Everyone showing off their abilities.
Original translation by Strunf
Wang Chuyi went extremely quickly. In little time, they left the city. Some li further, they arrived at the foot of a hill. Eager to test the abilities of Guo Jing, the Taoist did not slow and ran more and more quickly.
At the time Guo Jing learned from Ma Yu to control his breath, he had climbed and descended a high mountain many times. Today, even after a heated battle, this race did not frighten him. Going against the wind, as snow fell heavily, Wang Chuyi sprang up the small hill, its sides covered with slipping snow. At the end, the slope became increasingly steep. But the progress of Guo Jing made him wonder: he advanced without being blown, as though his pulse did not accelerate, as if the ground were flat.
The Taoist, extremely surprised, released Guo Jing’s arm:
“Your gongfu foundation is rather well established! How is it made that you are not able to beat him?”
Guo Jing had no answer and could only remain silent.
“Who is your Shifu?” Wang continued.
Guo Jing knew of the Taoist, since, at the top of cliff, he had received the order to play the part of Yin Zhiping, to mislead Mei Chaofeng. He remembered that Wang Chuyi was one of the martial brothers of Ma Yu. Therefore he did not hesitate to tell the truth, telling quickly how he had been taught by the Jiangnan Odd Seven, and also by Ma Yu.
“My senior brother gave you lessons!” Wang exclaimed, delighted. “He is formidable! Then I don’t see why I should worry!”
Guo Jing’s eyes widened, looking at him without understanding.
“This so-called Young Prince, Wanyan Kang,” explained Wang, “is the disciple of my brother in arms Qiu Chuji. Did you know?
“Ah,” Guo Jing was astonished. “I was unaware of it…”
Indeed, Ma Yu had taught to him some bases for the control of internal energy, as well as the qinggong technique called “Flight of the Golden Eagle”, in order to enable him to climb the cliff. But he had never given him the least indication in battle technique or in weapons skills. This is why Guo Jing did not know any Quanzhen gongfu at all. By hearing the remarks of Wang Chuyi, he remembered his battle, that night, with the young Taoist Yin Zhiping, whose movements seemed to come from of the same style as those of this Wanyan Kang.
He believed that he had done wrong and bowed his head.
“I did not know,” he said humbly, “that this Young Prince was a disciple of Master Qiu. I behaved out of order to him, please do not hold it against him…”
Wang Chuyi burst out laughing.
“Your righteousness and gentlemanly spirit suits me right to the heart. How could I reproach you? The rules in our Sect are extremely strict. If a disciple is at fault, he will be punished accordingly and justice will be done. This young boy was impudent and arrogant, I will ask Brother Qiu to punish him severely.”
“If he agrees to marry this young lady, Mu,” pleaded Guo Jing, “please agree to forgive him…”
Wang Chuyi shook the head without answering. He could see that Guo Jing had good heart, and that he forgave readily, and looked upon him with still more sympathy.
“Brother Qiu always hated evildoers, and especially Jin,” he thought. “How did it come about that he agreed to take on a Jin prince for his disciple? The more so as the knowledge which it seems to have of our gongfu appears rather thorough. That means, obviously, that Brother Qiu devoted to him much time and energy! However, in his gongfu, one senses the pernicious influences of unorthodox and perverse schools. I’m totally mystified!”
“Brother Qiu told me he was going to Yanjing,” he said to Guo Jing. “He should arrive in the next few days. We will ask him for explanations when we see him. I intended to say that he took a disciple of the name of Yang, who must go to contest himself against you in Jiaxing. I do not know how powerful this chap is, but don’t be worried; I will be there, and am sure you will come out on top.”
Guo Jing had obeyed the order given by his six Masters, to go, at the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, to the prefecture of Jiaxing. But they had not explained to him for what reason.
“Master Taoist,” he asked then, “why must I test myself against him?”
“If your teachers did not think it well to explain it to you,” answered Wang, “it would be wrong for me to do it in their place.”
He had learned, from Qiu Chuji, the origin and outcome of this business, and he felt, for the generous actions of the Odd Six, an immense admiration. He had had the same thoughts as Ma Yu, and hoped for the victory of the Six. However, as a junior, he could not require of Qiu to step down. Today, encouraged by the personality of Guo Jing, he wondered how he could help him secretly, without damaging to the reputation of his martial brother. He thus decided to also go to Jiaxing, and to think on the spot some way to support him.
“Let us return and visit Mu Yi,” proposed the Taoist. “His daughter seems to be rather stubborn, I fear this will cause him problems…”
Guo Jing started. Both went to the Prosperity Inn, in the western part of the city. When they arrived at the door of the Inn, ten servants richly clad in brocade were there. They came to them while greeting:
“Our master humbly requests of the Master Taoist and Lord Guo, whether they would agree to a banquet held at his modest residence.”
The red invitation card respectfully carried the inscription “Your disciple Wanyan Kang invites.”
“Well,” Wang Chuyi said, shaking his head. “We will come presently.”
“These cakes and fruits,” declared the chief of the servants, “are a modest present from the Young Prince. If the Master Taoist and Lord Guo indicate to me where to place them, I will bring them over there.”
The servants presented twelve large boxes, filled with various fresh fruits and fine cakes, very appetising.
“Brother Huang Rong likes finely made pastries,” thought Guo Jing, “I will keep some for him”
Because of his aversion to Wanyan Kang, Wang Chuyi intended to return the present. But, seeing that Guo Jing seemed to appreciate them, he ordered to leave them at the counter.
“Young people are covetous,” he said with a smile. “It’s normal…”
They went then in the room of Mu Yi. He was stretched out on the bed, his face pale, his daughter in tears sitting by his bedside. By seeing Wang and Guo to enter, they pushed a cry of surprise. The girl rose to her feet, the man tried to get up.
Wang Chuyi examined the wounds of Mu Yi. On each hand, the five wounds dug by the fingers of Wanyan Kang were open to the bone, as if they had been inflicted by a weapon. The hands were extremely swollen: they had been coated with alleviating balsam but, because of fear of infection, no bandage had been applied.
Wang Chuyi could not understand the nature of the wound: “Who taught Wanyan Kang such a cruel and brutal technique? Looking at the seriousness of those wounds, it isn’t superficial; it would take a long time for someone to reach this power. How could Brother Qiu not realize this at all? Or if he had some idea about it, why didn’t he do anything to stop him?”
He turned to the girl: