The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 16

“He did not,” answered Guo Jing truthfully.

The old man looked up and thought aloud, “He looks so young. Even if he cultivated his internal energy inside his mother’s womb, that would at most 18, 19 years worth of internal energy. How could he resist the flute sound, while I could not?” He was deep in thought for a moment; then he looked at Guo Jing from top to bottom and again from bottom to top. He stretched his right palm and said, “Push my palm; I want to test your martial art.”

Guo Jing complied; he extended his right palm and pushed. The old man said, “”Qi’ at your ‘dan tian’, push hard!” Guo Jing exerted his strength. The old man pulled his palm slightly then push hard while cried out, “Be careful!”

Guo Jing sensed a powerful force pushing him. He could not hold it, so he used his left hand to enforce his right palm. Who would have thought that old man flipped his palm and push Guo Jing’s wrist with his four fingers. The power of these fingers was enough to send Guo Jing flew backward seven, eight steps until his back hit a tree. Only then did Guo Jing manage to stand.

“His martial art is not bad, but nothing extraordinary either,” the old man muttered, “But how could he resist the Old Heretic Huang’s ‘bi hai chao sheng qu’ [jade-colored tidal wave song]?”

Guo Jing felt his chest tightened; he was astonished, “This man’s martial art is about the same level as Benevolent Master Hong’s and Master Huang’s. How could there be an expert his caliber in the Peach Blossom Island? Could it be he was the Western Poison or the Southern Emperor?” As soon as he remembered ‘Western Poison’ his heart turned cold, “Did I fall into his trickery?” Quickly he lifted his palm under the sunlight and checked it out. But he did not see any inflammation or black mark; he was relieved, at least he wasn’t being poisoned.

“Can you guess who I am?” that old man laughed.

“Disciple had heard people say that in the martial art realm there are five experts. The Quan Zhen’s founder Venerable Wang had passed away; disciples have met the ‘Nine-fingered Divine Beggar’ Benevolent Master Hong and the Master of Peach Blossom Island. Could Senior be Senior Ouyang or Emperor Duan?”

“You thought my martial art is comparable to the Eastern Heretic and Northern Beggar, didn’t you?” the old man smiled.

“Disciple’s martial art is mediocre, my experience shallow, I do not dare to speak nonsense. But when Senior pushed me a moment ago, I can say with confidence that other than Benevolent Master Hong and Master Huang, I have never experience such force,” Guo Jing said.

That old man was delighted with Guo Jing’s praise; his face looked like a child’s happy face. “I am neither the Western Poison Ouyang Feng, nor the Emperor Duan,” he smiled broadly. “Guess again.”

Guo Jing hesitated. “Disciple had met somebody whose name was as well known as Benevolent Master Hong, Qiu Qianren. But this person’s martial art is just ordinary. Disciple is really not smart, I cannot guess Senior’s honored name,” he said.

That old man laughed heartily, “My surname is Zhou; can you guess now?” he asked.

“Ah, you are Zhou Botong?” Guo Jing blurted. As the words came out of his mouth Guo Jing froze. Mentioning someone’s name, especially a Senior, could be considered disrespectful. He quickly bowed and apologized, “Disciple had shown disrespect, would Senior Zhou please forgive me.”

The old man laughed, “You are right! I am precisely Zhou Botong. My name is Zhou Botong, and you called me Zhou Botong; when did you show me disrespect? The Quan Zhen Sect’s Founder Wang Chongyang was my martial brother; Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji and the others are my martial nephews. You are not a Quan Zhen disciple, you don’t have to call me Senior this or Senior that; just call me Zhou Botong.”

“How would disciple dare?” Guo Jing asked.

Zhou Botong had lived in the Peach Blossom Island for a long time; he was bored, but suddenly Guo Jing came along. Talking with him he found relief; he was thrilled. Suddenly a strange thought came into his mind. “Little friend, what do you say you and I become sworn brothers?” he asked.

No matter how strange his words were, this was the weirdest of all. Guo Jing’s jaw dropped, he looked at Zhou Botong in disbelief; he thought Zhou was joking. After a while he opened his mouth, “Disciple is Priest Ma and Priest Qiu’s junior; I deserve to address you as my grand martial master.”

Zhou Botong busily shook his hands. “My martial art skill came from my martial brother. Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji and the others did not consider me their senior; they also did not respect me as a senior. You are not my son, I am not yours; we do not have older-younger generation difference.” Speaking thus he heard footsteps approaching; an old servant appeared, carrying a food basket. Zhou Botong beamed, “Our food is here!”

The servant opened the basket and took out four dishes of food, two pots of wine and a wooden basket full of rice. He placed the food in front of Zhou Botong, on top of a big rock; poured out two cups of wine and stood silently aside.

“Where is Miss Huang? Why didn’t she come looking for me?” Guo Jing asked. That servant shook his head, pointing to his ear and his mouth, signaling that he was deaf and mute.

“Huang Yaoshi had punctured his ears. You can ask him to open his mouth wide and take a look,” Zhou Botong chuckled.

Guo Jing made a signal, asking that servant to open his mouth. Guo Jing was startled and scared; that servant’s tongue had been cut in half.

“The servants of Peach Blossom Island are just like that,” Zhou Botong said. “You have come here; if you don’t die, you will end up like them.”

Guo Jing heard what he said; he was silent for a long time. “How could Rong’er’s father be so cruel?” he thought.

“That Old Heretic Huang tortures me every night,” Zhou Botong continued, “I don’t want to admit defeat to him. Last night I was almost fallen in his hand; if not for you, little brother, my more than 10 years effort of resisting him might crumble in one evening. Come little brother, here we have wine and food. Today we will take an oath to be sworn brothers; in the future we will share fortune and bear difficult times together. That year when Wang Chongyang and I became sworn brothers he also refused in every way … Why? Do you really not know? My sworn brother Wang Chongyang’s martial art was much higher than mine; that was why he was not willing to swear brotherhood with me. Is your martial art also much higher than mine? I don’t think so.”

“Junior’s martial art is way below yours,” Guo Jing answered. “I don’t deserve to swear brotherhood with you.”

“If you say to swear brotherhood have to have the same level of martial art, then I have to swear brotherhood with Old Heretic Huang, or Old Poison,” Zhou Botong said. “I only like to fight with them! That’s ridiculous! Do you want me to swear brotherhood with this deaf and mute fellow?” He pointed to that old servant; jumped up and down in a fit of rage.

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