Chapter - 41 Eighteen Riders From Yanyun, Surging Forth Like Tigers
Ding ChunQiu killed XuanTong and XuanNan, he is a great enemy of Shaolin. When the monks from Shaolin heard he is at the base of Mount Shaoshi they immediately made a huge din. XuanSheng shout loudly: "Today everyone have to muster their courage and exterminate this Old Freak Ding, avenge martial brother XuanTong and XuanNan."
XuanCi said in a bright voice: "He is still a guest from afar, we will adopt peaceful measures before resorting to violence." the crowd of monks said in unison: "Yes!" XuanCi said: "Martial brothers and friends, why don't we go out and observe the brilliant exchange between XingXiu Sect and Murong family?"
The crowd of heroes are already itching to go, they are waiting precisely for this remark. Those who have less experience, young and rash heroes, they swarm out quickly. The Four Great Evils, the rest of the heroes, Dali's Duan family, foreign eminent monks, all of them rush out. However there is endless 'PingPang' 'QiangLang' noise, monks from 'Hui' generation took out all the weapons.
Xuan, Hui, Xu, Kong, four generation of Shaolin monks all select their weapons and exit the temple in orderly formation. When they reach the temple gate, a monk who is stationed at mid-mountain came rushing back to report: "XingXiu Sect have around a thousand people, they surrounded Gentleman Murong and his subordinates at the pavilion, engaged in a fierce battle." XuanCi nod his head, he walk on the pavement and peered down the mountain, however all he saw was a huge black mass of human head, it is more than a thousand men.
Shouting drifted up the mountain: "Divine Elder of XingXiu personally direct the battle, naturally he will emerge victorious!"
"You demons and clowns, unexpectedly you have the cheek to defy Divine Elder, really brazen to the extreme!"
"Quickly cast down your weapons, beg Divine Elder of XingXiu to spare your lives!"
"Divine Elder of XingXiu grace Mount Shaoshi with his presence, he only need to flick his little finger and Shaolin Temple will crumble immediately."
The newly recruited disciples of XingXiu have yet to learn any skill, however they already learn how to flatter their master, the voice of a thousand praises flood everyone's ears, the singing of praises filled the entire Mount Shaoshi. Shaolin Temple is established for over 600 hundred years, successive generation of monks will chant 'Rulai Buddha, Revered One of the World', even the cumulative sum of six hundred years of chanting cannot be compared with this impressive passionate praise from XingXiu disciple towards their master. The name 'Divine Elder of XingXiu' far surpass 'Emituofo'. Ding ChunQiu stroke his white beard, his eyes narrowed, he is helplessly intoxicated in the praise, feeling light and airy as if drunk from wine.
XuanSheng gathered energy to his pubic region and shout out: "Assemble The Great Luohan Formation!" five hundred monks responded: "Assemble The Great Luohan Formation!" red cassocks flickered, grey shadows dart about, groups gathered at east and west, five hundred monks scattered, covering as far as the eye can see.
The crowd of heroes heard of the famed 'Luohan Formation' of Shaolin, however for the past hundred years Shaolin never display it to outsiders, other than Shaolin monks nobody has ever seen the formation. Currently the monks are wearing different coloured clothing and cap, red, grey, yellow and black, their weapons are also different, sabre, sword, staff, rake, everyone move like the wind, in an instant they encircled XingXiu disciples at the center.
The number of XingXiu disciples are far more than Shaolin monks, a huge majority are newly recruited, they are somewhat skilled at fighting one to one battle. However they never had any experience or practice in arranging themselves into battle formation, thus they became flustered and their praises inevitably tone down significantly, quite a number of them kept silent, they knew the situation had change, thus they modified their praise and start to eulogize 'Shaolin monks'.
Abbot XuanCi said in a bright voice: "Mr Ding from XingXiu Sect graced Mount Shaoshi, you are setting yourself against Shaolin. Heroes, please sit back and observe how Shaolin deal with experts from the west, how about it?"
Heshuo, Jiangnan, Chuanshan, Huguang, various heroes from these region shout out: "Old Freak of XingXiu is a menace to the martial arts fraternity, everyone should unite and deal with them together, kill them here and now!" everyone draw out their weapons, they desire to fight alongside Shaolin to kill the enemy.
Murong Fu, Deng BaiChuan and the rest killed around 20 XingXiu disciples, now they receive huge reinforcements, at once they jump several feet away and stop fighting. XingXiu disciples are inwardly afraid, they did not pursue.
Duan Yu leap to the east and flash to the west, he rush into the crowd and sprint to Wang YuYan's side, he said: "Miss Wang, if the situation becomes dangerous later i will carry you out." Wang YuYan blush and said: "I am not injured, acupoints not sealed, i....i can move on my own...." she glance towards Murong Fu and said: "My cousin's martial art is outstanding, more than enough to protect me. Gentleman Duan, please go back."
Duan Yu felt really upset, he pondered: "What ability i have, how can i go against your cousin's martial arts?" but to ask him to simply leave, how can he be willing? Duan Yu said: "This....this....ah, Miss Wang, my father is here, he is outside." Duan Yu and Wang YuYan went through numerous trials and tribulations, travelling for long distances, the time spent together is not shallow, however Duan Yu never mention his status or family history to her. In his heart, Wang YuYan is a goddess, he is a commoner, he did not feel any glory in being a prince, in the eyes of a goddess what is the difference between a commoner and a prince?
Wang YuYan was saved many times by Duan Yu, she is rather grateful towards him, nevertheless she does not care about his status, she assume Duan Yu is simply a bookworm who manage to pick up a set of ingenious footwork along with a set of energy sword-play which is erratic and ineffective at times, he often tangle with her much to the annoyance of her cousin, thus to avoid making her cousin upset she hope Duan Yu can leave and stay far away. But now he suddenly mention his father is here, she felt rather curious and said: "You father and son did not see each other for quite some time correct?"
Duan Yu said happily: "Correct! Miss Wang, i will bring you to see my father, ok? My father will surely like you very much when he sees you." Wang YuYan blush, she shake her head and said: "I don't want to." Duan Yu said: "Why not?" Wang YuYan did not reply, to make her happy he said: "Miss Wang, my sworn brother Xu Zhu is also here, he became a monk again. In addition my disciple is here also, its truly exciting and lively." Wang YuYan knew his disciple is "Crocodile Deity of Southern Sea", but she never ask him why he accept the 3rd most evil "Fierce Deity and Evil Devil" as his disciple, she recalled Crocodile Deity of Southern Sea's outlandish appearance, she cannot help but smile. Duan Yu coax a smile from her, he is really happy, although he is surrounded by XingXiu disciples but to be able to chat and joke with Wang YuYan, nothing else matters.
Shaolin deployed its Great Luohan Formation, guarding all four direction. A few XingXiu disciples tried to break though from the west, they only engage for a while and was wounded one after another. Ding ChunQiu commanded: "Everyone stop moving for the time being." he said in a bright voice: "Abbot XuanCi, your Shaolin claim to be the chief of martial studies, but in my opinion it is really unfounded."
The crowd of XingXiu disciples responded: "Correct, Divine Elder of XingXiu arrives, all Shaolin monks will die a tragic end."
"Martial arts originate from our XingXiu Sect, only martial arts from XingXiu is orthodox, the rest are all demonic path."
"You refuse to learn XingXiu's martial arts, you will inevitably become ox ghost and snake spirit, digging your own grave."
Suddenly someone sing out: "Divine Elder of XingXiu, virtue fitting heaven and earth, prestige shaking the entire world, he is matchless throughout all ages!" thousands of people sing out loudly, some played their gongs, drums, pipes and flutes, it is really lively. A majority of the heroes have never seen such extravagant performance from XingXiu Sect, they cannot help but laugh out from this weird scene.
Amidst the music, suddenly galloping noise came from the mountain side. The noise became louder and louder, soon after great yellow banners can be seen from all four sides, four riders gallop up the mountain each bearing a flag. All the yellow banners bear five characters: "Chief Zhuang Of Beggar Clan" the four horses stop beside the cliff, their riders dismounted and stick the yellow flag at the highest point of the cliff. These four riders all wore beggar clothing and carried cloth pouch, they held the flagpole and remain silent.
The crowd of heroes said: "Chief Zhuang of Beggar Clan is here." these four flags give a sense of might and prestige, flag bearers athletic and fierce, when compared with XingXiu Sect who blow their own trumpet this display clearly command respect.
As the flags were erected, a hundred horses gallop up the mountain, riding at the front are 100 six-pouch disciples, followed by 34 seven-pouch disciples and 10 eight-pouch disciples. Soon after 5 nine-pouch elders gallop up the mountain, they remain silent and dismounted, lining up both sides. Other than delivering urgent news or handling important matters Beggar Clan's members rarely ride horses, seeing such extravagant display they are really no different from army officials, it greatly differs from Beggar Clan usual practice. When the crowd of heroes saw this they inwardly shake their head.
Everyone heard the 'Ta Ta' sound of horse hooves, two greenish buckskin horse gallop up the mountain side by side. Sitting on the left horse is a lady wearing purple robe, appearance splendid and gentle, however her pair of eyes are dim and lifeless. When Ruan XingZhu saw her she blurted out: "AhZi!" she forgot she is disguised in men's clothes, this remark from her revealed her true female voice.
Sitting on the right horse is a man wearing an interwoven brocade robe, his facial expression wooden like a zombie. When the crowd of heroes saw him some of them immediately knew he is wearing a human-skin mask, he did not reveal his real appearance, they pondered: "It seems this person is Beggar Clan's Chief Zhuang JuXian. He want to vie with Shaolin for the title of chief of martial arts fraternity, but how come he refuse to reveal his real appearance?"
Some people guess: "This person must be a famous figure, Zhuang JuXian is just an alias. Since he can become Chief of Beggar Clan then how can he be some unknown figure?"
"Most likely he does not have much confidence in this battle, if he is defeated by Shaolin then he can cover up his face and retreat, he won't lose face."
"Don't tell me he is the former chief, Qiao Feng? He regained power in Beggar Clan and came here to create trouble for everyone."
Although some people manage to make the connection between "Zhuang JuXian" and "JuXian Manor" but they only think of Qiao Feng, the You brothers of JuXian Manor died by Qiao Feng's hands, afterwards the Manor was burnt down, nobody expect this Chief of Beggar Clan to be the young master of JuXian Manor, You TanZhi.
AhZi heard her mother's voice, currently she have important matters to settle its not convenient to meet her mother and listen to her narrate about mundane affairs, AhZi pretend she did not hear her and said: "Brother Xian, there is alot of people here, i heard someone singing 'Divine Elder of XingXiu, virtue fitting heaven and earth, prestige shaking the entire world, matchless throughout all ages'. That little chap Ding ChunQiu and his useless troops, they are all here?" You TanZhi said: "Correct, he brought quite a number of people here." AhZi clap her hand and laugh: "Simply fantastic, really save me the trouble of travelling to XingXiu Sea to settle the debt." Beggar Clan's members who are travelling on foot steam in endlessly up the mountain, they are all five-pouch, four-pouch and three-pouch disciples, they arrange themselves in formation and stood behind You TanZhi and AhZi.
You TanZhi said softly: "It seems those who need to be here are all present." AhZi wave her hand, two Beggar Clan members took out a purple object from their bosom, they tie it to a wooden stick and let it flutter in the wind, as it turns out it is a two-sided purple silk banner, six dark red characters are written: "Sect Leader Duan of XingXiu."
As the banner unfold, XingXiu disciples immediately made a huge din, someone shouted: "Sect Leader of XingXiu is Divine Elder Ding, this fact is well known by everyone, since when did a person surnamed Duan become the Sect Leader?"
"Passing fake as genuine, causing confusion, shameless!"
"Don't tell me you can simply confer this Sect Leader position yourself?"
"Which little devil dare claim to be our Sect Leader, quickly own up, i will turn you into mincemeat!"
Those who responded are all newly recruited disciples, as for the senior disciples, Mo YunZi, Zhui FengZi, etc, naturally they knew about AhZi's history, she has the support of Xiao Feng, they cannot help but be secretly afraid of her.
The crowd of heroes and monks suddenly saw an extra XingXiu Sect Leader appearing, they are startled but also inwardly happy, all these evil demons turning up together, there will be eliminated together.
AhZi clap 3 times and said in a bright voice: "Disciples of XingXiu listen: The rules of our Sect, the Sect Leader position have always been occupied by the most powerful. Who possess the strongest martial arts, he will simply be the Sect Leader. Half a year ago, Ding ChunQiu and i fought, he suffered a crushing defeat, he knelt down in front of me and kowtow 18 times and became my disciple, he respectfully offered the position of Sect Leader to me. Don't tell me he didn't inform you? Ding ChunQiu, you are simply too brazen, you are the head-disciple of our Sect, you should be the role model, how can you deceive your fellow martial brothers?" her voice is melodious and smooth flowing.
When everyone heard it, all of them equally astounded, she is merely a 16-17 year old girl, both eyes blind, how can she become the Sect Leader? Duan ZhengChun and Ruan XingZhu look at each other dumbstruck. They knew their daughter was taught by Ding ChunQiu, she is crafty and eccentric, incomparably mischievous, however her martial art is only average, unexpectedly she dare to rustle Ding ChunQiu's tiger beard and claim to be the Sect Leader, the outcome is really hard to predict. There are very few men from Dali at Mount Shaoshi, simply insufficient to fight with XingXiu Sect or even save her from danger.
Unexpectedly under the watchful eyes of the crowd of heroes, AhZi dare to claim the position 'Sect Leader of XingXiu Sect', how can Ding ChunQiu tolerate it? He is seething with anger, nevertheless he still maintain a warm and gentle expression and said: "Little AhZi, you are correct in saying the Sect Leader position being occupied by the most powerful. You covet this position, presumably you must have some real ability, why don't you come over and trade 3 moves with me?"
Suddenly Ding ChunQiu saw a flash, someone suddenly appeared 3 chi in front of him, it is You TanZhi. Ding ChunQiu was completely caught off guard, base on his acute eyesight unexpectedly he did not see clearly how he appeared, he was extremely frighten and retreated 1 step.
With this 1 step he move about 5 chi backwards, however You TanZhi is still within 3 chi in front of him, evidently when he retreat 1 step his opponent also move 1 step forward, obviously You TanZhi only move forward when he saw him move backward, he act later but arrive first, leaving no trace, his martial art has reached a very high level, truly something to be feared. Ding ChunQiu saw his face is gloomy with yellow-wooden complexion, he inquired: "I am competing martial arts with AhZi, why the need for you to interfere?" immediately he leap backwards, he flip his hand and grab 1 of his own disciples and toss him towards You TanZhi.
You TanZhi's reaction is strangely quick, immediately he leap 10 feet backwards, he also flip his hand and grab a 3-pouch Beggar Clan disciple, he channelled his energy and toss him out. Unexpectedly the Beggar Clan disciple is like an extremely large hidden weapon, he flew towards Ding ChunQiu, he collide with the XingXiu disciple in mid-air. The crowd saw the power of the toss, they pondered: "I am afraid both of these disciples will have their muscle and bone shattered, die a violent death."
Unexpectedly when both of them collide they only heard two 'Chi Chi' sound, immediately after they detect a charred stench, some people start vomiting, some recoil and move back, some cover up their nose, some consume antidote immediately, they knew Ding ChunQiu and Zhuang JuXian employed deadly yin-poison energy on their own disciples. When these two disciples collide they turn soft, collapsed and remain motionless, evidently they met a violent death.
Ding ChunQiu and You TanZhi traded 1 move, both of them equally matched, both of them inwardly afraid of each other, they move back several chi at the same time, they flip their hand and grab 1 of their disciples again and toss them out. Both disciples collide in mid-air again and emit a charred stench, they met a violent death at the same time.
Both of them employed a sinister technique of XingXiu Sect, the [Rotten Corpse Poison], they grab a living person and toss him towards the enemy, they will first kill the person they are grabbing, afterwards the acute poison in their claws will seep into the dead person's blood and turn him into a poisonous corpse, if the opponent use his palm to push the corpse away they will come into contact with the poison. If they use weapons to parry, the poison will flow from the weapon to their hands. Even if they manage to dodge or use void palm force or air splitting technique, it is difficult to escape the toxic gas emitting from the corpse.
Previously You TanZhi travelled with Quan GuanQing, he is unsophisticated and lack any experience, within two days Quan GuanQing made him reveal all his personal history. Quan GuanQing pondered: "This person possess matchless internal energy, however his martial art is extremely limited, he cannot fully utilize his energy." after further investigation he found out that AhZi is a disciple of Old Freak XingXiu Ding ChunQiu, he had a sudden inspiration, immediately he urge You TanZhi to learn XingXiu martial arts from AhZi, however when he approach AhZi he claim that You TanZhi is a top martial art expert, matchless under the heaven, thus he want AhZi to demonstrate all her martial art technique to allow You TanZhi to give some pointers.
You TanZhi and AhZi are both young, one foolish the other blind, both of them fell into the elaborate scheme. AhZi demonstrate all the techniques of XingXiu Sect, she also narrate the method to practicing the technique, thus this is how You TanZhi manage to learn [Rotten Corpse Poison]. The crux of [Rotten Corpse Poison] is to first cultivate profound internal energy which is poisonous in nature, the practitioner must be able to kill a living person with a single grab and send the poison immediately to the corpse, there is nothing ingenious about the [Rotten Corpse Poison] technique. Everyone in XingXiu Sect understood the principles of this technique, they are just unable to cultivate the required level of internal energy.
Although AhZi is clever and shrew but her eyes are blind, she cannot see You TanZhi's facial expression, moreover she was indeed rescued by You TanZhi from Ding ChunQiu, with Quan GuanQing's gift of the gab he manage to brag You TanZhi's martial arts to unimaginable level, no matter how intelligent she is she will never suspect this 'Gentleman Zhuang with matchless skill' is actually learning martial arts off her secretly.
For every move she describe, You TanZhi will simply follow accordingly, his body already possess frost silkworm poison and the first-class internal energy of [Divine Foot Scripture], combining both extremes of good and evil his inner power is really no small matter, any moves executed by him possess the strength to break trees and shatter rocks, power boundless and inexhaustible. When AhZi heard it, naturally she admire and respect him greatly. You TanZhi also impart her some internal energy cultivation method from [Divine Foot Scripture]. When AhZi practiced it, although she did not have much improvement, but she still felt her body becoming stronger, lighter and more agile. In reality, You TanZhi is well aware that his divine strength is closely related to the monk pictures in the scripture, in order to show off his ability in front of AhZi he trained relentless in uninhabited place for the entire day.
Later Quan GuanQing remove the iron-mask on You TanZhi's head, he use a human-skin mask to cover up You TanZhi's face which was scalded beyond recognition, afterwards he took him along to participate in the Beggar Clan's general assembly at Hunan's Dongting Lake. With You TanZhi's profound internal energy and strange martial arts, none in the Beggar Clan is able to stand up to him, he easily wrest control and became Chief of Beggar Clan. Quan GuanQing officially rejoin the Clan and was promoted to a 9-pouch Elder. Although You TanZhi assume the position of Chief, but all affairs in Beggar Clan are directed by Quan GuanQing. Quan GuanQing saw there are quite a number of members and Clan Elders who did not accept You TanZhi as Chief, he was inwardly worried as he cannot possibly kill all of them, thus he brought up the idea of vying with Shaolin for the title of 'Supreme Leader of Martial Arts Fraternity', Beggar Clan's Chief Zhuang JuXian will become the number one fighter under the heaven, and by relying of this prestige he can suppress the discontentment in Beggar Clan.
Although AhZi is blind but her competitive nature remains, she support Quan GuanQing's idea to fight with Shaolin. You TanZhi did not want to become 'Supreme Leader of Martial Arts Fraternity', however since AhZi supported the cause he simply follow along as well. Quan GuanQing engineered the scheme with utmost care, he was meticulous in his plan, various heroes gathering at Shaolin at the same time on November was the direct result of his plan. Since AhZi had the backing of the 'Number One Martial Artist Under the Heaven' Zhuang JuXian, she did not fear a mere Old Freak of XingXiu anymore, hence she conferred the position 'Sect Leader of XingXiu' on herself and ordered someone to make purple flags for displaying at Mount Shaoshi.
When Beggar Clan arrive at Mount Shaoshi they immediately ran into a huge gathering of XingXiu Sect members, this was beyond Quan GuanQing's expectation, thus Quan GuanQing offered some advice to You TanZhi, when Ding ChunQiu speak You TanZhi attack him immediately to avoid making things difficult for AhZi.
Ding ChunQiu saw his opponent is extremely powerful, he immediately employed his most sinister technique the [Rotten Corpse Poison]. When he launch this technique he will inevitably sacrifice one of his own disciples, nevertheless this technique is difficult to avoid or ward off, only with the highest level of lightness martial arts, the ability to leap 10 zhang outward, only then the person can avoid harm. However to start a fight by running away, naturally the fight will end immediately. Unexpectedly You TanZhi learnt this technique from AhZi, he sacrifice his own Beggar Clan disciple and ward off Ding ChunQiu's attack. Both of them toss out their own disciples, immediately after they toss out yet another disciple again. However they heard continuous slamming noise, within a short period of time both side had toss out seven of their own men, 14 dead corpse lie on the ground, their face bruised, expression of terror, the scene is truly tragic and appalling.
The XingXiu disciples panicked, they quickly fled for their lives to avoid being captured by their master, they still sing praises continuously but their voice is trembling with fright.
Beggar Clan members saw their Chief employing such sinister technique, although it can be said he was forced by circumstances but they cannot help but feel great startled, they pondered: "Our Clan have always uphold justice and righteousness, how can our Chief use such despicable technique in front of the crowd of heroes, isn't he following a bad example and mixing himself with XingXiu Sect?" someone else pondered: "If Chief Qiao is still our Clan Chief, he will surely use righteous method to resist Old Freak of XingXiu's evil sorcery."
Ding ChunQiu flip his hand to grab the 8th victim, however his hand grab empty air, he turn his head and look back, his disciples had move far away, however he heard a 'Hu' sound, You TanZhi already toss the 8th person towards him. Ding ChunQiu was startled yet furious, the situation was desperate, he move quickly and leap into the crowd of his own disciples. The corpse arrive swiftly, the crowd of XingXiu disciples fell into disarray, they did not have time to escape, 6-7 people cry out "Oh my god!", they got hit by the corpse. The poison in the corpse is incomparable, the victim's face turn black immediately and they collapse, they twitch a few times and met a violent death.
AhZi listen to Quan GuanQing narrate the situation, she laugh and shouted: "Ding ChunQiu, Chief Zhuang is the protector of XingXiu's Sect Leader, defeat him first before coming to challenge your Sect Leader. Did you win or lose?"
Ding ChunQiu is extremely dejected, he did not lose due to martial arts, judging the strength of Zhuang JuXian's toss although he possess profound internal energy but his technique is completely identical to his own, it can be deduce that Zhuang JuXian learn some superficial skill from AhZi, obviously he is not aware of the profound variation in the technique. Ding ChunQiu lose out because his disciples are cowards, all of them ran far away unlike Beggar Clan members who stood firm and sacrifice themselves heroically, they did not run in face of danger. An idea came up to him and he look up to the sky and laugh heartily.
AhZi frown and said: "Laugh! You can still laugh? What is so funny?"
Ding ChunQiu laugh endlessly, suddenly there is 'Hu Hu' sound of wind, nine XingXiu disciples are grabbed by him in rapid succession and toss out, one by one they flew rapidly towards You TanZhi, akin to arrows being fired rapidly off a bow.
You TanZhi did not learn this [Rapid Tossing of Rotten Corpse Poison] technique, he only manage to grab three Beggar Clan disciples, he faltered on the 4th move, the situation was desperate and he leap up immediately and rise up towards the sky, he avoided all the poisonous corpse without having to retreat, thus he did not lose this bout.
Ding ChunQiu wanted him to avoid the corpse, he made a move with his left hand, AhZi cry out in alarm and flew towards Ding ChunQiu.
When the crowd saw this they cannot help but turn pale. [Dragon Capturing Skill], [Controlling Crane Skill], etc, when these skills are trained to the highest level they can grab objects without having to make direct contact, however the maximum range is at most 4-5 chi. In martial studies this is termed "Attacking an ox separated by mountain", originally it is use to describe an expert practitioner's [Air Splitting Palm] or [Divine Formless Fist] being able to injure someone using void principles, however they definitely cannot channel their internal energy and extend beyond 2 zhang, thus skills like [Blazing Sabre Skill] and [Six Meridian Divine Swords] which uses internal energy to injure opponent from a distant are rarely seen and considered divine skills. Ding ChunQiu is separated from AhZi by 6-7 zhang, unexpectedly he is able to drag her off the horse with a single move and capture her, his martial art has reach outrageous level, truly unimaginable.
However they did not realize that Ding ChunQiu did not use real martial arts to capture AhZi, he relied on one of his "Three Treasure of XingXiu" the "Flexible Silk Thread". The "Flexible Silk Thread" is made from silk produced by snow-silkworm of XingXiu Sea. Snow-silkworm live in the wild on snow mulberry tree, their bodies smaller than frost-silkworm, they are harmless and without poison, however silk secreted by them are unusually tough, even a single strand of silk is difficult to break. However the snow-silkworm only secrete limited amount of silk, they are also difficult to find. Previously AhZi use a transparent fishing net to capture Chu WanLi and made him commit suicide, the fishing net is made with tiny amount of silk from snow-silkworm. Ding ChunQiu's "Flexible Silk Thread" is made entirely of silk from snow-silkworm, intertwined to become a thread, it is slender and transparent, not noticeable by the naked eye, when he toss out nine XingXiu disciples he also fling out this "Flexible Silk Thread". By tossing out nine poisonous corpse, firstly he pressured You TanZhi to back off, secondly it act as misdirection to cover up his technique and make the crowd focus on [Rapid Tossing of Rotten Corpse Poison], thus nobody notice his flinging of "Flexible Silk Thread".
When AhZi felt something wrap around waist it is already too late and she was dragged towards Ding ChunQiu. Although Ding ChunQiu relied on the "Flexible Silk Thread", but the ability to fling it 6-7 zhang away without alerting any of the top martial art experts around, capturing a person with a single move, it still require uncommon level of skill. His left hand grab onto AhZi's back, his right hand sealed her acupoints, the "Flexible Silk Thread" withdrawn back into his sleeve. While tossing poisonous corpse, flinging of thread, waving, capturing, he kept on laughing non-stop, even when he manage to grab hold on AhZi he is still laughing endlessly. This kind of laughter is also part of his "Misdirection technique" to divert attention.
When You TanZhi was in mid-air he already saw AhZi being captured, in his panic-stricken state he quickly threw himself forward, six poisonous corpse flew past his feet. When his left foot touch the ground he strike his right palm violently at Ding ChunQiu.
Ding ChunQiu left hand push forward, he use AhZi as a shield to receive this rock-shattering palm strike. Currently, although You TanZhi's martial art is at a very high level, but he don't have the slightest bit of experience in adapting to changes when fighting with enemy, he saw his palm strike is about to land on AhZi, he immediately withdraw his palm strength. Even for the average martial artists they know they only have to divert their strength to the side and AhZi will be safe, however You TanZhi love AhZi excessively, when he detect something amiss he only know to withdraw his strength, he did not consider other possibilities, to completely withdraw such massive palm strength is to strike himself using his own palm force. He stumbled and spurted a mouthful of blood.
Although You TanZhi mastered [Divine Foot Scripture] but this palm strike is still not easy to endure, he wanted to regain his breath but how can Ding ChunQiu allow him the slightest bit of respite, with 'Hu Hu Hu Hu' sound Ding ChunQiu send out four palm in quick succession. You TanZhi cannot gather his inner energy to his dantian, he have no alternative but to receive this four palm strike, for every palm strike he receive he will spurt a mouthful of blood, he receive four palm strike and spurted four mouthful of black blood. Ding ChunQiu did not yield the slightest, he send out his 5th palm strike, intending to seize the opportunity and kill him.
However several people by the side shouted: "Old Freak Ding don't you dare commit such crime!"
"Stay your hand immediately!"
"Prepare yourself to receive my move!"
XuanCi, GuanXin and DaoQing, various eminent monks as well as other chivalrous heroes, all of them cannot bear to let the Chief of Beggar Clan die by Ding ChunQiu's hands, they shouted out and rush forward to rescue.
Unexpectedly when Ding ChunQiu send out his 5th palm strike, You TanZhi also return with a palm strike, Ding ChunQiu's body flickered, unexpectedly he move back 1 step. When the crowd saw this they knew Ding ChunQiu suffered a slight loss, at once they stop moving and did not rush forward to assist. As it turns out when You TanZhi spurted four mouthful of blood his breathing became smooth again, when the 5th palm strike arrive he return the strike with the combine power of frost-silkworm poison and inner power of [Divine Foot Scripture]. Ding ChunQiu met his strike head-on, he was not his match. If not for the fact that Ding ChunQiu gain the upper hand by injuring You TanZhi, You TanZhi's inner power suffered major damage, during the clash just now Ding ChunQiu will surely have to retreat at least 5 steps.
Ding ChunQiu's breathing is rolling all over, he is unconvinced, he channelled his entire lifetime of internal energy, with a 'Hu' sound he send out his palm again. You TanZhi move 1 step forward and met the palm head-on, he shouted: "Quickly release Miss Duan!" 'Hu Hu Hu Hu', he launch 4 palm strike in succession, for every palm strike he will move 1 step forward. With this 5 step, he is face-to-face with Ding ChunQiu, he only need to extend his hand to grab AhZi away.
Ding ChunQiu's palm strength is no match against You TanZhi's, he saw his wooden zombie expression, he is really fearful, he smile and said: "I will use my [Rotten Corpse Poison] now, you better be careful!" when he finish speaking he lifted AhZi with his left hand and sway her around.
You TanZhi knew if Ding ChunQiu execute his [Rotten Corpse Poison], AhZi will immediately turn into a poisonous corpse, he cried out: "No, no! Definitely.....definitely not!" his voice quivering, he is extremely shock.
Ding ChunQiu listen to his quivering voice, at once he understood: "So you are smitten by this stinky flowery girl, haha, wonderful, really cannot be much better." when he captured AhZi he intend to execute her in front of everyone to avoid letting her vie for the position of Sect Leader of XingXiu, but now assessing the situation he can make use of her as a hostage to control this Chief of Beggar Clan Zhuang JuXian who's martial art is much stronger than his, he said: "You don't want her to die?"
You TanZhi shouted: "You...you put her down quickly, this....this is extremely dangerous..." Ding ChunQiu laugh out loud, he smile and said: "I can kill her effortlessly, why should i release her? She is a traitor of our Sect, no respect for seniors, if i don't kill her then who do i kill?" You TanZhi said: "This....she is Miss AhZi, no matter what you cannot harm her, you already blinded both her eyes, i beg you, quickly put her down, i....i will thank you heavily." his speech is incoherent, obviously he is extremely concerned about AhZi, he did not have the slightest bit of poise as Chief of Beggar Clan.
Ding ChunQiu saw You TanZhi's internal energy is vigorous and yin-frost in nature, from his voice he is very similar to his iron-head disciple, but he is not wearing any iron-mask, moreover how can an iron-head person become the Chief of Beggar Clan? He did not give the matter much thought anymore and said: "It is not difficult for me to spare her life, you merely have to follow my instruction on some matters."
You TanZhi said quickly: "Follow, follow! Even if it is a hundred, a thousand, i will also follow!" Ding ChunQiu is delighted, he nod his head and said: "Very good! The first matter, you must take me as your master immediately, from now on become a disciple of XingXiu."
You TanZhi did not hesitate at all, he knelt down immediately and said: "Master, disciple...disciple Zhuang JuXian kowtow!" he pondered: "Originally i am your disciple already, i kowtow once, there is no harm in kowtowing again."
Once he knelt down the crowd of heroes made a huge commotion. From Beggar Clan Elders to disciples, their anger indescribable, they pondered: "Our Beggar Clan is the number one clan under the heaven, we have always uphold justice and chivalry, but now our Chief take this Old Freak of XingXiu as master. We definitely cannot accept him as our Chief anymore."
Gongs and drums echoed loudly, everyone in XingXiu Sect cheered and celebrate, they praised Divine Elder of XingXiu, their voice resounding, all sorts of sappy and unimaginable praises flow forth, in short the Divine Elder of XingXiu is brighter than the sun and moon, he is greater than heaven and earth, from the time Pangu split heaven and earth apart no other person is more powerful than Divine Elder of XingXiu. Duke of Zhou, Confucius, Buddha, Laozi, as well as the Jade Emperor, the King of Hell, none of them is able to match Divine Elder of XingXiu.
When AhZi was captured by Ding ChunQiu, both Duan ZhengChun and Ruan XingZhu turn pale, they knew they are no match for Old Freak of XingXiu, thus they cannot rescue her and escape, unexpectedly Zhuang JuXian is willing to kneel down and took Ding ChunQiu as his master for the sake of their daughter. Ruan XingZhu was shock yet delighted, she whispered: "Look at his profound affection! You...you...you don't even have a tiny fraction of his devotion."
Duan Yu glance at Wang YuYan, he pondered: "I am deeply devoted to Miss Wang, i have done everything possible, nothing can exceed that. But compared to this Chief Zhuang, i really fall short. He is truly passionate and devoted! If Miss Wang was captured by Old Freak of XingXiu, am i willing to kneel down in front of him in front of everybody?" when he thought of it, his blood circulate rapidly, for the sake of Miss Wang he is willing to die, being humiliated is nothing, he cannot help but blurt out: "Willing, of course i am willing!" Wang YuYan inquired: "You are willing what?" Duan Yu stammered: "En, this....i am willing to kneel down and take him as master...." Wang YuYan understood his meaning, her face turn a shade of red.
You TanZhi kowtow and stood up, Ding ChunQiu is still grabbing onto AhZi, AhZi's facial expression is twisted, clearly she is in much pain, he said quickly: "Master, please release her!" Ding ChunQiu laugh coldly and said: "This brat is brazen, you think i will forgive her easily? Unless you atone for her crimes, settle some matters for me." You TanZhi said: "Yes! Master, what task you have for me?" Ding ChunQiu said: "Go challenge Shaolin's abbot XuanCi and kill him."
You TanZhi hesitate and said: "Disciple have no feud with Shaolin's abbot, although Beggar Clan is vying with Shaolin for supremacy, but there is no need to kill." Ding ChunQiu's expression turned grave, he said angrily: "You disobey my orders, obviously becoming my disciple is just an act!" You TanZhi only want AhZi to be safe and sound, why would he care about justice or righteousness, he did not care about right or wrong, he said quickly: "Yes! But Shaolin's martial art is extremely high, disciple will do his utmost....Master, you....you promised, you must not harm Miss AhZi." Ding ChunQiu said dully: "The decision to kill XuanCi or not, it is entirely up to you; But the decision to kill AhZi or not, it is entirely up to me."
You TanZhi turn around and said loudly: "Shaolin's abbot XuanCi, Shaolin is the chief of martial studies, Beggar Clan is the number one clan under the heaven, we have presided over Central Plains as equals. But today we have to determine who is stronger, the victor will become 'Supreme Leader of Martial Arts Fraternity', the loser will have to follow the supreme leader's order." he sweep his eyes across the crowd of heroes and said: "Heroes, today we gather at Mount Shaoshi, who is not convinced, you may step forward to challenge the supreme leader." unexpectedly he dare to claim he is supreme leader.
Ding ChunQiu listen to You TanZhi's voice, his voice is not loud, but those with profound internal energy heard every single word clearly. Senior monks from Shaolin heard Ding ChunQiu command Zhuang JuXian to kill abbot XuanCi, they are really angry, but they witness the duel just now, Zhuang JuXian's martial art is strong yet demonic, it is hard to determine if XuanCi can resist, moreover it is not easy to ward off various kinds of poison and evil sorcery.
XuanCi is unwilling to fight with Zhuang JuXian, but since he openly issued the challenge in public he cannot withdraw, at once he put his palms together and said: "For several hundred years, Beggar Clan uphold chivalry and justice, all heroes under the heaven admire you greatly. You former Clan Chief Wang JianTong's relationship with my humble school is truly not shallow. Disciples of my school have always revered Beggar Clan, the friendship between Shaolin and Beggar Clan have lasted over several hundred years. I don't understand why Chief Zhuang suddenly issued this challenge, i hope to seek clarification. Heroes, today's situation, who is right or wrong, you will be the witness."
You TanZhi is young, his knowledge shallow, how can he debate with XuanCi? Nevertheless before coming to Shaolin, Quan GuanQing taught him some expressions, he narrated at once: "Liao nation is south of Great Song, Tubo and Western Xia at the west, Dali at the north, four barbarians eyeing Great Song covetously, this....this...." he mixed up the position of Liao and Dali, some people in the crowd disapproved of what he said, they cough and sneered at his speech.
You TanZhi knew something is amiss but it is too late to salvage now, his expression became awkward, luckily he is wearing a human-skin mask, other people cannot read his expression, he continued: "Great Song has little troop and generals, our nation weak and frail, entirely dependent on us martial art patriots, we have to unite together to resist foreign enemies and remove any traitor from within."
The crowd of heroes felt his speech is rather logical, they said: "Correct, correct!"
You TanZhi's spirit rose, he continued: "For the past few years foreign aggression is rampant, everyone ought to work as one, brave the danger together. But various sect and school, clan and association, we fight with each other, unable to reach a consensus. Khitan Qiao Feng can simply come here and single-handedly defeat the heroes of Central Plains, in addition it is rumoured that Western XingXiu Sea, XingXiu Old.... XingXiu Old.... XingXiu Old...that XingXiu Old...en, he killed two senior monks from Shaolin....that...." Quan GuanQing taught him to say "Western XingXiu Sea Old Freak of XingXiu killed two senior monks from Shaolin, Shaolin is helpless in face of crisis", You TanZhi memorize this speech thoroughly, unexpectedly the circumstances changed, thus he only said up till "XingXiu Old" and was unable to continue anymore.
Someone from the crowd shouted: "He is Old Freak of XingXiu, you are are Little Demon of XingXiu!" everyone roared with laughter.
Disciples of XingXiu sang in unison: "Divine Elder of XingXiu, virtue fitting heaven and earth, power shaking the entire universe, matchless then and now!" a thousand people singing in unison, their voice immediately drown out the laughter.
The singing had barely tone down when an unpleasant husky voice sang loudly: "Divine Elder of XingXiu, virtue fitting heaven and earth, power shaking the entire universe...." the tune is identical to those sung by XingXiu disciples. Unexpectedly there is someone else who would praise XingXiu Elder other than his own disciples, the praise is far better than XingXiu tooting their own horn. In their excitement the crowd beat the gongs and drums, unexpectedly the next sentence took a dramatic twist, they heard him sing: "...big dog fart!" the XingXiu disciples are startled but the instruments did not stop playing, the music accompanied till end, the phrase "big dog fart" became melodious and pleasing to the ear.
The crowd nearly fell down in laughter, XingXiu disciples roundly abuse him. Wang YuYan smile and said: "3rd brother Bao, your voice is really sharp!" Bao BuTong said: "Pardon my performance, pardon my performance!" the singing voice is indeed Bao BuTong's performance.
While everyone was distracted by the disturbance You TanZhi seize the opportunity to discuss with Quan GuanQing, he said in a bright voice: "Great Song will face hardship, we martial artists are unable to work together, thus foreigner push us around. Hence Beggar Clan took the initiative to establish this 'Supreme Leader of Martial Arts Fraternity' position, everyone will follow orders, if any major trouble breaks out we won't be confused or disordered. Abbot XuanCi, do you agree?"
XuanCi said unhurriedly: "Chief Zhuang's speech is logical. However old monk is still puzzled by something, i ask for guidance." You TanZhi said: "What thing?" XuanCi said: "Chief Zhuang already accept Mr Ding as master, you can be considered a disciple of XingXiu, correct?" You TanZhi said: "This....this is my personal matter, it is not related to you." XuanCi said: "XingXiu Sect is from western region, not part of Great Song's martial art fraternity. Whether or not Great Song establish this supreme leader position it does not involve XingXiu Sect. Even if we want to elect a supreme leader, it is still an internal affair, you are a disciple of XingXiu Sect, you cannot participate."
The crowd of heroes said in succession: "Correct!"
"Shaolin abbot is correct!"
"You are a lackey of a foreign sect, how can you dream about becoming supreme leader of Central Plain's martial art fraternity?"
You TanZhi is speechless, he look at Ding ChunQiu and at Quan GuanQing, hoping for them to help solve this predicament.
Ding ChunQiu cough lightly and said: "Shaolin abbot is mistaken! Old man is a native of Shandong's Qufu city, the hometown of Confucius, XingXiu Sect is founded by me, how can you claim it is a foreign sect? Although XingXiu Sect is based at western region, but that is merely a temporary location. If you claim XingXiu Sect is a foreign sect, then Confucius is also a foreigner, ridiculous! With regards to foreigner, Shaolin's martial art originated from India's Master Damo, even Buddhism is also foreign, in my opinion Shaolin is the foreign sect!" his speech ended, XuanCi and the crowd of heroes found it difficult to refute his accusation.
Quan GuanQing said in a clear and bright voice: "The true origin of martial art is difficult to ascertain. Maybe martial art spread from west to Central Plains, or from Central Plains to the west. Our Beggar Clan Chief is a native of Central Plains, Beggar Clan originated from Central Plain, naturally he is a leader of Central Plain's martial art fraternity. Abbot XuanCi, for today's matter you should use martial art to differentiate the strong from the weak, you cannot determine the outcome by debating. Shaolin and Beggar Clan, who is stronger, who is weaker, the result can be determined immediately in a martial art contest between the chief, what is the purpose in debating? If you still have some self-knowledge and know that you are not Chief Zhuang's match, then step down gracefully and admit defeat, give your endorsement to Chief Zhuang." his speech clearly implied that XuanCi is inferior, timid and shirk responsibility.
XuanCi move forward a few steps and said: "Chief Zhuang, you force old monk to fight, if old monk continue to take into account the several hundred years of friendship between Shaolin and Beggar Clan and refuse to fight, then it is seen as disrespectful to your clan." he sweep his eyes slowly across the crowd of heroes and said in a bright voice: "Heroes, today you bear witness, my Shaolin did not have any intention to fight with Beggar Clan for supremacy, Beggar Clan Chief pressured us with every step, old monk cannot decline." the crowd of heroes said: "Correct, Shaolin did no wrong."
You TanZhi is only concerned about AhZi's safety, he want to kill XuanCi quickly and complete this assignment from Ding ChunQiu, he said loudly: "Just fight, the strong will survive, the weak will die, what correct or wrong, quickly come here and fight!"
When he was young he frolic around and did not study much, although his innate character is not pure but ultimately he is a simple, unsophisticated youngster. When his father died, he roam around aimlessly, he was bullied and humiliated, there was no upright honest man to guide and instruct him properly, he associate with AhZi and learnt the behaviour of XingXiu Sect. The martial arts of XingXiu Sect seek victory through vicious and sinister method, with Quan GuanQing's careful planning he help him to secure the position of Beggar Clan Chief, he also taught him to be merciless, leaving no margin for error, all these experience accumulated over time, unexpectedly it turn a disciple of a famous chivalrous warrior into someone who cannot differentiate between good and evil, a violent man who only relied on brute force.
XuanCi said in a bright voice: "Chief Zhuang, your speech does not match up to the chivalrous reputation enjoyed by Beggar Clan for several hundred years."
You TanZhi's body flickered, he move closer by several zhang, he said: "Just fight if you want to fight, if you don't want to fight then just retreat." he look at Ding ChunQiu and AhZI, he is really anxious.
XuanCi said: "Fine, today old monk will experience Chief Zhuang's consummate skill the [28 Dragon Subduing Palm] and [Dog Beating Staff Technique], it is also a good opportunity for the heroes here to witness the martial arts handed down by former Beggar Clan Chiefs for several hundred years."
You TanZhi was startled, he cannot help but move back 2 steps. Although he became Chief of Beggar Clan, but he did not learn the two consummate skills [28 Dragon Subduing Palm] and [Dog Beating Staff Technique]. But he heard sarcastic remarks from Beggar Clan's Elders before, these two consummate skills are the "Divine Guardian Skill of Beggar Clan". [28 Dragon Subduing Palm] need not be pass solely to the Chief of Beggar Clan, however the [Dog Beating Staff Technique] must only be pass onto the Chief of Beggar Clan, for several hundred years there isn't a Chief who did not learn these two "Divine Guardian Skill of Beggar Clan".
XuanCi said: "Old monk will use Shaolin's [Vajra Fist] against Chief Zhuang's [28 Dragon Subduing Palm], [Demon Subduing Staff] against Chief Zhuang's [Dog Beating Staff Technique]. Alas, Shaolin and Beggar Clan enjoyed good relationship for generations, these martial arts have always been used for learning and improvement purposes, never to be use to fight against each other, old monk is useless, i really let down previous generations of Beggar Clan Chief and Shaolin abbot." he press both palms together, it is precisely the starting gesture of [Vajra Fist], "Paying Respect to Rulai", his expression kind and amiable, however his cassock belt shoot left and right, it can be seen that this move is empowered by extremely profound level of internal energy.
You TanZhi did not say anything, his left hand split the air, his right palm followed immediately and chop swiftly, the force in his left palm start first but arrive later, the force in his right palm start later but arrive first, both stream of energy intertwine and move forward, it is extremely weird, their palm force collide midway, with a 'Bo' sound they neutralize each other, however everyone heard two 'Chi Chi' sound, both ends of XuanCi's cassock belt was cut off simultaneously and flew several zhang backwards. The twin palm force from You TanZhi had extremely wide range, the force attacking XuanCi's body was neutralize by the defensive move "Paying Respect to Rulai", however the belt floating by the side was cut off by You TanZhi's palm force.
When Shaolin monks and the crowd of heroes saw it they shouted out: "That is demonic martial arts of XingXiu Sect!"
"It is not [28 Dragon Subduing Palm]!"
"It is not Beggar Clan's martial arts!"
Unexpectedly some Beggar Clan disciples also shout out: "We are competing with Shaolin, you cannot use martial arts of demonic sect!"
"Chief you have to use [28 Dragon Subduing Palm]!"
"You use demonic martial arts, really disgrace our Beggar Clan."
You TanZhi heard everyone made a huge commotion, he hesitate and did not execute his second move.
However XingXiu disciples shouted out: "XingXiu's divine skill is much stronger than Beggar Clan's [28 Dragon Subduing Palm], naturally he will use the stronger skill, don't tell me he will use the weaker skill?"
"Senior martial brother Zhuang, go on and fight! Naturally you have to use the divine skills imparted by our revered master, slaughter this old monk!"
"The divine skills of XingXiu is number one under the heaven, achieve victory in every battle, there are no exception, [Stinky Dragon Subduing Palm], dog fart and not worth the time!"
Amidst the huge racket, a majestic voice suddenly boomed from the base of the mountain: "Who say XingXiu's martial art can surpass Beggar Clan's [28 Dragon Subduing Palm]?"
The voice is not particularly loud, but every single word is delivered clearly into everyone's ear, everyone was momentarily startled, they became silent.
Everyone heard the thunderous sound of horse hooves, 10 riders rode swiftly up the mountain. The riders all wore black felt cloak and black clothes, they resemble tigers, horse like dragons, the riders are nimble and athletic, their horses spirited, every horse is tall with long legs, bodies covered with black fur, they rush near and the crowd saw shining light, gold ray glittering, unexpectedly the horse shoes are made of gold. There are a total of 19 riders, although their numbers are not great but their manner strong and imposing, it is as if they are an army of thousand men, the first 18 riders rush ahead and split evenly to both sides, the last rider rush through between them.
Among the Beggar Clan members, a large number of them suddenly shout out: "Chief Qiao, Chief Qiao!" several hundred Beggar Clan disciples rush out from the crowd, they bow in front of the men and horses.
The person is indeed Xiao Feng. After being expelled from Beggar Clan he assume everyone in Beggar Clan treat him as an enemy, he never expect them to change their view, unexpectedly a lot of his former brothers came forth fervently to greet him, his emotion surge forth, tears in his eyes, he dismounted and cup his fists to return the greeting and said: "Khitan Xiao Feng was expelled by Beggar Clan, i have no gratitude or animosity with Beggar Clan anymore, why do you still address me like former times? Brothers, are you well?" the last phrase revealed his sincere feelings and old affection towards them, unexpectedly he was unable to restrain himself.
Those who came over to greet him are mostly 3-pouch and 4-pouch disciples. 1-pouch and 2-pouch disciples are low ranking or newly recruited, they rarely get the chance to meet Xiao Feng, 5-pouch disciples and above are often based at the borders to defend against foreigners, they are of a senior generation, they handle affairs with apprehension unlike younger generation who are more straightforward and less reserved. When the several hundred disciples heard his speech they realize their conduct was too rash, this "Chief Qiao" is a Khitan, an archenemy, everyone in Beggar Clan knew this fact for a long time already, but how come they rush forth involuntarily and completely forgot about this matter? Some people lowered their head and return back, however quite a number of people said: "Qiao....Qiao....senior you are well, after parting with you, every day we miss....miss you very much."
That day, AhZi did not return from her outing, there was no information for several days, Xiao Feng became extremely worried, he dispatch large number of scouts to look for her. Several months later he finally receive news, AhZi is with Beggar Clan, the iron-head man is also with her.
When Xiao Feng heard it he was extremely apprehensive, he assume Beggar Clan hate him to the bone, they captured AhZi to use her as hostage to threaten him, he have to rescue her immediately. He inform the Emperor and request leave for two months, he hand over the army and governance of Southern Chancellery to Chancellor YeLu MoGe and travelled south.
When Xiao Feng return to Central Plains, he came well prepared, the "Eighteen Riders From YanYun" which he selected are all top experts of Khitan race. Last time he fought alone against a crowd of heroes at JuXian Manor, if not for the sudden appearance of a benefactor he would have died under their blades, evidently regardless of how powerful his martial art it is not possible for him to fight against a hundred experts, thus he came along with the "Eighteen Riders From YanYun", every single one of them is able to go up against 10 men, moreover they are riding prized horses which can travel a thousand miles, it is not difficult for them to escape during critical situation.
The group arrive at Henan province, Xiao Feng captured a low ranking Beggar Clan disciple and interrogate him, he found out that AhZi lost her sight, she is inseparable from the new Beggar Clan Chief, currently she accompanied the new Chief and went to Shaolin Temple. Xiao Feng became more fearful and angry, someone must have blinded her eyes, he can well imagine the various torture she experience in Beggar Clan, he rush to Shaolin Temple immediately.
He arrived at Mount Shaoshi, from a distant he heard XingXiu disciples bragging, they claim XingXiu's martial art is better than [28 Dragon Subduing Palm], his anger burst forth. Although he is not longer Chief of Beggar Clan but [28 Dragon Subduing Palm] was personally imparted to him by his respected teacher Wang JianTong, how can outsiders be allowed to vilify it wantonly? He rode up the mountain and met with 3-pouch and 4-pouch disciples, he glance around and saw Ding ChunQiu grabbing onto a purple-clothed maiden, her figure graceful with snow white oval face, it is AhZi. However her eyes are dim and lifeless, pupil of the eye damaged, clearly she is blind.
Xiao Feng heart ached, his anger burst forth and he took large stride forward, with a 'Hu' sound he strike his right palm towards Ding ChunQiu, it is a move from [28 Dragon Subduing Palm], "Meeting Dragon at the Field", when he threw out his palm he was separated 15-16 zhang from Ding ChunQiu, however he arrive quickly, while his energy gathered at his palm he is already 7-8 zhang from Ding ChunQiu.
In martial studies, no matter how powerful your palm strength, you can never strike beyond 5 zhang away. Ding ChunQiu knew the famous reputation of "Northern Qiao Feng, Southern Murong", he did not dare to underestimate him, Ding ChunQiu saw him launching his palm strike 15-16 zhang away, he did not expect this palm to be directed at him. Xiao Feng's palm strength had barely emerge but he is already 3-4 zhang from Ding ChunQiu, he execute another "Meeting Dragon at the Field", the rear palm supporting the front palm, the strength of twin palm combine together, its gigantic power came crashing forth.
In an instant Ding ChunQiu's breath was obstructed and became sluggish, unexpectedly the opposing palm strength rush forth like a raging tide, impossible to resist, it is like a formless high wall moving straight towards him. He was greatly alarmed, how can he think of any countermeasures, if he counter with a single palm his arm and wrist will surely break, maybe all his muscles and bones will shatter as well, he quickly push AhZi forward, both his palms made 3 semicircle to protect his body, at the same time his toes kick off from the ground and he float backward.
Xiao Feng execute yet another "Meeting Dragon at the Field", the initial palm force have yet to dissipate as the new wave of palm force arrive. Ding ChunQiu don't dare to go head-on with this force, he slanted his right palm and push out, he made contact with Xiao Feng's palm force by the side, however he felt his right arm aching, his breathing suddenly became heavy and impure, at once he move 3 zhang backward, fearing Xiao Feng might pursue him he raise his palm to protect his chest and secretly gather poison to his palm. Xiao Feng extend his arm and caught hold of AhZi from mid-air, at the same time he undo her sealed acupoints.
AhZi is blind and unable to speak when being captured by Ding ChunQiu, however she still can hear the events happening around her clearly, when her acupoints was undone she said happily: "Good brother-in-law, luckily you came here to save me." she embrace him tightly.
Xiao Feng felt extremely sad, he consoled her softly: "AhZi, you have suffered much hardship, it is all my fault for implicating you." he assume the leaders of Beggar Clan bore great hatred towards him, they cannot do anything to him, since AhZi is his only relative they captured her from Nanjing and tortured her, unexpectedly it did not occur to him that AhZi is reaping what she has sown.
Xiao Feng stir up a huge commotion immediately when he arrive. Previously in the great battle of JuXian Manor, he killed 10 experts in succession alone, his feat became well known all over the world. Martial artists from Central Plains gnash their teeth in anger towards him, however they become fearful when discussing about him, now that he suddenly appear at Mount Shaoshi everyone assume another fierce battle is inevitable. Those who participated in the battle at JuXian Manor tremble in fear when they recall the carnage and devastation in the main hall of the Manor. With just 1 move "Meeting Dragon at the Field" he sent the insufferable Old Freak of XingXiu scampering, everyone became even more frightful when they witness this, they look at each other in dismay, they are speechless in awe of his might.
Only around 10 men from XingXiu dare to boast shamelessly: "The one surnamed Qiao, you are under the influence of Divine Elder of XingXiu's magical power, after 10 days your body will turn into pus and blood, you will meet a violent death!"
"You are from a younger generation, Divine Elder of XingXiu yielded 3 moves!"
"What is the the status of Divine Elder of XingXiu, how can he fight with you? It is not too late for you to repent, quickly kneel and beg forgiveness from Divine Elder of XingXiu, else you will surely meet a tragic end." however their voice is withered and crestfallen, completely different from their previous threatening manner.
You TanZhi was frighten upon seeing Xiao Feng, however when he saw him holding AhZi in his bosom, her expression of joy and happiness, embracing Xiao Feng intimately, he cannot restrain himself and leap forward, he said: "Quick....quickly put down Miss AhZi!" Xiao Feng put down AhZi and ask: "Who are you?" You TanZhi look at Xiao Feng's imposing and powerful gaze, he became timid instantly, he stammered: "I am....i am Chief of Beggar Clan....Zhuang Chief....no no...Chief Zhuang."
Someone shouted from Beggar Clan: "You already join XingXiu Sect, how can you be the Chief of Beggar Clan?"
Xiao Feng shout angrily: "Why did you make AhZi blind?" You TanZi was intimidated by his might, he move back 2 steps and said: "No....not me, really not me...." AhZi said: "Brother-in-law, i was blinded by that old thief Ding ChunQiu, quickly go dig out that old thief's eyes to avenge me."
Xiao Feng knew it is difficult to find out the truth in such short period of time, he sweep his gaze across the crowd, he spotted Duan ZhengChun and Ruan XingZhu, he felt his heart ached, yet he was delighted, he said in a bright voice: "Prince Duan of Dali, your precious daughter is here, please take care of her and teach her properly!" he held onto AhZi's hand and walk towards Duan ZhengChun, he push AhZi towards him softly.
Ruan XingZhu had long soaked her sleeve with tears, currently her tears are falling like rain, she threw herself forward and embrace AhZi, she said: "Good child, your....your eyes, how are they?"
Duan Yu saw Xiao Feng appeared suddenly, he is extremely happy, he wanted to step forth to greet him, however Xiao Feng was simply too busy fighting with Ding ChunQiu, saving AhZi and meeting with You TanZhi. He saw Ruan XingZhu crying loudly while hugging AhZi, he cannot help but be amazed: "How come Brother Qiao said this blind girl is my father's precious daughter?" however he knew his father lascivious nature, sowing seeds of love everywhere, in an instant he already guess the underlying reason, he quickly step forward and shouted: "Brother, are you well? Little brother miss you dearly."
Xiao Feng swore brotherhood with Duan Yu after a wine drinking contest in a restaurant at Wuxi, although their meeting is short but they hit off like old acquaintance, they treat each other with absolute sincerity, at once he grab hold of Duan Yu's hands and said: "Brother, many things happened, it is difficult to explain in a few words, luckily you are still safe and well."
Suddenly someone shouted from the crowd: "The one surnamed Qiao, you killed my elders, this blood debt have yet to be avenged, today i will fight till death with you."
Immediately after another person shout: "Qiao Feng is a Khitan foreigner, everyone knows this fact, we cannot let him leave Mount Shaoshi alive."
The shouting became louder and louder, some cursed Xiao Feng for killing their sons, some cursed him for killing their parents.
In the battle at Juxian Manor, Xiao Feng indeed killed quite a number of people. Of those gathered at Mount Shaoshi, some had deceased family members and intimate friends who died in the battle at JuXian Manor, although they are afraid of Xiao Feng but when thinking about this blood debt they cannot help but curse out loudly. The crowd saw Xiao Feng is only accompanied by 18 riders, he have enmity with Beggar Clan and Shaolin, moments ago he attacked Ding ChunQiu and force him to retreat, thus XingXiu Sect also became an enemy, if they really start fighting, even if Beggar Clan and Shaolin refuse to help, the rest of the heroes along with XingXiu Sect, thousands of men against Xiao Feng's 19 Khitan men, no matter his divine abilities he surely cannot escape from the assault. The shouting is gathering momentum, everyone became more courageous.
Xiao Feng brought 18 riders with him, they rode swiftly to Central Plains, he only anticipate a sneak attack when rescuing AhZi, he never expect so many enemy to gather together. He roam about Central Plains since childhood, he is knowledgeable about most of the heroes here, he knew they are mostly descendants of chivalrous family, their hatred towards him, firstly its due to his Khitan origin, secondly someone incited fear and caused this misunderstanding. He did not intend for the outcome of the battle at JuXian Manor, today if another battle take place again the killings will surely add to his guilt, he is fully capable of escaping unharmed however the "Eighteen Riders From YanYun" which he brought along will surely suffer heavy casualties, he pondered: "Fortunately AhZi is already out of danger, she is with her parents, i already fulfilled AhZhu's wish, i have to think of how to escape as soon as possible, why tangle with these people?" he turn around and said to Duan Yu: "Brother, the situation will turn nasty, it is hard for us to chat now, for the time being please go back, the mountain is high and the river is long, i am sure we will meet again some day." he want Duan Yu to move aside to avoid any accidental injury when he force his way down to the mountain to escape.
Duan Yu saw there are around a thousand heroes, everyone want to attack his sworn brother, his chivalrous spirit is aroused, he shouted: "Elder brother, when i swore brotherhood with you what did i say? We will enjoy blessings and endure misfortune together, we did not ask to be born on the same year and same date, but we ask to die together on the same day. Today elder brother is in trouble, how can i leave you in a lurch?" in the past whenever he encounter trouble he will always execute the ingenious [Graceful Steps upon the Waves] and escape from danger, now that he is facing a dangerous situation, his blood rushing forth, he is determined to fight together with Xiao Feng till death as sworn brothers, no matter what happen he will not run away this time.
Most of the heroes don't know Duan Yu, he claim to be Xiao Feng's sworn brother and determined to fight together with him till death, but his appearance is weak and refined and he is young, thus nobody took him seriously, their shouting became fiercer.
Xiao Feng said: "Brother, elder brother is very grateful to your good intention. However it is not so easy for them to kill me. Retreat quickly, it is not convenient for me to fight them if i have to protect you as well." Duan Yu said: "No need to protect me. They don't have any hatred towards me, why would they kill me?" Xiao Feng forced a bitter laugh, his heart became sorrowful: "If nobody harm each other due to lack of hatred, then the various kinds of hate and enmity, where did they come from in the first place?"
Duan ZhengChun whispered to Hua HeGen, Fan Hua and Ba TianShi: "This hero Xiao saved my life before, later on when the situation becomes desperate we will rush in and help him escape." Fan Hua said: "Yes!" he gaze at the crowd of heroes and said: "Their number is huge, your Highness, do you have any plan?" Duan ZhengChun shake his head and said: "A man differentiate gratitude and resentment clearly, he will do his utmost, even if he has to sacrifice his life." The men from Dali said in unison: "This should be the way!"
The men of Gusu Murong are also discussing softly. GongYe Gan compete palm and wine with Xiao Feng in Wuxi city, he had extremely high admiration for him, he strongly advocate helping Xiao Feng. Bao BuTong and Feng BoE also admired Xiao Feng very much, they eager to step forth and help him. However Murong Fu said: "Brothers, our number one priority is the restoration of Great Yan, how can we offend all the heroes just for the sake of Xiao Feng?" Deng BaiChuan said: "Young master is correct. What should we do?"
Murong Fu said: "Win the support of majority, make them believe we are helping." suddenly he whistled and said in a bright voice: "Brother Xiao, you are a hero of Khitan, you have no regards for the heroes of Central Plains, today Murong Fu would like to ask you for advice. If i die by your hands it can be considered doing my part for the heroes of Central Plains, my death will be glorious." his speech is actually for the heroes of Central Plains, thus no matter victory or defeat, the heroes will treat Gusu Murong family as a worthy friend.
Although the crowd of heroes wanted to go all out against Xiao Feng, but none of them dare to step forward to initiate the challenge. Everyone knew that if they fought till the end they will surely kill him, however the first 10 men will surely die first, suddenly they saw Murong Fu step forward to take the lead, they are extremely gratified and their morale soared. "Northern Qiao Feng, Southern Murong", both of them are equally famous, Murong Fu initiated the challenge, even if he is no match for Xiao Feng he will greatly reduce his fighting strength and exhaust his internal energy. In an instant the cheering of the crowd resonated from all four corners.
Xiao Feng saw Murong Fu step forward to challenge, he cannot help but be startled, he cupped his fists in salute and said: "I have long heard of your legendary reputation, today i finally get to meet your honorable self, i am greatly comforted."
Duan Yu said anxiously: "Brother Murong, you are at fault now. My sworn brother is meeting you for the first time, he has no animosity with you, why take advantage of his precarious position? Moreover when everyone wrongly accused you, my brother even step forward to explain the facts." Murong Fu smile coldly and said: "Brother Duan wants to be a hero who resolve grievances and injustice, please step forward to bestow your teachings." Murong Fu endured Duan Yu's constant tangling with Wang YuYan for a very long time, now he finally seize the opportunity to flare up. Duan Yu said: "What abilities i have to bestow teachings on you? I merely said a few words of fairness."
Suddenly four monks from the "Xuan" generation walk towards Xiao Feng, they put their palms together and said: "Honorable Xiao, our abbot humbly invites you, please be at the main hall for discussion." an old monk turn around and said to the crowd: "Everyone please excuse us, our abbot XuanCi invites Honorable Xiao Feng, he has some important matters to discuss with him, when they finish Honorable Xiao will come out promptly to meet you again. Everyone please rest for the time being." when the crowd heard it their chattering ceased, some sat down immediately.
Duan Yu fear Shaolin might hatch a plot to harm Xiao Feng, he said: "Big brother, let me accompany you!" Xiao Feng nod his head and said: "Very well." they followed the four monks to the main hall. When they arrived, the monk who is leading the way call out to the monks in the hall, another 10 old monks came out and accompanied them. Xiao Feng is inwardly afraid, these few old monks walk with a steady gait, their gaze bright and clear, most likely they are experts from the Xuan generation, he assume these group of monks will attack him soon, he will surely meet a violent death, he whispered to Duan Yu who is beside him: "Brother, go outside and take care of my entourage, afterwards go protect your father." Duan Yu shake his head, he smile and said: "Shaolin will not harm my father. We are sworn brothers, we will face life and death together!" Xiao Feng is extremely touched, he grasped Duan Yu's hand lightly.
The group entered a meditation room, abbot XuanCi is already standing by the door to greet them, he invite everyone to sit down. A monk served tea, XuanCi and Duan Yu exchange a few pleasantries, XuanCi introduced the foreign guests to Xiao Feng, he introduced ShenShan, ShenYin, GuanXin, DaoQing, JiaoXian and RongZhi, afterwards he introduced the monks from Xuan generation. XuanCi took out a cotton cap from his bosom and wore it, he put his palms together and said smilingly: "Honorable Xiao, do you still recognize old monk?"
Xiao Feng recognize him immediately, he bow and said: "Great master XuanCi, you are Mr Chi." XuanCi nod his head and smile. Four old monks took out cotton caps from their bosom and wore it. Xiao Feng bow and said to XuanDu: "Great master XuanDu, you are Mr Du." he paid his respect to XuanYin and said: "Great master XuanYin, you are Mr Jin." he paid his respect to XuanZhi and said: "Great master XuanZhi, you are Mr Chu." he paid his respect to XuanSheng and said: "Great master XuanSheng, you are Mr Sun." XuanDu is injured, he is supported by his disciples, he said gravely: "Lady AhZhu is vivacious and adorable, she ask old monk to take care of his body, what a pity, she left this world first." Xiao Feng's heart ached, he forcefully held back his tears.
XuanCi said: "Martial brothers, Lord Xiao is a former student of Shaolin, he is the disciple of XuanKu. Martial brother XuanKu was killed 2 years ago, at that time everyone assumed Lord Xiao committed the crime. Old monk and martial brother XuanJi examined the broken bones of XuanKu thoroughly, the murder's palm strength is exceptionally violent and fierce, it did not originate from Shaolin. However we knew Lord Xiao mastered Beggar Clan's [28 Dragon Subduing Palm], the palm style strong and powerful, thus old monk, along with XuanDu, XuanYin, XuanZhi and XuanSheng, five of us change into laymen clothes, we ran into Lord Xiao at a pavilion in Mount Tiantai, we invited him to display his full strength, exhaust all his abilities. The five of us match palm with him, we came to the same conclusion: "XuanKu was not killed by Qiao Feng!""
"Among the Xuan generation, XuanNan, XuanJi, XuanTong, they are occupied with some other matters, the five of us are the remaining fighters. We fellow apprentice employed different palm strength, hard and strong, soft and yielding, heavy and profound, Lord Xiao must make an all-out-effort, he cannot use cheap tricks or else he will die violently on the spot. Even if he manage to conceal his true ability from one of us, he definitely cannot hide from all five of us. Old monk exchange a palm with him, old monk use a move from [Prajna Palm], "The Bottom Of Emptiness", my palm strength was truly vacant and empty, unexpectedly Lord Xiao's palm strength suddenly became empty, if old monk was tempted by his move and seize the opportunity to release my strength his ribs will surely shatter. The five of us meet Lord Xiao by chance at the mountain, for the sake of not injuring me he took great risk and withdraw all his palm strength. For a total stranger, an old man he never met before, he refused to harm me, thus how is it possible for him to harm his own revered teacher? Base on palm technique, martial brother XuanKu was not killed by Lord Xiao! Base on personal character, even more unlikely for him to kill XuanKu!""
XuanDu, XuanYin, XuanZhi, XuanSheng, four of them said in unison: "Senior martial brother abbot made the deduction immediately on the spot. The four of us had to think over the details, we discussed the various subtle points in his palm technique and palm strength, we were left without the slightest bit of doubt."
XuanCi said in an awe-inspiring manner: "At that time on Mount Tiantai, five of us made a decision, if Xiao Feng is indeed the murderer then five of us will combine our strength and exterminate him, firstly this is to avenge XuanKu, secondly it is to get rid of a great calamity." he turn towards Xiao Feng and said: "Xiao shizhu, today we revealed this matter, it is not to show off but to explain to martial brother ShenShan and the other senior monks, our Shaolin disciple did not kill innocent people rashly, Shaolin is upright and disciplined."
Xiao Feng bow and said: "Yes. Many thanks to abbot for clearing my name."
XuanCi's expression is kind and amiable, he said unhurriedly: "Xiao shizhu, i will be blunt: The leader you have been tracking down all along, it is old monk XuanCi!" when everyone heard it they cannot help but tremble.
XuanCi continued: "That day at Mount Tiantai, i knew you did not kill martial brother XuanKu, thus when i match palm with you i withdraw my palm strength, i intended for you to kill me with a single strike so that you can avenge you parents!"
Xiao Feng obtained this truth abruptly, his mind is in turmoil, nevertheless various doubts and suspicions finally cleared up: "At that time someone delivered false news, my father is coming to steal martial art manuals from Shaolin's Hidden Scripture Pavilion, martial artists from Central Plains have to stop him, obviously Shaolin's abbot have to take the lead; Abbot XuanCi headed the group, along with former Beggar Clan Chief Wang as well as other martial art experts. Since i came from Shaolin, i am aware of abbot XuanCi's amiable nature, he definitely won't kill my father and mother for no reason, my heart is bias, i ignored the leader of the group who is right in front of me, i never bothered to think through the possibility that abbot XuanCi is the leader! I assumed the leader is extremely vicious and evil, no matter how you see it he cannot be linked to abbot XuanCi. Xiao Feng is really blind, stupid to the extreme, i sacrificed AhZhu for nothing." when he thought of AhZhu his heart ached again.
XuanCi said dimly: "Old monk made a huge blunder, i willingly accept death. Xiao shizhu, please come here and kill me with 1 strike. Avenge your parents, this should be the proper thing to do as a son. Old monk failed to reveal this matter early, thus many people were killed. Fellow martial brothers, later on when Xiao Feng kill me, it is cause and effect, when there is a cause there must be an effect. Nobody is allowed to harm him!" he lowered his hands and step forward, waiting for Xiao Feng to land his palm.
Xiao Feng's hand is behind his back, he step forward slowly and said: "Great master abbot, at that time someone delivered false news, you mistakenly believe it, hence causing the tragedy at YanMen Pass. If i was in your position, i will also do the same thing. Great master abbot handled matters fairly, you did not violate any Buddhist decree. Great master abbot did not kill my revered teacher XuanKu, but my foster parents, Zhao QianSun and the rest, who killed them?" XuanCi said: "Old monk is ashamed, although i did not kill them but they certainly died because of me. Till today old monk still don't know who is the killer."
Xiao Feng said: "Since nobody knows the identity of the killer, Xiao Feng cannot place all the blame entirely on you right now. Xiao Feng is muddled and stupid, i was blinded by hatred and desire for revenge, i refuse to free myself, inevitably i caused the death of many people. The truth will come to light eventually, i will seek abbot's advice again in the future."
XuanCi put his palm together and said: "If you want revenge you can come take my life anytime. However there are thousands of people who want to kill you right now at the base of the mountain, even if you possess god-like bravery, ultimately you are heavily outnumbered. Why don't you flee and exit from the rear mountain? Shaolin will bear all responsibility and explain to the crowd of heroes."
Xiao Feng shake his head and said: "I killed many people at JuXian Manor, although i was forced by circumstance, it was an act of self-defense, but ultimately i was too savage. Since people want to seek me for revenge, how can i hide cowardly? But if i resist then i will kill many people again, what should i do, great master please enlighten me."
XuanCi said: "I knew your heart is kind and compassionate, base on this you can attain high virtue and achievement." Xiao Feng said: "Disciple don't dare to ask for virtue or achievement, i only hope to commit less sin." XuanCi said: "As a martial art practitioner, when you constantly think about committing less sin, that itself is a virtue." Xiao Feng said: "Many thanks to great master's teachings. I will take my leave now." he bow to the rest of the monks, turn around and left. Duan Yu followed closely and left as well.
Both of them reach the temple's entrance, the crowd of heroes stood up.
Murong Fu move forward and said in a bright voice: "Xiao Feng, today everyone wants to kill you for revenge, i will start first." Xiao Feng said: "You want to kill me for revenge, which member of Gusu Murong did i kill?" Murong Fu was at a loss for words, he said: "You and i shared the same status for a long time, today we have to determine who is superior."
Ding ChunQiu was forced to retreat by Xiao Feng's palm, his reputation in tatters, moreover he did not get the chance to display all his consummate skills, at once he leap forward, he laugh loudly and said: "The one surnamed Xiao, base on your young age i yielded 3 moves just now, however i will not yield on the 4th move."
You TanZhi step forward and said: "I thank you for saving Miss AhZi, however you killed my father, this hatred irreconcilable. The one surnamed Xiao, today we will settle this once and for all."
Xiao Feng saw 3 top experts surrounding him, in addition Shaolin monks are crowded at the east and west, they look disordered and chaotic, in reality they are actually arranged in an extremely powerful formation, the situation now is far more dangerous than the battle at JuXian Manor. Although he already resolved the hatred with the Xuan generation monks just now, but the monks in the 'Great Luohan Formation' have yet to know the truth. Suddenly he heard the wretched neighing of horses, 19 Khitan steed turn over and collapsed, they vomit white foam and died violently.
18 Khitan warriors shout out repeatedly, they draw out their sabres and launch their palms, in an instant 7-8 XingXiu disciples were slaughtered, the rest of the XingXiu disciples manage to flee. As it turns out when Ding ChunQiu step forth to challenge, his disciples seize the opportunity to launch poison, they targeted the Khitan's steed so that Xiao Feng cannot use it to rush out of the encirclement.
Xiao Feng caught a glimpse of his beloved horse staring at him before it died, the horse had a desolate longing expression for its owner, Xiao Feng recalled the long days he spent on the horse, they travelled thousands of miles southward, morning till night they never separate from each other, unexpectedly it died by the hands of these crafty scoundrels, warm blood circulate rapidly in his body, it aroused his heroic courage, he whistled and said: "Gentleman Murong, Chief Zhuang, Old Freak Ding, three of you come at me together, why should i fear you?" he resent XingXiu's sinister methods, with a 'Hu' sound he launch his palm violently towards Ding ChunQiu.
Ding ChunQiu experienced his awesome palm strength before, he launch both palms simultaneously to resist. Xiao Feng conveniently guide the incoming palm force, he draw out the palm strength of two men and sent it hacking towards Murong Fu. Murong Fu's consummate skill is [Star Shifting Movement], he is an expert in redirecting an opponent's move, however the move from Xiao Feng contain the palm strength of two different men, the force is too powerful, moreover the palm strength is cycling around rapidly, Murong Fu had no idea where it is targeting thus he cannot redirect the force, at once he push out with both palm and float 3 zhang backwards.
Xiao Feng lean his body to one side, he dodge Murong Fu's palm force and shouted out, it is akin to a thunderbolt from midair, he strike his left fist at You TanZhi. His stature is big and tall, he is 1 head taller than You TanZhi, this punch is directed at his face. You TanZhi is fearful of Xiao Feng, when he heard this thunderbolt shout he became even more fearful. This fist from Xiao Feng arrive swiftly, launching of palm at Ding ChunQiu, hacking at Murong Fu, punching You TanZhi, although they occur one after another but these 3 moves are executed in succession, as fast as lightning, You TanZhi was about to ward off the fist but the force already reach his face, fortunately for him he trained [Divine Foot Scripture] diligently, his body will react automatically, his head move backward rapidly and he somersault backward twice, he manage to dodge this thousand catties punch by a hair's breadth.
However You TanZhi felt a cooling sensation on his face, he heard the crowd gasp in surprise, pieces of cloth scattered in all directions like butterflies. Unexpectedly his face mask was shattered by Xiao Feng's fist. The crowd saw his bumpy, indented face, some patches red, some patches black, his face riddled with scars, facial features all mashed up, ugly and terrifying to the extreme, everyone was overwhelmed with shock.
With just 3 moves Xiao Feng repelled the top 3 experts of the current age, his heroic spirit burst forth and he shouted: "Bring the wine!" a Khitan warrior retrieved a huge leather bag from the dead horse, he presented it with both hands. Xiao Feng pull out the cork and lifted the leather bag high up in the air, he tilt it slightly and a stream of white wine flow out. He turn his head upwards, with a 'Gudu Gudu' sound he drank endlessly. The leather bag is filled with wine, its at least 20 catties, however Xiao Feng drank without stopping and emptied the entire bag of wine. His stomach bulge slightly, however his complexion is still dark, expression normal, he was completely unaffected by the wine. The crowd of heroes turn pale and look at each other, Xiao Feng wave his right hand, the remaining 17 Khitan warriors all carried a huge leather bag and rush towards him.
Xiao Feng said to the 18 Khitan warriors: "Brothers, this Gentleman Duan from Dali, he is my sworn brother. Today we are surrounded by enemies, facing impossible odds, difficult to escape." just now he matched palm with Murong Fu and the rest, although he won but he tested their abilities, these 3 experts all possess consummate skills, if they join hands and act together he will surely be defeated, moreover he is surrounded by over a thousand heroes, they are glaring at him like a tiger watching its prey. He held onto Duan Yu's hands and said: "Brother, you and i will share life and death together, we did not become sworn brothers in vain, regardless of whether we live or die, everyone should drink to their heart's content!"
Duan Yu was aroused by his heroic spirit, he took a leather bag and said: "Correct, i was about to drink with elder brother to our heart's content!"
Suddenly a grey-clothed monk came out from the group of Shaolin monks, he said in a bright voice: "Elder brother, 3rd brother, you are drinking wine, how come you never invite me?" it is Xu Zhu. He saw Xiao Feng riding up the mountain, his heroic spirit overpowering, the crowd became lifeless, Xu Zhu cannot help but admire him from the bottom of his heart; He also saw how Duan Yu valued brotherhood, he willingly choose to die together with Xiao Feng, that day when he sworn brotherhood with Duan Yu they also included Xiao Feng, a man should never take back his words, unflinching in face of death, he recalled the feelings he shared with Duan Yu while being intoxicated at Vulture Palace, what life or death, rules and monastic disciple, Xu Zhu cast them aside and ignored it.
Xiao Feng never met with Xu Zhu before, he heard Xu Zhu address him as 'Elder brother', he cannot help but stare stupidly.
Duan Yu rush over to pull Xu Zhu's hands, he turn around and said to Xiao Feng: "Elder brother, this is also our sworn brother. His religious name is Xu Zhu, he left the monastic order and is now known as Xu ZhuZi. When we sworn brotherhood we included you as well, 2nd brother, quickly pay respect to elder brother." Xu Zhu step forward, he knelt down and kowtow, he said: "Elder brother, little brother kowtow in salute."
Xiao Feng smile faintly, he pondered: "My sworn brother is a little foolish, unexpectedly he included me as well when he swore brotherhood with someone else. I will die soon, the situation is incomparably dangerous, but this person is not afraid of the danger and step forward bravely, it goes to show he is a true man who values brotherhood, a good man. To be sworn brothers with him, it is not in vain at all." at once he knelt down and said: "Brother, to be able to become sworn brother with you, it is really a joyous occasion." both of them bow 8 times, unexpectedly they swore brotherhood right in front of the crowd of heroes.
Xiao Feng is unaware of Xu Zhu's supreme martial arts, he saw Xu Zhu is a monk from a low generation, he presume his martial art is limited, however since Xu Zhu step forth bravely he would be showing contempt if he ask him to step aside and hide, thus he lifted a leather bag and said: "My two brothers, these 18 Khitan warriors are loyal and devoted to me, they are like my hands and feet, everyone drink to your heart's content, let go of your inhibition and kill!" he pull out the cork and drank a huge mouthful, he hand over the leather bag to Xu Zhu. Xu Zhu is boiling with warm blood, why would he even care about 5 precepts or 6 precepts, 7 precepts or 8 precepts, he lifted the leather bag and drank a mouthful, afterwards he pass the bag to Duan Yu. Duan Yu drank a mouthful and pass the bag to a Khitan warrior. The warriors drank from the bag in succession.
Xu Zhu said to Xiao Feng: "Elder brother, this Old Freak of XingXiu killed people from my former school, Shaolin's Master XuanNan and XuanTong. Afterwards he killed people from my current sect, my master and my senior martial brother. Little brother will avenge them now!" Xiao Feng was curious, he ask: "You......" he did not get the chance to continue, Xu Zhu wave his palm lightly and launch it towards Ding ChunQiu.
Xiao Feng saw his strangely mythical palm technique, his internal energy deep and profound, he cannot help but be startled yet delighted, he pondered: "As it turns out 2nd brother's martial art is so powerful, i never expect it at all." he shouted: "Watch out for my fists!" with 'Hu Hu' sound he launch his fists at Murong Fu and You TanZhi. Murong Fu and You TanZhi made a move to resist. The 18 Khitan warriors understood their Lord's intention, they surround Duan Yu and protected him.
Xu Zhu executed [Six Solar Palms Of Heavenly Mountain], he is circling and fluttering about, every move advancing and pressuring. Previously Ding ChunQiu sneak into the wooden house, he use to poison Su XingHe and Xu Zhu, Su XingHe met a violent death due to the poison, however Xu Zhu was completely unaffected, Ding ChunQiu harbored deep fear of him, currently Ding ChunQiu don't dare to use his poison techniques as he fear Xu Zhu's poison technique is superior to his, it will rebound back and he will suffer, thus he use palm techniques to fight with Xu Zhu, he pondered: "This little bald thief unraveled the 'ZhenLong Chess Formation', unexpectedly that old thief impart all his skills to him and made him Sect Leader of Carefree Sect. That old thief is crafty, he will surely arrange some poisonous scheme, i must not be careless."
The martial arts of Carefree Sect pay particular attention to elegance and agility, graceful, clear and distinct, Ding ChunQiu and Xu Zhu are fighting with each other, one of them white-hair with child-like countenance , just like an immortal, the other monk sleeves fluttering, flowing like the wind. Both of them move off immediately after hitting the ground, truly like a pair of butterflies among flowers, dancing around indefinitely, they displayed the essence of the two word 'Carefree' brilliantly. The spectating crowd has never seen the martial arts of Carefree Sect before, everyone felt carefree and relaxed when they observe the fight, they pondered: "These two men employed ruthless techniques, they target opponent's vital points, however their movement and style is so graceful and artistic, as if they are dancing. This kind of natural and unrestrained palm technique, i have never seen it before, i wonder where this martial art originated from? What is the name?"
On the other side Xiao Feng is fighting with Murong Fu and You TanZhi, initially he took the lead with the first 10 moves, however from the 10th move onwards, every fist and palm move from You TanZhi contained yin-frost energy. Xiao Feng is fighting Murong Fu with his full-strength, during this time You TanZhi will make a move and attack him, he cannot help but feel cold air invading his body, it is really difficult to endure. The frost-silkworm poison inside You TanZhi's body was further cultivated by [Divine Foot Scripture], good and evil mutually assisting, fire and water helping each other, it became the number one most powerful internal energy under the heaven, in addition with the subtle power of Murong Fu's [Start Shifting Movement], fighting these two experts with all his might Xiao Feng is in dangerous situation, the danger is not inferior to the time when he had to fight several hundred heroes in JuXian Manor. However Xiao Feng is gifted with god-like martial talent, the more dire the situation becomes, the latent courage and strength inside his body will emerge, he execute [28 Dragon Subduing Palm], he launch palm after palm, unexpectedly Murong Fu and You TanZhi are unable to move near him, thus You TanZhi's frost-silkworm poison cannot invade and attack his body anymore. However by fighting this way Xiao Feng exhaust quite a bit of internal energy, in the long run his palm strength will surely suffer and weaken.
You TanZhi failed to realize this fact, however Murong Fu is astute, he knew he and Chief Zhuang only need to endure for another hour, after that they will surely gain the upper hand. 'Northern Qiao Feng, Southern Murong', both are equally famous, today they are fighting in public for the first time, however Murong Fu need the assistance of Beggar Clan Chief, even if they manage to kill Xiao Feng, clearly this 'Southern Murong' is not as good as 'Northern Qiao Feng'. Murong Fu plotted: "The restoration of Yan is of vital importance, fame and prestige is only small matter. If i can kill this great scourge of martial arts fraternity, i will become a hero of Great Song, naturally they will be grateful towards me, the title of 'Supreme Leader of Martial Arts Fraternity' will surely go to me. By then i only need to issue an order and the restoration of Great Yan will become a reality. When Qiao Feng is dead, even if 'Southern Murong' is not as good as 'Northern Qiao Feng', it will eventually become history." however he is having second thoughts: "After killing Qiao Feng, Zhuang JuXian will become a powerful enemy, if he seize the title of 'Supreme Leader of Martial Arts Fraternity' then i have to listen to his orders, this is not good." henceforth when he make a move to attack he will secretly conserve a fraction of his internal energy, he act as if he is using his full strength, he dash around bravely, however the formidable power of Xiao Feng's [28 Dragon Subduing Palm] was endured mostly by You TanZhi. Murong Fu's movement is strangely mythical, bystanders cannot see through his trick.
In a blink of an eye the three of them exchange over 100 moves. Xiao Feng employed numerous trick in succession, You TanZhi was duped and fell into his trap. You TanZhi had extremely shallow experience, he was fooled several times but Murong Fu was always by his side to take care of him, he promptly resolved all the danger, as for Xiao Feng's incomparably powerful palm strength, You TanZhi relied on his deep and profound internal energy to forcibly endure it.
Duan Yu was protected by 18 Khitan warriors, he saw his 2nd brother advancing with every step, he did not suffer any disadvantage at all, his elder brother is fighting two enemy alone, although his power is god-like but the wind beat violently with every palm strike, sand and rocks flying about, it is difficult to persist much longer, Duan Yu pondered: "I claim to go through trials and tribulations with both of my brothers, however when things come to a head i am hiding here being protected, what kind of brotherhood is this? What share life and death together? We will die eventually, among the three of us i cannot be the most useless. Although i don't know any martial arts but i can use [Graceful Steps upon the Waves] and tangle with Murong Fu so that elder brother can focus on defeating that ugly Chief Zhuang, this should be the way."
He made his decision, his body flash out of the protective circle and he walk out, he said in a bright voice: "Gentleman Murong, you and my elder brother are equally famous, you should fight one on one with him, why do you require the assistance of others? If you fight till a draw, won't it be a disgrace? Come come come, if you are capable come here and try to punch me." his body flash again, he move behind Murong Fu, he stretch out his hand to grab his neck.
Murong Fu saw his movement is strangely quick, he flip his palm and with a 'Pa' sound he smack Duan Yu's face. Duan Yu's right cheek was split open and blood flow out, he was in so much pain that tears flow down as well. His [Graceful Steps upon the Waves] is a marvellous skill, when put to full use it is truly difficult for anyone to hit him, however now he is making a move to attack someone, how can his clumsy grab land on Gusu Murong who possess first-class martial arts? Moreover Duan Yu don't know how to dodge this slap, his flesh and skin was lacerated, the pain indescribable.
Murong Fu's palm only touch Duan Yu's cheek for a brief moment, however he felt his internal energy drain out rapidly like torrent, his energy disappeared without a trace, his arm and palm also became numb, he was startled and cursed: "The chap surnamed Duan, how come you also join XingXiu Sect?"
Duan Yu said: "What are you say....." he did not get to complete his sentence, unexpectedly Murong Fu sent one flying kick at him and made him somersault. Murong Fu never expect this sneak attack to succeed so easily, he was delighted, his body flew forward, his right foot stepping on Duan Yu's stomach, he shouted: "You want to live or die?"
Duan Yu turn his head sideway, he saw Xiao Feng is still engaged in a fierce battle with Zhuang JuXian, he knew if he rebut Murong Fu he will be killed immediately, afterwards Murong Fu will assist Zhuang JuXian and his elder brother will be in danger again, it is best to delay for time, he said: "What is so good about dying? Obviously it is more interesting to live in this world as a person."
Unexpectedly Duan Yu dare to make sarcastic remark at this juncture, Murong Fu's expression turn grave, he shouted: "Since you want to live, then...." he want Duan Yu to kowtow 100 times, humiliate him in public, but he had second thoughts, Duan Yu possess an ingenious set of footwork, if he let him go now it will be difficult to capture him again, he said: "...then call me grandfather 100 times!" Duan Yu laugh and said: "You are merely a few years older than me, how can you be my grandfather? Don't you feel ashamed?" with a 'Hu' sound Murong Fu sent out a palm, he strike a spot to the right of Duan Yu's head, mud and dirt flew about, a hole appeared on the ground, if this palm move slightly to the left Duan Yu's head will crack open immediately. Murong Fu shouted: "Do you want to call or not?"
Duan Yu turn his head sideway, he saw Wang YuYan standing beside Bao BuTong and Feng BoE, her pair of eyes gazing at him steadily, however her expression did not have the slightest trace of worry or concern, obviously she must be thinking: "Cousin will never kill Gentleman Duan." even if Murong Fu kill Duan Yun, Wang YuYan will not be particularly sad or broken-hearted, if Murong Fu fail to kill Duan Yun, she might even feel a tinge of regret. Duan Yu look at Wang YuYan's expression, he was completely disheartened, it is better for him to be killed by Murong Fu rather than suffer the endless torment of his yearning, he said dispiritedly: "Why don't you call me grandfather 100 times?"
Murong Fu was enraged, he lifted his right palm and directed it at Duan Yu's face, suddenly two shadow dart forth. Someone shouted: "Don't harm my son!" another person shout: "Don't harm my master!" although their movement is quick, but they cannot stop Murong Fu from landing his palm strike, however Duan ZhengChun and Crocodile Deity of Southern Sea have extremely high martial arts, two stream of palm strength targeted Murong Fu's vital points.
If Murong Fu did not intercept these two palm, he can kill Duan Yu but he will surely sustain heavy injuries. He withdraw his right palm immediately and block Duan ZhengChun's palm, his left hand drew a circle and neutralized Crocodile Deity of Southern Sea's attack. The palm force of these 3 men surge forth, they trembled with fear, each of them felt the opponent's martial art is truly solid. Duan ZhengChun is anxious to save his beloved son, his right forefinger executed [Yiyang Finger], variation wide, internal energy vigorous.
Wang YuYan shouted: "Cousin be careful, it is Dali Duan family's [Yiyang Finger], you must not underestimate it."
Crocodile Deity of Southern Sea shout loudly: "Damn you, although my master is useless, but he is still Yue LaoEr's master. You dare to beat my master, it is the same as beating Yue LaoEr. If my master is afraid of death and call you grandfather, then how can Yue LaoEr be a human anymore? How should i address you when i see you? Won't you be three generation higher than Yue LaoEr? Then won't i become a turtle-grandson? Simply preposterous!" while shouting he took out his crocodile scissors, he cut left and right, he cut continuously at Murong Fu. The thing he feared most is his generation ranking being lower than other people, even among "Four Great Evil" he argued endlessly with Ye ErNiang for the number two rank. Currently if Duan Yu call Murong Fu "grandfather", then Crocodile Deity of Southern Sea will surely become a "turtle-grandson", he rather chop his head off then become a "turtle-grandson".
Murong Fu don't know what he is shouting about, his right foot step on Duan Yu firmly, his pair of hands fighting two enemy. On the 10th move, Murong Fu detect that although Crocodile Deity of Southern Sea is equipped with a powerful weapon he is rather easy to deal with, however he cannot underestimate Duan ZhengChun's [Yiyang Finger], thus he focus his attention on Duan ZhengChun and fought him directly, as for Crocodile Deity of Southern Sea, Murong Fu use his remaining force to neutralize the crocodile scissors attack, in his busy state he manage to retaliate 1-2 moves, Crocodile Deity of Southern Sea was force to move several zhang backward to avoid Murong Fu's counterattack. Duan Yu is pinned down Murong Fu, he struggled forcefully, wanting to stand up, but how can he do so?
Duan ZhengChun saw his beloved son being controlled, he knew Murong Fu only need to increase the pressure in his foot and Duan Yu will surely vomit blood and die, it is beneficial to end this fight quickly, he have to rescue his son and escape quickly, at once his [Yiyang Finger] became more aggressive, every move advancing and pressuring.
Suddenly he heard a peculiar voice: "Dali Duan family's [Yiyang Finger] pay particular attention to strict form, solemn, respectful and poised, even when being bold and powerful it must not deviate from its poised demeanour. What you are doing now is only harassing, no different from a lowly Beggar Clan disciple with no pouch, how can it be called [Yiyang Finger]? Hei hei, hei hei, aren't you shaming the name of Dali's Duan family?" Duan ZhengChun knew the voice came from his archenemy Duan YanQing, although his words are correct but his beloved son is in danger, Duan ZhengChun's mental state is in disarray, why would he even care about strict form or poised demeanour? His [Yiyang Finger] became more and more heavy, although fierce but it is unsteady, suddenly when he made a move with his finger, Murong Fu redirected the power, with a 'Chi' sound it landed on Crocodile Deity of Southern Sea's shoulder.
Crocodile Deity of Southern Sea made a monstrous 'WaWa' cry, he cursed: "Da......" with a 'Qiang lang' sound his crocodile scissors drop on the ground and smash his leg bone. He was in pain, he curse furiously, however he had second thoughts: "He is master's father, if i curse him then i will inevitably mess up the generation ranking, i cannot curse him, some day if i have the chance i will simply cut off his head....."
Duan ZhengChun accidentally injure the wrong person, he was distracted, Murong Fu seize the opportunity and pointed his left middle finger, as quick as lightning he sealed Duan ZhengChun's 'Zhongting' acupoint on the stomach. This 'Zhongting' acupoint is 1 inch and 6 fen below 'Shanzhong' acupoint. 'Shanzhong' acupoint is a sea of energy in the human body, hundreds of energy pathway will gather at this point, it is of vital importance, when sealed by an enemy the person's breathing will immediately be blocked. Murong Fu knew his opponent is capable, he only hope his finger will land on Duan ZhengChun's body, he did not specifically target the 'Shanzhong' acupoint, nevertheless Duan ZhengChun still felt sharp pain from his stomach, it is difficult for him to breath.
Wang YuYan saw her cousin's finger land on his opponent, she clap and cheered: "Cousin, what a good move, 'Yaksha Exploring the Sea'!" however the real 'Yaksha Exploring the Sea' require the practitioner to hit the 'Shanzhong' acupoint, Wang YuYan wanted to praise her sweetheart, although his move miss the intended target by 1 inch and 6 fen but she vaguely treat it as 'Yaksha Exploring the Sea'.
Murong Fu knew his finger did not seal his opponent's vital acupoint, he immediately compensate with another move, he launch his right palm and attack Duan ZhengChun's stomach. Duan ZhengChun have yet to regain his breath, he did not have any power to resist, he was hit by Murong Fu's violent palm strike and spurted a mouthful of blood. Duan ZhengChun is concerned about his beloved son, he refuse to retreat, he hastily gathered his breath, Murong Fu already launch his 2nd palm strike.
Duan Yu was pinned down by Murong Fu, suddenly he saw his father spurt a mouthful of blood, Murong Fu already launch his 2nd palm strike, Duan Yu was extremely anxious, he quickly pointed his right forefinger at Murong Fu, he shouted: "You dare to beat my father?" in a moment of desperation his internal energy involuntary shoot out from his forefinger, it is precisely the Shangyang Sword Stance from [Six Meridians Divine Sword]. Other people become flustered when showing concern, however his energy flow out when showing concern, it is necessary for him to be anxious only then his internal energy can shoot out from his finger. However he heard a 'Chi' sound, Murong Fu's sleeve was slice off by his invisible energy sword, immediately after the energy sword bump against Murong Fu's palm force. Murong Fu felt his arm ached, he was greatly startled and leap back hastily.
Duan Yu finally free himself, he sprung up and stood upright, Murong Fu have yet to retreat, his father still in danger, he pointed with his left little finger, he thrust the 'Shaoze Sword' at Murong Fu. Murong Fu quickly swing his left sleeve to meet the enemy, two 'Chi Chi' sound, his left sleeve was slice off by the energy sword. Deng BaiChuan shouted: "Young master be careful of the invisible energy sword, why don't you use a weapon?" he unsheathe his sword, he turn the sword hilt and toss it towards Murong Fu.
Duan Yu heard Wang YuYan cheering when his father was hit by Murong Fu, he is concerned about his father safety and also furious at Wang YuYan's heartlessness, his anxiety at 100%, his pain and sorrow also at 100%, his internal energy surge forth at once, in an instant Shaoshang Sword, Shangyang Sword, Zhongchong Sword, Guanchong Sword, Shaochong Sword, Shaoze Sword, all six sword stance criss-crossed and flew about, it flow smoothly according to his heart desire, as if he received god's assistance.
Chapter - 42 Old Devil And Clown, How Can They Strike, Fighting a One-sided Battle
Murong Fu grab the long sword hastily, his spirit roused as he executed Murong family's swordplay, every move continuous and uninterrupted, akin to moving cloud and flowing water, in the wink of an eye his body seem to be covered by a curtain of light. Martial artists only heard about Murong family's vast and profound martial arts, they are knowledgeable about the martial arts of various sect and school, unexpectedly their own swordplay is so exquisite as well.
However no matter how strong or how aggressive he is, Murong Fu cannot move within 1 zhang of Duan Yu. Duan Yu only need to jab and poke with his fingers and he can make Murong Fu jump high and lie low, run east and dodge west. Suddenly there is a 'Pa' sound, Murong Fu's long sword and Duan Yu's invisible energy sword clashed head-on, the long sword broke into two, half of the blade flew into the air and gave off white light as the sun reflect off it.
Murong Fu was alarmed, however he did not panic, he quickly wave his left hand, he use the broken sword as a hidden weapon and threw it towards Duan Yu. Duan Yu shouted out: "Aiyo!" he was at a loss on what to do, he panicked and lie on the ground hastily. The broken sword flew past the top of his head, in a fight between two experts unexpectedly he can come up with such 'Dog Eating Shit' form, the move is really humiliating, extremely unsightly. Although Murong Fu's sword was broken, but he seek victory through defeat, he is natural and unrestrained, much more glamorous compared to Duan Yu.
Feng BoE shouted: "Young master, catch this blade!" he toss his broadsword, Murong Fu caught it, he saw Duan Yu had stood back up, he laugh and said: "Brother Duan, that move 'Evil Dog Eating Shit', is it the consummate skill of Dali's Duan family?" Duan Yu stare foolishly, he said: "No!" he wave his right little finger and thrust his 'Shaochong Sword' at Murong Fu.
Murong Fu wave his broadsword to block, suddenly he execute [Five Tiger Breaking Gate Sabre] and [Eight Divinatory Trigram Sabre Art], several moves later he execute [Six Direction Sabre], in no time he execute 8-9 different sabre art in succession, every sabre style happen to fit the situation and express its essential meaning, renowned sabre experts who are spectating all gasp with admiration. However although Murong Fu's sabre art is refine but he still can't move near Duan Yu. Duan Yu's 'Shaochong Sword' slice from the left side, Murong Fu raise his broadsword to block, with a 'Dang' sound the blade was broken again.
GongYe Gan wave both hands and toss two judge-pen towards Murong Fu. Murong Fu cast away the broken broadsword, he caught the judge-pens and execute acupoint sealing moves, the tip of the pen gave out 'Chi Chi' sound, it produce faint streams of energy as well.
Both of them exchange over 100 moves, Duan Yu's initial fear began to subside, he slowly understood how internal energy travels through his veins and arteries, he recalled the internal energy cultivation method taught by his uncle and Master KuRong, he gradually start to rotate his [Six Meridian Divine Swords] and switch them around. Suddenly Xiao Feng said: "3rd brother, you have yet to perfect this [Six Meridian Divine Swords], executing six different sword-play together, while switching there will be gaps in-between, your opponent can seize this opportunity to dodge. Why don't you try to use just one set of sword-play?" Duan Yu said: "Yes, many thanks to elder brother for giving pointers." he gaze sideway, Xiao Feng is standing with his hands by the side, his expression leisurely, Zhuang JuXian is lying down on the ground, his two legs broken, he is moaning loudly.
With Murong Fu gone, Xiao Feng immediately gain the upper hand, he clash palm head-on with You TanZhi repeatedly, however whenever their palm interlock Xiao Feng cannot help but shiver, cold air invade his body, the suffering indescribable and difficult to endure, at once he smack his palm heavily, when You TanZhi use full-strength to block Xiao Feng seize the opportunity and sweep his right leg. You TanZhi's speciality is frost-silkworm poison and internal energy of [Divine Foot Scripture], as for punching and kicking skill he learn it from AhZi, thus his moves are extremely common and sloppy, he felt sudden acute pain from his leg, with a 'Kala' sound, both his shinbone broke and he collapsed. Xiao Feng said in a bright voice: "Beggar Clan values chivalry and being humane, since you are the leader of the clan how can you mix around with those demons from XingXiu Sect? Aren't you disgracing the several hundred years of good reputation enjoyed by Beggar Clan?"
The sole reason You TanZhi became Chief of Beggar Clan is due to his outstanding martial arts. As for his knowledge, manner and leadership, they are inadequate, moreover he wore a mask, being mysterious and secretive, all clan affairs were handled by AhZi and Quan GuanQing, thus many Clan members are extremely resentful for quite some time already. Today he killed several of his own Clan members, kowtow to Ding ChunQiu in public and became a XingXiu disciple, hence Beggar Clan members no long treat him as their Chief anymore. Xiao Feng broke both of his shinbone, unexpectedly the Beggar Clan members are secretly delighted, not a single one of them step forward to help him. Quan GuanQing and a few hardcore followers intend to step forward to help him, however when they saw Xiao Feng's awe-inspiring expression, who dare to step forward and seek death?
After defeating You TanZhi, Xiao Feng saw Xu Zhu fighting fiercely with Ding ChunQiu, Xu Zhu occupied a dominant position, although Duan Yu know [Six Meridian Divine Swords], however his moves are sometime brilliant yet sometime incomparably stupid, Duan Yu had many opportunities to secure victory however for some unknown reason he simply let it pass, thus Xiao Feng cannot bear it anymore and gave some pointers.
Duan Yu look sideways at Xiao Feng and You TanZhi, his attention was divided, immediately a loophole appeared in his [Six Meridian Divine Swords]. Murong Fu is incomparably quick-witted, he wave his left hand, a judge-pen accompanied by strong wind shoot straight at Duan Yu's chest, it is about to pierce through his chest. Duan Yu saw the astonishing power of the judge-pen, he cannot help but panic and shouted: "Elder brother, not good!"
Xiao Feng execute a move "Wading Great Creek", he smack from the side, the judge-pen was hit by his palm wind, unexpectedly the body of the pen became curved, it circle around Duan Yu's head and shoot towards Murong Fu.
Murong Fu lifted the judge-pen in his right hand and use it to smash the incoming judge-pen, with a 'Dang' sound both pen collided, Murong Fu's right arm became numb from the shock, he did not wait for the curved pen to drop on the ground, he made a grabbing move with his left hand and execute Kongtong Sect's [Single Hook Technique].
The crowd witness Xiao Feng's powerful palm strength, they also witness Murong Fu's ability to adapt to any changes, his strangely wonderful hook technique, they cannot help but cheer out loudly, today they get to witness the top two martial art genius of the current age fighting each other with their full strength, it truly broaden their horizons, they did not waste this long trip to Mount Shaoshi.
Duan Yu avoid the danger of flying judge-pen, he calm down and pointed with his thumb, he send out 'Shaoshang Sword'. This 'Shaoshang Sword' is bold and resolute, its style grand and imposing, every sword thrust contains earth-shattering power. Even with a judge-pen and a hook, Murong Fu found it difficult to ward off the sword. Duan Yu was given pointers by Xiao Feng, he only focus on using one set of sword-play, sure enough the structure of his sword-play is well-knit, there are no loophole or gaps.
Originally by using all six sword stance of [Six Meridian Divine Swords] together, its power is far greater than using just one sword stance, however Duan Yu is not familiar with the secret to using all six sword stance, it is beneficial for him to focus on using one sword stance, 10 sword moves later, Murong Fu is perspiring from his forehead, he retreat continuously and move beside a huge locust tree, he relied on the tree for defence.
Duan Yu completed 'Shaoshang Sword', he bend his thumb and pointed with his forefinger, he execute 'Shangyang Sword'.
The power of 'Shangyang Sword' is not as grand as 'Shaoshang Sword', however its speed far exceeds other sword stance, Duan Yu move his forefinger repeatedly, he thrust out sword after sword, its incomparably quick. The thrusting speed of a sword is entirely dependent on the agility of the practitioner's wrist, however to thrust and retract a sword, no matter how fast you are the sword still has to travel several chi, Duan Yu is using his forefinger to shoot out invisible energy sword, he merely swivel his finger within 1 inch radius, hence it is extremely easy as he only need to jab and poke. Murong Fu was forced to stay several zhang away, there is no way for him to retaliate at all. Previously Murong Fu break down and counter his moves, Duan Yu did not even get to use a 2nd move and nearly lost his life, but currently Duan Yu is attacking without the need to defend, Murong Fu allowed him free use of 'Shaoshang Sword', naturally Duan Yu occupied all the advantage in this fight.
Wang YuYan saw her cousin is in critical situation, she is extremely worried, although she is familiar with the martial arts of various sect and school under the heaven, however she has absolutely no knowledge on [Six Meridian Divine Swords], she cannot give guidance and can only worry in silence.
Xiao Feng saw Duan Yu's invisible energy sword becoming more and more marvellous, he felt gratified and also a sense admiration, suddenly his heart ached, he thought about AhZhu: "That day AhZhu willingly die in place of her father, the main reason is because she fear that after i killed her father, Dali's Duan family will surely seek me for revenge, she fear i am no match of their [Six Meridian Divine Swords]. 3rd brother is at the beginners stage of learning this sword-play, however his sword-play is already so mythical, if i switch place with Murong Fu i will surely have problems resisting as well. AhZhu sacrifice herself to prevent my death, i....i am only a Khitan warrior, how am i deserving of such deep and profound love?"
Both Duan YanQing and Jiumozhi saw Duan Yu execute [Six Meridian Divine Swords], its incomparably marvellous, although they know he have yet to perfect this skill but he only needs the guidance of an expert, with additional training he will surely become the number one expert of the current age, they cannot help but give a long sigh. Jiumozhi's sigh is due to envy and admiration, but Duan YanQing's sigh is due to misery and being depressed.
Deng BaiChuan and the rest saw Murong Fu was pressured by Duan Yu till an extremely dire state, they want to step forward and assist, however they heard the shouting's of countless women from the southwest corner: "Old Freak of XingXiu, how dare you fight with the owner of Misty Peak Vulture Palace? Quickly kneel down and kowtow." everyone tilt their head and look, several hundred women are standing at the mountain edge, they are arrange into eight divisions, every division wore different coloured clothes, red, yellow, purple, etc, the colours bright and dazzling. Among the eight divisions of women there are also several hundred heroes from all over the country, their manner and clothes greatly differs from normal people. These heroes also shout out: "Owner, plant a few 'life-death talisman' on him!"
"Life-death talisman is most effective when dealing with Old Freak of XingXiu!"
Xu Zhu's martial arts and internal energy far exceeds Ding ChunQiu, he can secure victory long time ago, however firstly his experience in fighting is simply too shallow, he can barely display 60-70% of his true potential, secondly his heart is merciful, there are several vicious techniques he can use to kill Ding ChunQiu, however he often execute halfway and withdraw it back, thirdly Ding ChunQiu's body is covered with deadly poison, Xu Zhu had some misgivings, he don't dare to touch Ding ChunQiu rashly, however with Xu Zhu's deep and profound internal energy Ding ChunQiu's poison cannot harm him anymore, thus both of them fought for a long time but they are still lock in stalemate. Suddenly he heard a crowd of men and women are cheering for him, he turn his head towards the source, he cannot help but be startled yet delighted, of the Nine Heaven Nine Divisions from Vulture Palace eight divisions have arrived, Phoenix Heaven Division stayed behind to guard Vulture Palace. The men are the 36 Cave-masters and 72 Island-masters as well as the troops under their command, their numbers are truly not small, even though not all the Cave-masters and Island-masters are present but at least 80-90% of them are here.
Xu Zhu shouted: "Grandma Yu, Mr Wu, how come you are here?" Grandma Yu said: "Reporting to owner, subordinate receive news from Plum Orchid Bamboo and Chrysanthemum Sword, i learn of how these bald thieves from Shaolin are out to make things difficult for owner, thus i inform the various Island-masters and Cave-masters, we travel day and night to rush over here. Luckily owner is unharmed, subordinate is very happy." Xu Zhu said: "I originate from Shaolin, your speech is too rude, quickly apologize to Shaolin's abbot." while speaking he still display his [Plum Breaking Hands of Heavenly Mountain] and [Six Solar Palms of Heavenly Mountain] brilliantly.
Grandma Yu had a terrified expression, she bow and said: "Yes, old lady admits her guilt." she walk towards abbot XuanCi, she kneel down and respectfully kowtow four times and said: "Grandma Yu from Vulture Palace's Clear Sky Division, my speech is too rude, i offended eminent monks from Shaolin, i kowtow to ask for forgiveness and respectfully invite great master abbot to punish me." her speech is extremely sincere, her enunciation clear and bright, clearly her internal energy is vigorous, reaching the realm of top ranking martial experts.
XuanCi brush his sleeves and said: "I don't deserve your praise, shizu please get up!" he employed 50% of his internal energy with this brush, he intend to prop up Grandma Yu, unexpectedly Grandma Yu's body only move slightly, she did not rise. Grandma Yu kowtow again and said: "Old lady smeared owner's original school, i deserve a thousand death." she stood up slowly and return back to her division.
The Xuan generation monks heard Xu Zhu narrate his experience in Vulture Palace before, they know about the intermediate story, however the remaining Shaolin monks as well as the spectators are greatly surprised: "The internal energy cultivation of this old lady is truly solid, the rest of the men and women that came with her are not weaklings either, how come they are the subordinates of this little monk from Shaolin, truly unbelievable." the crowd saw Xu Zhu assisting Xiao Feng, moreover he had large numbers of men and women as reinforcements, unexpectedly Xiao Feng's situation strengthened greatly, it is not easy to kill him anymore.
XingXiu disciples saw there are quite a number of good-looking maidens from Vulture Palace's Eight Division, their speech became unclear and flustered. The Cave-masters and Island-masters are straightforward men, they bicker and ridicule openly, in an instant the mountain top is full of shouting and cursing sound. The Cave-masters and Island-masters all pull out their weapons to challenge. XingXiu disciples don't dare to meet the challenge, however they redouble their effort in cursing. Some XingXiu disciples saw their master occupy an unfavourable position for a long time, the situation is not good, thus they look around in all direction for an escape route down the mountain.
Duan Yu was not distracted, he completely ignore the men and women from Vulture Palace, he focus on his 'Shangyang Sword' with rapt attention, he pressured Murong Fu with every single move. When he thought of Wang YuYan, every word and movement that came from her is for the sake of protecting Murong Fu, his heart is extremely bitter, since he already activate his [Six Meridian Divine Swords], his internal energy flow continuously, the power of his sword unstoppable. At this stage Murong Fu is unable to deduce the attack path of the invisible energy sword, he can only wave his pen and hook around to form a protective barrier and guard his whole body, he constantly shrink his body behind the huge locust tree to avoid the energy sword.
Suddenly there is a 'Chi' sound, the energy sword penetrate Murong Fu's protective barrier and slice off his hat, his hairs scattered in all direction, his appearance extremely battered and unsightly. Wang YuYan cry out in fear: "Gentleman Duan, please be lenient!" Duan Yu's heart trembled, he gave a deep sigh, he did not fire his 2nd sword move, he massage his chest and pondered: "In your heart you only think about your cousin, if i accidently kill him, your grieve will be unending, you will never smile again. I love and respect you, i will never make you sad."
Murong Fu's complexion is white and bloodless, today at Mount Shaoshi he was thoroughly defeated in a sword duel, he suffered great shame and humiliation, in addition a woman spoke out to plea leniency for him and only then his opponent spared his life, would he have any standings in the martial arts fraternity from now on? He shout loudly: "A true man does not fear death, who needs you to give leeway?" he brandish his steel hook and pounce towards Duan Yu.
Duan Yu wave his pair of hands and said: "We have no hatred or enmity, why the need to fight? Stop fighting, stop fighting!"
Murong Fu's character is proud and haughty, he have no regards for people, he was utterly defeated by Duan Yu and had no chance to retaliate, moreover his opponent made concession base on a brief remark from Wang YuYan, how can he endure such indignation? He wave his steel hook at Duan Yu's face, he thrust his judge-pen at Duan Yu's chest, he thought: "Use your invisible energy sword to kill me, we will end in mutual destruction, better than to drift and live without purpose in life." his heart is filled with shame and anger, he disregarded his life with this pounce.
Duan Yu saw this ferocious attack from Murong Fu, if he use [Six Meridian Divine Swords] to attack, he is afraid he might kill Murong Fu, he don't know what to do, unexpectedly he just stare stupidly and did not think of using [Graceful Steps upon the Waves] to dodge. Murong Fu is staking his life in this pounce, the speed is incomparably quick, his body flash and there is a 'Pu' sound, the judge-pen in his right hand already plunge into Duan Yu's body. Luckily Duan Yu slanted his body to the left at the critical moment, he avoid injuries to the vital points on his chest, however the judge-pen penetrate deep into his right shoulder, Duan Yu cry out loudly, he was so frighten that his body turn stiff. Murong Fu execute the move "Fishing A Needle From The Sea" using the steel hook on his left hand, he attack Duan Yu's head swiftly.
Duan ZhengChun and Crocodile Deity of Southern Sea saw the situation is amiss, both of them pounce forward, in addition Ba TianShi and Cui BaiQuan pounce forward as well. Murong Fu is determined to kill Duan Yu, he rather sustain serious injuries than slow down his attack, unexpectedly he pay no heed to the four men's attack, just as the sharp tip of the steel hook was about to touch Duan Yu, suddenly the 'Shendao acupoint' on Murong Fu's back turn numb, his body was lifted high up in the air. The 'Shendao acupoint' is a critical acupoint, once captured Murong Fu's hand turn numb immediately, he cannot hold onto the judge-pen and steel hook anymore, he heard Xiao Feng shout sternly: "He spare your life, unexpectedly you dare to employ such evil scheme, what kind of hero are you?"
As it turns out Xiao Feng saw Murong Fu pounce towards Duan Yu, his guard is wide open and revealed his weakness, Xiao Feng assume Duan Yu will use his invisible energy sword and kill Murong Fu with 1 move, unexpectedly Duan Yu stop attacking and stay his hand at the critical moment, Murong Fu's attack is strangely quick, although Xiao Feng move quickly but he is still too late to prevent the judge-pen attack. Murong Fu follow up and execute the move "Fishing A Needle From The Sea", Xiao Feng seize the opportunity and grab the 'Shendao acupoint' on his back. Although Murong Fu's martial art is no match for Xiao Feng but it is not to the extent of being captured in 1 move, because Murong Fu is filled with shame and anger, he focus solely on killing Duan Yu, thus he did not bother to guard his body. Xiao Feng use his exquisite grabbing technique, he target vital acupoints, thus Murong Fu cannot move anymore.
Xiao Feng's stature is big and tall, he have long hands and feet, he lifted Murong Fu in midair, the appearance is akin to an eagle clutching a little chick. Deng BaiChuan, GongYe Gan, Bao BuTong, Feng BoE, four of them shout in unison: "Don't harm our young master!" they rush forward together. Wang YuYan also rush forward and shout: "Cousin, cousin!" Murong Fu wish he can die right way rather than suffer this humiliation.
Xiao Feng sneered: "Xiao Feng is a proper man, unexpectedly i share the same fame with this kind of person!" he exerted strength in his arm and toss Murong Fu away.
Murong Fu flew 7-8 zhang away, he bend his waist and was about to stand up, unexpectedly when Xiao Feng grabbed his 'Shendao acupoint', Xiao Feng's internal energy penetrate to the surrounding meridian channels, Murong Fu cannot disperse the numbness in his hands and feet, with a 'Peng' sound his back landed on the ground, his hands and feet spread out, he fell down in an extremely unsightly manner. Spectators murmured in low voices and clamour repeatedly.
Deng BaiChuan and the rest quickly turn around and rush towards Murong Fu. Murong Fu channelled his internal energy, he did not wait for Deng BaiChuan and the rest to arrive, he turn over and stood up. His face white and bloodless, he stretch out his hand and draw out a long sword hanging by Bao BuTong's waist, immediately after his left hand made a circular move, he block Deng BaiChuan and the rest, his right wrist flip over and swing the sword horizontally across his neck. Wang YuYan scream: "Cousin, no..........."
At this moment there is loud sound, the air split open, a hidden weapon flew from around 10 zhang away, it traverse across the ground and knock onto the sword held by Murong Fu, there is a clanking sound, the sword flew out from Murong Fu's hand, his hand stained with blood, the web between his thumb and forefinger was split open.
Murong Fu was astonished, he raise his head and look towards the direction the hidden weapon came from, he saw a grey-robed monk standing by the hillside, his face covered by a grey cloth.
The monk took large strides and stop beside Murong Fu, he said: "You have a son?" his voice is aged.
Murong Fu said: "I have yet to marry, how can i have a son?" the grey-robed monk said: "You have ancestors?" Murong Fu was angered, he said loudly: "Of course! I wish to die, what business is it to you? A warrior can be killed but not humiliated, Murong Fu is a man, i cannot stand your rudeness." the grey-robed monk said: "Your great-great-grandfather have a son, your great grandfather, grandfather, father, all of them have a son, but how come you don't have a son! Hei hei, the glorious times of Murong in Great Yan, Murong Ke, Murong Chui, Murong De, Murong LongCheng, all of them great heroes, unexpectedly their generation broken and left without any future male offspring!"
Murong Huang, Murong Ke, Murong Chui, Murong De, etc, they are the brave lord and famed monarch of Great Yan, Murong LongCheng is the creator of the consummate skill [Star Shifting Movement], each one of them renown over the world, they established great undertaking, they are also the ancestors of Murong Fu. Murong Fu was blinded by his rage, suddenly when he heard the name of these five ancestors, cold sweat drip down his forehead, he pondered: "Father cautioned me repeatedly, i have to make the restoration of Great Yan my lifelong ambition, today due to a moment of rage i seek to commit suicide, henceforth my Xianbei Murong family will be left without a heir. I don't have a son, how can i bring honour to my ancestors and restore Great Yan?" his back and forehead is covered with cold sweat, at once he kneel down and said: "Murong Fu's experience and knowledge is lacking, i gained the guidance of senior monk, your great kindness and virtue, i will remember it for as long as i live."
The grey-robed monk accepted his worship calmly, he said: "Since ancient times those who achieved great merits, which one of them did not suffer untold hardships? The first Han emperor Liu Bang blockaded on BaiDeng plateau, Emperor GuangWu of Han's northern expedition, if all of them are like you, drawing their sword to cut their throat, their narrow-mindedness will merely end Han dynasty, how can they restore their state? You are inferior to even Gou Jian and HanXin, truly ignorant and lacking knowledge!"
Murong Fu kneel down to receive instruction, he was frightened: "This divine monk seems to know my inner ambition, unexpectedly he use Han Gaozu and GuangWu these founding fathers as comparison." he said: "Murong Fu realize his mistake!" the grey-robed monk said: "Get up!" Murong Fu respectfully kowtow 3 times and stood up.
The grey-robed monk said: "The martial arts handed down by your Gusu Murong family, they are mythical and profound, truly rare in the present age, but you have yet to perfect it, don't tell me it can't be compared with Dali's Duan family [Six Meridian Divine Swords]? Look closely now!" he extend his forefinger and pointed 3 times.
Currently Duan ZhengChun and Ba TianShi are standing beside Duan Yu, Duan ZhengChun already use [Yiyang Finger] to seal the surrounding acupoints on Duan Yu's wound, Ba TianShi was about to pull out the judge-pen from Duan Yu's shoulder, unexpectedly the finger force from the grey-robed monk arrived, both of them felt their chest turn numb and they collapse backwards, immediately after the judge-pen shoot out from Duan Yu's shoulder, with a 'Pa' sound it plunge into the ground. After falling down, Duan ZhengChun and Ba TianShi turn over and leap up immediately, both of them overwhelmed with shock. Clearly the grey-robed monk was lenient, if not he would have killed the two of them with this finger move.
The grey-robed monk said in a bright voice: "This is your Murong family's [Canhe Finger]! Old monk learn in from your forefather, but i only learn till superficial level, you can well imagine the various marvellous martial arts of Murong family. Hei hei, don't tell me with your tiny amount of skill you are fit to bear this great reputation of "Returning you with your own move"?"
The crowd of heroes were initially excited by Gusu Murong's famed fighting prowess, however they saw Murong Fu being defeated by Duan Yu, afterwards he was defeated by Xiao Feng, they pondered: "He does not match up to his famed reputation! Although it is not entirely false reputation, but it is not so amazing as to shake the entire world by force." afterwards the saw the grey-robed monk demonstrate his divine skill, he claim he merely learn Murong family's [Canhe Finger] till superficial level, they cannot help but feel their respect for Gusu Murong being reborn again. However everyone had the same doubt: "Who is this grey-robed monk? What is his relationship with Murong family?"
The grey-robed monk turn around, he cupped his fists at Xiao Feng and said: "Noble warrior Qiao's martial art is unsurpassed, your reputation well-deserved, old monk wish to ask for advice!" Xiao Feng guard against him long ago, when the monk cupped his fists he immediately cupped his fists to return the courtesy and said: "I don't deserve it!" their internal energies collided, both of them sway slightly.
At this moment, a black shadow appear from mid air, akin to a big eagle swooping down, it landed between the grey-robed monk and Xiao Feng. This person drop down from the sky abruptly, its simply too sudden, everyone was equally amazed and shouted out, when the person landed on the ground they finally saw clearly, as it turns out he is holding onto a long rope, the other end of the rope is attached to the top of a tree 10 zhang away. This person covered his face with a black cloth, he only revealed a pair of cold electrifying eyes.
The black-robed man and grey-robed monk stare at each other, after a long time, none of them open their mouth to speak. The stature of these two men are tall, but the black-robed man is more sturdy, the grey-robed man is slim.
Xiao Feng however was very happy and grateful, from the rope technique used by the black-robed man to move over great distances, Xiao Feng recognize him at the same black-robed man who rescued him at JuXian Manor. Of the people currently gathered at Mount Shaoshi, quite a number of them participated in the battle at JuXian Manor, however the black-robed man came and went quickly, nobody saw his movement clearly and thus they did not recognize him.
After a long time, both men said suddenly: "You......" however they stop talking immediately after uttering 'You'. After a period of time, the grey-robed monk finally said: "Who are you?" the black-robed man said: "Then who are you?"
The crowd heard the voice of this black-robed monk, they pondered: "His voice is aged, it seems he is also an old monk."
Xiao Feng heard the voice of the black-robed monk, it is precisely the same voice who lectured him at the deserted mountain, Xiao Feng's heart throb violently, he want to rush forward immediately, kowtow and offer his gratitude.
The grey-robed monk said: "You hide in Shaolin Temple for 10 years, you finally pilfered enough rare martial art manuals from Shaolin?" the black-robed man said: "I want to ask you as well, you hide in Shaolin Temple for 10 years, the manuals inside Shaolin's Scripture-Depository Pavilion, you finally copied enough?"
When these two men spoke out, all Shaolin monks were flabbergasted, the pondered: "How come these two men accuse each other of stealing rare martial art manuals from Shaolin? Don't tell me it really happen?"
The grey-robed monk said: "I hide in Shaolin Temple, it is for the sake of borrowing some things to read." the back-robed man said: "I hide in Shaolin Temple, it is also for the sake of borrowing some things to read. We cross swords with each other 3 times, it is time we differentiate who is stronger, who is weaker." the grey-robed monk said: "Correct. Honoured sir, your martial art is solid, i am extremely grateful for your many pointers." the black-robed man said: "Your heart is never complacent, you forge on ahead relentlessly, brother admires you very much."
The grey-robed monk said: "Since this is the case, then there is no need for us to compare anymore." the black-robed man said: "Very good." both men nod their heads, they walk together to the base of a large tree, they sat down shoulder to shoulder, close their eyes and did not speak anymore.
The grey-robed monk is meditating under the tree, recalling the events for the past 10 years, images of past events came thick and fast:
This grey-robed monk is Murong Fu's father, Murong Bo. For the past few years he concealed his identity and feign death, in reality he operates in secret in Central Plains.
Previously, Murong Bo was terror-stricken, he fled from YanMen Pass and return to Suzhou's Swallow Dock Canhe Manor, he shut the doors to the basement and hide inside for 7 days. For 7 days his body trembled, his mind wrapped in fear, no matter how his wife tried to comfort or persuade, he was unable to lessen the fear in his heart. The tragic scene at YanMen Pass, flesh and blood flying, it gave him insomnia, if he manage to sleep he will always dream of the man with face full of whiskers, his round eyes, eyes dripping with blood, yet his eyes seem to be spitting fire, his left hand waving about, the sabre in his right hand hacking around, muscles and bones shattered, heads fall onto the ground. Murong Bo hid at a distant mountain behind a rock, he saw this Khitan warrior kill 10 Han heroes in an instant, he knock down the leader as well as Beggar Clan Chief Wang JianTong, using a short sabre he carved words on the mountain wall, he leap into the deep valley, later he toss a baby from the valley......Murong Bo hid behind the rock for a long time, when the sky turn dark, a Han warrior carried the baby and left with the leader and Wang JianTong, Murong Bo was paralyze from head to toe, it is difficult for him to take even 1 step....
Murong Bo was instructed by his father since childhood, he have to make "Restoration of Yan" his lifelong ambition, however Liao and Song share good relations with each other, there is no opportunity at all, thus Mrong Bo brought along his wealth and travelled to Liao nation, he made friends with Khitan nobles, afterwards he move one step further and acquaint himself with court affairs of Liao nation. The Empress Dowager of Liao is in control and her most trusted clansman is the military drill master of Coral Army, Xiao YuanShan. This person possess extremely high martial arts, throughout his life he advocate friendly relations between Liao and Song, whenever Liao generals proposed to invade Song, Xiao YuanShan will immediately advice the Empress Dowager, both nations enjoy good fortune due to this armistice: Liao nation collects silver and silk from Song, the society is rich, food plentiful, however once war breaks out, citizens will have their homes ravaged, traitors will fawn and try to seize power, riot and disorder will surely plague the nation.
The Empress Dowager was utterly convinced by Xiao YuanShan, thus the invasion of Song never materialize. Murong Bo knew the opportunity to restore Yan lies in eliminating Xiao YuanShan, he hatch a plan in secret, he inquired about Xiao YuanShan's personal preference, he tried to uncover a weakness which he can put his hands on. One day he heard from a distant relative of Xiao YuanShan, the birthday of Xiao YuanShan's father-in-law is on the 8th of September, on that day he will surely take his wife and child to Wuzhou to congratulate his father-in-law. To travel from Liao nation to Wuzhou, the most common path is to travel south from YanMen pass until the Great Wall, from there travel west to Wuzhou, the terrain is flat, much easier to travel when compared to the northern mountain route which is more rugged.
When Murong Bo obtained the news, its already August, thus he rush to Shaolin immediately to deliver the news, he claim Liao nation will dispatch martial art experts, on Chongyang Festival they will carry out a large scale raid on Shaolin, their purpose is to steal ancient and rare martial art manuals hidden in Shaolin, they will then impart this first-class martial arts to solider of Liao nation. Years later Liao nation will send their army southward, on the battlefield Song's army will not be their match, the Han people will surely be in danger.
This matter concerns the lives of citizens as well as the survival of Central Plains martial art fraternity, thus Shaolin immediately spread the news around, many heroes convene at Shaolin to plan how to deal with the situation. Murong Bo just came from Liao nation, the court affairs, military strength, he knows all of them clearly, there was no loophole in his speech. The crowd of heroes reached an agreement, they will split into groups and head for Wuzhou, Daizhou, Shuozhou and Yingzhou to try and obstruct them. YanMen Pass is the key route for Liao nation to travel southward, thus the heroes gathered their best fighters and hid at YanMen Pass, eventually they encountered Xiao YuanShan's party. Although they killed his wife, but Xiao YuanShan's martial art is truly frightening to the extreme, it is really hard to imagine.....
When the heroes eventually discover something amiss about the situation, they will surely visit Murong Bo's home to inquire, Murong Bo had long predict this outcome, he did not want to be interrogated by his friends from the martial arts fraternity, he fabricate rumour and deceive people, his true motive is to incite hatred between Liao and Song, hoping for an opportunity to "restore Yan nation", how can he carry out this task in a straightforward manner? Although his martial art is not weak, but the Han have many men, in the end he will not be able hold them back. Thus he left YanMen Pass and return south immediately, he live in seclusion in the basement of his house and never take 1 step out. During that period Shaolin sent its monk over to investigate, Murong Bo already instruct his wife to tell them he left half a year ago to travel, till now he have yet to return, the family is very concerned and hope senior monks from Shaolin can assist to look for his whereabouts.
The ancestor of Murong family, Murong LongCheng created the consummate skill [Star Shifting Movement], although this wondrous skill can divert an opponent's attack and established the famed reputation of "Returning you with your own move", but it is akin to "sewing someone's trousseau". Murong Bo thought to himself, Shaolin is the chief of martial art studies, if he can obtain its 72 supreme consummate skills and secretly teach it to his own troops, then their chances of restoring Yan nation would be like a tiger that has grown wings, its power redouble and form strengthened.
Successive generation of Murong's heirs all conspire to restore Yan, the family amassed mountains of gold and silver. Murong Bo discuss with his wife, he disguised himself as a trader and brought alot of gold and silver to Dengfeng city in Henan, he set up a business selling local products and build up relations with local merchants, afterwards he move to the farms near Shaolin and acquired their local products, subsequently he purchased their house and farmland and set up his home there. He planned far ahead, he often wore bamboo hat, carrying a hoe, tilling the ground and planting fruits and vegetables at the rear mountain of Shaolin's Scripture-Depository Pavilion, he became friends with the monks in charge of taking care of Scripture-Depository Pavilion, he frequently offered gifts such as peach, apricot, pear, jujube, etc, fresh agriculture products. Less than half a year later, how Scripture-Depository Pavilion protect itself against fire, how they dry books, shift schedules, collections of rare books, etc, he knows everything clearly. Murong Bo have hidden agenda, but other people did not, the monks-in-charge did not suspect anything. Shaolin Temple have always been benevolent and kind, whenever someone ask to borrow Buddhist scriptures to read they will welcome it greatly. Initially Murong Bo borrowed <>, <>, <>, etc, eventually he start borrowing profound texts such as <> .
When the time was ripe and the monk-in-charge no longer guard against him, during the 3rd night watch, he secretly entered the Scripture-Depository Pavilion, on a bookshelf he found the manual to [Blossom Grasping Finger], he almost turn mad from excitement, he took it back to his residence and studied carefully, the handwritten copy depict training methods from basic to advance level, the methods subtle and exquisite, the manual also states that once mastered the practitioner's finger can penetrate wood and bricks, its power extremely formidable. At once Murong Bo lit an oil lamp, he took out pen and paper and made an exact copy of this [Blossom Grasping Finger] manual. The following evening, Murong Bo infiltrate the Scripture-Depository Pavilion again, he return [Blossom Grasping Finger] manual back to its original place, afterwards he took [Vajra Fist] which consists of four volume. He posses extraordinary perception, once he detect anything odd inside the Pavilion he will simply hide and not return for several days. Base on his high-level martial arts, the monk-in-charge never notice his borrowing and returning of treasured books.
This copying of books went on for 4 months, eventually he obtained 28 supreme consummate skills, around 30 volume of books. It is already winter, on the last night of the year, he miss his wife very much, thus he return back to Suzhou and brought along the 30 volume of martial art manuals, it can be said he returned from a rewarding journey. He hid the manuals inside the basement, he selected several consummate skills and started to practice them daily, he trained relentless. That winter his wife became pregnant, thus Murong Bo remain in Suzhou and wait for the child to be born. He named his son Murong Fu, he hope his son can follow in his footsteps and continue their ancestor's ambition.
Murong Bo continued the wishes of his ancestors, the ambition to restore his nation boiling in his heart, thus he start to grow a beard, his face painted with mild ink to turn his skin tone dark, he wore embroidered brocade, his wife drew his eyebrow downwards and deepen the lines at the corner of his mouth, his facial expression became distressed, even old companion would not be able to recognize him. After changing his appearance, he left and start to make friends widely, he claims to be surnamed Yan, named LongYuan, he inherited the family business of selling pearls and jewels, he even change his Suzhou dialect into Henan's Dengfeng district dialect. Murong family amassed wealth for several generation, the family is rich and powerful, Murong Bo put the wealth to good use, he was generous in spending, his manner extraordinary, anxious to help people resolve their difficulties, thus he gathered quite a number of close friends.
In the following autumn, he disguised himself as a merchant and left Dengfeng to move back into his old residence, in the evening he infiltrate Shaolin's Scripture-Depository Pavilion to borrow martial art manuals, several months later he manage to copy another 10 set of skills. One day, while perusing the books, he saw a pile of books on the left-hand side bookshelf, the topmost book is titled "Essence of Prajna Palm", he took the book immediately and put it in his bosom. As he was about to leave he felt a gust of wind behind his back, someone tap his left shoulder and whispered: "Follow me!"
Murong Bo was frighten, how come he was completely unaware when the person was near? When he turn his head he saw a tall and sturdy figure dash out of the pavilion, he extend his leg and followed. The person rush for several li and arrive at an open field between a valley. The person suddenly stop moving, he turn around and said: "You learn Shaolin's martial art secretly, you must have some achievement correct? Let me test you." when he finish speaking he launch his palm towards Murong Bo. Murong Bo don't dare to be careless and raise his palm to meet it, while pushing aside the palm he felt the opposing palm force is fierce, internal energy strong and vigorous, he immediately retreat 1 step and said: "I entered the Scripture-Depository Pavilion to borrow martial art manuals, after making a copy of it i return the original promptly, i don't dare to cause the slightest bit of damage to the book. The handwritten copy is only for my own self-study, i never impart it to other people. Sire are you a Shaolin disciple? I beg for your magnanimity and not pursue this matter."
The person laugh and said: "I am not from Shaolin, however i have some grudge with Shaolin, sooner or later i will fight till death with experts from the temple. I also want to borrow martial art manuals from the Scripture-Depository Pavilion, i want to see for myself, the world famous supreme consummate skills of Shaolin, does the temple truly lack any real talent or the skills are truly profound and difficult to train. In the future when we meet in the Scripture-Depository Pavilion again there is no need for worries, each of us will just go his own way." Murong Bo: "Then it cannot be much better. I am Yan LongYuan, today i get to meet a virtuous person, i consider it my great fortune." The person cupped his fists and said: "Brother Yan, no need to be so modest, i will take my leave now!" he extend his legs and dash towards the hill on the right side.
After trading palm with the person, Murong Bo became even more cautious in his operation, after making 10 more copies of martial art manuals he start to miss his wife and son, thus he return back south to home.
The next year, Murong Bo went back to Dengfeng, every night he continue to make copies of martial art manuals. 2 months later he met the sturdy man outside the Scripture-Depository Pavilion, the man invite him for a duel again, his speech did not bore any evil intention. Both of them are fighting for the 2nd time, after trading 100 moves, Murong Bo jump backwards, he bow and said: "Many thanks for your guidance, i am not your match!" the sturdy man said: "Brother Yan, no need to be so modest. You refuse to be complacent, you are a good man, i admire you very much. We will meet again next year!"
This appointment is to test Murong Bo's martial arts. Thus, Murong Bo return to Suzhou to train. Autumn pass and winter arrive, Murong Bo bid farewell to his wife and return to being a merchant at Dengfeng, every night he infiltrate Scripture-Depository Pavilion to make copies of martial art manuals, several months later he made 30 copies. On a particular night he entered the Scripture-Depository Pavilion, he look at the bookshelves, excluding the martial art manuals he copied, the bookshelves are all filled with <>, <>, <>, <>, <>, etc, various scriptures and sutras, there are no manuals for training internal energy. He gave a sigh, he made around 50-60 copies of Shaolin's supreme consummate skills, every set of skill require at least several years of diligent practice, the martial art manuals he owned now, he can never master all of them in his lifetime, there is no need for him to copy anymore martial art manuals and risk being found out by Shaolin's experts. He left the Scripture-Depository Pavilion and gaze at the full moon, suddenly his thoughts lighten, akin to removing a huge rock, he felt his spirit become clear and refreshing.
Suddenly a figure came at him from the right side and said: "Brother Yan, let us trade palm again!" it is the tall and sturdy man. Both of them rush to the open field between a valley, the sturdy man did not give any warning and attack his face directly, Murong Bo wave his palm to parry, both of them traded palm and fist moves, they did not make the slightest bit of sound. The palm technique of the sturdy man had multiple variations, Murong Bo displayed his Shaolin's supreme consummate skills one by one, [Prajna Palm], [Formless Plundering Finger], [Blossom Grasping Finger], even skills that require weapon such as the [Demon Subduing Staff], [Nine Heaven Nine Earth Shovel], Murong Bo also transform them into fist and palm techniques. Both of them are fighting near each other, after the time taken to eat a meal they traded over 300 moves. When the duel reach a critical stage, Murong Bo suddenly jump backwards, he cupped his fists and said: "Many thanks for your guidance, sir is lenient towards me, i really benefit a lot from you."
The sturdy man said: "Brother Yan, your martial art is exquisite, we are equally matched. Brother Yan, since you came here to steal martial art manuals from Shaolin then you must not be on good terms with Shaolin, i have deep hatred towards Shaolin, we can be considered kindred spirits as we share the same enemy." Murong Bo have yet to reply, the sturdy man turn around and ran to a distant place.
Suddenly Murong Bo heard a meek voice behind him: "Shizu, junior monk greets you!" Murong Bo turn around, he saw a youthful monk wearing yellow-robe standing 5 chi away, the monk is smiling, his pair of hands press together in respect. Murong Bo cupped his fists to return the courtesy and said: "Great master calls out to me, how may i help you?" the monk said: "Junior monk is a tantric Buddhist monk from Tubo, just now i witness shizu trading palm with someone, your martial arts exquisite to the extreme, junior monk admire you very much, thus i step forward boldly to chat." Murong Bo said: "Great master came from a distant place, the journey must be difficult, please come to my humble home to have some tea so that i may ask you for guidance." at once both of them revealed their names. Jiumozhi witness Murong Bo's fist and palm techniques, he admire it very much, thus he followed Murong Bo cheerfully.
They discussed martial arts, Jiumozhi intend to learn techniques from Murong Bo, however since he have no relationship with him the other party will surely reject if he rashly seek to learn consummate skills, the only way is to "toss a peach and get back a plum", both side benefit, he said: "Mr Murong, junior monk came from Tubo's Tantric Nyingma School, we had violent struggles with heretic sects in Tubo, i learn this [Blazing Sabre Skill] from my master. [Blazing Sabre Skill] condenses internal energy at the palm, the energy is then delivered out, its power extremely formidable. Today we had a congenial meeting, i don't dare to boast my ability but merely to seek guidance on martial art skills, Mr Murong please don't take offence." when he finish speaking he lifted his palm and gathered internal energy, there is a soft 'Chi' sound, a narrow slit appeared on the window paper, the sound of wind can be heard blowing in from the slit.
Murong Bo said: "Great master possess remarkable skill, i admire you very much!" Jiumozhi said: "Junior monk is only at the initial stage of learning [Blazing Sabre Skill], in the future i will surely achieve great success. Today i have a chance encounter with Mr Murong, fate brought us together. Buddhist pay particular attention to fate and predestined affinity, great power will naturally present itself at the appropriate time. Junior monk is brazen, i wish to impart this [Blazing Sabre Skill] to Mr Murong, i wonder if Mr Murong thinks junior monk is too bold?" Murong Bo pondered: "I am a complete stranger to him, unexpectedly he willing impart martial art on his own accord, there must be some deep meaning, i wonder what is his true intention?"
Murong Bo hurriedly stood up and bow. Jiumozhi press his palms together to return the courtesy, he said: "We are not master and disciple, merely mutual interaction between friends, exchanging skills with each other. Mister you cannot be overly courteous." at once he narrate the training secrets of [Blazing Sabre Skill], he request Murong Bo to only commit it to memory, he cannot record it in writing, the reason behind is when Tantric Buddhist pass down doctrines or skills, they only pass it down by ear, they differ from other Buddhist where they recite scriptures and writings.
Murong Bo commit it to memory attentively, unknowingly the sky already turn bright. Murong Bo said: "Great master, this [Blazing Sabre Skill] is truly an incomparably wonderful skill, base on my knowledge, maybe only Dali's [Yiyang Finger] can rival it. However it is known than [Yiyang Finger] is slow in gathering internal energy, it cannot be compared with [Blazing Sabre Skill] which can be executed at will." Jiumozhi said: "This is probably due to different levels of internal energy in the practitioner." Murong Bo said: "Precisely. It is rumoured that Dali's Duan family possess the consummate skill [Six Meridian Divine Swords], they can fire off six streams of internal energy from the finger, when use in combination the power is even more magical, to obtain such technique is truly difficult." Jiumozhi said: "The top experts from Dali's Duan family, all of them are gathered at TianLong Monastery, to gain << Six Meridian Divine Swords Manual>>, you must visit TianLong Monastery. Eminent monks from TianLong Monastery and i are all Buddhist disciples, i can try to ask for the manual. If by fluke i manage to obtain it i will naturally share it with Mister."
Murong Bo pondered: " << Six Meridian Divine Swords Manual>> is a rare treasure, yet he is willing to share it with me? Firstly it is just a brief remark from him, he will surely not take the trouble to beg for it, secondly for martial art practitioners, they suffer untold hardships to obtain divine skills, i have no relationship with him, yet he is willing to present it to me so easily? Just now he mention about " exchanging skills with each other", most likely that is the essential point." he said: "There is a common saying: There is no reward for the undeserving. Great master impart [Blazing Sabre Skill] to me, i cannot thank you enough, i infiltrate Shaolin's Scripture-Depository Pavilion and copied the training methods to the 72 supreme consummate skills, currently i have around 30 handwritten copies with me. I will make a duplicate copy and present it to Great master. The other 50 copies are at Suzhou, in the next few days i will return home and make a duplicate copy of them as well. I will wait for Great master to acquire << Six Meridian Divine Swords Manual>>, i invite Great master to Suzhou Basin of Swallow's Canhe Manor to exchange << Six Meridian Divine Swords Manual>> for 50 copies of Shaolin supreme consummate skill, Great master are you agreeable?"
Jiumozhi is extremely happy, both of them clap each other's hands 3 times to seal the agreement, each of them have to put in great effort to fulfil their promise so that they may exchange the martial art manuals in the future. Jiumozhi state clearly: Eminent monks from TianLong Monastery possess deep and profound martial arts, he is at the initial stage of training [Blazing Sabre Skill], he cannot proceed and demand for the << Six Meridian Divine Swords Manual>> right away, he have to first dedicate himself to further training, once he achieve great success in his training he will naturally carry out the promise he made today. Murong Bo took out the 30 handwritten copies, at once he begin to make a duplicate copy along with Jiumozhi, several days later the task was done and he presented it to Jiumozhi. Jiumozhi expressed his thanks repeatedly, he return to Tubo to study Shaolin's supreme consummate skill, he knew his mastery of [Blazing Sabre Skill] is shallow, thus he put in painstaking effort and practiced diligently.
Years flew by quickly, for the past few years, Murong Bo, Murong Fu, both father and son studied their martial art records intensively, their martial art skill progress over time. One day, Murong Fu went to the rear hall to report, Shaolin's XuanBei is seeking an audience. Murong Fu act according to his father's instruction, he went out and report to XuanBei and said that his father is not at home, he did not give any hints or sign as to his whereabouts. Murong Bo hid in the basement for several days, when XuanBei left for a distant place he had a secret discussion with his wife, he will feign death to prevent further trouble. When Murong Bo left the house for several months, his wife told their son and henchmen, the old master had passed away, they will make preparation for funeral arrangements, prepare coffin, send out obituary, display spirit tablet, hold a memorial service, burial.
After hiding for several years, Murong Bo made a move quietly, he became Yan LongYuan and made appearances at Lianghuai region, he claims to be a subordinate of "Gusu Murong", he issued Yan banner and warrant, relying on his superior martial arts he won over heroes of Jianghu and expanded his influence, however he never reveal any news of his appearance. Murong Fu gradually grew older, his appearance handsome and refined, he became an accomplished martial artist and made a name for himself in Jianghu, "Southern Murong" along with "Northern QiaoFeng", the top 2 experts of Central Plains martial arts fraternity.
Several years flew by again, Murong Bo receive news of Master XuanBei visit of Dali, thus he follow secretly, he made a sneak attack at ShenJie Temple in Liangzhou. Master XuanBei was caught off guard, he relied on Shaolin's supreme consummate skill [Great Skanda Pestle] to repel the enemy. Murong Bo use his family own martial arts, unexpectedly XuanBei's martial art is deep and profound, his [Great Skanda Pestle] strangely formidable, its power far beyond Murong Bo's expectation, he underestimate the enemy and was unable to hold him off, thus he had no alternative but to display his [Star Shifting Movement], he redirected the power of [Great Skanda Pestle] back at XuanBei, XuaBei was hit by his own move and met a violent death.
Sometime later, Jiumozhi went to Dali's TianLong Monastery and captured Duan Yu, he arrive at the residence of Murong's maid servant AhBi, he declare he will burn this living << Six Meridian Divine Swords Manual>> in front of Murong Bo's tomb in return for the promised martial art manuals. AhZhu and AhBi report the matter to Madam Murong, they received orders to go through the motions and entertain Jiumozhi and to escape with Duan Yu. Unexpectedly the past history of Beggar Clan Chief Qiao Feng was exposed, Murong Bo knew the grudge 10 years ago will surely be uncovered again, he was extremely worried, his wife and son must not involve themselves in this matter or they will invite disaster. Unfortunately Murong Fu end up fighting with Xiao Feng at the meeting in Shaolin Tempe.
Murong Fu was saved by the grey-robed monk, he was ashamed yet grateful, however he thought his father had died, he was not aware that this grey-robed monk is his own father, he pondered: "This senior monk is an acquaintance of my forefather, i wonder if it is my grandfather or my father? In the future with regards to the restoration of Great Yan i definitely have to consult this senior monk and ask for direction, i cannot waste this opportunity to know him." he retreat to the side, he don't dare to disturb him, he will wait for the grey-robed monk to stand up before asking for advice.
Wang YuYan recounted that Murong Fu almost commit suicide moments ago, she is still extremely frightened, she held onto his sleeves, her tears overflowing. Murong Fu was annoyed, however ultimately it is out of her good intention, it is not appropriate for him to brush her aside.
The grey-robed monk and black-robed man appeared in succession, while they sat down to meditate under the tree, Xu Zhu and Ding ChunQiu are still engaged in the fierce battle. Currently the crowd turn their attention to these two men.
Chrysanthemum Sword suddenly recalled something, she walk towards the 18 Khitan warriors and said: "My owner is fighting, he have to drink some wine to increase his strength." a Khitan warrior said: "We have a lot of wine here, Miss please make use of it." he lifted two big leather bags. Chrysanthemum Sword smile and said: "Many thanks! My owner does not have high capacity for liquor, one bag is sufficient." she took 1 bag of alcohol and pull out the wood stopper, she walk slowly towards Xu Zhu and Ding ChunQiu and shouted out: "Owner, you need wine to plant the life-death talisman on Old Freak of XingXiu!" she exerted strength and revolve the bag horizontally, the alcohol in the bag became a stream of wine arrows and shoot towards Xu Zhu. Plum, Orchid and Bamboo Sword clap their hands and shouted: "Sister Chrysanthemum, wonderful!"
Suddenly they heard a sweet delicate female voice singing: "Fragrant and fresh coloured dew, cloud and rain in vain at Mount Wushan. I am Yang Guifei, good wine good wine, slaves intoxicated by the side of Agarwood Pavilion!"
Xu Zhu fought Ding ChunQiu for a long time, he have no idea how to subdue him, as he heard his subordinate from Vulture Palace shout out 'life-death talisman', the wine arrow from Chrysanthemum Sword arrive, at once he lifted his hand and grab, he caught a handful, suddenly he saw 8 people appearing from the mountain, they are 'Zither Craze' Kang GuangLing, 'Chess Devil' Fan BaiLing, 'Bookworm' Gou Du, 'Painting Fanatic' Wu LingJun, 'Divine Physician' Xue Muhua, 'Marvellous Craftsman' Feng Asan, 'Flower Zealot' Shi QingFeng, 'Opera Fan' Li KuiLei, the "Eight Friends of Hangu". The eight of them saw Xu Zhu and Ding ChunQiu exchange fists and kicks freely, fighting to their heart's content, at once they cheered: "Martial uncle sect leader display his brilliant abilities today, quickly kill Ding ChunQiu, avenge our martial grandfather and master!"
Currently Chrysanthemum Sword is still shooting wine towards Xu Zhu, her martial art is mediocre, unexpectedly a small portion spray towards Ding ChunQiu. The Old Freak of XingXiu is engaged in a fierce battle with Xu Zhu, they fought for over an hour, however his opponent seems to have inexhaustible wonderful moves, his movement was restricted and he cannot utilize his arsenal of sorcery, unexpectedly a stream of wine arrive, he had a sudden inspiration, he brush his left sleeve, the wine dispersed and became rain of wine and splash towards Xu Zhu. Powerful internal energy is flowing across Xu Zhu's entire body, tens of thousands wine droplet arrive, none of them hit his clothes as they were deflected by his internal energy, suddenly he heard two 'Ah Ah' cry, Chrysanthemum Sword turn over and collapsed. When Ding ChunQiu disperse the wine and turn it into droplets, every single drop contains deadly poison. Chrysanthemum Sword is standing nearby, the poison rain landed on her body and she collapsed immediately.
Duan Yu is standing by the side, he saw Wang YuYan grabbing onto Murong Fu's sleeve, he felt very dull, he saw Chrysanthemum Sword being hit by the poison rain and collapsing, he knew she is the subordinate of his 2nd brother, thus he rush forward to carry Chrysanthemum Sword and retreat.
Xu Zhu is extremely concerned about Chrysanthemum Sword, he is frightened and worried but he don't know how to save her, he heard Xue MuHua shout out: "Martial uncle, the poison is extremely violent, quickly subdue the old thief and force him to provide the antidote for treatment." Xu Zhu shout out: "Correct!" he wave his right palm and attack Ding ChunQiu, he secretly channel his internal energy to his left palm and reverse the flow of his [Pure Energy of Northern Darkness], soon after the wine in his left palm turn into 7-8 pieces of cold ice, 'Sou Sou Sou' he smack his right palm 3 times.
Ding ChunQiu felt cold wind assault his body, he was startled: "The hard and yang internal energy of this little bald thief, how come it changed?" he hurriedly gathered strength to ward it off, suddenly he felt a slight cooling sensation on his "QuePen acupoint", akin to being hit by snowflake, immediately after the "Tianshu acupoint" on his underbelly, "FuTu acupoint" on his thigh, "TianQuan acupoint" on his upper arm, he felt cooling sensation on these 3 region. Ding ChunQiu increase his palm force to resist, suddenly his "Tianzhu acupoint" on his nape, "Shendao acupoint" on his back, "Zhishi acupoint" on his lower back, he felt cooling sensation on these 3 region as well, Ding ChunQiu was greatly surprised: "No matter how yin frost his palm strength, it definitely cannot bend around and attack my back, moreover the cooling sensations are all on acupoints, i wonder what kind of strange sorcery that little bald thief is using? I have to be careful." both of his sleeve brush outward, the sleeve concealing his leg, he kick violently at Xu Zhu.
Unexpectedly when his right leg kicked halfway his "Futu acupoint" and "Zhishi acupoint" became strangely itchy at the same time, he cannot help but cry out "Ayo!". His right toe is already touching Xu Zhu's monk robe but his two vital acupoints became itchy at the same time, his right leg involuntarily withdraw. After crying out "Ayo", he cry out "Ayo" "Ayo" two more times.
Ding ChunQiu's disciples praised loudly: "Divine Elder of XingXiu possess great magical power, he only need to wave his sleeve lightly and little girl will collapse under his might!"
"With just a single step he can make heaven fall and earth rend, with just a wave he can cover the moon and sun!"
"Divine Elder of XingXiu sway his sleeves, spreading the truth, all of you heretics, ox, ghost and snake spirits, each and everyone will die a tragic end!"
Their praise is intermixed with cries of "Ayo" "Ayo", it is really not compatible. Disciples who are more alert and shrewd already shut their mouth in shock, however a huge majority still shout out and praise loudly.
In an instant Ding ChunQiu felt his, "Quepen", "Tianshu", "Futu", "Tianquan", "Tianzhu", "Shendao", "Zhishi", seven acupoints became extremely itchy and unbearable, it is akin to having thousands and tens of thousands louse gnawing at the same time. The ice made from wine contains Xu Zhu's internal energy, cold ice enter the body and dissolve immediately, however the internal energy remain inside the acupoints and meridian channels. Ding ChunQiu was confused, he grope his chest repeatedly and consumed 7-8 antidotes immediately, he circulate his internal energy 5-6 times, however the itch in his acupoints became even more serious. If it was other people they would have roll around on the floor long ago, however Ding ChunQiu possess astonishing divine skills, he persistently endure and persevere, he is staggering about, akin to being intoxicated by wine, his face turn red and white repeatedly, his pair of hands waving wildly, his behaviour terrifying. Since the seven life-death talisman was made from strong alcohol they are different from normal ice.
When the XingXiu disciples saw their master in such sorry state, each and every one of them quieten down, however some still shout out stubbornly: "Divine Elder of XingXiu is using his [Great Golden Immortal Dance Skill], little monk will soon see its ferocious power!"
"When Divine Elder of XingXiu shout 'Ayo', a fraction of little monk's soul is frighten off!"
However this shouting is merely a stubborn attempt to maintain glamour, the shouting is not loud or clear at all.
Li KuiLei sing loudly: "Five blossom horse, thousand pound gold, bring them out to exchange for good wine, we will share thousand worries together. Haha, i am Li Bai! Eight immortals drinking wine, number one is Immortal of Poem Li Bai, number two is Divine Elder of XingXiu Ding ChunQiu!" the crowd saw Ding ChunQiu's drunken state, he really cut a sorry figure, when they heard Li KuiLei's speech all of them laugh out loudly.
After some time Ding ChunQiu finally cannot endure it anymore, he tug his beard randomly, strand by strand his beautiful beard fluttered off with the wind, immediately after he rip apart his clothes and reveal his snow white skin. He is already an old man, however his body is still strong like a youngster, he claw himself everywhere and blood start to gush out, he exert strength and tear forcefully and shout repeatedly: "I am dying of itch! I am dying of itch!" after a while his left knee bend down, his shouting became even more wretched.
Xu Zhu felt some regret: "Although this person deserves to be punished but unexpectedly his suffering is so severe. If i had known earlier i would have planted at most 1 or 2 life-death talisman."
When the crowd saw this martial art expert with child-like countenance, white-hair, exuding immortal aura, unexpectedly he turn into a demon in an instant, his cry akin to wild beast, they cannot help but be overwhelmed with shock, even Li KuiLei was left speechless. However the grey-robed monk and blank-robed man still meditate quietly under the tree, as if they did not see or hear anything.
Abbot XuanCi said: "Excellent, excellent! Xu Zhu, remove the suffering for this shizu!" Xu Zhu replied: "Yes! I sincerely comply with abbot's decree!" XuanJi said suddenly: "Wait! Martial brother abbot, Ding ChunQiu commit countless evil, senior brother XuanNan and XuanTong died by his hands, how can we let him off so lightly?" Kang GuangLing said: "Martial uncle sect leader, you are the leader of our sect, why the need to listen to an outsider? Our martial grandfather and my master, this great hatred, how can you not avenge them?"
Xu Zhu had no idea how to deal with the situation. Xue MuHua said: "Martial uncle, the priority now is to make him give the antidote." Xu Zhu nod his head and said: "Correct. Lady Plum Sword, give him half a pill to suppress the itch." Plum Sword replied: "Yes!" she withdraw a small green bottle from her bosom and took out a pea-size pill, however seeing Ding ChunQiu's violent and crazy appearance, she don't dare to go near.
Xu Zhu took the pill, he split it in half and said: "Mr Ding, open your mouth, i will feed you this pill to suppress the itch!" Ding ChunQiu open his mouth widely, Xu Zhu flick his finger lightly and deliver the pill into his throat. The pill cannot take effect immediately thus Ding ChunQiu still roll about on the floor, after a while the strange itch finally subside a little and he stood up.
Ding ChunQiu is still conscious and alert, he knew he cannot rebel or resist anymore, thus he did not wait for Xu Zhu's instruction and took out an antidote and hand it over to Xue MuHua obediently, he said: "The red coloured is for external application, white coloured is for consumption!" he shout and cry out for quite a long time, thus his voice became hoarse and inaudible. Xue MuHua knew he don't dare to stir up trouble anymore, thus he act accordingly and apply the antidote on Chrysanthemum Sword.
Plum Sword said brightly: "Old Freak of XingXiu, this half pill can stop the itch for 3 days. After 3 days the strange itch will flare up again, at that time whether our owner will bestow this miracle medicine will depend on how obedient you are." Ding ChunQiu was trembling from head to toe, he remain silent.
At once several hundred XingXiu disciples rush forward and kneel down in front of Xu Zhu, they request earnestly: "Owner of Vulture Palace is a hero without equal, we humbly submit to you, our devotion unswerving, we will put in utmost effort for owner."
"This gathering of martial artists, owner will surely become the leader. Owner only need to give the order, we will risk our lives and limbs to go through water and tread on fire!"
In an attempt to make themselves more devoted, many pointed at Ding ChunQiu and curse endlessly, he is a "candle light who dares to fight with the moon and sun", he is "concealing wicked intentions, utterly sinister". Some beseech Xu Zhu to execute Ding ChunQiu swiftly to rid the world of an evil person. Gongs and drums rang out, the crowd of disciples begin to sing: "Owner of Vulture Palace, virtue fitting heaven and earth, power shaking the entire world by force, he is without equal from then and now." other than changing "Divine Elder of XingXiu" to "Owner of Vulture Palace", the melody and lyrics are exactly the same as those used to praise Ding ChunQiu previously.
Although Xu Zhu is simple and unsophisticated, he cannot help but feel somewhat smug and elated when hearing the praise.
Orchid Sword said loudly: "You despicable vermin, those mushy tune used to praise Old Freak of XingXiu, shameless speech, how dare you use it to praise our owner? Extremely rude!" the XingXiu disciples immediately became terrified, some said: "Yes, yes! Lowly person will come up with a completely new version, guarantee to satisfy fairy sister." some sing out loudly: "Four fairy sisters, beautify and elegant, their beauty surpass Xi Shi, transcend imperial consort." after they kowtow to Xu Zhu, the XingXiu disciples voluntarily stood behind the Island-masters and Cave-masters, each of them extremely proud and smug, they disregard the crowd of heroes, Beggar Clan members and Shaolin monks.
XuanCi said: "Xu Zhu, you set up your own school, from now on your conduct have to be chivalrous and righteous, restrain and educate your disciples, don't let them break the law or commit crimes, bringing disaster and harm to people. Remember to accumulate virtue, do more good deeds, whether you become a monk or not, it is still the same." Xu Zhu choked with emotions and said: "Yes. Xu Zhu sincerely comply with abbot's instruction." XuanCi said: "I cannot abolish your expulsion, however you are exempted from the punishment of rods."
Suddenly someone laugh loudly and said: "I thought Shaolin valued monastic discipline, enforce the law strictly, but it seems they also curry favour with those in power. Hei hei, owner of Vulture Palace, virtue fitting heaven and earth, power shaking the entire world by force, he is without equal from then and now." the crowd turn towards the person, it is the Grand Tutor of Tubo Jiumozhi.
XuanCi change countenance and said: "Grand Tutor is righteous in your reproach, old monk admits his mistake. Martial brother XuanJi, arrange for the punishment rod." XuanJi said: "Yes!" he turn around and said: "Serve the punishment rod!" he turn to Xu Zhu and said: "Xu Zhu, presently you are still a Shaolin disciple, lie down and receive the rod." Xu Zhu bow and said: "Yes!" he kneel down and salute XuanCi and XuanJi and said: "Disciple Xu Zhu violated temple regulations, i respectfully accept abbot and head-monk of Discipline Courtyard's rod punishment."
XingXiu disciples suddenly made a huge din: "You Shaolin monks, how dare you touch old senior's precious body?"
"If you touch a single strand of hair on old senior, we will fight till death with you. We will sacrifice our lives to protect old senior, die a glorious death."
"We are loyal and devoted, our flesh and blood is dedicated to protecting our owner!"
Grandma Yu said loudly: "The phrase 'our owner', how dare you demons and ghosts use it? Quickly shut your dog mouth!" when the XingXiu disciples heard her shout they became silent immediately, they don't even dare to breathe loudly.
The enforcement monks from Disciple Courtyard heard XuanJi shout: "Use the rod!" at once a monk remove Xu Zhu's robe, revealing the skin on his back, the other monk lifted the "Abiding Disciple Rod". Xu Zhu pondered: "I am receiving punishment from the rod because i did not abide by monastic disciple, for every rod i receive my sin will reduce by a fraction. If i use internal energy to resist, my body won't experience any pain, then this rod will be wasted."
Suddenly a sharp female voice shouted out: "Wait, wait! You....what is that on your back?"
The crowd look at Xu Zhu's back, they saw 9 incense scar burnt neatly on his waist. Currently, the custom of burning incense on one's head when taking the monk oath have yet to become popular. China's Buddhism is subdivided into 8 school and 11 faction, there are also small group and minor sect, each of their custom and practice different from each other, quite a number of them advocate ascetic practice, disciples have to burn incense on their head or burn their fingers to show their determination to follow Buddha. Shaolin does not require disciples to burn incense on their head, however they also never forbid disciples from doing so. The incense scar on Xu Zhu's back is as large as copper coin, evidently they were burnt during infancy, as his body grew up the scars also enlarged, currently the scar is not entirely circular in shape.
A middle-age woman suddenly rush out from the crowd, she is wearing cyan gown, 3 blood scars on her left and right cheek, its precisely one of the "Four Great Evils", "No Evil Left Undone" Ye ErNiang. She pounce forward, her pair of hands pushing away the two enforcement monks, she grab Xu Zhu's trousers, wanting to pull it off.
Xu Zhu stood up from shock, he float several chi backward and said: "You....what you doing?" Ye ErNiang is trembling from head to toe, she shout out: "My.....my son!" she spread both arms to embrace Xu Zhu. Xu Zhu dodge her advance and Ye ErNiang hug empty air. Everyone pondered: "This woman is mad?" Ye ErNiang try to hug Xu Zhu several times, however Xu Zhu dodge all her attempts skilfully.
Ye ErNiang act wildly and shout out: "My son, why don't you recognize your mother?" Xu Zhu shiver with fear, akin to an electric shock, his voice trembled: "You....you are my mother?" Ye ErNiang said: "My son, after giving birth to you, i burnt 9 incense scar on your waist and both side of your buttocks. You have 9 incense scar on both side of your buttocks correct?"
Xu Zhu had a huge shock, indeed there are 9 incense scar on both side of his buttocks. It is there since childhood, he never inquire its origin, he is too shy to discuss it with others, sometimes when he see it while bathing he assume he is fated to follow Buddha, he is born with it naturally, thus his resolute devotion to Buddhist doctrine. When he heard Ye ErNiang's speech, it is akin to hearing thunderbolt from midair, his voice trembled: "Yes, yes! There are 9 incense scar on both side of my buttocks, you.....mother....did you burn it on me?"
Ye ErNiang burst into tears and cry out: "Yes, yes! How will i know if i did not burn it on you? I....i finally found my son, my biological son!" while crying she stretch her hands to stroke Xu Zhu's cheek.
Xu Zhu did not dodge, he allow her to embrace him. He have no father or mother, he thought he was an orphan adopted by Shaolin, the incense scar on his buttocks, only his most intimate companion at Shaolin is aware of it, unexpectedly Ye ErNiang is also aware of it, how can it be fake? For the first time in his life he finally get to experience warm motherly love, his tears overflowing, he cried: "Mother...mother, you are my mother!"
The whole affair turn out too abruptly, everyone felt greatly surprised, however seeing both of them hugging and sobbing together, their grief yet happiness, one of them showing deep affection towards her child, the other admire earnestly, quite a number of people felt deep sorrow.
Ye ErNiang said: "My child, you are 24 years old, for the past 24 years i think about you day and night, i was so angry that other people have a son, but my own son was stolen by some wretched thief. I....i stole other people's son to carry them. But....other people's son, how can they be better than my own son?"
Crocodile Deity of Southern Sea burst into loud laughter and said: "3rd sister! You always steal other people's healthy and adorable child for your amusement, when you had enough fun you randomly deliver it to some other family, make it difficult for the parents to find their child, as it turns out your own son was stolen by someone else. Whenever Yue LaoEr ask you the reason you refuse to answer. Very good, fantastic! Little chap Xu Zhu, your mother is my sworn-sister, quickly come here and call me 2nd uncle Yue!" his generation ranking is higher than this owner of Vulture Palace who possess superior martial arts, his joy is no laughing matter when he thought of it. Yun ZhongHe shake his head and said: "Wrong, wrong! Xu ZhuZi is the elder brother of your master, you have to call him martial uncle. I am the sworn-brother of his mother, i am two generation higher than you, quickly call me martial granduncle!" Crocodile Deity of Southern Sea was stumped for words, he spit and cursed: "Damn your grandma, old man refuse to call!"
Ye ErNiang release Xu Zhu's neck, she held onto his shoulder, looking left and right, her joy boundless, she turn her head towards XuanJi and said: "He is my son, i cannot permit you to hit him!" immediately after she said to Xu Zhu: "Which wretched swindler stole my son and cause us mother and son to separate for 24 years? Child, child, even if we have to travel till the ends of earth, we have to find this wretched swindler, hack him into thousand pieces, turn him into mincemeat, your mother cannot beat him, but my child possess outstanding martial arts, he can avenge his mother."
All of a sudden, the black-robed man who has been sitting motionless under the tree stood up, he said unhurriedly: "Your son, he was stolen or snatch away by someone? The six blood scars on your face, where did they come from?"
Ye ErNiang's expression turn grave, she shriek: "You....who are you? You...how did you know?" the black-robed man said: "Don't tell me you cannot recognize me?" Ye ErNiang shriek even louder: "Ah! It is you, it is you!" she pounce forward and rush to a spot ten feet away, suddenly she stood still, her fingers flexing, gnashing her teeth with rage, her anger has reach the extreme but she don't dare to move closer.
The black-robed man said: "Correct, i snatch your son, the 6 blood scar on your face, i scratch them." Ye ErNiang shouted: "Why? Why did you snatch my son? I am a total stranger to you, i have no hatred or enmity with you. You....you....you really make me suffer. For the past 24 years, i suffer endless torment day and night, for what purpose? Why.....why?"
The black-robed man pointed at Xu Zhu and said: "Who is the child's father?" Ye ErNiang's entire body is shaking, she said: "He....he....i cannot say." Xu Zhu is extremely agitated, he rush beside Ye ErNiang and said: "Mother, tell me, who is my father?" Ye ErNiang shake her head repeatedly and said: "I cannot say."
The black-robed man said slowly: "Ye ErNiang, originally you are a proper lady, gentle and beautiful, virtuous, dignified and chaste. But when you were 18 years old, you was seduced by a reputable martial art expert, you lost your chastity to him and gave birth to this child, correct?" Ye ErNiang remain motionless, after a long time she finally nod her head and said: "Yes. But he did not seduce me, i am the one who seduce him." the black-robed man said: "This man only care about his own reputation and future, he did not care about the plight of a young unwed mother of a child, how miserable her fate." Ye ErNiang said: "No! He cared, he gave me a lot of gold and silver, he arrange and plan for my livelihood for the rest of my life." the black-robed man said: "Then why did he let you drift around Jianghu in solitude?"
Ye ErNiang said: "I cannot marry him. How can he take me as his wife? He is a good person, he have always treated me well. I do not wish to implicate him. He....he is a good person." from her speech, evidently she is still full of longing for this lover who abandoned her, the love and affection from olden days, they are not affected by her misery, they did not fade away with time at all.
Everyone pondered: "Ye ErNiang is a well known evil doer, however she is still deeply devoted to her lover. Who is this man?"
Duan Yu, Ruan XingZhu, Hua HeGen, Fan Hua, Ba TianShi, when they heard her mention her lascivious sin from past, they cannot help but glance furtively at Duan ZhengChun, evidently they thought the identity of Ye ErNiang's lover, his temperament, his behaviour, his age, all of them similar to him. Someone recalled: "Previously the 'Four Great Evils' visit Dali, most likely they are searching for Prince ZhenNan to settle this debt." Even Duan ZhengChun himself was suspicious: "I met quite a number of ladies, don't tell me she is included as well? How come i don't recall at all? If i implicated her, even if i lose all my reputation in front of the heroes, i definitely cannot treat her unfairly. But....but....how come i cannot remember anything at all?"
The black-robed man said brightly: "The child's father is right here, why don't you point him out?" Ye ErNiang was startled, she said: "No, no! I cannot say." the black-robed man said: "Why did you burn a total of 27 incense scar on your child's waist and buttocks?" Ye ErNiang covered her face and said: "I don't know, i don't know! I beg you, don't ask me anymore."
The black-robed man's voice is still dull and flat, it seems as if he is unconcerned, he continued: "When your child was born, you want him to be a monk?" Ye ErNiang said: "No, no." the black-robed man said: "Why, then why did you burn these incense scar on him?" Ye ErNiang said: "I don't know, i don't know!" the black-robed man said brightly: "You refuse to say, but i know. Because this child's father is a Buddhist disciple, he is a reputable eminent monk."
Ye ErNiang groan out, she can't support herself anymore and fainted.
At once everyone made a huge clamour, base on Ye ErNiang's reaction, it seems the black-robed man is correct, as it turns out her secret lover is a Buddhist monk, moreover he is a reputable eminent monk. Everyone whisper to one another, discussing the identity of the monk.
Xu Zhu help Ye ErNiang up and said: "Mother, mother, wake up!" after a long time, Ye ErNiang woke up and said softly: "Child, quickly help me down the mountain. This....this man is a devil, he....he knows everything. I don't want to see him. This hatred....there is no need to avenge anymore." Xu Zhu said: "Yes, mother, let us go now."
The black-robed man said: "Wait, i have yet to finish. You don't want revenge, but i want revenge. Ye ErNiang, why did i snatch your child, you know the reason? Because....because someone snatch away my child, my family ruined, husband and wife, father and son, we cannot reunite. I did it for revenge."
Ye ErNiang said: "Someone snatch your child? You did it for revenge?"
The black-robed man said: "Correct, i snatch your child and put him inside Shaolin's vegetable garden, let Shaolin monks raise him up, teach him martial arts. My own child, someone snatch him away, he was adopted and a Shaolin monk teach him martial arts. You want to see my true identity?" he did not wait for Ye ErNiang to reply and took off his face curtain.
The crowd cry out in alarm, his face is squarish with big ears, beard overgrown, his appearance extremely formidable, he is around 60 years of age.
Xiao Feng was pleasantly surprised, he rush forward and kneel down, his voice trembling: "You...you are my father....."
The person laugh heartily and said: "Good child, good child, i am your father. We father and son have the same figure and appearance, anyone can tell straight away that i am your father." he stretch out his hands and pull open his front jacket, revealing a tattooed wolf's head, he raise his left hand and help Xiao Feng to stand up.
Xiao Feng pull open his front jacket as well, revealing a green tattooed wolf's head, mouth wide open and bearing its fang. Both of them walk shoulder to shoulder, suddenly they look up to the sky simultaneously and whistled, the sound is like violent gale and anger cry, it transmit to a distant place, even the mountain valley echoed, when the crowd of heroes heard it they cannot help but shiver with fright. The 'Eighteen riders from YanYun' pull out their blade and cry out with them together, although there are only 20 people but they exude might and power, as if they are a magnificent army of thousands men and horses.
Xiao Feng retrieve a tarpaulin package from his bosom and open it, revealing a patched white cloth, he spread it out, it is an imprint of the writings on the stone wall given to him by monk ZhiGuang, the characters written on it are all Khitan text.
The bearded old man pointed at the last few words, he smile and said: "The final words of Xiao YuanShan, the final words of Xiao YuanShan! Haha, child, that day in my grieving state i jump off the cliff to commit suicide, who would have expect, my life did not come to an end, i fell onto a branch of a large tree, unexpectedly i survived. My desire to die already dissipate, a new desire for revenge arose. That day at YanMen Pass, the heroes from Central Plains did not bother to inquire the truth, they killed your mother who did not know any martial arts. Child, tell me, should we avenge this hatred!"
Xiao Feng said: "I cannot live under the same sky with the enemies of my parents!"
Xiao YuanShan said: "Those who killed your mother, more than half of them were killed by me at the scene. The former Chief of Beggar Clan Wang JianTong contracted an illness and died, he got off lightly. But the leading 'Big culprit', he is still healthy and alive till now. Child, tell me, what should we do?"
Xiao Feng said unhurriedly: "This person was deceived by a rumour, it was not his original intention. He already confess and repent. Moreover, father you are alive and well today, child is extremely hearten, let us just write off this hatred with one stroke."
Xiao YuanShan gave a long sigh and shouted: "How can i write it off with one stroke!" his gaze electrifying, one by one he scan the face of the crowd of heroes.
When the crowd of heroes lock gaze with him they felt as if they are in danger, although they have absolutely no relations with the matter at YanMen Pass, but seeing Xiao YuanShan's expression, nobody dare to move or even give out the slightest bit of sound for fear of inviting trouble.
Xiao YuanShan said: "Child, that day your mother and i carried you to visit your maternal grandmother, unexpectedly when we reach YanMen Pass, 10 martial art experts suddenly jump out and killed our entourage. Great Song haven deep hatred towards Khitan, it is not strange for them to kill each other, however these warriors have been waiting in ambush, obviously it was premeditated. Child, do you know the underlying reason?"
Xiao Feng said: "They obtained news and mistakenly believe that a Khitan warrior is coming to Shaolin to seize martial art manuals, after that he will return to Liao nation and prepare to invade Great Song, thus they carried out the ambush and killed my mother."
Xiao YuanShan laugh bitterly and said: "Hei hei, hei hei! I did not have any intention to seize martial art manuals from Shaolin, they accuse me wrongly. Fine, fine! Xiao YuanShan will carry it through since it started, since they accuse me, i will simply do it for them to see. For the past 30 years, Xiao YuanShan has been hiding in Shaolin, i look through all their martial art manuals till hearts content. Senior monks from Shaolin, if you are capable you can come here and kill Xiao YuanShan, if not the martial arts of Shaolin will surely spread across Great Liao. It will be too late if you try to attempt another ambush at YanMen Pass."
When the crowd of Shaolin monks heard it, they were overwhelmed with shock, mostly like his speech is not false, if the martial arts of Shaolin spread into Liao nation it would be like a tiger that has grown wings, what should they do? Along with the rest of the crowd of heroes, they pondered: "No matter what we definitely cannot let this man leave the mountain alive!"
Xiao Feng said: "Father, at that time the leading big brother killed my mother, it is due to misunderstanding, although he was impulsive but he did not deliberately commit evil. However there is another evil person, he killed my foster parents the Qiao couple, my reputation became tainted, father do you know who is the person?"
Xiao YuanShan laugh and said: "Child, i killed the Qiao couple!"
Xiao Feng had a huge shock, his voice trembled: "Father, you killed them? Why.....why?"
Xiao YuanShan said: "You are my biological child, husband, wife and son, the whole family united together, can you imagine the happiness? But these southern warriors treat us Khitans as lower than pigs and dogs, they kill us for no reason, they stole my son and gave him to someone else, become other people's son. The Qiao couple pretend to be your parents, since they take away my family bliss and they never told you the truth, then they deserve to die."
Xiao Feng heart turn sour, he said: "My foster parents treat me extremely well, both of them are very good people. That being the case, the one who set fire on Dan household, murdered grandma Tan, Zhao QianSun, etc, it was......"
Xiao YuanShan said: "Correct! I did it. Although master ZhiGuang died, but i still strike his 'Taiyang acupoint' to vent my anger. These people knew the leading big brother who killed your mother, but they refuse to say, each and every one of them shielded him, don't tell me they don't deserve to die?"
Xiao Feng was speechless, he pondered: "The 'Great evil person' i have been tracking down all along, it turns out to be my father, this...what should i say?" he said slowly: "Shaolin Master XuanKu instructed me in martial arts, 10 years of effort, my achievements today is entirely due to revered teacher's training....." he lowered his head, his eyes tearful.
Xiao YuanShan said: "These southern martial artists are devious and treacherous, how can they be good? I killed XuanKu with a single palm."
The crowd of Shaolin monks chanted in unison: "Buddha is merciful, Buddha is merciful!" their voice full of grief ad indignation, although they have yet to step forward to challenge Xiao YuanShan, but their chanting already contain deep sorrow and anguish, it already embodied their determination, they will not let the matter rest.
Xiao YuanShan continued: "Among the people who killed my beloved wife and snatch away my only son, there is the Chief of Beggar Clan, there are also experts from Shaolin, hei hei, they only hope to cover this bloody sin forever, turn my son into a Han Chinese, make my son take the enemy as master, succeed the enemy and become the Chief of Beggar Clan. Hei hei, child, after i land a palm on XuanKu, i hide myself nearby, soon after i saw you paying respect to that bald thief. XuanKu saw the resemblance in us father and son, he assume it was you who hit him, even that young Buddhist monk cannot differentiate between us father and son. Child, we Khitan endured injustice and their bullying, do you think it is enough?"
Xiao Feng finally understood, why at that time when Master XuanKu saw him, unexpectedly he was so startled, why that young Buddhist monk adamantly accuse him of killing XuanKu. Who would have expect the true killer to be someone who bear strong resemblance with him, linked closely by flesh and blood?
Xiao Feng said: "Since father killed these people, then there is no difference from me killing them, it seems i did not bear this bad reputation in vain."
Xiao YuanShan said: "The chief evil who lead the ambush at YanMen Pass, the one who destroyed my family, i have investigated everything clearly. If i kill him with a single palm, won't he get off too lightly? Ye ErNiang, wait!"
He saw Ye ErNiang holding onto Xu Zhu, step by step they are walking further away, at once he shouted out to stop her: "Who help to deliver your child, if you refuse to say then i will say it. I hide beside Shaolin for so many years, i enter the temple every night, which matter can escape my eyes? Both of you meet at Ziyun Cave, he ask grandma Qiao to deliver your child, various kind of affairs, i need to narrate everything in full details?"
Ye ErNiang turn around, she rush several steps towards Xiao YuanShan, knelt down and said: "Old hero Xiao, you are humane and righteousness, please be magnanimous, spare me, spare him. My child and your son are sworn brothers, he....he...he have great reputation in the martial arts fraternity, his status and position....he is so old already, if you want to kill then please kill me only, don't.....please don't trouble him."
Previously the crowd heard Xiao YuanShan mentioned Xu Zhu's father is a 'reputable eminent monk', now Ye ErNiang said his reputation is great, his status and position extremely high, putting the descriptions together, could it be this person is an eminent monk from Shaolin? Everyone cannot help but gaze towards the white-haired old monks from Shaolin.
Suddenly abbot XuanCi said: "Excellent, excellent! Since there is a cause, then there must be a resolution. Xu Zhu, come over here!" Xu Zhu walk towards abbot XuanCi and kneel down. XuanCi scrutinize him for a long time, he stretch out his hands to caress Xu Zhu's head gently, his face tender and loving, he said: "You have been in the temple for 24 years, unexpectedly i did not know you are my son!"
When he finish speaking the crowd of monks and heroes made a huge clamour. Everyone had looks of being flabbergasted, appalled, disgust, anger, fear, pity, all sorts of expression, it is really hard to describe. Abbot XuanCi is a person of high moral standings and reputation, everyone admire and respect him very much, who would have imagine him to commit such act? The disturbance went on for half of the day before coming to a rest.
XuanCi said unhurriedly, his voice still serene and calm like normal: "Senior Xiao shizhu, you were separated from your son for 30 years, you cannot meet him, however you knew his martial art is excellent, his reputation soaring, he is a first class hero, in your heart you must certainly be comforted. I get to see my son every day, however i thought he was taken away by some ruffian, his life and death unknown, i worry day and night."
Ye ErNiang cried: "If....if you didn't say it, won't....won't it be better? What to do now?" XuanCi said tenderly: "ErNiang, i already commit the evil deed, it is too late to go back, it is useless to cover up the truth. All these years, you have suffer much!" Ye ErNiang weep: "No! You suffer in silence, unable to voice it out, that is true suffering."
XuanCi shake his head slowly, he said: "Senior Xiao shizhu, the battle at YanMen Pass, old monk made a huge mistake. My brothers forgave me for this matter but one by one they lost their lives. Previously old monk tie my hands and voluntary seek death, i intend to let your esteemed son kill me to avenge his mother, however your esteemed son is benevolent, he refuse to kill old monk and let me live till today. Today, old monk voluntary seek death again, it is truly long overdue." suddenly he raised his voice and said: "Murong Bo senior Murong shizu, at that time you spread false information, you claim a Khitan warrior is carrying out a large scale attack to seize Shaolin's martial art manuals, eventually this led to all kinds of sin, have you ever felt a twinge of guilt and regret?"
Everyone heard him say the name 'Murong Bo', they was startled. The crowd knew that Gentleman Murong's father had a single name 'Bo', however he died a long time ago, how come XuanCi suddenly call out his name? Could it be the person who spread false information is Murong Bo? Everyone follow the direction of his gaze, however his pair of eyes are focusing on the grey-robed monk sitting under the tree.
The grey-robed monk gave a long laugh, he stood up and said: "Great master abbot, your eyesight is terrific, unexpectedly you recognize me." he pull away his face curtain, revealing his lively and refined features and long drooping white eyebrows.
Murong Fu was pleasantly surprised, he shouted out: "Father, you....you are still alive?" countless questions bubble forth: Why did father fake his death? Why did he conceal it even from his own son?
XuanCi said: "Senior Murong shizu, i known you for many years, i respect your character deeply. That day you inform of this matter, old monk firmly believe you without any doubt. Later on i accidentally injure a good person, from then on old monk never saw you again. Afterwards i receive news of your death due to illness, old monk felt deep sorrow and lament, i assume you and i are the same, we mistakenly believe someone else's false information, ultimately leading to numerous sins, thus you died early due to guilt, who would have expect.....sigh!" his deep sigh embodied boundless regret and condemnation.
Xiao YuanShan and Xiao Feng look at each other, only until now, both father and son finally got hold of the identity of the person who spread false news, the person who instigated the matter and created the disaster, unexpectedly it is Murong Bo. Xiao Feng pondered: "The disaster at YanMen Pass, although abbot XuanCi is the leader, but he is Shaolin's abbot, he is duty bound to protect Great Song and the martial art manuals of his temple. Later on when he discovered the mistake, he did his utmost to atone for it. The true evil person, it is Murong Bo not XuanCi."
When Murong Fu heard XuanCi's speech, he understood immediately: "Father spread the false news, it is to incite a big battle between Song and Liao, eventually leading to war between Song and Liao, my Great Yan can then take advantage from within. After the event, XuanCi will inevitably seek my father out to question him. Since father cannot defend himself, his status as a great hero, a towering figure, he cannot admit the matter and destroy his lifelong illustrious reputation. He knew abbot XuanCi's temperament, if he die then XuanCi will never disclose the truth behind the matter and damage his reputation after death." immediately after he had another thought: "After father's death, Murong family's reputation is unaffected, i can still continue the great undertaking to restore Great Yan. If not, the heroes of Central Plains will surely treat Murong family as the enemy, it is difficult to even survive let alone gather forces to restore Yan nation. Thus, at that time, he definitely have to fake death. It seems that father is afraid of my youthful vigour, i will inevitably give the game away, thus he concealed his death from me. Other than mother, i am afraid even elder brother Deng and the others are kept in the dark as well."
XuanCi said unhurriedly: "Senior Murong shizu, today old monk heard you advising your esteemed son, unexpectedly your Gusu Murong family is the descendant of monarch, hatching a grand scheme. The true purpose of spreading false news, it became apparent right away. However your grand scheme, ultimately it is difficult to achieve, aren't you causing the death of many innocent lives in vain?"
Murong Bo said coldly: "Man propose but heaven dispose!"
XuanCi's expression is compassionate, he said: "My junior martial brother XuanBei, he receive orders from me to inquire the matter from you, perhaps his speech offended you, or he found out some clues at your home and deduced your intention to revolt, thus you killed him to prevent him from divulging the secret." Murong Bo laugh and did not reply.
XuanCi continued: "But you killed Ke BaiSui, Ke shizu, why?"
Murong Bo laugh darkly and said: "Senior abbot is incomparably astute, you rarely step out of your temple main gate but you know all the matters in Jianghu like the back of your hand, i admire you greatly. I want you to make a guess for this matter....." he have yet to finish when two men bellowed simultaneously and pounce towards him, its 'Golden Abacus' Cui BaiQuan and his martial nephew Guo YanZhi. Murong Bo brush his sleeve, both Cui and Guo were thrown several zhang away, they lie down on the floor and remain motionless, unexpectedly both of them was hit by his [Finger Within The Sleeve].
XuanCi said: "Ke shizu is rich and powerful, his conduct cautious. En, you recruit solders and horses, accumulate wealth and stockpile grains, you settled on Ke shizhu's property, you want to recruit him and make him take up Murong's 'Yan banner'. Ke shizhu refused, maybe he even try to report you to the authorities."
Murong Bo laugh heartily, he stick out his thumb and said: "Senior abbot is amazing, amazing! But it is a pity, you are able to see the minute details but you fail to see the major issues. Elder brother Xiao and i hide beside your noble temple for so many years, unexpectedly you remain completely ignorant about it."
XuanCi shake his head slowly, he sigh and said: "It is easy to understand others, but difficult to understand oneself. It is not easy to subdue an enemy, but to subdue the greed, anger and delusion in one's heart, the three poison, it is incomparably difficult."
Murong Bo said: "Senior abbot, base on our former friendship, i will speak forthright and not hide anything from you. What else you wish to inquire?"
XuanCi said: "The Vice-Chief of Beggar Clan Ma DaYuan, Madam Ma, Clan Elder Xu ChongXiao, Clan Elder Bai ShiJing, four of them, senior Murong shizhu did you kill them, or they were killed by senior Xiao shizu?"
Xiao Feng said: "Madam Ma and Bao ShiJing conspired together to kill Ma DaYuan, Elder Xu was killed by both of them as well, Bai ShiJing was killed by his own clan member when they tidy up clan affair, Madam Ma died during the tidying of clan affair as well. As for the details, Prince Duan from Dali and Beggar Clan's Elder Zhu saw and heard everything. If abbot wish to know the details you may find out from both of them later."
Xiao YuanShan took two steps forward, he point at Murong Bo and shouted: "Old thief Murong, previously i traded palm 3 times with you, i deeply regret not knowing you true colours, i did not kill you. Come over here to receive death!"
Murong Bo gave a long laugh and leap swiftly up the mountain. Xiao YuanShan and Xiao Feng shouted: "Chase!" they chase after him separately from left and right. The 3 of them had reached the pinnacle of martial arts, in a blink of an eye they already move far away. Murong Fu shouted: "Father, father!" he followed and chase as well. His lightness martial art is excellent, however it appear insignificant when compared to the 3 experts. Murong Bo, Xiao YuanShan and Xiao Feng, 1 in front and 2 behind, unexpectedly the 3 of them are running towards Shaolin Temple. A grey shadow and two black shadow, in a split second they vanished behind the yellow walls and glazed tiles of Shaolin Temple.
The crowd was greatly surprised, they pondered: "The martial arts of Murong Bo and Xiao YuanShan are on par with each other, in addition their sons are assisting as well, Murong family will lose for sure. How come Murong Bo did not run down the mountain to escape, on the contrary he enter Shaolin Temple?"
Deng BaiChuan, GongYe Gan, Bao BuTong, Feng BoE, as well as 18 Khitan warriors, they want to run up the mountain to assist their master, when they are just about to move, XuanJi shouted out: "Deploy the formation and stop them!" around a hundred Shaolin monks chorus, row after row they block the road up the mountain, their staff or blade held horizontally, they prevent anyone from advancing. XuanJi said in a stern voice: "Shaolin Temple is a sacred Buddhist site, it is not a place for private fights. Shizhu, please do not enter without permission."
Deng BaiChuan and the rest saw their impressive power, they knew they cannot break through, although they are concern about their master but they have no choice but to stop. Bao BuTong said: "Correct, correct! Shaolin Temple is a sacred Buddhist site......" all along he always begin with "not true, not true!", unexpectedly he change to "correct, correct!", those who knew him were flabbergasted, however Bao BuTong continued: "...a sacred site for raising illegitimate child!"
When he finish speaking, several hundred pair of angry eyes shoot towards him. Bao BuTong is reckless, he is fully aware there are many martial art experts among Shaolin monks, he is certainly no match for any of the monks from 'Xuan' generation, he have always been blunt and forthright, he never consider the consequence before speaking. Several hundred Shaolin monks glare at him angrily, he also glare back angrily, his eyes unblinking.
XuanCi said brightly: "Old monk broke a major prohibition and brought disgrace to Shaolin's clear reputation. Junior martial brother XuanJi, base on our temple's regulation, what is the punishment?" XuanJi said: "This.....martial brother....." XuanCi said: "A nation has its own law, a family has its own regulation. Regardless of which sect, school, clan or temple, they will inevitably produce some unworthy disciples. To maintain a clear reputation, it is not to hope nobody will ever break the rules, but to enforce the law and administer justice, no tolerance to any evil deeds. Law enforcement monk, administer 130 rods on Xu Zhu, 100 rods for his own sin, 30 rods for which he willingly accept in place of his master HuiLun."
The law enforcement monk look at XuanJi. XuanJi nod his head. Xu Zhu is already kneeling down to receive punishment. At once the law enforcement monk lifted his rod, rod after rod it landed on Xu Zhu's back and buttocks, his flesh lacerated from the punishment, blood splatter in all direction. Ye ErNiang felt her heart ached, however she is fearful of XuanCi's strict manner, she don't dare to plea for leniency.
With great difficulty 130 rod was completed, Xu Zhu did not use his internal energy to resist, he was in so much pain that he can't stand on his feet. XuanCi said: "From now on, you are expelled from the monastic order, you are not a Shaolin monk anymore." Xu Zhu shed tears and said: "Yes!"
XuanCi continued: "XuanCi commit lascivious act, he commit the same sin as Xu Zhu, his punishment is doubled due to his capacity as Shaolin's abbot. Even if Bao shizhu did not say it, Shaolin's regulation will definitely not let him off lightly. Law enforcement monk, punish XuanCi heavily with 200 rods. Shaolin's clear reputation is of top priority, there cannot be any leeway." when he finish speaking he crouch down on the ground, facing the distant Buddha statue at Shaolin's Hall of Great Strength, he lifted his monk robe, revealing his bare back.
The crowd of heroes look at each other in dismay, Shaolin's abbot being punished in public, it is truly horrifying, it greatly go against convention.
XuanJi said: "Martial brother, you......" XuanCi said sternly: "Shaolin's hundred years of clear reputation, how can it be spoiled by me?" XuanJi said tearfully: "Yes! Law enforcement monk, administer the rod."
Two law enforcement monk put their palms together, bow and said: "Abbot, please pardon our offense." at once they stood upright, lifted the punishment rod and strike towards XuanCi's back. Both monk knew that when XuanCi is being punished, the most painful feeling is not due to physical pain, but the pain of being humiliated in front of everybody, if they hold back while striking bystanders will be able to detect it and it will become a matter for gossip, then abbot XuanCi would have suffer humiliation for nothing, thus they did not hold back and strike forcefully, 'Pa Pa' sound, in a short period of time XuanCi's back and buttocks are riddled with rod scar, blood splattering on his monk robe. The crowd of monks listen to the law enforcement monk counting of rods, they lowered their head and pray to Buddha in silence.
Pudu Temple's Master DaoQing said abruptly: "Senior martial brother XuanCi, your esteem temple values monastic discipline, abbot receiving punishment in public, i really admire very much. But senior martial brother XuanCi is old, moreover you refuse to use your internal energy to protect your body, you cannot withstand this 200 rods. I may be presumptuous but let me make a suggestion, since we already administer 80 rods, we will take note of the remaining rods and administer another day, it will not violate your esteem temple's monastic discipline." a large number of people shouted out: "Correct, correct, we wish to ask for this favour as well."
XuanJi have yet to reply as XuanCi said brightly: "Many thanks for everyone's good intention, but our temple's monastic discipline is unshakeable like a mountain, there cannot be any leeway. Law enforcement monk, quickly employ the rod." the two law enforcement monks already suspend the punishment, when they heard the abbot's firm speech, they have no choice but to carry on hitting. They administered another 40 rods, XuanCi cannot withstand anymore, his pair of hands soften and his face touch the ground.
Ye ErNiang cried: "You cannot blame abbot for this matter, it is all my fault! My father had a serious illness, great master abbot visit us to provide treatment, he saved my father's life. I was grateful towards him, admire him, a woman from a poor family unable to return the favour, thus i gave myself to him. I was young, silly and ignorant, i did not realize my mistake, it is my fault. The....the....the remaining rod, let me receive it!" while weeping and shouting, she rush forward to lean on XuanCi's body to receive the rod on his behalf.
XuanCi pointed with his left finger, with a light 'Chi' sound, he sealed her acupoint, he smile and said: "Silly woman, you are not a Buddhist nun, you did not break any prohibition, where is the sin?" Ye ErNiang lie down on the ground, unable to move, tears streaming down her eyes.
XuanCi shouted: "Administer the rod!" with great difficulty 200 rod was complete, blood flowing all over the ground, XuanCi forcefully summoned a mouthful of inner energy to protect his heart so as to avoid fainting due to the pain. The two law enforcement monks held the rod vertically and said to XuanJi: "Reporting to head-monk, abbot XuanCi's punishment is done." XuanJi nod his head, he don't know what to say.
XuanCi struggled to stand up, he said: "XuanCi violated a major Buddhist prohibition, he cannot be the abbot of Shaolin anymore, from now on, the abbot position will be held by the head-monk of Discipline Courtyard XuanJi." XuanJi step forward, he put his palms together and bow, tears streaming down his eyes, he said: "I receive the decree."
XuanCi directed his finger at Ye ErNiang and pointed, he want to undo her sealed acupoint, unexpectedly it is difficult to condense internal energy due to his serious injury, his finger had no effect at all. Xu Zhu saw the situation, he quickly rush forward to undo his mother's acupoint. XuanCi beckon both of them over, Ye ErNiang and Xu Zhu move beside him. Xu Zhu was in turmoil, he did not know if he should address him as "father" or "abbot".
XuanCi stretch out his hands, right hand holding onto Ye ErNiang's wrist, left hand holding onto Xu Zhu, he said: "For the past 20 years, every day every night, my heart worry for both mother and child, i committed a huge sin, but i don't dare to confess to my fellow brothers, today i finally free myself, henceforth i have no fear or worry, my heart is at peace." he said a Buddhist verse: "One's time on earth, there is desire and affection, worries and hardship, to free oneself is happiness!" when he finish speaking he close his eyes slowly, his face revealed a peaceful smile.
Ye ErNiang and Xu Zhu don't dare to move, they are unsure if he have more to say, however they felt his palm getting colder. Ye ErNiang had a huge shock, she stretch out her hand to check his breath, unexpectedly he died, she shouted out: "You....you....how can you abandon me and leave?" suddenly she leap up in the air, her body falling down from mid-air, with a 'Peng' sound she landed beside XuanCi's feet, she twitch a few time and stop moving altogether.
Xu Zhu shouted: "Mother, mother! You....you....you must not......" he stretch out his hands to support his mother, however he saw a dagger stuck at the pit of her stomach, only the handle is exposed, most likely she died as well. Xu Zhu sealed the acupoints around her wound quickly, at the same time he channel his internal energy into XuanCi's body, he was flustered, he desire to bring both of them back to life simultaneously. Xue MuHua rush forward to assist, however he saw their heart and breathing had ceased, there is no hope, he advised: "My condolence to martial uncle. You cannot save these two senior anymore."
Xu Zhu refuse to give up, he channelled his [Pure Energy of Northern Darkness] for a long time, but where is the least bit of activity from them? Xu Zhu's sorrow burst forth, he cannot help but sob loudly. For the past 24 years, he thought he was an orphan with no father and mother, he never get to experience the slightest bit of family bliss, today he finally found his biological parents, however the reunion was less than an hour and both of them died miserably.
Initially when the crowd of heard that Xu Zhu's father is Shaolin's abbot XuanCi, everyone felt that he did not abide monastic regulation, they despise him greatly, but later when he allowed himself to be punished in public to preserve Shaolin's clear reputation, his bravery is truly extraordinary, such heavy punishment should be enough to make up for his moment of folly. Unexpectedly when he completed the corporal punishment and hand over the abbot's position, he immediately severe his own meridian channels. Originally his death would have ended all trouble, he should have seek death early and not reveal his lascivious act, avoid the humiliation of 200 rods, however he refused to cover his past sin and insist on suffering the punishment of rods for the sake of protecting Shaolin's clear reputation, its truly the conduct of a great hero and great man. The crowd respected his character and conduct, a lot of people walk forward and bow at his corpse in respect.
Crocodile Deity of Southern Sea said: "2nd sister, you are dead now, Yue LaoSan won't fight with you for the ranking anymore, you can simply be number two." he step forward and kowtow at Ye ErNiang's corpse. For the past few years, he will do anything to fight for supremacy with Ye ErNiang, he hope to surpass her in martial arts and occupy the position of "Number Two Evil Under the Heaven", unexpectedly he willingly cede the position to her, it is truly not easy for him but because he is devastated by her death and he also admired her courage to sacrifice her life for a noble cause.
Chapter - 43 Great Ambition to Rule, Sea of Blood Deep In Hatred, Everything Return to Dust
Beggar Clan members rush to Shaolin, their ambition lofty, they relied solely on their Clan Chief's deep and unfathomable martial arts to seize the title of 'Supreme Leader of Martial Arts Fraternity', henceforth Beggar Clan will overwhelm Shaolin and become the sole leader of the martial arts circle. Unexpectedly Chief Zhuang took Ding ChunQiu as his master, later both his legs broken by Xiao Feng, everyone felt their enthusiasm dull, their expression lifeless, only those who still revere their former Chief Qiao Feng were secretly delighted.
Elder Wu said loudly: "Brothers, we staying here for what? Don't tell me you still want to ask for cold rice and leftovers from meal? Let us leave now!" the crowd of beggars respond loudly, they turn around and walk down the mountain.
Suddenly Bao BuTong said loudly: "Wait, wait! I have something to inform Beggar Clan." Elder Chen fought with him and Feng BoE at Wuxi before, he knew this person does not have anything good to say, he stamped his right feet and said: "The one surnamed Bao, if you have something to say just say it out, if you have fart then just let it out!" Bao BuTong pinch his nose and said: "It stinks, it stinks. Hey, the beggar who farts, is there an old man called Yi DaBiao in your clan?"
When Elder Chen heard him mention Yi DaBiao, his eyes brighten immediately, he said: "So what if he exist? So what if he does not exist?" Bao BuTong said: "I am talking to a beggar who farts, since you respond then you admit you are letting off smelly fart?" Elder Chen is more concerned about major clan matters, why would he even get into dispute with such unrelated stuff, he said: "I ask you, what happen to Yi DaBiao? He is a disciple of our clan, he was dispatched to Western Xia to carry out some work, sire you have news pertaining to him?" Bao BuTong said: "I was about to tell you a major event that happen in Western Xia, but unfortunately Yi DaBiao met the King of Hell a long time ago!" Elder Chen said: "Is it true? May i ask what major event is happening in Western Xia?" Bao BuTong said: "You scold me and claim my words are like fart, now i don't want to fart anymore."
Elder Chen is angry, his white beard float around, however he knew the matter is of grave importance, he laugh out loud and said: "Sire i offended you with my speech just now, old man offer his apologies." Bao BuTong said: "No need to apologise, in the future just fart more and talk less." Elder Chen was stumped for words, he pondered: "What is he talking about?" currently he have something to ask from him, he is unwilling to engage in meaningless debate, he smile faintly and did not reply. Bao BuTong said: "It stinks, it stinks! This won't do." Elder Chen said: "What won't do?" Bao BuTong said: "You refuse to speak, you cannot release your anger, naturally you have to look for another outlet." Elder Chen pondered: "This person is truly difficult to deal with. I offended him with just one sentence, he persist and debate endlessly with incoherent speech. The best thing for me to do is to remain silent, if not he will keep on spouting nonsense and not mention the main topic." he smile faintly again and did not reply.
Bao BuTon shake his head and said: "Not true, not true! You seek an argument with me, you are wrong to the extreme!" Elder Chen smile and said: "I did not open my mouth, how did i argue with sire?" Bao BuTong said: "You did not speak, only keep farting, naturally you don't have to open your mouth." Elder Chen purse his brows and said: "Ashamed."
Bao BuTong saw him yield repeatedly, he already occupy all the advantage, he said: "Since you open your mouth to speak then you are not seeking to argue with me. Fine i will tell you. Half a month ago, our young master, elder brother Deng, 2nd brother GongYe, etc, we met a group of beggars inside a forest at Gan Liangdao, each and every one of them dead and laying on the ground, some had their heads and body parts at different places, some had their abdomen ruptured and intestines spilling out, extremely pitiful! All of them are carrying pouches, some carrying three, some carrying four, some five, some six!" Elder Chen said: "I presume they must brothers from our clan?" Bao BuTong said: "When i saw these group of old chaps, they have been dead for quite some time already, i don't know if they have drunk grandma Meng's soup, or been to 'Gazing hometown platform', or which hall they are standing trial in at King of Hell's 10 hall. Since they cannot speak, naturally i cannot ask for their honourable name, where is their hometown, which sect or clan they belong to, how did they die. If not when they turn into ghost they will surely say: If you have something to say just say it out, if you have fart then fart less! Won't i suffer injustice in vain?" When Elder Chen heard the news of death of his fellow brothers from Beggar Clan, he is extremely concerned, he cannot remain silent but he also don't dare to rebut, he said: "Brother Bao is correct!"
Bao BuTong shake his head and said: "Not true, not true! The one surnamed Bao look down upon people who parrot the words of others, you may say 'Brother Bao is correct', but in your heart you are cursing 'turtle son of a *****', this is called silent curse, such is the conduct of shameless people like XingXiu disciples. For real man, yes is yes, no is no, other people may have their views but he himself has his own opinion, if i reflect on myself and find myself to be right, then even if it be an army of hundred thousands, i will still go forward! Brave and unconventional, standing out from common crowd, that is a true hero! This should be the proper conduct of heroes from Beggar Clan!" he lectured Elder Chen again and finally said: "However there is still an old chap who have yet to die from his injuries, although he didn't die but he is not far from death. We attempt to treat his injuries but it was in vain. He said his name is Yi DaBiao, he just return from Western Xia bearing an official notice from the Emperor of Western Xia, the matter is of grave importance, thus he entrust it to us to deliver it to his Clan's Elders."
Elder Lu pondered: "Brother Chen already offended this person in his speech, it is better for me to step forth and negotiate." he step forward, clasped his hands and said: "Mr Bao delivered the news for the sake of justice, everyone in our clan feel your great kindness." Bao BuTong said: "Not true, not true! Maybe not everyone from your clan can feel my great kindness." Elder Lu was startled, he said: "What makes Mr Bao say so?" Bao BuTong pointed at You TanZhi and said: "Your clan chief, not only does he not appreciate my kindness, on the contrary he hates me to the extreme!" Elder Lu and Elder Chen said in unison: "What is the reason? Mr Bao please advice."
Bao BuTong said: "Before Yi DaBiao died, he said the group was murdered by their own Clan Chief Zhuang, because they are unconvinced of the youngster becoming their Clan Chief, thus he dispatch men to kill, alas, pitiful, pitiful. Yi DaBiao beg us to deliver this information, he wants Elder Wu and the other Elders to be vigilant and guard against him."
When Bao BuTong finish speaking, the crowd of beggars immediately made a huge din. Elder Wu move quickly towards You TanZhi and shout sternly: "His words true or false?"
You TanZhu's legs was broken by Xiao Feng, he remain seated on the ground, wordless and motionless, he secretly channel his internal energy to relive the pain, suddenly he heard Bao BuTong reveal his secret, he cannot help but feel terrified, afterwards he heard Elder Wu's stern voice, he shouted: "Quan....Quan GuanQing ask me to relay the orders, nothing....nothing to do with me."
Elder Wu is unwilling to air dirty linen of his clan in public, he glare ferociously at Quan GuanQing and pondered: "This debt, it is not too late to settle later." he said to Bao BuTong: "The official document that brother Yi DaBiao gave to mister, i wonder if mister brought it along?" Bao BuTong shake his head and said: "No!" Elder Wu's complexion change slightly, he pondered: "You spoke for a long time but still refuse to hand over the document, aren't you wasting everyone's time for amusement?"
Bao BuTong clasped his hands and said: "Yi DaBiao's urgent message, i already delivered it. Life is precious, everyone please be careful. Hope to meet again someday." when he finish speaking he turn around and walk away.
Elder Wu said hastily: "The official document from Western Xia, why you refuse to hand it over?" Bao BuTong said: "This is really strange! How you know Yi DaBiao pass on the document to me? Where is the logic in using the phrase 'hand it over'? Don't tell me you personally witness the event that day?"
Elder Wu restrain his anger with great difficulty, he said: "Moments ago brother Bao said, brother Yi DaBiao return from Western Xia bearing an official document from the Emperor of Western Xia, he request brother Bao to deliver it to our clan's Elders. Many people here heard you, how come brother Bao suddenly renege on your words?"
Bao BuTong shake his head and said: "Not true, not true! I never said such thing." he saw Elder Wu's change countenance, he said: "Beggar Clan's Elders are famed to be true men, unexpectedly they have the cheek to distort the truth in public, confuse right and wrong, aren't you spoiling your lifetime of good reputation?"
Lu, Song, Chen, Wu, four Elders glance at each other quickly, their expression extremely ugly, they waver indefinitely, should they turn hostile and fight him immediately, or should they endure temporary. Elder Chen said: "Since sire said so, then there is nothing we can do, the public will judge who is right and wrong, relying on sharp tongue, twisting words and false argument, in the end it will be useless." Bao BuTong said: "Not true, not true! You said relying on sharp tongue is useless, but how come Su Qin relied on his sharp tongue and gain the respect of six nation? How Zhang Yi with his gift of the gab, carrying out the Horizontal Alliance, helping Qin to annex the six nation?" Elder Lu heard him digressing further and further away from the main topic, he laugh bitterly and said: "If Mr Bao is born during the Warring States period, you achievements would have long surpass Su and Zhang, gaining the respect of seven nation or even eight nation."
Bao BuTong said: "You are mocking me for being born at the wrong time, a lousy fate? Fine, from now on if the one surnamed Bao met with any misfortune, headache or fever, back pain or foot ache, cough or cold, you will be held accountable."
Elder Chen said angrily: "Brother Bao what is your true intention, please reveal it forthrightly." Bao BuTong said: "En, you are very impatient. Elder Chen, that day at Wuxi's apricot forest, you and my 4th brother Feng had a contest of martial arts, you carried a big cloth sack, the big cloth sack contains only big scorpion, the big scorpion's tail had a even bigger venomous sting, when the sting pierce into a person a big poisonous blister will appear, big poisonous blister can kill a person's small life, correct or not?" Elder Chen pondered: "He can easily explain in one short sentence, what big or small, making a huge fuss." he replied: "Yes."
Bao BuTong said: "Very good, i will make a bet with you. If you win, i will tell you the information that old beggar brought from Western Xia; but if i win, then you have to give me the big cloth sack, the big scorpion in the big cloth sack, as well as the small bottle containing the antidote for the scorpion's poison, give everything to me. You want to bet or not?" Elder Chen said: "Brother Bao, what you wish to bet?" Bao BuTong said: "Your clan's Elder Lu frame me for stealing, he claim i said the official document which Yi DaBiao brought from Western Xia should be delivered to Beggar clan's Elders. In reality i never say such things at all, both of us will make a bet. If i really said it, then you win. If i never said it, then i win."
Elder Chen glance quickly at Elder Lu, Song and Wu, three of them nod their heads, their intention similar: "Thousands of people bear witness, no matter how he argue, ultimately it is hard to deny. Just bet with him!" Elder Chen said: "Fine, i will bet with Brother Bao! But i wonder how Brother Bao is going to prove who win or lose? Are you going to invite a few people of good moral standings and virtue to be the impartial judge?"
Bao BuTong shake his head and said: "Not true, not true! You want a few people to be the impartial judge, even if we elect 18 judges, don't tell me other than these 18, the rest of the thousand heroes here, none of them have good moral standings or high virtues? If they don't have good moral standings and virtue, then it means they are despicable and lowly scoundrels? You humiliate all the heroes of the current age, you Beggar clan is a bit too rude."
Elder Chen said: "Brother Bao likes to make fun of people, i definitely don't have this intention. Base on Brother Bao's opinion, what should we do?" Bao BuTong said: "What is right and wrong, they can be decided with just one sentence, let me analyse for you. Bring it here!" he stretch out his hands. Elder Chen said: "What?" Bao BuTong said: "Cloth sack, scorpion, antidote!" Elder Chen said: "Brother Bao have yet to prove anything, how come you won?" Bao BuTong said: "I am afraid once you lose you will deny and refuse to hand it over." Elder Chen laugh and said: "Only a simple poison, how can it be important? Since Brother Bao wants it then i will offer it immediately, why the need to bet?" Elder Chen removed one of the cloth sack he is carrying, he took out a small porcelain bottle from his bosom and handed both items over.
Bao BuTong took it unabashedly, he open the cloth sack and peer inside it, he saw 7-8 flower mottled scorpions, he close the sack quickly and said: "Now i will show you the evidence, why i won and you lost." he undo his belt and shake his sleeves, he emptied all the items he is carrying, other than a few silvers, flint, etc, there is nothing else. Elder Lu, Song, Chen and Wu don't understand his motive, their expression vacant. Bao BuTong said: "2nd brother, show them the document you are holding."
GongYe Gan is worried about the safety of Murong Bo and his son, however he cannot break through the ' Great Luohan Formation', he can only worry helplessly, he took out the official document and held it in his hand. The crowd look at the document, the document is made of yellow paper and embossed with a cinnabar stamp, the document is packed densely with foreign text, although it is difficult to determine its authenticity but it does not appear to be fake.
Bao BuTong said: "I said previously, Yi DaBiao gave a official document to us, he request us to deliver it to Beggar clan's Elders. Correct or not?" Elder Lu, Song, Chen and Wu heard him admitting this matter again. They said happily: "Precisely." Bao BuTong said: "However Elder Lu pointed at me and insisted Yi DaBiao gave the document to me, ask me to deliver it to Beggar Clan's Elder. Correct or not?" The four Elders said in unison: "Yes, what is wrong with that?"
Bao BuTong shake his head and said: "Wrong, wrong! Very wrong, absolutely wrong! The slightest difference leads to a huge error! I said 'us', Elder Lu said 'me'. 'Us' means the group of people from Murong family, including Gentleman Murong, brother Deng, 2nd brother GongYe, 4th brother Feng, Bao BuTong, there is also Miss Wang. As for 'me', it is only Bao BuTong alone, a bachelor who says 'not true, not true'. All the heroes here please take a look, Miss Wang has a face like the moon, she is a sweet and pretty maiden, she is vastly different from the extremely unsightly Bao BuTong, how can you confuse one thing with another?"
Elder Lu, Song, Chen and Wu look at each other in dismay, they never expect him to be punctilious about minutiae of wording, making a huge fuss out of 'us' and 'me'.
Bao BuTong continued: "This piece of document, Yi DaBiao handed it over to my 2nd brother GongYe. I deliver this information to Beggar Clan, all due to young master Murong's decision. It is correct for me to use the phrase 'us'. If i use 'me', then it would not be consistent with the facts. I don't understand Western Xia's writings, why would i take this piece of document? I suffered a huge defeat outside the city of Wuxi, even if i did not come here to seek revenge, i will definitely not deliver this piece of information. In short, taking the document from Western Xia, delivering information to Beggar Clan, all of it done by 'us', the group from Gusu Murong family, it is not 'me' Bao BuTong alone!" he turn his head and said to GongYe Gan: "2nd brother, they lost, keep that piece of document."
Elder Song pondered: "You beat about the bush, ultimately you still can't let go of the defeat and humiliation outside the city of Wuxi." Elder Chen cupped his hands and said: "Previously brother Bao fought with Elder Song's 60 catty steel staff bare handed, brother Bao was already on the verge of victory. Our clan was no match, thus we...we....deployed a formation, but still we cannot cope with brother Bao. At that time our Clan Chief Qiao Feng entered the battle fresh, Qiao Feng's martial art is solid, his might and prestige shaking the present age, he fought with brother Bao for a long time, with great difficulty he achieve victory over brother Bao with half a move. At that time brother Bao sing out loudly and left, you fought brilliantly, when you left you also went off elegantly, after the event whenever we bring up this matter all of us will discuss enthusiastically, everyone admire and respect you greatly. How come brother Bao is so modest, how did you suffer a defeat by our clan? It did not happen, it definitely did not happen. Qiao Feng no longer have any association with our clan, furthermore he is a public enemy now."
However he did not realize that Bao BuTong like to ramble incoherently, his true intention is in his last sentence, it is not for the defeat or humiliation at the apricot forest of Wuxi, it is also not due to the phrase: 'If you have something to say just say it out, if you have fart then fart less'. Bao BuTong immediately seize the opportunity to propose an idea, he said: "Since this is the case, then it cannot be much better. Elder Chen please lead your men, we will fight a common adversary, go and capture Qiao Feng. By then base on our good friendship i will naturally offer you the document with both hands. Old chap if you don't understand the strange writings in the document, my 2nd brother GongYe will repay the favour till the end, from top to bottom, he will translate everything for you, what do you think?"
Elder Chen look at Elder Lu, Song and Wu, he did not know what to do. Suddenly someone shouted out: "This should be the case, why the need to hesitate?"
Everyone look towards the source of the voice, the person is 'Ten Direction Scholar' Quan GuanQing. He is already promoted to the position of 9-pouch elder, he continued: "Liao nation is an enemy of Great Song. Xiao Feng's father Xiao YuanShan claims to hide in Shaolin Temple for many years, stealing martial art secrets from Shaolin. Today if we do not work together to eliminate him, when he return to Liao nation he will surely propagate the martial arts of Central Plains, Khitan will be like a tiger than has grown wings, when they attack Great Song again we Han Chinese will become their slaves."
The crowd of heroes felt his speech is very logical, but XuanCi passed away, Zhuang JuXian had his leg broken, the two main pillars of Central Plains martial art fraternity Shaolin and Beggar Clan are like dragons without head, there is no one who can take charge of the situation.
Quan GuanQing said: "I invite Shaolin's master XuanJi and Beggar Clan's Elder Lu to jointly issue the orders, everyone will listen to their instructions. Kill Xiao YuanShan and Xiao Feng, both father and son, eliminate this great misfortune of Great Song. As for the funeral arrangements, there is no harm in planning slowly." when he saw You TanZhi suffer a complete defeat, he knew he lost his biggest supporter in the clan, the matter of killing Yi DaBiao already leaked out, he is extremely frightened, he desperately hope for another huge crisis so that he can use it to free himself from the blame.
The crowd of heroes shout out continuously: "He is correct, master XuanJi, Elder Lu, please issue the orders."
"This matter concerns the safety of the whole world, both senior should not shrink away from the responsibility."
"We will comply with your orders, kill these two foreign dogs!"
In a split second thousands of men draw out their weapons, 'Ping Ping Pang Pang', there are some who want to attack the 18 Khitan warriors.
Grandma Yu shouted out: "Khitan brothers, please come over here for discussion." the 18 Khitan warrior don't understand Grandma Yu's intention, unexpectedly they did not go over, each one of them holding onto a sabre, they stood shoulder to shoulder, they know perfectly well they are heavily outnumbered but they are determined to fight till death. Grandma Yu shouted out: "Eight Divisions of Vulture Palace, protect these 18 friends." the women from all eight divisions rush forward and stood in front of the Khitan warriors, the Cave-masters and Isand-masters standing alongside as well. XingXiu disciples eager to render meritorious service for their new owner, they wave flags and shout battle cries, unexpectedly their power is magnificent.
Grandma Yu bow towards Xu Zhu and said: "Owner, these 18 warriors are the subordinate of your sworn brother, if owner allow their bodies to be hacked randomly it will diminish Vulture Palace's prestige greatly. We will protect them for the time being and await owner to deal them."
Xu Zhu is devastated by the death of his parents, he did not have any good ideas, he nod his head and said: "My Vulture Palace is a friend of Shaolin, everyone please don't damage this relation, you cannot fight or kill each other."
XuanJi saw the impressive power of Vulture Palace, he knew they are a formidable opponent, after hearing Xu Zhu's speech, he said: "These 18 Khitan warriors, whether to kill them or not has no relations to the current situation, out of respect for Mr Xu Zhu we will put aside this matter for the time being. Mr Xu Zhu, we are going to capture and kill Xiao Feng, you are helping which side?" Xu Zhu hesitate and said: "I originated from Shaolin, Xiao Feng is my sworn brother, i am indebted to one, kinship with the other. I....i....i won't help either side. But....but....martial grandfather, i advise you to let my elder brother Xiao off, i will advise him not to attack Great Song." XuanJi pondered: "You possess outstanding martial arts, you are also the owner of a sect, but you speak like a 3 year old child." he said: "The phrase 'martial grandfather', Mr Xu Zhu please refrain from mentioning it again in the future." Xu Zhu said: "Yes, yes, i forgot."
XuanJi said: "Since Vulture Palace refuse to help either side, then Shaolin will be friends with your noble sect, both parties must not damage this friendly relationship." he turn his head and said to Beggar Clan's Elder Lu: "Elder Lu, why don't we go into my humble temple and take a look?" Elder Lu nod his head and said: "Very good! Brothers, let us go into Shaolin Temple!"
At once Shaolin monks took the lead, Beggar Clan and the crowd of heroes shout loudly and rush up the mountain.
Deng BaiChuan said happily: "3rd brother, you are amazing, ' if you have fart then just let it out', unexpectedly you manage to gather so many competent helpers for our master and young master with this phrase." Bao BuTong said: "Not true, not true! We delay for so long, i wonder what happen to master and young master, they suffer defeat or achieve victory?"
Wang YuYan said anxiously: "Make haste! Stop this 'not true, not true'." while speaking she rush forward quickly, suddenly she saw Duan Yu following alongside her, she said: "Gentleman Duan, you want to help you sworn brother again and make things difficult for my cousin?" there is much resentment in her tone. Moments ago Murong Fu slash his sword to commit suicide, he nearly died, all because of being defeated by Duan Yu and Xiao Feng, being unable to bear this shame and indignation, Wang YuYan is extremely mindful of this matter, she is furious with Duan Yu.
Duan Yu was stumped for words, he stop moving. Ever since he got to know Wang YuYan he have always obeyed all her wishes, he disregard his life and willingly brave danger, he has never seen her treat him with such hostility before, he was panic stricken, his mind in a whirl, after a long time he finally said: "I....it is not my intention to make things difficult for Gentleman Murong. He wants to kill me, you are asking me to let him kill me?" when he raise his head he saw the crowd of heroes had left, Wang YuYan, Deng BaiChuan and the rest had left a long time ago.
He was stumped again, he pondered: "Miss Wang already doubt me, why the need to invite a snub?" however he have second thoughts: "Thousands of people moving forward, attacking elder brother Xiao from all sides, his situation incomparably dangerous. Second brother Xu Zhu already state he won't help either side, if i don't do my utmost to assist, where is the logic in sworn brotherhood? Even if Miss Wang takes offense, there is nothing else i can do." thus he followed the crowd and rush up the mountain.
Meanwhile, Duan ZhengChun saw Duan YanQing stare coldly at him, at once he grasp his sword hilt and channel his energy to meet the enemy. The various minister of Dali all completely focused as well, they did not mind Duan Yu going somewhere else.
Duan Yu arrive at the main gate of Shaolin Temple, he burst in without further consultation. Shaolin Temple occupy a vast area, there are at least several thousand hall and residence, he saw a crowd of monks and heroes walking around at every hall, shouting and cheering loudly, they are looking for the whereabouts of Xiao YuanShan and Murong Bo as well as their sons. A number of people jump onto the roof, keeping a lookout from high ground, the situation is extremely confusing and chaotic. Everyone pass through the rooms and residence, they rush to and fro, everyone asking: "Where are they? Did you see them?" the stately temple of Shaolin turn into a noisy and messy city area.
Duan Yu walk around randomly, he intend to keep away from the crowd, unexpectedly he walk further and further away and arrive at a desolate grove inside the temple. He saw a bluestone path passing through the grove, he did not think further, he follow the path and walk northwest, he made a few turns and suddenly the scene in front of him became spacious and bright, he heard the sound of water, a pavilion is erected beside a creek, a horizontal inscribed board is hanging on top of the pavilion: "Scripture-Depository Pavilion". Duan Yu pondered: "The Scripture-Depository Pavilion of Shaolin is famous under the heaven, as it turns out it is built at this place. Correct, this pavilion is built facing the water, a far distance away from other buildings, most likely out of fear of fire in the temple destroying these incomparably precious scriptures."
Duan Yu wanted to look for Xiao Feng, suddenly he heard an old voice transmitting from the top of the pavilion: "You saw them heading in which direction?" he recognize the voice as XuanJi's. Another person replied: "Four of us guard this place, that grey-robed monk barge in and hit our sleep acupoints, when martial uncle woke us up that grey-robed monk was missing." another old voice said: "This window is damaged, presumably they are at the rear mountain." XuanJi said: "Correct." the old monk said: "But i wonder if they stole any scriptures in the pavilion?" XuanJi said: "These two hide near our temple for many years, all of us are muddleheaded, none of us manage to detect them, we are really incompetent. If they really want to steal scriptures they could have done it any time for the past years, why the need to wait till today?" the old monk said: "Martial brother is correct." both monks gave a deep sigh.
Duan Yu assume they are discussing shameful matters of Shaolin, it is not convenient for him to eavesdrop, in reality XuanJi and the other monk are speaking softly, but due to Duan Yu's profound internal energy he manage to hear the conversation. Duan Yu walk away slowly, he pondered: "They said brother Xiao went to the rear mountain, i will go take a look."
The rear of Mount Shaoshi is extremely steep, the forest dense and route precipitous, Duan Yu walk for a few li and he can no longer hear the noise from the temple below, the surrounding is quiet, the only sound came from the chirping of birds. Sunlight cannot penetrate through the forest, the air is chilly. Duan Yu pondered: "Elder brother Xiao and his father came to this place, it is easy for them to escape, the crowd of heroes cannot attack them easily." while feeling gratified he suddenly remember Wang YuYan's furious expression, his heart was shaken: "If elder brother kills Gentleman Murong, then.....then what should i do? If Gentleman Murong die, Miss Wang will be inconsolable, she will be depressed forever." if he did not think about Gentleman Murong's death, his chances of marrying Wang YuYan will increase immediately.
He wander despondently in the forest, he thought of Murong Fu, suddenly he thought of Xiao Feng, suddenly he thought of his father, his mother, his uncle, nevertheless he still thought of Wang YuYan the most, especially her furious expression.
He don't know how long his imagination was running wild, suddenly he heard the sound of chanting from the left-hand side: "The Buddha in the heart, the heart in the Buddha, the clear heart knows Buddha, know Buddha with a clear heart, parting from heart is not Buddha, parting from Buddha is not heart....." the voice is deep and peaceful, he never heard it before. Duan Yu pondered: "As it turns out there is a monk here, there is no harm in asking him if he has seen elder brother Xiao." at once he walk towards the voice.
He walk around a bamboo forest, suddenly he saw quite a number of people gathering at a patch of lawn in the forest. A monk with shabby green robe is sitting on top of a rock, the chanting voice is coming from him, a number of people are sitting in front of him, Xiao YuanShan, Xiao Feng, Murong Bo, Murong Fu, as well as senior monks from other temple, several Xuan generation monks from Shaolin, all of them sitting on the ground, their pair of hands joining together, their head lowered and eyebrow drooping, respectfully listening to the monk's teachings. One man is standing 4-5 zhang away, the person is Grand Tutor of Tubo Jiumozhi, his face revealed a mocking expression, apparently he is unconvinced.
Duan Yu came from a nation of Buddhist, he studied Buddhist doctrine since childhood from eminent monks, thus he have some knowledge on Buddhist scripture and doctrine, however a portion of Dali's Dharma came from the south, classified as Hinayana doctrine, the other portion is Mahayana doctrine from Tubo, belonging to Tantra Buddhism, they are somewhat different from Shaolin's Zen Buddhism, the old monk is reciting Buddhist verse, although the verse is plain but it is logical, Duan Yu pondered: "Look at this old monk's clothes, he is a Shaolin monk, his position extremely low, merely an odd-job worker, how come the senior monks and elder brother Xiao listen to him expound Buddhist teachings?"
Duan Yu walk slowly towards them, he want to look at the appearance of the monk, what kind of person he is. However in order to look at the monk's face he have to stand behind Xiao Feng and the others, he don't dare to disturb them, thus he tread gently and walk roundabout, he arch his body and shrink his feet, as he was about to walk near Jiumozhi, suddenly Jiumozhi turn around and smile faintly at him. Duan Yu return with a smile as well.
Suddenly an extremely violent wind shoot straight at his chest. Duan Yu shouted out: "Ayo!" he wanted to use [Six Meridian Divine Swords] to resist but there is no time, he felt his chest ached, in his dazed state he heard someone chant: "Emituofo!" he lost consciousness afterwards.
Murong Bo's identity was uncovered by XuanCi, he also revealed his scheme of spreading false information, he was the one who engineered the disaster at YanMen Pass, he knew that not only Xiao father and son desire for revenge, the crowd of heroes will not tolerate him as well, thus he move quickly and rush into Shaolin Temple. There are numerous buildings in Shaolin, he is familiar with the location, no matter where he hide, Xiao father and son will not be able to find him easily. However Xiao YuanShan and Xiao Feng hate him to the bones, they follow relentlessly and tailed closely. Xiao YuanShan is roughly the same age as him, their skills on par with each other, since Murong Bo took the initiative and ran first, it is difficult for Xiao YuanShan to catch up. However Xiao Feng is in his prime of life, his martial arts and internal energy at the peak of perfection, he exert energy and ran swiftly, when Murong Bo reach the gate of Shaolin Temple, Xiao Feng smack his palm several zhang away, the palm force already reach Murong Bo's back.
Murong Bo send out his palm to block, his entire body was jolted, he felt faint aching and numbness in his arm, he cannot help but feel alarmed: "This little Khitan puppy's internal energy is so powerful!" he move sideways and entered the gate. How can Xiao Feng allow him to escape, he quicken his pace to catch up. However Murong Bo already entered within the temple, there are corridors and halls everywhere, although Xiao Feng's palm strength is powerful but he cannot hit him. Three person, one in front two behind, in a short period of time they reached the Scripture-Depository Pavilion.
Murong Bo broke in through the window, in an instant he sealed the sleep acupoints of the four monks who guard the pavilion, he turn around and sneered: "Xiao YuanShan, both father and son come at me together, or we two old man fight one on one till death?" Xiao YuanShan blocked the door and said: "Child, block the window, don't let him leave." Xiao Feng said: "Yes!" he move beside the window, his palm held horizontally across his chest, both father and son close in on the enemy, it is difficult for Murong Bo to escape. Xiao YuanShan said: "You and i have deep hatred, it can only be resolved by death. Previously we fought three times, i was lenient and stop myself from going too far, today i see through your true colours, moreover your made huge progress in your martial arts, naturally we father and son have to join hands and attack together to take your life."
Murong Bo laugh out loud, he was about to reply, suddenly he heard footsteps coming up the staircase, a person came up, it is Jiumozhi. Jiumozhi press his palm together to greet Murong Bo and said: "Mr Murong, after we part i heard Mr Murong depart to Western Paradise, junior monk mourn with bitter heart, as it turns out Mr Murong live in seclusion, you have deep intention, today we meet again, junior monk is extremely happy." Murong Bo cupped his fist to return the greeting, he smile and said: "For the sake of my family and country i have to feign death, it caused undue worries to Grand Tutor, i am deeply ashamed." Jiumozhi said: "I don't deserve such praise, i don't deserve such praise. Junior monk met Mr Murong by chance, we discuss martial arts, i gained guidance from Mr Murong for a few days, my entire lifetime of doubts was resolved, moreover Mr Murong bestowed the essence of Shaolin's 72 supreme consummate skill, your kindness engraved deeply in my heart."
Murong Bo smile and said: "This is a trivial matter, why mention it?" he said to Xiao father and son: "Old hero Xiao, great hero Xiao, this divine monk Jiumozhi, he is Tubo's Great Bright Wheel King, his Dharma profound, martial arts far superior to mine, such talent is very rare in the present age."
Xiao YuanShan and Xiao Feng look at each other, they pondered: "Although this foreign monk might not necessarily be stronger than Murong Bo, but he is certainly extremely competent, he have such deep relationship with Murong Bo, naturally he will assist him, it is difficult to predict the outcome of this battle."
Jiumozhi said: "Mr Murong praise me erroneously. Previously junior monk heard Mr Murong talk about sword-play, you consider [Six Meridian Divine Swords] of Dali's TianLong Monastery as the number one sword-art under the heaven, however you have yet to see it and it is the greatest regret of your life. Junior monk learn about the death of Mr Murong, thus i went to Dali's TianLong Monastery to beg for [Six Meridian Divine Swords Manual] to cremate it before Mr Murong's tomb. Unexpectedly old monk Kurong was a crafty rogue, he use his internal energy to burn the sword manual at the critical juncture. Although junior monk is a man of virtue who keep his words, but i was unable to fulfil your wish, i am deeply sorry."
Murong Bo said: "I am already deeply grateful to great master for remembering this promise. Besides Dali Duan family's [Six Meridian Divine Swords] still exist in this world, moments ago Dali's Gentleman Duan fought with my son, the sword energy dominating, its reputation as the number one sword-art under the heaven is indeed well-deserved."
At this moment a shadow flash by, another person appear inside the Scripture-Depository Pavilion, it is Murong Fu. He lag behind by several steps, when he reach the temple he already lost sight of his father and Xiao father and son, he manage to trace their trail to Scripture-Depository Pavilion but Jiumozhi caught up and overtook him. He heard his father mention the matter of Duan Yu's [Six Meridian Divine Swords] defeating him, he cannot help but feel greatly ashamed.
Murong Bo said: "Xiao father and son desire to kill me, great master what is your opinion?"
Jiumozhi said: "We are intimate friends for many years, how can i stand by and do nothing?'
Xiao Feng saw Murong Fu arriving, the situation now turn to three against two, although Murong Fu is somewhat inferior but he cannot be underestimated, it is very likely they will not be able to kill Murong Bo, both Xiao father and son might even die in this Scripture-Depository Pavilion. However Xiao Feng possess heroic bravery, he never allow his own adverse situation to affect him, he shout loudly: "Today's matter can only be resolved by death. Prepare to receive my move!" with a 'Hu' sound he smack his palm quickly at Murong Bo. Murong Bo brush it away with his left hand, he channelled his internal energy, intending to neutralize the incoming palm force. 'Kala la', a bookshelf on the left-hand side broke and turn into splinters, the scriptures on the shelf came crashing down. Xiao Feng's palm force is vigorous and forceful, although Murong Bo manage to brush it away but he was unable to neutralize it, he merely diverted the attack elsewhere and it hit a bookshelf.
Murong Bo smile faintly and said: "Southern Murong, Northern Qiao Feng! Your reputation is indeed well-deserved! Brother Xiao, i have something to say, will you listen or not?" Xiao YuanShan said: "How can i tolerate your flowery speech, don't even think about asking me not to avenge my wife." Murong Bo said: "You want to kill me for revenge, but base on the current situation i am afraid it will not be possible. We have three person, you only have two, may i ask who have a higher chance of winning?" Xiao YuanShan said: "Naturally you have a higher chance of winning. A true man is unfazed by numbers, why the need to fear?" Murong Bo said: "The illustrious name of Xiao father and son is unrivalled, in your entire life have you ever been afraid of anyone? You have no fear, but it will be extremely difficult to kill me today. I want to do a transaction, i will let you fulfil your desire for revenge, however you father and son have to promise me something."
Xiao YuanShan and Xiao Feng pondered: "I wonder what this old thief is planning?"
Murong Bo said: "You father and son only have to promise me something, afterwards you may step forward to kill me for revenge. I will wait for death with hands tied, definitely won't resist, Jiumozhi and my son will not be allowed to save me." when he finish speaking, Xiao father and son are greatly surprised, Jiumozhi and Murong Fu are extremely shock as well. Murong Fu shouted: "Father, we have strength in numbers….." Jiumozhi also said: "Mr Murong why do you say such a thing? As long as junior monk is breathing, I will never allow anyone to raise a finger at Mr Murong." Murong Bo said: "Great master's righteousness, when i have a friend like you, where is the regret even in death? Brother Xiao, I have a matter to consult you. At that time I spread false information, it led to a huge disaster, but does brother Xiao know my true purpose in committing such evil deeds?"
Xiao YuanShan is boiling with rage, he pointed at Murong Bo and cursed: "You are originally a despicable person, breaking the law and committing crimes, rejoicing in other people's misfortune, what other intention you need to have?" he took 1 step forward, with a 'Hu' sound he launch his fist.
Jiumozhi arrive in a flash with both palms blocking, with a 'Bo' sound, the fist wind and palm force collided and rush upward, dust on the roof rustled down. In this clash of fist and palm, unexpectedly both are equally matched; both of them admire each other secretly.
Murong Bo said: "Brother Xiao please restrain your anger and listen to me. Brother Xiao have always been residing far north, we are total strangers, naturally there is no hatred and animosity. As for Shaolin's abbot XuanCi, I have been friends with him for many years. Since I put in utmost effort to incite disharmony on both side, naturally there is a significant underlying reason."
Xiao YuanShan's eyes seem to be spitting fire, he shouted: "What reason? Say it, say it!"
Murong Bo said: "Brother Xiao, you are a Khitan. Bright Wheel King Jiumozhi is from Tubo. Fighters from Central Plain, they call you barbarians. Your esteemed son was originally chief of Beggar Clan, martial arts and wisdom shaking the present age, truly a rare talent to emerge from Beggar Clan. But when they learn of his Khitan heritage, they immediately turn hostile, not only they refuse to recognize him as chief, moreover everyone have the desire to kill him. Brother Xiao, do you think it is fair?"
Xiao YuanShan said: "The feud between Song and Liao, two countries at war, it already last more than a hundred year. Beyond the border area, Song and Liao people kill each other at sight, this have always been the case. Since Beggar Clan found out my son is a Khitan, how can they worship an enemy? This is common logic, nothing unfair about it." He pause for a while and continued: "Abbot XuanCi, Wang JianTong, etc, they killed my wife and subordinate, it is not their original intention. Nevertheless, this matter can be considered a tussle between Song and Liao, nothing surprising, but you set-up this trap, I cannot let you off easily."
Murong Bo said: "According to brother Xiao, when two countries are at war, they only seek to achieve victory by killing the enemy, do they have to pay particular attention to compassion and integrity?" Xiao YuanShan said: "All is fair in war, this have always been the case. Why are you talking about such irrelevant things?" Murong Bo smile faintly and said: "Brother Xiao, which country you think Murong Bo came from?"
Xiao YuanShan tremble slightly and said: "Your Gusu Murong family, naturally they are Han Chinese from Southern Dynasty, don't tell me you are foreigner?" Abbot XuanCi is extremely knowledgeable, when Murong Bo dissuade Murong Fu from committing suicide, he already deduce his origin base on his speech. Xiao YuanShan is not aware of historic matters, thus he fail to understand the situation.
Murong Bo shake his head and said: "Brother Xiao guess wrongly." He turn his head and said to Murong Fu: "Child, which country we came from?" Murong Fu said: "Murong family is Xianbei, the prestige of Great Yan shaking the area north of the Yellow river, we establish a glorious empire, unfortunately our enemies are ruthless, they topple our nation." Murong Bo said: "I named you with the word 'Fu', what is the meaning?" Murong Fu replied: "Father wants me to always remember the wishes of our ancestor, I have to restore Great Yan, take back our nation." Murong Bo said: "Take out the jade ruler's seal of Yan nation, let old hero Xiao take a look."
Murong Fu said: "Yes!" he untie a cloth bag and extract a black jade square seal. A vivid leopard head is carved on top of the seal, Murong Fu turn over the jade seal, revealing the text. Jiumozhi saw the phrase "Treasure of Emperor of Great Yan" engraved on the seal. Xiao father and son don't understand the text on the seal, nevertheless the jade seal is exquisitely crafted, the corners rather damaged, clearly it is ancient and undergo multiple disaster, although they are unsure of its authenticity but they knew the item is uncommon, definitely not newly crafted object.
Murong Bo said again: "Take out the lineage stave of emperor of Great Yan, let old hero Xiao take a look." Murong Fu replied: "Yes!" he put the jade seal back into the cloth bag and took out a tarpaulin bag, he open it to reveal a yellow fabric, he raise the fabric with both hands.
Xiao YuanShan saw curvy text written with vermillion ink on the yellow fabric, he don't understand, clearly it is foreign script. Chinese text is written on the left-hand side, at the top it is written: "Great Ancestor the Cultured Emperor Huihuang" the next part: "Noble Ancestor the Accomplished Emperor Huijun" the next part: "Lonely Emperor Huiwei". Another line of text written separately: "Generation Ancestor the Successful Martial Emperor Huichui", the next part: "Noble Forefather Compassionate and Suffering Emperor Huimin", the next part: "Duke of Kaifeng Huixiang", "Zhao Emperor Huilin", the next line: "Middle Forefather the Accomplished Martial Emperor Huisheng", "Accomplished Literary Emperor Huixi", etc, posthumous names. As for the year 410, after the execution of Southern Yan Murong Chao, subsequent descendants are all commoner, they are no longer emperor or marquis. The era is long, their offspring gradually increase in numbers, Xiao YuanShan, Xiao Feng, Jiumozhi, three of them are not in the mood to examine it in detail. However they saw the name of the last person on the lineage record: "Murong Fu", above him is "Murong Bo".
Jiumozhi said: "As it turns out Mr Murong is a descendant of Emperor of Great Yan, pardon me, pardon me!"
Murong Bo sigh and said: "The nation vanquished and citizen lost, but the chief is safe, it can be considered a major fortune in the disaster. However the wishes of successive generations of ancestor have always been the restoration of Great Yan, Murong Bo is incompetent, I roam around the world for half a lifetime but in the end I achieve nothing. Brother Xiao, my Xianbei Murong family intend to restore our nation, do you think we deserve it?"
Xiao YuanShan said: "The victor becomes the king, the loser becomes the bandit. Many people vie for supremacy in this world, why do you need to mention about deserving or undeserving?"
Murong Bo said: "Enlightening! Brother Xiao's speech is similar to my intention. If Murong family wants to restore Great Yan, it must take advantage of opportunity. The servants of Murong family are weak, power feeble, how can it be easy to rebuild the nation? The only chance is to cause mass rebellion, endless war and fighting everywhere."
Xiao YuanShan said gloomily: "You spread false news to sow discord, incite a quarrel between Song and Liao, eventually leading to a great war?"
Murong Bo said: "Precisely, if a war between Song and Liao breaks out, Great Yan will be able to take advantage of the situation. In the past, in the rebellion of the eight kings during Jin dynasty, Sima clan massacre one another, the five non-Han clan took advantage to set up their regime. Today's situation is also the same." Jiumozhi nod his head and said: "Correct! If Song dynasty meet with foreign aggressor, civil unrest will break out, not only Mr Murong will have a chance to restore his nation, my Tubo will also get to profit as well."
Xiao YuanShan snorted coldly, he cast a sidelong glance at these two people.
Murong Bo said: "Your esteemed son is the Lord of Liao's Southern Chancellery, he commands the military symbol and oversees Nanjing, if he direct his army southward and occupy the Yellow River and North River, he will achieve a glorious deed, he can proclaim himself king and enjoy boundless riches and honour. At that time it will take little effort to round up all the heroes of Central Plains and annihilate them, the hatred of being ousted by Beggar Clan, won't it be avenged?"
Xiao YuanShan said: "You want my son to work for you, so that you can take advantage of the crisis and fulfil your wild ambition of restoring Yan nation?"
Murong Bo said: "Correct, my Murong family will lead an army and set off from Shandong province, rally behind Great Liao, at the same time Tubo, Western Xia, Dali, we five nation will divide Great Song, its not difficult. My Yan nation don't dare to take any land from Great Liao, if we get to build a country we will first take from the south. This matter is highly beneficial for Great Liao, brother Xiao what can you have against it?" at this moment he flip his right hand, a glittering dagger appeared on his palm, he stick the dagger beside his body and said: "Xiao father and son only need to comply with my proposal and you can take my life immediately, avenge your wife, I definitely won't resist." With a 'Chi' sound he tore open his clothe, exposing the skin on the pit of his stomach.
This action is simply beyond the expectation of Xiao father and son, unexpectedly he is willing to die even though he occupied a dominant position, they did not know how to reply.
Jiumozhi said: "Mr Murong, there is a common saying: Those not from my clan, their intention will surely be different. Let alone major decisions pertaining to military or nation, fraud will inevitably occur. Supposing Mr Murong is willing to die, but later Xiao father and son did not go along with Mr Murong's wishes, then….then won't you die in vain?"
Murong Bo said: "Old hero Xiao live in seclusion for over 10 years, he rarely makes an appearance in this world. However noble warrior Xiao's illustrious name is spread across the whole world, his word carries enormous weight, how can he renege on a promise? For the sake of a completely unrelated maiden, he is willing to brave untold dangers, going to JuXian Manor alone to seek treatment, how can he forget the promise after killing me? I deliberated for a long time, this is a once in a lifetime golden opportunity. Old man already has one foot in the grave, exchanging a life for a foundation that can last ages, why not?" his face revealed a smile, he fixed his eyes on Xiao Feng, he hope he can end it quick.
Xiao YuanShan said: "My son, this person's intention does not seem to be fake, what do you think?"
Xiao Feng said: "Out of the question!" he smack his palm abruptly and hit a wood beam, with a 'Pipa' sound the beam broke into multiple pieces, the dagger drop on the ground, he said sternly: "The great hatred of killing my mother, how can it be treated as a business transaction? We will avenge this hatred, if we lose then father and son will simply die here. This kind of filthy transaction, how can we descend to such level?"
Murong Bo look up to the sky and laugh heartily, he said brightly: "I long heard of noble warrior Xiao's unrivalled ability and sagacity, knowledge and experience extraordinary, but in today's meeting, unexpectedly you fail to understand the key points, all brawn and no brains, hey hey, laughable, laughable!"
Xiao Feng knew he is trying to provoke with words, he said coldly: "Regardless of whether Xiao Feng is a hero or ordinary folk, I will not fall into your trap and become your murder weapon." Murong Bo said: "Receiving salary from the emperor, carrying his burden. You are an important minister of Great Liao, but you are fixated on personal grudge, you did not consider your loyalty and duty to your country, aren't you letting down Great Liao?"
Xiao Feng took a step forward and said resolutely: "Have you see the situation at the borders, the devastating scene of Song and Liao butchering each other? Have you see families from Liao and Song torn apart, the scene of destitute and homelessness? With great difficulty Song and Liao manage to maintain a truce for 10 years, if soldiers are deployed again and Khitan horsemen invade south, have you thought of how many Song people will die? How many Liao people will die in the disaster?" while speaking he recall the cruel scene of Liao and Song soldiers raiding each other outside YanMen Pass, his voice became louder and louder, he continued: "The dangers of war, in this world how can there be a battle with absolute victory? Great Song have many soldiers and deep wealth, they only need 1 or 2 good generals to lead the army, even if Great Liao and Tubo join hands they might not necessarily achieve victory. Killing each other, a river of blood, a mountain of skeleton, all for the sake of letting your Murong family take advantage and restore Yan nation. I am loyal and dedicate myself to Great Liao, my goal is to protect the land and safety of its people, not for personal glory, wealth, taking revenge, killing people, seizing land, rendering a glorious deed."
When Xiao YuanShan was young, he wholeheartedly devote himself to maintaining the armistice between Song and Liao, listening to his son, he nod his head repeatedly in agreement.
Suddenly they heard an old voice from outside the window: "Excellent, excellent! Lay-Buddhist Xiao is humane and kind-hearted, your concern for all life under the heaven, you truly have the heart of Bodhisattva.
The five of them had a huge shock, how come they did not manage to detect anyone outside? Moreover from his speech, he seems to be standing outside the window for a long time. Murong Fu shouted: "Who is it?" he did not wait for a reply, with a 'Peng' sound he smack his palm, two window-pane dislodge from its hinge and drop down.
They saw a wizen monk dress in green-robe, holding a broom and sweeping the corridor. The monk is very old, his sparse long beard completely white, his movement slow and sluggish, lacking in vital energy, he does not appear to possess any martial arts. Murong Fu inquired again: "You have been hiding here for how long?"
The monk lifted his head slowly and said: "Shizu ask me I have been…hiding here….for how long?" five of them fix their eyes on him at the same time, his eyes are blank and vacant, completely without any spirit, however his voice is precisely those that praise Xiao Feng moments ago.
Murong Fu said: "Correct, I ask you how long you have been hiding here?"
The old monk counted with his fingers, after a long time he shake his head, his expression apologetic, he said: "I….i can't remember clearly, I don't know if it is 42 years, or is it 43 years. When this senior lay-Buddhist Xiao came to the pavilion for the first time, i…..i already been here for 10 years. Afterwards…..afterwards senior lay-Buddhist Murong also came. Sigh, come and go, the scriptures in the pavilion rummaged till complete mess, I wonder for what purpose."
Xiao YuanShan was astonished, he assume when he arrive at Shaolin to steal martial arts, none of the temple monks were aware, how come this old monk is aware? Most likely this monk heard his speech outside the temple, thus he talk rubbish, Xiao YuanShan said: "How come I never seen you before?"
The old monk said: "Lay-Buddhist Xiao is completely focused on martial art manuals, no distraction in your heart, naturally you did not see old monk. I remember the first book that lay-Buddhist Xiao came to borrow from the pavilion, <>, sigh! From that night onwards, lay-Buddhist Xiao entered the demonic path, pity, pity!"
Xiao YuanShan's shock is truly no small matter, on the first night of sneaking into the Scripture-Depository Pavilion, he found a copy of <>, he knew it is one of the 72 supreme consummate skills of Shaolin, his joy indescribable, other than himself this matter is definitely not known to a second person, could it be the old monk was beside him at that time and saw it with his own eyes? He said: "You…..you…..you……"
The old monk continued: "The 2nd time lay-Buddhist Xiao came to the pavilion, you borrowed <>. At that time old monk sigh inwardly, lay-Buddhist Xiao stray deeper and deeper into demonic path, my heart cannot bear it, I place a copy of > and <> near your usual browsing spot, I hope lay-Buddhist Xiao will borrow it and study attentively to achieve enlightenment. Unexpectedly lay-Buddhist Xiao was engrossed in martial studies, you pay no heed to orthodox Buddhist doctrine, you threw these two sutra to the side and pick up a copy of <>, you left happily. Sigh, losing oneself in the abyss of suffering, I wonder when you can turn back to the right path?"
Xiao YuanShan heard him speaking plainly, he narrate everything he did during the past 30 years in the Scripture-Depository Pavilion correctly, his shock gradually turn into fear, his fear turn into terror, cold sweat trickle down his back, his heart seems to have stop beating.
The old monk turn his head slowly and look at Murong Bo. Murong Bo look at his lifeless eyes, as if he is seeing yet ignoring, however he seem to be able to see through every single secret hidden deep in his heart, he cannot help but feel his hairs stand up, his entire body felt very uncomfortable. He heard the old monk sigh, the monk said: "Lay-Buddhist Murong is Xianbei, however you reside in Jiangnan for many years, old monk assume lay-Buddhist Murong must have been infected by the literature lifestyle of south, unexpectedly when lay-Buddhist Murong arrive at the Scripture-Depository Pavilion, you discarded the teachings of my forefather, the quotation from successive generations of eminent monks, without exception you abandon them all, you pick up a copy of <>, you look as if you pick up the most precious treasure in the world. Buying a wooden box and returning the pearls inside, making a fool of oneself for generations. Both of you are very able person in the present age, however you are also capable of such stupid action."
Murong Bo was overwhelmed with shock, when he entered the Scripture-Depository Pavilion for the first time, the first martial arts manual he spotted was precisely <>, however he studied the surroundings carefully at that time, he was sure there are no people inside or outside the Scripture-Depository Pavilion, but how come this old monk was able to witness everything personally?
The old monk sigh again and continued: "Lay-Buddhist Murong is far more greedy compared to lay-Buddhist Xiao. Lay-Buddhist Xiao only seek to practice skills that can restrain existing Shaolin's martial arts, however Lay-Buddhist Murong progressively scan through all Shaolin's 72 supreme consummate skill and made duplicate copies. Presumable for all these years, lay-Buddhist Murong spare no effort to master all 72 supreme consummate skill, maybe you already impart some of it to your esteemed son."
His gaze was directed towards Murong Fu, however he glimpse for a while and shake his head, immediately afterwards his gaze landed on Jiumozhi, he finally nod his head and said: "Correct! Your esteemed son is young, internal energy insufficient; he is unable to practice Shaolin's 72 supreme consummate skill, as it turns out you impart it to this eminent monk from Tubo. Great Bright Wheel King, you are wrong, completely wrong, you wish to be proficient in Shaolin's 72 supreme consummate skill, however you got the sequence in reverse, great catastrophe is looming."
Jiumozhi has never intrude into Scripture-Depository Pavilion before, he have no respect for this old monk, he said coldly: "What sequence in reverse, great catastrophe is looming? Great master aren't you using frightening words to scare people?"
The old monk said: "Not using frightening words to scare people. The martial arts of my school originated from ancestor Damo. When Buddhist disciple practice martial art, their purpose is to strengthen their body and keep healthy, protect the law and guard against demons. When practicing any type of martial arts, the practitioner must strive to be merciful and humane. If the practitioner did not use Buddhist doctrine as the foundation, while practicing martial arts they will surely injure their body. The more you train, the heavier the damage. If the skill is merely punching or kicking, weapon art or hidden projectile art, external martial arts, then it is fine, the damage to oneself is extremely minor, with a strong robust body you can still withstand it…."
Suddenly they heard voices coming from downstairs, immediately after there is gentle 'Tuo' 'Tuo' 'Tuo' sound on the stairs, 7-8 monks came up the pavilion. Leading the pack are two Xuan generation monk, XuanYin, XuanSheng, followed by ShenShan, ShenYin, DaoQing, GuanXin, etc, the foreign monks, forming the rear are XuanGou and XuanJing. The group of monks saw Xiao father and son, Murong father and son, Jiumozhi, five people listening calmly to an unknown old monk, they were flabbergasted. This group of monks are people with much self-cultivation and wisdom, they did not step forth to interrupt and merely stood to the side to listen to whatever he has to say.
The old monk pay no heed to the group of monks, he continued: "But if you practice first-class martial arts of my school, for example, [Blossom Grasping Finger], [Duoluo Leaf Finger], [Prajna Palm], etc, if you do not use Buddhist doctrine to harmonise daily, the evil energies will penetrate deep into the inner organs, straying deeper and deeper, such situation is a hundred times more dangerous than whatever kind of external poison. Great Bright Wheel King is a Buddhist disciple, you study Buddhist doctrine intensively, your ability to reason and analyse is unequalled in the current age, but if your heart is not merciful and generous, having no intention to save all living things, although you may submerge yourself in ancient scriptures and engage in brilliant debates, ultimately you still cannot dispel the evil energies accumulated during the study of first-class martial arts."
The group of monks only heard a few sentence, but they already felt this old monk's words contain the essential meaning, they have yet to perceive this truth, all of them shiver. A few monks praise in admiration: "Buddha is merciful, excellent, excellent!"
They heard him continue: "My Shaolin temple is established for several hundred years, only ancestor Damo alone mastered the various supreme consummate skill, henceforth not a single eminent monk is able to master different kinds of consummate skill, what is the reason? The manuals to 72 supreme consummate skills have always been in this pavilion, we never stop our own disciples from flipping through the manuals, Great Bright Wheel King do you know the underlying reason?"
Jiumozhi said angrily: "That is the private business of your precious temple, how will outsiders know of it?"
XuanYin, XuanSheng, XuanGou and XuanJing pondered: "Base on this old monk's dressing, he is an odd job service monk, how come he have such deep knowledge and cultivation?" although service monk is still part of Shaolin monk, but they only need to take the tonsure, they don't have to become an apprentice to a master, they do not impart martial arts, no need for meditation or line-up according to generation ranking, other than chanting scripture and worshiping Buddha, they light fire for cooking, farming, sweeping, construction and perform manual labour. There are many monks in Shaolin, XuanYin and the rest are first-class eminent monks in the temple, it is not strange for them to not know these monks, but the old monk's elegant speech, his transcendent knowledge and experience, they cannot help but be secretly amazed.
The old monk continued: "The 72 supreme consummate skills of our temple, every skill is capable of injuring a person's vital points and take a person's life, extremely vicious and fierce, thus every consummate skill needs to be neutralize with corresponding levels of Buddhist mercy doctrine. However this principle is not known to everyone in Shaolin temple, when a person train his martial arts to very high level, his comprehension of Buddhist logic will inevitably be obstructed. In Shaolin, this is termed 'hindering of martial studies', it is similar to 'hindering of awareness' of other school or sect. It is important to be aware that Buddhist doctrines serve to save all lives, martial arts serve to kill, both sides run counter to each other, restraining each other mutually. Only with high level of Dharma, an ever flourishing merciful heart, only then you can train your supreme consummate skill to higher level, however senior monks who are able to reach such a state will not care to research different kinds of vicious techniques to kill a person."
Great Master DaoQing nod his head and said: "Listening to old master's speech, junior monk experience a flash of insight and all my doubts cleared." The old monk put his palms together and said: "I don't dare, if old monk is incorrect I hope everyone can give advice." The group of monks put their palms together and said in unison: "We invite master to continue your teachings."
Jiumozhi pondered: "Mr Murong robbed the 72 supreme consummate skills of Shaolin and leak it outside, the monks from Shaolin must be unwilling but there is nothing they can do, thus they send an old monk to deceive people, they want to trick outsiders and stop them from training their martial arts. Hey hey, is Jiumozhi so easy to be fooled?"
The old monk continued: "Within our temple, naturally there are those with inadequate Dharma but insist on learning many first-class martial arts, but once they start training, they either fire-deviate or suffer incurable internal injuries. Great master XuanCheng from our temple possess extraordinary martial arts, all the senior monks praise him as the number one martial artist to ever emerge from our temple for the past 200 years. However in a single night, his tendons and meridians suddenly snapped, he became a handicapped person, this is the main reason."
XuanYun, XuanSheng, both of them kneel down simultaneously and said: "Great master, is there any method to save senior martial brother XuanCheng?" the old monk shake his head and said: "It is too late, he cannot be saved. At that time Great master XuanCheng came to the Scripture-Depository Pavilion to choose martial arts manual, old monk reminded him 3 times, but he obstinately persist in going the wrong way. Now his tendons and meridians snapped, how can he continue? In reality, the Five Aggregates are empty, the mortal body sustain injuries, henceforth he cannot train martial arts, but now he can cultivate Dharma diligently and be enlightened, it can be considered a profit from disaster. Two great masters, your view fall short of Great master XuanCheng." XuanYin, XuanSheng said in unison: "Yes. Many thanks for the enlightenment."
Suddenly there is 3 light 'Chi' 'Chi' 'Chi' sound, nothing else happen. XuanYin and the rest knew it is Shaolin's [Formless Plundering Finger], all of them look at Jiumozhi, he already change countenance, however he still force a slight smile.
Jiumozhi was unconvinced, the more he listen the more he refuse to accept, he pondered: "You said Shaolin's 72 supreme consummate skills cannot be trained together, but i already mastered quite a few. How come my tendons and meridians never snap and I never turn into a handicapped person?" his pair of hands hidden within his shirt sleeves, he secretly executed [Formless Plundering Finger], he shot it stealthily at the old monk. Unexpectedly when the finger force reach within 3 chi of the old monk, it seems to have hit an extremely soft yet extremely hard protective screen, 'Chi' 'Chi' 'Chi', the finger force disperse completely without a trace, it did not even repel back. Jiumozhi was gobsmacked, he pondered: "This old monk really have some ghostly technique, he is not boasting!"
The old monk seems to be completely unaware, he continued: "Please get up. Old monk run errands for great masters in the temple, the two of you pay such courtesy, how can I accept it?" XuanYin and XuanSheng, both of them felt a gentle force supporting their arms lightly, their body cannot help but spring up on its own, however the old monk did not hold out his hands or brush his sleeves, they were greatly amazed, this kind of divine technique, force arriving to one's intention, could it be this old monk is the reincarnation of Bodhisattva, if not how come he can wield such remarkable power, Dharma without boundaries?
The old monk continued: "The 72 supreme consummate skills of our temple, it is divided equally on 'body' and 'usage', two path, 'body' refers to internal energy within the body, 'usage' refers to channelling and usage method. Lay-Buddhist Xiao and lay-Buddhist Murong already have first-class internal energy in their body as the foundation, what they came to study is merely the method to using the 72 supreme consummate skills, although they suffered damage but it have yet to reveal itself prominently. Great Bright Wheel King must have practiced Carefree Sect's [Minor Formless Skill] correct?"
Jiumozhi was startled again, he secretly practice Carefree Sect's [Minor Formless Skill], nobody is aware of it, but how come this old monk is able to tell? However he felt at ease immediately: "Moments ago Xu Zhu fought with me, he also use [Minor Formless Skill]. Most likely Xu Zhu told him, how can it be strange?" he said: "[Minor Formless Skill], although it is of Taoist origins but there are quite a few Buddhist disciple who practice it, it has evolved and incorporate the essence of Buddhism and Taoism. Even in your precious temple there is no lack of experts in such art."
The old monk appeared to be slightly amazed, he said: "There is someone in Shaolin who knows [Minor Formless Skill]? Old monk is hearing it for the first time." Jiumozhi pondered: "You are dressing up as God to deceive people, you acting skill is really good." Jiumozhi smile faintly and said nothing. The old monk continued: "[Minor Formless Skill] is subtle and profound, it can be used to execute the martial arts of any sect or school, using it as the foundation, it is possible to perform all 72 supreme consummate skills, however there will inevitably be minute deviation from the actual skill."
XuanSheng turn towards Jiumozhi and said: "Bright Wheel King claims to be proficient in our temple's 72 supreme consummate skills, as it turns this is your proficiency." His speech is sarcastic. Jiumozhi feign deaf, he did not reply.
The old monk continued: "If Bright Wheel King only studied the methods to using Shaolin's 72 supreme consummate skills, your injuries will be latent, although it will cause trouble eventually but for a period of time it will not endanger your inner organs. But presently your 'Chengqi acupoint' is showing vermillion colour, your 'Wenxiang acupoint' revealed faint purple cloud, the muscles in your 'Jiache acupoint' is vibrating, all these signs indicate that after Bright Wheel King practice Shaolin's 72 supreme consummate skills, you attempt to master it by combining multiple skills into one….." he pause and shake his head slightly, his eyes revealed great sadness and pity.
After learning Shaolin's 72 supreme consummate skills, Jiumozhi felt there are too many types of skill, it would be better to combine skills that are similar into one, however when he start combining he felt agitated and impatient, his mind muddled and confuse, it is hard to pin down the problem, could it be the old monk is telling the truth, that he got the sequence in reverse and great catastrophe is looming? He had second thoughts: "It is common for a practitioner to fire-deviate when their training failed, however I am proficient in the secrets of internal and external martial arts, how can I be compared with an ordinary person? This old monk is just boasting, If I believe his ruse then Jiumozhi's illustrious reputation will turn into nothing."
The old monk saw a worried expression on Jiumozhi's face initially, however his eyebrow straighten immediately, his expression became perverse and conceited again, evidently he ignored his speech, he sigh lightly and said to Xiao YuanShan: "Lay-Buddhist Xiao, your 'Liangmen acupoint' and 'Taiyi acupoint', have you been feeling faint aching lately?" Xiao YuanShan's entire body is trembling, he said: "Divine monk is wise, it is as stated." The old monk continued: "The numbing sensation in your 'Guanyuan acupoint', how is it recently?" Xiao YuanShan was even more amazed, his voice trembling: "10 years ago this numbing sensation was merely the size of a little finger, but now….now it is the size of a tea cup."
When Xiao Feng heard it he knew these 3 vital acupoints on his father is showing symptoms, it must be due to the training of Shaolin's consummate skill, from his speech these symptoms disturb him for many years and he cannot remove it, now it turn into a major worry, at once he took 2 steps forward, he kneel down and prostrate himself before the old monk and said: "My father's illness is deep, I implore for mercy and help."
The old monk put his palms together to return the courtesy, he said: "Shizu please get up. Shizu is humane and virtuous, you worry for all common people under the heaven, you refuse to let personal grudge damage the relationship between Song and Liao, such humanity and righteousness, no matter what request you have old monk will certainly carry it out. There is no need to be overly courteous." Xiao Feng was elated, he kowtow twice and stood up. The old monk sigh again and said: "Senior Xiao shizu killed excessively and harm the innocent, Qiao SanHuai husband and wife, Great master XuanKu, you should not have killed them."
Xiao YuanShan is a Khitan hero, although he is old but he is still uncouth and boorish, when he heard the criticizing remarks of the old monk he said brightly: "Old man is fully aware of my serious injuries, I am over 60 years old, my son is an adult now, even if I die now where is the regret? Divine monk wants old man to repent and admit my mistake, that I absolutely cannot do." The old monk shake his head and said: "Old monk don't dare. Repenting and admitting mistakes should come naturally from one's heart, only then it is significant, if other people demand it there is no benefit at all. Senior shizu's injuries are due to the training of Shaolin's martial arts, the method to resolving must come from Buddhist doctrine."
When he finish speaking he turn towards Murong Bo and said: "Senior Murong shizu face death with equanimity, naturally you don't need old monk to dissuade you. However old monk wish to give some advice so that senior shizhu can eliminate 'Yangbai', 'Lianquan', 'Fengfu', the pain of thousand needles you experience 3 times a day on these acupoints, what do you think?"
Murong Bo change countenance, he cannot help but tremble slightly. His 'Yangbai', 'Lianquan' and 'Fengfu' acupoints, every morning, noon and midnight, he experience the pain of thousand needles piercing, the pain is truly unbearable, no matter what medication or elixir he consume it had absolutely no effect at all. Whenever he channel his internal energy the piercing pain will penetrate deep into his marrow. He experience this kind of pain daily, where is the joy in living? For the past few years his suffering became more difficult to deal with, thus he willingly seek death in exchange for Xiao Feng's promise to send troops to attack Song nation, although he claims it is for the purpose of restoring Great Yan but part of the reason is also due to his desire to rid himself of this unpleasant aliment as it is simply too difficult to bear. Currently the old monk narrate the cause of his illness, his shock is truly no small matter. Base on his profound martial arts even if there is a sudden clap of thunder in bright day light he will be completely unfazed. However just a few simple sentence from the old monk is sufficient to make his heart jump in fear and trepidation, his terror endless. His body tremble twice, the violent pain in his 'Yangbai', 'Lianquan' and 'Fengfu' acupoints flare-up again. Originally it is not the time for the pain to flare-up, however his mind was shaken and the pain burst forth abruptly, thus he have no choice but to grit his teeth and bear with the pain forcefully.
Murong Fu is aware of his father's competitive nature, he rather die than be humiliated by others, moreover he does not want to be like Xiao Feng, kneeling and begging the old monk for his father's treatment, he cupped his hands towards Xiao father and son, he said: "The green hills will never change, clear water will always flow, we have to leave now for the time being. If you want to seek us for revenge, we will wait respectfully at Gusu Basin of Swallow's Canhe Manor. He held out his right hand towards Murong Bo and said: "Father, let us go now!"
The old monk said: "Unexpectedly you have the heart to make your esteemed father suffer this bone piercing pain?"
Murong Fu's complexion turn deathly pale, he pull his father's hand and start to walk away.
Xiao Feng shouted: "You want to leave? You think you can be let off so lightly? Your father is ill, a real man does not take advantage of other's precarious position, I will let him off for the time being. But you have no illness or pain!" Murong Fu's anger rush forth, he shouted: "Then I will simply receive brother Xiao wise move!" Xiao Feng did not waste time speaking, with a 'Hu' sound, he executed a move from [28 Dragon Subduing Palm], "Meeting Dragon at the Field", and smack his palm violently at Murong Fu. Xiao Feng knew the space in Scripture-Depository Pavilion is narrow, there are many experts around, it is not convenient to prolong this fight, thus he put in 100% of his power in order to kill his enemy within a few moves. Murong Fu saw the incoming palm force is violent, he summoned all his strength and prepare to use [Start Shifting Movement] to neutralize.
The old monk put his pair of hands together and said: "Emituofo, this place is a sacred Buddhist site, shizhu must not act rashly."
Just by putting his palms together, an invisible barrier appeared between Xiao Feng and Murong Fu. Xiao Feng's earth shattering palm force crash into this barrier and disappeared without a trace in an instant.
Xiao Feng trembled with fear, ever since he became an accomplished martial artist, he has never lost to anyone in terms of martial arts, he knew that this old monk's internal energy is far stronger than his own, the gap is simply too wide, since the old monk intervened he will not be able to take revenge today. His father's internal injuries came to his mind, he bow and said: "I am an uncouth commoner with no proper etiquette, I offended divine monk, please forgive me."
The old monk smile and said: "You are too kind, you are too kind. Old monk really respect Xiao shizhu, you truly have the bearings of a great hero, Xiao shizhu is fully deserving of your reputation." Xiao Feng said: "The sins committed by my father are all due to me, I beg divine monk to treat him, I will receive the guilt for the sins, ten thousand deaths will not stop me."
The old monk smile faintly and said: "Old monk said it before, to treat senior Xiao shizhu's internal injuries, it must come from Buddhist doctrine. Buddha is born from the heart, Buddha is awareness. Outsiders can only advice, they cannot perform in place. I wish to ask senior Xiao shizhu: If you have the ability to treat injuries, the internal injuries of senior Murong shizhu, you willing to treat it for him?"
Xiao YuanShan was startled, he said: "I…..senior Murong…..i perform treatment for that old fellow?" Murong Fu shouted: "Watch your mouth!" Xiao YuanShan gnash his teeth and said: "Murong old fellow killed my beloved wife, destroy my entire life. I want to hack him into thousand pieces, turn him into mincemeat." The old monk said: "If senior Murong shizhu does not meet with a violent death in front of you, you cannot eliminate this hatred?" Xiao YuanShan said: "Correct. For the past 30 years, day and night, old man only thought about this blood debt."
The old monk nod his head and said: "Then it is simple." He stroll forward, extend his hand and smack the top of Murong Bo's head.
Initially when Murong Bo saw the old monk move forward he pay no attention, when the monk extend his hand and smack the top of his head he raised his left hand quickly to block, he was afraid his opponent's martial art is excessively powerful, thus when he raised his hand his body immediately float backwards. The martial arts handed down by his Murong family is already extremely profound, after the study of Shaolin's 72 supreme consummate skills, it is like a tiger that has grown wings, this raising of hand to block, body floating backwards, it may appear simple and nothing unusual, but in reality the defensive move is tight and elegant, it can be said to be the highest limits of perfection, there cannot be anything better. Everyone in the pavilion are all martial art experts, when they saw him execute these two moves they applaud secretly, even Xiao father and son cannot help but admire greatly.
But who would have expect the old monk's palm to land softly, with a 'Bo' sound it hit right at the middle of Murong Bo's forehead, above the 'Baihui acupoint'. Murong Bo's body tremble violently, his breathing stop immediately and he collapsed.
Murong Fu was startled, he rush forward to support and shout: "Father, father!" however his father's eyes are shut, no air coming from his nostril, he hastily hold out his hand to touch his chest, the heart stop beating as well. Murong Fu felt a mix of anger and sadness, he never expect this old monk who keeps talking about merciful heart and Dharma to commit such evil act, he shouted: "You….you…..you old bald thief!" he lean his father's body against a pillar, his body flew forward, he thrust both palms violently at the old monk.
The old monk did not appear to see it and ignored him completely. When Murong Fu push his palms within 2 chi of the old monk, suddenly he collide with an invisible energy wall, he seems to have bump into a fishing net, although the palm force is violent but it have no place to land, the force rebound off the invisible wall and hit a bookshelf. The incoming force is violent, naturally the counter-force must also be extremely powerful, however his palm force was completely dissipated by the invisible wall, afterwards he was pushed away lightly, thus when his back hit the bookshelf, the bookshelf did not topple over, moreover not a single book drop down from the pile of scriptures on the bookshelf.
Murong Fu is extremely astute, although he is distressed by his father's death, but he knew the old monk's martial art is more than 10 times higher, even if he use his full strength there is nothing he can do against him, at once he lean against the bookshelf and pretend to gasp for breath continuously, in his mind he plot secretly on how to catch him off guard with a sneak attack.
The old monk turn towards Xiao YuanShan and said dimly: "Senior Xiao shizhu wish to witness the violent death of senior Murong shizhu personally to quell the hatred in your heart. Now senior Murong shizhu is dead, senior Xiao shizhu must be calm now?"
Xiao YuanShan saw the old monk kill Murong Bo with a single strike, originally he was incomparably astonished, but when he heard his query his heart cannot help but feel empty, he was speechless.
For the past 30 years, he rack his brain endlessly, he want to avenge his wife, the hatred of having his son taken away. He hid in the vicinity of Shaolin temple, he found out that XuanCi is the chief person who killed his wife, however he did not want to kill him in secret, he intend to use a cruel method to avenge this blood debt publicly, afterwards he found out that abbot XuanCi had an illicit relationship with Ye ErNiang, he had a son, thus he snatch the son away from Ye ErNiang and let both of them experience the pain of losing their son. He killed all the heroes from Central Plains who participated in the massacre at YanMen Pass, even great master XuanKu and Qiao SanHuai husband and wife was killed by him, later he announced the adultery between XuanCi and Ye ErNiang to the crowd of heroes, make him lose all his reputation, it can be said he managed to complete his revenge thoroughly. But soon after he learn about identity of the crafty villain who spread false news which led to the disaster, the person also hid beside Shaolin temple and fought 3 times with him, Murong Bo, Xiao YuanShan's heart was filled with anger and directed his anger entirely on Murong Bo, he cannot wait to feed on his flesh and strip his skin, pluck his tendon and cook his bones. Who would have imagined the sudden appearance of a nameless old monk, seemingly without much effort he killed this great enemy with a single palm. In an instant he felt as if his body in high in the clouds, fluttering lightly, the world seems to have no place for him.
When Xiao YuanShan was young his heroism soared to the clouds, he mastered a superb set of martial arts, but because his revered teacher is a Han Chinese from the south, when he took up the post of military drill master of Liao's Coral Army, he offered advice to Liao emperor and Empress Dowager repeatedly and advocate a solid alliance between Song and Liao, he dispelled many great war and disaster between Song and Liao, his wife is his childhood sweetheart, both of them love each other deeply, soon after their marriage they had a son, his mind became clear and bright, his spirit high and vigorous. Unexpectedly a strange twist of events occurred at YanMen Pass, he did not die after falling into the valley, but he became a completely different person, what glorious undertaking, fame and position, everything appeared insignificant before his eyes, day and night he only think about how to kill his enemy to avenge this great hatred. Originally he was a simple and bold hero, when his heart was filled with hate, unexpectedly he became more and more perverse. He lived near Shaolin temple for over 10 years, hiding by day and coming out at night, he practice martial arts diligently, on a year-to year basis he never spoke more than 2 sentence with others, his temperament undergo a huge change.
Now the great hatred finally avenged, it is reasonable to say that he should be extremely happy, however he only felt indiscernible loneliness and desolation, he felt there is nothing left in this world for him to do, no purpose in being alive. He look askance at Murong Bo who is leaning against the pillar, Murong Bo's expression is gentle, a faint smile can be seen from the corner of his mouth, he seems to be much happier dead than alive. Xiao YuanShan felt a faint sense of envy at Murong Bo's good fortune, death ends all trouble, everything written off with 1 stroke. He felt bleakness in his heart: "The great enemy is dead, I completed my revenge. But where should I go? Return to Great Liao? To do what? Live in seclusion at YanMen Pass? To do what? Bring Feng-er and roam about the world, drifting the four seas? For what purpose?"
The old monk said: "Senior Xiao shizhu, where you want to go, you may go now." Xiao YuanShan shake his head and said: "I….where should I go? There is no place for me to go." The old monk said: "I killed senior Murong shizhu, you did not avenge it personally, thus you must have some regret, correct?" Xiao YuanShan said: "No! Even if you did not kill him, I also don't want to kill him." The old monk nod his head and said: "Correct! But this young hero Murong is distressed by his father's death, he will seek old monk and you for revenge, what should we do?"
Xiao YuanShan was dispirited, he said: "Great monk act on my behalf, if young hero Murong wants revenge, he can simply kill me." He sigh and said: "It is a good thing if he comes to kill me. Feng-er, return back to Great Liao. We completed our work here, this is the end of the journey." Xiao Feng shouted: "Father, you………."
The old monk said: "If young hero Murong kills you, your son will surely kill young hero Murong for revenge, this endless revenge and hatred, when will it end? Why not let me bear all the guilt in this world!" he took one step forward, raised his palm and smack towards the top of Xiao YuanShan's head.
Xiao Feng was startled, since this old monk can kill Murong Bo with a single palm, he is certainly capable of killing his father, he shout loudly: "Stop!" he push out with both palm and smack violently towards the old monk's chest. Originally he had complete reverence towards this old monk, however for the sake of saving his father he can only go all out with his full strength. The old monk extend his left palm and block the incoming force from Xiao Feng's twin palm, his right palm is still directed towards the top of Xiao YuanShan's head.
Xiao YuanShan did not even think about resisting, he saw the old monk's right palm is about to hit his forehead, suddenly the old monk shout loudly, his right palm change direction and strike towards Xiao Feng.
Xiao Feng's twin palm is locked in stalemate with the old monk's left palm, suddenly he saw the old monk's right palm turn around and attack him, at once he extract his left palm to block, at the same time he shouted out: "Father, leave quickly, leave quickly!" unexpectedly the old monk's right palm change direction midway, it is an empty move, its purpose is to divert a palm away from Xiao Feng's twin palm so as to reduce the power directed at his own body. When Xiao Feng move his left palm, the old monk immediately circle his right palm, with a light 'Bo' sound he hit the top of Xiao YuanShan's head.
At this moment, Xiao Feng's right palm arrived, with a 'Peng' sound it land heavily on the old monk's chest. The old monk smile faintly and said: "What a fine skill!" when he blurt out the word 'skill' he immediately spurt a mouthful of blood.
Xiao Feng was stumped, he rush over to support his father, however his breathing had stopped, his heart no longer beating, he is already dead, Xiao Feng was overcame by sorrow momentarily, he did not know what to do.
The old monk said: "It is time, we should leave!" his right hand grab hold of the back of Xiao YuanShan's neck, his left hand grab hold of the back of Murong Bo's neck, he opened up his stride, unexpectedly he seems to be walking on empty air, he took a few steps and step out of the window.
Xiao Feng and Murong Fu shouted in unison: "You….what you doing?" both of them thrust out their palm at the old monk's back. Moments ago both of them have irreconcilables differences, both parties cannot coexist together, currently their fathers met with the same disaster, unexpectedly they share the same anger and enemy, they join hands and attack the enemy together. The power of their palm combines together, its strength gigantic. Under the influence of their palm wind, the old monk is like a kite and flew forward by several zhang, his pair of hands still holding onto both corpses, three bodies as light as feather as if not made of flesh and blood.
Xiao Feng leap up quickly and give chase outside the window, he saw the old monk holding onto two corpses, running straight up the mountain. Xiao Feng hasten his footsteps, he assume he would be able to catch up with just a few steps, unexpectedly the old monk's lightness martial art is strange, he has never seen it before in his life, the old monk seems to possess some kind of sorcery. Xiao Feng spare no effort to give chase, he felt the incoming wind is like a blade scraping his face, he knew his movement speed is already strangely quick, however the old monk is still 2-3 zhang away from him, he thrust out his palm repeatedly but it just hit empty air.
In the desolate mountain the old monk suddenly made a turn east and shift west, he arrive at a flat land in the middle of a forest, he put the two corpse underneath a tree, their legs crossed and sitting down, he himself sitting behind the two corpse, his two palm separately pressing against the back of the two corpse. As he sat down, Xiao Feng so happen to arrive as well.
Xiao Feng saw the old monk is acting strangely, thus he did not step forward to attack. He heard the old monk said: "I carry them and make them run around for a while to help circulate their blood." Xiao Feng was flabbergasted, let a dead person circulate blood, what is the purpose? He blurted out: "Circulate their blood?" the old monk said: "Their internal injuries are too serious, they have to enter a sleeping state where they stop breathing, only then the treatment can be administered." Xiao Feng's heart was shaken: "Don't tell me my father is still alive? He….he is treating my father's injuries? Where is the logic in killing someone before providing treatment?"
Not long after, Murong Fu, Jiumozhi, XuanYin, XuanSheng, ShengShan, etc, they arrived as well, they saw white smoke emitting from the top of the head of the two corpses.
The old monk spin both corpse around, face to face, the corpse's hands grasping each other mutually, Murong Fu shouted: "You…you….what you doing?" the old monk did not reply, he walk slowly around the corpses, his hands smacking repeatedly, sometimes he hit Xiao YuanShan's "Dazhui acupoint", sometimes he hit Murong Bo's "Yuzhen acupoint", however the smoke emitting from the top of the head of the two corpses are getting thicker.
After the time needed to drink a cup of tea, Xiao YuanShan's body and Murong Bo's body tremble slightly at the same time. Xiao Feng and Murong Fu was pleasantly surprised, they shouted: 'Father father!" Xiao YuanShan and Murong Bo open their eyes slowly, they glance at each other and close their eyes immediately. However Xiao YuanShan's face is bright red, faint green light is emitting from Murong Bo's face.
At this moment everyone finally understood, moments ago when the old monk attacked the two men at the Scripture-Depository Pavilion, he merely halt their breathing and stop their heart form beating temporary, its truly a high-level method for treating serious internal injuries. People with profound internal energy will often train [Turtle Breathing Skill], that is only voluntary stoppage of breathing, however to hit someone else to stop their breathing and yet not kill them, that is truly unimaginable. Since this old monk had good intentions he could have notified in advance, why the need to play this big joke and cause Xiao Feng and Murong Fu to be alarmed and angry, moreover he even have to suffer a palm strike from Xiao Feng and spurt blood? Everyone still had doubts and suspicions, however seeing the old monk launch his palm repeatedly with rapt attention, nobody dare to make any inquiry.
Xiao YuanShan and Murong Bo's breathing became louder and heavier gradually, soon after Xiao YuanShan's complexion turn red, eventually reaching a point where it is about to start dripping blood, Murong Bo's complexion however became more and more green, his oily green complexion is extremely terrifying. The spectators by the side knew that one of them is suffering from excessive yang energy, clashing of excess internal heat, the other however is suffering from excessive yin energy, chill trapped internally. XuanYin, XuanSheng and DaoQing, they carried miracle medicine for treatment of injuries, however they did not know how to prescribe the correct cure for the illness.
Suddenly the old monk shouted out: "Duo! Four hands grasping mutually, inner breath answering one another, using yin to subdue yang, using yang to neutralize yin. The great ambition to rule, sea of blood deep in hatred, return everything to dust, disappear into nothingness!"
Originally Xiao YuanShan and Murong Bo's hands are gripping each other, listening to the old monk shout out, they cannot help but tighten their grip, their own inner breath rush towards each other, abundance filling up the deficient, individually the redness disappear and the green decline, they turn pale white, after a while their complexion became normal, they open their eyes simultaneously and smile at each other.
Xiao Feng and Murong Fu saw their fathers smile, both of them are comforted beyond description. Xiao YuanShan and Murong Bo stand up together hand in hand, they kneel down in front of the old monk at the same time. The old monk said: "Both of you from life till death, from death till life, you walk once through, do you still have anything that you are unable to let go of? If you died just now, do you still have the intention to restore Great Yan, or to avenge your wife?"
Xiao YuanShan said: "Disciple wasted 30 years staying in Shaolin temple, I did not have the slightest compassionate heart of a Buddhist disciple, I earnestly request master to accept me." The old monk said: "You do not wish to avenge your wife anymore?" Xiao YuanShan said: "Disciple killed more than a hundred people in my entire life, if the family members of those that I killed came to demand vengeance, even if disciple dies a hundred times, it is still not enough."
The old monk turn around and said to Murong Bo: "And you?" Murong Bo smile faintly and said: "The life of a peasant is dust, the life of a monarch is also dust. To restore Great Yan is just emptiness, not restoring Great Yan is also emptiness." The old monk laugh out loudly and said: "You have achieved supreme enlightenment, excellent, excellent!" Murong Bo said: "I beseech master to accept me as disciple to enlighten me further." The old monk said: "Both of you want to become a monk, you have to first request tonsure from the great masters of Shaolin temple. I have a few things to say, there is no harm in telling you." At once he sat upright to expound Buddhist teachings.
Xiao Feng and Murong Fu saw their father kneeling down, immediately after they followed and kneel down as well. XuanYin, XuanSheng, ShenShan, ShenYin, DaoQing, etc, they listen to the old monk explain the exquisite point of Buddhist teachings, they cannot help but be delighted, their respect and admiration slowly arose, each and every one kneel down as well.
When Duan Yu arrived, he heard the old monk explaining the finer points of Buddhism, he only want to go round and look at the old monk's appearance, unexpectedly Jiumozhi made a sneak attack, his chest was hit by [Blazing Sabre Skill].
Chapter - 44 Foolishly Seeking a Lovely Marriage, But Where Lies the Main Destiny?
Duan Yu drifted in and out of consciousness. Slowly regaining his senses after an unknown length of time, he opened his eyes to see a cloth canopy and found himself within the blankets of a bed. He was still in a state of confusion. Thinking hard, he only recalled that he had suffered the consequences of Jiumozhi's plot. He could not recall how he got into the bed. Feeling that his mouth was strangely parched, he sat up and tried to move a little and felt a terrible pain in his chest. "AH!" he could not help but yell out.
A young lady's voice called from outside the room. "Master Duan is awake! Master Duan is awake!" Her voice was filled with joy. Duan Yu felt that this girl's voice was familiar but could not pinpoint it. He then saw a girl dressed in green dashing into the room. A chubby face with dimples – indeed it was Zhong Ling whom he'd met at Wuliang Palace several years back.
Zhong Ling met his gaze and blushed, saying in an attempted joking tone: "Have you long forgotten me? Do you still remember my name?"
Duan Yu saw her expression and recalled to mind an image of her sitting on the ceiling beam of Wuliang Palace's great hall, both legs waving and chewing on melon seeds. At this moment, he recalled even the yellow embroidery flowers on her pair of green shoes in great clarity. "Where are your yellow flower-embroidered shoes?" he asked.
Zhong Ling blushed again, overjoyed. With a small laugh, she replied: "They wore out long ago. Trust you to remember those. You… You really haven't forgotten me!" Duan Yu laughed, "Why aren't you eating melon seeds?" Zhong Ling said: "I've been tending to your injuries these few days and almost went mad with anxiety. Who would have the time to eat melon seeds?" Upon saying those words, she felt that she'd revealed her true feelings too much and blushed terribly.
Duan Yu gazed at her intenty, thinking that she could be counted as his wife since the beginning. Who would have thought that she would turn out to be his sister? He sighed and said: "My dear sister, how did you get here?"
Zhong Ling's face was still red. Eyes shining with delight, she said: "After you left Wan Jie Valley, you never came to see me. I was very upset with you. Duan Yu said: "Why upset?" Zhong Ling gave him him a sideways glance and said: "Upset that you'd forgotten me."
Duan Yu saw only sincerity in her gaze and was moved. "My dear sister!" he exclaimed. Zhong Ling laughingly scolded him: "Now that you've addressed me so affectionately this time, you surely have to come and see me at least this once. I could not rest and went to the Zhennan Palace to seek news. I then found out that you went off with a wicked monk. I was so anxious that I could not help but come and find you."
Duan Yu asked: "Regarding my father and your mother, has your mother explained it to you?" Zhong Ling replied: "What matter? That night when you left with your father, my mother fainted and was not well for some time. She would keep weeping every time she saw me. I forced her to speak but she would not say a word."
Duan Yu said: "En, she didn't say a word. That… that means you don't know." "Know what?" Zhong Ling asked. Duan Yu replied: "Don't know that you are my… you are my…"
Zhong Ling flushed scarlet and bowed her head. Hesitantly, she said: "I knew... That day when we came out from the stone house, as you were carrying me you suddenly met many people and I was both terrified and bashful. I could only keep my eyes shut. However, your father's words… I heard them all clearly."
Both she and Duan Yu recalled the day in the stone house when Duan Zhengchun said to Zhong Wanchou: "Ling loves to serve Duan Yu in this house. Given time, a boy and girl undressed in a small dark room, what good can come out of it? My son is the Zhennan prince. Although he cannot marry her as the lawful wife, why can't she be the third or fourth wife? Would we not be in-laws then? Ha ha!
Duan Yu saw that she was blushing terribly and stammered: "My dear sister… so you still… still don't know the issue. This… this will never work out." Zhong Ling cut in: "Is it because of Sister Mu?" Duan Yu said: "No. She… She is also my…" Zhong Ling smiled, "Your father still said something about a third or fourth wife. It's not that I don't give want to her but she's extremely fierce, would I be able to beat her? She stuck out her tongue as she said it.
Duan Yu saw that she was still a picture of brilliant innocence. At the same time, his chest gave pain again. It was not a convenient time to explain the truth to her. He then asked: "How did you get here?"
Zhong Ling said: "I have been searching for you the whole way even to the east and west of the Central Plains but I heard no news whatsoever. I coincidentally met your disciple Yue the Third a few days ago. Although he did not see me, I heard him discussing with others that all the chivalrous heroes need to gather at Shaolin Temple as there was going to be a big and lively event. He told them to come. However, the wicked man Yun Zhongyue sneered and him and said that he would see his master soon. Yue the Third flew into a rage and said that when he saw you he would break your neck. I was both happy and anxious, so I quietly followed along. I was afraid to be spotted by Yue the Third and Yun Zhongyu and so I did not dare to follow to closely, but wandered around the base of the mountain haphazardly. I wanted to warn you to be cautious that your disciple wanted to break your neck. When I came across this uninhabited house, I moved in without reservation."
Duan Yu heard her speak of matters lightly but her face was flushed with emotion. She no longer seemed carefree like before. Young as she was, she had gone through much difficulty wandering alone throughout the Jianghu to find him. Her feelings toward him were genuine indeed. He impulsively stretched out his hand to hold hers and said in a low voice: "My dear sister, at least Heaven took pity (on us) and allowed me to see you again!"
Zhong Ling laughed and said: "Yes, at least Heaven felt sorry for us indeed and let us see each other again. Sitting down on the bed, she asked: "How is it that you came here then?" Duan Yu said to her, eyes wide: "I was just about to ask you that, how did I get here? I only recall that the evil monk did a sneak attack on me and I took a hit of his Formless Saber skill to the chest, taking a heavy injury. I know nothing after that."
Zhong Ling frowned and said: "That's really strange! Yesterday evening, I was picking vegetables in the garden. I had washed and cut the vegetables in the kitchen all ready to cook when I heard a moan in the room. It gave me a fright and I took the vegetable knife and entered the room. I only saw that there was a person sleeping on my bed and asked a few times: "Who are you?" There was no reply. I thought it was a bad person and raised the vegetable knife, ready to stab it into the person sleeping on the bed. Fortunately… fortunately you were sleeping face-up. Before the knife pierced you, I got a glimpse of your face and at that moment… I almost fainted from the shock. I didn't even realise that the knife had fallen to the floor. " At this point, she patted her chest a few times, recalling the shock of that moment.
Duan Yu pondered: "This place is not far from Shaolin Temple. It should be that someone sent me here after I was injured." Zhong Ling continued: "I called to you a few times but you only moaned and ignored me. I felt your forehead and you were running a terrible fever. Your clothes were soaked with fresh blood and it was obvious to me that you were injured. However, when I exposed the wound, it was well bandaged. I was gripped in confusion and dared not open the securing string. After waiting for a long while, you were still unconscious. Ai! I was both happy and in a panic, not knowing what to do with you."
Zhong Ling's expression suddenly stiffened and she said: "You aren't a good person. If I'd known earlier that you lack a conscience, I would have long forgotten you. I'll ignore you from now onwards, regardless of whether you live or die."
Duan Yu said: "What? Why are you suddenly angry now?" Zhong Ling hummed and said pointedly: "You know very well, why ask me?" Duan Yu replied in a panic: "I… I definitely don't know. My dear sister, tell me!" Zhong Ling retorted: "Pooh! Who's your dear sister? What did you say in your dreams? You remember and still ask me? You're really ungrateful!" Duan Yu asked: "What did I say while dreaming? That must have been nonsense and not accurate. Ah! I remember! I must have seen you in my dream and being very fond of you, I must have spoken rashly and offended you."
Zhong Ling suddenly teared and said dejectedly: "You're still lying to me at this time. Who did you actually dream of?" Duan Yu sighed and said: "When I was injured, I was unconscious and really did not know what nonsense I said." Zhong Ling suddenly exclaimed: "Who is Miss Wang? Who is Miss Wang? Why did you keep calling her when you were in a daze?"
Duan Yu's chest ached and said: "Did I call Miss Wang's name?" Zhong Ling said: "Why aren't you calling her? You kept calling her while in a daze. Even now, you're still thinking of her. Fine! Go and call Miss Wang to tend to you. I don't care any more!" Duan Yu sighed a few times and said: "Miss Wang's heart has no space for me. I only think of her but it is useless." Zhong Ling asked: "Why?" Duan Yu replied: "She only likes her cousin and has ignored me completely all this while."
Zhong Ling's mood brightened and she laughed. "Thank heavens, the wicked get their just desserts!" Duan Yu asked: "Me, wicked?" Zhong Ling tilted her head and laughed, hair style coming partly undone: "Your disciple Yue the Third is one of the Three Evils. If the disciple is so evil, the master is definitely even more so." Duan Yu laughed and said: "What about the Master-Wife? Does Yue the Third not call you Master-Wife? As he uttered the words, he immediately regretted them. "How can I speak such careless words to my biological sister?"
Zhong Ling blushed again and spat, but her heart was much appeased. She stood up and went to the kitchen to bring out a bowl of chicken soup, saying: "This soup has been boiling for half a day, waiting for you to awaken without once putting out the fire." Duan Yu replied: I really don't know how to thank you." Seeing Zhong Ling bringing the soup over, he tried to sit up but aggravated his chest injury again. He could not help but groan.
Zhong Ling busily said: "Don't get up. I will feed the little evil ancestor.""What little evil ancestor?" Duan Yu asked. Zhong Ling said: "You are the master of the wicked man. Is that not being the little evil ancestor?" Duan Yu laughed and said: "Then you are…" Zhong Ling brandished a spoonful of soup at his face and said in mock anger: "Watch me splash you with hot soup if you keep talking nonsense again!"Duan Yu stretched out his tongue and said: "I don't dare! Miss Wicked Girl, wicked aunts are indeed formidable and very evil!" Zhong Ling let out a smile, and almost splashed Duan Yu with the soup. Duan Yu with great presence of mind tasted that the soup was not too hot before swallowing it.
Duan Yu drank a few mouthfuls of chicken soup and admired her looks and her jade-like complexion. He thought: "Such a pity that she's my biological sister! Ai, if the one now feeding me chicken soup was Miss Wang, even it were poison I would still drink it."
Zhong Ling saw him vacantly staring at her and never in her wildest dreams imagined that he was thinking of someone else. She smiled and said: "What's so good to look at?"
There was a sudden sound. Someone was pushing the door aside to enter, followed by a teenage girl's voice saying: "Let's take a break here for a while." A man's voice said: "Good, if we tired you out I would not forgive myself. The girl snapped back: "Nonsense!"
Duan Yu heard the two voices and recognised them to be A-Zi and Beggar Clan Chief Zhuang Juxian. Although he had not met A-zi or spoken to her personally before, he knew that she was another illegitimate daughter of his father's from what Zhu Danchen told him. Yet another sister! Thank goodness he had no prior involvement with her. This younger sister had been under the guidance of the Xing Su elder since young and was tainted by evil ways. With her wilful ways, the four Zhennan Palace protectors had fallen to her petty anger. Duan Yu had been close to the four protectors since young. On recalling their deaths, he had no wish to see this sister of his. Furthermore, he had recently aided Xiao Feng against Zhuang Juxian and feared for his life if they were spotted. He raised a finger, making a shushing gesture.
Zhong Ling nodded and held onto the bowl of chicken broth, not daring to place it on the table, terrified of making even a small sound. She heard A-Zi call out: "Wei, anyone there?" Zhong Ling glanced at Duan Yu and did not respond, thinking: "This person must have given his heart to Miss Wang, but she's with her cousin and hence Duan Yu doesn't wish to see her." She was itching to take a look at "Miss Wang's" appearance, wondering how beautiful she must look to bespell Duan Yu so. However, she dared not take a step, thinking that nothing good could come of Duan Yu meeting her. Hopefully, she would call a few more times and leave with her cousin if there was no response.
A-Zi called loudly once more: "Why are none of the people in the house taking a damned step out?" If you still don't show yourself, I'll burn your house down!"
Zhong Ling thought: "This Miss Wang is really tyrannical!" You Tanzhi quietly said: "Be quiet, someone's coming!" A-Zi replied: "Who? Beggar Clan?" You Tanzhi replied: "I don't know, but there are four or five and may not necessarily be Beggar Clan members. They're coming this way." A-Zi said: "Those stinking beggar clan elders! Apart from Elder Quan, none of them are good. They may want to hold this against you. If we're seen, both of us will be in trouble." You Tanzhi replied: "Then what should we do?" A-Zi said: "Let's go and hide in the house first. You've been badly injured and can't fight with them."
Duan Yu quietly agonised, making a hand signal to Zhong Ling to tell her to hide. However, in this narrow and crampy mountain hut, there was nowhere to do so. Zhong Ling looked around and had no better ideas. From the sound of the footsteps, the duo were walking towards the room. She quietly said: "Let's hide below the bed-stove! [炕 Kang2]. She put down the bowl of soup. Before waiting for Duan Yu's response, she carried him up and they burrowed under the bed-stove. However, the bottom of the bed-stove was filled with soot. Duan Yu's nose was filled with dust and he managed to prevent a sneeze with great difficulty.
Zhong Ling looked out and saw a pair of feet clad in purple shoes walking into the room. She heard the man say: "Ai, I needed you to carry me around - it was really unsuitable work for you." The girl retorted: "One of us is blind and one is broken – we have no choice but to depend on each other." Zhong Ling was puzzled and thought: "Turns out that Miss Wang is blind and she's carrying her cousin on her back. No wonder that I can't see his feet."
A-Zi placed You Tanzhi on the bed and exclaimed: "Yi! Someone just slept on this bed! It's still warm!" Suddenly, there was a banging noise. The main door had been kicked open and a few people dashed in. A rough voice said: "Clan Leader Zhuang, the plans of the clan have come to nothing. How could you slip away just like that?" It was Elder Song. He had been leading two Seven-Pouch disciples along with two Six-Pouch disciples to search out You Tanzhi.
With the Xiao, Murong father-son duos along with the Shaolin monks and the assorted heroes of the Central Plains all involved in the Shaolin Temple event, the Beggar Clan felt that they were in great peril. They needed to urgently think of a solution. They were afraid that even being the biggest clan with a foothold in the Central Plains they would be affected by the Xiao father-son feud with Murong Bo that might drag on. They did not care and did not want to interfere. Even if they told Bao Butong that they shared a common enemy and brought ill upon Xiao Feng, their main concern was to avoid British Rule and be led by a strong Clan Leader to restore their original power and glory.
Clan Chief Zhuang disappeared in the mess when they were hunting for him. They thought that with both legs broken, he could not have gone far and searched for him nearby. As to how to deal with him after they had found him, the clan had yet to decide and were still at a loss. However the majority were unanimous in that he was definitely not fit to continue as clan leader. Some lambasted him for taking the Xing Su Elder as his teacher and shaming the clan. Some cursed him for sending people to kill clan members, swearing to settle scores with him. As for Quan Guanqing, he had long been captured by Elders Song and Wu, waiting to be dealt with along with Zhuang Juxian.
Elder Song led the four disciples to search the southeast of Shaolin Mountain and saw a flash of purple clothing in the distant forest – someone entering a farmhouse. He recognised A-Zi and saw her carrying a person that looked like Zhuang Juxian. Immediately pursuing, they barged into the farm house and saw Zhuang Juxian and A-Zi sitting on the bed-stove.
A-Zi frostily said: "Elder Song, although you address him as Clan Leader, how can you keep making such a commotion without half a sense of the proper respect? Elder Song was taken aback and felt that her words were not entirely unreasonable. He said: "Clan Leader, we number a thousand members, all who stayed behind on Shaolin Mountain. As to what to do next, we need your orders." You Tanzhi replied: "Do you still treat me as Clan Leader? You want me to return only to kill me to vent your anger, isn't it? I'm not going!"
Elder Song turned to the four disciples and said: "Quick, spread the word that Clan Leader is here." The four disciples acknowledged "Yes!" and turned to leave. A-Zi shouted: "Strike!" You Tanzhi followed the sound and struck out a palm. From below the bed-stove, Zhong Ling and Duan Yu felt a bone-freezing chill suddenly permeate the room. The four disciples fell as four corpses to the ground without making a sound. Elder Song was both shocked and angry. He raised his hand to his chest and yelled: "You… You… You dared to treat the clan brothers so wickedly!" A-Zi said: "Kill him too." You Tanzhi punched out again. Elder Song blocked with a raised fist and with an "Ah!" sound, fell out of the main door.
A-Zi giggled and said: "This guy is dead for sure! Are you hungry? Let's go and find something to eat. You Tanzhi carried upon her back, the two of them went into the kitchen and took Zhong Ling's cooked dishes to eat in the hall.
Zhong Ling whispered in Duan Yu's ear: "These two shameless people are drinking the chicken soup I cooked for you." Duan Yu whispered: "They are vicious and evil, killing at whim. Let's sneak out through the back door. Zhong Ling did not want him to see that "Miss Wang" and strongly agreed with what he said.
The two of them lightly crawled out from beneath the bed-stove. Zhong Ling saw that Duan Yu's face was full of soot and could not help but laugh. She covered her mouth. Sneaking out through the kitchen and just before they went through the back door, Duan Yu's long suppressed sneeze could no longer be controlled. "Qi chi!" the sound snapped out.
They heard You Tanzhi exclaim: "Someone's there!" Zhong Ling looked around and saw nowhere to hide in the room. However, there was a small room used for storing firewood behind the kitchen. She grabbed Duan Yu and they tunnelled into the pile of firewood. A-Zi called out: "Who's there? Such sneaky behaviour, get out here!" You Tanzhi said: "They're most likely farmers from this countryside. We can probably ignore them." A-Zi called: "Why do you still ignore me? With your clumsiness you'll surely suffer greatly in the future. Don't make a sound!" After she became blind, her hearing became exceptionally sensitive. She heard some rustling in the firewood pile. 'There's someone in the pile of firewood!"
Zhong Ling was startled and felt some water dripping on her face. She brushed it with her hand and felt dampness accompanied by the scent of blood. She was horrified and murmured: "You… how's your wound?" Duan Yu said: "Silence!"
A-Zi pointed to the firewood room and called out: "Over there." You Tanzhi struck a palm towards the room with a ka-la-la sound. The door burst apart and wood splinters and tinder scattered all around.
Zhong Ling called out: "Don't attack! We are coming out!". She supported Duan Yu and crawled out of the pile of firewood. Duan Yu had taken a stab from Jiumozhi's Blazing Sabre skill and his injuries were not light. With so much movement crawling out of the firewood storage wound, his wound opened and fresh blood gushed out. With his injuries, even with his abundant internal energy and his life on the line, he could not recall how to use the Liumai Shenjian (Six Meridians Divine Sword).
A-Zi asked: "Why is there a girl's voice?" You Tanzhi replied: "A man brought a young girl to hide in the wood pile. His body is soaked with blood while the girl just keeps staring at you with shining eyes." Since A-Zi became blind, she had become extremely sensitive to the mention of "eyes". Not only had You Tanzhi mentioned "eyes", he actually said "the young lady's eyes" and it agitated her. "What 'shining'?! Are her eyes so nice?" You Tanzhi was yet to realise how angry she was and went on: "She is scruffy - a farmer's daughter. Her eyes, however are dark and lively." Zhong Ling's face was coated with soot and dirt but her eyes were dark and liquid like summer rain.
A-Zi stormily exclaimed: "Fine! Master Zhuang, dig out her eyes immediately!" You Tanzhi was taken aback and said: "Why should I dig out her eyes for no reason?" A-Zi went on: "My eyes were destroyed by Elder Ding. Hurry, dig out her eyes and give them to me to see the world. Isn't that good?"
You Tanzhi was quietly shocked and thought: "If her eyes are restored and she sees how ugly I am, she may ignore me. Furthermore, if she recognizes my face and knows that I am the 'Metal Clown', that would be dreadful! I can't do this." He said: "If I can heal your eyes, that would be wonderful... ... however, I'm afraid this plan of yours will not work."
A-Zi knew that taking someone's eyes to replace her own would not work. However, since she had lost her sight, she had become filled with rage and hoped that everyone in the world would lose their eyes as well. She said: "If you haven't tried, how would you know it wouldn't work? Quickly make your move and dig out her eyes." She walked towards Duan Yu and Zhong Ling with You Tanzhi on her back.
Zhong Ling was alarmed to hear their exchange and dashed away. A-Zi being blind and carrying You Tanzhi had difficulty pursuing her. Furthermore, You Tanzhi had no intention of catching Zhong Ling and frequently gave A-Zi the wrong directions in a garbled way.
A-Zi hearing, Zhong Ling's footsteps, knew that she could not catch her. She called back: "If young Miss escapes, the man will die soon!"
Zhong Ling heard this and got a fright. She immediately stopped and turned back, only to see Duan Yu collapsed onthe floor with a pool of fresh blood around him. She dashed back and called out: "Little Blindy! You can't hurt him!" At this point when she faced A-Zi, she noticed that she was certainly a beauty. Who would expect that her heart was this vicious?
A-Zi cried out: "Seal her acupoints!" Although You Tanzhi was unwilling, he had never dared to defy A-Zi, whether it be in the Liao Manor or being the Beggar Clan lader. Immediately raising his finger, he sealed Zhong Ling's acupoints and she fell to the ground.
Zhong Ling called: "Miss Wang! Do not hurt him! He called your name in his dreams and has nothing but honest intentions towards you!" A-Zi asked in confusion: "What did you say? Who's Miss Wang?" Zhong Ling said: "You... you aren't Miss Wang? Who are you then?" A-Zi smirked and said: "Hm. You called me 'Little Blindy'. You're about to become blind yourself now. Why ask so many questions? You still have a pair of eyes now. Better take a few more looks quickly." She placed You Tanzhi on the ground and said: "Dig out her eyes!"
You Tanzhi replied: "Yes!" and stretched out his left hand, grabbing Zhong Ling's head. Zhong Ling in shock cried out: "Don't dig out my eyes! Don't dig out my eyes!"
Duan Yu lying on the ground in a daze realised that the two of them were about to remove Zhong Ling's eyes to place in A-Zi's eye sockets. He knew Zhong Ling had already escaped but returned and placed herself in danger to save him. He sighed and said: "You should take my eyes, we... we are family... they would be more suitable."
A-Zi had no idea what he was talking about and did not care. She urged You Tanzhi: "Why haven't you moved?" You Tanzhi had no choice but to acknowledge: "Yes". He pulled Zhong Ling toward himself and stuck his right index finger towards her right eye in a digging motion.
They suddenly heard a lady's voice calling out: "Wei, what are you doing here?" You Tanzhi raised his head and his expression changed greatly. He saw two men and four women below the home's willow tree. The two men were Xiao Feng and Xu Zhu, while the four ladies were Xu Zhu's servants, the four swords: Plum, Orchid, Chrysanthemum and Bamboo.Glancing into the room, Xiao Feng saw Duan Yu collapsed on the floor and dashed in to carry him up. Frowning, he said: "Your wound has opened again with so much blood." He knelt down on his left leg to support Duan Yu's body and examined his wound. Xu Zhu came closer and saw Duan Yu's wound, saying: "Elder brother, do not be alarmed. This [Nine-changing Bear Snake Pill] is very effective for treating wounds. He sealed the acupoints around Duan Yu's wound to stop the bleeding, then fed him the pill.
Duan Yu called out: "Elder brother... second brother, quickly, save her! Don't let him dig out Miss Zhong's eyes! She's... she's my good sister." Xiao Feng and Xu Zhu looked at You Tanzhi. You Tanzhi was startled. As he had originally not wished to dig out Zhong Ling's eyes, he let her go immediately.
A-Zi called out: "Brother-in-law, what did my sister say before she died? After you beat her to death, did you forget all about her requests?" Xiao Feng, hearing her bring up A-Zhu, was once again hurt and frustrated, letting out a sigh. He did not reply. A-Zi continued: "You didn't take good care of me. Elder Ding destroyed my sight but you weren't even concerned. Brother-in-law, everyone says you're the number one hero, but you can't even protect your sister-in-law. Are you actually worthless? Hm, Elder Freak Ding can't defeat you, but it's just that you didn't take care of me and protect me."
Xiao Feng dejectedly replied: "You were taken by the Beggar Clan and lost sight in both eyes. It was truly that my protection was inadequate. I really cannot make it up to you enough for this. He had seen early on that A-Zi was up to her unreasonable ways and asking others to dig out Zhong Ling's eyes. He was angry and yet when he saw her blind gaze, he recalled A-Zhu's last wishes on that stormy night at the Green Stone bridge where A-Zhu took his killing blow, telling him in his arms: "I only have a good sister from the same parents. While we cannot continue being together, I beg you to take care of her as I fear she will go astray." He had also himself said: "Not only one task, I would do a hundred or a ten thousand tasks for you." However, A-Zi's losing both eyes were his fault for his inadequacy of care no matter what she had done wrong. His heart ached when he thought of all this and his eyes shone with warmth towards her.
A-Zi had spent a long time with Xiao Feng and knew his character well. As long as she mentioned A-Zhu, she would manage to make him agree to difficult requests for sure no matter what. She hated how Zhong Ling called her "Little Blindy" and thought to herself: "I'm going to make you have a taste of being a "Little Blindy" for sure". She then sighed a few times and said to Xiao Feng: "Brother-in-law, I'm blind and can't see anything. It may be better for me to just die." Xiao Feng said: "I had already returned you to your father and mother. How is it that you're with Clan Leader Zhuang once again?" At this time he had already seen that Zhuang Juxian was fully willing to follow A-Zi as well as being very obedient to her words. "You'd better return to your father to Dali. Although your eyes are blind, Dali Palace has many servants to wait upon you and it will not be too inconvenient."
A-Zi replied: "My mother isn't a real palace concubine. If I were to go to Dali, with all the palace intrigue and plotting happening one after another, should Father's underlings hate me, I will be at their mercy with my blindness." Xiao Feng thought that she had a point and then replied: "Then follow me back to Nanjing where you can lead your life peacefully without taking risks in the Jianghu."
A-Zi retorted: "Now you ask me to go to your own palace? Ai yo! I was bored sick there even when I could see. How could I ever return there? You refuse to be like Clan Leader Zhuang, never disagreeing with me. I would be rather drift along in the Jianghu and be happier."
Xiao Feng glanced at You Tanzhi and thought: "Looks like little A-Zi seems to be fond of this Beggar Clan Leader. He said: "Have you asked about this Clan Leader Zhuang's background?"
A-Zi replied: "Naturally. However, asking someone for their own background may not necessarily be reliable. Brother-in-law, when you used to be the Beggar Clan Leader, would you have willingly told others that you were a Khitan?"
Xiao Feng upon hearing her acerbic words sighed again and did not continue. He was undecided if he should leave her alone to continue following this Beggar Clan Leader.
A-Zi asked: "Brother-in-law, are you ignoring me now?" Xiao Feng frowned and said: "What do you want then?" A-Zi said: "I want you to dig out this girl's eyes and give them to me." She paused and continued: "Clan Leader Zhuang was about to do it for me. If you hadn't interfered, he would have been long done. En, even if you let me do it myself it's fine. Brother-in-law, I want to know if you or Clan Leader Zhuang treats me better. In the past, you used to carry me around all the time to get my wounds treated. Then, you also obeyed me dutifully, doing whatever I asked. When we stayed outdoors in the same tent, you carried me closely regardless if it was day or night. Brother-in-law, have you forgotten all this?"
You Tanzhi stared at Xiao Feng with a vicious expression, seeming to say: "A-Zi is mine, from this day on, don't even think of touching her!"
Xiao Feng cared not about him and said: "You were heavily injured then. To use my internal energy to keep you alive, I had no choice but to go along with you. This girl is my sworn brother's friend. How can I dig out her eyes to suit your order? Furthermore, the medical technique to install nerves does not exist. This desire of yours is futile!"
Xu Zhu suddenly interjected: "I took a look at Miss Duan's eyes. It's only the surface layer that has been destroyed. It may be possible to do a transplant with a living person to cure her. The Xiaoyao Sect's medical skills were very advanced. Furthermore, Divine Doctor Xue was Xu Zhu's martial nephew. Although Xu Zhu did not have much medical knowledge, he had followed Tianshan Tonglao (Child Elder) for a number of months and had heard her mentioning many things.
A-Zi cried "Ah!" with joy and cheered, saying: "Mr. Xu Zhu, you aren't fooling me right?" Xu Zhu replied: "Monks do not fight or lie……" then paused and flushed a little as he thought about himself no longer being a monk. He continued: "Naturally, I am not fooling you, however…" A-Zi asked: "However what? Good Mr. Xu Zhu, you are sworn brothers with my brother-in-law – both of us are practically family!" You also heard my brother-in law earlier. He dotes on me greatly. Brother-in-law, brother-in-law, regardless, you must ask your sworn brother to cure my eyes!" Xu Zhu said: "I heard my martial uncle mention before that if the eyes are not completely destroyed, it is possible to regain sight by transplanting part of a living person's eye. However, I am not familiar with the method of doing so."
A-Zi said: "In that case, your martial uncle must surely have the method. Please help me to ask him! Xu Zhu sighed and said: "My martial uncle is no longer alive." A-Zi yelled: "So you were making tales up to mess with me!" Xu Zhu repeatedly shook his head and said: "No, no! There are many medical books kept in Lingjiu Palace. I believe the method to transplant eyes should be available there. But… but…" A-Zi was both pleased but anxious and said: "You're a grown man and yet speak in such a stuttering wishy-washy manner. Ai! What do you mean by 'but' this and 'but' that?"
Xu Zhu said: "However… However… Eyes being as precious as they are, who would want to donate theirs to you?" A-Zi laughed and said: "I was wondering what difficult matter you meant. Getting eyes from a living person? Isn't that easy? Just dig out that girl's eyes!"
Zhong Ling loudly exclaimed: "No way! You can't take my eyes!" Xu Zhu replied: "Yes! Putting yourself in her shoes, you didn't wish to become blind. Naturally, neither does Miss Zhong. Although Siddharta used to be a Buddha in his previous life and was willing to give his flesh and blood to others, how can Miss Zhong compare to Tathagata Buddha? Furthermore, Miss Zhong is a good friend of my third brother." He was suddenly startled and exclaimed: "Ai ya! Not good! That time in Lingjiu Palace, I was having a heart-to-heart talk with Third Brother after drinks. It turned out that his loved one was my "Dream Maiden". It seems now that Third Brother is very close to this Miss Zhong now. From what he said earlier to A-Zi, he would rather have his own eyes dug out than to let Miss Zhong be hurt even though the eyes are the most important of the bodily organs. Could it be that this Miss Zhong is actually the "Dream Maiden" whom I spent three nights with?
After thinking up to this point, he involuntarily shivered and turned his head to sneakily glance at Zhong Ling. Although she was covered in soot and grass, it did not conceal her underlying beauty. The time Xu Zhu had spent with his "Dream Maiden" was not that insignificant, however as it had been in the darkened ice room, he had no idea what she looked like. If he could use his hand to feel her face, he could get some hint; if he could hug her waist, he could be even more certain. However in broad daylight, how would he be able to feel her face? Not to mention hugging and cuddling.
While having these thoughts, he blushed furiously. Although Zhong Ling's voice was different from his "Dream Maiden", to recognize a voice within the ice room and in the open would be very different. It was not surprising that they would not be alike. Xu Zhu gazed at Zhong Ling, feeling as if he could stretch out a hand from his heart and gently caress her face so as to find out if she really were his "Dream Maiden". His face glowed with tender warmth towards her as he had these overflowing feelings.
Upon seeing that Xu Zhu had an amiable expression and did not seem likely to be about to gouge out her eyes, Zhong Ling was slightly relieved.
A-Zi said: "Mr. Xu Zhu, I'm your third brother's sister by blood. This Miss Zhong is only his friend. There's a big difference between a sister and a friend."
After Duan Yu had taken the Lingjiu Palace 'Nine-Changing Bear Snake Pill', his bleeding rapidly stopped and he regained his senses. Although he had not fully understood the exchange regarding eye-switching, A-Zi's last few words made everything clear to him. He could not help but sighed and said: "Since you had long known that I am your brother, how could you ask others to harm me?"
A-Zi laughed and said: "I have never spoken to you before. How would I recognize your voice? It was only when I heard Father and Mother speaking yesterday that I knew about my brother-in-law and Mr. Xu Zhu becoming sworn brothers and that the one who thrashed Young Master Murong was actually my blood brother. This is wonderful. Both my brother-in-law and my own brother are great heroes, how admirable!" Duan Yu shook his head and said: "What great hero? A laughable disgrace." A-Zi laughed and said: "Ai ya, don't be courteous. Little elder brother, when you hid in the wood storage room, how would I have known it was you? I can't see. It was only when I heard you address my brother-in-law as "Elder Brother" did I know it was you."
Duan Yu felt that she had a point there and said: "Second brother should know the method of treating your eyes and he should be able to concoct a treatment plan for you. Miss Zhong Ling's eyes must not be touched at all costs. She… She is also my sister by blood."
A-Zi cackled: "Earlier on that mountain, I heard you desperately trying to ingratiate yourself with Miss Wang. How did you start eyeing this Miss Zhong in the blink of an eye? You even managed to call her your sister by blood. Little elder brother, are you not in the least shy?" Duan Yu turned scarlet at her words and said: "Nonsense!" A-Zi replied: "If this Miss Zhong becomes my sister-in-law, I would naturally not touch her eyes. However, if she is not my in-law, why can't I use her? Little elder brother, is she or is she not my sister in law?"
Xu Zhu gave a sideways look at Duan Yu, his heart pounding wildly. He did not know if Zhong Ling was his "Dream Maiden". If she were not, it would not matter, however if she were and Duan Yu married her, he would not know what to do. He had a depressed expression as he waited for Duan Yu's reply, the moment seeming to drag on for a long while.
Zhong Ling was also waiting for Duan Yu's response and wondered: "So this lady is your younger sister and even she says that you keep trying to get in Miss Wang's good books. It can't be untrue then that your heart is with Miss Wang. Why did you say earlier then that I am Yue the Third's martial mother? Why did you even agree to use your eyes in exchange for mine? Why did you call me your own sister in front of everyone?"
She heard Duan Yu say again: "No matter what, you are not allowed to harm Miss Zhong. You are young and always doing bad deeds. Our Dali elder brother Zhu Wanli was angered to death by you. If you start your wickedness again, my second brother will refuse to treat your eyes."
A-Zi pursed her lips and said: "Heng! Putting on airs now! Speaking to me for the first time, you aren't being affectionate but attempting to lecture me!"
Xiao Feng saw that Duan Yu was speaking coherently although his energy level was low and his energy seemed to be improving. He knew that the Lingjiu Palace "Nine-Changing Bear Snake Pill" was miraculous and Duan Yu's life was no longer at risk. He then said: "Third Brother, let us go to the room to rest and discuss. Duan Yu replied: "Good timing!" He straightened up and stood. Zhong Ling called out: "Ai ya! You can't move carelessly. Don't cause your wound to open up again!" Her voice was filled with tenderness. Xiao Feng delightedly said: "Second brother, your amazing medicine is truly a miracle second to none."
Xu Zhu made a few "En" sounds but his heart was still flustered over Zhong Ling's few emotion-filled lines and filled with great regret.
The group entered the room. Duan Yu lay on the bed-stove while Xiao Feng sat in front of it. Night had fallen and the Lingjiu Palace Four Swords lit oil lamps, while preparing tea and food to serve to Xiao Feng, Duan Yu, Xu Zhu and Zhong Ling. However, they pointedly ignored You Tanzhi and A-Zi. A-Zi was annoyed and in keeping with her character wanted to secretly harm the Lingjiu Palace Four Swords, but when she thought about her blindness and that she would have to rely on Xu Zhu for treatment, she had no choice but to swallow her rage.
Xiao Feng did not notice or care about A-Zi throwing a tantrum and opened a drawer of the stove-bed. Duan Yu and Xu Zhu saw that the inside was filled with toys for young children. There were carved wooden tigers, clay puppies, woven grass cages for insects, bamboo containers to store crickets and also a few rusty small knives. These toys were common to farmer homes and nothing out of the ordinary. Xiao Feng however took the wooden tigers and stared at them blankly.
A-Zi had no idea what he was doing and was restless and bored. She swept a hand through her hair and shifted her elbow, knocking into a cotton loom. She took out her sword and with a 'Shua!' sound sliced the machine into two.
Xiao Feng's expression darkened and he cried out: "You… what are you doing?" A-Zi replied: "This sewing machine hit and injured me, how does it trouble you for me to destroy it?" Xiao Feng angrily yelled: "Get out! How dare you damage the things in this house?"
A-Zi retorted: "Fine, I'll go!" and she rapidly ran out. She walked briskly in her anger and with a banging sound hit her forehead on the top of the door. She grunted and rapidly kept going even though she could not see the way out clearly. Xiao Feng's heart softened and he grabbed her right arm to stop her, gently saying: "A-Zi, are you injured?" A-Zi turned and wilted in his embrace, sobbing."
Xiao Feng gently patted her shoulder and said in a low tone: "A-Zi, it's my fault. I should not have been so harsh on you." A-Zi sobbed: "You've changed! Unlike in the past when you were so good to me." Xiao Feng tenderly said: "Sit down and rest for a while. Sip a cup of tea, all right?" He took his own teacup and placed it at A-Zi's mouth, his left hand supporting her waist.
In the past when he had broken A-Zi's rib-cage, Xiao Feng attended to her with his utmost for more than a year. Not just with tea and food, even assisting with her dressing, hair combing and personal bodily functions, Xiao Feng assisted her intimately, denying her nothing. When she had been unable to sit upright then, Xiao Feng when feeding her soup and medication had become accustomed to supporting her body with his left hand. He instinctively did so now when feeding her tea. A-Zi sipped a few cups of tea in his arms and felt soothed. She broke a laugh and said: "Brother-in-law, are you still chasing me away?"
Xiao Feng let go of her and turned to place the teacup on the table. In the darkness, he suddenly saw two eyes shining fiercely like those of wild beasts with a vicious bloodlust directed at himself. Xiao Feng was taken aback slightly and saw You Tanzhi sitting on the corner of the room clenching his teeth tightly, nostrils flaring, as if he were about to pounce towards himself to bite. Xiao Feng thought: "This person's background is unknown and his behaviour is extremely odd." He heard A-Zi saying again: "Brother-in-law, I only damaged a few broken sewing looms. Why did you have to fly into such a rage?"
Xiao Feng gave a long sigh and said: "This home was my godparents'… The sewing loom you destroyed was my godmother's."
Everyone was shocked.
Xiao Feng grasped the small wooden tiger in his palm, gazing into the distance. In the yellow lamp-light, his large shadow loomed on the clay wall. He gently rubbed the wooden tiger's back with his index and middle fingers, a tender expression on his face and said: "This was carved for me by my godfather when I was five. Godfather… I used to call him Father then… carved it by the light of this very lamp. Mother was sewing. I sat beside Father's leg, watching the form of the tiger's ear appearing, then the nose. I was delighted."
Duan Yu asked: "Elder brother, was it you who brought me to this place?" Xiao Feng nodded and replied: "Yes." While the nameless elderly monk had been reciting scripture to the group, Jiumozhi suddenly struck and injured Duan Yu. The nameless monk waved his sleeve and shoved Jiumozhi out, where he rapidly turned and fled down the mountain.
On seeing that Duan Yu had suffered a heavy injury, Xiao Feng had given Duan Yu special medication as he was anxious to help him. Jiumozhi's [Blazing Sabre Skill] was extremely dangerous. Had Duan Yu's internal energy not been extremely dense and strong, he would have died on the spot after his vitals had been struck.
Xiao Feng saw that the mountain's weather was harsh and it would be bad for Duan Yu to endure the strong winds with his severe injury. He carried Duan Yu to his childhood home, placing Duan Yu on the bed-stove. Immediately turning, he was about to meet up with his father as well as the eighteen Khitan warriors, when he was surprised to find that someone had been living in the empty home these few days, and that it was an old acquaintance of Duan Yu's.
He returned to Shaolin Temple to find that the situation had calmed down. Xiao Yuanshan and Murong Bo had decided to become Shaolin monks under the guidance of Nameless Monk. Not only had they resolved their enmity, they had even become senior and junior disciples.
Xiao Yuanshan had not spread the knowledge of Shaolin's martial arts to the country of Liao. The heroes of the Central Plains were relieved and reassured. During Xiao Feng's disappearance, the eighteen Khitan Warriors were unable to cause any harm under the direction of Lingjiu Palace. The various heroes saw that the matter had been settled and dispersed from the mountain. Xiao Feng had no wish to meet others and begin the struggles anew. He hid in a cave beside the mountain until night before going to the entrance door requesting to meet his father.
The monk in charge of handling guests for Shaolin Temple went in to report. Returning after a time, he said: "Elder Xiao has become a monk in this temple. He wishes me to inform you that he has buried his grievances and his heart is now filled with peace and joy. He intends to devote himself to scripture study from now on. When he was a Liao official, he only hoped for peace between Liao and Song. If the Liao Emperor has the intention of invading, please dissuade him to protect the millions of lives in the two countries."
Xiao Feng replied: "Yes!" His heart was awash in sorrow and he wondered: "Father is getting old. If he does not wish to see me today, I fear that I will not get to see him again." He thought: "I have been charged by the Liao Emperor with the heavy task of subduing the South. If Great Song wants to invade Liao, I am a general and will have to defend the North, however if the Emperor wants to kill the Song soldiers, I will have to dissuade him."
He heard footsteps whilst he was deep in thought. Seven or eight eminent monks including Shenshan and Daoqing came out of the temple along with Zheluoxing (Indian Monk) and other foreign monks. Monks Xuanji (Discipline Hall head) and Xuansheng had their hands clasped in the Buddhist greeting. Boluoxing (Indian Monk Zheluoxing's junior) stood behind Xuanji as they exchanged courtesies.
Zheluoxing said: "Junior, I will be heading to the West. When we part today, we will be separated by thousands of miles. Who knows when we will meet again? You are determined not to return home to Tianzhu (old name for India). Do you want to spend your remaining days in the Central Plains?" He spoke in Chinese to his junior disciple to avoid any misunderstanding or suspicion from the Shaolin monks.
Boluoxing laughed lightly and said: "Senior Brother, why do you keep asking me this? Tianzhu and the Central Plains are one and the same. Bodhidharma came to the East as well." Zheluoxing was shaken and said: "Junior's words have enlightened me. You aren't my junior, but my teacher." Boluoxing laughed and said: "When following the Dharma, understanding may come early or late. It is fine whether late or early just to achieve understanding." The two shared a laugh.
Xiao Feng remained inconspicuous at the side and waited until Reverends Shenshan, Daoqing, Zheluoxing had gone down the mountain before slowly following behind. He had only gone a few steps when another person came out from the temple. It was Xu Zhu. He saw Xiao Feng and was elated, rushing over and saying: "Elder brother, I was looking all over for you. I heard that Third Brother was heavily injured. How is he?" Xiao Feng replied: "Fine, fine!" The two went off together. Before they had gone a short distance, the Four Sword sisters came out from the forest to follow Xu Zhu.
Xu Zhu said that the Lingjiu Palace maidens as well as the folk of the Seventy Two Islands and Thirty Six Caves had already left the mountain with the Eighteen Khitan warriors and he believed that there would not be any reckless conflict with the Central Plain warriors. Xiao Feng felt that this was praiseworthy and thought: "This sworn brother of mine is really amazing. It was my Second Brother who became sworn siblings with him. Who knew that he would be such a great help to me?"
Xu Zhu then mentioned that Ding Chunqiu been placed in the care of Shaolin Temple's medical wing. The Shaolin monks would give him the Lingjiu Palace medication twice yearly during the Dragon Boat and Double Nine Festivals to allievate the agony he felt from the Life and Death Talisman. His life and death was in the hands of others and he dared not do evil.
Xiao Feng gave a hearty laugh and said: "Second Brother, you have eliminated a great evil from the martial world. This Ding Chunqiu will be under Buddhist influence, but whether it will draw him away from his evil ways remains to be seen." Xu Zhu was a little upset and said: "I wished to become a monk again in the Shaolin Temple. However, I was chased away by the senior masters. This Ding Chunqiu is extremely wicked and has done many evil deed and yet he can remain in Shaolin Temple to meditate. Why is there such a double standard in our treatments?
Xiao Feng smiled and said: "Second Brother, you envy Old Freak Ding, but he envies you a thousand times more. You are the master of Lingjiu Palace and leading the thirty six cave masters as well as the seventy two island masters, with your great fame shaking the heavens, what's not to like?" Xu Zhu shook his head and said: "Lingjiu Palace is all women. It's really awkward being a little monk and not knowing what to do with myself. Xiao Feng laughed gustily and said: "You mean you're still a little monk?"
Xu Zhu said: "Those sycophantic lackeys of the Xingxiu Sect have turned to pestering me. I have no idea how to deal with them." Xiao Feng replied: "These people were likely not originally this way. Under the influence of the Xingxiu Elder Freak, it they had not learned to be this way they would likely not have been able to survive. Second Brother, just treat them more strictly and if they refuse to change then throw them out."
Xu Zhu thought about his parents acknowledging each other in a single day and then dying together. How tragic! He could not help but tear up.
Xiao Feng said consolingly: "Second brother, unfortunate happenings are common everywhere. When I was expelled by the Beggar Clan, the heroes of the world all treated me with much enmity and I was extremely upset. But after some time, things got better." Xu Zhu replied: "Right, right. Tathagatha Buddha once preached Scripture on the Lingjiu Mountain of Rajgir. The word Lingjiu has its origins in Buddhism. Perhaps one day, I will turn Lingjiu Palace into Lingjiu Temple and ask the women both old and young to be nuns."
Xiao Feng bellowed with laughter and said: "A monk temple filled with nuns, that will truly be an oddity!"
Both people chatted and as they arrived at Qiao San Huai (乔三槐) house (the House of Qiao?), they came across You Tanzhi just about to dig out Zhong Ling's eyes and it was fortunate that they stopped him in the nick of time.
Duan Yu asked: "Elder brother and second brother, have you seen my father?" Xiao Feng replied: "Not afterwards." Xu Zhu said: "The heroes were fighting chaotically and I could not pay my respects to Uncle, truly disrespectful." Duan Yu replied: "Second brother, no need to be polite. That Duan Yanqing is a great enemy of my family and I am afraid that he would cause trouble for my father." Xiao Feng replied: "This matter needs to be dealt with. Let me go and seek Uncle (Duan Zhengchun) out."
A-Zi cut in: "You keep talking about elder uncle and little uncle, why don't you address him as 'Father-in-law'?"
Xiao Feng sighed: "This is something I will hate myself for the rest of my life for, what else is there to say?" He stood up and left the room.
At this time, Plum Sword carried in a bowl of chicken broth and was entering the room to serve it to Duan Yu when she heard their discussion. She said: "Hero Xiao, you don't need to ride off personally to search. Your lowly servant will spread Master's order and Lingjiu Palace will search everywhere. If Duan Yanqing is spotted to be doing evil, we will set off smoke signals and we can go in and capture him. What do you think?" Xiao Feng joyfully said: "Great! Those under Lingjiu Palace number in the thousands. If they split up the work, it will be far better than the few of us going out to look."
Plum Sword went off to give the instructions for the search. Lingjiu Palace had a very efficient communications network. Once Xu Zhu returned to the House of Qiao, the Xuantian Section women had already obtained information. Under Fu Minyi's leadership, they rushed to the vicinity and secretly increased security.
Duan Yu was reassured and then started to think about Wang Yuyan, thinking: "She hates me deeply. I fear that she will ignore me in the future." He could not help but sigh a few times over his strong yearning. Zhong Ling was concerned and asked: "Does your wound hurt?" Duan Yu replied: "Not much." A-Zi said: "Miss Zhong, although you like my little elder brother, you do not understand his heart. I see your confused thoughts – the future is uncertain." Zhong Ling replied: "I wasn't talking to you. Who asked you to interrupt?" A-Zi laughed: "It's irrelevant whether I interrupt or not. I only fear that there is a lady ten times more beautiful than you are, ten times more devoted and caring who may interfere. My brother would then have no place for you in my heart. Why he sighs, don't you know? Sighing means that his heart is unfulfilled. You are contented to be with my brother and do not sigh. My brother's frequent sighing – certainly it is because of another lady!" A-Zi could not dig out Zhong Ling's eyes, so she used her words to pierce her and wanted her to be miserable. That gave herself cheer.
Zhong Ling upon hearing this was angry and upset. However, she felt that A-Zi had a point and she became gloomy. When she had been younger, she had always been innocent and lively. Although she had been fond of Duan Yu, it was not a very deep desire, just that she felt that her heart had no words to describe the comfort and joy she felt being with him. Duan Yu's heart being with someone else and not bothering too much about her was rather saddening. Although she was a little upset, there was nothing much to be done about it.
Duan Yu hurriedly said: "Zhong... Zhong… Younger sister Ling, don't listen to A-Zi's blind words." Zhong Ling on hearing Duan Yu address her as Younger Sister Ling and no longer Miss Zhong, felt that it was a more intimate form of address and was cheered, saying: "She loves to hurt others with her words – I don't care about it."
A-Zi was furious. After she had become blind, she hated others mentioning the word "Blind". Duan Yu had meant to say that she was speaking rashly or without logic, but he managed to use the word "Blind" twice. She said: "Brother, do you actually like Miss Wang more or Miss Zhong more? Miss Wang has already arranged with me to meet on the morrow. I will tell her the words you speak with your own mouth."
Duan Yu upon hearing that sat up and hurriedly asked: "You arranged to meet with Miss Wang? Where and when? What are you discussing?"
On seeing his desperate expression, Zhong Ling knew that regardless of what he said, Miss Wang was far more important to Duan Yu than herself. She was easygoing and straightforward in character. She had been upset earlier but it had dulled greatly by now. She would be very upset if she were in Wang Yuyan's place but knew that her beloved's heart was not with herself. Mu Wanqing had gone straight for Duan Yu; A-Zi must be planning some wickedness towards Wang Yuyan. Despite all her thoughts, Zhong Ling said: "Don't get up, be careful or your wound may open up and bleed again."
Xu Zhu was watching the three of them from the side and pondered: "Miss Zhong is so devoted to Third Brother. It's unlikely that she is my Dream Maiden. Otherwise, how would she be so indifferent when she heard my voice?" However, he thought a little more: "Aiyo, that's not right? The ladies like Elder Tonglao, Li Qiushui as well as Jade Granny, Stone Aunt and Aunt Fu are complicated and think very differently from men. Perhaps Miss Zhong is really my Dream Maiden and she recognized me from the start, however she deliberately did not show any recognition to keep me in the dark?"
Duan Yu kept questioning A-Zi as to when she was meeting Wang Yuyan the next day. A-Zi saw his anxiety and wondered how to mess with him. Thinking that she could obtain some benefits, her answers were all perfunctory.
Orchid Sword returned to report and said that the Xuan Tian Section had already sent out word and requested Duan Yu to be at ease. Duan Yu said: "Many thanks Sisters for your effort, I am extremely grateful." Orchid Sword saw that he carried himself like a Dali Prince but without any trace of haughtiness. She thought well of him and on hearing him ask A-Zi again about the next day, she could not stand but cut in: "Master Duan, your sister is only playing a joke on you but you take it so seriously!" Duan Yu said: "How do you know that she is playing a joke on me?" Orchid Sword laughed and said: "If I explained, Miss Duan (referring to A-Zi) would blame me for it, and I do not know if Master allows it."
Duan Yu hurriedly said to Xu Zhu: "Second brother, please ask her to speak!"
Xu Zhu nodded and said to Orchid Sword: "Third brother and I are close. You need not hide anything." Orchid Sword said: "Earlier on, we saw Master Murong's group going down Mount Shao and heard them discussing whether to head to Western Xia. Miss Wang followed her cousin in the group. They must be tens of Li away by now. How could she possibly meet Miss Duan tomorrow?"
A-Zi shrieked: "Stinking wretch! You know that I would blame you and you persisted in speaking. You four sisters are a bunch of blabbermouths. Your master's family is speaking and you have no respect to cut in like that."
There was a sudden voice from outside the window. "Miss Duan, why do you scold my sister? Lingjiu Palace's Divine Farmer (Shen Nong referring to Medical) Department's key is kept by myself, don't you know? Master wants to find the method to heal your eyes and the only way is to go to the Shen Nong Department to find the relevant books." The one who spoke was Bamboo Sword.
A-Zi was taken aback and thought: "I'm afraid that what this wretch says is true. Before this idiotic Xu Zhu monk heals my eyes, I cannot offend the servant girls by his side. Should they do anything such as changing the medications, my eye treatment will go wrong. Hng! Once my eyes are healed, I'll let you learn what I can do." She remained silent.
Duan Yu asked Orchid Sword: "Many thanks Sister for your information. They went to Western Xia? Whatever for?" Orchid Sword said: "I didn't hear them say the reason." Xu Zhu said: "Third Brother, I know of this matter. I heard Mr. Gongye (Gongye Gan) tell the Beggar Clan elder that along the way, they had met a Beggar Clan member returning to the Central Plains from Western Xia, carrying a written proclamation by the King of Western Xia saying that the Princess is of marriageable age and would be looking for a suitor during the Mid-Autumn festival in the eighth month. Western Xia would be inviting all the best heroes in the world to perform their skills. Should they pass the King's selection, they would become the Prince Consort."
Plum Sword could not help but speak up: "Master, why do you not go to Western Xia and give it a try? As long as Hero Xiao and Master Duan do not compete with you, becoming the Western Xia Prince Consort would be a piece of cake for you."
The Plum, Orchid, Bamboo and Chrysanthemum Sword sisters were beautiful and bright. Tonglao (Child Elder) had treated them very well, like her own children. Although they were master and servant in name, they were actually more like grandparent and grandchildren. It was only that Tonglao was strict and ruled with an iron fist. The four sisters did not dare to be too audacious. Xu Zhu however was easygoing in his interactions with them. He did not have the strict demeanour of a Master and treated them with courtesy and respect. Hence, the four sisters did and spoke as they pleased without any reservation.
Xu Zhu shook his head and said: "I won't go! I am a monk…" he once again spoke the words of 'being a monk' but swallowed the very last word. The four sisters laughed out loud together at the same time. Xu Zhu blushed and turned to secretly glance at Zhong Ling. He only saw her devotedly gazing at Duan Yu with no heed for his words. His heart suddenly wavered: "Going to Western Xia, I… I and my Dream Maiden met in Western Xia's Lingzhou Palace's ice storage area. My dream maiden may perhaps be in Lingzhou. Third Brother probably would not be willing to say where she lives. Maybe I should go and take a look at Western Xia?"
As he thought this, Duan Yu said: "Second Brother, your Lingjiu Palace and Western Xia are in close proximity. As you're about to return, why not go and visit Western Xia? This sister whose sword I do not know… apologies, you four look identical. I cannot tell the difference. This sister wants you to become the Prince Consort. Although it was a joke, but on thinking about the Midautumn Festival, everyone heading to Lingzhou would definitely mean that it would be very lively and rowdy there. Elder brother, you need not hurry back to Nanjing. Let's go together to Western Xia and then visit Lingjiu Palace to taste Tianshan Tonglao's (Child Elder of Mount Tian) best aged wines. It would truly be a joy to be be drinking myself dead drunk with Second brother in Lingjiu Palace.
[Translator note: Duan Yu's exhibiting some really sneaky cunning in manipulating them to head to Western Xia where Wang Yuyan is.]
When Xiao Feng had arrived at Mount Shao, the eighteen Khitan warriors had carried big skins of wine with them. However, the group was not with him and he had not drunk wine for a long time. On hearing Duan Yu mention about tasting Lingjiu Palace's best brews, he could not help but smile in anticipation.
A-Zi hurriedly said: "Go, go, go! Brother-in-law, let's all go together." She knew that she would have to go with Xu Zhu to Lingjiu Palace to treat her eyes. However, without Xiao Feng's support, Xu Zhu may not necessarily be willing to treat her and should his four Sword sister underlings give her trouble, she would be all alone. She heard Xiao Feng pause without replying and thought: "Brother-in-law's appearance is roughshod but he is a delicate soul [姊夫相貌粗豪,心中却着实精细]. It may be easier for me to ask him directly to get him to agree." She stood up and tugged a few times gently at Xiao Feng's sleeve, pleading: "Brother-in-law, if you do not bring me to Lingjiu Palace, I…I will never see the light of day again."
Xiao Feng thought: "To return her sight would truly be a great matter." He then thought: "While I commanded great respect in the Great Liao, I had no close friends whom I could talk to. I have offended all the heroes of the Central Plains. If I could easily go with these two easygoing and magnanimous brothers of mine, even for a few days it would be a joy. Since I have located A-Zi, even if I return to Nanjing now without anything to do, it would be extremely boring." He then said: "Fine, Second brother, Third brother, let's make a visit to Western Xia, and later on to Second Brother's Lingjiu Palace to drink ourselves silly for days, as well as request that Second Brother treat Miss Duan's eyes."
The group headed off on the road the next day. Xu Zhu returned to Shaolin Mountain's entrance to pay his respects. The first bow was to thank the Buddha for his blessings, the second was to thank the masters in Shaolin temple for caring for him for the past twenty years and the third bow was to bid farewell to the souls of his father Xuan Ci and his mother Ye Erniang.
Arriving at the base of the mountain, the Lingjiu Palace servant girls harnessed up the donkey cart to allow Duan Yu and You Tanzhi a rest in the carriage. You Tanzhi was extremely dissatisfied but he preferred to endure it silently rather than to part with A-Zi. As long as A-Zi occasionally pulled aside the doorway curtains to say a few words to him, he would be happy for half the day. However, it was just that A-Zi would ride on the horse, closely sticking to Xiao Feng all the time. You Tanzhi was upset about this but dared not speak a word to her about it.
Walking for two days, the Lingjiu Palace divisions slowly gathered. The Luan Tian division head delivered their report to Xu Zhu and Duan Yu that they had already returned to the Zhennan (South-Suppressing) King to inform him about Duan Yu's recovery going well. The Zhennan King (Duan Zhengchun) was relieved and asked the Luan Tian Division to tell Duan Yu that he should return to Dali soon. The Luan Tian division girls also reported: "Zhennan King's party has been heading to the north-east. Duan Yanqing and the Crocodile Deity of the South Sea together with Yun Zhonghe have been heading to the west. Both parties will not meet. Duan Yu was delighted and gave thanks to the Luan Tian division girls.
Zhong Ling asked Duan Yu: "If the king wants you to return to Dali soon, why is he going to the north-east instead?" Duan Yu smiled and did not reply. A-Zi laughed: "Dad must have been pulled by my mother and forbidden to return to Dali. Miss Zhong, if you want to seize my brother's heart, you need to learn from my mother."
These couple of days, Duan Yu had been thinking if he should explain that Zhong Ling was his sister, however he felt that speaking of this matter would be extremely awkward and might hurt Zhong Ling's feelings as well as reflect badly on his father's name. He decided not to speak of this for the time being.
Zhong Ling knew that Duan Yu wanted to go to Western Xia wholly because he wished to meet up with that Miss Wang. Seeing Duan Yu on a daily basis, her heart was at peace and she did not bother to think how things might change after that. A-Zi's cold spiteful words mattered little to her.
Noon time was scorching during the hot summer. Luckily, it was a long way to the Mid-Autumn Festival. Most people made haste to travel in the early morning and the evenings, only covering 60 - 70 Li a day before taking a rest. As the days steadily passed, Duan Yu's injury healed quickly. Xu Zhu mended the bone of You Tanzhi's broken leg and splinted it with planks of wood. It looked like he had some hope of recovery. You Tanzhi spoke to no one. As Xu Zhu was treating his leg, he wore a bitter expression and said not a single word of thanks.
The group arrived at Xianyang Road. Duan Yu spoke about the historical areas of the Liu and Xiang conflicts at the area to Xiao Feng and the group. Xiao Feng and Xu Zhu both had little education and were delighted by Duan Yu's information.
Suddenly, horse hoof steps rang out. There were two horses rushing over from the back. Xiao Feng and party pulled their horses to the side to allow the rear guests to go ahead first. However, A-Zi blocked the road by herself. When the two horses had arrived almost beside her, she raised the horse-whip and went for the horse's head. The rider behind raised his own horse-whip to deflect A-Zi's and said: "Master Duan! Great Hero Xiao Feng!"
Duan Yu turned to look and saw that the man in front was Ba Tianshi (Dali King's Royal Bodyguard) and the one behind was Zhu Danchen (Duan Zhengchun's Royal Bodyguard). Ba Tianshi hit A-Zi's horse whip away and jumped down from the horse with Zhu Danchen to kowtow to Duan Yu. Duan Yu hurriedly returned the greeting and asked: "Is my father safe?"
He heard a "Sou!" sound. A-Zi had waved her horse-whip again to strike down at Ba Tianshi's head.
Ba Tianshi had yet to get up and was still kneeling on the ground. As A-Zi's whip was striking, Ba Tianshi shifted to the side and caught the whip. A-Zi tried to pull it back with force but could not budge it. She knew that her internal energy was not a match for her opponent. She waved her palm and thrust the handle of the whip straight for Ba Tianshi. Ba Tianshi was still angered at how she had angered Zhu Wanli to death and originally wanted to teach her a lesson. He had not expected that even with her being blind, her movements were still swift and the handle flew over at a high speed. He heard the rush of wind and hurriedly turned his head to avoid it. Although his head and face were untouched, with a "Pa!" sound, his shoulder had been hit.
Duan Yu yelled: "Sister Zi, you dare cause trouble again!" A-Zi replied: "Me? He wanted my whip. I just gave it to him, that's all." Ba Tianshi laughed and said: "Many thanks Miss for the whip." He stood up and took out a letter from his chest pocket, presenting it to Duan Yu with both hands.
Duan Yu received it and took a look. He noticed that the letter was addressed to "Son Yu" with the three words written in his father's handwriting. He hurriedly straightened his attire and respectfully opened the letter. It appeared that his father was be instructing him to go to Western Xia to seek the princess' hand in marriage. The letter said: "My Dali Kingdom in the South is a small country with a weak military and cannot repel external threats well. If we can become relatives with Western Xia, we would be stronger and better able to protect our people. This matter is of great national importance and you must do your best."
Duan Yu finished reading the letter and his face flushed between scarlet and white. He said: "This… this…"
Ba Tianshi took out a large envelope. It was stamped with the large official official seal of the "Dali Country King's Younger Brother, Zhennan General". He said: "This is his Majesty's personally written missive to the Western Xia emperor requesting the marriage. Young master should kindly give this to the Western Xia emperor after arriving at Lingjiu Palace.
A-Zi laughed and said: "This is a father that truly knows his son well. Father heard that Murong Fu went to Western Xia and guessed that Miss Wang would also follow. His own son would naturally follow. Hng, the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. Does he think that the emotional woes of his son are more important than the country's matters? Why does he not return much after leaving for so long?"
Ba Tianshi, Zhu Danchen, Duan Yu on heard A-Zi voicing out such disrespectful words directed towards their father figure and their expressions darkened. Although what she said had some truth to it, being his daughter, how could she speak ill of her father like that?
A-Zi continued: "Brother, what did father write in his letter? Did he mention me?" Duan Yu replied: "Father does not know that you are currently with me." A-Zi replied: "En, yes, he does not know. Did Father not ask you to look? Did he ask you to plan how to take care of this blind younger sister of yours?"
Duan Zhengchun's letter mentioned nothing of the sort. Duan Yu felt that he would hurt his sister's feelings if he spoke the truth and he gave Ba Tianshi and Zhu Danchen a glance, trying to hint to them that they should admit that her father did order them to search for A-Zi. Who would have expected that the two of them did not understand his intention and did not play along. Zhu Danchen said: "The Zhennan King ordered the two of us to find Young Master to instruct him to seek Western Xia's princess' hand in marriage. If we returned to Dali instead, even if his Majesty did not blame us, we would not have the face to see anyone. The meaning conveyed was that Duan Zhengchun ordered them to find Duan Yu to become the Western Xia's Prince Consort at all costs.
Duan Yu laughed bitterly and said: "I originally could not do martial arts and furthermore was badly injured and unable to access my internal energy. How could I compete with the great heroes of the world?"
Ba Tianshi turned to look at Xiao Feng and Xu Zhu. Bowing deeply, he said: "Zhennan King ordered his lowly servant to greet Hero Xiao and Mister Xu Zhu, and to request that in the name of your brotherhood to assist our young master." Zhennan King also instructed to present gifts to the two of you whom he knew in the chaos at Mount Shao. Saying this, he took out a carved jade Lion and presented it to Xiao Feng with both hands. Zhu Danchen took out an ivory fan with Duan Zhengchun's calligraphy to present to Xu Zhu.
Both receipients received their gifts with thanks and said: "This matter of Third Brother's we will naturally assist with all our ability - why should we trouble Uncle Duan? We dare not covet these precious gifts."
A-Zi said: "Do you think Father is showing goodwill? He's asking the two of you not to compete with my brother in becoming the Prince Consort. My father is afraid that his precious son cannot defeat the both of you. By agreeing this way, you have fallen for my father's trap!"
Xiao Feng gave a small sigh and said: "Since when have I had the thought of marrying another ever since your sister died?" A-Zi replied: "It's natural for you to say this but who knows how your heart feels? Mr. Xu Zhu, you are loyal and honest unlike my philandering and lecherous brother leaving broken hearts everywhere. You have never formed any relationships with any girls. Would it not be perfect to marry the princess of Western Xia?" Xu Zhu turned scarlet and waved his hand hurriedly saying: "No, No! I… I am lacking and will naturally do my best to assist Third Brother in this matter."
Ba Tianshi and Zhu Danchen glanced at each other and then paid their respects to Xiao Feng and Xu Zhu, saying: "Many thanks to both of you for your help." Words said in the martial world are hard to take back. Ba and Zhu hurriedly left not because they were afraid of the two reneging on their words but because they wanted to put more pressure on Duan Yu to accept.
The group headed to the west, slowly getting closer to Lingzhou and meeting more Wulin warriors along the way.
Although Western Xia was smaller than Great Liao and Great Song, it was a great country in the Western frontier in its own right. The king of the time was addressed as Emperor Li Qianshun. He was also known as Zhong Shengwen? and the country enjoyed peace and prosperity under his reign.
The Wulin person who married the Western Xia princess would enjoy great riches and benefits; was there a better deal in the whole world? The only issue was that most of the famous Wulin names were already married with children while the new upstarts were not as skilled. There were a large number of senior heroes who brought their sons and disciples along to try their luck. There were also a number of bandits and members of various clans who came alone with high hopes. Many thought: "Perhaps if I have good affinity with the Western Xia princess, she may fall for me when she sees me and I would have a chance to be the Prince Consort even if my martial skills aren't the best."
Along the way, the youths they saw were clad in fresh, bright clothing. Even their tools and weapons were in tip-top condition, as if they were off to some great competition. A common saying going around was that the poor studied literature while the rich studied martial arts. Those studying martial arts were mostly fairly well-to-do and frequently used money to offset their misconduct. The young martial artists heading to Western Xia were bedecked in their best finery in the hopes of obtaining the princess' favor. When these similar types of people met, they frequently jibed at each other and tried to obtain information about what the princess looked like as well as tried to assess if the other party was a strong contender or not. If things didn't work out, they would treat the other party as an enemy.
This day, Xiao Feng was going on his way when he suddenly heard the pounding of horse hooves and saw a horse headed their way. The rider's arm was in a white cloth sling and his clothes were tattered. He looked to be in dire straits. Xiao Feng thought that this person certainly did not fall but was likely attacked by others which was rather alarming. He did not expect that before long, another three horses came over with all the riders also badly injured, either with broken arms of legs. The three new riders had distraught and regretful expressions on their faces, passing by with heads bowed, not daring to look Xiao Feng in the eye. Plum Sword asked: "Is there a fight going on in front? Why are so many people injured?"
As she spoke, another two people came along. These two were not on horseback and their faces were covered with blood. One of them had a green cloth tied on his head and blood was continually oozing out from it. Bamboo Sword asked: "Wei, do you want medication? How did you get injured?" That person glared ferociously at her and spat at her before slinking off. Chrysanthemum sword was extremely angry and whipped out her longsword, wanting to hack at him. Xu Zhu shook his head and said: "Forget it! This person has been severely injured. You need not mind him." Orchid Sword said: "Sister Bamboo offered him medication out of goodwill but he dared to be so insolent. It would be better to let him die of pain."
At this moment, another four horses blazed towards them, two on either side. They could hear the riders on the horses having a great quarrel. Someone said: "It's all your fault for being a lascivous toad lusting over swan meat. Without even considering your own abilities, you dare think of heading to Lingzhou to be the Prince Consort!" Another person scolded: "If you had the skill, why don't you go for it yourself? You lost and decided to take it out on me." The person on the other side said: "If you had not carried out a sneak attack, how would I have lost?"
These four people were rushing past and speaking fast. It was unclear as to what they were quarreling about. In the blink of an eye, they were in front of the group. The four of them saw Xiao Feng's sizeable party and did not dare to cause trouble. Hence, they pulled the horses to the sides and rushed on. However, they continued to squabble amongst themselves. From their dressing, it looked like the four intended to head to Lingzhou to be the Prince Consort, however for some reason the circumstances had changed and they had to return home.
Duan Yu said: "Eldest brother, I think…" As the words left his mouth, another two people came along on foot, also covered with wounds from head to toe, one bleeding severely and one limping. Zhong Ling could not control her curiosity and drew her horse forward, asking: "Wei, are the people ahead at the pass very strong?" A middle aged martial artist replied: "Hng! You're a girl so they will not stop you from passing. It would be better for males to obediently turn back here." As he said this, Xiao Feng and Xu Zhu felt that it was very strange and decided to go ahead to take a look, urging their horses forward.
As the group progressed seven to eight Li ahead, they saw the curving mountain path heading upwards. After turning several bends, they saw a dense group of people gathered. Xiao Feng pressed on and saw two towering men in the centre of the mountain pass, each one taller than six feet. On held a large metal club in one hand and one held a pair of copper hammers in both hands. They eyed the crowd ferociously.
Gathered in front of both men were at least seventeen or eighteen men, all saying different things. Some said politely: "Excuse me, we are headed to Lingzhou, please let us pass." Some said: "Are the two of you collecting road taxes? Do you want one silver tael or two each? If you state your price, we can work something out." Some said" "If you both don't move and irritate me, I will chop you both to meat paste so fine that it will be hard to piece you both back together. You'd better get out of the way to avoid a tragedy." Some said: "Both of you are imposing and grand, why do you not head to Lingzhou to become the Prince Consort? Would it not be a waste if the beautiful princess selected someone else? Despite the ongoing chatter, the two men ignored them all.
Suddenly, someone in the crowd yelled: "Move it!" He waved his sword with a cold gleam and charged towards the man on the left. The towering man was large and his weapon was heavy, however his movement was unexpectedly swift. He struck out with his twin hammers and trapped the sword. These two hammers weighed at least forty jin each. With a loud 'Dang!" sound, they shattered the longsword into more than ten segments. The hammer-user gave a kick at the man's lower abdomen. With a large shout, the man flew seven to eight zhang away and fell without further movement.
The next moment, another man brandishing twin knives charged forwards, the twin blades whirling in a flash of white light to defend his entire body. When he reached the two towering defenders, he gave a loud yell and switched to the Di Tang knife technique, rolling on the ground with twin knives stabbing towards their legs. The club-user barely spared a glance as to the direction that the knives were coming from. He raised his metal club and struck violently at the blur of white light. With an "Ah!" sound, the second man's twin knives were broken and the hilt of the knife was buried in his chest. He rolled down the hill.
The two defenders had injured two people in a row and the remaining people dared not approach again. A sudden beating of hoof sounds was heard and a donkey approached from around the mountain bend. On the donkey's back was a young scholar who looked no older than eighteen or nineteen. He was dressed in a scholar's gown and wore an intelligent, cultured expression. His features were delicate and beautiful. As he rode his donkey past Xiao Feng and the others, the group felt that he was a world apart from the other Jianghu wanderers and could not help but glance a few more times at him in curiosity. Duan Yu suddenly exclaimed: "Ah!" and said: "You… You… You…" The scholar never glanced at him but proceeded to the front of the group.
Zhong Ling asked in puzzlement: "Do you know him?" Duan Yu blushed and said: "No… I made a mistake. He is a man, how would I have recognized him?" A-Zi suddenly burst out laughing and said: "Brother, so it turns out that you only recognize ladies and not men." She paused and asked: "Is the person who just went past really a man? Clearly, it's a woman." Duan Yu replied: "You say that he's actually a woman?" A-Zi replied: "Certainly, her body has a strong fragrance. It's clearly a feminine scent." Duan Yu heard the word 'fragrance' and his heart started pounding. "Perhaps… Perhaps it's really her?"
The scholar rode his donkey into the midst of the two tall men and demanded: "Move it!" As these words rang out clearly, it was indeed the voice of a woman.
Duan Yu's suspicions were confirmed and called out: "Miss Mu! Wan Qing! Sister! You…you...you… I… I… I…". As he called out, he rode ahead. Xu Zhu called: "Third Brother, be careful of your wound!" He whipped his horse into action and rushed forward along with Ba Tianshi and Zhu Danchen.
The young scholar on the donkey's back stared at the two towering man and never once turned back Ba Tianshi and Zhu Danchen upon examining her profile noted her feminine features and identified her to indeed be Mu Wanqing. The two men cursed themselves and silently thought: "How regretful, we have eyes to see but are no match for a blind person." They did not know that A-Zi's hearing had sharpened beyond a normal person's and that she had identified Mu Wanqing being a girl from her lingering fragrance. The group saw the young scholar in their midst but had difficulty differentiating the scholar's gender.
Duan Yu hurried to Mu Wanqing's side and placed his hand on her shoulder, gently saying: "Mei-zi (sister), where have you been all this time? I pined greatly for you!" Mu Wanqing dodged away from his hand and turned, asking coldly: "You thought of me? Why did you think of me? Did you really think of me?" Duan Yu was dumbfounded. He did not know how to answer these three lines of hers.
The defender with the club laughed heartily and said: "Fine, as you are a girl, I will let you pass." The hammer-user said: "Girls can pass but stinking men cannot. Wei, get back, get back!" As he spoke, he pointed at Duan Yu and called out: "You little gigolo (小白脸), it makes me angry just to see your face. If you take a single step forwards, I will certainly pound you into pulp." Duan Yu retorted: "You must be mistaken. This is a road for all. Why can't I pass? Kindly explain."
The defender replied: "The Tibetan King Zong Zheng has decreed: This pass will be sealed for ten days and only reopened after the mid-autumn festival. Before then, ladies may pass but men cannot. Monks may pass but lay-people may not. Elderly may pass but youth may not. The dead may pass but the living may not! This is called: Four can pass but four cannot!" Duan Yu replied: "What kind of logic is that?" The defender shouted: "Reason? Reason? My copper hammer and his metal club are reason enough! King Zong Zheng's words are reason enough. You are a man. If you are not a monk or an elderly, the only way you can pass is dead."
Mu Wanqing angrily retorted: "Pei! Who cares about your stinking rules!" With a wave of her right hand, two 'chi' sounds were heard and two small arrow points shot towards the two defenders. However, two beating sounds were heard and the arrow points fell to the grass. The points had clearly shot into their chests and yet the duo were unhurt. The defender with the club angrily bellowed: "Insolent girl, why did you use concealed weapons?" Mu Wanqing got a great shock and thought: "These two must be wearing armor that they did not die from my poisoned arrows." The club-wielder struck a palm towards Mu Wanqing. He was extremely tall such that even though Mu Wanqing was on the donkey's back, he could strike directly towards her chest with his height.
Duan Yu called out: "Do not be disrespectful!" and his left hand stretched out to block the strike. The defending warrior flipped his palm and grabbed Duan Yu's arm in a vice grip. The hammer-user shouted: "Wonderful! Brother is going to rip this young dandy into two pieces!" He grabbed both hammers and used his right hand to pull hard on Duan Yu's wrist.
Mu Wanqing urgently shouted: "Don't hurt my brother (哥哥)!" She shot out multiple darts but the effect was like throwing stones into the sea. Although they impacted the bodies of the two warriors, they hardly dealt any damage. She wanted to shoot at the eyes of the duo but Duan Yu was trapped between them and she was afraid to injure him. Xu Zhu, Ba Tianshi and Zhu Danchen were mounted on horses and unable to assist immediately.
Xu Zhu blazed down from his horse and sped beside the club-wielding warrior, extending his finger to seal his acupoints. He instead heard Duan Yu laughing loudly and saying: "Elder brother, do not be alarmed. They cannot hurt me."
Duan Yu puzzledly asked: "Ai, how did you know?" Mu Wanqing replied: "My mother got the truth out of your dear father. I was with Mother and naturally heard all about Father's matters." Duan Yu said: "So that's the case. You know that I wanted to go to Lingzhou and then decided to come and take a look, is that it?" Mu Wanqing's face blushed lightly. This statement of Duan Yu's was spot on. However, she was naturally inclined to replying harshly and said: "What would I be watching you for? I wanted to investigate the beauty methods of the Western Xia princess, but everything became so complicated." Duan Yu wanted to say: "If she were half as pretty as you are, it would already be quite remarkable!" He then felt that this line was suitable for a lover but not his younger sister. He stopped just before he spoke. Mu Wanqing said: "I also wanted to see if your Dali Country's great prince Duan would take on this matter of marriage." Duan Yu said in a subdued tone: "I will not become the Western Xia Prince Consort. Sister, keep this to yourself. If Father wants to force me to it, I will flee far away."
Mu Wanqing said: "You dare defy Father's order?" Duan Yu said: "I'm not defying it, I'm escaping!" Mu Wanqing laughed: "What difference is there? Why do you not want the princess who has been brought up in the lap of luxury?" Ever since they had met, this was the first time she had laughed. Duan Yu was overjoyed and said: "Are you like Father? Falling in love with everyone as you meet them until eventually becoming inseparable?"
Mu Wanqing said: "Hng, I don't see much difference between you and Father. Looks like its true that father and son are alike. It's just that you don't have Father's good fortune. She sighed and said: "Like mother. She keeps saying how much she hates Father, however once she saw him, she was overjoyed and agreed to forgive everything. The young ladies of today are not as good as my mother."
Chapter - 45 Within the Dried Well, Beyond the Mud - 1
Ba Tianshi and Zhu Danchen met with Mu Wanqing and introduced her to Xiao Feng, Xu Zhu and the other gathered people. Ba and Zhu both knew that she was the daughter of the Zhennan King. However, as she had not been formally recognized, they addressed her as Miss Mu.
The group had covered a number of Li when they heard a loud cry from the left along with some loud sounds. The sounds were those of the Crocodile Deity's, as if he had met some danger. Duan Yu shouted: "That's my disciple!" Zhong Ling said: You should all go ahead first to take a look. Your disciple is not a bad person by nature. Xu Zhu agreed: "Yes!" His mother Ye Erniang had been close with the Crocodile Deity and it was likely that they had had some feelings for each other.
The group rode swiftly towards the sound. After making a few turns, they saw a dense forest. Beside the opposing cliff, they saw a strange and alarming scene.
A large cliff emerged from the deep valley there. Atop the cliff grew a single ancient-looking lone pine tree. Atop a branch of this tree was a man dangling from a single walking cane. Dressed in green, this was indeed Duan Yanqing. His left hand gripped the wooden cane while his right hand held a second cane. That cane was in turn held by the Southern Sea Crocodile Deity hanging below. The Crocodile Deity gripped a man's long hair - Yun Zhonghe. Yun Zhonghe was holding on to a girl's hands with both his own. The four people hung down like a long rope, swinging in the breeze precariously. Regardless who let go, those below would plunge into the valley measuring tens of Zhang. The valley was full of rocks and trees, like swords piercing upwards. It would be hard for someone who fell to survive.
At this time, a gust of wind arrived and made the Crocodile Deity, Yun Zhonghe and the girl spin almost half a round. This girl's back had been facing the group. When she turned around, Duan Yu exclaimed: "Ai Yo!" and recklessly leaped down from his horse.
The girl was indeed the unforgettable Wang Yuyan that he had been pining for night and day.
Duan Yu, in a moment of clarity, saw that the cliff was dangerous and impossible to reach on horseback. He leapt down from the horse and rushed over on food. In front of the pine tree, he saw a big-headed and short fatty wielding a big axe in the process of chopping down the tree.
Duan Yu was bewildered and called out: "Wei! Wei, what are you doing?" The short fatty ignored him and kept hacking away at the pine tree stroke by stroke. "Peng! Peng!" Wood chips flew with large echoes. Duan Yu stretched out a finger and summoned his internal energy, prepared to use the Six Meridians Divine Sword (Liumai Shenjian) skill to injure him. He did not expect that his control of the skill was still poor and he could not always evoke it. He pointed repeatedly but there was no sign of the sword Qi manifesting. In a panic, he shouted: "Eldest brother! Second brother! My two good sisters and the four kind ladies! Quick, come and save these people!"
In the midst of his shouting, Xiao Feng and Xu Zhu had rushed over as well. It turned out that this fatty had been obscured by a large rock and could not be seen. Fortunately, the tree was large and solid and the fatty needed some time to chop it down.
Xiao Feng eyed the scene and was most astonished. He could not understand how this had come to pass. Xu Zhu called out: "Dear Fat-Brother, stop immediately! You must not chop this tree!" The fatty replied: "I planted this tree. I want to chop it down and take it home to make a coffin to sleep in. What right have you to interfere?" His hands never stopped chopping as he spoke. From below, the sounds and moans of the South Sea Crocodile Deity continually drifted over. Duan Yu said: "Second Brother, this man is not to be reasoned with. Please stop him before speaking on." Xu Zhu said: "All right!" and dashed forwards.
A man holding two wooden crutches suddenly appeared and rushed past the group. With a few leaps, he appeared in front of the fatty. It was You Tanzhi. He had slipped out from the donkey cart at some unknown time. You Tanzhi had one crutch to the ground and one crutch pointed to the group. He proclaimed: "No one come over!"
Mu Wanqing had never seen him before. Suddenly seeing his strangely hideous visage, her face went bloodless and she let out a quiet "Ah!" sound.
Duan Yu hurriedly said: "Clan Leader Zhuang, please immediately stop this fatty and tell him not to keep chopping the tree." You Tanzhi icily replied: "Why should I stop him? What does it benefit?" Duan Yu replied: "If the pine tree falls, everyone below will die."
Xu Zhu saw that the situation was critical. He leaped nearer, thinking that even if he could not stop the fatty, he could at least pull up Duan Yanqing and the rest. He recalled the time when he managed to solve the Zhen Long Chess Formation and it had been greatly due to Duan Yanqing's direction. It was hard to say if it had been for better or worse, learning his skills thereafter and everything that had happened from then on, but Duan Yanqing had been good to him and he felt that he should repay the favor.
You Tanzhi's right hand stabbed the wooden crutch into the ground. His right palm swept outwards and a gust of ominous dark Qi blasted outwards. Xu Zhu was unafraid of his Toxic Cold Yin Palm but he also knew that this skill was formidable and should not be overlooked. He instantly replied with a palm of his own. You Tanzhi's sent a second palm to the base of the pine tree which gave it a mightly shake. The four people hanging there shook even more precariously.
Duan Yu urgently called: "Second Brother, don't go, we can talk this out. No need to take action first."
You Tanzhi said: "Master Duan. You want me to stop this fatty. That is not difficulty. However, what benefit do I get?" Duan Yu said: "I will give you whatever you want. I won't bargain. Quick! Quick save them before it's too late!" You Tanzhi said: "After I stop the fatty, I want to leave immediately with Miss A-Zi. You, Xiao Feng, Xu Zhu and the rest must not stop me."
Duan Yu said: "A-Zi? She… Her eyes need treatment from my Second Brother. After she leaves with you, what about her eyes?" You Tanzhi said: "If Mr. Xu Zhu can devise a way of returning her sight, so can I." Duan Yu said: "This… this…" He watched the fatty continue chopping at the tree. Thinking that despite everything, saving their lives was more critical, he replied: "I agree! Quick… Quick…"
You Tanzhi waved his right palm and stabbed it towards the fatty. The fatty laughed icily and threw down his axe. With a cry, he used both palms to receive You Tanzhi's palm force. His palms generated a mighty gust. You Tanzhi's palm on the other hand was utterly silent.
In an instant, the fatty's face suddenly changed. He had originally worn a smug expression which suddenly became very strange, as if he had suddenly seen the weirdest event of his life. Two trickles of fresh blood flowed down the sides of his mouth and his body gradually stiffened and curled up. He slowly fell from the cliff. After a long interval, there was a loud thud. His body had crashed into the sharp valley rocks with a dull echo. The group thought about the short fatty's shattered body and felt a collective chill.
Xu Zhu leaped onto the branch of the pine tree, he can only see Duan Yanqing's crutch deeply embedded in the branch, he exerts his energy, and pulled up the four people below, with his deep internal energy, Xu Zhu stretched his left hand to pull the crutch up.
The Divine Croc called from below: "Little monk, I knew you were a good monk, you were my second sister's son, you are I, Yue Laosan's nephew, of course your ability is not bad. If you didn't help us, we'll be hanging here for 3 days 3 nights, the taste of that won't be good."
Yun Zhonghe said: "You are still boasting, how can you hang there for 3 days 3 night?"
The Divine Croc said angrily: "If I can't hang on, let go of your hair, then it will really happen, do you want me to try?" Both of them are facing difficulties, they had to rely on each other.
After a while, Xu Zhu pulled up Duan Yanqing, then the Divine Croc and Yun Zhonghe, at last he pulled up Wang Yuyan. Her eyes are closed, her breathing is weak, she had already fainted.
At first Duan Yu was very happy, followed by pitifulness, but after seeing both pair of her hands have a purple-black circle, he can see Yun Zhonghe's deep fingerprints, he thought of Yun Zhonghe's brutal personality, having indecent thought toward both Mu Wanqing and Zhong Ling, everytime he depended on the Divine Croc to save him, since today this evil act have once been repeated he cannot help but be angry, he said: "Big brother, second brother, this Yun Zhonghe is a bad person, let's kill him!"
The Divine Croc shouted: "No, no! Duan….Master…..today is all due to Yun the fourth saved your….your wife….my master wife…...or else, your wife's life ended long time ago."
Listening to him blabbering nonsense, everyone heard it very clearly. Duan Yu was more anxious about Wang Yuyan than normally, Mu Wanqing and Zhong Ling saw it with their own eyes, just to take her back up, he doesn't care about injuries, seeing her goddess like appearance make their heart uncomfortable. They only see her eyes slowly opening and she exclaimed a "Ying" sound.
She whispered: "Am I in hell? I..I am dead?"
The Divine Croc shouted angrily: "You ugly girl are blabbering nonsense! If this is really hell, are we all dead? Right now you are not my master's wife, I can scold you a little, it does not count as being disrespectful. There isn't much time, I think you will become my master wife soon, I'll lose the chance, so I should call you ugly girl right now. Wei, ugly girl, you were totally fine why did you want to die? You die is your own thing, you should not let Yun Zhonghe lost a life for you. No, if Yun Zhonghe died it does not matter, but if our Duan leader die then that will be very depressing. Even if Duan leader did die that is not a big thing, I, Yue Lao Er die because of you is really not worth it!"
Duan Yu consoled her softly: "Miss Wang, that was a big shock, you should rest against the tree for a while,"
Wan Yuyan broke into a cry, her hand holding her face: "Don't care about me, I….I….I don't want to live anymore."
Duan Yu was shocked: "She really wanted to die, but why? Maybe….Maybe.." He looked at Yun Zhonghe, seeing his fierce look, he thought : "Ai ya, maybe Miss Wang was disgraced by this man, so she wanted to die?"
Zhong Ling walked up, she said: "Hi, Yue Laosan!"
The Divine Cron saw her, he was overjoyed, he said loudly: " Hi, little master wife! Right now I am Yue Lao Er, not Yue Laosan anymore!"
Zhong Ling said: "Don't say little, it sounds horrible. Yue Lao Er, I ask you, why does this Miss Wang wanted to die? Is it this bamboo man who caused the trouble? I bet he's feeling itchy!" As she said this she blew on her 10 fingers. Yun Zhonghe's face color changed drastically, he withdrew 2 steps.
The Divine Croc shook his head, he said: "No, no. The heaven and earth are generous, this time Yun the fourth changed his character, suddenly did a good deed. Us 3 people don't have Ye Erniang this companion, We are quite depressed, we came out to calm ourselves, when we walked here, we saw this ugly girl about to jump, she jumped with great force, Yun the fourth didn't catch her properly, sigh, he used to be a violent and fierce person, suddenly trying to do a good deed, it cannot be helped to went out of control……"
Yun Zhonghe said angrily: "Your granny, I was just kind, when did I do a good deed? The surnamed Yun likes pretty girls, seeing this Miss Wang about to commit suicide, of course I find it not worth it, I wanted to take her home and make her my wife for a couple of days."
The Divine Croc was furious, he cursed: "Your granny, Yue Lao Er thought you changed character, saving people, remembering that you are a famous evil person and we had a deep friendship, I helped holding your hair, if I have knew that, I would've let you die."
Zhong Ling laughed and said: "Yue Lao Er, you used to be the "Ferocious Deity and Evil Devil", You only do evil, you don't do good deeds, now you changed your character already? Did you learn it from your master?"
The Divine Croc scratched his head, he said: "No, No! No change of character, no change of character! Because the 4 arch villain have lost one person, it feels kind of weird. When I grabbed Yun the fourth, I also fell down, good that Duan leader's martial art is good, he came and grabbed me. But the 3 of us is 400 pounds in weight, this drag and pull, Duan leader also came down. He used his crutch to hook on to the pine tree, there is no way to come up, unexpectedly came a fat man from Tibet, cutting down the pine tree.
Zhong Ling asked: "This fat man is from Tibet? Why does he want to kill you?"
The Divine Croc spat, he said: "We the 4 arch evils are Western Xia's first, second class fighter, no, no, its third, fourth class fighter, you guys knew that long ago. This time the emperor is choosing the prince consort for the princess, he ordered a bunch of top fighters to stop people if they want to cause trouble. The Tibet prince was really unreasonable, he commanded people to stop people from going to try out for the prince consort, only he is allowed. Of course we are not happy,so we fought, and killed 10 of his Tibet people. So, we 3 arch evils and Tibet are not best friends anymore."
When he said, everyone nodded, but why does Wang Yuyan wants to commit suicide, no one understood.
The Divine Croc added: Miss Wang, My master is here, you guys should get married, no need to commit suicide anymore!"
Wang Yuyan raised her head, she said chokingly: "You are blabbering nonsense to bully me, I…...I will hit myself and die right here."
Duan Yu said quickly: "Can't do that, can't do that!" He turned to the Divine Croc and said: " Yue Laosan(Yue number 3) , you can't…"
The Divine Croc said: "Yue Lao Er(Yue number 2)!"
Duan Yu said: "Ok, it's Yue Lao Er! You stop blabbering nonsense. But you did save lives, master is thankful. I will really need to teach you some martial arts!"
The Divine Croc had a strange look, he looked sideways at Wang Yuyan and said: "You don't want to be my master wife? This is my big master wife, this is my little master wife, they are both my master wife." he looked at Mu Wanqing,then looked at Zhong Ling.
Mu Wanqing blushed red, she spat, and said: "Yi, where is that ugly freak?" Everyone was looking at Xu Zhu saving people, they just realized that You Tanzhi and Azi has disappeared.
Duan Yu asked: "Big brother, they are already gone?"
Xiao Feng said: "They are already gone. You agreed to his conditions, I will not block his way." He cannot help but feel at loss, he doesn't know after Azi and You Tanzhi leave, what will happen to them.
The Divine Croc shouted: "Leader, number 4, are we going now?" He saw Duan Yanqing and Yun Zhonghe already walked to the north, he turned around and said to Duan Yu: " I am going to go now!" He sped up his pace, following Duan Yanqing and Yun Zhonghe back to Xinzhou.
Zhong Ling said: "Miss Wang, let's sit in the carriage." She supported Wan Yuyan, letting her sit in the carriage Azi sat before.
Everyone headed to Xinzhou. They arrived in Xinzhou in the evening.
At the time, Western Xia has 22 provinces. The one near the yellow river are Lingzhou, Hongzhou, Yinzhou, Xiazhou province, near the western river there are Xinzhou, Lianzhou, Ganzhou, Suzhou province in Gansu, Ningxia area. The land of the Yellow River gain benefits, rich grains, the so-called "Yellow River harm, mercenary," Western Xia is the land of the river and land. Soldiers and horses are strong, the number reaching 50 thousands. Western Xia are brave and strong, Yun: "Controlling soldiers are harder than rocks, setting ambushes for the enemies. To cavalry for the former army, by good horse, good armour, if they're thieves, hook him, dead immediately. In a war, first battle in formations, if the formation is broken, the foot soldier charge in." The Great Song with years of confrontation, tired and defeated. Western Xia's emperor's surname is Li, in fact, Tang Taizong national surname is Li, Great Song's national surname is Zhao, but Western Xia are happy to be surnamed Li. Western Xia's people have war everywhere, expanding their border, more migration. Right now, Xinzhou is Western Xia's capital, but compared with the original fame, is still far away.
That night Xiao Feng can't find any inn. Xinzhou is naturally not bustling, at the time it is the Qingming season, countless heroes came from different places, many inns are already full. Xiao Feng then went out of the city, he found a temple and used it as a shelter, men sleep in the west wing and women sleep in the east.
After Duan Yu see Wang Yuyan again, he was happy and sad, that night he flipped over and over again, how can he sleep? He thought: "Why does Miss Wang want to commit suicide? How can I stop her from committing suicide? Ai, I don't even know why she wants to commit suicide, how can I persuade her?"
Seeing the moonlight coming in from the window, it was quite bright, it was difficult for him to sleep, he slowly got up and went into the courtyard, seeing 2 trees with leaves not so beautiful, bending on top of the temple's roof. Right now it is in spring, although the weather is cool, at night, it is still quite cold. Duan Yu walked around the tree for a couple of rounds, then thought again: "Why does she want to commit suicide?"
Walking out of the temple, the moonlight shone onto a person's shadow, it was a white dressed maiden, her figure very similar to Wang Yuyan. Duan Yu was shocked, he said darkly: "Oh no, she wants to die." He sped up his pace, and came behind the white dress maiden. The pond water is as clear as the mirror, the face of the white dress maiden is precisely Wang Yuyan.
Duan Yu don't dare to advance, he thought: "At Shaolin mountain, she was angry at me, this time we meet again, her face still shows that color, presumably nothing but anger. This time she want to die , it might be because she is angry at me. Ai, Duan Yu ah Duan Yu, you anger this beautiful lady, making her depressed, even a hundred deaths are not enough." He hid behind a big tree, he sighed thinking that he did something really wrong. If somebody in this world deserve to commit suicide, it is him Duan Yu, not this Miss Wang.
Seeing the jade like texture of the lake, suddenly there are tiny little water ripples expanding, Duan Yu looked at it , he saw a few water droplets falling into the pond, it was Wang Yuyan's tears. Duan Yu felt even more pitiful, but he heard her sigh and said softly: "I...I should die, so that it ends this endless suffering."
Duan Yu can't take it anymore, he walked from behind the tree and said: "Miss Wang, a thousand no, ten thousand no. It is all I, Duan Yu's fault, please hold on. If…..if you are still angry, I will kneel down." He did what he said, his knees fell down, he was kneeling in front of her.
Wang Yuyan was surprised, she said anxiously: " You...What are you doing? Please get up, if other people see it what will they think?"
Duan Yu said: "If miss forgive me, forget all my wrongdoings, then I will get up."
Wang Yuyan asked oddly: "What do I forgive you for?What am I angry for? What did you do wrong?"
Duan Yu said: "I saw miss very depressed, I thought miss must be sad because I wronged gentleman Murong, making him unhappy, so I led you into trouble. Next time if we meet again, if he wants to hit me, kill me, I'll only run, I won't hit him. If you don't want me to run, then I will give him my life."
Wang Yuyan paused for a second, then said: "Ai, you...you fool, I am depressed with myself, what is it about you?"
Duan Yu said: "Does that mean, miss you are not angry at me?"
Wang Yuyan said: "Of course not!"
Duan Yu said: " Then my heart can relax." He stood up, then felt that it wasn't right. If Wang Yuyan was depressed because of him, hit him, scold him, stabbed him with a sword, cut him with a knife, he would be more than happy, but she just said: "I am depressed with myself, what is it about you?" he couldn't help but feel at loss.
Seeing Wang Yuyan hung her head, tears dropped onto her chest, her silk dress doesn't absorb water, so the tears wet her clothes, Duan Yu's heart ached, he said: "Miss, what is troubling you, please tell me. I will do my best to fulfill your wish, I will have a way to make you happy again."
Wang Yuyan shook her head slowly, the moonlight shone on her teary eyes like blue crystals, those blue crystals seems to carry happiness, but that light went dim, she said faintly: "Gentleman Duan, you are always so good to me, in my heart I am very thankful, but this you do not have the ability to help me."
Duan Yu said: "I don't have much abilities, but my big brother Xiao, second brother Xu Zhu has top martial arts, they are both here, I am their sworn brother, we are as close as if linked by flesh and blood, whatever I ask them, they'll understand. Miss Wang, why are you so depressed, you can tell me. Even if it is very difficult, irreversible, you can say it out, it will make you feel better."
Wang Yuyan's pale cheeks suddenly are covered with a layer of faint red, she turned her head, not willing to stare at Duan Yu's eyes, she whispered in a low, soft voice: "He….he wants to become the Western Xia's prince consort. Second brother Gongye helped me, he said to restore Great Yan, he can't destroy a girl's love for him." After she says this, she turned around, put her head in Duan Yu's shoulders, and cried.
Duan Yu was flattered, he didn't dare to move,he didn't know if he was happy or sad. So Wang Yuyan was depressed because Murong Fu wants to become the Western Xia's prince consort, if he married the Western Xia princess, naturally Wang Yuyan will be ignored. Duan Yu naturally thought: "If she can't marry her cousin, maybe she will change her thoughts about me. I don't need to marry her, if I can see her everyday, in my heart I am happy. She likes being quiet, I can accompany her to a deserted mountain or island, living peacefully, what's better than that?" Thinking about happy moments, he couldn't help but dance a little.
Wang Yuyan moved her body, she stepped back, seeing Duan Yu's happy expressions, she said angrily: : "You….you...I thought you were a good person, I told you, I did not realize that you will laugh at me."
Duan Yu said: "No. no! The heaven is my witness, if I, Duan Yu even the slightest feeling to laugh at you, thunder will split my body, 10000 arrows will pierce me!"
Wang Yuyan said: "You don't want to laugh at me, that's good, who told you to swear an oath? So, why were you so happy?"
As soon as she said it, she understood: Duan Yu was delighted, because if Murong Fu marries the princess, then his love rival will be gone. Duan Yu love her with all his heart, do you think she doesn't know it? Except that she has doted her cousin since childhood, she had no time to read Duan Yu's feeling, she cannot help but apologize that the word "love" must not be involved. After she understood Duan Yu's intention, she was shocked with shame, with flushed cheeks, she angrily said: "You are not laughing at me, but it is still not good intention."
Duan Yu's mind became clear, he said darkly: "Duan Yu, ah Duan Yu, why did you have such despicable ideas? Isn't that being a shameless villain?" Seeing her pitiful face, he felt like he should make her happy, even if he must die, he will be willing to do it with a proud and arrogant air, he thought: "I was only thinking, how to live with her in a desert mountain or island every morning and evening, happy and enjoyable, but I did not think that this 'happy and enjoyable' is my happiness, not Wang Yuyan's happiness. I, Duan Yu's happiness is her, Wang Yuyan's sadness. I want myself to be happy, that is loving myself, only by solving this problem in her heart is really loving her, and it's good for her."
Wang Yuyan whispered: "Did I say something wrong? Are you angry at me?"
Duan Yu said: "No, no, how can be angry at you?"
Wang Yuyan said: "Then why aren't you saying anything?"
Duan Yu said: "I am thinking of something."
Duan Yu doesn't have a plan: "I,compared to gentleman Murong, am behind him in terms of martial arts and literacy, I am behind him in terms of characters, I am behind him in terms of reputation, I am not on top of him. Plus, they know each other since childhoods, they love each other for a long time, of course I can not be compared to him. There is one thing I am better at than him, I know what is good for Miss Wang, Gentleman Murong isn't as good as me. In the future, when miss Wang and gentleman Murong have descendants, her heart can still remember me, Duan Yu, knowing that in this world there won't be a second person who is this good to her."
His heart is decided, he said: "Miss Wang, you do not have to panic, I will tell gentleman Murong, ask him not to be the prince consort, and quickly marry you."
Wang Yuyan was surprised, she said: "No! How can you do that? My cousin hates you to the bone, he won't listen to you."
Duan Yu said: "I will be righteous, the point of a life is the love between a husband and wife, 2 hearts joined. Him and that Western Xia princess does not know each other, he won't know if she is pretty or ugly, kind or evil, first time meeting, and they are married, that is absolutely wrong. I will also tell him that Miss wang is beautiful and pure, very rare to find, very gentle, you can't find a second one. After a thousand year you can't find one, after one thousand year there still won't be one. Plus, Miss Wang loved Gentleman Murong for many years, so the love must be very deep, you can be that very fortunate husband, for all the lovers out there letting the heroes of Jianghu laugh?
Wang Yuyan heard his words, she felt moved, she said lightly: "Gentleman Duan, you are very good to me, you flattered me, it made me happy…."
Duan Yu said hurriedly: "No, no!" Once the word left his mouth, he thought that he had been infected by Bao Butong, and learned his favourite word. He couldn't help but smile, and said: "I am very sincere, there words are from my heart." Wang Yuyan also gave his "No, no!" a light smile.
She said: "There are many good things to learn, you had to learn from my 3rd brother Bao."
Duan Yu saw her smiling, he liked it very much, he said: "I have thought this thoroughly I will go persuade him, not only will Gentleman Murong stop wanting to be the prince consort, he will also returned back to miss for marriage."
Wang Yuyan said: "Why do you want to do this? What benefit will you gain?"
Duan Yu said: " I can see miss happy, that is a great benefit."
Wang Yuyan's mind became clear, she thought that the speech was an understatement, but it very true to her heart. Just that her heart has always been on Murong Fu, always with passion, but soon forgotten.
She sighed and said: "You don't know my cousin's heart. In his heart, restoring the Great Yan is the most important thing. Second brother Gongye said that my cousin said: A real gentleman needs to do big things, that is the most important. If a man loses that desire because of children and wife, then he is not a hero. He also said: The Western Xia princess can be an ugly witch, it can also be a bad mouthed person, he won't care, the point is that he can restore the Great Yan."
Duan Yu mumbled: "That is quite true, That Murong really, wholeheartedly wanted to become an emperor, Western Xia's soldier really could help him restore his country, this…..this….this is truly difficult." Seeing Wang Yuyan' tears, even if he had to climbed a mountain full of sword, or jump into a hot pan full of oil, he will gladly to it.
He said: "You can count on me 120 times, I will go and be that Western Xia prince consort. Then your cousin can't be the prince consort, then he will have to return to you and marry you."
Wang Yuyan was surprised, and delighted, she asked: "What?"
Duan Yu said: "I will be that Western Xia's prince consort."
Wang Yuyan thought of, the day Gongya Gan came to told her that Murong Fu wanted to become the prince consort, to help restore the Great Yan. She felt hurt, and she cried, Gongye Gan wanted to persuade her, so he told her:
"Gentleman Duan is the Dali Kingdom prince, his father, Duan Zhengchun, is the brother of the Dali emperor, he is the only royal descendant, so in the future, the throne must be passed on to him. Young master wants to restore Great Yan, that is truly difficult, the chance of being the emperor is almost second to none. He is a commoner, how can he be compared to the Dali prince Duan Yu? Western Xia wants to find a prince consort, finding a prince is naturally better than a commoner, at least the princess can become an empress, it's better than being a commoner's wife. The Dali prince coming to Xinzhou, with gold and silver, they have already spent 10 thousand, 8 thousand, spending another 2-3 thousand is not surprising. We, Murong family cannot be compared to them." (Wang Yuyan thought: That bookworm is the Dali prince? I didn't know that, why doesn't he tell me? Does he really have a lot of money?)
"Plus, when it comes to literature, Gentleman Duan reads a lot of books and poetry. In terms of martial arts, the Dali family knows the 6 Meridian Sword, on Shaolin Mountain, young master was defeated from that move, all the world's heroes saw it. Young master can't use the 'Returning you with your own way' to defeat him."(Wang Yuyan thought: Gentleman Duan also knows "Graceful Steps upon the Waves", "Six Yang Snowmelt skills", these type of martial arts, cousin doesn't know them.)
"If we talk about their appearance, they don't differ too much. But Miss Wang, a real gentleman's air is not their appearance, he needs to be elegant and generous. Gentleman Duan is a bit naive, that is true. He wins in controlling himself, but once he saw you, he changed into a big, dumb person. Our young master, the only thing he thought about, day and night, is how to restore the Great Yan. He worries about it for a lot, of course it'd be harder for him to be elegant. If you didn't appear between them, I bet that Gentleman Duan is a lot more elegant. Third bother Bao tried to ridicule him, but he just stood there, not caring. Gentleman Duan is broad-minded, graceful, elegant, rare to find among people. Just that he is a bit younger than our young master, he is still naive." (Wang Yuyan thought: Gentleman Duan is about 8-9 nine years younger than my cousin, only 1-2 years older than me. Cousin already have 1-2 strands of white hair, I had to pretend I didn't notice, or he won't happy.)
How about his people? Gentleman Duan have Dali's 3 master, 4 bodyguards, high martial arts, they are not below us, Deng, Gongye, Bao, Feng. His sworn brother Xiao Feng, General Xiao, Mr. Xu Zhu, has top martial arts without a match, we have a Miss Wang who knows the martial arts of every sect, we are obviously not their match." (Wang Yuyan thought: General Xiao and Mr. Xu Zhu's martial arts, I can not understand at all, how can we even be their match?)
"Even if the Western Xia's king did chose our young master, General Xiao have ten thousand soldiers under his command, if he said: 'Emperor, I suggest you choose my sworn brother, if the Dali's crowned prince didn't become the prince consort, us 2 countries can combine and attack you, I think it will be difficult to block.' After he said these words, our young master can only hand his position over to the emperor Duan and say: 'Emperor Duan, congratulations, congratulations! I will go to my cousin, I will not be there to drink your wedding wine!" (Wang Yuyan thought: So this bookworm has this many benefits, I have always been thinking about cousin, not one bit about that bookworm. Well, he is ten times better, and I can do nothing to it.)
"I heard that Gentleman Duan came all the way to Xinzhou, is to become the prince consort." (Wang Yuyan thought: I came to Xinzhou, he followed me.)
"If gentleman Duan really want to become the prince consort, young master can only lose. Third brother Bao said, we could find a chance to cut his head off. Me and Big brother Deng, forth brother Feng all said no, if the Murong family does that sort of thing, won't we become shameless villains? Only if Gentleman Duan wants to leave, not going to ask for the Princess's hands in marriage, but how to persuade him to go back, is a big problem. Young master and I talked about it for days, but we are still hopeless." (Wang Yuyan thought: You want me to go and ask him to go back. If he listens to me, won't cousin go to be that prince consort?)
"Young master focused wholeheartedly on restoring the Great Yan, there is a golden opportunity, but there is an obstacle. Only by passing this obstacle, young master can have the ability to restore the Great Yan. If he is the consort then the princess will be his wife, young master really does love you,he wants to take you as a concubine, that time he will visit you everyday, 8days, 10days and still he won't go visit the princess for even once. Ai, just that we don't have a way, how persuade Gentleman Duan to not become the prince consort? That's a big part but we all have no way to help our young master…"(Wang Yuyan thought: You don't have a way, I do hope Gentleman Duan go to be that prince consort, then cousin can't go. But does Gentleman Duan be willing to be the prince consort?)
But now Wang Yuyan hears that Duan Yu was willing to go be the Western Xia's prince consort, as if the light just poked through a cloudy, dark night sky, she couldn't help but feel happy, she said lowly: "Gentleman Duan, you are very nice to me, but if you do that, my cousin will hate you to the bones."
Duan Yu said: "So? He already hates me to the bone."
Wang Yuyan said: "You said, that you didn't know if the princess is pretty or ugly, kind or mean, but because of me you are willing to marry her, this...this….isn't this very difficult for you?"
Duan Yu wanted to say: "If it's for you, no matter what it is, I am ready to face it." But then he thought: "I help you do things, if I want you to thank me, that is not a gentleman's behavior." So he said: " It's not because of you I face these difficulties, My dad wants me to go and marry this princess. I am going there for my father, it's not for you."
Wang Yuyan was smart, Duan Yu loved her so much, how could it not be for her? She thought if he was insane, how can he just go and marry a person he doesn't know? It was for her he went and do this thing, he didn't get a merit, she was grateful. She took Duan Yu's hand and said: "Gentleman Duan, My….my….whole life is indebted to you, in my next life…." She can only talk until here, she choked, she couldn't talk anymore.
The 2 of them have survived through many troubles, helping each other, alongside each other, for not only once, but it was nothing else, but this time Wang Yuyan felt moved, her hands gripped Duan Yu's hand. Duan Yu felt her smooth, soft palm holding his own hand, in an instant, he felt as if even the sky falls down he wouldn't care, he liked this feeling, he felt full of energy, he thought that if she is this good to him, even if he had to marry the Western Xia's Princess, Great Song's princess, Liao Empire's princess, Tibet's princess, Korea's Princess, so what? He felt as if he was weak, under this circumstance, his blood was boiling, suddenly he was dancing, he felt dizzy, his body gave a few shakes, he moved sideways, a 'plop' sound, and he fell into the pond.
Wang Yuyan was shocked, she shouted: "Gentleman Duan, gentleman Duan!" She held out her hands.
Fortunately, the water isn't very deep, the cold water Duan Yu a pat, his body suddenly snapped out of daydreaming, he dragged himself and climbed up.
Because of Wang Yuyan's shout, many people in the temple wake up. Xiao Feng, Xu Zhu, Ba Tianshi, Zhu Danchen all ran out. Seeing Duan Yu all wet and embarrassed, and Wang Yuyan's face flushed and near the side, embarrassed, they all thought that the 2 are meeting near the pond, Duan Yu was clumsy, Wang Yuyan pushed him into the pond, they didn't dare to laugh, nor ask anything. Duan Yu wanted to explain, but didn't know what to say.
The next day is the 7th of the 3rd month, 2 days from the Qingming festival. Ba Tianshi went out very early in the morning to the Xingqing house to take care of some business. After he finished, he hurry back to the temple and said to Duan Yu: "Young master, your father's letter about asking the Western Xia's princess hand in marriage, I have already give it to them. When they saw the letter, they were very polite, they said that this time young master came, they are very grateful, they believed they might be able to fulfill your wish."
After a while, there were man with horses outside the temple, followed by a loud noise. Ba Tianshi and Zhu Danchen went out to greet them, they are the Western Xia's people, they come to meet Duan Yu and welcome him to there home. Xiao Feng is the Liao Empire southern king, the Liao Empire's potential is higher than Dali, Western Xia only knew he came, but her told everyone not to reveal his identity, him and Xuzhu all became Duan Yu's people, and followed him to their home.
Every have just settles down, they heard somebody in the back garden was swearing: "What are you, coming here and gets the idea of marrying the princess? This consort position, our prince is definitely it, I say you better scurry back to your home!" Ba Tianshi heard this, he was angry, he thought that what kind of people will be rude enough to swear in front of someone's home? When he opened the door, he saw 7-8 big man, standing in the garden shouting nonsense.
Ba Tianshi and Zhu Danchen are both kind person, except Zhu Danchen is more refined, Ba Tianshi is more protective. Both of them didn't make a sound, they just stood in front of the door. Listening to a couple of people cursing and insulting with words even they don't know. When they heard the word "Our prince", they knew right away the men were the subordinates of the Tibet prince.
Ba Tianshi and Zhu Danchen exchanged a smile, they want to give these few men a lesson. Suddenly, the left door burst open, there were 2 men, one wearing yellow, one wearing black, they were fighting everywhere all of a sudden 3 men was on the ground, the other 2 are thrown out of the door. Then man in the black robe said: "Great, great!" The yellow robe man said: "No, no! Not great enough." One of them is indeed Feng BoE, The other one is Bao butong.
They heard one of the Tibet warriors shouting: "The one surnamed Murong, you should go back to Suzhou. You want to marry the western Xia princess, you annoyed our prince, 'Returning you with your own move', marry your sister and make her the little wife, let her stay in in Tibet, drinking milk tea everyday, she'll be very happy." Feng BoE ran out leaving a gust of wind. They heard a 'Pa' followed by an 'Ai Ya' sound, the Tibet warrior ran away leaving curses behind.
Wang Yuyan sat in the room, she heard Bao, Feng two people and the tibet people, she frowned and shed tears quietly, deciding if she should meet them.
Bao Butong gave Ba Tianshi and Zhu Danchen a handshake and said: "Brother Ba, Brother Zhu came to Western Xia, are you here to watch a lively show, or do you have other plans?"
Ba Tianshi laughed and said: "The reason Mr. Bao, Feng came, same for us.'
Bao Butong said: "Dali prince Duan is also here to ask for the princess's hand in marriage?'
Ba Tianshi said "Exactly. Our young master is the son of the southern prince, the future of Dali Kingdom is all upon him. If he and the princess are married, it will be a perfect match. Gentleman Murong is indeed a man with good characters, except that your family status doesn't really match."
Bao Butong face changed color, he said : "No, no! The royal contests are for the masters. The arguing, is for us."
Ba Tianshi laughed and said: "Things like arguing, Brother Bao is number 1, no human can withstand. Little brother admits defeat, and would like to bid farewell." He waved his hand, and walked back into the room with Zhu Danchen, he said: "Little brother Zhu, listening to that Bao Butong speaking, it seems that our young master needs to participate in that royal contest. Our young master has a heavy internal injuries, his martial arts sometimes works, sometimes doesn't, it is very hard to predict. If he cannot perform the Six Meridian Divine Sword, not only would he not be able to be that prince consort, he might have his life on the line, what should we do?" Zhu Danchen also didn't have any ideas, so they went to find Xiao Feng, Xu Zhu to discuss.
Xiao Feng said: "This royal contest, how do you compete? Is it alone, or with the subordinates? If others can participate in the fight, then you do not have to worry."
Ba Tianshi said: "Exactly. Little brother Zhu, let's go ask the generals. Ask them how to compete, then we can make plans." The 2 men walked out.
Xiao Feng, Xu Zhu and Duan Yu, 3 men were drinking wine. You drink one cup, I drink one cup, having fun. Xiao Feng asked Duan Yu his experience with the Six Meridian Divine Sword, he wanted to teach him how to circulate his internal energy, so he can use his energy. He didn't know that Duan Yu have no understanding of internal energy, he didn't understand anything at all, how can he teach him in a short period of time? Xiao Feng had no other ways, so he kept drinking wine. Xu Zhu and Duan Yu's wine capacity is not as good as his, after 5 to 6 bowls, Duan Yu is already drunk, not knowing anything around him.
Duan Yu woke up feeling dizzy, he saw shadows from the paper window, he caught a glimpse of the moon, it's late at night, his heart thought: " Last night I didn't finished listening to Miss Wang and I fell into the pond, What was she going to tell me? Will it be that she is waiting outside? Ai yo, not good, if she's actually waiting outside for a long time, grew impatient, and went back to sleep, wouldn't I miss a big deal?" he hastily jumped, walked out the door quietly, passing a garden, he was about to open the big door when he heard someone whispered: "Gentleman Duan, come here, I have something to say."
Out of surprise, Duan Yu jumped.
Listening to the sound, it sounded gloomy and doesn't sound like that person came with good intention, he was about to look back, he felt a tight tug, he had been captured. Duan Yu identified the sound, he asked: "Is it gentleman Murong?
That person said: "I don't dare, it is me, I dare ask brother Duan to talk." It is indeed Murong Fu. Duan Yu said: "Gentleman Murong asked, how can I dare not accompanying you? Please let go of me! "
Murong Fu said: "There is no need to let go."
Duan Yu felt light, like flying. Actually, it's Murong fu capturing him, he leapt on the roof.
Duan Yu wanted to shout, then Xiao Feng, Xu Zhu must be awake and will come out and help him, but he thought: "If I shout, Miss Wang might also hear it, if she sees us 2 fight, she will be very unhappy. She won't blame her cousin, she'll always notice my wrongdoings, why do I have to make her angry?" He didn't shout, he let Murong Fu captured him, walking out.
It was late at night, but the moon is clear and bright, below Murong Fu is a stone path, than have became loess trails, both sides of the trails are filled with half green, yet not yellow long grass.
Murong Fu had run for a while, he suddenly stopped, he put Duan Yu down heavily on the ground. Peng, Duan Yu fell on his shoulders, it didn't hurt very much, he thought: "This person looks elegant, but his behaviours are barbaric." He stood up and said: "If brother Murong wanted to talk to me, you can say it, why the need to act rough?"
Murong Fu coldly laughed: "What did you say to my cousin yesterday night?"
Duan Yu's face became red, he said softly: "It's really nothing, we just met and had a few words, that's all.'
Murong fu said: "You are a gentleman, the words you've said, the things you've done, why do you have to hide it?"
Duan Yu was shocked, angers rushed forth, he said: "Of course I don't need to hide it from you, I told Miss Wang, I will persuade you."
Murong Fu coldly laughed: "You said you will persuade me by saying: the point of a life is the love between a husband and wife, 2 hearts joined. You also said that Me and that Western Xia princess does not know each other, he won't know if she is pretty or ugly, kind or evil, first time meeting, and we are married, that is absolutely wrong, right? You also said if I ruined cousin's good intention, lovers will curse me, heroes in Jianghu will laugh at me, right?"
Every word he said, Duan Yu was shocked, after he finished saying everything he stammered: "Miss….Miss Wang told you?
Murong Fu said; "How would she tell me?"
Duan Yu said: "Then you heard it yesterday night?'
Murong Fu coldly laughed: "You can lie to the world's every ignorant maidens, but you can't lie to me."
Duan Yu said curiously: "What did I lie to you?"
Murong fu said: "Isn't it very clear, you yourself wanted to be the prince consort, you're scared I'll win, so you prepared a set of words, to trick me. Heihei, Murong Fu isn't a 3 year old kid, how can I fall for it? You really are dreaming really big."
Duan Yu sighed: "I was sincere, I really hope you and Miss Wang will get married, living like gods and goddesses, growing old together until your hair are white."
Murong Fu laughed coldly: "Thanks to your golden words. Dali's Duan and Gusu's Murong have no relations whatsoever, why did you have to be good to me? If I am tied up by my cousin and couldn't get out, you'll go wear red and become that prince consort."
Duan Yu said angrily: "What nonsense? I am Dali's next king, although Dali is a small country, we have never seen the word "prince consort' 2 words as if it is the most important things in the world. Gentleman Murong, I'm persuading you, Wealth and riches means nothing, even of you actually became Western Xia's prince consort, then you want to become Great Yan's emperor, won't you have to kill many people? Even if central plains people were killed by you until blood fills the rivers, bones piled as mountain, can you actually be the Great Yan's emperor, is still very hard to say."
Murong Fu was not the least upset and icily retorted: "Your words ring of righteousness but you are actually a malicious character."
Duan Yu hastily clarified: "You are free to doubt my pure intentions. That is your right. Nevertheless, I will not permit your marriage to the Princess of Xixia. I cannot bear Miss Wang (Yuyan) being heartbroken and suicidal."
Murong Fu bellowed: "You wish to prevent the marriage? Ha ha. Are you overrating yourself? If I insist on the marriage; what can you do about it?"
Duan Yu swore: "I will do my utmost best to hinder your plans. If I cannot do it alone, I will enlist the help of my friends."
In his heart, Murong Fu was stricken. He knew only too well the amazing martial arts of Xiao Feng and Xu Zhu. Even without these two in the picture, Duan Yu himself is already a worthy opponent whenever he exhibits his Six Meridian Divine Sword. It is fortunate that his Swordplay is inconsistent and uncontrollable, the only loophole Murong Fu can exploit. In a flash, Murong Fu gently raised his head and exclaimed: "Cousin (female), come here, I have something to tell you."
Exhilarated and surprised, Duan Yu hurriedly turned his head around. The entire ground is shimmering with moonlight and no shadow of Wang Yuyan can be seen. He focused his gaze and finally noticed some movement in the woods across him. Out of the blue, his body stiffened as Murong Fu had sealed his acupoints again. As he felt Murong Fu lifting his body and realizing that he has been tricked, Duan Yu bitterly noted: "Once again, you have resorted to violence, in addition to lies and trickery. That is unbecoming of a gentleman."
Murong Fu coldly replied: "With regards to despicable cads like you, gentlemanly methods can be overlooked." Lifting Duan Yu, he starting walking to a side, hoping to find a ditch. He planned to murder Duan Yu with a palm stroke and bury him in the ditch. After travelling a fair number of yards, Murong Fu discovered a dry, unused well and raising his hands, he threw Duan Yu in. Duan Yu yelled: "AIYAH!" and fell to the bottom of the well.
Murong Fu was about to gather some rocks to seal the well, starving Duan Yu to death when a female voice rang out: "Cousin (male), did you spot me? What do you wish to tell me? Oh my, what have you done to Mister Duan?" Wang Yuyan appeared in the flesh. Murong Fu was momentarily petrified and frowned his eyebrows. He had intentionally pretended to speak to Wang Yuyan behind Duan Yu, wanting to distract him and seal his critical heart acupoints from the back. Unexpectedly, Wang Yuyan is indeed nearby.
In fact, Wang Yuyan was troubled and had a sleepless night. Leaning against the window and admiring the moon, she accidently witnessed Murong Fu capturing Duan Yu. Afraid of the two of them breaking out into a fight, and concerned over Murong Fu being overwhelmed by Duan Yu's Six Meridian Divine Sword, she gave chase. In the process, she overheard their entire exchange. She personally believed Duan Yu's pure sincerity in advising Murong Fu but the latter persisted in his misconceptions about Duan Yu. When Murong Fu lied to deceive Duan Yu, Wang Yuyan thought she had been exposed and decided to come forward.
Running to the side of the well, Wang Yuyan half-prostrated and peered into the well. She shouted: "Mister Duan! Mister Duan! Are you injured?"
When Duan Yu was thrown into the well, he went down headfirst. Knocking his skull against the hardened clay at the bottom of the dried well, he had lost consciousness. After several calls and without any reply from Duan Yu, Wang Yuyan concluded Duan Yu had fallen to his death. Recalling his many acts of kindness from their past interactions, and presently even dying because of her, Wang Yuyan could not help but started sobbing. She wailed: "Mister Duan, you…. Why did you….. Why did you die so abruptly?"
Murong Fu coldly stated: "You are truly devoted to him."
Wang Yuyan gasped: "He was merely advising you with good intentions. You can choose not to listen, but there is no need to kill him."
Murong Fu objected: "This man is my greatest opponent. You heard it with your own ears. He will do whatever it takes to topple my ambitions. On Mount Shaoshi, he made me lost face and tarnished my reputation in the martial arts world. I cannot stand this man alive."
Wang Yuyan explained: "Regarding the Mount Shaoshi affair, he is truly in the wrong and I have admonished him for that. He has admitted his mistake."
Murong Fu icily laughed: "Humph! Humph! Admitted his mistake! With a simple apology and we can bury the hatchet? I, Murong Fu, am a member of the martial arts world. Wherever I go, people will be whispering behind my back, saying that I lost heavily to his DaLi Duan Family Six Meridian Divine Sword Skill. Put yourself in my shoes. In the future, how can I face the world?"
Wang Yuayn gently reasoned: "Cousin (male), it is an ordinary loss in a fighting match, why must you continue to dwell on it? During the duel on Mount Shaoshi, Uncle (Murong's Father) gave you a piece of excellent guidance. The past is the past. Why bring it up again?" Still trying to confirm Duan Yu's death, she stuck her head into the well and yelled: "Mister Duan! Mister Duan!" There is still no reply to her shouting.
Murong Fu spoke: "You are so concerned about him; why don't you marry him instead of pretending to support me?"
Feeling sour in her chest, Wang Yuyan sighed: "Cousin, I am completely devoted to you. Don't tell me…. Don't tell me you doubted me too?"
Murong Fu coldly hissed: "You are completely devoted to me? Hey Hey! Remember the mill house at the shore of Lake Tai? You were naked and hiding in the firewood with that Duan fellow. What are you up to? I saw it with my own eyes and seeing is believing. At that point in time, I wanted to kill this Duan kid with one stroke of my sword. However, you gave him pointers and opposed my wishes. Who does your heart beckons to? Haha! Haha!" Finishing his words, Murong Fu broke out in mad laughter.
Wang Yuyan was stunned and at a loss for words. Finally, in a quivering voice, she questioned: "In the millhouse at the shore of Lake Tai… That… That masked… That masked Xixia Warrior…"
Murong Fu replied: "Correct. The person disguised as the Xixia Warrior Li Yanzong is me."
Wang Yuyan state in a low voice: "No wonder, I have always been suspicious about this. Once, you mentioned this statement: When I become the Emperor of the Central Plains. That… That… That is your manner of speech. I should have guessed much earlier."
Murong Fu coldly sniggered: "You should have known earlier, but having learnt the truth now is not too late."
Wang Yuyan hastily explained: "Cousin, during that occasion, I was poisoned by the Xixia warriors. Mister Duan saved my life. During our escape, we were drenched in the rain and were taking shelter in the millhouse. You… You… You must not jump to conclusions."
Murong Fu declared: "What a perfect reason, taking shelter from the rain in a millhouse! However, after I arrived, the two of you continued to behave in an inconspicuous manner. This Duan fellow stretched his hand to touch your face and you did not even shy away. Do you remember what I said during that encounter? I think you are putting all your attention on this Duan fellow and did not even pay attention to my speech."
Wang Yuyan felt a chill in her heart as she recollected the millhouse event. The precise words of the masked Xixia Warrior Li Yanzong clearly formulated in her brain. She murmured: "That occasion… That occasion… You had this similar cold expression, and what did you say? You said… You said… : I instructed you to learn martial arts before coming to kill me; I did not ask the two of you… the two of you…" She remembered what Murong Fu said was: I did not ask the two of you to flirt and caress each other. However, she simply cannot bear to say out the rest.
Murong Fu added: "That occasion, you indicated that if I killed this Duan kid, you will dedicate your life to avenging him. Miss Wang, after hearing these words, I made up my mind to spare his life. Unpredictably, keeping this beast alive has its repercussions; causing me to lose my standing among all the heroes present at Mount Shaoshi."
Noting that Murong Fu no longer address her as cousin but Miss Wang instead, Wang Yuyan can feel her heart freezing. In a trembling voice, she confessed: "Cousin, if I knew you were the disguised warrior, I naturally will not speak like that. Really, Cousin, I… If I know, I will never say anything like that. You know for yourself. My heart has always been leaning towards you."
Murong Fu chided: "Even if I am wearing a mask and you cannot recognize my looks; even if I am a deaf and a mute, and you cannot recognize my voice; surely you can recognize my martial arts, right? Hey Hey. You immerse yourself in the study of martial arts and your knowledge is beyond compare. Regardless of each martial skill, you are able to identify the martial sect or martial family. I exchanged over a hundred stances with this kid, can't you identify me?"
Wang Yuyan whimpered: "My suspicions are definitely aroused, but… Cousin, we have not seen each other for a long time and I am unsure about the progress of your martial skill…"
Murong Fu remained defiant. Wang Yuyan's words clearly insinuated that his martial progress is too slow and cannot live up to her expectations. He recounted: "That occasion, you made this statement: 'Initially, I was secretly astounded that you are able to display an array of brilliant swordplay but after 50 strokes, it is no longer refreshing and your skills are as ordinary as any average fighter. You may think I sound cynical but nevertheless, you only posses a fraction of my knowledge.' Miss Wang, as a matter of fact, I agree that I only posses a fraction of your knowledge… Why trouble yourself to stay by my side? In your mind, you secretly despise me. This is the truth. Nonetheless, I, Murong Fu, am an alpha male in my own right. I cannot be bothered with womenfolk's opinions of myself."
Wang Yuyan stepped closer to him and softly begged: "Cousin, I made a wrong statement on that occasion. I hereby apologise for it." As she spoke, she arched her body and made a deep bow and added: "I truly have no idea it was you in disguise… You are an alpha male and must therefore, have the graciousness to overlook this. Since young, I have nothing but respect for you. Whenever we are playing as kids, I have always yielded to your wishes and have never opposed you. Do treat me as spouting nonsense during that event and forgive me this round for old time's sake."
Murong Fu is of proud character. Ever since Wang Yuyan affirmed his mediocrity in the millhouse, he was significantly annoyed and bore a grudge against her. Since that incident, although the two of them had numerous interactions, he could sense this gap between the two of them and felt that their paths are not longer compatible. Presently, under the romantic moonlight, hearing her gentle pleading tones and witnessing such an exquisite beauty treating him in a loving manner, in addition to his strong belief that she and Duan Yu did not have an affair, and her words are circumstantial with no ill intention, and recalling the wonderful childhood memories of the two of them, Murong Fu was stirred. Reaching out with his own hands and grasping both her hands, he addressed: "Cousin!"
Wang Yuyan was elated, acknowledging that her elder male cousin has forgiven her. Throwing her body into an embrace and resting her head on his shoulder, she gently whispered: "Cousin, whenever you are upset with me, do scold or vent it out on me. You must never store these secret emotions in your heart." Hugging her warm and soft figure, while listening to her soft and gentle coaxing, Murong Fu was moved. Using his hand to stroke her hair, he softly sighed: "I cannot bear to scold you or vent on you. My previous anger has been vanquished." Wang Yuyan enquired: "Cousin, are you giving up your plans to become the Prince Consort of Xixia?"
Murong Fu was instantly shaken. In his mind, he debated: D@mn! D@mn! Murong Fu, because of a relationship, are you forsaking your heroic pursuits and risking your lifelong ambitions? If you are unable to sacrifice these minor love issues, how can you be worthy of a label "Mover and Shaker"? He speedily utilized his hand to push Wang Yuyan away. Hardening his resolve, he shook his head and declared: "Cousin, the flames of our relationship has been extinguished. You know better than anyone else. All along, I am someone who bears grudges. Your words and actions will always haunt me."
Wang Yuyan sadly reminded: "A minute ago, you swore you are no longer angry with me." Murong Fu clarified: "I am not angry with you, but… But in our present lives, we will only be related as cousins." Wang Yuyan asked: "Eventually, you have decided not to forgive me?"
In his mind, Murong Fu was torn between 'love' and 'ambitions'. After a brief hesitation, he eventually shook his head. In despair, Wang Yuyan continued to probe: "Are you determined to marry the Xixia lady and ignore me for the rest of your life?" Murong Fu fired up his determination and nodded his head.
Wang Yuyan knew beforehand her beloved Cousin is planning to wed the Princess of Xixia, thanks to Gongzhi Qian's indirect hint. Feeling suicidal, she made up a reason to lag behind Deng Baichuan's group. She then jumped off a cliff to end her life but was rescued by Yun Zhonghe. Currently, being rejected in the face by her beloved, Wang Yuyan was heartbroken to the brink of madness and nearly vomited blood. Out of the blue, she had an epiphany: Mister Duan is fully devoted to my well-being. Despite that, I was often discourteous to him. In this moment, he has even lost his life because of me. I owe him so much. Mister Duan has perished in this deep well; there must be sharp rocks at the bottom of it. Since I am tired of living, why don't I join him in death in order to compensate him for his strong dedication?
As she contemplated, she strode slowly to the side of the well. Turning her head back, she proclaimed: "Cousin, may all your wishes come true. Marry the Xixia Princess and become the Emperor of the Yan Dynasty."
Murong Fu knew she is going to end her life and took a step closer. Stretching out his hand, he initially wanted to grab her arm and cry: Stop! But in his heart, he is fully aware that once he cried out and pulled her arm, it will complicate matters and will only worsen the love entanglement between him and his cousin. Cousin Yuyan is soft-spoken and attractive, a rare beauty. With such a spouse, any decent man will no longer have any regrets in his life. Moreover, she has been loyal to him since they were young. Nevertheless, if Murong Fu loses self-control and perform a heedless deed, it would severely hamper his ambition to restore the Great Yan Empire. With this mindset, his mouth was open but no sound came out; his hand was outstretched but he did not grab onto Wang Yuyan.
Observing his expression, Wang Yuyan deduced his emotions. In her mind, she concluded: Even if you wish to abandon me, we are still related as cousins. Now that I am seeking death, you made no effort dissuade me. You are even worse than the evil creep, Yun Zhonghe, to reach this level of cold-bloodedness.
Casting everything aside, Wang Yuyan announced: "Mister Duan, I am joining you in death!" With a jump, she disappeared into the well.
With an exclamation 'AH!' Murong Fu took a step closer to her, his hand reaching out and thinking of grabbing her leg. Based on his martial arts, it is extremely easy to reach her but ultimately, he was hit by indecisiveness and allowed her to complete her jump. Letting out a sigh, Murong Fu shook his head and remarked: "Cousin, in your heart, you truly love Mister Duan. Although the two of you cannot live as a married couple, but by dying in the same hole, at least you should die a fulfilled death."
Out of a sudden, someone behind him scolded: "Crying crocodile tears, hypocrite!"
Murong Fu was taken aback. He wondered: Somebody had crept up on me and I failed to sense it?
First, he sent a palm stroke to whoever is behind him before turning his body around. Under the moonlight, he witnessed a flashing shadow evading his palm strike by nimbly floating away. It is considered a rare feat even among top martial artistes.
Murong Fu dashed forward and without waiting for the mysterious figure to descend, he sent out another palm stroke and cursed: "Who is it? How dare you make fun of a noble Mister?" Whilst in mid-air, the person send out his own palm to match Murong Fu's palm blow and their skills are evenly matched. Using the momentum to float another several yards away, the figure finally landed on the ground. It was TuBo's Grand Priest Jiumozhi.
Jiumozhi continued: "It is fully obvious you are responsible for causing Miss Wang to commit suicide by jumping into the well. Yet, here you are, saying she is getting a fulfilled death. Mister Murong, don't you think you have gone too far in your scheming and cruelty?"
Murong Fu was incensed: "This is my personal affair. Who are you to interfere?"
Jiumozhi declared: "You have committed such a heinous crime; of course I, a monk, must get involved. Furthermore, since you intended to become the Prince Consort of Xixia, then this is no longer a private affair."
Murong Fu demanded: "Are you telling me that you, as a monk, is vying to be the Prince Consort as well?"
Jiumozhi burst out laughing and replied: "A monk becoming a Prince Consort? What logic is that?"
Murong Fu icily state: "I am well aware of the evil motives of the TuBo Empire. In this case, you must be acting on behalf of the TuBo Prince."
Jiumozhi countered: "What do you indicate by evil motives? If all the admirers of the Xixia Princess are deemed to be hiding evil motives, may I enquire about your personal motives? Are they upright or evil?"
Murong Fu commented: "In order to win the hand of the Princess of Xixia, I shall compete to become the Prince Consort based on my own abilities. I am not the kind of person who will instruct my subordinates to create trouble in Lingzhou, earning the disapproval of heroes and the horror of the population."
Jiumozhi laughed: "We were generally threatening the incompetent challengers to forfeit the competition. Our intention is to prevent the capital of Xixia from descending into chaos, and from being flooded by weaklings and unworthy bachelors. From your perspective, we are also clearing your path of unnecessary hindrances; isn't that to your benefit?"
Murong Fu interrogated: "If what you said is true, then it sounds pretty awesome. Nevertheless, is the Prince of TuBo Empire depending on his own abilities to win the competition?"
Jiumozhi affirmed: "Indeed!"
Noting his fearless composure and overwhelming aura of confidence, Murong Fu was highly suspicious and questioned: "Has the Prince of your prestigious empire mastered a set of superb martial arts, rendering him invincible and therefore, 100% confident of victory?"
Jiumozhi highlighted: "The young Prince is my disciple and his martial arts is above average. Although he is not considered an invincible opponent, his victory is still guaranteed."
Murong Fu was even more perplexed than before. He wondered: If I were to probe him directly for an answer, he may give an ambiguous reply. It is better that I try to agitate him and he may inadvertently reveal his secret. Thus, he challenged: "That's odd. The Prince of your prestigious empire has full confidence in his victory; however, I believe I will emerge victorious too. After the competition, I wonder who the real winner will be."
Jiumozhi laughed: "You must be itching to find out the real reason why our Prince is guaranteed to win the competition, aren't you? Why don't you share your plan with me and I will share our plan with you. We can co-analyze and compare our plans, and judge for ourselves who has a more brilliant strategy."
Except for his confidence in his excellent martial arts and outstanding appearance, Murong Fu did not have any concrete plan to guarantee his victory. Hence, he remarked: "You are full of evil schemes and often go back on your word. If I share my plan first and you refused to share yours, wouldn't I be at a disadvantage?"
Jiumozhi let out a big laugh: "Mister Murong, I have been acquainted with your Father for many years and we admire each other very much. Even if you find me overbearing, I am still considered your elder (senior). Regarding your harsh speech, don't you think you are being disrespectful?"
Murong Fu bowed in a salute and apologized: "MingWang's (Bright King) censure is appropriate. Please accept my apology."
(Jiumozhi's official title is DaLunMingWang. Can be addressed as MingWang too. Da=giant / big. Lun=wheels. Ming=Bright / Wise. Wang=King. In this context, King is not the highest title, Emperor is. The King title is equivalent to Duke / Lord / Minister, etc. I will use Bright King instead of Wise King for obvious reasons.)
Jiumozhi smiled: "Mister is a true genius. Since you acknowledge you are my junior, I shall not take advantage of you for your father's sake. The secret behind the guaranteed victory of TuBo's Prince is actually an amateur trick. We simply remove all the contenders who are entering the competition. Without any competition, wouldn't our Prince be guaranteed victory? Hahahaha."
Murong Fu's face turned pale and he stammered: "In this case, I…"
Jiumozhi advised: "The ties between your Father and I run deep. Naturally, I wish to spare your life. I sincerely recommend Mister to depart from Xixia. This is the best outcome for you."
Murong Fu asked: "What if I refused to go?"
Jiumozhi smiled: "I will still spare your life but will require Mister to dig out both your eyes or chop off an arm and a leg, essentially making you a handicap. The Princess of Xixia will naturally avoid marrying a handicap, even if he is a righteous hero." When Jiumozhi mention the words: righteous hero, he intentionally emphasized them in a sarcastic manner.
Murong Fu was furious. Frightened of Jiumozhi's superior skills, he dared not carelessly engage him. Lowering his head, he thought hard and fast for a solution.
Under the moonlight, he abruptly detected some fine, snaking movement. Peering closer, he discovered it was the shadow of Jiumozhi's right hand. Murong Fu was alarmed, deducing that his opponent is consolidating his energy and ready to strike in an instant. He secretly gathered his own energy in preparation to meet the attack.
Beyond his expectations, Jiumozhi added: "Mister, when you forced your very own cousin to commit suicide, that act itself is a great violation of morals. If you make haste and depart from Xixia, I will no longer hold you accountable for this act of pressuring Miss Wang to her death."
Murong Fu snorted: "She jumped into the well and committed suicide for love; I have nothing to do with it." As he spoke, he stared at the shadows on the ground and noticed the shadows of Jiumozhi's hands are shaking intensely.
Murong Fu's suspicions are aroused. He thought: Jiumozhi has mastered an incredibly high level of martial arts. If he intended to harm his rivals, why waste time on trivial persuasion and putting up a show of authority? Could he be putting up a false front and trying to scare me into submission?
Another quick scan of the shadows revealed that the corners of Jiumozhi's pants and sleeves are vibrating tenderly, betraying a fact that Jiumozhi's entire body is actually shivering uncontrollably. In a split second, Murong Fu had an epiphany. He swiftly remembered: "That day, inside Shaolin Monastery's Sutra Chamber, the nameless old monk mentioned that Jiumozhi had mastered Shaolin Sect's 72 Legendary Skills and afterwards, forced himself to practice the Yijing Sutra. This is the wrong flow of learning these skills and the practitioner faces an impending disaster. The old monk explained that when learning these Legendary Skills, the student must possess a high level of compassion. A learner with a violent nature will be faced with obstacles and danger to his health. When this old monk pointed out the discomforts of my father and Xiao Yuanshan, his predictions were accurate and precise. Therefore, the diagnosis of Jiumozhi cannot be too far from the truth."
Think about this point, Murong Fu was overjoyed: "Hey Hey. This monk himself is facing an impending danger and yet he dared to threaten me, demanding that I lose my eyes or my limbs."
Still, Murong Fu cannot be absolutely sure and needed to test this theory. He exclaimed: "Ai! The wrong flow of learning skills and the practitioner will face an impending disaster! When learning top echelon skills, the backfire effect (from fire-deviation) is simply the worst."
Out of the blue, Jiumozhi erupted in a spine-chilling roar. It was a terrifying scream, sounding more like an animal than a man. His hands reached out to grab Murong Fu as he hollered: "What are you talking about? You… Who are you talking about?"
Murong Fu slanted his body to avoid his hands. Jiumozhi turned his body to follow the momentum. As the moonlight shone on his face, it highlighted his bloodshot eyes, shrunken brows and a face filled with violent rage. Despite the fearsome aura, nothing can conceal the tinge of fear on the same face.
There is no longer any doubt in Murong Fu. He advised: "I have a piece of sincere proposal. MingWang (Bright King) should quickly leave Xixia and return to TuBo. As long as you do not activate your internal energy, do not get angry and do not exchange blows, you can return to your hometown safely. Otherwise, the prediction of the Shaolin Divine Monk will come true."
Jiumozhi is a shade of his former self. His usual calm and patient demeanor had vanished without a trace. He yelled: "You… What do you know? What do you know?"
Observing the ugly complexion, in complete contrast with the normally strict and saintly monk appearance, Murong Fu could not help feeling dreadful and took one step back. Jiumozhi demanded: "What do you know? Tell me quickly!"
Murong Fu forced himself to steady his nerves. Letting out a sigh, he explained: "Bright King's internal energy has taken the wrong path and your life is in danger. If you do not leave for TuBo immediately, you should at least consider going to Shaolin Monastery and seek medical help from the Divine Monk. There is still hope for you."
Jiumozhi let out a false laugh: "How do you know my internal energy has taken a wrong path. Utter rubbish." As he spoke, his left hand shot out, making a grabbing frontal attack at Murong Fu.
Although his five fingers are still quivering, the grab is still a powerful one, backed by years of experience and foundation. There is no sign of internal energy injury. Murong Fu was secretly traumatized and he thought: Did I guess wrongly?
Summoning his own internal energy, he focused on receiving the blow. Using his right hand, he blocked the blow and tried to hook the wrist of his opponent. Jiumozhi bellowed: "For your father's sake, I will not employ any killing moves in the first ten stances. It is a token of my friendship to the child of my old friend." Whoosh! A punch flew out towards Murong Fu's right shoulder.
Murong Fu floated away to avoid the punch but Jiumozhi's second attack is following up closely behind without a gap. Although Murong Fu is talented in the , which allows him to use the opponent's attack against himself, Jiumozhi's attacks are too intricate for that. Every strike would transform in the middle of the stroke, giving Murong Fu no opportunity to reverse the blow. Eventually, Murong Fu could only guard the critical parts of his body and wait for a window to counter attack.
Jiumozhi's attacking stances are truly mysterious and rarely seen in the martial world. An original punch attack would evolve into a jab; a grab technique transformed into palm attack right before making contact. Jiumozhi thundered: "The ten strokes are completed, face your fate!"
Murong Fu was bedazzled as he became surrounded by several images of Jiumozhi. On his left came a kick; on his right flew a punch; from the front a palm movement is rapidly closing in and a jabbing strike is almost at his back. It is as if he is being simultaneously hammered by a group of people. Unable to meet the barrage, he summons his internal energy for defense and let loose both his palms in a series of wild, confused parries.
Out of a sudden, he heard Jiumozhi's relentless panting. The wheezing noise began to worsen, drawing Murong Fu's attention. He thought: "This monk's internal circulation has gone haywire. If this persists, he will surely collapse and die on the spot."
But as Jiumozhi's panting became even more severe, his strokes increased in intensity as well. With a sudden roar from Jiumozhi, Murong Fu felt pain concurrently at his waist'Juzhong point' and stomach 'Sangqu point'. With these two acupoints blocked, his limbs lost all their strength and he became immobile.
Jiumozhi coldly laughed for a while despite his persistent breathlessness. He panted: "I kindly persuaded you to get lost but you chose to stay instead. Now, you cannot blame me for your predicament. I… I… What should I do with you?" He pinched his lips and whistled loudly.
In a short spell of time, four TuBo warriors emerged from the woods. Bowing, they acknowledged: "What are Bright King's orders?" Jiumozhi commanded: "Hack this kid to pieces!" The four warriors replied in unison: "Yes, Bright King!"
Although Murong Fu is immobile, his ears are still working fine. He groaned inwardly: "Earlier on, if only I had accepted Cousin's love and promise her to give up on the Xixia Prince Consort dream. Currently, I will not be losing my life to the sword. After my death, the restoration of Great Yan will extinguish with me." He wanted to communicate this information but cannot find his voice. Furthermore, Jiumozhi did not spare him a second glance. Even if Murong Fu can signal with his eyes, it is to no avail.
The four TuBo warriors received Murong Fu's body; one of them unsheathe a curved sabre and is getting ready to chop towards his neck.
Jiumozhi interrupted: "Hold it! I am an old acquaintance of this kid's father. Let him die with a complete corpse. Throw him into that abandoned well. After that, seal the well with big rocks. Even if he unblocks his acupoints, there is no way for him to climb out!"
The TuBo warriors replied: "Yes, Bright King!" After depositing Murong Fu into the abandoned well, they could not locate any suitable rocks in the vicinity. As a result, they speedily travelled to the back of the hill to search for large rocks.
Standing beside the well, a distressed Jiumozhi is gasping for breath.
Back at Mount Shaoshi, after he ambushed Duan Yu with the , he was afraid that the numerous martial experts would gang up against him. Therefore, he immediately escaped down the mountain. Halfway down Mount Shaoshi, he could already feel his 'Dantian' point swelling with a burning sensation. At once, he halted his steps and tried to regulate his internal energy. To his shock and surprise, it was extremely difficult to do so. He thought: "That old rascal (monk) mentioned that I mastered Shaolin's 72 Legendary Skills without the matching level of compassion, causing my energy flows to be blocked, thereby planting a ticking time bomb. After learning the Yijing Sutra, my energy flows become topsy-turvy, and now I am at the brink of internal energy disaster. Could it be… Could it be that old rascal (monk) 's prediction coming true?"
Without any delay, Jiumozhi sourced for a mountain cave and sat down to meditate. As long as he does not activate his internal energy flows, the burning sensation in his body will slowly subside. Any minor exertion will instantly trigger the full burning sensation at his 'Dantian' and it felt as if his organs are on fire.
His meditation lasted till evening. Unable to detect any pursuers from Shaolin Monastery, he slowly head south towards home. Along his journey, he encountered a TuBo messenger spy and learnt about the TuBo King sending the Prince to Lingzhou for the marriage and application for Xixia Prince Consort. The spy detailed: On this mission, the Prince is accompanied by a large entourage of highly-skilled warriors. They are furnished with copious amounts of gold, silver, precious jewellery, rare valuables, famous steeds and prized swords. The steeds and swords are tribute items to the Emperor of Xixia; the rare valuables are gifts for the Princess; and the gold, silver and precious jewellery will be used to bribe the Xixia eunuchs, concubines and officials of various grades.
As the Grand Priest (Advisor) of TuBo, Jiumozhi is involved in laying the strategies for the country's political and military affairs. The success or failure of this marriage will affect the country's future. So, despite his ill health, he headed towards Xixia to oversee the operation, dispatching the talented fighters to terrorize other potential contenders for the Prince Consort. By the 10th Day of August of the Lunar Calendar, the warriors of TuBo have already driven away hundreds of admirers from prestigious families as well as accomplished martial arts heroes. Despite the huge number of participants, every one of them is behaving in an individualistic manner, Battle Royale style. Since the applicants are mostly solo and no assistance is given to one another; one by one, they eventually succumbed to the group attacks of the TuBo warriors.
Since arriving at Lingzhou, Jiumozhi has been living in seclusion and healing his internal injuries. The turmoil of burning sensation in his body has greatly diminished, but once he triggers his energies, all his limbs and bones will tremble uncontrollably. Even when he eventually reached a new equanimity, his fingers, eyebrows, mouth and shoulders will still vibrate slightly and the spasms simply will not go away. He naturally wished to avoid exposure and chose to live alone, minimizing his contact with other humans.
Today, a subordinate has reported Murong Fu's arrival into Lingzhou and that several TuBo Warriors have been killed or injured by Murong Fu's entourage. Jiumozhi thought: Murong Fu is blessed with a charming appearance, good literacy background and competent martial arts. He is truly a top talent among his generation of martial artistes. If Murong Fu stays and compete, the Prince of TuBo would surely lose to him. Despite his plentiful warriors, none of them is able to match Murong Fu's ability. This time round, he must personally get involved in order to overcome Murong Fu. Moreover, Murong Fu is well aware of Jiumozhi's consummate skills. Based on this, he should be able to scare Murong Fu away without a fight.
With this thinking, he hunted for Murong Fu at the inn. By the time he arrived, Murong Fu had left with the captured Duan Yu. The inn is under surveillance by the TuBo warriors. Learning the direction where Murong Fu went, Jiumozhi gave chase. When he got to the woods, Murong Fu had already thrown Duan Yu into the well and is conversing with Wang Yuyan. After a bout of fighting, Murong Fu may have been captured but Jiumozhi is experiencing chaotic internal energy movements. Regardless of his arteries or meridians or acupoints, the energies are running amok, as if they are about to burst out from his body but no exit is available. Jiumozhi is heavily depressed by his predicament.
Using his hands, he clawed at his own chest as the internal energy continue to surge and expand. He felt as if his brain, chest and stomach are swelling like a balloon and at any point in time, his body would explode into a rain of mincemeat. Lowering his head to examine his chest and stomach, he could not see any physical deformity or swelling. Nonetheless, with the turbulent internal energy, he definitely felt as if his whole body has been inflated to become a large ball. In his state of helplessness, he used his right hand to stab at his left shoulder and both legs, piercing three holes in his flesh. Jiumozhi desired to guide his internal energy to these three holes and provide an exit for them to be expended from his body. Blood can be seen leaving the three wounds but the internal energy continued to plague him.
The words of the old monk from Shaolin Monastery Sutra Chamber rang incessantly in his ears. By now, Jiumozhi realised the monk was telling the truth and that he himself had been awfully greedy, mistakenly learning Shaolin Sect's 72 Legendary Skills and Yijing Sutra in the wrong order and is presently on the brink of death. His heart was panicking but he managed to keep his wits around him. After all, he has accumulated many years of cultivation and his Buddhist meditation skill has reached a profound level.
Out of the blue, Jiumozhi had a brainwave. He thought: He… Why didn't he himself try to master these skills? Why did he only learn selected skills and yet presented me with the complete set of 72 Legendary Skills? We barely knew each other before that and even if we can click very well and turned out to be bosom friends, there is no reason for him to bestow such generosity upon me.
In the midst of this precarious period, Jiumozhi suddenly understood Murong Bo's agenda when the latter presented him with the manuals containing Shaolin 72 Legendary Skills. When Murong Bo first gifted the manuals, Jiumozhi did have some doubts about them, concerned that Murong Bo is trying to scam him. But after reading the manuals, he discovered that the Legendary Skills are truly peerless and such teachings cannot be easily falsified. He even tested the paper of the manuals for poison, which there are none, thereby removing all his doubts. From then on, he practiced the skills diligently and with every skill that he mastered, his gratitude for Murong Bo increased in tandem.
At this point in time, when Jiumozhi is alternating between life and death, he finally comprehended Murong Bo's intentions and malice. He figured: He has been hiding inside Shaolin Monastery for more than ten years; he must have overhead the monks' conversations about these Legendary Skills. Perhaps these skills are not meant to be learnt spontaneously. When we met for the first time, he is probably conscious of my martial arts attainment and decided to pass me these Legendary Manuals. First, he wants me to be his guinea pig and see the consequence of someone who has learnt all the Legendary Skills. Second, he wanted to sow discord between Shaolin Monastery and me, escalating the fight into war between TuBo and Great Song. When that happens, his Murong lineage can profit from the chaos and revive the Yan Empire. Regarding the 72 Legendary Skills Manuals, he probably has an extra copy somewhere that he kept for himself.
When he captured Murong Fu earlier, he was reminded of the Shaolin Manuals from Murong Bo and the deep appreciation for him. Despite knowing that Murong Fu is a potential enemy, Jiumozhi did not execute him on the spot but chose to let him die in the abandoned well with a complete corpse. Now that he truly understood the reason behind Murong Bo's gift of Manuals, he realised that his sufferings today is all because of this evil man and his evil deed. Naturally, he was mad with anger. Leaning against the opening of the well, he sent three consecutive palms strikes downwards into the well.
As the blows of the palm strikes travel down, the well remained silent, highlighting the depth of the well and the inability of the blows to reach the bottom. Furious with rage, Jiumozhi forced his strength to execute a punch. With this punch attack, the internal energies went into complete disarray. It felt as if these energies are trying to vent out through the 108,000 skin pores but wherever they go, the energies met with constraints and they remained trapped in his body.
Feeling traumatized and irritated, Jiumozhi suddenly felt a movement at his chest area. From his robes, an item fell out and into the well. He tried to catch the falling object but was too late. He hurriedly employed the from . Under ordinary circumstances, he could easily retrieve the object. But this time, his tendons are not under his complete control. The energy did expand but the effect could not be executed from his palm. With a 'Pa!' sound, the item has hit the bottom of the well.
Jiumozhi groaned to himself: "Not good!"
Using his hand to search his bosom area, he realised the dropped object is indeed his copy of Yijing Sutra.
He is aware that the internal energy chaotic movement originated from the practice of Yijing Sutra. The Yijing Sutra is therefore, the problem and the solution. To avert this disaster, he must consult the Yijing Sutra again. Since it is a matter of life and death, how could he afford to lose the Sutra? Without any further thought, he leapt into the well.
Worried that the bottom of the well may be lined with sharp rocks or thick branches that could impale his limbs; and afraid that Murong Fu may have released his acupoints and getting ready to ambush him, before his feet reached the bottom of the well, Jiumozhi utilize his right hand and sent two palms strikes downwards, with the aim of slowing down his descent. From his left palm, he executed , a stance which protects the critical parts of his body.
Unexpectedly, his internal energies are experiencing huge transformations. Although the palm movements are precise, there is no strength behind them. Eventually, the exerted energy inaccurately dissipated, missing their targets. The two downward palm strikes not only failed to slow down his fall, they increased his falling momentum. With a loud 'PONG!' his skull smashed heavily against the bricks lining the inner wall of the well.
Based on his original internal energy cultivation; although he is not impenetrable; when his skull is bashed against bricks, he would not suffer the slightest injury and the bricks will be smashed into smithereens. However, he is in his worst possible state right now. Feeling dizzy and seeing stars, he bent over and collapsed at the bottom of the well.
This well has been abandoned for ages. With large mounds of dead leaves and rotting vegetation, all that is left is soft mud debris after years of desolation. As time goes by, the soft mud debris has stacked to a considerable height. With this fall, Jiumozhi's mouth and nose ended up buried in the mud debris. He can feel his body slowly sinking. When he struggled to stand up, his limbs are unable to exert any strength. In this state of anxiety, he suddenly heard someone calling from the top of the well: "Grand Priest! Grand Priest!"
It was the four TuBo warriors.
Jiumozhi tried to shout: "I am here!" The minute he opened his mouth to speak, mud entered his mouth. Accordingly, no sound was emitted from his mouth. Instead, he roughly overheard the four TuBo warriors speaking beside the well.
One of them wondered out loud: "Grand Priest is not here. Where could he be?" Another reasoned: "Grand Priest must have departed first due to impatience. Since he instructed us to seal the well with large rocks, let's fulfill his command." A third man acknowledged: "Yes!"
Jiumozhi shouted at the top of his voice: "I am here. Quickly come and save me!" The more he panicked, the more mud debris entered his mouth. In his daze, he had already swallowed two mouthfuls in succession. Naturally, the rotting smell is unbearable. Hearing several 'Ping Pong! Pong Long!' noise, it is the sound of TuBo warriors piling up huge rocks on the well. These warriors respect Jiumozhi like a deity, and regard his orders with no less importance than an Imperial edict from their King. Using the biggest rocks they could find and building the most solid formation they could, the well was securely sealed in a short span of time with thirteen rocks weighing hundreds of catties.
Hearing the four warriors stack the giant rocks and leaving after the task was completed, Jiumozhi lamented to himself: Even at full prowess, removing these rocks from within the well in order to escape is considered a challenging task; now that he is unable to utilize his martial arts, these heavy rocks sealing the well simply indicate that he will surely die inside this abandoned well.
His Buddhist Knowledge, martial arts and strategic planning is not only top-notched, but considered the best in the Western region. Who would have expected that he would die in a pile of dirty mud debris?
Since time immemorial, everybody dies. However, such a muddy death is genuinely unglamorous. In Buddhism, the body is considered to be a tainted vessel, an impermanent object. All impermanent objects are considered to be a form of suffering. The body does not belong to you and one day, you have to leave your body. These are basic Buddhist principles. Whenever Jiumozhi gave Dhamma talks at the altar, he is able to wisely articulate these principles, explaining them flawlessly and earning the praise of his disciples.
In comparison, he is currently stuck in an abandoned well that is sealed with rocks. The muddy debris in mouth compared to the fragrance of incense and lotuses from the altar. The contrast is enormous. On one hand, there is Nibanna, forever living a happy and peaceful life, free from fetters and the sufferings of the five senses. On the other hand, desire clouds the mind; fear rules the heart; greed, hatred and delusion exists, cumulating into this result of being trapped in a muddy well.
Thinking about this hurtful experience, his tears began to flow. Covered in mud, he is dirty beyond recognition. Eventually, he got used to the mud and used his hand to wipe his tears. Moving his left hand, he unexpectedly brushed against something in the mud. Grabbing the new object, it turned out to be his copy of Yijing Sutra. In an instant, he cannot help but laugh to his heart's content. He has recovered the sutra but of what use is it now?
Out of nowhere, he heard a female voice articulating: "Listen, the TuBo warriors have sealed the well with large rocks. How can we get out?" Jiumozhi recognized the speaker to be Wang Yuyan and was delighted. He thought: So she survived, but to whom is she speaking to? Since there are others around, we can combine our strength, push aside the large rocks, and escape from here.
A man spoke out: "As long as I can stay together with you, even if we are trapped, it does not matter. Since you are by my side, even a smelly and muddy well feels like a fragrant garden. Regardless of whether it is the Eastern Pureland, Western Paradise, Tusita Heavens or Yama Heavens, no place is better than my current location."
Jiumozhi was stunned. He thought to himself: This Duan fellow is actually still alive? He was injured by my and our enmity runs deep. Presently, I cannot activate my internal energy. If he took advantage of this weakness to exact revenge, what should I do?
The speaker is indeed Duan Yu. When Murong Fu threw him into the well, he had lost consciousness and was completely immobile. Although he landed into the muddy debris, he wasn't as haggard as Jiumozhi. The bottom of the well is fairly narrow; when Wang Yuyan jumped into the well, it was a nice coincidence that her head knocked onto Duan Yu's chest 'Danzhong' point. With this knock, Duan Yu regained consciousness. Wang Yuyan had fallen onto his bosom. Not only was she uninjured; she was only slightly muddied in the process.
Duan Yu suddenly felt someone lying in his bosom and was greatly puzzled. Then he heard Murong Fu speaking at the top of the well: "Cousin, in your heart, you truly love Mister Duan. Although the two of you cannot live as a married couple, but by dying in the same hole, at least you should die a fulfilled death" These words clearly resonated to the bottom of the well and upon hearing them, Duan Yu was in a daze. He mumbled to himself: "What? No! No! I… I, Duan Yu, don't deserve such good fortune."
To his amazement, the person lying on his bosom gently remarked: "Mister Duan, I am truly as muddle-headed as can be. You have always been kind to me, I… Yet I…" Duan Yu was shocked speechless. He inquired: "You are Miss Wang?" Wang Yuyan replied: "Yes!"
Since the beginning, Duan Yu has always been very respectful of Wang Yuyan and dare not intrude into her personal space. The minute he recognized it is indeed her, besides feeling astonishment and delight, he hurriedly stood up and wanted to release her from his bosom. However, the bottom of the well is narrow and filled with muddy debris. When Duan Yu stood upright, his two legs begin to sink into the debris and the top of the muddy debris is almost at his chest level. He cannot help but feel it is highly inappropriate to put Wang Yuyan down into the muddy pile. Still carrying her body horizontally, he profusely apologized: "Sorry! Sorry! Miss Wang, we are stuck in a muddy pile so please bear with me."
Wang Yuyan inhaled deeply and was filled with gratitude. Twice, she had nearly died and twice, she had escaped death. With regards to Murong Fu's character, nobody knows better than her and she can no longer deceive herself any further. In addition, Duan Yu has always been devoted to her. Comparing these two personalities, it is plain obvious that one is caring and righteous, while the other is selfish and cold-blooded. Although her jump from the opening of the well to the bottom of the well only took a short space of time, her mindset underwent a huge transformation. At the point of suicide, she decided to die out of gratitude to Duan Yu. Unexpectedly, both she and Duan Yu survived. This unforeseen turn of event filled her heart with gladness.
Since young, Wang Yuyan has been brought up well, living a cultured lifestyle and everything that she does is prim and proper. With the recent massive changes occurring in her life, she was especially emotional. Unable to hold back her feelings, she confessed to Duan Yu: "Mister Duan, I originally thought you were deceased. Recalling your frequent acts of kindness to me, I am filled with pain and regret. Fortunately, Heaven is fair and you are unhurt. I suppose you have overheard my earlier conversation at the top of the well?" At the last sentence, she could not help but feel a tinge of embarrassment, and quickly hid her face besides Duan Yu's neck.
Within this short spell of time, Duan Yu can only feel his spirits flying into the sky and clouds. He felt as if he is dreaming. For the longest time, this recurring wish on his mind is about to become reality. Overjoyed, both his legs turned to jelly and momentarily, he lost the ability to stand up. With his back leaning against the inner wall of the well for support, both his arms are still hugging Wang Yuyan's body frame. Right then, a few strands of hair from Wang Yuyan entered his nostrils. Ha-Choo! Ha-Choo! Duan Yu sneezed a few times consecutively.
Wang Yuyan asked: "You… What happened to you? Are you injured?"
Duan Yu replied: "No… Nope… Ha Choo! Ha Choo! I am not hurt. Ha Choo! Neither am I sick with flu. I am simply happy beyond description. Miss Wang… Ha Choo… I am so overwhelmed that I nearly fainted from joy."
There is complete darkness inside the well and neither of them can see each other. Wang Yuyan smiled in silence as she herself in drowning in ecstasy. Since youth, she has been smitten with her Cousin (Murong Fu) but he never reciprocated her love. It is only today that she tasted for the first time what it felt like when two persons are in love with each other.
Duan Yu stammered: "Miss Wang, what did you say earlier at the top of the well? I did not manage to catch anything." Wang Yuyan giggled: "I have known you to be an honest and upright gentleman; but I never imagine that you are such a tease. You obviously heard it all but wanted me to repeat them in person. It is so embarrassing for me, I will not repeat them."
Duan Yu anxiously clarified: "I… I definitely did not hear anything. If I did hear, may Heaven punish me…"
He was about to swear a vicious vow when he felt something warm on his lips. Wang Yuyan has covered his mouth with her hand. In the darkness, he heard Wang Yuyan state: "It is fine if you did not hear anything. It is no big deal and there is no need to make a vicious vow." Duan Yu was elated. Since he got to know her, she has never been so affectionate with him. He implored: "So, what did you say earlier?" Wang Yuyan started: "I said…" Hit with a bout of shyness, she smiled: "In the following days, we can always find time to talk about these. We have a long future ahead of us; there is no need to rush for the details now."
'We have a long future ahead of us; there is no need to rush for details now.' When these words entered Duan Yu's ear, he felt as if he is listening to heavenly music. Even if all the Western Paradise JiaLing Birds sang in unison, it would not sound as lovely as this.
What Wang Yuyan made this statement, the underlying meaning is that in the future, she will be co-habiting with Duan Yu. Taking in this wonderful news, Duan Yu is still in a state of disbelief, he asked: "In the future, we will always be together?"
Reaching out her arm and hugging Duan Yu's neck, Wang Yuyan whispered into his ear: "Duan Lang 郎 (mate, partner, groom, companion, etc. Will use Mate in the future), as long as you do not resent me and bear no grudges against me for being nonchalant to you in the past, I am willing to accompany you for the rest of my life. Never… Never will I leave you again."
Duan Yu's heart nearly jumped out of his mouth. He probed: "What about your Cousin? You have always… always been fond of Mister Murong."
Wang Yuyan answered: "I was never one of his priorities. Only today do I realise, in this world, who genuinely loves me, cares for me, and who places my importance above his own life."
In a quivering voice, Duan Yu muttered: "Are you referring to me?"
Tearing, Wang Yuyan sobbed: "Of course! For his entire life, my Cousin has been dreaming about becoming the Emperor of Yan. At the beginning, it seems like a natural process. After all, his Murong lineage has been harbouring this ambition for several generations. When the burden falls onto him, why should he be any different and realise the futility of this dream? My Cousin started off as a good person but eventually casted his morals aside in order to fulfill his dream as the Emperor of Yan."
Hearing her outburst, Duan Yu felt the need to speak up for Murong Fu. In a flustered manner, he imagined: "Miss Wang, what if your Cousin expresses regret and wanted to rekindle the relationship? What… What will you do?"
Wang Yuyan sighed: "Duan Mate, I may be muddle headed but I am still someone who keeps my promises. Today, I vowed to accompany you for life. If I wavered, wouldn't that be a stain on my character? Furthermore, how else can I live up to your deep love and commitment?"
Duan Yu was on cloud nine. Still holding her, he leapt up and shouted: Ah Ha! for joy. With a Pa! sound, he landed again in the muddy debris. He reached out with his mouth and wanted to kiss her lips. Wang Yuyan did not shy away. When the two pairs of lips are about to make contact, they were interrupted by a rustling sound above their heads. It appears that something has fallen into the well.
The two of them were astounded and speedily plastered themselves against the inner wall of the well. With a Boom! sound, it appears that a human being has fallen into the well.
Duan Yu quizzed: "Who is it?"
The mystery person let out a 'Humph,' and responded: "It is me!" It is Murong Fu indeed.
When Duan Yu regain consciousness and was enamored by Wang Yuyan's tender voice, both of them were so captivated by each other that they were blissfully ignorant of whatever that transpired outside the well.
Even if there is an apocalypse, it did not matter. Plausibly, they have no inkling about the fierce sparring between Jiumozhi and Murong Fu. Now that Murong Fu has entered the well, the two of them were petrified, assuming that he is here to make things difficult for them.
Wang Yuyan insisted in a shaky voice: "Cousin, you… What are you here for? I belong to Mister Duan now. If you are going to kill him, please kill me as well."
Duan Yu was thrilled. He was not worried about Murong Fu trying to harm him. He was afraid that Wang Yuyan might rekindle her past love after seeing her Cousin and once again, return to his side. Hearing her proclamation, he immediately rest easy. He also felt Wang Yuyan reaching out with her hands and holding onto his two hands. His confidence boosted by a hundred times, Duan Yu emphasized: "Mister Murong, you can go ahead and become the Prince Consort of Xixia. I promise I will not obstruct you in any way. Your cousin, however, is mine. You can no longer take her away. Yuyan, am I right?"
Wang Yuyan affirmed: "Correct. Duan Mate, in life or in death, I will be right beside you."
With his acupoints sealed by Jiumozhi, despite being immobile, Murong Fu can still hear and speak. Listening to the words of Duan Yu and Wang Yuyan, he thought: The two of them have no idea that I just suffered a heavy loss and am at a disadvantage now. Thus, they remain guarded against me and are afraid that I would harm them. This is considered my good fortune. I shall employ a delay tactic. With this strategy, he replied: "Cousin, after you married Mister Duan, we will become one big family of relatives. Mister Duan would have become my Cousin-in-Law. Why should I harm him?"
Duan Yu is kind-hearted by nature while Wang Yuyan is na?ve and gullible. When they heard his reply, the two of them were ecstatic. One said: "Many thanks, Brother Murong." The other one said: "Many thanks, Cousin!"
Murong Fu interrogated: "Brother Duan, soon, we will be family. You will no longer disrupt my plans to become the Prince Consort of Xixia?"
Duan Yu confirmed: "You have my word. Besides becoming husband and wife with your esteemed Cousin, I have no other desires. Even if I were to exchange it for becoming a Deity or an Arahant, I will be most unwilling."
Filled with boundless happiness, Wang Yuyan gently leaned against Duan Yu.
In the background, Murong Fu is secretly channeling his internal energy to burst through the acupoints sealed by Jiumozhi. It is taking quite a long time and yet, he is unwilling to ask Duan Yu for help. He angrily cursed to himself: It is often said that all women are promiscuous. This saying is accurate indeed. Under ordinary circumstances, Cousin (WYY) would have rapidly come to my side and assisted me in standing up. This time round, she has chosen to ignore me completely.
The circumference of the bottom of the well is about three metres and the three individuals are actually pretty near one another. Wang Yuyan can hear Murong Fu lying in the mud without standing up. She only needed to take one step to reach the side of Murong Fu and help him up. However, she is firstly concerned that Murong Fu could be hatching another scheme to harm Duan Yu. Secondly, she did not want Duan Yu to get the wrong idea. Therefore, she eventually chose not to step out.
With his turbulent emotions, the acupoints become harder to unblock so Murong Fu calmed down and finally unsealed the acupoints. Using his hand against the wall of the well, he propped himself up.
With a Pa! sound, an item dropped down beside his body. It was Jiumozhi's Yijing Sutra. In the dark, Murong Fu could not identify the item so he naturally took one step away. It is fortunate that he took this extra step; otherwise, when Jiumozhi jumped into the well, he would have knocked into Murong Fu.
Picking up the sutra, Jiumozhi abruptly burst out in hysterical laughter. As the well is deep and narrow like a cylinder, the sounds of laughter echoed within the well, shaking the eardrums of the three other persons and the laughing sound is droning in their ears. It was a horrible experience.
With his internal energies all haywire and his senses in disarray, Jiumozhi cannot stop laughing. Within the muddy debris, he began flaunting his punches and kicks, venting all the blows onto the bricks forming the wall of the well. Some blows were full of strength and smashed the bricks into smithereens; some blows carried no strength at all.
Wang Yuyan was horror-struck. Tightly securing herself to Duan Yu, she whispered: "He has gone mad! He has gone mad!" Duan Yu nodded: "He has truly lost his senses!" Meanwhile, Murong Fu utilized the skill . Sticking his body close to the wall of the well, he began to climb upwards.
Jiumozhi remained where he was, laughing and panting concurrently, while his punches and kicks start to increase in speed.
Mustering her courage, Wang Yuyan advised: "Senior Master, you should sit down and take a break. Your nerves require some stabilization."
Jiumozhi laughingly scolded: "I… I need to stabilize… If only I can stabilize! I'll stabilize your head first!" Reaching out with his hand, he tried to grab her. Within the well, there is hardly any space to retreat. With this grab, he grabbed onto Wang Yuyan's shoulder. Wang Yuyan let out a shriek and hastily moved aside.
Duan Yu dashed in front of her and blocked her with his own body. He called out: "Hide behind me." At this point in time, the two hands of Jiumozhi have locked onto his throat and are tightening swiftly. Duan Yu can feel his breath quickening and he can no longer speak out. Wang Yuyan was traumatized and hurriedly used her hands to pry open Jiumozhi's arms. The current Jiumozhi is just a raging madman. Although his internal energy is out of control, his strength is still extraordinary. When Wang Yuyan wanted to pry open his hands, it is like a dragonfly trying to lift a stone pillar; she is of no assistance.
Wang Yuyan is filled with anxiety and her biggest fear is Jiumozhi strangling Duan Yu to death. She screamed: "Cousin! Cousin! Come and help us! This monk… This monk is about to strangle Mister Duan to death!"
Murong Fu thought: This Duan Yu fellow defeated me thoroughly on Mount Shaoshi, causing me to lose my standing in the martial arts world. If he dies, he dies. Why should I render any assistance? Additionally, this violent monk is highly skilled and far stronger than me. It is wiser to let them fight to their deaths and hopefully, it will be a double KO. I would be a fool if I interfere.
Thus, his fingers held onto the gaps between the bricks and he kept his body close to the wall of the well, keeping his silence. Wang Yuyan has shouted until her voice is nearly hoarse but Murong Fu pretended not to hear a thing.
Wang Yuyan clenched her fists and rained uncoordinated blows on the head and back of Jiumozhi. Gasping and laughing concurrently, Jiumozhi exerted more strength in strangling Duan Yu's throat.