The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 16

“Little Brother has practiced a little bit of shallow martial art, but I have not yet learned to have an endless pleasure from it,” Guo Jing said.

Zhou Botong sighed. “Silly kid, silly kid; then why did you practice martial art?” he asked.

“Masters wanted me to practice, I practiced,” Guo Jing replied.

Zhou Botong shook his head. “You are really dumb,” he said. “I am telling you: a man may not like to eat his food; he may not love his own life, but he cannot not practice martial art.”

Guo Jing replied while thinking in his heart, “This Brother of mine is really addicted to martial arts that he acted this crazy,” he said, “I noticed the Twin Killers of the Dark Wind practiced the martial art of Nine Yin Manual, it was completely evil. That one is absolutely cannot be practiced.”

Zhou Botong shook his head. “Those Twin Killers of the Dark Wind did not train correctly. The Nine Yin Manual is upright and honest, how could it be evil?”

Guo Jing had seen Mei Chaofeng’s martial art with his own eyes, so he did not believe what he heard.

Zhou Botong asked, “Where were we on the story?”

“You talked about the heroes of the world fighting over the Nine Yin Manual,” replied Guo Jing.

“That’s right!” Zhou Botong said. “Afterwards the trouble getting bigger and more complicated that the like of Quan Zhen Sect’s Sect Leader, Peach Blossom Island Master Old Heretic Huang and Beggar Clan’s Clan Leader Hong had to intervene. These five people agreed to meet at Mount Hua and have a contest. Whoever possessed the highest martial art skill would get the book.”

“And the book fell into your martial brother’s hand,” Guo Jing said.

Zhou Botong’s eyes were lit. “That’s right! My martial brother Wang and I were good friends; he had not become a priest when we became good friends; later on he taught me martial art. He said I practiced martial art like crazy and too determined; did not go well with the Taoism way to seek peace and perfection. That was the reason although my martial art is from Quan Zhen, but my martial brother did not let me to become a Taoist priest. That was precisely what I expected. Among my martial brother’s disciples, Qiu Chuji was the one with the highest martial art skill. My martial brother did not like it, he said Qiu devoted too much time practicing martial art and neglected to cultivate the Taoist faith. He said that whoever wanted to practice martial art must do so diligently; while those who entered Taoist way must do so with a simple heart. Those two did not go together very well. Ma Yu had inherited my martial brother’s Taoist faith, but his martial art is actually inferior to Qiu Chuji and Wang Chuyi.”

“That Quan Zhen Sect’s Master Wang, how did he become both a Taoist saint and a martial art master?” Guo Jing asked.

“His natural talent was so incredible. He was able to master martial art quite easily, while I had to practice hard and diligently.” Zhou Botong answered. “Where were we on the story? Why did you divert my attention with your question?”

Guo Jing smiled. “You were talking about your martial brother obtained the Nine Yin Manual.”

“That’s right,” Zhou Botong said. “After he had the book in his possession, he did not learn anything from it. He put the book inside a stone box and buried it underneath the flagstone where he sat daily meditating. I felt strange and asked him what was going on. He smiled but did not say anything. I became anxious, but he simply told me to go and think about it. Go ahead and try to guess, why did he do that?”

“Was he afraid somebody might come and steal it from him?” Guo Jing said.

Zhou Botong repeatedly shook his head, “No, no! Who would dare to steal Quan Zhen Sect Master’s belonging unless that person was bored of his own life?”

Guo Jing pondered for a long time. Suddenly he jumped up and exclaimed, “That’s right! That book should be hidden away really well; better yet, it should have been burned.”

Zhou Botong was astonished; he stared hard at Guo Jing. “My martial brother at that time had said the same thing; but every time he was going to do that, he hesitated at the last moment. Brother, you are not that smart, how did you guess so correctly?” he asked.

Guo Jing blushed. “I thought that Venerable Wang’s martial art was already number one in the world; even if he trained from the manual himself, he would still be number one. I also thought that his intention in the sword meeting on Mount Hua was not to be the number one but for this Nine Yin Manual. He wanted it, not to benefit from it, but rather to avoid further bloodshed among the heroes of Wulin.”

Zhou Botong raised his head and looked up to the sky; he looked like one whose spirit had left him. He was silent for half a day. Guo Jing became anxious, he was afraid he had said something wrong and had offended this brother of his with a strange temperament. Finally Zhou Botong sighed and asked, “How can you think of this truth?”

“I don’t know,” said Guo Jing, scratching his head. “I just thought that this book had caused numerous deaths; even if it were a precious book, still it would be better if it was destroyed.”

“I know his reasoning, but I have never understood it,” Zhou Botong said. “My martial brother often time said that I am smart and have a natural talent to learn martial art; also I have the determination do achieve success; but, he said, first of all I am too fascinated with it, second, I do not have a caring heart toward other people. Even if I have a lifetime to train myself hard; I still will never achieve perfection. At that time I listened to him, but did not believe him; thinking what does training myself moving my fist or kick or a blade have anything to do with the state of my heart? These past ten years or so I have been pondering about it and I cannot not believe it any longer. Brother, your heart is upright, your mind is broad. It’s a pity that my martial brother is dead, otherwise I am sure he would like what he saw in you; I am sure he would bestow his unparalleled martial art to you. If only he didn’t die …” Remembering his late brother suddenly he bent over a rock and wept bitterly.

Guo Jing did not really understand what he was saying, but seeing his brother cried miserably could not help but feeling grief in his heart. After a while suddenly Zhou Botong raised his head and said, “Ah! Our story is not finished yet; let us finish it, then we can cry some more. Where were we? Why didn’t you persuade me not to cry?”

Guo Jing smiled and said; “You were telling me about how Venerable Wang had hidden the Nine Yin Manual underneath a flagstone.”

Zhou Botong slapped his thigh and said, “That’s right! He had hidden the book underneath a flagstone. I asked him if I could take look at it, but he scolded me to my face; afterward I did not dare to ask him again. The Wulin world was again enjoying peace and quiet for some time. But then martial brother died; and at the time of his death there was quite a disturbance in the martial art world.”

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