The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 13

Huang Rong shook her head, “ This person is no doubt highly skilled in martial arts. Did you see the eight iron trigrams just now?”

Guo Jing asked, “ Eight iron trigrams? What’s that?”

Huang Rong answered, “ That’s used to practice the ‘Thrusting Air Palms’. Father taught me this set of palm technique before, but I was bored and stopped learning it after a month. I would never have expected to see it here.”

Guo Jing said, “ Master Lu mean us no harm. Since he did not mention anything about it, let’s just pretend that we are unaware of it.”

Huang Rong nodded and smiled, she gently thrust out her palm towards the candle and a ‘chi’ sound was heard, before the candlelight went out.

Guo Jing praised in a low voice, “ Great palm technique!” He asked, “ Is this the ‘Thrusting Air Palm’?

Huang Rong smiled, “ I only learnt till this level. It can be used for fun but it is totally useless when used in a real duel.”

There was a sudden distant humming in the middle of the night, which startled Guo Jing and Huang Rong, who were both sleeping before that. They strained to hear more and there was the sound again, which sounded like someone was blowing a tune from a seashell. After a while, the humming started again. There was definitely more than one person creating the noise as both hums were created at the same time. It seemed like there were two people standing apart and blowing the shell to communicate.

Huang Rong whispered, “ Let’s go and see what’s up.”

Guo Jing answered, “ Let’s not go and find trouble shall we?”

Huang Rong argued, “ Who says we’re finding trouble? I only suggested for us to check out what’s happening.”

Both of them pushed open the window gently and looked out. They saw many people running about with lanterns in their arms, but there was no clue as to why they were rushing about. Huang Rong looked up and saw three or four blurred figures crouching on the nearby rooftop. The light from the lanterns shone briefly onto the figures and Huang Rong saw the swift light reflecting from the weapons, which those people carried in their arms. After a while, the crowd of servants all ran out of the manor. Huang Rong was curious and pulled Guo Jing towards the side of the window. She made sure no one was about and gently leaped out such that the people on the roof weren’t aware of her movements.

Huang Rong signaled to Guo Jing to walk backwards. The pathways in the manor turned and twisted such that the directions were very complicated. The most unusual thing was that the railings and pillars at every turn looked exactly the same. After a few whirls, one would not be able to distinguish between the different directions. Huang Rong however, was not the slightest bothered about this obstacle and walked around without any tint of worry or suspicion. Several times, it looked as if it was no pathway, but she always managed to identify a fake rock and revolve pass it or she would just twirl round the flowers and they would be back on the main path. At times, it looked as if it was a dead end in front, but somehow or another, there would always be a way pass a screen of a huge tree. At times, there would be a path through the opening of a grotto, but Huang Rong would never walk through. Instead, she would miraculously be able to identify a hidden and unnoticeable entrance on the walls and push through to enter. The more Guo Jing proceeded on, the more curious he became.

He whispered, “ Rong’er, the pathways of this manor are really bizarre, how is it that you are always able to identify the right way?”

Huang Rong signaled for him to be quiet and after seven or eight more turns, they arrived by the wall of the backyard. Huang Rong examined the wall and used her fingers to count before walking and counting her footsteps. Guo Jing heard her mumble, “ Form a trigram first, thirdly prepare, fifthly supplement, repeat the seventh…” and did not understand a single word.

Huang Rong counted as she walked, and after a particular count, she stopped in her tracks and said, “ We can only leave by here, the rest of the place is filled with traps.”

She leapt onto the top of the wall and Guo Jing followed suit. Huang Rong continued, “ This manor is built according to the sixty four bearings (positions) which are concealed. My father is a master in this particular type of architecture, which requires one to design eight different types of routes (not really sure of this part). Master Lu can obstruct others, but he can’t trap me.” Her tone was filled with pride.

Both of them climbed up a small mound situated behind the manor and looked out towards the east. They saw a person walking towards the lake, with a lantern raised high up. Huang Rong tugged at Guo Jing’s sleeve and both of them flew forward using their lightness skill. After arriving closer, they hid behind a huge rock and noticed a row of fishing boats near the shores of the lake. A crowd of people slowly boarded the boats and after they did so, each put out their lantern lights. Guo Jing and Huang Rong waited till the last batch of people boarded, and after it was pitch dark, before leaping out and landed on the tail of a large ship. After they heard the fishing boats start to move, they leaped on top of the sail of the ship and looked down. It was then they saw some one sitting inside a room in the boat and the person was none other than the junior owner of the manor, Lu Guanying.

As the row of boats started moving, the tune from the seashell could be heard again. A person on the ship walked to the front and also started blowing into the shell. After the ship drifted some distance, one could see many little boats drifting on the lake. The myriad of little boats looked like tiny ants in the distance; it was as if one had painted millions of black dots on a large sheet or paper. The person on the ship blew his shell three times and the large boat dropped its vessel into the midst of the lake. About ten little boats started moving in from all directions. Guo Jing and Huang Rong were mystified; they were not sure whether a battle was going to take place. They lowered their heads and peeped at Lu Guanying, who however looked calm and normal, he did not show any tint of anxiousness as one would show in times of war.

Not long after, the boats sailed nearer. Every boat saw either two or three people coming out and entering the ship. Every person, after entering the huge boat, would bow to Lu Guanying and were respectful in their behavior. It seemed that seats had been arranged for the visitors from the little boats and according to their status. Some people arrived earlier but sat at the back, whereas some who arrived later got to sit in the front. A tea server ushered the visitors to their seats. The visitors had stern and rough expressions, and their actions were swift and fierce. Although they dressed like fishermen, it seemed as if all of them were versed in martial arts and were definitely not the usual type of fisherman.

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