With the corner of his eye Hong Qigong saw Guo Jing was staring angrily at Huang Yaoshi; while Huang Rong was crying with tears streaming down her cheeks. He knew whatever it was, it must be a very complicated matter; he thought carefully, “I’ll wait for the Old Urchin; with his martial art skill he will be able to subdue everybody. At that time the Old Beggar will speak again.” Thereupon he shouted, “The Old Beggar is going to take a nap; whoever lift up his fist or his kick deliberately wants to offend me. Come tomorrow evening, I don’t care if you turn the sky over or shake the earth, the Old Beggar will not help anybody. Ma Yu, take this bunch of mixed-up hairs and sit down here with me cultivating your internal energy. Make a one notch internal strength gain is a gain; waiting for the last minute will not guarantee your victory. Jing’er, Rong’er, come over here and massage my legs.”
Ouyang Feng was rather scared of him; he thought that if Hong Qigong joined hands with the Quanzhen Masters, they would be difficult for him to fight. He said, “Old Beggar, Yao Xiong and I two guys have some unfinished business with the Quanzhen Sect. The Nine-fingered Divine Beggar’s words are like mountain; I’ll follow your direction today, and tomorrow you may not help either side.”
Hong Qigong was secretly amused, “If you push me with your little finger now, I am afraid I will fall down.” Thereupon he loudly said, “The Old Beggar’s fart is still sweeter than your words; I said I won’t help, then I won’t help. Are you sure you’ll win?” Then he laid down face up on the ground, using his wine gourd as a pillow and called out, “Two children, come and massage my legs!”
By now only the bone was left of the lamb leg in his hand, but he was still reluctant to throw it away, he kept gnawing and licking like it was still tasty. He looked at the clouds looming over the horizon and said, “Those clouds look strange, I am afraid the weather will change very soon!” He also noticed thin mist rose from the surface of the lake; he took several deep breaths and shook his head, “It’s very strange!” Turning his head toward Huang Yaoshi he said, “Yao Xiong, do you think I can borrow your daughter to massage my legs?”
Huang Yaoshi only showed a faint smile. Huang Rong came over and sat next to Hong Qigong, then started to massage his leg gently. Hong Qigong sighed, “Ay, these old bones have never enjoyed this kind of good fortune!” Staring at Guo Jing he said, “Dumb kid, are your dog’s paws broken by the Old Heretic Huang?”
“Yes,” Guo Jing replied. He came over the other side of Hong Qigong and started massaging his leg.
Ke Zhen’e was leaning on a willow tree by the lakeside; his pair of blind eyes was fixed at Huang Yaoshi. He was using his ears in place of his eyes. Huang Yaoshi was pacing around by the water. He walked to the east, Ke Zhen’e’s head followed his movement to the east, he turned west Ke Zhen’e followed him to the west. Huang Yaoshi did not pay him any attention, only the corners of his mouth showed a cold smile.
The Quanzhen Six Masters and Yin Zhiping were sitting cross-legged on the ground, maintaining their respective positions of the Big Dipper Formation; their heads were hung low, they were quietly training their internal energy.
Ouyang Feng’s servants, the snake shepherds, took out a table and a chair, set them up underneath the Misty Rain Tavern and served wine and food. With his back toward everybody else Ouyang Feng sat alone eating and drinking; he was wondering in his heart how Hong Qigong could recover that quick from the heavy injury his palm inflicted.
Meanwhile the weather was stifling hot, small insects were flying everywhere, and thin mist hovered on the surface of the lake. Hong Qigong said, “My thigh bone is sore, a storm must be coming; if we can see moon tomorrow at the mid-autumn festival, I will chop my own thigh and give it to you.” Casting a sidelong glance toward Guo Jing and Huang Rong, he noticed that their eyes had always looked somewhere else, and had never looked at each other. Hong Qigong was always frank and honest; seeing this awkward situation, how could he keep his peace? But after asking several questions, those two mumbled indistinctly without giving him any answer.
Hong Qigong raised his voice asking Huang Yaoshi, “Yao Xiong, what is the other name of this Nan Hu?”
“It’s called ‘yuan yang hu’ [Mandarin Duck Lake],” Huang Yaoshi replied.
“Indeed!” Hong Qigong said, “How come on this ‘yuan yang hu’ [Translator’s note: mandarin ducks have always been regarded as the symbol of lovers] your daughter and your son-in-law are having an argument and the father and father-in-law did not advise them?”
Guo Jing stood up immediately, he pointed to Huang Yaoshi and said, “He … he … has killed my five shifus, how can I still call him my father-in-law?”
Huang Yaoshi coldly laughed and said, “Is that strange? The Seven Freaks of Jiangnan are not completely dead; there is still a stinky blind kid left. I’ll say he won’t live to see tomorrow …”
Without waiting for him to finish Ke Zhen’e had already pounced toward him. Guo Jing also jumped forward, and despite the fact he moved later, he arrived sooner. Huang Yaoshi launched a single stance, his palms crossed and ‘bang!’ he shook Guo Jing’s body, forcing him to retreat two steps.
Hong Qigong shouted, “I said don’t fight! Do you think the Old Beggar’s words are just fart?”
Guo Jing did not dare to attack again, his stared angrily at Huang Yaoshi. Hong Qigong asked, “Old Heretic Huang, the Six Freaks of Jiangnan are chivalrous heroes, why did you kill the innocents? The Old Beggar thinks this kind of behavior is not pleasing to the eyes.”
Huang Yaoshi said, “I kill whomever I want, why do you care?”
Huang Rong called out, “Father, his five shifus were not killed by you; I know it. Please say that you did not kill them.”
Under the moonlight Huang Yaoshi saw his daughter’s face was thin and pale, he could not help but feel compassion toward her; but when he turned his eyes toward Guo Jing he saw murder written all over Guo Jing’s face, his heart turned hard and he said, “I killed them.”
With a choking voice Huang Rong said, “Father, why do you insist on confessing the murder?”
With a loud voice Huang Yaoshi replied, “Everybody says your father is wicked and strange, didn’t you know it? Can a criminal do a good deed? All crimes in the world are your father’s. The Six Freaks of Jiangnan considered themselves righteous and chivalrous heroes; when I see this kind of self-proclaimed hero I become angry.”
Ouyang Feng burst out in laughter and loudly said, “Yao Xiong, your words are right on target. Let Xiong Di [younger brother, referring to himself] toast you!” Lifting up his wine cup he drank it in one go; he said, “Yao Xiong, let me present you a gift.” His right hand slightly waved, he threw a cloth bundle away.
He was several ‘zhang’s apart from Huang Yaoshi, but by a casual wave of the hand the bundle flew like a bullet cutting the air; everyone was astonished and impressed. Huang Yaoshi held out his hand to receive it; the content of the bundle felt like a human head to him. After unwrapping the bundle he found it was indeed a human head, newly beheaded; the head wore a square hat, with beard on its chin, the face was not of someone he knew.
Ouyang Feng said with a laugh, “Xiong Di left for the west this morning and took a rest at a schoolhouse. I heard this rotten scholar taught the students to be loyal ministers and filial sons. Xiong Di loathes hearing such things, so I killed this rotten scholar. You and I are the Eastern Heretic and the Western Poison, we both are of the same kind.” Then he let out a long laugh.
Huang Yaoshi’s face changed, he said, “All my life I always respect loyal ministers and filial sons.” Stooping down he dug a hole with his hand, buried that human’s head, and respectfully bowed three times.
Ouyang Feng lost his interest, but he laughed and said, “The Old Heretic Huang has enjoyed a false reputation, turns out he also adheres to propriety and etiquette.”
Huang Yaoshi imposingly said, “Loyalty and being filial is integrity, it is not propriety and etiquette!”
He had just closed his mouth when suddenly a thunder crashed. Everybody looked up and saw black clouds covering half of the sky; a thunderstorm was coming. Right at that moment they heard loud music; seven, eight big boats on the lake approached near. The boats were decorated with red lanterns; on the bows stood signs like ‘Su Jing’ and ‘Hui Bi’; looked like they belong to a high ranking government officer.