Smiling Proud Wanderer Chapter 26-30

Chapter 26 Besieging the Temple

Two days later, the mob arrived at Shaolin Temple on Mount Shaoshi. The mob had grown to the size of over five thousand people. Loud drumbeats from hundreds of huge drums thumped all together with earthshaking power.

Linghu Chong travelled quickly to the north and reached a large town on a clear and beautiful day. He went into a restaurant in the city. Hubei's most famous pastry was dried bean curd with vegetables and meat wrapped inside a skin made from bean curd powder. It was very tasty. Linghu Chong finished three plates of these before he came out of the shop.

As he stepped out of the shop, he saw a group of people walking towards him. Among them was a short and plump fellow. Surprisingly, he was "Old Ancestor of Yellow River" Old Man. Linghu Chong was really happy to see them and called out loudly, "Old Man! How are you?" Old Man was surprised and looked at him awkwardly. He

hesitated for a moment before he drew out his sabre.

Linghu Chong already took a step forward to welcome them. "Zu Qianqiu..." he had not said anything more when Old Man lifted his sabre and chopped down on him. Even though there was a lot of power in this

chop, the accuracy was off as Old Man missed Linghu Chong's shoulder by around a foot. He cried out and chopped down again.

Linghu Chong was frightened and quickly jumped back. "Mr. Old, I'm... I'm Linghu Chong!"

Old Man replied with a shout. "Of course I know you're Linghu Chong. Everyone heard you already. Sacred Lady gave us an order that

anyone who meets Linghu Chong must kill him. She will then shower us with gifts for following this order. Everyone understand?"

"We understand." The group of people who were with him replied loudly.

Although they replied Old Man with such conviction, they just looked at each other with awkward expressions on their faces and no one drew their sabres out. Some people were actually laughing thinking that this was amusing.

Linghu Chong's face turned red thinking about the day Yingying gave that order for Old Man to spread in Jianghu. The order was for them to kill Linghu Chong when they met him. But she actually gave that order because she hoped that Linghu Chong would never leave her side. It was also to inform the heroes of Jianghu that young lady Ren was

not crazily in love with Linghu Chong but instead hated him to the bone. Later, after so many unforeseen events, he had completely forgotten about this order. At this time, after hearing what Old Man said, he realised that her order had not been cancelled yet.

When Old Man informed them of Sacred Lady's order, the people in the group did not believe him. In order to save Linghu Chong's life, she had willingly gone to Shaolin to sacrifice her life. At that time, the news of the incident in which she killed four secular disciples of Shaolin temple had

already spread and created a sensation in Jianghu. Everybody praised her bravery for going to Shaolin, but they also found it really funny and also thought that this young lady wanted to show Shaolin that she was better than them by going there. It was clear that she loved Linghu Chong deeply because she was willing to exchange her own life to save him. It was also clear that she didn't

want to admit to her feelings for him. But it was unavoidable that everyone else understood her feelings for him.

Concerning this matter, Yingying's subordinates from the unorthodox sects were aware of it extensively. But the orthodox schools also knew

some of the details. In everyday chats, this matter often became a laughingstock. So when the people in this group suddenly saw Linghu Chong, they were pleasantly surprised but at the same time they also didn't know what to do.

Old Man said, "Master Linghu, Sacred Lady ordered us to kill you. But your martial art is too high, just then my sabre didn't manage to chop you. Please show mercy and don't take my life. Friends, everyone already saw that it's not that we didn't want to kill Master Linghu, but it's just that

we couldn't kill him. Old Man couldn't do it, so of course none of you could do it either. Isn't that right?"

Everyone erupted in laughter and shouted, "Right!" One person

shouted, "Just now, we've all fought with all our hearts until both parties are so tired that we couldn't even kill each other. It's better if we just stop fighting. Everyone, let's go and fight in drinking wine. If there's a hero here who can make Master Linghu dead drunk then later when we meet Sacred Lady, we'll tell her that we managed to kill him."

Everyone laughed madly holding their stomachs while saying, "Wonderful, wonderful!"

Another person laughingly said, "Sacred Lady wants us to kill Master Linghu, but she didn't say that we have to use swords to do it. So it makes

sense to use beautiful wine to make him dead drunk. This can be called using wisdom to subdue the enemy instead of brawn."

Cheering loudly, they crowded around Linghu Chong and took him to the biggest wine shop in the city. There were more than forty people in the group and they filled up six tables in that shop. A few of them knocked on the benches calling out, "Bring out the wine!" Once Linghu Chong sat down, he asked, "How is Sacred Lady? I'm worried to death." When that group of people heard him worrying about Yingying, they

were all really happy. "Everybody decided already that on the fifteenth of the twelfth month, we're all going to the Shaolin temple to get Sacred Lady out of there. In the last few days, the people in the alliance had been fighting

endlessly to decide who's going to be the leader and had injured each other. It's good that Master Linghu already arrived. If this leadership isn't taken by you, then who else can do it? If another person were to lead this alliance, later, when we got Sacred Lady out of the temple, she definitely won't be happy," Old Man told him.

A white-bearded old fellow laughed, "Yeah! Master Linghu must be the Chief of this alliance. Even if we later meet with difficulties and were unable to get Sacred Lady out, when she heard news of you leading us,

she'll still be extremely happy. This position of Chief is a match made in heavens for you and only Master Linghu can take it."

"This matter of Chief is not important. The most important thing is to rescue Sacred Lady out of the temple. Even if I died a cruel death in doing so, I'm still willing to do it," Linghu Chong said.

He didn't just say these words thoughtlessly. He really appreciated Yingying's sacrificing her own life for him. Even if he had to die for Yingying, he wouldn't have given much thought to it. However, if it were just any other day, even though he still would've thought the same thing in his heart, he wouldn't have said this publicly. Now, this speech of risking death was said with passion and righteousness, it warned everyone not to make fun of Yingying.

When they heard him said this, they were all reassured of him. They felt that Sacred Lady's judgement was right about this person. That white- bearded person said, "So Master Linghu is actually a passionate and righteous hero. If that false rumour in Jianghu were true that Master Linghu doesn't care about anyone but himself, then everyone here would've turned cold towards you."

Linghu Chong said, "For the last few months, I was imprisoned and didn't know anything about the things happening in Jianghu. But night and day, I was thinking about Sacred Lady until all my hair turned white. Come, come, come! Let me salute my fellow friends with a cup. Thank you

everyone for striving for Sacred Lady." Saying this, he

stood up and lifted his cup to drink and was followed by the others. "Mr. Old, you said that many friends are fighting for the Chief

position and injuring each other needlessly. It's still not too late for us to go there immediately and advise them to stop," Linghu Chong said.

"True. Zu Qianqiu and Night Cat already went. We should go catch up with them," Old Man said.

"Where are they?" Linghu Chong asked.

"Everyone's gathering at the Yellow Keep Plain," Old Man said. "Yellow Keep Plain?" Linghu Chong queried.

"It's west of Xiang Yang in the middle of Mountain Jing," That white- bearded old man said.

"Let's eat and drink quickly then we'll go to Yellow Keep Plain. We've already fought for three days and three nights drinking wine up till now and everyone had already thought of every means, but no one's been able to make Linghu Chong dead drunk. Later, when everyone meets Sacred Lady, you can confess this to her," Linghu Chong said.

They all laughed and said, "Master Linghu wine's capacity is like an ocean. Even if we drink for three days and three nights, we're afraid that we won't be able to keep up."

Walking side by side with Old Man, Linghu Chong asked, "How's your daughter's illness? Is she much better now?" Old Man replied, "Master, your heart is concerned about a lot of matters. Although she's not better, I'm happy that she also hasn't gotten any worse."

Linghu Chong had been holding a question in his heart since the beginning. Seeing the people behind him were tens of feet away, he asked, "A lot of friends said that Sacred Lady has been benevolent to everybody. I don't understand how she could have been kind to so many people in

Jianghu when she is still so very young."

"Master really doesn't know the reason?" Old Man asked. Linghu Chong shook his head, "I don't know."

"Master isn't an outsider so we don't need to conceal it from you. But everyone has sworn an oath to Sacred Lady not to divulge this secret.

Master, please forgive our sin," Old Man said.

Linghu Chong nodded, "Is it because it's inconvenient to say or is it better not to say it?"

Old Man said, "Leave it to Sacred Lady to personally tell master, won't that be much better?"

Linghu Chong said, "The earlier the day I get to see her in person the better."

On the road, they met two more groups of people going to Yellow Keep Plain. When combined, the three groups consisted of more than a hundred people.

They arrived at Yellow Keep Plain really late at night and saw a gathering at the west side of the plain. They were still a li away from the gathering but the sounds of people calling out could already be heard.

Linghu Chong quickened his steps towards the crowd. Under the moonlight, he could see a very large crowd surrounding an empty ground. He guessed there were more than one thousand people gathering around. He heard a person shouting, "Chief, Chief, naturally there's only one person

who becomes Chief. With six of you guys, how do you all become Chief?" Another person answered, "The six of us can be considered as one,

and one as six. If you obey our six brothers' orders then we six brothers are Chief. You talk too much; we'll tear you into four pieces first before we talk further."

Linghu Chong didn't need to see who was talking; he already knew that it was one of the Peach Valley Six Fairies. But each of their voices

sounded almost the same so he couldn't tell which one it was. Everyone was frightened by what that Peach Valley Fairy said and didn't dare to shout

anymore. However, it was apparent that the crowd refused to accept the Peach Valley Six Fairies' words as final. Some people at the outer edge of the crowd were still scolding, while others were laughing loudly unseen, and some were throwing rocks around. It was total chaos.

"Who's throwing rocks at old man?" Peachtree Leaf Fairy loudly shouted.

"Your old man," Someone answered from the darkness.

"What? If you're my brother's old man, then you're my old man too?" Peachtree Flower Fairy indignantly asked.

Another person said, "That's not necessarily true." Several hundred people erupted in laughter when they heard this.

"Why not necessarily true?" Peachtree Flower Fairy was confused.

"I also don't know why. I only have one son," Another person chimed

in.

"You only have one son, what's that got to do with us?" Peachtree

Root Fairy questioned.

Another person with a rough voice laughed loudly, "Got nothing to do with you. But probably got something to do with your brothers." "Has it got to anything do with me then?" Peachtree Trunk Fairy inquired.

One of the earlier person laughed, "Well, you have to look whether your appearance is similar to them or not."

"Do you think my appearance is somewhat similar? Come out and take a look," Peachtree Fruit Fairy said.

"What's there to look at? Look at it yourself in the mirror," That person laughed.

Suddenly, four shadows moved extremely fast. They pushed forward and grabbed that person out. That person was tall and big. He probably

weighed around 200 catties. The Peach Valley Six Fairies had caught four of his limbs but they didn't tear him apart. The four fairies looked at his face under the moonlight. Then Peachtree Fruit Fairy said, "Doesn't look like me. How can I look that ugly? Number three, I'm afraid he looks a bit like you."

"Pei, am I uglier than you? All the realm's heroes are here, let's ask them to compare," Peachtree Branch Fairy said.

The people in the crowd had seen earlier that the Peach Valley Six Fairies weren't pleasant to look at with weird body shapes and ugly faces. If they had to pick which one was the best looking then that wouldn't be an

easy task at all. Right now, they were looking at that big man seized in the hands of four of the fairies. At any

moment, he could be torn to four pieces. Everyone was feeling apprehensive and no one dared to laugh.

Linghu Chong was aware of the temperaments of the Peach Valley Six Fairies. If something went slightly wrong, then this big man would be torn to pieces. He called out clearly, "Peach Valley Six Fairies, how about if you let Linghu Chong appraise you?" As he said this, he slowly stepped out from the crowd.

When they heard the name "Linghu Chong", it created a sensation throughout the crowd. More than a thousand pair of eyes were now trained on him. But Linghu Chong didn't look away from the Peach Valley Six Fairies afraid that they might get excited and rip that big man apart. He

said, "Put this friend down first then I'll have a look at you." The four fairies immediately put the big man down.

This man's stature was very grand and when he stood up on the ground, he looked like an iron pagoda. He had just escaped from death and was still scared stiff. His face was grey like a corpse and his whole body

was trembling. He knew that trembling like that was not appropriate for a hero, but his body was trembling by itself and he couldn't stop it from

shaking. He wanted to say a few words to save his face but he only managed to tremble, "I... I... I..."

Linghu Chong saw him scared to death but still looking handsome. He said to the Peach Valley Six Fairies, "Six Peachtree brothers, you don't look like this friend at all. Compared to him, you're even more handsome.

Peachtree Root Fairy's bones are wonderful, Peachtree Trunk Fairy's stature is big and tall, Peachtree Branch Fairy's limbs are slender, Peachtree Leaf Fairy's eyebrows are distinct and eyes are elegant, Peachtree Flower Fairy's... his... his eyes are like the stars, and Peachtree Fruit Fairy is full of vigour. Whoever meets any of you, he will promptly recognise your six righteous and heroic faces, young... middle-aged and handsome."

The crowd heard this and burst into laughter, but the Peach Valley Six Fairies were very happy. Old Man had already experienced suffering under the hands of the Peach Valley Six Fairies before, so he knew they were not to be trifled with. He addressed the crowd, "In my opinion, looking around at all the heroes here, you all have many

types of good martial arts. But speaking of facial appearances, no one can compare with the Peach Valley Six Fairies."

After hearing this, the crowd started to call out. Someone hollered, "Not only handsome but also elegant. No one in the world can come close to them."

Another one called out, "When Pan An retreated, Song Yu also retreated."

And another one chimed in, "In Wulin, the number one to number six most handsome men are these six people. Master Linghu is number seven at most."

The Peach Valley Six Fairies grinned from ear to ear thinking that those people were actually praising them. They didn't realise that they were actually being teased. Peachtree Branch Fairy said, "My mum used to say that the six of us are stinking ugly. So she was wrong." Another person laughed, "Of course she's wrong. There are only six of you, how do you turn into stinking ugly?”26

Another person softly said, "Add into that their dad and mum..." but before he managed to finish this sentence, the people around him quickly covered up his mouth.

Old Man said in a loud voice, "Friends, we have some luck tonight.

Master Linghu was just about to single-handedly break through Shaolin temple and get Sacred Lady out. But he met us on the way and heard that everyone is here so he came to talk with us. He said their appearances are handsome, naturally we'll regard Peach Valley Six Fairies..." When the

crowd heard this, they burst into laughter again. Old Man waved his hand telling them to stop but among the laughter, someone said, "Breaking through Shaolin temple to save Sacred Lady is a big matter. What does it have to do with facial appearances? In my opinion, we should just offer Master Linghu the Chief position and ask him to preside over all matters and give out orders. Everyone will then respectfully comply with his orders. What does everyone think of this?"

Everyone in the crowd knew that Sacred Lady was trapped in Shaolin because of Linghu Chong. They also knew that Linghu Chong's martial art was outstanding. That day in Henan, he fought together with Xiang Wentian against heroes from all paths. That incident created a sensation in Jianghu.

But even if he was weak, they would still give him the position of chief in respect to Sacred Lady. When they heard what Old Man and the other person said, they were all happy and started to cheer and applaud. Peachtree Flower Fairy suddenly said awkwardly, "After we rescued young lady Ren out of the temple, will she become Linghu Chong's wife?"

All of the people here revered young lady Ren but they also thought what Peachtree Flower Fairy said wasn't wrong. But they would never have dared to publicly say this. Linghu Chong was completely embarrassed and stayed silent. Peachtree Leaf Fairy said, "He wants a wife and also wants to become Chief. That's too nice of him. We'll help him rescue his wife, but it's better if the position of Chief is occupied by us, six brothers." Peachtree Root Fairy said, "Yeah! Only if his skill is better than us then we don't have to discuss this matter anymore."

Suddenly, Peachtree Root, Peachtree Trunk, Peachtree Branch, and Peachtree Fruit Fairies moved together. They grabbed Linghu Chong's four limbs and lifted him up in the air. They moved really fast and there was no hint that they were going to do this so it was too late for Linghu Chong to avoid it. The crowd was frightened to see this and they called out together, "Don't do that! Let go of him!"

Peachtree Leaf Fairy laughed, "Don't worry everyone. We're not going to hurt him. We're just going to make him promise to make us Chief..."

He had not finished speaking when Peachtree Root, Peachtree Trunk,

Peachtree Branch, and Peachtree Fruit Fairies suddenly shouted strangely and tossed Linghu Chong away. They blurted out, "You... why are you using such a demonical method?"

When Linghu Chong's four limbs were grabbed by these four idiots, he was really afraid that they would really rip him apart so he immediately used his Art of Essence Absorbing. The four Peachtree Fairies felt their internal energy flowing out of their palms. When they tried to use their inner energy to resist the flow, it actually poured out even faster. So they

were frightened and quickly let go of him. Linghu Chong somersaulted and landed steadily on his feet.

Peachtree Leaf Fairy hastily asked, "What?"

Peachtree Root Fairy and Peachtree Fruit Fairy answered together,

"This... this Linghu Chong's martial art is really weird. We can't hold on to him."

"It's not that we can't hold on to him. Just that suddenly, we don't want to hold on to him anymore," Peachtree Trunk Fairy corrected.

The people in the crowd cheered loudly and said, "Peach Valley Six Fairies, do you submit now?"

"Linghu Chong is our six brothers' good friend. Linghu Chong is the same as Peach Valley Six Fairies. Peach Valley Six Fairies is the same as Linghu Chong. If Linghu Chong becomes Chief then it'll be just like the Peach Valley Six Fairies becoming Chief. So what's there not to submit to?" Peachtree Root Fairy said.

"In the whole world, how can you not submit to yourself? Your question is too stupid," Peachtree Fruit Fairy added.

When the crowd looked at the expressions of the Peach Valley Six Fairies, they guessed that the Peach Valley Six Fairies had suffered a loss when they grabbed Linghu Chong but they were now just saving face and didn't want to acknowledge it. Although the crowd didn't really understand the reason, they started cheering and laughing anyway.

Linghu Chong said, "Friends, this time we're going to meet the Sacred Lady and also rescue our many friends who have been trapped in Shaolin temple. Shaolin temple is Wulin's most respected place and their 72 unique skills have long been famous for several hundred years. Any sect alone

would not be able to contend against them, but we'll just overwhelm them with number since we have over a thousand heroes here

and more good men to come. Although our martial art is inferior

compared to Shaolin's monks and their secular disciples, we'll surely win by fighting them ten to one."

Everyone cheered, "Right, right! Is it really true that Shaolin's monks have three heads and six arms?"

Linghu Chong continued, "However, even though Shaolin's Great Masters have imprisoned Sacred Lady, they haven't treated her badly. The

temple's Great Masters are learned and righteous eminent monks. They are also merciful and people respect them for their virtues. So even if we destroy Shaolin temple, I'm afraid Jianghu's heroes will say that we've won only by relying on our sheer number, which is not the

behaviour of heroes. That's why in my opinion, we should talk respectfully with them first before fighting then we can say that we've yielded a step to Shaolin temple. This way, we would put Sacred Lady and our other friends out of danger. We would also avoid a big battle which is a good thing."

"Master Linghu's words suit well with me. If we're really going to fight, then both sides will suffer many deaths and injuries," Zu Qianqiu said.

"But Master Linghu's words don't suit me. If both parties don't fight then there won't be many deaths and injuries on both sides. Where's the fun then?" Peachtree Branch Fairy said.

"We already agreed that Master Linghu is Chief. So everyone must listen to his order," Zu Qianqiu said.

"Correct, you should let us six brothers give orders out," Peachtree Root Fairy said.

The crowd heard those six brothers creating a scene and obstructing the real issues being discussed. They were mad and a lot of people grasped the handles of their swords and sabres already waiting for Linghu Chong's order. Once the order was given, they would immediately chop these six brothers into pieces. Although the six brothers' martial arts were higher, they would never be able to continuously block the attacks from dozens of people.

Zu Qianqiu said, "What does a Chief do? Naturally they give orders out. If he doesn't give orders out then how can he still be called Chief? Of course this character "zhu" means that he has to give out orders."27

"Since that's the case, just call him "meng" only without the "zhu"," Peachtree Flower Fairy said.

Peachtree Leaf Fairy shook his head, "Calling him "meng" only is very difficult." "In my esteemed opinion, since calling him "meng" only is difficult, why don't we tear apart this character and we can call him "ming xue"!" Peachtree Trunk Fairy said.

"Wrong, wrong! When you tear open the character "meng", the character at the bottom, less a "pie", isn't the character "xue". So what character is that?" Peachtree Branch Fairy said.

The Peach Valley Six Fairies didn't know the character "min" was from the word "qi min" (Household utensils). Everyone in the crowd didn't want to follow their shameful behaviour so they didn't say anything.

Peachtree Trunk Fairy said, "It may less a 'bit', it's still 'xue'. It's best if I cut you to show you, if I cut you deeply then a lot of blood will come out. So it's still blood. If I take into consideration the feelings between us and cut you lightly then not much blood will come out. Although it's less, it's still blood."28

Peachtree Branch Fairy indignantly said, "If you're giving me a cut then of course it's going to be light. There's no need to take into

consideration the feelings between us. Why do you want to give me a cut?"

Peachtree Trunk Fairy said, "My "ke" doesn't have cut. My hand also doesn't have a sabre."29

Peachtree Flower Fairy asked, "Then what happened if your hand has a sabre?"

The crowd heard them talking even more nonsense as they talked more and they couldn't take it anymore, "Be quiet! Everyone's trying to listen to Chief's order."

Peachtree Branch Fairy said, "He already finished giving his order, why must we be quiet?"

Linghu Chong raised his voice, "Friends, the fifteenth of the twelfth is still seventeen days away. Everyone, let's move there slowly. By the time we got to Songshan, it'd be around that date already. This time, we're not going in secret so we'll be going with big banners and beating on drums. Tomorrow, we'll buy cloths to make big banners and write "World's Heroes Going to Shaolin Temple to Meet Sacred Lady". We'll also buy some leather drums to beat on when we're moving. When the Shaolin's monks

and secular disciples hear this, they'll feel discouraged before fighting."

Most of these unorthodox people were actually good people. So when they heard of his plan, they were extremely happy and started to cheer loudly shaking the whole valley. Among them there were also a number of experienced and steady older people who didn't express their opinion. But when they heard the crowd feeling pleased, they just smiled. At dawn, Linghu Chong asked Zu Qianqiu, Ji Wushi, and Old Man to make the banners and buy some leather drums. At noon, they finished writing those words on the banner and had bought a few leather drums.

Linghu Chong said, "We'll start our journey now. Along the road,

we'll be passing a lot of towns so we'll just keep buying more stocks there."

The crowd were beating on the drums and roaring battle cries as they moved north in squadrons. Linghu Chong had seen how Heng-Shan School's disciples were ambushed at the Xianxia mountain range. After

some discussion, he dispatched seven sects. Two sects were sent to the front to act as sentries, two sects were protecting the left, two sects were protecting the right, and the other one stayed behind to help wherever needed while the rest of the people moved with the main group. He also dispatched Hanshui River's Divine Crow Clan to act as messengers. Divine Crow Clan was a local clan and their circle of influence extended from

Hubei at the north down to Henan at the south. If there were the slightest sign of trouble, they would know of it as soon as possible. As he assigned orders, besides the Peach Valley Six Fairies, everyone obeyed his orders completely.

In the few days that they were travelling, heroes continuously joined their group. They also had more banners and more drums as they went.

Along with the sounds of drums, it was very noisy with two thousands people shouting along as they went towards Shaolin.

When they arrived at the foot of Mount Wudang, Linghu Chong said, "Wudang School is Wulin's second biggest school. The name of their school flourishes and they're second only to Shaolin. Even though we're going to rescue Sacred Lady from Shaolin School, we don't want to offend Shaolin. Naturally, we don't want to offend Wudang School either. So we'll avoid the main road to go across this area to show the leader of Wudang School some respect and to show them that we're not attacking their school. What does

everyone think of this?"

"Whatever Master Linghu says, we'll do it. We'll be satisfied so long as we are able to rescue the Sacred Lady. So there's no need to do other irrelevant things or make powerful enemies with anyone else. What's the use of levelling the Wudang School but not being able to rescue Sacred Lady?" Old Man said.

Linghu Chong said, "That's very good then! Please pass the order to stop the drums and lower the banners. We're turning to the east." In a short moment, everyone started to go east.

As they were travelling that day, they saw a person riding a donkey coming towards them. Following behind him were two farmers each

carrying a basket on a pole on his shoulder. One was carrying vegetables and the other one was carrying some firewood. The old person riding the donkey had a bent back and was coughing incessantly. The clothes he was

wearing was full of patches. When the crowd saw this trio coming towards them without making way, a lot of them put their hands on the handles of their weapons. Along the road, they had been making a lot of noise and whenever any pedestrian saw them, they immediately went to one side of

the road letting them pass. But these three people turned a blind eye to them and just kept on coming towards the group.

Peachtree Root Fairy scolded, "What are you doing?" as he pushed the donkey with his hand. The donkey neighed once before dropping down as its leg was broken. The old person riding the donkey was thrown to the ground and stayed down huffing and puffing. Linghu Chong felt sorry as he stooped down to help the old man get up. "I'm really sorry. Elder, are you hurt?"

That old man was still huffing and puffing, "What... what... what's going on? I'm a poor man..." The two farmers put their loads down and

stood in the middle of the road. They put both their hands on their waist and were looking angry.

The person carrying the vegetable pantingly said, "This is the foot of Mount Wudang. Who are you people to daringly hit people around here?"

"The foot of Mount Wudang, what kind of place is that?" Peachtree Root Fairy asked.

That man said, "Everyone at the foot of Mount Wudang knows martial art. You're strangers here. Why do you act recklessly here in the fields at the foot of Mount Wudang and ask for trouble?"

The people in the group saw that these people had yellow faces and were very thin. They were around fifty years old. When that person

carrying the vegetable spoke, his breath wasn't strong but he claimed to be capable in martial art so the people in group were laughing loudly at them.

"You also know martial art?" Peachtree Flower Fairy teased. That man replied, "At the foot of mount Wudang, even a three year old can do shadowboxing, a five year old can already use a sword. What's so rare about that?"

Peachtree Flower Fairy pointed to the person carrying firewood and laughed, "How about him? He also knows martial art?"

The person carrying firewood replied, "I... I... when I was small, I learned martial art for a few months. But I haven't practised it for several years now. This martial art... sigh, they've become rusted now."

"Wudang School's martial art is number one in the world. It only needs to be studied for a few months and you won't be our match," the vegetable-person said.

Peachtree Leaf Fairy laughed, "Why don't you do a few movements to give us a look?"

"Show what? You won't be able to understand it anyway," the firewood-person said.

The crowd erupted in laughter and they all said, "We may not understand but we can still look."

The firewood-person said, "Ai, in that case, I'll show you a few moves then. Don't know if I still remember all of them... Lend me a sword." A person came out from the crowd and handed him a sword. The firewood man then went out to the middle of the hardened rice field and started to thrust to the east and slash to the west. After about three or four moves, he

suddenly forgot what the next move was. He scratched his head thinking for a little bit then showed a few more moves. Everyone saw that his sword movements were not methodical and his body and hand movements were

extremely clumsy. They all clutched their stomachs laughing loudly at him. "What's so funny? Let me show you a few moves. Give me a sword,"

The vegetable-person said. He then started to thrust and slash the sword very rapidly in a disorderly fashion as if he was insane. This made the

crowd laughed even harder. In the beginning, Linghu Chong also laughed but after seeing more than ten moves, he was astounded. These two people's sword art, one being sluggish and the other one being very fast, actually had very little flaws. Their moves looked very ugly but the sword moves

actually had many variations. It seemed that they had only displayed a fraction of the sword move's power and didn't reveal the remaining potential power of the sword moves.

Linghu Chong immediately stepped forward and bowed towards them. He said heartily, "Today, I paid my respect to two seniors and observed your high sword arts. I feel really honoured." The two men put their swords away.

The firewood-person stared at him, "Little kid, you understood our sword art?"

"I don't dare to say that I understand. Both of you have profound sword arts, how would I dare to say that I understand them? Wudang

School's sword art is very famous throughout the world. It really makes one praises to the heavens," Linghu Chong replied.

The vegetable-person asked, "Little kid, what's your name?"

Linghu Chong had not answered yet when a few people from the crowd called out, "What little kid?" "He's our Chief, Master Linghu." "Country bumpkins, speak more politely!"

The firewood-person said, "Linghu Melon? Not A Mao or A Gou, but some kind of melon seed. Your name's really ugly."

Linghu Chong cupped his fist, "Today, Linghu Chong is able to see Wudang's divine sword art. It’s really admirable. I will go up the mountain to meet Priest Chongxu another day. I sincerely admire him. Can two

seniors please reveal your honourable surnames and given names?" The firewood-person spat on the ground and said, "You have so many people making so much noise here. Beating gongs and drums non-stop. Is this a funeral procession?"

Linghu Chong knew that these two people must be masters from the Wudang School. So he respectfully bowed to them, "We have a friend who is being detained inside the Shaolin temple. We're going there to beg Abbot Fangzheng's mercy to release this person."

The vegetable-person said, "So it's not a funeral procession! But you've hurt my uncle's donkey, are you going to pay?"

Linghu Chong led three steeds over and said, "These three horses aren't as good as senior's donkey. But I'm forced to ask seniors to accept them. We juniors didn't know that it was senior who was riding. Please forgive us." After he finished saying this, he led the three horses over to them.

The crowd saw Linghu Chong's attitude becoming more and more modest and respectful. They saw that he was doing this on purpose and were very surprised to see this.

"You already know our sword art now. Do you want to compare some moves?" The vegetable-person asked.

"Junior is not the match of two seniors," Linghu Chong said.

The firewood-person said, "You don't want to fight. But I want to fight." At the same time he said this, he thrust his sword crookedly towards Linghu Chong.

Linghu Chong saw this sword move was wonderful as it covered nine fatal points on his upper body. "Good sword art!" Linghu Chong called out and at the same time, pulled his long sword out and also thrust his sword.

That firewood-person looked as if he just randomly thrust his sword at an empty space and Linghu Chong countered by sweeping his sword in a circle at the same empty space. The two people had used

around seven to eight moves. Each of their thrust was always aimed at an empty space and their swords had not clashed yet, but the firewood- person kept retreating step by step.

The vegetable-person called out, "Melon seed, so you have a bit of skill after all," as he raised his sword and disorderly started to thrust and

slash. In a short moment, he had slashed out around twenty times. Not only was each of his slash towards Linghu Chong didn’t hit him but the tip of his sword was actually still around seven to eight feet away from Linghu

Chong's body. Raising his sword, Linghu Chong sometimes

performed a move towards that firewood-person and sometimes he thrust at an empty space towards that vegetable-person. The tip of his sword was also around seven to eight feet away from their bodies. But when these two people saw Linghu Chong's move, their expressions revealed their urgency either to jump to avoid his slash or to brandish their swords to block.

The crowd of heroes watching this were all stupefied. The tip of Linghu Chong's sword was still far away from the two people and there wasn't the slightest bit of wind when he thrust his sword and they were certain that he wasn't using any kind of invisible sword energy to attack.

But why are these two people looking frightened as if they were too late in avoiding or blocking the sword?

As they observed more closely, the crowd came to understand that these two people must be two martial arts masters. At this time, when these two people were using their moves to attack, one was still attacking

sluggishly and one was still attacking like a mad man. But at the same time, they still managed to concentrate fully on defending themselves. When they were avoiding or blocking Linghu Chong's attack, their movements were light and steady. Now there was no more laughter from the crowd.

Suddenly Linghu Chong heard those two people whistled and

changed their sword art completely. The firewood-person slashed his long sword in a large circular path. While the vegetable-person used very fast movements going back and forth creating a starlike reflection with his

sword.

Linghu Chong pointed his sword at a slight upward angle and unexpectedly he stopped completely. His two eyes were now sometimes staring at the firewood-person and sometimes casting a sidelong glance at that vegetable-person. As his eyes looked at a certain place, those two people did one of these three things -- they quickly changed their sword moves or cried out then retreated or turned their attacks into defence.

Ji Wushi, Old Man, and Zu Qianqiu had good martial arts. They gradually realised that when these two people moved to defend themselves, it was because of Linghu Chong's stare. He was always staring at their fatal acupoints.

They saw the firewood-person lifted his sword to slash it down and Linghu Chong gazed at his lower abdomen's Shanggu acupoint. He had not finished his slash when he quickly withdrew it to block his Shanggu

acupoint. At this time, the vegetable-person thrust his sword towards Linghu Chong. Linghu Chong responded by looking at the Tianting acupoint which was at the left side of his neck. That person

hastily lowered his head which caused his sword to penetrate deep into the hardened rice field. It was as if Linghu Chong's two eyes were

shooting projectiles and he wouldn't permit Linghu Chong's two eyes to take a look at his neck's Tianting acupoint. Those two people were still utilising their sword moves and the sweat on their bodies was seeping through their clothes. In a short while, their trousers had also become wet with their sweat. That old man riding the donkey had so far just stayed on the side and not said a thing. He suddenly coughed and said, "Admirable, admirable. The two of you step back."

The two men replied together, "Yes!" But Linghu Chong's eyes were still circling around, never leaving their fatal acupoints. The two people

waved their swords and retreated at the same time. From the beginning to the end, they didn't manage to break away from Linghu Chong's gaze.

That old person said, "Good sword art! Master Linghu, allow this old man to ask for your advice."

Linghu Chong replied, "You flatter me!" as he turned around and

cupped his fist greeting the old man. Only now the two people were finally freed from the restraint of Linghu Chong's eyes. At the same time, they jumped backwards feeling just like two freed birds as they flew for tens of feet away.

The crowd cheered them. Even though the crowd didn't understand their sword arts at all, they could see the duo's high martial arts from the way they jumped, the distance they covered, and the beauty of their movements.

The old man said, "Master Linghu was very forgiving with his sword moves. If he were really fighting, you two would have a thousand holes and a hundred injuries on your bodies. And do you think he would have allowed you to finish your sword moves? Come here quickly to thank him."

The two men quickly flew over and bowed deeply. The vegetable- person said, "Today I found out that there's a heaven outside this heaven and there's another person above me. Master's high martial art is very rare in this world. Please forgive me for my rudeness before." Linghu Chong returned his propriety, "Wudang's sword art is divine.

Your two sword arts, one is Yin and one is Yang. Can they be the Taiji Sword?"

The vegetable-person said, "Master is laughing at us. The sword art we're using is the "Double Ritual Sword Art". It is divided into Yin and Yang but we haven't managed to combine them yet."

"Before when I was watching on the side, I was having difficulties distinguishing the sword art's subtlety. If we were actually fighting for real,

I would certainly not be able to take advantage of the sword art's weakness," Linghu Chong said.

The old man said, "Why must master be so modest? The spots that master was looking at are definitely the Double Ritual Sword Art's weak points. Ai, this type of sword art... this type of sword art..." He continuously shook his head, "More than fifty years ago, Wudang School had two priests. It was on this road that the Double Ritual Sword Art was developed through their tens of years of hard work. I was aware that the sword art consists of one Yin and one Yang, soft and hard, Ai!"

He let out a long sigh, "I'm also aware that this sword art would not stand against a master swordsman."

Linghu Chong respectfully said, "These two uncles' sword arts are already so wonderful. If it were Wudang School's Priest Chongxu or the other masters, then it would be impossible for me to distinguish the secret of the sword art by myself. Junior and friends here have gone past the bottom of Wudang Mountain, but we currently have a matter we must do.

So we have to be impolite and not go up the mountain to pay our respects to Priest Chongxu. Once we've finished with this matter, I would go up to the Wudang Monastery and kowtow to the gods and Priest Chongxu." At first, Linghu Chong was feeling haughty towards them. But after seeing the hard and soft aspects of their sword arts together and the many miraculous variations of it, he actually felt some admiration in his heart.

Thus, although he had discovered the flaws in the sword moves, in his heart, he actually really admired them. After all, in

this world, which sword move didn't have any flaws?

He was guessing that this old man must be Wudang School's first- class master. That was why he said these few sentences so sincerely. That

old man nodded his head, "You're still young but you're not arrogant at all. This is also very rare. Master Linghu, were you taught by Huashan School's senior Feng Qingyang?"

Linghu Chong was startled and thought, "Wow, his eyesight is so good. I didn't expect that he would find out about my sword art's background. Even though I can't disclose grand martial uncle Feng's

whereabouts, because he already inquired frankly, I couldn't lie to him." He said, "Junior was lucky. I once had the opportunity to learn some of grand martial uncle Feng's sword art at a superficial level." These words had two meanings and it didn't reveal that Feng Qingyang had once taught him personally.

That old man smiled slightly, "Superficial knowledge, superficial knowledge! Hey, hey, superficial knowledge of senior Feng's sword art, is it that easy to acquire?" He took the sword from the firewood-person's hand

and grasped it in his left hand. "Let me receive some lessons from this superficial knowledge of senior Feng's sword art."

Linghu Chong said, "How can Junior dare to fight senior?"

That old man just smiled slightly while he slowly turned to the right and raised his left hand upwards till his sword was in front of his chest. The point of his sword started to move circularly as if it was surrounding a ball about the size of two palms. Linghu Chong watched his sword attentively as he understood that this move contained infinite variations. That old man

slowly moved forward with his sword still circling. Linghu Chong felt a dense cold air pressing up to him and if he didn't return his move now then he wouldn't be able to do it later. He said, "Sorry for offending senior." He wasn't able to see the weakness in the sword movement so he just made a false thrust with his sword.

Suddenly, that old man threw his sword into his right hand. With a flash of light, the sword slashed towards Linghu Chong's neck. This slash was an extremely fast killing movement. The spectators couldn't help but gasp in worry.

But as the old man exerted himself in this strike, Linghu Chong saw a weak point at the lower part of his body. He thrust his sword towards the old man's Yuanye acupoint at the lower part of his body. The old man moved his sword to block the thrust and the two swords clashed. Both people retreated a step. Linghu Chong felt that the old man's

sword was laced with internal energy which made his right hand

shook. Linghu Chong could also feel needles and pins on his arm because of the impact. That old man was also surprised and an expression of

amazement could be seen on his face.

The old man switched his sword to his left hand again and drew two circles in front of his body. Linghu Chong saw that his sword moved

continuously and protected his whole body. It was unexpectedly without

any flaws. Linghu Chong was secretly amazed, "I have never seen a sword art without any weakness before. If he attacks like this, how do I break it? Perhaps Senior Ren Woxing's sword art is more powerful compared to this old mister, but every move of his still has a weakness. How can it be that this old man's sword art has no weakness at all?" He started to feel afraid and beads of sweat started to form on his forehead.

That old man formed his right fingers into a sword form and his left hand was continuously moving. Suddenly he thrust out, the tip of the sword vibrating; no one could see where the sword was aiming at.

This thrust enveloped seven major acupoints on Linghu Chong's upper body. But because of this, Linghu Chong was also able to see three weaknesses on his opponent's upper body. He did not need to attack all these weak points, one would be sufficient to take the old man's life. He thought, "When he's defending, he has no weakness at all. But when he

starts to attack, there's still a weakness that can be

attacked." as he casually pierced his long sword towards the old man's left eyebrow.

If that old man continued with his thrust then his left forehead would be pierced first. Even though his thrust was earlier than Linghu Chong's, it was still a step too late.

That old man quickly turned his sword around. Suddenly, Linghu Chong saw a few circles of white light. Big circle, small circle, upright

circle, slanting circle, they were all flickering incessantly. As he saw these flowery patterns in his eyes, he quickly turned his sword and slantingly

attacked the sword circles. "Tang" as both swords

clashed with each other. Linghu Chong felt his arm tingling from the impact.

That old man continued to move his swords creating more and more flickering circles as they moved. Not long after, his whole body was

surrounded in the middle of these rings of light. One circle of light had not yet disappeared when another circle of light was formed. Even though his long sword was extremely fast, there was no sound of the sword's edge splitting the air at all. It indicated that he had reached the stage of perfection where the sword was soft but yet still strong.

At this time, Linghu Chong couldn't see any weakness in his sword art and felt as if there were thousands of swords protecting this old man's

whole body. The old man was purely defending at the moment so there was no weakness in his sword art. But this sword front was actually like a moving fort and the thousands of light circles

resembled a tide as it slowly rushed forward. That old man wasn't attacking using one move at a time anymore. He was now using tens of

moves to protect himself while at the same time used this to attack. Linghu Chong was unable to resist this as he retreated to avoid it.

He retreated a step and the circles of light moved forward a step. In a short time, Linghu Chong had retreated seven to eight steps. The crowd saw that their Chief was now in an unfavourable situation and was about to lose. They were holding their breath watching and cold sweat started to wet their hands. Peachtree Root Fairy suddenly said, "What sword art is that? It's like a child drawing some circles. I can draw too."

"Come, I'll draw some circles. My circle would definitely be more round than his," Peachtree Flower Fairy said.

"Brother Linghu, don't be afraid. If you lose, we'll tear this old fellow into four pieces to vent your anger," Peachtree Branch Fairy said.

"What you said was wrong. One, he's Chief Linghu not brother Linghu. Two, how do you know that he's afraid?" Peachtree Leaf Fairy said.

"Even though Linghu Chong has become Chief, he's still younger than me. So once he's chief, does he then also become big brother Linghu, uncle Linghu, grandpa Linghu, great grandpa Linghu?" Peachtree Branch Fairy said. At this time, Linghu Chong retreated again and the crowd was feeling very anxious. When they heard the Peach Valley Six Fairies talking nonsense, they now got angry.

Linghu Chong retreated another step and his left foot stepped into a puddle of water. A thought flashed in his mind, "That day grand martial uncle Feng repeatedly told me to keep in my heart that the world's martial art is ever changing and there are also unusual ones. But no matter how

wonderful the opponent's moves are, they are still

moves. So there must be a weakness. When hero Dugu passed on his sword art, he had no match in this world because he was able to see his

enemy's weakness. Right now, this senior's sword art is circling around and has no weakness at all. But it must be because I had not been able to see the weakness yet."

He retreated a few more steps as he gazed at his opponent's countless circles of light. Suddenly, a thought leapt into his head, "Maybe the centre of the circle is the weakness. But if it's not a weakness and I thrust in there, he can twist his sword and cut my arm off."

He also thought, "Luckily, his way of attack can only go forward slowly. If he really wants to kill me, it won't be that easy. But if I keep

retreating, that's just the same as losing. If I lose this battle, everyone would be discouraged. Then how would we be able to break through Shaolin and

save Yingying?"

At the thought of Yingying's kindness towards him, if he loses an arm because of her, what's the harm in that? From the depth of his heart, he was really pleased to actually sacrifice an arm for her. He also felt that he owed her a lot and only by suffering a heavy injury would he be able to repay for her kindness. At this thought, he whole-heartedly hoped that his opponent would really cut his arm as he extended his arm to thrust his long sword into the centre of the circle. A "tang" sound resounded as Linghu Chong felt his chest shook and felt blood bubbling forth but his arm was still intact.

That old man retreated a couple of steps and put away his sword. The

expression on his face was odd. There were also expressions of surprise and shame together with some expression of sympathy towards him. After some time, he said, "Master Linghu's sword art is brilliant and your courage and wisdom are excellent. Admirable, admirable!"

At this time Linghu Chong just realised, when he took that risk to thrust his sword, he had actually succeeded in finding his opponent's sword art's weak point. It was just that this old man's sword art was really high.

The centre of the circle was actually the most dangerous place and he had unexpectedly practised this sword art so that it

would also be the weak point. The thousands of swordsmen in the world, it would be very rare for one to be brave enough to go through this danger and thrust his sword in there. He was pleased with himself and thought, "Lucky, lucky!" as he felt sweat running down his back. He quickly bowed, "Senior's sword art is divine. I'm really

indebted to your advice. The benefit to Junior isn't shallow." His words were not just common talk. This fight had actually benefited his martial art greatly as it made him learn that the enemy's strongest point could unexpectedly be their weakest point. If he

could break the move at the strongest place then he would be able to break the rest of the weaknesses easily.

When masters competed in swords, one move could decide the outcome. That old man saw Linghu Chong dared to thrust into the middle of his circle of lights so they didn't need to compete anymore. He gazed at Linghu Chong for a while before saying, "Master Linghu, old man has a few words I want to say to you." Linghu Chong replied, "Yes, I'll listen to senior's advice." That old man gave his long sword to the vegetable-person and walked away to the east. Linghu Chong threw his long sword on the ground and followed behind him.

He stopped besides a big tree. They were tens of feet away from the

crowd, even though they were still able to see the crowd, their voices would not carry that far. The old man sat down under the tree's shade and pointed to a big rock, "Please sit down." He waited for Linghu Chong to settle himself before continuing, "Master Linghu, among the younger generations, it's very rare to find someone with your kind of talent." Linghu Chong said, "I don't dare. Junior's conduct is improper and my reputation is already ruined. My own master can't even tolerate me. How can I deserve to receive senior's praise?"

That old man said, "The martial people of my generation, our conduct must be open and aboveboard and have no qualms in our heart. Although your action is sometimes bold and wild, and also not according to the

custom, it is still gentlemanly. I secretly sent some people to find out what misdeeds you've truly done. It's not sufficient to just rely on the rumours

and slanders going around in Jianghu."

When Linghu Chong heard him said this, it struck a chord in his heart. He felt gratitude towards this old man. He thought, "This senior must have a high position in Wudang School. Otherwise, how would he be able to send people to investigate about my conduct?"

The old man went on, "It's common that youngsters like to show off.

Mr. Yue's outward appearance is calm, but he's easily offended..."

Linghu Chong quickly stood up and said, "Respected master is like a father to me. Junior doesn't dare to hear about Master." That old man smiled slightly, "You didn't forget your roots, that's very good. Old man just made an indiscreet remark." Suddenly, his face turned

serious and asked, "How long have you been learning the Art of Essence Absorbing?"

Linghu Chong replied, "Half a year ago, Junior accidentally learned this skill. At that time, I didn't know that this was the Art of Essence

Absorbing."

That old man nodded, "That's how it is! Just then we clashed sword three times and with each clash, you absorbed my internal energy. But I was aware that you're still not good at using this disastrous demonic skill. Old man has an advise to give you but I don't know whether young hero would listen to it or not?"

Linghu Chong was greatly terrified and quickly bowed, "Junior will certainly obey senior's precious words."

The old man replied, "Although this Art of Essence Absorbing has great power, it is also harmful towards the user's body. As your skill in it gets deeper, it will harm you even more. If young hero could abandon this demonic skill altogether then that will be the best. Otherwise, you can just stop practising it from now on."

That day in Plum Manor, he had heard Ren Woxing telling him that there would be great danger after practising the Art of Essence Absorbing for sometime. He wanted him to join the Devil Sect before divulging to him the method to meld the internal energies together. When he heard what this old man said, he believed even more what Ren Woxing said was true.

"Junior will never forget senior's teaching. Junior

already knows that this method isn't right and already decided not to use this method to harm other people. It's just that my body already learned this method, so even if I didn't want to use it, it's not that easy." The old man nodded, "That's what I've heard too. I have another matter to raise to young hero. Perhaps this will be difficult for young hero to do. But as a hero, you must do what ordinary people won't do. In Shaolin temple, they have a skill called "Tendon Altering Sutra". Young hero must've heard of this skill before."

Linghu Chong said, "I have. I heard that this is Wulin's most supreme internal energy method. And only the most eminent monks in Shaolin are

allowed to learn this skill."

That old man said, "Young hero is leading so many people to go to Shaolin, I'm afraid nothing good will come out of this. No matter which

side is victorious, both sides would lose numerous masters and would bring bad luck to Wulin. Old man has no talent, but I'm willing to go to Shaolin to ask for Abbot's mercy to give the "Tendon

Altering Sutra" to young hero. Then young hero can disband this large group of people to stop this disaster from happening. What does young hero think of this?"

"How about young lady Ren who is being detained in Shaolin temple?" Linghu Chong asked.

That old man said, "Young lady Ren has killed four disciples of Shaolin School and has also stirred up trouble in Jianghu and caused harm in the world. Great Master Fangzheng put her into seclusion not to take revenge for his own school. It is actually because of his kind heartedness to benefit the Jianghu people. How can young hero

with good conduct mix up with this nameless lady? Why should you associate with this Devil Sect's witch and ruin your reputation and future?"

"I've received her kindness so I must repay her. Junior appreciates senior's good idea but I don't dare to follow it," Linghu Chong said. That old man let out a long sigh and shook his head, "When young people are drowned in beauty and has been snared by it, it's hard to free themselves from it."

Linghu Chong bowed, "Junior will take my leave now."

That old man said, "Wait. Although old man and Huashan School doesn't have many dealings, Mr. Yue would surely give me some face. If you follow my advice, old man and Shaolin temple's abbot will together guarantee that you will be accepted back into Huashan School. Do you trust me?"

Linghu Chong was moved by this as returning to Huashan was his biggest wish. From the level of this old man's martial art and from what he just said, the old man must certainly be a famous Wudang School's senior. He said that Abbot Fangzheng and he would guarantee this matter believing that they would certainly succeed. Master had always taken into

consideration relationship between everyone from the orthodox sects. Shaolin and Wudang were the two biggest schools in Wulin at the present time. When the leaders of these two schools speak out, it would be very difficult for Master not to do them the favour for the sake of their relationship.

Master was like a father to himself. This matter of him being expelled from Huashan was because he had made friends with Xiang Wentian and Yingying and made Master lose face in front of all the orthodox schools.

But if the leaders of Shaolin and Wudang acted on behalf of him, Master would definitely accept him back. When he returned to Huashan, he would be able to see little martial sister from dawn to dusk. However, how could he just leave Yingying to suffer in a Shaolin's cave at the back of the mountain? At this thought, he felt heat coming up his chest, "If junior can't rescue young lady Ren out of Shaolin temple then I'll be a useless person. No matter if we win or lose in this matter, if I'm still alive after that, I will definitely go up Mount Wudang to thank Priest Chongxu and senior."

That old man let out a long sigh, "You don't regard your life highly nor your master highly nor your future reputation. You acted wilfully just for this Devil Sect's witch. In the future, if she become heartless towards you and harm you, you won't regret it?"

"My life was saved by young lady Ren. What's there to regret if I lose my life because of her?" Linghu Chong said.

That old man nodded, "Alright, you can go."

Linghu Chong bowed to take his leave again. He then turned around towards the crowd and shouted, "Let's go!"

Peachtree Fruit Fairy asked, "That old fellow competed in swordplay with you but how come there's no winner or loser? There's no need to

compete then."

Even though Linghu Chong and the old man duelled, the winner and loser had not been decided. It was because the old man merely decided that he wasn't Linghu Chong's match and thus immediately gave up. But

everyone else in the crowd didn't know that Linghu Chong had attacked the old man's sword art's flaw so they didn't know what happened.

"This senior's sword art is very high. If we keep on fighting, it won't be easy for me so it's better if we just don't fight," Linghu Chong said.

"You're so stupid. Since there's no winner or loser, you should've kept fighting and you'd definitely win," Peachtree Fruit Fairy said.

Linghu Chong laughed, "Not necessarily."

Peachtree Fruit Fairy said, "What not necessarily? That old fellow is already much older than you so of course he's not as strong as you. After a long time, you'll naturally get the upper hand." Linghu Chong had not replied yet when Peachtree Root Fairy said, "Why is it when you're older, you're not as strong anymore?"

Linghu Chong understood what Peachtree Root Fairy meant. Between those Peach Valley Six Fairies, Peachtree Root Fairy was the oldest while Peachtree Fruit Fairy was the youngest. When Peachtree Fruit Fairy said

when you're older then you wouldn't be as strong anymore, of course Peachtree Root Fairy didn't agree.

Peachtree Trunk Fairy said, "If the younger you are, the stronger you get, then a three year old child would be the strongest then?"

"That's not true. A three year old child can't be the strongest. A two year old child would be stronger than a three year old," Peachtree Flower Fairy said.

"You're also wrong. A one year old child would be stronger than a two year old," Peachtree Trunk Fairy said.

"A foetus that hasn't come out from his mother's womb would be the strongest then," Peachtree Leaf Fairy said.

They kept on going north and had finally entered the boundary of Henan. Unexpectedly, they met with two more groups of heroes coming from the east and the west. They already had more than two thousand people with them before. But after adding those two extra groups to their main group, they now had more than four thousand people with them.

These four thousand people just slept anywhere at night. It didn't matter whether it was on grass, forest or wild hill, they just put their heads down

and slept. But foods and drinks were a big problem. After many days, at the restaurants and drink shops on the towns that they were going through, they broke all the pots, tables and chairs because they didn’t get enough to drink and eat. They were all angry and destroyed the restaurants. Linghu Chong saw that these Jianghu's heroes were quite violent but they were also very loyal and frank people. If Shaolin Temple didn't want to release Yingying, then both sides would get into a bloody battle and the outcome would unavoidably be horrible. Everyday, he waited for news from Dingxian and Dingyi Shi Tai. He was hoping that due to the two Shi Tai's reputations, Abbot Fangzheng would agree to release Yingying and

avoid the catastrophe from happening. Only three days remained until the fifteenth of the twelfth month and they were now less than a hundred li from the Shaolin Temple but there was still no news from the two Shi Tai. The way they were going to Shaolin temple with banners flying and drums beating, everyone must have heard of their advance. But so far, there was no movement from the other party at all as if nothing was happening.

Linghu Chong raised this issue with Zu Qianqiu and Ji Wushi and they also felt worried about this.

That night, the group stayed in an open field. Sentries were put on the outside of the group to prevent possible night raids from the enemy. The

wind was blowing coldly and the grey clouds hanged low on the sky. It

appeared that a big rain was about to pour down. The open field was filled with cooking fires in tens of li in every direction. Not restrained by any military command, the group of warriors acted more or less as a mob as they gathered together singing and shouting loudly shaking the ground.

There were also people with swords and sabres out competing with each other while some were wrestling. Everywhere, it was noisy and filled with shouts.

Linghu Chong thought, "It's best if I don't let these people step on the grounds of Shaolin Temple. Why don't I go first to ask Great Master Fangzheng and Fangsheng? If I can get Yingying out, wouldn't it be a great celebration for everyone?" At this thought, his whole body felt hot. After he thought more on this, he changed his mind,

"But if I fight the Shaolin's monks just by myself then I'll be captured or even killed. I'm not worried about dying but there'll be no one to preside over these people. Without a leader, there will be chaos in this group of heroes and they wouldn't be able to get Yingying out. More over, many of these several thousands of courageous and upright friends would probably be killed on Mount Shaoshi. If I acted rashly and ruin this matter, how

would I be able to apologise to all these people?"

He stood up and looked around him. Looking at the people besides the piles of fire, he thought, "If they're not doing this for Yingying, they wouldn't have submitted to me at all."

Two days later, they arrived on Mount Shaoshi and were just outside of the Shaolin Temple. During these two days, even more warriors joined their group. The people he had met on that day on Five-Tyrant Ridge's gathering including Huang Boliu, Sima Big, Blue Phoenix as well as White Flood Dragon's Clan leader Shi and the "Yangtze River's Pair of Flying Fish" had all come. There were still many heroes that Linghu

Chong didn't manage to see who had come as well. Conservatively, they had around five to six thousands people now.

Several hundred drums were beating shaking the ground and trembling the sky. The group was beating the drums for a long time but not a single monk came out of the temple. Linghu Chong roared out his

command, "Stop the drum!" The beating sounds gradually became lighter until they finally stopped. Linghu Chong took a deep breath and in a clear voice said, "Junior Linghu Chong and many friends from Jianghu have

come to pay a visit to Shaolin's Abbot. I ask respectfully to be granted a meeting." Linghu Chong attached abundant of internal energy into his voice and he was heard from many li but there was still no sound from inside the temple. Linghu Chong spoke again and yet there was still no response from the temple. Linghu Chong said, "Brother Zu, please offer our visit card."

"Yes," Zu Qianqiu complied as he carried the prepared visit box

which stored the card with Linghu Chong's name and the names of leaders from various sects. He went up to the main gate of the Shaolin Temple and knocked on it a few times. When there was no still no sound coming from the temple, he lightly pushed on the gate. The gate wasn't bolted and it opened easily. He looked inside and couldn't see anyone

around. He didn't dare to go into the temple without authorisation so he turned around to report to Linghu Chong. Although Linghu Chong's martial art was high, he still didn't have much experience and had never led a large group of people before. With this unanticipated situation before him, he didn't know what to do. He was momentarily stupefied and speechless.

Peachtree Root Fairy said, "All the monks in the temple have all

escaped? Let's go inside! If we see any shiny head, we'll kill him straight away."

Peachtree Trunk Fairy said, "You said all the monks have all escaped.

If so, where are you going to find some shiny heads to kill?" Peachtree Root Fairy said, "Don't nuns also have shiny heads?"

Peachtree Flower Fairy said, "It's a monk's temple, how can there be nuns in there?"

Peachtree Root Fairy quickly pointed his fingers at a person. "This man here isn't a monk, he's also not a nun, but he has a shiny head."

Peachtree Trunk Fairy asked, "Why do you want to kill him?" Ji Wushi interrupted, "How about we go in and take a look?"

Linghu Chong replied, "That's good. Brother Ji, brother Old, brother Zu, and clan leader Huang, please accompany me into the temple. Everybody please pass this order to restrict your subordinates from acting wildly and tell them they must not be rude to any Shaolin monk. Also they can't burn any grass or trees on this mountain."

Peachtree Branch Fairy said, "Then you can't even pull out any grass?"

Linghu Chong was feeling worried about Yingying so he strode purposefully into the temple. Ji Wushi and the other three people followed behind him.

After entering through the gate, they walked on a stone path and went past the front courtyard and the front hall, and arrived at the Great Hero Precious Hall. In the hall, they saw the majestic likeness of Rulai Buddha.

They saw the floor and the table were covered with a thin layer of dust. Zu Qianqiu said, "Could it be that all the monks in the temple have escaped?" Linghu Chong chided, "Brother Zu, don't say this word 'escape'."

The five people stood quietly and tried to listen for any sounds. But

apart from the clamoring noise from the group outside the temple, there was no sound at all coming from the temple.

"The Shaolin monks must be hiding around the place to ambush us," Ji Wushi whispered.

Linghu Chong thought, "Abbot Fangzheng and Great Master Fangsheng are all eminent monks. Why would they use deceit? But knowing that a lot of unorthodox sects came together to attack, the Shaolin monks may have wanted a battle of wits instead of strength. That's not unusual." He saw that Shaolin Temple was a huge place but saw no sign of anyone. A sense of dread started to wash over him as he worried about what they might have done to Yingying.

The five of them looked around and listened to all directions as they walked further in. After passing two large courtyards, they arrived at the back hall. Suddenly, Linghu Chong and Ji Wushi stopped at the same time and made some hand signals. Old Man and the other two people immediately stopped. Linghu Chong pointed to a side room on the northwest side and quietly walked there. Old Man and the other three people followed him. They heard light groaning sounds coming from the inside of the room. Linghu Chong stopped in front of the door and pulled his sword out. He then extended his hand to push the door open while leaning his body to one side to protect himself against projectiles from inside the room. As the door creaked open, they again heard the light groaning sound from inside.

Linghu Chong turned his head to look inside the room and was greatly surprised to see two old nuns on the floor. He recognized the nun facing towards him as Dingyi Shi Tai. With her face pale and her eyes

closed, it looked as if she had died. His body shot forward like an arrow going into the room. Zu Qianqiu called out, “Chief, be careful!” as he followed him in. Linghu Chong went around Dingyi Shi Tai’s body to have a look at the other person lying down. As expected, she was Heng-Shan School’s leader Dingxian Shi Tai.

Linghu Chong stooped down and called out, “Shi Tai, Shi Tai.”

Dingxian Shi Tai slowly opened her eyes. She was really sluggish at the beginning but there was a flash of happiness in her eyes as she recognised him. Her mouth moved like she was trying to say something but she couldn’t get any sound out. Linghu Chong stooped even lower, “It’s

Junior Linghu Chong.” Dingxian Shi Tai’s mouth moved again and managed to whisper really lightly. Linghu Chong managed to hear her

saying, “You... you... you...” He saw her injuries were really serious and didn’t know how much longer she would live. Dingxian Shi Tai uttered a few more words, “You... You promise me...” Linghu Chong hastily said, “Yes, yes. Whatever Shi Tai orders, Linghu Chong will do it. Even until my body turned to dust, I will still accomplish it.”

Thinking of the two Shi Tai dying in Shaolin Temple on his account, tears started to flow down his cheeks. Dingxian Shi Tai whispered, “You... you’re certain that you can promise... promise me?”

Linghu Chong replied, “I promise!”

Dingxian Shi Tai’s glimmered with happiness. “You... you promise to take charge of... take charge of Heng-Shan School family...” After saying these few words, she was out of breath.

Linghu Chong was greatly surprised, “Junior is a male, I can’t be your noble school’s leader. But Shi Tai be at ease, no matter what kind of difficulty or calamity your noble school is in, Junior will do my best to undertake the burden.”

Dingxian Shi Tai slowly shook her head, “No, no. I... I’m passing you Linghu Chong, the Heng-Shan School... Heng-Shan School’s leadership. If you... you don’t agree, I’ll die... die with an unfulfilled wish.”

Zu Qianqiu and the other three people were standing behind Linghu Chong. They all felt Dingxian Shi Tai’s last wish was too unthinkable.

Linghu Chong’s heart was in great confusion and felt that this was a really difficult matter to decide on. But he saw that Dingxian Shi Tai only had a

short time to live. With blood welling up in his heart, he promised, “Alright, Junior agrees to Shi Tai’s request.”

Dingxian Shi Tai smiled and whispered, “Many... many thanks!

Heng-Shan School’s hundreds of disc... disciples, from now on they’ll all bother... bother young hero Linghu.” Linghu Chong was alarmed, indignant, and grieved, “Shaolin temple is so unreasonable, why would they be so violent towards Shi Tai, Junior...” Just then Dingxian Shi Tai’s head lolled to one side and her eyes closed. Greatly alarmed, Linghu Chong quickly

extended his hand to check on her breathing but she had stopped breathing. His heart was grieved. He turned around and touched Dingyi Shi Tai’s hand. Her cold hands indicated that she had been dead for a long time.

Indignation and sadness washed over him and he found himself choked with tears.

Old Man said, “Master Linghu, we must avenge the two Shi Tai. All those bald donkeys have run away from the temple. Let’s burn this Shaolin Temple to the ground.”

Linghu Chong’s heart was filled with grief and indignation; he slapped his thigh and said, “Alright! Let’s burn Shaolin Temple to the ground.”

Ji Wushi hastily said, “No! No! If Sacred Lady is still imprisoned in here then she’ll also be burnt to death.”

Linghu Chong had said that absent-mindedly. He felt cold sweat breaking out from his back as he conceded, “I was confused. If brother Ji didn’t remind me, I would’ve ruined this matter. What should we do now?”

Ji Wushi replied, “Shaolin temple has many rooms, it’ll be hard for the five of us to search all the places. Chief, please pass an order to call two hundred brothers to come in and search the temple.”

Linghu Chong said, “Right. Brother Ji, please go out and get more people.”

“Yes,” Ji Wushi replied and turned his body around to go out.

Zu Qianqiu called out, “Don’t let those Peach Valley Six Weirdos come in.”

Linghu Chong lifted the bodies of the two Shi Tai and put them on a bed. Kneeling down, he kowtowed a few times to them and silently prayed, “Disciple will do my best to avenge both Shi Tai. You can rest easy in heaven about the Heng-Shan School family.” He stood up and looked

carefully at the injuries on the two bodies but didn’t see any cut or traces of blood on them. It was also inappropriate for him to lift their gowns to investigate further. He guessed that it was masters from Shaolin who must have used their palm’s inner energy and caused fatal internal injuries.

The sound of steps from two hundred heroes was then heard entering the temple as they separately went to search the area. Suddenly, someone

shouted from outside the gate, “Linghu Chong’s not letting us in. But we want to go in, what’s he going to do?” It was Peachtree Branch Fairy’s voice. Linghu Chong scowled pretending not to have heard it. Then he heard Peachtree Trunk Fairy said, “We’ve come to the world’s famous Shaolin Temple. But we’re not allowed to go in and take a stroll in there, how can he treat us so unjustly?”

Peachtree Leaf Fairy said, “If we entered the Shaolin Temple and don’t meet the world’s famous Shaolin monks then that’ll be even more injustice.”

Peachtree Branch Fairy said, “If we can’t meet Shaolin temple’s monks then we can’t compare martial art against the world’s famous Shaolin School’s martial art. That’s even more injustice.”

Peachtree Flower Fairy said, “The most famous ones are in Shaolin Temple but we can’t see a single monk here. This is really strange.”

Peachtree Fruit Fairy said, “There’s no monk, that’s not strange. But the strange thing is there are two nuns.”

Peachtree Root Fairy said, “There are two nuns, that’s also not

strange. What’s strange is that the nuns are not only old, they’re also dead.”

The six brothers were talking back and forth as they walked towards the back courtyard. Linghu Chong together with Zu Qianqiu, Old Man, and Huang Boliu walked away from the side room. Once they were out of the door, they saw the group that was searching around inside the Shaolin temple. After a

while, people started to come and continuously reported their findings. They reported that not only the monks were gone from the temple but also the porters and cooks had also gone. One person reported that the Buddhist scriptures, records, and appliances had also been moved away. Not even a bowl was left behind. Another person reported that the firewood, rice, oil, and salt had all been emptied out. Even the vegetables in the garden had been pulled clean.

Every time Linghu Chong heard a report, he was more and more disheartened. He thought, "The Shaolin Temple's monks cleaned this place up so thoroughly. So much so that they didn't even leave behind a single vegetable in the garden. They must've moved Yingying somewhere else too. The world is so big, where do I begin to look for her?"

Close to two hours later, the two hundred people had finished

searching the thousands of rooms in the Shaolin temple. They had even

searched underneath the Buddha statues and the back of the Shaolin's name board. But not even a single piece of paper was found. There were people who were pleased with themselves saying, "Shaolin School is Wulin's number one school. But when they heard us coming, they unexpectedly ran away. This thing has never happened in more than a thousand year."

Another person said, "We're so powerful. So no one in Wulin dares to look down upon us."

But there was a person who said, "The Shaolin monks were definitely driven away from hearing our might, but what about Sacred Lady? We

came here to meet Sacred Lady, not to drive away the monks." Everyone thought that this was reasonable. When some people heard this, they hanged their heads down as if someone had died. There were

some who looked towards Linghu Chong waiting to hear what he had to

say. Linghu Chong said, "This is beyond our expectations. Who would have expected that Shaolin monks would leave their temple. I have no idea how to handle this situation. One person's thought is limited, if we have more than two then we would have more ideas. So please give me your opinions."

Huang Boliu said, "In my opinion, finding Sacred Lady is difficult while finding Shaolin monks is easier. Shaolin temple's monks numbered more than a thousand, they can't always hide forever. Once we found those Shaolin's monks, we'll definitely get a scent of where Sacred Lady is."

Zu Qianqiu said, "Clan leader Huang is right. We'll just stay inside this temple. Those Shaolin School's disciples would definitely not be

willing to part with their thousand years old residence and allow us to live here. When they wanted to take back this temple from us then we'll ask them about Sacred Lady's whereabouts."

A person said, "Ask about Sacred Lady whereabouts? Why would they agree to tell us?"

Old Man said, "This so called asking is merely a polite way of saying it. We'll extort from them the answer. When we see any Shaolin monks,

we'll capture them but not kill them. Then after we've captured eight to ten of them, are we still afraid that they won't tell us?"

Another person said, "If these monks still didn't want to tell us, then what do we do?"

Old Man said, "That's easy. We'll just ask Chief Blue to release some of her Divine Dragon, Divine Object on their bodies. Do we then still be

afraid of them not disclosing the information?" Many people nodded their heads agreeing with what he said. Everyone knew that this so called "Chief Blue's Divine Dragon, Divine Object" was Chief Blue Phoenix's five poisons of viper and poison worm. When these venomous pests were put on people's bodies, they would start gnawing on their flesh. The pain would be comparable to the worst punishment that existed in this world. Blue Phoenix smiled and said, "Shaolin temple's monks have undergone lots of practice for a long time. I'm not sure if my Divine Dragon, Divine Object

would work on them."

Linghu Chong suddenly thought, "We don't need to deal them with excessive punishment. We just need to capture as many monks as we can.

After capturing a hundred of them, then we'll trade a hundred for one. That way we'll surely be able to get Yingying out."

Suddenly, a person with coarse voice said, "We haven't eaten meat for half a day, I'm starving. There's also no monks in the temple, otherwise

we'll capture one with thin and white skin and steam him. That'll be very wonderful!" The person who said this had a high stature. It was the tall

White Bear from the Bear Duo of the Northern Desert. Everyone knew that Black Bear and White Bear liked to eat human flesh. Although these few words of his could make other people vomit from hearing it, they had been on Mount Shaoshi for a long time now and had not had anything to eat or drink. Everyone felt hungry and thirsty and some people's stomachs were

croaking from hunger.

Huang Boliu said, "Shaolin School is using this plan of strengthen whatever clear whatever."

Zu Qianqiu said, "Strengthen the defenses and clear the field."30 Huang Boliu said, "Right. They were hoping that we'd get hungry

inside the temple then obediently go down the mountain. How can there be such an easy thing in this world?" Linghu Chong asked, "What's clan leader Huang’s opinion?"

Huang Boliu replied, "We'll send a group of brothers to go down the mountain and find out where these Shaolin monks had gone to. We'll send another group to purchase foodstuffs. Everyone else will be staying in the temple to guard... hmm.. whatever waiting for rabbit in order to avoid these monks' throwing... throwing whatever net." Huang Boliu loved to use proverbs when speaking but he didn't remember them clearly so the idioms he used would frequently be wrong.

Linghu Chong said, "That's a good idea. Clan leader Huang, please take the order and get five hundred astute and capable brothers to go down the mountain and find out the whereabouts of Shaolin monks. About this matter of purchasing foodstuffs, I ask clan leader Huang to handle this matter too." Huang Boliu complied with his order and turned around to go out.

Blue Phoenix laughed, "Hopefully clan leader Huang can handle this matter. Otherwise, White Bear and Black Bear would be very hungry and start to eat everything they see."

Huang Boliu laughed, "Old man will take care of this. But even if those Bear Duo of Northern Desert get really hungry till their belly is

shrunken, they still wouldn't dare to even touch Chief Blue's fingers."

Zu Qianqiu said, "The temple's monks have all gone out. I'd like to ask friends here to do this one thing. Could you please have a look

everywhere again? See if there's anything unusual, maybe we'll be able to find some clues." The crowd boomed their replies and started to go to take a look around.

Linghu Chong sat on a kneeling mat in the Great Hero Precious Hall and was looking at the majestic likeness of the Rulai Buddha. The statue had an expression of pity and mercifulness. He thought, "Abbott Fangzheng is an eminent monk. When he found out that we were coming here, he'd rather destroy Shaolin School's reputation than to lead people to fight us. In the end, he has avoided a big bloodbath here. But why did they kill

Dingxian and Dingyi Shi Tai? I'm guessing the one who killed the two Shi Tai must be a vicious monk from this temple and the Abbott may have no idea at all about this. I must respect Abbott's good intentions and must not look for Shaolin monks to give them trouble. I must think of another way to save Yingying."

Suddenly, a burst of wind blew in through the door and hurled open the screen in front of him. The ash in the incense pot was blown all over the hall. Linghu Chong walked towards the hall's entrance and looked at the

sky. The clouds were grey and the north wind was blowing hard. He thought in his heart, "It's going to rain tonight." Just as he thought of this, flakes of snow started to float down from the sky. "The sky is cold and the ground is going to be frozen. I don't know if Yingying has winter clothes with her. Shaolin School has so many people they can deploy efficiently

while we're only using bravery here to get Yingying out. This is impossible to do."

With his hands behind his back, he walked back and forth in the passage in front of the hall. The snow was falling on his head, face, gown, and hands. It quickly melted as it touched him.

His thought continued, "Just before Dingxian Shi Tai passed away, even though her injury was serious, she was still clear headed and wasn't confused in the slightest bit. But why did she want me to become Heng-

Shan School's leader? Heng-Shan School doesn't even have a single man in their school. I also heard that all their previous leaders were all nuns. How can I be the leader of Heng-Shan School when I'm a man? When this gets out, people in Jianghu will laugh till their jaws drop. Hng, I already agreed to her request, how can a gentleman eat his own word? What I do or where I go, even if other people laughed at me, what's that got to do with them?" At this thought, his heroic spirit rose up.

Suddenly he heard light noises from half the mountain of people

shouting. Not long after, the big group outside of the temple started to make a lot of noise. Linghu Chong was alarmed and he quickly rushed towards the temple's main gate. He saw Huang Boliu walking towards him with his face full of fresh blood. An arrow was stuck in his shoulder and the cut out shaft was trembling. He called out, "Chief, enemy... enemy is guarding the road going down the mountain. We have... have been thrown that... hmm, that net."

Linghu Chong was startled, "Are they Shaolin monks?"

Huang Boliu said, "They're not monks. They're just ordinary people. His granny, we haven't gone more than three li when we were forced back by their arrows. Around ten brothers died and there are around seventy to eighty people injured. That's the whole army annihilated."

He then saw several hundred people rushing to retreat back to the temple. Many people in that group had been hit by arrows. The people in the main group were calling out like thunder as they prepared to die

charging down the mountain. Linghu Chong asked, "What school is the enemy from? Did clan leader Huang manage to get a look?"

Huang Boliu said, "We didn't get near to the enemy. His granny, they're very good with their bows and arrows. We didn't get to see those bastards' faces clearly. They were shooting those arrows continuously.

Usually, it's make friends when you're far and attack when you're near then all the arrows would hit its target."

Zu Qianqiu said, "It seems that Shaolin School deliberately left the temple to snare us. We're like a turtle captured in a jar." Old Man said, "What turtle captured in a jar? How can you grow the enemy's spirit and extinguish our own power? This is... this is called to lure the enemy to penetrate deeply into their territory."

Zu Qianqiu said, "Alright. We'll say that it's luring the enemy to penetrate deeply into their territory. We're already here so what else is there to say? These monks want us to die of starvation on top of this Mount Shaoshi."

White Bear shouted, "Who wants to charge down the mountain with me to kill these bastards?" This was followed by more than a thousand people answering him.

Linghu Chong shouted, "Wait! The opponents are shooting arrows, we must think of a way to deal with them to avoid futilely injuring ourselves."

Ji Wushi said, "There's nothing else in this Buddhist temple but there are thousands of putuan here."

This reminded everyone as they said together, "Use those as shields.

Those are just as good."

Several hundred people quickly rushed into the temple and brought out many putuans with them.

Linghu Chong called out, "Use these to block the arrows! Everyone rush down the mountain."

Ji Wushi said, "Chief, where should we gather after we rush down, what are we going to do after that, how are we going to save Sacred Lady, we have to arrange all these first."

Linghu Chong said, "Right. You saw just before how I didn't speak up on that matter, how can I still be Chief? I think after we got down the mountain, everyone should temporarily go back home first and ask around for the whereabouts of the Sacred Lady. We'll talk later to think of a way to save Sacred Lady."

Ji Wushi said, "Alright." and he quickly shouted Linghu Chong's order to the rest of the group.

That flesh eating monk Black Bear said, "Shaolin temple's bald donkeys are so hateful. Everyone, let's burn this ghost temple down then

we'll rush down and stake our lives." He himself was a monk but he scolded them as "bald donkey" and didn't care about it.

The crowd cheered his idea. Linghu Chong waved his hand and

shouted, "Sacred Lady is still in their hands right now, no one must be rude to them. Sacred Lady might be disadvantaged by that."

Everyone thought that what he said was right, "Alright, we'll let them off then."

Linghu Chong said, "Brother Ji, how do we charge down? Please assign us."

Ji Wushi saw Linghu Chong had no aptitude in commanding this group of heroes when dealing with the dangers so he didn't hesitate in taking control of the situation. He said in a loud and clear voice, "Friends, please listen to Chief's order. Everyone will go down the mountain through eight paths. East, south, west, and north are four of the paths. Southeast,

southwest, northeast, and northwest are the other four paths. We'll just quickly rush out of the encirclement and don't worry about killing them."

He then assigned the path that each clan and school would be taking. About five to six hundred or seven to eight hundred people would be rushing each path.

Ji Wushi said, "The south path is the main road to go down the mountain and it has the most enemy there. Chief, we'll rush down the south road first and lead the enemy along with us. This will make it easier for the rest of the brothers to rush out of the encirclement."

Linghu Chong grasped his sword but didn't take a putuan with him as he strode to go down the mountain. The crowd roared their battle cry and

separately rushed down through the eight paths. But on top of the mountain, there weren't eight paths to actually go down from so some people leaped as they went down. In the beginning, there were eight path they were taking but later they were just like bees swarming down the mountain. After Linghu Chong had gone for a few li, he heard many whirring sounds as a rain of arrows was released from the forest in front of him. He used Dugu

Nine Swords' "Arrow-breaking stance" to bat away the arrows raining down on him while he was still rushing down the mountain. Suddenly, he heard

someone crying out behind him. It was Blue Phoenix falling down as her left leg and left shoulder was hit at the same time. Linghu Chong hastily turned around to support her and said, "I'll protect you." Blue Phoenix said, "Don't worry about me. You... you... you going down the mountain is most important." At this time, the air was still buzzing from the arrows being

shot towards them. Linghu Chong was still waving his hand around blocking the arrows coming towards him. But he saw people kept falling on the ground one by one as they were struck by the arrows.

Linghu Chong seized Blue Phoenix with his left hand and rushed down the mountain. The arrows kept on coming and Linghu Chong kept scattering them away with his sword. He felt worried as the arrows kept

raining down. The people shooting the arrows had strong martial art and the air was thick with arrows. Although the group of heroes had putuans to use, it was still hard for them to block these arrows as more and more people

were hit. Linghu Chong couldn't decide whether to keep rushing down or turn back to the temple. Ji Wushi called out, "Chief, enemy's arrows are too severe. Our brethrens can't rush down the mountain and many have been injured or killed. Let's call everyone back and we'll think of an idea." Linghu Chong knew that they were about to be defeated. If they clashed with the enemies, then the situation would be hopeless. He immediately called out, "Everyone retreat to the Shaolin temple! Everyone retreat to the Shaolin temple!" Even though thousands of people were shouting and crying out as they fought, his shout was still audible everywhere because of his abundant internal energy. Ji Wushi, Zu Qianqiu, and tens of other people shouted out, "Chief's order, everyone retreat to the Shaolin temple." The crowd heard the order and

started to retreat.

In front of the Shaolin temple, people were cursing, groaning, and calling out. The ground from east to west was covered by blood. Ji Wushi was giving out order to eight hundred uninjured people to separate into

eight groups and guard the eight paths. These thousands of people who had come to Shaolin temple, half of them belonged to clans or sects and they

were obeying orders. But the other two thousand people were just mobs and after they had been defeated, they were in confusion. They were each doing their own things and didn't know what to do.

Linghu Chong said, "Everyone, quickly treat our injured brethrens and give medicines to them." In his heart, he was thinking, "It's a shame that Heng-Shan School's disciples aren't here and we don't have their

medicines." He continued thinking, "If Heng-Shan School's people are here, would they help me or would they side with the orthodox schools? En, the two Shi Tai were killed, of course they would help me."

He heard the crowd was still clamouring incessantly and he felt uneasy. If he was the only one who had been trapped on this mountain top, then he would've rushed down the mountain a long time ago. He wouldn't care if he died or live. But he was the leader of all these heroes and was responsible for these thousand of people's lives. As he thought of this, he didn't know what to do.

He saw that it was sunset already. Suddenly, sounds of drums and people calling out were heard from the mountainside. Linghu Chong drew his long sword out and rushed to the intersection of the road. The crowd of heroes also grasped their sabres wanting to fight the enemy to the death.

They heard the sounds of drums getting louder and louder but the enemy didn't rush up. After a moment, the drums stopped and the crowd of heroes said one after another, "The drums stopped, they're coming up now." "If they rush up then we'll spill their blood till it flows like water and not spare a single one of them." "His granny, these bastards want us to die up here from hunger and thirst." "If those sons of a turtle aren't coming up then we'll rush down to them." "If you want to rush down then why are you still talking?"

Ji Wushi whispered to Linghu Chong, "If we can't sleep tonight and add to that we would also be hungry for one day and one night. Then

everyone would be powerless to fight."

Linghu Chong replied, "Right. We'll select two to three hundred people with high martial art to open the way for us. At night, the enemy's arrows wouldn't be as accurate. We'll just disrupt the enemy and we can all rush forth to go down."

Ji Wushi said, "That's the plan then."

At this moment, the sounds of drums from the mountainside rose again followed by around a hundred people with white cloth wrapped

around their heads rushing up the mountain. The group of heroes cried out and rushed forth to fight them. But these one hundred people only attacked for a short while before they whistled and retreated back down the mountain. The crowd of heroes put their weapons down to rest. The drums sounded again and another group of people with white head wrap went up the mountain to attack. After fighting for a short while, they again retreated back down the mountain. Even though the enemy was retreating, the drums kept beating and another battle cry rose up not letting them rest.

Ji Wushi said, "Chief, the enemy is wearying our army and preventing us from taking a rest."

Linghu Chong said, "Yes. Brother Ji, please take care of it." Ji Wushi quickly passed down the order that if the enemy came up again, then only those people on guard duty would fight while the others would take a rest and not pay attention to them.

Zu Qianqiu said, "Let's talk now and pick three hundred good fighters. We then wait till the middle of the night, when the enemy attacks then these three hundred people would rush down. Once they started fighting with the enemy, these bastards wouldn't be able to shoot their

arrows and everyone will rush down the mountain. Only by using this tactic of creating chaos would we be able to escape from this."

Linghu Chong said, "Fabulous. Brother Zu, please pick the people. Order them to wait for some confusion first before they charged down."

After about an hour, Zu Qianqiu had finished picking the three hundred first-class fighters to furiously rush down the mountain. Even if the enemy had a thousand people lined up to block them, they might not necessarily be able to stop these three hundred fierce tigers. Linghu Chong's vigour rose and he walked with Zu Qianqiu towards the mountain edge on the west side. He saw the three hundred people lined up there. Linghu

Chong said, "Everyone, please sit down and rest. Wait until the sky is

completely dark before going down to fight to the death." Those people boomed their replied. At this time, the snow had been falling for some time and a thin layer of snow had accumulated on top of the ground and the people's heads and gowns. There were some water jar in the temple but they were all empty.

Even the water well had dried up. Everyone took up a handful of snow and started to put it in their mouths to quench their thirst. The sky was getting darker and darker until they could only vaguely looked at other people's faces. Zu Qianqiu said, "Fortunately tonight is snowing. Otherwise, tonight on the fifteenth, the moon would be very bright."

Suddenly, the quiet enveloped the whole area. Inside and outside the Shaolin temple where thousands of heroes were gathered, and also from the mountainside to the foot of the Mount Shaoshi where around two to three thousand people were, everyone had unexpectedly become quiet at the same time. The people who were about to say something also stayed silent as the quiet atmosphere scared them. Only the light sound of snowflakes falling on the tree leaves and grass was heard. Linghu Chong suddenly thought, "I wonder what little martial sister is doing at this time."

The sound of "wu, wu, wu" was heard throughout the mountainside followed by a loud cry from every direction. This time the enemy appeared to have taken advantage of the darkness to launch their attack with full power, unlike before when they were just bluffing. Linghu Chong waved his long sword and lightly said, "Charge!" Linghu Chong along with Ji Wushi, Zu Qianqiu, Tian Boguang, Bear Duo of the Northern Desert, and those three hundred chosen warriors rushed down towards the northwest path.

The three hundred people rushed down the path as nothing was blocking them. After going for a li, Zu Qianqiu took out a small flare, lit it up, and shot it up into the air. It exploded with fireworks in the air. This was the signal for the heroes on top of the mountain to rush out of the temple. Linghu Chong was rushing down the mountain when he felt his feet were hurting. It felt like he was trampling on nails. He felt uneasy about it and hastily leaped to the top of a tree. Zu Qianqiu and the rest of the people

behind started to cry out: "Ayo, not good, there's some trap on the ground!". Everyone felt their feet were being pricked by nails and some of their feet were even stabbed all the way through. The pain was unbearable. Dozens of their people were still rushing down ignoring the pain when suddenly they fell down a big pit. More than ten spears were quickly thrust out stabbing those people in the pit. Cries of pain were coming out of the pit and they

were heard throughout the mountain.

"Chief, quickly give out the order to retreat back up the mountain!" Ji Wushi screamed.

Linghu Chong saw the situation and it was obvious that the orthodox schools had set up a trap at the bottom of the mountain. If they kept rushing down, the whole army would be annihilated. He quickly shouted,

"Everyone go back to Shaolin temple! Everyone go back to Shaolin temple!"

He leaped to the top of another tree besides the pit and poked his long sword down stabbing three spearmen. He then jumped down to the ground and landed besides one of the spearmen with the thought that there wouldn't be any nails where these spearmen were standing on. All of a sudden, he had stabbed seven to eight people already. The remaining spearmen cried out and retreated. The forty or more people who had fallen down the pit jumped out one by one. But more than ten people were killed inside that pit. All they could see was the darkness of the night as they walked back. Even though the snow provided some light, they couldn't see where the traps might be. They limped back up the mountains with their heads hanging down. Fortunately, the enemy didn't take this opportunity to chase them. The group of heroes went back into the temple. Under the candle light, they checked their injuries and found that nine out of ten people's feet were pierced by the nails. Everyone was swearing at the enemy. Apparently, when the enemy was beating those drums several times, they were actually covering the sound of them digging the pit and scattering the nails. These nails were around a foot long and were very sharp. Seven part of it was buried underneath the ground with three part of it sticking out of the ground. It seemed that nails were scattered throughout the mountain. There may even be more than one hundred thousand of these nails buried on the ground.

Of course they had prepared these nails before hand. Otherwise,

where would the enemy accumulate these many nails from? Even the more experienced heroes were still surprised and amazed when they thought of this. Ji Wushi pulled Linghu Chong to a side and quietly talked to him,

"Master Linghu, we can't retreat anymore. We've been thinking day and night hoping to save Sacred Lady. We're forced to ask master to undertake this big matter alone."

Linghu Chong was greatly surprised, "You... you... what's the meaning of this?"

"We know that master is willing to help people and would not just

abandon us and go by yourself. But in the future, who would take revenge for this big enmity we have? Sacred Lady is also still being imprisoned, who would rescue her to see the sky again?"

Linghu Chong laughed, "So brother Ji wants me to escape this mountain by myself. Don't think about this anymore. If we're going to die then we're just going to die, why do we need to think so much for? In this world, who doesn't die? We'll just die together. Sacred Lady is being imprisoned but in the future, she'll also die. Even though the orthodox schools are victorious today, years from now, wouldn't they also die one by one? This matter of winning or losing only determines whether you die

sooner or later."

Seeing how Linghu Chong ignored his advice, Ji Wushi saw that it was no use to persuade him any further. But if Linghu Chong didn't take advantage of the darkness to escape then it would be impossible to run

away. When day time comes again, the enemy would start to attack them and it would not be possible to flee. At this thought, he let out a long sigh.

Suddenly, they heard a few people laughing. They were getting more joyous as they laughed. The group of heroes had had a major defeat and

was now bunched together inside the temple. Their lives would probably only last till morning. Unexpectedly, there were still some people who

could laugh so happily at this time. When Linghu Chong and Ji Wushi heard this laughter, they both knew that it was the Peach Valley Six Fairies. They both thought, "In this world, only these six weirdos can still laugh like this when facing their deaths."

They heard one of the Peach Valley Six Fairies said, "In this world, there are actually these kinds of fools! Stepping their feet nicely on those nails, Hahaha, this is really funny."

Another one said, "You're all a bunch of idiots. You should've tested the ground with your feet first. If it hurts, of course they're steel nails. Haha, is it comfortable with these iron nails piercing through your feet?"

Another one laughed, "You've already tasted how it feels to have a steel nail through your feet. Why don't you use a steel hammer to hammer down some nails through your feet? Hahaha, hehehe, hahaha."

The six brothers were laughing until they were out of breath thinking that this was the funniest thing in the world. But no one else thought that this was funny. The people who had their feet pierced by these steel nails were still

crying out in pain. Yet, there were some inconsiderate people ridiculing and shouting abuses at them. But to scold back at the Peach Valley Six Fairies was a very difficult thing to do. They would debate every single word that came out of your mouth. If you scolded them "zhi niang zei" (straight mother thief), they would ask what's "zhe niang" (straight mother) and why not "wan niang" (bent mother); If you scolded them "wang ba dan"(king

eight eggs or bastard), they'd persistantly ask you how come it wasn't "wang qi dan, wang jiu dan" (king seven eggs or king nine eggs) and why must it be "wang ba dan" (king eight eggs).

In a short time, the hall became really noisy with people shouting.

Some people even looked for weapons to fight them. Linghu Chong saw the situation was getting out of hand. He suddenly called out, "Yi, what's this?

Fascinating, fascinating, this is very odd!"

When Peach Valley Six Fairies heard him, they immediately went over to him and asked, "What's so interesting?"

"I saw six rats biting a cat passing by here," Linghu Chong answered.

The Peach Valley Six Fairies were amused and they all asked, "I've never seen a mouse biting a cat before. Where did they go?"

Linghu Chong pointed somewhere and said, "They went there."

Peachtree Root Fairy pulled his hand, "Go, go! Everyone, let's take a look."

The group of heroes knew that Linghu Chong was actually referring to the Peach Valley Six Fairies as the six mice. Unexpectedly, the Fairies

actually believed that there were actually six mice and felt really happy. The Peach Valley Six Fairies crowded Linghu Chong pushing him to go towards the path at the back of the hall.

Linghu Chong laughed, "Yi! Is that it?" "I didn't see," Peachtree Fruit Fairy said.

Linghu Chong was intentionally trying to lead them far away from the rest of the people to prevent them from fighting. So he was just pointing

anywhere and they walked farther and farther away from the group.

Peachtree Trunk Fairy pushed open a door on the side of the hall.

Inside was jet black and they couldn't see anything.

Linghu Chong laughed, "Ayo, six mice are carrying a big cat and entering a cave."

Peachtree Root Fairy said, "Don't fool us." He lighted a fire stick but there was nothing inside the room besides a statue of Bodhisattva in a

sitting position facing the wall. Peachtree Root Fairy went up to the offering table to light up the oil lamp. He said, "Where's the cave? Let's drive these mice out." He took the oil lamp from the table to inspect the room but there was no cave at all.

Peachtree Branch Fairy said, "I'm afraid it might be behind the Bodhisattva."

"Behind the Bodhisattva is us seven people. Are we the mice?" Peachtree Trunk Fairy said.

"Bodhisattva is facing the wall. So its back is its front," Peachtree Branch Fairy reasoned.

"You know you said it wrong but don't want to admit it! How can the back be the front?" admonished Peachtree Trunk Fairy.

"The back is fine, front is also fine. Let's pull it open and have a look," Peachtree Flower Fairy said.

Peachtree Leaf Fairy and Peachtree Fruit Fairy replied together, "Yes." The three of them went forward to pull the statue open.

Linghu Chong called out, "Don't do that, this is ancestor Da Mo." He knew that ancestor Da Mo was Shaolin temple's grandmaster. Shaolin Temple was the leader in the study of the martial art because ancestor Da Mo passed his martial art down. Their martial art had been around for more than a thousand year without declining. Some time in the past, Da Mo sat facing the wall for nine years until he finally gained enlightenment. That

was the reason why the statue of Da Mo in the temple was also facing the wall. Ancestor Da Mo was the ancestor of the Zen Buddhism in the central plain and he was held in reverence in both the Wulin world and in

Buddhism. So far, the crowd of heroes had been following his order and didn't destroy any object in the temple. He didn't want them now to insult the statue of Da Mo.

But Peachtree Flower Fairy and his two brothers' playfulness were out already and they didn't pay attention to Linghu Chong's shout. The three people used their strength, which exceeded a thousand catty, to turn the

statue of Da Mo around. Suddenly, the seven people shouted in surprise as they saw an iron panel slowly rose up and exposed a big hole. The hardened rust on the hinges of the iron panel buckled open under the pressure of Peachtree Flower Fairy and the other two fairies' pull.

"There's really a cave!" Peachtree Branch Fairy exclaimed.

"Let's go have a look at those six mice carrying a cat," Peachtree Root Fairy said. He lowered his head and entered the hole. They all entered the hole one by one with Peachtree Trunk Fairy entering last. Inside, the hole

was enormous and when the six people entered the hole, they were only able to hear their own footsteps. They only spent a short time in there

admiring the hole before coming out.

Peachtree Branch Fairy called out, "It's so dark and deep inside that we can't see the bottom."

Peachtree Leaf Fairy said, "Since it's so dark, how do you know it's deep for certain? Maybe after a few more steps, we'll arrive at the bottom." Peachtree Branch Fairy said, "If you already knew that you'll reach the bottom after a few more steps, why do you need to keep walking to find out if the bottom is there?"

Peachtree Leaf Fairy said, "I said "maybe" not "for certain". "Maybe" and "for certain" are different."

Peachtree Branch Fairy said, "You already know that it's "maybe", why do you still speak so much then?"

Peachtree Root Fairy said, "What are you quarrelling about? Quickly get two fire sticks to go inside and have a look."

Peachtree Fruit Fairy said, "Why only two fire sticks, can't we light three sticks instead?"

Peachtree Flower Fairy said, "If you light three sticks, why don't you light four then?"

These six people kept on talking incessantly but their hands were moving quickly. They broke the table's legs and lighted up four fire sticks. After fighting over the fire sticks for a while, they entered the hole. Linghu Chong considered, "This must be a secret path of the Shaolin temple. That day when I was trapped in the Plum Manor, I also went through a long path. It seems that Yingying is being imprisoned here."

At this thought, his heart started to thump wildly and he quickly

entered the hole. He quickened his steps to catch up to the Peach Valley Six Fairies. The path was wide and it was completely different from the narrow and damp path in Plum Manor. But it was very mouldy in the tunnel which made breathing uncomfortable.

Peachtree Fruit Fairy said, "We still haven't seen those six mice. I'm afraid they didn't come through this hole. Let's turn back and look in

another area." Peachtree Trunk Fairy said, "Turn back when we reach the end, we still have time."

The six people continued to walk forward again when suddenly a meditation stick dropped out of nowhere startling all of them. Peachtree Flower Fairy was walking in front and he hastily jumped back bumping into Peachtree Fruit Fairy's chest. They saw a monk holding a meditation stick

striking from the right wall. Peachtree Flower Fairy was angry and he shouted, "His granny, bald donkey, they're hiding here to plot against

grandpa." He extended his hand towards the wall to grab him. But another meditation stick thrust out from the left wall. Peachtree Flower Fairy could not step back anymore to avoid this stick so he leaped forward. His left foot just touched the ground when another stick flew out from the right wall.

At this time, Linghu Chong had seen everything clearly. There was no enemy using those meditation sticks but a couple of iron statues. These

equipments were really wonderful. As soon as someone stepped on the ground these statues were covering, they would not only strike out but

every strike was wonderfully and severely done. Peachtree Flower Fairy took out a short iron stick and blocked the strike but it was shaken violently as it flew out of his hand. Peachtree Flower Fairy cried out and rolled

around on the ground. But another iron meditation stick struck down towards his head. Peachtree Root Fairy and Peachtree Branch Fairy took out their short iron sticks and rushed forward to save their brother. They raised both their sticks blocking the incoming meditation stick. But as the first one was blocked, the second one struck. Peachtree Trunk Fairy, Peachtree Leaf Fairy, and Peachtree Fruit Fairy rushed forward blocking this second strike. They were using these five sticks to block the incessant strikes of the two meditation sticks from the wall. Even though the iron monks using these meditation sticks were not alive, they were crafted very smartly and it was as if real Shaolin's monks were executing these skills or some eminent monks were directing the statues. Each strike done by these iron monks was very severe and pointed at a dangerous spot.

The meditation stick along with the iron monk’s arm was made of fine steel which altogether weighed close to a hundred catty. This was further added to the force generated from the moving arm, which made the strike to be very powerful and similar to that of a master. Even though the Peach Valley Six Fairies' martial arts were powerful, the short iron sticks they were using were too short which made it hard for them to block the meditation sticks. The six brothers were calling out in pain. They wanted to withdraw but the way back was completely blocked by the meditation

sticks. However, for every step they took going forward, more iron monks joined the fight.

Linghu Chong saw that the situation was dangerous and he also saw that although these iron monks' movements were refined, each movement had enormous flaws in it. He immediately drew his long sword out and pierced it towards an iron monk's two wrists. Bursts of sparks flew out as the long sword bounced back after colliding with the acupoints in the iron monk's wrists. At this moment, he heard the Peachtree Root Fairy shouting ferociously as he was hit by the meditation stick and fell on the ground.

Linghu Chong was frightened seeing this and his mind was in confusion.

He saw the meditation sticks moved again and without thinking any further, he thrust his sword out.

"Zheng, zheng"

He had again hit two strategic points on the iron monk's body. But even though these two thrust were perfect and wonderful, they only managed to scrape away the rust on the iron monk's chest and lower

abdomen. He heard the wind whistled on top of his head as a meditation stick was smashing down on him. Linghu Chong was greatly alarmed and quickly avoided the strike. But another meditation stick was striking out from the left side of his body. Suddenly, everything turned dark and he

couldn't see anything anymore. It was because the four fire sticks that the Peach Valley Six Fairies were carrying were thrown to the ground as they

started to fight the iron monks. These fire sticks were made from the legs of a table. They were able to burn easily when they were being carried by hands. But when dropped on the ground, they got extinguished in a short time. When Linghu Chong first rushed forward, three of the fire sticks were already extinguished. Right when he was avoiding that strike, the fourth fire stick was extinguished. He was helpless as he couldn't see anything in that hole. He felt pain shooting up on his left shoulder and dropped down onto the ground. He heard the Peach Valley Six Fairies calling out one after

another: "Ayo!" "Hng!" "My mommy!" as they were also hit and dropped to the ground.

Linghu Chong was staying down and he heard behind him the "hu, hu" sound of the sticks sweeping over. He was terrified feeling like he was in a nightmare and was completely powerless. But not long after, the sound of the meditation sticks splitting the air was getting lighter and lighter. Until finally, he heard a "ji, ji, ge, ge" sound. The sticks had finally stopped and the iron monks returned to their original positions.

Suddenly, the area around him was bright and he heard a person calling out, "Master Linghu, are you here?"

Linghu Chong was happy to hear his voice and quickly called out,

"I'm... I'm here..." But he didn't dare to move and lay still on the ground. He heard the footsteps of a few people entering the hole and approaching him. He heard Ji Wushi uttered in amazement. "Don't... don't come over... mechanism... mechanism is really fierce," Linghu Chong warned them.

Ji Wushi was worried when Linghu Chong had not come back yet

after a long time. So he went out with more than ten men to search for him.

In the Da Mo room, they found the entrance to the hole. They were

astonished to see Linghu Chong and the Peach Valley Six Fairies lying on the ground with blood all over them.

"Master Linghu, what happened?" Zu Qianqiu called out.

"Stay there, don't move. One move and you'll trigger the mechanism," Linghu Chong said.

"Yes! How about if I use a soft whip to drag all of you out?" Zu Qianqiu asked.

"That's the best way," Linghu Chong answered.

Zu Qianqiu flung his soft whip out and coiled it around Peachtree Branch Fairy's left leg. He dragged Peachtree Branch Fairy out of there.

Peachtree Branch Fairy was the closest one to him so Zu Qianqiu dragged him out first. He then flung his whip and wrapped it around Linghu Chong's right leg. "Sorry for the offence!" He dragged him out. Using this method, he dragged all of them out one by one without triggering the mechanism.

Linghu Chong falteringly stood up and hastily went to look at the Peach Valley Six Fairies. The six people's shoulders, heads, and backs were hit by the meditation sticks. Luckily, they had thick skins and flesh along

with their deep internal energies to resist the hits. So they only received flesh wounds. Peachtree Root Fairy was already bragging, "These iron monks are good, but the Peach Valley Six Fairies broke them already."

Peachtree Flower Fairy felt that it was inappropriate to claim this

achievement for themselves only so he said, "Master Linghu also worked hard, but he didn't work as hard as us six brothers." Linghu Chong endured the pain on his shoulder and head while laughing, "Of course, who can work harder than the Peach Valley Six Fairies?"

"Master Linghu, what's this all about?" Zu Qianqiu inquired.

Linghu Chong told him what he thought. "It's very likely that Sacred Lady is being held in here. Let's think of a plan to break those iron monks."

Zu Qianqiu glared at the Peach Valley Six Fairies. "So the iron monks aren't broken yet."

Peachtree Trunk Fairy gave an excuse. "What's so hard to break those iron monks? We just didn't feel like breaking them before."

"Yeah, wherever Peach Valley Six Fairies go, there's nothing we can't destroy and there's no enemy that we can't handle," Peachtree Fruit Fairy bragged.

"We don't know how good these iron monks are. Can the Peach Valley Six Fairies rush in again to activate those machines and let us see how good they are?" Ji Wushi implored.

The Peach Valley Six Fairies had suffered under these machines before. How could they agree to this request to go in there and experience those meditation sticks again?

"Everyone, we've all seen a cat catching a mouse. But has anyone see a mouse catching a rat?" Peachtree Trunk Fairy tried to change the topic.

"We seven people saw it just then and it has really widened our eyes since we've never seen it before," Peachtree Leaf Fairy told everyone.

These six brothers had a really unique skill. When they met with a difficult problem that they had no answer to, then they would start talking about anything and change the topic.

"Someone please go and get some big rock here. Those ones that weighed around one to two hundred catties," Linghu Chong ordered. Three people immediately went out and brought three big rocks in.

These rocks were the fake rock mountains from the Shaolin Temple's

courtyard. Linghu Chong carried one rock, gathered his qi and bowled the rock forward. The rock rumbled forward triggering the mechanism and one by one the iron monks emerged from the walls. They were only able to see the shadows of the sticks moving as the iron monks started to strike downwards continuously. After a long time, the iron monks went back into the walls one after another. Everyone had now seen the dizzying speed at which those sticks were striking down and they were all at loss for words.

Ji Wushi suggested his opinion. "Master, these iron monks have some kind of trigger. The trigger applied a lot of power to turn an iron chain

somewhere to move those iron men. We can roll those big rocks a few more times until the power of the trigger is exhausted then those iron monks

won't be able to move anymore."

Linghu Chong wanted to get Yingying out of danger as soon as possible. "I saw that those iron monks aren't slow at all when deploying those sticks and I don't know how many times they hit each time. If we try seven or eight more rocks to exhaust the trigger then it'll be dawn already. Do any brothers have a treasured sabre or treasured sword that I can borrow?"

A person immediately stepped forward and drew his sabre out. "Chief, this sabre is really sharp."

Linghu Chong saw this person had a high nose, deep eyes, and yellow beard on his chin. It seemed that he was a person from the west region. As he took that sabre, he felt an unusually abundant cold air emanating from it. "Many thanks! I'm going to use this treasured sabre to scrape those iron men. Please don't blame me if it's damaged." That person laughed. "For Sacred Lady, we wouldn't regret to sacrifice our lives. The sabre is only an object, don't worry about it."

Linghu Chong nodded and strode forward purposefully. Peach Valley Six Fairies called out at the same time, "Be careful!"

Linghu Chong took another two large strides when the iron monk was triggered and a meditation stick was striking downwards towards his head.

This was the third time he saw this move so he didn't need to think as he wielded his sabre slashing towards the right wrist of the iron monk. The wrist was cut easily and the iron hand along with the meditation stick dropped to the ground.

"Good sabre!" Linghu Chong praised. In the beginning, he was afraid that this sabre might not be sharp enough to cut the iron monk's wrist. But seeing how this sabre cut iron like it was mud, his spirit was roused greatly.

"Shua, shua" as he cut two more of the iron monks' wrists. He was using the sabre like it was a sword and used the moves from the "Dugu Nine Swords". The iron monks kept on coming out of the walls to attack

but their wrists had already been cut and their meditation sticks had already fallen on the ground. Even though their two arms were still intact and they were still moving them around, no more meditation sticks were on their hands which made them harmless. Linghu Chong kept on going forward

and the moves the iron monks used were wonderful. He secretly admired them but they were only dead objects after all. So as they used their moves, there were many flaws on them. Even after all their wrists were cut off, the trigger was still working continuously. But everything had become a waste now. The group lifted the fire sticks high above their heads to follow him

and to light the way. After cutting more than a hundred iron wrists, there was no more iron monks coming out of the wall. Someone counted and there were actually one hundred and eight iron monks. The crowd was excited and started to cheer loudly.

Linghu Chong wanted to urgently meet Yingying so he took a fire

stick and rushed forward. He was being careful as he passed along in case he touches some kind of trigger. The tunnel continuously slanted downwards. After going for more than three li, the tunnel had gone past

several natural caves and they didn't meet any kind of trigger. Suddenly, they saw a pale light coming from in front. Linghu Chong rushed forward and as he stepped outside, he felt that the ground was soft. He had unexpectedly stepped on a layer of snow. At the same time, a wave of cold air blew on his chest. He was unexpectedly at an empty place.

He looked at all the directions and saw the dark sky and the snow flakes falling down. He also heard the sound of water from a creek nearby. Suddenly, he felt disappointed as the tunnel wasn't going to where Yingying was being imprisoned. He heard Ji Wushi behind him said, "Everyone be quiet. Don't make any noise. It's very likely that we're at the bottom of

Mount Shaoshi."

"So we've escaped from danger?" Linghu Chong asked.

"Master, in the depth of winter, the stream on the mountaintop would have no running water. It seemed that we've passed through the tunnel and arrived at the foot of the mountain."

"Yes, somehow we've stumbled into Shaolin Temple's secret tunnel," Zu Qianqiu said.

Linghu Chong was surprised and happy at the same time. He gave the treasured sabre back to that hero from the west region and said, "Then quickly pass the word back to the main group and ask them to use the tunnel to get out." Ji Wushi ordered tens of brothers to find out their exact location at the foot of the mountain and guard the tunnel's exit in case of the enemy

attacking before all the brothers had gone out. If the tunnel's exit was blocked before all the brothers were out, then they would all be trapped inside.

Not long after, the people finding out their exact location returned to confirm that they were at the bottom of Mount Shaoshi and they were also at the back of the mountain. If they raised their heads, they would be able to see the cloister at the top of the mountain. The group of heroes had still not escaped from danger at this moment so no one dared to speak loudly. The number of warriors coming out of the tunnel gradually increased. They

were also carrying the injured and dead out with them.

Even though the group of heroes had escaped with their lives, they didn't cheer but just discussed it quietly and were all feeling happy. The Black Bear from the Bear Duo of the Northern Desert said, "Chief, those bastards still thought that we're in the temple. It would be good to attack their butt and cut off their tail. That way we can vent our anger."

Peachtree Trunk Fairy butted in, "Bastards have tails?"

"We came to Shaolin Temple to meet with Sacred Lady. But we didn't get to meet the Sacred Lady so we must continue to look for her. There's no need for more killings," Linghu Chong said.

White Bear said, "Hng, no matter what, I have to grab some of those bastards. If not then they've bullied us too much."

"Please pass this order down. Everyone go separately and if you meet anyone from the orthodox school, it's best if you don't fight with them. If

anyone heard of any news of Sacred Lady then please spread it around. As long as I, Linghu Chong, am still alive, no matter what kind of difficulty or danger I have to go through, I will definitely get Sacred Lady out. Are there anymore brothers still inside the temple?" Linghu Chong announced.

Ji Wushi walked to the tunnel's exit and called out into the tunnel a few times. After waiting for some time, he called out a few more times but there was no response from inside the tunnel. He reported, "They're all out already!" Linghu Chong's childish heart was roused, "Everyone, let's call out three times and give those orthodox school's people a fright."

Zu Qianqiu laughed, "Wonderful! Everyone follow Chief and call out loudly."

Linghu Chong used his inner energy to call out, "Everyone call out

after me, one, two, three! "Wei, we've gone down the mountain already!"." "Wei, we've gone down the mountain already!" the thousands of

people called out.

Linghu Chong continued, "Enjoy the snow on the mountaintop!"

"Enjoy the snow on the mountaintop!" the group of heroes called out.

Linghu Chong called out again, "The green mountains never change and the river will always flow far, till we meet again!"

"The green mountains never change and the river will always flow far, till we meet again!" the group of heroes called out loudly.

Linghu Chong laughed, "Let's go!"

Suddenly, some people called out, "You son of a turtle bastards, go to your granny."

"You son of a turtle bastards, go to your granny," the group of heroes followed.

These vulgar words were also repeated after by the crowd with their voices shaking the valley. Linghu Chong called out, "Alright, no need to call out anymore, let's go!" The group of heroes was still excited and they also echoed him, "Alright, no need to call out anymore, let's go!"

After they had finished calling out, they saw that the mountaintop

stayed calm and still. The sky was gradually becoming brighter so one by one, they started to leave. Linghu Chong thought, "Right now, the first big matter I have to do is to find out Yingying's whereabouts. Next, I have to find out who killed Dingxian and Dingyi Shi Tai. Where should I go to

accomplish these two matters?" A thought suddenly flashed through his mind, "Shaolin monks and the orthodox school's people must know by now that we've gone down the mountain and escaped their trap. Naturally, they'll go back to the temple. Maybe they brought Yingying with them. To do these two matters, I have to go back to Shaolin." He thought further, "The less people going back to Shaolin temple the better. I can't let Ji Wushi and the rest of them follow me back."

He went to Ji Wushi, Old Man, Zu Qianqiu, Blue Phoenix, Huang Boliu, and the rest of them to say, "Everyone worked hard. We'll celebrate after we've met Sacred Lady."

"Master, where are you going?" Ji Wushi asked.

"Please forgive little brother. I can't say where I'm going for now. I'll tell you everything later,” Linghu Chong said.

They all didn't dare to ask anymore and one by one said their goodbyes to him.

Chapter 27 Three Fights

Great Master Fangzheng's hand moves were completely unpredictable. Every time when he struck out, while the hand was still on the way to the target, it had already switched into several positions. Ren Woxing's hand moves were quite simply. When he struck out or pull the hand back, it always looked stiff.

Linghu Chong leapt into the forest and went up a tree concealing himself among the tree's dense leaves. After a long time, the sound of those heroes gradually disappeared, and finally, everything was quiet. He thought

everyone must have gone already when he slowly walked back to the tunnel's exit. As he expected, there was no one there. The exit of the tunnel was concealed by two large rocks and long grass. For someone who didn't know of the existence of this tunnel, even if he stood besides it, he probably still would not be able to discover it.

Linghu Chong quickly re-entered the tunnel and ran back to the temple. When he arrived at the Da Mo hall, he heard the sound of people talking from the front hall. It was the orthodox schools’ people carefully

and slowly searching for traps. Linghu Chong gathered his power into both of his arms and pushed the statue of Da Mo back into its place. After putting the statue back, he considered, "Where can I go to eavesdrop on the gathering of the orthodox schools’ leaders to find out the whereabouts of Yingying? Shaolin temple has more than a thousand rooms and I don't even know which room they're going to use."

He remembered that day when Great Master Fangsheng led him to

see the Abbot. Great Master Fangsheng took him to the Abbot’s mediation room, which he could still vaguely remember the direction to. He quickly went out of the Da Mo Hall and went on the path towards the back. But Shaolin temple had so many rooms that after going for a while, he was still unable to find the Abbot's meditation room.

He was in a sitting room at the side of a hall when he heard footsteps approaching. Linghu Chong quickly took a look around the hall and saw that there was nowhere for him to hide. But there was a wooden signage suspended on top of the hall with the gold letter writing of "Refreshing

Realm". So he leapt up and hid behind the wooden signage. The footsteps gradually got nearer; and seven to eight people entered the hall.

One person said, "Those demons' skills are not bad. We surrounded them from all directions like an iron pail but they still escaped down the hill."

"It seems that there's a secret tunnel from the top of the mountain going all the way to the bottom. Otherwise, how could they have managed to escape?" Another person replied.

"I don't think there's any tunnel here. I've been in this temple for more than twenty years already, but I've never heard of any secret tunnel going down to the bottom of the mountain," another person added.

"It's called a secret. Of course not many people know about it," one of the earlier person said.

"I may have not known about it, but wouldn't our Abbot know? If there were a secret tunnel in this temple, my humble temple's Abbot would have ordered one of the schools to guard it. Why would we allow those demons to escape?" that Shaolin monk said.

All of a sudden, Linghu Chong heard one of the person shouted, "Who's there? Come out!"

Linghu Chong was greatly startled. "Did he discover my footprints?" Just as he was about to jump down, he suddenly heard the sound of laughter from behind a wooden signage on the east side of the hall. "Old man breathed too deeply and blew some dust down, and you guys actually saw it. Hey, you have very good vision." The voice was clear and loud. It was

Xiang Wentian's voice.

Linghu Chong was surprised and happy at the same time. "So it's big brother Xiang hiding here. He held his breath really well. I've been here for so long but I didn't hear anything. If it wasn't for the dust falling down, that person wouldn't have perceived..."

Just then, his thoughts were interrupted by two "ta, ta" sounds. Two people had jumped down from the sides of that east signage at the same time. This was followed by three people crying out, "What..." "You..."

"Who..." These three people only managed to utter one word before they were muted. Linghu Chong couldn't stand it anymore. He poked his head out to take a look. He saw two dark shadows flying around in the big hall, one person was Xiang Wentian, and the other person had a big and tall

stature. He was Ren Woxing. These two people noiselessly struck out with their palms. With every palm strike, a person fell down on the floor. In a

short time, eight people had fallen on the hall's floor. Among them, five people were facing the ground while the other three were facing up. Their eyes were wide open and they looked terrified. Their faces twitched once before they became motionless. It was obvious that they had died violently under the hands of these two people, Ren and Xiang.

Ren Woxing wiped his hands on the side of his body. "Ying'er, come down!"

A person floated down from behind the eastern wooden signage

appearing graceful and elegant. It was really Yingying, the person whom he had not seen for many days. She was wearing a coarse gown and her face was looking feeble. Linghu Chong felt giddy looking at her. He really

wanted to leap down and meet her but Ren Woxing waved his hands a few times towards his hiding place.

Linghu Chong thought, "They arrived here first. So they naturally know that I'm hiding behind this wooden signage. Mr. Ren is telling me not to come out, what's his idea?" But in an instant later, he understood Ren Woxing's idea. He saw a few people rushing through the door to come into the hall. With a glance, he saw his Master and Master-Wife along with the Shaolin Abbot Fangzheng

and many other people. He didn't dare to look anymore and quickly pulled his head back behind the wooden signage. His heart skipped a beat as he thought, "Yingying and the rest of them had been surrounded. I... even if my body were grounded to dust and my bones broken to pieces, I have to help them escape from danger." He heard Great Master Fangzheng said,

"Amituofo! You, three honourables, have very fierce palms. The female honourable had already departed Shaolin, why did you come back again? These two people must be Dark Wood Cliff's masters. Forgive old monk for not recognising."

"This person is Divine Sun Moon Sect's Chief Ren. I'm Xiang Wentian," Xiang Wentian introduced. The two of them had very high

reputations. When Xiang Wentian mentioned their two names, many people in the hall exclaimed their surprise.

"So it's Chief Ren and Left Protector Xiang. I've been looking up to your names for a long time already. What lessons do you have to teach me by coming here?" Fangzheng said.

"Old man hadn't paid attention to worldly matters for a long time so I don't recognise many of the promising youths in Jianghu of this generation. I don't know who these little friends are," Ren Woxing said.

"Let old monk introduces them to you. This Taoist is Wudang School's headmaster, his name is Chongxu," Fangzheng said.

An elder spoke out, "Poor Taoist is perhaps a few years older than Mr.

Ren. But when I took over the leadership of Wudang School, Mr. Ren had already retreated in secret from Wulin. Youth is youth but this word ‘promising’, you're flattering me, hehe." When Linghu Chong heard this elder’s voice, he thought, "The voice of this Wudang School's leader sounds familiar." Another thought quickly followed. "Ayo! I met three people at the foot of Mount Wudang. One was carrying firewood, one was carrying vegetable, and the other one was an old man riding a donkey who possesses a wonderful sword art. So he's

actually the headmaster of Wudang School." Suddenly, a good feeling rushed forth in his heart and his hands started to sweat. Wudang School and Shaolin School had been famous for several hundred years. One had soft movements and the other had hard movements, but each had their own

specialties. Priest Chongxu's sword art was wonderful and esteemed. He

was delighted when he suddenly learned that he had unexpectedly defeated Priest Chongxu.

He then heard Ren Woxing said, "This big leader Zuo, we've met before. Master Zuo, these last few years, your ‘Great Songyang Divine Palm’ must've improved by a lot, right?"

Linghu Chong was again startled. "So Songshan School's leader, martial uncle Zuo, is also here." He then heard a person said coldly, "I heard Mr. Ren was imprisoned by your own subordinate and was in hibernation for many years. Congratulations on coming out again. I haven't used this ‘Great Songyang Divine Palm’ for many years now. I'm afraid I've probably forgotten half of it."

Ren Woxing laughed. "How can Jianghu be that lonely? When old man was hidden away, there's no one else who can trade palms with brother Zuo. What a pity, what a pity."

"In Jianghu, there are many people with martial art equal to Mr. Ren, such as Great Master Fangzheng and Priest Chongxu. But we can't just go around asking for a lesson without any reason at all," Zuo Lengchan said.

"Very well. If there's some free time, let me try out your new moves." "I'll certainly accompany you."

Hearing these two people speaking to each other, it was obvious that they had fought before. But who won or lost, they could not tell from just hearing what these two people were saying. Great Master Fangzheng

continued with his introduction. "This person is Taishan School's headmaster, Priest Tianmen. This person is Huashan School's headmaster, Mr. Yue. This person is Madam Yue, back then she was known as Heroine Ning. Mr. Ren must have heard of her."

"I already know of Huashan School's Heroine Ning. But this Mr. Yue whatever, I've never heard of him before."

Linghu Chong was displeased. "My Master's name was known before Master-Wife's. If he said that he doesn't know them both then that's fine.

But there's no one who only knows Heroine Ning but doesn’t know Mr. Yue. He was imprisoned under the West Lake for close to ten years. Before that time, my master's name was already known throughout the realm. It's obvious that he's doing this on purpose to provoke my Master."

Yue Buqun indifferently replied, "Junior's name is lowly. It would insult Mr. Ren's ears to hear my name."

"Mr. Yue, I'd like to ask you about a person. I don't know if you know of his whereabouts. I heard that he was formerly under your Huashan School," Ren Woxing said.

"Who's Mr. Ren asking for?"

"This person's martial art is extremely high. His conduct is also very rare in this world. My heart was blind before and was actually jealous of him so I kicked him out. But he actually felt like an old friend to me when I first met him. Now, I wholeheartedly want to betroth my darling daughter to him..." When Linghu Chong heard him saying this, his heart started to thump loudly. He felt that something big was going to happen soon. He heard Ren Woxing continued, "This youth has passion and righteousness. When he heard that my darling daughter was being imprisoned in Shaolin temple, he led a few thousand heroes to come to Shaolin to greet his wife. But I don't know his whereabouts now and it's making me very anxious. It's for this reason that I'm asking you about it."

Yue Buqun looked towards the sky and laughed. "Mr. Ren is very resourceful. How come you’ve lost your own son-in-law? This youth Mr. Ren is talking about, is he that little thief Linghu Chong who was expelled from my humble school?"

Ren Woxing laughed. "I clearly saw a piece of jade but you saw gravels. Old brother, your vision has become really poor. This youth I'm talking about really is Linghu Chong. Haha, you scolded him as little thief, doesn't this mean that you're scolding me as an old thief?"

Yue Buqun sternly replied, "This little thief's conduct is very inappropriate and he has a weakness for women. Just because of one

woman, he roused groups of unorthodox sects, foxes and dogs, and come to Shaolin temple causing a lot of disturbance. If it weren't for Songshan's martial brother Zuo's arrangements, this thousand year old temple would've been burned to the ground. This would've been a big sin that even a thousand deaths wouldn't have been able to atone. This little thief was indeed part of my Huashan School before, but unfortunately, I didn't teach him enough manners. Now, he's shaming everyone."

Xiang Wentian hastily replied, "Mr. Yue is wrong! Brother Linghu came to Shaolin just to meet lady Ren and not to absurdly cause a disturbance. You go and have a look. So many friends were in Shaolin temple for one day and one night, but did they burn a single piece of grass or tree? They didn't even eat a single grain of rice and they also didn't even drink a mouthful of water."

Suddenly someone interrupted, "Shaolin temple has instead gained many items when these swine and dog friends came here."

Linghu Chong heard the sharp voice of this person and recognised him to be the Qingcheng School's headmaster Yu Canghai. He thought, "So this person has also come."

"May I ask Priest Yu, what has Shaolin temple gained?" Xiang Wentian asked.

"Cow shit, horse piss. Everywhere on the ground is full of yellow

stuff." Yu Canghai answered. A few people laughed hearing this but Linghu Chong felt apologetic. "I only restricted those brothers not to damage

anything but I didn't ask them not to urinate on the ground. Those crude people just pulled their pants down and pee everywhere and soiled the clean ground of the temple."

Great Master Fangzheng said, "When Master Linghu led so many people to come to Shaolin, old monk was really worried that this temple would be burned down. But when those friends were in Shaolin, not a

single thing was damaged. This must be because of Master Linghu's merciful heart restricting these people. Everyone from the temple is really appreciative towards him. When I meet Master Linghu in the future, I will thank him wholeheartedly. Mr. Xiang, never mind about what Priest Yu

said."

Xiang Wentian praised, "So there's actually an eminent monk here who is very open minded and very different from other people. Compared to hypocrites and really small-minded people, he's completely different."

Fangzheng continued, "Old monk doesn't understand one matter here.

How did Heng-Shan School's two Shi Tai die in my humble temple?" "Ah!" Yingying exclaimed in surprise. Her voice trembled as she asked, "What... what? Dingxian, Dingyi Shi Tai... died?"

"That is so. We found their bodies inside the temple. Their time of deaths is around the time that those many Jianghu friends entered the temple. Could it be that Master Linghu didn't restrict his subordinates and the two Shi Tai were outnumbered and lost their lives here? Amituofo,

amituofo," Fangzheng let out a long sigh after saying this.

"This... this is really strange. That day I met with the two Shi Tai in the hall behind the temple. Because of Abbot's merciful heart and the two Shi Tai, you agreed to release me." Yingying said.

Linghu Chong's heart swelled with gratitude towards the two Shi Tai but he also felt sad at the same time. "The two Shi Tai pleaded for Abbot's mercy and Abbot actually released Yingying out of the temple. But the two of them lost their lives because of this. They've died because of Yingying

and me. But who are their murderers? I must seek revenge for them." He heard Yingying said, "These last few days, many friends from Jianghu had come here to rescue me and make some disturbance at Shaolin temple. But more than a hundred of them were captured by the Shaolin temple. Great Master Abbot is merciful and talked to them about the ten heavenly ways, hoping that they would turn from their violent ways before they were released. But I was already imprisoned for a long time so I was allowed to go earlier."

"This Great Master Fangzheng is really a good person but he's

slightly pedantic. How can Yingying's subordinates turn from their violent ways after just hearing you talk to them about the ten heavenly ways?" Linghu Chong thought.

He heard Yingying continued, "I have so much gratitude towards the two Shi Tai. After thanking Great Master Abbot, I accompanied them down Mount Shaoshi. On the third day, I heard Linghu... Master Linghu was leading friends from Jianghu to come to Shaolin temple to meet me.

Dingxian Shi Tai said: "We must travel at twice the speed to intercept those people in order to avoid disturbing the eminent monks in Shaolin temple." That night, we met a friend from Jianghu. He said that people were coming from all directions and have decided to gather at Shaolin on the fifteenth of the twelfth month. The two Shi Tai discussed this and said that Jianghu's good and bad warriors of outstanding abilities are mixing together.

Furthermore, they were all coming from all directions. So it might happen that not everyone would listen to Master Linghu's order. So Dingxian Shi Tai instructed me to go catch up and meet with him... Master Linghu, and

ask everyone to disperse while the two Shi Tai would go back to Shaolin to lend their help to Great Master Abbot."

She said all this clearly and elegantly. When she was speaking of the two Shi Tai, there was a hint of sadness in her voice. When she was

speaking of ‘Master Linghu’, she couldn't cover up her bashfulness. Linghu Chong's heart was thumping hearing all these from behind the wooden

signage.

"Amituofo! Old monk appreciates the two Shi Tai's good intention.

When news of the difficulty facing the Shaolin temple spread, all the orthodox schools, whether they knew what the difficulty was or not, came to help. My humble school doesn't know how to repay them for all their

efforts. Luckily, we didn’t fight and avoided a bloodbath. Ai, the two Shi Tai understood the Buddhist teachings very well. They were kind and merciful. We've now lost two eminent people of our Buddhist faith. What a pity, what a pity," Fangzheng said.

Yingying continued, "After I parted ways with the two Shi Tai, I was overwhelmed by sheer number and was captured by Mr. Zuo's Songshan School on that same night. I was then imprisoned for a few days before daddy and uncle Xiang came and rescued me. By then, those friends from Jianghu have already entered the Shaolin temple, so the three of us went to Shaolin temple to find them. We've been here for around an hour but didn't

know where everyone had gone to. We also didn't know that the two Shi Tai had died."

"If that's the case, then the two Shi Tai were not harmed by Mr. Ren or Left Protector Xiang," Fangzheng said.

"I'm indebted to the two Shi Tai for rescuing me and I only have gratitude towards them. If my daddy and uncle Xiang had met with the two Shi Tai and had a disagreement, I would have definitely mediated between them. There's no way that I would just stand by and do nothing," Yingying said.

"Well said," Fangzheng complimented.

Suddenly Yu Canghai interrupted, "Devil Sect's people's conducts are usually opposite to that of other people. Common people returns kindness with kindness. But the disciples of those demons repay kindness with

enmity."

"That's strange, very strange! When did Priest Yu join the Divine Sun Moon Sect?" Xiang Wentian asked.

"What? Who said I joined the Devil Sect?" Yu Canghai replied indignantly.

"You said my divine sect's people repay kindness with enmity. Escort leader Lin from Fujian's Fortune Prestige Escort House assisted with the lives of your household. Every year they sent ten thousand silver taels to you. But your Qingcheng School repaid them by killing escort leader Lin. Priest Yu's reputation for repaying kindness with enmity is well known throughout the world. No one in the world doesn't know about this. So given your conduct, Headmaster Yu must be a member of my sect then. Very good, very good, welcome to the sect," Xiang Wentian remarked.

"Nonsense, don't fart here!" Yu Canghai was livid.

"I was sincere in my welcome but Priest Yu is scolding me of farting.

If this is not repaying kindness with enmity, then what is it called? So, it's clear that rivers and mountains can be easily changed but character is hard

to change. When one person repays kindness with enmity for his whole life, then his speech and action clearly shows this," Xiang Wentian said.

Fangzheng was afraid that they would get into a fight over this

senseless dispute. He said, "We should ask Master Linghu who killed the two Shi Tai. This will make things come to light. But the three of you have come to Shaolin temple and killed eight disciples of the orthodox schools. Why did you do this for?"

"Old man has always wandered Jianghu by myself and no one has dared to be rude towards me. These eight people shouted at old man here telling me to come out from my hiding place. Don't they deserve to be killed for this?" Ren Woxing asked.

"Amituofo, so it was only because they shouted at you that you violently killed them. Isn't that too much?" Fangzheng said.

Ren Woxing laughed before answering, "Great Master Abbot said that it's too much then it's too much. You didn't give my daughter any more trouble so old man has received your compassion in that regard. At first I

came here to thank you so I don't want debate with you this time. So there's no need to say thanks anymore now, let's just call it even between us."

"Since Mr. Ren already said that we're even, then we're even. But the three of you have come to my humble temple and killed eight people. What should we do about this matter?" "What's there to decide? My Sun Moon Sect has a lot of disciples and you have skills. Just kill eight of them.”

"Amituofo. Killing people carelessly is a very big sin. Headmaster Zuo, from these eight people who were killed, two of them were from your respectable school. What do you think we should do?"

Zuo Lengchan had not said anything when Ren Woxing hurriedly

said, "I killed those people. Why did you have to ask other people what to do and not ask me? Listening to your tone, it sounds as if you're relying on the superiority in numbers to kill the three of us. Isn't this right?"

"How would I dare to do that? It's just that Mr. Ren has come out

again and this will make Jianghu very eventful. I'm afraid countless number of people will lose their lives under Mr. Ren's hands. Old monk has this thought to keep the three of you in my humble temple to read Buddhist

scriptures so there would be peace in Jianghu. What do the three of you think of this?"

Ren Woxing looked up towards the sky and laughed loudly. "Wonderful, wonderful, this idea is brilliant."

"When your daughter resided at the back of my humble temple, everyone in this temple treated her with respect and she didn't lack for

anything. Old monk kept your daughter here but not because I wanted to avenge the disciples of my school who were killed. Ai, revenge breeds revenge, you'll get entangled endlessly. How can a Buddhist disciple act like that? The few disciples of Shaolin School who were killed by your

daughter's hands; maybe this was revenge from the previous life. But... but she's very vicious and kills people easily. If she can stay in my humble temple to cultivate her mind and grow her soul, then that would be to the benefit of everyone." Ren Woxing laughed and said, "In that case, Great Master Abbot's intention was good then."

"That is so. But old monk didn't anticipate that this matter would unexpectedly lead to a great disturbance in Jianghu. Also, that day your daughter carried young hero Linghu on her back to the temple to seek help. She said that if old monk agrees to save young hero Linghu's life then she would be willing to repay the killing of the temple disciples with her own life. Old monk told her that there was no need for her to repay with her life, but she must stay in seclusion on top of Mount Shaoshi, and she can't leave the mountain without old monk's permission. She immediately agreed to this. Miss Ren, is what I said true?" Fangzheng said.

Yingying answered quietly, "It's true."

Linghu Chong's heart swelled with gratitude when he heard the story of that day told from the Great Master Abbot's own mouth. Even though he had heard this story from other people before, it was very different hearing it directly from Great Master Fangzheng's own mouth. Also, hearing how Yingying undertook this matter by herself, he couldn't help his eyes becoming moist from tears.

Yu Canghai laughed coldly. "So it was all because of love. But it's a pity this Linghu Chong's conduct is very lacking. During that time in

Hengshan, I saw it with my own eyes how he went to the brothel to sleep with prostitutes. Ai, he has really let down young lady Ren’s affection."

Xiang Wentian laughingly asked, "So Priest Yu was inside the brothel observing all this and can't possibly be wrong?"

"Of course, how can I be wrong?"

Xiang Wentian lowered his voice and said, "Priest Yu, so you often visit brothels just like I do. Who's your favourite in that brothel? Is she pretty?" Yu Canghai was furious. "Bullshit, bullshit!" "It stinks, it stinks!" Xiang Wentian smiled.

"Mr. Ren, if the three of you agree to stay secluded on Mount Shaoshi then everyone here will turn from enemies into friends. So long as the three of you do not go down the mountain, old monk will guarantee that no one will bother the three of you. From this time onwards, you will enjoy

complete happiness. Wouldn't this be a great happiness for everyone?" Fangzheng said.

Linghu Chong heard utmost sincerity in Great Master Fangzheng's speech. He thought, "This eminent monk doesn't understand worldly matters at all and he's also being very unrealistic. These three people kill people without even blinking and you want them to voluntarily be restrained on Mount Shaoshi? You must be dreaming."

Ren Woxing smiled slightly and said, "Abbot's idea is very good and you have also thought of this from all aspects. The right way is for me to follow this idea.”

Fangzheng was happy to hear this. "Then 'shi zhu' is willing to stay on Mount Shaoshi?" 31

"Right," Ren Woxing answered.

"Then old monk will prepare the rooms. From now on, the three of you are Shaolin Temple's honoured guests," Fangzheng said happily.

"But we can only stay here for six hours and no longer than that," Ren Woxing added.

Fangzheng was greatly disappointed to hear this. "Six hours? What's the use then?"

Ren Woxing laughed. "Originally, I wanted to stay here for many days and linger with all the friends here. But my name's not good and there’s nothing I can do about that." Fangzheng was stupefied as he asked, "Old monk doesn't understand.

What's shi zhu's name got to do with it?"

Ren Woxing explained, "My surname isn't good. My given name is also not good. My surname is Ren and I'm called Woxing. If I’ve known

about this earlier, then I would've been called Nixing and it would've been more convenient. But I'm already called Woxing, so I'm forced to do as I please. Wherever I want to go then that's where I'll be going to."32

Fangzheng angrily said, "So Mr. Ren was making fun of old monk." "I don't dare, I don't dare. Within the world's highly skilled martial

artists, there are only a few people that I admire. Counting the numbers, there are only three and a half. Great monk is one of them. Also there are three and a half people that old man doesn't admire," Ren Woxing said. He said all this heartily without a hint of ridicule in his voice.

"Amituofo, old monk doesn't deserve it."

Linghu Chong became really curious when he heard him say that

within the world's highly skilled martial artists, there were three and a half that he admired and there were three and a half that he didn't admire. He wanted to know who Ren Woxing would point out. Besides Fangzheng,

who are the rest of the people?

He heard a person with a loud booming voice asked, "Mr. Ren, who else do you admire?"

After Fangzheng introduced the Yue Buqun couple to Ren Woxing, both parties started to argue non-stop so there was no opportunity to introduce the rest of the people. Counting the breathings of the people underneath, Linghu Chong guessed that there were ten people altogether in Fangzheng's group. Besides Great Master Fangzheng, Master, Master-Wife, Priest Chongxu, Zuo Lengchan, Priest Tianmen, and Yu Canghai, there were still three other people. He didn't know whom this booming voice belonged to.

Ren Woxing laughed. "I'm really sorry but you’re not in it Sir."

That person replied, "How would I dare to stand shoulder to shoulder with Great Master Fangzheng? Naturally, I'll be one of the people Mr. Ren doesn't admire."

"You're also not one of the three and a half people I don't admire. If you practise your martial art for thirty more years, then maybe you'll become one of the people I don't admire."

That person uttered a "hey" and stopped talking. Linghu Chong thought, "You want to be one of the people not admired, but it's not that easy."

"Mr. Ren’s opinion is very novel," Fangzheng said.

"Great monk, do you want to know who I admire and who I don't admire?" Ren Woxing asked.

"I will listen to shi zhu's enlightening words."

"Great monk, your study in Tendon Altering Sutra is profound and your internal energy has also reached the top. But your heart is still kind

and modest, unlike old man here clamouring around Jianghu. That's why I admire you," Ren Woxing explained.

"I don't deserve it," Fangzheng said.

"But among the people that I admire, great monk isn't number one. The number one person that I admire in Wulin is the person who usurped the chief position of my Divine Sun Moon Sect. This person is Dongfang Bubai."

Everyone uttered an "ah". Obviously this was beyond their

expectation. Luckily, Linghu Chong managed to stop himself from uttering his "ah". But he was thinking in his heart why Ren Woxing would regard Dongfang Bubai as the top person he admired. Dongfang Bubai imprisoned him for many years so of course he must hate Dongfang Bubai to the bone. But who would have thought that he admired Dongfang Bubai?

"Old man's martial art is already very high, I also have a very keen mind, and it's known in the realm that I have no match in this world. But I was unexpectedly fooled by Dongfang Bubai's sweet talk and as a result

was buried underneath a lake. Dongfang Bubai is such a fierce person, how could old man dare not to admire him?"

"So that's how it is," Fangzheng remarked.

“The third person that I admire is the top master of Huashan School at the moment,” Ren Woxing said.

This was really beyond Linghu Chong’s expectation. When Ren Woxing was talking to Yue Buqun before, he didn’t even give him any face.

Who would’ve thought that inside his heart, Ren Woxing would actually admire Yue Buqun?

Madam Yue said, “You don’t need to say these false talks and ridicule people.”

Ren Woxing laughed. “Haha, Madam Yue, you thought that the person I was referring to was your husband? He... he lacks by a lot. The person I admire has a godly sword art. He’s Feng Qingyang. Mr. Feng’s sword art is much higher compared to me and I wouldn’t be able to reach that stage at all. I sincerely admire him.”

“Mr. Yue, is Mr. Feng still alive?” Fangzheng asked.

“Martial uncle Feng went into... into seclusion for tens of years

already and we’ve never heard news of him ever since. If he’s still alive then that would be a big fortune for our school,” Yue Buqun said.

Ren Woxing laughed coldly. “Mr. Feng is from the sword branch and you’re from the qi branch. These two branches of sword and qi can’t co- exist together in the Huashan School. If Mr. Feng is still alive, why would it be so fortunate for you?”

Yue Buqun just stayed silent after he was reprimanded by Ren Woxing.

Linghu Chong had guessed before that Feng Qingyang was from the sword branch. When he heard what Ren Woxing said and how his master didn’t dispute it, he no longer doubted it. Ren Woxing laughed. “Don’t

worry. Mr. Feng is a highly skilled person outside of Wulin. Do you think he still needs your Huashan School's leadership and would take over your throne?”

“I'm just a dumb person. If martial uncle Feng can give me some guidance then it would make me very happy. Mr. Ren, if you can point me to the direction where I can pay a visit to martial uncle Feng, then the

Huashan School will appreciate your kindness,” Yue Buqun said with apparent sincerity.

“One, I don’t know where Mr. Feng is. Two, even if I know, I

wouldn’t tell you. A frontal attack is easily avoided but a stab in the back is hard to protect against. A real villain is easy to cope with but a hypocrite

will give a lot of headache,” Ren Woxing said.

Yue Buqun did not speak anymore.

Linghu Chong thought, “My master is a refined gentleman and doesn't want to speak vulgarly towards Mr. Ren.”

Ren Woxing turned towards Wudang School’s leader Priest Chongxu and said, “The fourth person that old man admire is this old ox-nosed priest.

Your Wudang School’s Taiji Sword is wonderful. You also exercise self

control to protect yourself from immorality and stay away from many idle matters in Jianghu, but you don't know how to teach to your disciples.

Wudang School has no one of potential and if you wait till you die then Taiji Sword Art would be lost forever. Also, even though your Taiji Sword Art is high, you might not win against old man. That’s why I only admire you one half.”

Priest Chongxu laughed. “I’m actually admired by Mr. Ren by one half, this is already giving me a lot of face. Many thanks!”

“No need to be so polite,” Ren Woxing said. He then turned his head towards Zuo Lengchan. “Great leader Zuo, you don’t need to keep that

smile on your face when you’re actually feeling angry. While you’re not one of the people I admire, you’re one of the three and half people that I don’t admire. You’re number one in this list.”

Zuo Lengchan laughed. “I feel extremely flattered.”

“Your martial art is sufficient and your scheming is very deep, very suitable to my taste. You want to annex the five mountains sword schools and to stand as an equal with Shaolin and Wudang. You have really high fantasy. But your movements are very suspicious and you planned all sort of conspiracies and deceits. This is not the behaviour of a hero. That’s why I have absolutely no admiration for you,” Ren Woxing explained.

Zuo Lengchan replied, “From the three and a half people that I don’t admire in this world, you’re only one half.”

Ren Woxing continued, “All you can do is copy other people’s ideas and have no thought of your own; so that’s why no one admires you. Even though your study of Songshan School’s martial art is profound, everything was passed down by the people before you. If you have to depend on just your own ability, I’m afraid even after many years, we won’t be able to see any new moves in the martial art.”

Zuo Lengchan uttered an “Hng” before coldly laughing. “Sir, you’re talking here and there. Are you just dragging along the time or are you

actually waiting for help to arrive?” Ren Woxing laughed coldly. “The way you said this; are you still relying on numbers to besiege the three of us?”

Zuo Lengchan said, “You’ve come to Shaolin and killed many people here. Today, if you think you can still retreat with your whole body intact, then you’re looking down at everyone here. You said we’re relying on numbers to win, that’s alright. If you want to say that we’re not following Wulin’s customs, that’s also alright. You’ve already killed some disciples of the Songshan School. Since Zuo Lengchan is here today, I want to see how good you really are.”

Ren Woxing turned toward Fangzheng and asked, "Great Master Abbot, is this Shaolin temple or Songshan School's courtyard?"

"Shi zhu is still asking even though you already know. Of course, it's Shaolin temple here," Fangzheng answered.

"Then, concerning this matter, is Shaolin's Abbot presiding over it or Songshan School's headmaster presiding over it?" Ren Woxing asked.

"Although old monk is presiding over this matter, if any of the friends here has any esteemed opinion then old monk will definitely listen to it," Fangzheng said.

Ren Woxing looked up the sky and laughed heartily. "Good, it's really an esteemed opinion to know that you'll lose if you fight alone so you have to gang up to fight us.

Zuo, you're blocking me here today. I don't need to fight you, I'll just cut my own throat to commit suicide in front of you."

Zuo Lengchan said coldly, "We have ten people here. We might not be able to stop you here but to kill your daughter won't be hard to do."

"Amituofo, you can't kill her," Fangzheng said.

Linghu Chong's heart started thumping wildly. He knew that Zuo Lengchan was saying the truth. Although he didn't know who the other three people were, he thought that their position must be similar to Fangzheng or Chongxu. Even if they were not a leader of a school, they would still be elite masters. Ren Woxing's martial art was powerful and at worst, he would escape injured. But it was hard to say whether Xiang

Wentian would be able to escape with his life. As for Yingying, she would have no hope.

Ren Woxing calmly said, "That's wonderful. Headmaster Zuo has a son and I heard his martial art is poor so he should be easy to kill.

Gentleman Yue has a daughter. Priest Yu, I think have a few lovely

concubines and three sons. Priest Tianmen has no son or daughter but has a lot of beloved disciples. Mr. Mo Da still has his old father and mother.

Kunlun School's Qiankun One Sword Zhenshan Zi has one grandson. There's still Beggar Clan's big clan leader Xie. Left protector Xiang, who does clan leader Xie have?"

Linghu Chong thought, "So martial uncle Mo is also here. Actually Mr. Ren doesn't need Great Master Fangzheng's introduction. He already

knew the appearances of these ten people from the beginning. Not only that, he must have been familiar with each of their life's experiences."

Xiang Wentian said, "I heard that in Beggar Clan, there are these two people called Green Lotus Emissary and White Lotus Emissary. Although they don't have the Xie surname, they're both clan leader Xie's sons."

"You're not wrong about this? We don't want to wrongly kill a good person here," Ren Woxing said.

"I'm not wrong. Subordinate already asked clearly," Xiang Wentian reassured him.

Ren Woxing nodded his head. "If we kill wrongly then it can't be helped. But if we kill thirty-four people from Beggar Clan then we'll at least kill a few people correctly." "Chief's opinion is esteemed!" Xiang Wentian praised.

Ren Woxing had mentioned each of their loved ones. Zuo Lengchan and clan leader Xie were shivering in fear. They knew that this person was not just saying some false threat. These people here would not be able to

stop him from leaving. But if they kill his daughter then he would certainly avenge her death by violently killing each of their loved ones. They were

afraid that it would be very difficult for their loved ones to escape his violent hands. Thinking of this made them trembled with fear. In that moment, everything was quiet and all their faces changed colour.

After some time, Fangzheng spoke out, "Revenge will always breed revenge. Shi zhu Ren, we had decided not to harm young lady Ren, but we want you three honourables to stay on Mount Shaoshi for ten years."

"We can't. My murderous nature has been aroused. I can't wait to kill Headmaster Zuo's son and Priest Yu's concubines and sons. Especially Mr. Yue's lovely daughter, I can't allow her to live in this world," Ren Woxing replied.

Linghu Chong was greatly alarmed. He didn't know whether this head of Devil Sect was just saying this to threaten them or he really wanted to kill them.

"Mr. Ren, why don't we gamble? What do you think of this?" Priest Chongxu asked.

"Old man's luck in gambling isn't good so I have no confidence in making a bet. But I have confidence in killing people. Killing master-hands,

I don't have confidence. But killing master-hands' parents, children, big wives, or small wives, I have lots of confidence," Ren Woxing replied.

"Those people don’t know martial art. Killing them isn't what heroes

do." "Even though it's not what heroes do, it would make my enemies grieve for their whole lifetime and make me really happy."

"If you don't have your daughter anymore, you also won't be happy. If you don't have your daughter then you wouldn't have your son-in-law

anymore. Your son-in-law would become other people's son-in-law and you would lose your reputation."

"That can't be helped... that can't be helped. I'm forced to kill all of them. Who said that my son-in-law doesn't respect my daughter?"

"How about this? We won't rely on numbers to win and you won't

carelessly kill people. We'll make it equal and let our martial arts decide the winner and loser. The three of you fight three of our people in three fights. The winner would be the one who won two fights out of three."

Fangzheng hastily said, "This is good, Brother Chongxu's esteemed opinion is really out of the ordinary. We'll just fight as necessary and there's no need to hurt anyone."

Ren Woxing asked, "If the three of us lose, then we have to stay on Mount Shaoshi for ten years and aren't allowed to go down the mountain. Is this right?"

Priest Chongxu answered, "Right. If the three of you won two fights, then we have naturally lost the fight and you're free to go down the mountain. And we'll just regard that these eight disciples have died in vain."

"In my heart, I admire you ox-nosed by one half. I feel that these

words you said is half right. So who are the three people fighting for your side? Can I choose the people?" Ren Woxing inquired.

Zuo Lengchan butted in, "Great Master Abbot is the host here. So he would definitely fight. My martial art hasn't seen any use for the last ten years so I'll give it a try. And the third fight? This competition was Priest Chongxu's idea so he won't just be a spectator in this and let other people face this problem. So he has to show his Taiji Sword Art here." Although each of these ten people was not just any ordinary fighter, Great Master Fangzheng, Priest Chongxu and he himself had the highest martial arts.

When he picked these three people to fight, it could be said that they were now in an invincible position. Yingying was only an eighteen to nineteen years old girl, even though her martial art was high, her cultivation of it was still limited. So no matter which school leader she fought, she was doomed to lose. Yue Buqun and the rest of the people also agreed to this method.

Great Master Fangzheng, Priest Chongxu, and Zuo Lengchan were the orthodox school's three top masters. Any of their martial art was unlikely to be below Ren Woxing. Compared to Xiang Wentian, they were most likely better by half a level. So they were most likely to win this best two out of three fights. Even if they had to win all three fights, they still had a fifty percent chance.

What everyone worried about was that they would fail to capture Ren Woxing and allow him to escape down the mountain. He then would violently harm each of their loved ones. So only if they fought upright and decisive battles would they have nothing to fear.

Ren Woxing said, "Best two out of three fights is inappropriate. Let's just fight one battle. You pick one person to come out and we'll also pick one person. And just fight one fight to decide this."

"Brother Ren, if you only fight by yourself today, you'll be at a disadvantage. Not just the ten people here, even if you have three times more people, Great Master Abbot can call out twenty to thirty more masters from the Shaolin School. And we haven't even counted the number of good fighters from the other schools," Zuo Lengchan said.

"That's why you're going to rely on numbers to win," Ren Woxing sneered. "Right, we're going to rely on numbers to win." "How shameless!"

"Killing people for no reason is also shameless."

"Killing people must have a reason? Headmaster Zuo, do you eat meat or are you a vegetarian?"

"Hng, if I want to kill someone then I'll kill him. Why do I have to be a vegetarian?"

"Every person you killed deserved to be killed?" "Naturally," Zuo Lengchan said confidently.

But Ren Woxing continued, "You eat cows and sheep. These cows and sheep, what kind of sins do they have?"

Great Master Fangzheng said, "Amituofo, what shi zhu Ren said is according the heart of Buddha."

"Great Master Fangzheng, don't be fooled by his words. He's saying that our eight innocent disciples are like cows and sheep," Zuo Lengchan said.

"Insects, ants, cows, sheeps, immortal Buddha, mortal people, they're all living things," Ren Woxing said.

Fangzheng again said, "Yes, yes. Amituofo."

"Brother Ren, you keep delaying this, you're afraid to fight today?" provoked Zuo Lengchan.

Ren Woxing suddenly let out a long whistle which rattled and shook all the tiles in the room. The twelve candles on the offering table dimmed. When he stopped whistling, the candles burned brightly again. Hearing his whistle, everyone felt their hearts thumping wildly. Their faces changed

colours.

Ren Woxing declared, "Alright. Zuo, let's fight." Zuo Lengchan affirmed what was at stake. "What a gentleman said cannot be taken back. Best two out of three fights, if the three of you lost two fights then all of you must stay on Mount Shaoshi for ten years."

"Alright! Best two out of three fights, if we lose two out of three fights then the three of us will stay on Mount Shaoshi for ten years."

When the orthodox people heard how Ren Woxing was provoked by Zuo Lengchan into agreeing to the fight, all their faces looked happy.

Ren Woxing continued, "I'll fight you for one fight. Left protector Xiang will fight this dwarf Yu. My daughter is a female so she'll fight a woman. She'll fight heroine Ning."

Zuo Lengchan hastily said, "No. We decide ourselves who will fight for our side. How can you appoint the people for us?"

"So you must choose yourself and can't let the other party choose for you?" Ren Woxing asked.

Zuo Lengchan confirmed, "That's right. Shaolin and Wudang's big leaders. Also, add me in there."

Ren Woxing questioned, "Depending on your prestige, status and martial art, how can you be on par with Shaolin and Wudang's two big leaders?"

Zuo Lengchan uttered an "Hng" and said, "I don't dare to consider myself to be on par with Shaolin and Wudang's bid leaders. But I'll manage to fight with you."

Ren Woxing laughed loudly. "Great Master Fangzheng, I want to ask you to teach me Shaolin's divine fist, you want to accompany me?"

"Amituofo, old monk hasn't practised my martial art for a long time and isn't shi zhu's match. But old monk is already here and wants to keep you on this mountain so I'll have to put my old bones through some of your punches and kicks." Zuo Lengchan saw him unexpectedly challenge Great Master Fangzheng. He understood that he did this to scorn him. But he was actually happy that this happened. "I was originally worried that I would have to fight with him, and he would let Xiang Wentian fight Chongxu. Then he

would get his daughter to fight Fangzheng. If Priest Chongxu is careless and I lost to you, it would've been disastrous." He didn't say anything

anymore and stepped back a few steps. The other people moved the corpses of those eight people aside to clear the middle of the hall.

"Great Master Abbot, please." Both of Ren Woxing’s sleeves were hanging down as he cupped his fist.

Fangzheng put his palms together to return the propriety. "Shi zhu, please move first."

"I'm using Sun Moon Sect's orthodox martial art. Great Master is using Shaolin School's orthodox skills. We're both using orthodox skill to fight orthodox skill, so we definitely have to go on with this fight."

Yu Canghai said, "Pei! What orthodox skills does your Devil Sect have? No shame."

"Abbot, let me kill this dwarf Yu first then I'll fight you," Ren Woxing

said.

Fangzheng hastily replied, "You can't." He knew that this person's fist

was like lightning and his strikes were like thunder. So he didn't tarry and immediately sent a palm out. "Shi zhu Ren, guard yourself."

This palm he sent out looked ordinary. But halfway through the strike, it suddenly swayed. The single palm suddenly turned into two palms. Two palms turned into four palms. Four palms turned into eight palms.

"Thousand Hands of Rulai!" the words escaped Ren Woxing's mouth. He knew that if he was late for a bit longer, his eight palms would turn into

sixteen palms and then it would continue to transform into thirty two palms. With a shout, Ren Woxing immediately sent a palm out to attack Fangzheng's right shoulder. Fangzheng shot his left palm out underneath the bottom of his right palm. It then swayed slightly and started to transform.

The shadows of the palm turned from one to two and two to four. Ren Woxing jumped up and shot out two palms of his own.

Linghu Chong peered from his vantage point to observe the fight.

Great Master Fangzheng's palm moves were unpredictable. Every strike he shot out, it always changed into many different directions when it reached halfway. The palm moves were like illusions and couldn't be observed. On the other hand, Ren Woxing's palm moves were simple. When he struck out or pulled his palm back, it looked quite stiff. But no matter where Fangzheng's palm struck out, Ren Woxing would immediately follow every change and sent his palm there. Linghu Chong saw that these two people

were well-matched as they fought with all their powers. His bare-fist martial art was very shallow so he was still not proficient on Dugu Nine Swords' "palm breaking stance". Thus, he was not able to see the flaws in their fist martial art and was unable to see where he could attack.

These two masters were executing the world highest and most profound palm moves. Linghu Chong was bewildered and did not understand the refined essences of the moves. "In sword art, I was victorious against Priest Chongxu and I wouldn't lose to Mr. Ren if we fight. But against these two people's palm martial art, I have to constantly attack them with a sharp sword. Grand Master uncle Feng said, I have to practise for twenty years before I can fight the world's elite masters. When he said that he was probably mainly referring to the "palm breaking

stance"."

He watched for a while longer and suddenly saw Ren Woxing pushing out with both hands forcing Great Master Fangzheng to retreat three steps. Linghu Chong was alarmed. "Ayo, this is bad, Great Master Fangzheng is going to lose."

After that he saw Great Master Fangzheng's left palm drew a few

circles while his right palm struck out. It struck out to the top, bottom, left, and right. After striking out a few times, Ren Woxing retreated a step. After a few more strikes, Ren Woxing retreated a step again. Linghu Chong thought, "Good, good!" He softly let out a sigh and thought, "Why do I

worry when Great Master Fangzheng is losing but become comforted when I saw him fight back? That must be it. Great Master Fangzheng is a righteous eminent monk while Chief Ren is after all a person from the unorthodox sect. My heart still distinguishes between 'good and evil' and 'right and wrong'." But he changed his mind and again thought, "But if

Chief Ren lost, Yingying will be detained on Mount Shaoshi for ten years. How can that be what my heart wish for?" After a moment, he did not know himself who he really wanted to win or lose. In his heart, he secretly felt that when this Ren Woxing father, daughter and Xiang Wentian entered

Jianghu, then there would be great disturbance. But in his heart, he also thought, "What's so bad about great disturbance? Wouldn't that be very lively?" He slowly swept his eyes across to look at Yingying.

She was leaning on a pillar looking very delicate and fragile. Her

eyebrows were slightly wrinkled looking really worried. Suddenly, a feeling of pity flourished in Linghu Chong's heart. "How can I let her be held

captive for ten years here? How can she pass through this kind of torment?" At this thought, he remembered how Yingying was willing to give her life up to save his life. Throughout his whole life, he had had many generous martial friends, but not one of them would go so far as to give their lives for him. A hot feeling started to rush forth in his chest. He did not care

anymore if Yingying was the daughter of the Devil Sect's Chief or if the evil things she had done were unpardonable. He was resigned to the fact that everyone in the world would want to kill him as he decided that he was going to protect her and not let any harm come to her.

The eleven pairs of eyes in the hall were watching the fight between Great Master Fangzheng and Ren Woxing attentively. They were praising the palm moves of both fighters in their hearts. Zuo Lengchan was relieved, "Luckily this old freak Ren picked the fight with Great Master Fangzheng. Otherwise, I wouldn't know how to handle this clumsy palm move of his.

Compared to my own school's Great Songyang Divine Palm, his palm move seems to be more complicated and have more changes. His palm move is better than mine. He only attacks at a specific point and nothing else."

Xiang Wentian was thinking, "Shaolin School's martial arts have enjoyed their reputation for a thousand year. They are really no small

matter. Even though Great Master Fangzheng's 'Thousand Hands of Rulai' is very complicated, its power isn't dispersed at all. This is very difficult to do. If I have to fight him, I won't be able to trade palm moves with him so I have to compare inner power with him." Yue Buqun, Yu Canghai, and the rest of the people there were also comparing their own martial arts against these two people's palm moves.

Ren Woxing had now fought for a long time. He gradually felt that Great Master Fangzheng's palm moves were getting slightly slower. He

secretly felt happy. "Even though your palm move is wonderful, you're old already. It's hard to keep it up for a long time." He immediately attacked repeatedly. After his fourth strike, he felt a slight tingling on his right arm as he pulled his palm back and he felt his internal energy not working

smoothly. He felt alarmed and knew that it was his own inner energy that was disturbed. He thought, "This old monk's Tendon Altering Sutra is indeed powerful. We haven't clashed palms yet but he can restrain my internal energy." He knew that if they fight longer, his opponent's abundant internal energy would eventually come out and he would be in an unfavourable position.

He saw Great Master Fangzheng's left palm struck out. With a cry, he also sent his left palm out rapidly. The two palms clashed and they both retreated a step. Ren Woxing felt that even though his opponent's internal

energy was soft, it was abundant and matchless. He also used his "Art of Essence Absorbing" but unexpectedly he could not absorb Great Master Fangzheng's internal energy at all. He was confounded.

Great Master Fangzheng said, "Well done! Well done!" and followed with his right palm striking out. Ren Woxing again struck his right palm out to meet it. Both people faltered from the impact. Ren Woxing felt his whole body shaken and immediately took two steps backwards. When his second step landed, he turned his body around and his right hand shot out and grabbed Yu Canghai's chest. Then, he raised his left hand to smash it down on Yu Canghai's head.

This situation was just like a rabbit being captured by a falcon and nobody had expected this turn of event. They all had their eyes on the fight between Ren Woxing and Great Master Fangzheng and saw that the

situation was gradually becoming disadvantageous towards Ren Woxing.

Normally, he would put all his power into protecting himself. But who

would have thought that he would turn around and attack Yu Canghai. This turn of event was just too strange and too quick for Yu Canghai even though he was a martial artist of the same generation. If he were to actually fight

with Ren Woxing, even though he would lose at the end, he would not have been captured in just one move.

Everyone gasped in surprise while Great Master Fangzheng leapt and struck his two palms out. It was as if he was flying as he rushed at Ren Woxing aiming at the back of his head. This move was known in martial study as 'attacking the enemy's rear in order to make him give up his own

attack' and the enemy would have no choice but to rescue himself. The aim of this attack was to make Ren Woxing withdraw his own attack towards Yu Canghai's head and turn around to block the incoming attack.

The other masters saw how Great Master Fangzheng shot this palm out in the blink of an eye and they were all impressed by this. But there was not enough time to cheer although they knew that he had saved Yu

Canghai's life. But no one could have guessed that when Ren Woxing

withdrew his left hand, he did not try to block the strike. Instead, his left hand grabbed Great Master Fangzheng's Tanzhong acupoint while his right hand was thrust towards the chest. Great Master Fangzheng's body became immediately weak and dropped to the ground. Everyone was surprised and one by one called out as they crowded around him.

Zuo Lengchan suddenly flew out and violently shot his palm out towards Ren Woxing's back. Ren Woxing turned his hand around to strike back. He shouted at the same time, "Alright, this is the second fight." Zuo Lengchan's hand suddenly kept on changing. It changed from a fist into a palm into a stab into a grab. In a short time, it had changed more than ten times.

Even though he was repeatedly attacked, Ren Woxing was able to resist for a moment by exerting his power. He had just fought with Great Master Fangzheng. Even though the last three moves he used against the

Abbot were mostly based on his ingenuity and cunning, he had still used up a lot of energy. Otherwise, how can this Shaolin School's headmaster with abundant internal energy let him grab his Tanzhong acupoint? How could he let him hit his heart with his fingers? These last few moves were done

with all of his strength, as he was staking everything on this attack. As a result, Ren Woxing was victorious against Great Master Fangzheng through dishonest means. He took into account his opponent's merciful heart and immediately dashed to Yu Canghai to kill him. Firstly, the distance between that Yu person and Great Master Fangzheng was great that Great Master

would not have been able to help Yu Canghai in time. Secondly, none of the other school leaders had any deep feeling towards Yu Canghai that they

would brave danger and stake their lives just to save him. So the only person who would try to save Yu Canghai was Great Master Fangzheng.

When the Shaolin Abbot attacked him to free Yu Canghai, he did not try to block or parry Great Master Fangzheng's strike but seized his fatal

acupoint instead. At that time, his plan reached its most dangerous point. The two palms of Great Master Fangzheng that were aiming at the back of his head did not need to actually reach his head to kill him. The wind from the palms was fully capable of bursting his skull open.

When he grabbed Yu Canghai, he had already staked his own life in this gamble. He gambled on this eminent Buddhist monk's merciful heart. When Great Master Fangzheng's two palms were about to reach the back of Ren Woxing's head, the Abbot took his palms back which left half of his body wide open. In order to take back the two palms, Great Master Fangzheng had to use the power from his whole body to do so. Even though this was done by a master, the internal energy in between the chest and

stomach region was still left empty. When Ren Woxing's grab and stab had reached Great Master Fangzheng, Fangzheng had actually wanted to transfer his power into his two palms and smash Ren Woxing's head open, but the internal energy in his Dantian region was unable to go up.

Priest Chongxu hastily supported Great Master Fangzheng and opened his sealed acupoint. He sighed, "Brother Abbot is too humane and was taken advantage of by an evildoer." "Amituofo. Shi zhu Ren's mind is very keen and he used wits instead of brawn. Old man has lost," Fangzheng said.

Yue Buqun said loudly, "Mr. Ren's conduct is traitorous and deceitful. Your win is not from upright and frank method. This is not the behaviour of an upright gentleman."

Xiang Wentian laughed. "In my Divine Sun Moon Sect, how can there be any upright gentleman? If Chief Ren is an upright gentleman, he would've followed your bad example from a long time ago. Do you think we would be having this competition now if he did?"

Yue Buqun was lost for words.

Ren Woxing was leaning his back on the wooden pillar and sluggishly striking his palm out to block every fist and kick from Zuo Lengchan. Zuo Lengchan was a proud person. If it was any other time, he would not have fought Ren Woxing after his opponent had just fought with Shaolin School's number one master. He knew that this was a cheap behaviour and not

something that a master of a school would do. Instead, this behaviour was something that people would condemn. But Ren Woxing used dishonest

means and took advantage of Great Master Fangzheng's kind heart to defeat him and this made everyone really angry. When Zuo Lengchan disregarded his own safety and boldly attacked, everyone there regarded that he did this because of righteous anger and did not care that he fought the enemy in

succession without giving him a necessary pause. This was a once in a thousand years opportunity for Zuo Lengchan. Xiang Wentian saw that Ren Woxing did not have a chance to draw breath yet so he rushed besides the pillar. "Big leader Zuo, you're receiving such a kindness, aren't you

ashamed? I'll fight with you."

Zuo Lengchan replied, "Wait till I flatten this Ren first then I'll fight you. Do you think old man here is afraid to fight you in succession?" With a shout, he struck a fist out towards Ren Woxing.

Ren Woxing lifted his left hand up and coldly said, "Brother Xiang, step back!"

Xiang Wentian knew that Chief liked to outdo others so he did not dare to disobey him. "Alright, I'll retreat for now. But this Zuo is too

shameless, so I want to kick his butt." With a kick, he flew out behind Zuo Lengchan and booted at his bottom.

Zuo Lengchan was indignant. "Two against one?" He sneered as he slanted his body to avoid the kick. How could he have known that even though Xiang Wentian raised his leg, he did not kick it out. He merely raised his right leg up and lightly moved it. When Xiang Wentian saw that Zuo Lengchan was fooled, he laughed loudly. "Bastard grandson relies on numbers to win." He then leapt back to stand besides Yingying.

As soon as he was let off, Zuo Lengchan resumed his attack against Ren Woxing. When masters fight, the difference between them would be small. When Ren Woxing was freed for a time, he drew a deep breath and regulated his qi smoothly. His vigor was greatly roused after this.

"Peng, peng, peng" as he struck three palms out. Zuo Lengchan

exerted his power to protect himself and he was secretly shocked. "I haven't met this old man for more than ten years and his skill has greatly improved. I must use all of my power today if I want to win."

This was the second time these two people had fought. This fight was a fight to the death in front of the masters in Jianghu. The two of them regarded the winning and losing of this fight to be very serious unlike the fight between Ren Woxing and Great Master Fangzheng which was peaceful.

As soon as Ren Woxing was re-energised, all his moves were killing moves. Both of his hands changed to knife-forms and he started hacking down. Zuo Lengchan kept changing his hand from fist into palm into a grab into a seize. This was the strong point of his palm move. The two people

were getting quicker as they fought. Linghu Chong's eyes were just seeing patterns as he watched the fight from behind the wooden signage. When he was watching the fight between Ren Woxing and Great Master Fangzheng, he did not understand the essences of their martial art, but he unexpectedly also did not understand the extremely fast moves from these two people.

He turned his eyes towards Yingying and noticed her snow white

complexion. She had her eyes lowered and he could see her long eyelashes hanging down. There was no amazement or worry on her face. Xiang

Wentian's face was sometimes happy and sometimes worried. In a moment, it changed into doubt. In another moment, it changed into regret. Another moment, it changed into an angry glare. It was as if he was personally fighting this battle. Linghu Chong thought, "Brother Xiang's experience is much higher compared to Yingying. Looking at him being so nervous, I'm afraid it would be really hard for Mr. Ren to win this battle." He slowly turned his eyes to look at where his Master and Master-Wife were standing at. Besides them were Great Master Fangzheng and Priest Chongxu. The two people behind them were Taishan School's leader Priest Tianmen and Hengshan School's leader Mr. Mo Da. Ever since Mr. Mo Da arrived inside the hall, he had not made any noise at all. When Linghu Chong saw his thin and small body, he felt warmth in his heart followed by the thought,

"Martial sister Yilin and the rest of the Heng-Shan School's disciples have no more masters. I don't know how they'll cope with it." Qingcheng School's headmaster Priest Yu was standing at the back wall with his hand grasping his sword handle and was looking indignant. Standing by the west was a beggar with white hair. He was Beggar Clan's leader Xie Feng. The other person was wearing a green gown and his appearance was quite natural. He was Kunlun School's leader Qiankun One Sword Zhenshan Zi.

These nine people were the present orthodox schools' most powerful masters. If the nine of them were not fully concentrating on the fight, even if he had used all of his power to hold his breath, it was more than likely that he would have been discovered a long time ago. He thought, "The gathering below has so many masters. Especially Master and Master-Wife are also there. Then there are Great Master Fangzheng, Wudang's leader,

and Mr. Mo Da, the three seniors I respect completely. But I'm being really disrespectful hiding here and eavesdropping to what they're saying. Even though I was here before them, I've eavesdropped to what they were saying. If any of them felt my presence here then I'd be really shamed."

He hoped that Ren Woxing would quickly win this fight and thus win the best two out of three fights and go down the mountain with Yingying.

When Great Master Fangzheng and the rest of the masters had gone out of the hall, he would then hurry down the mountain to meet Yingying. At the thought of meeting Yingying, his chest felt hot and his ears were also feeling hot. He pondered, "From now on, are Yingying and I really going to be man and wife? She treated me with passion and righteousness, but I... but I..." These last few days, although he had been thinking of Yingying, he had always thought of protecting her because of her kindness towards him. He wanted to help her get out of her imprisonment and declare to everyone in Jianghu that it was him who adored her and that it really was not her idea. Thus, it would stop the warriors of Jianghu from ridiculing her and

causing her to be embarrassed. Every time Yingying's image appeared in his mind, there was no feeling of happiness or warmth in his heart. It was very different with the feeling of warmth when he remembered his little martial sister Yue Lingshan. There was actually a bit of fear when he thought of Yingying.

When he first met Yingying, he thought that she was an old granny and he respected her and felt grateful towards her. Later, after he saw her

lifted her hands to kill people and commanded those group of heroes, it was unavoidable that his respect was mixed with fear. Only after he found out recently that she had some feelings for him that this little bit of fear in his heart started to gradually lighten. And later when he found out that she was willing to give her own life to Shaolin to save him, his feelings for her became full of gratitude. But even though his feeling of gratitude was deep, he did not have any thoughts to be intimate with her and only wished that he could repay her kindness. Hearing Ren Woxing say that he was his son- in-law, he felt uneasy in his heart. Just now, when he saw her magnificent beauty, he only felt that the distance between them was far. After looking at Yingying for a few times, he did not dare to take a look again. He saw

Xiang Wentian made a fist with both of his hands and his two eyes were wide open. Xiang Wentian was looking intently at Ren Woxing and Zuo Lengchan.

He saw Zuo Lengchan had already pulled back to one corner of the hall while Ren Woxing was still hacking repeatedly. Each of his palms was like a big hatchet and the power was astonishing. Zuo Lengchan was

completely in an unfavourable situation. His two arms could not attack as he kept withdrawing them as soon as they had gone out for one foot. It

seemed that he was only defending and not attacking. Suddenly, Ren Woxing shouted loudly and pushed both of his palms towards Zuo Lengchan's chest. The four palms clashed and Zuo Lengchan hit the wall behind him. Dust from the top fell down from the impact. The four palms did not separate. Linghu Chong felt his body shook and it looked as if the wooden signage he was hiding behind was about to fall down. He felt

alarmed. "Martial uncle Zuo is in trouble. They're both competing inner

energy, Ren Woxing would use the 'Art of Essence Absorbing' to absorb his inner energy. After some time, martial uncle Zuo will definitely lose." He

saw Zuo Lengchan pulled his right palm back and unexpectedly only used his left palm to resist his opponent's palm while extending two fingers in his right hand to poke Ren Woxing. Ren Woxing shouted in alarm and leapt back immediately. Zuo Lengchan stabbed again with his right hand. He

successively stabbed three times and Ren Woxing stepped back three times.

Great Master Fangzheng, Priest Chongxu and the rest of the people were surprised: "I've heard that Ren Woxing's 'Art of Essence Absorbing' will

absorb the opponent's inner energy without exception, but how come when their four palms connected, Zuo Lengchan was unexpectedly unharmed?

Could it be that his Songshan School's inner energy cultivation does not fear the 'Art of Essence Absorbing'?" All the masters looking at the fight were in amazement but Ren Woxing was even more astonished.

More than ten years ago, when Ren Woxing fought with Zuo Lengchan, he did not have to use his 'Art of Essence Absorbing' before gaining the advantage. He was able to stop Zuo Lengchan then even though at that fight, he had a sudden pain in his heart and found it hard to control his power. He had been truly frightened as he knew it was because of the 'Art of Essence Absorbing' reversing. Under normal circumstances, he

could have calmly meditated to regulate his inner energy. However, how

could he do that with the enemy right in front of him? He had been at a loss as to what to do when he suddenly saw two people appearing behind Zuo Lengchan. They were Zuo Lengchan's martial brothers, "Tower Holding Palm" Ding Mian and "Great Songyang Palm" Fei Bin. Ren Woxing had immediately leapt away and laughed loudly. "We agreed to fight one on one but you secretly have some helpers. A gentleman doesn't want to be disadvantaged so I'll meet you at some other time. Today, grandpa won't accompany you anymore." If his opponent had not voluntarily ceased the

fight, Zuo Lengchan's loss would have been guaranteed. It had been such a good turn of events for Zuo Lengchan that he had not dared to refute his opponent's accusation by saying something like "To have helpers is not the way of the hero". He had been afraid that Ren Woxing might have gotten

angry and started fighting again. It would have been also inappropriate for Ding Mian and Fei Bin to enter the fight and help as it could have ruined his good reputation. Instead he had immediately said, "Who told you not to bring some of your Devil Sect's helper?" Ren Woxing had laughed coldly

and left.

Thus, the victory or defeat of that previous fight to the death was not decided. But they both had known in their hearts that each of their martial arts had a big flaw. They had been lucky not to lose to each other and to be

able to train hard after the fight to correct the flaws. Especially Ren Woxing as he had known that the 'Art of Essence Absorbing' had a secret danger

attached to the skill, just like gangrene to the bone. He had used the 'Art of Essence Absorbing' to absorb many opponents' inner energies where the opponents were from different schools and they all had different inner

energies. Because he did not have the method to harmonise them into one in the past, the various energies had frequently come out unexpectedly. His own internal energy had already been very powerful so when he had felt these different inner energies surging and swirling, he had immediately

suppress them before they became dangerous. In his first confrontation with an extremely powerful master, he had used up a great amount of his internal energy, and as a result, his own internal energy, which had long suppressed the others, had been weakened. When fronted with a powerful enemy, he not only had to contend with their attacks but also worry about his own internal problem. That had been an extremely difficult dilemma for Ren Woxing.

Later on, he had thought deeply to search for a method to make uniform all these internal energies. When concentrating fully on this, even the most intelligent hero would not be aware of the rebellion happening under him. In the end, he was imprisoned by Dongfang Bubai. While he

was imprisoned under the West Lake for ten years, his mind was focused on fixing the "Art of Essence Absorbing" until he finally comprehended the right method to suppress all the various internal energies from different

schools that there would no longer be the danger of the "Art of Essence Absorbing" reversing.

At the current fight, when Ren Woxing had not won after a while, he used the 'Art of Essence Absorbing' when their two palms clashed. But unexpectedly, he found that Zuo Lengchan's internal energy was completely empty and he did not know where it went to. Ren Woxing was greatly

startled that he couldn’t absorb his opponent's inner energy. It was incredibly strange. Just before then he was also not able to absorb Fangzheng's inner energy, but it was because in a blink of an eye Fangzheng was able to hide his internal energy without a trace and made his 'Art of Essence Absorbing' powerless. Not only had he not experienced this before, even in his dream, he would never have thought that this kind of strange matter could happen.

He used the 'Art of Essence Absorbing' a few more times, but he

could not feel where Zuo Lengchan's internal energy was. When he saw the fierce stab by Zuo Lengchan, he immediately retreated three steps and

changed his moves. He then used a chopping move whose power was unrivaled. Zuo Lengchan changed into defence. The two people had fought for twenty to thirty more moves when Ren Woxing left hand chopped down while Zuo Lengchan's right hand stabbed towards Ren Woxing's left rib.

Ren Woxing saw that the power of this poke was very fierce. He thought,

"This poke really has no inner power?" In fact, he had deliberately revealed that empty spot allowing Zuo Lengchan to poke it. At the same time, he diffused his 'Art of Essence Absorbing' from his chest. He thought, "You have a deep inner energy but you're not letting my Art of Essence

Absorbing absorb it. But this poke you used to attack me, if it has no inner energy, then it would be just like an itch to me. But if it was laced with any internal energy, then I'd absorb it."

As this thought flashed in his mind, Zuo Lengchan's finger poked his Tianchi acupoint. The spectators all cried out in surprise.

Zuo Lengchan's finger only stayed on Ren Woxing's chest for a short time. Ren Woxing immediately transferred his whole power. Sure enough, his opponent's internal energy was like a river dam broken open as it rushed into his Tianchi acupoint. He felt really happy and intensified his effort to

absorb his opponent's internal energy faster. Suddenly, his body faltered. He slowly stepped back one step at a time. He did not say anything and was

staring at Zuo Lengchan. His body trembled and he was now motionless just like when people had their acupoints sealed.

Yingying frightenedly called out, "Dad!" and rushed to support him. She felt his hand was ice cold. She turned her head around and called out, "Uncle Xiang!" Xiang Wentian rushed in front of Ren Woxing and pushed his chest a few times. "Hey!" Ren Woxing reacted. He was looking angry and his complexion was pale. "Very good, I've never experienced this kind of game before. Let's compete again." Zuo Lengchan just shook his head.

Yue Buqun said, "The winner and loser have been determined, what's there to compete again? Didn't Headmaster Zuo seal Mr. Ren's Tianchi acupoint?"

Ren Woxing shouted, "Pei! Good, I was swindled so we'll just count this fight as my loss."

Zuo Lengchan's earlier technique was most hazardous. He had

accumulated 'Polar Ice Energy' for over a decade and transferred all that

energy into his index finger at that moment. He risked the danger of losing a lot of his internal strength and allowed Ren Woxing to absorb his internal power. Not only did he allow him to absorb it, he even forced it towards

Ren Woxing by pouring it through his acupoint. Zuo Lengchan's polar ice energy was similar to the Boreal Finger of Plum Manor's Mr. Black-White; both were extreme yin and cold martial arts. However, Zuo Lengchan's

internal energy was a lot deeper. In a few moments, Ren Woxing was frozen solid. Zuo Lengchan took advantage of this moment when the 'Art of Essence Absorbing' stopped by transferring his internal energy and sealing Ren Woxing's acupoint33.

Usually you would only see acupoints sealed in a fight between

second or third class fighters in Wulin. When masters fought, they would never use such an ordinary martial art. But Zuo Lengchan was willing to part with a large amount of his internal energy and used a second or third class martial art method to win. Even though this method was dishonest, without an extremely good internal energy, it would be very difficult to

accomplish. Xiang Wentian knew that even though Zuo Lengchan had won, his internal energy had been exhausted and it would probably take several months for him to recover. He immediately said, "Just then Headmaster Zuo said that you would fight me after you had flattened Chief Ren. Please begin now."

Great Master Fangzheng, Priest Chongxu, and the rest of the people understood what he meant. After Zuo Lengchan had poked Ren Woxing, his face was wretchedly pale and he had not dared to say a single word. It was obvious that he had used up a lot of his internal energy. If the two of them fought, not only would Zuo Lengchan lose, after many moves he would be killed by Xiang Wentian. But Zuo Lengchan really did say those words before when Xiang Wentian challenged him. Would he actually eat his own words now? Everyone was hesitating on what to do when Yue Buqun said, "We already said before that for these three fights, each side will choose for themselves on who will go out to fight and not the other side. Didn't Chief Ren agree to this? Chief Ren is a big hero, a grand hero, how can we not regard what he said?"

Xiang Wentian coldly laughed and said, "Mr. Yue's dispute is really good and caused other people to admire you. But this word 'gentleman', there's something that doesn't fit. This kind of talking aimlessly resembled something a small person would do."

Yue Buqun replied indifferently, "From the point of view of a gentleman, everyone in this world is a gentleman. From the point of view of a small person, there's no small person in this world."

Zuo Lengchan slowly dragged his feet back a few steps till his back was on the pillar. He was having difficulty just to stand up let alone having to fight. Priest Chongxu moved a couple of steps forward and said, "I've heard that Left Protector Xiang is called 'Old Heavenly King' and your

abilities are earth-shaking. Poor Taoist is ashamed to be the headmaster of Wudang. In this fight between the orthodox schools and your respectable sect, I haven't done anything. I feel really ashamed. It'll be lucky today if I can fight with 'Old Heavenly King'. It would be a real glorious favour."

He was the leader of a martial art school but he was talking to Xiang Wentian in this way. Isn't that giving the opponent too much credit? It was hard for Xiang Wentian to refuse this so he said, "I have to respectfully obey your order. I respect Priest Chongxu's unrivalled 'Taiji Sword Art'. I will risk my life to accompany you and reveal my shortcomings." Xiang

Wentian cupped his fist and retreated a couple of steps. Priest Chongxu also cupped his fist returning the propriety.

The two of them stood opposite each other. They were looking at each other for a while without drawing their swords. Suddenly, Ren Woxing

shouted, "Wait! Brother Xiang, step back," and drew the sword on his waist. Everyone there was astonished: "He already fought two masters and his internal energy has been greatly harmed. Now he wants to fight a third time against Priest Chongxu?"

Zuo Lengchan was surprised, he thought, "My ten years of hard work on this Polar Ice Energy was poured into his Tianchi acupoint. Even if it

were someone with a martial art ten times better than him would need

around six to eight hours to recover. How can he fight another person after just a short while?"

How could anyone know that Ren Woxing was actually feeling like there were dozens of knives slashing and stabbing in his Dantian region. He was using all of his power just to talk calmly and steadily while not revealing the pain he was under.

Priest Chongxu smiled. "Chief Ren wants to grant some lesson?

We've already said before that both sides will decide for themselves who will go out to fight. If Chief Ren wants to grant some lesson, we won't

disobey what we've agreed upon. It's just that poor Taoist's advantage is too large."

"I've already staked my life in fighting two masters before. If I want to fight against Priest again, then I would be looking down at your Wudang School's sword art's hundred of years of reputation. Even though I'm mad, I wouldn't do this." Priest Chongxu felt happy to hear this and nodded his head. "Many thanks."

When he first saw Ren Woxing drew his sword out, he hesitated. If he prevailed against Ren Woxing after they had fought him in succession, it

would be said that it was not honourable. However, if he lost, then Wudang School would have no face to stand in Jianghu anymore. When he heard that Ren Woxing was not going to fight, he was relieved.

Ren Woxing continued, "Priest Chongxu is a new force in your respectable side. So we'll also get a new force for our side." He then looked up and shouted, "Little brother Linghu Chong, please come down!"

Everyone was greatly surprised and followed Ren Woxing's eyes in looking up towards the wooden signage. Linghu Chong was even more

confounded. He was now in a very difficult position and did not know what to do for a short moment. But seeing that he could not hide anymore, he leapt down. He then knelt down in front of Great Master Fangzheng and kowtowed a few times to pay his respect. "I rushed into your treasured temple without permission. This is a really big sin. I'm ready to receive

Abbot's punishment."

Fangzheng laughed before answering, "So it's young hero Linghu. I heard young hero's even breathing and sensed that your internal energy is profound. I felt it was really strange. I didn't know which master was visiting my humble temple. Please rise, please rise, this is too big a propriety, I don't deserve it." As he was speaking, he was joining his two palms together returning the propriety.

Linghu Chong thought, "So he already knew for some time that I was hiding behind that wooden signage."

Beggar Clan's leader Xie Feng suddenly said, "Linghu Chong, come and take a look at these words." Linghu Chong stood up and followed his finger to look at three sentences behind a wooden pillar. The first sentence was: "Someone's

behind the signage." The second sentence was: "I'll grab him down." The third sentence was: "Wait, this person's internal energy is orthodox and demonical. Don't know yet whether he’s friend or foe." Every word was

carved deeply and was clearly seen on the wooden pillar. They were written by Great Master Fangzheng and Xie Feng by using their fingers. Linghu

Chong was alarmed and impressed. He thought, "Great Master Fangzheng detected my very weak breathing and was able to distinguish the origin of my martial art. He's really a divine person." He then immediately gave his respect to everyone around. "When seniors came to the hall, because I was afraid, I didn't dare to come down and pay my respect. Please forgive me." He believed that his master's face must be looking furious at the moment so he did not dare to look at his eyes.

Xie Feng laughed. "You were afraid like a thief? What are you trying to steal from Shaolin temple?"

"I heard that young lady Ren was detained at Shaolin temple. So I bravely came here to get her out," Linghu Chong replied.

Xie Feng laughed. "So you came here to steal your wife, haha, this is not afraid like a thief but it's called extremely daring in lewdness.”

Linghu Chong replied with a straight face, “Young lady Ren treated me very kindly. Even if my body is grounded to dust and my bones are

chopped into pieces, I’m still willing.”

Xie Feng let out a long sigh. “What a pity, what a pity. A very promising youth’s future is harmed because of a woman. If you don’t

abandon your evil way, then this honourable position of Huashan School’s leader, do you think it would still be able to come to your hand?” Ren Woxing said loudly, “What’s so rare about being a leader of Huashan? When I die, the position of Chief in Divine Sun Moon Sect, wouldn’t that be in my lucky son-in-law’s hand?”

Linghu Chong was startled and tremblingly said, “Can... can.. cannot...”

Ren Woxing laughed. “Alright. No need for this idle talk anymore.

Chong’er, why don’t you get some lesson from this headmaster of Wudang’s divine sword? Priest Chongxu’s sword art is using soft to overcome hard and has this circling motion. It’s very rare in the world so you must be really careful.”

He called him ‘Chong’er’. This was really regarding him as his son- in-law already. Linghu Chong silently examined the situation. Both sides had now won one fight each so this third fight would determine whether Yingying would be able to go down the mountain. He had already fought Priest Chongxu before and knew that he could win against him. In order to save Yingying, he must enter the fight. He turned his body around and knelt in front of Priest Chongxu to pay his respect.

Priest Chongxu hastily extended his hand to ask him to get up. He then oddly asked, “Why such a big propriety?”

Linghu Chong answered, “I really respect Priest. But under these

circumstances, I’m forced to ask Priest to grant me a lesson. My heart feels uneasy about this.”

Priest Chongxu laughed loudly and said, “Little brother’s propriety is too excessive.”

Linghu Chong stood up and Ren Woxing passed over the long sword to him. Linghu Chong took the sword in his hand. Then with the sword pointing down, he leaned his body forward. Priest Chongxu lifted his eyes to look at the sky outside the hall and was lost in thought thinking about Linghu Chong’s sword art. Everyone there saw him not moving as if he was meditating and they all felt that this was really strange. After a long time, Priest Chongxu let out a long sigh. “We don’t need to fight this battle. The four of you can go down the mountain.”

When these words were spoken, everyone was astonished. Exulted, Linghu Chong bowed towards Priest Chongxu. Xie Feng said, “Priest, what do you mean by those words?”

Priest Chongxu replied, “I can’t think of a way to break his sword art.

This battle, poor priest admits my defeat.”

Xie Feng said, “The two of you haven’t fought yet.”

Chongxu told everyone, “Many days ago, at the foot of Mount Wudang, I’ve already fought him for more than three hundred moves and I lost. If we fight today, I would still lose.”

Fangzheng and the rest of them asked, "Did this really happen?" “Little brother Linghu’s sword art was passed down by Feng

Qingyang, Senior Feng. I’m not his match,” Chongxu said. After he said this, he smiled slightly and stepped back.

Ren Woxing laughed loudly and said, “Priest is very open-minded, this is really admirable. At first, old man here only admires you by one half.

Now, I admire you seven-tenths.” He said seven-tenths, but it was after all still not full. He then folded his hands in salute towards Great Master Fangzheng and said, “Great Master Fangzheng, we’ll meet again some other time.” Linghu Chong walked up in front of his Master and Master-

Wife and kowtowed to them. Yue Buqun leaned his body to avoid it and

coldly said, “You flatter me!” Madam Yue’s heart was sore and tears filled her eyes. Linghu Chong went to Mr. Mo Da to pay his respect. He knew that Mr. Mo Da would not want other people to know about their contact in the past so he only kowtowed three times and did not say anything. One of Ren Woxing’s hands was leading Yingying and his other hand was leading Linghu Chong. He laughed, “Let’s go!” He strode purposefully towards the door of the hall. Xie Feng, Zhenshan Zi, Yu Canghai, Priest Tianmen, and the other people were not as good as Priest Chongxu in terms of martial art. Since Chongxu already admitted that he was not a match for Linghu Chong's sword art, even though they did not believe him, they also did not dare to rashly go up to fight and brought shame to themselves.

Just as Ren Woxing was about to step outside of the hall, they suddenly heard Yue Buqun shouted, “Wait!”

Ren Woxing turned his head around and asked, “What?”

“Priest Chongxu is an educated man. He doesn't want to fight

someone with a narrow mind. We haven’t fought out this third fight yet. Linghu Chong, I’ll accompany you for this fight.”

Linghu Chong was surprised and his whole body started to shake. His mouth was chattering as he said, “Master, I... I... how can...”

But Yue Buqun was calm when he replied, “Other people said that you've taken some pointers from martial uncle Feng and received the

essence of swordsmanship from Huashan School. It seems that even I’m not your match. Even though you’ve already been expelled from Huashan, but in Jianghu, you’re still setting up your reputation using our school’s sword

art. Because I am unable to teach you, all the seniors of the orthodox

schools are exasperated by you, unworthy youth. If I don’t take care of this then do I let other people take responsibility for this? Today, if I don’t kill you, then you’ll kill me.” As he said these last few words, his voice became fierce. He then drew his sword out and shouted, “The two of us no longer have a master disciple relationship, en guard!” Linghu Chong took a step back and said, “Disciple doesn’t dare!” Yue Buqun thrust his sword towards Linghu Chong's chest. Linghu

Chong leaned to the side avoiding it. Yue Buqun followed this with another two thrusts which Linghu Chong also avoided. Linghu Chong's long sword was still pointing at the ground and he had not used it to block the thrusts. Yue Buqun said, "You already gave me three moves. Consider that as finishing the respect we have. Ready your sword!"

Ren Woxing said, "Chong'er, you're still not returning any move, do you really want to die here?"

Linghu Chong answered, "Yes", and immediately lifted his sword up. In this fight, should he let Master win or should he win over Master? If he deliberately held back and lost, even if he received heavy injuries, he

wouldn’t care, but Ren Woxing, Xiang Wentian, and Yingying would all be detained on Mount Shaoshi for ten years. Great Master Fangzheng was

surely a righteous eminent monk, but there was no guarantee that Zuo Lengchan and the rest of the Shaolin monks would not harm the three of them. In this ten year of imprisonment, it would be very hard to say whether they would be able to keep their lives. But he also thought about how he had been by himself since he was young, and it was Master and Master- Wife who brought him up. He considered them as his own parents and he had not repaid them for their kindness yet. How could he defeat Master in front of all the world's heroes and make him lose face and reputation?

As he was hesitating on what to do, Yue Buqun had already attacked him with more than twenty moves. Linghu Chong only used the Huashan

sword moves previously taught by his master to block. He didn’t dare to use the 'Dugu Nine Swords' as each of its moves was an attacking method meant to harm the opponent. After he studied 'Dugu Nine Swords', his knowledge had greatly advanced and furthermore, his internal energy was

abundant. Although he was only using a common Huashan sword art, his sword’s power and class naturally differed by a lot compared to the past. Yue Buqun was attacking continuously but he had not managed to harm him yet.

The spectators saw how Linghu Chong was wielding his sword and they naturally understood that he was intentionally giving way. When Ren Woxing and Xiang Wentian looked at this, both their faces showed their worries. Both of them remembered that day at the Plum Manor on

Hangzhou's Mount Gu when Ren Woxing invited Linghu Chong to join the Divine Sun Moon Sect. He was giving him the Right Protector position and later on, the position of Chief. Ren Woxing would also impart to him the

secret of how to harmonise the various internal energies in his body after using the 'Art of Essence Absorbing'. But this youth was hardly moved by this offer and was very loyal to his school.

At this time, seeing how he was so respectful towards his former master and master-wife, it seemed that if Yue Buqun were to stab him to death, Linghu Chong would even be willing to accept this in his heart. He was actually only using defensive moves so how would he be able to win? It was apparent that Linghu Chong had already decided not to win over his master, especially since they were fighting in front of so many

accomplished heroes. He would have abandoned his sword and admitted defeat a long time ago if it was not for the fact that Yingying, Ren Woxing and Xiang Wentian would be imprisoned on Mount Shaoshi if he lost. The two people, Ren and Xiang, were pacing back and forth not knowing what to do. They looked at the fight again and they thought, "What should we do?"

Ren Woxing turned his head around towards Yingying and whispered, "Go in front." Yingying understood her dad's intention well. He was afraid that Linghu Chong would take into consideration the kindness of his former master and would intentionally lose the fight. He wanted her to go in front so that Linghu Chong would be able to see her and be reminded how she had treated him, so he would use his power and gain victory. She lightly groaned but did not move. After some time, when Ren Woxing saw Linghu Chong kept retreating, he became even more worried and again told Yingying, "Go in front." Yingying still did not move and groaned again not answering him. She thought in her heart, "You already understand how I treated you. If you think I'm more important then you'd help me go down the mountain and you'd be able to gain victory by yourself. If you think

your master is more important, even if I pulled your sleeve and cry, it would still be useless. Why must I stand in front of you to remind you of this?" She deeply felt that it was natural for two people to love each other. If she had to give some signs before Linghu Chong would consider her love for him then that was just too tasteless.

Linghu Chong was not restricted to using Huashan sword art when blocking each of his master's attack. If he had actually counter attacked, Yue Buqun would have been forced to throw away his sword and admit defeat a long time ago. He had seen a lot of flaws in his master's sword moves but he had not even attacked once. Yue Buqun understood Linghu Chong's heart from the beginning, so he attacked continuously using his Divine Violet Twilight Art in conjunction with his Huashan sword art. He already knew that Linghu Chong would not attack back so he kept

advancing with all of his attacks and did not care about the flaws in his sword art anymore. As he did this, the power of his sword art had now greatly multiplied. The spectators saw that Yue Buqun's sword art was

wonderful and he had also received an advantage, but he had not been able to stab Linghu Chong from the beginning. They also saw that when Linghu Chong wielded his sword, sometimes there was a move and sometimes there was no move. When there was no move, it looked like as if his long

sword was just blocking in a disorderly fashion but looked marvellous at the same time. He only had to touch Yue Buqun's sword lightly to protect himself. The more they watched, the more they admired him. They all thought, "Priest Chongxu said that his sword art is inferior, seems like he didn't just make that up."

Yue Buqun had been fighting for a long time without stopping and he was becoming impatient. Suddenly, he thought, "Ayo, this is not good! This little traitor doesn't want other people to say that he doesn't know how to repay the kindness of other people so he kept on fighting me. Even though he's not attacking, he's still making it difficult for me to gain victory.

Everyone here is a master and is very observant. At this time, they must have observed a long time ago that this little traitor is purposely giving way to me. I've been continuously attacking him from the start, what would become of my dignity? How can this be considered as the behaviour of a

school leader? This little traitor wants to give me some difficulties and force me to give way and voluntarily admit defeat."

He quickly transferred his Divine Violet Twilight Art into his sword.

His sword hacked down splitting the air. Linghu Chong slanted his body and avoided the chop. Yue Buqun circled his sword and slashed towards Linghu Chong's waist. Linghu Chong leapt above the sword. Yue Buqun

flicked his sword upwards aiming towards the back of his body. The change in this sword move was extremely fast. There were no eyes at the back of Linghu Chong's body and the situation was very difficult for him to avoid. Everyone gasped in surprised. Linghu Chong was in mid air and there was nowhere for him to step on to launch his body forward. It was also too late for him to use his sword to block the strike. But then, they saw him using his sword to hit the wooden pillar in front him. Borrowing this force, he jumped to the back of the pillar and with a 'pu' sound, Yue Buqun's long sword penetrated the wooden pillar. The sword was pliable but with his

internal energy injected to it, the long sword went through the pillar and the point of the sword stopped just inches away from Linghu Chong's body.

"Ah!" everyone gasped in surprise. The sound of this cry was full of happiness, delight and praise. Unexpectedly, everyone was happy for Linghu Chong. They admired him for the skilful and clever way he avoided the attack. They were also celebrating the fact that Yue Buqun did not manage to stab him. Yue Buqun had executed his unique skill, Three- Linking Strike, but was still unable to hit Linghu Chong. Furthermore, he felt angry when he heard the spectators calling out in compassion towards his opponent.

This 'Life Snatching Three-Linking Immortal Sword' was a move from the Huashan School's sword branch, which he, a qi branch disciple, did not initially know. In those years, when the two branches were destroying each other, disciples of the sword branch used this sword art to kill many good fighters from the qi branch. At the same time, disciples from the qi branch were also slaughtering the disciples from the sword branch.

After they had taken the leadership of the Huashan School, the good fighters from the qi branch attentively studied in detail these three advance sword moves 'Life Snatching Three-Linking Immortal Sword'. When they thought of the power of these Three-Linking moves on that day, there was still lingering fear in their hearts. During the study of this Three-Linking

sword art, everyone said that this sword art belonged to the demonical path. But as they were seeking the exquisiteness of this sword art, they all forgot their own school's difficult 'Qi Drives the Sword' principle. They only said that the sword move was beautiful but in their hearts, they actually really admired it.

Seeing Yue Buqun and Linghu Chong fighting, Madam Yue was full of grief. When she saw her husband suddenly using these three moves, she thought in her heart, "In those years, the two branches wanted to destroy

each other because of the dispute about the importance of qi cultivation and sword art. He's the head disciple of the qi branch but at this moment, he

suddenly used the move from the sword branch. If an outsider saw through this, wouldn't they contemptibly mock us? Ai, he must have no choice but to use this move. But he's clearly not Chong'er's match, why is he still

continuing to fight?"

She wanted to ask them to stop but this matter concerned a lot of people and not just her own school. She wanted to go forward but changed her mind, she grasped the handle of her sword and her heart was worried to death. Yue Buqun lifted his right hand and pulled his sword out from the pillar. Linghu Chong did not move and stood still behind the pillar. Yue

Buqun only saw how he stayed behind the wooden pillar looking like he was hiding from further attacks. He regarded that this happened because

Linghu Chong was afraid of him and also because Linghu Chong respected his reputation. The two people studied each other. Linghu Chong said in a low voice, "Disciple isn't your match. We don't need to fight anymore." Yue Buqun uttered an 'hng'.

Ren Woxing said, "There can be no winner and loser in this fight between master and disciple. Great Master Abbot, there's no winner and loser for these three fights. Old man will pay for my sin, how about if we stop this?"

Madam Yue relaxed and inwardly sighed, "We clearly lost this fight.

Chief Ren said this to give us face. In this case, it's best if we stop." Fangzheng said, "Amituofo! What Shi Zhu Ren said saves everyone from injury and shows your wisdom. Old monk doesn't..." The word 'mind' had not been said when Zuo Lengchan interrupted, "Then we're going to let these four go down the mountain and let them harm Jianghu and massacre the innocents? Let their eight palms to be covered in the blood of hundreds and thousands of people and destroy everything good in this world? Should we still regard martial brother Yue as the headmaster of Huashan School?"

Fangzheng hesitated when a 'chi' sound was heard. Yue Buqun had gone around to the back of the pillar and thrust his sword towards Linghu Chong. Fast as lightning, Linghu Chong avoided the thrust. After many moves, the two of them were back in the middle of the hall. Yue Buqun wielded his sword and attacked quickly, advancing at every opportunity.

Linghu Chong smothered these attacks by either blocking or avoiding. After more than twenty moves, Ren Woxing laughed. "To decide who wins this fight, we'll just have to wait for seven to eight days and see who dies from

starvation first. I'm sure we'll find out by then." Everyone felt that even though what he said was an exaggeration, it's likely that if they kept on fighting like this, it would be hard to get a result within a few hours.

Ren Woxing thought, "This old fellow Yue just thickened his face and kept on fighting. He's in an invicible position and couldn't possibly lose.

But if Chong'er made a slight mistake then everything would be spoiled. The longer this fight goes, the more harmful it would be to us. I must say something to incite him." He then said, "Brother Xiang, we've really

widened our view today in Shaolin temple."

Xiang Wentian replied, "Right. All of the top masters from Wulin are gathering here..."

"Among them, there's one who is better than the rest." "Which one?" "This person learned a divine martial art and other people will admire him when they see it."

"What divine martial art is this?"

"This person is learning Golden Face Cover, Iron Face Divine Art," Ren Woxing told him.

"Subordinate has heard about Golden Bell Cover, Metal Gown, but I've never heard of this Golden Face Cover, Iron Face."

"Other people's Golden Bell Cover, Metal Gown martial art makes one's body impervious to sabre. This person's Golden Face Cover, Iron Face Divine Art will make the face hard when practised."

"This Golden Face Cover, Iron Face Divine Art, which school or sect has this martial art?" Xiang Wentian asked.

"They said that this martial art is no small matter. It was created in the west mountain of Huashan by the headmaster of Huashan School, Jianghu's venerable Gentleman Sword Yue Buqun, Mr. Yue."

"I heard that Gentleman Sword Yue Buqun's internal energy art is unrivalled and his sword art is unmatched. As expected, it wasn't just an

empty reputation. This Golden Face Cover, Iron Face Divine Art, after it's learned then your face will be impervious to sabres, is this right?"

"This move has a lot of usefulness. We're not disciples of the Huashan School so we wouldn't know the secret to this art."

"Mr. Yue already created this kind of divine martial art, then his name would be known throughout Jianghu and would forever be praised as an immortal."

"Of course. When we later meet with anyone from Huashan School, we must be really careful with their Iron Face Divine Art," Ren Woxing

said.

"Yes, subordinate will remember this in my heart." The two of them were talking back and forth like they were the actors in a comical drama, but there was a hint of ridicule in their tones towards Yue Buqun. Yu Canghai was giggling non-stop, taking pleasure in other's misfortune. Madam Yue's was blushing furiously. But it seemed that Yue

Buqun didn’t hear any of these conversations. He thrust his sword and Linghu Chong avoided it by slanting to the left. He quickly followed to the right and slashed his sword forward. Suddenly, he circled his sword back

and the point of the sword thrust back out again. It was the Huashan School's sword move called 'Return of the Prodigal Son'. Linghu Chong lifted his sword to block it. Yue Buqun's sword was now dancing around in mid-air, executing the sword move called 'Green Pines Welcoming Guests'. Linghu Chong again blocked the attack.

Yue Buqun slashed twice with his sword. Linghu Chong was startled and hurriedly retreated two steps. His face was blushing as he called out,

"Master!" Yue Buqun snorted and continued with his attack forcing Linghu Chong to take another step back. Everyone saw that Linghu Chong's face was blushing and he seemed to be in a desperate situation. They did not

understand a single thing and all thought, "There's nothing strange about his master's three attacks, what's so great about it? How can it unexpectedly make things difficult for Linghu Chong?" None of them knew that these three moves that Yue Buqun used were from the sword art that Linghu

Chong and Yue Lingshan created, the 'Chong Ling Sword Art'. Linghu Chong suddenly felt sentimental, remembering the past when he was

looking forward to the days when he would be able to share marital vows with his little martial sister, and when Yue Lingshan treated him nicely.

With their childish thoughts, they had then felt that if the Yue couple could pass down martial arts, then the rest of the disciples would be able to as

well. Thus, the two of them tried to create a set of sword art of their own and only the two of them were able to use this set of 'Chong Ling Sword

Art'. That's why seeing this set of sword moves gave him a bittersweet taste in his heart.

He didn't expect Yue Buqun would unexpectedly use these three

sword moves. Linghu Chong felt helpless, ashamed, and sad. He thought, "Little martial sister had already broken our ties of love. You're using this set of sword moves to make me recall my feelings and to put my mind in confusion. You want to kill me then just kill me." He felt that there was

nothing for him to continue living on this world and death would be better.

Yue Buqun's long sword was thrust out again. The move he used was 'Nong Yu Playing the Flute'. Linghu Chong knew this move very well and he just unconsciously blocked it. Yue Buqun followed with a move called 'Xiao Shi Riding the Dragon'. These two moves complemented each other and the movements were graceful. Especially 'Xiao Shi Riding the Dragon' with the long sword dancing in the air, looking like a divine dragon flying elegantly through the air.

According to a story, during the time of Chun Qiu, Qin Mukong had a daughter called Nong Yu who loved to play the flute. There was a youth

called Xiao Shi, who arrived riding a dragon and could play the flute divinely. Later on, he taught Nong Yu how to play the flute. Qin Mukong then allowed him to take her to be his wife. 'Ideal Son-in-Law' was the literary reference that these moves were taken from. Later on, the pair of husband and wife transcended to immortality together and occupied the middle peak of the Huashan Mountain. Huashan's Jade Maiden Peak had 'Phoenix Pavillion', the middle peak had Jade Maiden Temple, Jade Maiden Cave, Jade Maiden hair washing basin, and a dressing table, every one of them gained their fame from this fable. Linghu Chong and Yue Lingshan had often gone to all these places but the meaning behind the story of Xiao Shi and Nong Yu, their happiness, and also what went on in the heart of those two people, they never knew any of those.

At the moment he saw Yue Buqun used the move 'Xiao Shi Riding the Dragon', Linghu Chong's heart became confused while his hand moved to block the attack. He thought, "Why does Master want to use this move? Does he want to remind me of my mistakes and kill me?"

After Yue Buqun used this move, he again used the move 'Return of the Prodigal Son' followed by 'Green Pines Welcoming Guests' which was followed by the three moves from the 'Chong Ling Sword Art'. These moves were again followed by 'Nong Yu Playing the Flute' and 'Xiao Shi Riding the Dragon' moves. When masters competed, even when the moves

went above a thousand, they would never duplicate the pattern. This pattern of moves had already been executed to fight the opponent before so using them again would be useless. When the enemy was familiar with your pattern then he could take advantage of it to make an attack. When Yue

Buqun used this pattern for a second time, it caused all the spectators to be puzzled.

Linghu Chong saw Yue Buqun used the move 'Xiao Shi Riding the

Dragon' for the second time. This time, this move was followed by the three moves from the 'Chong Ling Sword Art'. Suddenly, a thought flashed in his mind and he was enlightened. "So Master used these sword arts to remind me. I must abandon my evil ways and return to the righteous way, and then the return of the prodigal son means that I would be accepted back into the Huashan School."

There were many ancient pine trees on Mount Huashan with branches full of leaves hanging down and stretching, as if they were welcoming guests who were coming up the mountain. They are called 'Welcoming

Guests Pine Trees'. The move 'Green Pines Welcoming Guests' was formed to resemble the appearance of these ancient pines. He thought, "Master is

saying that if I return to the family of Huashan School, not only would I be welcomed back, even the pine trees on the mountain would welcome me back." His heart trembled, "Master said that not only would I be welcomed back into the family of Huashan School, he would also give little martial

sister as my wife. Master used the few moves from that 'Chong Ling Sword Art' to make me understand his intention clearly. It's just that I was muddled and didn't understand him so he used the two moves of 'Nong Yu Playing the Flute' and 'Xiao Shi Riding the Dragon' again." Returning to Huashan

and marrying Yue Lingshan were two of his biggest desire. Suddenly, in front of all these masters, Yue Buqun promised him these two matters. Even though it wasn't conveyed outright by words, he understood it completely from these several sword moves. Linghu Chong knew that Master's most important vow was to never take back what he already said. He had already promised to take him back into the Huashan family and also betroth his daughter to him. So if he fulfilled his promises then these matters would definitely happen. In that instant, a feeling of happiness filled his chest.

He naturally knew of the deep love between Yue Lingshan and Lin Pingzhi. He also knew that she did not love him any more but instead felt hatred towards him. But the marriage between man and woman was decided entirely by the parents and the daughter had no say in it. It had been that way for more than a thousand years. Yue Buqun had already betrothed his daughter to him, and Yue Lingshan would not be able to reject it.

Linghu Chong thought in his heart, "If I were to be able to re-enter the

Huashan School, I would be thanking the heaven and earth already. But to

also become partner with little martial sister; that would really be a joy from heaven. Little martial sister would surely be unhappy at the beginning but I would be suitable for her. After a long time, she would see that I'm sincere towards her and would slowly change her attitude."

He was beaming from ear to ear and was feeling very happy in his heart. Yue Buqun continuously used the moves 'Return of the Prodigal Son' followed by 'Green Pines Welcoming Guests'. His sword moves were becoming urgent looking like he was becoming impatient. Linghu Chong

comprehended what Yue Buqun meant, "Master is telling me, the prodigal son, to return. Of course he couldn't say this out loud but he wants me to throw away my sword and admit defeat immediately. Then I would be able to rejoin the school immediately. I would be able to return to Huashan and get married to little martial sister. My life would be returned to me, what

else do I want? But what about Yingying, Chief Ren, and brother Xiang? If I lose this fight then the three of them would be detained on top of Mount Shaoshi and they might be even be killed. I'm only coveting for my own happiness and not repaying other people’s kindness. Can I still be called a person?" At this thought, the back of his body was covered with cold sweat and his vision became blurry. He saw Yue Buqun slashed his sword horizontally passing very close to his mouth then pointing the sword towards him, pushed forward. This was the move 'Nong Yu Playing the Flute'. Linghu Chong's heart was moved again. "Yingying was willing to die for me but I didn’t even pay any attention to her plight. Is there anyone else in this world who is more vicious than Linghu Chong? No matter what, I have to repay Yingying’s kindness." Suddenly, he felt dizzy, and heard a 'zheng' sound as a long sword fell on the ground.

All the spectators cried out in surprise.

Linghu Chong's body was swaying. When he opened his eyes, he saw Yue Buqun had leapt back and was looking furious. Yue Buqun's right wrist was bleeding. Linghu Chong checked the point of his sword and saw blood dripping from it. He was greatly startled. He knew that while his mind was in confusion, his hand was blocking the attack. But somehow, he unexpectedly used the 'Dugu Nine Sword' move to pierce Yue Buqun's right wrist. He immediately threw away his sword and knelt on the ground.

"Master, disciple has sinned and deserves death."

Yue Buqun kicked out and hit him squarely on his chest. The kick

was very fierce and swift causing Linghu Chong to fly off. While his body was in mid air, his vision became dark. He heard a ‘peng’ sound, and his body dropped on the ground. But he didn't feel any pain as he passed out.

Chapter 28 Accumulation of Snow

"I want to write some words on these four snowmen," said Yue

Lingshan. She drew her sword and started writing on the snowmen with the sword tip. Without knowing how much time had passed, Linghu Chong gradually felt his body feeling colder. He slowly opened his eyes and saw a firelight which dazzled him. He quickly shut his eyes and heard Yingying happily called out, "You... you're awake!" Linghu Chong opened his eyes once again. He saw Yingying's pair of beautiful eyes staring at him with her face full of joy. Linghu Chong tried to sit up, but Yingying waved her hand. "Rest for a bit more."

Linghu Chong looked around, and saw that he was inside a mountain cave. Outside the cave, there was a big bonfire. He then remembered that he was kicked by his master. "What happened to my Master and Master- Wife?"

Yingying flatly answered him, "You're still calling him master? In this world, there's no such shameless master. You've already given way, but he didn't know what was good for him, and at the end, he was unable to get out of an awkward situation. He gave you a very fierce kick but broke his leg,

serves him right!"

"My master broke his leg?" Linghu Chong asked, startled.

Yingying giggled. "Isn't it good enough that he wasn't shaken to death? Daddy said you still don't know how to use the Art of Essence Absorbing yet, otherwise you wouldn't have gotten injured."

Linghu Chong mumbled, "I stabbed master and also broke his leg.

This is really... really..."

"You regret it?" Yingying asked.

Linghu Chong felt extremely ashamed. "I shouldn't have done that. If it weren't for Master and Master-Wife bringing me up, maybe I would've died a long time ago. How can there be a today? I repaid their kindness with enmity, I’m worse than an animal." "He repeatedly wanted to kill you with his fierce moves but you just

endured it and let him do it; that can be said that you've repaid your master's kindness. Also, looking at the type of person you are, how could you have died? Even if the Yue couple didn't bring you up, you'd be called the little beggar in Jianghu because I don't think you would have died. Also, he

already expelled you from Huashan, so the master disciple relation between you two was severed a long time ago. What is he to you now?" Yingying

suddenly lowered her voice, "Brother Chong, you offended your master and master-wife because of me. My... my heart..." She lowered her head, and both of her cheeks were blushing.

Linghu Chong saw her revealing her little girl's shyness, while her beauty was enhanced by the raging fire outside the cave shining on her face. His heart was moved. Extending his hand, he held her left hand, and sighed, not knowing what to say. Yingying softly murmured, "Why did you sigh?

You regret knowing me?"

"No, no! How can I regret it? Because of me, you were willing to give up your life in Shaolin temple. Even if later on my body were grounded to dust and my bones broken to pieces, I still wouldn't be able to repay for your kindness," Linghu Chong said.

Yingying stared into both of his eyes. "Why are you talking like that?

Even until now, your heart is still regarding me as a stranger."

Linghu Chong felt ashamed. In his heart, there was always a feeling of estrangement towards her. "I said it wrong. From today onwards, I will wholeheartedly treat you well." As he said these words, he couldn't refrain from thinking, "How about little martial sister? Little martial sister? Could it be that I'll forget little martial sister?"

Yingying's eyes flashed with happiness. "Brother Chong, are you speaking the truth, or are you deceiving me?" Suddenly Linghu Chong was no longer thinking of himself or of his longing for Yue Lingshan. He sincerely answered, "If I'm deceiving you, then let me be split in two by thunder, and not die a good death."

Yingying's left hand slowly turned over and gripped Linghu Chong's hand, which was already holding her hand. She felt that this moment was the most precious moment in her whole life. She felt her whole body becoming hot, and her heart felt as if it were floating on clouds. She wished that this moment would last forever. After a long time, she slowly said,

"We're people who live in Wulin, I'm afraid we're destined not to die a good death. If later on you become ungrateful towards me, I won't hope that you'll be split in two by thunder. I... I... I'd rather kill you nicely with a

single stab of my sword."

Linghu Chong was startled. He never expected her to suddenly say such words. When he recovered from his shock, he laughed. "My life was

saved by you, so it already belongs to you. If you want to take it back, then you can come and take it back anytime."

Yingying smiled and said, "Other people said that you're a cunning and mannerless romantic. As expected, the words coming out of your

mouth are suave and sly, and not decent and proper at all. I don't know what kind of fate that made me... made me like a frivolous romantic like you."

Linghu Chong laughed. "When was I being frivolous towards you? You said that I did, so now I want to be frivolous towards you." As he said this, he sat up.

Both of Yingying's feet twitched, and she shot out for a few feet. She lowered her head and said, "I regard you well and we've been adhering to customs and rules. If you think that I'm a lascivious girl, and that you can just take advantage of me as you please, then you're mistaken about me." Linghu Chong replied in a serious manner, "How can I dare to regard you as a lascivious girl? You're an old granny of good moral standing and reputation, you didn't even allow me to turn my head around to look at you."

Yingying laughed and remembered the first time she met Linghu Chong. At that time, he kept calling her 'granny', and was being very

respectful towards her. She couldn't help smiling and her dimples showed. She then sat down around three to four feet away from Linghu Chong.

Linghu Chong laughed and said, "You're not allowing me to be frivolous. From now on, I'll just keep calling you granny."

Yingying giggled. "Alright. Good grandson." "Granny, my heart has..."

"You can't call me granny! Wait for sixty years before calling me

that."

"If I could start calling you 'granny' from now till sixty years later,

then my life wouldn't have been in vain."

Yingying felt touched and thought, "If I could really accompany him for sixty years, that would be as good as having ascended to heaven and becoming an immortal."

Linghu Chong gazed at her profile. Her nose was slightly pointed, her long eyelashes were hanging down, her appearance was delicate and tender, and her complexion was warm and soft. He thought, "Such a beautiful lady, why do those thousands of cruel and wild heroes from Jianghu respect and fear her, and they're also willing to go through fire and water for her?" He wanted to ask, but he felt that talking about this sort of things at this time

would dampen their spirits, so he stopped himself from asking. "Whatever you want to say, just say it," Yingying said. "From the beginning, I felt there's something odd. How come Old Man, Zu Qianqiu, and the rest of them fear you so much."

Yingying charmingly laughed. "I know that if you don't understand this matter well, then you will always feel uneasy. I'm afraid in your heart, you've always regarded me as a monster."

"No, no, I regard you as a vastly knowledgeable Immortal."

Yingying smiled. "You can't say three words without speaking nonsense. In fact your type of person, you might not necessarily be frivolous and mannerless, but you merely love to talk sweetly. That's why other people said that you're a dissolute person."

"When I call you granny, do you think I was just talking sweetly?" "Call me granny for the rest of your life then."

"I want to call you for the rest of my life, but it's not to call you granny."

Yingying's face turned bright red, and she felt sweetness swelled in her heart. She whispered, "I hope these words you just said aren’t just sweet talk."

"You're afraid that I was just talking sweetly. For the rest of my life, when you cook meals for me, you don’t have to put oil in them then."34

Yingying smiled and said, "I can't cook; I even burnt the frogs I was roasting."

Linghu Chong remembered those days when the two of them were roasting frogs in a wild field besides a creek. He felt at this very moment that the feeling of that time had returned. His heart was filled with tender affection.

Yingying said quietly, "If you're not afraid of my burnt meals, then I'll cook for you for the rest of your life." "Why not? If you cook for me, then I'll eat three big bowls of burnt meals everyday."

Yingying softly said, "You love to joke around to your heart's content.

Actually, you speak teasingly to make me happy, and I feel very happy hearing them." Their eyes met, and for a long time, they just looked at each other without speaking. After some time, Yingying slowly said, "You

already know that my daddy was originally the chief of the Divine Sun

Moon Sect. Later, uncle Dongfang. no, Dongfang Bubai. I keep calling

him uncle, I'm too used to it. He used deceit and imprisoned daddy, and fooled everyone else. He said that daddy had died somewhere and had

assigned him to be Chief when that happened. At that time, I was still small, while Dongfang Bubai was very cunning and his plan didn't have any flaw, so I also didn't have any suspicion. After Dongfang Bubai managed to deceive everyone, he treated me unusually and was being very polite and gave me a lot of favour. No matter what I said, he never rejected it. That's

why when I was in the sect, I was in a very honoured position."

"Those Jianghu's heroes, they're all subordinates of the Divine Sun Moon Sect?"

"They can't be regarded as members of the sect, but they've always been under my sect's subordination. Most of their leaders have taken my sect's 'Divine Three Corpse Brain Pill'."

Linghu Chong snorted. That day at Plum Manor on Mount Gu, when the elders of Devil Sect, such as Bao Dachu, Qin Weibang, and the others saw Ren Woxing's red pills of 'Divine Three Corpse Brain Pill', they were all frightened to death. When Linghu Chong remembered the event of that

day, he couldn't help scowling. Yingying continued, "Once you've taken this 'Divine Three Corpse Brain Pill', every year after that, you have to take an

antidote. Otherwise, the poison will come out and you'll die a miserable death. Dongfang Bubai treated those heroic warriors severely. If there were a small matter that's not up to his expectation, then he wouldn't give them the medicine. Every time, I have to seek his compassion to give them the medicines."

"You're their saviour then."

"I'm not a saviour. They came to me asking for help, and I didn't have the heart to just ignore them. This was originally also Dongfang Bubai's plan in deceiving the people in the sect. He wanted everyone to know that he's taking care of me and really respects me. Then, naturally, no one

suspects him of actually usurping the position of Chief."

Linghu Chong nodded his head and said, "This person is a shrewd schemer."

"But it's bothersome for me to always ask for compassion from

Dongfang Bubai. Furthermore, the situation inside the sect is very different from the past. Everyone also sees how Dongfang Bubai wants to be flattered, it's very disgusting. The spring of the year before last, I asked martial nephew Elder Bamboo Green to accompany me roaming the hills

and playing with the water, and also to get out from the sect's matters and from saying those shameless words to Dongfang Bubai. Didn't think that I would meet you then." She then looked at Linghu Chong, and the memory of the first time she met him at the bamboo alley rose up. She lightly sighed and her heart was filled with tender feelings. After a long time, she went on, "Those thousands of heroes who came to Shaolin temple, of course not all of them had taken the medicines that I asked for. But it only needs one person to receive my favour, then his family members, good friends, sect members, brothers, and many others, they naturally have also received my favour. Also, when they went to Mount Shaoshi, it's not necessarily because of me. It's more likely that they were answering big hero Linghu's summon, and they didn't dare not to come." When she said this, she pursed her lips smiling.

Linghu Chong sighed. "You won't get any benefit from following me.

But it's very likely that you'll advance a lot in the art of talking smoothly

and sweetly." Yingying burst into laughter. In her whole life, everyone from the Divine Sun Moon Sect had always regarded her like a princess, and no one dared to disobey her. As she grew up, she became bossier, whatever she wanted was done, and no one dared to say any jokes to her. At this time, as she joked around with Linghu Chong, it was the happiest time in her life.

After a time, Yingying turned her head around to face the wall. "I'm naturally happy that you led so many people to Shaolin temple to meet me. But those people are garrulous and crude, behind my back, they're saying I... saying I treated you well, but you're actually a romantic person, and leaves the seeds of love everywhere. And you don’t really care about me at all..." As she said this, her voice gradually quietened down. She then quietly continued, "You're really giving me a lot of face by making such a big disturbance, even if I... even if I died, I won't regret getting this good name."

"When you carried me on your back to Shaolin temple seeking for a cure, I was completely unaware. Later on, I was imprisoned under the West Lake, and when I got out, I encountered Heng-Shan School's matter. Then I worked hard after getting the information before finally meeting you, but you've suffered immensely there," Linghu Chong explained.

"I didn't suffer living at the mountain behind Shaolin temple. I lived alone in a stone house, and every ten days, an old monk came to give me firewood and rice. Apart from this, I didn't see anyone else until Dingxian and Dingyi Shi Tai came to Shaolin. Then Abbot wanted to see me, and I found out that he didn't pass on to you the Tendon Altering Sutra. When I found out that I was swindled, I was really angry and scolded that old monk. Dingxian Shi Tai told me not to worry, and she said that you are safe and well. She also said that you asked the two Shi Tai to go to the Shaolin Abbot to ask for his compassion," Yingying told him.

"When you heard her explanation, you stopped scolding Great Master Abbot?"

"When the Shaolin Temple's Abbot heard me scolding him, he only smiled and didn't get angry. He said: "Female shi zhu, old monk wanted young hero Linghu to join Shaolin on that day, and to take him as my disciple. After that, old monk would have taught him the internal art of

Tendon Altering Sutra to repel the various internal energies in his body. But he resolutely refused, and old monk had no way to force him. Also, that day you carried him to come up... that day when he came up the mountain, he

was on the verge of death. But when he went down the mountain, he was walking like a normal person. At the very least, Shaolin temple has given him some help." I thought what he said was reasonable so I said: "Then

why do you detain me on the mountain? Buddhists don't tell lies, isn't what you're doing, deceiving me?"" Yingying narrated.

"Yes, they shouldn't have concealed that from you."

"That old monk gave me another reason. He said detaining me on

Mount Shaoshi was because he hoped that the Buddhist way would change my violent nature. What nonsense!" Yingying complained.

"Yes, what kind of violent nature do you have?"

"You don't need to say some nice words to make me happy. Of

course, I have a violent nature. Not only have, but I have a considerable violence in me. But you don't have to worry, I won't use it on you," Yingying said.

"I hold you in a new light now, and thank you very much." Yingying continued, "At that time, I said to the old monk: "You're

already old, but you're still bullying the young. How shameless." That old monk replied: "That day you voluntarily came to Shaolin temple willing to give up your life in exchange for young hero Linghu's life. Even though we didn't cure young hero Linghu, we also didn't take your life. Hearing from the two Shi Tai from Heng-Shan School, young hero Linghu had recently done many heroic deeds in Jianghu. Old monk is really happy for him.

Taking into consideration the good reputation of the Heng-Shan School's two Shi Tai, you can go down the mountain." He also promised to release hundreds of my Jianghu friends being detained there. I've received a lot of his kindness, so I paid my respect to him a few times. After that, I followed Heng-Shan School's two Shi Tai to go down the mountain. Later at the bottom of the mountain, I met someone called 'Ten Thousand Miles Loner' Tian Boguang. He said that you're already leading a few thousand people to come to Shaolin temple to meet me. The two Shi Tai said Shaolin temple

was facing a difficulty so they couldn't just put their hands in their sleeves. So we parted ways then, and they wanted me to intercept you.

Unexpectedly, the two kind and gentle seniors died in Shaolin temple." After she said this, she let out a really long sigh.

Linghu Chong also sighed. "I don't know who did it. There were no traces of injury on their bodies and I also don't know how they lost their lives."

"What do you mean no traces of injury? Daddy, uncle Xiang and I went to have a look at the bodies of the two Shi Tai at the temple. I undid

their gowns to have a look and saw on their chests two red holes the size of a needle. They were killed after being pierced by iron needles," Yingying told him. Linghu Chong was startled and uttered an "ah". "Poison needle? Who uses poison needles in Wulin?"

Yingying shook her head. "Daddy and uncle Xiang's experiences are vast, but they also don't know. Daddy said that it wasn't poison needle. It's actually a pointed weapon aimed at a fatal point that killed them. But the needle piercing Dingxian Shi Tai was slightly slanted."

"Yes. When I saw Dingxian Shi Tai, she was still alive. This needle pierced into her chest, so it wasn't done secretly, and they were actually fighting face to face. The person who killed the two Shi Tai must've been masters with high martial art," Linghu Chong concluded.

Yingying added, "That's what my daddy also said. Since we have this clue, it won't be hard to find who the murderer is."

Linghu Chong slapped his hand on the cave's wall and said loudly,

"Yingying, while the two of us still have our lives, we must avenge the two Shi Tai."

"Yes," Yingying replied.

Linghu Chong then put his hand on the wall to support himself in getting up. But he felt his four limbs feeling normal, and there was no

soreness on his chest. It was as if he had not received any injury. "This is strange. My master gave me a kick, but it seems that I'm not injured."

"My daddy said that you've absorbed much inner energy from other people, and your internal energy is far above your master. But because you didn't use your power to resist your master, you got injured. But your profound internal energy protected you, so your injury was light. Uncle

Xiang gave you a few push to arouse your own internal energy to cure your injury, and you were alright in no time. But your master's leg unexpectedly broke. That was really strange, daddy thought for a long time, and he

couldn't come up with an answer," Yingying explained. "My internal energy is already powerful. So when master kicked me, the counter force from my internal energy broke his leg. Why's that

strange?"

"It's not that. Daddy said that even though absorbing other people's energies would protect your body, but you must use it to injure other people. Compared to the completed internal art, you're still one level lower."

"So that's how it is," Linghu Chong said. He didn't really understand the reasons, so he didn't think much about it. But when he thought of how he injured his master in front of all those masters, he felt really guilty.

After a moment, both of them became quiet. They heard the crackling sound of the bonfire outside the cave, but they saw large snowflakes floating down. Compared to when they were still in the Shaolin temple, the snow had gotten even larger. Suddenly, Linghu Chong heard sounds of heavy breathing from the east outside the cave, and he immediately strained to listen to it. Yingying's internal energy wasn't as good as his so she didn't hear anything. She saw his expression and asked, "What did you hear?"

"I heard some sounds of panting just then; there's someone coming.

But he's gasping heavily. That person's martial art is low so there should be nothing to worry about." He then asked, "Where's your dad?"

Yingying answered, "Daddy and uncle Xiang said they were going out for a stroll." As she said this, her face turned red. She knew that her father deliberately left to leave her alone with Linghu Chong so that when he woke up, they could talk about their time apart. Linghu Chong again heard the sound of gasping. "Let's go out and take a look."

When the two of them went out of the cave, they saw the mark of Ren and Xiang's footsteps mostly covered up by the new snow. Linghu Chong pointed in the direction of the footsteps. "The gasping sounds are coming from that direction." The two of them started following the trail of footsteps. After more than a hundred feet, they came to a level area of the mountain. They saw Ren Woxing and Xiang Wentian standing still next to each other in the middle of the snowfield. The two of them were startled, and rushed forward at the same time.

Yingying called out, "Dad!" She extended her hand and pulled Ren Woxing's left hand. Her whole body was shaken as she touched her father, and felt cold energy from her father's hand entering the marrow of her bones. She was frightened and called out, "Dad, you... what's..." She had not finished speaking when her body trembled and her teeth started

chattering. But she immediately understood what was happening. After her father was hit by Zuo Lengchan's 'Polar Ice Energy', he had been using his power to suppress it. But at this time, he finally couldn't suppress it any longer and the cold energy had come out, and Xiang Wentian was

exhausting his power in helping her father to resist it.

At Shaolin temple, Ren Woxing was deceived by Zuo Lengchan and had his acupoint sealed. After they had gone down the mountain, he briefly told her this. Linghu Chong had not yet understood what was going on, and from the light reflection on the snow, he saw the serious complexions of those two people, Ren and Xiang, and how Ren Woxing was gasping for air. He then realised that the gasping sound that he heard before was coming from Ren Woxing. When he saw Yingying's body trembling, he quickly

extended his hand to grasp her left hand, and felt a wave of cold air entering his body. He immediately understood. Ren Woxing was hit by his enemy's Polar Ice Energy, and was now in the process of distributing his internal

energy according to the method written on the iron panel underneath the West Lake. He was slowly driving out the cold energy out of his body. When Ren Woxing obtained Linghu Chong's help, he felt relieved.

Xiang Wentian and Yingying's internal energies were different from his, and were only able to help him resist the cold energy and not to drive it out. He was already using all of his power just to stop his whole body from freezing, and had no more energy to drive the cold energy out. He had

already resisted the cold energy for a long time and was feeling his power being drained as time went on. Linghu Chong's method was his last line of defence, which was slowly drawing the 'Polar Ice Energy' out of Ren Woxing's body and scattering it out. The four of them were holding hands standing in the middle of the snowfield, looking like statues. Big

snowflakes kept falling on the four people's heads and faces, and gradually, their heads, eyes, noses, and gowns were being covered. Linghu Chong was using his energy and he inwardly thought there was something strange,

"How come the snow's not melting on my face?" He didn't know that Zuo Lengchan had practised his 'Polar Ice Energy' to an extremely high level, so much so that the cold air coming out was as cold as the snow.

At this moment, their internal organs still held their warmth, but their skins were already ice cold causing the snowflakes falling on their bodies not to melt at all. Compared to the snow falling on the ground, it was

accumulating faster on their bodies. After a long time, the sky slowly got brighter but the snow kept on falling down. Linghu Chong was worried that Yingying was weak and that she wouldn't be able to endure the invasion of the cold energy for long. But the poisonous cold air inside Ren Woxing's body had not been emptied yet. Even though he wasn't gasping anymore, he didn't know whether they could part hands at this time, and whether his

condition would change if they parted hands. Unable to settle on an idea, he continued helping him scatter the cold energy. He felt from holding Yingying's palm that even though her skin was cold, she had stopped quivering. He was also able to feel the tiny pulse on her palm. At this time, a few inches of white snow had accumulated on top of his two eyes, so he could only feel without seeing how the sky had become brighter. He

continually increased his effort hoping that the cold energy in Ren Woxing's body would be completely driven out by morning.

After a long time, the sound of horse's hoof beats coming closer was suddenly heard from the northeast. They heard one horse was being ridden in front of the other horse. Then they heard a person shouting, "Martial

sister, martial sister, please hear me out."

Even though both of Linghu Chong's ears were already covered by

snow, he still heard him clearly. It was his master Yue Buqun's voice. Both horses were still galloping as they came nearer, and they heard Yue Buqun calling out again, "You don't understand the reason but you're throwing a tantrum already. Please hear me out." This was followed by Madam Yue

shouting, "I'm not in a cheerful mood. What's that got to do with you?

What's there to say?" Hearing the two people calling out to each other, they deduced that Madam Yue's horse was at the front, and Yue Buqun's horse was at the back chasing her. Linghu Chong felt it very strange. "Master- Wife is so furious. How did master offend her?" But he heard the horse

Madam Yue was riding kept on going. Suddenly, she uttered a 'yi', and it was followed by the long neighing sound of the horse. It must be because she had suddenly reined in her horse to stop it, and both horses and person were now standing still.

A short time later, Yue Buqun caught up to her on his horse. "Martial sister, don't you think these four piles of snow look like snowmen?" Madam Yue uttered an 'hng', it seemed that her anger had not abated yet. She just

said to herself, "We're in the wilderness, how can there be people making these four snowmen?" Linghu Chong thought, "How can there be snowmen in this

wilderness?" He then realized, "The four of us are covered in white snow until we look swollen. That's why Master and Master-Wife thought that we're snowmen." Master and Master-Wife were right in front of him now,

and the circumstance seemed awkward and yet actually very funny. He was afraid as he thought, "Once master found out that it's us, he’s bound to give each of us a stab. If he wanted to kill us now, he wouldn't need to spend too much energy."

Yue Buqun said, "There's no foot marks on the snow. These four

snowmen must've been made a few days ago. Martial sister, have a look, it seems like three of them are male and one is female."

"They all look similar, how can you tell they're male or female?" Madam Yue replied, and with a shout, urged her horse to go again.

"Martial sister, you're so quick-tempered! There's no one around here, let's talk about it. How can that be not good?" Yue Buqun urged.

"What quick-slow tempered? I'm going back to Huashan. You love to flatter Zuo Lengchan, you can go up Songshan by yourself."

"Who said I love to flatter Zuo Lengchan? I don't even want this position of Huashan School's leader, why do I want to be subservient to Songshan School?"

"That's right! I don't understand why you want to be subservient towards Zuo Lengchan and listen to all his instructions? Although he's the chief of the Five Mountains Sword Schools, he shouldn't be involved in the matters of our Huashan School. Once the five sword schools are joined into one, will there still be a Huashan School? When Master gave you the leadership of the Huashan School, what did he say?" Madam Yue retorted.

"The respected master wanted me to increase the reputation of Huashan School." "That's right. If you agreed to Zuo Lengchan and joined Huashan School with Songshan School, how do you repay the late respected master? As the saying goes: would rather have chicken's beak, wouldn't want cow's buttock35. Even though Huashan School is small, we can support ourselves, and we don't need to depend on other people," Madam Yue said.

Yue Buqun let out a long sigh before saying, "Martial sister, Heng- Shan School's Dingxian and Dingyi Shi Tai's martial art, compared to the two of us, which one is higher and which one is lower?"

"We've never duelled before, I think we're about similar. Why are you asking this?"

Yue Buqun answered, "I also think that we're about similar. The two Shi Tai lost their lives in the Shaolin temple, it's obvious that it was Zuo Lengchan's doing."

Linghu Chong was surprised. He had also originally thought that it

was Zuo Lengchan's doing, otherwise there was no one else with such good martial art. Although the martial art of the Shaolin and Wudang Schools' leaders were high, they were both such gentlemen and would have never harmed the two Shi tai. Songshan School had besieged the three nuns of

Heng-Shan School many times. It seemed now that Zuo Lengchan had personally taken care of it. Ren Woxing had such good martial art, but he still lost under Zuo Lengchan's hand. So, Heng-Shan School's two Shi Tai were naturally not his match.

Madam Yue said, "Killed by Zuo Lengchan? So what? If you have any evidence, then quickly invite all the heroes from the orthodox schools to confront Zuo Lengchan to avenge the two Shi Tai."

"One, I don't have any evidence. Two, we're weak that we can't fight

him." "What do you mean 'weak and can't fight him'? We'll ask Shaolin School's Abbot Fangzheng and Wudang School's Priest Chongxu to preside over this justice. How would Zuo Lengchan dare to fight us?"

"I'm afraid before we can invite Abbot Fangzheng and the others, we'll both be like Heng-Shan School's two Shi Tai," Yue Buqun reasoned.

"You're saying Zuo Lengchan would kill the two of us? Hng, we've already striven for so long in Wulin, is it really necessary to think that much? If we're afraid of the tiger in front and the wolf at the back, can we still be standing in Jianghu?"

Linghu Chong inwardly admired, "Even though Master-Wife is a woman, her heroic spirit is astounding."

Yue Buqun replied, "I won't regret the two of us dying, but what's the use of that? When Zuo Lengchan secretly moves against us, the two of us will die without knowing why or how. As a result, he would still be able to resume his plan and finish making the Five Mountains School. Maybe he would even fabricate some accusations to put on us." Madam Yue just hummed without answering him.

Yue Buqun continued, "Once we died, the disciples of the Huashan School would become easy pickings for Zuo Lengchan. How could they fight back? No matter what, we must always think of Shan'er."

Madam Yue held back her words. It seemed that her husband's words had finally moved her. After some time, she said, "En, we'll do what you

say and won't uncover Zuo Lengchan's plot for now. We'll play along and be polite in front of him, and wait for an opportunity to move."

"You've agreed to my words, then it's very good. Pingzhi's family's 'Evil Resisting Sword Manual' had already been stolen by that little thief Linghu Chong. If he agreed to give it back to Pingzhi, then my Huashan disciples could all learn from it. Then what else do we have to fear from Zuo Lengchan? My Huashan School is now in a precarious position, how can we survive?"

Madam Yue said, "Why are you still suspicious of Chong'er just because he had greatly advanced in his sword art? Are you still thinking that it's because he embezzled Pingzhi's family's 'Evil Resisting Sword

Manual'? During the battle at Shaolin temple, Great Master Fangzheng and Priest Chongxu both said that his wonderful sword art was passed down by martial uncle Feng. Even though martial uncle Feng is from the sword branch, he's still from our Huashan School. Of course it's wrong for

Chong'er to join hands with the demons from the Devil Sect, but anyhow, we can't wrongly accuse him of embezzling the 'Evil Resisting Sword

Manual'. If you still don't believe Great Master Fangzheng and Priest Chongxu, then who would you believe in this world?"

Linghu Chong felt a swell of gratitude as he heard Master-Wife

explaining things on his behalf. He really wanted to go out there to give her a hug. Suddenly, the top of his head was shaken a few times as someone patted him. He thought, "This isn't good, we've been discovered. Chief

Ren's poisonous cold energy hasn't been completely driven out yet. If Master and Master-Wife were to duel with me again, how can that be

good?" He felt the internal energy coming from Yingying's hand became more severe. He guessed that Ren Woxing was also feeling uneasy. Again, someone lightly tapped his head a few more times, but then there was no more movement. Then he heard Madam Yue saying, "Yesterday when you were fighting Chong'er, you used 'Return of the Prodigal Son', 'Green Pines Welcoming Guests', 'Nong Yu Playing the Flute', and 'Xiao Shi Riding the Dragon' successively. What's the meaning behind this?"

"Hey, hey, even though this little thief's conduct is improper, he was still brought up by the two of us. It's very pitiful to see him mistakenly going down the wrong path. I only wanted him, the prodigal son, to return

and to let him know that I'll allow him to return to the Huashan family," Yue Buqun told her.

"I got the meaning of that, but how about the other two moves?" "You already know about it, why do you still ask?"

"If Chong'er agreed to return to the right path, then you promised Shan'er to be his wife, didn't you?"

"Right."

"This hint of yours, was it just a momentary measure, or was it for real?" Madam Yue asked, but Yue Buqun didn't answer. Linghu Chong again felt someone lightly tapping the top of his head. He immediately

realized that Yue Buqun was pondering and lightly tapping the snowman at the same time. It wasn't because the four of them had been discovered. He then heard Yue Buqun answering, "A gentleman's word is like a mountain. I would not renege on a promise I've already made to him."

"He's completely infatuated by that Devil Sect's witch, how could you not know that?" Madam Yue queried.

"No, he felt appreciative towards that witch, but he's not infatuated with her. He treats that witch very differently compared to the loving manner that he treats Shan'er. You didn't see that?"

"I naturally see it too. You're saying he still has feelings for Shan'er?" "Not only still has feelings, he simply... simply still loves her deeply.

Once he understood the meaning behind the sword moves that I used, didn't you see how he became deliriously happy and ecstatic?"

Madam Yue coldly said, "So, for this reason you used Shan'er as a bait to hook him? You were going to use Shan'er to make him lose to you?"

Even though Linghu Chong's ears were full of snow, he still heard the anger and ridicule in the words that his Master-Wife said. He had never heard his Master-Wife used this kind of tone before. The Yue Buqun couple had always regarded him as their son, and they had always spoken to him

about everything without keeping any secret. Madam Yue was quick tempered, and she occasionally argued with her husband when they were at home. But in front of the school's disciples, she always respected her husband's position as leader of the school and did not defy his orders. The way she spoke just then showed her heart's discontent.

Yue Buqun let out a long sigh. "So even you can't understand my intention. My own success and failure is a small matter, while the prosperity and decline of the Huashan School is a big matter. If I could persuade Linghu Chong to return to Huashan, then I would've solved four matters in one fell swoop. This would've been a fine deed."

"What four matters in one fell swoop?" Madam Yue asked.

"Linghu Chong's sword art is extremely high, and is far above me. It's alright if he got his sword art from the Evil Resisting Sword manual. It's

also alright if he got it from martial uncle Feng. If he returned to Huashan, the prestige of my Huashan School would greatly rise and its reputation

would spread throughout the realm. This is the first big matter. Zuo Lengchan's plot of annexing Huashan School would no doubt become hard to accomplish, and the three schools of Taishan, Heng-Shan, and Hengshan would also be safe. This is the second big matter. When he returns to the orthodox school, it will not only make the Devil Sect lose a powerful ally, they will instead have gained a big enemy. The orthodox would flourish

while the demonical would become weak. This is the third big matter. Martial sister, don't you think this is right?" Yue Buqun spoke.

"En, what's the fourth matter?"

"The fourth matter, we don't have any son so we've always regarded Chong'er as our own. Seeing him mistakenly gone down the wrong path is actually very painful for me. I'm not young anymore, this reputation that I have in the world, why do I need to be concerned about it? I only want him to change his way and return to the orthodox path so as to allow our family to have a harmonious reunion. How can this be not a happy matter?" Yue

Buqun answered. When Linghu Chong heard this, he couldn't help his heart feeling excited, and he nearly called out, "Master! Master-Wife!"

"Shan'er and Pingzhi are perfectly suited to each other. Are you really willing to tear apart the two of them and make Shan'er begrudge you for the rest your life?"

"I'm doing this for Shan'er's own good."

"For Shan'er's own good? Pingzhi is diligent, earnest, and well- behaved, what's not good about that?"

"Even though Pingzhi is diligent, but compared to Linghu chong, he still lacks by a sky deep. Even if he gallops on a horse for his whole lifetime, he wouldn't be able to catch up to Linghu Chong."

"Strong martial art makes good husband? I'm really hoping that

Chong'er would return to the orthodox path and return to our school. But he creates trouble as he pleases, is frivolous and is too fond of good wine. If Shan'er marries him, she is bound to get neglected for the rest of her life."

Linghu Chong felt ashamed in his heart. "Martial mother judges me to be 'creating trouble as I please, frivolous and fond of good wine'. But if little martial sister really become my wife, would I disappoint her? No, never!"

Yue Buqun let out a long sigh and then said, “In any case, I threw

caution to the wind, but this little traitor has fallen very deeply. These words that we’re talking about are all in vain. Martial sister, are you still angry at me?” Madam Yue didn’t answer him. But after a while, she asked, “Does your leg still hurt a lot?”

“It’s only an external injury, it’s not that serious. Let’s go back to

Huashan,” Yue Buqun answered, and Madam Yue acknowledged him. They then heard the sound of two horses galloping farther and farther away from them.

Linghu Chong was utterly confused, and he repeatedly went over the conversation between his Master and Master-Wife in his head. So much so that he forgot to move his internal energy. Suddenly, a portion of the cold energy rushed up his arm and he was unable to restrain it. He felt the cold

strangely entering the bones in his whole body, and he hastily regulated his internal energy to resist it. At the moment he regulated his energy, he

suddenly felt that it was blocked at his left shoulder, so he hastily increased his energy. But the ‘Art of Essence Absorbing’ that he had practised was only according to the secrets engraved on the iron panel, which he had learned by himself without any teacher. So there were still many kinds of refined and obscure techniques that he had not learned yet. By forcefully rushing his energy, his energy was dissipated even more. So what started as a gradual stiffness in his left arm was followed by the numbness on the left side of his body, left waist, and all the way down to his leg which was now feeling numb. Linghu Chong felt frightened, and opened his mouth to

shout, but he found that even his lips couldn’t move.

Right then, they heard the sounds of hoof beats from two horses

coming closer. A person exclaimed, “There’s a mess of hoof prints here. Dad and mum must’ve stopped here for a moment.” It was really Yue

Lingshan’s voice. Linghu Chong was surprised and happy at the same time. He thought, “How come little martial sister is also here?” Then he heard another voice saying, “Master’s leg was injured, let’s not go astray and quickly catch up to them.” It was Lin Pingzhi’s voice.

Linghu Chong thought, “Yes, the snow on the ground shows the hoof prints clearly. Little martial sister and martial brother Lin must’ve been

chasing Master and Master-Wife, so they’re on the same road and had finally come here.”

Yue Lingshan suddenly called out, “Little Lin, look at those four

snowmen, they look like fun. They’re standing in a row and holding hands.” “There’s no houses nearby, how come there’s people here making

snowmen?”

Yue Lingshan laughed. “Let’s make two snowmen for ourselves, alright?”

“Alright, we’ll make one man and one girl, and they’ll be holding hands too,” Lin Pingzhi acknowledged.

Yue Lingshan turned her body over and dismounted her horse. She cupped the snow on her hand and started to make her snowman.

“Let’s find Master and Master-Wife first; it’s more important. After we’ve found them, then we’ll make our two snowmen,” Lin Pingzhi told her.

“You always know how to make people lose interest. Even though daddy’s leg is injured, he can still ride a horse just fine. Also mommy is besides him, what’s there to be afraid of? When the two of them started to use their swords in Jianghu, you weren’t even born yet.”

“What you said isn’t wrong. But because we haven't found Master and Master-Wife, we’ll feel uneasy while playing here.”

“Alright, I’ll listen to you then. But after we’ve found dad and mom, you have to accompany me in making two very good looking snowmen.”

“Of course,” Lin Pingzhi answered. Linghu Chong thought, “I thought for sure that he would’ve said: ‘We’ll make it as good looking as you.’ or maybe: ‘It’ll be very hard to make it as good looking as you.’ I never expected him to just say ‘Of

course’ in finishing up the matter.” He then thought more, “Martial brother Lin is honest and settled, how can he be frivolous like me? If little martial sister wanted me to make snowmen with her, even if there were a big matter, I would put it to the back of my mind. Little martial sister is very

submissive towards him, even though she’s not willing, she doesn’t fight back or argue at all. How can she be like that when she’s talking to me? En, martial brother Lin has recovered, but I don’t know whose sword chopped him, and little martial sister has put the blame on my head.” He was striving to listen to the conversation between Yue Lingshan and Lin Pingzhi, and had again forgotten about the stiffness in his own body. But this actually fitted in with the secret of the ‘Art of Essence Absorbing’ which was: ‘Don’t concentrate, don't feel anything’. The numbness in his left leg and left waist gradually lightened.

Then he heard Yue Lingshan saying, “Alright, since we can’t make snowmen, I want to write some words on these four snowmen.” With a ‘shua’ sound, she drew her long sword out.

Linghu Chong was again startled. “She wants to use her sword to slash and stab words on our bodies? This is going to be disastrous.”

He wanted to call out or use his hand to stop her, but he was unable to say anything and he couldn’t move his arms. But he heard a few light

sounds of ‘chi, chi’ as she used the point of her sword to write a few words on the snow on Xiang Wentian’s body. She wrote more words and finally reached Linghu Chong’s body. Fortunately, she only drew her words

shallowly and didn’t go deep enough to see the clothes or to harm Linghu Chong’s skin. Linghu Chong was thinking, “What is she writing on our bodies?”

He then heard Yue Lingshan softly saying, “Come and write a few words.”

“Alright!” Lin Pingzhi answered. He took her sword and also wrote on their bodies from right to left. He stopped when he reached Linghu

Chong’s body. Linghu Chong thought, “And what did he write?”

He only heard Yue Lingshan said, “That’s right, the two of us are going to be like that.”

The two of them were quiet for a long time. Linghu Chong felt it even more strange, he thought, “What must they be like? After the two of them

are gone and Chief Ren’s poisonous cold energy is driven out, then I’ll get out and take a look. Aiyo, that’s not good. Once I move, then the snow on my body will fall and the words on my body will be gone. If the four of us move at the same time, then all the words will be gone.”

After some time, he heard a group of horses galloping from

somewhere far coming towards them. Linghu Chong deduced from the horses’ hoof beats that there were more than ten horses coming. He thought, “It’s most likely they’re the rest of the Huashan School’s martial brothers

and sisters.”

The hoof beats were gradually getting nearer, but the two people, Lin and Yue, seemed to not care about it. He heard those people were coming from the northeast as they came nearer. When they were still a few li away, seven to eight people broke off and galloped to the west, while the rest of the people continued to come nearer. It was obvious that they were trying to outflank the two wings. Linghu Chong was worried. “The incoming people are harbouring evil intentions!” Suddenly, Yue Lingshan called out, “Aiyo, there are people coming!” The sound of the horses galloping became faster as those people urged their horses. Two ‘sou, sou’ sounds were heard as they shot two long arrows.

This was followed by the sound of two horses neighing sorrowfully and dropping heavily on the ground. Linghu Chong thought, “The martial arts of these people are not weak, and their intentions are evil and cruel. They shot little martial sister and martial brother Lin’s horses first to prevent them from escaping.”

He then heard the laughter and shouting from these people as they

approached on their horses. Yue Lingshan was frightened and stepped back a few steps. Linghu Chong again heard a person laughed and said, “One little brother, one little sister, which family or school are you from?”

Lin Pingzhi answered in a clear voice, “I’m Lin Pingzhi from the

Huashan School, this is my martial sister with the surname Yue. We’re not acquainted with you, why did you kill our horses?”

That person laughed. “Huashan School? En, your master, was he the one defeated by his own disciple, and called Gentleman Sword Mr. Yue?”

Linghu Chong’s heart was pained to hear this. “These groups of heroes were gathering at Shaolin, and I offended Master. It only happened yesterday, but in a short time, everyone around the world has already known about it. I troubled Master and made other people ridicule him. This is a very grave sin.”

“Linghu Chong’s conduct is improper, and time and again, he violated the rules and customs. The year before, he was expelled from the family of Huashan School,” Lin Pingzhi said. The meaning behind his words was that even though Master had lost to Linghu Chong, he had lost to an outsider

and not to a disciple of his own school. That person laughed. “This lady’s surname is Yue, what is she to Yue Buqun?”

Yue Lingshan indignantly said, “What’s that got to do with you? You killed my horse, pay back for my horse!”

That person laughed again. “She looks unrestrained and vigorous, it’s most likely that she’s Yue Buqun’s little mistress.”

The remaining ten more people burst into laughter. Linghu Chong was inwardly startled, “These people are vulgar and coarse, seems that they’re not people from the orthodox schools. I’m afraid that they’ll harm little martial sister.”

Lin Pingzhi said, "Sir, you're a senior in Jianghu. How can you speak such filth? My martial sister is my master's daughter."

That person laughed. "So it's Yue Buqun's young lady. Only your reputation sounds good."

Another person on the side asked, "Brother Lu, why does only her reputation sound good?"

That person answered, "I once heard people said that Yue Buqun's daughter is the most beautiful girl in the whole world. But that's not the case when I look at her now."

Another person laughed and said, "This little girl's appearance looks ordinary but she has a fair white skin. If we stripped her, she might look

alright. Haha, haha!"

Those people all laughed loudly hearing this. Their laughter was full of lewd meaning. When Yue Lingshan, Lin Pingzhi, and Linghu Chong heard such rude talk, they were all furious. Lin Pingzhi pulled his long

sword out and shouted, "You're spouting such shameless words, I pledge my life to deal with you." That person laughed. "Have a look, what did these two lewd people write on the snowmen?"

Lin Pingzhi loudly called out, "I'll fight with you." Linghu Chong heard a 'chi' sound, and he knew that it was Lin Pingzhi stabbing with his

sword. This was followed by the continuous clashing sound of weapons, as some people jumped down from their horses to fight him. Yue Lingshan immediately pulled her sword out. Seven to eight people called out at the

same time, "I'll fight this little girl." One man laughed and said, "Everyone don't fight, everybody will get their turn." Weapons clashed and Yue Lingshan started to fight with the enemies. A person bellowed painfully as he was stabbed. A man said, "This little girl is very fierce. Old Three Shi, I'll avenge you."

As the sound of battle rumbled on, Yue Lingshan called out, "Be

careful!" A loud 'tang' sound was heard and Lin Pingzhi uttered an 'hng'. Yue Lingshan was startled and called out, "Little Lin!" It seemed that Lin Pingzhi had been injured.

A person called out, "Let's butcher this little kid!"

The leader of that group answered, "Don't kill him, capture him alive.

Once we've captured Yue Buqun's daughter and son-in-law, we don't have to be afraid that hypocrite not listening to us."

Linghu Chong was striving to listen but all he could hear was the

sound of weapons splitting the air. Suddenly, a loud 'tang' sound was heard followed by a slapping sound. A man scolded, "Damn it, stinky lady." Linghu Chong suddenly felt someone leaning against his body, and he heard Yue Lingshan gasping for air. It was really her leaning on his 'snowman' body. After numerous 'ting tang' sound, a man happily shouted, "This still can't capture you?" "Ah!" Yue Lingshan was startled and the sound of battle stopped, while those people started laughing loudly.

Linghu Chong felt that Yue Lingshan was being dragged away by someone, and he heard her screaming, "Release me! Release me!"

A person laughed. "Old Two Min, you said that her whole body is white. I don't believe it, let's open up her gown and have a look." This was accompanied by the sounds of people clapping and cheering.

Lin Pingzhi scolded, "Dog..." A slapping sound was heard as

someone kicked him. This was followed by the sound of clothes being ripped. When Linghu Chong heard little martial sister being insulted by those thieves, why would he care whether Ren Woxing's poisonous cold

energy had been completely driven out or not? He used his power to jump out of the snow. His right hand pulled the long sword out of his waist, and his left hand moved to wipe the snow on his face. But who would've thought that his left hand didn't respond to his thought and didn't move at all.

Those people cried out in surprise. He extended his right hand to wipe the snow on his face, then as his vision cleared, he sent his long sword out

and three men were pierced through their throats. He turned around and slashed twice killing two more people. He saw in front of him one man

holding both of Yue Lingshan's arms behind her back, while one man was standing in front of her waiting for him. Linghu Chong stabbed his long

sword at the lower left side of that person. Then he lifted his right leg kicking that person’s corpse away to clear his long sword. He heard people attacking from behind him, and without turning his head, he reversed his

sword and stabbed two people's hearts. He held his sword normally again and stabbed the throat of that person holding Yue Lingshan's arms. That person lost his hold and dropped forward onto Yue Lingshan's shoulder with blood gushing out from his throat.

The situation had completely changed all of a sudden. Linghu Chong had killed nine people successively in just the blink of an eye. The leader of those people shouted and smashed down two iron plates on Linghu Chong's head. Linghu Chong's long sword trembled, went through the gap between the two iron plates and stabbed the leader's left eye. That person screamed in pain until he finally dropped down on the ground. Linghu Chong turned his head around and slashed his sword out killing three more people. The remaining four people cried out as they were frightened to death and quickly ran for their lives. Linghu Chong shouted, "You've insulted my little martial sister, none of you will get out of here alive!" He chased two people and stabbed both of them from their backs. Each stab penetrated through their chests. The two people had been running very quickly. Even though the sword had cut their breaths, their legs were still running forward. They

still ran for more than ten steps before dropping on the ground.

Linghu Chong saw the remaining two people were also running away.

One was running towards the east and one was running towards the west.

He turned to the east and tossed his sword. The long sword flew like a silver of light and struck the back of that person's waist. Linghu Chong

turned westward and gave chase to the last remaining person. After running for more than a hundred feet, he caught up to that person. He extended his hand and only then did he realize that there was no weapon in his hand. So he moved his power into his finger and poked the back of that person. That person felt pain at his back and turned around hacking his sabre down.

Linghu Chong's bare hand martial art was just ordinary. Even though his poke managed to hit the enemy, he didn't know the method of moving his energy so he didn't injure his enemy. When he saw his opponent chopping his sabre down, he couldn't help feeling nervous and hastily avoided it. At the same time, he saw a big weakness on the right side of that person, so he formed a fist with his left hand and punched out. But unexpectedly, his left arm only moved a little and he was unable to lift it further when his enemy's sabre was already chopping down. Astonished, Linghu Chong hastily jumped back. That person lifted his sabre and ferociously charged at Linghu Chong. Since Linghu Chong didn't have any weapon in his hand, he didn't dare to fight with the enemy, so he quickly turned around to escape.

Yue Lingshan picked up a long sword from the ground and called out, "Big martial brother, sword!" She then tossed the long sword towards him. Linghu Chong grabbed the sword with his right hand and turned around laughing loudly. That person still had his sabre lifted above his head waiting to chop it down when he suddenly saw Linghu Chong's sword flickered. In that moment, he was stupefied and unexpectedly didn't chop his sabre down.

Linghu Chong slowly walked toward him. That person's whole body was trembling with both his knees bent as he sat heavily on the snow.

Linghu Chong indignantly said, "You insulted my martial sister so I can't spare you." He lifted his long sword onto his opponent's throat. But

something flashed in his mind, so he walked a step closer, then in a whisper asked, "What was written on the snowmen?"

That person tremblingly answered, "It's... it's... 'Till the sea is dried… sea is dried… and the rocks are dust, our… love… love will never… will never change.'"

From the moment this phrase ‘Till the sea is dried and the rocks are dust, our love will never change’ existed in this world, this was probably the first time ever that it was being said in such a frightened and sad manner. Linghu Chong was expressionless and said, "En, it's ‘Till the sea is dried and the rocks are dust, our love will never change.’"

He felt sour in his heart, and sent his long sword out and pierced that person's throat. He turned around and saw Yue Lingshan was supporting Lin Pingzhi to get up. Both of their faces and bodies were full of blood. Lin Pingzhi stood up and cupped his hands towards Linghu Chong. "Many thanks to brother Linghu for your kindness in helping us."

"What’s that for? Your injuries aren't serious?" Linghu Chong asked. "It's alright," Lin Pingzhi answered.

Linghu Chong returned the long sword to Yue Lingshan, then he pointed towards the hoof prints on the snow. "Master and Master-Wife went that way."

"Alright," Lin Pingzhi said.

Yue Lingshan led two of the enemy's horses and mounted one of them. She said, "We'll go find dad and mom." As Lin Pingzhi struggled to mount his horse, Yue Lingshan rode her horse to go besides Linghu Chong. She reined her horse in and looked at his face. Linghu Chong also looked back directly into her eyes.

"Many... many thanks to you..." Yue Lingshan stammered. Then she turned around, lifted her rein, and the two horses started to go towards the northwest following the hoof prints left by the Yue Buqun couple.

Linghu Chong was disquieted as he watched the back of those two people entering the distant forest. He then slowly turned around and saw Ren Woxing, Xiang Wentian, and Yingying had already shaken out the

snow on them and were now looking at him. Linghu Chong happily inquired, "Chief Ren, I didn't trouble you?"

Ren Woxing laughed bitterly. "I wasn't troubled, but you may be in trouble. How's your left arm?" "Something's not right with the meridian on my arm, my qi can't go through it and I actually can't move it."

Ren Woxing scowled. "This is a little bit troublesome, we have to think of something to do about it. You rescued Yue family's young lady, that can be counted as repaying the kindness of your master. From now on, nobody owes anyone anything. Brother Xiang, how come that old Lu didn't progress? Why is he doing this kind of despicable thing?"

Xiang Wentian answered, "Hearing from his tone, it seemed that he wanted to capture these two young people and take them to the Dark Wood Cliff."

"Could it be that this is Dongfang Bubai's idea? What connection does he have with this hypocrite?" Ren Woxing pondered.

Linghu Chong pointed at the corpses on the snow and asked, "These people are Dongfang Bubai's subordinates?"

"They're my subordinates," Ren Woxing answered and Linghu Chong nodded his head.

"Daddy, how about his arm?" Yingying worriedly said.

Ren Woxing laughed and said, "Don't worry! My good son-in-law helped daddy repel that cold energy, so father-in-law will think of a way to cure his arm." After he said this, he laughed loudly and stared at Linghu

Chong studying him. He saw Linghu Chong standing there looking very embarrassed. Yingying said quietly, "Daddy, take a rest on speaking these kinds of words. Brother Chong has been friends with Huashan's Miss Yue since childhood and they've grown up together. The look that Brother

Chong was giving young lady Yue, how could it be that you still don't understand?"

Ren Woxing laughed. "What kind of person is that hypocrite Yue

Buqun? How can his daughter be compared to my daughter? Also, this girl Yue already has someone else in her heart. From now on, Chong'er will never think of this fickle girl anymore. The matter that happened when you’re kids, how can that be allowed?"

"Brother Chong made such a big disturbance at the Shaolin temple because of me and the whole world heard about this. Also, because of me, he wasn't willing to go back to Huashan. My heart's already very satisfied over these two matters. There's no need to raise any other talk," Yingying said.

Ren Woxing was well aware that his daughter liked to win. Since Linghu Chong had not proposed the issue of marriage yet, it was inappropriate to talk about it too much. However, sooner or later, they had to talk about this matter. He again laughed loudly. "Very good, very good, we must talk slowly about important lifelong matters. Chong'er, let me tell you the trick to make your arm's meridian passable." He then stood besides Linghu Chong and told him how to move his qi and how to make his meridian passable. He then waited for Linghu Chong to repeat back to him the method to make sure that he remembered. He then said, "You helped me repelled that poisonous cold energy and I taught you how to make your meridian smooth, so we don't owe each other anything. You must wait for

seven days before the meridian on your left arm is recovered, you mustn't be impatient."

"Yes," Linghu Chong answered.

Ren Woxing waved his hand calling for Xiang Wentian and Yingying to come over. "Chong'er, that day in Plum Manor on Mount Gu, I invited you to join my Divine Sun Moon Sect. At that time, you refused. Today, the situation is very different and I'm bringing up that old matter again. This time, you couldn't possibly refuse with your excuses again?" Linghu Chong hesitated and didn't answer. Ren Woxing said again, "You already studied my Art of Essence Absorbing, later on, you'll suffer endlessly. Once your various internal

energies came out, then you won't be able to save your life anymore, and you won't be able to die either. What I said before, I definitely cannot renege on it. If you don't join my sect, even if Yingying married you, I still wouldn't be able to impart to you this melding method. Even if my daughter blamed me for this for the rest of my life, I will still say the same thing. We have an important matter right now. We're going to Dongfang Bubai to

settle some debt. Will you follow us?"

"Chief, please don't blame me. Junior has decided not to enter the Divine Sun Moon Sect." These two sentences were said clearly and very firmly. There was no compromise in his voice.

When Ren Woxing and the other two heard this, their faces changed colour. Xiang Wentian said, "Why is that? You don't have any regards for the Divine Sun Moon Sect?"

Linghu Chong pointed to the corpses on the snow and said, "There

are these kinds of people in the Divine Sun Moon Sect. Even though junior isn't worthy, I'll be ashamed to be associated with them. Also, junior promised Dingxian Shi Tai to be Heng-Shan School's headmaster."

Ren Woxing, Xiang Wentian, and Yingying all showed a weird

expression on their faces when they heard this. Linghu Chong not wanting to enter the sect was not strange at all. But his last sentence was extremely strange. The three people simply couldn't believe what they heard.

Ren Woxing pointed his finger at Linghu Chong's face. Suddenly, he burst out in laughter which shook the snow on the trees and made them fall down. He was again caught up in a wave of laughter before saying, "You... you... you want to become a nun? Go and become the leader of nuns?" Linghu Chong answered unequivocally, "No, not to become a nun, but I'm going to become Heng-Shan School's headmaster. Just before

Dingxian Shi Tai died, she requested this of me. If junior didn't agree, then she would've died with an unfulfilled wish. Dingxian Shi Tai died because of me. Junior knows that this matter is bound to astonish people when they hear this, but I had no way to refuse it." Ren Woxing was still laughing non- stop.

Yingying said, "Dingxian Shi Tai died because of me." Linghu Chong looked at her and felt appreciative towards her.

Ren Woxing slowly managed to stop his laughter. "If other people requested something of you, you’ll always abide by them?”

Linghu Chong answered, "Correct. Dingxian Shi Tai died because she was carrying out my request.”

Ren Woxing nodded. "That's also good! I'm an old freak and you're a little freak. If we don’t do something unusual, how can we be great men?

You go and become those nuns’ headmaster. So you're going to Heng-Shan now?"

Linghu Chong shook his head. "No! Junior is going to Shaolin Temple."

Ren Woxing felt that was a bit strange but he immediately understood. "You're going to take the two Shi Tai's corpses back to Heng- Shan." He then turned his head towards Yingying and asked, "Are you going to follow Chong'er and go back to the Shaolin Temple?"

"No! I'm going to follow daddy," Yingying answered.

"That's right, it won't do for you to follow him up Heng-Shan to become a nun." After he said this, he again laughed loudly. This laughter sounded bitter. Linghu Chong folded his hand in salute and bowed deeply. "Chief

Ren, Brother Xiang, Yingying, we'll part ways here." He turned around and strode purposefully away. After he had walked more than ten steps away, he turned his head around and asked, "Chief Ren, when are you going to go up Dark Wood Cliff!"

Ren Woxing answered, "This is the sect's internal matter; outsiders don't need to worry about it." He knew that Linghu Chong asked because he wanted to be there to help him fight Dongfang Bubai together so he immediately rejected this help. Linghu Chong nodded his head and stooped down to pick up a long sword. He hanged the sword on his waist before turning around and then walked away.

Chapter 29 Headmaster

The four senior apprentices handed over the Buddhism instruments one by one. They were a book of Buddhism, a wooden fish, a string of beads, and a short sword. Seeing the wooden fish and the beads, Linghu Chong felt quite embarrassed.] At dusk, Linghu Chong arrived at the Shaolin Temple and told the welcoming monk that he was there to take the remains of Dingxian and

Dingyi Shi Tai back to Heng-Shan. The welcoming monk went in to report, and after some time, he came out to tell Linghu Chong, "Abbot said: The two Shi Tai's remains were cremated already. The monks in the temple are now reading scriptures to respectfully send them on their way. We'll send

someone to deliver the ashes of the two Shi Tai to Heng-Shan."

Linghu Chong walked into the hall where they were praying for the two Shi Tai. He knelt in front of the altar with the ashes and the funeral tablet36, and respectfully kowtowed a few times. He inwardly prayed, "As long as Linghu Chong lives, I will carry Heng-Shan School forward with all my heart and might. I won't lose Shi Tai's trust in me." Later, he didn't ask to see Great Master Abbot but immediately went out of the temple after parting ways with the welcoming monk.

When he reached the bottom of the mountain, it was still snowing heavily so he quickly found a farmer's house to stay for the night. At dawn, he continued his journey to the north. When he arrived at a city, he bought a horse to ride on. Everyday, he travelled for around seventy to eighty li and as soon as he stopped by at an inn, he immediately moved his qi according to the method taught by Ren Woxing and slowly unblocked his meridian.

After seven days, his left arm was able to move again normally.

One day while he was traveling, he was at a wine shop drinking wine when he noticed people busily walking here and there on the street. Many families were preparing for the New Year and there was an air of happiness around them. Linghu Chong poured himself another drink and thought, "On Huashan, Master-Wife has always led all the martial brothers and sisters in cleaning up, grinding the flour for New Year’s cake, managing the New

Year’s red pockets37, and stitching new gowns. Little martial sister would be cutting many paper-cut window decorations. How lively those New Years were. This year, I'm here all by myself drinking this stuffy wine."

As he was feeling melancholy, he suddenly heard the sound of people coming up the stairs. One person said, "I'm very thirsty. It wouldn't be bad drinking a few cups here."

Another person said, "If you're not thirsty, could it be that it's bad to drink?"

Another person replied, "Drinking wine is drinking wine, thirsty is thirsty. How can you mix these two matters together?"

Another person added, "The more you drink wine, the thirstier you'll get. Not only you can't mix these two matters together, they're completely different."

When Linghu Chong heard this, he knew that it was the Peach Valley Six Fairies who had just arrived. He felt really happy and shouted, "Six Peach Valley brothers, quickly come up and drink wine together with me."

Suddenly, a 'hu hu' sound reverberated around the room as the Peach Valley Six Fairies flew up the stairs. They rushed at Linghu Chong and grabbed his shoulders and arms. Then one by one called out, "I saw him first." "I grabbed him first." "I spoke first, Master Linghu heard me first." "If I didn't say that I wanted to come here, how could we have met him?"

Linghu Chong felt odd. He laughingly asked, "What tricks are you six playing at?"

Peachtree Flower Fairy went to the wine shop's window and called out loudly, "Young nuns, big nuns, old nuns, not old not young nuns! I, Peachtree Flower Fairy, have found Master Linghu, quickly hand me over the one thousand silver taels."

Peachtree Branch Fairy also went towards the window and called out, "I, Peachtree Branch Fairy, found him first. Big young nuns, quickly give me all the silver."

Peachtree Root Fairy and Peachtree Fruit Fairy each grabbed one of Linghu Chong's arms and shouted, "I found him first!" "It was me! It was me!"

Then, from the end of the street, some female voices called out, "You've found hero Linghu?"

"I found Linghu Chong, quickly hand over the money," Peachtree Fruit Fairy called out.

"One hand gets the money, one hand delivers the goods!" Peachtree Trunk Fairy shouted.

"Right, right! If those small nuns don’t want to pay their debts, then we'll hide Linghu Chong away and not give him to them," Peachtree Root Fairy agreed.

Peachtree Branch Fairy asked, "How do we hide him away? Do we shut him off somewhere and don't let those small nuns to meet him?"

There were sounds of people going up the stairs as a few females rushed up. The first person to reach the landing was really a disciple of the Heng-Shan School, Yihe. Behind her were four more nuns and two young ladies, who were Zheng E and Qin Juan. When the seven of them saw Linghu Chong, their faces filled with happiness. Some were calling him 'hero Linghu', some were calling 'big brother Linghu', and there were also some who called him 'Master Linghu'. Peachtree Trunk Fairy and his brothers extended their arms to block the path to Linghu Chong. "If you don't give us the thousand silver taels, then we won't deliver the goods."

Linghu Chong laughingly said, "Peach Valley Six brothers, how did these one thousand silver taels come about?"

Peachtree Branch Fairy answered, "We met them just before and they asked me whether I've seen you or not. I said that temporarily I haven't met you yet, but we met you not long after that."

Qin Juan said, "This uncle is lying. He said: 'I haven't. Linghu

Chong's feet are alive so it's most likely that he's at the end of the earth now. How could we have met him?'"

"Wrong, wrong. We had the foresight already that we were going to meet Linghu Chong here," Peachtree Flower Fairy disagreed.

Peachtree Trunk Fairy added, "That's right! Otherwise, why would we come here and not somewhere else?"

Linghu Chong laughed. "I've guessed it. These martial sisters are looking for me so they entrusted the six of you to help them look for me. Then you said that you wanted one thousand silver taels, isn't that right?"

"We asked for one thousand silver taels. We know it's an exorbitant price. But if they could do business, then it must be worth it. Who knew that they're very generous, this middle-aged nun said: 'Alright, once you've succeeded in finding hero Linghu, we'll give you one thousand silver taels.' Are these words true?" Peachtree Trunk Fairy explained.

Yihe answered, "Correct. Once they found hero Linghu, then Heng- Shan School will give them one thousand silver taels." Six palms immediately shot out and the Peach Valley Six Fairies said at the same time, "Hand it over."

"We're Buddhists. Why would we carry so much silver on us? I'd like to bother the six of you to go to Heng-Shan to fetch it," Yihe said.

She reasoned that the Peach Valley Six Fairies wouldn’t want to be troubled. Who would've thought that they would think it over and answered at the same time, "Very well, we'll go up Heng-Shan with you to avoid you not paying your debt."

Linghu Chong laughingly said, "Congratulations on becoming rich and selling me at such a great price." The Peach Valley Six Fairies' orange-like faces were full of happiness. They cupped their hands and said, "Thank you, thank you! It's our luck, our luck!"

But Yihe and the other six women became grieved and they knelt towards Linghu Chong. Linghu Chong was surprised. "Why is everyone giving me such a big propriety?" and he hastily returned their propriety.

"We pay our respect to Headmaster," Yihe said. "So you already knew? Please quickly get up."

"Yeah, it's not convenient talking while kneeling on the ground," Peachtree Root Fairy said.

Linghu Chong stood up and said, "Six Peach brothers, Heng-Shan School and I have a few important matters we have to discuss. Please drink wine on the side and don't bother us, otherwise you might not be getting your one thousand silver taels." Originally, the Peach Valley Six Fairies

wanted to annoy them. But hearing that last sentence, they quickly shut up and walked to the table besides the window. They then ordered some wine and dishes.

Yihe and the other disciples stood up. As they thought of Dingxian and Dingyi Shi Tai dying miserably, they couldn't help crying sorrowfully.

Peachtree Flower Fairy interrupted, "Yi, strange, strange, how come you're crying suddenly? If you are crying after seeing Linghu Chong, then it's better not to have seen him then."

Linghu Chong glared angrily towards him. Frightened, Peachtree Flower Fairy quickly put his hand on his mouth.

Yihe was still crying as she said, "That day big brother Linghu... no, Headmaster, you went ashore to drink wine but didn't come back to the boat. Later on, Hengshan School's martial uncle Mo Da came and told us that you've gone to Shaolin temple to meet martial uncle Abbess and Master. We consulted with each other and decided that it's better for us to go to Shaolin temple to meet with all of you. But we didn't expect to meet many Jianghu heroes on the way, and we heard them talking passionately about how you led a group of heroes to attack Shaolin temple, and how the thousands of monks from Shaolin temple ran away. There was a person

with a big head with short and plump body. He said his surname was Old. He said... he said that martial uncle Abbess and Master were killed in the Shaolin temple. Before martial uncle Abbess passed away, she wanted you... wanted you to take over the Headmaster position of Heng-Shan and that you've agreed to it. These words were already heard by a lot of people... " She said till here and started to sob uncontrollably. The remaining six disciples also started to weep.

Linghu Chong sighed. "It's true that Dingxian Shi Tai really put this heavy responsibility on my shoulder. But I'm just a young man and my reputation is really poor, and everyone already knows that I'm a loafer of poor character. How can I be the Headmaster of the Heng-Shan School? But it was just that the situation at that time forced me to agree. If I didn't agree, then Dingxian Shi Tai would've died with an unfulfilled wish. Ai, this is a very difficult matter."

"We... we all hope that you... hope that you come and take up the leadership of the Heng-Shan family," Yihe pleaded.

Zheng E reasoned, "Martial uncle Headmaster, you've led us going in and out of dangers, and you've also rescued many of the disciples' lives more than once. All the disciples of the Heng-Shan School already know that you're an upright gentleman. Even though you're a man, our school has no regulation that doesn't allow a man to be the Headmaster."

A middle-aged nun called Yiwen added, "When we heard the news of Master and Martial Uncle's deaths, we all felt very sad. But when we found out that Martial Uncle Headmaster is coming to take over the leadership of the school, we all felt really comforted as Heng-Shan School wouldn't be destroyed."

Yihe said, "My master and my two martial uncles were killed by someone. Heng-Shan School's three elders of the 'Ding' generation have

successively died within these several months yet we don't know who the murderers are. Martial Uncle Headmaster, you becoming the Headmaster is the best thing possible. If you weren't our headmaster, then we would never be able to avenge our three elders."

Linghu Chong nodded his head and said, "I take full responsibility for avenging the death of the three Shi Tai."

Qin Juan said, "You're already been driven out from Huashan School; so now you can be Heng-Shan School's Headmaster. West mountain or north mountain, we're on par with one another in Wulin. When you meet

Mr. Yue in the future, you won't need to call him master anymore. At most, you call him Brother Yue."

Linghu Chong only smiled bitterly. He thought, "I don’t have anymore face to meet this Brother Yue."

Zheng E said, "After we heard of this sad news, we doubled our effort to get to the Shaolin temple. On the way we met with Martial Uncle Mo Da again. He told us that you're not in the temple anymore but he wanted us to quickly look for you, Martial Uncle Headmaster."

Qin Juan continued the story, "Martial Uncle Mo Da said that the sooner we find you the better it would be. If we were late for a step then

you may have been persuaded to enter the Devil Sect. The orthodox and the demonical cannot mix like that of water and fire. Heng-Shan School would then have no more Headmaster." Zheng E glared at her and said, "Martial sister Qin talks without thinking. How can Martial Uncle Headmaster join the Devil Sect?"

"Yes, but Martial Uncle Mo Da really did say this," Qin Juan replied.

Linghu Chong thought, "Martial Uncle Mo Da is very concerned about this matter. Even though I didn't join the Sun Moon Sect, I very nearly did. That day, if Chief Ren didn't tempt me with the secret of the

internal art, and if he had actually asked me sincerely and earnestly to join the sect, it would've been a very difficult decision for me. Also, considering Yingying's and big brother Xiang's parts in asking me, I might have immediately pledged my oath after attending to Heng-Shan School's big matter." He then said, "That's why you offered one thousand silver taels for the capture of Linghu Chong?"

Qin Juan broke from her tears and smiled. "Capture Linghu Chong?

How could we dare?"

Zheng E said, "After everyone heard Martial Uncle Mo Da's instruction, we divided into groups of seven to look for Martial Uncle

Headmaster, and to ask you to come up to Heng-Shan to handle the school's responsibilities. Today, when we met the Peach Valley Six Fairies, they

asked for one thousand silver taels. To look for Martial Uncle Headmaster, don't mention one thousand silver taels, even if it were ten thousand silver taels, we would think of a way to give it to them."

Linghu Chong smiled. "There's no benefit for you when I become your Headmaster. But your skill in getting alms from corrupt officials, village bosses, and greedy rich people will surely advance by a lot." The

seven disciples thought of that day in Fujian when they asked for alms from White Peeling Leather. Their sadness was slightly relieved and they all broke into smiles. "Alright, don't worry everyone. Linghu Chong already promised Dingxian Shi Tai so I can't just disregard what I said. I'll definitely become your Headmaster. We'll eat till we're full then we'll go up Heng-Shan." The seven disciples all rejoiced when they heard this.

Linghu Chong then drank some wine together with the Peach Valley Six Fairies. He asked the six of them what they wanted to use one thousand silver taels for. Peachtree Root Fairy answered, "Night Cat Ji Wushi is

extremely poor. If he didn’t have one thousand silver taels, he wouldn’t be able to live from day to day, so we promised to give him our help as best as we can."

Peachtree Trunk Fairy added, "That day inside the Shaolin temple, we brothers made a bet with Ji Wushi..."

Peachtree Flower Fairy interrupted, "Of course Ji Wushi lost. How could this little kid win from us brothers?"

But Linghu Chong thought, "You made a bet with Ji Wushi, of course the one who lost is you guys." He asked, "What did you bet on?"

Peachtree Fruit Fairy answered, "The matter we bet on concerns you. We guessed that you surely won't become Heng-Shan School's Headmaster, no... no... we guessed that you'll surely become Heng-Shan School's

Headmaster."

Peachtree Flower Fairy said, "Night Cat guessed that you surely won't become Heng-Shan School's Headmaster. We then said, gentleman's words must be believed. You already promised that old nun to become Heng-Shan School's Headmaster. The world's heroes have already heard what you said, how could you deny it?"

Peachtree Branch Fairy said, "Night Cat said, Linghu Chong is loitering around Jianghu and soon he will take Devil Sect's Sacred Lady as his wife. Why does he want to chit chat with some old and young nuns?"

Linghu Chong thought, “Night Cat reveres Yingying completely. How can it be possible that he said ‘Devil Sect’? It must be the Peach Valley Six Fairies who inverted their story telling.” He then said, “So then you gambled one thousand silver taels on this?”

Peachtree Root Fairy replied, “Right, at that time, we were certain that we’re going to win. Ji Wushi then said that this one thousand silver taels must be earned honestly and we can’t steal it off people. We told him of course, would Peach Valley Six Fairies rob people?”

Peachtree Leaf Fairy said, “Today, we met several of these nuns while they’re looking for you. They said that they want to invite you to become

Heng-Shan School’s Headmaster. We agreed to help look for you for the cost of one thousand silver taels.”

Linghu Chong smiled and said, “You felt pitiful when you thought that Night Cat would lose one thousand silver taels to you. That’s why you wanted to earn one thousand silver taels to give to him, so that he could give this to you when he loses?”

Peach Valley Six Fairies answered at the same time, “That’s right, that’s right. Your prediction is really accurate.”

Peachtree Leaf Fairy added, “Compared to our prediction skill, your prediction skill doesn’t lack by too much.”

Afterwards, Linghu Chong and his party set out to Heng-Shan. On the day they finally arrived at the foot of the mountain, the disciples from the

school were respectfully waiting at the foot of the mountain as they had received a message about the arrival. They quickly paid their respects to Linghu Chong when they saw him. Linghu Chong hastily returned their propriety. He told them how Dingxian and Dingyi Shi Tai passed away, and all of them felt grieved. Linghu Chong saw Yilin amongst the rest of the disciples. She seemed to be looking feeble and much thinner since the last time he saw her. He asked, “Martial sister Yilin, you’ve been unwell recently?” Both of Yilin’s eyes were red as she answered, “It’s nothing.” After a moment, she continued, “You’re our headmaster now, so you can’t call me martial sister anymore.”

On their way to the mountain, Yihe and the rest of the disciples all called Linghu Chong as ‘Martial Uncle Headmaster’. He kept telling

everyone not to call him that but none of them agreed. After hearing Yilin telling him not to call her 'Martial Sister', he said in a clear voice, “Martial sisters, Linghu Chong is taking the leadership of the Heng-Shan School's family because of the former Abbess’s order. Actually, I don’t have the virtue or ability to do this job; I really don’t deserve it.”

All the disciples replied, “It’s actually the fortune of this school that Martial Uncle Headmaster is willing to take on this heavy responsibility.”

“Then everyone must promise me one thing,” Linghu Chong answered.

Yihe and the rest of the disciples said, “We would never disobey Headmaster’s order.”

“I’m only becoming your Martial Brother Headmaster, not your Martial Uncle Headmaster,” Linghu Chong told them.

Yihe, Yiqing, Yizhen, Yiwen, and the rest of the older disciples consulted with each other and then reported back, “Headmaster is very modest, we’ll obey your order.”

Linghu Chong happily said, “That’s very good.”

Then they all went up the Heng-Shan mountain together. The summit of Heng-Shan was very tall. Even though everyone was walking really quickly, it still took them half a day to reach the Xianxing Peak after seeing it from afar. The main convent of the Heng-Shan School was the Wuse

convent, which was a really small convent, while the other convent had more than thirty stone houses where the disciples resided in. Linghu Chong saw that the Wuse Convent only consisted of two rooms; one at the front and the other in the back. Compared to the grand temple of Shaolin, it was like comparing an ant to an elephant.

When he arrived inside the convent, he saw a statue of the Goddess of Mercy Guanyin. The inside of the convent was spotlessly clean and

everything was arranged simply. He never thought that Heng-Shan School with such an earth-shattering name in Jianghu, would have such a plain

convent. After paying his respect to the Guanyin deity, Yu Sao led him to Dingxian Shi Tai’s meditation place, but he saw the four walls were dull and there was only an old putuan on the floor. Besides that, there was nothing else. Linghu Chong loved liveliness, drinking, and eating. How

could he possibly stay in that quiet and calm room to meditate? If he took wine, dog meat or any meat in general into the room to eat and drink, then that would be too impolite towards everyone there. He then asked Yu Sao,

“Even though I’m the headmaster of Heng-Shan School, I’m not a Buddhist and I’m also not a nun. The disciples of the school are all women while I’m a man; so living inside the convent isn’t appropriate. Please give me and the Peach Valley Six Fairies an empty and far away house to live in. Then that’ll be appropriate.”

Yu Sao said, "Yes. The west peak has three big houses. They're originally guest houses, which we offered to the parents of the school's disciples whenever they come for a visit. If they're acceptable to

Headmaster then Headmaster can stay there temporarily while we build a new residence for Headmaster."

Linghu Chong happily replied, "It's already good that there's a house; why do you need to build a new house?", while he thought in his heart,

"Could it be that I'll be Heng-Shan School's headmaster for the rest of my life? Once I've found a suitable person from the school to whom all the disciples will submit to, then I'll pass on this headmaster position to her. Then I'll pat my buttocks and travel around Jianghu leisurely and happily."

When he arrived at the house on the west peak, he saw the bed, mattress, chair, and the rest of the things resembled that of a rich farmer's house. Even though they were still simple and humble, they didn't appear as dull as in the convent. Yu Sao said, "Headmaster, please sit. I'll go and get you some wine."

Linghu Chong was happily surprised, "There's wine on this mountain?"

Yu Sao smiled and said, "Not only do we have wine, we have good wine here. When little martial sister Yilin heard that Headmaster is coming up Heng-Shan, she told me that if we don't have good wine, then she's

afraid that you won't be headmaster for long. On that same night, we sent people to go down the mountain to buy many jars of good wine."

Linghu Chong felt embarrassed. He smiled and said, "Everyone

worked so hard and spent so much money because of me. I don't think that's justified."

Yiqing smiled. "That day we got a lot of silver from White Peeling Leather. Even though we give half of it to the poor, we still have plenty remaining. Also, we already sold those government horses for some money. So Martial Brother Headmaster can drink for ten years or twenty years,

we’ll have enough money to buy wine." That night, Linghu Chong and Peach Valley Six Fairies drank to their hearts' content.

The next morning, he consulted with Yu Sao, Yiqing, Yihe and the other disciples on how to welcome the ashes of the two Shi Tai and how to avenge the three Shi Tai.

Yiqing said, "Martial Brother Headmaster has now taken the post of headmaster. So we must announce this to all the orthodox people of Wulin, and we must also dispatch people to tell the Five Mountains Sword Schools' Chief, Martial Uncle Zuo."

Yihe indignantly said, "Pei, my master was killed by these traitors from Songshan School. The two martial uncles were most likely killed by them as well. What do we tell them for?"

Yiqing replied, "We mustn't lack any propriety. Wait until we have investigated this clearly. If the three honourables were really killed by Songshan School, then at that time, Martial Brother Headmaster will lead us to confront them about their sin."

Linghu Chong nodded his head. "What martial sister Yiqing said is true. But regarding the position of Headmaster, let me just do the job; there's no need for any celebration." He remembered the time when Master became the leader of Huashan. He was still very young at that time, and he recalled that there were so many formal celebrations. There were also numerous people from Wulin of the orthodox path who came up the mountain to congratulate his master and attend the ceremonies. He also remembered how the city of Hengshan was completely filled by many heroes for Hengshan School's Liu Zhengfeng's 'Gold Basin Hand Washing' ceremony.

Heng-Shan, Huashan, and Hengshan schools all had the same reputation. If there weren't many people turning up at the ceremony to

congratulate him for taking up the Headmaster position, then it would be very humiliating. Even if there were many people attending, it is most likely for them to laugh at him for taking up the leadership of a group of nuns. Yiqing understood his heart so she said, "Since Martial Brother

Headmaster doesn't want to alarm the friends in Wulin, we wouldn't invite guests to come up the mountain to attend the ceremony. But we must decide on a day for Headmaster to officially take up the position so that we can officially inform everyone."

Linghu Chong felt that if he took up the headmaster position of the Heng-Shan School too carelessly, it would damage Heng-Shan School's

prestige and reputation since Heng-Shan is one of the five mountains sword schools. So he nodded his head agreeing to Yiqing.

Yiqing took up a calendar and perused it for some time. She then said, "Sixteenth of the second month, eight of the third month, twenty seventh of the third month, these three days are lucky days. Martial Brother

Headmaster, have a look, which day is suitable?" Linghu Chong had never believed in any lucky or unlucky days. All he thought about in his heart was that the earlier the ceremony was, then the less people there would be to take part in the ceremony, and he would be able to avoid much

embarrassment. So he said, "Is there any good days for this month?"

Yiqing answered, "There are actually many good days during this month. But they're all for going on a journey, breaking the ground38,

wedding, opening a business, and others like that. It's not until the second month that there are good days for 'receiving seal and taking up office'."

Linghu Chong smiled. "I'm not taking up a government position so it’s not really receiving a seal."

Yihe laughed. "Weren't you a general before? Becoming a headmaster is also receiving a seal."

Linghu Chong didn't want to brush away their ideas so he said, "Since it's like that, then make it the sixteenth of the second month."

Afterwards, they immediately sent disciples separately: to Shaolin temple to take back the two Shi Tai's ashes, and to other schools to give notifications. He told all the disciples who were going down the mountain not to publicly announce this matter. He also said, "You must report to the headmaster of each school that we haven't avenged Dingxian Shi Tai's death yet and that the disciples of Heng-Shan School are still in mourning, so there won't be any grand ceremony for the taking up of the headmaster's office. Please ask them not to send anyone to attend the ceremony."

After he talked to the departing disciples, Linghu Chong thought,

"Since I'm now the headmaster of Heng-Shan, I must carefully research the sword art of the Heng-Shan School." He gathered the remaining disciples

and tested each of their sword art from the basic introductory level martial art to the highest Heng-Shan sword art styles, which was displayed by Yihe and Yiqing, two of the oldest disciples. Linghu Chong saw that the Heng-

Shan School's sword art was defensively very tight, and the killing moves were frequently aimed at spots where other people least expected. However, it did not have enough swiftness or ferociousness. These martial arts were really suitable for women. All the previous master generations of Heng- Shan School had all been women, so their martial arts weren't as powerful or fierce like the ones that men used. But Heng-Shan School's sword art

could be said to be one of the sword arts with the least amount of flaws in them. If speaking about their defence, they were just slightly below Wudang School's 'Taiji Sword Art'. But talking about how they could suddenly

attack, these sword arts were above 'Taiji Sword Art'. Heng-Shan School was one of the most outstanding schools in Wulin, so it had its own unique skills.

In his mind, he carefully went over the drawings engraved on the cave wall on Huashan. There were some Heng-Shan School’s sword arts drawn there, which had wonderful variations, and were far above the sword art that Yihe and Yiqing were using. Even though this set of sword art had been defeated by other people, if in the future Heng-Shan School wanted to be glorious in Wulin, then its basic skills needed to be improved. He also thought of the time he saw Dingjing Shi Tai fighting with other people. Her internal energy was abundant and her moves were fierce. She was really very far above Yihe and the other disciples. He had also heard that

Dingxian Shi Tai’s martial art was even higher. It seemed that the three senior Shi Tai had not imparted a great deal of their martial art to their

disciples yet. When the three Shi Tai had successively passed away in the last several months, many of Heng-Shan School’s wonderful martial art had possibly been lost forever.

Yihe saw him without any expressions on his face and noticed that he didn’t comment on any of the disciples’ sword arts. So she said, “Martial brother Headmaster, you must be looking down on our sword art, please give us some advice.”

Taking the sword from Yihe's hand, Linghu Chong replied, “There’s this set of Heng-Shan School’s sword art; I don’t know if the three Shi Tai had imparted it to you or not?” and started to show the Heng-Shan School’s sword art engraved on the cave wall. He was doing the moves really slowly to let the disciples see it clearly. After a few moves, all the disciples started cheering. They saw that each move of his still contained the basic essence of Heng-Shan’s sword art, but the variations were wonderful. They didn’t know just how much higher in level this set was when compared to each of the sets they had learnt in the past. Everyone was looking at each move

enthusiastically and they felt pleased seeing it. The engraving of this set of sword moves on the cave wall was dead, so when Linghu Chong was using it, he linked them up one by one. In between each move, it was unavoidable that he had to add some of his idea into it. When he finally finished

showing them this set of sword art, all the disciples cheered and they all bowed saluting him. Yihe said, “Martial brother Headmaster, this is clearly our Heng-Shan School’s sword art, but we’ve never seen it before. I’m afraid even my master and the two martial uncles didn’t know about this sword art. Where did you learn it?”

Linghu Chong answered, “I saw it on a mountain cave wall. If you

were willing to learn it, then how about if I imparted this sword art to you?” All the disciples were happy to hear this and they thanked him. That day Linghu Chong imparted three moves to them. He explained the intricacies of those three moves clearly and personally conducted the drills.

Even though it was only three moves from the sword art, these three moves were extremely profound and deep. Even the brightest and the most skilled disciples such as Yihe and Yiqing took seven to eight days to learn it. When it came to Zheng E, Yilin, Qin Juan, and the others, it was even more difficult for them to comprehend it. After nine days, Linghu Chong imparted two more moves to them. There were not many moves in this set of sword arts engraved on the cave wall. But they had actually spent more than one month before they completed rudimentary training. As to the mastery of this sword art, it depended on each person’s ability and

comprehension.

After more than a month, the disciples who were sent as emissaries

started to return from their trip one by one, and for the most part, they didn't look pleased at all. They were afraid to talk when they reported to Linghu

Chong. He knew for sure without asking that they had been ridiculed as a group of nuns wanting a man to be their headmaster. All he could do was

console them with words. Then he asked them to separately learn from their martial sisters the sword art he had imparted to them. If there were anything they weren't clear about, then he would personally advise them. Two experienced disciples, Yu Sao and Yiwen were sent to Huashan to deliver the epistle. The distance between Heng-Shan and Huashan wasn't that far, so they should have returned much earlier. Even when all the disciples who went to the south had returned, Yu Sao and Yiwen still hadn’t come back yet. As they neared the sixteenth of the second month, the day for taking office, and still hadn't seen any sign of Yu Sao and Yiwen, they

sent two more disciples, Yiguang and Yishi, to go to their aid.

The disciples did not anticipate any sect or school sending anyone to attend the ceremony, so they didn't prepare any lodging or food for guests.

However, everyone had earlier weeded the ground, swept all the rooms

clean, and sewn new gowns and shoes to wear. Zheng E and some disciples had sewn a black gown for Linghu Chong to wear for this day. Heng-Shan was the north mountain among the five mountains and the colour of their uniform was black.

On the morning of the sixteenth of the second month, when Linghu Chong got out after getting out of bed, he saw lamps and festoons hanging from the top of each house, showing the day's happy occasion. Seeing the care and dedication that went into making each of the decoration and

securely arranging them, Linghu Chong again felt ashamed, but he also felt appreciation towards them. He thought, "The two Shi Tai died tragically because of me, but they didn't blame me for it. Instead, they gave much regards to me. If Linghu Chong couldn't avenge the three Shi Tai then I’ll be a useless person."

Suddenly, he heard someone shouting from behind the corner of the mountain, "A'lin, A'lin, your dad has come to look at you. Are you well?

A'lin, your dad's here." His voice was booming, shaking the valley, and before the echo had finished, he again shouted, "A'lin... A'lin... your dad..." Yilin had already heard his voice so she quickly got out of the convent and called out, "Dad, dad!" Then from around the corner of the mountain, a tall and strong monk emerged. It was really Yilin's father, Monk No

Commandment, and there was also another monk behind him. The two of them were walking really fast and in a short time had reached the convent. Monk No Commandment loudly exclaimed, "Master Linghu, you didn't die from your heavy injuries, and now you're going to become my daughter's headmaster. That's very good!"

Linghu Chong smiled. "This is thanks to Great Master."

Yilin walked up to her father and lovingly pulled on his arm. She

smiled, "Dad, you know today is the day that big brother Linghu officially takes up office as the headmaster of Heng-Shan School. Did you come here to congratulate him?"

No Commandment laughed. "There's no need for congratulation. I'm here to join the Heng-Shan School. Everyone is from the same school,

what's there to congratulate?"

Linghu Chong was startled and he quickly asked, "Great Master wants to join Heng-Shan School?"

No Commandment answered, "Yeah. My daughter is in Heng-Shan School. I'm her old man, so naturally I'm also in the Heng-Shan School. His granny, I heard everyone ridiculing you. They're saying that you're a man but you want to become the headmaster of a bunch of nuns and young ladies. His granny, they didn't know that you're full of passion and righteousness. The mind..." His eyebrows turned into a smile and it

appeared that he was really happy. He looked at his daughter and said, "Old man punched that guy's mouth and broke all his teeth. I shouted to him,

"You little kid knows fart! How can everyone in Heng-Shan School be all nuns and young ladies? Old man is from Heng-Shan School, even though old man has a shiny head, do you think I'm a nun? I’m going to pull my pants down to give you a look!" So I pulled my pants down but this kid fell down and then ran away. Haha, haha!" Linghu Chong and Yilin both laughed freely when they heard this.

Yilin smiled. "Dad, you're so crude in doing things. You're also not afraid of people laughing at you!"

No Commandment replied, "If I didn't let him look clearly, then this kid still wouldn't know whether I'm a nun or a monk. Brother Linghu, I've joined the Heng-Shan School. I've also brought this grand disciple along. Cannot Have No Commandment, quickly greet Headmaster Linghu."

While Monk No Commandment was speaking, the monk following him had his back turned towards them for the whole time, not willing to look at Linghu Chong or Yilin. As he turned around, his face was full of embarrassment. He looked at Linghu Chong and smiled slightly. Linghu

Chong felt that this monk looked familiar but he couldn’t figure out who he was. Then, he was startled as he unexpectedly recognised the Ten Thousand Miles Loner Tian Boguang. He was totally amazed and blurted out, "It's... it's Brother Tian?"

That monk was really Tian Boguang. He smiled bitterly then bowed towards Yilin. “Greet… greeting Master.”

Yilin was also very surprised. “How… how did you become a Buddhist? Is it a disguise?”

Great Master No Commandment was feeling proud of himself and he laughingly answered, “This is the real thing and he’s not deceiving anyone here. He had really become a monk. Cannot Have No Commandment, tell your master what your Buddhist name is.”

Tian Boguang smiled bitterly and said, “Master, grand Martial Master gave me a Buddhist name called ‘Cannot Have No Commandment’.” Yilin asked strangely, “What ‘Cannot Have No Commandment’?

How can there be such a long name?”

Her father replied, “What do you know? In Buddhist scripture, what does it matter how long the Buddha’s name is! ‘Buddha of Compassion and Sorrow Helps the Distressed and Watches the World’s Voice’, isn’t that name long? ‘Cannot Have No Commandment’ only has four words in his name, how can that be long?”

Yilin nodded. “So that’s how it is. How did he become a Buddhist?

Dad, was it you who took him as your disciple?”

No Commandment answered, “No. He’s your disciple; I’m his grand martial grandpa. But you’re only a little nun and since he had already paid his respect to take you as his master, if he didn’t become a monk, then he

would’ve ruined the good name of Heng-Shan School. That’s why I advised him to become a monk.”

Yilin laughingly said, “What do you mean advised him? Dad, you must’ve forced him to become a Buddhist, didn’t you?”

“He voluntarily did it; you can’t force someone to become a

Buddhist. Whatever goodness this person has, there’s an equal amount of badness in him. That’s why I gave him the Buddhist name of ‘Cannot Have No Commandment’.”

Yilin’s face became slightly red as she understood the meaning behind her father’s words. This Tian Boguang was a very lecherous person and he was somehow captured by her father in the past. At that time, his life was spared but a lot of strange punishments were heaped on him. This time, it seemed that he had been forced to become a monk.

Then No Commandment continued, “My Buddhist name is No

Commandment, so I don’t adhere to any rules or commandments. But this Tian Boguang has committed a lot of bad things in Jianghu. If he didn’t abstain from committing more of these piles of misdemeanours, how can he be under your school and become your disciple? Master Linghu wouldn’t have liked this also. In the future, he’s going to receive my alms bowl; that’s why his name also has the words ‘No Commandment’.”

They suddenly heard a person said, “Monk No Commandment and Monk Cannot Have No Commandment are both joining the Heng-Shan School. The Peach Valley Six Fairies are also going to join Heng-Shan School.”

The Peach Valley Six Fairies had come and the one who spoke just then was Peachtree Trunk Fairy.

Peachtree Root Fairy said, “We were the first people to see Linghu Chong, so the six of us are big martial brothers, while Monk No

Commandment is little martial brother.”

Linghu Chong thought, “Since there are Great Master No

Commandment and Tian Boguang in Heng-Shan School already, there’s no harm in accepting the Peach Valley Six Fairies as well. This way, it’ll remove those talks in Jianghu about Linghu Chong becoming the headmaster of a group of nuns and young ladies.” He then said, “Peachtree Six brothers are willing to enter the Heng-Shan School, then that’s really good then. But it’s very troublesome to arrange the seniority order one by one so it’s better if we just leave it alone!”

Peachtree Leaf Fairy said, “No Commandment’s disciple is called Cannot Have No Commandment. When in the future, Cannot Have No Commandment accepts a disciple, what will his Buddhist name be?”

Peachtree Fruit Fairy answered, “Cannot Have No Commandment’s disciple’s Buddhist name must also have the words ‘Cannot Have No

Commandment’. He can be called, ‘Without Doubt Cannot Have No Commandment’.” Peachtree Branch Fairy said, “Then the disciple of ‘Without Doubt Cannot Have No Commandment’; what would his Buddhist name be?”

Linghu Chong saw Tian Boguang’s plight so he took his arm and led him away. “I have a few words to ask you.”

“Alright,” Tian Boguang answered.

The two of them quickened their steps and moved tens of feet away.

But behind them, they still heard Peachtree Trunk Fairy saying, “His

Buddhist name can be ‘With Reason and Without Doubt Cannot Have No Commandment’.”

Peachtree Flower Fairy added, “Then how about disciple of ‘With

Reason and Without Doubt Cannot Have No Commandment’? What would his Buddhist name be?”

Tian Boguang smiled bitterly and said, “Headmaster Linghu, that day I was forced by Grand Martial Master to go to Huashan to invite you to

come and see the little Shi Tai. But there’s a long story behind that.”

Linghu Chong said, “I know that he forced you to take a poison, and he also tricked you by saying that he’d already sealed your death acupoint.”

“I’ve already told you about that before. That day in the courtyard of the Jade House, I fought with that shorty Yu. After that, I thought about it

and decided that there were too many heroes from the orthodox path for me to stay there for long. So I went north towards Hunan. I’m ashamed to talk about those days. My shortcoming became visible not long after. In Kaifeng prefecture, I sneaked into the room of a rich family’s young lady in the middle of the night. I lifted the mosquito net and extended my hands to cop a feel, but I unexpectedly felt a bald head instead.”

Linghu Chong laughed and said, “So to your surprise, she’s a nun.” Tian Boguang smiled bitterly. “No, it was a monk.” Linghu Chong laughed loudly. “The young lady was inside the quilt

sleeping with a monk. Never thought that this young lady would’ve stolen a man, and the man she’d stolen would be a monk.”

Tian Boguang shook his head and said, “That’s not it! That monk was Grand Martial Master. Originally, Grand Martial Master was looking for me. When he finally tracked my trail down, he found me at Kaifeng prefecture. That afternoon I was spying around that house and Grand

Martial Master saw me. He guessed that I was up to no good, so he talked to that family and told that young lady to get out of trouble. Then he slept on that bed waiting for me.”

Linghu Chong laughed. “Brother Tian must have really suffered this time.”

Tian Boguang smiled bitterly. “Does that need saying? When I rubbed Grand Martial Master’s head, I already knew that something’s not right.

Then I felt my stomach felt numb because he hit my acupoint there. Grand Martial Master jumped out of the bed and lighted a lamp. Then he asked me whether I want to die or live. I know that for my whole life I’ve been doing evil things, so there would be one day when I’d have a reckoning. So I quickly said, ‘I want to die!’. Grand Martial Master thought that this was really strange so he asked me: ‘Why do you want to die?’ I said: ‘I wasn’t being careful and was captured by you. How can I still hope to live?’ Grand Martial Master gave me a blank expression then indignantly said, ‘You said you were captured by me only because you weren’t careful. So you are implying that if you were a bit more careful, then I wouldn’t be able to

capture you. Alright!’ As he said ‘alright’, he released my acupoint. Then I sat down and asked him: ‘What is your order?’ He said: ‘You have a knife on your belt, how come you’re not using it to chop me? You have two legs underneath your body, how come you’re not jumping out of the window to escape?’ I said: ‘I’m a gentleman, how can I act like a shameless nobody?’

He just laughed loudly and said: ‘You’re not a shameless nobody? You

already paid respect to my daughter to take her as your master and yet how come you’re disclaiming it?’ I thought this was really strange so I asked: ‘Your daughter?’ He answered: ‘On the top floor of that wine shop, you made a bet with that youngster from Huashan School. Saying that whoever lost would take my daughter as master. Could it be that it’s all fake? I went up Heng-Shan to look for my daughter, and she told me everything from the beginning to the end.’ I said: ‘So that’s how it is. That little nun is your daughter, that's really weird.’ He asked: ‘What’s weird about that?’”

Linghu Chong laughed. "This matter really is quite strange. Other people become a monk after they've gotten a daughter, but Great Master No Commandment became a monk first before getting a daughter. His Buddhist name is called No Commandment. It means that he won't comply with any rules or commandments."

Tian Boguang said, "That's right. At that time, I said: 'That bet was only a trick, how could you take it as real? You're not wrong that I lost the fight in that bet, so I won't bother your daughter anymore.' Grand Martial Master then said: 'That won't do. You already said that you're going to take her as master, so you must take her as your master. You cannot not take my daughter as a master. I can't let anyone bully my own daughter. I spent a lot of effort to find you. You're very slippery and if it weren’t for you

committing these rapes, then it would’ve been really difficult to capture you.'

I saw him getting muddled and not speaking clearly, so I quickly used my ‘Three Cloud Steps’ and jumped out of the window. I thought that once I've used my lightness martial art, Grand Martial Master would definitely not be able to keep up with me. But I was surprised when I heard footsteps behind me because Grand Martial Master had chased me down. I called out: 'Big monk, you didn't kill me just then, so I won't kill you either. If you kept on chasing then I won't be polite anymore.' Grand Martial Master laughed loudly and said: 'How do you become impolite?' I pulled my knife out, turned around, and chopped down on him. But Grand Martial Master's martial art was really high. He only used his palms to trade moves with me. I didn't know how to use my fast knife to chop him, and after more than forty moves, he grabbed the back of my neck and snatched my knife away.

Then he asked me: 'Give up yet?' I said: 'I give up, you can kill me now!' He said: 'What's the use of killing you? Would it make my daughter alive again?' I was startled so I asked: 'Little Shi Tai is dead?' He said: 'She hasn't died yet, but she's as good as dead. I saw her at Heng-Shan and she was so thin that I can even see her bones. I cried when I saw her, and then I

slowly asked her what happened. It was you who harmed her.' I said: 'If you wanted to kill me then kill me. Tian Boguang is an honest person and would never tell lies. I was rude to your daughter at first, but she was saved by

Huashan School's Linghu Chong. I didn't violate her; she's still a young lady as pure as jade.' Grand Martial Master said: 'Your granny, what's the use of being as pure as jade? My daughter is lovesick; if Linghu Chong

wouldn’t take her as his wife, she wouldn't continue on living. But when I mentioned this to her, my daughter scolded me. She said something like

Buddhists cannot have worldly desires; otherwise Buddha reproaches them and when you die you enter the eighteenth level of Hell.' Suddenly he

clutched my neck and scolded me, 'Stinky kid, this is all your doing. If you weren't being rude to my daughter that day then Linghu Chong wouldn't have to come and save her. Then my daughter wouldn't have become that thin.' I said: 'That's not for certain. Little Shi Tai's beauty is like a goddess, even if I weren't being rude to her that day, Linghu Chong would certainly have come up with another reason to approach her'."

Linghu Chong scowled and said, "Brother Tian, what you said was too much."

Tian Boguang laughed and said, "I'm sorry that I offended you. At that time, the situation was desperate. If I didn't say that, Grand Martial

Master would never have released me. Sure enough, when he heard this, he turned from angry to happy and said: 'Stinky kid, think for yourself how many bad things you have done in your lifetime? If it weren't for the discourteous way you treated my daughter, I would've flattened your head a long time ago.'"

Linghu Chong felt this was very odd, so he asked, "He's happy that you're being rude to her daughter?"

Tian Boguang answered, "He wasn't being happy, he was praising my foresight."

Linghu Chong couldn't help smiling. Tian Boguang went on, "Grand Martial Master lifted me in mid air with his left hand while his right hand gave me seventeen to eighteen whacks on the ear and I fainted. Then he

soaked me in a small brook. When I woke up, he said: 'I'm giving you one month to go and invite Linghu Chong to go up Heng-Shan to see my daughter. Even if he couldn't take her as his wife for now, they can still talk and that'll be good enough. My daughter's life would be protected then.

Your master has a problem but how come you didn't come and help as her disciple?' He then poked some of my acupoints and told me that they're the death acupoints. Then he forced me to take some poison saying that if I managed to invite you to come and see the little Shi Tai within the one month period, he would give me the medicine. Otherwise, the poison would come out and no medicine would be able to save me." Linghu Chong had at last understood. That day when Tian Boguang came up to Huashan to invite him to come down the mountain, he kept

everything a secret and didn’t want to say anything clearly. Linghu Chong didn’t expect that he would actually tell him everything at this time. Tian Boguang continued, “I went up Huashan to invite you, but I was defeated and I knew that it would be hard to keep my life further. To my surprise,

Grand Martial Master was feeling uneasy so he personally took the little Shi Tai to come up to Huashan to look for you. Then he gave me the antidote,

and afterwards I also listened to your advice not to rape and do those lecherous things anymore. But Tian Boguang’s nature is lascivious and there are lots of women around. So whenever I have some money, I went to look for some prostitutes which is not a difficult thing to do. Half a month ago, Grand Martial Master found me again. He said that you were going to become Heng-Shan School’s headmaster, but other people are ridiculing you behind your back and your reputation in Jianghu is being ruined. He loves everything, loves his daughter and son-in-law…”

Linghu Chong scowled and interrupted, “Brother Tian, you must never speak of this nonsense ever again.”

Tian Boguang replied, “Yes, yes. I was just repeating what Grand

Martial Master said. He said that he wanted to join Heng-Shan School and told me to follow his plan. The first step was to accept me as a disciple on behalf of his daughter. I didn’t consent to this so he beat me up. I’m not his match and I also couldn’t run away so I was forced to pay my respect to

Master.” He said till here when he frowned and his expression turned dark.

Linghu Chong said, “You only have to pay your respect to your master. It doesn’t mean that you have to become a monk as well. Doesn’t Shaolin School have a lot of secular disciples?” Tian Boguang shook his head and answered, “Grand Martial Master had another idea. He said: ‘You’re such a lecherous person. Once you’ve

entered Heng-Shan School, your martial uncles will all be beautiful nuns, so that’s going to be very inappropriate. The best plan would be to cut out the

source of trouble first.’ He then knocked me down, pulled my pants down, grabbed his knife and gave me a chop. He cut half of my thing.”

Linghu Chong uttered an ‘ah’ as he was startled by this, and shook his head. Even though he felt that this was very cruel, he also thought that Tian Boguang had harmed too many women of good families, so it was a deserved retribution. Tian Boguang was also shaking his head before he

continued, “I fainted immediately. When I woke up, Grand Martial Master had applied some medicine on me and had also wrapped up my injury. He told me to rest for a few days to recover from my injury. Then he forced me to shave my head and become a monk. He gave me a Buddhist name called ‘Cannot Have No Commandment’. He said: ‘Since I already chopped your thing, you can’t rape anymore. So, of course there’s no need for you to become a monk. But I made you become a monk and gave you the Buddhist name ‘Cannot Have No Commandment’ so that everyone will know. That way, Heng-Shan School’s reputation will also be preserved. Ordinarily, it’s inappropriate for people who have become a monk to mix up with nuns.

But since your name is ‘Cannot Have No Commandment’, then it doesn’t matter.’”

Linghu Chong smiled and said, “Your Grand Martial Master is very thoughtful.”

Tian Boguang replied, “Grand Martial Master wanted me to tell you about all these. He also wants me to ask you not to blame my master.”

Confused, Linghu Chong asked, “Why would I want to blame your master? She doesn’t know anything about this matter.” Tian Boguang answered, “Grand Martial Master said: Every time he saw my master, he noticed how she became a little bit thinner and her

complexion a little worse. When he asked her about it, she always sheds a tear and never says anything. Grand Martial Master said: It must be you who’s bullying her.”

Linghu Chong was alarmed. “I didn’t! I never talk to your master in an angry manner. Also, she’s always so good, why would I scold her?”

Tian Boguang said, “You never scolded her, that’s why she cried.” “I don’t understand.”

“Grand Martial Master beat me up when I asked about this too.” Linghu Chong scratched his head thinking that Great Master No

Commandment’s entangled way of speaking was just like that of the Peach Valley Six Fairies.

Tian Boguang said, “Grand Martial Master said: after he got married to Grand Martial Mother, they quarrelled all the time, and the fiercer the

scolding was, the more love there was. You’re not scolding my master so it means that you’re not taking my master to be your wife.”

“This… your master is a Buddhist nun, so I’ve never thought of this matter.”

“I also said that. Grand Martial Master got angry and beat me up for a time. He said: my Grand Martial Mother was originally a nun and when he wanted to marry her, he became a monk. If Buddhist nuns or monks

couldn’t get married, how can there be my master in this world? If my master isn’t in this world, how can there be me?”

Linghu Chong couldn’t help thinking that this was funny. He thought Tian Boguang was much older compared to Little Martial Sister Yilin; how could he mention those two things together? Tian Boguang went on, “Grand Martial Master also said: if you didn’t think of marrying my master, then what are you doing becoming Heng-Shan School’s headmaster? He said: there are a lot of nuns in Heng-Shan School but not one can be compared to my master’s beauty. If you didn’t do it for my master, then for which nun

are you doing it for?”

Linghu Chong was secretly feeling miserable and couldn’t take this anymore, he thought, “Great Master No Commandment became a monk so that he could marry a nun. He now thinks that everyone in the world thinks

the same way as him. If these words got out, how could it not cause a lot of problem?”

Tian Boguang smiled bitterly. “Grand Martial Master asked me whether my master is the most beautiful woman in the whole world. I

answered: ‘She’s not the most beautiful, but she’s very beautiful.’ He got angry and punched me causing two of my teeth to fall off. Then he said:

‘How come she’s not the most beautiful? If she weren’t beautiful, then why did you have rude intentions towards her on that day? And why did that little kid Linghu Chong risked his life to save her?’ I quickly said: ‘Most beautiful, most beautiful. How could Grand Martial Master’s daughter not be the most beautiful woman in the world?’ When he heard these words, he became happy and praised my brilliant vision.”

Linghu Chong smiled. “Little martial sister Yilin is of course beautiful, it’s no wonder that great Master No Commandment is proud of her.”

Tian Boguang happily said, “You agree that my master is beautiful; that’s very good then.”

Linghu Chong oddly asked, “Why is that good?”

“Grand Martial Master gave me a task, he wants me to think of a way to call you… call you…”

“Call me what?” Linghu Chong asked. Tian Boguang smiled. “Call you my master-husband.” Linghu Chong was stupefied. “Brother Tian, Great Master No

Commandment loves his daughter a lot. But you should already know that this matter is impossible to do.”

“That’s true. I said that’s really hard to do, I said that you once led a large group of people to attack Shaolin temple because of Divine Sect’s young lady Ren. I said: ‘Even though young lady Ren’s beauty isn’t above my master, Master Linghu was already predestined to be with her. He’s

already infatuated with her and other people wouldn’t be able to interfere.’ Master Linghu, in front of Grand Martial Master, I had no choice but to say this in order to protect my remaining teeth so I have something to eat with, please don’t blame me.”

Linghu Chong smiled and said, “Of course I understand.”

“Grand Martial Master then said: He already knows about this and that it’s very easy to solve this problem because all that is required is to think of a way to kill young lady Ren without you knowing. I quickly said not to do that because if young lady Ren were killed, then Linghu Chong would definitely commit suicide. Grand Martial Master said: ‘What you

said was right. If this little kid Linghu Chong died, then my daughter will be widowed, how can that be not a bad luck? How about this? You talk to this little kid Linghu Chong; tell him my daughter will marry him and make his second house. This will be alright.’ I said: ‘Grand Martial Master, how can you wrong your daughter like that?’ He sighed then said: ‘You don’t know. If my daughter couldn’t marry Linghu Chong, she would die sooner or later; she definitely won’t have a long life.’ As he said this, his tears flowed down. Ai, this is their father-daughter inborn nature revealing their true feelings, it couldn’t be fake.” The two of them were looking at each other, both of them feeling pretty awkward. Tian Boguang then said, “Master Linghu, I’ve already said everything that Grand Martial Master wanted me to tell you. I know that

some of these are hard to do, even taboo, especially since you’re the headmaster of Heng-Shan School. But I advise you to speak more to my master and let her be happy. You can deal with this later on.”

Linghu Chong nodded his head and said, “Alright.” In the last few days, every time he had seen Yilin, she seemed to be thinner and thinner. He now knew that it was because she was lovesick. Yilin loved him so deeply; how come he didn’t know? But she was a Buddhist nun and still very young, so he expected her feelings would lessen as days passed by and

would finally be gone. After meeting her again at Xianxia mountain range, and from Fujian to Jiangxi, he was never alone with her to talk about

anything. Ever since he had been on Heng-Shan, he avoided doing anything that might rouse suspicion. He didn’t care if other people slandered his own name, as his name was already not good, but he felt he must never spoil the clean reputation of the Heng-Shan School. Besides the time he was imparting the sword art to the Heng-Shan’s female disciples, he never

chatted with anyone. Compared to the past days of clowning around, he was very different. As he listened to Tian Boguang speaking of the past, and

about Yilin’s tender feelings towards him, feelings suddenly burst forth in his heart.

He looked up towards the mountain peak where the white snow was accumulating as he pondered. Suddenly, he heard the clamouring sounds of people coming up the mountain path. The mountain summit had always been quiet and peaceful, and there was never people shouting or making noises. He was really astonished when he heard footsteps of several hundred people coming up the mountain. The first person called out, “Congratulations, Master Linghu. Today is your happy day.” This person was short and plump; he was Old Man. Behind him were Ji Wushi, Zu

Qianqiu, Huang Boliu, Sima Big, Blue Phoenix, You Xun, the Bear Duo of the Northern Desert, and many other people who had unexpectedly come here.

Linghu Chong was surprised and happy at the same time. He quickly went forward to welcome them. “I received Dingxian Shi Tai’s last order so I must take the leadership of the Heng-Shan School, but I didn’t dare to

alarm all the friends here. How come you’ve all come here?”

These people had once followed Linghu Chong in attacking Shaolin temple and had gone through life and death battles with him. So they had become friends through trials and tribulations. They came up the mountain one by one and circled him. Old Man said in a loud and clear voice,

“Everyone heard that Master managed to get Sacred Lady out, and we all felt really happy. This matter of Master taking up the headmaster position of Heng-Shan School; it was already known in Jianghu for quite a long time.

If we didn’t come up the mountain today to give our congratulations, then we deserve to die.” These heroes were upright and straightforward people, after talking for a short while, they were able to joke around.

Ever since he had taken residence on Heng-Shan, Linghu Chong had only been around a group of nuns and young ladies so he had to talk with the utmost restriction. Now, suddenly, as he found so many old friends

around him, he was extremely happy. Huang Boliu said, "We're uninvited guests so Heng-Shan School certainly hasn't prepared any food or drink for us. So we brought food and wine up the mountain."

Linghu Chong happily said, "That's very good then." He thought,

"This situation is starting to resemble that big assembly on top of the Five- Tyrant Ridge." As they were talking, around a few hundred people had come up the mountain. Ji Wushi smiled and said, "Master, we're all people from the

same family so there's no need to be polite. Your educated and cultured female disciples shouldn't come and greet crude people like us. So it's best if we just talk amongst ourselves."

Now he found the mountain peak very noisy and lively. Heng-Shan School certainly didn't expect that so many guests would suddenly turn up to congratulate them, so all of them became excited. There were some old disciples who were more experienced; they saw that the guests who had

come to congratulate them were neither fish nor fowl. Even though there were a few well known heroes, they were all masters from the demonical

path. Also, a lot of them were heroes and thieves from the dark path. Heng-

Shan School's rules were strict and all the disciples guarded themselves strictly. Not only do they have a lot of contact with people from the

orthodox path, they have not paid much attention to them. Unexpectedly, a large group of unorthodox people had come up to the peak today. But they saw their headmaster was holding and pulling on their hands, looking very close, and talking to them nicely.

At noon, several hundred men brought chicken, duck, cow, sheep, wine, and many other dishes to the top of the mountain. Linghu Chong thought, "The peak of the mountain is a sacred ground for the Goddess of Mercy Guanyin. I'm the Headmaster here, but if we were to eat fish and meat, kill pigs and slaughter sheep, we will be offending the ancestors of

the Heng-Shan School. I would be sorry to let this happen." He immediately told these people to cook the dishes on the mountainside. However, the

smell of the wine and meat drifted up to the mountaintop which caused many nuns to secretly scowl. After these heroes cooked their meals, they went to the front of the convent to sit inside the large open area there. Linghu Chong sat on the west side while the several hundred female disciples sat behind him according to their seniority. They were waiting until the lucky hour to initiate the “taking up the office” ceremony.

Suddenly, they heard the sounds of a group of people playing flutes

coming nearer. Two old men with green gowns strode up the mountain. The group of heroes uttered "yi, ah" from everywhere and many people stood up. The old man on the left, with a yellow complexion, cried out in a clear voice, "Divine Sun Moon Sect's Chief Dongfang’s delegates Jia Bu and Shangguan Yun come to congratulate Hero Linghu's honour in becoming

Heng-Shan School's headmaster. We wish Heng-Shan School to be prosperous and Headmaster Linghu to be prestigious in Wulin."

When he finished his speech, the group of heroes uttered an 'ah' and exploded in cheers. Half of these unorthodox path's heroes were connected to the Devil Sect, and among them, there were people who had taken

Dongfang Bubai's 'Three Brain Corpse Pill'. So when they heard the words 'Chief Dongfang' mentioned, they were scared to death. The group of heroes didn't recognise who these two people were, but they had long heard of their names. The person on the left was called 'Honourable Yellow Face' Jia Bu, while the one on the right was called Shangguan Yun, with the nickname 'Eagle Hero'. The martial arts of these two people were high; it

was said that their martial arts were way above those of all the headmasters, chiefs, and clan leaders in Wulin. The services and qualifications of these people in the Divine Sun Moon Sect weren't extremely impressive. But over the last many years, the sect had undergone a big change. Many older members such as Xiang Wentian and others were removed or went into

seclusion. At the present time, Jia Bu and Shangguan Yun were two of the most powerful and first-class figures in the sect and it can be said that Dongfang Bubai was giving Linghu Chong a lot of respect by sending the two of them here.

Linghu Chong went forward to welcome them. "Mr. Dongfang and I have no acquaintance with each other. I don't deserve your two honourable presences."

Linghu Chong saw that 'Honourable Yellow Face' Jia Bu had a thin face resembling a candle, and his two Taiyang acupoints were very pronounced as if each point has a piece of peach underneath. The 'Eagle Hero' Shangguan Yun, with long arms, long legs, and an air of assured

authority, had glitteringly bright eyes. These indicated that the two of them had profound internal energy.

Jia Bu said, "Today is Hero Linghu's big day. Chief Dongfang said that originally he wanted to congratulate you personally. But there are too many matters of the sect that are hindering him, and since there's no way for him to be in two places at once, he asked Headmaster Linghu not to blame him."

"I wouldn’t dare," Linghu Chong replied, while he thought in his heart, "It looks as if Dongfang Bubai is still flourishing which means Chief Ren still hasn't snatched the leadership of the sect yet. I wonder how Chief Ren, Brother Xiang, and Yingying are doing right now."

Jia Bu leaned to one side and indicated with a wave of his left hand.

"Here are some meagre gifts, small tokens of regards from Chief Dongfang. Headmaster Linghu, please accept them." Amidst the sound of flutes, more than a hundred people brought forth forty large red boxes. Each box was being carried by four strong men, and from the heavy steps of each man, it seemed that the items inside the boxes weren't light.

Linghu Chong quickly refused, "Linghu Chong is already honoured by the presence of your two honourable; I would never dare to receive these gifts. Also, please reply to Mr. Dongfang that Linghu Chong said many thanks. On this mountain, Heng-Shan School's disciples live frugally but have a clean and honest life, so we have no use for these splendid and

expensive items."

Jia Bu replied, "If Headmaster Linghu doesn’t accept these gifts, Shangguan Yun and I will be in big trouble." He slightly tilted his head towards Shangguan Yun and said, "Brother Shangguan, don't you think what I said was right?"

"It's right!" Shangguan Yun answered.

Linghu Chong was troubled. He thought, "Heng-Shan School is an orthodox school and we're like water and fire with your Devil Sect. It’s

already good that the two parties aren't fighting right now, but we still can't make friends with them. Also, Chief Ren and Yingying are going to settle their debt with Dongfang Bubai, so how can I accept their gifts?" He then said, "Brothers, please tell Mr. Dongfang that I don't dare to receive his gifts. If you didn't agree to take back these gifts then I'll send people to deliver these gifts back to your noble sect."

Jia Bu smiled slightly and said, "Headmaster Linghu, do you know what's in these forty boxes?"

"Of course I don't know."

Jia Bu laughed and replied, "Once Headmaster Linghu looked at it, you surely wouldn't refuse it. In these forty boxes, actually, they're not all gifts from Chief Dongfang. A portion of it actually belongs to Headmaster Linghu. We're just bringing them up to return these items to their original owner."

Linghu Chong was surprised. "My items? What could they be?"

Jia Bu took a big step forward and replied in a whisper, "The majority of these items were the items left behind by young lady Ren at Dark Wood Cliff, such as clothes, jewelleries, and other common things. Chief

Dongfang told me to send them back for young lady Ren to use. And some of the other gifts are Chief's gifts to Hero Linghu and young lady Ren.

Many of the items are mixed together so they can't be separated. Headmaster Linghu, there's no need to be polite. Haha, haha."

Linghu Chong's natural disposition was open-minded and carefree,

and didn't confine himself to customs. Seeing that Dongfang Bubai had sent these gifts sincerely, and many of the items also belonged to Yingying, he didn't refuse them anymore. He laughed loudly and said, "In that case, many thanks."

Just then, a female disciple came quickly towards him and reported, "Wudang School's Priest Chongxu has come to attend the ceremony."

Surprised, Linghu Chong quickly walked towards the entrance of the mountain peak to welcome Priest Chongxu who had come with eight of his disciples. Linghu Chong bowed to salute him. "Honorable Priest, Linghu

Chong is deeply grateful."

Priest Chongxu smiled. "When Poor Priest heard of you becoming the Headmaster of Heng-Shan, I was really happy. Shaolin's Great Master Fangzheng and Fangsheng are also coming to congratulate you. Have they arrived yet?"

Linghu Chong was even more confounded. At this moment, there were a group of monks walking up towards the mountaintop. The two

people walking in front had their sleeves floating around. They were Abbot Fangzheng and Great Master Fangsheng. Fangzheng called out, "Priest

Chongxu, you walked really fast and arrived here before us."

Linghu Chong went down the mountain to welcome them. He called out, "Great Masters have come here personally, how is Linghu Chong

worthy of this?" Fangsheng laughed. "Young hero, you had entered Shaolin three times already, and yet this is just our first visit to you here at Heng-Shan. So it can be said that we're just respectfully visiting each other."

Linghu Chong welcomed the Shaolin's monks and Wudang's priests up the mountaintop. When the group of heroes on the mountaintop saw that Shaolin and Wudang Schools' leaders personally came, they were

astonished and didn't dare to speak so loudly. All the Heng-Shan School's female disciples appeared pleased, and they all thought, "Martial brother Headmaster's reputation is so large."

Jia Bu and Shangguan Yun gave a glance and then turned a blind eye towards Fangzheng, Fangsheng, Chongxu, and the rest of their people.

Linghu Chong asked Great Master Fangzheng and Priest Chongxu to take a seat while he pondered, "I remembered when Master became the leader of Huashan, the leaders of Shaolin School and Wudang School didn't personally come; they just sent their people. I was still young at that time

and didn't know any of the guests, but when Master and Master-Wife talked about what was happening at that time, they never mentioned the presence of Shaolin and Wudang Schools' leaders. Today, they both arrived at the

same time; did they really come here to congratulate me or do they have other intentions?"

A stream of people continued coming up the mountain. Most of them were the heroes who took part in attacking the Shaolin temple. Kunlun School, Diancang School, Emei School, Kongtong School, Beggar Clan,

and all the other big clans sent representatives to congratulate and deliver the gifts. When Linghu Chong saw that the number of people who had

come up to congratulate him was quite large, he felt relieved. "They've all come here because of Heng-Shan School and Dingxian Shi Tai's reputations. It's not because of Linghu Chong's reputation." Songshan, Huashan, Hengshan, and Taishan Schools didn't send anyone to congratulate him.

As the thunderous sound of firecrackers went off, marking the arrival of the auspicious hour, Linghu Chong stood in the middle of the field and bowed, saluting everyone around him. Then he said in a clear voice, "Heng- Shan School's former leader, Dingxian Shi Tai, sadly met with someone's plot, and together with Dingyi Shi Tai, she passed away. I, Linghu Chong, bear the last wish of Dingxian Shi Tai to take up the leadership of Heng- Shan School. Everyone in Heng-Shan School feels grateful for the presence of all the honourable seniors and friends here." Then, accompanied by the

sound of cymbals, Heng-Shan School's disciples lined up in two rows, one after another. In the middle were four of the most senior disciples, Yihe, Yiqing, Yizhen, and Yizhi; each of them was holding a Buddhist relic. They walked up to Linghu Chong and bowed to him. Linghu Chong joined his two palms, returning the respect. Yihe said, "These four Buddhist relics

were passed down by ancestor Xiaofeng Shi Tai during the inauguration of the Heng-Shan School. They are to be passed down to successive

Headmasters. New Headmaster, martial brother Linghu, please receive these items."

"Yes," Linghu Chong responded.

The four disciples handed over each item accordingly. The items were a scroll of scripture, a wooden fish, a strand of prayer beads, and a dagger.

When Linghu Chong saw the wooden fish and the prayer beads, he felt embarrassed. He extended his hands to receive them but both of his eyes were looking at the ground, afraid to look at the eyes of the people in the crowd. Yiqing unfolded the scroll and said, "Heng-Shan School's five

commandments: The first commandment is to never disobey your superior, the second commandment is to never harm people in the same school, the third commandment is to never kill the innocents, the fourth commandment is to always be an upright person, and the fifth commandment is to never make friends with evil. These are the instructions left behind by the

ancestor of the Heng-Shan School. Martial brother Headmaster must personally set an example and lead the disciples; these rules must be obeyed."

"Yes!" Linghu Chong responded. He thought in his heart, "The first three commandments are alright. But Linghu Chong isn't that upright, and this commandment “not to make friends with evil people” will be very hard to do. Today on this mountaintop, half of the guests here are people from the unorthodox path."

Suddenly he heard people coming up the mountain calling out, "Five Mountains Sword Schools' Chief Zuo has an order. Linghu Chong can't usurp the leadership of Heng-Shan School."

Amidst the clamour, five people rushed up followed by tens of people behind them. These first five people were each holding an embroidered flag, which were the alliance flags of the Five Mountains Sword Schools.

They stopped tens of feet away from the crowd. Among those five people was a short and stout person, with a yellow chubby face, looking to be

around fifty years old. Linghu Chong recognised that person as Yue Hou

with the nickname 'Great Yin and Yang Palms'. He was a good fighter from the Songshan School. That day in the wilderness in Henan, Linghu Chong had fought with him and had pierced both of Yue Hou’s palms with his long sword, and caused a deep hatred between them. But Yue Hou was a gentleman; On another day, he ambushed Linghu Chong and managed to defeat him but instead of killing him, he jumped back to give Linghu Chong a chance to fight again. For this, Linghu Chong felt thankful towards Yue

Hou39. Linghu Chong immediately cupped his fist and said, "Senior Yue, you are well."

Yue Hou waved the command flag and bellowed, "Heng-Shan School is a member of the five mountains sword schools alliance so you must obey Chief Zuo's order."

"After Linghu Chong assumed the leadership of Heng-Shan School, we'll need to discuss whether we're still a part of the five mountains sword schools alliance or not," Linghu Chong replied.

By then, the remaining people had arrived on top of the mountain.

They were disciples from Songshan, Huashan, Hengshan, and Taishan Schools. The eight disciples from Huashan were Linghu Chong's former martial brothers, but Lin Pingzhi wasn't among them. These people formed four rows and stood quietly while grasping the handle of their swords. Yue Hou said in a loud voice, "The school of Heng-Shan must be led by a

Buddhist nun. Linghu Chong is a man. How can he violate the school rules that had stood for a hundred years at Heng-Shan?"

"Rules are made up by people, so they can also be changed by people.

This is our own sect's internal matter and cannot be interfered with by outsiders," Linghu Chong responded.

From within the crowd, people started to scold Yue Hou, "This is their Heng-Shan School's matter. What's that got to do with your Songshan School?" "Your granny, quickly scram!" "What five mountains chief? Dog Chief, how shameless!"

Yue Hou said towards Linghu Chong, "What are these filthy people doing here?"

"All these brothers are my friends, they're here to attend the ceremony," Linghu Chong answered. "Alright. Heng-Shan School has five major commandments. What's the fifth one?" Yue Hou asked.

Linghu Chong thought, "You're deliberately trying to put me down, so I'm going to debate this with you." He answered, "Of Heng-Shan School's five major commandments, the fifth one is never to make friends with evil. Linghu Chong definitely would never make friends with people like brother Yue."

When the crowd heard this, they erupted in laughter and shouted, "Evil disciples, quickly scram!" Yue Hou, along with the disciples from

Songshan, Huashan, and the rest of the schools saw the situation, and each one of them thought that the enemies were plenty and they were few. If the enemies were to fight with them, then they would be in big trouble. Yue

Hou then thought, "Martial brother Zuo has lost this time. He anticipated that we only have to deal with a bunch of nuns and young ladies, so the disciples from the four schools would be enough to take control of the

situation. Even though Linghu Chong's sword art is good, we would be at an advantage when there's no sword in his hand. The five of us brothers

could attack him now and we would certainly be able to kill him. Who

would've thought that there would be so many guests up here, along with the leaders of Shaolin and Wudang Schools." He immediately turned his body towards Fangzheng and Chongxu and said, "Seniors, you are currently the two top masters in Wulin and people look up to you. Today, I ask you to please speak a few words here. Linghu Chong had gathered so many demons here at Heng-Shan; isn't this in violation of Heng-Shan School's

commandment to never make friends with evil people? Heng-Shan School has lasted for so long and has enjoyed a grand reputation as an orthodox

school. Everything would turn upside down in Linghu Chong’s hand; are the two of you just going to sit there and do nothing?” Fangzheng coughed before saying, "This... this... hmmm..." He thought that what this person said was reasonable. The majority of people present there were people from the unorthodox path, but how could he ask Linghu Chong to tell them all to go down the mountain?

Suddenly, coming up the mountain path, they heard a clear and crisp voice of a lady announcing, "Divine Sun Moon Sect's young lady Ren has arrived!"

Linghu Chong was happy and surprised at the same time. He couldn't stop himself from blurting out, "Yingying has come!" He hurriedly went towards the mountain side and saw two big men carrying a little green-

coloured sedan chair quickly up the path. Behind the sedan chair followed four maids wearing green dresses.

When the people from the unorthodox path heard that Yingying had come, they rushed down the mountain to welcome her. They shouted their welcomes to her and crowded around the sedan chair as it came up to the peak.

When the sedan chair stopped, the curtain parted, and a girl wearing a pale green gown stepped out of it. It was really Yingying. The crowd

cheered, "Sacred Lady! Sacred Lady!" and they all bowed towards her

showing expressions of respect, admiration, and fear. The joy they showed was genuine and came from their hearts. Linghu Chong walked up a few

steps and smiled. "Yingying, you've also come!"

Yingying returned his smile and said, "Today is your big day, how can I not come?" She then glanced across the crowd, walked a few steps, and gave her propriety towards Fangzheng and Chongxu. "Great Master Abbot, Headmaster Priest, I give you my respect."

Fangzheng and Chongxu returned her propriety, while they both thought in their hearts, "Linghu Chong and you are on good terms, but you shouldn't have come today. You're just making things more difficult for Linghu Chong."

Yue Hou said in a loud voice, "This lady in an important figure in the Devil Sect. Linghu Chong, what do you say to this?"

"What if she is?" Linghu Chong replied.

"Heng-Shan School's fifth major commandment stipulates that you must never make friends with evil. If you don’t sever your relationship with these evil people, then you can't be the headmaster of Heng-Shan School."

"I won't be the headmaster then, what's so important about that?"

Yingying gave him a look; both of her eyes were full of affection. She thought, "Just for me, you’d forsake everything." She asked, "Headmaster Linghu, who is this person? Why did he come here asking about Heng-Shan School's matter?"

Linghu Chong answered, "He was sent here by Songshan School's

Headmaster Zuo. In his hand is Headmaster Zuo's command flag. Let alone a small command flag, even if Headmaster Zuo had come personally, how can I just let him meddle in my Heng-Shan School's matter?"

Yingying nodded her head and agreed, "Right." Her thoughts went back to the fight that occurred in Shaolin temple where Zuo Lengchan gave them a lot of problem by using the Polar Ice Energy to heavily injure her father, and how her father came close to losing his life. She couldn't help feeling angry as she said, "Who said that this is Five Mountains Sword Schools' alliance flag? He's swindling people..." She had not finished her

words when her body swayed and the flicker of a short sword was seen on her left hand as she stabbed it towards Yue Hou's chest.

Yue Hou had never expected that such a delicate and beautiful lady would attack so viciously. She didn't give any hint beforehand that she was going to attack and her attack was fast as lightning. As her sword stabbed out, it was too late for him to pull out his own sword, so he slanted his body avoiding the stab. But he didn't anticipate that Yingying's move was a false move, so as he slanted his body, the grip on his right hand loosened and his opponent snatched the embroidered flag. Yingying didn't stop there but

stabbed four more times at four flag holders, which allowed her to snatch all five flags. She used the same exact move for all five moves. The other four Songshan School's disciples were all Yue Hou's martial brothers, and their bare hand martial arts were all good. Zuo Lengchan had dispatched

them with the intention of making a surprise attack on Linghu Chong using their bare hands. But Yingying's attack was too quick, and in a moment, she had managed to snatch all the flags without them managing to attack back. Even though they had lost, it could be said that they were ambushed.

Yingying brought the flags over and turned around behind Linghu Chong's body. She said loudly, "Headmaster Linghu, these flags are fake.

These aren't the five mountains sword schools' command flags. These are the Five Fairies Sect's five poison flags." She then furled open the five flags and everyone understood. On the five flags were the drawings of five venomous pests: snake, centipede, spider, scorpion, and toad. The colours were bright and the pests looked alive. How could they be the five mountains sword schools' command flags?

Yue Hou and his group were stunned and didn't know what to say.

Old Man, Zu Qianqiu and their group of heroes were cheering loudly. Everyone knew that after Yingying snatched the command flags, she immediately hid them away and somehow exchanged them with the five poison flags. But her hand was actually too fast, and no one saw clearly how she did this.

Yingying called out, "Chief Blue!" A beautiful Miao girl walked out from the crowd and laughingly answered, "I'm here! What's Sacred Lady's order?" She was Blue Phoenix, the chief of the Five Fairies Sect. Yingying asked, "How did your five poison flags end up in Songshan School's hands?"

Blue Phoenix laughed and answered, "These Songshan School disciples are all good friends of my sect's female disciples. They must've uttered sweet words to swindle my sect's five poison flags."

"That's how it is. I'll return these five flags to you then," Yingying then tossed the five flags to her.

Blue Phoenix laughed and said, "Many thanks." She extended her hand and grabbed the flags.

Yue Hou was furious. He scolded, "Shameless witch, what kind of demonical methods are you using to deceive us? Quickly give us back the command flags."

Yingying smiled, "If you want the five poison flags, why don't you ask Chief Blue for them?"

Yue Hou didn't know what to do so he turned towards Fangzheng and Chongxu. "Great Master Abbot, Priest Chongxu, you are seniors of noble

character and high prestige, please preside over this injustice."

Fangzheng stammered, "This... hmmm... never make friends with

evil, Heng-Shan School certainly has this commandment, but... but... today, these friends from Jianghu are coming to attend the ceremony, so

Headmaster Linghu can't just shut the door and turn them away, that's just too disrespectful..."

Yue Hou suddenly pointed to a person in the crowd and loudly shouted, "He... he... I recognise him as that rapist Tian Boguang! He's

disguising himself as a monk. Are you trying to conceal yourself from my eyes? Are these kinds of people also Linghu Chong's friends?" Then in a

fierce tone, he shouted, "Tian Boguang, what are you doing in Heng-Shan?" "I came to pay my respect to Master," Tian Boguang replied. Yue Hou was baffled, "Pay your respect to Master?"

"That's right." Tian Boguang then walked up to Yilin and kowtowed a few times. "Master, disciple pays his respect. Disciple is correcting my

wrongs and my Buddhist name is called 'Cannot Have No Commandment'." Yilin blushed and slightly moved away avoiding the kowtow. "You...

you..."

Yingying smiled and said, "Master Tian is turning his heart away from the demonical and returning to the orthodox path, and had also taken a master; that's really good. He has also become a Buddhist with the name 'Cannot Have No Commandment'; this shows that he's sincere in his intention. Great Master Fangzheng, the correct way is to abandon the knife and join the Buddhist order. When a person is determined to correct his

ways, then Buddha will give this person a new path to tread on, isn't this right?"

Fangzheng happily replied, "That right! Cannot Have No

Commandment has joined the Heng-Shan School, and must strictly follow the school's rules from now on. This is really the good fortune of Wulin."

Yingying then said loudly, "Everyone heard it; we've all come here today to join the Heng-Shan School. If Headmaster Linghu is willing to accept us, then all of us will become the disciples of Heng-Shan School. How can Heng-Shan's disciples be regarded as evil?"

Suddenly, a flash of comprehension went through Linghu Chong. "So Yingying knew that I'd be embarrassed to be the headmaster of a group of female disciples. If there were a lot of male members in the school, then no one would be able to ridicule me. That's why she told all these people to join Heng-Shan School." He quickly asked in a clear voice, "Martial sister Yihe, is there any school rule that prohibit the school from accepting male disciples?"

Yihe replied, "There's no rule that prohibits accepting male disciples into the school, but... but..." Temporarily, she couldn't get her mind to work.

She thought that it was inappropriate for so many male disciples to be suddenly in the school.

Linghu Chong said, "It's very good that everyone wants to join the Heng-Shan School. But there's no need to pay your respect. Heng-Shan School will arrange another... hmmm... a 'Heng-Shan Other Courtyard' for

everybody to settle in. That Tong Yuan valley over there is a good place for that."

The Tong Yuan valley was situated besides the Xianxing Peak.

According to the stories, during the Tang dynasty, Zhang Guolao meditated there to become a deity. There was also a big rock on Heng-Shan with a lot of donkey hoof marks on it, and the stories say these hoof marks were made by the donkey ridden by Zhang Guolao. These donkey's hoof marks were imprinted deeply in granite; if this were not done by a deity then how could it have been done? Emperor Tang Xuanzong gave the title of ‘Mr. Tong Yuan’ to Zhang Guolao. The name of Tong Yuan Valley was taken from this. Tong Yuan Valley was not far from Xianxing Peak, which was where the convent was located. But from the valley to the peak, the mountain path was dangerous. Linghu Chong arranged the living quarters for these

Jianghu heroes at Tong Yuan Valley so that there would be separation between males and females so as to avoid slanders.

Fangzheng nodded his head and said, "That's very good. These friends are joining the Heng-Shan School and agreed to abide by Heng- Shan School's terms. This is really a joyful occasion in Wulin." Yue Hou realised that his opponents had increased in numbers when he saw Great Master Fangzheng talking like this. It seemed that today he would not be able to stop Linghu Chong from becoming the headmaster of Heng-Shan School. So he proceeded to convey Zuo Lengchan's second task.

He coughed to gain attention and said in a clear voice, "Five

Mountains Sword Schools Chief Zuo has an order: on the fifteenth of the third month, all five mountains sword schools must send their disciples to Songshan to elect the headmaster of the Five Mountains School. Everyone must attend and must arrive on time."

Linghu Chong asked, "Whose idea is it to combine the five mountains sword schools into one?"

Yue Hou answered, "Songshan, Taishan, Huashan, and Hengshan Schools have all approved of this. If your Heng-Shan School objected to this, then you would be openly making things difficult for the other four schools, and you'll only be asking for trouble." He then turned around towards the Taishan School's disciples and asked, "Do you not think that this is the truth?" The tens of people standing behind him answered together, "That's right!"

Yue Hou laughed coldly and turned around to leave. After a few

steps, he turned his head around to look at Yingying. He thought, "How do I get back those five command flags?"

Blue Phoenix laughed, "Teacher Yue, now that you've lost these flags, how can you return to Headmaster Zuo? It'd be better if I return it to you!" After she said this, she tossed a flag at him.

When Yue Hou saw the little flag flying towards him, he thought,

"This is your Five Poison flag, not the Five Mountains command flag, why would I want it?" However, the flag had almost reached his throat so he quickly extended his hand to catch it. As soon as he caught it, he suddenly called out loudly and hastily dropped the flag. His palm felt like it was on fire. He turned his palm over to take a look and saw his palm had turned purple. He realized that there was poison on the pole of the flag and he had

been trapped by the Five Fairies Sect. Feeling alarmed and angry, he angrily scolded, "Witch..."

Blue Phoenix laughingly said, "You call 'Headmaster Linghu' and ask for his help, then I'll give you the medicine. Otherwise, your whole palm

would rot."

Yue Hou knew of the severity of the Five Fairies Sect's poison. In his hesitation, he felt his palm getting numb and losing feeling. His whole lifetime’s martial art was in his two palms. If his two palms were to rot then he would become a cripple. This made him frightened with worries. He quickly called out, "Headmaster Linghu, you... "

Blue Phoenix laughed and interrupted him, "Ask for help."

"Headmaster Linghu, I offended you, I ask... ask you to please give me the med... medicine."

Linghu Chong smiled and replied, "Lady Blue, brother Yue was only doing what Headmaster Zuo ordered. Please give him the medicine."

Blue Phoenix laughed and waved her hand towards a Miao girl

standing besides her. That Miao girl took a packet out from her bosom, walked forward a few steps, and tossed that packet to Yue Hou. Yue Hou

grabbed the packet in a hurry and the crowd erupted in laughter. He quickly walked down the mountain followed by his people.

Linghu Chong announced in a clear voice, "Friends, since you all

agreed to reside at Heng-Shan’s Other Courtyard; you must all comply with the school's commandments. These commandments are actually not hard to follow, but the fifth commandment of never making friends with evils is a bit troublesome. But from today onwards, everyone has become Heng-Shan School member, and since Heng-Shan School's disciples are naturally not

evil, you must take care in making friends when you're outside the school." The crowd boomed their acknowledgement.

Linghu Chong went on, "You can still drink wine and eat meat, but from now on, anyone who’s not a vegetarian cannot come to the Xianxing Peak anymore."

Fangzheng cupped his hand and said, "Good, good! You must never desecrate the sacred ground of Buddha."

Linghu Chong laughed. "Alright, just regard that I've now become headmaster. Everyone's belly must be feeling hungry now, quickly get the vegetarian dishes out. I'll accompany Shaolin's Abbot, Wudang's

Headmaster and all the other seniors in eating. I'll drink wine with everyone else tomorrow."

After they finished eating, Fangzheng said, "Headmaster Linghu, old monk and Chongxu have a few words to discuss with Headmaster."

"Yes," Linghu Chong answered. He thought in his heart, "The headmasters of the current top two schools in Wulin came to Heng-Shan today. They certainly have something important to say. With dragons and snakes mixing together on top of Xianxiang Peak, no matter where we

speak, it's unavoidable that walls will have ears."

He immediately ordered Yihe, Yiqing and the other disciples to

entertain the guests. Then he turned towards Fangzheng and Chongxu and said, "Down at the back of this mountain, there's a mountain besides the Porcelain Oven Pass which is called Mount Cui Ping. This mountain has a mirror-like cliff and on top of it, there’s a Hanging Temple. This is the panorama unique to Heng-Shan. If the two seniors are interested, please

allow Junior to lead you there." Priest Chongxu happily answered, "I’ve long heard that the Hanging Temple on Mount Cui Ping was built around the Northern Song dynasty.

Pines trees can’t grow there and not even monkeys can climb up there.

Someone had really exerted a lot of effort in building a temple in the

clouds. That's really a marvel in this world; I've admired it for a long time already and would really like to see it."

Chapter 30 Secret Meeting

Linghu Chong, Fangzheng and Chongxu walked onto the suspension bridge. The bridge was only several feet wide. When one walked on the bridge, looked at the emptiness in all direction, and enjoyed the clouds flowing by under, it almost seemed to be in heaven. In such a wonderful spot, all three enjoyed the ease of mind!

Linghu Chong led Great Master Fangzheng and Priest Chongxu down

Xianxing Peak. They hastened through Porcelain Oven Pass, and arrived under Mount Cui Ping. Fangzheng and Chongxu looked up and saw two pavilions on top of the mountain. The pavilions looked as if they were

constructed by deities as their rooftops pierced through the cloud. Fangzheng sighed and commented, "The person who built this pavilion really had lofty imagination. For a person with high aspirations, nothing in the world is difficult." The three people slowly climbed up the mountain

and finally arrived at the Hanging Temple. The Hanging Temple had two pavilions; each three stories high and soaring hundreds of feet above the ground. The two pavilions were separated from each other by a distance of tens of steps away and were connected by a sky bridge on the second floor.

Inside the temple was an old servant woman sweeping the floor.

When she saw Linghu Chong, Abbot Fangzheng, and Priest Chongxu, she just stared at them, not greeting or saluting them. More than ten days ago, Linghu Chong had come here with Yihe, Yiqing, Yilin and the rest of the disciples, so he knew that this servant was deaf and mute, and that she also did not seem to understand anything nor pay attention to anyone. He proceeded to the sky bridge with Fangzheng and Chongxu in tow. The sky bridge was only a few feet wide. If ordinary people were to ascend the bridge to view the scenery from up there, they would see the empty space all around them with cloud filling their view, and they would feel as if they were standing in the sky and it would be unavoidable that they would start to shake and feel as if their limbs had turned into jelly. But these three people were first class masters, so they were not daunted and their minds were at ease.

Fangzheng and Chongxu gazed at a hazy cloud in the north and they were able to faintly see the outline of a city wall. There was also water flowing through the two cliffs of Porcelain Oven Pass. The view was really majestic.

“The ancient people said that one man guarding the pass would stop ten thousand people from passing through. The terrain here really suits this saying,” Fangzheng said.

“During the years of the Northern Song, Yang Lao ordered Gong E to guard three passes and he made his base here. This place is strategically placed and would suit any war tactician. From the moment I saw the

Hanging Temple, I feel that the building is grand and I admire the perseverance of people in the old days. But the Hanging Temple became insignificant when you compared it to this five hundred li of chiselled mountain path.”

Linghu Chong was surprised, “Priest, you’re saying that this several hundred li of mountain path was also man made?”

“The history book says that Emperor Wei Daowu placed his soldiers here from Mount Zhong to Pingzheng during his first year of reign, and ordered tens of thousands of soldiers to dig out the Heng mountain range to make the five hundred li mountain path. Porcelain Oven Pass is at the end of this road,” Chongxu answered.

Fangzheng said, “Even though it is called five hundred li straight road, the majority of it was actually nature made. Northern Song’s Emperor Wei sent out tens of thousands of soldiers only to open a pass through this mountain. But even so, the project was really large and it was shocking for most people.” “No wonder that so many people want to become an emperor. He only has to open his mouth and say a few words, and tens of thousands of

soldiers immediately chiselled out a mountain pass for him,” Linghu Chong said.

“In those ancient times, there were many bold and outstanding heroes.

And with this kind of power and influence to aspire to, you can imagine how difficult things were. But you don’t need to mention about emperors, there’s already a lot of disturbances and continuous fighting in the current Wulin even without ‘power and influence’ coming into play,” Chongxu told him.

Linghu Chong felt a shiver in his heart as he thought, “He’s come to the topic he wants to discuss.” He asked, “Junior doesn’t understand. Two seniors, please give me some advice.”

“Headmaster Linghu, today, Songshan School’s old Yue led a lot of people to come here. What do you think it was for?” Fangzheng asked.

Linghu Chong answered, “He was conveying Chief Zuo’s order to not allow junior to take over the leadership of Heng-Shan School.”

“Why is Chief Zuo not willing to allow you to become the headmaster of Heng-Shan School?”

“Chief Zuo wants to combine the five mountains sword schools into one, and Junior has repeatedly thwarted his plan and has also killed many Songshan School people. So Chief Zuo abhors junior completely.”

Fangzheng asked, “Why do you want to thwart his plan?”

Linghu Chong was stupefied and found it hard to answer. He repeatedly mumbled, “Why do I want to thwart his plan?”

Fangzheng asked, “Do you believe that combining the five mountains sword schools into one is inappropriate?” “At that time, junior didn’t think whether it’s appropriate or not. But in order to force Heng-Shan School to agree, Songshan School disguised themselves as the Sun Moon Sect, captured the disciples of Heng-Shan, and besieged Dingjing Shi Tai. And they use contemptible methods in doing these. Junior coincidentally met these matters and felt that they were wrong, so I helped Heng-Shan. Later on, Songshan School wanted to burn

Dingxian and Dingyi Shi Tai in the Sword-forging Valley; this was even more despicable. Junior have thought this over. If merging the five mountains sword schools was a good thing, then why doesn’t Songshan School discuss this clearly and openly with each school’s headmaster instead of doing all these sly and evil things?”

Chongxu nodded his head before saying, “Headmaster Linghu’s view isn’t wrong. Zuo Lengchan’s wild ambition is enormous and he wants to become the number one person in Wulin. He himself knows that it’s difficult to subdue a lot of people so he’s forced to plot secretly.”

Fangzheng sighed before adding, “Chief Zuo is cultured in the military arts and is also an illustrious person in Wulin. And within the five mountains sword school, there’s originally no one who can compare to him. But his ambition is too enormous, and he also wishes to overwhelm the two schools of Wudang and Shaolin in a hurry. So it’s unavoidable that he

would use some unscrupulous methods to achieve this.”

Chongxu said, “Shaolin School is publicly accepted as the leader of Wulin. Wudang is on the same level as Shaolin. Kunlun, Emei, and

Kongtong Schools are at the next level. Brother Linghu, each of these

schools was founded several hundred years ago by numerous heroes who had spent countless sweat and blood in establishing their schools. Every set of their martial arts, every little detail has been refined in those hundreds of years; this isn’t just the result from a single day of work. The five mountains sword schools alliance had only established themselves in Wulin within the last seventy to eighty years. Even though they had flourished quickly, their martial arts still aren’t as good as Kunlun or Emei, let alone Shaolin School’s profound seventy two unique arts.” Linghu Chong nodded his head in affirmation.

Chongxu continued, "Within each school, there has also been one or two talented master with powerful martial arts. It's common in Wulin that an outstanding master's reputation would be known everywhere. But it

would unprecedented if this reputation were earned solely on strength alone by taking control of all the schools in the realm. Zuo Lengchan is full of

wild ambition, and this is precisely what he wants to do. When he became the chief of the five mountains sword schools alliance, Great Master Abbot anticipated that things in Wulin would be eventful from then on. In the past few years, Zuo Lengchan has acted exactly as Great Master Abbot predicted."

Fangzheng let out a prayer, “Amituofo.”

Chongxu went on, "It was only Zuo Lengchan's first step when he became chief of the five mountains sword schools alliance. His second step is to merge the five mountains schools into one and install himself as the headmaster. After merging the five schools, he would have a lot of manpower and would become an equal with Shaolin and Wudang Schools. Then, as a third step, he'll absorb Kunlun, Emei, Kongtong, and Qingcheng Schools. Then he's certain to declare war on Devil Sect and lead Shaolin

and Wudang Schools in attacking the Devil Sect. This would be the fourth step."

Linghu Chong felt fear in his heart as he heard this. "This ambitious plan is really hard to execute and Zuo Lengchan's martial art isn't necessarily unbeatable in this world. How did he come by such an ambitious plan?"

Chongxu answered, "A person's heart is difficult to predict. No matter how difficult a worldly matter is, there's always someone who would want to try it out. Have a look, wasn't this five hundred li mountain path man- made? Wasn't this Hanging Temple built by someone? If Zuo Lengchan manage to destroy the Devil Sect then he'll be the best in Wulin, and next he would want to annex Wudang and clean up Shaolin. This could possibly happen. And of course he doesn't need to rely only on his martial art to do

all of these things."

Fangzheng let out another prayer, "Amituofo!"

"Right now, Zuo Lengchan wants all the Wulin's warriors in the realm to be under his command," Linghu Chong said.

"That's right! After that, I'm afraid he'll want to become the emperor. After he's become the emperor, then he would want to have a long life. May you attain boundless longevity! This is called 'Human's greed is like a snake trying to swallow an elephant'. It's been like that since the ancient times. Of all the heroes in this world, there's not many who can escape the trap of 'power and influence'," Chongxu said.

Linghu Chong was silent. He couldn't help from shivering as the cold northern wind swept through. "We humans only live for dozens of years,

and the most important thing in life is to be happy. Why do you have to attain power, influence, and all that? Zuo Lengchan wants to exterminate

Kongtong and Kunlun, and annex Shaolin and Wudang. How many people would he kill? How much blood would be shed?"

Chongxu clapped and said, "That's right, the three of us have this heavy responsibility to prevent Zuo Lengchan from succeeding in order to avoid a bloodbath." Linghu Chong became alarmed. "Priest is making junior terrified by speaking like that. Junior's knowledge is shallow; I will listen to seniors' plan."

"That day when you led so many heroes to go to Shaolin to meet young lady Ren, you didn't damage a single grass or tree in Shaolin temple. Great Master Abbot received your compassion on that day," Chongxu said.

Linghu Chong's face turned scarlet. "I'm afraid Junior had really made a big disturbance."

Chongxu went on, "After you went away, Zuo Lengchan and the others also left one by one while I stayed on at Shaolin temple for seven days to have many long talks with Great Master Abbot. We talked deeply about our worries regarding Zuo Lengchan's wild ambition. That day, just as Ren Woxing used deceit to gain the upper hand on Great Master Fangzheng, Zuo Lengchan also used deceit to subdue Ren Woxing.

Originally, this would not have been a big deal, but those ignorant disciples in Wulin would say: 'Great Master Fangzheng isn't Ren Woxing's match,

while Ren Woxing isn't Zuo Lengchan's match...'"

Linghu Chong continuously shook his head and disagreed, "Not likely, not likely!"

"We all know that it's unlikely. But Zuo Lengchan's reputation is likely to increase greatly because of this fight, and he will become even more conceited and his wild ambition will grow even more. Later on, we separately received news of Brother becoming the headmaster of Heng- Shan School. We both decided to personally come to Heng-Shan to attend the ceremony to give our congratulations and to discuss about

this big matter," Chongxu said.

Linghu Chong said, "Junior doesn't deserve all the favours that seniors have shown me." "That Yue Hou came to convey Zuo Lengchan's order. He said that on the fifteenth of the third month, everyone from the five mountains sword

schools would gather at Songshan to elect the headmaster of the Five

Mountains School. This act has long been predicted by Great Master Abbot, but we never thought that he would do this so soon. When he said that it

was to elect the headmaster of the Five Mountains School, he made it sound as if the merging of the five mountains sword schools were a sure thing.

Actually, Hengshan's Mr. Mo Da's temperament is peculiar and it's unlikely that he would be attached to Zuo Lengchan. Taishan's Priest Tianmen is very firm and he also would never bend to other people's wishes. Your master Mr. Yue looks relaxed on the outside but he's actually very serious on the inside and very strict about preserving the tradition of Huashan School. Mr. Yue would definitely fight against Zuo Lengchan seeing that Zuo Lengchan would wipe out the reputation of Huashan School. This leaves Heng-Shan School. The three senior Shi Tai have all passed away

and this left the female disciples powerless to fight against Zuo Lengchan and therefore they probably would've surrendered. Who would've thought that Dingxian Shi Tai would break with custom and hand the headmaster position into Brother's hand. Brother Great Master Abbot and I have talked about Dingxian Shi Tai's foresight, and we really admire her. It was all the more difficult for her to think about this especially when she was already injured heavily. But she still managed to think it through. This shows just how much Dingxian Shi Tai had trained herself that even as she was a breath away from dying, she still had a clear mind. If Taishan, Hengshan, Huashan, and Heng-Shan Schools ally together and do not permit the forming of this Five Mountains School, only then would Zuo Lengchan's plot be foiled," Chongxu said. Linghu Chong said, "But judging from the tone of voice Yue Hou used when he gave that order today, it seems that Taishan, Hengshan, and Huashan Schools are already under Zuo Lengchan's control."

Chongxu nodded and said, "Yes. Lately, when we think of your master Mr. Yue, Great Master Abbot and I have become really confused. We heard that Fuzhou's Lin Family has a son who has taken your master as his master, is this right?"

"Yes. This martial brother Lin's name is Lin Pingzhi," Linghu Chong answered.

"His great grandfather has passed down a book called the 'Evil

Resisting Sword Manual'. This rumour has been going around in Jianghu for a very long time. Everyone said that this book contains a very powerful sword art. Brother must surely have heard of this," Chongxu said.

"I have," Linghu Chong answered. Then he immediately told them of the search for the Buddhist robe in Fuzhou's Xiangyang Lane, how Songshan School sent people to snatch it, and how he himself got injured.

Chongxu hummed deeply after listening to his story. He then said, "It is reasonable to suppose that your master found this Buddhist robe on you and gave it to your martial brother Lin."

"Yes. But later on, martial sister chased me and asked for this 'Evil Resisting Sword Manual'. I find this problem really hard to solve and as

Junior has already been wrongly blamed for this for a long time, I didn't pay further attention to this problem. But what's really the truth behind this Evil Resisting Sword Art, could seniors please tell me?"

Chongxu looked at Fangzheng and said, "Great Master Abbot, please tell Brother Linghu the whole story."

Fangzheng nodded his head a few times before saying, "Headmaster Linghu, have you heard of the name 'Sunflower Manual'?" "I've heard Junior's master mentioned it before. He said 'Sunflower Manual' is a secret which contained a supreme martial art study, but it has been lost for a long time and no one knows of its whereabouts. Later on,

Junior heard Chief Ren saying that he passed this 'Sunflower Manual' down to Dongfang Bubai. So this item 'Sunflower Manual' is currently in the hands of Sun Moon Sect."

Fangzheng shook his head and said, "The book Sun Moon Sect has is incomplete and isn't the original."

"Yes," Linghu Chong responded. He felt that if these two seniors didn't know of this secret in Wulin then no one else would know of it. He also felt that Great Master Fangzheng was on the verge of revealing this really big secret.

Fangzheng lifted his head and longingly looked at the floating white clouds. "During the days that Huashan School was separated into two, the Qi faction and the Sword faction, Huashan School's seniors were killing

each other because of this division. Do you also know about this?"

"Yes. But my master didn't talk about this in detail," Linghu Chong answered.

Fangzheng nodded. "Internal fighting in the school is really not a good thing so Mr. Yue didn't want to talk too much about it. The reason why Huashan School was divided into Qi faction and Sword faction was

said to be because of this 'Sunflower Manual'." He paused for a time before slowly continuing, "For a long time in Wulin, it has been said that this 'Sunflower Manual' originated from the previous dynasty, created by an official of the Imperial Court."

"A government official?" Linghu Chong asked.

Fang Zheng went on, "The government official was a eunuch. The name of this master is forever lost. In addition, just why exactly such a highly skilled master became a eunuch in the imperial court will never be known to us now. What we do know is that the martial arts inscribed in that manual are deep and profound to the extreme. For the past 300 some odd years, no one person has been able to take possession of the manual and master its arts. About a hundred years ago, the manual came into the possession of the Putian Shaolin Temple. At that time, the abbot of that Shaolin temple was Reverend Hongxie. He was an extremely wise and intelligent person, which was reflected in his vast understanding of martial arts. Reverend Hongxie was the perfect candidate who possessed enough talent to master the Manual's profound martial arts. But it has been claimed by Reverend Hongxie's students that their master never mastered the Sunflower Manual. Moreover, they have even said that after studying it for quite some time, Reverend Hongxie never even began to practice it at all."

Linghu Chong reasoned, "It must be because there was some secret part of the Manual that was missing, that even such a talent like Reverend Hongxie wasn't able to fully comprehend the Sunflower Manual without it."

Fang Zheng nodded and answered, "That might be a possibility.

However, the Old Taoist and I have never had the fortune of encountering this Manual. Not saying that we would dare to practice its arts, but perhaps seeing what kind of profound and mystical writings are in it would be interesting."

Chong Xu smiled slightly and said, "Great Master, you are being

affected by worldly desires. We are practitioners of the martial arts. Because we haven't had the chance to see the Manual we can say we won't practice. But if we actually did get to see it, most likely we would be losing sleep and not eating, tirelessly studying the Manual's words and meaning. The result would be that not only would we mistakenly waste our cultivation, but it

would lead our mind to endless troubles and confusion. Because we haven't had the fortune to have seen the Manual, I would say that we are the ones who are truly fortunate."

Fang Zheng laughed. "Old Taoist you are right. Old monk is still not free of worldly longings. How shameful it is." He then turned his head back around to Linghu Chong and continued, "Huashan School had two martial brothers who happened to be visiting the Shaolin Temple at that time and they caught sight of the Sunflower Manual there."

Linghu Chong thought, "Because the manual was so important, Shaolin must have taken measures not to allow anyone to see the Manual. Those two martial brothers of Huashan must have secretly peeped at the Manual."

Fang Zheng continued, "Because of the urgency of the situation, those two brothers couldn't spend time to study the Manual in depth during their

stay at Shaolin. So the two divided up the work and each read and memorized half of the Sunflower Manual. Afterwards, they returned to Huashan and together studied and discussed each part that they read. But

what happened was that the two martial brothers disagreed on a lot of what was written in the Manual. When they tried putting their parts together, a lot of it did not make sense. Each believed what he read and memorized was

correct, what he interpreted was correct, and the other person was mistaken. However, from the individual parts that each of them had memorized, neither one could come up with or practice anything substantial either. The two brothers used to be very close and were the best of friends. However

after this clash of interests, they became very heated rivals and this was the cause of the split of Huashan into Qi and Sword factions."

Linghu Chong added, "Those two senior martial brothers, are they

Huashan School's seniors Yue Su and Cai Zifeng?" Yue Su was the founder of Huashan's Qi branch and Cai Zifeng was the founder of Huashan's Sword branch. The splitting of the two sects of Huashan was a thing of the distant past.

Fang Zheng went on with his story, "Yes. The incident with Yue and Cai was soon discovered by Reverend Hongxie. He understood that

although the martial arts philosophies inside the Sunflower Manual were profound and deep, they were also brutal, ferocious and dangerous. He

stated that the first step was the most difficult step in learning the arts of the Sunflower Manual. After the first step, learning the rest was relatively

simple. All the martial arts in this world are relatively easy to learn in the beginning and get increasingly difficult as one progresses further. The Sunflower Manual was the exact opposite. The first step was extremely difficult and if even a small mistake was made when training, if one didn't die from it one would certainly be severely injured. So therefore he sent his disciple Reverend Duyuan to try to convince the two Huashan brothers to

stop trying to practice the Sunflower Manual as it could be extremely harmful to them."

Linghu Chong said, "This martial art was unexpectedly very hard to learn in the beginning. If no one gave you any direction, and you only learn from the book, then of course it would be very dangerous. But could it be that the two Huashan martial brothers didn't listen to his advice?"

Fang Zheng answered, "That wasn't the case. That would be wrongly blaming the two of them. Looking at a person like me who's been practicing martial art for my whole lifetime, if one day I had the chance to take a peek at a deep and profound martial art's secret, how could I not be willing to

study it? Old monk has cultivated my study

in Buddhism for tens of years, but if one day I managed to get my hands on the Manual, I would definitely still read it. Priest Chongxu laughed at this earlier. So how can a secular martial art master refuse it? Unexpectedly, this was exactly what happened to Reverend Duyuan when he went up to see them."

Linghu Chong asked, "Could it be that the two Huashan brothers had ill intentions toward Reverend Duyuan when he tried to coerce them into giving up the Manual?"

Fangzheng shook his head. "That wasn't the case. They were actually very courteous to Reverend Duyuan and admitted that they had actually looked at the 'Sunflower Manual'. On the one hand, they apologized and one the other hand, they asked for Duyuan's advice on the writings of the Manual. But they never expected that even though Reverend Duyuan was Reverend Hongxie's precious disciple, he had never once before heard or

encountered the Manual at all. Because Hongxie himself never

really understood the writings of the Manual so he couldn't teach it to his disciple. But the two brothers, Yue and Cai, were certain that Reverand Duyuan was proficient in the martial arts study of the Manual, so they

wanted to get his opinion on it. At the time, Duyuan didn't really understand the verses from the Manual that they recited to him either. He just casually explained the writings as they recited, and couldn't help but secretly memorize what they recited. Reverend Duyuan was also an exceptional martial arts master as well as an extremely wise and intelligent person.

Through his logical deductions of what the two brothers recited, the explanations he gave actually fit and made sense."

Linghu Chong said, "So it turns out that Reverend Duyuan was learning the script of the Manual from two brothers as they recited it."

Fang Zheng nodded his head. "Correct. But originally, what the two brothers recited was not very much. But after hearing how the explanations Reverend Duyuan gave them made sense, they couldn't resist the temptation and invited him to stay at Huashan for 8 more days. But after this visit,

Duyuan never returned to the Shaolin temple."

Linghu Chong was surprised, "Never returned? Where did he go afterwards?"

Fang Zheng replied, "At that time, no one knew. But not long

afterwards, Reverend Hongxie received a letter from Reverend Duyuan

stating that his attachments to the world were too great that he decided to leave the Buddhist realm and renounce his monkhood. He was also very

ashamed and couldn't face his master anymore." Linghu Chong felt that this was very strange and that there must be another reason for this.

Fangzheng continued, "After that incident, there was much suspicion and distrust between Shaolin and Huashan. The news that Huashan disciples had secretly studied the Sunflower Manual leaked to the public

and soon after, the ten elders of the Devil Sect attacked Huashan." Just then, Linghu Chong remembered the bones and skulls inside the cave behind the Cliff of Contemplation. He also recalled the engravings of the various

sword arts on the cave wall and couldn't help from uttering an 'ah' in acknowledging his comprehension.

"What is it?" Fangzheng asked.

Linghu Chong's face turned red and said, "I've interrupted Abbot's story, please forgive me."

Fangzheng nodded his head and continued, "This incident happened before your master was even born. The Elders of the Devil Sect attacked Huashan with the intention of stealing the Sunflower Manual. It was because of this incident that Taishan, Songshan, Huashan, Hengshan and Hengshan formed an alliance. After receiving word, the other four schools

came to Huashan's aid. A bloody battle occurred on Huashan, and all ten of the Devil Sect Elders were badly wounded. Yue and Cai also lost their lives in this battle and as a result, the version of the Manual that they penned was snatched away by the Devil Sect. That's why it's hard to say who had

actually won this battle. Five years later, the Devil Sect returned to attack, but this time the ten elders came prepared. They had managed to understand the sword arts of the five mountains sword schools comprehensively and thought up counter moves to break all the sword arts of the five mountains

sword schools. Priest Chongxu and old monk believe that even though the martial arts of the Ten Elders were great already, to be able to comprehend and counter all the sword arts of the five mountains sword schools, the Sunflower Manual must have played some role in giving them such insights into martial arts theories. At this second battle, the five mountains schools

actually suffered great losses. Many great masters lost their lives and since that day many of the intricate and complex sword arts of those schools were lost as well. However, those ten Devil Sect elders were also unable to

escape Huashan. Thinking of the fighting that happened at that time, it must've been ferocious and bloody."

Linghu Chong said, "Junior saw the remains of these ten Devil Sect's elders inside a cave in Huashan's Cliff of Contemplation, and I also saw a number of inscriptions engraved on the stone wall."

"Did you? What was written on the wall?" Chongxu asked.

"The inscription was written in big letters and it says: 'THE FIVE MOUNTAINS SWORD ALLIANCE, YOU SHAMELESS AND

DESPICABLE BUNCH, CAN'T

WIN IN A FAIR FIGHT, DIRTY TRICKS ARE YOUR

SPECIALTY'. Besides it were more sentences written in small letters

cursing and swearing at the five mountains sword schools, like shameless, etc, etc," Linghu Chong told them. "How could Huashan School let these slanders remain on the stone wall? This is really strange," Chongxu pondered.

"Junior discovered this stone cave accidentally, and no one else knows of its existence," Linghu Chong explained. He then immediately told them how he discovered this stone cave, and he also told them how

someone with an axe had dug several hundred feet through the mountain, but this person had died from exhaustion inches away from breaking through.

Great Master Fangzheng asked, "Using an axe? Could it be that he was 'Divine Strength Demon' Fan Song?"

"He was! There was a sentence on the wall that says: 'Fan Song and Zhao He defeat Heng-Shan sword art here'."

"Zhao He? He's one of the ten elders called 'Divine Flying Demon'.

Was he using a thunder mace?" Fangzheng asked.

"Junior doesn't know about this, but on the ground of the cave, there was a thunder mace there. Junior remembered the inscription on the stone wall, the ones who defeated the Huashan School's sword art were called Zhang Chengfeng and Zhang Chengyun."

"It's true then, they are the two brothers 'Divine Golden Monkey Demon' Zhang Chengfeng and 'Divine White Ape Demon' Zhang

Chengyun. It was said that their weapons were copper cudgels," Fangzheng said.

"That's right. The pictures on the stone wall showed cudgels defeating my Huashan School's sword art. It was really wonderful and unthinkable."

"That place you saw is apparently the trap that the five mountains

sword schools had prepared to capture those ten elders from the Devil Sect.

Once they were trapped in that mountain cave, they were locked up and were unable to get out," Fangzheng deduced. "Junior also has the same thought. That's why those people thought that they had been treated unfairly and wrote those swear words on the

stone wall and touted that they had defeated all the sword arts of the five mountains sword schools. They wanted to let people know in the future that they hadn't been defeated in a fight but had been trapped instead. There

were also some Huashan School's sword arts engraved on the stone wall, they were extremely wonderful and it seems that even my master and master-wife don't know about them. Junior doesn't know the reason for this but now that I've heard Great Master Abbot relating the past story, it's

certain that these high sword arts were lost after most of Huashan School's seniors lost their lives there. Heng-Shan, Taishan, and the other schools

seemed to have lost their

high sword arts as well since then." "That's right," Chongxu affirmed.

"There were also some long swords that belonged to the five mountains sword schools besides the bones of the Devil Sect's ten elders," Linghu Chong added.

Fangzheng let out an unusual expression and said, "I don't know the reason. Maybe the ten elders snatched them from the hands of the five mountains sword schools people. Have you talked to anyone about what you saw in that cave?"

"After Junior discovered that cave, I've been going from one misfortune to the next and haven’t had any time to mention this to master and master-wife. But grand martial uncle Feng knows about it already," Linghu Chong said.

Fangzheng nodded his head. "My younger martial brother Fangsheng once had the opportunity to meet senior Feng and received his favour.

Martial brother Fangsheng told me that your sword technique was taught by senior Feng. We know that during the time when Huashan split into two branches, senior Feng had already decided to leave Huashan to be on his own."

Chong Xu said, "It was said in Wulin that during the time when

Huashan split into two and were fighting amongst themselves, senior Feng was away in Jiangnan getting married. When he heard news of the fighting, he quickly returned to Huashan but the Sword faction had already lost with numerous casualties on their side. Otherwise with his wonderful sword art in the fight, the Qi faction would never have gotten the upper hand. Senior Feng felt immediately that the Jiangnan's family that his wife was supposed to be from might be a hoax. Actually, that guy Yue Zhang had secretly received instruction from the Huashan's Qi faction to hire a prostitute and tell her to pretend to be a lady from an esteemed background looking to be married so that they can restrain Senior Feng in Jiangnan. Senior Feng then went back to Jiangnan to look for that Yue's family he was to marry, but

everyone was missing. He realized then that he had been tricked. Rumor has it that Senior Feng was so extremely angry that he cut off his own head."

Fangzheng's expression changed as he looked at Chongxu wanting him to stop talking. But Chongxu pretended not to understand and the last thing he said was, "Headmaster Linghu, poor Taoist respects senior Feng

completely and would never dare to talk about his private life. So I told you about this matter today so that you understand that heroes get into trouble because of women. When a gentleman makes a mistake, it's not such a big deal, but they can't keep falling deeper and deeper into that mistake."

Linghu Chong knew that he was using the analogy to talk about Yingying. But knowing that Priest Chongxu had said this with good intentions, Linghu Chong just sighed and did not answer. He thought, "Grand martial uncle Feng has been living at the Cliff of Contemplation for all these years. So he really regrets about his past and he's too ashamed to

see people of the orthodox path in Wulin. That's why he told me not to tell anyone of his whereabouts and he also said that from then on he doesn't

want to see anyone from the Huashan School anymore. A grieve misfortune befell on him and for these past tens of years, he has been living by himself. After I've settled this big matter, I'll go up Cliff of Contemplation to talk to him for a while. Now that I'm no longer a member of the Huashan School, paying him a visit wouldn't be considered violating his order."

The three people talked for half a day until the sun was going down the mountain, painting a crimson colour across the horizon. Fangzheng said, "Not long after Huashan School's Yue Su and Cai Zifeng wrote down the ‘Sunflower Manual', they were killed by the Devil Sect's ten elders so they didn't have time to practise it yet and the Manual was taken by the Devil Sect. That's why no one in Huashan School had managed to learn any martial art from the Manual. But Yue and Cai had perceived the Manual differently; one said the study of qi was more important while the other gave more importance to the study of sword. They had separately

convinced the school's disciples with their own viewpoints and this later resulted in the division of Huashan School into two branches - Qi and Sword. This division caused the disciples from the two branches to fight amongst themselves within the school. This Manual really is a very inauspicious item."

Chongxu nodded his head. "The five colours blind people, the five tones deafen people, that's the theory."

Fangzheng said, "Even though the Devil Sect managed to get the partially completed Manual written by these two brothers, perhaps it has no benefit at all. The ten elders perished on Huashan because of this. Headmaster Linghu said before that Chief Ren passed the Manual down to Dongfang Bubai. Perhaps the hatred between these two people was also

caused by this Manual. In actuality, this incomplete manual is probably not even as good as the one memorised by Lin Yuantu."

Linghu Chong asked, "Who's Lin Yuantu?"

"En, Lin Yuantu was your martial brother Lin's great grandfather, the founder of the Fortune Prestige Escort House, the one who used the

seventy-two stances of Evil Resisting Sword Art to shake the world; that was him," Fangzheng answered.

"This senior Lin, did he also see the 'Sunflower Manual' before?" Linghu Chong inquired.

"He was Reverend Duyuan, the disciple of Reverend Hongxie!" Fangzheng explained.

Linghu Chong was shaken when he heard this. "So that's what happened."

"Reverend Duyuan originally had the surname Lin, so when he went back to the secular world, he retook his original surname," Fangzheng said.

"So Senior Lin was Reverend Duyuan, and he was also the same person who shook Jianghu with the seventy-two stances of Evil Resisting Sword Art. This is really unexpected," Linghu Chong mumbled. Suddenly, sadness swelled over him as he remembered how Lin Zhennan died on that night in the worn-out temple outside Hengshan city.

"Duyuan is 'Tu Yuan'. After this Senior Reverend went back to the

secular world, he reverted back to his original surname but he inverted his Buddhist name and took the name Yuantu. He got married, founded the

escort house, and caused a big uproar in Jianghu. This Senior Lin was an upright person. Even though he was running an escort house, his conduct was still heroic and righteous, and he was still eager to help people in distress. He was no longer a Buddhist monk but he was still acting like a Buddhist. One only has to have a good heart to be a Buddhist; not much

difference exists between such a person and a Buddhist. Of course, not long after that Reverend Hongxie heard about these events and realised that the head of the Lin escort house was his most loved disciple. But he never paid him a visit." Fangzheng told him.

"Where did this 'Evil Resisting Sword Art' come from after this Senior Lin obtain the essence of the 'Sunflower Manual' from the recitation of Huashan School's seniors Yue and Cai? How come this 'Evil Resisting Sword Art' that's been passed down in the Lin family is not very good?" Linghu Chong asked.

Fangzheng replied, "Evil Resisting Sword Art comes from the incomplete book of 'Sunflower Manual'. Both items came from the same origin but both had only a small portion of the original Manual." Fangzheng turned his head around to Chongxu and said, "Brother Taoist, you have more understanding about the art of sword compared to me. Why don't you talk to young hero Linghu about this matter?"

Chongxu laughed. "If we hadn't been friends for many years, old

Taoist would've thought that you were teasing me with that kind of talk. In the art of sword, besides Senior Feng's excellence at the current time, who else is above young hero Linghu?"

Fangzheng said, "Even though young hero Linghu's sword art is

excellent, no one could even come close to you in comparing the study of sword arts. We're all friends here so we never have to say any meaningless words; there's no need to be polite."

Chongxu let out a sigh before saying, "Actually, Old Taoist knows that the knowledge of the study of sword arts is vast like the sea and that

what I know is only like a grain in a big granary. In the future, I don't know whether I'll have the chance to meet Senior Feng to consult him about this." He then turned towards Linghu Chong and said, "Today, the Evil Resisting Sword Art of the Lin family is ordinary and nothing spectacular. But

actually it is the same sword art as the one that senior Lin Yuantu used to shake Jianghu back then. In those days, the headmaster of Qingcheng School was Zhang Qingzi (Tranlator's note: Evergreen in Lanny's translation.) with the nickname 'Number One Sword in the West's Three

Gorges' but he still lost to Senior Lin. Today, Qingcheng School's sword art is much better compared to the Fortune Prestige Escort House's Evil

Resisting Sword Art; so there must be another reason behind this. What it is, I've been thinking about for a long time already. Actually, all the

warriors who study the art of sword have all been thinking of the reason behind this."

Linghu Chong said, "The family of Martial Brother Lin has all perished; both his father and mother died miserably, that was all because of this doubt?"

"That's right. The reputation of the Evil Resisting Sword Art is very well known, but the martial art of Lin Zhennan was very low. This disparity involuntarily caused other people to think that Lin Zhennan was too dumb and couldn't learn his own family's martial art. They then thought a step further; if this sword manual were in my hand, of course I would be able to learn it until my sword art is as splendid as Lin Yuantu back then. Brother, for the last one hundred years, Lin Yuantu wasn't the only one with a reputable sword art. But Shaolin, Wudang, Emei, Kunlun, Diancang,

Qingcheng, and also the five mountains sword schools, all have people to pass their sword arts down to, and other people never thought of actually taking these schools' sword arts. But Lin Zhennan's martial art was very poor like that of a three years old baby, and he also had a lot of gold in his hand, so everyone had the intention of robbing him," Chongxu explained.

Linghu Chong said, "This Senior Lin Yuantu was Reverend Hongxie's disciple and he had studied martial art in the Putian Shaolin Temple. He had most likely studied some astonishing martial art while he was there, so this Evil Resisting Sword Art might be a sword art from the Shaolin School

with a few changes and addition of his own. It's not necessarily true that it's a completely different sword art."

Chongxu replied, "There were also many people who thought the

same thing. But Evil Resisting Sword Art and Shaolin School's martial art were completely different and all the warriors studying the sword art knew it when they saw it. Hey, hey, even though there were many people with the intention of robbing this sword manual, it was finally that shorty from

Qingcheng who moved first. Even though that shorty Yu has a really thick face, he's so stupid. How can he be compared to your master Mr. Yue who just bided his time and reaped the benefit?"

Linghu Chong's face changed colour as he stammered, "Priest, what... what are you saying?"

Chongxu smiled slightly and said, "That Lin Pingzhi was accepted into your Huashan School. Naturally, that 'Evil Resisting Sword Art' would also be carried into the school with him. I heard that Mr. Yue also has a lovely daughter who he wants to give away to your martial brother Lin, is this right? He really is farsighted."

When Linghu Chong heard Chongxu saying 'Your master Mr. Yue

who just bided his time and reaped the benefit', he felt angry that Chongxu was insulting his honoured master. But hearing him say that his master was 'farsighted', he suddenly thought of the days when Master sent second martial brother Lao Denuo in disguise along with little martial sister to Fuzhou to open up a wine shop. He didn't understand Master's intention at that time, but as he thought of it now, it must've been in connection with the Fortune Prestige Escort House. Lin Zhennan's martial art was ordinary and Master had actually planned that move so deliberately, if it weren't for the 'Evil Resisting Sword Art', what else could it be for? But Master's plan was done skilfully, unlike that of Yu Canghai and Mu Gaofeng. Another thought immediately followed, "Little martial sister is an unmarried young girl, but why would Master told her to go out and open up a wine

shop?" At this thought, a cold shiver ran up his spine and he suddenly understood, "Master wanted little martial sister to accompany martial brother Lin; actually this has been arranged a long time ago."

From the look of his face, Fangzheng and Chongxu noted that he looked uncertain and distressed. They knew that he respected his master

and that this kind of talk hurt him deeply. Fangzheng said, "These were only idle talks between old monk and Priest Chongxu, we were just wildly

speculating. Your respected master is very upright and known in Wulin as a gentleman. I'm afraid we're just thinking like a small person and absurdly blaming the gentleman." Chongxu smiled slightly on hearing this.

Linghu Chong's heart was in confusion. He was hoping that what Chongxu said was not true, but deep down he knew that every word said was right. Suddenly he thought, "Originally, Senior Lin Yuantu was a monk; that's why there was a Buddhist hall in Xiangyang Lane, and that

sword manual was also written on a Buddhist robe. My guess would be that he remembered every word and sentence by heart after being consulted

about the Manual by seniors Yue Su and Cai Zifeng on Huashan. As he was still a monk then, that same night he immediately wrote everything down on his robe so that he wouldn't forget anything." Chongxu said, "Even now, this 'Sunflower Manual' still carries a profound martial art study. Devil Sect has a part of it and your master Mr. Yue has a part of it also. Your martial brother Lin has already joined the Huashan School, so Zuo Lengchan will definitely give Mr. Yue some trouble. He'll have two intentions: one is to kill Mr. Yue in order to merge

the five mountains sword schools, and the second one is to snatch this 'Evil Resisting Sword Art'."

Linghu Chong continuously nodded his head and said, "Priest thought correctly. The complete Manual is in Putian Shaolin Temple, does Zuo Lengchan know this? If he does then I'm afraid he'd go and attack the Putian Shaolin Temple."

Fangzheng smiled. "The 'Sunflower Manual' in Putian Shaolin

Temple was destroyed a long time ago. So there's no need to worry about it."

Linghu Chong was surprised, "Destroyed?"

Fangzheng answered, "Just before Reverend Hongxie passed away, he gathered all the disciples and told them the result of studying the Manual.

Then he immediately put it into the fire saying, "The martial art study in this manual is profoundly deep and wonderful, but there are many crucial points in its study. The person who had created it

didn't necessarily manage to study it completely as there are still many difficulties left in the Manual especially the first step in its study. This first step isn't only difficult, it simply couldn't be done. So if it were to be passed on to later generation, it would really be the bad luck of Wulin." He then left behind a letter for the abbot in Songshan's temple saying the same thing."

Linghu Chong sighed. "Reverend Hongxie was really wise. If there were no 'Sunflower Manual' in this world, then all these changes in Wulin wouldn't happen." His thought immediately followed, "No 'Sunflower Manual' means that there's no 'Evil Resisting Sword Art', then master

wouldn't have arranged little martial sister to accompany martial brother Lin, and martial brother Lin wouldn't have joined the Huashan School, and he wouldn't have met little martial sister." But he turned around and thought, "But I'm just a wanderer who makes friends with people from the unorthodox path, so what's that has to do with 'Sunflower Manual'? A gentleman follows his own instincts and reaps what he sows; there's no need to blame anyone else."

Chongxu said, "On the fifteenth of next month, Zuo Lengchan will be gathering the five mountains sword schools on Songshan to elect a head master. What's Young Hero Linghu's esteemed opinion on this?"

Linghu Chong laughed. "Is there even a need for an election? This headmaster position naturally belongs to Zuo Lengchan."

"Young Hero Linghu doesn't want to oppose it?" Chongxu asked. "Songshan, Taishan, Hengshan, and Huashan Schools are already

secured by him, while my Heng-Shan School is the only one left. Even if we oppose the merger, it'll still be in vain," Linghu Chong answered.

Chongxu shook his head and replied, "That's not so! Taishan,

Hengshan, and Huashan Schools are intimidated by the power of Songshan School so they don't dare to openly object to this. Even if they've said that they agree to the merger, they might not necessarily agree to this in their hearts."

Fangzheng said, "In old monk's opinion, Young Hero must oppose the merger of the five schools. As a principled person, Zuo Lengchan would not necessarily say that everyone

has submitted to his idea. But if the merger were to happen after the talks, then the position of headmaster would definitely be decided by a martial art competition. If Young Hero were to use all of your power, then you'll be able to win the headmaster position from Zuo Lengchan with your superior sword art."

Linghu Chong was greatly surprised. "I... I... How can I do that? I cannot!"

Chongxu said, "Great Master Abbot and Old Taoist already talked about this for a long time and we both feel that Brother is a frank person who does as he pleases; you can even make friends with people from the

Devil Sect. If you become the headmaster of the Five Mountains School, to be honest, the rules of the Five Mountains School would

relax and the conduct of the disciples might go down. This isn't necessarily the good fortune of Wulin... "

Linghu Chong laughed loudly and said, "What priest said is right, how can junior be capable of taking care of a bunch of other people? If the top were crooked then the bottom would be crooked too. I am only a loafer who likes to drink wine."

Chongxu said, "Neither a loafer nor a wine-lover will harm people, but a person of wild ambition can harm a lot of people. If Brother becomes the headmaster of the Five Mountains School, then firstly, the seniors and disciples of the five mountains sword schools wouldn't be bullied around; secondly, you wouldn't go and attack the Devil Sect

nor would you come to annex our two schools - Shaolin and Wudang; thirdly, Brother also wouldn't annex other schools like Emei, Kunlun and the others."

Fangzheng smiled. "Priest Chongxu and Old Monk have agreed to this plan. Even though we're saying that we're doing this to benefit Jianghu, half of what we're doing is actually for our own benefit." Chongxu added, "We're speaking frankly here. The old monk and old priest came to Heng-Shan to give our support to Brother and to plead for the lives of people from both the orthodox and demonical path."

Fangzheng joined his palms together and prayed, "Amituofo, if Zuo Lengchan were to become the headmaster of the Five Mountains School then who would know when the killings would end."

Linghu Chong took a deep breath and said, "Linghu Chong wouldn't dare decline the order given by seniors. But Junior is a useless person, and it's already very absurd that I became the headmaster of Heng-Shan, but I was forced into it so there's nothing I can do. However, the heroes of the realm will laugh till their teeth fall off if I aspire to become the headmaster of the Five Mountains School. Junior clearly understands the three things

mentioned and yet Junior doesn't dare to become the headmaster of the Five Mountains School. On the fifteenth of the third month, Junior will surely go to Songshan to make a big disturbance and say that Zuo Lengchan can't become the Five Mountains School's headmaster. Perhaps it would be

enough for Linghu Chong to just make a big disturbance there."

Chongxu said, "That's absurd. When the time comes and you're forced to do it then you must become the headmaster of the Five Mountains School." Linghu Chong just shook his head. Chongxu went on, "If you didn't go against Zuo Lengchan, then he would definitely become the headmaster. Once the five schools become one, the first thing Headmaster Zuo would do is naturally to kill you first."

Linghu Chong was silent and let out a long sigh. He then said, "That can't be helped then."

Chongxu said, "But if you were able to escape and he was unable to capture you, then Zuo Lengchan will just help himself to killing the disciples of your Heng-Shan School. Dingxian Shi Tai put so many disciples under your hand, are you just going to leave them to be butchered by Zuo Lengchan?"

Linghu Chong slapped the railing on the bridge and said loudly, "I cannot!"

Fangzheng also added, "By then, Zuo Lengchan would also not let your master, master-wife, martial brothers, and martial sisters off. In the years after that, big misfortunes will definitely fall on their heads. Are you still going to ignore all of this?"

Linghu Chong shivered in fear and the hair at the back of his neck stood up. He stepped back a couple of steps and saluted Fangzheng and

Chongxu deeply. "Thank you for seniors' advice, otherwise Linghu Chong wouldn't have worked hard and would've harmed many people."

Fangzheng and Chongxu returned his propriety. Fangzheng said, "On the fifteenth of the third month, Old Monk and Priest Chongxu will lead our disciples to go to Songshan to help Young Hero Linghu."

Chongxu said, "If Zuo Lengchan's Songshan School does something

against the rules then our Shaolin and Wudang Schools will put a stop to it."

Linghu Chong was happy to hear this and said, "If the two seniors were there to preside over the proceedings then Zuo Lengchan wouldn't dare to commit his evil acts."

The three of them finally finished their discussion. Even though there were many difficult things ahead of them, they felt easier after deciding

what to do. Chongxu laughed, "We should return. The new headmaster has been accompanying an old monk and an old Taoist for a long time, they must be wondering where you are. I'm afraid they must be worried by now."

The three of them turned around and had just walked seven or eight steps when suddenly they all halted at the same time. Linghu Chong shouted, "Who's there?" He was aware of the sounds of breathing coming from one end of the sky bridge. It was apparent that there were people hiding inside the left Spirit Turtle Pavilion of the

Hanging Temple.

As soon as he called out, with the sounds of 'peng, peng, peng', many windows of the Spirit Turtle Pavilion were slammed open at the same time. Many arrows were seen pointing out from the windows aimed at the three of them. At the same time, the windows of the Divine Snake Pavillion behind them also slammed open and more arrows were aimed at the three of them.

Fangzheng, Chongxu, and Linghu Chong were the present world's top masters. Under ordinary circumstances, even though the bows and arrows were not ordinary weapons and the people using them were not ordinary

either, how could any group actually fight the three of them? But the three of them were on the sky bridge spanning between the two pavilions and below them was a bottomless abyss which prevented them from jumping down. Further more, the bridge was only a few feet wide and limited their manoeuvrability, and added to that, they didn't have any weapons with them. Thus, the trio couldn't help feeling frightened of this ambush.

As a host, Linghu Chong quickly stepped in front of the other two people and shouted, "Daring rats, you don't dare to show yourselves?"

But they only heard someone shouted, "Shoot!"

Seventeen to eighteen black water arrows were immediately shot out from the windows. Unlike ordinary feathered arrows, these water arrows

carried water and the water was released from the point of the arrows when shot out. As these water arrows were shot towards the sky, they looked jet black. But as they tipped over in the evening sky, the arrows turned into a

strange colour and the air around Linghu Chong and company was filled with rotten corpse or dead fish smell which made them want to vomit. The tipped over water arrows started to rain down onto the bridge. Some of the water hit the wooden railings of the sky bridge and burned small holes through them. Even though Fangzheng and Chongxu were very

experienced, they had never seen this kind of fierce poison water before. If the arrows were just ordinary feathered ones, the three of them could have blocked them by transferring their qi into their sleeves. But as the poison water moistened the top of their bodies, they became afraid that it might bore through to their bones. The two elders looked at each other and saw their expressions changed and their eyes filled with fear. Such fear in the

eyes of these two headmasters were really rarely seen.

After this wave of poison water was shot out, that person behind the window shouted out in a clear voice, "This poison water was shot towards the sky. If it was aimed at your bodies, what do you think would have happened?" As he said this, seventeen to eighteen arrows were slowly lowered and aimed at the three of them. The sky bridge ran ten feet long with its left side connected to the Spirit Turtle Pavilion while its right side was connected to the Divine Snake Pavilion. Both pavilions were filled

with people pointing poisonous arrows at them. Even though the three of them had high martial arts, it was still very difficult for them to escape.

When Linghu Chong heard the bright and clear voice of this person, he recalled whose voice it was. "Chief Dongfang's people with the gift; what a good gift!"

The person speaking from inside the Spirit Turtle Pavilion was really Jia Bu, who was the person sent by Dongfang Bubai with those gifts. Jia Bu laughed loudly and shouted, "Master Linghu is very bright to be able to recognise me from my voice. Since I already used a contemptible deceit to gain the upper hand, and a bright person wouldn't want to fight a losing battle, does master Linghu admit defeat?"

Jia Bu himself already admitted to using a contemptible deceit so Linghu Chong couldn't find any fault with what he said. He moved his qi into his Dantian region and laughed long and loud, shaking the whole valley. "I'm here conversing with seniors from Shaolin and Wudang, and all the people who came up the mountain today are my good friends, so I didn't arrange for any protection. So now I have fallen into Brother Jia's trap and I cannot not admit my defeat." Linghu Chong answered.

Jia Bu replied, "That's very good. Chief Dongfang respects the seniors of Wulin and regards the importance of young heroes highly.

Furthermore, Young Lady Ren has grown up under Chief Dongfang from a very young age. So in respect towards Young Lady Ren, we don't dare to be rude towards Master Linghu." Linghu Chong just uttered an 'hng' without

answering back.

While Linghu Chong was talking to Jia Bu, Fangzheng and Chongxu were observing the situation and were looking for a crack in their line to rush at. But looking at the numerous water arrows at their front and back, even though they would be able to wipe out more than ten arrows at the

same time, it would be impossible to take them all out. Even if their

enemies managed to just shoot one water arrow through, it would be very difficult for the three of them to protect their lives. After the two of them had a look around, both of their eyes seemed to be saying, "We can't act rashly."

They heard Jia Bu went on, "Since Master Linghu already admitted defeat, both parties can avoid injuries. This is really what I wished for.

Chief Dongfang actually ordered us to invite Master Linghu, Shaolin Temple's Abbot, and Wudang School's Headmaster Priest to attend a banquet at my humble sect's gathering altar on Dark Wood Cliff for several days. It's really our good fortune that the three of you are here together.

How about if we go now?"

Linghu Chong uttered another 'hng', thinking how could there be such an easy thing in this world because once the three of them left the sky bridge, subduing Jia Bu and Shangguan Yun would be as easy as turning over his palm. As expected, Jia Bu followed by saying, "But the martial arts of the three of you are too high; if you change your mind midway through the journey and are not willing to go to Dark Wood Cliff, then we'll have no way of stopping you. That's why we gathered our nerves to ask the three of you to lend us your three right hands."

"Lend you our three right hands?" Linghu Chong asked.

"That's right. Could the three of you please cut your right arms first?

Then we'll be much more at ease," Jia Bu replied.

Linghu Chong laughed loudly and said, "That's how it is. Dongfang Bubai is afraid of our sword arts so he planned this trap. He wanted us to cut our right arms so we couldn't use any weapons. Then, he'll have no more worries."

Jia Bu replied, "It's not certain that he'll have no more worries. But

Ren Woxing would've lost a powerful help and that would've weakened him by a lot."

"Sir, you're speaking very frankly," Linghu Chong said.

"I'm just a nobody," Jia Bu said. He raised his voice and said, "Great Master Abbot, Headmaster Priest, are you two going to peacefully give your arms up or are you going to stake your lives here?"

Chongxu replied, "Alright! Dongfang Bubai wants to borrow our arms, so we'll lend our arms to him. But we're not carrying any weapons

with us so it's difficult to cut our arms off." As he just finished saying this, a flash of light flew out from the window as a steel ring was tossed out. This steel ring was a foot long in diameter and had a very sharp edge. There was a horizontal bar in the middle to hold it. It was another sect's weapon. If there was a pair of these, then it would become a 'Qiankun Ring'. Linghu

Chong was standing at the front so he extended his hand to grab it. He couldn't help laughing bitterly as he thought that this Jia Bu had really calculated everything. Even though the edge of this steel ring was very sharp and useful for cutting off their arms, it was too short to brandish around and block the incoming water arrows.

Jia Bu shouted out severely, “Since you have already promised, quickly cut your arm off! Don’t drag the time along thinking that someone’s coming to your rescue. I’m going to count to three! If your arms are not cut by then, I’ll release the poison water. One!”

Linghu Chong said in a whisper, “I’ll charge at them first, follow behind me!”

“No!” Chongxu replied.

“Two!” Jia Bu continued with his count.

Linghu Chong lifted the steel ring with his left hand while thinking, “Great Master Fangzheng and Priest Chongxu are my Heng-Shan School’s guests, so I can’t let them be harmed. When his count reaches three, I’m going to toss this steel ring, brandish my sleeves and charge up. All the

poison water would definitely be aimed at me and the two of them may find an opportunity to get away.” He then heard Jia Bu calling out, “Everyone, get ready! I’m about to call ‘three’!”

Suddenly, they heard a clear and crisp female voice shouting from the top of the Spirit Turtle Pavilion. “Wait!” Someone wearing a pale green gown floated down from the top of the pavilion and landed in front of Linghu Chong. It was Yingying. Linghu Chong hastily called out, “Yingying, step back!”

Yingying shook her left hand a few times at Linghu Chong at her back. She then called out, “Uncle Jia, the Honourable Yellow Face is very well known throughout Jianghu. Since when are you doing this kind of improper things!”

Jia Bu replied, “This… Young Lady, you… move away, don’t touch the water.”

“What are you doing here? Uncle Dongfang told you and Uncle Shangguan to deliver gifts to me here. How did you get bribed by Songshan School’s Zuo Lengchan that you are actually being rude towards the

Headmaster of Heng-Shan School?” Yingying chided.

“Who said I’ve been bribed by Zuo Lengchan? I received Chief

Dongfang’s secret order to capture Linghu Chong and bring him back to the Dark Wood Cliff.”

“Nonsense. Chief’s Dark Command Wood is here. Chief’s order is:

Jia Bu is secretly rebelling. Anyone who sees him must capture and execute him immediately and will be heaped with gifts!” As she said this, she raised her right hand high above her hand holding the Dark Command Wood.

Jia Bu was furious and he shouted, “Release the arrow!”

“Did Chief Dongfang tell you to kill me?” Yingying asked. “You’re disobeying Chief’s decree…”

“Uncle Shangguan, seize that traitor Jia Bu and you’ll be promoted to the position of Elder of the Green Dragon Hall,” Yingying called out.

Shangguan Yun thought to himself that his martial art was much higher than Jia Bu and that his experience was much deeper compared to Jia Bu when they entered the sect. But Jia Bu was the Green Dragon Hall’s Elder, while he was an Elder of a lower hall which was called the White Tiger Hall, so of course there was much jealousy in his heart. Once he heard Yingying’s call, he hesitated on what to do. Yingying was the daughter of the former Chief Ren, who now had re-entered Jianghu and would definitely plan to take back the chief position. Even though Chief Dongfang had always been respectful towards Young Lady Ren, his attitude towards her would certainly be very different now. However, he still would never dare to lead these men to shoot poison water at Yingying.

Jia Bu again called out, “Release the arrow!”

But those men he commanded had always revered Yingying as if she was a goddess, and also, she was holding the Dark Command Wood in her hand. How could they dare to be rude towards her?

Suddenly, in the middle of this deadlock, someone from below the Spirit Turtle Pavilion shouted, “Fire, fire!” A red flame was burning and black smoke rose above. It seemed that there really was a fire burning at the bottom floor of the pavilion. Yingying loudly called out, “Jia Bu, you’re very cruel! Why are you trying to burn your subordinates to death?”

Jia Bu angrily responded, “Nonsen...”

Yingying interrupted, “Long live the Chief, unify the Jianghu! People from the Divine Sun Moon Sect, Chief Dongfang has an order: Quickly put out the fire!” After she said this, she quickly charged forward.

Linghu Chong, Fangzheng, and Chongxu took advantage of the

situation to charge forward. Between Yingying calling out the sect's motto and the fire burning underneath the pavilion, chaos ensued amongst the

sect's people. Linghu Chong and his two companions flew halfway past the sky bridge and rushed into the building through the window which made the people inside unable to release their poison arrows. Linghu Chong quickly grabbed a long candlestick and wielded it in his right hand. He knew that the poison water was very severe and only a little bit of it had to be splashed on your body for you to suffer endlessly. Fangzheng and Chongxu were using their palms to chop and legs to kick without any mercy, and in no time at all, seven to eight people had been killed. He treated the candlestick in his hand like a long sword and stabbed it towards people's throats, and in a short time had killed six people. When Jia Bu and Shangguan Yun came to Heng-Shan, they carried forty boxes with them

which were carried by two people each (I guess Jin Yong miscounted…. In ch 29, he said four people carried each box.). So altogether they had eighty people. These eighty people were actually the most powerful people in the Divine Sun Moon Sect with good martial arts. Forty people were distributed to encircle the Hanging Temple, while the remaining forty people were hidden in the two pavilions. In a short time, Linghu Chong and the other two people had killed all twenty people in that one pavilion.

Jia Bu was using a pair of judge's pens while Yingying was using a pair of long and short swords as they fought fiercely. When Linghu Chong first met Yingying, he only heard her voice but never saw her. Later on, he experienced how powerful she was and saw how she was feared by that

crowd of heroes but he didn't know the reason. He felt feelings of affection but didn't know where his feelings came from. That day when Yingying killed some Shaolin disciples and fought against Great Master Fangsheng, Linghu Chong only saw her shadow and did not actually see her fight. So this was the first time that he had clearly seen her fighting with someone.

Seeing her moving lightly and quickly, swiftly going here and there with her pair of long and

short swords fluttering all of a sudden, attacking strangely with intermingled feints and true thrusts, even though she was really in front of him, in Linghu Chong's heart, he still felt as if he was floating, like the

smoke, like the fog. The two judge's pens that Jia Bu was using were really heavy. When he slashed them out, it was as if he was using a steel whip and Yingying didn't want her pair of swords to clash with his judge's pens. Each of Jia

Bu's moves was aimed at a major acupoint on Yingying's body but he was always a hairsbreadth short in striking her.

Great Master Fangzheng shouted, "Evil creature, you're still not putting down your weapon and be captured?"

Jia Bu saw that there was only death waiting for him today, so he combined his pair of pens into one and stabbed them towards Yingying's throat. Linghu Chong was startled and was really afraid that Yingying might not be able to avoid this attack, so he quickly stabbed out with the

candlestick in his hand. He stabbed out twice hitting both of Jia Bu's wrists. Jia Bu felt his fingers became powerless and dropped both of his judge's pens. He quickly rushed at Linghu Chong with both of his palms together.

Great Master Fangzheng sent both of his palms up in a slant and captured both of Jia Bu's hands. Jia Bu forcefully struggled but he was

unable to get away. He immediately kicked out violently with his left leg towards Fangzheng's lower body. Fangzheng let out a sigh and sent out both of his palms and sent Jia Bu flying out of the door. They heard him roaring out miserably, and his shout receded further and further away from them as he fell down towards the deep valley outside of Mount Cui Ping. Linghu

Chong smiled towards Yingying and said, "Lucky you came to the rescue!"

Yingying smiled back at him. "Luckily I arrived in time!" She followed by shouting, "Put out the fire!"

Someone from below the pavilion responded, "Yes!"

Originally, the fire that was underneath the pavilion was burnt by using sulfur mixed with grass so that it would make Jia Bu uneasy. It wasn't actually a real fire. Yingying walked to the window and called out towards the Divine Snake Pavilion, "Uncle Shangguan, Jia Bu defied orders and that's why he met with this disaster. Why don't you lead those people out of the pavilion now? I won't give you any trouble."

Shangguan Yun replied, "Young lady, swear it for me to believe you." "I'll swear to the past dynasties of the sect. If Shangguan Yun listens

to my orders, then from now on, I won't harm him. If I violate this oath, then the three corpse bugs will eat my brain to death," Yingying swore.

This was Sun Moon Sect's highest form of oath, so when Shangguan Yun heard it, he was immediately relieved and led the twenty people out of the pavilion. When Linghu Chong and others walked out of the Spirit Turtle Pavilion, they saw Old Man, Zu Qianqiu, and tens of other people waiting underneath the pavilion. Linghu Chong asked Yingying, "How did you know that Jia Bu and his men wanted to attack us?"

"Why would Dongfang Bubai be that nice to you and be sincere in giving you gifts? I already suspected from the beginning that those forty boxes contained some kind of deceit. Later, I saw Jia Bu acting suspiciously and leading his men here, so I was really suspicious and took Mr. Old and the others here to take a look. Those rice buckets guarding at the foot of

Mount Cui Ping didn't want to let us go up the

mountain, and in a short while revealed their true character," Yingying told him.

Old Man, Zu Qianqiu, and the men laughed at this. Shangguan Yun hung his head down looking ashamed. Linghu Chong sighed, "This is only my first day as the Headmaster of the Heng-Shan School, and my true

character as an incapable fool has already been revealed. I knew that those people sent by Dongfang Bubai were up to no good but I didn't take any precautions. If Linghu Chong dies, then that's deserved. But if Great Master Fangzheng and Priest Chongxu suffered under the hands of those traitors... Ai!" As he said this, he kept shaking his head.

Yingying said, "Uncle Shangguan, from today onwards, are you going to follow me or are you still going to follow Dongfang Bubai?"

Shangguan Yun's face changed colour as it was a hard decision for him to make to betray Chief Dongfang. Yingying went on, "Amongst the ten elders in the divine sect, six have taken my father's three corpse brain pills. Are you going to take this pill or not?" She extended her hand and in her open palm was a red pill. Shangguan Yun trembled, "Young lady, you're saying from amongst the sect's ten elders, six elders have… six elders…"

"That's right. You've never worked for my father before. So you're not considered to have betrayed my father when you worked for Dongfang

Bubai in these last few years. If you could abandon that dark world, then I'd appreciate it, and my father would definitely appreciate it too," Yingying

said.

Shangguan Yun looked around and he thought in his heart, "If I don't surrender, it seems that I'll lose my life right here. Since six out of the ten elders have returned to Chief Ren, things have moved really quickly. I

couldn't be the last one left still swearing loyalty to Chief Dongfang."

Having decided thus, he immediately took the three-corpse brain pill from Yingying's palm and swallowed it. He then said bowing to Yingying,

"Shangguan Yun is thankful for young lady's kindness for not killing me. From today, I will strive to complete your order and would never dare to disobey them."

"We're on the same side, there's no need for such a huge propriety. These brothers under you, they naturally follow you?" Yingying asked.

Shangguan Yun turned his head to look at the twenty men behind him. Those men saw that their leader had just surrendered and had also taken the three-corpse brain pill, so they immediately prostrated themselves on the ground and paid their respects to Yingying. They all said, "We're willing to obey Sacred Lady's order, ten thousand

deaths will not deter us." At this time, the crowd of heroes had extinguished the fire. When they saw that Yingying had subdued

Shangguan Yun, they all congratulated her. Shangguan Yun's martial art was already very high in the Sun Moon Sect, and his position was also very honourable, so with Yingying subduing him, this had helped Ren Woxing greatly in taking back the leadership of the sect.

Fangzheng and Chongxu saw that the situation had gone back to normal so they took their leaves and went down the mountain. Linghu Chong went with them for several li before parting ways. Yingying and Linghu Chong were walking shoulder to shoulder as they went back to Xianxing Peak. She said, "Dongfang Bubai is a very violent person, and

you already saw this methods for yourself. My father and Uncle Xiang are in the process of getting more support from inside the sect to return the sect to its former leadership. The ones who happily submit to us are naturally the best, while the ones who don't agree are settled one by one, so that

Dongfang Bubai will be weakened. At this moment, Dongfang Bubai has

started his counter attack. He sent Jia Bu and Shangguan Yun to take care of you. This was a really good move from him because my father and Uncle

Xiang's whereabouts are a secret so Dongfang Bubai couldn't find them. But if they wanted to harm you, I…I…" As she said this, her face blushed furiously and she turned her head away.

As the evening set in, the night wind blew her soft hair around till they covered both of her cheeks. Seeing her snow white neck, his heart was moved. He thought, "She's been passionately devoted to me for a long time and everyone in the world knows about this. Even Dongfang Bubai wanted to capture me in order to threaten her and also to threaten her father. On top of the sky bridge at the Hanging Temple, she knew clearly that the ambush was unpassable so she jumped in front of me afraid that I might get injured. To have a wife like this, what more can Linghu Chong ask for?" With this thought, he extended his arms to hug her waist.

Yingying giggled and leaned her body to one side making Linghu

Chong hug an empty space. Even though his sword art was wonderful and his internal energy was abundant, his fist, kicking, hand-seizing, lightness, and other martial arts lacked by a lot. Yingying laughed, "As a Headmaster of a school, how can you act with no rules or customs?"

Laughing also, Linghu Chong replied, "Amongst all the headmasters in the world, Heng-Shan School's headmaster is by far the most ordinary

and is the one laughed at by everyone."

Yingying seriously said, "Why are you saying that? Even the Abbot of Shaolin and the headmaster of Wudang respect you. Who would dare to look down on you? Are you going to keep the matter of your expulsion from Huashan in your heart forever and always be ashamed in front of other people?" These few words that Yingying said really touched the matter that was in Linghu Chong's heart. Even though he had a carefree nature, he was still heartbroken and still harboured a deep hurt for being expelled from the Huashan School. He couldn't help sighing when he heard this and bowed his head. Yingying pulled his hand and said, "You're now the Headmaster of Heng-Shan and you should be proud and elated in front of the realm's heroes. The reputations of the two schools Heng-Shan and Huashan are

equal. Could it be that the honourable position of Heng-Shan School's Headmaster isn't as good as being the disciple of Huashan School?"

"Thank you for your advice. But I've always felt being the headmaster of nuns is embarrassing and laughable," Linghu Chong replied. "Today, there's close to a thousand heroes who have joined the Heng- Shan School. Amongst the five mountains sword schools, if we talk about the glory of the schools, only Songshan School could be compared to you.

How could the other schools like Taishan, Hengshan and Huashan be compared to you?" Yingying said.

"I haven't thanked you for this yet." Yingying smiled. "Thank me for what?"

"You were afraid that it won't be too reputable for me to become the leader of nuns so you sent your men to join Heng-Shan. If it weren't for Sacred Lady's order, how could those wild and unruly friends agree to become the martial brothers and sisters of these nuns – not to mention obediently receiving my restrictions?"

Yingying, with pursed lips holding her laughter, said, "That might not be true. You have been their chief when you were attacking the Shaolin

Temple, so everyone had already accepted you long before."

The two of them chatted easily as they went up the mountain. When they got closer to the convent, they faintly heard the clamours of those heroes. Yingying halted her step and said, "We'll part here. Once my father's matter is settled then I'll come here to see you."

Linghu Chong's chest suddenly felt heated and he replied, "You're going to the Dark Wood Cliff?"

"Yes."

"I'll go with you."

Yingying's eyes flashed with happiness but she shook her head. Linghu Chong asked, "You don't want me to go with you?"

"You just became the headmaster of Heng-Shan School today and now you want to come with me to settle the Sun Moon Sect's matter. Even though there's no one higher than you in Heng-Shan School, don't you think doing this is too much?"

Linghu Chong reasoned, "It's very dangerous to go up against

Dongfang Bubai. How could I just stay outside of the matter and let you go into danger by yourself?"

"Those Jianghu friends who are living in Heng-Shan's Other

Courtyard, I can't say for certain that they won't offend the ladies in Heng- Shan School."

"You only need to order them not to do it then they definitely won't

dare."

"Alright, since you're willing to go with me, I thank you on behalf of

Daddy."

Linghu Chong laughingly said, "You're thanking me and I'm thanking you, why are we being so polite?"

Yingying smiled captivatingly and said, "Don't blame me for being impolite to you in the future."

After walking for a while, Yingying said, "My daddy said that since you don't want to join the sect, he doesn't want your help in taking back the sect's leadership, but… but…" She said till here when her face turned

scarlet.

"Even though I'm not joining the Sun Moon Sect, I'm not an outsider to you. If your father asks me to leave, then I'll just thicken my face and refuse to leave," Linghu Chong told her.

Yingying smiled, "My daddy would surely feel happy to get your

help."

The two of them returned to the top of Xianxing Peak and separately

went to their disciples to leave them with some orders. Linghu Chong ordered all his disciples to practise their martial arts diligently, and told them that he was escorting Yingying back and would be returning to the mountain after that. Yingying told the group of heroes that if any of them dared to set foot on Xianxing Peak from that day onwards, she would have their legs cut off. If their left foot stepped on the peak then their left leg

would be chopped, if it were their right foot then their right leg would be chopped, and if both feet stepped on the Peak then both legs would be

chopped off.

At dawn the next morning, Linghu Chong and Yingying said their many goodbyes, and went down the mountain with Shangguan Yun and his twenty men and commenced on their journey to Dark Wood Cliff.

Dark Wood Cliff lay east of Heng-Shan inside the prefecture of

Hebei. Within a day, they had arrived at the boundary of that prefecture. During the journey, Linghu Chong and Yingying separately sat inside two sedan chairs and always kept the curtains down to avoid Dongfang Bubai from detecting them. That very evening, Yingying and Linghu Chong

stayed at an inn very close to the gathering altar of the Sun Moon Sect, so the place around the inn was crawling with the sect's people coming and going. Shangguan Yun ordered four of his men to guard the front and back of the inn and not let anyone into the inn. At supper time, Yingying

accompanied Linghu Chong in drinking wine. The fireplace in the inn was blazing brightly and the light shone on Yingying's face, revealing her tenderness.

After drinking a few cups of wine, Linghu Chong said, "That day inside the Shaolin Temple, your father said that amongst all the heroes in the realm, there are three and a half who he admires. Amongst them,

Dongfang Bubai is number one. This person snatched the chief position from your father's hands, so naturally his ability and wisdom are high. It's also said in Jianghu that Dongfang Bubai is number one in terms of martial art, is this saying true?"

"This Dongfang Bubai definitely works really hard and is also very scheming. But I'm not certain about the level of his martial art because in the last few years, I've actually not seen him."

Linghu Chong nodded. "These past few years you've been living at the Bamboo Alley at Luoyang city so of course you haven't seen him."

"That's not true. Even though I lived in that Bamboo Alley, I went back to Dark Wood Cliff once or twice every year and yet, I never got to see Dongfang Bubai. I heard from the elders in the sect that for the past few years, it was getting harder and harder to see Chief," Yingying told him.

Linghu Chong said, "A person of such high status often doesn’t want to see other people so no one can see how different they are."

Yingying replied, "This certainly is one of the reasons. But my guess is that he's ardently practising the 'Sunflower Manual' martial arts, and isn't willing to be disturbed by sect's matters."

"Your father once said that during the time he was studying 'The Art of Essence Absorbing' to meld all the different types of internal energy in his body, he ignored all sect's matters, and let Dongfang Bubai usurped his power. Could it be that Dongfang Bubai is repeating the same mistake that your father made?"

"Since Dongfang Bubai isn't personally taking care of sect's business, in these last few years, all of the sect's affairs and power have been turned over to a little kid surnamed Yang. This little kid couldn't possibly seize

Dongfang Bubai's power and thus repeat the same thing again," Yingying explained.

"A little kid named Yang? Who's that? How come I've never heard of him before?" Yingying's face suddenly turned red, and she smiled, "There's no dirtier thing to say except for his name. No one in the sect would even mention his name; so no one outside the sect would know of him. So, of course, you've never heard his name before."

Linghu Chong's curiosity was peaked. "My dear, tell me about him." "That Yang person is called Yang Lianting. He's around twenty years

old, his martial art is really low, and he has no ability at all. But recently Dongfang Bubai had pampered him so much; it really is remarkable." As she said this, her whole face turned dark and her mouth twisted; it seemed that she really despised this person.

Linghu Chong was disappointed. "Ah, this Yang person is Dongfang Bubai's boyfriend. Originally, Dongfang Bubai was a great hero, but he likes… likes pretty boys."

Yingying said, "Don't say it! I don't understand what Dongfang Bubai's thoughts are. He always tells Yang Lianting to handle all of his

business, and a lot of brothers in the sect have been harmed by this Yang kid. We must kill…"

Suddenly, someone from outside the window laughed. "You're wrong.

We should thank Yang Lianting."

Yingying happily called out, "Daddy!" And she quickly went to the door to open it.

Ren Woxing and Xiang Wentian entered the room. The two of them were wearing farmers' garb and the big hats on their heads covered half of their faces. If they hadn't heard Ren Woxing's voice, they wouldn't have been able to recognise them just by their faces. Linghu Chong stood up to pay his respects and told the servant to bring two more sets of chopsticks, more wine and dishes. Ren Woxing was looking high-spirited as he said, "These last few days, Brother Xiang and I have been contacting our old comrades in the

sect, and it was unexpectedly very easy to get them on our side. Eight out of ten people that we contacted were extremely happy. They all said that in the last few years, most of his friends and allies have already left him because Dongfang Bubai's actions have been really perverse especially with regards to Yang Lianting. Yang Lianting was originally just a lowly soldier in the

sect. But for whatever reason, he managed to curry favour from Dongfang Bubai and take over the sect's power in his hand. Many of the people in the sect have either been removed or killed by him. If it weren't for the strict rules of the sect, they would've rebelled a long time ago. That Yang Lianting has helped us greatly in this matter, how could we not thank him greatly for this?"

Yingying said, "That’s right." Then she asked, "Daddy, how did you know that we've arrived?"

Ren Woxing laughed. "Brother Xiang and Shangguan Yun fought for a while before he found out that Shangguan Yun had surrendered to you."

"Uncle Xiang, did you hurt him?"

Xiang Wentian laughed and replied, "Hurting the Eagle Hero Shangguan isn't an easy thing to do."

Suddenly, they heard the sounds of whistling which made the hair at the back of their neck stood up.

Yingying said, "Could it be that Dongfang Bubai know that we're here?" She then turned around to Linghu Chong to explain, "This whistling sound is our sect's signal to notify that there are rebels and assassins in the area. Once the people in the sect hear this, they would be prepared to

apprehend the rebels with all their might." After some time, they heard four horses galloping quickly across the long street. The people on the horses were passing on the order: "Chief's order: Wind and Thunder Hall's Elder Tong Baixiong is colluding with the enemy to rebel against the sect. Apprehend him immediately! If there is

anyone who disobeys this order, kill them without question."

Yingying absentmindedly said, "Uncle Tong! How can that be?" They heard the sound of horses' hooves gradually getting farther away as the riders passed the order down. Observing this situation, it seemed that Sun Moon Sect had control of the entire area and the local government had no power at all.

Ren Woxing said, "Dongfang Bubai is very well informed; we just met with old Tong yesterday."

Yingying imploringly asked, "Uncle Tong already promised to help

us?"

Ren Woxing shook his head. "How could he agree to betray

Dongfang Bubai? Brother Xiang and I talked with him for half a day, and at the end that Old Tong said: 'Brother Dongfang and I are friends beyond death. The two of you don't realise that by talking to me today, you've looked down on Tong Baixiong, thinking that I'm a friend who could be bought. Recently, Chief Dongfang had been confounded by a lot of small people and had made a lot of mistakes. But thinking that he's bringing ruin and shame to himself, I can't bring myself to blame him for this. I'm not your match so if you want to kill me or peel my flesh off - then go ahead.' This Old Tong really is something, the older he gets the more vicious he gets."

Linghu Chong praised him, "Good man!"

Yingying said, "If he didn't agree to help us, how come Dongfang Bubai wants to capture him?" Xiang Wentian replied, "This is called taking unreasonable measures. Dongfang Bubai isn't that old yet, but he's very confused already. Old Tong is such a loyal friend to him; where else can you find such a man in this

world?"

Ren Woxing clapped his hands and laughed. "If Dongfang Bubai can even get angry at the type of people like Old Tong, we'll definitely complete our business! Come, bottoms up!" The four of them drank their cups.

Yingying said to Linghu Chong, "Uncle Tong is our sect's first elder and he has done a big service to the sect sometime in the past, and everyone in the sect respects him deeply. He never got on well with daddy but is very close with Dongfang Bubai. So according to reason, even if he did a big mistake, Dongfang Bubai wouldn't trouble him."

Ren Woxing was jubilant as he said, "As Dongfang Bubai is focusing on capturing Tong Baixiong, the situation on top of Dark Wood Cliff is likely chaotic. We can take advantage of this time to go up the cliff. This is very good."

Xiang Wentian said, "We'll ask Brother Shangguan to discuss this with us."

Ren Woxing nodded his head and said, "Very good."

Xiang Wentian went out and immediately came back into the room with Shangguan Yun. When Shangguan Yun saw Ren Woxing, he

immediately bowed and said, "Subordinate Shangguan Yun pays his respect to Chief. Long live the Chief, unify the Jianghu."

Ren Woxing laughed. "Brother Shangguan, I heard that you're a hard man who doesn't like to speak much. How come you're speaking like that now?"

Shangguan Yun looked blank as he said, "Subordinate doesn't understand. Chief, please advise me." "Daddy, you heard Uncle Shangguan said 'Long live the Chief, unify the Jianghu', and you felt that these words were too lofty, didn't you?" Yingying inquired.

"What long live, unify the Jianghu, am I an emperor?" Ren Woxing asked.

Yingying smilingly replied, "This was Dongfang Bubai's idea. He

wanted all the subordinates to say these words when they see him. He also wanted the brothers in the sect to also say this to each other when he's not

around. This phrase was made up not too long ago. Uncle Shangguan is too accustomed in saying this so he also said this to you."

Ren Woxing nodded his head and said, "I see. Long live the Chief, unify the Jianghu. What a beautiful idea! But I'm not an immortal, so how can I live for thousands of years? Brother Shangguan, I heard that

Dongfang Bubai wants to capture old Tong, so I thought we should go up the cliff tonight as Dark Wood Cliff would be in confusion. What do you think of this?"40

Shangguan Yun answered, "Chief's order is wise. This is a foolproof plan that really opens everyone's eyes. This plan is for the benefit of every common people in this world. This plan cannot be defeated and thus, victory is assured. Subordinate will carry out this order. I will always be loyal to Chief and would never balk at a thousand deaths."

Ren Woxing muttered to himself, "People in Jianghu says that 'Eagle Hero' Shangguan Yun's martial art is high and he's a frank person. How

come he talks so flatteringly and says so many clich├ęs just like a shameless small person? Could it be that those rumours in Jianghu are false, and his reputation is false?" He scowled at this thought.

Yingying smilingly said, "Daddy, we must disguise ourselves before going up the Dark Wood Cliff so we don't get recognised. But the most important thing is for us to learn the jargons of Dark Wood Cliff, or else you'll say everything wrongly."

"What Dark Wood Cliff's jargons?"

"Uncle Shangguan said something like 'Chief's order is wise. This is a foolproof plan that really opens everyone's eyes'; also 'Subordinate will

carry out this order. I will always be loyal to Chief and would never balk at a thousand deaths'. These kinds of talks are the jargons of the upper class people in Dark Wood Cliff for the last few years now. All these jargons

were thought of by that Yang Lianting to flatter Dongfang Bubai. The more he heard it, the more he liked it, so later, when someone doesn't speak like this, it's a really big offence to him. Also, if there were a slight disrespect in the way you say it, you'll immediately be killed," Yingying explained.

"Do you also say all these bullshits when you see Dongfang Bubai?" Ren Woxing asked.

"If I'm at Dark Wood Cliff, what can I do but to say these words?

That's why I live at Luoyang city to avoid all these crazy talks."

"Brother Shangguan, you don't need to say these words between us," Ren Woxing told him.

"Yes. Chief's sacred order only comes around every one hundred years and it cannot be replaced by ten thousand lives. The sacred order is like the brilliance of the sun and the moon illuminating the world,

subordinate will obey the order," Shangguan Yun replied. Yingying pursed her lips, not daring to laugh.

Ren Woxing asked, "What do you think is the best way for us to go up Dark Wood Cliff?"

Shangguan Yun replied, "Chief is confident and is a divine strategist; in the present age nobody can come close to your brilliance. In the presence of Chief, how can subordinate dare to offer my trivial idea?" Ren Woxing scowled and said, "When Dongfang Bubai discusses a matter with the sect, no one dares to say anything?"

"Dongfang Bubai's ability and wisdom is above everyone, and no one has as much experience as he is. Even if someone has a thought about it, they wouldn't dare to speak to avoid a sudden misfortune befalling them," Yingying said.

Ren Woxing said, "That's how it is. That's very good, extremely good!

Brother Shangguan, what order did Dongfang Bubai give you to capture Linghu Chong?"

"He said whoever captures Hero Linghu would be heaped with gifts.

If we couldn't capture him, then we should bring our own heads to him," Shangguan Yun said.

Ren Woxing laughed. "Very good, tie Linghu Chong up and claim your gifts."

Shangguan Yun retreated a step, and fear was etched on his face.

"Hero Linghu is Chief's beloved general, and he has done a big service to our sect. How could Subordinate dare to commit this sin?"

Ren Woxing laughed and said, "It's very hard to go up to Dongfang

Bubai's place, but if you're taking the bound up Linghu Chong up, he would definitely let us see him."

Yingying smiled, "Wonderful plan! We'll go up and see Dongfang

Bubai pretending to be Uncle Shangguan's subordinates. Once we see him, we'll get our weapons out and attack him. Even though his martial art is high, he'll still find it difficult to fight four pair of hands with his one pair."

Xiang Wentian added, "It'll be best if Brother Linghu pretends to be heavily injured and has his feet and hands bound. We'll splash some blood on him to make it real and then we'll carry him up using a stretcher. Dongfang Bubai wouldn't have any protections against this plan, and we can also store weapons in the stretcher."

"Very good, very good," Ren Woxing agreed with this plan.

They then heard the sound of horses’ hooves galloping on the long street, with someone shouting, "We've captured the Master of Wind and Thunder Hall. We've captured the Master of Wind and Thunder Hall!"

Yingying beckoned Linghu Chong to go with her. The two of them went to the entrance of the inn and saw tens of men on horses carrying torches. They were crowding around a tall and strong old man as they went past the street. That old man had a white beard and his face was full of

blood. His two hands were bound behind his back and his eyes were staring ahead brightly as if they were spouting fire. It was apparent that he was furious.

Yingying whispered, "Five to six years ago, when Dongfang Bubai met uncle Tong, they were even more close to each other than the two bear brothers. Who could've thought that he would turn ruthless against him today?"

Not long after that, Shangguan Yun came carrying a stretcher with him. Yingying bound Linghu Chong's arms using a white cloth and hung the cloth on his neck. They then slaughtered a sheep and smeared the

sheep's blood all over his body. Ren Woxing and Xiang Wentian both changed into the uniform of the sect, and Yingying also changed into a

man's clothes. They all smeared their faces black. After all of them had

eaten and worn the uniforms of Shangguan Yun's subordinates, they went on their way to Dark Wood Cliff.

Forty li northwest of the Dingzhou prefecture, the mountain rock was dark red like blood, and there was a creek called Ape Creek with water rushing by. As they went further north, the cliffs on their sides rose up like walls, and the mountain road spanned only five feet wide in between the two cliffs. The road to the gathering altar of the Sun Moon Sect was heavily guarded by members of the sect, who were very respectful toward them because of Shangguan Yun. After passing three checkpoints, they arrived to another creek. Shangguan Yun released a signal arrow and three boats from the other side came over to them. Linghu Chong secretly thought, "Sun

Moon Sect's hundreds years of existence really isn't a small matter. If it

weren't for Shangguan Yun leading the way, we would've had to attack from the outside. That wouldn't be very easy at all."

On the other side of the creek, the way up the mountain was very steep. Everyone had to abandon their horses. Some people in the party

carried torches to light up their way. Yingying walked besides the stretcher with her hand on her pair of swords guarding Linghu Chong.

Linghu Chong felt the constant danger he was in as they went up the mountain. If the people carrying the stretcher decided that they didn't want to carry him anymore, they could just dump him into the deep valley besides the road and he would certainly die by their hands. When they reached the gathering altar, the sky was still dark. Shangguan Yun quickly ordered someone to report to Dongfang Bubai that he had successfully

completed Chief's order. After some time, the sound of tinkling bells was heard and Shangguan Yun immediately stood up and respectfully waited.

Yingying pulled Ren Woxing up and whispered, "Chief's order has arrived. Quickly get up." Ren Woxing immediately stood up and saw that all the sect members inside the altar were suddenly standing still and motionless, as if they had come under a demonic spell. The tinkling bells

rang really fast before stopping. Not long after it stopped, a person wearing the yellow gown of a sect's disciple appeared holding a yellow scroll with both hands. He read the scroll out loud, "Divine Sun Moon Sect's refined scholar, kind-hearted warrior, just and wise Chief Dongfang commands: Jia Bu and Shangguan Yun have successfully carried out the order and have returned. This is an excellent achievement. Bring the captive along with you up the cliff."

Shangguan Yun bowed. "Long live the Chief, unify the Jianghu."

Linghu Chong found this hilarious. He thought to himself, "Isn't this what the court eunuchs usually read out?"

He then heard Shangguan Yun's loud reply, "Chief has granted

subordinate to ascend the cliff. I will never forget this supreme virtue and benevolence." Shangguan Yun's subordinates also replied together, "Chief has granted subordinates to ascend the cliff. We will never forget this

supreme virtue and benevolence." Ren Woxing and Xiang Wentian followed along but secretly cursed.

Their party went up the stone steps ascending toward the cliff and passed three iron doors along the way. At each iron door, a person asked them for that night's password and also inspected what they were carrying on their bodies. At last, they reached a stone gate with inscriptions on each side of it. The sentence on the right side read 'Refined Scholar, Kind- hearted Warrior', while the sentence on the left side said 'Just and Wise'.

There was a board hung horizontally above the gate with the red letterings saying 'Brilliance of Sun and Moon'.

After they passed the stone gate, they saw a big bamboo basket on the ground which could probably hold more than ten catties worth of rice.

Shangguan Yun shouted, "Take the captive in." Ren Woxing, Xiang

Wentian, and Yingying stooped down to pick up the stretcher and entered into the bamboo basket.

A copper gong was sounded three times and the bamboo basket was slowly pulled up. There was a pulley system on the top which allowed the bamboo basket to be pulled up. As the bamboo basket slowly ascended, Linghu Chong raised his head to take a look and saw only many dots of stars around him which made him realize how high the Dark Wood Cliff really was. Yingying extended her right arm and held his left hand. In the middle of the night, they were still able to see white clouds floating just

above their heads. After some time, they entered a white fog, and when they looked down, they were not able to see anything except darkness around them.

After a long time, the bamboo basket finally stopped. Shangguan Yun and his men helped lift Linghu Chong out of the basket. Then they proceeded to the left for tens of feet before encountering another bamboo basket. Actually the peak of the cliff was too high so it required four pulley systems to reach the top. Linghu Chong pondered in his heart, “It’d be very difficult for Dongfang Bubai’s subordinates to see him since he lives in

such a high place.”

When they reached the cliff's peak, the sun had already risen and it was shining brightly from the east. The sun's rays shone on an enormous decorated archway made from white jade, on which written in gold letters were the words ‘For the Benefit of Common People’. The gold coating of the letters reflected the sunlight and bursts of gold glittered everywhere.

When people saw this, a feeling of profound respect would blossom in their hearts.

Linghu Chong thought, “There’s no one in Wulin who could setup this kind of fanfare like Dongfang Bubai. Even Shaolin and Songshan

wouldn’t be able to follow this. As for Huashan and Hengshan, they lack even further. He’s really a learned man, unlike other crude and ordinary heroes in the realm.” 

hng!” Ren Woxing softly muttered, “For the benefit of common people,

Shangguan Yun called out in a clear voice, “Subordinate from White Tiger Hall, Elder Shangguan Yun, has received Chief’s order and has come to pay a visit to Chief.”

Four people came out of a stone house from their right and walked toward them. They were all wearing purple gowns. One of them said,

“Congratulations Elder Shangguan for completing a great service. How come Elder Jia didn’t come?”

“Elder Jia died for the cause and has repaid Chief’s kindness,” Shangguan Yun replied.

“That’s how it is. Then Elder Shangguan will surely be promoted,” that person replied.

“If Chief promotes me, then I wouldn’t dare forget Brother’s help,” Shangguan Yun said.

When that person heard this promise of a bribe, a smile crept into his eyes. “We should thank you first!” He gave Linghu Chong a glance and laughingly said, “Is this the little kid that Young Lady Ren admires? I thought he would have a face like Pan An or Song Yu, but I guess I was

wrong. Green Dragon Hall’s Elder Shangguan, please come through here.” “Chief hasn’t promoted me yet so don’t say this too early. If Chief or

General Yang heard this, then we’d be in big trouble.”

That person stuck his tongue out and then led the way for them. They passed underneath the decorated archway and walked through a perfectly

straight slab of road leading to a big door. After they went through the big door, another two people in purple gowns welcomed the five of them into the reception hall. One of them said, “General Yang wants to see you so just wait here.” “Yes!” Shangguan Yun acknowledged and put both of his arms besides his body. Even after a long time, that ‘General Yang’ still hadn’t come out yet, but Shangguan Yun just stood there respectfully waiting. Linghu Chong thought, “Elder Shangguan’s position in the sect isn’t low,

but once he comes up the cliff, everyone looks down on him and treats him just like a servant. Even the servants here seem to have more power than him. What kind of person is that General Yang? Most likely, he’s that Yang Lianting person. Before he came to be a general, he was just some ordinary servant doing some trifle things. But now the White Tiger Hall’s elder

actually has to wait respectfully for his arrival. Dongfang Bubai has really gone too far!”

After another long wait, footsteps were heard coming towards them.

From the sound of the steps, it seemed that the person had no internal energy at all. With a cough, a person emerged from behind the screen.

Linghu Chong took a peek and saw that this person was around thirty years old and was wearing a red jujube satin gown. He appeared tall and strong,

and his face was full of beard. In appearance, he really looked like a healthy and powerful martial artist.

Linghu Chong thought, “Yingying said that Dongfang Bubai is very pampering towards this guy, and she also said that the relationship between these two is shady. I always thought that he would look like a girly and pretty man, who would’ve thought he’d be this big and burly fellow. This is really outside my imagination. Could it be that he’s not Yang Lianting?” He then heard that person said, “Elder Shangguan, you successfully

accomplished your goal of capturing Linghu Chong. Chief will definitely be happy with this.” His voice was really deep and was pleasant to hear.

Shangguan Yun bowed to him and said, “That’s all because of Chief’s good fortune and General Yang’s thorough advice. Subordinate is merely carrying out Chief’s order.”

Linghu Chong inwardly felt strange. “This person must surely be Yang Lianting!”

Yang Lianting walked to the side of the stretcher and took a look at Linghu Chong’s face. Linghu Chong’s eyes were unfocused, his mouth hung slightly open, and he was wearing a stupefied expression while his whole body was bloodied as though he had received some heavy injuries. Yang Lianting asked, “Is this almost dead person Linghu Chong? Are you sure you got the right person?”

“Subordinate saw with my own eyes when he took the leadership of Heng-Shan School, so it couldn’t be wrong. In addition, he gave Elder Jia three stabs in his major acupoints and also injured Subordinate’s two palms. My injuries are serious, it’s likely that it won’t be healed in one and a half year,” Shangguan Yun reported.

Yang Lianting laughed, “You beat up Young Lady Ren’s beloved until he’s like this. Be careful, she’ll come and kill you.”

“Subordinate is loyal to Chief. I don’t care about other people’s hatred towards me. It’s Subordinate’s wish to be loyal to Chief till death; then my whole family would’ve been honoured,” Shangguan Yun replied.

“Very good, very good. I must tell Chief about your loyalty, Chief

will definitely heap you with gifts. The Wind and Thunder Hall’s elder has betrayed Chief and sowed confusion. Have you known about this?”

“Subordinate doesn’t know the details, but would like to consult General about this. If Chief or General has an order, subordinate will put

my life on the line to do it. I will go through fire and water and I wouldn’t balk at a thousand deaths,” Shangguan Yun said.

Yang Lianting sat on a chair and let out a long sigh. "This old guy Tong Baixiong, he's always relied on Chief's kindheartedness. He regards himself highly and has always looked down on other people. In the last few years, he's been secretly plotting to rebel with some of his friends. I've seen clues of this for a long time already. Who would've thought that he becomes even more and more of an outlaw as days go by. He even went to collude

with that sect rebel Ren Woxing; how absurd!"

"He actually went to... went to collude with that Ren?" Shangguan Yun’s voice was trembling, it was obvious that he was greatly shocked.

"Elder Shangguan, why are you so afraid? That Ren Woxing doesn't have three heads and six arms. In the days gone by, Chief played him till he was doing everything that Chief asked him to. It was only because of

Chief's kindness that he's still alive today. If he doesn't come to Dark Wood Cliff then it doesn't matter, but if he dares to come here, wouldn't it be just like slaughtering a chicken?"

"Yes, yes,” Shangguan Yun agreeing with him. “But how did Tong Baixiong collude with him?"

Yang Lianting explained, "Tong Baixiong secretly met with Ren Woxing, and the two of them had a long chat for many hours. Another traitor of the sect was also there, Xiang Wentian. Someone saw them having the meeting. What could he be talking about with these two traitors for so long? It must've been a secret meeting to rebel against Chief. When Tong

Baixiong returned to Dark Wood Cliff, I asked him whether this meeting happened. He actually admitted it!"

Shangguan Yun said, "He already admitted it then naturally he didn't do anything wrong."

Yang Lianting said, "I asked him why didn't he go and report to Chief after meeting Ren Woxing. He said: 'Brother Ren came to me to have a

chat. He regards me as a friend, I also regard him as a friend, why can't friends have a chat with each other?' I asked him: 'Ren Woxing has returned to Jianghu and he's intending to attack Chief. You already know about this point. Since he's not going to be polite to Chief, how can you still regard him as a friend?' His reply was even more ridiculous, damn him, this old chap actually said: 'I'm afraid it's Chief who's being impolite to other people, it's not necessarily other people who's being impolite to Chief!'"

"This old chap is talking nonsense! Chief's righteousness is as high as the sky and he treats his friends very generously, how can he be impolite to people? That naturally is being ungrateful to Chief." When Yang Lianting heard these words, of course he believed that the word 'Chief' was referring to Dongfang Bubai. But Shangguan Yun was actually praising Ren Woxing.

Linghu Chong and party then heard him continue, "Since Subordinate has already vowed my loyalty and devotion to Chief, if I heard any daring rats to speak rudely about Chief, I would never let them go." These words were actually aimed to scold Yang Lianting, but how would he know? Yang Lianting laughed and said, "Very good, if all the brothers in the sect can be like Elder Shangguan and be very loyal to Chief, what else do we need to worry about? You've worked hard already, go down and take a rest."

Shangguan Yun was startled. "Subordinate would really like to meet Chief. Every time Subordinate sees Chief, I would feel greatly vigorous and would be able to do my duty with enthusiasm. It'd be as if I had cultivated my internal energy for ten years."

Yang Lianting tastelessly laughed and said, "Chief is very busy, I'm afraid he doesn't have time to see you."

Shangguan Yun put his hand into his bosom and when he took it out, there were more than ten pearls on his palm. He walked forward a few steps and whispered, "General Yang, when subordinate went on the mission this time, I managed to get these eighteen pearls. I'd like to give these as a present. I hope that General would let me see Chief. If Chief likes them, maybe he would promote me and then heap me with gifts."

Yang Lianting smiled falsely. "We're brothers, why do we need to be so polite? Thank you very much." Then he lowered his voice and said,

"When I see Chief, I'll put in a good word for you and advise him to promote you to be the elder of the Green Dragon Hall."

Shangguan Yun bowed again and again. Then he said, "If I get promoted, Shangguan Yun would never forget Chief's and General's kindness."

Yang Lianting said, "Wait here till Chief is free, then he'll ask you to come in."

"Yes, yes, yes!" Shangguan Yun excitedly replied. He then closed his hand around the pearls and retreated a few steps. Yang Lianting stood up

and in a grand manner went inside. After another long time, a purple- gowned servant came out. He stood erect and in a clear voice announced, "Refined scholar, kind-hearted warrior, the just and wise Chief commands: Elder Shangguan Yun of White Tiger Hall, take the prisoner and enter."

Shangguan Yun said, "Thank you for Chief's grace. I wish Chief a long life and to unify the Jianghu." He then swung his left hand across asking the purple gown servant to lead the way. Ren Woxing, Xiang

Wentian, and Yingying carried Linghu Chong behind them. As they walked in, the veranda above them was full of warriors armed with spears. They

entered three iron gates and arrived at a long corridor whose sides were lined up by hundreds of warriors. Each of the warriors carried a long sabre in his hand and had crossed the sabres above their heads. Shangguan Yun

and his party bent their waists and lowered their heads as they walked along the corridor. If any of these hundreds of sabres suddenly chopped down then they would surely lose their heads. Ren Woxing and Xiang Wentian had gone through more than a hundred battles and they wouldn't have even given these warriors a thought, but to be able to see Dongfang Bubai, they had to endure these insults first. They felt vehemence in their hearts. Linghu Chong thought, "Dongfang Bubai treats his subordinates so rudely. How

can they remain loyal to him? His subordinates haven't rebelled yet only because they're afraid of him. But if Dongfang Bubai looks down on this people, how can he not be defeated?"

After they went through the sabre path, they arrived at a doorway covered by a curtain. Shangguan Yun parted the curtain and went inside.

Suddenly, flickering of lights was seen as eight spears were thrust at him from everywhere. Four spears were aimed at the front of his chest while the other four spears were aimed at the back of his body, the spears stopped inches from touching him. Linghu Chong immediately surmised the

situation and thus extended his hand to grab the long sword stored underneath the bandage on his thigh. But he saw Shangguan Yun just

standing there motionless while calling out clearly, “Elder Shangguan Yun from the White Tiger Hall is here to pay his respect to the refined scholar, kind-hearted warrior, the just and wise Chief!”

Someone from inside the hall shouted, “Enter!”

The eight spearmen immediately retreated to form two lines on either side. Linghu Chong only then understood. Originally, when these eight

spearmen stabbed out with their spears, they were just trying to frighten them. If the people coming into the hall had bad intentions, when they saw the eight spears being thrust towards them, they would immediately draw their weapons to fight back. Then the betrayal would’ve been exposed.

They entered a big hall and Linghu Chong thought, “What a long hall!” The width of the hall was only around thirty feet, but the depth of the hall was around three hundred feet. At the end of the hall, an old man with a long beard was seated. That person was Dongfang Bubai.

There was no window inside the hall, and only candles illuminated the inside of the hall. On both sides of Dongfang Bubai’s seat were two flickering oil lamps. At the distance they were at, they couldn’t see

Dongfang Bubai’s appearance clearly. Shangguan Yun knelt at the bottom of the stairs and said clearly, “Chief is a refined scholar and kind-hearted

warrior; just and wise, flourishes the Divine Sect, and benefits the common people. Subordinate Elder Shangguan Yun of White Tiger Hall pays his respect to Chief.”

The purple-gowned servant standing besides Dongfang Bubai

shouted, “How come your subordinates aren’t kneeling when paying their respects to Chief?”

Ren Woxing thought, “The moment hasn’t arrived yet. What’s the harm in kneeling to you? Wait until I pull your muscle out and skin you

alive.” At this thought, he immediately lowered his head and kneeled down. When Xiang Wentian and Yingying saw him kneeling down, they also knelt down. Shangguan Yun said, “Subordinate’s men have always longed to see Chief. Today, Chief has finally bestowed us with this kindness. This is really a kindness that has favoured eighteen generations of their ancestors.

Once they saw Chief, they were so pleased that they forgot to kneel down. Please forgive them.”

Yang Lianting was standing besides Dongfang Bubai. He said, “Report to Chief how Elder Jia died for the sect.”

Shangguan Yun replied, “Elder Jia and Subordinate were carrying out Chief’s order. In the last few years, we both have been promoted by Chief. This is a big kindness that’s hard to repay. So this time when Chief put this heavy responsibility on both of us, we both were feeling very vigorous. We felt that since Chief instructed us to do this, and also because of Chief’s foolproof plan, no matter who’s been assigned to capture Linghu Chong, they would never fail. Since Chief sent the two of us, we had no concern whatsoever…” Linghu Chong was lying on the stretcher and his mind was secretly scolding, “Disgusting, disgusting! Shangguan Yun’s nickname has the word ‘hero’ in it. But he can say this without his face turning red or his ears turning red, I didn’t know there’s such a shameless person in this

world.”

At this moment, he heard someone shouting from behind them,

“Brother Dongfang, was it really you who sent people to capture me?” This person’s voice sounded old but his inner energy was abundant. After he had spoken these words, the echo from his voice reverberated throughout the hall showing just how powerful he was. He guessed that this person was the Wind and Thunder Hall’s elder, Tong Baixiong.

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