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Thread: The Forbidden City The City Of Disillusionment (幻滅紫禁城)

  1. #361
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    White Camel Mountain

    Default Book One: The Fist Of Domination (權傾天下)

    Chapter Seventy-Three:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:

    Chow King Fong - Christine Ng Wing Mei
    Lady Mirage - Erica Choi Hiu Yee
    Lung Tin Kwun - Felix Wong Yat Wah
    Tsui Sing Lau - Lau Dan
    Cheung Luk Chung - KK Cheung Kwok Keung
    Suen Nga Yin - Natalie Tong Sze Wing
    Yeung Ming Hung - Kenneth Ma Kwok Ming
    Yeung Yat Ching - Michael Miu Kiu Wai

    There was no chance for the dust and dead leaves to settle back onto the forest floor for they were trapped in the fierce whirlwind of internal energy and sword energy exerted around the combatants. Hesitance only exists due to fear of consequences. Once one is willing to accept death as a consequence, there is no more need for hesitance. Such was the case for both women in their deadly duel, both determined to be the last one standing or to die trying.

    The ten images of Lady Mirage merged and divided in an unpredictable pattern as the blades met, blinding her opponent with confusion and surprise. Clearly outnumbered and disadvantaged, Chow King Fong had never moved so fast in her life before as she executed the best of her moves against her ten opponents who kept attacking interchangeably in succession. But she could not let herself stop or get tired all her life, she seldom tasted failure and hated the humiliation of defeat. There was only room for perfection to the heir of the Nine Chrysanthemum Clan. Chow King Fong was brought up to thrive in victory, not wallow in loss. Even she was to suffer defeat, the humiliation would not be endured alone.

    Chow King Fong waited until she was right in the centre of the ten opponents, before performing three elegant twirls on her toes as if immersed in a dance. An invisible curtain of energy enfold encircled her slim willow-like body as she slowly summoned up all her internal energy reserve around her body. All nine golden chrysanthemum projectiles vibranted loudly up and down upon her blade.

    Only one person present in the forest recognised that graceful move the precursor to the Killing Stance of the Nine Chrysanthemum Swordplay Rain of the Chrysanthemums.

    Cheung Luk Chung stepped forwards and shouted out loud, No! Fong Yee! Dont do it!

    No one knew whether Chow King Fong heard him or not. In fact, probably no one had heard him for within seconds, a small explosion of energy burst out along the length of her blade; all nine projectiles shattered at once into tiny fragments.

    When whole, they only formed nine projectiles. But when splintered, each of the forty curled petals from one single chrysanthemum became individual projectiles. All four hundred and fifty projectiles shot out at all directions around Chow King Fong; like the dense raindrops in the autumn drizzle, there was no way to avoid.

    Ten agonizing cries became one as the ten images immediately merged back into one single white-haired Lady Mirage. Her speedy defensive sword moves managed to avoid damage to the critical body parts, but she could not protect all of her body and she fell sprawled to ground, injured and bleeding, but still alive.

    It was Chow King Fongs turn to laugh as she wiped away a faint trail of blood coming out from the corner of her mouth. Rain of the Chrysanthemum was the most secretive and most rarely used stance out of the Nine Chrysanthemum Swordplay designed only to be executed at the last resort against a stronger enemy. The stance was not only ruthless to the opponent, but the sudden expenditure of internal energy required to shatter the golden chrysanthemums also caused damage to the energy channels of the practitioner each time it was utilized. But Chow King Fong did not like to lose she would win at all costs.

    Mistress Chow, are you alright? cried Lung Tin Kwun. Chow King Fong held up a hand to signal she was alright, before pointing her sword at her fallen opponent.

    Evil Witch! she laughed wildly, Do you admit defeat?

    Lady Mirage spat out a mouthful of blood which fell upon her once her perfectly white garment, now blemished with blotches and specks of fresh crimson blood. She was ever so pale and her voice was weak. Victory and defeat has already been decided, I have nothing more to say.

    Do you know why you have lost to me today? asked Chow King Fong scornfully, It is because you do not know your own weakness! Even when equipped with the Blade of the Peerless Moon, your father the Mirage Demon failed to defeat my late father. How can you expect to win over me with your short sword?

    Yeung Ming Guk gasped. The Blade of the Peerless Moon was the weapon of the murderous Mirage Demon! How come no one mentioned it to him before? There was a rustle in the leaves and upon looking up; he noticed a dark figure perched in the branches some distance away before them, overseeing the whole event.

    In a soft voice, Lady Mirage murmured What can I do but accept what the Heavens have decided? I only wish Fate would be kinder to me in the next life. Her voice trailed off as she lost consciousness.

    Chow King Fong shouted out in anger from the ground below. Stop faking! Accept your death, evil witch! The Mirage Sect would be no more! And she rushed at the unconscious Lady Mirage with her sword.

    No! shouted both Lung Tin Kwun and Tsui Sing Lau as they moved to block her attack.

    All of a sudden, there was gleam of blue light and the ground before them exploded in a cloud of blue smoke. Once the smoke cleared, Lady Mirage was gone!

    Where is she? Where is that evil witch? shouted Chow King Fong with fury that her nemesis had escaped from right under her nose. The blood rushed up to her brain at once and on top her existing injury, she suddenly felt light-headed and her knees collapsed.

    Careful, Mistress Chow! cried Lung Tin Kwun as he caught her by the arms.

    But Chow King Fong was in no mood for gratitude. Pushing him away violently, she screamed, It is all your fault! Why did you get into my way? If not for you, that witch would be dead by now!

    Lung Tin Kwun was no gentleman and he never will be. Screaming back in her face, he said, Lady Mirage was already disarmed and unconscious. Has vengeance clouded your judgment so much that you have forgotten that we of the righteous clans do not kill unarmed people?

    I dont care! I must have her life! she shouted at the top of her voice.

    Mistress Chow! The soothing voice of Tsui Sing Lau cut in, You are injured and exhausted! Let us get you back to the camp for some rest!

    No! she cried, breaking away from them, Do not think I do not realise what had just happened? That bluish gleam and that tall lean shadow in the smoke that took Lady Mirage away! Are you really telling me that you have no idea who it was?

    Lung Tin Kwun stayed silent. From the moment he saw that characteristic bluish gleam, he too knew who it was, but whether he should he acknowledge his identity was another matter to consider.

    Wait! interrupted Cheung Luk Chung, We have no proof that it was the Wandering Swordsman! The shadow just appears to have a similar build to him! Dont denigrate his character by false accusing of liaising with the evil sects!

    Proof? What proof do you want? argued Chow King Fong, Is the fact that he carries around the very weapon of the Mirage Demon not enough proof? Should we disregard that just because he is one of the Four Heroes of Wulin?

    Yes! said Lung Tin Kwun indignantly, In the past twenty years, have you ever heard anything negative reports concerning Duen Mo Ngai? Weapon is only a weapon and not the man. Brother Duen has only ever done good deeds for the wulin world, and no one except you suspects him of having anything to do with the Mirage Sect!

    If he has nothing to hide, then why has he never offered any explanation of how he obtained the Blade of the Peerlees Moon?

    Cheung Luk Chung was too losing his patience. Well, if you are so eager to know the answer, then why dont you ask him yourself?

    I warned you to stay out of my business! Chow King Fong fixated on Cheung Luk Chung with her angry eyes. Another word out of you and Ill kill you! And she suddenly released a palm at him which he easily evaded. The energy continued in its path and hit a nearby tree.

    Ah! Both Yeung Ming Hung and Suen Nga Yin landed on the floor with a loud thud as the branch beneath their feet had given way.

    You! shouted Chow King Fong and she rushed at Suen Nga Yin before anyone could stop her.

    Pushing Yuen Ming Hung aside, Chow King Fong wrapped her long fingers around Suen Nga Yins fragile neck. Tell me where that Evil Witch is and what connection she has with Duen Mo Ngai?

    I dont know! gasped Suen Nga Yin defiantly. Even if she did, she would not lead this frenzied woman to harm her teacher.

    Suen Nga Yin received a cold, hard slap on her cheek. You are her student! How can you possibly not know her whereabouts? Chow King Fong interrogated with a stern voice, almost choking the poor girl who was turning red in the face.

    Thats enough, Chow King Fong! cried Lung Tin Kwun, moving forward with great speed and snatched Suen Nga Yin away after palming Chow King Fong lightly on the shoulder.

    Clutching her numb shoulder, Chow King Fong yelled, Lung Tin Kwun! Are you going to defend everyone that I suspect? For all you know, she could be a spy sent into our camp?

    Thats right! joined in Cheung Luk Chung, This girl has a mysterious background and does not belong to any proper clan! I trust the Wandering Swordsman but not her! We have every right to be suspicious of her motives!

    Suen Nga Yin slumped onto the ground on her side, desperately trying to regain her breath. I do not deny that I am a student of the woman you all know as Lady Mirage but I had no idea of her identity until it was revealed just now. I met her when I was a child and she offered to teach me martial arts on condition that I never tell anyone about her. I know nothing about the hatred between the Mirage Sect and the Nine Chrysanthemum Clan, nor connection between the Mirage Sect and Senior Duen!

    You liar! accused Chow King Fong, Then why have you infiltrated into our camp? Are you working with the Factions? What is your purpose of getting close to us? What is your background? Talk, Evil Witch! And she shot a palm of energy which Lung Ting Kwun deflected just in time to narrowly miss her.

    Suen Nga Yin and Yeung Ming Hungs eyes met briefly before she had the courage to answer. I have neither purpose nor hidden agenda. I am travelling with your people because I have nowhere else to go and no one else to turn to. I have nothing further to say about myself. I swear on my own life that I have never acted against my conscience nor plotted with malice against anyone. I can offer you no further proof for my defense!

    Suen Nga Yin swiftly slid a dagger out of her sleeve and held it to her neck. If it means my death to prove my innocence, then so be it!

    Dang. A small stone cut knocked the dagger out of her hands and Yeung Yat Ching somersaulted into their presence. Miss Suen, you only live once! Why regard your life with such little value?

    She stayed silent. Her reputation as a woman and a wife was already ruined without repair. She could not risk compromising Yeung Ming Hungs reputation by revealing that he had been running around with the Emperors woman. No one was perfect yet perfection was demanded. If Yeung Ming Hung was to become a leader respected by his peers, then his name could not be smeared with any scandals.

    I can prove it! shouted Yeung Ming Hung, I can prove that Suen Nga Yin is not a spy! I know her background and she definitely is no spy!

    Ming Hung! pleaded Suen Nga Yin, her eyes brimming with tears.

    Yeung Ming Hung took a deep breath and announced, Lady Suen is no common woman, but the fifth-rank Cultured Concubine of the Emperor!

    Author's Note:

    Sorry, nothing to say today. Cheers.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  2. #362
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    White Camel Mountain

    Default Book One: The Fist Of Domination (權傾天下)

    Chapter Seventy-Four:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:

    Chow King Fong - Christine Ng Wing Mei
    Lung Tin Kwun - Felix Wong Yat Wah
    Tsui Sing Lau - Lau Dan
    Cheung Luk Chung - KK Cheung Kwok Keung
    Suen Nga Yin - Natalie Tong Sze Wing
    Yeung Ming Hung - Kenneth Ma Kwok Ming
    Yeung Yat Ching - Michael Miu Kiu Wai

    What? Cries of surprise erupted from every present.

    Look, General Yeung! Chow King Fong mocked, The young vixen has seduced your young nephew to tell ridiculous lies for her!

    Yeung Ming Hung got onto his knees and raised three fingers to the sky. I, Yeung Ming Hung, swear on the grave of my valiant ancestors that I speak nothing but the truth here today! I ran into Lady Suen when I snuck into the Forbidden City to destroy the pledge roster in Lau Gans hands. Lady Suen risked her life and reputation to rescue me and her entire family was executed as a consequence.

    Suen Nga Yin was sobbing quietly when Yeung Ming Hing turned to look at her. Lady Suen could have led a comfortable life of honour and luxury in the Forbidden City and has no motive for interfering in the matters of the wulin world. But she sacrificed everything to not let the evil tyrant Lau Gan place his hands on the roster. I owe her my life and much more. If I was to stand aside while she was falsely accused and have her honourable character tainted with misconceptions, then Yeung Ming Hung would be too ashamed to stand between the Heavens and the Earth!

    Yeung Yat Ching considered the words of his nephew very carefully. Turning his head, he asked calmly, Is that enough for you, Mistress Chow and Leader Cheung?

    Cheung Luk Chung was still flabbergasted by the truth but Chow King Fong was still doubtful. Not so fast! So far we have only heard the story from your nephews point of view. Do you have any corroborating witnesses to prove her identity? If not, then I find no reason to believe your words.

    Yeung Ming Hung looked Chow King Fong fearlessly in the eyes. Apart from me, my juniors Yiu So Sum and Cheung Wan Sheung who were undercover as palace maids at the time can also confirm Lady Suens identity. Lady Kuk who is resting in our camp at this very moment can also verify the truth of my words!

    Very well! said Lung Tin Kwun, Lets ask Lady Kuk and clear up this matter! Shall I lead the way back to camp, Mistress Chow? Or do you want to rush ahead and choke Lady Kuk to death before we get an answer? Chow King Fong stood still and glared at Lung Tin Kwun as if imagining his agonizing death.

    Tsui Sing Lau stepped in between to break the deadly glare. Mistress Chow, I understand your frustration but this is an extreme time where we all need to work and trust each other. If we were to disintegrate from within, then only Lau Gan will benefit from our disputes!

    Chow King Fong asserted her views slowly and clearly. I will never trust anyone from the Mirage Sect! The ingrained hatred within her since the death of her father did not easily waver.

    But I trust my nephew! rebutted Yeung Yat Ching.

    I dont but I trust General Yeung! added Cheung Luk Chung.

    Chow King Fong staggered back from the men in disbelief. You are all against me! I The sudden rush of mixed emotions was too much for the exhausted Chow King Fong. The flows of her internal energy collided within her and she fainted. Lung Tin Kwun caught her by the shoulders.

    I have had enough of this woman! You take her! Lung Tin Kwun shoved the limp body of Chow King Fong at Cheung Luk Chong, and stormed off back to the camp. Tsui Sing Lau sighed and shaking his head, walked off as Cheung Luk Chung picked up her sword and carried Chow King Fong carefully over the uneven ground.

    Lady Suen said Yeung Ming Hung quietly as he held out his hand to Suen Nga Yin. She brushed his hand aside and ran back to the camp without looking back at him.

    People might have been willing to look past their concerned behaviour for each other in the past, but after tonight, Suen Nga Yin had no doubt that people would judge them in a totally different manner from now on. The truth was out and could not be re-concealed.

    Yeung Ming Hung stood rooted to the ground, watching her slender form disappearing between the the cluster of trees.

    Can I have a private word with you, Ming Hung?

    Yeung Ming Hung suddenly realised that his uncle was still standing behind him. Sure, Uncle!

    Yeung Yat Ching took a few long strides, looking up at the nesting birds as his nephew stood nervously behind him.

    Yeung Yat Ching continued to look up at the birds and sighed. Yeung Ming Hung shifted his feet with unease across the dried leaves, but even the soft rustling did not help calm his beating heart as he waited for his reprimand with his head lowered.

    Quietly, Yeung Yat Ching asked in a gentle manner, Well, my son, what do you think I wish to talk to you about?

    Yeung Ming Hung took in a deep breath. How could he not know what he had done wrong? Each rapid beat of his heart was evidence of his self-acknowledged guilt as it resounded like the loud beating of a war drum in his own ears.

    With hesitation, he exclaimed, I am sorry Uncle, I have not only shamed myself, but have also brought shame upon you and the reputation of the Yeung family!

    His uncle was man of moral integrity and ethics, deeply believing that a gentleman must embrace the Five Constant Virtues and adhere to the unyielding hierarchy of the Five Relationships. It was with these firm values that he led his armies, making the Yeung Family Army one of the most disciplined and harmonious armies of the time. Yeung Ming Hung had too been a steadfast believer in these values, but he could not stop the development of his affection for Suen Ng Yin as it slowly encroached on his moral boundaries.

    Yeung Yat Ching spun around. Yeung Ming Guk dared not look up at him. What shame do you think you have committed, my lad? There was no hint of anger or criticism in his words; his voice was as calm and comforting as the still waters of a serene lake.

    I Yeung Ming Hung stuttered, I should not have forgotten my place and dared to develop feelings for Lady Suen.

    Yeung Yat Ching laughed. Why should developing feelings for someone you genuinely care for become an act of shame?

    Yeung Ming Hung looked up surprised, Uncle, I

    Yeung Yat Ching patted him on the shoulder and let out a deep breath, I understand, Ming Hung! You are only human, my lad! It is only natural for people to develop care and concern for others. To not do so is to act against the nature. Is it not a gentlemanly virtue to be true to friends?

    Yeung Ming Hung frowned. But Uncle, Lady Suen is a consort of the Emperor. I have acted in contradiction to the relationship between a Ruler and his Subject!

    It is good that you still know who that Lady Suen is. Yeung Ming Hung bowed his head again. Tell me, Ming Hung, do you still consider yourself as loyal subject to the Ming Dynasty?

    Yeung Ming Hung immediately stood upright and replied, Of course, Uncle! I will forever be loyal to the Ming Dynasty and the Emperor. I swear I will die a thousand painful deaths before I break my word!

    Very good! said Yeung Yat Ching proudly, Then what contradiction have you commited? As a subject, it your duty to care and pay attention to the welfare of your ruler and his family. As a person, it is your duty to show concern for a friend who has risked her life for yours. As a soldier, it is your duty to risk your life to protect those who are weaker that you and in need of help. As a subject, person and soldier, you have committed no offense.

    What? cried Yeung Ming Hung, startled at his uncles response. Was this man really his strict uncle?

    Yeung Yat Ching tilted his chin down and giving his nephew an intent stare, asked, And I trust you have not violated the physical limits of etiquette with Lady Suen?

    Of course not! I can swear on my life, that the relationship between Lady Suen and I is totally pure! stammered Yeung Ming Hung.

    Yeung Yat Ching sighed. Feelings are both weakness and the strength of being human. We cannot live without it yet we need to self-discipline ourselves so we do not commit offense due to them. But Ming Hung, you need to understand your feelings can only ever be feelings, and never be acted out.

    Yeung Ming Hung understood his Uncles words, but his heart was his heart. Crying out his frustration, he said, You dont understand, Uncle! I have tried, Uncle! I have really tried! Ever since I first realised that my heart raced every time she stood by me, I have tried to resist! I have tried to forget! But whatever I do, I cannot erase her smiling face from my mind. Our time together has been short but we have braved through many dangers together, side by side. I knew from the first time I saw her that she was a married woman belonging to another man. I have tried to treat her as a friend, but I know she is much more than that to me. I know my place and I know hers; I know what I must do but I cannot control how my heart feels. Tears were streaming uncontrollable out of his tears and his face gradually reddened by his guilt and shame.

    Yeung Yat Ching paused for a moment. I understand what your heart feels, Ming Hung. I really do, more than you think I do. I was once young like you, thinking I could roam the lands with my steadfast beliefs trying to change the world around me, and yet find myself vulnerable to temptations of the world. I am not the first to do so and you shall not be the last. Many men fall to temptation but only a few can wade out of those appealing waters and look back victoriously. It is not a crime to fail once, but it is to fail repeatedly. If you cant control your heart, then dont! But you must control your body and your words! Every outcome is a consequence of our own choice! Lady Suen will forever be your Mistress and you can only forever fill the rank of a loyal subject, - nothing more. Do you understand me, Ming Hung? You must know your moral boundaries and never overstep them!

    Yeung Ming Hung nodded fervently. Ming Hung knows his faults. Thank you for your guidance, Uncle! Though conflicting emotions engulfed his mind, he felt a sudden relief now that he had blurted out his deepest feelings. He did not know how he would manage it, but from now on, Suen Nga Yin will only his mistress and he her loyal subject.

    Yeung Yat Ching laid a comforting hand upon his nephews shoulder. It would be a long and difficult road ahead but one you must take. Ever since your parents died young, I have considered you and Ming Guk as my own flesh and blood. It is my duty and responsibility to ensure you do not go down a path of no return and many regrets. You have always been a sensible and considerate child, whereas Ming Guk allows his emotions and override his actions without taking into account the consequences. As an elder brother, your father had always set an example for me. And now you as the elder brother must set a good example for Ming Guk so he does not run into trouble.

    All of a sudden, Yeung Ming Hung spun around as his eyes frantically searched the woods. Uncle! he exclaimed, Where is Ming Guk?

    Author's Note:

    Sorry, I'm back. I had some problems posting as SPCnet kept blocking my post. Still not sure why.

    Ancient China has been ruled for centuries with Confucian values, as it established a basic order in society which was important for control since the population was huge and the ruling class was only in the minority. If we watch ancient series, we often hear them talk about the Three Basics and Five Constant Virtues (三纲、五常). So what are they?

    The Three Basics stresses the important or social hierarchy: the subject must submit to the ruler, the son must submit to the father and the wife must submit to the husband.

    The Five Constant Virtues are" benevolence (仁), righteousness (義), propriety (禮), wisdom (智) and fidelity (信). In short, to be a respectful person in society, one must strive to achieve and maintain all five virtues. One must have compassion, generosity and mercy towards others, maintain a sense of justness and righteousness above temptation and corruption, respect your seniors and love your juniors, be calm and wise in handling daily affairs, and honor one's words and trustworthiness.

    In an ideal world, these basics and virtues are essential to the social harmony and stability. It gives everyone a role to play in society so there is no confusion or disorder. If everyone remained lawful and polite to each other, then there will be no discord. But sadly, this idea is not applicable in a realistic situation. How many times in history have we seen subjects being steadfast loyal to an uncaring ruler who has no benevolence or wisdom? How many times have we seen blind loyalty to a parent or a husband, not because he is right, but because of his status?

    I respect Confucism and the harmony that it proposes. Having routine and guidelines is good if one is lost but it also takes away the individualism and the ability of thought. In this story, I will attempt to change each layer of the Three Basics and Five Constants to show what can go wrong. And if one really oversteps the boundaries, are they really wrong or just socially perceived as being wrong?
    Last edited by charbydis; 07-11-15 at 11:10 AM.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  3. #363
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    White Camel Mountain

    Default Book One: The Fist Of Domination (權傾天下)

    Chapter Seventy-Five:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:

    Yeung Ming Guk - Ruco Chan Chin Pang
    Duen Mo Ngai - Lawrence Yan Chi Keung
    Lady Mirage - Erica Choi Hiu Yee
    Masked Leader - someone

    Yeung Ming Guk could feel the blood pumping loudly in his veins as he darted speedily between the foliage in the canopy of the forest like a frenzied monkey, His pupils were wide with excitement and curiosity as he trailed the dark figure before him in an adrenaline filled rush. He could barely see his fingers before his face, narrowly avoiding branches and tree trunks across his path, yet his youthful thirst for victory allowed him to persist in the dark chase of the fleeting shadow before him.

    Despite carrying the weight of the unconscious Lady Mirage, the hunted was much more skilled than the hunter and with time, Yeung Ming Guk found it harder and harder to keep up with the mysterious figure. Inexperienced in extended usage of his internal energy, Yeung Ming Guk soon struggled against the mounting fatigue within his muscles. Clinging onto a wide tree trunk for support, he watched helplessly as the bluish gleam vanished into the distance.

    Yeung Ming Guk slammed his fist into the tree trunk out of frustration, shouting out aloud, You useless piece of garbage, Yeung Ming Guk! Cant even track someone properly!

    The entire tree shook with the blow and dried leaves from above rained down on top of him. Fragile strands of gleaming silver floated gently amongst the falling leaves, settling down over his outstretched fist.

    Yeung Ming Guk rubbed the silver strands between his fingers and felt the silk-like texture. What on earth? This is hair! he exclaimed in surprise as he brought it closer to his eyes for a second examination. It was indeed hair! White hair! Lady Mirages hair!

    Lady Mirages long white hair billowed in the air as she was carried away by the dark figure at great speeds. Strands of it must have been caught on protruding twigs as they moved through. Like broken fragments of delicate spider webs, the lonely strands of white hair flapped earnestly in the night breeze, as if waving to attract Yeung Ming Guk attention, marking the exact path and direction of the pursuees. Yeung Ming Guk smiled with triumph as he followed the trail after them.

    Eventually, he arrived at a small patch of low vegetation just at the foot of a small hill. Yeung Ming Guk looked everywhere for any further signs of the white hair. The last wispy strands were barely meters from him, dangling off a large dark leafy plant. Yeung Ming Guk stepped before it. There was no more white hair lying around. Lady Mirage and her rescuer must be around here somewhere.

    Suddenly, there was a deep murmur of voices coming from the plant. Yeung Ming Guk jumped back and was ready to unsheathe his sword when a louder voice called, Yeung Ming Guk! Come!

    The voice was very familiar. Yeung Ming Guk leaned forward and felt a tinge of coldness emitting from behind the plant. So there must be a hidden cave behind it! he said to himself.

    Come quickly, Yeung Ming Guk! the voice beckoned to him again.

    It was a stupid move but Yeung Ming Guk listened and brushing aside the plant with turned out to a large loose leafy branch, he exposed the mouth of the cave and walked inside.

    There was no light inside the cave. It was pitch-black. There was a faint breathing from the far end of the cave. Nevertheless, Yeung Ming Guk ventured forward, calling out, Who are you? And how do you know my name?

    Duck down! cried the familiar voice from the shadows.

    What? cried Yeung Ming Guk, trying to put a face to that deep male voice.

    Shhh! A sharp ache came across his shins and he toppled forwards, face first onto the hard ground. Yeung Ming Guk flipped around onto his back, clutching his sore nose between his hands.

    He was just about to curse when the deep male voice whispered, Be quiet! I smell the killing aura in the air.

    A weaker female voice said breathlessly, Why dont you leave before they come? Whoever they are, with me in this injured state, I will only be a burden to you. You did not want to accompany me in life, why would you want to accompany me in death? Yeung Ming Guk recognised it as being Lady Mirages.

    I will not leave! the male voice replied, Only other people bolt before me in fear; I will not flee from any challenger as long they are brave enough to be slain by my blade! The more they come, the more I will slay!

    The female voice laughed bitterly, How ironic! You are fearless before any sword in the world yet you have evaded me like a coward all these years?

    Shh! The male hushed his companion as a flutter of robes and a clang of metal came from outside the cave.

    Yeung Yat Chings nephew must be here somewhere! His death would be valuable to Masters cause!

    Twenty dark cloaked figures descended on the forest floor, eerily standing still with their swords brandished and listening for any abnormal voices. In their hands were flickering white paper lanterns, creating an uncanny atmosphere nearby.

    Yeung Ming Guk quickly rushed to close the mouth of the cave with the leafy branch and gasped as a beam of moonlight reflected off their swords betrayed the identity of the man that saved Lady Mirage. He had only seen him twice before in his life, but he had made a large impression everytime he appeared. How could anyone not be impressed by the heroic Wandering Swordsman, Duen Mo Ngai?

    In the corner of the cave, Duen Mo Ngai was sitting with his legs crossed in a lotus position, concentrating hard with both palms outstretched and pushing into the back of Lady Mirage. If Lady Mirage was pale before, her face was absolutely pallid now. She had a painful expression on her beautiful face; her hands clenched tightly in fists as she stared feebly at Yeung Ming Guk.

    Duen Mo Ngai shook his head at Yeung Ming Guk, warning him to stay quiet. But Yeung Ming Guk slowly crawled beside them, making as little noise as he could manage.

    You stupid boy! said Duen Mo Ngai in a low voice.

    Yeung Ming Guk may be rash, but was nowhere near stupid. He immediately understood what was going on. Duen Mo Ngai was channelling part of his internal energy to help Lady Mirage survive her injuries. This was a dangerous procedure, even for an experienced martial arts expert like Duen Mo Ngai, for once the energy channels between two people were connected; it could not be broken forcibly without endangering both lives.

    In normal circumstances, even if a hundred men came, they were no match for Duen Mo Ngai and his Blade of the Peerless Moon. But if he were engage in a fight now, the flow of his internal energy would be disrupted and endanger both him and Lady Mirage.

    Senior Duen! he whispered, How can I help?

    Duen Mo Ngai sighed, Since you have come, might as well be of use. Yeung Ming Guk grinned at him.

    How do you feel taking on these twenty odd men all by yourself?

    Without thinking, Yeung Ming Guk nodded zealously, No problem!

    Duen Mo Ngai shook his head, Do you even know who they are or what their skills are like?

    Yeung Ming Guk shrugged his shoulders casually and replied, Nope! But as you said, the more they come, the more I will slay!

    There was a loud cry from outside the cave. Jadeite! The word sounded like an order but what on earth did it mean?

    All of a sudden, there was a loud squawking just outside the cave. Yeung Ming Guk leaned forward to see a bright green parrot was circling at the mouth of the save, screeching at the top of its voice and attacking the leafy branch covering the entrance with its claws.

    Shoo! You idiotic bird! Go away! hissed Yeung Ming Guk.

    But it was too late. In a matter of seconds, the branch was set alight and trapped them all inside. Yeung Ming Guk stepped forward and braving the small red hot sparks, he pushed the burning branch away, only to find many silvery blades pointed at his throat.

    One of them scoffed, Not your lucky day today, is it?

    Yeung Ming Guk took a look at the cloaked men. All of them had smooth delicate faces yet looked like stone statues as none of them had any expression on their faces.

    Good job, Jadeite! cried the figure standing further back from the rest of them, seeming to be the leader of this pack. He was a young gentleman in his thirties, dressed in a long dark cloak. His face was covered with a black veil but even from just looking at his eyes, he had a haughty look about him.

    The green parrot did a few circles of victory in the air before setting down on the gloved forearm of its owner. The parrot seemed highly interested in the metal pendant around its owners neck, preening its feathers with its beak and turning round and round as if admiring its own image.

    Stupid bird! cursed Yeung Ming Guk, I hope all your feathers fall off but sunrise and you scare yourself to death after discovering you look like a plucked chicken! Jadeite squawked angrily at him.

    Strange choice of words as an insult, young man! laughed its owner, Words may be useful against Jadeite, but of no use against cold metal blades?

    Duen Mo Ngais authoritative voice resonated from within the cave. Cold metal blades may be useful against cursing young men, but of what use are they against my Blade of the Peerless Moon? There was a blinding flash of blue light and Yeung Ming Guk felt himself forced aside by a huge gust of air rushing out from behind him.

    The invisible force of internal energy hurtled straight to the men gathered at the mouth of the cave and it was much to strong for them, sending them toppling off their feet as their swords flew up into the air and dropped to the ground with a mighty clang.

    This is only a taste of what lies ahead if you keep bothering me! Leave!

    Standing at a safer distance, the leader was unharmed and stared interestingly at the cave. In a confident voice, he called out, My apologies to the Wandering Swordsman for not recognising your presence earlier. My men and I roam the wulin, wanting to meet with worthy heroes within the Central Plains. We originally planned to just meet with Young Master Yeung tonight, but since senior is also present, why not step outside so we juniors can all bask in your glory?

    There was a silence from inside the cave. Yeung Ming Guk knew something had gone wrong but could not show it before these mysterious strangers. Are you so self-important that you think Senior Duen has to entertain your pointless requests and come at your beck and call? Go immediately before you make him angry!

    The leader seemed unphased by the threat as his men regroup with their weapons behind them. Senior Duen, I dare not intrude upon your peace and quiet but from the slight trembles just detectable in your voice, it seems that it is not that you do not want to come out, there was a short intimidating pause, before stressing each and every of the final words, but that you are unable to come out!

    Leave! roared Duen Mo Ngai from within the cave.

    The masked man threw his head back and laughed out loud with delight as he knew that he was right. Yeung Ming Guk quickly snuck inside the cave to see what was going on.

    A fresh mouthful of crimson blood had splattered down the front of Lady Mirages white dress.

    Are you still alright? asked Duen Mo Ngai concernedly as he forced even more energy into Lady Mirage. By producing that wave of sword energy, he had interrupted the energy flow in Lady Mirage and caused her internal injuries to reopen.

    Go! whispered Lady Mirage, You are the invincible Wandering Swordsman, Duen Mo Ngai! How can you tolerate such a despicable junior taunting you like that without teaching them a lesson? This cave is spacious and tranquil, very much like the one in Mirage Valley. I would not be unhappy to die here

    Do not say such things! cried Duen Mo Ngai indignantly. I wont let you die here!

    Come here! ordered Duen Mo Ngai with a stern look on his face. Yeung Ming Guk obediently approached and knelt before him. I cannot go out at this critical moment! Youll have to combat them yourself!

    Yeung Ming Guk lowered his head. Ming Guk knows his skills are limited but swears to protect both seniors until his very last breath!

    Silly boy! Nothing weighs you down in a duel more than a lack of confidence! snapped the older man, Lend me your ear! And he quickly whispered something into Yeung Ming Guks ear.

    Author's Note:

    Let's continue with where we left off last chapter withe Confucian values. We covered the Three Basics and the Five Constant Virtues where it talks about how one must act. Now let's talk about the Five Relationships (五倫) where there is a mutual relationship and guide in how two people should ideally interact.

    (1) A father and son must show care towards one other. (父子有親)
    - A son must be filial to the father who gave him life and the father must care for the son who he is responsible for.
    (2) A ruler and subject must show righteousness towards each other. (君臣有義)
    - A subject must be loyal to his ruler and the ruler must not dishonour his subject due to personal desires.
    (3) A husband and wife must show distinction towards each other. (夫婦有別)
    - A husband is in charge of major matters and a wife is in change of minor matters. This way, they will be minimal conflict between them, but if there is, a wife must submit to the husband.
    (4) A senior and junior must show order towards each other. (長幼有序)
    - A senior must love and teach the junior and the junior must not disrespect or argue with a senior. This refers to siblings and how they should handle sibling rivalry.
    (5) Friends must show trust and loyalty towards each other. (朋友有信)
    - Self-explanatory.

    Even though we are now in the 21st century, it is interesting to see how much most of us here in this forum, though raised with western influences, are still affected by Confucianism even though we may have never picked up a book about it. It is a set of virtues and values that has been passed down to us by our parents through the generations. Though we might agree with it totally, it is good for us to understand that part of our culture.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  4. #364
    Moderator Suet Seung's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001


    Keep writing Charbydis! I'll catch up eventually.
    I just love how you Captivate My Mind

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

  5. #365
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    White Camel Mountain


    Quote Originally Posted by Suet Seung View Post
    Keep writing Charbydis! I'll catch up eventually.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  6. #366
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    White Camel Mountain

    Default Book One: The Fist Of Domination (權傾天下)

    Chapter Seventy-Six:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:

    Yeung Ming Guk - Ruco Chan Chin Pang
    Duen Mo Ngai - Lawrence Yan Chi Keung
    Lady Mirage - Erica Choi Hiu Yee
    Masked Leader - someone

    The masked man called out tauntingly, How thoughtful are you, Senior Duen, to show us mercy by not coming out to meet us! We will be sure to spread this news to the rest of wulin, but I am not sure whether they will see the almighty Wandering Swordsman Duen Mo Ngai as a hero or as a coward!

    Shut your mouth! came a shout from within the cave.

    The cloaked men gathered closely behind their leader, watching warily to see if Duen Mo Ngai would indeed come out. They all took in a deep breath as a tall figure slowly stepped out from the shadows of the cave. The man was tall and had a broad build. They could not see his face but firmly clutched in his hand was a metal sword, still in it's sheath.

    The masked man stared at him for a while, before calling out, Young Master Yeung need not be nervous! First wipe the sweat from your hands before your sword slips out of your hand! The men behind him erupt with laughter.

    Yeung Ming Guk seemed outwardly unfazed at the taunt but inside, his heart was beating like a war drum. Even by just standing there, he could sense that these guards were more powerful than the Western Faction guards he took down at the Temple of Emperor Kwan.

    Concealing his insecurities, he replied arrogantly, Fight first, laugh later if you still can!

    Within the cave, Duen Mo Ngais voice echoed out, Yeung Ming Guk! Teach these insolent creatures a lesson for me!

    The authoritative tone in Duen Mo Ngais voice reminded Yeung Ming Guk of his uncle, and as a trained soldier would respond to his commanders order, he suppressed all doubt and automatically brandished his sword.

    Young Master Yeung certainly has the air of a fine warrior, however lacks the powerful aura of your uncle! Dont embarrass your uncles good name by coming at us with a sword! The entire of wulin knows that the Loyal General Yeung Yat Chings most formidable weapon is his golden spear!

    Yeung Ming Guk took in a deep breath and replied, If you want a good fight against a golden spear, then go and seek out my uncle or my elder brother and you will not be disappointed! But since you lot are cowardly enough to intentionally single me out, then youll just have to put with my sword if you can handle it!

    The masked man lifted his arm and the bright green parrot ascended into the air, circling above their heads with loud squawks. The nineteen men immediately moved out into a circular formation to receive Yeung Ming Guk who rushed at them with his sword held high.

    Yeung Ming Guk fearlessly darted towards them at full speed, and then suddenly slid across the ground at a near horizontal position, just as a barrage of swords swiped over his head. He proceeded to kick at the feet of the men and knock them off balance when another criss-cross screen of metal blades blocked him off, forcing him to suddenly change direction with a quick push of his arm. He nimbly flipped back onto his feet watching as the men moved back into position.

    Yeung Ming Guk stood firmly on the ground, digging his feet into the forest floor, whose soil was now loosened with all the disturbance from their footsteps. But his eyes were watching every one of his opponents, who now assumed equidistant positions around him in a constant motion, locking their blades in a criss-cross pattern and grating the blades against each other in a circular motion. The sound was both unnerving and irritating to his ear.

    But nevertheless, Yeung Ming Guk stood still. His uncle had taught him to not waste time and attack first if he was sure that he was going to win. But if he was doubtful, it would be wiser to let the opponent make the first move, for the more moves one executes, the more flaws are revealed.

    Then all at once, the swords shot forwards in different direction some at his head and some at his feet. The formation against him consisted of two interlocking rings of swords, one attacking his upper body and the other attacking his lower body. He quickly twirled his weapon around and blocked the upper attack, whilst leaping up at the same time to avoid the lower attack.

    The multitude of blades met with a sharp unified clang as they stabbed downward, forming a cone shaped protrusion into the ground. Yeung Ming Guk landed with one foot right in the centre of the cone, using his body weight to stop the swords from unlocking whilst he fended off the strikes at his upper body. With his free foot, he kicked out at one of the swordsman in the upper ring.

    He had always been known for his brute strength. By the age of twelve, he easily lifted a full-grown cow onto his shoulders and by the age of fifteen, he could break the skull of a charging snow leopard with one kick. Nevertheless to say, the man flew backwards out of the formation and skidded across the ground.

    Yeung Ming Guk saw an opening in the formation and quickly dashed out of the small gap before others moved to close it. Leaping onto the man, he shouted, Its your unlucky day! and punched him right in the eye. The other assailants hastily pursued him and forced him back into the middle of the rings, allowing the kicked man to rejoin the formation.

    Yeung Ming Hung smiled craftily. Inside the cave, Duen Mo Ngai had told him that all formations were just fancy optical illusions used to confuse the opponent. Its main purpose was the combine the ability of several participants into one more powerful force, but it was a prerequisite was that each player equally relied on one another for both attack and defense. If anyone of them was too preoccupied to defend another mans flaws, it would spoil the efficiency of the whole formation.

    Yeung Ming Guk eyed the attacker with the bruised eye and concentrated all his strength to give him another blow. He again flew out of position and the others rushed to stop Yeung Ming Guk from escaping through the gap again. But by deviating from their usual sequence, their steps and coordination became unsynchronised since it was not what they had trained for.

    A nineteen-man formation and an eighteen-man formation required different coordination and timing, and they did not have time to recalculate the movements of their partners. Yeung Ming Guk delivered several blows to the attackers before the injured man rejoined the formation again.

    But each time, Yeung Ming Guk singled out the man with the bruised eye, no matter which position he was in. The more the others tried to hide the man with the bruised eye from him and stop Yeung Ming Guk from assaulting him again, the more gaps appeared in the arrangement.

    Yeung Ming Guk saw the chance to do some further damage to the formation. Duen Mo Ngai had told him that he noticed that the men held their swords in a funny way, leaving a small gap between the palm and the sword hilt. This was not the way a true swordsman would handle his weapon, for he must let his arm become one with the sword, maximizing the grip on his sword would also maximize the power it produced. For these so-called swordsmen, their wrists were their weaknesses.

    One by one, Yeung Ming Guk started to disarm them with blows to their wrists and finished them a swipe. He had taken care to place a firm grip on his hilt, yet tilt his wrist slightly outward for smoother movement without using too much strength to deliver a powerful strike. Yeung Ming Guks blows became more deadly as he came increasing pleased with himself. With his natural physical strength and this new improvement to his technique, the attackers could not withstand Yeung Ming Guks swift blows as their swords broke in half at the impact.

    Move away! came a cry and immediately, the attackers who were still alive quickly backed away from him.

    Yeung Ming Guk rested on his sword, panting heavily. He was glad that the leader had called his men off. In addition to the long chase through the trees, his muscles ached from the physical exertion from the fight.

    Whos laughing now? he huffed, Have you lot had enough or do you want some more thrashing?

    Up above him, Jadeite squawked lously as a swift shadow moved towards him it was the leader. Already, he could feel a sense of uneasiness as a killing aura radiated from the cloaked man. Yeung Ming Guk quickly swiped at the oncoming figure but the masked leader was quicker.

    Retrieving a flexible sword from within his cloak, he stabbed right at Yeung Ming Guks chest with a continuous wrist movement, sending wave after wave of sword energy at him out of the the vibrating blade. Yeung Ming Guk swerved out of the way just in time as the energy narrowly missed him, blasting several holes in the rock behind him.

    My Heavens! exclaimed Yeung Ming Guk as the leader persisted in his attack, leaping up and down from the ground to deliver further blows from various positions whilst avoiding Yeung Ming Guks best efforts to subdue him.

    Yeung Ming Guk found it impossible to gain a clear view of his new opponents techniques to search for flaws. He was much quicker, deadier and more skilled than the other nineteen men. Though using a flexible sword, his grip was solid and no matter how he tried, he could not disarm him. The flexible blade flexed upon impact, often flicking backwards at Yeung Ming Guk whenever their blades met. Several times, the tip of the flexible sword nipped his arms and face, and if not for his agility, his injuries would be much worse.

    Use your energy field to dispel him! came Duen Mo Ngais voice.

    Yeung Ming Guk tried to ignore the tip of the sword that was coming right at his eye and concentrated all his mind on directing his internal energy into his hands and out through his sword. A weak energy shield unfurled before him and flicked the sword tip away from him just in time to leave just a small graze to his right cheek.

    But with his growing fatigue and apparent inferior technique, Yeung Ming Guk felt his energy shield quickly dwindling with repeated attacks from the masked leader. The masked leader raised his hand again and his men released lassos of reinforced rope into the air.

    Aiming for his limbs, the lassos whipped around in the night air, adding to the assault. With one sharp stab, the sword broke through and dissipated the weak protective shield. Yeung Ming Guk fell hard on his back as the masked leader palmed him in the chest. The masked leader placed one foot on him, and pressed down hard on his diaphragm, pinning him to the ground, defenceless as the lassos came at him again.

    Yeung Ming Guk! Your control of internal energy is horrid! Come back here at once! shouted Duen Mo Ngai.

    Then out of the blue, a large sheet of white fabric shot out from the cave and came straight at Yeung Ming Guk. Startled by the unanticipated interruption, the masked leader somersaulted away to safety as two additional long tentacles of white fabric slithered their across the forest floor in a serpentine manner.

    The two long sashes seemed to have a life of its own, thrashing in the air and forcing the attackers to two sides of Yeung Ming Guk to form a narrow vacant corridor. The edges of the the white fabric sheet penetrated the air like one large blade; cutting easily though all the reinforced lassos into useless pieces of rope. The large white sheet enveloped itself around Yeung Ming Guk til he resembled an overgrown silkworm.

    Not wanting to let their prey get away, the men lashed their swords at the fabric tentacles but without Mistress Chows powerful internal energy, the sharp blades slid futilely off the soft fabric. The masked leader twisted through the air and sent five consecutive waves of sword energy at the moving mass that was Yeung Ming Guk. But the folds in the fabric absorbed the attack and Yeung Ming Guk was pulled to safety within the depths of the cave.

    Halt! ordered the masked leader to his men as the long fabric tentacles quickly retracted back and weaved together to create a tight curtain over the cave entrance. Apart from Duen Mo Ngai, there is another powerful martial arts expert within that cave! It would be too risky to pursue them inside, not knowing who we are up against. But there is something going on inside that cave that is hindering them from coming out to get us! Let us wait and see!

    Author's Note:

    Sorry. Nothing to say today. Still mourning Rong Yuan from "Hua Xiu Yun".
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  7. #367
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002

    Default Lawrence Yan Chi Keung

    Hello Charbydis or other viewers-fans of Lawrence Yan Chi Keung,

    I also like Lawrence Yan Chi Keung in his role as the blind righteous person "chan, tin-sheung" in snow is red (ATV drama series)
    & his gentle-scholarly villian role in the Swordsman (ATV drama series).

    There are music videoclips of him done by his viewers-fans which I enjoyed some of it.

    He did a good job in portray in his storyline characters.
    I also feel he deserve to be in more good leading male roles.

    Quote Originally Posted by charbydis View Post
    Chapter Forty-Two:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:

    Duen Mo Ngai - Lawrence Yan Chi Keung
    Yeung Ming Guk - Ruco Chan Chin Pang
    Yeung Ming Hung - Kenneth Ma Kwok Ming
    Yeung Yat Ching - Michael Miu Kiu Wai
    Suen Nga Yin - Natalie Tong Sze Wing
    Ning Fung - Jackie Lui Chung Yin
    Siu Kei Chi - Sammul Chan Kin Fung

    The imposter gave a long bitter laugh. You have come too late! There were nineteen other decoy prisoners sent out to lure out all of you rebels! Unless they were lucky like you, all your other friends would be waiting for you in the Underworld!

    Yeung Ming Guk rushed forwards. You monster! As soon as he had escaped from Gansu, he had set about contacting all his uncles contacts in the wulin world to help rescue him. It was his fault if they had fallen into the traps by the Western Faction.

    But before he could get his hands on him, the loud sound of a flare could be heard. The wounded imposter seemed unfazed, and shouted, The real Yeung Yat Ching should be entering the city gates of Beijing this very moment and there is nothing you can do to stop it! And with one last laugh, he cocked his head towards the sharp weapon and ended his own life. There was no other way out.

    To die with honour during a mission was more desirable than to return to Headquarters as a failure and face the dreadful consequences. Lau Gan did not like failures.

    The hooded figure lifted his head towards the sound of the flare. Yeung Ming Guk could see the greying bits in his long thin beard. The sound is coming from the city walls of Beijing. He said calmly, It must a signal by the eunuchs to indicate that Yeung Yat Ching has arrived! We must hurry there!

    Yeung Ming Guk cupped his hands in respect and exclaimed, Thank you for your help, senior! It is our honour to have you here to help my uncle, Yeung Yat Ching! My horse is outside, let us rush there immediately! and he made a move to go outside.

    But the hooded man reached out a long hand and gripped him by the arm. Alhough there was no pain, Yeung Ming Guk felt as if a hand of iron was grasping tightly around his arm he could not move or break free under the pressure. There is no time! Lets go by my way! the hooded man suggested and without waiting for his consent, he dragged Yeung Ming Guk off into night.

    The two men moved unhindered through the trees as they sped towards the city walls of Beijing. Yeung Ming Guk stared at the ground below him in awe as they moved with great momentum. They were travelling at such a great speed that the blurry scenery below them was gone before he could focus.

    May I know your name please, senior? asked Yeung Ming Guk at the top of his voice to not be drowned out by the rushing wind against his face.

    The hooded man did not answer him. Instead, he pointed into the distance with his sword. Look! And it did not take Yeung Ming Guk long to see what he was indicating at.

    The ramparts of the fortified city walls were overflowing with anxious soldiers running along its length to prepare for battle. The bright torches fastened onto the brick wall illuminated the area to the west of Beijing city and revealed a terrible sight.

    The area was crammed with a mass of people in a chaotic fight. It was difficult to differentiate between who was who in the mess but all could see that the action was centred around a single prisoner cart that was moving slowly towards the city. There was a force of maybe a hundred men who were fighting to get to the cart. But the only trouble was the hundreds of West Faction guards standing in their way.

    Yeung Ming Hung and his soldiers fought valiantly for their general as they ploughed down through the barrier of guards and the reinforcements that were rushing out from all directions to replace the fallen. The prisoner cart fought against the rush of people in the opposite direction and slowly approached the city wall.

    A long white sash shot out from within the crowd and attached itself to the side of the prisoner cart, stopping it in its tracks. Yeung Ming Hung skidded along its length, slaughtering all enemies he passed. He leapt onto the cart and dispatched the eunuchs around it. But the guards around them rushed at him like ants upon honey to tear him apart.

    Blood splattered around Yeung Yat Ching as he was pushed through the hordes of people. Still bound by the strong fibres of the Indestructible Golden Silk, Yeung Yat Ching shouted out against the loud cries of fighting, It is no use, Ming Hung! Take the men and leave now!

    Yeung Ming Hung slew the guards closest to him with one swipe and forced the others back as he bellowed back in response, No, Uncle! Either we leave together or we all die together!

    Clear your mind of emotions, Ming Hung! he hollered, Have all the years I spend coaching you war tactics been a waste? You are a general, not a mad bull! Can you not see that you are fighting a losing battle? A battle is won by brains, not by brawn! Lau Gan would have set many traps along the way knowing that you are anxious to save me. How can you detect the danger around you if your eyes are clouded with emotion? Our blood is to be spilt for our country on the battlefield, not for consequences of a hasty decision!

    But... Yeung Ming Hung stopped mid-sentence. Yeung Yat Chings words sobered him up at once. The faint outlines of archers lined the city walls, ready to aim and shoot out multitudes of deadly arrows when they approached. They were surrounded by at least a hundred Western Faction guards. There was no way that they will get out of here alive with a bulky prisoner cart.

    In his minute of hesitation, one enemy took him by surprise and kicked him in the chest. Yeung Ming Hung tumbled off the prisoner cart and the guards around him pointed their swords at him. He could not believe his eyes when he saw his attacker. You again!

    Ning Fung smiled deviously at him as he stood on the bars of the prisoner cart which he freed from Suen Nga Yins sash with one clean slice. One of the guards sneered as he raised his weapon to bring down on their captive.

    But he did not smile for long as another figure dropped down upon him and wrestled him onto the ground. Get away from my brother, you vermin! cried the figure as he tackled the guard with great ferocity.

    Ming Guk! shouted Yeung Ming Hung with surprise as his brother took out the guard with one punch and joined him by his side as they battled Ning Fung who held back the prisoner cart.

    The hooded man descended upon the crowd of guards like a ghostly spectre with his cloak flapping in the wind. The Western Faction guards initially hesitated to attack mysterious figure, but then charged at him all at once. With a flash of silver, the cloak was sliced in half as the deadly blade emerged from within in its folds. It was a fascinating sight to see. None of the guards who saw their one reflection in the silvery blade lived long before it sliced through their bodies. The long sword slashed into everything it came into contact with whether rock, sword or human flesh, none could withstand its double-edged blade and the energy it emitted.

    Ning Fung was slowly losing the battle to the brothers now that the attention of the guards was all focussed on the lethal swordsman. Normally, it was a difficult task to fight an opponent whilst taking care not to injure your ally. But the pair of brothers had been trained together since young and the two moved as one to complement each other with every attack. As soon as Ning Fung found one weakness, the other brother would automatically compensate by filling in the void.

    There came a cry as a young woman in a pink dress somersaulted through the air and landed beside them. You monster! shouted Suen Nga Yin enraged at her friends supposed death, and she joined in the attack. Ning Fung was an efficient assassin whose first instinct was to run when faced with such obstacles, but his mission was to escort Yeung Yat Ching safely into Beijing. He could not leave.

    Let me help you! shouted a young eunuch who palmed Suen Nga Yin in the back as he leapt to Ning Fungs aid.

    Lady Suen! cried Yeung Ming Hung as he immediately left his post rushed to hold her up. There was a tinge of embarrassment as they eyes met and he quickly let go. Left alone to fend against two strong opponents, Yeung Ming Guk was quickly defeated.

    Siu Kei Chi pointed to the swordsman and called out loudly to his colleagues, That is the Wandering Swordsman, Duen Mo Ngai! Let us all retreat! There was a loud explosion as both Ning Fung and Siu Kei Chi grabbed hold of the prisoner cart and clouds of smoke and dust occluded the visibility.

    Uncle! shouted both brothers as the smoke enveloped their view of the prisoner cart.

    Out from the smoke, Yeung Yat Ching shouted out one last piece of advice, Ming Hung! Through your veins flows the blood of the Yeung's! It will tell you what to do! Remember, you are a Yeung! Remember!

    Duen Mo Ngai leapt fearlessly into the smoke and cries of pain emitted from the haze. With a burst of internal energy, he forced the smoke to disperse, revealing only his tall stature standing over a new addition of lifeless corpses. Siu Kei Chi, Ning Fung and the prisoner cart had disappeared as if they had been swallowed up by the earth with no trace.

    Uncle! cried Yeung Ming Guk with concern as he ran to the spot where he last saw him. He spun around confused and dazed, searching for any sign of them in the distance. There were not even tracks of the cart on the ground. How could they have just disappeared just like that?

    Duen Mo Ngai reached out a hand and grabbed by the clothes at his chest. Your uncle is fine. He went with them willingly! His voice was both calm and comforting. Now that all the smoke had cleared, Yeung Ming Guk could see that he was middle-aged, but he was in no way old. He had a tall and commanding stature and his greying long hair swayed gently behind his back. His eyes were kind as they shone out of a face marked by age and experience but had not yet lost its good looks. Suen Nga Yin stared at him apprehensively without a word.

    How do you know? asked Yeung Ming Hung bewildered.

    Duen Mo Ngai gave a confident laugh. Because Yeung Yat Ching is Yeung Yat Ching! No shackles in the world can hold Yeung Yat Ching against his will!

    Senior! pleaded Yeung Ming Guk with widened eyes, What shall we do now? Uncle must be within Beijing! Shall we break through the city walls? The men behind him shouted loudly in consent.

    No! bellowed Yeung Ming Hung remembering his uncles words, As far as we know, Beijing could be littered with traps, not to mention the numerous city and imperial guards stationed within.. We are outnumbered and it would be foolish to advance without a plan. Eyeing the archers on standby on the fortifications, he said quietly, There are more friends in the wulin realm that are on their way. It would be wise to wait three more days til their arrival before we take any action. The men again shouted in consent.

    Duen Mo Ngai smiled coolly. You sure learn fast, young nephew. And turning to Yeung Ming Guk, he continued, I saw you fight. If you were using a long spear, then the distance between you and your enemy is your advantage. But since your chosen weapon is a sword, you need to maintain the distance with your sword energy. Each stroke must be accurate and fast as not to fast valuable energy in repeated blows at the same assailant that will last you against a few more opponents. Practise hard until we meet again!

    Are you not going to join us, Senior? asked Yeung Ming Guk.

    The smile faded from his face as he answered. I have some personal matters to attend to. But I will return when the time is right. You need not contact me. I will know when it is time. Farewell for now! and he somersaulted away.

    Wait! shouted Suen Nga Yin after him, but he was long gone by then.

    Author's Note:
    I have no historical facts to discuss regarding this chapter, but I do have to express my extreme disatisfaction at the underpromotion of Lawrence Yan by both ATV and TVB over the years. Lawrence is not only good-looking, has a nice body, has great smile, has good versatile acting and has a attractive expressive voice. Why on earth did he get regulated to supporting roles? (There is only one series where he became male lead which was not a great movie at all.)

    At least he got major supporting roles back in ATV during the 1990's, which was probabaly the highlight of his career with memorable roles like Jeen Chiu, Chor Kong Nam, 14th Prince, and Chan Tin Sheung. But then ATV management went crazy and Lawrence got all the pervert roles. Lawrence ran as soon as his contract ended and jumped ship to TVB, hoping that he would have a brighter future, but it was just the same. He was locked into small insignificant roles like an ex-BF, lawyers, rich playboys, etc...

    As to why I like Lawrence was treated like this, I think it was his bad luck to start with peers like Nick Cheung, Jackie Lui and Kong Wah. By the time he got to TVB, he was too "old" to compete with the youthful stars like Raymond, Ron, Bosco and Sammul and not well-known enough to fight for main roles with the super popular male leads like Gallen Lo, Louis Koo, Julian Cheung, etc... I don't think his so-called scandal with a rich woman helped his popularity with the housewives audience either, so TVB further downgraded him to a guest star.

    Despite this, the effort that Lawrence puts into portraying these insignifcant small roles is very evident on screen. There is not one scene that I have ever seen that would make me feel that Lawrence's acting is subpar. Whether it was the useless playboy Phillip Lee in "Best Selling Scerets", the righteous lawyer Richard Lee in "Off Pedder", the weak yet not useless Emperor in "Strike at Heart; Lawrence's professionalism as an actor makes me feel even more sorry for me.

    Lawrence has now left TVB and doing business ventures in China while becoming a part-time golf coach. I do wish the best of him whatever he does and will support him if he decides to return to acting. I don't care if he bloats in his middle-age and loses his good looks, Lawrence's acting skills and professional attitude as an actor will always be remembered by me.

    Whenever I think of Lawrence, the image of the kind, tragic, rugged yet handsome swordsman called Chan Tin Sheung fills my mind. I have constructed the idea of the Wandering Swordsman Duen Mo Ngai from bits of the honourable Chan Tin Sheung, yet added bits of the ambitious Chor Kong Nam. Lawrence may never act again so casting him in this fanfic is like fulfilling my dream of seeing him on screen again and I hope to remind any readers that Lawrence Yan Chi Keung once existed on screen.


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