Yang Guo wrapped his right empty sleeve around Xiao Longnü’s waist to support her body and gently said: “Gu Gu, let’s go!” Xiao Longnü gave him a sweet smile, softly saying: “This time I can die by your side. In my heart… in my heart I’m very happy.” Then something came to her mind so she said: “Guo Da Xia [great hero Guo]’s daughter cut off your arm. She didn’t mean you well. Later on who will take good care of you?” Her heart sank when she thought about this so she softly added: “You’ll be lonely by yourself, you…won’t have anyone to keep you company..”
Yang Guo saw her life about to extinguish, he was overwhelmed by grief. Suddenly he remembered something: “That day we were here at Mount Zhongnan, she asked me if I was willing to make her my wife. At that time I was so shocked I couldn’t answer and that led to many miserable and catastrophic events afterwards. We don’t have much time left; I have to let her know my heartfelt feelings.” So he said it out loud: “What do I care if you are my master? What do I care about a reputation? We will just do as we please and damn people if they can’t take it! In life or in death, neither of us will ever be sad again, nor will we be alone and lonely. From now on, you are not my master, you are not my Gu Gu [auntie], you are my wife!”
Xiao Longnü’s heart was filled with joy. She gazed at his face and softly said: “Are you really speaking from your heart? Or are you just saying sweet words to make me happy?”
Yang Guo replied: “Of course this is what I feel in my heart. My arm got chopped off and you are feeling sorrier for me than I am for myself; when you come across any hardship, I feel just the same.”
Xiao Longnü softly said: “That’s right. In this world, except you and me caring for each other, there’s no one else.”
The several hundred Taoists at Chongyang Palace were students of spiritual ways who let go their previous lives to become priests. Suddenly hearing the two people speaking tender words of love and care, they found themselves in a difficult situation – the old priests were quite embarrassed while the young ones unavoidably felt their worldly desires stirred up. They looked at each other in dismay and some couldn’t help blushing. The Sage of Tranquility Sun Bu’Er shouted: “You two get out of here quickly. Chongyang Palace is a holy place, you shouldn’t be here talking improperly like this!”
Yang Guo turned a deaf ear and only gazed into Xiao Longnü’s eyes. Then he said: “In those years the late master Chongyang and our Gu Mu sect’s [the ancient tomb sect] Ancestor Grandma should have been married. We don’t know what strange grudges broke them apart in the end. Today before him we’ll bow to heaven and earth and become man and wife, letting our Ancestor Grandma vent her anger.” He originally didn’t think very highly of Wang Chongyang. But then he started learning from the work that Wang Chongyang left engraved at Gu Mu [the ancient tomb], and the more he practiced, the more he admired him. He even secretly felt like he was Wang Chongyang’s successor in a way. Xiao Longnü let out a sigh and quietly said: “Guo’er, you are very good to me.”
During those years Wang Chongyang and Lin Chaoying were deeply in love. Quanzhen’s Five Masters all knew about it. They respected their master for cutting all his emotional ties with a proverbial sword like a true hero; but when they thought about how the supreme martial arts master Lin Chaoying, whose beauty was unrivalled, locked herself up inside Gu Mu for the rest of her life, they all sighed. When Yang Guo brought up this matter, the young Taoists didn’t understand while the old masters trembled in their hearts.
Sun Bu’Er shouted: “Our late master had great wisdom. He let go of the secular world and started our sect, cutting himself off from all worldly pains. How could an infant like you, who was born after his time, pry into his business? If you have the gall to be this outrageous and talk rubbish again, don’t blame my heartless sword!” That day at the Da Sheng Guan heroes’ banquet, Yang Guo rejected Sun Bu’Er’s offered sword, embarrassing her at the scene. Even though she was a Taoist priestess, her mind was far less generous than Qiu Chuji, Wang Chuyi and others. She was the revered elder of the Quanzhen sect and was insulted by a youngster of her disciples’ generation; she naturally took it to heart. Also being a woman living and practicing Taoism with a group of male Taoists, she became even stricter. As she heard Yang Guo’s declaration, determining to bow to heaven and earth [get married] before the sacred portrait of her sect’s founding master, her rising anger became difficult to suppress. Now seeing the Yang-Long couple totally ignoring her words, her sword immediately came out of its sheath with a ‘shua’ sound.
Yang Guo gave her a cold look and thought: “You, old priestess, by yourself, are surely not my match. But if I fought with you, the rest of the Quanzhen sect couldn’t just stand by. But I have to marry Gu Gu immediately. If we don’t do it right now and leave the Chongyang Palace and if by chance her injuries don’t heal, won’t I be giving her grief at her end? You scolded me for ‘being outrageous.’ Humph, I, Yang Guo, will show you outrageous. I already said we would be married before the portrait of Founding Master Chongyang and I will do as I said.” He scanned the area and saw only half of the Taoists holding a sword in their hands. He then said: “Sun Dao Zhang [Taoist Elder Sun], you are set on forcing us to leave, is that it?”
Sun Bu’Er sternly said: “Leave now! From now on, the ties between the Quanzhen sect and Gu Mu sect are completely severed. There will be no more connection between us for all eternity and it is best we not meet again!”
Yang Guo let out a deep sigh and shook his head. Then he turned around, walking two steps towards the small trail that led to Gu Mu and slowly putting the sword back onto his back. His right sleeve flared out while he used his left arm to support Xiao Longnü. He secretly channeled air into his abdomen. Suddenly he lifted his head towards the sky and gave out a roar so loud that it shook the tree branches in the woods. Hearing this ear-shattering roar, the Taoists were startled.
And even before he finished his roar, he let go of Xiao Longnü and leapt backwards. In a flash, his left hand sealed both ‘ “Returning Orthodox” (Hui Zong) and “Sustaining Waterway” (Zhi Gou) points on Sun Bu’Er’s right wrist. As Xiao Longnü’s body, now without support, was about to collapse, Yang Guo quickly dragged Sun Bu’Er along with him to prop Xiao Longnü’s body back up. His jumping back and forth was lightning fast, like the movement of a fleeing rabbit. Before any of the Taoists had a chance to blink their eyes, Sun Bu’Er had already fallen into Yang Guo’s clutches and nothing could be done about it. Qiu Chuji and Sun Bu’Er had long fought powerful enemies. In the beginning, they were guarding themselves against Yang Guo’s swift attack but then they saw him put away his weapon and head out towards the small trail to the outside, with his only arm supporting Xiao Longnü. Naturally, they concluded that he’d decided to give up. They hadn’t expected that he would use his roar to distract the enemy and that his actions — using his left hand to support Xiao Longnü instead of his shirt sleeve and putting away the sword — were actually a strategy designed to fool them so he could capture Sun Bu’Er. Numerous Taoists shouted and raised their swords. But as Sun Bu’Er was held captive, nobody dared to move forward to attack.
Yang Guo said in a low voice: “Sun Dao Zhang [Taoist Elder Sun], I have made a great social blunder. Please turn around and keep us company during the ritual.” While still holding Sun Bu’Er’s wrist, he slowly led Xiao Longnü to the back of the hall of the Chongyang Palace. The Taoists followed them, their faces filled with anger, yet they didn’t know what else to do.
The three of them entered the hall through a side door and walked along the winding corridor until they arrived at the back of the hall. Yang Guo turned around and in a clear voice he said: “Everybody please stand outside. You may not enter the hall, not even one step. We’ve already decided that we would sacrifice our lives. If we fight, Sun Dao Zhang [Taoist Elder Sun] and the two of us will have the same fate.”
Wang Chuyi quietly said: “Qiu Shi Ge [Apprentice Brother Qiu], how do we handle this?” Qiu Chuji then replied: “Nothing for the moment, we’ll wait for the right opportunity. It looks like he wouldn’t dare to harm Sun Shi Mei [Apprentice Sister Sun].” These Quanzhen masters had roamed the martial world for their entire lives, their names are renowned. They hadn’t expected that in their sunset years they would be controlled by a mere boy. They were undoubtedly angry but also couldn’t help chuckling.
Yang Guo pulled out a prayer mat for Sun Bu’Er to sit down on and then said: “Pardon!” while sealing the “Big Spine” (Da Chui) and “Divine Hall” (Shen Tang) pressure points on her back, which left her unable to walk. As he saw the Taoists standing outside as they were told, not daring to enter, he helped Xiao Longnü stand in front of the portrait of Wang Chongyang, shoulder-to-shoulder with him.
Before their eyes was a portrait of a Taoist holding a long sword and showing a graceful disposition. He wouldn’t be more than thirty years old. On the side of the portrait were three words “The Living Dead.” The writing was sparse but the man in the middle of the painting exuded a heroic air, his elegance unparalled. When Yang Guo came to learn martial skills at the Chongyang Palace as a boy, he was familiar with this painting, knowing that this was a portrait of the founding master. But now he remembered quite vividly that there was also a portrait of Wang Chongyang at Gu Mu. Even though this one was a front portrait and the one at Gu Mu was a back view, the art strokes were no different so he said: “This painting was also done by our Ancestor Grandma.” Xiao Longnü nodded, giving him a sweet smile and softly saying: “The two of us get married before the portrait of Master Chongyang but the picture was drawn by our Ancestor Grandma, this is really very good.”
With his foot, Yang Guo placed two prayer mats side by side in front of the portrait and then said in a loud voice: “Disciple Yang Guo and the disciple named Long are here to marry in front of Founding Master Chongyang. At this place the Taoists of the Quanzhen sect all bear witness.” Having said that, he knelt down on a prayer mat but saw Xiao Longnü still standing, not kneeling down, so he said: “We are bowing to heaven and earth right now, you also have to kneel down!” Xiao Longnü hesitated, her eyes red and her tears flowing. Yang Guo softly asked: “What’s wrong? You don’t like us to get married at this place?”
Xiao Longnü’s voice broke: “No, it’s not that!” She paused and then said: “I’m not pure and I’m also dying. Why should you… Why should you have to be this good to me?” Having said this, tears flooded down her cheeks.
Yang Guo got up again and used his sleeve to wipe away her tears. He smiled and said: “Why do you still not understand my heart?” Xiao Longnü lifted her head to look at him and he softly continued: “I really wish we two could live to be 100 years old so I could take good care of you and return your love and affection. But if I can’t, if God should only give us one day, then for one day we’d be man and wife. Even if for only a few hours, then for a few hours we’d also be man and wife.” Xiao Longnü saw the sincere expression on his face and the infinite affection in his eyes, her heart fluttered, not quite knowing how to cherish him the way he deserved. Her sorrowful face slowly revealed a dimply smile, her tears stopped, and her expression was that of boundless joy. Then she gracefully knelt down on the prayer mat.
Yang Guo then also knelt down. The two people bowed down before the portrait and thought: “Even though our lives have been miserable, we have a time like this now – we are really most fortunate. Even if the pains of the past should cut our lives short, it wouldn’t be something to worry about at all.” Both of them exchanged a smile and, on the prayer mats, lowered their heads.
In a low voice Yang Guo spoke his vow: “Disciple Yang Guo and the Disciple named Long truly love each other and forever will not change. Throughout our lives, we will be husband and wife.”