Hong Qigong repeatedly nodded his head in answer to his questions, “That’s correct. Where is the Old Urchin?”
Guo Jing was grieved, he shouted, “Big Brother Zhou was … he was forced to jump into the sea and die!”
Hong Qigong was startled, with Ouyang Ke still in his grip he jumped out of the cabin, looked to all direction, but all he saw was the billows rolled, did not see even Zhou Botong’s shadow.
Ouyang Feng with Guo Jing still in his grip also walked out to the deck. Loosening up his grip he said, “Guo Xianzhi, your skill is still very far from adequate. You let others grab your hand without you able to do anything. Go and learn ten more years from your master, then you can roam the Jianghu again.”
Guo Jing was worried about Zhou Botong’s safety, so he ignored his derogatory remark and climbed the mast, looking at all directions.
Hong Qigong lifted Ouyang Ke up and tossed him toward Ouyang Feng. He shouted, “Old Poison, you forced the Old Urchin to his death, the Quan Zhen people will deal with you. Your martial art may be profound, but I don’t believe you’ll survive the Quan Zhen Seven’s besiege.”
Ouyang Ke did not wait until his body touched the deck, his right hand pushed the deck and he somersault to an upright position; secretly cursed, “Stinky beggar! By this time tomorrow you will crawl in front of me, begging me to save your life.”
Listening to Hong Qigong’s remark Ouyang Feng simply smiled faintly, “I am afraid you won’t be able to witness this when it happens.”
“Very well!” Hong Qigong said, “Until that time I am going to use my dog beating stick to beat some wet dogs.”
Ouyang Feng raised his hands to salute then entered the cabin.
After looking around for a while without seeing anything Guo Jing got back down to the deck and told his master how Ouyang Feng had forced him to rewrite the manual. Hong Qigong nodded without saying anything, he quietly pondered, “Once the Old Poison set his mind, he won’t easily let go. Before he gets hold of the manual he will entangle my disciple continually.”
Guo Jing remembered Zhou Botong’s death, he cried mournfully. Hong Qigong was also grieving. He knew the boat was sailing fast to the west, so within two days they were going to reach land. He was afraid Ouyang Feng would poison their food, so he went to the kitchen and plundered some dishes and plenty of rice; and after eating it with Guo Jing he nodded his head and snored.
Ouyang Feng uncle and nephew waited until the afternoon of the next day, practically sixteen, eighteen hours had passed, yet they have not heard Hong Qigong and his disciple made any noise. Ouyang Feng was afraid his poison was too strong for them and killed them. Killing Hong Qigong was not a big deal, but killing Guo Jing meant the Nine Yin Manual would be lost forever. Secretly he took a peek through a crack on the door, only to see two people were sitting comfortably and chatting amiably; Hong Qigong’s voice was loud and clear. Ouyang Feng was enraged, “Looked like the Old Beggar was alert. They aren’t poisoned at all.” His poison collection was vast, but in order to poison Hong Qigong without harming Guo Jing, he had to think of some better plan.
Hong Qigong was telling Guo Jing the ins and outs of the Beggar Clan; that although they begged for a living, actually every member had the responsibility to uphold justice, to help those in distress, to follow their predecessors’ good deeds, not the bad ones. These facts were mostly hidden from the public eyes. He further talked about the election procedure of the Beggar Clan Leader when the time comes to find a successor. “It’s a pity you don’t like being a beggar,” he said, “Otherwise you have a perfect character to be a leader; there is no one inside the clan superior to you. I’d really like to bestow the ‘da gou bang’ [dog beating stick] to you.” While they were still chatting suddenly there came banging noise from outside, it sounded like a hatchet or a chisel hitting the wall.
Hong Qigong jumped in alarm, “Not good! This stinky snake is going to sink the boat,” he cried out. Rushing toward the door he shouted to Guo Jing, “Quickly go to the small life boat at the back!” He was just finished shouting when with a loud crash a big hole appeared on the wooden partition, followed by loud hissing noise; it was not seawater came rushing in, but dozens of venomous snakes.
“The Old Poison’s snake attack!” Hong Qigong mocked; his right hand swept, scattering dozens of steel needles. Dozens of snakes were nailed onto the wooden deck; with loud hissing noise their bodies coiled and were not able to move anymore.
“Rong’er is very good at this scattering needles technique, yet compared to Master she still falls far short,” Guo Jing thought.
By that time dozens more snakes coming through the hole in the wall. Hong Qigong kept shooting steel needles and more and more snakes were nailed to the floor. A wooden whistle sound was still heard outside, and more and more snakes were driven into the cabin.
Hong Qigong shot more and more needles, “The Old Poison sends all these target for me to practice my martial art skill, truly it is a rare opportunity,” he said. But when he put his hand into his pocket to grab some more needles he was startled since only a few left. Secretly he was alarmed seeing the snakes kept coming continuously. He was thinking hard on what to do next when suddenly a loud crash was heard and the wall behind him fell down; a palm was swiftly moving toward his back.
Guo Jing was standing beside his master, but suddenly heard the swift and fierce wind he turned around and using both hands he blocked the sneak attack. The incoming attack was so strong that he felt his stomach turned upside down and he almost passed out.
Having his attack unexpectedly blocked Ouyang Feng uttered a cry of surprise. He stepped back a little bit and then horizontally hacked with the back of his hand.
Guo Jing knew this attack would be hard to defend, so with his left palm he parried the attack, while his right hand launched a counterattack toward Ouyang Feng’s side, forcing him to withdraw. Ouyang Feng did not dare to take Guo Jing’s palm on his side, so he ducked while sending out a hand in chopping motion toward Guo Jing’s lower body.
Guo Jing was aware that the situation was very critical. The snakes would keep coming in as long as Ouyang Feng could control the entrance; his master and he would be in grave danger. Therefore, he gritted his teeth and to the utmost of his ability using one hand to fend off the incoming attacks while with the other hand tried to send counterattacks. When his left defend his right hand attack, when his right hand void his left hand solid; following Zhou Botong’s technique of mutual hands combat.