At first Elder Jian was only afraid that he would break the bamboo stick, so he restrained himself, withdrawing the staff once it made contact with the stick. However, with Huang Rong’s proficiency in the stick, Elder Jian was repeatedly forced to defend himself. Within a few more moves, he only saw the shadows of the stick in all directions and had to use all his strength to hold his ground and could not care if he hit the stick forcefully or not.
Guo Jing sighed in admiration, “Master’s martial arts are really unfathomable.” He then thought, “I wonder where Master is now? I hope he has already recovered.” He suddenly saw Huang Rong change tactics again. She held the stick with 3 fingers and it flew into a circular dance. Elder Jian was momentarily dazzled when he struck out towards her shoulder. Huang Rong flipped the stick to keep it close to the head of the staff, then she ‘lured’ the staff outwards, borrowing up to 90% of the staff’s own momentum. Elder Jian felt as though the staff was about to fly out of his hands and he hastily tried to pull back but did not expect the stick to ‘glue’ to his staff. In his shock he changed moves 7 or 8 times in quick succession but found that he just could not ‘shake off’ the stick.
The ‘Dog-Beating Skill’ has 8 main principles – Trip, Block, Trap, Poke, Pick, Lure, Steal and Turn. Huang Rong used the Trap technique to make the stick like a vine winding round a tree; no matter how the tree grows in width, the vine would not be separated from the tree. After more strokes, he tried to execute the ‘Massive Diamond Strength Staff Skill’, causing the staff to produce a swishing sound but the stick still followed his staff around. Huang Rong hardly used any strength at all and simply used her stick to chase his staff, so it looked like she was being controlled by the staff when in fact she was like a shadow using his own strength against him, just like how Guo Jing tamed his Little Red Horse years ago. Elder Jian no longer doubted her and was about to concede defeat when Elder Peng suddenly shouted, “Use the ‘Hand-Catching Technique’ and grab the stick!” Huang Rong said, “OK, go ahead!” Her stick now changed to the Turn technique, which forced the opponent to follow himself, but causing the opponent to see a mass of flashes and shadows. He suddenly found that 5 of his vital accupoints on his back being threatened. Those were sensitive accupoints and a hit could be fatal. Elder Jian knew that the situation was critical and he rapidly retreated to avoid being hit but Huang Rong did not lose momentum and kept targeting his accupoints very intensely.
Elder Jian ran out of ideas and simply rushed forward. He managed to avoid the stick but it came up from behind. He stepped harder and started running, but the faster he ran, the faster the stick chased him. The beggars saw him jumping and running in circles around Huang Rong. She stood in the centre and made sure the stick did not leave his back by continuously changing hands to wield the stick; hence, she did not need to move around. Elder Jian’s circles became larger and Lu Youjiao had to get down with the other two Elders to avoid being hit. Elder Jian hastily said, “Yes! Yes! Greetings to the Clan Leader!” He wanted to bow in respect but Huang Rong showed no sign of stopping, so he had to continue jumping around till the sweat was dripping down his white beard. Huang Rong laughed and used the Pick principle and tossed the bronze staff upward, borrowing much of Elder Jian’s own jumping momentum. Elder Jian immediately bowed and cupped his hands in salute. The beggars around saw her brilliant performance with the ‘Dog-Beating Skill’ and no longer had any doubts. So they loudly cheered, “Greetings to our Clan Leader!” Elder Jian stepped forward to spit on Huang Rong’s face, but when he looked at her jade white delicate face which shone like the blooming flower, how could he bear to spit on her? He hesitated and finally swallowed his spit back into his throat.
Just then, someone jumped up and caught hold of the bronze staff – it was Elder Peng. Huang Rong fell for his hypnotic trick before and utterly disliked him, so she looked at him in wary silence before lifting the stick to tap the accupoint on his chest using the Turn principle, which left him with no room for retreat. However, Elder Peng was very cunning, and as he knew his martial arts were below Elder Jian’s he did not try to evade but simply cupped his hands and bowed.
After tapping his accupoint, Huang Rong angrily said, “What do you want?” Elder Peng said, “Allow me to pay my respect to Chief.” Huang Rong starred at him and met his gaze, causing her heart to shudder and she hurriedly turned away. Still, she could not help but look at his eyes again. She turned back and saw his piercing gaze and this time, she could not turn away so she quickly shut her eyes. Elder Peng grinned “Chief, you’re tired. Please take a rest!” His voice was silky and gentle. Huang Rong felt the fatigue rapidly overcoming her. When Elder Jian acknowledged Huang Rong as the Clan Leader, he felt that he had the responsibility to protect her, so when he saw Elder Peng using his hypnotic trick, he growled, “Elder Peng, what are you doing to chief?” Elder Peng smiled and said softly, “Chief needs rest; she’s tired. Can you help her?” Huang Rong realized the danger but her body was dizzy and limp and she closed her eyes to fall into a deep sleep. In her semi-conscious state, she suddenly recalled something that Guo Jing mentioned and snapped out of her dream, exclaiming, “Brother Jing! Did you say the manual contains some ‘Soul-Shifting Skill’?” Guo Jing had long noticed something wrong and would have killed Elder Peng in one palm strike if he tried any tricks; when he heard her, he jumped up and whispered something in her ear. Huang Rong heard him recite the passage, and with her high intelligence and good internal energy foundation, she was able to compose herself and force her eyes wide open, oblivious to the surroundings. Elder Peng saw her close eyes for some time and was secretly elated that his trick worked but he suddenly saw her re-open her eyes and smile at him. He smiled back but before he realized it, he felt his body floating and burst into laughter. Huang Rong knew that the skill in the ‘Nine–Yin Manual’ was indeed superior and managed to hypnotize him with just one smile, so she chuckled. Elder Peng realized everything was wrong and tried to concentrate but instead lost further control of himself and stood up in wild laughter. The echoes of his laughing could be heard clearly all around the nearby lake.