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The Return of the Condor Heroes - Chapter 10

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.