The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 34

“Si Shifu [Fourth Shifu], Si Shifu!” Guo Jing called out. He had recognized his Si Shifu, Nan Xiren’s voice.

Huang Rong’s heart turned cold, she thought, “It will be very strange if his Si Shifu saw me and did not want to take my life.” But by now she had already disregarded all consequences; she knew perfectly well a big disaster was looming ahead, but she did not even try to run away from it. She led Guo Jing into the thick forest on the east side of the island. They saw underneath a peach tree a man was rolling around with twisted body.

Guo Jing cried out and rushed ahead to hug him. Nan Xiren’s face showed a smile, his mouth produced ‘heh, heh’ sound. Guo Jing was scared but also happy; suddenly, ‘wah!’ he broke into crying. He was crying and calling out, “Si Shifu! Si Shifu!”

Nan Xiren did not say anything; he struck Guo Jing with the back of his palm. Guo Jing was taken by surprise; instinctively he ducked to avoid the blow. As his palm did not hit its target Nan Xiren’s left fist struck out. This time Guo Jing thought that his shifu was punishing him; he was happy, so he let Nan Xiren’s fist to hit him. Who would have thought that Nan Xiren’s fist carried a surprisingly strong force. ‘Bang!’ Guo Jing was sent rolling down on the ground.

Since he was little Guo Jing had practiced fist technique with Nan Xiren several hundreds or thousands times; he knew perfectly well the strength of Nan Xiren’s fists and palms, he was greatly surprised to find Nan Xiren’s strength suddenly increased several folds. Guo Jing had just barely stood up when Nan Xiren’s fist came again. Guo Jing still did not want to fend off. This fist carried an even stronger force; Guo Jing saw stars dancing in front of his eyes, he almost passed out. Nan Xiren stooped down to pick a big rock up, and fiercely pounded it down on top of Guo Jing’s head. If Guo Jing did not evade, this big rock would certainly crack his skull open and turn his brain to mush.

From the sideline Huang Rong saw the critical situation, she quickly flew forward and pushed Nan Xiren’s arm with her left hand. Nan Xiren, with the rock still in his hands, fell down to the ground. His mouth made a ‘heh, heh’ sound and to everybody’s surprise he did not crawl back up.

“Why did you push my Si Shifu?” Guo Jing shouted angrily.

Huang Rong’s sole purpose was to save Guo Jing, she did not expect Nan Xiren would be this weak; as soon as she pushed, she hastily held out her hands to help him up. Under the moonlight she saw his face was smiling, but this smile resembled the exaggerated smile of an actor on stage; his face looked very frightening. Huang Rong called out in alarm and withdrew her hands immediately, she did not dare to touch his body. All of a sudden Nan Xiren turned over and struck her left shoulder with his fist. Two people shouted in pain simultaneously.

Although her body was protected by the soft hedgehog armor, this fist had given her enough pain and sent her staggered a few steps back. Blood was dripping from Nan Xiren’s fist, which was pricked by the thorns on the armor. Amidst the two people’s shouts Guo Jing called out, “Si Shifu!”

Nan Xiren looked at Guo Jing as if he had just recognized him; he opened his mouth to speak, but no matter how much the muscle around his mouth twitched, he still could not say anything. His face showed a smile, but his eyes showed extreme despair.

“Si Shifu,” Guo Jing said, “Please take a rest. Whatever it is you want to say, you can say it later.”

Nan Xiren tried hard to say something, he lifted his neck to look up, but his lips were unable to form the words. After straining for a while his head dropped, looking down to the ground.

“Si Shifu!” Guo Jing repeatedly called out; he rushed forward to lift Nan Xiren up.

From the side Huang Rong could see clearly. “Your Shifu is writing,” she said.

Guo Jing looked sideways and saw Nan Xiren’s right index finger was slowly writing on the soft earth. Under the moonlight he saw Nan Xiren wrote character by character: “My … killer … is …”

Huang Rong noticed he wrote with great difficulty, her heart was thumping hard; suddenly she remembered something, “He is on the Peach Blossom Island, even an idiot will know that it is my Father who killed him. But he is on the verge of death and is still using his very last strength to write the killer’s name, could it be that the murderer is someone else?” She was watching Nan Xiren’s finger with a rapt attention; she noticed that the finger moved slower as if losing its strength, so she kept praying in her heart, “If he is going to write some other name, please, please let him write it down quickly.”

Nan Xiren was writing the fifth character [Chinese character, that is], he started from the upper left hand corner and wrote a small ‘ten’ (十 ) character, then his finger trembled and stopped moving all together.

Guo Jing was kneeling on the ground, hugging his shifu. He felt Nan Xiren’s body shook violently then he stopped breathing. He looked at the small ‘ten’ character and called out, “Si Shifu, I know you were going to write the Huang (黄 ) character, you were going to write the Huang character!” He threw himself on Nan Xiren’s body and wept bitterly. In this one cry he had vented up the grief and indignation that had been welled up in his heart the whole day. He cried for quite a while, then his body fell on top of Nan Xiren’s lifeless body; he had fainted.

Without knowing how much time had passed, he woke up under the bright morning sunlight. He stood up and swept his gaze around. Huang Rong was gone, and Nan Xiren’s body was still lying down on the ground with his eyes open. Guo Jing remembered a saying, ‘die without closing his eyes’; he was unable to restrain tears from flowing down his cheeks again. Stretching out his hand he gently closed Nan Xiren’s eyes. Suddenly he recalled just before he died Nan Xiren’s facial expression was very strange; he wonder what kind of injury was so fatal. Thereupon he untied Nan Xiren’s clothes to examine his whole body. Strange to say, except for the pricked hand from hitting Huang Rong’s soft hedgehog armor last night, from head to toe, Guo Jing could not find a single scar on Nan Xiren’s body. Neither his chest nor his back showed any sign of injury by internal strength strike; the skin was neither black nor burnt, so there was no sign of poisoning either.

Guo Jing picked up Nan Xiren’s body and carried it to be buried together with Zhu Cong and the others; but the pathways in the forest were so strange that after about dozens of steps he lost his bearing. He had no choice but turn back and dig a hole underneath a peach tree to bury Nan Xiren.

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