The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 16

“Bah! What’s so special about the family name Huang?” Zhou Botong spat. “This person had nothing to do with the Old Heretic Huang Yaoshi; don’t you have any wrong ideas. There are numerous people surnamed Huang in this world; that ‘huang’ [yellow] dog or yellow cat also surnamed Huang.”

Guo Jing thought that yellow dog and yellow cat did not necessarily have ‘huang’ as their surnames, but he did not want to debate him; so he let him continue with his story.

“This Old Heretic Huang is not as smart as that Huang Shang. He was extremely intelligent …” Zhou Botong continued. Guo Jing wanted to say, “It turned out he was also an extremely intelligent person,” but that thought stopped at his mouth.

“This Huang Shang was very afraid he might make any mistake in the writing of the canon; because if the Emperor found out later, he would surely lose his head. Therefore, he read and re-read each volume to make sure his work was error-free. Unexpectedly after several years of studying the scriptures he became very proficient in the Taoist doctrines; he had found the profound truth of martial arts. He did not have any master; he trained himself in internal and external energy cultivation and became a grand master in martial art. Brother, this Huang Shang was many times smarter than you are. I don’t have his kind of intelligence, and I don’t think you do too.”

“Naturally,” Guo Jing said. “If I were to study more than five thousand chapters of scripture; it will take me a life time just to read them from beginning to the end. How can I comprehend the martial art inside them?”

Zhou Botong sighed. “This kind of intelligent people still exist in the world today,” he said, “But if you meet this kind of people chances are you will face unfortunate events.”

Guo Jing did not agree with his view, he secretly thought, “Rong’er is very intelligent; but since I met her I have always found good luck; how can he say ‘unfortunate’?” But he was not the kind who likes to argue, so he kept his thought to himself.

“That Huang Shang had mastered the martial art, yet he still held an office in the government,” Zhou Botong continued. “There came a time when suddenly there arose a religious movement in the kingdom; they called themselves ‘ming jiao’ [Ming Cult] something. It was said that this movement was originated from central Asia; a place called Persia. The follower of this Ming Cult were: first – did not worship ‘tai shang lao jun’ [translator note: I think he was a Taoist Deity]; second – did not worship ancestor’s spirit; third – did not worship Buddha; they only worship old foreign devil. They did not eat meat nor drink wine; they were vegetarians. The Emperor Hui Zong only believed in Taoism; so as soon as he found out he issued an imperial decree assigning Huang Shang to eradicate this devil cult. Unexpectedly there were many martial art masters among the members of the cult. They were fearless of death and fought Huang Shang and his troops, rendered them useless. After several battles Huang Shang and his troops suffered big loss. Huang Shang was indignant. He went out and challenged the Devil Cult’s martial art masters on one-to-one combat. He personally killed several ‘fa wang’ [imperial priest – just like Jin Lun Fa Wang of RoCH and ‘kings’ of Ming Cult in HSDS] and some envoys. Who would have known that the people he killed were disciples of well-known Wulin characters, some were their martial uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters; or their immediate families. Of course these people were enraged and they came together to face him. They scolded him as not handling the affairs according to the Wulin custom. To which Huang Shang replied, ‘I am a government officer, and am not part of the Wulin world; what do I know about your Wulin custom?’ Those whom family or relative was killed argued, ‘If you are not part of the Wulin world, then how did you know martial art? Are you saying that your master only taught you martial art, but did not tell you anything about the Wulin custom?’ Huang Shang replied, ‘I don’t have any master.’ Of course they did not believe him; so they were involved in heated argument. What do you think happened?”

“They began to fight each other,” Guo Jing said.

“Without question, wasn’t it?” Zhou Botong said. “Huang Shang’s martial art was strange; none of his enemies had seen it. Because of this he could kill some of them quite easily. However, his enemies were numerous; he was also injured from the fight, so in desperation he ran away. Those enemies of him then wiped his parents, wife and children clean.”

Listening to this part Guo Jing heaved a sigh. He thought that people who practiced martial art would unavoidably kill others. This Huang Shang was no different; if he did not practice martial art, he would not experience such tragedy.

“That Huang Shang fellow had ran away to a deserted place and hid himself there,” Zhou Botong continued. “There he tried to remember his enemies’ martial art one by one. He painstakingly pondered on how to defeat each and every one of them. He thought that as soon as he succeeded in developing the martial art, he would go back and seek his revenge. A long time passed; finally he was able to master the new martial art. He was very happy; expecting that very soon he would be able to avenge his family. Thereupon he left the mountain to seek his enemies. But unexpectedly the people he was looking for had disappeared. Can you guess what happened to them?”

“Perhaps his enemies have found out his intention, and they knew his martial art was good, so they were scared and hid from him,” Guo Jing guessed.

Zhou Botong shook his head, “No, no. When my martial brother told me this story he also asked me to guess what happened, and I also said the same thing. I even made seven, eight guesses but none of them was right.”

“Well, if Big Brother guessed seven, eight times yet did not hit the target then I don’t have to make any guess at all; since even if I guessed seventy, eighty times I certainly cannot guess right,” Guo Jing said.

Zhou Botong roared in laughter, “No chance, you have no chance at all! All right, since you admit defeat I won’t ask you to guess anymore. Actually several dozens of his enemies had all died.”

Guo Jing uttered a cry of disbelief. “That’s strange! Could it be that his friends or maybe his disciples had avenged him and killed all his enemies?” he asked.

Again Zhou Botong shook his head, “No, no. You missed by a hundred and eight thousands li’s. He did not have any disciple. He was a government official, his friends were all scholars, not martial artists; how could they avenge him?”

Guo Jing scratched his head. “Could it be that they were plagued by some disease and died in some kind of epidemic?”

“Also incorrect. His enemies were scattered; some lived in Shandong, some came from Huguang, several were from Hebei and Liangzhe. How could they die from the same epidemic?” Zhou Botong asked, but then he exclaimed. “Ah! Yes, yes! That’s right! Some epidemic could kill you no matter where you are, even if you ran to the end of the earth. Can you guess what kind of epidemic was it?”

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