The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 20

Hong Qigong burst out in laughter, “You are blindly blowing your horn too hard!” he mocked. “Jing’er, go ahead and write the manual from your memory. If the Old Poison can point out any error in the Nine Yin Manual, the Old Beggar will kowtow to him.”

Guo Jing said yes and came out. Ouyang Ke led him to the big cabin where there was a stack of paper and some ink stick; he even prepared the ink himself and respectfully waited on the side.

Guo Jing’s school years were not too many, his handwriting was shoddy; oftentimes he had to think the characters he had to write; so he worked very slowly. More than once he did not know how to write certain character, so he had to ask Ouyang Ke to write it for him. Working until noon that day he barely finished the first half of the first volume.

Ouyang Feng did not show himself at all, but every time Guo Jing finished writing a page Ouyang Ke would take that page and gave it to his uncle. Ouyang Feng looked at them carefully. Some sentences did not make any sense to him, but even though shoddy, the characters were clear. He thought those sentences must have very deep meaning behind them, so when he’s back to the west he would slowly digest the manual. He believed with his intelligence and ability he would eventually understand the manual thoroughly; and after a dozen of years or so he would master the entire martial arts from the manual. He could not help but feeling elated. He knew Guo Jing was dumb, he also noticed Guo Jing’s handwriting was so plain and naïve, almost child-like. He believed this kind of person would not be able to fabricate a complex manual such as this one. Besides, his nephew had told him that many characters Guo Jing knew the sounds, but did not know how to write, so his nephew had to teach him or write the characters himself, so without a doubt this was the real manual. How would he know that this dumb kid had conspired with his master to deliberately alter the manual and so deceive him? As for the confusing sentences, he blamed that on Guo Jing’s inability to remember the text correctly.

Guo Jing did not stop writing even though the sky had turned dark; he had finished more than half of the second volume. Ouyang Feng did not allow him to return to his cabin for fear that Hong Qigong would influence him to change his mind and make things difficult for him. Even though he had already had most of the manual in his hands; he wanted to have the complete manual. So he arranged for a sumptuous meal and wine to be brought to Guo Jing, let Guo Jing continue to write without interruption.

Hong Qigong waited until about the end of the eleventh hour, early twelfth hour [about 9 pm] but did not see Guo Jing came back. He felt queasy, afraid that Ouyang Feng had discovered their scheme and his dumb disciple might suffer the worst. He sneaked out of his cabin and quietly walked toward the main cabin. There were two snake shepherds stood guard in front of the main cabin. Hong Qigong sent his left palm forward creating a gust of wind making the sail rope moved. Those two snake shepherds heard the noise and looked around while Hong Qigong had already moved to the right. His movement was so quick that those two did not see anything; they thought it was a ghost or something. Very soon Hong Qigong was at the starboard of the main cabin.

Hong Qigong could see a faint glow coming out of the main cabin’s window. He took a peek inside and saw Guo Jing was still crouching on the desk, writing. Two white-dressed maidens stood beside him, busily serving tea or lighting some incense or replenishing some papers or preparing some more ink. Guo Jing was well taken care of. Hong Qigong was relieved; but then his nostrils caught a scent of the wine. He fixed his gaze for a long time and saw in front of Guo Jing a cup of amber brown aged wine, the color is almost rouge, the sweet fragrant attacking his nose mercilessly.

Hong Qigong secretly cursed, “The Old Poison is very stingy, just because my disciple writes for him he serves the best wine to entertain him, while for the Old Beggar he only serves insipid cheap wine.” He was the world’s number one glutton and drunkard; seeing his disciple with this kind of excellent wine, how could he restrain himself from wanting some of that wine? “The Old Poison must have stored the good wine in the boat’s hold downstairs; I am going to drink for his happiness, then replace the wine with my urine, let him taste the Old Beggar’s own brewed urine wine. Compared to what the Old Beggar and his disciple went through with the sharks, his drinking of some urine in his wine won’t be too bad, at least he won’t die because of it.”

Having this thought he could not help but smile; stealing wine and food was the skill he most proud of. Once he spent three whole months inside the imperial palace in Lin An; he hid on a beam in the imperial kitchen, he had tasted practically every single food and wine that was supposed to be served to the emperor. The imperial palace was heavily guarded, yet he was able to come and go like there were no other people there. Stealing food and wine from a boat’s kitchen certainly would not give him any trouble.

Immediately he looked for the steps that would lead him downstairs, and after making sure nobody was watching he carefully went downstairs, relying on his nose to find where the food supply was. The hold was pitch black, but Hong Qigong’s nose was able to smell food from a mile away. Slowly he walked along the wall, lighted his torch just to see six, seven wooden barrels piled up in the corner. Hong Qigong was delighted; he extinguished the fire after picking up a broken bowl he found laying around and put it back in his pocket. He walked groping around toward the barrel and tried to lift one up. The barrel was very heavy, it could contain anything.

His left hand he found the plug, while his right hand placed the bowl under it. He was about to pull the plug when suddenly his sensitive ears heard some footsteps. It looked like there were two people walking toward the hold. Their steps were nimble, so Hong Qigong knew they were Ouyang Feng uncle and nephew since nobody on board had that kind of ability. He thought those two came to the boat hold late at night, they must have some evil intentions, like poisoning the food to harm others; so he shrunk his body and hid curled up among the barrels.

He heard the door opened quietly, a flame flashed, and two people walked in; they stopped right in front of the barrels. Hong Qigong’s heart skipped a beat, “Are they going to poison the wine?” he wondered in his heart; but what he heard next turned his heart cold.

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