Chapter - 26 Killing Bear And Beating Tiger Bare-handed
Xiao Feng escaped danger by a hair breath, and he secretly cried out: "Shame!" The first thought that came to his mind was: "This evil vamp really has a vicious heart, she actually employ this sneaky trick against me." The hidden weapons from XingXiu Sect is extremely powerful and sinister to the extreme, if you got shot by their weapons, the chances of survival is minimal…and his heart shivered when he thought about it.
However, after seeing AhZi sent crashing over ten feet by his palm, he was in shock: "Oh no, how can she withstand my palm strike? I am afraid I killed her!" His body flashed and he was by her side, only to see her eyes closed, two stream of blood flow from the corner of her lip. Her face was akin to gold paper, she stopped breathing for real this time!
Xiao Feng was stunned, he thought: "I killed her again, I killed AhZhu's sister. She...she implored me to take care of her sister on her deathbed, but ... but ... I killed her!" This shock should only have lasted for a moment, but he was in a trace-like state, and it seems like an eternity to him. He shook his head, quickly placed his palm on AhZi back, and desperately channelled his internal energy into her. After a while, AhZi moved slightly. Xiao Feng was overjoyed and exclaimed: "AhZi, AhZi, don't die. I will do whatever it takes to save you!"
But AhZi only ever move so slightly, and she stopped moving again. Xiao Feng was extremely anxious, immediately he crossed his legs and sat on the snow, he lifted AhZi gently and placed her in front of him, pressing both his palms on her vest, he slowly channelled his internal energy into her body. He knows that AhZi injury's was severe, at the moment he can only keep her breathing, and stop her from dying temporarily, and so the energy had to be channelled slowly. After some time, traces of white smoke emerged from his head, and he is exerting himself fully.
After continuously channelling his energy for half hour, AhZi body moved slightly, she called out softly: "Brother-in-law!" Xiao Feng was overjoyed, but he continued to channel his energy and did not speak to her. Her body warmed up gradually, and her faint breathing could also be detected. Xiao Feng feared his effort might go to waste, and he did not stop his delivery of internal energy, only when it reaches noon, when AhZi was breathing uniformly again, did he carried her and trotted off quickly, however he found that her face did not have the slightest bit of colour.
He opened up his step, moving fast yet stable, his left hand still pressing on AhZi's vest, as he continuously channelled his internal energy into her. After walking for a long time, he reached a small town, but there was no inn in the town. There was no choice and he could only travel further north, after rushing for over 20 li, did he found a humble inn. This inn did not have a waiter and was managed solely by its owner. Xiao Feng ask the owner to fetch a bowl of hot soup, and using a spoon, he slowly fed it into AhZi mouth. But she only drank three mouthfuls before vomiting everything out, the soup laced with her fresh blood.
Xiao Feng was extremely anxious, and he thought that AhZi's injury would most likely be incurable, the battle between Hades and Divine Physician Xue was unknown, even if he had Divine Physician Xue by his side right now, he might not be able to cure her. When AhZhu was injured by Shaolin Temple's Head abbot, although he did not suffer the palm, the experience was no less thrilling, only by applying the mystical ointment from Taihang Mountain's Elder Tan, and receiving treatment from the Divine Physician, was her life preserved. Although he knew that he could not hope to preserve AhZi's life, he refused to give in, and thought: "Even if I tire myself to the extreme, and deplete all my internal energy, I must preserve her life to the very end. I am not doing this for AhZi's sake, but to live up to AhZhu's exhortations."
He knew that AhZi plotted against him earlier, and if he did not retaliate with his palm, he would have died by her hands. He had extremely high martial arts, and in the event of danger, he will instinctively strike out to neutralize the danger. He was forced to wound AhZi, even if AhZhu was present, she will never utter the slightest bit of blame, as AhZi created this mess and there was nothing an outsider could do. Nevertheless, since AhZhu did not know about this, Xiao Feng could not help but feel that he let her down.
He did not sleep a wink that night, until the next day, he was continuously using his internal energy to sustain AhZi's life. The day AhZhu was wounded, Xiao Feng only sent out his energy when he felt her breath weaken. However, currently, his palm was inseparable from AhZi, else her breathing will cease immediately.
The second night was exactly the same situation. Although Xiao Feng had strong internal energy, but after two-day and two-night of channelling, he is extremely tired. The two pot of wine stored in the inn had been emptied, and he wanted the owner to go out and buy more of it, but he did not carry much silvers with him. It did not matter if he did not eat for a day, however he will be depress if he did not get to drink wine, he was getting physically and mentally exhausted, and he hope to use the wine to perk up, he thought: "AhZi must have carried some money on her."
Untying her clothes' bag, he saw three small gold ingots and a few broken silvers. He took a silver, tie up the clothes' bag, and saw a purple ribbon connecting the bag to her waist. Xiao Feng thought: "This little girl is very careful, she feared losing her clothe bag. However, with all these stuff connecting to her, it can be very uncomfortable." he reach out and untied the ribbon from her waist. The ribbon was well tied and requires one hand. With much effort, the ribbon was untied and upon tugging, he felt an object connected to the other end of the ribbon. However, the object was hidden in her skirt.
He let go of the ribbon, there was a "Pai" sound, and something fell out – it was a little yellow wooden tripod.
Xiao Feng sighed, bent over to pick it up and place it on the table. The carvings on the wooden tripod were extremely meticulous, the wood quality was akin to polished jade, and red threads seem to be ingrained into the wood texture. Xiao Feng knew this object was used to practice the "Great Energy Dissolving Skill" of the XingXiu Sect, he was disgusted and ignored the object after giving it two glances, he thought: "This little girl is really cunning, she kept saying that this Divine Wooden King Tripod had been handed to me, but she kept it hidden in her skirt. Firstly, she knew that her sect members would believe that I took it, secondly, it is not convenient to search her skirt, and eventually no one detected it. Sigh, she can hardly live right now, what is the use of such object?"
He summoned the inn owner, ordered him to take the silver to buy wine and meat, and continued to use his internal energy to keep AhZi alive.
By the morning of the fourth day, he really cannot take it anymore, gripping AhZi's palm with both hands, cradling her in his bosom, he channelled the energy through her palm, and after a while, he can no longer keep his eyes open and he finally drifted asleep. But he is constantly thinking about AhZi's life and death, and after a short nap, he snapped awake, fortunately while he fell asleep, his energy was flowing continuously into her, as long as their palm remain connected, her breathing will not stop.
This went on for another two days, although her breath can be maintained, her injuries did not have the slightest bit of improvement, and so they have to keep staying in this small inn, so how can this problem be resolved? AhZi occasionally opened her eyes, her gaze hazy and lifeless, an obviously sign that she is still unconscious, and naturally she is in no condition to speak. Xiao Feng thought hard but could not come up with any idea, he thought: "I can only carry her and continue travelling, try our luck along the way, I cannot stay in this inn and endure to no avail."
He hugged AhZi with his left hand, his right hand took her clothes' bag and held it in his chest, seeing the wooden tripod on the table, he pondered: "Such a harmful object, it would be better to destroy it!" As he was about to strike with his palm, another thought came to him: "AhZi braved countless hardships to acquire this object. Seeing her injury is incurable. On her deathbed, I will take it out and let her glance at it, so that she may die in peace of mind, rather than having a gnawing regret till the end."
He reach out for the wooden tripod, once in his hand, he feel something squirm and move inside the tripod, feeling extremely curious, he examined the tripod, there are five coins-sized holes by the sides, the neck of the tripod had a fine slit, and it seems to divide into two section. Using his pinky and ring finger to grip the tripod's body, the thumb and middle finger to grip the upper section of the wood tripod and giving it a left turn, the section can be spun. After turning a few rounds, the tripod's cover opened, peering into the interior, he cannot help but be surprised, and somewhat nausea, there are two poisonous bugs gnawing at each other, one scorpion, and the other a centipede, the bugs were rolling around and duelling fiercely.
A few days ago, the tripod was placed on the table and there were no poisonous insects, naturally the centipede and scorpion came shortly after and climb into the tripod. Xiao Feng knew that this was XingXiu Sect weird technique in collecting poisonous bugs and creatures, tipping the tripod, the centipede and scorpion fell to the ground, he step on the bugs and killed them, replace the lid on the tripod and kept it in the clothes' bag. After settling his bills, he hugged AhZi, running against the wind and snow he travelled northward.
His feud with the heroes of Central Plains was deep, but he did not thought of disguising himself, as he travelled north, he got closer and closer to Song Dynasty capital of Kaifeng, it was inevitable that he would meet with martial artists from central plains, firstly he did not wish to kill them out of resentment, secondly he was carrying AhZi and it was not convenient to fight with them, thus he avoided the main road and chose desolate mountain routes. After travelling for a few hundred li, he was still safe and sound.
On this day, he reached a town, he saw a pharmacy with a wooden plaque "Generational Confucian Doctors Providing Treatment For Kings", he wondered: "There won't be any famous doctor in this small town, but there is no harm in seeking diagnosis." Thus, holding onto AhZi, he entered to seek medical treatment. That Confucian doctor took AhZi's pulse, glance at Xiao Feng, took AhZi's pulse again, glance at Xiao Feng again, the look on his face was strange, suddenly he stretched out a finger to take Xiao Feng pulse.
Xiao Feng was angered and said: "Doctor, the consultation is for my sister's illness, I am not seeking treatment" the doctor shook his head and said: "I think you may be sick, distraught and confused, you are in need of some medical treatment." Xiao Feng said: "I am distraught and confused?" The doctor replied:" The girl pulse had stopped, she is dead, but the body had not yet stiff. You are seeking what kind of treatment for her? Aren't you distraught and confused? Buddy, the dead cannot be revived, you cannot be too sad, take your sister's body and quickly bury her, let her rest peacefully."
Xiao Feng did not know whether to laugh or cry, but the doctor's words were not completely unreasonable, AhZi is indeed dead, but she is totally reliant on his internal energy to maintain her chance of survival, how would a normal doctor understand this? He stood up and turned towards the door.
A housekeeper hurriedly tripped into the pharmacy and shouted: "Quick, quick, I want the best old mountain ginseng. Our venerable master suddenly suffered a stroke, his on his last breath; he needs the ginseng to hang on to his life." The pharmacy shopkeeper said: "Yes, Yes! We have the best old mountain ginseng."
Xiao Feng listened to the words "Old mountain ginseng, hang onto life" at once he remembered, as a person was on his last breath, if you feed him a few mouthfuls of ginseng broth, he will be able to hang on and live for a few more moments, long enough for him to say his last words, but he did not know he could also use it on AhZi. The owner took out a red wooden box, carefully pushing open the cover, revealing three finger-thick ginsengs. Xiao Feng heard people say, the thicker the ginseng the better; the deeper the wrinkle on the skin, the more valuable, if it is shaped like a person, head, hand and foot all intact, then is of the highest quality that come once in a blue moon. The three ginseng seems to be common object, not something remarkable. The housekeeper plucks one of them and hurried away quickly.
Xiao Feng took out one gold ingot and bought the remaining two ginsengs. The pharmacy has utensils for brewing medicine; the ginseng broth was brewed immediately, and slowly fed to AhZi. This time round, she did not vomit. After feeding a few more mouthfuls, Xiao Feng noticed her pulse strengthen slightly, and her breathing seems a little smoother, and he could not help but feel delighted.
That Confucian doctor was watching at the sides, but shook his head repeatedly and said: "Buddy, this ginseng was not acquired easily; it's a pity that it is wasted. The ginseng is not a fungus of immortality; if it can revive the dead, then rich people will never die!"
For the past few days Xiao Feng could not leave AhZi for the slightest moment, he was bored and vexed, hearing the endless nagging from the doctor, the cold snide remarks, he could not help but feel his anger rising, he wanted to strike out with his palm, but as his arm moved slightly, he immediately restrained himself: "Randomly attacking a person without martial arts, can one be considered an honourable hero?" He promptly stayed his hand, picked up AhZi and rushed out of the pharmacy, he heard the doctor still sneering: "This guy is really confused, running around with a dead person, it seems that he will not live for long!" This doctor did not know that he had just came back from the gates of hell, if Xiao Feng had struck out in his fit of rage, even if ten imperial doctor was around, they will not be able to save him.
Once out of the pharmacy, Xiao Feng wondered: "There's a saying that old mountain ginseng is produced in the Changbai Mountains along the bitter cold of the land, I should try my luck there. Although to revive AhZi is an extremely difficult task, but as long as I can make her live for an extra day, AhZhu's spirit will be gratified."
Turning to the right, he headed on the north-east path. As he encountered pharmacy along the way, he went in to buy the ginseng, and when he ran out of gold and silver, he just strode in and grab the ginseng, how could a few pharmacies's attendants hope to stop him? After consuming large amount of ginseng, AhZi could occasionally opened her eyes, and gently cry out: "Brother-in-law!" During the night, even if he did not transmit his internal energy into her for a few hours, she could still carry on breathing on her own.
As the weather gradually grew cold, Xiao Feng holding onto to AhZi, finally reached the Changbai Mountain, although the Changbai Mountain produces considerable amount of ginseng, but if one is not familiar with the terrain and the ginseng harvesting art, even if they search for years, they might not find even one ginseng. As Xiao Feng continued travelling north, travellers gradually thin out, eventually, all he could see was forest and tall grass, snow piled high as slope; he did not see a single soul around for a few days. He could not help but secretly cry out: "Oh no! Oh no! There is snow everywhere, but how to dig the ginseng? I should return to places where ginseng is sold, if I have money I will buy it, else I will just rob." So, holding on to AhZi, he starts trekking back again.
At that time the weather was freezing, and snow accumulated several feet off the ground, it was extremely difficult to travel, if not for his unsurpassed martial arts, as one travels while carrying another person, even if they don't freeze to death, they will get trapped in the snow and be unable to free themselves.
During the third day, the sky became gloomy, and it seems that a blizzard will strike soon, as he observe the surroundings, he was surrounded by white snow, not to mentioned that there is no sign of footprint, there is also no sign of footprints of wild beast. Xiao Feng was at a loss, it was as if he was surrounded by boundless sea. The sound of wind was sharp, and it came whistling in his ears.
Xiao Feng knew he was lost, he leap several times up the trees and look around, his surrounding is full of snow covered forest, how can he determine his bearings? Afraid that AhZi might catch a cold; he undid his robe and wrapped her in his bosom. Although he had never been afraid of anything, but in this vast surroundings, it seems that he is the only one left in the world and he cannot help but feel frightened. Even if he was the only one left in this world it would not bother him, the world maybe vast but it cannot trap him, however in his arm he is carrying an unconscious, half-dead AhZi!
He did not eat for three consecutive days now, and he wanted to hunt a chicken or wild hare, but he could not see the slightest shadow around, he wondered: "I can't escape by rushing around randomly, I should rest a night in the forest, once the storm settle, the moon and stars will be visible and I will be able to identify the correct direction." He found a shelter in the forest, gathered some dried branches, and set a fire. As the fire burned brightly, he felt the warmth in his body. His belly growl from hunger, seeing some fungus growing on the roots of a tree, gray coloured and seemingly non-toxic, he bake them over the fire and ate it to alleviate his hunger.
After eating over 20 fungus, he felt more energetic, he supported AhZi on his bosom to warm her with the fire, as he was about to close his eyes and fall asleep, he heard a fierce and loud hooting shout, but it is actually the roar of a tiger. Xiao Feng was overjoyed: "A large worm has arrived at the doorstep; we can eat tiger meat now!" He strained his ear and heard two tigers dashing on the snow covered ground, but he immediately heard someone calling out, it seems that someone is chasing the tigers.
After hearing the shout of people, he was overjoyed, he heard the two tigers dashing westward, immediately he lay AhZi gently by the fire, using his lightness martial arts, he pursued them on the slanting road. Currently it was snowing heavily, the northern wind blows strongly, churning and filling the sky with snow.
After rushing over ten li, he saw two brightly-coloured tigers came roaring, followed closely by a large man wearing a beast-hide and carrying a large iron fork. The two tigers were huge, after running for a while, one of the tiger turned around, roared and rushed towards the hunter. That man readied his tiger-hunting-fork, aimed and attacked the tiger's throat. The tiger's movement was nimble, with a blink of an eye, it avoided the fork, and the second tiger also sprang towards the hunter.
The hunter's reaction was extremely fast; he reversed the fork and with a "Pai" sound, hit the tiger's waist with the fork's handle. The tiger roar out in pain, hanging out its tail, it turn around and ran. The other tiger did not want to fight anymore and followed suit. Xiao Feng saw the hunter was vigorous and skilful, had strong muscular strength, but it seem that he did not know any martial arts, only that he was familiar with the habits of wild animal, when the tiger was about to attack, he directed the fork at the tiger's vital spot, anticipating the movement of the enemy, but it will not be easy to kill two tigers with that one stroke.
Xiao Feng shouted: "Brother, I will help you hunt the tiger." He rushed out and blocked the path of the two tigers. Seeing Xiao Feng rushed out suddenly, the hunter was shocked, he cheered and shouted loudly, but he was not speaking the language of Han people. Xiao Feng did not understand what he was saying, and he ignored it for the moment, he lifted his right hand, aimed and strike the forehead of the first tiger, with a "Bang" sound, the tiger somersaulted and fell down, and with a thundering roar, it pounced towards Xiao Feng again.
Xiao Feng used 70% of his power in that previous palm strike, even for outstanding martial artists, their brain will burst immediately if they received that strike, but the tiger's head was strong and its bones were thick, this once in a century rock-shattering palm strike only made the tiger somersaulted when struck on the head, and it even recovered and pounced back immediately. Xiao Feng praised: "Good chap, hats off to you!" he turned sideways, his right hand slating from top-to-bottom, and with a "Ca" sound, he chopped towards the tiger's waist. With this chop, he added another 10% of his power, as the tiger rush forward a few steps, its footsteps faltered, it knew that it might die and tried to flee desperately. Xiao Feng move forward two-step, with a hold from his right hand, he caught the tiger's tail, with a loud shout, his left hand also grip the tiger's tail, and with his best effort, he strained both his hands and pulled back, the tiger was spontaneously rushing forward, but because of this pull, the two forces collide and the tiger flew into mid-air.
The hunter armed with his fork, was currently fighting fiercely with the second tiger, suddenly seeing Xiao Feng fling the tiger into mid-air, he was shock to the extreme. The tiger opened its big mouth in mid-air, stretched out it claws, and descended. Xiao Feng gave a grunt, and push out with both his palm, there was a muffled bang, as it landed on the tiger's belly. The tiger's belly is its soft spot, and this move "Twin Palm Parting Cloud" is one of Xiao Feng's proudest move, the tiger's five internal organs was shattered, after rolling around for a while, it fell down on the snow and died.
The hunter admired Xiao Feng from the bottom of his heart, killing a tiger empty handed, he has an iron fork, if he can't even kill the tiger he is fighting, won't he be underestimated? Immediately he jab his fork left, jab his fork right, and rained jab after jab on the tiger's body. The tiger suffered numerous jabs, and became even more enraged, revealing a dense row of white teeth, it pounced towards the hunter.
The hunter dodged sideways, thrusting his iron fork, and with a "Pu" sound, buried it into the tiger's forehead, lifting up with both hands, the tiger gave a miserable howl and collapsed onto the ground. Exerting his strength in both arms, the hunter firmly nails the tiger onto the snow covered ground. But a "Ke-La-La" sound was heard, the back of his upper body clothing split, exposing his bare back, the muscles were well-built, and he looked very imposing. Xiao Feng saw him and secretly praised: "Good man!" the tiger's belly was facing the sky, its four paws scratching and clawing randomly, after a while, it stopped moving altogether.
The hunter raised his fork, laughed, turned around, gave Xiao Feng the thumbs-up, and said a few words. Xiao Feng did not understand his words, but judging from his expression, he knew that the hunter was praising him as an amazing hero, and so he copied the hunter, giving two thumbs-up, he said: "Hero! Hero!"
The man was overjoyed, pointing to his nose tip, he said: "WanYan AguDa!" Xiao Feng knew this was his name and thus he also pointed to the tip of his nose and said: "Xiao Feng!" the man replied: "Xiao Feng? Khitan?" Xiao Feng nodded, and said: "Khitan! You?" he stretches out his finger in inquiry. The man replied: "WanYan AguDa! Jurchen!"
Xiao Feng knew that to the east of Liao Empire, north of Korea, there is a tribe called the Jurchen, the tribe was brave and skilful in battle, and so WanYan AguDa came from this Jurchen tribe. Although language was a barrier, but to meet a companion in this vast snow sea, Xiao Feng is naturally happy, he started gesturing, signalling that he have another companion, lifting the dead tiger, he walked to where AhZi is lying. Dragging his dead tiger, AguDa follow suit.
The tiger just died and its blood have not yet coagulated, Xiao Feng put down the tiger, cut open its throat, and poured the tiger's blood into AhZi's mouth. AhZi open her mouth and is able to swallow the tiger's blood, only after drinking around ten mouthfuls did she stop. Xiao Feng was extremely happy, he tore off two sets of tiger's leg, and started roasting them over the fire. AguDa saw him bare-handed tearing of the tiger's body, as if he was tearing a cooked chicken, such hand-strength has never been seen before, and is completely unheard of, he stared at Xiao Feng's hands blankly, and after a while, he stretch out his palm to gently stroke Xiao Feng's wrist and arm, his face filled with upmost admiration.
After the tiger meat was grilled, Xiao Feng and AguDa eat their fill. AguDa gestured and asked about his intentions, Xiao Feng gestured that is digging ginseng for AhZi medical treatment, and he eventually got lost. AguDa laughed, and with a burst of gestures, said that ginseng is easy to acquire, as long as Xiao Feng follow him, he can have any amount of ginseng. Xiao Feng was overjoyed, stood up, picked up AhZi with his left hand, and his right hand held up the dead tiger. AguDa gave a thumb-up and praised: "Great strength!"
AguDa know this area and was very familiar with the terrain, he will not get lost even in this heavy blizzard. They walked for two days, in the afternoon of the third day; Xiao Feng saw many footprints in the snow. AguDa gestured in succession, saying that they are nearing the tribe. Sure enough, after crossing two hill-depressions, he saw a dense mass of skin tents on the slope of the south-east mountain. AguDa whistled with his mouth, and someone came out of the tent to welcome him.
As Xiao Feng approached with AguDa, he saw a campfire at the front of every tent unit, the campfire was surrounded by women, they were mending beast skins and pickling beast meat. AguDa led Xiao Feng to the largest tent in the middle; he raised the curtain and entered. Xiao Feng followed. The tent had more than ten people sitting around, drinking merrily, upon seeing AguDa, the crowd cheered. AguDa, pointing to Xiao Feng, gestured and narrated, Xiao Feng watched his expression and knew that he was narrating how he killed a tiger empty-handed. The crowd gathered around Xiao Feng, gave thumb-ups, and praise him.
As the atmosphere was getting rowdy, a Han salesman selling cosmetics walked over, and said to Xiao Feng: "Sir, do you know Han language?"
Xiao Feng happily replied: "I know. I know."
Asking about the situation, he found out that this was the tent of the Jurchen's chief. The black-bearded old man in the middle of the crowd is the tribe's chief HeLiBu. He has eleven sons; all of them are competent heroes. AguDa is his second son. This Han salesman is called Xu Zhuocheng, and he comes here every winter to stock up on ginsengs, beast furs, and he only leaves during the beginning of spring. Xu Zhuocheng knew the language of the Jurchen, and he became Xiao Feng's interpreter. The Jurchen and Khitan are at war with each other, but they always admired good heroes. WanYan AguDa is intelligent and skilful, and he has the adoration of his father and fellow tribesmen, and he kept on praising Xiao Feng endlessly, thus the tribesmen did not bear any grudge against Xiao Feng although he is a Khitan, and they treated Xiao Feng as an honoured guest.
AguDa gave up his own tent for Xiao Feng and AhZi. Xiao Feng tried to decline his good intentions, but AguDa insisted, seeing his sincerity Xiao Feng eventually accepted and lived in the tent. The Jurchen tribe held a large feast to welcome Xiao Feng, the meat of the two tigers also became the delicacy of the feast. Xiao Feng did not drink wine for over half a month now, as numerous bags of Jurchen's wine was taken out, Xiao Feng drank bags after bags of wine, and he was totally unrestrained. The Jurchen's wine is spicy, the taste is extremely strong, the alcohol content is fierce, ordinary people will be drunk by drinking half a bag, Xiao Feng drank well over ten bags, and his complexion did not changed at all. The Jurchen tribe measures a true hero by his wine tolerance, the crowd did not see with their own eyes how Xiao Feng killed a tiger bare-handed, but such drinking prowess, even ten Jurchen warrior cannot hope to compare, naturally everyone was in awe.
Xu Zhuocheng saw that Xiao Feng was well-respected, and he was flattering towards him. Xiao Feng had nothing to do while staying in the tent, thus he followed AguDa and went hunting during the day, at night, he followed Xu Zhuocheng and learned Jurchen's language. When he learnt 40-50% of the language, he thought: He is a Khitan but he cannot speak Khitan's language and this seemed unreasonable, and thus he also learned Khitan's language. Xu Zhuocheng had travelled around the world, be it Khitan, Western Xia, or Jurchen, he can speak their language fluently. Xiao Feng was not gifted in learning language, but Jurchen and Khitan language were similar and easily comparable, after a long period of time, he could convey his intention correctly, and no longer require an interpreter.
After a few months, spring came, AhZi consume ginseng every day, and her injury had some significant improvement. The ginsengs dug out by the Jurchen tribesmen are rare and of the highest quality, they are even more valuable than real gold. Every time Xiao Feng went hunting, he will be able to hunt a lot of wild animals, and harvest some ginseng for AhZi to eat. Even for wealthy family, if their young miss eat ginseng every day, the family will most probably go broke. Every day, Xiao Feng will still use his internal energy to help regulate her breathing, however he only have to do it once or twice - a huge improvement from previous situation where his palm was inseparable from her body. Sometimes, with much effort, AhZi can speak a few words, however her four limbs is still weak and she is unable to move, all her daily needs and necessities were taken care of by Xiao Feng. Mindful of AhZhu's devotion, Xiao Feng willingly commit to these tasks, the more he tend to AhZi, the more he feel that he fulfilled AhZhu's wish, and he felt gratified from the bottom of his heart.
On this day, AguDa led a dozen tribesmen to the North Mountains to hunt bears, and he invited Xiao Feng to accompany him, he said: "The bear has thick fur, lots of grease, its paw delicious, and the bear's gall is extremely effective in treating injuries." Xiao Feng saw that AhZi was in much better shape, and so he could go hunting without worries, and he gladly joined the hunting party. Before the sun had risen, the party headed off towards north.
Actually, it was early summer now, the snow had melted, the ground is muddy and the forest is filled with rotten branches and leaves, it's extremely hard to travel, but the Jurchens were nimble, and could still travel fast. Till noon, an old hunter called out: "Bear! Bear!" Everybody look to the direction he was pointing, there was a big footprint in the distant mud ground, not far from the footprint, is the bear foot track. Everyone was excited, and they follow the foot track and started chasing.
The bear footprint was several inches deep in the mud, even a child could track it easily; everyone was cheering loudly and moved forward quickly.
The footprints go all the way west and eventually left the muddy forest, to a grass plain, the crowd moved even faster on the plain.
As they were dashing forward, they suddenly hear the sound of horns, dirt was rising at the front, and a large troop of people were galloping over. They saw a big black bear turn and ran, 80 to 70 people on high horses were chasing behind, cheering, and some of them were armed with spears, while some others had bow and arrow, their expressions brave and fierce.
AguDa cried out: "Khitan people! They have more men, retreat! Retreat!" Xiao Feng knew that it was his own tribesmen, and he had an intimate feeling in his heart, seeing AguDa running away, he did not move at all, stood there and tried to observe the situation.
The Khitan people cried out: "Jurchen barbarians! Shoot them! Shoot them!" there was a "SouSou" sound and endless arrows were shot towards them.
Xiao Feng was annoyed: "Why did they shoot for no reason upon meeting each other, they don't even try to clarify the situation." He reach out his hand and pluck the few arrows that was shot towards him. But an "Ah" sound was heard, the old Jurchen hunter scream as he was shot in the back, he collapse and died.
AguDa rallied his men to a slope, proning on the ground, drawing their bow and arrows, they shot down two Khitans. Meanwhile, Xiao Feng did not know which side he should help.
The arrows shot by the Khitans were all smack down by him, and they shouted: "What?" they did not say anything more and started killing people! AguDa shouted from the slope: "Xiao Feng, Xiao Feng, come here they do not know you are a Khitan!"
At this moment, two Khitan armed with long spears, were riding horses and charging towards Xiao Feng, the two spears were raised and thrust towards his left and right.
Xiao Feng did not wish to harm his own tribesmen, he seized the spears with each of his hands and with a gentle flick, the two Khitan dismounted from their horses. Xiao Feng lifted both men with the spear's shaft and toss them. The two men gave an "Ah Ah" cry in mid-air, they flew back to their original position, fell down on the ground and took quite a while before climbing back up again. AguDa and the Jurchen tribesmen applauded loudly.
Among the Khitan troop, a red robed middle-aged man cried out loudly, giving commands. Several dozen Khitans spread out into two wings, and they came flanking, cutting off AguDa's escape route. The red robed man is still surrounded by 10 people.
AguDa saw that the situation was disadvantageous, with a loud roar, he signal his tribesmen and Xiao Feng to escape. The Khitans were raining arrows at them and they shot down a few more Jurchen tribesmen. With their bow and crossbow, the Jurchen hunter also shot down 10 Khitan riders instantly, but they were too heavily outnumbered and could only shoot and run.
Xiao Feng saw that the Khitans were unreasonable, although it is his own people, he cannot care for them at this moment, he grabbed a bow, and "Sou Sou Sou Sou", fired 4 arrows in succession, each of the arrows hit the Khitan on their shoulder or their foot, four Khitan fell off their horses, but no one died.
The red robed man gave a few cry, and the Khitans came charging with the horses, valiant and strong to the extreme.
Xiao Feng saw that from the original hunting party, only AguDa and five youth survived, they are still running and shooting, the rest of the tribesmen have been shot dead by the Khitans.
There is nowhere to hide in this great grass plain, if the fighting continues, even AguDa will be killed. During all these times, the Jurchen treated him like a distinguished guest, if he can't protect his friends in times of danger, how can he still be considered an honourable hero?
If he go on a killing spree, he could slaughter the Khitan until they decide to retreat, however he would be killing countless people from his own tribe, only by capturing the red robed man, forcing him to issue an order to retreat, can he prevent both sides from killing each other.
His mind was set, he shouted in Khitan language: "Hey, you better retreat! I am not going to hold back if you don't pull back your troops." "Hu Hu Hu" sound was heard, and three spear was thrown towards Xiao Feng. Xiao Feng thought: "You people really don't know what is good for you!"
Lowering his body, he sprinted towards the red robed man. AguDa saw him taking the risk, and cried: "It's useless, Xiao Feng come back quickly!"
Xiao Feng ignored him, he summon his vigour and burst forth quickly. The Khitans cried out, sending their spears and arrows to greet him. Xiao Feng caught a spear, split it into two, taking half a spear and using it as a long sword, he pushed aside all the weapons thrown at him, his step was akin to flying and he was right next to the red robed man.
The red robed man had a beard, his expression powerful, seeing Xiao Feng arrived, he was not frighten at all, he got 3 javelin from his left and right guard, with a "Sou" sound a javelin was thrown at Xiao Feng. Xiao Feng reach out and caught the first javelin, anticipating the second javelin, he caught it again. Both his arm vibrated, and the two javelin surge and shot out, the left and right guard of the red robed man was shot down from their horses. The red robed man shouted: "Good skills!" the third javelin was already thrown. Xiao Feng extend his left palm, wheeling the spear head, he re-directed the javelin and shot it back like the wind, plunging it into the chest of the red robed man's horse.
The red robed man call out "Ah Yo!" and jump off the horse back. Xiao Feng flick his body, stretch out his left arm, and seize the man's right shoulder. He heard the sharp wind of a golden blade behind his back, with a single step, he shot forward a few feet, two "Tuo Tuo" sound was heard, and two spears pierced into the ground. Xiao Feng held onto the red robed man and leap to the left, reaching the back of a Khitan rider, he knocked the rider off the horseback with a single palm, mounted the horse and speed away.
The red robed man waved his fist and tried to punch Xiao Feng face. Xiao Feng held him under his left arm and the man could not move anymore. Xiao Feng shouted: "Ask your men to retreat, else I will crush you to death immediately." The red robed man was helpless, and he can only cry out: "Everyone retreat, stop fighting."
The Khitan surrounded Xiao Feng, wanting to save the man. Xiao Feng used the broken spear and held it against the red robed man's right cheek, and shouted: "Do you want me to kill him?"
An old Khitan warrior shouted: "Quickly release our leader, else we will dismember you by five horses."
Xiao Feng laughed, making a "Hu" sound with his palm, he split the air in front of the old Khitan. He intend to use this palm to display his power and intimidate the crowd, so as to avoid unnecessary killing, thus he used full strength from his hand, however he heard a very loud bang, the old Khitan was caught by the palm force, he flew off his horse and fell several feet away, fresh blood spurting from him mouth, it seems he will not survive.
The Khitan have never seen such display of air-splitting palm skill, the palm force came out of nowhere, it's akin to witchcraft, the Khitan simultaneously rein in their horses and back-off, their expression unusually terrified, fearing that Xiao Feng might strike at them with his palm.
Xiao Feng shouted: "If you still don't retreat, I'll kill him with a single palm!" and he raises his palm, mimicking as if he was about to strike the head of the red robed man.
The red robed man cried: "You lot back away, everyone move back!" Everyone took their horses and move back, but they still refuse to leave.
Xiao Feng wondered: "This area is all flatland and wilderness, if I release their leader, these Khitan will chase with their horses and we will not be able to escape successfully." He said to the red robed man: "You call them to send eight horses over." The red robed man complied and conveyed the order. The Khitan pulled eight horses and hand them over to AguDa.
AguDa hate these Khitan for killing his companions and he punch them, "Bang", he flipped one of the Khitan riders off his horse. Although the Khitan have more people, they did not retaliate. Xiao Feng said: "You set another order, ask your men to kill the horses they are mounting, they cannot keep even one horse"
The red robed man is straightforward, he did not bicker and argue, he ordered loudly: "Everyone dismount, kill the horses." The men did not hesitate, they dismount and using their sword or spear, killed all the horses.
Xiao Feng did not expect the men to be so compliant, he secretly admired them, thinking: "It seems this red robed man is really high ranking, any words coming from him, his troops did not even show any intention to disobey. The Khitan's military is so firm, no wonder when they fought with the Song, they have more victories than defeats." He said: "Ask your men to return, they are not allowed to pursue. If one of them pursue, I'll cut off one of your hand; If two people pursue, I'll cut off both your hands; If four people pursue, I'll cut off your four limbs! "
The red robed man was so furious that his beard flared, but as he was the hostage, there was nothing he could do, he could only order: "Everyone go back, gather our men and horses, and destroy the Jurchen nests!" All the warrior said in unison: "Yes, sir! " and they bowed together.
Xiao Feng rein in the horse, waited for AguDa and the five men to mount their horses, and they sped off east and retrace their previous route. After riding for countless li, Xiao Feng saw that the Khitan really did not pursue, he jump to another mount and let the red robed man ride on a horse by himself.
The eight of them rode non-stop until they reach their big camp. AguDa reported to his father HeLiBu on how they met the enemy, how they got rescued by Xiao Feng, and how they captured the Khitan's leader. HeLiBu said happily: "Well done, bring forward that Khitan dog."
The red robed man entered the tent, his expression still mighty and powerful, upright and unyielding. HeLiBu knew that he was a Khitan noble and asked: "What is your name? What is your position in Liao Kingdom?" The man proudly said: "I am not captured by you, are you fit to ask me?" Khitan and Jurchen have the same practice, the enemy will be enslaved to his captor. HeLiBu laughed and said: "Well said!"
The red robed man walk towards Xiao Feng, bending his right knee he knelt down, prostrate before him and said: "Master, you really are an amazing hero, I cannot defeat you, even though I have more men, I still lost. Being captured by you, I have no complaints. If you let me go back, I will offer you 50 liang gold, 500 liang silver and 30 gallant horses."
AguDa's uncle PoLaSu said: "You are a Khitan noble, this kind of ransom is insufficient, brother Xiao Feng, you ask him to send 500 liang gold, 5000 liang silver and three hundred gallant horse to redeem himself." This PoLaSu is intelligent and capable, he increased the original ransom tenfold, it's clear he is making an outrageous demand. Base on Jurchen crude lifestyle, the original ransom of 50 liang gold, 500 liang silver and 30 gallant horse is already a huge wealth, the Jurchen and Khitan fought for decades, and they have never heard of such high ransom, if this red robed man refuse to increase the ransom, then they will just accept the original amount which is already considered a large fortune.
Unexpectedly, the red robed man did not hesitate, he promised: "Fine, so be it!"
One of the store keepers got a huge shock, he could hardly believe his ears. Khitan and Jurchen, there will of course be tribesmen who lie and deceive others, but for business transaction or when making a vow, one will always honour his words, they will never take it back, moreover this is a ransom, if the Khitan did not have sufficient money, or he regret his words, this red robed man will not be able to return to his tribe, thus empty promises are totally ineffective. PoLaSu was afraid that after being captured he got shocked to the extreme and was in a confuse state, he said: "Hello, did you listen clearly? I am talking about 500 liang gold, 5000 liang silver and three hundred gallant horse?"
The red robed man had an air of arrogance, and he coldly said: "500 liang gold, 5000 liang silver and three hundred gallant horse, how is this significant? My great Liao Kingdom is wealthier than the rest of the world, this meagre sum means nothing in our eyes. "He turned to Xiao Feng, his expression became respectful and said: "Master, I will only listen to your bidding, I will no longer care about the words of others." PoLaSu said: "Brother Xiao Feng, you ask him, what is his official position in Liao Kingdom?" Before Xiao Feng could ask, the person replied: "Master, if you are determined to ask my origin, I will fabricate something to cheat you, you will not be able to separate the truth from the lies. However, you are an honourable hero, I am also an honourable hero, I do not want to lie to you, and thus you need not ask anymore."
Xiao Feng reverse his left hand, took out the blade from his waist, his right palm strike the back of the blade, with a "Pai" sound, one section of the blade immediately bent down, he shouted in a stern voice: "You dare not say? If I strike my palm on the back of your head, what do you think will happen?"
The red robed man did not panic, he gave a thumb-up with his right hand and said: "Good skills, good martial art! Today I really saw the number one hero in this world, this is worthwhile. Hero Xiao Feng, it's impossible to coerce me against my will with your physical strength. Just kill me if you wish. Although the Khitan cannot beat you, but our moral integrity is no less sturdy than yours."
Xiao Feng laughed, and said: "Good, Good! I will not kill you here. If I killed you with one chop of my blade, you will not be convinced, let go far far away, we will battle each other again."
HeLiBu and PoLaSu chorus: "Brother Xiao Feng, it's a pity to kill this man, it's better to keep him and collect the ransom. If you are angry, we can beat him severely with a stick or whip."
Xiao Feng said: "No! He wants to pretend to be a brave man, I won't allow him to pretend." He borrowed two spears and two bows from the Jurchen, took the red robed man by the wrist, walk out of the tent, mounted a horse and said: "Mount the horse!" The red robed man did not cower, he have no doubt that he will die during their battle, Xiao Feng said that he wants to duel him again, but it's akin to a cat which caught a rat, it just want to tease the rat one last time before killing, however he was not frightened, he mounted a horse and rode north.
Xiao Feng followed on his horse, both of them rode for a few li. Xiao Feng said: "Turn and travel westward!" The red robed man replied: "The scenery here is extremely beautiful, I choose to die here." Xiao Feng said: "Catch!" as he threw the spear and bow over. The man caught it, and shouted loudly: "Hero Xiao Feng, I know I am not your match, but the Khitan people rather die than surrender! I will attack now!" Xiao Feng said: "Wait, catch!" He threw his own spear and bow over, being empty-handed, he gave a smile. The red robed man was furious and shouted: "You are fighting me with your bare hands, aren't you insulting me a bit too much!"
Xiao Feng shook his head and said: "No! In his life, Xiao Feng respect heroes, value brave men. Although your martial art is inferior to mine, you are a brave hero, Xiao Feng will befriend you! You can return to your tribe now."
The red robed man got a huge shock and asked: "What ... what?" Xiao Feng smiled slightly: "I said Xiao Feng will treat you like a good friend, I will let you return home safely!" The red robed man just returned from the gates of hell, naturally he was overjoyed and asked: "You will really release me? ... You ... what is your intention? When I return home, I will multiple the ransom tenfold again and deliver it to you." Xiao Feng was angered and said: "I treat you as a friend, why are you not treating me as a friend? Xiao Feng is a dignified man, why would I hanker after material wealth? "
The red robed man said: "Yes, yes!" He threw down the weaponry, dismounted, fell to his knees, head bowed and worshipped: "Expressing my gratitude towards benefactor for sparing my life." Xiao Feng knelt down and returned the salute: "Xiao Feng never kills a friend, and he will not accept worship from a friend. If he is a slave, after receiving his worship, Xiao Feng will not spare his life" The red robed man was even more excited, stood up and said: "Hero Xiao, you claim that you treat me as a friend, but I want to be your sworn brother, what say you?"
After becoming an accomplished martial artist, Xiao Feng joined the Beggar clan immediately. Seniority and rankings was observed strictly, after the clan-leader and vice-clan-leader, there is the martial-art imparting elder, rule enforcement elder, four protector elders, various incense-chief, eight-pouch disciples, seven-pouch disciples, and other disciples in descending order. He can only accumulate his clan contributions, he did not have anyone to swear brotherhood with, only in Wuxi where he competed wine drinking with DuanYu and due to mutual admiration, did he finally sworn brotherhood. As he listened to the red robed man, he recalled that he was formerly associated with heroes all over the central plains, till now where he did not even have a proper place to live, he really became down-and-out, he cannot help but sigh, but as he saw the heroic aura of this red robed man, who can also be considered a good brave man, he replied: "Very good, very good, Xiao Feng is 31 years old this year. Respected brother, how old are you?" The man laughed: "I am called YeLu Ji. Benefactor, I am older than you by 13-years." Xiao Feng said:" Elder Brother, how can you address your little brother as benefactor? You are the elder brother, please accept my respect." As he said this, he paid his respect. YeLu Ji quickly returned the courtesy.
Both of them inserted 3 arrows into the ground, lit the arrow tail feathers to represent incense, worship 8 times to heaven, and they became sworn brothers.
Yelu Ji was extremely happy and said: "Brother, you surname is Xiao, it may be similar to our Khitan people." Xiao Feng said: "I will not hide the truth from elder brother, little brother is a Khitan." As he said this, he undid his robes, revealing the green wolf-head tattoo on his chest.
Yelu Ji saw it and rejoiced: "Really good, you descended from the previous generation of our Khitan tribe. Brother, the Jurchen land is cold and harsh, why don't you follow me and return to our capital, we will enjoy the riches together." Xiao Feng said: "I thank elder brother good intentions, but younger brother has always been poor and lowly, the rich life does not suit me. Little brother is currently residing with the Jurchen, hunting and drinking wine, I am carefree and happy. In the future, if I miss brother, I will naturally go to Liao Kingdom and pay you a visit." He and AhZi have been separated for a long time, he was worried about her injuries, and said: "Brother, please go back early to avoid worrying your family and subordinates." Both of them paid their respect and parted with each other.
Xiao Feng turned his horse around, and he was greeted by a dozen tribesmen led by AguDa. AguDa saw that Xiao Feng did not return after going out for a long time, fearing the devious trick of the red robed man, he brought his men and came to assist. Xiao Feng narrated that he had released him back to Liao Kingdom. AguDa is also a great and wise hero, seeing Xiao Feng value human ties more than material wealth and also being open-minded and generous, he could only marvel at Xiao Feng's character.
One day, Xiao Feng, AhZi and AguDa were engaged in idle chats, they talked about the origins of AhZi's injury, Xiao Feng knew that the injury was erroneously inflicted by his palm force, although her life was sustained by ginseng, her injury still did not recover after such a long time and this was extremely worrying. AguDa said: "Brother Xiao, it seems your sister suffered external injuries, for bruises and falls, we Jurchen have always been using a medicine mixture of tiger tendon, tiger bones and bear gall, and it is efficacious, why don't we try it?" Xiao Feng was extremely happy and said: "We do not have anything, but for tiger tendon and tiger bone, we have the most, as for bear gall, I can try to kill a bear for it." Immediately he ask about the medicine formula, he mixed the tiger tendon and tiger bone into a cream, and fed it to AhZi.
This early morning, Xiao Feng went alone into the remote mountains to hunt bears. As he was hunting alone, he could freely executed his lightness martial arts, and this was much convenient than following a hunting party. During the first day, he did not spot any black bear but he hunted one on the second day. He removed the bear gall, ran back to camp, and fed it to AhZI. Tiger tendons, tiger bones, bear gall, all these ingredients are hard to find. Although Divine Physician Xue possess amazing medical knowledge, there is a limit to how much medicine he can prescribe, it's really beyond his financial ability to prescribe old mountain ginseng to be eaten for meals, and to be like Xiao Feng, finding 1 or 2 bear gall everyday to feed AhZi, it is really difficult to accomplish.
This day, Xiao Feng was at the tent's entrance concocting the tiger bone paste, a Jurchen hurriedly came over and said: "Brother Xiao, a dozen Khitan came bearing gift for you." Xiao Feng nodded, he knew it was gifted by his sworn brother Yelu Ji. He heard the trampling of horse hoof, one line of horse slowly came over, the horsebacks packed full of items.
The Khitan captain listened to Yelu Ji description of Xiao Feng's appearance, as soon as he saw Xiao Feng, he leaped off the horse and knelt down before him and said: "After parting with Master Xiao, my Lord miss you terribly, he ordered subordinate to deliver these gifts, and he invites Master Xiao to stay in Liao capital" he gave a few kowtow, presented the gift's list with both hands, looking extremely respectful.
Xiao Feng received the gift list, smiled and said: "Thank you for the effort, please rise!" He opened the gift list, only to see Khitan text, he said: "I don't understand the writing, I don't want to peruse it anymore." The attendant said: "This meagre gift is 5000 liang gold, 50 000 liang silver, 2000 roll of brocade, 1000 dan of high-quality wheat, 1000 fat cow, 5000 fat sheep, 3000 gallant horse, in addition there is an assortment of accessories and jewelleries."
Xiao Feng was startled when he heard it, there was so much gifts, it was ten times more than what PoLaSu asked for in ransom, he had just seen 10 over horses carrying these items, but the gift amount is simply too great, base on his estimate, it would require countless horse carriage to store them.
The attendant bowed and said: "My master feared the animal might lose their way during the journey, thus we prepared extra cattle, sheep and horses. Relying on my Lord and Master Xiao good fortune, subordinate did not meet any disaster or wild beasts, the losses are minimal." Xiao Feng sighed: "Such thoughtfulness from Brother Yelu Ji, if I refuse to accept, I will be letting down his good intentions, but if I accept, it wouldn't really seem right " The attendant replied: "My Lord repeatedly reminded me, if Master Xiao refuse the gift, I will be heavily punished when I return."
Suddenly he heard the blowing of trumpets, the Jurchens in the encampment took out their blades and bows, all of them rush out of their tents. Someone shouted: "The enemy is striking, prepare to engage them." Xiao Feng look towards the direction where the trumpet sound came from, he saw dust cloud gathering, it seems there are countless cavalry coming towards them.
The attendant shouted: "Everyone please do not panic, all these are Master Xiao's sheep, cattle and horses." His using Jurchen's language to shout repeatedly, but none of the Jurchens believed him, HeLiBu, PoLaSu, AguDa organized the tribesmen, they formed a contingent to the west of the camp.
For the first time, Xiao Feng saw the Jurchens arranging their formation to prepare for war, he thought: "The Jurchens are few in number, but all of them are ferocious and agile. Although Brother YeLu Ji's men are amazing, they cannot compare against these brave and agile Jurchens, as for the Song troops, there no need to even compare."
The attendant said: "I will go and greet my subordinate and ask them to stop advancing, so as to avoid any misunderstanding." He turned around and mounted his horse and travelled west ward. AguDa wave his hand and four Jurchen hunters mounted their horses, they tailed the attendant. As the five men slowly advanced with their horses, they reach the vicinity, but they saw cattle, sheep and horses blanketing the mountains and plains, 100 Khitan herdsmen were herding the animals with sticks, there are no soldiers.
The four the Jurchen hunters smiled and turn around to report to HeLiBu. After a while, the livestock came near, the cows moo and the horses neigh, they were making a huge racket that drown out the voices of every one. That night Xiao Feng invited the Jurchens to slaughter the sheep and cattle in honour of the foreign guests. The next day he gifted a lot of gold, silver and satin to the group of travellers. When the Khitans left, he gifted all the gold, silver, brocade, cattle, sheep and horses to AguDa, and ask him to redistribute to the tribesmen. The Jurchens lived together as a tribe, they do not own any private property, whatever an individual owns it is equivalent to the tribe owning it, even though Xiao Feng is generous, no body found it strange, but acquiring so much wealth out of the blue, everyone was naturally happy. The tribe threw huge banquets for several days, everyone is grateful to Xiao Feng.
Summer past and autumn arrived, AhZi's injury had some improvement again. As she regain full consciousness, she became bored having to lie in the tent every day, and she often ask Xiao Feng to take her on horse riding trips to relieve her boredom. Both of them rode on the same horse, and she lean on Xiao Feng's chest, it did not require any effort from her part. Xiao Feng was always accommodating towards her, in the course of this few months, except during blizzard, the two of them was always out roaming about. Eventually they got bored roaming the vicinity, they took a tent and camped far out and did not return to the tribe for a few days. Xiao Feng took this opportunity to hunt tigers and bears, and dig for ginseng. Due to AhZi sneak attack on Xiao Feng with a poison needle, the bear and tiger of Changbai Mountain suffered a big misfortune, countless animals have to die by Xiao Feng's palm for her treatment.
In order to dig for ginseng easily, Xiao Feng had to travel east or north. On this day, AhZi said they have seen all the scenery in the east and north, and she wanted to travel to the west. Xiao Feng said: "There is only big grass plains in the west, there is no scenery." AhZi replied: "Big grass plain is good, it like the ocean, I have never seen a real ocean. Although our XingXiu Sea can be considered a sea, but it has border and shores"
Xiao Feng heard her mention the three words "XingXiu Sea", and his heart grew cold, after living with the Jurchen for all these years, he gradually forgot all the events in the martial world. When AhZi was immobilized, there is no one to mess things up, and he focus only on saving her life, but now that she recovered, her viciousness flare up again, how should he resolve this?
He turn around and glance at AhZi, her snow-white face still did not have the slightest bit of colour, her cheeks slightly pinched, her big pair of eye sunken, he appearance is extremely haggard and her body emaciated. Xiao Feng could not help but feel guilty: "She survived but became a walking skeleton, why do I only remember her flaws?" he laughed and said: "Since you like to travel west, let us travel west. AhZi, once there is great improvement in your injuries, I'll take you to the Korean borders to look at the ocean, the boundless clear water as far as the eye can see, the scenery will truly be amazing."
AhZi clapped and grinned: "Of course, of course, actually we don't have to wait until I recover completely, we can go now." Xiao Feng gave a "Yi" sound, he was shock and happy: "AhZi, your hand can move again." AhZi smiled and said: "I could move my hands 14 days ago, and today they became much more nimble." Xiao Feng said happily: "Wonderful! You naughty girl, how long do you intend to keep it from me?" AhZi flashed a sly look in her eyes, smiled and said: "I would rather not move forever, only then will you accompany me like this every day. Once I recovered, you will naturally chase me away again."
Xiao Feng listen to her speak her sincere feelings, his sense of pity rose spontaneously, and he said: "I am a boorish man, I accidentally injured you and you ended up in this sorry state. What good will it do for you to accompany me every day?"
AhZi did not reply, after a long pause, she whispered: "Brother-in-law, why did you exert so much strength when you hit me with your palm that day?" Xiao Feng did not wish to bring up the past, he shake his head and said: "The incident had long passed, why bring it up again? AhZi, I injure you to such a state, I feel terribly apologetic, do you hate me? "AhZi said: "I do not hate you. Why would I hate you? I originally wanted you to accompany me, aren't you accompanying me now? I am very happy."
As Xiao Feng listen to her, he thought that her intention was bizarre, but her recent conduct was indeed excellent, and thus it must be due to his attentive care which got rid of her vicious temperament, and he went back to the tribe to prepare the horses, carriage, tents, dried rations and other things for their journey west.
The next morning, the two of them headed west. After travelling about 10 li, AhZi asked: "Brother-in-law, have you guessed it?" Xiao Feng said: "Guess what?" AhZi said: "Do you know the reason why I attack you with the poison needle that day?" Xiao Feng shook his head and said: "You thoughts are difficult to pin down, how can I guess?"AhZi sighed and said: "Since you can't guess then just forget it. Brother-in-law, there are so many geese here, why do they arrange in formation and fly south? "
Xiao Feng looked up, he saw two formation of geese, and they lined up to form an arrowhead and they flew south, he said: "The weather is getting cold, geese are afraid of the cold, they are flying south to take refuge against the cold. AhZi said: "Then why do they fly back during spring? Flying back and forth yearly, isn't it tiring? If they are cold, just stay in the south permanently and don't come back."
Xiao Feng devote himself to the study of martial arts, he never gave a thought about the habits of animals and pests, under her questioning he did not know how to reply, he shake his head and laughed: "I do not know why they are not afraid of hardships, I guess these wild geese are born in the north, they are nostalgic and return home."
AhZi nodded: "It must be true. Look at the last geese, its body is not large, but it is also flying south. Eventually, when it father, mother, sister and brother-in-law all return north, it will naturally follow them back."
Xiao Feng heard her say "Sister, Brother-in-law" these 4 words, his heart was moved, and he turn his head to look at her, only to see her staring blanking at the geese formation, apparently her words were unintentional, he wondered: "With a casual word, she associated me with her parents, it seems that in her heart, she treat me as her closest relative. I cannot abandon her casually. When she recovered, I have to escort her to Dali and hand her over to her parents, only then will I complete the task I have been entrusted with."
The two of them gossip along the way. When AhZi got tired, Xiao Feng immediately carried her off the horse and let her rest in the carriage. At dusk, he set up the camp in the woods. As they travelled for a few days, they finally reached the borders of the grass plains.
AhZi gaze into the distant, the grass plain was boundless and vast, she said happily: "The borders only cannot be seen in the west, but to be truly like an ocean, the borders must not be seen in all four direction." Xiao Feng knew that she wanted to travel to the center of the grass plain, not wanting to go against her wish, he whipped the horse and travelled west.
Travelling west on the grass plain for a few day, when you look to all four direction, the borders of the grass plain really cannot be seen anymore. The weather is currently crisp autumn, along with the smell of the green grass, it is really refreshing and carefree. Many small beasts reside in the grass, Xiao Feng can hunt them for food easily and he felt carefree.
After a few days, in the afternoon, countless tents can be seen in the far distance, there are also banners and flags, it seems like a military camp, or it may be a tribe gathering. Xiao Feng said: "There's alot of people at the front, I don't know what they are doing, let's just go back, we don't want to stir up trouble." AhZi said: "No! No! I want to go and watch. I can't move my legs, how to stir up trouble for you?" Xiao Feng smiled and said: "Trouble will definitely come, it does not have to be cause by you, sometimes people just want to provoke you and you can never avoid such thing. AhZi laughed and replied: "Let's just go and take a look, there is no harm."
Xiao Feng knows her child-like disposition, she just love to watch rowdy spectacle, he guided the horse over slowly. The terrain of the grass plain is flat, although the tents can be spotted far away, but the route to it is quite far. After travelling for seven li, the "Wu Wu" call of the bungle can be heard loudly, followed closely by a gathering dust cloud, two cavalry ranks scattered off, a troop went north, and the other gallop south.
Xiao Feng was slightly surprised, and said: "Not good, it is the Khitan cavalry!" AhZi said: "It's your own people, it can't be better, why did you say it's not good?" Xiao Feng said:" I don't know them, let's just go back." He turn the horse and head back, after travelling a few steps, they heard the "Peng Peng" sound of the drums, and several troops of cavalry rush forward. Xiao Feng pondered: "It doesn't seem like there are any enemy around, are they practising their tactical deployment?"
Suddenly he heard a loud cry: "Shoot the dear, shoot the deer!" West, north, south, the call to shoot the dear was shouted from all three directions. Xiao Feng said: "They are hunting in the vicinity, their numbers is really not small." He carried AhZi onto the horseback immediately, rein in the horse, and observe afar on the eastern road.
The Khitan horsemen are wearing brocade robe, coupled with metal armour. The robes came in various colour team, red team, green team, yellow team, purple team, the flag of the team are of the same colour, the cavalry gallop back and forth, displaying a strong military presence, it is truly a magnificent sight. Xiao Feng and AhZi secretly applauded. The soldiers advance and retreat according to military orders, armed with spears they cornered the deer, they only gave a glace when they spotted Xiao Feng and AhZi, and ignored them subsequently.
Four troops of cavalry surrounded from all four sides and trapped ten deers in the middle. Occasionally, a deer will escape from a gap in the cavalry rank, and a small squad will break off to chase and force the deer back into the encirclement.
Chapter - 27 Quelling the Rebellion with Golden Axe
As Xiao Feng watch, he suddenly heard someone shout: "Is that venerable Master Xiao?" Xiao Feng thought: "Who recognize me?" Turning his head, he saw someone rode out of the green cavalry troop, it was the captain sent by YeLu Ji to deliver the gifts a few months ago.
He rode toward Xiao Feng until he was within 10 zhang, quickly dismounted, rush forward and knelt down with his right knee and said: "My Lord is waiting for you not far away. His Lordship talked about Master Xiao frequently, he misses you terribly. What good fortune brought Master Xiao here? I invite you to meet my Lord with haste." Xiao Feng heard that YeLu Ji is near the vicinity, with great joy he said: "I was just roaming around freely, I did not know my sworn brother is near, this cannot be better. Good, please lead me to meet him."
The attendant blew a whistle, two horsemen came riding swiftly. The attendant said: "Report quickly, say Master Xiao from Changbai Mountain is coming!" The two riders received the order and sped off quickly. The rest of the troops continued to shoot the deers, the attendant led a troop of green-robed cavalry to protect Xiao Feng and AhZi and they travelled west. When YeLu Ji sent large quantity of gold, silver, cattle and sheep, Xiao Feng knew instantly that he was a Khitan noble, after seeing such a sight, he expect that his sworn brother must be some general or high ranking official.
On the grass plains, troops travelled back and forth endlessly, all of them wearing brightly colored armor. The attendant said: "Master Xiao arrived at a good time, tomorrow morning, it will be bustling with activity here." Xiao Feng saw AhZi lit up and he ask: "What kind of activity?" The attendant replied that there will be a martial arts competition. There are 2 vacant positions for commanding officers of Yongchang and Taihe military. The Khitan soldiers will showcase their martial art skills, whoever is lucky, they will become the commanding officers.
Once Xiao Feng heard that there will be a martial arts competition, he was naturally exuberant and in high-spirits, he laughed: "This truly is a coincidence, I will finally get to see Khitan's martial arts." AhZi smiled and said: "Captain, just display your skills tomorrow, I will congratulate you in becoming the commanding officer." The attendant replied: "I am a lowly person, why would I dare to try?" AhZi smiled and said: "What's so difficult about winning the commanding officer post? As long as my brother-in-law is willing to teach you 2 or 3 moves, you will definitely win the commanding officer post." The attendant happily said: "If Master Xiao is willing to give directions to me, it will really save my life. But as for the commanding officer position, i do not have the fate and i do not wish to hanker after it."
They travelled around 10 li as they gossip along the way, suddenly they saw a cavalry troop gallop over. The attendant said: "It's the flying bear squadron from the fur-skin army of the main camp." The squadron officers wear bear skin clothes, black bear skin robe, white bear skin hat, and they look very mighty. As the squadron neared, they cried in unison, dismount at the same time, separated in two columns and said: "Respectfully welcome Master Xiao!" Xiao Feng replied: "I don't dare! I don't dare!" and raise his hands to salute, he move forward and the flying bear squadron followed closely behind.
After travelling for 10 li, they saw another squadron, clothed with tiger skin, the flying tiger squad came over to welcome them. Xiao Feng thought: "I don't know what ranking official my Brother YeLu is, he can organize such grand stuff." But the attendant refused to comment, and YeLu Ji refused to reveal the last time they met, and thus Xiao Feng did not want to probe further.
As they travelled until dusk, they reach a large tent, a troop wearing leopard skin clothes, the flying leopard squadron greeted and escorted Xiao Feng and AhZi to the center of the large tent. Xiao Feng thought that he would be able to meet YeLu Ji when he entered the tent, the rugs and items in the tent were all exquisite, the table was filled with dishes and fruits, however there was no one in the tent. The leader of the flying leopard squadron said: "His Lordship invites Master Xiao to rest here for tonight. He will meet you another day." Xiao Feng did not inquire further, sat down, and start drinking wine. Four army sergeants refilled the wine and cut the meats, respectfully serving him.
After waking up the next morning, they travelled west for 200 li, and they rest in another large tent during night fall.
In the afternoon of the third day, the attendant said: "After crossing that mountainside, we will reach our destination." Xiao Feng saw the atmosphere of the mountain was magnificent, the "Hua Hua" sound of flowing water as it flows swiftly from the mountainside to down south. As the group crossed the mountainside, they saw flags fluttering before their eyes, tents were packed closely and filled the entire grassland, tens of thousands of cavalry circled a vast open space in the center. The officers of the flying bear squadron, flying tiger and flying leopard took out their horns, they blew and a "Wu Wu Wu" sound reverberated.
Suddenly the drums rang out loudly, "Peng Peng Peng" cannon fire came from the mountain, officers and soldiers at the open space split into two column, a majestic yellow horse gallop towards Xiao Feng, and someone shouted: "Brother Xiao, brother misses you terribly!" Xiao Feng mounted a horse and met up with him, both dismounted at the same time, their hands grasping, their joy cannot be contained.
From all four directions, the soldiers shouted in unison: "Long live the king! Long live the king! Long live the king!"
Xiao Feng was shocked: "Why do the soldiers keep cheering long live the king!" He look around, every single soldiers were bowing, their blade leaning on the ground, YeLu Ji was holding his hand and standing in the middle, looking to the east and west, his expression pleased. Stunned, Xiao Feng said: "Brother, you ... you are ..." YeLu Ji laughed and said: "At that time, if you knew i am the current emperor of Great Liao, I'm afraid you will refuse to swear brotherhood with me. Brother Xiao, my real full name is YeLu HongJi. I survive due to your grace, I will remember it forever and never forget it."
Although Xiao Feng is open-minded and heroic, he have never seen an emperor before in his life, seeing such splendor, he cannot help but feel embarrassed and said: "Subordinate did not know your majesty, I greatly offended you, I deserve to die!" and he knelt down immediately. He is a Khitan, he should kneel down and worship when meeting Khitan's emperor.
YeLu HongJi quickly held out his hand and propped him up, smiling he said: "You are not guilty as you do not know about it, brother, you are my sworn brother, we will only talk about our brotherhood today, it won't be late to pay respect to the monarch tomorrow." He waved his left hand, and the troops started drumming music to welcome the honoured guest. YeLu HongJi held onto Xiao Feng hands and both of them entered a big tent.
The tent of Liao emperor was made of several layers of leather with numerous flying gold ribbons, it was glorious and brilliant, the residence was known as the great leather tent. YeLu HongJi sat in the middle, and ordered Xiao Feng to sit at the first seat across his, after a while civil and military officials came in to pay their respect, Lord of Northern Chancellery, Chancellor of Northern Chancellery, Chancellor of Southern Chancellery, and many more, generals of the great leather tent, junior generals, cavalry commanders, infantry commanders, etc, Xiao Feng can't possibly remember all of them at the moment.
A banquet was held in the tent that night, the Khitan people respected women, and thus AhZI was also invited to feast in the great leather tent. Wine as deep as pond, meat piled as high as mountain, AhZi was jubilant when she saw all these.
Everyone drank to their heart's content, the Khitan's warrior entertained the emperor by duelling in front of him, their upper body naked, it was an intense fight as they wrestled fiercely. Xiao Feng saw that these Khitan warriors are skilful, had strong muscular strength, a set of martial art moves can be seen in their tossing and lifting, although the variations is not as ingenious as martial arts from Central Plains, but if employed in a real battlefield, its actually more effective than martial arts from Central Plains.
The various Liao officials all approached Xiao Feng to propose a toast. Xiao Feng could not refuse and emptied every cup of wine toasted, eventually he drank over 300 cups, his expression completely unchanged, the crowd was astonished.
YeLu HongJi was proud of his own bravery and prowess, the deed by Xiao Feng in capturing him was known throughout Liao Empire, thus he intended Xiao Feng to showcase his superhuman abilities to cover up the humiliation of being captured, he did not expect that Xiao Feng did not need to take part in tomorrow's martial art competition to display his abilities, the current display of drinking prowess was sufficient to convince the crowd and gained everyone's admiration. YeLu HongJi was overjoyed, he said: "Brother, you are the number one hero in my Liao Empire!"
Suddenly AhZi interrupted and said: "He is not number one!" YeLu HongJi laughed and said: "Little girl, how did he become number two? Then who is the number one hero?" AhZi said: "The number one hero is naturally your majesty. Although my brother-in-law ability is great, he have to obey you and he cannot go against you, aren't you the number one hero? " She is XingXiu Elder favoured disciple, proficient in the art of flattery, all these words are a piece of cake for her.
YeLu HongJi laughed and said: "Well said, well said. Brother Xiao, i want to confer an extremely high-rank post for you, let me think, what should i confer you? "At this moment, his already 80 to 90% drunk, he drum his forehead with his finger. Xiao Feng quickly said: "No, no, subordinate is careless, not suitable for riches, I have always been roaming the four corners of earth, never staying for certain, I really don't want to be an official." YeLu HongJi replied: "No problem, I'll confer you a high-rank post that do not require any work done, you only need to drink wine ....." before he could finish speaking, the "Wu Wu Wu" sound of bugle came from afar, the sound was sharp and urgent.
The Liao people were originally sitting on the floor, drinking wine and eating meat, but upon hearing this bugle, they stood up in unison, their face frightened and devoid of color. The bugle call came quickly, the original call was 10 li away, the second call came a few li closer, the third call came even closer by a few more li. Xiao Feng pondered: "Even with the fastest horse, or the highest level of lightness martial arts, it can't be faster than this bugle call. Yes, signal station must have been pre-arranged and used to deliver urgent military news, once the first bugle call is heard, they will relay it to the next station, so forth and so on." The bugle call was delivered quickly and it stopped abruptly when it reached the great leather tent. Hundreds of officers and men in the tents where originally cheering and partying, it was extremely noisy and chaotic, upon hearing the call they became mute.
YeLu HongJi expression was calm, he slowly lifted his golden cup, drank all the wine and said: "There a rebellion in the capital, de-camp, we will return immediately."
The marching generals immediately went out to issue orders, once they heard the single word "De-camp", they relay the words and it became ten, and this ten became hundred, hundred became thousand, the word became louder and louder, it was serious and orderly, and it seems there was no hint of panic. Xiao Feng pondered: "My great Liao Empire has been established for over two hundred years, our Empire shook the entire world by force, currently there is civil strife, but no one panic, it seems every generation of Liao leader is competent in commanding the army."
The sound of horse hoof was heard, the advance party gallop off, followed by the left and right vanguard, the forward troops, left troops, right troops, troop after troop headed south back to the capital.
YeLu HongJi held Xiao Feng's hand and said: "Let's go take a look." He went out of the tent alone, in the middle of the night, lanterns were hung on every military banner, red, yellow, blue and white, all these coloured lanterns illuminated the area, the remaining ten thousands of troops were travelling down south, no one spoke a word and only the neighing of horses can be heard. Xiao Feng was greatly impressed and thought: "Look at the way he has control of the army, who can go against him? That day the emperor bravely went out hunting alone and he accidently got captured by me, if his army really did press on and attack, although the Jurchens are strong and valiant, they will hopelessly be outnumbered and defeated."
Once the two of them left the tent, the guards de-tent immediately and kept everything neatly, luggage and supplies all loaded onto the horse carriage. The commander-in-chief of the main army issued his orders, and the main army moved off immediately. The Lord of Northern Chancellery, chancellor, advisers and tutors all of them stayed near YeLu HongJi, their face solemn, but they all acted in unison. Although they knew about the rebellion, but they still did not know who led this rebellion and what is the exact situation of the chaos.
The huge party travelled south for 3 days, during the night after setting camp, a scout gallop back and reported to YeLu HongJi: "The Lord of Southern Chancellery staged this rebellion, he has occupied the main Palace, the empress dowager, empress, prince, princess and over one hundred officials and their family members, all have been captured."
YeLu HongJi had a huge shock, and his expression became grave.
The military affairs of Liao Empire were handled by the Northern and Southern Chancellery, the Lord of Northern Chancellery accompanied the emperor for the current hunting trip, and the Lord of Southern Chancellery stayed behind to guard the capital. The Lord of Southern Chancellery is YeLu NieLuGu, his title is Prince of Chu, it doesn't matter if he rebelled, but his father is YeLu ZhongYuan, the uncle of the emperor and supreme commander of the army, it was no small matter.
YeLu HongJi's grandfather YeLu LongXu, was known as the Holy Emperor in Liao's history. The Holy Emperor eldest son was ZongZhen, the second son ZhongYuan. ZongZhen's character was kind and generous, ZhongYuan was valiant and gifted in military strategy. When the Holy Emperor was about to pass away, he designated ZongZhen to succeed the throne, but the empress favoured her second son, and she plotted to make ZhongYuan emperor. In Liao's tradition, the Empress Dowager is extremely powerful, thus ZongZhen could not fully consolidate his power as the emperor, and his life was also in danger, but ZongZhen informed his brother of their mother's scheme, and her scheme was thwarted. ZongZhen was naturally grateful to his brother and bestowed the rank of royal emperor brother, making him next in line to succeed the throne.
YeLu ZongZhen was known in Liao's history as the Prosperous Emperor, but after his death, the throne was not passed on to the royal emperor brother ZhongYuan, but passed on to his son HongJi.
After assuming the throne, YeLu HongJi felt apologetic, and he conferred ZhongYuan as the royal emperor uncle, and this again made him next in line to succeed the throne, in addition he also made ZhongYuan the supreme commander of the entire army, exempted him from kneeling during court session, bestowed him gold and scriptures, mortar board, two-colour robe, and gave him preferential treatment, he became the most powerful figure in Liao Empire; YeLu HongJi also conferred ZhongYuan's son the title of Prince of Chu, giving him full control of military affairs in Southern Chancellery, and hence he was known as Lord of Southern Chancellery.
When the Holy Emperor died YeLu ZhongYuan could assume the throne with the help of the Dowager, but he gave it up and supported his brother, and this showed that he valued loyalty, and he also kept quiet about the entire incident. When YeLu HongJi left to go hunting, he did not have the slightest suspicion and let his uncle handled all the military affairs. When the bugle call came, and the rebellion was actually led by the Lord of Southern Chancellery YeLu NieLuGu, Ye Hongji was naturally shocked and worried, rumour goes that NieLuGu disposition is vicious and ruthless, since he plotted the rebellion, there's no reason his father will do nothing about it.
The Lord of Northern Chancellery said: "Your Majesty need not be overly worried, your uncle is an understanding person, he will not allow his unfilial son to rebel, it's possible that he had already deployed the army and quelled the rebellion." YeLu HongJi replied: "I really hope so."
After they finished their dinner, the second scout rush in and reported: "The Lord of Southern Chancellery made his father the emperor, the imperial decree announced it to the rest of the world." He did not dare continue his words, and presented the new emperor's edict with both hands. HongJi peruse the edict, the edict said that YeLu HongJi was a fake emperor who tried to usurp the throne, the royal emperor brother is the legitimate emperor, and hence the army was mobilize to resolve this issue. YeLu HongJi was so furious that he threw the edict into the fire and burnt it to ashes, but his heart was worried and he pondered: "This fake emperor affair sounds convincing, once the Liao army and citizen sees the edict, their loyalty will waver. My uncle is the supreme commander of the entire army, he have the authority to mobilize 800 thousand troops with just a wave of his hand, not to mention the troops under the jurisdiction of his son the Lord of Southern Chancellery. I only have around 100 thousand troops following me, i am heavily outnumbered, what should I do?" he toss and turn throughout the night, unable to sleep.
When Xiao Feng heard the emperor wanting to confer an official post, he wanted to bring AhZi and leave during the night without saying goodbye, but seeing the crisis faced by his sworn brother, its inconvenient to simply walk away, he wanted to do something for him on account of their brotherhood. That night as he was strolling outside the camp, he heard secret discussions among the troops, the emperor's parents and wife all lived in the capital, since they are held hostage by the royal emperor uncle, they would most probably not survive. Some of the troops were worried about their own family members and they suddenly cried. The cry was infectious, the rest of the officers and soldiers could relate to their situation, and one by one they begin to cry. The commanders and generals tried to persuade them to stop, they targeted those that cried especially loud, but they could not stop them from crying.
The cries were earth-shattering, YeLu HongJi knew the troop's spirit was broken and he became even more troubled.
Early next morning, the scout came to report, the royal emperor uncle and his son are leading 500 thousand troops, they are heading north to intercept them. YeLu HongJi pondered: "In such a situation, we cannot retreat, even if we are utterly defeat, we can only fight till death." immediately he summoned his officers and began discussing. The ministers and officials are all extremely loyal to YeLu HongJi and they are willing to fight to the death, but they are worried about the army's morale.
HongJi pass down his orders: "All officers and soldiers, after we resolve this situation, you will be promoted and also receive heavy rewards." He dons his golden armour and helmet, personally led 3 troops, and gallops off to meet the troops of his uncle. All officers and men saw the emperor personally leading the troops to meet the enemy, at once their courage received a large boost, they gave three cheer and pledged loyalty till death. The 100 thousand troops divided into four sections, the advance troop, left troop, right troop and main troop, their armour clanking, the march southward, in addition a small squad scattered and roam both flanks.
Xiao Feng took up a bow and spear and followed beside HongJi, becoming his personal bodyguard. The flying bear troops protected AhZi and they positioned at the rear of the army. Xiao Feng saw YeLu HongJi frowning, and knew he did not have confidence in winning this battle.
As they travelled till noon, they heard the bugle call out again in front. The main army general commanded: "Dismount!" all the troops dismounted and pulled their horse bridle, only YeLu HongJi and his ministers are still on horseback.
Xiao Feng did not understand why the troops dismounted, he was puzzled. YeLu HongJi smiled and said: "Brother, you stayed in the Central Plains for such long time, you don't know about how we Khitan fight wars, correct?" Xiao Feng said: "I was about to invite your majesty to enlighten me." HongJi smiled and said: "Haha, this emperor position, I don't know if i can hang onto it until sun down. We should address each other as brothers, why do you have to address me as your majesty? " Xiao Feng heard bitterness in his laughter and said:" The two armies have yet to cross swords, you majesty, please do not worry." HongJi said: "When clashing on flat terrain, the horse strength is of upmost importance, we can charge into enemy lines and press forward relentlessly. We Khitans attacked the east and west and secured victory in every battle, this is the secret to our success."
As he finish speaking, dust cloud began gathering in the distant and tower over 10 zhang high, it was as if yellow cloud was gushing over the ground. HongJi pointed with his whip said: "My uncle and his son are war veteran, they are valiant generals of Liao Empire, but now why do they gallop over anxiously and not conserve their horse strength? Hmmm, it seems they are over-confident and thinks they will win for certain." As he finish speaking, the bugle call was heard simultaneously from the left and right troops. Xiao Feng look to the distant, the enemy have two cavalry troops to the east, another two cavalry troops to the west, they are outnumbered five to one.
YeLu HongJi turn pale, he said to the main army general: "Get into formation and set up stockade!" The general replied: "Yes!" he rode off and pass down the orders, immediately the advance troops, left troops and right troops all turned back, the sergeants nailed the pillars of the great leather tent with a large hammer into the ground, spread out the tent cover, set up abatis on all four sides, and built a large wooden stockade on the grassland, the troops defended all four side during construction, around 10 thousand archers took up position in the wooden stockade, their bows drawn and waiting for the order to shoot.
Xiao Feng furrowed his brow and thought: "Once they start fighting, regardless of the outcome, countless dead bodies of my Khitan tribe will be strewn all over the place, it best if we win, but if we lose, I can only escort AhZi and my sworn brother to a safe place. It doesn't matter if he can't be the emperor anymore."
Not long after building the stockade, the enemy troops arrived but they did not engage immediately, they stood at a distant spot, beyond the range of the archers. The drum beat endlessly, troops after troops of rebels came from all four directions, form their battle formations and surrounded them. Xiao Feng gaze across the battlefield, the enemies are everywhere and he can't even see the end, he pondered: "My sworn brother's army is too heavily outnumbered, I'm afraid we will lose for certain. It's not convenient to escape during the day, we can try to hold on until nightfall and then I will think of something to save them." seeing the huge stockade cast a small shadow on the ground, it is currently noon.
There was numerous "Ya Ya Ya" sound, a flock of geese flew by in the sky. YeLu HongJi raised his head and gaze for a long time, he said bitterly: "Unless we can transform ourselves into geese and fly away, we will never be able to escape." The expression of the Lord of Northern Chancellery and generals changed, they knew the emperor became fearful after seeing the rebel army.
The drums thundered within enemy ranks, over 100 skin-drums vibrated with "Peng Peng" sound. The general of the main army shouted: "Beat the drums!" hundreds of skin-drums in the stockade also vibrated with "Peng Peng" sound. The drums echoed in unison with enemy's drum, over tens of thousands of cavalry cried out and shook the field, they stuck out their spears and charged forward.
Seeing the enemy rush towards their front troops, the main army general waved his command-flag, the drums stopped drumming, and tens of thousands of arrows shot out simultaneously, the enemy's front troops all fell onto the ground. But the next wave followed closely behind, and charges forward bravely, horses that fell down in front became the meat-shield for those behind. The enemy infantry archers were armed with shields, they rush forward and shot their arrows towards the stockade.
YeLu HongJi was only shock in the beginning, as the fight broke out, immediately his courage multiplied, standing at high ground, holding onto his blade, he gave orders and commanded, the soldiers in the stockade saw the emperor personally supervising the front line, and they shouted loudly: "Long live the king! Long live the king! Long live the king!" hearing "Long live the king" the enemy troops look up and saw YeLu HongJi in his golden armor, standing on the high platform in the stockade, under his impressive display of power, they could not help but leap back and stop pushing forward. HongJi saw this golden opportunity and shouted: "Left cavalry out flank, charge!"
The left troop was led by Northern Chancellery Chancellor, once they hear the emperor orders, 30 thousand cavalry immediately move to out flank the enemy. A moment of hesitation in the rebel army, and cavalry from the stockade had arrived. The rebels were thrown into confusion and quickly move back. The drums in the stockade thundered, after a short engagement, the rebels were quickly force to retreat. The cavalries from the stockade pursued and killed them, their manner sharp and imposing.
Xiao Feng was overjoyed and cried out: "Brother, we scored a huge victory for this round!" YeLu HongJi got down from the platform and mounted his battle horse, leading more troops to support. Suddenly, the bugle sounded, rebel main forces drive forward, the rebel's front troop turn around and fought back, in a split second, arrows and spears flew back and forth across the battlefield, screams shook the sky, blood and flesh flew in every direction. Xiao Feng was secretly shock: "I have never seen such ferocious fighting in my life. Even if your martial art is peerless, it's completely useless in the mist of millions of cavalries, at most you can use it to protect yourself. Such large armies engaging in war, it cannot be mention in the same breath as those group fights or duels in the martial arts world."
Sudden the gongs rang out behind the rebel's army, it was the gong to call off the battle. The rebel's cavalry retreated, arrows rained to provide cover for their retreat. The main army general and the Chancellor of Northern Chancellery led the troops to charge three times, they broke through every time and caused confusion in the enemy formation, but thousands of them were also shot dead. YeLu HongJi said: "Our soldiers suffered too many losses, let's withdraw for the time being." and they beat the gongs and withdraw the troops.
The rebels also sent out 2 troops of cavalry to pursue, but the central army was prepared, they pretended to retreat but encircled them from both wings, three thousand rebels were surrounded and annihilated, the remaining few hundred dismounted and surrendered. HongJi wave his left hand, soldiers came out of the stockade armed with spears and pierce the hundred rebels to death. This ferocious battle lasted no more than an hour, but the killings were unusually tragic and cruel.
The main forces of both sides retreated 10 zhang from each other, the middle zone between them was filled with corpses, the wounded were moaning and wailing, it was unbearably tragic. Both sides sent out a troop of 300 black robed soldiers, the people from the stockade wore yellow hat, the enemy wore white hats, they move forward to the middle zone to examine the wounded. Xiao Feng thought these black robed soldiers would carry the injured back for medical treatment, but instead they took out their blades and killed the wounded soldiers. After all the injured soldiers were hacked to death, the 600 black robed soldiers shouted in unison and began to fight each other.
The martial arts of the 600 black robed soldiers were not weak, their blades flashed and they fought bravely, after a while, over 200 people were cut down. The black robed soldiers from the stockade had better martial arts, they only lost around 10 men, and the situation immediately became two versus one, thus the victor became obvious. After a while, it became three versus one. Officers from both sides only cheered their men, the rebel army stood by and watch, they did not dispatch any soldier to provide assistance. Eventually the 300 black robed soldiers from the rebel army were eliminated, the remaining 200 black robed soldiers from the stockade return back into formation. Xiao Feng pondered about the customs of Khitan: "The way they clean up the battlefield, although it is not a large scale, it is exceedingly horrifying."
HongJi raised his sabre and shouted loudly: "Although there are many rebels, they have no fighting spirit. Once we fight another round, they will definitely rout!"
The officers and men in the stockade chanted: "Long live the king, long live the king, long live the king!"
Suddenly a bugle call was heard within rebel ranks, five men slowly rode out to the middle, one of them was holding onto a sheet of sheepskin, and he recited loudly from it, he is reciting the imperial edict from the royal emperor uncle: "YeLu HongJi usurp the throne, his a fake king, now that the royal emperor uncle has assume the throne, he urge the soldiers and officials of Liao Empire to return to the capital and pledge loyalty to him, all of you will be promoted 3 grade." a dozen archer fire their arrows from the stockade, whizzing sound rang out as it shot towards the announcer . The 4 men by his side raise their shields and protected each other, the man continued to recite aloud, their five horses were shot down but they are still hiding safely behind their shield, finally he finish reciting the edict and they turn around and left.
The Lord of Northern Chancellery saw his officials wavered after they heard the edict, he shouted: "Go out and curse them!" 10 "professional-curser" went out, they had loud voices and thick throat, good enunciation, the first curser started insulting. Words such as treacherous traitors, being buried right here, etc, the second curser took over and carried on insulting, all sorts of vulgarities came spewing. Xiao Feng did not understand most of the curse words as he had limited knowledge on Khitan language, but he saw YeLu HongJi nod his head repeatedly, his expression approving, it seems these "professional cursers" really put up an exciting show.
Xiao Feng looks over at the enemy formation, at a far distance, under the reflection of their yellow hat, he saw two men each riding a fine horse, they were holding horsewhip and directing around. One was clothed in yellow robe and wearing a crown, he had a long gray beard, the other person was wearing gold armour, his face gaunt, but his expression fierce and brave. Xiao Feng thought to himself: "Look at their appearance, this must be the royal emperor uncle and his son."
Suddenly, the 10 "professional-curser" discuss among themselves for a while, they shouted in unison and revealed the shameful secrets of the royal emperor uncle and his son. It seems the royal emperor uncle is upright and had proper conduct, there isn't any scandal from him, the 10 men mostly targeted his son the Prince of Chu, they said he raped his father's concubine and use his father's power to commit all kinds of evil. These words are obviously meant to sow discord between father and son, the 10 cursers shouted in unison, they cursed the exact same words, the words resonated over a few li and over hundred thousand men all heard it clearly.
The Prince of Chu waved his whip, the rebels howl in unison, they made "Ah Ah" sound and shouted randomly, the noise drowns out the words of the 10 cursers.
The enemy suddenly separated and they push 10 carts towards the stockade, the sergeant drag out over 10 females from the carts, some of them were white-hair grannies, some were youths, their clothes all grand and exquisite. Once these women were brought out, both sides stopped cursing immediately.
YeLu HongJi shouted: "Mother, mother! Son will catch these traitors and dismember them to help you vent your anger!"
That white-hair granny is the current empress dowager, she is YeLu HongJi's mother Empress Dowager Xiao, the rest are Empress Xiao, concubines and princess. When HongJi went hunting, the royal emperor uncle and his son surrounded the Forbidden Palace and captured the empress dowager and the rest of the royals.
The Empress Dowager said: "You majesty need not be concern about this old lady or your wife and children, do you best and kill these thieves!" a dozen officers draw their sabres and place it against the neck of the females, the young concubines immediately cry out in fear.
YeLu HongJi was furious and shouted: "Shoot down those crying females!" there was whizzing sounds and over ten arrows flew out, the concubines who are crying were all shot dead.
The Empress said: "Your majesty that was well shot! Well shot! The foundation of our forefathers cannot be destroyed by the hands of these traitors."
The Prince of Chu saw the empress dowager and empress were stubborn, not only would he be unable to coerce HongJi, but it might also shake the morale of his own troops, and he issued the order: "Detain these women on the carts and withdraw." The soldiers detain the empress dowager and empress in the cart and push it to the rear of the army. The Prince of Chu ordered: "Bring forward the family members of enemy troops!"
The whirring call of bamboo whistles were heard, the sound was bleak, the army split apart, there was endlessly clanking of iron shackles, rows after rows of male, female, old and young were all pulled to the front. In an instant their cries shook the heavens. The soldiers from the stockade are personal soldiers of the Liao emperor, YeLu HongJi treated them extremely well and even permit their families to live in the capital, firstly this will make the troops appreciative and they would be willing to fight till death in times of trouble, secondly it also serve to keep tabs on them, they will not dare to revolt during an expedition. He did not expect this arrangement would backfire against him when he went out on the hunting trip. The family members of the soldiers numbered over 200 thousand people, but only 30 thousand people were brought forward, a lot of these people were wrongly arrested but it's impossible to differentiate them at this moment, some of them were dragging their children and the situation was extremely messy and chaotic.
A general under the command of the Prince of Chu rode out and shouted loudly: "All soldiers in the stockade please listen, all your family members have been arrested, those who surrender will get to reunite with them, you will also be promoted 3 grades, and also receive extra rewards. If you do not surrender, the new emperor has issued a decree, all the people you see here will be killed." Khitan people have always been cruel and sadistic, if they say "all will be killed", it's definitely not empty threat and all these people will really be killed. Some of the soldiers in the stockade recognize their loved ones, "Dad, mom, child, husband, wife!" both sides keep calling out to each other.
Drums roll in the rebel army, 2000 executioners step out, their sabres sparkling. The drums stopped, 2000 sabres were raised, targeting the neck of family members. The general said: "Surrender now to the new emperor, you will be heavily rewarded, else all you family members will die together!" he wave his left hand and the drums roll again.
The soldiers in the stockade knew that if he wave his left hand again, the drums will stop, and the 2000 sabres will chop down immediately. These soldiers have always been loyal to YeLu HongJi, they are not enticed by the promise of riches or promotion, but seeing their family members waiting to be butchered, how can they not panic?
The drums rumble without stopping, the hearts of the soldiers are beating anxiously. Suddenly, someone shouted within the stockade: "Mom, mom, you cannot kill my mom!" abandoning his spear, he ran towards an old lady.
An arrow flew out from the stockade and pierces the back of this solder. The soldier did not die immediately, and he carried on crawling towards his mother. There was endless call of "Father, mother, child", and hundreds of soldiers ran out from the stockade. The trusted generals of YeLu HongJi took out their swords and chop randomly, but how can they stop the soldiers from running? After these hundred soldiers ran out, they were followed by another thousand. After these thousands, chaos broke out, out of his original 150 thousand troops, around 60 to 70 thousand ran over.
YeLu HongJi gave a long sigh, he knew the situation could not be salvage, taking the opportunity as the soldiers hug and reunite with their families, there was massive chaos as the rebel army separated to make space for the family members, he quickly ordered: "Retreat towards the vast mountains in the north-west." The main army general secretly pass down the order, with the remaining 80 thousand men, the rear troops became the front troops, they gallop quickly to the north-west.
The Prince of Chu tried to order his cavalries to pursue but they were hindered by the civilians flooding the entire battlefield, the horses cannot gallop past them quickly, by the time they push away the crowd, YeLu HongJi had already led his men and escape far away. The 80,000 troops arrived at the foot of the vast mountain, it is dusk, and the soldiers were hungry and tired, they built a stockade on the top of the slope, occupying the high ground so as to better guard against attacks. Once the stockade is secured, the rice was not yet cook and the Prince of Chu had arrived with his troops and they immediately charge up the slope. Soldiers in the stockade rained arrows and manage to repel the rebel forces. The Prince of Chu saw the situation was unfavourable and he withdraw the troops immediately and set up camp at the foot of the mountain.
During evening, YeLu HongJi stood at the side of the cliff, gazing towards south, he saw the campfire in rebel camp was akin to sparkling stars, in the distant there were 3 fire dragons arriving, but it was actually the rear forces of the rebel army that came to join up with the main army. HongJi was dejected as he was about to enter his tent, the Chancellor of Northern Chancellery came to report: "15 thousand troops under subordinate command rush down the mountain and surrendered to the rebel. Subordinate did not manage his troops well, I deserve to die!" YeLu HongJi wave his hand, shook his head and said: "You cannot be blamed, go back and rest!"
He turned around and saw Xiao Feng preoccupied with a distant place, he said: "Tomorrow morning, the rebels will be victorious, I will definitely become their prisoner. I am the emperor, I cannot be humiliated by these rebels, I will commit suicide to repay my country. Brother, you should take advantage of the darkness and escape. You have strong martial arts, the rebels will not be able to stop you." As he said this, his expression became sorrowful, he continued: "I intended to make you rich and influential, but as it turns out I can't even save myself and I even drag you into this mess."
Xiao Feng said: "Brother, a real man should be adaptable to circumstances, today this battle is unfavourable, I can guarantee your escape, you should go back reassemble you army and fight again."
HongJi shook his head and said: "I can't even save my mother and wife, how can I be considered a real man? In the eyes of the Khitan, the victor is the hero, the loser is the rebel. I suffered a crushing defeat, how can I fight again? Forget me, escape by yourself!"
Xiao Feng knew he spoke the truth and sighed: "That being the case, I will accompany brother and fight the rebels till death. We are sworn brothers, you maybe the emperor, or even a lowly commoner, but Xiao Feng only treat you as my brother. When elder brother is in trouble, I should face it with you and we live or die together, where is the logic in running away by myself?"
YeLu HongJi was teeming with tears, he held both his hands and said: "Good brother, I thank you."
Xiao Feng went back to his tent, he saw AhZi lying curled in the corner of the tent, her big pair of eyes was open, she did not sleep. AhZi said: "Brother-in-law, do you blame me?" Xiao Feng was puzzled: "Blame you for what?" AhZi replied: "It's all my fault, if I did not insist on coming to this grass plain, you will not get trap in this situation. Brother-in-law, we will really die here correct? "
The torch's light outside the tent reflected off her face, a shade of red floated up her pale complexion, she look even more petite and delicate. Xiao Feng felt his pity rising and he said softly: "Why would I blame you? If I did not injure you, we would never have come to this place." AhZi smiled and said: "If I did not attack you with the poison needle, you will not have injured me."
Xiao Feng extended his hands and stroke her hair. After being injured for such a long time, AhZi lost more than half of her hair, her hair was sparse and yellowing. Xiao Feng gave a sigh: "You are so young, yet you have to suffer along with me." AhZi said: "Brother-in-law, originally I did not understand why my sister loves you so much, but now I know."
Xiao Feng thought: "Your sister treated me with boundless devotion, what would a little girl like you understand. In fact, I don't even know why AhZhu feel in love with the crude me, how do you even know?" as he thought of this matter, he shake his head in sorrow.
AhZi turn her head to the side and said: "Brother-in-law, have you guessed it, why did I attack you with the poison needle that day? I did not want to kill you, I only wanted to immobilize you so that I can take care of you." Xiao Feng was curious: "What is so good about that?" AhZi smiled and said: "If you are immobilized then you cannot leave me. Otherwise, since you despise me, you might abandon me anytime and not pay any attention to me anymore."
Although her words can be considered to be childish, but it also not casual nonsense, he cannot help but be secretly scared, wondering: "Since we are all going to die tomorrow, might as well say a few words to comfort her." He said: "You are really childish, if you really want to follow me, just tell me, I will not refuse."
AhZi eyes brightened, she said happily: "Brother-in-law, once I recovered, I still want to follow you, I will never return to my master's XingXiu Sea again. Don't you dare abandon me."
Xiao Feng knew the trouble she stirred up in XingXiu Sect is no small matter, naturally she wouldn't dare to go back, he smiled and said: "You are the great senior martial sister of XingXiu Sect, if you don't go back they will be like a group without a leader, then what will they do?" AhZi giggled: "Just let them be confuse. I don't care."
Xiao Feng pull a felt blanket and covered her till below the neck, after he tuck her in, he spread another felt and slept at a separate corner of the tent. The flame outside the tent was flickering, he heard faint crying and knew it came from soldiers who miss their family, everyone knew they would not survive tomorrows encounter, but they are loyal to the emperor and refuse to betray him.
Xiao Feng woke up early in the morning, he ask the room attendant to prepare the horses and to take care of AhZi, knowing his end is near, he ate one pound of mutton and drank three pound of wine, he walk to the hillside. It was still dark at this time, not long after, the sun rises from the east, the bungle call from from within the stockade, clanking sound was heard as the men don their armour and took up their weapons. Troops set off from the stockade and guarded the various strategic points. Xiao Feng look into the distance from his high ground, east, south, south-east, the rebel troops came gushing from all three sides. White mist blanket the distant, he can't even see the end of the rebel's troop formation.
Suddenly the sun ray emerged from the horizon, ten thousand golden ray penetrated the white fog, the mist slowly disperse, revealing the troops hidden by the mist, suddenly the drums roll and two yellow flag troops came galloping out, followed closely by the royal emperor uncle and the Prince of Chu, they pointed at the mountain with their horsewhip and started discussing their strategy.
YeLu HongJi led his guards and stood by the hillside, seeing such scenario, he was furious, he took a bow and arrow from one of his guard, draw the bow, and shot towards the Prince of Chu. Watching from the mountain top, it may seem they are not separated far apart, but in fact the distance is several times the range of the arrow, the arrow did not even reach halfway before running out of power and dropped down.
The Prince of Chu laughed and shouted: "HongJi, you usurp my father's throne and spent a lot of time as the fake emperor, it's time to abdicate the throne. Surrender quickly, my father will spare your life, and he will also be pretend to be benevolent and confer you as the royal emperor nephew, how does that sound? Ha ha ha!" these few words were obviously meant to insult HongJi for pretending to be benevolent by making YeLu ZhongYuan the royal emperor uncle.
HongJi was furious: "Shameless traitor, still flaunting and trying to win dispute."
The Chancellor of Northern Chancellery shouted: "Subordinate is willing to die for your disgrace! Your majesty has always shown great kindness to me, and today is the day I repay you. I will lead three thousand troops, we will shout in unison and rush down from the hill." The three thousand troops are all warriors from the Khitan capital, they are ready to fight to the death, one of them is equivalent to ten men, they shouted and rush ahead, immediately the enemy is forced to retreat a few li. The Prince of Chu wave his command flag, tens of thousands of cavalry surrounded the troops, their spear and sabre ready, their war cry shook the heaven and earth, flesh and blood flew in all direction. The three thousand troops were gradually killed off, eventually, all of them were killed. The Chancellor of Northern Chancellery killed several more people before committing suicide. HongJi, generals, ministers and Xiao Feng could see all the action from the mountain top, but they were powerless to save him, all of them shed long tears for the display of loyalty by the Chancellor of Northern Chancellery.
The Prince of Chu rode near the hillside and laughed: "HongJi, are you going to surrender or not? What can you do with that little amount of troops you have? Your troops are all brave warriors of the Liao Empire, why do you want them to accompany you till death? Be a real man, be decisive, surrender or fight, if you know your days is numbered, just commit suicide to thank the heavens, don't sacrifice your soldiers for nothing."
YeLu HongJi gave a long sigh and kept his tears, he said: "This beautiful Empire, I will give it to your father. You are right, we are first cousin, linked by flesh and blood, why should not sacrifice the lives of our Khitan warriors." As he said this, he raised his sabre and directed it towards his neck.
Xiao Feng stretch his arm and seize the sabre, he said: "Brother, if you are an honorable hero, you should die fighting in the battlefield, how can you die by committing suicide?"
HongJi sighed: "Brothers, these soldiers followed me for such a long time, I will die for sure, but I cannot bear to see them lose their life for me."
The Prince of Chu shouted: "HongJi, you still delay in committing suicide?" he pointed his horsewhip directly at HongJi's face, his expression arrogant to the extreme.
As Xiao Feng saw him move closer and closer, he had an idea, he whispered: "Brother, distract him and entertain him with words, I will quietly move closer and shoot him with an arrow."
Knowing his amazing skills, HongJi was overjoyed: "This is extremely good, if you can kill him with an arrow, I will die contented." Immediately he raised his voice and shouted: "Prince of Chu, I did not mistreat you and your father, your father wants to be the emperor, but he should not kill and injure so many officers and innocent citizens and weaken the Liao Empire."
Xiao Feng took a hard bow, a few jagged tooth arrows, pulled a horse and slowly guided it to the hill side, he bent down and hide under the horse's belly, his feet hooked onto the horseback, giving a kick with his toes, the horse rush off. The rebel army saw a rider-less horse, they knew this horse broke from its reins and escape, such matter is very common and no one paid extra attention to it. But after a while the rebel army noticed someone hiding under the belly of the horse and they immediately shouted out.
Xiao Feng use his toes to kick the horse, and it gallop straight towards the Prince of Chu, seeing that he was around two hundred footsteps away from him, he draw his bow from under the horse's belly and shot an arrow towards him. The personal guard of the Prince of Chu raised his shield and warded off the arrow. Xiao Feng mounted the horse and gallop quickly, he fired arrows in rapid succession, the first arrow toppled the guard and the second arrow went straight towards the Prince of Chu's chest.
The Prince of Chu deftly waved his whip and strikes the arrow. This art of using the whip to strike an arrow was the Prince's most proficient skill, but the person who shot this arrow had extremely strong muscular strength, in addition the arrow was infused with internal energy, although the whip hit the arrow's shaft, it only diverted the arrow slightly, with a "Bu" sound, the arrow plunged into his left shoulder. The Prince of Chu gave an "Ah Yo!" call and he lean on the saddle in pain.
Xiao Feng's arrow arrived again, this time the distance was even closer, the arrow entered his left side and penetrated out from his chest. The Prince of Chu immediately fell off the horseback.
Xiao Feng achieved success with one attempt, and he thought: "Why don't I take this opportunity and shoot that royal emperor uncle dead!
When the Prince of Chu was shot and fell off his horse, the rebel army shouted out loudly, a few hundred arrows was shot towards Xiao Feng's horse, in an instant the horse was hit by two hundred arrow, it became a porcupine horse.
Xiao Feng roll on the ground and slide below a horse ridden by an officer, he executed his cotton softness skill, immediately, from under the horse's belly he slide to the underside of another horse, he roll on the ground and slide to the underside of yet another horse. The rebel troop was unable to fire their arrows, and they tried to pierce him using spears. But Xiao Feng slide to the east and roll west on the ground, he displayed his skills from the underside of horses. The troops were thrown into confusion, thousand of horses push and trample each other, how can they even pierce him with spears?
The cotton softness skill displayed by Xiao Feng is a common ground fighting skill in the Central Plain. Be it ground-fighting fist, ground-fighting knife, or ground-fighting sword, all these skills require rolling and tumbling maneuvers on the ground, waiting for the perfect opportunity to attack an opponent's underside. Currently his using it on the battlefield, he moved deftly and avoided the trampling of over thousand horse's hoof. He took this time to determine the location of the royal emperor uncle, he rolled straight at him and sent three arrows whizzing towards him.
The bodyguards of the royal emperor uncle had previously seen the Prince of Chu being shot by the arrow and they made preparations against it, three dozen men raised their shield, packed densely layer upon layer they block in front of the royal emperor uncle, three clanking sound was heard and the arrows were knocked down by the shield, Xiao Feng carried ten arrows with him and he had already fired seven of them, he was left with three, seeing the three dozen shield mutually covering each other, it's extremely difficult to shoot the down the guards with just three arrows, and there no need to even mention shooting the royal emperor uncle. Currently he had penetrated deep within enemy's rank, behind him thousands of soldiers pursued with their spears, in front of him is thousands upon thousands of soldiers and horses, he had already fallen into a hopeless situation. Last time when he fought the martial artists of Central Plain alone, the opposing side only had around a hundred martial artists and it was already perilous to the extreme, luckily someone saved him and he was able to escape, but currently his trapped and surrounded by over 10 thousand men, how can he escape?
The situation was desperate and he can only risk his life and go all out, he gave an earth rumbling howl and leaps into the air, with a "Hu" sound, he leap over the three dozen shields, and landed in front of the royal emperor uncle's horse. The royal emperor uncle got a huge shock, he raised his whip and strikes it towards Xiao Feng's face. Xiao Feng slanted his body and leap again, he landed on the royal emperor uncle's horse saddle, his left hand seized the back of the royal emperor uncle and lifted him high up in the air, he shouted: "You want to live or die? Ask everyone to put down their weaponry!" the royal emperor uncle was scared stiff, the words did not register in him.
The hustle and bustle among rebel troops was deafening, thousands of soldier draw and raised their bow, pointing it at Xiao Feng, but with the royal emperor uncle in his hand, nobody dare to act rashly.
Xiao Feng gathered energy into his dantian and shouted: "The royal emperor's orders, all soldiers lay down your weapon and listen to his edict. The emperor is gracious, he will pardon all soldiers, no one will be held accountable." His few words overshadowed the disturbance made by over 10 thousand troops, more than half of the 10 thousand soldiers in front and behind the mountain heard him clearly.
Xiao Feng have experience in such matters as he was betrayed by members of the Beggar Clan, he understood the thoughts of rebels, once adversity is over, the most important thing is to exempt all crimes, he only need to guarantee that he will forget past grievances and not pursue the matter, the rebel's will to fight back will then disappear. At this moment the rebel army had overwhelming numbers, YeLu HongJi only had around seventy to eighty thousand troops, it's a miserable minority against an overwhelming majority, definitely not a match against the rebel army, the situation was critical and he did not have time to consult HongJi, and thus he said those few words to make the rebels stop worrying.
Once the words transmitted across the battlefield, the clamour of the rebels quieten down immediately, they looked at each other, everyone was apprehensive and undecided.
Xiao Feng knew the situation was dangerous, if one person from the rebel army voice out his refusal, countless men would blindly follow and the situation would change radically, the situation really does not allow for a moment of delay, he quickly shouted: "The Emperor's decree: Regardless of your rank in the rebel army, all of you are innocent, the emperor is merciful, he will not pursue this matter. All soldiers will be restored to your former post, quickly put down your weapons now!"
Silence ensues, suddenly there was a few "Clank" "Clank" sound, and several men threw down their spears. This sound was infectious, immediately, the "Clank" "Clank" sound grew louder as over half of soldiers threw down their weapons, the remaining soldiers that held onto their weapons were still hesitating.
Xiao Feng lifted the royal emperor uncle high up in the air with his left arm and his horse move slowly up the mountain, none of the rebels dared to block him, wherever his horse went, the crowd will part and allow a path through.
Xiao Feng rode his horse and arrived halfway up the hill, two troops from the stockade came to greet him, drum beat and music can be heard from the mountain peak.
Xiao Feng said: "Royal emperor uncle, order your subordinate to surrender and throw down their weapons, we will then spare your life."
The royal emperor uncle quivered: "You will really spare my life?"
Xiao Feng looked down the hill, he saw countless rebels still holding onto their bows and spears, the troop's morale was uncertain, the danger had not yet past, he pondered: "Our top priority is to reassure the troops. The royal emperor uncle life and death is of no concern, we only need to send guards to watch over him strictly, he won't be able to commit any evil in the future." He replied:" This is the only opportunity for you to redeem yourself. His majesty knows this incident is caused by your son, he can pardon your life. "
The royal emperor uncle originally did not have any intention to seize the throne, it was all because of his son, the Prince of Chu's wild ambition that led to the current misfortune, since his already captured he can only hope that his life would be spared, he replied: "Ok, I will do as you say!"
Xiao Feng let him sit comfortably on the saddle, he said loudly: "All troops please listen, the royal emperor uncle has something to say."
The royal emperor uncle said loudly: "The Prince of Chu brought about this disaster, now his dead. The emperor is gracious, he will forgive everyone's sin. All of you quickly drop your weapons and ask the emperor for forgiveness."
Since the royal emperor uncle said it, the rebels were left without a leader, although some troops are still fiercely stubborn, they do not dare disobey his orders, there were "Clanking" sound and all the rebels cast down their weapons.
Xiao Feng brought the royal emperor uncle up the mountain. YeLu HongJi was overjoyed, it was as if his dreaming, he quickly rush beside Xiao Feng, holding both his hands he said: "Brother, brother, elder brother's country, I will share it with you together." He was in a very agitated state, tears flow freely.
The royal emperor uncle knelt on the ground and said: "The dissident ask your majesty for forgiveness and seek your majesty's pity."
YeLu HongJi was in an extremely good mood, he said to Xiao Feng: "Brother, what is your opinion?" Xiao Feng replied: "The rebels have overwhelming numbers, the priority now is to stabilize the troop's morale, I beseech your majesty to pardon your uncle so that everyone can set their mind at rest."
YeLu HongJi smiled and said: "Good, good, I will do as you say, I will do as you say." He turned towards the Lord of Northern Chancellery and said: "Pass down the imperial edict, Xiao Feng is conferred as the Prince of Chu, his official rank is the Lord of Southern Chancellery, he will lead the rebel army and return back to the capital."
Xiao Feng had a huge shock, he killed the Prince of Chu, captured the royal emperor uncle, all to save his brother's life, he did not covet after prestige or official rank, YeLu HongJi conferred such a high rank on him and he was momentarily at a loss, he did not know what to say. The Lord of Northern Chancellery cupped his hand and said to Xiao Feng: "Congratulations, Congratulations! The noble title of Prince of Chu have never been conferred on non-royals, Lord Xiao quickly thank the emperor." Xiao Feng said to HongJi: "Brother, today's matter is all due to your great fortune, the enemy soldiers lost their spirit and we were able to calm the rebels down, I only contributed a little, it's not something praiseworthy. Moreover, I do not know how to be an official and I don't want to be one, I beseech brother to withdraw your order." YeLu HongJi gave a laugh, stretch out his right hand to hug his shoulder and said: "The title of Prince of Chu and the official rank of Lord of Southern Chancellery, this is the highest position in my Liao Empire, if brother still think it's insufficient and still refuse to submit to me, then I can only give up the throne and pass it to you."
Xiao Feng was shocked, he thought: "In his joyous state, brother can get carried away and not know what he is saying, everything is still a mess, we have to settle things quickly and not hesitate to prevent any disaster from happening." he knelt down and said: "Subordinate Xiao Feng receives your order, I thank your majesty for bestowing kindness on me." YeLu HongJi smiled and propped him up with both hands. Xiao Feng said: "Subordinate don't dare to defy your orders, I can only accept this title and rank. But I am an uneducated peasant, unfamiliar with court regulations, I beg your majesty forgiveness if I make any mistake."
YeLu HongJi stretched his hands and slaps his shoulder several times, smiling: "It doesn't matter at all!" he turns around and said to the general of the left army YeLu MoGe: "I am making you the Chancellor of Southern Chancellery, you will assist Lord Xiao and handle all Chancellerys' affair." YeLu MoGe was overjoyed, he knelt down to thank the emperor and then paid homage to Xiao Feng: "Paying my respect to Lord Xiao!" HongJi said:" MoGe, you will receive Lord Xiao's orders and lead the rebels back to the capital. We will go and pay our respect to the Empress Dowager."
Music played out on the mountain peak, YeLu HongJi and the group walk down the mountain path. The rebel lead general had promptly release the Empress Dowager and Empress and made arrangement for them to rest in camp. YeLu HongJi entered the tent and reunited with his mother and wife, they had a narrow escape, it was as if they have been given a second life, naturally everyone praised Xiao Feng for his deeds.
YeLu MoGe led Xiao Feng meet all his subordinate of Southern Chancellery. Moments earlier, Xiao Feng was alone against ten thousands of troops, such courage is unheard of and everyone witness it with their own eyes. The troops and officials of Southern Chancellery are former subordinates of the Prince of Chu, but firstly, after the awe-inspiring display of invincible might by Xiao Feng, everyone was secretly afraid and nobody dare disobey, they also respected his heroic spirit, secondly, the Prince of Chu usually had a bad temper and never showed kindness to anyone and nobody was loyal to him, thirdly, all of them took part in the rebellion and they felt terrified in their hearts, when Xiao Feng arrived, all the rebels were filled with deep respect and they listened to his orders.
Xiao Feng said: "The emperor has pardoned everyone's crimes for staging this rebellion, from now on, everyone should make a clean break with the past, you should never have the slightest bit of disloyalty again."
A white bearded general said: "Reporting to my Lord, the royal emperor uncle and his son detained my family members and coerce me to revolt, if I refuse, they will decapitate my family members immediately, I had no other choice, I beseech my Lord to clarify this matter with the emperor."
Xiao Feng nodded and said: "Since this is the case, I shall not pursue past matters anymore." He turned around and said to YeLu MoGe: "The troops will rest here, once they eaten their fill, pack up and return to the capital."
Immediately, base on their rank, the subordinates of Southern Chancellery came one by one to pay their respects to the new Lord. Although Xiao Feng has never been an official, but he has long been the Beggar Clan's leader, he has his own way of commanding and leading the crowd. In fact, there is not much difference in leading beggar clan members or Khitan warriors. The only differ is that Liao army have their own set of rules and norm, Xiao Feng was careful to remember it and he also have the assistance of YeLu MoGe, and thus everything went perfectly.
Not long after Xiao Feng led the army and set off, the Empress Dowager and Empress sent their messengers bearing gowns, belts, gold and silver to be gifted to the army. Xiao Feng expressed his gratitude, and the attendant protecting AhZi also arrive. She was wearing silk gown and riding a gallant horse, both gifted by the Empress Dowager. Xiao Feng saw her small body was wrapped in that large gown, half her face was obscured by the gown's collar, and he cannot help but find it funny.
AhZi did not personally witness Xiao Feng kill the Prince of Chu with an arrow or capture the royal emperor uncle alive, she only heard it from the attendants. When recounting past events, people tend to spice up the story and make it more dramatic, and thus Xiao Feng's achievements became even more miraculous by three notch. As AhZi saw him, she complained: "Brother-in-law, you achieved such great feats, why didn't you tell me, otherwise I would have stood by the hillside and look at how you kill them all, won't I be happier? You even made me worried for half a day." Xiao Feng said: "I was lucky to claim such credits, how would I know in advance? You start saying childish words once we meet." AhZi said:" Brother-in-law, come over here."
Xiao Feng approach her, he saw her pale face glowing with excitement, complemented by the beautiful gown she is wearing, she looks like a baby doll, she looks boney yet cute, and he cannot help but laugh.
AhZi gave an angry look and complained: "I am telling you a serious matter, but you kept laughing, what is so funny?" Xiao Feng laughs and said: "Seeing you wear that over-size gown, you look like a baby doll, very interesting." AhZi fumed: "You always treat me like a child and now you make fun of me." Xiao Feng laughed and said:"No, no! AhZi, I thought both of us will die for sure, who knew we actually made it through, naturally I am very happy. Whatever Lord of Southern Chancellery, or the title of Prince of Chu, I don't give a damn, it will be fine as long as we can survive and live."
AhZi said: "Brother-in-law, you are also afraid of dying?" Xiao Feng nod and said: "In the face of danger, naturally I am afraid of death, there are tens of thousands of troops, you dare to rush out alone? This is called confront a person with the danger of death and he will fight to live. If I don't rush out, I will die for certain. It cannot be said that I am brave, but it the will to fight of a cornered beast. If you surround a bear or tiger and refuse to let it escape, then it will naturally fight for its life and claw or maul you." AhZi smiled and said: "You compared yourself with wild beasts."
Both of them rode side by side on the horses, they look at their surroundings, flags were fluttering on the grass plain, long line of troops marching forward, all these stretch across the horizon and they can't even see the end, bodyguards protected them in all four directions.
AhZi was very happy and said: "That day, you help me become the head disciple of the XingXiu Sect, from the hundreds of second and third generation members, apart from master, I can be considered to be the most senior, I was extremely pleased with myself. But it is really nothing compared to the thousands of troops you now command. Brother-in-law, the Beggar Clan does not want you as their leader, heng, who gives a damn about that small clan? Why don't you lead you men and exterminate all of them."
Xiao Feng shook his head and said: "Childish words! I am a Khitan, the Beggar Clan is correct in refusing to let me continue to be their leader. Members of the Beggar Clan are all my former subordinates and friends, how can I exterminate them?"
AhZi replied: "They kick you out of the clan, and they mistreated you, naturally you should kill them all. Brother-in-law, do they treat you as their friend?"
Xiao Feng found it difficult to reply, he only shook his head, he thought of JuXian Manor where he broke off all ties with his old friends, his heroic spirit disappeared.
AhZi again questioned: "If they know that you have become the Lord of Southern Chancellery of Liao Empire, and they suddenly become remorseful and ask you to become their clan leader again, will you agree?" Xiao Feng gave a slight smile and said: "The heroes of Great Song treats all Khitans as wicked villains who commit all sorts of extreme atrocities, the higher my official position, the more they hate me." AhZi said: "Pei! What gives a damn? They hate you, we can also hate them."
Xiao Feng look south into the distant, he saw the mountains overlapping at the horizon, he pondered: "I will reach Central Plains once I cross those mountains." Although he is a Khitan, but he grew up in Central Plains, in his heart he loved the Great Song more than Liao Empire, if the Beggar Clan let him become a member without any official duty, an empty-pouch disciple, he will feel more at ease then becoming the Lord of Southern Chancellery.
AhZI said: "Brother-in-law, the emperor is really smart, he made you the Lord of Southern Chancellery. In the future when Liao Empire fights war, you will lead the troops and be victorious in every battle. You only need to burst into the enemy ranks and kill the enemy marshal, the troops will then throw down their weapon and surrender, won't the battle be won?"
Xiao Feng laughed: "The subordinates of the royal emperor uncle are soldier of Liao Empire, they have always followed the orders of the emperor, thus when the Price of Chu died, and the royal emperor uncle got captured, everyone surrendered. It will be different if two countries are at war. If you kill the marshal, there will still be a deputy marshal, kill the main general, and there will still be other generals, the battle will be fought till the last men. My single effort will be powerless in such situation."
AhZi nodded and said: "En, so that's how it is. Brother-in-law, you said you are not considered brave when you rush into enemy rank, killed the Prince of Chu and captured the royal emperor uncle. Then in your entire life, what is the most courageous thing you ever did? Can you tell me?"
Xiao Feng never like to narrate his proudest and bravest achievements, when he was still in the Beggar Clan, he killed all kinds of traitors and evil people, no matter how fierce the fight, once he return back to the clan he will brush it aside and simply say: "The certain person has been killed." As for all the thrilling details and hash encounters, regardless of how others probe him, he will never say a single word more. As he listen to AhZi's question, he thought of how he had fought over hundreds of battles in his life, how he did not back down in face of enemy and all the numerous brave deeds, he really cannot bear to say it out and thus he replied: "I was forced to battle with enemies, I really have no other choice, it cannot be said that I am brave."
AhZi said: "But I know. The most courageous thing you did was the ferocious battle at Juxian manor."
Xiao Feng was dazed and asked: "How do you know?"
AhZi said: "That day at the Lakeside mirror, once you left, Father, mother, and the subordinate of my father, we all talk about you, all of us admired your martial arts to no end, later you went to the hero's feast at Junxian Manor and single-handedly fought all the heroes, all just to seek treatment for a single lady. This lady is naturally my sister. They don't know that AhZhu is the daughter of father and mother, they say you were ruthless and cruel in killing your foster parent and master, but you treated the lady with unexpected faithfulness; You were ungrateful, cruel and a pervert, an unreasonable bastard." As she said this she starting laughing.
Xiao Feng murmured: "Hei, 'Ungrateful! Cruel and a pervert!' the heroes of Central Plain gave this kind of comments to Xiao Feng"
AhZi consoled him: "You don't have to be upset. My mother praised you greatly, she says that as long as a man is faithful, his is a good man, it doesn't matter what he do, she says my father is also ungrateful, cruel and a pervert, he lusted after many lovers, and his daughters are cruel and ruthless, it cannot be compared to you. You should stand aside and clap in approval." Xiao Feng smiled and shook his head.
The army travelled for a few days and they reach the capital. Common citizens and officials living in the capital have already been given advance notice, all of them came out to welcome him, Xiao Feng's command flag was displayed everywhere, the people burned incense and bowed down to praise him endlessly. With his single action he calmed the disaster and saved countless lives of Liao Empire, over half the citizens in the capital had members from their family serving in the army, naturally they felt grateful towards him. Xiao Feng pressed his bridle and rode on, the citizens cried out: "We thank Lord Xiao for saving our lives! Heaven will protect the Lord of Southern Chancellery so that he may have a long and healthy life, and enjoy great riches and fortune!"
Xiao Feng listened to the voices paying tribute to him, the citizens were all on the verge of tears, their gratitude and appreciation is indeed sincere and heartfelt, he pondered: "A person who holds high ranking position, every move he make will affect the lives of thousands of people, when I shot the arrow and killed the Prince of Chu, I only did it at a fleeting moment of bravery, I saved my brother, I saved myself, but I didn't know it also benefited countless citizens. Sigh, I tried to do good in the Central Plain, but I only received resentment and slander, I became the number one evil in the martial art world, such thing is really hard to explain."
He thought again: "This is the country of my parent, when they were still alive, my father and mother must have walked on this road before. Sigh, I don't know what my parent looks like, I can't even imagine how they rode side by side on a horse."
The Liao Empire is the world's largest nation, it far more powerful and prosperous than Great Song. But the Khitan lived a nomadic life, they keep on migrating, the houses and shops in the capital are crude and primitive, it really cannot be compared with those at Central Plains.
The caretaker of the Southern Chancellery welcomes Xiao Feng into his official residence, it was a grand mansion, the furnishings were unusually grand and splendid. Xiao Feng lived a life of poverty, how would he even get a chance to live in such mansion? As he walked one time around the mansion, he felt uncomfortable, he ordered his subordinates to erect two tents in the army barracks, he and AhZi each occupied one tent, their everyday life was simple, just like former times.
On the third day, YeLu HongJi, the Empress Dowager, Empress, concubines, princess and the captured family members of the army, all returned to the capital. The royal emperor uncle was too ashamed of his deeds and committed suicide along the way. HongJi also kept his promise, he did not pursue the crimes of the rebels, he only executed 20 chief culprits under the Prince of Chu who instigated the rebellion. A grand feast was held in the Palace for three days to reward the troops who remain loyal and fought at the stockade. Xiao Feng became the number one hero at the feast. YeLu HongJi, the Empress Dowager, Empress, concubines and princess all bestow gifts, in addition to the gifts by government officials and army officers, the gifts piled as high as a mountain.
Once the reward was complete, Xiao Feng return to the Southern Chancellery to supervise affairs. Dozens tribe chief in Liao Empire all came to pay their respects, the Crow tribe, Morality tribe, North tribe, South tribe, Shiwei tribe, Ancient Plum tribe, Five Nation tribe, WuLa tribe, etc. Followed by army officers under the command of the Empress, Great Tranquil Palace, Eternal Happiness Palace, Accumulation Palace, Prosperous Palace and various officers from other Palace. Liao Empire is made up of 59 countries, the TuYuHun, Turkey, Tangut, ShaTuo, Persia, DaShi, Urghur, Tibet, GaoChang, Korea, YuQu, Dunhuang, etc. All these countries have their envoys in the capital, once they learn that Xiao Feng carried the most weight, and have the highest authority over the armed forces, they all came bearing rare gifts to curry favours with him. Xiao Feng had to meet guests and subordinates every day, all he saw was endless treasures, and all he ever heard was fabricated flattery and praises.
He was kept occupied for over a month and YeLu HongJi summoned him into the main Palace and said: "Brother, your official post is the Lord of Southern Chancellery, you have to be based in Nanjing and wait for opportunity to conquer the Central Plains. As your brother I do not wish to part with you, but in order to establish an outstanding Empire that last for thousands of generation, it's best if you lead your troops and head down south as soon as possible!"
Xiao Feng heard the emperor ordered him to lead an expedition to conquer south and he was startled, he said: "Your Majesty, this south expedition is an important matter, it's an extremely serious affair. Xiao Feng is only one man, the troops are not ready for this task."
YeLu HongJi laughed: "Our Empire recently met a misfortune, we need time to recuperate our troops. The Great Song is currently governed by their Empress Dowager, they rely heavily on Sima Guang to manage state affairs, there is no weakness to take advantage of, we cannot conquer south at this moment. Brother, once you are at Nanjing, you have to constantly keep the matter of annexing the Song in your mind. We will only move in when there is internal dispute, if you notice any turn of events, lead all your troops and conquer south. If there is nothing wrong with their internal affairs and we forcefully invade, we will waste much effort and reap less benefit."
Xiao Feng replied: "Yes, this should be the way." HongJi said: "But how do we know if the Song is being governed properly, or if the citizens are really willing to submit?" Xiao Feng said: "Your Majesty please enlighten me." HongJi laugh and said: "This have always been the norm, use gold and silver to bribe spies. The south people are greedy, there are many despicable and shameless people, order your Chancellor to spare no expense in giving treasure, bribe as many people as you can."
Xiao Feng accepted the orders and left the Palace, his heart was troubled. He have always been associated with heroes and brave men, the martial world is dark and dangerous, he have seen plenty of schemes that involves setting ambush and putting poison, these schemes are straight forward and direct in killing people but he have never tried to use gold and silver in bribing people. Besides, although he is a citizen of Liao Empire, but he grew up in southern Song, the emperor gave him the mission to conquer the Song, but he is extremely reluctant to carry it out, he pondered: "Brother made me the Lord of Southern Chancellery, it's his way of showing how he valued our brotherhood. If I resign from my post now, I will fail to live up to his great kindness and damage our brotherly ties. I should go to Nanjing first and wait for a year or so, I will then ask for resignation. If by then he does not approve, I will simply slip away and escape, there nothing he can do to hold me back." Immediately he led his subordinates and brought along AhZi and they went to Nanjing.
The Nanjing of Liao Empire is also known as Beijing (China) in modern times. At that time it was known as Yanjing, also known as Youdou, the capital of You Province. After Shi JingTang declare himself emperor, he gained the full support of Liao Empire, Shi JingTang then ceded sixteen prefectures to Liao as repayment. The sixteen prefectures are You, Ji, Zhuo, Shun, Tan, Ying, Mo, Xin, Gui, Ru, Wu, Wei, Yun, Ying, HouZhou, the Song Dynasty fought three generations for it but they never manage to recover the land. The sixteen prefectures occupied strategic positions, the Liao Empire stationed large number of troops there, every time they attack southern Song, they can push in deep and the Song did not have any strategic points for defence. Song and Liao have fought for over 100 years, the Song only won once, it's not because of soldiers or equipment, but due to the strategic position occupied by the Liao which allows them to gain huge advantage and control the battlefield.
Xiao Feng and his party arrived within the city, the street of Nanjing city was wide, markets and restaurants bustled with activities, its far superior to the capital, the passersby are all people from southern Song, and all he heard was chats in langue of Central Plains, it was as if he returned back to Central Plains. Both Xiao Feng and AhZi like it very much, the next day they dressed simply and blended with the crowd, they toured and explored the markets and streets.
The city Yanjing (Nanjing) spanned 36 li, there are a total of eight gates. To the east is Safe Eastern Gate and Winter Jasmine Gate; South is Rising Sun Gate and Red Phoenix Gate; West is Illustrious West Gate and Tranquil Gate; North is Connecting Heaven Gate and Encircle Vibration Gate. The reason why the north gates are known as Connecting Heaven, and Encircle Vibration, is to signify unshakable allegiance to Liao and to obey the decree of the emperor. The residence of the Lord of Southern Chancellery is southwest of the city. Xiao Feng and AhZi explored the city for half a day, but there were endless city squares, shrines, temples, government office, and they could not possibly finish exploring them all in such a short time.
Xiao Feng official post is the Lord of Southern Chancellery, the sixteen prefectures naturally came under his jurisdiction, even the DaTong prefecture in the west region and DaDing prefecture in the central region are all under his command. The prestige and power he holds is heavy, it's not feasible for him to continue living in a small tent, and thus he was forced to live in his official residence. After supervising the work for a few days, he felt fatigued and light-head, he was feeling extremely bitter, he saw his Chancellor YeLu MoGe was intelligent and capable, skilled in managing government affairs, and thus he delegated all the work to YeLu MoGe.
Regardless, there are numerous perks that come with his high official post, there is unlimited supply of precious tonic and medicines in the Lord's residence, AhZi can simply eat medicine for all three meals and her injuries recovered day by day, on early winter, she can finally walk by herself. She toured Yanjing city many times, assisted by an attendant, she also explored 10 li outside the city.
On this day the weather was clear, AhZi wore a mink coat and came to Xiao Feng's residence and said: "Brother-in-law, I am bored staying in the city, accompany me to go hunting."
After staying for such a long time in the Chancellery Xiao Feng was also bored, after listening to her proposal he was excited, immediately he ordered his subordinates to prepare the horses for the hunting trip. He dislike hunting with a large-scale party, and thus he only took a few attendant to take care of AhZi, he feared the citizens might a make a big fuss when they see him and he changed into sheepskin robes worn by common soldiers, he carried a bow and a bag of arrows, he rode a horse, along with AhZi they exit the Tranquil Gate and gallop west.
The hunting party travelled 10 li away from the city, and they only hunted a few small rabbits. Xiao Feng said: "Let's try heading towards south." He turned his horse and rode towards south, again they travelled for over 20 li, suddenly they saw a river deer running across. AhZi took out her bow and arrow and pulled the bowstring, but it turns out that her arm did not contain any strength, she can't draw the bow at all. Xiao Feng's left hand reach out behind her and gripped the bow, his right hand grasp her hand and they pulled the bowstring, once they release the string, there was a "Sou" sound and an arrow flew out, the deer was hit and collapsed immediately. Everyone cheered.
Xiao Feng released his grip and smiled at AhZi, but he saw tears brimming in her eyes, curious he ask: "What happen? You don't like me to help you shoot the wild animal? "Tears flow down AhZi's cheek and she said: "I ... I became a disabled person, such a light bow...I can't even draw it." Xiao Feng consoled her: "Don't be so impatient, your strength will return slowly. If in the future it still does not return, I teach you internal energy cultivation method, it will definitely increase your strength." AhZi smiled through her tears and said: "You must keep your promise, you will definitely teach me internal energy cultivation." Xiao Feng replied: "Yes, Yes, I will definitely teach you."
As he was speaking, suddenly the sound of horse's hoof came from the south, a large troop came galloping on the snow covered ground. Xiao Feng gaze towards the direction where the sound came from, the troops were all Liao soldiers, yet they were striking their banners. The troops were clamouring and singing, apparently they are celebrating, many captives are tied to the back of their horses, it seems they just returned from a victorious battle. Xiao Feng pondered: "We are not waging war with anyone, what battle did they return from?" seeing the troops head east and returning to the city, he said to his subordinate: "You go ask that group of people, what are they doing here?"
His subordinate replied: "Affirmative!" he rode towards the troop and said: "Brothers have you returned from raiding the common people?"
He reached the troop and they exchange a few words. The troop heard that the Lord of Southern Chancellery is here, they cheered loudly, dismounted from their horses and guided it, they quickly walk towards Xiao Feng, bowed down and salute, they chorus in unison: "Long live your Highness!"
Xiao Feng raise his hand and returned the greeting, he said: "Dispense the formality!" he saw there were about 800 soldiers, their horses carried silk clothes and various artefacts, the horses were also pulling 700 to 800 captives, mostly young women, some juvenile man, all wearing Song attire, all of them weeping and wailing.
The captain of the troop said: "Today it's our HeiLaDu troops turn to raid the common people, owing to your Highness good fortune, we had a good raid." He turn his back and said: "Everyone bring out the best looking young girl, the best treasures and offer it, we invite his Highness to pick and use." The troops replied: "Affirmative!" they dragged 20 young ladies towards Xiao Feng and piled various ornaments on a felt sheet. The troops gaze at Xiao Feng, their eyes filled with respect and hope, it would be their greatest honour if the Lord of Southern Chancellery accepts the women and ornaments.
On the day Xiao Feng was at Yanmen Gate, he saw soldiers of Great Song capturing Khitan's citizens, and now it's the soldiers of Liao capturing citizens of Great Song, the captives expression were miserable, no different from prisoners. The Liao Empire does not supply rations to troops, nor do they pay salary to troops, all the needs of the troops have to be robbed from enemy, they send troops daily to Great Song, Western Xia, Jurchen, Korea, and various neighbouring countries to rob the citizens, the act is termed "Beating The Grass Valley", in fact, it's no different from common robberies. To retaliate, troops from Great Song raid the citizens of Liao and they termed it "Beating The Standing Valley". Thus citizens living near the borders suffered extra hardships, they live in fear daily, not knowing if they will get to see the next morning. Xiao Feng always felt the method was cruel and immoral, he did not intend to serve for long as an official, his only humouring YeLu HongJi for a while before resigning and living in seclusion, thus he did not interfered or make a strong stand in the country's affairs, as he witnessed the miserable plight of the captives, he cannot help but feel sad and ask: "This raid....where did you carry out this raid?"
The captain said respectfully: "Reporting to your Highness, we raided outside the ZhuoZhou region, near the borders of Great Song. After the arrival of your Highness, subordinates dare not raid the regions near here for provisions."
Xiao Feng thought: "Listening to his words, it seems they used to raid the Song citizens here." He advanced his horse and spoke in Chinese: "Where are you from?" a maiden knelt down and cried: "I am from the Zhang village, I beg your Highness for mercy, release me and let me reunite with my parents." Xiao Feng raised his head and look at the rest of the people. Hundreds of captives all knelt down, only one juvenile man stood upright and refuse to kneel.
The youth was around 16 years old, his face elongated, with a tapered chin, his expression was wavering and uncertain, Xiao Feng ask: "Boy, where do you live?" The youth replied: "I have an important secret, I have to tell you face to face." Xiao Feng said: "Fine, come over and tell me." The hand of the youth was bound by thick ropes, he said: "Please move away from your subordinates, this matter cannot be heard by others." Xiao Feng curiosity was piqued and he pondered: "Such a young boy, what kind of important secret he holds? Yes, he came from the south, he may have information pertaining to the military movements in Great Song." The boy was a citizen of Song, by revealing secrets to Khitan, he will be a shameless traitor, Xiao Feng scorn such people but since the boy said he holds important secrets, there's no harm in listening, he rode forward 10 zhang and beckoned: "Come over here!"
The boy followed, raising his hands he said: "Please cut the ropes binding my hands, I wish to present an item I kept in my bosom." Xiao Feng unsheathe his sabre and chop straight ahead, the force in this chop was sufficient to split the boy in half, but the sabre's positioning was extremely accurate, it only cut the ropes binding the boy's hands. The youth had a huge shock, he retreated two steps, and gaze blankly at Xiao Feng. Xiao Feng smiled, sheathe his sabre, and ask: "What is the item?"
The youth stick his hands into his bosom, felt the item and said: "You will know once you see it." And he walked towards Xiao Feng. Xiao Feng stretch out his hand to receive it.
Suddenly, the youth threw the item fiercely at Xiao Feng's face. Xiao Feng wave his whip and struck down the item, white powder came flying out, the item was just a small cloth bag. The bag fell on the floor and white powder spilled out of the bag, it was quicklime. This shameless item is used by despicable thieves in the martial world, if the powder landed on a person's face, the quicklime will irritate the eyes and the person will eventually be blinded forever.
Xiao Feng groaned and pondered: "This boy is bold, it seems his not a traitor." He nod his head and said: "What is your name? Why do you seek to harm me? "the boy closed his lips firmly and did not answer. Xiao Feng said in an amiable manner: "Just tell me the truth, I will spare you life." The youth said: "I failed in taking revenge for my parents, what is left to say." Xiao Feng said: "Who is your parents? Did I really kill them?"
The youth took two steps forward, his expression full of grief and anger, pointing to Xiao Feng he shouted loudly: "Qiao Feng! You killed my father, mother and my uncle, I... I can't wait to eat your meat, skin you and remove your tendon, dismember you into pieces!"
Xiao Feng listen to the boy used his old name, "Qiao Feng", and that he killed his parents and uncle, it must be former enemies from the Central Plains, he ask: "Who is your uncle? Who is your father?"
The boy replied: "Since I don't want to live anymore, I will let you know, the men from You family of JuXian village are not afraid of death."
Xiao Feng made an "Oh!" sound and said: "So you are the nephew of the You brothers, your father is You Ju second master You, right?" he paused for a while and continued: "That day I was surrounded by numerous heroes in the manor, I was forced to fight, it is not something within my control. Your father and uncle died by committing suicide." as he said this he shook his head and continued: "Sigh, they lost their shield and this forced them to commit suicide. What is your name?"
The boy straightens his body, and said loudly: "I am called You TanZhi, I don't need you to kill me, I will follow my uncle and father good example!" his right hand reached into his trouser and took out a short-knife, he plunge it at his chest. Xiao Feng waved his whip, wrapped it around the knife and seized it. You TanZhi was furious and shouted: "I am not even allowed to commit suicide? You damnable Liao dog, aren't you too vicious!"
At this moment, AhZi had reached Xiao Feng's side and she shouted: "You little punk, you dare to insult people? You want to die? Hehe, it won't be so easy!" Upon seeing such a delicate beautiful lady, You TanZhi was stunned and rendered speechless. AhZi said: "The punk called Zhi, later you will know what it feels like to be blind." She turned and said to Xiao Feng: "Brother-in-law, this kid is so vicious, he tried to harm you with quicklime, we will use this quicklime to blind both his eyes before deciding how to deal with him."
Xiao Feng shook his head, he said to the captain of the troops: "The Song captives you captured during the raid, can you give them all to me?" The captain was overjoyed and said: "You Highness honoured me with your presence, I would like to thank your Highness for bestowing kindness." Xiao Feng said: "All those who hand over the captives, go back to my residence and claim your reward." The troops said happily: "We sincerely dedicate it to your Highness, we do not require reward." Xiao Feng said: "Leave the captives here and return back to the city, remember to claim your rewards." The troops bowed and gave their thanks, the captain said: "There are many wild beasts out here, is your Highness using these Song pigs as live targets? The previous Prince of Chu likes to do this. Unfortunately, we mostly caught aunties and old ladies, they can't run fast. Next time we will catch able-bodied Song pigs for your Highness." he bowed and left with his troops.
"Using these Song pigs as live targets", these words drilled into his ears, Xiao Feng cannot help but feel startled, he could visualize the cruel actions of the previous Prince of Chu: A few hundred Song people howling and running around like wild beasts, the Khitan nobles laughing, drawing their bows, shooting and killing the people one by one. Some Song people fled to the distant, the Khitan will chase with their horses, akin to shooting deer or fox, they will kill every single person. This kind of cruel stuff, the Khitan narrated it as if it was no big deal, it must be a common practice. He looks at the captives, their face yellowed and they shivered under the cold wind. Some of these captives understood Khitan's language, they heard of "Shooting live human targets" before, they are scared out of their wits.
Xiao Feng gave a long sigh, looking south at the layers upon layers of clouds hovering at the mountains, he pondered: "If my parentage was not revealed, today, I will still treat myself as citizen of Great Song. We speak the same language, eat the same food, how am I different from them? Everyone is human, but why do we insist on differentiating Khitan people, Great Song, Jurchen, Korea? You come to my borders to raid, I go to your borders to murder and commit arson? You curse me as Liao dogs? I curse you as Song pigs?" his thoughts keep gushing forth like tidal waves.
Seeing the troops that captured the captives had all left without a trace, he said to the captives: "I'll release you today, run quickly!" the captives thought Xiao Feng was making them run before shooting arrows and killing them, they hesitate and did not move. Xiao Feng said again: "After returning home, move far away from the borders so as not to get captured during the raid. I saved you this time, but I may not be able to save you the next time."
Now the captives believed his words, the applauses was thunderous, they knelt down and kowtow: "The kindness of your Highness is as high as a mountain, we will go back home and pray for your everlasting health and fortune." They knew that once they got captured during the raid, unless they are wealthy people who can bribe with gold and silk, they will surely die without a trace. Song and Liao have been warring for successive years, the wealthy families had long escaped to mainland. All these captives are poor people, where would they find gold and silk to redeem their life? They knew their fate was far worse than oxen and horses, but this Lord from Liao Empire actually released them back home, they were really overjoyed at this unexpected news.
Xiao Feng saw their happy expression, they help and supported each other to travel back south, he pondered: "My Khitan people captured and drag them here, now I release them back, they have to suffer many hardships along the way, how did I show them any kindness?"
The captives gradually walked far away, but You TanZhi was still standing upright, Xiao Feng said: "Why aren't you leaving? You are returning to Central Plains, do you have enough money?" he stretch his hand into his bosom, wanting to give him some gold or silver, but he did not carry any money, but as he felt around he retrieved a small oilcloth bag. Xiao Feng heart soured, contained in this oilcloth bag is a Sanskrit version of Tendon-Changing Sutra, it was stolen by AhZhu from Shaolin Temple, and she insisted that he kept it, now she is dead but the Sutra is still around, how it is not sad? He promptly kept the oilcloth bag back into his bosom and said: "I don't have any valuables with me now, if you need money, you can follow me back to the city."
You TanZhi said loudly: "The one surnamed Qiao, kill me if you want, cut this act, why disgrace me further with these schemes? Even if I die of poverty, how can I even take a single cent from you?"
Xiao Feng thought his words were correct, he did cause his father death, there's a saying that one cannot live under the same sky as one's enemy, this hatred cannot be eliminated, it's pointless to argue further, he replied: "I won't kill you! If you want revenge, you are welcome to try anytime."
AhZi said: "Brother-in-law, you can't release him! This kid won't use proper skills when duelling you, he will only use contemptible dirty tricks. You need to destroy the source of trouble so as to avoid future disaster."
Xiao Feng shook his head: "Difficulties are everywhere in the martial world, every step is perilous, but I survive them all. This young man won't be able to harm me. That day I angered his uncle and father into committing suicide, although it is unintentional, but I will always owe this blood debt, why harm the nephew of the You brothers? "as he said this, his enthusiasm dulled and he said: "Lets just go back, there's nothing much to hunt today."
AhZi pout and thought: "I just had a great idea to torment this boy, it's really interesting! But you insist on releasing him, once I return to the city, what is left to play?" but she dare not defy Xiao Feng's words, she turn her horse and followed Xiao Feng back, after travelling for a few zhang, she turn her head back and said: "Boy, go back and practise you martial arts for 100 years before you seek revenge from my brother-in-law!" she gave a girlish smile, cracked her whip and gallop off quickly.
Chapter - 28 Vegetation Surviving, Skull Casted In Iron
You TanZhi saw Xiao Feng and his party travelled north, they did not turn back at all, only then was he certain that he won't die, he pondered: "Why did that traitor not kill me? Hmmm, he look down on me, and thought that killing me will dirty his hands. He...he became some kind of Lord in Liao Empire, it would be even more difficult for me to take revenge from now on. But at least i found the whereabouts of this traitor."
He lean down to pick up the quicklime bag, and went to look for the short-knife thrown aside by Xiao Feng's horsewhip, suddenly he saw an oilcloth bag within the left vegetation, it was the exact same bag retrieved by Xiao Feng from his bosom, he picked it up immediately and open the bag, inside was a book, he flipped the pages of the book, every page had curvy writings, he did not understand a single word from the writings. When Xiao Feng saw this oilcloth bag he was thinking of someone else, he was absent minded, when he put this Tendon-Changing Sutra back into his bosom he didn't secure it properly, when his horse jolted off, the book just dropped into the vegetation and he didn't realize it at all.
You TanZhi thought to himself: "This is most probably Khitan text. The traitor carried this book with him personally, it must be something greatly valuable to him. I won't return it to him, let him worry about it, which is a good thing." He felt a faint sense of satisfaction of revenge, he put the book back into the oilcloth bag and kept it in his bosom and then travelled south.
At an early age he learnt martial arts from his father, but he had a thin and frail body, and weak muscular strength, he was totally incompatible for the strong and fierce martial arts style of the You brothers, after learning martial arts for three years, his progress was minimal, he can't claim to be the son of a famous martial arts master with his level of skill. As he learn till he was 12 years old, You Ju was dishearten and he discussed with his brother You Ji. Both of them agreed: "Our You family produced this kind of three-legged-cat skill, won't people laugh until they mouth become slanted? Moreover, if people know his the son and nephew of the Twin-You-Heroes of the JuXian manor, they won't hold back and use their full strength, they will kill him with a single stroke. It would be better to let him study literature so as to preserve him life." Thus from the age of 12, You TanZhi stopped learning martial arts and You Ju hired a tutor to teach him how to study.
But he did not concentrate while studying, he was always imagining and day dreaming. His teacher said: "Student Zhi, while learning, is it not a pleasure?" he replied: "It depends on what you are learning, Father taught me boxing, i was happy while learning." The teacher fumed: "Confucius was referring to scholarly learning, life great undertaking, when did he referred to boxing and playing with spears?" You TanZhi replied: "Fine, you curse my father and uncle, you say my father is not a good man because he box and play with spears, i will go tell my father." And he eventually drove the teacher away in anger. This went on and he continually drove all his teachers away in anger, You Ju gave his son several beatings, but he became even more obstinate and mischievous after each beating. You Ju saw his son was unworthy, stubborn and difficult to teach, he was at a loss, he could only give a long sigh and pay no notice. Thus, You TanZhi is 18 years old now, although he came from a famous family, he was neither proficient in literature nor martial arts. His uncle and father committed suicide, his mother bangs her head on a pillar to die with her husband, he was alone and helpless, and wandered around aimlessly, all he ever thought was to seek Xiao Feng for revenge.
That day at the battle at JuXian manor, he hid behind a screen wall and observed the battle, he saw clearly Qiao Feng's appearance and shape, and heard that he was a Khitan, he was muddle-headed and just went searching north, along the way he saw a petty thief using quicklime to blind his enemy, he felt this was a good method, he copied him and made a quicklime package. He was loitering around the borders when the Khitans captured him during their raid, unexpectedly he met Xiao Feng, and he even manage to throw the quicklime package, it can be said his lucky to the extreme.
He pondered: "Right now the most important thing is to escape as far as possible, don't let him capture me. I'll catch a poisonous snake or big centipede, then i will put it on his bed, when his sleeping the bugs will bite him to death. That young lady ... that young lady, alas, she ... she is so beautiful!"
As he thought of AhZi's appearance. His chest heated up for no reason, and his face felt like an oven, he pondered: "I don't know when i will get to see her pale face, the delicate and elegant young lady."
He hung his head and took big steps, after a while he overtook the group of captives released by Xiao Feng. Some of them invited him to travel with the group but he ignored them and travelled alone. After walking for 10 li, his stomach groaned in hunger, he look around for something to eat, but there was nothing except withered grass and snow on the grass plains, he pondered: "If only i was a cow or sheep, i can eat the grass and drink the snow water, i will be so happy. En, but if i am a little lamb, other people will slaughter my mother and father, the 2 old lamb, and eat them, then should i take revenge? I cannot live under the same sky as my enemy, of course i have to take revenge. But how should i do it? Use my 2 horns to bang those people that killed my parents? But these people rear animals for the purpose of eating them, where is the logic in revenge?"
He was letting his imagination run wild, suddenly he heard the sound of horse's hoof, three Khitan soldiers came riding on horses, once they saw him, there was a rustle sound and they slip a lasso over his neck, they pulled and the rope tighten. You TanZhi could not maintain his footing and fell down, the soldiers drag him away. You TanZhi gave a few blood-curdling scream, immediately the rope around his neck tightens further and he could not scream anymore.
The Khitan soldiers were afraid the rope might strangle him to death, and they immediately slow the horse steps. You TanZhi struggled and got up from the ground, he loosen the lasso around his neck. A Khitan soldier gave a strong tug, You TanZhi staggered and almost fell down again. The three Khitan soldiers laughed at him. The soldier holding onto the ropes said a few words to You TanZhi. You TanZhi did not understand Khitan, he shook his head. The solider wave his hand and the horse move off again, but this time it did not gallop off quickly. You TanZhi was afraid of being strangled by the ropes and lose his breath, he walk two steps and run three steps to follow the soldiers.
He saw the three Khitan soldiers heading north, he was afraid: "Qiao Feng only worded it nicely, he said he would release me, but in a blink of an eye he ordered his subordinates to capture me back, how will i survive?" After leaving home and heading north, all he ever thought of was revenge, he did not know the impossibility of the task, when he saw Xiao Feng, the tragic death of his parents muddled his head, with a burst of effort he thought of using quicklime to blind him, and then he will use the short-knife to stab him to death. But he failed on the first strike and lost his drive, he immediately thought of escaping but he got captured by Khitan soldiers again.
Originally when he was captured during the initial raid, he was mixed into the crowd, he only got hit once on his back by the back of a blade. But the situation now is vastly different, he staggered and collided with objects as he was dragged along, he was breathless, he fell down every ten steps, every time he falls, the lasso will leave another bloodstained line on the back of his neck. The Khitans did not stop for even a moment, they did not care about his safety and dragged him straight back into Nanjing city. When he entered the city, You TanZhi was drenched with blood, he prayed that he could simply die instead of suffering this misery.
The three Khitan soldiers travelled for a few li in the city, they dragged him before a huge house, You TanZhi saw the floor was covered with bluestone tiles, the pillars were thick and doors were high, he don't know where he was. After waiting for less than the time required to brew tea, the soldier holding the rope rode his horse and entered a huge courtyard, suddenly he gave a whistle, the horse gallop off quickly. You TanZhi did not expect this, the soldier went around the courtyard three times, the horse gallop faster and faster, around ten soldiers were cheering and spectating at the sides. You TanZhi thought: "It seems they want to drag me around till i die!" his forehead, limbs and body collided with the bluestone floor, he was aching everywhere.
Among the laughter of the Khitan soldiers, there was a crisp laughter of a female mixed in. You TanZhi was drowsy, he faintly heard the female laugh and said: "Ha ha, i am afraid this human-kite won't fly at all!" You TanZhi pondered: "What human-kite?"
At this moment, the rope tighten around the back of his neck, his body rise up in the air, he finally understood, the soldier was galloping fast with the horse in order to lift him up in the air, he was treated like a kite to be played around.
His body was high up in the air, the back of his neck had already lost all feelings from the pain. His nose and mouth was buffeted by the wind, he had difficulties breathing, but he heard the woman clapped and laughed: "Very good! Very good! The human-kite really flew!" You TanZhi looked towards the origin of the voice, the woman was wearing purple robe and was a beautiful young lady. Upon seeing her, his chest was excited, he don't know if it was due to happiness or sadness, as he flew around in the air, he was incapable of thinking.
The beautiful young lady is AhZi. When she saw Xiao Feng released You TanZhi, she was unhappy, after riding for a distance, she deliberately lagged behind and instructed her attendant to quietly capture You TanZhi, and they cannot reveal this matter to Xiao Feng. The followers all knew that Lord Xiao was very doting towards her, thus they accepted her orders, they pretended to adjusts the belt buckle of the horse's saddle, once Xiao Feng travelled far away, they turn back and pursued You TanZhi. When AhZi return to Nanjing, she waited at a temple far away from Xiao Feng's residence. When You TanZhi was successfully captured, she consulted the Khitan for any fresh ideas on torturing people. Someone suggested "fly human-kite". This idea appealed to AhZi, she ordered You TanZhi to be flown as kite and it unexpectedly worked.
Watching from below, AhZi found it interesting and she kept cheering, she said: "Let me fly it!" she mounted the horse of the soldier and took over the rope, she said: "Dismount!"
The soldier dismounted the horse and allowed AhZi to fly the "human-kite", AhZi pulled the rope and went a few rounds on the horse, she laughed loudly and cheered repeatedly: "Interesting! Interesting!" but she had just recovered from a heavy injury, her hand was devoid of strength, once her wrist weakens, the rope sags and You TanZhi crash heavily on the bluestone floor with a "Peng" sound, his forehead collide with a sharp edge of a rock, immediately the wound cave in and blood gush out. AhZi was extremely disappointed, she fumed: "This stupid kid is so heavy!"
You TanZhi nearly fainted from the pain, as he listen to her complain about his weight, he wanted to explain but the pain was so bad that he can't say a single word, a Khitan soldier walk over and undid the ropes around his neck, another Khitan soldier tore of his clothes and randomly bandaged his wounds, fresh blood ooze continuously from his wounds, how can it be stopped?
AhZi said: "His fine, his fine! Let's keep on playing, send him up again, as high up in the air as possible." You TanZhi did not understand the Khitan language coming from her, but he saw her making gestures, pointing at his head, he knew it was something bad.
Sure enough, a solider picked up the rope, he looped the rope around his armpit and then around his body, he didn't loop around his neck to avoid strangling him, he gave a shout: "Rise!" and sped off on his horse, he dragged You TanZhi on the ground for a few rounds and eventually You TanZhi flew into the air again. The soldier gradually released the rope and You TanZhi flew higher and higher.
The Khitan soldier abruptly loosen his grip, with a whizzing sound You TanZhi flew like an arrow that has been fired off a bow, he flew high up in the air. AhZi and the rest of the soldiers were cheering and applauding. You TanZhi was unwilling but his body only flew higher and higher, he thought in his heart: "I will really die this time!"
The ascending thrust force gradually died off, he plunge straight down back to earth head-first, in a few more moment his head will smash against the bluestone floor, four Khitan soldiers simultaneously sent out their lasso, they wrap it round his waist and pull in all four direction. You TanZhi fainted immediately, but the force coming from all four directions suspended him in mid-air, his head was 3 feet off the ground. This manoeuvre is dangerous to the extreme, if one of the lassoes was sent out a bit slow, the force will not balance out, and You TanZhi's brain will definitely burst. The Khitan soldiers practiced this trick on the Song people, the captives all became human-kite, 8-9 out of 10 will smash head-first on the ground, although the ground on the grass plain is soft, plummeting down from height, even if their head did not crack open, they neck will also break, and they will die on the spot.
As everyone was celebrating, the four Khitan soldier released You TanZhi from the ropes. AhZi took out her silvers and rewarded every soldier with 5 silvers. The soldiers gave their thanks. They ask: "Miss, you want to play something else?"
AhZi saw You TanZhi had already fainted, she don't know if his dead or alive, she exerted excessive force when flying the "human-kite", and now her chest hurts badly, she did not have any strength to carry on playing, she replied: "Enough fun for today. Bring this kid to see me tomorrow if he survives, i think of something to wear him down. This person wants to plot against Lord Xiao, we can't let him die too easily." The soldiers agreed in unison, they carried off the blood-soaked You TanZhi.
When You TanZhi woke up, he smell a mouldy odour, he open his eyes but all he could see was darkness, he first thought was: "Am i dead?" immediately he felt pain all over his body, he was extremely thirsty. His voice was hoarse and he said: "Water! Water!" but who will even care about him?
After calling out a few times, he felt drowsy and he fell asleep, suddenly he saw his uncle and father fighting with Qiao Feng, blood was flowing everywhere, he saw his mother cradling him in her arms, comforting him gently, asking him to be not afraid. He saw AhZi, her beautiful face, her bright eyes emitting a strange light. Her face suddenly narrowed into a triangle and became the head of a snake, sticking out its blood-red long-tongue, exposing its fangs as it bites him. You TanZhi struggled, but he can't move, the snake bite him on his hands, legs, neck, everywhere, the bite on his forehead was especially painful. He saw his flesh being bitten off, he wanted to scream but he couldn't......
He toss and turn around the whole night, he was tortured when he was awake, and now he felt pain and suffering in his dreams.
The next day, two Khitan soldiers hauled him off to see AhZi, he had high fever and it did not subside, he took a step and immediately collapsed. The two Khitan soldiers supported his left and right shoulder, they reproach him loudly and dragged him into a large house. You TanZhi pondered: "Where are they dragging me? Am i going to be beheaded?" he was drowsy, he found it difficult to think properly, he pass by two set of doors and he stopped outside a hall. The two soldiers reported their arrival outside the hall, a female voice acknowledged from inside, they open the door to the hall and supported him in.
You TanZhi raise his head, there was a huge decorative carpet in the hall, sitting on a cushion at the end was a beautiful young girl, it was AhZi. Both her feet were resting on the carpet. When You TanZhi saw her snow white crystal-like feet, it was really like smooth jade, it was as soft as satin, his heart was thumping fiercely, his eye fixed firmly on her feet, the flesh on the back of her feet was transparent, several veins were faintly reflected, he really wants to stretch out his hand to touch it. The two Khitan soldiers released him. You TanZhi swayed left and right, and finally maintained his footing. His gaze did not leave AhZi's feet, he saw her ten toes nails are pale red, it was like ten flower petals.
AhZi looked at him, all she saw was an ugly dirty youth, his face was twisted, jaws protruding, but his eyes glowed with greedy flames. She immediately thought of an injured and hungry wolf, when she was at XingXiu Sea, she and her two martial-brothers would go hunting, she shot a hungry wolf, but she failed to kill it. That wolf suffered serious injuries and stared at her venomously, the expression was exactly the same as You TanZhi's gaze, the wolf wanted to pounce on her and bite her to death, although it can't jump it still bared a dense row of fangs, howling with anger, but You TanZhi is simply too weak, he doesn't resist at all, it really not interesting. Yesterday, he threw quicklime at Xiao Feng, and he refused to kneel, his manner and speech was stubborn, he refused money from Xiao Feng, AhZi liked it very much, she thought he must be a ferocious and powerful wild beast. She wants to torture him, she wants to cover him with injuries, and when his injured she want him to ferociously fight back and bite her, of course he cannot be allowed to succeed with his bite. But when she captured him and flew him as a "human-kite", this wild beast did not fight back, he gave a dead look, that was not fun at all. She frown and pondered: "How should i torment him so that it will be fun?"
Suddenly, You TanZhi made two "He He" sound, a burst of strength came out of nowhere, like a leopard he pounced towards AhZi, grabbing her calf, he lowered his head and kiss the back of her feet. AhZi had a huge shock, she screamed. Two Khitan soldiers and four slave girls serving AhZi shouted in unison and they rush forward to pull him away.
But You TanZhi firmly held onto her calf and refused to let go. The Khitan soldier gave a tug and AhZi was pulled off the cushion seat and she fell onto the carpet mat. The two soldiers was shock and angry, they dare not pull again, one soldier hit his back, the other soldier hit his face. The injuries on You TanZhi swelled, his fever had not yet subside, he was in a confused state, it was as if his crazy, he did not notice anything in front of him. He firmly held onto AhZi's feet.
AhZi felt his hot dry lips on her feet, she was frightened, but she also felt a strange itching sensation, she screamed: "Ah Yo! His biting my toes." She hurriedly said to the two soldiers: "Quickly back off, this man is crazy, Ah Yo, do not let him bite my toes." You TanZhi was biting her toes gently, although AhZi felt pain, she was more afraid that he might forcefully bite down, in her flurried state, she knew he cannot be stopped with brute force, she feared that if the soldiers carry on their beatings he will really bite down randomly.
The two soldiers did not have any ideas to handle him and they could only release him. AhZi cried: "Stop biting, I'll spare your life, Ai Yo, i will release you." Currently You TanZhi is in a deranged state, how would he register what she said? A Khitan soldier grabbed his sabre and withdrew it from the scabbard, he did not want to hesitate anymore and was going to chop it at You TanZhi's neck to cut off his head.
AhZi said: "Hey! You are not a wild beast, why are you biting people? Quickly release you mouth, i will ask someone to tend to your wounds and release you back to Central Plains." You TanZhi still ignored her, he did not exert strength in his bite and didn't injure her, his hands was gently fondling her feet, he was in a dream-like state, he became a human-kite again, flying high up into the clouds.
A Khitan soldier suddenly had a brainwave, he clutched You TanZhi's throat. When You TanZhi's throat was caught, his mouth open involuntary. AhZi quickly withdrew her leg and took out her toes from his mouth, she stood up, fearing that he might go crazy and start biting again, she hid her feet behind the cushions. Two Khitan soldiers caught hold of You TanZhi, they raise their fist and strike his chest repeatedly. After ten fists, he gave two "Wa Wa" sounds and spurt a few mouthful of fresh blood, the blood stained the brightly-coloured carpet.
AhZi said: "Stop, stop hitting!" After this thrilling experience, she felt this kid was pretty weird and interesting, she didn't want to kill him immediately. The Khitan soldiers stayed their hands and stopped hitting. AhZi sat cross-legged on the cushion, her pair of feet under her buttocks, she pondered: "How should i torture him?"
AhZi look up and saw You TanZhi staring at her, she ask: "Why are you staring at me?" You TanZhi had already disregarded his life, he replied: "You are pretty, i like to look at you!" AhZi blushed and thought: "This kid is really bold, he dare to say such frivolous stuff."
But in her entire life, no one has complimented her beauty. When she learnt her skills at XingXiu Sect, her martial-brothers all treated her as a mischievous little girl; when she followed Xiao Feng, he was worried about whether she might cause trouble or if she will die from injury, he didn't care if she was ugly or pretty. You TanZhi spoke bluntly, it was obvious that his praise was honest and sincere, she was secretly overjoyed and pondered: "I will keep him by my side and use him to pass time, that will be pretty good. But brother-in-law said to release him, if he knows i captured him again he will definitely be angry. I can hide the truth today but i can't hide it from him forever. What should i do so that brother-in-law will never know of this matter? I can stop other people from communicating with him but if brother-in-law suddenly comes over to visit me and sees him, what should i do?"
She thought for a moment, suddenly she had an idea: "AhZhu is good at disguise, when she's disguised as father, brother-in-law did not even recognize her. I will give this boy a new appearance, than brother-in-law will surely no recognize him. But if his not willing, after i apply the make-up, he will simply wash it away and return back to his original appearance, won't it be useless?"
She wrinkled her brows, at once she had another idea, she clapped her hand and smiled: "Great idea! Great idea! I will do it!" she spoke to the two Khitan soldiers. The soldiers had some queries and they consulted her again. AhZi gave more details in her explanation, she ordered a maid to retrieve 10 silvers and gave it to the soldiers. The soldiers accepted the silvers, gave a bow and hauled You TanZhi out of the hall.
You TanZhi shouted: "I want to look at her, I want to look at this heartless pretty girl." The Khitan soldiers and the maids did not understand Han language, they don't understand what he is shouting about.
AhZi smiled and look at his figure, she thought her idea was very clever and she was very proud of herself.
You TanZhi was thrown back into the dungeon. At dusk, someone brought a bowl of mutton and a few piece of rice-cake. You TanZhi's fever did not subside, he was sputtering nonsense loudly, the person was so scared that he put down the food and left immediately. You TanZhi did not realize he was hungry and thus he never touch the mutton or rice-cakes.
During the night, three Khitan suddenly came into his dungeon. You TanZhi was drowsy and mentally confuse, but he saw the expressions of these men were peculiar, it's obvious they harboured bad intentions. He vaguely knew something bad was about to happen, he struggled to stand up, wanting to escape. Two Khitan came forward and held him down, they flip his body so that his face is facing the sky. You TanZhi swore at them: "Khitan dogs, go and die, i will cut you into a thousand pieces." Suddenly, the third Khitan was holding onto a white object, it's like cotton, also like snow, he forceful press it against his face. The sensation was wet and cold, his brain cleared, but he was suffocating, he thought: "So you want to seal my seven orifice, you want to suffocate me to death!"
But as he thought of this immediately he knew he guess wrongly, someone gave a few poke to his mouth and nose, he could still breathe, but he could not open his eyes, his face felt wet and greasy, someone was pinching his face, some wet stuff was applied on his face, it could also be mud paste. You TanZhi was in a daze and he thought: "I wonder what kind of bizarre method these villains will employ to kill me?"
After a while, the mud layer on his face was gently peeled off by someone, You TanZhi open his eyes, he saw a face mould made out of wet flour, it was his face. The Khitan handled the mould carefully with both hands, he was afraid of damaging it. You TanZhi curse again: "Stinking Liao dog, you will die without a resting place." The three Khitans ignored him, they took the face mould and left.
You TanZhi suddenly remembered: "Yes, they applied poison on my face, pretty soon, my face will rot, my skin and flesh will drop off, i will become a freak ... " he became more afraid the more he thought about it, he pondered: "Rather than being tortured to death, i should kill myself!" immediately he bang his head against the wall, "Peng Peng" he bang three times. The prison guard heard the sound and rush in, he tied up his hands and feet, You TanZhi was half-dead and could only allowed himself to be restrained.
After several days, he did not felt any pain on his face, it didn't rot, but he was still determined to die, although his hungry, he did not eat any of the food delivered.
In the morning of the fourth day, the three Khitan men returned to his dungeon, they hauled him out. You TanZhi lonely and painful thoughts suddenly made way for sweet thoughts, he thought AhZi was summoning him for more torturing, although his body will suffer, but he could see her beautiful face, he cannot help but reveal a bitter smile.
The three Khitan took him across several alleys, they entered a dim stone house. He saw blazing charcoals at the side of the stone house, a muscular blacksmith was naked above the waist, he was standing next to a large anvil, holding onto a shiny black object, he was examining the object carefully. The three Khitan men hauled You TanZhi to the front of the blacksmith, two men held his hands, the other held his back. The blacksmith turned around, he studied his face and then look at the black object in his hands, he seems to be making some kind of comparison.
You TanZhi looked at the object in the blacksmith's hand, it was a mask made out of wrought iron, there are 4 holes for the mouth, nose and eyes. He thought to himself: "Make this thing for what?" the blacksmith picked up the mask and covered You TanZhi's face. Naturally You TanZhi avoided it by turning his head away, but someone was pressing his head, he could not avoid, the mask covered his face. He felt a freezing sensation on his face, his skin was stuck onto the metal surface, but he found it odd, the mask fitted him perfectly, it seems to be custom-made.
You TanZhi felt odd for only an instant, immediately he understood, he felt a chill down his spine: "AiYa, this mask is indeed custom-made. That day they applied wet-flour on my face, it's the mould for this face mask. They go through so much trouble to create this iron mask, what is their intention? Could it be ..... could it be ....." in his heart he knew the vicious intention of these Khitans, but he did not know the purpose, he dare not think anymore, he struggled to run away.
The blacksmith removed the mask from his face, he nod his head, his expression satisfied. He took a large iron plier and gripped the mask with it, he place the mask in the furnace and heat it until it turns red, his right hand picked up a metal hammer, "Zheng Zheng Zheng" he starts striking, after striking the mask for a while, he stretch his hands and touch You TanZhi's cheekbone and forehead, his correcting the mask to fix the non-identical portions.
You TanZhi shouted: "Damnable Liao dog, you commit evils that go against nature, you are so savage and wicked, God will bring calamity upon you, you will all die! You oxen and horses will drop dead, you babies will die premature!" he cursed and swear, but the Khitan didn't understand a single word. Suddenly the blacksmith turned around. He glared at You TanZhi with a venomous look, he raised the bright red metal plier and poke it towards his eyes. You TanZhi was so scared that he gave a loud shrill.
The blacksmith was just scaring him for fun, he laughed and retracted the plier, he took out a metal curve piece and tested it on the back of You TanZhi's head. Once adjustment was complete, the blacksmith baked the semi-circular iron cover and the mask in the furnance until it turns completely red, he spoke a few words loudly. The three Khitan lifted You TanZhi up, they place him horizontally on a table, his head facing upward. Two extra Khitan came forward to assist, they forcefully pulled his hair, his head can't move at all, these five men press down on his limbs, how can You TanZhi even move an inch?
The blacksmith use the plier to grip the red-hot mask, he stop for a while, waiting for the temperature to cool, he gave a shout and covered it on You TanZhi's face, white smoke rises, odour of burnt flesh dispersed in all directions, You TanZhi screamed and fainted. The five Khitan men flipped his body over, the blacksmith use the plier to grip the iron cover, he press it on the back of his head, the two semi-circular iron cover became an iron sphere, it covered his head. The iron cover is hot to the extreme, once it touches the skin, it will be burnt and be badly mutilated. The blacksmith is the finest ironworker in Yanjing, the two hemisphere combined together flawlessly.
It was as if he went through hell, he experienced being burnt and roasted by raging flames, You TanZhi did not recall the time, and he slowly regained consciousness, but he felt severe pain on his face and the back of his head, it was really hard to endure, and he fainted again. This went on and he fainted three times, and awoke three times, he shouted loudly but his voice is hoarse to the extreme, it didn't sound like human voice anymore.
He lie down and did not move at all, he clenched his teeth and forcefully endured the pain and suffering on his face and head. This went on for two hours, he finally lifted his hands and touch his face, he felt something hard and cold, he correctly guessed it, the iron mask had already covered his head, he was enraged, he pull and jerk the mask, but it was welded firmly at the edges, how can he even remove it? In his desperation and hopelessness, he cried out loudly.
He is still young, although he experienced such sufferings, but he managed to endure it and thus it does not seemed right to just seek death, after a few days, his wounds healed and his pain diminished, he knows he is starving. He smell the fragrant aroma of mutton and rice-cakes, he couldn't resist it and ate it. At this moment he had a clear understanding of the iron mask on his head, he knew the wrought iron mask had sealed his head perfectly, there's no way he can release it, initially he was angry and acted violently but he finally calmed down, he pondered: "This dog traitor Qiao Feng, he covered my face with this iron mask, what is he intentions?"
He thought everything came from Xiao Feng's command, thus he did not suspect that it was AhZi's doing and the purpose of this mask is to hide his identity from Xiao Feng.
All these stuff are done by the captain of the room attendants, under AhZi's suggestion.
AhZi questioned the captain daily on the condition of You TanZhi after he was fitted with the iron mask, initially she was worried that he might die, and all the effort would be wasted, when she heard that he will survive, she was extremely happy. On this day she learnt that Xiao Feng was going to southern outskirts to inspect the troops, immediately she ordered the attendant to summon You TanZhi to the Beginning Fortune Palace. To make Xiao Feng happy, YeLu HongJi conferred AhZi as Beginning Fortune Princess, and this Beginning Fortune Palace was bestowed as her residence.
When AhZi saw You TanZhi's appearance, she cannot help but be overjoyed and it flared from the bottom of her heart, she thought: "My method is effective. With this mask on, even if brother-in-law is standing right next to him, he will definitely not recognize him. " You TanZhi walk forward a few steps, AhZi applauded and said: "Attendant, this mask is well done, take another 50 silvers and reward the blacksmith!" the attendant replied: "Yes! Thank you princess!"
You TanZhi peered out from the two eye-holes in the mask, he saw AhZi facial expression, there was boundless love and innocence, he listen to her sweet and melodious voice, he cannot help but stare at her blankly.
After wearing the mask, AhZi saw his appearance was strange, but she could still tell that he was staring fixedly at her, she ask: "Silly boy, why are you staring at me?" You TanZhi said: "I...i...i don't know. You...you look pretty." AhZi smiled: "After wearing this mask, does it feel comfortable?" You TanZhi replied bitterly: "Do you think its comfortable?" AhZi giggled and said: "I really don't know." She saw that the mouth-hole for the mask is a narrow seam, it's just enough for him to drink and eat, if he wanted to eat meat, he have shred it to pieces before he can push it through the seam, but it's impossible for him to bite her legs again, she laughed: "I put this mask on you so that you will never be able to bite me again."
You TanZhi was overjoyed, he said: "Does Miss want me ... want me ... to frequently stay by your side and serve you?" AhZhi said: "Pei! You are a big bastard. If i keep you by my side, you will constantly think of stuff to harm me, how can i tolerate it?" You TanZhi replied: "I ...... i ...... i will never harm you. My enemy is Qiao Feng." AhZi said: "You want to harm my brother-in-law? Isn't it equivalent to harming me? What is the difference?" as You TanZhi listened to her words, his heart soured, he was speechless.
AhZi smiled: "You want to harm my brother-in-law, it's the same as climbing to heaven, impossible. Silly boy, do you want to die?" You TanZhi said: "Naturally i don't want to die, but with this weird thing on my head, i don't resemble a human or ghost, there is no difference from dying." AhZhi said: "If you would rather die, good, i will fulfill your wish, but i will not let you die immediately. I'll first chop off your left hand." She turns and said to the attendant beside her: "Attendant, haul him out and chop off his left hand!" the attendant replied: "Affirmative!" and he stretch out his hands to grab You TanZhi's arm.
You TanZhi was shock and cried: "No, no! Miss, i don't want to die, please...please...please don't chop my hands." AhZi gave a faint smile: "Once i say something, it's difficult to to retract it, unless ... unless ... you kneel down and kowtow."
You TanZhi had a slight hesitation and the attendant already dragged him two steps back. You TanZhi did not dare delay any longer, he soften his knees, knelt down and kowtow, the iron mask knocked against the grey bricks and produced a "Dang" sound. AhZi smiles tenderly and said: "Your kowtow sounds so nice, i have never heard it before, you kowtow a few more times for me to hear."
You TanZhi is afterall a young master of a manor, although his poor in literature and martial arts, and the people at the manor all knows he is good for nothing, but You Ji died early and he only have one precious son, the young master have hundreds at his beck and call, he grew up being pampered, how can he endure this kind of humiliation? When he met Xiao Feng again for the first time, he was arrogant and rather die than surrender, but after receiving extreme bodily torture and mental trauma, his youthful heroic spirit had dissipated and vanished without a trace, as he listen to AhZi he immediately kowtow repeatedly, "Dang Dang" sound rang out, this goddess-like lady praised that his kowtow sounds nice, he felt a faint sense of fondness in his heart.
AhZi gave a charming smile: "Very good, from now on you will listen to me, if you have the slightest bit of defying my orders i will immediately chop off your arm, do you understand?" You TanZhi said: "Yes, yes!" AhZi said: "I made you wear this iron mask, do you know the reason? " You TanZhi said: "I don't know." AhZi said: "You are so stupid, I saved your life and you still didn't express your gratitude. Lord Xiao Feng wants to chop you into minced meat, you still don't know?" You TanZhi replied: "He killed my father, naturally he cannot allow me to live." AhZi said: "He pretend to release you and then ordered someone to capture you back to turn you into minced meat. I saw you are not too bad, it's a pity to kill you and so i hid the truth from him and concealed you. But if Lord Xiao runs into you again, how will you survive? You will even drag me into this mess and implicate me."
You TanZhi suddenly saw the light to the matter, he said: "Ah, Miss you casted this mask and made me wear it, it's for my own good, you save my life. I ... I am exceedingly grateful, really ... I am really grateful."
AhZi was fooling him, she managed to deceive him and gained his heartfelt appreciation, she was extremely proud and said: "Now you know the reason, next time when you see Lord Xiao, you must not make any sound or else he will recognize you voice. If he recognize you voice, heng, heng! He will give a pull and tear you left arm off, he will give another jerk and tear your right arm off. Attendant, go fetch some Khitan attire and wash his body, his entire body reeks of blood, it smells so bad." The attendant obeyed and led You TanZhi out.
After a while, the attendant returned with You TanZhi and had dressed him in Khitan attire. To make AhZi happy, the attendant deliberately dressed him in multicolored clothes, he looked neither male nor female, like a clown.
AhZi chuckled: "I'll give you a name, called ...... called Iron Clown, you cannot refuse. Iron Clown!" You TanZhi quickly replied: "Yes!"
AhZi is very happy, suddenly she remembered an issue and said: "Attendant! DaShi country gifted a lion to us, correct? Ask the tamer to bring the lion over and summon 10 guards here." The attendant obeyed and went out to relay the orders.
10 spear-wielding guards entered the Palace, they bowed and paid their respects to AhZhi, they turned around, 16 spear-head faced outward, protecting AhZi. Not long after they heard a lion roar, 8 strong-men carried a large metal cage and entered. A male lion is pacing around in the cage, yellow fur and long mane, shape claws and fangs, its expression powerful. The lion's tamer held a leather whip and led the men.
AhZi saw this lion is ferocious and terrifying, she is extremely happy and said: "Iron Clown, you said you will obey anything i say, but i don't know if its true or false. I want to test you and see if you really obey anything i say." You TanZhi replied: "Yes!" he saw this lion and secretly had some misgivings, he did not understand the purpose, but listening to AhZi's words, his heart start beating rapidly. AhZi said: "I don't know if the iron mask on your head is hard and sturdy enough, you go stick your head in the cage, let the lion give it a few bite and check if it can break the iron mask."
You TanZhi had a huge shock, he said: "This...this can't be tested. If the mask really breaks, then my head ..." AhZi said: "What use are you? You are afraid of such small matters, a real man should not be afraid of dying. Furthermore, i think the mask will probably not break." You TanZhi replied: "Miss, you can't play around with such matters, even if the mask doesn't break, this beast will flatten the mask and my head ... "AhZi chuckled: "At most your head gets flatten. You are such a troublesome kid, you original appearance isn't good, if you head gets flatten it will be inside the mask, the rest of us can't see it at all, who cares whether your good looking or not." You TanZhi quickly replied: "I am not talking about whether i am good looking but ......" AhZi's expression became grave and said: "You don't obey my words, fine, i am done with my assessment of you, you deliberately lie to me, i'll throw you into the cage and feed the lion!" she instructed the attendant using Khitan's language. The attendant replied: "Affirmative!" and start dragging You TanZhi's arm.
You TanZhi pondered: "If i get thrown into the cage, how can i even survive, it's better to just obey her words, stick my head into the cage and try my luck!" he shouted: "Don't drag me in, don't drag me in! Miss, i will obey you!"
AhZi smiled and said: "That's a good boy! Let me tell you, whatever i tell you next time, just do it immediately, stop giving excuses and make me angry. Attendant, give him 30 lashes." The attendant replied: "Affirmative!" and took the leather whip from the lion-tamer, with a "Shua" sound, he lash it on You TanZhi's back. You TanZhi cried out in pain.
AhZi said: "Iron Clown let me tell you, when i ask someone to hit you, i actually think highly of you. You making so much noise, you dislike me hitting you is that it?" You TanZhi replied: "I like it very much, i thank Miss for bestowing kindness on me!" AhZhi said: "Good, carry on hitting!" The attendant consecutively lash out 10 times, You TanZhi grit his teeth and endured, he didn't make a single sound, luckily he was wearing an iron mask and the whip avoided his head, he can endure lashings on his chest and back.
AhZi saw him endure silently, she felt it was boring and said: "Iron Clown, you say you like me to call someone to beat you, correct?" You TanZhi replied: "Yes!" AhZi said: "Is your word true or false? Are you fabricating lies to deceive me? " You TanZhi said:" It's true, i don't dare to lie to Miss." AhZi said: "Since you like it so much, why don't you laugh? Why don't you shout out and say that it feels good?" You TanZhi was scared out of his wits under her torture, he even forgot to be angry, and replied: "Miss treats me very well, you ask someone to hit me, it feels good." AhZi said: "Excellent, let's try it again!"
With a "Pai" sound, the whip lash out again, You TanZhi quickly said: "Miss, thank you for saving my life, this whip feels good!" he was lashed for over 20 times in an instant, combined with the previous whipping, its already more than 30 lashes. AhZi wave her hand and said: "Forget it, it's enough for today. Stick your head in the cage."
You TanZhi bones ached he feel as if he want about to split apart, he limped beside the cage, grit his teeth and stuck his head between the iron bars. The lion saw him suddenly stick his head to provoke, it was startled and retreated two steps, it growled to show its authority.
AhZi cried out: "Call the lion to bite, why is it not biting?" the lion tamer rebuke the beast a few times, the lion heard the orders, it pounced forward, opened its mouth and bite You TanZhi's head. There was a "Zi Zi" sound, the lion's fang was grinding the iron mask. You TanZhi closed his eyes, he felt hot air entering the holes in the mask, he knew his head was in the lion's mouth, he felt severe pain from his forehead and back of his head. When the iron mask was first put on him, the red-hot metal burnt and roasted his head and face, after a few day scars begin to form and his wounds healed, but with this bite, all his injuries ruptured and the wounds open up again.
The lion exerted its strength and bite a few times, but it can't bite down, its fangs ached, it extended its right paw and clawed You TanZhi's shoulder. You TanZhi felt severe pain from his shoulder and cried out with an "Ah" sound. The lion detected a loud noise within its mouth, it was shock, it opened its mouth to release the head and retreated to a corner in the cage.
The lion tamer rebuked loudly, he urged the lion to bite You TanZhi again. You TanZhi was furious he stretch out his hand to grab the back of the tamer's neck, he pushed and inserted the tamer's head into the cage. The lion tamer cried out loudly.
AhZi applauded and laughed: "Very good, very good! No one is to interfere, let both of them fight it out among themselves." The Khitan soldiers originally wanted to move You TanZhi's hand away, but after hearing AhZi's order, they stopped and did not move.
The lion tamer struggled with all his might. You TanZhi unruliness flare up, he simply refused to let go. The tamer can only seek help from the lion, he shouted: "Bite, forcefully bite him!" the lion heard his urging, it roared and rush forward, the beast know its suppose to bite forcefully, but it don't know what to bite, two dense row of fangs clamped down, with a "Kela" sound, the lion bite off half of the tamer's head, splattering brain pulp and fresh blood on the floor.
AhZi smiled and said: "Iron Clown wins!" she ordered the soldiers to carry out the corpse and cage, she said to You TanZhi: "That's the way, you made me happy, how should i reward you?" she place her finger at her cheek and pondered. You TanZhi replied: "Miss, I do not want your reward, i just want you to promise me something." AhZhi said: "What thing?" You TanZhi said: "I beg you to allow me to stay by your side and be your servant." AhZi said: "Be my servant? Why? En, i know it, you are waiting for opportunity, when Lord Xiao sees me, you will strike and harm him to avenge your parents." You TanZhi said: "No! No! It's definitely not like that." AhZi said: "You don't want your revenge?" You TanZhi said: "I want. But firstly, i can't beat him. Secondly, i don't want to implicate you."
AhZi said: "Then why do you want to be my servant?" You TanZhi said: "Miss is a goddess that descended from heaven, the number one beauty in the entire world, I ...... I wish to see you ever day."
His words are really frivolous, based on his current situation, he is way too bold. But when AhZi listen to it, she felt good. She is still a child although her appearance is elegant, her body features has not fully develop, after long period of injuries, she became thin and haggard, as for "Number one beauty in the entire world", it's far from the actual truth, when she heard someone compliment her appearance, she cannot help but feel happy.
As she was about to approve You TanZhi's request, the palace guard suddenly reported: "Lord Xiao arrives!" AhZi gave a glance at You TanZhi and said softly: "Lord Xiao is coming, are you afraid?" You TanZhi was extremely frightened, but he wanted to pretend and said: "Not afraid!"
The Palace's door was wide open, Xiao Feng entered, dressed in fur coat. As he stepped through the door, he saw a pool of blood on the floor, he also saw You TanZhi wearing an iron mask looking very peculiar, he laughed and said to AhZi: "You look very healthy today, what new tricks are you playing? Why is this guy wearing that bizarre thing on his head?" AhZi smiled and said: "This iron-head guy is a tribute from GaoChang country to the west, his name is Iron Clown, even a lion can't break his iron head, you can see the imprints of the fang." Xiao Feng inspected the iron mask, there is indeed fang markings. AhZi continued: "Brother-in-law, can you remove his iron mask?"
You TanZhi was scared out of his wits. He personally witnessed Xiao Feng extraordinary bravery when combating the heroes of Central Plains, with both his fists, he shocked the steel shields off the hands of his father and uncle, if he really wants to remove the iron mask, it can be done without effort. When the iron mask was put on his head, he felt despondent and lost all his desires, but at this moment, he prayed that the iron mask will remain forever on his head so that Xiao Feng cannot see his real appearance.
Xiao Feng stretch out his finger and gently tapped the iron mask a few times, it issued a clanking sound, he smiled and said: "This iron mask is extremely solid, it's crafted meticulously, it will be a shame to ruin it!"
AhZi said: "The envoy from GaoChang said this iron-head man was born green-faced and long toothed, he look 30% like human, 70% like ghost, those who sees him will run away in fear, thus his parents constructed an iron mask for him to wear to avoid scaring others. Brother-in-law, i want to see his real appearance, see how scary he really is."
You TanZhi was so scared that his body trembled, his teeth chattered with a "GeGe" sound.
Xiao Feng saw his abnormal fear and said: "This man is terribly scared, why remove his iron mask? This man is accustomed to wearing the iron mask since childhood, if you forcibly remove his mask he will have difficulty living in the future."
AhZi clapped her hands and said: "Now that is fun. In the past, when i see a turtle, i will catch it and remove its shell, i will then observe if it can live without its shell."
Xiao Feng cannot help but frown, he felt that it was cruel to remove the turtle shell, he said: "AhZi, why do you always do this kind of evil stuff that leaves people half-dead and half-alive?"
AhZi groan and said: "Of course you don't like it! I am not as good as AhZhu, if i am like AhZhu, you won't ignore me for so many days." Xiao Feng said: "Ever since i became the Lord of Southern Chancellery, i am so busy that i can't even take a breather. But aren't i here every day to accompany you for a while?" AhZi said: "Accompany me for a while, heng, accompany me for a while! I just don't like you to use 'accompany me for a while' to excuse yourself. If i am AhZhu, you will surely accompany me every day, you will never leave me, it won't be 'a while' or 'half a while'!"
Xiao Feng knew she spoke the truth, he had no reply, he only laugh and said: "Brother-in-law is an adult, i am not interested in playing with a child, you should go find some young female companion to chat with you and relieve your boredom." AhZi fumed: "Child, child ...... I am not a child! If you are not interested in playing, then why do you come here?" Xiao Feng said: "I came to check if your feeling better? Have you eaten the bear's gall today?"
AhZi took a cushion off a seat and slam it on the floor, she kicked it away and said: "If i am not happy, even if i eat 100 bear's gall, i still won't recover."
Xiao Feng saw her child tantrums, if she was AhZhu, he will try to coax her and make her happy, but towards this unruly vicious girl he cannot help but loathe her, he said: "You go rest for a while." He stood up and walks away.
AhZi stared at his back, as she was about to cry she saw You TanZhi, she vented her anger on him and shouted: "Attendant, give him another 30 lashes!" the attendant replied: "Affirmative!" and picked up the whip.
You TanZhi said loudly: "Miss, what mistake did i make?" AhZi did not reply him, she wave her hand and said: "Lash him!" with a "Shua" sound the attendant lash down with his whip. You TanZhi said: "Miss, what mistake did i make, you have to tell me least i commit it again." The attendant lashed him again and again.
AhZi said: "Since i want to beat you, you should not ask what mistake you make, did i mistakenly beat you? You ask what mistake you make, i am beating you precisely because you ask this question."
You TanZhi said: "You beat me first, then i ask you the question. I did not ask you the question when you sent someone to beat me." "Shua" he was lashed again, "Shua Shua Shua" he received another three lashes.
AhZhi smiled and said: "I predicted that you will ask the question, so i ask someone to hit you in advance. And you really did ask the question, so isn't my prediction correct? This proves that you are not loyal enough. I want to ask someone to beat you, if you are loyal, you will automatically volunteer to be beaten. But you keep giving excuses and questioned me, ok, since you don't like to be beaten, i will stop beating you."
When You TanZhi heard the word "i will stop beating you" his heart grew cold, the hairs on his body all stood up, he knew that if AhZhi stop beating him, she will definitely come up a punishment that is 10 times more atrocious than whipping, it's better to just endure the 30 lashes, he quickly said: "Yes, its subordinate's fault! Miss is showing great kindness by beating me, its beneficial to subordinate's body, i beseech Miss to whip me more, the more the better."
AhZi gave a charming smile and said: "Finally, you are getting smarter. I don't show special favors, you said to whip you, the more the better, you think i will spare you once i am happy?" You TanZhi said: "No, subordinate is not asking Miss for favors." AhZi said: "You said the more the better, it is really your heartfelt desire?" You TanZhi said: "Yes, it's subordinate's heartfelt desire." AhZi said: "That being the case, I'll grant you your wish. Attendant, give him 100 lashes, he likes being whipped."
You TanZhi was shocked, he thought: "Getting whipped 100 times, can i still survive?" but things had already reached this stage, even if he was not willing, they would still whip him, it's pointless to debate further, he remained silent.
AhZi said: "Why aren't you speaking? You are not willing? I ask someone to beat you, you think it's unfair?" You TanZhi said: "Subordinate is completely convinced, i know that Miss granted my request solely out of good intentions." AhZi said: "Then why aren't you speaking just now?" You TanZhi did not know how to reply, he was in a daze for a while before saying: "This...this...subordinate thinks that Miss has shown great kindness on me, subordinate is very appreciative, i don't know what to say, i don't know how to repay Miss in the future."
AhZi said: "Ah ha! You say you want to repay me. I whip you now, you will remember every single whip and remember the hate." You TanZhi repeatedly shook his head and said: "No, no! It's not true. I said to repay Miss, is really repay. Subordinate is willing to risk my own life and sacrifice myself for you."
AhZi said: "Good, carry on whipping!" the attendant said: "Yes!" with a "Pai" sound he lash down with his whip.
After 50 lashes, You TanZhi was in so much pain that he was mentally numb, his knees soften, and he slowly knelt down. AhZi smiled as she watch, she waited for him to plead mercy. When he starts pleading, she will use it as the excuse to add another 50 lashes. But You TanZhi was in a daze, his no longer aware of his surroundings, he only moan softly, he did not beg for mercy. After 70 lashes, he fainted. The attendant did not show the slightest bit of mercy, he kept on lashing and completed the full 100 lashes, only then did he stop.
AhZi saw You TanZhi was on the verge of death, he had a high chance of dying, she felt disappointed. She thought of Xiao Feng's indifferent attitude towards her, she felt melancholic and troubled, she said: "Carry him off! This person is not fun at all! Attendant, do you have any new fun stuff?"
You TanZhi required 1 month to fully recover from the lashings. The Khitans saw that AhZi had forgotten about him, she did not summon him for more torture sessions, and thus they put him together with Song captives and made to do all sort of heavy manual labor, carrying excrements, washing sheep's shed, picking cow dung, shearing sheepskin, he did all sorts of manual work.
You TanZhi was wearing an iron mask, everyone made fun of him and insulted him, even his Han compatriots treated him as a freak. You TanZhi resigned himself to adversity, he turn into a mute. When others beat him and curse him, he never resists or fights back. When someone ride past with a horse, he will always raise his head and give a glace, his heart kept thinking about one thing: "When will Miss call me back for whipping?" He only hope to see AhZi again, even if he have to suffer lashings, he will endure it willingly, he never thought of escaping.
Two month pass by, the weather gradually got warmer, You TanZhi was with the captives, carrying soil and bricks to strength the southern walls outside Nanjing. Sudden, he heard the sound of horse's hoof, a few horses came galloping from south, he heard a melodious voice laughing: "AhYo, this Iron Clown is not dead yet! I thought his dead already! Iron Clown, come over!" it was AhZi's voice.
You TanZhi prayed day and night, he waited for this exact moment of glory, when he heard AhZi called him, both his legs seems to be rooted to the ground, he couldn't move an inch, but his heart is thumping madly, his palms sweating.
AhZi called again: "Iron Clown, god dammit! I am asking you to come over, you didn't hear it ei!" only now did You TanZhi respond: "Yes, Miss!" he turn and walk towards her horse, he cannot help but raise his head to look at her eyes. After being separated for four months, AhZi's face was rosy, she look even more beautiful, You TanZhi's heart gave a thump, his stumbled and fell down, the crowd burst out in laughter, he hastily climbs up, not daring to look at her again, he quickly walk towards her.
AhZi is in a good mood, she laugh: "Iron Clown, how come you didn't die?" You TanZhi said: "I said...i said i want to repay Miss's kindness, i haven't repay it, i can't simply die." AhZi liked it very much, she smiled tenderly and said: "I am currently looking for a loyal lackey to do something for me, the Khitans are coarse and careless they might mess things up, you didn't die, that's good, follow me!" You TanZhi replied: "Yes!" and followed behind her horse.
AhZi wave her hand and her attendant along with three Khitan guards went back, they did not follow. The attendant knew that regardless of what she says, AhZi cannot be persuaded, but fortunately this iron-head man looks weak and cowardly, there's no harm in letting him follow the Princess, she said: "Miss, please return early!" and they four of them dismounted from their horses and waited by the city gate.
AhZi travelled slowly on her horse, after walking about seven to eight li, the route was getting more and more deserted, they turn into a spooky valley, the ground is covered with rotten grass and leaves. As they travelled a few more li, the mountain road got rugged, AhZi can no longer travel on her horse, she dismounted, she ordered You TanZhi to guide the horse and they kept on walking. The surroundings were gloomy, cold wind blew from the mountain valley down to the narrow road, the wind made their skin sore.
AhZi said: "Ok, its here!" she ordered You TanZhi to tie the horse to a tree and continued: "The things you see today, you cannot leak out the slightest bit of information to others, you cannot even mention it in front of me, do you understand?"
You TanZhi said: "Yes, yes!" his happiness is raging wildly, AhZi only wanted him as her follower, they even came to this deserted place, even if she whipped him severely, he will gladly endure it.
AhZi stretch her hands into her bosom and retrieved a yellow wooden tripod, she placed it on the floor and said: "Later if some bizarre bugs start appearing, you shouldn't panic, you definitely cannot make any sound." You TanZhi replied: "Yes!"
AhZi again took out a small cloth bag from her bosom, she open the bag, inside was a few lumps of yellow, black and purple spices. She pinched a little spice from each of the lumps and placed it in the tripod, she lit her flint and made a fire, afterwards she closed the cover of the tripod, she said: "Let's go wait by that tree side."
AhZi sat down under a tree, You TanZhi dare not sit beside her, separated by a few zhang, he sat on top of a rock facing the wind. Cold wind blows, the wind carried the faint scent of her body, You TanZhi cannot refrain from being delirious with passion, he actually get to experience such a moment in life, even thought he suffered greatly all this time, it was not in vain. He hope that AhZi will sit at this tree forever and he will get to accompany her forever.
As he was getting drunk with passion, suddenly he heard a rustling sound in the bushes, a scarlet creature is moving within the grass, it is a large centipede, its body glisten, a tumor protruded on its forehead, it's obviously different from regular centipede.
The centipede detected the fragrance from the wooden tripod, it weaves its way towards the tripod, it entered the tripod from a hole at the bottom, and it did not come out again after that. AhZi took out a thick piece of brocade from her bosom, her foot step lightened and she gingerly approached the wooden tripod, she covered the tripod with the brocade and wrapped it firmly, fearing the centipede might escape, she put the tripod in a leather bag hanging off the horse, she smiled and said: "Let's go!" she mounted the horse and left.
You TanZhi followed behind her, wondering: "That wooden tripod is extremely bizarre, but it's most probably due to the burning of spices that attracting the large centipede. What's so fun about that large centipede, Miss has to travel such a long way to this mountain valley to catch it?"
When AhZi returned to the Beginning Fortune Palace, she instructed the guards to arrange accommodation for You TanZhi at the side of the Palace. You TanZhi was elated, he knew that from now on he would be able to see AhZi frequently.
Sure enough, on the next morning, AhZi summoned You TanZhi, she led him into the main hall of the Palace, she closed the door leaving the two of them alone in the hall. AhZi walk towards a clay urn to the west, she removed the urn cover, laughing she said: "You see, isn't it magnificent?" You TanZhi peered into the urn, he saw the large centipede which they caught yesterday moving around swiftly.
AhZi took out a big rooster that has been prepared in advance, she took out a short knife, chopped off the rooster's beak and claws, and threw the rooster into the urn. The big centipede climbed onto the rooster's head, and start sucking its blood, after a while the rooster died due to poisoning. The centipede's body gradually swells, blood starts dripping out of its red forehead. AhZi's expression was joyful, she whispered: "It's done, it's done! This set of martial arts can be completed!"
You TanZhi pondered: "So, you catch centipede for the purpose of practicing martial arts. Is it called Centipede Skill?"
She fed the centipede for seven days, every day the centipede will suck the blood of one big rooster, on the eighth day, AhZi again summoned You TanZhi to the main hall, she smiled and said: "Iron Clown, how well did i treat you?" You TanZhi said: "Miss shown great kindness towards me, it's as weighty as a mountain." AhZi said: "You said you are willing to go through hell and high water for me, risk you own life, it is true or false?" You TanZhi said: "Subordinate dare not lie to Miss. Miss only has to order, subordinate will never defy." AhZi said:" Very good. Let me tell you, i want to practice a set of martial arts, but it requires assistance from others. Are you willing to assist me in practicing this art? If i succeed, i will definitely reward you heavily." You TanZhi said: "Subordinate will naturally listen to your orders, i don't require any rewards." AhZi said: "Very good, we will begin practicing now."
She sat cross-legged, her hands rubbing each other, she closed her eyes and channeled her energy, after a while she said: "You go stick your hand into the urn, the centipede will definitely bite you, you must not move at all, let it suck your blood, the more blood the better."
These past seven days, You TanZhi saw that the centipede only need to suck a few mouthful of blood from the rooster, the healthy and lively rooster would drop dead immediately, it can be deduced that the centipede's poison is no small matter, when he listen to AhZi, he cannot help but hesitate and did not reply. AhZi's expression became grave, she ask: "Why, you are not willing?" You TanZhi said: "It's not that i am unwilling, but ... but" AhZi said: "But? But this centipede is extremely poisonous, you are afraid of dying is that correct? You are a human or a rooster?" You TanZhi said: "I am not a rooster." AhZi said: "Precisely, the rooster will die when its blood is sucked by the centipede, you are not a rooster, how will you die? You said you are willing to go through hell and high water for me, risk getting your body and bones crushed. This centipede will only suck a little bit of your blood for fun, your body and bones will get crushed?"
You TanZhi was speechless, he raised his head and look at AhZi, he imagine seeing her red lips open, any scornful thoughts he had of this lady, it immediately vanish and he was mesmerized, it was as if he was spellbound by the devil, he said: "Yes, i will follow your orders." He clenched his teeth, closed his eyes and slowly inserted his right hand into the urn.
As his fingers reach into the urn, he felt pain on the fingertip of his middle finger. He cannot help but withdraw his fingers a little. AhZi cried: "Don't move, don't move!" You TanZhi forcefully endured it, he open his eyes, the centipede has bite his middle finger and is currently sucking his blood. His hairs stood on its ends, he wanted to fling it on the ground and crush it with his feet, although his back is facing AhZi, he could feel her sharp gaze penetrating his back, it's like being pierced by two sharp daggers, he dare not move an inch.
Fortunately, when the centipede is sucking his blood, he did not feel extreme pain, but as he saw the centipede gradually swell up, he also saw a faint purple coating covering his middle finger. The purple became deeper and deeper, slowly it turned jet black, after a while, the blackness spread from his middle finger to his palm, and finally it spread from his palm to his arm. You TanZhi had already disregarded his life, he was calm, the corner of his lips revealed a smile, but this smile was hidden by the mask and AhZi did not see it.
AhZi's gaze was on the centipede, she gave it her undivided attention, not the slightest bit of neglect. The centipede finally released You TanZhi's finger and it fell back into the urn and stopped moving. Violet cried: "Gently place the centipede into the wooden tripod, be careful, don't injure it."
You TanZhi complied and lifted the centipede, he placed it into the wooden tripod. AhZi closed the tripod cover, after a while, black bood start dripping down from the hole in the tripod.
AhZi's face revealed great happiness, she quickly extended her palm to catch the blood droplets, she sat cross-legged and channeled her energy, the blood droplets diffused into her palm. You TanZhi pondered: "That is my blood, but she absorbed it into her body. It seems she practicing Poison-Centipede Palm."
After a long period, black blood stopped dripping, AhZi lifted the tripod cover, the centipede was stiff and had died.
AhZi rubbed both her palms together, she look at her palm again, her palm is still white and flawless, without the slightest bit of bloodstains, she knew that the practicing formula she eavesdrop from her master was correct, she lifted the wood tripod and emptied the dead centipede on the ground, she left the Palace hurriedly, she did not even give You TanZhi a glance, it seems he was the same as the dead centipede, both of them outlived their usefulness.
You TanZhi stared at AhZi's back, until her back vanish from his view and her clothes cannot be seen anymore, but the blackness had spread to his armpit, in addition his arm start to feel numb and itchy, in an instant, it was as if millions of fleas was biting him at the same time.
He burst out screaming, he jump up and start scratching, once he start scratching, the itch became worse and seems to go deep into his bone marrow, bugs were crawling around his heart and lungs, wriggling and moving. Pain can be endured but this itch is impossible to resist, he kept jumping up and down and screaming, "Dang Dang" sound rang out as he bang his head on the wall, he pray that he can faint immediately and lose his consciousness to avoid having to bear this strange itch.
He kept knocking and banging himself, an item fell out of his bosom, the oilcloth wrappings loosen, revealing a yellow book, it's the Sanskrit manual picked up by him the last time. Under the severe itch, he did not bother to pick up the book, but he saw the book flipped open. The itch is really hard to bear, You TanZhi roll on the floor, after a round of random scratching and knocking, he bent over and pant, tears, mucus and saliva all flow out of the mouth hole of the iron mask, dripping onto the Sanskrit manual. In his drowsy state he did not keep track of time, but the page of the book was soaked full of tears and saliva, inadvertently, a drawing of a monk appeared among the curvy writings. The monk's posture was very strange, his head was between two outspread legs, extending out, his hands were clutching his feet.
He was not in the mood to think of the odd posture, he can't even breathe due to the itch, he lie on the ground, randomly tearing his clothes into pieces, he violently rubbed his skin on the ground, in an instant, blood oozes out from his skin. He was rubbing randomly, suddenly, he slipped and his head cross over between his two legs. He was wearing an iron mask, he was stuck and could not withdraw his head, his stretched out his hand to assist, his right hand clutched his right foot. But he was too worn out and dead-tired, he couldn't move, he had to temporarily stay his hand and regain his breath, inadvertently, he saw the book in front of him, the book depicted a skinny monk, the posture is similar to his current posture, he felt amazed and found it funny, but the strangest thing is after maintaining this posture, his bodily itch felt bearable, his breathing also became smoother, thus he did not try to withdraw his head from his legs, he continued lying on the ground, he heartily followed the monk's posture depicted in the drawing, his left hand clutched his left foot, chin touching the ground. This way, his posture was completely identical to the monk and he found it easier to breathe.
As he maintained the posture, his eyes got closer to the book, he look at the monk again, two large yellow words were written beside the monk, it was crooked and strange, there are many small red arrows on the word. As You TanZhi maintained this posture, he was extremely tired and immediately let go of his hands and stood up. Once he stood up, the itch became so bad that he can't breathe, he quickly stuck his head between his legs, hands clutching his feet, chin touching the ground, as he made this odd posture, his breathing immediately became smoother.
He dare not move anymore, after a long time, he became bored, he look at the drawing of the monk and at the two strange words. He look at the small arrows on the word, he instinctively pondered about the small arrows, the strange itch on his right arm seems to turn into a line of warm energy, it circulate a few times around his throat and chest, it slowly dissipates and disappeared from his shoulders and from the top of his head.
He kept looking at the small arrows on the word and pondered about them repeatedly, each time a line of warm energy will pass by his head and the strange itch on his arm will reduce slightly. He was surprise but he did not bother to think about the underlying reason, he just followed the same steps, after completing thirty cycles, he only felt a slight itch on his arm, after another ten cycles, his fingers, palm and arm was completely itch-free.
He withdraws his head from his legs, extend his palm and look at it, the black cloud on his palm had vanished, he was pleased, suddenly he exclaimed: "AiYo, this is not good! I transferred all the centipede's poison into my brain! The strange itch is already gone, but how come a strange monk appeared in the drawings? I even unintentionally make the same posture as the monk? This monk must be a Buddha, he came to save my life." Immediately he knelt and respectfully kowtow to the drawing of the strange monk, "Dang Dang" sound rang out as his iron mask knock on the floor.
He did not realize that the drawing in the book is drawn using special herbal solution from India, it will only reveal itself when wet, it will disappear when it's dry, thus both AhZhu and Xiao Feng never saw the drawing. The figure in the drawing depicts the proper way to channel energy, the Sanskrit writings provided the explanations, eminent monks from Shaolin's previous generation had knowledge on Sanskrit, although they don't know the mystery of the drawing, they could still practice the Tendon-Changing Sutra base on directions given by the writings. When You TanZhi suffered the strange itch, his tears and saliva flowed freely, luckily it landed on the page and revealed the drawing. The drawing is an ingenious method to neutralize external poison when practicing the skill, it was created by an ancient master from India as part of a set of secret Yoga techniques. When You TanZhi made the posture, it was not completely by chance or coincidence, it was also due to natural human instincts. When he had trouble enduring the strange itch, its natural human behavior to lower the head to the ground, nothing strange or surprising, but his tears and saliva dripping on the page, it's really pure luck and coincidence. He was dumbstruck for a while, his exhaustion reached its limit, immediately he lie down and slept on the floor. On the morning of the second day, AhZi hurriedly entered the Palace, she saw his naked bizarre appearance and gave an "Ah!" cry, she said: "Why aren't you dead yet?" You TanZhi was shock and reply: "Subordinate....subordinate is still alive!" he secretly felt depress: "It seems she thought i had died long ago."
AhZi said: "It's good that you are not dead! Quickly dress yourself properly and follow me to catch poison bugs." You TanZhi said: "Yes!" AhZi followed and he asks for clothes from Khitan soldiers. The head of a group of Khitan soldier was very welcoming towards him, he gave him a set of clean clothes to change into.
AhZi brought You TanZhi to the deserted mountain valley, she still use the Divine Wooden King Tripod to attract poisonous bugs, use rooster blood to feed the bugs, and then let them suck the blood of You TanZhi, and then use the blood to practice her skill. The second bug was a green spider, the third bug was a large scorpion. You TanZhi followed the drawings on the book to neutralize the poison.
At XingXiu Sea, whenever AhZi saw her master practice this divine skill, she will see a dead corpse every time, the people were all captured from nearby villages under the orders of their master, she expected You TanZhi to die when he got poisoned by the bugs, but unexpectedly he didn't die, and she cannot help but feel secretly surprise.
This catching of bugs for practicing of skill went on continuously, after three months, the number of poisonous bugs within 10 li of Nanjing city gradually decreased, the bugs attracted by the fragrance were all weak and frail and not to AhZi's liking. Thus, both of them have to move further out to catch the bugs.
On this day, they arrived at a place 30 li away from the city, spices burnt in the wooden tripod, after waiting for more than two hours, they finally heard something rustle in the bushes, it seems to be some kind of snake or worm. AhZi said: "Lay low!" immediately You TanZhi lowered his body, he heard a loud sound, it was not normal.
The sound was mixed with a vomiting stench, You TanZhi held his breath and did not move, he saw the long grass parted, a white body black-striped python slithered out, the python's head is triangular, a tumour protrude from the top of its head. Snakes are rare in Northern area, but such a strange shaped python, nobody has ever seen it before. The python slithered next to the wooden tripod, it circled and revolve around the tripod, the python body is 2 zhang long, its body is thicker than human arm, how can it fit into the small tripod? But as it smell the spices and the fragrance of the wooden tripod, it used its head to ram the tripod.
AhZi didn't expect to attract such gaint snake, she was extremely shock, at the moment she did not have any idea on what to do, she quietly sneak beside You TanZhi and whispered: "What should we do? If the python breaks the wood tripod, won't it be ruin? "
You TanZhi notice her tone was gentle when discussing with him, he felt overwhelmingly flattered, at once his courage received a huge boost, he said: "Don't worry, i will drive away the snake!" he stood up and took big strides towards the snake. The snake hear a sound and immediately coiled its body together, it raised its head and stick out its blood-red tongue, hissing and waiting to pounce. After seeing such display of power and influence, You TanZhi dare not approach rashly.
At this moment, he suddenly felt a burst of cold wind on his body, he saw a line of fire burning at the western corner, in no time it burned in front of him. As the line got nearer, he saw that it's actually not a line of fire but something crawling among the vegetation, green grass immediately dried and charred when the thing touch it, at the same time the air became colder and colder. He stepped back a few steps, the yellow line changed its direction and move towards the wooden tripod, the thing is actually a silkworm.
The silkworm is like pure white jade, with a tinge of green, its two times larger than regular silkworm, it's like an earthworm, its body transparent and crystal-like. The python was originally aggressive and overbearing, but now it seems to be extremely fearful, it withdraw its large triangular head and hide within its body. The crystal silkworm was unusually swift and climbs onto the snake's body, as it climbs up its like a red-hot charcoal, it scorched a line on the snake, when it reached the top of the snake's head, the python's body cracked and split into two, it moved right next to the snake's venom gland, sucking the venom, after a while its body swell, looking from afar, it looks like a crystal bottle filled with purple liquid.
AhZi was delighted, she whispered: "This silkworm is so powerful, it must the king of all poisonous creatures." But You TanZhi was secretly worried: "If such venomous silkworm suck my blood, i will really die this time!"
The silkworm circled around the wood tripod, it crawled up the tripod, immediately, burnt mark appeared on the tripod. The silkworm seems to have psychic power, it went one round on top of the tripod, it seems to know that if it enters the tripod it will be in danger, thus it did not behave like other poisonous creatures, it climbed down from the tripod and went northwest.
AhZi was excited and anxious, she cried: "Quick, chase it!" she covered the tripod with brocade, picked up the wooden tripod and chase after the silkworm. You TanZhi followed behind her, they track the silkworm by using the scotch mark it left behind. Although this silkworm is a small bug, it crawls like the wind, in a blink of an eye it travelled several zhang, luckily it leaves scotch marks on places it travelled and they didn't lose track of it.
Both of them chase for over three to four li, suddenly they heard the gushing sound of water, they reached a small stream. The scorch mark reached the edge of the stream and disappeared, on the opposite side of the stream, there was no scorch mark, obviously the silkworm fell into the stream and was washed away. AhZi stomp her feet and complain: "You should have voiced out and ask me to chase faster, where are we suppose to find it now? I don't care, you have to find it for me!" You TanZhi was very apprehensive, searching around randomly, how can he even find it?
Both of them search for a more than two hours, it was getting dark, AhZi was feeling tired and lost patience, she said angrily: "I don't care, you have to catch it back, otherwise you don't need to see me again." She turns around and went back to the city alone.
You TanZhi was extremely worried, he followed the stream and search downstream, he search for over seven to eight li, as dusk falls, he suddenly spotted scorch mark among the opposite vegetation. You TanZhi was overjoyed, he rushed out and shouted: "Miss, miss, i found it!" but AhZi had went back long ago.
You TanZhi waded across the stream and followed the scorch mark. He saw scorch mark heading towards the mountain. He gathered his energy and ran quickly, beside the mountaintop was a magnificent great temple.
He quickly draws near, a plaque in front of the temple reads "MinZhong Temple Built According To Imperial Edict". He did not have time to look at the temple, he chased after the scorch mark. The mark bypass the temple side and led to the back of the temple. He heard the sound of wooden fish and chanting of scriptures inside the temple, the monks were carrying out their prayer sessions. He is wearing an iron mask, he felt ashamed and fearful of being seen by the monks, thus he followed the foot of the wall and quietly travelled, he saw the scorch mark pass through a big mud ground and reach a vegetable garden, he pray that the silkworm is eating vegetable and he will be able to sneak behind and capture it, as he got near the fence of the garden, he heard someone cursing loudly, he stopped advancing.
He heard the person rebuke loudly: "Why don't you abide by the rules, sneaking out alone to play? You made me worried for half a day, i feared that you will never return again. I brought you afar from the Kunlun Mountains, you are too ungrateful, you don't know the trouble and pains i went through. If you continue like this, you won't have any future prospect, you will destroy your own future and no one will pity you." Although the voice was very angry, it also possess compassion and expectation, it seems to be a father lecturing his unruly child.
You TanZhi pondered: "He talked about Kunlun Mountains and bringing him from far away place, most likely a master or elder, not father." He quietly move beside the fence, he saw the person is a monk. The monk is really fat, his stature short, he resembled a big meat ball, his finger pointing the ground, reprimanding endlessly. You TanZhi look at the ground, he was surprise and happy, the monk was reprimanding a silkworm.
The appearance of the monk is already very strange, but talking to the silkworm, it's even more bizarre. The silkworm is moving on the ground rapidly, it seems to be trying to escape but it keep running into some kind of invisible wall and it turns around immediately. You TanZhi focused his gaze, there is a yellow circle on the ground, the silkworm rush left and move right but it can't escape the circle, he immediately understood: "The circle is drawn using some medicinal herb, this medicine must be that silkworm black-star."
The monk scolded for a while, he retrieved something from his bosom and gnawed on it, it's a cooked lamb head, he ate with relish, he picked up a gourd near the pillar, unplugged it, lifted his neck and drank from it endlessly.
You TanZhi caught a whiff of alcohol, he knew the gourd contained wine, he thought: "So his a monk that eat meat and drink wine. It seems he raised this silkworm, he treasure and love it very much, so how should i go about stealing it?"
As he was pondering, he heard someone shout from the other end of the garden: "HuiJing, HuiJing!" when the fat monk heard it, he had a huge shock, he quickly hid the meat and gourd in a pile of rice straw, the person continue to shout: " HuiJing, HuiJing, you didn't attend the prayer session, where have you been hiding?" the fat monk quickly grab a nearby hoe and start digging the garden, he replied: "I am planting vegetables." the man came over, his a middle-aged monk, he coldly: "Everyone has to attend morning and night prayer sessions! You can dig the fields anytime, why you choose to dig during night prayer sessions? Go, go quickly! Finish the prayer session before coming back here to dig the field. Since you are at MinZhong Temple, you have to observe the rules and regulations here. Your Shaolin Temple don't have any rules and regulations?" HuiJing replied: "Yes!" he put down the hoe and followed him, he did not turn back to look at the silkworm for fear that the middle-aged monk will notice it.
You TanZhi pondered: "So this short-fat monk is from Shaolin Temple, all the monks from Shaolin know martial arts, i have to be extra careful since i am stealing his silkworm." When the two of them was far away, the surrounding was quiet, he squeeze through the bamboo fence, he saw the silkworm moving swiftly in the yellow circle, he thought: "How to catch it?" after a while he suddenly came up with an idea, he retrieve the gourd from the haystack and gave it a shake, there's still half a gourd of wine, he drank a few mouthfuls and poured the rest onto the vegetable plot, he place the rim of the gourd on the ground and slowly move it near the yellow circle. When the gourd rim just move past the yellow circle, the silkworm gave a "Chi" sound and went into the gourd. You TanZhi was elated, he quickly replace the stopper and sealed the gourd, he carried the gourd with both hand and squeeze out of the bamboo fence, after walking for a while he quickly ran and escape.
After leaving MinZhong Temple for 10 zhang, he felt the gourd was unusually cold, it's even colder than ice, he transferred the gourd from his right hand to his left hand, and then from his left to right, the cold is really chilling to the bone, the gourd can't be held constantly. Without any good idea, he place the gourd on top of his head, this was even worse, cold air spread through the iron mask, his head was freezing and it felt extremely painful, it was as if the blood in his body was about to turn to ice. The pressing situation gave rise to a bright idea, he took off his belt and tie it around the gourd, holding the belt in his hand, the belt cannot transmit cold and thus he was able to hold onto it. But the gourd still gave off cold air, after a while a layer of frost formed on the gourd surface.
Chapter - 29 Bug Congealing Cold, Palm Shooting Frost
You TanZhi carried the gourd and travelled quickly back to Nanjing, he reported back to AhZi, saying that he has caught the frost silkworm.
AhZi was overjoyed, she ordered him to rear the silkworm in the clay urn, currently it is mid-summer, the weather is burning hot, but when the frost silkworm is being kept in the urn, the Palace gradually got colder and colder, not long after, even the teapots, cups and the tea water all turn into ice. During one night You TanZhi shivered in his bed, he was freezing and could not sleep, he thought: "This silkworm is really strange, it rarely seen in this world. If Miss really let it suck my blood, even if i don't get poison, i will also freeze to death."
AhZi caught several poisonous snakes and bugs to fight with the silkworm, the silkworm simply move around and all the bugs freeze to death, the silkworm feasted on their juice, this went on for ten days, not a single poisonous bug was able to resist. One day AhZi came into the main hall of the Palace and said: "Iron Clown, we will kill this silkworm today, go stick your hand into the urn and let the silkworm suck your blood!"
You TanZhi was worried about this day, when his dreaming at night, he feared this exact moment, eventually AhZi did not show any mercy and wanted to sacrifice him along with the frost silkworm, his heart is dejected, he gaze at AhZi, he did not move or reply.
AhZi pondered: "I acquired this treasure by accident, the poison palm skill i am training now, it might be even more powerful than my master." She said: "Stick your hand into the urn!" You TanZhi was tearful, he knelt and kowtow, he said: "Miss, when you mastered this poison palm, please don't forget your subordinate who died for you. My surname is You, my name is TanZhi, i am not Iron Clown." AhZi smiled and said: "Fine, you are called You TanZhi, i will remember it, you are very loyal to me, very good, you are a loyal and devoted lackey!"
You TanZhi listen to her praise, he felt comforted, he gave another two kowtow and said: "Thank you Miss!" but he was not willing to give up without a fight, immediately he flipped his body upside down, his head went between his legs, his left hand clutched his leg, right hand reached into the urn, in his mind he is thinking about the small arrowheads on the two words beside the monk in the book's drawing, suddenly he felt an itch on his index finger, a stream of cold energy shot out like an arrow, it started from his arm and swiftly went to his chest, You TanZhi kept thinking about the direction of the small arrowheads, the stream of cold energy followed the meridian path directed by his thoughts, it went from his finger to his arm, and from his chest to the top of his head, the cold energy chilled him to his bones wherever it goes.
AhZi saw his odd posture, she found it funny, after a long time, he still maintained the posture, she became curious and approach his body, the frost silkworm is still biting his index finger. The frost silkworm body is transparent like crystal, she saw a thread of blood entering its mouth, it pass by its left body , made a u-turn, and pass by its right body and back to its mouth, flowing back into You TanZhi index finger.
After a while, a thin layer of frost formed on You TanZhi's iron mask, clothes and limbs, AhZi pondered: "He must be dead. A living person will have body heat, how can frost form on him?" but she saw blood still circulating within the frost silkworm, apparently it's still sucking blood, suddenly, wisps of hot steam issued from the frost silkworm.
In the midst of her surprise, there was a gentle clattering sound, the frost silkworm fell off You TanZhi index finger. AhZi had already prepared a stick, she ram down hard. She thought this super natural frost silkworm would not die with this one stroke, but who knew that when it fell into the urn, its belly face the sky, it just stayed there and did not turn around. The silkworm was pounded into pulp in one move.
AhZi rejoiced and quickly stuck her hand into the urn, she stuffed the silkworm's fluid and blood onto both her palm, closed her eyes, circulated her energy and absorbed all the blood and fluids.
She channeled for half a day, stretch out her hands and stood up, she saw You TanZhi was still upside down his head between his legs, body covered with frost. She is extremely astonished, she reach out and touch his body, his hands emit a strange coldness, his clothes frozen stiff. She is shocked but found it funny at the same time, she summoned the attendant and ordered him to bury You TanZhi.
The attendant led a few Khitan soldiers and they put You TanZhi corpse on a horse carriage, they went outside the city. AhZi did not instruct them to give a proper burial, thus the attendant did not bother to dig a grave and simply threw the corpse into a small brook, they went back to the city.
This act of laziness from the attendant actually saved You TanZhi's life. When You TanZhi was bitten by the silkworm, he immediately used the energy circulation method from the [Tendon-Changing Sutra], the poison gas was neutralized, his blood was suck by the frost silkworm and return back into his finger and the deadly frost poison of the silkworm was absorbed by him. Thus, the blood and fluids absorbed by AhZi was completely ineffective and she wasted her effort. If You TanZhi had completely mastered the energy circulation method of [Tendon-Changing Sutra], he would be able to slowly neutralize the frost poison absorbed by him and greatly increase his internal energy, but he only learnt one method, thus he can't expel the poison. The strange frost poison is the number one most Yin and cold element in the world, it froze his body solid immediately.
If the attendant really buried him in the soil, even after a few hundred years, he might not defrost and might not actually die. Currently his body is submerged in water, it slowly flow downwards, after around 10 li, the creek made a turn and his body was trapped by reeds at the side. After a while, the water surrounding his body all turn into ice, forming a crystal coffin. Water continued to rush and wash over him, bit by bit the cold air wash away, eventually the ice covering his body started to melt.
Luckily, his wearing an iron mask on his head. Iron transfers heat and cold quickly, thus ice covering his mask melted first. Water rush onto his head and he started coughing, he was conscious and clear headed again, he climb out of the brook, "Ding Dang" sound came from his body, evidently he still carried a lot of ice on his body. Initially when his body froze, he did not lose consciousness, but he was stuck in the ice and could not move. After being frozen for a long period of time he lost consciousness, now that he safely escaped, he felt as if he just woke up from a long dream.
He sat by the side of the brook, he thought about his loyalty and devotion to AhZi, he willingly risk his body to feed poisonous bugs to help her practice her skills, but when he died, AhZi did not even give a sigh, looking out from within the ice, he saw her beam with pleasure and took all the silkworm's fluid and blood, spread it on her palm and practice her skills, she only look sideways at him, thinking that he died in a fun and strange way, there wasn't the slightest bit of pity from her.
He pondered: "This frost silkworm is exceptionally poisonous, it's worth more than a thousand poisonous bugs and snakes, after absorbing the poison into her palm, Miss will naturally master her poison palm. If i go back and see her ..." Suddenly, his body trembled, his heart grew cold and he thought: "Once she sees me, she will definitely test her poison on me. If she mastered the poison palm, she will naturally kill me with one stroke. If she has yet to master it, she will definitely ask me to catch more poisonous bugs and snake until she mastered her palm, until she can kill me with a single palm stroke. I will die either way, why should i even go back?"
He stood up and jump a few times, shaking off all the ice on his body, he thought: "Where should i go?"
He dare not seek Qiao Feng for revenge anymore. At the moment his undecided, he wandered around the wilderness and mountains, picking wild berries and catching birds and small beasts for food. During the night on the second day, he felt bored, he took out the Sanskrit [Tendon-Changing Sutra], he thought of following the posture of the monk in the drawing.
The book is completely soaked, he flipped the page cautiously for fear that he might damage the page, but he was surprised as he saw drawings of the monk on every single page, their postures all different. After some deep contemplation, he finally understood, the drawings will only appear when wet, he was not save by Buddha. Starting from the first page, he copied the posture, when he thought about the small red arrowhead on the strange words, he felt a faint thread of cold ice traveling around his limbs and bones, it was as if the frost silkworm was alive and crawling in his body. He became fearful and quickly stood up, the frost silkworm inside his body vanished immediately.
For four hours he kept thinking: "The frost silkworm inside my body, has it left?" but he can't touch, feel or even track it, he couldn't bear it anymore and started to imitate the odd posture and contemplate on the small red arrowhead on the strange words, after a while, the frost silkworm start crawling inside his body again. He gave a loud cry and stopped contemplating on the arrowhead, the frost silkworm vanish again, when he start to think about the arrowhead, the frost silkworm crawls again.
Every time, when the frost silkworm crawls, his body felt comfortable and unrestricted. The book contains many different postures of naked monk, the small arrowhead on the strange words twist and turn, its variation complicated. He followed the various different postures to activate the frost silkworm, his felt cool yet warm, he was comfortable and at ease.
Time flies and a few month pass, when capturing beasts he felt his hands and feet becoming lighter and more nimble, he leap and jump further, his running speed greatly exceeds what he was capable of in the past.
On a certain evening, a hungry wolf came out to hunt for food, it pounced towards him. You TanZhi was shock and fled quickly, the claws of the wolf had already reached his shoulders, it exposed its fangs and bite towards his throat. He panic and randomly threw out a palm, hitting the wolf on the top of its head. The wolf roll and twisted a few times and stopped moving. You TanZhi turn around and move back a few zhang, he saw the wolf did not move at all, feeling curious he picked up a stone and cast it out, the stone hit the wolf's body but it still did not move at all. He was pleasantly surprised and went over to inspect, the wolf was dead. He never expect this effortless palm stroke from him had this much power, he turn and inspected his palm repeatedly but did not see anything special, he cannot help but cry out: "The spirit of frost silkworm has shown itself!"
He thought that when the frost silkworm died, its spirit resided within his body, resulting in his amazing feat, he did not realize it was purely due to his [Tendon-Changing Sutra], in addition the frost silkworm possess one of the deadliest poison in the world, this Yin-poison had been absorbed by him, combined with the superior internal energy cultivated by the [Tendon-Changing Sutra], his internal energy contains an extremely fierce Yin-strength.
The [Tendon-Changing Sutra] is the most treasured supreme manual of martial studies, but its cultivation method is extremely difficult, it requires the dissolution of distinction between self and others, in addition, the practitioner must not have the slightest desire to learn the martial arts of the sutra. But only first-class martial monks will get the chance to practice the sutra, all of them are valiant and eager for success, who doesn't want to master the sutra as soon as possible and reap its benefits? Hence, it's extremely difficult for them to not have the slightest desire to learn the sutra.
For several hundred years, many Shaolin eminent monks practiced the [Tendon-Changing Sutra], but years after years of diligent practice yielded negligible results, thus all the monks thought the sutra was wholly ineffective, when the sutra was stolen by AhZhu, although the eminent monks were extremely angry, but they did not consider it to be a major loss.
One hundred years ago, Shaolin Temple had a monk, this person became a monk since childhood, his dull-witted and crazy. His teacher could not master the [Tendon-Changing Sutra] and threw it away in anger. The crazy monk picked up the book thrown by his teacher, he laugh and practice the contents, eventually he became a top martial art expert of his generation. Although his martial arts were outstanding, till his death, he did not know the exact reason, and nobody knew it was due to the [Tendon-Changing Sutra]. You TanZhi did not have the desire to learn martial arts, he followed the methods in the sutra purely for the sake of activating the frost silkworm within his body as he found it fun and interesting, unwittingly his martial arts improved day by day, he followed the exact same route taken by the crazy monk many years ago.
Days after, he killed several more wild beasts, he knew his palm strength was exceedingly strong and he became bolder, he kept on travelling south, he feared that if he does not summon the frost silkworm spirit for a single day, the "silkworm spirit" will automatically leave him, thus he use his palm everyday and dare not stop. The "silkworm spirit" was marvelous and strange and always came when summoned.
You TanZhi drifted south, on this day he reached the borders of Henan province in Central Plains. He knew his iron head will scare people off, thus during the day he rest in caves within wild forest, as night falls, he came out and stole food from homes. His body is exceptionally agile and nobody detected him.
On this day, he is sleeping in a small dilapidated temple beside the road, suddenly, he heard the sound of footsteps, three people entered the temple.
He quickly hid behind a shrine as he dare not let others see his appearance. When the trio entered the temple, they sat down immediately and start chatting. The trio rambled and talked about gossips in the martial world, suddenly a person ask: "Where do you think Qiao Feng is hiding, one year has pass but we didn't even hear single news about him?"
When You TanZhi heard the word "Qiao Feng", his heart grew cold, he immediately paid attention to their conversation. Another person replied: "He committed all sorts of evils, he felt guilty and hid himself, i guess we will never see him again." The first person said: "It might not be true. His biding his time, once someone is down and out, he will strike immediately. Do your math, after the battle at JuXian manor, he killed how many people? Elder Xu, Grandpa and Grandma Tan, Zhao QianSun, Taishan Iron-Face Judge and his entire family, Tiantai Mountain Monk ZhiGuang, Beggars Clan Madam Ma, Elder Bai ShiJing, sigh, countless lives!"
When You TanZhi heard the word "Battle at JuXian Manor", his heart ached and he lost his interest in the conversation, after a while, he heard a hoarse voice said: "Clan leader Qiao has always been benevolent and righteous, i never expect...sigh...i never expect, this is all predestined fate. Let us just go." He finish speaking and stood up.
Another person said: "Old Wang, you said our Clan is recommending someone to be the new Clan leader, who is it?" the hoarse voice replied: "I don't know! We been recommending numerous people for over a month, but we just can't find a suitable hero that can gain the respect of the entire Clan, sigh, we can only wait and see." another person said: "I can read your mind, you are hoping that Qiao Feng will come back and be our Clan leader again. You better abandon that idea and stop dreaming, if these words reach Hall-Master Quan, your life cannot be guaranteed." Old Wang got anxious, he said: "Xiao Bi, you said these words yourself, when did i say i want Clan leader Qiao to be our Clan leader again?" Xiao Bi sneered: "You still address him at Clan leader Qiao, you dare say you don't want him to be the Clan leader again?" Old Wang raged: "If you keep spewing nonsense i will beat you to death." The third person step in and mediated: "Enough, enough, we are all brothers, let's not spoil the relationship. How can Qiao Feng become our Clan leader again? His a Khitan dog, everyone will fight till death if they sees him again. Moreover, even if we invite him to be our Clan leader, you think he will agree?" Old Wang sigh and said: "You are right." As he finish the trio left the temple.
You TanZhi pondered: "The Beggar Clan is searching everywhere for Qiao Feng but they can't find him, how would they know his already the Lord of Southern Chancellery in Liao Empire. I will tell them this information. The Beggar Clan have overwhelming numbers, along with a few experts from Central Plains, we might be able to kill that traitor. I will follow them and kill Qiao Feng." When he thought about returning to Nanjing he thought of seeing AhZi again, his chest immediately heat up like an oven.
He tiptoed out of the temple, he saw the three Beggar Clan members walk on the road and heading west, he followed behind quietly. It's already dusk, there is no one around, he travelled for a few li and came to a low-lying land, he look to the distant and saw a bonfire within the mountain valley, You TanZhi pondered: "My iron mask is very strange, they will make a mountain out of a molehill if they see me, i should hide within the vegetation and eavesdrop." He jump into the grass bush and slowly crawled towards the bonfire. He crawled for a few zhang and stop, he gradually crawled closer again, but he heard a huge commotion, a large number of people gathered at the bonfire. You TanZhi experience great sufferings recently, he dare not be careless, as he got closer to the bonfire he crawled even slower, he crawled behind a large rock and was separated a few zhang from the bonfire, he dare not move closer anymore, he laid low and listen.
Among the crowd by the bonfire, someone spoke. You TanZhi listen for a while, it seems to be members from the Hall of Great Wisdom of the Beggar Clan, they gathered here to discuss who to recommend as the next Clan leader. Some push for Elder Song, some push for Elder Wu. Another person said: "Speaking of wits and courage, we should recommend Hall-Master Quan, unfortunately Hall-Master Quan was expelled by Qiao Feng, we still haven't settle how to let him rejoin the Clan again." Another person replied: "The treacherous affair of Qiao Feng was exposed by Hall-Master Quan, he rendered a huge service to our Clan, it should be easy to let him rejoin. Once the General Assembly starts, we will first settle the matter of letting Hall-Master Quan rejoin the Clan, we will bring up his great contribution and then recommend him as the next Clan leader."
A cool and bright voice said: "It's possible for me to rejoin the Clan. But you cannot recommend me for the position of Clan leader, people might gossip and say that i expose Qiao Feng for selfish reason of displacing him as the next Clan leader." A person said loudly: "Hall-Master Quan is a person who does not shirk responsibility. Although our Clan Elders have better martial arts, but when it comes to resourcefulness, no one can be compared to you. Against Qiao Feng, we can only pit our wits against him, not force, so Hall-Master Quan ......" Hall-Master Quan replied: "Brother Shi, i have yet to officially rejoin the Clan, you can't call me Hall-Master Quan."
Two hundred beggars around the bonfire chip in: "Elder Song has instructed, temporarily, you are still Hall-Master, so why can't we call you Hall-Master Quan? In the future when you become the Clan leader, you no longer need to care about this Hall-Master position."
"Even if Hall-Master Quan does not become the Clan leader, at least you can be promoted to Clan Elder, and you can still continue to lead your former Hall."
"Correct, even if Hall-Master Quan becomes the Clan leader, you can still take up additional responsibility as Great Wisdom Hall-Master."
As the crowd was getting lively, a Clan member came from the entrance of the valley and said: "Reporting to Hall-Master, Prince Duan from Dali Kingdom is requesting an audience." Hall-Master Quan immediately stood up and said: "Prince Duan from Dali Kingdom? Our Clan normally does not have dealings with Dali Kingdom. Brothers, the Duan family from Dali is well known for its martial arts, since Prince Duan is personally requesting an audience, everyone should go and greet him." He led all the members to the valley's entrance.
A young man stood smiling at the entrance, his accompanied by seven to eight people. This young man is Duan Yu. Both men cupped their hands and paid their respects, they met each other before at the apricots forest in WuXi. At that time, Quan GuanQing did not know Duan Yu's identity, but his embarrassingly affair of being expelled by Qiao Feng was seen by Duan Yu, he cannot help but feel slightly embarrass, but he immediately calm down, salute and said: "I didn't expect Prince Duan to come visit, you came from such a far place, i ask for your forgiveness."
Duan Yu smiled and said: "Its fine, its fine. Junior receives orders from my father to inform your honourable Clan of a certain matter, i hope it won't be an inconvenience."
Both of them exchange a few pleasantries, Duan Yuan was accompanied by Gu DuCheng, Fu SiGui and Zhu DanChen. Quan GuanQing invited Duan Yu to sit down on a rock by the bonfire, Clan members brought and served wine.
Duan Yu took a drink and said: "A few months ago, my father was at the residence of Deputy-leader Ma in XinYang, he encountered a strange affair, he personally witnessed the death of Bai ShiJing from your honourable Clan. But my father had sustained some injuries, he is still recuperating, the movement of your Clan's Elders is not fix and we did not have the opportunity to meet them, thus my father could not present the letter he wrote. A few days ago, we heard that your Hall is gathering here and i was ordered to come here quickly." He retrieved a letter from within his sleeve, quickly stood up and presented it.
Quan GuanQing also stood up immediately and receive it with both hands, he said: "I am sorry to have troubled Gentleman Duan to personally deliver this letter, I thank Prince Duan for showing great concern to my humble Clan." He saw the letter is sealed, it bears the word: "To Be Personally Opened By Beggar Clan's Elders", he knew that it was not appropriate for him to open the letter, he said: "Our Clan will be holding a General Assembly soon, all the old and young will be coming, i will then personally present Prince Duan's letter to our Clan's Elders." Duan Yu said: "I am sorry to trouble you, junior will take his leave now."
Quan GuanQing quickly said his thanks and said: "Our Clan's Elder Bai and Madam Ma died under the treacherous hands of Qiao Feng, Prince Duan personally witness this matter?" Duan Yu shook his head and said: "Elder Bai and Madam Ma was not killed by my big brother Qiao, Deputy-leader Ma was harmed by someone else. My father explained all these in the letter, Hall-Master Quan will know the full details in the future after reading the letter." Duan Yu thought: "This matter cannot be explained with just a few phrases, you are not a good person, i don't need to waste time and explain it to you. I don't think you have the guts to hide my father's letter." He cupped his hands towards Quan GuanQing and said: "Till next time, you don't have to see us off."
He turn around and walk to the valley's entrance, he met two Beggar Clan members and two men.
The two men gave each other a look, the move a few steps forward and bow towards Duan Yu, they presented a red invitation card.
Duan Yu took it and peruse it, the card wrote the words:
"Su XingHe respectfully invites all the world's most talented chess player, on the 8th day of the 2nd lunar month, to be at Henan's LeiGu Mountain to play chess" he said: "Excellent, junior is not burdened with any important matters, i will definitely be at the chess meet. But how did you two find out that i can play chess?" the expression of the two man were delighted, "Yi Yi Ya Ya" sound came from their mouth, they made huge gestures, it seems both of them are mute. Duan Yu could not understand their gestures, he smiled and ask Zhu DanChen: "LeiGu Mountain is not far from here right?" and he handed the invitation card to him.
Zhu DanChen took a look at the card, he cupped his hands towards the two man and said: "The son of Prince ZhenNan of Dali pays his respect to Mr Intelligent, he express his gratitude and he will promptly visit at the appointed date." He pointed his hand at Duan Yu and made a few gestures.
The two man bow again to pay their respects to Duan Yu, they took out another red invitation card and presented it to Quan GuanQing.
Quan GuanQing took a look at the card, he respectfully gave it back to the man, he wave his hands and said: "Quan GuanQing from the Hall of Great Wisdom of the Beggar Clan pays his respects to Mr Intelligent, my chess skill is shoddy and laughable, i dare not go to the chess meet, i hope that Mr Intelligent will be understanding." The two man bow towards him, the bow towards Duan Yu again and they left.
Only now did Zhu DanChen answer Duan Yu's question: " LeiGu Mountain is to the south of SongXian, North-east of QuYuan Ridge, it's not far from here."
Duan Yuan took his leave from Quan GuanQing and exit the valley, he ask Zhu DanChen: "What kind of person is Mr Intelligent Su XingHe? Is he the national Go (Chess) champion of Central Plains?" Zhu DanChen replied: "Mr Intelligent is also known as the Deaf Mute Old Man."
Duan Yu gave an "Ah" sound, he heard his father and uncle discussing about the 'Deaf Mute Old Man' before, his a prestigious expert within Central Plains, his deaf and mute but his martial arts is exceedingly high, his uncle was extremely respectful when mentioning him. Zhu DanChen continued: "The Deaf Mute Old Man is disabled, but he insist on calling himself Mr Intelligent, it seems he thinks his wits and penmanship will beat people's hearing and debating skills." Duan Yu nods his head and said: "It seems reasonable." After walking a few steps he gave a long sigh.
He listened to Zhu DanChen say that the Deaf Mute Old Man's wits and penmanship will beat people's hearing and debating skills, he cannot help but thought of Wang YuYan's "Narration Martial Art" beating people's fist and weaponry skills.
After rescuing the Beggar Clan members in WuXi with AhZhu, Bao BuTong and Feng BoE arrived and met up with them, the five of them headed north to search for their Young Master Murong. Duan Yu naturally wanted to follow them. Feng BoE was grateful towards him for sucking the scorpion's poison and he welcome Duan Yu. But Bao BuTong was extremely unforgiving, he blamed Duan Yu for disguising as Young Master Murong and tarnishing his great reputation, later he even threatened to beat him up unless he scram, Wang YuYan was only interested in finding her cousin and discussed endlessly with Feng BoE, she turned a blind eye to Duan Yu's situation.
Duan Yu was helpless and could only grudgingly part with Wang YuYan, but he still travelled north and thought: "You guys want to go to Henan to search for Murong Fu, it so happens that i am also going to Henan, Henan province does not belong to your Murong Family, if Murong Fu and Bao BuTong can go, why can't Duan Yu go as well? If it so happens that i run into you guys again, then it must be fate and Mr Bao cannot blame me."
But fate did not want him to meet Wang YuYan just shortly after their recent parting. During the entire month, Duan Yu wandered around Henan, he termed it sightseeing tour but in actual fact his just looking around in all direction, hoping to see a strand of hair from Wang YuYang, or just a corner of her clothes, as for the beautiful mountains and sceneries he didn't even give it a glance.
One day, Duan Yu was at the White Horse Temple in LuoYang, he was discussing "Agama" with the abbot, they discussed about Buddhist teachings on "Seven Treasures of the Chakravartin". Duan Yu was interested in the Jade Maiden treasure that is said to be "Neither long nor short, neither black nor white, a body that is warm during winter and cool during summer". The abbot shook his head repeatedly and said: "Buddhist Duan, this is an analogy in Buddhist teachings, moreover Buddha said that the seven treasures is in impermanence ... " but he did not finish as three men suddenly entered the temple, they were Fu SiGui, Gu DuCheng and Zhu DanChen.
When Duan ZhenChun left the residence of Ma in XinYang, he met up with Ruan XingZhu and recuperated under her care, when he thought about how Xiao Feng was wronged by the Beggar Clan for killing Ma DaYuan, he had to vindicate him, thus he wrote a letter and ordered the trio to deliver it to the Beggar Clan.
Fu SiGui and company came to LuoYang, they did not see any leading figures at Beggar Clan's main Hall, they gathered information and knew that the Hall of Great Wisdom of the Beggar Clan is gathering nearby, they hope to deliver the letter there, but in a restaurant they heard another amusing news about a daydreaming gentleman, the description of the appearance and behavior of the man seems to be very similar to Duan Yu, they ask the whereabouts of this gentleman and they came searching in the White Horse Temple.
The four of them met up and was very happy, Duan Yu said: "I will accompany you to deliver the letter, after that quickly bring me to see my father." When he learn that his father is currently in Henan, naturally his anxious to meet him, but all these days he hope to hear the slightest news about Wang YuYan, he kept thinking about her day and night, he pray that he might be able to meet her at the Beggar Clan's gathering, but this hope eventually came to nothing.
Zhu DanChen saw him sighing, he assume his thinking about Mu WanQing but he can offer no consolation, he thought of diverting his attention and said: "That Mr Intelligent is widely distributing these cards and inviting people to play chess, his chess skills must be extremely high. Young Master, after meeting Prince ZhenNan, why don't you go and meet this Mr Intelligent and play a few rounds with him?"
Duan Yu nodded: "Yes, playing chess can relief your worries. But although she is familiar with all the martial arts and all the weaponries, she can't play chess. She definitely won't go to Mr Intelligent's chess meet."
Zhu DanChen was baffled, he did not know who Duan Yu is referring to, along the way Duan Yu was absent-minded, his speech incoherent, and he dare not inquire anymore.
The group travelled north-west. Duan Yu was frowning and suddenly he nod and smiled, muttering: "There's a saying in Buddhist scripture: Thinking about beauty, her body filled with blood, a hundred years later, turning into bone and dust', although the saying is true but even if she turns into bones after a hundred years, she's still an incredibly beautiful bone." As he fantasized about Wang YuYan's skeleton, he suddenly heard the sound of horse's hoof behind him, two people came galloping on horses, but he can't see their appearance clearly in the darkness.
The two horses seemed to be out of control, they rushed towards the group. Fu SiGui and Gu DuCheng stretch out their hands and they each rein in the horses, the riders of the horses were motionless. Fu SiGui was slightly surprised, he lean over to check, the first rider turn out to the messenger of Mr Intelligent, his face revealed a faint smile but he died long ago. Just a few moments ago, this man had personally delivered the invitation card to Duan Yu, how did he die for no reason? The other dead rider is also the messenger of Mr Intelligent, he also died with a strange smile. When Fu SiGui and the rest saw this they knew these two men must have been killed by an extremely deadly poison, they quickly rein in their horses and move back two steps, they dare not touch the corpses.
Duan Yu was furious: "That Hall-Master Quan from Beggar Clan is really vicious, why did he harm these men? Let's go and reason it out with him." He turn his horse around and was about to go find Quan GuanQing and interrogate him.
Suddenly a voice spoke out within the darkness: "Little boy you are ignorant, in the entire world except for the Divine Elder of XingXiu and his sect, who has the ability to kill without leaving a trace? It will be fine if the Deaf Mute Old Man obediently hides himself, if he dares come out, Divine Elder of XingXiu will never let him survive, kid, this matter is none of your concern, its best if you leave quickly."
Zhu DanChen whispered: "Young Master, this is the affair of XingXiu Sect, it does not concern us, let's go."
Duan Yu already lost his interest when he can't find Wang YuYan, if these messengers were in danger he would definitely step in and save them, but since they already died he did not want to stir up more trouble, he sigh and said: "It's not sufficient to be deaf, their eyes must not see anything, their nose can't smell any scent, their mind incapable of any thought, only then can they break away from their trouble."
His speech was referring to Wang YuYan, since he already heard her voice, saw her smile and movement, all these etched deeply into his mind, even if he was deaf and mute, he still can't break away from thinking about her. Unexpectedly, the man laughed and applauded: "Yes, Yes! You are right, i should prod their eyes blind, cut off their nose, and beat them up so badly that they can't even think."
Duan Yu gave another sigh: "It's useless to use external force. You need to cultivate your inner self, 'Do not allow colour, sound and smell to stir your heart', but if you can let go of all self, you already reached Buddhahood. I am only a layman, how can i reach such attainment? Resentment, hate, love, parting, powerless, the five evil, the great sufferings of life."
You TanZhi was hiding behind the vegetation, he saw Duan Yu and his entourage come and go, someone was shouting in front, two Beggars Clan members quickly ran over and quietly reported to Quan GuanQing: "Hall-Master Quan, the two mute men died for no reason, the perpetrator claims his from XingXiu Sect and his a subordinate of someone called Divine Elder of XingXiu."
Quan GuanQing got a huge shock, his expression change instantly. He heard of Old Freak of XingXiu, this person employs deadly poison, his martial art is also exceedingly high, he pondered: "He killed the messenger of Deaf Mute Old Man, this matter does not concern us, its best if we don't stir up any trouble." He replied: "Ok, they are ghost, fighting another ghost, we need not bother."
Suddenly, someone spoke in front of him: "Scoundrel talking nonsense, how dare you curse me as ghost when you know i am the subordinate of Divine Elder of XingXiu? You are tired of living." Quan GuanQing was surprised and he cannot refrain from taking a step back, under the light from the torch, he saw someone standing upright in front of him but it was his own subordinate from Beggar Clan, he fixed his concentration and finally saw him, the person had a faint smile, his appearance strange, he was standing right behind another person, he shouted: "Who are you, pretending to be a ghost, what are you doing here?"
The person behind the Beggar Clan member replied: "You are really bold, you said the word ghost again! I am the subordinate of Divine Elder of XingXiu. Divine Elder of XingXiu is arriving in Central Plains, he needs 200 poison snakes and 100 poison bugs. Your Beggar Clan is always well-stocked with poison snakes and bugs, offer them immediately. Divine Elder of XingXiu will spare you lot of beggars if you respectfully present the items to him. Or else, heng heng, you will become like this person!"
Bang, the Beggar Clan member in front of him immediately flew off and fell beside the bonfire, his motionless, apparently he died long ago. When the Beggar Clan member flew off, a dwarf wearing poplin shirt was revealed, nobody knows how he killed the Beggar Clan member and then hide himself behind the Clan member.
Quan GuanQing was startled and angry, in a split second, many thoughts came into his mind: "Old Freak of XingXiu mess with our Beggar Clan, if we don't give in to their demands we have to fight it out. Although it's dangerous, but if i cave in to his threats and offer the poison snakes and bugs, my Clan members will forever look down on me. My hopes of becoming Clan leader will be dash, i can't even maintain my current standings in the Clan. Luckily the Old Freak of XingXiu has yet to arrive, this person is alone, i don't need to be afraid of him." Immediately he laughs and said: "So you are from XingXiu Sect, may i know your name?"
The dwarf said: "I am called Tian LangZi. Quickly go and prepare the poisonous snakes and bugs."
Quan GuanQing smiled and said: "It's only poisonous snakes and bugs, small matter, we don't need any major preparation." He picked up a bag from the ground and said: "There's a few snakes here, please check it, is it suitable for Divine Elder of XingXiu?"
The dwarf heard Quan GuanQing said "Divine Elder of XingXiu", he was very pleased, seeing his expression respectful he thought: "It's said that Beggar Clan is the number one clan in Central Plains, but when they heard my master's name they immediately turn limp. I will take these poison snakes, master will definitely like it, he will surely praise me for being competent. Nevertheless, it's all due to the fierce reputation of master." He immediately stretch his neck to look into the bag.
Suddenly all he saw was darkness, the cloth bag had already covered his head, Tian LangZi was shocked, he immediately strike out with his palm but he hit nothing, but at this moment, his cheek and neck felt a slight pain, he was bitten by the poisonous bugs in the bag. Tian LangZi did not have time to remove the cloth bag, he ferociously sent out both his palm and retreated quickly. As his head was covered with the cloth bag he can't see a thing, both his palms were attacking randomly, his face and head received another series of bites, he panicked, he extended his legs and fled, but his legs threaded on empty air, he lost his footing and roll down the steep slope, with a splashing sound he fell into the river at the bottom of the mountain and got wash away by the current.
Quan GuanQing thought of killing him, he didn't expect him to escape, but the person was stung by poisonous scorpion and subsequently fell into the river, his mostly probably dead, but since members of XingXiu sect are poison experts they might have special detoxification method, since they live at XingXiu Sea they would also know how to swim, if the person manage to survive, XingXiu sect will definitely come back and seek revenge. He said to everyone: "At this moment, we can only deploy the giant python formation and stake it out against Old Freak of XingXiu. Could it be possible that we can't fend for ourselves without Qiao Feng and have to be humiliated by others? XingXiu Sect are experts in using deadly poison, we can't use our weapons and fists against them, we have to use poison to counter their poison."
The Beggar Clan members shouted out in agreement, immediately they disperse, they arrange into their battle formation a few zhang away from the bonfire, everyone sat down and cross their legs.
You TanZhi saw Quan GuanQing use the cloth bag to defeat Tian LangZi, he pondered: "There's probably numerous poisonous bugs in the bag, they have so many bags here, are they all filled with poisonous bugs? It's not surprising for the beggars to be proficient in catching poison bugs. If i can steal a few of these bags and present them to Miss AhZi, she will definitely like it very much."
Once the Clan members sat down, they did not make any sound, everyone had a few cloth bags beside them, some of the bags are extremely huge, some had creatures squirming and moving inside, You TanZhi's hair stood on its end when he saw all these. The atmosphere was silent, if he move now he will surely be detected by the crowd, he thought: "I won't be afraid if they cover me with those bags, i have the protection of the iron mask, but if they stuff my entire body into the bag then i will be in trouble."
After a few hours, nothing happen, after a while the sun started to rise, covering the hills and vegetation with bright light. Birds were chirping on the trees, suddenly Quan GuanQing said softly: "They are here! Everyone be careful!" he was kneeling on a rock outside the formation, holding onto an iron flute.
Music came from the north direction, a group of people walk unhurriedly, they were playing their wood instruments and drums, the music was melodious and pleasant. You TanZhi pondered: "It is a wedding procession?"
The music got nearer and nearer, when it was 10 zhang away it stopped, several people said in unison: "Divine Elder of XingXiu arriving in Central Plains, Beggar Clan members, kneel down and greet him!" once they finish, the drums start thundering. After 3 rounds of drum roll, there was a gong sound, the drums stopped, ten people said in unison: "We respectfully invite Divine Elder of XingXiu to display your great skills, subdue these demons and clowns from Beggar Clan!"
You TanZhi pondered: "It's quite similar to Taoist ritual." He quietly peered out from the rock, he saw twenty people lining up in the northwest corner, some holding percussion instruments, some armed with long streamers and banners, red and green colour pleasing to the eye, from afar the banners were embroidered with words such as, "Divine Elder of XingXiu ","Almighty", "Limitless Power", "Inspiring Awe Throughout The World", etc. As the music played out, an old man slowly stroll out, a dozen people arranged into two rows, they followed behind him, separated by a few zhang.
The old man was waving a goose feathered fan, sun shine on his face, his face was ruddy, head full of white hair, three silver whiskers on his chin, he really look like an immortal depicted in pictures. The old man walk towards the Beggar Clan crowd and stop moving when he's 3 zhang away, suddenly he issued a few sharp whistle, he flick his fan and wave away the whistle sound, four Beggar Clan members sitting on the ground immediately collapsed.
You TanZhi had a huge shock: "This Divine Elder of XingXiu really have powerful magic!"
The old man's face revealed a faint smile, with another "Zi" sound, he wave his feathered fan and another group of beggars collapsed. The old man's whistle seems to be hiding some kind of lethal poison, in an instant, another 6-7 beggars collapsed.
The crowd behind the old man cried out their praises: "Master's skill will be remembered throughout all ages! These beggars pit themselves against us, it's akin to a firefly pitting its light against the sun! Or a mantis blocking a cart, they vastly overrated themselves, laughable, laughable!"
"Master you only need to laugh and chitchat and these demons and clowns will die immediately, such effortless crushing victory, disciple has never seen or heard such thing before."
"This is a great achievement never seen before in the world, if Master did not reveal it, the people from Central Plains will never know such skills exists." They keep singing their praises, feeling very smug, they start playing their instruments again.
Suddenly there was a "Xu" sound, Quan GuanQing brought the iron flute to his mouth and started blowing. You TanZhi pondered: "What's he playing the flute for? Supporting the Divine Elder of XingXiu?" suddenly noise came from the ground, a few brightly coloured large snakes slithered towards the old man. The group of disciples beside the old man shouted: "Snakes, there are poisonous snakes! Master, these snakes seems to be heading towards us!" numerous poisonous snakes came slithering out of the cloth bags, some are big while others are small, all of them rush towards the old man and his disciples. The crowd panic and start screaming and howling randomly.
The disciples of XingXiu sect raised their steel staff, they pounded at the oncoming snakes, the old man's expression was calm, he still carried on whistling and waving his fan to repel his enemies. Quan GuanQing did not stop blowing his flue, his clan members all shouted to show their support.
More and more snakes gathered, within moments, XingXiu sect members were surrounded by a few hundred snakes, 5-6 of these snakes are giant python. A few giant python move near, they coil their tails and immediately trapped two people, another two men was trap subsequently. If these XingXiu members turn their back and flee the snakes will not be able to catch them, but their Master is still fighting and they dare not leave, they can only brandish their weapons and pound randomly, they killed 8-10 snakes but 7-8 of them was also bitten by the snakes. The giant pythons are even more dangerous, their skins are rough and their body thick, they behave as if nothing had happened when stuck by the steel staff, they coil their body around the men and constricted, not letting them go. As the flute keep blowing, more giant python came out of the cloth bags, there's already 27-28 of them.
The old man saw the situation was unfavourable, he wanted to move back and attack Quan GuanQing, suddenly two small snakes bite towards his face. He shouted angrily: "How dare you!" he wave his fan and brought down the two snakes, suddenly he felt something soft coiling around his ankle. He knew he is in trouble and quickly leap into the air. He heard another "Xu" sound from the flute, four pythons raised their tails and coil towards him. The old man was in mid-air, he strike out with both palms, it hit the snake in front and to his left, his body flash and he landed 2 zhang away. At this moment, the tail of the 3rd and 4th giant python attack him simultaneously. Under such pressing situation he exerted his strength and send out another palm, the palm force arrive and one giant python was struck on its head and its brain turn into pulp.
The mass of snakes gush in like flowing river. The old man killed another three python, but his waist and right leg was trapped by two giant python. He gathered his internal energy and gave a loud cry, he clawed open the belly of the python on his waist, his body was splash with blood. But the python is very resilient, even though its belly is split open it endured the pain and constricted even more, the old man's pelvic bone was about to fracture under the pressure. He struggled to break free, but another two giant python wrap themselves around his body, even his arm was trapped, he could not struggle anymore. Seeing such horrifying scene, You TanZhi was so shock that he could hardly breathe.
Quan GuanQing was very happy, his enemies were all trapped and bound by the giant python, they can no longer resist and they cursed in rage, he stop playing his flute, he laugh and said: "Old Freak Of XingXiu, your XingXiu Sect and my Beggar Clan normally don't mess with each other, why did you provoke us for no reason? What should we settle this?"
This healthy old man is the most hated person in Central Plains, the Old Freak of XingXiu Ding ChunQiu. One of the three treasures of his Sect the [Divine Wooden King Tripod] was stolen by AhZi, he sent out numerous disciples to hunt her down, even his head-disciple Zhai XingZi was dispatched. But the returning news was always very discouraging. He last heard that AhZi had the backing of Qiao Feng and they heavily injure Zhai XingZi, Ding ChuQiu was shock and angry, Ding Chunqiu knew the Beggar Clan is the number one clan in Central Plains and they are not easy to deal with, he also heard the Deaf Mute Old Man is particularly active around Xing Lake in recent years, the Deaf Mute Old Man is a thorn in his side and he can never rest in peace with him around, thus he thought of retrieving the [Divine Wooden King Tripod] and then resolve all these matters once and for all, hence he brought his disciples and personally travelled east to Central Plains.
He practiced the [Great Energy Dissolving Skill] and he frequently require poisonous fluids of poison creatures to be smeared on his palm and absorbed into his body, if he does not absorb any poison fluids for seven days, not only will his internal energy decrease, the poison accumulated in his body will also gradually flare up as its not suppressed by new poison, the repercussion is deadly, the [Divine Wooden King Tripod] has a very special scent, coupled with the incense burnt, it will be able to immediately attract poisonous bugs, all poisonous creatures within 10 li radius will not be able to resist being attracted by the fragrance.
With this tripod, Ding ChunQiu can catch poisonous bugs without any effort, his [Great Energy Dissolving Skill] naturally become more and more profound. Previously, Ding ChunQiu had a very talented disciple, he imparted his skills to him and taught him the [Great Energy Dissolving Skill], but after some achievements in the skill the disciple became self-conceited and was very disrespectful towards him. Ding ChunQiu subdued the disciple, he did not torture him but merely imprison him within a stone house so that he can't capture any poison bugs, eventually the poison within his body flare up, it was extremely unbearable and he cannot help but tear his own muscles off to relief himself, he moaned and wailed and eventually died after 40 days. Although Ding ChunQiu was delighted, he cannot help but feel fear, he guarded himself and never imparted his [Great Energy Dissolving Skill] to anyone. Thus, Zhai XingZi and the rest of the disciple did not know the skill, AhZi wanted to learn the skill and she had to eavesdrop secretly and also steal the tripod.
AhZi was adept at scheming, when her master had finish absorbing fresh poison she bid him farewell and travelled east, when the Old Freak of XingXiu realized the tripod was stolen, it was already 7 days later and AhZi had escape to a faraway place. She only travelled on remote route, even though the disciples pursuing her had higher martial arts, their resourcefulness is way inferior to hers and she managed to bluff her way through, she employed numerous decoy tactics and threw off all her pursuers.
The residence of the Old Freak of XingXiu is a gloomy and damp ravine, the area is rich with poisonous bugs and snakes, although the tripod was lost, it still not too difficult to catch poisonous bugs and replenish his supply of poison, however he can only hope to catch common poison bugs, without the aid of the tripod he can no longer catch rare bugs which possess deadly poison. One matter cause him endless worries, his afraid that experts from Central Plains might discover the origin of the tripod and they will seek to destroy it, thus he hope to resolve this matter quickly so that he can stop worrying.
He met a bunch of his disciples at the borders of ShanXi. His head-disciple Zhai XingZi was fortunate to preserve his life but he lost all his martial arts, he was beaten and humiliated by fellow martial-brothers, his second disciple Shi BiRen temporarily took over the post of head-disciple, all the disciples saw their master and was scared of being punished as they failed to complete their task, fortunately the Old Freak of XingXiu needs all the help he can get and he postponed all punishments and hope his disciples can redeem themselves by performing a good service.
Along the way, the group inquired about the Beggar Clan. But firstly, their appearance was strange and their behaviors deplorable, no one was willingly to reveal the information to them. Secondly, Xiao Feng was in Liao Empire and became the Lord of Southern Chancellery, but people from the martial world did not know about this matter, thus they could not find any news about the Beggar Clan and they can't even find the main branch of the clan.
On this day, Tian LiangZi inadvertently found about the gathering of the Great Wisdom Hall of Beggar Clan, he wanted to claim credit for this piece of information and he infiltrated the Beggar Clan alone, but he eventually fall prey to Quan GuanQing's schemes. Luckily his body already contained essence of poison and the scorpion's poison failed to kill him, he escaped and reported the matter to his master. Ding ChunQiu immediately rush over, but he did not expect that with his deadly poison and profound martial arts, he was subdued by giant python and immobilized.
Ding Chunqiu did not answer Quan GuanQing's question, he said coldly: "There's a person called Qiao Feng in your Beggar Clan, where is he? Quickly ask him to come out and see me."Quan GuanQing heart was shaken, he ask: "You want to see Qiao Feng, what for?" Ding ChunQiu said proudly: "Divine Elder of XingXiu is asking you a question why aren't you answering? You keep asking useless questions, where is Qiao Feng?"
Quan GuanQing saw Ding ChunQiu was immobilized by the python, he had already lost the power to resist, but his manner is still arrogant and ferocious, such courage is really rare in this world, he said: "It's said that the Old Freak of XingXiu is all knowing, but i think it's just undeserved reputation, you can't even handle a few small snakes. I am sorry, we have to help the world get rid of a great evil today."
Ding ChunQiu smiled and said: "Old man is careless, i fell into the trap of these cold-blooded reptiles, i will die today, its really fate......"
But he did not finish as one of his disciple who is trapped by the python suddenly shouted: "Heroes of Beggar Clan, please release me, you will have great benefit. My master is proficient in trickery, you can never guard against him. Just a minor slip-up and you will fall into his trap." Quan GuanQing said coldly: "And how do we benefit by releasing you?" The person replied: "There are three treasures in my XingXiu Sect, they are called XingXiu Three Treasures. Only the Old Freak of XingXiu and me knows its hidden location. If you release me, i will help you kill the Old Freak of XingXiu and offer you the treasures. If you kill me, you will never find the treasures."
Another XingXiu disciple cried out: "Great hero, great hero, don't be fooled by him! One of the three treasures is already stolen. It's better for you to release me. I am the loyal one, i will never lie to you."
In an instant, numerous XingXiu disciples clamoured: "Heroes of Beggar Clan, its best if you spare me, neither of them are loyal, i will serve you wholeheartedly."
"Great hero, i know most of the martial arts of XingXiu Sect, i will tell you everything, i won't hide them from you."
"There's a great conspiracy surrounding our arrival in Central Plains, the main purpose is to deal with Beggar Clan. Great heroes, do you want to know all the inside information?"
"Our XingXiu Sea hides unlimited gold, silvers and rare treasure, i know the hiding spot of every treasure. I will lead all of you there and dig it out, heroes of Beggar Clan you no longer need to beg for food anymore."
These people kept boot-licking and tried to pledge their loyalty, some tried to offer treasures, some tried to stir up curiosity by revealing secret plans, some of their words are outright lies and completely absurd. Some XingXiu disciples are on the verge of death due to being poisoned and constricted by the snakes, they struggled for air to beg for forgiveness.
Members of Beggar Clan did not expect that the disciples of XingXiu are so spineless, thus they despise them, but their sense of curiosity was aroused and they move closer to listen attentively. Quan GuanQing said coldly: "You are not loyal to even your own master, how can you pledge loyalty to total strangers? Aren't you ridiculous?"
A XingXiu disciple replied: "No its different, very different. The Old Freak of XingXiu has lousy skills, what's the future prospect in following him? What the benefit in following him? How can the Old Freak of XingXiu be a match for Beggar Clan?"
"Yea, Beggar Clan taking in disciples of XingXiu Sect, Western and Central Plains will be in shock, who dare not admire the heroes of Beggar Clan?"
"The word 'Hero' is not sufficient to describe you, we have to refer you as 'Chivalrous Hero' ,'Saint', 'Saviour of commoner'!"
"I am articulate and good with words, i will travel to the four corners of the earth and spread the words about your great kindness, the chivalrous heroes of Beggar Clan will be renown throughout the entire world."
"Pei, the chivalrous heroes of Beggar Clan is already famous throughout the world, why do they even need you to advertise? I thought of the title of 'Saint' and 'Saviour of commoner' for them. They bestow intelligence upon me."
A five-pouch Beggar Clan disciple frowned and said: "You lot of scumbags, making so much racket, listening to you lot made us fed up. Old Freak of XingXiu, you are really good for nothing, why did you accept these shameless people as disciples? I'll send you to heaven first, and then i let these lot of scumbags follow you, i am going to slaughter you whole lot today!" as he finish, he gave a shout and send his palm towards Ding ChunQiu.
This palm strike was accompanied by rapid wind, the strength behind it extremely strong and fierce, it landed on Ding ChunQiu's chest. But Ding ChunQiu was completely unharmed, the beggar felt his knees soften and he collapsed onto the ground, he curled up and started twitching, after a while he was motionless. The crowd of Beggar Clan members were surprise, they shouted: "What happen?", two beggars came out to help him up. When the two men touched his body, they started shaking and also collapsed after a while. Three nearby beggar clan disciples naturally stretch out their hands to support them, but when they touch the two men, they also collapsed. The rest of the crowd was stunned, they no longer dare to touch their fallen comrades.
Quan GuanQing shouted: "There poison on this old man's body, we can't touch his body, release the projectiles!"
Eighty nine 4-5 pouch disciples pulled out their hidden weapons, steel darts, flying knives, sleeve arrows, cobblestones, they threw all these weapons at Ding ChunQiu. Ding ChunQiu gave a loud shout and turn his head sharply, he swung his white hair out, his hairs were like soft whiskers and repelled 10 of the projectiles thrown at him. But there was multiple "Ah Yo" cries, 6-7 beggars were struck by hidden projectiles. These projectiles did not hit their vital spots, some was gazed on their flesh, but these men immediately collapsed and died.
Quan GuanQing shouted: "Move back, move back!" suddenly there was a swishing sound, it was caused by the shooting of a steel dart, Ding ChunQiu used his hairs to grip the dart and shoot it towards him. Quan GuanQing hastily use his iron flute to deflect it, there was a ringing sound and the dart was repelled far away. He thought this Old Freak of XingXiu is really powerful, he can only rely on his giant python to kill him, he brought his flute to his mouth, as he was about to blow, his lips suddenly felt numb and he instantly became dizzy, he knew something was wrong and hastily threw away the iron flute, there was a thud sound and he collapsed. The Clan members was shock, immediately two men move forward to help him up. Quan GuanQing said drowsily: "I ... I am poisoned, Every ... everyone...quick...quickly...leave" the Clan members were scared out of their wits, they carried him and fled, abandoning all the bodies, snakes and cloth bags.
You TanZhi is still squatting in the bushes, his so shock by the ongoing that he dare no move an inch. The surrounding was a total silence, a dozen poisoned Clan members curled into a ball like porcupine, apparently they had already died.
The remaining giant python are no long under the control of Quan GuanQing's flute sound, they will not harm anyone and only immobilized Ding ChunQiu and his disciples. No one in the XingXiu Sect dared to move or struggle for fear of provoking the vicious nature of the snakes and getting bitten.
The silence remain for a while, finally someone spoke: "Master, your divine skill is unrivalled throughout the world, you easily slaughtered all these evil and vicious beggars and drive them all away ..."
Before he could finish another disciple interrupt him and said: "Master, don't listen to his bullshit, his the one that praised the beggars as 'Chivalrous Heroes' and 'Saints'"
Another disciple said: "We followed Master for so many years, how can we not know his ability to split the heaven and earth? We talk nonsense and fooled the beggars just now to distract them so that Master can display his unparalleled skills."
Suddenly someone burst into tears and wailed: "Master, Master! Disciple deserves to die, disciple is confused, i was afraid of death and surrendered to the enemy, i sincerely regret it now and i am willingly to die with the poison snakes, i dare not ask Master for mercy anymore."
The rest of the disciples immediately came to an understanding: Their Master hated people who explain away and whitewash their mistakes, only by condemning themselves and admitting to all sorts of mistakes can they hope to receive their Master's mercy and forgiveness. In an instant, all the disciples start cursing themselves, they curse their own evil intentions and how they deserve to die. You TanZhi eavesdrop from the bushes, he was utterly baffled by them.
Ding ChunQiu gathered his internal energy, he thought of bursting through the 3 giant python binding him by using pure force. Unfortunately, the python's body is elastic and flexible. When Ding ChunQiu exerted his strength, the snakes only lengthen, their bodies did not break. Ding ChunQiu was covered with poison, his hair and clothes all contained deadly toxin. When the beggars attacked him with their weapons, all of them came into contact with his poison, however the python's skin is thick, tough and slippery, his poison could not penetrate it. As he listen to his disciples endlessly talking, he raged: "If someone can come up with an idea to drive away the snakes, i will spare him. You lot still don't understand my temper? I will never kill people who are useful to me. You people only know how to talk nonsense and crap, what use is it?"
As he said this, the group of disciples immediately quieten down. After a while, someone said: "We need someone to use a torch and burn the bodies of these snakes, they will definitely run off." Ding ChunQiu scolded him: "You are farting! We are out here in the wilderness, there's no village or shop nearby, who will come by? Even if someone did come by, once they see so many snakes, they will get scared and run off, why would they even bother to bring a torch and burn them?" the rest of the disciples kept suggesting ideas, but all the ideas were lousy and limited, everyone just kept on talking. They hope to curry favour with their master and show that they follow his orders and make themselves useful by suggesting ideas.
After a long time, a disciple was bound so tightly that he could not breathe anymore, in his dizzy state he randomly bite the snake. The python felt pain and retaliate by biting his throat, that disciple gave a tragic cry and died.
Ding ChunQiu was getting more and more anxious. If he was surrounded by numerous enemies, he could employ devious tricks and schemes, but these snakes are completely immune to tricks and schemes, he feared the snakes might get hungry and eventually swallow him.
His fear is indeed accurate, after not being influence by the flute sound for a long time a giant python is extremely hungry, it open its mouth and bite a XingXiu disciple. The disciples cried out: "Master save me, Master save me!" his two legs had already been swallowed by the snake. His body was also swallowed, his waist entered first and it slowly move to his chest, as his still not yet dead he cried out loudly, his cry shook the wilderness.
Everyone knew the same thing was about to happen to them, the sight frightened them greatly. One disciple saw the Old Freak of XingXiu is also at his wits end, his resentment rose and he openly derided him, he blame Ding ChunQiu for implicating him, he was originally a shepherd at XingXiu Sea but was threatened and coerced into joining XingXiu Sect, since his about to die, he poured out all his resentment and dissatisfaction against Ding ChunQiu.
As he began cursing, the rest of the disciples also joined in. All the disciples suffered regular ill-treatment under Ding ChunQiu, they held the grudge in their heart and dare not voice it out. Since everyone is about to die together, they started to scold him to vent their frustrations. One disciple was cursing loudly and his body stirred, this provoke the python and it retaliate by biting him on the shoulder, the man scream: "Ah Yo, Ah Yo! Save me, save me!"
You TanZhi saw these people are completely immobilized by the python, his heart did not have anymore misgivings and he stood up, the place is not suitable for staying and he wanted to leave quickly.
The XingXiu disciples suddenly saw his iron mask, they had a shock, but someone remembered that he can help save them, he exclaimed: "Great hero, chivalrous man, please gather some dried leaves and light a fire to drive away these snakes, I immediately give you ... give you 1000 taels of silver." another person said: "1000 tael is insufficient, we have to give 10 000 taels" and another person said: "This gentleman is a chivalrous person, his conscience is the best, he will definitely carry out righteous act, moreover there's nothing dangerous about lighting a fire to burn the snakes." In an instant their praise got louder and louder, the previous rewards quickly increased to 1 million taels of gold.
The cursing ability of these disciples is first class, their flattering and bootlicking ability is even better and well honed. You TanZhi has never heard anyone call him "Hero", "Chivalrous", "Benevolent and Righteous", "Peerless Hero". Under their praise, his body felt light, as if he was floating, he suddenly felt he possess the spirit of "Great Hero" and "Chivalrous Person", he did not care for the gold, he only felt regret that AhZi did not hear these people immortalize him.
At once he set off and start picking up dried leaves, but he saw there's many fierce python, he was scared of accidentally provoking these snakes and getting trapped by them, after thinking for a while, he gathered dried twigs and made a huge fire in front of him, he picked up one burning twig and threw it at the nearest python. He hide behind the fire, his body poised, if the snake rush towards him, he will immediately run and escape, whatever "Great Hero" or "Chivalrous Person", he didn't care about it anymore.
The python is indeed afraid of fire, once it saw the fire burning, it released the XingXiu people and slithered into the bushes. You TanZhi saw his initial attempt was successful, along with the cheering of the XingXiu disciples, he lit several more twigs and threw them at the python. All the snakes started to flee, even the giant pythons can't withstand the fire, it released its captives and slithered away. Moments later, hundreds of snakes and giant pythons all fled the scene, not a single one remained.
The XingXiu disciples celebrated and cheered loudly: "Master is extreme wise. Master has great foresight, the fire method is indeed the most effective."
"Master has great fortune, he turn ill luck into good!"
"Its all due to Master graceful manner, he directed with perfect ease. He saved out insignificant lives!"
They kept praising and piling credits on Ding ChunQiu, they did not mention about You TanZhi's effort in freeing them.
You TanZhi stood rooted to the ground, he felt strange, he pondered: "Just a few moments ago you people curse your Master, but now you praised him to the heavens, and now you completely forgotten about me, what happen to the 'Great Hero' and 'Chivalrous Person'?"
Ding ChunQiu wave his hand to beckon him over and said: "Iron-head guy, come over here, what's your name?" You TanZhi was used to being humiliated, even though Ding ChunQiu was rude he did not care and reply: "My name is You TanZhi." And he walk a few steps towards him. Ding ChunQiu said: "Are those beggars dead? Go check to see if they are still breathing."
You TanZhi said: "Ok" he bend over his body and stretch out his hand to check the breath of a beggar, he didn't feel any breath, the person was long dead. He tried another beggar, his breath also stopped long ago, he said: "All of them are dead, they are not breathing." He saw the expressions of the XingXiu disciples are strange, they seem to be gloating at his misfortune. He did not understand the reason behind it, he repeated his words: "All of them are dead, they are not breathing." After a while the smug look on their faces slowly died off, replaced by expression of shock and disbelief.
Ding ChunQiu said: "Go examine every single beggar, see if any one of them can be saved." You TanZhi said: "Ok" he examined all the beggars, he shake his head and said: "All of them are dead. Elder's skill is indeed formidable." Ding ChunQiu smile sarcastically and said: "You poison-resisting skill is also formidable." You TanZhi felt curious and said: "My...what...poison resisting skill?"
He was very puzzled, he did not understand the meaning of Ding ChunQiu's word. He did not realize that when he checked the beggar for breath, it was the same as going to the gates of hell. When Ding ChunQiu was immobilized by the python, he could not escape and had to be rescued by You TanZhi, if news of this spread out he will definitely lose face, thus when the snakes left he immediately thought of silencing You TanZhi. Unexpectedly, for the past few months, You TanZhi kept on practicing the [Tendon-Changing Sutra], the poison of the frost silkworm had also merged flawlessly within his body, thus the poison on the beggars could not harm him at all.
Ding ChunQiu pondered: "Looking at his skin and listening to his voice, his extremely young, he definitely won't have any real skill or ability, mostly probably his carrying anti-poison pearl or some other treasures that repel poison, or he had previously consumed some miracle antidote." He said: "Brother You, come over here, i have something to say."
You TanZhi saw his speech was sincere, but he personally witnessed how he viciously killed all the beggars, his disciples also cursed and flattered randomly, he felt these people are extremely difficult to deal with and its best to stay far away from them, he said: "Junior has something to do, i can't stay, i have to go now." He cupped his fists and walk away.
He only walk a few steps, a light breeze swept past his body, both his wrist was caught by someone. You TanZhi raise his head, he saw the person was a large man from the XingXiu Sect. He did not know his intention, but saw him laugh grimly, he knew he was in trouble and cried: "Let me go!" and he gave a tug.
There was a whooshing sound over his head, a large body flew over his head, with a loud bang the body slam onto the opposite cliff, the skull was crushed immediately, the brain and skull mixed into a slurry.
You TanZhi saw the person slam the cliff with an extremely violent force, he found it hard to believe, he was even more astounded that the person was the one holding his wrist moments ago, he was puzzled: "This man is perfectly fine, why did he bang his head on the cliff and commit suicide? Is he mad?" He never suspected that when he gave a tug, his fierce strength threw the large man out onto the cliff.
The group of XingXiu disciple gave an "Ah" sound, their faces change color.
Ding ChunQiu saw the way You TanZhi threw his disciple, it was flimsy, not first-class skill, but the physical strength is highly unusual, he thought You TanZhi must be gifted with innate superhuman strength, but his martial arts is mediocre, his body flash and he extended his hand to push down on You TanZhi's head. You TanZhi was caught off guard, he was forced to kneel on the ground, he tried to straighten his body to stand up but he felt as if a ten thousand pound stone mountain is sitting on his head, he could not move at all, he pleaded: "Elder please spare my life."
Ding ChunQiu heard him plead for mercy, he felt assured and ask: "Who is your teacher? You are really bold, how dare you kill my disciple?" You TanZhi said: " I ...... I have no master, i dare not kill Elder's disciple."
Ding ChunQiu did not want to waste time talking to him, it will be easier to simply kill him, he release his hand to let You TanZhi stand up, immediately he wave his palm and strike towards You TanZhi's chest. You TanZhi had a huge shock and he hastily extended his right hand to deflect the palm. Ding ChuQiu's palm was slow, You TanZhi extended his right hand and both their palms met. Ding ChunQiu wanted their palms to meet, he gathered his internal energy and sent it out together with the poison in his hand, this is his famous [Great Energy Dissolving Skill], the victim will either contract deadly poison, or sustain damage to his meridians and become incapable of exerting internal energy, the victim will feel as if all his internal energy is dissolved, the outcome is completely controlled by Ding ChunQiu. Ding ChunQiu killed countless people with this skill. When martial artists hear the word [Great Energy Dissolving Skill], they will feel great loathing and fear.
Both their palms clashed, You TanZhi's body shook and he retreated 6-7 steps, he tried to stand his ground but was forced to sit down, but the opponent's force did not dissipate, his arm hit the ground and his back also followed, his head also hit the ground and he somersaulted three times, he finally managed to stabilize himself and he kowtow and said: "Elder please spare my life."
When Ding ChunQiu clash palms with him, he felt his internal energy is extremely strong, the energy possess a strange coldness which also contains deadly poison, although You TanZhi fell down pathetically, but the poison palm from Ding ChunQiu can't harm his opponent meridians, he can't stop him from exerting internal energy, in terms of internal energy and poison, You TanZhi was not at a disadvantage, why the need to beg for mercy? Could it be that he deliberately ridiculed him? He walk a few steps towards You TanZhi and ask: "You are asking me to spare you life, is it the truth or your faking it?"
You TanZhi kowtow and said: "Junior is sincere, i beg Elder to spare my life."
Ding ChunQiu pondered: "I don't know what strange encounter this man met, he accumulated more poison than me, his a rare treasure. I need to recruit this man find out how he how he practice his skills, and then absorb all the poison from his body, and then kill him. Won't it be a waste if i just kill him like this?" He press his palm on You TanZhi's iron head, channeled his internal energy and said: "Unless you accept me as your Master, else why should i spare you life?"
You TanZhi felt as if his head was being roasted, his face felt extremely hot, he was very scared. After being tortured by AhZi, he had long resigned himself to adversity, whatever good or evil, unyielding integrity, he forgotten all about them, he only hope to preserve his life, he quickly said: "Master, You TanZhi is willing to be your disciple, i beg Master to accept me."
Ding ChunQiu was overjoyed and said: "You want me to be your Master, why not. But our Sect has many rules and regulation, can you abide all of them? Do you wholeheartedly accept my orders and never dare to defy?" You TanZhi said: "Disciple is willing to abide by the rules and follow Master." Ding ChunQiu said: "If i want to take your life, you are willing to give it up?" You TanZhi said: "This ... this ... ... " Ding ChunQiu said: "Think through it properly, if you are willing just say you are willing, if you are not willing just say so."
You TanZhi pondered: "You want to take my life, of course i am not willing. If it really reach such a state, then i will simply escape, if i fail to escape then even if i am not willing there's nothing i can do about it." He replied: "Disciple is willing to die for Master." Ding ChunQiu laugh and said: "Very Good, very good. Tell me all about your life experiences."
You TanZhi did not wish to talk about his life experiences or recent misfortune, he said his a farm boy, he was captured by the Liao during their raid and they put a iron mask on his head. Ding ChunQiu inquired about the strange poison in his body, You TanZhi only revealed how he met the frost silkworm and Monk HuiJing, how he stole the frost silkworm, he lied that he was accidentally bitten by the silkworm, thus his body was frozen solid and the silkworm just died, he did not mention about AhZi or how she use him to train her poison palm. Ding ChunQiu press for more details about the appearance and shape of the frost silkworm, his face revealed envy and admiration. You TanZhi pondered: "If i talk about the book with strange drawings, he will definitely snatch it and not return it." Ding ChunQiu ask him about his strange martial arts but he did not reveal the truth.
Ding ChunQiu did not know about the martial arts of the [Tendon-Changing Sutra], he saw You TanZhi martial art was only mediocre, but his Yin-Frost internal energy is purely due to the miraculous effect of the frost silkworm, he cursed in his heart: "This divine silkworm, to think it was absorbed by some strange coincidence, its really a pity." After thinking for a while, he ask: "The monk who captured this frost silkworm, his from MinZhong Temple in Nanjing?" You TanZhi said: "Yes."
Ding ChunQiu said: "This HuiJing monk said the frost silkworm originated from the summit of KunLun Mountains. Very good, since 1 frost silkworm came from there, there must be 2 or 3 more. But KunLun Mountain's radius is a few thousand li, without an experience guide to point the way it would be difficult to catch the frost silkworm." He personally experienced the divine effect of the frost silkworm, he felt it was even more valuable than the [Divine Wooden King Tripod], the prime task is to first capture Monk HuiJing and ask him to lead the way to KunLun Mountain to capture the frost silkworm. Monk HuiJing is from Shaolin, originally its a messy affair to mess with him but luckily his currently based in Nanjing and this makes it easier to capture him. At once he ordered You TanZhi to perform the rites and formally take him in as his disciple.
The rest of the disciples saw their Master especially attentive towards You TanZhi, naturally they heap tons of praises and tried to get into his good books. These bunch of disciples had openly curse their Master and surrendered to the enemy, Ding ChunQiu still have uses for them and thus he pretended to forget about their betrayal, moreover he had foresaw their betrayal and he was not too angry about it.
The group travelled north east. You TanZhi followed behind Ding ChunQiu, he saw his sleeves fluttering in the wind his footsteps light, he look like a god, he felt his admiration rising: "I have such an incredible Master, it's really due to the good fortune accumulated by my previous life."
They travelled for three days, on this afternoon, the group rested and quench their thirst at a pavilion, suddenly they heard the sound of horses, four people came riding on horses.
The four of them rode their horses near the pavilion, the person on the lead horse shouted: "Elder brother, second brother, there's water in the pavilion, let drink a few bowls and let the horses regain their stamina." He dismounted from the horse and walk into the pavilion, the other three also dismounted. The four of them saw Ding ChunQiu and his group of disciples, they nod their head to show courtesy and walk to the vat of water, they use the clay bowl and scoop the water.
You TanZhi saw the first person dress in black, his figure thin and small, he has a moustache and he looked agile and brave. The second person is dress in yellow robe, his figure is thin but his stature tall, both his eyebrow slanted downwards, he look sickly and has a vicious expression. The third person is dress in red robe, his figure tall and sturdy, his ears big, he has a thick white beard, he look like a rich merchant. The last person is dress in green scholar robe, he look around 50 years of age, his eyes are narrow perhaps due to studying too much, he did not scoop the water but drank from his own wine gourd.
At this moment, a monk came walking with big strides on the road, he stop outside the pavilion, join both his hands together and respectfully said: "Benefactors, junior monk is thirsty, i wish to rest in the pavilion and drink a bowl of water." the black-robe person smiled and said: "Master don't need to be so courteous, we are all passers-by, this pavilion is not built by us, come in and drink some water." The monk replied: "Amituofo, thank you very much." He entered the pavilion.
The monk is around 25 years of age, dense eyebrows and big eyes, a big sinking flat nose, his appearance rather ugly, his monk robe had numerous cloth patch and is extremely clean. He waited for the three men to finish drinking before approaching the water vat, he scoop a bowl of water, press both his hands together and lowered his head, he respectfully said: "When Buddha gaze upon a bowl of water, he sees 84 thousand bugs, if i don't chant this mantra i will be breaking my oath of abstinence from meat" he chanted the mantra: "Yan Fu Xi Bo Luo Mo Ni Sha He" after he finish chanting he drank the water.
The black-robe man felt curious when he saw it, he ask: "Little master, why are you chanting?" The monk said: "Junior monk is chanting the mantra for drinking water. When Buddha gaze upon a bowl of water, he sees 84 thousand bugs, monks are forbidden to kill, thus i have to chant this mantra before drinking the water." the black-robe man laugh and said: "Little master you really like to joke, this water is very clean, there's no bug" the monk replied: "Benefactor you don't understand. With our mortal eyes, you can't see any bugs in the water, but with the divine eye of Buddha, he can see thousands of bugs in the water." The black-robe man laugh: "After chanting the mantra, you drink all the 84 thousand bugs into your stomach, the bugs won't die anymore?" The monk hesitated and said: "This....this...my master didn't teach me. Most probably they won't die."
The yellow robe man interrupted and said: "Not true, not true! The bug still has to die, but when little master chanted the mantra, the 84 thousand bugs will all go to heaven, little master drink a bowl of water and help 84 thousand soul find peace. Great achievement, great achievement!"
The monk did not know whether his words are true or false, both his hands held onto the bowl of water, he stared blankly and muttered: "Drink a bowl of water and help 84 thousand soul find peace? I don't have such great powers."
The yellow robe man stood beside the monk and took the bowl from his hand, he inspected the bowl and counted: "One, two, three, four, five, six, ......one thousand, two thousand, ten thousand, twenty thousand ... Not true, not true! Little master, the bowl has 83 999 bugs, you counted 1 extra."
The monk said: "Namo Amituofo. Benefactor you must be joking, you are a mortal how can you possess the divine eye?" the yellow robe man said: "So you have divine eyes?" the monk said: "I don't have it." The yellow robe man replied: "Not true, not true! I think you have divine eyes, or else how would you know i am a mortal and not Bodhisattva?" the monk look at him to the left and right, his expression utterly perplex.
The big red robe man walk over, took the clay bowl and return it to the monk, laughing: "Master please drink the water! This brother of mine is only pulling your leg, don't take it seriously." The monk accepted the bowl and said respectfully: "Many thanks, many thanks." But his heart felt uncertain and he did not drink the water. The big man said: "I saw little master footstep is sturdy, you possess martial arts, how should i address you, where did you become a monk?"
The monk put the bowl on top of the cover of the water vat, he bow and said: "Junior monk is Xu Zhu, i am from Shaolin Temple."
The black robed man shouted: "Terrific, terrific! So you turn out to be an expert from Shaolin, come, come, come! You and i will spar!" Xu Zhu wave his hand repeatedly and said: "Junior monk's martial arts is lowly, how would i dare to fight with sir?" the black robed man said: "I didn't get into fights for many days, my hands are itchy, we are only sparing, its not a real fight, why are you so scared?" Xu Zhu retreated two steps and said: "Although junior monk practiced martial arts for a few years, but it purely for strengthening my body, i really can't fight." The black robe man said: "All the monks from Shaolin are experts in martial artists. Monks who just started learning martial arts are forbidden to leave the temple. Since little master is able to leave the temple, then you must be a top expert. Come, come! We will only spar for 100 moves, it doesn't matter who win or lose."
Xu Zhu retreated another two steps and said: "Benefactor you don't understand, junior monk is able to leave the temple not because of my martial arts, but because the temple currently lacks people to deliver letters. Junior monk is force to help out in delivering the letters. Junior monk is to deliver 10 'Heroes Invitation Card', my master ordered me to return immediately once they have been delivered, i am forbidden to fight, i had delivered 4 of the cards, i still have 6 cards with me. Benefactor you martial art is superb, please accept this invitation card." He retrieved an oilcloth bag from within his bosom, he open the bag and took out a big red card, he respectfully presented it and said: "May i ask for your name so that i can account for it when i report back to my master."
The black robe man did not take the card, he said: "You did not fight with me, how you know i am a hero or coward? Let spar for a few moves, i will accept this card after i beat you." He took two step forward, his left fist made a false move, his right fist swung towards Xu Zhu. As he fist was about to reach Xu Zhu, he immediately held it back and shouted: "Quick retaliate!"
The burly red robe man heard Xu Zhu mentioned about 'Heroes Invitation Card', his interest was piqued and he said: "Fourth younger brother, there's no hurry to compete, let's take a look at what is on the invitation card." He took the card from Xu Zhu and saw the words written: "Shaolin Temple's abbot XuanCi, respectfully invites heroes from all over the world to gather on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month, the Chongyang Festival, at Songshan Shaolin Temple to challenge the reputation of Gu Murong's 'Returning you with your own move'"
The burly man gave an "Ah" cry, he gave the card to the scholar beside him and said to Xu Zhu: "So Shaolin is holding this 'Heroes Meet' to challenge Gusu Murong family....." the black robed man shouted: "Excellent, excellent, i am called 'Gust of Win' Feng BoE, i am the subordinate of Gusu Murong family. You don't need any 'Heroes Meet', i will personally ask for advice from Shaolin expert now."
Xu Zhu retreat another two steps, his left foot is outside the pavilion, he said: "So you are Benefactor Feng. My master told me, Shaolin Temple is requesting Mr Murong's esteem presence at the temple, but we dare not offend him. Its only that rumours been spreading around and many people have died in recent years under Gusu Murong's divine skill in 'Returning you with your own move'. My martial grandfather Master XuanBei died in Dali, we don't know if it's related to the Murong family, except for our abbot, everyone had suspicion in their heart, thus he...."
The black robe man interrupted and said: "This matter is not related to our Gusu Murong family, but you will most probably not believe me even if i tell you. Since we can't fully explain the ongoing of this matter, we will settle through martial arts. Let's do it this way, both of us will spar right now, it's like drumming up support and setting the stage for the main show. On Chongyang Festival, i will then visit Shaolin Temple and fight every single challenger, joyful, joyful! But after going through 17-18 challenger i will most probably be heavily injured and immobile and won't have the chance to fight with your abbot XuanCi, sigh i don't have the fate, pity, pity!" as he finish he rub his firsts to get ready for the fight.
The burly man said: "4th younger brother, hold on, we will clarify first, its not too late to fight afterwards."
The yellow robe man said: "Not true, not true. If we clarify the matter then there's no need to fight. 4th younger brother, this is a good opportunity, if you want to fight you cannot clarify the matter."
The tall and sturdy man ignored both his brothers and said to Xu Zhu: "I am Deng BaiChuan, the person over there is my second younger brother GongYe Gan." As he finish he pointed at the scholar, then he pointed at the yellow robe man and said: "This is my 3rd younger brother Bao BuTong, we are all followers of young master Murong."
Xu Zhu paid tribute to all four men, he said: "Benefactor Deng, Benefactor Gong..." Bao BuTong interrupted: "Not true, not true. My second brother surname is GongYe, you call him Benefactor Gong, that is wrong." Xu Zhu quickly said: "Pardon me, pardon me! Junior monk is poorly educated, Benefactor GongYe please don't be offended. Benefactor Bao...." Bao BuTong interrupted again: "Wrong again. Although my surname is Bao, but i have never given alms to monks or nuns in my entire life, thus you cannot address me as Benefactor." Xu Zhu said: "Yes, yes. 3rd Senior Bao, 4th Master Feng." Bao BuTong said: "Wrong again. My younger brother Feng will fight with you later, no matter who win or lose, you will gain some experience, your martial arts will definitely have some progress, isn't he making a donation to you?" Xu Zhu said: "Yes, yes. Benefactor Feng, junior monk really cannot fight. Monks should focus primary on cultivating inner self, martial art is secondary, it doesn't matter if my martial art is lousy."
Feng BoE sigh: "You don't take martial arts seriously, your skill is most likely ordinary, there's no need to fight anymore." As he finish, he shakes his head repeatedly, his enthusiasm dulled. Xu Zhu breathe a sigh of relief, his expression joyful and said: "Yes, yes."
Deng BaiChuan said: "Master Xu Zhu, this invitation card, i will accept it on behalf of my young master. My young master should have visited your temple a few months ago, could it be that he never came?"
Xu Zhu replied: "He didn't visit. The abbot long for his arrival but he didn't come, twice we sent our people to visit your residence, but we only heard that senior elder Murong had died and your young master had left the residence. This time, the abbot requested the Head-Monk of DaMo Hall to visit your residence in SuZhou to deliver the invitation card, he's afraid that your young master is still not at home and he could only try to widely circulate the invitation card within the martial arts fraternity, i hope you can explain this indiscretion to your young master. When Benefactor Murong visits our temple next year, our abbot will personally offer his apology."
Deng BaiChuan said: "Little master don't need to be so polite. The appointed date is still a long time away, my young master will definitely visit ShaoLin Temple at the appointed date and pay his respects to the abbot." Xu Zhu join his hands together and bow, he said: "Our abbot greatly welcomes young master Murong and all of you to visit ShaoLin Temple."
Feng BoE saw Xu Zhu is outdated and overly formal, he didn't have the least bit of passionate straightforward behaviour of martial artists, although he may be a monk, but he doesn't look like a world renowned "Shaolin Monk", he could not tolerate him and ignored him, he turn and look at Ding ChunQiu and his group of disciples. The XingXiu disciples all carried weapons, obviously they are martial artists, Feng BoE should be able to select a few and fight with them.
When You TanZhi saw Feng BoE and the rest entered the pavilion, he immediately hide behind his master. Ding ChunQiu is tall and large and is able to hide him, Deng BaiChuan and the rest did not see his weird iron head. Feng BoE saw Ding ChunQiu was healthy in old age, he had an immortal aura about him and look like a top master, Feng BoE felt his admiration rising, but he still step ahead and challenge: "May i know the name of this elder?" Ding ChunQiu smiled and said: "My surname is Ding"
At this moment, Xu Zhu suddenly gave an "Ah" sound, he shouted: "Martial grandfather, you are here!" Feng BoE turn his head, he saw 7-8 monk travelling on the road, leading the group was two elder monk, two monks at the rear carried a stretcher and someone was lying on it. Xu Zhu quickly step out of the pavilion and paid his respects to the two elder monk, he also reported about Deng BaiChuan and his group.
The monk on the right nod his head, he entered the pavilion and said to Deng BaiChuan: "Old monk is XuanNan" he pointed to another elder monk and said: "This is my junior martial brother XuanTong, its fortunate that we get to meet four great virtuous people from Gusu Murong family."
Deng BaiChuan and the rest has long heard of XuanNan's reputation, his face was full of wrinkles, his gaze deep and clear, they quickly paid their respect. Feng BoE said: "Great Master is Head-Monk of Shaolin Damo-Hall, i have long heard of your divine skills, i wish to ask for some advice."
XuanNan gave a slight smile and said: "Old monk and junior XuanTong receive the orders of our abbot to travel to JianNan's Basin of Swallows, the residence of Murong family, to deliver the invitation card, this is the 3rd time our temple has send someone to the Basin of Swallows. But unexpected we met here by chance, our fate is really deep." As he finish he took out a red invitation card from his bosom.
Deng BaiChuan accepted the card with both hands, he saw the words on the card: "Respectfully inviting Benefactor Murong from Gusu Basin of Swallows", he knew the contents must be similar to the card delivered by Xu Zhu, he said: "Both of you are eminent monks of Shaolin Temple, you enjoy great reputation in the martial arts fraternity, it's a great honour for our Murong family to have you personally deliver the card. We have already gotten the invitation card from that little master, we should have responded quickly. On Chongyang Festival, my young master Murong will definitely pay his respects at Shaolin Temple, he will personally express his thanks to all eminent monks of Shaolin and clarify all misunderstandings."
XuanNan pondered: "You said to clarify all misunderstandings, could it be that senior martial brother XuanBei was not killed by your Murong family?" suddenly he heard someone shout behind him: "Ah, Master, its him!" XuanNan turn his head, he saw a weird looking man point his finger at the stretcher, the man whispered something to the white-hair old man.
You TanZhi whispered to Ding ChunQiu: "The fat monk on the stretcher, he is the one who captured the frost silkworm, but i don't know how he ended up being stretchered away by Shaolin."
Ding ChunQiu heard this fat monk is the original owner of the frost silkworm, he was overjoyed and whispered: "You didn't mistake him for someone else?" You TanZhi said: "No, his called HuiJing. Master look, his body is fat and his belly round." Ding ChunQiu saw HuiJing's belly is even larger than pregnant woman, with such a large belly, no one will ever forget it once they see it, they won't mistake him for someone else, Ding ChunQiu said to XuanNan: "Great Master, i am a friend of this monk HuiJing, is he sick?"
XuanNan press both his hands together and said: "May i ask the name of Benefactor, how did you know my martial nephew?"
Ding ChunQiu pondered: "This HuiJing is with a group of Shaolin monks, this is very troublesome. Luckily we met him here, we can kidnap or seize him, much easier than trying to infiltrate Shaolin to capture him." As he thought about the miraculous effect of the frost silkworm, he chest felt hot, he said: "I am Ding ChunQiu."
As he said the word "Ding ChunQiu", XuanNan, XuanTong, Deng BaiChuan, GongYe Gan, Bao BuTong, Feng BoE, all six of them simultaneously gave an "Ah" sound, their expression became grave. The evil reputation of the Old Freak of XingXiu is renown throughout the world, they did not expect him to be a person with such graceful manner and elegance, even more unexpected is to be able to meet him at this pavilion. The six of them immediately became alert to guard against him.
XuanNan calm down in an instant, he said: "So its Mr Ding from XingXiu Sea, i have long heard of your name, it's really well known." He did not say "it's fortunate to meet you" or other pleasantries, XuanNan thought: "Whoever meets you, it really their great misfortune."
Ding ChunQiu said: "I don't dare, Head-Monk of Shaolin Damo-Hall 'Shifting Heaven and Earth within the Sleeves', renowned all over the world, truly well known and respected. This monk HuiJing, i am looking all over for him, to think we can meet here, excellent, excellent!"
XuanNan's eyebrows slightly narrowed, he said: "It's unfortunate, martial nephew HuiJing did not obey the teachings of Shaolin Temple, he broke excessive rules. A year ago, he left the temple without permission and committed numerous evil. The abbot dispatch several people to look for him, after much effort they finally found him and now we are bringing him back to the temple. Mr Ding, you have met him before?" Ding ChunQiu said: "So his not sick, he was injured by you people, is he injuries serious?" XuanNan did not reply immediately, after a while he said: "He refused to accept the orders of the abbot, he even injure others." XuanNan pondered: "If he associated with evil demons like you, he broke another great commandment."
Ding ChunQiu said: "I was at Kunlun Mountain, i spent a lot of effort before capturing a frost silkworm, its an extremely important object, but it got stolen by monk HuiJing. I travelled from XingXiu Sea to Central Plains just to retrieve the frost silkworm ......"
He did not finish his words as HuiJing shouted: "Where is my frost silkworm? You seen my frost silkworm? I found the silkworm after much painstaking effort at Kunlun Mountain....you...you...you stole it?"
Ever since You TanZhi revealed himself by shouting out, Feng BoE kept looking and examining his iron mask, he did not bother about the conversation between XuanNan, Ding ChunQiu and HuiJing. He walk a few rounds around You TanZhi, he saw the iron mask was very well made, it cannot be remove from his head, he wanted to stretch out his hands to knock on the mask, after examining a while he said: "Hello friend, how are you!"
You TanZhi replied: "I....i am fine!" he saw Feng BoE was very energetic, jumping and moving around, he was scared. Feng BoE said: "Friend, this iron mask, how did you put it on? I have travelled all over the world but i have never seen such face mask before." You TanZhi felt ashamed, he lowered his head and said: "This...my....this was not under my control, i did not put it on myself."
Feng BoE listened to his pitiful plight, he was angered: "Who played this kind of joke on you? I will personally pay him a visit." he stared at Ding ChunQiu, thinking that it must be the doings of the old man. You TanZhi quickly said: "No...no its not my master." Feng BoE said: "You are a proper man, what's the big idea in putting on this iron mask? Come, I'll remove it for you." He retrieved a dagger from his boots, the blade glimmered brightly, obviously its extremely sharp, he was about to use it to remove the mask.
You TanZhi knew the mask is stuck onto his face and the back of his head, its interlinked with his flesh and blood, his life will be in great danger if its forcibly removed, he quickly said: "No, no, you cannot remove it!" Feng BoE said: "Don't be scared, this dagger of mine can cut through iron as if it was made of mud, i won't harm your skin and flesh when i remove the mask." You TanZhi shouted: "No, you cannot do it." Feng BoE said: "You are scared of the person who put this mask on you, correct? When you see him next time, just say that Mr Feng forcibly removed it and its beyond your control, ask the evil person to come find me." As he finish speaking, he held onto You TanZhi's left wrist.
You TanZhi saw the dagger flash brightly, he was extremely shock and shouted: "Master, master!" he turn his head to seek help from Ding ChunQiu. Ding ChunQiu was standing beside the stretcher, his attention focused solely on HuiJing, he did not hear his pleas for help. Feng BoE raised his dagger, he shave the iron mask with it. You TanZhi panicked and wave his right palm, he wanted to push him away, there was a "Pai" sound, he hit Feng BoE right in the middle of his left shoulder.
Feng BoE was preoccupied with shaving the iron mask, he feared he might slip and injure You TanZhi's face, he did not guard against the palm. The strength in the palm was exceptional, Feng BoE groaned and fell down. He use his left hand to push off the ground and got back up, with a "Wa" sound, he vomited a mouthful of fresh blood.
Deng BaiChuan, GongYe Gan, Bao BuTong, the three of them saw You TanZhi's sneak attack, their 4th younger brother had a huge disadvantage, they were extremely shock, when they saw Feng BoE deathly pale face they became even more worried. GongYe Gan took his pulse, the pulse was rapid and irregular, there seems to be a faint trace of poisoning, he pointed at You TanZhi and cursed: "Good kid, top disciple of the Old Freak of XingXiu, requite kindness with ingratitude, you use such vicious method to injure people." He took out a small bottle from his bosom, remove the bottle cap and took out a detoxification pill, he fed it to Feng BoE.
Deng BaiChuan and Bao BuTong body flashed, they block You TanZhi and Ding ChunQiu. Bao BuTong secretly gathered internal energy in his left hand, his fingers formed a claw, he was about to grab You TanZhi's chest. Deng BaiChuan said: "3rd younger brother, stay your hand!" Bao BuTong did not attack, his eyes shifted towards his elder brother. Deng BaiChuan said: "Our Gusu Murong family has no feud with XingXiu Sect, our 4th younger brother has good intentions in removing the iron mask, why did your XingXiu Sect injure him? I want to seek Mr Ding for clarification."
Ding ChunQiu saw his new disciple only need 1 palm stroke to injure a good fighter from Gusu Murong family, XingXiu Sect thus commanded awe-inspiring authority, he was secretly pleased and admired the miraculous effect of the frost silkworm even more, he smiled and said: "Master Feng is brave and relentless, but he also likes to poke his nose into other's business. This disciple of of mine likes to wear an iron mask, how did it obstruct your Gusu Murong family?"
GongYe Gan had supported Feng BoE into sitting position, but his whole body was shivering, his teeth chattering and grinding, it was as if his in a freezer, after a while, his lips turned purple, his face also gradually turn from white to green. GongYe Gan's detoxification pill has miraculous effects, but after being consumed by Feng BoE, it seems to vanish without a trace and had absolutely no effect at all.
GongYe Gan was desperate, he place his hands near Feng BoE to check his breathing, suddenly a burst of cold air entered his palm, the chill penetrated into his bones. GongYe Gan quickly withdraw his hands and said: "Not good, why is the cold so powerful?" even the air exhaled by Feng BoE was so cold, the frost poison in him must be very serious, the situation is very dangerous, there no time to debate who's right or wrong, he turn around and said to Ding ChunQiu: "My younger brother is poisoned by your disciple, please give us the antidote."
The poison contracted by Feng BoE is the deadly poison of the frost silkworm, force out by the internal energy of You TanZhi's [Tendon-Changing Sutra], not to mention that Ding ChunQiu did not have the antidote for it, even if he did had it why would he surrender it? Ding ChunQiu raise his head and laugh towards the heaven and shouted: "Ah Wu Liu Lu Gong! Ah Wu Liu Lu Gong!" and flick his sleeves, generating a burst of wind. Suddenly the XingXiu disciples all rush out of the pavilion and quickly ran away.
Deng BaiChuan and the rest of the Shaolin monks felt this gust of wind irritated their eyes, it's really hard to bear and their tears rolled down endlessly, they could not open their eyes, they secretly curse: "Not good!" they knew Ding ChunQiu's sleeve contains poison powder, with this flick of his sleeves, all the poison got scattered. Deng BaiChuan, GongYe Gan, Bao BuTong, all 3 of them block in front of Feng BoE, they were afraid the enemy might harm him. XuanNan shut his eyes and push out with his palm, it happen to hit the pillar of the pavilion, the pillar snapped immediately and half of the pavilion collapsed and came crashing down, roof tiles and mud rain down. Everyone struggled to open their eyes, Ding ChunQiu and You TanZhi had disappeared.
A few Shaolin monks shouted: "Where is HuiJing? Where is HuiJing?" it seems during the confusion, HuiJing was abducted by Ding ChunQiu, the empty stretcher covered the head of one Shaolin monk. XuanTong was furious: "Give chase!" and he rush out of the pavilion. Deng BaiChuan and Bao BuTong followed him and give chase as well. XuanNan wave his left hand and led the rest of the Shaolin monks to follow and provide assistance.
GongYe Gan was taking care of Feng BoE, both of them resting at the other intact half of the pavilion, GongYe Gan felt stinging pain in his eye, tears kept on flowing. He saw cold sweat seeping through Feng BoE's forehead, after a while it became frost. As he was getting scared and anxious, he heard the sound of footsteps, GongYe Gan raise his head, he saw Deng BaiChuan supporting Bao BuTong, they walk quickly. GongYe Gan had a huge shock, he said: "Big brother, 3rd younger brother is injured?" Deng BaiChuan said: "He got poisoned by that iron-head man." After a while XuanNan and the rest of the monks also return to the pavilion. XuanTong was leaning on Xu Zhu's back, his teeth was making chattering sounds. XuanNan, Deng BaiChuan and GongYe Gan look at each other in fear, they were at a loss on what to do.
Deng BaiChuan said: "That iron-head man and 3rd younger brother clash palm, after that he also clash palm with Master XuanTong. We didn't expect....didn't expect the poison of XingXiu Sect to be so powerful."
XuanNan took out a small box from his bosom, he said: "Our school's [Six Solar Energy Pill] is effective in countering frost poison." He remove the lid of the box and took out 3 blood-red pills, he gave 2 of them to Deng BaiChuan and fed the 3rd pill to XuanTong.
Using the time required to eat a meal, XuanTong and the other two men slowly combat the chill until it stop. Bao BuTong curse loudly: "This iron-head man, da....damn it, what kind of palm strength is that?" Deng BaiChuan said: "3rd younger brother, curse later, focus on channelling your energy." Bao BuTong said: "Not true, not true! If i don't curse now, once i die, i can't curse anymore." Deng BaiChuan smiled and said: "Don't worry, you won't die!" as he said this he press his palm on his back, on his 'ZhiYan' acupoint, he use his internal energy to help him drive out the frost poison. GongYe Gan and XuanNan also use their internal energy to assist Feng BoE and XuanTong to drive out the poison.
XuanNan and XuanTong had deep internal energy, after a while, XuanTong gave a long sigh and said: "Its done!" and he stood up, he continued: "Such power!" XuanNan wanted to assist Bao BuTong and Feng BoE to drive out the poison, but the other party did not request for his help, if he carelessly tried to offer his help it might be seen as looking down upon their internal energy, this is seen as breaking of taboo in the martial arts franity.
Suddenly, XuanTong's body swayed, his teeth start chattering again, he immediately sat down and channelled his internal energy and said: "Martial....martial brother, this frost.....frost poison is.....is very odd...." XuanNan quickly channelled his internal energy to assist him. The 3 of them circulated their internal energy continuously, the frost poison felt better for a moment, but it flare up again immediately, this went on until dusk, the three of them had already consume 3 [Six Solar Energy Pill], but the frost poison was not repelled at all. XuanNan brought 10 pills with him and his left with 1, he divided it into three parts and gave the three of them 1 each. Bao BuTong refuse to take it, he said: "Even if i consume 100 pills, it....it won't...."
XuanNan was at his wits end, he said: "Benefactor Bao is correct, this [Six Solar Energy Pill] is not the correct remedy, our internal energy also can't suppress this Yin-poison. In my opinion, we have to invite Divine Physician Xue, nickname 'Enemy of King of Hell', he can cured whatever difficult illness." Bao BuTong said: "Great Master, you know the whereabouts of this Divine Physician?" XuanNan said: "Divine Physician Xue live in Ancestor-Willow Town at YangZhiXi, its not far from here. Old monk have met him many times before, if we go to him and ask for treatment he mostly probably won't reject. Gusu Murong family is renown throughout the world, Divine Physician Xue long admires you, he will definitely be gratified if he can become friends with the four of you."
Bao BuTong said: "Not true, not true. If Divine Physician Xue sees us all, he might not be gratified. Nevertheless, everyone is afraid of my young master's 'Returning you with your own move', but Divine Physician Xue is not afraid. In the future, if the Divine Physician is dying, he only have to find my young master and with his 'Returning you with your own move', his.....his...his old life can be saved."
Everyone laugh out loud, they left the pavilion. They reach a small town and hired 3 carriages to let the three injured men to rest and recuperate. Deng BaiChuan also bought a few horses and gave them to Shaolin monks to ride.
After travelling for 4-6 hours, they group have to stop and assist XuanTong and the other injured men to combat the frost poison. Eventually, XuanNan did not have any inhibition and he used the divine skills of Shaolin to help Bao BuTong and Feng BoE to combat the poison. Although the route to Ancestor-Willow Town is not too far, but it pass through rugged mountain path and they had numerous delays, they finally reach the town at dusk on the 4th day. Divine Physician Xue lived within the remote mountain 30 li north of the Ancestor-Willow Town, luckily the Divine Physician explain the route in detail to XuanNan when they met at JuXian Manor. They group did not spend too much effort searching and they arrived outside the home of Divine Physician Xue.
XuanNan saw several large houses erected beside the river, there's a huge medicine garden in front of the houses, he knew he had arrived at the home of Divine Physician Xue. He dismounted and step forward, he saw two large white lanterns hanging by the door. He was surprised: "The Xue family has a sick family member?" he rush forwards a few zhang, he saw a few sackcloth hanging over the door, a paper streamer to call back the spirit of the dead was inserted beside the door, it seems the family is holding a funeral. He saw two rows of words written on the paper lanterns: "The funeral of Xue MuHua, died at the age of 55." XuanNan had a huge shock: "Divine Physician Xue can't cure himself and hence he pass away, this is terrible." As he thought about the passing of this old friend, from now on they are separated by the nether world, he cannot help but feel sentimental and sorrowful.
Following behind him is Deng BaiChuan and GongYe Gan, they came riding on horses, both of them gasp in unison: "Ah Ya!"
Suddenly they heard cries from within the house, its the widow: "My husband, you have divine medical skills, who would have expect you to contract this acute disease, you abandon me and left alone. Husband, although you are called 'Enemy of King of Hell', you still can't beat the King of Hell, when you go to the nether world, the King of Hell will settle this score with you, you are in for a hard time!"
After a while, the 3 carriages and 6 Shaolin monks arrived. Deng BaiChuan dismounted and said loudly: "Master XuanNan from Shaolin Temple, along with some friends, we have some matters and seek the help of Divine Physician Xue." His voice rang out like a large bell, the cries from within the house stopped.
After a while, an elder step out of the house, his dressed like a servant, tears flowing down his face, his is very sad, he beat his chest and said: "Old master died yesterday afternoon, you all.....you all can't see him anymore."
XuanNan press his hands together and ask: "What is the illness contracted by Mr Xue?" the old servant replied: "I don't know, he just suddenly stop breathing. Old master provides treatment for others, whatever medicine he prescribes the illness will be cured....but....but....for himself...." XuanNan ask again: "Is there anyone left in Mr Xue's family?" the old servant replied: "None, no one." Deng BaiChuan and GongYe Gan gave each other a glance, they felt the servant's tone did not contain any sadness when he said it. Moreover, they heard the cries of the widow just now. XuanNan sigh and said: "Life and death is predestined, please lead us to his coffin and let pay our last respect." The old servant said: "This.....this.....ok." he led the group and entered the house.
GongYe Gan was 1 step behind, he whispered to Deng BaiChuan: "Big brother, i think there's something odd about this incident, that old servant's behaviour is suspicious." Deng BaiChuan nod his head and followed the old servant to the mourning hall.
The furnishings in the mourning hall is crude, some items were not place correctly, the spirit tablet contains the words: "Memorial tablet of Xue MuHua", the words were strong and forceful, obviously its written by someone with deep learning, definitely not written by the old servant. Deng BaiChuan noted all these details but he did not comment. All of them paid their respects before the memorial tablet. GongYe Gan turn his head, he saw over 10 clothes hanging on a bamboo pole in the courtyard, there is clothes for married woman and a few clothes for children, he thought: "Divine Physician Xue obviously had a wife and children, why did that old servant say there's no one in the family?"
XuanNan said: "We came from afar to seek treatment from Divine Physician Xue, we never expect Mr Xue to pass away, this is really sad. It's getting late now, we wish to stay for the night in your esteemed home." The old servant look very reluctant, he said: "This.....this......en, fine! I invite all of you rest in the hall, i will go prepare the meals." XuanNan said: "Housekeeper you don't have to spend too much effort, simple rice and vegetables is enough." The old servant replied: "Yes, yes! Everyone please sit down and rest." He led the group to the outer hall, he then entered the inner hall.
After a long time, the old servant did not come out to serve tea. XuanNan pondered: "This old servant just experience the death of his master, its unavoidable that his confuse. Sigh, my martial brother XuanTong contracted this frost poison, how should we deal with it?" the group waited for over an hour, but the old servant still did not appear. Bao BuTong felt restless, he said: "I will go find some water to drink" Xu Zhu said: "Mr Bao, please sit down and rest. I will go help the old servant to boil the water." He stood up and entered the inner hall. GongYe Gan wanted to examine the movements around the house, he said: "I will accompany you."
Both of them entered the inner hall. The residence of Xue is quite large, they have five hall, but they did not see the slightest trace of a person's persence. Both of them entered the kitchen but the old servant could not be found anywhere.
GongYe Gan knew something is not right, he quickly went back to the outer hall and said: "Something is not right in this house, i think Divine Physician Xue might be faking his death." XuanNan stood up and ask: "What should we do about this?" GongYe Gan said: "Great Master, i want to examine the coffin." The group rush to the mourning hall, he extended his hand to lift the coffin, suddenly he had a strange thought, he quickly withdraw his hand, he took a shirt hanging on the bamboo pole and wrap it around his hands. He gathered his internal energy and lifted the coffin, he felt it was very heavy, the coffin definitely did not contain a corpse. He said: "Divine Physician Xue really faked his death."
Feng BoE took out his blade and said: "Pry open the coffin lid and look inside." GongYe Gan said: "This person is known as Divine Physician, his definitely an expert in poison, 4th younger brother, you have to be careful." Feng BoE said: "I will keep that in mind." He inserted the tip of the blade between the lid and the coffin, he push upward, there was a creaking sound and the coffin lid is slowly lifted. Feng BoE held his breath, his afraid poison powder might come out of the coffin.
Bao BuTong walk to the courtyard and caught two chicken, he return to the mourning hall, he raise his hands and threw the two chicken, the chickens crow loudly and move pass the coffin and landed in front of the memorial tablet. The chickens move towards the direction of the courtyard, but after a few steps it collapsed, their feet twitch a few times and it stop moving and died. The wind blew from the corridor, the feathers on the chickens all scattered and flew up in the air. Everyone was dumbstruck when they saw this. The chickens just died of poisoning and all its feathers immediately drop off, it can be said that the poison is really violent. No one dare to go near the coffin.
XuanNan said: "Benefactor Deng, what is the reason behind this? Why did Divine Physician Xue fake his own death?" as he finish he leap upward, his left hand grab the crossbeam, he look inside the coffin, the coffin is filled with rocks, within the rocks is a big bowl, the bowl is filled with clear water. This bowl of clear water is obviously the poison. XuanNan shook his head and jump down, he said: "Even if Benefactor Xue refuses to provide treatment, there's no need to lay such elaborate trap to harm us. Shaolin had no grievance with him, this kind of behaviour, isn't it unjustifiable? Could it be.....could it be....." he said 'could it be' twice and shut his mouth, he thought: "could it be he has some huge grievances with Gusu Murong family?"
Bao BuTong said: "There no need for you to guess, my young master Murong has never met Divine Physician Xue, there's no need to even mention hatred or vengeance. If his our enemy, even if our poison is 10 times more unbearable, we will never come here and beg him for treatment. You think the one surname Bao and surname Feng is garbage?" XuanNan place his hands together and said: "Benefactor Bao is correct, old monk guess wrongly." His an eminent monk, since his heart did suspect them, even if he did not say it out loud, he should still shoulder the blame.
Deng BaiChuan said: "Poison gas is filling the entire area, its not convenient to stay here, let's go back to the inner hall." The group went to the inner hall, they discuss with each other but still could not guess why Divine Physician Xue fake his own death and lay down the poison trap. Bao BuTong said: "This Divine Physician Xue is so vicious, let's just use fire and torch this entire place down." Deng BaiChuan said: "We can't do that, Divine Physician Xue is still considered to be a friend of Shaolin, since Master XuanNan is here we cannot act rashly."
Currently, the surroundings is pitch black, there's no light in the hall, everyone is thirsty and hungry but they dare not drink the tea and water found in the house. XuanNan said: "Let's go to a nearby farm house to ask for some water and food. Benefactors what do you think of this idea?" Deng BaiChuan said: "Yes. But its best that we don't eat any food or drink within 3 li radius. This Divine Physician Xue put alot of effort in his schemes, he won't stop at just putting a coffin, we will feel terribly apologetic if great master gets implicated again." Although he and GongYe Gan knew the trouble was not caused by them, but the reputation of Gusu Murong's 'Returning you with your own move' is simply too great, they made quite a lot of enemies in the martial arts franity, some relatives of Divine Physician Xue might have been accidentally killed and this blood-debt is place on Gusu Murong's family.
All of them stood up and walk towards the front door, suddenly they saw bright light flashing in the west, a stream of flame dispersed and turn into green colour, it covered the entire sky and came raining down, its magnificent and beautiful. Feng BoE said: "Yi, who release this firework? Now is not the Lantern festival or the Mid-autumn festival, why are people releasing fireworks?" after a while, orange-yellow fireworks rise up to the sky, it look like thousands of flying stars colliding with each other.
GongYe Gan thought about it and said: "This is not fireworks, it the signal from the enemy to execute a surprise attack." Feng BoE shouted: "Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! Let's fight to our hearts content!"
Deng BaiChuan said: "3rd brother and 4th brother, go wait in the hall, i will block the entrance, 2nd brother will block the rear. Master XuanNan, this matter does not concern Shaolin, please just stand aside and watch, there's no need to help, our Murong family thank you for your great kindness."
XuanNan said: "Benefactor Deng why are you saying this? Even if the enemy has some hatred towards you, there must be some truth and falsehood or misunderstanding, we have to be impartial, we cannot allow them to take advantage of your misfortune and rely on their numbers to win. If it's the gang of people dispatch by Divine Physician Xue, they lay down this trap and tried to poison us, we share a common enemy, how can we stand by and do nothing? Everyone, prepare yourself to meet the enemy!" HuiFang, Xu Zhu and the rest of the monks agreed in unison. XuanTong said: "Benefactor Deng, i and your two brothers share the same poison, we should collaborate and repel the enemy."
As they were talking, another two fireworks rise up into the sky, this time it was much nearer. After a while, another two fireworks appear, a total of six fireworks had been fired. The shape and colour of the fireworks were different, some look like a large pen, some look chessboard, some look like an axe, some look like large peony. After the fireworks had been fired, the sky was pitch black again.
XuanNan ordered the six Shaolin disciples to guard all four sides of the house. But after a long time, they did not hear any movement from the enemy.
Everyone held their breath and focus their attention, after the time taken to eat a meal, they suddenly hear a female voice singing to the east: "For days my eyebrows are unpainted, and my handkerchief soaked in tears. Since your Majesty cares nothing for me, why should I care for my looks? How can a mere chest of pearls bring solace to my lonely existence?"
When the voice finish singing the song, immediately it turn into the voice of a man and said: "AiYo, Lady Jiang, I have not seen you for a long time, i miss you very much, i bestow you a string of pearls, Lady Jiang please accept it." After finishing, the voice turn into a female and said: "Your Majesty already have Consort Yang as your companion, you even abandon your court sessions, when did you ever place this ill-fated woman in your heart, sigh......" as she said this, she starting crying.
Xu Zhu and the rest of the monks are unfamiliar with worldly affairs, the person suddenly became male and female, not knowing what kind of trick it is, they felt miserable. Deng BaiChun and the rest knew the person was acting out the story between Emperor Ming of Tang and the Plum Consort, suddenly becoming Plum Consort, suddenly becoming the Emperor, the voice and tone remarkably accurate, but this person suddenly appear at this juncture, they have some misgivings and unsure about the person's intentions.
The person said: "My lady, don't cry, quickly prepare a feast, you will play the flute and i will personally sing a tune for you to relieve your worries." The person's voice change to a female and said: "Lowly concubine wash her face with tears every evening, i only hope to see your Majesty again, now that i get to see you again, i will die contented, goodbye, *cough*......*cough*....."
Bao BuTong shouted loudly: "I am An Lushan! Tang Emperor Li Longji, you are a muddleheaded emperor, quickly hand over Yang Yuhuan!"
The person stop crying immediately and gave an "Ah" sound, apparently he had a huge shock.
The surroundings is silent again.
Chapter - 30 Casually Binding the Hero
After a while, they smell a faint flowery scent. XuanNan shouted: "The enemy is releasing poison, quickly hold your breath, smell the antidote." But after a while, he felt strange, he was clear-headed and refreshed, it seems the flowery scent did not carry any poison.
The person said: "7th sister, is that you? There some strange person in 5th brother's house, he claims his An Lushan." A female voice said: "Only big brother has yet to arrive. 2nd brother, 3rd brother, 4th brother, 6th brother, 8th brother, let us reveal ourselves!"
When she finish, there was a bright light outside the door, a strange ball of light shone on 5 men and 1 woman. A black beard old man among them said: "5th brother, quickly come out." His right hand held onto a square wooden board. The female is a pretty middle-age married woman. For the other 4 men, 2 of them are dressed as scholars, 1 of them seems to be a carpenter, hand holding onto an axe and carrying a long saw on his back. The other man is green-faced and long-toothed, red hair and green beard, his appearance extremely scary, he look like a monster, his wearing a bright shining brocade robe.
Deng BaiChuan fix his concentration, he saw the person oil painted his face, it was not his original appearance, he dress himself like an opera actor, thus the one acting as Tang Emperor and Plum Consort is obviously this person, Deng BaiChuan said loudly: "May i request the honorable names of ladies and gentlemen? I am Deng BaiChuan from Gusu Murong family."
The other party did not have the chance to reply as a black figure rush out from the main hall, his blade shining, he chop 7 times towards the opera actor, it was Feng BoE. The opera actor was caught off guard, he hide to the east and dodge to the west, he was in an awkward situation. The opera actor started singing: "My strength plucked up the hills, my might shadowed the world; But the times were against me, and Dapple (name of warhorse) runs no more; when Dapple runs no more, what then can ......" but Feng BoE attack was too quick and he could not finish the 3rd sentence.
The black bearded guy cursed: "Hey you are too unreasonable, rushing out and hacking and chopping randomly, eat my [Big Iron Net]" the wooden board in his hands flashed and he whack straight towards the top of Feng BoE's head.
Feng BoE felt some misgivings: "I have fought over hundreds of major and minor battle, but i have never seen such square wood board being used as a weapon." He raise his broadsword and chop towards the board. There was a ringing sound, the broadsword hit the edge of the board, but the board was motionlessly, although the board may seem like it's made of wood but its actually made of steel, the exterior of the board is painted to make it resemble wood. Feng BoE promptly withdraw his broadsword, unexpectedly when he contract his arm the broadsword could not be withdrawn, it was stuck firmly on the steel board. Feng BoE was shock, he channeled his internal energy and exerted his force, only now did the broadsword separate from the steel board, he shouted: "What an abnormal object! Is this steel board made of lodestone?"
That person smiled and said: "Not really, not really! This is my working tool."Feng BoE shot another glance at it, he saw many horizontal and vertical lines on the board, it's a Go (Chess) board, he said: "What a weird object, come i will fight with you!" he swing his broadsword like the wind, attacking faster and faster, but he dare not let the broadsword touch the magnetic chess board.
The opera actor regain his breath and sing again: "When Dapple runs no more, what then can i do? Ah, Yu, my Yu, what will your fate be?" suddenly he imitated the voice of a female, he said in a gentle coy voice: "Worry not my Lord, although today's battle is unsuccessful, lowly concubine will follow you and fight our way out of this encirclement."
Bao BuTong said: "Shameless King of Chu and Consort Yu, quickly commit suicide, i am Han Xin." He jump and extended his palm, trying to grab the shoulder of the opera actor. The opera actor avoided it and sing: "A great wind came fourth, the clouds rose on high. Where will i find.....AiYa, my Gaozu of Han killed your Han Xin." His left hand went to his waist and took out a soft whip and he lash it out towards Bao BuTong.
XuanNan saw both sides are acting like children, but their martial arts are solid, only that they don't know each other, his eyebrows narrowed slightly and said: "Everyone please temporarily stay your hands, let us clarify the matter first."
But asking Feng BoE to stay his hands and stop fighting is almost impossible, when he contracted the frost poison, his physical strength and stamina was not the same as before, in addition the frost poison can flare up anytime, it's extremely dangerous, his broadsword flash about as if it was shredding the wind, he wanted to achieve victory quickly.
As the four of them engaged in fierce battle, someone came out of the main hall, there was a clashing sound as two Buddhist monk's knife collided, an awe-inspiring entrance, it was XuanTong. He shouted: "You bunch of wicked thieves, using poison and harming people, old monk will break his taboo and kill you all!" he was tormented by the frost poison for many days, he could not vent his frustration, thus he did not bother to clarify and attack the two scholars with his twin-knife. One scholar dodge and avoided, the other scholar took out a judge-pen weapon from his bosom, he executed his skills and start fighting with XuanTong.
The other scholar shakes his head from side to side and said: "This is so strange! Why is this monk so hot tempered, i wonder where he comes from?" he extended his hands into his bosom and felt around, he said: "Yi, where did it go?" he touch his left and right pockets, shake his sleeves, and pat his chest, he can't find it anywhere.
Xu Zhu was sympathetic, he ask: "Benefactor, what are you looking for?" the scholar said: "This big monk's martial arts is extremely high, my brother is not his match, i want to find my weapon and join the fight, Yi, strange, strange! Where did my weapon go?" he knock his forehead and pondered deeply. Xu Zhu cannot help but laugh, he thought: "Coming out for a fight but forgetting where you put your weapon, this is interesting." He ask again: "Benefactor, what kind of weapon you use?"
The scholar said: "Diplomacy is better than violence, my number one weapon is a book." Xu Zhu said: "What kind of book? Martial arts manual?" the scholar said: "No, no. It's the Analects of Confucius, i want to use the words of sage to reform my opponent." Bao BuTong interrupted: "You are a scholar, you can't even memorize the Analects of Confucius, what's the point of studying?" The scholar said: "Elder brother, you only know part of the information. The 'Analects of Confucius', 'Mencius', 'Spring and Autumn Annals', 'Book of Songs', i know all of them by heart. But a Buddhist monk only study Buddhist scriptures, they might not know about Confucius literature, i can recite it out by heart but if he has no knowledge about it, won't it be useless? Thus, i must show him the original text as evidence, then he can't deny it or try to dispute it, only then will it be useful. There is a common saying, 'Use book as evidence'." As he said this, he kept on searching and patting around his body.
Bao BuTong shouted: "Little master, quickly attack him!" Xu Zhu said: "I will wait for Benefactor to find his weapon, after that we can fight." The scholar said: "The Song and Chu fought at a deep river, the Chu people has yet to cross the river, their formation not ready, its a good opportunity to attack, but Duke Xiang of Song said: It's not the way of nobleman to take advantage of the plight of others. Little master, your heart is benevolent, the same as Duke Xiang."
The carpenter saw XuanTong's twin-knife flying and twisting around, his moves are extremely quick and powerful, the two scholars will be in danger if the fight drags on further, he raised his axe and wanted to assist them in battle. GongYe Gan wave his palm and strike towards him. GongYe Gan's appearance is refine and cultured, but his palm strength is vigorous and forceful, his nicknamed 'Jiangnan Number Two', last time he competed wine drinking and match palm with Xiao Feng, although he lost, Xiao Feng had deep respect for him, it can be seen that his internal energy is extraordinary, the carpenter slanted his body to avoid the palm and hack his axe horizontally.
The scholar still could not find his 'Analects of Confucius', he saw his companion judge-pen movement is really messy, it really isn't a match against XuanTong's twin-knife, he said to XuanTong: "Hey, big monk. Confucius says: [The superior man does not, even for the space of a single meal, act contrary to virtue. In moments of haste, he cleaves to it. In seasons of danger, he cleaves to it.] Confucius says: [To subdue one's self and return to propriety, is perfect virtue. If a man can for one day subdue himself and return to propriety, all under heaven will ascribe perfect virtue to him.] Confucius also says: [Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety.] You wave your twin-knife randomly, you are ruthless and only thinks about killing people, you did not show self-restraint, this is contrary to propriety."
Xu Zhu whispered to Shaolin monk HuiFang: "Martial uncle, is this person pretending to be dumb?" HuiFang shook his head and said: "I don't know. Our master instructed us to be careful when going out of Shaolin Temple, martial artists are cunning and sly, they can come up all sorts of funny ideas and traps."
The bookworm said to XuanTong again: "Big monk, Confucius says: [Men of principle are sure to be bold, but those who are bold may not always be men of principle.] You are brave and bold, but you might not be benevolent, you cannot be considered to be a true gentleman. Confucius says: [What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others] If other people want to kill you, you will naturally be unwillingly to die, since you are unwillingly to die, how can you kill other people?"
XuanTong engage this bookworm and both of them jump about, he wave his twin-knife to attack, the bookworm follow XuanTong and suddenly move east and west, sometimes left and right, his always within 3 foot of XuanTong, constantly advising and persuading, it can be seen that his martial art is not weak. XuanTong was secretly vigilant: "This rascal is spouting nonsense, obviously his trying to distract me and divert my concentration, once he find a gap in my moves, he will definitely exploit it and attack. This person's martial art is above the scholar with the judge-pen, i definitely have to guard against him." Thus, he spent 60% of his concentration to guard against the bookworm and spent 40% to focus on attacking the scholar with the judge-pen. The situation of the scholar with the judge-pen improved considerably.
After exchanging 10 moves, XuanTong was getting impatient, he shouted: "Get lost!" and flip his Buddhist monk's knife, smashing the handle of the knife towards the chest of the bookworm. The bookworm avoided it and said: "Great master your martial art is extremely strong, my 4th brother and i, although its two against one we might not be your match, thus i advise you with wise words and hope that we can stop fighting, Confucius says: [Tsang, my doctrine is that of an all-pervading unity.] Tsang said: [The doctrine of master is to be true to the principles of our nature and the benevolent exercise of them to others - this and nothing more.] As human-beings, we must be prepared to forgive, we cannot be unreasonable and barbaric."
XuanTong felt indignant, he slash his knife horizontally and curse: "Be prepared to forgive? Be compassionate? Why did you put deadly poison in the coffin to harm others? If old monk is not careful, he would have died long ago, you still dare say: [What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others], you want to die of poisoning?"
The bookworm quickly retreated two steps and said: "Strange! Strange! Who put poison in the coffin? The coffin is for corpses. Confucius says: [Li died, he had a coffin but no outer shell.] There is poison in the coffin, won't the corpse die of poisoning? Oh wait, the corpse died long ago."
Bao BuTong interrupted: "Not true, Not true. You did not put any corpse in the coffin, only poison, you wanted to poison us, the living people." The bookworm shook his head and said: "You gauge the heart of a gentleman with your own mean measures. Since there is no coffin here, there is no poison."
Bao BuTong said: "Confucius says: [Of all people, female and vile people are the most difficult people.] You are a vile person." He pointed at the middle-age woman and said: "You are a female, both of you are indeed difficult people. Are the words of Confucius wrong?" the bookworm was stumped for words, he finally said: "You digress from the main topic, i don't have to bother about your words or give a reply."
The bookworm is debating with Bao BuTong, XuanTong had one less person to deal with and he intensified his attacks, the judge-pen scholar was instantly in dire situation. The bookworm move closer to XuanTong and said: "Confucius says: [If a man be without the virtues proper to humanity, what has he to do with the rites of propriety? If a man be without the virtues proper to humanity, what has he to do with music?] Big monk, you are without the virtues proper to humanity, you are really disappointing to the extreme."
XuanTong was furious, he said: "I am a Buddhist, detach from worldly affairs, you rotten scholar talking about literature, etiquette and music, benevolent or not, you cannot sway my heart."
The bookworm raise his knuckles and knocks his forehead, he said: "Very true! Very true! I studied too much and became foolish, i am really a bookworm. Big monk is obviously a Buddhist, but i advise you with words from Confucius and the traditional virtues, naturally you won't understand it."
Feng BoE fought for a long time with the chessboard-wielding person, it hard to predict who will win, after a period of time, he start to feel the frost poison acting up in his lower abdomen. Bao BuTong compared himself with the opera actor, he felt his opponent's martial art is not high, but his moves is extremely complicated, sometimes he acted as Xi Shi (one of the renowned Four Beauties of ancient China), his speech and laughter coy, his frown infectious, his steps lithe and graceful, it was the exact manner of a woman of peerless elegance, in an instant, he started to act as a tipsy and romantic Li Bai (renowned poet), his drunken state unpredictable, his footsteps unsteady. The miraculous thing was that when he acted as different character, he always had a unique set of martial arts to fit the character, sometimes he used his flexible whip or flick his long sleeves when acting as a beauty, or wave his pen when acting as a scholar, and Bao BuTong could not deal with him for the moment.
The bookworm was motionless for a while, suddenly he hum: "Since you gave up immersing in music, you heart should have gained benevolence, if you did not gain it quickly, it's already ingrained in your heart?" XuanNan and XuanTong both had a huge shock, they thought: "This bookworm is extremely knowledgeable, he can even recite verses by Easter Jin eminent monk, Kumarajiva." The bookworm continued humming: "After all, in emptiness, there is no music in heart, if you are pleased with knowledge on Buddhism, you are not enlightened by its teachings. Falsehood lies and deceit, it will not stop near your heart. Big monk, what is the next two verse, i forgot." XuanTong said: "Buddhist teachings acquired by a humane person, it will reveal itself when desired by the heart."
The bookworm laugh heartily and said: "Enlightening! Enlightening! You are a great Buddhist master, how can you not be humane? Moral principles under the heaven, all of them are the same. I advise you to let go of your hatred and turn back to correct path."
XuanTong heart was shaken, he suddenly achieve enlightenment and said: "Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! Namo Amituofo, Namo Amituofo." There was two clanking sound, the twin-Buddhist monk's knife was thrown on the floor, he sat down on the floor, his face revealed a smile, his eyes closed.
The judge-pen scholar was getting excited in the fight, but suddenly seeing this behaviour, he had a huge shock and did not attack with this judge-pen.
Xu Zhu said: "Martial grandfather, did your frost poison flare up?" he extended his arm to support him, XuanNan said: "Don't move!" he checked XuanTong's breath, but he had stop breathing, he had passed away. XuanNan press both his hands together, he chanted the 'Afterlife Prayer'. The rest of the Shaolin monk saw XuanTong had passed away, they started crying, they grab their Buddhist's staff and Buddhist's knife, wanting to go all out against the two scholars. XuanNan said: "Stop! Martial brother XuanTong perceived Tathata in his meditation, his in Nirvana, he has achieved enlightenment, we have to be happy for him."
After witnessing this shocking event, everyone stop fighting immediately and retreated simultaneously.
The bookworm shouted: "5th brother, 5th brother Xue, quickly come out, someone got excited to death by my words. Quickly come out and save him! Damn Divine Physician Xue, if you don't come out quickly, this person will really die for certain!" Deng BaiChuan said: "Divine Physician Xue is not in his house, Mr you are......" the bookworm is still shouting hurriedly at the top of his voice: "Xue MuHua, 5th brother Xue, Enemy of King of Hell, Divine Physician Xue, quickly come out and save him! Your 3rd brother excited someone till death, they are going to make life difficult for us."
Bao BuTong was furious: "You caused his death, still pretending to be a good guy and shedding crocodile tears." With a 'Hu' sound he send his palm at him, his left hand pass under his right palm, with this move [Dragon Searching For Pearl], he made a grab for the beard. The bookworm quickly dodged it. Feng BoE and GongYe Gan was aroused from their previous fight, they did not wish to stop and hence they start fighting again.
Deng BaiChuan shouted: "Lie down!" his left hand stretch out and grab the back of the opera actor. Deng BaiChuan is chief among the subordinates of Gusu Murong family, his martial art is strong, internal energy powerful and vigorous, although his reputation isn't impressive, but of those who knew him they cannot help but deeply respect him. He easily caught hold of the back of the opera actor, he press him down towards the floor. The opera actor is quite agile and nimble, when his left shoulder touch the ground, he spin his body on the floor and sweep his right leg out, kicking towards Deng BaiChuan's leg. This move is extremely strange and quick, Deng BaiChuan is stout and strong hence its not convenient for him to turn or rotate quickly, he saw this move is hard to avoid, he immediately gathered his internal energy into his lower body to forcibly receive the kick to his leg, there was a 'Ka La' sound, the two legs collided and one of the leg broke.
The opera actor kept rolling about and his already a few zhang away, he shouted: "You treacherous bandit, injuring an honest man, ouch my leg!" it seems that when the two legs met and the force collided, the opera actor was not a match against his opponent's force, his leg broke immediately.
The pretty middle-age woman only stood courteously by the side and did not participate, when she saw the opera actor suffered a broken leg and her other companions also in danger, she said: "Who are you people, what is the reason for occupying my 5th brother's house? You did not clarify the situation and injure people?" although she's questioning the other party, her tone and manner is still soft and refined. The opera actor is lying on the ground, he look upward and saw two lanterns hanging by the door of the house. He pointed at the lantern and call out in shock: "What? What is this? What 'Funeral of Xue MuHua', my 5th brother died?"
The person wielding the chessboard, the two scholars, the axe-wielding carpenter, the pretty middle-age woman, their gaze followed the finger and they saw the lantern. The candle flame in the lantern had long die out, the surrounding is pitch-black, as everyone was busy fighting, no one paid any attention to the lantern, only when the opera actor fell onto the floor did he finally raise his head and notice the wordings on the lantern.
The opera actor burst into tears, he sang: "Alas, alas, my good brother, we swore brotherhood at the peach garden, we agreed to meet at the ancient city, you cross the five passes, slay six generals, such awe-inspiring might ....." his singing the opera 'Weeping GuanYu', but his too agitated and his accent is incorrect. The other five also bellowed their grievances:
"Who killed my 5th brother?"
"5th brother, 5th brother, which damnable murderer harm you?"
"We will fight to the death with you today!"
XuanNan and Deng BaiChuan gave each other a glance, both of them had the same thought: "These people seems to be the sworn brothers of Divine Physician Xue." Deng BaiChuan said: "Some of our companions suffered some injuries, we came here to request Divine Physician Xue for medical treatment, but unexpectedly...." the middle-age woman replied: "But unexpectedly he refuse to treat and you people killed him, correct?" Deng BaiChuan said: "No......" he did not get the chance to finish as he saw the middle-age woman flick her sleeves, suddenly he smell a strong fragrance and he immediately became dizzy, he seems to be standing on soft cloud and shrouded in mist, he can't maintain his footing. The pretty middle-age woman said: "Collapse, collapse!"
Deng BaiChuan was indignant, he shouted: "Wicked witch!" he gathered his energy into his palm and sent his palm out. The pretty middle-age woman saw Deng BaiChuan shaking and swaying about, his already affected by her attack, unexpectedly he still manage to send out his palm. As she was about to dodge the attack, it was too late, the earth-shattering force came crashing onto her, her breathing was temporarily obstructed, her body flew up. There is a 'Ka la Ka la' sound, a few of her ribs got broken, she fainted before her body had landed on the ground. Deng BaiChuan's vision turn black and he collapsed onto the ground.
Both sides lost one of their fighters, the remaining people start fighting with each other. XuanNan pondered: "There is some strange matters in this incident, we have to first captured the rest so as to avoided unnecessary casualties for both side." He said: "Get my staff!" HuiFang turn around and picked up the Buddhist monk's staff leaning against the door, he pass it over to XuanNan. The judge-pen scholar vaulted over and wave his right hand to attack HuiFang's chest. XuanNan strike out with his left palm, his palm had yet to arrive but the palm force had already reach his opponent's back, the scholar was hit and collapsed. XuanNan gave a laugh, he carried the staff in his hand, took two steps forward, brandish his staff and smash towards the chessboard wielding man.
The chessboard-wielding person saw the attack was extremely powerful, the staff had yet to arrive but the accompanying wind had already shrouded his entire body, immediately he flex his arm, he use both hands to raise the chessboard and block the staff, there was a loud ringing sound, sparks flew in all direction. The person felt his arms going numb, the web between his thumb and forefinger had split open. XuanNan raised his staff and he also lifted the chessboard along with it. The chessboard had extremely strong magnetism, it the past it trapped the weapons of numerous enemies, but today it met a strong opponent and got trapped by XuanNan's staff. XuanNan smash his staff towards the head of the person along with the chessboard. The person shouted: "This 'Pressing Divine Head' (the name of a chess move) along with 'Leaning Cover', i can't resist both attacks!" he quickly scuttled forward.
XuanNan drag his staff and shouted loudly: "Bookworm, lie down!" he swept his staff horizontally, the power in it is unstoppable. The bookworm said: "Confucius is adaptable to current situation, once the wind blows the grass will topple, since you want me to lie down i will lie down, why not?" before he even finish his words, his already lying down on the floor. A few Shaolin monk jumped over and held him down.
The Head-Monk of Shaolin Damo-Hall is really outstanding, once he start fighting, he immediately subdued 3 experts from the opposing side.
The axe-wielding carpenter is fighting Feng BoE and Bao BuTong, his in dire situation and is about to suffer a defeat, the chessboard-wielding person said: "Forget it, forget it! 6th brother, let us just admit defeat, we don't have to carry on playing this chess match anymore. Big monk, i want to ask you, how did my 5th brother offend you, why did you people kill him?" XuanNan said: "There is no such matter......"
Before he could finish, suddenly there is two 'Zheng Zheng' sound of zither, it was transmitted from afar. When the sound is transmitted to their eardrum, everyone's heart violently palpitated two times. XuanNan was startled for the duration, another two 'Zheng Zheng' sound rang out. This time the sound is even closer, and everyone's heart palpitated even more violently. Feng BoE felt a sense of uneasiness, his right hand relaxed, with a 'Dang' sound his broadsword dropped on the floor. Luckily Bao BuTong quickly wave his palm and guarded him, else the enemy's axe would have split open his shoulder. The bookworm shouted: "Elder brother come over quickly, elder brother come over quickly! The situation is extremely serious! Why are you moving so slowly and still playing that stupid zither? Confucius says: [When the prince summoned him, without waiting for his carriage to be yoked, he went at once.]"
The sound of zither kept on ringing, an elderly man with big sleeves stroll towards them, his forehead high and protruding, his appearance odd and ancient, his beaming and his expression is extremely amiable, he carried a jade zither in his hand.
When the bookworm and the rest of his brothers saw this man, they shouted: "Elder brother!" the elderly man walk towards XuanNan, cupped his fists and said: "Old man is lacking in manners, may i know the name of this Shaolin eminent monk?" XuanNan press his hands together and said: "Old monk is XuanNan." The man said: "Hehe, so you are martial brother XuanNan. Shaolin's XuanKu must be your younger martial brother correct? Old man met him several times before, our conversation is extremely congenial, he must still be pretty healthy and strong." XuanNan said sadly: "Martial brother XuanKu was plotted against by a treacherous disciple, he had passed away and return to Western Paradise."
The person stood wooden for quite a while, suddenly he leap upwards, it was a zhang high, his body has yet to reach the ground but his sorrowful voice can be heard in mid-air, he was crying. XuanNan and GongYe Gan was startled, they did not expect such an elderly man to cry as if he was a child. When both his feet touch the ground, he immediately sat down, he pulled forcefully at his beard, both his legs are like drum-stick, repeatedly beating and drumming the ground, he cried out: "XuanKu, why didn't you meet me one last time before you die? Isn't this ridiculous? My song 'Peaceful PuAn in Sanskrit', many people heard it before but they don't understand the logic within, but you said this song is rooted in Buddhism, you listen to it again and again. My younger martial brother XuanNan, he might not have your level of comprehension, if i play zither for him, most probably its like playing zither to a cow, preaching to deaf ears! Alas! My life is ill fated!"
Initially, when XuanNan heard him cry, he thought he was a sentimental person, overcome by his grief he cried out in sorrow, but subsequently, he found out that his grieving over the loss of a person who understands his music, unexpectedly he even said his playing zither to a cow if he had to play for him. XuanNan is an eminent monk of high virtue, he wasn't offended at all, he only gave a slight smile and thought: "These bunch of people are crazy and wild. The temperament of this person is notoriously similar to the rest of his group, birds of a feather flock together."
The person continued crying: "XuanKu ah, XuanKu, to repay you for being my soul-mate, i put in great effort and created this new song for you, its called 'Humming of A Reed', this song is to praise your Shaolin founder Master Damo for his great achievement in crossing the river with a reed. Why don't you listen to it?" suddenly he turn his head and said to XuanNan: "Where is the tomb of martial brother XuanKu? Quickly bring me there, quick, quick! The quicker the better. I will play this new song at his tomb, maybe it can help him to relax and be carefree, he can even revive from the dead."
XuanNan said: "Benefactor, please don't babble nonsense, after my martial brother pass away, his body had been cremated and turn to ashes."
The person was expressionless, suddenly he jump up and said: "Very good, then you have to give me his ashes. I will use cowhide glue and stick his ashes in my zither, henceforth every time i play a song, he will definitely get to hear it. Isn't it a great idea? Haha, haha, isn't my idea great?" he was getting more and more excited, he cannot help but clap and laugh out heartily, suddenly he saw a pretty middle-age woman lying on the floor, he cry out in fright: "Yi, 7th sister, what happen? Who injure you?"
XuanNan said: "There is some misunderstanding, we are still in the midst of clarifying the situation." The person said: "What misunderstanding? Who misunderstood who? To cut the long story short, whoever injure 7th sister is the one at fault. Oh my goodness, 8th brother is also injured, the one who injure him is not a good person, how many bad person are here? Quickly step up and confess, we will openly discuss it, there is no room for concession."
The opera actor call out: "Elder brother, they killed 5th brother, quickly take revenge for 5th brother." The expression of the person turned grave, he shouted: "Preposterous! 5th brother is the 'Enemy of King of Hell', what can the King of Hell do against him?" XuanNan said: "Divine Physician Xue faked his own death, there is only poison in the coffin, there is no corpse." The elderly man and the rest of his brothers were elated, all of them ask in quick succession:
"Why did 5th brother fake his death?"
"Where is his dead body?"
"He didn't die, how can there be a dead body?"
Suddenly a soft voice floated from afar: "Xue MuHua, Xue MuHua, your martial uncle is arriving, quickly come out and welcome him." the voice seems to be breaking yet continuing, the distance is very far, but the voice is clear and distinct, obviously it transmitted by someone with very profound internal energy, its really no small matter.
The opera actor, bookworm, carpenter and the rest all cry out in alarm. The elderly man with the zither call out: "Catastrophe is coming, catastrophe is coming!" he kept looking in all directions, his expression extremely frighten, he said: "There is no time to escape, quick, quick, everyone hide in the house."
Bao BuTong said loudly: "What catastrophe is coming? Is the sky falling down?" the elderly man said in a trembling voice: "Quick, quick, go in the house quickly! Its better to have the sky falling down, this ......" Bao BuTong said: "Senior please make yourself at home, but i don't want to go in."
The elderly man suddenly extended his hand, he caught hold of Bao BuTong's chest acupoints. This move is extremely quick, Bao BuTong could not guard against it at all, his already subdued, his body was lifted up and was quickly carried into the house.
XuanNan and GongYe Gan were astonished, as they were about to speak the chessboard wielding person whispered: "Great master and everyone please go into the house quickly, an extremely powerful devil is coming soon." XuanNan possess divine skills, he rarely meet any match in the martial arts fraternity, he is not afraid of any big or small devil, he ask: "Which big devil? Qiao Feng?" the person shook his head and said: "No, no, someone even more vicious than Qiao Feng. It's Old Freak of XingXiu." XuanNan said: "If it's the Old Freak of XingXiu then it couldn't be much better, old monk is looking for him." The person said: "Great master, you martial art is strong, naturally you are not afraid. But everyone here will be tortured till death by him and you will the only one left alive, you are really merciful."
His words are sarcastic and meant to ridicule, but it was also accurate and true, XuanNan was temporarily stumped, he finally said: "Good, everyone let us go in the house!"
At this moment, the zither elderly man had hidden Bao BuTong and came rushing out of the house, he kept urging: "Quick, quick! Still waiting for what?" Feng BoE question him loudly: "Where is my 3rd brother?" the elderly man flip his left hand and send his palm horizontally towards Feng BoE right cheek. The frost poison in Feng BoE had already flare up, its really hard to bear, when he saw the palm coming he quickly lower his head to avoid it. Unexpectedly, the elderly man did not fully execute his palm move, suddenly he diverted his energy downwards and he caught Feng BoE's nape, he said: "Quick, quick, go in quickly!" he lifted Feng BoE like a chicken and carried him into the house.
GongYe Gan saw the elderly man did not have any evil intentions, but both his sworn brothers were subdued by him with a single move, he shouted loudly and was about to fight with him, but the elderly man move like the wind, he already rush into the house. The bookworm carried the opera actor, the carpenter supported the pretty woman and all of them quickly rush into the house.
XuanNan felt today's affair is really strange and weird, he did not want to be reckless to avoid causing more confusion, he said: "Benefactor GongYe, let us just go in first and then take our time to decide what to do."
Immediately, Xu Zhu and HuiFang lifted the corpse of XuanTong, GongYe Gan carried Deng BaiChuan and all of them entered the house.
The zither old man came out to urge them, but he saw everyone had entered the house, he quickly shut the front door, he went to fetch the door latch. The chessboard wielding person said: "Elder brother, it best if we left this door wide open, this move is called solid yet empty, empty yet solid. This way, he won't dare to enter the house without careful consideration." The elderly man said: "What? Fine, i will listen to you. This......will this work?" he did not have any self-confidence at all while speaking.
XuanNan and GongYe Gan gave each other a glance, both of them had the same thought: "This old man has superior martial arts, how can he be so flustered when dealing with important matters? This door, it can't even hold back common robbers, how can it stop the Old Freak of XingXiu, what difference does it make if the door is open or close? It seems this person suffered great loss against the Old Freak of XingXiu, he became like a bird startled by a bowshot, his terror-stricken once he knows the Old Freak of XingXiu is nearby."
The elderly man said repeatedly: "6th brother, think of an idea, quickly think of an idea."
Although XuanNan possess considerable self-restraint, he was riled up by the fearful manner of the old man, he said: "Sir, there is a common saying 'counter soldiers with arms, water with earth', adopt measures appropriate to the situation. No matter how vicious this Old Freak of XingXiu is, we will join hands and fight him together, we might not lose, there's no need to be so....so....hei....so cautious and timid." The candles in the hall had been lighted, he glimpse his surroundings, the elderly man is terrified, the chessboard wielding man, the bookworm, carpenter, judge-pen wielding scholar, all of them wearing fearful expression. XuanNan personally witness the martial arts of these people, they aren't weak, they are wild and unrestrained, they appear to be elegant and unconventional warriors, but now they turn into children and useless cowards, it's really inconceivable.
GongYe Gan saw Bao BuTong and Feng BoE are fine, both of them sitting on a chair, but their frost poison had flare up and they shivered constantly, he supported Deng BaiChuan to a chair and made him sit down, fortunately Deng BaiChuan's pulse is even, his only in some sort of drunken state and he carried on sleeping, his life is not in any danger.
Everyone look at each other in dismay, after a short period of time, the axe-wielding carpenter took out a set square from his bosom, he measured the corners of the hall and shakes his head, he picked up a candlestick and walk to the rear hall. Everyone followed him, they saw him measuring the four corners, suddenly he leap up onto the beam and started measuring it, he shakes his head again and walk to the rear, stopping in front of Divine Physician Xue's fake coffin, he look at the coffin a few times, shakes his head and said: "What a pity, what a pity!" the zither elderly man said: "Its useless?" the carpenter said: "It won't work, martial uncle will definitely see through it." the zither man said in anger: "You.....you still call him martial uncle?" the carpenter shakes his head and did not reply, he continued walking to the rear.
GongYe Gan thought: "This person seems to only know how to shake his head, he doesn't do anything else."
The carpenter measured the corners of the wall, he counted his footsteps and made some calculation with his fingers, it seems as if his trying to build a house, he kept counting his steps and walk to the rear garden. He held onto the candlestick and pondered for quite some time, the corridor of the garden had five stone mortars, he grasps a few dried husks and soil and put them in the mortar, he lifted the large stone pestle by the side and started pounding the mortar, 'Peng Peng', the stone is dense and is forceful as it landed on the mortar.
GongYe Gan gave a sigh and thought: "We are really down on luck, meeting these bunch of lunatics, he still has the mood to pound grains in this kind of dire situation. It's still acceptable if his really pounding grains, but the mortar contains grain husk and soil, alas!" Bao BuTong and Feng BoE are resting in the hall due to their frost poison, but after a while, they also rush to the rear garden.
'Peng', 'Peng', 'Peng','Peng', 'Peng', 'Peng'! The pounding sound uninterrupted.
Bao BuTong said: "Buddy, you are pounding the grains for cooking? But you aren't pounding grains. I suggest we better plow the field and plant corn seeds, when they grow....." suddenly the southeast corner of the garden, around 7-8 zhang away, gave a squeaking sound. The sound is soft but rather unique, XuanNan, GongYe Gan and the rest look towards the direction of the sound, they saw four dwarf cassia tree.
'Peng', 'Peng', the carpenter kept on pounding, but the strange thing was that the 2nd cassia tree from right started shaking, little by little it move. After a while, everyone understood, when the carpenter pound the mortar, the cassia tree will move around an inch. The zither man cheered and rush towards the cassia tree, he said in a low voice: "Not bad, not bad!" everyone followed him and ran over. The cassia tree had move aside, revealing a big stone slab, an iron ring is attached to the slab.
GongYe Gan was impressed and he felt ashamed, he said: "This secret underground mechanism is ingeniously arranged, it's really fantastic. My dear friend, you discovered it within such a short time, you are really intelligent and wise, no less inferior than the creator of the mechanism." Bao BuTong said: "Not true, not true, how you know this mechanism isn't created by him?" GongYe Gan said: "I said his ability and wisdom isn't inferior to the creator, if he is the creator, then his ability and wisdom is naturally not inferior to himself." Bao BuTong said: "Not true, not true. His not inferior, but maybe he is superior. But how can his ability and wisdom be superior to himself?"
The carpenter pounded another ten times, the big stone slab is completely exposed. The zither elderly man grip the iron ring and pulled it, but it did not move an inch, as he was about to channel his internal energy and give it another pull, the carpenter cry out in fear: "Elder brother, stop!" he jump up and put the stone pestle on another mortar, he pulled down his pants and started urinating, he shouted: "Everyone, quickly come over, let us urinate together!" The elderly man was started and quickly put down the iron ring, in a split second, the chessboard wielding man, bookworm, judge-pen wielding scholar, all of them went over and started urinating into the mortar.
GongYe Gan saw these five people urinate like mad, it was really funny and he could not refrain from laughing, but instantly, everyone caught a whiff of gunpowder. The carpenter said: "Enough, the danger is over!" the zither elderly man had a lot of urine, he kept on urinating non-stop, he mumbled to himself: "Damn it, damn it, i mess up another mechanism. 6th brother, luckily you spotted it quick, else everyone would have been blown into meat pastes."
GongYe Gan trembled with fear, he became aware that he had just came back from the gates of hell, obviously a flint is linked to the iron ring, when the ring is pulled, the fuse is lighted and it advance to the hidden explosive, fortunately the carpenter is extremely vigilant, everyone urinated and they managed to wet the fuse and thus averted a big disaster.
The carpenter walk to the 1st stone mortar to the right, he exerted his strength and turn the mortar three times to the right, he raise his head towards the sky and recited something, after a long time, he turn the mortar six and a half times to the left. Suddenly, they heard another small squeaking sound, the big stone slab move aside, revealing a hole. This time the zither elder dare not rush in, he wave his hands at the carpenter and signalled him to lead the way. The carpenter knelt down on the floor, he look carefully at the 1st mortar to the left.
Suddenly they heard someone cursed from underground: "Old Freak of XingXiu, you evil bastard! Very good, very good! You finally found me, your brilliant! You committed all sorts of crime, retribution will eventually come. Come, come! Come in and kill me!"
The bookworm, carpenter, opera actor and the rest all cheered in unison: "5th brother is alive!" the zither elder said loudly: "5th brother, we all arrive." the voice from underground was silent for a moment then it shouted: "It's really elder brother?" the tone was joyous.
There was a laughing sound and someone came out of the hole, it is the 'Enemy of King of Hell', Divine Physician Xue.
Unexpectedly, other than the zither elder and the rest of his sworn brothers, there's also quite a few strangers, he cannot help but stare blankly, he said to XuanNan: "Great master, you came out of your temple, these few people are your friends?"
XuanNan hesitated and then said: "Yes, they are all friends." Originally, Shaolin had maintained that Master XuanBei was killed by Gusu Murong family, they considered Murong family as their nemesis. This time, he came together with Deng BaiChuan to seek medical treatment, along the way Deng BaiChuan and GongYe Gan insist that Master XuanBei was not killed by their young master Murong, XuanNan was around 70-80% convinced, in addition they braved dangers together and collaborated towards a common goal, he finally treated them as friends. When GongYe Gan heard his words, he turn and nod towards him.
Divine Physician Xue said: "Since we are all friends then it couldn't be much better, everyone please go underground, Master XuanNan please lead the way." Although he said those words, he still rush ahead and lead the way. The underground cellar is pitch-black, its a very dangerous place to be in, the martial arts fraternity is full of deadly secrets and traps, no one trust each other, thus to show respect for visitors he has to personally lead the way and enter first.
As Divine Physician Xue entered the hole, XuanNan followed him and entered as well, everyone supported the injured and followed soon after, they even carried the corpse of XuanTong in. Divine Physician Xue operated a motor and the big stone slab move and covered the hole, he operated the motor again and everyone heard a faint squeaking sound, the cassia tree move back to its original position and covered the stone slab.
The interior is a stretch of stone steps, everyone has to stoop down to travel, after travelling for a while, the ceiling gradually got higher, they reached a natural tunnel. They travelled for around 10 zhang and arrive at a spacious cavern. Over 20 people are seated by the corner beside a torch, the people consist of male, female, young and old. When these people heard footsteps, they turn their head and look at them.
Divine Physician Xue said: "These people are my family members, the current situation is urgent, i won't ask them to come over and pay their respects, please forgive my lack of manners. Big brother, 2nd brother, how did your come here?" he did not wait for their reply and immediately start examining everyone's injuries. He examined XuanTong first, Divine Physician Xue said: "This great master achieved enlightenment and pass away, it gratifying and joyous." He examined Deng BaiChuan, smiled and said: "My 7th sister's flower pollen will only make you drunk and intoxicated, there is no poison, he will wake up after a while." The middle-age woman and opera actor suffered external injuries, although the injuries are not light but its a small matter for Divine Physician Xue. He took Bao BuTong and Feng BoE pulse, closed his eyes and pondered deeply.
After a long time, Divine Physician Xue shakes his head and said: "Strange, strange! Who injured these two people?" GongYe Gan said: "It's a weird looking youngster." Divine Physician Xue shakes his head and said: "Youngster? This person's martial arts possess both extremes of good and evil, his internal energy is extremely profound, it has a least 30 years of cultivation, how can he be a youngster?" XuanNan said: "It certainly is a youngster, but his palm strength is deep and profound, my martial brother XuanTong clash palms with him and also suffered this frost poison. His the disciple of Old Freak of XingXiu."
Divine Physician Xue was startled: "Even the disciple of Old Freak of XingXiu is this powerful? Amazing, amazing!" he shakes his head and said: "Regrettable, regrettable, the frost poison of these two senior brothers, i am really powerless against it. From now on, i don't dare to be known as 'Divine Physician'."
Suddenly a bright resonant voice said: "Since this is the assessment of Divine Physician Xue, we will take our leave immediately." The voice came from Deng BaiChuan, he finally woke up after being intoxicated by the flower pollen, he heard Divine Physician Xue's diagnosis. Bao BuTong said: "That's right, that's right! Hide underground for what? Life and death is fated, how can we imitate tortoise and mole and hide in underground cavern?"
Divine Physician Xue laugh grimly: "You are extremely boastful! Do you know who is waiting outside?" Feng BoE said: "You all are scared of Old Freak of XingXiu, but i am not afraid. You all have superior martial arts but its all in vain, you people get scared out of your wits when you hear the name of Old Freak of XingXiu." The zither elder said: "You are no match for me. Old Freak of XingXiu is my martial uncle, you tell me whether his powerful or not?"
XuanNan change the subject and said: "Old monk has things he don't understand, i wish to seek clarification." Divine Physician Xue said: "The eight of us are fellow apprentice, we are known as 'Eight Friends of HanGu'."
He pointed at the zither elder and said: "This is our elder brother, i am number five. The rest of the matters are really complicated and not easy to explain, moreover, it useless to tell outsiders....."
Before he could finish, everyone suddenly heard a thin and soft voice calling: "Xue MuHua, why aren't you coming out to see me?"
The voice is thin yet balanced, it seems to be faint and indistinct but everyone in the tunnel heard it clearly, the voice is like a long string, penetrating 10 zhang through the ground and followed the complicated winding tunnel before entering the ear.
The zither elder was so surprised that he leap up, he said in a trembling voice: "Old....Old Freak of XingXiu!" Feng BoE said loudly: "Big brother, 2nd brother, 3rd brother, let us all go out and fight to the death with him." The zither elder said: "No you cannot do that, you must never do that. It doesn't matter if you go out and die a foolish death! But you will reveal this hiding place and the lives of all the people here will be sacrificed by your stupid bravery." Bao BuTong said: "His voice can penetrate this underground cave, won't he know we are hiding here? Even if you become a tortoise he will still force you out, you cannot hope to avoid him." The judge-pen scholar and the bookworm said: "He won't be able to enter this place for a while, everyone let us think of a good strategy to deal with him."
The carpenter kept silent throughout, at this moment he interrupted: "Although martial uncle Ding is highly skilled, but he will require at least four hours to break through this underground mechanism. He will need another four hours to think of a strategy to attack into this cave." The zither elder said: "Excellent! We have eight hours, we can consider carefully and take our time, correct?" the carpenter said: "Nine hours." The zither elder said: "Where did the extra one hour come from?" the carpenter said: "Within this eight hours i can arrange another three mechanism, it can delay him for another hour."
The zither elder said: "Very good! Great master XuanNan, when that big devil comes in at the scheduled time, we eight fellow apprentices will most probably not be able to escape his evil clutches. All of you are outsiders. The big devil will focus his attention on us martial nephews, all of you should be able to escape. You should not try to be a hero and fight to the death with him. Being able to escape the Old Freak of XingXiu is already considered to be a very heroic action."
Bao BuTong said: "Your farting, farting!" everyone started sniffing but they did not detect any stench, they gaze questioningly at Bao BuTong. Bao BuTong pointed at the zither elder and said: "This person is bullshitting, its stinks so bad." Previously he was subdued by the zither elder in a single move, he felt resentment in his heart, although his frost poison had flare up at that time and he did not have any strength to resist, but he was well aware that his martial art is greatly inferior to his, the stronger his opponent, the more he wanted to curse.
The chessboard wielding man gave him one glance and said: "You can't even escape from my senior martial brother's palm, my martial uncle's martial art is 10 times better than his, now you tell me who is the one bullshitting here?" Bao BuTong said: "Not true, not true! Superior martial art is not related to bullshitting. If your martial art is high, you can't bullshit? If you don't bullshit, your martial art is high? Confucius doesn't know martial arts, maybe he specializes in bulllshitting........."
Deng BaiChuan pondered: "The words of these people aren't unreasonable, 3rd brother is just debating and joking around with them, we should not waste the time we have here." He interrupted: "Everyone, i did not know your origin and this led to numerous misunderstandings, i even accidentally injure this lady, i feel terribly apologetic. Since we met a common enemy today, we are one big family. Later when this powerful enemy comes in, although the subordinates of young master Murong are unworthy, we will never run away, if we can't resist him then we will simply just die together."
XuanNan said: "HuiFang, Xu Zhu, later on if both of you see the opportunity, you must try to escape and return back to Shaolin Temple to report this matter to the abbot. In the event that everyone is eliminated by that devil at least we can get crucial information delivered." 6 Shaolin monks said in unison: "We respectfully obey your orders." Xue MuHua and Deng BaiChuan heard the speech by XuanNan, they knew his mind is set and everyone will live or die together, even though they now have another strong helper against the Old Freak of XingXiu they still did not feel confident in winning.
The zither elder was expressionless throughout, suddenly he clap his hand and laugh: "Everyone is going to die today. Even if martial brother XuanKu did not die, he will not get the chance to hear my wonderful song, 'Humming of A Reed', why do i need to feel sad for his death? Alas! Alas! Someone told me that i, Kang GuangLing is a big idiot, i always refuse to accept. But now, it seems even if i am not a big idiot, i am still a small idiot."
Bao BuTong said: "You really are a genuine big idiot, big stupid fool!" the zither elder Kang GuangLing said: "I don't think i am more foolish than you!" Bao BuTong said: "You are ten times more foolish than me!" Kang GuangLing said: "You are hundred times more foolish than me!" Bao BuTong said: "You are thousand times more foolish than me!" Kang GuangLing said: "You are ten thousand times more foolish than me!" Bao BuTong said: "You are hundred thousand times more foolish than me, a million times, ten million times!"
Xue MuHua said: "You two are about the same, both of you are equally foolish. All the masters from Shaolin, when you safely return back to your temple your abbot will definitely ask about the cause and effect of this matter, i am afraid you won't be able to answer. This matter is a shameful incident in my sect, it's not related to outsiders. But to eliminate this scourge from the martial arts fraternity, we need the help of senior monks from Shaolin. Thus, i will now narrate in details the entire matter, but after hearing it please only report back to your abbot, do not leak or divulge it to another person."
HuiFang, Xu Zhu and the rest of the monks said in unison: "The words of Divine Physician Xue, junior monk will only report it to our abbot, we will never leak half a word to other people."
Xue MuHua said to Kang GuangLing: "Senior martial brother, i will now narrate the intermediate details of this affair."
Although Kang GuangLing is the most senior apprentice among the eight of them and his martial arts greatly exceeds his peers, but his personality is very childish and naive. Xue MuHua is only trying to preserve Kang GuangLing's status and prestige by asking him for permission in front of outsiders. Kang GuangLing said: "This is so strange, your mouth is your own, just say it if you like, why the need to ask me for permission?"
Xue MuHua said: "Great Master XuanNan, Master Deng, our master is known as Mr Intelligent....."
XuanNan, Deng BaiChuan and the rest were all startled, they said in unison: "What? Mr Intelligent is the Deaf Mute Old Man, this person is born deaf and mute, he adopted a nickname and called himself Mr Intelligent. All his disciples and followers had their eardrums pierced and their tongue cut off, this fact is known by everyone. But Kang GuangLing and the rest of you are perfectly normal, this is extremely strange."
Xue MuHua said: "My master's disciples and followers are deaf and mute, but this is only for the past 10 years. My master is not deaf, and he is certainly not mute, he was agitated by his younger martial brother the Old Freak of XingXiu Ding ChunQiu and became deaf and mute." XuanNan and the rest gave an 'Oh' sound. Xue MuHua continued: "My Grand-Master took in two disciples, the senior disciple is surname Su, named XingHe, naturally his our Master, the second disciple is Ding ChunQiu. Their martial arts were originally on par with each other, but eventually, one of them became slightly better......"
Bao BuTong interrupted: "Haha, say no further, your martial uncle Ding ChunQiu must have surpassed your Master." Xue MuHua said: "You can't say that, my Grand-Master is a celestial being of knowledge, his skills all encompassing......" Bao BuTong said: "Not necessarily, not necessarily." Xue MuHua knew Bao BuTong like to argue for the sake of arguing, he ignored him and continued: "Originally, my Master and Ding ChuanQiu both focus solely on martial arts, but afterwards, my Master's attention was divided, he learnt music and zither from my Grand-Master....."
Bao BuTong pointed at Kang GuanLing and said: "Haha, your stupid zither skills must have been acquired from your Master."
Kang GuangLing glared at him and said: "Obviously my skills came from my Master, don' tell me it came from you?"
Xue MuHua said: "It's not much of a hindrance if my Master only learnt zither skills, but my Grand-Master's knowledge is simply too vast, zither, chess, calligraphy, painting, medicine, divination and astrology, arts and crafts, finance and commerce, plants and pottery, he knows everything, he mastered all of them. Originally, my Master only learnt zither skills, but soon after he started to learn chess, and then calligraphy, and then painting. Everyone please think for a moment, all these skills require pain-staking effort and time, initially Ding ChunQiu pretended to be interested and tried to learn all these skills, but after 10-15 days, he claims his aptitude is low and his too stupid, it's difficult for him to learn, thus he focus solely on martial arts. After 8-10 years, their martial arts were at different levels."
XuanNan nod his head repeatedly, he said: "Learning zither or chess alone would require half a lifetime of effort and energy, although Mr Intelligent is smart and talented, it's difficult for him to undertake such tasks. Ding ChunQiu gave his undivided attention to martial arts, its not surprising that his martial arts would eventually surpass his senior martial brother."
Kang GuangLing said: "5th brother, there is something even more important, why aren't you telling them? Quickly tell them."
Xue MuHua said: "Ding ChunQiu focus solely on martial arts, it should be a good thing, but.....but....sigh.....if i narrate this matter, it would be really shameful for our sect. Ding ChunQiu took advantage of the fact that his younger than Grand-Master by 20-30 years, his also handsome and elegant, unexpectedly he seduced Grand-Master's lover. This matter really disgraced my Grand-Master, we were sympathetic and didn't say anything, we pretended to be deaf and mute. To cut the long story short, Ding ChunQiu used various despicable tricks, he also mastered some extremely evil skills, Grand-Master tried to kill him in his fit of rage but Ding ChunQiu made the first move and managed to inflict serious injuries on my Grand-Master. Luckily, my Grand-Master possess peerless skills, although he was backstabbed, he managed to resist until my Master arrive to save him. My Master's martial arts were no match against that evil traitor, after a fierce battle my Master was injured and Grand-Master fell into deep ravine, his whereabouts unknown. My Master neglected his martial arts as he learnt various miscellaneous skills, but these miscellaneous skills were not completely useless. In the midst of danger, my Master deployed his eight divinatory trigrams and complex metaphysical art, Ding ChunQiu's sight and hearing was disturbed, both of them deadlocked in stalemate."
"Ding ChunQiu was unable to break through the formation or kill my Master, moreover, he knew there are quite a few divine skills in the sect and Grand-Master did not impart these skills to either disciples, he expected Grand-Master to pass on the manuals of these divine skills to my Master and he would slowly coerce my Master to hand them over. Thus, he made a pact with my Master, as long as my Master remains silent and not speak, he will not trouble him. At that time, my Master had the eight of us as his worthless disciples. My Master wrote a letter and expelled us, and from that point onwards he pretended to be deaf and mute, never speaking or hearing a word, his subsequent disciples and followers all had their eardrums pierced and tongues cut off, his sect became known as Deaf-Mute Sect. In my opinion, Master must have regret getting distracted and learning all sorts of miscellaneous skills, his martial arts suffered and he fell short against Ding ChunQiu, thus he became deaf and mute so that he would never get distracted and learn those miscellaneous skills."
"The eight of us, other than learning martial arts, each one of us also picked up a unique miscellaneous skill. At that time, Ding ChunQiu had yet to revolt, my Master had yet to understand the ill-effects of being distracted, thus he did not forbid us to learn the miscellaneous skills, he even encourage us and spent time to specially instruct us. Senior martial brother Kang GuangLing learnt zither from him."
Bao BuTong said: "He only knows how to play zither to cows, nobody understands."
Kang GuangLing was furious: "My zither skill is poor? Come, i will play it for you now." And he took out his jade zither and placed it horizontally on his kneecaps.
Xue MuHua quickly held out his hand to stop him, he pointed at the chessboard wielding person and said: "This is my 2nd brother Fan BaiLing, he learnt the game of Go (Chess), his one of the most skilled chess player around and rarely meets his match."
Bao BuTong gave a glace at Fan BaiLing and said: "Its not surprising that you use chessboard as your weapon, but the chessboard is made of magnetic metal, it trap and take away your opponent's weapon, it's a cheap trick, not the actions of upright gentleman." Fan BaiLing said: "When playing chess, there are magnificent moments and orderly deployment of chess pieces, but there are also moments where you need to employ sly tactics and ambush."
Xue MuHua said: "The chessboard of 2nd brother Fan is made of magnetic metal, originally it's for his research in chess. When his walking, sitting or sleeping, he will have suddenly inspirations and he will set up his chessboard to try out the moves. Since the chessboard is made of magnetic metal, when he put the chess piece on it, even if his travelling on horse, the chess piece will never move or drop off. Afterwards, he found the chessboard to be quite convenient and hence made it as his weapon, the chess piece became his hidden projectile. He did not purposely make use of magnet to take advantage of his opponents."
Although Bao BuTong was convinced, he still argued: "The reason is not justified, really not justified. Base on 2nd brother Fan skills, he can simply use a wooden chessboard and smack the metal chess piece onto the board to embed it, don't tell me the chess piece will still drop off?"
Xue MuHua said: "Its still not as convenient as using a metal chessboard. My 3rd brother Gou, his name is Du, it represents his fondness in reading, the hundred schools of thought he read them all, his an extremely knowledgeable scholar, i think everyone must have witnessed it."
Bao BuTong said: "His just a lowly scholar, not worth mentioning." Gou Du was furious: "What? You call me a lowly scholar, don't tell me you are a noble scholar?" Bao BuTong said: "I don't deserve such praise, i don't deserve such praise."
Xue MuHua knew that if these two start debating, they won't stop even after 3 days and 3 night, he quickly interrupted and change the subject, he pointed at the judge-pen wielding scholar and said: "This is my 4th brother, his an expert in painting, landscape or people, animals or flowers, he can draw them elaborately. His surname is Wu, before he came under the tutelage of our Master, he was a general of Great Song and led the army, thus everyone called him Wu LingJun"
Bao BuTong said: "I am afraid he led the army to its defeat, as for his paintings, you can't distinguish between human or ghost." Wu LingJun said: "If you ask me to describe your face, it's certainly hard to differentiate you from a ghost." Bao BuTong burst out into loud laughter: "Buddy if you have time, can you please draw my face as an example, a ghost picture, it will be really wonderful."
Xue MuHua laugh and said: "Brother Bao is handsome and elegant, why so modest? I am ranked number five, i learnt medicine and medical procedures, i have some minor reputation in the martial arts fraternity, i still remembered the martial arts taught by my Master."
Bao BuTong said: "You can barely treat common cough and cold, as for my frost poison, you can't do anything at all. You can't treat any serious illness, anyone seeking treatment will just die. Hey hey, this title of 'Divine Physician', it surely is well deserved."
Kang GuangLing smoothen his long sleeves, his looks askance, he said: "Hey old chap your temper is really odd, you really stand out from the masses." Bao BuTong said: "Haha, my surname is Bao, named BuTong, naturally i stand out from the masses (pun on his name)." Kang GuangLing laugh heartily: "Your surname is really Bao? Named BuTong?" Bao BuTong said: "How can my name be fake? En, this old chap who specializes in making mechanism, your skilled in construction and industrial arts, you must be under the tutelage of Mr Lu Ban? (legendary Chinese craftsman)"
Xue MuHua said: "Exactly as you stated, 6th brother Feng ASan, before joining the sect, his already a skilled carpenter, after entering into our Master tutelage, he became even more skilful. 7th sister Shi is skilled in growing flowers, she has cultivated all sorts of exotic flowers and rare herbs, all of them flourishing."
Deng BaiChuan said: "The drug which made me dizzy, Miss Shi must have gotten them from flower pollens, not poison."
The pretty middle-age woman is known as Shi QingFeng, she gave a faint smile: "I offended you just now, teacher Deng please forgive me." Deng BaiChuan said: "I am even more impertinent, i exerted too much strength and injure you, Miss please forgive me."
Xue MuHua pointed at the opera actor and said: "8th brother Li KuiLei, throughout his entire life his addicted to acting opera, his wild and unrestrained, as for martial arts, he inevitably neglected it due to his passion for opera. Alas, its not only him, the eight of us all neglected our martial arts. The martial arts imparted by my Master, i will never be able to master it during my lifetime, but i was greedy and went around to learn other people's unique moves, as a result.....sigh....."
Li KuiLei was lying down on the floor, he said: "I am lonely Emperor Li CunXu, i don't love my country but i love opera, sigh, well played, well played!"
Bao BuTong said: "I am lonely Emperor Li SiYuan, i overthrow and took over your country, i chop off your head."
Bookworm Gou Du interrupted: "Li CunXu was killed by his own subordinate Guo CongQian, he did not die by Li SiYuan's hands."
Bao BuTong is not familiar with such matters, he knew he definitely can't try to fake information and bluff Gou Du, he said: "Bah! So what if its Guo CongQian, yawn, i am Qin ShiHuang, i burn the books and bury alive the Confucian scholars, i specializes in dealing with lowly scholars."
Xue MuHua said: "After the eight of us was expelled from the sect, we did not forget our Master's benevolence and instructions, we called ourselves 'Eight Friends of HanGu' to commemorate the times when Master imparted the skills to us at HanGu Pass. Outsiders only know we share vile habits......" Bao BuTong sniff a few times with his nose, he said: "Very smelly, very smelly!" Gou Du said: "The Book of Changes says: [The unanimous opinion of people, its as strong as the smell of orchid] the smell is sweet fragrance, old chap you really lack any knowledge." Bao BuTong said: "You words are so fragrant that is smells like fart!"
Xue MuHua smiled and said: "No one knows that we came from the same sect and are fellow apprentices. To guard against the Old Freak of XingXiu when he returns to Central Plains, and to avoid letting him kill all of us in one fell swoop, we only meet once every 2 years, normally we scatter all over the world and live apart."
"Not long ago, Ding ChunQiu sent his disciple here, he ask me to treat a big belly monk. The one surnamed Xue has a weird temper, if someone wants medical treatment, he definitely have to ask me nicely, moreover the person who came to seek treatment is a disciple of Old Freak Ding, naturally i don't want to treat. The person is unable to coerce me and left in rage. I knew Old Freak Ding will come sooner or later, thus, i feign my death and put deadly poison in the coffin, hoping that he will take the bait. My entire family, young and old, all hid in this underground cave."
Bao BuTong said: "You want someone to ask you nicely when requesting treatment, how is this weird? The one surnamed Bao also has a weird temper, if someone wants to treat my illness, he has to ask me nicely and not pressure or coerce me, else i will rather die of illness than let him treat it."
Kang GuangLing burst into loud laughter: "You think you are some kind of rare treasure? People provide you with treatment and they still have to plead you, unless......unless....." and he couldn't think of the scenario.
Bao BuTong said: "Unless you are my son." Kang GuanLing was startled and thought the words were pretty true, if a father had a son who refuse to see a doctor, he has to beg and plead persistently. His a reasonable person, but he didn't expect Bao BuTong to take advantage of him with wordplay, he said: "AiYa, i am not your son." Bao BuTong said: "Only your mother knows whether your my son or not, how you know your not?" Kang GuangLing was startled, he nod his head and said: "Quite true." Bao BuTong laugh and thought: "This person is really a big idiot, this will just be a one-sided contest if i continue to take advantage of him."
Xue MuHua said: "There is too much coincidence, the eight of us are suppose to meet again after 2 years. My old servant mistook all of you as the enemy, the situation was urgent, he did not consult me and immediately set off the fireworks signal. The fireworks were made by my 6th brother, when set off, they illuminate the skies for several li, there are eight of us and each one has a unique firework signal. This matter is really fortunate and yet unfortunate, the fortunate thing is that the 'Eight Friends of HanGu' can assemble in times of danger to resist the enemy together. But the unfortunate thing is that the Old Freak of XingXiu can solve his problem in one fell swoop and kill the eight of us."
Bao BuTong said: "Even though the Old Freak of XingXiu is highly skilled, he might not be superior to Master XuanNan from Shaolin. In addition, there is all of us the minor troops, we will shout loudly to show our power and do our utmost and fight with them, we might not lose. There's no need to be so......so.....so..." as he said 'so' three times, his teeth starts clattering with each other, his frost poison flared up and he can no longer talk.
Li KuiLei sang loudly: "I am Jing Ke who tried to assassinate Qin ShiHuang. Feng XiaoXiao contracted a cold, the brave warrior shivered and can't speak!" Suddenly a shadow of a human flew up and rammed head-first at Li KuiLei's chest. Li KuiLei cried out 'Ayo' and wave his arm to push the person away. The person grabbed onto him and they started fighting, the person is 'Gust of Wind' Feng BoE. Deng BaiChuan quickly said: "4th brother, don't be rude!" and he extended his hands to pull Feng BoE away.
Deng Bai Chuan said: "Everyone is very frank, you did not cover the truth, you are certainly a true friend. We are facing a powerful enemy, we don't know if we will live or die, we Gusu Murong will also tell you everything we know. Previously, our old master Murong discuss something with us, he said the Grand-Master of Ding ChunQiu practice a skill called [Eternal Youth Never Ageing Skill]. Old master Murong told us, this eternal youth and never ageing is fake, everyone must die eventually. But with the correct cultivation of internal energy you can delay ageing, 30-40 years old woman can appear as if she is 18-19 years old, 50-60 years old married woman can make their skin radiant and flesh supple, face snow-white and lips red, as if she is 20-30 years old. All women wants to maintain their youthfulness, but aren't men the same? Ding ChunQiu did not kill your Grand-Master, mostly likely his trying to coerce him to impart this set of eternal youth skill. Ding ChunQiu most probably tried to practice this skill but its not very effective and his slowly showing signs of ageing. If he knows his eternal youth skill is losing its effectiveness he will mostly like come to Suzhou and try to search for a book."
Gou Du said: "Look for book? This is strange, he should come and ask me." Deng BaiChuan said: "Mr Gou, although you are a scholar with great erudition, but the secrets to the eternal youth skill most probably can't be found in the books you read. Ding ChunQiu seduced your Grand-Master's lover, the two of them escape to Suzhou and live in seclusion in a village near Lake Tai. The large quantities of martial art manuals which they stolen are also hidden at Suzhou."
XuanNan said: "If they want to look for book, then simply let them look." Deng BaiChuan said: "We knew the ambition of Old Freak Ding is not small. If he purely wants to use that eternal youth skill to delay ageing, not matter how handsome he is we will simply not look at his sickening face. But i am afraid his real intention is to strengthen his [Great Energy Dissolving Skill]." XuanNan trembled with fear, he said: "I want to ask Divine Physician Xue, the [Great Energy Dissolving Skill], how exactly does it work? Everyone in martial arts fraternity all turn pale when they hear about the skill and they detest it bitterly."
Xue MuHua said: "Its rumoured that this demonic skill requires alot of venom fluid from poisonous snakes and bugs, this fluid will be absorbed into the palm, when fighting with an opponent, this deadly poison will be transferred to the other party. When we practice martial arts, out internal energy flow from the meridians channel, for example, the 'Guankang' acupoint is connected to the 3 yin meridian, the 'Dazhui' acupoint is connected to the 3 yang meridian of hand and feet, if these two acupoint comes into contact with poison, the internal energy within these meridians would seem to disappear without a trace. Ordinary people spread lies and claims that Ding ChunQiu can dissolve internal energy. But in my opinion, since the internal energy is already cultivated it cannot be dissolved, Old Freak Ding sends his deadly poison into his opponent's meridians channel and stop his opponent from exerting internal energy, the victim will assume that his internal energy is gone. Its the same logic as contracting normal poison, the poison will spread to the brain and the victim will feel numbness in his hand and feet, but it doesn't mean the muscle strength is dissolved. I invite Great Master to correct me if i am wrong."
XuanNan nod his head and said: "Divine Physician is correct, you cleared all my doubts and suspicions."
At this moment, a thin slender voice transmitted into the cave: "Disciples of Su XingHe, quickly come out and surrender, maybe i can still spare your life, if you still delay don't blame me for disregarding Sect relations."
Kang GuangLing was furious and cursed: "His really shameless, still dare to talk about Sect relations."
Feng ASan said to Xue MuHua: "5th brother, looking at the wood markings and stone quality, this cave is around for 300 years, which skilled workman made it?" Xue MuHua said: "This property is pass down by my ancestors, it is passed on from generation to generation, it can be use for refuge in times of danger but i don't know who constructed it......"
He did not complete his sentence as a loud exploding sound was heard, it was like earthquake, everyone felt the ground sway and vibrate, their footing unstable. Feng ASan expression turns pale, he said: "Not good! Old Freak Ding used explosives to forcibly blow open the entrance, his going to attack soon!"
Kang GuangLing was furious: "Despicable to the extreme, shameless. Our Grand-Master and Master are skilled in building and crafting, mechanism and traps our Sect's specialty. Old Freak of XingXiu did not even invest effort to try and unravel the mechanism, he simply use explosives and blow everything to bits, how can he be considered a disciple of our Sect?" Bao BuTong shivered and said: "He killed his Master, injure his fellow martial brother, you still consider him as your martial uncle?" Kang GuangLing said: "This........"
Suddenly there was another loud explosion, the dust in the cavern fly about and irritated everyone's eyes. The cave is sealed off and does not allow air flow, after this explosion, draft of fresh air surge in, everyone felt their eardrum ache.
XuanNan said: "Rather than allow him to blow open this cave and attack in, we will be better off going out and attack him." Deng BaiChuan, GongYe Gan, Bao BuTong and Feng BoE all agreed in unison.
Fan BaiLing knew XuanNan is a senior eminent monk from Shaolin, asking him to hide in a cave to avoid the enemy is really a disgrace to the fame of Shaolin, since this battle is unavoidable he said: "If that's the case let us all go out together, we will risk our lives and fight that Old Freak."
Xue MuHua said: "Great Master XuanNan you don't have any enmity with this Old Freak, its best that you don't get involve and stand aside and watch." XuanNan said: "Shaolin will interfere in all matters related to martial arts in Central Plains, you lot have to forgive me for interfering. Moreover, my martial brother XuanTong's death is due to the poison of the disciple of XingXiu, thus Shaolin has deep enmity with XingXiu Sect."
Feng ASan said: "Great Master is willing to help us, your sense of justice, we fellow apprentices are extremely grateful. Let us go out by the original path and surprise that Old Freak." Everyone nod their head and agreed.
Feng ASan said: "The family of 5th brother Xue, Mr Bao and Mr Feng can stay in this cave, i don't think the Old Freak will come in and search." Bao BuTong gave him a glance and said: "Its better that you stay here." Feng ASan quickly said: "I don't dare to look down on you two, but both of you carry serious injuries, its not convenient for you to fight." Bao BuTong said: "The heavier the injury, when we start fighting the more energy we have!" Fan BaiLing and the rest all shake their head, this person is really impervious to reason. Feng ASan operated the cave motor.
In the midst of operating the motor, 3 cannon fire rang out, 'Peng' 'Peng' 'Peng' they exploded and white smoke pervade the area. After the cannon fire, the stone slab finally move away, revealing a hole big enough for a person to pass, Feng ASan quickly crawl out.
Feng ASan had yet to stand up when a black figure emerge from the white smoke, the figure move past him and rush out towards a crowd of people outside and shouted: "Which one of you is Old Freak of XingXiu, the one surnamed Feng will fight with you." the person is 'Gust of Wind' Feng BoE.
He saw a man standing in front, his wearing hemp clothes, Feng BoE shouted loudly: "Eat my fist!" 'Peng' his fist already hit the person's chest. The person is the 9th disciple of XingXiu Sect, his body sway and Feng BoE second fist hit him on his shoulder. Chopping and slapping sound rang out endlessly, Feng BoE executed his moves quickly, it seems all his fists and palms landed on his opponent's body, but his devoid of strength after contracting the poison, he could not topple the XingXiu disciple. XuanNan, Deng BaiChuan, Kang GuangLing and Xue MuHua all came out of the cave.
They saw a tall and big old man standing at the south-west corner, to his left and right is one short man and one tall man, the iron-head man is one of them. Kang GuangLing shouted: "Old Traitor Ding, you still not dead yet? Remember me?"
The tall and big old man is the Old Freak of XingXiu Ding ChunQiu. When he captured HuiJing he wanted to force him to look for the frost silkworm, but he found that the monk is extremely sick, he quickly search for Xue MuHua to ask him to provide treatment. Xue MuHua tried to fake death but he eventually still can't escape Ding ChunQiu. Ding ChunQiu gave a quick glance and recognize all his opponents, his wave his feathered fan and said: "Nephew MuHua, if you can cure that fat Shaolin monk, i will spare you life, but you have to take me as your Master and join XingXiu Sect." originally he wanted Xue MuHua to just cure monk HuiJing and he will bring them to Kunlun Mountain to catch the frost silkworm, but afterwards he wanted to recruit Xue MuHua so that both of them can research the secrets to the [Eternal Youth Never Ageing Skill].
Xue MuHua listen to his tone and expression, Ding ChunQiu disregarded all the opponents before him, he seems confident of controlling everyone's life and death and do as he pleases. Xue MuHua knew his martial uncle is very powerful, he felt really scared, he said: "Old Traitor Ding, i only listen to the orders of one person, whoever he ask me to treat i will do it, its easy for you to kill me, but to treat someone, you will have to go beg that person."
Ding ChunQiu said coldly: "You only listen to orders from Su XingHe correct?"
Xue MuHua said: "Only scoundrels who are worse than beast will dare to deceive and exterminate their Master." As he said this, Kang GuangLing, Fan BaiLing and Li KuiLei all cheered.
Ding ChunQiu said: "Very good, all of you are obedient disciples of Su XingHe, but Su XingHe already sent someone to inform me that he had long expelled the eight of you, you people are not longer his disciples. Don't me tell that one surnamed Su lied and secretly maintain this Master and disciple relationship?"
Fan BaiLing said: "Master for a day, father for an entire life. Master did expel the eight of us. All these years we never saw him at all, when we drop by to pay our respects he refused to see us. But our love and respect for our Master has never decrease at all. The one surnamed Ding, you are the reason why the eight of us became lonely souls and wandering ghosts, with no Sect to depend on."
Ding ChunQiu smile and said: "You words are quite true. Su XingHe was afraid that i would kill all of you. He expelled the eight of you to preserve your insignificant lives. His not willingly to pierce your eardrum or cut off your tongue, his really has deep feelings for you people, humph, what great things can he achieve by being so indecisive and fainthearted? Hey, very good, all of you tell me, you still consider Su XingHe as your Master?"
When Kang GuangLing and the rest heard his words, they knew that if they claim that they are still 'Disciples of Su XingHe', Ding ChunQiu will immediately kill them, but the relationship between Master and disciple is deep, how can they be cowardly and betray their Master, out of the eight, only Shi QingFeng is seriously injured and has to stay behind in the cave, the seven of them shouted in unison: "Although we are expelled, but the relationship between Master and disciple is eternal and will never change."
Li KuiLei suddenly shouted: "I am the mother of Old Freak of XingXiu, i had an affair with the dog of ErLang Shen and gave birth to this little bastard. I will break your dog leg!" he imitated the accent of an old lady and then he bark 3 times like a dog.
Kang GuangLing, Bao BuTong and the rest all laugh wildly.
Ding ChunQiu was in a towering rage, his eyes gave a peculiar radiance, he flick his left sleeve, a stream of oily green flame shot towards Li KuiLei, its even faster than shooting star. Li KuiLei already suffered a broken leg, his holding onto a wooden crutch and can't move freely, he wanted to dodge the flame but how can he do it in time, there is a 'Chi' sound and his clothes ignited. He quickly lie on the ground and roll, but as he roll the flame became even more fierce. Fan BaiLing quickly grab some mud off the ground and spray it on his body.
Meteor-flame shot out from Ding ChunQiu's sleeves in quick succession, it went towards Kang GuangLing and the other four, only Xue MuHua was spared. Kang GuangLing push out with both palms and shock the flame away. XuanNan wave both his palms and cleave two flame. But Feng ASan and Fan BaiLing got hit and their clothes ignited. Immediately, the two of them along with Li KuiLei got burnt and cry out in pain.
The numerous disciples of Ding ChunQiu praised: "Master only displays his little trick and you all turn into roasted pigs, quickly surrender now!"
"Master has the ability to shift the heaven and split the ground, no one has ever done it before him and no one will be able to replicate it in the future, you all pigs and dogs really get to see the power of XingXiu Sect today."
"Master triumph in every battle and win every fight, his the hero of ancient and modern times, be swept away by his might and power!"
Bao BuTong shouted loudly: "Bullshit! Bullshit! Aiyo, this is so corny! Old Thief Ding, you are really thick-skinned!"
Bao BuTong just barely finish speaking when 2 meteor-flame swiftly came at him. Deng BaiChuan and GongYe Gan both sent out a palm and deflected the flames, but both of them felt a as if a giant hammer smash their chest, they groan and quickly took three steps back. Ding ChunQiu used his powerful internal energy to send out the meteor-flame, XuanNan and Kang GuangLing have high internal energy and they did not suffer any injury when they deflected the flame, Deng BaiChuan and GongYe Gan are not at the same level and they could not withstand it.
XuanNan move towards Li KueiLei and wave his palm, the palm force brush across his body, there is a 'Chi' sound and his clothes were ripped apart by the palm force, large portion of clothes tore off, the remaining flames that continue to burn were extinguished by the palm wind.
A disciple of XingXiu Sect call out: "The palm force of this bald donkey is not too weak, its around 10% of my Master's level." Another disciple said: "Pei, its only around 1%!"
XuanNan send out another two palm and extinguished the flame on Fan BaiLing and Feng ASan, at this moment, Deng BaiChuan, GongYe Gan, Kang GuangLing and the rest had thrown themselves into the crowd and attacked the disciples of XingXiu Sect.
Ding ChunQiu stroke his long beard and said: "Senior monk from Shaolin is indeed extraordinary, little brother will ask you for advice today." As he finish speaking he took a step forward, his left palm floated lightly towards XuanNan. He considered himself to be a young man, he did not call himself 'old man' but 'little brother'.
XuanNan knows Old Freak Ding has deadly poison covering his entire body, his also proficient in [Great Energy Dissolving Skill], thus he dare not be complacent, both his palm dance about, immediately he send out 18 palm strikes at Ding ChunQiu, this 18 palm strikes came out consecutively in a chain, his left palm has yet to withdraw but his right palm already strike out, its incomparably fast, he did not give Ding ChunQiu any time to use his poison. This is Shaolin's [Quick Palm], it is indeed strong and formidable as Ding ChunQiu was force to retreat continuously, XuanNan send out 18 palm and Ding ChunQiu retreated 18 steps. After completing 18 palm strikes, both his legs flew up consecutively in a chain, its incomparably fast and he kicked out 36 times, the shadow of his leg flash, nobody can tell whether he kicked out with his left or right leg. Ding ChunQiu move his body and quickly sidestep, he avoided the 36 kicks, but he heard two slapping sounds, his shoulder was hit by two fists, it seems when XuanNan is on his last two kicks he send out both his fists. Ding ChunQiu avoided the kicks but he can't avoid the fists. Ding ChunQiu said: "Very powerful!" his body sway two times.
But XuanNan felt a burst of dizziness, immediately he felt distracted and empty. He knew his situation was not good, Ding ChunQiu clothe is covered with deadly poison, when his fists hit Ding ChunQiu's shoulder he contracted the poison, at once he exhale his breath, the air within his body circulated and he send out his left fist at Ding ChunQiu.
Ding ChunQiu wave his right fist to block the incoming fist, immediately after, he violently strike out with his left fist. After contracting the poison, XuanNan could not turn his body effectively, its difficult for him to dodge the attack, he can only stick out his right fist to counter the force. In this situation, they are competing their inner strength, XuanNan was secretly alarmed: "I cannot compete internal energy with him!" but if he does not exert any internal energy, his opponent energy would come crashing in and his inner organ would immediately shatter, he knew he had fallen into a trap, but there was no other choice and he channelled his internal energy to resist. As he channel his internal energy, he felt his energy scatter and disappear into thin air, he could not gather his internal energy, as he heard the explanation from Xue MuHua before he knew his meridian is poisoned.
Ding ChunQiu laugh out loudly, his shrug his shoulder, there was a slapping sound and XuanNan collapsed onto the ground.
After beating XuanNan, Ding ChunQiu surveyed his surroundings, GongYe Gan and Fan BaiLing had collapsed and they kept shivering, they were beaten by You TanZhi's frost poison palm, Deng BaiChuan, Xue MuHua and the rest are still fighting fiercely with his disciples, from his XingXiu Sect he had around 7 disciples either dead or injured.
Ding ChunQiu gave a long laugh, his big sleeves fluttered in the air and he pounce towards the back of Deng BaiChuan and send one palm at him, he turn around and gave a kick, Bao BuTong collapsed from the kick. Deng BaiChuan send out his palm to meet his opponent's palm, immediately he felt his chest is empty, as he was about to inhale and concentrate, Ding ChunQiu send another palm at him. Deng ChunQiu can only grudgingly send out another palm to meet him, he felt a slight cooling sensation on his palm, his entire body felt soft and devoid of strength, he was in a daze and all he saw was white fog. A XingXiu disciple came over and bump Deng BaiChuan with his arm, Deng BaiChuan collapsed onto the ground.
In a short period of time, all the subordinates of Murong family, XuanNan and the rest of the Shaolin monks, Kang GuangLing and the rest of 'Eight Friends of HanGu', all of them were defeated by Ding ChunQiu and You TanZhi. You TanZhi had extremely deep and profound internal energy, but his martial art is mediocre and weak, under a few days of guidance under Ding ChunQiu he learnt 7-8 palm moves, although his martial art is still weak compared to common fighters, but along with the frost poison accumulated in his body, his power is formidable and extraordinary. When GongYe Gan attacked You TanZhi with his palm, he hit him on the first strike, but he got counter-attack by the frost poison and ended up injured.
The only person who did not sustain any injury is Xue MuHua, he attacked numerously times but the XingXiu disciples only sniggered and ran away from him, they did not fight back at all.
Ding ChunQiu smile and said: "Nephew Xue, your martial arts are much higher than your fellow apprentices, amazing!"
Xue MuHua saw his fellow martial brothers collapsing one by one, only he was left unscathed, obviously Ding ChunQiu was being lenient and let him off. He gave a long sigh and said: "Old Traitor Ding, the external injuries of that fat monk is easy to treat but his internal injuries is difficult, he can't live for more than a few days, you want to force me to cure him, dream on!"
Ding ChunQiu wave his hand and beckon him: "Nephew Xue, come over here!"
Xue MuHua said: "Kill me if you want, i won't listen to what you say."
Li KuiLei shouted: "5th brother Xue devotion to righteousness inspires reverence, you are Su Wu, exiled for 19 years and remained loyal to the Han."
Ding ChunQiu gave a slight smile, he stood 3 steps away from Xue MuHua, lightly resting his left palm on his shoulder, he smile and ask: "Nephew Xue, how long have you been learning martial arts?" Xue MuHua said: "45 years." Ding ChunQiu said: "Practicing day and night for 45 years, its really not easy. I heard you provide medical treatment in exchange for martial arts, you must have learnt numerous exquisite moves from various school and sect, correct?" Xue MuHua said: "I learn all these moves to kill you, but....but no matter how exquisite it is, it completely useless against your sorcery.....alas!" he shakes his head and gave a deep sigh.
Ding ChunQiu said: "Not necessary! Internal energy is the root, martial art moves is the branch and leaf, if the root is solid and strong the branch and leaf will naturally flourish, it doesn't mean martial moves are useless. If you join my sect, i can impart you matchless internal energy cultivation method, afterwards it easy for you to dominate Central Plains."
Xue MuHua was furious: "I have my own Master, you ask Xue MuHua to join your sect, i would rather bang my head and die!"
Ding ChunQiu smile and said: "You need energy and strength to bang your head till death. If you lose all your internal energy, you will have difficulty walking, why the need to talk about banging your head? 45 years of hard work, hei hei, what a pity, what a pity."
Sweat stream down endlessly from his forehead when he heard this, Xue MuHua felt the hand on his shoulder gradually warm up, Ding ChunQiu only need to will it and his [Great Energy Dissolving Skill] would come forth, 45 years of hard work would immediately vanish and disappear without a trace, he clenched his teeth and said: "You are heartless enough to kill your own Master, martial brother and now the eight of us, do you even care? Its a pity if i lose 45 years of hard work, but i will die anyway, why do i care about hard work or not?"
Bao BuTong cheered: "Well said, you have moral backbone and integrity. Does XingXiu sect have such a hero?"
Ding ChunQiu said: "Nephew Xue, i won't kill you now, but i will ask you 8 times: 'Will you treat that fat monk?', if you reply that you won't treat, i will kill your senior elder brother Kang GuangLing. The 2nd time you reply that you won't treat, i will kill your 2nd brother Fan BaiLing. You martial sister, the one that knows how to cultivate flowers, where is she hiding? I will eventually find her. The 6th time you reply that you won't treat, i will kill that pretty martial sister of yours. The 7th time, i will kill your 8th brother Li KuiLei. If i ask the 8th time and you still refuse to treat, make a guess, who will i kill?"
Xue MuHua heard him narrate his ruthless method, he turn pale and trembled: "At that time you will kill me, no big deal. All eight of us will just die together."
Ding ChunQiu smiled and said: "There is no hurry to kill you, the 8th time you reply that you won't treat, i will go kill 'Mr Intelligent' Su XingHe." Xue MuHua shouted loudly: "Old Traitor Ding, you dare touch a single hair on my Master!"
Ding ChunQiu smiled and said: "Why not? The Divine Elder of XingXiu always operate alone, the words i said today, i might forget them tomorrow, although i had an agreement with Su XingHe as long as he remain mute i won't kill him. But you dare offend me and make me angry, the mistakes made by a disciple would naturally be borne by the Master, i like to kill him, who can stop me?"
Xue MuHua mind was in a mess, he knew this old traitor is coercing him to treat HuiJing, his purpose must be very sinister, if he agree to treat he would be aiding a tyrant, but if he refuse to treat, the lives of his fellow martial brothers and sister would be lost, even their master Mr Intelligent would die for sure. He muttered to himself for a long time and finally said: "Fine, i will yield, but after treating that fat monk you must not trouble all my friends, martial brothers and sister and my Master."
Ding ChunQiu was overjoyed, he quickly said: "Sure, sure! I promise to spare their dog life."
Deng BaiChuan said: "The honourable gentleman fell into the evil scheme of a treacherous villain, he deserves to die, who needs you to show mercy?" originally his voice is strong and bright, but his internal energy had dissipated, although his indignant, his voice inevitably became breathless and devoid of strength. Bao BuTong shouted: "Xue MuHua, don't fall into his trap, this swindler admit it himself, his words cannot be trusted."
Xue MuHua said: "Correct, you said it before: 'the words i said today, i might forget them tomorrow'."
Ding ChunQiu said: "Nephew Xue, my first question is: 'Will you treat that fat monk?'" as he finish he extend his right leg and targeted the temple of Kang GuangLing, obviously if Xue MuHua reply 'won't treat' he would immediately strike out and kill Kang GuangLing. Everyone felt their heart thumping around madly, suddenly someone shouted: "Won't treat!"
The one that shouted 'won't treat' is not Xue MuHua, but Kang GuangLing.
Ding ChunQiu sneered: "You want me to kick out and end your life, not so easy." He turn towards Xue MuHua and ask: "Do you want to act as my proxy and kill your own senior martial brother?"
Xue MuHua sigh and said: "Forget it! Forget it! I promise to treat that fat monk."
Kang GuangLing cursed: "5th brother Xue, how can you be so useless. This Old Traitor Ding is the enemy of our Sect, how can you be so cowardly and afraid of death, you actually yield to his threats?"
Xue MuHua said: "Its no big deal if he kills the eight of us! But didn't you listen, this old traitor wants to trouble our master!"
When they thought about the safety of their master, Kang GuangLing and the rest became speechless.
Bao BuTong said: "Co......." he wanted to scold 'Coward', but before he can finish Deng BaiChuan extended his hand and covered his mouth. Bao BuTong revered this elder brother, he yield to him 50% of the time, thus he endured his anger and swallow his words.
Xue MuHua said: "The one surname Ding, since i yield to you and agreed to treat that monk, you have to be polite to my friends here." Ding ChunQiu said: "I will comply with everything you say."
Immediately Ding ChunQiu ordered his disciples to carry HuiJing over. Xue MuHua ask HuiJing: "You interacted with an extremely powerful poison object for long period of time, thus the frost poison penetrated deep into your inner organs, what is that poison object?" HuiJing said: "Its the frost silkworm from Kunlun Mountain." Xue MuHua shakes his head and did not probe further, he carried out acupuncture and moxibustion, he also took out two crimson pill and fed it to him, afterward he treated the rest of the people, mended their bones and treat their injuries, this went on until dawn and finally everyone got treated, the injured lay on beds or wooden door boards. The family members of Xue MuHua came out and made noodles for everyone to eat.
Ding ChunQiu ate two bowls of noodles, he smiled at Xue MuHua and said: "You really adapt well to circumstances, you didn't poison the noodles." Xue MuHua said: "Speaking of poison, there is no one better than you. Although i have the intention but i dare not display my lowly skills in front of an expert."
Ding ChunQiu laugh out loudly and said: "Ask your family members to go out and hire 10 donkey carriages." Xue MuHua said: "You need 10 donkey carriages for what?" Ding ChunQiu roll his eyes and said coldly: "I need to inform you of my own business? Divine Physician Xue must be quite popular with the residents here, it won't be difficult to hire 10 donkey carriages." Xue MuHua was helpless and could only order his family members to go out and hire the carriages.
It was afternoon when the 10 donkey carriages arrived. Ding ChunQiu said: "Kill all the carriage drivers!" Xue MuHua was shock and said: "What?" but he saw the palms of the disciples of XingXiu flying around, a few slapping sound and the 10 dead bodies of the drivers lay on the ground. Xue MuHua was furious: "Old Traitor Ding! How did the drivers offend you? You.....you.....go so far as to kill them?"
Ding ChunQiu said: "My XingXiu Sect wants to kill a few people, why the need to discuss about right or wrong, reason or justification? All of you enter the carriages now, no one stays behind! Nephew Xue, if you have any medical books or drugs bring them along with you, i am going to burn down you house."
Xue MuHua had another huge shock, but this person commits all sorts of evil misdeeds imaginable, its a waste of time to debate with him, he had thoroughly memorize all the medical books, but all those pills, ointments and pellets that he painstakingly concocted, he cursed endlessly and start gathering the medical herbs and drugs. He have yet to finish packing when the XingXiu disciples set fire at the back of his house.
Shaolin monk HuiFang originally receives order from XuanNan, he have to escape and deliver news to Shaolin Temple, but Ding ChunQiu was strict and kept a tight surveillance, he did not escape far and eventually got captured back. XuanNan and 6 monks from Shaolin, the 4 subordinates from Gusu Murong family, Eight Friends of HanGu, except for Xue MuHua all of them were injured, some had their internal energy sealed or injured by Ding ChunQiu's palm, some got hit by You TanZhi's frost poison and the rest got hit by deadly poison from XingXiu disciples, all of them were unable to move a single step. In addition, the family members of Xue MuHua were brought along as well and packed into the 10 carriages. Some of the XingXiu disciples became carriage drivers, some escorted the carriage, the curtains in the carriage were pulled down and tied with ropes, there is no light at all in the carriage and they could not see the outside view.
XuanNan and the rest had the same question: "This old traitor, where is he bringing us to?" they knew that if they start inquiring they would get insulted and humiliated by the XingXiu disciples, they definitely won't get any answer, they thought it in their heart: "We can only be patient for now, we will know when the time comes."