The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 13

Lu Guanying raised his arm and said, “ Brother Zhang, what have you found out?” A skinny man sitting in the middle stood up and said, “ To answer Junior Master, the Jin ambassador has decided to sail across the lake tonight. The captain, who is on the pretext of receiving him, would reach in probably an hour’s time. The latter is late due to the ransacking on the way.”

Lu Guanying asked, “ How much has he ransacked?”

The man answered, “ There have been harvests from every village, and his soldiers are still robbing the villagers now. When I saw him alight the boat, his soldiers were struggling with more than twenty heavy chests of treasures.”

Lu Guanying asked, “ How many soldiers and horses does he have with him?”

The man answered, “ About two thousand. Those who crossed the lake with him do not have horses with them. Since there are not enough boats, there are about a thousand of them who stay back at shore.”

Lu Guanying turned towards the audience and asked, “ Fellow brothers, what do you guys think?”

Everyone answered, “ We will follow Junior Master’s orders.”

Lu Guanying placed both hands into his sleeves and said, “ These corrupted officials go round snatching money through immoral means. We the people from the lake would not be doing justice if we do not get back those treasures and money. We will do our best to grab as much as we can. Half of it will go to the poor villagers by the lake and the other half will be split between us.”

The audience all roared in agreement. It was then that Guo Jing and Huang Rong realize that these people were the pirates of the lake and Lu Guanying was probably they’re leader.

Lu Guanying said, “ Without further a dew, let’s get going. Brother Zhang, take five small boats and continue to keep watch.”

The skinny man took the order and immediately sailed out. Lu Guanying went on to assign everyone their tasks, such as who would lead, who would be the back ups, who would lead the ‘water ghosts’ to swim and create damage to the enemy’s boat, who would grab the treasures, who would capture the official and so on. He dutifully assigned the various tasks in a very organized way.

Guo Jing and Huang Rong were secretly puzzled. They had just dined and chatted with Lu Guanying earlier in the day and found him to be a polite, proper and decent chap, not forgetting that he was from a wealthy and cultivated family. Who would have guessed that he was a pirate leader? Just as Lu Guanying had finished assigning the various tasks and everyone was setting out, someone in the middle stood up and said coldly, “ We people have no assets whatsoever, it is alright to rob some wealthy businessmen. But if we attack such an official, won’t we have trouble living on the lake in the future? We should not offend the Jin Ambassador.”

Guo Jing and Huang Rong thought the voice sounded familiar. When they squinted to have a better look, they realized that is was Sha Tong Tian’s disciple, one of the four ghosts of the yellow rive, stealing souls whip, Ma Qing Xiong; they did not know how he ended up in the group. Lu Guanying’s expression changed, he had yet to answer when a few pirates in the crowd starting hooting.

Lu Guanying said, “ Brother Ma is a first timer and doesn’t know the rules here. Since everyone is determined to carry out the task, we’ll give our all and make sure the soldiers have no chance to retaliate, only then will we die without regrets.”

Ma Qing Xiong answered, “ Alright, you people go ahead then, I would rather not get involved and get myself into trouble.”

With that, he turned and started to walk out of the boat. Two men blocked him and cried out, “ Brother Ma, you swore that you will go through thick and thin with us!”

Ma Qing Xiong pushed out with both palms and retorted, “ Get lost!”

The two men were hit and fell to the side. As Ma Qing Xiong was about to leave the boat, he suddenly felt a gust of wind flow towards his back, when the wind flowed past him; he used his left hand to retrieve a dagger from his boot, twisted his arm and pierced the dagger behind. Lu Guanying stretched out his left arm and positioned it on the entrance door, at the same time, he leaped and thrust his palm forward. Ma Qing Xiong used his right arm to block the attack while using his left arm to pierce the dagger forward. The two men exchanged attacks on the narrow passage of the ship. Guo Jing once fought with Ma Qing Xiong back in Mongolia. When he first saw Lu Guanying’s moves, he thought that it would not be easy for him to win. But after some more moves, Lu Guanying kept gaining the upper hand and was clearly going to win. Guo Jing was suspicious and thought, “ Why is that Ma guy suddenly not strong anymore? Ah, yes, that day when he fought with me, he had the support of his martial brothers, but now, he’s singly surrounded by so many enemies, of course he’ll be afraid.” But Guo Jing did not know that the real reason lied in Hong Qi Gong’s training for the past two months. Guo Jing had mastered fifteen stances of the world’s renowned ‘Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms’, accompanied by pointers and advice provided by Hong Qi Gong himself. Because of this, although he did not understand the full essence of the skill, his martial arts had improved tremendously and were at a very much higher level than the average skills he learnt from the Seven Freaks of Jiangnan, but at this point in time, Guo Jing was still unaware that his skills had already suppressed his six teachers, and thus, he still thought that he was less superior than Ma Qing Xiong. He saw the two men further exchange a couple of stunts when Lu Guanying shot out his left fist and a “pa” sound was heard; the blow had hit Ma Qing Xiong in the chest, who stumbled and fell back. Two pirates behind him pierced him with their daggers and Ma Qing Xiong laid dead. The two pirates then lifted up the corpse and threw it into the lake.

Lu Guanying continued, “ Brothers, let’s embrace our mission bravely.”

The crowd began to cheer loudly and each separated, went back to their respective boats and began to head east. Lu Guanying’s huge boat sailed right at the back of the others. After awhile, they spotted about ten huge and brightly lit boats from afar, heading west towards them.

Guo Jing and Huang Rong thought to themselves, “ These big boats must belong to those officials.”

The two secretly climbed up the pole of the ship and sat on top at the beam/roof but hid themselves behind the sail. They heard the seashell tune from the little boats and as both opposing sides came closer, there were sounds of yelling, scolding, clashing of weapons and the sounds of splashing as bodies dropped into the water. After awhile, the officials’ boats were on fire which lit up the dark sky and cast a fiery red shadow over the lake.

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