The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 8

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:

“Young lady, you are…?”

“I am called Mu Nianci (Nianci: “to remember the mother”),” she answered, casting a grateful glance towards Guo Jing before bowing her head.

Guo Jing saw that the pole of the banner was at the foot of the bed, but the banner itself, with the inscription “Tournament to find a husband” had been torn into shreds.

“Don’t you wish to see a husband?” he wondered in surprise.

“Your father’s injury is quite serious,” continued Wang. “It should be looked after properly.”

Seeing the destitution in which they lived, he understood that the father and the girl had few means, and would have probably found it very hard to find the money for the medicines. He left two ingots money from his pocket and placed them on the table.

“I will return to see you tomorrow,” he promised.

Without awaiting the thanks of Mu Yi and his daughter, he took Guo Jing by the arm and left.

At the door of the inn, the four brocade clothed servants advanced towards them and bowed:

“Our young Master awaits your honourable visit, please follow us.”

Wang Chuyi agreed.

“Master,” Guo Jing said, “wait to me one moment.”

He turned and ran to the counter of the inn, opened the boxes of delicacies offered by Wanyan Kang, chooses four cakes, carefully wrapped them in a handkerchief and put them in a pocket. Then he followed Wang Chuyi to the residence.

On the two sides of the large door painted in bright red, flags were spread on high poles. Two lions of jade, majestic and fierce, stood guard. A flight of white jade steps carried out to the large hall. The effect was impressive. Above the large door, there was an inscription in gold letters: “Residence of Prince Zhao”.

Guo Jing knew that Prince Zhao was the title of the Sixth Prince of the Jin Empire, Wanyan Honglie.

“So,” he said to himself, full of fear, “this Young Prince is the son of Wanyan Honglie? He knows me, it’ll be terrible if I come upon him here!”

As he hesitated, there came the sound of drums and trumpets. The Young Prince, wearing gold crown and a red tunic, a gold belt tied around his waist, descended the steps to meet them.

However, he had a black eye, and a swollen face, marks of the keen combat of a few hours ago. Guo Jing was not in better state, with a swollen eye, bruises on his lips, his face and the cheek ravaged. Both felt amused, and could not prevent themselves from smiling.

Seeing the luxurious garb of Wanyan Kang, Wang’s eyebrows came together and he followed him to the large room without saying a word. Wanyan Kang requested him to sit down in the place of honor.

“It’s a distinguished honour that Master Taoist and Brother Guo have agreed to come here!”

As he did not kowtow to him and did not seem to recognize his membership of the Quanzhen Sect, Wang felt anger rise within him.

“For how many years were you taught the martial arts by your Shifu?” he asked.

“I know nothing in martial arts,” answered Wanyan Kang while laughing. “My Shifu gave me lessons for several years, but what he taught me would make you laugh, because that it’s no more than a three-legged cat’s skills.”

“The skills of the Quanzhen Sect are nothing exceptional,” Wang said, containing his anger, “but it is nonetheless better than a three-legged cat skill. Your Shifu, did you know he will arrive in a few days?”

“My Shifu is here,” retorted Wanyan Kang, always smiling. “Do you wish to see him, Master?”

“Where is he?” exclaimed Wang Chuyi, amazed.

Without waiting for him to answer, Wanyan Kang struck in its hands, and ordered:

“Serve the banquet!”

Then he took his two guests towards the banquet hall. They crossed several corridors, several decorated pavilions. Guo Jing, who had never seen such a pompous residence, was overwhelmed. But he was especially worried about the coming confrontation with Wanyan Honglie, because he did not know what he should do. “The great Khan wants me to assassinate the prince,” he thought, “but it turns out his son is the disciple of Taoist Elder Qiu! Should I kill him or not?” He did not manage to decide, so uneasiness plagued him.

In the banquet hall, six or seven people have already awaited them. One of them had three lumps on his face, it was Hou Tonghai, the three-headed Dragon. Hands on his hips, he looked at them with anger. Guo Jing made a movement of retreat, then he was reassured, thinking that the presence of the Taoist Elder at his side would dissuade Hou from undertaking anything. However, not being able to suppress a certain feeling of apprehension, he averted his head, avoiding the glance of his adversary. Then, recalling the foolish behaviour of Hou during the chase of Huang Rong, he laughed up his sleeve.

“Taoist Elder,” said Wanyan Kang, a charming expression on his face, “Here are several people who admire you and have wished, since a long time, to get acquainted. You have already met Chief Peng. Here is the honourable Liang Ziwong, also called the Ginseng Immortal, who is from the Eternal-whitePeak.” Liang Ziwong, an old man with a florid face and immaculate hair, greeted by joining his hands.

“What an honour to meet the Perfect Wang, the Immortal-with-iron-foot! I will now be able to claim that my voyage beyond the Pass has not been in vain. Here is Supreme Virtue Ling Zhi, also known as Distinguished Big-hand, from the esoteric school of Tibet. I myself came from the North-East, he from the South-West, it had required a voyage of tens of thousands Li, one could say that ours is a predestined encounter.”

Obviously, Liang Ziwong was a very glib talker. Wang Chuyi greeted Supreme Virtue Ling Zhi, the lama answered by joining his hands.

Suddenly, a raucous voice was heard:

“Thus, it is because they feel supported by the Sect of Total Perfection (Quan Zhen) that the Seven Freaks of Jiangnan dare to be conceited!”

Wang Chuyi turned his head and saw a completely bald man with gleaming skull and bulging red eyes. That man reminded him of someone:

“Are you possibly the venerable Sha, the Dragon king of the demonic group?”

“Precisely,” the man retorted with an angry voice. “Thus, you still remember my name!”

“We have never met,” Wang thought, “in what affair could I have offended him?”

“I’ve heard of your great reputation for a long time,” he answered in a conciliatory tone, “and I much admire you.”

This Dragon king of the demonic group was Sha Tongtian, and he was much abler than his brother-in-arms Hou Tonghai. However, he possessed a quick temper, was constantly enraged when teaching, that’s why he had only been able to transmit a negligible part of his ability to his four disciples. That was the reason why the Four-demons-of-the-Yellow-River, as they fought against Guo Jing in Mongolia, were not able to win and had to lose face in front of Wanyan Honglie. Since then, Prince Zhao did not grant any more credit to the four men. When he heard about that, Sha Tongtian got in a terrible fury, he punished his unworthy disciples viciously, the four demons nearly turned into four ghosts. Then he ordered his brother-in-arms to capture Guo Jing, but Hou Tonghai only turned out to be a teasing object for Huang Rong, and had to undergo an even larger humiliation.

More and more annoyed, Sha Tongtian, without being concerned anymore about courtesy in front of others, sprang to Guo Jing, his hands forming claws. Guo Jing retreated two steps, Wang Chuyi, with a protecting movement, put himself in front of Guo Jing.

“You really want to protect this little rascal?” Sha exclaimed angrily. And he struck a palm in the direction of Wang. Wang, considering the brutality of the attack, was forced to defend himself. Their two palms clashed, and as they were both going to channel their internal energy, suddenly a man appeared, who with each of his hands, pressed their respective wrists and in that way separated them. Wang and Sha felt a shock and withdrew their hands immediately. Both being eminent personalities of the JiangHu realm, both had anticipated very well the real ability of their adversaries, and had already activated their own internal energy. That somebody was able to separate them easily with such a move were unbelievable to them!

The man, dressed in white, carried a light fur coat and a broad belt. Aged about thirty-five or thirty-six years, he moved elegantly, had a distinguished appearance, and an undeniable martial air. He seemed to be a scion of a noble family.

“Here is,” said Wanyan Kang laughing, “the Junior Chief of the WhiteCamelMountain from the Kunlun mountain range in the WesternTerritories. His name is Ouyang Ke. Honourable Ouyang had never been in the Central Plains before. It is thus for the first time you all meet him.”

The sudden appearance of this man surprised not only Wang Chuyi and Guo Jing, but Peng Lianhu and Liang Ziwong as well, who also didn’t know him. After seeing a demonstration of his ability, everyone was secretly very admiring, but nobody had ever heard about the WhiteCamelMountain in the WesternTerritories.

“Brothers, I should have arrived in the capital since several days,” said Ouyang Ke while greeting. “But I had a small hitch in the way, which caused a certain delay, that is why I have just arrived, please excuse me.” After learning that he was the Junior Chief of the WhiteCamelMountain, Guo Jing understood that he was related to those young women wearing white clothes who had tried to burgle his horse on the road. He felt his heart tightening, “Have my six Shifus already clashed with him?” he wondered. “Have they been injured?”

Wang Chuyi noticed that all adversaries were of frightening ability, particularly he himself had experienced the pressure of Ouyang Ke’s hand, who had an internal energy by no means inferior to his own, though it contained a strange viciousness.

If dialogue turned out to be impossible, and it turned into a fighting, he himself was not even sure of being able to beat Ouyang Ke. Then, should the enemy attack in mass, how could they defend themselves?

“And your Shifu?” he asked Wanyan Kang. “Why don’t you ask him to come?”

“I will,” the young man agreed, turning to his servants. “Request Shifu to come and meet the visitors.”

Wang Chuyi was feeling more reassured. “If Brother Qiu is here,” he mused, “though the enemy are dominant in number, we will be able at least to remain unscathed.”

Some time later, one heard noises of boots. Through the large door a big old officer of forty years dressed in brocade entered, with a thick beard on his chin and a martial air. Wanyan Kang advanced.

“Shifu,” he said respectfully. “This Taoist Elder wishes to see you, and have already asked about you on several occasions.”

Wang felt upsurging anger: “Ah, wicked one,” he thought, “you dare to make fun of me? The way this officer moves, he can’t have a remarkable skill, he is certainly not the one who taught this rascal his strange techniques”

“Taoist,” said the officer, “what do you want from me? Normally I hate seeing monks or taoists.”

The anger of Wang was so strong that he burst out laughing:

“I would like,” he said, “to request alms from Your Excellency, alms of thousand silver taels.”

The officer was called Tang Zude, captain of Prince Zhao’s personal guard. When Wanyan Kang was small, Tang Zude had given him some martial arts lessons, that’s why everybody in the household called him “Shifu.”

On hearing the outrageous request from Wang Chuyi, he was startled:

“Rubbish!” he retorted.

“Thousand taels in silver,” Wanyan Kang said, “is nothing, nothing at all. Let someone quickly prepare thousand taels, and present it to the venerable Taoist.”

Tang Zude remained baffled. He examined Wang Chuyi from top to toe with his mouth agape, then upwards, without managing to understand why one should show such benevolence.

“Please all take a seat,” Wanyan Kang invited. “Taoist Elder Wang, it’s the first time you’ve come to us, the place of honour is reserved for you.” Wang Chuyi refused modestly, but ended up settling at the place of honour. Three wine rounds were served.

“You are all eminent personalities of the JiangHu realm,” Wang declared then. “You all shall judge how we’ll regulate the affair of Mr. Mu and his daughter.” All glances were fixed on Wanyan Kang, waiting to see his reaction.

Wanyan Kang poured wine and raised the wine cup. Respectfully presenting the cup before Wang, he said, “Senior (qianbei), do me the honour and accept this cup first. As for the affair in question, it will be dealt according to Senior’s instructions, your Junior (wanbei) dares not to disobey. Wang was amazed to see him accepting so easily. He took the cup and drank the wine in one go.”

“Very well,” he said. “Let us take Mr. Mu here and let him speak.”

“Thus someone must take him here,” Wanyan Kang said. “Could I charge Brother Guo then with the task of bringing Mr. Mu here?” Wang Chuyi nodded.

Guo Jing immediately left the banquet to go to the Prosperity Inn. But the room of Mu Yi was empty: the father and the girl had left, carrying all their belongings with them. Questioned, the boy at the inn answered that someone had come to seek them and had paid the room and the meals, but he could not say who. Guo Jing hurriedly returned to the residence of Prince Zhao, where Wanyan Kang greeted him with a great smile:

“Brother Guo, thank you for your effort. Where is Mr. Mu?” Guo Jing told him that he had sought in vain.

“Ah, it is my fault,” sighed Wanyan Kang. Turning to one of his servants, he ordered:

“Take several men with you, go quickly in all directions. Must absolutely find Mr. Mu!” The servant obeyed and left.

Thus, without the main person of interest, it was impossible to continue. Wang Chuyi could say nothing, but his head was full of suspicions.

“To go and seek Mr. Mu,” he said to himself, “it is enough to send one or two servants. This rascal insisted that Guo Jing should go, obviously he wanted that Guo Jing himself should notice the departure of Mu, and can give testimony on it.”

“It doesn’t matter that mysterious things happened,” he sneered, “in the end the truth will always triumph.”

“Taoist Elder, you have reason to believe that Mr. Mu did mysterious things?” Wanyan Kang answered laughingly, “it is really odd.”

The officer Tang Zude, already furious to see how the taoist had easily extorted thousand taels, found it intolerable to see him also showing insolence to the Young Prince. He vented his anger:

“Thus, taoist, to which temple do you belong? What right do you have to swindle our Master?”

“Thus, officer,” retorted Wang Chuyi. “To which country do you belong? What right do you have to occupy an official position here?” He had well seen that Tang Zude was Chinese, but occupying an officer rank in the Jin army, benefitting from it to oppress his compatriots, it was for this reason he made fun of him.

The thing that Tang Zude hated most was people mentioning that he is a Chinese. He felt that he is highly skilled in martial arts, is loyal and willing to risk his life for the Jins but yet, they still do not allow him to lead an army. He has worked hard for 20 years but is ultimately kept in the Zhao prince residence for show. Wang Chuyi’s comments have hit his sore point and his face immediately changes before roaring out in anger. He stands up, opposite Liang Ziwong and Ouyang Ke and releases a fist towards Wang Chuyi’s face.

The later glances at the fist coming towards him and stretches out two fingers from his left palm to grab Tang Zude’s wrist, laughing, “Even if you are not willing to answer, there is no need to resort to violence right?”

Tang Zude’s fist is stopped in mid-air, and finally is unable to move. He is surprised but angry, and scolds, “Brilliant witchcraft, you used witchcraft!” He uses his might to release his fists but is unable to, and scowls, feeling very embarrassed.

Liang Ziwong, who is sitting beside him, laughs, “General, fret not, come, sit down for a cup of wine.” And with that, stretches out his fingers towards Tang Zude’s left shoulder.

Wang Chuyi is aware that although his two fingers can suppress Tang Zude’s fist, but is unable to prevent Liang Ziwong’s one press. (not very sure of this part) He releases a finger and aims for Tang Zude’s right shoulder. With this quick change of stunt, Liang Ziwong is unable to restrain himself and two fingers press both sides of Tang Zude’s shoulders at the same time. It is really Tang Zude’s honor to have two highly skilled fighters to ambush him at the same time and his both hands uncontrollably punches forward, with the sound of two clashes, his left hand punches into a plate of left over fish and his right hand enters a bowl of hot and sour soup, two of the dishes break into small pieces. The fish bones and broken fragments of the dishes pierce into Tang Zude’s hands, mixing flesh blood with remains of the soup, causing him to yell out in pain.

The crowd laugh out aloud and quickly move aside. Tang Zude by this time is furious and very embarrassed, thus dashes out of the hall. The servants then suppress their laughter and move forward to clean up the mess.

Sha Tongtian marvels, “Quanzhen sect really lives up to its name! Brother here wants Taoist Wang to enlighten me on something.”

Wang Chuyi replies, “It’s nothing much, please ask, elder Sha.”

Sha Tongtian replies, “Yellow river clan and Quanzhen sect have all along been at peace, so why does Taoist Wang make things difficult for brother here by going all the way to support the seven freaks of Jiangnan? Quanzhen sect may have many disciples, but brother here is not afraid.”

Wang Chuyi replies, “I think there is some misunderstanding. I have heard of the seven freaks of jiangnan but I don’t know any of them. I have a martial brother who made a little bet with them. But I have never planned on helping the seven freaks of jiangnan against yellow river clan.”

Sha Tongtian exclaims, “That’s great, then please hand over this rascal to me.” Speaking, he reaches forward to grab Guo Jing’s throat.

Wang Chuyi knows that Guo Jing is unable to avoid that grab and will get injured, thus stretches out his arm to push Guo Jing’s shoulders gently. Guo Jing falls out of his chair uncontrollably and a “ke cha” sound is heard, with Sha Tongtian’s five fingers changing direction towards the ground, the back of his chair is broken. This claw, smashing wood like bean curd (correct me if its wrong) is indeed one of the least seen but powerful stunt in the wulin world.

Sha Tongtian, who has failed in grabbing Guo Jing, furiously asks, “So you are going to protect this rascal?”

Wang Chuyi replies, “I brought this child in, so I will naturally bring him out safely. Why not brother Sha let him off today and find him another day?”

Ouyang Ke speaks up, “This young chap offended brother Sha, let’s talk this out shall we?”

Sha Tongtian thinks, “This Taoist priest’s skills are definitely not below mine, me and martial brother alone may not be able to make that little rascal stay behind. This Ouyang Ke has good skills and I’m not sure of his background, if he gangs up with that idiot, then there will be trouble.” He then speaks, “I have 4 useless disciples who followed Prince Zhao to Mongolia for a big mission. They were about to succeed when this rascal whose surname is Guo appeared and spoilt everything, making Prince Zhao extremely furious. Gentlemen, please think, if we cannot even overcome a little rascal, how can we still accept the invitation to eat and drink in the place of Prince Zhao?”

Although Sha Tongtian is very bad-tempered and rash, he is not stupid, with this speech, Guo Jing immediately became the centre of suspicion. With the exception of Wang Chuji and Guo Jing, everyone else was invited by Prince Zhao. Wanyan Kang is Prince Zhao’s eldest son, after hearing what Sha Tongtian said, he is a little displeased and everyone present decides to capture Guo Jing and present him to Prince Zhao.

Wang Chuyi is anxious deep down and tries to think of a plan to escape, but there are so many strong opponents that it is quite impossible to do so. Actually he thought that since Wanyan Kang is his martial brother’s disciple, even though he is a Jin, he won’t dare to attack his teacher’s martial brother. However, he did not expect Wanyan Kang to be so insolent and even plan to trap them with the help of skilled experts, if he knew this would happen, he would not have rashly come, even if he knew, he shouldn’t have brought Guo Jing along. If he wanted to leave himself, no one had any reason to stop him, but to escape with Guo Jing at the same time was very tough.

He thinks, “Under this situation, it’s best to stretch time” thus saying, “Every single one of you are highly skilled and well-known, I have the utmost respect to each of you, to be able to meet you all today is my honor.” Pointing to Guo Jing, “This child is unaware of the serious trouble he has cause you all and offended elder Sha, if you all want him to stay, I am powerless to stop it but even so, I cannot agree to that. Thus, I daringly request that each of you display your superior skills to Guo Jing so as to let him know that it is not that I don’t want to fight, but it is I am unable to help him.”(im not very sure of this part)

Hou Tonghai has been suppressing his boredom all the while and immediately jumps out from his chair, pulling his sleeve, “Let me taste your skills first.”

Wang Chuyi replies, “My shallow skills are unworthy to exchange stunts with all present. I hope that brother Hou’s superior skills will impress and teach this little rascal a lesson, allowing him to know the existence of many skilled experts so that he won’t dare to be arrogant in the future.”

Hou Tonghai has a feeling that there is sarcasm hidden in his speech but is unaware what is it, thus is unsure how to answer.

Sha Tongtian thought, “It’s very tough to compete with Taoists from Quanzhen sect. So it’s also good that I don’t have to do so.” Turning to Hou Tonghai, “Martial brother, why not display the ‘burying one in the snow’ skill for elder Wang.”

The snow outside had not stop, Hou Tonghai rushed to the centre of the courtroom and swept both of his arms up, bringing the snow in until there was a huge pile of snow in front of him. He used his legs to arrange the pile neatly, retreated three steps and turned upside down, with his legs on top and head below, and with a ‘pa’ sound, he thrust forward himself and landed into the middle of the snow pile. The snow was not up to his chest, Guo Jing rubbed his head in confusion when he saw this skill as Hou Tonghai head was in the snow pile, motionless.

Sha Tongtian turned to Wanyan Kang and the others and said, “Everyone, please kick all the remaining snow onto the snow pile which my brother Hou’s head is in.” The audience all felt curious, and laughingly kick the snow, making the pile Hou Tonghai’s head is in, even deeper. Actually Sha Tongtian and Hou Tonghai frequently practice on the yellow river, thus their water skills are excellent. Those who practice water skills focus on controlling their breathing under water and Hou Tonghai is able to bury his head in the snow without breathing and still use kungfu to fly out after a long while as he is used to it. The audience raised their cups of wine and praise this display of skill, after along while, Hou Tonghai finally use both his palms to pull his head out of the snow and flipped back to his normal standing position. Guo Jing, being an inexperienced youth, was the first to applaud out loud. However, Hou Tonghai returned to his seat and drank a cup of wine, before stared at Guo Jing fiercely.

Guo Jing saw that there were remains of snow on Hou Tonghai’s head and couldn’t control himself, he said, “Third master Hou, there’s snow on your head.” Hou Tonghai angrily retorted, “I am known as the three headed dragon, but I am not third in position, why call me third master? Even if I am fourth master Hou, is it any of your business? How would I not know if my head has snow? I wanted to wipe it away, but now that you asked me to, I will purposely not wipe!” The warm temperature in the room cause the snow on his head to melt and drops of water flowed down Hou Tonghai’s head, but he is a stubborn man who keeps to his word, so no matter what, he did not even try to wipe the water off his face.

Sha Tongtian said.“ My martial brother’s skills are rough and clumsy, please pardon him.” With that, he stretched his hand into a plate, grabbed some melon seeds, and the seeds were shot out in a straight line with a flick of his middle finger. The seeds were stuck into the snow pile which Hou Tonghai earlier built and formed a ‘huang(yellow)’ word. The snow pile was quite a distance from Sha Tongtian’s seat and yet, he was still able to form a word on it neatly with the mere use of melon seeds. His eyesight and accuracy was indeed amazing.

Wang Chuyi thought, “No wonder the dragon king of the demonic group rules the yellow river, his skills are indeed spectacular.” Turning his head, he saw that the snow pile had another wave of seeds, forming a ‘he(river)’ word and a ‘jiu(nine)’ word, it seems like Sha Tongtian wants to form four words, reading ‘huang he jiu qu’(nine tunes of the yellow river).

Peng Lianhu laughed out, “Brother Sha, I cannot help but really admire your remarkable finger skills. Lets make us make a deal, since this elder Wang wants to study our skills, I will borrow Brother Sha’s finger skills to display some of my skills.” With that, he flung his body and landed near the doorway. At this time, Brother Sha had already shot out the rest of the seeds to form the remaining ‘qu(song)’ word, but Peng Lianhu suddenly stretched out both arms to catch the seeds, it looked as if he were picking the seeds from midair. The seeds were very tiny and traveled at an amazing speed, but Peng Lianhu did not miss out a single one and had them all in his palms.

The audience broke into praises and Peng Lianhu retuned to his seat with a smile, Sha Tongtian then only managed to finish forming the “qu(song)’ word with the seeds. Peng Lianhu’s sudden display did steal away some of Sha Tongtian’s limelight, but the two were very close and Sha Tongtian did not seem displeased and even smiled a little. He turned to Ouyang Ke and asked, “What does mister Ouyang plan on displaying so as to enlighten us inexperienced people?”

Ouyang Ke heard the sarcasm in Sha Tongtian’s words and knew that he was still sore at him for interrupting his hits earlier on and thought hard on what to display so as to allow Sha Tongtian to admire him. At that moment, the servants brought up four types of dessert and replaced the used chopsticks with clean ones. Ouyang Ke snatched up the used chopsticks and with a wave of his hand; twenty chopsticks flew out at the same time, stuck into the snow and neatly formed four shapes of four flowers. To snatch a chopstick up and stick in to the snow with a wave is child’s play, but to form the shape of a flower neatly using twenty chopsticks was very way difficult. This skill was deep and complex, such that Guo Jing and Wanyan Kang were not able to comprehend fully, but people such as Wang Chuyi and Sha Tongtian were secretly in praise.

In view of the high experts, Wang Chuyi thought, “One of them is already a quite a hassle, and yet there are so many grouped here together. Why? Even people like Young Chief of WhiteCamelMountain, supreme virtue, Lingzhi and Ginseng immortal who do not reside in the central plains are here. There must be some suspicious plan going on.”

Ginseng immortal, Liang Ziwong laughed as he stood up before acknowledging the rest and reached the centre of the room with light steps. He stretched out his right foot and landed on the chopsticks, which Ouyang Ke had stuck, into the snow. Then he started his display of skills , “hugging the moon”, “two gentlemen up the hills”, “pulling arrow stunt”, “turning without shoes”, and displayed his “sparrow light fists”. His feet looked like he was jumping one moment and flying at another moment, every step he took would end by landing on top of the chopsticks. After his “giving way to step on a tiger” and “retreating to wrap it up”. Liang Ziwong finished displaying his “sparrow light fists” and the amazing thing was that the twenty chopsticks were still neatly in place, as before. With a constant smile on his face, Liang Ziwong retreated back to his seat. The hall exploded into applauses and even Guo Jing gave his praises.

At this moment, the banquet was over and the servants brought up golden bowls of warm water for the guests to wash up a little.

Wang Chuyi thought, “Now, it remains Superior Virtue, Lingzi to display his skills before they all attack together.” Wang Chuyi glanced at him only to see him still dipping his hands in the water slowly, disregarding of everything else. After everyone finished washing, his hands were still in the bowl of water, as if thinking of something, everyone was feeling curious and after a while, steam was rising up from his bowl of water, the bowl gave out some noise before bubbles rose from the bottom of the bowl of water, as if water was boiling. Wang Chuyi was secretly anxious, “His internal energy is powerful! I have to grab the chance to attack first.”

Seeing that all attention was focused on Lingzi, Wang Chuyi thought, “I have to take them by surprise and make the first move to gain the upper hand.” Suddenly, he flew forward, with supreme speed, caught and pulled Wanyan Kang away with his right hand, before sealing the back of Wanyan Kang’s accupoints. At that moment, Sha Tongtian and the rest were taken back by surprise and did not know how to react.

Wang Chuyi picked up a bottle of wine with his left hand and said, “To be able to meet up with so many heroes today is my honor, let me give everyone a toast.”

Wang Chuyi used the bottle to—serve wine. With that he drank a large mouthful and spat out, drops of wine landing into everyone’s cups. No matter whether the person’s cup was near or far away from him, whether the cups were half-filled or empty, the wine kept landing beautifully into the cups and every cup had the same proportion of wine, there was not a single drop of wine spilled or wasted. From the way Wang Chuyi spat the wine, Superior Lingzi knew that he had excellent internal energy, and he was still able to carry the wine bottle in one hand while holding Wanyan Kang in another. Although they knew that it was possible to attack Wang Chuyi at this moment, but no one dared to in fear of Wanyan Kang getting hurt. Lastly, Wang Chuyi served wine for himself and Guo Jing, and raising his cup, he said smoothly, “I have no animosity towards everyone and have no strong relations to little brother Guo, but seeing that he is compassionate, heroic and has backbone, I want to plead with all present to let him go on my behalf.”

Everyone was silent. Wang Chuyi continued, “If everyone is able to be magnanimous, I will free little prince, a royal descendent in exchange for a commoner is a very good deal right?”

Liang Ziwong laughed, “Since Taoist Wang is so easy-going, it’s a deal then.”

Without a moments hesitation, Wang Chuyi released Wanyan Kang. Wang Chuyi knew that although these people were well-known for their evil, cold-blooded, unorthodox methods and underhand means, they would not dare break their promise and attack in front of so many other fellow wulin experts in fear of tarnishing their reputation.

Biding farewell, Wang Chuyi pulled Guo Jing’s hand and said, “I’ll bid farewell from here, and may we meet again”.

The crowd, watching their preys escape from the trap but not being able to stop them, sighed with pity and looked crashed.

Wanyan Kang recovered himself and laughed, “Taoist Wang is superior, please feel free to visit anytime so that I can learn from the great elder.”

Wang Chuyi snorted, “I haven’t solved our problem, we will definitely meet again.”

They walked towards the doorway when superior Lingzi suddenly said, “Taoist elder has brilliant skills which I am in awe of.” He joined his palms in a prayer position and bowed. All of a sudden, his released both palms in the air and dashed forward with all his might.

Wang Chuyi also pushed out both his palms in defence, using the internal energy, which he had cultivated for more than ten years to meet superior Lingzi’s blow. Just as they were about to meet and exchange blows, superior Lingzi suddenly switched from internal to external energy and used his left palm to grab Wang Chuyi’s wrist.

Within a flash, Wang Chuyi reacted swiftly by grabbing back his opponent’s wrist, both sides used the utmost force and both wrists met briefly before separating.

Superior Lingzi’s face paled but he forced himself to say, “I really admire Taoist skills.”

Before retreating back. Wang Chuyi laughed, “Abbot is famous throughout wulin, but why do you not keep your word?”

Superior Lingzi is furious and spits out, “I wanted to make you stay behind, not that Guo rascal….”

He had received a blow from Wang Chuyi and was injured, if he had quietly sit down to recuperate, it would not have become serious, but being mocked by Wang Chuyi had made him furious and he had not finish talking when he started to vomit out a mouthful of fresh blood.

Wang Chuyi did not dare stay any longer, and taking Guo jing’s hand quickly made his way out.

Sha Tongtian, Peng Lianhu and the rest did not want to break their promise, and seeing that Superior Lingzi had suffered, they did not dare go forward to stop them.

Wang Chuyi had quickly left and was quite a distance away from Prince Zhao’s residence before he turned back to check whether there was anyone behind.

When he confirmed that there was no one, he lowered his voice and said to Guo Jing, “Carry me back to the inn.”

Hearing his weak voice, Guo Jing was shocked, he later studied Wang Chuyi and realized that the latter’s face was very white, and he looked very sick, it was a vast difference from the quick and swift Wang Chuyi earlier on.

Guo Jing hurriedly asked, “Taoist Wang, are you injured?”

Wang Chuyi nodded and could not balance himself properly, Guo Jing quickly lower his back to carry Wang Chuyi and hurriedly ran to a large inn. He was about to enter when Wang Chuyi whispered, “Find…find the most desolated…. and smallest…. smallest inn.”

Guo Jing thought for awhile and then understood that Wang Chuyi was afraid that enemies may be looking for them and if they really meet rivals, with Wang Chuyi injured and himself so lowly skilled, they would definitely lose out. With that, Guo Jing lowered his head and started running to look for another inn, Guo Jing was unfamiliar with the roads and headed for routes with very little people, the further he walked, the more deserted the road seemed. He could feel Wang Chuyi’s breathe getting weaker and weaker before finding a very small inn after much difficulty.

Guo Jing saw that the inn was small and dirty, but fearing for Wang Chuyi’s safety, he immediately dashed in and placed Wang Chuyi down.

Wang Chuyi said, “Find me a big tank…of water…..fresh…clean water…hurry…hurry up.”

Guo Jing asked, “Is there anything else?”

Wang Chuyi remained silent and just waved his hands to hurry Guo Jing.

Guo Jing hurried out of the room, asked a inn waiter to help him prepare the water and gave him some money to do so, before rewarding the boy with some coins.

Ever since Guo Jing came to the central plains, he came to understand the importance of bribing. The inn boy was overjoyed, and hurriedly fetched a huge tank and filled it with clean water, Guo Jing went back to inform Wang Chuyi that the water was ready.

Wang Chuyi responded, “Good…good child, now carry me and put me in the water…don’t allow…anyone to come here.”

Guo Jing did not understand why Wang Chuyi wanted to do this but did as he was told, the clean water covered Wang Chuyi’s head and Guo Jing instructed the inn boy to keep everyone out.

Wang Chuyi sat quietly with his eyes closed and breathed urgently, after awhile, the water turned black and colour began to return to his cheeks. Wang Chuyi said to Guo Jing, “Help me out and change the water.”

Guo Jing changed the water before helping Wang Chuyi in again, it was after awhile before Guo Jing learnt that Wang Chuyi was using his internal energy to force out the poison in him, and allow the poison to float in the water, Guo Jing changed the water four times before no more poison came out of Wang Chuyi and the water stayed clear.

Wang Chuyi finally smiled and said, “It’s okay now.” He climbed out of the water and sighed, “This lama’s skills are deadly.”

Guo Jing was relieved and asked whether was there poison on the lama’s palms.

Wang Chuyi replied, “Yes, I have seen the poison sand palms many times, but this is the strongest one yet such that it almost cost me my life.”

Guo Jing replies, “Luckily you are alright now. What do you want to eat? I’ll ask the inn boy to buy.”

Wang Chuyi asked Guo Jing to borrow some ink and a brush before writing down some medicine formula.

Wang Chuyi explained, “Although my life is not in danger now, my internal organs is not fully cleansed off the poison, if I do not cleanse the poison in twelve hours time, I may be crippled for life.”

Guo Jing received the medicine formula and rushed out, he saw that there was a medicine shop nearby and quickly asked the owner for the medicine formula.

The owner checked his shelves, but returned empty-handed after awhile and said, “So sorry, you came at the wrong time, the medicine herbs that you need are out of stock.”

Guo Jing did not wait for him to finish and dashed to find another medicine shop, but to his surprise, the second medicine shop he went to also did not have the formula he wanted, it was the same result even after he went to eight shops.

Guo Jing grew anxious and angry at this time and ran to all the medicine shops in the city, only to get the same answer, that they had huge stock of the herbs he wanted but was all bought by someone earlier. It was then that Guo Jing realize that the people in the Zhao residence must have guessed that Wang Chuyi needed the medicine for his injury and thus, purposely buy up all the medicine herbs, so as to harm Wang Chuyi.

Dejected, Guo Jing returned to the inn and told Wang Chuyi what had happen and the latter responded with a sigh and also looked dejected. Guo Jing was so miserable that he leaned on top of the table and cried out aloud.

Wang Chuyi laughed, “Everyone has to die sooner or later, it is up to heaven, we have no say and anyway I may not die, so why all this crying?” and started singing.

Guo Jing dried his tears and looked better, Wang Chuyi laughed out aloud and sat upright on the bed before using strength to recuperate.

Guo Jing did not dare to make any noise and crept out of the room, he suddenly thought, “If I rush to another nearby city, they may not have finish buying up the medicine.”

Happily, he was about to set off when he saw the inn boy running towards him with a letter, on top of the letter spelt, ‘Please read it yourself, big master Guo.’

Guo Jing felt curious and wondered who would write to him. He hurriedly tore open the letter and shook open a white piece of paper which wrote, ‘I have something urgent to tell you, will be waiting for you at the river which is ten meters, west away from the city.” At the bottom of the letter, was a vivid drawing of a little beggar who was laughing, it was Huang Rong.

Guo Jing thought to himself, “How does he know that I am here?” and turned to the inn boy, “Who sent this letter here?”

The inn boy replied, “It was sent here by a wandering commoner.”

Guo Jing returned to his room and saw that Wang Chuyi was stretching his limbs.

He said, “Taoist Wang, I’m going to the nearby cities to buy the medicine.”

Wang Chuyi answered, “If we are able to think of this, they will able too, there’s no need to go.”

Guo Jing would not give up and was determined to try, he thought, “Brother Huang is so intelligent, so I will ask discuss with him first.”

He told Wang Chuyi, “My good friend wants to meet me, I will immediately return after meeting him.” And with that, he showed the letter to Wang Chuyi, the latter thought awhile and asked Guo Jing how he knew this fellow.

Guo Jing related the story to Wang Chuyi and the latter thought, “I saw how this fellow tricked Hou Tonghai, his skills are very weird and unusual…..”

He turned to Guo Jing and said, “You must be careful, this kid’s skills is much higher than yours, and his skills seem unorthodox, up till now, I cannot guess his origins.”

Guo Jing replied, “He is my best buddy so he will not harm me.”

Wang Chuyi sighed, “You have not known him for long, how can you be sure whether he is your best buddy? He may be petite in size, but if he wants to trick you, you won’t be able to defend yourself.”

Guo Jing was not the least suspicious of Huang Rong and thought to himself, “Taoist Wang says this because he doesn’t know brother Huang’s character.” And with that, kept singing praises of Huang Rong non-stop.

Wang Chuyi laughed and said, “Alright, go then, young people must meet some danger so as to gain experience. This person….seeing his figure and voice….he is not a…..can’t you tell?”

Wang chuyi stopped here and just shook his head. Guo Jing placed the sheet of medicine formula in his pocket and ran out. When he reached the outer city, he could see snow, but it was isolated all around. He walked ten meters west and some reflections of water; it was indeed a small lake. The weather was not the coldest, so the lake was not frozen; flower petals covered with snow floated on the water and beside the lake were rows and rows of plum trees. The plum flowers looked magnificent beside the snow flowers.

Guo Jing could not see anyone about and for an anxious moment, he thought, “What if he waited for me too long and so left?” and began to shout out loud, “brother Huang, brother Huang.”

Guo Jing suddenly heard a sound and turned around sharply, only to realize that it was made by river birds. Guo Jing was very disappointed, and called out two more times, before thinking, “Maybe he hasn’t reach yet, I’ll wait for him here then.”

Sitting down by the lake, Guo Jing thought about Huang Rong, then he thought about Wang Chuyi’s injuries and no mood to enjoy the sceneries. Besides, he was used to seeing snow as he has grew up in Mongolia and he did not bother to look out for the differences in landscape between Mongolia and the central plains. He waited for a long while and suddenly heard some noises among the trees.

Feeling curious, he walked over and heard a rough voice, “Why still act like a big brother when all of us, including you wasted time just now?” another voice answered, “Damn it! If it were not for you being such a coward we would have won if four of us ganged up on one.” Another one answered, “What’s the big deal when you even tripped while running it away.” It sounded like the four demons of the yellow river.

Guo Jing summoned all his courage and stepped into the trees, only to see no one. He suddenly heard a voice, “If we fought up front, how can we lose, but who we have thought that the little beggar had so many tricks up his sleeves…”

Guo Jing looked up and saw four men dangling in mid air, swinging to and fro, yet squabbling non-stop, it was indeed the four demons of the yellow river. His heart jumped for joy, as he knew that Huang Rong was nearby, and let out a laugh before asking, “Hey, are you guys practicing your lightness skill again?”

Qian Qingjian retorted angrily, “Who says that we are practicing our lightness skills? Haven’t you any eyes to see that we were hanged here?”

Guo Jing laughed out loud and Qian Qingjian angrily tried to use his leg to kick Guo Jing, but how could he when the distance between them was so huge?

Ma Qingxiong scolded, “Rascal, if you don’t go away, I will pee on you!”

Guo Jing laughed till he could not stand up straight and said, “I stand away then, your pee can’t reach me.”

Suddenly, there was a sound of gentle laughter and Guo Jing turned around, only to hear the splashing of water and see a leaf floating down from a tree. Then, he saw a girl at the tail of a boat, rowing gently. She had long hair beneath her shoulders, was dressed in white from head to toe and had some golden pins in her hair, which shone like fire, amongst the snow. Guo Jing saw that the girl’s dressing looked like a fairy and was dumb. The boat slowly rowed nearer, and he saw that the girl was barely, fifteen or sixteen years of age. She had very smooth skin that was as white as snow, a beautiful colour on her cheeks and had an incredible beauty which was incomparable. Guo Jing was struck by her amazing beauty and retreated a few steps, before turning away, not daring to look at her.

The young girl tied the boat near the bank and called out , “Brother Jing, come on board!”

Guo Jing was astonished, and turned around, only to see the girl smiling sweetly and her robe floating gently in the wind.

Guo Jing felt like he was in a dream and used both hands to rub his eyes.

The young girl giggled and said, “Why? You don’t recognize me?”

Guo Jing thought that she sounded like Huang Rong, but how can a dirty and lowly male beggar suddenly transform into a beautiful fairy? He couldn’t believe his eyes.

He heard the voices of the four demons of the yellow river behind him shouting, “Little miss, help us to cut off the ropes that are hanging us up, let us down! If you help us, I’ll give you a hundred tales of gold! Each one of us will give you a hundred tales; you’ll get four hundred tales all together. We can even give you eight hundred tales!”

The young girl ignored them and smiled at Guo Jing, “I am your brother Huang, why, don’t you care about me anymore?”

Guo Jing studied her face and saw that her features were exactly the same as Huang Rong’s and stuttered, “You………you…………” he only managed to say the word, ‘you’ before stopping.

Huang gave a little laugh and said, “I am actually a girl, who asked you to call me brother Huang? Hurry, come onto the boat.”

Guo Jing felt like he was dreaming, he move forward a little and tripped onto the boat. On the other hand, the four demons kept making a whole lot of noise in the background, raising the price of their reward higher.

Huang Rong rowed the boat to the middle of the lake, brought out some dishes and wine and giggled, “And don’t you call me sister Huang, call me Rong’er. My dad always calls me that.”

Guo Jing suddenly remembered something and said, “I brought some cakes for you.” He took out the cakes that Wanyan Kang gave earlier on but because he had carried Wang Chuyi, took care of the latter and ran all around finding medicine that the cakes were already smashed up into little pieces.

Huang Rong saw the smashed up cakes and laughed softly. Guo Jing reddened and said, “It can’t be eaten now” and was about to throw the smashed cakes into the water when Huang Rong stretched out her hand and took the cakes from him before saying, “I like to eat it.”

Guo Jing was surprised but she had already placed a small piece into her mouth and started eating. After watching her eat a few mouths, his eyes grew red and tears started forming slowly, he didn’t understand her actions.

Huang Rong said, “My mother died ever since I was born, no one has ever remember my likes and habits so well before…….” And a few tears flowed from her eyes. She took out a clean handkerchief, Guo Jing thought that she was going to dry her eyes but she used it to wrap the smashed cakes instead, and placed it in her pocket, before turning back to him with a smile, “I’ll eat it slowly.”

Guo Jing did not know much about romantic relationships, but he felt that ‘brother Huang’s’ actions were very special and unique. He asked her, “You said you had something important to tell me, what is it?”

Huang Rong giggled, “I wanted to tell you that I’m not brother Huang but Rong’er, isn’t this important?”

Guo Jing smiled and said, “You are so pretty like this, why disguise as a little beggar?”

Huang Rong turned her head slightly and said, “You say I’m pretty?”

Guo Jing replied, “Yes, very beautiful, like the fairy on top of our snow mountain.”

Huang Rong laughed and said, “You’ve seen a fairy?”

Guo Jing said, “Of course not, if I’ve seen one, how can I still live?”

Huang Rong asked, “Why?”

Guo Jing replied, “The elders in Mongolia always say that whoever sees the fairy would never want to return back to the grasslands again, he would just stay in a daze and freeze to death after a few days.”

Huang Rong laughed and asked, “Then do you feel dazed after seeing me?”

Guo Jing reddened and quickly answered, “We are good friends, so it’s different.”

Huang Rong nodded and said seriously, “I know you sincerely care for me, regardless whether I’m a girl or a guy, pretty or ugly. If I dress up like this, it’s not surprising if people are good to me, but you were nice to me even when I dressed up like a little beggar, so you are truly good to me.” At this point, Huang Rong was in high spirits and smiled, “I’ll sing a tune for you, alright?”

Guo Jing replied, “Can you sing tomorrow instead, we have to get the medicine for Taoist Wang first.” With that he related how the story of how Wang Chuyi got injured and how the medicine was all bought up by Wanyan Kang.

Huang Rong replied, “Ah, no wonder you were anxiously going to one medicine shop after another.”

Guo Jing thought, “She was following behind me, that’s why she knew where I stayed.”

He said, “Brother Huang, may I ride your little red horse to buy the medicine?”

Huang seriously said, “Firstly, I am not your brother Huang. Secondly, the horse is yours; do you think that I would actually take it? I just wanted to test you. Thirdly, you may not be able to get the medicine even if you travel to the nearby cities.”

Hearing what she said, Guo Jing felt anxious. Huang Rong smiled a little and said, “I am going to sing now, listen well.” Huang Rong gently turned her head, rowed the boat and started singing in a crystal clear voice. ( sorry, I can’t translate the lyrics)

Guo Jing listened carefully to each and every word. Although he didn’t know the meaning, but Huang Rong’s voice was gentle and sweet such that he felt like he was in a daze. The beautiful scenery gave him a feeling of warmness, one that he had never felt before.

Huang Rong finished singing and said in a low voice, “This is a song composed by official Xing, which describes the plum flower which blooms after winter, is it good?”

Guo Jing replied, “I don’t know all these, but the song sounds very nice. Who is official Xing?”

Huang Rong answered, “Official Xing is Xing Qiji. My father says that he is a good official who loves his people. When the Jins captured the north, and after villains harmed mister Yue, official Xing was the only one left struggling to restore our lost lands. Although Guo Jing often listened to his mother talk about how violent the Jins were, and how they mercilessly kill many Chinese, he grew up in Mongolia and so, did not feel so strongly towards the Jins.

Guo Jing replied, “I have never been in the central plains before, you have to tell me stories slowly another time, the most important thing now is to save Taoist Wang.”

Huang Rong said, “Listen to me, let’s play a little while more, don’t worry.’

Guo Jing replied, “Taoist Wang said that if he doesn’t eat the medicine in twelve hours time, he will be crippled!”

Huang Rong retorts, “Let him be crippled then, anyway it’s not you or me who will be crippled.”

Guo Jing let out an “Ah” sound and jumped up saying, “This…..this……” his face turned furious.

Huang Rong giggled, “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure that you get the medicine.”

Guo Jing heard the confidence in her tone and thought, “She is way smarter than me and besides, I don’t have any brilliant ideas, so I should listen to her.” So he had no choice but to succumb to her wishes for the time being. They both clapped in laughter when Huang Rong talked about how she tricked the four demons of the yellow river and how she disturbed Hou Tonghai. The colours of white snow, water in the lake and plum flowers were beautiful, Huang Rong slowly stretched out her hand into Guo Jing’s and whispered, “I’m not afraid of anything now.”

Guo Jing asked, “Why?”

Huang Rong replied, “Even if my father doesn’t want me anymore, you will also want me to follow you right?”

Guo Jing answered, “Of course. Rong’er, I…I…like…like being with you.”

Huang Rong leaned gently on his chest and Guo Jing felt a sweet scent surround his whole body, surround the whole lake, surround the whole earth, he didn’t know whether it was the plum flower scent or was it coming from Huang Rong. The two just held hands silently. After a very very long while, Huang Rong sighed and said, “It’s so nice here, such a pity that we have to go.”

Guo Jing asked, “Why?”

Huang Rong said, “Don’t you want to get the medicine to save Taoist Wang?”

Guo Jing rejoiced, “Ah, where do we go then?”

Huang Rong asked, “Where have all the medicine in the shop gone to?”

Guo Jing answered, “The medicine have been bought up by people in Prince Zhao’s residence.”

Huang Rong said, “Yup, that’s right, so we’ll go to his residence to take it.”

Guo Jing was shocked, “Prince Zhao’s residence?”

Huang Rong replied, “That’s right!”

Guo Jing said, “We can’t go there, we’ll only lose our lives.”

Huang Rong said, “Then can you bare to see Taoist Wang crippled? Or if his injuries take a turn for the worse, do you want to see him dead?”

Blood rushed up to his face, and Guo Jing replied, “Alright, but, you can’t go.”

Huang Rong asked, “Why?” Guo Jing answered, “Just promise me that you won’t go.” But he couldn’t find a reason.

Huang Rong lowered her voice and said, “I won’t be able to stand it if continue to worry for me. If you meet with any danger, how to you expect me to live alone?”

Guo Jing’s heart gave a leap and gratitude, happiness, love dashed to his brain, he suddenly felt a hundred time braver and wasn’t the least afraid of people like She Tongtian and Peng Liannhu, it was as if nothing was impossible in the world. He said, “Alright, we will both go to get the medicine.”

Both of them rowed the boat to the bank and started towards the city. Halfway there, Guo Jing suddenly remembered that the four demons of the yellow river were still stuck in midair and said, “Hey, do you want to release those four people?”

Huang Rong giggled, “This four fellows call themselves ‘Iron strong heroes’ so they are very powerful, they won’t freeze nor starve. Even if they starve to death, ‘Four demons of the plum forest’ is superior to the ‘four demons of the yellow river’.”