Huang Rong clapped her hands and laughed, “That’s very good! I want to play around the mountain of blades with you.” Taking out a flint from her pocket, lighted it up, then she stooped down and lighted a lamp next to her feet.
Turned out there was an oil lamp on the ground; it surprised even Ying Gu. She looked closer to see that it was not an oil lamp, but a small porcelain tea cup filled halfway with oil, with a cotton ball dipped in it as the wick. Next to the cup was a sharpened bamboo stick about a foot long, inserted on the ground with the sharpened end on the top; it looked really sharp.
Huang Rong did not pause, she kept moving and in just a short moment the floor was filled with flickering lights like stars on a dark night. Next to each cup was a sharp bamboo stick. Before Huang Rong even finished Ying Gu had started counting, and she found out there were 113 teacups with 113 bamboo sticks next to them. She was greatly baffled, “If it is the ‘mei hua zhuang’ [plum blossom stake] arrangement, then it must have either 72 sticks or 108 sticks, but it has 113 sticks; what kind of arrangement is this? The array seems random, not the ‘jiu gong ba gua’ [nine-palace eight-diagram], also not ‘mei hua wu chu’ [plum blossom five arrangements]. Moreover, these bamboo sticks are so sharp, how can somebody stand on them? Ah, right, she must be wearing iron-soled shoes.” She further thought, “This girl is prepared, I can’t fight her on these things yet I can’t ignore this. I’ll just go through it then.” Thereupon with big strides she walked forward, but the bamboo sticks were densely packed, it was difficult to walk through them, so she kicked around and broke five, six sticks while saying, “What crafty trick is this? The old lady doesn’t have time to play around with the baby.”
Hurriedly Huang Rong called, “Ah, ah! Don’t do that! Don’t do that!” Ying Gu ignored her and kept kicking. “All right!” Huang Rong called out, “You don’t want to talk reason with me, I am going to turn off the lights. Quickly memorize the bamboo sticks’ positions.”
Ying Gu was startled, she thought, “If these people gang up and plan to attack me, they must have memorized the position of these sticks early on. I could get killed among the bamboo sticks in the dark. I must leave this dangerous place quickly!” She gave her spirit a boost and sped her steps up, kicking furiously.
“Shameless!” Huang Rong called out. She brandished her bamboo stick trying to block Ying Gu. The oil lamp shone on the dark-green bamboo stick, creating a spooky shadow dancing in front of Ying Gu’s face. Of course Ying Gu did not think much about a teenage girl’s stick technique. Her left palm hacked vertically down; she thought one palm should be enough to break the bamboo stick. Who would have thought that Huang Rong’s stick technique was the Dog Beating Stick’s sealing technique; the stick moved horizontally, it was not aimed at the enemy’s body, but it turned into a piece of jade-green wall blocking in front of the door. As long as the enemy did not tread a step, the wall would not hurt the least bit, but if one attacked one would immediately hit.
As Ying Gu hacked down her palm, ‘crack!’ her palm was hit by the end of the stick. Hastily she withdrew her already pain and numb hand. She was not hit on a vital acupoint, but the pain was severe. Formerly Ying Gu did not think much of Huang Rong’s martial art, but as she was hit she became startled and angry. She realized now that this young crafty kid was not easy to deal with. She swallowed her anger and cautiously guarded against the opponent’s martial art, trying to gain more understanding before deciding on the next course of action. She thought, “I have seen the Twin Killers of the Dark Wind’s martial art. Their skills were very profound, but they were already thirty, forty years old. How can this little girl attain this kind of level? It must be that Huang Yaoshi has passed on his lifelong achievement to his only beloved daughter.”
When she went to the Peach Blossom Island she had suffered a bitter defeat without even seeing Huang Yaoshi, almost died on the island; therefore, she always feared the Master of the Peach Blossom Island. She actually did not know that this Dog Beating Technique was the Beggar Clan Leader’s unique skill, that even if Huang Yaoshi were there, he would not necessarily be able to penetrate the stick’s defense immediately.
While Ying Gu hesitated and held her attack back, Huang Rong kept moving her stick with the sealing technique, blocking Ying Gu from entering the door. In the meantime Huang Rong’s feet did not stay idle, she moved from one bamboo stick to the other with agility like a dancing butterfly, kicking the flames one by one. In a short moment she had extinguished most of the 113 oil lamps.
The way she kicked the lamps was amazing; not only she did not step on any teacup, none of the teacups was kicked upside down or smashed, also only a little bit of oil was splashed over. She was fully utilizing the Peach Blossom Island’s ‘sao ye tui fa’ [sweeping leaves leg/kicking technique]. Her movement was swift and accurate, but Ying Gu could see that her skill had not yet reached perfection, it was far inferior to the marvelous changes of the bamboo stick technique. Moreover, although her injury had been healed, her strength had not fully recovered yet. Ying Gu thought that if she attacked the lower part of Huang Rong’s body she might score a victory within dozens of stances. However, as Ying Gu was contemplating her course of action only about seven or eight oil lamps were left flickering in the wind on the northeast corner of the room; while the other three corners were already pitch-black.
Suddenly Huang Rong’s stick moved twice, Ying Gu was startled; under the faint yellow light of the oil lamp she saw a clearance in between two sharp bamboo stick on the ground, giving her an opportunity to retreat one step. Huang Rong stuck her stick on the ground and using it as a pole her body floated in the air horizontally; her long sleeve whisked off and extinguished the seven, eight remaining lamps.
Ying Gu groaned inwardly, “Although I believe I have a way to score victory, among these sharp bamboo sticks every step I take can pierce a hole on my foot; how am I going to fight?” she thought. In the darkness she heard Huang Rong call out, “Have you memorized the bamboo sticks position? Let us fight for thirty stances; if you can defeat me, I will let you go in to see Emperor Duan, all right?”
Ying Gu replied, “You are the one who arranged these sticks. I don’t know how much time you spent practicing here; while you only gave others a wink to look at these many oil lamps.”