The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 16

Guo Jing mentioned typhus, smallpox, dysentery, and six, seven other type of diseases; but Zhou Botong shook his head every time. Finally Guo Jing exclaimed, “Foot-and-mouth disease!” Then he faked surprise, covered his mouth, stood up and tapped his head with his left hand and burst into laughter. “I was kidding! Foot-and-mouth disease is the plague of the cattle at the Mongolian desert; it won’t attack human.”

Zhou Botong also burst in laughter. “The more you guessed the weirder you became. That Huang Shang looked everywhere before he finally found one of his enemies. She was a woman. When they fought, she was only about sixteen, seventeen years old young girl, but when Huang Shang found her, she was some sixty-year old granny …”

Guo Jing’s jaw dropped. “This is really weird! Ah, right, she must have disguised herself as and old lady so Huang Shang wouldn’t recognize her.”

“She did not disguise herself,” Zhou Botong answered. “Just think: Huang Shang had several dozens enemies, each one of them was a martial art expert, each came from a respectable martial art school or family. Can you imagine how profound and complicated each of their skills was? He wanted to defeat each person’s unique skill, just how much time did he painstakingly spend to achieve such result? He was hiding in a remote mountain area and diligently trained himself. Day and night only martial art occupied his mind, he did not care about anything else; unconsciously he had spent more than forty years altogether.”

“More than forty years?” Guo Jing was astonished.

“That’s right,” Zhou Botong asserted. “When you are absorbed in learning martial art, forty years will pass quite easily. I have been here for fifteen years yet did not feel like it was that long. Huang Shang saw that young girl turned into an old granny; his heart was heavy with emotion. That old lady was sick to the bone; she was bedridden and was dying. Without him moving his hand she would die in a few days. His heartache and hatred for dozens of years just vanished without a trace. Brother, everybody has to die. The epidemic I was asking you earlier was death. When your time comes, you cannot run away.”

Guo Jing silently nodded. Zhou Botong continued, “My martial brother and his seven disciples day in and day out dedicated themselves to achieve perfection of life. But tell me: is it really possible to cultivate a divine body that won’t see death? That was the reason I did not want to follow those ox-nosed way of living.”

Guo Jing was lost in thought. Zhou Botong continued, “Huang Shang’s enemies were about forty, fifty years of age; another forty years plus, how could they not die? Ha … ha … ha … Actually he did not have to trouble himself by training his martial art and developing new techniques; all he had to do was outlive his enemies. Forty plus years and the Heaven would take care of his personal enemies for him.”

Guo Jing nodded. “Well then, should I look for Wanyan Honglie to avenge my father, or should I not?” he wondered in his heart.

Zhou Botong again said, “However, learning martial art diligently could bring endless pleasure to one’s life. If one did not practice martial art, what other interesting thing worth doing? There are endless toys and gadgets in the world, but after playing for a while you will get bored eventually. Only martial art; the more you play, the more interesting it becomes. Brother, don’t you agree?”

Guo Jing only made an ‘hmm’ sound noncommittally, showing neither his approval nor disapproval. He admitted that knowing martial art could be fun; but it was also hard work. He had trained martial art since he was very young and he could not say the training was ‘fun’. He had to work and suffer hard; without a single leisure day.

Zhou Botong saw him did not show enthusiasm, “Why didn’t you ask me what happened next?” he asked.

Guo Jing hastily said, “Right! What happened next?”

Zhou Botong was sulking, “If you don’t prompt me every now and then I will lose my eagerness in telling you the story.”

“Yes, yes, Big Brother, what happened next?” Guo Jing prompted.

“That Huang Shang thought, ‘I realize I am old now, but do not have too many years of good works.’ He had taken these several dozens years in pain to master the martial art technique of almost every martial art schools in the world. But after all this years who would enjoy his works? How could he let his long-life’s work wasted just like that? Therefore, he decided to compile the techniques he had mastered into a two-volume book. What would that be?”

“What is it?” Guo Jing asked.

“Ay! Don’t tell me you cannot guess this one,” Zhou Botong said.

Guo Jing thought for a moment, then asked, “Is it the Nine Yin Manual?”

“We have talked for half a day about the origin of the Nine Yin Manual; why did you still ask?” scolded Zhou Botong.

Guo Jing smiled, “Well, Little Brother was afraid to make another incorrect guess.”

Zhou Botong continued, “After compiling the Nine Yin Manual, Huang Shang wrote it disguised as a literary book; my martial brother later found out. Huang Shang had hidden the book in a very secret place that for dozens of years nobody knew its existence. For some reasons later this book appeared and the Wulin world was troubled. Everybody wanted to get hold of the book. It was a dog-eat-dog situation. My martial brother said that the heroes who fought over this book and lost their lives came from all sides of the Wulin world; the number was over a hundred people. Every time someone got hold of it, before one could practice for half-a-year or a year, somebody else would find that person and snatched the book away. This cycle had repeated don’t know how many times; don’t know how many lives. The one who got it would try to avoid others, but the pursuers were so many and in the end they would always find that person. Sometimes they used force, sometimes used trickery; but I don’t know how many times the book had changed hands.”

“If that’s the case, then this book is actually the most damned thing for mankind,” Guo Jing said. “If Chen Xuanfeng did not have this book he would be able to live peacefully with Mei Chaofeng in some remote village; Island Master Huang would not look for him. If Mei Chaofeng did not have this book, she would not be in her wretched condition today.”

“Brother, why do you have such a negative feeling toward the book?” Zhou Botong asked. “The martial arts contained inside the Nine Yin Manual are very profound and divinely wonderful. If someone is able to learn even a little bit of it, how could that someone’s life not changed? Even though it had created a disaster; what does it have to do with it? Didn’t I say that not everybody was dead because of it?”

“Big Brother,” Guo Jing said, “That was because you are so fascinated with martial art.”

“That goes without saying,” Zhou Botong smiled. “Those who practice martial art have an endless pleasure. Common people are just so foolish; some loves to study to become government officials; some love gold or exquisite jewels; some loves beautiful women; but those who find pleasure in martial arts, wouldn’t those people be able to do much more in time of emergency?”

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