What hope is there for four women in the same boat?
At that moment, they heard two ‘ding-a-ling’ sounds coming from behind them, and very soon three people had arrived. Zhang Wuji took a glance and saw three people wearing wide robes; two of them were very tall, while the one on the left was a woman. They were approaching with their backs to the moon, so that he could not see their faces clearly; but their robes were embroidered with an image of flaming fire, so obviously they were Ming Cult disciples. Each person had their hands high in the air, with each hand holding a black, about two feet long, tablet. The one, which was the tallest, said in a clear and loud voice, “The Ming Cult’s Sheng Huo Ling [Decree of the Holy Fire] have arrived, Cult Protectors Dragon King and Lion King have not kneeled down, what are you waiting for?”
His accent was terrible; he sounded very stiff. Zhang Wuji was startled; he mused, “Yang Jiaozhu [Cult Leader Yang] did mention that our Cult’s Sheng Huo Ling has been lost since the time of our thirty-first generation Cult Leader, Shi Jiaozhu. How can it be in these three people’s hands? Is this the genuine Sheng Huo Ling? Are they really our Cult’s disciples?”
Jin Hua Popo said, “I have left the Cult a long time ago, so these four words ‘hu jiao long wang’ [cult protector dragon king] don’t mean anything to me. What is Sire’s honorable name? Is that Sheng Huo Ling the real one or a fake? Where did it come from?”
That man barked, “You have left the Cult; what are you prattling about?”
Jin Hua Popo coldly said, “In all her life Jin Hua Popo has never allowed others to slander her for even half a word; in the past, when Yang Jiaozhu was still alive, even he was 30% respectful toward me. What is your position in the Cult that you dare to shout and bicker in my face?”
In a sudden movement, the three people’s shadow swayed, and simultaneously three left hands moved to grab Jin Hua Popo. She brandished her walking stick, sweeping horizontally toward them. It was unclear how these people moved, but somehow their position changed and Jin Hua Popo’s stick had struck empty air and three right hands reached out to the back of her neck; her body shook and she was thrown far away.
Based on Jin Hua Popo’s martial art level, even if three highest-skilled martial art masters besieged her, they would not necessarily able to throw her out in one move like that. But, not only the footwork of these three people in white robes was very strange, their coordination was also near perfection; they were just like one person with three heads and six arms.
“Wow!” Zhang Wuji could not stop from exclaiming. As those three people moved, he was able to see their features clearly; the tallest among them had pointy whiskers, his eyes were bluish green. The other man had blonde moustache and eagle nose. The woman’s hair was black, just like the Chinese, but the pupils of her eyes were so pale that they were almost colorless. Her face was watermelon-seed shaped; she was around thirty years of age. Although her features were strange, she looked very beautiful.
Zhang Wuji thought, “Turn out these people are Middle-Easterners; no wonder their accents are so stiff, almost sounds like they are reciting a book.”
In a loud and clear voice the man with the pointy whiskers said, “Seeing the Sheng Huo Ling is like seeing the Jiaozhu; Xie Xun, why haven’t you knelt down?”
“Who are the three of you?” Xie Xun replied, “If you are Ming Cult disciples, then Xie Xun should know you. If you are not Ming Cult disciples, then Sheng Huo Ling has nothing to do with the three of you.”
“Where is the origin of the Ming Cult?” the pointy whisker asked.
“It came from Persia,” Xie Xun answered.
“Correct, correct!” the pointy whisker said, “I am the ‘Liuyun Shi’ [flowing/spreading (take your pick) cloud emissary] from the Persian Central Ming Cult. These other two are ‘Miaofeng Shi’ [wonderful wind emissary] and ‘Huiyue Shi’ [glorious moon emissary]. We come to the Central Earth [‘zhong tu’] from Persia on assignment from the Central Cult Leader.”
Xie Xun and Zhang Wuji were stunned. Zhang Wuji had read Yang Xiao’s book, the ‘Ming Jiao Liu Chuan Zhong Tu Ji’ [A record on the spread of Ming Cult to the Central Earth]; so he knew the Ming Cult came from Persia. He saw these three people were Persian Middle-Easterners, their martial arts were also this good; so they must be telling the truth.
He heard that blonde-moustache Miaofeng Shi say, “Our Jiaozhu received the news that the Central Earth’s Jiaozhu was missing and the disciples were killing each other, the Cult was declining quickly. He ordered Cloud, Wind and Moon, three Emissaries, to reorganize the Cult’s affairs. All Cult disciples, from the top to the bottom, must receive our commands without fail.”
Zhang Wuji was delighted, “The Central Cult Leader has sent his orders; nothing can be better than that,” he thought, “Now I don’t have to bear this heavy responsibility with my superficial experience and cause harm on the important matter.”
He heard Xie Xun say, “Even though the Central Earth’s Ming Cult stemmed from Persia, we have become an independent faction for several hundred years; therefore, we are outside the Persian Central Cult’s jurisdiction. The three of you have come from afar to the Central Earth, Xie Xun is very pleased; as for kneeling down and so on, don’t you think it is rather unreasonable?”
The pointy whiskered Liuyun Shi struck the two pieces of black tablets in his hands to each other. ‘Clang!’ The noise was neither those of metals nor jade; it sounded very strange. He said, “This is the Central Earth’s Ming Cult’s Sheng Huo Ling; the former Jiaozhu surnamed Shi was unworthy; he lost it to the outsiders, and now we took it back. Seeing the Sheng Huo Ling is like seeing the Jiaozhu; Xie Xun still does not obey orders?”
When Xie Xun joined the Cult, Sheng Huo Ling had been lost quite a long time, so he had never seen it; but he had heard about its divine features, it was also frequently mentioned in the Ming Cult’s Holy Scripture. Therefore, listening to this unique sound, he knew that the Sheng Huo Ling in that person’s hand was the genuine one. Besides, those three were able to catch and throw Jin Hua Popo away with only one move, which ordinary people would not be able to do; his doubts were gone.
“Subordinate believes what Sire has said,” he said, “I wonder what instructions do you have for me?”
Liuyun Shi waved his left hand; together with Miaofeng Shi and Huiyue Shi they leaped together. In two jumps they landed by Jin Hua Popo’s side. Jin Hua Popo attacked them with some golden flowers; the three Emissaries dodged to the east and swayed to the west; the golden flowers fell to the ground. Huiyue Shi dashed forward with extended finger toward Jin Hua Popo’s throat. Jin Hua Popo raised her walking stick to block, followed by a counterattack. Suddenly her body flew up, because her back was grabbed and lifted up by Liuyun Shi and Miaofeng Shi. Huiyue Shi immediately advanced three steps and her palms struck Jin Hua Popo’s chest and abdomen three times. The palm strikes were not too heavy, but Jin Hua Popo was immobilized.
Zhang Wuji said in his heart, “These three’s movements were not extraordinary, but the ingenuity of their coordination was matchless. Huiyue Shi attacked from the front to entice the enemy and the other two mysteriously come in and out to capture Jin Hua Popo. Strictly speaking, in term of martial art, each one of them is inferior to Jin Hua Popo. That woman’s three palm strikes are not really sealing acupoint technique, but it was cunningly comparable to our Central Earth’s sealing acupoint technique.”