The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 22

Guo Jing listened to master and disciple arguing, he smiled and did not say anything. He did not care whether the island had an elegant name or a vulgar name; but deep down in his heart he thought ‘ya gui’ or ‘chi sui’ were more interesting than ‘ming xia’.

Carried by the blowing wind they sailed for two days, the wind did not change its course. Toward the evening of the third day Hong Qigong and Huang Rong were asleep while Guo Jing was in charge of the rudder for the night. Amidst the ocean breeze and rolling waves suddenly he heard somebody shout, “Help! Help!” twice. The voice sounded like a clashing cymbals, it could be heard clearly amidst the screaming wind and waves.

Hong Qigong sat up and said in a low voice, “That’s the Old Poison.” They heard the shout one more time. Huang Rong grabbed Hong Qigong’s arm, “It’s a ghost, it’s a ghost!” she said with a trembling voice.

It was the end of the sixth month, the night was dark and moonless; there were only several stars scattered sparsely on the dark night. The sea was pitch-black; a scream in the middle of the night would make anybody terrified to the bone.

“Is that the Old Poison?” Hong Qigong called out. His internal energy was lost, so his voice did not travel too far. Guo Jing gathered the ‘qi’ on his ‘dan tian’ and called out, “Is that Uncle Ouyang?”

From a distant they heard Ouyang Feng answered, “It is me, Ouyang Feng. Help!”

Huang Rong was still terrified, “It doesn’t matter whether it is a man or a ghost, let us just leave, quick!”

“Help him,” Hong Qigong suddenly said.

“No, no!” Huang Rong quickly answered, “I am scared.”

“It’s not a ghost,” Hong Qigong said.

“Even if it is a man we still don’t have to help,” Huang Rong said.

“Helping others in distress is one of our Beggar Clan’s rules,” Hong Qigong said, “You and I are two generations of the Clan Leader; we can’t abandon the honorable customs handed down from the previous generations’ leaders.”

“The Beggar Clan’s custom is not right,” Huang Rong countered, “Clearly Ouyang Feng is a scoundrel, when he becomes a ghost, he will still be a scoundrel ghost. It doesn’t matter if it is a man or a ghost, we should not help.”

“It is the Clan’s regulation, we can’t change it,” Hong Qigong said.

In her heart Huang Rong was very angry. They heard Ouyang Feng’s voice in the distant again, “Qi Xiong [Brother Qi], are you really ‘jian si bu jiu’ [seeing death, do not help]?”

Huang Rong said, “I got it! Brother Jing, wait until you can see Ouyang Feng clearly, then strike him dead with your stick. You are not a Beggar Clan’s member, you don’t have to observe this unreasonable rule.”

Hong Qigong was angry, “Taking advantage of somebody else’s precarious condition; is that the righteous way of the warrior?”

Huang Rong did not have any choice, helplessly she watched Guo Jing steer the raft toward the voice. In the deep dark of the night they vaguely saw two men on the water rocked by the wave; next to their heads was a lumber. It looked like after their raft broke Ouyang Feng uncle and nephew had clung onto that piece of lumber until now.

“Let him make an oath never to harm anybody else, then we will rescue him,” Huang Rong said.

Hong Qigong sighed, “You don’t know the Old Poison’s character; he would rather die than surrender. He won’t make this kind of promise. Jing’er, rescue them.”

Guo Jing bent down and grabbed Ouyang Ke’s collar, lifting him up to the raft. Hong Qigong was eager to help and he forgot his martial art was gone. He held out his hand and Ouyang Feng took it. He wanted to borrow the strength and leap to the raft. But because of his pull Hong Qigong unexpectedly fell into the sea with a splash. Guo Jing and Huang Rong were shocked; they jumped into the sea immediately and saved Hong Qigong. Huang Rong angrily scolded Ouyang Feng, “My Shifu has a good heart rescuing you; how could you drag him into the sea instead?”

Ouyang Feng knew Hong Qigong had lost his martial art; otherwise, how could this simple pull make a martial art expert fall into the sea? But he had been immersed in the water for several days, he was extremely weary. He did not dare to look up, he lowered his head and said, “I … I did not mean to. Qi Xiong, please don’t blame your brother.”

Hong Qigong laughed heartily, “Well said, well said. Only the Old Beggar’s real skill is known to you now,” he said.

“Good Miss,” Ouyang Feng said, “Could you spare something for us to eat? We have been hungry for several days.”

Huang Rong replied, “We have food and water on this raft enough only for three people. I can give you some, but then what do we eat?”

“Very well,” Ouyang Feng said, “Please give a little bit of food to my nephew then, his legs are heavily injured, he won’t survive without food.”

“In that case let’s make a deal,” Huang Rong said, “Your viper hurt my Shifu; he has not recovered until now. Give him the antidote.”

Ouyang Feng groped his pocket and produced two vials, handed them over to her and said, “Miss, please take a look; the vials were drowned in the water, the antidote has been washed out clean!”

Huang Rong took the vials, she shook them and sniffed them; the vials were really filled with seawater. “In this case, tell us prescription of the antidote, as soon as we are ashore we can brew some.”

“If I want to swindle you, I can always give you any prescription, you won’t know if it is genuine or fake; but how can Ouyang Feng be this kind of person?” Ouyang Feng said, “Let me tell you the truth: my vipers are the most poisonous in the world, nothing can match its lethality; if one is bitten, although one won’t immediately die due to one’s excellence in martial art, within eight times eight, sixty-four days half of one’s body will be paralyzed and one will be invalid for the rest of one’s life. I have no problem giving you the antidote prescription, but not only the ingredients are hard to find, it also requires processing of three successive winters and summers. By the time the antidote is ready, I am afraid it would be much too late. I have told you the truth, if you still want to take my life it is entirely up to you.”

Huang Rong and Guo Jing listened to him, they secretly admired him; they thought, “Although this man is evil and cruel, he did not lost his dignity as a grand master of his martial art school in a matter of life and death.”

“Rong’er,” Hong Qigong also said, “He is telling the truth. A man’s life has been decided by fate; the Old Beggar has nothing to be worried about. You give them something to eat.”

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