The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 16

Wanyan Honglie recalled what happened at the Ox Village of Lin An nineteen years ago; he was saddened, yet there was a tinge of guilty feeling in him, so he was silent for a quite a while. “Very well,” he finally said, “I’ll avoid Beijing for a while. Have you gone to Lin An yet? What did the Prime Minister Shi say?”

“I haven’t been there,” Yang Kang coldly replied.

Wanyan Honglie heard the tone of his voice, he could guess that Yang Kang had probably found out about his own life story; but why did Yang Kang save him? Could he have another plan in mind?

Those two men had lived together for eighteen years as father and son; they loved each other dearly. But now that they were together in that small room, suddenly Yang Kang thought there was a deep hatred between them. There was a raging battle inside his heart: “With just a whack of my palm I will avenge my father and mother, but how can I do that? That Yang Tiexin fellow was my biological father, but what did he give me? Normally Mama treated Father King well, if I kill him now, would Mama like it? Besides, if I really forsake being a prince, will I end up wandering around in the wilderness, destitute just like Guo Jing?”

He was still having these disquieting thoughts when Wanyan Honglie said, “Kang’er, we have had father-son relationship. No matter what, you are my son and I love you. Within ten years our great Jin will conquer the Song. At that time I will have enormous power and authority in my hands; with unlimited riches and honor. This beautiful country, this mortal world, will eventually fall into your hands.”

Yang Kang understood the implication of his speech; Wanyan Honglie aimed to be the emperor. Thinking about ‘unlimited riches and honor’, his heart was thumping loudly, secretly thought, “With the power of the Great Jin, it is not difficult to crush the Song. Mongolia will pose another problem, but it will be temporary. They are just a bunch of barbarians with excellent riding and archery skills; nothing refine. Father King’s management skill is superb. Which Great Jin’s other prince can be compared to him? When all’s said and done, I will definitely become the crown prince of this world.” Thinking thus far his blood boiled. He stretched his hand to grab Wanyan Honglie’s. “Father, your child will certainly help you in this great undertaking.”

Wanyan Honglie felt Yang Kang’s hand was warm, he was delighted. “I am Li Yuan, you are Li Shi Min.” [Translator note: Li Yuan and Li Shi Min were father and son, founder of the Tang Dynasty]

Yang Kang was about to reply when suddenly they heard a noise behind them. Two men froze. Quickly they turned their heads. It was already morning; a bright sunlight came through the window. They saw seven, eight coffins scattered throughout the room. Turned out this west wing was the temporary placement of the dead before burial. They listened carefully; the noise sounded like it came from one of the coffin.

“What was that?” Wanyan Honglie asked.

“Probably a mouse,” Yang Kang replied. At that moment they heard Guo Jing and Huang Rong were talking outside about the golden helmet; then joking around looking for them.

“Confound it!” Yang Kang thought, “Father’s golden helmet is left outside! This could be bad.” With a low voice he said, “I am going to lead them away.” Quietly he opened the door and jumped outside, toward the roof.

Huang Rong was on the roof; suddenly she saw a shadow flashing on the roof peak. “Good! He is here!” She dashed toward that shadow, but the shadow quickly jumped down and disappeared over a corner.

Guo Jing heard her voice and came. “He can’t run away, he must be hiding in the woods,” Huang Rong said.

Two people were about to run into the woods when suddenly there was a noise from the bush and out came Yang Kang. Guo Jing was pleasantly surprised. “Brother, where did you come from?” he asked. “Did you see Wanyan Honglie?”

“Wanyan Honglie is here?” Yang Kang feigned surprise.

“He was the commander of that troop. Look, his golden helmet is here,” Guo Jing said.

“So that’s how it is,” Yang Kang said.

Huang Rong saw his expression was unusual; she also remembered he was speaking with Ouyang Ke earlier; she was suspicious. “We were looking for you everywhere just a moment ago. Where were you?” she asked.

“I ate too much strange food yesterday, I think I suffered a food poisoning, so I relieved myself over there,” Yang Kang said, pointing to a small wooded area.

Huang Rong did not believe him, but she was uncomfortable to chase him. “Brother,” Guo Jing said, “Let’s look together.”

Yang Kang was worried; he was not sure if Wanyan Honglie had run away or was still there; but his face did not show anything. “He came here to die! We could not have asked anything better,” he said, “Why don’t you two search to the east, I’ll go to the west.”

“Very well!” Guo Jing said, and immediately walked to the east; pushing open the door to the ‘jie xiao tang’ [clemency and filial hall].

“Brother Yang,” Huang Rong said, “I think that man is hiding in the west; let me come with you.”

Yang Kang groaned inwardly, but his face feigned happiness. “Let us go, quick!” he said, “Don’t let him run away.” Immediately two people searched from room to room.

The Liu family of Bao Ying was originally a big family during the Song Dynasty; naturally their ancestral temple was huge. But because of the war with the Jins, this temple was partially burned and some of the Liu family was killed. Hence the parts of temple were left in ruins without any effort to rebuild it.

With a cold look Huang Rong watched Yang Kang opened dust-laden and full-of-spider-web doors one by one. He searched each and every room. Finally they arrived at the west wing. Huang Rong saw thick dust on the floor, and on that dust there were several footprints, which – from the look of them, were recently made. There were a couple of handprints on the closed door too. “In here!” she shouted excitedly.

Guo Jing and Yang Kang both heard her cry; Guo Jiang was delighted, while Yang Kang was anxious; both rushed toward her.

Huang Rong kicked the door open, but to her surprise, all she saw was several coffins with no signs of Wanyan Honglie.

Yang Kang was greatly relieved, he knew Wanyan Honglie must have escaped; but he entered the room and loudly shouted, “Wanyan Honglie, traitor! Where do you hide? Come out!”

“Brother Yang, he must have heard us a long while ago. You don’t have to kindly let him know we are here,” Huang Rong snickered.

Yang Kang was embarrassed, his face was flushed, “Miss Huang, why do you joke with me?” His embarrassment turned to anger.

“Never mind her, Brother; Rong’er likes to joke,” Guo Jing smiled. He lowered his head and said, “Look here, someone must have left all these footprints. Indeed he was here.”

“Quick, we must pursue him!” Huang Rong urged. Just as she turned her head, there came a noise from behind her. All three people were scared. They saw a coffin moved slightly.

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