The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 31

The scholar lifted his head and saw a black shadow flew across the stone bridge and light as a feather jumped over the gap, as if floating without exerting any energy at all. The four people were astonished, “When she started training with Shifu, we have already been under his tutelage for a long time. How can her martial art exceed ours? In this last dozen of years or so, where did she go to learn such a marvelous skill?” they thought. As they saw that dark shadow come near, four people stood up and positioned themselves on either side of the way.

In a blink of an eye that dark shadow has arrived at the end of the stone bridge; she was wearing black clothes, and her facial features could be vaguely recognized as Concubine Liu whom the Emperor Duan loved very much in the years past.

Four people knelt down and kowtowed, “Xiao Ren [little/lowly people] greets Niang-niang [madam, or in this case can be translated as ‘empress’].”

“Humph,” Ying Gu snorted. Her gaze swept the four people’s faces and she said, “What Niang-niang? Concubine Liu had died long ago, I am Ying Gu. Hmm, the Prime Minister, the General, the Admiral, and the Commanding Officer of the ‘yu lin jun’ [lit. defending woods troops. I am not sure, but I think ‘yu lin jun’ is the personal bodyguards of the emperor] are all here. I thought the Emperor had forsaken worldliness and became a monk, who would have thought that he is hiding in this remote mountain and lives in peace and security as an emperor.” Her voice carried so much hatred that their hearts trembled.

The scholar said, “The Emperor does not look like his former self. I am sure Niang-niang will not recognize him anymore.”

Ying Gu laughed a cold laugh, “You keep saying Niang-niang this and Niang-niang that; are you mocking me? You are stiffly sitting on your knees down here, are you wishing me dead?”

The fisherman, the woodcutter, the farmer and the scholar looked at each other and then they stood up. “Your servants wish for your health,” they said.

Ying Gu waved her hand, “The Emperor ordered you to stop me here, do you still have to perform this empty obeisance? If you want to fight, then just fight. You are lords and royalties, I don’t know how many common people you have harmed; why would you still pretend in front of an ordinary woman like me?”

The scholar said, “Our Emperor loves the people like his children, full of generosity and benevolence, the common people of Dali country still praise him even until today. Our Emperor not only has never harmed the innocent all his life, even toward criminal with grave offense oftentimes he bestowed abundant favor. Doesn’t Niang-niang know?”

Ying Gu’s face turned red, with stern voice she said, “Do you dare to offend me?”

“Wei chen [lowly officer] doesn’t dare,” the scholar replied.

Ying Gu said, “With your mouth you acknowledge me as your superior, but in your heart how can you still think there is any royalty-officer relationship between us? I want to see Duan Zhixing; will you let me or will you not?”

‘Duan Zhixing’ was Reverend Yideng’s given name. Although the fisherman, the woodcutter, the farmer and the scholar knew it, they never dared to mention it casually. Now that Ying Gu mentioned his name irreverently they could not help but feel offended. The farmer was formerly the Emperor Duan’s personal bodyguards’ captain; he could not endure patiently. With a loud voice he shouted, “One day became an emperor, he will be honored for the rest of his life. How can it be that you speak without propriety?”

Ying Gu let out a long laugh and without saying anything charged forward. Four people respectively shot out their arms to block; they thought, “Even though her martial art skill is high, with us combining our efforts we should be able to stop her. We are going to disobey our order, but the situation is dire, we’ll talk later.”

Who would have thought that Ying Gu did not use her palm or fist to attack, but utilizing her lightness kungfu she bumped them. The woodcutter saw her coming fast, he did not dare to touch her body, he moved aside swiftly, then stretched out his hand trying to grab her shoulder. His hand was quick and powerful, but as soon as he touched her shoulder he felt like he was trying to grab something exceptionally slick, so that his hand slipped away.

By this time with a loud shout the farmer and the fisherman attacked from left and right. Ying Gu ducked and just like a slithery snake she slipped underneath the fisherman’s armpit. The fisherman’s nostrils caught a faint whiff of fragrance, it smelled like an orchid but not quite like an orchid, like musk deer but not quite like musk deer. He was frantic and did not dare to catch her body in between his arms; he opened up his arms instead for fear of touching her body.

The farmer was indignant, “What are you doing?” he shouted. With his ten fingers forming a pair of claws he tried to grab Ying Gu’s waist.

“Don’t be impolite!” the woodcutter called out.

The farmer turned a deaf ear to him, very soon his fingers had reached Ying Gu’s waist, but somehow it was like his fingers were touching a very smooth and oily surface that they slipped away from her waist.

Ying Gu had used the ‘ni qiu gong’ [mud loach maneuver] she perfected in the Black Marsh to go through these three people. Now she knew that these four were helpless to block her. Her palm slapped backward toward the farmer. The scholar swung his arm with his finger aimed toward the acupoint on her hand. To his surprise Ying Gu did not retract her hand but stuck her index finger up and quick as lightning two fingers collided in the air. The scholar had exerted all his strength to his right hand finger, suddenly he felt his finger went numb, his body felt like he was electrocuted. “Aiyo!” he cried out and fumbled down to the ground. The woodcutter and the fisherman busily stooped down to help.

The farmer’s left fist went straight ahead like a hammer hurled toward Ying Gu’s body. This attack carried a strong gust of wind, the force was astonishing. Seeing this strong attack Ying Gu stood her ground and did not evade. The farmer was alarmed; he thought if his fist hit her head, her skull would be cracked. Hastily he tried to withdraw his power, but by that time his fist had already touched the tip of Ying Gu’s nose. Ying Gu leaned her head slightly, the fist slipped from her nose and slid to her cheek. The farmer retracted his left arm, but it was too late. His hand was grabbed by his opponent and with a ‘crack’ sound he felt a shot of pain on his arm. His elbow joint was broken by the back of her fist. The farmer gritted his teeth, ignoring the pain, his right hand index finger swiftly attacked the crook of the opponent’s elbow.

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