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Thread: Who's the top dog of amongst the heads of 5 alliance schools?

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    Senior Member Tazzy1972's Avatar
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    Default Who's the top dog of amongst the heads of 5 alliance schools?

    The 5 heads are :

    1. Zuo Lengchan (Songshan)
    2. Yue Buqun (Huashan)
    3. Great Mr. Mo (Hengshan)
    4. Priest Tianmen (Taishan)
    5. Sister Dingxian (Heng-Shan)

    The list above is my personal opinion of their levels.
    TaZzY InC

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    Senior Member Athena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tazzy1972
    The 5 heads are :

    1. Zuo Lengchan (Songshan)
    2. Yue Buqun (Huashan)
    3. Great Mr. Mo (Hengshan)
    4. Priest Tianmen (Taishan)
    5. Sister Dingxian (Heng-Shan)

    The list above is my personal opinion of their levels.
    I would rate them as following:

    1. Zuo Lengchan
    2. Mr. Mo and Dingxian Shi-Tai
    3. Reverend Tianmen
    4. Yue Buqun (before castration)

    I feel that Yue Buqun was quite weak compared to the other leaders.
    So huge, so hopeless, to conceive
    As these that twice befell
    Parting is all we know of heaven
    And all we need of hell.

    Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Athena
    I would rate them as following:

    1. Zuo Lengchan
    2. Mr. Mo and Dingxian Shi-Tai
    3. Reverend Tianmen
    4. Yue Buqun (before castration)

    I feel that Yue Buqun was quite weak compared to the other leaders.
    But he had the Divine Art of Purple Twilight skill, so I dont think he would be much weaker then Mr. Mo or Dingxian Shi-Tai unless you only count for sword skills. Then I would have to say he is weaker.

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    Senior Member Tazzy1972's Avatar
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    not much is known abt Rev Tianmen right?

    Is YBQ better than ZLC after PXJF?
    TaZzY InC

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    To be an elite martial artist requires balance between internal and external skills. Also qualities like adapatability under pressure.

    Before training PiXie he had good internal due to training the Divine Art of Purple Twilight, after training PiXie he had excellent internal which compensated for his inferior external skills. However, in the end he was let down by his ability to improvise and adapt in real battle and by cycling through the limited external stances of PiXie, LHC was able to predict his movements.

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    Senior Member Athena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MysteriouX
    But he had the Divine Art of Purple Twilight skill, so I dont think he would be much weaker then Mr. Mo or Dingxian Shi-Tai unless you only count for sword skills. Then I would have to say he is weaker.
    There are a number of reasons why I rank him that way. Most of it (practically all of it is circumstantial). Therefore, my ranking is very subjective.

    1. When reverend Tianmen and Yue Buqun were guests at the residence of Liu Zhengfeng. There was a comment by the author that of all the guests, reverend Tianmen had the highest status and prestige of all the guests (including Yue Buqun). I do realise that this means very little or even nothing. But usually in the realm of martial arts prestige and martial arts level go together. (This, of course, is speculative).

    2. Dingri Shi-Tai and Yu Canghai were estimated to be roughly equals of each other. Both Yu Canghai and Dingri Shi-Tai felt that if they fought neither of them would have a clear advantage over the other. Yue Buqun and Yu Canghai duelled and Yue was the winner. But judging by things, he did not seem to have a very big advantage over Yu Canghai. Again one could say that Yue Buqun was holding up his [gentleman] facade and did not go all out. But, it didn't feel that way to me. Dingxian Shi-Tai is known to be the very much superior to her two martial arts sisters. (Again this argument is speculative). If we assume that Yu Canghai is only a little bit better than Yue Buqun, we should also take into consideration that in the novel (chapter four) there is a comment that Yu feared Tianmen quite a lot.

    3. Although a lot of people in Wulin say that Madame Yue's martial arts are not inferior to her husband, this is not true. He is better than her. But in the novel, there was a comment by the author that Yue Buqun was "only" half a level better than Madame Yue. Madame Yue is good, but she's hardly one of the top-notch experts of the Five Sacred Mountain Sword Schools.

    4. One of the Sword faction experts Cheng Buyou was able to impress and even scared Madame Yue with his display of swordsmanship. I believe that Madame Yue and Yue Buqun were roughly equals. So, it's debatable if Yue could defeat Cheng or not. Although I have to give credit to Yue Buqun for his nerves, he allowed Cheng to pierce holes into his robe and a smile never left his face. He gave all his adversaries the idea that he was clearly a very powerful martial arts expert, whereas in fact it remains to be seen whether he could actually defeat Cheng Buyou let alone the far superior Feng Buping.

    5. Feng Buping's martial arts are very impressive. From everything we've seen of Feng, it is very likely he was quite superior to Yue Buqun. I have a friend who has a copy of the very first edition of the Smiling Proud Wanderer (this edition was published almost 40 years ago). In this edition, there were some indirect comparisons between Feng and Yue. There was a comment like this:"The energy released from Feng's Swift Gale Swordsmanship was very powerful, in the entire Huashan School only Yue Buqun's Zixia Shengong MIGHT be able to match it." Might be able doesn't sound to convincing to me, my friend also told me that in the first edition that fighting scene between Linghu and Feng was much longer than in the newer editions. (Old edition: And even the spectators felt that the Feng Buping was the right choice to assume leadership of the Huashan School because of his powerful internal energy and good swordsmanship. Unfortunately, Jin Yong cut the fight short between Linghu Chong and Feng Buping as result that comment was removed too. (Again this argument is subjective)

    6. When Yue Buqun and Linghu Chong fought in the Shaolin Monastery a lot of other martial arts experts were present to watch that fight. One of those people was Mr Mo Da. Yue Buqun deliberately broke one of his legs at the end. Before that he threw everything in that fight (except Pixie Swordsmanship, at that time he had already learnt it. Otherwise he was incapable of killing both Dingxiang and Dingri Shi-Tai). So, although Yue Buqun had raised his martial arts at that point of the story, he fought in prior castration mode. Mo Da rated Yue as:"Well, at least I won't lose to him" during the Songshan Meet. The term [不至于] was used; this term is usually used to indicate unlikeliness, worst case scenario and such. In my opinion, Mo Da's comment was:"In the worst case scenario I will only be able to reach a draw with him, but in all likelihood I will be able to kick his derriere."
    Furthermore, Mo Da is a very calculating man. He will only fight battles, he knows he can win. So, obviously by challenging Yue Buqun he felt a certain degree of confidence that he would be able to win. Unfortunately, they never fought. Perhaps, it was better. Mo Da would be no match for castrated Yue Buqun.

    7. During the same Songshan gathering. Yuyin Zi, one of Taishan school's experts thought, before he was to fight Yue Lingshan:"Yue Buqun and his wife are the only ones who are able to match me." Throughout the story we know that the Five Schools had held gatherings in the past on different locations to socialize (friendly duels) with each other. It is highly likely that during those gatherings in the past that Yuyin Zi was able to gauge the martial arts levels of Yue Buqun and Madame Yue. Yuyin Zi was hardly someone who struck me as being better than his martial arts brother Yuji Zi. Who in his turn did not strike me as being much better than Tianmen. (Again a very speculative argument).

    In the end The Divine Art of Purple Twilight is a good internal energy cultivation formula. But hardly the invincible type a la Jiuyang, Yijing Jing etc. I think the internal energy cultivation methods of the other Four Schools are certainly not inferior to that The Divine Art of Purple Twilight, maybe not as solid or safe.
    Last edited by Athena; 05-19-12 at 10:41 PM.
    So huge, so hopeless, to conceive
    As these that twice befell
    Parting is all we know of heaven
    And all we need of hell.

    Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

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    <3 the details of Athena's replies.

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    Senior Member kyss of the sword's Avatar
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    huashan may have a special inner power skill, but that does not mean the other schools do not. each of the five skills have advanced skills in inner power, sword and palms.
    THE KYSS OF THE SWORD IS DEADLY BUT EXQUSITE
    he's the strongest in history but he's the disciple.
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    Perhaps Zixia Shengong was better than the man practicing it. After all, even after learning BXJF, Yue Buqun continued to steadfastly use the moves he found within instead of just taking advantage of the speed or Huashan Jian Fa. Not the actions of a brilliant martial mind.

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    Senior Member Ian Liew's Avatar
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    Was Yu Buqun's swordplay good good enough to hold its own, though? He lacked the DG9J which Linghu Chong and Feng Qingyang had, or even the Raging Wind Fast Sword which Feng Buping used. IIRC he used something called Life-taking Linked Rings Three Immortals Sword, which might not have been a great skill since his focus was always on internal energy rather than swordsmanship. Perhaps Lin Yuantu's simplistic swordplay, while no match for the better arts, was still superior to the Three Immortals Sword?

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    In my opinion, Yue Buqun is superior to the other headmasters, barring ZLC. He owes a big part of that to the intrinsically superior huashan sword techniques that, even while diluted, are extremely adaptable, and his own prowess in qigong is not inferior to any except the very elite in SPW. Lastly but not least, he is the superior schemer, which is a valid point to raise when discussing match ups.

    During his match with ZLC, the majority of the match showed that he could exchange moves with ZLC for a while WITHOUT using any bixie jianfa, and ZLC admitted that Zixia shenggong was a very potent qigong (even though his polar ice qigong was somewhat more powerful than YBQ's). With his bixie, he should be a level or so higher than ZLC, but the main rankings section like to keep him lower, which I'm resigned to at this point: if YBQ can escape point blank full power thrusts from ZLC, he could have won sooner, but I understand that he needed a way to neutralise ZLC without losing the Songshan faction, which was the biggest. Not using any cave counters was also an interesting psych out tactic.

    We have to keep in mind that YBQ was first and foremost "Junzi Jian", the Gentleman Sword, and as such he couldn't exactly savage his opponents (not openly). With YCH, he only leisurely swung his sword to block the swift YCH, and it was said that even ZLC wasn't sure how good YBQ was until he sent FBP to test him, and watching him later on during the match at Shaolin. Of course, YBQ was hiding his skills at Shaolin, and we never got to see him fight FBP, whom Cheng Buyou thought could use an advantage against YBQ (in the form of his intended fight with Ning). I like Mo Da, but I would say he is only on par with YBQ, not above him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Athena View Post
    There are a number of reasons why I rank him that way. Most of it (practically all of it is circumstantial). Therefore, my ranking is very subjective.

    1. When reverend Tianmen and Yue Buqun were guests at the residence of Liu Zhengfeng. There was a comment by the author that of all the guests, reverend Tianmen had the highest status and prestige of all the guests (including Yue Buqun). I do realise that this means very little or even nothing. But usually in the realm of martial arts prestige and martial arts level go together. (This, of course, is speculative).

    2. Dingri Shi-Tai and Yu Canghai were estimated to be roughly equals of each other. Both Yu Canghai and Dingri Shi-Tai felt that if they fought neither of them would have a clear advantage over the other. Yue Buqun and Yu Canghai duelled and Yue was the winner. But judging by things, he did not seem to have a very big advantage over Yu Canghai. Again one could say that Yue Buqun was holding up his [gentleman] facade and did not go all out. But, it didn't feel that way to me. Dingxian Shi-Tai is known to be the very much superior to her two martial arts sisters. (Again this argument is speculative). If we assume that Yu Canghai is only a little bit better than Yue Buqun, we should also take into consideration that in the novel (chapter four) there is a comment that Yu feared Tianmen quite a lot.

    3. Although a lot of people in Wulin say that Madame Yue's martial arts are not inferior to her husband, this is not true. He is better than her. But in the novel, there was a comment by the author that Yue Buqun was "only" half a level better than Madame Yue. Madame Yue is good, but she's hardly one of the top-notch experts of the Five Sacred Mountain Sword Schools.

    4. One of the Sword faction experts Cheng Buyou was able to impress and even scared Madame Yue with his display of swordsmanship. I believe that Madame Yue and Yue Buqun were roughly equals. So, it's debatable if Yue could defeat Cheng or not. Although I have to give credit to Yue Buqun for his nerves, he allowed Cheng to pierce holes into his robe and a smile never left his face. He gave all his adversaries the idea that he was clearly a very powerful martial arts expert, whereas in fact it remains to be seen whether he could actually defeat Cheng Buyou let alone the far superior Feng Buping.

    5. Feng Buping's martial arts are very impressive. From everything we've seen of Feng, it is very likely he was quite superior to Yue Buqun. I have a friend who has a copy of the very first edition of the Smiling Proud Wanderer (this edition was published almost 40 years ago). In this edition, there were some indirect comparisons between Feng and Yue. There was a comment like this:"The energy released from Feng's Swift Gale Swordsmanship was very powerful, in the entire Huashan School only Yue Buqun's Zixia Shengong MIGHT be able to match it." Might be able doesn't sound to convincing to me, my friend also told me that in the first edition that fighting scene between Linghu and Feng was much longer than in the newer editions. (Old edition: And even the spectators felt that the Feng Buping was the right choice to assume leadership of the Huashan School because of his powerful internal energy and good swordsmanship. Unfortunately, Jin Yong cut the fight short between Linghu Chong and Feng Buping as result that comment was removed too. (Again this argument is subjective)

    6. When Yue Buqun and Linghu Chong fought in the Shaolin Monastery a lot of other martial arts experts were present to watch that fight. One of those people was Mr Mo Da. Yue Buqun deliberately broke one of his legs at the end. Before that he threw everything in that fight (except Pixie Swordsmanship, at that time he had already learnt it. Otherwise he was incapable of killing both Dingxiang and Dingri Shi-Tai). So, although Yue Buqun had raised his martial arts at that point of the story, he fought in prior castration mode. Mo Da rated Yue as:"Well, at least I won't lose to him" during the Songshan Meet. The term [不至于] was used; this term is usually used to indicate unlikeliness, worst case scenario and such. In my opinion, Mo Da's comment was:"In the worst case scenario I will only be able to reach a draw with him, but in all likelihood I will be able to kick his derriere."
    Furthermore, Mo Da is a very calculating man. He will only fight battles, he knows he can win. So, obviously by challenging Yue Buqun he felt a certain degree of confidence that he would be able to win. Unfortunately, they never fought. Perhaps, it was better. Mo Da would be no match for castrated Yue Buqun.

    7. During the same Songshan gathering. Yuyin Zi, one of Taishan school's experts thought, before he was to fight Yue Lingshan:"Yue Buqun and his wife are the only ones who are able to match me." Throughout the story we know that the Five Schools had held gatherings in the past on different locations to socialize (friendly duels) with each other. It is highly likely that during those gatherings in the past that Yuyin Zi was able to gauge the martial arts levels of Yue Buqun and Madame Yue. Yuyin Zi was hardly someone who struck me as being better than his martial arts brother Yuji Zi. Who in his turn did not strike me as being much better than Tianmen. (Again a very speculative argument).

    In the end The Divine Art of Purple Twilight is a good internal energy cultivation formula. But hardly the invincible type a la Jiuyang, Yijing Jing etc. I think the internal energy cultivation methods of the other Four Schools are certainly not inferior to that The Divine Art of Purple Twilight, maybe not as solid or safe.
    So, I have to disagree here on a few points here. Your argument in essence is that Yue Buqun and Ning Zhongze were rough equals, but we actually have an almost perfect apples-to-apples example that shows Yue Buqun is significantly better. During the fight against the fifteen masked men, at first it was Yue Buqun against seven, Ning Zhongze against three. The end result was Ning Zhongze took out one of the three but was then defeated. At this point, it was Yue Buqun against eight, with the other seven shining their lanterns into his eyes - and he was still able to stalemate them! Only after they started to threaten him with chopping off Ning Zhongze's arm did he start to make excessively aggressive attacks, at which point he still managed to injure three of them (cutting off one's arm!) before being taken out.

    This performance, to me, shows that he is significantly better than Ning Zhongze; he performed far better against fifteen than she did against three. And, since this was a true life-or-death battle, it's fairly certain that he was holding nothing back at all.

    That being said - I'm actually not too far off from you in my end rankings! I would go:

    1) Zuo Lengchan
    2) Dingxian
    3) Yue Buqun / Mr. Mo
    4) Tianmen

    The main difference here is I rate Mr. Mo as being at most on par with Yue Buqun is partially because even with the advantage of a surprise attack while using a technique specifically designed for surprise attacks, it took a bit of time before he was able to defeat and kill Fei Bin - and Zuo Lengchan later said that Mr. Mo was only able to defeat Fei Bin because of that. While this was quite self-aggrandizing, I doubt he would've said it if Mr. Mo was much better than Fei Bin. In addition, Mo Da's rating of Yue Buqun was based on a mistaken understanding of how strong Yue Buqun's actual internal energy was. So, I put him around Yue Buqun's general level - perhaps a bit better in terms of techniques, but inferior in terms of internal energy.

    As for Tianmen, regardless of his actual prowess, his terrible temper / lack of mental toughness just made him constantly underperform. In the end, he was subdued in a matter of seconds by a random scrub named Green Ocean Owl who only appeared in that chapter. This was by far the most humiliating performance by a five schools sect leader, and so I have to rank him at the absolute bottom.

    You've already made the case for Dingxian being #2, so I'll leave that there!
    Last edited by Ren Wo Xing; 07-01-21 at 11:39 AM.
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    All very valid points, but I would like to raise a question-could YBQ be concealing his real powers?

    After all, he was planning to become the alliance head and was waiting to play his trump cards. If he was so low in the rankings, I am sure he would know better than to have a dream of becoming the alliance head. The alliance head would have to literally lead the 5 sects against the Sun Moon sect, which is extremely dangerous.

    I highly doubt that he staked his entire martial arts capability based simply on being able to steal BXJF. Furthermore, YBQ was a very scheming man and I'm sure he had considered the possibility of BXJF turning out to be a dud; especially when Lin Zhennan was a pushover.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hyoyatika View Post
    All very valid points, but I would like to raise a question-could YBQ be concealing his real powers?

    After all, he was planning to become the alliance head and was waiting to play his trump cards. If he was so low in the rankings, I am sure he would know better than to have a dream of becoming the alliance head. The alliance head would have to literally lead the 5 sects against the Sun Moon sect, which is extremely dangerous.

    I highly doubt that he staked his entire martial arts capability based simply on being able to steal BXJF. Furthermore, YBQ was a very scheming man and I'm sure he had considered the possibility of BXJF turning out to be a dud; especially when Lin Zhennan was a pushover.
    In addition to having to lead the 5 sects against the Sun Moon sect, YBQ also had to defend himself against the possibility of the sword faction returning. If he was not highly skilled, would he dared to take on so many "projects"?

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    Agreed! I have always believed that Yue Buqun was merely laying low, and waiting for the right opportunity! Sigh, it is unfortunate that he gets a bad reception from readers- the man is complex and nuanced!

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    There was no conceivable reason for him to hold back during the ambush fight; if it wasn’t for LHC pulling off a (completely non-anticipated) miracle, Huashan sect would’ve been over. Therefore, that fight is a very clear display of his abilities. Based on that fight, I’d estimate him as being equal to around 3-4 of Madam Yue - which is decent, but not *great*.

    Also, prior to acquiring PXJF, it was never stated or implied that YBQ made any movements or plans to be the leader of the five mountains. He had a ton of ambition, sure, but no trump cards to speak of. PXJF was his moonshot, and it worked.
    Last edited by Ren Wo Xing; 07-23-21 at 04:51 PM.
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    I’m not XAJH expert, so please enlighten me on the ambush fight again.

    That said, I have doubts about YBQ merely banked on PXJF. There are two main evidence that YBQ was a scheming man. For the first evidence, we merely had to go back to the time when the qi and sword factions fought. The qi faction which YBQ was in played a scheme and YBQ eventually became the Head of Huashan. Clearly, he was involved in the tricking of FQY. The second evidence was RWX’s clear disdain of YBQ. RWX clearly knew that YBQ was up to no good, which suggests YBQ’s scheme begun way back when RWX was heading the Sun Moon Sect/roaming the wulin freely.

    In conclusion, PXJF was part of his scheme, not his entire scheme.

    I would also like to highlight that banking one's entire scheme on PXJF made little sense, considering Lin Zhennan was, well, Lin Zhennan. Yu Canghai was the only person who could have full confidence in PXJF, no one else should had that level of confidence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hyoyatika View Post
    I’m not XAJH expert, so please enlighten me on the ambush fight again.

    That said, I have doubts about YBQ merely banked on PXJF. There are two main evidence that YBQ was a scheming man. For the first evidence, we merely had to go back to the time when the qi and sword factions fought. The qi faction which YBQ was in played a scheme and YBQ eventually became the Head of Huashan. Clearly, he was involved in the tricking of FQY. The second evidence was RWX’s clear disdain of YBQ. RWX clearly knew that YBQ was up to no good, which suggests YBQ’s scheme begun way back when RWX was heading the Sun Moon Sect/roaming the wulin freely.

    In conclusion, PXJF was part of his scheme, not his entire scheme.

    I would also like to highlight that banking one's entire scheme on PXJF made little sense, considering Lin Zhennan was, well, Lin Zhennan. Yu Canghai was the only person who could have full confidence in PXJF, no one else should had that level of confidence.
    Yes, he was a scheming man. However, there is nothing that indicates that prior to acquiring PXJF, he schemed to become leader of the five mountains. He was just too weak and he knew it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ren Wo Xing View Post
    Yes, he was a scheming man. However, there is nothing that indicates that prior to acquiring PXJF, he schemed to become leader of the five mountains. He was just too weak and he knew it.
    Nope, there were 2 evidence as I provided above.

    Also, bear in mind that Huashan's background is superior to the other sects:
    1. Huashan was created by one of the QZ7, which means in terms of tradition, it has an advantage.
    2. Huashan's Cai Zi Feng and the other fella were highly-skilled. You do not simply enter Shaolin and steal a manual.

    Now let me bring up another important trinket of information that supports my belief YBQ wanted to become the leader and that he was strong:

    YBQ and ZLC sent spies to Huashan and Songshan.

    Would YBQ dare to send a spy to Songshan if he was so weak?
    Would ZLC bother to spy on YBQ if YBQ can be easily crushed?

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    First of all, the Taoist Huashan school in our reality is founded by Hao Datong. There is not a single piece of evidence that the Huashan School in the Smiling Proud Wanderer was founded by one of the Quanzhen Masters; therefore, there is no evidence that Huashan Qi Faction benefitted from Quanzhen martial arts.

    We only know that members of the Qi Faction tricked Feng Qingyang. Was he the mastermind of it or privy to the scheme? I don’t know. The novel doesn’t say. You are presuming that political manoeuvring will get him on top, but in the realm of martial arts martial arts do come first. As Ren Wo Xing posted, as far as we know, he didn’t have a backup plan. Yue Buqun got really lucky because the writer willed him to be at the top. If the story played out in a “normal” way without Linghu Chong becoming the protagonist of the story, Yue Buqun would have probably capitulated to Zuo Lengchan and found a way to survive and whisper his way to become Zuo Lengchan’s right hand man (pun intended!). Maybe then, he could backstab Zuo in a very political thriller-esque way?

    Yue Buqun did not send spies to Songshan; he just fed the spy from Zuo Lengchan misinformation at times. Zuo Lengchan wanted to conquer and rebuild the Five Mountain Schools under his intentions. Isn’t knowing one’s enemy the perfect way to conquer them? (Paraphrasing Sun Tzu here). Zuo Lengchan could read the other leaders quite well. Tianmen was a rash fool. Mo Da was generally smart but also lacking in courage, and was not willing to go head-to-head with Zuo. Dingxian was a benevolent old nun, and someone who had no ambitions whatsoever. The only wild card of the bunch is Yue Buqun. Is he really the gentleman he claims to be, or is there more than it meets the eye? Anyone with a bit political ambition would try to dig up dirt on the opposition. Zuo knew how to deal with the others, but he needed info on Yue Buqun. A number of people at the top of Wulin had doubts about Yue Buqun’s reputation: Abbot Fangzheng, Reverend Chongxu, Ren Woxing (and Xiang Wentian) and Feng Qingyang. So, Zuo wanted opposition research. Does that mean that Yue Buqun had great martial arts rivalling Zuo? Not exactly, I think.

    We have no indication how good Cai Zifeng and Yue Su (the two founders of the two factions) were. We just know they sneaked into Southern Shaolin’s library and copied the manual, and they got killed in a skirmish with the Sun and Moon Sect. Even if they were that good, that would not mean that it translates Yue Buqun being good.

    Huashan would have never been able to become a rival to Songshan without Bixie Jianfa (Shout-out to CC’s signature). Zuo Lengchan had officially 13 martial arts brothers and not to mention the other countless martial artists he recruited into Songshan secretively. By numbers, Songshan outmatched Huashan. Huashan’s Qi Faction only had 2 experts (Yue and Ning). How would Yue Buqun accomplish his grand schemes with himself and his wife? Plus, Ning Zhongce is not exactly Claire Underwood here (House of Cards reference) or a Lady MacBeth. As far as we know Ning did not scheme with her husband. How does one conquer four other schools with only one expert who is politically brilliant? It is not that they held an election to become the new leader of the alliance? If it is a popularity contest, yes Yue Buqun might have gotten the votes with his populism. But in a realm where people have to put their money where their mouths are with martial arts, popularity will only get one so far. He would have needed to feed off Zuo Lengchan's political schemes like a parasite.

    With that said, Yue is a brilliantly written character. He has so many layers to him. My reaction to his character went from: decent person – a bit strict- a bit of a stick-in-the-mud – petty – mean- power hungry. However, a brilliantly written character doesn’t need to equate to having great martial arts. Whether we like it or not, the writer intended for Zuo to be the top martial arts expert in the Five Mountain Schools (excluding Feng Qingyang and Linghu Chong), and the novel indicates that Zuo was the top until Yue got his Bixie boost.


    I think the ambush Ren Wo Xing referred to is in chapter 12:

    只听得一個清亮的聲音叫道:“華山派岳先生在廟里么?咱們有一事請教。”令狐沖是本門大弟子,向來由他出面 應付外人,當即走到門邊,把閂開門,說道:“夤夜之際,是哪一路朋友過訪?”望眼過去,但見廟外一字排開十 五騎人馬,有六七人手中提著孔明燈,齊往令狐沖臉上照來。
      黑暗之中六七盞燈同時迎面照來,不免耀眼生花,此舉极是無理,只這么一照,已顯得來人充滿了敵意。令狐 沖睜大了眼,卻見來人個個頭上戴了個黑布罩子,只露出一對眼睛,心中一動:“這些人若不是跟我們相識,便是 怕給我們記得了相貌。”只听左首一人說道:“請岳不群岳先生出見。”令狐沖道:“閣下何人?請示知尊姓大名 ,以便向敝派師長稟報。”那人道:“我們是何人,你也不必多問。你去跟你師父說,听說華山派得到了福威鏢局 的《辟邪劍譜》,要想借來一觀。”令狐沖气往上沖,說道:“華山派自有本門武功,要別人的《辟邪劍譜》何用 ?別說我們沒有得到,就算得到了,閣下如此無理強索,還將華山派放在眼里么?”那人哈哈大笑,其余十四人也 都跟著大笑,笑聲從曠野中遠遠傳了開去,聲音洪亮,顯然每一個人都是內功不弱。令狐沖暗暗吃惊:“今晚又遇 上了勁敵,這一十五個人看來人人都是好手,卻不知是甚么來頭?”
      眾人大笑聲中,一人朗聲說道:“听說福威鏢局姓林的那小子,已投入了華山派門下。素仰華山派君子劍岳先 生劍術神通,獨步武林,對那《辟邪劍譜》自是不值一顧。我們是江湖上無名小卒,斗膽請岳先生賜借一觀。”那 十四人的笑聲呵呵不絕,但這一人的說話仍然清晰洪亮,未為嘈雜之聲所掩,足見此人內功比之余人 又胜了一籌。
      令狐沖道:“閣下到底是誰?你……”這几個字卻連自己也無法听見,心中一惊,隨即住口,暗忖:“難道我 十多年來所練內功,居然一點也沒剩下?”他自下華山之后,曾數度按照本門心法修習內功,但稍一運气,体內便 雜息奔騰,無法調御,越想控制,越是气悶難當,若不立停內息,登時便會暈了過去。練了數次,均是如此,當下 便向師父請教,但岳不群只是冷冷的瞧他一眼,并不置答。令狐沖當時即想:“師父定是疑心我吞沒《紫霞秘笈》 ,私自修習。那也不必辯白。反正我已命不久長,又去練這內功作甚?”此后便不再練。不料此刻提气說話,竟被 對方的笑聲壓住了,一點聲音也傳不出去。卻听得岳不群清亮的聲音從廟中傳了出來:“各位均是武林中的成名人 物,怎地自謙是無名小卒?岳某素來不打誑語,林家《辟邪劍譜》,并不在我們這里。”他說這几句話時運上了紫 霞神功,夾在廟外十余人的大笑聲中,廟里廟外,仍然無人不听得清清楚楚,他說得輕描淡寫,和平時談話殊無分 別,比之那人力運中气的大聲說話,顯得遠為自然。只听得另一人粗聲說道:“你自稱不在你這里,卻到哪里去了 ?”岳不群道:“閣下憑甚么問這句話?”那人道:“天下之事,天下人管得。”岳不群冷笑一聲,并不答話。那 人大聲道:“姓岳的,你到底交不交出來?可莫要敬酒不吃吃罰酒。你不交出來,咱們只好動粗,要 進來搜了。”
      岳夫人低聲道:“女弟子們站在一塊,背靠著背,男弟子們,拔劍!”刷刷刷刷聲響,眾人都拔出了長劍。令 狐沖站在門口,手按劍柄,還未拔劍,已有兩人一躍下馬,向他沖了過來。令狐沖身子一側,待要拔劍,只听一人 喝道:“滾開!”抬腿將他踢了個筋斗,遠遠摔了出去。令狐沖直飛出數丈之外,跌在灌木叢中。他頭腦中一片混 亂,心道:“他這一踢力道也不如何厲害,怎地我下盤竟然輕飄飄的沒半點力气?”掙扎著待要坐起,突然胸腹間 熱血翻涌,七八道真气盤旋來去,在体內相互沖突碰撞,教他便要移動一根手指也是不能。令狐沖大惊,張嘴大叫 ,卻叫不出半點聲息,這情景便如著了魔魘,腦子甚是清醒,可就絲毫動彈不得。耳听得兵器撞碰之聲錚錚不絕, 師父、師娘、二師弟等人已沖到廟外,和七八個蒙面人斗在一起,另有几個蒙面人卻已闖入了廟內,一陣陣叱喝之 聲,從廟門中傳出來,還夾著几下女子的呼叱聲音。這時雨勢又已轉大,几盞孔明燈拋在地下,發出淡淡黃光,映 著劍光閃爍,人影亂晃。
      過不多時,只听得廟中傳出一聲女子的慘呼,令狐沖更是焦急,敵人都是男子,這聲女子慘呼,自是師妹之中 有人受了傷,眼見師父舞動長劍,以一敵四,師娘則在和兩個敵人纏斗。他知師父師娘劍術极精,雖以少敵多,諒 必不會敗落。二師弟勞德諾大聲叱喝,也是以一擋二,他兩個敵人均使單刀,從兵器撞碰聲中听來,顯是臂力沉雄 ,時候一長,勞德諾勢難抵擋。眼見己方三人對抗八名敵人,形勢已甚險惡,廟內情景只怕更是凶險。師弟師妹人 數雖眾,卻無一高手,耳听得慘呼之聲連連,多半已有几人遭了毒手。他越焦急,越是使不出半分力气,不住暗暗 禱祝:“老天爺保佑,讓我有半個時辰恢复力道,令狐沖只須進得廟中,自當力護小師妹周全,我便給敵人碎尸万 段,身遭無比酷刑,也是心甘情愿。”他強自掙扎,又運內息,陡然間六道真气一齊沖向胸口,跟著又有兩道真气 自上而下,將六道真气壓了下去,登時全身空蕩蕩地,似乎五髒六腑全都不知去向,肌膚血液也都消失得無影無蹤 。他心頭登時一片冰冷,暗叫:“罷了,罷了!原來如此。”這時他方才明白,桃谷六仙競以真气替他療傷,六道 真气分從不同經脈中注入,內傷固然并未治好,而這六道真气卻停留在他体內,郁積難宣。偏生遇上了內功甚高而 性子急躁的不戒和尚,強行以兩道真气將桃谷六仙的真气壓了下去,一時之間,似乎他內傷已愈,實則是他体內更 多了兩道真气,相互均衡抵制,使得他舊習內功半點也不留存,竟然成了廢人。他胸口一酸,心想:“我遭此不測 ,等于是廢去了我全身武功,今日師門有難,我竟然出不了半分力气。令狐沖身為華山派大弟子,眼睜睜的躺在地 下,听憑師父、師娘受人欺辱,師弟、師妹為人宰割,當真是枉自為人了。好,我去和小師妹死在一塊。”他知道 只消稍一運气,牽動体內八道真气,全身便無法動彈,當下气沉丹田,絲毫不運內息,果然便能移動四肢,當下慢 慢站起身來,緩緩抽出長劍,一步一步走進廟中。一進廟門,扑鼻便聞到一陣血腥气,神壇上亮著兩盞孔明燈,但 見梁發、施戴子、高根明諸師弟正自和敵人浴血苦戰,几名師弟、師妹躺在地下,不知死活。岳靈珊和林平之正并 肩和一個蒙面敵人相斗。
      岳靈珊長發披散,林平之左手持劍,顯然右手已為敵人所傷。那蒙面人手持一根短槍,槍法矯夭靈活,林平之 連使三招“蒼松迎客”,才擋住了他攻勢,苦在所學劍法有限,只見敵人短槍一起,槍上紅纓抖開,耀眼生花,噗 的一聲,林平之右肩中槍。岳靈珊急刺兩劍,逼得敵人退開一步,叫道:“小林子,快去裹傷。”林平之道:“不 要緊!”刺出一劍,腳步已然踉蹌。那蒙面人一聲長笑,橫過槍柄,拍的一聲響,打在岳靈珊腰間。岳靈珊右手撒 劍,痛得蹲下身去。令狐沖大惊,當即持劍搶上,提气挺劍刺出,劍尖只遞出一尺,內息上涌,右臂登時軟軟的垂 了下來。那蒙面人眼見劍到,本待側身閃躲,然后還他一槍,哪知他這一劍刺不到一尺,手臂便垂了下來。那蒙面 人微感詫异,一時不加細想,左腿橫掃,將令狐沖從廟門中踢了出去。砰的一聲,令狐沖摔入了廟外的水潭。大雨 兀自滂沱,他口中、眼中、鼻中、耳中全是泥漿,一時無法動彈,但見勞德諾已被人點倒,本來和他對戰的兩敵已 分別去圍攻岳不群夫婦。過不多時,廟中又擁出兩個敵人,變成岳不群獨斗七人,岳夫人力抗三敵的 局面。
      只听得岳夫人和一個敵人齊聲呼叱,兩人腿上同時受傷。那敵人退了下去,岳夫人眼前雖少了一敵,但腿上被 重重砍了一刀,受傷著實不輕,又拆得几招,肩頭被敵人刀背擊中,委頓在地。兩個蒙面人哈哈大笑,在她背心上 點了几處穴道。這時廟中群弟子相繼受傷,一一被人制服。來攻之敵顯是另有圖謀,只將華山群弟子打倒擒獲,或 點其穴道,卻不傷性命。十五人團團圍在岳不群四周,八名好手分站八方,与岳不群對戰,余下七人手中各執孔明 燈,將燈火射向岳不群雙眼。華山派掌門內功雖深,劍術雖精,但對戰的八人均屬好手,七道燈光迎面直射,更令 他難以睜眼。他知道今日華山派已然一敗涂地,勢將在這藥王廟中全軍覆沒,但仍揮劍守住門戶,气力悠長,劍法 精嚴,燈火射到之時,他便垂目向下,八個敵人一時倒也奈何他不得。
      一名蒙面人高聲叫道:“岳不群,你投不投降?”岳不群朗聲道:“岳某宁死不辱,要殺便殺。”那人道:“ 你不投降,我先斬下你夫人的右臂!”說著提起一柄厚背薄刃的鬼頭刀,在孔明燈照射之下,刀刃上發出幽幽藍光 ,刀鋒對住了岳夫人的肩頭。岳不群微一遲疑:“難道听憑師妹斷去一臂?”但隨即心想:“倘若棄劍投降,一般 的受他們欺凌虐辱,我華山派數百年的令名,豈可在我手中葬送?”突然間吸一口气,臉上紫气大盛,揮劍向左首 的漢子劈去。那漢子舉刀擋格,豈知岳不群這一劍伴附著紫霞神功,力道強勁,那刀竟然被長劍逼回,一刀一劍, 同時砍上他右臂,將他右臂砍下了兩截,鮮血四濺。那人大叫一聲,摔倒在地。
      岳不群一招得手,嗤的一劍,又插入了另一名敵人左腿,那人破口大罵,退了下去。和他對戰的少了二人,但 情勢并不稍緩,驀地里噗的一聲,背心中了一記鏈子錘,連攻三劍,才驅開敵人,忍不住一口鮮血噴出。眾敵齊聲 歡呼:“岳老儿受了傷,累也累死了他!”和他對戰的六人眼見胜算在握,放開了圈子,這一來,岳不群更無可乘 之机。
      蒙面敵人一共一十五人,其中三人為岳不群夫婦所傷,只一個被斬斷手臂的傷得极重,其余二人傷腿,并無大 礙,手中提著孔明燈,不住口的向岳不群嘲罵。
      岳不群听他們口音南北皆有,武功更雜,顯然并非一個門派,但趨退之余,相互間又默契甚深,并非臨時聚在 一起,到底是甚么來歷?實是猜想不透,最奇的是,這一十五人無一是弱者,以自己在江湖上見聞之博,不該一十 五名武功好手竟然連一個也認不出來,但偏偏便摸不著半點頭腦。他拿得定這些人從未和自己交過手,絕無仇冤, 難道真是為了《辟邪劍譜》,才如此大舉來和華山派為難么?他心中思忖,手上卻絲毫不懈,紫霞神功施展出來, 劍尖末端隱隱發出光芒,十余招后又有一名敵人肩頭中劍,手中鋼鞭跌落在地,圈外另一名蒙面人搶了過來,替了 他出去,這人手持鋸齒刀,兵刃沉重,刀頭有一彎鉤,不住去鎖拿岳不群手中長劍。岳不群內力充沛,精神愈戰愈 長,突然間左手反掌,打中一人胸口,喀喇一聲響,打斷了他兩根肋骨,那人雙手所持的鑌鐵怀杖登 時震落在地。
      不料這人勇悍絕倫,肋骨一斷,奇痛徹心,反而激起了狂怒,著地滾進,張開雙臂便抱住了岳不群的左腿。岳 不群吃了一惊,揮劍往他背心劈落,旁邊兩柄單刀同時伸過來格開。岳不群長劍未能砍落,右腳便往他頭上踢去。 那人是個擒拿好手,左臂長出,連他右腿也抱住了,跟著一滾。岳不群武功再強,也已無法站定,登時摔倒。頃刻 之間,單刀、短槍、鏈子錘、長劍,諸般兵刃同時對准了他頭臉喉胸諸處要害。岳不群一聲歎息,松手撤劍,閉目 待死,只覺腰間、脅下、喉頭、左乳各處,被人以重手點了穴道,跟著兩個蒙面人拉著他站起。一個蒼老的聲音說 道:“君子劍岳先生武功卓絕,果然名不虛傳,我們合十五人之力對付你一人,還鬧得四五人受傷,這才將你擒住 ,嘿嘿,佩服,佩服!老朽跟你單打獨斗,那是斗不過你的了。不過話得說回來,我們有十五人,你們卻有二十余 人,比較起來,還是你華山派人多勢眾。我們今晚以少胜多,打垮了華山派,這一仗也算胜得不易,是不是?”其 余蒙面人都道:“是啊,胜來著實不易。”那老者道:“岳先生,我們和你無冤無仇,今晚冒昧得罪,只不過想借 那《辟邪劍譜》一觀。這劍譜嗎,本來也不是你華山派的,你千方百計的將福威鏢局的林家少年收入門下,自然是 在圖謀這部劍譜了。這件事太也不夠光明正大,武林同道听了,人人十分憤怒。老朽好言相勸,你還是獻了出來罷 !”岳不群大怒,說道:“岳某既然落入你手,要殺便殺,說這些廢話作甚?岳不群為人如何,江湖上眾皆知聞, 你殺岳某容易,想要坏我名譽,卻是作夢!”
      一名蒙面人哈哈大笑,大聲道:“坏你名譽不容易么?你的夫人、女儿和几個女弟子都相貌不錯,我們不如大 伙儿分了,娶了作小老婆!哈哈,這一下,你岳先生在武林中可就大名鼎鼎了。”其余蒙面人都跟著大笑,笑聲中 充滿了淫猥之意。岳不群只气得全身發抖。只見几名蒙面人將一眾男女弟子從廟中推了出來。眾弟子都給點中了穴 道,有的滿臉鮮血,有的一到廟外便即跌倒,顯是腿腳受傷。
      那蒙面老者說道:“岳先生,我們的來歷,或許你已經猜到了三分,我們并不是武林中甚么白道上的英雄好漢 ,沒甚么事做不出來。眾兄弟有的好色成性,倘若得罪了尊夫人和令愛,于你面上可不大光彩。”
      岳不群叫道:“罷了,罷了!閣下既然不信,盡管在我們身上搜索便是,且看有甚么《辟邪劍譜 》!”
      一名蒙面人笑道:“我勸你還是自己獻出來的好。一個個搜將起來,搜到你老婆、閨女身上,未必有甚么好看 。”林平之大聲叫道:“一切禍事,都是由我林平之身上而起。我跟你們說,我福建林家,壓根儿便沒甚么《辟邪 劍譜》,信与不信,全由你們了。”說著從地下拾起一根被震落的鑌鐵怀杖,猛力往自己額上擊落。只是他雙臂已 被點了穴道,出手無力,嗒的一聲,怀杖雖然擊在頭上,只擦損了一些油皮,連鮮血也無。但他此舉的用意,旁人 都十分明白,他意欲犧牲一己性命,表明并無甚么劍譜落在華山派手中。那蒙面老者笑道:“林公子,你倒挺夠義 气。我們跟你死了的爹爹有交情,岳不群害死你爹爹,吞沒你家傳的《辟邪劍譜》,我們今天是打抱不平來啦。你 師父徒有君子之名,卻無君子之實,不如你改投在我門下,包你學成一身縱橫江湖的好武功。”林平之叫道:“我 爹娘是給青城派余滄海与木高峰害死的,跟我師父有甚么相干?我是堂堂華山派門徒,豈能臨到危難,便貪生怕死 ?”梁發叫道:“說得好!我華山派……”一個蒙面人喝道:“你華山派便怎樣?”橫揮一刀,將梁發的腦袋砍了 下來,鮮血直噴。華山群弟子中,八九個人齊聲惊呼。
    Last edited by Athena; 07-27-21 at 12:12 AM.
    So huge, so hopeless, to conceive
    As these that twice befell
    Parting is all we know of heaven
    And all we need of hell.

    Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

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