Enmity between siblings.
It was past midnight, something woke Yang Guo. Chirrups from an eagle came from the northwest. The chirrups were somewhat croaked, bleak yet intense and lofty. Feeling very curious, he leapt off the rope bed gently and sought the direction of the sounds. The chirrups would sometimes rise and sometimes stop, but they were much louder than the chirrups of the two eagles on the Peach-Blossom Island. The path in front of him descended as he went forth and soon he found himself in a valley. The chirrups weren’t far from where he was. He crept forward on tiptoes and then quietly pushed aside the bushes in front of him. After a quick peek, he was astonished.
Right in front of Yang Guo’s eyes stood a giant eagle. Taller than a human, yet uglier even than one’s wildest imagination. Sparse feathers covered the eagle’s entire body as if most of its feathers had been pulled off by somebody. The feathers were of a darkish yellow color, which made the eagle appear dirty. It did look somewhat similar to the two eagles on Peach-Blossom Island, but its ugliness made the difference as vast as from heaven to earth. The giant eagle had a hooked beak, and the big lump of skin, as red as blood, occupied the top of its head. There were probably thousands of bird species in the world, but Yang Guo had never seen any bird of prey as imposing and grand as this one. The eagle strode about in big steps with its two extremely thick legs. Sometimes it would extend its two short wings, so short that one would wonder if the eagle was capable of flying. But the way it walked, with its head held high, certainly showed great power and grandeur.
After some more chirrups from the eagle, rustling sounds came from nearby, and suddenly, under the vivid moonlight, four poisonous snakes in bright colors shot at the ugly eagle like four arrows. The ugly eagle turned its head back and forth swiftly, and with four precise pecks, killed the four snakes instantly. The accuracy of the pecks and the speed it displayed were almost in match with first-class elite fighters in the Martial World.
Yang Guo was shocked by the magnificent skills the eagle had put on display. Immediately, his belittling thoughts turned into surprise and admiration. The ugly eagle opened its giant mouth and soon swallowed the four snakes.
“If I can catch this ugly eagle and put him next to Guo Fu’s two eagles, I am sure this eagle would not be inferior to her,” Yang Guo muttered to himself quietly.
As he was pondering hard as to how to trap the eagle, a sudden stench caught his attention. Something poisonous and big must be close by.
The ugly eagle raised its head and chirped three times as if sending a signal of challenge to the hidden enemy. A loud whistling sound echoed as a giant serpent, as thick as the diameter of a bowl, and a triangle shaped head, emerged, hanging down from a big tree. And within a fraction of a second, the giant serpent had launched its attack viciously on the eagle. The ugly eagle didn’t yield, but lunged forward instead. Thrusting its beak out, in a flash, the eagle had taken the poisonous giant serpent’s right eye out. The eagle’s neck looked short and thick, and it seemed as if it would have a hard time turning its head around, but the eagle shot the beak out and then retracted it back at lightning speed. Yang Guo couldn’t even tell how the eagle had blinded the giant serpent even though he had sharp eyes.
The giant poisonous serpent apparently experienced excruciating pain from losing its right eye. It opened its giant mouth wide and then clamped the huge jaws down hard, biting onto the big red lump on the ugly eagle’s head. Yang Guo was astounded. He couldn’t help but utter a cry of shock.
Excited by the success, the giant poisonous serpent let itself fall from the tree, and then wrapped its over-twenty-foot-long body around the ugly eagle tightly. It seemed that the ugly eagle was not going to get out alive this time.
Not wishing to see the eagle die from the poisonous serpent’s attack, Yang Guo sprang forward with his sword and hacked the blade toward the serpent’s body. Suddenly, the eagle swung its right wing swiftly and smacked Yang Guo’s right arm with tremendous force. Yang Guo was taken by complete surprise. His “Gentleman Sword” flew out of his grip and traveled dozens of feet in the air before falling back down to the ground. Dumbfounded, Yang Guo stared at the ongoing fight and saw the eagle pecking continuously at the serpent’s back. Every peck would end up with blood spurting out of the wound like a small fountain.
“I guess you must be certain about your victory and don’t want any help from me then!” Yang Guo thought.
The poisonous serpent squeezed tighter and tighter with its giant body. The ugly eagle’s feathers almost stood up as it struggled to get out of its grip. Seeing that the eagle seemed to be losing the battle, Yang Guo picked up a large rock and smacked the serpent’s body with it again and again. Feeling the pain, the giant serpent let lose its grip slightly and the ugly eagle suddenly reached out its beak and blinded the serpent’s left eye with a swift peck. The giant serpent opened its jaws wide and bit madly. Because both of its eyes were taken out, the bites were vicious but aimless. Its huge and poisonous fangs only struck thin air. The ugly eagle grabbed the serpent’s neck with its talons and pressed it against the ground with all its weight. Meanwhile, its sharp beak never stopped pecking down hard on the serpent’s head again and again. The serpent twisted and turned and slapped the ground hard with its giant body, trying to get out of the grip, but the eagle seemed to have endless strength and kept the serpent’s head under his talons. After a long while, the serpent finally stopped twitching and lay still, dead.
The ugly eagle raised its head high and let out three loud chirps. Then it turned its head toward Yang Guo and chirruped in a much softer tone, as if it was calling out to him.
Hearing the friendly chirrups from the eagle, Yang Guo walked slowly near the eagle. “Brother Eagle, your strength is incredible! It’s very impressive!” he cheered.
The ugly eagle answered with some more soft chirrups. Slowly, it walked next to Yang Guo and then patted him on the shoulder gently with its left wing. Seeing how smart and unusual the eagle was, Yang Guo was very pleased, so he also patted the eagle gently on its back.
The ugly eagle let out some more chirrups in low pitches. Holding the corner of Yang Guo’s shirt in its beak, the eagle pulled a couple of times before letting lose its grip and started walking away in big strides. Yang Guo knew the eagle wanted him to follow, so he tagged along. The ugly eagle’s legs moved so swiftly that its speed was no slower than a galloping horse. Yang Guo had to use his Qing-Gong techniques in order to keep up with it. He couldn’t help feeling very impressed inwardly. The path the eagle took descended lower and lower. Soon, Yang Guo found himself inside a deep valley. After walking continuously for another good while, they came to the entrance of a big cave. The ugly eagle nodded its head three times with three chirrups as if it was saluting toward the cave. Then it turned its head to stare at Yang Guo.
“There must be some kind of a hermit Master who lives in the cave. Then of course the giant eagle must be a tamed pet of his. I must show my respect,” Yang Guo thought to himself. So he knelt down in front of the cave and kowtowed.
“Yang Guo hereby shows his respect to a Senior Master. Please forgive me for disturbing your peace,” he said and then waited. But no one answered from inside the cave.
The eagle pulled Yang Guo’s shirt again and then walked inside the cave. Yang Guo stared at the dark cave in front of him, not knowing if there was really an elite Kung Fu Master inside or some kind of goblins or demons. Feeling a bit uneasy and anxious, he decided to give no thoughts to his own safety and followed it in.
The cave was actually not deep at all. Only about thirty feet into the cave, they had already reached the end. Other than a table and a bench made out of stones, there was nothing inside the cave. The ugly eagle chirped again, signaling toward a corner of the cave. Casting a glance toward the corner, Yang Guo saw a pile of rocks and stones of all shapes and sizes jumbled together. It looked like a grave.
“This must be the grave of a lofty hermit. Too bad the eagle doesn’t know how to speak and can’t tell me more about him,” Yang Guo thought aloud.
He looked up and then something caught his attention. The rock wall seemed to have some words written on it. But thick dust and moss almost covered the entire rock wall, and it was hard to tell what words they were in the dark. Lighting a dry stick, Yang Guo wiped the moss off with his hand, and not to his surprise, three lines of words appeared. The strokes of the words were thin but were carved into the rock wall very deeply. It seemed that the words were carved using a very sharp blade. The three lines said:
“Having roamed the martial world for more than thirty years, I have killed all my villainous foes and defeated all heroic champions. There’s no one who can be my equal under the same sky. Without any other challengers, I could only retreat to this deep valley, living a hermit’s life in seclusion, with only an eagle as my companion. Alas, throughout my life I searched for a match in vain. Unbearable loneliness is my destiny.”