The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 34

Drastic changes on the island.

Original translation by Foxs

While Huang Rong was dancing in the air, suddenly she let out a soft exclaim, “Ah!” and jumped down the tree. Beckoning to Guo Jing she walked into the forest. Guo Jing was afraid he would get lost, so he followed closely and did not dare to lag more than half a step behind her. Huang Rong walked fast along the winding pathway and then abruptly stopped. Pointing her finger to a yellow pile on the ground she asked, “What is that?”

Guo Jing rushed forward several steps and saw it was a yellow horse lying on the ground. He quickly came closer and stooped down to take a look; he recognized it was his San Shifu [Third Shifu] Han Baoju’s yellow horse. He held out his hand to feel the horse’s back and found it was already cold; the horse had died many days ago. This horse had followed Han Baoju to the far away desert; Guo Jing had known the horse since he was little. It was like a good friend to him. To suddenly see the horse dead here Guo Jing was grieved. He carefully considered, “This horse was old, but it was a divine steed and not an ordinary horse. It had galloped north and south all these years with nimble footsteps, it did not show any sign of old age; how could it unexpectedly fall dead in here? San Shifu must be very sad.”

He looked closer and noticed that the yellow horse did not lie on its side, but curled with its legs under its belly, crumpled together into one heap of meat. Guo Jing’s heart turned cold; he remembered how with just a strike of his palm Huang Yaoshi had killed Princess Huazheng’s horse just like this. Quickly he stretched out his left arm trying to lift underneath the horse’s neck, and held out his right hand to examine the horse’s front legs. He found out that the bones of the legs were broken. He withdrew his hands and retraced the horse’s back, only to find that the backbones were also broken. Guo Jing was increasingly alarmed. He took his hand off the horse and jumped in fright because he saw that his palm was full of blood. The blood had turned purplish black, but the blood smell remained. It seemed like the blood was about three, four days old. Quickly he turned the horse’s body around to examine it closely, but he did not see a single wound on its entire body. Absentmindedly he sat on the ground and thought, “Could it be San Shifu’s blood? Where is he?”

While Guo Jing was examining the horse Huang Rong stood quietly on the side; only then did she say in a low voice, “Don’t you worry, let us investigate this matter carefully.” Brushing the flower bushes away she looked to the ground and slowly walked forward. Guo Jing also saw the trace of dripping blood on the ground. Without thinking that he might get lost, he slipped through Huang Rong and anxiously rushed ahead to follow the bloodstain.

The trace sometimes disappeared so Guo Jing took the wrong turn several times. Huang Rong was always careful; she would examine the nearby bushes or the thick patch of grass among the rocks to find the trace of blood. Sometimes the bloodstain vanished altogether so she looked for a hoof print or some horse hair.

After following the trace for several ‘li’s they saw that ahead of them was a row of short flower bushes, with a grave in the middle of the grove. Huang Rong anxiously rushed toward the grave. Guo Jing had seen this grave before when he first came to the Peach Blossom Island, so he knew it was Huang Rong’s mother’s grave. He saw the tombstone lying on the ground, so he raised it up to stand. He saw the line of characters on the tombstone, ‘tao hua dao nu zhu feng shi mai xiang zhi zhong’ [the fragrant burial ground of Mistress surnamed Feng of the Peach Blossom Island].

Huang Rong saw the grave’s door was open and vaguely guessed that there were radical changes on the island. She did not enter the tomb right away, but looked carefully around the grave. She saw the green grass toward the left of the grave was trampled really bad, while there were some vestiges made by blade on the door of the grave. She listened attentively for half a day by the doorway and did not hear anything from the inside, finally she stooped down and entered in.

Guo Jing was afraid he might lost her, he immediately followed. Everywhere along the pathway inside the tomb he saw chipped or even shattered stones from the wall, a sign of a very fierce fight. Two people were very alarmed.

Several ‘zhang’s ahead Huang Rong stooped down to pick something from the floor. The pathway inside the tomb was dim, but they vaguely recognized that it was a half of Quan Jinfa’s balance beam. This balance beam was made of wrought iron, it was as thick as a child’s arm; but right now they saw the beam was broken by someone. Huang Rong and Guo Jing looked at each other, they did not dare to say anything. They knew in their hearts that there were only a handful of people in this whole wide world capable of breaking this balance beam barehanded; on this Peach Blossom Island, naturally there was nobody else aside from Huang Yaoshi.

Huang Rong held the broken beam with trembling hands. Guo Jing took the beam from Huang Rong’s hand and inserted it in his belt. He stooped down trying to find the other half of the beam. He felt like his heart was pulled down by fifteen buckets of water; filled with tumultuous thoughts. Part of him hoped he would find it, part of him hoped he would not.

Several steps later the pathway was getting darker. Guo Jing groped on the floor and found a round object. Turned out it was the balance weight, which Quan Jinfa usually used as flying hammer to strike the enemy. Guo Jing put it inside his pocket. Suddenly he felt his hand touching something cold, soft and somewhat greasy; it felt like someone’s face. He jumped up in fright and bumped his head to the ceiling of the tomb pathway. Without feeling the pain he hastily fetched his fire paper and lit it. He let out a bitter cry, feeling like the sky was turning around him and the earth shook beneath him, he fell backward and fainted.

The fire paper was still in Guo Jing’s hand and the fire was still flickering. Under the fire light Huang Rong saw Quan Jinfa with his eyes open, dead on the ground; the other half of the balance beam stuck out from his chest. Everything became clear to Huang Rong now. She calmed herself down, and then gathering up her courage she took the fire paper from Guo Jing’s hand. She placed the fire underneath Guo Jing’s nostrils. The smoke rose up, Guo Jing sneezed hard twice and regained his consciousness. He stared blankly at Huang Rong before finally standing up, and two people walked to enter to tomb.

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