Visitors drunk on magical lotus in the Green Willow Manor.
They continued their journey for more than a hundred ‘li’s before spending the night on the desert. Zhang Wuji slept until midnight, when suddenly he heard a faint ‘dingdong, dingdong’ of clear metallic noise coming from the west. His heart was stirred. Immediately he woke up and quietly went toward the incoming noise. Rushing ahead for about a ‘li’ he saw a shadow of a small person moving under the moonlight. He sped up his steps and called out, “Xiao Zhao, why are you following us?”
That shadow was indeed Xiao Zhao. As soon as she saw Zhang Wuji, “Wah!” she broke into tears and threw herself on his bosom; sobbing and crying without saying anything.
Zhang Wuji gently patted her shoulder and said, “Good child, don’t cry, don’t cry!”
Apparently Xiao Zhao had experienced much suffering and grievance; as she finally was able to vent it off, she cried even louder. “Wherever you go, I … I will follow you.”
Zhang Wuji thought, “This little girl’s parents are dead; and Yang Zuoshi [Left Emissary Yang] father and daughter always suspect her, she is truly pitiful. Just because I treated her nicely she is quite attached to me.” He said, “Very well, don’t cry. I will take you to the sea with me.”
Xiao Zhao was elated; she looked up. The dim and hazy moonlight shone on her simple and beautiful, yet elegant, small face like a layer of fine veil. The crystal clear tears had not been wiped out; yet her eyes shone with happiness just like the waves of the sea.
Zhang Wuji smiled and said, “Xiao Zhao, when you grow up, you will be very beautiful.”
Xiao Zhao laughed, “How do you know?” she asked.
Before Zhang Wuji could answer they suddenly heard the noise of hoof beats toward northeast to them; a large group of riders galloped from the west heading to the east. It sounded like there were at least a hundred riders.
A short time later Wei Yixiao and Yang Xiao hurriedly came one after another. “Jiaozhu [Cult Leader],” they said, “A large group of riders speed along in the middle of the night, chances are they are the enemy of the cult.”
Zhang Wuji told Xiao Zhao to join Peng Yingyu and the others, while he took Wei and Yang two people toward the noise of hoof beats to investigate.
When they got nearer, they saw a row of horse hoof prints on the sand. Wei Yixiao stooped down to take a look; he grabbed a handful of sand and said, “There is a bloodstain.”
Zhang Wuji took the sand toward his nose and smelled fresh stench of blood. Following the print on the sand three people pursued for several ‘li’s. Suddenly Yang Xiao saw a half-broken blade on the –sand to his left. He picked it up to take a closer look, and saw three characters engraved on the hilt, ‘Feng Yuansheng’. He hesitated for a moment before saying, “This belonged to a member of Kongtong Sect. Jiaozhu, I think Kongtong people prepared some horses in here to take them back to the Central Plains.”
“It’s been more than half a month since the battle of the Brightness Peak,” Wei Yixiao said, “I wonder what craftiness they are up to by still being here?”
As they knew it was the Kongtong people, three people set their hearts at peace. They returned to their camp and slept peacefully. Toward the afternoon of the fifth day they saw a group of pedestrians on the prairie ahead; most of them were Buddhist nuns wearing dark robes, along with some seven, eight men.
As they were getting closer to each other, one of the nuns called out with a sharp voice, “It’s the evil thieves from the Devil Cult!” Everybody unsheathed their weapons and spread out in battle formation.
Zhang Wuji knew they were from the Emei Sect, but he had never met any one of them before. “Are ‘Shitai’s from the Emei Sect?” he asked in clear voice.
A small and wiry middle-aged nun stepped out and in stern voice said, “Evil thief from the Devil Cult, why do you ask? Come out here to receive your death.”
“How must I address Shitai?” Zhang Wuji asked, “Why are you so angry?”
“Evil thief!” that nun roared, “Are you worthy to ask my name? Who are you?”
Wei Yixiao dashed toward the incoming group of people. He sealed two male disciples’ acupoints. Grabbing the back of their collars he kicked the ground and flew some distance away. Leaving the two men on the ground he swiftly returned to his original position. His movements were as quick as a falcon snatching a rabbit; his speed was unbelievably fast. With a cold laugh he said, “This is the Number One Martial Artist of the present age, peerless under the heaven, unifying the Left and Right Brightness Emissaries under his command, leading the Four Cult Protector Kings, the Five Wanderers, the Five-Element Flags, the Heaven, Earth, Wind and Thunder Gates; the Zhang Jiaozhu of Ming Cult. He drove away the Emei Sect down the mountain; he snatched away the Yitian sword from Mie Jue Shitai’s hand. With his reputation, don’t you think he is worthy to ask Shitai’s illustrious name?”
The Emei Sect disciples were astonished at his words, but as they had seen Wei Yixiao’s demonstration of such an unthinkable skill, nobody doubted what he said. After calming herself down the middle-aged nun asked, “Who are you, Sire?”
“My surname is Wei, my nickname is Green Winged Bat King,” Wei Yixiao answered. The Emei disciples cried out in alarm; immediately four of them went to take a look at their two comrades. Wei Yixiao said, “We have received Zhang Jiaozhu’s command: The Ming Cult and the Six Major Sects are to refrain from fighting each other, to forget faults and repair goodness. Your disciples are fortunate, Bat King Wei did not suck their blood.”
After Zhang Wuji treated his injury with the Jiu Yang Shen Gong, not only had the cold poison of the Xuan Yin fingers been driven out, but the previously accumulated poison in his system had also been expelled for the most part; so that every time he exerted his internal strength he did not have to suck blood to resist the cold anymore.
Those four Emei disciples took their two comrades back to the group. They were still thinking on how to unseal their acupoints when they heard two swishing noise. Two small pebbles flew, splitting the air, toward two people’s acupoints, unsealing them. It was Yang Xiao, using Divine Flicking Finger transmitting his ‘zhi shi dian xue’ [acupoint sealing technique by throwing rocks] skill.
The middle-aged nun had to admit that not only the opposite party was numerous, the two people who had just demonstrated their skills showed that their martial arts were much higher. If they had to fight, her group would inevitably suffer a big loss. Besides, she was not sure if the so-called ‘refrain from fighting each other, to forget faults and repair goodness’ was true or not; therefore, she said, “Pin ni [lit. impoverished nun] ‘fa ming’ [Buddhist name/title, not real name] is Jing Kong. Have you gentlemen seen my Shifu?”
“Honorable Master has left the Brightness Peak more than half a month ago,” Zhang Wuji said, “I believe by this time they have reached the Yumen [Jade Gate] pass. You have come from the east; could it be that you missed each other?”
A thirty-something woman behind Jing Kong said, “Shijie [martial (older) sister], don’t listen to his nonsense; there were three groups of us, each with flare signals, how can we miss them?”
Listening to her rudeness Zhou Dian wanted to teach her some lessons; he said, “It’s so strange …” But Zhang Wuji cut him off in low voice, “Mr. Zhou, don’t lower yourself to the same level with her. They could not find their Shifu, naturally they are anxious.”