“Humph!” Ouyang Feng muttered. He was aware his nephew had not given up hope on this Huang family’s girl; so he found some excuse by learning something to stay longer, to be close to Huang Rong, to try to win her heart; who knows she would eventually fall into his hands?
Huang Yaoshi was upset. He erroneously thought that Ouyang Ke would win the three tests; therefore, he made that promise to reward Guo Jing. But unexpectedly it was Ouyang Ke who failed the tests. Apologetically he said, “Ouyang Xianzhi, your uncle’s martial art is unparalleled in the world; others cannot hold a candle against him. You have mastered your own family heritage skills, what need do you have to learn somebody else’s skill? This old dog was lucky to master some ‘zuo dao pang men’ [lit. left-handed way, side door; means ‘second rate’ or ‘not the ultimate’] techniques. If Xianzhi does not think it too superficial, then whichever skill you like to learn, this old dog will be happy to teach you.”
Ouyang Ke thought, “I must choose the one needed the longest time to master. I have long heard about the Peach Blossom Island’s ‘wu xing qi men’ to be number one in the world. I am sure it won’t be finished in a day.” Thereupon he bowed and said, “Young Nephew admired your ‘wu xing qi men’ techniques so much. I am asking Uncle to kindly bestow that to me.”
Huang Yaoshi did not answer immediately; he hesitated, feeling awkward in his heart. The technique requested was the one he was most proud about. Apart from it being complicated to begin with, he had expanded and developed new interpretation and variation to the original technique he learned from his ancestors. His own daughter – due to her young age, had not learned this technique; how could he pass this knowledge to a total stranger? But he had given his promise; it was impossible to take it back, so reluctantly he asked, “The ‘wu xing qi men’ technique is very broad and deep. Which one do you want to learn?”
Ouyang Ke wanted to stay at the Peach Blossom Island as long as possible, so he requested, “Young Nephew saw the winding pathways of the Peach Blossom Island; the vegetation arrangement is complicated. My heart admires this arrangement to no end. I am asking Uncle to allow young nephew to stay in the island for several months and study the mystery of this complicated pathways and its variations thoroughly.”
Huang Yaoshi’s face changed slightly, he cast a glance toward Ouyang Feng. He thought, “So you want to investigate and find out the Peach Blossom Island’s ingenious arrangement. What is your real intention?”
Ouyang Feng saw his expression, he could guess what was in his heart, so he chided his nephew, “You don’t know how high the heaven is nor how deep the earth is! Uncle Huang had spent half of his life painstakingly arranging the island. It is his defense against the intruders; how could he divulge this mystery to you?”
Huang Yaoshi coldly laughed, “Peach Blossom Island is only a barren and rocky hill; yet I doubt it if anybody could come and harm me.”
Ouyang Feng smiled apologetically, “Little Brother crudely made an indiscreet remark, Yao Xiong please don’t be offended.”
Hong Qigong laughed, “Old Poison! You are very sly; you have planned this from the start. Very brilliant!” he mocked.
Huang Yaoshi slipped the jade flute into his belt and said, “Everybody please follow me.”
Ouyang Ke saw the indignation on his face; he looked at his uncle for guidance. Ouyang Feng nodded his head and started to walk behind Huang Yaoshi. Everybody followed not too far behind.
Winding through the bamboo grove they arrived at a big lotus pond. The lotuses were white, emanating a fragrant scent. The pond surface was full of lotus leaves. There was a strip of dike made of small stones winding through the center of the pond. Huang Yaoshi walked through the dike, taking everybody to a building on the other side of the pond. The building was made from logs of pine tree. A rattan tree was climbing the outside wall. It was midsummer, the weather was hot, but as soon as they saw that building everybody felt a burst of cool air. Huang Yaoshi took four people and entered his study. A deaf and mute servant immediately came serving tea. The tea was dark green, cold as snow. As soon as it entered their mouth the cold seeped to their bones.
Hong Qigong laughed and made a comment, “People say: after being a beggar for three years one would not willing to be a government official. Yao Xiong, if I stay in your cool place for three years, I won’t be willing to be a beggar anymore!”
“If Qi Xiong is willing to stay to drink and talk to our hearts’ content, that is truly my wish come true,” Huang Yaoshi said.
Hong Qigong could hear the sincerity in his voice; his heart was touched. “Many thanks,” he said, “It’s a pity the Old Beggar leads a busy and laborious life; I don’t have the luxury to enjoy a peaceful life like Yao Xiong.”
Ouyang Feng said, “The two of you living together in the same place, as long as you don’t fight each other I bet within two months you will have created several sets of fist techniques or sword stances.”
Hong Qigong laughed, “Are you jealous?”
“This room is a big hall to study martial arts,” Ouyang Feng explained, “Naturally I came to that conclusion.”
Hong Qigong laughed, “Ha … ha …! Another one of those ‘what-you-said-is-not-what-you-were-thinking’ speech.”
Although these two men did not hold a deep animosity between them, their minds were usually a world apart and that was why they did not like each other. Only Ouyang Feng’s feeling was hidden behind a thick wall, unlike Hong Qigong who was open and outspoken. This time Ouyang Feng heard Hong Qigong’s comment he wanted to send Hong Qigong to the grave with one strike; but his face did not change. He laughed but did not say anything.
Huang Yaoshi pressed something on the side of the table and a landscape painting on the west wall slowly went up, revealing a secret compartment behind it. He walked toward the wall, opened up the door to the compartment and took out a roll of paper. Gently he ran his fingers on the scroll several times before he faced Ouyang Ke and said, “This is the map of the Peach Blossom Island, complete with all the five ways variations and yin and yang elements and the eight-diagram changes; everything. Take this and study thoroughly.”
Ouyang Ke was disappointed; he was hoping he could stay on the Peach Blossom Island for a while. He did not expect Huang Yaoshi only gave him a chart to look at. He knew it was a difficult topic to learn; but he did not have any choice but bowed respectfully and step forward to take the scroll from his hand.
“Hold on!” Huang Yaoshi suddenly said. Ouyang Ke was startled, he pulled his hands back. “After taking this drawing, I want you to go to Lin An and find an inn or a temple to stay. After three months I am going to send someone to retrieve it. Everything on the chart you can memorize, but I forbid you to make any copies,” Huang Yaoshi continued.