

    Ou Yang Feng said, “What win or lose? I must kill you.” He stretched out his hand and broke off a branch, he took off the twigs and leaves of the branch forming a staff, and attacked downwards of Hong Qi Gong’s head. His snake staff was famous years ago, it was extremely lethal, although there wasn’t a snake at the head of the staff, before the attack arrived, the wind produced was so strong that it made if difficult for Yang Guo to breathe. Yang Guo quickly dived out of the way, when he looked up at Hong Qi Gong, he saw him pick up a branch and used it as a short rod, the two battled again. Hong Qi Gong’s [Dog Beating Stick Technique] has nothing like it in the world, but he won’t use it easily, apart from this technique, he has many refined and ingenious rod stances, right now he was using them.

    This heated battle was another spectacular fight like the last one with fists and kicks, the stick was like an eluding dragon, the staff like an efficacious snake dancing, it was like a rainbow travelling in the sky or like an shooting star chasing after the moon, the fight held Yang Guo in a trance as he watched.

    The two’s staff and stick went to and fro, they fought until dusk, and again it was difficult to separate the two. Yang Guo saw that the ground was extremely dangerous, the mountains was full of ice and snow and was extremely slippery, the two of them are old, if they fought for much longer they would definitely loose their footing so he loudly called out, telling them to stop. But Hong Qi Gong and Ou Yang Feng were fighting with great pleasure, why would they stop? Yang Guo saw that mentioning food to Hong Qi Gong made him stopped, he thought that luring him with good food would be an effective way so he went to the wild mountainside and dug up some mountain herbs and yams, started a fire and roasted them.

    Hong Qi Gong smelt the fragrant scent and called out, “Smelly Toad, I don’t want to fight with you, eating is more important.” He ran to Yang Guo’s side and picked up two clumps of mountain herbs and ate it, although it burnt his mouth he kept on biting at it. Ou Yang Feng rushed over and raised his staff over Hong Qi Gong’s head chopping down. Hong Qi Gong ignored him and threw him a clump of the mountain herbs and called out, “Just eat!” Ou Yang Feng stopped. He caught it and started to eat it, forgetting about that heated battle there were just in.

    That night the three of them slept in a cave. Yang Guo wanted to help his godfather regain his memories and mentioned past events to him. Ou Yang Feng stood there in a daze not replying, sometimes he would hit his head with his fist, showing that he’s trying extremely hard to remember but he could not remember anything, it was extremely hard for him. Yang Guo worried that he would get even crazier so made him go to sleep, he himself was tossing and turning and couldn’t sleep, he was thinking about the fist and palm stances that the two used, the more he thought about it the more excited he got. He couldn’t stop himself and got up quietly studying them, he felt that the ingenuity and mastery of the stances were boundless, he practised until the middle of the night until he was extremely tired and went to sleep.

    The next morning, Yang Guo had not woken up from his sleep when he heard gusts of wind from outside the cave, in between them were the sounds of leaping and jumping, he quickly hurried outside to see Hong Qi Gong and Ou Yang Feng battling each other heatedly again.

    He sighed and thought, “These two old seniors aren’t acting their age, what’s the point of fighting like this?” He could only sit by the side and watch. He saw Hong Qi Gong’s stances and understood every stance and every move but it was difficult for him to grasp Ou Yang Feng’s strange stances, every time Hong Qi Gong seemed to gain the upper hand, Ou Yang Feng’s strange stances would bring them level pegging again.

    The two of them battled in the day and slept at night, they fought for four days running, both of them were tired and exhausted but neither of them dared to let slip even half a stance.

    Yang Guo pondered, “Whatever happens tomorrow I mustn’t allow them to fight again.” That night he waited for Ou Yang Feng to go to sleep and then quietly said to Hong Qi Gong, “Senior, please come outside, I have something to say.” Hong Qi Gong followed him outside. About a hundred feet away from the cave, Yang Guo suddenly got down on his knees, and kept on kowtowing, yet he didn’t say a word. Hong Qi Gong was startled but understood, he knew that Yang Guo wants himself to have pity on Ou Yang Feng and his illness, and leave, he laughed at the sky and said, “So be it.”

    After only walking away for a few tens of feet, his garments was held in a gust of wind, Ou Yang Feng darted out of the cave and swept his staff angrily shouting, “Old beggar, trying to escape?”

    Hong Qi Gong conceded three stances to him as he tried to find a path to escape but he was held up by the gusts of wind created by the staff. When skilled fighters are duelling, one mustn’t concede even half a move, Hong Qi Gong had the intention of conceding to him and immediately fell into danger, it was a desperate situation, many times he almost lost his life under the staff, he saw the staff in front of him heading straight for him, attacking his lower abdomen, he knew that this stance must have a lethal move to follow it, he couldn’t avoid it and let him have this stance so he raised his stick to block it. He suddenly felt a powerful internal energy surging through the staff, he couldn’t stop himself from being shocked, “You want to compete internal energy with me?” He thought, the enemy’s internal energy is arriving, apart from using my internal energy to block it, there is no other way, he quickly circulated his internal energy to defend.

    With their level of internal energy, if they lose concentration for a split second and get struck by the opponent’s weapon or palm, their internal energy would be all around their body and defend against the attack, although they would be injured, it won’t be anything serious. Now they are competing internal energy, they couldn’t concede to the other an iota, they have reached a stage where it won’t finish unless they die. The two of them have fought each other many times in the past before, and each time both were worried about the how strong the other person was and their own safety, they wouldn’t use such a dangerous way to attack each other as they were afraid that in their quest to seek glory, they would be disgraced instead and lose their lives in vain. But Ou Yang Feng wasn’t thinking properly, he hasn’t managed to gain victory in the last few days and so suddenly circulated his internal energy to attack.

    Ten’s of years ago, Hong Qi Gong hated Ou Yang Feng to the bone, but now he was old and has mellowed, now that he was mad and Yang Guo had pleaded for his life, Hong Qi Gong had no intention of killing him so he circulated his chi throughout his ‘dan tian’, he just defended and didn’t attack, waiting for Ou Yang Feng to exert all his energy. He didn’t know that his opponent’s internal energy was like the waves of a large river, the source of it incessantly sending out waves of internal energy, after a wave came another, there was no sign of it weakening but instead it was getting fiercer and fiercer. Hong Qi Gong always believed that his internal