The Return of the Condor Heroes Chapter 1-5

@Chapter 1 – No Love under the Wind and Moon
The fog has lightened due to the strong winds, but as time approaches, solitude lies by the stream. A mysterious song is heard from afar, seemingly from the Jiangnan province. A soft and graceful tune was played which carried across the lake’s surface under the cover of the mist. Once the song had finished, a small boat appeared. Within the boat were five girls who were singing and laughing, picking lotuses into the boat. The lyrics the girls sang were from the poem The Butterfly Loves the Flower, written by the Song poet Ouyang Xiu, the words sung matched what the girl was feeling inside; though only sixty words were sung, the season, time of day, place, scenery and the girl’s face, clothes, hair adornments, emotions were all described meticulously. The next part of the song is as if someone is narrating a scene, a love story, which is close at heart yet far away, but a love which isn’t yet exhausted.

Ouyang Xiu was in Jiangnan as a court official where he lived a leisurely lifestyle, doing as he pleased, absorbed in what he was doing (reading, writing etc.,). People of Song shouldn’t use their position to abuse the town’s people, but it is not forbidden to use poetry for leisure. As long as a line of poetry came out, as long as there is well water to accompany a song, as the Jiangnan spring comes and the willow buds, as lotuses are on the autumn lake, everything that follows is an Ou poem.

It was during the year when Southern Song was established, and when the South Lake became popular. It was near mid autumn, as lotus leaves began to decay, and when lotus pods were at their best. A song spread across the lake to a Taoist priestess’s ear. As she sat alone underneath a willow tree quietly, the night winds forced her to place an apricot yellow robe on. The winds managed to brush a piece of dirt on her neck. She hid her feelings, as ‘a lonely heart like a string struggling to be untangled’. The song gradually moves away, the song is a verse of Ouyang Xiu’s Butterfly Loves a Flower. A light breeze carried two sentences; “there are no lovers meeting under the wind and moon, the past is like a dream cut short”. The song comes to a rest. A smile came upon her lips.

She let out a sigh and raised a left hand revealing a bloody palm. “What do you find so funny?” she mumbled to herself. She sang to herself, without understanding the regret and sorrow within the poem.

Standing about one hundred feet away from the priestess, a plainly dressed bearded old man was standing silently unmoved but as he heard the two sentences he let out an extremely quiet sigh.

A little boat gently glides across the blue jade lake. The girls on the boat were young; three of them about fifteen or sixteen, the other two were around nine. Two of the girls were cousins. The older of the two was called Cheng Ying; the younger was called Lu Wushuang. The difference in age was about six months. The other three girls were singing songs constantly, the boat emerging from a pile of lotus leaves.

Cheng Ying said, "Cousin, can you guess who that old man is?" pointing to the man underneath the willow tree.

The hair on that man is all messed up, his beard loose, the colour of his beard was black like a crow's, indicating that he is not very old, although his face has traces of wrinkles like those of a seventy or eighty year old. He is wearing blue, around his neck is hung a bright satin bib. On it was embroidery of cat jumping at a butterfly, though the picture is now old and fading away.

Lu Wushuang said, "That strange man has sat there for half a day now, why doesn’t he move?"

Cheng Ying said, "If you want to call him something, call him old grandpa. If you call him strange, surely he would get angry.”

Lu Wushuang laughed, "Is he not strange? He’s old yet he is still wearing a bib. If the bearded man gets up and becomes angry, that is surely something to be watched."

From within the boat a disheveled lotus was lifted up and is thrown towards the man. The boat is about ten feet from the man. Lu Wushuang is young but the strength in her arms is not feeble, the one stroke was very accurate.

Cheng Ying shouted out,” Cousin!"

It was meant to delay her but she saw the lotus was in front of her face and flew past.

As the man looked up, he saw the lotus flying towards him, but he didn’t put his hand up to catch it and let it hit him in the face. He started to eat the petals from his face and clothes even though the petals were bitter, and smiled as the boat is rowed closer and eventually came ashore.

Cheng Ying ran towards the man and tugged his clothes saying, "Old grandpa, those are not nice to eat."

She reached into a pocket and pulled out a lotus flower, split it open, peeled off eighteen petals, then split open the blue green skin of the lotus and removed the bitter core, and then passed it onto the man’s hand. The man put it into his mouth and started to chew, and felt an extremely sweet taste, completely different to what he had eaten before. He cracked a smile at Cheng Ying and nodded his head. Cheng Ying did this again and gave another lotus to the man. The man put it in his mouth and chewed for a while and then looked up at the sky and said, "Follow me?" While he said this he was striding in a westerly direction.

Lu Wushuang grabbed hold of Cheng Ying’s hand and said, "Cousin lets follow him."

The one of the other three girls spoke up and said, "Let’s go home, if you go now, Lady will scold at us."

Lu Wushuang put on a naughty face after she saw the strange man had run away extremely quickly and said, "If you don’t come, fine", then released her cousin’s hand and chased after the man. Cheng Ying had come out to play with her cousin and couldn’t leave her alone and so followed. The other three girls were older than them, but they didn’t have the same courage and just called out a few times, as they watched the old man disappear into the mulberry forest followed by the two cousins.

The old man ran very fast, but saw that the two cousins couldn’t keep up so stopped and waited. However, in the end he would not wait any longer and turned around towards them, grabbed the girls, put one underneath each of his armpits, and flew towards his destination. The two girls could only hear the sound of the wind in their ear, the stones and grass on the ground flew past their eyes. Lu Wushuang became frightened and shouted, "Let me go! Let me go!" The strange man ignored her, and instead moved even quicker. Lu Wushuang looked up, and bit fiercely on the man’s hand. Teeth marks were left on the man’s palm but he hid the pain. Lu Wushuang loosened her teeth. She shouted and screamed with all her life. Cheng Ying stayed quiet.

The old man hurried for a while and then put the two girls down onto the ground. They had arrived at a cemetery. Cheng Ying’s face was pale white, while Lu Wushuang’s face was swollen and red. Cheng Ying said, "Old grandpa, we need to go home, we don’t want to play anymore!"

The strange man stared at her without flinching. Cheng Ying saw that his eyes revealed a sorrow, a lonely aura, and filled her with pity. She gently said, "If you’ve got no one to play with; then wait by the lake again tomorrow and I’ll peel lotus for you to eat again."

The strange man sighed and said, "Yes, it has been ten years, I’ve had no one for company within these last ten years." His eyes were still exuding an ominous light. He then fiercely said, "Where’s Yuanjun? Where do you live?"

Cheng Ying heard his serious voice, and became frightened. Quietly she said, "I, I? I don’t know."

The man grabbed her arm, shook her a few times. His voice sunk, "Where’s Yuanjun?" Cheng Ying was scared and wanted to cry, tears rolled from her eyes. Yet she didn’t cry.

The old man clenched his teeth. "Cry, cry. You won’t cry? Hmm, you were like this ten years ago. I won’t let you marry him. You said you couldn’t bear to leave me, so why did you leave with him. You said you were touched by my kindness, leaving me would leave you heartbroken. Ha! Those are all deceiving words! If you are really hurt, why don’t you cry?"

He held onto Cheng Ying fiercely. Cheng Ying had been pale due to fright but still the tears wouldn’t come. The man shook her again. Cheng Ying clenched her teeth and said to herself “I won’t cry, I won’t cry!”

The strange man said, "You won’t even cry one tear for me, not even one. What use is my life now?" He suddenly let go of Cheng Ying, bent his legs, crouched, and thrust himself into a tombstone causing a crashing sound. He lay on the ground unconscious.

Lu Wushuang said, "Cousin, quickly escape" and grabbed hold of Cheng  Ying’s  hand,  turned  and  ran. Cheng Ying hurried a few steps, but as she saw the strange man lying with blood on his head, her heart couldn’t stand it and said, "Old grandpa is dead". Lu Wushuang said, "Now he’s dead, won’t he turn into a ghost?"

Cheng Ying gulped, scared that he would turn into a ghost, scared that he would suddenly wake up, and remembered the mad words he was saying. She saw his head covered in blood and felt pity, she comforted herself, by saying, "Old grandpa is not a ghost, I’m not scared, he won’t blame me". She slowly walked towards the old man. "Grandpa, are you hurt?"

The man let out a groan. Cheng Ying got a bit braver, and tended to his wounds with a handkerchief. But the force of the collision was great, so the wound on his head was very severe. The handkerchief was soaked in blood. She used her left hand to press hard on the wound and after a while the bleeding stopped. The man began to open his eyes, and saw Cheng Ying by his side. "Why did you save me? Why don’t you let me die?" As Cheng Ying saw he had awakened, her spirits raised and said softly "Does your head hurt?" The strange man shook his head. "My head doesn’t hurt, my heart hurts." Cheng Ying thought this was strange thinking, "There is a large wound on his head, yet while his head doesn’t hurt, his heart does." She thought no more of this as she untied her waistband and gave it to the man to tie his wound. The man took a breath and sat up. "You agreed not to see me ever again; we are going to part now. You won’t shed a single tear for me?"

Cheng Ying heard his words were full of sorrow; saw his head full of blood, eyes earnest, and couldn’t help but be filled with sorrow and two drops of tears emerged. As the man saw the tears, his face changed to a more joyful expression, but at the same time a mournful sound came out. Cheng Ying saw his sobs, her own tears like drops of pearls, rolled down her cheeks, then reached out and hugged his neck. Lu Wushuang saw how these two strangers are sobbing together, and wanted to laugh. She couldn’t hold it in any longer and burst out in a laugh.

The strange man heard this, and said to the sky, "The words that came out of your mouth said you won’t leave me, but as you grow older you will forget the things you’ve said; just remember the little white face. You laugh with real joy!" He looked down at Cheng Ying. "Yes, yes, you are Yuan, my little Yuan. I won’t let you leave, I won’t let you leave with the little white face",  as  he  held  tightly  onto  Cheng  Ying.  Lu Wushuang saw he had become deeply disturbed and didn’t dare to laugh again.

"Yuan, I’ve finally found you. Let’s go home, from now on you will follow father." Cheng Ying said, "Old grandpa, my father died a long time ago." The strange man said, "I know, I know. I’m your stepfather, you don’t recognize me?" Ying shook her head. "I don’t have a stepfather."

The strange man gave a howl, and pushed Ying away. "Yuan, you don’t even recognize step father?" Ying said, "Old grandpa, my name is Cheng Ying, not your Yuan."

"You’re not Ah Yuan? You are not Ah Yuan?" he was expressionless for half an hour. "Hmm, around twenty years ago Ah Yuan was your age. Now Yuan has grown up and doesn’t need father anymore. The only thing in your heart is Lu Zhanyuan, that swine."

Wushuang sighed knowingly; "Lu Zhanyuan?"

The man asked, "You know him, don’t you?? She shook her head smiling, "I just recognized that man is my uncle." The man’s complexion changed to a vengeful colour. He grabbed hold of Wushuang and asked, "Where is that swine? Lead me to him."

Though Wushuang is scared inside, she put on a smile and said, "My uncle lives close by. You really want to find him?"

"Yes, yes. I’ve been searching for him for three days, so I could settle my debt with that swine. Little girl lead me to him and old grandpa won’t trouble you." As he said this, his voice changed tone from angry to gentle and released his grasp. She used her right hand to touch her sore left arm.

"You really hurt me. I don’t know where he lives anymore." The man’s eyebrows rose, as if he was about to go mad again, but thought it is not right to force the little girl, and put on a clown like smile. He put his hand in his sleeve and said, "It was grandpa’s fault. You  don’t  have  to  follow  me.  Grandpa  has  some sweets for you.” He reached around his sleeve but  couldn’t  find  any  sweets.  Wushuang  smiled  and clapped.

"You don’t have any sweets, aren’t you ashamed to lie? Alright, my uncle lives near here." She pointed to two faraway giant trees. "It's near there."

The man reached out his long arm and carried the girls underneath his armpits again, and hurriedly flew towards the two trees. He followed the path in front, until there is a small obstruction but cleared it in a leap. In a flash, the three of them were by the two trees. The strange man dropped the two girls, and saw two grand tombs below the trees. On the tombstone was written: “Here lies the grave of Lu Zhanyuan.” On another was written” “Here lies the wife of Lu.” The grass around the path to the tombs was knee deep, indicating that the tombs had been here a long time.

The man just stared at the tombstone and said, "Lu Zhanyuan is dead… how long ago?" Wushuang laughed as she replied, "Three years ago."

"He deserved to die, good. What a pity that he didn’t die beneath my hands!" he said as he laughed at the sky. The laugh could be heard from faraway, but the laugh was a regretful, a lamenting laugh, not one of joy.

It was deep within the night, the field of grass covered by fog. Wushuang tugged at her cousin’s sleeve. "Let’s go now." The strange man said, "The little white face is dead. Ah Yuan, where can you go now? I’ll take you back to Dali. Hey little girl, take me to your dead uncle’s wife."

Wushuang pointed to the tombstone, "Can’t you see? My aunt also died.” The man picked himself up and his voice like thunder, shouted, "Are those words real or a lie? She… she really is dead?" Wushuang’s face turned pale, and in a quivering voice said "Father said not long after uncle died, my aunt followed. I don’t know anymore, I don’t know. Don’t shout at me, I’m scared!" The man beat his chest and shouted, "She’s dead… she’s dead? No, you can’t die before seeing me again. I followed your instructions; ten years later, we’ll meet again. You didn’t wait for me?" He shouted wildly and jumped around madly, his cries like a wild tiger. He swept his leg across the right tree, which shook the branches of the tree. Lu Wushuang and Cheng Ying held each other tightly and retreated a few steps not daring to be closer. The man suddenly grabbed hold of one of the trees, and shook it violently, and tried to pull it out. The tree is around a thousand pounds so how could he pick it up? "You promised, but now you break it? You said we would meet again. Does the promise not count?" After a shout, the noise became quieter. He crouched down, and moved his chi through his two arms, his head gradually heated up and steam arose, the muscles in his arm clenched, and his back straightened. He shouted “Rise!” As the tree was being pulled, a strange noise occurred. Amidst the noise, there were now two pieces of the tree. He picked up of one part of the tree and stood still before saying quietly, "Die! Die!" He exerted some strength and flung the piece of tree away far away. Like the handle of an umbrella it was flying through the air. He stood in front of the tomb and mumbled, "You are right, the wife of Lu is indeed Ah Yuan.” His eye blurred, the two tombs had become the image of two people. One of them a smiling young girl with the pupils in the eyes full of hope; the other is well dressed, collected young man. The couple was sitting together.

The strange man opened his eyes and said, "You seduced my daughter, I’ll kill you with my finger." He stretched out his right hand and finger (the shi finger), stood up straight, blocking the path of the young man. A severe pain went through his shi finger and he released the pain. It hit the tombstone. However the image of the young man remained. The strange man shouted: “Where can you escape to now?” He struck out twice with his left palm, making two sounds, aimed at the same tombstone. He kept on hitting out, with each palm getting more severe each time. After ten palms, blood began to seep through. Cheng Ying could no longer hold back and shouted, "Old grandpa, stop fighting, you are going to hurt yourself."

He laughed and shouted back, "I’m not hurt, I’m going to kill the swine Lu Zhanyuan." He then laughed heartily, stopped and then said: “I must see your face, I must.” With ferocious strength in his two hands he plunged ten fingers into the ground of Mrs. Lu's tomb. He pulled back with two arms, and two lumps of the ground came with him. His two palms like an iron spade, he dug lump after lump out of the ground.

The two cousin’s faces had become colourless, and they had the chance to escape. While the man was busy digging, they could leave unnoticed. The two girls hurried around a few bends, and as they saw the man didn’t follow, they relaxed a bit. The two girls were unfamiliar with the place, so they looked for locals to help them along the road. They walked deep into the night when they eventually found their way back to the Lu house.

Wushuang shouted, "Something terrible is happening, something bad! A madman is digging up the graves of uncle and aunt!" She ran into the hall, only to see her father Lu Liding raise his head and stare at the wall. Ying followed into the hall, and their eyes followed Lu Liding’s, and saw three sets of palm prints, two at the top, two in the middle, below five, in total there were nine. Each one was printed with blood. Lu Liding saw his daughter and asked, "What are you talking about?"

"There is a madman digging up the graves of uncle and aunt," said Wushuang. Her father stood up: "Nonsense!"

"Uncle, it's true!" Cheng Ying replied. Lu Liding knew what her daughter was like, mischievous and naughty but Cheng Ying never tells lies. "What has happened?"

Wushuang told her father what happened. Her father was troubled, and before she finished, had picked up a blade and hurriedly headed for the graves. When he got there, not only did he see the graves had been disturbed, but the coffins had been opened. When he heard that someone was digging up the graves, he had known what to expect, but when he saw it with his own eyes, his heart skipped a beat. There was no sign of the bodies, the ash in the coffins, paper money, cotton cushions were all in a mess. It must be a god, and then saw on the lids of the coffins were traces of what looks like an iron tool. He looked in despair at the state of the graves. He didn’t ask his daughter who did this, but wondered who could have such debts with his brother and sister-in-law that even after their deaths, their graves and corpses wouldn’t be left alone. He held tightly to his knife.

He knew his brother had taught the martial arts. He was a careful, generous, dependable man, who didn’t dabble in Jianghu affairs. He was a learned man. After he circled the area, and couldn’t find any traces of the suspect, he waited for half an hour before finally returning to his home.

He approached the main hall. He sat down on a chair and placed his knife by his side, and stared at the nine blood prints on the wall. He thought, "Before brother died, he said he had an enemy, a Taoist priestess, named Li Mochou, with the nickname “Scarlet Serpent Deity”, whose kung fu was extremely high. She was cruel and vindictive person. He anticipated that after ten years of marriage, she would come and seek revenge on the couple. At the time Lu had said: “My illness is not getting better; I guess the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’ cannot take her revenge. In three years, it will be the time. You must persuade my wife to go into hiding.” I had promised him, but who could have guessed that on the night he had passed away, sister-in-law would cut her throat? Brother had passed away three years ago, and the time approaches. The couple had passed away so why does she still come? Brother also said that before the priestess kills, she would place bloody handprints on the wall on the target's home, with one print meaning one life. My home only has seven people in total so why nine prints? The two prints are for my brother and sister-in-law, but now they are dead she must have dispatched people to ravage their grave. I’ve been at home all day, so how did that evil witch manage to place the prints? Could she get in here without disturbing even gods and ghosts? He shivered.

Soft footsteps can be heard behind him, a small soft pair of hands covered his eyes. He recognized it was his daughter’s voice when she spoke. "Father, who am I?"

Lu Wushuang had always been close to her father. When she was three years old, she played this game with him. This made her parents laugh. He was sad, so now his daughter is trying to cheer him up. Under normal circumstances this would have worked. But today it would be no use as he pulled his daughter’s hands away. "Father has no time to play, let’s go inside and play!"

Lu Wushuang stood there. She always had the love of her father and now he had no time for her. She let out a sigh and wanted to share in her father’s misery only to see the male servant Ah Gen hastily arriving.

"There’s a guest outside master." "You tell them I’m not at home."

"Master, she doesn’t want to see you. She just wants to spend the night here." Lu Liding said, "Who? Are they women?"

"No, it’s a mother with two small boys. They’ve been waiting a long time."

When Lu Liding heard it was a mother with her two sons, he was able to relax a bit. "It’s not a Taoist priestess?"

Ah Gen shook his head, "No. It’s a plainly dressed woman, she looks like a mother of a respectable family."

"Alright, take them to the guest room and treat them well. Give them something to eat." Ah Gen hurriedly went out. Lu Wushuang said, "I’m going as well" as she hastily exited. Lu Liding stood up, he wanted to go inside to discuss how to face this enemy with his wife. He made his way into the hall. He showed her the prints, and told her about the missing corpses. Mistress Lu pondered and said, "We are going to have to hide the two girls?"

Master Lu pointed at the wall. "The girls are inside, but I fear that the monster that did this won’t let them escape so easily. We have practiced kung fu for several years now, when the person enters our home; remember not to show any emotion."

Mistress Lu stared at the wall, "There are nine prints? We only have seven people within the household." As soon as Lu Liding heard this, his limbs went numb and looked at  his  wife  startled,  and  cried.  He reached out and held her arms.

"Dear, when the time comes, there is no need to be afraid. The top two palm prints are for Brother and his wife, the middle two are ours. In the last group, two are Ying and Wushuang, there are three are for Ah Gen and our two maids. Blood will fill this house tonight."

Mistress Lu quivered and said, "Brother and sister-in-law?"

"I don’t know what deep debt the witch is after, but brother and his wife are dead. She has sent people to dig up the grave and disturb the corpses."

"You are saying that madman was sent by her?" "Correct."

Mistress Lu saw that her husband’s head was covered with sweat. "Why don’t you go into your room, clean yourself up, and rest a while before we discuss this again."

Lu and his wife went into their room. "Wife, today it will be hard for the Lu family to avoid death, but if we survive we will honour Brother and sister-in-law’s name." "You are correct," replied mistress Lu.

The two of them thought, Lu Liding is not a famous name, but the name Lu Zhanyuan is. The He Yuanjun couple was famous throughout the Jianghu world. The Lu name was famous and no one in the Jianghu dared make fun of the name.

The two of them went to the back garden after they heard a sudden sound from the east wall. Near the top of the wall was a person. Lu stepped in front to shield his wife. He looked up and saw a young boy sitting on the wall, trying to pick a ling flower. By his leg, someone shouted out, "Careful, don’t fall." It was Cheng Ying, Lu Wushuang and a boy picking flowers by the wall.

Lu thought, "The girls are naughty, getting someone else to do their errands."

The boy on the wall managed to pick a flower. Wushuang shouted, "Give it to me-give it to me!" The boy smiled, and threw it to Cheng Ying. Cheng Ying caught it and gave it to her cousin. Lu Wushuang was angry, and threw the flower onto the ground. She took a few steps, and angrily shouted, "Who cares? I don’t want it anymore."

Lu and his wife saw how the kids were playing and arguing, and sighed. They withdrew to their room. Cheng Ying saw Wushuang crush the flower and asked, "Cousin, why are you angry?"

"I don’t want his. I’ll pick one myself." As she said this, she moved her right foot a little, and leapt. She hung onto a purple cane hanging from the tree. She used her strength and managed to leap up higher a few times, and landed on a silver branch of the Cinnamonum cassia tree (one of the group of aromatic trees like camphor and cinnamon) The boy on the wall clapped. "So you are joining me!"

Wushuang swung on the branch a few times and released her grip, throwing herself towards the wall. Although she has learned a little lightness kung fu, this leap was very dangerous. But since she was angry with the boy giving the flower to Ying and not her, she wanted to keep her pride in front of the boy. She wasn’t used to jumping such a distance. The boy gulped and said, "Stretch your hand out" as he reached out. If the boy hadn’t reached out, Wushuang would have made it, but when she saw his hand in midair she shouted, "Move!" and leaned to the side to avoid his hands. The ability to twist in the air is part of a higher level of kung fu; she had seen her dad perform this once before, but without the supervision of her parents how could she try it? As she turned, her hand wasn’t able  to  reach  the  top  of  the  wall.  She shouted, "Oh no!" before falling to the ground. Another boy near the foot of the wall reached out to catch her. The wall was about ten feet tall. Though Wushuang was light, the force of her hitting the ground would still be high. The boy managed to grab her waist, the both of them falling onto the ground. Only to hear two “ka ka” noises, as the bone in Lu Wushuang’s left leg snapped. The boy changed colour to that of the flowers on the stone altar, as blood spouted out. Cheng  Ying  wanted  to  help  the  boy  who  tried stopping the disaster up. The boy got up, and pressed hard on the heavy wound. Wushuang had already fainted. Cheng Ying picked up her cousin and shouted, "Uncle, aunt, hurry!"

The couple rushed out of their rooms to see to injured children, as well as a middle-aged woman who also rushed out from her room. It was the woman who had come to ask for shelter for the night. They saw her pick up the injured children and rush into the hall. Ignoring her own child’s injuries, she tended to Lu Wushuang’s leg, intending to put the snapped bone back in place. Mistress Lu fetched a piece of cloth and tied it around the boy’s head before going to see her daughter. The woman then pressed down on the “bai hai” (white sea) pressure point and the “wei zhong” (middle gathering) pressure point on Lu Wushuang’s leg to ease the pain, as she place one hand each on the broken pieces of bone, then put the bone into place. Lu Liding saw her movements were swift, her pressure point “dim yue” kung fu was at a respectable level, and his curiosity was raised. "Who are you? Why did you come here?" The woman was busy tending to Wushuang’s leg and didn’t reply to the questions.

At the same time, a laugh was heard on the roof. "I’m here to take the nine lives of the Lu family, come out."

The woman heard the chilling laugh from the rooftop, swallowed, and continued to tend to Wushuang’s injuries. As she twisted her hands, Wushuang let out a scream in sheer pain and she fainted again.

Everyone went outside, only to see a young priestess standing by the overhang of the roof, the moonlight lit up her face. She was about fifteen or sixteen years of age, and a long sword with a blood red sash hung on her back, the sash moving in the wind.

Lu Liding said calmly, "I’m Lu Liding. Are you under the command of priestess Li?"

The priestess’s lips were skewed when she replied, "It’s good that you know. Go collect your wife and daughter, kill them and then kill yourself to spare me the trouble."

The words were said with coldness, at a speed neither too slow nor fast, and with disregard for the audience. When Lu Liding heard these words, his body quivered. "You…you" He wanted to jump on to the roof and fight the girl, but she was young and was just a girl, how could he fight her? As he hesitated, suddenly something swept passed his body; it was the woman who had come to ask for shelter, in her hand was a long sword, ready to fight that young priestess.

The woman wore a grey traditional dress, the priestess an apricot yellow robe. Under the moonlight, the images of grey and yellow resembled some sort of flying dance; three flashes of light were produced as three sword-clashing sounds were made. Lu Liding’s skills were taught by his brother, and though he has never fought an enemy before, his eyes weren’t poor, and saw every stance of the two fighters. He saw the sword held in the priestess’s hand turned from defense into attack, attack into defense, her sword stances were without mercy. The woman’s sword matched hers. The sounds of clashing blades were heard, both swords turned over, suddenly the little priestess’s sword flew into midair. The little priestess chased after her sword, her face losing its calmness and she shouted out, "I’m under the orders of my master to take the lives of the Lu family. Who are you, and why are you meddling in these affairs?"

The woman gave out a cold laugh and said, "It seems like your master has great ability, she went out to find Lu Zhanyuan to settle her debts, but she knew that he was dead, so she’s taking out her anger on his loved ones, isn’t that correct?"

The little priestess wielded three small silver needles with her right hand and threw them ferociously, two at the woman, one at Lu Liding who was standing in the middle of the courtyard. It was such an unexpected movement. As the woman fended off two needles with her sword, Lu Liding managed to catch the other needle with two fingers. The little priestess laughed out coldly and jumped down from the building, and quickly flew away hearing the chasing footsteps.

The woman jumped down to the courtyard, and saw Lu Liding was still holding the silver needles. She shouted, "Drop it!" Lu Liding hesitated before doing so. She cut off a piece of her belt and wrapped it firmly around the wound on his right hand.

Lu Liding jumped. "The needles have poison on them?"

The woman replied, "Nothing can compare to this poison." She gave him a granule of medicine to take. Lu Liding felt his arms swelling and numbing. The woman used her sword tip to cut deeply into the two infected fingers of Lu, and saw drops of black blood seeping out.

Lu Liding jumped and thought to himself, "My finger wasn’t cut, I only touched the silver needles and the effects are so severe. If the needles actually cut me then my life would surely have been gone." He then looked in the direction of the woman and said, "I have eyes but I fail to see TiaShan Mountain*, please, can madam tell me her name?" (*This phrase basically means he didn’t see his benefactors even though they were in front of him.)

The woman replied, "My husband is named Wu, Wu Santong." Lu got up in awe and said, "So it is Madam Wu. I’ve heard the Wu’s are under the order of Reverend Yideng in the south in Dali, is that right?"

"You are right. Reverend Yideng is indeed my husband’s teacher. I have learned a little in terms of martial arts from my husband, who is nothing more than a farmer. I hope master Lu won’t laugh."

Lu thanked her for the helping hand. He had heard from his brother, out of all the martial artists he had seen, those under the teachings of Reverend Yideng were the best. After Yideng had abdicated as the ruler of Dali, he became a monk and had four students, “Fisherman, Woodsman, Farmer and Scholar”. The farmer was called Wu Santong. Wu disliked his brother, but at the time his brother had not told him how the feud between them started. Why did Madam Wu not treat them as enemies but instead help them by fighting off the Scarlet Serpent Deity’s disciple? The reasons are hard to fathom.

Everyone went back to the main hall. Lu Liding carried his daughter inside, and saw she had regained her consciousness, her face now white. She’s holding in the pain and refraining from crying, not particularly aware.

Madam Wu said, "Now that witch’s disciple had escaped, she herself will come here. Master Lu, I’m not looking down on you but even if you and your wife joined forces with me, we are never going to be able to compete with her. But even if we run it will be no use. We might as well wait for her and let fate decide."

Mistress Lu then asked, "Who exactly is the witch waiting for? And what feud has our family with her?" Madam Wu looked Lu Liding in the eye and said, "Master Lu never mentioned this before?"

Mistress Lu replied, "He only mentioned that it was something to do with brother and sister-in-law, something to do with love affairs, he isn’t exactly sure himself."

Madam Wu sighed, "It must be something to do with that. I’m an outsider so it is not my place to speak. Master Lu’s brother went to Dali ten years ago. Li Mochou, the Scarlet Serpent Deity is now infamous throughout the Jianghu world, but ten years ago she was a gentle beauty, and wasn’t yet a priestess. This was before she sinned, after she saw your brother and fell under the enchantment of love. After many twists and turns, your brother eventually married Ah Yuanjun. However this wasn’t any fault of Yuanjun. This kind of business is best kept under wraps; it’s just today’s events have forced me to retell these events. Yuanjun was my stepdaughter."

The Lu couple simultaneously gave out an understanding sigh. Madam Wu touched her injured  son’s shoulder in comfort. She stared into the flame of a candle and carried on.

"Your sister-in-law He Yuanjun was an orphan. We took her in and she became our stepdaughter. We loved her dearly. Eventually she met your brother, and they fell in love with each other, and wanted to get married. Firstly, my husband didn’t want her to leave the family; secondly, he was too strict saying Jiangnan people were crafty and cunning; they can’t be relied upon and forbade the wedding. Ah Yuan secretly ran away with your brother. On the wedding day, both my husband and Li Mochou went to find the couple and cause them trouble. Luckily, a high monk from the Dali Sky Dragon temple passed by and took the matter in his own hands. He requested, on his behalf, that they would grant the couple ten years of peace. Li Mochou and my husband agreed to this. My husband was angry, and after this event he became confused and disturbed; his teacher, fellow students and even I were unable to persuade him, or understand him. He just counted down the ten-year deadline. According to my calculations, today ten years exactly has passed. It was hard to predict that the couple would not enjoy the ten years of bliss that they had been granted." She dropped her head after she finished, her whole face changed to a mournful look.

Lu Liding said, "So according to what you have said, the person who dug up brother and sister-in-law’s grave was your husband."

Madam Wu replied in shame, "After hearing what the two misses have said, it is indeed my husband."

Lu shaking his head said, "Your husband’s actions are not trivial. There wasn’t a feud in the first place. Even if there was, now that my brother and sister are dead, things should be bygones. But now he’s stolen the corpses, is that the action of a hero?"

When it comes to status, the Wu couple is higher than that of Lu’s. But now that his heart is full of fury, his words did not carry the proper tone of respect.

Madam Wu sighed, "Master Lu is right to blame my husband. He is confused and has stopped talking; he doesn’t deserve any pity. I’ve brought my two children along here, to try and stop the wrong doings of my husband. Right now, I’m the only person who he takes any notice of." She looked at her two children and said, "Go and kowtow (kneel down) in front of Master and Mistress Lu to apologize for your father." The boys did as they were told.

Mistress Lu gave a hand to help the boys up and asked what their names were. The one who threw himself down and cut his forehead was called Wu Dunru, the older brother; the younger was called Wu Xiuwen. The difference in age was one year, one of them twelve, the other eleven. The two had been taught martial arts and were relatively learned. Madam Wu and her husband were getting old, and hoped that they could reach a good level of kung fu and schooling, so they could withhold the Wu name in Wuxia, and not just rely on it.

Madam Wu did not divulge the darker reason for her husband’s behavior. She sighed and thought, "Those lies are only good for now. I mustn’t tell anyone about the truth." In reality, when Yuanjun had grown to eighteen or nineteen she had become a beautiful woman. The feelings that Wu Santong had for her did not limit itself to the father daughter relationship. He was considered a hero in the Jianghu world so he could do nothing and he was relatively content. But when he saw that she had fallen in love with a Jiangnan youngster, he was angry that it wasn’t him. That’s why he said Jiangnan people are untrustworthy and unreliable, to get rid of his love rival. The reason he said this was that he had suffered the craftiness of Huang Rong. She tricked him into replacing Guo Jing in pushing down an ox and large stone, and couldn’t escape afterward. Although this matter was cleared up later, the words “Jiangnan people are untrustworthy” were etched into his head.

Madam Wu then said, "To think that before my husband had arrived, Li Mochou is already here seeking revenge." As she said this, a voice was heard from the roof.

"Ru’er, Wen’er, come with me!"

The words were unexpected, as no footsteps had been heard on the rooftop, yet someone was up there calling. The Lu couple gulped as they realized it was Wu Santong. Cheng Ying and Wushuang also recognized it was the weird lotus eating man. They saw a blur, as Wu Santong flew down and grabbed his sons, one in each hand before returning to the roof. Madam Wu shouted, "Hey, why don’t you come and see master and mistress Lu, and return the corpses that you took from them? Hurry." Wu Santong did not reply as he had already long gone.

He ran wildly for a while, and hurriedly entered a forest. He put down Xiuwen but still held on to Dunru, as his trace disappeared and his son was left alone in the forest. As Xiuwen saw that his father had gone over hundred feet away, he shouted, "Father, father!" He heard a voice far away.

"Wait there. I’ll come back for you." Wu Xiuwen knew his father was always acting strange, and doesn’t plan anything. Although he was frightened alone in the black forest, he thought his father won’t be long and sat down on a log. After a long while, his father still hadn’t come. He said to himself, "I’ll go and find mother!" as he headed back to the Lu home.

Jiangnan is a place where roads lead in all directions, where paths are twisty and windy; it is hard to travel by day so what about traveling at night? As he ran, the paths got narrower, and on numerous times he stepped into the middle of muddy fields. Eventually he came across a forest, and realized he had gone in circles. He wanted to cry, and shouted, "Father, father! Mother… mother!" Who would hear him in the middle of the night? He heard a few noises, and recognized it was the call of a falcon. He once heard that falcons love to count the brows on people and if they counted clearly, it would be an ominous sign for the person. Immediately he spat out some saliva to wet his fingers, and then moistened his brow, so that it would be difficult for the falcon to count. But the falcon did not stop calling, He hid behind the trunk of a tree, keeping his brows covered with his finger, his heart jumping, not daring to move. After a while he closed his eyes and fell asleep.

In the morning, in a sleepy haze, he heard few clear screeches. He opened his eyes and looked above, and saw two extremely big white eagles hovering, wings spread out, looking magnificent. He had never seen this type of eagle before, his interest was raised and shouted, "Brother, come look at the big eagle," not realizing he was alone, as he was always by his brother’s side.

Suddenly he heard two whistles behind him; the sound was gentle and soft, coming from the mouth of a little girl. The two eagles circled twice before descending. Wu Xiuwen turned around and saw a young girl, who was raising her arm to the sky. The eagles came down by her side. The girl gave one look to Wu Xiuwen and then stroked her two eagles saying, "Good eagle…clever eagle." Wu Xiuwen thought, "So the two eagles are her eagles. He looked at the eagles, which were exuding an air of superiority, standing taller than the girl. He walked up to the girl and asked, "Are those eagles yours?"

The girl pouted, and her face changed color. "I don’t recognize you. I’m not going to play with you.”

Wu Xiuwen touched the backs of the eagles without any  intentions.  The  girl  whistled,  and  the  eagles raised their left wing. There was a high force behind the wings, and Xiuwen didn’t guard against it; he ended up on the ground. He rolled around on the ground, eyes fixed on the eagles, and said admiringly, "Those eagles are great and they really listen to you. I’ll get father to catch me one so I can train it."

"Huh, you think your father can catch one?"

Wu Xiuwen was just curious, but each time she caused embarrassment. He looked at her closely; she was wearing an elegant green dress, a pearl necklace hung around her neck, her face was white, almost like butter, her eyes moving and face delicate. Wu Xiuwen thought she was extremely beautiful, and wanted to approach her but saw she was cold, and stayed back in fear. The girl stroked the eagles back with her right hand, and examined Wu Xiuwen. "What’s your name? Why are you alone?"

"My name is Wu Xiuwen. I’m waiting here for my father. What about you, what’s your name?" "I don’t play with naughty boys," said the girl as she turned her back and walked away.

Xiuwen stood there before saying, "I’m not a naughty boy", and trying to chase the girl at the same time. He saw that the girl was younger than him by two, three years; her steps aren’t very large and he should catch up with her very soon. Though he used his lightness kung fu, the girl’s steps were very fast, and in a flash a distance of ten feet was between them. The girl hurried a few steps and then shouted back, "Hey, can you catch me?" "Of course", replied Xiuwen and immediately stepped up his efforts. The girl turned and ran, and then hid behind a tree. Wu Xiuwen followed. As soon as he was near, she suddenly stretched out her left foot, and tripped him up. He didn’t anticipate this and fell forward. He wanted to use the “Iron Tree Stump Stance” but the girl stuck out her right foot and kicked him fiercely in the behind. Wu Xiuwen fell down, his nose hitting a stone as he fell, causing a nose bleed and blood poured over his clothes. When she saw the blood, she stopped, and wanted to run away and leave the boy there. Suddenly, a voice from behind said, "Fu’er, you are bullying again, aren’t you?"

"Who says? He just tripped by himself, what does it have to do with me? Don’t listen to what father says." she replied without turning back. Wu Xiuwen stood up and held his nose. Although it didn’t really hurt, the blood made him nervous. As he heard the voice talking to the girl, he turned around and saw an old man holding a metal walking staff. The hair on the man’s temple was like frost, his appearance was strange, his eyes where white, he was a blind man. He heard the man laugh and say, "Just because I’m blind doesn’t mean you can lie to me, I can hear everything. You act terribly now, so what’s going to happen when you get older?"

She walked over to the man and held his hand, and gently said, "Grandpa, don’t listen to what father says, okay. He tripped and he’s got a nose bleed. Can you stop the bleeding?"

The old man walked forward and grabbed Wu Xiuwen’s arm, then stretched out his right hand and used his finger to press on the “Wen Xiang Xue” (Smell Fragrant) pressure point by the nose. Wu Xiuwen’s nosebleed was beginning to slowly stop, and as he touched his nose a few times, it did. He felt the man’s fingers were like iron pliers, long and stiff, holding his arm tightly. He was scared, and didn’t move; as soon as his hand was released, he used the grabbing hand kung fu taught by his mother, he pushed out a palm in a semi circle to repel the man. The old man wasn’t anticipating this kid would strike out, and was hit by a sweetly timed palm. The man didn’t react and gave out an approving sigh, while holding to his wrist. Wu Xiuwen tried to distribute his chi in case he can’t escape and has to fight. The old man said, "Little fella, don’t be scared. What’s your name?"

"My name is Wu."

"Your accent is not local. Where are you from? Where are your parents?" As the man said this he released his wrist. When he mentioned parents, Wu Xiuwen remembered that he has been away from his parents for a night and didn’t know how they were. He wanted to cry. When the girl saw his expression she sang, "Ashamed dog, eyes are red, ready to cry!"

Wu angrily replied, "I’m not going to cry again!"

The family was waiting at the Lu home for the enemy, when his father came and took him and his brother away; he spent a night alone in the forest. He was getting aggravated, his words were jumbled but the old man managed to make out seventy or eighty percent of it. They were from Dali, his father’s name is Wu Santong; his most refined kung fu was the “Solitary Yang Finger”.

"Your father is a disciple of Reverend Yideng, correct?"

"Yes, you know our emperor? You’ve seen him? I’ve never seen him," said Wu Xiuwen.

Wu Santong was the head of the Imperial Wood Transport, when the Emperor was Duan Zhi. The emperor became a monk, with the new name “Yideng”. But Wu Santong couldn’t let the past go and still called him Emperor. That’s why his sons also refer to him as Emperor.

"I haven’t yet had the luck to meet the legendary “Southern Emperor”. This girl’s parents were the receivers of great kindness from him. That means we are not really strangers. Do you know who your mother’s enemy is?"

"I heard from mother and master Lu that it’s Scarlet something, something Chou.

The old man raised his head and mumbled, "Scarlet something?" He slammed his staff and said loudly, "Could it be the Scarlet Serpent Deity, Li Mochou?"

"Yes! It’s the Scarlet Serpent Deity!" The old man’s complexion changed completely. He said, "You two play here. Don’t leave. I’ll go and take a look."

The little girl said, "Grandpa, I want to come." "Me too," added the boy.

The old man said, "No! Never! That witch is really powerful; I can’t beat her. But when there are friends in need, one must go. You must listen." He walked away, his staff digging into the ground as he took each step.

Wu Xiuwen said respectfully, "Old Grandpa is blind and lame, yet he moves so fast."

The girl bent her lips and said, "What’s so strange? If you saw my father’s and mother’s lightness kung fu you would be even more shocked."

"Your father and mother are also blind and lame?"

The girl angrily replied, "Your parents are blind and lame!"

It was now deep into the day, the farmers are in their fields; every man and woman was singing folk songs. He was originally from these parts. Though he was blind, he walked and asked for help at the same time, and in not too long he had reached the home of the Lu’s. From afar he heard the exchange of blades, the “ping ping pang pang” clashing indicating some ferocious stances. The Lu Zhanyuan family is a famous family in this area and he’s just commoner. Although he is now a fairly famous martial artist he didn’t approach and he also knew that he wasn’t the Scarlet Serpent Deity’s match. He knew that rushing in would just produce another corpse. But the matter involved a disciple of the Reverend Yideng and his debts to him were too many to measure (not exactly his debts, but what the girl’s parents owed Yideng), he couldn’t just stand by. He used more energy, and hurried to the village.

He heard fierce fighting on the roof involving four people. He turned his ear to one side to listen more carefully. From the breathing and sword clashing sounds, he could tell it was one versus three, though the three couldn’t fend off the enemy and were losing.

Last night Wu Santong had carried off his sons, and the Lu couple wondered what he was up to now. Madam Wu’s spirits raised and said, "Though my husband acts wildly, when in danger he thinks clearly." Mistress Lu asked what she meant by this. Madam Wu replied, "I don’t know if I’ve guessed correctly. Let’s just wait and see."

As the night went on, Lu Wushuang fell asleep in her father’s arms. Cheng Ying also eventually fell asleep. Mistress Lu wanted to take the children into their rooms.

Madam Wu said, "Leave them for a little longer." At that moment, someone shouted from the rooftop, "Throw them up here!" It was Wu Santong. His lightness kung fu was superb, mistress Lu didn’t even notice he was on the roof. Madam Wu took Cheng Ying outside and threw her up to Wu Santong who caught her. The Lu couple swallowed, as Madam Wu threw Lu Wushuang up to Wu Santong as well, who then took them away.

Lu Liding was concerned and said, "Where are you taking them?" as he leapt onto the roof. But it was pitch black; there wasn’t a trace of Wu Santong and the girls. Master Lu wanted to give chase, but Madam Wu shouted out, "There’s no need to chase them, he’s trying to do good."

Lu jumped down back into the hall and quivering asked, "What good deed?"

Mistress Lu said, "Wu Santong is scared that the witch is going to harm the children, so he has delivered them to a safe place." After he heard his wife say this he said, "Yes, it must be this." But as he thought about how Wu Santong took the corpse of his brother and sister-in-law away, he started to worry.

Madam Wu said, "Ever since Ah Yuan got married, every little girl he looked at reminded him of his troubles. I predicted that he would come back to carry the girls away and try to protect them. The first time he came here and took Ru’er and Wen’er away, I caught him glancing at the girls a few times; his face had an affectionate look, with no evil intent. He’s pretending that they are Ah Yuan. Indeed he did come back for them. I hope this time he’s not going to do anything stupid." She sighed twice, "You two better get some rest, we don’t know when the witch will come, there’s no need to wait anxiously."

The Lu couple was extremely worried about their daughter and niece, but decided to rest a little. Their fear and hate for the enemy filled them as they waited for her in the main hall, the both of them carrying swords and concealed weapons. They did not rest anymore. The couple  has  been  married  for  eighteen years; through that time, the everyday business of running the home had its fair share of problems. But now when they think about the enemy, and what Brother and Madam Wu said about the enemy’s strength, her cruel and vindictive ways; they knew time was running out and held each other.

After a long while, in the midst of the solitude, a soft song was heard from afar, seemingly a long distance away but the lyrics were crystal clear, “O mortals, what is love, that binds beyond life on earth, to all corners, in pairs we fly” .

Each word seems to be getting closer and closer, the person singing the song seems to be approaching extremely fast. By the beginning of the third line, the person had arrived at the door.

The three of them were startled, as suddenly a crashing sound was heard; the bolt on the main door had broken, the door flew in two different directions. An attractive priestess, with an evil smile gently stepped in; she was dressed in an apricot yellow gown. It was the Scarlet Serpent Deity Li Mochou.

Ah Gen at the time was cleaning the courtyard; he spoke first. "Who are you?" Lu Liding quickly said, "Ah Gen… runaway!" Could he escape?

Li Mochou moved her hand in a sweeping motion; Ah Gen’s head was split open, dying without a sound. Lu Liding drew his sword. Li Mochou leaned to the side and brushed past him, and with another sweeping motion with her fly whisk, caused the two maids to die. She laughed evilly, "Where are your girls?"

The Lu couple had just seen three lives taken in the blink of an eye. They knew they would have no luck today; with swords in their hands they rushed to attack her from the left and right. Li Mochou was about to attack again when she saw Madam Wu at the side holding a sword and cackled, "So an outsider wants to interfere, fine, you can join the dead in this house today!" Her voice was soft and graceful, her form exuding a delicate air. She had a pair of bright eyes, her skin white, and was a real beauty. They didn’t see her leg movements as she floated to the rooftop. The Lu couple and Madam Wu leaped up to follow. Li Mochou swept her whisk and the weapons flew out of their hands. She gracefully said, “Master Lu, if your brother was still alive and told me he would divorce He Yuanjun, that slut, then I could have spared your whole family. But now, your luck is bad; you can’t blame me, blame your short lived brother."

Lu Liding said, "Who asked you to spare us?" as he waved and chopped his knife blade at her. Madam Wu and mistress Lu both attacked from the front. Li Mochou saw Lu Liding’s skills were very average, but the way he used his knife, his kicks and palms, reminded her of her loved one. Her heart ached, and she wanted to see this type of kung fu as long as she could. If she killed him, the “Jiangnan Lu Family Blade” kung fu would be lost forever, so she flung her whisk without any real intent, and allowed her three enemies to circle her, her heart in a tangle, unable to use her normal array of ruthless moves. Suddenly Li Mochou gently whistled, she moved from the house, and headed towards the river bank, and to a lame old man holding an iron walking staff, and swept her fly whisk at him trying to wrap it around his staff. Before her legs had touched the ground, she had already unleashed an attack on her enemy. Unleashing it when he wasn’t prepared, her moves ruthless; she could teach the enemy how she could kill at all costs.

The old man heard the incoming attacks clearly; he lifted his staff across his body, getting ready to fight. He was aiming to pierce her right wrist. The iron staff is a heavy and clumsy weapon, only being able to sweep and smash. The old man is using a “piercing” type of kung fu, using the staff as a sword, and the moves he will unleash will be light and leisurely. Li Mochou waved her fly whisk, the silver threaded end up, wrapping it around the old man’s weapon. She shouted, "Let go!"

They struggled, borrowing strength to use strength, the fly whisk using the force in the iron staff to pull and drag the enemy towards it. The old man’s arms were shaking severely, and struggling to hold on, he jumped up, his body slanting in midair to escape, and managed to fend off a skilful stroke of hers. He thought, "This tyrant does live up to her name." Li Mochou used the stance “Great Granddad Goes Fishing” (tai gong diao yu) followed by “Luring the Old Man” (yuan zhe shang diao) to snatch away the enemy’s weapon. Usually this is a great move and would guarantee success, but before she could snatch away the iron staff, the man had anticipated this move. She thought, "Who is this lame old man? Why has he the ability to last this long?" On closer inspection, she could see that he was blind and immediately called out, "You are Ke Zhen’E!" The blind lame man was the head of the Jiangnan Seven Freaks “Flying Bat” Ke Zhen’E.

After Guo Jing and Huang Rong had participated in the Hua Mountain martial arts tournament, Huang Yaoshi organized their wedding on Peach Blossom Island. Huang Yaoshi had always been eccentric and disliked company, so after a few months of living with his daughter and son-in-law, he left the island in search of a more peaceful place to reside and left a letter. Huang Rong knew her father’s temperament, but couldn’t think of a solution so she reluctantly did nothing. At first her father would send news every few months, but after a year, news of him disappeared. Huang Rong missed her father and her teacher Hong Qigong, so along with Guo Jing, they went out in search of them, wandering Jianghu for months, but something made them return to the island. Huang Rong had become pregnant during this time. Huang Rong’s body and health wasn’t like normal people and she didn’t have a moment’s peace. Since she was pregnant, traveling was not convenient, her mind was troubled, and she blamed her problems on Guo Jing.

A pregnancy reduces the body’s ability to handle stress, although she loved Guo Jing deeply, she always found a reason to quarrel with him as he didn’t care about searching. Guo Jing knew his wife’s temper, so ignored what she said and treated it as a joke. She had a great deal on her mind and eventually stopped smiling; this troubled Guo Jing. Ten months passed and Huang Rong gave birth to a baby girl, and she was named Guo Fu. Huang Rong was unhappy during the pregnancy but after she gave birth, she spoiled her daughter. When she was just one, she exhibited the signs of disobedience and of being spoiled. Sometimes Guo Jing would not let things stand and scolded his daughter, but every time Huang Rong would protect her. The result was that the daughter became even more of a spoilt brat. When Guo Fu was five, Huang Rong began to teach her martial arts. Once, Guo Fu turned her room into her own animal playground when she cut and plucked every single insect, bird and beasts on the island. Their feathers and fur were gone, not even leaving any on their heads. Firstly, Guo Jing loved his wife dearly; secondly, he also loved his mischievous daughter very much. Whenever he tried to punish her, she would put on a pitiful face and say she was sorry; he would just sigh, and slowly put down his raised hand.

As time went on, there was still no news of Huang Yaoshi and Hong Qigong. The couple missed them terribly whenever they thought about them. Guo Jing also tried a few times to invite his Great Master Ke Zhen’E to the island to enjoy his old age. But Ke Zhen’E was a city dweller at heart, drinking and gambling was a hobby to him and so declined the invitation. One day he went to the island by himself, not being picked up by Guo Jing. What had happened was that he was having no luck, the more he gambled the more he lost, and he ended up with great debts. He had nowhere to go, and had to escape his debts. Guo Jing and Huang Rong were delighted to see him, and kept him on the island not permitting him to leave. Huang Rong eventually found about the debts, and secretly sent out someone to pay them. Ke Zhen’E didn’t know about this, so he dare not return to Jiaxing, and resided on the island with nothing to do. As a result he had become a playmate for Guo Fu.

A couple of years passed and Guo Fu had become nine. Huang Rong still missed her father and with Guo Jing was going to leave the island in search of him. When Ke Zhen’E knew about this, he insisted that he would come along. That meant that Guo Fu had to come along with him. When they left the island, Ke Zhen’E said, "We can go anywhere, anywhere but Jiaxing."

Huang Rong smiled and said, "Great Master, you don’t know, I already paid your debts a long time ago." Ke Zhen’E laughed and insisted they go to Jiaxing first.

Once the four had arrived in Jiaxing, they stayed at an inn. Ke Zhen’E heard from his sources that a few days ago, an old man dressed in a blue green gown was drinking alone in the Smoke Rain inn. From the description it sounded like it was Huang Yaoshi. Guo Jing and Huang Rong were delighted by this news, and searched the town and villages of Jiaxing. It was a beautiful day, so Ke Zhen’E took Guo Fu along with the eagles to the forest to play, and by a coincidence bumped into Wu Xiuwen.

After Ke Zhen’E exchanged a few moves with Li Mochou, he knew that he wasn’t her match and thought, "That witch’s skills are high, not below the once alive Mei Chao Feng. He used the “Ambush Evil Cane” moves, guarding the door. Li Mochou thought, "I’ve heard from brother Lu that in Jiaxing the more famous of the martial artists was the Jiangnan Seven Freaks. Their kung fu not at all simple and they had a famous disciple, Guo Jing. He is the head of the Seven Freaks and he indeed lives up to his name. He is blind and lame, and now very old, yet he can still manage to last ten or so moves with me." Suddenly she heard the shouts from the Lu couple and Madam Wu heading up attack at her. "Hurting that old Ke Zhen’E is not a hard thing to do, but if I have the Guo couple tracking me, then that would make things hard. Today I’ll just let him go."

The fly whisk extended, the silver threads stiffened, the whisk now like a spear heading towards Ke Zhen’E’s chest. The whisk’s threads are soft but behind a skilled force, the whisk is able to harm the major pressure points, any hits it lands will be lethal. Ke Zhen’E had planted the iron walking staff in the ground, relying on it to jump backwards. Li Mochou jumped ahead, advancing to attack from behind. Her waist extremely flexible, she turned and jumped behind him, with Madam Wu not further than two meters from her shoulder. Madam Wu gulped, and hurried a left palm aimed at her forehead. Li Mochou gently moved her waist, like a flower floating in the wind, and escaped while unleashing a palm, hitting mistress Lu in the abdomen.

Mistress Lu walked forward three steps, and fell to the ground. Master Lu saw his wife on the ground and waved his blade with his right hand, using his lone blade to drive Li Mochou back. Then he used his two hands and rushed at her, wanting to perish together with his wife. Li Mochou, after she failed in love, she detested signs of love, and when she saw Lu Liding rushing at her, she was filled with immense hatred, and used her whisk to hit the lone blade. She swept her fly whisk, and after a “shua” noise, he was hit on the crown of his head.

Li Mochou had seriously wounded the couple in just a wink, even though they had the help of Ke Zhen’E and Madam Wu. She laughed and asked, "Where are the two girls?" Before Madam Wu could reply, a flash of yellow went into the house. Li Mochou searched high and low but there was no trace of the girls. She got a torch from the kitchen, and set the firewood alight in the room. She came out and laughed, "I don’t have any past feuds with Peach Blossom Island, or Reverend Yideng. You two can leave."

Ke Zhen’E and Madam Wu knew how ruthless and malicious she was and with hatred on their faces, they attacked her. Li Mochou dodged the sword and staff, and waved her whisk; Madam Wu’s weapon was tangled. The two pulled their weapons, but the force behind the whisk was greater and after a sound, the sword had been broken into two pieces, the sword tip heading  towards  Madam  Wu,  and  the  handle towards Ke Zhen’E.

Madam Wu had lost her weapon, swallowed, and couldn’t believe that she could use her fly whisk to break a sword in half, and immediately deflect the two pieces of sword towards the two. The blade was coming at her extremely fast; she quickly lowered her head, and felt the blade brush past her, cutting a segment of her hair.

Ke Zhen’E heard the sound of a sword breaking, and used his staff to dodge the flying handle. He heard Madam Wu shout. He moved his staff like wind, attacking with every movement. His left hand holding three small poisonous projectiles, poised, but thought about Li Mochou’s deadly “Soul Freezing Silver Needles” If he used his projectiles, she would certainly use hers; since he’s blind, he would not be able to see them so he refrained from using his.

Li Mochou still went soft on him, thinking, "The blind old man’s not resorting to concealed weapons; he must be scared of me returning the favour." She lightly twisted her waist, and used her whisk to wrap around the old man’s iron staff. Ke Zhen’E just felt a strong force pulling him, wanting to take his weapon out of his grasp. He circulated his internal energy, channeling it through his iron walking staff, and contested internal energy with his opponent. But didn’t know exactly where she was. In a flash, his bones started to shake, his strength draining out of him. Li Mochou had used her left hand to push away the staff to one side; a left palm had already gently pushed Ke Zhen’E in the chest. She laughed, "Old Man Ke, the “Divine Scarlet Palm” has hit you in your chest!"

Ke Zhen’E had no ability to defend himself now,  and thought, "Lowlife,  you can finish me,  what more  do you want now?"

Madam Wu saw this, and felt deeply responsible. Li Mochou leapt up from the iron staff, and in midair stretched her hand out towards Madam Wu, gently touching her on the face. She laughed and said, "You chased away my disciple, you sure have guts." After a few graceful laughs she fled. Madam Wu had felt her soft and gentle palm, the place where she had touched had become relaxed. She saw her heading towards the thick growth of willow trees, and in a flash had disappeared. She thought about the few moves she exchanged with Li Mochou, her moves seemed designed to let her live and weren’t at full strength. Suddenly she felt she had no strength and fell to the ground paralyzed. Ke Zhen’E was touched in the chest and he too was struggling by a rock, He breathed in quickly, then slowed his breaths.

After a long while, Madam Wu exerted some strength to get up, and saw black smoke rising, the Lu home in flames. At the time, Ke Zhen’E tried to carry the Lu couple out but saw they were short of breath and thought to himself; "If I move them now, they are just going to die quicker, but I can’t leave them here. What should I do?"

In the middle of this problem, a loud voice suddenly called out, "Wife, are  you  alright?"  It  was  Wu Santong’s voice.

End of Chapter 1. 
@Chapter 2 – A Friend's Son
These past ten years he has never shown a touch of concern towards her, so she was delighted when she heard this, and replied, "I'm over here."

Wu Santong leapt in front of her, the Lu couple carried in each hand. He said, "Quickly follow me," and went on his way. Ke Zhen’E and Madam Wu followed behind him.

Wu Santong swerved east and twisted west for a few miles, and led the two to an old, broken kiln. It was a large old kiln used for making wine bottles. Madam Wu entered, and saw her two sons, Xiuwen and Dunru were safe and sound. She let out a sigh of relief. The Wu brothers were sitting on the ground playing with stones with Cheng Ying and Lu Wushuang. When Cheng Ying and Lu Wushuang saw the Lu couple, they threw themselves onto them, shouting and crying.

Ke Zhen’E heard Lu Wushuang cry out mother and father he immediately said, "Oh no, we've lured the ghost out, that witch is going to be here soon!"

Madam Wu's heart was afraid. She asked, "How?"

Ke Zhen’E replied, "That witch wants the Lu girls, but doesn't know where they are."

Madam Wu suddenly realized what he meant and swallowed. "Yes, she purposely let us go so she could secretly follow us."

Wu Santong shouted out, "If the Scarlet Witch is following, then I'll go and face her." He turned around and stood at the opening of the kiln.

Lu Liding's skull had been severely injured but he had one last wish so he strained out a breath and called out to Cheng Ying.

"Ah Ying, take out the handkerchief that I've got on my chest."

Cheng Ying, her eyes full of tears, stretched out her hand and took out the handkerchief. It was a white satin handkerchief, in the four corners were sewn a red flower. The red flower looked withered and by it was a jade green leaf. The white satin was old and had become yellow, the embroidery of the flower and leaf were beautiful, almost like the real thing. Lu Liding said, "Ah Ying, tie the handkerchief around your neck, you mustn't untie it, you understand?" Cheng Ying didn't know what her uncle meant, but did as she was told and nodded.

Mistress Lu was severely hurt but when she heard her husband's words, she forced her eyes open and said, "Why aren't you giving it to Shuang’er? Give it to Shuang’er” Mistress Lu quickly added, "You haven't got a heart. Are you not worried about your own daughter's safety?" As she said this her eyes went white, her voice faded. Lu Wushuang didn't know what her parents were arguing about and she cried out, "Father…Mother!" Lu Liding softly said, "Dear wife, you love Shuang’er very much, so why don't we let her follow us?"

Originally, the red flower and green leaf handkerchief was a lover’s gift from Li Mochou to Lu Zhenyuan. The red flower was the famous Man Tuo Luo flower from Dali. Li Mochou figured that Lu sounds like green, the green leaf representing her beloved, and thought "Red Flower Green Leaf, will always be together." Before He Yuanjun died, she knew that on the ten-year deadline, Mo Chou and Wu Santong would come and cause trouble. She had a plan to deal with the two, but didn't expect the sudden illness of Lu Zhenyuan. She knew Lu Liding's kung fu was average, and wouldn't be able to escape when the time came, so she gave him the handkerchief, and made him understand, if it was Wu Santong who came to seek revenge, to act normal and restrain from attacking as he does not intend to take any lives. But Li Mochou had become infamous in Jianghu in recent years with her cruel and vindictive methods, meeting her would be your bad luck. If it was her, then tie the handkerchief around your neck, this will stir up any old memories that witch would have of your brother and hopefully she will let you go. But Lu Liding was a proud man, and would not beg Li Mochou for his life.

Cheng Ying was the daughter of his brother. Before he died, he requested that Lu Liding bring up his daughter like his own. He was obligated by the request of a good friend, but in the danger that they are now in, he would not be able to fulfill this request and so gave the life saving handkerchief to Cheng Ying. Mistress Lu had realized what he was doing and saw that he was sacrificing his own daughter. Under the strain she suffered severe pain and left the world.

Cheng Ying saw that the handkerchief was the cause of her aunt's troubles, took off the handkerchief, and gave it to her cousin saying, "Aunt said to give this to you, take it!"

Lu Liding said, "Shuang’er, it's your cousin's, don't take it."

Madam Wu was standing to the side when she heard all this and said, "I am going to tear the handkerchief in half, half to each, is that a good idea?" Lu Liding had not the strength to reply anymore, and just nodded. Madam Wu tore the handkerchief in half, and gave each half to the cousins.

Wu Santong was standing by the entrance when he heard all the commotion, and went inside to see what all the fuss was about. He saw his wife's face and on the left cheek was a black patch. Startled, he pointed to his wife's face and asked, "Why is your face like that?"

Madam Wu reached out and touched her face and said, "Like what?" only to feel no sensation in her left cheek, her heart jumped and realized it was where Li Mochou had touched her. Can it be that when she touched her face gently she used the chance to emit poison?

Wu Santong was inside asking questions when a voice from the entrance said, "The two little girls are inside, aren't they? They can't live so just give them to me. If you don't, I'll burn you all in this kiln. The voice was clear and gentle.

Wu Santong jumped out of the kiln, and saw Li Mochou standing at the entrance, and thought in wonder, "It has been ten years, yet she still looks like she did then."

He had recognized that she had now become a priestess, but he couldn't change his way of greeting her, and greeted her as he had before as Miss Li. Within these past ten years, no had called her “Miss Li”; now when she heard those words, her heart moved, her memories and feelings as a young girl rushed to her chest. But then she remembered she could have spent her life with the person she loved, but there existed a He Yuanjun who caused her to lose her loved one. She was resigned to being alone forever. As she thought about this her emotions came over her again and she was unable to resist the pain.

Wu Santong is another one who had his love rejected; even though their love was a different sort, it is still love. When he was searching for Lu Zhanyuan, he saw with his own eyes Li Mochou kill He Lao Quanshi's family, a total of twenty men, women, old and young without remorse or feeling. To think about it made him shiver. He Lao Quanshi and she had never met; they had no feuds and no relations to He Yuanjun. But because they shared the same surname, it provoked her hate and fury and she killed every last member of the He family. Even before he died, he didn't know the reason for his death. At the time Wu Santong didn't intervene, as he didn't know the background to the matter. Only after he heard that it was for this simple reason, he swore to himself that he would treat her with the utmost hate and disgust. He saw that she had a gentle, kindly smile but she could change that to a cold and evil smile immediately. He was extremely worried about the safety of the two girls.

Li Mochou said, "I only printed nine palms on the Lu's wall, I must kill those two girls. Wu Santong, please step aside."

Wu Santong replied, "Lu Zhenyuan and his wife are dead now,  his  brother  and  wife  died  under  your hands, its only two girls, you can just leave them."

Li Mochou grinned and shook her head, gently saying "Wu Santong, please step aside."

Wu Santong gripped tighter to his chestnut tree and said, "Miss Li, the reason for your hatred is Ah Yuan."

When the two words ‘Ah Yuan' was said, Li Mochou's face changed and she  said,  "I  once  swore  that whoever mentioned that slut's name in front of me will be killed by me or I would perish trying. I once destroyed sixty-three families in their boats on the river Yuan simply because they shared the name of that slut. Surely you've heard of this? Master Wu, it is your fault, so don't blame me." While she said this she swung her weapon at Wu Santong's neck.

Though she seemed to have swung her fly whisk lightly, the stroke was fierce and quick, causing Wu Santong to fly right and left above her to avoid the strokes. She knew that Wu Santong is a high disciple of Reverend Yideng, although he is in a state of confusion, his kung fu was still solid; when the need arose he could still kill. Wu Santong’s left hand straightened, the tree trunk came out with great force, and swept across. Li Mochou saw the power in this, and immediately floated away, avoiding getting struck by the trunk. She didn't wait for him to use the trunk again and flew in front attacking, trying to break inside. Wu Santong saw that she was heading into the kiln, and raised his right hand, and pointed a finger at one of her pressure points, and unleashed “Solitary Yang Finger” at her.

Though his “Solitary Yang Finger” wasn't fast enough to hit a pressure point, the move had many changes, and had to be avoided. Li Mochou used “Strike the Golden Clock” and immediately jumped back ten feet. Wu Santong saw her moving forwards and backwards, in a flash she had advanced and retreated so many times, his heart secretly quivered. When she was retreating he used his strength and used the tree trunk again to force her back. But as soon as he did this, she advanced right in front of him, if it wasn't for the “Solitary Yang Finger”, he would have been out matched long ago. The tree trunk was heavy, and every time he moved it, he would exert a lot of strength, Li Mochou had noticed this, and tried to wear him out using this method.

Suddenly a flash of yellow went over to Wu Santong, Li Mochou had landed on the tree branch that Wu Santong was holding, and swept her fly whisk at him forcing him to drop it. Wu Santong jumped, and hurriedly picked up the branch from the ground. Li Mochou laughed, as she hurriedly went over to the tree trunk and stepped on it. Wu Santong turned around and extended a finger. She moved again, heading back towards the tree branch. After ten moves or so, when Wu Santong tried to sweep her with the branch, she flew onto the top of a willow tree. She let him attack with the tree trunk. This way, Wu Santong would use even more strength. Although she was fairly light she added to the weight of the tree that she was standing on, the trunk would not be able to knock her off. This position also allowed her to attack the kiln. She was in a position where she could not lose. Wu Santong glanced at her, and knew he must be patient; he wasn't too concerned about his own life, but if the kiln full of old and young fell into her hands it would be terrible. At that time the tree trunk was flying wilder and quicker, fiercely colliding with the tree trying to shake Li Mochou out of it.

After a moment he heard Ke Zhen’E shout, "Fu’er, you have arrived, quickly, get the eagles to get rid of that evil woman." Following this a girl's whistle could be heard, in the sky were two white images in formation descending. It was the two large eagles, attacking Li Mochou from the left and right. Guo Fu had arrived with the eagles. Li Mochou saw the two eagles coming at her so she held on to the tree tightly with her left foot. The eagles' attack wasn't successful and they headed back to the sky. The girl whistled again a few times. The two eagles came in for a second attack, and aimed at the underside of the tree.

Li Mochou had heard Peach Blossom Island's Guo Jing and Huang Rong had a pair of giant eagles, who were almost telepathic with each other. At the time the eagles were coming together for an attack. She wasn't worried about the eagles, but the fact they belonged to the Guo couple meant that the Guo couple must be nearby. This would complicate matters. Li Mochou dodged a few times, and then launched her own attack on the eagles, injuring one of the eagles' left wing; the eagle screeched and fell to the ground. When Guo Fu saw that her eagle was hurt, she shouted out, "Eagle don't be scared, keep attacking that evil woman." Li Mochou looked at the girl who said this, and saw a little girl that seemed to have come from a beautiful painting and thought, "I've heard that heroine Huang was one of the most beautiful women in the world. I wonder how she compares with me? Is this girl her daughter?"

While she was being distracted, her moves slowed.  Wu  Santong  saw  that  although  the  eagles  were helping, they could still not force Li Mochou from the tree. Amid the chirping and screeching he fiercely hit the ground with his two hands, and caused Li Mochou to fly off the tree. Li Mochou could not predict that he would unleash such an unusual move, and was forced tens of feet into the air. When the eagles saw that she was in the air, they went in for another attack from above. When she had a secure grip, the eagles could not really harm her but now that she is in the air, how could she compete with them? In this desperate situation, she waved her fly whisk in front of her face to protect her head, and withdrew three “Soul Freezing Silver Needles”, and shot them out hurriedly. Two were aimed at the eagles, the other one at Wu Santong's chest. The eagles saw the needles coming and quickly flew higher to evade them, but the needles were traveling at such a high speed, and after a second, the male eagle was hit  in  a  claw.  Wu Santong was looking up when he saw the incoming needle, and leapt out of the way in a rush, but was still hit in his left leg. Wu Santong got up after a roll. He knew he had been hit in his left leg but didn't call out. Left kneeling, he circulated his inner strength to allow him to support himself. His leg was now swollen and numb. He stooped down, and used his hands to try to support himself; but he could not and eventually fell down on to the ground motionless.

Guo Fu shouted, "Eagles, eagles come here quickly." But the two eagles had flown far away, and didn't turn back.

Li Mochou said, "Little girl, is your name Guo?"

Guo Fu saw that  the woman standing in  front of her was  beautiful, she had a  friendly disposition and did not look like an ‘evil woman' and replied, "Yes, my name is Guo. What is yours?" Li Mochou laughed and said, "Come, I'll take you to play," while slowly walking towards her, with the intention to grab her.

Ke Zhen’E, supporting himself with his iron staff, rushed out of the kiln and shouted, "Fu’er, run quickly!" Li Mochou laughed and said, "Scared I'm going to eat her up?"

At that time, a young boy in ragged garments holding a chicken in his left hand, and singing a folk song, rushed over and saw the people in the kiln and said, "Hey, what are you people doing in my home?" He went over to where Li Mochou and Guo Fu were and laughed and said, "He-he, old beauty you're pretty, little beauty you are cute, are you two here to find me? However this person named Yang hasn't got any beauties for friends." His face carried a smirk and his attitude was sly.

Guo Fu sneered and said, "Who wants to look for you?"

The boy replied, "If you are not looking for me, why are you at my home?" and  pointed  to  the  kiln, indicating it was his home.

"Huh, who wants to go to that unsightly place?" Madam Wu saw that her husband was on the ground, and didn't know whether he was dead or alive. She came rushing out of the kiln to his side and said, "Brother San, are you okay?" Wu Santong gave out a moan and struggled to get up, but in the end he could not stand up. Gou Fu gazed afar but still couldn't see the two eagles, and shouted, "Eagles, eagles, come back here!"

Li Mochou thought, "If I wait for the Guo couple to arrive, it’ll be hard for me to escape." She laughed evilly and headed for the kiln. Madam Wu rushed to cut her off, and waved her sword saying, "You can't enter!"

Li Mochou smiled and replied, "This is the little brother's home, how can you be in charge here?" Her left palm was facing the sword's tip, and headed straight for it, wanting to touch the blade, her palm twisted; her three fingers now holding the sword's sides, she flipped the sword tip towards Madam Wu. It was pointing towards Madam Wu's forehead, there was a sound and her forehead had been cut. Li Mochou laughed and said, "Sorry for the offence!" She placed her fly whisk in her belt, and headed into the kiln. She grabbed Lu Wushuang and Cheng Ying in each hand, and without turning her back, she flipped herself over and headed out of the kiln, avoiding Ke Zhen’E's iron staff.

The ragged young boy saw Li Mochou had hurt Madam Wu and snatch the two girls so didn't dare to step out of line again. But when he heard the cousin's cries, he jumped onto Li Mochou shouting, "Hey old beauty, you've hurt and snatched people, you haven't even greeted the owner, you are too rude, let the girls go."

Li Mochou was carrying the girls in both her arms, and had no way to stop the young boy from grabbing onto her. Her heart shivered, as there was a pair of arms holding onto the side of her body, her whole body softened involuntary. At the time she charged her palms, and flung the two  girls  away,  and immediately grabbed the boy. Within these last ten years a man has never touched her, and though she had lived for thirty years she is still a virgin. In the past when Lu Zhanyuan was infatuated with her, he still treated her with respect. A lot of young heroes in Jianghu had seen her beauty but dare not show their feelings as they knew that they will die a violent death from the “Scarlet Serpent Deity's” palm. But today, a young boy is holding onto her; she grabbed him and intended to charge her palm and shatter the boy's heart, but then thought about how he praised her beauty sincerely, in her heart she was pleased. When those words came from the mouths of men, she loathed it but from the mouth of a thirteen or fourteen year old, the words felt different. In a moment of weakness she did not lower her palm onto him.

Suddenly she heard the cries of the eagles; they had come back for another raid. Li Mochou gathered two “Soul Freezing Silver Needles” and immediately shot them out. The pair of eagles had previously suffered from this concealed weapon, and rushed to fly higher, but the silver needles were coming at them at a fast pace. The eagles could fly fast, but the needles were faster and eagles cried out in fright. Li Mochou saw that the eagles had retreated once again, and was extremely pleased. Suddenly she heard two shouts, two small objects rapidly appeared in the sky and after a loud noise the two small objects knocked the needles out of the air in a flash. Whoever threw the objects, their power must be extremely high. She gulped and dropped the young man, and went over to see. It was two small stones. She thought, "The person who shot out the stones must be extremely skilled, I'm not his match, I better evade him first and think about this later."

She turned around and stretched out her palm, facing Cheng Ying. She wanted to hurt the two cousins first and then escape. As her palm was about to reach her chest, Li Mochou saw there was a satin handkerchief tied around her neck, the embroidery on it was of a red flower and green leaf, it was the handkerchief that she had personally sewn and had given it to her lover. She didn't move and lowered her palm, her heart was turning over with memories of before, and thought, "Although he married the He slut, he could not forget me and kept this handkerchief. He wants me to spare his heirs, should I spare them or not?" She could not decide, and decided to kill Lu Wushuang and discuss this later. She took out her fly whisk, the silver thread end facing Lu Wushuang, and as she headed for her chest, she saw another handkerchief tied around Lu Wushuang's neck. She thought, "How come there are two handkerchiefs? One of them must be a fake." She curled up her whisk, and held Lu Wushuang's neck as she shook and moved her around.

At this time, a sound cutting through the air was heard; a small stone was flying towards her chest. Li Mochou took out her fly whisk and immediately struck out, knocking the stone out of the air. She shouted out in pain as her palm heated up, her body shaking. Just a small stone with so much power, whoever threw must be extremely skilled. She couldn't stay here anymore, and grabbed Lu Wushuang, and used her lightness kung fu. She swept over the ground like a gust of wind and in a flash there was no trace of her.

Cheng Ying saw that her cousin had been taken away and shouted, "Cousin! Cousin!" and tried to follow. Li Mochou's steps were extremely rapid, how could she catch them?

Jiangnan is a wet area and full of rivers, and after a while Cheng Ying had come upon a river blocking her way, with no way to proceed. She followed along the bank, and suddenly saw a yellow image on the left side, a person crossing the bridge alone. Cheng Ying waited a while and saw that Li Mochou was on her own, Lu Wushuang wasn't to be seen anywhere. Cheng Ying saw her turn around and though extremely frightened, dared to ask, "Where's my cousin?" Li Mochou saw her white skin and handsome smile and coldly laughed, "You two look the same, she has many days in front of her, don't worry about her. You should worry about yourself. Why didn't you die early, the world would have less trouble." She raised her fly whisk, and hit out. She saw that the stroke she was going to use to strike the chest had become slow and light. With the fly whisk behind her back, she was going to attack in front of her but as she sped up, something was holding onto the whisk's tail and she was unable to fling it. She swallowed and turned around to look, and saw the ground was raised over her about ten feet in the air and collapsing. It was an extraordinary situation. She protected her chest with her left palm and channeled energy through her fly whisk and pierced through the dirt. How can it be that there was no one behind it, just empty space? She had fought hundreds of battles throughout her life, but had never encountered a situation like this, her brain flicking through many scenarios, "A monster… a demon?" She used a stance of “First Mixing Form”, the fly whisk forming a circular boundary shielding her before she turned around again.

She saw, standing by Cheng Ying, a tall, lean strange man dressed in a blue jade gown, with no expression on his face. Who was he, and as she looked at him she couldn't think of anything to say. She took two steps back and in this short space of time she could not think who in Jianghu this powerful person might be. As she was about to inquire who he was, she heard the man speak to Cheng Ying.

"Little girl, that woman is really evil, and you went to fight her." Cheng Ying raised her hand and head and replied, "I wouldn't dare." The man said, "What are you afraid of? Go ahead." Cheng Ying didn't dare to. The man grabbed her and pushed her towards Li Mochou.

In this situation, Li Mochou didn't know how to react. She planned to use her fly whisk; she stretched out her left hand to reach it, aiming to hit Cheng Ying on the waist. Suddenly a chi sound was produced; her arm was numb and sore, and she was unable to pick up her weapon. Cheng Ying approached her with her palm out, and after a clashing sound, Li Mochou was struck in the chest with a palm. Li Mochou had never suffered such an insult in her life, and in a rage, forgot her worries and reached out for her weapon and struck out in fury. Her whisk flew out of her hand, causing her to shake; the man had shot out another pebble, knocking her weapon to the ground. Cheng Ying was standing there steadily.

Li Mochou knew that she had met trouble today; if she didn't escape now her life would be in danger. She laughed lightly and turned around and hurried away. After she was many steps away she waved her hands behind her. A glimmer of silver appeared, ten plus “Soul Freezing Silver Needles” were shot out towards the man in light green. She shot her concealed weapons without turning back, but every single needle was heading towards the man. The man was caught off guard, not knowing that her needle throwing skill was so deadly. He immediately flew backwards to evade the needles. The needles were coming at him at a fast pace, but his leaps were quicker. Only after he had heard all the needles hit something did he stop and return to ground. Li Mochou knew that she wouldn't be able to hit him, the ten or so needles were meant to distract him, when she heard the wind sounds caused by him retreating backwards, her hand waved again, a lone needle was shot out at Cheng Ying. She knew that the needle must hit the target; afraid of exchanging blows with the man she didn't look back and increased her efforts in escaping, her body disappearing into the mulberry forest. The man in the blue green gown said, "Ah!" and picked up Cheng Ying and saw a needle had hit her shoulder, her face had changed colour and she gave out a quiet moan. Carrying her he hurriedly headed west.

The kidnapping of Lu Wushuang had startled Ke Zhen’E. The ragged young man said, "I'll take a look." Guo Fu replied, "What is there to look at? That evil woman is going to kick you to death."

The young man smiled and replied, "You kick me to death? I wouldn’t want to see that." As he said this he headed in the direction of Li Mochou.

Guo Fu said, "Idiot! I didn't say I was going to kick you." Guo Fu didn't realize that boy made a play on the words and said she was the evil woman.

The boy hurried as fast as he could for a while when he suddenly heard the calls of Cheng Ying shouting out, "Cousin, cousin!" He followed the sound of the calls. He ran over a great distance following the calls and he eventually arrived at where the calls seemingly came from. But when he got there was no trace of the two girls in any direction. He turned his head and on the ground glimmering were ten or so silver needles, the needles forming a pattern. He stooped down and picked up a needle, holding it in his left hand. By the needles there was a large centipede with its underside facing up, dead. He thought this was strange, and took a close look and saw a large number of ants were dead, but a few steps away were many ants rushing and moving. He picked up a needle and poked at them a few times, and some of the ants rolled over a few times before facing up. The same happened with a few other insects.

The young boy was happy, thinking this would be great to use on mosquitoes and flies, but suddenly felt that his left hand was not responding as normal. A fierce voice from behind said, "The needles have poison on them! You are holding it in your left hand how can it not be dangerous?" He opened his left palm and abandoned the needle. There is a black mark already forming in the place where the needle was held, and his two fingers were also turning black. He was extremely frightened, and stretched out his hand and rubbed it on his leg fiercely. The numbness on his left hand slowly increased, and within minutes the numbness had reached his joints. He was once bitten by a poisonous snake, and almost lost his life; at the time, the place where he was bitten became numb. He was in danger and he eventually cried out due to the pain. A voice from behind said, "Little baby, you know how powerful it is now huh?" The sound was like the clanging of metals piercing his ear, as if it was coming from the ground. He turned around and gulped as he saw a man standing upside down. The boy retreated a few steps and asked, "Who… who...who are you?"

The man's hands were on the ground supporting himself, his body upright and with a jump; he traveled thirty feet to face the boy.

"Who am I? It would be great to know who I am."

The boy was startled and started to run away, only to hear a ‘du' ‘du' ‘du' noise behind him. He turned around and was so scared that his soul jumped out of his body. The man is using his hands as his feet, each hand held a stone, and although he was walking upside down his speed was faster than walking on two feet, and was just a few meters behind him. He ran even faster scared for his life only to hear a sound as the man jumped over his head and landed in front of him. The boy shouted out, "Mother!" and turned around to escape but wherever he went the strange man would jump in front of him. He had two feet, but he wasn't a match for a person using his hands to walk. He turned around a few times but the man was getting closer so he stretched out his palm wanting to push him; his hand was numb and he had lost control over it long ago. His head was covered with sweat and now didn't know what to do, his legs went limp and he sat down on the ground.

The strange man said, "The more you run and move about, the quicker the poison will spread." The boy worried for his life, got down on his knees and said, "I beg old grandpa to save my life."

The strange man shook his head and said, "It's difficult, it's difficult." The boy replied, "Your have so much skill, you can save me."

After the old man heard these words of praise, he was pleased and grinned, "How do you know that I'm so skilled?" The young boy heard his tone had become friendly and replied, "You run so fast while upside down. No one on earth can compete with you." The boy had added the phrase  “No  one  on  earth  can compete with you” knowing that words of praise would please the old man. The old man laughed loudly, his laugh shaking the trees in the forest and said, "Flip upside down, let me take a look."

The boy was bright, and immediately flipped upside down by himself, he couldn't  tell  if  the  man  was sincere but he did as he was told and flipped his body upside down so that his head was on the ground. His right hand still had feeling in it and managed to support himself firmly. The strange man glanced at him a few times, his brows lowered and wrinkled. The boy was upside down but still managed to take a clear look at the man; he had a tall nose and deep set eyes, his face covered in a short white beard, his limbs like metal, he talked to himself in strange phrases which was hard on the ear. The young boy was scared that the man wasn't going to save him and said, "Good Grandpa, please save me." The man saw he was a strapping boy and was pleased by his flip and replied, "Fine, saving you is not hard, but you got to promise one thing."

"Whatever you say, I'll listen. What do you want me to promise you?"

The strange man smiled and said, "I only want you to promise me one thing. Whatever I say, you must obey."

The boy thought, "I must obey everything you say? I've got to listen even when you tell me to be a dog or eat feces?"

The man saw that he was hesitant and slow to reply said, "Fine, you can die!" As he said this he got onto his hands and leapt away several meters.

The boy was afraid that the man had gone too far, and wanted to chase him to ask for help but he forgot that he could not walk upside down like the man, so he got back upright and chased a few steps and called out, "Grandpa, I agree. Whatever you say, I will obey."

The man turned around and said, "Fine, you've to swear it." The boy's left hand was becoming increasingly number, and he was becoming increasingly concerned about his life so he could do nothing but swear an oath.

"If grandpa saves me by ridding my body of the poison, I will listen to whatever he says. If I don't, then let the poison return to my body." He thought, "If I never pick up any more silver needles then how will the poison return? I wonder if the strange man will accept this oath?" He looked at the old man, and saw his expression had changed and he seemed pleased, and he in turn became pleased as well as he thought, "The old man believes me."

The old man nodded and went upright. He grabbed hold of the boy's arm, and pushed it a few times and said, "Good, good, you are a good boy." When the boy was pushed in the arm, he felt the numbness had lightened, and shouted out, "Grandpa, push me a few more times!" The strange man frowned and said, "Don't call me grandpa; call me father!"

The little boy replied, "My father's dead, I don't have a father."

The man shouted at him, "The first thing I ask and you don't even listen, what use have I with a son like you."

The boy thought, "Oh, the man wants me to be his son." He had never seen his father before, and heard from his mother that his father had died before he was born. Whenever he saw other children with their father he would envy them. Now he sees this strange man in front of him, acting weird and crazy. He didn't want to accept this old man as his stepfather.

The strange man shouted at him, "You don't agree to call me father, fine. There are other people who are willing, I won't agree to my promise." The boy tried to think of another way to deceive him into saving him. The man suddenly bellowed out a strange noise, and said a curse and started to walk away. The boy quickly said, "Father, father where are you going?" The man gave out a great laugh and said, "Good boy, come, I'll teach you a method to rid your body of poison." The boy walked over to him. The strange man said, "You have contracted Li Mochou's “Soul Freezing Silver Needles” poison, it is quite difficult to cure this poison."

He then passed on the words of circulating air and the method to practice it, the head must be below the legs, so the blood will flow the opposite direction, the poison will eventually flow out from within the body. Since he is a beginner, he can only remove a few drops of poison every day, but within a month, all the poison would be removed from his body. The boy was extremely clever, and he absorbed everything and memorized it. He then followed the method and indeed, the numbness decreased. After a little while, small drops of black blood seeped from his fingers. The strange man was pleased and said, "Good! You don't have to practice anymore today, I'll teach you something new tomorrow. Follow me." The boy was startled, and said, "Go where?" The strange man replied, "I am your father, wherever a father goes, the son of course follows."

As he said this, the air was filled with the sound of eagle calls; the two large eagles were approaching. The strange man looked at the eagles, and hit his head as he frowned, searching for something in his mind. Suddenly, he seemed to have found what he was looking for, his face changed and shouted out, "I won't see them, I won't see them!" As he said this he took a stride; the stride was extremely large, and by the second stride he had moved over ten feet. After a few more strides he disappeared into the mulberry forest. The boy shouted out, "Father, father!" and tried to follow.

He eventually wound up at a willow tree and suddenly he felt a gust of wind behind him, as the eagles flew over from behind him and started to descend. From behind the willow tree out came two people, a male and female, the eagles stopped behind the two. The male had dense brows and large eyes, a broad chest and waist, he was about thirty years of age, and his top lip had the beginnings of a moustache. The woman was about twenty six or twenty seven years of age, she had a beautiful face, her eyes sparkled, and looked at the boy a few times and said to the man, "Who do you think that boy looks like?" The man turned around to the boy and replied, "You say he looks like somebody?" as he said these words he stopped.

The two people were Guo Jing and Huang Rong. That day they were at a restaurant searching for news of Huang Yaoshi, when they suddenly saw flames far away and after a while, a person in the street hurriedly said, "The Lu's mansion is on fire!" Huang Rong shivered as she remembered that Jiaxing's Lu's mansion belonged to Lu Zhanyuan, a fairly famous person in the wuxia world, and although they had never met, she had admired the name. In Jianghu many people had mentioned that Jiangnan has two Lu mansions. There are countless Lu mansions in Jiangnan, the two that the Wuxia members mentioned were the Lu mansion by the Tai Lake and Jiaxing's Lu mansion. For Lu Zhanyuan to be mentioned in the same breath as Lu Chengfeng, he was surely not an ordinary person. After asking a few questions, it turned out it was Lu Zhanyuan's mansion that was being burned. The two hurried for the site but once they got there, the fire had died down, the mansion had been burnt down to the ground, a few bodies where found at the scene but they were burned beyond recognition.

Huang Rong said, "Something strange may have occurred." Guo Jing asked, "What?"

Huang Rong replied, "Lu Zhanyuan is a fairly famous name in Jianghu, his wife Yuanjun is also a heroine of this generation. If the mansion caught fire, how come no one managed to escape? The only explanation is that an enemy of theirs had come to take their revenge."

Guo Jing thought this must be the reason and replied, "Yes, let us think, who the suspect can be?"

The two examined the site but found no traces of any evidence. Huang Rong suddenly saw something on one of the remaining walls and shouted, "Look, what's that?"

Guo Jing looked up and saw a few blood handprints on the wall; after being burned, the blood prints became more prominent. The wall collapsed and on the lower section were two prints. Guo Jing gathered himself and suddenly spurted out,” The Scarlet Serpent Deity!"

Huang Rong replied, "It must be her."

They had long heard of Li Mochou, the “Scarlet Serpent Deity”. Her kung fu was high, and no one can compare with her poisonous ways. She was comparable to the one called ‘Western Poison”. She was in Jiangnan and it was a chance to track her down.

Guo Jing nodded his head, "People in Wulin have said she is extremely difficult to deal with, if we can find your father it would be good."

Huang Rong laughed and said, "The older they get, the less we have to worry."

Guo Jing said, "You're right. The more someone practices martial arts, the less work they have to do." Huang Rong laughed and said, "You are modest Master Guo! I find the more I practice the worse I get."

The two laughed and joked, but secretly they were on the guard as well. They looked around, and by a pond they saw two “Soul Freezing Silver Needles”. One of the needles was half submerged in the pond, the ponds eighty or so gold fishes' white bellies were facing up. It was the deed of the poison of the needle. Huang Rong stuck out her tongue and broke off two pieces of twig from a tree and used it to fish the needle out, and then placed it in her gown sack. The two searched everywhere, and then saw the two eagles and eventually met the boy.

Guo Jing thought that the boy looked familiar, but at the time could not think of who he looks like. His nose suddenly picked up a strange scent, and sniffed a few more times and felt his brain start to smother. Huang Rong had already noticed this, and knew the origin was nearby. She turned around to search for the source and saw the male eagle had a wound on its left claw, and after a closer examination, the source of the scent was indeed from the wound. The two gulped, and carefully examined the wound, the skin was broken only slightly yet the leg had swollen to more than twice its size, the skin and flesh had started to rot. Guo Jing thought, "What caused this wound, why is it so severe?" He suddenly saw the boy's hand was black and asked, "You've been poisoned as well?"

Huang Rong went over and took his hand and looked at this palm; she pulled up his sleeve and took out a knife and slit the boy's wrist to draw out the poison blood. Only to see that the blood flowing out was red. She thought this was strange and thought, "His palm's black and definitely has poison so why doesn't his blood have it? She didn't know that when the strange man had bestowed his skills to the boy, the poisoned blood had already flowed out of his fingertips, and the poison did not rise back. From her bag, she took out a “Nine Flower Jade Dew” pill, and said, "Swallow this." The boy took the pill, smelt it first and noticed a nice scent, and put it into his mouth. He felt a fragrance fill his mouth, the sweetness was incomparable. A cool clear air filled his “dan tian”. Huang Rong took out another two pills and fed it to the two eagles.

Guo Jing was immersed in thought, but he still managed to whistle a tune. The boy heard his high tune and knew it wasn't easy; this gave him a surprise. Suddenly, a whistling sound came from afar, flocks of birds in the forest flew in all directions, and the branches of a nearby willow tree were shaking incessantly. As soon as the first song was finished, a second one followed, the sound of the two combined resonated and folded, herd of horses galloped hurriedly far away. Huang Rong knew that it was her father sending an invitation to Li Mochou for a battle. As the third whistle came, she filled her “dan tian” line, and followed the whistle with her own, Guo Jing's whistle was loud and spacious, and Huang Rong's was high and soaring. The two's whistles combined together was like a large fabulous bird and a small bird in a competition to see who can fly higher, as they flew the higher they got, the little bird not settling for being behind the large bird. When the two were on Peach Blossom Island they refined and cultivated their internal strength, their internal energy had reached new levels. Right now, their sounds soared and resonated for many miles.

When the whistles reached the strange man, he quickened his steps, as he hurried to escape. When it reached the blue green-gowned man who was carrying Cheng Ying, he laughed and said, "You've finally arrived, this old man had better run to avoid getting caught."

Li Mochou was carrying Lu Wushuang by her side, hurrying in her escape when she suddenly heard the whistles; she halted in her tracks, and waved her fly whisk. She turned around and laughed coldly, "Hero Guo's name shakes through Wulin, and I must take a look to see if he lives up to his name." She then heard a clear, crisp whistle follow the last one, the two sounds superimposed on each other produced a sharp yet soft sound, the power of it was increased further. Li Mochou's heart shivered, she knew she had met a formidable foe; she thought about how the Guo couple swept Wulin, supporting each other, yet she was alone, her thoughts became grey, and sighed as she carried Lu Wushuang across her chest and ran away.

At that moment, Madam Wu supported her husband, taking her two children with her preparing to leave along with Ke Zhen’E. After the battle with Li Mochou, Ke Zhen’E was afraid that she would come back and harm Guo Fu; he wanted to take her to a safe place and hide for a while. When he heard the calls by the Guo couple he was glad and relieved. Guo Fu shouted out, "Father, mother!" and ran out. One old, one young followed the sounds of the whistles and hurriedly rushed to the Guo couple. Guo Fu threw herself onto Huang Rong and smiled as she said, "Mother, grandpa fought off an evil woman, his skills were unbelievable." Huang Rong knew she was lying but could only smile. Guo Jing reprimanded her "Young children should always tell the truth." Guo Fu stuck out her tongue as she said, "Grandpa's skills are not good? How can he be your master?" Afraid that her father will scold her again, she ran on ahead and pointed to the boy saying, "You go pick some flowers for me and arrange it into a crown for me to wear!" The boy followed her. Guo Fu saw that his palm was black and said, "Your hand is disgusting, take the flowers you pick and cover your smell with it."

The boy calmly said, "Who wants to play with you?" and took large steps as he walked away.

Guo Jing said, "Little brother, don't run. The poison in your body has not fully been removed; when it reacts again it will be painful."

The little boy wished that he would mind his own business, and after being spoken to like that by Guo Fu, he carried on walking ahead, ignoring the man's words. Guo Jing walked in front of him and said, "Why have you contracted poison? Let me cure it for you first, it won't be long."

The boy replied, "I don't recognize you, what had this got to do with you." He increased his speed and wanted to walk past Guo Jing. Guo Jing saw that the boy's face seemed  to  carry  a  noble  air,  his  face looking like someone he has met before, his feelings were aroused and asked the boy, "What's  your surname?" The boy gave him a glance and walked around him, still wanting to get away. Guo Jing caught his wrist. The boy couldn't shake himself free, and formed a fist with his left hand punching Guo Jing in the stomach. Guo Jing just smiled, and took no notice of the punch. The boy wanted pull back his fist, but his fist seemed to be held within the man's stomach, unable to move. His face became red, and pulled back with all his strength until his arm ached, but he couldn't over come the pull of the man's stomach. The man smiled and said, "If you tell me what your name is, then I'll let you go."

The boy replied, "My surname is Ni, first names Laozi, now let me go." Guo Jing was disappointed with the answer and relaxed his abdomen, he didn't realize that the boy had tricked him and called himself, "I'm your father". The boy's hand was now free and thought,  "You've  got  great  ability,  your  father  can't compare to his good son." Huang Rong saw the boy had a devious expression on his face, and still felt that he looked like someone from the past so tested him again.

She smiled and said, "Little brother, if you are my husband's father that means you are mine too." She stretched out her hand and held the boy's neck from behind. The boy felt the hold came from an extremely strong force, and tried desperately to pull away. Huang Rong loosened her grip, the boy got a glimpse of the sky before falling over. Guo Fu clapped and laughed. The boy hid his embarrassment and got up, and took a few steps back, and swore at her. Huang Rong was already standing in front of him, she held his shoulder and looked him in the eye and gently said, "Your surname is Yang, first name Guo. Your mother's surname is Mu, isn't that correct?" The boy was indeed named Yang Guo, and somehow Huang Rong had called it out, the shock was too much for him, he felt pain in his chest, the poison in his hand had returned, his brain started to get blurry and he fainted.

Huang Rong managed to hold onto him. Guo Jing pushed him a few times using his internal energy, but his eyes did not open, his teeth had bitten his tongue, his mouth full of red blood, and he didn't wake up. Guo Jing was happy and worried at the same time and said, "He, he is brother Yang Kang's son." Huang Rong saw that Yang Guo's poison was serious and gently said, "Let's first get to an inn, then we'll mix up some medicine for him."

Huang Rong had seen that the boy looked extremely like Yang Kang, and remembered that she had met Mu Nianci in an inn. When she held the back of Mu's neck, instead of pushing forward, Mu pushed backward. This was a secret skill of Hong Qigong's. It was part of his circulating air and practicing energy method. If the boy was Mu Nianci's son, then their kung fu would be the same. Huang Rong was a disciple of Hong Qigong's and knew the arts of her master well, so she tested him, and indeed he was who she thought he was.

Guo Jing carried the boy, and along with Ke Zhen’E, Huang Rong, Guo Fu and the pair of eagles returned to the inn. Huang Rong wrote out an herb lit, and gave it to the inn's waiter to go to the medicine shop and pick them out. However the herbs she picked out were all rare, even in a place like Jiaxing the shops did not have them. Guo Jing saw that Yang Guo was still unconscious and was extremely worried about him. Huang Rong knew that after Yang Kang had died, her husband had felt responsible, and now he had found his son, he would be ecstatic. But now the boy  had  contracted  a  lethal  poison,  his  life  in  the balance, and said, "We will go and gather the herbs ourselves."

Guo Jing knew that if there is a glimmer of hope to cure the poison, she would try to reassure him but he saw her expression was one of worry. He ordered Guo Fu that she mustn't run around as she pleased, and the couple went off to gather the herbs and grasses.

Yang Guo slept quietly without waking until it was night. Ke Zhen’E checked up on him a few times, using his hands to feel him. The poison on his darts could not compare to that of the “Soul Freezing Silver Needles” and so could not use the antidote that he had. He was afraid that Guo Fu would slip away, so he made sure she was asleep.

Yang Guo was unconscious for a long time when suddenly someone placed a palm on his chest and used their internal strength to wake him up. He slowly woke up, and opened his eyes. He saw a flash of black, as someone escaped out of the window. His strength slowly returned as he supported himself on a table by the window so he could have a look. He saw a man on the roof overhang of the room and the man was upside down. It was the strange man who earlier wanted him to call him father. He was moving about, and could drop down to the room when he pleased.

Yang Guo was surprised and said, "It's you."

The strange man replied, "Why aren't you calling me father?"

Yang Guo said, "Father!" but thought, "You are my son, I'll just turn the roles around and call you father for now."

The man was very pleased and said, "Come up here." Yang Guo climbed out of the window and leapt onto the roof. But his body was weak due to the poison, he wasn't at full strength and his fingers weren't able to grab the roof edge. As he was falling he called out, "Ah!"

The man stretched out his hand and grabbed the boy's back and gently placed him on the rooftop. He turned upright, and was about to say something when he heard someone from a room to the west blow out a candle. He felt that someone had discovered him and so he carried Yang Guo and hurriedly escaped. Ke Zhen’E had leapt on the roof, but there wasn't a trace of anyone.

The strange man carried Yang Guo outside the small town and reached a piece of uncultivated land and put him down. He said, "Use the method I taught you to force some of the poison out." Yang Guo got into position, and after a short while, a few drops of poisoned blood came out, his chest became relaxed and more comfortable.

The strange man said, "You are a clever boy, and can use it straight away just after one lesson. You are even better than my real son.” “Ai…Son…ah!" He thought about his deceased son, his eyes became watery as he stroked Yang Guo's head, and let out a sigh.

Yang Guo had never had a father in his life and his mother passed away due to illness when he was eleven years old. Before she died, she told him that his father died in Jiaxing's Iron Spear monastery, and instructed him to cremate her and bury her outside the monastery. After he had taken care of his mother's burial, he wandered around Jiaxing and lived in the old kiln, in poverty. Mu Nianci had taught Yang Guo some of her family's kung fu but her skills weren't great, and Yang Guo at the time was young and so couldn't learn much. Within these few years, Yang Guo had made trouble and enemies, and although he had never met the strange man before, the man had treated him well and the feelings were real. He was touched and leapt up and grabbed the man around his neck and called out, "Father, father!" Ever since he was three years old, he always wished he had a loving father. Sometimes in his dreams he would see a heroic and loving father but when he woke up his father was gone and because of this he would cry for a while. His wish for many years had come true, and buried within the calls of ‘father' were real feelings of joy and respect, not the calls of lies and deceit.

Yang Guo was very emotional right now; the strange man was even more happy and emotional inside. When they first met, Yang Guo was forced to call him father to save his life, and didn't want him as a father, now both of them had the same feelings, they were like a real father and son, but he felt that the man had something on his mind. His feelings were so strong that he was willing to die for him if need be. The strange man was laughing and crying at the same time and said, "Good son, good son, obedient son. Call me father again." Yang Guo called him twice, and then leaned on his body.

The man smiled and said, "Good son, come here, I will teach you all the martial arts I know." As he said this he dropped down and made three strange noises and then pushed his hands out. The sound of an explosion was produced, the earth in front of him rose up like a violent grey mudflow and then the dirt scattered. Yang Guo looked on with his mouth open, his tongue out, shocked and asked, "What is that skill called, can I learn it?" The strange man replied, "Its called “Ge Ma” stance (Toad Stance), if you work hard, you will be able to learn it."

Yang Guo said, "If I learn it then no one can bully me again?"

The man's eyebrows raised and said, "If anyone bullies my son then I'll rip their skin and tear their muscles."

The strange man was the “Western Poison” Ouyang Feng.

Ever since Huang Rong had made him go mad at the second Mount Hua tournament, he has traveled, for these last ten years, to the edge of the world and always asked one question, "Who am I?" Whenever he is near a lush land, he would always linger on trying to find the answer to his question; these past months he has been staying in Jiaxing. These few years he has been practicing the “Contrary Nine Yin Manual”. His internal energy has been increasing to new levels, his mind had become clearer, but he was still mad. His memories were slowly coming back but he still could not remember who he was.

Right now, Ouyang Feng was passing on the formula to practice “Toad Stance” to Yang Guo. The “Toad Stance” is one of the top skills in the martial arts world, the changes refined, mysterious and clever, and its internal energy aspect hard to beat; but if it is practiced wrong, not only will the body be harmed, but the practitioner will expel blood and die. Because of this, he didn't even pass it on to his son when he was alive. At this moment in time, he was touched and added to the fact he wasn't mentally clear, he couldn't differentiate between important and dangerous things. He didn't take this into consideration and taught the skill to his stepson.

Yang Guo does not have a good martial arts foundation, though he learnt the formula to the skill and memorized it, would he be able to understand the meanings behind the words?

Though he was extremely clever, there were phrases which he didn't understand. Ouyang Feng had taught him for half a day now, and when he listened to Yang Guo's explanation and it wasn't making sense, he had another mental attack and wanted to hit him. But when he saw his handsome and cute face in the moonlight, it reminded him of his own son when he was younger, and so he lowered his hand.

"You're struggling. Go and rest, I'll carry on tomorrow."

After Guo Fu had ridiculed him because of his hand, he had a dislike for her family and said, "I want to follow you, I don't want to return."

Ouyang Feng didn't understand his own problems but he was aware of the world's problems and said, "I have some trouble with my mind, I'm afraid I can't take care of you if you follow me. You return first and when I've solved one problem I will come and collect you, we won't part, okay?"

After the death of his mother he has never talked to someone as if they were family and grabbed his hand and said, "Collect me soon."

Ouyang Feng nodded and said, "I will secretly follow you, wherever you go I'll be there. If someone bullies you, I'll break their ribs into seventy or eighty pieces." He then picked up Yang Guo and returned him to the inn.

Ke Zhen’E had gone to check on Yang Guo and found he wasn't there. He searched the entire inn but still couldn't find him; he became extremely concerned. He checked on Yang Guo's room again; Yang Guo had returned. He was about to ask where Yang Guo had been when he heard the wind generated by someone passing along the rooftop. He knew two people had passed along on the roof, their skills extremely high, he picked up Guo Fu and then placed her by his side. He went over to the window with his iron walking staff, afraid that the two people were enemies; he listened carefully and heard that the wind created by the two people was coming closer and eventually had arrived on the roof above them.

"Did you see who he was?"

"Strange, strange, was it him?" replied the other person. It was Guo Jing and Huang Rong.

Ke Zhen’E was relieved and opened the door to let them in. Huang Rong said, "Senior  master,  did anything happen?"

"Nothing," replied Ke Zhen’E.

Huang Rong turned to Guo Jing and said, "Did we recognize the wrong person?" Guo Jing replied shaking his head, "No, I'm ninety percent certain it was him." "Who was it?" asked Ke Zhen’E.

Huang Rong tugged on Guo Jing, trying to tell him not to say. But Guo Jing didn't dare to lie to his master and said, "Ouyang Feng."

Ke Zhen’E despised this man, as soon as he heard his name his complexion changed and quietly said, "Ouyang Feng? Isn't he dead?"

Guo Jing said, "When we came back from picking the medicine, we saw someone on the roof, the person's movements were quick and strange, when we went to take a look, the person had already gone. It looked like Ouyang Feng."

From the description, Ke Zhen’E knew it must be Ouyang Feng and no one else. Guo Jing was concerned about Yang Guo so grabbed a candle and went over to the bed. He saw that Yang Guo's face was red, his breathing relaxed and sleeping peacefully. He was pleasantly surprised and called out, "Rong’er, he's better!" Yang Guo was really awake and he was just pretending to be asleep, he had secretly listened in and now knew his stepfather was called Ouyang Feng. The three of them were extremely concerned about him, and now they were all relieved and pleased.

Huang Rong took a closer look, and was surprised, before his arm's poison had returned but now after just a few hours, the black colour of the poison had faded; the poison seems to have disappeared. She was greatly surprised by this. She and Guo Jing had searched for medicine all day, but could not gather everything they wanted, so they decided to return with what they had and give it to him for the time being.

The next day, Guo Jing, Huang Rong and Ke Zhen’E with the two small ones headed west from Jiaxing, intending to return to Peach Blossom Island, and firstly cure Yang Guo's poison before deciding to do anything else. That night they were in another inn, Ke Zhen’E and Yang Guo were in one room, the Guo family in another. The Guo couple slept into the middle of the night when suddenly they heard a noise on the rooftop. They heard Ke Zhen’E call out through the wall, and jumped out of the window. The couple quickly jumped out of the window only to see on the rooftop Ke Zhen’E was fighting barehanded with someone, the enemy was tall and had long hands, it was Ouyang Feng. Guo Jing swallowed, frightened that Ouyang Feng would take his master's life in one move and he jumped up onto the roof to help. Only to hear Ke Zhen’E shout and fall off the roof. Guo Jing flew over to him, and before Ke Zhen’E head had met the ground, he lightly caught him from behind and gently placed him gently down on the ground.

He asked, "Senior Master, are you okay?"

"I'm not dead yet. Go and fight Ouyang Feng." Ke Zhen’E replied. "Yes," replied Guo Jing and he jumped onto the roof.

At the time, Huang Rong was fighting with her palms, the palms like a flying dance. It has been ten years since she has seen her old enemy, and right now they were fighting ferociously. Her internal energy has improved tremendously over the last few years, her internal energy is now very forceful, the palms she were using were changing mysteriously and cleverly; after ten moves, Ouyang Feng didn't gain any advantage.

Guo Jing called out, "Mr. Ouyang, how have you been."

Ouyang Feng replied, "What did you say? What did you call me?" His face changed, in the fight with Huang Rong he did not attack, he had a feeling that the two words ‘Ouyang' was significant to him. Guo Jing was about to say something when Huang Rong interrupted as she saw that he wasn't clear about who he was and said, "You are called Zhao Qiansunli, Zhou Wuchenwang!"

Ouyang Feng listened, "I'm called Zhao Qiansunli, Zhou Wuchenwang?"

Huang Rong replied, "Correct, your nickname is Zuo Fengchengchuwei, Jiang Shenhanyang." Huang Rong had randomly picked out some surnames. Ouyang Feng was originally confused but after hearing her call him many names, he scratched his head and asked, "Who are you? Who am I?"

Suddenly someone behind shouted out, "You are the old animal that killed my five brothers." Before the sentence was finished, an iron walking staff came out, it was Ke Zhen’E. When Ouyang Feng knocked him off the roof, he wasn't hurt and went into his room to get his iron walking staff to battle him again. Guo Jing shouted out, "Careful master!" Ke Zhen’E smashed down his iron walking staff on Ouyang Feng's back but he didn't move, he made a strange noise and the walking staff fiercely came back out at Ke Zhen’E. Ke Zhen’E couldn't hold on, and let go of his walking staff and fell into the courtyard. Although Guo Jing knew that his master was falling, it wasn't going to be serious but Ouyang Feng had used his back to launch a lethal attack so he shouted, "Watch out!" His left leg bent, his right palm circled, and then pushed out; it was the “Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms” ‘Overcoming the Dragon with Regret' (Kang Long You Hui). He had practiced this particular stance night and day without a break, when he first learned the stance its power was obvious, but after ten years of practicing, it was now at a flawless level. When he first unleashed it, it looked light and fragile but when it meets an obstruction, it will be able to unleash its force in thirteen levels, each level stronger than the last one. It will move the unyielding, there is no force it can't overcome. He had incorporated ideas in the “Nine Yin Manual” into the palms and modified them, like Hong Qigong had modified the palms years ago, although it was only the stances and not the mysterious energy behind it.

Ouyang Feng had just knocked Ke Zhen’E off the roof when he suddenly felt a gust of wind throwing itself at him, although the wind wasn't strong, it caused his breathing to be uneven, and knew it wasn't something ordinary so quickly crouched down and pushed out his two palms, it was his most refined skill the “Toad Stance”. They exchanged three palms; both of them were hit once. Guo Jing's palm strength increased; the next level higher than the last, like a torrent of waves throwing it self forwards. Ouyang Feng made two ‘Ka Ka' noises, his body getting lower, as if he was going to fall down any minute. Guo Jing's palms were getting stronger, his counteracting strength also increased.

The two haven't exchanged moves for over ten years, now they meet again in Jiangnan, they must test each other to see how they have  advanced over  the  years. Long  ago at the  Mount Hua tournament, Guo Jing couldn't match Ouyang Feng, but since then he has refined his internal energy, his skills have vastly improved. Ouyang Feng has been practicing the “Contrary Nine Yin Manual” and got what he deserved. However, one phrase real and one phrase fake, eventually he produced a learnable copy from the fake and up until now, Guo Jing was fighting him to a draw, unable to distinguish who has the upper hand. Huang Rong wanted her husband to win by himself so stood to one side and didn't interfere.

The roofs in south were very different to the roofs in the north. The roofs in the north had to support the amassed snow in winter, the roofs were solid. In the south it was wet weather that had to be addressed, the roofs were covered in tiles, with removing rain in mind. Guo Jing and Ouyang Feng were matching internal energy through their palms, and braced their legs, and after a moment, the sound of something creaking was heard below their feet, with one sound followed by another, the beams of the roof snapped, a hole was made in the roof as the two of them fell in. Huang Rong gulped and jumped down the hole and followed them, only to see the two still competing, their feet supported by some more beams, but they were above one of the inn's guests. The guest was sleeping, how would he know the roof was falling in, at that moment his legs broke and he was screaming out in pain. Guo Jing didn't want to hurt any innocent bystanders and so didn't use his legs for support, but Ouyang Feng didn't care if anyone dies because of them. The two of them were equally matched but because Guo Jing didn't use the beams as support, his palms had no foundation to rely on. He was on his way to losing. He used one hand to push against Ouyang Feng's two palms, he channeled all his strength in his right hand, his left hand was empty, there was no strength for it to use. Huang Rong saw her husband was being pushed backwards, although it was only half an inch or so, he was losing.

She shouted, "Hey, Zhang Sanlisi, Hu Tuwangba, watch out," and aimed a light palm on Ouyang Feng's shoulder. Though this palm was light, it was from the “Descending Brave Divine Sword Palm” (Luo Ying Shen Jian Zhang) skill, when it lands, the internal energy will spread through the internal organs. Though Ouyang Feng is one of the most powerful martial artists of his time, he would still suffer from this blow. Ouyang Feng heard her call out weird surnames at him and was  distracted  for  a second.  As  he  saw the palm come in, he pushed his two palms, forcing Guo Jing back another inch, and in a flash he held onto Huang Rong's shoulder, his five fingers like a hook, trying to tear a piece of her flesh off. When this move came out, the three of them swallowed simultaneously. Ouyang Feng felt severe pain in his fingers; she was wearing soft armour with needles, he couldn't loosen his hand. At this time, Guo Jing's palm's power increased again, and Ouyang Feng pushed out a palm to counteract this, in the midst of this danger he used all his strength. After a clashing sound, both of them moved back, the room was full of dust and dirt as the walls collapsed.

When the two clashed palms, it was under the shroud of night and the both of them could not see each other clearly, the large force of the “Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms” and the “Toad Stance” hit each other on the shoulder. The two of them were sent through opposite walls; half of the roof fell in. Huang Rong had suffered a blow but she wasn't hurt although she had a fright and made her flush. In the midst of all this she flew out of the room before the roof collapsed. She saw Guo Jing and Ouyang Feng five feet apart motionless; the both of them had suffered internal injuries. Huang Rong didn't attack the enemy and instead just walked over by her husband's side to guard him. The both of them shut their eyes to try to control their chi, but after two stuttering noises both of them spat out a mouthful of blood.

Ouyang Feng said, "The “Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms”, good stuff, good stuff!" A mad laugh followed as he ran away, in a blink of an eye he was nowhere to be seen.

Presently, the inn was in the midst of chaos. Huang Rong knew that they couldn't stay here any longer, and from the hand of Ke Zhen’E grabbed her daughter and said, "Master, you carry brother Jing and follow us." Ke Zhen’E put Guo Jing on his shoulder and step by step slowly headed north. After a while, Huang Rong suddenly remembered Yang Guo, she didn't know where he had gone to, but she was more concerned about her husband's injuries so left this matter until later on. Guo Jing understood, but because of the injury caused by Ouyang Feng, he couldn't speak. He breathed evenly while on Ke Zhen’E's back, circulating his energy to unravel his veins, after they had travel about seven, eight miles, his veins had all been cleared and said, "Master, I'm okay." He put Guo Jing down and said, "You've recovered?"

Guo Jing shook his head and said, “The “Toad Stance” is a great skill!" He saw his daughter supporting herself on her mother's shoulder sleeping peacefully, and said, "Where's Guo’er?" Ke Zhen’E had forgotten about Yang Guo, and struggled for words.

Huang Rong said, "Don't worry, first we'll find a place to rest. Then I'll go back and look for him."

The sky was beginning to brighten, and under the moon they recognized a house by the forest. Guo Jing said, "My injury is not serious, we'll go find him together."

Huang Rong frowned and said, "That boy is extremely clever, you don't have to be too concerned." As they said this they arrived at the house, suddenly they saw someone come out from behind the white wall and then was about to return again. Huang Rong went over there and grabbed the person, it was Yang Guo.

He laughed and said, "Auntie," and carried on saying, "You guys arrived? I've been waiting for a long time now."

Huang Rong couldn't explain but she suspected something and replied, "Fine, follow us."

Yang Guo laughed, and followed. Guo Fu opened her eyes, and asked, "Where have you been?" Yang Guo replied, "I went to catch some crickets to see them fight. It was great fun."

"What's so much fun about that?" Guo Fu said.

"Huh, what's not fun about that? A large cricket was fighting with an old cricket. When the old one lost, two little crickets came to help out, three versus one. The large cricket jumped around, kicked out a foot there, and bit one over there, it was extremely powerful." When he reached this point,  he  didn't  add anything else. Guo Fu had listened carefully and asked, "Then what happened?"

Yang Guo said, "You said it's not fun, so why are you interested?"

Guo Fu touched her nail, and angrily turned her head away, ignoring him. Huang Rong could tell that his words were praising Ouyang Feng and ridiculing the couple and Ke Zhen’E. She said, "Tell Auntie, who won in the end?"

Yang Guo laughed and said, "Just when things were getting interesting, you came along, the cricket jumped away."

Huang Rong thought: "Like father like son," but kept her suspicions of him to herself.

After a while, they arrived at a village. Huang Rong went to a large residence to look for the owner. The owner was very hospitable, when they heard someone was hurt, they quickly prepared two rooms for the guests. Guo Jing ate three bowls of rice, and then sat on the couch, closed his eyes and meditated. Huang Rong saw that her husband was resting, and managed to relax, sitting next to her husband guarding him. She thought about Yang Guo in all the situations they have been in, and felt although he was young, there are a lot of strange things that couldn't be explained, and when he was asked for detailed explanations, half of it was a lie. She made a mental note to herself to pay extra attention to Yang Guo and be wary of him. She’d had a tiresome day, and after a meal, she went to bed.

Yang Guo and Ke Zhen’E were sharing the same room, and in the middle of the night he quietly got up. When he heard Ke Zhen’E snoring in his deep sleep, he quietly opened the door, he slipped out of the room and went over to the wall, and to a Cinnamonum Cassia tree, climbed it, and leapt over the wall slipping away. The dogs outside the wall picked up a human scent, and started to bark. Yang Guo was prepared; he took out a piece of bone out of his bag, and threw it to them. The dogs bit onto the bone, and stopped their barking.

Yang Guo checked his bearings, and headed southwest, and in seven, eight li, he had reached the Iron Spear Monastery. He pushed open the doors and called out, "Father, I'm here!" He heard a noise coming in from within. It was Ouyang Feng. Yang Guo was happy, he went inside and felt out a table, and found candle. He lit it and saw Ouyang Feng reclining on top of some statues, his body unwell, and his breathing weak. He and Guo Jing have suffered similar injuries, but because Guo Jing has amassed an abundant amount of rich internal energy over the years, he is able to recover very rapidly; Ouyang Feng is closer to old age, his energy isn't as good.

What had happened on the previous night was that Ouyang Feng had come again for Yang Guo, but Ke Zhen’E was awake in the room, so they started to fight. Afterwards when Huang Rong and Guo Jing came and joined in the battle, Yang Guo was watching. Eventually both Ouyang Feng and Guo Jing had suffered injuries, and so Ouyang Feng escaped. In the chaos, everyone forgot about Yang Guo, and he sneaked away after Ouyang Feng. At first Ouyang Feng was moving at a fast pace, Yang Guo could not catch up, but Ouyang Feng's injury was agitated, moving was hard. Yang Guo eventually caught up and took him aside to rest. Yang Guo knew that if he didn't return Huang Rong and Ke Zhen’E would come and look for him, and feared his stepfather's life would be in danger. So he arranged with Ouyang Feng to meet in the Iron Spear Monastery. Both were familiar with the monastery so knew where it was. When Yang Guo was guarding the road, Guo Jing and the others had come up behind them. Only now, in the middle of the night, was he able to come and check. Yang Guo took seven or eight buns out of his bag and handed them over to Ouyang Feng, "Father, eat something." Ouyang Feng had nothing to eat for the whole day, he was frightened he would meet one of his enemies, and was stuck in the monastery all day. He ate a few of the buns and was conscious for a while and asked, "Where are you and the others at?" Yang Guo told him everything.

Ouyang Feng said, "The one named Guo suffered from one of my palms, it would be difficult for him to recover within seven days. His wife will have to look after him, she won't leave his side, and I’m worried about that Ke old man. If he doesn't come tonight, he will be here tomorrow. It's a pity I don't have an ounce of energy in me. Hmm…I think I did kill his brothers but I don't know whether is it four or five." As he said this he let out a cough.

Yang Guo sat on the floor, his hand on his cheeks, many thoughts going through  his  little  mind  and suddenly thought to himself, "I've got it, I'll put some sharp objects on the floor first, so when the old man comes he'll suffer some injuries."

He then went over to the table with the candles on it, and tipped out the candles and collected the holders, and placed them by the entrance, and then closed the entrance, and emptied an old incense holder and placed it on top of the door. He looked around, trying to think of more traps for any enemies, and saw a large bell hung in the room. Three people could not move the bell; it weighed about a thousand kilos. On the bell's neck were an extremely thick metal hook and a large wooden trestle system. The Iron Spear monastery was old and hasn't been maintained for a long time, but the large bell and system was undamaged. He thought, "If that old man comes, I will climb into the bell, he won't find me." He held the candle holders and was looking for sharp objects in the hall, when he suddenly heard a ‘du du du' sound from the road, caused by a metal staff, and knew it was Ke Zhen’E and was going to blow out the candles when he thought, "That old man is blind, I don't need to blow it out." The sounds came closer, Ouyang Feng sat up and wanted to transfer all of his body's strength into his right hand, wanting to attack first and cause a violent death. Yang Guo turned the metal carvings on the candle holder up, and guarded Ouyang Feng and thought, although my martial arts skills are low, I will do my best to help stepfather to rid of the old man.

Ke Zhen’E knew that Ouyang Feng had a serious injury and would not be able to travel far; the Iron Spear Monastery was close by and an old hangout of his. He won't stay at an inn or at a family's shelter; he would hide in the monastery. He thought about his five brothers dying at his hands and today he has a chance to get revenge, would he be able to say no? In the midst of the night he woke up and called out, "Guo’er, Guo’er!" and when he heard no reply, he thought he was sound asleep. He didn't check and hurriedly went out. The two dogs outside the house were busy gnawing on the bone that Yang Guo threw at them and didn't bark when they saw him. He slowly made his way to the monastery, and listened carefully. Indeed there was the sound of breathing within the monastery. He shouted out, "Old animal, old man Ke is here, if you've got balls, come out now." As he said this he slammed his walking staff onto the ground. Ouyang Feng was afraid that he will lose the chi in his “dan tian” and didn't move.

Ke Zhen’E called out a few times, and stabbed his walking staff outside the monastery doors. He entered only to hear a clattering noise from above as the incense holder fell, his left foot stepped onto the candleholders metal protrusions and pierced his boots. Ke Zhen’E didn't understand and waved his metal walking stick about, when suddenly there was an extremely loud noise deafening him, he knocked away the incense holder and it rolled onto the floor, luckily the metal protrusions didn't pierce his foot. By his side were some more of those candleholders, one of them was piercing his shoulder. He pulled it out with his left hand and blood poured. He didn't dare to be careless anymore and listened for Ouyang Feng's breathing. His foot sliding across the ground, getting closer step by step, until he was three meters away. He held out his iron walking staff and said, "Old animal, what have you got to say today?" Ouyang Feng had already transferred all his energy into his right hand, when the opposition raises his weapon he would send out a palm, and take Ke Zhen’E with him. Ke Zhen’E knew that his enemy had suffered a serious injury, but didn't know how serious, he held his ground waiting for the opponent to move first; then he would know how much strength he has. The two of them stood there silently, motionless. Ke Zhen’E could hear his breathing was heavy, his mind suddenly filled with the voices of his stepbrothers Zhu Cong, Han Bao Ju, Nan Xi Ren and others. The voices urged him to act, he couldn't resist and with a loud shout, unleashed “King Qin's Whipping Stone” (qin wang bian shi), sending the iron walking staff smashing downwards.

Ouyang Feng moved liked lightning, wanting to strike out his palm, but as he moved his arm half an inch he couldn't hold on and fell down to the floor. He heard the a loud noise, sparks flying everywhere, the iron walking staff smashing down on the bricks of the floor. Ke Zhen’E missed with his first move, and raised his weapon again, and struck out in the direction of Ouyang Feng. The other day, Ouyang Feng just lightly pushed back and managed to force the iron walking staff out of his hand, and forced him to leap over the roof. But today Ouyang Feng's body was weak. He couldn't even use an ounce of his strength; he could only roll on the floor, trying to avoid the strikes. Ke Zhen’E used the “Dropping the Demon” set of strokes, with each stance faster than the last. Ouyang Feng was struggling to avoid the strokes, and eventually was hit by the “Concealed Medicine Poke” (Chu Fu Yao Cha) on the left shoulder.

Yang Guo was listening from the side, and couldn't hide his anguish, he wanted to help his stepfather, but with his level of martial arts, he would just be sending himself to his death. Ke Zhen’E managed to strike Ouyang Feng again; this time on the body. Ouyang Feng deserved what he was getting today, but his internal energy was deep. Though he had no power to attack, he could still avoid and parry some attacks. Only superficial injuries were apparent on him, his joints and his internal organs were still unharmed. Ke Zhen’E was slightly surprised, and thought to himself, that old animal's ability is certainly not simple, every time when it seems like I'm about to hit him, he manages to slip away. He manages to dissipate ninety percent of the power in my hits. If I utilize a soft type of attack, he won't be able to dodge. He then transferred his energy into his staff, and attacked his head. Ouyang Feng moved his head and managed to avoid the attacks for a few times but all of a sudden, he was trapped by the walking staff's wind, and he suffered a blow on the head. He managed to keep a hold of his life.

By luck he found himself within grasping range of Ke Zhen’E and grabbed his chest. Ke Zhen’E moved his walking staff out of reach of the enemy. He could only retaliate with his hands. The both of them rolled down on the floor together. Ouyang Feng didn't dare release his hands, and held on tighter. His left hand reached for his waist, he felt something solid and reached out to grab it. It was a knife. It was Zhang Ah Sheng (One of Ke Zhen’E's stepbrothers) weapon, the slaughtering cow blade, however contrary to its name; it can't actually be used to slaughter cows. The knife can chop gold and break jade; its sharpness cannot be compared. After Cheng Ahsheng was killed by Chen Xuanfeng in the plains of Mongolia, Ke Zhen’E has kept the knife by his side to remind himself of him, and it never left him. Ouyang Feng went closer in to his body and snatched the knife out; he twisted his left arm, and aimed to pierce his enemy's side. As the knife was about to enter, Ke Zhen’E released his staff, and punched Ouyang Feng with his right hand a few times. Ouyang Feng was dazed, and waved the knife in the direction of the enemy. Ke Zhen’E heard the wind of the knife, and dodged away, only to hear a ‘dang' sound, the sound didn't die down; the knife had struck the hall's large bell. Although this thrust by Ouyang Feng didn't carry much force, the knife's blade was extremely sharp, and caused it to quiver.

Yang Guo was standing next to the bell, the tip of the knife was heading for his cheeks. Yang Guo was frightened, his heart jumping to his throat, and quickly scrambled on top of the bell. After this move, Ouyang Feng went behind the bell. The bell's ringing had not diminished so Ke Zhen’E could not hear the breathing sounds. He went to the side and tried to pick up the sounds. The moonlight shone on the hall in the monastery; his hair was a mess, and he was leaning on the staff listening, his appearance frightening. Yang Guo saw what had happened and reached out for the knife, and then thrust it at the bell, causing a loud ‘dang' sound, covering their breathing. Ke Zhen’E heard where the sound came from and headed in that direction. Ouyang Feng was still behind the bell. Ke Zhen’E stuck out his walking staff, Ouyang Feng evaded it.

The staff struck the bell and caused another loud deafening noise. Yang Guo felt his eardrums starting to hurt. Ke Zhen’E understood, and didn't aim for the bell. The ringing sound had not disappeared when another noise came from behind, getting clearer. Ouyang Feng was concerned, although Guo Jing is hurt, if the ringing continues, Huang Rong would eventually come and help. While the sound of the bell was deafening, he would take the chance to lightly step away and escape from the back of the hall. But Ke Zhen’E had very sensitive hearing, even with the loud ringing noise; he could still distinguish between light sounds, and heard the steps of Ouyang Feng. He knocked the bell with his staff, to lure out Ouyang Feng; when he is out in the open, he would attack his upper body with his walking staff. Although Ouyang Feng strength is weak at the moment, he has experienced a lifetime of storms and squalls (troubles and battles), how would he not know the tactics and tricks used in battle? When he saw Ke Zhen’E's  right shoulder was raised, he knew what was going on, before the iron walking staff was raised, he moved back behind the bell. After he had suffered the serious injury, Ouyang Feng had already found it hard to move; though he has developed a profound level of internal energy in the last ten years, in this life-threatening situation he was unable to call upon it.

Ke Zhen’E called out, "Even if I don't kill you, you are going to die," and went over to the bell. Yang Guo saw the two circling around the bell, if this is kept up, his stepfather will definitely weaken. He suddenly thought of something, and climbed up on top of the bell and waved his hands about, trying to signal with his hands. Ouyang Feng was preoccupied with his enemy and didn't see this. Only after two more circles did he see Yang Guo, his hands pointing to the floor and telling him to move away. He didn't understand what he meant, but if he wanted him to move away, he must have a plan so he hurried move out the way. Ke Zhen’E didn't move, he first needed to hear which direction his enemy moved in. Yang Guo took off his shoes and threw them to the back of the hall, making two thud sounds. Ke Zhen’E was baffled; he had heard Ouyang Feng was moving towards the doors so how come there was a noise at the back of the hall? When Ke Zhen’E was distracted, Yang Guo grasped the ‘Slaughter Cow' knife, and with all his strength chopped at the wooden beam holding the large bell up. The beam was thick, Yang Guo was weak, the precious blade sharp; could he chop the beam in half? However the metal bell was extremely heavy, and after a few chops by the blade, the beam could not support the bell any longer. A creaking sound followed and the beam snapped, the large bell generated a wind as it fell, heading straight down on the Ke Zhen’E's head.

Ke Zhen’E had already heard the wind generated above him, thinking it was strange. The large bell fell down, he couldn't escape but the bell landed straight down on the iron walking staff, the staff held up the bell. As the bell was hindered he took this chance and slipped out of the way. He then heard a metallic snapping noise, and the metal walking staff snapped in half. The bell tipped over and rolled along the ground, hitting Ke Zhen’E in the shoulder, and flinging him out of the hall. He rolled around a few times and eventually landed on his nose, causing a nosebleed, his forehead also had a cut. Ke Zhen’E was blind and couldn't see anything, and didn't know what caused this. He was afraid that there was some strange being in the hall, and got up and escaped.

Ouyang Feng was by the side watching this, his heart able to relax and said, "What a pity, what a pity. Good son, very clever!"

Yang Guo climbed down, pleased with himself, and said, "That old man won't dare to come back." Ouyang Feng shook his head saying, "He has a profound hatred for me, after a while, he will come back. Yang Guo said, "We must go quickly."

Ouyang Feng shook his head again and said, "My injury is very serious, I won't be able to get far." He had escaped temporarily, but now he felt his bones were coming loose, he couldn't even move one step.

"What should we do?"

Ouyang Feng thought for a while and said, "There is a way. Break another bell's beam, and put me underneath it."

"How would you get out?" asked Yang Guo.

"I'll be meditating under the bell for seven days. After my strength has returned, I will be able to escape. If the old man returns within these seven days, he doesn't have the ability to lift the bell up. If Huang Rong doesn't come, I doubt if there is anyone that can break through. If Huang Rong does come, then the plan may fail."

Yang Guo thought carefully, and knew apart from this plan, nothing else will work. So he asked carefully again will he be able to escape from the bell without anyone's help and then said, "You won't have anything to eat within these seven days, right?"

Ouyang Feng said, "Go and find a basin, and fill it with clean water and place it beside me. There are still a few buns left. This will last for seven days if I eat them slowly."

Yang Guo went to the kitchen and found a large basin, and then filled it with clean water. He then placed it underneath another hung bell, and supported his stepfather directly underneath it, and sat him down.

Ouyang Feng said, "Son, follow the one called Guo. I will come and find you later on." Yang Guo agreed and climbed up to the bell, and broke the beam, sending the bell down, covering Ouyang Feng.

Yang Guo shouted out ‘Father'. When he didn't hear a reply, he knew that he couldn't hear from within. As he was about to leave, he couldn't let go and went back to find another basin and filled it with water and placed it next to the bell. He then flipped over and placed his left hand in the bowl, and followed the method to reverse blood flow taught by Ouyang Feng to force some poison out. As he had just begun practicing this skill, he could only force out ten or so drops of blood before his head was full of sweat. Afterwards he ripped off some of the cloth from the statues, and then wrapped it around a rod, dipped it into the blood and water mixture, and covered the bell with it. He thought that if Ke Zhen’E does return, if he tries to move the bell, he would definitely be poisoned for sure.

Another thing that came to his attention was that his stepfather would definitely suffocate to death under the bell in seven days, so he would use the knife to dig out a brick tile beside the bell, and dig out a hole the size of a fist to allow the circulation of air. As he was digging the hole, the blade struck at another slab of stone underneath the tile and snapped. The blade was sharp, but it was very thin, and as he was digging the precious blade snapped. He didn't know the blade was precious, it wasn't his and he didn't feel it was a pity and threw the knife away. He knelt down on the ground and spoke through the opening, "Father, I'm going now. Come and collect me soon. Be careful when you come out, there is poison on the bell." Yang Guo bent his ear to the opening and hear Ouyang Feng replied weakly, "Good son, I'm not scared of poison; the poison should be scared of me. You be careful. I will definitely come back for you." Yang Guo sat there for a while not willing to leave yet, but then started to hurry back; worried that Ke Zhen’E will notice that he has gone. When he got back to the room, he saw that Ke Zhen’E had not returned to the room, neither was he outside.

When morning came, he heard someone using a branch knocking on his door. He leapt out of his bed and opened the door. He saw it was Ke Zhen’E supporting himself on a wooden branch, his face grey and pale; he leant over into the room and fell onto the floor. Yang Guo noticed that his hands were black, he indeed did return to find Ouyang Feng. He was pleased that he had fallen into the trap that was left for him and pretended to be concerned, and shouted, "Grandpa Ke, what's the matter?"

Huang Rong and Guo Jing heard the shout, and hurried to see what the matter was; when they saw Ke Zhen’E on the floor they gasped. Guo Jing was still injured and struggled to walk, and so it was Huang Rong who supported Ke Zhen’E onto the bed. She asked, "First master, what did you do?"

Ke Zhen’E shook his head, and didn't reply. Huang Rong saw his hands were black and said angrily, "It was that Li bitch again. Brother Jing, I'll go and battle her." She tied her belt and walked out.

"It wasn't her," said Ke Zhen’E.

Huang Rong returned and asked, "Who was it then?"

Ke Zhen’E couldn't defeat a man who hasn't even got the strength to kill a chicken and it was he in return that was injured. It reflected badly on him. Ke Zhen’E was a stiff-necked man, it was what was called, ‘tired of the ginger being old and not spicy', and didn't say a word about his wound. The two knew his behavior, if he wants to say, he will say it. The more they ask the angrier he'll get. It was lucky that the poison only got on his skin; the potency wasn't that strong. He'll feel a bit light headed, after taking a “Nine Flower Jade Dew” pill, he'll be alright.

Huang Rong already planned what they should do; at the moment Guo Jing and Ke Zhen’E are hurt, Li Mochou's poison is trouble, so the children and two wounded must be sent to Peach Blossom Island. Later on she will find Li Mochou and settle this score. They spent the morning  resting  in  the  inn,  in  the afternoon they got on a boat and headed east.

Yang Guo was happy with the fact that Huang Rong did not attempt to find Ouyang Feng and thought, "Father was scared that Auntie Guo will come and search for him. Auntie Guo is such a beautiful lady, could it be that she is more powerful than Ke Zhen’E?"

The boat had traveled for half a day, the sky now getting dark. The boat anchored by the shore, the owners of the boat preparing the rice for supper. Guo Fu saw that Yang Guo had ignored her when she wanted to talk and argue with him. She sat by the window, and looked out. Under the shade of willow trees were two boys sobbing, it looked like the two Wu brothers. Guo Fu shouted out, "Hey, what are you doing there?"

Wu Xiuwen replied, "We are crying, can't you see?"

Guo Fu said, "What's the matter, did your mother beat you?" Wu Xiuwen said, "My mum's dead!"

Huang Rong gasped when she heard this and leapt onto the shore. She saw the boys sobbing over their mother. Madam Wu's face was completely black, she had died a long time ago. Huang Rong asked for news of Wu Santong and Wu Dunru replied, "We don't know where he went."

Wu Xiuwen said, "Mother sucked the poison out of father, a lot of black blood came out. Father got better, while mother died. When father saw that mother had died, he went mad again. We called after him, but he ignored us and went away." They cried as they said this.

Huang Rong thought, "Madam Wu sacrificed herself for her husband, she is a great woman." She asked, "Are you hungry?" The boys nodded their heads. Huang Rong sighed and ordered the boat keeper to take the boys on board and feed them. When they reached a town, she bought a wooden coffin for Madam Wu, and prepared her body for it. She bought a piece of land and buried her at dawn. The brothers sobbed in front of the grave.

Guo Jing said, "Rong’er, the two boys have lost their parents, why don't we take them back to Peach Blossom Island and we'll care for them." Huang Rong agreed, and took the boys under her wing. They traveled on the boat until they reached the sea, and then hired a large boat and headed east, towards Peach Blossom Island.

End of chapter 2. 
@Chapter 3 – Seeking Tutelage at Mount Zhongnan
Guo Jing meditated on the boat, and after a few days, his energy has recovered by more than half. Huang Rong and Guo Jing raised the topic of Ouyang Feng, saying they hadn’t seen him in ten years. Not only does it seem he hasn’t aged much but his kung fu has improved. That palm he struck in Guo Jing’s chest was lethal; it will take at least ten days to half a month to fully recover. The two moved on to Hong Qigong, they didn’t know where he was and missed him very much. Huang Rong lived on the Peach Blossom Island, but she held the position of the Beggar Clan leader so all the clan’s affairs had to be cleared through her. One of the reasons she returned to Jiangnan was to meet with elder Zhu and discuss what was happening with the clan, and to search for news of Hong Qigong. But Guo Jing had suffered an injury, so they had to return to the island first. Then they talked about Yang Guo, and Huang Rong called him into the boat and told him to explain everything. Yang Guo told them that his mother had died due to an illness, and how he had wandered around in Jiaxing afterwards. The Guo couple reminisced about their friendship with Mu Nianci and couldn’t help but feel depressed. After Yang Guo had returned to the deck, Guo Jing said, “I’ve always had one wish and you know this. Today, heaven has given me this chance to see Guo’er, my wish can be completed.”

Years ago, Guo Jing’s father Guo Xiaotian and Yang Guo’s grandfather Yang Tiexin became brothers, and both their wives were pregnant. The two agreed that if their wives gave births to boys, they will became brothers; if they were girls they would be sisters; if it was one girl and one boy then it would be arranged for them be married. Eventually they had two boys, Guo Jing and Yang Guo’s father Yang Kang became brothers. However Yang Kang recognized an enemy as his father, his deeds  were  unchivalrous  and eventually he died tragically near Jiaxing’s Iron Spear Temple. Guo Jing still felt responsible for this. When he mentioned this, Huang Rong understood his intentions and said, “I won’t agree.”

Guo Jing asked, with light surprise, “Agree what?” Huang Rong said, “Fu’er won’t be married to that boy.”

Guo Jing said, “His father didn’t do any good, but our families friendship is a long one. Yang Guo has a handsome face, he’s extremely clever, and under our teaching he will achieve great things in the future.”

Huang Rong said, “I’m afraid that he is too clever for his own good.” Guo Jing replied, “Weren’t you clever? What is wrong with that?” Huang Rong laughed and said, “I eventually fell for a dumb boy.”

Guo Jing chuckled and said, “When Fu’er grows up, she may not find a dumb boy to love. Anyway, another boy as dumb as me, I doubt there’ll be another one.”

Huang Rong put on a shy face and said, “Are they rare?” The two joked around for a few more words before Guo Jing turned serious and said, “My father only had one wish, Uncle Yang Tie Xin also relied on me before he died. I didn’t do my best with brother Yang and sister Mu. If I don’t treat Guo’er as my own, how can I face father and uncle Yang?” He sighed, and looked disappointed.

Huang Rong gently said, “The two of them are young, there is no need to rush. If in the future Guo’er doesn’t develop any bad points, then you can do what you like.”

Guo Jing got up and clapped his hands, his spirits raised and said, “Thank you for your permission; I can’t say how thankful I am.”

Huang Rong replied, “I didn’t agree to anything. All I said was watch what  becomes  of  Guo’er  in  the future.”

Guo Jing stood up and his waist straightened. He knew what Huang Rong meant and said, “Brother Yang Kang was raised in the palace of the Jin, and learned his ways from them. Guo’er will be on our island and he won’t turn bad. It was I who named him all those years ago. His name is Yang Guo, “to correct past mistakes”; if he does do wrong he will be able to change and right it. You can relax.”

Huang Rong laughed and said, “How can a name decide things? You are called Guo Jing, are you peaceful and quiet? Ever since you were young, you would jump around like a big monkey.” Guo Jing thought about what she said, and wasn’t able to respond. Huang Rong smiled, and changed the subject, and didn’t mention the affair again.

The boat was quiet as they reached the island. Guo Fu was ecstatic that she had gained two little friends who were about the same age as her. Yang Guo had taken Huang Rong’s antidote, and now his poison had dissipated completely. He and Guo Fu had their arguments when they first met, but they were still kids. After a few days they had forgotten about it. However in a few days, the four would argue again in game of catching crickets.

One day, Yang Guo came out of the house, looking for  crickets  again.  He  was  relaxing,  enjoying  the scenery and whistling to himself when he suddenly heard laughing and joking behind the hills. He rushed to have a look, and saw Guo Fu and the Wu brothers lifting rocks and pushing aside grass; they were looking for crickets. Wu Dunru was holding a bamboo tube, Guo Fu was holding a basin. Wu Xiuwen moved a rock and gave a laugh, a large cricket jumped out. Wu Xiuwen jumped on it, and held it with his two hands and laughed joyfully. Guo Fu said, “Give it to me, gimme.”

Wu Xiuwen picked the cricket up and said, “Fine, I’ll give it to you.” He opened the lid of the basin and put the cricket in. The cricket’s head and legs looked healthy, it had a thick waist and abdomen, and it looked like a spirited cricket. Wu Xiuwen said, “This cricket is going to be an invincible general, brother Yang, all the crickets that you have caught won’t be a match.” Yang Guo was unconvinced and took out a few bamboo tubes containing crickets. He picked out his liveliest one to fight. After a few rounds, the large cricket bit the waist of Yang Guo’s cricket, causing it to slip out of the basin, fluttering its wings, looking weird.

Guo Fu laughed, “I won!”

Yang Guo said, “Wait, I’ve got more.” He took out three but they lost too, the third one bitten in half by the large cricket. Yang Guo’s faced turned and said, “I’m not playing.” and turned around and walked away. Suddenly he heard three “ji” noises behind him in the grass, it was the call of a cricket, but it sounded different than normal.

Wu Dunru said, “Another one.” He parted the grass and suddenly jumped back, gasping, “Snake, snake!” Yang Guo turned around and saw a striped poisonous snake, flicking its tongue out of the grass. Yang Guo picked up a stone, and aimed it at the snake. It struck it on the head, the snake twisted and turned a few times and died. He saw beside the dead snake was a black cricket, its appearance strange, spreading out its wings to call out. Guo Fu laughed and said, “Brother Yang, catch the black one.”

Yang Guo heard that there was a ridiculing tone behind her words. Yang Guo’s proud character rose and said, “Fine.” He then went and caught it.

Guo Fu chuckled and said, “That thing, what do you want it for? You want to battle with my invincible general?”

Yang Guo said, “If you want to battle fine, this little one won’t let others bully it.” He placed the black cricket into Guo Fu’s basin. What was strange was that when the large cricket saw the small black one, it looked startled and seemed to shrink away from it. Guo Fu and the Wu brothers shouted and called out to encourage it. The little black cricket raised its head and jumped in front of the big one. The big cricket, not daring to face it in battle, wanted to jump out of the basin. The black cricket jumped up and, high in midair, bit the end of the large cricket, and both of them fell out of the air. The large cricket shook a few times, and then turned on its abdomen and died. Amongst crickets, there are types, which liked to live with poisonous worms or with poisonous centipedes. This type is called the “Centipede Cricket” and those which live with poisonous snakes are called “Snake Crickets”. Because of the poison on it, the normal types of cricket aren’t their match. Yang Guo’s cricket was a “Snake Cricket”.

Guo Fu was very displeased with the fact that her invincible general had died, and after thinking for a while said to Yang Guo, “Brother Yang, give the black one to me.”

Yang Guo replied, “Giving it to you originally wasn’t a problem, but why did you ridicule the little black one?”

Guo Fu replied, “If you don’t give it to me fine, who wants it?” She picked up her basin and turned it over, the little black cricket fell onto the ground, and she squashed it with her right foot. Yang Guo gasped, his blood began to boil, his face went red, he couldn’t control himself and he hit her hard by the side of the ear.

Guo Fu didn’t know whether to stay quiet or cry. Wu Xiuwen shouted at him, “The little boy hits people!” and threw a fist towards Yang Guo’s chest. His family’s skills are deep. Ever since he was little his parents had taught him martial arts, so his martial arts roots are good, the fist that was coming towards Yang Guo’s chest was not light. Yang Guo flared up, and threw a fist back but Wu Xiuwen dodged it. Yang Guo leapt up to attack, but Wu Dunru stuck out his leg to hook Yang Guo’s leg, Yang Guo fell on the ground. Wu Xiuwen turned around and jumped on Yang Guo’s body. Held down by the two brothers, four fists rained down fiercely on him.

Though Yang Guo was two years older, it was difficult for two fists to defend against four. The Wu brothers had been taught some higher martial arts, and Yang Guo had only learnt very basic martial arts from Mu Nianci. He wasn’t their match. He bit his teeth and didn’t make a sound.

Wu Dunru said, “If you apologize and beg we’ll let you go.” Yang Guo shouted, “Never!”

Wu Xiuwen threw out another two fists. Guo Fu was watching aside pleased that the Wu brothers were helping her to get revenge.

The Wu brothers knew that if they attacked the head, it would leave wounds, and if Guo Jing and Huang Rong found out, they would be blamed. So they treated Yang Guo’s body with fists and kicks. Guo Fu saw the beating was severe and was a little bit scared. But when she felt the red mark left by Yang Guo by her ear, she felt pleased and shouted out, “Hit him harder, harder!” The Wu brothers listened, and hit harder.

Yang Guo was on the ground, and when he heard Guo Fu’s instructions he thought, “Guo Fu you evil little bitch, I’m going to get you for this.” He felt extreme pain all over his back and it looked as if he would endure more. The Wu brothers had practiced martial arts since they were young, so their punches and kicks were strong. A normal adult wouldn’t withstand it. If Yang Guo had not practiced a bit of internal energy, he would have  long ago fainted. He  bit his teeth harder and waved his hands wildly. Then he suddenly felt a cold and slippery object; it was the dead poisonous  snake.  He  picked  it  up and  threw  it back at the Wu brothers.

When the Wu brothers saw the stripped poisonous snake, they gasped. Yang Guo turned his body around, and threw a fierce fist, hitting Wu Dunru in the nose causing a nosebleed. Yang Guo scampered up and quickly ran away. The Wu brothers were indignant, and chased after him. Guo Fu shouted out, “Catch him, catch him!” and followed.

Yang Guo ran on for a while and then turned around to see Wu Dunru’s face full of blood, the expression on his face was furious, and knew if he was caught by the two brothers he would suffer an even more severe beating than before. So he ran and hurried to the foot of “Practicing Sword Peak”, and climbed up.

Though Wu Dunru’s face was full of blood, the wound didn’t really hurt. It was just that feeling his face full of blood that made him angry, and he hurried after Yang Guo. Yang Guo climbed up the peak with the Wu brothers close behind unrelenting. Guo Fu was at the foot of the peak, hearing the footsteps she looked up and was pleased to see what was happening. Yang Guo hurried for a while, only to see a cliff, with nowhere else to go. Years ago, whenever Huang Yaoshi invented a new stance, he would jump across the chasm and then go to the peak top and practice it. Could Yang Guo jump across? He thought, “I’d rather jump and die, than get caught by those two and get beaten up again.” He turned around and shouted, “If you come one step closer I’ll jump!” Wu Dunru stopped, while Wu Xiuwen shouted back, “Jump if you want, who cares about you? You don’t have the guts anyway!” As he said this he crept closer.

Yang Guo’s blood rose again, and was about to jump when he saw a large loose rock from the corner of his eye. In a rush of blood and not thinking about the consequences, he stretched out his hand to move the smaller stones, the large stone did indeed began to move. He moved behind the large stone, and pushed with all his strength, the stone bounced twice and after a crashing sound, the stone began to roll down the hill. The Wu brothers were shocked when they saw him push the stone, the colour of their faces changed, and they hurriedly moved out of the way. The large stone carried numerous pieces of dirt and sand, and after moving past the Wu brothers, turned over many flowers and plants before heading into the sea. Wu Dunru panicked, his foot slipped, and he started to roll down. Wu Xiuwen caught him a rush. The two of them couldn’t stand up on the slope and the both of them rolled down for about sixty or seventy feet; luckily a tree managed to block their path.

Huang Rong was in the house when she heard a sound far away, and followed the sound quickly to “Practicing Sword Peak”, only to see a field of dirt and sand, her daughter hidden in the grass, so frightened that she couldn’t cry, and the Wu brothers’ heads and faces full of blood. Huang Rong picked up her daughter and asked, “What happened?” Guo Fu buried herself into her mother and cried. After she finished crying she explained that Yang Guo had hit her for no reason, and when the Wu brothers helped her, Yang Guo wanted to roll a stone on them to kill them. She pushed all the blame onto Yang Guo. She didn’t say anything about her squashing his cricket, or the Wu brothers beating Yang Guo. Huang Rong listened, and saw the red mark left on Guo Fu’s face, the slap must have been strong, and she sympathized with her and comforted her.

Guo Jing also hurried to the scene, and saw the Wu brothers hurt and asked what happened. He was angry but also concerned about Yang Guo, and hurried up to the peak; he searched around but couldn’t see a trace of him. He raised his voice and called out, “Guo’er, Guo’er.” The loud voice resonated out for miles, but he did not see Yang Guo, nor did he hear a reply. Guo Jing waited a while becoming increasingly concerned and eventually descended down from the peak. He rowed around the island in a boat, searching for him until it was dark but still he couldn’t see a trace of Yang Guo.

When Yang Guo pushed the stone and saw the Wu brothers roll down the peak, he had seen Huang Rong coming, and knew he would face a heavy punishment and so hid himself among the rocks in the cliff. He heard Guo Jing’s call but did not reply. Yang Guo was hungry but he did not move from his hiding place among the rocks. He saw it was approaching dusk, the sea beginning to darken, and there was no sound of people anywhere nearby. After a while, the sky was lit up with stars, a cool wind was blowing; he felt cold and came out of his hiding place and gazed down the mountain. He saw clearly a light coming out from the window, and imagined the Guo couple, Ke Zhen’E, Guo Fu and the Wu brothers, eating a meal around the table; chicken, duck, fish and meat filling the table, and couldn’t stop  by  drooling.  But  he thought of how they were talking about his punishment behind his back, and couldn’t help but be furious. He stood there at the foot of the mountain, in the sea breeze he thought about how he had been bullied all his life, everyone looking at him coldly; he was filled with a feeling of indignity.

In reality, when Guo Jing could not find Yang Guo, how could he eat? When Huang Rong saw that her husband was troubled, she knew he wouldn’t listen to her so she did the same as him, and accompanied him in his torment. Before the next day was bright the two went out searching again. Yang Guo had endured hunger for a day and a half now, and on the second morning he gave in, descended the peak, and went to a stream and caught some frogs. He peeled off their skin and picked up some dry leaves, wanting to roast them on a fire. He was by the streamside and wanted to cook the frogs immediately to cure his hunger but thought that Guo Jing and Huang Rong might see the smoke, so he went into a cave and prepared the fire. As soon as the frog’s legs were golden, he ate straight away, eating a leg in one big bite. He suddenly heard Guo Jing’s voice calling out, “Guo’er, Guo’er!? He thought, “You want me to come out so you can beat me, I’m not going to come out.”

That night he slept in the cave and after he had slept for a while, he awoke suddenly and saw Ouyang Feng come into the cave. He said, “Son, I’ve come to teach you kung fu in order for you to avoid getting beat up by the two little Wus.” Yang Guo was happily surprised and followed him out of the cave, only to see him crouch on the ground, and gave out a few “gu” sounds before pushing out two palms. Yang Guo tried to follow, but his palms and kicks weren’t the same. Ouyang Feng curled is hand into a fist and threw it out, Yang Guo couldn’t avoid it and it landed on top of his head, the pain was severe and he got up.

After being hit on the head, he woke up; it seemed it was all just a dream. He felt his head, and came across a bump. It ached severely and he sighed repeatedly, thinking, “It looks like father has recovered and has escaped from the bell. When is he going to come and collect me, and teach me kung fu so I can avoid being bullied by others?”

He went out of the cave, and looked up at the sky, and saw many stars hanging within the branches of the trees, and remembered that Ouyang Feng had taught him kung fu. He  had  forgotten  about  this;  he crouched down, gave out a few “gu” calls; he wanted to use the formula of the “Toad Stance” that Ouyang Feng had taught him in Jiaxing. He tried to use his fists and legs, but whatever he did, he couldn’t do this stance. He searched his mind, and threw out two palms, like he did  in  his  dream,  but  that  was  a completely different thing. He was alone at the foot of the peak, and  stared  out  at  the  sea,  the  lonely feeling in his heart was stronger than ever. Suddenly he heard a gentle voice from the sea calling, “Guo’er, Guo’er.” He immediately replied, “I’m here. I’m here.” He ran down onto the beach where Guo Jing could see him from faraway. In high spirits Guo Jing rowed quickly to the shore, and jumped onto the beach. The stars shone on the two as they rushed to each other. He picked up Yang Guo into his chest and just said, “Come back and have supper.” He was emotional, his  voice  almost  cracking.  When  they  reached  the house, Huang Rong had prepared supper for them. They never mentioned what had happened again.

At dawn the next day, he called Yang Guo, the Wu brothers and Guo Fu out the hall, and invited Ke Zhen’E as well. He instructed the four disciples to kowtow to the six Jiangnan Freaks headstone, and then said to Ke Zhen’E, “Senior Master, I request your permission to take in four grand apprentices.”

Ke Zhen’E was delighted and said, “That will be for the best, I congratulate you.” Guo Jing then instructed Yang Guo, the Wu brothers to first kowtow to Ke Zhen’E and then underwent the ritual of a new disciple to a master towards the Guo couple.

Guo Fu smiled and asked, “Mother, I need to do this as well?” Huang Rong replied, “Of course.”

Guo Fu gleefully kowtowed to the three.

Guo Jing said seriously, “From today onwards, you four are apprentice brothers.” Guo Fu interrupted, “Wrong, its apprentice brother and sister.”

Guo Jing gave his daughter a look and said, “When father has not finished speaking, don’t open your mouth.” He waited and then said, “From now on you four must treat each other with love and respect, share in good fortune and suffer in misery together. If there are any disturbances or conflicts, I won’t look lightly upon it.” He looked at Yang Guo when he said this. Yang Guo thought, “As long as you treat your daughter the same, then I won’t push her around.”

Ke Zhen’E took over, and passed on the rules and regulations of their school, it was the usual don’t bully the weak, don’t harm the innocents. The Seven Freaks had numerous rules but Ke Zhen’E couldn’t remember all of them so just said the main ones. Guo Jing said, “I have learned a variety of skills, apart from the skills of the Jiangnan Seven Heroes (this is what Guo Jing called them.). The Quanzhen Sect’s internal energy, the Peach Blossom Island and Beggars Clan’s skills; I have learned a bit of all of them. You mustn’t forget your roots so today I will teach you Grand Master’s skills first.

As he was about to pass on the formula, Huang Rong saw that Yang Guo’s head was down and his body was sticking out, his face had an indescribable aura, like Yang  Kang’s.  Her  heart  was  troubled,  and thought, “Although his father didn’t die directly by my hands, it could be said that I caused his death. If I don’t watch over him, he will become trouble in the future.” She  smiled  as  she  thought  of  a  plan, “Teaching four of them will be hard work. I’ll teach Guo’er.” Before Guo Jing  could  agree,  Ke  Zhen’E clapped his hand and said, “What an excellent idea! Your intelligence is incomparable; you can definitely make something out of this disciple.” Guo Jing was pleased in his heart, he knew his wife was infinitely cleverer than him, her methods must exceed his. He didn’t open his mouth to object.

Guo Fu was afraid of her father’s strictness and said, “Mother, I want you to teach me.”

Huang Rong smiled, “You want me because you can cause trouble and you won’t be able to learn any kung fu. It will be better if your father teaches you.” Guo Fu sneaked a glance at her father, and saw him staring at her; she turned around and didn’t dare speak out again.

Huang Rong spoke to her husband and said, “We will set a rule: you mustn’t teach Guo’er and I won’t teach your three. The four of them can’t pass on skills to each other, just in case they practice incorrectly, there is no need to get hurt for no reason.”

Guo Jing replied, “Of course.”

Huang Rong said, “Guo’er, follow me.”

Yang Guo loathed Guo Fu and the Wu brothers, when he heard what Huang Rong had said, about not mixing with the other students, it was what he wanted, and followed her into the inner hall. Huang Rong led him to the study, and picked up a book saying, “Your teacher had seven teachers, their names were the Jiangnan Seven Freaks, first master is Grandpa Ke, second master was the Swift Hand Scholar Zhu Cong, now I will teach his skills to you.”

As she said this she opened the book and read clearly, “Zi Yue: When practicing what you are taught, can you change? If you’ve got friends all over, is it extreme?” (N.B. Sorry about this translation, it’s supposedly from “The Analects of Confucius”, my Chinese is not at the level where I can decipher old sayings and writings.) The book that she picked was “The Analects of Confucius”. Yang Guo thought this was strange but didn’t dare to question her, and just repeated what she read  and  wrote  down  what  she  said. Throughout the day, all Huang Rong taught him was reading and writing, and refused to mention teaching kung fu.

One day after Yang Guo finished studying, he went to the back of the mountain to take a walk, and remembered Ouyang Feng. He didn’t know where he was, he thought of fond  memories,  and  at  that moment flipped his body upside down, and copied the movements  of  Ouyang  Feng.  After  a  while, following the formula for contrary blood flow, he felt the more he stayed upside down the smoother it felt. He flipped upright and after a loud “gu” call, pushed out his two palms. He felt his body was smooth and relaxed, the gracefulness incomparable, and his body was covered with sweat. He didn’t know that after a session of practicing, his internal energy had increased a level. All Ouyang Feng’s kung fu was dangerous; the most lethal types of the higher set of skills. Yang Guo’s intelligence and comprehension was high. Although he had learned very little in the past few days, now that he had begun to practice, his internal energy improved.

From now on, he would study and recite books and manuscripts with Huang Rong everyday, and whenever he had spare time in the evenings he would go to the secluded mountainside and practice his martial arts. He didn’t intend to practice in order to learn the frightening skill; it was because every time he practiced, his body would be filled with a relaxed feeling. After he has achieved this then he would stop.

He secretly practiced and Guo Jing and Huang Rong didn’t know. Huang Rong taught him literature, and within three months she had taught him the whole of “The Analects of Confucius”. Yang Guo was able to memorize the texts quickly. Yang Guo was able to memorize the texts quickly. Though he disliked learning texts and manuscripts, he didn't raise any objections.

In reality, Huang Rong was not happy just teaching him how to read and study, but thought, “His intelligence is not below mine and if his character is like his father’s and he learns kung fu he could definitely cause a lot of trouble in the future. Why not teach him to study, and shape him into a worthy and honest person. That had its good points.” That’s why she picked “The Analects of Confucius” and now she would follow it with “Meng Zi”.

A few months past and Huang Rong had still not passed on any martial arts, nor had Yang Guo asked about it. Ever since the fight with the other children, he had not tried to mingle with them, and kept himself to himself, becoming even more of a loner. He thought that although Guo Jing had taken him in as a student, he didn’t have the intention of passing any skills to him. He already wasn’t a match for the Wu brothers. If he had a fight with them after a year or so under Guo Jing’s teachings, it would be difficult for him not to die at their hands. He made a decision, when there was a chance to leave the island, he would take it.

One afternoon when Yang Guo was supposed to study a few passages of “Meng Zi”, he slipped out of the library and went out for a walk on the beach. He looked out at the sea, at the white waves and foam, and thought, “When will I be able to leave this place, and happily leave the others where they are.” As he was gazing, he suddenly heard some wind sounds from the Peach Blossom forest. Curious, he went over to have a look, and eventually found his way. From a distance could see it was Guo Jing in the forest teaching the Wu brothers some fists and kicks. He was teaching them a stance of the “Trapping Hand”, “Holding the Bridge”, “Changing the Pillar” (tuo liang huan zhu). Guo Jing gave them pointers, and then demonstrated it, instructing the Wu brothers to copy him. Yang Guo just took a glance, and recognized the essence of the stance immediately, but the Wu brothers practiced and practiced but couldn’t quite get it. Guo Jing himself wasn’t the best at picking things up immediately, and knew how hard things could be, so did not lose his temper with them and repeated this move again.

Yang Guo sighed and thought, “If Uncle Guo was willing to teach me, I wouldn’t be as stupid as them.” Feeling unhappy, he returned to his room and slept. After supper he read a few more books, but thought this was a waste of his time and so he went to the beach again. He practiced the punch and kicks that Guo Jing taught, and went over it a few times before he started to feel troubled and thought, “If I secretly practice their skills to a much better standard than the Wu brothers, I won’t have to be scared of them.” This idea initially was good but as he thought about it he changed his mind. “Uncle Guo doesn’t want to teach me so why should I learn it in secret? Hmm… even if he decides to teach me, I won’t learn it. I may get beaten to death but who cares?” As he thought about this, he felt pride but also sadness. He sat and leaned on the cliff face; the soothing sound of the waves of the sea eventually sending him to sleep.

In the morning, Yang Guo did not go for breakfast, nor did he go to the library to study, he was by the sea and managed to gather several large clams which he roasted on a fire and ate. He thought, “Even if I don’t eat Guo food, I won’t starve to death.” He saw a large boat and a small boat by the shore. “I won’t be able to operate that large boat, and I can’t row far in that small boat, how can I escape from this island?” He thought about this for half a day, having nothing to do, he went beside a large cliff face and flipped his body, and practiced the internal energy that Ouyang Feng taught.

At the point where his blood was beginning to flow quickly, where his body felt lucid and smooth, he suddenly heard a shout from behind. He was caught unawares and fell down, his legs and arms numb, he couldn’t get back up. It was Guo Fu and the Wu brothers arriving on the scene. Behind the cliff face was an extremely quiet and peaceful area, with no one around. Because the paths of the island were designed to follow the five changes, Guo Fu and the brothers didn’t dare to run about blindly. They were looking for a place to play and followed a path, eventually winding up here where Yang Guo was practicing. It was fortunate that Yang Guo’s internal strength was shallow; otherwise the interruption by the three would have scrambled his veins and meridians, causing him to suffer paralysis.

Guo Fu clapped her hand and said, “What are you doing here?” Yang Guo supported himself on the cliff face and slowly pulled himself up, gave Guo Fu a stare, turned around and walked away.

Wu Xiuwen called out, “Hey, apprentice sister asked a question; are you pretending to not care or are you ignoring us?”

Yang Guo coldly said, “How can you take charge in this matter?”

Wu Xiuwen was offended and said, “We only care about having a good time, not greeting mad dogs.”

Yang Guo replied, “You are right, mad dogs will bite when they see people, three mad dogs have just come, barking and howling madly.”

Wu Dunru angrily said, “You said three mad dogs? You abuse people?” Yang Guo laughed and replied, “No, I only scold dogs, not people.”

Wu Dunru could not take anymore and curled a fist and threw it out at Yang Guo, who managed to avoid it. Wu Xiuwen remembered what their teacher had said about not fighting amongst each other. If news of this ever got to teacher, they would be punished, so he grabbed hold of his brother’s arm and laughed coldly at Yang Guo saying, “Big brother Yang, you’ve been under the care of master wife learning martial arts, we three from master. A few months have passed but we don’t know who has advanced the most. How about sparring with each other, comparing skills, do you dare?”

Yang Guo was aggravated and originally wanted to say, “I don’t have your luck. Master wife has not taught me any kind of martial arts.” But when he heard the four words “do you dare to”, he extinguished his angry feelings and prevented himself from saying what he intended to. He gave out a grunt and stared coldly at him. Wu Xiuwen said, “We are here to test each others skill, no matter who wins and who loses, no one is allowed to tell master or master wife. Even if your head is cracked open, you must say you fell. If the loser complains about the winner, then they are born of dogs, a bastard; big brother Yang, do you dare?” As he said the words “do you dare” his eyes went blank, as Yang Guo threw a heavy fist into Wu Xiuwen’s left eye. Wu Xiuwen jumped back to prevent himself falling over.

Wu Dunru said, “You don’t care about face do you with a punch like that.” He then used the punches and kicks that Guo Jing taught him, and attacked Yang Guo in the abdomen. Yang Guo could not avoid this punch and got hit. Then he saw Wu Dunru throw out a kick at him, and then he suddenly thought of something and he remembered the moves that Guo Jing taught to the Wu brothers yesterday. He bent his right leg, and with his left hand pushed the incoming right leg, it was the “Secret Hero in the Noisy City” Quan Jinfa’s “Trapping Hand”, the stance of “Holding the Bridge, Changing the Pillar” (tuo liang huan zhu), though it wasn’t a very special move, it is useful when facing an enemy. Yesterday when Guo Jing repeated the move, the Wu brothers learned it, but when it was put in use for real, it didn’t compare with the Yang Guo’s, who only had a glance at it and just went over it once. Wu Dunru fell over after this move by Yang Guo.

Wu Xiuwen was already aggravated with the punch he received in his eye, but when he saw his brother fall he picked himself up and threw out a left punch. Yang Guo dodged to the left, but he only knew very little of the stances of the punches, so he couldn’t compete as a right fist of Wu Xiuwen hit him squarely on the right side. Wu Dunru picked himself up and the brothers attacked from both sides. The brothers’ martial arts foundation was already stronger than Yang Guo’s, and he wasn’t a match. Added to the fact that the Wu brothers had been training under Guo Jing for a few months, how would he be able to stand up against them? After a while, seven, eight punches had landed on Yang Guo’s head, back and waist. Yang Guo flared up and thought, “Even if I get beaten to death by you, I won’t try to escape.” He wildly threw some punches out; they weren’t at all from any set of orthodox skills.

Wu Xiuwen saw the state that Yang Guo was in and was slightly afraid. They had already taught him a lesson and didn’t want to carry on. He said, “You’ve already lost, we’ll let you go, there’s no need to fight more.”

Yang Guo shouted, “Who wants you to ease off?” and dashed at him, attacking fiercely. Wu Xiuwen stretched out his left hand and with his right hand grabbed hold of his chest, trying to pull him forward in a rush. At this time, Wu Dunru threw two punches at Yang Guo’s back. Yang Guo couldn’t stand steadily, and fell forwards. Wu Dunru held his head with two hands and said, “You ready to give up?”

“Who wants to give up to you mad dogs?”

Wu Dunru was offended and pushed Yang Guo’s face in the sand and said, “If you don’t give up then suffocate to death.”

Yang Guo’s eyes, nose, and face were full of sand and dirt; he couldn’t breathe, after a while, his body felt like cracking. Wu Dunru was holding his head with two hands, Wu Xiuwen was on his back, Yang Guo could not escape and as he was finding it difficult to breathe, the internal energy of the “Toad Stance” that he has been practicing over the last few days suddenly became fluent; a warm chi was flowing through his “dan tian”. All of a sudden, his body was full of energy as he leapt up fiercely, his eyes closed when he threw out two palms. It hit Wu Xiuwen in the lower abdomen; Wu Xiuwen gave out a cry before falling to the ground unconscious. The palm’s power came from Ouyang Feng’s “Toad Stance”, the power of it of course could not compare to Ouyang Feng’s, and Yang Guo had not intentionally used it. But since he was in danger he involuntarily used it, and Wu Xiuwen could not withstand it.

Wu Dunru jumped back but when he saw his brother didn’t move and his eyes were rolled back, he knew that Yang Guo had killed his brother. He was startled but shouted out, “Master, master, brother has died!” He sobbed as ran to take the news to Guo Jing. Guo Fu was scared, and followed.

Yang Guo spat out the sand and dirt, and rubbed the sand off his face, but felt he didn’t have an ounce of strength left in his body; it was extremely difficult for him to even move one step. He saw Wu Xiuwen in front of him, not moving, and heard Wu Dunru cry out, “My brother is dead!” and knew something was wrong but he didn’t have the strength to run away.

Some time passed before he saw Guo Jing and Huang Rong  hurriedly  leaping  to  the  scene.  Guo  Jing picked up Wu Xiuwen and placed his palm on Wu Xiuwen’s chest. Huang Rong ran to Yang Guo’s side and asked, “Where’s Ouyang Feng? Where is he?” Yang Guo did not reply. Huang Rong asked, “When did he teach you the “Toad Stance”?” It looked like Yang Guo was listening, but it also seemed that he wasn’t, his eyes losing their focus, just staring in front, his mouth tightly closed, scared of letting one word slip out. Huang Rong saw that he didn’t care, so held his two arms and said, “Tell me! Where’s Ouyang Feng?” Yang Guo still did not move.

After a while, Wu Xiuwen regained consciousness after Guo Jing had channeled his internal energy into him. Guo Jing then brought Ke Zhen’E and Guo Fu to the scene. When Ke Zhen’E heard from Guo Fu that Yang Guo flipped his body, and heard that he had killed Wu Xiuwen, he knew that Yang Guo was Ouyang Feng’s heir. Full of hate and revenge, he rushed to Yang Guo’s side, hearing Huang Rong ask, “Where is Ouyang Feng.” But Yang Guo still didn’t care. He walked up to Yang Guo and held his iron staff high, and shouted out, “Where is Ouyang Feng that scoundrel? If you don’t tell me, I’ll kill you with one strike!”

Without care for his life he shouted back, “He’s not a scoundrel, he’s a good person. You can kill me if you want, but I won’t say a word.”

Ke Zhen’E was angry and raised his weapon, ready to strike down. Guo Jing shouted out, “Senior Master, don’t! Only to hear a thudding sound, as the staff evaded Yang Guo’s body and struck into the sand. Ke Zhen’E had wanted to scare him into saying something but as the weapon reached his head, there was still no reply so he let his weapon slip.

Ke Zhe E shouted out, “You refuse to speak?”

Yang Guo shouted back, “If you’ve got guts go ahead and kill me, I’m not scared of you blind man.” Guo Jing rushed over, and slapped Yang Guo across the face fiercely. “You dare to be disrespectful towards your Grand Master!”

Yang Guo did not cry, and calmly said, “You people won’t raise your hands to kill me, fine. I’ll do it myself!” He turned around and rushed towards the sea.

Guo Jing shouted, “Guo’er, come back!” Yang Guo walked even faster. Guo Jing went over to stop him but Huang Rong said, “Stop.” Guo Jing stopped only to see Yang Guo enter the sea, heading into the waves.

Guo Jing gasped and said, “He can’t swim well, Rong’er, we need to save him.” and went to rescue Yang Guo.

Huang Rong said, “He’s not dead yet, there’s no need to rush.” After a while, Yang Guo had not returned. She admitted defeat to Yang Guo’s pride, and went into the sea. She was a good swimmer, rescuing someone close to the shore was easy for her, she dived into the water and pulled up Yang Guo and carried him back to the beach. She put him on the cliff side rocks, letting him spit out the sea water by himself and slowly regain consciousness.

Guo Jing looked at his master, and then his wife and asked, “So?”

Huang Rong replied, “He learned his kung fu before arriving on the island; even if Ouyang Feng did come, we would know about it.” Guo Jing nodded. She asked, “How’s little Wu’s injury?”

Guo Jing replied, “It looks like he’ll need at least two months rest.” Ke Zhen’E said, “Tomorrow I’ll leave for Jiaxing.”

Huang Rong and Guo Jing looked at each other, understanding his intentions; he would never live with someone who was related to Ouyang Feng in any way. Huang  Rong  said,  “Senior  Master,  this  is  your home, why do you give in to the child?”

That night Guo Jing summoned Yang Guo to his room and said, “Guo’er, all that has happened is in the past, we won’t mention it. You were disrespectful to Senior Master, I cannot allow you to stay with my school, from now on, call me Uncle Guo. I’m afraid that Uncle Guo’s inability to teach you will lead to your future failures. In a few days, I’ll take you to Mount Zhongnan to Chongyang Palace and request Quanzhen sect’s elder Changchun Zi (Eternal Spring) to accept you into their sect. Quanzhen sect is famous for its martial arts, I hope you take this opportunity in Chongyang Garden to hone your skills and reflect on your character, and so, hopefully, you will become a gentleman.”

Yang Guo replied, “Yes, Uncle Guo.” He changed his greeting, and didn’t regard Guo Jing as his teacher anymore.

Guo Jing got up early in the morning and prepared money and luggage; he said goodbyes to his wife, his master, his daughter and the Wu brothers. He left with Yang Guo by boat.  They arrived at Zheijang’s  Red Sea. Guo Jing bought two horses, and he and Yang Guo traveled north. Yang Guo had never ridden a horse before, but now his internal energy has some foundation, and after a few days of adjusting, he could freely control the reins. He was young and eager, always riding ahead of Guo Jing.

The next day, the two passed the Yellow River (Yangtze) and arrived at Xiaxi. Ever since the Jin lost to the Mongols, everywhere north of the Yangtze was under the influence of the Mongols. In Guo Jing’s younger days, he once was a general in the Mongol army. If he met any one who knew him, he knew there would be trouble so he changed his two horses for two rough looking mules and changed into old torn clothing; he disguised himself as a troubled villager. Yang Guo also changed his clothing and wore a blue green hat, and then got on the mule. The mule was bad tempered, and it was slow, Yang Guo spent the next few days trying to break its temper.

One day they arrived at Cage Village (Fanchuan); it was in the area of Mount Zhongnan. The village got its name from the Kai General Fan who had successfully captured a city. Along the way they passed winding mountain ranges, pine forests, fields of vegetables and cotton; its scenery not unlike that of Jiangnan.

After Yang Guo left Peach Blossom Island, his feelings towards the events on the island were still there but he would not mention them. He couldn’t hold onto this stance, and it slipped out, “Uncle Guo, this place is quite similar to our island.”

When Guo Jing heard him say “our island” he was pleased to no end and said, “Guo’er, we are not far from Mount Zhongnan, remember to take this opportunity at Quanzhen and learn from  their teachings. A few years later on, I will come back for you and take you back to the island.”

Yang Guo shook his head and said, “I will never go back to the island.” Guo Jing forgot about Yang Guo’s young age, the words that he said came straight from his heart. Guo Jing had no reply to this. After a while he said, “You are angry with Uncle and Auntie Guo?”

Yang Guo replied, “How can I dare to? It’s you that should be angry with me.” Guo Jing gave up, and didn’t open his mouth again.

The two of them went up a hill, and in the afternoon, they arrived at a temple on the hill’s peak. Guo Jing saw three words were written on top of the doors, “Light Everywhere Temple”. He tied the mules to a pine tree outside the temple and went inside for a meal. Inside the temple were seven or eight monks, when they saw he was plainly dressed, the monks calmly gave them two bowls of noodles and seven or eight buns for them to eat. Yang Guo and Guo Jing sat on a rock underneath a pine tree to eat their noodles; they glanced around and saw there was a large stone slab behind the pine tree. Tall grass was concealing what was on the slab, only two words could be seen, “Changchun”. Guo Jing was moved, and went over to take a closer look. It was Changchun Zi Qiu Chuji’s writing, and on it was a poem left by him; “The gloomy sky has come to earth, why doesn’t it teach ten thousand souls to be bitter? The ten thousand souls want to be delayed; the cries of the dead have no sound. Shouting up to the sky but it won’t reply, their fragmented slender forms toil. The thousands are confused in peace, teaching the living to live their soul.”

When Guo Jing saw this poem, it reminded him of the events ten years ago when he was on the plains of Mongolia, touching the stone slab without saying a word, reminiscing about the time when he first met Qiu Chuji.

Yang Guo asked, “What is written on the stone slab?”

Guo Jing replied, “It is a poem written by your Grand Master Qiu. He has seen the troubles of the world and was extremely sad.” He then explained the poem to Yang Guo and said, “Elder Qiu’s martial arts are outstanding; he cares about the common people and is a respected  teacher.  Your  father  was  an  able student of elder Qiu. I’m sure that on your father’s behalf, he will treat you especially well. Do your best at studying the martial arts there and you will definitely become something in the future.”

Yang Guo asked, “Uncle Guo, I have one question I want to ask you.” “What is it?”

“How did my father die?”

Guo Jing’s face lost its colour, as he remembered the events of the Iron Spear Temple, his body trembled, unable to speak.

“Who caused my father’s death?” Gu Jing did not reply.

Yang Guo remembered when he asked his mother the same question, she responded the same way. Although Guo Jing treated him like his own son, Huang Rong was neglectful of him. Although he was young, he felt that there was a hidden secret to this matter. He couldn’t hold back and shouted, “My father’s death was caused by you and Auntie Guo wasn’t it?”

Guo Jing was shocked, and slammed down his hand on the stone, and bellowed angrily, “Who told you these lies?” The power in his palm was great; because of his angry reaction the stone slab continually shook. Yang Guo saw his anger and said, “I’m sorry, I won’t ever say these sorts of things again, don’t be angry Uncle Guo.”

Guo Jing loved him very much, and when he heard Yang Guo’s apology, his feelings dissipated and he was about to comfort him when he heard a “hey” shout from behind, the voices behind it were startling. He turned around, and saw that it was two middle aged Taoists standing at the entrance to the mount; their eyes fixed on him, their faces with a furious expression. They were taking great interest in the stone slab and wanted to take a closer look at the two. The Taoists took a glance and then moved. Guo Jing saw that their steps were light; they possessed martial arts. He thought that since Mount Zhongnan is not far; the places around here should be filled with people from the Chongyang Palace. The two Taoists were about forty, and were the students of the Quanzhen Seven Masters. For as long as Guo Jing had lived on Peach Blossom Island in seclusion, he hadn’t sent news to Ma Yu. He wasn’t familiar with the students of Quanzhen, and only knew that Quanzhen had become famous so that Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji, Wang Chu must have accepted many students. Their name in Wulin had become increasingly famous; they had done heroic deeds, solved troubles and disasters, done countless good deeds. Whenever someone hears the name Quanzhen in Wulin, they could only admire it. He wanted to ascend the mount and greet Qiu Chuji, and it was luck that he could be accompanied by two of their students.

He stepped up his pace to the entrance of the mountain, only to see the two Taoists step up their pace to about one hundred feet in front of him, not turning back. Guo Jing called out, “Please wait Taoist brothers, I have a request.” His voice was clear and strong, his voice could be heard near and far but the two Taoists did not stop but sped up again. Guo Jing thought, “Could those two be deaf?” He increased his efforts and within a few steps his was in front of them. He turned around and said, “Greetings.” He said this while carrying the luggage.

The two saw how swift his movements were and their faces changed. They saw he was carrying luggage, and thought he was going to circulate his chi and ambush them so they took a few steps and one evaded right, the other left then turned around and asked, “Who are you?”

Guo Jing said, “Are you two the students of Mount Zhongnan’s Chongyang Palace?” The leaner of the Taoist replied, “Why are you here?”

Guo Jing said, “I’m an old friend of elder Qiu, I’ve come to see him, sorry for the trouble.”

The other shorter Taoist replied, “If  you’ve  the  nerve  go,  why don’t you move!” As he  said this he  struck out a palm quickly. Guo Jing had to move right to avoid it. The two  Taoists  moved  into  position immediately after the palm moving left and right, wanting to attack together. Guo Jing was cut off in the middle. The two moves were called “Cutting off the Door”. It was the refined skills of the Quanzhen sect, how would Guo Jing not know it? He saw that the two Taoists did not ask for an explanation and had already used force to try to harm him. He was slightly startled, wondering whether there was a misunderstanding, he didn’t try to clear it up, nor did he try to evade as he heard two sounds, as two palms landed on the side of his body from the two Taoists.

From the two palms, Guo Jing already knew how strong they were. Guo Jin felt that the two Taoists internal energy was able, confirming that they were the students of Seven Masters of Quanzhen, and thought that he could be classed in the same generation as them. When the two palms were coming at him, Guo Jing had already circulated his chi for defense so all he needed to do was bring his internal strength up to the right level and he wouldn’t be hurt. But he also didn’t return the power in the palms, causing the Taoists palms to hurt and swell. It wasn’t serious; after some initial pain the feeling dissipated.

The Taoists had practiced that move for ten years, but the move didn’t even seem to affect him one bit, and they were astonished. They both gave a whistle; they leapt up and ferociously kicked out at Guo Jing’s chest. Guo Jing thought this was odd, “The students of Quanzhen have been taught the values of Taoism, and they treat people with great respect, why have these students started to use violence for no reason?”

He saw that the two used “The Mandarin Duck’s Looping Kick” (yuan yang lian huan tui) set of stances, but still his face did not change and he ignored the attack. He heard numerous crashing sounds as several footprints were left on his chest. The Taoists kicked out six times in all, as if they were kicking a sand bag. They relaxed only to see the enemy motionless, not even  being  harmed  one  bit.  They  were  astonished since they had attacked harder than last time by several levels. They thought, “How come this crook is so powerful? Even our teacher and his apprentice brothers do not have this amount of skill.” They carefully studied Guo Jing; he had dense eyebrows and large eyes, a sturdy body, clothed in rough clothes, like a villager, he had no intention of leaving and stood there, without making a sound.

Yang Guo saw that the Taoists were punching and kicking Uncle Guo but Guo Jing did not retaliate. He couldn’t stand it and shouted out, “You two smelly Taoists, why are you hitting Uncle Guo?”

Guo Jing quickly said, “Guo’er, keep your mouth shut. Come over here and greet the two Taoist brothers.”

Yang Guo walked forwards and thought, “What’s the matter with you Uncle Guo, why are you protecting them?”

The two Taoists gave each other a glance, and after two “sha” noises, they withdrew their swords from their waists. The short Taoist used the stance “Scour the Ocean to Slaughter the Dragon” (tan hai tu long) and aimed for Guo Jing’s lower body, the other used “Starry Wind Sweeping Leaves” (gang feng sao ye) and aimed to cut down Yang Guo’s right leg. Guo Jing did not pay attention to the sword that was coming in at him, but instead looked at the skinny Taoist who was unleashing a lethal move and thought, “The child has not done anything to you, so why such a lethal move? How can it be that the sword is aiming to cut his leg in half?” He then moved his body, his left hand placed on the short Taoist’s sword handle, “Smoothly Pushing the Boat”, and lightly pushed to the left. The short Taoist turned his sword around involuntarily, and after a clashing sound, the skinny Taoist’s sword was intercepted, stopping his stance. Guo Jing used the enemy to fight the enemy, the move coming from the “Empty Hands Entering A Hundred Blades” set of kung fu, right now there are only two enemies, even if there was eight or ten people attacking at once, he could still used the enemy’s knife to attack the enemy’s sword, the enemy’s spear against the enemy’s whip, utilizing the enemy to attack the enemy, one beating many.

The two Taoist felt their wrists were getting numb, and starting to feel pain; they slanted their bodies and jumped away, turning their bodies. They stared at Guo Jing, frightened but also admiring him at the same time, they whistled out again and their swords were thrust out, once again.

Guo Jing thought, “You two have just learned the “Big Dipper Formation”. Though it is a higher set of sword skills, there are only two of you, your foundation for sword skills is not yet good enough, what use is it?”

Afraid that their swords would strike Yang Guo, he moved his  body  and  evaded  the  two  swords,  and picked up Yang Guo with his right hand. He shouted out,” I am elder Qiu’s old friend; there is no need for this.”

The skinny Taoist said, “Even if you are elder Mao Chongma’s old friend it wouldn’t matter.” Guo Jing said, “Indeed; Elder Ma has taught me kung fu as well.”

The short Taoist angrily replied, “You lying crook; the next thing you are going to tell me is that ancestor Yang has taught you kung fu.” They straightened their swords and aimed for Guo Jing’s chest.

Guo Jing saw that the two did belong to Quanzhen sect, but he could not believe that they are treating him as an enemy. His relationship with the Seven Masters of Quanzhen wasn’t  anything  ordinary,  and  he wanted Yang Guo to learn martial arts at Chongyang Palace; he couldn’t be rude to the Palace’s Taoists so he just evaded and did not attack.

The two Taoist were frightened. They had known long ago that their opponent was superior to them, and they wouldn’t be able to hit him, so they made a hand signal, and changed their sword style. They sent out many strokes, now all aimed at Yang Guo’s chest, sides and back. Every stance they used was intended to kill.

Guo Jing saw that Taoists did not hold anything back with their sword strokes towards a child; he couldn’t hold back his anger for any longer. The short Taoist came in with a ferocious stroke, Guo Jing suddenly shot out his right hand; the first and second fingers opened, and held the blade of the sword. He twisted his wrist inwards, his elbow now facing the short Taoist’s nose. The short Taoist used his strength to pull free, but couldn’t move his long sword, he saw that Guo Jing’s elbow coming towards him, and knew that if he didn’t die from it he would be seriously hurt so he let go and jumped back.

Guo Jing’s martial arts were at a level where he could do what he wanted. It didn’t matter if he lifted his hand or raised his foot; the result would be the same. He moved the fingers of his right hand, the sword now stood erect, the handle flicking upwards. The skinny Taoist was aiming for Yang Guo’s neck, his sword tip was struck but the sword handle moved, and a after a clashing sound, his right arm grew hot, his body was shaking and he could do nothing but let go.

The two said together, “The perverted scoundrel is too powerful, let’s get away!” They turned around as they said this.

Guo Jing had been insulted many times in his life, he has been called, “fool”, “idiot”, even a “crook”, but this is the first time that someone has called a perverted scoundrel. He didn’t put Yang Guo down, carrying him he hurried after the two, after one step with his right foot, he leapt over the two Taoists then he turned around and shouted, “What did you call me?”

The short Taoist was frightened, but managed to say, “If you don’t want to marry the one named Long, then why have you come to Mount Zhongnan?” As he was speaking, he was afraid that Guo Jing would attack and retreated three steps at the same time.

Guo Jing stopped and thought, “I want to marry the one named Long, who is this girl named Long? Why do I want to marry her? I’ve already have Rong’er, why would I want to marry someone else?” He stood there as he thought about what was going on. The two Taoists saw that he was standing still, he seemed to be distracted; they glanced at each other and quickly ran past him, hurrying up the mountain.

Yang Guo saw that Guo Jing was not fully aware; he lightly came down to the ground and said, “Uncle Guo, the two smelly Taoists have escaped.”

Guo Jing woke from his daydream and grunted, before saying, “They said I wanted to marry the girl named Long, who is she?”

Yang Guo said, “I don’t know, the two didn’t even try to clear things up before using force, they must thought you were another person.”

Guo Jing smiled, “It must be, how come I didn’t think of that? Let’s go up the mountain!”

Yang Guo picked up the two swords that the two Taoists abandoned. Guo Jing looked at the sword handle; “Chongyang Palace” was imprinted on the handle. The two went on their way. After about an hour they came to the Golden Lotus Chamber and without stopping carried on through the rugged terrain.  They stepped on some loose rocks as they reached Mao Yuan Cliff (Hanging Brave Cliff), then the two ascended up it. As they passed the Sun and Moon Cliff (ri yue), the sky was getting dark; when they got to Holding Son Cliff (bao zi), the new moon came out. The appearance of the Holding Son Cliff was peculiar, like a mother holding her son. The two traveled for a while, before Guo Jing said, “Guo’er, are you tired?”

Yang Guo shook his head and said, “No.”

Guo Jing said, “Okay, we’ll continue on our way.”

They walked on, only to see a large rock formation blocking their way. The impression of the rocks was like being in a haunted forest, with one looking like an old woman bending over them. Yang Guo was slightly frightened, and then heard a sound from behind the rock, and four Taoists leapt out, blocking the way and standing motionless.

Guo Jing placed the luggage in front of him and said, “I am Peach Blossom Island’s Guo Jing, and I am here to see elder Qiu.”

A tall Taoist stepped forward and chuckled, “Hero Guo is known by everyone, he is also senior Huang’s son in law; how can you be so shameless and pretend to be him? Leave quickly!”

Guo Jing thought, “How am I shameless?” He held his temper and said, “I am indeed Guo Jing, could you request elder Qiu to sort this matter out.”

The tall Taoist retorted, “You’ve come to Mount Zhongnan with force, you must be tired of your life. I don’t care how powerful you are, you are incapable of reaching Chongyang Palace.” As he was speaking the short and skinny Taoist thrust out a sword, and as soon as he finished his sentence he stepped up, ran along the peak of the rock and used the “Separating the Flower, Brushing Away the Willow” (fen hua fu liu) aiming at Guo Jing’s waist.

Guo Jing thought, “I haven’t been in Jianghu for ten years, have the rules changed?”

He moved his body to evade the strike, and as he was about to speak, the other three Taoists extended their swords, surrounding Guo Jing and Yang Guo.

Guo Jing said, “What can I do to convince you four that I am Guo Jing?”

The tall Taoist snorted, “If you could remove my sword from my grasp.” As he said this, he performed another move, this time the sword heading straight for the chest. The sword that was coming at him was light, the tip of the sword swaying. It wasn’t like an ordinary sword hacking downward and he wasn’t showing any respect to Guo Jing; he performed this move casually.

Guo Jing chuckled and thought, “How hard will it be to remove your sword?” As he saw the tip coming towards him, he held his second finger with his thumb and flicked out at the sword tip, after a “weng” noise, the Taoist couldn’t hold on to the sword, and sword was released in midair. Guo Jing didn’t wait for the sword to come down, three more flicks followed by three “weng” noises, and the handles of the other three long swords were up in the air, the blades brightly shining in the moonlight.

Yang Guo shouted out, “Are you convinced now?” Normally Guo Jing would aim to keep the opponent standing, but he was offended by the tall Taoist’s lack  of respect  in his stance  so he  used the  “Divine Flicking Finger” skill. This was Huang Yaoshi’s most refined skill; Guo Jing had lived on Peach Blossom Island for a few years and was taught it by him. His internal energy is profound and when he used the skill; it was something out of the ordinary.

The four Taoist’s swords were forced from their hands, and they didn’t know what move the enemy used to do this. The tall Taoist shouted, “The scoundrel uses witchcraft, let’s leave.” As he said this he jumped behind the Old Woman Cliff, and hurriedly escaped. The other three followed and disappeared into the night. Today, Guo Jing heard someone call him a “scoundrel” for the first time, and now someone said he uses witchcraft; he didn’t know whether to be angry or to laugh. He said, “Guo’er, place the swords neatly on a rock near the path.”

Yang Guo said, “Yes.” He picked up the swords, and along with the two he was holding, placed them on a green rock. He was in awe of Guo Jing’s skills, his mouth wanted to open up and say the words, “Uncle Guo, I don’t want to learn from the smelly Taoists, I want to learn from you.” Then he remembered all the events of Peach Blossom Island and he swallowed the words.

The two turned around two bends and eventually wound up at what seemed to be a large area of wilderness. Suddenly, the sound of weapons unsheathing could be heard; seven Taoists leapt out from the pine forest, each one holding a long sword.

Guo Jing saw that they had leapt into a formation, four to the left of him, three to the right; it was the “Big Dipper Formation”. His heart shivered, and thought, “There will be some  difficulty  in  facing  this formation.” He didn’t dare to be over confident, and quietly whispered to Yang Guo, “Go back to the rock behind us and wait for me there, go as far as possible so I won’t be hindered by looking out for you.”

Yang Guo nodded. He didn’t want them to look weak in front of Taoists, so he loosened his pants and called out, “Uncle Guo, I’m going to the toilet.” After he said this, he turned around and hurried to the rock. Guo Jing was pleased, “The child is very clever, catching up to Rong’er, but I hope he goes on the righteous path and learns well.”

Guo Jing turned around to face the seven Taoists. The seven had their backs facing the moon, he couldn’t see their faces that clearly, but he saw that the first six had long beards, they were not young, the seventh was smaller, and his age must be lower compared to the others. He thought, “The most important thing is to go up the mountain and explain any misunderstanding to elder Qiu, why should I tangle with these people?” He shifted his body, and shimmied to the left, assuming the “Northern Star Position”.

The seven didn’t hear him say anything, only seeing him hurriedly moving to the left, and didn’t know what he was up to. The Taoist in the “Tian Quan” position whistled, ordering the six others to the left, wanting to encircle Guo Jing. Guo Jing knew they would move together so he moved right two steps to force the enemy to move again, still assuming the “Northern Star Position”. The Taoist in the “Tian Quan” position wanted three of them to attack, but saw Guo Jing’s  position  was  strange;  the  three  of  them weren’t able to attack him. Instead, the seven of them were open  to  attack;  the  seven  weren’t  able  to defend each other and each of them suffered a sudden attack.  Their  left  hands  waved,  and  then  they turned their formation around. As they were moving their feet, Gou Jing moved two steps forward maintaining the “Northern Star Position”, spreading the position of the “Big Dipper Formation”. The seven were in an ineffective position; it was hard for them to attack and hard for them to defend.

The “Big Dipper Formation” was the Quanzhen sect’s highest kung fu. At its most refined state, when seven people of extremely high martial arts combined together, it could be said that it has no match under heaven. Guo Jing knew the essence of the formation; only by assuming the “Northern Star Position” was he able to drive the position, and control its movements, not allowing it freedom. However, because the seven of them weren’t fluent with the formation it allowed him to do this. If it was Ma Yu, Qiu Chui Ji who was controlling the formation, the enemy would not be allowed to so easily to assume the “Northern Star Position”. The seven of them changed positions a few times, Guo Jing dominated the formation and he didn’t make a sound, just concentrating on maintaining the important position.

The Taoist in the “Tian Shu” (Hanging Sky) position was experienced and noticed that something wasn’t right and called, “Change formation!” The seven Taoists scattered, heading right and swerving left, hurrying from east to west, wanting to jumble up the formation, trying to confuse the enemy. After a short while, the seven Taoists were in formation again. The Taoists had changed positions amongst themselves, and now they had moved from a western position to a southeast position where they arranged the formation. Once they were in position, the Taoists in the “Tian Xuan” (Jade Sky) and “Yu Heng” (Weighing Jade) positions pointed their swords and rushed forward, seeing the enemy in a northern position from their rearrangement, his feet motionless and his palms uneven, a smile crept upon their faces. However they suddenly realized, “If us two go and rush forward, the positions “Kai Yang” (Opening Sun) and the “Tian Xuan” (Jade Sky) will be in great danger.” As they stopped, the Taoist in the “Tian Shu” shouted out, “Don’t attack, quickly retreat!” After a motionless while, the startled Taoist in the “Tian Quan” position ordered the other six to change formation.

Yang Guo didn’t understand, only seeing the Taoists moving around wildly. Guo Jing would either move east, west, south or north a few steps, the seven Taoists still could not unleash even half a move. The more he watched, the more interested he became, and suddenly Guo Jing clapped his palms together shouting, “Apologies!” and moved left two steps.

The “Big Dipper Formation” was now in Guo Jing’s control, and he rushed to the left. If the seven Taoists didn’t follow, their backs will be exposed with no way to defend. In martial art terms this was extremely serious and ominous so the seven Taoists had no choice but to follow to the left. After a while, the seven Taoists fell into Guo Jing’s trap, unable to hold the formation. When Guo Jing ran fast, the seven Taoists ran fast, when Guo Jing slowed down, the seven Taoists slowed down. The young Taoist had the weakest internal energy and after being forced to circle around over ten times in an urgent manner by Guo Jing, his head spun and his breathing was ragged. He felt like he could collapse at any minute but he knew that if the “Big Dipper Formation” had one less person, the whole formation would break down; he could only grind his teeth and exert all his energy to hold on.

Guo Jing wasn’t young, but since he had lived on the island with Huang Rong and he had little contact with the outside world, he had lost little of the young Guo Jing. When he saw the seven Taoists were rushing around amusingly he thought, “Today I have suffered insults for no reason at all; not only did they call me a perverted scoundrel, they said I used witchcraft. I didn’t use any witchcraft for you to see; then doesn’t that mean I’ve been insulted in vain?” He then loudly called out, “Guo’er, watch me use some witchcraft!” He suddenly leapt up to the tall rocks. The seven Taoists were under Guo Jing’s control, they of course had to follow; if they didn’t follow, the weakness of the formation will be revealed. As a few of them hesitated, the Taoist in the “Tian Quan” position quickly ordered everyone to leap up, bringing the formation onto the cliff. Before their legs had steadied themselves, Guo Jing swiftly moved onto the top of a pine tree. Although they were at a distance from each other, it was neither too far nor too close; he was still maintaining the “Northern Star Position” and it would be convenient for him to attack from above.

The seven Taoists all secretly feared the worst and thought, “Where on earth did this tyrant appear from; today our sect will lose face.” With these thoughts in their minds, they couldn’t afford to stop and each one leaped up to a tree branch.

Guo Jing laughed, “Come down!” He leapt down from the tree and stretched out his hand towards the Taoist in the “Kai Yang” position and grabbed his leg.

The strongest aspect of the “Big Dipper Formation” is being able to respond from the left and right, mutually aiding each other. As Guo Jing attacked the “Kai Yang” position, the “Yao Guang” (moving light) and “Yu Heng” position could not come down and help. If the two did come down, the “Tian Shu” and “Tian Quan” positions would have to come down with them; the whole formation will be pulled down. Yang Guo was watching closely from the side, being surprised endlessly, thinking, “If I could reach the level of Uncle Guo in the future, I wouldn’t mind suffering a lifetime of hardships.” But then he changed his thoughts, “How can I ever achieve the level that he is at? Only Guo Fu and the Wu brothers have that sort of luck. Uncle Guo knew that the rotten Taoist’s kung fu couldn’t compare with his and that is why he sent me here to learn martial arts.” The more he thought, the more troubled he became, he almost cried. He turned his head away from Guo Jing battling the seven Taoists. He was still a child, and eventually could not resist turning his head back to the fight.

Guo Jing thought, “By now, you should believe that I am Guo Jing. One mustn’t overdo things; it wouldn’t look good for elder Qiu.” He saw that the Taoists were turning around quickly but he stood still and folded his arms in salute and said, “Taoist brothers, I have offended you many times and apologize, please give way.”

The Taoist in the “Tian Quan” position was hot tempered, he saw that the opposition was highly skilled, knew the “Big Dipper Formation” and assumed he had nothing but evil intent towards his sect. He clearly shouted, “Scoundrel, you’ve carefully studied our sect’s formation, your intent is ruthless. You’ve come to Mount Zhongnan to cause trouble, our Quanzhen sect regards all evil as our enemy, and we can’t wait around and do nothing.”

Guo Jing was startled, and asked, “How have we caused trouble?”

The “Tian Shu” Taoist added, “Judging from your kung fu, you do not belong with the dirty scoundrels. I can give you some advice; you better leave the mountain quickly.” His tone reflected his respect of Guo Jing’s skills.

Guo Jing said, “I have come from thousand of miles to the south up here to the north; I have a matter which I want to discuss with elder Qiu. If I can’t see the elder, then how can I leave?”

The “Tian Quan” Taoist said, “You persist on seeing elder Qiu, what do you want?”

Guo Jing said, “I am in the debt of elder Ma and elder Qiu. I haven’t seen them in ten years and long to see them. Apart from paying my respects, I also have another matter to request of them.”

The “Tian Quan” Taoists hate for the enemy increased when he heard this; his face changed colour as if he had something on say. In the world of Jianghu, the words debt and revenge are not looked upon lightly. Sometimes when one has made enemies and they say they have come to pay their debts, in reality they have come for revenge. The Taoist said, “Twenty years ago I chopped off someone’s upper arm, the debts that I have to pay cannot be forgotten? Today I am going to receive what I am owed.”

A request in these cases seems to have evil intent, and after being beaten by someone stronger, they would normally reply, “We brothers are short of food and clothing, and want the old man to help, to spare us some money.” But today, Quanzhen sect is facing enemies and the “Tian Quan” Taoist knew this. Guo Jing’s polite words were turned around and interpreted the other way by the Taoist, and he calmly said, “I’m afraid that my defeated teacher elder Yu Yang is also indebted to you.”

As Guo Jing heard this, he remembered the events years ago at King Zhao’s palace, Yuyang Zi Wang Chu wasn’t concerned about danger, and faced a number of enemies and helped to save his life, his debts to him were not trivial. He said, “So Taoist brother is under the teaching of elder Yuyang. Elder Wang has also been kind to me, if he is at the palace, then that will be good.”

The seven Taoists were all disciples of elder Wang and after hearing this they extended their swords. The seven swords were all moving at the same time towards Guo Jing’s body. Guo Jing raised his eyebrows; the more respectful he was, the fiercer the enemy’s reaction, he didn’t know what the reasons were for this. It is a pity that Huang Rong was not here; if she was she could sort out the misunderstanding in the blink of an eye. He slanted his body and moved forwards, and stood in the “Northern Star Position”. In a clear voice he said, “I am Jiangnan’s Guo Jing, I have no evil intent on this sacred mountain, how can I make you believe me?”

The “Tian Quan” Taoist said, “You have already removed six swords from Quanzhen sect’s students, can you take our seven swords?” The Taoist in the “Tian Xuan” position had not said anything so far, he broke his silence and said, “Scoundrel, you have come here for the girl called Long, does that mean you think its good for you to provoke our sect?”

Guo Jing said, “Who is this girl named Long, I have never seen her before.”

The “Tian Xuan” Taoist laughed and said, “Of course you have not seen her. What man under heaven knows her? If you’ve got guts, loudly insult her and call her a little bitch.”

Guo Jing was startled, he didn’t know who this Long girl is so how can he, for no reason, slander her? He said, “Why should I insult her?”

Three or four Taoists said at the same time, “Why don’t you confess?”

The Taoists had accused Guo Jing innocently, the more he heard, the stranger it sounded. He thought that if he breaks into Chongyang Palace and sees elder Ma, elder Qiu and Wang Chu, everything would become clear. He calmly said, “I must go up to the mountain, if everyone here tries to stop me, don’t blame me for offending you.”

The seven Taoists extended their swords, and leapt forward two steps. The “Tian Xuan” Taoist loudly said, “Don’t use your witchcraft, we will just use our kung fu to compete.”

Guo Jing smiled, he had already thought of something, and said, “I  want  to  use  some  witchcraft.  You watch, my hands will not touch your weapons, but I will still be able to take your long swords out of your hands.”

The seven Taoists all looked at each other; their faces had a look of disbelief, and thought, “Although your skills are high, can it be that without using your hands you can rid us of our weapons? Even if you’ve reached the peak of “Empty Hand Entering a Hundred Blades” kung fu, you still need your hands.”

The “Tian Shu” Taoist said, “Fine, we will see how good your kicking kung fu is.”

Guo Jing said, “I will also not use my legs. If I touch your weapons with my hands or legs, then I admit defeat. I will turn around and immediately leave, never entering your sacred mountain again.”

The Taoists heard his wild claims, and they mulled over it. The”Tian Quan” Taoist waved his sword, and led the formation.

Guo Jing slanted his body and rushed forward, again assuming  the  “Northern  Star  Position”,  ready  to move to the left of the “Big Dipper Formation”. The “Tian Quan” Taoist knew they would be in danger and led the formation quickly to the right. Whenever two enemies fight each other, they  must  face  the opposition, if the opponent moves behind you, turning around to face your enemy is  something  that shouldn’t be done. Right now, Guo Jing was heading for this position, wanting to aim for the back of the formation; he didn’t need to attack. The seven Taoists would have to move the formation and attack, so that they could face each other. But Guo Jing just kept on heading left, and didn’t turn back. Sometimes he would move fast, sometimes slow, sometimes straight and sometimes in a crisscross, but  he  kept  on hurrying to the left. He was in the “Northern Star Position”; the seven Taoists could do nothing but follow him to the left.

The more he hurried, the quicker he became; eventually his speed surpassing that of a horse, his form a blur, he had ran for tens of feet. The seven Taoist’s kung fu was not ordinary; although they were facing adversity they managed to stay in formation. The “Tian Shu”, “Tian Xuan”, “Tian Ji” (Sky Pearl), “Tian Quan”, “Yu Heng”, ‘Kai Yang”, and “Yao Guang” Taoists held their positions, but they were being forced to hurry around not of their own accord.

Guo Jing could not help but think, “Sure enough, the students of Quanzhen are not ordinary.” He took a deep breath, and increased his speed; it appeared that his legs were not even touching the ground.

At first the Taoists could just about manage to keep up by exerting all their strength, but as time passed, the difference in each one’s lightness kung fu could be seen. The “Tian Shu”, “Tian Quan” and “Yu Heng” Taoist’s lightness kung fu was the highest, and they moved quickly, the others slowly fell behind and the “Big Dipper Formation” cracked. They were all afraid and thought, “If the enemy attacks the formation now, I’m afraid we will not be able to defend.” They couldn’t keep up with him, and could only use their internal energy to try to go around and hit him.

One game that children play is sling throwing. A rock is threaded onto a string, spun around and then at its fastest point, the sling is released, the stone taking the string with it faraway. At the moment, the formation was winding around hurriedly, it was similar to a sling spinning around, the seven Taoists were scurrying around Guo Jing, their swords held above their heads, the faster they went, the harder it was for them keep the sword still. It was as if a strong force was pulling the swords outwards, wanting to pull the swords out of their grasp.

Suddenly, Guo Jing shouted out, “Let go!” as he flew away to the left. The seven Taoists  were  caught unaware, and could only follow him quickly. They didn’t know what happened as the seven swords flew out of their hands, like seven silver snakes, and flew into the surrounding pine forest. Guo Jing stopped, and laughed as he returned.

The seven Taoist’s faces were grey, and stood there without moving, but each one was still holding their position, the formation still held. Guo Jing saw that after being forced to hurry and rush around madly, they still kept the formation and didn’t allow it to get out of shape and he knew they spent a lot of time practicing their skills. The “Tian Quan” Taoist gave a sigh of resignation and the seven Taoists escaped behind a cliff.

Guo Jing called out, “Guo’er, let’s go up the mountain.” He called out twice, but there was no reply. He searched around, but he couldn’t see him anywhere but behind a tree he saw a small shoe. Guo Jing swallowed, “Besides the seven Taoists there was another one hiding  nearby,  he  must  have  taken  him away.” But then he thought that the group of Taoists had just mistaken him for someone else, and though they had a misunderstanding, the Quanzhen sect has always been righteous and done good. They would never dare to harm a small child; there was no need to be alarmed. He then took a breath, and hurried up the mountain. He had resided on Peach Blossom Island for ten years, though he practiced martial arts every day, he has not faced an enemy for a very long time, and sometimes he felt lonely. Today, having fought with a crowd of people and being able to respond to every move, he could not help but be satisfied.

The mountain was now rugged and steep. Sometimes he had to lean his body over to pass an obstruction, and after traveling for less than half an hour, the moon was covered and the mountain became dark. Guo Jing thought, “I don’t know these paths well and these Taoists are sneaky, I must be on my guard.” He then eased up and slowly made his way.

Another while passed and the moon came out again, the mountain lit up, he had only one thing on his mind. Suddenly he heard the breathing sounds of a crowd of people coming from  nearby.  Though  the sounds were quiet, there were many people; Guo Jing had already noticed this. Guo Jing tightened his belt, and turned to the path. In front of him was a large plain, the four sides surrounded by the mountain, at the foot of the mountain was a large pond, and the surface of the water reflected the moon, the silver light shimmering. In front of the pond were about one hundred Taoists, wearing yellow hats and dressed in grey gowns, a long sword in their hands, the swords shone brightly to the eye.

Guo Jing looked on, the crowd was made up of groups of seven, and formed fourteen sets of the “Big Dipper Formation”. Each group of seven sets of the “Big Dipper Formation” formed one single large “Big Dipper Formation”. From the “Tian Shu” to the “Yao Guang”, the force of them was extraordinary. The two large “Big Dipper Formations” were different from each other, one normal, one odd, opposing each other, forming the angle of a wing. Guo Jing gasped, “I have never heard of this type of “Big Dipper Formation” from elder Qiu, presumably this formation has been created within the last few years. Compared to the original one that ancestor Yang created, this is another level.” He slowly made his way forward.

He heard a whistle from a person within the formations, ninety-eight Taoists scattered, moving forwards and backwards, the formations changed irregularly, and circled Guo Jing. Each one pointed their swords to the ground; their eyes fixed on Guo Jing and didn’t make a noise.

Guo Jing folded his hands in salute and turned around once and said, “I have sincerely entered this sacred mountain to meet elder Ma, elder Qiu and elder Wang, I plead with you please do not block my way.”

A long bearded Taoist from the formations said, “Our guest here has excellent martial arts, so why do you not use it for good, instead of causing trouble with the evil ones? I offer you some good advice: a woman can cloud someone’s mind and your skills that you have trained hard for over the last ten years could be threatened and lost in a single day. Our Quanzhen sect has never met you, and we have no quarrels, so why have you come to our mountain and caused so much trouble over this witch? If you leave immediately now, we could still meet again another day.” He spoke with a deep voice, but every word was crystal clear, it was clear that his internal energy was profound, his advice was sincere.

Guo Jing was angry but was also laughing, he thought, “I don’t know whom the Taoists have mistaken me for, if Rong’er was by my side, then there wouldn’t be any of this misunderstanding. He said, “I know nothing of being clouded by women or witches, if you allow me to see elder Ma, elder Qiu and elder Wang, then everything will become clear.”

The long bearded Taoist coldly said, “You still do not heed the advice and persist on wanting to see elder Ma and elder Qiu and try out your skills on them, well first you are going to have to break our large ‘Big Dipper Formation’.”

Guo Jing replied, “I am only one person, my skills are of a low level, how could I dare come up against your sect’s greatest skill? Please release the child that came with me, and allow me to see your sect’s master and elder Qiu.”

The long bearded Taoist shouted out, “You have come here, caused trouble, and put on a show in front of Mount Zhongnan’s Chongyang Palace; how can we let such a scoundrel be so rude.” As he said this, he waved his sword in the air, the blade pierced the wind, the sound of the blade lingered. The crowd of Taoists waved their long swords, ninety-eight blades swept across, a wind was created, and the swords resembled a shiny net.

Guo Jing was secretly worried, “The two large formations are the opposite of each other; how can I maintain the “Northern Star Position” by myself? Today’s matter is really troublesome.”

Before Guo Jing made up his mind, the ninety-eight Taoists merged together from the left and right, the light from the swords weaved about, he was trapped like a fly and it would be difficult to escape. The long bearded Taoist said, “Pick up a weapon! Quanzhen sect will not harm an empty handed person.”

Guo Jing thought, “This formation may be hard to break, but you may still not be able to harm me. The formation has many people, its power great, but each one’s skill varies. There will definitely be a weakness; I’ll study this formation first before I decide on anything.” He slowly turned around, and then quickly moved in a northwest direction and used the “Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms”, the stance “Hidden Dragon Has No Use” (qian long wu yong), one palm out and one in, as he pushed off against the ground. Seven young Taoists swapped their swords into their left hand, each one joining together and stretched out their right palm, using their strength to repel his palm. The palm skill that Guo Jing used had been practiced and refined, and has now reached its peak; the force he generated was extremely strong, and he had more powerful moves hidden. Each one of them used all their strength to block this fierce attack but they didn’t expect a strong force pulling them forward. The seven could not stand still, and all of them fell onto the ground; though they got up straight away, each one of them had dirt on their face, and was slightly embarrassed.

The long bearded Taoist saw that Guo Jing had unleashed a powerful stance; in just one move he had caused seven Taoists to fall onto the ground, he was slightly frightened. He gave a whistle and led the fourteen “Big Dipper Formations” and merged them. Even if the enemy’s palm strength was ten times stronger, it would be difficult for him to push away ninety-eight people.

Guo Jing remembered the battle that he had on Jun Mountain (Lord Mountain); he and Huang Rong were battling the beggar clan, although individually they were weak, but once they united they were hard to defend against. He didn’t dare to use force to overcome them; he could only use his lightness kung fu and escape from the formation, and try to find its weakness.

He hurried to the east and leapt to the west, and drew the formation with him, in just a short while he realized that if he wanted to break the formation by himself, it would be a difficult task made harder. One, he didn’t want to hurt anyone; two, the formation’s defense was second to none. There wasn’t a single weakness; thirdly, Guo Jing is not the most astute person; the formation changed quickly so even if there was a weakness, he would not pick it up in such a short period of time.

Under the light of the full moon, the light from the swords resembled water, the scene like a wave, there was no point in trying to run away again.

They fought for a period of time, the formation was getting tighter, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to dodge within the gaps. Guo Jing thought, “Why don’t I rush through the formation and make a dash for Chongyang Palace and see elder Ma and elder Qiu?” He raised his head and faced west; he saw there were twenty or thirty buildings and a few of them had large open spaces. He thought that Chongyang Palace must be one of them; he then hurried rapidly to the east, and after a few leaps, he turned and ran towards the west. The multitude of Taoists saw that he was increasing in speed; a grey blur was within the formation like a falling star rushing through the sky. It was almost impossible to see where he was, they were dazzled or dazed, and they slowed down. The long bearded Taoist called out, “Everyone be careful, don’t fall into the scoundrel’s trap.”

Guo Jing was angry, he thought, “They still call me a scoundrel. If this spreads out throughout Jianghu, how would I be respected again?” He had another thought, “The formation is led by him and if I aim for him, I then could set up a way to break the formation. He separated his palms, and headed straight for the long bearded Taoist. One thing the formation tries to do is to lure the enemy to attack the one leading the formation, each small formation will use this and come from the east and west, the south attacking the north, the enemy would then fall into their trap. Guo Jing rushed seven, eight steps, before he felt something was wrong, the force pressing him from behind suddenly increased, the two sides were flooding in and coming to attack. He turned around and dodged to the right, the two small formations in front of him all attacked with their swords. The fourteen swords were placed so that the enemy will be forced into a harmful position; there was no place to run, no place to hide. Guo Jing was faced with danger all around him, but he did not panic, only his anger began to rise, he thought, “You still mistake me for some scoundrel, some evil person. Taoists are supposed to be enlightened and merciful, so why is every stance that is used aiming to kill the opponent? Unless you must have my life at all costs? And what is this about? Quanzhen sect never harms an opponent without a weapon?” He slanted his body and escaped, his right leg came out, his left hand came in search of something, he kicked a young Taoist and took his weapon, he saw seven swords came in to his waist from the right, he waved his left hand out, the eight swords clattered, after a sound, each one of the seven swords broke into two pieces, the sword in his hand was still in perfect condition. The sword that Guo Jing took wasn’t an especially sharp blade, but because he distributed his chi throughout the sword, he was able to use it to shatter the seven swords.

The seven Taoists gasped, the expression on their faces darkened and they stood still for a while. The two formations at one side came in immediately and raised their swords protecting each other. Guo Jing saw that the fourteen Taoists were using their left hands to hold on to the right shoulder of the Taoist next to them, the fourteen united the energy into one. He thought, “You want  to  see  how  strong  my  internal energy is exactly?” He waved his long sword, and placed the sword onto the fourteenth Taoist’s sword.

The Taoist tried to pull away quickly, but the sword in his hand felt as if it were welded to a copper anvil, and was unable to pull it free. The remaining thirteen Taoists circulated their chi, wanting to use the combined force of the fourteen to repel the enemy. Guo Jing wanted them to do this. As soon as he felt the force trying to pull free increase, he shouted out, “Take care!” His right arm rose, after an interlude of sound, twelve swords broke as a result of seemingly pushing against a large object. The remaining two swords flew into the air. The fourteen Taoists gasped and were frightened; they quickly jumped away. Guo Jing secretly sighed, “My internal energy has yet to reach its peak, but there were still two swords that I was unable to break.”

After this, the Taoists became even more wary of him and they were more careful in unleashing their moves. Although twenty-one Taoists had lost their weapons, they resorted to using their palms; they were able to generate a wind force with their palms, and their power was not weak. While Guo Jing was shattering swords, he wasn’t able to do what he wanted and now he felt the formation’s defense becoming increasingly tighter. He didn’t know what new techniques and formations for the “Big Dipper Formation” that elder Ma and elder Qiu had devised. If the enemy had more advanced formations, it would be difficult for him to deal with. He was afraid that he would not be able to escape the clutches of the Taoists, so he decided to act right away and shouted out, “My Taoist brothers, if you still won’t give way, then forgive me if I don’t hold back.”

The long bearded Taoist looked on, he knew that Guo Jing was skilled, and thought that even if Guo Jing was able to shatter all ninety-eight swords, he still wouldn’t be able to escape from our formation. When he heard what Guo Jing said, he laughed coldly and did not reply, and made the formation even tighter.

Guo Jing crouched his body against the ground and leaped to the northeast, but he saw the two small formations from the southwest coming towards him. He then pointed his sword towards them. In the blink of eye he had unleashed fourteen moves; all fourteen moves made at  the  same  time  and  each  stance pierced a Taoist’s right wrist on the “Positive Valley Point” (yang gu yue). At the highest levels of swordsmanship, the sword is able to move like wind and flash like lightning, every move accurate to the millimeter. It would be no different than fourteen different concealed weapons thrown at the same time. He unleashed the moves lightly, each Taoist had a numb feeling in their wrist, there were no strength in their fingers; the fourteen swords fell onto the ground. With this shock, the Taoists jumped back quickly, and examined the wounds on their wrists. Each saw the wound on the “Yang Gu Yue” was slightly red but there wasn’t a drop of blood. They knew their opposition had used the sword tip to touch this pressure point only, their skin was not pierced. The Taoists gasped, and thought that although the scoundrel was offensive, he was not ruthless; if he hadn’t held back, he could have harmed our palms without using the slightest effort.

During this time, thirty-five swords had been forced out of their hands. The long bearded Taoist was very angry; Guo Jing had not even used his best kung fu, yet he had already made their sect lose so much face. If he managed to break into the palace, the effects would be disastrous. He then gave out an order, “Defend the formation closely.” He wanted the ninety eight Taoists to surround him, and slowly crowd him to death.

Guo Jing thought, “That Taoist does not know how to repay kindness; it’s unspeakable. I can only teach them a severe lesson.” He hid his left palm, and pushed his right palm to the left. A formation came and faced the palm.

Guo Jing quickly went into the “Northern Star Position”, but another formation came to attack. There were fourteen “Big Dipper Formations”, there were also fourteen “Northern Star Positions”, and Guo Jing had no way to separate himself, and could not stand in all of the fourteen important positions at once. He used his lightness kung fu, as soon as he had stepped in the “Northern Star Position” of one formation, he immediately leapt to another “Northern Star Position”; he did it a number of times and the formations became disorganized.

The long bearded Taoist knew something was wrong and gave out an order quickly; he ordered everyone to scatter and reorganize the formations and keep calm. He knew that if everyone went and chased Guo Jing wildly, the way he was moving, he would definitely create worse disturbances in the formations. But if they didn’t move and just held their position, the fourteen “Northern Star Positions” would be far away from each other. Even if Guo Jing was faster, he would not be able to assume every position.

Guo Jing gathered himself and thought, “That Taoist knows the important aspects of the formation and sure enough he saw the danger quickly. Now that they are standing still, I could head for the palace.” He then changed his mind, “Actually, better not, elder Ma and elder Qiu are not usually in the palace, otherwise how can it be that I have fought these Taoists for so long and they haven’t noticed? He lifted his head towards the palace, and saw sparks flying around in the corner of the building. Someone was fighting with weapons, but because he was far away, he could not see clearly who was fighting and the sounds of the weapons clashing was also too far to hear.

Guo Jing suddenly became alarmed, “Who would have the guts to raise their hands in Chongyang Palace? There must be some reason behind tonight’s events.” He wanted to rush over there to take a close look, but the fourteen “Big Dipper Formation” came in closer and closer. He was in a rush, and with his left palm he unleashed “Seeing the Dragon in the Field” (jian long zai tian) and with his right he used “Overcoming the Dragon with Regret”. He used the “Mutual Left Hand Right Hand Combat” technique to do this, and used two separate attacks to the left and right. He saw that the forty-nine people in the “Big Dipper Formation” on the left were blocking this attack; the other forty-nine people in the other “Big Dipper Formation” on the right also blocked his attack. Before he has finished unleashing the two moves, he changed them around, the left hand had changed from “Seeing the Dragon in the Field” to “Overcoming the Dragon with Regret”, his right hand changing from “Seeing the Dragon in the Field” to “Overcoming the Dragon with Regret”.

With the “Mutual Left Hand Right Hand Combat Technique”, he was able to do the hard task of using two different stances at the same time, and then to interchange them in the middle of it. This was something that the Taoists have never seen nor heard of. Originally the formation on the left side was able to resist the “Overcoming the Dragon with Regret”, the right was able to resist “Seeing the Dragon in the Field”, when the two stances were swapped around, the Taoists on both sides were resisting, they didn’t know that Guo Jing could swap his stances around so easily. They then saw a flash of movement as Guo Jing escaped from the formation. The forty-nine people on the left and the forty nine people on the right were pushing forward with all their might, and at this moment how could they keep their legs in check? There came a loud noise as the two formations collided with each other, swords wounded some from behind, some knocked their noses against those in front and thirty of them fell onto the ground.

The long bearded Taoist who was leading the formation managed to dodge quickly and evade harm from the other Taoists. He couldn’t bear what had happened and quickly whistled again, rapidly setting up the formation again. He saw that Guo Jing was heading rapidly for the pond at the foot of the mountain, the Yu Qing Pond (Pure Jade). He led the fourteen formations and chased after him. The Quanzhen sect’s kung fu was based on calmness and tranquility, using softness to overcome hardness, letting anger control your actions is breaking one of the major rules of the sect; with his anger and fury, it could be said that he was not considering the enemy carefully, he was just reacting to their actions.

Guo Jing quickly reached the Jade Pond, in front of him the water glistened, as he lifted his sword up with his right hand, and chopped a coarse branch off a willow tree that was by the pond. He threw away the sword and picked up the branch with both arms, and flung it faraway into the pond. He increased the strength in his legs and his body soared into the air, his right foot touched the branch once and it sank, he used it to reach the shore on the other side. The crowd of Taoists rushed to the pond but they couldn’t stop in time. A splash followed another, as forty or fifty people fell into the pond. The last ten either stepped onto the back of those who had fallen in or managed to stop themselves. A few of the Taoists couldn’t swim, and began to struggle in the pond. Those who could swim hurried over to rescue them. At the Pure Jade Pond, the Taoists made a commotion, as they were drenched with water and mud. End of Chapter 3. 
@Chapter 4 – Under the Teaching of Quanzhen Sect
After Guo Jing escaped from the Taoists, he headed swiftly for Chongyang Palace, when he suddenly heard the ringing of a bell; it was coming from Chongyang Palace. The sound was urgent; it was the alerting signal. Guo Jing turned his head to see what was happening, he saw sparks flying in the air coming from the large courtyard in the back. He thought, “Sure enough, today Quanzhen sect’s enemies have arrived, I’d better rush over there to help.”

He suddenly heard a crowd behind him rushing up, he then understood, “The Taoists must have mistaken him as a confederate of their enemy. With this danger, no wonder they wanted to fight to the death.” He ignored those behind him, and made his way up the mountain.

He used his lightness kung fu, in a flash he had moved over one hundred feet, in less than the time to make a cup of tea; he was already at Chongyang Palace. He saw flames and smoke, the dense smoke was unrestrained, the blaze was fierce, but what was strange was that in Chongyang Palace there were countless Taoists, yet no one had come out and tried to put out the flames.

Guo Jing was afraid. He saw ten Taoist residences empty and untidy about the mountain. The flame in the back courtyard was large, but it had yet to breach into the main courtyard. However, insults could be heard from there, as well as the clashing of weapons. He leapt up onto a roof, and saw a large group of people battling. He stood still and looked on, he saw that forty-nine Taoists dressed in yellow gowns had formed seven “Big Dipper Formations” and were resisting about one hundred enemies. The enemies were all shape and sizes, tall and short, fat and skinny. According to the way they were dressed and the skills they used, it seems that they are from different sects. Some used weapons, some used their palms, and they all were attacking the “Big Dipper Formation” from all sides. The attackers’ skills weren’t weak, and they were large in number. Eventually the Taoists began to lose. But because the enemy was fighting them separately, the “Big Dipper Formation” allowed them to help each other and were able to defend tightly. Though the opponents were strong, they could still resist them. Guo Jing listened carefully, and heard breathing sounds in the hall; there were people battling there as well. From the sounds of the wind generated by the fists in the hall, the skills of the people battling there were superior to those who were fighting outside. He jumped down from the roof, twisted his body and then made a dash forward. He dodged east and then darted west, and was able to go through the cracks of three “Big Dipper Formations”. The Taoists were alarmed, and tried to follow, but because of the onslaught they were facing, they couldn’t separate and chase him.

Normally the hall would be lit with ten large candles, but because of the flames in the back courtyard, its light overpowered the light from the candles. He saw that there were seven mats lined up on the floor, seven Taoists were sitting on them, the left palm of each joined to the next person, their right palms out, resisting the attacks of ten people around them.

Guo Jing ignored the attackers and first studied the Taoists. He saw that there were three old and four young, the old were Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji and Wang Chuyi, he could only recognize one of the four young Taoists and that was Yin Zhiping. The seven were sitting in the positions of “Tian Shu” to “Yao Guang” to form the “Big Dipper Formation”; they sat there and didn’t move. In front of the seven was a Taoist lying on the floor, he didn’t know whether he was alive or dead. He saw his hair was white but could not see his face. Guo Jing saw that Ma Yu and the others were in danger, his blood began to boil, he didn’t care who the enemy was and came out in a flash, and shouted , “How dare you scoundrels come and cause trouble in Chongyang Palace?” He stretched out his hands, and grabbed the backs of two attackers, and wanted to throw the attackers out, but he didn’t know that the two were good fighters. Their feet stood firm to the ground, and couldn’t be pulled from the floor. Guo Jing thought, “Where did all these good fighters come from? No wonder the Quanzhen sect feels that today will end in ruin for them.” He let go and swept his legs out. The two were using the “Thousand Kilogram Fall” (qian jin zhui) skill to resist the attacker, but they didn’t predict that he would suddenly change stance, and in a flash, the two soared in midair and crashed through the door.

The attackers saw that powerful help had come for the Taoists and were alarmed; but they were curious and wanted to know his name. Two of them came out and shouted out, “Who are you?” Guo Jing ignored them, two “fu” sounds were heard, as two palms came out. The two were not near Guo Jing’s body, but they were hit by the palm’s power and couldn’t stand still. Two sounds were heard as the men crashed against the wall, blood came out of their mouths. The remaining attackers saw that Guo Jing had wounded four of them in one go, they were frightened, and no one dared to confront him.

Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji and Wang Chuyi recognized who he was and were delighted, and thought, “Now he’s here, our sect will escape danger!”

Guo Jing did not even consider the attackers as he knelt down and kowtowed to Ma Yu and said, “Disciple Guo Jing greets you.” Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji and Wang Chuyi nodded and greeted him in return. Yin Zhiping suddenly called out, “Brother Guo, careful!” Guo Jing heard a noise from  behind,  and  knew  someone wanted to ambush him from behind. He pushed against the floor with his arm and elbow, his body in the air, and pushed out his knees and hit the two attackers on  their  “Soul  Entrance”  (hun  men)  pressure points. The two of them fell immediately to the floor. Guo Jing remained kneeling down with two mats beneath his knee.

Ma Yu smiled, and said, “Jing’er rise, I haven’t seen you in ten years; your skills have improved tremendously!”

Guo Jing got up and said, “I’ll let the elder decide on how I should get rid of the others.” Before Ma Yu replied, Guo Jing heard two laughs from behind; the laughs were very strange. He turned around, and saw two people standing there. One was wearing a red gown, his head was shiny, his body lanky, and he was a monk. The other wore a light yellow embroidered gown, his hand holding a folded fan. He was dressed like a wealthy man, and was about thirty, his face carrying an arrogant expression. Guo Jing saw that their breathing was measured and deep, and were completely different to the others. He didn’t dare to be rash. He asked, “Who are you? Why have you come here?”

The nobleman said, “And who are you? Why have you come here?” His pronunciations weren’t exactly correct; he wasn’t from the central plains.

Guo Jing said, “I am the disciple of these elders.”

The man chuckled, “Who would have thought that there resided a man like this in the Quanzhen sect.” He was younger than Guo Jing by a few years, but he spoke with the air of an old man, and with arrogance.

Guo Jing did not regard himself as a true disciple of the Quanzhen sect, but when he heard him speak, he could tell they had a hidden agenda. He didn’t want to talk but under these circumstances he had to say something. “What is the story behind your intrusion into the Quanzhen sect? Why have you brought so many people and set the place on fire?”

The man chuckled again, “Since you belong to the lower generation of the Quanzhen sect, how can you speak out.”

Guo Jing said, “You have come here and have caused trouble, you have been too reckless.” The flames were getting closer, and it wouldn’t be long before the main courtyard was set on fire.

The man opened his fan and took a step forward; he laughed and said, “I brought those people along! If you can receive thirty stances of mine, I’ll let the old Taoists go, how about that?”

Gou Jing saw that they were in an urgent situation, he couldn’t hesitate. He stretched out his right hand, and grabbed the man’s fan and pulled it, the man did not let go of the fan, and tried to pull him closer.

With this pull, the man wobbled slightly but he held onto his fan. Guo Jing thought, “This man isn’t old; he could actually fend off my pull. The way he circulated his chi was similar to the monk Lingzhi Shangren but compared to Lingzhi Shangren his was more fluid. It appears that he must belong to a sect in the west. The frame of his fan is made of metal, it’s actually a weapon.” He increased the power in his hands and said, “Let go!” The nobleman’s face suddenly turned a shade of purple, but in a second it had disappeared. Guo Jing knew that he had urgently raised his chi to try to resist him; he too increased his strength at the same time. He knew that if the man’s face turned purple three times, he would suffer serious internal injuries, but thought that learning this type of kung fu wasn’t an easy task. He didn’t want to harm him seriously so he gave a sly smile.

With the fan in his hand, the man’s strength began to decrease. Guo Jing had transferred all the power in his palm into the fan and into the opponent’s hand, wanting to neutralize the man’s energy. The man used all the strength he had accumulated during his life but he couldn’t transfer any of it into the fan, and was about to lose hold of it. The man realized that his opponent’s skills exceeded his so he kept a calm face, let go of the fan and jumped back. His face was red, and said, “Please allow me to know your famous name.”

Guo Jing said, “My name is not worth knowing, just know that elders Ma, Qiu and Wang are my teachers.”

The man questioned this, and thought that he had just fought with a bunch of old Quanzhen Taoists. “If they fought one on one and didn’t rely on the power of the “Big Dipper Formation”, they wouldn’t be a match for him, so how could a student of theirs be so good,” he took another look at Guo Jing to get the measure of him. His face looked ordinary, his clothes were coarse, he looked just like a villager, but he possessed great skills, he said, “Your skills are alarmingly good, I am in awe, I will come again in ten years time and test myself again. I have some unfinished business so I must leave now.” He folded his arms in salute as he said this. Guo Jing held his fist in salute and acknowledged, “We will meet again in ten years time.”

The man turned around and started out of the palace. As he reached the door, he said, “This affair between me and the Quanzhen sect, I have decided to resolve at a later date. I hope the members of the Quanzhen sect do not take this personally and come searching for me to settle their own private affairs.”

According to the rules of Jianghu, if a person stops pursuing a matter and sets a date later on to resolve it, and the persons involved meet during the time period, they must not settle their issues there and then, they must wait for the agreed date.

Guo Jing heard what he said and replied, “Of course.”

The man chuckled and he spoke a few words in Tibetan to the Tibetan monk. As he was about to leave, Qiu Chuji shouted out, “There is no need for a ten year wait, I, Qiu Chuji will come in search for you.” His voice shook the tiles of the roof, demonstrating his profound internal energy. When the man heard this, he shivered, and thought, “That old Taoist’s internal energy is not weak, when I was fighting them a while back, he wasn’t at full strength.” He didn’t dare linger and quickly dashed through the doors. The Tibetan monk in red stared at Guo Jing with fury, as he and the others left. Guo Jing looked at the men, they were all strange looking, they had high noses and deep eyes, they weren’t from the central plains, his suspicions were raised, but he heard the sounds of weapons clashing outside had died down, and knew the enemy was leaving.

The group of seven including Ma Yu stood up, but the old Taoist who was lying on the floor did not get up. Guo Jing took a look, it was Guangzhu Zi Hao Datong. He knew that though the seven were being affected by the fire, but they remained and sat there without moving. They wanted to protect their own people. He saw that his face was golden; his breathing shallow, his eyes were closed and knew that he had suffered a serious internal injury. Guo Jing opened his gown, he gasped as he saw a hand print on his chest, five fingers were spread out, the print was deep purple, it had penetrated inside. He thought, “The enemy’s kung fu is indeed from western Tibet, it’s the “Great Handprint” skill. Although there is no poison on the palm, the power of it is much stronger than that of Lingzhi Shangren.” He examined Hao Datong and he was pleased to find that there was still a strong pulse. Hao Datong had practiced martial arts for many years and had built up a high level of internal energy; his life would not be in danger.

The fire from the back courtyard was coming closer. Qiu Chuji picked up Hao Datong and said, “Let’s go!”

Guo Jing said, “Where’s the child that I brought with me? Who took him away? I don’t want him to get harmed by the fire.”

Qiu Chuji and the others were all occupied with fighting the enemy; they didn’t know anything about it. When they heard this they asked, “Whose child is it? Where are they?”

Before Guo Jing could reply, a small dark figure suddenly appeared and jumped down from a beam of the roof. The person laughed and said, “I’m here.” It was Yang Guo.

Guo Jing was delighted, he quickly asked, “Why were you hiding up there?” Yang Guo chuckled and said, “You are with the seven rotten Taoists.”

Guo Jing scolded, “Shut up! Come here quickly and greet the Grand Masters.”

Yang Guo stuck his tongue in and out of his mouth and kowtowed to Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji and Wang Chuyi, when he reached Yin Zhiping and saw that he was young, he turned his head around and asked, “He’s not a Grand Master is he? I think I don’t have to kowtow anymore.”

Guo Jing said, “That is Martial Uncle Yin, quickly kowtow.” Yang Guo didn’t want to but he still did it. Guo Jing saw him stand up and didn’t kowtow to the other three, he scolded, “Guo’er, how come you don’t kowtow, have you no manners?”

Yang Guo chuckled and said, “By the time I’ve finished kowtowing, it’ll be too late, don’t blame me.” Guo Jing asked, “Too late for what?”

Yang Guo replied, “There is a Taoist who is tied up in a room; if we don’t go and save him, I’m afraid he’ll be burned to death.”

Guo Jing urgently asked, “Which room? Quickly tell us!”

Yang Guo pointed to the east and said, “I think it’s over there, I don’t know who tied him up.” He laughed after he said this.

Yin Zhiping gave him a glance, and rushed to the eastern double room, he kicked open the door but saw no one. He then ran to the room where the third generation students cultivate their internal energy and opened the door. The room was full of smoke but he saw a Taoist tied to a column crying out, he was in danger. Yin Zhiping picked up a sword, cut the rope, and rescued the Taoist. Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji, Wang Chuyi, Guo Jing, Yang Guo and the rest of them left the hall and went up the mountain to a building where they watched the fire. They saw the back courtyard was in flames, the fire lighting up half the sky. There were few sources of water around, only a small spring that was used for everyday purposes; it would be useless to use it to try to put out the fire. They could only look on as the back courtyard was burnt down to ashes. The Quanzhen students worked together to stop the fire from spreading, the other halls and buildings were not harmed. Qiu Chuji was originally blithe and didn’t have a care. But he was also rash and bad tempered, as he saw the fierce flames, he ground his teeth and cursed.

Guo Jing was about to ask who the enemy were, and why did they respond in this way when he saw Yin Zhiping’s right hand was around a large Taoist’s waist. He had come out from the smoke and flames. The large Taoist was overcome by smoke and continuously coughed. Tears were in his eyes but when he saw Yang Guo he was furious, and jumped towards him. Yang Guo chuckled and hid behind Guo Jing. The Taoist did not know who Guo Jing was, he stretched out his hand and pushed his chest, wanting to move him out of the way and grab Yang Guo. But it was like pushing a brick wall; he didn’t move an inch. The Taoist stopped and pointed to Yang Guo and loudly shouted, “You little bastard, you wanted to kill me!”

Wang Chuyi sternly said, “Jingguang, what are you talking about?”

The Taoist Lu Qingdu was an apprentice grandson of Wang Chuyi; he had barely escaped with his life and he was furious when he saw Yang Guo. He wanted to jump forward and grab him. He ignored the fact the elders were there and only when he heard Wang Chuyi call out once more did he realize he was out of order. He broke out in a cold sweat, he bowed his head and dropped his hands and said, “Disciple deserves to die.”

Wang Chuyi said, “What exactly happened?”

Lu Qingdu said, “It’s my fault for being useless, I request the elders to punish me.”

Wang Chuyi frowned and said, “Who said you were useless? I asked you, what is this about?”

Lu Qingdu replied, “Yes, yes. I was ordered by Master Zhao to guard the back courtyard. After a while, he came back with the little, little…” He wanted to say “Little bastard”, but he knew he couldn’t act out of order in front of the elders again so he changed his words and said, “little boy and gave him to me, and said he was brought here by a formidable enemy of our sect. Martial Uncle Zhao had captured him and told me to guard him and don’t let him escape. So I took him to the eastern meditation room; after a while, he tricked me and said he needed the toilet and wanted me to untie him. I thought that he was just a small kid and wasn’t concerned that he would be able to get away so I untied him. I didn’t think that he was just sitting on the toilet and pretending to go; when he suddenly got up, picked up the bucket and threw the waste contents at me.” When Lu Qingdu got to this point, Yang Guo burst out laughing. Lu Qingdu angrily shouted, “What are you laughing at?”

Yang Guo lifted his head, his eyes towards the sky and said, “I want to laugh; what can you do about it?” Lu Qingdu wanted to curse back when Wang Chuyi said, “Don’t quarrel with the child; continue.”

Lu Qingdu said, “Yes, yes. Elder you don’t know, but that little boy is very sly and crafty. When I saw the waste coming at me, I quickly dodged out of the way, but he laughed and said “Ah, Mr. Taoist, you’ve got some on your clothes!”

When the crowd heard him impersonate Yang Guo, his voice sounded funny, the others secretly wanted to laugh. Wang Chuyi frowned; he secretly cursed him for acting this way in front of others.

Lu Qingdu continued, “I was angry, and wanted to go over and beat him, but he raised the bucket and threw it at me. I shouted out “Little bastard” and quickly used “Rapid Flowing Retreat” (ji liu yong tui) and moved out of the way. One of my feet stepped into  the waste but  after two  wobbles I  managed to  stay on my feet. I wasn’t prepared when the boy took advantage of me while I was unsteady and took my sword from my waist and pointed it at my chest and said if I moved, he would pierce through my chest. I didn’t want anything to happen to me so I stood still. The boy held the sword with his left hand and with his right hand tied me up to a column, and then stuffed my mouth with a piece of cloth. Eventually the room caught fire and I couldn’t move I couldn’t call out; if it wasn’t for Martial Uncle Yin, would I not have been burnt to death by that boy?” After he said this, he stared furiously at Yang Guo.

After everyone heard this, they looked at Yang Guo and then looked at the Taoist, one was a small boy, the other a large fat man, they couldn’t help but burst out laughing. When Lu Qingdu heard them laugh out loud, he touched his ear and cheek; he didn’t know what to do with his hands and feet.

Ma Yu chuckled and said, “Jing’er is he your son? He takes after your wife, very quick and clever.” Guo Jing said, “No, he is my brother Yang Kang’s son. Qiu Chuji shivered when he heard this; he gave Yang Guo two glances and saw that he did indeed look like Yang Kang. Yang Kang was his first official student; he wasn’t obedient, yearned for wealth and riches, and acknowledged a scoundrel as his father. Every time Qiu Chuji went over this in his mind, he felt that he was to blame for Yang Kang’s behavior. He didn’t teach him properly and caused him to turn out like that. When he heard that Yang Kang had an heir, he was sad and delighted at the same time, he quickly asked for the details.

Guo Jing glossed over Yang Guo’s situation, and told them he wanted Yang Guo to study under the Quanzhen sect. Qiu Chuji said, “Jing’er, your martial arts have long exceeded ours, why don’t you teach him yourself?”

Guo Jing said, “I will tell you everything later. I have offended a lot of Taoist brothers today on the way here, I’m very sorry, I apologize to all the elders, and I hope you can forgive me. He held his hands together to those Taoists who he had fought.

Ma Yu said, “If you hadn’t arrived just in time, our sect would have been destroyed. We are not strangers; there is no need to apologize.”

Qiu Chuji’s brows rose, and after Ma Yu had finished he said to him, “Zhijing led the formation outside; he couldn’t tell the difference between friend and foe. I thought it was strange that there was a strong formation placed outside, but when I looked away for a second the enemy managed to break through and attacked us. Huh, so it was him who led the formation away to try to catch you.” His eyes squinted, he was livid; he summoned two disciples to him, and asked how they could mistake Guo Jing for the enemy.

The two disciples were frightened and changed colour, the older of the two said, “Apprentice brothers Feng and Wei ran up to us, and said hero Guo had smashed the stone slab at the “Everywhere Light Temple”, and knew that he must have been with the enemy.”

Guo Jing remembered the events, and couldn’t believe all the misunderstanding arose from that, he said, “You can’t blame these Taoist brothers. When I was at the Light Everywhere Temple, I  inadvertently slammed down a heavy palm on the stone slab that had your poem on it; it was because of this that the misunderstanding was created.”

Qiu Chuji said, “So it was because of this, what a coincidence. We already knew that the enemy would come today, and they would use the slamming of the rock as a signal.”

Guo Jing said, “Who were they? How come they were so daring?”

Qiu Chuji sighed and said, “It is a long story, Jing’er, come, I am going to show you something.” He then nodded to Ma Yu and Wang Chuyi; he turned around and headed for the back side of the mountain. Guo Jing turned around to Yang Guo and said, “Guo’er, stay here.” He followed Qiu Chuji. He saw him heading around mountain, his steps rapid, like those of a young man.

The two arrived at the peak of the mountain; Qiu Chuji went up to a large stone slab and said, “There are some words written here.”

It was dark; on the back of the large stone were some words. Guo Jing reached out to the back of the stone, and felt that there were some words written on it, he tried to recognize the words, it was a poem: “His will flows under the bridge. Assisting the Han to gain influence, a winding pillar under the sky, wanting to be free to roam, he walked away after succeeding. Raising people and raising books, the price is heavy. Chongyang raised Quanzhen, his wish had been done, the hero’s disposition had gone, clearly marking his separation. Enduring this, the heart lives in a tomb. A person becomes a man of religion, two immortals will meet. Forever on Mount Zhongnan, a mist will linger.” Guo Jing touched the rock and traced the writing with his fingers at the same time, he was startled, the writing matched the strokes of writing with his fingers, it was as if the writing on the rock was carved on using a finger, he exclaimed, “It was written using a finger?”

Qiu Chuji said, “It startles people when they hear this, indeed it was written using a finger!” Guo Jing said, “There is such a thing as a god on earth?”

Qiu Chuji said, “The poem was written by two people. The two of them are both famous people in the world of Wulin. The person who wrote the first part of the poem is a very special person, eloquent in both kung fu and the arts; they had reached that stage with ease. It’s not a god, but a once in a hundred years outstanding personality.”

Guo Jing was full of admiration, and asked, “Who was this senior? Could elder introduce me to them so I could meet them.”

Qiu Chuji said, “I have never seen that person. Sit down; I will explain the reasons for today’s events.” Guo Jing sat down on the rock and looked on at the fire dying down at the foot of the peak, and said, “It is a pity that Rong’er is not with me, wouldn’t it be great if we could hear this interesting story together.”

Qiu Chuji said, “Do you understand the poem?” Guo Jing is now middle aged, but the tone that Qiu Chuji spoke in was the same as if he were talking to the young Guo Jing of ten years ago, it wasn’t deliberate.

Guo Jing understood the  meaning and said, “The  first  part of  the  poem  is talking about Zhang Liang, I have heard his story from Rong’er so I understand a little. He met an old man underneath a bridge and picked up his shoe; the man treated him like his son and taught him the arts. Later he helped to regain the land of the Han and became one of the three heroes; he eventually retired and lived free from care. The latter part is about ancestor Chongyang, so I don’t know much about that.”

Qiu Chuji said, “Do you know what type of person Founder Chongyang was?”

Guo Jing thought for a while and said, “Founder Chongyang was your teacher, he was the one who built the Quanzhen sect, and at the first Mount Hua tournament he was the victor.”

Qiu Chuji said, “You are correct, what about when he was younger?” Guo Jing shook his head and replied, “I don’t know.”

Qiu Chuji said, “The hero’s disposition had gone, clearly marking his separation. My teacher hadn’t always been a Taoist. When he was young, he first learned the arts; then studied martial arts, and was a respected hero in Jianghu. But because of his hate for the Jin soldiers entering his homeland, ruining his homeland and killing his people, he carried the flag and fought the Jin. He set up a boundary, and managed to do great things in the central plains, but eventually the Jin army broke through, my teacher lost the battles. Many soldiers died. He eventually became a Taoist. He became “the living dead”, and for a few years he lived in the tomb in our mountain. He didn’t take a step out of the tomb; his meaning was that he was alive but dead. He didn’t want to live under the same sky as the Jin scoundrels. What was called “bu gong dai tian” (will not live under the same sky as one’s enemy) and that was his intention.”

Guo Jing said, “I understand now.”

Qiu Chuji said, “After a few years, an old friend of my teacher came and tried to persuade him to leave the tomb and do great things with him again. My teacher was still downhearted, and felt that he couldn’t face his old Jianghu friends anymore; and so didn’t leave the tomb. Eight years later, a lifelong rival of my teacher arrived outside the tomb and cursed and insulted him for seven days and for seven nights; my teacher couldn’t stand it anymore and came out of the cave to confront him. Who would have thought that the person would give a laugh and say, “You’ve come out now, there is no need to return!” My teacher was startled at his words, and realized that the enemy had good intentions. He felt it was a pity that someone of his ability would hide themselves in the tomb and tricked him into coming out. The two changed the relationship, from enemies into friends, and both re-entered the world of Jianghu.”

When Guo Jing heard about this senior’s actions, he was curious and asked, “Who are these persons? Are they in the same class as the four greats Eastern Heretic, Western Poison, Southern Emperor and Northern Beggar?”

Qiu Chuji said, “No. When it comes to martial arts, she is above the four greats, but because she is a woman, she didn’t like to attract the attention of other people and so outsiders did not know much about her; even her name was unknown.

Guo Jing said, “Oh, so it was a girl.”

Qiu Chuji sighed, “That senior was actually in love with my teacher, and wanted to marry to him. That year they kept on arguing and fighting, but it was because the girl wanted to get closer to my teacher. But she was a very proud woman and didn’t want to be the one to  show  her  feelings  first.  Eventually  my teacher understood, but my teacher could not forget that he had to  help  his  country  to  drive  out  the enemy, and said, “I have not completed my wishes, how could I settle down now?” My teacher rejected her love and didn’t know what to do. That senior thought that my teacher didn’t respect her feelings and the feud between them restarted. They had been enemies who turned friends but became enemies again because of love, and agreed to a date to duel on Mount Zhongnan.”

Guo Jing said, “There was no need for it.”

Qiu Chuji replied, “Yes! My teacher knew her feelings and had to let her win. Who would have thought the senior’s character was strange, she said, “If you let me win, then that means you have even less respect for me?” My teacher could do nothing else but to duel with her. The two then fought each other, a few thousand moves passed, my teacher did not use any powerful moves, and eventually it was hard to pick a winner. The woman said, “You are not using all your ability to fight, who do you think I am?” My teacher said, “It is hard to pick out a winner from dueling, how about we test our literature skills?? The woman said, “Fine. If I lose, I won’t ever see you again so you can be in peace.” My teacher then said, “What do you want if you win?? The woman’s face turned red, and she couldn’t reply; she eventually clenched her teeth and said, “You’ve got to give up your Living Dead Tomb for me to live in.” The woman had a hidden meaning behind her demand, if she won, she would live with my teacher and be together. My teacher felt awkward, he knew his martial arts skills were slightly higher than hers; he would be forced to beat her otherwise he wouldn’t have any more quiet days. So he asked her, “How are we going to compete.”

She said, “Today we are both tired, we’ll meet again tomorrow night.” When it was approaching dusk, the two met again. She said, “Before we compete, we need to set a rule.” My teacher said, “What rule do you want to set?” The woman said, “If you win, I’ll immediately kill myself; I won’t see you ever again. If I win you have to give the Tomb of the Living Dead to me, obey me forever and mustn’t question anything. If you don’t, you have to become a man of religion; I don’t care if you become a monk or a Taoist. Whether you become a Taoist or a monk, you will need to build a temple and accompany me for ten years.”

My teacher understood, “obey her forever” means that she wants me to marry her. If I don’t and become a monk or a Taoist, I won’t be able to marry another. But how can I win and watch you kill yourself? It is also hard for me to accompany you for ten years here.” My teacher hesitated on his decision. The senior excelled in terms of looks and martial arts; my teacher was touched by her love, but when it came to getting married, they just weren’t destined to. My teacher thought for a while, and eventually made his decision, and knew she would do what she had said. If she lost  she  would  definitely  kill  herself,  and decided no matter what they competed at he would let her win. He said, “Fine, as you said.”

The woman said, “If we just competed in literature it would be too easy. We’ll write some words on that stone using our fingers, whoever writes the best will be the winner.”

My teacher shook his head and said, “I’m not a god, how can I use my finger to write on that stone?” The woman said, “If I can then, you’ll admit defeat?”

My teacher was forced to agree with no other option. He knew that no one on earth could do this and so exploited it and thought of a way that there will be no winner or loser, and the competition would end. He said, “If you’ve got the ability then I’ll admit defeat. If you can’t do it, there is no difference between us and we will not compete anymore.”

The woman gave a laugh and said, “Fine, get ready to be a Taoist.” As she said this, her left hand stroked the rock for a while, and after a while she said, “What should I write? Ah, the first hero who became a man of religion was Zhang Zhifang. He gave up his name and wealth, he’s your ancestor.” She then stretched out her right hand and extended her index finger, and wrote on the stone. My teacher saw her finger touch the rock, and dust flowed from the rock, she had carved a word, he had never been so startled in his life. She wrote the first part of the poem.

My teacher had lost and had nothing to say, he immediately moved out of the tomb and let her move in, and near the tomb he built a small Taoist temple; it was the predecessor of the Chongyang Palace.”

Guo Jing also couldn’t believe it, he extended his finger and traced the writing on the rock, the carvings were indeed written with a finger and said, “That senior’s finger kung fu would indeed frighten people when they hear about it.”

Qiu Chuji raised his head and laughed out to the sky, “Jing’er, this event could fool my teacher, me and now even you. But if your wife was here, she would not be fooled.”

Guo Jing opened his eyes wide and said, “Is there some kind of trick involved?” Qiu Chuji said, “Could it be? Who on earth has the best finger kung fu?”

Guo Jing said, “Of course it’s Reverend Yideng and his “Solitary Yang Finger”.”

Qiu Chuji replied, “Yes! But even with Reverend Yideng’s finger kung fu, it would be hard for him to accomplish this feat on a piece of wood, how would he be able to do it on a piece of rock? And could someone else achieve this? My teacher became a Taoist and still could not figure out what happened. Later, your father in law Island Master Huang came and visited my teacher. He knew that he was a very intelligent man and so told him the events, and asked him to help. Island master Huang thought for a while and then gave a chuckle, “I understand. I have yet to complete this type of kung fu; I’ll come back in one month’s time.” He laughed as he left the mountain.

After a month, Island Master Huang came back and went with my teacher to look at the rock again. When that senior wrote her poem, she ended it with “Raising people and raising books, the price is heavy?” Her meaning was that she wanted my teacher to have the same fate as Zhang Liang, leave the world and enter religion. Island Master Huang stroked the rock slab with his left hand for a while, his right hand stretched out and extended his finger and wrote a few words, he wrote everything from “Chongyang raised Quanzhen” to “Forever on Mount Zhongnan, a mist will linger”; he wrote to praise my teacher. My teacher saw that the words were deep, and were exactly the same as what happened last time, and was even more startled and thought, “Huang Yaoshi’s kung fu is definitely below me, how on earth did he managed to obtain such a powerful finger skill?” He was suspicious and extended his finger on to the rock and he managed to make a hole in it.

He then led Guo Jing’s hand to where his teacher had made the hole. Guo Jing felt the mark, and put his finger in it, true enough, it was as if someone had made it with their finger. He thought, “Could it be that the rock is especially soft, and not like any other rock?” He generated chi in his finger and pressed into the rock, but he felt his fingertip start to ache, the rock did not move.

Qiu Chuji laughed, “Even the foolish little boy can’t figure it out. Before the woman wrote on the stone slab, her left hand had stroked the rock for a while. She was actually holding a piece of small rock, and made the rock surface soft, within the time it takes to burn an incense stick, the stone slab would remain soft. Island Master Huang saw through the trick, and went away to find a suitable stone to do this and then came back to demonstrate this.”

Guo Jing didn’t say anything and thought, “My father in law’s intelligence is not below that of that senior, but where is he now?” He missed him a lot.

Qiu Chuji didn’t know what he was thinking and carried on, “When my teacher first became a Taoist, he was still vehement, but as he read more Taoist books, he knew it was meant to be, he became enlightened and decided to spread our sect’s name. When you think about it, if it weren’t for that senior’s plan, the Quanzhen sect would not exist; I would not be here today, and we wouldn’t know where you, Guo Jing, would be.”

Guo Jing nodded, and asked, “So what is that senior’s name, and is she still alive?”

Qiu Chuji sighed and replied, “When that senior was in the world of Wulin, she was always discreet, very few people actually saw her. Apart from my teacher, I don’t think anyone else knows her name, and my teacher never actually mentioned her name. That senior had passed away  before  the  time  of  the  first Mount Hua tournament, otherwise with her martial arts and character, how can it be that she did not appear?”

Guo Jing nodded his head and said, “It must be. Does she have any descendants?”

Qiu Chuji sighed and said, “All of today’s trouble comes from this point. That senior didn’t take in a disciple during her life; she only had a maid with her. That maid did not enter the world of Jianghu, so no one knew about her, but she took in two disciples. The eldest disciple is called Li, you must know about this, in Jianghu they call her the “Scarlet Serpent Deity” Li Mochou.”

Guo Jing gave an “ah” sound and said, “That Li Mochou is vindictive  and  ruthless,  so  those  are  her origins.”

Qiu Chuji said, “You’ve seen her?”

Guo Jing replied, “A few months ago, I came across her in Jiang Nan. Her kung fu is at a very high level.” Qiu Chuji said, “You hurt her?”

Guo Jing shook his head, “No, we didn’t actually meet each other, I only saw how she killed countless women, her ruthlessness has no comparisons, like Mei Chaofeng was when she was alive.”

Qiu Chuji said, “It was fortunate you didn’t hurt her, otherwise there’d be trouble. Her apprentice sister is named “Long”.”

Guo Jing shivered and said, “She is the girl called Long?”

Qiu Chuji’s face changed colour slightly, and said, “What? You’ve seen her? How did this happen?”

Guo Jing said, “Disciple has not seen her before. When I was coming up the mountain, the Taoist brothers insulted me and called me a perverted scoundrel, and said I came for the one called Long, this made me confused.”

Qiu Chuji laughed out loud, and sighed at the same time, “Chongyang Palace took the matter into its own hands. If we hadn’t made this error, and created the misunderstanding, not only  would  the  large  “Big Dipper Formation” have repelled the attackers, you would  have  arrived  here  earlier,  and  apprentice brother Hao would not have been hurt.”

He saw that Guo Jing’s face was fascinated and continued, “Today is the one named Long’s eighteenth birthday.”

Guo Jing opened his mouth and said, “Ah, it’s her eighteenth birthday!” However he did not understand how a girl’s eighteenth birthday could cause so much trouble.

Qiu Chuji said, “Outsiders do not know her first name so all of those troublemakers call her Xiao Longnu, we’ll call her that as well. One night eighteen years ago, there was the cry of a little baby girl outside Chongyang Palace, a palace disciple came out to take a look, and saw the little baby girl wrapped in a bundle on the ground. It was inconvenient for the palace to take in a baby girl, but Taoists are supposed to be merciful so we couldn’t leave her there. At the time my apprentice brother who was the master of the sect, and I were not on the mountain, and before any of the disciples of the palace could do anything, a middle aged woman suddenly came out from behind the mountain and said, “The little baby is unfortunate and pitiful, I’ll take her in!” The disciples couldn’t have asked for more, and so gave the baby girl to her. Later, apprentice brother Ma and I returned to the palace, when they told us about this event, from the description of the woman, we knew she was the maid from the Tomb of the Living Dead. She had met the seven of us a few times before, but we had never spoken. Although we are neighbors and because of our seniors’ relationship, it is difficult for us to talk to her about it. When I heard that the matter was resolved, I didn’t keep it in my mind. Later, her disciple the “Scarlet Serpent Deity” Li Mochou, left the mountain. She was ruthless and vindictive, her martial arts were very high, and caused trouble around the world of Jianghu. Our Quanzhen sect requested to talk to the maid about this many times, to get her to do something about it. Eventually, we didn’t act out of respect for her. We wrote a letter and sent it to the tomb. It was extremely respectful and polite. After we sent the letter, it was like a stone sinking into the sea, she still did not reply, and she tolerated Li Mochou’s actions, and didn’t govern her.

One day, after a few years, outside the tomb we saw a white banner hung on a pine thorn thicket and we knew that the woman had passed away, so the six of us went to the tomb to pay our respects. As we were going through the ceremony, a thirteen or fourteen year old girl emerged from the pine thorn thickets, greeted us and thanked us for the ceremony, and said, “Master has left the world, and has ordered me to tell all you elders that if that person still causes trouble, my master has a plan to punish her, please don’t worry.” When she finished, she turned around and went back inside. We wanted to ask her some questions about this but she had already gone back into the tomb. Our master had made a rule; everyone under the order of the Quanzhen sect must not take one step into the tomb. When she left, we pondered and wondered, our Taoist friend is dead, so how could she punish her student? We felt sorry for the little girl and so we sent her food and supplies, but each time she did not touch them, and ordered a servant to return them. She was strange. She was just like her teacher, and her ancestor. But she had a servant to look after her, so we didn’t worry about her. Eventually we all had business to attend to, and were rarely present in the palace. We didn’t hear anything from the girl. For some reason, news of Li Mochou disappeared and she didn’t cause any more trouble. We knew that our Taoist friend had come up with an ingenious plan, and we all were in awe.

Spring came, me and apprentice brother Wang had to go away to Shanxi for some business. We were at a hero’s home in Guangzhou when we heard startling news. We heard that one year later, all types of crooks, scoundrels and evildoers would descend on Mount Zhongnan and cause havoc. Mount Zhongnan is the root of our sect and the reason they’ve come to Mount Zhongnan is to fight our sect, how could we not take precautions? Apprentice brother Wang and I were afraid that the news was unreliable, so we sent out people to investigate; true enough, the news was real. But it wasn’t because they wanted to duel with our sect, but it was to do with Xiao Longnu of the Tomb of the Living Dead.

Guo Jing asked, “She is just a young girl, and has never left the tomb, how did she make enemies with all those people?”

Qiu Chuji replied, “The reasons for all this wasn’t related to us and originally we didn’t care. One day when the evildoers started to descend on Mount Zhongnan, we decided we couldn’t just stand by, so we listened for more news, and discovered that Xiao Longnu’s apprentice sister Li Mochou started all this business.”

Guo Jing said, “Li Mochou?”

Qiu Chuji said, “Yes. Her master had taught her martial arts for a few years and had discovered her character was ill, and so said she had completed her training, and ordered her to leave the mountain. When Li Mochou’s master was still alive, although she did evil deeds, she was still slightly worried. But when her teacher died, she used the excuse of paying her respects to enter the Tomb of the Living Dead, and tried to expel her apprentice sister. She knew that she had not learned everything from her master or her sect’s founder, and wanted to come to see if there were any kung fu manuals or manuscripts hidden in the tomb. She knew that there were many booby traps in the tomb, and remembered them. She entered through two sets of doors of the tomb, and by the third one she saw a letter left by her teacher. Her teacher had predicted that she would come back, and left this letter for her and part of the letter said: “On a certain year, month, date, it will be your apprentice sister’s eighteenth birthday. If you do not stop your evil ways and repent, then your apprentice sister will assume leadership and seek you out and rid the sect of so treacherous a disciple.

Li Mochou was furious, and burst through the third set of doors, and fell into the poisonous trap left by her teacher; if it wasn’t for Xiao Longnu curing her poison, she would have died. She knew that it was lethal and so left the tomb. But she had failed, would she let it go? Eventually she came back a few times but each time she suffered. In her last attempt, she actually fought with her apprentice sister. Xiao Longnu was only fifteen or sixteen years of age at that time, but her skills exceeded that of her apprentice sister. If she hadn’t let her off, it would not have been a hard task to take her life.”

Guo Jing interrupted, “I’m afraid that could be just a rumour of the Jianghu world.” Qiu Chuji asked, “Why?”

Guo Jing replied, “My master hero Ke has fought with Li Mochou twice, and said that her skills had their fine points. Even Reverend Yideng’s high disciple Wu Santong lost to her. Xiao Longnu has not even reached twenty yet, even if her skills were higher, it would be hard for her to beat Li Mochou.”

Qiu Chuji said, “That piece of news was heard by apprentice brother Wang from a friend of his from the Beggar Clan. Whether Xiao Longnu did or did not defeat her apprentice sister, there wasn’t a witness so no one knows apart from them. I only know that this was what people of Jianghu said. Li Mochou was upset and jealous that her teacher was biased, and passed on the higher set of skills to her apprentice sister. So she created a rumour, and said that on a certain year, month and date, the one called Xiao Longnu who lives in the tomb will have a martial arts competition to decide her marriage.” Guo Jing heard about this, he immediately thought about when Yang Kang and Mu Nianci met in Yanjing, and let out a quiet sigh.

Qiu Chuji knew what he was thinking and he too gave a sigh, and said, “She revealed: whoever beats Xiao Longnu, not only will they get to marry her, all the riches and kung fu manuals of the sect will be theirs. The evildoers did not know who Xiao Longnu was, but Li Mochou widely spread the fact that her apprentice sister’s beauty exceeded hers. The “Scarlet Serpent Deity” is said to be a very  beautiful woman, her beauty is very rare within the world of Wulin, and even women from brothels can’t compare with her.”

Guo Jing thought, “What is so special about that? My Rong’er exceeds her beauty over one hundred times.”

Qiu Chuji continued, “Many evildoers of the Wulin world lusted after Li Mochou. But those who give a prolonged glance, or did not treat her with respect she would immediately punish them. Now they hear she has an apprentice sister whose beauty exceeded hers, and who had publicly announced that she will have a competition to decide her marriage, so they all thought why not and try their luck?”

Guo Jing was startled and said, “So all those people that were here were in search of marriage. Its no wonder the students of the palace called me a perverted scoundrel.”

Qiu Chuji said, “I also heard that these people did not even care about the Quanzhen sect. When a large crowd of people descended on Mount Zhongnan, we wanted to intervene and become a needle in their eyes. Apprentice brother Wang and I had received the news, and decided to repel the evildoers. We had gathered all the students of our sect ten days earlier. Apprentice brother Liu and apprentice sister Sun were in Shanxi and couldn’t return. We arranged to practice the “Big Dipper Formations” and we also sent a letter to the tomb to invite Xiao Longnu to the palace. The letter was sent, but there was no reply, Xiao Longnu had ignored us.”

Guo Jing said, “So she left the tomb.”

Qiu Chuji said, “No. From the top of the mountain and looking downwards, you could see smoke coming out from the tomb everyday. Take a look, it’s over there.” He pointed to the west. Guo Jing followed his finger and looked to the west, but all he could see for ten miles was forest, he did not know where the Tomb of the Living Dead was. He thought about the young eighteen-year-old girl, living in the tomb all the time; if it was Rong’er, she would be bored to death.

Qiu Chuji said, “All our apprentice brothers were set to meet the enemy. Five days ago, the scouts who were sent out came back and discovered who the two most powerful people were from the crowd of evildoers. They had agreed to first meet at the foot of the mountain at the Everywhere Light Temple, and used the smashing of the stone slab as the signal. You inadvertently smashed the stone slab, and frightened people with your strength; it was no wonder my grand disciples made such a commotion.

The two tyrants’ names are quite famous; they have  entered  the  central  plains  this  year  to  shake  the world of Wulin. You have resided on Peach Blossom Island so you wouldn’t know about the affairs of the outside world. That nobleman is a Mongolian prince, it was said that he is Genghis Khan’s close nephew. Other people call him Prince Huo Dou. You’ve lived on the plains of Mongolia for a long time, and you were familiar with the royalty, can you remember meeting anyone like him?”

Guo Jing quietly repeated “Prince Huo Dou”, he recalled his face, but couldn’t remember whose son he could be, but he felt that his face was handsome, proud but also carried a devious air. Genghis Khan had four sons, the eldest Shu Chi [Jochi] was violent and brave, the second son Cha He Tai [Chagatai] was a clever planner, the third prince Wo Kuo Tai [Ogedai] is the khan of the Mongols at this moment in time, he was easy going, the fourth prince Tuo Lei [Tolui] was the most humane, when he thought about it, Huo Dou did not resemble any of the four princes.

Qiu Chuji said, “I’m afraid that a man of his stature coming to create havoc here has an ulterior motive. His kung fu originates from Western Tibet; he arrived in the central plains at the beginning of the year. He wounded the three heroes of Henan, and later on he single-handedly killed the seven Lords of Lanzhou. His name was spread widely throughout the land, we didn’t predict that he would have the nerve to come to our sect and cause trouble. The other Tibetan monk is called Da’erba; he has supernatural strength, and his kung fu is from the same school as Huo Dou. It appears that he is the senior apprentice brother. He is a monk, of course he hasn’t come here to get married; he’s here to aid Huo Dou.

When the rest of the evil men heard the two were coming, they remembered the matter of dueling for marriage. Years ago, in front of a crowd of people, Li Mochou had said the tomb contained mountains of treasures, and had countless kung fu manuscripts and manuals; saying there was the formulae to the “Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms”, the “Solitary Yang Finger” and numerous others. Although the crooks and scoundrels were unsure, they thought that if they went up to the mountain and opened up the tomb, they would be able to get a share of the spoils. About one hundred or so of them came up the mountain. Originally our “Big Dipper Formation” could have easily repelled them  away  from  the  foot  of  our mountain, not allowing them to come through and teach them not to take one step into Chongyang Palace. We were resisting them when the misunderstanding occurred; there is no need to say anymore.”

Guo Jing felt very guilty and apologetic, and wanted to say a few words of apology. Qiu Chuji waved his hand and laughed, “Letting a laugh out rids your worries and the moon is still in the sky above the western lake. The halls and buildings are just objects; human possessions mean nothing, so why worry about them? You have honed your martial arts for the last ten years, could it be that you do not understand the meaning of this?”

Guo Jing laughed and said, “Yes!”

Qiu Chuji laughed and said, “Actually when I saw the back courtyard being burned down to the ground, I was very angry and furious, but after a while I calmed down. Compared to how calm apprentice brother Ma was, I am nowhere as enlightened as he is.”

Guo Jing said, “You can’t blame yourself for getting angry at all those crooks and scoundrels.”

Qiu Chuji said, “As you fought with the main “Big Dipper Formation”, the two tyrants led a pack of scoundrels and took advantage of the situation and led them to Chongyang Palace. As soon as they arrived, they set fire to the buildings; apprentice brother Hao led a formation out against Prince Huo Dou. He was wary of Huo Duo’s skills as they were very strange. Apprentice brother Hao was careless and rash when he was fighting him, and ended up being struck in the chest. We set up a formation to protect him. Without apprentice brother Hao in the formation we had to replace him with students whose skills were much inferior, thus the power of the formation was reduced and limited. If you hadn’t arrived just in time, today would be the day where the Quanzhen sect would have been destroyed. When I think about it, even if the other students didn’t mistake you for the enemy, though they would be able to stop all the scoundrels and crooks from entering the mountain, they would not be able to stop Da’erba and Huo Dou. If the two combined together and attacked our formation, we would not have lost, but we definitely would not have defeated them as quickly and as spectacularly as you did.”

As he said this, they heard a sound from the west; someone was blowing a horn. The horn sound was pleasant and relaxing, as Guo Jing listened, he  imagined himself  back in the  Mongolian plains, looking out at the yellow sands of Mongolia, giving off a beautiful glow.

After a while, he heard “an intent to kill” was beginning to emerge from the sounds of the horn, as if it was trying to invite someone for a duel. Qiu Chuji’s face turned angry and shouted, “Beasts, beasts!”

He looked at the forest to the west and said, “Jing’er, you and that scoundrel have set a ten year date; you are going to meet again in these ten years, I advise to you not to intervene. Is there such a sincere and honorable thing under heaven? Let’s go!”

Guo Jing said, “It is Prince Huo Dou?”

Qiu Chuji replied, “It is him. He is trying to get Xiao Longnu to duel with him.” While saying this, he was already flying down the mountain. Guo Jing followed.

The two traveled for about a mile, when they heard the horn sound was getting closer, but within the sound of the horn, they could make out the sound of a weapon was being used; it was Da’erba.

Qiu Chuji was angry and said, “How can two martial artists gang up and bully a young girl; they really don’t care about face.” He increased his efforts and sped up. In a flash, the two were at the foot of the hill, passing a stone slab. All Guo Jing could see in front of him was a black forest. Outside the forest stood one hundred short and tall scoundrels and crooks, it was the same people who had just attacked Chongyang Palace. The two of them hid behind the stone slab, surveying their actions. They saw Prince Huo Dou and Da’erba get up. Prince Huo Dou raised his horn and blew. Da’erba raised a large golden pestle (rod shaped object used for crushing) with his left hand. He tapped the golden bracelet on his right wrist with the pestle, and created a noise, the two noises combined, trying to draw out Xiao Longnu. The two did this for a while, but no sounds came from the forest.

Huo Dou put down his horn, and clearly said, “I am Mongolia’s Prince Huo Dou; I have come to congratulate Xiao Longnu on your birthday.”

As he finished, three chords from a zither was heard, it was Xiao Longnu replying. Hu Dou was happy and said, “It is known far and wide that Miss Long will have a duel to find a husband. I have dared to come forward, and meet this challenge, I ask Miss Long to make her move. A resounding sound was suddenly heard from the zither, clearly showing signs of anger. The rest of the crowd didn’t move, they could hear from the zither notes the intent of the player, wanting them to leave. Huo Dou chuckled and said, “I am from an affluent family, handsome, sincere and willing, I wouldn’t dare to offend you.  Miss  Long  is  a heroine in the world, please don’t be shy.”

When he finished, the sound of the zither soared, a note of reproving could be heard from within the sound. Huo Dou glanced at Da’erba, the monk nodded. Huo Dou said, “If Miss does not show herself, then I will have to enter.” He then picked up his horn, waved his right hand and leapt into the forest. The crowd of people also went forward, and all thought, “Even the famous Quanzhen sect could not stop us, Xiao Longnu is alone and is just a young girl, aren’t we overdoing things?” But they were all thinking about getting to the treasure first and ignored this, pushing and shoving they entered the forest.

Qiu Chuji shouted out, “This place is Quanzhen sect’s Founder Chongyang’s old residence, leave quickly.” When the crowd heard this, they were all startled, but their feet didn’t stop moving forwards.

Qiu Chuji was angry and said, “Jing’er, let’s use force!” The two emerged from behind the stone slab and were about to enter the forest; then they suddenly heard cries from the crowd of people, and they were dashing back out of the forest.

Qiu Chuji and Guo Jing stopped, they saw tens of people flying out of the forest, even Huo Dou and Da’erba came flying out, they were rushing out much quicker than they did when they were forced away from Chongyang Palace. Qiu Chuji and Guo Jing wondered, “What method did Xiao Longnu used to drive these people away?” As they wondered, they suddenly heard the sounds of something approaching quickly, under the moonlight they saw a collection of white and grey blurs emerging from the forest, and were diving onto the crowds of evildoers.

Guo Jing asked, “What is that?” Qiu Chuji shook his head and did not reply, and looked closer, some of the people who were running slower were being dived on by the things and they immediately dropped down onto the ground, holding their heads and screaming.

Guo Jing was startled and said, “It’s a swarm of bees, why are they white?” As he said this, a swarm of jade colored bees stung five or six people. In front of the forest were ten people who were rolling about on the ground, crying and screaming. It would have sent shivers down the backs to those who could hear them. Guo Jing thought, “It does hurt if you get stung by a bee, but there is no need to cry out like that; could it be that the Jade Bee’s poison is very potent?” He saw a grey image flying towards him, the Jade Bees were like smoke, and were flying onto Guo Jing and Qiu Chuji. The bees were ferocious and it was hard to repel them, Guo Jing wanted to turn around and escape, Qiu Chuji circulated chi through his “dan tian”, and blew out through his mouth at the bees that were coming towards him. The swarm of bees was flying forwards fiercely, but when they met the fierce gust of wind they were pushed back. As Qiu Chuji’s first breath finished he sent out a second one. Guo Jing had learned this type of skill, and then did the same; he and Qiu Chuji created a gust of wind. The skills they used were advanced orthodox skills, the swarm of bees could not resist and flew past the two and chased after Huo Dou and Da’erba. The people who were rolling along on the ground were crying out for mercy, calling out for their fathers and mothers, and sobbing uncontrollably. Someone said, “I’m sorry, I beg goddess Xiao Longnu to save my life!”

Guo Jing was startled; “He is a member of the Jianghu world, even if his arm or leg was chopped off, he may not call out in pain. How can just a little sting by a bee be so lethal?” Suddenly the sound of the zither was heard from the forest, accompanying it was a white mist. Guo Jing and Qiu Chuji could smell the scent of an extremely sweet and fragrant flower. After a while, the sounds of the bees came closer, the bees sensed the aroma and returned to the forest, it was Xiao Longnu who had created the scent to order the bees back.

Qiu Chuji and Xiao Longnu had been neighbors for eighteen years but he didn’t know that she had such skills; he was in awe but also felt amused, and said, “If we knew our fragrant neighbor was so prepared, the Quanzhen sect should not have been so nosy.” Although he was talking to Guo Jing, he had said it with his chi and wanted Xiao Longnu to hear it. The music from the forest changed, gentle and peaceful, the sense of appreciation was hidden within the music. Qiu Chuji laughed out loud, and said clearly, “Miss, there is no need for all this. This Old Taoist and disciple Guo Jing wish you well on your birthday.” Two notes were heard from the zither and then nothing more.

Guo Jing sensed that within the notes there was a feeling of sorrow and pity. He said to Qiu Chuji, “Elder, why did she let them go?”

Qiu Chuji replied, “Miss Long makes her own decisions, let’s go.” The two turned around and headed east, on the way, Guo Jing once again requested Qiu Chuji to accept Yang Guo into Quanzhen.

Qiu Chuji sighed, “Your godfather Yang Tiexin was a great hero, why did he have no descendants? I played a part in the downfall of Yang Kang. Don’t worry, I will do my best and teach the boy how to be a good person.”

Guo Jing was pleased, and got down on his knees to say thanks. The two chatted away as they reached Chongyang Palace; the sky had now begun to get bright. Many Taoists were clearing up the back courtyard and tending to the damage.

Qiu Chuji summoned a group of Taoists to meet Guo Jing, and pointed out to the bearded Taoist who had led the “Big Dipper Formation” against him and said, “That is apprentice brother Wang’s first disciple, his name is Zhao Zhijing. Out of all the third generation disciples, his kung fu is the highest, we’ll let him teach Guo’er kung fu.”

Guo Jing had exchanged hands with that person, and knew his kung fu was high, and he was pleased, and ordered Yang Guo to undergo the custom of greeting a new master to Zhao Zhijing, and he himself apologized to Zhao Zhijing. Guo Jing remained on Mount Zhongnan for a few days, and repeatedly gave advice to Yang Guo, then, after saying goodbyes to him and the Taoists, he returned to Peach Blossom Island.

Qiu Chuji remembered years ago when he taught Yang Kang kung fu, and let him do as he pleased in the palace. Eventually this led Yang Kang to make wrong choices and thought, “Being strict will create a good student, and being harsh will bring a filial son. I must be strict and keep a close eye on Guo’er; otherwise he will follow the same road as his father.” He then summoned Yang Guo, and then gave him a stern talking to, and told him he will have hardships ahead, he must listen to every word that his master says, and must not be lazy.

Yang Guo did not even want to be on Mount Zhongnan, and for no reason he was given a strict scolding, he was angry, he held in his tears and didn’t reply, when Qiu Chuji left he let out a cry and sobbed.

Suddenly a voice from behind coldly said, “What’s the matter? Has Martial Grand Master wronged you?”

Yang Guo was startled; he stopped crying and turned around only to see his master Zhao Zhijing, he quickly dropped his hands and said, “No.”

Zhao Zhijing said, “Why did you cry?”

Yang Guo said, “I was thinking about Uncle Guo and became sad.”

He had just heard Qiu Chuji giving a stern scolding to him, now Yang Guo is saying it is because he misses Guo Jing, he wasn’t convinced and thought, “He is so crafty already at such a young age; if I don’t punish him now, how could he change?” He then shouted, “You dare to lie to your master?”

Yang Guo had seen how Guo Jing had beaten the Taoists so spectacularly and convincingly, and had seen Qiu Chuji and the others being forced back onto their hands and feet by Huo Dou and the evildoers. They depended on Guo Jing to save them, so he had already made up his mind on the Quanzhen kung fu being nothing but ordinary. He didn’t respect Qiu Chuji, what about Zhao Zhijing? Guo Jing had neglected to explain to him that the Quanzhen sect’s kung fu was orthodox and profound, years ago Wang Chongyang’s kung fu was the best in the world, other family’s’ and other sects’ best fighters could not compare. The reasons for what he saw was not because of the Quanzhen sect’s kung fu was useless, but because the group of Taoists who he had seen fighting had not practiced enough. Yang Guo then believed that it must be because that the Guo couple did not want him as a disciple, and just gave him to anyone to learn martial arts. He had seen with his own two eyes that the Taoists’ swords had been forced out of their hands, even if Guo Jing had explained, Yang Guo would not have believed it. He saw that his master’s expression wasn’t pleasant, and thought, “I only became your disciple because I had no choice; even if I learned everything you know, what use would it be? Why are you acting like you are in charge?” He didn’t reply.

Zhao Zhijing was angry; his voice became even louder and said, “I asked you a question, you dare to not reply?”

Yang Guo said, “Whatever master wants me to say, I’ll say it.” Zhao Zhijing heard that he was disrespectful, he could not hold his temper anymore, he hit him across the face and left a deep red mark. Yang Guo cried out, and began to cry and ran away. Zhao Zhijing quickly followed and caught him, and asked, “Where are you going?”

Yang Guo said, “Let go of me, I don’t want to learn from you.” Zhao Zhijing was irate and shouted, “Bastard, what did you say?”

Yang Guo immediately became bold, and shouted, “Rotten Taoist, you dog, you can kill me!”

A disciple master relationship was looked upon as very significant, in the world of Wulin; a disciple master relationship was the same as a father son relationship. If  the  master  wanted  to  kill  the  student,  the disciple would not dare to resist. Yang Guo had dared to insult his teacher, it was a rarely seen and rarely heard event; it was treason and heresy. Zhao Zhijing’s face turned yellow, he raised his hand and wanted to give him another slap. Yang Guo suddenly jumped up, and grabbed his arm, and bit on his right index finger. After Yang Guo had received Ou Yangfeng’s method of practicing internal energy, he practiced it occasionally; he now had a decent foundation. Zhao Zhijing was angry,  and  didn’t  have  his  guard  up against a small child. Being grabbed and fiercely bitten, he couldn’t move and his finger was in pain; he couldn’t endure it. Zhao Zhijing raised his left fist and heavily hit Yang Guo on the shoulder, and shouted, “Do you want to die? Let go!? Yang Guo was furious, even if he were threatened by swords and spears he would not let go, but he felt pain in his shoulder. His teeth bit even harder, a “ka” sound was heard, he had bitten through the bone. He shouted, “Ah!” and fiercely threw a left fist at Yang Guo’s head, and made him faint. He opened his jaw and took out his right index finger. He saw his hand was full of fresh blood, though he managed to fix his finger back into place, his finger would not have the strength that it used to have. This will affect his kung fu, he became furious and kicked Yang Guo a few times.

He ripped some cloth of Yang Guo’s sleeve, and wrapped it around his wound. He took a look around, it was lucky that no one was about. He thought that if someone saw this, it would be spread throughout the Jianghu world that Quanzhen’s Zhao Zhijing’s finger was bitten off by his little disciple; he would lose all his respect. He then went and filled a basin with cold water and splashed it over Yang Guo to wake him up. When Yang Guo woke, he was like a madman and wanted to fight again. Zhao Zhijing grabbed his chest and shouted, “Animal, you really don’t want to live do you?”

Yang Guo shouted, “Scoundrel, rotten Taoist, calling me an animal, after being beaten to the ground by my Uncle Guo and eating faeces off the floor, begging for mercy won’t help your descendants; you’re the animal!”

Zhao Zhijing extended his right palm and hit him again. He kept his guard up, if Yang Guo wanted to attack him, how could he get near? In the wink of an eye he kicked him a few times. If Zhao Zhijing wanted to hurt him, it would be too easy, but he remembered that Yang Guo was his disciple. If he hurt him badly, how would he answer if my master or martial uncles asked about it? Yang Guo ferociously attacked, as if Zhao Zhijing was his most hated person in the world; although he was punched and kicked, and couldn’t bear the pain, he did not intend to back down.

Zhao Zhijing punched and kicked him, though in his heart there was some feelings of regret. He saw that although he was bruised all over, he became bolder as he fought. In the end he had no other choice but to stretch out his left finger and touched the side of his body, sealing his pressure point. Yang Guo lay down on the ground and wasn’t able to move, but his eyes were full of hate and fury.

Zhao Zhijing said, “You ingrate, do you submit now?” Yang Guo stared at him, with no intent to submit. Zhao Zhijing sat on a rock and recovered his breath. It was as if he had just dueled with a highly skilled opponent, fighting until he was out of breath. At the moment it wasn’t because his arms and legs were tired, it was because he was troubled.

One disciple, one master; both looked at each other angrily, Zhao Zhijing tried to think  of  a  good punishment for the rebel child, in the middle of his thoughts, he suddenly heard the bell ringing; it was the leader calling to gather the students. Zhao Zhijing was startled; he turned to Yang Guo and said, “If you don’t cause anymore trouble, then I’ll let you go.” He extended his finger and unsealed his pressure point. Yang Guo immediately jumped up and leaped at him. Zhao Zhijing stepped aside two steps, and said, “I won’t hit you, how about that?”

Yang Guo said, “You won’t ever hit me again?”

Zhao Zhijing heard the bell ringing was becoming urgent, and didn’t dare to procrastinate and said, “If you are obedient, why should I hit you?”

Yang Guo said, “Fine, if you won’t hit me, I’ll call you master. If you hit me again, I won’t ever acknowledge you are my master.”

Zhao Zhijing was angry, but he put on a smile and nodded his head, and said, “The leader is summoning everyone, quickly follow me.” He saw that Yang Guo’s sleeve was ripped, his face swollen, he was afraid that someone will ask what happened so he cleaned him up, took his hand, and quickly went to the assembly at the front of the palace.

Zhao Zhijing and Yang Guo arrived, and both went into their respective groups. Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji and Wang Chuyi were sitting in front of them. Ma Yu clapped his hand three times, and the clearly said, “Elder Chang and the Sage of Tranquility have sent news from Shanxi, and said the business they are attending to has become really troublesome. My two apprentice brothers and I have decided that elder Eternal Spring (Qiu Chuji) and elder Shining Jade (Wang Chuyi) will take along ten disciples and immediately set off to rendezvous with them.” The rest of the Taoists all looked at each other, some were startled, and others were excited. Qiu Chuji then called out the names of ten disciples, and then said, “Everyone get prepared, you will leave with elder Shining Jade and I first thing tomorrow. The rest of you are dismissed.” The Taoists were dismissed; they quietly discussed the news amongst themselves. “That Li Mochou is just a woman, how powerful can she be? Even elder Eternal Life Martial Uncle Liu can’t handle her.” Another said, “Isn’t the Sage of Tranquility Martial Uncle Sun a woman? There are capable women, don’t be surprised.” Another Taoist said, “Now that Elder Qiu and Elder Wang are going, that Li Mochou won’t be able to do anything.”

Qiu Chuji went over to Zhao Zhijing and said to him, “Originally I wanted to take you along, but I’m worried that Guo’er’s progress in martial arts will suffer, so you will stay here.” He then saw the wounds on Yang Guo’s face, and was startled, and said, “What’s this? Who have you been fighting with?”

Zhao Zhijing was afraid, he knew that if Martial Uncle Qiu found out what happened, he would be severely scolded; he looked at Yang Guo and signaled to him with his eyes. Yang Guo had already decided what to do, when he saw the worried expression on Zhao Zhijing, he didn’t let him know what he was doing and didn’t respond to his pleas.

Qiu Chuji sternly said, “Who hit you like this? Who did this? Quickly tell me.”

Zhao Zhijing heard Martial Uncle Qiu’s voice was becoming sterner, and became even more scared. Yang Guo said, “I wasn’t in a fight, disciple tripped and fell down a ditch.”

Qiu Chuji didn’t believe him, and said, “You are lying; how could you trip for no reason? The wounds on your face aren’t from falling over.”

Yang Guo said, “Earlier, Grand Master told me to learn martial arts diligently.” Qiu Chuji said, “Yes, what about it?”

Yang Guo said, “After Grand Master left, the disciple thought that what you said was right, the disciple must work harder than ever before, and must not disappoint the hopes that Grand Master has for me.” His pleasant words pleased and calmed down Qiu Chuji and he gave out a grunt. Yang Guo continued, “A mad dog came suddenly out of nowhere, and for no reason leapt at me trying to bite, the disciple tried to kick him away but he became more and more fierce. The disciple tried to turn around and run, but I was careless and fell down in a ditch. It was lucky that my teacher arrived, and rescued me.”

Qiu Chuji listened, and then looked at Zhao Zhijing, signaling to him, asking if it was the truth. Zhao Zhijing was startled and thought, “How dare he, how dare the little bastard call me a mad dog.” But in this situation he had no choice but to help him lie, he nodded his head and said, “It was I who saved him.”

Qiu Chuji believed him, and said, “After I’ve left, teach him our sect’s kung fu well, every ten days, your Martial Uncle, our leader will test him.” Zhao Zhijing did not want to do this at all, but he couldn’t refuse an order from his Martial Uncle, and could only agree. Right now, Yang Guo was busy being pleased with himself for making Zhao Zhijing call himself a mad dog, and didn’t really digest what his Grand Master was saying. After Qiu Chuji had walked away about twenty paces, Zhao Zhijing’s blood rose to the surface, he couldn’t resist and raised his hand; he wanted to hit Yang Guo across the face again.

Yang Guo shouted out, “Grand Master Qiu!”

Qiu Chuji was startled and turned around, asking, “What’s the matter?”

Zhao Zhijing’s hand was in midair, he did not dare to hit out, he was caught in an embarrassing situation and he reluctantly pulled his arm back and scratched the hair by his temples.

Yang Guo ran towards Qiu Chuji, and said, “Grand Master, after you’ve left, there will be no one to look after me, there are many Martial Uncles who want to hit me.”

Qiu Chuji’s faced changed and shouted, “Rubbish! Is there such a thing?” On the outside he appeared strict, but he was worried inside, he thought about how hard it is for an child to be on his own and clearly said, “Zhijing, you take good care of him, if anything happens, I’ll be asking after you.” Zhao Zhijing could only accept. After supper, Yang Guo slowly walked towards the room where his master was residing, and shouted out, “Master!”

It was the time of day when they were refining the kung fu; Zhao Zhijing had already sat on his couch for half a day thinking, “That child is very mischievous, if I don’t tame him quickly, when his martial arts are high, who else could restrain him? But Martial Uncle Qiu and Master ordered me to teach him kung fu; if I don’t teach him then I am not following orders.” He  kept searching in his mind but couldn’t think of anything, he saw Yang Guo entering the room slowly, his eyes lit up, he gave a laugh in an ostentatious manner as he thought of a plan, “I’ve got it, he doesn’t know anything about our sect’s martial arts, I’ll just teach him the formula to our sect’s skills, but I won’t teach how to practice it. Even if he remembers the few hundred sentences of the formulae what use is it to him? If Master or the Martial Uncles ask about this, I’ll push the blame away and say it was his fault for not working hard enough.” Now his mind was made up, with a kind and pleasant expression he said to Yang Guo, “Guo’er, come here.”

Yang Guo said, “Are you going to hit me?”

Zhao Zhijing said, “I’m going to teach you kung fu, why should I hit you?”

Yang Guo saw that he was lively, and had come out with a surprise, he slowly entered, but he was on his guard, afraid that he has some evil scheme. Zhao Zhijing pretended nothing was going on and said, “Our Quanzhen sect’s kung fu is learned from within to the outside, it is very different to other types of kung fu. I am now going to pass on to you the formula of our sect’s internal energy, you must remember it clearly.” He then passed on the formulae to the sect’s internal energy theories, and recited a segment.

Yang Guo just listened to it once, and had already memorized it, and thought, “That old goat hates me, why would he teach me real kung fu? He’s probably trying to make a fool out of me and teach me some useless fake formulae.”

After a while, he pretended to forget, and asked Zhao Zhijing to repeat it again. Zhao Zhijing repeated it again.

The next day, Yang Guo asked his teacher again, and heard that it was exactly the same as it was the day before, he then believed they were real, if the formulae were made up, then it would be impossible that every single word was the same when repeated three times.

Ten days passed this way, Zhao Zhijing only taught him the formulae, and did not say one word on how to practice them. On the tenth day, Zhao Zhijing took him to Ma Yu, and said that he has taught him their sect’s formulae for practicing internal energy, and told Yang Guo to recite it to Grand Master. Yang Guo recited the whole thing; he didn’t say one word wrong. Ma Yu was pleased, and praised him for being so clever. He was a kind and generous Taoist, a gentleman; he would never have thought that Zhao Zhijing had such a scheme.

Summer went and autumn arrived, autumn passed and winter came, a few months passed in the wink of an eye. Yang Guo had memorized a stack of formulae, but he had not learned an ounce of kung fu, he had not improved his martial arts or his internal energy since he had been on the mountain. A few days after he first began to remember and recite the formulae, he knew that his teacher was making a fool out of him, but he didn’t dare to complain. But he had no other ideas; the headmaster of the sect was peaceful and soft hearted, if he told him, he would only reproach Zhao Zhijing with a few words. He was scared that the old goat would conjure up some other plan to torture him; he could only wait for his Grand Master to come back before he could do anything. But after many months, Qiu Chuji still had not returned. It was fortunate that Yang Guo did not respect the martial arts of the Quanzhen sect, he didn’t care if he learned them or not, but because Zhao Zhijing had used such a plan, he hated him even more. Yang Guo didn’t want to suffer for no reason so he pretended to be even more respectful to him.

Zhao Zhijing felt pleased with himself and thought, “You caused offence to your master, in the end who suffers?”

Time passed and it was soon the last month of the lunar year, a custom that had been passed down by Wang Chongyang requests that in the three days before the eve of the new year, all the sect’s students will spar with each other, testing how much each student has advanced in the last year. Every student knew the date was approaching, and each one of them trained non-stop.

On the day of the celebration, the students of the Seven Masters of Quanzhen had their own competitions, forming several small competitions. The students formed seven groups, the disciples and grand disciples of Ma Yu forming one group, Qiu Chuji, Wang Chuyi and the others disciples and grand disciples formed the others. Although Tan Chuduan was dead, his disciples and grand disciples still flourished and formed a group. Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji and the others often thought about his early death, and so would pay special attention to his students. Because of this, at each year’s duel, the students of Tan Chuduan would not lose to the other students.

After this year’s incident at Chongyang Palace, where the Quanzhen sect was almost overthrown, all of the students thought that although the sect’s kung fu is famous throughout the world for its orthodox style, they became a good challenge for many schools and sects. The title they had is highly dangerous, so everyone trained harder than ever before.

Wang Chongyang founded the Quanzhen sect and he was the sect’s first generation. May Yu and the other seven of them were his disciples, and they made up the second generation. Zhao Zhijing, Yin Zhiping, Cheng Yaojia are the students of the seven, and they formed the third generation. Yang Guo was therefore in the fourth generation of the sect.

After the morning meal, the Shining Jade elder’s students who included Zhao Zhijing and Cui Chifang and others assembled in the southeastern plain, where they dueled with each other. Wang Chuyi was not present, so his eldest student Zhao Zhijing was in charge of the proceedings. The fourth generation students demonstrated their punches and kicks, then with swords and spears, after that they performed with projectiles and finally showed off their internal energy, with Zhao Zhijing and the other third generation students in the group as the judges.

Yang Guo was the last one to enter the sect out of all of them; he sat aside and watched. He saw Taoists who were older than him, some who were about the same age as him and others who weren’t Taoists demonstrate impressive skills, but he wasn’t envious, instead he was full of hate. Zhao Zhijing saw that something was up with him, and wanted to make a fool out of him again, and so waited for two Taoists to finish competing with projectiles and then called out, “Come here Yang Guo!”

Yang Guo stopped for a second and thought, “You haven’t taught me an ounce of martial arts, why are you calling me out?” Zhao Zhijing called out again, “Yang Guo, come here now!”

Yang Guo had no choice but to walk to where they were sitting, and then made a bow and said, “Disciple Yang Guo hereby greets teacher.” Quanzhen sect was made up mostly of Taoists, but there were some members who were like Yang Guo and not Taoists, and so he performed the greeting for these members.

Zhao Zhijing pointed out to the Taoist in the arena who had just won and said, “He’s only a few years older than you; you go and compete with him.”

Yang Guo said, “Disciple does not know any martial arts, how can I compete with apprentice brother?”

Zhao Zhijing scolded, “I’ve taught you for half a year, how can you say you don’t know any martial arts? What have you been doing for the last few months?”

Yang Guo had nothing to say and hung his head.

Zhao Zhijing said, “You are lazy and mischievous, you don’t practice, of course your punches and kicks will become rusty. I ask you “What use is there to study the scheme of life? The heart dies, and passion with it.” What are the next two lines?”

Yang Guo replied, “The pure air fills the tools of movement; The light of the soul shines brilliantly on the body.”

Zhao Zhijing said, “Correct, I ask you again, “The teacher passes on the secret and comprehended at first; eventually there is no me.” What are the next two lines?”

Yang Guo replied, “Every year the dust is ground to the end; One side of the soul dazzles to emptiness.”

Zhao Zhijing gave a wry smile, and said, “Very good, not one word wrong. Go and use those formulae, enter the arena and compete with your apprentice brother.”

Yang Guo was startled once again, and said. “I won’t.”

Zhao Zhijing was pleased with himself, his face was furious and he shouted, “You’ve learned the formulae but don’t practice and only make up excuses, go down to the arena now.”

Within those few lines are the most important ideas in cultivating internal energy, teaching that the heart must be calm, refining the chi, but each line needs a fist or kick to accompany it, only then will a set of Quanzhen sect’s fist be formed. The rest of the Taoists heard Yang Guo reciting the formulae with their own ears, and not one word out of place, and knew that he was scared of competing, and tried to encourage him by ridiculing and laughing mockingly. The students of the Quanzhen sect are all good people, but after their battle with Guo Jing where the Taoists were beaten to the ground, he had offended many people. Many of them shifted their anger onto Yang Guo, and wished misfortune on him, although they might not have really meant it, they just wanted a way to vent their anger.

Yang Guo saw many people were urging him on, some were saying harsh words to get at him, he couldn’t control his anger and made a decision and thought, “Today, I’m not going to care what happens to me.” He then jumped into the arena, and moved his arms, running straight into the young Taoist. The Taoist saw that he wasn’t showing respect for the opponent, and was not following the sect’s rules by politely requesting a duel; he was shocked. He saw that Yang Guo was running around and fighting like a madman, he was surprised and moved back a few steps. Yang Guo had already decided to disregard his own life and ferociously attacked, every step going forward. The young Taoist moved back a few steps and saw that Yang Guo’s lower body was unstable, he slanted his body and threw a kick, the stance “Sweeping Wind Descending Leaves” (feng sao luo ye), and swept his leg. Yang Guo didn’t know how to dodge, he couldn’t stay upright and fell down on the ground, hitting his nose and blood flowed.

The Taoists saw how he fell, and some laughed. Yang Guo flipped around and picked himself up, he didn’t wipe the blood away; he dropped his head and jumped at the Taoist. The Taoist saw Yang Guo jumping at him and dodged to the side. Yang Guo did not use any orthodox kung fu, he reached with his two arms, and grabbed the opponent’s left leg. The young Taoist’s right palm came down, the stance “Wiping the Dust” (kai mo chen gou), it was a way to rid obstructions on your lower body. Yang Guo had not learned any martial arts when he was on Peach Blossom Island, and had not received any useful skills while at Chongyang palace, and didn’t have a clue as to what stance the opponent would use. He only heard a thudding noise, he felt a sharp pain in his shoulder; he had been struck fiercely by a punch. The more he suffered, the more ferocious he became, he head butted the opponent’s right leg; the Taoist’s leg became unsteady and he was forced onto the ground by him. Yang Guo whirled his fist, and ferociously struck out at his head.

The young Taoist gained victory from the jaws of defeat, his elbow struck Yang Guo’s chest fiercely, causing him severe pain, and used the chance to escape. He pushed and swung his hand, and caused Yang Guo to drop again; he had used the stance “No Debts No Dues” (wu qian wu yu). The young Taoist checked and said, “Apprentice brother Yang, thank you!”

Originally when dueling amongst each other from the same sect, once there was a clear winner the duel would stop, but he didn’t know Yang Guo was not finished. He came rushing forwards again. After two or three moves, Yang Guo was once again on the ground, but he became bolder as he went on, his punches and kicks coming out faster and faster.

Zhao Zhijing shouted, “Yang Guo, you’ve already lost, why are you still carrying on?”

Yang Guo ignored him, and kicked out; he had no plans to back down. The rest of the Taoists first thought it was funny but then thought, “When did our sect have such a reckless and rough kung fu?” After, they saw that he was fighting for his life and were afraid that something might happen. Many people called out, “Forget it…forget it. Its only sparring amongst apprentice brothers, there is no need to be  so serious.”

They fought for another while; the young Taoist became frightened; all he did now was dodge and block, not daring to come close to him. There’s a saying: One man fighting for his life cannot be stopped by ten thousand men. Yang Guo had suffered for half a year on Mount Zhongnan, and he let it all out. The young Taoist’s skills were higher than Yang Guo’s, but how could he cope? He saw that he couldn’t block anymore, he could only hurry around the arena avoiding him.

Yang Guo chased after him, and shouted, “Rotten Taoist, you’ve had fun hitting me, now you want to run?”

The ten people who were watching from the side at that time, eight or nine of them were Taoists, when they heard him say rotten Taoist, scoundrel Taoist and other insults, they were angry but also thought it was funny. They all said, “That kid needs a good lesson.”

The young Taoist was chased and harried, he was scared and shouted, “Master, master!” and hoped the Zhao Zhijing would come out and stop Yang Guo. Zhao Zhijing shouted, but Yang Guo did not take any notice.

When Yang Guo didn’t stop, a shout came out from the crowd, and out came a large Taoist, he stepped in and grabbed Yang Guo’s neck, picked him up, and struck three times across the face, the slaps were fierce, half of Yang Guo’s face immediately swelled up. Yang Guo was dazed by the three slaps, when he looked up, it was the Taoist whom he had a run in with, Lu Qingdu. When Yang Guo first came to Mount Zhongnan, he was almost burned to death by Yang Guo, after that, his apprentice brothers ridiculed him saying he got outsmarted by a little kid. He had always kept this in his mind, now he saw Yang Guo was being rebellious; he couldn’t resist and reacted.

When Yang Guo saw that it was Lu Qingdu, he knew that he was out of luck, and since he was being held up, he couldn’t fight. Lu Qingdu smiled wryly, and struck him across the face three more times, and shouted, “You don’t listen to master’s orders, you are our sect’s traitor, and anyone can hit you.” He raised his hand again, wanting to hit out once more.

Zhao Zhijing’s apprentice brother Cui Zhifang had seen Yang Guo fight and he had not used any of their sect’s kung fu. He knew what kind of character Zhao Zhijing was, so he was afraid that there was another reason for all of this; he feared someone was going to get hurt so he called out, “Qingdu, stop!” Lu Qingdu heard his Martial Uncle’s shout, although he didn’t want to, he had to put Yang Guo down and said, “Martial Uncle don’t you know, that child is extremely mischievous and crafty, if we don’t punish him heavily, how can there be order within our sect?”

Cui Zhifang ignored him, and went over to Yang Guo, he saw that both sides of Yang Guo’s face were heavily swollen, there were blue and purple marks, his noise and mouth were bloody; he looked a very sorry sight. He softly said, “Yang Guo, your master taught you martial arts, why didn’t you work hard and practice, and instead causing fights among your apprentice brothers?”

Yang Guo angrily said, “What master? He hasn’t taught me anything.”

Cui Zhifang said, “I heard with my own ears you reciting the formulae, not one word was wrong.”

Yang Guo remembered how on Peach Blossom Island Huang Rong had made him read books and recite manuscripts, and knew that Zhao Zhijing had taught him something that was not related to practicing martial arts. He said, “I don’t know how to incorporate them, what use is being able to recite a few words?”

Cui Zhifang pretended to be angry, and wanted to test that he really did not know any of their sect’s kung fu; he then put on a face, and said, “You are talking to a senior, how can you have no manners?” He stretched out his arm and pushed his shoulder. Cui Zhifang is one of most skilled students of the third generation, although he can’t be compared with Zhao Zhijing and Yin Zhiping, he was skilled, his internal energy high. His push was gentle yet it’s strength was judged just right, but he felt Yang Guo’s shoulder lean to the side, his internal energy emerged, and had already dispersed with just under half the force in his push. Although he stumbled back a few steps, he did not fall down.

Cui Zhifang was startled, he became suspicious and thought, “He is young, and has only entered our sect for just over half a year, how can he have such strong internal energy? He has good internal energy, just now when he was dueling; he was fighting madly, could there be something wrong here?” He didn’t know that Yang Guo had practiced Ouyang Feng’s formulae for internal energy cultivation; unwittingly his internal energy has gone up another level. The White Camel Mountain’s sect’s internal energy is easy to learn, progress can be made very quickly, but it cannot compare with the Quanzhen sect’s kung fu foundations. Within the first ten years of practicing, the students of White Camel Mountain’s internal energy will have increased very quickly until ten years pass, then the students of Quanzhen sect will have slowly caught up and start to overtake it. The two sect’s internal energies are very different, but because Cui Zhifang had just given a push without any real intent, it was hard for him to tell the difference.

Yang Guo had been pushed by him, and was winded, and knew that he wanted to fight him. Right now, he feared neither heaven nor earth, even if Qiu Chuji was here in person, he would still fight him, why would he care about Cui Zhifang? He then lowered his head and rushed forward, aiming for his lower abdomen. How could Cui Zhifang mess around with a child, he smiled and stepped aside, he wanted to see his real kung fu, so he said, “Qingdu, come and duel with apprentice brother Yang, watch yourself and don’t be too severe!”

Lu Qingdu could not believe those words, he immediately jumped in front of Yang Guo, his left palm came down, Yang Guo escaped to the right, Lu Qingdu hit out his right palm, this palm was the “Tiger’s Way Hand”, the strength behind it was not weak, a thudding sound, as Yang Guo was struck in the chest. If Yang Guo had not been practicing the White Camel Mountain’s internal energy, he would have definitely thrown up a pool of blood. He felt a severe pain in his chest; his face was as white as a sheet of paper. Lu Qingdu saw that he had not felled Yang Guo with this palm, and secretly felt that he was careless, his right fist now came down at Yang Guo. Yang Guo stretched out his arms to attack; he didn’t understand the finer points of fist skills; so he didn’t know the best way to repel this incoming attack. Lu Qingdu moved his right fist and came out with his left fist, another thudding sound as he hit Yang Guo in the stomach. Yang Guo bent down with pain. Lu Qingdu didn’t hold back, a right palm came crashing down on Yang Guo’s neck. He wanted to hurt him, wanting him to fall over now, wanting to avenge what he did to him. His life was on the line now but he still did not fall down, but now Yang Guo was dazed and didn’t have the strength to retaliate.

Cui Zhijing knew then that he didn’t know any martial arts skills and said, “Qingdu, hold!” Lu Qingdu said to Yang Guo, “Do you respect me now?”

Yang Guo shouted, “You damn Taoist, I’m going to kill you one day!” Lu Qingdu was furious, and punched him twice in the nose.

Yang Guo was beaten badly, he was wobbling and was about to fall down. He didn’t know where he was when suddenly a flow of warm chi surged through his “dan tian”, and he saw that Lu Qingdu was about to throw a third punch at him. There was no way to dodge, no where to escape, he spontaneously bent both legs and gave out a loud shout, his palm pushed out, hitting Lu Qingdu in the stomach. He saw a large body fly through the air, a thudding sound as dust flew everywhere in the arena, falling about ten feet away. The body was lying on the ground, and didn’t move.

The crowd of Taoists at the side watched Lu Qingdu taking advantage of his size and bullying someone smaller than him, and hitting Yang Guo venomously. It wasn’t right, the older generation apart from Zhao Zhijing came over to stop him, but they didn’t know there had been a  sudden  reversal  of  fortune.  Lu Qingdu had been sent flying by Yang Guo’s palm, his body lying there like a corpse not moving, everyone was astounded and rushed over to take a closer look.

Normally Yang Guo would not have been able to use the “Toad Stance”, but in a life threatening situation, it could be used automatically. The first time this happened was on Peach Blossom Island where he knocked out Wu Xiuwen. After many months, his internal energy had increased; that, plus the fact that he hated Lu Qingdu, and it was comparable to the hate he felt for the Wu brothers, with this in mind, he was able to knock him flying across the arena. He heard the other Taoists say, “Oh no, it’s terrible, he’s dead! He’s not breathing; his internal organs have been hurt! Quickly go and tell the leader and bring him here.”

Yang Guo knew he had caused a major incident, no one was thinking in the midst of this chaos, he picked himself up and ran away. The Taoists were too busy with Lu Qingdu’s life and didn’t notice that Yang Guo had slipped away. Zhao Zhijing saw that Lu Qingdu’s eyes were rolled back, and didn’t know whether he was dead or alive. He was startled and angry, and shouted out, “Yang Guo, Yang Guo, where did you learn this witchcraft?” His skills were high, but he had remained at Chongyang Palace for most of the time, he didn’t know much, of course he would not recognize the techniques of the “Toad Stance”.

The Taoists turned around, but didn’t see Yang Guo. Zhao Zhijing then gave out an order, and told them to go and capture Yang Guo; they thought how far could a small child like him get to in a short space of time?

Yang Guo didn’t know the roads, and just ran, he eventually chose to dive into a forest. After a while, he heard shouts behind him, everyone was calling out from all directions, “Yang Guo, Yang Guo, come out quickly!” He was nervous, and ran away again; he felt someone was in front of him, a Taoist had seen him, and came after him. Yang Guo quickly turned around; in the west was another Taoist, who called out, “Here! Over here.” Yang Guo crouched down and crawled underneath a bush. The Taoists were too big to crawl through; they had to go around it to find him. Yang Guo managed to escape but didn’t know where to go. After Yang Guo went through the bush, he headed straight and after running for a while, he heard the voices become quieter but he still didn’t dare stop. He avoided the paths, and ran through the long grass and rocks; he became bruised and cut up all over. When he couldn’t move any more he sat down on a rock to catch his breath. He sat for a little while, but then he thought; “Escape quickly, escape quickly.” But his legs felt like they weighed a ton, he almost couldn’t stand up straight. He heard someone laugh coldly from behind, Yang Guo was startled and turned around, his heart jumped out of his mouth, as he saw a man with deep brows and flared eyes, a beard hanging to his chest, it was Zhao Zhijing.

The two stared at each other for several minutes; during this time they did not move an inch. Yang Guo suddenly shouted and turned around to run away. Zhao Zhijing went forward and stretched out his arm and grabbed his chest. Yang Guo jumped forward and it was lucky he gained a few inches and managed to escape his clutches. He then picked up a rock, and flung it backwards with all his strength. Zhao Zhijing swerved to the side, he increased his speed and the distance between the two closed. Yang Guo ran madly for about twenty steps, and saw a deep ditch in front of him but he had run out places to run to; he didn’t know whether below was a deep valley or a mountain gorge but he didn’t give it a thought and threw his body forward.

Zhao Zhijing ran to the steep ditch and looked on, he saw Yang Guo rolling through the grass down the slope, and eventually into a cluster of trees. From where he was standing to the bottom was about sixty or seventy feet, he didn’t dare jump down; he quickly ran down the grassy slope. He saw the trail of flattened grass left heading into the forest, but he didn’t see a trace of Yang Guo. As he went deeper it became tighter, eventually so dense that light was shut out. He went forward for about one hundred feet, and then suddenly stopped; he was now on the land of the Tomb of the Living Dead where the sect’s ancestor had spent his younger years. Their sect had a strict rule: no one is allowed to take one step into the place. “Had Yang Guo escaped into here?” He wasn’t pleased, he shouted, “Yang Guo, Yang Guo come out quickly!”

He shouted a few times, the forest became silent, he became bold and took a few steps forward and saw a large stone slab. He took a closer look. Some words were engraved on it, “Outsiders stop now”. Zhao Zhijing paced back and forth for an hour, he then loudly called out, “Yang Guo you little scoundrel, if you don’t come out I’ll catch you and beat you to death.” After he said this, he suddenly heard a sound coming from the forest, he saw a grey mist moving, and a swarm of white bees came out from the leaves and flew towards him.

Zhao Zhijing was startled, he waved his sleeve trying to push away the bees, his internal strength was deep, there was considerable power in his sweeps, but after waving many times, the swarm of bees became two, one coming from the front, the other coming from behind. Zhao Zhijing became even more frightened; he didn’t dare to be slow and waved his arms frantically, protecting his body. The swarms dispersed, but then came back to attack from all directions from top to bottom, east to west, north and south. Zhao Zhijing didn’t dare to defend anymore, he protected his face and turned around and ran out of the forest.

The swarm of Jade Bees followed, although they weren’t very quick there wasn’t anywhere to hide. Zhao Zhijing headed east, the Jade Bees followed and headed east, he headed west, the Jade Bees followed and headed west. His arm movements became slower; two bees flew  through  the  gap  and  stung  his  right cheek. In a short while, Zhao Zhijing felt numb and it was hard to move, his internal organs began to itch, he thought, “My time is up today!”

Eventually he couldn’t keep his legs still, and rolled in the grass by the forest, crying out loudly. The swarm of bees flew around his body for a while, and then returned to the forest.

End of Chapter 4. 
@Chapter 5 – Tomb of the Living Dead
Yang Guo had fallen down the hill, and rolled into the forest’s long grass, he passed out, he didn’t know how much time had passed when he suddenly felt his body being pierced, he opened his eyes and saw countless white bees flying around his body, he heard the buzzing sounds, then he felt his whole body itch to the bone, a white blur was all he saw, he didn’t know whether it was real or an illusion, and he fainted again.

Some time passed when he suddenly felt a cold and fragrant liquid in his mouth, slowly flowing into his throat and then into his stomach but felt that he couldn’t speak; he opened his eyes and suddenly saw just two inches in front of him an ugly face full of warts and pimples, the eyes were fixed on him. Yang Guo was startled, and fainted again. The ugly person stretched out the left hand and held his jaw, the right hand held a container, and then poured some more of the sweet liquid down his throat.

Yang Guo felt that the strange itching pain he had slowly diminish, and noticed that he was now sleeping on a bed, and knew that the ugly person had rescued him, he smiled, trying to say thank you. The ugly person also smiled, she finished feeding him the liquid and then put the container down on a table. Yang Guo saw that her smile was also extremely ugly, but within the ugliness was a soft and gentle look, he was touched and there was a warm feeling in his heart, he pleaded, “Grandma, don’t let my master catch me!”

The ugly old maid softly said, “Child, who is your master?” Yang Guo had not heard such a soft and caring voice for such a long while, he became hot and started to cry. The old maid’s left hand held his hand, she didn’t say anything to console him, she just smiled and looked at him, her eyes were full of love and care; she waited for him to finish crying and then said, “Do you feel better?”

Yang Guo heard her tender voice; he couldn’t help it and cried again. She wiped away his tears and comforted him, “Good child, good child, don’t cry, don’t cry, the pain will go away in a little while.” The more caring she was, the harder Yang Guo cried.

Suddenly a soft voice from outside a hanging curtain said, “Grandma Sun, the child doesn’t stop crying, what is wrong?”

Yang Guo raised his head; he saw a white jade hand lift the hanging curtain, a girl entered. The girl wore an old fashioned delicate white dress, it was as if her body was covered with smoke and mist, she looked like she was about sixteen or seventeen years of age. Apart from her black hair, her body was as white as snow, her face was extremely beautiful, with just a hint of redness on her cheeks, and her face was pale and white. Yang Guo blushed, he immediately stopped crying; he lowered his head and felt slightly embarrassed. From the corner of his eyes he took a quick peek, and saw that she was looking at him; he quickly lowered his head.

Grandma Sun laughed and said, “I don’t have any ideas, you better take a look.” The young girl came by to the bedside, she looked at the wounds that were caused by the bee stings; she stretched out her hand and touched his forehead and felt that he wasn’t feverish. When her hand touched Yang Guo’s forehead, he felt that it was extremely cold; he couldn’t help but shiver a little. The young girl said, “It is nothing. You’ve already drunk the Jade Bee honey; you’ll recover in half a day. Why did you enter the forest?”

Yang Guo raised his head, and looked into her eyes, he thought that she was beautiful, without comparison, but she exuded an icy and emotionless aura. She was as hard and as cold as ice and it was difficult to tell whether she was pleased or angry, a friend or foe. He thought, “Is that girl made out of crystal or made out of snow? Is she a person, a ghost, or an angel?” Although he heard her voice was soft there was no warmth in it, he didn’t dare to reply.

Grandma Sun laughed and said, “Sister Long is the owner of this place, if she asks you something, you’d better reply!”

The beautiful girl in white was the owner of the Tomb of the Living Dead, Xiao Longnu. In reality her eighteenth birthday had passed, but because she had lived in the tomb since she was little and hadn’t seen the light of day, the internal energy skill she has practiced restricted her emotions. That is why she looked younger than she really was. Grandma Sun was her teacher’s maid, but since her teacher left the world, the two looked after each other. She heard the bees, and knew someone had entered the forest near the tomb, so Grandma Sun had come out to see who it was. She saw Yang Guo poisoned  and unconscious on the ground; she rescued him and brought him back here. According to their sect’s rules, no outsiders can enter the tomb even one step; a man entering the tomb was even worse. But Yang Guo was young, and she saw that his whole body was covered with wounds, so Grandma Sun could not ignore him and broke the rules to save him. Yang Guo got up from the stone bed and got onto the floor. He kowtowed to Grandma Sun and Xiao Longnu and said; “Disciple  Yang  Guo  greets  Grandma  Sun,  and greets Gu Gu (Auntie) Long.” Grandma Sun laughed then quickly went over to pick him up and said, “Ah, your name is Yang Guo, there is no need for such formalities.” She has lived in the tomb for a few years, and had never interacted with outsiders, she saw that Yang Guo was handsome and polite; she was pleased. Xiao Longnu only nodded her head, and sat on a stone chair next to the bed.

Grandma Sun said, “How did you get here? How come you are wounded? Who beat you like this?” After she asked her questions she didn’t wait for him to reply and went out to get some dim sum and cakes, and insisted on him having some.

Yang Guo ate a few delicacies, and told her his life story from start to finish. He was good with words, his story was already engaging, he added his emotions to it and it became even more touching. Grandma Sun kept on sighing, sometimes she would add her own comments, and her words all favored Yang Guo. She said that Huang Rong was a biased woman and unjust in her actions, and commented that Zhao Zhijing was narrow minded, bullying a child. Xiao Longnu didn’t make a sound and sat still on the chair, but when Yang Guo mentioned Li Mochou, she and Grandma Sun looked at each other. When Grandma Sun heard Yang Guo finish, she stretched out her arms and hugged him, and said, “My poor child.”

Xiao Longnu slowly got up, and said, “His wounds are not serious,  Grandma,  send  him  out!”  Both Grandma Sun and Yang Guo were startled. Yang Guo loudly said, “I won’t return, I’d rather die.”

Grandma Sun said, “Miss, if he returns to Chongyang Palace, his master will punish him.”

Xiao Longnu said, “You return with him, find his master and tell him there is no need to punish the child.” Grandma Sun said, “Ah, it’s another sect’s business, we can’t do anything about it.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Take a bottle of Jade Bee honey with you, and then tell them, the old Taoist will listen.”

Her words seemed to be suggestions, but there was strictness within her tone, it was hard for a sect member to disobey. Grandma Sun sighed, she knew she always spoke her mind, and there was no use to try to argue. When she looked at Yang Guo; her eyes had a different intent.

Yang Guo got up and made a bow, and said, “Thank you Grandma and Gu Gu for tending to my wounds, I’ll leave now!”

Grandma Sun said, “Where are you going to go?”

Yang Guo stood still for a while and then said, “The world is a big place, and there are many places for me to go.” But he didn’t really know where he would go, his face revealed a mournful expression.

Grandma Sun said, “Child, it’s because Miss doesn’t dare to let you stay, it’s a rule of our sect not to allow outsiders, don’t be sad.”

Yang Guo raised his head and said, “Grandma why do you say this? We’ll meet again some day.”

He spoke like an adult, but his voice was young, when Grandma Sun heard him she thought it was funny, but also felt sorry for him. She saw that his eyes were watery, and he was holding back the tears. She said to Xiao Longnu, “Miss, it’s the middle of the night, why don’t we let him stay until morning and let him leave then?”

Xiao Longnu shook her head and said, “Grandma, have you forgotten the rules set by Master?”

Grandma Sun sighed and got up, she quietly said to Yang Guo, “Come, child, I’ll give you an object to play with.”

Yang Guo stretched out his hand and wiped his eyes, he lowered his head and rushed out of the door and said, “I don’t want it, I’d rather die than return to the Taoists.”

Grandma Sun shook her head and said, “You don’t know the way, I’ll lead you out.” She held his hand. Outside the room, all Yang Guo saw was darkness, he was led by Grandma Sun, he felt them going around one corner and then another, he didn’t know how Grandma Sun recognized her way in these dark and twisty paths.

Although the Tomb of the Living Dead was called a tomb, in actual  fact  it  was  a  large  spacious underground storeroom. Before Wang Chongyang had started to fight the Jin, he had used thousands of man-hours and many years to construct the tomb. He secretly stored some supplies there, and it became an important base in the area. From the outside it looked like a tomb, but this was to disguise the building from the ears and eyes of the Jin, and even if they did enter, the tomb had countless traps to repel the invaders.

If Wang Chongyang’s soldiers failed in battle, they would retreat into the tomb. There were many rooms within the tomb, there were complicated tunnels, if outsiders entered, in the dark or even with bright torches and candles they would get lost easily.

The two exited the tomb, and in the middle of the forest they suddenly heard someone from the outside clearly shouting out, “It’s Quanzhen’s disciple Yin Zhiping, master has ordered me to greet Miss Long.” The voice was spaced out; it came from a distance.

Grandma Sun said, “There are people outside looking for you, don’t go out.”

Yang Guo was angry and alarmed, his body shivered and said, “Grandma, don’t worry about me. A person should be responsible for their actions, I accidentally killed someone, let them kill me.” When he finished he ran out.

Grandma Sun said, “I’ll follow you.”

Grandma Sun held Yang Guo’s hand and exited the forest, arriving in the open land in front of the forest. Under moonlight they saw six or seven Taoists standing together, another four of them were holding torches, and they carried the heavily wounded Zhao Zhijing and Lu Qingdu. The Taoists saw Yang Guo, they said a few quiet words amongst themselves and all took a few steps forward.

Yang Guo escaped from Grandma Sun’s grasp and ran forward and said, “I’m here, if you want to kill or torture me, it’s up to you.”

The Taoists could not believe that such a small child was so bold; it was completely unexpected. A Taoist came forward and grabbed Yang Guo’s neck and dragged him. Yang Guo chuckled and said, “I’m not going to escape, what’s the hurry?” That Taoist was Zhao Zhijing’s eldest student; he knew that his teacher suffered the pain of the Jade Bee’s sting because of Yang Guo. He was in extreme pain and didn’t know whether his life could be saved. He had always respected his teacher, and felt that the worst offence anyone can do is to rebel against their teacher. When he saw Yang Guo coming, he threw a punch at Yang Guo’s head.

Grandma Sun and the Taoists had always been on relatively good terms, but when she saw Yang Guo being dragged; she wasn’t pleased at all. Now he is being beaten, how could she control her temper? She immediately took a large step forward; she swept her sleeve and brushed away the Taoist’s hand. The Taoist felt a severe pain in his wrist, and automatically loosened his hand. He was about to shout when Grandma Sun picked up Yang Guo, turned around, and walked away.

When they first saw her, they thought that she was just an old and feeble maid, but she was rapid in her movements in taking Yang Guo. The Taoists stood still for a while; she had already taken Yang Guo about ten feet away. Three Taoists angrily shouted, “Let him go!” and rushed forward.

Grandma Sun stopped and turned around; she chuckled and said, “You men want to stop us?”

Yin Zhiping knew that the people of the Tomb of the Living Dead and his sect had a deep affiliation, and didn’t dare to offend them, he quickly stopped everyone and  said,  “Everyone  spread  out,  and  show manners in front of Senior.”

He then walked up, and greeted Grandma Sun and said, “Disciple Yin Zhiping greets Senior.” Grandma Sun said, “What do you want?”

Yin Zhiping said, “That child is a disciple of the Quanzhen, can Senior please return him.”

Grandma Sun’s brows rose, she yelled, “You beat him when you were still in front of me. When you take him back to your palace, you are going to find ways to torture him. You want me to release him; not in a million years!”

Yin Zhiping kept his temper and said, “That child is extremely disobedient and mischievous, he showed no respect for his seniors, and broke the rules of our sect. In the Wulin world, one of the most important rules is to respect your master and seniors, it is right to blame him for his troubles.”

Grandma Sun shouted, “Not respecting seniors; its just words.” She pointed to the Taoist lying on the stretcher, Lu Qingdu, and said, “The child dueled with that fat Taoist, it was your Quanzhen sect’s rules. To start with, he didn’t want to compete, but you lot forced him into the arena. If you are going to fight, of course there is going to be a winner and a loser, if that fat Taoist is useless, who else can you blame?” She was already ugly, but now she was angry and swelled up, she was even more frightening. In the middle of her words, another ten Taoists came and stood behind Yin Zhiping, discussing the situation; they didn’t know who the loud ugly old woman was.

Yin Zhiping thought to himself, hurting Lu Qingdu wasn’t Yang Guo’s fault, but he couldn’t admit they were wrong in front of outsiders and said, “This matter is complicated, we will inform our leader, and let him be the judge of this. Can senior please return the child?" Grandma Sun chuckled, “How could your leader be a fair judge? The Quanzhen sect from Wang Chongyang to now, there hasn’t been one good person. Otherwise, how could you live so close and yet you don’t associate with us?”

Yin Zhiping thought, “It’s your sect who don’t associate with us, how can you blame our Quanzhen sect? You’ve insulted our sect leader with your words and that may be a bit too disrespectful.” But he didn’t want to say anything to harm the relationship between the two sects, and said, “Senior please forgive us, if our sect has offended you, then our sect leader will apologize to you publicly.”

Yang Guo held Grandma Sun’s neck and whispered into her ear, “That Taoist is sly, grandma don’t fall into his trap.”

Grandma Sun had brought up Xiao Longnu for the last eighteen years, and she had a desire to bring up a boy. Yang Guo was warm towards her like she was towards him; she was extremely pleased. She made up her mind and thought, “Whatever they say, they are not going to take the child away.”

She then called out. “You insist on taking the child, how exactly are you going to torture him?”

Yin Zhiping was startled, and said, “This disciple here and his father are from the same sect, I wouldn’t dare to harm a friend’s son, senior you can relax.”

Grandma Sun shook her head, “This old woman never listens to outsider’s words, leave me.” As she said this she continued on her way into the forest.

Zhao Zhijing was lying on the stretcher, the wounds from the Jade Bees were unbearable but he knew what was going on. He heard that Yin Zhiping couldn’t argue with Grandma Sun and the more he heard the angrier he got, he suddenly leapt off the stretcher, chased after Grandma Sun and shouted, “He is my disciple, if I want to beat him and insult him, it’s my choice. Not letting the master order his disciple, where is there such a rule in Wulin?”

Grandma Sun saw his face had swollen so much that he looked like a pig. When she heard these words, she knew that he was Yang Guo’s master, she didn’t have anything to say at the moment and could only make her way forward thinking, “I won’t let you order him, what can you do?”

Zhao Zhijing shouted, “What relation is that child to you? How can you stick your nose into this matter?”

Grandma Sun was startled, and shouted, “He isn’t a member of the Quanzhen sect anymore. He is now a member of our sect and has elected my master Xiao Longnu as his master; under heaven only Xiao Longnu can command him. There’s no need for you to meddle.”

When she said this, the Taoists were shocked. According to the rules of Jianghu, without the consent of your teacher, one must not have another teacher, even if that other teacher is ten times more skilled than their teacher. You are not allowed to do as you please and spread your wings whenever you want; to do so, they will have committed one of the worst offences there is. They will be despised by their peers in the Jianghu world.

When Guo Jing took the Jiangnan Seven Freaks as his masters, and later learned from Hong Qigong, he didn’t call him master. Only later did Ke Zhen’E and the others allow this and he and Hong Qigong had a master disciple relationship.

Because Zhao Zhijing had made Grandma Sun speechless, and because she had never associated with people of Wulin she didn’t know any rules. When she said what she said she didn’t know she had broken a major rule.

Most of the Taoists originally felt sorry for Yang Guo, and felt that Zhao Zhijing had not done the right things. But when they heard that Yang Guo had openly expelled himself from the sect…well, there hadn’t been such a thing since the founding of the Quanzhen sect and they were incensed.

Zhao Zhijing’s wounds reacted to his anger and he was in pain; it was difficult for him to bear and he felt like dying, but he suddenly said, “Yang Guo, is this the truth?”

Yang Guo did not know how high the sky was or how deep the earth was, he only knew that Grandma Sun was arguing with Zhao Zhijing to protect him. Even if she said he did thousands or millions of wrong things, he would have said he did them. Now it’s just a matter of changing sects and it was what he had wanted. She said he had made Xiao Longnu his master. Even if he was going to take a pig or a dog his master he wouldn’t delay, he said, “Rotten Taoist, scoundrel face, dog brain, bull nose old goat, you hit me; why should I acknowledge you as my master? It’s correct, I have already kowtowed and accepted Grandma Sun and Miss Long as my masters.” Zhao Zhijing’s temper flared up, he flew over, his hands aiming to grab his shoulders.

Grandma Sun insulted, “Scoundrel, you want to die?” Her right arm came out, aiming for Zhao Zhijing’s wrist. Zhao Zhijing was Quanzhen’s third generation’s highest skilled fighter, when it came to martial arts he was above Yin Zhiping; although he had a serious injury, he was still able to produce a fierce attack. The two clashed, and both took two steps back.

Grandma Sun gave a ‘humph’ sigh, and said, “Scoundrel, you’re not weak either.”

Zhao Zhijing’s first attack failed, and so launched a second. Grandma Sun didn’t dare to clash with him and stepped aside, her leg came out of nowhere from under her skirt. Zhao Zhijing heard the wind sound, and tried to dodge but his wounds from the Jade Bee stings started to itch, he called ‘ai’, held his head and crouched down. Before he finished his shout he was kicked by Grandma Sun in the side of his body. Zhao Zhijing flew into the air; whilst in the air he called out ‘ai’ again because of the itching pain.

Yin Zhiping rushed forward two steps, stretched out his arms, caught Zhao Zhijing and passed him on to the other disciples. He saw that the ugly old woman’s skills were extremely strange, he was up against a strong opponent, he made a signal, and six disciples came up and circled them, and formed a “Big Dipper Formation”, with Grandma Sun and Yang Guo in the middle.

Yin Zhiping called out, “Apologies!” As the ‘Tian Shu’ and ‘Yao Guang’ Taoists on either side of him attacked. Grandma Sun didn’t know the formation, after just a few stances she knew she was dealing with something powerful. She could only fight with one hand; the danger became evident after twelve or thirteen moves. Every attack she made was neutralized by Yin Zhiping’s command of the formation, and the attack of the formation was relentless. Ten moves passed then Grandma Sun’s right palm was trapped by two Taoists; from her left another two Taoists attacked, she had to drop Yang Guo and fend them off with her left hand. A whistle came from within the formation; two Taoists burst forward and grabbed Yang Guo.

Grandma Sun was alarmed and thought, “Those rotten Taoists do have some skill, and this old woman here can’t handle it.” She kicked away two of them, and a low ‘weng’ moaning noise was produced from her mouth. That moaning noise was initially quiet, and the Taoists did not take any notice of it, but after this noise, she made an opposite sound, high and low, the sound became louder.

Yin Zhiping raised his hands against Grandma Sun to guard himself. He knew the senior that used to live in the tomb had great skills and had competed with his sect’s founder to see whose were greater; he knew that her descendants must not be ordinary. When he heard the noise, he knew that this was a type of resonating sound skill, he quickly prepared himself in case the enemy tried anything; he listened for a while and her sounds were getting louder, he didn’t feel anything was wrong with himself and thought that this was strange. He suddenly thought of something and immediately became pale with fright. He was about to order the Taoists to leave, when he heard a ‘weng’ noise from far away, similar to the noise coming out of Grandma Sun’s mouth, and then immediately called out, “Run quickly!”

The other Taoists all stopped, and thought, “We have the upper hand here, we have captured the young and old in a short time, the old woman is just calling out madly, what is there to be afraid of?”

Suddenly a grey blur emerged from the forest, out came a swarm of Jade Bees, all aiming to land on the Taoists’ upper body. The Taoists had all seen the suffering of Zhao Zhijing, they all were frightened out of their wits, and immediately scattered and ran away. The swarm of bees chased after them.

When Grandma Sun saw that the Taoists could not escape, she laughed loudly. She suddenly saw an old Taoist dashing out of the forest, his hands holding two torches; thick smoke came out of the flames and he waved them at the swarm of bees. The black smoke smothered the bees, their formation became disorganized, and they couldn’t hold together and flew away.

Grandma Sun was alarmed, she looked at the old Taoist, and she saw that he had white hair and eyebrows, his face was long and he looked like one of the highly skilled fighters of the Quanzhen sect. She shouted, “Hey, who are you old Taoist? You scattered away my bees.”

The old Taoist laughed and said, “This old Taoist is Hao Datong, greetings Grandma.”

Grandma Sun did not associate with any people of the Wulin world. But because she lived a stone throw away from Chongyang Palace, she knew that Hao Datong was one of the seven disciples of Wang Chongyang. She thought how Yin Zhiping, Zhao Zhijing and the other Taoists’ abilities were not below hers, but now that old Taoist came and it would be troublesome. She smelled the thick smoke from the torches, it stank and almost made her vomit, and she then realized it was made from herbs that are used to kill insects. She saw that there were no bees around so she had to leave while she could, she shouted, “You’ve harmed my Mistress’s bees, you’ll pay for the damage, I’ll resolve this with you later.” She picked up Yang Guo and entered the forest.

Yin Zhiping said, “Martial Uncle, shall we follow or not?”

Hao Datong shook his head and said, “Our founder had set a strict rule, no one can enter the forest, we’ll return to our palace and discuss what’s to be done there.” Grandma Sun held Yang Guo’s hand and took him back inside the tomb. The two had just shared a difficult situation and had become closer. Yang Guo was worried that Xiao Longnu will not allow him to  stay. Grandma Sun said, “Don’t worry; I’ll be able to convince her to let you stay.” She then ordered him to rest in a chamber, and then went to look for Xiao Longnu to inform her of the situation.

Yang Guo waited a long time, but still did not see her return, he became anxious and thought, “Long Gu Gu most probably decided not to accept me, even if Grandma Sun forced her to accept, there would be no point in me staying here.” He thought for a long while and eventually made up his mind, he quietly went outside.

As soon as he left the room, Grandma Sun came over and asked, “Where are you going?” Yang Guo said, “Grandma, I’m going now, when I get a bit older, I’ll come and see you again.” Grandma Sun said, “No, I’ll take you to a place, and tell people not to bully you.”

When Yang Guo heard those words, he knew Xiao Longnu had not allowed  him  to  stay,  he  was disappointed and sad, he lowered his head and said, “There’s no use. I’m a mischievous child, where ever I go, no one will want me. There’s no need for Grandma to waste your energy.”

Grandma Sun had argued with Xiao Longnu for half a day, she saw that she will not be moved, she was troubled and didn’t know what to do. She felt sorry for Yang Guo, her blood rose and said, “Child, if no one wants you, Granny wants you. You follow me, where ever you go, Grandma will follow you.”

Yang Guo was delighted, he extended his hand and grabbed her’s, the two of them exited the tomb. Grandma Sun was still angry and did not turn back to collect some luggage, she scoured around in her pockets and touched a container, and remembered she had to give Zhao Zhijing the antidote for the bee stings. She thought that the Taoist was detestable but death was maybe a bit too extreme and she didn’t want to leave the trouble behind in case it caught up with them. So she took Yang Guo, and headed for Chongyang Palace.

Yang Guo saw that they were hurriedly heading for Chongyang Palace, he was frightened, he quietly said, “Grandma, why are you going there?”

Grandma Sun said, “I have to give your rotten master the antidote.” After a few paths, they had arrived. She leapt onto the roof, and was about to go for the courtyard, when suddenly the bell started to ring in the darkness, and she heard whistle sounds near and far. In a second noises came from everywhere, and knew that she was heavily surrounded; she became alarmed.

The Quanzhen sect is Wulin’s number one orthodox sect, they were normally well guarded, but things had happened recently and so they were more alert. There were lookouts everywhere and when they saw someone enter the palace, they sounded the alarm. The palace’s disciples all came to repel the foe. Another group of Taoists scattered around, one, so they surrounded the enemy, and secondly, so they can repel any reinforcements that the enemy might have brought along.

Grandma Sun quietly cursed, “This old woman here has not come to fight; who are you trying to scare?” She loudly called out, “Zhao Zhijing, quickly come out, I have something to say to you.”

Someone called out from the main hall, “Coming here in the middle of the night, what do you want?” Grandma Sun said, “This is the antidote for the bee stings, take it!” She threw over the container.

A Taoist caught it, and believed her but then thought, “Does she have good intentions in coming back to give us the antidote.” He called out clearly, “What medicine is this?”

Grandma Sun said, “Don’t ask so many questions, just give it to him to drink, and you’ll see the results.”

The Taoist called out, “How do I know whether you’ve come with good or bad intentions, and how do I know if this is actually medicine not poison. Apprentice brother Zhao has been tortured enough by you, when did you gain the heart of Buddha?”

Grandma Sun heard his words, her good intentions had turned into some evil intent, she was furious and put Yang Guo down on the roof, then quickly jumped in front of the Taoist and snatched the bottle back. She opened the bottle, and said to Yang Guo, “Open your mouth!”

Yang Guo didn’t understand but did as he was told. She tipped the bottle and poured the bee honey into his mouth and said, “Fine, just in case you think its poison. Guo’Er lets go!” She held Yang Guo’s hand and ran to the edge of the roof and jumped down.

That Taoist was called Zhang Zhiguang, and was Hao Datong’s second disciple, he was cursing himself. He regretted his words when he realized that she had bought along the real antidote, Zhao Zhijing now had no antidote and it would be difficult for him to survive, he quickly followed and blocked them with his hands. He smiled and said, “Old Senior, why are you so furious? I was just joking, there’s no need to take it seriously. We are neighbors, and have seen each other a few times, ha-ha, please bestow the medicine to us.”

Grandma Sun did not like his smooth talk, she stopped, and chuckled, “There is only one bottle of medicine, if you want some more, there isn’t any. You can find your own way to cure Zhao Zhijing’s wounds!” As she said this she sent out her hand and said, “Since you don’t greet a senior, I’ll teach you a lesson.” The palm was extremely quick, Zhang Zhiguang couldn’t avoid it, a clashing sound was heard, he was struck on the cheek, and his face was stinging.

By the door the two Taoists’ faces changed and both of them said, “Even if you are a senior, how can we let you do what you want in Chongyang Palace?” One sent out his left palm, the other his right, the two of them attacking together from two sides. Grandma Sun had fought the “Big Dipper Formation” before and knew it was powerful; she knew it would be best to avoid it. If she went to attack them, how could she fight them all in their formation? She dodged past the two palms, and picked up Yang Guo and headed for the rooftops. She saw that there was no one on the roof; she  wanted  to  escape  via  this  route  when suddenly someone jumped up on the roof and shouted, “Drop down!” sending two palms out. Grandma Sun was in midair, she had nothing to lean against, and could only fight with her right hand, one palm clashed with two, both of them were forced back, each of them on either side of the wall. Six or seven Taoists whistled, and crowded her into the corner.

These Taoists were the best fighters of Quanzhen’s third generation, and had come out to protect the main hall. In a flash, they moved back, and then rushed forward; the Taoists used a storming tactic and attacked many times. Grandma Sun was forced into the corner, and tried to break out with Yang Guo in her hand, but the Taoists formed a human wall and kept her back, she tried to break through many times but was forced back each time.

Ten moves passed. The one in charge of guarding the main hall Zhang Zhiguang knew that the enemy could not do anything and immediately lit a torch. Ten large candles were lit up all around the main hall, and shone on Grandma Sun’s pale face, an ugly face of a frightful person who hides in the forest.

Zhang Zhiguang called out, “Retreat.”

The seven Taoists who were attacking Grandma Sun took a step back, their hands across their chests, each holding their position. Grandma Sun caught her breath and then chuckled, “The Quanzhen sect is famous throughout the world, indeed they live up to their name. Over ten young and athletic men teamed up together to bully an old woman and a child. Ha-ha, so powerful, so powerful!”

Zhang Zhiguang’s faced turned a shade of red and said, “We are only trying to catch an intruder in the palace. We don’t care if it’s an old woman or a young man, if they were tall when they enter, they’ll be short when they leave.”

Grandma Sun chuckled and said, “What do you mean ‘short when they leave’? You want me to crawl out of here, is that it!”

Zhang Zhiguang had just been slapped painfully by Grandma Sun, he wasn’t going to let her off lightly, and said, “If you want me to let you go, its not hard, just agree to three things. One, you called your bees to hurt brother Zhao; you have to leave the antidote. Two, that child is a student of the Quanzhen sect, how can he expel himself from the school without the permission of our leader? You’ve got to leave him here. Three, you broke into Chongyang Palace, you have to kowtow in front of ancestor Chongyang to apologize.”

Grandma Sun laughed loudly and said, “I have long said to Mistress Long that none of the Taoists here have a good future, aren’t the old woman’s words true? Come, come I’ll go and kowtow.”

Grandma Sun lowered herself and began to kneel down. For Zhang Zhiguang this was unexpected, he was stunned, he saw Grandma Sun lowering her head, when suddenly he saw a flash, a projectile was thrown straight at him. Zhang Zhiguang cried out ‘ai ya’, he had tried to move out of the way quickly but the projectile was extremely quick and hit the corner of his left eye, his forehead was full of blood.

Grandma Sun had scoured her pocket and had grabbed the empty bee honey bottle, and calmly used her sect’s projectile throwing technique to send the projectile out. Her sect’s kung fu was designed for females, the techniques were all soft and of a ying nature, the changes mysterious, this stance “First Bow Greet After” (qian ju hou gong) was unexpected. Though it was just an empty bottle, but because of the short distance it was shot out from, Zhang Zhiguang did not expect it and could not avoid it.

The Taoists saw that Zhang Zhiguang’s head was covered with blood, they all shouted at the same time, and took out a weapon. Quanzhen’s Taoists all used swords, the courtyard lit up with the blades light. Grandma Sun got up and chuckled, she knew that it would be hard for her to complete this day. But she was strong and stubborn, she wouldn’t surrender, she turned her head and asked Yang Guo, “Child, are you afraid?”

When Yang Guo saw the  long swords brandished, he  had already thought to himself, “If  Uncle  Guo was here, even if there were more Taoists I wouldn’t be scared. But with Grandma Sun’s skills, we will not be able to break out.” When he heard Grandma Sun ask him the question, he clearly replied, “Grandma, just let them kill me. This business has nothing to do with you, leave quickly.”

Grandma Sun heard the child’s proud resilient air, and his concern for her, and loved him even more, she loudly said, “Grandma will die with you to grant the rotten Taoists their wish.” She suddenly shouted out “Now!” and dashed forward, she stretched out her arms, and  caught  hold  of  two  Taoists’  wrists;  she twisted them and snatched their swords. Her “Empty Hands Entering a Hundred Blades” kung fu was extremely strange; it was reckless yet it was mystifying and not ordinary. The two Taoists could not defend against this, and all of a sudden they had lost their weapons.

Grandma Sun gave one of the swords to Yang Guo and said, “Child, do you dare to fight against the rotten Taoists?”

Yang Guo said, “Of course I’m not afraid. It’s a pity that there are no other people here.” Grandma Sun said, “What other people?”

Yang Guo loudly said, “The Quanzhen sect is world renowned, such a heroic deed as bullying an orphan and an old woman, isn’t it a pity that there’s no one to spread this story?” He had heard how Grandma Sun and Zhang Zhiguang argued, and understood one of the points raised.  His  words  were  clear  and simple, his voice was bright and loud.

When the Taoists heard his words, half of them felt ashamed, they thought that ganging up on a small child and an old woman was a shameful thing to do. Someone quietly said, “I’ll go and tell our leader, and hear his decision.”

Right now Ma Yu was ten miles away at the far side of the mountain meditating in a small room; the sect’s affairs were handed to Hao Datong. The Taoist who said this was a disciple of Tan Chuduan, he felt that the situation has got out of hand and now the sect’s reputation was on the line. This matter had to be dealt by their sect’s leader personally.

Zhang Zhiguang’s face was struck by the empty jar and his left eye was covered in blood; he was furious and acted out on impulse. He knew that their sect leader was peaceful and he would order them to release Yang Guo and Grandma Sun. He will have suffered for no reason. He called out loudly; “First we’ll catch that evil witch, then we’ll let leader decide what to do. Everyone, catch them.”

The “Big Dipper Formation” gradually shrank back; they saw that she only had one hand to fight with but who would guess that when the seven of them rushed to within three paces of her, her sword swirled, and defended tightly; they couldn’t advance another step. The formation was led by Zhang Zhiguang, and needed a change of direction, but he was afraid that the projectile that struck him had poison on it. If he fought then the poison would spread faster, he closed his left eye and stood to the side controlling the formation. Since he had decided not to fight, the formation’s power weakened. The Taoists fought for a long time but couldn’t make any progress and began to get impatient. Suddenly Grandma Sun gave a shout and flung her long sword away, she dashed forward three steps and dodged pass the Taoists’ swords, and grabbed a young Taoist’s chest and picked him up, she shouted, “Scoundrels, will or will you not let us pass?” The Taoists stopped, but suddenly a body flew out from behind them, stretched out their arm and attacked Grandma Sun’s wrist. Grandma Sun did not see that person’s face clearly; she felt a numbing sensation in her wrist and the young Taoist she had in her hands was taken by him. She felt a strong wind coming towards her, the person was sending out a palm to attack her. Grandma Sun thought, “That person’s palm is extremely fast.” She quickly pushed out her own palms to repel the attack. The two palms met and made a clashing sound, and Grandma Sun took a step back. The person also took a slight step back, about an inch or so, then immediately followed with a second palm without a pause. Grandma Sun also sent out her palms to attack, and was forced back another step. The person took half a step forward and sent out a third palm. The three palms sent out were faster than the last, and forced Grandma Sun back three steps, she didn’t have a chance to see who her opponent was, by the fourth palm, Grandma Sun’s back was forced up against the wall; she had nowhere to retreat. The person sent out a right palm, and locked palms with Grandma Sun, and he calmly said, “Grandma, leave the antidote and the child here!”

Grandma Sun raised her head, and saw that the person had a head full of white hair and white eyebrows, his face was purple, it was the man who had earlier used poison smoke to fend off her bees, Hao Datong. After the first three palms, she knew that his internal  energy  was  profound,  and  above  hers,  if  he increased his palm’s power, she would not be able to hold on, but she was strong and stubborn, she would rather die than give in, she shouted, “If you want me to leave the child, first you have to kill me.”

Hao Datong knew their sect and his teacher had a deep history and didn’t wish to harm her, he held back on his palm, and said, “We have been neighbors for over ten years, why risk our friendship over a small child.”

Grandma Sun chuckled, and said, “I originally came here to give you the antidote, so ask your disciples, what this is all about.”

Hao Datong turned his head around to ask his disciples when suddenly Grandma Sun sent out a kick, aiming for his legs. That kick came out of nowhere, her body or skirt didn’t move, the opponent’s leg was coming into his stomach, there wasn’t time to move back, under this threat he reacted, and channeled more strength into his palm, a ‘hey’ sound was heard as Grandma Sun was pushed backwards. His push contained all the internal energy he has cultivated over the years using Quanzhen’s advanced internal energy cultivation techniques. He heard a thudding sound as dust from the upper part of the wall fell down. Grandma Sun spat out a pool of blood, and slowly dropped down onto the floor.

Yang Guo was shocked, and hugged her body and said, “If you want to kill someone, kill me. There is no need to harm Grandma.”

Grandma Sun opened her eyes and chuckled and said, “Child, looks like we are going to die in the same place.”

Yang Guo loosened his arms, and guarded her, his back to Hao Datong and the others, he ignored his own safety. Hao Datong’s palm was serious, he saw that his opponent was injured and was very regretful about his attack. He wanted to go over and take a closer look at Grandma Sun’s injury, and give her medicine to heal the wound, but Yang Guo blocked his way and he couldn’t get close. He softly said, “Yang Guo, move out of the way, let me take a closer look at Grandma.”

Yang Guo didn’t believe him and held Grandma Sun tightly. Hao Datong tried to persuade him a few times but saw that Yang Guo was ignoring him; he became impatient and stretched out his arm to pull him away. Yang Guo loudly shouted, “Rotten Taoists, scoundrels, you can kill me, I won’t let you harm Grandma.”

Just as he was saying he won’t surrender Grandma Sun, a cold voice from behind suddenly said, “Bullying a child and an old woman, how heroic is that?”

Hao Datong heard the cold and icy voice, his heart shivered. He turned around to take a look and saw an extremely beautiful young girl standing at the entrance to the main hall. Her clothes were as white as snow, and her eyes froze those who looked at her. Once the palace’s bell rang, within ten li, the area would be tightly guarded. Yet the girl managed to enter without alerting anyone. No one knew how she managed to enter without making a sound.

Hao Datong asked, “Miss, who are you? What do you want?”

The young girl glanced at him and didn’t reply, and went over to Grandma Sun. Yang Guo raised his head and mournfully said. “Long Gu Gu this evil Taoists killed Grandma!” The girl in white was Xiao Longnu. She had witnessed everything clearly from Grandma Sun leaving the tomb with Yang Guo, going to the palace, and Grandma Sun fighting. If Hao Datong had not used such a lethal move, she would not have shown herself, but now Grandma Sun had suffered a serious injury. Had she wanted to come and help it was now too late. She had seen with her own eyes how Yang Guo had disregarded his life to protect Grandma Sun; his eyes were full of tears. She nodded and said, “Everyone dies, there is nothing special about death.”

Grandma Sun had brought her up by herself and treated her like a daughter; but Xiao Longnu had lived in a detached state for these eighteen years, and  cultivated  the  sect’s  internal  energy;  she  didn’t  have  a touch of grief or anger in her. She saw that Grandma Sun was beyond help and so there was no need to feel sorrow. However, for a split second, she felt grief for a loved one, but no emotion was shown on her face. Hao Datong heard Yang Guo had called her ‘Long Gu Gu’, and knew that it was the Xiao Longnu who had chased Prince Huo Dou away, and he was surprised. The news of how Huo Dou had been forced to run away had spread throughout the world of Jianghu. Though Xiao Longnu had never taken a step away from Mount Zhongnan, her name was now known throughout the Wulin world.

Xiao Longnu turned her head around slowly, and looked at the Taoists. Hao Datong’s internal energy was deep and he was able to keep a still body and mind. When the other Taoists saw her clearly, and looked into her frosty and captivating eyes, they could not stop their hearts from trembling.

Xiao Longnu stooped down to take a closer look at Grandma Sun and asked, “Grandma Sun, how are you?”

Grandma Sun sighed and said, “Miss, I have never requested anything from you in my entire life, I beg you, will you allow me a request or won’t you.”

Xiao Longnu wrinkled her elegant brows slightly and said, “What do you want me to do?” Grandma Sun nodded her head, and pointed to Yang Guo, she wasn’t able to speak for the time being. Xiao Longnu said, “You want me to take care of him?”

Grandma Sun forced a deep breath and said, “I beg you to look after him forever, don’t let others harm him, can you promise me that?

Xiao Longnu hesitantly said, “Look after him forever?”

Grandma Sun sternly said, “Miss, if this old woman doesn’t die, I will look after you forever. Who clothed you, fed you and changed you when you were little, wasn’t it all done by this old woman? How… have you repaid me?”

Xiao Longnu bit her lip and said, “Alright, I promise.”

A smile crept upon Grandma Sun’s face. Her eyes looked at Yang Guo; she wanted to say something but couldn’t catch her breath. Yang Guo knew what she wanted and lowered his ear to her mouth and quietly said, “Grandma, you want to say something to me?”

Grandma Sun said, “Lower your head a bit more.”

Yang Guo lowered himself further, and placed his ear right by her mouth.

Grandma Sun whispered, “Your Auntie Long has no one to depend on, you…you…” when she got up to this point she couldn’t say anything more. She suddenly spat out a mouthful of blood, Yang Guo’s face and clothes were speckled with blood, her eyes closed and she passed away.

Yang Guo shouted, “Grandma, Grandma!” He was grief stricken; he held her body and sobbed.

The Taoists who saw this felt a touch of sorrow, and Hao Datong was even more regretful, he went up to Grandma Sun and paid his respects and said, “Grandma, I didn’t mean to hurt you. This sin that has come upon me is ruled by your fate. Grandma, go peacefully!”

Xiao Longnu stood up, but didn’t say anything and waited for him to finish. The two of them stared at each other. Half an hour passed then Xiao Longnu frowned again and said, “What? You are not going to kill yourself to repay your debt; you want me to do it for you?”

Hao Datong was startled and said, “What?”

Xiao Longnu said, “You killed someone so you need to pay the life back, kill yourself and finish this and I’ll spare the lives of all the Taoists here.”

Before Hao Datong could reply, the Taoists that were around him spoke out. There were about thirty or forty Taoists here in the main hall, all saying; “Little girl, leave quickly now and we won’t make it hard for you.”

“What crap! Kill yourself and finish this, and you’ll spare our lives” “This young girl does not know how high the sky is or how deep the earth is.” When Hao Datong heard the Taoists clamor he quickly waved his hand to tell them to be quiet.

Xiao Longnu ignored all the Taoists’ comments, and slowly took out a silk object from her pocket, the object was a glove and she slipped it on her right hand. She separated her hands, with her right she placed a silk belt into her left hand and she quietly said, “Old Taoist, you are a coward, you are afraid of killing yourself, take out a weapon and get ready to fight!”

Hao Datong smiled and said, “This old man hurt Grandma Sun by accident, I don’t want to fight with you, take Yang Guo and leave this place.” He thought that although she has become famous for forcing Huo Dou to run away, she just relied on the threat of her Jade Bees. She is of a young age, even if her skills have their fine points, she would not be any better than Grandma Sun. So he decided to let her leave; firstly because of their sect’s first generation’s  relationship,  secondly  he  was  troubled  by  accidentally killing Grandma Sun; it was for the best.

He didn’t guess that Xiao Longnu would not take any notice of his words, her left arm raised, a strip of silk suddenly flew out from the floor, heading straight for Hao Datong’s face. That move came without making a noise and out of nowhere, there was no warning. Under the candlelight, he saw a gold coloured sphere tied to the silk belt. Hao Datong saw that she unleashed her move extremely quickly, and the weapon she used was extremely strange, and was uncertain on how to react. He was old and the years had made him more prudent; although he had faced many skilled fighters before, he didn’t dare to receive the attack head on and moved to the left.

He didn’t know that Xiao Longnu’s belt could change direction in midair. Hao Datong leaped to the left, the belt followed him to the left, three sounds were heard as the gold sphere shook three times, and hit his face’s ‘Meeting Fragrance’ (Ying Xiang), ‘Receiving Tears’ (Cheng Qi) and ‘Central’ (Ren Zhong) three pressure points. The moves used to hit the pressure points were extremely fast, nothing more could be done during this time. It was one of the best skills in the Wulin world. He heard the gold sphere rattle two times, and although it wasn’t loud it was extremely strange. As it entered the ear it moved the heart and shook the soul. Hao Datong was alarmed and quickly used the “Metal Board Bridge” (tie ban qiao), his body moved backwards; the silk belt swept swiftly inches away from his face. He was afraid of the gold sphere pursuing and attacking him. His kung fu was refined, and as he was stepping back he suddenly leaped up three meters. Xiao Longnu didn’t predict this; a ‘zheng’ sound was made as the sphere hit the floor. Her pressure point hitting technique with the sphere was all linked and continuous, but in the midst of danger, Hao Datong managed to luckily escape. Hao Datong straightened his body, his face changed colour. The surrounding Taoists were either his disciples or were his martial nephews and they all respected his skills. Though he wasn’t harmed, they were astonished at the way he scampered out of the last attack. Four Taoists raised their swords and aimed for Xiao Longnu.

Xiao Longnu said, “Yes, you should have used your weapons long ago!”

She waved her hands, two silk belts moved out like snakes, two ‘ting’ sounds were heard, the ‘Spirit Channel’ (ling dao) pressure points on their wrists were struck, and the four swords struck the floor. The Taoists’ faces changed color, none of them dared to attack again after that move.

Hao Datong had initially thought Xiao Longnu’s skills were ordinary, but didn’t think that he would almost lose to her. His dislike for the enemy increased and he took a long sword out of the hands of one of the disciples, and said, “Miss Long’s skills are excellent, this old Taoist applauds, come, come, let the old Taoist test some of Miss Long’s advanced skills.”

Xiao Longnu nodded her head, two ‘ting’ sounds were heard, the two belts swept in from the left and right.

According to seniority, Hao Datong was one level above Xiao Longnu and out of respect for dueling with a senior, Xiao Longnu should hold back on the first three moves. But her stances were full of killer intent immediately, and ignored any rules of the Wulin world.

Hao Datong thought, “Although the girl’s skills are not weak, she doesn’t seem to understand rules. She hasn’t had much battle experience; I doubt that she can show much more ability in this battle.” His left hand followed the sword as his right hand held it, and he fought against the white silk belts.

The Taoists all circled around and watched the battle closely. Under the flickering candlelight, one could only see a girl dressed in white, an old Taoist in grey. The belts looked like rainbows and the sword moved like lightning as they engaged in battle.

Hao Datong had put sweat and blood into training his sword skills. When it came to sword skills, his were ranked third or fourth. But Xiao Longnu flipped and rolled and avoided many of his stances, he wasn’t able to gain any advantage. Xiao Longnu’s silk belts were like sinuous snakes circling around, and the two gold spheres continuously sent out ‘ting’ sounds which was even more disturbing for the opponent.

Hao Datong had fought for a long while without gaining the upper hand. Although he wasn’t losing, it was slightly embarrassing. He thought about how he was well known as a skilled fighter in the world of Wulin, yet he had fought over one hundred stances with the young girl but still was unable to gain any advantage. He became impatient and changed his sword style, fast became slow, though his stances became much slower than before, the force behind the sword increased many times over. At first he was only able to avoid his sword tip being trapped by the silk belts; now the sword strength increased, he was able to cut and chop the belts.

More stances passed when suddenly a clashing sound was heard as the sword tip clashed with a golden sphere. Hao Datong’s internal energy was profound and he knocked the golden sphere out of the way, hitting it towards Xiao Longnu. He then attacked forward. The Taoists saw the sword pass the advance of a silk belt, heading for Xiao Longnu’s wrist. They thought that she had to let go of the silk belt otherwise her wrist would be pierced.

Who would have guessed that Xiao Longnu’s right hand turned over and caught the blade of the sword; a ‘ka’ sound was heard as the sword snapped in half.

The Taoists all gasped in surprise. Hao Datong quickly jumped backwards, his hand holding the snapped sword, and was left standing in shock. He didn’t know that the opponent’s glove was made out of an extremely fine and extremely tough white gold thread; it was a unique weapon that was passed down by her ancestors. Although it was fine and light, no blade or spear could pierce it; not even precious knives or sharp swords could damage it. She had held the sword’s blade and used her strength to break it.

Hao Datong was pale; he had just suffered a great defeat. He didn’t realize that there was something special about her glove and thought that she had mastered the advanced skills of being impenetrable by swords and spears. His voice quavered as he said, “Good, good, good, this old Taoist admits defeat. Miss Long, take the child and leave.”

Xiao Longnu said, “You’ve killed Grandma Sun; now just a word admitting defeat and that’s it?”

Hao Datong laughed out at the sky and said, “I’m really stupid!” He raised his broken sword and aimed for his neck.

A sudden noise was heard, his hand shook severely; a coin had come from beyond the walls, and knocked the sword out of his hand onto the floor. His energy was profound, how easy could it be for someone to knock the sword out of his hand?

Hao Datong shivered, from the ability to use a coin to knock the sword out of his hand, he knew his martial brother Qiu Chuji had arrived. He raised his head and said, “Martial Brother Qiu, little brother is useless.” He heard a long laugh coming from outside the walls, followed by, “Winning and losing are normal; if those who lost cut their throats then even if your Martial Brother had eighteen necks they all would have been cut long ago.”

Qiu Chuji leaped over the wall and into the scene, his hand holding a long sword. He was a very straightforward man, he hated unnecessary talk, and stretched out his sword, pointing it at Xiao Longnu’s arm and said, “Quanzhen’s Qiu Chuji wishes to test our neighbor’s great skill.”

Xiao Longnu said, “You are very straightforward.” She stretched out her left palm and held Qiu Chuji’s sword.

Hao Datong quickly warned, “Apprentice brother, careful!” But he was too late, Xiao Longnu exerted her energy, and Qiu Chuji channeled his energy into his sword. The two of them competed; a ‘ka’ sound and the sword broke in half. But Xiao Longnu’s arm was shaken and was slightly numb; she felt a pain in her chest. Within this stance, she knew that Qiu Chuji’s ability was well above Hao Datong’s. She herself has not finished studying the “Jade Heart Manual”, and she would not be able to beat him. She threw the broken blade onto the floor. Her left hand lifted the body of Grandma Sun, her right hand Yang Guo; then she leapt up and soared into the air, flying away gracefully from the top of the wall.

Qiu Chuji, Hao Datong and the others saw her demonstrate her lightness kung fu and they looked on in astonishment. Qiu Chuji and Hao Datong had fought with her;  they  knew  that  she  was  blessed  with refined skills. But her martial arts level was still significantly weaker than theirs; however they had never seen such an admirable display of lightness kung fu.

Hao Datong sighed, and said, “It’s finished, it’s finished!”

Qiu Chuji said, “Apprentice brother, you have studied Taoism for many years, how could it be that you are not able to see past a small mistake? Our brothers and sister in Shanxi, didn’t we have another set of problems?”

Hao Datong was alarmed and said, “What? Was anyone hurt?”

Qiu Chuji said, “It’s a long story, we’ll go and see apprentice brother Ma first.”

After Li Mochou killed the Lu family she traveled to Shanxi, in Jinbei she killed a few more heroes of the Wulin world. She eventually provoked public indignation; the leaders of the Wulin world in that area sent our heroes invitations, inviting them to attack her. The Quanzhen sect was the receiver of one of these hero invitations. At that time, Ma Yu and Qiu Chuji discussed how Li Mochou has done many evil deeds, and though her sect and theirs had a long history, it would be best if they solved it and give her a chance to turn over a new leaf. Liu Chuxuan and Sun Bu’Er were at Meibei. However Li Mochou hid her tracks, and traveled around discreetly, Liu Chuxuan and Sun Bu’Er couldn’t stop her and she hurt some more good men of Jinnan and Jinbei. Eventually Qiu Chuji and Wang Chuyi brought with them ten disciples, and rendezvoused with Liu Chuxuan and Sun Bu’Er. Li Mochou knew that it would be difficult for one person to fight off so many good fighters, and so she agreed with Qiu and Wang to a duel. The first day’s duel was with Sun Bu’Er. Li Mochou secretly used her ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’ and pierced her. She immediately went up to them and gave them the antidote, and told Qiu Chuji they must accept it. This meant that they accepted a favour from her. According to the rules of Jianghu; they wouldn’t be able to chase after and fight her. The Taoists could only laugh bitterly as they made their way back. It was lucky that Qiu Chuji hurried back by himself, not traveling with the group, and managed to arrive in time to save Hao Datong’s life.

After Xiao Longnu left Chongyang Palace, she put Yang Guo down and carried Grandma Sun’s body back to the Tomb of the Living Dead. She put her body on the bed that she normally slept on, and sat down on the chair in front of the bed and didn’t speak a single word. Yang Guo threw himself on Grandma Sun’s body and cried incessantly. After a while Xiao Longnu said, “She’s already dead, why are you crying? Even if you cried some more, she wouldn’t know about it.”

Yang Guo was startled, and felt that her words were cold and emotionless, but when he thought about it her words made sense; then he was struck with grief once more and burst out crying again.

Xiao Longnu looked at him coldly, her expression remained the same, after another while she said, “We are going to bury her, follow me.”

She picked up the body and exited the room. Yang Guo wiped away his tears with his sleeve and followed her. The tomb’s passageways were pitch black, he opened his eyes wide but could only see the ghostly white image of Xiao Longnu, he could only follow closely, he didn’t dare to lose track of her.

She twisted east and winded west, after half an hour, she pushed open a heavy stone door and from her pockets she took a match and lit two oil lamps on a stone table. Yang Guo took a look around and shivered, he saw a large empty room with five stone coffins. He took a closer look and saw that two of them were tightly closed, the other three were half open, and he didn’t know if there were corpses inside.

Xiao Longnu pointed to the first coffin on the right and said, “Ancestor Grandma lies there.” She pointed to the second one and said, “Master lies there.”

Yang Guo saw her pointing to a third coffin, his heart jumped, he didn’t know who she was going to say lies in that one. The lid was not closed; if there was a corpse inside wouldn’t it be extremely putrid? He heard her say, “Grandma Sun will lie in that one.”

Yang Guo knew it was an empty coffin, and let out his breath. He saw the other two coffins and became curious, he asked, “What about those two coffins?”

Xiao Longnu said, “One is for my apprentice sister Li Mochou, the other is for me.” Yang Guo froze and said, “Li Mochou! Miss Li is going to return?”

Xiao Longnu replied, “My teacher planned it all, she will return. There is one coffin short because my master didn’t plan for you.”

Yang Guo was shocked and quickly said, “I don’t want one...I don’t want one!”

Xiao Longnu said, “I promised Grandma Sun that I was going to look after you forever. Since I won’t leave, then that means you won’t either.”

Yang Guo heard her talk about his life and death; he lost any sense of concern and said, “Even if you don’t let me go, when you die, I’ll be able to leave.”

Xiao Longnu said, “I promised to look after you forever, I won’t die before you.” Yang Guo said, “Why not? You are older than me!”

Xiao Longnu calmly said, “Before I die, I will kill you.”

Yang Guo’s heart jumped into his throat, and thought, “Maybe not. People have got legs, won’t I run away?”

Xiao Longnu went up to the third coffin and opened the lid, she then picked up Grandma Sun and placed her inside. Yang Guo didn’t want to abandon her just yet and said, “Let me take another look at Grandma.” Xiao Longnu knew they had just known each other for a over a day yet they managed to become so closely bonded, she agreed to his request. She frowned and picked up the corpse of Grandma Sun unmoved. Yang Guo looked at Grandma Sun under the dim light, and wanted to cry again. Xiao Longnu looked at him, then placed Grandma Sun’s body into the coffin; she pulled the lid over, a click sound, and the lid locked into place tightly sealing the coffin.

Xiao Longnu was afraid that Yang Guo would cry again and said, “Let’s leave!” She waved her left sleeve, the two oil lamps in the room were put out, and the room was plunged into darkness. Yang Guo was afraid that she would trap him in there and quickly ran out.

In the tomb, there is no difference between night and day. The two of them had a long day and were tired. Xiao Longnu ordered Yang Guo to sleep in Grandma Sun’s room. Yang Guo had wandered around Jianghu by himself since he was very young; he would normally sleep rough or in old temples, and was brave. But now, sleeping by himself in this room, he began to think about the dead people in the coffins and was frightened out of his wits. Xiao Longnu said a few words but he did not reply.

Xiao Longnu said, “Did you not hear me?” Yang Guo said, “I’m scared”

Xia Long Nu asked, “Scared of what?” Yang Guo replied, “I don’t know. I’m afraid to sleep by myself.”

Xia Long Nu frowned and said, “You can sleep with me in my room.” She then led him to her room. She was used to the darkness and would not usually light a candle, but because of Yang Guo she lit a wax candle. Yang Guo saw that she was beautiful, the clothes she wore were as white as snow, with not a speck of dust, and he thought that her room must be very elegant and refined. When he entered however, he was disappointed; he saw that her room was empty and was like the room with the coffins. There was a blue green stone bed with a cover of long grass, a white cloth for use as a blanket, and apart from these objects there were nothing else in the room.

Yang Guo thought, “Where am I going to sleep? I’m afraid that she wants me to sleep on the floor.” Then Xiao Longnu said, “Sleep on my bed!”

Yang Guo said, “That’s not right. I’ll sleep on the floor.”

Xiao Longnu’s face changed and said, “If you want to stay here then you have got to do as I say. If you want to fight with the Taoists of Quanzhen, it’s up to you. If you argue with me, I’ll immediately punish you with death.”

Yang Guo said, “If you say you won’t use that terrible punishment, then I’ll listen to you.” Xiao Longnu said, “You dare to talk back?”

Yang Guo saw that she was young and beautiful, but she was strict and domineering, he stuck out his tongue and didn’t say a word.

Xiao Longnu saw and said, “Why are you sticking out your tongue? You refuse to obey is that it?”

Yang Guo didn’t say anything, he took off his shoes and climbed onto the bed and went to sleep. He slept on the bed a while and then awoke as he felt his bones chilled, he was alarmed and quickly jumped off the bed. Xiao Longnu saw that he was frightened out of his wits and sympathized with him, but there was a slight smile on her face as she said, “What is it?”

Yang Guo saw that smile on her face, he smiled and said, “There’s something strange with that bed; you wanted to make a fool out of me.”

Xiao Longnu became serious again and said, “Who’s making a fool out of you? The bed is like that, quickly, go to sleep.” As she said this she took out a broom from behind the door and said, “If you get off the bed again, you will get ten whacks with this broom.”

Yang Guo saw that she was serious, and could only climb onto the bed again, but this time he was prepared and wasn’t shocked. It was as if there was a block of ice underneath the layer of long grass; the longer he slept the colder he became, his body shivered and his teeth chattered noisily. After a while, the coldness went into his bones, he couldn’t endure anymore and got off the bed again.

He turned around and saw Xiao Longnu looking at him; her face seemed to smile but didn’t smile. She had a punishment in mind for him, he secretly cursed himself in his heart and he clenched his teeth tightly and used all his strength to resist the coldness of the bed. He saw Xiao Longnu take out a rope, and tie one end to a hook on the eastern side of the room, and tied the other end to a hook on the western side of the room. The rope was off the floor at a height similar to that of a person. She lightly jumped up and lay along the rope, using it as a bed. She waved her left palm and the wind of the palm blew out the candle.

Yang Guo was in awe and said, “Gu Gu, could you teach me this skill tomorrow?”

Xiao Longnu said, “This skill is nothing. Practice hard, I have many great skills to teach you.”

When Yang Guo heard that Xiao Longnu was going to sincerely teach  him  martial  arts,  he  then immediately wiped away his initial feelings about her. He was grateful and tears were forming in his eyes, and said, “Gu Gu, you treat me very well, before I hated you.”

Xiao Longnu said, “I forced you out of the tomb, of course you would hate me, what is so strange about that?”

Yang Guo said, “I thought you were going to be like my previous master, teaching me useless kung fu.” Xiao Longnu heard him shiver as he talked and said, “Are you cold?”

Yang Guo said, “Yes, there’s something strange underneath this bed, why is it so cold?” Xiao Longnu said, “Do you like it or don’t you?”

Yang Guo said, “I…I don’t.” Xiao Longnu chuckled and said, “You don’t like it, yet there are many skilled fighters on this earth who wish they could have the chance to sleep on this bed.”

Yang Guo asked, “You aren’t punishing me?”

Xiao Longnu said, “I treat you well, and you think I’m punishing you, you really don’t know what’s good for you.”

From her tone, it seemed as she was saying that sleeping on this bed was a blessing, so he softly asked, “Gu Gu, what is so good about this cold bed, can you explain it to me?”

Xiao Longnu said, “If you sleep on this bed for the rest of your life, you’ll find out the benefits for yourself. Close your eyes, don’t speak anymore.”

In the darkness he heard her clothes rustle lightly, it seemed like she was turning over; she was sleeping on a rope in midair, yet was able to turn over when she wanted to. It was uncanny.

Her last two sentences were said with a strict tone, Yang Guo didn’t dare to question any further. He closed his eyes to sleep, but the coldness from below advanced on him; then he thought about Grandma Sun and he was depressed again, how could he sleep? After a while he quietly called out, “Gu Gu, I can’t stand it.” He heard Xiao Longnu’s slow breathing; she was asleep. He quietly called out twice, but there was no reply and he thought, “If I get off the bed and sleep on the floor, she wouldn’t know.” He then quietly sneaked down from the bed, and stood on the floor, not daring to breathe out.

As soon as his feet touched the floor, a ‘se’ sound was made as Xiao Longnu leapt down from the rope, and bent his left arm behind his back, and forced him onto the floor. Yang Guo shouted in shock. Xiao Longnu grabbed the broom, and hit his backside with force. Yang Guo knew there was no use in pleading so he clenched his teeth and took the blows. The first five were very painful, but by the sixth hit Xiao Longnu held back a little, and by the last two hits she was afraid that he won’t be able to endure it anymore and they were even lighter. After the ten blows, she put Yang Guo on the bed and said, “If you get off the bed again, I’ll hit you again.”

Yang Guo lay on the bed, and didn’t make a noise; he heard her place the broom in the corner and then leaped back onto the rope. Xiao Longnu thought that he would definitely cry, but didn’t think that he wouldn’t make a sound. She was surprised and asked, “Why aren’t you making any noise?”

Yang Guo said, “What is there to cry about, you said you were going to beat me, you beat me, even if I begged it wouldn’t be of any use.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Humph, you are cursing me secretly in your heart.”

Yang Guo said, “I am not cursing you secretly in my heart, you are much better than my previous master.” Xiao Longnu asked, “Why?”

Yang Guo said, “Although you hit me, you cared for my well being. The hits became lighter, you were afraid that I would be in pain.”

Xiao Longnu blushed slightly when she heard those words, it was lucky that it was dark and Yang Guo didn’t see her, she scolded, “Humph, who cares for you, the next time you are disobedient I’ll beat you even harder.”

Yang Guo heard her gentle tone and smiled and said, “If you beat me harder, I’ll like it even more.” Xiao Longnu spat out, “Little rascal, I’m afraid you won’t be able to sleep each day without a beating.”

Yang Guo said, “It depends on who beats me. If it was someone who cared about me, then I won’t be angry, I’ll be pleased instead. If it were someone who hates me, insults me one word, when I grow up, I’ll take my revenge on them.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Listen to your words; who’s going to hate you and who’s going to love you.”

Yang Guo said, “This is all clear in my mind. There is no need to mention those who hate me; there are countless people. The people who love me are my deceased mother, Uncle Guo, my Godfather, Grandma Sun and you.”

Xiao Longnu chuckled and said, “Humph, I won’t love you. Grandma Sun told me to take care of you; I will take care of you. There is no point in hoping that I will treat you well.”

Yang Guo was feeling cold already, but when he heard those words it was like someone had poured a bucket of cold water over him. He asked, “What’s wrong with me? Why do you hate me?” Xiao Longnu said, “Whether you are feeling good or bad, what is that to do with me? And I don’t hate you. I have lived in this tomb all my life, I don’t love anything, and I don’t hate anything.”

Yang Guo said, “Is there anything fun around here? Gu Gu, have you ever been outside?”

Xiao Longnu said, “I have never left Mount Zhongnan, there’s just trees and mountains, the sun and moon outside, what is so good about that?”

Yang Guo clapped his hand and said, “Ah, then you haven’t lived properly. There are many colorful and interesting objects in the city, you should see them.” Then he described all the things he had seen in his life. He was a good speaker, he added his own colorful descriptions and the objects he was describing sounded even more interesting and strange, he described hundreds of things. It was fortunate that Xiao Longnu had lived in the tomb for the past eighteen years; she didn’t question his descriptions and believed them all, after he had finished, and she gave out a sigh.

Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu, I’ll take you out to play, how about that?”

Xiao Longnu said, “Don’t say such things! Ancestor Grandma passed down a rule; those who have lived in the Tomb of the Living Dead must not leave Mount Zhongnan one step.”

Yang Guo was shocked, and thought, “Peach Blossom Island is an island in the middle of the sea, I went there and was able to leave, how can this large tomb keep me here?” and he asked, “Miss Li Mochou is your apprentice sister, she lived in the Tomb of the Living Dead, how did she leave Mount Zhongnan?

Xiao Longnu said, “She didn’t obey my Master, it was my Master who sent her out of the tomb.”

Yang Guo was pleased and thought, “If there is such a rule, when I want to leave all I’ve got to do is disobey you and you will send me out of the tomb.” He thought how he mustn’t let this slip otherwise his plan wouldn’t work.

The two of them talked, just for a moment, Yang Guo forgot all about the cold, but after a while his body started to shiver and shake. he then pleaded with Xiao Longnu, “Gu Gu, spare me please. I don’t want to sleep on this bed.”

Xiao Longnu said, “When you were fighting with your master in the Quanzhen sect, you didn’t say a word about mercy, why are you like this now?”

Yang Guo laughed and said, “Those who ill treat me, even if they beat me I won’t say a word. Those who treat me well, I’ll be willing to die for them, what’s a word of mercy compared to that?”

Xiao Longnu gave a ‘humph’ and said, “Little rogue, who’s going to treat you well?”

Xiao Longnu was brought up by her teacher and Grandma Sun, and for these last eighteen years they were her only company. The two of them treated her well but because her Master wanted her to learn the “Jade Heart Manual” so, ever since she was small, she was told to purge her emotions. When she cried or smiled she would be punished heavily. Grandma Sun was a warm person but she didn’t dare to disturb her refinement of the skill, and so Xiao Longnu became a cold, unfeeling, lonely girl. Now Yang Guo came. He was a young hot-blooded, emotional person, and the way he spoke was completely the opposite of Grandma Sun and her Master. Xiao Longnu heard him speak; she was aware that something was strange but she listened to him talking and forgot about their tiredness. When she first agreed to take in Yang Guo, it was at the request of Grandma Sun. Later on when she heard Yang Guo say that she treats him well, she felt that she indeed did treat him well.

Yang Guo heard her tone had no more strictness within it, he said loudly, “Its cold…its cold, Gu Gu, I can’t endure it anymore.” Indeed he was cold, but it wasn’t anything too serious.

Xiao Longnu said, “There’s no need to be noisy, I’ll tell you about the bed.”

Yang Guo was pleased and said, “Great, I won’t call out anymore, please tell Gu Gu.”

Xiao Longnu said, “I said that there are many fighters who wished that they had the chance to sleep on this bed, that wasn’t a lie. The bed is made out of an ancient Chilled Jade; it aids those who practice advanced types of internal energy.”

Yang Guo asked, “Isn’t it just a stone?”

Xiao Longnu chuckled and said, “You’ve said that you have seen countless strange and wondrous objects, haven’t you ever seen an icy cold piece of rock before? It was Ancestor Grandma who spent seven years of blood and sweat in the extreme cold of the northern plains to dig out the Chilled Jade from under thousands of feet of ice and snow. If you practice your internal energy on this bed, one year is equivalent of ten years of normal practicing.” Yang Guo was surprised and said, “Oh, so it has such benefits.”

Xiao Longnu said, “When you first sleep on it, it is extremely cold and hard to endure. Only by circulating your chi to oppose it and slowly getting used to it, you’ll be able to practice your internal energy in your sleep. A normal person who practices internal energy, even the most energetic, will have to spend a few hours each day in sleep. You have to be aware that practicing internal energy is opposing the natural flow of things, chi and blood intermix; it is completely different to what happens normally. But each night when you sleep, the chi that is produced in your sleep does not waste the energy you have accumulated in the day, it enhances your internal energy.”

Yang Guo understood and said, “If you sleep on ice and snow at night, then you will have the same effect.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Not so. Firstly, when you sleep on ice or snow, your body’s heat will eventually melt the snow and ice into water; secondly, the Chilled Jade is much colder than ice and snow. When you are refining internal energy, the most important thing to avoid is fire deviation; when you are practicing normally, half of your refined energy clashes with the fire in your heart. The Chilled Jade Bed is the world’s most yin and cold object. When sitting on the bed and refining your internal energy, the fire in your heart is cooled and neutralized. That means you will be able to press on further when cultivating your internal energy; how can that not be faster than practicing internal energy normally?”

Yang Guo was delighted, and said, “Gu Gu, you treat me very well, you lend the bed for me to sleep on, that means I won’t be scared of the Wu brothers and Guo Fu. Although Zhao Zhijing and the rest of the Taoists have practiced martial arts for so long, I still will be able to catch up with them.”

Xiao Longnu calmly said, “One of the decrees that Ancestor Grandma passed down was that once you have lived in the tomb, you must forget your struggles with other people.”

Yang Guo quickly said, “Even though they bullied me and killed Grandma Sun, we will just leave it just like that.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Everyone will die. Even if Grandma Sun did not die at the hands of Hao Datong, in a few years she would die of old age. Live a few more years or live a few less years, what difference does it make? Don’t mention anything about revenge to me again.”

Yang Guo felt that, although her words made sense, he could not let go; but he wasn’t able to think of a reply to what she said. Then, the coolness of the bed entered his body again, he shook continuously.

Xiao Longnu said, “I’ll teach you a method to oppose the coolness of the bed.”

She then passed on the formulae and the way to practice internal energy to him; it  was  their  sect’s foundation kung fu. Yang Guo practiced according to the instructions. He had only practiced it for a while when he felt the coolness retreating; by the third repetition, his body felt like it was on fire. He didn’t feel the bed’s coolness, and instead felt that sitting on the bed was extremely comfortable, his eyes closed, and slowly he fell asleep. He slept for half an hour; his hot chi disappeared, and was wakened by the bed’s coolness. He then repeated the method again. He spent the night this way, falling asleep and waking up again, but when he suddenly woke up he didn’t feel any tiredness. In just a night, his internal energy level increased further.

The two of them ate breakfast, and then Yang Guo took the bowls and chopsticks into the kitchen and washed them, before returning to the main hall.

Xiao Longnu said, “There is one thing you must understand. If you really want me to be your master, you must obey me for eternity. If you don’t want me to be your master, I will still teach you martial arts. If in the future you become better than me, then you can leave the tomb because of your skills.”

Yang Guo replied without considering, “I am willing to take you as my master. Even if you don’t teach me a drop of martial arts, I will still do as you say.”

Xiao Longnu asked, “Why?”

Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu, don’t you think I know that you care for me?”

Xiao Longnu made a face and said, “Whether I treat you well or not, don’t talk about it. Since you’ve decided to enter my sect, then follow me and you will undergo the ritual.”

Yang Guo followed her into the back hall, only to see it was sparse and empty, apart from two paintings on the eastern and western wall. On the western wall was a picture of two girls. One of them was around twenty five or six years of age, facing a mirror combing and adorning her hair. The other was a fourteen or fifteen years of age maiden, her hand holding a bucket, standing to the side. The tall girl looking in the mirror was extremely beautiful, her eyebrows tidy, yet in her eyes there was an air of death. Yang Guo took a few glances at the painting, and felt fear and respect towards the girl. Xiao Longnu pointed to the tall girl in the painting and said, “That is our Ancestor, kowtow to her.” Yang Guo strangely asked, “That’s our Ancestor, why is she so young?”

Xiao Longnu said, “She was young in the picture, later she wasn’t as young anymore.” Yang Guo focused on the two sentences, ‘She was young in the picture, later she wasn’t as young anymore’, he felt sorrow and regret in his heart and tears came to his eyes.

Xiao Longnu didn’t notice that he was thinking and pointed to the young girl and said, “That is my Master, quickly kowtow.” Yang Guo looked at the painting, and saw the young girl, who could believe that she would become Xiao Longnu’s Master; he didn’t hesitate and immediately kowtowed.

Xiao Longnu waited for him to stand up and then pointed to the painting hung on the eastern wall and said, “Spit on that Taoist.” Yang Guo took a look at the painting and saw the Taoist was quite tall, a long sword by his side, the index finger on his right hand pointing to the north eastern corner, his back facing out, his face could not be seen.

He was curious and asked, “Who’s that? Why should I spit on him?”

Xiao Longnu said, “That is the Quanzhen sect’s founder Wang Chongyang, our sect has a rule, after kowtowing to our Ancestor we need to spit on him.”

Yang Guo was pleased, he hated the Quanzhen sect, he felt this rule of the sect was a suiting finish; he spat out at the painting, and felt that this was not enough and spat out twice. He was about to do it again when Xiao Longnu said, “Enough!”

Yang Guo asked, “Did our Ancestor really hate Wang Chongyang?” Xiao Longnu said, “Yes.”

Yang Guo said, “I hate him as well. How come the painting is hung on the wall but not destroyed?”

Xiao Longnu said, “I don’t know, I only heard from Grandma Sun and my Master that there isn’t one good man on earth.”

Her voice suddenly became strict and she said, “When you become older and do bad things, shall I spare you or not?”

Yang Guo said, “Of course you’ll spare me.”

Xiao Longnu originally meant this as a warning, she didn’t know he would answer, she was startled and didn’t know what to do with him and said, “Quickly greet your Master.”

Yang Guo said, “Of course, I must kowtow to my Master. But first you have to got to promise me one thing otherwise I won’t kowtow.”

Xiao Longnu thought, “According to Grandma Sun, before accepting a disciple, only the Master can request things from the disciple, how can it be turned around and the disciple requests something from the Master?”

She was an emotionless person and didn’t get angry, she said, “What is it? Let me hear what you’ve got to say.”

Yang Guo said, “I regard you as my Master, I respect you and obey you, but I don’t want to call you Master, I want to call you Gu Gu.”

Xiao Longnu was bemused again and asked, “Why?”

Yang Guo said, “I had taken that rotten Taoist from the Quanzhen sect as my Master, he didn’t treat me well at all, in my dreams I curse my Master. That’s why I want to call you Gu Gu, in case I mistakenly insult you when I insult my Master.”

Xiao Longnu smiled slightly and felt that the way in which this child thinks was amusing, and said, “Fine, I agree to this.”

Yang Guo then knelt down grandly, and kowtowed loudly eight times in front of Xiao Longnu and said, “Disciple Yang Guo hereby pays respect and acknowledges Xiao Longnu Gu Gu as my Master. Yang Guo will obey her words forever, if Gu Gu is in any sort of danger, I will give up my life to protect her, if someone insults Gu Gu, then I will kill them.” In reality Xiao Longnu’s skills were better than his by ten fold, but he saw that she was a beautiful, gentle and fragile girl, a feeling of duty to protect weak girls stirred, and he came out with those words. Xiao Longnu heard his sincere words, although he spoke with a childish tone, she was touched nonetheless.

Yang Guo finished kowtowing and picked himself up, his face full of glee.

Xiao Longnu said, “Why are you so pleased? My skills can’t compare with Quanzhen’s Qiu Chuji or your Uncle Guo.”

Yang Guo said, “I don’t care if they were even more skilled, you are really going to teach me kung fu.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Actually there isn’t much use in learning kung fu. It’s just that there isn’t much to do in the tomb, that’s why I’m teaching you.”

Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu, what’s our sect called?”

Xiao Longnu said, “When our Ancestor came and lived in the tomb, she didn’t have any contact with the Wulin world, our sect didn’t have a name. Later my apprentice sister Li Mochou left and wandered around the world of Jianghu, others said she was a disciple from ‘Gu Mu Pai’ (Ancient Tomb sect), so let’s call our sect the Ancient Tomb sect!”

Yang Guo shook his head, and said, “Ancient Tomb sect isn’t a good name.”

He had just entered the sect and found fault with the name, but Xiao Longnu wasn’t too concerned and said, “Does it matter if the name is good or not? Wait here for me; I’m going outside for a while.”

Yang Guo remembered that he would be on his own in the tomb and became scared and said, “Gu Gu, I’ll go with you.”

Xiao Longnu looked at him and said, “You said you’ll obey for eternity, my first order and you don’t listen?”

Yang Guo said, “I’m scared.”

Xiao Longnu said, “You are a man, what is there to be afraid of? You said you were going to help me get rid of bad people.”

Yang Guo thought for a while and said, “Fine, come back quickly.”

Xiao Longnu calmly said, “I can’t be certain how long I’ll be; I don’t know if I can catch them so quickly.” Yang Guo said, “Catch what?” Xiao Longnu didn’t reply and walked away.

As soon as she left, there wasn’t a sound in the tomb. Yang Guo wondered what on earth she’s going to catch. She said she will never leave Mount Zhongnan, which means she was going to catch a Quanzhen Taoist, but who could it be. After capturing him I’ll torture him for a while, that’ll be fun; but Gu Gu is by herself, she might be in danger. He thought wildly for a while, and then exited the hall and headed west in the passageways. After ten or so steps, it was pitch black in front of his eyes. He was afraid that he was going to get lost, he touched the wall and made his way back but after twenty steps or so he lost the light of the main hall. He was afraid, and walked forward faster. He had originally been on the wrong path, but as he carried on, he became even more lost. He ran faster and faster, he crashed into the east and bumped into the west, but felt that there were paths everywhere; he was never going to reach the main hall again. He then loudly called out, “Gu Gu, Gu Gu, save me quickly.” The echo resonated for a while before disappearing.

He ran around again for a while, but then felt the ground was damp, his foot had stepped into some mud. He wasn’t on the level of the tomb but had run into one of the passageways underground; he was scared and thought, “If  I got lost in the tomb, Gu Gu will be able  to find me. Now that I’m  running around, she won’t be able to find me, and when she finds out I escaped she will be very upset.” He didn’t dare run around anymore; he felt out a stone and sat down, he wanted to cry out but he couldn’t.

He sat there for over an hour when he suddenly heard the faint calls of “Guo’er, Guo’er!” Yang Guo was delighted and quickly got up and shouted, “Gu Gu, I’m over here!” The calls of “Guo’er, Guo’er” became fainter. Yang Guo was in a rush and shouted at the top of his voice, “I’m over here!” After a while, he didn’t hear anything, when suddenly he felt his ear being tugged, someone was pulling on his ear.

At first he was alarmed but now he was pleased and shouted out, “Gu Gu, you’ve come, how come I didn’t notice anything?”

Xiao Longnu said, “Why are you here?” Yang Guo said, “I took a wrong turn.” Xiao Longnu sighed and took his hand and walked, though it was pitch black, it was as if she was under the sun, she went around corners and changed paths, she walked extremely fast.

Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu, how can you see in here?”

Xiao Longnu said, “I grew up here in the darkness, so I don’t need any light.”

Yang Guo had sat there for over an hour and was frightened and regretful, now that he was rescued, he was delighted but he didn’t know what to say.

After a while, Xiao Longnu took him to the main hall again. Yang Guo sighed and said, “Gu Gu, just now I was really worried.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Worried about what? I’d eventually find you.”

Yang Guo said, “I’m not worried about that, I was afraid that you might have thought that I had escaped and become sad.”

Xiao Longnu said, “If you did escape, I wouldn’t be able to keep the promise I made to Grandma Sun, what is so sad about that?”

Yang Guo heard this and knew there was no use, and said, “Gu Gu, you’ve caught it then?” Xiao Longnu said, “I’ve caught them.”

Yang Guo said, “Why did you go and catch them?”

Xiao Longnu said, “I caught them so you can start learning kung fu. Follow me!”

Yang Guo thought, “So she has caught a Taoist to fight with me; that will be interesting. It will be best if she caught that Zhao Zhijing; after being taken care of by Gu Gu, he will have to endure my punches and kicks without being able to retaliate, that’ll be great fun.” As he followed Xiao Longnu, the more he thought about it, the happier he was.

Xiao Longnu turned a few bends, pushed open a door, and entered a chamber lit with candles. The room was small; it was difficult to turn around with the two of them in there. The ceiling was low, and if Xiao Longnu stretched out her arm she would be able to touch the ceiling. Yang Guo didn’t see any Taoists; he was slightly disappointed and asked, “Where is the Taoist you caught?”

Xiao Longnu said, “What Taoist?”

Yang Guo said, “Didn’t you say you were going to catch some people to help me practice kung fu?”

Xiao Longnu said, “Who said anything about people? It’s in there.” She went over the corner of the room and picked up a bag; she untied the bag and tipped it upside down, three sparrows flew out.

Yang Guo thought, “Oh, so Gu Gu went out to catch some sparrows.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Catch the three sparrows and give them to me. You mustn’t harm their wings or claws.”

Yang Guo said, “Fine!” He threw himself forward to catch them. But the sparrows were swift and quick; they flew to the west and darted to east. Yang Guo was out of breath, his head covered with sweat, yet he couldn’t even touch a feather of theirs.

Xiao Longnu said, “You won’t catch them like that, I’ll teach you a way.” She then taught him the technique to jump high and dart low, and the ability to catch things quickly. Yang Guo had realized that she caught the sparrows to teach him kung fu; he made sure he remembered this. Although he understood the formulae and method, it wasn’t easy to use it straight away. Xiao Longnu let him practice, and left the room.

On the first day Yang Guo wasn’t able to catch one. After supper he practiced on the Chilled Jade Bed. On the second day, he could jump higher than before, and his arm movements were much quicker. On the fifth day he eventually managed to catch one. Yang Guo was excited and quickly told Xiao Longnu. He couldn’t guess that she wouldn’t have any words of praise or encouragement. She calmly said, “What use is catching one; you must catch all three.”

Yang Guo said, “I’ve already caught one, how hard could it be to catch all three?” He was mistaken; he tried for two days but wasn’t able to catch them. Xiao Longnu saw that the sparrows were tired, so she fed them and then let them fly off. She then caught another three for him to practice with. By the eighth day, Yang Guo managed to catch all the sparrows in one go. Xiao Longnu said, “It’s time to go up to Chongyang Palace.” Yang Guo was alarmed and said, “Why?”

Xiao Longnu didn’t reply and took him out of the tomb. Yang Guo had not seen daylight in seven days, when he was in the daylight again, he struggled to open his eyes. The two of them arrived at Chongyang Palace. Yang Guo was worried, he kept on glancing at Xiao Longnu but she was expressionless, he couldn’t tell what she was thinking. Then he heard her call out in a clear voice, “Zhao Zhijing, come out quickly.”

When they arrived at Chongyang Palace, there were people who had gone in and gave the message of their arrival. After she finished speaking, out came tens of Taoists. Two young Taoists supported Zhao Zhijing, his face was haggard, his eyes deep, he had no way of standing up by himself. When the Taoists saw the two of them, they all held their weapons tightly and angrily glared at them.

End of Chapter 5. 

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