Guo Jing raised his palm to parry, but before their palms met his body flew backward and ‘bang!’ he hit a pine tree. That tree was not too big, but it was about the mouth of a bowl in diameter; ‘crack!’ it snapped by the strength of Hong Qigong’s push and fell to the ground.
This strike was nothing but ordinary, but it was enough to stun Ouyang Feng. Huang Rong praised, “Shifu, that was a great ‘pi kong zhang’ [hacking empty air palm technique]!”
“Jing’er, guard your body well, don’t let my palm strength injure you!” Hong Qigong called out.
“Disciple understands,” Guo Jing replied. He was just closing his mouth when Hong Qigong’s palm arrived. ‘Crack!’ again Guo Jing was sent flying and bumping into a tree. Strike after strike came one after another; in a short period of time Hong Qigong had used the ‘pi kong zhang’ to send Guo Jing flying and snapping ten big trees down.
“We have ten trees already!” Huang Rong called out.
Guo Jing was gasping for breath. “Disciple is exhausted,” he said.
Hong Qigong held his palm and laughed, “This Nine Yin Manual is really wonderful. My injury was that heavy; I couldn’t even exert any strength, yet I achieve success just by one morning exercise.”
Ouyang Feng was suspicious; he stooped down to examine the broken tree trunks, but what he saw stunned him even more. Apart from the core of the trunk, the outer ring was exceptionally smooth, even smoother than it would be if the trunk was sawed. He thought, “Could it be that the martial art in the Manual is this marvelous? It looks like the Old Beggar’s martial art has been completely restored. How can I fight them if the three of them gang up against me? It’s been this far, I’d better start training myself on the martial art from that manual.” He cast a glance toward those three and flew back to the cave in a hurry. Immediately he fetch the book Guo Jing wrote, unwrapped layer upon layer of oil paper bundle and straightaway buried his head in the book, diligently studying the Manual.
Hong Qigong and Guo Jing waited until they could not see Ouyang Feng’s shadow anymore before both of them burst out in laughter. Huang Rong was delighted, “Shifu, this Manual is truly wonderful,” she said.
Hong Qigong laughed without giving her any response. Guo Jing rushed to her and said, “Rong’er, we were only pretending.”
Then he told her everything they had thought and done. It turned out that Guo Jing had used his dagger to cut around the trunks, leaving the center part intact. Actually Hong Qigong’s palm did not carry any strength at all; every time Guo Jing got hit, he used his own strength to fly backwards and bump into a tree, breaking it down. Ouyang Feng did not know that with the Vacant Fist energy, the dagger was capable of cutting deep into the bough; naturally he did not suspect that the cut was made by the dagger.
Huang Rong was laughing hard, but upon hearing Guo Jing’s story she was silent for half a day with a deep frown on her face. Hong Qigong smiled and said, “The Old Beggar is once again capable of walking on my own feet, it was truly a blessing from Heaven. I don’t care if it was a true martial art or a fake one. Rong’er, you are afraid the Western Poison will see through this deception, aren’t you?” Huang Rong nodded. “The Old Poison has good eyesight,” Hong Qigong continued, “How can we fool him that easily? But life is full of uncertainties, right now it is useless to worry over nothing. Hear me now: Jing’er had recited the contents of the manual to me. There is a section which was called ‘yi jin duan gu pian’ [changing muscle forging bones] or something; I think it was very interesting. While we don’t have anything else to do, why don’t we practice it?”
These words were said with gentleness and indifference, but Huang Rong was aware of the urgency of the situation. What their master had said was very reasonable; therefore, she said, “Very well, Shifu, please teach us.”
Hong Qigong asked Guo Jing to recite the ‘yi jin duan gu pian’ twice, and then based on that he taught the two on how to practice it. He himself went out hunting or fishing, lighted the fire and cooked their meals. Several times Guo Jing and Huang Rong offered their help, but every time he shooed them away.
Quickly seven days had passed; Guo and Huang had made some progress in term of their energy cultivation. Inside his cave Ouyang Feng was also painstakingly studying his Manual, putting all his effort in doing so. Toward the evening of the eighth day Hong Qigong smiled and said, “Rong’er, how was your Master’s roasted wild goat?”
Huang Rong smiled but did not say anything, she simply shook her head. Hong Qigong laughed, “I can’t eat it myself. You two have finished the first part of your lesson; today you must rest your muscle and bones, otherwise your ‘qi’ will be obstructed and you will suffer injury. Alright, Rong’er, you prepare our meal tonight, Jing’er and I will go and build a raft.”
Guo Jing and Huang Rong were astonished, “Building a raft?”
“That’s right,” Hong Qigong said, “Do you want to accompany the Old Poison on this desolate island forever?”
Guo and Huang were delighted, they both voiced their agreement, and start to work immediately.
The hundred lumbers Guo Jing cut down the other day were piled neatly on the side. They cut the tree bark and wove them into ropes and tied the lumber together to make the raft. When Guo Jing used his strength to pull the rope, it snapped and broke. He thought the rope was not made strong enough. He tried pulling another rope, but as soon as he exerted a little strength, it also broke easily. Guo Jing was baffled, he stared blankly at the rope and did not know what to do.
From the other side of the hill Huang Rong came shouting with a wild goat in her hands. When going out to hunt for the goat she carried some pebbles to shoot the goat with; who would have thought that with only several jumps she had already overtook the goat. She turned around and grabbed the wild goat. Her body movement was so swift that she surprised even herself.
Hong Qigong smiled, “So the Nine Yin Manual is truly a wonderful manual; no wonder countless heroes and warriors were willing to risk their lives for it.”
Huang Rong was delighted, “Shifu, do you think we can beat the Old Poison now?” she asked.
Hong Qigong shook his head, “Not yet, it is still far from that,” he replied, “You have to train for another eight to ten years. His Toad Stance is not a small matter; no martial art can break it except Wang Chongyang’s Solitary Yang Finger”
Huang Rong pouted and said, “Then even if we train for another eight to ten years we may still won’t be able to defeat him.”