Original translation by Sunnysnow
“Did you think my martial brother had become a ghost?” asked Zhou Botong, “Or did you think he came back to life again? No not at all. He was faking dead.”
“Ah!” Guo Jing gasped. “Faking dead?”
“Yes,” Zhou Botong answered. “A few days before he died, my martial brother found out that the Western Poison had been lurking around the temple, waiting for him to die so he could steal the book away. Therefore, my martial brother stopped his breathing by using his excellent internal energy and feigned death. He knew if he told his disciples they would not grieve convincingly. Western Poison is so crafty, he would see through the disguise straight away; that was the reason nobody knew martial brother’s plan. Anyway, my martial brother flew out from the coffin and struck Western Poison with ‘yi yang zhi’ [Solitary ‘Yang’ Finger]. Ouyang Feng clearly saw me when looking from outside the window; I was beside my martial brother’s dead bed. He obviously saw us placing the body inside the coffin. But now suddenly my martial brother jumped out of the coffin; he was so shocked that blood drained from his body. He was completely scared by my martial brother that he did not move. My martial brother’s Solitary ‘Yang’ Finger hit him on the eyebrow and broke his many years of training of the ‘ha ma gong’ [the toad stance]. Ouyang Feng then escaped back to the west and I’ve never heard him returning back to the Central Plains. My martial brother laughed long and hard; he sat cross-legged on the table. I knew launching the Solitary Yang Finger consumed a lot of his energy; so he needed to meditate and restore his strength, so I did not bother him. I ran outside and helping my martial nephews getting rid of the attacking enemies. My nephews heard that their master was not dead, their happiness was unspeakable. We rushed back into the temple but then we stopped dead on our track …”
“What happened?” Guo Jing asked nervously.
“I saw my martial brother’s body skewed to one side, his face looked strange,” Zhou Botong said. “I rushed and checked his pulse; his body was cold as ice. He was really dead this time. Martial brother’s last words were for us to divide the Nine Yin Manual into two parts: top and bottom, so that if somebody should steal it, not the whole book would be lost. I took the top part with the intention of hiding it later on, and brought the bottom part to south to hide it on a mountain peak somewhere. On my way south I came across the Old Heretic Huang.”
“Ah!” Guo Jing exclaimed.
“Even though Old Heretic Huang’s behavior is queer and he is very arrogant; he is unlike the Western Poison who knew no shame, dared to come and tried to steal the book away,” Zhou Botong said. “Old Huang happened to be with a lady who turned out to be his wife.”
“That must be Rong’er’s mother,” Guo Jing thought, “I wonder if she knew that her mother is involved in this matter”
“I saw them so happy together,” he heard Zhou Botong continued. “He said they were just married. I thought Old Heretic Huang was smart, what good does a wife for him? So I teased him about the marriage. Old Heretic Huang did not get angry; he even invited me to have a drink. I told him about how my martial brother played dead and wounded Ouyang Feng. Old Heretic Huang’s wife was listening to my story; she asked me if she could take a look at the book. She told me she did not understand any martial art, she was merely curious on what kind of book had caused the death of numerous masters of the Wulin world. Naturally I did not let her. Now the Old Heretic Huang loved his young wife very much, he wanted to make her happy, so he said to me, ‘Botong, this woman does not know martial art at all. She is still young and loves to see amusing thing. What’s the problem in letting her take a look? If I, Huang Yaoshi, cast a single glance toward your book, I will immediately gauge my eyeball and give it to you.’ Old Heretic Huang is a man who can be ranked among the best in the present age; his words without doubt carry a lot of weight. But to let somebody see the book is a grave matter, so I shook may head. Old Heretic Huang was not happy. He said, ‘How can it be that I didn’t understand your difficulty? If you agree to let my wife take a look, there will be time when this old Huang repay Quan Zhen Sect’s kindness. But if you don’t agree, that is entirely up to you. Who said that I have to have your friendship? I don’t even know any of your Quan Zhen disciples.’ I understood very well his meaning. This man will do what he says. He felt uncomfortable giving me a hard time, but he could make things difficult for Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji and the others. His martial art skill is too high; it was not a good idea to provoke his anger.”
“That’s true,” said Guo Jing. “Priest Ma, Priest Qiu and the others are not his match.”
Zhou Botong continued, “That time I said to him, ‘Old Heretic Huang, if you are angry come and find me, the Old Urchin. Why do you have to look for my martial nephews? Won’t that make you ‘the big bully the little’?’ His wife heard me mentioning my nickname, ‘the Old Urchin’, she burst into laughter and said, ‘Big Brother Zhou, you love to play around; let us forget this whole thing, let us just play around together. I don’t want to see your precious book anymore.’ She turned her head to Old Heretic Huang and said, ‘I think the Nine Yin Manual had been stolen by that Ouyang fellow, that’s why Big Brother Zhou could not show it to me. If you keep pestering him I am afraid you will only make him lose face.’ Old Heretic Huang smiled and said, ‘That’s right. Botong, let me help you find that old poison and deal with him. His martial art is above yours.’”
“Looks like Rong’er inherits her mother’s weird intelligence,” Guo Jing thought. To Botong he said, “They were just provoking you!”
“I know that!” said Zhou Botong, “But I don’t want to lose to them. So I said, ‘The book is in my possession; and I have no problem letting sister-in-law taking a look. But you said the Old Urchin cannot defend the book, you have to prove it to me.’ The Old Heretic Huang smiled, ‘If we fight, we might injure our friendship. You are the Old Urchin; let us just play like little kids.’ His wife already clapped her hands and called out, ‘Goody, goody! Why don’t you two compete in playing with marbles?’ before I could answer him”
Guo Jing showed a faint smile. Zhou Botong continued, “I am an expert in playing marbles; so I cried out, ‘Let’s play marbles then, do you think I am scared of him?’ Madame Huang smiled and said, ‘Big Brother Zhou, if you lose, you will let me take a look at your book. But if you win, what do you want?’ The Old Heretic Huang immediately said, ‘The Quan Zhen Sect has its treasure, don’t you think the Peach Blossom Island also have one?’ He took out a shiny black cloth, completely covered with thorns. Can you guess what this is?”
“Soft hedgehog armor [ruan wei jia],” Guo Jing said.
“That’s right, so you knew it,” Zhou Botong said. “The Old Heretic Huang said, ‘Botong, your martial art is outstanding, naturally you don’t need any protection; but someday you will meet a girl urchin, and soon will have little urchins. This soft hedgehog armor will be invaluable to protect the child; nobody will bully him. If you can beat me in marbles, this Peach Blossom Island treasure will be yours to keep.’ I said, ‘I won’t meet any girl urchin, naturally little urchin will not be born; but your soft hedgehog armor is famous in the Wulin world. If I win it, I will wear it outside my clothes, then I will wander around the Jianghu, let the people know that the Peach Blossom Island Master had lost in the Old Urchin’s hand.’ Madame Huang interrupted, ‘Don’t just talk, after both brothers play then we can talk again.’ So we reached an agreement. Each man had to put nine marbles into nine holes, so I made 18 holes altogether. Whoever put nine marbles first will win the game.”