The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 16

Huang Rong stared blankly at a distance, she was lost in thought. She saw the clump of soft hair was dancing in the morning breeze. A short time later the hair was scattered to the rice field, some went to the creek, some flew up to the trees lining the pathway, some followed the blowing dust, going don’t know where, yet some fell into the flowing water. Huang Rong had always been tender, carefree and mischievous since her childhood. She laughed when happy, cried or sulked when not; the word ‘anxiety’ was never in her vocabulary. But now she saw what had just happened, could not keep sadness from creeping into her heart. Now, she found out about the world’s anxiety.

Slowly she walked back to the temple and told Guo Jing what had happened to Mu Nianci. Guo Jing did not know why those two people were having disagreement; he simply said, “I don’t understand why Elder Sister Mu took a big deal out of it. I think her character is just too strong.”

“How could a woman hugged by some stranger lost her innocence? Even her loved one did not respect her anymore? Did not care about her anymore?” Huang Rong thought. She did not have a clue the reasoning behind all that, so she brushed it off as that was the way it was and stopped at that. She slowly walked to the rear courtyard, sat against a pillar. Her mind was still heavy with thoughts. She closed her eyes and fell asleep.

That very evening Li Sheng and other Beggar Clan members threw a banquet in honor of their leader, Hong Qigong, and to congratulate Guo Jing and Huang Rong. They have been waiting until around midnight but Hong Qigong still did not show up. Li Sheng knew his Leader’s unusual habit so he did not give any thought; he kept serving wine to Guo Jing and Huang Rong and they drank to their hearts’ content. The Beggar Clan people had a high respect toward these two people, so their conversation was congenial. Miss Cheng had personally prepared some food and four big pots of good quality wine and delivered everything via her servants.

After the banquet was over Guo Jing and Huang Rong discussed what to do next. Wanyan Honglie would not be in Beijing, so it must be difficult to find him in a short period of time. The Peach Blossom Island appointment was drawing near. Guo Jing needed to go back to Jiaxing immediately and consulted his six masters on what action they would take.

Huang Rong nodded her head in agreement. “I think it is best for your six masters not to go to the Peach Blossom Island,” she added. “You fought with him and received quite a few beatings; for him to hit a few more heads is no big deal, is it? If you don’t agree with me, let me hit you a few times in the head. If your six masters meet my father, what good will it brings?”

“You are right,” Guo Jing said. “But you don’t need to hit my head.”

Early the next morning two people rode south. It was the beginning of the sixth month; the weather was burning hot. Natives of Jiangnan had a saying, ‘the sixth of the sixth month, a duck egg cooked by the sun.’ Traveling under the hot sun they were very miserable. So they would hurry along early in the mornings and later in the evenings; and took some rest at noon.

A few days later they arrived at Jiaxing. Since it was earlier than the appointed time, the Six Freaks were not there yet. So Guo Jing wrote a letter and left the letter with the innkeeper of the Drunken Immortal Tavern, asking him to deliver the letter in person to the Six Freaks of Jiangnan when they arrived on the beginning of the seventh month.

In the letter he explained that he had met Huang Rong and was going to the Peach Blossom Island to fulfill his promise; that with Huang Yaoshi’s favored daughter’s company, he should not come across any problem, so he asked his six masters to not be anxious; and they did not need to accompany him, and so on.

Even though he said that, actually he was scared since Huang Yaoshi was very peculiar. He was afraid he would more likely meet misfortune than good fortune. He was afraid Huang Rong would feel anxious for his sake, so he did not tell her anything. Thinking that his six masters did not have to go to the harm’s way was his only consolation.

Two people headed east. After Zhoushan, they hired a boat and continued by sea. Huang Rong knew that local sailors were afraid of the Peach Blossom Island, like people scared of the vipers or scorpions. Nobody dared to sail within 40 li’s of the island. If she mentioned the name of Peach Blossom Island, no matter how much money she offered nobody would be willing to take them. So she said they were going shrimp fishing to a nearby island. It was only after they were quite a distance from the shore did she tell the boatman to change course to the north. The boatman was terrified, but Huang Rong wielded a dagger in front of his chest; cold and bright sparkle emanated from the blade; he had no choice but to comply with their request.

As the boat was nearing the island, Guo Jing smelled flowery fragrance amidst the salty smell of the sea. He threw his gaze toward the island. It was green and lush with colorful trees and shrubs. Some were green, some red, some yellow, and some purple. The island looked like a massive flower garden.

Huang Rong smiled. “Isn’t it beautiful?” she asked.

Guo Jing sighed, “I have never seen so many beautiful flowers like that in my whole life,” he answered.

Huang Rong was very pleased; she smiled and explained, “Come the third month, the peach blossom is in full bloom. Now, that is really beautiful. Master did not want to admit that my father’s martial art is number one in the world, but he cannot deny the fact that my father’s gardening skill is unrivaled. Too bad he is only interested in food and drink; he didn’t even know what a good flower or plant is. Such an uncouth person.”

“You are talking about Master behind his back,” Guo Jing scolded, “Not a good habit.” Huang Rong stuck her tongue and made a face.

They waited until the boat was closer before they leaped ashore. Guo Jing’s red horse also jumped to the shore. The boatman had heard many horror stories about the island; it was said that the Master of Peach Blossom Island would kill without batting an eye; that he liked to dig people’s hearts, lungs, livers and intestines out. So as soon as his passengers disembarked, he turned the rudder, wanting to leave the island as soon as possible.

Huang Rong took out a silver ingot worth ten ‘liang’ and tossed it to the boat. With a clanking noise it landed on the bow. The boatman did not expect such a generous recompense; he looked ashore delighted, but still did not dare to stop on that island much longer.

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