@Chapter 1 – Pondering on the Gentleman Far Far Away
The author of this poem, Free from Mediocrity, is a famous martial arts expert from the southern Song dynasty. The name of this expert was Qiu Chu Ji, also known as the Everlasting One. He is one of the 7 Masters of QuanZhen, and one of the most outstanding disciples of the QuanZhen School. Qiu ChuJi wrote this poem after he met Xiao LongNu for the first time. She was a neighbour of Qiu for many years. At this time Qiu ChuJi already passed away, and Xiao LongNu is the wife of the famous Condor Hero Yang Guo. Another girl was reciting this poem softly, in HeNan province and on Mount ShaoShi. This young girl was about 18, 19 years old and was wearing a cream yellow robe, she was riding on a mule and was proceeding up the mountain pass. She was thinking: "Only someone like sister Long is fit for him." "Him" of course refers to Yang Guo. After some time she softly recited: "Union is bliss, parting is woe, Agony is boundless for a lovelorn. Sweet heart, give me word....
Trails of clouds drifting forward, Amid mountains cupped with snow, Whither shall my lonesome shadow go?"
This girl carried a short sword and looked travel stained. She is a beautiful young girl who is supposed to be happy and untroubled but somehow, she looks unhappy, melancholic.
Her name is Guo Xiang, is the second daughter of the Great Hero Guo Jing and the famous Huang Rong. Her nickname is Little Eastern Heretic. With her mule and sword she has traveled a lot, her purpose was to forget her worries but her travelling only increased her sorrow.
Mount ShaoShi of HeNan province were a set of large stone steps, these steps were constructed under the order of Emperor GaoZong of the Tang dynasty. It looked very impressive as Guo Xiang proceeded up the mountain. Before long she could see the monastery.
She stared at the roof for a moment and and thought: "The ShaoLin Monastery is said to be the origin of martial arts, but why aren't there any ShaoLin experts among the 5 Greats? Is it because the ShaoLin experts knew there weren't a match for the other experts and were afraid to disgrace ShaoLin and refused to go? Or was it because the monks had evolved beyond earthly matters and didn't want to scramble for power and fame.
After a while she saw a large stone tablet, half of it was gone and the characters were unclear, Guo Xiang was thinking: "How come characters carved into stone can fade away through time, but my feelings carved in my heart become more and more stronger as time goes by."
This tablet was bestowed by Emperor TaiZong of the Tang dynasty. He praised the ShaoLin monks for helping him suppress the rebellions. The tablet states the military credits of the ShaoLin monks for helping Emperor TaiZong defeat the rebel general Wang ShiChong, of which 13 monks were most famous. Only one monk became a general and the other 12 didn't want to become officials and Emperor TaiZong bestowed 12 purple kasayas. Guo Xiang was thinking: "During the Sui and Tang Dynasty, the ShaoLin Monastery was already very famous for its martial arts, and now after a few hundred years they must be even more formidable."
When Guo Xiang parted with Yang Guo and Xiao LongNu at Mount Hua 3 years ago. She lost all contact with them and missed them a lot. So she told her parents that she wanted to roam a bit but in fact, she wanted to hear some news about Yang Guo. She doesn't want to actually meet them, she is very content if she can hear something about them. However, they seem to have disappeared entirely, Guo Xiang has traveled from north to south and from west to east. She practically traveled through China but still there was no news on Yang Guo.
She remembered that Yang Guo asked reverend WuSe to bring her a present on her 16th birthday. WuSe was a friend of Yang Guo and instructed someone to deliver Guo Xiang a present. Although she has never met him, she wants to know if he has any news about Yang Guo.
She was pensive for some time till she heard some metallic noise and a voice chanting Buddhist scriptures: "Through love worry will arise. Through love fear will arise. If you can free yourself from love, all worries and fear will be gone."
When Guo Xiang heard this, she was completely dazzled. And softly repeated those words. The metallic noise and the chanting were becoming distant.
Guo Xiang said: "I must ask him, how I can free myself from love and how my worries and fear will disappear." She tied her mule to a tree and chased after the sound. Guo Xiang caught with the monk and was shocked to see the monk carrying to large iron buckets and he was chained on his hands, feet, and neck, causing him to produce a metallic sound as he walked. The buckets were filled with water and it showed that the monk must posses extraordinary strength.
Guo Xiang spoke to the monk: "I have a few questions, please stop for awhile."
The monk turned around and both Guo Xiang and the monk were surprised to see each other. The monk was JueYuan. 3 years ago Guo Xiang met him on Mount Hua. Guo Xiang also knew that this monk was really pedantic, but had extremely powerful internal energy not inferior to any top martial arts expert of this time. She spoke to him: "Oh, it is you reverend JueYuan. What happened to you?" JueYuan smiled and nodded but didn't speak. He turned around and walked away again. Guo Xiang said: "It's me, Guo Xiang. Don't you recognize me anymore?"
Jue Yuan turned his head and smiled and nodded but didn't stop. Guo Xiang asked: "Who chained you? Why do they torture you?" Jue Yuan raised his left hand and shook his hand in admonition, meaning do not ask.
Guo Xiang wouldn't let this matter rest until she got to the bottom of this. And wanted to run in front of JueYuan but was not successful. Although JueYuan was carrying 2 large buckets of water he was still very quick. Guo Xiang was amused and leapt up and wanted to grab one of the buckets, but she missed by an inch.
Guo Xiang said: "You have very impressive abilities, but I must catch up with you."
JueYuan continued to walk and the metallic noise sounded rather melodic. Guo Xiang was having difficulty keeping up and she was really impressed: "Both my father and mother praised this monk for his superior martial arts, at that time I wasn't totally convinced, but now I know they were right."
After awhile, JueYuan walked to the back of a small house and emptied the buckets of water in an old well. Guo Xiang asked: "What are you doing? Why are you emptying the water in this well?" JueYuan remained calm and shook his head. Guo Xiang thought she understood now and smiled: "You're learning some sort of powerful martial arts, aren't you?" JueYuan shook his head again. Guo Xiang was feeling a bit angry now and said: "I just heard you chanting, you're not dumb, why won't you answer me?" JueYuan put his palms together and looked apologetic and carried the buckets and walked away again.
Guo Xiang looked into the well and couldn't find anything strange about it and stared at JueYuan's back and felt puzzled.
She gave chase for awhile but soon she felt tired and rested on a rock. She was admiring the scenery and felt very fresh afterwards. Guo Xiang was thinking: "I wonder where the pupil of this monk is. The pupil will probably tell me what is going here."
She started going down again and wanted to find Zhang JunBao, the pupil of JueYuan. She walked for awhile and soon she heard that metallic sound again, Jue Yuan came up again and Guo Xiang quickly hid and thought: "I'll spy on him and see what he is up to."
The metallic sound was becoming clearer and she saw JueYuan reading a book. She silently approached him and called out: "What are you reading?"
JueYuan was startled and cried out: "You gave me a scare, it's only you." Guo Xiang smiled: "You're not pretending to be a dumb anymore." JueYuan looked slightly afraid and looked to the left and right and shook his hand.
Guo Xiang asked: "What is wrong?"
Before JueYuan could answer, 2 monks in grey robes appeared out of the woods. One was very tall, the other one short. The tall monk sternly said to JueYuan: "JueYuan, you broke the rules by talking to an outsider and furthermore to a young girl. Come with us to see the elder of the Disciplinary Hall."
JueYuan looked crestfallen and nodded and started walking behind those 2 monks. Guo Xiang was angry and annoyed and sternly reproached: "What kind of rule forbids people from talking? I know this reverend and if I want to talk to him, it's no concern to you."
The tall monk gave her an arrogant look and said: "For more than thousand years, the ShaoLin Monastery doesn't allow women to enter. I suggest that Miss would leave before you get yourself in trouble."
Guo Xiang became even more angry and said: "So what about women? Aren't women humans? And why do you pester reverend JueYuan? How come he is chained and you forbid him to talk to anyone?"
The monk coldly replied: "These are the rules of our monastery, no one has the right to question, not even the emperor. Miss, needn't bother."
Guo Xiang angrily said: "Reverend JueYuan is an honest good person, you're bullying him because he's a nice man. Where are reverend TianMing, the monks WuSe and WuXiang?
The 2 monks were shocked. Reverend TianMing is the abbot of ShaoLin, WuSe is the elder of the LuoHan Hall and WuXiang is the elder of the DaMo Hall. The 3 of them are very respected, all the monks address them as 'old abbot, elder of the LuoHan Hall or elder of the DaMo Hall.'
No one has dared to call out their names, and today these 2 monks hear this young girl calling out their names and creating a scene.
These 2 monks are the pupils of the elder of the Disciplinary Hall, and received orders to keep an eye on JueYuan. But now they see Guo Xiang interfering, the tall monk yelled: "If you don't leave now, we will not be friendly."
Guo Xiang said: "Should I be afraid of you? Hurry up and free JueYuan of his chains or else I will go to old monk TianMing."
The short monk became angry now and saw Guo Xiangs' sword. He said: "Leave your weapon behind and we will not take actions against you. Leave now!"
Guo Xiang removed her sword and held them in her hands and scoffed: "Alright then, I will comply."
The short monk grew up in the ShaoLin monastery and heard his seniors say that ShaoLin was the origin of all martial arts and no matter how respected or how skilled, martial arts experts never carried weapons to the ShaoLin monastery. Although this young girl didn't actually reach the monastery but she was already on ShaoLin premises. He thought this young girl was afraid and presented her sword so he reached out to grab the sword. However, when his fingers touched the scabbard his felt a painful tingling, like being struck by lightning. He felt a strong force coming from the sword and pushing him backward. He couldn't maintain his stand and fell down. As he was standing on a slope he soon rolled down a few metres. With some difficulty, he could stop himself from rolling anymore.
The tall monk was shocked and angry and yelled out: "Of all the nerves! How dare you come to ShaoLin to wreak havoc!" He turned his body and and advanced one step in front and his right fist aimed at Guo Xiang. His left hand was put on the back of the fist causing two palms striking down. This was the 28th technique of "Dashing ShaoLin" namely "Turning Over Split"
Guo Xiang held on to her sword and pressed down her sword with scabbard and all to the monks' shoulder. The monk held on to the sword.
JueYuan was very frantic and called out: "Stop! Don't fight!"
The monk tried to pull the sword over, suddenly he felt a shock through his palm and both arms felt numb he cried: "No!" Guo Xiang swept her left leg and kicked him down the slope. He was somewhat more injured than the other monk, his face was bleeding.
Guo Xiang was thinking: "I came to ShaoLin to find some information on brother Yang, but now I'm engaged in a fight for no apparent reason." She saw JueYuan looking sad, she pulled out her sword and cut the chains. JueYuan was screaming: "No, you musn't!" for a few times. Guo Xiang cut three chains and said: "Those 2 wicked monks will go back for reinforcements. We must go now, where is your little disciple?" JueYuan kept shaking his hands. Suddenly a voice came from behind saying: "Thank you for caring Miss Guo, I'm right here."
Guo Xiang turned around and saw a 16, 17 year old man standing there. He had thick eyebrows and big eyes and was very tall. But still looked very young. She met him 3 years ago at Mount Hua, he was Zhang JunBao. He was taller this time compared to three years ago but he very much looked the same. Guo Xiang was very pleased and said: "Those nasty monks were bullying your teacher, we must go now." JueYuan laughed wryly and shook his head and suggested that Guo Xiang should quickly leave now before trouble comes.
Guo Xiang knows that there were an uncountable amount of ShaoLin experts that were superior to her, but seeing this situation she couldn't leave this matter alone and she was worried that ShaoLin experts would stop them. So she pulled JueYuan in one hand and the other Zhang JunBao and told them: "Hurry up, we'll discuss everything when we leave this place." But the two of them just stood still.
At this time 7, 8 monks with wooden rods came up the slope and yelled: "Who is that audacious girl? How dare she come to ShaoLin and behave atrociously!" Zhang JunBao called out: "Please don't be rude, this is. "
Guo Xiang hurriedly said: "Don't say my name." She knew that she created a big scene today and perhaps this might even escalate so she didn't want to drag her parents into this. She added: "Let's go the other way! Don't mention my parents' name.
But another 7, 8 monks came towards them. Guo Xiang saw that they were surrounded and raised her elegant eyebrows and said to JueYuan and Zhang: "The both of you are so fussy, you lack a hero spirit! Do you want to leave now?" Zhang JunBao said: "Master, Miss Guo has only good intentions. " At this point 4 monks came up the slope, although they didn't carry weapons but judging their body posture they were experts.
Guo Xiang knew that using force would be futile so she just stood still and waited to see what would happen.
The first monk walked up and spoke to Guo Xiang: "The elder of the LuoHan Hall ordered that the intruder was to lay down her weapon and was to be taken to the YiWei pavilion for questioning."
Guo Xiang scoffed: "The monks of ShaoLin have mastered the air of government officials. All of you speak a bureaucratic tone! I'm wondering whether you're officials to the Song emperor or officials to the Mongolian emperor?"
At this time, the entire northern territories of China were in hands of the Mongolians, the ShaoLin monastery fell under Mongolian jurisdiction. However, the Mongolians were busy deploying their troops so they had no time to control any temples, monasteries. Everything in ShaoLin remained the same.
The monk felt embarrassed by Guo Xiang's remarks and his face turned red and he felt that giving orders to outsiders was not very appropriate. He put his palms together and said: "May I inquire what business you have here, Benefactress. Would you please lay down your weapon and go to the YiWei pavilion where tea will be served and we have some questions we would like to ask."
Guo Xiang heard his tone became a bit more friendly and thought this would be a good chance to stop and said: "I don't care if you let me enter or not. It's not like ShaoLin has any treasure and I'm not willing to benefit from it." She turns to Zhang JunBao and quietly asked: "Are coming or not?" Zhang JunBao shook his head and looked at his teacher saying his place is here. Guo Xiang loudly said: "Alright then, I will not interfere. I'm off," and started walking down the slope. The first monk moved away but 2 other monks blocked her. And said: "Lay down you sword!" Guo Xiang raised her eyebrows and put her hand on the hilt. The first monk explained: "We don't want to keep your weapon, we will return it when you leave Mount ShaoShi. This is our rule, please forgive us."
Guo Xiang heard his tone was polite and thought: "If I don't leave my sword, there is bound to be a fight and alone I'm no match for these monks. But if I leave my sword, I will disgrace my parents, brother Yang, sister Long and my grandfather."
She was still thinking, and suddenly a figure appeared in front of her and shouted: "You come here with a weapon, injured 2 of our disciples. What's the meaning of this?" And he formed a claw and grabbed Guo Xiang' sword. If this monk didn't use force, Guo Xiang would surely hand over her sword after some consideration. She isn't like her elder sister Guo Fu. Although she is straightforward, she is not rash. Seeing this disadvantage, she would have complied and discussed this matter with her parents and Huang YaoShi and come back for an explanation. But now this monk used force, how can she watch her sword being grabbed away?
The monk's grip was firm and he held on to the scabbard. He wanted to quickly disarm her. Because it would not be proper for a monk to be pulling and pushing with a pretty young girl. Guo Xiang couldn't hold on to the scabbard and pulled out her sword. The monk used his right hand to seize the scabbard but his 2 fingers on his left hand were cut off.
The other monks were angry when they saw their martial arts brother wounded and picked up their wooden rods, cudgels and attacked. Guo Xiang knew that she had no choice but to fight now and used "Descending Flower Swordsmanship" to defend herself.
The Descending Flower Swordsmanship was derived from Huang YaoShi's Divine Descending Flower Sword Palms. Although this swordsmanship is not as refined and excellent as the "Jade Flute Swordsmanship", it was still a special technique from the Peach Blossom Island. The monks saw green flashes surging, the sword dancing, making it seem like flowers descending. In a few moments, 2 monks were injured. But other monks took their places and soon Guo Xiang was completely surrounded. She would've been overwhelmed if not for the fact that the monks were benevolent and not willing to harm her life. All their stances were to immobilize her and not to kill her, so they would lecture her and escort her away from here. Also, all the monks saw that this young girl had learnt superior martial arts and they thought that she must be either the daughter of famous martial arts experts or at least the disciple of a skilled martial arts expert. So they didn't want to make any enemies, so every stance was rather limited. Some monks went to notify the elder of the LuoHan Hall.
In the heat of the battle, an old tall monk came and observed the fight with a smile on his face. Two monks approached him and told him something.
Guo Xiang was panting and her swordsmanship was becoming disorderly and she yelled out: "What origin of martial arts? 10 monks surrounding one person, what a way to win?"
That old monk was the elder of the LuoHan Hall, reverend WuSe, when he heard this he said: "Stand back everyone!"
All the monks jumped away. Reverend WuSe asked: "What is your name, Miss? And who is your father and teacher? What business do you have here at ShaoLin?"
Guo Xiang was thinking: "I can't tell him my name. And I cannot reveal my reason in front of so many people. If my parents and brother Yang found out the mess I created they will be upset, the best thing to do is sneak away." She answered: "I can't tell you my name, I just came here to enjoy the scenery. I never guessed that the ShaoLin Monastery was even stricter than the imperial palace, with no reason your weapon will be confiscated. I would like to ask, did I enter the monastery? When Master DaMo taught ShaoLin martial arts he just wanted the monks to improve their conditions and concentrate on their meditation through martial arts. But when ShaoLin became more and more famous, and their martial arts kept improving, now the ShaoLin monks rely on martial arts to flaunt their superiority. Well you can have my sword, and if you don't kill me, everyone in the realm of martial arts will know what happened today."
Guo Xiang is famous for being clever and fluent, this entire matter was actually her fault but with those words she rendered reverend WuSe speechless. She thought: "I don't want anyone to know about this, and it seems that ShaoLin doesn't want the outside world to know about this incident either. A group of 10 monks attacking a young girl will not do their reputation any good."
She threw her sword on the ground and started walking away. Reverend WuSe walked up and used his sleeve to pick the sword and said: "Miss, I will return your sword and see you off respectfully."
Guo Xiang smiled sweetly and said: "It seems that you're very reasonable. That's more like it. That's the style a martial arts expert should have."
Seeming that she won, Guo Xiang just praised this old monk and reached out to get her sword back. When she wanted to pull back, she noticed it didn't move an inch. She used strength 3 times but in vain, and she said: "You're deliberately displaying your martial arts." Suddenly her left hand curled up and softly wanted to brush against WuSe's two left cheek acupoints, namely 'TianDing and JuGu.' WuSe moved away and released his grip. Guo Xiang quickly seized her sword.
WuSe said: "Very impressive "Whisking Acupoint Orchid Hand." May I ask how you address the lord of the Peach Blossom Island?"
Guo Xiang laughed: "The lord of the Peach Blossom Island? I call him old Eastern Heretic."
Huang YaoShi is her maternal grandfather. He is a strange, eccentric man and he calls his granddaughter little Eastern Heretic and Guo Xiang calls him old Eastern Heretic. Huang YaoShi is not angry when he hears it and he is even happy when he hears it. WuSe was a robber in his early years. Although he has studied Zen for many years and has profound Buddhist knowledge, he still is very straightforward, otherwise, he couldn't be friends with Yang Guo. Seeing that this little girl is not willing to tell him, he wants to test her and find out. He smiled and said: "Young Miss, if you can withstand 10 of my stances, I can guess your school."
Guo Xiang asked: "What if you cannot?"
WuSe laughed and said: "Well if you can withstand 10 of my stances, I will have to listen to you."
Guo Xiang pointed at JueYuan and said: "I met this reverend JueYuan some years ago and I want to plead on his behalf. If I can withstand 10 of your stances you have to promise not to give him anymore trouble."
WuSe was surprised, he knew that JueYuan was very pedantic and stayed in the Library and watched over the scriptures and never met any outsiders. How did he meet this young girl? WuSe said: "We never did give him any trouble. He is sitting out his punishment, that is not giving him trouble."
Guo Xiang pouted and scoffed: "It seems to me that you just want to go back on your word."
WuSe clapped his hands and said: "Very well, if I lose I will carry 3108 buckets of water for JueYuan. Watch out, here I come."
Guo Xiang was thinking when she spoke to him: "This old monk seems to be a true expert. If he starts to attack first, I will have to try my best to defend myself and will reveal my parents' martial arts. The best thing to do is for me to attack first and try to gain the upperhand." When she heard him say "Watch out, here I come." she didn't give him time to attack first and raised her sword and aimed for his chest. This was a technique from the "Descending Flower Swordsmanship" namely "Thousands and Myriads of Purple and Red." The tip of the sword kept moving, not revealing to the opponent where the sword was aiming for.
Guo Xiang yelled out: "The second stance!" the short sword turned around and came from bottom to top, this was called the "Celestial Gentry Topping Apart" which was a QuanZhen technique.
WuSe said: "Good, QuanZhen sword technique."
Guo Xiang said: "Not necessarily." Her short sword stabbed into the air and saw WuSe using an attack as a defense and using his fingers to grab her wrist. She was a bit afraid: "This old monk is very formidable, he can attack bare-handed under such a dangerous technique."
Seeing his fingers were coming closer, her sword dazzled a few times and used a technique from the "Dog Beating Stick", namely "Mean Hound Blocking the Road." And this stance belonged to the Sealing Formula.
Guo Xiang was close friends with the deceased leader of the Beggars Association Lu YouJiao, they occasionally drank wine and played mora together. Sometimes Lu would demonstrate his martial arts, although the "Dog Beating Stick" is only permitted to be used and learnt by the leader of the Beggars Association, Guo Xiang could learn a few stances from Lu. Furthermore, her mother Huang Rong and her brother-in-law were leaders of the Beggars Association. So she has seen this style a lot and could trick people into believing that she knew this style although she didn't know the exact secret of it.
WuSe's fingers just reached her wrist but he saw a bright light shining and the blade was coming towards his fingers in an excellently beautiful way. Almost cutting off his five fingers, but luckily his martial arts were high and he could avoid the attack by pacing back 2 steps. But his left sleeve was split. WuSe looked terrified and cold sweat was breaking out.
Guo Xiang was very amused and smiled: "What sword style is this?" In fact this wasn't a sword technique, she just used a stance from the "Dog Beating Stick" and used it as a sword stance. Because this style was magnificent, even Guo Xiang couldn't completely learn it, it was still capable to scare off this martial arts expert of ShaoLin.
Guo Xiang thought: "If I learnt a few more stances from the "Dog Beating Stick" I could easily defeat this old monk.
She didn't give WuSe time to catch his breath and advanced forward. Her sword was slightly raised and she floated towards him. Her posture looked like a floating fairy, the blade was pointing at WuSe's legs. This was called "A Small Orchard for Chrysanthemum" which belonged to the Jade Maiden Swordsmanship. Guo Xiang learnt this technique from Xiao LongNu.
The Jade Swordsmanship was created by Lin ChaoYing, this style was not only swift and fierce but also refined, elegant and beautiful. All the monks never saw something that beautiful, they were all surprised and pleased. Because ShaoLin sword styles were firm and fierce, for example, LuoHan and DaMo Swordsmanship. This Jade Maiden Swordsmanship was hardly known throughout the world of martial arts, the essence of it is the opposite of ShaoLin styles but when it comes to superiority of the stances, it is not above ShaoLin Swordsmanship.
But this technique was absolutely beautiful and celestial.
Even in Buddhist scriptures it is mentioned: "When the appearances are gracious and charming, when the manner is solemn, gentle and elegant. And behavior proper and gratifying. The watcher will not be bored."
Reverend WuSe was impressed by such a magnificent stance and hoped to see it more clearly so he moved away and waited till Guo Xiang attacked again.
Guo Xiang's technique now was changing directions a few times from east to west and from west to east. Zhang JunBao was mesmerized by it and was surprised to recognize this stance as "Extend in all Directions." 3 years ago Yang Guo taught Zhang JunBao this technique and Guo Xiang was there to see it and now is using it. This was originally a palm technique, now she used it as a sword stance, the power of this stance was not that powerful anymore but it was a very strange sword stance and WuSe was a bit frightened by it.
They reached the fifth stance now, and WuSe didn't have any idea who she was. In his younger years, he roamed the world and gained a lot of martial arts experience and insight. And now he is the elder of the LuoHan Hall for more than 10 years and has examined all styles of different schools and compared to ShaoLin martial arts. So he was always very confident to recognize the martial arts of any expert within a few stances.
His limit with Guo Xiang of 10 stances was already a very big margin. He never guessed that the parents, relatives, friends of Guo Xiang were all top martial arts experts and she learnt a few stances of each and every one of them, causing WuSe to be confused. WuSe now thought: "The only way for me now is to attack with strength, forcing to use her own martial arts to defend herself. If not, I cannot even guess her school after a hundred stances."
He turned around and used "Double Piercing Hands" and 2 fists aimed for Guo Xiang. She saw that his attack was fierce and didn't dare to block it and twisted her body and glided away from that attack. She remembered when Ying Gu fought against Yang Guo, Ying Gu used this style.
WuSe praised: "Good movement! Try another stance."
His left hand curled up like a flower, bending his left elbow in front of his chest and this was another ShaoLin fist stance.
This stance completely sealed Guo Xiang. She turned around her sword and use the sword as her finger and displayed the "Yi Yang Finger". She learnt this technique from her martial arts brother, Wu XiuWen. And she aimed for 3 of WuSe's acupoint of his wrist. Although she only learned the mere basics of "Yi Yang Finger" this technique of sealing 3 acupoints in one go was one of the key points of "Yi Yang Finger." Reverend YiDeng's Yi Yang Finger was renowned through the world. WuSe recognized it and quickly changed stance.
However if WuSe didn't change technique, and let Guo Xiang touch his 3 acupoints he would have known that her "Yi Yang Finger" was far from perfect.
But in a fight he wasn't willing to risk his reputation and name for it. Guo Xiang smiled sweetly and said: "You recognize a powerful technique when you see it."
WuSe grunted and used a stance called "Single Phoenix Glaring At the Sun". With this stance WuSe used both hands to knock out Guo Xiangs' sword.
She knew that he wouldn't really harm her but was still frightened and used Zhou BoTong's Kong Ming Fist to counter it. This Kong Ming Fist was quite new to the martial arts realm so WuSe didn't recognize it and turned to another stance namely "Siding to the 7 Stars Flower." One of his palms was up the other down and pressed down on Guo Xiang. If she didn't use internal energy to block it, her hands would be snapped.
Guo Xiang thought: "Do you really want to break my hands?" And used an Iron Palm technique to block this attack. She learned this stance from Wu XiuWen's wife, WanYan Ping. This stance was created by the famous Qiu QianRen and this palm technique was known to be number one for being violent and fierce.
WuSe was shocked to see a young girl using the Iron Palm technique and quickly withdrew his attack. First of all, he didn't want to harm her, second, he was quite afraid for the Iron Palm technique.
Guo Xiang smiled sweetly: "This is the tenth stance, guess what school I belong to?"
And attacked WuSe with a simple ShaoLin Fist called "The Sea of Bitterness has no Bounds." This stance belonged to the LuoHan fist style and WuSe was both angry and amused to see this. And he quickly used another stance to block it and lift her up. This was called "Carry the Mountain and Leap over the Ocean."
But when he did that he realised: "I'm only wanted to win her and cannot recognize her school. She used 10 different stances, what can I say. I surely can't say she belongs to ShaoLin."
Guo Xiang was yelling: "Let me go!" and something dropped out of her clothes. Guo Xiang yelled again: "Let me go, you old monk."
WuSe was an enlightened monk, he believe all creatures were the same. He made no differences in men and women, he even treated animals with care. He said: "I'm old enough to be your grandfather. What are you afraid of?"
He gently flicked his arm and Guo Xiang landed a few metres further.
He was about to admit defeat, when he saw 2 small dark iron figures of 2 Arhats and picked them up.
Guo Xiang asked him: "Well, do you admit defeat?"
WuSe looked very pleased and said: "Why should I admit defeat? Your father is the great hero Guo Jing, your mother is the heroine Huang Rong. Your grandfather is Lord Huang of the Peach Blossom Island. You're second Miss Guo Xiang. Your father learnt martial arts from the 7 Eccentrics of Jiang Nan, Peach Blossom Island, Northern Beggar and the QuanZhen School. No wonder Miss Guo has such profound knowledge of martial arts."
Guo Xiang was stunned: "This old monk is very formidable, I used 10 different stances but he was still able to know who I was."
WuSe smiled and said: "Miss Guo, I recognized you from these 2 Arhat statues, how is brother Yang?" Guo Xiang was shocked for a moment and said: "You must be reverend WuSe. You gave me these 2 Arhats as a present to me. The reason I came here was to find out some news of brother Yang and sister Long."
WuSe said: "Many years ago, Master Yang came to our monastery and stayed for a few days. And when he left for XiangYang he asked me to help him. But I don't know where he is now."
It seems that both Guo Xiang and WuSe didn't know where Yang Guo was.
Guo Xiang was stunned for a moment and said: "Not even you know where he is now. I wonder who does know."
Guo Xiang thanked him for his present.
These 2 Arhats were made by a carpenter monk of ShaoLin. These 2 Arhats could display a set of LuoHan fist if you activate the mechanism. That's why Guo Xiang knew that ShaoLin fist.
WuSe laughed and said: "Because of the rules of our monastery I cannot invite you stay, however I will walk you down. Please forgive us."
Guo Xiang was pensive and said: "It doesn't matter, I asked what I came for anyway."
WuSe said: "As for my Buddhist brother JueYuan I will explain later. You know what, we will find a good inn and talk these things over by a good meal and some wine." Reverend WuSe was highly respected by the ShaoLin monks, and they were all puzzled to see him being so respectful towards a young girl.
Guo Xiang said: "No need for that, I'm sorry that injured a few reverends. Please forgive me for being rash. I will leave now and I hope to see you again."
WuSe laughed and said: "I'm adamant, I will see you off. I'm sorry I couldn't attend your 16th birthday that year. After burning down the supplies and the gunpowder of the Mongolian army I left without going to XiangYang.
Guo Xiang knew he had good intentions, and like his straightforward manner and was very eager to make friends with him and said: "Good."
After the 2 of them walked for awhile and passed the Yi Wei pavilion. They heard a footsteps behind them when they turned around to look they saw Zhang JunBao. Guo Xiang smiled and said: "Brother Zhang, did you come to see me off too?"
Zhang JunBao blushed and said: "Yes."
Suddenly another monk ran towards WuSe looking rather hectic. WuSe frowned his eyebrows and said: "Why are you so frantic?" That monk went to WuSe and said something very quietly. WuSe's face changed and said: "Really?"
The monk said: "The abbot asked master WuSe to return now and to discuss matter."
Guo Xiang saw that WuSe looked worried and told him: "If you have something to do now, feel free to go back. Real friends don't need all those formalities, we can always eat and drink another time."
WuSe looked pleased and said: "No wonder Master Yang speaks highly of you. You're a true heroine, today you've made a friend."
Guo Xiang smiled and said: "You're already friends with brother Yang. That makes you my friend too."
The two parted and WuSe went back.
Guo Xiang continued to walk down, Zhang JunBao didn't dare to walk next to her and kept 5 steps in between them. Guo Xiang asked: "Why do they punish your teacher?"
Zhang JunBao said: "The rules of the monastery are very strict, if the monks break them they have to be punished."
Guo Xiang asked: "What did your teacher do wrong, he's a very nice man." Zhang sighed: "It is all because of the Ni Jia Scripture that was lost."
Guo Xiang said: "You mean the scripture that was stolen by Xiao XiangZi and Yin KeXing."
Zhang said: "Yes, that day at Mount Hua, I searched them and found nothing even with the help of Master Yang. After we left the mountain we couldn't find them anymore. We returned to the monastery and reported it to the abbot. Because that scripture was written by Master DaMo, the elder of the Disciplinary Hall blamed my teacher for not paying better attention to the scriptures and heavily punished him."
Guo Xiang sighed: "This is blaming it on someone else. Why should reverend JueYuan be punished for it. Because of this they ordered your teacher to fill that well and forbade him to speak."
Zhang said: "This is an old punishment of ShaoLin. According to the elders, this punishment can also be seen as good form of self-cultivation."
Guo Xiang laughed: "It seems I'm a busybody." Zhang quickly said: "We will always remember Miss Guo's help and intentions."
Guo Xiang sighed and thought: "But someone has completely forgotten about me."
After awhile they reached the place where Guo Xiang tied her mule and she said: "Brother Zhang, you needn't see me off anymore." Zhang JunBao looked reluctant to part and didn't know what to say to Guo Xiang. Guo Xiang took out her 2 Arhats and gave them to Zhang JunBao: "Here take it."
Zhang JunBao didn't take it and said: "I...I.."
Guo Xiang said: "I'm giving it to you, so take it." Zhang JunBao said: "I.....I. "
Guo Xiang put them in his hands and mounted the mule. Suddenly someone called out: "Miss Guo, please wait."
It was reverend WuSe, Guo Xiang thought: " This old monk was too formal."
WuSe reached Guo Xiang in a few moments and told Zhang JunBao: "Return to the monastery, don't stroll about."
Zhang JunBao said yes and stared at Guo Xiang for short while and quickly left.
WuSe waited till he was gone and took out a note and said: "Miss Guo, do you know who wrote this note?"
Guo Xiang took the note and read it:
"ShaoLin martial arts have been proclaimed to be invincible throughout China for many years. Ten days from now, The 3 Saints of KunLun will see all ShaoLin skills."
The handwriting was very strong. Guo Xiang asked: "Who are these "The 3 Saints of KunLun," they sound very arrogant."
WuSe said: "You don't know them?" Guo Xiang shook her head and said: "No, I don't know them. I have not heard my parents mention this name before." WuSe said: "That's the strange thing about it." Guo Xiang asked: "What is strange?"
WuSe said: "Miss Guo, we are now friends and I will be honest with you. Do you know who brought this note?" Guo Xiang answered: "Probably a messenger from The 3 Saints of KunLun."
WuSe said: "If it was, I'm not that surprised. ShaoLin has been the leading martial arts school in WuLin for hundreds of years. So many martial arts experts come here to challenge us, but we always treat our guests with courtesy. And we try to avoid fighting as much as possible, because if we battled every expert who came here for a fight, we wouldn't have time for our cultivation."
Guo Xiang nodded and said: "That's true."
WuSe said: "However, when the experts are here, and if we don't show them some special ability they will not be impressed. The LuoHan Hall is there to welcome these guests with this special treatment."
Guo Xiang laughed and said: "So you're just here for the fights." WuSe smiled with a wry: "Normally WuLin persons, the disciples of the LuoHan Hall can deal with them, I don't need to fight them personally. But today when I saw that Miss Guo's martial arts were out of the ordinary I decided to see for myself."
Guo Xiang smiled: "You have a very high opinion of me."
WuSe said: "Look at me, we're digressing. To tell you the truth, we found this note in the LuoHan Hall in the hands of the Dragon-Subduing Arhat." Guo Xiang was surprised and asked: "Who put it there?" WuSe shook his head and said: "We don't know. There are hundreds of ShaoLin monks in the monastery, if someone sneaked in, someone must have noticed that. And there are 8 disciples standing guard in the LuoHan Hall every day. Someone just found the note and quickly reported it to the abbot. Everyone found it strange and that's why I was called back so urgently."
Guo Xiang now understood what he was getting it and said: "You think I'm in league with The 3 Saints of KunLun. I'm creating a diversion here while those 3 fellows enter the LuoHan Hall and leave the note."
WuSe said: "After meeting you I found it impossible you would do something like that. But it was very coincidental that with your appearance a note is left behind in the LuoHan Hall. That's why the abbot and my martial arts brother WuXiang wrongly suspected you were involved in this."
Guo Xiang said: "I don't know them, what are you afraid of? Ten days later if they dare to come, just accept the challenge."
WuSe said: "Afraid, of course we're not afraid. I'm reassured now that they are not your friends."
Guo Xiang knew WuSe's intentions were good, he was afraid that The 3 Saints were friends of hers and was afraid that in a fight they might damage their friendship. She said: "If they come here and courteously want to examine martial arts with you that's not a problem. Otherwise, just teach them a lesson. Also the tone of the note was very arrogant, 'see all ShaoLin skills'. Do they really want to see the 72 skills of ShaoLin?"
Suddenly she thought of something and said: "Couldn't it be that there is a traitor amongst you and secretly put the note there?" WuSe said: "We thought of this too, but that was impossible. Because the Arhat statue's hand was almost 10 metres tall. If someone was to jump up there, his art of levitation should be superb. If there was a traitor he wouldn't have such good martial arts."
Guo Xiang was very puzzled by this entire incident and was very interested to know the outcome of this duel. But she knew she would miss out on this fight because ShaoLin didn't allow women to enter.
WuSe saw she was pensive and thought that she was thinking of a plan to help them and said: "ShaoLin has overcome many obstacles in these 1000 years and is still standing. If "The 3 Saints of KunLun" really want to pick a fight, we will try our best to battle them. Miss Guo, in less than a month, you'll hear whether these "3 Saints of KunLun" have defeated ShaoLin or not."
At this point, he looked very energetic and brave.
Guo Xiang smiled and said: "Don't forget about your cultivation? In less than a month I will await your good news."
She mounted her mule again and smiled to WuSe.
And then she rode off thinking of a plan not to miss out on this battle.
After thinking for awhile: "Perhaps these "3 Saints of KunLun" are just some ordinary WuLin people. And will be easily defeated by the ShaoLin monks, if they only had half the skills of my mother, father, grandfather or brother Yang, this fight will be very interesting."
When she thought of Yang Guo she became melancholic again. These 3 years of searching were in vain. The tomb on Mount ZhongNan was empty, no news in the Valley of No Love, The FengLing Ferry was deserted too. She thought: "What do I do when I find him? It will only increase my feelings for him and bring extra frustration. He left for a faraway place, that was also good for me. Although I know everything I do is in vain, it can't stop me from thinking about him and trying to find him."
She rode her mule and wandered a bit on Mount ShaoShi and was feeling melancholic.
She heard music sounds, she was surprised to hear someone playing the zither. She learnt the arts of zither, chess, literature and painting from her mother. Although she learnt only the basics, she is intelligent enough to give her own unique perspective on matters. Frequently, she discussed these arts with her mother. She tied her mule to a tree and walked towards the music. She heard the music was mixed by the singing of birds and it seemed that the birds were singing along. Guo Xiang thought: "According to mother there is a song called "Empty Mountain and Songs of Birds." But this song was lost for may ages, is it possible this is that song?"
The music became more and more interesting. Guo Xiang was surprised and thought: "This man can lure birds with his music, this song must be "A Hundred Birds Admiring the Phoenix." And thought if her grandfather was here, both of them could play this song together. Because Huang YaoShi's flute was unequaled at this time.
The music became softer and the birds flew away and suddenly the music stopped. The man sighed and said he couldn't find a soulmate and drew his sword and started carving on the ground.
Guo Xiang thought: "This man is both well versed in artistic fields and martial arts, let's see how his swordsmanship is."
She saw that this man was drawing a chessboard with his sword and started playing chess (Go) with himself.
Guo Xiang thought: "This man is lonely too and can't find a soulmate either, so he's playing chess with himself."
After awhile she saw that the man trapped himself in the western side of the chessboard and leaving the central open.
Guo Xiang couldn't help herself and spoke: "Why do you take the western borders? While the central plains are open."
The man saw what he did and took the central plains causing a draw. The man laughed and said: "Good, good!" and continued to play and realised that someone was present. He tossed his sword away and said: "Thank you for your help. May I ask who helped me?" Guo Xiang saw that he had a long face and dark eyes and was quite skinny. He was about 30 years old. She walked towards him and smiled: "I was very much enchanted by your music, Sir. And when I saw that you're losing to yourself I couldn't help pointing out. Please forgive me for my bluntness."
The man was surprised to see a young girl and when he heard her talking about his music, he was very happy and said: "Miss, is a musician too? Would you please play a piece for me?"
Guo Xiang smiled and said: "My mother taught me some basics, compared to your divine music I'm very bad. But since I heard your song it's only natural that I return a song back. But you musn't laugh."
The man said: "I wouldn't dare."
And handed the zither to Guo Xiang.
Guo Xiang saw that this zither was an antique. She started to play the zither and her playing was not very spectacular but the man was very happy and surprised.
The song was about a hermit and he lived alone on a mountain and felt lonely. Because he didn't have a soulmate he looked sickly but his aspirations will always be very high.
The man heard his feelings in the music of Guo Xiang and was very grateful and when the music stopped, he just stared into the blank.
Guo Xiang gently put the zither on the ground and turned around and left again. Reciting the poem that matched this song:
*Note: I didn't translate the poems, songs in this part. It will take me too much time. Sorry! I found them on another website. They are not my work.
A gentleman is exploring the mountainside Close to a stream, all alone Although he is forlorn, although he is unaware But he is wise, and will never change
And this piece is the gentleman's song:
The day is so short, a hundred years is so long
The earth is so wide, one hundred incarnations approaches the Tao An angel releases the reins, one half is as white as snow
The Creator meets the Jade Lady laughing, I wish for the dragon's embrace Turning towards Phu Tang, to buy good wine at Bac Bau
Inviting the dragon to riches which I scorn,
That throughout the year beautify only the being.
Guo Xiang roamed the realm for three years now, and encountered many strange incidents. So she forgot all about the man who played the zither and chess. Another 2 days, The 3 Saints of KunLun will challenge ShaoLin. She was thinking of a way to sneak in and watch but couldn't think of anything. She thought: "My mother can think of 18 plans in a blink of an eye. I'm just too stupid and I can't even think of one plan. Never mind, I'll just go to ShaoLin and perhaps they are too busy fighting of the intruders that they forget to stop me from entering."
She ate some rations for the journey and proceeded to ShaoLin. After riding for some time, she saw 3 horses riding towards her. And in short while they passed her and were headed towards ShaoLin. The riders were all men in their fifties and were green robes and weapons hung to the saddles.
Guo Xiang thought: "These 3 men are martial artists and they are carrying weapons. They must be The 3 Saints of KunLun. If I don't hurry up, I'll miss out on a good fight."
She gave her mule a clap and he quickly pursued them. The 3 riders whipped their horses to increase speed. One of the old man turned back and gave a strange look.
Guo Xiang's mule gave chase for a short distance. The 3 horses were out of sight. The mule looked exhausted. Guo Xiang scolded: "Lazy animal! Normally you never listen to me and keep running about. When I need you to run, you can't keep up." She pulled the mule to a small stone pavilion and gave the mule to rest. After awhile the three riders came back. Guo Xiang was surprised and thought: "Could it be that they are really that useless and were defeated in one blow?"
The three riders dismounted, Guo Xiang looked at them and saw that one of them had a cinnabar coloured face. The other had a really red face and looked very friendly. The third one was very tall and skinny and looked very pale, but in his paleness there was a touch of green.
These 3 old men looked very normal except for their strange skin complexion. She was very fascinated and asked: "Could I ask you whether you went to the ShaoLin Monastery or not? Why did you return when you just when up there?" The pale-looking man gave her a stern look, like scolding her for asking questions.
The red-faced man smiled and said: "How did you know we are headed for the monastery?" Guo Xiang said: "If you go up there, you'll go to the ShaoLin Monastery."
The red-faced man nodded and said: "That's true, and Miss where are you going?" Guo Xiang said: "You're going to ShaoLin, and I'm going too."
The pale-faced man said: "ShaoLin doesn't allow women to enter and carrying weapons is also forbidden." He sounded very arrogant, and because of his height he looked over Guo Xiang's head ignoring her completely.
Guo Xiang was annoyed and said: "Well you're carrying weapons too. Or aren't those weapons?"
The pale-faced man coldly said: "How can you compare yourself with us?"
Guo Xiang scoffed: "What about the 3 of you? Are The 3 Saints of KunLun fighting with the old monks of ShaoLin yet? Who won and who lost?" The 3 old men's faces changed. The red-faced man asked: "Little Miss, how do you know about this incident with The 3 Saints of KunLun?" Guo Xiang said: "Of course I know."
The pale-faced man walked up and sternly said: "What's your name? Whose disciple are you? And what is your business here at ShaoLin?
Guo Xiang raised her pretty face and said: "Never you mind."
The pale-faced man was hot-tempered and raised his hand to slap her. But he realised that if he did that, he will be bullying a young girl. He swiftly advanced towards Guo Xiang and seized her sword.
Guo Xiang was taken off guard, this never happened before in her life. To be frank, with her martial arts and experience she was not fit to roam the realm on her own. But everyone respected Guo Jing and Huang Rong and knew she was their daughter and Yang Guo spread the word of her 16th birthday and all the unorthodox WuLin person knew her. Even if they dared not to give Guo Jing and Huang Rong face, they would surely respect Yang Guo. Furthermore, she was very pretty and straightforward, she treated everyone equally no matter what social status they had. Although the realm of martial arts was a dangerous place, she always came out fine and without any harm. She never suffered such humiliation in her life and knew she couldn't get her sword back. Because she was not their match yet, but to give up like this was very difficult to accept.
The pale-faced man held the sword between his index finger and middle finger and coldly said: "I'll keep this sword for awhile. Seeing you have the audacity to be disrespectful towards me, it's clearly that your parents and teachers didn't teach you any manners. If you want them to come and reclaim the sword and I will tell them what happened and advise to pay more attention to you."
Guo Xiang was furious when she heard this, according to this man she was a wild girl with no manners, and thought: "Fine! Not only did you scold me, you also scolded my parents, grandfather. Do you really think you have invincible abilities and you can be that arrogant." She held her temper and said: "What's your name?"
The pale-faced man grunted and said: "Let me teach you, you should say: Sirs, may I be so bold to ask you what your names are?"
Guo Xiang angrily said: "No, I will say it however I want. If you don't want to tell me, fine. It's not that I'm desperate to know. This sword isn't worth much, and you are bullying a young girl by stealing their possessions. I don't want it anymore."
She turned around and walked out the pavilion.
Suddenly the red-faced man blocked Guo Xiang and smiled: "Young girls shouldn't be that hot-tempered, when you get married you can't throw tantrums like that anymore. Let me tell you, we are 3 martial arts brothers, and we just arrived in China a few days. We're from the western borders of China."
Guo Xiang pouted: "I know that too, in China we don't recognize the 3 of you." The 3 men looked at each other and the red-faced man asked: "May I ask Miss, who your teacher is?" Guo Xiang didn't want to reveal the names of her parents at ShaoLin originally. But now she was angry and told them: "My father's name is Guo Jing. And my mother is called Huang Rong. I don't have a teacher, I learnt a bit of martial arts from my parents."
The 3 old men looked at each other and the pale-face man softly said: "Guo Jing? Huang Rong? Of which school do they belong? Whose disciples are they?"
Guo Xiang was infuriated, because her parents were respected throughout the realm. Even ordinary people know them, let alone WuLin persons, the famous great hero Guo Jing was respected for guarding the city of XiangYang for many years. But judging from their expressions, they are not pretending to be ignorant. She realised: "These 3 Saints of KunLun live on the western borders and rarely come to China. Otherwise, with their martial arts father and mother were bound to mention them to me. If they truly don't know my parents then it's not strange. It's very likely that they just study martial arts at Mount KunLun and forget all other matters."
When she realised this, her anger disappeared, she is not a girl to throw tantrums and said: "My name is Guo Xiang. Fine, I have told you everything you wanted to know. Sirs, may I be so bold to ask you what your names are?"
The red-faced man smiled: "That's a good girl, now you show respect to seniors."
He pointed to the yellow-faced man and said: "That's our eldest martial arts brother, his name Pan TianGeng, I'm the second martial arts brother and my name is Fang TianLao. This is my third martial arts brother and his name is Wei TianWang. The 3 of us all belong to the Tian character generation."
Guo Xiang nodded and remembered their names and asked: "Are you going to the ShaoLin Monastery or not? Have you battle the monks there? And who is better?" Wei TianWang sternly asked her: "How did you know we're going to compete with the ShaoLin monks? Hardly anyone knows this and when did you know this? Tell us now!" He walked towards Guo Xiang made a fist and stared at Guo Xiang very viciously. Guo Xiang thought: "Do you really think you can intimidate me? Originally I wanted to tell you, but now I won't talk."
She gave him an indifferent eye and said coldly: "Your name is good, why don't you change it in to TianE ('born viciously')?"
Wei TianWang angrily shouted: "What?"
Guo Xiang said: "I never met a more vicious man like you, you grabbed my weapon and you're still this fierce. Are you the Deity of Ferociousness in reincarnation?"
Wei TianWang made a few strange noises like an animal and his chest swelled up and it looked like his hair and eyebrows raised too.
Fang TianLao said: "Third brother, don't get upset." and he pulled Guo Xiang back and he stood between the 2 of them.
Guo Xiang saw Wei TianWang and knew if he attacked, she would not be able to withstand it and was beginning to get a bit scared.
Wei TianWang pulled out the short sword of Guo Xiang and used 2 fingers to hold it and used his internal strength to break it into 2 halves. He returned the broken half back into the scabbard and said: "Who wants your unworthy sword." Guo Xiang saw the powerful energy of his fingers and looked in awe.
Wei TianWang saw her expression and was very pleased and laughed heartily. This laughter was ear-piercing and shook the roof tiles of the pavilion.
Suddenly the roof cracked open and something fell down. Everyone was surprised at this and even Wei TianWang was even more surprised. He used his internal strength to make a laughing sound to tremble the tiles. But actually there was no tone of pleasure in his laughter. When he saw the roof cracking open he thought that without his own knowledge he reached a higher level in his cultivation of internal energy.
When he looked at that "thing" that dropped down he was shocked to see a man in a white robe holding a zither. He was just lying there, closing his eyes.
Guo Xiang was pleased to see him and said: "You're here too." This man was the man she met earlier.
The man jumped up when he heard Guo Xiang talking to him and said: "Miss, I was looking for you. I didn't know you were here."
Guo Xiang said: "Why are you looking for me?" That man said: "I forgot to ask you something, namely [ Miss, may I ask what your name is?]."
Guo Xiang said: "How very formal, I can't stand that genteel and mournful way of talking." That man was stunned for a moment and laughed: "You're right, you're right. Those that cling on to mere conventionalities and put on airs have no real abilities. Those men are only fit to fool ignorant peasants." after saying that he looked at Wei TianWang and scoffed.
Guo Xiang was very happy and thought this man was helping her.
Wei TianWang stared at him and his face became even more white and coldly asked: "May I know your name, Sir?"
That man ignored him and asked: "Miss, what's your name?" Guo Xiang said: "My name is Guo Xiang."
That man clapped his hand and said: "Forgive me for not recognizing you, you're the famous Miss Guo. Your father is the great hero Master Guo Jing and your mother is the famous heroine Master Huang Rong. With the exception for ignorant peasants and idiots, everyone in the realm of martial arts knows them. The 2 of them are well-versed in both literary and martial arts, and are well-versed in sabre, swords, spears, halberds. Also renowned for their palm, fist techniques, internal energy, zither, chess, calligraphy, art, composing poems and songs. But there are clearly some foolish people who have never heard of them before."
Guo Xiang was quite amused and thought: "You're were listening at our conversation on the roof. It seems that you don't know my parents are. And my father being well-versed in literary fields is even more hilarious." She laughed and said: "Well, what's your name?"
The man answered: "My name is He ZuDao." Guo Xiang smiled and said: "He ZuDao! He Zu Dao Zai ('not worth mentioning')? A very modest name."
He ZuDao said: "Compared to Tian ('heaven') something or Di ('earth') something these arrogant bragging, overweening ignoramuses, my name isn't that appalling."
He ZuDao keeps mocking the 3 of them, they could keep their tempers under control because they knew this man wasn't an ordinary man. But He's remarks were getting even more insulting and Wei TianWang was the first to attack and raised his palm to strike He ZuDao. He ZuDao ducked his head and passed under Wei's arms. Wei TianWang felt a numbness in his left hand and saw that He seized the sword out of his hand. When Wei TianWang seized the sword, he was so swift that no one could see his movements, but He ZuDao did in a very floating and light manner.
Wei TianWang was shocked and he used his hands as claws to try to get the sword back. He aimed for He's shoulder. He avoided that claw. Pan TianGeng and Fang TianLao leapt out of the pavilion. Wei TianWang attacked with both hands, left hand with a fist, right hand palm stances causing a 'whooshing sound.' He ZuDao avoided Wei's 7, 8 stances, Wei couldn't even touch He's clothes. With one hand holding the sword, he could still avoid the attacker's violent attacks, with a small movement Wei TianWang's attacks were always in vain.
Guo Xiang, herself was not a real martial arts expert due to her young age. However, her friends and relatives are all top martial arts experts of this time so her insight is very profound on martial arts. When she saw that He ZuDao used balanced movements and very clever moves to avoid very violent attacks she knew his martial arts were of an entire different type and were very different from the martial arts found in China.
Wei TianWang used 20 stances already and still couldn't force his opponent to fight back, so he took a deep breath and his fist techniques changed and he attacked slowly now but the force of his fists increased. Guo Xiang felt his energy and stepped out of the pavilion. At this point, He ZuDao didn't dare just to avoid these attacks and hung the sword at his belt and stood still and yelled: "You're not the only one skilled in tough martial arts." When Wei's 2 palms reached him He used his left hand to respond at this attack. Tough against tough, the 3 palms made a 'bamming' sound. Wei's body shook and he took 2 paces back. He ZuDao stood still.
Wei TianWang always believed that this skill of his was unequaled in the realm. But today he was unable to win and he himself was pushed back 2 paces. He wasn't ready to give up and took a deep breath and yelled out both palms pushed forward. He ZuDao yelled out too and returned a palm, shaking the broken roof.
Wei TianWang backed 4 paces, before he could stand still again. After 2 times of palm to palm attacks his hair was messy and he had bug-eyes now looking very eerie. He put his hands around his public region and took a few breaths causing his chest to swell up again. All his joints made a funny cracking sound and he walked towards He ZuDao.
He ZuDao didn't dare to be inattentive and readied himself to encounter him. Wei TianWang kept walking towards He and walked so close that they could feel each other's breath. At this point, one of Wei's palms aimed for He's face the other palm aimed for the lower abdomen. With this attack he hoped to divide the opponent's energy. This stance was very violent and fierce.
He ZuDao used his both palms to meet up with Wei's palms. He divided his energy into 2 sorts, Ying and Yang. Wei felt that the palm that aimed for his face was empty and hollow, the other palm felt it hit an iron brick wall. Wei TianWang knew this wasn't good and he felt an enormous energy coming towards him and pushing him out of the pavilion.
This sort of tough attacks, the weaker one will be injured and there was no way to avoid that. No matter whether Wei TianWang could stand still or fall down. His own energy was reflected back and He ZuDao's energy was added to it. Wei was surely to cough up blood. Pan TianGeng and Fang TianLao both yelled: "Now!" Both jumped up and grabbed Wei's arms and picked him up, and helped him avoid the enormous blow. Although Wei TianWang wasn't injured, his 5 internal organs felt like it was turned upside-down and all his joints seemed to be cracked. He couldn't breathe easily now and was panting.
Fang TianLao was angry and surprised to see his third martial arts brother wounded but remained smiling and said: "Your palm techniques are indeed very powerful, and are hardly equaled in the realm. My respects."
Guo Xiang thought: "When it comes to powerful palm techniques, who can match my father's 18 Dragon-Subduing Palms. You, The 3 Saints of KunLun, are just too ignorant. One of these days you'll meet a true hero of the central plains."
When she thought of this, she felt grieved again. Because she wished that the hero they would meet was Yang Guo and not her father Guo Jing.
Fang TianLao said: "This unworthy old man wants to try your swordsmanship."
He ZuDao said: "Brother Fang was very friendly towards Miss Guo. I don't blame you for anything and we needn't battle."
Guo Xiang was surprised and thought: "The reason why you taught Wei TianWang a lesson was that he was very rude to me?"
Fang TianLao drew his sword and used a finger to tick the tip of his sword. The sword made a humming sound. When Fang drew his sword, his smile disappeared. The sword pointed into the sky and this stance was called "An Immortal Giving Directions."
He ZuDao said: "If brother Fang really wants to battle I'll use the short sword of Miss Guo." He drew the broken sword, the sword originally was very short and after Wei TianWang broke it was even shorter. Furthermore, the tip was gone now and it didn't even resemble a dagger. He ZuDao held the scabbard in his left hand and thrust the sword forward. This was a very fast maneuver, Fang TianLao saw a white flash and already He ZuDao attacked with 3 stances, because the sword He used was too short he couldn't wound Fang TianLao. But Fang was still frightened and thought: "Very fast 3 stances, most difficult to block. What kind of swordsmanship does he use? If he used an ordinary long sword I would be dead by now."
After He ZuDao attacked with 3 stances, he backed away and stood still. Fang TianLao displayed his sword techniques in half defending and half attacking. He ZuDao avoided the attacks and didn't counter attack. Suddenly he attacked with incredible speed again forcing Fang TianLao to be in a frantic rush. And He ZuDao jumped back again. Fang TianLao displayed his sword into a white light, and his movements were very swift.
Guo Xiang thought: "This old man's techniques are violent, fierce, ruthless and viscous. Similar to the palm techniques of Wei TianWang, but he's swifter and makes him more lethal. "
When she thought of here, she heard He ZuDao yell out: "Be careful!" After saying 'careful' his scabbard in his left hand was quick as lightning and encased Fangs' sword and his right hand sword pointed at the throat of Fang TianLao.
Fang TianLaos' sword was stuck in the scabbard and couldn't be used to block that stance. Seeing that sword was about to thrust through his throat, he let go of his sword and rolled away on the ground and avoided that lethal blow. Before Fang got up, Pan TianGeng seized the hilt of the sword and pulled it out of the scabbard. Both Guo Xiang and He ZuDao exclaimed: "Excellent movement!" This sickly looking old man didn't say a word, but it was evident his martial arts were above his two younger martial arts brothers.
He ZuDao said: "Sir, you have very good martial arts. My respects." He ZuDao turned his head to Guo Xiang and said: "Miss Guo, after hearing your enchanting performance earlier, I've composed another song. And I would like you to give me your opinion." Guo Xiang asked: "What kind of song is it?" He ZuDao sat on the ground and started to prepare his zither.
Pan TianGeng said: "You've defeated my two martial arts brothers. I would like to compete with you."
He ZuDao shook his hands and said: "I have already competed and had no pleasure in it. I want to play a song for Miss Guo now. It's a new song, if you're interested you can stay and listen if you don't understand you're welcome to leave." And started playing the zither.
Guo Xiang was amazed and pleased. Somehow He ZuDao composed this new song from the song she played earlier. Making it even more brilliant and interesting. The music was very mesmerizing.
The actual translation will have to wait for some time, or someone else already knows the translation. He/she is welcome to do that part.
At one point of this song, He ZuDao mentioned a "she" in his lyrics, Guo Xiang thought: "The "she" in his song, could it be me? The music was very touching, moving and was filled with admiration and love."
Realising that Guo Xiang blushed. Never in her life did she even hear such beautiful music.
Pan TianGeng and others didn't understand any of this. They don't know that He ZuDao was a rather arrogant man with a flair of a silly bookworm behavior.
After composing a new song he rushed over to play it for Guo Xiang. Furthermore, he composed it for her and he forgot everything else. But seeing him like this, Pan and the others thought he was looking down upon them and couldn't restrain their anger anymore.
Pan pointed the sword at He ZuDaos' shoulder and yelled: "Stand up, I want to battle you."
He ZuDao was entirely into the music and thought himself to be a proud scholar who was roaming about to enjoy the scenery. He vaguely saw a very gentle young girl standing on a small island. No matter what stood in his way he had to reach her......
Suddenly he felt a pain in his shoulder and raised his head to see Pan TianGeng pointing a sword against his shoulder and penetrating a bit of skin. He knew that if he didn't fight Pan would surely wound him. However, he didn't finish his song yet and felt that these Philistines were preventing him from finishing his song to Guo Xiang.
He ZuDao drew the broken sword of Guo Xiang in his left hand and blocked Pan TianGeng's attacks and used his right hand to play the zither.
He ZuDao displayed his special ability, one hand playing the zither and the other hand using a sword. He managed perfectly well with one hand playing the zither. He also used a puff of air to play another chord of the zither.
Pan TianGeng attacked rapidly with a few violent techniques, He ZuDao easily blocked them and his eyes were concentrated on the zither and was afraid his puff of air will disperse.
Pan TianGeng became angrier and angrier, his sword techniques were becoming fiercer and fiercer, but still He ZuDao easily warded them off.
Guo Xiang was listening to the music and didn't pay any attention to the attacks of Pan TianGeng. However, the sounds of the swords intersecting was disturbing the music. She softly clapped her hands and raised her eyebrows and said to Pan TianGeng: "Your techniques are not in unison, are you not familiar with music? If you listen carefully the sounds of the swords won't disrupt the music."
Pan TianGeng didn't pay any attention to her and saw that the enemy was sitting on the ground and was concentrated on the zither. And still he wasn't able to overcome He ZuDao, Pan became very anxious and his stances changed to rapid attacks and the clatter of the sounds were becoming very dense. This sound was the total opposite of the gentle soft music. He ZuDao raised his eyebrows and passed strength to his sword and the sword of Pan TianGeng made 'clank' sound and broke into two halves. However, one of the chords of the zither broke as well. Pan TianGeng looked very pale and didn't say a word and left the pavilion. The 3 martial arts brother mounted their horses and quickly rode up the mountain.
Guo Xiang was a bit surprised to see that and said: "These 3 men were defeated, how come they're still headed towards the ShaoLin Monastery? Do they really want to fight to the end?"
She turned to He ZuDao and saw him looking sad and was touching that broken chord and looked very unhappy. Guo Xiang thought: "Just a broken chord why so unhappy?" She picked up the zither and removed the broken chord and was tuning the zither again.
He ZuDao sighed: "After all these years of training, I still cannot focus properly. I used force in my left hand breaking his sword but also breaking that chord."
Now Guo Xiang understood and knew he was unhappy that his martial arts was still not perfect and smiled: "You want to fight with your left hand and play the zither with your right hand. This form of using your concentration of 2 matters is only known to three persons in the realm. You haven't reached that level yet, why worry so much about it."
He ZuDao asked: "Who are these three people?" Guo Xiang said: "The first one is "The Old Imp" Zhou BoTong, the second one is my father and the third one is Madame Yang, Xiao LongNu. Apart from these 3 people, even people with great martial arts like my grandfather the lord of the Peach Blossom Island, my mother and "the Condor Hero" Yang Guo are unable to that."
He ZuDao said: "It's hard to believe that there are so many astonishing people in the realm. You must introduce me to them."
Guo Xiang faintly said: "If you want to meet my father that is not difficult, as for the other two, I don't even know where to look." She saw He ZuDao looking disappointed she said: "You've defeated "The 3 Saints of KunLun" which is a amazing thing. Why fret over such a small incident like a broken chord."
He ZuDao was shocked and asked: "The 3 Saints of KunLun? What are you talking about? And how did you know?"
Guo Xiang smiled: "Those 3 old men came from the western borders, they must be "The 3 Saints of KunLun." They do have their unique abilities, but challenging ShaoLin is a bit too arrogant. "
She saw that He ZuDao was looking very strangely and asked: "What's so strange?"
He ZuDao softly said: "The 3 Saints of KunLun, The 3 Saints of KunLun, He ZuDao. That's me."
Guo Xiang was surprised and asked: "You're "The 3 Saints of KunLun"? Where are the other 2?"
He ZuDao said: "The 3 Saints of KunLun" is one person, there were never 3. I have established a small reputation in the western borders, and the local friends say that my chess, sword and zither skills are superb. Also they say I'm fit to be a saint in the zither, a saint if chess and a saint in swordsmanship. But I knew that the saint was not something that could easily be assumed. So I changed my name to He ZuDao ('not worth mentioning'). So when other people hear my name they won't think I'm an arrogant, overbearing man."
Guo Xiang smiled and clapped her hands: "Now I get it. I thought that "The 3 Saints of KunLun were 3 persons. But who were those 3 old men?" He ZuDao answered: "They? Those were ShaoLin disciples."
Guo Xiang was even more confused and said: "So they belong to ShaoLin. Right, their martial arts were firm and strong. Indeed that red-faced man used "DaMo" swordsmanship and the sickly-looking man used "WeiTuo" Demon-Subduing Sword techniques. But there were a lot of changes and alterations to them I couldn't recognize them. Why did they come here?"
He ZuDao said: "This is not without reason. Last year Spring, I was at Mount KunLun, peak JingShen playing the zither. Suddenly I heard fighting noises and took a look and saw 2 men were struggling on the ground. Both were heavily injured but both were still wrestling with each other. I yelled at them to stop but they still continued and walked over to push them aside. When I did so, one of them fell down and died, the other was still breathing. I took him to my home and gave him some medicines, after half a day he was revived. But he was mortally wounded and no medicine could prolong his life anymore. Before he died he said his name was Yin KeXi. "
Guo Xiang called out in surprise and asked: "Was the other man called Xiao XiangZi? He was very tall and skinny and his face looked like a corpse, right?"
He ZuDao was surprised and said: "Yes, how did you know?"
Guo Xiang said: "I saw them once, I never thought they 2 would fight each other to the death."
He ZuDao said: "That Yin KeXi said he did a life full wicked deeds, there was no use in feeling sorry for himself anymore. He said that he and Xiao XiangZi went to the ShaoLin Monastery and stole a manuscript, both of them were suspicious of each other. Both of them didn't trust each other and were afraid if the other one learnt the manuscript he would kill the other one and keep the manuscript for himself. Both ate at the same table, slept in the same bed and didn't leave the other out of sight. But, both were afraid that one would put in poison in the food or sneak up on him in the night and kill him. Both were extremely edgy and couldn't eat or rest properly, also, they were afraid that ShaoLin monks would catch up on them. So they went to the western borders and at Peak JingShen, both were extremely weary and knew if this continued both of them would be tired to death. So they fought it out there and then. According to Yin KeXi, Xiao XiangZi's martial arts was better than his and attacked first. Yin KeXi suffered a blow, but in the end, Yin KeXi gained the advantage. Then Yin realised that Xiao XiangZi was heavily injured at Mount Hua and hadn't recovered yet. If otherwise, they wouldn't have made it to Mount KunLun."
After Guo Xiang heard this story she thought of the situation Yin KeXi and Xiao XiangZi were in and became gloomy and sighed: "Just because of a manuscript, this isn't worth it."
He ZuDao said: "After telling this, Yin KeXi was having difficulty breathing and begged me to go to the ShaoLin Monastery and tell a monk called JueYuan something about 'the manuscript is in the oil' ('Jing Zai You Zhong'). I found this sentence very strange and didn't understand what he meant with the manuscript in the oil. Just when I wanted to ask him what he meant, he fainted. I thought after he rested for awhile I will ask him again. But he never woke up again. I thought perhaps he hid the manuscript in an oilcloth, but I couldn't find anything in their clothes. Anyway, I have been entrusted to deliver a message so I decided to carry this mission out. Furthermore, I've never been to China before so I decided to tour around for some time and ended up here.
Guo Xiang asked: "Why did you leave a note at ShaoLin? And challenged the ShaoLin monks?
He ZuDao smiled and said: "This is has to do with those 3 old men earlier. They are the ShaoLin disciples of the Western ShaoLin Monastery. According to the people there, they belong to the same "Tian" generation as the TianMing abbot of this ShaoLin. It seems that their patriarch had a disagreement with his martial arts brothers here and in a fury he left and founded the Western ShaoLin Monastery. Originally, the martial arts of ShaoLin came with Master DaMo of India to China and from China to the western regions. Which wasn't a strange thing. These 3 men heard of my reputation as "The 3 Saints of KunLun" and wanted to duel with me. On their way here, they kept boasting that ShaoLin martial arts were unequaled in the realm, I was permitted to be a saint in chess and the zither but not in swordsmanship. So I had to be the 2 saints instead of 3. And this happened before I met Yin KeXi so I thought I could finish 2 tasks in one go. I sent someone to notify those 3 old men to meet me at the ShaoLin Monastery. Anyway, the 3 of them were travelling very fast and could catch up with me."
Guo Xiang laughed: "I guessed entirely wrong. I wonder what those 3 old men will say when they reach the ShaoLin Monastery."
He ZuDao said: "I don't have any grudges against ShaoLin so I left a note that I will come 10 days later. I did this because I wanted those 3 old men to arrive at ShaoLin and battle them. But now the duel is over, let us go to ShaoLin together and after I delivered the message we will leave again."
Guo Xiang frowned her eyebrows and said: "The rules of these monks are very strict, women may not enter."
He ZuDao said: "Pooh! What damn rules! We're just going to enter and what are they going to do about it? Kill us?"
Guo Xiang is a rather meddlesome girl, but after meeting reverend Wuse she has no bad feelings towards ShaoLin and shook her head and smiled: "I'll wait for you outside, you just enter and deliver the message. There's no need to create unnecessary trouble."
He ZuDao nodded and said: "Alright! I haven't finished playing my song for you after delivering the message I'll played once again for you."
End of Chapter 1.
@Chapter 2 - At the top of Mount WuDang the Pines and Cypresses are grown
Guo Xiang and He ZuDao walked towards the ShaoLin Monastery, before long they reached the gates of ShaoLin and didn't see anyone.
He ZuDao said: "I'm not going in either, I'll just ask that monk to come out and deliver the message." He raised his voice and said: "He ZuDao of Mount KunLun pays a visit to the ShaoLin Monastery, I have something to say."
After he said that, they could hear 10 large bells ringing.
The door opened and 2 rows of grey-robed monks came out. In the left row there were 54 monks and on the right side there were also 54 monks. There were 108 monks, these were all disciples of the LuoHan Hall, filling up the positions of the 108 Arhats. After them, 18 monks came out wearing yellow kasayas. These monks looked a bit older than the disciples of the LuoHan Hall, they were the senior pupils of the DaMo Hall. After awhile 7 old monks came out wearing robes with big squares. These 7 monks all had wrinkles, the youngest was 70 odd years the eldest was about 90 years old. These were the 7 elders of the Meditation Hall. After them, Abbot TianMing came out, on his left reverend WuXiang head of the DaMo Hall and on the right reverend WuSe of the LuoHan Hall. Pan TianGeng, Fang TianLao and Wei TianWang followed after the 3 elders.
In the end there were 70, 80 *common disciples of the ShaoLin Monastery.
(*These pupils are not monks, just ordinary people. For example, pupils like Xiao Feng, Chen YouLiang, etc. belong to this category)
That day He ZuDao sneaked into ShaoLin and left a note in the LuoHan Hall. This incident startled abbot TianMing, WuSe and WuXiang. Days later Pan, Fang and Wei said they would come to ShaoLin and duel, making all the monks very restless and vigilant. The Western ShaoLin was located far away from here and for many years the monks there didn't make any contact with the ShaoLin monks here. But all the monks knew that the patriarch of the Western ShaoLin Master GuWei was a powerful martial arts expert. So his disciples should be extraordinary people too. After hearing that Pan, Fang, and Wei didn't dare to look down upon "The 3 Saints of KunLun," and as the saying goes: "He who has come is surely strong or he'd never come along". The entire monastery was very vigilant and the abbot has ordered every disciple within a radius of 250 kilometers to return to the monastery and await orders.
In the beginning, everyone thought that "The 3 Saints of KunLun" were 3 people, but after hearing from Pan TianGeng, Fang TianLao, and Wei TianWang they knew it was only 1 man. But concerning age and appearances, even Pan and the others weren't too sure. They only knew that he was proud of his skills in the zither, chess, and swordsmanship. Playing the zither and chess could slacken and leisure the heart and concentration that does no good to their Buddhist meditation. But martial arts experts who specialize in swordsmanship were very willing to duel with this arrogant man who called himself a "Saint of Swordsmanship".
Pan TianGeng and his 2 martial arts brothers felt very confident of themselves and thought this entire incident was their doing and hope to travel thousands of miles to finish it here. They wanted to defeat He ZuDao before he could reach the monastery . After that, they would have a duel with the monks of the monastery and the Western ShaoLin will be greater than the Northern ShaoLin Monastery. However, after the battle at the stone pavilion, He ZuDao only used half of his abilities and he could easily overcome Pan, Fang, and Wei.
After abbot TianMing heard of this, he knew that ShaoLin was facing an imminent danger. After careful analysis he realised that he, WuSe, and WuXiang were about the same level as Pan, Fang, and Wei. So he asked the 7 elders of the Meditation Hall to help out if necessary. However, no one knew how high the martial arts of the 7 elders were, and if they are strong enough to defeat He ZuDao if it really was necessary. These were all speculations of abbot TianMing, reverends WuSe and WuXiang.
When abbot TianMing saw He ZuDao and Guo Xiang he put his palms together and said: "This must be the saints of chess, swordsmanship and zither, Benefactor He. Forgive us for a late welcome."
He ZuDao returned respects and said: "My name is indeed He ZuDao, the nickname of 3 saints is not worth mentioning. I apologize for causing trouble at your monastery and I dare not deserve having all reverends coming to welcome me."
TiangMing thought: "This arrogant scholar doesn't talk very arrogant. He seems to be around 30 years old, how could he easily defeat Pan and his martial arts brothers?"
TianMing said: "You're very kind benefactor He, please enter our monastery for tea. However this benefactress. " He looked a bit awkward.
When He ZuDao heard that abbot TianMing wasn't going to allow Guo Xiang to enter, his arrogance was aroused and laughed: "Old abbot, I came here to deliver a message on behalf of someone. After doing that I'll leave, but the rules set by your monastery prohibiting women from entering is ludicrous. Frankly, I have problems with that rule. According to Buddhism, every life is equally precious, not making unnecessary distinctions between men and women."
Abbot TianMing is an enlightened priest, and is very broad-minded. TianMing smiled and said: "Thank you for pointing that out. We are a bit petty when it comes to that. Well, Miss Guo, please enter for tea too."
Guo Xiang smiled at He ZuDao and said: "You're very eloquent, with just a few words this old monk already gave in."
Abbot TianMing moved aside and made a gesture to welcome guests when suddenly an old and skinny monk to the left of TianMing stepped forward and said: "Just because of benefactor He's one sentence, ShaoLin should abolish an ancient custom, which isn't a bad thing, but we would like to see if the person who said those words have any real, impressive abilities. Or does he just clings on to a false reputation. I would like to ask benefactor He to reveal 1, 2 special abilities so all the monks can be convinced of your specialties, so we all know that we just abolished a thousand year old rule for a worthy purpose."
The old monk who said this was reverend WuXiang, head of the DaMo Hall. His voice was clear and loud showing that his internal strength was full and solid. When Pan TianGen, Fang TianLao and Wei TianWang heard this, their facial expressions changed. The words of WuXiang clearly indicate he has no high opinion of these 3 Western ShaoLin disciples. He ZuDao defeating them didn't necessarily mean He ZuDao had any great abilities.
Guo Xiang saw reverend WuSe looking awkward and thought this old monk is a good man and a friend of Yang Guo. If He ZuDao really fought against the monks, and either party would lose, she would still feel bad about it. So she said to He ZuDao: "Brother He, I don't really have to enter the monastery. After you've delivered the message, we'll go."
Guo Xiang pointed at WuSe and said: "This reverend WuSe is a good friend of mine. I hope you can be friends too."
He ZuDao said: "Oh, I see." and turned to abbot TianMing and said: "Old abbot, there is a Master JueYuan here in the monastery. Who is it? I have been entrusted a message that I have to deliver to him."
Abbot TianMing softly said: "Master JueYuan?"
JueYuan's position is very low in the monastery. For many years he was just staying in the library and no one really paid any attention to him. Also, never did anyone call him [Master JueYuan] so that's why abbot TianMing didn't know who He ZuDao meant. After awhile, TianMing said: "Oh! The monk who lost the "Ni Jia Scriptures". Benefactor He, does this have to do with the lost of the "Ni Jia Scriptures."
He ZuDao shook his head and said: "I really don't know."
TianMing told a pupil: "Tell JueYuan to come out and meet our guests." The disciple quickly left.
Reverend WuXiang said: "Benefactor He, is the saints of the zither, chess and swordsmanship. Ordinary people wouldn't dare to be called [saint]. Benefactor He must have extraordinary abilities in these 3 arts. Many days ago you left a note in the monastery telling us that you're were eager to display your martial arts. Today you have come and we are very eager to see your martial arts."
He ZuDao shook his head and said: "Miss Guo already said that both parties should not create any grudges."
WuXiang was really annoyed and thought: "You left a note challenging us, now you're saying you don't want to fight. In these 1000 years, who dared to look down upon ShaoLin like that? Furthermore, Pan TianGeng, Fang TianLao and Wei TianWang were defeated at your hands. If word would get out that the head disciples of the ShaoLin School were defeated by you, your name the saint of swordsmanship will be even more famous in WuLin. Ordinary pupils are no match for him, I must challenge him personally."
WuXiang walked forward and said: "Exchanging views on martial arts doesn't necessarily mean creating grudges. Benefactor He, there is no reason to be humble."
Wuxiang turned to a disciple of the DaMo Hall and said: "Get a sword! We will see the swordsmanship of the famous [saint of swordsmanship]. And we will see if the word [saint] is the right word to name it."
The weapons of the monastery were already prepared, but were not brought out. That was to avoid people from saying ShaoLin monks were petty. The disciple went back in and brought 7, 8 swords and went to He ZuDao and said: "Benefactor He, will you be using your own weapon or will you be using one of our swords?"
He ZuDao didn't answer and picked up a sharp rock from the ground and started carving lines in the tiles. He drew a chess board with that sharp rock. Every line was precise, accurate, and deeply carved into the stone tiles. He ZuDao just picked up a rock and drew this, this use and possession of internal energy was rare in the realm. He ZuDao laughed and said: "Dueling with swords might create unnecessary animosities between us. There is no way in competing music. If all you are interested, we could play chess."
This display of internal energy and drawing a chessboard with a small rock was amazing. TianMing, WuSe, WuXiang and the 7 elders of the Meditation Hall looked at each other and were stunned.
Abbot TianMing knew that this man's internal strength was very powerful and no one in the monastery was his match. The abbot was about to admit defeat when they heard a metallic sound walking towards them. It was JueYuan carrying two large metal buckets. Behind him was a young tall man. JueYuan put down the buckets and paid his respects to TianMing and said: "I await your orders, abbot."
TianMing said: "This benefactor He has something to tell you."
JueYuan turned around and didn't know who He ZuDao was. JueYuan said: "I am JueYuan. Benefactor He, can I help you?"
After He ZuDao finished drawing the chessboard, his interest for chess was awoken and asked: "The message can wait now. Who is interested in a game of chess?" He ZuDao didn't want to show off his martial arts, but he was always very captivated by the arts of zither, chess and swordsmanship. If his interest was awoken he can forget everything around him. He ZuDao just wanted a monk to play chess with now and forgot entirely about fighting. Abbot TianMing said: "Benefactor He's ability to draw a chessboard with a mere rock is amazing. Such magnificent ability is something I have never seen before. All the monks here are no match for you."
When JueYuan heard these words, he looked at the lines on the ground and realised that this He ZuDao came here to challenge the ShaoLin Monastery. JueYuan picked up the iron buckets and took a deep breath and focused all his internal strength to his feet and started walking towards the lines.
The chains bound to JueYuan's feet dragged over the lines and erasing it. When the monks saw that, everyone called: "Good!"
TianMing, WuSe and WuXiang were surprised and happy to see that this old and pedant monk had such powerful internal energy. They lived in the monastery all these years and never realised it before. TianMing knows that no matter how powerful the internal energy of one person is, he/she can never leave such deep prints in the ground. The reason why JueYuan could do this was that his iron buckets were filled with water so in total, there was 200 kilograms.
Before JueYuan could erase all the lines, He ZuDao spoke to him: "Very powerful internal energy, I don't have such powerful internal strength."
JueYuan felt his energy growing in his public region but his legs were getting tired. JueYuan stopped when he heard He ZuDao talking to him and turned to him and said with a smile: "Is there a difference in white and black pieces?"
He ZuDao said: "Right! This game of chess cannot be played anymore, I lose. I will try your swordsmanship." He ZuDao drew his sword and aimed for his own chest and the hilt was facing the opponent. This was a very strange technique and looked like he was trying to kill himself. In all the sword stances in the world there was never such a strange technique.
JueYuan said: "I only how know to meditate and recite scriptures. My responsibility is to tidy the library. I've never learnt martial arts." He ZuDao didn't believe him and scoffed. He ZuDao advanced forward, the tip of the sword was now aiming for JueYuan's chest. This technique was very fast and was practically unequalled by all sword techniques in the realm. This stance wasn't meant to aim for yourself but the position He ZuDao took was to generate his internal energy to the sword and lash out. However, JueYuan's internal energy was so powerful it was able to come and go as JueYuan pleases. JueYuan used one of the buckets to block this technique and the tip of the sword hit the iron bucket. The sword bent a bit and He ZuDao retrieved this technique and attacked again. JueYuan used the other bucket to block that stance.
He ZuDao thought: "No matter how high your martial arts is, these buckets are not easy to be handled. How can you block my stances? If you used your hands instead I would have slightly feared you."
He ZuDao used his index finger to point at the tip of the sword producing a buzzing sound. It was similar to a cry of a dragon.
He ZuDao called out: "Watch out, old monk!" With incredible speed He ZuDao launched 16 stances towards JueYuan.
However, JueYuan blocked all of them, these 16 techniques were called "The Swift Lightning Swordsmanship."
Everyone could see that JueYuan was in a frantic state, anyone knew now that JueYuan didn't know any martial arts at all.
These excellent sword techniques of He ZuDao were all blocked in a very silly way.
WuSe and WuXiang were very worried and called out: "Please spare him, benefactor He!"
Even Guo Xiang called out: "Don't harm him!" He ZuDao put everything he knew in this battle but still couldn't overcome this monk.
He didn't believe this monk didn't know any martial arts. The reason why JueYuan could avoid being hit was that he had very powerful internal energy.
He ZuDao realised his swift techniques were in vain and yelled out. A light flash was aiming for JueYuan's abdomen.
JueYuan called out and used the 2 buckets to clip down the sword. He ZuDao wanted to pull the sword back but couldn't move an inch. Quickly, He ZuDao changed technique and released the sword and placed all his energy to his palms and attacked with his palms. He aimed for JueYuan's head.
At this point, JueYuan couldn't block that move anymore. The situation was very dangerous. Zhang JunBao was very worried for his teacher, so Zhang leapt out and used the technique that Yang Guo taught him 3 years ago, namely "Extend in all Directions." Zhang hit He ZuDao on his left shoulder.
At this time, the internal energy of JueYuan was focused on the 2 buckets. The energy forced the water out in 2 spouts of water. When the energy of He ZuDao met with the spouts of water, the water was dispersed but also the energy of He ZuDao was gone. Both He ZuDao and JueYuan were wet.
He ZuDao was engaged in the fight with JueYuan and didn't pay any attention to the young Zhang JunBao. Little did He ZuDao realise that Zhang's palm technique and internal energy were very good and strong. He ZuDao was pushed away and could only stand still after 3 paces backwards.
JueYuan said: "Amitabha, Amitabha! Please let me go, benefactor He. Those few attacks were really frightening." JueYuan used his sleeve to wipe away the water on his face and quickly stepped aside.
He ZuDao angrily said: "The ShaoLin Monastery has indeed many extraordinary people. Even a little boy has such good martial arts. Youngster, let us fight, if you can withstand 10 of my stances I will never step foot again in China."
WuSe and WuXiang knew that Zhang JunBao was just a boy who cleaned the library and helped out JueYuan in his duties. Zhang never learnt any martial arts, he just accidentally hit He ZuDao just then. If they really fought, Zhang JunBao wouldn't last 1 stance.
WuXiang spoke: "Benefactor He, you're wrong. You are called "The 3 Saints of KunLun, your martial arts is unequalled through the realm. How can you fight with a mere young cleaner? If you don't mind, let me accept that challenge."
He ZuDao shook his head and said: "Everyone saw that he just hit me, I cannot let that go unpunished. Watch out, lad!"
This palm technique was very fast and he stood very close to Zhang JunBao. WuSe, WuXiang and others wanted to help but were too late to do anything now.
Everyone was worried for Zhang JunBao. Zhang just stood there and his toes were turning to the left and his body turned fluently to the right, taking on the position of an archer. This time, his right hand and left hand were guarding his waist. His right fist attacked. This was a beginning of the ShaoLin fist style called: "The Flower Fist piercing through right."
This stance was absolutely excellent, this was a movement that should be made by a martial arts expert, not a young boy.
When He ZuDao suffered a blow to his shoulder he knew that this young boy's internal strength was superior to Pan TianGeng and others. But he was confident he could defeat Zhang JunBao within 10 stances. When he saw that attack made by Zhang he was quite impressed and said: "Excellent move!"
WuXiang thought of something and smiled to WuSe: "Congratulations, elder brother for having such a good disciple."
WuSe shook his head and said: "I didn't...." At this point, Zhang JunBao used another 3 stances to counter attack. All the movements were grand and energy generated was full and fluent, not inferior to any ShaoLin martial artist.
TianMing, WuSe, WuXiang and the 7 elders of the Meditation Hall saw that Zhang JunBao's techniques were that spectacular. They were all stunned. WuXiang said: " The grandness of his stances is nothing compared to his energy "
At this point, He ZuDao already used 6 stances and thought: "If I cannot defeat this young lad, everyone in WuLin will laugh at me for leaving a note to challenge ShaoLin."
Suddenly He ZuDao changed his movement and used a stance called: "The Floating Snow Flocks of Mount Tian."
His palms were incredibly fast, and it seemed like Zhang JunBao was surrounded by palms.
Zhang JunBao was never really instructed on martial arts by anyone, with the exception of Yang Guo 3 years ago. This is the first time he saw such strange and fast palm techniques and didn't know how to counter it. In a fit of anxiety, he used a ShaoLin stance called: "Two Circling Hands." Zhang JunBao raised his 2 hands above his face and stood there. This stance was very grand and majestic, no matter how, or where He ZuDao attacked, his attacks will always be met by these 2 hands.
The monks of the DaMo and LuoHan Hall were all calling out: "Good!" They were all impressed by Zhang JunBao's technique and praised him for using a simple ShaoLin stance to foil a heavy and complicated palm technique.
He ZuDao changed stance again and aimed a fist towards Zhang JunBao. Zhang returned the attack with a stance called: "The Flower leaning towards the 7 Stars."
Zhang's palm met with He's fist, there was a banging sound. He ZuDao's body shook and Zhang JunBao backed 5 paces. He ZuDao's face changed and said: "One more stance, try your best to deal with it."
Everyone remained silent, they knew that this final attack of He ZuDao was very powerful. They knew that He threw in everything to win at this point.
Again Zhang JunBao used: "The Flower leaning towards the 7 Stars."
This time there was no sound when fist and palm met. Both were generating internal energy. When it comes to all-round martial arts, He ZuDao would win with ease over Zhang JunBao. But when it comes to internal energy, Zhang learnt some parts of the "Jiu Yang" codex so his internal strength kept increasing and increasing. He ZuDao knew he couldn't defeat this young boy and leapt away and let Zhang JunBao's energy dash forward and used his right hand to push gently on Zhang's back causing him to fall over.
He ZuDao waved his hand and smiled wryly: "He ZuDao, He ZuDao. You're are too arrogant."
He ZuDao turned to abbot TianMing and said: "The martial arts of the ShaoLin Monastery are renowned for a thousand years. It is indeed amazing. Today I have seen enough, knowing that the good name of ShaoLin is well deserved."
He turned around and leapt forward a few metres, suddenly he turned around and said to JueYuan: "Reverend JueYuan, someone told me to deliver this message: The manuscript is in the oil/ [Jing Zai You Zhong]."
After saying that, he even leapt further away and his movements were incredibly fast, so fast that it was rare in the realm.
Zhang JuBao slowly struggled up, his face covered with sand. Although he was beaten by He ZuDao, He already admitted his defeat to ShaoLin.
Suddenly one of the old monks of the Meditation Hall spoke sharply and coldly: "Who taught this disciple martial arts?" Everyone felt uncomfortable after hearing this old monk talk.
Abbot TianMing, WuSe and WuXiang were all thinking about this too. They all looked at JueYuan and Zhang JunBao. JueYuan and Zhang just stood there not knowing what was going on now.
TianMing spoke: "JueYuan's internal strength is powerful but he never learnt any other forms of martial arts. Who taught this boy martial arts?"
The disciples of the DaMo and LuoHan Hall were all thinking, luckily today there was a young cleaner who come forward and warded off ShaoLin's disaster. The old abbot will surely reward him and the master who taught him martial arts.
The old monk of the Meditation Hall stood still and his eyebrows were raised. He looked like he was ready to kill someone. The old monk sharply asked Zhang JunBao again: "I'm going to ask you again. Who taught you this LuoHan fist style?"
Zhang JunBao took out the little iron Arhats Guo Xiang gave to him and said: "I just learnt a few stances from these little statues. No one taught me any martial arts."
The old monk stepped forward and slowly said in a threatening way: "Tell me one more time: Your LuoHan fist was NOT imparted by any master of the monastery. You learnt it by yourself."
Zhang JunBao was a bit startled but he also believed he didn't do anything wrong. Even though this old monk looked very stern, he wasn't afraid and said clearly: "I'm just responsible for keeping the library clean and tidy. I'm here to look after and help Master JueYuan. No other reverend in the monastery has taught me martial arts. I learnt this LuoHan fist by myself, I think I might have made a few mistakes in the stances. I hope old Master can give me some pointers."
The old monk's eyes looked like spitting fire and fiercely stared at Zhang JunBao for a ver long time and not moving.
JueYuan knew that this old monk was a senior of the monastery. He was one of the martial arts uncles of abbot TianMing. TianMing, himself, stood a generation higher than JueYuan, WuSe and WuXiang.
JueYuan didn't understand why this old monk was so angry and he saw that the old monk's eyes were filled with hate. Suddenly he realised something, he once read in a codex something that happened more than 70 years ago in the ShaoLin Monastery.
*More than 70 years ago, the abbot of the ShaoLin Monastery was reverend KuCheng. This abbot KuCheng stood 2 generations above abbot TianMing.
One year in Autumn, during a yearly contest held in the DaMo Hall, something disastrous happened. It was a tradition of ShaoLin to examine and evaluate the disciples' martial arts every year. This was done in the DaMo Hall, the abbot and the 2 elders of the DaMo and LuoHan Hall would be the one to evaluate the disciples to see whether they had improved this year.
That year, the judge was the elder of the DaMo Hall reverend KuZhi and all the disciples were displaying their martial arts.
Suddenly a "TouTuo" entered and yelled out: "KuWei is full of nonsense and doesn't know the real essence of martial arts. He shouldn't even be the head of the DaMo Hall, this old monk is a complete disgrace!"
All the monks were surprised and saw that this "TouTuo" was a mere monk in charge of cooking meals for the ShaoLin disciples. All the monks scolded him and started telling him to be quiet.
Note: "TouTuo is a Buddhist monk with hair, I believe. Somewhat like Fan Yao, try to remember the TVB 1986 Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre. In that series we see Fan Yao wearing a sort of Buddhist robe and having hair, right? Now that's a "TouTuo." Also, this "TouTuo" who I am mentioning now was a monk with a lowly position in the monastery. He and other similar monks were in charge of cleaning, preparing meals for the "real" ShaoLin disciples. These monks do not participate in studying martial arts or in meditation. They cannot be considered to be ShaoLin disciples.Also this "TouTuo" was called "HuoGong TouTuo" meaning the monk working in the kitchen.
This "HuoGong TouTuo" yelled: "The master is full of crap, the pupils are even more incompetent."
So he went to centre of the hall, and challenged all the ShaoLin disciples one after the other. They were all defeated easily within 3, 4 stances. It was the rule in the DaMo Hall to be lenient in the battles. But this "HuoGong TouTuo" was very vicious, he defeated the 9 Head disciples of the DaMo Hall, all 9 of those pupils were heavily injured by him.
The elder KuZhi was angry and shocked and saw that this "HuoGong TouTuo" used ShaoLin martial arts, so it wasn't an expert from a different school who came here creating havoc. KuZhi asked him who taught him martial arts.
That "HuoGong TouTuo" said: "No one taught me, I learned it myself."
It seems that the monk who was in charge of the kitchen was a very bad- tempered monk. This monk would often beat up other monks and this monk learned some martial arts so he often hit them very hard.
"HuoGong TouTuo" was beaten up so severely in 3 years that he coughed up blood 3 times. In a fury, he started to secretly study martial arts. All the ShaoLin monks knew martial arts and it was easy for him to secretly observe and learn it. He made extraordinary, painstaking efforts and plus, he was very intelligent so in these 20 years he learned superior martial arts. However, he kept a low profile and performed his duties and even if the head of the kitchen would beat him up he didn't feel a thing anymore with his high internal energy. This "HuoGong TouTuo" also had a sinister and violent personality, he waited till he felt confident no one in the monastery was his match and wanted to show off his abilities in the annual contest. All these years of being beaten up made him hate all the monks in the monastery. So when he fought those monks, he didn't show any mercy.
When reverend KuZhi knew what he did, he scoffed and said: "Taking such trouble is worthy of my respect."
KuZhi stood up and challenged "HuoGong TouTuo" to a fight. Reverend KuZhi was a top martial arts expert from ShaoLin but he was already very old and HuoGong TouTuo was just middle-aged. Secondly, KuZhi was being lenient with his techniques and "HuoGong TouTuo" only used ferocious stances. So they were able to fight each other till 500 stances. At this point, Master KuZhi was gaining the upperhand and both used the same stance, namely "The Grand Intertwining Silk". 4 hands were entangled with each other. However, KuZhi's hands were placed on the death acupoints of HuoGong TouTuo' chest. If KuZhi was to release his energy, "HuoGong TouTuo" was surely to die. But reverend KuZhi admired and respected his ability to learn such powerful martial arts with no one teaching him, so he wanted to spare him. So KuZhi pushed his 2 hands forward and called out: "Turn back now!"
Unfortunately, "HuoGong TouTuo" misinterpreted and thought KuZhi used a technique called: "Eight Strikes of the Divine Palm." One of the special skills of ShaoLin that "HuoGong TouTuo" saw the disciples of the DaMo Hall using was this stance before using both hands to strike out and breaking a wooden beam. The energy released is formidable. Although the martial arts of "HuoGong TouTuo" was high, he never received any pointers from any experts and the martial arts of ShaoLin are deep and profound. He only secretly saw and observed some skills but he could never learn everything completely. The stance KuZhi used was "The Resolve Stance." But "HuoGong TouTuo" thought it was the 6th technique of the "Eighth Strikes of the Divine Palm" namely the "Heart Splitting Palm." He thought: "You want to take me life, don't you? Well, it's not going to be that easy." So flew towards KuZhi and his 2 fists were aiming for KuZhi's body.
The energy of the fists was incredibly powerful and violent, KuZhi was shocked and quickly raised his palms to block, but it was too late. Everyone heard a cracking sound, the arm of KuZhi was broken, as well as 4 of his ribs. All the disciples rushed forward to help and they saw KuZhi looking deadly pale and couldn't talk anymore. His internal organs were all severely injured. When they looked up, "HuoGong TouTuo" was gone in the confusion. That same night, reverend KuZhi passed away, the entire monastery was mourning. Little did they expect that "HuoGong TouTuo" sneaked back in ShaoLin and killed the head of the kitchen and 5 other monks who used to bully him.
The entire ShaoLin Monastery was shocked and sent out various martial arts experts to track him down, but in vain.
After this incident, the senior elders of the monastery had an intense argument. And in a fury, the elder of the LuoHan Hall Master KuWei left the Northern ShaoLin Monastery and went to the Western Regions to founded a Western ShaoLin Monastery.
Pan TianGeng, Fang TianLao and Wei TianWang are his descendants.
Also because of this, the ShaoLin Monastery was in a down period. The abbot set a new rule: no one was allowed to learn ShaoLin martial arts without a master teaching him. If not, in the worst case, this person will be put to death, and in lighter cases, the muscles and veins of his arms and legs will be snapped and this person will be come disabled for the rest of his life.
But in all these years no one ever learned anything without permission so this rule was forgotten by most monks.
This old monk of the Meditation Hall was the youngest disciple of Master KuZhi and the image of the death of his teacher is still vividly in his memory. So this incident with Zhang JunBao stirred up his anger and hate. JueYuan practically read all the manuscripts in the library and remembered these event. So JueYuan broke into cold sweat now and pleaded to the TianMing: "Old abbot, this cannot be blamed on JunBao. "
At this time, the elder of the DaMo Hall reverend WuXiang called: "All the disciples of the DaMo Hall go forward and seize that boy!" The 18 DaMo disciples surrounded Zhang JunBao, JueYuan, and even Guo Xiang. That old monk of the Meditation Hall sternly yelled: "Why don't the disciples of the LuoHan Hall go forward and seize that boy!"
All the 108 disciples said: "Yes!" and surrounded Zhang JunBao, JueYuan and Guo Xiang. There were 3 circles of disciples around them.
Note: This incident of ShaoLin with "HuoGong TouTuo" happened around the same time of the First Battle at Mount Hua. That's why there were no experts from ShaoLin in the 5 Great Experts. - The main reason, and also the most important reason, was of course none of the ShaoLin experts of that time came close to the levels the Huang YaoShi, OuYang Feng, Duang ZhiXing/ Master YiDeng, Hong QiGong and Wang ChongYang. And of course Qiu QianRen and Zhou BoTong. -Second reason, ShaoLin was starting to fall in the realm of martial arts, plus the incident with "HuoGong TouTuo" led to 2 fractions in the monastery resulting from reverend KuWei leaving with his followers. -ShaoLin couldn't even protect their own martial arts from being secretly mastered by someone else. I don't think the abbot would have the face to try and to get the "Jiu Yin Zhen Jing." Arrogant people like OuYang Feng and Huang YaoShi would surely scoff and say something like: "ShaoLin can't even protect their own manuscripts and now they want to get their hands on Jiu Yin Zhen Jing. Such audacity!"-The last reason should be why should ShaoLin try to get hold of Jiu Yin Zhen Jing. The martial arts of ShaoLin is deep and profound already. Why be greedy while many special ShaoLin skills are waiting to be mastered?
Zhang JunBao was in a frantic state, he believed that by defeating He ZuDao he broke the rules of the monastery.
JueYuan loved Zhang JunBao like a son and he also knew that if Zhang was captured, he will certainly be punished severely.
At this time, he heard WuXiang call out: "What are you waiting for, seize him!"
The 18 disciples of the DaMo Hall stepped forward to seize Zhang JunBao. JueYuan didn't think anymore and turned a circle and the 2 iron buckets were rotating, causing the monks to back off. JueYuan threw the remaining water out of the buckets and placed Guo Xiang and Zhang JunBao in the buckets. He whirled the buckets round and round like a pair of comet hammers. All the disciples of the DaMo Hall quickly moved away.
JueYuan swiftly leapt away and carried the 2 buckets with Guo Xiang and Zhang JunBao away. The monks gave chase, and after awhile they lost track of them. The rules are very strict of ShaoLin and the head of the DaMo Hall gave an order to seize Zhang JunBao, so even if the monks couldn't catch up they must still pursue them. After awhile, the monks with a level in the art of levitation were still chasing while the others were falling behind. In the end, only 5 monks were still running about, and they knew even if they caught up with them, they wouldn't be a match for JueYuan and Zhang JunBao.
So they didn't have an option but to return to ShaoLin.
JueYuan ran kilometers away from the monastery and he stopped when they were in the deep end of the forest. Although JueYuan's internal energy was powerful, this running away took a heavy toll on him. He was too weak now to even put down the buckets. Guo Xiang and Zhang JunBao jumped out and lifted the buckets from his shoulders.
Zhang JunBao said: "Master, rest for awhile I will look for some food."
But he couldn't find anything else but some wild strawberries. The 3 of them ate some and rested.
Guo Xiang said to JueYuan: "Reverend JueYuan, all the monks of the ShaoLin Monastery are very weird. With the exception of you and reverend WuSe."
JueYuan only murmured something. Guo Xiang continued: "You and your pupil defeated that "3 Saints of KunLun" He ZuDao. They should be thanking you and now they want to capture brother Zhang. That's ridiculous!"
JueYuan sighed: "This cannot be entirely blamed on the old abbot and Buddhist brother WuXiang. ShaoLin has a rule. "
After saying that JueYuan started coughing and couldn't catch his breath.
Guo Xiang softly padded his back and said: "You're tired, you should rest now. We shall talk about this tomorrow."
JueYuan sighed: "Yes, I'm very tired."
Zhang JunBao made a small fire to dry his and Guo Xiang's clothes and the 3 of them slept under a tree.
In the middle of the night, Guo Xiang heard JueYuan murmuring. It sounded like he was reciting sutras. So she woke up and heard: "The strength of the opponent just reaches my skin and hair, my essence penetrate the opponents bones. Raise your 2 hands and let your energy flow fluently. The left is heavy, yet empty, the right flows ever away. But the right is heavy yet the left is empty "
Guo Xiang thought: "This isn't a Buddhist sutra, and that final part was related to martial arts theory."
JueYuan continued: "Your "qi" is like a wheel, rotating through your entire body, if not your body will be dispersed and converse. This illness is caused by waist and leg......." Guo Xiang knew for sure that he was reciting martial art theories and thought: "Reverend JueYuan didn't learn martial arts but he read almost every scripture he could find. And 3 years ago he said that in the handwritten Lankavatara sutra of Master DaMo, there was another codex namely [Jiu Yang Zheng Jing]. He thought it's purpose was to stay healthy and strong and learnt the essence from it. Both he and his pupil didn't have someone to teach them, but somehow he reached the same level as the other top martial arts experts of the realm. I could remember clearly that when Xiao XiangZi struck him, Xiao XiangZi was injured himself. I doubt that even brother Yang and my father can do something like that. And today, they managed to defeat He ZuDao, thanks to [Jiu Yang Zhen Jing]. He must be reciting that [Jiu Yang Zhen Jing] at the moment." She sat up and started paying attention and remained quiet, she was afraid to disturb him. She was memorizing every word JueYuan said and thought: "If it is [Jiu Yang Zhen Jing], it must be excellent and profound. I will memorize what he says and ask him tomorrow if he can explain it."
JueYuan recited: "...First use your heart to enable your body. Start from other people, do not start yourself. The back of your body can now start from the heart. Because you remain the same and people start first. Let your opponent attack first, and follow his movements. If he doesn't move, you don't move. If he moves a bit you move too.
Guo Xiang thought: "This is wrong, my parents always taught me that in a battle you have to strike first before being struck. Reverend JueYuan is wrong here."
Guo Xiang was confused, she was always taught to strike first, be quicker than your opponent. And JueYuan's theory was the opposite of what she learned and she thought: "In a fight you cannot really stand still and let your opponent be leading the fight."
Because of this confusion she missed a part. She saw that Zhang JunBao sat there listening carefully. Guo Xiang thought: "No matter whether he's wrong or right. This old monk was able to injure Xiao XiangZi and defeat He ZuDao, I saw this myself. So his martial arts theories must be good."
For both theories something can be said. You can't say that what Guo Jing taught Guo Xiang was wrong. It depends on the level and the user. Jiu Yang is NOT superior to Jiu Yin. JueYuan continued to recite and sometimes he would recite a piece from the Lankavatara sutra. [Jiu Yang Zhen Jing] was written inside the Lankavatara sutra. JueYuan recited some parts in Indian causing Guo Xiang to be quite confused.
Fortunately, Guo Xiang was an very intelligent girl and still managed to memorize 20-30 percent of everything.
JueYuan continued to recite, his voice became lower and unclear. Guo Xiang said: "Rest for awhile, you've been exhausted."
But JueYuan continued to recite: "... Borrow your strength from your opponent, your "qi" must be drawn from your spine. How to draw "qi" from your spine? Your "qi" lowers, and bend your shoulders to the back concentrate on your waist. This "qi" will come from above and go down. Meaning the "qi" is unified. Unifying means taking in, opening means releasing. If you understand opening and unifying, you'll understand "ying" and "yang."
After reciting to this part, JueYuan's voice softly ended and it seemed he fell into a deep sleep.
It was becoming dawn, JueYuan was still sleeping and he had a smile on his face.
Zhang JunBao raised his head and saw a grey shadow appearing from the tree. This shadow wore a yellow kasaya. He was startled and said: "Who's there?"
A tall, skinny, old monk appeared, it was the head of the LuoHan Hall reverend WuSe.
Guo Xiang was startled and happy to see him and said: "Why do keep pursuing them? Must you really capture them and bring them back to ShaoLin?" WuSe said: "I know the difference between right and wrong. If I'm really an upholder of ancient rules and traditions I would have captured them last night and wouldn't wait till now. Brother JueYuan, brother WuXiang is leading the disciples of the DaMo Hall to the east. Quickly, go to the west!" JueYuan was still sitting and had his eyes closed.
Zhang JunBao walked up and said: "Master wake up. The elder of the LuoHan Hall is talking to you."
JueYuan was still sitting there, Zhang JunBao became frightened and touched his face. JueYuan was cold, he passed away some time ago. Zhang JunBao was devastated and cried: "Master, master!"
But JueYuan will never wake up again.
WuSe put his palms together and recited a Buddhist scripture and left.
Zhang JunBao was crying, and Guo Xiang was crying too. When the monks of ShaoLin die, it was a custom to cremate them. So Guo Xiang and Zhang JunBao collected some wood and cremated JueYuan's body.
Guo Xiang spoke to Zhang JunBao: "Brother Zhang, the ShaoLin monks will not easily let you off. You must be very careful. Our paths will now part, I hope to see again in the future."
Zhang JunBao was still crying and asked: "Miss Guo, where will you be going? Where shall I go?"
Guo Xiang felt sad after hearing his question: "I shall travel to the ends of the world if I have to. I, myself do not know where I'm going. Brother Zhang, you're still young and don't have any experience in WuLin matters. Furthermore, the ShaoLin monks are still looking for you."
She removed a golden bracelet from her wrist and gave it to Zhang JunBao and said: "Take this bracelet and go to XiangYang to see my parents. They will treat you warmly. And if you're with my parents, those ShaoLin monks will think twice before trying to capture you."
Zhang JunBao was in tears and took the bracelet. Guo Xiang said: "Tell my parents that I'm alright and tell them not to worry.
My father likes heroic youngsters, if he sees that you're such a talented man he'll probably accept you as his pupil. My younger brother is a friendly, honest person, you will like him. But my older sister has a bad-temper, she'll scold anyone for the slightest matter and doesn't consider the feelings of other people. Just try to put up with her."
After saying that she left.
Zhang JunBao stood there and felt very lonely and thought, although the world was big there was no place for him to stay.
He stood in front of JueYuan's ashes for a very long time and then started walking away. After walking for a few metres he went back and carried his teacher's iron buckets away. In the middle of nowhere, this young, skinny man walks lonely to the west, ever so sad and lonesome.
After walking half a day, he reached the borders of the HeBei province. The city of XiangYang was not far from here and the ShaoLin monks were not be seen. This was due to reverend WuSe, he told the monks that Zhang JunBao was seen in the east so all the monks went to the east to look for him. So the farther Zhang JunBao traveled to the west, the bigger the distance he put between himself and his pursuers.
This afternoon, he reached a tall mountain. It was very green and luxuriant, the forest was thick. And the mountain looked very majestic, on inquiry, this mountain was called WuDang.
Zhang JunBao rested on a rock nearby and saw a man and a woman walking by. They seemed to be local farmers, the 2 looked ever so intimate and it seemed that they were just newly-weds. The wife was murmuring something and she seemed to be scolding her husband. The husband lowered his head and didn't make a sound.
The wife said: "You're a grown man, why can't you support your own family? Why go to sister and brother-in-law? That scene was humiliating enough, wasn't it? We have hands and feet, we can support ourselves, even if we have to eat simple food. Just as long as we're happy and carefree."
The husband just nodded and hmmd.
The wife continued: "Besides death, there is nothing we should worry about. Do we really have to rely on others?"
The husband didn't dare to say anything back, his face was swelling up.
The words of the wife were getting through to Zhang JunBao and he thought that she was right. He stared at their backs and thought those words over and over again. Suddenly he saw the husband standing up straight and saying something. Both husband and wife laughed heartily, it seemed that the husband realised that he must take care of himself instead of relying on other people.
Zhang JunBao thought: "Miss Guo said her older sister was very bad- tempered and often scolded other people for no particular reason. She also told me to just put up with her. I'm a grown man, why should I put up with that kind of attitude. If that husband and wife cling on to their self-respect, so should I, Zhang JunBao. Why do I have to put up with anyone's bad- temper?"
He made up his mind and carried the 2 buckets up and went up Mount WuDang. He found a cave and lived in it, living on water from springs and fruit from the forest. He started studying [Jiu Yang Zhen Jing].
Many years later, he realised something: "Master DaMo originated from India, even if he knew Chinese it would be very basic. The language of [Jiu Yang Zhen Jing] is very deep and profound. It is definitely not written by foreigners. Probably some ShaoLin monk created this and used the name of Master DaMo. And this monk wrote [Jiu Yang Zhen Jing] inside the Lankavatara sutra."
But this was just his deduction and he felt still somewhat puzzled by it. JueYuan taught Zhang JunBao [Jiu Yang Zhen Jing] for some time, so he was able to remember 50, 60 percent of it. More than 10 years later, his internal strength reached a very high level, and he started to study Taoist manuscripts and scriptures. He managed to learn a lot from the cultivation of "qi" in these scriptures.
On one particular day, he looked up in the sky and some some clouds and looked down and some the flowing water, Zhang JunBao seemed to have realised something. He went back to his cave and pondered on his discovery 7 days and 7 nights, finally he understood it completely and comprehended the martial arts theory that "gentleness can overcome fierceness." [Yi Rou Ke Gang]. He laughed to his heart's content.
This laughter produced a top martial arts master. He created a martial arts style based on Taoist theories and [Jiu Yang Zhen Jing]. He founded the famous and glorious WuDang School.
Later when he roamed about, he saw 3 peaks reaching up into the sky. He changed his name to SanFeng and became China's martial arts mysterious master namely, Zhang SanFeng.
End of Chapter 2.
@Chapter 3 - Refined for a Hundred Years the Precious Saber Creates a Mysterious Light
Flowers bloom, flowers wither. The young men in the martial world have become old. The young girls have begun to show their age with hair turning white.
It’s has been over fifty years since the demise of the Sung dynasty.
On this third month of the new lunar year, a thirty-some year old man walks on the beach in the southern China. He wears a blue robe, a pair of grass shoes, walking quickly forward, as if in a hurry. Although surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers, he has no time to enjoy the scenery. Seeing that the sky is getting darker, he thinks, “Today is the 24th day of the third month. It’s only fourteen days till 9th day of the fourth month. If I hurry, I can make it just in time for Master’s ninetieth birthday.”
This man is Yu DaiYan, the third disciple under the founder of Wu Dang, Zhang SanFeng. At the beginning of the year, Yu DaiYan was ordered to kill an evil, murderous outlaw. When that outlaw heard about this, he went into hiding. It took Yu DaiYan an extra two months just to find him. He then challenged the outlaw to a fight, and on the eleventh move, killed him with his Silence Illusory Saber. But by spending an extra two months, he now has to travel extra quickly to make it back in time for hiss master’s birthday.
Now that he is close to the sea, he sees a wide, flat area sparkling on the beach, something he has never seen before. When he asked the locals, he chuckled after hearing the response. For these are nets used to capture seawater to make salt. Yu DaiYan thinks, “I have eaten salt for over thirty years, yet never knew how they’re made.” As he continues on his journey, Yu DaiYan sees twelve people carrying some bags on their shoulders, walking quickly. From the look of things, they’re all carrying salt. But this is more than two hundred pounds of salt each person’s carrying. Since corrupt officials like to hoard salts, it’s rare for commoners to be able to buy them through legitimate means. Salt smugglers are quite common in this area. Yu DaiYan thinks, “Wow, looks like salt smuggling is very important here. These people’s kung fu skills are quite good.” If it had been some other time, he would’ve wanted to take a closer look. But he can’t possibly miss his master’s birthday, so he ignores them. By nightfall he arrives at a small town, and settles down in the inn there.
After eating the dinner and finishes washing his feet, Yu DaiYan sees that those twelve salt smugglers also came into this inn. He ignores them, and begins to meditate using Wu Dang’s inner power. After three repetitions, he lies down and falls asleep.
At midnight, Yu DaiYan suddenly hears much noise coming from outside. He immediately gets up, only to hear someone say, “Let’s leave quietly. We don’t want to wake up our neighbor.” The rest of them open the door quietly and moves quickly outside. Yu DaiYan thinks, “They must be up to something bad to walk around at this hour. I can’t ignore this. If I save some innocent people, then it would be ok even if I miss master’s birthday,” He wraps his saber in a cloth and jumps out the window.
With footsteps as his guide, Yu DaiYan follows secretly, utilizing his lightness kung fu. There is almost no moonlight, but he can still see those twelve people running quickly in the darkness. He thinks, “With their kung fu skills, these people can easily go rob rich land owners or officials. Why do they need to settle for salt smuggling? There’s something fishy going on.” With his great lightness kung fu, Yu DaiYan manages to follow the twelve people without a sound.
After following for about an hour, they arrived at a beach. Suddenly, he hears a croaked whisper, “Are the ‘three water-dotted’* friends here?” The leader of the twelve men responds, “Yes. And you are?” Yu DaiYan ponders, “Who could these ‘three water-dotted’ people be?” He suddenly remembers, “Of course, it’s the Sea Sand sect. These three characters are all begin with three water dots.” Only to hear the croaked person say, “In my opinion, you’re better off staying away from the Dragon Saber. The leader says, “Are you here for the Dragon Saber too?” His voice carries a tinge of disbelief. The croaked man starts to laugh sinisterly, but does not respond.
*Note: Three water dots is a term used to describe a particular left side of many Chinese characters. Usually characters with the three water dots have to do with water.
Yu DaiYan moved up to get a better view, only to see that it’s a white-robed man blocking their path. Anyone who dares to wear white in the middle of the night must be extremely confident of his kung fu. That white-robed man laughs again, while the group leader yells, “Get out of our way. Unless you want to die…” Before he finished, a person suddenly yells out in pain, “Ahhhh!” and falls on the ground, dead. The white-robed man then quickly flies away.
Some members of the Sea Sand Sect want to chase after him, but they don’t know which way he went. Yu DaiYan ponders, “This man’s speed is incredible. He seemingly just used Shaolin’s ‘Golden Steel Claws’, but I can’t be sure in this darkness. From his voice, it seems like he’s from the northwestern part of China. What is he doing here?” He then hears the leader say, “Put down fourth brother. We’ll come back for him afterwards.” The rest of the members then continue on their path.
Yu DaiYan jumps out and examines the body, seeing two small holes on the person’s neck, made obviously by two fingers. He feels that there must be something important going on, and quickens his pace, following the Sea Sand Sect members.
After a while, those people begin to split up, surrounding a house. Yu DaiYan wonders, “Is that Dragon Saber they’re talking about in this house?” He then sees the people outside begin to pour salt around the house, and thinks, “Why are they pouring salt around this place? Wait till I tell this to my brothers. I bet there’s no way they’d believe me.” But then he sees that these people pour salt in a very cautious manner, as if afraid that the salt will touch them. Yu DaiYan immediately realizes what is going on. There must be poison within the salt. He’s not certain whether the people inside are good or bad, but figures that he needs to warn them regardless. In an instant, he flew towards the house.
There are many rooms in this house. But he sees that smoke is coming out of one of the rooms, so he figures that there must be someone there. When he arrives outside that room, he hears loud sound of fire, with three people standing besides a huge fireplace, with a huge saber in the middle. Those three people look to be about sixty, their faces filled with smoke. Even from afar, Yu DaiYan feels like he’s burning from the fire. He can’t believe that those people can stay that close. Yet despite the huge flames, that sword did not change its color to red, remaining black.
At this moment, he hears a croaked voice, “How dare you to mess with a precious saber. Get away from it!” Yu DaiYan realizes that it’s the white- robed man’s voice. Those three people ignore the warning, and continue to work on the saber. Only to hear a chuckle coming from the roof as the white- robed man dashed in. He looks around forty, with a pale white face. He says in a cold voice, “Long White Elders, I don’t blame you for trying to get the saber. But why try to destroy it with this fire?”
One of the three men walks up, picks up a shovel, and attacks the white- robed man. The white-robed man evades to the side, and then counters with fingers in a claw shape, dancing up and down with a huge force. Yu DaiYan sees that his moves look like it’s from Shaolin on the surface, but is more aggressive and venomous, certainly not as righteous as Shaolin’s kung fu.
After a while, that old man with the shovel yells, “Who are you? You should at least leave your name.” The white-robed man chuckles again, his hands shot out, breaking the wrists of the old man. The second old man immediately grabs the saber out from the fire, while the third man shot takes out a dart, waiting for a chance to use it on the white-robed man. But the white-robed man is too fast. At this time, one can see smoke coming out of the second old man’s hands. It’s obvious that his hand is burning; yet for some reason, he does not let go of the saber. As he runs out of the hut, the white-robed man yells, “Do you really think you can get away?” Raising his eyebrows a bit, he quickly flies over to the second old man, picks him up, and throws him into the fire.
Yu DaiYan originally didn’t plan on helping either side, but with someone’s life in danger, he felt that he needed to help out. He jumps out of his hiding place and pushed the old man lightly while spinning in midair, then floated down to the floor. The Long White Elders and the white-robed man had long known that he was outside, but no one cared. So they can’t help but feel an incredible shock when Yu DaiYan displayed such a skillful lightness kung fu. The white-robed man says, “Is this the famous ‘Cloud Stairs’?” Yu DaiYan first feels a bit of shock that this man knows of his kung fu, but then feels happy, knowing that his Wu Dang kung fu is so famous. He says, “This plain kung fu is nothing to brag about. May I ask who you are?” That white- robed man says, “Very nice. Wu Dang’s kung fu really is fairly decent.”
Despite being a bit angry at his words, Yu DaiYang does not show it. Instead he says, “The power you displayed while killing that member of the Sea Sand Sect is quite amazing too. I can’t even tell what kind it is.” The white- robed man wonders, “He saw that? I wonder where he was hiding at the time. How come I didn’t sense him?” He says, “Of course you couldn’t tell. Not even your old man Zhang can figure it out.”
Yu DaiYan felt greatly annoyed at this ridicule of his own master. But Wu Dang students are all taught to be calm and peaceful. He thinks, “This person is purposely trying to make me mad. There’s no reason for Wu Dang to add another powerful enemy.” He says, “There are thousands of kung fus in this world, both righteous ones and evil ones. Wu Dang’s kung fu only came from one source. Your skills look like it’s from Shaolin, but at the same time seems different.” That white-robed man’s expression changes a bit, as if flustered by this comment.
While they are talking, the second old man with the saber suddenly lashes out. Yu DaiYan quickly dodges the blow, while seeing the old man aimlessly slashes left and right, as if he has gone crazy. The white-robed man and the other two old men realize the power of the saber, and do not try to block him. As the old man runs out of the house, he suddenly trips, falling on the ground and begins to scream in agony.
The other two old men and the white-robed man immediately reaches out to grab the saber, but they all fell down once they reaches outside. The two old men start to roll around on the ground screaming, while the white-robed man simply flips up, and flies away.
Yu DaiYan wants to immediately go save those three people, but then remembers the scene of salt being spread. He realizes that the whole area has been poisoned. Looking around, he sees some stools. Quickly, he threw a couple outside, then jumps on to them. With some clothing wrapped around his hand, he quickly picks up the old man with the saber. Only to see over ten darts coming from the surrounding Sea Sand sect members.
Yu DaiYan bounces up from the stools, dodging the darts. He then flipped the stools forward with his feet, allowing him to step-by-step jump out of the salted area. Once outside, he immediately opens up his lightness kung fu to quickly run away from the Sea Sand sect members.
Yu DaiYan realizes that he must first get rid of the poison from this old man. So he quickly runs to the beach, and throws the old man into the water to cleanse him. Once cleansed, Yu DaiYan says, “Your life is no longer in danger. Since I have other businesses to take care of, I shall take leave of you.” That old man asks, “Why don’t you take my saber?” Yu DaiYan says, “Although that’s a great saber, it’s not mine. Why should I take it?” That person says, “What are you up to? How are you going to torture me?” Yu DaiYan says, “I don’t even know you. Why would I want to torture you? I just wanted to save you because your life was in danger.” That old man doesn’t believe him, instead yelling, “Just kill me and get it over with. But be warned that even as a ghost I will haunt you.” Yu DaiYan simply smiles a bit, thinking that this old man must be a little crazy from the poison. Just as he’s about to leave, a wave came from the sea, carrying the old man into the waters. Yu DaiYan realizes that there are still poisons left in this old man’s body. If he doesn’t help him recover, this old man will die. Therefore he carried the old man, until they reached an empty building. Looking up, he sees that it’s a temple, called ‘Sea God Temple’. He put the old man by a statue. Then lights up a candle. When he looks at the old man again, he sees that the poison has spread all over the body. Yu DaiYan takes out a ‘Heaven Heart Antidote’ from his pocket and says, “Take this pill.”
That old man says, “I’m not going to eat your poisoned pills.” Despite his peaceful attitude, Yu DaiYan can’t help but be angry at those remarks. He says, “Do you know who I am? Do you think a Wu Dang disciple would do such a thing as using poison? This pill is to help ease the poison in you. Although it might not cure the poison totally, it can at least prolong your life for three days. I suggest you give this saber to the Sea Sand Sect in return for its antidote.”
That old man jumps up and yells, “I can’t give up my Dragon Saber.” Yu DaiYan says, “What’s the use of this saber if you’re going to die?” The old man responds, “I’d rather die than give up this saber.” As he says this, he clutches the saber tightly, then swallows Yu DaiYan’s pill.
His words raised Yu DaiYan’s curiosity. He wants to ask just what’s to great about this saber, but decided not to after he sees the obsessive, angry look on the old man’s face. Feeling repulsed, Yu DaiYan stands up to leave. That old man yells, “Hold on! Where are you going?” Yu DaiYan smiles and says, “What’s it to you?” and begins to leave.
The old man begins to cry after he walks a few steps. Yu DaiYan turns around and asks, “Why are you crying?” The old man says, “I spent so much effort just to obtain this saber, yet now I’m going to die. What’s the use of this saber now?” Yu DaiYan let out a ‘Humph’, and says, “The only thing you can do now is to exchange the saber for the antidote.” That old man cries, “But I don’t want to. I don’t want to.” Yu DaiYan wants to laugh at his words, but can’t do so. After a while, he says, “The whole point of learning martial arts is help the defenseless and defeat the evils of the world, setting a good example for the later generations. Precious sabers and swords are simply items. Hardly something worth your life.” The old man says, “ ‘Martial world’s most venerable, Prized saber dragon slaying*, Controlling all under Heaven, None dares to not follow!’ Have you heard this phrase?”
*Note: The proper translation of the ‘Dragon Saber’ is the ‘Dragon Slaying Saber’. However, I will use the more popular(and shorter :P) translation, ‘Dragon Saber’, that TVB came up.
Yu DaiYan chuckles and says, “Of course I’ve heard it. There are two more phrases after this, something like ‘Power of heaven* not appear, Who can possibly compete?’ That’s just to describe an event many years ago, not really some saber.” That old man asks, “What event?”
*Note: ‘Power of heaven’ here is used to described the name of the Heaven Sword. Actually, a proper description of those two characters is ‘reliance on heaven’, but that wouldn’t sound as good. The sword’s is therefore more aptly translated as ‘the sword that relies on the power of the heavens’. But for this translation, it will be shortened to Heaven Saber, just to match up with the name that TVB came up with.
Yu DaiYan says, “That’s because the Legendary Condor Hero Yang Guo once killed the Mongol emperor, which greatly helped us Hans. So whenever Hero Yang asks of something, ‘None dares to not listen’. The ‘dragon’ is here is obviously the emperor, ‘dragon slaying’ means to kill the emperor. Do you really think there are such things as dragons in this world?”
That old man smiles coldly, asking, “Do you know what weapon he used during that battle?” Yu DaiYan thinks for a moment, then responds, “I heard the master say that Hero Yang was missing an arm. So he normally doesn’t carry any weapon.” That old man asks, “So how did he kill the emperor?” Yu DaiYan says, “He used a pebble. Everyone knows that.” The old man says with a smile, “In that case, where does this whole ‘saber’ thing come from?”
Yu DaiYan can’t find the answer. After a while, he finally says, “Probably because it’s made up by others. I mean, ‘Little pebble dragon slaying’ doesn’t sound nearly as nice.” That old man says, “You’re just making it up. How about this, can you explain the meaning of ‘Power of heaven not appear, Who can possibly compete’?” Yu DaiYan says, “I don’t know. Perhaps it’s to describe his wife. Maybe his wife’s name is the ‘power of heaven’. Or he might have meant Guo Jing, Hero Guo.”
That old man says, “Really? I know you can’t explain it. Let me tell you. ‘Dragon Slaying’ is a saber. It’s this Dragon Saber I have. The ‘Power of Heaven’ is a sword, the Heaven Sword. This poem means that whoever has the Dragon Saber can rule the world. As long as the Heaven Sword does not appear, no one can compete with the Dragon Saber.”
Yu DaiYan doesn’t know whether to believe or not, and says, “Let me look at it, and see just what’s so powerful about this saber.” That old man tightly clutches the Dragon Saber, says, “You think I’m a kid? Trying to take my saber, eh?” He just recovered a bit after taking the pill Yu DaiYan gave him. Yet by spending too much energy clutching the saber, he begins to have trouble breathing. Yu DaiYan chuckles, and says, “If you don’t want me to see it, then so be it. Besides, whom are you going to control anyway? Are you telling me that I’m going to listen to your orders because of this saber? You must be kidding. You were a normal person. But after listening to such a stupid rumor, you’ve now nearly lost your life. It’s obvious that this saber has no special powers.”
That old man stays silent for a while, then says, “Hey, let’s make a deal. You help save my life, and I’ll give you half of this saber’s powers.” Yu DaiYan laughs, and says, “Is that how you think of us Wu Dang sect? We don’t help others for any rewards. Besides, I don’t have the antidote to your poison. You still have to ask the Sea Sand sect for it.” That old mans says, “I stole this saber from them. Why would they save me?” Yu DaiYan says, “If you give them back their saber, why would they care to kill you?”
That old man says, “Your kung fu is incredible. I’m sure you can steal some from them.” Yu DaiYan says, “First, I have something important to do, and don’t have time for such a thing. Besides, you stole their saber. So it’s your fault to begin with. Why should I help you steal the antidote? Old man, I suggest you hurry and go ask for the antidote now, before it’s too late.”
Seeing that he’s about to leave, that old man says in a hurry, “Ok. Let me ask you something else. How did you feel when you carried me?” Yu DaiYan says, “I thought it was kind of strange. You look small and skinny, yet you seemingly weigh over two hundred pounds. But I’m not sure why.”
That old man put down the Dragon Saber, and says, “Now lift me.” Yu DaiYan picks him up, and feels like he’s only lifting about eighty pounds of weight. He thinks, “Wow, this saber is over a hundred pounds. That is quite strange.” After putting the old man back down again, he says, “This saber is pretty heavy.”
The old man asks, “Is your surname Yu or Zhang?” Yu DaiYan says, “My name is Yu DaiYan. How do you know?” The old man says, “I know that First Hero Song is over forty years old. Your sixth and seventh brother Yin and Muo are still less than twenty. The rest of the four Wu Dang heroes all have surnames of Yu or Zhang. Everyone knows that. I’m grateful to meet the great Third Hero Yu today.” Although he’s fairly young, Yu DaiYan is quite experienced in the ways of the martial world. He knows that this old man only says such praises because he wants a favor. With a feeling of repulsiveness, he says, “And you are?” The old man says, “My name is De Cheng. Everyone calls me Hai Dong Qing.” Hai Dong Qing is a type of eagle, famous for its viciousness and predatory skills. Yu DaiYan says, “Nice to meet you.” Then proceeds to look up at the sky, trying to figure out the time.
The old man realizes that he needs to try some other trick for this person to help him. So he says, “You don’t realize the meaning behind these words, they’re…” When he says this, Yu DaiYan’s expression suddenly changes changes. He immediately blows out the candle and whispers, “Someone’s here.”
De Cheng’s inner power is not nearly as good as Yu DaiYan, so he did not notice anything. Only after a while does he hear footsteps coming from the front. He says, “Let’s sneak out the back.” Yu DaiYan says, “They have people in the back too. Besides, it’s the Sea Sand Sect. This is your opportunity to exchange for the antidote.” The old man clutches onto him tightly, yells, “Third Hero Yu, you can’t leave me. You can’t…”
At this time, someone kicked down the door as Yu DaiYan quickly hides behind a Buddha statue. When De Cheng let out a small ‘ah’ sound, tens of darts came out straight at him, prompting him to fall down. Only to hear more sounds of hidden weapons being released, all containing the poisoned salts. After a while, Yu DaiYan hears the roof shaking, as salt begins to pour down through the cracks. Realizing that the salts will eventually touch him, Yu DaiYan quickly smashes a hole into the Buddha next to him, and crawls into the hole.
Yu DaiYan then hears someone in the Sea Sand sect says, “There are no more sounds. They’re probably all unconscious.” Another person says, “That youngster’s footsteps are very light. It’s better to wait a while longer.” “I’m just afraid that he may have escaped.” Then someone yells loudly, “Get out of here and surrender.”
At this momentm Yu DaiYan hears many horses gallop on the outside. Then someone from outside yells, “The sun and moon’s lights shine, the Eagle King spreads its wings.” This made the Sea Sand sect quiet. After a while, someone yells, “It’s the Heavenly Eagle sect. Let’s get out of here.” When he finishes, the galloping sounds stopped. Then someone whispers, “Too late.”
Several people then enter the temple. One person asks, “Do you know who we are?” Several members of the Sea Sand Sect answers, “Yes. You are friends from the Heavenly Eagle sect.” That person says, “This is Heaven City Branch’s Leader Li of our Heavenly Eagle sect. You’re lucky to see him today. Leader Li asks you where the Dragon Saber is. If you’re nice enough to answer correctly, he just might be kind enough to let you keep your life.” Only to hear a Sea Sand member points to De Cheng, and says, “He… he took it. We’re just about to take it back.”
That person from the Heavenly Eagle asks De Cheng, “Where is it?” De Cheng does not respond, instead simply falls to the ground.
That person from the Heavenly Eagle says, “Search him.” Yu DaiYan hears some people making ruffling noises, and then someone saying, “This person has nothing on him.” The leader of the Sea Sand group says, “But… but it really is him who stole the Dragon Saber. We…” Yu DaiYan wonders, “Wait a minute. Where did the Dragon Saber go? Didn’t De Cheng have it on him?”
This Branch Leader Li does not say anything, but his subordinate says, “If you want to stay alive, then tell the truth.” After a moment of silence, someone begins to yell, “You came right after we entered the temple. How could we have time to grab the saber beforehand? If you don’t believe us, then we’re going to die anyway. So we might as well go down fighting. You bunch of bullies, we…” He suddenly stops talking, obviously dead. Another person says, “I saw a middle-aged man with pretty good lightness kung fu with him. I bet that man has it, and escaped.” Branch Leader Li says, “Search them.” Yu DaiYan again hears ruffling sounds, and then hears Branch Leader Li says, “He’s probably right. Let’s go search for that man.”
Yu DaiYan wants to wait till the Sea Sand people left too before getting out. But after a long time, he still could not hear any footsteps. He takes a peek outside, only to see the members of the Sea Sand sect standing still, as if their pressure points have been sealed.
He jumps out, takes a torch, and begins to examine their faces, only to see their faces gray and without life. He wonders, “Who are these Heavenly Eagle people anyway? How come I’ve never heard of them? They’re obviously quite powerful, or these people won’t be so afraid of them. Humph, they certainly deserve their fate.” He then goes over and pushes the Hua Meng Point of one of the person to unseal his pressure point. Yet the person still remains still. Yu DaiYan then puts his finger by that person’s nose, and realizes that this person’s dead already. He thinks, “Wow. They could seal their Death points without making any sound. That is a very evil kung fu indeed.” But seeing how these people are very powerful, and he’s just by himself, Yu DaiYan knows that he can’t fight them. He decides to report this to his master, and have him choose how to handle the Heavenly Eagle sect.
Seeing poisoned salt all around him, Yu DaiYan decides to burn this place and the surrounding area, so no innocents will be killed. As he went out, he sees a strange body. Yu DaiYan then picks it up to examine further. He finds that the body is very heavy. From a hole in the back, he pulls out the Dragon Saber. Apparently, De Cheng hid the Dragon Saber into one of the Sea Sand members before dying. The Heavenly Eagle sect people must not have noticed as they checked the bodies.
Yu DaiYan thinks, “This saber has caused many problems in the world. I really should give it to the master, so he can decide what to do with it.” With a throw of his torch, he burns down the temple.
As the fire is burning, Yu DaiYan examines the saber closely. He finds that the saber doesn’t look like it’s made of iron or gold, and can’t figure out just what kind of metal it’s made of. The fact that it can withstand so much heat is also quite strange. He thinks, “How can one use this sword in battle considering that it’s so heavy?”
Yu DaiYan then wraps up the saber and puts it on the back of his shoulders, then continues on his journey. After an hour or so, he arrives at the edge of a river. Seeing a flicker of fire on the river from afar, he yells, “Can I get a ride across the river?” The person on the boat didn’t seem to hear. So he yells again, this time with his inner power. The boat then quickly comes over. When it reaches the edge, someone on the boat yells, “Do you want to go across the river?” Yu DaiYan says happily, “Yes. Thank your.” That fisherman says, “Then get on.”
As he steps onto the boat, it immediately sinks down a bit. That fisherman asks with surprise, “What are you carrying that’s so heavy?” Yu DaiYan says, “Oh, nothing. I’m just a heavy person, that’s all.”
When they reach the middle of the river, he suddenly sees a big boat coming over. An eagle flag appears in the front. Yu DaiYan immediately remembers the Heavenly Eagle sect, and begins to prepare himself for any danger.
Suddenly, the fisherman jumps into the water and quickly swims away. Yu DaiYan is left on his own, as the big ship rams into his small boat. Seeing that the boat is about to sink, Yu DaiYan jumps onto the big ship using his ‘Cloud Stairs’ lightness kung fu.
On the big ship, he looks around, seeing no one. An iron chain locks the door to the main cabin. He quickly breaks it down with his palm, and enters the cabin.
Only to hear someone inside say, “Third Hero Yu of Wu Dang. Great ‘Cloud Stairs’ and ‘Mountain Cracking Palm’ you just displayed. Leave your Dragon Saber with me, and I’ll safely take you across the river.” Yu DaiYan thinks, “How does he know who I am?” That person then says, “You must be wondering how I know your identity. It’s quite easy, actually. Other than the top fighters of Wu Dang, no one can utilize those two moves with such gracefulness.”
Yu DaiYan says, “Can I meet you? And what about your name?” That person says, “We Heavenly Eagle sect is neither friend nor foe of Wu Dang. No need for such pleasantries. Just leave your Dragon Saber here, and I’ll take you across safely.” Yu DaiYan says, “Is this saber yours?” That person says, “No. But whoever has it can control the martial world. Who wouldn’t want it?” Yu DaiYan says, “If it’s not yours, then there’s no need for me to give it to you.” That person then says something else. But Yu DaiYan can’t hear. He steps a bit closer, asking, “What did you say?”
Suddenly, a large wave rocks the boat. As he’s regaining his balance, Yu DaiYan felt as if being bitten by mosquitoes on the leg and chest. He does not take notice, instead says, “You have killed ruthlessly for this saber. I don’t like your way of doing things.” That person says, “We are always ruthless towards those who are evil, but we are kind towards those who are good. As long as Hero Yu leaves the Dragon Saber, I will give you the antidote for the ‘Mosquito Needle’.” When he hears the words ‘Mosquito Needle’, Yu DaiYan immediately reaches for the places where he thought he was bitten by mosquitoes. He instantly feels week and numb. Then Yu DaiYan realizes, “He tricked me to get closer to him, so he could have a chance to hit me with these needles. Looks like the only way to get the antidote is to grab him.” He takes a deep breath, and rushes forward.
His right palm shoots out, matching the palm of the other person. This palm contains all his power, and sent the other person backward. However, he also feels a bit of pain on his palm after that exchange. For his opponent once again deceives him, by coating his palm with a type of hidden weapon, one that poisoned Yu DaiYan as they matched palms. After coughing a bit, that person says, “Your power really is amazing. But my ‘Seven Star Needle’ is also quite deadly. Looks like it’s a tie.”
Yu DaiYan quickly takes a ‘Heaven Heart Antidote’, but realizes that this can only delay the effects of the poison. He then tries to attack the enemy with his saber, but his attacks were easily parried.
Then he heard that person say, “Do you want your life or the saber?” Yu DaiYan says, “Fine. I’ll give it to you.” And throws the saber down. That person happily picks up the saber and begins to examine it. Yu DaiYan says, “Now where’s my antidote?” That person laughs, “You really are stupid. Why did you give me the saber before I gave you the antidote?” Yu DaiYan says, “A man should remain true to his words. You promised me the antidote.” That person says, “When you had the saber, I was afraid of you. After all, even if you can’t beat me, at least you may throw the saber away. But now that I have saber, why should I still care about you?”
Yu DaiYan feels much rage coming up from his chest, thinking that Wu Dang and Heavenly Eagle Sect has never had problems before, plus this person’s kung fu is quite powerful in the martial world. Why would he not keep his word? Yu DaiYan normally is quite hard to trick. But in such an unusual place, after getting poisoned twice, his mind obviously did not work as well. After gathering himself, Yu DaiYan asks, “May I ask your name?” That person says, “I’m just a nobody in the Heavenly Eagle sect. If Wu Dang wants to take revenge, then obviously they should look for our leader. Besides, I Dubt Zhang SanFeng can figure out who killed you anyway.” Yu DaiYan could only feel as if his hands are being bitten by thousands of ants, thinks, “Even though I die today, I’ll take you with me.” With a scream, he rushes up and attacks with his right palm. That person instinctively tries to block with the Dragon Saber, but forgot that the saber is extremely heavy. Instead of blocking, it actually pulled down his body. In a few seconds, Yu DaiYan’s palm lands on his chest, pushing him into the water.
Yu DaiYan thinks, “Although you have obtained your precious saber, but now you’ve died along with it.” Suddenly, he sees a white rope thrown down into the water, grabbing the waist of that person. Only to see a skinny green- robed person on the edge of the ship, pulling on the rope. Unfortunately, by this time, the poison has taken over his body, and he passes out.
When Yu DaiYan regained consciousness, he sees a small flag in a vase by the side, the flag shows a small fish swimming against the current. He thinks, “This must be Lin An city’s Dragon Gate Escort Agency. What happened to me?” His mind is still muddy, so he does not try to think any more. He only feels as if someone’s carrying him on a stretcher, into the middle of a big hall. When he tried to move, he realizes that he can’t.
Only to hear two people converse, the first person in a booming voice, says, “You are?” The other person says, “Don’t bother asking. I just want to know if you’re going to take this delivery.” Yu DaiYan thinks, “This second voice has a high pitch. It’s seemingly that of a woman!”
The man with the booming voice says, “You think we don’t have enough business here? If you won’t give me your name, then you can take your business elsewhere.” The person with the woman’s voice says, “But the Dragon Gate Escort Agency is the only decent one around. I don’t care for the others. However, if you can’t make a decision, get your boss out here.” The man with the booming voice says in an irritated voice, “I’m the boss. And right now, I have some other business to attend to. Please leave.” That person with the woman’s voice says, “Oh… so you’re Multi-Armed Bear Du DaJin…” After a pause, continues, “Escort Leader Du, nice to meet you. My surname is Yin.” Du DaJin feels a little better with her praise, and says, “What do you need?” The customer named Yin says, “I need to first make sure that you can handle my delivery. Because it’s very important.”
Du DaJin says angrily, “I’ve delivered types of treasure in my twenty years here. Never have there been any problems.” Yu DaiYan has also heard of this person, knows that he’s a non-monk disciple of Shaolin. Du DaJin is proficient with both the fist and the saber, but he’s most famous for his steel darts. He can simultaneously fire forty-nine darts at the same time, which is how he got the nickname ‘Multi-Armed Bear’. It’s just that Shaolin and Wu Dang are not really close, which is why they have not yet met each other.
The person named Yin says, “If it weren’t for your fame, why would I come? I have a delivery for you to make, and it comes with three conditions.”
Du DaJin says, “We don’t accept any deliveries that require too much hassle. We don’t accept any deliveries we don’t know the background of. We don’t accept any deliveries that’s worth less than fifty thousand taels of silver.” He didn’t listen to the customer’s three conditions, and instead named three conditions of his own.
That person named Yin says, “I’m sorry. But by my delivery will require some hassle. Its background is also quite muddy. As for its worth, well, that’s hard to say. Plus I also have three conditions. One, you must personally lead the escort. Two, you must take the package to the Xiang Yang city without any rest, so it will arrive in ten days. Three, should there be any problems, humph, I will kill every single person in your Dragon Gate Escort Agency.”
Only to hear a loud ‘Peng!’ sound, which must be Du DaJin hitting the table, who yells, “Had you want to ridicule someone, you should not have picked my Dragon Gate Escort Agency. If it weren’t for the fact that you look way too small and skinny, I would pummel you right here!” The person named Yin chuckles, and then throws something heavy on the table, says, “This is two thousand taels of gold. It’s the fee for this delivery.” Yu DaiYan thinks in shock, “What? That’s tens of thousands taels of silver. Normally it takes several years to make this much money for an escort agency.” Only to hear Du DaJin breathing heavily, obviously staring at such amazing amount of wealth. After a while, he says, “Mr. Yin, what would you like us to escort?”
That person named Yin says, “First tell me if you’re going to agree to my three conditions.” Du DaJin says, “Since you are offering so much money, I’ll risk my life this time to make sure it safely arrives. So where are the items you want to deliver?” That person named Yin says, “The package I want you to deliver is the gentleman on this stretcher.” This really surprised Du DaJin and especially Yu DaiYan himself. Yu DaiYan can’t help but yell, “Me…me…?” Yet for some reason, no words can leave his mouth no matter how hard he tries. Only to hear Du DaJin say, “This… this person?”
That person named Yin says, “Correct. You can change horses and carriages along the way, but not the people escorting. In ten days, you must deliver this person to the master of Wu Dang, the Venerable Zhang SanFeng.” Du DaJin says, “Wu Dang sect? The problem is, Shaolin and Wu Dang are not very… how can I say this…” That person named Yin says, “This person is gravely injured. So it’s imperative that he’s delivered as soon as possible. What’s with the indecisiveness? Are you going to accept this deal or not?” Du DaJin says, “Fine. We’ll accept it.”
That person named Yin chuckles and says, “Good! Today’s the 29th day of the third month. If he’s not safely at Wu Dang Mountain by the 9th of next month, I’ll make sure that no one in this escort agency will remain alive!” only to hear several ‘swoosh’ sounds, as several needles shot out, destroying all vases holding the agency’s flags in all parts of the room. Even Du DaJin let out a shocking ‘ahhh’. The person named Yin then yells, “Let’s go”, and leaves with the people carrying the stretcher.
After that person left, Du DaJin gathers himself and walks up to Yu DaiYan, asks, “Are you a member of the Wu Dang sect?” Yu DaiYan can’t answer, but can see that this gentleman looks very muscular and strong, thinking his outer fighting skills must be quite formidable. Du DaJin asks again, “I never would’ve thought that this small, scholarly person has such incredible kung fu. Do you know which sect he belongs to?” Yu DaiYan closes his eyes and ignores him.
Du DaJin’s name is quite sound, and his forte is with hidden weapons. Yet he couldn’t possibly destroy tens of vases using paper-thin needles. Besides, he has never seen anything quite so strange as someone giving two thousands taels of gold to deliver a live person. Du DaJin wraps up the gold and orders his servants to take Yu DaiYan to the guest room. He then gathers up his best men and prepares for the trip. By nightfall, they left the escort agency.
While in the carriage, Yu DaiYan thinks, “After wandering in the martial world for so many years, I’ve never cared much for escort agencies. Who would’ve thought that they would be the people in charge of my life right now?” He then thinks, “I wonder who this friend named Yin is. She sounds like a woman. That Du DaJin says she’s very scholarly, yet her kung fu is certainly very good, and her way of doing things really is quite extraordinary. Too bad I didn’t get to see her, or say thanks. If we ever meet again, I’ll make sure to repay her kindness.”
A row of horses quickly moves west. Other than leaders Du, Zhu, and Shi, everyone else is a young, energetic lad. They all picked the best horses, and changed them frequently on the road, just as their customer Yin ordered. When he left the escort agency, Du DaJin expected many people to block their paths. Yet for some reason, their trip was very smooth. In nine days, they’re already at the bottom of the Wu Dang Mountain. Although it’s been a long, arduous journey, everyone is glad that they’re not going to miss the ten-day deadline.
Du DaJin says, “Brother Zhu, these past years the Wu Dang sect’s name has become quite sound. Although still not as sound as us Shaolin, but quite famous nonetheless. Look at the steepness of the mountain. You know the saying that the environment makes the person. Perhaps they really are quite good.” Sub-leader Zhu says, “But these rumors of their accomplishments aren’t reliable. Besides, they’ve only been around for a few years. How can they possibly compete with us Shaolin?” Sub-leader Shi says, “He’s right. We’ve never really seen their kung fu. Compared to us, they’re probably nothing.”
After traveling some more, sub-leader Zhu asks, “What are we going to say to Zhang SanFeng when we see him?” Du DaJin says, “Although we’re from a different sect, he is after all almost ninety. So it doesn’t matter if we go up and kowtow a few times.” As they’re talking, Du DaJin wonders, “Who is this person inside? Is he a Wu Dang disciple, a friend of Wu Dang, or an enemy?”
While he’s thinking, six people on horsebacks surrounded their group. Du DaJin thinks, “Could we possibly have problems now that we’re under the Wu Dang Mountain?” He whispers to sub-leader Zhu, “Watch the main carriage.” Then he went up to meet the strangers, says, “This is the Dragon Gate Escort Agency in the city of Lin An. Sorry we did not send a greeting beforehand.”
Du DaJin sees that two of the people dressed as Taoists while the other four have on normal clothing. They all look very composed and gallant, with weapons attached to their sides. Du DaJin wonders, “Could this be six of the seven Wu Dang heroes?” He says, “May I ask who your names are?”
A person with a large birthmark on the face responds coldly, “What are you doing on Wu Dang Mountain?” Du DaJin says, “We’re here to send a injured person to your master, Venerable Zhang SanFeng.” That person asks, “Who is the injured person?” Du DaJin says, “I don’t know. A person named Yin asked me to make this delivery. I know of nothing else. We don’t ask our customers for their reasons.” That person says, “A customer named Yin? What kind of person is he?” Du DaJin says, “He’s a handsome and scholarly fellow, whose projectile weapon skills are incredible.” That person then asks, “So you’ve fought him?” Du DaJin says, “No. No. He just…” Before he could finish, a short person among the strangers cut him off, asks, “Where the Dragon Saber?”
Du DaJin says in bewilderment, “What Dragon Saber? Is it the mythical one everyone’s talking about?” That short guy immediately goes up to the carriage and looks inside. Du DaJin looks at his lightness kung fu, thinking, “This resembles Shaolin’s kung fu. Humph. Wu Dang claims that their kung fu skills are unique, but looks like they still cannot deviate from their Shaolin roots.” Now that he’s certain these are Wu Dang disciples, Du DaJin says, “Are you the famous Wu Dang heroes? Who is First Hero Song?” The man with the birthmark says, “Oh, you’re too flattering.”
The short man says, “His injury is severe. Let’s get him back quickly.” That man with the birthmark says to Du DaJin, “Thank you for escorting our friend here.” Du DaJin says, “You are welcome.” That person than says, “He needs to see our master quickly. We’ll take it from here.” Du DaJin says, “Sure. In that case, I’ll give him to you.” That person says, “Thank you.” and throws a gold nugget at Du DaJin. “Just a little reward for you.” As he says this, those six people left with the carriage.
Du DaJin looks at the nugget, and finds five fingerprints on it. He thinks, “Wow. These Wu Dang heroes really do possess some great kung fu. I bet only my martial uncles who knows the ‘Golden Steel Finger’ can make such a mark.” Sub-leader Zhu says, “These Wu Dang people really are arrogant. We spent all this time coming here, and they don’t even ask us to go up for a rest.”
Du DaJin has the same feelings, except he didn’t bother to say it. Instead he says, “Well, at least we save some time. Besides, it would be awkward for us Shaolin disciples to visit Wu Dang. Let’s just leave.”
On their way back, Du DaJin feels more and more unsettled, seeing how the Wu Dang heroes didn’t even bother to leave their name. But everyone else feels only joy, knowing that they just made a ton of money, since Du DaJin has always been extravagant when splitting their earnings.
As they continued on their journey, a person on a fast galloping horse suddenly passed them from behind. Du DaJin sees that it’s a youngster of about twenty-one or twenty-two. He looks scholarly and charismatic, and as he passed said, “Thanks for letting me pass.” When he left, Du DaJin asks, “Brother Zhu, who do you think this is?” Sub-leader Zhu says, “He came from Wu Dang Mountain, so he’s probably a Wu Dang disciple. But he doesn’t have any weapons, and looks to scrawny too be a kung fu expert.”
When he finished, that youngster suddenly came back, and asks, “May I ask a question?” Du DaJin says, “What do you need to know?” That youngster looks at the flag and says, “Are you the Dragon Gate Escort Agency?” Sub- leader Zhu says, “Yes!” That youngster says, “May I ask who everyone is? And how is your Head Leader Du?” Sub-leader Zhu says, “My surname is Zhu. What’s your name? Are you a friend of our head leader?”
That youngster gets off the horse and steps forward a bit, says, “My name is Zhang CuiShan. I’ve heard of the famous Dragon Gate Escort Agency.” When he said this, Du DaJin felt a huge shock, thinking how could the famous Fifth Hero Zhang be a young scholar? He says, “I am Du DaJin. So you are the person everyone calls ‘Silver Hook and Iron Brush’ Fifth Hero Zhang?” That youngster says with a smile, “I don’t think I’m worthy of the ‘hero’ title. But since you’re here at Wu Dang Mountain, how about going up for a visit. Today is my master’s ninetieth birthday. If you don’t have anything important to do, we would appreciate your company.”
Du DaJin sees that he’s quite sincere, and wonders, “How come the Wu Dang heroes differ so much in terms of personality?” He gets down his horse and says, “If your brothers were as nice as you, we would already be at Wu Dang now.” Zhang CuiShan says, “What? You say that you’ve met my brothers? Which ones?” Du DaJin thinks, “You really know how to put up an act.” And says, “I saw all your other brothers today.” Zhang CuiShan stutters for a moment, then asks, “You’ve also seen my third brother Yu?” Du DaJin says, “You mean Yu DaiYan? I don’t know who’s Yu DaiYan. I just saw the six of them together. So he must be there.” Zhang CuiShan says, “Six people? Which six people?” Du DaJin says, “Your brothers won’t give their names, so how would I know? Since you are the fifth hero, then they must be the rest of the seven heroes.” Zhang CuiShan seems lost in thought, and asks, “Did you really see them?” Du DaJin says, “Of course. Everyone in my agency saw them.” Zhang CuiShan says, “That doesn’t make sense. Brother Song and the others are all preparing for master’s birthday. Only I came down the mountain to find my third brother. So how could you have met them?”
Du DaJin says, “You mean, that person with a birthmark on his face isn’t Hero Song?” Zhang CuiShan says, “None of my brothers have any birthmarks on his face.”
Cold sweat rushes over Du DaJin. He says, “They said that they’re the six heroes of Wu Dang. Two of them are even Taoists. So we…” Zhang CuiShan says, “Although our master is a Taoist, none of his students are. Did they really say that they’re the Six Heroes of Wu Dang?” Du DaJin thinks back, and realizes that those people never did openly say who they are. After a pause, he says, “Looks like these people are up to no good. We have to chase them down!” As he says this he quickly gets back on his horse, and start riding back towards Wu Dang Mountain. Zhang CuiShan rides alongside, and says, “It doesn’t matter too much if they’re simply masquerading as us. Why not just let them go?” Du DaJin says, “But what about that person? Someone asked me to escort this person to your Venerable Zhang SanFeng. These six people took him…” Zhang CuiShan says, “Who is this person you’re talking about?”
Du DaJin told Zhang CuiShan what had happened as they galloped back. Zhang CuiShan then asks, “What’s the wounded person’s name? What about his look?” Du DaJin says, “I don’t know his name, but he’s around thirty.” He then proceeds describe that person’s face. Zhang CuiShan says shockingly, “This… this is my Third Brother Yu.”
He then asks, “How did my third brother get injured? Who asked you to escort him here? Who’s the enemy?” Du DaJin cannot answer these, and does not respond. Zhang CuiShan asks again, “What do those people who took away my third brother look like?” Sub-leader Shi then describes their looks. Zhang CuiShan says, “Thank you. I shall go on ahead.” After searching for hours, Zhang CuiShan sees a broken carriage on the side of the road. Turning around, he sees a person lying on the ground. With his heart beating fast, Zhang CuiShan races up next to the person, only to see that it’s indeed Yu DaiYan. Happy and distressed at the same time, Zhang CuiShan quickly picks him up and touches his face. Feeling warmth, he let out a sigh of relief, and then yells, “Third brother, you… what happened… I’m your fifth brother… fifth brother!” He examines Yu DaiYan, only to see all his joints crushed, and blood pouring out. Obviously, whoever hurt him did so a short while ago.
While his first thoughts were rage and revenge, Zhang CuiShan then promptly remembers that Yu DaiYan’s life is still in danger. He did not bring any medicine down the mountain, so he quickly put Yu DaiYan on his back and quickly runs up the mountain, using all his lightness kung fu ability.
Since today is their master’s ninetieth birthday, the Wu Dang’s main Purple Paradise Hall has been filled with an aura of happiness. The six disciples all gave their toast to Zhang SanFeng. The only problem was that they’re missing Yu DaiYan. So at noon, Zhang CuiShan said to his master, “Let me go down the mountain to check up on him.” Who would’ve thought that Zhang CuiShan would also disappear? It should’ve taken him at most a couple of hours to reach the old river before turning back. But it’s now nightfall, yet still no sight of him.
The dinner in the hall has long been prepared, the candles almost half burnt. Everyone feels uncomfortable. Sixth disciple Yin LiTing and seventh disciple Muo ShengGu pace in and out of the hall. Zhang SanFeng is quite aware of these two missing disciples’ temper. Yu DaiYan is calm and composed, and can always be counted on to accomplish a task. Zhang CuiShan is smart and quick-witted, and is decisive. So if they haven’t come back yet, something important must have happened.
First disciple Song YuanQiao looks at the candles, and then says with a smile, “Master, third and fifth brother must have found some terrible things happening down the mountain. They know that the best gift to you is to do good deeds. That’s why they’re late.” Zhang SanFeng says with a smile, “I remember you saved a widow from suicide back when I was eighty. But you know, if you kids have to wait ten years in between your good deeds, people might get a bit impatient.” His five disciples laughed. Zhang SanFeng has always had a casual relationship with his students, so they joke all the time.
Zhang SongXi then says, “But you’re going to at least live till two hundred years old. So even if we just do one good deed per ten years, it’s still going to be a lot.” Muo ShengGu adds with a laugh, “I’m just afraid that we won’t be able to keep up for that long…”
Before he could finish, Song YuanQiao and Yu LianZhou looked out the hall and yelled together, “Is that the third brother?” Zhang CuiShan says, “It’s me!” Only to see him carrying a person on the back, running into the hall with sweat all over his face, yelling, “Master, third brother…someone attacked him…” As everyone looks in shock, Zhang CuiShan stumbled a bit, and falls unconscious.
Song YuanQiao and Yu LianZhou realize that Zhang CuiShan only fell down due to exhaustion, while Yu DaiYan’s situation is much more dire. Together they pick him up, and check his vital signs. Zhang SanFeng’s heart shook upon seeing his disciple injured, and then takes out 3 ‘Tiger Life Extending Pill’ and put it in Yu DaiYan’s mouth. But Yu Dai, in his unconscious state, could not swallow them. Zhang SanFeng then applies his inner power Yu DaiYan’s Jia Che Point. After a while, Yu DaiYan’s throat finally responds, and swallows the pills.
At this point, Zhang SongXi begins to massage the muscles on his neck, while Zhang SanFeng continues apply his chi to several different important pressure points on Yu DaiYan’s body, trying to revive him.
After a while, Zhang CuiShan came about again, and asks, “Master, can you save third brother?” Zhang SanFeng only says, “Everyone eventually dies in this world…” Only to see a servant come in, saying, “There are some people outside who wants to see you, master. They say they’re from the Dragon Gate Escort Agency.” Zhang CuiShan quickly stands up, his face filled with hatred, says, “It’s them!” and quickly goes outside. Only to hear some sounds of weapons clashing outside, as Yin LiTing and Muo ShengGu quickly follows to help their fifth brother. They see Zhang CuiShan holding a burly man by the collar and then throws him down, yelling, “It’s all this old guy’s fault!”
Muo ShengGu, hearing that it’s this old man who injured his third brother, begins to step up and give him a kick, but Song YuanQiao quickly stops him. Only to hear someone outsides yelling, “Do you Wu Dang sect have any manners? I sincerely want to come and visit, yet you would treat us like this?” Song YuanQiao quickly goes up to Du DaJin and unseals his pressure points. Then he says, “Don’t worry. Be a little patient, and we will sort out the truth.” This sentence came out in a serious manner backed up by a great deal of inner power. Sub-leaders Zhu and Shi thought he’s actually Zhang SanFeng, and became silent.
Song YuanQiao says, “Fifth brother. Tells what had happened. Don’t be in a hurry, but be detailed.” Zhang CuiShan stares at the Dragon Gate people a bit, and then proceeds to tell the story. Du DaJin then added what happened before he met Zhang CuiShan. Song YuanQiao can see that his kung fu is nowhere near the level of Yu DaiYan. That, plus his willingness to come to Wu Dang, pretty much dissolves him of any possible guilt. Du DaJin finally adds at the end, “Hero Song, I’m sorry that we weren’t able to protect Hero Yu. But what do we do now with all the family members of my agency’s employees?”
Despite concentrating on healing Yu DaiYan, Zhang SanFeng heard all of Du DaJin’s words clearly, and says, “LianZhou, you take ShengGu to Lin An and protect the Dragon Gate Escort Agency.” Yu LianZhou nods, thinking, “Master really is kind. Although it’s possible that this customer Yin maybe bluffing, it’s still not a good idea to leave so many employee’s relatives alone and vulnerable.”
Zhang CuiShan says, “Look at what this Du guy did to our third brother. Why would you help him out?” Song YuanQiao says, “How can you say that, fifth brother? Do you know why Head Leader Du came in the first place?” Zhang CuiShan says, “Obviously for the gold. Do you really think it’s because he cares for third brother?” When Du DaJin hears this, his face immediately turns red.
Song YuanQiao says, “Don’t be rude to our guests. You’re tired too. How about taking a rest!” Being the first brother, Song YuanQiao wields great amount of power within Wu Dang. All other brothers defers to him. So when Song YuanQiao told Zhang CuiShan to rest, Zhang CuiShan could only close his mouth. But still fearing for Yu DaiYan’s life, he did not go back to his room.
Song YuanQiao then says, “Second brother, hurry up and gather your stuff with seventh brother. You’ll leave tonight since this is urgent.” Yu LianZhou and Muo ShengGu quickly complied. Du DaJin, feeling warmth in his heart due to Wu Dang’s kindness, says to Zhang SanFeng, “Venerable Zhang. Thank you for your help. We won’t bother you any longer. Goodbye.”
Song YuanQiao says, “Wait. Since you are already here, how about staying for the night. We also have some things we need to clear up.” Although his voice is calm, it carries a very serious and ordering tone, prompting Du DaJin to agree.
Yu LianZhou and Muo ShengGu then said goodbye to everyone, taking extra long with Yu DaiYan, knowing this might be the last time they would ever see him.
The hall suddenly became silent, with only Zhang SanFeng’s methodic breathing providing any noise. After about an hour, Yu DaiYan suddenly yells loudly, shaking everyone in the room. Du DaJin sneaked a peek at Yu DaiYan, wondering whether this is a good or a bad scream.
Zhang SanFeng says, “SongXi, LiTing, take your third brother back to his room.” Zhang SongXi and Yin LiTing promptly follow his order. When they came back out again, Yin LiTing asks, “Is he going to recover?” Zhang SanFeng takes a deep breath, and then says, “It will take a month before I can tell if he lives or dies. Even if he survives, he’ll never… never be able to move again. His life is…” And proceeds to shake his head. Yin LiTing suddenly starts to cry, while Zhang CuiShan quickly gets to slap Du DaJin. This move came quick as lightning, and Du DaJin could not block in time before the palm slapped his cheek. As Zhang CuiShan tries to slap him again, Zhang SongXi quickly comes over and pushes the palm out of the way.
When Du DaJin backs off, something heavy drops out of his robe, falling onto the floor. It’s a gold nugget. Zhang CuiShan says, “Humph, you greedy bastard. Giving away my third brother just for some gold…” Before he finished, he suddenly sees the fingerprints on the nugget, and asks, “Big brother, this… this is Shaolin’s Golden Steel Finger.” Song YuanQiao looks at it, and then gives it to Zhang SanFeng. Zhang SanFeng looks at it for a while, and then looks at Song YuanQiao for a moment silently.
Zhang CuiShan yells, “Master, this is Shaolin’s Golden Steel Finger. No other kung fu in the world can possibly do this, right?” At this moment, Zhang SanFeng suddenly remembers his childhood days with Jue Yuan, matching palms with He ZuDao, and chased out of Shaolin onto Wu Dang Mountain. He realizes that Zhang CuiShan is correct, that this is indeed Golden Steel Finger. No other Finger techniques can match this in terms of power. Although his own inner power is very high, he has never learnt such Hard techniques. As for other sects’ Hard techniques, none can accomplish this. But should he confirm Zhang CuiShan’s guess, his disciples would want revenge. That would be very undesirable.
Zhang CuiShan can see that he’s correct from his master’s look, and asks, “Is it possible that some extremely intelligent person invented a finger technique that can do this?” Zhang SanFeng says, “That’s impossible. It took Shaolin hundreds of years to perfect this. I don’t think anyone can invent it by himself.” Song YuanQiao says, “In that case, we can confirm that third brother’s joints were destroyed by Shaolin’s Golden Steel Finger.”
When Du DaJin hears that they think it’s Shaolin who injured Yu DaiYan, he quickly gets up, wanting to say something, but did not say it. After a while, he says, “No… It can’t be Shaolin. I’ve been studying there for over ten years, yet have never seen those six people.” Song YuanQiao looks at him, and says, “Sixth brother, why don’t you show our guest to his room. Get him some dinner. I’m sure he’s hungry.” Yin LiTing goes over to Du DaJin to send him out. Although Du DaJin wants to speak some more, he finally decides against it, and followed Yin LiTing.
After settling down Du DaJin, Yin LiTing goes back to Yu DaiYan’s room, and cried again as he saw Yu DaiYan’s pale, stiff face. When he came back out into the hall, he heard Zhang SanFeng say, “How venomous. SongXi. What do you suggest we do?”
Out of all his students, Zhang SongXi is the cleverest. He normally doesn’t speak his mind much, but he is very good at analyzing. After Zhang CuiShan came back carrying Yu DaiYan, he felt much sadness, but at the same time started to investigate into this matter. Now that he heard his master ask, he says, “I believe this has nothing to do with Shaolin, but rather the Dragon Saber.” Zhang CuiShan and Yin LiTing both let out an ‘Ah’, while Song YuanQiao says, “Fourth brother. I’m sure you’ve thought this out. Tell us your conclusion.” Zhang SongXi says, “With third brother’s mild temper, it’s extremely unlikely that he made any enemy for no reason. That bandit he was suppose to kill was an outlaw. There’s no reason why Shaolin would hurt him over that.” Zhang SanFeng nods. Zhang SongXi continues, “Other than his joints, third brother was also poisoned back at Lin An city. If we want to find out exactly what had happened, we must first go to Lin An to investigate.”
Zhang SanFeng nods again, says, “The poison he suffered is very unique. I still haven’t found the right antidote. There are several tiny holes in his right palm and leg. Does anyone know who uses this type of hidden weapon?” Song YuanQiao says, “This is strange. If this person is good enough so that he can hit third brother with hidden weapons, why would they need poison on it?”
They all begin to think over this matter. After a while, they still could not find an answer, until Zhang SongXi says, “That man with the birthmark could’ve easily killed third brother, but instead simply paralyzed him. This obviously meant that he wanted to get some information from third brother. In my opinion, this information must have something to do with the Dragon Saber. Remember what Du DaJin said, that one of those six people yelled, ‘Where’s the Dragon Saber?’” Yin LiTing says, “ ‘Martial world’s most venerable, Prized saber dragon slaying, Controlling all under Heaven, None dares to not follow. Power of heaven not appear, who can possibly compete?’ This phrase has been around for a hundred years, could it be that there really is a Dragon Saber?”
Zhang SanFeng says, “Not even for a hundred years, at most seventy to eighty. It did not exist when I was young.”
Zhang CuiShan says, “Fourth brother’s right. We need to go down to the south to find the killer.”
Zhang SanFeng asks Song YuanQiao, “What’s your opinion?” For the past few years, Zhang SanFeng has been letting Song YuanQiao manage most issues within the Wu Dang sect. So he wants Song YuanQiao to make the decision. Song YuanQiao says, “Master. Not only is this about third brother’s revenge, but also the reputation of Wu Dang. If we don’t settle this in the right fashion, we might cause some big problems.”
Zhang SanFeng says, “Right! You and SongXi, LiTing will take my letter to Shaolin tomorrow and meet Abbot Kong Wen. Ask him how to handle the matter. Shaolin’s very strict. He will know how to take care of this properly.” Song YuanQiao, Zhang SongXi, and Yin LiTing nod together. Zhang SongXi thinks, “Sixth brother alone should be sufficient for this trip. There must be some other reason that master wants all three of us to go.” Zhang SanFeng confirms this by adding, “I am a escapist from Shaolin. After all these years, I guess they must respect the fact that I’m quite old, and never bothered to come to Wu Dang to capture me. But there is still some friction between us. Which is why I want three of you to go, to show more respect.”
Zhang SanFeng then turns to Zhang CuiShan and says, “CuiShan, you’ll go down south tomorrow, and meet up with your second and sixth brother. There, listen to second brother’s orders.” Zhang CuiShan nods. Zhang SanFeng then says, “Don’t worry about drinking any wine tonight. A month later, we’ll gather here again. If DaiYan won’t recover, we can at least say goodbye to him.” When he said to this part, he sighed deeply with a gloomy expression. Yin LiTing continues to wipe his tears as he cries. Zhang SanFeng then says, “Let’s go to sleep.”
Song YuanQiao says, “Master, third brother has been righteous his whole life. The lord will surely bless him, and… and…” He couldn’t go on, knowing that more words would only sadden his master further. With tears coming out of his eyes, he follows his fellow brothers out, and back to his room.
End of Chapter 3.
@Chapter 4 - Among the Misfortune and Disorder, the Characters Showed the Way
Filled with pain and frustration, with nowhere to vent, Zhang CuiShan tossed and turned on the bed for over two hours. He then quietly got up, and decided to beat up Du DaJin to vent his frustration. Afraid that his big brother and fourth brother may stop him, Zhang CuiShan stayed extra quiet as he walked through the hallway. As he entered the main hall, he saw a man with both hands behind his back, pacing back and forth continuously.
In the darkness, his eyes gazed upon a tall shadow figure, making heavy footsteps, and realized that it is the master. He stopped immediately, knowing his master would detect any further movement. Should the master then ask him why he is up, Zhang CuiShan would have to tell the truth.
Only to see Zhang SanFeng pace back and forth for a while, inspecting his surroundings, when suddenly he raised his right hand, and began to write characters in the air. Zhang SanFeng is as much a scholar as he is a martial arts master, and his students often sees him reciting poems and writing characters. So it’s not unusual for him to do such a thing. Zhang CuiShan looked at the strokes he made in the air, realized the characters were ‘Grief Disorder’. After repeatedly writing those two characters a few times, he followed up with the characters ‘Tea Poison’. Then it suddenly dawned up on him, “Master’s writing out the characters in the ‘Grief-Disorder Writing Style’.” Zhang CuiShan’s received the nickname of ‘Silver Hook and Iron Brush’, because he used a silver Tiger Hook with his left hand, and a Judge’s Iron Brush with his right. After getting this nickname, he realized that scholars might snicker at him being fake scholar, so he began to study literature just as hard as his kung fu. Zhang SanFeng was indeed writing in ‘Grief-Disorder Writing Style’ created by Wang XiZhi*. By now his master’s finger-brush did not lower back down or retract, did not return nor repeat, following exactly the intentions of the ‘Grief-Disorder Notice’. *Wang XiZhi is perhaps the most famous calligrapher in Chinese history. He’s most famous for his cursive style of writing.
Zhang CuiShan had seen this style of writing two years ago. He remembered that its usage of the brush emphasized easy top-to-bottom strokes, words clear and strong but hard to pull up. Zhang CuiShan always preferred ‘Orchid Pavilion Poem Sequential Writing Style’, ‘Seventeen Writing Style’ and others that are more majestic and solemn in nature. At this moment, as he saw his master’s finger writes in the midair, “Tired of obeisance: Incredible grief and disorder, the ancestor’s graves one again tormented, difficult to bring back.” Each stroke filled with an air of gloom and grief. He saw just how Wang XiZhi must’ve felt when he created this ‘Grief-Disorder Writing Style’.
Wang XiZhi lived in the Eastern Jin* period. He was born to a prosperous family, but was not of Han origin. His family went southward to escape the chaos. During this chaotic time, his ancestor’s graves were robbed, which really saddened his heart, and quite evident in his ‘Misfortune-Disorder Writing Style’. Being a carefree youngster, how could Zhang CuiShan possibly understand the nature of this writing style? But his martial brother’s terrible injury finally allowed him to comprehend the depth of ‘Misfortune- Disorder Writing Style’.
*Eastern Jin is one of the countries that existed between the Three- Kingdoms era and China’s reunification under the Sui Dynasty.
Zhang SanFeng repeated those words several times, sighed deeply, walked to the center of the room, paused for a moment, and then started to write again. This time, his strokes again looked different. Zhang CuiShan followed Zhang SanFeng’s fingers, saw that the first character written was ‘Martial’, the second one ‘World’. In succession, Zhang SanFeng wrote out twenty- four characters total, exactly the phrase they discussed earlier, ‘Martial world’s most venerable, Prized saber dragon slaying, Controlling all under Heaven, None dares to not follow. Power of heaven not appear, who can possibly compete?’ Zhang CuiShan thought his master wrote them to better comprehend the meanings behind these words, and deduce the cause of Yu DaiYan’s injury. But how did this event have to do with the Dragon Saber and Heaven Sword, the two supreme mythical weapons?
Only to see him write those words over and over, in many different ways, his strokes became longer and longer, his arm movement slower and slower, until they began to move with great ease, as if he were practicing martial arts. Zhang CuiShan, fixated on his master’s movements, was amazed and joyous. His master had combined the twenty-four characters into a single, powerful martial arts style. Each character contained multiple moves, with even more variations. The characters ‘Dragon’ and ‘Compete’ contained numerous strokes, while the words ‘Saber’ and ‘Under’ have only a few, but the longer characters were not written in a hurry, nor the shorter characters crudely, the contracted strokes were just as striking, like a cankerworm unyielding, the vertical strokes were just as dangerous, like a cunning rabbit escaping, the dots were written with ease, yet powerful and sturdy, the long slants seemed like the blowing wind, the dancing snow, the thick and heavy parts seem like a tiger’s squat, an elephants footsteps*, only to see some strokes floating in midair, like the dancing of the snow, while others heavy as tiger’s roar, moving as an elephant. Zhang CuiShan’s eyes followed the movements thoroughly, and instinctively began to memorize them. These twenty-four characters contain two ‘Not’ and two ‘Heaven’. Yet each one is written in a unique manner.
*Note: These are descriptions of various basic strokes that typically make up Chinese characters. If you have some understanding of them, you might be able to picture what Jin Yong wanted the readers to see.
In the recent years, Zhang SanFeng rarely taught kung fu anymore. Song YuanQiao and Yu LianZhou taught his final two disciples, Muo ShengGu and Yin LiTing. So despite being the fifth disciple, Zhang CuiShan really is the last person Zhang SanFeng had ever taught kung fu firsthand. Before, Zhang CuiShan’s knowledge was limited, and rarely grasped the deep concepts behind much of the martial arts skills Zhang SanFeng demonstrated. But he had since come a long way with the experience of recent years, plus the fact that they shared the same feelings tonight, two hearts as one, meeting misfortune and felt anguish, encountering torment and whisked it away. Under these extraordinary circumstances, Zhang SanFeng changed these twenty-four characters into a type of martial arts. He obviously did not plan on it, just as it was pure coincidence that Zhang CuiShan would see him as this moment. The two of them, one watched while one practiced, immersed themselves into these words, forgetting the outside world.
Zhang SanFeng repeatedly wrote those words for over four hours, until the moon had risen to the top of the sky. Swoosh, the right palm came straight down, just like the sparkle of a star or a sword, thus completing the final stroke of the last character ‘compete’.
Zhang SanFeng then looked up into the sky, and said, “CuiShan, what do you think of my writing skills?”
Zhang CuiShan gasped in shock, as he did not expect his master to notice him without ever turning around. He promptly walked out of his hiding place, and said, “For your disciple to personally see master put on such an amazing display, words cannot even begin to describe my feelings. I’ll go get the others so they can also learn it.”
Zhang SanFeng shook his head, said, “I got caught up in the moment, which is why it looked so good. If you want me to repeat it again, I doubt I can write nearly as well. Besides, the other students don’t know much about calligraphy. Even if they do see it, they would have a hard time comprehending.” As he spoke, he walked out of the main hall.
Zhang CuiShan did not dare sleep, for fear of forgetting these intricate techniques, and immediately sat down in a meditating position. Each stroke each drag, each move each variation, silently recorded into his memory. Sometimes, he’d write out a few characters from the excitement. Even Zhang CuiShan himself could not remember how long it took him, but he finally recorded those twenty-four characters, and two-hundred-fifteen variations-there are 215 strokes within those 24 characters- into his memory. He stood up, practiced once, and felt his body light and calm as the cloud, incredibly refreshed. When finished, he looked up, blinked a bit, only to see the sun high up in the western sky. Zhang CuiShan gathered himself, not believing that it’s past noon already, but finally realized that he had been practicing for more than half a day.
Zhang CuiShan wiped off the sweat on his face, and walked over to Yu DaiYan’s room, only to see Zhang SanFeng healing Yu DaiYan with his inner power. Upon asking, Zhang CuiShan found out that Song YuanQiao, Zhang SongXi, and Yin LiTing had left in the morning. None of them said goodbye, as they didn’t want to interfere with his meditation. The Dragon Gate Escort Agency’s people also left. Although Zhang CuiShan’s clothes were now soaked in sweat, Zhang CuiShan was in too much of a hurry to change them. He quickly grabbed his weapons and his normal change of clothing, took out some travel money, and returned to Yu DaiYan’s room, said, “Master. Your disciple will be leaving.” Zhang SanFeng nodded, smiled slightly.
Zhang CuiShan walked to the bedside, only to see Yu DaiYan’s face gray- black, his whole body almost like a dead person. With pain in Zhang CuiShan’s heart, he said, “Third brother, even if it cost me my life, I shall give you your revenge.” He then kowtowed to his master three times, and left.
He rode his long-legged spotted horse down the Wu Dang Mountain. By the time he left Wu Dang, it was already pretty late in the afternoon. Night came after riding south for only about twenty miles. Just as he entered the roadside inn, dark clouds gathered in the sky, followed by pouring rain. This rain lasted throughout the evening. The next morning, he woke up to an extremely muggy room, with loud sounds of rain hitting the rooftop outside. Zhang CuiShan bought a hat from the innkeeper, and continued to ride despite the weather. Fortunately, his horse is a prized stallion, which kept its footing despite galloping on the incredibly slippery mud.
Upon reaching the edge of the Yellow River, he saw thick yellow river waves rolling heavily in the river, the current almost impossible for anyone to cross. He found out from the local residents that the water downstream had flood the riverbanks, and devastated the people there. As Zhang CuiShan entered the nearby town, only to see the flood victims seeking refuge in the town, everyone soaked in water.
As he traveled across town, Zhang CuiShan saw a row of riders in front, who just happened to be the people of the Dragon Gate Escort Agency. He hurried up, went past them, and blocked their way.
Distressed upon seeing Zhang CuiShan, Du DaJin stuttered, “W… What do you need, Fifth Hero Zhang?” Zhang CuiShan said, “Have you seen the homeless people from the flooding?” Du DaJin didn’t expect this question, paused, and then responded, “Why do you ask?” Zhang CuiShan smirked, said, “It’s always right to do good deeds. How about donating some gold to the needy?” Du DaJin’s face turned white, said, “People like us put our lives on the line when we work. How would we find the money to save the homeless?” Zhang CuiShan lowered his voice, said, “Why don’t you take out the two thousand taels of gold, and donate them?” Du DaJin reached for his saber, asked, “Are you purposely looking for trouble today?” Zhang CuiShan said, “Yes. I’m going to get the money either way today.”
Sub-leaders Zhu and Shi took out their weapons, and moved up next to Du DaJin. Meanwhile, Zhang CuiShan remained empty-handed, smirked, and then said, “Leader Du, you took your customer’s money, but did you accomplish the task asked? Do you really have the nerve to keep the gold?”
Du DaJin said with a purple face, “But Hero Yu was sent to the Wu Dang Mountain alive, right? He was already injured when we took him in, and he’s still not dead even now.” Zhang CuiShan said angrily, “Do you really think you can weasel your way out of this? Were my third brother’s joints broken before you escorted him?”
Before Du DaJin could respond, sub-leader Shi cut in, “Just say what you want us to do.” Zhang CuiShan said, “I’m going to break every single bone in your arms and legs!” As he said this, he immediately flew forward. Sub- leader Shi quickly raised his staff to attack, while Zhang CuiShan’s left hand swooshed down and across to the left, writing out his newly learnt kung fu’s long-slant in the character ‘Heaven’. Sub-leader Shi’s staff fell out of his hand, and fell off the horse. Sub-leader Zhu wanted to retreat, but how could he be quick enough? Zhang CuiShan very naturally finished the character “Heaven” with the short-slant right, finger swept across sub-leader Zhu’s waist, grabbed it, and threw him and his saddle a few meters away, in one smooth motion. For Sub-leader Zhu’s foot were stuck so firmly into the stirrup, plus Zhang CuiShan’s move was simply too powerful, that the saddle actually broke off the horse. With his feet firmly stuck in the stirrup, Sub- leader Zhu couldn’t get up.
Shocked upon seeing such quick and smooth attacks, Du DaJin quickly got his horse to move forward. Zhang CuiShan turned around swiftly, gathered his energy, and shot out his left fist. This attack is the vertical stroke in the character ‘Under’, which hit Du DaJin flatly on the chest. Du DaJin’s kung fu is much better than Zhu and Shi, and did not fall off the horse. With extreme anger, he reined in his horse, tried to get off his horse to fight, when suddenly he felt a surge of pain from his throat, and coughed up a gulp of blood. He staggered, took a deep breath, only to feel yet another cluster of hot blood, surging within. Although he tried to act tough, his body could not hold up, both knees weakened, and fell down to the ground.
Three young sub-leaders and all the rest of the people could only watch in alarm, who dared step forward to help?
Zhang CuiShan originally planned to break their arms and legs, to help vent his frustration, but upon seeing the three agency leaders injured so deeply, especially Du DaJin, he now felt a little guilty. He never realized just how powerful this new ‘Heaven and Dragon Kung Fu’ really is. Zhang CuiShan said, “Listen up. Today I’ll stop here. But you must promise to give all your money to the homeless, so they can rebuild their homes. Don’t try to cheat. If I find out that you’ve kept any money for yourselves, I’ll tear down your Dragon Gate Escort Agency, and kill every living, breathing person in it.” That last sentence came from Du DaJin’s story of what that customer Yin had said, so he conveniently used it. Du DaJin tried to get up, only to feel his back in extreme pain, and began to cough up blood again. Sub-leaders Zhu and Shi only had some scratches, but neither dared fight Zhang CuiShan again. Sub-leader Shi said, “Fifth Hero Zhang, since we could not accomplish our task, we should return the money to our customer. Besides, the money is back at the agency. How can we use it to help these homeless?”
Zhang CuiShan said with a cold smile, “Do you think I’m a child? All your kung fu experts came on this delivery. There are only family members back at the agency. Would you really keep so much money with them?” He scanned around, and walked over to one of the carts. Zhang CuiShan raised his palm to hit the case, ‘Bang, Bang, Bang’, the case on the cart fell apart, as gold nuggets fell out.
The leaders’ faces turned pale, as they wondered, “How did he knew it was on that cart?” They didn’t realize that although Zhang CuiShan is young, he’s smart and experienced. He saw that this cart made the heaviest prints. And the three people guarding it did not try move at all when their leaders were attacked. Therefore, this case must contain some valuable items. After a cold laugh, Zhang CuiShan got up on his horse, and galloped away.
He felt very delighted, knowing the due to Du DaJin’s fear for his relatives’ safety, he would certainly give the money to the needy. As he continued riding, Zhang CuiShan repeated the variations of those twenty-four characters in his head. That night when he first saw this kung fu, he simply felt that it was mysterious and strange. Only when used in combat, did Zhang CuiShan realize its power. To him, learning a new, powerful kung fu felt ten times better than obtaining some priceless treasure. Finally, when he remembered Yu DaiYan’s condition, Zhang CuiShan could not help but sigh in sadness.
He traveled for several days in the heavy rain. Even with his spotted horse’s endurance, fatigue set in after a while. By the time he arrived in the Shan Xi province, his horse became a bit sick. Caring about the health of his horse, Zhang CuiShan traveled very slowly for quite some time. So it was already the thirtieth day of the fourth month when he arrived at the city of Lin An. o0o
He booked a room at the local inn, and wondered, “I’ve traveled way too slowly. I wonder if Du DaJin and his people had returned to the agency. Where could my second and seventh brother be? Also, considering my altercation with Du DaJin and the others, I don’t think I can go to their agency openly. I should instead go in secret tonight.”
After dinner, upon asking an inn worker, he found out that the location of the Dragon Gate Escort Agency lies by the bank of the West Lake. At the marketplace, he bought a new robe and the incredibly renowned fan of Hang Zhou. Afterwards he took a bath, brushed his hair, and changed his clothing, Zhang CuiShan looked into the mirror, only to see himself looking nothing like a kung fu expert, but rather a scholar. Zhang CuiShan held up a brush, thought he should write a poem on it, and spontaneously wrote out the Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber poem, each stroke naturally and elegantly. Looking at the fan again, he thought, “Wow! Even my writing skills have improved from learning this new kung fu. These words look excellent.” He folded the fan, walked outside, towards the West Lake.
Even before the end of the Southern Sung Dynasty, Lin An had fell under the control of the Mongolians. Due to its location as the capital of the Southern Sung Dynasty, the Mongolians were especially weary of its citizens, afraid that they may be too deeply in love with the old regime. Therefore, they established harsh, strict policies unto the citizens. That’s why most people have moved to other places. A hundred years ago, Lin An had been an incredibly prosperous place, but that was the old days.
As Zhang CuiShan walked down the road, he only saw broken-down houses, dusts in his eyes, as the former famous city of the Lower-Yangtze River region had turned into a almost a ghost town. Even though the sun had not yet set, all the residents had already closed their doors and windows, only to see Mongolian patrol soldiers marching on the street. Zhang CuiShan didn’t want unnecessary trouble, so he immediately hid in the alley upon hearing the sounds of the troops. In the past, lanterns would light up the river at night, but now, only darkness covered the city, with no pedestrians in sight. Zhang CuiShan followed the inn worker’s directions to the Dragon Gate Escort Agency.
The agency’s is made up of five buildings, one linked behind another, it’s gate facing the West Lake, with a pair of stone lions decorating the entrance. Zhang CuiShan saw the large houses from afar, walked toward it slowly, only to see a boat docked at the lake outside. Two lanterns lit up the front of the boat, with a single person tasting wine under the candlelight. Zhang CuiShan thought, “This is person is in an artistic mood.” Only to see the lanterns outside the agency unlit, the large front doors shut tightly, probably meant that everyone inside is already asleep.
Zhang CuiShan walked to the main gate and thought, “Du DaJin said that someone carried third brother here a month ago. I wonder who was that?” While pondering, he suddenly heard deep sigh from behind him.
This sigh sounded like a ghost in the dark, silent night. Zhang CuiShan quickly turned, scanned the area, but other than the single person on the boat, there is no one else around. Zhang CuiShan felt uneasy, examined the person on the boat, only to see him wearing a green robe, scholarly dressed, just like himself. With the dim lighting, Zhang CuiShan could not see his face clearly, but his cheeks looked very pale white, as the lanterns shined on it, looked like the green waves on the lake itself. Lone boat in the freezing water, cold and dark, seemingly out of this world. That person sat quietly on the boat, and for a long, long time, other than the sleeves flying with the wind, there was no movement.
Zhang CuiShan originally wanted to sneak into the building, but changed his mind upon seeing the man on the boat, thinking that it’s really not the righteous thing to do. So he went up to the door and knocked three times. In the silence of the night, the sound from these three knocks could be heard from far away. Yet for a long time, no one came to the door. Zhang CuiShan knocked on the door three more times, a bit louder this time, almost hurting his ears. Again he could hear no movement from inside. Not sure what’s going on, he reach out with his hand and pushed the door, only to see it open without a sound, for it was not locked. Zhang CuiShan entered the courtyard and yelled, “Is your Escort Leader Du here?” As he spoke, he walked into the main hall.
The main hall is completely dark, without any candlelight. Suddenly, the main gate closed quickly behind him.
Zhang CuiShan hesitated a moment, turned around towards the gate, only to see it shut tightly, the lock now in place, meaning there’s someone here with him. Zhang CuiShan smiled coldly, thought, “What’s this all about?” Given the circumstances, he might as well enter the main hall.
So he stepped into the room, only to hear sounds of wind coming from all directions, as four people surrounded him. Zhang Cuishan jumped out of the harm’s way. In the darkness, white light glittered, only to see weapons in each person’s hand. He quickly moved to the left, towards the west side, as his right fist swept across, hitting the Sun Point of one of the attackers, stunning him instantly, followed by his left hand sweeping from top-right down to bottom-left, hitting another person’s waist. These are the first two strokes of ‘no’. Zhang CuiShan’s left hand then swooshed down, as his right fist shot out and wrote the ‘point’, completing the whole ‘no’ character through these four strokes, knocking down all four attackers.
He doesn’t exactly know who his attackers are, so Zhang CuiShan did not use much power, only about thirty percent or so. When the fourth person fell down, breaking a chair along the way, he yelled, “I can’t believe you’re so venomous. If you’re a true man, then you should leave your name.” Zhang CuiShan said with a smile, “If I’m truly venomous, do you think you’d be alive right now? My name is Zhang CuiShan.” That person gasped, as if quite surprised. He said, “You really are Wu Dang’s Fifth Hero… ‘Silver Hook Iron Brush’ Zhang CuiShan? You’re not just pretending?”
Zhang CuiShan smiled, reached into his robe and took out his weapons. His left hand held the Silver Tiger Hook, and his right hand held the Judge’s Iron Brush, as the two weapons scratched across one another, a few sparks appeared.
During this brief moment of light, Zhang CuiShan saw the four people wearing yellow monk robes lying in front of him, for these are monks. Of course, those monks also saw his appearance at this time. Two of the monks stared intently at him, their eyes filled with hatred. Bewildered, Zhang CuiShan asked, “May I have your names?”
Only to hear a monk yell, “Looks like we can’t get our revenge today. Let’s go!” As he spoke, the four monks got up, about to leave. But one of them suddenly fell down after walking a few steps, probably because Zhang CuiShan hurt him too deeply. Two monks returned to carry him.
Zhang CuiShan yelled out, “Could you wait up a moment? Revenge for what…” Before he could finish, the monks had jumped over the wall.
Zhang CuiShan felt that something’s not right, but could not pinpoint the exact reason. Why would there be four monks hiding in the Dragon Gate Escort Agency? Why did they ambush him? And what’s with this whole ‘revenge’ deal? He thought, “Surely the residents here would know.” He raised his voice and asked, “Is Escort Leader Du at home? Is Escort Leader Du at home?” In the empty hall, echoes reverberated from the walls, yet there is no response.
Zhang CuiShan thought, “Surely not all of them slept so soundly, that no one heard me. Are they afraid of me, and simply hiding? Or perhaps they all left?” He lit up a match, only to see several candles on a nearby table. He then lit up a candle and walked into the rooms in the back. After only a few steps, Zhang CuiShan saw a woman lying on the floor motionless. He yelled out, “Big sister, what’s going on?” That woman remained still. Zhang CuiShan put a hand under her shoulders and pulled her up, then moved the candle over her face, and gasped out loud.
Only to see this woman smiling, but her muscles tense, and had been dead for several hours. Zhang CuiShan thought she was dead when he touched her, but still felt odd that she’d die with a smile on her face. He stood up, only to see someone behind the left pillar. Walking over, he saw an old man dressed in servant clothing, also dead with a smile on his face.
Bewildered, Zhang CuiShan pulled out his silver hook and scanned the room with the candle. He found several tens of people dead both inside and outside all the houses, indeed the place is filled with corpses, with absolutely no one left alive. After traveling around the world for many years, Zhang CuiShan had already seen many tragedies, but never a massacre such as this one. His heart fluttered, only to see his own shadow shook on the wall. For his hands were wavering, shaking the candle with it, and naturally the shadow too.
Suddenly, he remembered something, “If you fail to make this delivery, I’ll kill everyone in the Dragon Gate Escort Agency.” Obviously, these people died because of Du DaJin’s mistake, not able to adequately protect Yu DaiYan on the way to Wu Dang. He then thought, “That person obviously killed these people because of third brother. Which means he should be third brother’s friend. But why would the third brother befriend such a vicious person? Besides, he’s obviously much better than Du DaJin in terms of kung fu, so why didn’t he escort third brother himself?” The more Zhang CuiShan thought, the more mysterious this whole deal became. He walked out the door to the west. With the candlelight, he saw two yellow-robed monks, backs against the wall, examining him.
Zhang CuiShan backed off a couple of steps, tightened the grip on his hook, and asked, “What do you want?” Only to see the two monks motionless, when suddenly, he realized that they’re also dead. Zhang CuiShan gasped, yelled out loud. “Oh no. Revenge, revenge…” Didn’t those monks say something like, “I can’t believe you’re so venomous. If you’re a true man, give me your name.” And also, “Looks like we can’t get our revenge today.” It appeared that he would be blamed for the deaths of these people. At that time when he’s still in the dark about everything, Zhang CuiShan not only gave his name, but also showed his renowned silver hook and iron brush. But who exactly are those yellow-robed monks?
Zhang CuiShan suddenly realized that he finished off those four monks too quickly, and couldn’t therefore figure out their kung fu. But from the exchange, he could feel those monks use a power-oriented, hard kung fu style. Du DaJin is a disciple of Shaolin, so these people are most likely Shaolin monks. But where are second and seventh brother? The master asked them to protect the people of the Dragon Gate Escort Agency. Could the killer be so powerful that not even my second brother could handle him?
Zhang CuiShan realized that the escaped monks would say that he’s the killer, and that Shaolin would eventually look for him. But Zhang CuiShan thought, “I can explain everything later, and the truth will come out one of these days. At that time, surely no killer could escape the search of both Wu Dang and Shaolin. It’s more important for me to find second and seventh brother right now.” He blew out the candle, walked to the side of the wall, and jumped out.
Before he landed, a sudden, loud, swoosh sound came, as a heavy weapon swept across at him, followed by a yell, “Lie down, Zhang CuiShan.” While in midair, Zhang CuiShan could not adjust to evade the weapon, which came with great power. In this critical moment, he quickly tipped the weapon with his left hand, borrowed its force, and lifted himself back up on the wall. This move used several strokes of the character ‘Martial’. As the saying goes, “The swallows rise from the water, the geese fly swiftly in the sky, facing danger control yourself, in the middle of danger soar away,” to create a path of escape in the middle of a dangerous situation. In this life and death moment, he suddenly realized that this new kung fu could be hard as stone, yet also soft as feather, easily dissipating the opponent’s powerful attack. His left foot lightly set on the edge of the wall, the Judge’s Iron Brush now in his right hand. From that attack, Zhang CuiShan realized this opponent is very formidable.
The attacker was shocked that Zhang CuiShan could evade his attack so easily, couldn’t help but let out a ‘huh?’ Then he yelled, “Humph, you’re pretty good, kid.”
Zhang CuiShan put his brush and hook in front of his chest, pointed then down in the ‘Willing to Learn’ position. This is Wu Dang’s signature pose as a sign of respect to elder opponents. Had Zhang CuiShan not learnt the new kung fu from his master, that last attack would have at least broken his shoulder. Yet even while incredibly angry, Zhang CuiShan did not forget his master’s teachings, and leave out courtesy in the face of an opponent.
In the darkness he vaguely saw two yellow-robed monks on his left and right, each with a large, thick staff. The one on the left said, “Zhang CuiShan, the Seven Heroes of Wu Dang are fairly renowned in the martial world. Yet how could your ways be so vicious?”
As Zhang CuiShan hear the monk call him by his name, instead of ‘Fifth Hero Zhang’ or ‘Mr. Zhang CuiShan’, he felt a surge of anger, and responded in a cold manner, “You don’t ask for explanation, nor seek the truth. Instead you hide in the darkness and sneak up on me. Is that what a hero is suppose to do? I have heard that Shaolin’s kung fu is unparalleled, but didn’t realize that their ability to sneak up on the enemy is also so amazing.”
That monk let out a loud grunt, jumped up the wall and attacked at the same time with his staff. Even before the monk landed, Zhang CuiShan felt a strong wind coming from the point of the staff towards his chest, and quickly diverted the staff with his hook. The brush shot out, hitting the middle of the staff. That monk suddenly felt a strong shock coming from the staff, which prevented him from gaining balance on the wall, fell off. Zhang CuiShan only felt much numbness in both hands, thought, “This monk’s strength is quite good.” He asked, “May I ask for your name?”
The monk on the right said, “I am Yuan Yin. This is my martial brother Yuan Ye.” Zhang CuiShan said, “Oh, so you are the Yuan generation at Shaolin. May I ask why you’re here?”
Yuan Yin seemed to be gasping for breath when speaking, said, “This is a serious matter between us Wu Dang and Shaolin. Although we are of the younger generation, we still must intervene in this matter. I ask of you. Now that you’ve kill all the people in the Dragon Gate Protection Agency, in addition to two of my martial nephews. I want to ask, how Fifth Hero Zhang intends to solve this dilemma involving so many deaths.” Despite the courteous nature of his tone, his words were very critical.
Zhang CuiShan said coldly, “I’m also trying to find out who killed these people. But since you’re so sure that I did it, I ask you. Did you actually see me murder anyone?” Yuan Yin yelled, “Hui Feng. Why don’t you have a chat with Hero Zhang?”
Four yellow-robed monks appeared from the forest, the same ones Zhang CuiShan knocked down earlier. That monk named Hui Feng steped up and said, “Martial uncle. It’s indeed him. He killed all the people in the agency, plus brothers Hui Tong and Hui Guang.” Yuan Yin said, “You saw it with your own eyes?” Hui Feng said, “Yes. If the four of us hadn’t escaped quickly enough, we would’ve also been dead.” Yuan Yin said, “Monks cannot lie. Plus the reputations of Wu Dang and Shaolin are at stake here. Are you absolutely certain of what you saw?” Hui Feng got on his knees and said, “With the Holy Buddha above listening, every word I now say is the exact truth.” Yuan Yin said, “Good. Now recall the exact events.” When Zhang CuiShan heard this, he quickly jumped down the wall.
Yuan Ye thought that Zhang CuiShan wanted to kill Hui Feng, and quickly attacked him with a sweep of his staff. Zhang CuiShan lowered his head and easily dodged the attack, in a smooth motion, twisted around behind Hui Feng. Yuan Ye originally planned on following up with another attack, but saw that he can no longer hurt Zhang CuiShan without first hurting Hui Feng. Yuan Ye retracted his staff and said, “What do you want?”
Zhang CuiShan said, “I just want to hear a bit more closely, hear exactly just how I killed all those people.”
Seeing Zhang CuiShan behind him, Hui Feng knew that if he made any hasty moves, Zhang CuiShan could immediately kill him. Even his martial uncles won’t be able to help him. But due to his anger towards, Hui Feng did not flinch, yelled, “A few days ago, martial uncle Yuan Xin received a letter from martial brother Du DaJin, north of the Yangtze river. He immediately sent Hui Tong and Hui Guang to help out. Then he sent me a note to also come here, with three fellow martial brothers. Upon entering, Brother Hui Guang said that the enemy might be here tonight, and that the four of us should guard outside. He also told us to not fall for any diversions.” Yuan Yin said, “Then what? Keep going.”
Hui Feng said, “Soon after dark, I heard Hui Tong fighting in the back hall, followed by a loud scream, as if he were gravely injured. By the time I got there, he’s already dead… this bastard Zhang…”
He turned around and pointed his finger at Zhang CuiShan, almost touching his nose, yelling, “I saw you push Brother Hui Guang to the wall with your palm, killing him. I know I’m no match for you, so I simply watched through the window. Then eight people tried to escape, and you followed them outside, killed them all with your hands, not even letting go the old and the young. Afterwards, you left.” Zhang CuiShan did not move at all. Even while Hui Feng’s salive fell on his face, he neither dodged nor retaliated. Afterwards, he said coldly, “Then what?”
Hui Feng continued, “After that, I discussed with my three brothers on what to do next. Everyone thought your kung fu was too powerful for us, so we should stay low for a moment. Who’d have thought that you’d come back again just then. We knew we couldn’t beat you, but at that moment, we didn’t think that that much. I asked for your name, didn’t you say that you are Wu Dang’s Zhang CuiShan? At first I didn’t believe you, thinking that the heroes of Wu Dang would not do such a thing. But when you showed your weapons, I had to believe you.”
Zhang CuiShan said, “I admit that I did indeed give you my name, showed my weapons, and knocked the four of you down. But are absolutely certain that I’m the one who killed everyone in the escort agency?”
At this moment, Yuan Yin flew up, grabbed Hui Feng’s body and pushed him into the distance. He said, “He already told you the whole event. So the renowned Fifth Hero Zhang could not try to hide the truth.” He pushed Hui Feng aside so Zhang CuiShan could not try to kill this witness. Hui Feng said to Zhang CuiShan, “Fine, I’ll say it again. I personally saw you killed Hui Guang and Hui Tong, personally saw you killing the eight people in the escort agency.” Zhang CuiShan said, “Did you see my face clearly? Was I wearing this same outfit?” As he spoke he took out a match, lighting up his face and body. Hui Feng stared at him with great disdain, said, “You were wearing this robe exactly. At that time, you had a fan in your left hand. Now you have it on your waist.”
Zhang CuiShan felt his stomach boiling, not knowing why this monk would purposely say such a lie, walked up and stared into his face, yelled, “If you have the guts, say those words again. Say that it’s me who killed them all, not someone else!”
Hui Feng’s eyes suddenly let out a strange expression. He pointed at Zhang CuiShan and said, “You… you’re… you’re not…” and instantly he fell down onto the ground. Yuan Yin and Yuan Ye quickly went up to look check his condition, only to see an expression of shock on Hui Feng’s face, with no pulse in his body.
Yuan Yin yelled, “You… You killed him?” Zhang CuiShan also did not expect to see this turn of events. He quickly turned around, only to see a shadow running away among the trees. He yelled, “Stop!” and immediately flew toward the shadow. If he couldn’t find the real killer at this moment, he’d be misunderstood as the killer.
Who’d have thought that while in midair, two swooshes of wind would come from behind, as two staffs caught up to him from left and right. At the same time, the two monks yelled, “Don’t think you can get away, murderer!” Zhang CuiShan’s brush and hook both swept down, writing the word ‘Saber’[only two strokes to this character] in a backhanded manner. His hook bent around and trapped Yuan Ye’s staff point, while his brush cast aside Yuan Yin’s staff. Borrowing their power, he quickly flew over them to land on the roof behind them. Zhang CuiShan then tried to scan the area, but saw no person in sight.
Yuan Ye quickly jumped up to the roof for another attack. Zhang CuiShan yelled, “I need to find the killer. Don’t get in my way!” Yuan Yin said in rage, “You… you killed him in front of my face, and yet try to deny it?” Zhang CuiShan flung Yuan Yin’s staff to the side, preventing him from coming up.
Yuan Yin said, “Fifth Hero Zhang. We don’t want to take your life. You simply need to drop your weapons, come with us to the Shaolin, and let the abbot pass judgment on you.” Zhang CuiShan said angrily, “I can’t believe you’re actually ‘Yuan’ generation Shaolin experts. The real killer came and went without you even noticing.” Yuan Yin said, “Look, I can’t personally decide your fate for killing my fellow brothers. So please come with us to Shaolin.” Zhang CuiShan said coldly, “Urgh! I can’t believe the Yuan generation at Shaolin is filled with idiots. You can’t even see who the real killer is?” Yuan Yin said, “I’m sorry. You have too much blood on your hands. We can’t let you escape.”
Upon hearing Yuan Yin so adamantly pointing him as the killer, Zhang CuiShan became angrier and angrier. Not only did he have to argue with Yuan Yin, but he also must fight off Yuan Ye at the same time. In the heat of the battle, Zhang CuiShan said with a smirk, “You think you can actually capture me?”
Only to see Yuan Ye push his staff onto the ground, trying to borrow its force to get him up. Zhang CuiShan jumped at the same time. His lightness kung fu is far superior to Yuan Ye’s, attacked downward as he jumped. Yuan Ye tried to block his attack with the staff, but Zhang CuiShan’s hook suddenly changed directions in midair, followed by a tearing sound, as his hook sliced through Yuan Ye’s shoulder. Yuan let out a scream, fell to the ground. He only lived because Zhang CuiShan showed mercy, and not aim for Yuan Ye’s throat.
Yuan Yin quickly held up his brother and asked, “Are you alright?” Yuan Ye said, “I’m fine! You still talking and not attacking? Stop with the indecisiveness!” Yuan Yin sighed, then raised his staff to attack. Yuan Ye did not bother to wrap up his wound, instead immediately went back to fighting Zhang CuiShan. The dancing staffs carried the wind, both converged to attack as one. Zhang CuiShan knew the wrist power of the two monks, in addition to the heaviness of their weapons. Should they be able to jump onto the wall, he would have great difficulty winning. So Zhang CuiShan played defensive, guarding his higher vantage point. Neither monks could jump up to the wall as a result. The ‘Hui’ generation monks have much lower kung fu, so despite seeing their martial uncles at a disadvantage, they had no way of helping.
Zhang CuiShan thought, “I really must go find the real killer quickly, no reason to get caught up in this misunderstanding.” He retracted his hook and brush into defensive positions, holding off attack. Just as he’s about to spring away, Zhang CuiShan heard a yell from behind, the voice thunderous, followed by a powerful force pushing towards him. Only to see a big-bodied monk jump up unto the roof, both his hands now reaching for Zhang CuiShan’s weapons. Although Zhang CuiShan could not see his face in the darkness, he realized that this monk is using Shaolin’s famous and powerful Tiger Claws. Yuan Ye yelled, “Thank goodness you’re here, brother Yuan Xin. Don’t let this murderer get away.”
Zhang CuiShan had seldom met any formidable enemy in his lifetime, plus his martial arts recently increased a great deal with this new kung fu. When he saw this new monk attacking, he felt a strong hatred, and began to have the urge to duel with them. He put away his hook and brush, yelled, “Humph, do you think the three of you could beat me?” Just as Yuan Xin’s left hand is nearly next to him, Zhang CuiShan retracted his right palm, swooped around and ripped apart a piece of Yuan Xin’s robe. As Yuan Xin’s claws touched his shoulder, Zhang CuiShan’s left foot flew out, hitting Yuan Xin squarely on the kneecap.
Yuan Xin’s knees are unusually sturdy, so he did not fell down even after suffering such an injury. With a loud roar, his right claw came at Zhang CuiShan. At the same time, Yuan Yin and Yuan Ye’s staffs also attacked from behind. Yuan Yin’s voice might be croaked, seemingly ill, but his kung fu is the best of the three. A staff weighing at least thirty to forty pounds seemed light as a sword in his hands, very quick and flexible. After meeting his match for the first time in life, Zhang CuiShan thought, “Wu Dang and Shaolin had been considered the two most powerful sects in the world recently, yet we never really had a chance to compete against each other. Today’s a good opportunity to test against the powerful Shaolin martial arts.” With that thought, he shot out his two palms, freely shifting among the two staffs and a pair of claws, cutting down, capturing, pointing and attacking. Even while fighting one on three, Zhang CuiShan gradually gained the upper hand.
Shaolin and Wu Dang sects both have their strengths and weaknesses. Zhang SanFeng is a seldom-seen genius when it comes to martial arts, but Wu Dang nonetheless lacked the thousands of years of experience Shaolin had. The difference is that, Zhang CuiShan is one of the best Wu Dang fighters, while the three monks are only second tier fighters in Shaolin. So as the fight went on, Zhang CuiShan became more and more energetic, his movements became swifter and faster. Suddenly, his right hand wrote out the long hook in the character ‘Dragon’, grabbing Yuan Ye’s staff, and redirected it unto Yuan Yin’s staff. With a loud collision sound, so loud everyone’s ears vibrated. Both monks had incredible strength. Their strength, adding Zhang CuiShan’s, caused such a powerful collision that blood came out of the two monks’ mouths. As Yuan Xin came over to help, Zhang CuiShan quickly stepped to the side, held out his foot in front of Yuan Xin, and then gave him a shove on the back. With the shove and his own natural forward movement, Yuan Xin immediately tripped to the ground.
Zhang CuiShan said coldly, “Want to take me to Shaolin? You’ll have to practice a few more years first.” Yuan Xin got up and yelled, “Murderer! Don’t try to run away!” And with that the three monks began to come after Zhang CuiShan again. Zhang CuiShan thought, “They really are pesky, but I can’t exactly kill them.” So he took a deep breath and began to use his lightness kung fu to escape.
Yuan Xin and Yuan Ye both tried to chase him, but could not catch up, due to their inferior lightness kung fu. They can only yell, “Capture the murderer! Don’t let him go!” while chasing along the banks. Zhang CuiShan laughed inside, thinking how can you people catch up to me? Suddenly he heard Yuan Xin and Yuan Ye both yell out “Ahhh!” while Yuan Yin let out a light groan, but also seemingly injured.
Zhang CuiShan turned his head around, only to see all three monks with their hands over their right eyes, as if hit by hidden weapons. Then Yuan Yin yelled, “Zhang CuiShan. If you got the guts, come back and blind my left eye too!”
Zhang CuiShan thought, “Were they blinded by someone? Who’s helping me?” He then realized something, yelled, “Seventh brother, seventh brother. Where are you?” Among the seven Wu Dang heroes, Muo ShengGu’s the best at hidden weapons. That’s why Zhang CuiShan figured his seventh brother must be here.
But after several yells, no response came. Zhang CuiShan searched around several trees by the banks, but could not find even half a shadow.
Yuan Ye lost control after getting blinded, and wanted to keep chase Zhang CuiShan. But Yuan Yin stopped him, knowing that doing so would be pointless. He said, “Brother Yuan Ye, we don’t have to be in such a hurry to seek revenge. Even if we give up, do you think our elder reverends would let him go? Let’s go seek the advice of the abbot. He’ll help us.”
Zhang CuiShan felt a bit more comfortable, after seeing the Shaolin monks leave. But he still wondered, “Just who was the person that helped me?” He didn’t want to stay by the lake much longer, and decided to hurry back to the inn. After quickly running for about thirty meters, he saw a bush rustling by the lake.
Since there’s no wind right now, so someone must be hiding behind it. Zhang CuiShan walked closer, about to ask who’s there, when suddenly a person shot out of the bush, attacked him with a saber, yelling, “Today, either you die or I die!”
Zhang CuiShan kicked his foot out, and quickly knocked the saber out of that person’s hand, into the lake. Looking closely, he saw that this person is yet another monk, except his kung fu is quite mediocre. Zhang CuiShan yelled, “What are you doing here?” While speaking, he saw three other people lying behind the bush. Zhang CuiShan ignored the monk, and went over to examine the three people. He found that these three people are the three leaders of the Dragon Gate Escort Agency, Du, Shi, and Zhu.
Shocked, Zhang CuiShan yelled, “Leader Du, what… what happened…” Before he could finish, Du DaJin sprung up, grabbed Zhang CuiShan’s collar with both hands, gritted his teeth, said, “Murderer. I just left three hundred taels of silver for myself, yet… yet you still won’t let me go?” Zhang CuiShan said, “What are you talking about?” About to brush Du DaJin’s hands away, only to see his lip spewing out blood. Zhang CuiShan asked, “Have you suffered internal injuries?”
Du DaJin yelled to that monk, “Martial brother. Remember. The murderer is Wu Dang’s Zhang CuiShan. Get away before he kills you too!” As he said this, he quickly shot forward, trying to head-butt Zhang CuiShan.
Zhang CuiShan hurriedly twist around, got out of the way by pushing off on Du DaJin’s arm, only to hear a loud thud, as Du DaJin fell onto the ground, ripping off a piece of Zhang CuiShan’s clothing along the way. Despite his courage, Zhang CuiShan nonetheless felt very uneasy about tonight’s events. Only to see Du DaJin’s heartbeat stopped. Obviously, he was already seriously injured, or that push Zhang CuiShan gave could not have killed him.
That monk yelled in shock, “You… you just killed my martial brother…” He quickly turned around, and began to run away as fast as he can.
Zhang CuiShan shook his head, saw that sub-leaders Zhu and Shi’s feet are in the water, already dead for some time. Looking at the three bodies, Zhang CuiShan felt much sadness. Although he hated them for making a grave mistake regarding Yu DaiYan, he hardly wanted to see them dead like this. Suddenly, he thought, “Du DaJin thought that I killed them because he left three hundred taels of gold for himself. I never knew anything about that. Besides, even if I did, I would hardly make a big deal out of it.” He reached into Du DaJin’s sack, and indeed found several gold nuggets. At this moment, Zhang CuiShan felt that life really is fleeting. This escort leader spent his whole life traveling around, living under constant threat of death, just for some gold. Yet now, with gold right by his side, Du DaJin would no longer be able to enjoy them. He then thought about his great triumph over those Shaolin monks, but how long can he enjoy this? After all, a hundred years later, he’d be no different from Du DaJin. Zhang CuiShan then sighed deeply.
Suddenly, the sound of zither came from the lake. Zhang CuiShan looked up, only to see a young scholar on a boat, the same one he saw in front of the escort agency earlier. He looked at the three bodies by his side, and at the boat closing in, thought that should the person see him like this, and alert the soldiers, there would be much unnecessary problems. Just as he’s about to leave, that gentleman suddenly said, “If this friend likes to observe the night scenery of the lake, why not do so on my boat?” As he said this, Zhang CuiShan saw the boat rowing to the shore.
Zhang CuiShan thought, “If this person had been here all this time, he might have seen something that I missed. Perhaps I get some information from him.” So he walked over to the shore, waited for the boat to come, and then stepped onto the head of the boat.
The scholar on the boat stood up, smiled, and gestured with his arm for Zhang CuiShan to sit down. Under the lantern light, Zhang CuiShan saw that this scholar’s hands are whiter than snow, his face delicate and slender, eyebrows curly and nose straight, more handsome than any exquisite scholar he had ever seen. Zhang CuiShan immediately realized that this scholar is actually a beautiful young woman in disguise.
Wu Dang is very strict when it comes to women. So when Zhang CuiShan saw a lone lady on the boat, his face started to blush bright red. As he quickly got off the boat, Zhang CuiShan said, “I didn’t know that you are a woman disguising as a man. Sorry to bother you.” That young woman did not respond. The boat then rowed away, while the young woman kept playing her zither, singing, “Tonight wish for no more excitement, but there will be many more future nights, under the Six United Pagoda*, weeping willows and rowing boats. How those gentlemen, come to have fun on the water.” As the boat disappeared into the darkness, so did the song and the sound of the zither.
*Note: I’m not sure too sure this is the right translation for the particular pagoda. Couldn’t find the reason for its name from the encyclopedia, so I just translated word-by-word. Anyway, it’s a big tourist attraction at the modern day Hang Zhou city.
Hearing such beautiful melody, after all that killing earlier, Zhang CuiShan could not help but just stand there in silence. Only after over an hour of stillness did he make his way back to the inn.
The next day, everyone found out about the mass murder at the Dragon Gate Escort Agency. But with Zhang CuiShan’s scholarly appearance, no one even thought he could be the culprit.
At around noon, he started to search for his brothers in the marketplace and at tourist spots. But there are no signs of them anywhere. At dusk, he suddenly remembered the young woman’s song: “Tonight wish no more for excitement, but there will be many more future nights, under the Six United Pagoda, with weeping willows and rowing boats. How those gentlemen, come to sightsee.” Zhang CuiShan thought, “As long as I act as a gentleman, it would be ok to see her. Sighs, if second and seventh brother were here, we could’ve gone together. Other than her, I really don’t have any other leads.”
After eating lunch, Zhang CuiShan began to walk towards the Six United Pagoda by the QianTang River.
End of Chapter 4.
@Chapter 5 - Plum Flower Decoration on the Pure White Arm
By the time Zhang CuiShan reached the river, it’s already dark. Only to see a boat with two bright lanterns on it, the same one he saw last night. Under the lantern lights a young woman sat on the edge, wearing a long, light-green robe, a lady’s outfit.
Zhang CuiShan originally planned on asking her about the events last night, but somehow held back upon seeing her in a lady’s dress. That young woman looked up in the sky and said, “Sitting on the edge of the boat, thinking of meeting a guest, the wind blows by, waking me up.” Zhang CuiShan said, “My name is Zhang CuiShan. I have some questions. I hope you won’t mind.” That young woman said, “Then please come on the boat.” Zhang CuiShan lightly sprung onto the head of the boat.
That young woman said, “Dark clouds hovered over last night’s sky, and covered the moon. The weather’s much nicer today, now that those clouds have dissipated.” Her voice beautiful and clear, spoken while watching the sky, without looking at him even once. Zhang CuiShan said, “May I ask for the young lady’s name?” That young woman suddenly turned her head around, her bright, stunning eyes shinned at him, but did not respond. Zhang CuiShan saw her indescribable beauty looking at him, and felt a bit awkward. Afraid to press further, he jumped back onto the land, and began to walk back.
After ten steps or so, his footsteps stopped. Zhang CuiShan thought to himself, “Zhang CuiShan, oh Zhang CuiShan. What happened to you? How can a man like you, so experienced in the martial world, be afraid of a young girl?” He turned around, only to see that young woman’s boat floated down the river, the jade lanterns lit up the river. Zhang CuiShan couldn’t make up his mind, so he simply followed the boat by the river edge. One on the river, one on land, traveling in parallel fashion. That young lady remained at the head of the boat, her head aimed towards the moon in the night sky.
After walking a while, Zhang CuiShan unconsciously looked in the direction of her eyes, only to see dark clouds gathering in the distance. These clouds quickly covered the moon. Soon, the wind began to blow, and sleek rain came down. There’s only grassland by the lake, so Zhang CuiShan could not find any place to hide from the rain. Of course, he didn’t care much for the rain anyway. The rainfall was not heavy, but enough to totally soak his body after a while. Only to see that young woman still sitting on the head of the boat, also totally soaked.
Zhang CuiShan yelled, “Young lady, you should enter the cabin to avoid the rain.” That young woman immediately stood up and let out an ‘Oh!’ She quickly gathered herself, and then asked him, “Why are you not afraid of the rain?” As she spoke, she walked into the boat’s cabin. After a while, she came out again, this time holding an umbrella, which she threw to him.
Zhang CuiShan grabbed the umbrella, saw that it was made out of oilpaper, and opened it. He saw rivers in the foreground and mountains in the background, covered with willow trees, obviously a scenery painting. Along with the painting are seven characters, “No need to return simply due light wind and sleek rain*.” It’s not strange to see such paintings and writings on the umbrellas here in HangZhou, as it’s famous for such things. The painting came from a craftsman, so it carried a peculiar craftsman feel to it. What’s amazing is that a craftsman could paint in such an intricate and elegant way. The writing didn’t seem to live up to the standards of the painting, and looked like a rich young lady wrote it, yet at least the style carried a clear, beautiful, unworldly feel.
*Note: The seven characters themselves are ‘Xie2 Feng1 Xi4 Yu3 Bu4 Xu1 Gui1’. Translated literally ‘Tilted Wind Sleek Rain No Need Return’.
Zhang CuiShan did not slow down his steps as he examined the writing, and couldn’t see a ditch in his path. As his left foot came down, Zhang CuiShan felt it land in midair. Any normal person would’ve tripped and fell. But he quickly reacted, applied force to his right foot, jumped up, and landed on the other side of the ditch. Only to hear the young lady yell, “Great!” Zhang CuiShan turned around, saw that she has since put on a bamboo hat, and is standing there on the head of the boat. As her dress waved back and forth among the winds, she looked like a goddess from Heaven.
That young woman said, “Are the painting and writing worthy of Mr. Zhang’s eyes?” Zhang CuiShan never cared much for paintings, as he studied mainly on writings in his life. He said, “These words are written in the famous Mrs. Wei’s style. The characters separate but their meanings connect, the lines are short but their meanings are stretched, very charming with its rhyming.” That young woman felt very happy that Zhang CuiShan understood her writing style, and said, “Among the characters, I thought the character ‘No’ was the worst.” Zhang CuiShan examined that character, and said, “This ‘No’ is quite naturally written, but it lacked any deep meaning, unlike the other characters, which leave an aftertaste in the reader’s mind, making them hard to forget.” That young woman said, “I understand now. I’ve always thought that this character somehow didn’t belong, but couldn’t spot the reason. Thank you for enlightening me.”
Her boat continued to travel down the river, while Zhang CuiShan walked alongside it. The two people continued to talk about writing, until the sky became so dark they could not longer see each other. That young woman suddenly said, “Speaking with a scholar for just a short while beats reading books for ten years. Thank you for your help. Now let us part.” She pulled up the sail, and the boat started to move faster with the aid of the wind. Zhang CuiShan stood as he watched the boat travel further and further away, and felt saddened, his mind in a void. Only to hear the young woman yell from far away, “My surname is Yin… should we meet again, I’ll surely ask for more pointers…”
When Zhang CuiShan heard the words ‘My surname is Yin’, he suddenly remembered, “Wait a minute. Didn’t Du DaJin say that a handsome scholar, whose surname is Yin, asked for them to deliver Third Brother Yu? Could he be this young lady in man’s clothing?” Once he realized this, he forgot all about the tradition that man and woman should remain apart, and began to chase after the boat. Although the boat traveled very fast, it still could not beat out his lightness kung fu. Soon, he caught up with the boat and asked loudly, “Ms. Yin, do you know my third brother Yu DaiYan?”
That young woman turned around, but did not respond. Zhang CuiShan seemingly heard a sigh, but wasn’t sure due to their distance.
So Zhang CuiShan added, “I have this suspicion in my mind, which I hope you can help clear up.” That young woman said, “Do you really need to know?” Zhang CuiShan said, “Did you ask the Dragon Gate Escort Agency to take my third brother back to Wu Dang? If so, then I would surely repay your kindness.” That young woman said, “Sometimes, it’s so hard to distinguish generosity and cruelness.” Zhang CuiShan said, “My third brother was gravely wounded at the bottom of Wu Dang Mountain. Do you know about this?” That young woman said, “I was saddened too, and is really sorry.”
As they spoke, the wind picked up, and the boat sailed even faster. But Zhang CuiShan had no problem keeping up with the boat.
As they traveled further, the river became wider, the light wind and sleek rain turned into heavy wind and heavy rainstorm.
Zhang CuiShan asked, “Do you know who killed the people in the Dragon Gate Escort agency?” That young woman said, “I made it clear to Du DaJin for him to take good care of Third Hero Yu. Should there be any problems…” Zhang CuiShan said, “You said you’d kill everyone in his agency.” That young woman said, “That’s correct. He didn’t protect Third Hero Yu, so it’s his fault. You can’t blame others.”
Those words sent a chill down Zhang CuiShan’s spine, and he said, “So you’re saying that everyone… everyone was killed by…” that young woman said, “Killed by me!” Zhang CuiShan’s ears trembled. He couldn’t believe that this incredibly beautiful young woman could be such cold-blooded killer. After a while, he said, “What about those two Shaolin monks?” That young woman said, “Also killed by me. I originally didn’t want to bother with them, but they used poisoned darts on me first, so I didn’t have a choice.” Zhang CuiShan said, “Then… then why did they say that I was the killer?” That young woman said, “Oh, I planned that.”
Zhang CuiShan fumed, and yelled, “You planned for them to wrong me like that?” That young woman laughed, and said, “That’s correct.” Zhang CuiShan yelled angrily, “Surely we’re not enemies. So why would you do that to me?”
That young woman waved her hand, and entered the cabin. Zhang CuiShan obviously couldn’t stop asking now, yet he’s too far from the boat to jump on it. So he grabbed two thick branches from a nearby willow tree and threw them onto the river. With the branches as his stepping-stones, Zhang CuiShan jumped onto the head of the boat. He then yelled, “How… how did you plan it?”
No sound came out from the dark cabin, so Zhang CuiShan planned to go in. But at the last moment he changed his mind, thinking, “It’s rude to barge into a young lady’s room like that.” As he pondered about what to do, he saw a light appearing in the cabin, as a candle lit up.
That young woman said, “Please come in.”
Zhang CuiShan organized his robe, closed the umbrella, and walked inside. He immediately froze as he saw a young scholar inside, wearing a green robe, holding a fan, his expression quite colorful. For that young woman had taken this time to change into man’s clothing. At first glance, she looked quite like himself. Zhang CuiShan obviously needed no more words to answer his question. In dim conditions, anyone would mistake them to be the same person. No wonder Monk Hui Feng and Du DaJin were both so certain that he was the killer.
That young woman said, “Please sit, Fifth Hero Zhang.” She then picked up the teapot and poured some tea into a cup. Then she reached out to give him the cup. She said, “Sorry we don’t have wine here. Let me use tea instead of wine to serve my honored guest.”
After hearing such a mannerly speech, Zhang CuiShan could not find a way to release his anger. He finally said, “Thank you.” That young woman saw his whole body soaked wet, and said, “I have some clothing in the cabin here. Do you need one? You can change in the back.” Zhang CuiShan shook his head and said, “No need.” He immediately applied some inner power, and a wave of chi exited his body, releasing much body heat. The water on his robe quickly evaporated. That young woman said, “I forgot that Wu Dang’s inner power is one of the best in the martial world. It really was improper of me to ask you to change clothing.” Zhang CuiShan asked, “Would you mind telling me which sect you belong to?”
That young woman immediately turned towards the window when she heard the question, her face filled with worry.
When Zhang CuiShan saw this, he stopped pressing further. But after a while, he couldn’t help but ask again, “Who injured my third brother Yu? Can you tell me?” That young woman said, “Not only did they fool Du DaJin, they also fooled me. Actually, I should’ve realized that the seven heroes of Wu Dang would be very elegant and valiant, not crass and unmannerly.”
Zhang CuiShan realized that she didn’t answer the question, but when she said ‘elegant and valiant’, he felt his heart jumped, and his head a bit feverish. But he’s still not sure what her words meant.
That young woman sighed, and then suddenly lifted up her left sleeve, revealing an arm as white as white-jade. Zhang CuiShan quickly turned around to avoid her arm. That young woman said, “Do you recognize these hidden weapons?”
When Zhang CuiShan heard this, he finally turned around to look at her, only to see three needles on her left arm. Her arm’s white as snow, but the area by the needles are black as ink. The tails of all three needles are shaped like plum flowers. Zhang CuiShan immediately stood up, and yelled in shock, “These are Shaolin’s Plum Flower Darts. Why… why are they dark?” That woman said, “Exactly. These are Shaolin’s Plum Flower Darts. They are poisoned.”
Zhang CuiShan said, “Shaolin’s a very reputable upright sect. Their darts would never have poisons on them. But other than Shaolin disciples, who else can use them? How long have you been poisoned? We need to remedy this immediately.”
When that young woman saw the deep concern in his face, she said, “I’ve been poisoned for over twenty days now, but I have temporarily stopped them from spreading with some medicine. However, I can’t pull them out either, since then the poison would spread.”
Zhang CuiShan said, “But if you don’t pull them out soon, your arm might… your arm might… be much harder to cure. It might leave a nasty mark.” Actually, he wanted to say that the arm might become useless.
That young woman began shed some tears, and said faintly, “But I’ve done all I can… Last night I couldn’t find the antidote from those monks… I can never use this arm again.” As she spoke, she covered up her arm again.
Zhang CuiShan felt a surge of warmth in his chest, and said, “Ms. Yin, do you trust me? Although my inner power is ordinary, I am still confident that I can cure your poison.” That young woman smiled innocently, and her cheeks turned pink, as if she’s incredibly happy. Yet she said, “Fifth Hero Zhang. I know you have many suspicions. If I don’t tell you everything, you might regret this decision later.” Zhang CuiShan said, “Saving people is what I’m suppose to do. Why would I regret it?”
That young woman said, “It’s already been over twenty days, so I won’t mind waiting a while longer. Here’s what happened. Once I gave Third Hero Yu to Du DaJin, I followed him from behind. There were quite a few people who wanted to take Third Hero Yu away, but I took care of them. Funny thing is, Du DaJin didn’t know any of this.” Zhang CuiShan said, “The disciples of Wu Dang will never forget your kindness, Ms. Yin.” That young woman said coldly, “Don’t thank me just yet. Soon, you’ll be hating me.” Zhang CuiShan doesn’t know what to make of that statement. That young woman continued, “I kept changing my clothing along the way, sometimes dressed as a farmer, sometimes a businessman, until I followed them to the bottom of the Wu Dang Mountain, where the incident occurred.” Zhang CuiShan bit his teeth and said, “You mean you saw those six beasts? Unfortunately, Du DaJin and his people do not know who they are.” That woman sighed again, and said, “Not only did I saw them, I also fought them. Unfortunately, I also could not tell you much about them either.” She picked up a cup of tea and drank some. Then she continued, “That day I saw these six people come down from the top of the mountain. Du DaJin kept calling them ‘Six Heroes of Wu Dang’, and those six people did not seem to mind. I watched from far away, and saw them take the carriage that carried Third Hero Yu. At first I was relieved to see him arrive safely, but after a while, I realized that things didn’t make sense. The Seven Heroes of Wu Dang treat each other as brothers. They should’ve all gone up to examine his injury, yet only one person took a look, and without any expression too.”
Zhang CuiShan nodded and said, “Ms. Yin, you really are attentive. Your suspicions are right on the mark.”
That young woman said, “The more I thought about it, the more things didn’t add up. So I turned back and caught up to them, then asked for their names. These people’s eyes were quite sharp, and immediately saw that I was a woman. I shouted at them for pretending to be Wu Dang disciples, and then attacked them. A thirty-some year old skinny man came out to fight me, while a Taoist priest stayed by to back him up. The rest of them went away. This skinny man was quite formidable, and I could not defeat him after thirty or so exchanges. At this moment, that Taoist priest waved his left hand, and my left arm became numb. That skinny man said some indecent words, then tried to capture me. I had to fire off three darts of my own so I could escape.” As she said this, her face turned red. Probably that skinny man sought after her beauty and wanted to rape her.
Zhang CuiShan asked, “Did you say he fired the darts with his left hand? How could Shaolin accept a priest as a disciple?” That young woman said with a smile, “A Taoist has to shave his head to look like a monk, but a monk just needs to put on a Taoist hat to look like a Taoist priest.” Zhang CuiShan nodded. That young woman continued, “I couldn’t beat that skinny man, and that Taoist’s kung fu is even better. So I had to let them go.” Zhang CuiShan wanted to say something, but refrained to do so.
That young woman said, “I know you want to ask why I never went to Wu Dang to explain everything, right? But I couldn’t go to Wu Dang. If I could’ve, why would I ask an escort agency to do it for me? Besides, I overheard Du DaJin talking on my way back. Once I knew that the other Wu Dang heroes have looked into this matter, I knew there was nothing I could do to help. Since I was also in a hurry to treat my poison, I left. What happened to Third Hero Yu anyway?”
Zhang CuiShan told her what happened afterwards. That young woman sighed, her eyelashes slightly flickered, and said, “Hopefully Third Hero Yu will get well, or… or…” Zhang CuiShan heard the sincerity in her voice, and was deeply moved. He said, “Thank you for you kindness.” As he spoke his eyes became wet. That young woman shook her head and said, “When I came back, someone told me that these darts are Shaolin’s unique Plum Flower Darts. Other than its own unique antidotes, the poison’s incurable. The only place with Shaolin disciples here is the Dragon Gate Escort Agency. So I went there, seeking the antidote. However, they tried to ambush me as I entered.”
Zhang CuiShan let out a ‘huh’ and said, “But didn’t you say you purposely planned for them to think it was me?” That young woman blushed, lowered her head, and said softly, “I saw you bought this clothes at the store, and looked very… very dashing, so I went ahead and bought one too.” Zhang CuiShan said, “That would explain it. It’s just that they’re not your mortal enemies, so you really shouldn’t kill them all. That’s just too cruel and merciless.”
The young woman’s face sank, and then spoke in a cold voice, “Are you trying to lecture me? Never in my nineteen years in life have I been lectured. I know Fifth Hero Zhang is righteous and kind. You don’t have to degrade yourself into associating with people like myself. Please feel free to leave.”
After getting scolded, Zhang CuiShan’s face turned bright red. He quickly stood up and began to storm out the cabin, but then realized that he promised to cure her poison wound. So he said, “Please lift up your sleeves.” That young woman raised her eyebrows, and said, “Since you like to lecture me so much, I don’t want you to cure me anymore.” Zhang CuiShan said, “If you leave the wound like that, the poison will eventually spread. By that time, it will be very difficult to cure you.”
That young woman said, “So what? If I die from this, it will be because of you.” Zhang CuiShan asked with surprise, “What does this have to do with me?” That young woman said, “If I hadn’t tried to sent your third brother back, then I would’ve never have met those six people. If I had decided not to interfere in that matter, I would’ve never been injured. Besides, had you gotten there sooner, and helped me fight them, how could they have injured me?”
While the last sentence was ludicrous, the previous statements were quite reasonable. Zhang CuiShan said, “You’re right. I’ll help you right now to repay your kindness.” That young woman said, “So do you admit that you’re wrong?” Zhang CuiShan said, “Wrong about what?” That young woman said, “You said that I was cruel and merciless. Of course you were wrong. Those monks and all those people in the escort agency deserved to die.” Zhang CuiShan shook his head and said, “Although you’ve been poisoned, you can be cured. My third brother is gravely injured, but probably won’t die. Even if we can’t cure him, at least we should find the main culprit, instead of killing so many innocents.”
That young woman said, “So you say that I killed the wrong people? Isn’t it true that it’s a Shaolin disciple who poisoned me? Isn’t it true that the Dragon Gate Escort Agency is part of Shaolin?” Zhang CuiShan said, “Shaolin disciples fill the world. Are you going to kill all of them with a wound on your arm?”
The young woman couldn’t win this argument. In anger, she suddenly lifted up her right hand, and pressed it hard into her left arm, directly over her wounds. With this, her injury magnified.
Zhang CuiShan never in his dreams expected her to do such a thing, that she’d hurt herself over a single argument. Considering how she treated herself, it’s hardly surprising that she didn’t value the lives of others. He wanted to stop her, but was unfortunately too late. He gasped with surprise, “Why… did you have to do this?” Only to see black blood staining her sleeves. Zhang CuiShan realized that it he doesn’t do something quick, her life would be in danger. He quickly grabbed her left hand with his left hand, and his right hand began to tear off her sleeve.
Suddenly, a voice came from behind him, “Hold it right there!” as that person attacked him from behind with a knife. Zhang CuiShan knew he was the boatman, but in this critical moment, he had no time for explanation. With a swift back kick, he kicked the boatmen back out the cabin.
That young woman said, “I don’t want you help. My life and death doesn’t concern you anyway.” As she said this, she promptly slapped him on the cheek. She slapped at lightning speed, and since Zhang CuiShan had not anticipated her attack, he immediately let go of her hand.
That young woman composed herself and said, “Get out of my boat. I never want to see you again!” Zhang CuiShan, ashamed and angry by her slap, said, “Fine! I’ve never seen such an insolent girl in my life!” And he immediately turned around to leave. That young woman said coldly, “Never seen one before? Well, you saw one today.”
Zhang CuiShan picked up a block of wood to help him get back to the banks. But at the last moment he thought, “If I leave now, she’s certainly going to die.” With that in mind, he suppressed his anger and went back to the cabin, said, “I’ll just forgive you for that slap. Roll up your sleeve quickly. Do you want to keep your life or not?”
That young woman said, “What does my life have to do with you?” Zhang CuiShan said, “I must repay you for sending my third brother back.” That young woman said coldly, “Oh, you’re just trying to repay a debt. Looks like if I hadn’t sent back your third brother, you would’ve just watched me die.”
Zhang CuiShan froze a second, and then said, “Not necessarily so.” Only to see her body began to shake, signs of the poison spreading. He quickly said, “Hurry! Roll up your sleeves. Do you really have a death wish?” That young woman said while biting her teeth, “If you don’t admit that you’re wrong, then I won’t let you help me.” Her face was naturally pale, and under such conditions she looked so very fragile, arousing Zhang CuiShan’s compassion.
He sighed, and then said, “Fine. Let’s just say I was wrong. Those people all deserved to die.” That young woman said, “Not good enough. What’s with this whole ‘let’s just say I’m wrong’ deal? And why did you sight? Wrong is wrong. Say it with some conviction.”
In this moment of life and death, Zhang CuiShan can’t possibly fuss over such small details. So he yelled, “With the Heaven above and River below listening, I, Zhang CuiShan today wholeheartedly apologize to Yin… Yin…” As he said this, he stuttered. That young woman said, “Yin SuSu.” Zhang CuiShan continued, “to Yin SuSu and seek her forgiveness.”
Yin SuSu, delighted at his apology, smiled gleefully. Suddenly, her legs gave out on her, and fell back onto a chair. Zhang CuiShan quickly took out a pill of ‘Heaven’s Heart Antidote’ for her to swallow. Then he grabbed her arm and asked, “How do you feel?” Yin SuSu said, “My chest is burning up inside. Why did it take you so long to apologize? If I die, it will be all your fault.”
In this circumstance, Zhang CuiShan could only sooth her with gentle words, “Everything’s fine. Don’t worry. Just relax your whole body, and don’t try to use any energy. Pretend as if you’re asleep.” Yin SuSu glanced at him and said, “I’ll just pretend as if I’m dead.”
Zhang CuiShan thought to himself, “My gosh, she’s so unruly even at this moment. I can’t imagine what kind of anguish her future husband would suffer in her hands.” As he thought this, he found his heartbeat quickened, and his head feverish. Afraid that Yin SuSu might see through his thoughts, Zhang CuiShan glanced at her, only to see her cheeks bright red, with bashfulness mixed with frailty. When their eyes met, both quickly turned their eyes away.
Yin SuSu suddenly said quietly, “Fifth Brother Zhang, I was very rude, and even hit you. Please… please don’t be offended.”
When Zhang CuiShan heard her change from calling him ‘Fifth Hero Zhang’ to ‘Fifth Brother Zhang’, his heart began to beat quickly. After he took a deep breath, Zhang CuiShan composed himself, exerting his inner chi to his hands, which held Yin SuSu’s arm around the poisoned darts.
After a while, thick steam came from the top of his head, signs that he’s utilizing his full power. Yin SuSu was grateful in her heart, and knew that this is a critical juncture, refrained from speaking as to not break his concentration. Suddenly, a Plum Flower Dart from her arm shot out, and black blood sprung out from the wound, turning into red blood a while later. The second dart quickly followed.
At this moment, he heard someone yell from outside, “Is Miss Yin here? Red Sparrow Branch Leader requests a presence.” Zhang CuiShan needed to concentrate, and ignored him. He then heard the boatman yell, “There’s a thug on the boat. Leader Chang, please come here quick!” The first voice yelled, “Thug, if you hurt a single hair on Miss Yin’s head, you’ll die a painful death.” This person’s voice boomed across the river, its sound carried a threatening tone.
Yin SuSu opened her eyes and smiled weakly towards Zhang CuiShan, as if to express an apology. Since her right hand hit her arm at the location of the third Plum Flower Dart, it sank deeper than the other two. Even after three attempts, Zhang CuiShan could not get it out. He then felt another boat nearing, and someone walking onto this boat. But with all his concentration on this last dart, Zhang CuiShan ignored all this. That person came into the cabin, and saw Zhang CuiShan’s hands holding tightly onto Yin SuSu’s arm. Obviously he would not believe that Zhang CuiShan’s actually trying to heal her. In his hastiness, that person’s palm shot out at Zhang CuiShan’s back, while yelling, “Still wouldn’t release your hands, thug?”
Zhang CuiShan didn’t have time to get away, so he simply took a deep breath, and with a loud pop, this palm hit squarely on his back. Zhang CuiShan knew the intricacies of Wu Dang inner power, so he simply stayed still, channeling the force of the blow through his body. Immediately, the third Plum Flower Dart popped out, landing on the floor nearby.
The person who hit Zhang CuiShan was about to follow up with a second blow, but when he saw the dart he immediately stopped, said, “Miss Yin, Are you… are you injured?” When he saw black blood pouring out her arm, he realized that he mistook this gentleman’s intentions, and felt guilty. Considering the power of his palm, he thought that Zhang CuiShan’s life was probably in danger. So he quickly took out some medicine for Zhang CuiShan to take.
Zhang CuiShan shook his head, and once the blood pouring out turned to red, released his hands. He turned around and smiled, “That was one powerful blow.” That person stood in shock. He thought of how he had killed so many powerful fighters with his palm. Yet this young gentleman could take the full brunt of his attack and act as if nothing happened. He said, “You… you…” He looked at Zhang CuiShan’s face, and immediately went to grab his wrist and check his condition. Zhang CuiShan thought, “Why don’t I play a joke on him?” Then proceeded to gather his chi and stopped his heartbeat. When that person checked his pulse and found none, he was simply appalled, not knowing what to think.
Zhang CuiShan took the handkerchief Yin SuSu just handed him, and used it to cover her wounds, then said, “Most of the poison had been flushed out. You should recover easily with the aid of common antidotes.” Yin SuSu said, “Thank you.” She then turned to that other person and said with a solemn expression, “Branch Leader Chang. Meet Fifth Hero Zhang of Wu Dang.” That person fell back a step, bowed, and said, “Oh, so it’s the fifth hero of the ‘Seven Heroes of Wu Dang’. No wonder your inner power is so amazing. My name is Chang JinPeng. Sorry for my rudeness.”
Zhang CuiShan looked at this fifty-some year old man, with tight muscles all over his body, looking very strong. He returned with a bow.
Chang JinPeng turned towards Yin SuSu and paid his respects. Yin SuSu nodded, but didn’t seem to care much for this man. Only to hear Chang JinPeng say, “Branch Leader Bai had already contacted the Sea Sand Sect, the Huge Whale Clan, and the Divine Fist Sect. The meeting time for showing the saber is tomorrow morning on QianTang river’s WangPan island. If my lady’s not feeling well, I can send you back home to Lin An. Branch Leader Bai alone should suffice taking care of these people.”
Yin SuSu said, “Humph… Sea Sand Sect, Huge Whale Clan, Divine Fist Sect… Is the head of the Divine Fish Sect Guo SanQuan going to be there too?” Chang JinPeng said, “I heard he personally led his twelve best students.” Yin SuSu said, “Although he’s quite famous, Guo SanQuan’s ability is nowhere near that of Branch Leader Bai. Anyone else important that I should be aware of?” Chang JinPeng said, “I heard two young swordsman from the Kun Lun sect will be there. They said that they want to see the Dragon… Dragon…” He paused here for a moment, and glanced at Zhang CuiShan. Yin SuSu said coldly, “They want to see the Dragon Saber, right? Their hands might become itchy…” When Zhang CuiShan heard the words ‘Dragon Saber’, his ears perked up. Only to hear Yin SuSu continue, “We can’t underestimate these Kun Lun swordsman. My injury’s no big deal. Let me see, how about we also go to the meeting. Perhaps Branch Leader Bai could use our help.” She turned around and said to Zhang CuiShan, “Fifth Hero Zhang. We should part now. I’ll go ahead on Branch Leader Chang’s boat. You can take my boat back to Lin An city. After all, there’s no reason for Wu Dang to get into all this.”
Zhang CuiShan said, “My third brother’s injury is seemingly related to the Dragon Saber. Can Miss Yin fill me in on everything?” Yin SuSu said, “I don’t know all the details either. Why don’t you go back and ask your third brother?”
Zhang CuiShan saw that she wouldn’t say, and decided against pressing further. He thought, “The people who hurt my third brother looked like they really wanted the Dragon Saber. From the tone of Branch Leader Chang, the Dragon Saber is in their hands. Should those people know about this, they’d surely come to this meeting.” So he said, “Do you think that Taoist priest who fired these darts would also go to WangPan Mountain?”
Yin SuSu showed a slight grin, but did not answer his question. Instead she said, “If you really want to go to this ceremony, then let’s go together.” She then turned towards Chang JinPeng and said, “Branch Leader Chang. Please lead the way.” Chang JinPeng answered, “Yes!” and retreated back out the cabin like servant in front of a master. Yin SuSu only nodded, but Zhang CuiShan respected this old man’s martial arts ability. So he personally sent Chang JinPeng out the door.
Yin SuSu looked at the tear on Zhang CuiShan’s clothes where Chang JinPeng had hit him. She said, “Take off your long robe. I’ll stitch it up for you.” Zhang CuiShan said, “No need!” Yin SuSu said, “You don’t trust my sewing ability?”
Zhang CuiShan said, “I wouldn’t dare.” And then remained silent as he thought about all those deaths in the Dragon Gate Escort Agency. He normally would have tried to kill anyone capable of such murder. Yet instead he saved this person’s life instead. Although he saved her because of her kindness to his third brother, he still realized that good and evil should not mix. Once this deal at WangPan Island is over, he’ll leave her immediately.
Yin SuSu saw the surly expression on Zhang CuiShan’s face, and immediately what he’s thinking. She said, “In addition to all those people in the Dragon Gate Escort Agency and those two Shaolin monks, I also killed Monk Hui Feng.” Zhang CuiShan said, “I thought that was you, except I wasn’t sure how you did it.” Yin SuSu said, “That was hardly difficult to do. I simply stayed by the river and listened in on your conversation. When that Hui Feng monk saw that you weren’t me, I simply gave him a needle in the mouth. You kept on searching for me on the ground and on trees, but I was on the boat the whole time. So of course you couldn’t find me.” Zhang CuiShan said, “Which means that Shaolin would continue to think that I’m the killer. Miss Yin, you are certainly very smart, very cunning.” Yin SuSu ignored his cynical tone, and simply responded with a smile, “Thank you for your compliment!”
Zhang CuiShan became even angrier, and yelled, “Why did you try to frame me? Since when did I ever do anything to you?”
Yin SuSu said with a smile, “I didn’t purposely want to hurt you. But since Shaolin and Wu Dang are known as the two most powerful institutions in the martial world. I really would like to see who would win in a battle.”
After getting over the initial shock, Zhang CuiShan found himself feeling less hatred towards Yin SuSu, but more wary towards her. He thought, “Looks like there’s a huge plan here, much bigger than just trying to hurt me. If Wu Dang and Shaolin really were to fight each other, the martial world would be much less peaceful.”
Yin SuSu remained quite calm, and said, “May I see the designs on your fan?”
Before Zhang CuiShan could respond, they heard someone on Chang JinPeng’s boat yell, “Is this Huge Whale Clan’s boat? Who’s there?” Another voice responded, “This boat carries the young leader of the Huge Whale Clan. We’re here for the meeting on the WangPan Island.” The man on Chang JinPeng’s boat yell, “The Heavenly Eagle Sect’s Miss Yin and Branch Leader Chang of the Red Sparrow Branch are here. Plus there’s an honored guest. Please get back behind us.” The other person yelled, “If your leader were here, we’d surely let you go first. But no one else is worthy.”
Zhang CuiShan thought, “Heavenly Eagle Sect? What kind of evil sect is that? How come I’ve never heard of them? They look to be quite formidable based on what I’ve seen. This sect must’ve been established only recently, and stayed mostly in the southern area. Which is why I’ve never met them.” He opened the cabin window and looked outside, only to see a boat with a sculpture of whale carved to its head, and several curved sabers on its side, decorated as whale teeth. This boat had a huge mast, allowing it to sail much faster than Chang JinPeng and his boats.
Chang JinPeng yelled, “Young Leader Mai, Miss Yin’s here. How could you not give face to her?” A yellow-robed young man stepped to the front of the whale-boat gave a cold laugh and said, “On land the Heavenly Eagle Sect rules supreme, but on water you think you can compete with us? Why should we give you face on the river?” Zhang CuiShan thought, “This river is so wide hundreds of boats can travel simultaneously. Why do they have to make other boats travel behind them? This Heavenly Eagle Sect really is odd.”
By this time, the wind picked up, and the Huge Whale Clan’s boat is now way ahead of them. Chang JinPeng let out a ‘humph’, and said, “Huge Whale Clan… Dragon Saber… also… Dragon Saber…” It’s really hard to distinguish what he said with the huge wind and the distance between the boats.
When that Young Leader Mai heard him say ‘Dragon Saber’ twice, he became very interested, and ordered his man to sail back towards Chang JinPeng’s boat. Once nearly there, he asked, “Branch Leader Chang, what did you say?” Chang JinPeng said, “Young Leader Mai… our Branch Leader Bai… that Dragon Saber…” Zhang CuiShan thought, “That’s odd. Why does he speak in fragments?”
Only to see the two boats moving closer and closer together, until they’re only a few feet apart. Then suddenly, Chang JinPeng picked up an iron anchor on his boat and threw it onto the other boat, Amidst screaming from two sailors, the anchor swooped down onto the whale-boat.
Young Leader Mai yelled, “What are you doing?” Chang JinPeng didn’t respond, instead picked up the second anchor on his boat and also threw it onto the whale-boat, killing three sailors in the process. Now the two boats are locked tightly together. Young Leader Mai tried to pick up the anchor to get it off the boat. Meanwhile, Chang JinPeng waved his right hand, and accompanied by the sound of chains, a dark green watermelon shot out, hitting the main cabin of the Huge Whale Clan’s boat. Only then did Zhang CuiShan realize that this watermelon is Chang JinPeng’s weapon. It seemed to be made out of steel, two of them total, connected by a long chain. Each one incredibly heavy, at least sixty to seventy pounds. Only someone with incredible strength can make them move with such ease.
After hearing a huge amount of noise, Zhang CuiShan saw that the watermelon had made a cut in the middle of the boat. While the sailors on the boat panicked, Chang JinPeng retracted his watermelon and then threw both onto the back end of the whale-boat. After a while, the boat began to split apart.
That young leader could only watch helplessly as his boat broke apart.
He yelled some obscenities at Chang JinPeng, who retorted, “As long as Heavenly Eagle Sect’s here, we also rule the water!” As he spoke he threw out his watermelons again, this time he made a hole at the bottom of the ship, causing water to begin flooding in.
Young Leader Mai jumped up from his boat towards Chang JinPeng’s. Chang JinPeng waited till he’s right in the middle of his jump before sending out a watermelon with his left hand. While in midair, this young leader could not hope to dodge the oncoming weapon. He immediately blacked out upon impact and fell back to his own boat.
By now, there are already several holes in the Huge Whale Clan’s boat, and its sailors could only try to hold on for dear life. Without needing any orders from Branch Leader Chang, the sailors on his boat retracted their anchors and resumed sailing.
Zhang CuiShan was thoroughly impressed by Chang JinPeng, thinking, “Had my teacher not taught me the intricacies of borrowing force to release force, His attack on my back would’ve certainly killed me. Not only is this person’s kung fu amazing, he’s also devious and clever. Must be a powerful person among the evil sects.” He turned back and looked at Yin SuSu, only to see her expression calm and ordinary, as if she didn’t really care about any of this.
Although these sailors knew how to swim, it’s still impossible for them to swim all the way to the side of the river. Many of them cried out for help. Chang JinPeng and Yin SuSu’s boats did not bother to stop for any of them.
Zhang CuiShan looked out the window at the broken-down boat. He felt sorry for these sailors, but knew that considering Chang JinPeng and Yin SuSu’s merciless attitude, he could not persuade them to save those people.
Yin SuSu looked at his expression, smiled, and yelled out, “Branch Leader Chang. Our honored guest Fifth Hero Zhang wants to do a good deed. Why don’t you save these people?” Zhang CuiShan could not believe that she would speak such words. Only to hear Chang JinPeng say, “I will carry out the request of our guest.”
He then yelled, “Listen up people. Wu Dang’s Fifth Hero Zhang wants to save your lives. If you value your life, swim towards our boats!” The Huge Whale Clan people immediately swam towards the boats, most of them made it.
Zhang CuiShan’s heart warmed, and said happily, “Thank you!” Yin SuSu said coldly, “The Huge Whale Clan kill people like objects. None of them are compassionate people. Why did you want to save them?” Zhang CuiShan was taken aback. He knew that the Huge Whale Clan is one of the four most brutal water clans in the country. Yet for some reason, he actually tried to save them today. Only to hear Yin SuSu say, “Had I not saved them, I bet Fifth Hero Zhang would’ve scolded me, ‘You are such a malicious young woman. I really regret having saved your life.’” Being told exactly what he had been thinking, Zhang CuiShan’s face turned red. He said with a smile, “You’re so cunning, how can I hope to argue over you? Saving those people will only help you atone for your bad deeds. It has nothing to do with me.”
At this moment, the tide roared like thunder, shaking everyone’s ears. Zhang CuiShan and Yin SuSu could hardly hear each other in this situation. Zhang CuiShan looked out the window, and realized that those people in the Huge Whale Clan who hasn’t been saved are likely all dead.
Yin SuSu walked over to the back room, closed the door, and came back out a bit later, this time in woman’s clothing. She then made a gesture for him to take off his robe. Zhang CuiShan didn’t want to refuse her, and did as he’s told. He thought Yin SuSu wanted to mend his robe; instead she actually wanted him to put the robe she just taken off. Afterwards, Yin SuSu took the torn robe into the back room.
With nothing else to wear, Zhang CuiShan could only put on the robe Yin SuSu handed him. This robe is quite big, and he had no problem fitting in it. A faint fragrance came from the robe. Zhang CuiShan’s mind shivered, and looked away from her. He simply sat in the cabin pretending to look at the paintings on the all. But with the huge tide rocking the boat, plus so many worries in his mind, Zhang CuiShan could not enjoy anything at the moment. Yin SuSu did not speak with him either.
Suddenly the boat rocked hard again, even the candle was blown out. Zhang CuiShan thought, “It’s bad image for Miss Yin if she and I continue to stay in a dark room like this together.” So he opened the cabin door and sat outside, only to see the boatman desperately trying to hold the tiller, rowing the boat under these extreme conditions.
After about an hour, the tidal waves dissipated. A while later, they’ve arrived at WangPan Island.
The WangPan Island is located right at the mouth of river, where it flowed into the Eastern Sea. The island is filled with stone mountains, seemingly without residents. Two boats docked by the beach. Only to hear a horn blowing in the distance, to see two people waving flags on the beach. As the boat got closer, Zhang CuiShan saw that the two boats both have a large eagle on their flags.
An old man stood on the shore between the two boats. Only to hear him say, “Black Valiant Branch’s Branch Leader Bai GuiShou welcomes Miss Yin.” His words long but clear, although not too loud, managed to show his impressive inner power. When Yin SuSu’s boat docked, he personally put up the plank. Yin SuSu asked Zhang CuiShan to go first, before she walked down to the shore to introduce them.
How nicely Yin SuSu treated Zhang CuiShan, who introduced him to be the fifth hero of Wu Dang, really startled Bai GuiShou. He said, “It really is a pleasure to meet one of the renowned heroes of Wu Dang.” Zhang CuiShan returned with some courteous words.
Yin SuSu said with a chuckle, “Your words are so insincere. One’s thinking, ‘Darn, Wu Dang’s also here. Yet another person who wants to steal the Dragon Saber.’ The other’s thinking, ‘Man of an evil sect, I could care less about associating with the likes of you.’ If you ask me, you really should just speak your minds.”
Bai GuiShou laughed, while Zhang CuiShan said, “I did not mean any disrespect. Branch Leader Bai’s kung fu is superb. I was amazed at your ability to stretch your sound across the water. I am only here with Miss Yin, not to take the Dragon Saber.”
Yin SuSu’s expression brightened considerably upon these words. Bai GuiShou knew of Yin SuSu’s icy personality, and was quite shocked that she would warm up to Zhang CuiShan. So one could imagine just how important he is to her. That plus the fact that Zhang CuiShan complimented on his own kung fu lessened Bai GuiShou’s enmity towards Zhang CuiShan. He said, “Miss Yin, Sea Sand Sect, Huge Whale Clan, and Divine Fist Sect’s people are all here. Plus two Kun Lun swordsmen came. These two kids are extremely arrogant, nowhere near as courteous as Fifth Hero Zhang…”
As he said to here, they heard someone yell from behind, “And just how courteous is it to speak foul of others behind the back?” Two men in long, green robes appeared, with swords on their back. Both looked like they were in their late twenties, with an expression as if they want to cause some trouble. Bai GuiShou said with a smile, “Well, look who’s here. Come, let me introduce everyone.”
Those two started to complain, but stopped when they were captivated by Yin SuSu’s amazing beauty. One simply stared at her. The other turned away immediately after a glance, but kept her in the corner of his eyes.
Bai GuiShou pointed at the man staring at Yin SuSu and said, “This is Swordsman Gao ZeCheng.” Then he pointed to the other man and said, “This is Swordsman Jiang Tao. Both are prestigious members of the Kun Lun Sect. As this is their first visit to the central plains, I’m sure they can show us their incredible swordsmanship.”
His voice was filled with sarcasm and disdain. Zhang CuiShan thought these two people would have drawn their swords, or at least rebutted Bai GuiShou, immediately. Yet for some reason, neither did anything, as if they never heard those words. Then Zhang CuiShan looked at their expressions, and figured out that they were so enchanted by Yin SuSu that they forgot about everything else. Zhang CuiShan chuckled inside, thought, “I’ve always heard that Kun Lun’s a very prominent sect, and is famous for its incredible swordsmanship. Who’d have thought that its disciples would be so ill- disciplined?”
Bai GuiShou then added, “This is Wu Dang’s Mr. Zhang CuiShan. This is Miss Yin. This is Branch Leader Chang JinPeng.” He did not elaborate on these three people when he made the introduction. In fact, he even changed from calling Zhang CuiShan ‘Fifth Hero Zhang’ to ‘Mr. Zhang’, obviously to convey their closeness.
Yin SuSu, pleased at his words, turned to look at Zhang CuiShan with a bright smile.
Gao ZeCheng’s jealously immediately acted up, stared at Zhang CuiShan angrily, and said coldly, “Martial Brother Jiang, I thought I heard back in western regions that Wu Dang is one of the righteous sects in the central plains.” Jiang Tao said, “I believe I heard that too.” Gao ZeCheng said, “Guess the sayings weren’t all that accurate.” Jiang Tao said, “Really? Well, it wouldn’t be all that surprising, considering these rumors tend to be wrong most of the time. What’s this whole deal about Wu Dang anyway?” Gao ZeCheng said, “How could a disciple of a righteous sect mingle with the members of an evil sect? Guess he really likes to sink to their level.” They didn’t realize that Yin SuSu is also a member of the Heavenly Eagle Sect, and merely implied Bai GuiShou and Chang JinPeng when they said ‘evil sect’.
After hearing these words, Zhang CuiShan immediately became angry. He wanted to rebut, yet stopped himself at the last moment. He thought that since his purpose was to look for Yu DaiYan’s killers, there was no need to quarrel needlessly. Besides, the Heavenly Eagle Sect really does deserve the title of an ‘evil sect’, as Yin SuSu and Chang JinPeng both treat killing people like eating dinner. He certainly should try to associate as little as possible with them. Zhang CuiShan therefore smiled, and responded, “Like my two friends, I’m also just newly acquainted with the Heavenly Eagle Sect.”
These words really shocked everyone. Bai GuiShou originally thought that Yin SuSu and him were long time friends. He’d never imagine they’re newly acquaintances. Yin SuSu became angry immediately, as Zhang CuiShan’s words showed blatant disrespect towards the Heavenly Eagle Sect. Gao and Jiang laughed in their minds, thinking, “What a coward. He must be afraid of our Kun Lun Sect.”
Bai GuiShou said, “Looks like everyone’s here. We’re only missing the young master of the Huge Whale Clan, but let’s not wait on him. Everyone can relax for a while, as we’ll gather at noon to show the saber.” Chang JinPeng said with a smile, “Young Master Mai’s boat had some trouble, but Mr. Zhang helped him out. He’s currently on my boat, and will make it to the ceremony.”
Zhang CuiShan saw that these two branch leaders had treated him with great respect, while Yin SuSu’s gaze revealed much tenderness. But on further thought, he felt necessary to stay as far away from these people as possible. So he said, “I want to take a stroll alone.” Before anyone could respond, he turned around and started walking into a nearby forest.
Although he felt extremely angry at Yin SuSu’s vicious behavior, there’s always much warmness in his heart whenever he thought about her. He thought, “This Miss Yin’s place in the Heavenly Eagle Sect is very high, but she’s not the leader. These two branch leaders treated her like a princess. I wonder what position does she hold?” Then he thought some more, “The Heavenly Eagle Sect obviously want to show off the Dragon Saber, yet they only sent two branch leaders to guard against these other sects. Obviously they felt no need for extra security. Bai GuiShou’s kung fu looks to be even higher than Chang JinPeng. From this I can deduce that the Heavenly Eagle Sect is indeed a very powerful group. I really should know more about them, in case they ever become enemies with Wu Dang.”
As he was thinking, he began to hear weapons clashing in the distance. Out of curiosity, Zhang CuiShan walked towards the sound, only to see Gao ZeCheng and Jiang Tao practicing swords with each other in the distance, while Yin SuSu watched on the side. Zhang CuiShan thought, “Master always said that Kun Lun sword art is very unique. When he was young, he even fought against a famous Kun Lun Swordsman called the ‘Sword Saint’. It really is an amazing opportunity to see their sword art.” But it’s a big no- no to secretly watch others practice their kung fu, so although Zhang CuiShan really wish to keep watching, he turned away.
However, Yin SuSu had discovered him by now and yelled out, “Come here, Fifth Brother Zhang.” If Zhang CuiShan began to leave now, he’d look like he was peeking. So he had no choice but to walk towards her. Zhang CuiShan said to Yin SuSu, “Since they’re practicing swords, we really should go away as to not distract them.” Before Yin SuSu could respond, a streak of light shined, as Jiang Tao’s sword made a cut on Gao ZeCheng’s left arm, blood came out. Zhang CuiShan froze, thought that Jiang Tao only accidentally injured Gao ZeCheng. Yet Gao ZeCheng didn’t even let out a sound. He simply continued to fight, each sword attack deadlier than the previous one. Zhang CuiShan was shocked to see them actually fighting for real.
Yin SuSu said with a smile, “Looks like the older martial brother is worse than the younger one. Brother Jiang’s sword art is more exquisite.”
When Gao ZeCheng heard these words, he bit his teeth, his fast sword stretched down at a slanted angle, using the move ‘Hundred Meters of Blazing Wind’, came slicing down from midair. Zhang CuiShan couldn’t help but yell, “Great sword technique!” Jiang Tao immediately evaded, but Gao ZeCheng’s just too experienced. In the middle of the technique, he immediately switched to a different technique. The sword tip trembled, piercing into Jiang Tao’s left leg. Yin SuSu clapped her hands and said, “Wow, looks like the elder martial brother has a few tricks up his sleeves. Guess he’s better after all.” Jiang Tao said, “Don’t be so sure.” And used the technique ‘Rain Poured on Flying Flowers’. This technique is very tricky. A real attack hides among seven or eight elegant deceptions to fool the enemy. But since Gao ZeCheng is very familiar with this technique, he was not fooled and blocked every attack. By now, both people are wounded. Although the wounds were not severe, one can still see blood spluttering out from the cuts. Their attacks became more and more ruthless, until near the end they seemingly wanted to take each other’s lives. Yin SuSu kept on encouraging them, complimenting a bit on Gao ZeCheng, then a bit on Jiang Tao. The two martial brothers became fueled to the point where they fought as if their lives depended on it.
By now Zhang CuiShan realized that their fight was initiated by Yin SuSu, as revenge for their words against the Heavenly Eagle Sect. Although their techniques are intricate, Zhang CuiShan saw that the two martial brothers lacked experience and inner power. So their amazing sword art could only be exerted at about ten to twenty percent capacity.
Yin SuSu clapped her hands and smiled brightly, as if she’s very happy. She said, “Fifth Brother Zhang, what do you think of their Kun Lun sword arts?” Before he could respond, she had turned her head around. When she saw the disgusted look on Zhang CuiShan’s face, she added, “Actually, their techniques are all crap. Let’s go watch the scenery over there at the beach.” Without waiting for his response, Yin SuSu grabbed Zhang CuiShan’s hand and began to leave.
Zhang CuiShan’s heart stirred as her soft hand gripped his own. Although he knew she was using him to further ridicule Gao and Jiang, he still could not bring himself to break himself apart, willingly followed her to the beach.
Yin SuSu stared into the distant sea, then suddenly said, “In the chapter ‘Water in Autumn’ of the book Zhuang Zi, there’s a passage which says, ‘All the waters in the world, none more than in the sea, thousands rivers flow here, not knowing when they could stop but not overflow.’ But the sea is not proud. It says, ‘I belong between the sky and the earth, just like small rocks and small plants are between the sky and the earth.’ Zhuang Zi really is an incredible book. Its philosophies are so deep and so overwhelming.”
Zhang CuiShan had been quite mad at her for inciting Gao and Jiang into fighting, but could not help but froze at these words. Zhuang Zi is a must- read for all Taoists. When Zhang CuiShan was at Wu Dang Mountain, Zhang SanFeng had used it often to explain philosophies to his students. He could not imagine this devilish lady could recite such words. After he regained his composure, Zhang CuiShan said, “Yes, ‘walking a thousand miles, would not match its immensity, climb up a thousand steps, would not match its depth.’ ”
As Yin SuSu heard his quoted description of the sea from ‘Water in Autumn’, she saw a deep admiration on his face. She said, “Are you thinking of your master?”
Deeply shocked, Zhang CuiShan unknowingly reached out with his right hand and grabbed hers. He asked, “How do you know?” Years before, when he and his martial brothers were reading this book, Yu DaiYan commented on this exact passage. He said at the time, “As we learn more and more, it appears as if we’re moving backward. The more we learn, the more apart we seem to be from master. These words described master’s bottomless, unparalleled martial arts perfectly.” Both Song YuanQiao and Zhang CuiShan nodded in agreement. So when he recited those words just now, Zhang CuiShan immediately thought of his master Zhang SanFeng.
Yin SuSu said, “Based on your expression, you must be either thinking of your parents, or a Wu Dang elder. But other than Taoist Zhang SanFeng, who else on this world can be described as ‘walking a thousand miles, would not match its immensity’?” Zhang CuiShan said happily, “You’re really smart.” But then quickly realized that it was not courteous to have grabbed her hands.
Yin SuSu said, “Just how good is your master’s martial arts anyway? Can you tell me?” Zhang CuiShan sighed, said, “It’s not just martial arts. His knowledge is so broad and so deep that I can’t even begin to describe.” Yin SuSu smiled, said, “ ‘The scholar walks, the scholar moves faster, the scholar dashes, the scholar like a spirit flies into the distance, disappearing just as I look up.’” This quote was made by Yan Hui in Zhuang Zi to compliment his master, Confucius. After hearing her describe his master this way, especially as Zhang CuiShan himself felt this towards Zhang SanFeng, he said, “My master doesn’t even have to fly. He simply needs to walk for me to fall behind.”
With Yin SuSu’s cleverness, plus her wish to get on Zhang CuiShan’s good side, they had no trouble carrying on an excellent conversation. Sitting side by side on a large stone, the two forgot the outside world as they conversed.
After a while, loud footsteps came from faraway, followed by someone clearing his throat, and said, “Mr. Zhang, Miss Yin, it’s noon now. Please follow me to the place where we’ll hold the ceremony.” Zhang CuiShan turned around, and saw Chang JinPeng standing ten paces behind them. Although his expression is in a very respectful manner, there’s a slightly grin on his face, looking like an old man being happy to see a lovely young couple together. Although Yin SuSu had always viewed him as a subordinate, she still could not help but blush at this moment, and turn away. Zhang CuiShan’s cheek turned red upon seeing them, even if he’s sure of his own integrity.
Chang JinPeng turned around to lead them. Yin SuSu whispered to him, “Let me go first, so they won’t see us together.” Zhang CuiShan thought, “Since when did this young woman became so shy?” But he nodded anyway. Yin SuSu caught up with Chang JinPeng, asked, “What happened to those two Kun Lun idiots anyway?” Zhang CuiShan’s thoughts were filled with mixed emotions as he watched them disappear into the trees. Then he followed them into the mountain valley.
Upon entering the valley, he saw a grassy plain filled with several tables. Other than an elegant table to the east, all others were filled. When Chang JinPeng saw him walking near, he yelled, “Here comes Wu Dang’s Fifth Hero Zhang!” He spoke these words clearly and loudly, his voice vibrated between the mountains. After the introduction, Chang JinPeng and Bai GuiShou came up to greet him. Bai GuiShou said, “Branch Leader Bai GuiShou and Chang JinPeng, under Sect Leader Yin, welcome Fifth Hero Zhang to our ceremony.”
Zhang CuiShan thought, “Ah, so the their leader’s surname really is ‘Yin’!” He responded, “Thank your for welcoming me here.” As he walked passed by the other tables, Zhang CuiShan saw everyone staring at him strangely, but didn’t thought much of it. He did not know that none of the other people here were so seriously greeted as he had been, with both branch leaders and all their sub-leaders welcoming him personally. For the other groups, only one or two sub-leaders had greeted them.
Bai GuiShou showed him to the table that wasn’t taken, on the east side. This table only has one chair, but nonetheless the most elegant one. Zhang CuiShan looked around, and saw around six or seven people at each other table. Gao ZeCheng and Jiang Tao sat at the sixth table. Zhang CuiShan said, “I really don’t deserve such a seat. Brother Bai, please move me somewhere else.” Bai GuiShou said, “Wu Dang is one of the most highly respected institutions in the martial world. That plus Fifth Hero Zhang’s fame, you’re more than qualified for this seat.” Zhang CuiShan remembered his master’s lesson on modesty, thought, “If big brother or master were here, they could certainly sit here. But I certainly do not deserve it.” So he once again refused the seat. Gao ZeCheng gave Jiang Tao a glance. Then Jiang Tao picked up his chair and threw it at Zhang CuiShan’s table, over five other tables. It landed perfectly in place, demonstrating his exquisite palm ability and inner power. Gao ZeCheng yelled, “Humph, ‘most highly respected institution’? I wonder if Wu Dang’s really worthy of the title. If you, Mr. Zhang, refuse to sit there, then let us brothers take your place.” The two flew like the wind over to Zhang CuiShan’s table, next to the chairs.
For you see, Yin SuSu had told them earlier that she wanted to learn some Kun Lun sword art. Both brothers immediately pulled out their swords and began to show her their sword techniques. At first, they simply wished to get the upper hand and gain her favor. But with Yin SuSu adding fuel to fire with her words, the duel quickly got out of hand. Only when Yin SuSu left with Zhang CuiShan did the two realize that they had been duped. Obviously, the two were extremely angry, but neither could act up towards Yin SuSu. So they tried to take Zhang CuiShan’s seat in an effort to make him fight them, then they can make him look bad here in public.
Chang JinPeng put up a hand to stop them, said, “Hold on!” Gao ZeCheng was about to object, when Zhang CuiShan said, “If the two honored guests wish to sit here, then go ahead. I’ll switch seats with you!” As he spoke he began to walk towards the sixth table where the Kun Lun brothers were sitting. Yin SuSu suddenly waved her hand at him, yelled, “Fifth Brother Zhang, come here.”
Zhang CuiShan wasn’t sure what she wanted to say, so he went to her side. Yin SuSu pulled up a chair and put it by her seat, said, “Why don’t you sit here?” Zhang CuiShan never imagined that she would say such a thing. Under the stares of others, he could not decide what to do. Agreeing would make it seem as if they have an intimate relationship, while refusing would make her look very bad. Yin SuSu whispered, “I need to speak to you about several matters.” Zhang CuiShan saw a hint of begging in her gaze, softened his heard, and sat down on the chair. Yin SuSu, euphoric at his decision, poured a cup of wine for him to drink.
Although they managed to grab the main table, Gao ZeCheng and Jiang Tao now felt even angrier, but could not act up in public. Bai GuiShou swept some dust off the chairs and said with a smile, “If the Kun Lun guests wish to sit here, then be my guest. Please, sit!” As he spoke the people from the Heavenly Eagle Sect returned to their seats. Gao ZeCheng and Jiang Tao thought, “This worthless fellow is too scared to sit here. So obviously his Wu Dang sect is lesser than our Kun Lun sect.” The two looked at each other, and sat down.
Only to hear a loud cracking noise, the chairs broke under them, and the two brothers stumbled to the ground, looking very awkward. But with their solid martial arts, the two quickly regained composure and got back up. Even so, everyone at the ceremony began to laugh wildly. Gao and Jiang realized that Bai GuiShou did something to the chair while dusting it. They both suddenly become conscious of just how powerful Bai GuiShou’s inner power was, much more powerful than either could’ve imagined.
Only to hear Bai GuiShou said coldly, “We all know that the Kun Lun martial arts is amazing. You don’t have to beat up on two chairs to prove it. Besides, everyone can do this simple chair-breaking kung fu anyway, right?” He waved his right hand and spoke to the ten sub-leaders under his command, “Why don’t you all try it out?”
Only to hear numerous cracking sounds, as ten chairs immediately broke apart. Those ten sub-leaders remained upright throughout the whole process, not moving a tiny bit while their chairs crumbled. Obviously this made them look much better than Gao and Jiang. Everyone here realized that Bai GuiShou was purposely making Gao and Jiang look bad. But the scene really was very entertaining, so they could not hold back their laughter.
Amidst the laughter, two sub-leaders each carried a large rock towards the main table, kicked away the scraps of the broken chairs. One said, “I’m sorry that our wooden chairs could not support the two honored guests. How about sitting on this rock instead?” These two people are renowned strongmen in the Heavenly Eagle Sect. So although their martial arts are plain, they still have the innate strength to carry these two huge rocks, each no less than four hundred pounds. They walked in front of the two Kun Lun brothers, seeking to hand the rocks to them.
The exquisite Kun Lun sword skills, unfortunately, would not be of any help to Gao and Jiang when it comes to catching rocks. Gao ZeCheng yelled, “Put that down!” The two strongmen did not listen, instead they raised the rocks above their heads and yelled, “Take it!”
When they said this, Gao and Jiang immediately retreated a few steps. They were afraid that the two strongmen did not have enough strength, and might accidentally drop the rocks onto them. Although extremely angry, Gao and Jiang did not dare attack the two strongmen.
Bai GuiShou said, “If the two Kun Lun guests do not want to sit down, perhaps we should give these chairs to Mr. Zhang!”
Zhang CuiShan had been sitting by Yin SuSu, taking in her fragrance, feeling heavenly in his heart, without a care for the outside world. When Bai GuiShou yelled out his name, Zhang CuiShan quickly returned to reality, and thought, “I can’t fall into this demonic trap, and be so closely associated with this evil sect’s lady demon.” So he immediately got up and walked over.
Although he had heard Chang JinPeng compliment Zhang CuiShan’s ability, Bai GuiShou had never seen anything himself. At this moment, he wanted to try Zhang CuiShan out. So he gave the two strongmen a meaningful glance.
The two strongmen understood his intentions, walked over to Zhang CuiShan, and yelled together, “Be careful, Mr. Zhang. Please take it!” The two people bent their knees, then used their legs’ power to help throw the rocks upward and forward, aimed towards Zhang CuiShan.
When the crowd saw this, they unwittingly all stood up to look.
Bai GuiShou originally planned to simply test Zhang CuiShan’s martial arts, and not out of malevolence. One reason is out of curiosity, as ‘Wu Dang’s Seven Heroes’ are too famous in the martial world. Another is because Bai GuiShou could not believe the famous Zhang CuiShan is actually a scholarly looking person. Finally, he saw that the icy cold Yin SuSu, who don’t seem to care for anyone, was extremely thoughtful and gentle towards this ‘Fifth Hero Zhang’. This meant that Zhang CuiShan would likely be an important character for the Heavenly Eagle Sect later on. But now as he watched the two stones headed towards Zhang CuiShan, Bai GuiShou began to regret his decision. Being a renowned Wu Dang disciple, Zhang CuiShan could surely dodge the rocks, but doing so would make him look bad. Zhang CuiShan and surely Yin SuSu would both be extremely angry. He instantly made up his mind, that should something go wrong, he would immediately put the blame on the two sub-leaders. Better execute them than face the wrath of Miss Yin.
Zhang CuiShan was very shocked to see two rocks about to fall on top of him. He couldn’t get out of the way, for then he’d look no better than the Gao and Jiang, making Wu Dang look bad. So without much thought, Zhang CuiShan called upon all his powers at this critical moment. His left hand wrote the right-hook in the character ‘martial’, redirecting the movement of the left rock. His right hand wrote the left-slant in the character ‘saber’, bringing along the right rock. The force of the two huge rocks falling down is quite enormous. Zhang CuiShan’s strong point is certainly not his arm strength. So for him to even catch one rock would be impossible. Fortunately, he has learnt the techniques Zhang SanFeng created from characters, which are some of the deepest martial arts philosophies in the world. The basis of Wu Dang’s martial arts lies not with speed, nor with power. Rather, it is all about the intricacies of using force. If one can apply the right amount of power at the right time, he can ‘move thousands of pounds using ounces of force’. Through years of learning and experience, Zhang CuiShan can use this concept readily. Borrowing the innate force of the throw, Zhang CuiShan easily redirected the directions of the two rocks directly upward.
As his long sleeves danced, the hands hidden inside the sleeves, from onlookers’ view, seemingly had caught the rocks, only to hurl them up once again. The two rocks went up one after the other, then began to descent. Zhang CuiShan floated up, until he sat down upon the higher of the two rocks.
Only to hear a loud thud, as the bottom rock hit the ground, making a huge dent in the ground. Immediately afterwards, the top rock fell on top of the bottom one, with Zhang CuiShan sitting calmly on top. He said with a smile, “The two sub-leaders’ strengths are astounding. You have my admiration.”
Those two sub-leaders could only stare at him in silence, unable to get over the shock of what had happened.
For a while, the whole place remained silent. Then everyone started to applaud, which lasted for a long time.
Yin SuSu glanced at Bai GuiShou, her expression positively delightful. Bai GuiShou was thrilled that his ‘mistake’ now turned into a big favor for Miss Yin. He picked up a cup of wine, walked towards Zhang CuiShan’s table and said, “I’ve long heard of Fifth Hero Zhang’s fame, but only today was I able to personally see your amazing kung fu. Here’s a toast for you.” As he spoke he drank the wine. Zhang CuiShan said, “You’re too flattering!” and drank a cup of wine in turn.
Bai GuiShou walked to the middle of the gathering, yelled, “My sect has recently acquired a new saber, called the Dragon Saber. Some have said, ‘Martial world’s most venerable, Prized saber dragon slaying, Controlling all under Heaven, None dares to not follow!’” He paused slightly here, his eyes swept through the entire field, letting the words sink in. Then he added, “Our Leader Yin originally planned for heroes everywhere to meet on Heavenly Eagle Mountain, so they can see our Dragon Saber. However, that would take too long to plan. We want some of our close friends to see the saber first, and spread the good word for us.” He waved his hands, and eight disciples walked into a nearby cave.
Everyone looked at these eight disciples, thinking they went in to grab the saber. Instead, they came out carrying a huge iron pot. They used poles to lift the pot, as to avoid the giant fire burnt within. The eight disciples put the pot in the middle of the gathering. Everyone sitting immediately felt the warmth of the fire. After those eight people left, four more came, carrying a large iron anvil, while two others carried two heavy hammers.
Bai GuiShou said, “Branch Leader Chang, please show us the Dragon Saber!”
Chang JinPeng said, “As you wish!” He turned around and yelled, “Get me the saber!”
The two strongmen walked into the cave. When they reappeared, one carried a yellow package, while the other guarded him. That sub-leader handed the package to Chang JinPeng, and retreated to his side. Chang JinPeng opened the package to reveal a single saber. Under the gaze of the audience, he unsheathed the saber, said, “This is the famous Dragon Saber. Watch closely!” He held the saber above his head, as if showing great respect.
Everyone here had long known about the Dragon Saber, but saw that this black saber looked quite plain. They all wondered whether this saber was real or not. Only to see Chang JinPeng give the saber to the strongman on the left, and said, “Test the hammer!”
That strongman grabbed the saber and put it on the anvil, the sharp edge facing up. The other strongman raised the iron hammer, brought it down upon the saber. Only to hear a soft scratching sound, the hammer split in half, one side stuck to the anvil, the other fell to the ground. Everyone gasped, stood up, and thought, “It’s not incredibly rare to see precious swords cut through gold or jade. But to cut through an iron hammer like tofu, without making much of a sound, is simply unheard of.
Two people from the Huge Whale Clan and the Divine Fist Sect went up to examine the broken hammer, saw that the cut was clean and shiny, meaning that it was recently made.
That strongman grabbed another large hammer, and once again brought it down up the saber, with the same result. Zhang CuiShan thought, “I can’t believe there exist a saber as sharp as this one.”
Chang JinPeng grabbed the saber and with a seemingly light stroke cut the anvil in half. He then went to the nearby forest, and in a single swoop, used the saber to cut through eighteen trees. But oddly enough, none of the trees even moved. Just as the crowd was wondering, Chang JinPeng pushed one of the trees slightly, and the top part came down. The saber did indeed sliced through all the trees. But since it was so sharp, and Chang JinPeng’s slice was horizontal, the trunks did not fall down upon cut. Heavy wind came at this moment, the rest of the trees fell.
Chang JinPeng let out a hearty laugh, waved his hand, and threw the Dragon Saber into the iron pot.
Suddenly, loud cracking noises came from afar, as if someone else is also cutting down trees. Bai GuiShou and Chang JinPeng looked at each other, then stared into the distance, only to see the ships’ masts all falling down one after another. Not knowing what’s going on, each sect sent some people to the dock to see what’s going on.
Only to hear loud noises continue, as if the boats were all sailing within a thunderstorm. One after the other, the boats sank. Everyone gathered froze, not knowing what to say. At first, they thought it was some trick by the Heavenly Eagle Sect. But once they saw the Heavenly Eagle Sect ships sinking, they felt something else is going on.
The sects sent a second group of people to check on things. Again, no one came back.
Bai GuiShou said to one of the sub-leader, “Go check it out.” That sub- leader did as told. Bai GuiShou then turned to the audience, said with a smile, “Looks like there’s something odd going on at the beach. Don’t worry. Even if the boats are ruined, we can always make more. Come, let’s drink!” Although everyone’s uneasy about the situation, none wants to show weakness in front of others. So they all picked up their cups for a drink. Suddenly a loud scream came from afar.
Chang JinPeng and Bai GuiShou both realize that this was the scream of the sub-leader they sent out. Then, heavy footsteps could be heard, followed by the appearance of a heavily wounded man, indeed the sub-leader they sent out.
He held his hand over his eyes, as blood poured out the numerous heavy scratchs on his body. He yelled, “Golden-Haired Lion King! Golden-Haired Lion King!” Bai GuiShou asked, “Did you say it’s a lion?” He calmed down a bit hearing it was just an animal. That sub-leader said, “No! No! He was a person. He clawed to death all the people. He sank all the boats!” At this moment, his body fell to the ground, dead.
Bai GuiShou said, “Let me go see what happened.” Chang JinPeng said, “I’ll go with you.” Bai GuiShou said, “You should stay and protect Miss Yin.” He knew that the dead sub-leader’s kung fu is quite formidable. Anyone capable of decapitating him like that must be very powerful. Chang JinPeng nodded and said, “Yes!”
Suddenly they heard a voice, “Golden-Haired Lion King is already here!” Everyone gasped, only to see a man appear from behind the trees. He was tall and massive, with yellow hair over his head, his eyes shined, in his hand is a three-meter long mace. The way he stood and looked gave off the aura of a war god from Heaven.
Zhang CuiShan thought, “Golden-Haired Lion King? He must’ve gotten the nickname from his yellow hair. But who is he? Master never mentioned someone like him.”
Bai GuiShou went up to him and asked, “May I have your name?” That person said, “My surname is ‘Xie’, given name is ‘Xun’. I also have a nickname called ‘Golden-Haired Lion King’.” Zhang CuiShan and Yin SuSu looked at each other, thought, “This person looks very coarse, but his name is quite elegant. His nickname is much more fitting.” Hearing him very mannerly, Bai GuiShou said, “So it is Mr. Xie. I do not believe that we have met. So why did you come to this island and start killing people?”
Xie Xun smiled, showing bright white teeth. He looked around and said, “Why did everyone else come here?”
Bai GuiShou thought, “There’s no reason to hide the truth from him. Although his kung fu is formidable, he still can’t possibly defeat Chang JinPeng and myself combined, with the help of Fifth Hero Zhang and Miss Yin.” He said, “The Heavenly Eagle Sect recently acquired a precious saber. We simply asked our friends to come take a look.”
Xie Xun examined the saber currently lying inside the huge iron pot. Its ability to keep its natural color under so much heat certainly demonstrated the saber’s value. He began to walk towards the pot.
Chang JinPeng saw his intentions, blocked the way, yelled, “Stop!” Xie Xun chuckled, said, “What do you want?” Chang JinPeng said, “This saber belongs to the Heavenly Eagle Sect. You can certainly examine it, but you cannot take it.” Xie Xun said, “Did you make the sword? Or bought it?” Chang JinPeng could not respond. Xie Xun continued, “You also took it from someone else. So if I take it from you, it’s hardly unfair. So why can’t I do it?” As he spoke he went to grab the saber.
Chang JinPeng took out the watermelons from his waist, yelled, “Mr. Xie, if you don’t stop right now, I shall be obligated to use force.” Even as he spoke his warning, his watermelon had shot out. Xie Xun did not even turn around. He simply waved his mace behind him, blocked the watermelon and redirected it back towards Chang JinPeng. Chang JinPeng gasped, quickly threw out his other watermelon to block the one headed towards him. Unfortunately, Xie Xun’s power is just too strong. Upon impact, the second watermelons changed its directions too, and both now came back towards him. In an instant, they hit Chang JinPeng directly on the chest, killing him instantly.
This sudden change of events shocked Chang JinPeng’s five sub-leaders. They immediately attacked Xie Xun. Xie Xun’s left hand grabbed the Dragon Saber, and then tipped over the iron pot with his mace. The fallen pot immediately hit three sub-leaders. Then it began to roll on the ground, hitting the other two. Four sub-leaders died immediately, while the fifth caught fire, and rolled on the ground in extreme pain.
Everyone’s gasped at what has happened. Zhang CuiShan had seen many powerful fighters in the martial world, but never someone of Xie Xun’s caliber. He knew that he has no chance against Xie Xun. Even his big brother and second brother would not likely defeat him either. Other than his master, Zhang CuiShan could not think of a second person that is this man’s match.
Only to see Xie Xun examine the saber, lightly flicked it with his fingers. He nodded, said, “Amazing, amazing saber!” He raised his head, looked at sheath besides Bai GuiShou, said, “Is this the Dragon Saber’s sheath? Give it to me.”
Bai GuiShou realized that in this situation, he’s pretty much likely to be dead no matter what. If he handed Xie Xun the sheath, his fame would go down the drain, and will likely die a terrible death when the sect leader finds out. But of course, to disobey this man would mean certain death right now. So he said, “If want to kill me, just go ahead. Do you think I am afraid of death?”
Xie Xun let out a smile, said, “Oh, a tough guy! Looks like there are some characters in the Heavenly Eagle Sect.” Suddenly he threw the Dragon Saber towards Bai GuiShou. With the Dragon Saber coming at him, Bai GuiShou wouldn’t dare block it with a weapon, nor try to catch it. He quickly evaded to the side. In a flash, ‘swoosh’, the saber entered the sheath on the table. It continued to fly forward with the momentum, until Xie Xun grabbed the saber with one of the spikes on his mace, causing it to fly backward, until it entered his hand again. Everyone was astonished by this strange way of sheathing a saber.
Xie Xun looked left and right, said, “Is there anyone else who object to me taking this saber?” He asked this question twice, without getting a single response.
Suddenly, a person from the Sea Sand Sect table rose, said, “Elder Xie is famous throughout the world. Of course, this saber should belong to Elder Xie. None of us would dare object.” Xie Xun said, “You are the chief helmsman of the Sea Sand Sect Yuan ChangBuo, right?” That person said, “Yes.” He was both happy and terrified that Xie Xun knew his name.
Xie Xun said, “Do you know who my teacher was? Which sect I belong to?” Yuan ChangBuo stuttered, “Well… Elder Xie…” Actually, he knows nothing about Xie Xun. Xie Xun said coldly, “If you don’t know anything about me, then why do you say that I am famous throughout the world? I absolutely abhor people like you. Get out here!” His last sentence roared like thunder in everyone’s ears. Yuan ChangBuo, scared of his power, obediently got up and stepped forward with his head down.
Xie Xun said, “The martial arts of the Sea Sand Sect is mediocre, but specializes in harming people using poisonous salt. Last year you killed Zhang DengYun’s family in the town of Yu Tao. Just this last month you killed Sea Gate Sect’s OYang Qin. Am I correct?” Yuan ChangBuo gasped, thought that considering how secretive these two cases were, how could Xie Xun have known about them? Xie Xun said, “Get your subordinate to bring out two large bowls of your salt. I want to see what it is.” Everyone in the Sea Sand Sect carries poisonous salts with him. Yuan ChangBuo wouldn’t dare disobey, so he could only ask his subordinates to bring out the salts, filling two large bowls.
Xie Xun picked up one bowl and smelled it, then said, “We’ll each eat a bowl.” He put the mace on the ground, picked up Yuan ChangBuo, held down his chin, and stuffed an entire bowl of the salt down his throat.
The deaths of the Zhang DengYuan family and OYang Qin were two unsolvable cases of the martial world in recent years. Both Zhang and OYang’s reputations were quite good. No one knew that the Sea Sand Sect’s Yuan ChangBuo killed them. Zhang CuiShan was actually happy to see him being force-fed poisonous salt. Xie Xun picked up the other bowl, said, “I’ve always been a fair person. If you eat bowl, so will I.” He opened his mouth and poured the whole bowl into his mouth.
No one expected this turn of events. Zhang CuiShan saw that although he’s quite vicious, Xie Xun had quite a bit of righteousness in him. Besides, the people he’s been killing were all terrible people anyway. Overall, Xie Xun left a favorable impression in Zhang CuiShan’s mind. At this moment, Zhang CuiShan couldn’t help but yell, “Elder Xie, this person deserves to die. You don’t need to be fair with him.” Xie Xun turned to look at him, asked, “Who are you?” Zhang CuiShan said, “I am Wu Dang’s Zhang CuiShan.” Xie Xun said, “Oh, Fifth Hero Zhang of Wu Dang. Are you also here to take the Dragon Saber?” Zhang CuiShan shook his head, said, “I came to look for more information regarding my third brother’s injury. If you know something about this, please tell me.”
Before Xie Xun could respond, Yuan ChangBuo screamed in pain, held his stomach tightly while rolling back and forth on the ground. After a while, he stopped struggling, and died. Zhang CuiShan quickly said, “Elder Xie. Hurry up and take an antidote.”
Xie Xun said, “What’s the need? Give me some wine!” The Heavenly Eagle Sect member responsible for taking care of guests quickly brought a bottle of wine over. Xie Xun said, “Is the Heavenly Eagle Sect this stingy? Give me a big bowl!” That person then brought a big bowl and courteously put it in front of Xie Xun, but thought, “Drinking wine right after being poisoned, are you afraid that you won’t die quickly enough?”
Only to see Xie Xun chug the whole bowl down his throat. This bowl held at least twenty-some pounds of wine, yet he managed to drink it all up in one gulp. He patted his stomach, opened his mouth, and a streak of liquid came out, hitting Bai GuiShou’s chest. Bai GuiShou felt like being hit by continuous streaks of iron pellets. Despite his high inner power, Bai GuiShou eventually began to falter, and then fell to the ground, unconscious. Xie Xun then turned upward, as the wine shot up and came down like rain over the Huge Whale Clan’s people. They all felt an unbearable odor coming from the water. Those without good inner power fainted. When the wine had entered Xie Xun’s stomach, it cleansed the stomach of the poisonous salt, turning the wine into poisonous wine. Then Xie Xun released it back out using his inner power, leaving very little in his stomach. Considering his inner power, this amount of poison could not hurt him at all.
The leader of the Huge Whale Clan, upon seeing Xie Xun mock his clan this way, stood up in anger. But then thought better of it, and sat back down.
Xie Xun said, “Clan Leader Mai, you plundered a seagoing ship this May, didn’t you?” Mai Jing’s face turned pale, said, “That’s correct.” Xie Xun said, “I know you are pirates. If you don’t plunder ships, then there’s no way for you to make a living. I don’t blame you for that. But to throw tens of innocent passengers overboard, raping and killing seven women aboard the ship… don’t you think that is way too cruel?” Mai Jing said, “Well… well… these are done by my subordinates. I… I didn’t participate.” Xie Xun said, “Your subordinates are a vicious lot, yet you do not discipline them. Isn’t that just as bad as you yourself doing these deeds?”
Mai Jing thought of his situation, wished only for his own survival, took out his saber, said, “Cai Si, Hua QingShan, HaiMa HuLiu, I remembered that you three participated in that day’s events!” In three flashes, he cut down three people. These blows came so quick those three people had no chance to retaliate, all died immediately.
Xie Xun said, “Good! Except it came too late, and against your own will. Had you killed these people at the time, I wouldn’t be here to duel with you today. Leader Mai, what is your most accomplished martial art?”
Mai Jing thought, “I probably can’t last even three exchanges if I fight him on land. But on water, he’s no match against me. Even if I can’t beat him, at least I can swim away. Or could he swim faster than me too?” He said, “I want to see the elder’s underwater kung fu.” Xie Xun said, “Fine, let’s duel underwater.” He walked a few steps, suddenly stopped, said, “Hold on. If I leave, these people here might escape!”
Everyone quivered, thought, “He’s afraid that we’ll escape? Does that mean he wants to kill us all?”
Mai Jing said in a hurry, “Actually, I’m no match for Elder Xie underwater either. I’ll admit defeat.” Xie Xun said, “Really? Well, that saves me some time. Go ahead and kill yourself and be done with all this.” Mai Jing was taken aback, said, “But… but it’s just a duel. There’s no reason for the loser to commit suicide upon defeat…”
Xie Xun yelled, “Don’t give me that crap! You think you’re worthy of dueling me? I’m here to take your life. For people like us who practice martial arts, it’s not a big deal for us to shed some blood. But I only kill people who knows kung fu, and despise those who oppress the weak, kill innocent civilians. I will not let anyone who have done these things get away.”
When Zhang CuiShan heard this, he couldn’t help but glance at Yin SuSu, thought that she did indeed kill many innocents at the Dragon Gate Escort Agency. If Xie Xun knew about that, he would have to kill her too. Only to see Yin SuSu’s face pure white, her lips shivering. Zhang CuiShan thought again, “If Xie Xun really tried to take her life, would I protect her? If I did, then I would surely die. Besides, she would deserve it, but… but… can I really stand and watch him kill everyone like this?”
Only to hear Xie Xun said, “Except I want you to die without regret, which is why I challenge you to your best martial arts skills. If you know of any skill you can best me at, I’ll let you go.”
As he spoke, he grabbed two piles of dirt from the ground and mixed them with some wine, making two piles of mud. He said to Mai Jing, “Let’s see how long you can last without breathing. Let both of us cover our noses and mouths with these mud. Whoever couldn’t stand the lack of air first kills himself.” Without even asking for Mai Jing’s approval, he put one pile of mud over his nose and mouth, while slapping the other pile over Mai Jing’s.
Although everyone thought this scene is pretty funny, no one could laugh out loud.
Mai Jing took a deep breath right before the mud covered him. Then he sat down in a meditating position, motionless. He’s been catching fish under water since he was seven, and has amazing marine skills. Therefore, he was quite certain that there’s no way he could lose this duel, waited peacefully on the ground.
Xie Xun, though, could not sit peacefully. He walked in front of the Divine Fist Sect’s table, stared at its leader Guo SanQuan.
Guo SanQuan* felt very uneasy under Xie Xun’s gaze. He stood up and said, “How are you, Elder Xie. I am Guo SanQuan.”
*Note: ‘San’ means ‘three’ and ‘Quan’ means ‘fist’.
Xie Xun could not speak, but held out his right hand, dipped it into some wine, then wrote three characters on the table.” Guo SanQuan’s face turned gray immediately, looking like he just saw a ghost. His disciples all looked at the words, saw them to be ‘Cui Fei Yan’. His disciples thought, “ ‘Cui FeiYan’ is a woman’s name. Why would the master be so afraid of these characters?”
Guo SanQuan himself obviously knew, for Cui FeiYan was the wife of a relative. He wasn’t able to rape her, and killed her instead. He thought, “Looks like he’s going to kill me too. I really should attack right now, while he couldn’t breathe. This way, he’s bound to lose to Mai Jing.” He yelled, “I would like to challenge you to a duel.” Before Xie Xun could respond, his fist shot up, aimed at Xie Xun’s lower abdomen. The second fist immediately followed the first one. His ‘three fist’ name came from his amazing power in the fist. One fist can knock down a bull. Most martial artists could last at most three fists from him. He knew at the moment that he better hurry, for once Mai Jing could no longer hold out, Xie Xun would take off his pile of mud and be able to breath again. Anyone who can’t breathe while fighting would be at a severe disadvantage.
When he attacked twice, Xie Xun could block them, but with much less power than when he had fought Chang JinPeng. Guo SanQuan yelled, “The third fist is coming!” This third fist has a name, called ‘One Sweep Across Thousands of Soldiers, One Blow to Knock Down Ten Thousand Horses’. It’s his best technique. He had won many fights using this move.
By this time, Mai Jing’s face had turned red, with sweat pouring down his head, obviously unable to hold out much longer. Young Leader Mai, seeing his father in such a critical condition and Xie Xun fighting elsewhere, came up with an idea. He grabbed a hairpin from a lady sect member, and tried to stick it into his father’s mouth. Although it might hurt his father’s lips, at least the hole made by the hairpin would ensure air going in.
At this moment, a pebble came in his direction, breaking the hairpin into two pieces. The tip flew up, Young Leader Mai let out a loud scream, clutched his right eye, only to see blood coming down from his right eye, pierced by the hairpin tip.
Mai Jing raised his hands to wipe the mud off, but Xie Xun threw out two more pebbles, breaking the joints on his shoulders, preventing his arms to move.
At this exact moment, Guo SanQuan’s third fist came directly at Xie Xun’s lower abdomen. He thought Xie Xun would obviously try to evade, but for some reason Xie Xun did not move at all. The punch landed perfectly. But upon impact, Guo SanQuan realized that something was wrong, for that part of the body should’ve been very soft, while his fist felt like it hit a stone wall. But it was too late, as the impact reverberated back into his body, and he fell back, dead.
Xie Xun turned around, only to see Mai Jing now lay on the ground dead. He first wiped away the mud on Mai Jing’s face, checked his breath, then wiped the mud off his own face. He faced the sky and yelled, “These two people had been terrorizing society for too long now. Considering that they were able to live till today, the punishment came too late.” Then he quickly turned towards the two Kun Lun swordsmen, first at Gao ZeCheng, then at Jiang Tao, but did not speak for a long time.
Gao and Jiang’s faces turned white, put their hands on their swords, stared back at Xie Xun. Zhang CuiShan knew that they are Xie Xun’s next targets, stood up, and said, “Elder Xie, the people you had killed all deserved to die. But if you kill without justification, then what makes you so different from them?”
Xie Xun smirked, said, “What’s the difference? My kung fu is excellent, their’s are mediocre. The strong prevails over the weak. That is the difference.” Zhang CuiShan said, “The difference between humans and animals is that we can tell the difference between right and wrong. If the strong always oppress the weak, then how are we different from animals?”
Xie Xun laughed out loud, said, “Do you think humans really knows right from wrong? Today, our Emperor is Mongolian. He can kill as many Hans as he wished. Are you going to discuss right and wrong with him? If the Mongolians want Han people’s children and property, they simply take them. If anyone resists, the Mongols kill him. Are you going to discuss right and wrong with them?”
Zhang CuiShan pondered for a moment, then said, “The Mongolians’ actions are no better than animals. That’s why all proud Hans detestat them, hoping that one day we shall drive them off our lands.”
Xie Xun said, “Before the Mongols came, we had Han emperors. Do you think they care about right and wrong? Yue Fei was a loyal court official, yet Sun GaoZong executed him. Qin Gui was a treacherous court official, yet he lived a prosperous life, enjoying unlimited riches.” Zhang CuiShan said, “The Southern Song’s emperor was indeed a terrible one, making use of wrong court officials, finally gave our land over to the Mongolians. His wrongdoings had terrible consequences. That’s why we must be righteous, to avoid regretful consequences.” Xie Xun said, “You’re right, the emperor was indeed terrible. However, most of the people these Mongolians killed were civilians. Tell me, what evils have these innocent civilians done to deserve such fate?” Zhang CuiShan paused.
Yin SuSu suddenly answered, “The civilians have no power to retaliate. So it’s quite normal that they’d be slaughtered.”
Zhang CuiShan said, “The reason we practice martial arts is to help those in need, defend the weak who can’t protect themselves. Elder Xie’s martial arts is unparalleled. If you use your skills for the good of the people, many will benefit.”
Xie Xun said, “What’s so good about being righteous? What’s my benefit for doing righteous things?”
Zhang CuiShan paused. Since he was a child, Zhang CuiShan had been taught that one learns martial arts for righteousness. Yet he never really thought of the benefits of being righteous, only felt like it’s just simply the right thing to do. After a while, he said, “Well, if you do good deeds, then you’re on the side of justice. Doing good deeds will lead to good fortune. Doing bad deeds leads to bad fortune.”
Xie Xun laughed wildly, said, “What a load of crap! Do you really believe that?”
Zhang CuiShan thought of Yu DaiYan. His third brother had only done righteous things in his life, yet for no reason at all, he was gravely injured. Even he himself now isn’t so sure he believed these words. Zhang CuiShan sighed, said, “Sometimes its hard to understand the workings of Heaven. We can only try to be true to our hearts. Whether this results in good fortune or bad fortune, is not something we can control.”
Xie Xun looked at him, said, “I’ve long heard that your teacher Zhang SanFeng’s martial arts is unmatched in the world, but unfortunately never had the chance to meet him. You are one of his top disciples, yet you are so mediocre. Guess there’s no reason to visit him after all.” Zhang CuiShan, fuming at these words that belittled his master, said angrily, “Do you think you’re worthy to judge my master’s abilities? Your kung fu is extremely high, but still nowhere near my master’s level.”
Yin SuSu hurriedly pulled on the back of Zhang CuiShan’s robe, telling him to bear with Xie Xun for the moment. Zhang CuiShan thought, “Life and death is not big of a deal, but I can’t let down the Wu Dang name.”
Oddly enough, Xie Xun did not become angry. He said calmly, “Zhang SanFeng started the Wu Dang Sect. So there must be something extraordinary about him. The philosophy of martial arts is unlimited and boundless. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s much superior to myself. Perhaps one day I will visit Wu Dang just to meet him. Fifth Hero Zhang, what is your best kung fu? I’m quite interested to see.”
End of Chapter 5.