Guo Jing and Huang Rong kept their eyes open. If He Shiwo kept hiding his true skill and fighting with mixed-up techniques, he would certainly suffer a loss.
Yelu Qi could also see his opponent’s predicament. Gradually but carefully he increased his strength. He stayed calm and did not want to make any reckless moves.
Suddenly He Shiwo changed his tactics; he swung his long sleeve out then immediately pulled it back. As a result, the dozens of torches around the stage were extinguished. The stage became pitch dark. While nobody could see anything, they heard both Yelu Qi and He Shiwo’s surprised shouts, and then they heard somebody thrown down from the stage. All the while He Shiwo was heard laughing maniacally.
Nothing else was heard except He Shiwo’s laugh. Everyone was shocked. A moment later Elder Liang came to his senses and barked a command, “Light up the torches!” Immediately several beggars complied.
When the light was back, it was seen that it was Yelu Qi who stood on the ground. He had a bleeding wound on his left cheek, the size of a wine cup; while He Shiwo stretched out his left arm and coldly said, “Good protective vest! Good protective vest!” His palm was bleeding.
Guo Jing and Huang Rong exchanged another glance. They realized that because Guo Fu loved her husband, she had loaned him her soft hedgehog armor [ruan wei jia]. Therefore, when He Shiwo hit Yelu Qi, he hit the vest instead and his palm was injured by the thorns. Still, nobody knew how Yelu Qi got injured and fell off the stage.
What had happened was, at a critical time, He Shiwo had used his ‘big wind sleeve’ [da feng xiu] technique to extinguish the torches. Yelu Qi was startled when the stage suddenly darkened, but he still remembered to protect himself by striking first. But again he was surprised because his hand touched something cold, a metal weapon. He realized now that He Shiwo had planned to use a dirty trick in the darkness. Yelu Qi knew he was in danger, but he was not afraid. He kept going with his ‘Great Capturing’ [da qin na shou] technique, trying to snatch his opponent’s weapon with the intention of showing it off to the audience. With the ‘Skilled Hand in all Directions’ [qiao shou ba da] he managed to get within two feet of He Shiwo. His right hand grabbed the weapon while his left hand hit his opponent’s face, forcing He Shiwo to let go of his weapon.
In the dark He Shiwo eluded the attack to his face by turning his head and had no choice but to let go of his weapon. While Yelu Qi was pulling the weapon, he felt a sting on his cheek and at the same time his chest was hit hard, which made him stagger and fall from the stage. The weapon had a secret equipment inside. As soon as it was grabbed, it was separated into two parts. The first part stayed in Yelu Qi’s hand, while the second part flew back and hit Yelu Qi on the cheek, making a half-inch deep wound so that his cheekbone was visible. Fortunately it did not hit any vital organs, and fortunately he was wearing the protective vest so that his opponent was also injured.
Guo Fu was shocked and enraged, she leaped to her husband, trying to protect him.
Elder Liang was facing a dilemma. On one hand he knew He Shiwo had used a dirty trick, on the other hand, nobody knew what exactly happened, hence nobody could prove it. Both parties were injured, but Yelu Qi was thrown from the stage, so he could be considered the loser.
Guo Fu could not accept it. “He used a dirty trick!” she angrily shouted, “Brother Qi, go up there and fight him!”
Yelu Qi shook his head. “Even so, he still won,” he said. “Even if we used honest techniques, I am not confident enough of victory against him.”
Huang Rong signaled her son-in-law to come close so she could see what was inside Yelu Qi’s hand. It was a piece of steel, about five-inches long and looked like a fan’s spine. She could not remember who in the Jianghu world used that kind of weapon.
While everybody was still quiet from shock, He Shiwo raised his yellow and swollen ugly face, and was heard saying, “Even though this lowly beggar has defeated Master Yelu, I still do not dare to accept the Chief’s position. I want to wait until the stick is back and the enemy Hou Dou has been killed.”
His speech was received with loud cheers by the Beggar Clan’s disciples. Although his victory was questionable, he had demonstrated his high martial arts. After listening to his speech a lot of beggars lifted up their cups to toast him.
He Shiwo then stood on the edge of the stage and cupped his fists to the audience. “Is there any hero out there who would like to teach me a lesson or two?” he challenged.
He was just saying the word ‘stage’ when Shi Bowei loudly shouted, “Ah!” followed by his army of animals. Suddenly the beasts – which were sitting neatly in formation, leaped up and loudly roared. A single lion or tiger’s roar is loud; imagine all five hundreds animals roaring at the same time. The earth shook, wine cups and rice bowl turned upside down, everybody was aghast.
Amidst the loud noise, the Xishan Ghosts and Shi Brothers, fifteen people, leaped toward the stage, unsheathed their weapons and surrounded the stage. Suddenly eight people, each holding high a torch, were seen entering the field and coming straight toward the stage. Somebody said loud and clear, “The Eagle Hero wishes the Second Miss Guo a happy birthday! We deliver the third present.”
They moved fast, like they were flying above the ground; a demonstration of a very high lightness kung fu. In no time they had come close to Guo Xiang. Four of them then stretched out their arms, presenting Guo Xiang with a big sack. It seemed the present was inside the sack.
Then these eight people cupped their fists to her and introduced themselves. Everybody who heard their names was surprised. They were not ordinary people. The first was an old Buddhist monk, none other than the Abbot of Mount Wutai’s Foguang Monastery, Reverend Tanhua. He was the peer of the Shaolin’s Abbot, Zen Master Tianming. The others were old Marquis Zhao and the Deaf and Mute Dhuta, Qingling Zi, the leader of the Kunlun School, etc. All of them were seniors of the martial arts realm.
Guo Xiang did not seem to care about the background of all these people. She returned their greeting and laughing sweetly she asked, “I have bothered you all, Uncles! Thank you! What kind of toy is that?”
The four people holding the sack gave a strong tug and the sack was ripped into four pieces. A bald headed monk rolled out of the sack.