The Return of the Condor Heroes Chapter 6-10

@Chapter 6 – The Jade Heart Manual
Xiao Longnu took out a container from her pocket and placed it in your Yang Guo’s hand and loudly said, “This is the antidote to the Jade Bee stings, give it to Zhao Zhijing.”

When Yang Guo saw Zhao Zhijing, he ground his teeth in fury, but he didn’t want to disobey Xiao Longnu so he quickly walked up to Zhao Zhijing and placed the bottle down heavily in front of him. When the Taoists heard that Xiao Longnu had returned to the palace,  they  thought  that  she  had  come  back  to avenge Grandma Sun, they put up their guard and quickly told Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji and the other elders the news, but they didn’t guess that she had come back to bring the antidote, they were startled and could not think of anything to say.

After Yang Guo put down the bottle, he looked at Zhao Zhijing, a vicious expression was on his face; he turned around and walked away.

When Lu Qingdu saw Yang Guo, his blood began to boil, and shouted out, “Little punk, you’ve been kicked out of our sect, why have you come back?”

The day the “Toad Stance” struck him, he lost his breath, but because Yang Guo’s internal energy was shallow, he wasn’t seriously hurt. After a few restoring palms by Qiu Chuji and a few days rest, he recovered. Now, he immediately dashed out, wanting to avenge that day’s push.

Xiao Longnu said, “Guo’Er, if you want, fight back.”

Yang Guo heard footsteps behind him, and heard the wind of a palm, someone was aiming for his neck. In the Tomb of the Living Dead he had slept on the Chilled Jade bed for eight days, and practiced eight days of sparrow catching techniques. Although Xiao Longnu only taught him how to catch sparrows, the Ancient Tomb’s lightness kung fu is outstanding, his skills today and that day in the arena were completely different. He didn’t move backwards or forwards, and waited for Lu Qingdu’s hand to arrive; he crouched down and darted out of the way, and tugged on the sleeve of that hand. Lu Qingdu could not believe that in just a few days, his lightness kung fu had increased dramatically. Influenced by anger he had acted without thinking about the enemy. He had quickly dashed out, his body inclined, his legs unsteady and after being tugged by Yang Guo, he fell down heavily onto the ground.

By the time he picked himself back up, Yang Guo had already hurried to Xiao Longnu’s side. Lu Qingdu shouted and cursed, and wanted to go after him. Suddenly a Taoist hurried out from the crowd, grabbed his arm, and pulled him back. When Lu Qingdu was grabbed, he froze, he looked up to see Martial Uncle Yin Zhiping; he cursed under his breath and retreated.

Yin Zhiping called out clearly; “Thank you Miss Long for the antidote.” He bowed down and greeted her. Xiao Longnu didn’t take any notice and held Yang Guo’s hand and said, “Let’s go.”

Yin Zhiping said, “Miss Long, Yang Guo is a disciple of the Quanzhen and you insist on taking him away. How can we resolve this?”

Xiao Longnu was startled and said, “I don’t want to hear annoying words.” She held Yang Guo’s arm and went back into the forest. Yin Zhiping, Zhao Zhijing and the other Taoist stood there startled.

The two went back into the tomb. Xiao Longnu said, “Guo’Er, your kung fu has improved, but you tripping the fat Taoist was wrong.”

Yang Guo said, “That fat Taoist beat me up badly last time, it’s a pity that I wasn’t able to get some punches in. Gu Gu, why shouldn’t I trip him?”

Xiao Longnu said, “It’s not that you shouldn’t trip him, it’s the way you did it that was wrong. You shouldn’t have pulled him to the ground, you shouldn’t have raised your hands to make him fall, but let him fall by himself.”

Yang Guo was pleased, and said, “That’s a fun method, Gu Gu, teach me.”

Xiao Longnu said, “I’ll be Guo’Er, you’ll be the fat Taoist, come and catch me.” She then walked forward slowly.

Yang Guo laughed as he went to catch her. It was as if Xiao Longnu had eyes in the back of her head, when Yang Guo ran fast, her steps were fast, when he slowed down, she slowed down, the distance between she and Yang Guo stayed at around a meter. Yang Guo said, “I’m going to catch you now!” He threw himself forward, Xiao Longnu didn’t move. Yang Guo saw that his hands were going to grab her shoulders, but his hands grasped thin air as Xiao Longnu darted backwards, escaping his clutches. Yang Guo quickly turned around to try to catch her, but this move was rushed, he used a force opposite to his momentum, his legs became unsteady, he looked at the ceiling as he fell to the floor and his back ached.

Xiao Longnu took him by the right hand and pulled him up. Yang Guo said, “How come you are so fast?” Xiao Longnu said, “If you catch sparrows for a year, then you can do this as well.”

Yang Guo said, “I’ve caught them already.”

Xiao Longnu chuckled and said, “That counts as catching sparrows? How can our sect’s kung fu be learned so easily? Follow me.” She then led him to another room. This room was larger than the room where Yang Guo first practiced catching sparrows, at least twice the size. There were six sparrows in this room. This room was larger than before; catching the sparrows will be more difficult. Xiao Longnu passed on some more lightness kung fu and catching techniques to him, eight or nine days later Yang Guo was able to catch the six sparrows in one go.

After that, the stone chambers became larger and larger, the number of sparrows also increased, eventually he moved to the main hall, with eighty-one sparrows.

The Ancient Tomb sect’s formulae for internal energy were wondrous, the Chilled Jade Bed’s ability to enhance internal energy cultivation was incredible, in just three months, Yang Guo could catch all eighty- one sparrows in one go. Xiao Longnu was pleased with his rapid progress, and said, “We will now go outside and catch sparrows.”

Yang Guo had lived in the tomb for three months, and was becoming slightly restless, when he heard that he was going outside to practice, his expression changed to one of delight.

Xiao Longnu said, “What is there to be pleased about? This kung fu is hard to master. There are eighty- one sparrows, you must not let one go.”

The two arrived outside. It was March, on the eve of spring. In front of them was a deep green forest, Yang Guo breathed in deeply, and the fragrance of flowers and grasses flowed into his lungs, it was extremely relaxing.

Xiao Longnu opened the bag, the sparrows flew out, then, her pair of delicate hands flew out, checking to the west, and tapping in the east, and forced the sparrows that had flew out to return. The flock of sparrows suddenly got their freedom back, how come they didn’t all scatter everywhere? It was strange but Xiao Longnu was checking and tapping, the eighty-one sparrows were all kept within a meter of her. Her arms were as if they were engaged in a flying dance, her palms formed a thousand hands and a thousand palms, no matter how hard the sparrows tried to fly away, they couldn’t escape from the boundary of her palms.

Yang Guo looked on with his mouth open. He was startled and pleasantly surprised; he pulled himself together and thought, “Gu Gu is teaching me a wondrous palm technique. Quickly concentrate.” He studied her hand movements, how she attacked and how she took her palms back. Her palm technique was extremely quick, but each and every palm was clear, forming the different stances. Yang Guo studied them for over half an hour, although he didn’t understand completely the essence of the palms, he understood a bit more than he did at the start.

Xiao Longnu demonstrated the palms again, then she separated her palms and placed them behind her back, the sparrows suddenly flew up towards the sky. Xiao Longnu waved her long sleeves, the two gust of wind from the sleeve pushed out, the sparrows were all pushed back, after much screeching, they beat their wings again to fly away.

Yang Guo was delighted; he tugged her sleeve and said, “Gu Gu, I don’t think even Uncle Guo could do that.”

Xiao Longnu said, “This set of palms is called the “Force of Nets Above and Snares Below” (tian luo di wang shi), it is one of the Ancient Tomb sect’s foundation skills. Work hard and learn it!” She then taught him the stances of the palms; Yang Guo remembered all of them. Within ten days, Yang Guo learned all eighty-one stances of the “Force of Nets Above and Snares Below”, and made more progress in his skills.

Xiao Longnu caught a sparrow, and told Yang Guo to prevent its’ escape with his palms. At first he could only repel the escape two or three times  before  the  sparrow  escaped through  the  spaces  in  his  hands. Xiao Longnu was standing to the side, she stretched out her hand and sent the sparrow back. Yang Guo continued with his palms, but because his palms weren’t fast enough, in just two or three stances again the sparrow flew away. Xiao Longnu again forced the sparrow back so Yang Guo could practice again. He continued practicing, spring turned to summer, and he advanced his skills a little further. Yang Guo was naturally gifted, and he worked tirelessly, his palm skills kept on improving, by mid autumn, he had mastered this set of “Force of Nets Above and Snares Below”. When he used the palm skills he was now able to keep the eight-one sparrows under his control. However, because his internal energy wasn’t refined enough, there were times where there were gaps in his stances and he allowed the birds to escape and so he wasn’t able to do it all in one go.

That day Xiao Longnu said, “Now that you’ve completed this set of palms, when you meet that fat Taoist you’ll be able to trip him up a few times without using any effort.”

Yang Guo said, “What if I fight with Zhao Zhijing?”

Xiao Longnu didn’t reply and thought, “When Zhao Zhijing fought Grandma Sun, if he wasn’t poisoned, Grandma Sun may not have won. At the moment, your skills can not compare with his.”

Yang Guo knew what she was thinking when she didn’t reply and said, “It doesn’t matter if I can’t beat him now, in a few years I’ll be able to beat him. Gu Gu, our Ancient Tomb sect’s skills are better that Quanzhen’s, aren’t they?”

Xiao Longnu looked up at the ceiling and said, “On this earth, only you and I believe that. When I fought with that Quanzhen Taoist named Qiu, I couldn’t beat him, but this isn’t because our Ancient Tomb’s skills cannot compete with Quanzhen’s, it’s because I have yet to complete our sect’s most refined kung fu.”

Yang Guo had believed all along that Xiao Longnu’s skills exceeded Qiu Chuji’s, when he heard about this he was curious and said, “Gu Gu, what is this skill? Is it hard to learn? Why don’t you practice it again?”

Xiao Longnu said, “I’ll tell you a story, then you’ll understand our sect’s origins. Before you kowtowed to me as your Master, you also kowtowed to our Ancestor. Her surname was Lin, her first names Chaoying, years ago; the two most skilled fighters were our Ancestor and Wang Chongyang. Originally, it was hard to decide who was better, later on Wang Chongyang was busy fighting the Jin, he was occupied night and day; our Ancestor concentrated on her martial arts and eventually became a level higher than him. But our Ancestor did not meddle in the affairs of Wulin, she didn’t like showing off, and so hardly anyone in the world of Jianghu knew who she was. Eventually, Wang Chongyang failed in his quest to repel the Jin and resided in the Tomb of the Living Dead; he had nothing to do and refined his martial arts. Our Ancestor wasn’t feeling well, and had two serious illnesses, so by the time Wang Chongyang left the tomb our Ancestor was below him again. Eventually the two dueled and made a bet, Wang Chongyang admitted defeat to our Ancestor, and gave the tomb to her. Come, I’ll show the things that the two left behind.”

Yang Guo clapped and said, “So this stone tomb was taken out of Wang Chongyang’s hands by our Ancestor Grandma. If I had known earlier, I would have been even more pleased with living in the tomb.”

Xiao Longnu smiled slightly, and took him to another chamber. Yang Guo saw that the room was extremely strange, it was narrow at the front and wide at the back, the east side was a semi circle, the west side was triangular, and he asked, “Gu Gu, why is this room so strange looking?”

Xiao Longnu said, “This is the room where Wang Chongyang refined his skills, at the front he practiced his palms, at the back he practiced his fists, at the east side he practiced with swords and the west side he practiced projectiles.”

Yang Guo looked around the room but didn’t find anything special about it.

Xiao Longnu stretched out her hand and pointed upwards and said, “The essence and core of Wang Chongyang’s skills is up here.”

Yang Guo looked up, but all he saw were some markings and scribbles, they were made by projectiles, some were deep and some were shallow, how could you pick up the essence from that?

Xiao Longnu went over to the east side and pushed an arc a few times, a large stone slowly moved across, revealing a door. She held a wax candle and told Yang Guo to enter. It was another room. It looked like the previous room but it was the complete opposite. The front was wide and the back was narrow, the west side was round and the east triangular. Yang Guo looked up, and again the ceiling was marked in carvings and symbols.

Xiao Longnu said, “Those are the kung fu left by our Ancestor. She used her intelligence to win the tomb, had she used her martial arts, she would have lost to Wang Chongyang. After she moved into the tomb, she discovered the martial arts skills left by Wang Chongyang. Then she painstakingly developed a set of skills to counter all the skills left by Wang Chongyang. It’s all marked down here.”

Yang Guo was delighted and said, “That’s great. Even if Qiu Chuji, Hao Datong and the rest of them have high skills, they could not be better than Wang Chongyang. All you’ve got to do is practice the skills left by our Ancestor and you’ll be able to beat all the Taoists.” Xiao Longnu said, “You are correct, but it’s a pity that there isn’t anyone to help me.” Yang Guo said, “I’ll help you.”

Xiao Longnu glanced at him and said, “It’s a pity that your skills aren’t good enough.” Yang Guo blushed and was embarrassed.

Xiao Longnu said, “The skill that Ancestor Grandma left is called the “Jade Heart Manual”, it requires two people to practice it, mutually helping each other. Back then, Ancestor Grandma practiced it with my teacher. Ancestor Grandma had not practiced for long before she passed away, my master did not complete it.”

Yang Guo suddenly became delighted again and said, “I’m your disciple, we could learn it together.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Yes! Let’s take a look. The first step, you have to learn our sect’s skills. The second step is to learn the skills of Quanzhen sect. The third step is to learn the skill that counters Quanzhen sect’s skills, the “Jade Heart Manual”. When my master passed away, I was fourteen years old. I have learned all our sect’s skills, and had just started to practice Quanzhen’s martial arts; there is no need to talk about the “Jade Heart Manual”. The first step I can teach you, the second and third steps we’ll study and practice together.”

From that day on, Xiao Longnu passed on all the martial arts of the Ancient Tomb sect to him; palm skills, fist techniques, projectile throwing and weapon stances. After  two  years,  Yang  Guo  learned  it  all,  plus with the help of the Chilled Jade Bed, his progress  was  amazing,  but  his  internal  energy  was  not developed as much. A woman developed the Ancient Tomb sect’s skills, and the three generations have been women, it was unavoidable that the skills were of a soft nature, the hardness was inadequate. Yang Guo was impatient and rash; the way his skills developed reflected this.

Xiao Longnu had grown slightly older, and became even more beautiful. That year, Yang Guo was sixteen, he became taller, his voice broke, and was now a teenager. He was completely different from boy that first entered the tomb, but Xiao Longnu still looked upon him as the child that first came here. Yang Guo was becoming more and more respectful of his master. In these two years he had curbed his rebellious nature. Before Xiao Longnu opened her mouth to tell him what to do, he had already completed it.  But  Xiao Longnu’s cold and emotionless persona did not change, she  didn’t  casually  smile  at  him,  she  was detached, she did not show any sign of caring for a loved one. Yang Guo did not mind though. Sometimes Xiao Longnu would play the zither, the music from it was peaceful and serene. Yang Guo would listen quietly by her side.

One day Xiao Longnu said, “You have already learned all of the Ancient Tomb’s kung fu, tomorrow we’ll learn Quanzhen’s kung fu. It will not be easy, back then, even my master did not understand it all, and I of course understood even less. We’ll learn from the beginning again, feel free to comment whenever you like.”

The next day, the two of them went to the strange shaped room, and practiced according to the markings and symbols that Wang Chongyang left. Because Yang Guo’s foundation was now strong, he was able to understand most of the points, and made rapid progress. But after the first ten days, though he practiced for many days instead of making progress he felt that he was going backwards, the more he practiced the worse it got. Xiao Longnu and he discussed this, and both felt there were some difficulties. Yang Guo was impatient and got in a blue mood.

Xiao Longnu said, “When my master and I learned Quanzhen’s kung fu, after practicing for a while, we found it was difficult to make any sort of progress, and because Ancestor Grandma had passed away, we could not ask anyone. We didn’t know the formulae to accompany it, and so we couldn’t solve this problem. I once wanted to go and steal the formula from Quanzhen, and give it to master to study. This is all there is of this skill, it’s only Quanzhen’s skills, it’s not too important if we can’t learn it now. There is no need to be angry, there is a solution, all we got to do is go and capture a Quanzhen Taoist and force the formulae out of him, and then our problems will be solved. Let’s leave.”

These words suddenly awakened something in Yang Guo, and he remembered that Zhao Zhijing had taught him ‘The Quanzhen Taoist Song’. ‘When first practicing one must open the nine openings. The first originating from the back (wei luu) pressure point. First the spring flows from the bottom of the feet to the knee. Past the knee up to the back, the back’s intent quickly reaching the peak. The Gold Lock passes under the Magpie Bridge, twelve palaces topple as it goes.” He then recited those words out loud.

Xiao Longnu listened to the meaning of the song and said, “It does sound like the important aspects of practicing Quanzhen’s kung fu. If you know more, that’ll be good.” So Yang Guo recited all the formulae that Zhao Zhijing had taught him. The formulae that Zhao Zhijing had taught him was the basics of Quanzhen’s advanced internal energy cultivation, but because he wasn’t taught how to use it, the ‘spring flows’, ‘twelve palaces’ and ‘backs intent’ were all words to him and he didn’t understand, so he just remembered it and didn’t use it. Xiao Longnu was more experienced and pointed out the key points, and then Yang Guo understood immediately. Within a few months, the two managed to understand and grasp the essence of the skills that Wang Chongyang left on the ceiling.

One day, the two were in the room sparring with swords when Xiao Longnu sighed and said, “At first when I heard that Quanzhen’s martial arts were the most orthodox in the world, I didn’t think too much of it, but today, I know now Quanzhen’s kung fu is actually very profound. Although we have grasped the essence of these skills, if we wanted to learn it to a state where body and mind becomes one, I don’t know how many years and months it is going to take.”

Yang Guo said, “Although the skills of Quanzhen sect are refined, Ancestor Grandma did leave a way to counter their skills, the ability to beat them. That’s called each mountain has its own peak.”

Xiao Longnu said, “From tomorrow onwards, we will learn the “Jade Heart Manual”.

The next day, the two went to the second strange room, and practiced according to the markings left on the ceiling. It was much easier to learn than Quanzhen’s skills, since the techniques were used to counter Wang Chongyang’s and originated from her own kung fu. A few months passed, and the two had learned the external skills of the “Jade Heart Manual”. Sometimes, Yang Guo would use Quanzhen Sword skills; Xiao Longnu would then use the Jade Sword skills to counter it. When Xiao Longnu used Quanzhen Sword techniques, he would use the Jade Sword techniques to neutralize it. The Jade Sword technique was indeed the Black Star (the neutralizing opposite) to Quanzhen’s Sword techniques, every stance was designed to stop the attack of Quanzhen’s Sword techniques, every step matched the other, every move restricted the opponent and predicted their next move, no matter what the user of Quanzhen Sword skills did, it could not break the confinement of the Jade Sword technique.

The external skills had now been learned; it was time to advance into learning the internal techniques. Quanzhen’s internal energies were deep and profound, to invent a method to defeat Quanzhen’s internal energies, how easy could that be?

Lin Chaoying’s intelligence was unbeatable; she actually did find a way using unorthodox techniques. Xiao Longnu raised her head and looked at the symbols on the ceilings, she was deep in thought and didn’t speak; she looked at it for days on end without saying a single word.

Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu, is it hard to learn?”

Xiao Longnu said, “I heard from master that the manual’s internal energy requires two people to practice at the same time, but I know I will not be able to practice it with you.”

Yang Guo was shocked and quickly said, “Why not?” Xiao Longnu said, “If you were a girl, then we could.”

Yang Guo said, “What is the difference? Aren’t a boy and girl the same?”

Xiao Longnu shook her head and said, “No, not the same; look up at the ceiling, what kind of shapes are they?”

Yang Guo looked in the direction she pointed, and saw the ceiling was marked with countless forms of body shapes, there were about seventy or eighty of them, a closer look revealed that they were the shape of women, the bodies had lines going away from them. Yang Guo didn’t understand and turned around to look at Xiao Longnu.

Xiao Longnu said, “The manual states, when practicing the whole body will emit heat, a spacious and deserted place is required; the body will need to be free of clothes to practice, this will enable the heat to disperse immediately. There mustn’t be any obstructions, otherwise it will return to the body; a small consequence will be a serious illness, at worst the body will be destroyed.”

Yang Guo said, “We’ll take off our clothes to practice.”

Xiao Long said, “Eventually, the two people will need to use their internal energy to protect the other, you are a boy and I am a girl, how can we do that with decency?”

Yang Guo had concentrated on practicing his kung fu for the last two years, and didn’t take any notice of the difference in sex between him and his master. He felt there was nothing wrong with taking off their clothes and facing each other to practice the manual; he couldn’t see what exactly was wrong with this. Xiao Longnu was now twenty years old and has lived in the tomb ever since she was small; she didn’t know anything about the outside world. One of the important points of her sect’s kung fu is to purge your emotions. Although the two were of different sexes and faced each other night and day, one was cold and emotionless, the other was honest and respectful, so there weren’t any formalities between them. But now when they were talking about taking their clothes off to practice, she felt awkward and didn’t agree with his viewpoint.

Yang Guo suddenly said, “I’ve got it! We could practice on the Chilled Jade Bed.”

Xiao Longnu said, “We mustn’t. The heat will be drawn back by the coolness of the bed, after practicing for a few days, we both would be dead.”

Yang Guo thought for half an hour and asked, “Why do you need two people to practice it? We could practice it by ourselves, if I don’t understand anything, can’t I ask you later?”

Xiao Longnu shook her head and said, “It won’t work. With this type of internal energy, every step is extremely dangerous and you will go wrong at certain points. If there isn’t anyone to help you, you will fire deviate; only if we mutually aid each other can we pass the dangerous phases.”

Yang Guo said, “Learning this type of internal energy is indeed troublesome.”

Xiao Longnu said, “If we master the external techniques, we will be able to beat the Taoists. We aren’t really going to fight with the Taoists, so even if we can’t beat them, so what?”

Yang Guo heard his master’s words and agreed, and didn’t keep the matter to heart.

One day after finishing practicing his kung fu, he went out of the tomb to forage for food. After a while, he chased after a grey rabbit; the rabbit dodged west and darted east, its agility was not like a normal rabbit’s. Yang Guo’s lightness kung fu was proficient, but he couldn’t catch it. He was surprised but he didn’t want to use a projectile to hit it; he wanted to chase after it with his lightness kung fu until the rabbit couldn’t run anymore. The boy and rabbit ran faster and further away. As they went on, the rabbit turned into a treed enclosure in the mountain, and suddenly darted into a thicket of red flowers. The thickets were tens of feet wide, the layers close together; a fragrant scent was produced from them. He went around the thickets, but the rabbit had long disappeared. Yang Guo had chased the rabbit for half a day; but he liked living things, if he had caught up with it he would have let it go, so if he didn’t catch it, it didn’t matter. Yang Guo looked at the thickets; they had red flowers and green branches, and were beautiful to look at. Surrounding them were low hanging branches that hid them, forming a natural room made of flowers and a house made of trees. Yang Guo thought for while, and quickly hurried back and got Xiao Longnu to take a look.

Xiao Longnu calmly said, “I don’t like flowers, if you like it, you can play here.”

Yang Guo said, “No, Gu Gu this is a good place to practice martial arts, you go on one side, I’ll be on the other. When we take off our clothes, we won’t be able to see each other. Isn’t that a good idea?”

Xiao Longnu heard this and thought it made sense. She leaped up onto a tree and looked around, all she could hear was the sound of a spring flowing and birds chirping; it was peaceful and serene all around, and there wasn’t any trace of human activity. It was a good place to practice martial arts, and so she said, “It was lucky that you found this place, we’ll come here tonight and practice.”

That night, the two of them delved deep into the enclosure. In the still of the night, the flowers were even more fragrant. Xiao Longnu then recited the formulae to practice the internal energy of the “Jade Heart Manual”. Yang Guo made sure he understood the intricacies of the manual, and the two went either side of the thickets and took their clothes off, and started practicing. Yang Guo’s left arm went through the thicket, and met with Xiao Longnu’s right palm, if either came up with difficulties during the practice; the other will notice and immediately circulate their chi to help them.

The two then used the night for work, and the day for rest. It was summer; the night was cool when they practiced; after two months of practicing there were no problems. The “Jade Heart Manual” was divided into nine sections, one night, Xiao long Nu had reached the seventh level, and Yang Guo the sixth. That night, the two were practicing their own levels, their body emitted great heat, and the scent of the flowers was carried in the heat, and was even more aromatic. Gradually the moon moved into the middle of the sky, another half an hour and the two will have finished completing their respective levels. Suddenly the sound of footsteps and people talking came from some distance away; two people were talking and coming closer.

On the odd levels of the “Jade Heart Manual” the practitioner has to ‘Yin Jin’ (forcing yin to the limit), the person on the even levels has to ‘Yang Tui’ (Drawing back the yang). Yang Guo was practicing the ‘Yang Tui’ techniques, and could rest at any time, but Xiao Longnu was practicing the ‘Yin Jin’ technique, which had to be completed in one go without the slightest pause. Right now she was at the most important phase of the technique, and ignored the sounds of speaking and footsteps.

Yang Guo heard this clearly, he was alarmed, and forced the chi that was in his ‘dan tian’ out of his body, and breathed in three times and stopped practicing. He heard the two people gradually getting closer, their voices seemed familiar; one of them was his previous master Zhao Zhijing, the other Yin Zhiping. The voices became louder as they went on, the two were arguing. He heard Zhao Zhijing say, “Apprentice brother Yin, there is no point in denying it. I’ll go and tell Martial Uncle Qiu, and let him judge.”

Yin Zhiping said, “You keep on pressing me, what do you want? You think I don’t know? You want to become the head of the third generation students, so in the future you can become the sect’s leader.”

Zhao Zhijing chuckled and said, “You don’t keep to the rules. Now that you’ve broken one of sect’s rules, how can you be the head of the third generation disciples?”

Yin Zhiping said, “What have I done wrong?”

Zhao Zhijing scolded, “The fourth rule of Quanzhen sect, wanton!”

Yang Guo hid in the thicket and peeped out, and saw the two Taoists standing facing each other. Yin Zhiping’s face was pale, under the moonlight it was colorless, and he said deeply, “What wanton crime?” As he said these words he reached for the handle of his sword.

Zhao Zhijing said, “Ever since you saw that Xiao Longnu from the Tomb of the Living Dead, you daydream all the time. You have thought about taking Xiao Longnu many, many times and doing unspeakable things to her. Our sect aims to bring enlightenment, but with these thoughts, how have you not broken the ‘wanton’ rule?”

Yang Guo respected his master very much, when he heard those words from Zhao Zhijing, he was furious, and hated the two Taoists even more.

He heard Yin Zhiping tremulously saying, “What rubbish; just how could you know what I think?”

Zhao Zhijing chuckled and said, “The thoughts in your heart, of course I don’t know them, but when you mumble in your sleep, is there anyone to hear it? When you write Xiao Longnu’s name repeatedly, is there anyone to see it?”

Yin Zhiping shuddered twice, and didn’t say anything.

Zhao Zhijing looked smug, and took out a piece of paper from his sleeve and waved it around and said, “Isn’t this your handwriting? I’ll show this to our leader Martial Uncle Ma and your master Martial Uncle Qiu.”

Yin Zhiping couldn’t endure this anymore, and drew out his sword with a shout and thrust out. Zhao Zhijing leaned to the side to avoid it, and put the piece of paper in his sleeve and laughed, “You want to kill me and shut my mouth? I’m afraid it won’t be easy.”

Yin Zhiping didn’t say a word and thrust out his sword three times, but each thrust was avoided. By the fourth thrust, a sound was made as Zhao Zhijing drew out his own sword, and fought with him by the thicket of red flowers. The two of them were the highest skilled fighters of Quanzhen’s third generation, one, Yin Zhiping, was Qiu Chuji’s finest disciple, and the other, Zhao Zhijing, was the head disciple of Wang Chuyi. Yin Zhiping clenched his teeth and fought with his life, within the exchange of moves, Zhao Zhijing would say a few sarcastic words, angering his opponent into making mistakes. Yin Zhiping had the highest martial arts amongst Qiu Chuji's disciples, however in the recent years Yin Zhiping has placed Taoist cultivation above martial arts. Hence, his younger martial arts brother Yin Zhiping and Wang Chuyi's head disciple, Zhao Zhijing, have surpassed Yin Zhiping in the field of martial arts. Yin Zhiping often retreated to contemplate Taoist philosophies and meditation and had expressed no interest in leadership. Zhao Zhijing had the highest martial arts of the entire third generation disciples. The Six Masters of Quanzhen intended to appoint him as the leading disciple of the third generation. However, he made two enormous errors; one was leading the Big Dipper Formation against Guo Jing instead of Huo Du and his men. As result a portion of the Chongyang Palace was burnt down. His second error was mistreating Yang Guo, which angered the six masters. As result they felt that Zhao Zhijing's martial arts may be good, but he does not have the talent to lead. So after much deliberating the Six Masters agreed to appoint Yin Zhiping as the leading disciple of the third generation.

Yang Guo had learned all the stances of Quanzhen’s Sword skills, and saw them fight, attacking and defending, though the stances were quick and changes numerous, he saw through all of it and thought how his Gu Gu had indeed taught him correctly. He saw them struggle for tens of stances; Yin Zhiping had used all his attacking stances as Zhao Zhijing kept on moving. He chuckled, “I have learned all that you have learned, and you have learned all that I have learned. You want to kill me? You’re dreaming.” He defended smoothly, Yin Zhiping had used all his strength but each stance was blocked. After a while, he saw that the two was getting closer to Xiao Longnu, Yang Guo was alarmed and thought, “If they two fight until they get to Gu Gu, it would be terrible!”

Suddenly Zhao Zhijing counterattacked, and forced Yin Zhiping back. He quickly sent out three stances, Yin Zhiping moved back three steps. When Yang Guo saw the two getting further away from his master, he was pleased, but suddenly Yin Zhiping handed his sword over to his left hand and sent out a palm, aiming for the chest.

Zhao Zhijing laughed and said, “Even if you’ve got three hands, you’ve only got the ability to be a petty thief, you can’t kill me.” He then sent out his left palm to meet it. The two exchanged sword stances and palms, and the struggle became fiercer.

Xiao Longnu was concentrating, and ignored everything that was around her. When the two took a few steps closer, Yang Guo became worried; when they took a few steps further away he relaxed a bit.

After a while, Yin Zhiping suddenly called out and attacked, he ignored the opponent’s sword and just rushed forward. Zhao Zhijing thought about it, and knew that he had nothing to lose, if he killed him, then he wouldn’t be able to blackmail him. Although the two weren’t on friendly terms, he had no intent in killing him, and after a while, he was on the way to losing. After a number of moves, Yin Zhiping then thrust out his sword, threw out a palm and his left leg swept out, it was Quanzhen’s “Three Circulations”. Zhao Zhijing leapt up ten feet, and swung his sword down. Yin Zhiping threw his sword away, and threw himself at his opponent, a ‘hei’ sound was made by him as he threw out his two palms. Yang Guo saw that the last few stances were ruthless, it wasn’t how he knew them to be, he broke out in a cold sweat, he saw Zhao Zhijing’s body in midair, one was yielding, one was firm, it looked like the two palms were aiming to break his bones. How it could be that in this urgent and dangerous situation, Zhao Zhijing managed to flip himself in midair, fly back a few meters and lightly land.

From the way he was going to land, it looked like he was going to land right in front of Xiao Longnu, Yang Guo was alarmed and had not time to think, he stood up, his left palm shot out from below his right palm, and pushed the back of Zhao Zhijing, a stance of “Bright Building Flinging the Ball” (cai lou pao qiu), he pushed out with strength, and hit him away about seven meters. Right now his internal energy wasn’t developed enough, he had used an enormous amount of strength in this attack, all concentrated in his left arm, his lower body was weak, he could not stand up properly and his left foot stepped on a branch. The branch quickly rebounded back to its original position, and touched Xiao Longnu in the face. It was only a slight touch, but Xiao Longnu was greatly disturbed, she broke out in a sweat, at that time she was in the middle of rapidly circulating her chi and holding it in her ‘dan tian’, it didn’t disperse and she fainted.

All of  a sudden  Yin Zhiping saw Yang  Guo jump out, and  saw the  woman he  has been thinking about hiding in the thicket, he froze, and didn’t know whether this was real or an  illusion. Zhao  Zhijing had steadied himself by this time, and under the moonlight he was able to recognize Xiao Longnu’s face. He said, “Ah, so she’s here; and with a man!”

Yang Guo was alarmed and shouted out, “Don’t go anywhere you two rotten Taoists, I’ll come back and finish this.” He saw Xiao Longnu had fallen onto the ground and was not moving. He remembered that he was told that when they were practicing they must stay together to help each other, if there where any disturbances a disaster would happen. Now Xiao Longnu had experienced a shock, she would have serious injuries; he was extremely frightened and touched her forehead. It was cold as ice; he quickly grabbed her clothes and covered her up. He picked her up and said, “Gu Gu, are you alright?” Xiao Longnu moaned but didn’t say anything.

Yang Guo was slightly more relaxed and said, “Gu Gu, we’ll go back to the tomb first, then I’ll come back and kill the two Taoists.” Xiao Longnu had no strength and lay limp in his arms. Yang Guo advanced in large steps, and went past the two Taoists. Yin Zhiping stood there like a statue.

Zhao Zhijing laughed and said, “Apprentice brother Yin, your dream lover and that man over there have just done dirty things; you want to kill me, you should kill him!” Yin Zhiping didn’t take any notice and didn’t reply.

Yang Guo heard the words ‘done dirty things’, although he didn’t know exactly what he meant, he knew it was an insult and he was furious. He lightly put Xiao Longnu down and rested her against a tree and took a branch in his hand, and pointed to Zhao Zhijing and shouted, “What rubbish are you talking about?”

Two years had passed, Yang Guo had changed from a small child to a tall young man, at first Zhao Zhijing didn’t know who he was, when he heard him a second time and saw his face under the moonlight, he recognized it was his disciple. He had been made to fall by him and was  angry,  he  saw  his  body  was exposed and shouted, “Yang Guo, so it’s you, you little bastard!”

Yang Guo said, “You can insult me, but why are you insulting my Gu Gu?”

Zhao Zhijing laughed and said, “Everyone knows the Ancient Tomb sect is a female sect, skills are only passed on to women and not men, all of them are pure and untouched virgins, but it’s a filthy sect, secretly hiding a man, doing these things in the open!”

Xiao Longnu had just wakened up and heard what he said, and was alarmed. Her chi had begun to flow normally but now it flowed the opposite way, her chi and air were both stimulated and she knew that she was suffering from internal injuries. She could only shout “You talk rubbish, we have not…” before she spat out blood violently from her mouth. Yin Zhiping and Yang Guo were worried when they saw this, and both of them rushed closer. Yin Zhiping said, “How are you?” and bent down to take a closer look at her injuries.

Yang Guo knew that he wanted to harm her and pushed him in the chest with his left hand. Yin Zhiping moved his palm to block it. Yang Guo was familiar with every stance of Quanzhen’s kung fu, he turned his palm over and grabbed his wrist, he first pulled and then let go, and tossed him away.

At present, Yang Guo’s kung fu could not actually compare with that of Yin Zhiping, and if Yang Guo fought with other sect’s fighters who were of the same ability as Yin Zhiping he would definitely have lost. But years ago Lin Chaoying had invented techniques to counter Quanzhen’s, every stance matched every stance. Since she invented these techniques they had never been used in practice, so  Quanzhen’s disciples do not know that there is a kung fu which is the ‘Black Star’ of theirs. Yang Guo now used it. Yin Zhiping was not prepared and wasn’t concentrating, and didn’t have any way to respond; although he didn’t fall, he was flung over six meters and was standing next to Zhao Zhijing.

Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu, ignore them, I’ll take you back to the tomb first.”

Xiao Longnu struggled for air as she said, “No; kill those two so they can’t...can’t talk about me outside.”

Yang Guo said, “Fine.” He leapt out at them, his branch pointing at Zhao Zhijing’s chest. Zhao Zhijing didn’t care about Yang Guo and waved his sword, cutting down at his branch. He didn’t know that Yang Guo was using the ‘Black Star’ of Quanzhen’s sword skills; the branch swiveled past and struck the pressure point on Zhao Zhijing’s wrist. Zhao Zhijing’s wrist went numb, and he secretly cursed. Yang Guo’s left hand chopped across, aiming for his left cheek, this was an extremely strange move, and it was the most unexpected. If Zhao Zhijing wanted to keep his sword, he would have to straighten his head and suffer the chop, if he wanted to avoid the chop, the sword will definitely be lost.

Zhao Zhijing was skilled, although he was in a precarious situation he kept calm, he let go of his sword and ducked his head, if he followed it with a left palm, he will be able to get his sword back in the blink of an eye. He could not have guessed that years ago Lin Chaoying had thought of how the enemy would react, and developed techniques to counter any changes, no matter how good, clever or lethal, any of highly skilled Quanzhen fighters were. Zhao Zhijing felt that he made the best decision possible, and would allow him to definitely gain victory from the jaws of defeat. But he didn’t know that Xiao Longnu and Yang Guo had learned all the techniques that would counter their changes.

Yang Guo removed the enemy’s weapon and saw his left palm move, and knew what he was going to do; he pushed the sword forward, aiming to pierce the opponent’s wrist. Zhao Zhijing was alarmed and quickly moved his arm back. Yang Guo pointed the sword tip at his chest and shouted, “Get down!” as his left leg hooked out. Zhao Zhijing was afraid of being pierced and had to move, he was hooked and fell backwards. Yang Guo raised the sword, wanting to thrust at his stomach.

Suddenly, a wind came from behind him, a sword was approaching and someone shouted out, “You dare to kill your master?” That stance was to attack first and then allow him to rescue Zhao Zhijing, Yang Guo was in the middle of an angry attack but could still see what was happening, and he immediately parried it with his sword, the two swords clashed. Yin Zhiping saw that the sword was extremely fast and couldn’t help from secretly praising it, and suddenly felt his sword going out of his control, sticking to the opponent’s sword. Alarmed, he quickly circulated his chi to get it back. His internal energy was profound, the two competed, and Yang Guo’s sword was lead along. He didn’t know that Yang Guo lured him into doing this, he held the sword for a split second before letting go, his arms straightened and he attacked the enemy’s chest. At that point the sword handle rebounded up, two palms and a sword, the three of them with the same intent, even if Yin Zhiping’s skills were higher, he would not be able to block this extremely strange attack.

At this time, Yin Zhiping could only throw away his sword and send out his own palms, he quickly put his hands across his chest to block this move, but because his arms were too bent, he could not put any strength in them. Yang Guo’s internal energy wasn’t high enough and wasn’t able to break his arms with this move, but was still able to strike his chest painfully. Yin Zhiping’s arms became numb; he moved back three steps and circulated his chi to protect the important pressure points in his chest. Zhao Zhijing got up. The two swords were in Yang Guo’s hand, and he attacked both of them.

In just a few moves, the two of them were made to hurry around and scamper by a teenager; they were both afraid and angry and didn’t dare be careless. The two of them stood up, and used their palms skills; they only defended and didn’t attack. They wanted to find out more about their opponent’s techniques before doing anything. Although Yang Guo had weapons to fight against his empty handed opponents, the two defended tightly, and weren’t being beaten as badly as they were at the start. The “Jade Heart Manual’s” sword techniques did not have any stances that countered Quanzhen’s fists and kicks. Lin Chaoying wanted to defeat Wang Chongyang’s techniques completely, she felt that using weapons to defeat his hand to hand combat techniques was unfair and below her so she did not give it any thought. That, plus the fact that the Taoists internal energy was well above Yang Guo’s, and since all they cared about was to remain undefeated, Yang Guo’s swipes and chops did not have much effect, and eventually he began to lose.

Zhao Zhijing’s internal energy was profound; he kept incessantly producing palm winds that aimed at Yang Guo’s sword.

Yin Zhiping stopped, and secretly thought that here they were, two seniors attacking a young boy, how ridiculous did they look? He saw that victory was in sight but worried about the safety of Xiao Longnu so he shouted, “Yang Guo, quickly take your Gu Gu away, what are you doing tangling with the two of us?”

Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu hates you for talking rubbish, and told me that I must kill you.”

Yin Zhiping sent out a palm that shook Yang Guo’s sword in his left hand and then jumped left three steps and said, “Leave!”

Yang Guo said, “You want to escape?”

Yin Zhiping said, “Yang Guo, you want to kill us but that will not be possible; but your Gu Gu can relax, if the one named Yin reveals a single word about what happened today, I will immediately kill myself to apologize. If I don’t do this” as he said this, he suddenly leapt towards Yang Guo and took the sword in his left hand and said, “then I’ll be like these fingers!” He spread his left hand and cut down with his right, and cut the last two fingers off his hand.

Those few moves happened extremely quickly and Yang Guo wasn’t prepared. He stopped and knew that he was sincere and thought, “It is indeed difficult to kill them both; why don’t I first kill the one named Zhao and then come back and kill him.”

He then shouted, “The one called Yin, what use is cutting off your fingers? If you cut off your head, then I’ll believe you.”

Yin Zhiping smiled and said, “If you want my life, all I need is a word from your Gu Gu, then why not?”

Yang Guo said, “Go!” He leapt forward two steps and suddenly thrust out behind him, straight at Zhao Zhijing’s chest.

The move “Orchid Shoots Back” (mu lan hui she) was extremely ruthless, Zhao Zhijing was listening to what they were saying and never thought that he would suddenly ambush him, he was frightened. The tip of the sword pierced his stomach. Zhao Zhijing felt a slight pain, and immediately circulated his chi throughout his ‘dan tian’, and his stomach pulled back half an inch, he raised his right leg and kicked Yang Guo’s sword out of his hand. Yang Guo didn’t wait for his leg to come and down, and extended his finger and pointed at the pressure point on his knee. Although Zhao Zhijing had escaped with his life, he couldn’t stand up, his right knee kneeling down in front of Yang Guo.

Yang Guo caught the descending sword and pointed at Zhao Zhijing and said, “I once kowtowed eight times to you as you were my master, now you are not my master anymore, give the eight kowtows back.”

Zhao Zhijing had completed circulating his chi, his face became purple, almost becoming black. Yang Guo pressed the sword tip into his throat.

Zhao Zhijing shouted, “If you want to kill me, kill me, why are you talking so much?”

Yang Guo was about to thrust the sword forward when suddenly he heard Xiao Longnu say, “Guo’Er, killing your master is not auspicious, tell him to swear that he won’t reveal today’s events and let him go!” Yang Guo regarded Xiao Longnu’s commands above all else, and after hearing what she said, he said, “Swear it.”

Zhao Zhijing was angry, but his life was more important and said, “I won’t say anything, what need is there to swear it?”

Yang Guo said, “That won’t do. You must swear a venomous oath.”

Zhao Zhijing said, “Fine, today’s events will be kept between the four of us, if I reveal it to a fifth person, then let my name be in ruins, be expelled from my sect, everyone in Wulin will be against me, and I’ll have a terrible death.”

Xiao Longnu and Yang Guo did not know much about the world’s matters and thought that he was really swearing a venomous oath.”

Yin Zhiping heard that there was a hidden meaning in his oath and wanted to warn Yang Guo but felt that it wasn’t right to help outsiders; he watched Yang Guo carrying Xiao Longnu, his steps extremely quick, and they disappeared around a bend in the mountain. His fingers hadn’t stopped bleeding; he stood up bemused without stopping it.

Yang Guo carried Xiao Longnu back to the tomb and placed her on the Chilled Jade Bed.

Xiao Longnu sighed and said, “I’m seriously injured, how can I oppose the Chilled Jade Bed?”

Yang Guo said ‘ah’ and was alarmed, he secretly thought, “So Gu Gu’s injury is very serious.” He then carried her to her room. When she first let Yang Guo sleep on the Chilled Jade Bed, she slept in the same room as him; after about a year she moved into the next room. As soon as she arrived in her room, she spat out another pool of blood, and covered Yang Guo’s exposed body. Yang Guo was so frightened that he couldn’t move his arms and legs, and started to cry.

Xiao Longnu calmly laughed and said, “Now that I’ve spat out this blood, I won’t throw up anymore, what is there to be sad about?”

Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu, don’t die.”

Xiao Longnu said, “You are afraid of dying aren’t you?” Yang Guo was startled and said, “Me?”

Xiao Longnu said, “Before I die, I will kill you first.”

These same words were spoken two years ago, Yang Guo had forgotten them long ago, and didn’t expect that she would bring it up again now.

Xiao Longnu saw that Yang Guo was astounded and said, “If I don’t kill you, how will I be able to see Grandma Sun? Who will look after you if you are alone in the world?”

Yang Guo’s mind was scrambled, and didn’t know what to say.

Xiao Longnu had thrown up blood, but she looked fine as if nothing was wrong. Yang Guo thought of something, he quickly went to find a jar of Jade Bee honey and gave it to her to drink. The honey did have healing properties; after a while she slept on her bed. Yang Guo was able to relax, but he was worn down with worry, and wasn’t able to endure anymore, he sat down and slept against the wall.

After some time, he felt someone cold against his throat, and was awakened. He has lived for a long time in the tomb, although he wasn’t able to see things in the dark as clearly as Xiao Longnu could, he could still see things without the aid of candlelight. He opened his eyes, and saw Xiao Longnu sitting forward on the bed holding a sword, pointing at his throat. He was alarmed and said, “Gu Gu! You...”

Xiao Longnu calmly said, “Guo’Er, my injury won’t get better, after I kill you we’ll both see Grandma Sun together!”

Yang Guo quickly replied, “Gu Gu!”

Xiao Longnu said, “You are afraid, aren’t you? It will be quick, one slash and that’s it.”

Yang Guo saw Xiao Longnu’s eyes light up, and knew that she wanted to kill him immediately. He wanted to live, and didn’t consider what will happen later, he rolled around  and  kicked  out  at  Xiao  Longnu’s sword. Though Xiao Longnu’s internal injuries were serious, she was still very  swift,  not  slower  than normal; she avoided his kick and pointed the sword at his throat again. Yang Guo used many different stances, but each one of them had been taught by Xiao Longnu so how would she not know what he would do? The sword moved swiftly, not leaving him by more than three inches.

Yang Guo was frightened; his body was covered with sweat. He thought, “If I don’t want to die today, then I must kill Gu Gu.”

In this urgent situation he pushed out his two palms, he took advantage of her not having any strength after her injury, her stances were refined but she did not have the internal energy to clash palms with him. Xiao Longnu knew what he was thinking, she slanted her body slightly and let his palms’ power skim over her shoulders and called out, “Guo’Er, don’t fight anymore!” Her sword extended out, the tip quivered a little, an incomparable stance in terms of mastery and exquisiteness was used, “Separating Flower Splitting Willow”, shimmering to the left but moving to the right, and the sword pointed at Yang Guo’s throat. She then circulated her remaining energy wanting to pierce his throat; but she saw his pleading eyes, and felt pain in her heart. At that instant, her eyes went blank, her body went limp, a ‘dang lang’ sound was made as the sword dropped to the floor, as Xiao Longnu fainted.

Had the sword been thrust forwards, Yang Guo would have died; he didn’t know that she would faint at the most vital point. He stopped, wondering if he’d really escaped death, and quickly ran out of the tomb. The sun dazzled in his eyes, the light breeze blew his clothes, the scent of flowers was around him, birds sang in the trees, isn’t this better than living in the tomb? Yang Guo made his decision; he utilized his lightness kung fu and ran down the mountain, he became quicker as he ran, and by midday he was at the foot of the mountain. When he knew Xiao Longnu had not chased after him, he relaxed, and slowed his pace. After a while, his stomach growled. He had wandered the world of Jianghu ever since he was little; his ability to search for food was brilliant. He looked all around, and on the western slope, he saw a large field of corn, went over, and then picked five stalks. The corn wasn’t ripe but it was still edible. He had a match and was about to light a fire to smoke the corn, when he suddenly heard footsteps behind him, someone was approaching.

Yang Guo first hid the corn in case a farmer had caught him in the act of stealing, and then peaked out. It was a Taoist priestess, dressed in apricot yellow, her steps were light and she was slowly advancing. A pair of swords hung on her back, a blood red tassel was tied to the handles, floating in the breeze. Yang Guo thought that this person must be a member of the Quanzhen sect, and was likely to be a disciple of Sun Bu’Er. Yang Guo was still slightly afraid and didn’t want to cause any trouble so he looked down at a branch.

The Taoist priestess went up to him and asked, “Hey, point the way to Chongyang Palace?”

Yang Guo secretly thought, “If this girl is a disciple of Quanzhen, then how come she does not know the way up there? Something was wrong here.” He then pointed to the mountain without looking around and said, “Just follow that main road.”

The Taoist priestess saw that Yang Guo’s upper body was uncovered, he was wearing a pair of old and worn trousers, and was here picking up firewood, and assumed that he was just a villager. She regarded herself as an attractive woman; any man that looked at her would stare at her without blinking for half an hour. This young boy just took a glance at her and didn’t look back again, like if he was blind. She couldn’t refrain from getting angry and suddenly thought, “What does a stupid villager like him know?” She then said, “Stand up; I have something to ask you.”

Yang Guo hated everyone in the Quanzhen sect, so he pretended to be blind and dumb, and pretended not to hear.

The Taoist priestess said, “Foolish boy, you didn’t hear what I said?” Yang Guo said, “I heard, it’s just that I don’t want to stand.”

When the Taoist priestess heard him she laughed and said, “Look at me, I told you to stand up!” Her voice in the last two sentences was soft, enchanting and sweet. Yang Guo shivered and thought, “Why does she speak so strangely.” He looked up and saw her skin was smooth and white, her cheeks were red, her eyes were like staring into a pool of water, there didn’t seem to be any evil intent; after looking at her again, he lowered his head.

The Taoist priestess saw that his expression had a childish air, though he did look at her for a second time, he wasn’t moved. Instead of being angry she laughed, and thought, “It’s just a kid who doesn’t know anything.” She took out two silver ingots [small boat/shoe shaped silver castings of a few ounces known as Yinzi] from her pockets, two ‘ting’ noises were heard as they collided with each other, she said, “Little brother, if you follow my instructions then I’ll give these ingots to you.”

Yang Guo originally didn’t want to have anything do with her, but he heard that her words were suspicious and wanted to find out what she wanted so he pretended to be stupid, and looked at the ingots and said, “What use do those shiny rocks have?”

The Taoist priestess smiled and said, “It’s money. If you want new clothes, chickens, rice, you could buy them with this.”

Yang Guo put on a baffled expression and said, “You want to lie to me, I don’t believe you.”

The Taoist priestess laughed and said, “When have I lied to you? Hey, little kid, what is your name?” Yang Guo said, “Everyone calls me ‘Sha Dan’ (Dumb Egg), don’t you know that? What’s your name?”

The Taoist priestess laughed and said, “Sha Dan, you can call me Angelic Priestess, where’s your mother?”

Yang Guo said, “My mum just scolded me, and went over to the other side of the mountain to chop firewood.”

The Taoist priestess said, “I need a hatchet, go to your home and get one, and then lend it to me.”

Yang Guo was curious, he opened his eyes wide, drooled and made himself look even more like a stupid person, he shook his head incessantly and said, “I can’t; I can’t lend my family’s hatchet. If dad finds out I’ll be punished.” The Taoist priestess smiled and said, “When your parents see the money, they’ll be too pleased to punish you.” As she said this she passed an ingot in his direction. Yang Guo extended his hand to catch it, and then pretended to miss it, and let the ingot hit his shoulder and when it came down it hit his right foot, he held his right foot with his hands and hopped on his left foot and called out, “Ah, ah, you hit me! I’m going to tell mother!” He called and shouted; he ignored the ingot and ran forward.

The Taoist priestess thought that he was interesting, and smiled. She took off her belt, and waved it at his right foot. Yang Guo heard the wind sound and turned his head around, he was alarmed, and thought, “That’s our Ancient Tomb sect’s kung fu! Isn’t she a disciple of Quanzhen?” He didn’t dodge and let her belt wrap around his right leg, he fell on the ground and relaxed his body, letting her pull him towards her, and secretly feared, “Is she going up the mountain to attack Gu Gu?”

He thought about Xiao Longnu, he didn’t know whether she was dead or alive, he was extremely worried about her. He made up his mind, even if he was going to die by her hand he needed to see her. As he was thinking he was pulled up to the Taoist priestess, she saw that although his face was covered with dirt, he was handsome, and thought, “This country hick is handsome, it’s a pity that although the top is like a beautiful flower, the lower part is a pile of grass.” She heard him shouting and calling out, making a commotion; she smiled and said, “Sha Dan, do you want to die or do you want to live?” She took out her sword and pointed at his chest.

Yang Guo saw that she used the stance “Flower from the Embroidery Pen” (jin bi sheng hua), it was a sword stance of the Ancient Tomb sect, he was perplexed, “This person is probably a disciple of Martial Uncle Li Mochou, and has come to find Gu Gu, she must have ill intentions, from her belt and sword stances her kung fu is good, I’ll keep on pretending to be dumb so she’ll be off guard.”

He put on a frightened expression and begged, “Xian Gu (Angelic Priestess), don’t…don’t kill me, I’ll listen to you.”

The Taoist priestess laughed and said, “Good, if you don’t listen to me I’ll kill you with one sword stroke.”

Yang Guo called out, “I’ll listen…I’ll listen.” The Taoist priestess waved her belt, and it returned to her waist, her expression was leisurely. Yang Guo quietly said, “Great!” but his face still had a blank expression. The Taoist priestess thought, “How could the stupid boy appreciate this skill? I might as well show it off in front of a blind man.” She said, “Quickly go home and get the hatchet.”

Yang Guo hurried to a nearby farmer’s house, he pretended to limp; his footsteps were heavy, strutting and staggering, appearing clumsy. The Taoist priestess saw he wasn’t a pleasant sight and shouted, “Don’t tell anyone, hurry.”

Yang Guo replied, “Okay!”

He quietly opened the door to the farmer’s house, and saw no one was inside, and assumed that they were working in the fields; from the wall he picked up a short hatchet that was used to chop firewood. He also took an old shirt from a rack and wore it, and then returned still carrying the dumb expression.

Although he was trying making a fool out of the Taoist priestess, he was worried about the safety of Xiao Longnu, and couldn’t stop from having a burdened look on his face.

The Taoist priestess angrily said, “What’s with the crying face? Quickly smile for me.” Yang Guo opened his mouth and laughed foolishly.

The Taoist priestess wrinkled her brows and said, “Follow me up the mountain.” Yang Guo quickly said, “I can’t…I can’t, mother told me not to run around.”

The Taoist priestess shouted, “If you don’t listen then I’ll kill you immediately.” She stretched out her left hand and held his ear, while her right hand raised her sword, as if she was about to slash down.

Yang Guo quickly blurted out, “I’ll go…I’ll go!”

The Taoist priestess thought, “That person is as stupid as a pig, just what I need.” She then pulled on his sleeve and started up the mountain. Her lightness kung fu was not weak so naturally her steps were quick. Yang Guo kept on stumbling about, his left foot high, right foot low, he was far behind her and after a while he sat on a rock by the roadside, incessantly wiping away his sweat and was out of breath. The Taoist priestess ran on ahead.

Yang Guo said, “You run like a rabbit, how can I keep up?”

The Taoist priestess saw that the sun was in the west, she was troubled and impatient, she returned and grabbed his arm, and hurriedly went up the mountain. Yang Guo couldn’t keep up, his arms and legs were everywhere, and soon kicked her in the back of the leg.

The Taoist priestess shouted “Ai ya!” and angrily said, “Do you want to die?” But she saw that he was out of breath and extremely tired, so she stretched out her left hand and grabbed his waist and said, “Let’s go!” She seized his body and headed up the mountain, she utilized her lightness kung fu, and in a few moments she had passed over many li.

As Yang Guo was being carried by her, he felt her soft body and smelled her feminine scent, he didn’t waste an ounce of energy and let her carry him up the mountain. She hurried for a while and then looked down and saw a smile creep upon his face. He was looking very comfortable; she couldn’t stop from being angry, loosened her arm, and tossed him on the ground and angrily shouted, “Are you feeling happy?”

Yang Guo rubbed his backside and called out, “Ai yo, ai yo, the Xian Gu hurt Sha Dan’s backside.”

The Taoist priestess was angry but was amused at the same time and said, “Why is your surname Sha (Foolish/Dumb)?”

Yang Guo said, “Yes, I’m called Sha Dan. Xian Gu, mother said my surname is not Sha; it’s Zhang. Why is your surname Xian (Angel/Immortal)?”

The Taoist priestess said, “Just call me Xian Gu, and don’t worry about my surname.” She was the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’ Li Mochou’s disciple Hong Lingbo. She was the young Taoist priestess who was sent to kill the Lu couple and Madam Wu. Yang Guo wanted to know her surname but she didn’t reveal it. The Taoist priestess sat on a rock, the wind scattered her hair. Yang Guo secretly glanced at her and thought, “That priestess is quite pretty, but can’t compare with Peach Blossom Island’s Auntie Guo, and of course cannot compare with my Gu Gu.”

Hong Lingbo glanced at Yang Guo, smiled and said; “Sha Dan, why are you staring at me?”

Yang Guo said, “I’m just looking what reason is there? If you don’t let me look, I won’t look, what’s so special?”

Hong Lingbo said, “Look then! Hey, am I nice to look at?” She then took out a comb from her pocket, and slowly combed her hair.

Yang Guo said, “You are nice to look at, but…but…” Hong Lingbo said, “But what?”

Yang Guo said, “But you are not white enough.”

She had always regarded her skin as white and smooth as gems, when she heard him say this; she couldn’t refrain from getting angry, she stood up and shouted, “Sha Dan, do you want to die? Saying I’m not white enough…humph!”

Yang Guo shook his head and said, “Not white enough.” Hong Lingbo said, “Who’s whiter than me?”

Yang Guo said, “The one that slept by my side last night is much whiter than you.”

Hong Lingbo said, “Who? Is it one of your family members?” The thought of killing the woman who had whiter skin than her crossed her mind.

Yang Guo said, “Nope, it’s my family’s white lamb.”

Hong Lingbo turned her anger into laughter and said, “You really are stupid, how can you compare a person with an animal? Let’s go!” She took his upper arm and hurried up the mountain. Straight ahead was the road to Chongyang Palace, but Hong Lingbo headed west, in the direction of the Tomb of the Living Dead.

Yang Guo thought, “Indeed she is trying to find my Gu Gu.”

Hong Lingbo ran for a while and then took out a map from her pocket, looking for her destination. Yang Guo said, “Xian Gu, we can’t go ahead, there are ghosts in the forest.”

Hong Lingbo said, “How do you know this?”

Yang Guo said, “The forest has a large tomb, the tomb has evil spirits, no one dares to go near it.” Hong Lingbo was delighted and thought, “True enough, the Tomb of the Living Dead is around here.”

In the past few years, she has been under the tutelage of Li Mochou, and her martial arts had made good progress. In Shanxi, she helped her master to defeat many people of the Wulin world, and pleased her master. She heard her master mention the matter of dueling with the Quanzhen Elders, and said if she’d mastered the “Jade Heart Manual”, she wouldn’t have feared the Quanzhen Taoists. She said that there was a pile of manuals and scriptures of their sect’s skills in the tomb. Hong Lingbo asked why she didn’t go to the tomb and study their sect’s skills. Li Mochou ambiguously replied, saying that she had conceded the place to her younger apprentice sister, there wasn’t much friendly feeling between the two, and were not in contact with each other. Li Mochou was extremely proud, the many times she tried to enter the tomb, being found out and being sent scurrying away were not mentioned to her disciple. Instead she said that her apprentice sister was young, her martial arts were ordinary, and being the elder apprentice sister it wasn’t right to bully the younger one. She then encouraged her master to enter the tomb and take the manuals. In reality, there wasn’t a day that Li Mochou didn’t think about this, but she wasn’t familiar with the booby traps in the tomb, and so did not dare to do anything. When she heard her disciple talking about this she just smiled and did not reply.

Hong Lingbo mentioned this many times, but when she saw that her master did not care one way or another, she secretly decided to be more attentive, and asked her about the way to Mount Zhongnan’s tomb. She managed to draw a map, but she didn’t know that Li Mochou had not revealed everything to her. At this time, Li Mochou had sent her on a mission to kill one of their enemies; after she finished, she went to Mount Zhongnan by herself, and by coincidence met Yang Guo; she now ordered Yang Guo to chop down the pine trees that were blocking the way to the tomb.

Yang Guo thought that even with a year and a half of pine chopping, they would not be anywhere near the tomb; but he pretended to be dumb and followed her orders. More than half an hour later, the sky became dark, they had not even traveled a few li, and they were still very far from the tomb. He was becoming more and more anxious about Xiao Longnu. He thought, why not lead her forward to the tomb and see what she has planned; so he raised his hatchet and hacked down a few times, and then hacked a rock, sparks flew and the edge of the hatchet rolled up.

He loudly shouted, “Ai ya, ai yo, there’s a rock here. The hatchet is ruined; father is going to beat me. I…I need to go back home.”

Hong Lingbo was extremely anxious, she looked for the way to the tomb, she must enter the tomb tonight, and shouted out, “Sha Dan, stay here!”

Yang Guo said, “Xian Gu, aren’t you scared of ghosts?”

Hong Lingbo said, “If ghosts try to scare me then I’ll chop them in half with my sword.” Yang Guo was happy and said, “You aren’t lying to me?”

Hong Lingbo said, “Why should I lie to you?”

Yang Guo said, “Since ghosts are scared of you, I’ll take you to the large tomb. If ghosts come out, you must scare them away!”

Hong Lingbo delightedly said, “You know the way to the tomb? Quickly take me there.” Yang Guo was afraid that she was going to become suspicious and so made her promise three times that she must kill the evil ghosts. Hong Lingbo comforted him, and told him to relax, and promised him that even if ten ghosts come out she will kill them all.

Yang Guo said, “A few years ago, I was grazing my lambs near the tomb and fell asleep, when I woke up it was the middle of the night. I saw a female ghost dressed in white exiting the tomb, it scared me to death, and I tripped while I was trying to run away and cracked my head, look there’s a scar here.” He then walked up to her, wanting her to feel his forehead. She had carried him all along the way, and he felt that she had the scent of orchids around her, leaning against her was quite relaxing. He continued with his plan, and put his forehead in front of her face.

Hong Lingbo laughed and said, “Sha Dan!” and just felt his forehead, she didn’t feel any scars but didn’t really notice and said, “Take me there quickly.”

Yang Guo took her hand and lead her out of the forest, and took her to the secret path leading to the tomb. It was nearing the middle of the night; there was no light from the stars or moon. Yang Guo took her hand, and felt a warm and soft hand and wondered, “Gu Gu and her are girls, why is it Gu Gu’s hands are as cold as ice and hers are warm.” He took her hand and pulled it. If anyone from the Wulin world treated Hong Lingbo with any disrespect, she would have killed them, but she knew that Yang Guo was just a simple fool, and she wanted his help. She thought that he was handsome, she was secretly quite pleased and quietly said, “That Sha Dan is not completely stupid; he knows that I’m good looking.” Very soon, Yang Guo had led Hong Lingbo to the tomb. When he’d left the tomb he was confused and flustered, he didn’t close the tomb’s door; now he saw the large stone slab that was used as the door was still to the side. His heart jumped around and he prayed, “I hope Gu Gu is not dead so I’ll be able to see her again.” He decided that he couldn’t mess around with Hong Lingbo, and said, “Xian Gu, I’ll lead you forward, if a ghost eats me up and I become a ghost, I’ll haunt you forever.” They then entered.

Hong Lingbo thought, “That Sha Dan is strangely brave.” She didn’t give it any more thought, and followed closely in the dark, she had heard from her master that the paths in the Tomb of the Living Dead were complicated, all you need to do is take one wrong step and you’ll be lost. She watched Yang Guo moving without delaying for the slightest second, turning to the east and then twisting to the west, opening a door there, and pushing a stone over here, like he knew the way.

Hong Lingbo thought, “What’s so hard about the paths in the tomb? Could it be that master lied to me, in case I entered alone?” In just a few moments, Yang Guo had led her deep into the tomb, outside Xiao Longnu’s room.

He opened the door lightly, and listened carefully, he couldn’t hear anything and wanted to call out “Gu Gu!” but remembered that Hong Lingbo was right behind him so he quietly said, “We’re here!”

Hong Lingbo was now deep within the tomb, although she was skilled in martial arts and daring, she felt uneasy. When she heard Yang Guo say this, she quickly entered and took out a match, and lit the candle on the table. She saw a girl in white lying on a bed. She knew she would meet her Martial Uncle in the tomb, but she didn’t know that she would find her lying down peacefully, not knowing whether she was sleeping or ignoring her. She held her sword across her chest and said, “Disciple Hong Lingbo greets Martial Uncle.”

Yang Guo opened his mouth, it felt as if his heart jumped out of it, he concentrated on the Xiao Longnu’s movements, but she didn’t move an inch. After a while, she gave out a quiet ‘en’ sound. From when Hong Lingbo first said something to Xiao Longnu up to Xiao long Nu’s reply, Yang Guo was extremely anxious and worried, he wanted to throw himself on Xiao Longnu to hold her and cry. When he heard her reply he was very relieved; he was also extremely delighted and wasn’t able to hold in his tears and cried loudly.

Hong Lingbo asked, “Sha Dan, what’s wrong with you?” Yang Guo said, “I’m…I’m scared.”

Xiao Longnu slowly turned around and quietly said, “Don’t be afraid, I’ve just died once, it wasn’t painful at all.”

Hong Lingbo saw that she had an extremely beautiful face, and was startled. She thought, “Such a beautiful girl living on this earth!” She couldn’t but feel inferior, and said, “Disciple Hong Lingbo greets Martial Uncle.”

Xiao Longnu quietly said, “My apprentice sister? Is she here?”

Hong Lingbo said, “My master told me to come here first, and asked about Martial Uncle’s well being.” Xiao Longnu said, “Just leave, this place is not for you, even your master can’t come here.”

Hong Lingbo saw that her face looked unwell, there were bloodstains on her chest, she was short of breath when talking, it looked like she had a serious injury. She then let down her guard slightly and asked, “Where’s Grandma Sun?”

Xiao Longnu said, “She died a long time ago…just leave now.”

Hong Lingbo became even more relaxed and thought; “It’s fate; who would have thought that I, Hong Lingbo, would become the heir to the tomb.” She saw that  Xiao  Longnu  seemed  to  be  on  death’s doorsteps, and was afraid that if she died, no one would know  the  whereabouts  of  the  “Jade  Heart Manual”. She quickly said, “Martial Uncle, Master ordered me to obtain the “Jade Heart manual”. If you give it to me, then I’ll immediately help you cure your injury.”

Xiao Longnu had practiced the tomb’s martial arts for a long time, she didn’t have any emotions, nothing was able to affect her; but now she was suffering a serious internal injury and lost her self control. When she heard what she said, she was alarmed, and fainted again. Hong Lingbo dashed over and searched her body, Xiao Longnu woke up and said, “Where’s my apprentice sister? Get her here; I have something to say to her.”

Hong Lingbo saw that their sect’s highest arts were within her grasp, she couldn’t wait, she chuckled and took out silver needles from her pocket, and said, “Martial Uncle, you recognize these needles, if you don’t give the “Jade Heart Manual” to me then don’t blame me for being impolite.” Yang Guo had experienced the poison of the “Soul Freezing Silver Needles” before; he had only held one in his hand and he felt the effects. If one pierced the body, what’s going to happen then? He saw the danger and quickly called out, “Xian Gu, there’s a ghost, I’m scared.” He threw himself over her, hugging her back, and used his finger to press down on the ‘Chaste Shoulder’ (jian zhen) and ‘Main Entrance’ (jing men) pressure points. Hong Lingbo could not have dreamed that ‘Sha Dan’ would possess such advanced martial art skills, her whole body became numb and she stood there paralyzed. Yang Guo was afraid she had the ability to unblock her pressure points so he heavily pressed down on ‘Large Bone’ (ju gu) pressure point, and said, “Gu Gu, this girl is really evil, should I prick her a few times with these needles?” He wrapped his hand with his garment and picked up the needles.

Hong Lingbo wasn’t able to move an inch and she heard what he said clearly. He saw him pick up the needles and laughing ‘ha-ha’ towards her, she was frightened out of her wits. She wanted to plead but couldn’t open her mouth, her eyes revealed the state of mind she was in.

Xiao Longnu said, “Guo’Er, close the door to the tomb in case my apprentice sister arrives.” Yang Guo said, “Yes!”

He was about to turn around when he heard an enchanting female voice from behind saying, “Apprentice sister, how are you? I arrived a long time ago.”

Yang Guo turned around alarmed, under the candlelight, he saw a beautiful Taoist priestess standing at the door, her cheeks peach, her mouth seemed to form a smile but it did not, it was the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’ Li Mochou.

When Hong Lingbo first started to ask about the whereabouts of the Tomb of the Living Dead, she knew that Hong Lingbo would go to the tomb herself to steal the “Jade Heart Manual”. When she sent Hong Lingbo to Changnan to kill, she had really planned it all. She secretly followed all along; she saw how Hong Lingbo met Yang Guo, how they entered the tomb, how she tried to force Xiao Longnu to hand over the manual and how she lost. Because she was extremely quick and her steps extremely light, Hong Lingbo and Yang Guo did not notice her. Now she revealed herself.

Xiao Longnu got up and called out, “Apprentice sister!” then coughed incessantly.

Li Mochou coldly pointed at Yang Guo and said, “Who is he? Ancestor Grandma’s rule, no man is allowed to take one step into the tomb, and you allow him here?” Xiao Longnu was coughing violently, and had no way to reply. Yang Guo stood in front of Xiao Longnu protecting her and clearly said, “She’s my Gu Gu, this is none of your business.”

Li Mochou chuckled and said, “Good Sha Dan, you’re very brave!” She waved her fly whisk three times, making three ‘fu’ sounds. Although the three moves were done one after the other, they arrived at the same time. It was one of the lethal stances of the Ancient Tomb sect; other sect’s fighters do not know the essence of the stance and would have their bones broken as soon as she used it. Yang Guo was familiar with all the skills of the Ancient Tomb sect, though his internal energy wasn’t as profound as Li Mochou’s he was still able to dodge the three moves in one “Three Swallows in the Forest”. Li Mochou’s fly whisk returned, she was secretly alarmed, she saw that his dodging techniques were from their sect, she sternly said, “Apprentice sister, who is this little scoundrel?”

Xiao Longnu was afraid that she was going to throw up blood again and didn’t dare raise her voice, and quietly said, “Guo’Er, greet your Martial Uncle.”

Yang Guo gave a ‘humph’ sound and said, “She counts as my Martial Uncle?” Xiao Longnu said, “Bend your ear over, I’ve got something to say to you.”

Yang Guo knew that she wanted him to kowtow to Li Mochou, but he didn’t want to, so he still lowered his ear.

Xiao Longnu quietly said, “On the corner of the bed by my leg, there is a stone panel, turn it to the right and quickly leap up onto the bed.”

Li Mochou thought that she was ordering her disciple to apologize to her; in front of her was a seriously injured person, the other was a youngster, why would she care about them? She was thinking of a way to torture them and force her apprentice sister to hand over the “Jade Heart Manual”.

Yang Guo nodded his head, and clearly said, “Disciple greets Martial Uncle!” He slowly stretched out his hand towards the part of the bed near Xiao Longnu’s leg, indeed there was a stone panel, so he turned it with all his strength and quickly leaped onto the bed.

Li Mochou was shocked, and remembered there were booby traps everywhere in the tomb. Her master was biased; she concealed them from her and taught her apprentice sister where they were and how to use them; she immediately dashed over to grab Xiao Longnu.

Xiao Longnu had no strength to retaliate at present. The bed was  heavy,  Li  Mochou  had  spotted  this earlier, and she was extremely quick in her movements and was about to grab Xiao Longnu off the bed. Yang Guo was alarmed, and with all his strength pushed out a palm to repel her hand away. He suddenly saw darkness in front of him, two thudding sounds, and the bed had dropped into a lower level. The stone slab on the ceiling automatically pushed back up; Xiao Longnu and Yang Guo were separated from Li Mochou and her disciple.

Yang Guo could make out that there was a table and some chairs in the room, he made his way to the table and took out a match and lit a half burned candle.

Xiao Longnu sighed and said, “There isn’t enough blood in my body, I am unable to circulate my internal energy to heal myself. Even if I wasn’t hurt, the two of us would not be able to beat my apprentice sister”. When Yang Guo heard her say there wasn’t enough blood in her body, he raised his left arm, and singled out his vein on his wrist and bit down on it as hard as he could; blood came flowing out. He placed his wound by Xiao Longnu’s mouth, and his blood dripped in.

Xiao Longnu’s body was ice cold, when the warm blood entered her, her body started to warm up, she knew this wasn’t right and wanted to struggle, but Yang Guo knew what she was thinking and pressed down on a pressure point on her waist, stopping her from moving. After a while, the wound started to dry up, Yang Guo bit on it again, and then bit his right wrist. After donating blood several times, Yang Guo felt faint and dizzy, he sat up straight and unsealed her pressure point. Xiao Longnu looked at him for a while and didn’t say anything then started to heal herself. Yang Guo saw that the candle was about to burn out, and replaced it.

That night the two of them meditated together. Yang Guo was recovering from his lost of blood. After taking in Yang Guo’s blood, Xiao Longnu strengthened, and knew that her life was saved. She opened her eyes and smiled slightly towards Yang Guo. Her cheeks were normally white, but Yang Guo now saw that they were red, like rouge on white jade; he was delighted and said, “Gu Gu, you’ve recovered.” Xiao Longnu nodded her head. Yang Guo was happy but didn’t know what to say.

Xiao Longnu said, “We’ll go to Grandma Sun’s room, I have something to say to you.” Yang Guo said, “Aren’t you tired?”

Xiao Longnu said, “I’m fine.” She stretched out her hand and pulled on a bracket on the wall, a stone slab moved and revealed a path. Yang Guo had never seen this path before. Xiao Longnu led him in the darkness and eventually arrived at Grandma Sun’s room.

She lit a candle, and turned Yang Guo’s garment into a bag, and placed her gold silk gloves in it. Yang Guo stood there looking at her and asked, “Gu Gu, what are you doing?”

Xiao Longnu didn’t reply, and placed two jars of Jade Bee honey into the bag. Yang Guo delightedly said, “Gu Gu, we are leaving, aren’t we? That will be great.”

Xiao Longnu said, “You go by yourself, I know you are a good boy, you treat me very well.” Yang Guo was shocked and said, “What about you?”

Xiao Longnu said, “I made an oath to my master, I must stay in the tomb and never leave. Unless… unless…I won’t leave.” She shook her head as she said this.

He saw that her face was stern, her voice still, she wasn’t going to allow any back chat from him so he didn’t say anything. But this was an important matter; he eventually plucked up the courage and said, “Gu Gu, if you don’t go, I won’t go. I want to stay with you.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Right now, my apprentice sister is probably guarding the paths out of the tomb, she wants to force me to hand over the “Jade Heart Manual”. My kung fu is not near hers, and I’m hurt, I won’t be able to beat her, will I?”

Yang Guo said, “No.”

Xiao Longnu said, “The food we’ve got left will only last twenty days if we stretch it, if we also eat the Jade Bee honey, we’ll last a month. After the month passes, then what?”

Yang Guo stood there for a while and said, “We’ll rush out, although we won’t beat Martial Uncle, it may be possible to escape with our lives.”

Xiao Longnu shook her head and said, “You know your Martial Uncle’s martial arts and temper, and should know that we won’t be able to escape. Not only will she torture us, but our deaths will be unbearable.”

Yang Guo said, “If this is the case, it will be even harder for me to escape by myself.”

Xiao Longnu shook her head and said, “No! I’ll fight with her and lure her deep within the tomb; this will give you a chance to escape. When you get to the entrance, shift the large stone on the left, and pull on the brackets, two large stones weighing ten tonnes will drop down, sealing off the tomb forever.”

Yang Guo became even more startled as he heard this, and said, “Gu Gu, you’ll be able to open the stones, won’t you?”

Xiao Longnu shook her head and said, “No. Years ago when Wang Chongyang was rebelling against the Jin, he made a plan; this stone tomb was his storage place for money, supplies and weapons. It is heavily booby trapped, the layout a secret, and he set up two large ten tonne stone slabs at the entrance, called the “Dragon Snapping Stones” (duan long shi). In case they failed against the Jin and the Jin found out about this place and came to attack, it would be a few against many. In that case he would lower the stone, sealing off the tomb; the attackers of the tomb would not be able to leave with their lives. Once the stone drops, it will not open again. You know how narrow the path leading into the tomb is; it only allows for one person at a time to pass. Even if there were thousands of the enemy that entered the tomb, they could only form a long line; only one person could touch the large stone and that one person will not be able to lift the stone. With this plan, that old Taoist was saying that even in death he will not give in, and he wanted to perish with the enemy. After he failed against the Jin, he lived by himself in the tomb. The Jin emperor knew where he was, and sent tens of martial artists to kill him; in the end they were all captured or killed by Wang Chongyang. Not one returned. Later, that Jin emperor died suddenly, a new emperor was appointed, and left him alone, and so the two ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ were never used. When Wang Chongyang left the tomb, he told Ancestor Grandma about all of the tomb’s booby traps.

The more Yang Guo listened the more startled he became, with tears in his eyes he said, “Gu Gu, I’ll follow you in life and death.”

Xiao Longnu said, “What use is there in following me? You said the outside world was a great place to play, just go and play. With your standard of martial arts, the Quanzhen Taoists will not be able to do much to you. You managed to trick Hong Lingbo, you are much cleverer than me; there is no need for me to look after you.”

Yang Guo rushed up to her and hugged her, crying, “Gu Gu, if I’m not able to leave with you, I won’t be able to enjoy my life.”

Xiao Longnu was cold and loveless, her words were cold and harsh, but right now for some reason she felt a rush of warm blood to her chest, her eyes ached, she wanted to cry. She was startled and remembered what her master had told her before she died, “The kung fu you are practicing is an emotionless type of advanced martial arts, if, later on, you cry and reveal your true feelings, not will only your martial arts suffer, your life will be in danger. Remember this.” Then she pushed Yang Guo away and coldly said, “Whatever I say, you have to listen.”

Yang Guo saw that she was still strict and stern, and didn’t dare to say another word. Xiao Longnu put the bag on his back and took a long sword off the wall, and gave it to him and then sternly said, “When I tell you to go, you must immediately go, once you are outside, immediately lower the stone to close off the tomb. Your Martial Uncle is extremely ruthless, the chance will be gone very quick, are you going to obey me?”

Yang Guo choked, “Yes.”

Xiao Longnu said, “If you don’t do as I have told you, when I’m dead in hell, I’ll hate you forever. Go!” She took hold of his hand, opened the door and left. Whenever Yang Guo touched her hand, it always felt like ice, but now in her grasp, he felt her palm was sometimes cold, sometimes warm, and completely different from normal. But right now he was too emotional; he had no time to think about such trivial things, and followed her out. After traveling for a while, Xiao Longnu touched a stone slab and quietly said, “They are just in front. I’ll lure my apprentice sister away, and you’ll leave by rushing to the exit in the northwest corner. If Hong Lingbo chases you, attack her with ‘Jade Bee Needles’.” Yang Guo’s heart was fluttering all over the place, and just nodded.

The “Jade Bee Needles” are a skill of the Ancient Tomb sect; years ago Lin Chaoying had two lethal projectiles, one was the “Soul Freezing Needles”, the other was the “Jade Bee Needles”. The “Jade Bee Needle” was a gold needle that was as thin as a hair, sixty percent was made of gold, the other forty percent consists of steel, and had a drop of poison from the Jade Bees on it. Although it was small, the gold was heavy and allowed it to be thrown over a long distance. This projectile was too venomous, Lin Chaoying rarely used it; after her middle age, her kung fu had reached the acme of perfection, and so there wasn’t a need to use them at all. Because Li Mochou had not agreed to swear an oath that she would remain in the tomb forever, when her master passed on the skill of the “Soul Freezing Needles” she did not teach her the “Jade Bee Needles”.

Xiao Longnu waited, and then rotated the brackets on the wall, two ‘zha’ ‘zha’ sounds were made as the wall slowly opened to the left. Her pair of silk belts immediately flew out, the left heading for Li Mochou, the right heading for Hong Lingbo, her body flying extremely swiftly forwards. Li Mochou had long ago unblocked Hong Lingbo’s pressure points and she had shouted at her for a little while. They were in the room trying to figure out where they were and looking for a way out when suddenly they saw Xiao Longnu attacking, the both of them were startled.

Li Mochou’s fly whisk flew out to block Xiao Longnu’s belt. The fly whisk and the silk belt were soft objects, soft against soft, but Li Mochou’s internal energy was superior to that of Xiao Longnu’s, the two weapons clashed, and Xiao Longnu’s weapon was sent back. The belt in her left hand returned, the right was sent out, in just a short while many stances were exchanged, the two silk belts were gentle and swift. Li Mochou was startled and angry, thinking, “So master was biased, she did not teach me these skills!” But she was able to defend against it, but didn’t want to try to kill her, firstly the “Jade Heart Manual” wasn’t yet in her hands, if she killed her it would be difficult to find the manual in this large stone tomb, and secondly, she wanted to see what other great skills that her master had bestowed on Xiao Longnu.

Hong Lingbo had always regarded herself as intelligent, but today she was tricked by a boy, she was fooled into thinking he was dumb for over half a day and wasn’t able to see through it. She was furious with him, she saw that her master and Xiao Longnu were fighting heatedly, and said, “Sha Dan, your little scoundrel’s trickery isn’t bad.” She took out her swords, and took half a step and called out, “See if I can cut your nose off.” Her swords chopped and slashed, ‘chi’ ‘chi’ ‘chi’ as several stances were unleashed. Yang Guo saw that she was advancing fiercely and could only raise his sword to block. In normal circumstances, Yang Guo would make some sarcastic comments and joke around with her, but now he was thinking about having to part with Xiao Longnu, warm tears were in his eyes, everything was blurry in front of him, he made a few stances, but there wasn’t any intention of attacking.

Hong Lingbo had used many stances; although she wasn’t able to hurt him, she saw that there was no strength in his stances. She thought that he must possess average skills. She became even more careless, and didn’t even consider the fact that he had sealed her pressure points before.

Li Mochou and Xiao Longnu fought for another ten moves, Li Mochou’s fly whisk flipped up wrapping around her left silk belt and said, “Apprentice sister, take a look at my skills.” She dispersed her chi into her weapon and the belt was cut into two pieces. In normal duels with weapons, it was difficult for one person’s weapon to shatter the enemy’s weapon. The fly whisk and the silk belts were extremely soft objects, she had just used her fly whisk to split the belt in half, and this was ten times more difficult than using a sword to shatter another sword. Li Mochou demonstrated her skills and her face swelled with pride.

Xiao Longnu didn’t react, and said, “How good are your skills?” Her half belt shot out and wrapped itself around the thread end of the fly whisk, the belt in her right hand shot out and tangled the handle, one pulled to the left and one to the right, and the fly whisk snapped in half. In terms of power, this move was lower than when Li Mochou had snapped the belt in half, but it was extremely fast and the technique of dispersing her chi into the belts was exquisite, Li Mochou’s move cannot compare with Xiao Longnu in this department. She was slightly alarmed and threw down her weapon; she snatched the belts, gradually forcing Xiao Longnu back. Another ten moves passed and Xiao Longnu was forced to the eastern wall, and saw that she had nowhere else to go. She suddenly touched the wall and called out, “Guo’Er, escape quickly!” A ‘ka’ sound was heard as an exit appeared in the northwest corner.

Li Mochou was shocked and quickly turned around, wanting to stop Yang Guo. Xiao Longnu threw down her belts and threw out two palms with the intent to kill. Li Mochou had to turn around to block it.

Xiao Longnu shouted, “Guo’Er, why aren’t you leaving?”

Yang Guo looked at Xiao Longnu and saw that there was no over turning of this decision and shouted, “Gu Gu, I’m going now!” He quickly threw out three stances, the sword tip pointing towards Hong Lingbo.

Hong Lingbo had seen Yang Guo’s sword stances were weak, but of a sudden it had strengthened so much, she could only jump back from the danger. Yang Guo darted out of the door, he turned around, wanting to look at Xiao Longnu for one last time.

Xiao Longnu and her apprentice sister were fighting bare handed, after practicing the “Jade Heart Manual” her variation of stances had greatly increased, although she was seriously wounded, she managed to hold her own after tens of moves. She saw the image of Yang Guo’s back at the door, and thought how they would never meet each other again, her chest heated up, her eyes ached, wanting to cry. She has never shown her true emotions before; today she wanted to cry twice. She was frightened.

When clashing palms with a highly skilled fighter, how can one allow oneself to be slow? Li Mochou saw Xiao Longnu standing there and took the opportunity to advance; she grabbed her wrist and sealed the ‘Returning Orthodox’ (hui zong) pressure point, and hooked out a leg. Xiao Longnu wasn’t able to stand upright and fell onto the floor.

Yang Guo turned his head around, only to see Xiao Longnu hooked onto the floor by her apprentice sister. He then saw Li Mochou was about to harm his master, blood rushed through his chest and he called out, “Don’t harm my master!” He darted back into the room, then leapt over to her and grabbed Li Mochou by the waist. This move didn’t belong to the stances of any school or sect; it was just an urgent reaction from Yang Guo in this dangerous situation.

Li Mochou was preoccupied with wanting to pick up Xiao Longnu, and wasn’t prepared for Yang Guo coming back and grabbing her, for the time being she wasn’t able to escape. She was ruthless and violent, not restrained by the practice of religion like she should be, but she guarded her body like a treasure. After spending many years wandering the world of Jianghu, she was still a virgin, and now suddenly she was held tightly by Yang Guo. All she felt now was the warmth of a man spreading from her back into her heart, her heart stirred, her whole body softened, her face was red, and there was no strength in her hands. Xiao Longnu took the chance to unblock her pressure point, but Hong Lingbo was now pointing her sword towards Yang Guo’s back. Xiao Longnu was looking up from the ground, when she saw the sword coming she rolled to the left, and moved Yang Guo and Li Mochou at the same time, Hong Lingbo’s sword pierced thin air.

Xiao Longnu leapt up and shouted, “Guo’Er, get out quickly!”

Yang Guo held tightly onto Li Mochou’s waist and called out, “Gu Gu, get out quickly, I’m holding her down, she won’t be able to move.” During this time, Li Mochou’s head was filled with thoughts, she knew that this was a urgent situation where there is only a hair separating life and death, but being held by Yang Guo caused her heart to be enchanted, and didn’t think of escaping.

Xiao Longnu was curious and wondered, “With my apprentice sister’s martial arts, how could she be held down by Guo’Er, not moving an inch? Could it be that her pressure points have been blocked?”

She saw that Hong Lingbo’s left hand was about to try to pierce Yang Guo again, so she stretched out two fingers and pushed the flat side of the sword in her right hand, the sword leaped up, heading for the sword in Hong Lingbo’s left hand. A clashing sound, Hong Lingbo’s hands became numb, the handles of the swords dropped on the floor. She jumped back in shock.

When the swords clashed, sparks flew, it was during this time when Li Mochou noticed that Xiao Longnu had looked at her strangely; she couldn’t stop from being furious and shouted, “Little punk, do you want to die?” She generated chi into her arms and escaped from Yang Guo’s hold, she leapt up and was about to throw out a palm towards Xiao Longnu.

Xiao Longnu was busy concentrating on Yang Guo’s movements when she suddenly felt Li Mochou’s palm arriving, there was no time to use stances to neutralize the palm, she could only return a palm to block, but she felt her apprentice sister’s profound internal energy, she felt pain in her chest. She saw Yang Guo had picked himself up, and was coming to help her, she shouted, “Guo’Er, you aren’t going to listen to me, are you?”

Yang Guo said, “I’ll listen to whatever you say, but I won’t listen to what you are saying now. Gu Gu, I’ll follow you in life and death.”

Xiao Longnu heard his sincerity in his words, and was touched again, she saw that Li Mochou was about to throw out another palm, she knew right now that with her serious internal injuries, she would not be able to take this palm, so she ducked and darted to the side and picked up Yang Guo, and hurried out of the room through the stone door. Li Mochou followed the blur, and stretched out her hand to grab her back and shouted, “Don’t go!”

Xiao Longnu waved her hand back, ten or so “Jade Bee Needles” were shot back. Li Mochou suddenly smelled the sweet scent of honey, and knew that this projectile was lethal. She was startled and quickly bent back, she knocked into Hong Lingbo and both of them dropped onto the floor.

They heard extremely quiet ‘ding’ ‘ding’ ‘ding’ sounds, as the needles struck the wall, then they heard two ‘zha’ ‘zha’ sounds, it was Xiao Longnu who had taken Yang Guo out of the room, turned the switch, and closed the door.

End of Chapter 6. 
@Chapter 7 – Chongyang’s Markings
Yang Guo and Xiao Longnu rushed through the passages of the tomb, and hurriedly exited the tomb; Yang Guo was delighted and took some deep breaths under the starlight. He said, “Gu Gu, I’ll lower the ‘Dragon Snapping Stone’ and trap the two evil women in the tomb.” As he said this he searched around for the switch to the booby trap.

Xiao Longnu shook her head and said, “Wait, let me return inside first. My master instructed me to guard the tomb, and mustn’t allow it to fall into other people hands.”

Yang Guo said, “If we block the door, they won’t be able to live.”

Xiao Longnu said, “If that happens, I won’t be able to return to the tomb. I will never dare to disobey my master. Not like you!” She stared at him.

Yang Guo’s blood rose through his chest, he held her arm and said, “Gu Gu, I’ll listen to you orders.”

Xiao Longnu resisted her feelings, she was afraid of  getting  emotional,  she  didn’t  dare  to  say  another word and pulled his hand off, she entered the tomb and said, “Lower the stone!” She kept her back to him, she was afraid she was going to change her mind so she didn’t look at him again.

Yang Guo made up his mind, he breathed in deeply, his chest was filled with the fragrance of flowers and grasses, he looked up and saw the sky filled with stars, glittering continuously, and thought, “This is the last time I’ll be able to look at stars.” He quickly went to the left of the tomb’s monument, and followed the instructions of Xiao Longnu, he used his internal energy to shift a stone, behind it was a round stone, he held the round stone and pulled out. The stone revealed a hole, sand started to pour out, and the two large stones above the tomb’s door descended slowly down.

The two stones weighed over ten tonnes, years ago when Wang Chongyang was designing the tomb; he had used the combined strength of hundreds to complete it. Now the tomb was being sealed, even if Li Mochou, Xiao Longnu and Hong Lingbo’s skills were higher, they will not be able to escape from the tomb. Xiao Longnu heard the sound of the stones descending; she couldn’t hold back her tears and turned around. Yang Guo waited for the stone to be two feet away from the ground and then suddenly used a stance “The Jade Girl’s Dive” (yu nuu tou suo), his body like an arrow darting through the space.

Xiao Longnu gave out an alarmed call, Yang Guo got up, smiled and said, “Gu Gu, you can’t send me out anymore.” As he finished, heavy loud sounds were heard, the two large stones had reached the ground.

Xiao Longnu’s tears and emotions reached their peak, her face looked as if she was going to faint again, she leaned against the stone wall out of breath, after a while she said, “Fine, we’ll die together.” She held Yang Guo’s hand and went back into the heart of the tomb.

Li Mochou and her disciple were searching around for  the  switch  everywhere;  they  didn’t  have  the slightest clue and were getting anxious, when the two suddenly appeared. They couldn’t help from being pleased. Li Mochou’s body immediately darted behind the two, blocking their path of escape.

Xiao Longnu coldly said, “Apprentice sister, I’ll take you to a place.”

Li Mochou didn’t reply and thought, “There are traps everywhere in the tomb, don’t listen to her. If she’s up to something then I won’t be able to guard against it.”

Xiao Longnu said, “I’m taking you to see Master’s tomb, if you don’t want to, fine.”

Li Mochou said, “There is no need to use Master’s name to lie to me.” Xiao Longnu chuckled and didn’t reply, and walked out of the door. Li Mochou felt that her words seemed like an order, it sounded like no one can disobey, and so the two of them followed, taking care in every step, not daring to be careless. Xiao Longnu held Yang Guo’s hand and led the way, she wasn’t afraid of being ambushed by Li Mochou, and led the two to the coffin room.

Li Mochou had never been here; she remembered the teachings of her master and felt slightly touched; but then she thought of how her Master was biased and her emotions immediately changed to anger. She didn’t kowtow to her Master’s coffin and said, “Our master disciple relationship has long been cut; why have you brought me here?”

Xiao Longnu calmly said, “There are two empty coffins, one for me and one for you. I’ll let you pick, which one do you want?” She pointed to the two coffins.

Li Mochou was alarmed and shouted, “You dare to make fun of me?” As she finished she threw out a palm towards Xiao Longnu’s chest. She didn’t know that Xiao Longnu would ignore the palm when she saw it coming. Li Mochou was alarmed and thought, “This palm will kill you.” The palm was inches away from Xiao Longnu’s chest, when she took the palm back. Xiao Longnu said calmly, “Apprentice sister, the tomb’s ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ have been activated!”

Li Mochou’s face immediately turned white, although she didn’t know much about the tomb’s booby traps, she knew that the ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ were the tomb’s most powerful and last line of defense. Years ago her master had come up against a strong enemy, she almost activated the ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’, blocking the enemy outside, but eventually she was able to hurt the enemy with the “Soul Freezing Silver Needles” and “Jade Bee Needles”. She would never have guessed that her apprentice sister would trap herself in the tomb, alarmed and frightened, her voice quavered, “You have another way out, don’t you?”

Xiao Longnu calmly said, “When the ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ are set, there is no other way out of the tomb, don’t you know this?”

Li Mochou clutched Xiao Longnu’s dress and said, “You lie!”

Xiao Longnu didn’t move and said, “The “Jade Heart Manual” that master left is over there, if you want to take a look, go ahead. Guo’er and I are here; if you want to kill us, go ahead. But if you want to leave the tomb alive, then I’m afraid it won’t be possible!”

Li Mochou’s hand gradually loosened, and she stood still. She saw that Xiao Longnu had a carefree air, and knew that she wasn’t lying and said, “Fine, I’ll kill you two first!” She threw out a palm at Xiao Longnu. Yang Guo quickly moved in front of Xiao Longnu’s body, shielding her and called out, “Kill me first!”

Li Mochou’s palm became heavy, when the palm reached Xiao Longnu she wasn’t able to exert its power, she looked at Yang Guo with hate and said, “The way you are protecting her, you are willing to die for her, aren’t you?”

Yang Guo calmly said, “That’s correct!”

Li Mochou’s left hand darted out and took the sword from his waist, and pointed it at his throat and said, “I am only going to kill one person. Tell me, is it going to be you or her?” Yang Guo didn’t reply, he only looked at Xiao Longnu and smiled. The two of them had already forgotten about life and death; they didn’t care who Li Mochou was going to kill.

Li Mochou sighed and said, “Apprentice sister, your oath has been released, and you can leave the mountain now.”

Years ago, the ancient Tomb’s founder Lin Chaoying recollected her feelings for Wang Chongyang, and was unable to forget him in the end. A broken hearted Lin Chaoying made a rule, those who wanted to be her heir will first have to swear an oath that they will live in the tomb forever, never to leave Mount Zhongnan; but if there was a man who was willing to die for them, then the oath will be released. But the man must not know this oath. Lin Chaoying was positive that there wasn’t a man on earth who treated love above all else. The hero Wang Chongyang had become a Taoist, for her there wouldn’t be a man who would die willingly for their loved one. If there was such a man, her descendants will not leave the mountain in vain. Li Mochou entered the sect before Xiao Longnu, but because she didn’t take the oath, Xiao Longnu became the heir.

Li Mochou saw that Yang Guo was sincere towards Xiao Longnu, and couldn’t help becoming envious. She became angry again as she remembered how Lu Zhanyuan rejected her, she frowned as she called out, “Apprentice sister, you are very lucky.” She thrust the sword towards Yang Guo’s throat. Xiao Longnu saw that she was really going to kill him, now that the time had come, she wasn’t able to stop herself from saving him. She waved her left hand; more than ten “Jade Bee Needles” were thrown out.

Li Mochou quickly leapt back to avoid the poisonous needles. Xiao Longnu took Yang Guo’s hand and darted to the door, she turned around and said, “Apprentice sister, it doesn’t matter whether my oath has been released or not, our four lives will perish in the tomb. I don’t want to see your faces, just go and die on your own.” She extended her hand to a switch and activated it, the stone door descended, separating the four again.

Xiao Longnu was emotional; it was hard for her to walk. Yang  Guo  took her  to  Grandma Sun’s  room  to rest, and took out two jars of Jade Bee honey; he fed her a bottle and drank one himself.

Xiao Longnu quietly sighed and said, “Guo’er, why were you willing to die for me?”

Yang Guo said, “On this earth, only you treat me well, why should I be afraid to die for you?”

Xiao Longnu didn’t say anything. Half an hour later she said, “If I’d known earlier, then there was no need for us to return to the tomb and die with them. But if we didn’t return, I wouldn’t have known that you were willingly to die for me; my oath would not have been released.”

Yang Guo said, “Why don’t we try to find a way to get out of here?” Xiao Longnu said, “You know about the tomb, so you should know that  that there  is  no way  out for us.” Yang Guo sighed.

Xiao Longnu said, “You regret it, don’t you?”

Yang Guo said, “No, now I’m with you, outside, there’s no one that loves me.”

Xiao Longnu had not allowed him to say ‘you care about me’ in the past, and Yang Guo never mentioned it again; but now she’s had a change of heart, when she heard this she couldn’t help but feel touched, and asked, “So why did you sigh?”

Yang Guo said, “I was thinking that if we left the mountain, there are countless fun things to do, and with you by my side, life would be immensely enjoyable.”

Xiao Longnu had grown up in the tomb, her heart has always been as cold as ice, her master and Grandma Sun never mentioned the matters of the outside world, so of course she never thought about it. Now Yang Guo mentioned it, she felt her emotions soar, but felt blood rising up into her chest, and tried to circulate her chi to counter it, however she wasn’t able to make herself calm, and was frightened. She has never experienced this in her life, and knew that after recovering from her injury, she will not be able to recover her internal energy. She didn’t know that this method of suppressing her emotions was against the natural flow of things, being loveless doesn’t mean you will be able to do this, only by applying chi strictly can one succeed. She was now past twenty, in her time of danger, a young man was willing to die for her, and she didn’t want to reveal her true feelings and wanted to guard against injuring herself further. She tried to suppress her thoughts. She sat on the bed and meditated for a while, but became impatient, and got off the bed and walked around, she was becoming bored. Her steps became quicker and she was dashing around the room. Yang Guo saw that her cheeks were red, and she seemed emotional, he had never seen her like this before, and he was startled. After walking around for a while she sat down heavily on the bed, and looked at Yang Guo, and saw a concerned expression on his face and thought, “Right now I am about to die, so is he. Why should we distinguish ourselves as master and disciple, auntie and nephew? If he comes and hugs me, I won’t push him away, and will allow him to hold me tightly.”

Yang Guo saw that she had tears in her eyes, she was gasping for breath and assumed that she was having a reaction to her injury again and quickly said, “Gu Gu, are you okay?”

Xiao Longnu softly said, “Guo’er, come here.”

Yang Guo went over to the bedside and Xiao Longnu grasped his hand and lightly brushed her face with it and quietly said, “Guo’er, do you love me?”

Yang Guo felt her face was as hot as a fire; he was frightened and quivered, “Does your chest hurt?”

Xiao Longnu smiled and said, “No, my heart feels extremely comfortable. Guo’er, I’m going to die soon, tell me, do you love me very much?”

Yang Guo said, “Of course, on this earth, you are my only loved one.”

Xiao Longnu said, “If another girl treats you the way I treat you, would you treat them like you treat me?”

Yang Guo said, “Whoever treats me well, I’ll treat them well back.” When he said this he felt the hand that Xiao Longnu held him with quivered, and immediately turned cold as ice, he raised his head and saw that her red face had now turned pale and white, as she was normally.

Yang Guo was alarmed and said, “What did I say wrong?”

Xiao Longnu said, “If you are going to love other girls then its better that you don’t love me.”

Yang Guo smiled and said, “We’ll die in a few days, when will I be able to love other girls? Could it be that I’m going to treat Li Mochou and her disciple well?”

Xiao Longnu smiled captivatingly and said, “I’m really stupid. But I want to hear you swear an oath with you own mouth.”

Yang Guo said, “Swear what?”

Xiao Longnu said, “I want you to say, from now on you will only have me in your heart, if there is another girl, I will be allowed to kill you.”

Yang Guo smiled and said, “It goes without saying, I will never do this, if I actually did something wrong and don’t listen to you, then I deserve to die.” He then swore, “Disciple Yang Guo, I will only have Gu Gu in my heart in my lifetime, if my heart changes, there will be no need for Gu Gu to kill me, when I see her face I will kill myself.” Xiao Longnu was delighted and said, “Very good, I can relax now.” She held his hand tightly, not letting go. Yang Guo felt warmth returning to her hands.

Xiao Longnu said, “Guo’er, I haven’t been kind.”

Yang Guo quickly said, “No, you have always been kind.”

Xiao Longnu shook her head and said, “I treated you terribly before, at first I kicked you out of the tomb, it was lucky that Grandma Sun made me promise to take care of you. If I didn’t turn you away, Grandma Sun would not have died!” When she said this, she couldn’t stop tears flowing from her eyes. She had begun to practice martial arts at the age of five, and had never cried since; now she cried heavily, she was in a disturbed state of mind, her bones and joints made cracking noises, and she felt her internal energy draining away from her.

Yang Guo was alarmed and said, “Gu Gu, what’s happening? How are you feeling?”

Just as he said this, two ‘zha’ ‘zha’ noises were heard from behind and the stone door opened, Li Mochou and Hong Lingbo entered. Once the ‘Dragon Snapping Stone’ had been set, Li Mochou thought they were going to die anyway so there wasn’t any need to be wary of the tomb’s booby traps, and boldly dashed throughout the tomb. She managed to go through some rooms before finally arriving at Grandma Sun’s room. She knew she must have had extraordinary luck, she managed to avoid the booby traps but she didn’t know that the tomb’s booby traps were actually designed to repel Jin soldiers, once the large heavy stones had been set, someone must activate the traps to ambush the enemy. Xiao Longnu didn’t do this, and so the tomb’s booby traps were not armed.

Yang Guo immediately darted across, and blocked Xiao Longnu.

Li Mochou said, “Move out of the way, I have something to say to your master.”

Yang Guo was afraid that she was going to harm his master and didn’t dare to move and said, “Just say it there.”

Li Mochou stared at him for a while and sighed, and said, “There are very few men like you left in this world.”

Xiao Longnu got up and asked, “Apprentice sister, is it good or bad that you have described him this way?”

Li Mochou said, “Apprentice sister, you have never left the mountain, you don’t know how evil people’s hearts can be. Someone who views love and passion as deeply as him, it would be difficult to find another under heaven’s skies.” She has been hurt by love, her anger and fury was great, and she killed many men in the world who were loving and passionate.

Xiao Longnu was extremely pleased and quietly said, “If that is true, then having him die with me won’t make my life be without purpose.”

Li Mochou said, “Apprentice sister, who exactly is that person to you? You want to marry him?”

Xiao Longnu said, “No, he is my disciple. He said I treat him extremely well. But whether I have been kind or not, I don’t know.”

Li Mochou was puzzled, she shook her head and said, “Apprentice sister; let me see your arm.” She stretched out her left hand and grasped Xiao Longnu’s arm, she lifted her right arm’s sleeve and saw on her white skin a red dot, it was the ‘shou gong sha’ (virginity dot) left by her master. Li Mochou was secretly respectful, “The two of them having a relationship like this in the tomb yet they’ve kept respect, she is still a pure and untouched virgin.” She then rolled up her sleeve, a ‘shou gong sha’ was on her arm, the sight of two white arms next two each other was captivating. She had no alternative but to be chaste; however her apprentice sister has a lover who was willing to die for her, fortunate and unfortunate. The two women were very different, she couldn’t stop herself from sighing, and let go of Xiao Longnu’s hand.

Xiao Longnu said, “What have you got to say to me?”

Li Mochou had originally wanted to insult her, saying that she seduced men and had brought the sect to shame, and thereby anger her into revealing the way out of the tomb. But right now she had nothing to say. After a while, she had another idea, and said, “Apprentice sister, I have come to apologize to you.”

Xiao Longnu was shocked by this, she knew that her apprentice sister was a very proud woman, never has she lowered her head to anyone, she didn’t know what she wanted. So she calmly replied, “You live your life, and I live mine, we go our own ways, there is no need to apologize for anything.”

Li Mochou said, “Apprentice sister listen to me, in my entire life, the happiest time was when I had a lover. There’s an old saying ‘It’s easy to get money and treasures, but it’s difficult to find a lover’. There is no need to talk about sister’s bitter life. That young man treats you well, you do not lack anything.” Xiao Longnu smiled and said, “Yes, I am very happy. I know that he will never forget about me.”

Li Mochou’s heart ached and said, “You should leave the mountain and enjoy life. It’s a beautiful world; the two of you together will have boundless pleasures.”

Xiao Longnu raised her head and quietly said, “Yes, it’s just a pity that it is too late now.” Li Mochou said, “Why?”

Xiao Longnu said, “The ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ has been set, even if our Master was resurrected, will we not be able to get out of here.”

Li Mochou quietly breathed out, blowing through her lips and thought, “you had hoped to take advantage of Xiao Longnu’s will to live, and rely on her familiarity with the tomb to find a way out; but in the end it was useless”, she became angry and her urge to kill suddenly emerged, her hand twisted slightly and she raised a palm towards Xiao Longnu’s head.

Yang Guo was at the side listening to the two of them talking when he suddenly saw Li Mochou attack, alarmed, he automatically lowered his body and threw out two palms, called out, and unleashed the “Toad Stance” that Ouyang Feng had taught him. This was the kung fu he learned when he was younger, but since he lived in the tomb he did not practice it. But it was etched in his mind, at the most dangerous times he would use it without thinking. Li Mochou’s palm had yet to be unleashed, when she suddenly felt an extremely powerful wind pushing her from the side, she quickly sent the palm out to block the attack. Yang Guo had practiced martial arts in the tomb for two years, his internal energy had improved, though it was different to the internal energy of the “Toad Stance”, the power behind the push was still great, a thudding sound was made as he sent Li Mochou across the room, and she crashed into the wall causing pain in her back.

Li Mochou was angry and she wiped her palms, in the middle of a battle she fell into someone’s trap.

Xiao Longnu knew that Yang Guo’s last attack was a lucky hit, if her apprentice sister used her most refined “Divine Serpent Palm”, Yang Guo and she would not be able to hold her off. She grabbed Yang Guo’s arm and dashed towards the door.

Li Mochou sent out a palm, she didn’t guess that while her palm was in midair she would be struck across the left cheek. Although it didn’t hurt the sound was crisp, she heard Xiao Longnu call out, “You want to learn the skills of the “Jade Heart Manual”; well here it is!” Li Mochou was struck on the right cheek and she was also startled by what she said. She knew that the “Jade Heart Manual” was extremely powerful, and now she saw Xiao Longnu’s palm was extremely swift and quick, the variations mysterious, it was undoubtedly from their sect’s skills. But she couldn’t see through it or understand the essence of the palm, but knew that the skills just used belonged to the “Jade Heart Manual”. She immediately became frightened, and stared as her apprentice sister took Yang Guo’s hand and exited the room, shutting the door. She felt her cheek and thought, “At least she held back, if she used all her strength behind the palms, wouldn’t I have died?” She didn’t know that Xiao Longnu had yet to complete this kung fu, although the palm stances were refined, the power in them would not hurt anyone.

Yang Guo saw his master strike Li Mochou’s cheek and was delighted and said, “Gu Gu, Li Mochou would definitely not be able to beat the manual’s skills” before he finished he saw Xiao Longnu shaking and she wasn’t able to control it, alarmed, he called out, “Gu Gu, how are you…you” and Xiao Longnu shivered and said, “I’m… I’m cold.”

Although the attacks she used were light, she still had to use her internal energy. She had yet to recover her internal energy; this injury was serious. She has always practiced on the Chilled Jade Bed, her foundation was of this nature, now the strength to oppose was gone; an extreme cold penetrated her and her teeth chattered incessantly.

Yang Guo was alarmed and called out, “What should I do?” In this urgent situation he held Xiao Longnu tightly, using his body heat to counter the cold, but after a while he felt she was becoming colder, he himself gradually could not endure it for much longer.

Xiao Longnu felt her internal energy dripping away, and said, “Guo’er, I won’t make it, take me to the room with the stone coffins.”

Yang Guo was distressed and couldn’t say anything, but he thought about how they only had a few days to live anyway, it would be just the same if he died with her now so he quickly replied, “Fine.” He carried her to the room and then placed her on one of the lids and lit a candle. In candlelight, and with the backdrop of the stone coffins, Xiao Longnu appeared even weaker.

Xiao Longnu said, “Push one of the lids open and place me in the coffin.” Yang Guo said, “Alright!”

Xiao Longnu couldn’t hear any sadness in his voice and was slightly surprised. Yang Guo pushed open one of the stone lids and placed her inside the coffin, and then leaped inside, lying together face to face with her. The two of them together in the coffin didn’t allow much space to move.

Xiao Longnu was happy and also puzzled, she asked, “What are you doing?”

Yang Guo said, “Of course I’m going to follow you. I’ll let the other two sleep in the other coffin.”

Xiao Longnu gave a deep sigh, she was feeling calm and relaxed, her body’s coldness wasn’t as severe as before. She turned her eyes on Yang Guo and saw his eyes looking at her. Her dress was on top of Yang Guo, she wished that Yang Guo would put his arms around her, but she saw his arms were straight; they were placed in his lap as they should be, afraid that he was going to touch her.

Xiao Longnu was slightly embarrassed, her face turned red, she turned her face away not daring to look at Yang Guo; her mind was enchanted for half an hour when she suddenly saw that something was written on the coffin lid. She looked closely and indeed there were some words:

“The art of the Jade Heart Manual wants to overcome Quanzhen’s. But Chongyang, in his life, was inferior no one.”

The words were written in heavy ink, the words refined and their form large. The lid was only half open yet it was very clear.

Xiao Longnu gave an ‘hmm’ sound and said, “What does this mean?”

Yang Guo followed her eyes and saw the words; he pondered and said, “It’s written by Wang Chongyang?”

Xiao Longnu said, “It looks like it was written by him. He is saying that our “Jade Heart Manual” is superior to Quanzhen’s kung fu, but he is saying that he is not weaker than our Ancestor Grandma, isn’t that it?”

Yang Guo laughed and said, “That old Taoist is bullshitting.”

Xiao Longnu looked at the words again, and saw that after them, there were many small words, because the words were small and they were lower down on the lid, Xiao Longnu couldn’t make it out and said, “Guo’er, get out.”

Yang Guo shook his head and said, “I won’t leave.”

Xiao Longnu smiled and said, “Just get out for a second and you can come back to be with me later.” Yang Guo climbed out of the coffin.

Xiao Longnu sat up, and got Yang Guo to lower the candle, and then turned her body around to read the small words. She looked at the words and read each one, after she finished two passages she felt that she had no strength left and the candle fell onto her chest. Yang Guo’s hand quickly darted in and pulled her out of the stone coffin and asked, “What is it? What does the writing say?”

Xiao Longnu regained her composure and then sighed again, and said, “After Ancestor Grandma died, Wang Chongyang returned to the tomb.”

Yang Guo asked, “Why did he come back?”

Xiao Longnu said, “He came back to pay his respects to our ancestor. He saw that the “Jade Heart Manual” martial art skills left on the ceiling of the training room had defeated all the skills of the Quanzhen sect. The writing left on the lid says that the martial arts that our ancestor defeated were Quanzhen’s basic and coarse skills, but compared with the most advanced skills of Quanzhen, the skills of the “Jade Heart Manual” could not defeat them?

Yang Guo gave an ‘humph’ sound and said, “Ancestor Grandma is dead, he could say whatever he wants.”

Xiao Longnu said, “He also said that in another room he has the techniques to defeat the “Jade Heart Manual”, if her descendants were fated to, they will know it when they see it.”

Yang Guo was curious and said, “Gu Gu. Let’s go take a look.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Wang Chongyang stated that the room is below this one. I have lived here for a lifetime and didn’t know that such a room exists.”

Yang Guo begged, “Gu Gu, let’s think of a way to get there.” Xiao Longnu wasn’t strict with him anymore, although she was tired, she let him have his way and smiled, and said, “OK!”

They looked all around the room, and in the end they came back to the coffin they had just rested in and she said, “This stone coffin was left by Wang Chongyang. The base opens.”

Yang Guo was delighted and said, “Ah, I know, it’s the way to that room.” He leapt into the coffin and searched around; true enough, he found a hollow for a hand, he pulled up strongly, but nothing happened.

Xiao Longnu said, “First turn to the left and then pull up.”

Yang Guo followed the instructions, a ‘ka’ sound was heard as a stone panel on the base of the coffin responded to the switch; he was delighted and called out, “Let’s go!”

Xiao Longnu said, “There’s no need to rush, let the old air rush out first and then we can go.” Yang Guo was sitting restlessly, after a while he said, “Gu Gu, can we go now?”

Xiao Longnu sighed and said, “With your impatient character, it must have been hard for you living with me for the last few years.” She slowly got up, and picked up a candle, and went down into the coffin with Yang Guo, below it was a series of stone steps that formed a short passageway, after a few turns they did indeed arrived at a stone chamber.

The room was empty, and both of them looked up at the ceiling, it was covered with carvings and symbols; on the far right were written the words “Nine Yin Manual”.

The two of them didn’t know the “Nine Yin Manual” was martial arts at its highest level; they looked at it for a while and felt that it was hard to explain.

Xiao Longnu said, “Even if that kung fu is unbeatable, it is of no use to us.”

Yang Guo sighed and was about to lower his head when something got his eye in the southwestern corner, a picture, it had nothing to do with martial arts, he looked closer and saw it looked like a map and asked, “What’s that?”

Xiao Longnu followed his finger and stared at it for a while, her body was like a corpse, not moving an inch. After a long while, she was still like statue, lost in thought as she examined the map closely. Yang Guo was frightened and tugged her sleeve, and asked, “Gu Gu, what is it?”

Xiao Longnu gave a moan, and suddenly fell into his chest and started crying. Yang Guo softly said, “Your body hurts again, isn’t it?”

Xiao Longnu said, “No, it’s not that.” After half an hour she said, “We can escape from here.” Yang Guo was delighted and leapt up, and called out, “Really?”

Xiao Longnu nodded her head and quietly said, “That map reveals the secret passage out of here.” She was familiar with the layout of the tomb, one look and she understood the map.

Yang Guo was ecstatic and said, “That’s great! Why are you crying?”

Xiao Longnu contained her tears and smiled, and said, “I never used to fear death, I was going to live in the tomb forever, die early, die late, what difference would it make? However in the last few days I’ve felt the urge to go and see the outside world. Guo’er, I’m afraid and happy.”

Yang Guo tugged her hand and said, “Gu Gu, when we go outside together, I’ll pick flowers for you to wear, and I’ll catch crickets for you to play with, okay?”

Although he has grown up, all his thoughts were either amusing or about things that children play and do. Xiao Longnu had never played with anyone, she listened quietly to what he said, and thought, “It’ll be better if we leave as soon as possible.” But her body was sore, and had no strength, she wasn’t able to endure anymore and slowly rested on Yang Guo’s shoulder. Yang Guo talked for a while and didn’t hear her reply so he turned his head around to take a look, her eyes were closed, her breathing slow, she had fallen into a deep sleep. He was feeling tranquil; he was tired as well and eventually also fell asleep.

After a long while, he felt his back ached; someone had sealed the ‘Centre’ (zhong shu) pressure point on his back. He woke up alarmed, and wanted to jump up but someone was holding his neck down and preventing him from moving. He turned his head and saw Li Mochou and her disciple standing there laughing; his master also had her pressure points sealed. Yang Guo and Xiao Longnu didn’t have the Jianghu experience of guarding yourself; in their delight, they had forgotten to go back up and close the coffin lid. Li Mochou had discovered that there was a room below the coffin and succeeded in her ambush. Li Mochou chuckled and said, “Good, this is such a comfortable place here, and the two of you escaped to enjoy such comfort. Apprentice sister; think long and hard, you might be able to think of a way out of here.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Even if I knew, I wouldn’t tell you.”

Li Mochou had believed what she said before, once the ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ were set, there was no way out; but judging from the tone in her last two sentences, it sounded like she did know the way out of here. When Li Mochou heard this she was delighted, and said, “Kind apprentice sister, if you take us out of here, I will never bother you again.”

Xiao Longnu said, “You came here by yourself, you can find a way out by yourself, why do you need me to lead you out.”

Li Mochou knew that her apprentice sister was tough to break, even in the days when master was still here, she still had to be wary of her, using force would be of no use. But right now it is a matter of life and death; she still needed to try to force it out of her some way so she sealed their ‘Charging Sky’ (tian tu) pressure points on their necks, and sealed their ‘Fifth Centre’ (wu shu) pressure point on the abdomen. The ‘Charging Sky’ pressure point was where the body holds together its yin, the main blood vessels return here, the ‘Fifth Centre’ pressure point is where the ‘little yin’ vessels return. Li Mochou used the pressure point skills of the Ancient Tomb sect. She knew that in not too long, their body would start to become numb and the pain hard to endure, they would have to reveal the secret.

Xiao Longnu closed her eyes and ignored it. Yang Guo called out, “If we knew the way out, then why didn’t we escape instead of staying here?”

Li Mochou laughed and said, “You have just revealed that you know the way out, don’t deny it. Of course she would know that the tomb has to have a secret passage out, when you two had rested fully, you would have got out. Apprentice sister, are you going to tell me?”

Xiao Longnu quietly said, “When you get out, all you are going to think about is how to kill people, what good is having you leaving this place?”

Li Mochou folded her arms and sat to one side, she chuckled and did not reply.

Yang Guo couldn’t endure anymore and said, “Hey, Li Mochou, the pressure point sealing techniques that Ancestor Grandma passed down was supposed to be used on the enemy, why are you using it against us? You are using it to harm your apprentice sister, how can you face Ancestor Grandma?”

Li Mochou laughed and said, “You are calling me Li Mochou, we are not old friends.”

Yang Guo whispered into Xiao Longnu’s ear and said, “Don’t reveal the secret path out, if she doesn’t find out, she won’t kill us; once she finds out she will kill us immediately.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Ah, you are correct, I didn’t think of that. I wasn’t planning on telling her anyway.” She was lying on the floor, she opened her eyes and saw the map and thought, “It would be awful if apprentice sister finds out about the map. I mustn’t look at it in case I draw her attention.”

Years ago, Wang Chongyang had known that Lin Chaoying had left the earth, and reminisced about her; his debts to her were immeasurable, but people and ghosts are worlds apart. He wasn’t able to console the pain he had in his heart so he secretly entered the tomb. He avoided her maid, and stared at the things that his old friend left, and cried, and then took a look around the tomb he designed. He saw the painting that Lin Chaoying drew, and saw the markings left by her in the two training rooms. He saw the skills of the “Jade Heart Manual” were refined and ingenious, every stance was the “Black Star” to Quanzhen’s martial arts, he couldn’t stop his face from turning grey and he left the tomb.

He retreated deep into the mountains and built a thatched hut. He didn’t leave it for three years, studying a way to break the skills of the “Jade Heart Manual”; although there were a few successes, he wasn’t able to develop a complete set of skills to counter it. He was down heartened, and respected Lin Chaoying’s intelligence even more, he admitted defeat and stopped researching.

Ten or so years later, he managed to get his hands on the extraordinary “Nine Yin Manual” after the Mount Hua tournament. He made his mind up, he wasn’t going to learn the skills within the manual, but curiosity defeated him, and he couldn’t refrain from taking a look.

His martial arts at that time was the world’s greatest, the skills in the “Nine Yin Manual” were all profound and refined, after a glance and pondering for ten days, he understood, he laughed out loud to the sky, and returned to the tomb, and left the main aspects of the “Nine Yin Manual” on the ceiling in the most hidden room in the tomb, and the stances that would defeat the “Jade Heart Manual”. He studied the tomb’s circumstances, and assumed that the heirs of Lin Chaoying would use the empty coffin. They would only use it when they were about to die and waiting for death, and at that time then they would know that the founder of the Quanzhen sect had never lost to anyone in his life. He left words on the lid of the coffin, telling the descendants of Lin Chaoying before they died, that the martial arts of the founder of the Quanzhen sect would not be defeated by the skills of the “Jade Heart Manual”.

At that time, he was just impulsive and proud, he didn’t mean to leave the “Nine Yin Manual” behind in the world, and assumed that when the descendants of Lin Chaoying saw the “Nine Yin Manual”, they would be at their last breath and could only take the secret to the grave with them.

Wang Chongyang and Lin Chaoying were both gifted in martial arts, and formed a heavenly pair. Between the two, there wasn’t a third person that interfered  with  the  relationship;  also  they  didn’t  have  any matters to resolve with relatives, apprentice brother, sister or enemies. Before Wang Chongyang entered the priesthood, he concentrated on fighting the Jin, and had no time for relationships. When he lost the war and retreated to the tomb, it was Lin Chaoying who came and comforted him, she was  kind  and touching, there wasn’t any reason for them not to be together. But from love it turned to hate, one became a Taoist; the other lived until death in the stone tomb. The actual reasons behind this, Qiu Chuji and the others did not know, it was difficult for Wang and Lin to explain themselves, they could only use the words ‘not meant to be’ to label what happened. ‘Not meant to be’ was the result and not the reason for their falling out.

Both of them were highly skilled and very proud; each assumed they were the higher. Every time the seeds of love were about to sprout, they struggled over their martial arts, neither backing down, even until death. Lin Chaoying invented the “Jade Heart Manual” to defeat the skill of the Quanzhen. Wang Chongyang didn’t admit defeat and so left the “Nine Yin Manual” in the tomb. Wang Chongyang thought about how Lin Chaoying invented the “Jade Heart Manual” by herself, and he himself relied on a book written by someone else, after their exchange, he yielded. After that he always warned his students to allow for times when they will be subdued, and to learn the Taoist ways well.

The map on the ceiling was left there when the tomb was first created, just in case the Jin surrounded the tomb, they would still have a way to escape. Even Lin Chaoying did not know about this passageway. Lin Chaoying only knew that once the ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ have been set, they will perish with the enemy, she didn’t know that when Wang Chongyang designed the tomb, he had a strong will to retake the central plains, how could he allow one defeat to stop him? Later on when Wang Chongyang gave up the tomb to Lin Chaoying, he was afraid that Lin Chaoying would look down on him for leaving a way to save his life if he had to use the ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’. He would lose his manly air, so he didn’t tell her about it out of pride.

Xiao Longnu didn’t dare to look at the map, her eyes looked at another corner, and the words “Unsealing Pressure Points Technique” caught her eye. She shivered, and looked at the words and was delighted, almost too delighted in fact as she almost forgot to hide her joy by calling out. The technique shows how to unseal one’s pressure points, if one fire deviates when refining their kung fu, and the pressure points are sealed, they could use this technique to unseal it themselves. Those who practiced the “Nine Yin Manual” would have reached an extremely high standard of martial arts, it will be very rare for them to have their pressure points sealed by someone else; this technique was devised to quell one’s inner demons. When one cultivates highly advanced skill, one’s thoughts should be pure and clear. If your concentration is suddenly disturbed by random thoughts or anxiety (inner demons) the chances are high that you’ll die. In Xiao Longnu’s present situation, it was a life saving technique.

She thought, “If I’m able to unseal my vessels, but can’t defeat my apprentice sister, then it will of no use.” She then searched the writings on the ceilings, trying to search for a skill that she can use immediately, one that will, as soon as she uses it, allow her to subdue Li Mochou. After a quick glance she could see that each skill was hard and complicated, even the easiest one will take ten of days to learn. She didn’t dare to any more; she was afraid that Li Mochou will follow her eyes, look above, and discover the ceiling’s map and “Nine Yin Manual”.

She heard Yang Guo calling and shouting, arguing with  Li  Mochou.  It  was  fortunate,  her  careful apprentice sister was now not taking any notice of her, she suddenly thought of a plan. She turned her head and memorized the “Nine Yin Manual’s Unsealing Pressure Point Technique” and “Air Closure Technique” (bi qi mi jue) sections, she moved her lips over Yang Guo’s ear and quietly taught him. Yang Guo immediately understood.

Xiao Longnu whispered, “First unseal your pressure points.”

Yang Guo was afraid that Li Mochou and her disciple would find out, so he loudly called out and talked rubbish, “Ai ya, Martial Uncle Li, you are too ruthless, you are not respecting Ancestor Grandma, you further do not respect Ancestor Grandma’s grandma, grandma’s great grandma.”

The two followed the instructions of the “Unsealing Pressure Point Technique” left by Wang Chongyang. The two have a good foundation, and in just a short while they managed to unseal their two pressure points. On the outside the two appeared still, but Li  Mochou  felt  something  was  wrong  and  shouted, “What are you doing?” and walked up to them. Xiao Longnu quickly got up and threw out a palm, lightly striking her shoulder, it was the more advanced skills of the “Jade Heart Manual”. Li Mochou could never have guessed in a million years that she had the ability to unseal her pressure points and was alarmed, and quickly jumped back.

Xiao Longnu said, “Apprentice sister, do you want to leave?”

Li Mochou was happy when she heard this, her kung fu seemed high, her intelligence rarely seen, right now she had been made a fool of and had been struck by the palms of a girl who has never seen the outside world. She couldn’t prevent herself from getting furious, but she thought that she must hold her temper for the time being, first leave the tomb and then it still wouldn’t be too late to finish them off. Although her stances were strange, there was no power behind them. It wasn’t that she held back but because she didn’t have internal energy; this meant that she wasn’t anything special. Li Mochou laughed and said, “That’s a good apprentice sister, I’ve already apologized, take us out of here.”

Yang Guo thought this would be a good chance to get in between the relationship of Li Mochou and Hong Lingbo and said, “Gu Gu said that she is only able to take one of you out, is it going to be you or your disciple?”

Li Mochou said, “You little scum, shut your mouth.”

Xiao Longnu didn’t know what Yang Guo meant but protected him and said, “That’s right, I can only take one person, I can’t take anymore.”

Yang Guo laughed and said, “Martial Uncle, why don’t you let apprentice sister Hong leave, you are older than her, you’ve lived enough. She’s also prettier than you.”

Though Li Mochou was older than Hong Lingbo, she was more beautiful. When she heard this she became angrier, but didn’t make a sound.

Yang Guo said, “Fine! We’re going! Gu Gu leads the way, I’m second, the last one will not be able to get out.”

Xiao Longnu now knew what he meant and smiled; she held Yang Guo’s hand and left the stone chamber. Li Mochou and Hong Lingbo moved forward at the same time and both reached the door; they were afraid that Xiao Longnu was going to switch on a trap and leave the last person there in the tomb.

Li Mochou angrily said, “Trying to take the place from me?” Her left hand shot out, wanting to strike Hong Lingbo on the shoulders. Hong Lingbo knew that her master was ruthless; if she didn’t stop she would die violently at the hands of her master. She knew she had to let her master go first; she was both angry and frightened.

Li Mochou followed the back of Yang Guo tightly, making sure she was always within one step of him; she felt Xiao Longnu turning west and winding east, the path was heading lower. At the same time she felt her feet getting damp, she knew that they would leave the tomb soon but she glanced up and saw there were branches in the path everywhere. After a while, the path suddenly became steep, almost like a straight drop, if the four of them didn’t have such good martial arts, they would have slipped long ago.

Li Mochou thought, “Mount Zhongnan is not high, if we keep going like this we’ll be at the foot of the mountain, could it be that we are in the depths of the mountain?”

After dropping for an hour the path became level, the dampness in the air became stronger, and eventually they could hear running water. Soon they were in water up to their ankles. As they went further, the water grew deeper, from the legs to the stomach, and gradually to the chest.

Xiao Longnu quietly asked Yang Guo, “Do you remember and understand the “Air Closure Technique”? Yang Guo quietly replied, “I remember.”

Xiao Longnu said, “In a minute remember to lock your air, and don’t take in any water.” Yang Guo said, “Yes, Gu Gu, you have to be careful yourself.” Xiao Longnu nodded.

While they were speaking the water had reached their throats. Li Mochou was secretly alarmed, and called out, “Apprentice sister, do you know how to swim under water?”

Xiao Longnu said, “I’ve lived in the tomb for all my life; how would I know how to swim underwater?”

Li Mochou became slightly more relaxed, she took another step, and felt nothing was there, water seeped into her mouth. She was alarmed and quickly leapt back, but she saw Xiao Longnu and Yang Guo dive underwater. At this stage, even if it was a mountain of knives or an ocean of swords she would still have to enter. She felt her clothes tighten, her dress was grasped by Hong Lingbo; she quickly attacked behind her, the attack wasn’t light but she wasn’t able to push her away. Right now the water was making a terrific noise, as though it was flowing down into the ground, the sound was frightening. Li Mochou and Hong Lingbo didn’t know how to swim, they couldn’t stand and floated up. Li Mochou was a skilled fighter, but right now she was alarmed and flustered, she extended her arms and legs and madly thrashed. In the midst of this she felt something so she used her strength to hold on; it was Yang Guo’s left arm. Yang Guo was sealing his air, and was following Xiao Longnu on the floor of the water passage walking forward step by step. He was grabbed suddenly by Li Mochou and quickly tried to free himself; but Li Mochou was holding on tightly, how could she let go? Water rushed into her mouth and nose, but even when she passed out she was still holding on. Yang Guo tried a few times but was unable to pry her off; he was afraid that he was exerting too much energy and will start swallowing water, so he left her alone.

The four of them moved on for a while, then Xiao Longnu and Yang Guo couldn’t hold their breath any longer and swallowed some water. Luckily the water slowed and the ground began to rise; not long after, they managed to get their heads above the water. After the time it takes for an incense stick to be burned, the path became brighter, and they exited through a cave. The two were exhausted and first circulated their chi to get rid of the water they swallowed, and then lay on the ground, recovering their breath.

Li Mochou was still holding onto Yang Guo tightly and Hong Lingbo onto her. Yang Guo loosened her fingers and took her hands off him. Xiao Longnu first sealed the pressure points on their shoulders, and then placed them on a rock, and let the water seep out of them slowly. After a while, Li Mochou spluttered and gave a few ‘ah’ sounds, she’d regained consciousness first and she saw the sun in her eyes. She was actually seeing daylight again. She remembered being trapped in the tomb and the danger and fear of diving under the water. Though her body was aching and numb, she felt much better than before. Not too long later, Hong Lingbo slowly woke up.

Xiao Longnu said, “Apprentice sister, you can go now!”

The arms of Li Mochou and her disciple were both paralyzed but the lower body could move freely; they got up, looked at each other and walked away.

Yang Guo took a look around, and saw they were in a shaded area, flowers were everywhere, he was delighted and said, “Gu Gu, isn’t this nice?” Xiao Longnu nodded and smiled. The two remembered the events of the past few days; it really was the complete opposite. There wasn’t anyone around; the cave was at the foot of Mount Zhongnan in a rare piece of uncultivated land. That night, the two slept under the shelter of a tree on the grass.

They woke up in the morning, Yang Guo said they could now go out and play, but Xiao Longnu has never seen the outside world before, and didn’t know what it was like, she was frightened and said, “No, we’ll first recover and then we’ll finish learning the “Jade Heart Manual”.”

Yang Guo slapped his head and said, “I’m so dumb! I forgot about your injuries.” He thought again about how it would be inconvenient to take off their clothes here and practice, so he first helped Xiao Longnu to cure her injuries. Within two weeks, Xiao Longnu had recovered.

Under a large pine tree, they built two thatch huts for shelter. The roof was filled with purple rattan. Yang Guo liked the scent of flowers, so in front of his hut he planted roses, jasmine and the like. Xiao Longnu however liked simple decorations, and said the scent of the pine needles was better than a flower’s, and so there wasn’t anything in her hut, and surrounding it was just open space and grass.

The two of them slept in the day and practiced at night. In a few months, Xiao Longnu had completed learning the “Jade Heart Manual”. A month or so later, Yang Guo also finished. The two had completed everything and had nothing to do, and so Yang Guo mentioned going out into the world again.

Xiao Longnu felt the way of life now was great, nothing in the world could compare to it. But then she thought about how difficult it would be for Yang Guo’s character to stay here, and so said, “Guo’er, our kung fu is now much better than before, but how are they compared to your Auntie and Uncle Guo?”

Yang Guo said, “We are still no where near them.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Your Uncle Guo passes on his skills to his daughter, and the Wu brothers, if we meet them, then we’ll have to suffer them.”

When he heard this Yang Guo leaped up and angrily said, “If they bully me again, how will I be able to just let them?”

Xiao Longnu calmly said, “You can’t beat them, it’ll just be pointless.” Yang Guo said, “You can help me.”

Xiao Longnu said, “If I can’t beat your Uncle Guo, then it’s no use.” Yang Guo lowered his head and tried to think of a plan. After a while he said, “Out of respect for Uncle Guo, I won’t start trouble with them.”

Xiao Longnu thought, “He has lived in the tomb for two years and practiced the Ancient Tomb’s kung fu, his temper has mellowed.”

Actually, when Yang Guo became older, he understood a lot of things; he knew that the way Guo Jing treated him was out of love and caring, he was touched. Now he was willing to back down, and besides, he didn’t really have any serious feuds with Guo Fu and the Wu  brothers.  All  they  had  was  a  little argument over crickets when they were younger, as time passed his feelings about this went away.

Xiao Longnu said, “It’s good that you won’t have fights and arguments with them. But according to you, even if you concede to others, others will still come and bully you; if we don’t learn the kung fu that Wang Chongyang left, when we meet skilled enemies, we won’t be able to fight them off.”

Yang Guo knew that she didn’t want leave this peaceful place, and he couldn’t bear to go against her wishes and said, “Gu Gu, I’ll listen to you, from tomorrow onwards, we’ll begin practicing the “Nine Yin Manual”.

As a result of this conversation, the two lived in the valley for another year. The two went back into the tomb via the secret passage, and learned the text of the “Nine Yin Manual”. When they were sure they remembered every single word, they left and practiced outside. Within the year, their internal and external skills improved in every aspect. But the markings that were left in the tomb by Wang Chongyang were only the parts which could defeat the “Jade Heart Manual” and consisted only a small part of the “Nine Yin Manual”, compared with what they know and what Guo Jing and Huang Rong knew, it was much inferior, but now, they weren’t the only two that knew it.

One day after finishing practicing their martial arts, both of them felt that they had made  great improvements. Yang Guo jumped up and down in delight, while Xiao Longnu was worried and unhappy. Yang Guo kept on telling jokes to help break her boredom. Yang Guo knew that they now have learned all the kung fu that Wang Chongyang left in the tomb. If they wanted to learn it to its highest level, one didn’t know how many years it would take, but they grasped the essence and ideas behind the skills. All they needed to do now is to keep practicing and the skills will become more refined. He knew that Xiao Longnu did not want to leave the mountain, but there wasn’t anything to stop them now, he was troubled and said, “Gu Gu, if you don’t want to leave, then we’ll stay here forever.”

Xiao Longnu delightedly said, “Good” but as she said this she stopped, she knew that Yang Guo didn’t want to stay, she wouldn’t live happily, she quietly said, “We’ll talk about this tomorrow.” She didn’t eat supper, and returned to her hut and slept.

Yang Guo sat down on the grass and stared, up until there were stars in the sky, and then retired to his hut. He slept until the middle of the night, when he  heard  wind  sounds,  the  sounds  were  urgent, something was wrong. He woke up alarmed, and listened; it was the sound of fists and palms. He quickly darted out of his hut, and went outside of his master’s hut and quietly said, “Gu Gu, can you hear?”

Right then, the sounds of the winds were louder, Xiao Longnu would definitely hear it but there was no reply from the hut. Yang Guo called out twice, and then entered, the room was empty; his master was not here. He became even more alarmed, and searched for the origins of the wind sounds. He ran for about a hundred feet, he didn’t see anyone but from the wind sounds, he knew one of them was his master, but the opponent’s wind from their palms were heavy and severe, their kung fu level would be above his master’s.

Yang Guo dashed over, in the moonlight he saw Xiao Longnu and a strongly built person hovering around, fighting frantically. Although Xiao Longnu was swift and quick, the opponent’s skills were powerful and strong; under the force of those palms, Xiao Longnu had to use all her strength to avoid them.

Yang Guo was startled and said, “Master, I’m here!”

The two of them came down, and Yang Guo was at their sides and faced that person, he was happily surprised, the person had a beard, his limbs like lances, his long face like a thorn, it was his Godfather Ouyang Feng.

But he saw him standing there like a mountain, throwing out palms at Xiao Longnu, she could only dodge them, she didn’t dare to meet their power.

Yang Guo called out, “We all know each other, there’s no need to fight.”

Xiao Longnu was startled and thought how could this madman be a friend of theirs, while she was thinking she slowed down. Ouyang Feng threw out a palm, a strong force threw itself at her, it was extremely powerful. Yang Guo was startled and quickly leapt in front of them only to see Xiao Longnu’s left palm meeting Ouyang Feng’s right, he knew that his Master’s internal energy couldn’t compare with his Godfather, she will suffer a serious internal energy in a short while, so he stretched out his five fingers and stroked Ouyang Feng’s elbow lightly, it was the newly learnt skill from the “Nine Yin Manual” “Hand Waves Five Strings” (shou hui wu xian). Though he wasn’t too familiar with this skill, he knew the aspects of this attack, Ouyang Feng’s arm became numb, his body’s strength dispersed.

Xiao Longnu saw a chance to gain victory, she felt the enemy had become weak and immediately attacked, in a flash Ouyang Feng had become completely defenseless, just a light attack would have seriously hurt him.

Yang Guo intercepted his Master’s palm, and sandwiched himself between the two, he smiled and said, “Watch it you two, we’re friends.” Ouyang Feng had not recognized him, he just saw that this young man was extremely skilled and angrily said, “Who are you? What friends?”

Yang Guo knew he was mad and disturbed and was afraid he would forget who Yang Guo was so he loudly called out, “Father…it’s me, I’m your son.” His words were filled with emotion. Ouyang Feng stood still, he took his head and studied his face under the moonlight, it was the son he has been searching for the past few years, but because he had grown tall, and his martial arts were high, it was hard for him to recognize him. He held Yang Guo and called out, “Son, I’ve endured many hardships searching for you!” The two held each other tightly, both of them producing tears.

Xiao Longnu has always been cold and detached, she knew that the only person in  the  world  whose emotions towards her were as hot as fire was Yang Guo, but right now, when he saw Ouyang Feng, he was also like this. She feared leaving the mountain and sat aside pondering.

After Ouyang Feng and Yang Guo separated at the Iron Spear Temple, he hid under the large bell; Ke Zhen’E couldn’t get at him. He meditated with his divine skills to cure his internal injuries, after seven days and nights his internal energy had recovered. But the external injuries that he received from Ke Zhen’E were not minor; he wasn’t able to recover from them in such a short time. When he left the large bell, he went to an inn and rested his wounds for twenty days. When his wounds were healed, he went and looked for Yang Guo. But a month had passed, the world is a large place, how could he find him? He thought, “The child is most probably on Peach Blossom Island.” He got a small boat and sailed to the island. He didn’t dare to approach during the day, so at night he anchored in a bay behind a mountain. He knew he wasn’t a match for Guo Jing and Huang Rong, plus he didn’t know that Huang Yaoshi wasn’t on the island. Even if his skills were twice as good, he wouldn’t be able to fight all three of them. During the day he hid in a cave on a wild piece of land, and patrolled at night. The layout of the island was ingenious; he didn’t dare run around where ever he pleased. Over the year, he was extremely cautious, in the light of day he didn’t dare to take one step out of the cave, no one discovered him. One night, after his one meeting with Yang Guo, he heard the Wu brothers chatting and then he knew that Guo Jing had sent Yang Guo to the Quanzhen sect to learn martial arts. Ouyang Feng was pleased, he stole a boat and left the island, and rushed to Chongyang Palace. But he didn’t know about the incident between Yang Guo and the Quanzhen sect, or that he was now in the Tomb of the Living Dead. Quanzhen was ashamed of what happened, no one talked about this matter, Ouyang Feng couldn’t get any news from them. He searched for miles and miles around Mount Zhongnan, but he didn’t know that Yang Guo was below ground so of course he couldn’t find him.

Tonight by chance, he was walking by the valley when he saw a girl dressed in white with folded arms, sighing and looking at the moon.

Ouyang Feng asked madly, “Hey, where’s my son? Have you seen him?”

Xiao Longnu glanced at him, then ignored him. Ouyang Feng went over to her and grabbed her arm, and shouted, “Where’s my son?”

Xiao Longnu felt that his hands were extremely powerful, she had never met someone with such high skills, even the skilled fighters of Quanzhen could not compare. She was startled and used her a little capturing hand kung fu to escape. Ouyang Feng’s grab was a certainty but he could not have guessed the opponent could just lightly brush him off; he didn’t ask who she was and attacked. That’s how the two started their fight.

The two of them told each other what had happened to them. Ouyang Feng was half clear and half confused, he wasn’t able to explain clearly what had happened in the past, and didn’t understand much of what Yang Guo said. But when he mentioned that in the past few years he has been learning martial arts from Xiao Longnu, Ouyang Feng loudly said, “Her kung fu is not as good as mine. Why are you learning from her? Let me teach you.” Xiao Longnu didn’t want to argue with him, she smiled calmly and went off to the side by herself.

Yang Guo felt this wasn’t polite and said, “Father, Master has treated me extremely well.” Ouyang Feng was jealous and said, “So she’s good and I’m not?”

Yang Guo smiled and said, “You are good as well. On this earth, only you two treat me well.” Ouyang Feng’s words didn’t make sense, but Yang Guo knew that he had suffered many hardships in the past few years searching for him.

Ouyang Feng held his hand, he laughed foolishly and after a while he said, “Your kung fu is not bad, it’s a pity that you don’t know the world’s two most powerful martial arts.”

Yang Guo said, “What are they?”

Ouyang Feng’s eyebrows rose and he shouted, “You are a martial artist yet you don’t know the world’s two most powerful skills. What’s the point of having her for a master?”

Yang Guo saw that he was pleased and angry; he was concerned about him and thought, “Father’s illness is serious, when will he able to recover from it?”

Ouyang Feng laughed loudly and said, “Hmm, let father teach you. The two most powerful skills are, one, the “Toad Stance”, two, “Nine Yin Manual”. I’ll first teach you the foundation of the “Toad Stance”. He then recited the formulae for it.”

Yang Guo smiled and said, “You’ve taught me before, don’t you remember?”

Ouyang Feng scratched his head and said, “So you’ve already learned it, that’s great. Show it to me.”

Since Yang Guo entered the Ancient Tomb sect, he hasn’t practiced the strange skill that Ouyang Feng taught him; when he heard what he said, he immediately did as he was told. He had practiced it when he was on Peach Blossom Island, now with the advanced internal energy he has developed; he was able to demonstrate it spectacularly.

Ouyang Feng laughed and said, “Good! Good! Even though the stances don’t match, it’s better than nothing. I’ll teach you the rest of it now.” He waved his hands and bent his legs, and started reciting non stop, he didn’t care if Yang Guo remembered it or not, he taught a section of “Toad Stance”, and then taught him a section of the “Contrary Nine Yin Manual” (the deliberately flawed version of the Nine Yin Manual). Yang Guo listened for half an hour, and felt that the formulae’s ingenuity was boundless, but it was complicated and strange, how would he able to understand in just a short while of time?

Ouyang Feng continued for a while when he caught a glimpse of Xiao Longnu from the corner of his eye, and called out, “Ah, it’s no good, I don’t want your baby Master to secretly listening in on us.” He went over to Xiao Longnu and said, “Hey, little girl, I’m teaching my son kung fu, don’t secretly listen in.”

Xiao Longnu said, “What’s so good about your kung fu? Who wants to steal it?” Ouyang Feng thought for a while, and said, “Fine, just go far away.”

Xiao Longnu was leaning against a tree and calmly said, “Why do I want to listen? If I want to go, I’ll go, if I don’t want to go, I won’t.”

Ouyang Feng was angry, his eyebrows raised and he stretched out his hand to grab her face, but Xiao Longnu pretended she didn’t see and ignored him.

Yang Guo called out, “Father, don’t disrespect my Master.”

Ouyang Feng took his hand back and said, “Fine, fine, we are going to a far away place, are you going to follow us and listen in?”

Xiao Longnu thought that Guo’er’s Godfather was extremely impolite; she didn’t want anything to do with him and turned around without a reply. She didn’t guess that her back would suddenly become numb, Ouyang Feng had stretched out his arm and sealed a pressure point on her back, he was uncannily fast, plus Xiao Longnu wasn’t aware, by the time she felt something was wrong and put her guard up, it was too late, her whole body was paralyzed. Ouyang Feng then sealed another pressure point on her waist, he smiled and said, “Little girl, don’t be anxious, after I’ve completely taught my son kung fu, I’ll come back and release you.” He then laughed loudly and walked away.

Yang Guo was memorizing the formulae of the “Toad Stance” and the “Nine Yin Manual”, and felt that some of it was unclear and some a complete mess, but there were many ingenious points within it so he didn’t suspect anything was wrong. He pondered deeply; he didn’t know what was happening to  Xiao Longnu.

Ouyang Feng came over and took his hand, and said, “We’ll go to another place so your Master can’t hear.”

Yang Guo wondered why Xiao Longnu would try to listen; even if you were trying to teach it to her she wouldn’t learn it. But his godfather’s mind was confused and disturbed, there wasn’t a need to argue with him and so he let him have his way and went with him.

Xiao Longnu was laying paralyzed on the ground, she was angry but also wanted to laugh, thinking that although her skills were refined, she has little experience in fighting real enemies. She was ambushed by Li Mochou and now her pressure points had been sealed by a crazy man; so she utilized her “Nine Yin Manual” skills, and tried to unseal the pressure points herself, she breathed in deeply to clear her pressure points. How could it be that the two pressure points did not show any sign of unsealing, but instead they became even more sore and numb, she couldn’t stop herself from being startled. Ouyang Feng’s pressure point skill was from the “Contrary Nine Yin Manual”, and she used the “Nine Yin” skills that Wang Chongyang had left in the tomb. Instead of unsealing them it became worse. She tried a few more times, but the pain just got worse so she didn’t dare to try it again and thought that after that madman has taught his kung fu, he will come back and unseal the pressure points. She thought there was no need to rush, she looked up at the sky and looked at the stars, and soon closed her eyes and fell asleep.

After a while she felt something brushing against her eyes, she could see things as clearly at night as if it were in the day, but now she couldn’t see a thing. Someone had blindfolded her eyes, and at the same time she felt someone’s arm holding her. When that person first held her, they were extremely afraid, but afterwards they gradually became more daring and didn’t show any restraint.

Xiao Longnu was extremely frightened; she wanted to open her mouth and call out, but her mouth and tongue wouldn’t move. She felt that person’s mouth was coming close and kissed her on the cheek. She first thought that it was Ouyang Feng who was trying to rape her, but she felt this person’s face was smooth; it was not Ouyang Feng’s face which was bearded. Her heart shook, and her fear gradually disappeared, a passionate desire began to appear; she thought that it was Yang Guo who had came back to her. She felt his hands were beginning to become more and more improper, slowly taking her clothes off. Xiao Longnu had no way to move, and could only let him do as he pleased, she couldn’t help herself from being embarrassed and surprised.

Ouyang Feng saw that Yang Guo was extremely clever, although he wasn’t able to understand the formulae he passed on completely, he memorized it all. He was pleased and he spoke until the sky became bright before he had explained all the main aspects of the two skills. Yang Guo memorized it all and after a while said, “I have also learned “Nine Yin” kung fu, but it is very different to your version. But what is the reason?”

Ouyang Feng said, “Rubbish, apart from this one, what other “Nine Yin Manual” is there?”

Yang Guo said, “Take for example the method to learning the “Changing Muscle Forging Bone” technique, you said the third step was air and blood must flow contrarily, surging through ‘Sky Pillar’ (tian zhu) point. My Master said, first protect the ‘dan tian’ and then surge through the ‘Sealing Door’ (zhang men) point.”

Ouyang Feng said, “No, it’s not correct, wait” he did what Yang Guo told him, and felt the way his internal energy was circulating was completely different. He didn’t know that the manual that Guo Jing wrote out for him had been changed; he couldn’t help but go mad. He murmured to himself, “Why? Am I wrong or is your baby Master wrong? How is there such a thing?”

Yang Guo saw that his eyes stared straight, he looked like he was in a trance, he called him several times but there was no reply. He was afraid that Ouyang Feng was going to go mad again and was deeply concerned. He suddenly heard a noise from a tree behind him, an image appeared; within the thickets of flowers he saw the corner of an apricot yellow Taoist gown. This place was secluded, why would someone be here? The person was sneaking around, showing they weren’t up to any good; he couldn’t help but get suspicious, and chased after him. The person’s steps were fast; from behind it appeared to be a Taoist.

Yang Guo called out, “Hey, who are you? What are you doing here?” He utilized his lightness kung fu and chased the person down.

When the Taoist heard the shouts he increased his speed; Yang Guo also increased his slightly, his was body like an arrow shooting forward and he grabbed the Taoist’s shoulder. He turned him around and saw that it was Quanzhen’s Yin Zhiping. Yang Guo saw that his gown was untidy, his face was red for a while and then white for a while, he called out, “What are you doing here?”

Yin Zhiping was the head of the third generation students of Quanzhen, his martial arts were high. Usually he has an air about him, but for whatever reason now, his face was flustered and he couldn’t speak a word. Yang Guo saw that he was extremely frightened, and remembered that day when he cut off his fingers and swore an oath. He wasn’t a bad person and so he loosened his hand and let him go. He said, “Since it’s nothing, go!” Yin Zhiping turned around and took a few glances back and hurried away.

Yang Guo laughed, “That Taoist looks like he’s lost his soul, very amusing.”

He returned towards the thatch huts and saw Xiao Longnu’s legs appearing out of a thicket of flowers not moving at all, it looked as if she was asleep. Yang Guo called out twice, “Gu Gu!” But there was no reply. He went over to her only to see Xiao Longnu lying on the ground; a blue green cloth was covering her eyes.

Yang Guo was slightly alarmed. He took off the blindfold; her eyes and cheek seemed to be different, seemingly showing a limitless delicate shyness.

Yang Guo asked, “Gu Gu, who tied this blindfold?”

Xiao Longnu didn’t reply, her eyes hinted at his responsibility. Yang Guo noticed that her  body  was paralyzed, it appeared that her pressure points had been sealed, he stretched out his hand to pull her up, indeed, she couldn’t move. Yang Guo thought for a while and assumed, “It must be Godfather who used his contrary pressure point sealing skill, otherwise no matter how high one’s pressure point sealing skill is, Gu Gu would be able to unseal it herself.” He then  used  the  technique  that  Ouyang  Feng  had  just taught him and unsealed her pressure points. Before, when Xiao Longnu’s pressure points were sealed, she wasn’t able to move, but he didn’t predict that when he unsealed them, she would still lay softly in his arms, as if all her muscles and bones had melted away. Yang Guo stretched out his arm and supported her shoulders and softly said, “Gu Gu, my Godfather does things without any thought, don’t take much notice of him.”

Xiao Longnu placed her head on his chest and softly said, “You do things without thinking, you should be ashamed talking about other people like that!”

Yang Guo saw that she was completely different than she normally was, he was confused and said, “Gu Gu, I…I”

Xiao Longnu raised her head and irately said, “You still call me Gu Gu?”

Yang Guo became even more confused and said, “If I don’t call you Gu Gu, what should I call you? You want me to call you Master?”

Xiao Longnu smiled and said, “The way you treated me, how can I be your master any more?” Yang Guo asked, “How…how did I treat you?”

Xiao Longnu rolled up her sleeve and revealed an arm that was as white as jade with no flaws; where there was a red ‘Shou Gong Sha’ before, now it had disappeared, embarrassed she said, “Take a look.”

Yang Guo touched his head and stroked his ear and said, “Gu Gu, I don’t understand.”

Xiao Longnu, irritated, said, “I told you, don’t call me Gu Gu anymore.” She saw Yang Guo was frightened, and unable to speak his feelings so quietly said, “The disciples of the Ancient Tomb sect have always been virgins. Every generation has been virgins. My master gave me the ‘shou gong sha’, last night…last night what you did to me, how would my arm still have the ‘shou gong sha’?”

Yang Guo said, “What did I do to you last night?”

Xiao Longnu turned red and said, “There’s no need to talk about it.”

After a while she softly said, “Before, I was afraid to leave the mountain, it’s different now, where ever you go, I’m willing to follow you.”

Yang Guo was delighted and called out, “Gu Gu, you’re great.”

Xiao Longnu’s face changed and said, “Why are you still calling me Gu Gu? Could it be that you’ve not treated me genuinely with all your heart?” She saw that Yang Guo did not reply, her heart was anxious, she shivered, “What exactly am I to you?”

Yang Guo earnestly said, “You are my Master, you took care of me, you taught me, I swore that I will respect and revere you for the rest of my life, and listen to all you say.”

Xiao Longnu said loudly, “Could it be that you don’t regard me as your wife?”

Yang Guo had never ever thought about this; after being asked this he didn’t know how to  reply,  he mumbled, “No, no! You can’t be my wife, how could I be worthy to be your husband? You are my Master, you are my Gu Gu.”

The chi in Xiao Longnu’s body was aggravated; she spat out a pool of blood. Yang Guo’s arms and legs were flailing, and called out, “Gu Gu, Gu Gu!”

Xiao Longnu heard that he was still calling her this way and stared at him with hate, she raised her left palm, wanting to strike down on his head, but the palm did not come. Her eyes turned from fury to blame, and then turned from blame  to pity, she  sighed and  quietly said,  “Since it’s like  this, then  there’s no  need to see me ever again.” She waved her sleeve, got up and hurried down the mountain.

Yang Guo called out loudly, “Gu Gu, where are you going? I’ll come with you.”

Xiao Longnu turned around, beads of tears were swirling in her eyes, she said, “If you see me again, then I’m afraid…I’m afraid I won’t be able to control myself, I won’t be able to spare your life.”

Yang Guo said, “You are angry at me for learning martial arts with my Godfather, is that it?”

Xiao Longnu coldly said, “Why would I blame you for learning martial arts from other people?” She turned around and flew away.

Yang Guo was startled by all this and didn’t know what to do, he saw her white image gradually getting further away, and eventually disappeared around the mountain side. He was filled with sorrow; he fell onto the ground and cried. He thought and thought, he didn’t know what he did to disrespect his Master. What made her behave so strangely, she was gentle and tender one minute, the next she was furious? Why did she say she wanted to be his ‘wife’, why wasn’t he allowed to call her Gu Gu anymore, he thought for half a day. “This must have something to do with my Godfather; he must have disrespected master somehow.” So he ran to Ouyang Feng, but Ouyang Feng’s eyes still blankly stared into space, he didn’t move an inch.

Yang Guo said, “Father, what did you do to disrespect my Master?” Ouyang Feng said, “Nine Yin Manual”, “Nine Yin Manual”.

Yang Guo said, “Why did you seal her pressure points and make her so angry?”

Ouyang Feng said, “Is it surge through ‘Sky Pillar’ contrarily, or is it surge through ‘Sealing Door’?” Yang Guo desperately said, “Father, why did my Master run away? Tell me, what did you do to her?” Ouyang Feng said, “Who is your Master? Who am I? Who is Ouyang Feng?”

Yang Guo saw that his illness was acting up again, he was frightened and sad, he softly said, “Father, you are tired, we’ll go and rest in the huts.”

Ouyang Feng flipped upside down, his head on the ground and called out, “Who am I? Who am I? Where is Ouyang Feng?” He waved his palms wildly, his body flipping around, he used his hands to walk, and like the wind, he flew down the mountain.

Yang Guo called out, “Father!” He wanted to grab him but was kicked on the chin by his flailing leg. It was a heavy kick; Yang Guo couldn’t keep upright and fell backwards. By the time he got back up, Ouyang Feng was over a hundred feet away. Yang Guo chased after him for a few steps, then stopped; he stood there for half an hour, and by that time there wasn’t a trace of Ouyang Feng. He looked around, and saw the valley was empty, he could only hear the quiet sound of birds.

He became frightened and called out, “Gu Gu, Gu Gu! Father…Father!” After a while, the valley echoed back, “Gu Gu, Gu Gu! Father…Father!”

Within the past few years he had never been away from Xiao Longnu one step, like a mother and son, a sister and brother; now she suddenly went away without an explanation. How could anyone tell him not to be sad? In his grief he thought about crashing his head into a rock and killing himself. But there was optimism in his heart; if his Master could suddenly leave, she could suddenly come back. His Godfather may have disrespected her, but when she considers that I haven’t done anything, she will come back and search for me.

How could he sleep well that night, as soon as he heard the wind blow, or the cry of birds, he would think that Xiao Longnu had returned. He would laboriously get up and call out, “Gu Gu!” and go out to meet her; but each time he was disappointed. Eventually he decided against sleeping, he hurried to the summit of the mountain, and strained  his eyes  and looked  around, he  looked  until the  sky got  bright. The  peak was covered in mist, and on this large earth, there was only Yang Guo left.

Yang Guo suddenly thought, “Master isn’t coming back, I’ll find her myself. As long as I can see her, I don’t care if she shouts at me or beats me, I won’t ever leave her. If she wants to beat me to death, then I’ll let her.” He made up his mind and he felt rejuvenated. He went back to the huts and put his and Xiao Longnu’s belongings into a bag, strapped it across his back, and headed away from the mountain.

As soon as he arrived at a place where there were people, he would ask if they have seen a beautiful girl dressed in white. In half a day, he asked tens of villagers, they all shook their head and said no. Yang Guo was anxious and asked again, but he lacked any manners in the way he asked. The villagers saw this young man boldly asking about the whereabouts of a beautiful girl, they couldn’t help but get angry; someone asked him who the girl was. Yang Guo said, “That doesn’t concern you. I ask you have you seen a girl like that pass here.” The person wanted to question him instead.

An old man to one side tugged at his sleeve, pointed and said he saw a beautiful angel heading east, “I thought that the Goddess of Mercy had appeared but it was your woman.” Yang Guo did not wait for him to finish and quickly thanked him and headed in the direction he pointed, he heard a laugh behind him as he hurried, but he didn’t take any notice. He didn’t know that the old man had seen that he was young and impolite so deliberately lied to him.

After a while, a fork appeared in the road, he didn’t know which one to pick. He thought, “Gu Gu doesn’t like  crowds, it’s more  likely she  will pick a quiet  and secluded road.” He  picked the  small twisty path  on the left. How would he know that the path became wider as he walked, after a few turns, the path joined up with a large road. He hadn’t had anything to drink or eat for one whole day, his stomach growled, and then he saw a few buildings in front of him. It was a town, he hurried to the inn and called, “Bring me some rice and vegetable dishes.”

The inn owner bought him some everyday vegetable dishes and rice, he took a few gulps before he started to feel sad, he was beginning to choke up, he couldn’t eat anymore. He thought, “Although it is dark, I still need to find Gu Gu. If I miss this chance to tonight, I’m afraid that I will never be able to see her again.” He pushed away the dishes and called out, “Inn owner, I have something to ask you.”

The inn owner smiled and walked over, “What orders has Master got for me? Aren’t the dishes to your taste? I’ll go and make something else, what does master like to eat?”

Yang Guo waved his hand and said, “It’s nothing to do with the food. I ask you, have you seen a beautiful girl dressed in white pass by here?”

The inn owner pondered and said, “In a white dress, hmm, why is the girl dressed like that? Has someone from her family died?”

Yang Guo was getting impatient and asked, “Have you seen her?” The inn owner said, “A girl yes,  and  she  was  wearing  white.” Yang Guo was pleased and said, “Which way did she go?”

The inn owner said, “She’s been gone for half a day! Master, it’s best not to  provoke  that  girl,”  he suddenly lowered his voice and said; “I offer you advice! Don’t go and try to find her.”

Yang Guo was alarmed and pleased, he’s finally found the whereabouts of his Gu Gu, he quickly asked, “Where is she?” His voice quivered as he said this.

The inn owner said, “I’ll ask you first, do you know that girl knows martial arts?”

Yang Guo thought, “How wouldn’t I know?” He quickly said, “I know she knows kung fu.” The inn owner said, “Why are you still looking for her? It’s dangerous.”

Yang Guo said, “What exactly happened?”

The inn owner said, “First tell me, who exactly is that beautiful girl dressed in white to you?”

Yang Guo had no other ideas, it seemed like if he didn’t answer his question the inn owner would not tell him the whereabouts of Xiao Longnu so he said, “She is…she is my older sister, I need to find her.”

When the man heard him he immediately became even more respectful but shook his head and said, “It doesn’t look like it, it doesn’t look like it.”

Yang Guo was impatient and grabbed him by the throat, then shouted, “Are you going to tell me or not!” The inn owner’s tongue hung out and said, “Yes, yes, it looks like it!”

Yang Guo shouted, “What doesn’t look like and what does?”

The inn owner said, “Master, first let go, my throat is being choked by you, ‘hei’ ‘hei’, I can’t talk. I can of course force myself to talk but…”

Yang Guo thought about this person and decided that using force on him would be in vain so he let go. The inn owner coughed a few times and said, “Master, I said it doesn’t look like it because that girl, ‘hei’

‘hei’, your bigger sister looks younger than you, it looks more like your younger sister, not older. When I said it looks like it, I was talking about your fiery temper was the same as hers, both of you like using your fists.”

When Yang Guo heard this he became slightly more relaxed and a smile appeared, and said, “My…my sister fought someone?”

The inn owner said, “Is that bad news? Not only did she fight, she hurt some people as well, look, look.” He pointed to some weapon marks on a table. He said, “It was extremely dangerous, your sister’s skills are great, one chop and she cut off two Taoists’ ears.”

Yang Guo laughed and asked, “What Taoists?” thinking that it must have been the Quanzhen Taoists who were causing trouble for his Gu Gu.

The inn owner said, “They are…” as he said this, his face suddenly changed, his head shrunk back and he turned around and walked away.

Yang Guo knew something was wrong and didn’t chase after him; he picked up his bowl of rice and chopsticks, and scooped rice into his mouth. He glanced over, and saw two Taoists entering the inn. They were about twenty-six or seven years of age, there was a bandage across their cheeks and they sat at the table next to Yang Guo. A thick browed Taoist gave an order to quickly bring out some dishes and wine. The inn owner smiled and came over; he winked at Yang Guo and twisted his lips in their direction. Yang Guo pretended he didn’t see and buried his head and started eating. When he heard news of Xiao Longnu his appetite was better, after one bowl there came another. His clothes were Xiao Longnu’s work, they were rough and simple; traveling for one day and night covered his body with mud and dirt; he looked like a young villager. The two Taoists didn’t look at him; they talked to each other quietly.

Yang Guo deliberately ate noisily, and twisted his body over to listen to what they were saying.

He heard the thick browed Taoist say, “Apprentice brother Pi, do you think Han and Chen will  come tonight?”

The other Taoist had a large jaw, he replied deeply, “Those two are good and honest men of the Beggar Clan, and have a friendship with our Martial Uncle Shen. At Martial Uncle Shen’s request, they will definitely be here.”

Yang Guo took a closer look at them, and surveyed their faces; he didn’t know them and thought, “The Quanzhen have over a thousand Taoists, I can’t recognize them but they could recognize that I’m the little punk that was expelled from the sect, I better not face them. Huh, they couldn’t beat my Gu Gu, now they are meeting some Beggar Clan members to get help.”

The thick browed Taoist said, “You really can’t be sure, it’s a long journey…” The Taoist named Pi said, “Hmm, apprentice brother Ji, there’s no use in worrying about it now, forget the fact that she is a girl, she has…”

The Taoist name Ji quickly said, “Drink the wine, don’t talk about it.” They talked to the inn owner, and ordered an upper class room; they were going to rest in the inn that night.”

Yang Guo heard their words, and thought that if he followed them quietly, he would be able to see his master. As he thought about this, there was no limit to his happiness. After the two went to their room, he ordered the inn owner to prepare a small room for him next to theirs. The inn owner took a lamp and quietly whispered into Yang Guo’s ear, “Master, you need to be careful, they want to take revenge on your sister for cutting their ears off.”

Yang Guo quietly said, “My sister’s temper is extremely good, why would she cut off their ear?”

The inn owner revealed a smile and quietly said, “Of course your sister treats you well, but not to others. Your sister was having a meal here… ‘Hei’ ‘hei’, is she really your sister? I don’t really believe it, even if it was your sister, all the Taoists did was sit by her and stare at her leg a few times. Your sister got into a rage; she took her sword and started to attack the Taoists…” he wanted to carry on. Yang Guo saw that the light next door had been extinguished, he waved his hand to tell him to keep quiet, he was angry and thought, “The Taoists must have seen that my Gu Gu was beautiful and stared at her, making her angry. Huh, why would there be any good people in the Quanzhen sect?” He then thought, “Gu Gu once had a fight with Chongyang Palace, the two Taoists would recognize her, why were they staring at her face?”

He waited for the inn owner to leave, and then extinguished his light and got into bed. He decided he wouldn’t sleep that night, he went over the two skills that Ouyang Feng had taught him, but the two skill’s formulae were very complex, Ouyang Feng had recited it confusingly, he could only remember at most twenty or thirty percent, he didn’t dare to give it much thought just in case he became lost in thought and become unaware of what happened next door.

He quietly kept guard up until the middle of the night, then suddenly he heard two noises; someone was jumping over the wall from outside. The window next door opened. The Taoist named Ji asked, “Is it Han and Chen?”

Someone replied, “It’s us.”

The Taoist named Ji said, “Please enter!” He lightly opened the door and lit the oil lamp. Yang Guo concentrated and listened in.

He heard the Taoist named Ji say, “We Ji Qingxu and Pi Qingxuan greet the heroes Han and Chen.”

Yang Guo thought, “The Quanzhen follow the motto ‘Aim for Tranquility’, these two Taoists belong to the fourth generation disciples, I don’t know whether they follow the teachings of Hao Datong or Liu Chuxuan.”

He heard a person with a high voice say, “We received the message from your Martial Uncle Shen, we didn’t even stop our horses once and rushed straight here. Is that little bitch so powerful?”

Ji Qingxu said, “It’s embarrassing, the two of us fought for a while but we weren’t her match.” That person said, “What kind of martial arts does she have.”

Ji Qingxu said, “Martial Uncle Shen suspects that she is a disciple of the Ancient Tomb sect, though she is young she has very good martial arts.”

When Yang Guo heard the three words ‘Ancient Tomb sect’ he couldn’t refrain from making two quiet grunts.

He heard Ji Qingxu add, “When Martial Uncle Shen mentioned the Ancient Tomb sect, the little bitch cursed and insulted the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’ Li Mochou, but we don’t know what it was about.”

That person said, “So it looks like she doesn’t have any powerful connections. You are going to meet tomorrow? How many people has the opposition got?”

Ji Qingxu said, “Martial Uncle Shen and that girl agreed to meet tomorrow at high noon, at ‘Chailang’ (wolf) valley forty li southwest from here, and having a duel to decide the matter. We don’t know how many people the opposition has. With the help of the skilled Beggar Clan fighters Han and Chen, we won’t be afraid that the opposition has too many people.”

The other older voice said, “Fine, we’ll be at that place at high noon tomorrow, brother Han, let’s go.”

Ji Qingxu showed them to the door and quietly said, “We are not far from Chongyang Palace, this duel must not be known to the Grand Masters Ma, Qiu, Wang, Liu, otherwise we’ll be punished severely.”

The one named Han laughed and said, “Your Martial Uncle Shen had already said this in his letter, and otherwise, why would you need the help of us two when Chongyang Palace has so many skilled fighters?”

The one named Chen said, “Relax, we won’t leak anything. It goes without saying that Elder Ma, Liu, Qiu, Wang, Hao, Sun mustn’t know about this; if your Martial Uncles find out about this I’m afraid that it’ll be the same result for you.” The two Taoists agreed at the same time.

Yang Guo thought, “They are ganging up together to bully my Gu Gu, but are afraid that others will find out, huh, sneaking around like this, they know they are scoundrels.”

He heard the four speak a few more words, and then Ji Qingxu and Pi Qingxuan escorted them to the wall where Han and Chen departed.

End of Chapter 7. 
@Chapter 8 – Girl in White
Yang Guo quietly opened the window and slipped inside the room of the two Taoists. He saw two bags on the bed, he lifted one up and felt its weight, there were about twenty taels of silver and thought, “Just what I need for traveling expenses.” He took it and placed it into his pocket. The other bag was around four feet long; it held two long swords. He took each one out separately and easily snapped the two swords; then placed each back into their sheath. He then wrapped the swords up. He was about to leave the room when another thought crossed his mind, he took off his trousers and urinated all over the Taoists' quilts and blankets.

He heard the sounds of someone climbing up a wall, and knew that the Taoists’ lightness kung fu was very ordinary; they weren’t able to clear the wall in a single leap. They had to first climb up on top of the wall and then leap down. He quickly darted back into his room, quietly closing the window. The Taoists did not notice anything. Yang Guo placed his ear against the wall to hear what was happening. He heard the Taoists quietly talking; they seemed to think that victory in tomorrow’s duel was in their grasp. They were undressing when suddenly Pi Qingxuan called out, “Hey, why are the blankets damp and wet? Ah, it stinks, apprentice brother Ji, why are you so lazy; wetting yourself on the blankets?"

Ji Qingxu spat out, “What wetting yourself?” He picked up the blanket and called out, “When did a stinking cat urinate here?”

Pi Qingxuan said, “How can a cat urinate so much?”

Ji Qingxu said, “Hmm, that’s strange; where’s our money?” Suddenly the room was turned upside down as the two searched for their money. Yang Guo sniggered.

He heard Pi Qingxuan call out loudly, “Inn owner, inn owner, this is an evil inn, isn’t it? Stealing money from guests in the middle of the night?”

They called out a few times; the inn owner woke up from his sleep and came to ask what they wanted. Pi Qingxuan grabbed his chest and said that he was running an evil inn. The inn owner made a clamor, and alerted the inn’s waiters, kitchen staff and the attendants. The guests of the inn also all came out to see what it was all about. Yang Guo hid himself amongst the crowd, and saw the inn owner having his way in the argument, his mouth and tongue couldn’t stop moving, refuting so much that the two Taoists couldn’t get a word in edgeways. That inn owner loved to argue; normally he would stir up trouble with others even when nothing had happened. Now someone had started to provoke him first, in spite of the fact was that justice was completely on his side. He spoke until his mouth started to foam up, and his spirits were becoming more and more intense. The two Taoists were angry and embarrassed; they wanted to use force but they remembered the rules of their sect. They were now at the foot of Mount Zhongnan, how would they dare start trouble? They could only swallow their anger, close their door, and sleep for the night. The inn owner continued to chatter and grumble outside non-stop.

The next morning Yang Guo got up and ate a bowl of noodles. The chatty inn owner came over to greet him and he kept on mumbling curses and insults under his breath. Yang Guo smiled and asked, “How are those two villainous Taoists?”

The inn owner brashly said, “Real bastards. Those Taoists wanted to eat and live here free and so in respect for the Chongyang Palace I was going to allow it. But they dare to say that I am running an evil inn. Huh, I’m definitely going to tell the Chongyang Palace. The Taoists of Quanzhen are thousands and thousands in number, which one of them doesn’t adhere to the strict rules and regulations? I can clearly remember the two villainous scoundrel Taoists’ faces; I’m definitely going to point them out…” Yang Guo was amused and stirred in a few words of his own; he gave him the money for the room and food, and then made sure he knew the way to ‘Wolf Valley’ and he left.

In the wink of an eye he had already traveled over thirty li and wasn’t far from the ‘Wolf Valley’. He looked up at the sky and saw that it was still early. He thought, “I’ll first hide off to the side and watch how Gu Gu copes with the enemy. It’s best if Gu Gu does not recognize me at first.”

Yang Guo thought about the day when he fooled Hong Lingbo, and felt pleased with himself, and decided to do the same once more. He went to a nearby farmer’s house, and looked around in the back garden, he saw a large bad tempered bull, its horns knocking into the  bull  pen and making  loud noises. Yang Guo’s brain lit up and thought, “I’ll pretend to be a farmer, and Gu Gu will definitely not be able to recognize me.”

He quietly sneaked into the house. In the house he saw two babies playing on the floor so he didn’t dare make any sort of noise. He found a set of farmer’s clothes and changed into them and then put on a pair of grass shoes. He got some dirt and rubbed it onto his face. On the wall was a bamboo rain hat, which he took and wore. He picked up a grass rope and tied it around his waist, and then inserted a short flute in it. He went out and opened the gate to the bull pen. When the bull saw him coming, it began to get angry and when it saw the gate was open, it charged forward aiming to ram into his body. Yang Guo’s left palm pushed down on the bull’s head, and he flipped onto its back. The  bull  was  tall  and  bulky;  each  leg weighed nearly one hundred kilos, its tail long and horns sharp. It was extremely large. In the blink of an eye it had already charged onto the main road. It was angry, violent and hot-tempered at this moment in time; it used all its strength to jump upwards, wanting to buck Yang Guo off its back. Yang Guo rode on it’s back steadily, and was extremely pleased with himself. He laughed and said, “If you don’t obey you are going to suffer.” He raised his palm, and chopped down on the bull’s head. He only used twenty percent of his strength, and the bull could not endure it and bellowed. It wanted to jump again but Yang Guo sent down another chop. He chopped it on the head about ten or so times and the bull eventually did not dare to retaliate. Yang Guo then poked the bull’s neck with his finger on the left side and it turned right; when he poked it on the right side of the neck, it turned left, when he poked it on the back it moved forward, and when poked at the front it moved back. He was able to control its movements with his finger. Yang Guo then used his strength to poke its behind and the bull headed forward fiercely. It dashed ahead as if it were a horse. In a short while they passed a forest, and came to a  valley surrounded by  mountains. It was how the inn owner described it. He leapt down from the bull’s back, and allowed it to graze on the grass on the mountain slopes. His hand held the rope as he lay down on the ground.

He looked at the sun and saw it gradually approaching the middle of the sky. He was becoming more and more nervous; he was afraid that Xiao Longnu would ignore the meeting and wouldn’t show up. It was quiet and peaceful all around, with only the bull making a few snorting noises. Suddenly, at the entrance to the valley were the sounds of palms clashing, followed by more sounds of palms clashing from the south side. Yang Guo was lying on the slope, one muddy leg crossed over his knee, his bamboo hat was covering his face, only his right eye was revealed.

After a while, three Taoists appeared at the entrance to the valley. Two of them were the Taoists from last night at the inn, Ji Qingxu and Pi Qingxuan, the other was about forty years old, he was quite short. He was probably Martial Uncle Shen. Yang Guo studied his face and remembered that he saw him at Chongyang Palace before. Two men followed. One was a rugged looking man; the other was an old man with a head full of white hair. They were the Beggar Clan members Chen and Han. The five walked closer and saluted each other. Then they formed a line, all looked around.

At that time, a quiet trotting sound was heard from outside the mouth of the valley. The five men all looked at each other and stared at the entrance to the valley. They heard the sound getting closer and closer; then there was a black and white object at the entrance of the valley. It was a girl in white riding on top of a black donkey coming forward.

When Yang Guo saw this his heart quivered, “It’s not Gu Gu! Could it be another one of their team?” He saw the girl rein in the donkey a few feet away from the five. She glanced at them coldly; her face was filled with contempt and it looked like she didn’t want to speak to them.

Ji Qingxu called out, “Little Bitch, well, well, well, you do have guts; you might as well call your help out.”

The girl chuckled, a ‘shua’ sound was heard as she pulled out a small thin saber from her waist; it looked like the curved moon, the silver glittering in one’s eye.

Ji Qingxu said, “There are five of us, we can’t wait patiently for your help to arrive.”

The girl waved her saber and said, “This is my help.” The saber producing a ‘weng’ noise as it was waved in the air.” When she said this, the six of them were shocked. The five were shocked at the fact that a girl, by herself, would have the guts to fight five skilled fighters without any help. Yang Guo was extremely disappointed and hurt, he was sure that he would see Xiao Longnu. How could he know that the so-called ‘beautiful girl in white’ was another person? The air in his chest surged up; he wasn’t able to control it anymore and called out. When he called out, the other six were alarmed; but all they saw was a farmer letting his bull graze on the slope and they didn’t take any notice of him. They thought that is was just a young country bumpkin who had suffered some problem and was crying out.

Ji Qingxu pointed at the one named Han and said, “This is the Beggar Clan’s hero Han.” He pointed to the one named Chen and said, “This is the Beggar Clan’s hero Chen.” He then pointed to ‘Martial Uncle Shen’ and said, “Our Martial Uncle Shen Zhifan, you’ve seen him before.”

The girl ignored him, her eyes cold, she glanced at them a few times, treating them as nothing.

Shen Zhifan said, “You came on your own; so we can’t fight with you. We’ll give you a deadline of ten days. In ten days you need to bring four helpers to meet us.”

The girl answered, “I’ve said I’ve already got my help; against you bunch of nobodies why do I need to get more people?”

Shen Zhifan angrily said, “Little girl, you really are bold.” His words were meant to be insults and he managed to force himself to ask, “Are you from the Ancient Tomb sect?” The girl said, “So what if I am? So what if I’m not? You stupid old Taoist, do you have the guts to fight with me or don’t you?”

Shen Zhifan saw that she was alone but was sure that she had strong back-up and had them nearby. He was also afraid that he would invite trouble from the Ancient Tomb’s Li Mochou so he said, “Miss, I have a question; why did you hurt members of my sect for no reason? If it was our fault, then I will publicly apologize to your master, but if Miss can’t give a good reason then forgive us for being impolite.”

The girl chuckled and said, “Of course it was those two bullish Taoists’ fault and I just taught them a lesson. If there weren’t so many scoundrels in the world, why would I cut off their ears?”

Shen Zhifan saw that she was extremely brash and couldn’t help being startled. The beggar named Chen was old but he still had a temper; he took a step forward and shouted, “Little girl, you are talking to Seniors here, how come you haven’t got off your donkey?” As he said this he shot forward towards the black donkey and stretched out a hand to grab her right arm. His hand came out extremely quick. The girl wasn’t able to dodge it and she was grabbed immediately. Her right hand was also the hand that was holding her blade, so she wasn’t able to use it to repel the attack. Unexpectedly, the cold light of the saber moved, the girl’s arm twisted and the curved blade sliced down. Beggar Chen was startled and quickly let go. At least he was alert, and quickly changed his stance but the blade had cut two fingers. He quickly leapt back and drew out a saber and called out, “Bitch, you must be bored with your life.” The beggar named Han drew out a lead hammer, and Shen Zhifan drew out his sword. Ji Qingxu and Pi Qingxuan took hold of their swords’ handles and pulled them out. But they felt that something was wrong with the sword’s weight. Both of them called out ‘Ai!’ in shock, the swords in their hands were broken.

When the girl saw the two Taoists’ expressions she couldn’t stop herself from laughing. Yang Guo was lamenting at this time, when he heard the girl laugh he looked at the two Taoists’ embarrassed expression. He couldn’t stop himself from turning his tears into laughter. He saw the girl bend her waist and hack down with her saber at Pi Qingxuan’s head. Pi Qingxuan quickly pulled back his head but he didn’t know the move wasn’t finished, a slight turn of the wrist and the saber turned in the air and eventually cut Pi Qingxuan’s right cheek; blood started to flow from it. The other four were alarmed and angry, they quickly surrounded her. The Taoists Pi and Ji retreated to the rear, their hands holding onto the broken swords. They didn’t want to throw them away but they weren’t much use. They didn’t know what to do.

The girl called out clearly, her left hand pulled on the reins and the donkey dashed forward. Beggar Chen and Han were the closest, the blade and the hammer both attacked. Shen Zhifan followed and used Quanzhen’s sword techniques, every stance aiming for the important points of the enemy. Yang Guo saw that although his sword skills were vicious, compared with Zhao Zhijing and Yin Zhiping, their skills were far apart. Out of the Taoists with the name Zhi, he was the lesser skilled. Yang Guo was now calm, he studied the girl’s face carefully; he saw that she had a pretty oval face and she was younger than him by a year or so. It’s no wonder the inn owner didn’t believe that the ‘beautiful girl in white’ was his older sister. Though she wore white, her skin was slightly dark; it was very different from the brilliant snow white of Xiao Longnu. He saw that her saber stances were light and swift and seemed to be derived from the Ancient Tomb sword stances; there were more stabs and thrusts and rather less chops and hacks.

Yang Guo watched for a few stances and thought, “Indeed she is using our sect’s kung fu, could it be that she is a student of Li Mochou?” Yang Guo thought that both sides weren’t good people and he didn’t care less who won or lost; but then another thought entered his mind. “How could you be the ‘beautiful girl in white’? You're not even worthy to be my Gu Gu’s maid.” He folded his arms behind his head and lay down facing the sky, watching the battle.

For the first ten moves or so, the girl was able to hold her own; she was on the donkey’s back, attacking from above with the saber. The five of them had no choice but to jump back and dodge. Another ten moves passed, Ji Qingxu saw that the broken sword in his hand was useless, then thought suddenly entered him and he called out, “Apprentice brother Pi, follow me.” He quickly headed to the nearby woods and picked a fine small tree; he chopped its roots and branches with his broken swords and made a large club. Pi Qingxuan did the same. The two attacked from the left and right, thrusting toward the donkey.

The girl quietly said, “Shameless!” She waved her saber at them to fend them off and became distracted. Beggar Han’s hammer and Shen Zhifan’s sword arrived. The girl quickly used a risky technique; she lowered her head and slanted her body, the hammer’s wind swept over her face. A clashing sound was heard as the saber met with the sword and at that moment the black donkey cried out in pain and reared. Ji Qingxu had struck it with the club. Beggar Chen did a roll and used his saber techniques. The flat side of his saber struck heavily down on the donkey’s leg; the donkey immediately rolled over. The young girl was now unable to fight them from the donkey’s back. She saw a sword coming straight at her and immediately flew away; she grabbed Pi Qingxuan’s stick and snapped it in half. Her legs landed on the ground and she slashed across with her saber, repelling beggar Chen’s chop.

Yang Guo was startled, “What? Is she hurt?” The girl was actually slightly lame in her left leg, from the leap, one could see her restricted movements, and this is why she had refused to come down from her donkey. Yang Guo’s heroic nature was moved and he wanted to intervene and help her. But a thought entered his mind, “Gu Gu and I were fine living in the tomb; it was that evil woman Li Mochou who caused us to be in this situation. That girl pretends to be my Gu Gu, wanting people to call her the ‘beautiful girl in white’, she’s shameless!” He turned away and stopped watching.

But he kept on hearing the continuous sounds of clashing weapons and wasn’t able to curb his curiosity, he turned his head again. He saw that the situation had now changed, the girl was now dodging east and evading west, and she was defending more than attacking. Suddenly the Han beggar’s metal hammer came flying in, the girl moved her head and dodged it, at the same time, Shen Zhifan’s sword slashed across. A ‘ding’ sound was heard, her silver hair loop was cut; half her hair swept down. The girl’s brows raised, her mouth opened, a frosty look came upon her face as she turned her hand and slashed across.

Yang Guo saw her angry expression and his heart shook, “When Gu Gu was angry, she looked exactly like this.” Because the girl became angry Yang Guo decided to help her. He picked up seven or eight stones and placed them in his pocket. He glanced at her again and saw that she was in a frantic situation.

Shen Zhifan called out, “What exactly is your relationship to the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’ Li Mochou? If you don’t tell us truthfully, don’t blame us for our actions!”

The girl’s saber slashed across, hooking across the back of his head. Shen Zhifan couldn’t predict that she would do this and wasn’t able to block. Beggar Chen quickly called out, “Careful!”

Ji Qingxu fiercely struck the curved saber with his large stick and managed to save the life of Shen Zhifan. The five saw that her stances were all ruthless, not leaving anything to chance. In a short while, the girl continuously unleashed a series of dangerous stances. Shen Zhifan was sure that she was connected to Li Mochou somehow; if news of this ever got to that evil woman, he would have boundless troubles. He saw that she indeed did not have any back up, now was a good chance to kill her and seal her mouth. Every stance he used was aiming to wound the girl.

Yang Guo saw that the girl was now staring danger in the face; he had no time to delay so he flipped up and got on the bull’s back. He hung his legs from its back and dangled down underneath and then poked the bull in the buttocks. The bull started to dash at the six.

The six of them were absorbed in battle when they suddenly saw a mad bull rushing forward; they were all alarmed and leaped out of the way. Yang Guo was dangling below the bull and saw the pressure points on the backs of the five men, the pebbles shot out, they were struck in the ‘Soul Entrance’ and the ‘Spirit Hall’ pressure points. He heard calls of ‘Ai Ya!’ and the five felt their arms become numb; their weapons dropped from their hands. Yang Guo then sent the bull up the slope. He dropped down from the bull’s stomach onto the ground and called out, “Oh no, the bull’s gone mad!”

Shen Zhifan’s pressure points were sealed and his weapon escaped from his hand; but he didn’t see the enemy do this and thought that this was the deed of the girl’s backup. That person was highly skilled, how did he dare to fight anymore? Luckily his legs were still able to move, he quickly ran away but he still remembered his friends and called out, “Brother Chen, Brother Han, let’s go!” The others didn’t think about it and followed. Pi Qingxuan lost his bearings and was actually running towards the girl. Ji Qingxu called out, “Apprentice brother Pi, over here!” Pi Qingxuan was about to turn around when the girl took a step forward and chopped down with her saber. Pi Qingxuan was alarmed, he didn’t have a weapon and quickly dodged to the side, but how would he know that the girl’s saber wasn’t chopping down in a fixed direction, it went east and then west, the light of the blade glimmered as it was about to slash down across his face. Pi Qingxuan raised his arm; a ‘ca’ sound was made as the saber hacked off four fingers. He had yet to feel the pain as he quickly turned around and ran away.

Beggar Han ran ten or so steps and saw that the girl did not follow and thought, “That Bitch is lame, how can she chase us?” When he considered that she was lame, he glanced at her left leg, then turned around and hurried away. How would he know that look angered the girl, she couldn’t contain her fury and shouted out, “Scoundrel, don’t you think I can’t catch up with you?” She lifted her saber and swung it around a few times; a ‘fu’ sound was made as she threw it. She saw the saber glimmer in midair, a ‘pu’ sound was heard as the saber plunged itself in the left shoulder of beggar Han. That person kept on running with the saber in his back. In a short while, the five of them had escaped into the forest.

The girl chuckled but was suspicious, “Could there be someone nearby? Why did they help me?” The beggar named Han had taken the saber that she normally used away; she felt that it was such a pity. She picked up the saber that Beggar Chen had left and quickly went over to the forest to take a look but there wasn’t a trace of anyone around and returned to the valley. She saw Yang Guo sobbing miserably on the ground, calling and shouting out that woe is me.

The girl asked, “Hey, little farmer, what woe are you talking about?” Yang Guo said, “The bull’s gone mad, it’s skin and body is ripped and bruised, when I get back to Master’s house he's definitely going to kill me.”

The young girl took a look at the bull, but saw nothing was wrong with it and said, “Fine, your bull did help me out, I’ll give you some money.” As she said this she took out some money and threw it down to the ground. She thought that Yang Guo was going to thank her, but she didn’t predict that Yang Guo would still have the same expression on his face, shaking his head not picking up the money.

The young girl said, “What’s wrong with you fool, its money.”

Yang Guo said, “One ingot is not enough.” The girl took another ingot and threw it down to the ground. Yang Guo wanted to tease her some more and shook his head.

The young girl got angry and raised her eyebrows, and shouted, “I’ve no more fool!” She turned around and walked away. When Yang Guo saw her angry expression, he couldn’t stop the blood in his chest and head rushing. His eyes ached, he remembered the expression that Xiao Longnu had when she scolded him, he made a decision, “If I can’t find Gu Gu for the time being, I might as well look at that girl’s angry look.” He stretched out and grabbed her right leg and called out, “You can’t go!”

The girl tried to pull away but he held her so tightly that she wasn’t able to escape; she became even angrier and shouted, “Let go! Why are you holding onto me?”

Yang Guo saw that her anger was growing and he became happier. He called out, “I’m not going to return home, save me.” He then loudly called out, “Save me, save me!”

The young girl was angry but was amused at the same time, she raised her saber and called out, “If you don’t let go I’ll chop you to death in one go.”

Yang Guo held on even tighter and pretended to cry, he said, “Chop me to death, I’ll be dead anyway if I return home.”

The girl said, “Where do you want to go?” Yang Guo said, “I don’t know, I’ll follow you.”

The young girl thought, “There’s no reason to have a little idiot following me around.” She raised her saber and hacked down. Yang Guo thought that she wasn’t really going to do it so he held tightly to her leg. He couldn’t have guessed that the girl was ruthless; her chop was really heading for his head. Although she didn’t want to kill him she did want to cut down on his head and let him suffer a little so he won’t dare to bother her again. Yang Guo saw the saber coming down on him, when there was just a few inches between his head and the blade he rolled away and called out, “Murderer, murderer!”

The girl became angrier and dashed forward wanting to slash down again. Yang Guo was lying on the ground, his legs flying everywhere, he called out, “I’m dead…I’m dead!” His muddy legs and hands were scrambling about everywhere; he made himself look as dreadful as possible. But when the girl came hacking down with her saber, his leg would kick her wrist and in the end she wasn’t able to hack down again. Yang Guo saw her angry expression; it was what he wanted to see and he stared at her. The girl saw that he was looking weird and shouted, “Get up!”

Yang Guo said, “Are you going to kill me?”

The girl said, “Fine, I won’t kill you.” Yang Guo picked himself up and gasped deeply, he secretly restricted his blood flow, and his face became pale, as if he was scared to death.

The young girl was pleased with herself and gave an ‘humph’ sound, and said, “Let’s see if you'll still dare to trouble me.” She raised her saber and pointed to the slope where Pi Qingxuan’s fingers were hacked off and said, “I’m fierce and violent; I slashed off his fingers.” Yang Guo pretended to be frightened and worried, he kept on shuffling backwards. The girl placed the saber in her belt and turned around to search for her black donkey, but the donkey had long disappeared. She could only travel by foot.

Yang Guo picked up the money and placed it in his pocket. He held the bull’s rope and followed her and said, “Gu Gu, take me away.”

The girl ignored him and sped up, in a short while she had left him without a trace. Who could have guessed that while she was taking a little break, he was hurrying towards her with the bull calling out, “Take me away…take me away.”

The girl eyebrows raised and then utilized her lightness kung fu, in one breath she had gone a few li, and knew that he wouldn’t be able to catch up. But in a short while she could hear a quiet call of "Take me away!” The girl became furious; she turned around and took out her saber, raising it in the air.

Yang Guo called out, “Oh no!” He held his head and ran away. The girl just wanted him to stop following and that was it, she then turned around and walked away. Soon, she heard the snort of a bull; she turned around and saw Yang Guo about forty steps away, holding on to the bull following behind her. She stopped and waited for him. When Yang Guo saw her stop, he stopped moving as  well,  when  she  walked,  he followed and when she chased after him with the saber  he  ran  away.  This  stopping  and  following continued until it started to get dark; the young girl was still unable to escape from Yang Guo’s pursuit. The girl saw that although he looked dumb, his pace was not ordinary and she thought that he must be used to running around in the mountains. She wanted him to catch up to her so she could knock him out or hurt his legs but each time he was able to roll out of the danger and escape.

After a few while, the girl was becoming tired; her left leg was lame and moving was troublesome. She had an idea and called out, “Fine, I’ll take you away, you have to listen to what I say.”

Yang Guo said delightedly, “You really are going to take me away?”

The girl said, “Yes, why would I lie to you? I’m tired; you ride on the bull and then let me ride with you.”

Yang Guo lead the bull forward and caught up, under the cloudy skies, he saw her eye glistened and knew that she was up to something. He climbed onto the back of the bull. The girl’s right leg pushed up and she lightly flew up onto the bull’s back, sitting in front of Yang Guo. She thought, “My donkey is gone, riding on this bull won’t be bad.” She kicked the bull hard in the side. The bull felt pain and dashed forward quickly. The girl chuckled and suddenly elbowed backward with strength, hitting Yang Guo in the chest. Yang Guo called out ‘Ai Ya!’ and rolled off the back of the bull.

The young girl was extremely pleased and thought, “You little scoundrel, you suffered at my hands in the end.” She poked the bull in the side and the bull hurried forward even faster. She suddenly heard the calls and shouts from Yang Guo, and the voice was just behind her, she turned her head to look around and saw him holding tightly onto the bull’s tail, his legs in midair. He was towed in the air by the bull and his face was full of dirt and mud. Tears flowed from his eyes; he was extremely frantic but he still held onto the bull’s tail tightly. The young girl had no other ideas and so raised her saber aiming to slash down at his arm. She suddenly heard a clamor; the bull had reached a little town.

In the crowd of people the bull had nowhere to go and stopped. Yang Guo wanted to tease the young girl and see her angry face; he lay on the ground and called out, “My chest hurts, you’re beating me to death!” The town’s people all gathered around and asked why.

The girl was going to take this chance of being surrounded by people and slip into the crowd and escape; but she didn’t foresee that Yang Guo would pick himself up and hold onto her right leg. He called out, “Don’t go… don’t go!” Yang Guo called out, “She’s my wife; she doesn’t want me and beats me.”

A person said, “A wife beating her husband, what is the world coming to?” The girl’s eyebrows raised and she kicked out with her left leg. Yang Guo clambered up to the side of a burly man and gave him a push; the kick landed on his waist. The burly man shouted, “Little Bitch, kicking people?” He raised his massive fist. The young girl held the man’s elbow and used his strength to fling him away. The hundred kilo body flew into the crowd, causing the people in the crowd to scream and shout, making quite a scene. The girl used all her strength to pull free but how could she when Yang Guo was holding on with all his life? She saw that another five or six people were coming up towards her, adding to her problems. She could only lower hear head and say, “I’ll take you away, quickly let go.”

Yang Guo said, “Are you still going to beat me?”

The young girl said, “Fine, I won’t!” Yang Guo loosened his hand and stood up. The two of them rushed out of the crowd and headed out of the town. They heard shouting from behind. Yang Guo had managed to hold on to the bull.

Yang Guo laughed, and said, “People say that the wife cannot beat the husband.”

The young girl angrily said, “Stupid Sha Dan [Dumb Egg]! If you keep on talking this rubbish, saying I’m your wife and what not, just watch me cut your head off.” She raised her saber as she said this.

Yang Guo held his head and jumped to the side and pleaded, “Miss, I won’t say it anymore.”

The girl said, “Look at you, even an ugly old hag wouldn’t marry you.” Yang Guo laughed foolishly and didn’t reply.

Now, the sky was dark, the two stood in the unkempt land; they turned around, and saw smoke from cooking rising up from the town and both felt hungry.

The young girl said, “Sha Dan, go to the market and buy ten buns.” Yang Guo shook his head and said, “I won’t go.” The young girl’s face turned angry and she said, “Why not?” Yang Guo said, “I won’t go! You are tricking me to go buy some buns so you could sneak off.” The young girl said, “I said I won’t slip away so I won’t.” Yang Guo shook his head. The girl curled up her fist wanting to hit him but he quickly jumped to the side. The two of them ran around the bull like they were playing hide and seek. The girl was lame and it wasn’t easy for her to move. She saw the boy tripping up in front of her crying and shouting out, yet, although she possessed lightness kung fu, she was still unable to catch up with him.

The girl was furious, she thought about her martial arts, yet for some reason, she had allowed an ugly and smelly country bumpkin Sha Dan to stay on her tail. She had no way to escape, it might be said that she was incompetent. Yang Guo had made himself so much like the character he was supposed to be that when the girl failed three or four times to kill the Sha Dan, she was not suspicious. She followed the main road south and she saw that Yang Guo was holding onto the bull and catching up. She thought that she must find a way to kill him unexpectedly. In the short time it takes to cook rice, the sky had become even darker. She saw an old and run down stone house; it looked abandoned and thought, “Tonight I’ll sleep here and when that idiot is sleeping in the middle of the night, I’ll kill him with one slash.” She walked towards the house and entered, dust entered her nose, the chairs and tables were broken and it appeared that this house was deserted long ago. She cut some grass and wiped a long table clean; she lay on the table, closed her eyes and rested. She saw that Yang Guo hadn’t followed her, and called out, “Sha Dan! Sha Dan!” She didn’t hear a reply and thought, “Could it be that the fool knows that I was going to kill him and left!” She wasn’t concerned with it, and after a while she fell asleep. Suddenly the smell of cooking meat entered her nose. She got up and went outside. She saw Yang Guo sitting in the moonlight holding a piece of meat and opening his mouth to bite into it. Before him was a fire, on top of the fire was an array of branches, meat was roasting on it, the smell of it floating towards her.

Yang Guo saw her come out and laughed, and said, “You want some?” He picked up a roasted piece of the meat and threw it towards her. She caught it with her hand and looked at it, it was a shank of meat, and she was hungry and started to eat it. Although it had no salt, it was still tasty. She sat by the fire and politely ate the meat. She first tore the meat off the shank, and then placed it into her mouth slowly, but she saw Yang Guo munching noisily, annoying her. She was hungry so she turned around and looked away from him. When she finished her meat, Yang Guo gave her another piece.

The young girl said, “Sha Dan, what’s your name?”

Yang Guo said, “Are you an angel? How do you know I’m called Sha Dan?”

The young girl laughed and said, “Ha, so your name is Sha Dan. Where are your parents?” Yang Guo said, “They’ve been dead a long time. What’s your name?”

The young girl said, “I don’t know. Why are you asking?”

Yang Guo thought, “Since you won’t say then I’ll anger you.” He said brashly, “I know, you are called Sha Dan too, that’s why you won’t say.”

The young girl got angry. She got up and punched him in the head and scolded, “Who said I’m called Sha Dan? You are the Sha Dan.”

Yang Guo cried out and covered his head and said, “When someone asks me what I’m called, I say I don’t know so other people call me Sha Dan; since you don’t know, that means you are a Sha Dan as well.”

The young girl said, “Who says I don’t know? I just don’t want to tell you. Do you know that my surname is Lu?”

This young girl was the little girl who was picking lotuses in Jiaxing’s South Lake, Lu Wushuang. When she was plucking flowers with her cousin Cheng Ying and the Wu brothers, she broke her leg. While Madam Wu was helping to set her leg bones back together, Hong Lingbo arrived to take their lives, so her leg bones weren’t set properly. When it healed, her left leg was shorter by an inch or so. Because of this she walks like a lame person. Although her skin was not white, she was still beautiful. When she was grown up she was even more so, but because her leg was lame, she was hateful.

When Li Mochou killed her parents and took her away, she was going to kill her but when she saw the handkerchief on her neck she remembered Lu Zhanyuan, and so she did not kill her. Lu Wushuang was clever; she knew that her life was hanging on a thread now that she was in Li Mochou’s grasp. That witch goes and comes like the wind; she would not be able to run away, so she pretended to be obedient and tried to please her. Eventually the urge to kill the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’, who kills without blinking, calmed down. Sometimes Li Mochou remembered the hurtful events of the past and would summon Lu Wushuang and shout at her for a while. Lu Wushuang would put on a pitiful face and limp along. When Li Mochou saw her sorry look and after shouting at her and getting rid of her anger that would be it. Lu Wushuang pleaded to stay with her, and because she was just a little girl, Li Mochou did eventually allow her to stay. She buried her thoughts of revenge for her parents in her heart. If Li Mochou asked her about it, she pretended that she had forgotten all about them. When Li Mochou and Hong Lingbo were practicing kung fu, she would stand to the side and pass over swords and towels, tea and fruits, concentrating on the practice. She already had a decent foundation, when she watched them practice she noted everything, and when Li Mochou and Hong Lingbo went out, she would secretly practice. She would normally try to get in Hong Lingbo’s favour. Later Hong Lingbo took advantage of the mood that Li Mochou was in and pleaded on behalf of Lu Wushuang. Eventually she became her disciple. A few years passed, Lu Wushuang’s kung fu improved every day, but Li Mochou was still suspicious of her so did not teach her the most advanced skills. Even the intermediate skills were not passed on. Hong Lingbo took pity on her and would give her some pointers in secret. Although it couldn’t be said that Lu Wushuang’s skills were high, her skills were not low either. That day when Li Mochou and Hong Lingbo went to the tomb to search for the “Jade Heart Manual”, Lu Wushuang noticed that they did not return for a long time, so she decided to escape and go to Jiaxing in search of news of her parents. Although she saw with her own eyes Li Mochou seriously wounding her parents, she had not seen them die; there was still a glimmer of hope. She held onto this glimmer of hope and went to find out the truth. Before she left, she thought she might as well go all the way, and took Li Mochou’s book, the ‘Five Poison Codex’; it was a copy of a list of poisons and their antidotes.

Her left leg was lame, and she  hated those  who looked at  it. One  day in an  inn, two Taoists  looked at her leg and she immediately shouted at them. The two Taoists did  not  have  good  tempers,  so  after  a  few words they used force and they started to fight. With her curved saber, she cut off their ears and agreed to meet them at Wolf Valley the next day.

That day when Li Mochou took her away and headed north, she and Yang Guo met each other at the entrance to the cave. They were both young, their faces had now changed; they weren’t able to remember their encounter of years ago.

Lu Wushuang was full after she finished the second piece of roasted meat. Yang Guo used the light of the fire to look at her face, “Where on earth is my Gu Gu? If the girl in front of me was Gu Gu, and I was roasting meet for her, wouldn’t that be wonderful?” He was deep in thought, and stared at her as if he was mad.

Lu Wushuang thought, “I’ll endure your disrespectful stare for now; I’ll kill you later in the middle of the night.” She then returned to the stone house and slept.

In the middle of the night, she quietly got up; she went outside and saw Yang Guo by the fire not moving. The fire had gone out long ago. She went over to him and slashed him with her blade across his back. Her wrist suddenly shook, it started to ache; she couldn’t hold onto the saber and let it go. She felt that the place she slashed across was like metal or stone. She became extremely frightened and leapt away, and thought, “Could it be that Sha Dan has reached the state of being impenetrable by blades and spears?” She moved away tens of feet, but Yang Guo had not chased after her. She turned around; he was still by the fire, not moving an inch.

Lu Wushuang was suspicious and she called out, “Sha Dan…Sha Dan, I have something to say to you.” Yang Guo did not reply. She took a careful look, and saw Yang Guo’s body had formed a circle, it looked extremely strange, she boldly went over and saw that it did not look like the body of a person, she stretched out her hand and touched him, it felt like the clothes were placed on top of a rock. She grabbed the clothes and lifted up; indeed there was a large rock below. Where was Yang Guo?

She stood there for a while and called out, “Sha Dan, Sha Dan!” She didn’t hear a reply so she listened carefully; there seemed to be a snoring noise coming from the house. She went over there quietly and saw Yang Guo sleeping on the table that she had just slept on. His back towards her and he was snoring loudly in a deep sleep.

Lu Wushuang was angry, and didn’t even think about how he ended up sleeping on the table.  She immediately leapt forward raising her saber, and pierced into his back.

The saber’s tip had plunged into flesh but she didn’t feel any resistance in her hands. She heard Yang Guo snore a few times and then said in his sleep, “Who’s scratching my back, don’t, don’t, I’m scared.”

Lu Wushuang turned pale, her arms quivered, thinking, “Is this person a demon?” She turned around to run but her legs didn’t listen. She then heard him say, “There must be a mouse on my back trying to steal my meat.” He stretched out his hand to his back and took out a lump of meat, and threw it onto the ground.

Lu Wushuang finally breathed out and understood, “So that Sha Dan put the meat on his back and just now I stabbed into that, I’ve just suffered a fright for no reason.”

She had failed twice to stab him and she hated him even more, she clenched her teeth and quietly said, “Rotten Sha Dan, see if I’m able to kill you this time.” She dashed forward and raised her saber, then slashed down across his back. In the midst of the snoring, Yang Guo turned his body, the saber slashed down deeply into the wood. Lu Wushuang circulated her chi around her hands trying to remove the saber. Yang Guo pretended he was having a nightmare, “Mum, mum, the little mouse is biting me.” His muddy legs shot out, the left leg striking Lu Wushuang’s ‘Crooked Reservoir’ (qu chi) pressure point on the side of her body, his right leg landing on her shoulder sealing the ‘Shoulder Well’ (jian jing) pressure point. Those two points are two of two of the body's important pressure points. When those legs came out, of all the places to hit, they hit precisely those two places. Lu Wushuang wasn’t able to move, she stood there, becoming a support for his legs.

Lu Wushuang was furious, although her body wasn’t able to move, her mouth still could, she shouted out, “Hey Sha Dan, quickly move your stinky feet away.” She  just  heard  his  snoring  becoming  louder.  She didn’t know what to do, in anger she opened her mouth and spat at him. Yang Guo moved his body; his right foot brushed across and struck her ‘Large Bone’ pressure point. Lu Wushuang’s body immediately became numb all over, even her mouth wasn’t able to open, the stench from his feet flowed into her nose.

In a short while, Lu Wushuang's anger stirred up again, and she swore to herself, “Tomorrow when my pressure points are unsealed, I’m going to chop up Sha Dan into seventeen or eighteen pieces.”

After a while, Yang Guo felt that he’d had enough fun, he released his legs and turned around, although it was dark, he was still able to look at her angry expression clearly. The angrier she got, the more she looked like Xiao Longnu. Yang Guo stared at her in a daze, how would he be able to close his eyes? In actual fact, Lu Wushuang and Xiao Longnu did not look like each other. It’s just that when girls get angry they all have a similar look. Yang Guo missed his master and looking at Lu Wushuang’s angry expression reminded him of Xiao Longnu. It was like looking at a picture of her.

After a while, the moon was in the west, its light shooting into the room. Lu Wushuang saw Yang Guo’s eyes were open, staring at her in a daze and shivered, “Could that Sha Dan be pretending to be mad? He sealed my pressure points, could it be that it wasn’t an accident?” When she thought about this, she couldn’t stop herself from breaking out in a cold sweat. At this moment in time, she saw Yang Guo’s eyes looking at the floor; she followed his eyes and saw three shadows. There were three people standing at the entrance. She looked carefully and saw that the three shadows were holding weapons, she secretly cursed herself, “Crap, the enemy has to come now when Sha Dan has sealed my pressure points.” Although she was suspicious, she couldn’t believe that this dirty and humble farmer possessed a set of good martial arts.

Yang Guo closed his eyes and snored loudly. He heard someone call out from the door, “Little Bitch, come out, do you think this Taoist Master will let you off by standing still?”

Yang Guo thought, “Oh, it’s him again.”

Another person said, “We don’t want your life, we just want to cut off your two ears and three fingers.” The third person said, “This Old man is waiting for you outside; just get it over and done with.” As they said this they moved outside. The three of them stood in a semi circle.

Yang Guo stretched up and slowly sat up and said, “Why are you calling outside, Miss Lu, you are here? Why are you standing there without moving?” He pushed her in the back a few times. Lu Wushuang felt a surge of strong chi running into her body, her body shook and the three pressure points in  her  body unsealed. She didn’t bother thinking about what had happened and immediately got up and took up her saber. She leaped out of the house and saw three men with their backs facing the moon. She didn’t say anything and flipped her wrist and thrust out at the person on the left. That person was holding a chain and saw the saber slashing towards him. His chain was  heavy,  its  power  was  great  and  so  was  its accuracy. A clashing sound was heard as Lu Wushuang’s saber flew out of her hand. Yang Guo was lying across the table and saw Lu Wushuang leap to the side, her left hand stretched out and thought, “Good, that Taoist will not be able to hold on to his sword.” Indeed when  her  wrist  turned  up,  she  used  the Ancient Tomb sect’s kung fu, and she had taken the Taoist’s sword. She chopped down, a ‘pu’ sound; the Taoist's shoulder had been struck by the sword.

Lu Wushuang used the sword and fought with the man who used the chain. The other short man held a spear; he pierced east and west, but was out of the order and stayed back. The man using the chain had good martial arts, after ten moves or so, Lu Wushuang gradually felt that she wouldn’t be able to stand still. That person’s steps seemed to be measured, he honored his status, Lu Wushuang had failed to get at him many times yet he didn’t force the issue.

The Taoist wrapped up his wound, pointed at Lu Wushuang and cursed, “Ancient Tomb Bitch, such evil attacks!” He ran towards her attacking with his fists and legs. A white light glimmered; the Taoist’s back was pierced by the sword. At that time, the short man thrust his spear at Lu Wushuang’s back, and the man using the chain smashed down on her shoulders.

Yang Guo thought, “Oh no!” His picked up two stones and flicked them out, one at the spear, the other at the man’s right wrist. He didn’t know that the man was skilled, once the stone struck his wrist, he wasn’t able to smash down with his chain, but his left palm came out like lightning and struck Lu Wushuang on the chest. Yang Guo was alarmed, he was young and inexperienced and wasn’t able to tell that the man’s fists and palms were good. He quickly dashed out and grabbed onto the man’s neck, the man’s body suddenly flew up and was flung away tens of feet. The Taoist and the short man saw that Yang Guo was powerful; they picked up the man and ran away without turning back.

Yang Guo lowered his head and took a look at Lu Wushuang, he saw that her face was golden and she was breathing weakly, her injury was serious. He put his arm around her back and slowly sat her up. He heard ‘ge la’ ‘ge la’, two light sounds, it was the sound of bones grinding. Two of her ribs had been broken by that man. She had passed out but once the bones moved, the pain was intense and woke her up; she gave out a quiet groan. Yang Guo said, “What is it? Does it hurt?”

Lu Wushuang was in extreme pain, she clenched her teeth and scolded, “Why are you asking? Of course it hurts. Carry me into the house.”

When Yang Guo picked her up, it was unavoidable that there was going to be some movements. Lu Wushuang’s ribs touched each other and the pain ignited again, she scolded, “Fine, bastard Sha  Dan, you…you want to torture me. Where have the three scoundrels gone?” When Yang Guo used his skills, she had already fainted and didn’t know that it was him that saved her life.

Yang Guo laughed, and said, “They thought you were dead, they clapped and left.”

Lu Wushuang scolded, “Why are you laughing? Bastard Sha Dan, the more pain I’m in the happier you are, is that it?” Every time she shouted at him, Yang Guo would remember how Xiao Longnu would scold him. He lived in the Tomb of the Living Dead for a few years with Xiao Longnu and it was the happiest time in his life. Each time Xiao Longnu scolded him; he couldn’t help but be moved as he knew that his Master was treating him with her heart. At present he wasn’t able to find his Master, but at this time when he was alone, he had at least bumped into another girl in white. In actual fact, Xiao Longnu was cold and detached; when she scolded him it was just a few calm words. How was she like Lu Wushuang who screamed and shouted out insults and curses? In Yang Guo’s present state, having a young girl scolding him was better than having no one, he ignored her insults and curses and just smiled, he placed her on the table. When Lu Wushuang lay on the table, her broken ribs moved again, she couldn’t endure the pain and called out. When she called out in pain her lungs breathed out and this disturbed the ribs again causing further pain. She clenched her teeth as cold sweat poured off her head.

Yang Guo said, “Shall I fix your ribs back in place for you?”

Lu Wushuang scolded, “Rotten Sha Dan, what bones do you know how to fix?”

Yang Guo said, “My dog at home fought with the neighbor’s dog. Its bone was bitten in half and it was me who fixed his bone back in place. Also, when Uncle Wang’s sow had its rib broken, it was me who fixed it back into place.”

Lu Wushuang was angry, but she didn’t dare to shout out loudly, she huskily said, “You’re calling me a sow, a dog. You’re the dog, the sow.”

Yang Guo laughed and said, “Even if I was a pig, I’d be a boar. Furthermore, that dog was a bitch; a male dog won’t be like that.”

Although Lu Wushuang was clever and quick with words, every time she spoke a word her chest would hurt, she wanted to argue with him but she had no strength left, she closed her eyes and endured the pain and ignored Yang Guo.

Yang Guo said, “Once I fixed that dog’s bone it recovered after a few days. When it fought again, it was as if its bone had never been broken.”

Lu Wushuang thought, “It could be that Sha Dan really knows how to connect bones. If no one heals me I’ll be dead. But if he helps to fix my ribs, he’s going to touch my chest, how can I let him? Hmm, if he doesn’t cure me, then we’ll die together, if he does cure me, I won’t let one who’s seen my body live.”

She’d had a tragic life since she was young. She endured it and fought for her life. Her character was different to others; she had been with Li Mochou a long time, her ears and eyes had endured many things. She had learned Li Mochou’s ruthless and vindictive streak and at such a young age she was already filled with many evil thoughts. She quietly said, “Fine! If you lie to me Sha Dan, your death will be painful.”

Yang Guo thought, “If I don’t make it hard for her now, I’m not going to have a chance again.” He calmly said, “When Uncle Wang’s sow broke its ribs, his daughter begged and pleaded with me for help, she called me ‘Big Brother’ one hundred times, and then I helped her”

Lu Wushuang said, “Bull, bull, bull, rotten Sha Dan… rotten Sha Dan, ai ya” her chest was filled with severe pain again. Yang Guo laughed and said, “If you won’t call me that then fine. I’m going home now, have a nice rest.” He got up and turned towards the door.

Lu Wushuang thought, “If that person goes, then I’m definitely going to die.” She had to hold down her temper and said, “What do you want?”

Yang Guo said, “Originally, all I wanted was for you to call me ‘Good Brother’ one hundred times, but all along you have scolded and insulted me. I’ll help you if you call me that one thousand times.”

Lu Wushuang planned it in her heart, “I’ll promise him now, once I get better, it won’t be too late to get rid of him.” So she said, “I’ll call good brother, good brother, good brother ai ya ai ya”

Yang Guo said, “Fine, there are still nine hundred and ninety seven times left, remember that, you can finish it when you are better.” He walked over to her, and stretched out his hand to take off her clothes.

Lu Wushuang automatically cringed back, she was alarmed and said, “Go away, just what are you doing?”

Yang Guo took a step back and said, “I don’t know how to put your bone back in place with your clothes in the way, the dog and sow didn’t have clothes when I fixed their bones.”

Lu Wushuang thought this was funny but she would be embarrassed if she allowed him to take her clothes off. After a while she lowered her head and quietly said, “Fine, I won’t trouble you.”

Yang Guo said, “If you don’t want to be healed, then don’t. I don’t care…”

As he said this, he heard someone suddenly say from outside, “That little Bitch must be within twenty miles of here, we’ll quickly search around here…” when Lu Wushuang heard this voice she  immediately turned pale with fright, she didn’t care about her pain and covered Yang Guo’s mouth, the person who was talking outside was Li Mochou.

When Yang Guo heard this voice he too was alarmed. He heard the voice of another girl say, “The saber that was planted in that man’s shoulder looked like the silver saber of apprentice sister, and it’s a pity that we couldn’t get it for a closer look.” That person was Hong Lingbo.

After the two left the tomb, they returned to Scarlet Cloud Manor, and discovered that Lu Wushuang had escaped, Li Mochou wasn’t too bothered, but they didn’t expect that she had also stolen the ‘Five Poison Codex’. When Li Mochou roamed Jianghu, what the martial artists of the Jianghu world were afraid of was not her kung fu, but her ‘Divine Five Poison Palm’ and her ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’. In the ‘Five Poison Codex’, it had the types of poison, its concentration, the antidote and the processing technique of the ‘Divine Five Poison Palm’ and ‘Soul Freezing Silver Needles’. If the secrets were leaked, the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’ would be like a poisonous snake without its fangs. She had long ago memorized the contents of the codex; there was no need to take it with her, and she hid the codex in a secret place in the Scarlet Cloud Manor. But she didn’t know that Lu Wushuang was especially aware and noticed every detail, and knew her master’s hiding place. When she decided to escape, she took the book with her.

Li Mochou was furious; she took Hong Lingbo and chased after her night and day. But Lu Wushuang had left long ago, and she kept to the small roads. Li Mochou and her disciple went north and then south, she searched east to west, and then she went over the places again several times but still couldn’t find any trace of her.

One night, by coincidence, the two of them were near Tongguan, and heard members of the Beggar Clan spreading news that there was going to be a meet for the members along the western roads. Li Mochou considered the fact that there are numerous Beggar Clan members everywhere, their ears and eyes see and hear everything; there must be someone who had seen Lu Wushuang. The two rushed to the meeting place to scout for news. On the way there they saw a fifth band disciple being carried by another Beggar Clan member, around them was seventeen or eighteen Beggar Clan members escorting them. Li Mochou saw the person had a saber in his back; it was Lu Wushuang’s silver saber. She slipped to the side to listen in, and heard a few angry Beggar Clan members talking, saying that it was a lame little Bitch who did this. Li Mochou was delighted when she heard this, she knew that this person was recently wounded so she quickly left and scouted around, eventually coming up to the stone house. When she got there, she saw the remains of the fire and smell of fresh blood and under the moonlight she saw drops of blood on the floor, they were new stains. It displayed the signs of a recent battle. Li Mochou tugged her disciple’s sleeve and pointed to the house. Hong Lingbo nodded; she took out her sword and charged in.

When Lu Wushuang heard the voices of her Master and apprentice sister she knew that she had ran out of luck, she decided to lay there and wait for her death. She heard the sound of the door, a person in yellow dashed in, it was her apprentice sister Hong Lingbo. Hong Lingbo had friendly sentiments towards her apprentice sister, but she knew that this time her master would use every method that she knew to torture her and then slowly kill her. She saw that Lu Wushuang was lying on the table and thrust a sword at her chest to spare her the pain. As the sword tip was about to pierce her chest, Li Mochou stretched out her hand and patted Hong Lingbo’s shoulder; her hand lost all her strength immediately and lowered. Li Mochou chuckled, “Do you think I won’t kill her? Why do I need you to rush into it?” She faced Lu Wushuang and said, “You see your Master in front of you and you don’t greet her?” Although she was furious, her tone was normal.

Lu Wushuang thought, “Now that I’m in her clutches, even if I beg or plead, I’m going to suffer.” She calmly said, “You and my family had deep feuds over the years, there is no need to say anything.” Li Mochou stared at her; one couldn’t tell if her eyes were filled with joy or hate. There was an expression of pity on Hong Lingbo’s face. Lu Wushuang’s lips curled up, her expression was one of pride.

The three of them stared at each other and after a while Li Mochou said, “Where’s the book? Give it to me.”

Lu Wushuang said, “An evil Taoist and a beggar took it!” Li Mochou was startled inside. Although she hasn’t done anything to offend the Beggar Clan, she’s had run ins with the Quanzhen. She knew that the Beggar Clan and the Quanzhen sect had a deep history; what’s going to happen now that her book has fallen into outsiders hands? Lu Wushuang saw a wry smile on the face of her Master and knew that she was thinking up ideas of how to torture her. All along during her escape, the only thing she was afraid of was that her Master was going to catch up with her and now she has. Instead of first feeling fear she thought, “Where’s Sha Dan? Where  did he go?” She  is facing death and when  she thought about the  ugly and dumb farmer, unwittingly she felt a warm feeling inside her. Suddenly a light from a fire appeared, a rumbling sound was heard.

Li Mochou and Hong Lingbo turned around to see a large bull heading inside. On the bull’s right horn there was a saber attached to it, on the left horn was a torch; the force it was approaching at was frightening. Li Mochou immediately leapt to the side but saw the bull turn around in the house and rush out. When the bull first entered it was dashing ferociously, when it left it rushed away with the same speed. In the wink of eye it had traveled tens of feet. Li Mochou looked at the image of the bull running away and at first wondered, “Who attached the saber and torch to the bull’s horn?” She turned around and both she and Hong Lingbo called out in shock, the body of Lu Wushuang that was lying on the table had disappeared.

Hong Lingbo searched the house and leaped up onto the roof. Li Mochou thought that it must  have something to do with the bull so she chased after it. In the darkness she saw the light of the torch on the bull’s horn entering the forest. By the light of the torch she saw that no one was on the bull’s back, Lu Wushuang had not escaped on the bull. She then thought, “It must be, someone outside sent the strange bull in to divert my attention and then rescued her.” She didn’t know which direction to chase after, she then sped up and in a flash she had caught up with the bull. She leaped up onto the bull and saw that there wasn’t anything strange so she leapt down again. Then she kicked  the  bull  in  the  behind.  She whistled and signaled Hong Lingbo, one was going to scout north to south, the other west to east.

Of course it was Yang Guo who sent the bull into the house. When he heard the voices of Li Mochou and her disciple, he slipped out through the backdoor and listened in through the window,  after  just  one sentence he knew that Li Mochou had come to take Lu Wushuang’s life. He immediately thought of a plan, he went over to the bull and attached the saber that Lu Wushuang had earlier dropped to the bull’s horn, he then gathered some twigs and attached it to the other horn and lit them. He then hung below the bull and forced the bull to rush into the house; quickly he grabbed Lu Wushuang and hid underneath the bull, exiting the house. His movements were quick and the bull looked weird, Li Mochou had good eyesight but was caught unaware and didn’t notice anything wrong. By the time Li Mochou had caught up with bull, Yang Guo had carried Lu Wushuang into the long grass and hid. When she moved, she was in severe pain, so all of the things that had happened;  how Yang Guo rescued  her, how they hid  underneath the bull and how they dived into the grass was all unclear to  her. After  a while she  regained her  awareness and  called out an ‘ah’ sound. Yang Guo quickly covered her mouth and whispered into her ear, “Don’t make a noise!” They heard footsteps and Hong Lingbo’s voice saying, “How can someone disappear in the flash of an eye?” Further away Li Mochou said, “Let’s go. That little Bitch must have gone far away.” They heard the footsteps of Hong Lingbo gradually moving away. Lu Wushuang was being smothered and was in pain. Yang Guo still held his hand over her mouth without loosening. Lu Wushuang struggled for a little. When she felt that she was being held in his arms she was embarrassed and anxious, she wanted to hit him.

Yang Guo whispered in her ear, “Don’t move, your Master is lying.” As soon as his words were said, they heard Li Mochou saying, “She really isn’t here.” Her voice was extremely close by; it seemed that they were right next to them.

Lu Wushuang was startled and thought, “If it weren’t for Sha Dan, I would be dead!”

Li Mochou had suspected that she was hiding nearby. While she was talking far away, she immediately used her lightness kung fu without making a sound and arrived close by. Lu Wushuang almost fell into the trap.

Yang Guo carefully listened, when the two had really gone he removed his hand and laughed, “There’s no need to be scared now.” Lu Wushuang said, “Let me go.”

Yang Guo lightly placed her flat onto the grass and said, “I’ll immediately push your bones back into place and then we’ll leave this place. If we wait until tomorrow we won’t be able  to  escape.”  Lu  Wushuang nodded.

Yang Guo was afraid that she would call out in pain when he pushes the bone back into place and alert Li Mochou and her disciple. He sealed her numbing pressure points and stretched out his hand to take off her clothes, and said, “Don’t make a noise whatever you do.”

After taking off her outer garment, a white undergarment was revealed, removing this revealed an apricot yellow brassiere. Yang Guo didn’t dare to take it off and looked up, and saw Lu Wushuang’s eyebrows wrinkled, her eyes closed tightly, she was embarrassed and scared. Yang Guo had his first awakening of lust; when he smelled the fragrant scent of a virgin girl, his heart pounded wildly.

Lu Wushuang opened her eyes and quietly said, “Just cure me!” After she said this, she closed her eyes again and turned away. Yang Guo’s hand shook as he unbuttoned her underwear; when he saw her breasts, he didn’t dare to touch her chest. Lu Wushuang waited a while but felt a cool breeze brushing across her naked chest, she felt cold and turned around opening her eyes, and saw Yang Guo looking at her in a daze, she angrily said, “What…What are you looking at?”

Yang Guo was startled; he stretched out his hand and touched her ribs, when his hand touched her skin he shivered, like as if his hand was touching a fire, he immediately pulled back.

Lu Wushuang said, “Quickly close your eyes, if you look at me again I’ll… I’ll…” When she said this, tears flowed from her eyes.

Yang Guo quickly said, “Yes, yes, I won’t look anymore, don’t cry.” He closed his eyes and felt out the broken ribs and pushed them back into place, he quickly covered up her chest with her underwear and calmed down. He gathered four sticks and placed two across the front of her and two behind. He then got some vines and tied the sticks tightly into place so the bones won’t move out of place. He then buttoned up her garments and unsealed her pressure points.

Lu Wushuang opened her eyes and saw the moonlight on Yang Guo’s face. His cheeks were red, he was blushing, he looked at her face and their eyes met, he quickly turned away. Her bones were now fixed into place, although they still hurt, it wasn’t as painful as before. She thought, “That Sha Dan does know how to seal pressure points.” She now could see that Yang Guo isn’t an ordinary person, he is definitely not a ‘Sha Dan’, but ever since she met him she had insulted him and looked down on him. Now she had seen him save her yet she didn’t change the way she talked to him.

She asked, “Sha Dan, what do you think we should do now? Shall we wait here or run away and hide.” Yang Guo said, “What do you think?”

She replied, “Of course we should run. Are we going to wait here for our death?” Yang Guo said, “Where?”

Lu Wushuang said, “I want to go Jiangnan. Can you accompany me there?” Yang Guo said, “I need to find my Gu Gu, I can’t go far.”

When Lu Wushuang heard this, her face dropped and said, “Fine, leave! Let me die here.”

If Lu Wushuang had kindly asked him Yang Guo would of course reject her request, but when he saw her angry face, it reminded him of Xiao Longnu. It was hard for him to reject her and he thought, “Maybe Gu Gu headed south, if I escort Miss Lu there, maybe good deeds will be repaid, and the heavens might pity me and let me see Gu Gu again.” He knew that this was a remote possibility but he had no way to reject Lu Wushuang’s request, so he convinced himself, sighed, and then picked her up.

Lu Wushuang angrily said, “Why are you picking me up?” Yang Guo laughed, “I’m carrying you to Jiangnan.”

Lu Wushuang gave a smile and was delighted, she said, “Sha Dan, Jiangnan is far from here, can you carry me all the way there?” Though she said this, she was leaning on Yang Guo peacefully without moving.

The large bull had disappeared. Yang Guo was afraid that they might bump into Li Mochou and her disciple so he kept to the small paths. Although his legs were quick, his upper body did not move and did not disturb Lu Wushuang’s wound. Lu Wushuang saw the trees by her recede, he was hurrying along the path like a dashing horse. He was much faster than she would be without carrying anything. His lightness kung fu was not below her Master’s; she was curious and thought, “So this Sha Dan is highly skilled, how could he learn to such a level at such a young age?”

Not long after, the east began to lighten, she lifted her head and saw that although his face was dirty, he was handsome, his eyes captivating, and her heart was moved. She gradually forgot about the pain and after a while she fell into a deep sleep.

When the sky became bright, Yang Guo felt a little tired, he dashed over to a large tree and placed her gently down, and then rested next to her. Lu Wushuang opened her eyes and smiled, she said, “I’m hungry, aren’t you hungry?”

Yang Guo said, “Of course I’m hungry, let’s find a restaurant and get something to eat.” He got up and picked her up again, but because he had carried her for half the night his arms felt numb so he lifted her onto his shoulders and slowly walked.

Lu Wushuang’s legs were bouncing off lightly off Yang Guo’s chest, she laughed and said, “Sha Dan, what exactly is your name? If you don’t tell me I’ll call you Sha Dan in front of others.”

Yang Guo said, “I don’t have a name, everyone calls me Sha Dan.”

Lu Wushuang hurtfully said, “If you don’t want to say, fine! Who’s your Master?”

When Yang Guo heard the word ‘Master’, he didn’t dare mess around because he respected Xiao Longnu so much, he turned serious and said, “My Master is my Gu Gu.”

Lu Wushuang believed him and thought, “So his skills are passed on from his family.” She asked again, “What family or sect is your Gu Gu from?”

Yang Guo dumbly said, “I don’t know whether she is at home or what rank she is.” (Yang Guo is playing on her words, the word for family can also mean home, the word for sect can also mean order.)

Lu Wushuang angrily said, “You idiot! I ask you, from whose school of martial arts have you learned?”

Yang Guo said, “Are you asking about my family’s main door? It’s made out of wood.” (Again, a play on words)

Lu Wushuang’s heart sank and thought, “Could this person really be a Sha Dan (Dumb Egg / idiot)? His martial arts are good but he’s dumb?” So she softly said, “Sha Dan, tell me honestly, why did you save my life.”

Yang Guo couldn’t think of a reply, after a while he said, “My Gu Gu told me to save you so I saved you.” Lu Wushuang said, “Who is your Gu Gu?”

Yang Guo said, “Gu Gu is Gu Gu. Whatever she tells me to do I’ll do it.”

Lu Wushuang sighed, and thought, “This person really is dumb.” She had some warm feelings for him but now they turned into loathing.

Yang Guo didn’t hear her say anything and said, “Why aren’t you speaking?” Lu Wushuang gave a grunt. Yang Guo asked again.

Lu Wushuang angrily said, “If I don’t want to speak, I won’t speak! Sha Dan, shut your mouth!”

Yang Guo knew that her face right now was a nice sight, but since she is sitting on his shoulders he wasn’t able to see, he couldn’t help but think, ‘What a pity.”

Not long after, they reached a little town. Yang Guo found a restaurant and ordered rice and dishes, and the two sat down together. Lu Wushuang smelled the stench of cow shit on him and wrinkled her eyebrows, and said, “Sha Dan, sit over there, don’t sit at my table.”

Yang Guo laughed and sat at another table. Lu Wushuang saw that he was still looking at her, she was vexed, the more she looked at him the more loathsome he was, she hid her face and said, “Don’t look at me.” She pointed at a faraway table and said, “Sit over there.”

Yang Guo gave a laugh and grabbed his bowl and sat at the entrance of the inn, and ate his rice.

Lu Wushuang said, “That’s better.” Although she was hungry, her chest hurt, it was hard to swallow. She felt an urge to take her anger out on Yang Guo but he sat faraway, she wasn’t able to shout at him. Just as she was feeling troubled some people were outside singing, “Little Miss do good deeds.” Another person followed, “Give the beggar a bowl of rice!”

Lu Wushuang raised her head and saw four beggars outside lined up all looking at her, she could tell from their eyes that they had come with ill intentions; she was secretly alarmed. She heard the third beggar singing, “The path of heaven is not for you!” The fourth one sang, “Hell has no doors yet you’ve entered through!” The four beggars were singing the ‘Lotus Falling’ begging tune, each one holding a bowl in their right hand and a stick in their left. There were four coarse pockets on their shoulders. Lu Wushuang once heard her apprentice sister say that the Beggar Clan members use the coarse  pockets  to differentiate between rank within the clan, fourth band members will have four pockets, these beggars were fourth band members. She remembered how she fought beggars Han and Chen yesterday at Wolf Valley, they had five pockets; it seems they were a level higher than these people in front of her. If she wasn’t injured, she wouldn’t fear the beggars; now she hardly had the strength to pick up chopsticks. How could she fight the enemy? Sha Dan’s lightness kung fu maybe excellent, but he acts mad. Even if he knows martial arts it won’t be too high a level. She couldn’t help but be at a wits end.

Yang Guo was worrying about his stomach; it was as if he hasn’t seen the beggars yet. After he finished his bowl he went over to the rice bucket and filled another, he stretched out his hand and picked a fish up from the plates in front of Lu Wushuang, the soup and juices of the fish spilled all over the table, he laughed foolishly and said, “Ha-ha, I’m going to eat a fish.”

Lu Wushuang frowned slightly; she had no time to scold him. She heard the four beggars sing again, singing ‘Little Miss’ again. The four beggars repeated this three times, the eight eyes all fixed on her. Lu Wushuang didn’t know how to deal with them, she slowly spooned the rice, pretending that she didn’t hear but she was extremely worried inside.

One of the beggars loudly called out, “Little Miss, if you won’t spare a bowl of rice, then how about sparing a curved saber.” Another one said, “Come with us and we won’t make it hard for you. We just want to clear a few things up and come to a fair conclusion.” After a while someone said, “Just quickly come, do you really want us to use force?” Lu Wushuang thought that it would be no use whether she replied or kept quiet; she didn’t know what to do. The fourth beggar said, “We won’t use force against you, the heroes of Jianghu would laugh at the four of us for bullying a little girl, we just want you to come along and talk.” From their tone, Lu Wushuang knew that they were about to attack, she knew that it would be hard for her to fight them off, yet she couldn’t wait for defeat. Her left hand held the bench, when the enemy came she would use the bench to fight them off.

Yang Guo thought, “Time for me to do my stuff!” He ran over to Lu Wushuang’s table and picked up the bowl of soup, his mouth was biting down on the fish, he mumbled, “I’m…I’m going to spill the soup!” The bowl tipped and half the hot soup spilled on the Lu Wushuang’s right arm. She was facing east, her arm was slightly inwards, and when the soup came she immediately pulled back and turned around to take a look.

Yang Guo called out, “Ai Ya!” He used his right arm and wiped her arm and leg and at the same time, his left hand waved, four bamboo chopsticks flew out, each one shooting out at the beggars. The four chopsticks were extremely fast; before the beggars could see it their arms were in pain, a crashing sound was heard as four bowls crashed onto the floor. Yang Guo used his garment and wiped Lu Wushuang’s sleeve continuously and said, “Don’t…don’t get angry…I’ll…I’ll…I’ll wipe it clean.”

Lu Wushuang scolded, “Don’t mess around!” She turned around to look at the beggars and was alarmed. She saw the backs of the beggars going around the street corner and disappearing, the floor covered with the remains of broken bowls.

Lu Wushuang questioned, “Those four beggars are strange; why did they leave all of a sudden?” She saw Yang Guo’s hands was filled with fish soup and vegetable sauce, and was wiping frantically on the table, she scolded, “Go away, aren’t you embarrassed?”

Yang Guo said, “Yes, yes!” He wiped his hands on his clothes.

Lu Wushuang frowned and asked, “Why did the four beggars go?”

Yang Guo said, “They saw you were short tempered and wouldn’t spare anything, there wasn’t any use in begging anymore so they left.” Lu Wushuang pondered for a while and didn’t understand, she took out some money and told Yang Guo to buy a donkey with it. After she paid her bills she got on the donkey. As soon as she got on the donkey, her ribs moved and she shouted out in pain.

Yang Guo said, “It’s a pity that I’m dirty and smelly, otherwise I could support you.”

Lu Wushuang said, “Humph, still talking crap.” She pulled on the rope, the donkey was extremely stubborn, and it leaned against the wall and forced her against the wall as well. Lu Wushuang had no strength in her arms and legs, she called out and fell off the donkey. Her right leg landed on the ground and slowly stood up, her wound was disturbed again and she was in pain. She angrily shouted, “You saw me fall yet you didn’t help me.”

Yang Guo said, “I’m dirty.”

Lu Wushuang said, “Can’t you wash first?” Yang Guo gave a stupid laugh and didn’t say anything. Lu Wushuang said, “Help me get on the donkey.” Yang Guo did as he was told and helped her onto the donkey. As soon as the donkey felt someone on its back it immediately started to buck. Lu Wushuang said, “Quickly lead the donkey.”

Yang Guo said, “No, I’m scared that the donkey is going to kick me. It would be better if it was my bull.”

Lu Wushuang was exasperated and thought, “He’s not completely stupid. Obviously he wants to hold on to me.” She had no alternative and could only say, “Fine, you can ride on the donkey as well.”

Yang Guo said, “Remember you told me, don’t shout at me for being dirty and smelly.” Lu Wushuang said, “Yes, why are you wasting time?”

Yang Guo laughed and climbed onto the back of the donkey, his arms gathered around her, he kicked with a bit of strength in his legs, the donkey felt pain and didn’t dare to cause trouble anymore and obediently walked forward. Yang Guo said, “Which way are we going?”

Lu Wushuang had already planned out her route, she wanted to go east through Tongguan and then through Zhongzhou and then go south following the main road. But after seeing the four beggars, she knew that she would encounter more Beggar Clan members along the way so she thought about going along the small paths. Go through the bamboo forest and towards Colt Dragon Stockade and then south via Purple Meadow. Although this would make the journey longer, it was a lot safer and it would be harder for her Master to catch up with her. After pondering for a while she pointed southeast and said, “That way.”

The donkey trotted along slowly, as soon as they left the town, a small child rushed up to them and called out, “Miss Lu, I have something for you.” As she said this she flung a flower to them, and then turned around and ran away. Lu Wushuang stretched out her hand and caught  it,  and  saw  a  letter  wrapped around it, she quickly opened the envelope and saw a yellow piece of paper, it read; “Your Master will be here shortly, quickly hide!” The yellow paper was coarse but the writing on it was elegant. Lu Wushuang gave out an alarmed shout, she pondered, “Who is that little kid? How does he know my name is Lu? And how do they know that my Master is going to be here shortly?” She asked Yang Guo, “You know that child don’t you? It was your Gu Gu who sent him isn’t it?”

Yang Guo had already read the letter from behind her and thought, “That kid was just a normal country kid, he must have been ordered to take the letter to us by someone. But who wrote the letter? It looks like it has good intentions. If Li Mochou really caught up, what should I do?” Although he had learned the “Jade Heart Manual” and “Nine Yin Manual”, and possessed two of the greatest  skills  in  the  world  of Wulin, he had only practiced them for a short time. Though he understood the essence behind them his internal energy wasn’t deep enough. If Li Mochou caught up he would not be a match for her and in broad daylight there wasn’t anywhere to hide. He was pondering but had no idea. When Lu Wushuang asked him he replied, “I don’t know that little Sha Dan, but my Gu Gu did not send that kid.”

As soon as he said this, he heard a noise; ahead was a carriage. Tens of people were crowding and pushing around; there was a wedding taking place. Although it was the countryside, the event was done with an extravagant air; it was done with much enthusiasm and energy.

A thought suddenly popped up in Yang Guo’s mind, he asked, “Do you want to be a bride?”

End of Chapter 8.
@Chapter 9 – A Hundred Ideas to Avoid the Enemy
Lu Wushuang was frightened at this moment in time, when she heard him ask such a stupid question she angrily said, “Sha Dan! What the hell are you talking about?”

Yang Guo laughed and said, “Let’s play bride and groom. Why don’t you pretend to be a bride? Won’t that be beautiful? With a red veil covering your face, when people look they won’t see your face.”

Lu Wushuang was startled and said, “You’re instructing me to pretend to be a bride to avoid my master?” Yang Guo laughed and said, “I don’t know, you pretend to be a bride and I’ll be the groom.”

This was an urgent matter, Lu Wushuang had no time to scold him, she thought, “Sha Dan’s idea is a strange one, but apart from this idea, there’s nothing else.” She asked, “How should we do it?”

Yang Guo didn’t want to waste time, he lashed the donkey and it hurried forward. The small roads of the countryside were tight and narrow, with eight people carrying the sedan chair lining up along the road; the two groups had nowhere to pass. When the people saw the donkey charging forward they all shouted, telling the riders to rein it in and slow down. Yang Guo squeezed his legs, and urged the donkey to go even faster, in a flash it had come up to the crowd. Two strong men had earlier stepped up wanting to pull the donkey back so that it won’t knock into the sedan chair. Yang Guo’s rope lashed out and wrapped around the two men’s arms, he raised his arm and let go, the two men fell onto the ground. He turned around to Lu Wushuang and said, “I want to be a groom.” He leaned forward and stretched out his hand to grab the groom who was riding on a white horse. The groom was about seventeen or eighteen years of age, he was fitted out with new clothes and with gold flowers on his head; the sudden grab by Yang Guo frightened him. Yang Guo lifted his body and flung him up, his body flew up over a distance of ten feet, when he was about to land, the people shouted and called out, stretching out their arms to catch him. There were about thirty people who were helping to celebrate, half of them were tall strong men of Guanxi but when they saw his skills and the groom in his hands, how did they dare attack? An experienced old man dashed up; thinking it was bandits, he said, “Please spare the groom Da Wang (king). The amount of money that Da Wang wants, we can discuss it.”

Yang Guo turned around to Lu Wushuang and said, “Wifey, why are they  calling  me  Da  Wang?  My surname is Da? I think he’s even more stupid than me.”

Lu Wushuang said, “Don’t waste time, I think I can hear the bell of my master’s donkey.”

Yang Guo was startled, he listened carefully, and indeed he could hear a faint ringing sound. He thought, “She’s quick.” He then said, “Ling Zi (Bell) What  Ling  Zi?  It’s  a  sweets  seller?  Great,  let’s  buy  some sweets to eat.” He turned around to the old man and said, “If you listen to my instructions then I’ll let you go, otherwise” he lifted up the groom and threw him up in the air. The groom was so frightened that he began to cry. The old man made a bow and said, “We’ll do as Da Wang instructs.”

Yang Guo pointed to Lu Wushuang and said, “That’s my little Wifey, when she saw that someone was getting married she thought that it was amusing, she herself wants to take part too.”

Lu Wushuang scolded, “Sha Dan, what did you say?”

Yang Guo ignored her and said, “Quickly take the bride’s clothes and put them on her, I’ll be the groom.”

It’s not unusual for kids to pretend to be a bride and groom. But who would think that a bandit on a narrow road would suddenly want to play this game? The people all looked at each other in dismay, and refused. Looking at the two, one was a young man, the other was a young girl, and one could describe them as a married couple. But the crowd of people didn’t care. Yang Guo heard the ringing of the bell getting closer so he leapt off the donkey and placed the groom on the saddle letting Lu Wushuang guard him and went over to the sedan chair, he pushed aside the curtain and pulled the bride out. The bride screeched out in fright, her face was covered with a red veil and didn’t know what was happening outside. Yang Guo brushed aside her red veil and saw a face like the moon, a face full of joy. He laughed and said, “The bride is beautiful.” He lightly touched her cheek. The bride froze in fright and didn’t make a sound.

Yang Guo’s left hand held up the bride and called out, “If you want me to spare her, quickly take her clothes and give them to my Wifey to wear.”

Lu Wushuang heard the ringing of her master’s donkey getting closer, she gave him a stare and thought, “That Sha Dan doesn’t know how high the sky is or how deep the earth is and his mouth is still joking at this time?” She heard the old man following his instructions, “Quick, quick! Quickly change the bride’s clothes.” The nanny accompanying the bride quickly took off her phoenix headdress and her bridal costume and dressed Lu Wushuang with them. Taking off the groom’s costume, Yang Guo changed himself. He turned around to Lu Wushuang and said, “Good Wifey, enter the sedan chair.” Lu Wushuang told the bride to enter the sedan chair first and then she entered, lowering the curtain afterwards.

Yang Guo took a look at his grass shoes and wanted to change them when he heard the ringing sound from just around the bend in the road, he called out, “Turn around and head in a southeast direction, quickly! If someone comes and asks about us don’t say you’ve seen us.” He leapt onto the white horse and rode along with the groom on the donkey. When the crowd saw the couple had fallen into their hands, they didn’t dare to disobey; they raised their gongs and cymbals and started their tune.

The sedan chair was picked up and turned around but after about a hundred feet, the ringing sound was becoming quicker, two donkeys trotted after them. Lu Wushuang was thinking about whether she would be able to escape from this danger and heard the now much closer ringing sound; her heart jumped and she carefully listened to the activities of outside.

Yang Guo pretended to be embarrassed and lowered his head looking at the horse’s neck. He heard Hong Lingbo call out, “Hey, have you seen a lame girl walking past here?”

The old man from the crowd called out, “No…no…”

Hong Lingbo asked again, “Have you seen a girl on an animal pass by?”

The old man said, “No.” The two passed the crowd and rushed on by. After a short while the two pulled the donkeys around and returned. Li Mochou’s fly whisk flew out and wrapped around the sedan chair curtain, she pulled back and after a ‘chi’ sound, the curtain ripped in half. Yang Guo was alarmed and rushed forward, as soon as the fly whisk comes out a second time he will make his move and rescue her. He didn’t know that after one look in the sedan chair, Li Mochou would smile and say, “The bride is handsome.” She raised her head and said to Yang Guo, “Little punk, your luck isn’t bad.” Yang Guo lowered his head not daring to face her, but heard them trotting away.

Yang Guo wondered, “Why did she spare Miss Lu?” He opened the sedan chair curtain only to see the bride scared out of her wits, and Lu Wushuang had disappeared. Yang Guo was even more baffled and called out, “Ai Ya, where’s my Wifey gone?”

Lu Wushuang laughed and said, “I’ve disappeared.” He saw the bride’s dress move and Lu Wushuang darted out; she had hidden underneath the bride’s gown. She knew that her master was very meticulous and careful, she would examine all possibilities; she knew that her master would come back so she hid.

Yang Guo said, “You can relax and be the bride from now on, sitting in the sedan chair is much more comfortable than riding on the donkey.”

Lu Wushuang nodded and said to the bride, “You are suffocating me, quickly get out.” The bride could do nothing and exited the sedan chair and rode on the donkey that was previously ridden by Lu Wushuang. The bride and the groom had never met before, the groom saw that the bride was healthy and attractive, the bride saw the groom and she too was pleased. The two were delighted even with their fear, and soon forgot that they were being held hostage by a bandit.

They walked on for about twenty li (10 km/6.2 miles) and the sky gradually became dark. The old man kept on pleading with Yang Guo to let them go in case they missed the wedding’s lucky period.

Yang Guo scolded, “Why are you so annoying?” As soon as he said this, something flashed by the roadside and two people hurried into the forest. Yang Guo was suspicious and chased after them. Indeed he saw the backs of two people, their clothes were old and torn, and they looked like beggars. Yang Guo reigned in his horse and thought, “Could the Beggar Clan have seen through us and set up a trap ahead? But at this moment in time, all we can do is head forward.”

Not long after, the sedan chair caught up with him. Lu Wushuang poked her head out and asked, “What did you see?”

Yang Guo said, “Your curtain is torn and your face is not covered by the red veil. To be a proper bride one must cry and sob, even if the bride wants to get married, tears should flow and noses should run, calling out for your father and mother but not daring to leave. Where can you find such an unabashed bride as you under heaven’s skies?” Lu Wushuang heard his words and understood the meaning behind it, their movements seemed to have been discovered. She lightly called out ‘Sha Dan’ and didn’t say anymore. After a while the mountain path in front of them became steep, narrow and rugged, the people leading the procession were extremely tired long ago but didn’t say anything in case they incurred Yang Guo’s wrath.

In the wink of the eye the sun was now above the mountain, crows screeched as they flew in the sky. Suddenly, voices were heard around the mountain, they were singing, “Little Miss do a good deed, please spare us a silver saber.”

Lu Wushuang’s face turned pale, and she thought, “So the four beggars are hiding around here.”

After the sedan chair turned a corner, three men could be seen in front of them, they were beggars. They were tall and strongly built; they were completely different to the four beggars they previously encountered. Yang Guo saw that there were five pockets on their shoulders and thought, “These three five pocket beggars must be better than the other four, it looks like I’m going have to use my real skills.”

The crowd carrying the couple had waited impatiently, one of them had taken a whip and lashed out at one of the beggars calling out, “Move out of the way… move out of the way!” The beggar did not move, he held the tip of the whip and pulled, the person holding the whip fell down. If this happened normally the crowd of people would have rushed up, but they had been frightened by Yang Guo  previously  and  all thought, “So the three beggars are with him.” No one dared to move forward and instead took a few steps back.

One of the beggars clearly said, “Congratulations Miss, little beggar here just want to beg for some money.”

Lu Wushuang quietly said, “Sha Dan, I’m injured at the moment and can’t fight, get rid of them for me.” Yang Guo said, “Fine.”

He galloped forward on his horse and said, “Today is my wife’s special day, she doesn’t want any beggars to spoil it, now move.” One of the beggars took a few glances at Yang Guo but couldn’t recognize him from anywhere. The four beggars who had been struck in the wrist by the chopsticks all thought it was Lu Wushuang who did this and so did not tell their Martial Uncles about Yang Guo.

One of the beggars waved out his right hand. Yang Guo’s horse was frightened and reared up. Yang Guo pretended to wobble and fell off the back of the horse and didn’t pick himself up for a long time. The three beggars all thought, “So that person really is the groom.”

The Beggar Clan is a righteous and chivalrous clan; they have always helped the weak against the strong and aided those who were in danger. They had only decided to go after Lu Wushuang because she hurt a member of their clan. When they saw Yang Guo falling onto the ground and didn’t seem to know ANY martial arts they all felt apologetic, one of the beggars stretched out a hand to pull him up and said, “Sorry.”

Yang Guo mumbled, “What’s wrong with you people, if you want to beg for money then beg for money, why are you scaring my horse.” He took out some change and handed it out. The three beggars thanked him according to the clan’s rules.

Yang Guo laughed and said to Lu Wushuang, “You told me to give them money, I’ve already done it.” Lu Wushuang angrily said, “What use is there of pretending to be stupid to me?”

Yang Guo said, “Yes, yes!” He stepped to the side and brushed off the dirt off his body.

Lu Wushuang saw the three beggars were still blocking the way, she calmly said, “What do you want?”

One of the beggars said, “Miss is a skilled fighter of the Ancient Tomb sect, the three of us admire your skills and want a few pointers.”

Lu Wushuang said, “I have a serious wound, how can I fight with you? If you don’t like it, then we can arrange a later date and test out each other’s skills after my injury has healed. You are skilled fighters of the Beggar Clan, today you are ganging up on an injured young girl; can you still call yourself a hero?”

After hearing her words, the three beggars felt that they were indeed in the wrong. Two of them said, “Fine! We’ll come back for you after your wound has recovered.”

The other beggar said, “Wait, where exactly are you injured? You have to let me take a look to see whether it’s real or fake. If it is a real wound then I’ll spare you today.”

He didn’t know that she was hurt in the chest; his words had no harmful intentions. But Lu Wushuang’s cheeks immediately turned red, and couldn’t stop herself from being angry. Feeling this anger she wasn’t able to think of anything to say, after half a minute she scolded, “In Jianghu the Beggar Clan is known to be heroic and chivalrous, this is a lie, you people are in fact shameless scoundrels.”

When the three heard her denigrate the Beggar Clan’s name their faces immediately changed, one of them was rash and impatient; he dashed forward, stretching out his hand wanting to grab her out of the sedan chair. Yang Guo saw that the situation had become urgent, he called out, “Wait… wait. You lot asked for money, I gave you money, why are you still arguing with my wife?” He dashed forward in front of the sedan chair and said, “Although you three are beggars now, according to your faces you will became rich and become officials in the future, how can you do such disgraceful things and treat my new wife with such disrespect?”

The three beggars were startled and had no reply. The impulsive beggar said, “Move out of the way, we just want to test out the Ancient Tomb’s kung fu, who’s bullying who?” He lightly pushed out his hand. Yang Guo called out loudly and dropped to the side. The Beggar Clan has a rule, one must not hit out at someone who doesn’t know martial arts. The beggar didn’t know that this groom was so useless, just a light push and he fell onto the ground. If he was seriously hurt he would be punished within the clan and the other two would not be able to escape punishment as well. The three of them were startled and went over to pick him up.

Yang Guo shouted and called out, “Ai Ya, Ai Yo, mum!” The three beggars could not see clearly if he was hurt or not.

Yang Guo called out in pain and said, “You three are stupid, my wife is shy; how can she speak to strangers? And about this, what do you want to test out? First tell me. I’ll then go and ask my wife and then come back to speak with you, is that alright?” The three of them saw that he was dumb but not stupid, they had had enough of this but it wasn’t suitable to attack him. The oldest of the beggars thought, “That Lu girl is pretending to be a bride; if that young man really is the groom then he should help her. But if he is pretending to be a groom then he shouldn’t be so useless.” He carefully studied him but couldn’t find anything wrong. The impulsive beggar waved out his hand and shouted, “Are you going to move?”

Yang Guo spread out his two hands and loudly said, “You can’t harm my wife.”

Another beggar said, “Miss Lu, are you ordering this Sha Dan to block for you, could it be that you think we won’t be able to get to you with this obstruction? Just get it over with and come out here.”

Yang Guo said, “Oh, you know that I’m called Sha Dan, how strange.”

The impulsive beggar faced Lu Wushuang and said, “We don’t have to fight, we just want to see how you used your saber to hack into someone’s shoulder, what is this move called?”

Lu Wushuang knew that Yang Guo was trying to annoy them but without results, she was thinking about how to escape when she heard the beggar’s question and replied without thinking, “It’s called “The Mink greets the Moon”, what about it?”

Yang Guo interrupted and said, “Correct, once my wife’s saber comes out, with a ‘fu’ sound, it will be in your shoulder.” His right hand extended out and found its way to the beggar’s shoulder. He pushed downwards and the palm of his hand lightly touched the shoulder. When the three beggars saw this move they were all startled, and all thought, “He pretended to be a fake groom all along to trick us.”

Although Yang Guo had not put any strength into his palm, the impulsive beggar who was struck felt embarrassed, and called out, “Fine, you scoundrel, pretending to be dumb, come, let me first test out your skills.”

Yang Guo said, “You said you wanted to fight with my wife first, why do you want to fight with me now?” The beggar angrily said, “It’s all the same if I fight with you.”

Yang Guo said, “Oh no, I don’t know what to do.” He turned around to Lu Wushuang and said, “My darling wife, my little Wifey, tell me what should I do to them?”

Lu Wushuang was beyond doubt now, she knew that he must be highly skilled, the palm he had just demonstrated was crisp and clean, she couldn’t manage something like that but she didn’t know what his martial arts origins were so she just said, “Do another stance of “The Mink greets the Moon” (diao chan bai yue).”

Yang Guo said, “Fine!” He bent his waist and extended his hand, a clapping sound was heard as he struck down on the beggar’s shoulder again. The three beggars were astonished with that last attack. Yang Guo was definitely facing away from them and he didn’t take a step to turn around, all he did was stretch out his hand and the chop came down on the Beggar’s shoulder; that palm technique was extremely strange.

Lu Wushuang’s heart shook, “That’s definitely my Ancient Tomb sect’s kung fu, how does he know it?” She then said, “A stance of “The West Offers the Heart” (Xi Shi Peng Xin).”

Yang Guo said, “Alright!” His left fist came out, and landed on his opponent’s chest. The beggar who was struck in the chest felt a strong force pushing him forward; he couldn’t stop himself from flying away about a ten feet. He struggled to stay on his feet but the area of his chest where he was struck was not in pain, it was if someone had carried him and placed him further away. The other two beggars dashed up.

Yang Guo called out urgently, “Wifey, I don’t know how to deal with them, teach me.”

Lu Wushuang said, “The Illustrious Gentlemen Pushes Out” (zhao jun chu sai), “The Numb Nun Offers Life” (ma gu xian shou).” Yang Guo’s left hand rose and slanted, the fingers on his right hand stretched out, his form was in the position of strumming a zither, his five fingers flicked out at the beggar on the  right,  this  was  “The Illustrious Gentlemen Pushes Out”. He immediately moved across and kicked the beggar on the left, his fists came together and pushed upwards, a clashing sound was heard as his fists struck the opponent’s jaw. He then called out, “This is “The Numb Nun Offers Life”, isn’t it?” He didn’t want to hurt anyone so he didn’t put any strength behind his attacks.

The four stances he used were all exquisite stances of the Ancient Tomb’s “Beauty Fist Techniques”. Ever since Lin Chaoying founded the Ancient Tomb sect, all the arts were passed on to females, never males. Lin Chaoying’s “Beauty Fist Technique” took the names of famous beauties for the name of its stances. When it is used it is elegant, graceful and enchanting, yet it was deadly at the same time. Yang Guo learned martial arts from Xiao Longnu so of course he learned this set of fist techniques. He felt that although it was a refined set of skills, its nature meant that when a man practiced it, it wasn’t appealing. When he was practicing he inadvertently changed its soft nature to hard and yang; its changes became swift and stylish, though the nature of it was slightly different, the technique of this set of fists remained intact.

The three beggars were all struck by the stances without knowing what happened but they didn’t feel any pain from the stances. They weren’t in awe of Yang Guo’s skills; they whistled and attacked all at once. Yang Guo dodged to the east and darted to the west, he called out, “Wifey, it looks like it’s becoming desperately serious; you are going to be a widow today!”

Lu Wushuang scoffed and said, “Heaven’s Grandson Weaves Cotton”! (tian sun zhi mian).

Yang Guo’s right hand wiped his left, his left pushed the right, and his stance resembled a loom weaving cloth, one scatter one push; his hands struck the beggars on the shoulders again.

Lu Wushuang called out again, “”The Civil Gentlemen as a Stove” (wen jun dang lu), “The Concubine is Drunk” (gui fei zui jiu)!”

Yang Guo raised his hand as if he was pouring wine and cut down on the impulsive beggar’s forehead and caught his body; he twisted him around and flung him out to the right, his shoulder hitting another beggar squarely in the chest. The three beggars were alarmed and angry, the three of them used the kung fu they had obtained throughout their lives, yet now they couldn’t even touch this kid’s clothes. The boy looked and his hand waved out, whoever he wanted to hit he struck; although it wasn’t painful when they were hit, it was extremely weird.

Lu Wushuang called out three stances in a row, “‘Foolish Jade Blows the Flute’ (nong yu chui xiao), ‘The Descending Goddess Encroaches the Wave’ (luo shen ling bo), ‘Enticing Shoot Holding Fist’ (gou yi wo quan).” Yang Guo did as he was told. Lu Wushuang was in awe, she deliberately gave him a hard stance, as Yang Guo was throwing out his fist, she immediately called out, “‘Ruling Sky Hangs’ (ze tian chui).” According to his form at the moment, it was impossible to use this stance, but because Yang Guo’s internal energy was much higher than the enemy’s, he actually managed it; his body went forward, his palms hanging down. The three beggars saw that his chest was exposed and there was a weakness, they were delighted and dashed forward, but they didn’t know that his internal energy would hold them back and force them to retreat a few steps.

Lu Wushuang was pleasantly surprised and called out, “‘One Laugh Overturns the Country’ (yi xiao qing guo)!” This was a stance that she had just invented. A captivating beauty could overturn cities and countries with a smile, but how could this be used to fight with others?

Yang Guo was startled; he immediately laughed out loud, “Ha-ha-ha-ha, hei-hei-hei-hei, hu-hu-he-he”, and circulated the profound internal energy of the “Nine Yin Manual”. Although he hadn’t refined this internal energy to a good level that could be used to fight off skilled fighters, the three band five beggars were just run of the mill fighters. When they heard this strange laugh, they couldn’t stop their heads from shaking and eyes from being dazzled; their bodies shook a few times and they fell down onto the ground. Every person has a moon shaped small object in their ear which controls the person’s balance, if this object is forced to shake, headaches and feeling light headed will be unavoidable. Eventually they won’t be able to stand upright. Yang Guo’s laugh was created by his strong internal energy, everyone’s eardrums were being shaken continuously, and it was like the earth and sky were flipping over. Lu Wushuang felt faint and urgently grabbed onto the carriage to support herself. Calls of ‘ai ya’ and thudding noises all sounded together, the well wishers of the wedding, the bride and groom all fell onto the ground.

Yang Guo’s laughter stopped, the three beggars got up, their faces grey and they ran away without turning their heads back. The rest of the party rested for half an hour and then carried the sedan chair on, now they treated Yang Guo’s order as words from the gods, they didn’t dare to revolt.

At ‘er geng shi fen’ (I assume its nine o’clock in the evening) they reached a town and Yang Guo let the people go. The people knew that they would be detained after being captured by this bandit, and would most likely suffer his wrath. How were they to know that this bandit really wanted to have a laugh and pretend to be a newly wed? They were surprised and all thanked and expressed gratitude to Yang Guo. The nanny was much more vocal and said, “Da Wang and his wife would stay together for hundred of years until both of you are old with white hair. You are going to have many little ‘Da Wangs’.” This made Yang Guo laugh; Lu Wushuang was embarrassed and angry with this.

Yang Guo and Lu Wushuang found an inn and called for some rice and other dishes. They were about to eat when they saw someone enter and after seeing the two  of  them,  immediately  turned  around  and walked away. Yang Guo knew something was wrong and went over to the entrance and saw two people standing in a pavilion. It was the two Taoists who fought with Lu Wushuang at Wolf Valley, Shen Zhifan and Ji Qingxu. The two of them took out their long swords and darted forward.

Yang Guo thought, “Why are you two trying to make trouble for me? Are you looking for pain?”

The two approached but slanted their body and brushed past him; they hurried into the hall and headed for Lu Wushuang. At this time, the ringing of a bell was suddenly heard, ‘ding ling’ ‘ding ling’.

By the time the ringing sounds were in their ears, the source had arrived. The two Taoists’ faces changed and they glanced at each other. They darted to the first room of the western wing and closed the door, and didn’t come out again.

Yang Guo thought, “Rotten Taoists, you’ve probably tasted Li Mochou’s pain before, that’s why you’re acting like this.”

Lu Wushuang quietly said, “My master is near, Sha Dan, what should we do?”

Yang Guo said, “What shall we do? Let’s run!” As soon as he stretched out his hand to help her up, the ringing sound had arrived at the entrance of the inn. They heard Li Mochou say, “Guard the roof.”

They then heard the waiter say, “Angelic priestess, old senior’s room, ai ya, I …” A thudding sound was heard as he landed on the floor, there wasn’t another sound. He didn’t know that Li Mochou hated people who mentioned the word ‘old’. What about when someone  called  her  ‘old  senior’?  The  fly  whisk  was waved and robbed the old waiter of his life. She asked another waiter, “There’s a lame  girl here, where  is she?” That waiter was already scared out of his wits, he couldn’t reply and just said, “I…I…” Li Mochou kicked him away with her left foot; her right foot kicked open the door of the first room of the western wing. She went in and took a look; it was where the Taoists Shen and Ji were staying.

Yang Guo thought, “It’s best if we leave by the backdoor, although Hong Lingbo will see us, it won’t be too much trouble.” He quietly said, “Wifey, escape with me.”

Lu Wushuang looked at him and got up, thinking that if she was able to escape this time then heaven must be looking out for her. As soon as the two got up, a guest from the table in the eastern corner came up to them and quietly said, “I’ll lure the enemy away, quickly think of a way to escape.” That person sat in an out of sight place, Lu Wushuang and Yang Guo couldn’t see his face. When the person was speaking his face was turned away, as soon as they finished speaking, he immediately left through the main door. They could only see the person’s back. That person wasn’t tall; he wore a flowing blue green gown. Yang Guo and Lu Wushuang looked at each other and then heard the bell ringing, going towards the north.

Hong Lingbo called out; “Master, someone’s escaping.” A yellow blur came out of the room; Li Mochou dashed out of the inn and chased after the escapee.

Lu Wushuang quickly said, “Quickly run!”

Yang Guo thought, “Li Mochou’s lightness kung fu is extremely quick,  she  will  be  able  to  catch  up with that person in just a second, and then she will return here. I won’t be able to go that fast with Miss Lu on my back; we won’t be able to run away.” An idea dawned on him; he dashed into the first room of the western wing. He saw the Taoists Shen and Ji sitting by  the  bed,  their  faces’  were  still  carrying  the shocked look from before. There was no time to delay, Yang Guo didn’t allow for the two to get up and ask questions as he dashed forward and moved his finger, sealing the two’s pressure points, keeping them still. He called out, “Wifey, enter.” Lu Wushuang entered the room. Yang Guo closed the doors and said, “Quickly take off your clothes!”

Lu Wushuang’s face blushed and hissed, “Sha Dan, what are you saying now?”

Yang Guo said, “It’s up to you whether you want to take off your clothes or not, I’m going to.” He took off his outer garment and put on Shen Zhifan’s Taoist gown and hat.

Lu Wushuang then understood, and said, “Fine, we’ll pretend to be Taoists to  fool  my  master.”  She stretched out her hand and undid her buttons. Her face turned red and she kicked Ji Qingxu. She said, “Close your eyes you filthy Taoist!” The two Taoists could not move  but  still  had  control  of  their  five senses. They closed their eyes immediately; how would they dare to look at her? Lu Wushuang said, “Sha Dan, turn around, don’t watch me change.”

Yang Guo laughed and said, “What are you worried about, I helped you fix your ribs back into place, haven’t I already seen you?” As soon as he said this he felt that he was impolite and had offended her, he couldn’t stop himself from feeling a bit embarrassed. All Yang Guo had to do was to lower his head and move away but he was in a trance, a slap came and he was heavily struck on the left cheek. Lu Wushuang thought that she could never have hit him in a million years, still she didn’t hold back. She felt apologetic; she laughed and said, “Sha Dan, does it hurt? Who told you to speak such crap?”

Yang Guo touched his cheek and laughed, he turned around.

Lu Wushuang changed into the Taoist gown and laughed, “Take a look! Don’t I look like a young Taoist?” Yang Guo said, “I can’t see so I don’t know.”

Lu Wushuang said, “Sha Dan, turn around.”

Yang Guo turned around and saw her Taoist gown was flowing, it showed off her figure even better, he was about to say something when Lu Wushuang gave a grunt and pointed to the bed, and saw a Taoist’s head sticking out of the covers, it was the Taoist whose fingers had been cut off by her, Pi Quanxuan. All along he had been lying on the bed resting, when he saw Lu Wushuang enter, he immediately hid his head under the covers. The two of them were preoccupied with changing and didn’t notice him.

Lu Wushuang said, “He…he…” She wanted to say ‘he saw me changing’ but couldn’t say the  words. At this time, the donkey’s bell was heard. Yang Guo listened and knew that Li Mochou had taken the donkey back. When the guest in blue green rode the donkey, the bell’s ringing was scattered, when Li Mochou rode her donkey, though she rode it fast the bell’s ringing was ordered. An idea came; he picked up Pi Quanxuan and sealed his pressure point at the same time. He opened the compartment underneath the bed and placed him in there. It’s cold in the north, on winter nights the bed will be warmed by a fire underneath it, it was now summer, there was no need to light a fire but there was ash and coal beneath, Pi Quanxuan’s face was covered with grey ash. The ringing sound of the bell stopped, Li Mochou had come back to the inn.

Yang Guo said to Lu Wushuang, “Sleep in the bed.”

Lu Wushuang’s brows raised and said, “A smelly Taoist has slept there, its dirty, how can I sleep in it?”

Yang Guo said, “It’s up to you!” As he said this he stuck Shen Zhifan underneath the bed as well and unsealed Ji Qingxu’s pressure point at the same time. Though Lu Wushuang felt that the bed and covers were dirty, she thought about how venomous her Master was so she got into the bed, facing the wall. As soon as she pretended to sleep, Li Mochou kicked open the door and come to search the room for a second time. Yang Guo took a tea cup and lowered his head, drinking tea, his left hand covering the fatal pressure point on Ji Qingxu’s back. Li Mochou saw that there were still three Taoists, Ji Qingxu’s face was grey and was shaking; Li Mochou laughed and searched the second room.

When she searched the room for the first time, she had studied the faces of the three Taoists carefully afraid that Lu Wushuang had disguised herself as one of them; she didn’t take a closer look the second time.

That night Li Mochou and her disciple searched the town’s inns, disturbing everyone. Yang Guo and Lu Wushuang lay on the bed with their heads together; he smelt her womanly scent and was happy. Lu Wushuang had many thoughts, she felt that Yang Guo was an extremely strange person, if one said he was a ‘Sha Dan’, he was extremely clever, if one said he was intelligent, he would act mad and crazy. She lay on the bed not daring to move, thinking that Sha Dan would definitely try to hug her, what would she do then? A while passed but there was no movement from Yang  Guo,  she  was  actually  disappointed.  She smelt the manly scent of Yang Guo and was captivated by it; time passed as she slowly fell asleep.

When Yang Guo woke up the sky was bright, he saw Ji Qingxu in  deep  sleep  across  the  table;  Lu Wushuang was quiet, her cheeks were rosy, her red lips slightly apart, he couldn’t stop himself from being moved and thought, “If I lightly kiss her, she won’t know.”

He’s a young man who is experiencing his first awakenings of desire (qing dou chu kai). He had never been close to a girl before and right now he was at his most emotional state. He thought about the time when he was fixing her ribs and saw her naked breasts, it was even harder for him to resist. Yang Guo moved his head forward, wanting to kiss her on the lips. Before the lips met he smelt a fragrant scent, his heart stirred, his blood rushed, then her brows crinkled; she seemed to still feel the pain of her broken ribs in her dreams. When Yang Guo saw her face like this he immediately remembered Xiao Longnu and then remembered the oath he swore, “I will only have Gu Gu in my heart in my lifetime, if my heart changes, there will be no need for Gu Gu to kill me, when I see her face I will kill myself.” He broke out in a cold sweat and two slapping sounds were heard, he had slapped himself heavily across his cheeks and leapt off the bed. This woke up Lu Wushuang; she opened her eyes and asked, “Sha Dan, what are you doing?”

Yang Guo was feeling embarrassed and guilty, he mumbled, “Nothing, it’s just a mosquito biting my face.”

Lu Wushuang remembered how she slept with him last night, her face suddenly turned red, she lowered her head and gently said, “Sha Dan, Sha Dan!” Her voice carried a soft and caring tone. After a while she raised her head and asked, “Sha Dan, how come you know the Ancient Tomb’s “Beauty Fist Technique”?”

Yang Guo said, “When I dream at night many beautiful women and minks came and taught me a stance, that’s how I know.”

Lu Wushuang gave a ‘humph’ sound; she knew that he wouldn’t answer anything about it if she asked again. Just as she was about to change the subject, she suddenly heard the ringing sound of Li Mochou’s donkey. They headed in a northwest direction and then returned. Li Mochou thought about how the ‘Five Poison Codex’ was in Lu Wushuang’s hands; another day without the book meant another day of danger, she didn’t dare to waste any time. Before the sky became bright she rode her donkey and searched everywhere nearby.

Yang Guo said, “When she can’t find us she will leave. It’s a pity that you’re hurt and can’t move much, otherwise we would steal a pair of horses and gallop for one day and one night, how would she be able to catch up then?”

Lu Wushuang angrily said, “You’re not hurt, why don’t you go and steal a horse and gallop for a day and night?”

Yang Guo thought, “This girl takes everything to heart, I just said something without thinking and she got angry.” But he wanted to see her angry expression and wanted to anger her further and said, “If it weren’t for you begging me to take you to Jiangnan, I would have long gone.”

Lu Wushuang was furious and said, “Just go, go! Sha Dan, just looking at you makes me angry, just go and die by yourself.”

Yang Guo laughed and said, “Huh, I’ll miss you if you die.” He was afraid that Lu Wushuang was going to get angry for real and aggravate her injury so he laughed and exited the room. He found an ink block and returned to the room. He placed the ink block in a basin of water and rubbed it about, and then suddenly he touched Lu Wushuang’s face. Lu Wushuang wasn’t prepared for this hand coming towards her and touching her face, she scolded, “Rotten Sha Dan, bastard Sha Dan.” She then saw him take out a pile of ash from underneath the bed, he smeared the ash and brushed the water on his face, his face was dirty and unsightly, as if his face was full of pimples and boils.

She then understood, “Although I’ve changed into Taoist clothes my face hasn’t changed, if my master catches up with me, how could she not recognize me?” She then smeared the ink water over her face. Girls naturally love to make themselves as beautiful as possible, although she was smearing ink water, she applied it as if she was applying make up.

The two finished with their disguises. Yang Guo stretched out his leg underneath the bed and unsealed the two Taoist’s pressure points. Lu Wushuang saw that Yang Guo didn’t even take a look and after some kicks the two Taoists made a relieved grunt. She was secretly in awe of him and thought, “That Sha Dan’s kung fu is ten times better than mine.” But she didn’t show any sign of this and instead kept on scolding him, as if she thought nothing of him. Yang Guo went to the market to look for a cart but the market was too small, there were no carts for rent, he could only buy two horses. That day, Lu Wushuang’s injury had eased; both of them rode on the horses and slowly went southeast.

They rode for a few hours; Yang Guo was afraid that she was tired so he helped her down off the horse and sat on a rock and rested. He remembered how he almost treated Lu Wushuang with disrespect; although he felt that treating Lu Wushuang with disrespect wasn’t anything serious, he would have done something disrespectful to his Gu Gu. He was a bastard. He was insulting and cursing himself when Lu Wushuang suddenly asked, “Sha Dan, why aren’t you talking to me.”

Yang Guo smiled and didn’t reply. He suddenly thought of something and asked, “Ai ya, crap, I’m so dumb.”

Lu Wushuang said, “You are dumb!”

Yang Guo said, “When we disguised ourselves, the three Taoists saw us. If they tell your master, won’t that be a disaster?”

Lu Wushuang pursed her lips and smiled, then said, “Those three Taoists rode past us long ago and my master is still behind us. What’s wrong with you Sha Dan, what were you in a daze about, you didn’t even see them ride past us.” Yang Guo gave an ‘ah’ sound and laughed. Lu Wushuang felt that his laugh had a hidden meaning behind it, she remembered the words she just said, “What’s wrong with you Sha Dan, what were you in a daze about”, she couldn’t stop her face from turning red. At this time, they suddenly heard the neigh of a horse.

Lu Wushuang turned around and saw two beggars approaching from around the corner. Yang Guo took a look and saw a head peep out and withdraw back behind the edge of the mountain, it was Shen Zhifan and Ji Qingxu. He thought, “So the three Taoists told the Beggar Clan that we’ve dressed up as Taoists.”

He held up his hand and said, “Beggar masters, if you want to ask for food or money, old Taoist here has already given as much as he could today, you’ll have to leave empty handed.”

One of the beggars had a voice like an overwhelming bell, he said, “Even if you shaved your head and disguised yourselves as a monk or a nun, you won’t be able to get past my eyes and ears. Don’t play dumb anymore, just get it over with and come with us to see the elder and sort this matter out.”

Yang Guo thought, “Those two old beggars have eight pockets on their back, I’m afraid that they might be very skilled.”

The two beggars were eight band members, they saw that the two of them were at most twenty years old yet they managed to defeat four band four members and three band five members. They thought that there must something strange going on here.

Both sides were suspicious of each other. In the northwest the ringing of a gold bell could be heard, ‘ding ling’ ‘ding ling’, it was light and swift, it was pleasant to the ear.

Lu Wushuang thought, “Crap… crap. Although I have disguised my face, I had to bump into those two old beggars at this time, if they’ve uncovered my identity, how will I be able to escape from my master? Oh crap, I’m really out of luck this time. There had to be someone with nothing better to do with themselves once they’ve been fed, they just had to come and find me.”

In a short while, the bell’s ringing became closer. Yang Guo thought, “I won’t be able to beat her, the only thing I can do is to quickly find a path to escape on.” He said, “You two aren’t begging for alms, and you won’t come close, just let us pass.” As he said this he took large steps forward. The two beggars saw that his steps weren’t solid; it seems that he didn’t know any martial arts; each one stretched out their arm and grabbed him.

Yang Guo chopped out his right hand and clashed with the two palms, the three palms pulled back and each one took three steps back. The two eight band Beggar Clan members have practiced martial arts for tens of years, their internal energy was profound, in the world of Jianghu there were few who could match them. In terms of kung fu foundation they were ahead of Yang Guo but when it comes to the mastery of exquisite stances, they weren’t a match for him. Yang  Guo  borrowed  strength  to  use  strength  and dispersed the two’s palms but if he wanted to dash pass them, it would be impossible. The three of them were secretly startled. At this time Li Mochou and her disciple had arrived at the scene.

Hong Lingbo called out, “Hey, Beggar, Taoist, have you seen a lame girl pass by here?”

The two beggars had a high status in the world of Wulin, when they heard Hong Lingbo question them like this they became angry but the Beggar Clan had strict rules, the members mustn’t get into feuds with others as they pleased so the two just replied, “No!”

Li Mochou’s eyes were sharp and saw the back of Lu Wushuang, she was suspicious and thought, “I think I’ve seen those two before?” She saw the four facing each other, their weapons braced as if they were about to fight, she thought she should stand aside and see what happens.

Yang Guo glanced over and saw that she had a wry smile on her face, standing by watching the battle, he had a thought, “I’ve got it, and if I do this I’ll erase her suspicions.” He turned around and went over to Hong Lingbo to ask her something, he disguised his voice and said, “Greetings Taoist friend.” Hong Lingbo returned the greeting.

He said, “This Taoist was just passing by when these two evil beggars started to cause trouble, wanting to fight me. This Taoist has not got weapon, I hope you will lend me a weapon in respect of Lao Jun.” As he said this he made another bow.

Hong Lingbo saw that his face was black and ugly, but he was respectful and modest, he referred to the Taoist’s Tai Shang Lao Jun. It didn’t seem right to reject his request so she held out her sword and glanced at her master. She saw that she was nodding her head and so handed the sword to him. Yang Guo bowed as he received the long sword, the tip pointing to the ground, he said, “If this Taoist can’t fight off the enemy, I hope that Taoist friend here will look upon the fact that we are people of religion and will assist me.”

Hong Lingbo raised her eyebrows and gave a ‘humph’ sound without replying. Yang Guo turned around and loudly said to Lu Wushuang, “Apprentice brother, sit by the side and watch and don’t move, I’m going to teach the Beggar Clan beggars the skills of our Quanzhen sect.”

Li Mochou shivered, “So the two Taoists are from the Quanzhen sect. But Quanzhen sect and the Beggar Clan have always been good friends, why are they arguing?”

Yang Guo was afraid that the two beggars would speak and reveal who Lu Wushuang was so he raised his sword and dashed forward, calling out, “Come, come, come, I’ll fight two by myself.”

But Lu Wushuang was concerned, “Sha Dan doesn’t know that my master has fought Quanzhen sect on many occasions, how would she not be able to recognize the stances of the Quanzhen sect? There are many Taoist sects in the world, Zhengyi, Dadao, Taiyi, they are all good choices for our cover why the hell did he pick Quanzhen?”

The two beggars heard him say ‘From the Quanzhen sect’ and were alarmed, the both called out, “Are you really from Quanzhen sect? You and…”

Yang Guo didn’t allow them to mention Lu Wushuang and thrust his sword forward, separately attacking the stomachs of the two; it was Quanzhen’s “Di Chuan” sword skills. The two beggar’s status was high, they could gang up and fight a young boy like him but Yang Guo’s stance came out extremely quick. They had to attack together with their sticks. As the metal rods were raised, Yang Guo’s sword darted through the gap and aimed for their chests. The two beggars could never have predicted that his sword skills were extremely quick; they quickly retreated. Yang Guo didn’t hold back, he kept on applying the pressure, in a flash he had unleashed eighteen swords, every stance had two intentions, when the sword comes out it was one stance, but within it was artifice, the sword stance separated into two. This was Quanzhen’s “One Sword into Three Distinctions” (yi jian hua san qing) technique; every stance can be made into three. Every stance that Yang Guo threw out, the beggars moved back three steps, after the eighteen stances had been unleashed, the beggars had not even attacked back once, and they had retreated back a total of fifty-four steps. The kung fu of the “Jade Heart Manual” was designed to counter Quanzhen’s kung fu. Before Yang Guo practiced the “Jade Heart Manual” he practiced the kung fu of the Quanzhen sect. But because he had not practiced enough and it wasn’t refined enough, he wasn’t able to do “One Sword into Three Distinctions”, but he was good enough to turn it into two distinctions.

Li Mochou saw that the young Taoist’s sword skills were refined, she couldn’t help being shocked and thought, “No wonder Quanzhen’s name is so famous, there are able people from the sect, in ten years time how will I be able to beat him? It looks the mantel of the Quanzhen sect is going to fall into his hands in the future.”

If she fought with Yang Guo, she would know that although the stances were  real  on  the  outside, underneath it was the Ancient Tomb’s kung fu, but from  its  appearance,  it  was  hard  to  distinguish between the two. Yang Guo had learned the Quanzhen  song  from  Zhao  Zhijing,  and  practiced  it afterwards, and so his Quanzhen kung fu wasn’t completely a fake. Lu Wushuang and Hong Lingbo looked on, dazzled.

Yang Guo thought, “If I slow down and allow the two beggars to talk, we’ll be finished.” Once the eighteen stances had passed, the long sword quickly turned around and attacked the two beggars backs, another set of two distinctions. The two beggars quickly turned around to attack. Yang Guo didn’t allow the metal rods and the sword to collide, he quickly darted behind the two’s backs. The beggars turned around, Yang Guo darted behind the beggars again. He knew that if it came to a real kung fu contest, he would not be able to handle one beggar let alone two; he utilized his lightness kung fu and  circled  around  the  two beggars. In the Quanzhen sect, as soon as one has refined their kung fu to a high level, they will practice lightness kung fu so later on they will be able to use it when practicing  the  “Big  Dipper  Formation”. Although Yang Guo is now using the steps of Quanzhen’s kung fu, but his breathing and circulation are from the formulae of the ”Jade Heart Manual”. The Ancient Tomb’s lightness kung fu was second to none in the world, as soon as he used it, the two skilled Beggar Clan fighters were not able to catch up, they saw him moving like lightning, a white blur, the sword piercing forwards. If he wanted to kill them, even if twenty beggars were here he would be able to kill  them.  The  two  beggars  quickly  turned  around  and waved their rods in defense, right now they weren’t  able  to  defend  against  the  incoming  stances;  they used all their strength in defense and hoped that heaven was on their side. They ran around like this for around ten loops, the two beggars were dizzy and dazed, their feet rapid, they felt that they were about to faint.

Li Mochou chuckled and said, “Hey, my Beggar Clan friends, I’ll teach you a method, stand back to back so you won’t have to keep on turning around.” With this pointer, the two beggars were filled with joy, they were about to follow this method when Yang Guo thought, “Crap! If this happen I’m going to lose.” He stopped circling them, two stances in one, as the sword was thrust forwards aiming for their backs. The two beggars heard the wind sound from the sword; they weren’t able to use their rods to block it so advanced forward. As soon as they took a step the stance arrived, they were shocked and quickly hurried out of the way. How could they have predicted that Yang Guo’s sword was like a shadow, no matter how fast they ran away, the sword remained behind their backs? The two’s steps slowed, their backs were pierced by the sword. The two beggars knew that Yang Guo didn’t want to kill them; otherwise all he had to do was just add an ounce more strength. The sword would have moved an inch further; wouldn’t the sword have gone through their chests? But they still didn’t dare to slow their steps. The three used their energy and in a flash they had moved over two miles, leaving Li Mochou and the others behind. Yang Guo suddenly sped up and dashed in front of the two. He laughed and said, “Walk slowly, be careful of tripping!” The two threw out their rods at the same time. Yang Guo stretched out his left hand and held onto one of the rods, at the same time he extended the flat side of his sword and hit the metal rod to the left. His left palm opened and held the two rods. The two beggars felt something was wrong and quickly distributed their chi. Yang Guo’s internal energy wasn’t a match for theirs, he didn’t dare to try and match them, and swept the long sword across. If the two beggars didn’t let go, their eight fingers would be slashed off immediately, they could only let go and jump back. Their faces had an expression of embarrassment. Not being able to win and using such a way to escape may have been going too far.

Yang Guo said, “My sect and your clan have always been friends, please don’t believe what others say my friends. Every event has its source, the Ancient Tomb’s ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’ Li Mochou is over there, why aren’t you questioning her?”

The two beggars did not know Li Mochou but knew that she was ruthless and vindictive, when they heard Yang Guo say this they both shivered and said at the same time, “Is this true?”

Yang Guo said, “Why should I lie? That witch chased this Taoist until I had nowhere else to run, that’s why I had to fight with you two.” As he said this, he raised the metal rods and politely gave them back to the beggars. He said, “It is well known what objects the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’ always carries with her, haven’t you two heard about this?”

One of the beggars understood and said, “Yes, she holds a fly whisk, her donkey has a golden bell. The woman is in yellow isn’t she?”

Yang Guo smiled and said, “Correct, correct. The girl who used the silver saber to hurt your clan member is her disciple.” He then made his voice slightly deeper and said, “I’m afraid that it’s ominous, it ominous.”

The beggar with the voice like an overwhelming bell was impatient and asked, “What are you afraid of?” Yang Guo said, “Ominous, ominous.”

The beggar urgently asked, “What’s ominous?”

Yang Guo replied, “Li Mochou is notorious in Wulin, everyone is afraid of her. Your clan may be powerful but no one is her match. Since it was a disciple of hers who injured one of your members, it would be best to leave it.”

He angered that beggar; the beggar raised his metal rod and said, “Huh, I don’t care if she’s the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’ or ‘Lizard Deity’, I must fight her today.” As he said this he headed back towards the path. The other beggar was more cautious, thinking how they could not overcome a young man, if they incurred the wrath of the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’ are they not signing their death warrants? He held the other beggar’s arm and said, “There’s no need to rush, let’s go back and plan this first.” He made a salute to Yang Guo with one hand and said, “Please can we have the pleasure of knowing your name.”

Yang Guo smiled and said, “My surname is Sa, first names Huazi. Hope we’ll meet again.” He made a bow and turned around hurrying back to the others.

The two beggars mumbled, “Sa Huazi, Sa Huazi? I have never heard this name; this person’s skills are excellent at such a young age…” One of the beggars suddenly leaped up and cursed, “Scoundrel, animal!”

The other beggar asked, “What?”

The beggar replied, “He’s called Sa Huazi, it means kill beggars (Kill a beggar has the same Pinyin as Sa Huazi), we’ve been insulted without knowing it.” Though the two cursed, they didn’t dare to return to finish this matter with him.

Yang Guo laughed on the inside, he quickly returned and saw Lu Wushuang on top of the horse looking to the side, revealing how anxious she was. As soon as she saw Yang Guo her spirits immediately raised, she quickly met him on the horse and quietly said, “Sha Dan, leaving behind me, that was so thoughtful!”

Yang Guo smiled and offered the long sword back to Hong Lingbo with the handle end facing towards her. He bowed and said, “Thank you for the sword.” Hong Lingbo stretched out her hand to receive it. Yang Guo was about to turn around when Li Mochou suddenly said, “Wait.” She saw that the young Taoist was skilled; she thought that if she let him go now he would become a problem in the future. While his kung fu was still lower than hers, she would get rid of the potential problem now. As soon as Yang Guo heard the word ‘wait’ he knew something was wrong, he lowered the sword a few inches into Hong Lingbo’s hand and immediately took his hand away. Hong Lingbo could only take the handle of the sword and smiled, she said, “The young Taoist has some fierce skills.”

Li Mochou originally wanted to anger him into attacking and kill him in one stroke with her fly whisk. But now he did not have a weapon. She was of a high status and so could not use her weapon to harm him. She flashed her fly whisk to one side and asked, “Which of the Quanzhen seven masters is your master?”

Yang Guo smiled and said, “I’m Wang Chongyang’s disciple.” He had no good feelings towards the Quanzhen sect; he had no respect for them. Although Qiu Chuji treated him fairly well, he was only with him for a short while, but before he left he was strictly scolded by him. He knew he didn’t mean any harm but in his heart he was still angry. When he remembered Hao Datong and Zhao Zhijing, he became even angrier. In the Ancient Tomb he had practiced the important aspects of the “Nine Yin Manual” left by Wang Chongyang, so technically he could say that he was his disciple. But according to his age, he could only be the disciple of Taoists in Zhao Zhijing’s and Yin Zhiping’s generation. When Li Mochou saw that his skills weren’t weak and asked him which one of the Quanzhen seven masters was his master, it was holding him in a lofty light. If Yang Guo replied Qiu Chuji or one of the others, Li Mochou would have believed him. But he didn’t want be a generation lower than the Taoist who killed Grandma Sun, Hao Datong, so he said Wang Chongyang. Wang Chongyang was the person who founded the Quanzhen sect. In his lifetime he had only taken in seven disciples; everyone knew this in the Wulin world. When this young Taoist was born Wang Chongyang had left the world long ago.

Li Mochou thought, “This ugly freak doesn’t know how high the sky is or how deep the earth is, and he doesn’t know who I am, how dare he talk such nonsense in front of me.” She then thought, “How could a Quanzhen Taoist use their founder for a joke? And how could they dare to say the words ‘Wang Chongyang’? But if he isn’t a disciple of Quanzhen, then how come each of his stances were from Quanzhen?”

Yang Guo saw that although she had a smile on her face, she was frowning and she was in deep thought. He thought about the day when he pretended to be a farmer to trick Hong Lingbo, and in the tomb they had exchanged blows. He couldn’t let them find out who he really was through his words so without delay he carried on; he raised his hands in respect. He turned around and leapt onto the horse, and was about to gallop away.

Li Mochou floated over in front of his horse and said, “Come down, I have something to say to you.”

Yang Guo said, “I know what you want to ask me. You want to ask me have I seen a pretty girl, who is lame in her left foot, isn’t that it. And where has she taken your book?”

Li Mochou was shocked and calmly said, “Yes, you are clever. Where is the book?”

Yang Guo said, “Just now, my apprentice brother and I were resting by the side of the road, we saw that girl fighting with three beggars. One of the beggars suffered a slash from the girl but when the other two beggars joined in, she wasn’t a match for them. Eventually she was captured by them.”

Li Mochou was always calm no matter what, but when she thought about Lu Wushuang being caught by the beggars and her ‘Five Poison Codex’ falling into their hands, she couldn’t stop herself from showing signs of being alarmed.

Yang Guo saw that the lie worked and continued, “One of the beggars fished out a book from the girl’s pockets, she wouldn’t give it to them and suffered disrespect from him.”

Lu Wushuang glanced at him and thought, “Fine Sha Dan, talking rubbish about me, you think I won’t do anything to you?”

Yang Guo knew that she was frightened but deliberately asked her, “Apprentice brother, doesn’t it get people mad? That girl was touched all over the place by the beggars and suffered great insults didn’t she?”

Lu Wushuang hung her head down and gave a grunt. As he said this, there were the sounds of horse hoofs around the hill, a crowd of horses and people came up. It was a group of Mongolian soldiers. Once the Jin were overthrown, everything north of the Mie River was under the control of the Mongolians. Li Mochou didn’t care about the soldiers, but she was in a rush to find out the whereabouts of Lu Wushuang. She didn’t want anything to delay her so she stood aside feeling the ground shaking as  over  a  hundred Mongolian soldiers escorting an official passed by. The Mongolian official wore a bright garment, a bow hung from his waist, his horse riding technique was excellent and he exuded an air of calmness as he rode past. Once the soldiers passed, Li Mochou wiped the dust away from her body using her fly whisk. Every time the fly whisk waved, Lu Wushuang’s heart missed a beat, she knew if the fly whisk was waved at her and not the dust, her head would have split open immediately.

After she finished cleaning herself up she asked, “And then?” Yang Guo said, “The beggars took the girl and headed north. This young Taoist couldn’t just stand by and tried to interfere, and two of the beggars stayed behind to fight with me.”

Li Mochou nodded her head and smiled, she said, “Good, thank you. My name is Li Mochou, people in Jianghu call me the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’, and some call me the ‘Serpent Demon’. Have you heard my name before?”

Yang Guo shook his head and said, “I have never heard of you. Miss, with your beauty you are like a deity, how can you be a demon?”

Li Mochou was thirty, but she had profound internal strength, her skin was soft and tender, her face had no wrinkles and one could mistake her for a twenty year old. She had always regarded herself as beautiful and when she heard him praising her like that she was pleased, she fluttered her fly whisk and said, “You joked with me. Saying that you are the disciple of Wang Chongyang, I should make you suffer and then kill you. Since you’ve said this, I’m going to teach you a lesson with my fly whisk.”

Yang Guo shook his head and said, “That won’t do, that won’t do, this young Taoist cannot fight with someone in a lower generation than he is.”

Li Mochou said, “You are about to die and you still joke. How am I in a lower generation than you?”

Yang Guo said, “My master is elder Chongyang, he is in the same generation as your ancestor; how am I not in an older generation than you? You are just a pretty young girl; an old man can’t bully you.”

Li Mochou gave a wry smile and said to Hong Lingbo “Let him borrow the sword again.”

Yang Guo waved his hand and said, “That won’t do, that won’t do, I…” Before he finished his words Hong Lingbo pulled out the sword from its sheath, a ‘ting’ sound was heard; her hand holding only the handle, the blade remained in the sheath. She was startled but then understood, when Yang Guo returned the sword he had done something to it; he broke the sword but kept the handle intact. As soon as someone applied some force to the sword, it immediately broke. Li Mochou’s face changed colour.

Yang Guo said, “Originally I didn’t want to fight pretty girls who are beneath me, but since you are forcing me to fight, then so be it! I’ll face three stances of your fly whisk empty handed. Let’s make it clear first, as long as you can receive my three stances then I’ll let you go, but once the three stances are over, you can’t trouble me anymore.” In this present situation he knew that he must use force otherwise he won’t be able to get out of this situation. But if they really fight, he won’t be a match for her. So he acted like a senior and made her promise that she will only use three stances and not more. He was not her match anyway so it didn’t matter if he had a weapon or not; hopefully she would not use her most lethal fly whisk stances.

How could Li Mochou not understand his intentions, she thought, “You think you can receive three of my stances?” She said, “Fine, senior, let junior experience your skills.”

Yang Guo said, “You’re too kind” but suddenly he saw a yellow blur; there were traces of the fly whisk everywhere. This stance of Li Mochou’s is called “No Holes that can’t be Penetrated” (wu kong bu ru), attacking the enemy’s bones all over their body. Although this is one stance, the threads were all over the place, so in one stance it included tens of  stances, attacking all the body’s  main pressure points. She  had seen him fight with the beggars and saw that his sword skills were refined, he wasn’t a weak opponent. Hurting him in three stances was not going to be easy  so  she  used  the  techniques  that  she  was  most proud of, “Three Without Three Without Hands” (san wu san bu shou). She had  invented  these  three stances; even Xiao Longnu had never seen these stances before. When Yang Guo saw this he jumped back in shock. There was actually no defense to this stance. Moving to the left and right would result in one’s pressure points to be sealed; moving forward would result in the  pressure  points  on  the  back  being harmed. Only fighters who were much more skilful than she was could force her back. Attacking her front ruthlessly would force her to use her fly whisk to defend. Yang Guo did not have this ability. In this urgent situation he flipped around, his head below his legs and used the skill that Ouyang Feng taught  him, “Reversal of the Veins”. His pressure points were all closed; he felt all his pressure points ache a little and then nothing more. He quickly flipped over and gave out a flying kick. Li Mochou had seen that she had hit many of his pressure points but he still had the ability to counter attack. She was shocked and followed with a stance of “Penetrate Everywhere” (wu suo bu zhi). This stance attacked all the pressure points on his sides. Yang Guo’s head was on the ground, he stretched out his left hand  to  seal  her  right  knee’s ‘Central’ pressure point. Li Mochou was even more shocked and leapt away. The “Three Without Three Without Hand” technique’s third stance “Stop At Nothing” was immediately used.

This stance does not aim to seal pressure points; instead it attacked the eyes, throat, stomach, the groin and all the places that are soft and delicate. That’s why it’s called “Stop at Nothing”, it was ruthless and showed no respect towards the opponent. When she refined this skill she did not know that there were people who knew how to fight upside down. When she rushed out in this stance, she used it as she normally would, but there was no way the attack hit the eyes, it struck the leg, where it attacked the throat it struck the lower thigh, where it attacked the stomach it struck the upper thigh, where it attacked the groin it struck the chest, it aimed for the soft points but struck the hard and the stance was not effective at all.

This shocked Li Mochou to the extreme. She had seen many battles in her life, she had met those who were better fighters than her so she knew what  the  enemy  would  do,  how  they  attacked,  defended, dodged, she knew it all; but she couldn’t have guessed this young Taoist had such unimaginable kung fu. As she stood there in a daze, Yang Guo opened his mouth and bit down on the fly whisk; he flipped his body and stood up. Li Mochou’s hand shook; her fly whisk was taken away.

At the second Mount Hua competition, Ouyang Feng reversed his veins and bit down on Huang Yaoshi’s finger. When one reverses their veins, chi is distributed through their lips, the mouth will open and close, the intent to bite someone is automatically created. In the body, nothing can compare with the strength of teeth biting down; the teeth can shatter and tear things that hands can’t. Because of this, although Yang Guo’s internal strength was weaker than Li Mochou’s, once his teeth bit down on the fly whisk; he was able to pull it from her hands.

This move shocked Lu Wushuang and Hong Lingbo, both of them called out in surprise at the same time. Li Mochou was also shocked but she didn’t show any fear, her palms lightly came out, she was using her “Diving Serpent Palm” and jumping forward to snatch back her fly whisk. She was about to hit out with her palms when she suddenly called out, “What! It’s you! Where’s your master?”

Yang Guo’s face had been covered in dirt but after a series of quick flips, some of the dirt was brushed off, revealing half of his face. At the same time Hong Lingbo recognized Lu Wushuang and called out, “Master, it’s apprentice sister.” Before, Lu Wushuang had dared not to face Li Mochou and Hong Lingbo. When Yang Guo and Li Mochou were fighting, she was concentrating on watching the fight and forgot about hiding her face from Hong Lingbo.

Yang Guo’s left foot touched the ground lightly and flew onto Li Mochou’s donkey, at the same time his left hand flicked out, a ‘Jade Bee Needle’ was shot at the head  of  Hong  Lingbo’s  donkey.  Li  Mochou  was furious and flew over to Yang Guo who flew away from the saddle and flipped the fly whisk around, a ‘pu’ sound was heard as he struck the donkey on the head and called out, “Wifey, quickly take your husband away.” He leapt on the back of the horse and he waved the fly whisk madly behind him. Lu Wushuang immediately spurred the horse on. Once Li Mochou utilized her lightness kung fu, she could catch up to four legged animals that were within half li or so. But after being shocked by Yang Guo’s strange stances she didn’t dare to chase too closely, she just used her trapping hand kung fu to snatch back her fly whisk. On her fourth stance three of the fingers on her left hand managed to grab hold of the threads of the fly whisk; she turned her hand and pulled. Yang Guo couldn’t hold on and the fly whisk flew out of his hand.

Hong Lingbo’s donkey had been struck with the ‘Jade Bee Needle’, it suddenly went mad, and it rushed up to Li Mochou and started to bite.

Li Mochou shouted, “Lingbo, what are you doing.” Hong Lingbo said, “The donkey is resisting.” She pulled the reigns with all her strength causing the donkey to have a mouthful of blood. Suddenly the donkey’s legs became soft and it fell over, Hong Lingbo leapt up and called out, “Master, let’s chase after them!” But by then Yang Guo and Lu Wushuang were half a li away, they weren’t able to catch up.

Lu Wushuang and Yang Guo rode hurriedly for a while. She turned around and didn’t see her master chasing after them and said, “Sha Dan, my chest really hurts, I can’t stand it anymore!”

Yang Guo leapt off the horse and placed his ear against the ground, there weren’t any sound of footsteps behind and he said, “There’s no need to be afraid, let’s go slowly.” The two then carried on normally. Lu Wushuang sighed and said, “Sha Dan, how did you manage to take my Master’s fly whisk?”

Yang Guo said, “I threw out some words of praise which pleased her and so she gave the fly whisk to me. Old man didn’t feel right taking the young girl’s things so I gave it back to her.”

Lu Wushuang said, “Huh, why was she pleased, she thought you were handsome?” As she said this she blushed.

Yang Guo laughed and said, “She saw that I was an interesting fool, that’s why.” Lu Wushuang said, “Crap! What’s so interesting about you?”

The two traveled slowly for a while but they were afraid that Li Mochou would catch up so they rode fast. They did this slowing down and speeding up until it was dusk.

Yang Guo said, “Wifey, if you want to save your little life, you’ll have to endure the pain in your chest and ride throughout the night.”

Lu Wushuang said, “If you talk crap again, just see if I continue to pay attention to you.” Yang Guo stuck out his tongue and said, “It’s a pity that our horse is tired, another night of riding and we could escape.”

It was now getting dark but suddenly, the sound of horses could be heard ahead, Yang Guo was delighted and said, “Let’s change horses.”

The two hurried on for about a mile and saw over a hundred horses outside a village. It was the group of Mongolian soldiers that they had seen earlier. Yang Guo said, “Wait here, I’ll go and take a look.” He leapt down from the horse and headed towards the village. He saw a light coming from the window of a large house. Yang Guo darted forward and looked inside; he saw a Mongolian official sitting in the room with his back facing the window.

Yang Guo’s mind suddenly lit up, “If we’re going to change horses why not change people.” He waited for a while and saw the Mongolian official stand up, walking up and down across the room. That man was about thirty years old; it was the official in bright clothing he had seen earlier in the day. He had an air about him; it appeared that his post wasn’t low. Yang Guo waited until he turned his back and quietly opened the window and slipped in. The official heard a wind sound behind him, he took a step forward and raised his left hand for protection and turned around, and his ten fingers like an eagle’s claws came out ferociously. It was the lethal technique of the “Vigorous Eagle Claw Stance”. Yang Guo was slightly surprised by this, he didn’t know that a Mongolian official would know some kung fu; he slanted his body and dodged past his hands. The official clawed out many times but each time they were calmly dodged. That official had been under the tutelage of the Eagle Claw sect when he was younger, his kung fu was quite good, but after exchanging many stances with Yang Guo, he had no way of using his moves. Yang Guo saw that his hands were coming in ferociously once again, he suddenly leapt up, his left hand grabbed the man’s left shoulder, his right hand grabbed the man’s right, he circulated his chi through his arms and shouted, “Sit down!” The official’s knees became weak and he sat down on the floor. His chest felt like he was being smothered, it seemed like a surge of blood was rushing up to his head. Yang Guo stretched out his hand and rubbed the pressure points on his chest. The official immediately felt his chest loosen, a breath of air was released and he slowly got up. He stared at Yang Guo, startled. After a few minutes he asked, “Who are you? Why are you here?” Those two phrases in Han were spoken quite clearly.

Yang Guo laughed and asked him some questions instead, “What is your name? What post do you hold?” The official’s eyes lit up in anger, he was about to jump out  at him again. Yang  Guo ignored him and  sat down on the seat that the official had previously sat on. The official’s arms came out waving up and down, attacking ferociously; Yang Guo just waved out his hands without trying and didn’t use any strength to neutralize his attacks. He said, “Hey, you’ve got a wound on your shoulder, its better if you don’t use any energy.”

The official was startled and said, “What wound?” His left hand rubbed his right shoulder, there was a slight pain there, he quickly stretched out his right hand and checked his left shoulder, and there was an identical pain. He had not moved his shoulders so didn’t notice the wounds; when he used his fingers to touch his shoulder, there was a small area that ached to the bone. The official was shocked, he quickly took off his garment and looked over his shoulder; he saw a red dot on his left shoulder and there was a similar dot on his right. He understood, just know when Yang Guo held his shoulders, he had a concealed weapon in his hands and now had fallen into his scheme. He was startled and shocked, he shouted, “What weapon did you use? Does it have poison or not?”

Yang Guo gave a wry smile and said, “You’ve learned martial arts, how come you don’t know the rules? Large concealed weapons have no poison, small ones of course have.” The official believed him but hoped that he made it up to scare him. His face’s expression seems to be convinced but also seemed to be suspicious.

Yang Guo smiled and said, “Your shoulder has fallen victim to my divine needle, its poison deepens an inch every day, by the sixth day the poison will have reached the heart, then you’ll be dead.”

The official wanted him to cure the poison yet he didn’t dare ask. In anger he shouted, “Since it has ended up like this then this Master is going to take you with me.” He threw himself forward again. Yang Guo slipped past him.

He took out two ‘Jade Bee Needles’ and waited until his claws came out again, the hands came out, he sent the needles into his palms. The official felt a pain in his palms and stopped, he raised his hands to take a look and saw a fine needle in his palms. He immediately felt his palms go numb; he was shocked and didn’t dare to attack again. Another half hour passed before he said, “Fine, I admit defeat!”

Yang Guo laughed out loud and asked, “What’s you name?”

The official replied, “My name is Yelu Jin, can I have the honour of knowing the hero’s name?”

Yang Guo replied, “My name is Yang Guo. What post do you hold within the Mongolian government?” Yelu Jin told him everything. He was the Mongolians Prime Minister Yelu Chucai’s son. Yelu Chucai aided Genghis Khan and Wo Kuo Tai (Ogedai) to take over many lands. His achievements were outstanding, that is why although Yelu Jin was of a relatively young age, he held the high position of ‘Bianliang Jinglue Emissary’ (Military Governor of Bianliang city), he had come south to Henan to complete a mission.

Yang Guo didn’t know what kind of position this was, he just nodded his head and said, “Fine, fine.”

Yelu Jin said, “I don’t know what I have done to disrespect the hero, please forgive my ignorance. If the hero has an order please say it.”

Yang Guo laughed and said, “You haven’t done anything.” He suddenly darted out of the window.

Yelu Jin was shocked and called out, “Hero Yang” and ran to the window, but there was no trace of Yang Guo. Yelu Jin was troubled, “This person comes and goes as he pleases. I’ve fallen victim to his poison needles, what should I do?” He quickly took out the needles from his palm and felt the numbness in his palms and shoulders to begin to feel unbearable. In the midst of all this the window opened, Yang Guo suddenly returned and the room had another person, it was Lu Wushuang.

Yelu Jin said, “Ah, you’ve come back.”

Yang Guo pointed to Lu Wushuang and said, “She is my Wifey, kowtow to her!”

Lu Wushuang shouted, “What did you say?” She turned her hand and gave him a slap. If Yang Guo wanted to avoid it how would she be able to hit him? For an inexplicable reason, when he was slapped and scolded by her he felt good. He didn’t move and a slapping sound was heard as his cheek was hit. Yelu Jin didn’t know that these two always argued like this. He assumed that Lu Wushuang’s kung fu was stronger than Yang Guo’s; he stared in a daze at the two.

Yang Guo rubbed his cheek and laughed at Yelu Jin. He said, “You’ve suffered the poison of my divine needles, but you won’t die straight away. All you’ve got do is listen to my orders and then I’ll heal you.”

Yelu Jin said, “I’ve always admired heroes and good men, but I have never seen people with such abilities. Today I have finally met someone worthy of this title, it is an honour. If hero Yang doesn’t tell me to live, I could still die with my eyes closed.” These words maintained his high status but praised the other at the same time. Yang Guo had never spoken with officials before and he didn’t know that they’ve all learned how to praise their superiors; the higher the official, the better they are at flattery without being obvious. The officials from Mongolia were rough and coarse people but after they entered the central plains, they learned the ways of the officials of China. After some words of praise, Yang Guo was pleased, he raised his finger and said, “Well, I didn’t guess that you are a man of honour as well. Come, I’ll immediately cure your poison.” He then used a sucking metal stone to remove the needles  from  his  shoulder  and  then applied the antidote to the wounds.

Lu Wushuang had never seen the ‘Jade Bee Needles’ before; she saw that the needles were as fine as hair and it looked as though if one placed the needles on water, they will float. She thought, “A gust of wind can blow that away, how can you use it as a concealed weapon?” She was even more in awe of Yang Guo but the words from her mouth said, “That type of evil weapon isn’t honorable, aren’t you afraid of others laughing at you?”

Yang Guo laughed and ignored her, he said to Yelu Jin, “The two of us want to rely on you, your honour and be your attendants.”

Yelu Jin was startled and quickly said, “Hero Yang jokes with me, whatever you want just tell me.” Yang Guo said, “I’m not joking, I really want to be your attendant your honour.”

Yelu Jin thought, “So the two want work for the government and gain something for themselves.” He couldn’t stop himself from being pleased, he gave a cough and returned to a serious face and said, “Hmm, you’ve learned great martial arts, working for our king will lead to great prospects.”

Yang Guo laughed and said, “You’ve got it all wrong. We are being chased by an extremely powerful foe. We can’t beat her and want to disguise ourselves as your attendants to evade her.”

Yelu Jin was disappointed, his serious face loosened then he chucked and said, “With your martial arts, who gives a care about enemies. If there are too many of them I’ll gather my troops and catch them and let you decide on what to do.”

Yang Guo said, “Even I can’t beat them, there is no need for you worry about it your Honour. Quickly order your attendants to give us some clothes to change into.” He said this casually but there was a stern tone within his voice.

Yelu Jin ordered his attendants to bring some clothes for them to change into. Yang Guo and Lu Wushuang went to another room to change. Lu Wushuang got a mirror and examined herself, the person in the mirror was dressed in bright clothes, their eyes sparkled; it looked like a handsome Mongolian general. She felt that this was going to be interesting. They left early next morning. Lu Wushuang and Yang Guo were in a sedan chair lifted by attendants, Yelu Jin was still on horseback, before noon they heard the faint sounds of a ringing bell, from afar it came near, and it brushed past the crowd of people.

Lu Wushuang was delighted and thought, “Comfortably sitting here in the sedan chair resting my wound is an ideal situation. Sha Dan’s mad idea has its good points. I’ll let them carry me to Jiangnan.”

They traveled like this for two days and didn’t hear the bell sounds of Li Mochou again. Li Mochou must have gone straight ahead without turning back. There were also no traces of the beggars and Taoists that were looking for Lu Wushuang. By the third day they arrived at the Colt Dragon Stockade. This was an important trafficking point, many towns and cities flourished around here. After supper, Yelu Jin entered Yang Guo’s room and asked for martial arts advice. Words of flattery were said to Yang Guo, praising him highly. Yang Guo gave one or two pointers to him. Just as Yelu Jin was about to listen intently an attendant rushed in and said, “Your honour, our master has sent a letter here.”

Yelu Jin was delighted and said, “Fine, I’ll come now.” He was about to stand up and say goodbye to Yang Guo when he had a thought, “If I open the letter in front of him and show that I don’t treat him as an outsider, he’ll definitely teach me with all his efforts.” He then said to the attendant, “Send the messenger in.”

The attendant had a look of surprise on his face and said, “That …that…” Yelu Jin waved his hand and said, “Don’t delay, and tell him to enter.” The attendant said, “It’s the master himself.”

Yelu Jin’s face fell and he said, “Why are you still wasting time, quickly go” before he finished someone laughed from outside and entered, and said, “Jin’er, you couldn’t have guessed that it was me.”

Yelu Jin was shocked and pleased, he quickly dashed forward. He said, “Father, why are you…” That man laughed and said, “Yes! I’ve come here in person.” That person was Yelu Jin's father, the Mongolian Prime Minister Yelu Chucai.

Yang Guo heard Yelu Jin call that man father, but didn’t know how powerful that person was. He was under one person but above millions; the person with the most power in court, the Prime Minister. He saw that he wasn’t very old, his face elegant, within his air of authority was an air of peace; he couldn’t stop himself from respecting this person.

As soon as that person sat down on a chair, two other people entered, they greeted Yelu Jin and called him ‘Big Brother’. It was one male and one female. The male was around twenty-three or four years of age, the female was about the same age as Yang Guo. Yelu Jin was pleased and said, “Brother, sister, you are here as well.” He said to his father, “Father, I didn’t have a clue that you had left the court.”

Yelu Chucai nodded and said, “Yes, there is some important business that must be attended to; if I didn’t do it myself I wouldn’t be able to relax.” He looked at Yang Guo and the rest of the attendants, indicating that he wants them to leave.

Yelu Jin was in a dilemma, he should tell his attendants to leave but Yang Guo was a person you couldn’t mess around with, his face had an expression of being unsure of what to do. Yang Guo knew what he was thinking; he laughed and exited the room by himself. Yelu Chucai was aware of Yang Guo, when he entered by himself all the other attendants greeted and bowed to him except for one, the person did as he pleased and had a proud air, he couldn’t stop himself from being wary and asked, “Who is that?”

Yelu Jin was a high official, if he said who Yang Guo was in front of his brother and sister he will have lost face, he answered ambiguously, “He is a friend that I made along the way. Father has made the trip to Henan personally, what is this about?”

Yelu Chucai sighed; his face looked troubled and slowly explained everything. When Genghis Khan died, his third son Wo Kuo Tai (Ogedai) succeeded him. Wo Kuo Tai was the Khan for about thirty years before he too died, his son Gui You (Guyuk) succeeded. Gui You lost himself in drink and died just after three years of being the Khan, his queen (Oghul Ghamish) took over the affairs of state. The queen trusted very few, the first generals and ministers caused chaos in the court. Yelu Chucai was a senior member of the court, and was one of the people who founded the state; whenever the queen made a wrong decision he would speak up truthfully. The queen saw that he opposed her orders, and of course was angry, but because he was a powerful minister and what he said was right, the queen could not take action lightly. Yelu Chucai knew that once he offended the queen the hundred or so lives of his family would be in danger and so he thought of a plan. He said that Henan in the south was not under control; a minister was needed to go down there and sort it out and he nominated himself. The queen was delighted, thinking the further this person goes the better and she can avoid getting angry everyday. So she agreed to the order. So Yelu Chucai took his second son Yelu Qi and daughter Yelu Yan to Henan. Officially he was down here to dissipate the unrest, but unofficially he was down here to avoid a disaster.

Yang Guo went into another room and chatted and joked with Lu Wushuang but Lu Wushuang turned away and ignored him. After getting no reply, Yang Guo crossed his knees, sat down and meditated. Lu Wushuang wasn’t interested. She saw that he closed his eyes and didn’t move for half a day and said, “Hey, Sha Dan, why are you meditating now?” Yang Guo didn’t reply. Lu Wushuang angrily said, “There is no need to rush your kung fu, are you going to chat with me?” As she was about to move him with her hand, Yang Guo suddenly leapt up and quietly said, “There’s someone on the roof!”

Lu Wushuang didn’t hear anything, she raised her head and look up at the roof, she said, “Are you lying again?”

Yang Gu said, “No, they’re on the roof two buildings over.”

Lu Wushuang didn’t believe him. She laughed and quietly scolded him, “Sha Dan.” She assumed that he was playing dumb.

Yang Guo tugged her sleeve and quietly said, “Let’s hide before your Master finds us.”

When Lu Wushuang heard the word ‘Master’ and her back broke out in a cold sweat and she followed him to the window. Yang Guo lifted his head to the west, Lu Wushuang also lifted her head, and indeed, she saw someone in black on the roof of the building two rooms over. It was now the middle of the night, there was no light from the moon and stars; if one didn’t carefully examine the roof, it would be hard to spot anything. She admired him secretly, “How did Sha Dan detect this?” She knew that her Master held herself very highly, when she moved at night she would still wear her apricot yellow gown, she would never wear black. She bent over to Yang Guo’s ear and whispered, “It’s not Master.”

As soon as the words were spoken, the person in black suddenly got up and flew across the roofs arrived outside the window of the room that Yelu Chucai was in. She kicked open the window, and leapt in holding a saber, she called out, “Yelu Chucai, I’m going to take you to hell along with me.” It was a girl’s voice.

Yang Guo’s heart shook, “That girl’s movements are extremely fast,  her  skills  are  above  Yelu  Jin.  His father is afraid that his life will be in danger.”

Lu Wushuang called out, “Let’s go.” The two hurried to the scene and witnessed what was happening through the window. He saw that Yelu Jin was holding up a bench moving back and forth, battling with the girl in black. The girl was young but her saber techniques were vicious, the Willow Leaf Saber in her hand was extremely sharp, a series of slashes hacked off the four legs of the bench. Yelu Jin saw he that wasn’t going to hold her off and called out; “Father, run away!” He then shouted, “Men, men!” The girl threw out a kick; Yelu Jin was not prepared for it and was kicked in the waist, his body flipped as he fell onto the floor. The girl dashed forward and raised her saber above Yelu Chucai’s head and slashed down.

Yang Guo thought, “Oh no!” Thinking that he should rescue that person first and then talk about it later, he held a ‘Jade Bee Needle’ and was about to shoot it out at the girl’s wrist when he heard Yelu Chucai’s daughter Yelu Yan called out, “This one mustn’t have any manners!” She chopped out at the girl’s face with her right palm; her left hand used “Empty Hands Entering a Hundred Blades” kung fu to take her saber. Those two moves suited each other exquisitely, the girl moved her head to avoid the palm and her wrist was held by Yelu Yan, she quickly threw out a kick, Yelu Yan had to move back, her blade wasn’t taken away. Yang Guo saw that the two girls’ attacks were swift and quick and was slightly surprised. In a flash the two had hacked and slashed and seven or eight moves had passed.

At that time, ten guards burst into the room; when they saw the two girls fighting, they dashed forward. Yelu Jin said, “Wait! Sister doesn’t need your help.”

Yang Guo quietly said to Lu Wushuang, “Wifey, those two girls’ skills are better than yours.”

Lu Wushuang was angered and threw out a palm. Yang Guo slipped away and laughed, he said, “Don’t get angry, it’s better to watch them fight.”

Lu Wushuang said, “Tell me the truth, am I better or are those girls better.”

Yang Guo quietly said, “One on one, the two girls’ have nothing on you. Two on one, based on kung fu only, you will lose. But they are too honest in their attacks. They can’t compare with your tricks, ruthlessness and viciousness, and so you would win.”

Lu Wushuang was pleased, and whispered, “What ‘tricks, ruthlessness and viciousness’, that doesn’t sound too nice! When it comes to trickery, no one can compare with Mister Sha Dan.”

Yang Guo smiled and said, “Doesn’t that mean you are Mrs. Sha Dan?” Lu Wushuang gave a quiet grunt. They watched the two girls battle. Yelu Yan did not have a weapon and after many tries still could not take the girl’s saber away, and now she was forced to defend and evade with no way to attack. Yelu Qi said, “Sister, let me try.” He slanted his body and moved forward, his right hand threw out three palms in succession. Yelu Yan stood by the wall said, “Fine, let’s watch you.”

After Yang Guo saw Yelu Qi’s three stances, he couldn’t stop himself from being slightly surprised. His left hand was planted on his waist not moving, his right hand extended and pulled back, his feet didn’t move. He was able to fend off the girl’s saber, his stances were refined, and positioning accurate, he wasn’t ordinary. Yang Guo thought, “That person is exceedingly good, his skills looks like Quanzhen yet there are some things different.”

Lu Wushuang said, “Sha Dan, his skills are much better than yours.” Yang Guo was in a trance as he watched and he didn’t even hear what she had said.

End of Chapter 9.
@Chapter 10 - The Young Hero
Yelu Qi said, “Sister, watch carefully. I’ll hit her ‘Scholarly Arm’ (bei ru) pressure point and she will move her body and retreat, I’ll follow this by hitting her ‘Big Bone’ pressure point, she must raise her saber to attack. At this time the attack must be fast and then you’ll be able to snatch her saber.”

The girl in black said, “Huh, it won’t be that easy.”

Yelu Qi said, “It will be like that.” As he said this he used his right hand to attack her ‘Scholarly Arm’ pressure point. This palm was sent out in a crisscross, blocking all her paths to the front, back and right, leaving only a space to the left. If the girl wants to avoid his palm she must retreat two steps. Yelu Qi nodded his head and indeed, he did strike her ‘Big Bone’ pressure point.

The girl had always remembered, “I mustn’t raise my saber to counterattack.” But in this situation the only way to get any sort of advantage is to raise the saber and slash down; at that time she didn’t think for long, she raised her saber and slashed down.

Yelu Qi said, “Just like that!” Everyone thought he was going to snatch the saber away but who would have thought that he would take his right arm back and put his hands together in his sleeve. The girl had not slashed down with her saber yet, when she saw his arms in his sleeves she stopped momentarily. Yelu Qi suddenly stretched out his right arm, his two fingers held the saber’s blade and he lifted up; the girl could not hold on, her saber was snatched away.

After the crowd of people saw this great skill they stood there for a while, the room quiet as though empty. The girl in black stood there without moving, her face looked dejected. Everyone thought, “Second Master hasn’t made another move, he’s giving her a chance to run away. If she doesn’t escape, what does she want?”

Yelu Qi slowly moved away and said to Yelu Yan, “She hasn’t got a weapon now, fight with her again, be a bit braver and be more aware of her palms and kicks.”

Yelu Yan stepped forward two steps and said, “Wanyan Ping, we are giving you a chance to run, but you still remain here and keep forcing us to fight, will you not give up today?”

Wanyan Ping did not reply, her head lowered in deep thought. Yelu Yan said, “If you want to fight with me then quickly get it over with!” After she said this she dashed forward and threw two fists towards her front. Wanyan Ping leapt back and said coldly, “Give back my saber.”

Yelu Yan was startled and said, “My brother took away your weapon so we could have a fair fight, why are you asking for your weapon?” She said, “Fine!” She took the Willow Leaf Saber from her brother’s hand and flung it towards her.

A guard offered out his saber and said, “Third mistress, you use a weapon as well.” Yelu Yan said “No.” But then she thought, “I can’t beat her empty handed, we’ll compete with sabers.” She took the saber and tried out two slashes, the sword was a bit on the heavy side but she could use it if she had to.

Wanyan Ping’s face was pale white, her left hand raised her saber, her right hand pointed at Yelu Chucai and said, “Yelu Chucai, you helped the Mongols kill my parents; I won’t be able to take my revenge in this life. We’ll sort this out in hell!” After she finished her words her left hand raised the saber and moved it towards her neck.

Yang Guo heard her words and saw that her eyes and expression was cold and mournful. His heart jumped, his chest was in pain, his voice cracked as he said, “Gu Gu!”

At this time, Wanyan Ping had raised her saber to kill herself. Yelu Qi dashed forward two steps, his right arm came out and stretched out his two fingers and snatched the saber back again, and sealed her arm’s pressure points. He said, “You’re fine at the moment, why must you be so short sighted?” The time it took the saber to rise and its being snatched away happened in a flash. By the time the crowd of people saw what had happened, the saber was in Yelu Qi’s hand. Everyone in the room let out a call of surprise, no one noticed Yang Guo’s shout of ‘Gu Gu’, but Lu Wushuang was by his side and heard what he had said, she quietly whispered, “Who are you calling? Is she your Gu Gu?”

Yang Guo quickly replied, “No! No.” When he saw Wanyan Ping’s eyes showing a feeling of hurt and grief, her expression was bleak; it was just the way Xiao Longnu had looked like when she left him. After he saw this he was sentimental and mad; he didn’t know where he was.

Yelu Chucai slowly said, “Miss Wanyan, you have tried to kill me three times. I am the Prime Minister of Mongolia; I overturned your country and killed your parents. But do you know who killed my ancestors?” Wanyan Ping shook her head and said, “I don’t know.”

Yelu Chucai said, “My ancestor were Da Liao’s (Khitan) royals; Da Liao was conquered by the Jin. The Wanyans didn’t leave many of us behind. When I was young I made an oath; I will help the Khan of Mongolia to rid the world of you Jin. Ah… When will this cycle of revenge end?” When he said these two last sentences, he looked out of the window and thought about how helping these countries to fight for power had resulted in the loss of many lives; mountains of bodies and rivers of blood were a result.

Wanyan Ping had no reply, she revealed a few of her white teeth as she bit down on her lip; she gave a grunt and said to Yelu Qi, “I failed three times because my abilities aren’t good enough; I want to leave it at that. I want to kill myself, what does that have to do with you?”

Yelu Qi said, “If Miss promises that she won’t come back to seek revenge again then you can go!”

Wanyan Ping gave another ‘huh’ sound and stared angrily. Yelu Qi used the handle of the Willow Leaf Saber and touched her waist lightly, unsealing her pressure points. He then threw the saber back towards her. Wanyan Ping struggled to catch it but eventually did, she said, “Master Yelu, you have let me go many times and have held back each time, do you think I don’t know this? It’s just that the debts between the Wanyans and Yelu’s are as deep as the sea, I must avenge my parents.”

Yelu Qi thought, “That girl insists on following us, and she’s not weak; if I leave father’s side just a few steps what will happen then? Ah, why don’t I force her into coming after me only?” He clearly said, “Miss Wanyan, you are seeking revenge on behalf of your parents, I admire your will. It’s just that the older generation’s matters should be dealt with by the older generations. We juniors have our own debts. The matter between our families should be dealt with between us; if you want to take revenge, find me. If you go after my father again, then next time we meet I will not make it easy for you.”

Wanyan Ping said, “Huh, my martial arts aren’t as good as yours, how can I avenge my parents? Just leave it, leave it.” She turned around to exit. Yelu Qi knew that as soon as she leaves she plans to end her life. He wanted to save her and chuckled, “Huh, the Wanyan girl has no will.”

Wanyan Ping stopped and turned around and said, “How do I have no will?”

Yelu Qi chuckled and said, “You are correct when you said my skills are higher than yours, but what’s so good about that? It’s only because I have been taught by a great Master, and not because I have some kind of great ability. Your “Iron Palm” kung fu is one of the best palm techniques; it’s just that the person who taught you has not reached a refined stage. You have only begun to practice it recently; of course it will be hard for you to defeat enemies with it. You are young, all you’ve got do is to find a better Master, can’t you do this?” Wanyan Ping was angry originally but after hearing these words she nodded.

Yelu Qi continued, “Every time I fight with you I only use my right hand it’s not because I’m arrogant. It’s just that my left hand is strong, every attack aims to hurt someone. How about this, after you’ve studied under a better Master, you can come and find me at anytime. All you’ve got to do is to force me to use my left hand and my life will be in your hands.” He knew that the difference between their skills was great. Even after getting advice from a skilled teacher, it will be hard for  her  to  beat  his  one  hand.  When someone wants to kill themselves its just an impulsive decision; once she searches for  a  Master,  her priorities will change and eventually the thought of killing herself will have gone.

Wanyan Ping thought, “You’re not a god! I’ll practice hard; do you think I won’t be able use my two hands to beat your one hand?” She raised her saber in the air and slashed down and she said, “The words of a gentlemen”

Yelu Qi finished, “A whip on a fast horse!” Wanyan Ping did not look at the crowd and held her head high as she left, but her face could not hide her anguish. When the guards saw that second Master had let her go, they didn’t dare to block her. They all paid their respects to Yelu Chucai and exited. Yelu Jin saw that this event was like heaven and earth turning upside down. Yang Guo did not show himself, he was surprised.

Yelu Yan said, “Second Brother, why did you let her go again?” Yelu Qi said, “What?”

Yelu Yan smiled and said, “If you want her to be my sister in law then you shouldn’t have let her go.” Yelu Qi’s face turned serious and said “Don’t talk rubbish!”

Yelu Yan saw that he was serious, she was afraid that he would get angry so didn’t tease again.

When Yang Guo heard Yelu Yan say ‘want her to be my sister in law’, for no reason at all his heart ached slightly. He saw that Wanyan Ping was heading in a south easterly direction and said to Lu Wushuang, “I’ll go and take a look.” Lu Wushuang said, “Look at what?” Yang Guo didn’t reply and utilized his lightness kung fu and chased after her.

Wanyan Ping’s martial arts skills weren’t strong but her lightness kung fu was good, Yang Guo chased after her but only saw her again after they were outside the Colt Dragon Stockade town. He saw her arriving at a manor; she opened the door and entered. Yang Guo followed and hid by the wall. After half an hour, a light could be seen from the double room in the western wing, followed by a long sigh. That long sigh contained much anguish, hate and worry. Yang Guo heard this from outside the window; he was startled and was moved. Unconsciously he too gave out a long sigh. Wanyan Ping heard that someone was sighing outside her window so she quickly blew out the light and went over to the wall and quietly asked, “Who is it?”

Yang Guo said, “Someone like you, someone whose heart is in pain.”

Wanyan Ping was startled; she heard that his voice did not seem to carry any evil intent so she asked, “Who exactly are you?”

Yang Guo said, “There’s a saying; ‘When a gentleman wants revenge, ten years is not long’. You failed a few times and then wanted to kill yourself; are you viewing your life with disregard? What about your revenge, aren’t you disregarding that matter even more?”

A creaking sound was heard as the doors were opened; Wanyan Ping lit a candle and said, “Please enter.” Yang Guo made a bow outside the door and entered. Wanyan Ping saw that he was dressed in the clothes of a Mongolian General and was very young. She was astounded and said, “Your advice makes sense, could I have pleasure of knowing your name?”

Yang Guo didn’t reply, he placed his arms in his sleeves and said, “That Yelu Qi talks big, thinking that only using his right arm makes him highly skilled. Sealing pressure points and snatching a saber away, how hard can it be if it’s done with no hands?”

Wanyan Ping objected to this but because she didn’t know he was teasing she didn’t rebuke him.

Yang Guo said, “I’ll teach you three stances and you’ll be able to force Yelu Qi to use both hands. I’ll fight with you now, I won’t use my arms and legs, how about that?”

Wanyan Ping was shocked, she thought, “Could it be that you know some kind of witchcraft, you could blow me down in one breath?”

Yang Guo saw that she was hesitating and said, “Use your saber; if I can’t avoid it then I’ll die without complaining.”

Wanyan Ping said, “Fine, I won’t use my saber, I’ll only use my fists and palms.”

Yang Guo shook his head and said, “No, you’ll only believe me if I can snatch away your saber without using my arms and legs.”

Wanyan Ping saw that he seemed to be joking but serious at the same time. She was slightly angry and said, “I have never heard or seen someone who has your abilities.” As she finished she waved her saber and slashed down at his shoulder. She saw that Yang Guo’s hands were in his sleeves as if nothing was happening. She was afraid that she would hurt him so moved her saber slightly to the side. Yang Guo understood, he didn’t move and said, “Don’t hold back, and hack down for real!” The Willow Leaf Saber hacked down; there were only a few inches between the saber and his shoulder. Wanyan Ping saw that he didn’t make body movements and respected his courage, she thought, “Is he a demon?” The Willow Leaf Saber slanted and hacked down, she wasn’t holding back with this slash. Yang Guo lowered his body and the saber brushed past him; there were only a few inches in between. Wanyan Ping concentrated; she raised her saber and slashed down again. Yang Guo dodged past the slash and said, “You can add your palm attacks as well.”

Wanyan Ping said, “Fine.” The saber slashed across, followed by a palm.

Yang Guo slanted his body and evaded these attacks and said, “There’s no harm in going faster.”

Wanyan Ping started to use her saber techniques, she used her palms in between, and it became faster as she used them. Yang Guo said, “Your palms are swift, it’s better than your saber techniques. Yelu Qi said this was the “Iron Palm” technique, is it?”

Wanyan Ping nodded; her attacks became even more lethal. Yang Guo’s hands were still in his sleeves, it floated around in between the saber and palms. Wanyan Ping used a saber and her “Iron Palm” but didn’t even manage to touch his clothes. She had used over half her saber techniques and Yang Guo said, “Careful, within three moves I’ll take your saber.” Wanyan Ping respected him but still did not believe him. Would he be able to take her saber in three moves? She couldn’t stop herself from holding the handle of the saber even tighter and said, “Come and get it!” She slashed her saber across using the stance “Qin’s Crossing” (yun heng qin ling) and slashed across his throat. Yang Guo lowered his head and darted below the blade; he slanted his head and his forehead struck her elbow’s ‘Crooked Pond’ pressure point. Wanyan Ping’s arm went numb, her fingers lost their strength. Yang Guo moved his head up and opened his mouth; he lightly and skillfully snatched the saber away. His head moved, the handle of the saber struck her side, hitting a pressure point. Yang Guo raised his head and loosened his teeth, he flung the saber upwards a ways so he could speak clearly, he said, “How about it, are you in awe?” As he finished the saber dropped back down, he opened his mouth and caught it. He laughed as he looked at her. Wanyan Ping was startled but pleased, she nodded her head.

Yang Guo saw that her eyes were sparkling, her beauty was enchanting and moving, he couldn’t stop himself from wanting to hold her, kiss her. But this was too daring, he bit down on the saber as his face blushed.

How could Wanyan Ping know what he was thinking, she saw that he had a strange expression and was slightly surprised. She felt her whole body going soft, her legs were about to give way and she would fall over. Yang Guo stepped forward, he was just about an inch away, he wanted to fling the saber away and kiss her on her eyelids when he suddenly thought, “She’s touched by the respect that Yelu Qi treats her with, could it be that I’m inferior to him? Huh, I want to beat him in every department.” He lowered his head and swung it; the handle of the saber touched her waist and unsealed her pressure points. He offered the handle to her.

Wanyan Ping did not take the saber; her knees bent down onto the floor and said, “I beg Master to teach me, I’ll be forever indebted to you if I can avenge my parents.”

Yang Guo quickly picked her up and took the saber from his mouth, he said, “How can I be your Master? However, I can still teach you a method to take Yelu Qi’s life.”

Wanyan Ping was pleased and said, “As long as I can kill him. I’m not afraid of his brother and sister and then I’ll be able to kill his father.” She suddenly thought of someone and sadly said, “Ai… by the time I’ve achieved the ability to kill him, will Master Yelu still be alive? I still won’t be able to avenge my parents’ death.”

Yang Guo laughed and said, “That Yelu Chucai’s life will still be there for you to take.” Wanyan Ping wondered, “How?”

Yang Guo said, “How hard is it to take Yelu Qi’s life? I’ll teach you three stances, you’ll be able to kill him tonight.”

Wanyan Ping had tried to kill Yelu Chucai three times, but each time Yelu Qi stopped her. She knew that Yelu Qi’s skills were ten times better than her’s, she thought that although the young Mongolian general in front of her was skilled, he may not be able to beat Yelu Qi. Even if he could beat him, there is no way that teaching her three moves will allow her to kill Yelu Qi. And to kill him tonight was even more difficult. She was afraid that Yang Guo would get angry so she didn’t say anything to rebuke him. She just shook her head slightly, and her eyes showed that she was thinking that he was mad.

Yang Guo knew what she was thinking and said, “Correct, my kung fu may not be better than his. If we really fought, it could be that I would have more losses than wins. But teaching you three moves to take his life is not a difficult task. I’m only afraid that because he spared you three times you won’t kill him.”

Wanyan Ping’s heart shook, and immediately said without any feelings, “Though he has been kind to me, I must avenge my parents.”

Yang Guo said, “Fine, I’ll teach you the three stances. If you have the chance to kill him and you spare him, what then?”

Wanyan Ping said, “I’ll do whatever you say. With your ability, you can beat me or kill me, how can I escape?”

Yang Guo thought, “How can I kill you? If you kill him or not, what has that got to do with me?” So he chuckled and said, “Actually doing the three stances isn’t anything special. Watch carefully.” He picked up the saber and slowly slashed from the left to the right, and said, “The first stance, it’s “Qin’s Crossing”.”

Wanyan Ping thought, “I already know that move, who needs you to teach it to me?” She saw the saber coming towards her and slanted her body to avoid it. Yang Guo suddenly stretched out his hand and grabbed her right hand and said, “The second stance is the stance that you’ve used twice before, “The Rattan around the Tree”.” Wanyan Ping nodded and said, “Yes, it’s my “Iron Palm’s” trapping hand stance.”

Yang Guo held her soft and smooth hand, his heart stirred and he smiled and said, “You should have learned the Jade Flesh Palm kung fu, why did you learn the “Iron Palm’s” capturing hand kung fu?”

Wanyan Ping didn’t know he was joking and said, “Is there a “Jade Flesh Palm”? The name sounds beautiful.” She felt him holding her palm, tight and then loose, the force behind it was extremely light, she felt that this palm technique wasn’t as lethal as her “Iron Palm’s” capturing hand techniques and thought, “I know the first two stances that you are teaching me, could it be that just with the third stance, Yelu Qi could be killed?”

Yang Guo stared at her eyes and said, “Watch closely!” Suddenly he flipped his wrist and slashed the sword towards his neck.

Wanyan Ping was startled and called out, “What are you doing?” Her right hand was held tightly by Yang Guo, she quickly stretched out her left hand to snatch away his saber. Even though it was an urgent situation, her “Iron Palm’s” capturing hand came out with great accuracy, she grabbed his wrist and pulled backwards, the saber was pulled away from his neck. Yang Guo loosened his hand and took two steps back. He laughed and said, “Do you understand?”

Wanyan Ping wasn’t settled yet; her heart was jumping all over the place, and didn’t understand what he meant.

Yang Guo laughed and said, “First use “Qin’s Crossing” and then use “The Rattan around the Tree” holding tightly to his right hand, the third stance is to kill yourself; he will definitely rescue you with his left hand. He swore an oath to you, all you’ve got to do is to force him to use his left hand and he’ll let you kill him without objecting. Won’t that do?”

Wanyan Ping thought this would happen, she stared at him, startled.

Yang Guo said, “Those three stances will not fail; if it doesn’t work I’ll kowtow to you.”

Wanyan Ping shook her head and said, “He said he won’t use his left hand, he definitely won’t. What then?”

Yang Guo said, “What about it? Since you’ll never be able to avenge your parents then won’t dying be a clean solution?”

Wanyan Ping nodded her head mournfully and said, “You are right. Thank you for the advice. Who exactly are you?”

Before Yang Guo replied, a girl’s voice from outside the window called out, “He’s called Sha Dan; don’t listen to what he says.”

When Yang Guo heard Lu Wushuang’s voice he laughed and didn’t reply. Wanyan Ping went over to the window and saw a black image, a person leapt over the wall.

Wanyan Ping wanted to chase after them but Yang Guo pulled her hand and laughed, he said, “There’s no need to chase after her, it’s my companion. She loves to make trouble for me.”

She looked at him and thought deeply for a while, and said, “Since you don’t want to tell me then I won’t force you. I believe that your have good intentions.”

Yang Guo saw her eyes sparkled, her expression was crystal clear, he couldn’t stop himself from being filled with pity and sympathy, and he pulled her hand and sat shoulder to shoulder on the bed. He softly said, “My surname is Yang, first name Guo, I’m a Han, not a Mongol. I’m like you, my parents are also dead.”

When Wanyan Ping heard his words her heart felt sad, two tear drops escaped from her eyes. Yang Guo was emotional and suddenly cried out. Wanyan Ping took out a handkerchief from her pocket and gave it to him. Yang Guo took it and wiped his face, he remembered his past and more tears rained down. Wanyan Ping smiled and said, “Master Yang, you’re making me cry now.”

Yang Guo said, “Don’t call me Master Yang. How old are you?” Wanyan Ping said, “I’m eighteen, what about you?”

Yang Guo said, “I’m eighteen as well.” He thought, “If I’m born later than her and she calls me little brother, it won’t seem right.” I was born in the first month; you can call me big brother Yang. I won’t be formal with you; I’ll call you sister Wanyan.”

Wanyan Ping blushed, she felt that he was straightforward and extremely strange but it seemed that he had no ill intentions towards her so she nodded her head. When Yang Guo saw that she nodded her head he was pleased. Wanyan Ping’s face was elegant, she was slim but she’s had tragic experiences, it seemed that she was born to attract sympathy and pity. But what was most important was that her eyes and Xiao Longnu’s were extremely alike. He didn’t consider the fact that when someone’s heart is full of grief, their eyes will be filled with sorrow and anguish. Everyone is different in this world, when he thought that her eyes looked like Xiao Longnu’s he was just consoling himself. As he stared into her eyes, he imagined her black clothes were white; he turned her slim and oval face into Xiao Longnu’s beautiful face. He was in a daze as he stared at her, his face revealed an expression of beseeching, of being sentimental, of affection, of love. Wanyan Ping was slightly afraid and lightly pulled her hand away, she quietly said, “What are you doing?”

Yang Guo woke up from his dream and sighed. He said, “Nothing. Are you going to kill him?” Wanyan Ping said, “I’m going now. Brother Yang, are you coming with me?”

Yang Guo was about to say “Of course” but then he thought, “If I’m there, she will know that she has strong backup. She won’t really commit herself to suicide; Yelu Qi will not fall into the trap.” He said, “I’m not going with you.”

Wanyan Ping’s eyes showed some signs of disappointment. Yang Guo’s heart softened, he was about to agree when Wanyan Ping suddenly said quietly, “Fine brother Yang, I’m afraid I won’t see you again.”

Yang Guo quickly said, “Why…why…I…”

Wanyan Ping shook her head she exited the manor and in a flash had arrived at the Yelu’s residence. At that time, Yelu Chucai and the others were about to go to bed. Wanyan Ping knocked twice at the front door and clearly said, “Wanyan Ping wants to see Master Yelu Qi.”

Some guards were about to go up to her and block her way when Yelu Qi opened the door and asked, “What can I do for Miss Wanyan.”

Wanyan Ping said, “I want to test your skills.”

Yelu Qi wondered, “How come you don’t admit your limits?” He slanted his body and stretched out his right hand and said, “Please enter.”

Wanyan Ping entered the room with her saber and unleashed three strokes with it, sandwiched between the slashes were six “Iron Palms”, this “One Slash with Two Palms” attacked together from the left and right. Yelu Qi’s left hand hung down, his right hand chopped and grabbed as he neutralized the three slashes and six palms. He thought, “How can I force her to go away and stop her from bothering our family ever again?” The two fought for a while and Wanyan Ping was about to use the three stances that Yang Guo taught her, when a girl’s voice from outside called out, “Yelu Qi, she wants to trick you into using your left hand, careful.” It was Lu Wushuang.

Yelu Qi was startled, Wanyan Ping didn’t give him time to think and immediately used a stance of Qin’s Crossing” and waited for him to slant his body to dodge it. She stretched out her left arm and used “The Rattan around the Tree”, she grabbed his right arm, and her right arm turned over and slashed the saber towards her throat. In that short period of time many thoughts ran through Yelu Qi’s mind, “Must I save her? But she’s tricking me into using my left hand, once I use it my life will be in her hands. How can a gentleman stand by and do nothing?”

Yang Guo had seen through Yelu Qi’s thoughts, once the three stances were out, he would definitely try to rescue her, but he couldn’t have predicted that Lu Wushuang will have popped up and messed with the plan, informing Yelu Qi of the danger.

The plan wouldn’t have worked, but Yelu Qi was heroic and generous, he knew that if he saved her his life would be hers. In this danger he still stretched out his left hand and blocked Wanyan Ping’s right wrist, his wrist turned and took her Willow Leaf Saber. After these three stances, each one of them took two steps back. Yelu Qi didn’t wait for her to open her mouth and threw the saber back and said, “You have forced me to use my left hand, you can kill me but I have one request.”

Wanyan Ping’s face was pale and said, “What is it?”

Yelu Qi said, “I beg you not to harm my father.” Wanyan Ping gave a ‘humph’ grunt and walked forward, she raised the saber; under the candlelight she could see that he was still calm, and saw his manly air. She thought about how he used his left hand to save her, how could she hack him down? The intent to kill in her eyes slowly turned to peace, she threw down her saber and left.

She ran without thinking and someone followed her steps until she arrived at a stream outside the town. She stared at the reflection of the stars in the stream, her mind and heart in a mess. After a while, she sighed. Suddenly, a sighing noise could be heard from behind. Wanyan Ping was startled, she turned around and saw someone standing behind her; it was Yang Guo. She called out ‘Brother Yang’ and didn’t say anything else.

Yang Guo went forwards and held her hands; he consoled her, “Avenging your parents isn’t an easy thing to do. There is no rush.”

Wanyan Ping said, “You saw everything?” Yang Guo nodded. Wanyan Ping said, “Of course it will be hard for one as useless as me to avenge their parents. All I need is half your ability and I wouldn’t be in this situation.”

Yang Guo took her hand and led her to under a tree where they sat next to each other and said, “Even if you learned everything I know, what use is it? Although you can’t avenge your parents now, at least you know who to take revenge against; won’t you have chances again in the future? What about me? I don’t even know how my father died, let alone who killed him, I can’t even talk about revenge.”

Wanyan Ping froze and said, “Your parents were killed by someone too?”

Yang Guo sighed and said, “My mother died from an illness, my father died without reason. I never saw my father.”

Wanyan Ping said, “How do you know?”

Yang Guo said, “By the time I was born, my father had died. I ask my mother how did my father die, who is our enemy? Every time I asked mother she would always end up in tears and wouldn’t reply. After a while I stopped asking. At that time I thought it wouldn’t be too late if I asked her when I get a bit older; but I didn’t think that mother would die suddenly. Before she died I asked her again. Mother just shook her head and said, “Your father… your father… ai… son, don’t ever, ever think about revenge. Promise mother that you’ll never think about avenging your father.” I was sad and grief stricken, I called out,  “I  won’t promise, I won’t promise!” Mother didn’t breathe again and died. Ai…tell  me  what  should  I  do?”  He wanted to say these words to console Wanyan Ping but after he finished he himself was sad. There’s a saying, ‘One mustn’t live under the same sky as the person who killed your father”. If someone didn’t avenge their father, that is the most unfilial thing to do; they would suffer disgrace and humiliation and be despised by other people. Yang Guo didn’t even know the name of his father’s killer; he had hidden this matter in his heart for a long time, now that he got it off his chest, his voice was filled with sadness and anger.

Wanyan Ping said, “Who brought you up?”

Yang Guo said, “Who else? It was me of course. Once my mother died I wandered around the world of Jianghu, I asked for a meal here and pleaded for shelter there, sometimes I couldn’t endure hunger any longer and would steal a melon or a potato from a family. I always got caught and got beaten for a while. Look, I have many scars, my bones stick out, and these are all from when I got beaten when I was younger.” He smiled and rolled up his leg for her to see. The stars and moonlight was indistinct, Wanyan Ping could not see clearly, Yang Guo took her hand and rubbed it over the scars on his lower leg. Wanyan Ping could make out the bumps of the scars and couldn’t stop her heart from aching. She thought about herself, how although she has lost her family, her father had many old friends and acquaintances, and had left money and treasures; compared to him, she was a lot more fortunate.

The two were silent for a while, Wanyan Ping pulled her hand lightly away from his leg but her hand was still held by him, she quietly asked, “How did you learn your great martial arts? And how did you become a Mongolian official?”

Yang Guo smiled and said, “I’m not a Mongolian official. I’m wearing Mongolian clothes so I can hide from my enemy.”

Wanyan Ping was pleased and said, “That’s good.” Yang Guo asked, “What’s good?”

Wanyan Ping’s face turned slightly red and said, “The Mongols are the mortal enemies of the Jin, of course I hoped that you weren’t a Mongolian official.”

Yang Guo held onto her soft and smooth hand, his mind wasn’t settled, and said, “If I was a Jin official, how would you treat me?”

When Wanyan Ping saw that he was handsome and skilled in martial arts, she had liked him a bit, and now in her troubled times she had his help. She heard about his past and sympathized with him even more. Right now, she heard his voice had some ill intent but she was not angry and sighed, saying, “If my father was alive, whatever you wanted, my father could have given it to you. Now my parents are gone, what use is there in talking about it?” Yang Guo heard her voice was gentle and peaceful, he stretched out his hand and placed it on her shoulder and whispered into her ear, “Sister, I have one request.”

Wanyan Ping’s heart jumped, she had an idea as to what he wanted to ask and quietly asked, “What?”

Yang Guo said, “I want to kiss your eyes, relax! I just want to kiss your eyes; I won’t do anything to violate you.”

Wanyan Ping had thought that he wanted to ask for her hand in marriage, and was afraid that he wanted to get intimate, if she refused and he used a little force, how would she be a match for him?

She was a girl touched by young love, her hand was tightly held by his strong, coarse hand;  she  was enchanted by the tangles of love. Without saying he would use force and even if he didn’t use force, it was hard for her to refuse. Who would think that all he wanted was to kiss her eyes; she couldn’t stop herself from letting out a sigh of relief, but there was a touch of disappointment in her heart. She felt surprise and her heart was tangled up like thread. Her eyes sparkled as  she  stared  at  him,  startled,  her  eyes revealed a touch of shyness. Yang Guo stared at her eyes and remembered the time Xiao Longnu left him. Her shy and loving eyes stared at him; he couldn’t help groaning and he jumped up.

Wanyan Ping flinched in fright; she wanted to ask what it was but couldn’t open her mouth.

Yang Guo’s heart was in a mess, all he saw in front of him were Xiao Longnu’s eyes. That last day when he saw her eyes, he was a young boy who wasn’t yet clear about things; he respected Xiao Longnu but didn’t understand what her words meant. After leaving the mountain, he had now spent a few days with Lu Wushuang; and now he was brushing Wanyan Ping’s face by the side of her ear. Suddenly his heart came alive, he understood now, he now understood the affection and love of Xiao Longnu. He couldn’t refrain from feeling thousands of regrets and grief. He wanted to run into a tree and kill himself. He thought, “Gu Gu loves me deeply and said she wanted to be my wife. I unexpectedly rejected her good intentions; where on earth do I start searching for her?” He suddenly cried out and threw himself forward, holding Wanyan Ping, and kissed her eyes forcefully.

When Wanyan Ping saw his forceful and mad actions she was frightened and pleased; she felt his arms were like metal, holding tightly to her waist, she closed her eyes and let him do what he wanted. She felt his lips kiss her eyes only and didn’t move from them. She thought how although his action is forceful, he kept his word, but she didn’t know why he kissed her eyes only.

Abruptly Yang Guo called out, “Gu Gu, Gu Gu!” The voice carried  the  warmth  of  love,  yet  it  carried extreme sorrow. Wanyan Ping was about to ask him who is he calling out when suddenly a girl’s voice from behind said, “May I trouble you two!”

Yang Guo and Wanyan Ping were both startled; they both jumped away from each other and saw someone standing by the tree. That person wore a blue green gown.

Wanyan Ping’s heart was still jumping; her face red, she lowered her head and tugged at the corner of her clothes, and didn’t dare look at the person.

Yang Guo recognized this person, it was the one who had lured Li Mochou away from the inn a few days ago; he and Lu Wushuang had their lives saved thanks to that person. She had two knots of hair on her head, it was a girl; he bowed deeply and said, “I won’t forget Miss’s help that day.”

The girl returned the greeting and said, “Master Yang, at this moment in time do you still remember your companion?”

Yang Guo said, “You are talking about…”

The girl clearly said, “Li Mochou and her disciple have just captured her!”

Yang Guo was shocked; his voice quivered and said, “Really? Is she …she in danger?”

The girl clearly said, “She will be alright for the time being. Miss Lu said that the beggars took the codex, the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’ is holding her and chasing after them. Her life will be safe for the moment but she won’t avoid torture.”

Yang Guo called out, “We’ll quickly go and rescue her.”

The girl shook her head and said, “Master Yang’s kung fu is high but I’m afraid you are still not a match for the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’. There is no use in us losing our lives in vain.”

Under the flat starlight he saw that the girl’s face was unspeakably ugly, the flesh on the face did not move, like the face of a dead person. When one sees it, they can’t refrain from being terrified. Yang Guo looked at her a few times and then didn’t dare to look at her again, but thought, “That girl is a kind and considerate person, but she has such an odd face, what a pity. If I look at her again, I’ll show some signs of being shocked; I’ll offend her then.” He asked, “Can I have the name of Miss?”

The girl said, “There is no need to remember such a lowly name, Master Yang will know it in the near future; what’s most important now is to think of a way to rescue Miss Lu.” When she talked, the flesh on her face didn’t move, if one didn’t hear words coming from her mouth, they would think that she was a walking corpse. But it’s strange, her voice was simple, soft, and gentle, it could revitalize a tired person and make one forget their worries.

Yang Guo said, “Since it is so, we’ll rely on Miss’s advice to rescue Miss Lu. I will listen to your orders.”

The girl was courteous and said, “Master Yang please don’t be so formal, your skills are better than mine ten times over. When it comes to intelligence, I’m even further behind. You are older than me, and you are a man; whatever you say we’ll do; this young girl will follow your decisions.”

Yang Guo heard that these words were polite and gracious, his heart had an incredibly comfortable feeling, he thought that although the girl’s face was frightening, her words were gentle and soothing; one should not judge someone by their looks. He pondered and then said, “How about we follow them in secret and make the rescue when the chance comes.”

The girl said, “That’s a good idea; but what about Miss Wanyan?” As she said this she moved away and let the two discuss the matter.

Yang Guo said, “Sister, I need to go and rescue a friend, we’ll meet again some day.”

Wanyan Ping lowered her head and said, “Although my abilities  are  low, I  can still  be  of  help. Brother Yang, I’ll follow and help you in your rescue.”

Yang Guo was pleased and said, “Good, good!” He raised his voice and said to the blue green girl, “Miss, Miss Wanyan is willing to come along with us for the rescue.”

The girl came closer and said to Wanyan Ping, “Miss Wanyan, you are of an important status, you must think about this. Our enemy is extremely ruthless and vindictive; people in Jianghu call her the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’. It’s really is in one’s best interests to avoid her.” Her tone was still courteous and polite.

Wanyan Ping said, “Without mentioning the fact that I’m indebted to brother Yang, his business is my business. A friend like sister is definitely worth making. I’ll follow sister and we’ll be cautious.”

The girl came over and held her hand and softly said, “Nothing could be better than that. You are older than me, call me younger sister.”

In the dark, Wanyan Ping could not see her ugly face, but she heard her soft and gentle voice, a soft and tender hand held onto hers, she assumed that she was a beautiful girl. She was happy and asked, “How old are you?”

The girl laughed lightly and said, “Let’s not compare our ages. Master Yang, what’s most important now is to rescue your friend, is it not?”

Yang Guo said, “Yes. Can Miss please show us the way?”

The girl said, “I saw them heading in a southeast direction, they must be heading for Wuguan.”

The three then utilized their lightness kung fu and hurried to the southeast. The Ancient Tomb sect’s kung fu’s forte is lightness kung fu; it could be classed as the world’s number one. Wanyan Ping’s martial arts may not be anything special but her lightness kung fu was not weak. How was it that the girl in blue green followed behind her without breaking speed? When Wanyan Ping was going fast, she went fast, when she slowed down, the girl slowed down, the gap between them remained constant at one or two paces. Yang Guo was secretly surprised, “What sect is that girl from? From her lightness kung fu, her skills are higher than sister Wanyan's.” He didn’t want to lead the two girls and so slipped to the rear.

They traveled until the sky became bright; the girl took out some food from her bag and gave it to the two. Yang Guo saw that although her blue green gown was plain and natural, its design was exquisite, it fitted perfectly to her body. On her, the gown showed off her slim, graceful and elegant disposition, it was superior to embroidered clothing. Water, food and all other supplies were prepared by her, showing off how meticulous and careful she was.

Wanyan Ping saw her face and was startled; she didn’t dare to take any more glances and thought, “Is there such an ugly girl on this earth?”

The girl waited for the two to finish their food and said, “Master Yang, Li Mochou knows you, yes?” Yang Guo said, “She’s seen me a few times.” The girl took out a thin towel like object from her bag and said, “This is a human skin mask, when you wear it she won’t be able to recognize you.”

Yang Guo took it in his hand and saw that the mask had four holes for the eyes, mouth and nose, when he placed it on his face it matched the shape of his face, like as if he was born with it, he thanked her with joy.

Wanyan Ping saw Yang Guo put on the mask, his face was now extremely ugly and then she understood, “Sister, so you’re wearing a human skin mask as well; I’m really foolish, I thought you really were born with that weird face. I’m really sorry.”

The girl gave a quiet laugh and said, “With Master Yang’s handsome face, wearing this mask is asking a lot from him. With my face, it’s the same whether I wear it or not.”

Wanyan Ping said, “I don’t believe that! Sister, could you take off your mask and let me see your face?”

Yang Guo also was curious and he too was anxious to see her face, but the girl took two steps back and laughed, and said, “Don’t look, don’t look, my face will scare you guys.” Wanyan Ping saw that she won’t take it off and so didn’t ask her again.

By midday the three arrived at Wuguan. They found a restaurant in the town and had something to eat. The waiters saw Yang Guo was wearing Mongolian clothes and didn’t dare to be slow; they made sure they tended to his needs first. The three were halfway through their food when they saw three females enter the restaurant; it was Li Mochou and her disciple along with Lu Wushuang as their captive.

Yang Guo thought that although Li Mochou could not possibly recognize him at this moment in time, his strange face would attract her suspicions. It wouldn’t be convenient for him to act so he turned around and ate his rice, shifting his body to hear their conservation. Who would think that Lu Wushuang would not make a sound? After Li Mochou and Hong Lingbo ordered, they too didn’t speak.

Wanyan Ping had heard Yang Guo describe Li Mochou and her disciples before. She was anxious and dipped her chopstick into a bowl of soup and wrote on the table, “Time to move?”

Yang Guo thought, “Even with the three us and ‘Wifey’ it’ll be hard for us to beat the two of them. We can only win by using our brains, we can’t use force.” He waved his chopstick.

There were footsteps from the stairs and two people emerged. Wanyan Ping glanced over; it was Yelu Qi and Yelu Yan. The two people also noticed that Wanyan Ping was there and both were surprised; they nodded and then found a table to sit down. The two knew that Wanyan Ping had left and wasn’t going to try to assassinate their father again so they left their father and brother and went traveling. They were even more relaxed when they saw Wanyan Ping was here.

Li Mochou was troubled by the fact that the ‘Five Poison Codex’ had fallen into the hands of the Beggar Clan. These past few days she had no appetite for food; she just ate half a bowl of noodles and then placed her chopsticks on the table. She raised her head and looked out of the restaurant; on the corner of the street she saw two beggars, on their backs their were five pockets, they were five band beggar clan members. She had a thought and went over to the window, she signaled to the beggars and said, “Beggar Clan members, please come here, This Taoist priestess has a message for your clan’s chief.” She knew that if she asked them to come up for no reason, they might not come, but if she said she had a message for their chief, they would definitely come. Lu Wushuang heard her Master calling the beggars and knew that she wanted to inquire about the whereabouts of the ‘Five Poison Codex’; her face couldn’t refrain from turning white. Yelu Qi knew that the Beggar Clan was a powerful force up here in the north, yet this beautiful priestess actually had something to say to them; he didn’t know who she was, his curiosity was roused, he stopped drinking and watched them.

In a short while, the sound of footsteps could be heard outside, two Beggar Clan members entered and greeted Li Mochou and said, “What does the Angelic Priestess want, we’ll honor the request.” After they greeted her they stood up. One of the beggars saw that  Lu  Wushuang  was  present  and  his  face immediately changed, he had tangled with her before, he  pulled  his  friend  and  leapt  to  the  stairs entrance.

Li Mochou gave a wry smile and said, “Please take a look at the back of your hands.” The beggars looked on their back of their hands only to see three red prints, they didn’t know how on earth she managed to do this; she had used her “Divine Five Poison Palm” without ‘disturbing ghosts or gods’ (roughly ‘completely un-seen’). The beggars didn’t even know she had done anything, even Yang Guo and Yelu Qi couldn’t see clearly what had happened.

The beggars were startled and both called out, “You’re… you’re the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’?”

Li Mochou softly said, “Go and tell your chief, ‘your clan and the  one  named  Li  have  always  kept  away from each other’, say ‘the river water does not mix with the well water’. I have always admired the heroes of the Beggar Clan, it’s just that I’ve never had the chance to acquaint myself with the clan, I really regret that.”

The beggars looked at her and thought, “It sounds nice but why did you use your poisonous techniques on us for no reason?”

Li Mochou took a break and then carried on, “The two of you have fallen victim to the “Divine Five Poison Palm”, don’t worry, all you’ve got to do is return the book you stole and I will help you cure it.”

One of the beggars said, “What book?”

Li Mochou laughed and said, “That old book isn’t worth much, if your clan won’t return it, its not too important. I’ll just take the thousand Beggar Clan member’s lives as compensation.”

The two beggars’ arms didn’t feel anything strange but each time they listened to a sentence, they would look down at their hands. They have heard about how evil and poisonous the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’ was; after falling victim to her, you will suffer extreme pain as you die. Their hearts were now imagining things, the three red marks on their hands seemed to be getting bigger and they heard the ruthlessness and evil way she spoke. They wanted to go and tell their elders and plan what to do. They looked at each other and hurried down the stairs.

Li Mochou thought, “If your chief wants you to live, she will definitely hand over the ‘Five Poison Codex’ obediently... crap! If they copy the book and return the original to me what then?” She had another thought, “My divine palm’s and concealed weapons’ antidotes are all written in the book, they’ve got the book, why will they beg me?” When she thought about this her face changed, she flew over to them and blocked their path. Two palm clashes were heard as she pushed them up the stairs. She was a yellow blur as she moved up and down the stairs. When she returned upstairs she held one of the beggar’s arms and twisted it, a ‘ka la’ sound and the bone was broken. The other beggar was alarmed but he was loyal to his friend, he didn’t run away and dashed forward to protect his friend. He saw Li Mochou coming forward and threw out a fist. Li Mochou grabbed his wrist without effort and twisted it; the arm was broken. The two beggars knew that they had suffered serious injuries in just one stance and they knew that they were out of luck today; the two stood back to back and raised their good arm, deciding to fight to the end.

Li Mochou said courteously, “You two better stay here and wait for your chief to bring the book here as ransom.”

The two beggars saw her return to her table and drink wine, her back to them; they slowly edged towards the stairs and waited for a chance to escape.

Li Mochou turned around and laughed and said, “It seems that the two of you are going to remain here only if your legs are broken.” She stood up.

Hong Lingbo couldn’t bear it anymore and said, “Master, just let me guard them, I won’t let them escape.”

Li Mochou chuckled and said, “Huh, you’ve got a good conscience.” She slowly walked towards the two beggars.

Yelu Qi and his sister had been watching from aside, they couldn’t bear it any longer and both of them stood up. Yelu Qi whispered, “Sister, run away, this woman is very powerful.”

Yelu Yan whispered, “What about you?”

Yelu Qi said, “As soon as I’ve saved the two beggars, I’ll immediately run as well.”

Yelu Yan knew that there weren’t many people that her brother couldn’t beat; when he said that he needs to run to escape with his life, she couldn’t believe it.

At this time, Yang Guo slapped the table with force, and went over to Yelu Qi and said, “Brother Yelu, how about we save them together?” He knew that if he wanted to save Lu Wushuang, he would eventually have to fight. With a skilled person who was willing to save someone like Yelu Qi, how could he avoid dragging him down with him?

Yelu Qi saw that he was dressed in the clothes of a Mongolian general, his face was extremely ugly, and he had never seen this person in his life. He thought that if this person was actually sitting with Wanyan Ping then he knew who he was; but with Li Mochou’s kung fu, it would be hard for him to win. If a normal person intervened they would definitely lose their life in vain. He couldn’t reply for the time being. Li Mochou heard Yang Guo talk and examined him, his voice seemed familiar but no one can forget a face like his, and decided that she didn’t know him.

Yang Guo said, “I don’t have a weapon, I need to borrow one.” As he said this he flew past Hong Lingbo’s body and picked up the sword from her belt; he smelled her scent and said, “Very fragrant!” Hong Lingbo threw out a palm, he ducked and darted underneath it, then stood between Li Mochou and the beggars. The essence of his movements were remarkable, it was the advanced kung fu he learned while catching sparrows in the ancient tomb. Li Mochou was secretly alarmed.

Yelu Qi was delighted and said, “What is this brother’s name?”

Yang Guo swung his left arm and said, “Little brother is called Yang.” He raised the sword sheath and said, “I stole a broken sword.” He took the sword out of its sheath, the sword was indeed broken.

Hong Lingbo realized who he was and called out, “Little punk! Master, it’s him!”

Yang Guo took off his mask and said, “Martial Aunt, apprentice sister, Yang Guo greets you.”

When he said ‘Martial Aunt, apprentice sister’, Yelu Qi was mystified; Lu Wushuang was even more surprised, “Why on earth is Sha Dan calling them Martial Aunt and apprentice sister?”

Li Mochou chuckled and said, “Hmm, how’s your Master?” Yang Guo’s heart ached a little, his eyes went red.

Li Mochou then coldly said, “Your Master has taught a good disciple.”

Days ago, Yang Guo had used unorthodox techniques to neutralize her most lethal stances the “Three Without Three Without Hands” technique, and after he took away her fly whisk with his teeth. His skills were strange, in fact they were unimaginably strange; although she managed to take her fly whisk back and knew that her skills were much higher than his, she pondered, “This little punk is making very rapid progress, and apprentice sister is even more extraordinary. So the “Jade Heart Manual” is this good. It was lucky that apprentice sister did not team up with him to fight me, otherwise, otherwise…” Now he’s appeared again, she was secretly afraid as she looked around, checking to see whether Xiao Longnu was here or not.

Yang Guo knew what she was thinking; he laughed and said, “My Master asks after Martial Aunt’s health.” Li Mochou said, “Where is she? We sisters haven’t seen each other for a long time.”

Yang Guo said, “Master is nearby. You will see her shortly.” He knew that he wasn’t a match for her, even with Yelu Qi’s help it would still be difficult, so he used an ‘Empty City Idea’, frightening her by mentioning his Master.

Li Mochou said, “I’m disciplining my disciple, what has that got to do with your Master?”

Yang Guo laughed and said, “My Master pleads with Martial Aunt to let apprentice sister Lu go.”

Li Mochou chuckled and said, “You had relations with your senior, you and your Master have done such disgusting things, in front of others, yet you say Master this and Master that, aren’t you ashamed?”

Yang Guo knew that she was insulting his Master, his blood boiled up in his chest; he picked up the sword sheath and unleashed his sword skills, and fiercely attacked.

Li Mochou laughed and said, “You can do such unspeakable things, yet you are afraid of others talking about it?”

Yang Guo used the sword sheath and attacked continuously; it was severe and pressed forward without restraint. It was the sword skills left by Wang Chongyang to counter Lin Chaoying’s Jade Sword techniques. Li Mochou didn’t dare to be careless; she used her fly whisk and concentrated on the incoming stances. The techniques of Li Mochou’s whisk originated from the Jade Sword techniques; many stances passed and she felt the opponent’s sword skills were extremely refined and ingenious. Every stance and every move of hers was predicted by the opponent and was intercepted by him. If were not for the fact that she was much more powerful than he, she would have begun to lose. She thought with anger, “Master was really biased; only teaching apprentice sister this set of sword techniques. Huh, she probably wanted apprentice sister to use this to neutralize me. Although this sword technique is extraordinary, does that mean I’m going to be afraid of it?”

She changed her stance and suddenly moved forward, leaping onto a table, her right leg kicked out, her left leg supporting herself on the top of the table. Her body moved back and forth without effort, like a leaf floating in the breeze. She laughed and said, “Did your lover teach you this move? I don’t think even she will know this one.”

Yang Guo was alarmed and angrily said, “What lover?”

Li Mochou laughed, “My apprentice sister had sworn a serious oath, if there wasn’t a man who was willing to die for her, she would spend eternity in the tomb and never set foot off the mountain. She has followed you down from the mountain; you two aren’t husband and wife, if she isn’t your lover then who is?”

Yang Guo was extremely angry and didn’t reply; he rushed forward with the sword sheath and leaped onto the table. His lightness kung fu couldn’t compare with his opponents’ so he didn’t step on the top of the table, he stepped on some bowls but he remained steady and chopped across fiercely with the sheath.

Li Mochou raised her fly whisk and repelled the sheath. She laughed and said, “Your lightness kung fu is not bad! Your lover has treated you well, it could be said that she loved you very much.”

Yang Guo was furious and couldn’t restrain himself, he shouted, “The one called Li, are you a human? Are you speaking a human language?” He raised his sheath and quickly attacked again.

Li Mochou calmly said, “If you don’t want others to know then don’t give them anything to know about. My Ancient Tomb sect has come up with these two scum; we have lost all face.” As she was attacking, she incessantly came out with sarcastic comments. She may be ruthless but when she spoke she was normally polite and courteous; what she was saying now was against her character. It was because she was worried about Xiao Longnu watching from the side, if she suddenly came out and attacked it would be difficult for her to fight them off, so she kept up the insults, wanting to make Xiao Longnu so ashamed that she wouldn’t appear.

Yang Guo could not bear it, if she was insulting him, he wouldn’t care but Xiao Longnu was the one being insulted. With such anger, his arms and legs shivered, his head felt faint, his eyes suddenly went blank and he couldn’t stand up and fell from the table. Li Mochou raised her fly whisk and attacked down onto the crown of his head.

Yelu Qi saw that this was an urgent situation; he picked up some wine cups and threw them at Li Mochou. Li Mochou heard the wind sounds and took a glance; it was some wine cups, she breathed deeply and protected the pressure points on her back. She had to kill Yang Guo now and worry about this later, thinking, why should she be worried about two little wine cups. Who would have thought that before the cups arrived the wine splashed out, she felt her ‘Two Yang’, and ‘Central’ pressure points go numb after being hit by the wine, she secretly thought, “Crap! Apprentice sister is here. If the effects of the wine are like this, what about the wine cups?” She quickly turned her fly whisk around and knocked the two wine cups away just in time. She felt her arms shake, and was even more worried, “How did she get so strong?”

When she turned around, she saw that it wasn’t Xiao Longnu who shot the cups out, it was a tall young man dressed in Mongolian clothes, and she was extremely surprised. “Are there so many good fighters in the younger generation?” She saw him take out his long sword and clearly say, “The Angelic Priestess’s attacks are ruthless; I want to experience a few stances.” Li Mochou saw him slowly advancing, his foot steps solid. He was about twenty or so, but judging from how he shot out the cups and how he was moving with his sword, his internal energy exceeded his age. She examined him and laughed, “Who are you? Who is your Master?”

Yelu Qi bowed and said, “I am Yelu Qi, I’m under the tutelage of the Quanzhen sect.”

Yang Guo had leapt to the side, when he heard that Yelu Qi was from the Quanzhen sect he thought, “He indeed is from Quanzhen; could he be Liu Chuxuan’s disciple? Hao Datong can’t teach something to such a standard.”

Li Mochou asked, “Is your Master Ma Yu or Qiu Chuji?” Yelu Qi said, “No.”

Li Mochou asked, “Is it Liu, Wang or Hao?” Yelu Qi said, “Wrong as well.”

Li Mochou chuckled and pointed to Yang Guo, “He said he was the disciple of Wang Chongyang that makes you two apprentice brothers.”

Yelu Qi was surprised and said, “It’s not true is it? Elder Chongyang died a long time ago, how can that brother over there be his disciple?”

Li Mochou’s brows wrinkled and said, “Hei, hei, Quanzhen has many disciples who can lie without blinking, I’m going to change Quanzhen’s name into ‘Quanjia’, prepare!” (Quanzhen could be translated as Whole Truth, Quanjia is translated as Whole Fake.) Her fly whisk moved and attacked his head.

Yelu Qi’s left hand raised his sword, his left foot stepped forward, a stance of “Fixed Yang Needle”, the sword was thrust upwards, it was the orthodox sword skills of Quanzhen. This stance’s air and chi were absolute, the strength, power and movement all has its fine points. At first appearance it looks very ordinary, but to reach a state where there was no weakness is incredible. People whose talent is just slightly lacking may not be able to reach such a state with a lifetime of practice. Yang Guo had learned the Quanzhen sword techniques in the Ancient Tomb so of course he knew the essence of the sword skills; but he just learned it without really practicing it. No matter what, he would not be able to demonstrate this stance with such profoundness.

When Li Mochou saw him unleashing this stance she knew that he was a strong enemy, she strode across and lashed her fly whisk. Yelu Qi saw a grey blur move, the fly whisk’s threads were to the left and back of him, sweeping in from all directions, his battle experience was shallow and this is the first time he has met a strong enemy; he concentrated and used all his strength to fight her. In a flash forty stances were exchanged, Yelu Qi coiled his sword back slightly, he saw defeat in front of him but if Li Mochou wanted to win right now, she would not succeed.

She secretly praised him, “This little punk is indeed  using  the  refined  skills  of  Quanzhen;  although  he can’t compare with Qiu, Liu and Wang, he wouldn’t lose to Sun Bu’Er. There are indeed many able people in Quanzhen.

A few more stances passed when Li Mochou made a dummy move. Yelu Qi didn’t know it was trap, he raised his sword and thrust forward, Li Mochou suddenly threw out her left leg and struck his wrist. Yelu Qi’s arm was in pain, the sword escaped from his hands. Though he was being defeated he didn’t panic, his left hand slashed across, his right hand used the “Trapping Hand Techniques” to try to steal her fly whisk.

Li Mochou smiled and praised him, “Very handsome kung fu!”

After many moves, she felt that his techniques had extreme softness, Liu Chuxuan and Sun Bu’Er and the others did not have this; she was secretly surprised.

Yang Guo interrupted with an insult, “Bitch, I’ll never acknowledge you as my Martial Aunt ever again.” He raised the sword sheath and attacked.

Li Mochou saw Yelu Qi’s sword had fallen, she wrapped the sword with her fly whisk and shot it out at Yang Guo’s face and laughed, saying, “You are your Master’s man; you could call me apprentice sister.”

Yang Guo saw the incoming sword and raised his sword sheath forward. Lu Wushuang and Wanyan Ping both called out in alarm, but there was a ‘shua’ noise as the sword was shot into the sword sheath exactly. The placement of the sheath to catch the sword was extremely difficult. If the sheath was just a millimeter or so out and with the force that Li Mochou shot the sword with, the sword would have pierced his chest. However, he had learned the art of projectile throwing in the Ancient Tomb, the timing, weight and accuracy of his skills had reached a stage where there weren’t any errors. The hair like ‘Jade Bee Needle’ would hit its target as soon as he shoots it out, so catching the sword with the sheath wasn’t a difficult skill for him. He took the sword out of the sheath and attacked with Yelu Qi.

The tables and benches were all overturned, bowls were broken, and all the guests had long gone. In all the time that Hong Lingbo had been with her Master, she has never seen her losing in battle. She lost out to Xiao Longnu in the Ancient Tomb because she couldn’t swim. Her fly whisk was snatched away by Yang Guo but was taken back immediately and she forced Yang Guo to back away. Watching the two teaming up and attacking her Master, she was slightly worried about her but she stood to the side and watched. The three of them fought engagingly in battle; Li Mochou changed her stances, her fly whisk producing strong winds, forcing the two to wobble. In a flash, Yang Guo and Yelu Qi faced some dangerous stances.

Yelu Yan and Wanyan Ping both called out; “Oh no.” They both stepped up to help. After using just three stances, Yelu Yan was struck on the left leg with the fly whisk; she was flung to the side and knocked into a table. Yelu Qi saw that his sister was hurt and became flustered, under the fierce attack of Li Mochou he kept retreating backwards.

The girl in blue green saw the situation was urgent, she dashed forward to take Yelu Yan out of the danger. Li Mochou’s eyes saw everything and ears heard everything. She saw that the girl’s movements were light, displaying signs that she was a disciple of a famous name; she swung her fly whisk across her face and asked, “What is Miss’s name? Who is your Master?” There was a distance of over ten feet between them, in a flash the fly whisk was swung in front of her face. The girl in blue green was startled, her right hand waved out; from her sleeve she took out a weapon, and blocked the fly whisk. Li Mochou saw that this weapon was extremely strange, it glittered like a gem, it was about one meter long and it looked like a jade flute, she searched her mind, “Which sect or family uses such a weapon?” She quickly attacked wanting her to display her skills. The girl could not hold on, Yang Guo and Yelu Qi dashed forward to help. But it was hard to defend against Li Mochou’s swift and fluent style. Stances from the east and palms from the west, in a flash danger came again.

Yang Guo thought, “All we’ve got to do is make one little mistake and our lives would be hard to protect.”

He opened his mouth and called out, “My good Wifey, sister, my sister in blue green, sister Yelu, let’s all leave the restaurant and take a break! This Bitch is very lethal.” The four girls saw him calling out madly; no one could say a word, they frowned and saw it was now a very urgent and desperate situation. Lu Wushuang first went downstairs followed by the girl in blue green who was supporting Yelu Yan. The two beggars saw the young heroes fighting Li Mochou because of them, they wanted to go forward and help but their arms were broken and they couldn’t fight. The two were very loyal, although Li Mochou was not watching them; they didn’t dare to leave before Yang Guo and the others.

Yang Guo and Yelu Qi fought together against Li Mochou’s stances, which were becoming more and more lethal; they carried Wanyan Ping and retreated downstairs.

Yang Guo said, “Brother Yelu, our movements are restricted, let’s go downstairs and fight.” He thought that once they were in a crowded place, they would be able to escape.

Yelu Qi said, “Fine!”

The two stood shoulder to shoulder and retreated down the stairs. Li Mochou kept on attacking, although she was winning she was angry, “In my life, whoever I wanted to kill I killed; today two young punks are blocking my way, if that little Bitch Lu Wushuang escapes, where will the great name of the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’ go?” She wanted to snatch back Lu Wushuang and so attacked down the stairs.

Everyone fought with all their strength; they battled from the restaurant into the street, from the street they battled into the suburbs.

Yang Guo kept on calling out, “Good Wifey, my dear sister the further you run the better. Sister Yelu and my sister in blue green, you’d better leave, the two of us won’t die.”

Yelu Qi didn’t say a word; he was older than Yang Guo by only a few years, but he had a serious and stern air, completely different to Yang Guo’s easy going, rash and hot-tempered personality. The two of them fought together against the enemy, Yelu Qi dealt with the ruthless attacks of the enemy, Yang Guo darted around to divert the enemy’s attention.

Li Mochou saw that Xiao Longnu had not appeared and was now at ease, she concentrated on the battle. The internal energy that Yang Guo and Yelu Qi had accumulated could not compare with Li Mochou’s. As they battled to this point, the two of them were red faced and out of breath.

When Li Mochou saw this she was pleased, “In under an hour I’ll be able to take their lives.”

At this moment, the air was suddenly filled with the calls of birds, the calls were clear, two large eagles attacked her head, four wings created gusts of wind, dirt and dust filled the area, the force of the calls was tremendous.

Yang Guo knew that it was the pair of eagles that belonged to the Guo couple. When he was younger, he had played with the eagles on Peach Blossom Island; since the eagles were here, the Guo couple would be nearby. He had expelled himself from Chongyang Palace and didn’t want to see Guo Jing again; he quickly leapt back many steps and put on the human skin mask.

The eagles flew left and right, up and down, their wings attacking Li Mochou incessantly. The two eagles had a very good memory; they kept in their hearts what had happened years ago when they suffered the pain of the ‘Soul Freezing Needles’. When they saw her from faraway they immediately came and attacked, but they were still afraid of her needles, every time she waved her hands, they quickly circled around.

Yelu Qi was watching carefully and knew that it would be hard for the two eagles to win, he called out, “Brother Yang, let’s go again, how would she cope with the four of us?” He was about to dash forward when he heard the sounds of horse hoofs from the southeast; a horse was galloping straight for this place.

The horse was extremely fast, by the time the sounds of hoof beats reached him, the horse was in front of him, it was long and tall, covered in red fur, its spirit was amazing.

Li Mochou and Yelu Qi were both startled, “How can this horse gallop so fast?” There was a girl in red on the horse’s back; the girl and horse looked like an oncoming flame, the only thing that wasn’t red was the girl’s white face. Yang Guo saw the eagles and red horse and knew that it was the daughter of Guo Jing and Huang Rong, Guo Fu. He saw her reign in the horse, the horse immediately held its ground. The horse stopped after being ordered to, it didn’t make a sound and was composed. Yelu Qi grew up in Mongolia, he has seen countless spirited horses; but one with such a magnificent air he had never seen, he couldn’t stop himself from being surprised. He didn’t know that this horse was a blood sweating precious horse that Guo Jing obtained from the plains of Mongolia. Then it was just a foal, now it was grown up and could be said to be in its senior years; but this extraordinary horse was different from other horses in old age, its bones and muscles were extremely strong, it hadn’t lost any of its strength in its transition to old age. Yang Guo hadn’t seen Guo Fu for a long time. He remembered she was an arrogant and bullying little girl; now she had grown into a young girl who was as pleasant as a spring flower. After riding urgently for a time, sweat had formed on her forehead; her cheeks reflected her red dress and looked even more glamorous. She looked at the eagles for a while and then glanced at Yelu Qi and the others. She saw Yang Guo dressed in the Mongolian uniform wearing the human skin mask; his face was extremely strange, she frowned, showing signs of disrespect.

Yang Guo and she had never got along since they were young. He saw her looking at him with disgust and his feelings of hate and humility were strengthened. He thought, “You don’t respect me but does that mean that I want you to look upon me with respect? Your father is a living hero, your mother is the chief of the Beggar Clan, your grandfather is one of the prominent martial artists in the world; there is no one who doesn’t look at the Guo family with respect. What about my father and mother? My mother was a country girl and I don’t know who my father was. He died without reason. I don’t want to compare myself with you; I was born into hardship, and suffered the abuse of others. If you try to insult me again I won’t care.”

He stood aside, feeling hurt and wretched; he felt that no one in the world looked upon him highly; there was no good reason to live on in this world. Only his Master Xiao Longnu treated him with love, but where is she now? Is there going to be a day in this lifetime when they will see each other again? His heart was filled with sorrow; he heard the sound of horse hoofs and two more horses rode arrived. One of the horses was grey, the other yellow, they both were good quality animals but there was a big gap when compared to Guo Fu’s red horse. On the horses were two young men, both of them wearing yellow.

Guo Fu called out, “Wu Brothers, it’s the evil woman again.”

The young men on the horse were the Wu brothers, Wu Dunru and Wu Xiuwen. Both of them saw Li Mochou; she was the person who killed their mother. In these past few years there wasn’t a day when they didn’t remember this. Who could have thought that they would meet again here; they quickly leapt off the horses, each drew out a long sword and attacked from the left and right.

Guo Fu called out, “I’m going as well.” She took out a precious sword by the horse’s reigns and leapt off the horse to help.

Li Mochou saw that the longer the battle went on the more enemies there were; even though they were young. As soon as the two young men came forward, their faces and eyes red, they fought fiercely with their lives; the sword techniques refined showing that they were under the tutelage of a famous Master. The young girl in red joined in as well; as soon as she attacked the tip of her sword quivered slightly, sparkling in the eye, the sword thrust forward. Buried within the stance was an extremely lethal secondary aim, though the internal energy was weak, the sword technique was profound and ingenious. Her heart shivered and she called out, “You are Peach Blossom’s Island Miss Guo?”

Guo Fu chuckled and said, “So you know me.” She unleashed two stances aiming to harm her chest.

Li Mochou raised her fly whisk and blocked the stances, thinking,  “This  little  girl  is  very  arrogant; attacking me without respect with your lowly skills. If I wasn’t afraid of incurring your parent’s wrath, even if there were ten of you, I’d kill you all.” The fly whisk flipped around, she wanted to take away her long sword, when suddenly the sounds of wind came from each side; the Wu brothers thrust forward at the same time. Guo Jing taught the Wu brothers and Guo Fu martial arts personally; the three lived and played together on the island, their sword skills were the same. The  three  sword  skills  were  tightly matched, the advance and retreat complimented each other, although it wasn’t some kind of formation. As the swords came forward, the force of it wasn’t weak. The three and  the  pair  of  eagles  continuously attacked, placing Li Mochou in their confinement. With the ability of the three, in a little while longer Li Mochou could definitely hurt one of them and the other two would not be able to protect themselves. But in front of her were many enemies, if she attacked forward it still wouldn’t  be  easy for  her.  And  if  she forced the Guo couple to come out and attack, she wouldn’t be able to escape; she took back her fly whisk and chuckled, “Little babies, watch how the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’ fights monkeys.”

She unleashed six stances in a row, every stance aimed to harm, forcing Guo Fu and the Wu Brothers to scurry, leaping and jumping around to avoid the stances, they did look a bit like monkeys jumping around.

Li Mochou stood on her left leg and laughed, she turned around and called out, “Lingbo, let’s go!” The two of them hurried away in a northwest direction.

Guo Fu called out, “She’s scared of us, go after them!” She ran after them. The Wu brothers utilized their lightness kung fu and followed.

Li Mochou waved and brandished her fly whisk behind her, carefree and smoothly. Not an ounce of dust rose from beneath her feet and she lightly floated away as though walking slowly.  Hong  Lingbo  ran hurriedly.

Guo Fu and the Wu brothers increased the energy in their legs but the distance between them and the Li Mochou Master and disciple was getting greater and further away. Only the pair of eagles were faster; they repeatedly attacked. Wu Dunru saw that they would not be able to take their revenge today so he whistled and called the eagles back.

Yelu Qi and the others were afraid that the three of them would lose the battle and hurried to meet up with them; only to see Guo Fu and the others returning. They went forward and greeted them. All of them were young, and in just a few words they spoke with great joviality. Yelu Qi suddenly thought of something and called out, “Where’s brother Yang?”

Wanyan Ping said, “He left by himself. I asked him where he was going but he ignored me.” She hung her head after she said this.

Yelu Qi hurried to a hill and took a look all around, only to see the girl in blue green walking shoulder to shoulder with Lu Wushuang faraway. There wasn’t a trace of Yang Guo. Yelu Qi felt at a sense of loss; the first time they met they fought together to repel an enemy, though it was for just a short time; but their lives were on the line so many times and both shared a bitter hate for the enemy. Now he had suddenly disappeared without a trace, it was as if he had lost an old friend.

When Yang Guo saw the Wu brothers arrive with Guo Fu, they attacked Li Mochou; the three of them were very close, the sword skills they used were refined and in a few moves they had driven Li Mochou back. But he didn’t know that Li Mochou left because she was worried about the Guo couple. It was not because buried within the sword stances were extremely strong internal energies that forced her to flee. That day when Guo Jing took him to Mount Zhongnan to learn martial arts, he had seen him show his might, defeating countless Quanzhen Taoists. His martial arts were extremely high. This was etched into Yang Guo’s young mind, and he thought that disciples of Guo Jing would be ten times better than him. He thought of worrying about himself first. When he saw Guo Fu and the Wu’s unleash their superb stances, he assumed that there must be some kind of ingenuity and mastery behind it. He was getting angrier as he watched. He remembered how he had fought with the Wu brothers when they were younger, with Guo Fu by the side calling out, “Hit him harder, harder!” And remembered how Huang Rong deliberately chose not to teach him martial arts and Guo Jing with his great skills did not dare to pass on any martial arts to him. Instead he sent him to Chongyang Palace to suffer torture and abuse. He felt anger and hatred in his chest, he couldn’t stop himself; then he saw Wanyan Ping, Lu Wushuang, the girl in blue green, Yelu Yan all looking at him. They looked surprised and he thought, “You believe the insults that Li Mochou called out at my Gu Gu. It doesn’t matter if you look down on me but how can you dare to look down on my Gu Gu? My face is angry because I’m angry at Guo Fu, the Wu brothers, Uncle Guo and Auntie Guo. You think that I’ve done unspeakable things with my Gu Gu and that’s why I look like this, is that it?” He suddenly ran away; he didn’t follow the main roads and just ran without thinking into the wild lands. Right now he couldn’t pull himself together; he thought that everyone in the world was against him. He didn’t remember that he was wearing the human skin mask, although there was jealousy, hate and anger on his face, how could Wanyan Ping and the others see this? Why would others laugh at him for no reason at all? Li Mochou’s infamy is well known throughout the Wulin world, who could believe what she says?

He originally was heading from northwest to southeast, but he wanted to get away from these people as far as possible so turned and headed northwest instead. His heart was in a mess, he loathed the world; he took off his mask and ran madly in the wild hills and mountains. When he was hungry, he plucked some wild fruits and vegetables to ease his hunger. He traveled further and further; within a month, his hair was wild and unkempt, his clothes old and torn, and reached a tall mountain. He didn’t know that this was one of the most famous five mountains in the world, Mount Hua. He saw the mountain was dangerous and rugged; he became mad and climbed up the mountain furiously. Though his lightness kung fu was good, Mount Hua is a dangerous place, one could not climb it on a whim. By the time he was halfway up the mountain, the weather suddenly became cold, the ground  became  hard,  and  the  north  wind  gradually blew stronger and flakes of snow began falling from the sky. He was angry; he wanted to torture himself and did not try to find a place to avoid the snow. The stronger the wind and snow, the further he traveled. He carried on until it became night, the snow was heavy, the ground was slippery, and it became harder to recognize the paths. If he stepped into an empty space, he would definitely fall down to his death in the deep valley. He didn’t care and took his life lightly; he looked up and walked forward.

After a while, he suddenly heard a light ‘chi’ ‘chi’ sound, it sounded like some kind of beast was traveling in the snow; he immediately turned around and saw the image of a person flash past, darting into a valley. Yang Guo was startled and quickly went over to take a look in the valley. He saw someone hooking his three fingers into the rock, hanging in midair. Yang Guo saw that the three fingers supported the whole body above the valley; this person’s martial arts were extremely high and had reached an unimaginable level. So he politely said, “Old senior please come up!”

The person laughed, his voice shaking the valley, his fingers pulled up and he leapt up from the side of the mountain. The person suddenly shouted, “You are with the Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border aren’t you? What are you doing sneaking around here in the middle of the night during a snowstorm?”

Yang Guo was scolded for no reason and thought, “What am I doing sneaking around here in the middle of the night during a snowstorm?” This disturbed his thoughts and he suddenly let out a cry; remembering how unlucky he was, suffering the abuse of others, and his most respected and loved one Xiao Longnu blamed him for not understanding and had disappeared. They would probably never meet again in this lifetime. As he cried about this, all his life’s worries and all the resentment and abuse he had suffered surfaced in his mind.

When that person saw him cry he was shocked; he heard him getting more pitiful as he cried, and was even more surprised. When the person saw that his cries weren’t going to end he suddenly laughed, the laughter and crying joined together and shook the snow down from the mountaintops.

When Yang Guo heard the laugh, his crying stopped and he angrily said, “What are you laughing at?” The person laughed and said, “What are you crying about?”

Yang Guo was about to reply hatefully when he remembered this person’s martial arts were extraordinary; he calmed down his anger and politely bowed and said, “Junior is Yang Guo, I hereby greet Senior.”

The person held a bamboo rod in his hand, and he lightly pushed him on the arm. Yang Guo did not feel any greet force yet his body couldn’t stop from falling backwards. With the force of that push, one would fall down and have to struggle to get up. But he had learned the “Toad Stance” where one’s legs are above their head; he flipped over in the air and remained upright.

Neither of them could have guessed what had just happened. With Yang Guo’s present abilities, making him fall in one push wasn’t easy, even Li Mochou or Qiu Chuji and the like couldn’t do this to him. The other person saw him standing up steadily after flipping over in midair, he widened his eyes and looked at him and asked, “Why are you crying?”

When Yang Guo examined him, he was a white haired and bearded old man; the clothes on him were old and torn. It appeared that he was a beggar. Although it was dark, the white snow reflected off him, there was a red glow to his face, yet he looked graceful. Yang Guo’s respect for him became evident and he replied, “I’m a person with a life full of despair, there is no point in living, I should just die.”

The old beggar heard that his voice was full of resignation and resentment; the beggar nodded his head and asked, “Who’s bullying you? Quickly tell Grandpa.”

Yang Guo said, “My father was killed by someone, but I don’t know who. My mother died from illness, there is no one left in the world who loves or cares for me.”

The old beggar gave an ‘en’ grunt and said, “That is sad. Who is the Master who taught you kung fu?”

Yang Guo thought, “Auntie Guo technically was my Master but she didn’t teach me any martial arts. Mentioning the Quanzhen Taoists fills me with hate. Ouyang Feng is my godfather, not my Master. My kung fu was taught by Gu Gu, but she said she wants to be my wife. If I said she is my Master she will be angry. Wang Chongyang and Lin Chaoying ancestors left their martial arts in the stone rooms, how can I say they are my Master? I have many Masters but I can’t mention any of them.”

This question disturbed his feelings again and he let out a cry again, calling out, “I don’t have a Master, I don’t have a Master!”

The old beggar said, “Fine, fine! If you don’t want to say, that’s fine.”

Yang Guo sobbed, “It’s not that I don’t want to say, it’s just that I don’t have one.”

The old beggar said, “If you haven’t got one, you haven’t got one, what need is there for crying? Do you know the Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border?”

Yang Guo said, “I don’t know them.”

The old beggar said, “I saw you alone in the dark and thought that you were the friend of the Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border, since you aren’t then that’s good.”

This person was the “Nine-Fingered Wondrous Beggar”, Hong Qigong. After he passed on the position of the Chief of the Beggar Clan to Huang Rong, he traveled alone, savoring the world’s finest foods. The weather in Guangdong was pleasant and the amount of exquisite foods endless. Afterwards he went to Lingnan and he had all the food he wanted; for the last ten years he had not returned to the central plains.

In the lands of Guangdong, poisonous snakes were used in soups, tough cats were used in stews, fishes were like mice, the prawns were like dragons, fat snails were fried, dragon lice were steamed, the roast piglets had crisp skin and the flesh of simmered fruit was red. Hong Qigong was in heaven, his pleasure boundless. Whenever he saw injustice, he would secretly help; he killed evil doers and punished traitors with his abilities. No one knew where he was or where he went. Sometimes he would listen in on some Beggar Clan members talking; he knew that under the orders of Huang Rong and Lu Youjiao, the Beggar Clan was calm. The internal fight between the ‘dirty’ clothed and ‘clean’ clothed factions was subsiding; so had the outside force of the Jin and the Iron Palm Clan. He had no worries; everyday he would just open his mouth, chew and swallow.

This year, the second clown of the Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border killed some innocents in cold blood, killing numerous people. Hong Qigong wanted to take revenge; he was going to kill that clown, but thought killing one person is easy, finding the other four would be hard. So he secretly followed the second clown, waiting for him to meet up with the other four and then he would kill them all at once. But he didn’t predict that he would have to follow him north for thousands of li, eventually winding up at Mount Hua. Right now, four clowns were present, only the first one had yet to arrive. In the middle of the night, Hong Qigong bumped into Yang Guo in the snow.

Hong Qigong said, “Let’s stop chatting, I can see you are hungry, let’s cure our hunger first and then we’ll talk some more.” He cleared the snow, found some firewood and made a fire. Yang Guo helped him pick up some firewood and said, “What are you going to cook?”

Hong Qigong said, “Centipedes!”

Yang Guo knew he was joking and he gave a chuckle and didn’t ask again.

Hong Qigong laughed and said, “I’ve chased the Five Tibetan Border Clowns from Lingnan to Mount Hua, if I don’t have something good to eat, how can I say I’m sorry to this?” He patted his stomach. Yang Guo saw that his bones and muscles were distinguished; only his stomach was a bit paunchy.

Hong Qigong continued, “Mount Hua is the world’s most cold and shady place; centipedes that are born here are soft and tender. Guangdong is a warm place, living things grow quickly, the centipedes there have tough and coarse flesh.

Yang Guo heard that he was serious; it seems that he wasn’t joking, Yang Guo was confused.

Hong Qigong surrounded the fire with four stones, he took a pan from  his  back  and  placed  it  on  the stones, he took two lumps of snow and placed them in the pan and said, “Follow me to catch some centipedes.”

After some ups and downs, they came across a twenty foot tall cliff. Yang Guo saw the cliff was extremely steep and didn’t dare to leap up.

Hong Qigong called out, “Useless boy, come up quickly!”

Yang Guo hated people who looked down on him, when he heard this he clenched his teeth, his spirit rose and thought, “What’s there to be scared of? If I fall to my death then so be it.” His courage grew and there was more intent in his lightness kung fu when he used it. He followed close to Hong Qigong, in an extremely dangerous and slippery place; he actually managed to pull himself up.

In a short while, the pair climbed up to a peak where there were traces of human activity. Hong Qigong saw that he possessed much courage and lightness kung fu and was very pleased. With his experience he couldn’t tell the boy’s martial arts origins, he wanted to ask but remembered about his food so he went over to a rock and dug the soil with his hands. Not long after a dead chicken was revealed.

Yang Guo was curious and asked, “Hey, how come there’s a chicken here.” He immediately understood and said, “Ah, Senior must have buried it here.”

Hong Qigong gave a chuckle and picked up the chicken. Yang Guo could see clearly in the reflection of the snow; he saw over a hundred centipedes, each about seven or eight inches long, biting into the chicken. The centipedes were large, had red and black stripes and were wiggling about. He had wandered around the world of Jianghu since he was young, he wasn’t afraid of poison but when he suddenly saw the large centipedes he couldn’t refrain from being afraid.

Hong Qigong was pleased with himself and said, “Centipedes and chickens are of an opposite nature; I buried this chicken yesterday and indeed it has lured centipedes from all over.” He took out a bundle of cloth and wrapped it around the chicken and centipedes, he descended the peak delightedly.

Yang Guo followed behind wondering, “Could it be that you can actually eat centipedes? But judging from his actions, it doesn’t seem like he’s trying to scare me.”

The lumps of snow in the pan had now turned to boiling water; Hong Qigong opened his bundle and picked up the centipedes by the tail, and threw them into the pan. The centipedes struggled for a second or two but were soon boiled to death.

Hong Qigong said, “Before it dies, the centipede excretes all of its poison, the poison in that pan is incomparable.” Yang Guo threw the pan of poisonous water down the valley. Hong Qigong took out a small knife and chopped off the heads and tails of the centipedes. He took the shell off to reveal the flesh; it was white as snow and was like a large shrimp, quite an attractive sight.

Yang Guo thought, “Using this method, I’m afraid that you really can eat them.”

Hong Qigong melted another two lumps of snow and cleaned the flesh of the centipede so there would be no traces of poison, and then he took out seven or eight small and large boxes from his back pack. In the boxes were ingredients such as oil, salt, jams, vinegar and the like. He placed some oil in the pan and fried the centipedes, immediately an appetizing scent flowed into the nose. Yang Guo saw that he was drooling, revealing his glutton side, he couldn’t stop himself from being startled and laughed at the same time. Hong Qigong fried the centipedes until they were slightly golden, and then mixed in some other ingredients. He stretched out his hand and placed a centipede in his mouth, he lightly chewed it a few times and closed his eyes and sighed. He felt that none of the pleasures in the world can be compared with this. He took a wine gourd from his back and placed it to the side and said, “When eating centipedes don’t drink wine, otherwise the taste of the centipedes will be ruined.” He ate ten or so centipedes in one go and then said to Yang Guo, “Just eat; why are you being so polite?”

Yang Guo shook his head and said, “I don’t want to eat.”

Hong Qigong was startled and then laughed, he said, “That’s right, that’s right, I’ve seen many heroes and good men who can kill without blinking but none of them dare to eat centipedes with this old beggar, hei- hei, so you are just a cowardly punk.”

Yang Guo angered by him and thought, “I’ll close my eyes and swallow without chewing, this’ll stop him from looking down on me.”

He picked up two small twigs and used them as chopsticks and picked up a centipede. Hong Qigong knew what he was thinking and said, “You are going to close your eyes and swallow without chewing; that’s called being a scoundrel, not a hero.”

Yang Guo said, “What’s so heroic about eating poison?”

Hong Qigong said, “There are many people who talk big and class themselves as heroes, but those who dare to eat centipedes are few and far between.”

Yang Guo thought, “Nothing is bigger than death.” He placed the centipede in his mouth and bit down. As soon as he bit down, he felt his mouth fill with a sweet taste, it was crisp and fragrant and extremely sweet. He had never tasted anything like it in his life, he chewed a few more times and swallowed; he then picked up a second centipede and said, “Extraordinary, extraordinary.”

Hong Qigong saw that he was eating with pleasure and was delighted. The two of them grabbed and snacked, soon the hundred or so centipedes were all gone. Hong Qigong licked the juices around his lips and wished that there could be another hundred centipedes for his stomach.

Yang Guo said, “I’ll go and bury the chicken again, and lure some more centipedes.”

Hong Qigong said, “It’s no use, one, the chicken has lost its attraction, secondly, there aren’t anymore fat and large centipedes around here anymore.” Hong Qigong stretched and yawned, he got down onto snowy ground and said, “I have rushed here without sleeping for five days and five nights; now that I’ve had a great meal, I’m going to sleep for three days. Don’t wake me even if the sky falls down. Look after me, don’t let any monsters bite my head off in one go while I’m not aware.”

Yang Guo laughed, “Yes sir.” Hong Qigong closed his eyes and in a short while, he fell into a deep sleep.

Yang Guo thought, “This Senior is really an extraordinary person. Is he really going to sleep for three days? It doesn’t matter if he’s lying or telling the truth, I have nowhere to go anyway, I’ll just wait for three days.”

The Mount Hua centipedes are one of the coolest objects in the world, after Yang Guo ate them, he felt a chill in his stomach so he found a rock to sit on and after a while of meditating, his body became more comfortable. Right now the sky was filled with falling snow that was like the feathers of swans; it snowed without stopping. Hong Qigong’s head and body was covered with snow, he was like a lump of cotton wool. A person breathes warm air, as soon as a snowflake meets it, it will immediately melt; how did the snow remain intact on his face? Yang Guo did not understand at first but then it was clear to him, “That’s it; when he is sleeping he is circulating his incredible internal energy, keeping the warm air within his body. He is a living person, but when he is sleeping he looks like a corpse, this level of internal energy is frightening. Gu Gu let me sleep on the “Chilled Jade Bed” in hopes that I would be able to refine my internal energy to a such profound state. Ai… ‘Chilled Jade Bed, Chilled Jade Bed’.”

Dawn came. Hong Qigong’s body was buried within the snow, nothing could be seen where he was except for the fact that the snow on the ground was higher there. Everywhere was deep with snow, but Yang Guo was not tired. He suddenly heard footsteps in the snow towards the mountains in the northeast, he looked carefully and saw five black shadows approaching; their movements were rapid, the sabers on their backs glittered.

Yang Guo thought, “They are probably the Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border that senior mentioned.” He hid behind a large rock.

In a short while, the five people arrived in front of the rock. One of them said ‘ah’, and called out, “It’s the old beggar’s gourd!”

Another one’s voice quivered as he said, “He’s…he’s on Mount Hua?” The five of them were frightened; they came together and quietly consulted with each other. Suddenly, the five of them separated, and descended down the peak. The paths of the peak were narrow; one of them dashed forward a few steps and stepped onto Hong Qigong, and felt something soft below his feet. The person called out ‘ai’. The other four stopped and drew near; they wiped away the layers of snow and saw Hong Qigong lying on the ground, appearing as if he had died a long time ago.

The five of them were delighted, they stretched out their finger across his nose, there was no breathing, and his body was as cold as ice. The five of them shouted out in joy and leapt about, they were a hundred times happier than the joy they would feel if they found a precious treasure.

One of them said, “The old beggar has been following all along, he made things hard for me and he died here.”

Another person said, “That scoundrel Hong Qigong has extraordinary martial arts, why would he die all of a sudden?”

Another one said, “Even if one’s martial arts are high, does that mean they don’t have to die? Just think, that old scoundrel it pretty old.”

The other four called out together, “It’s lucky that the devil has come and taken him, otherwise he’d be difficult to handle.”

The one ranked first said, “Come, let’s vent our anger on the old beggar by chopping him a few times. No matter if he is the ‘Nine Fingered Wondrous Beggar’ Hong Qigong, hero of the world; in the end, he’s going to end up being chopped into seventeen or twenty eight pieces by the Five Heroes of the Tibetan Border.”

Yang Guo thought, “So that old Senior is Hong Qigong, no wonder his martial arts are so good.”

He had heard Hong Qigong’s name and of his famous “Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms” from Xiao Longnu before when they were talking. But Hong Qigong’s appearance and behavior weren’t known to Lin Chaoying let alone Xiao Longnu. His hand held some ‘Jade Bee Needles’, thinking fighting the five of them together would be hard, he could only ambush them with his projectiles. After hurting two or three of them, he could deal with the remaining ones. As he heard them say that they would chop up Hong Qigong to vent their anger; he was afraid that they would harm him. He didn’t shoot out the needles and immediately shouted and leapt out from behind the rock. He didn’t have a weapon so he picked up two twigs; he quickly unleashed his swift stances diverting the five. The five stances were extremely fast, it was a pity that he called out first and gave the five clowns some time to prepare, otherwise one or two of them would have been hit. The five clowns were worried about themselves first and darted and dodged away to avoid the attacks.

The five turned around and saw it was a young kid with old and torn garments, his hands holding two branches, their fright now dissipated.

The big clown shouted, “Little punk, you’re a little beggar of the Beggar Clan aren’t you? Your old beggar ancestor has gone to heaven, quickly kneel and kowtow to us five Masters.”

Yang Guo saw how they moved; their movements revealed their kung fu. The five of them had a large saber on their backs, their kung fu came from the same Master; there were some difference between their abilities but they all had the same type of stances. If it was one on one, he would definitely win, but if the five of them attacked all at once he would not be able to fight them off. He heard the big clown telling him to kowtow and replied, “Yes, junior here will kowtow to the five Masters.” He took a step forward and bowed down. He kneeled and bowed according to the stance “First Greet Bow After”, this move was used by Grandma Sun on the Quanzhen Taoist Zhang Zhi Guang when he wasn’t expecting it. An empty container shot out and almost took his eye. After Yang Guo used the stance “First Greet Bow After”, he followed with a stance of ”Push the Window to see the Moon”, his arms swept across and the two branches came out from the left and right. On his left was the fifth clown; on his right was the third clown. This stance of “Push the Window to see the Moon” was extremely evil; the third clown’s kung fu was quite high, he quickly bought down his saber to block it. The back of his saber had been struck and his hand heated up, he almost lost his saber. The fifth clown was struck on the leg, a ‘ka la’ sound was heard, although the leg wasn’t broken it was still painful, he couldn’t stand up. The other four clowns were angry, four sabers chopped down, ‘fu fu fu fu’. Yang Guo was swift and nimble, he darted east and dodged west, the four clowns couldn’t do anything to him for the time being. After fighting for a while, the fifth clown joined in, he was extremely angry and fought with his life.

Yang Guo’s lightness kung fu was much higher than the five clowns, if he wanted to escape it wasn’t hard, but he remembered Hong Qigong. He was afraid that if he left then the clowns will kill Hong Qigong. But he couldn’t beat the five of them fighting together; he unleashed some dangerous stances and in the middle of it he bent down and picked up Hong Qigong. His right hand fought with the branch as he found a path to escape. He took a deep breath and hurried over a hundred feet. The Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border chased after him.

Yang Guo felt that Hong Qigong was icy cold, he couldn’t stop himself from being alarmed. He thought that if Hong Qigong was going to get deeper into his sleep he won’t be able to wake up. Could it be that he really was dead? He called out, “Senior…Senior!”

Hong Qigong didn’t move an inch, it appeared that he was dead but he wasn’t stiff like a corpse. Yang Guo stretched out his hand and felt his chest, there seemed to be a faint heartbeat but there were no indication of breathing from the nose.

In this pause, the first clown caught up with them, but because he saw that Yang Guo’s skills were excellent, he was worried and didn’t dare to fight alone. By the time the second clown and fourth clown arrived, Yang Guo had gone another hundred feet. The Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border saw him ascending the peak and saw that there was only one trail up there. They thought, “Could it be that you know how to fly?” There was no need to rush, they followed step by step.

The mountain path was getting more and more treacherous as he went on; when Yang Guo turned around a corner he saw an extremely narrow path before him. It wasn’t easy for one person to pass. By the narrow path was a two thousand foot deep abyss; the mists obscured the bottom, he thought, “This is the best place, I’ll fend them off here.” He quickened his pace and got over the narrow path. He placed Hong Qigong down by a large rock and turned around; the first clown had reached the entrance to the narrow path.

Yang Guo dashed over and shouted, “Ugly freak! Do you dare to come over?”

The first clown was really scared of being knocked over into the abyss by Yang Guo and hurriedly leapt back. Yang Guo stood at the entrance of the path, the morning sun was now in the sky. The eye could see a fine jade mountain, gems circled the floor of the abyss, and the sunlight reflected off the white snow; the scene was magnificent.

Yang Guo placed the human skin mask on his face and shouted, “Are you ugly or am I ugly?”

The Five Clowns of the Tibetan Border were ugly, but they weren’t that ugly. The ‘Clown’ comes from their actions and the amount of bullshit they talk about on the road. They saw Yang Guo touch his face and his face changed. His face was yellow, looked wooden, like a corpse out of a cemetery; the five clowns looked at each other and all without exception were startled.

Yang Guo retreated to the narrowest point of the path, he used “The Kicking Force of the Leading Star”; his left leg stood on the ground, his right leg kicked out at the sky, his body moving lightly like the wind in midair. In the blink of an eye, his heroic air emerged, even if the enemy was thousands of soldiers and ten thousand horses, I could still block them one on one.

The five clowns muttered to themselves, “Where from the Beggar Clan did this strange young kid come from?” They saw that in front of them was dangerous ground, they didn’t dare to rush through and they consulted each other, “We’ll wait here and take turns to leave the mountain for food, within two days, he will definitely have no strength due to hunger.” Four of the clowns lined up at the mouth of the narrow path and let the second clown descend the mountain to look for food.

The sides were deadlocked, Yang Guo didn’t dare go over, and the four clowns didn’t dare go over either.

By the second day, the second clown had come back with food; the five clowns took big bites and ate noisily. Yang Guo was already burning up with hunger, he turned around and looked at Hong Qigong and saw him looking the same as the day before and thought, “If he is sleeping, then he would toss and turn in his dreams, but he hasn’t moved an inch, I’m afraid that he really is dead. If I endure another day, I will have no strength, it will be even harder for me to defend, why don’t I leave now and I may have a chance of escaping.” He slowly stood up and thought, “He told me that he is going to sleep for three days and told me to look after him, I promised him with my own mouth; how can I leave him now?” He fought off the hunger and closed his eyes to rest.

By the third day, Hong Qigong was still motionless like he was on the first day, Yang Guo looked on and began to question himself, “He’s already dead, and I’m still guarding him, that’s too dumb. If I endure another half a day of hunger, there will be no need for the five clowns to kill me; I will have already died of starvation.” He picked up some snow from the rocks and swallowed some, his empty stomach gradually felt a bit better. He thought, “I haven’t been filial to my parents, I have hurt Gu Gu, I have no brothers or sisters, I haven’t even got a best friend, I should stop mentioning the words ‘personal loyalty’. The words trust, good and bad echoed in his mind; I still need to guard him.” He continued, “When Auntie Guo and I were talking about literature, we talked about the meeting of a boy and girl underneath the bridge. The girl was stopped by a flood but the boy didn’t dare to miss the meeting, he held onto the bridge and died in vain. Later, that person was famous for hundreds of years. I, Yang Guo have suffered the world’s mistreatment, if I don’t keep to this promise then I’ll be even more despised by the world, even if it means death, I must guard him for three days.”

A day and night passed by in the wink of an eye, early on in the fourth day, Yang Guo went over to Hong Qigong and checked his breathing; still there was no sign of life. He sighed and saluted him saying, “Senior Hong, I have kept to my promise of guarding you for three days, it’s too bad that Senior has passed away tragically. This disciple has not got the power to protect your corpse; it would be best if I throw you into the deep valley and avoid the insults and disrespect of the scoundrels.” He picked up his body and went over to the narrow path.

The five clowns knew that he couldn’t endure the hunger and now wanted to escape; they all called out and flew over. Yang Guo gave a shout and flung Hong Qigong down the deep valley, and dashed forward to the first clown.

End of Chapter 10.

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