The Return of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 4

Under Quanzhen Sect.

After Guo Jing escaped from the Taoists, he headed swiftly for Chongyang Palace, when he suddenly heard the ringing of a bell; it was coming from Chongyang Palace. The sound was urgent; it was the alerting signal. Guo Jing turned his head to see what was happening, he saw sparks flying in the air coming from the large courtyard in the back. He thought, “Sure enough, today Quanzhen sect’s enemies have arrived, I’d better rush over there to help.”

He suddenly heard a crowd behind him rushing up, he then understood, “The Taoists must have mistaken him as a confederate of their enemy. With this danger, no wonder they wanted to fight to the death.” He ignored those behind him, and made his way up the mountain.

He used his lightness kung fu, in a flash he had moved over one hundred feet, in less than the time to make a cup of tea; he was already at Chongyang Palace. He saw flames and smoke, the dense smoke was unrestrained, the blaze was fierce, but what was strange was that in Chongyang Palace there were countless Taoists, yet no one had come out and tried to put out the flames.

Guo Jing was afraid. He saw ten Taoist residences empty and untidy about the mountain. The flame in the back courtyard was large, but it had yet to breach into the main courtyard. However, insults could be heard from there, as well as the clashing of weapons. He leapt up onto a roof, and saw a large group of people battling. He stood still and looked on, he saw that forty-nine Taoists dressed in yellow gowns had formed seven “Big Dipper Formations” and were resisting about one hundred enemies. The enemies were all shape and sizes, tall and short, fat and skinny. According to the way they were dressed and the skills they used, it seems that they are from different sects. Some used weapons, some used their palms, and they all were attacking the “Big Dipper Formation” from all sides. The attackers’ skills weren’t weak, and they were large in number. Eventually the Taoists began to lose. But because the enemy was fighting them separately, the “Big Dipper Formation” allowed them to help each other and were able to defend tightly. Though the opponents were strong, they could still resist them. Guo Jing listened carefully, and heard breathing sounds in the hall; there were people battling there as well. From the sounds of the wind generated by the fists in the hall, the skills of the people battling there were superior to those who were fighting outside. He jumped down from the roof, twisted his body and then made a dash forward. He dodged east and then darted west, and was able to go through the cracks of three “Big Dipper Formations”. The Taoists were alarmed, and tried to follow, but because of the onslaught they were facing, they couldn’t separate and chase him.

Normally the hall would be lit with ten large candles, but because of the flames in the back courtyard, its light overpowered the light from the candles. He saw that there were seven mats lined up on the floor, seven Taoists were sitting on them, the left palm of each joined to the next person, their right palms out, resisting the attacks of ten people around them.

Guo Jing ignored the attackers and first studied the Taoists. He saw that there were three old and four young, the old were Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji and Wang Chuyi, he could only recognize one of the four young Taoists and that was Yin Zhiping. The seven were sitting in the positions of “Tian Shu” to “Yao Guang” to form the “Big Dipper Formation”; they sat there and didn’t move. In front of the seven was a Taoist lying on the floor, he didn’t know whether he was alive or dead. He saw his hair was white but could not see his face. Guo Jing saw that Ma Yu and the others were in danger, his blood began to boil, he didn’t care who the enemy was and came out in a flash, and shouted , “How dare you scoundrels come and cause trouble in Chongyang Palace?” He stretched out his hands, and grabbed the backs of two attackers, and wanted to throw the attackers out, but he didn’t know that the two were good fighters. Their feet stood firm to the ground, and couldn’t be pulled from the floor. Guo Jing thought, “Where did all these good fighters come from? No wonder the Quanzhen sect feels that today will end in ruin for them.” He let go and swept his legs out. The two were using the “Thousand Kilogram Fall” (qian jin zhui) skill to resist the attacker, but they didn’t predict that he would suddenly change stance, and in a flash, the two soared in midair and crashed through the door.

The attackers saw that powerful help had come for the Taoists and were alarmed; but they were curious and wanted to know his name. Two of them came out and shouted out, “Who are you?” Guo Jing ignored them, two “fu” sounds were heard, as two palms came out. The two were not near Guo Jing’s body, but they were hit by the palm’s power and couldn’t stand still. Two sounds were heard as the men crashed against the wall, blood came out of their mouths. The remaining attackers saw that Guo Jing had wounded four of them in one go, they were frightened, and no one dared to confront him.

Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji and Wang Chuyi recognized who he was and were delighted, and thought, “Now he’s here, our sect will escape danger!”

Guo Jing did not even consider the attackers as he knelt down and kowtowed to Ma Yu and said, “Disciple Guo Jing greets you.” Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji and Wang Chuyi nodded and greeted him in return. Yin Zhiping suddenly called out, “Brother Guo, careful!” Guo Jing heard a noise from behind, and knew someone wanted to ambush him from behind. He pushed against the floor with his arm and elbow, his body in the air, and pushed out his knees and hit the two attackers on their “Soul Entrance” (hun men) pressure points. The two of them fell immediately to the floor. Guo Jing remained kneeling down with two mats beneath his knee.

Ma Yu smiled, and said, “Jing’er rise, I haven’t seen you in ten years; your skills have improved tremendously!”

Guo Jing got up and said, “I’ll let the elder decide on how I should get rid of the others.” Before Ma Yu replied, Guo Jing heard two laughs from behind; the laughs were very strange. He turned around, and saw two people standing there. One was wearing a red gown, his head was shiny, his body lanky, and he was a monk. The other wore a light yellow embroidered gown, his hand holding a folded fan. He was dressed like a wealthy man, and was about thirty, his face carrying an arrogant expression. Guo Jing saw that their breathing was measured and deep, and were completely different to the others. He didn’t dare to be rash. He asked, “Who are you? Why have you come here?”

The nobleman said, “And who are you? Why have you come here?” His pronunciations weren’t exactly correct; he wasn’t from the central plains.

Guo Jing said, “I am the disciple of these elders.”

The man chuckled, “Who would have thought that there resided a man like this in the Quanzhen sect.” He was younger than Guo Jing by a few years, but he spoke with the air of an old man, and with arrogance.

Guo Jing did not regard himself as a true disciple of the Quanzhen sect, but when he heard him speak, he could tell they had a hidden agenda. He didn’t want to talk but under these circumstances he had to say something. “What is the story behind your intrusion into the Quanzhen sect? Why have you brought so many people and set the place on fire?”

The man chuckled again, “Since you belong to the lower generation of the Quanzhen sect, how can you speak out.”

Guo Jing said, “You have come here and have caused trouble, you have been too reckless.” The flames were getting closer, and it wouldn’t be long before the main courtyard was set on fire.

The man opened his fan and took a step forward; he laughed and said, “I brought those people along! If you can receive thirty stances of mine, I’ll let the old Taoists go, how about that?”

Gou Jing saw that they were in an urgent situation, he couldn’t hesitate. He stretched out his right hand, and grabbed the man’s fan and pulled it, the man did not let go of the fan, and tried to pull him closer.

With this pull, the man wobbled slightly but he held onto his fan. Guo Jing thought, “This man isn’t old; he could actually fend off my pull. The way he circulated his chi was similar to the monk Lingzhi Shangren but compared to Lingzhi Shangren his was more fluid. It appears that he must belong to a sect in the west. The frame of his fan is made of metal, it’s actually a weapon.” He increased the power in his hands and said, “Let go!” The nobleman’s face suddenly turned a shade of purple, but in a second it had disappeared. Guo Jing knew that he had urgently raised his chi to try to resist him; he too increased his strength at the same time. He knew that if the man’s face turned purple three times, he would suffer serious internal injuries, but thought that learning this type of kung fu wasn’t an easy task. He didn’t want to harm him seriously so he gave a sly smile.

With the fan in his hand, the man’s strength began to decrease. Guo Jing had transferred all the power in his palm into the fan and into the opponent’s hand, wanting to neutralize the man’s energy. The man used all the strength he had accumulated during his life but he couldn’t transfer any of it into the fan, and was about to lose hold of it. The man realized that his opponent’s skills exceeded his so he kept a calm face, let go of the fan and jumped back. His face was red, and said, “Please allow me to know your famous name.”

Guo Jing said, “My name is not worth knowing, just know that elders Ma, Qiu and Wang are my teachers.”

The man questioned this, and thought that he had just fought with a bunch of old Quanzhen Taoists. “If they fought one on one and didn’t rely on the power of the “Big Dipper Formation”, they wouldn’t be a match for him, so how could a student of theirs be so good,” he took another look at Guo Jing to get the measure of him. His face looked ordinary, his clothes were coarse, he looked just like a villager, but he possessed great skills, he said, “Your skills are alarmingly good, I am in awe, I will come again in ten years time and test myself again. I have some unfinished business so I must leave now.” He folded his arms in salute as he said this. Guo Jing held his fist in salute and acknowledged, “We will meet again in ten years time.”

The man turned around and started out of the palace. As he reached the door, he said, “This affair between me and the Quanzhen sect, I have decided to resolve at a later date. I hope the members of the Quanzhen sect do not take this personally and come searching for me to settle their own private affairs.”

According to the rules of Jianghu, if a person stops pursuing a matter and sets a date later on to resolve it, and the persons involved meet during the time period, they must not settle their issues there and then, they must wait for the agreed date.

Guo Jing heard what he said and replied, “Of course.”

The man chuckled and he spoke a few words in Tibetan to the Tibetan monk. As he was about to leave, Qiu Chuji shouted out, “There is no need for a ten year wait, I, Qiu Chuji will come in search for you.” His voice shook the tiles of the roof, demonstrating his profound internal energy. When the man heard this, he shivered, and thought, “That old Taoist’s internal energy is not weak, when I was fighting them a while back, he wasn’t at full strength.” He didn’t dare linger and quickly dashed through the doors. The Tibetan monk in red stared at Guo Jing with fury, as he and the others left.

Guo Jing looked at the men, they were all strange looking, they had high noses and deep eyes, they weren’t from the central plains, his suspicions were raised, but he heard the sounds of weapons clashing outside had died down, and knew the enemy was leaving.

The group of seven including Ma Yu stood up, but the old Taoist who was lying on the floor did not get up. Guo Jing took a look, it was Guangzhu Zi Hao Datong. He knew that though the seven were being affected by the fire, but they remained and sat there without moving. They wanted to protect their own people. He saw that his face was golden; his breathing shallow, his eyes were closed and knew that he had suffered a serious internal injury. Guo Jing opened his gown, he gasped as he saw a hand print on his chest, five fingers were spread out, the print was deep purple, it had penetrated inside. He thought, “The enemy’s kung fu is indeed from western Tibet, it’s the “Great Handprint” skill. Although there is no poison on the palm, the power of it is much stronger than that of Lingzhi Shangren.” He examined Hao Datong and he was pleased to find that there was still a strong pulse. Hao Datong had practiced martial arts for many years and had built up a high level of internal energy; his life would not be in danger.

The fire from the back courtyard was coming closer. Qiu Chuji picked up Hao Datong and said, “Let’s go!”

Guo Jing said, “Where’s the child that I brought with me? Who took him away? I don’t want him to get harmed by the fire.”

Qiu Chuji and the others were all occupied with fighting the enemy; they didn’t know anything about it. When they heard this they asked, “Whose child is it? Where are they?”

Before Guo Jing could reply, a small dark figure suddenly appeared and jumped down from a beam of the roof. The person laughed and said, “I’m here.” It was Yang Guo.

Guo Jing was delighted, he quickly asked, “Why were you hiding up there?”

Yang Guo chuckled and said, “You are with the seven rotten Taoists.”

Guo Jing scolded, “Shut up! Come here quickly and greet the Grand Masters.”

Yang Guo stuck his tongue in and out of his mouth and kowtowed to Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji and Wang Chuyi, when he reached Yin Zhiping and saw that he was young, he turned his head around and asked, “He’s not a Grand Master is he? I think I don’t have to kowtow anymore.”

Guo Jing said, “That is Martial Uncle Yin, quickly kowtow.” Yang Guo didn’t want to but he still did it. Guo Jing saw him stand up and didn’t kowtow to the other three, he scolded, “Guo’er, how come you don’t kowtow, have you no manners?”

Yang Guo chuckled and said, “By the time I’ve finished kowtowing, it’ll be too late, don’t blame me.”

Guo Jing asked, “Too late for what?”

Yang Guo replied, “There is a Taoist who is tied up in a room; if we don’t go and save him, I’m afraid he’ll be burned to death.”

Guo Jing urgently asked, “Which room? Quickly tell us!”

Yang Guo pointed to the east and said, “I think it’s over there, I don’t know who tied him up.” He laughed after he said this.

Yin Zhiping gave him a glance, and rushed to the eastern double room, he kicked open the door but saw no one. He then ran to the room where the third generation students cultivate their internal energy and opened the door. The room was full of smoke but he saw a Taoist tied to a column crying out, he was in danger. Yin Zhiping picked up a sword, cut the rope, and rescued the Taoist.

Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji, Wang Chuyi, Guo Jing, Yang Guo and the rest of them left the hall and went up the mountain to a building where they watched the fire. They saw the back courtyard was in flames, the fire lighting up half the sky. There were few sources of water around, only a small spring that was used for everyday purposes; it would be useless to use it to try to put out the fire. They could only look on as the back courtyard was burnt down to ashes. The Quanzhen students worked together to stop the fire from spreading, the other halls and buildings were not harmed. Qiu Chuji was originally blithe and didn’t have a care. But he was also rash and bad tempered, as he saw the fierce flames, he ground his teeth and cursed.

Guo Jing was about to ask who the enemy were, and why did they respond in this way when he saw Yin Zhiping’s right hand was around a large Taoist’s waist. He had come out from the smoke and flames. The large Taoist was overcome by smoke and continuously coughed. Tears were in his eyes but when he saw Yang Guo he was furious, and jumped towards him. Yang Guo chuckled and hid behind Guo Jing. The Taoist did not know who Guo Jing was, he stretched out his hand and pushed his chest, wanting to move him out of the way and grab Yang Guo. But it was like pushing a brick wall; he didn’t move an inch. The Taoist stopped and pointed to Yang Guo and loudly shouted, “You little bastard, you wanted to kill me!”

Wang Chuyi sternly said, “Jingguang, what are you talking about?”

The Taoist Lu Qingdu was an apprentice grandson of Wang Chuyi; he had barely escaped with his life and he was furious when he saw Yang Guo. He wanted to jump forward and grab him. He ignored the fact the elders were there and only when he heard Wang Chuyi call out once more did he realize he was out of order. He broke out in a cold sweat, he bowed his head and dropped his hands and said, “Disciple deserves to die.”

Wang Chuyi said, “What exactly happened?”

Lu Qingdu said, “It’s my fault for being useless, I request the elders to punish me.”

Wang Chuyi frowned and said, “Who said you were useless? I asked you, what is this about?”

Lu Qingdu replied, “Yes, yes. I was ordered by Master Zhao to guard the back courtyard. After a while, he came back with the little, little…” He wanted to say “Little bastard”, but he knew he couldn’t act out of order in front of the elders again so he changed his words and said, “little boy and gave him to me, and said he was brought here by a formidable enemy of our sect. Martial Uncle Zhao had captured him and told me to guard him and don’t let him escape. So I took him to the eastern meditation room; after a while, he tricked me and said he needed the toilet and wanted me to untie him. I thought that he was just a small kid and wasn’t concerned that he would be able to get away so I untied him. I didn’t think that he was just sitting on the toilet and pretending to go; when he suddenly got up, picked up the bucket and threw the waste contents at me.” When Lu Qingdu got to this point, Yang Guo burst out laughing. Lu Qingdu angrily shouted, “What are you laughing at?”

Yang Guo lifted his head, his eyes towards the sky and said, “I want to laugh; what can you do about it?”

Lu Qingdu wanted to curse back when Wang Chuyi said, “Don’t quarrel with the child; continue.”

Lu Qingdu said, “Yes, yes. Elder you don’t know, but that little boy is very sly and crafty. When I saw the waste coming at me, I quickly dodged out of the way, but he laughed and said “Ah, Mr. Taoist, you’ve got some on your clothes!”

When the crowd heard him impersonate Yang Guo, his voice sounded funny, the others secretly wanted to laugh. Wang Chuyi frowned; he secretly cursed him for acting this way in front of others.

Lu Qingdu continued, “I was angry, and wanted to go over and beat him, but he raised the bucket and threw it at me. I shouted out “Little bastard” and quickly used “Rapid Flowing Retreat” (ji liu yong tui) and moved out of the way. One of my feet stepped into the waste but after two wobbles I managed to stay on my feet. I wasn’t prepared when the boy took advantage of me while I was unsteady and took my sword from my waist and pointed it at my chest and said if I moved, he would pierce through my chest. I didn’t want anything to happen to me so I stood still. The boy held the sword with his left hand and with his right hand tied me up to a column, and then stuffed my mouth with a piece of cloth. Eventually the room caught fire and I couldn’t move I couldn’t call out; if it wasn’t for Martial Uncle Yin, would I not have been burnt to death by that boy?” After he said this, he stared furiously at Yang Guo.

After everyone heard this, they looked at Yang Guo and then looked at the Taoist, one was a small boy, the other a large fat man, they couldn’t help but burst out laughing. When Lu Qingdu heard them laugh out loud, he touched his ear and cheek; he didn’t know what to do with his hands and feet.

Ma Yu chuckled and said, “Jing’er is he your son? He takes after your wife, very quick and clever.”

Guo Jing said, “No, he is my brother Yang Kang’s son.

Qiu Chuji shivered when he heard this; he gave Yang Guo two glances and saw that he did indeed look like Yang Kang. Yang Kang was his first official student; he wasn’t obedient, yearned for wealth and riches, and acknowledged a scoundrel as his father. Every time Qiu Chuji went over this in his mind, he felt that he was to blame for Yang Kang’s behavior. He didn’t teach him properly and caused him to turn out like that. When he heard that Yang Kang had an heir, he was sad and delighted at the same time, he quickly asked for the details.

Guo Jing glossed over Yang Guo’s situation, and told them he wanted Yang Guo to study under the Quanzhen sect. Qiu Chuji said, “Jing’er, your martial arts have long exceeded ours, why don’t you teach him yourself?”

Guo Jing said, “I will tell you everything later. I have offended a lot of Taoist brothers today on the way here, I’m very sorry, I apologize to all the elders, and I hope you can forgive me. He held his hands together to those Taoists who he had fought.

Ma Yu said, “If you hadn’t arrived just in time, our sect would have been destroyed. We are not strangers; there is no need to apologize.”

Qiu Chuji’s brows rose, and after Ma Yu had finished he said to him, “Zhijing led the formation outside; he couldn’t tell the difference between friend and foe. I thought it was strange that there was a strong formation placed outside, but when I looked away for a second the enemy managed to break through and attacked us. Huh, so it was him who led the formation away to try to catch you.” His eyes squinted, he was livid; he summoned two disciples to him, and asked how they could mistake Guo Jing for the enemy.

The two disciples were frightened and changed colour, the older of the two said, “Apprentice brothers Feng and Wei ran up to us, and said hero Guo had smashed the stone slab at the “Everywhere Light Temple”, and knew that he must have been with the enemy.”

Guo Jing remembered the events, and couldn’t believe all the misunderstanding arose from that, he said, “You can’t blame these Taoist brothers. When I was at the Light Everywhere Temple, I inadvertently slammed down a heavy palm on the stone slab that had your poem on it; it was because of this that the misunderstanding was created.”

Qiu Chuji said, “So it was because of this, what a coincidence. We already knew that the enemy would come today, and they would use the slamming of the rock as a signal.”

Guo Jing said, “Who were they? How come they were so daring?”

Qiu Chuji sighed and said, “It is a long story, Jing’er, come, I am going to show you something.” He then nodded to Ma Yu and Wang Chuyi; he turned around and headed for the back side of the mountain. Guo Jing turned around to Yang Guo and said, “Guo’er, stay here.” He followed Qiu Chuji. He saw him heading around mountain, his steps rapid, like those of a young man.

The two arrived at the peak of the mountain; Qiu Chuji went up to a large stone slab and said, “There are some words written here.”

It was dark; on the back of the large stone were some words. Guo Jing reached out to the back of the stone, and felt that there were some words written on it, he tried to recognize the words, it was a poem: “His will flows under the bridge. Assisting the Han to gain influence, a winding pillar under the sky, wanting to be free to roam, he walked away after succeeding. Raising people and raising books, the price is heavy. Chongyang raised Quanzhen, his wish had been done, the hero’s disposition had gone, clearly marking his separation. Enduring this, the heart lives in a tomb. A person becomes a man of religion, two immortals will meet. Forever on Mount Zhongnan, a mist will linger.” Guo Jing touched the rock and traced the writing with his fingers at the same time, he was startled, the writing matched the strokes of writing with his fingers, it was as if the writing on the rock was carved on using a finger, he exclaimed, “It was written using a finger?”

Qiu Chuji said, “It startles people when they hear this, indeed it was written using a finger!”

Guo Jing said, “There is such a thing as a god on earth?”

Qiu Chuji said, “The poem was written by two people. The two of them are both famous people in the world of Wulin. The person who wrote the first part of the poem is a very special person, eloquent in both kung fu and the arts; they had reached that stage with ease. It’s not a god, but a once in a hundred years outstanding personality.”

Guo Jing was full of admiration, and asked, “Who was this senior? Could elder introduce me to them so I could meet them.”

Qiu Chuji said, “I have never seen that person. Sit down; I will explain the reasons for today’s events.”

Guo Jing sat down on the rock and looked on at the fire dying down at the foot of the peak, and said, “It is a pity that Rong’er is not with me, wouldn’t it be great if we could hear this interesting story together.”

Qiu Chuji said, “Do you understand the poem?” Guo Jing is now middle aged, but the tone that Qiu Chuji spoke in was the same as if he were talking to the young Guo Jing of ten years ago, it wasn’t deliberate.

Guo Jing understood the meaning and said, “The first part of the poem is talking about Zhang Liang, I have heard his story from Rong’er so I understand a little. He met an old man underneath a bridge and picked up his shoe; the man treated him like his son and taught him the arts. Later he helped to regain the land of the Han and became one of the three heroes; he eventually retired and lived free from care. The latter part is about ancestor Chongyang, so I don’t know much about that.”

Qiu Chuji said, “Do you know what type of person Founder Chongyang was?”

Guo Jing thought for a while and said, “Founder Chongyang was your teacher, he was the one who built the Quanzhen sect, and at the first Mount Hua tournament he was the victor.”

Qiu Chuji said, “You are correct, what about when he was younger?”

Guo Jing shook his head and replied, “I don’t know.”

Qiu Chuji said, “The hero’s disposition had gone, clearly marking his separation. My teacher hadn’t always been a Taoist. When he was young, he first learned the arts; then studied martial arts, and was a respected hero in Jianghu. But because of his hate for the Jin soldiers entering his homeland, ruining his homeland and killing his people, he carried the flag and fought the Jin. He set up a boundary, and managed to do great things in the central plains, but eventually the Jin army broke through, my teacher lost the battles. Many soldiers died. He eventually became a Taoist. He became “the living dead”, and for a few years he lived in the tomb in our mountain. He didn’t take a step out of the tomb; his meaning was that he was alive but dead. He didn’t want to live under the same sky as the Jin scoundrels. What was called “bu gong dai tian” (will not live under the same sky as one’s enemy) and that was his intention.”

Guo Jing said, “I understand now.”

Qiu Chuji said, “After a few years, an old friend of my teacher came and tried to persuade him to leave the tomb and do great things with him again. My teacher was still downhearted, and felt that he couldn’t face his old Jianghu friends anymore; and so didn’t leave the tomb. Eight years later, a lifelong rival of my teacher arrived outside the tomb and cursed and insulted him for seven days and for seven nights; my teacher couldn’t stand it anymore and came out of the cave to confront him. Who would have thought that the person would give a laugh and say, “You’ve come out now, there is no need to return!” My teacher was startled at his words, and realized that the enemy had good intentions. He felt it was a pity that someone of his ability would hide themselves in the tomb and tricked him into coming out. The two changed the relationship, from enemies into friends, and both re-entered the world of Jianghu.”

When Guo Jing heard about this senior’s actions, he was curious and asked, “Who are these persons? Are they in the same class as the four greats Eastern Heretic, Western Poison, Southern Emperor and Northern Beggar?”

Qiu Chuji said, “No. When it comes to martial arts, she is above the four greats, but because she is a woman, she didn’t like to attract the attention of other people and so outsiders did not know much about her; even her name was unknown.

Guo Jing said, “Oh, so it was a girl.”

Qiu Chuji sighed, “That senior was actually in love with my teacher, and wanted to marry to him. That year they kept on arguing and fighting, but it was because the girl wanted to get closer to my teacher. But she was a very proud woman and didn’t want to be the one to show her feelings first. Eventually my teacher understood, but my teacher could not forget that he had to help his country to drive out the enemy, and said, “I have not completed my wishes, how could I settle down now?” My teacher rejected her love and didn’t know what to do. That senior thought that my teacher didn’t respect her feelings and the feud between them restarted. They had been enemies who turned friends but became enemies again because of love, and agreed to a date to duel on Mount Zhongnan.”

Guo Jing said, “There was no need for it.”

Qiu Chuji replied, “Yes! My teacher knew her feelings and had to let her win. Who would have thought the senior’s character was strange, she said, “If you let me win, then that means you have even less respect for me?” My teacher could do nothing else but to duel with her. The two then fought each other, a few thousand moves passed, my teacher did not use any powerful moves, and eventually it was hard to pick a winner. The woman said, “You are not using all your ability to fight, who do you think I am?” My teacher said, “It is hard to pick out a winner from dueling, how about we test our literature skills?? The woman said, “Fine. If I lose, I won’t ever see you again so you can be in peace.” My teacher then said, “What do you want if you win?? The woman’s face turned red, and she couldn’t reply; she eventually clenched her teeth and said, “You’ve got to give up your Living Dead Tomb for me to live in.” The woman had a hidden meaning behind her demand, if she won, she would live with my teacher and be together. My teacher felt awkward, he knew his martial arts skills were slightly higher than hers; he would be forced to beat her otherwise he wouldn’t have any more quiet days. So he asked her, “How are we going to compete.”

She said, “Today we are both tired, we’ll meet again tomorrow night.” When it was approaching dusk, the two met again. She said, “Before we compete, we need to set a rule.” My teacher said, “What rule do you want to set?” The woman said, “If you win, I’ll immediately kill myself; I won’t see you ever again. If I win you have to give the Tomb of the Living Dead to me, obey me forever and mustn’t question anything. If you don’t, you have to become a man of religion; I don’t care if you become a monk or a Taoist. Whether you become a Taoist or a monk, you will need to build a temple and accompany me for ten years.”

My teacher understood, “obey her forever” means that she wants me to marry her. If I don’t and become a monk or a Taoist, I won’t be able to marry another. But how can I win and watch you kill yourself? It is also hard for me to accompany you for ten years here.” My teacher hesitated on his decision. The senior excelled in terms of looks and martial arts; my teacher was touched by her love, but when it came to getting married, they just weren’t destined to. My teacher thought for a while, and eventually made his decision, and knew she would do what she had said. If she lost she would definitely kill herself, and decided no matter what they competed at he would let her win. He said, “Fine, as you said.”

The woman said, “If we just competed in literature it would be too easy. We’ll write some words on that stone using our fingers, whoever writes the best will be the winner.”

My teacher shook his head and said, “I’m not a god, how can I use my finger to write on that stone?”

The woman said, “If I can then, you’ll admit defeat?”

My teacher was forced to agree with no other option. He knew that no one on earth could do this and so exploited it and thought of a way that there will be no winner or loser, and the competition would end. He said, “If you’ve got the ability then I’ll admit defeat. If you can’t do it, there is no difference between us and we will not compete anymore.”

The woman gave a laugh and said, “Fine, get ready to be a Taoist.” As she said this, her left hand stroked the rock for a while, and after a while she said, “What should I write? Ah, the first hero who became a man of religion was Zhang Zhifang. He gave up his name and wealth, he’s your ancestor.” She then stretched out her right hand and extended her index finger, and wrote on the stone. My teacher saw her finger touch the rock, and dust flowed from the rock, she had carved a word, he had never been so startled in his life. She wrote the first part of the poem.

My teacher had lost and had nothing to say, he immediately moved out of the tomb and let her move in, and near the tomb he built a small Taoist temple; it was the predecessor of the Chongyang Palace.”

Guo Jing also couldn’t believe it, he extended his finger and traced the writing on the rock, the carvings were indeed written with a finger and said, “That senior’s finger kung fu would indeed frighten people when they hear about it.”

Qiu Chuji raised his head and laughed out to the sky, “Jing’er, this event could fool my teacher, me and now even you. But if your wife was here, she would not be fooled.”

Guo Jing opened his eyes wide and said, “Is there some kind of trick involved?”

Qiu Chuji said, “Could it be? Who on earth has the best finger kung fu?”

Guo Jing said, “Of course it’s Reverend Yideng and his “Solitary Yang Finger”.”

Qiu Chuji replied, “Yes! But even with Reverend Yideng’s finger kung fu, it would be hard for him to accomplish this feat on a piece of wood, how would he be able to do it on a piece of rock? And could someone else achieve this? My teacher became a Taoist and still could not figure out what happened. Later, your father in law Island Master Huang came and visited my teacher. He knew that he was a very intelligent man and so told him the events, and asked him to help. Island master Huang thought for a while and then gave a chuckle, “I understand. I have yet to complete this type of kung fu; I’ll come back in one month’s time.” He laughed as he left the mountain.

After a month, Island Master Huang came back and went with my teacher to look at the rock again. When that senior wrote her poem, she ended it with “Raising people and raising books, the price is heavy?” Her meaning was that she wanted my teacher to have the same fate as Zhang Liang, leave the world and enter religion. Island Master Huang stroked the rock slab with his left hand for a while, his right hand stretched out and extended his finger and wrote a few words, he wrote everything from “Chongyang raised Quanzhen” to “Forever on Mount Zhongnan, a mist will linger”; he wrote to praise my teacher.

My teacher saw that the words were deep, and were exactly the same as what happened last time, and was even more startled and thought, “Huang Yaoshi’s kung fu is definitely below me, how on earth did he managed to obtain such a powerful finger skill?” He was suspicious and extended his finger on to the rock and he managed to make a hole in it.

He then led Guo Jing’s hand to where his teacher had made the hole. Guo Jing felt the mark, and put his finger in it, true enough, it was as if someone had made it with their finger. He thought, “Could it be that the rock is especially soft, and not like any other rock?” He generated chi in his finger and pressed into the rock, but he felt his fingertip start to ache, the rock did not move.

Qiu Chuji laughed, “Even the foolish little boy can’t figure it out. Before the woman wrote on the stone slab, her left hand had stroked the rock for a while. She was actually holding a piece of small rock, and made the rock surface soft, within the time it takes to burn an incense stick, the stone slab would remain soft. Island Master Huang saw through the trick, and went away to find a suitable stone to do this and then came back to demonstrate this.”

Guo Jing didn’t say anything and thought, “My father in law’s intelligence is not below that of that senior, but where is he now?” He missed him a lot.

Qiu Chuji didn’t know what he was thinking and carried on, “When my teacher first became a Taoist, he was still vehement, but as he read more Taoist books, he knew it was meant to be, he became enlightened and decided to spread our sect’s name. When you think about it, if it weren’t for that senior’s plan, the Quanzhen sect would not exist; I would not be here today, and we wouldn’t know where you, Guo Jing, would be.”

Guo Jing nodded, and asked, “So what is that senior’s name, and is she still alive?”

Qiu Chuji sighed and replied, “When that senior was in the world of Wulin, she was always discreet, very few people actually saw her. Apart from my teacher, I don’t think anyone else knows her name, and my teacher never actually mentioned her name. That senior had passed away before the time of the first Mount Hua tournament, otherwise with her martial arts and character, how can it be that she did not appear?”

Guo Jing nodded his head and said, “It must be. Does she have any descendants?”

Qiu Chuji sighed and said, “All of today’s trouble comes from this point. That senior didn’t take in a disciple during her life; she only had a maid with her. That maid did not enter the world of Jianghu, so no one knew about her, but she took in two disciples. The eldest disciple is called Li, you must know about this, in Jianghu they call her the “Scarlet Serpent Deity” Li Mochou.”

Guo Jing gave an “ah” sound and said, “That Li Mochou is vindictive and ruthless, so those are her origins.”

Qiu Chuji said, “You’ve seen her?”

Guo Jing replied, “A few months ago, I came across her in Jiang Nan. Her kung fu is at a very high level.”

Qiu Chuji said, “You hurt her?”

Guo Jing shook his head, “No, we didn’t actually meet each other, I only saw how she killed countless women, her ruthlessness has no comparisons, like Mei Chaofeng was when she was alive.”

Qiu Chuji said, “It was fortunate you didn’t hurt her, otherwise there’d be trouble. Her apprentice sister is named “Long”.”

Guo Jing shivered and said, “She is the girl called Long?”

Qiu Chuji’s face changed colour slightly, and said, “What? You’ve seen her? How did this happen?”

Guo Jing said, “Disciple has not seen her before. When I was coming up the mountain, the Taoist brothers insulted me and called me a perverted scoundrel, and said I came for the one called Long, this made me confused.”

Qiu Chuji laughed out loud, and sighed at the same time, “Chongyang Palace took the matter into its own hands. If we hadn’t made this error, and created the misunderstanding, not only would the large “Big Dipper Formation” have repelled the attackers, you would have arrived here earlier, and apprentice brother Hao would not have been hurt.”

He saw that Guo Jing’s face was fascinated and continued, “Today is the one named Long’s eighteenth birthday.”

Guo Jing opened his mouth and said, “Ah, it’s her eighteenth birthday!” However he did not understand how a girl’s eighteenth birthday could cause so much trouble.

Qiu Chuji said, “Outsiders do not know her first name so all of those troublemakers call her Xiao Longnu, we’ll call her that as well. One night eighteen years ago, there was the cry of a little baby girl outside Chongyang Palace, a palace disciple came out to take a look, and saw the little baby girl wrapped in a bundle on the ground. It was inconvenient for the palace to take in a baby girl, but Taoists are supposed to be merciful so we couldn’t leave her there. At the time my apprentice brother who was the master of the sect, and I were not on the mountain, and before any of the disciples of the palace could do anything, a middle aged woman suddenly came out from behind the mountain and said, “The little baby is unfortunate and pitiful, I’ll take her in!” The disciples couldn’t have asked for more, and so gave the baby girl to her. Later, apprentice brother Ma and I returned to the palace, when they told us about this event, from the description of the woman, we knew she was the maid from the Tomb of the Living Dead. She had met the seven of us a few times before, but we had never spoken. Although we are neighbors and because of our seniors’ relationship, it is difficult for us to talk to her about it. When I heard that the matter was resolved, I didn’t keep it in my mind. Later, her disciple the “Scarlet Serpent Deity” Li Mochou, left the mountain. She was ruthless and vindictive, her martial arts were very high, and caused trouble around the world of Jianghu. Our Quanzhen sect requested to talk to the maid about this many times, to get her to do something about it. Eventually, we didn’t act out of respect for her. We wrote a letter and sent it to the tomb. It was extremely respectful and polite. After we sent the letter, it was like a stone sinking into the sea, she still did not reply, and she tolerated Li Mochou’s actions, and didn’t govern her.

One day, after a few years, outside the tomb we saw a white banner hung on a pine thorn thicket and we knew that the woman had passed away, so the six of us went to the tomb to pay our respects. As we were going through the ceremony, a thirteen or fourteen year old girl emerged from the pine thorn thickets, greeted us and thanked us for the ceremony, and said, “Master has left the world, and has ordered me to tell all you elders that if that person still causes trouble, my master has a plan to punish her, please don’t worry.” When she finished, she turned around and went back inside. We wanted to ask her some questions about this but she had already gone back into the tomb. Our master had made a rule; everyone under the order of the Quanzhen sect must not take one step into the tomb. When she left, we pondered and wondered, our Taoist friend is dead, so how could she punish her student? We felt sorry for the little girl and so we sent her food and supplies, but each time she did not touch them, and ordered a servant to return them. She was strange. She was just like her teacher, and her ancestor. But she had a servant to look after her, so we didn’t worry about her. Eventually we all had business to attend to, and were rarely present in the palace. We didn’t hear anything from the girl. For some reason, news of Li Mochou disappeared and she didn’t cause any more trouble. We knew that our Taoist friend had come up with an ingenious plan, and we all were in awe.

Spring came, me and apprentice brother Wang had to go away to Shanxi for some business. We were at a hero’s home in Guangzhou when we heard startling news. We heard that one year later, all types of crooks, scoundrels and evildoers would descend on Mount Zhongnan and cause havoc. Mount Zhongnan is the root of our sect and the reason they’ve come to Mount Zhongnan is to fight our sect, how could we not take precautions? Apprentice brother Wang and I were afraid that the news was unreliable, so we sent out people to investigate; true enough, the news was real. But it wasn’t because they wanted to duel with our sect, but it was to do with Xiao Longnu of the Tomb of the Living Dead.

Guo Jing asked, “She is just a young girl, and has never left the tomb, how did she make enemies with all those people?”

Qiu Chuji replied, “The reasons for all this wasn’t related to us and originally we didn’t care. One day when the evildoers started to descend on Mount Zhongnan, we decided we couldn’t just stand by, so we listened for more news, and discovered that Xiao Longnu’s apprentice sister Li Mochou started all this business.”

Guo Jing said, “Li Mochou?”

Qiu Chuji said, “Yes. Her master had taught her martial arts for a few years and had discovered her character was ill, and so said she had completed her training, and ordered her to leave the mountain. When Li Mochou’s master was still alive, although she did evil deeds, she was still slightly worried. But when her teacher died, she used the excuse of paying her respects to enter the Tomb of the Living Dead, and tried to expel her apprentice sister. She knew that she had not learned everything from her master or her sect’s founder, and wanted to come to see if there were any kung fu manuals or manuscripts hidden in the tomb. She knew that there were many booby traps in the tomb, and remembered them. She entered through two sets of doors of the tomb, and by the third one she saw a letter left by her teacher. Her teacher had predicted that she would come back, and left this letter for her and part of the letter said: “On a certain year, month, date, it will be your apprentice sister’s eighteenth birthday. If you do not stop your evil ways and repent, then your apprentice sister will assume leadership and seek you out and rid the sect of so treacherous a disciple.

Li Mochou was furious, and burst through the third set of doors, and fell into the poisonous trap left by her teacher; if it wasn’t for Xiao Longnu curing her poison, she would have died. She knew that it was lethal and so left the tomb. But she had failed, would she let it go? Eventually she came back a few times but each time she suffered. In her last attempt, she actually fought with her apprentice sister. Xiao Longnu was only fifteen or sixteen years of age at that time, but her skills exceeded that of her apprentice sister. If she hadn’t let her off, it would not have been a hard task to take her life.”

Guo Jing interrupted, “I’m afraid that could be just a rumour of the Jianghu world.”

Qiu Chuji asked, “Why?”

Guo Jing replied, “My master hero Ke has fought with Li Mochou twice, and said that her skills had their fine points. Even Reverend Yideng’s high disciple Wu Santong lost to her. Xiao Longnu has not even reached twenty yet, even if her skills were higher, it would be hard for her to beat Li Mochou.”

Qiu Chuji said, “That piece of news was heard by apprentice brother Wang from a friend of his from the Beggar Clan. Whether Xiao Longnu did or did not defeat her apprentice sister, there wasn’t a witness so no one knows apart from them. I only know that this was what people of Jianghu said. Li Mochou was upset and jealous that her teacher was biased, and passed on the higher set of skills to her apprentice sister. So she created a rumour, and said that on a certain year, month and date, the one called Xiao Longnu who lives in the tomb will have a martial arts competition to decide her marriage.”

Guo Jing heard about this, he immediately thought about when Yang Kang and Mu Nianci met in Yanjing, and let out a quiet sigh.

Qiu Chuji knew what he was thinking and he too gave a sigh, and said, “She revealed: whoever beats Xiao Longnu, not only will they get to marry her, all the riches and kung fu manuals of the sect will be theirs. The evildoers did not know who Xiao Longnu was, but Li Mochou widely spread the fact that her apprentice sister’s beauty exceeded hers. The “Scarlet Serpent Deity” is said to be a very beautiful woman, her beauty is very rare within the world of Wulin, and even women from brothels can’t compare with her.”

Guo Jing thought, “What is so special about that? My Rong’er exceeds her beauty over one hundred times.”

Qiu Chuji continued, “Many evildoers of the Wulin world lusted after Li Mochou. But those who give a prolonged glance, or did not treat her with respect she would immediately punish them. Now they hear she has an apprentice sister whose beauty exceeded hers, and who had publicly announced that she will have a competition to decide her marriage, so they all thought why not and try their luck?”

Guo Jing was startled and said, “So all those people that were here were in search of marriage. Its no wonder the students of the palace called me a perverted scoundrel.”

Qiu Chuji said, “I also heard that these people did not even care about the Quanzhen sect. When a large crowd of people descended on Mount Zhongnan, we wanted to intervene and become a needle in their eyes. Apprentice brother Wang and I had received the news, and decided to repel the evildoers. We had gathered all the students of our sect ten days earlier. Apprentice brother Liu and apprentice sister Sun were in Shanxi and couldn’t return. We arranged to practice the “Big Dipper Formations” and we also sent a letter to the tomb to invite Xiao Longnu to the palace. The letter was sent, but there was no reply, Xiao Longnu had ignored us.”

Guo Jing said, “So she left the tomb.”

Qiu Chuji said, “No. From the top of the mountain and looking downwards, you could see smoke coming out from the tomb everyday. Take a look, it’s over there.” He pointed to the west. Guo Jing followed his finger and looked to the west, but all he could see for ten miles was forest, he did not know where the Tomb of the Living Dead was. He thought about the young eighteen-year-old girl, living in the tomb all the time; if it was Rong’er, she would be bored to death.

Qiu Chuji said, “All our apprentice brothers were set to meet the enemy. Five days ago, the scouts who were sent out came back and discovered who the two most powerful people were from the crowd of evildoers. They had agreed to first meet at the foot of the mountain at the Everywhere Light Temple, and used the smashing of the stone slab as the signal. You inadvertently smashed the stone slab, and frightened people with your strength; it was no wonder my grand disciples made such a commotion.

The two tyrants’ names are quite famous; they have entered the central plains this year to shake the world of Wulin. You have resided on Peach Blossom Island so you wouldn’t know about the affairs of the outside world. That nobleman is a Mongolian prince, it was said that he is Genghis Khan’s close nephew. Other people call him Prince Huo Dou. You’ve lived on the plains of Mongolia for a long time, and you were familiar with the royalty, can you remember meeting anyone like him?”

Guo Jing quietly repeated “Prince Huo Dou”, he recalled his face, but couldn’t remember whose son he could be, but he felt that his face was handsome, proud but also carried a devious air. Genghis Khan had four sons, the eldest Shu Chi [Jochi] was violent and brave, the second son Cha He Tai [Chagatai] was a clever planner, the third prince Wo Kuo Tai [Ogedai] is the khan of the Mongols at this moment in time, he was easy going, the fourth prince Tuo Lei [Tolui] was the most humane, when he thought about it, Huo Dou did not resemble any of the four princes.

Qiu Chuji said, “I’m afraid that a man of his stature coming to create havoc here has an ulterior motive. His kung fu originates from Western Tibet; he arrived in the central plains at the beginning of the year. He wounded the three heroes of Henan, and later on he single-handedly killed the seven Lords of Lanzhou. His name was spread widely throughout the land, we didn’t predict that he would have the nerve to come to our sect and cause trouble. The other Tibetan monk is called Da’erba; he has supernatural strength, and his kung fu is from the same school as Huo Dou. It appears that he is the senior apprentice brother. He is a monk, of course he hasn’t come here to get married; he’s here to aid Huo Dou.

When the rest of the evil men heard the two were coming, they remembered the matter of dueling for marriage. Years ago, in front of a crowd of people, Li Mochou had said the tomb contained mountains of treasures, and had countless kung fu manuscripts and manuals; saying there was the formulae to the “Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms”, the “Solitary Yang Finger” and numerous others. Although the crooks and scoundrels were unsure, they thought that if they went up to the mountain and opened up the tomb, they would be able to get a share of the spoils. About one hundred or so of them came up the mountain. Originally our “Big Dipper Formation” could have easily repelled them away from the foot of our mountain, not allowing them to come through and teach them not to take one step into Chongyang Palace. We were resisting them when the misunderstanding occurred; there is no need to say anymore.”

Guo Jing felt very guilty and apologetic, and wanted to say a few words of apology. Qiu Chuji waved his hand and laughed, “Letting a laugh out rids your worries and the moon is still in the sky above the western lake. The halls and buildings are just objects; human possessions mean nothing, so why worry about them? You have honed your martial arts for the last ten years, could it be that you do not understand the meaning of this?”

Guo Jing laughed and said, “Yes!”

Qiu Chuji laughed and said, “Actually when I saw the back courtyard being burned down to the ground, I was very angry and furious, but after a while I calmed down. Compared to how calm apprentice brother Ma was, I am nowhere as enlightened as he is.”

Guo Jing said, “You can’t blame yourself for getting angry at all those crooks and scoundrels.”

Qiu Chuji said, “As you fought with the main “Big Dipper Formation”, the two tyrants led a pack of scoundrels and took advantage of the situation and led them to Chongyang Palace. As soon as they arrived, they set fire to the buildings; apprentice brother Hao led a formation out against Prince Huo Dou. He was wary of Huo Duo’s skills as they were very strange. Apprentice brother Hao was careless and rash when he was fighting him, and ended up being struck in the chest. We set up a formation to protect him. Without apprentice brother Hao in the formation we had to replace him with students whose skills were much inferior, thus the power of the formation was reduced and limited. If you hadn’t arrived just in time, today would be the day where the Quanzhen sect would have been destroyed. When I think about it, even if the other students didn’t mistake you for the enemy, though they would be able to stop all the scoundrels and crooks from entering the mountain, they would not be able to stop Da’erba and Huo Dou. If the two combined together and attacked our formation, we would not have lost, but we definitely would not have defeated them as quickly and as spectacularly as you did.”

As he said this, they heard a sound from the west; someone was blowing a horn. The horn sound was pleasant and relaxing, as Guo Jing listened, he imagined himself back in the Mongolian plains, looking out at the yellow sands of Mongolia, giving off a beautiful glow.

After a while, he heard “an intent to kill” was beginning to emerge from the sounds of the horn, as if it was trying to invite someone for a duel.

Qiu Chuji’s face turned angry and shouted, “Beasts, beasts!”

He looked at the forest to the west and said, “Jing’er, you and that scoundrel have set a ten year date; you are going to meet again in these ten years, I advise to you not to intervene. Is there such a sincere and honorable thing under heaven? Let’s go!”

Guo Jing said, “It is Prince Huo Dou?”

Qiu Chuji replied, “It is him. He is trying to get Xiao Longnu to duel with him.” While saying this, he was already flying down the mountain. Guo Jing followed.

The two traveled for about a mile, when they heard the horn sound was getting closer, but within the sound of the horn, they could make out the sound of a weapon was being used; it was Da’erba.

Qiu Chuji was angry and said, “How can two martial artists gang up and bully a young girl; they really don’t care about face.” He increased his efforts and sped up. In a flash, the two were at the foot of the hill, passing a stone slab. All Guo Jing could see in front of him was a black forest. Outside the forest stood one hundred short and tall scoundrels and crooks, it was the same people who had just attacked Chongyang Palace. The two of them hid behind the stone slab, surveying their actions. They saw Prince Huo Dou and Da’erba get up. Prince Huo Dou raised his horn and blew. Da’erba raised a large golden pestle (rod shaped object used for crushing) with his left hand. He tapped the golden bracelet on his right wrist with the pestle, and created a noise, the two noises combined, trying to draw out Xiao Longnu. The two did this for a while, but no sounds came from the forest.

Huo Dou put down his horn, and clearly said, “I am Mongolia’s Prince Huo Dou; I have come to congratulate Xiao Longnu on your birthday.”

As he finished, three chords from a zither was heard, it was Xiao Longnu replying. Hu Dou was happy and said, “It is known far and wide that Miss Long will have a duel to find a husband. I have dared to come forward, and meet this challenge, I ask Miss Long to make her move. A resounding sound was suddenly heard from the zither, clearly showing signs of anger. The rest of the crowd didn’t move, they could hear from the zither notes the intent of the player, wanting them to leave. Huo Dou chuckled and said, “I am from an affluent family, handsome, sincere and willing, I wouldn’t dare to offend you. Miss Long is a heroine in the world, please don’t be shy.”

When he finished, the sound of the zither soared, a note of reproving could be heard from within the sound. Huo Dou glanced at Da’erba, the monk nodded. Huo Dou said, “If Miss does not show herself, then I will have to enter.” He then picked up his horn, waved his right hand and leapt into the forest. The crowd of people also went forward, and all thought, “Even the famous Quanzhen sect could not stop us, Xiao Longnu is alone and is just a young girl, aren’t we overdoing things?” But they were all thinking about getting to the treasure first and ignored this, pushing and shoving they entered the forest.

Qiu Chuji shouted out, “This place is Quanzhen sect’s Founder Chongyang’s old residence, leave quickly.”

When the crowd heard this, they were all startled, but their feet didn’t stop moving forwards.

Qiu Chuji was angry and said, “Jing’er, let’s use force!” The two emerged from behind the stone slab and were about to enter the forest; then they suddenly heard cries from the crowd of people, and they were dashing back out of the forest.

Qiu Chuji and Guo Jing stopped, they saw tens of people flying out of the forest, even Huo Dou and Da’erba came flying out, they were rushing out much quicker than they did when they were forced away from Chongyang Palace. Qiu Chuji and Guo Jing wondered, “What method did Xiao Longnu used to drive these people away?” As they wondered, they suddenly heard the sounds of something approaching quickly, under the moonlight they saw a collection of white and grey blurs emerging from the forest, and were diving onto the crowds of evildoers.

Guo Jing asked, “What is that?” Qiu Chuji shook his head and did not reply, and looked closer, some of the people who were running slower were being dived on by the things and they immediately dropped down onto the ground, holding their heads and screaming.

Guo Jing was startled and said, “It’s a swarm of bees, why are they white?” As he said this, a swarm of jade colored bees stung five or six people. In front of the forest were ten people who were rolling about on the ground, crying and screaming. It would have sent shivers down the backs to those who could hear them. Guo Jing thought, “It does hurt if you get stung by a bee, but there is no need to cry out like that; could it be that the Jade Bee’s poison is very potent?” He saw a grey image flying towards him, the Jade Bees were like smoke, and were flying onto Guo Jing and Qiu Chuji. The bees were ferocious and it was hard to repel them, Guo Jing wanted to turn around and escape, Qiu Chuji circulated chi through his “dan tian”, and blew out through his mouth at the bees that were coming towards him. The swarm of bees was flying forwards fiercely, but when they met the fierce gust of wind they were pushed back. As Qiu Chuji’s first breath finished he sent out a second one. Guo Jing had learned this type of skill, and then did the same; he and Qiu Chuji created a gust of wind. The skills they used were advanced orthodox skills, the swarm of bees could not resist and flew past the two and chased after Huo Dou and Da’erba.

The people who were rolling along on the ground were crying out for mercy, calling out for their fathers and mothers, and sobbing uncontrollably. Someone said, “I’m sorry, I beg goddess Xiao Longnu to save my life!”

Guo Jing was startled; “He is a member of the Jianghu world, even if his arm or leg was chopped off, he may not call out in pain. How can just a little sting by a bee be so lethal?”

Suddenly the sound of the zither was heard from the forest, accompanying it was a white mist. Guo Jing and Qiu Chuji could smell the scent of an extremely sweet and fragrant flower. After a while, the sounds of the bees came closer, the bees sensed the aroma and returned to the forest, it was Xiao Longnu who had created the scent to order the bees back.

Qiu Chuji and Xiao Longnu had been neighbors for eighteen years but he didn’t know that she had such skills; he was in awe but also felt amused, and said, “If we knew our fragrant neighbor was so prepared, the Quanzhen sect should not have been so nosy.” Although he was talking to Guo Jing, he had said it with his chi and wanted Xiao Longnu to hear it. The music from the forest changed, gentle and peaceful, the sense of appreciation was hidden within the music. Qiu Chuji laughed out loud, and said clearly, “Miss, there is no need for all this. This Old Taoist and disciple Guo Jing wish you well on your birthday.” Two notes were heard from the zither and then nothing more.

Guo Jing sensed that within the notes there was a feeling of sorrow and pity. He said to Qiu Chuji, “Elder, why did she let them go?”

Qiu Chuji replied, “Miss Long makes her own decisions, let’s go.” The two turned around and headed east, on the way, Guo Jing once again requested Qiu Chuji to accept Yang Guo into Quanzhen.

Qiu Chuji sighed, “Your godfather Yang Tiexin was a great hero, why did he have no descendants? I played a part in the downfall of Yang Kang. Don’t worry, I will do my best and teach the boy how to be a good person.”

Guo Jing was pleased, and got down on his knees to say thanks. The two chatted away as they reached Chongyang Palace; the sky had now begun to get bright. Many Taoists were clearing up the back courtyard and tending to the damage.

Qiu Chuji summoned a group of Taoists to meet Guo Jing, and pointed out to the bearded Taoist who had led the “Big Dipper Formation” against him and said, “That is apprentice brother Wang’s first disciple, his name is Zhao Zhijing. Out of all the third generation disciples, his kung fu is the highest, we’ll let him teach Guo’er kung fu.”

Guo Jing had exchanged hands with that person, and knew his kung fu was high, and he was pleased, and ordered Yang Guo to undergo the custom of greeting a new master to Zhao Zhijing, and he himself apologized to Zhao Zhijing. Guo Jing remained on Mount Zhongnan for a few days, and repeatedly gave advice to Yang Guo, then, after saying goodbyes to him and the Taoists, he returned to Peach Blossom Island.

Qiu Chuji remembered years ago when he taught Yang Kang kung fu, and let him do as he pleased in the palace. Eventually this led Yang Kang to make wrong choices and thought, “Being strict will create a good student, and being harsh will bring a filial son. I must be strict and keep a close eye on Guo’er; otherwise he will follow the same road as his father.” He then summoned Yang Guo, and then gave him a stern talking to, and told him he will have hardships ahead, he must listen to every word that his master says, and must not be lazy.

Yang Guo did not even want to be on Mount Zhongnan, and for no reason he was given a strict scolding, he was angry, he held in his tears and didn’t reply, when Qiu Chuji left he let out a cry and sobbed.

Suddenly a voice from behind coldly said, “What’s the matter? Has Martial Grand Master wronged you?”

Yang Guo was startled; he stopped crying and turned around only to see his master Zhao Zhijing, he quickly dropped his hands and said, “No.”

Zhao Zhijing said, “Why did you cry?”

Yang Guo said, “I was thinking about Uncle Guo and became sad.”

He had just heard Qiu Chuji giving a stern scolding to him, now Yang Guo is saying it is because he misses Guo Jing, he wasn’t convinced and thought, “He is so crafty already at such a young age; if I don’t punish him now, how could he change?” He then shouted, “You dare to lie to your master?”

Yang Guo had seen how Guo Jing had beaten the Taoists so spectacularly and convincingly, and had seen Qiu Chuji and the others being forced back onto their hands and feet by Huo Dou and the evildoers. They depended on Guo Jing to save them, so he had already made up his mind on the Quanzhen kung fu being nothing but ordinary. He didn’t respect Qiu Chuji, what about Zhao Zhijing? Guo Jing had neglected to explain to him that the Quanzhen sect’s kung fu was orthodox and profound, years ago Wang Chongyang’s kung fu was the best in the world, other family’s’ and other sects’ best fighters could not compare. The reasons for what he saw was not because of the Quanzhen sect’s kung fu was useless, but because the group of Taoists who he had seen fighting had not practiced enough. Yang Guo then believed that it must be because that the Guo couple did not want him as a disciple, and just gave him to anyone to learn martial arts. He had seen with his own two eyes that the Taoists’ swords had been forced out of their hands, even if Guo Jing had explained, Yang Guo would not have believed it. He saw that his master’s expression wasn’t pleasant, and thought, “I only became your disciple because I had no choice; even if I learned everything you know, what use would it be? Why are you acting like you are in charge?” He didn’t reply.

Zhao Zhijing was angry; his voice became even louder and said, “I asked you a question, you dare to not reply?”

Yang Guo said, “Whatever master wants me to say, I’ll say it.”

Zhao Zhijing heard that he was disrespectful, he could not hold his temper anymore, he hit him across the face and left a deep red mark. Yang Guo cried out, and began to cry and ran away. Zhao Zhijing quickly followed and caught him, and asked, “Where are you going?”

Yang Guo said, “Let go of me, I don’t want to learn from you.”

Zhao Zhijing was irate and shouted, “Bastard, what did you say?”

Yang Guo immediately became bold, and shouted, “Rotten Taoist, you dog, you can kill me!”

A disciple master relationship was looked upon as very significant, in the world of Wulin; a disciple master relationship was the same as a father son relationship. If the master wanted to kill the student, the disciple would not dare to resist. Yang Guo had dared to insult his teacher, it was a rarely seen and rarely heard event; it was treason and heresy. Zhao Zhijing’s face turned yellow, he raised his hand and wanted to give him another slap. Yang Guo suddenly jumped up, and grabbed his arm, and bit on his right index finger. After Yang Guo had received Ou Yangfeng’s method of practicing internal energy, he practiced it occasionally; he now had a decent foundation. Zhao Zhijing was angry, and didn’t have his guard up against a small child. Being grabbed and fiercely bitten, he couldn’t move and his finger was in pain; he couldn’t endure it. Zhao Zhijing raised his left fist and heavily hit Yang Guo on the shoulder, and shouted, “Do you want to die? Let go!? Yang Guo was furious, even if he were threatened by swords and spears he would not let go, but he felt pain in his shoulder. His teeth bit even harder, a “ka” sound was heard, he had bitten through the bone. He shouted, “Ah!” and fiercely threw a left fist at Yang Guo’s head, and made him faint. He opened his jaw and took out his right index finger. He saw his hand was full of fresh blood, though he managed to fix his finger back into place, his finger would not have the strength that it used to have. This will affect his kung fu, he became furious and kicked Yang Guo a few times.

He ripped some cloth of Yang Guo’s sleeve, and wrapped it around his wound. He took a look around, it was lucky that no one was about. He thought that if someone saw this, it would be spread throughout the Jianghu world that Quanzhen’s Zhao Zhijing’s finger was bitten off by his little disciple; he would lose all his respect. He then went and filled a basin with cold water and splashed it over Yang Guo to wake him up. When Yang Guo woke, he was like a madman and wanted to fight again. Zhao Zhijing grabbed his chest and shouted, “Animal, you really don’t want to live do you?”

Yang Guo shouted, “Scoundrel, rotten Taoist, calling me an animal, after being beaten to the ground by my Uncle Guo and eating faeces off the floor, begging for mercy won’t help your descendants; you’re the animal!”

Zhao Zhijing extended his right palm and hit him again. He kept his guard up, if Yang Guo wanted to attack him, how could he get near? In the wink of an eye he kicked him a few times. If Zhao Zhijing wanted to hurt him, it would be too easy, but he remembered that Yang Guo was his disciple. If he hurt him badly, how would he answer if my master or martial uncles asked about it? Yang Guo ferociously attacked, as if Zhao Zhijing was his most hated person in the world; although he was punched and kicked, and couldn’t bear the pain, he did not intend to back down.

Zhao Zhijing punched and kicked him, though in his heart there was some feelings of regret. He saw that although he was bruised all over, he became bolder as he fought. In the end he had no other choice but to stretch out his left finger and touched the side of his body, sealing his pressure point. Yang Guo lay down on the ground and wasn’t able to move, but his eyes were full of hate and fury.

Zhao Zhijing said, “You ingrate, do you submit now?” Yang Guo stared at him, with no intent to submit. Zhao Zhijing sat on a rock and recovered his breath. It was as if he had just dueled with a highly skilled opponent, fighting until he was out of breath. At the moment it wasn’t because his arms and legs were tired, it was because he was troubled.

One disciple, one master; both looked at each other angrily, Zhao Zhijing tried to think of a good punishment for the rebel child, in the middle of his thoughts, he suddenly heard the bell ringing; it was the leader calling to gather the students. Zhao Zhijing was startled; he turned to Yang Guo and said, “If you don’t cause anymore trouble, then I’ll let you go.” He extended his finger and unsealed his pressure point. Yang Guo immediately jumped up and leaped at him. Zhao Zhijing stepped aside two steps, and said, “I won’t hit you, how about that?”

Yang Guo said, “You won’t ever hit me again?”

Zhao Zhijing heard the bell ringing was becoming urgent, and didn’t dare to procrastinate and said, “If you are obedient, why should I hit you?”

Yang Guo said, “Fine, if you won’t hit me, I’ll call you master. If you hit me again, I won’t ever acknowledge you are my master.”

Zhao Zhijing was angry, but he put on a smile and nodded his head, and said, “The leader is summoning everyone, quickly follow me.” He saw that Yang Guo’s sleeve was ripped, his face swollen, he was afraid that someone will ask what happened so he cleaned him up, took his hand, and quickly went to the assembly at the front of the palace.

Zhao Zhijing and Yang Guo arrived, and both went into their respective groups. Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji and Wang Chuyi were sitting in front of them. Ma Yu clapped his hand three times, and the clearly said, “Elder Chang and the Sage of Tranquility have sent news from Shanxi, and said the business they are attending to has become really troublesome. My two apprentice brothers and I have decided that elder Eternal Spring (Qiu Chuji) and elder Shining Jade (Wang Chuyi) will take along ten disciples and immediately set off to rendezvous with them.” The rest of the Taoists all looked at each other, some were startled, and others were excited. Qiu Chuji then called out the names of ten disciples, and then said, “Everyone get prepared, you will leave with elder Shining Jade and I first thing tomorrow. The rest of you are dismissed.” The Taoists were dismissed; they quietly discussed the news amongst themselves. “That Li Mochou is just a woman, how powerful can she be? Even elder Eternal Life Martial Uncle Liu can’t handle her.” Another said, “Isn’t the Sage of Tranquility Martial Uncle Sun a woman? There are capable women, don’t be surprised.” Another Taoist said, “Now that Elder Qiu and Elder Wang are going, that Li Mochou won’t be able to do anything.”

Qiu Chuji went over to Zhao Zhijing and said to him, “Originally I wanted to take you along, but I’m worried that Guo’er’s progress in martial arts will suffer, so you will stay here.” He then saw the wounds on Yang Guo’s face, and was startled, and said, “What’s this? Who have you been fighting with?”

Zhao Zhijing was afraid, he knew that if Martial Uncle Qiu found out what happened, he would be severely scolded; he looked at Yang Guo and signaled to him with his eyes. Yang Guo had already decided what to do, when he saw the worried expression on Zhao Zhijing, he didn’t let him know what he was doing and didn’t respond to his pleas.

Qiu Chuji sternly said, “Who hit you like this? Who did this? Quickly tell me.”

Zhao Zhijing heard Martial Uncle Qiu’s voice was becoming sterner, and became even more scared.

Yang Guo said, “I wasn’t in a fight, disciple tripped and fell down a ditch.”

Qiu Chuji didn’t believe him, and said, “You are lying; how could you trip for no reason? The wounds on your face aren’t from falling over.”

Yang Guo said, “Earlier, Grand Master told me to learn martial arts diligently.”

Qiu Chuji said, “Yes, what about it?”

Yang Guo said, “After Grand Master left, the disciple thought that what you said was right, the disciple must work harder than ever before, and must not disappoint the hopes that Grand Master has for me.” His pleasant words pleased and calmed down Qiu Chuji and he gave out a grunt. Yang Guo continued, “A mad dog came suddenly out of nowhere, and for no reason leapt at me trying to bite, the disciple tried to kick him away but he became more and more fierce. The disciple tried to turn around and run, but I was careless and fell down in a ditch. It was lucky that my teacher arrived, and rescued me.”

Qiu Chuji listened, and then looked at Zhao Zhijing, signaling to him, asking if it was the truth. Zhao Zhijing was startled and thought, “How dare he, how dare the little bastard call me a mad dog.” But in this situation he had no choice but to help him lie, he nodded his head and said, “It was I who saved him.”

Qiu Chuji believed him, and said, “After I’ve left, teach him our sect’s kung fu well, every ten days, your Martial Uncle, our leader will test him.” Zhao Zhijing did not want to do this at all, but he couldn’t refuse an order from his Martial Uncle, and could only agree. Right now, Yang Guo was busy being pleased with himself for making Zhao Zhijing call himself a mad dog, and didn’t really digest what his Grand Master was saying. After Qiu Chuji had walked away about twenty paces, Zhao Zhijing’s blood rose to the surface, he couldn’t resist and raised his hand; he wanted to hit Yang Guo across the face again.

Yang Guo shouted out, “Grand Master Qiu!”

Qiu Chuji was startled and turned around, asking, “What’s the matter?”

Zhao Zhijing’s hand was in midair, he did not dare to hit out, he was caught in an embarrassing situation and he reluctantly pulled his arm back and scratched the hair by his temples.

Yang Guo ran towards Qiu Chuji, and said, “Grand Master, after you’ve left, there will be no one to look after me, there are many Martial Uncles who want to hit me.”

Qiu Chuji’s faced changed and shouted, “Rubbish! Is there such a thing?” On the outside he appeared strict, but he was worried inside, he thought about how hard it is for an child to be on his own and clearly said, “Zhijing, you take good care of him, if anything happens, I’ll be asking after you.” Zhao Zhijing could only accept.

After supper, Yang Guo slowly walked towards the room where his master was residing, and shouted out, “Master!”

It was the time of day when they were refining the kung fu; Zhao Zhijing had already sat on his couch for half a day thinking, “That child is very mischievous, if I don’t tame him quickly, when his martial arts are high, who else could restrain him? But Martial Uncle Qiu and Master ordered me to teach him kung fu; if I don’t teach him then I am not following orders.” He kept searching in his mind but couldn’t think of anything, he saw Yang Guo entering the room slowly, his eyes lit up, he gave a laugh in an ostentatious manner as he thought of a plan, “I’ve got it, he doesn’t know anything about our sect’s martial arts, I’ll just teach him the formula to our sect’s skills, but I won’t teach how to practice it. Even if he remembers the few hundred sentences of the formulae what use is it to him? If Master or the Martial Uncles ask about this, I’ll push the blame away and say it was his fault for not working hard enough.” Now his mind was made up, with a kind and pleasant expression he said to Yang Guo, “Guo’er, come here.”

Yang Guo said, “Are you going to hit me?”

Zhao Zhijing said, “I’m going to teach you kung fu, why should I hit you?”

Yang Guo saw that he was lively, and had come out with a surprise, he slowly entered, but he was on his guard, afraid that he has some evil scheme. Zhao Zhijing pretended nothing was going on and said, “Our Quanzhen sect’s kung fu is learned from within to the outside, it is very different to other types of kung fu. I am now going to pass on to you the formula of our sect’s internal energy, you must remember it clearly.” He then passed on the formulae to the sect’s internal energy theories, and recited a segment.

Yang Guo just listened to it once, and had already memorized it, and thought, “That old goat hates me, why would he teach me real kung fu? He’s probably trying to make a fool out of me and teach me some useless fake formulae.”

After a while, he pretended to forget, and asked Zhao Zhijing to repeat it again. Zhao Zhijing repeated it again.

The next day, Yang Guo asked his teacher again, and heard that it was exactly the same as it was the day before, he then believed they were real, if the formulae were made up, then it would be impossible that every single word was the same when repeated three times.

Ten days passed this way, Zhao Zhijing only taught him the formulae, and did not say one word on how to practice them. On the tenth day, Zhao Zhijing took him to Ma Yu, and said that he has taught him their sect’s formulae for practicing internal energy, and told Yang Guo to recite it to Grand Master. Yang Guo recited the whole thing; he didn’t say one word wrong. Ma Yu was pleased, and praised him for being so clever. He was a kind and generous Taoist, a gentleman; he would never have thought that Zhao Zhijing had such a scheme.

Summer went and autumn arrived, autumn passed and winter came, a few months passed in the wink of an eye. Yang Guo had memorized a stack of formulae, but he had not learned an ounce of kung fu, he had not improved his martial arts or his internal energy since he had been on the mountain. A few days after he first began to remember and recite the formulae, he knew that his teacher was making a fool out of him, but he didn’t dare to complain. But he had no other ideas; the headmaster of the sect was peaceful and soft hearted, if he told him, he would only reproach Zhao Zhijing with a few words. He was scared that the old goat would conjure up some other plan to torture him; he could only wait for his Grand Master to come back before he could do anything. But after many months, Qiu Chuji still had not returned. It was fortunate that Yang Guo did not respect the martial arts of the Quanzhen sect, he didn’t care if he learned them or not, but because Zhao Zhijing had used such a plan, he hated him even more. Yang Guo didn’t want to suffer for no reason so he pretended to be even more respectful to him.

Zhao Zhijing felt pleased with himself and thought, “You caused offence to your master, in the end who suffers?”

Time passed and it was soon the last month of the lunar year, a custom that had been passed down by Wang Chongyang requests that in the three days before the eve of the new year, all the sect’s students will spar with each other, testing how much each student has advanced in the last year. Every student knew the date was approaching, and each one of them trained non-stop.

On the day of the celebration, the students of the Seven Masters of Quanzhen had their own competitions, forming several small competitions. The students formed seven groups, the disciples and grand disciples of Ma Yu forming one group, Qiu Chuji, Wang Chuyi and the others disciples and grand disciples formed the others. Although Tan Chuduan was dead, his disciples and grand disciples still flourished and formed a group. Ma Yu, Qiu Chuji and the others often thought about his early death, and so would pay special attention to his students. Because of this, at each year’s duel, the students of Tan Chuduan would not lose to the other students.

After this year’s incident at Chongyang Palace, where the Quanzhen sect was almost overthrown, all of the students thought that although the sect’s kung fu is famous throughout the world for its orthodox style, they became a good challenge for many schools and sects. The title they had is highly dangerous, so everyone trained harder than ever before.

Wang Chongyang founded the Quanzhen sect and he was the sect’s first generation. May Yu and the other seven of them were his disciples, and they made up the second generation. Zhao Zhijing, Yin Zhiping, Cheng Yaojia are the students of the seven, and they formed the third generation. Yang Guo was therefore in the fourth generation of the sect.

After the morning meal, the Shining Jade elder’s students who included Zhao Zhijing and Cui Chifang and others assembled in the southeastern plain, where they dueled with each other. Wang Chuyi was not present, so his eldest student Zhao Zhijing was in charge of the proceedings. The fourth generation students demonstrated their punches and kicks, then with swords and spears, after that they performed with projectiles and finally showed off their internal energy, with Zhao Zhijing and the other third generation students in the group as the judges.

Yang Guo was the last one to enter the sect out of all of them; he sat aside and watched. He saw Taoists who were older than him, some who were about the same age as him and others who weren’t Taoists demonstrate impressive skills, but he wasn’t envious, instead he was full of hate. Zhao Zhijing saw that something was up with him, and wanted to make a fool out of him again, and so waited for two Taoists to finish competing with projectiles and then called out, “Come here Yang Guo!”

Yang Guo stopped for a second and thought, “You haven’t taught me an ounce of martial arts, why are you calling me out?” Zhao Zhijing called out again, “Yang Guo, come here now!”

Yang Guo had no choice but to walk to where they were sitting, and then made a bow and said, “Disciple Yang Guo hereby greets teacher.”

Quanzhen sect was made up mostly of Taoists, but there were some members who were like Yang Guo and not Taoists, and so he performed the greeting for these members.

Zhao Zhijing pointed out to the Taoist in the arena who had just won and said, “He’s only a few years older than you; you go and compete with him.”

Yang Guo said, “Disciple does not know any martial arts, how can I compete with apprentice brother?”

Zhao Zhijing scolded, “I’ve taught you for half a year, how can you say you don’t know any martial arts? What have you been doing for the last few months?”

Yang Guo had nothing to say and hung his head.

Zhao Zhijing said, “You are lazy and mischievous, you don’t practice, of course your punches and kicks will become rusty. I ask you “What use is there to study the scheme of life? The heart dies, and passion with it.” What are the next two lines?”

Yang Guo replied, “The pure air fills the tools of movement; The light of the soul shines brilliantly on the body.”

Zhao Zhijing said, “Correct, I ask you again, “The teacher passes on the secret and comprehended at first; eventually there is no me.” What are the next two lines?”

Yang Guo replied, “Every year the dust is ground to the end; One side of the soul dazzles to emptiness.”

Zhao Zhijing gave a wry smile, and said, “Very good, not one word wrong. Go and use those formulae, enter the arena and compete with your apprentice brother.”

Yang Guo was startled once again, and said. “I won’t.”

Zhao Zhijing was pleased with himself, his face was furious and he shouted, “You’ve learned the formulae but don’t practice and only make up excuses, go down to the arena now.”

Within those few lines are the most important ideas in cultivating internal energy, teaching that the heart must be calm, refining the chi, but each line needs a fist or kick to accompany it, only then will a set of Quanzhen sect’s fist be formed. The rest of the Taoists heard Yang Guo reciting the formulae with their own ears, and not one word out of place, and knew that he was scared of competing, and tried to encourage him by ridiculing and laughing mockingly. The students of the Quanzhen sect are all good people, but after their battle with Guo Jing where the Taoists were beaten to the ground, he had offended many people. Many of them shifted their anger onto Yang Guo, and wished misfortune on him, although they might not have really meant it, they just wanted a way to vent their anger.

Yang Guo saw many people were urging him on, some were saying harsh words to get at him, he couldn’t control his anger and made a decision and thought, “Today, I’m not going to care what happens to me.” He then jumped into the arena, and moved his arms, running straight into the young Taoist. The Taoist saw that he wasn’t showing respect for the opponent, and was not following the sect’s rules by politely requesting a duel; he was shocked. He saw that Yang Guo was running around and fighting like a madman, he was surprised and moved back a few steps. Yang Guo had already decided to disregard his own life and ferociously attacked, every step going forward. The young Taoist moved back a few steps and saw that Yang Guo’s lower body was unstable, he slanted his body and threw a kick, the stance “Sweeping Wind Descending Leaves” (feng sao luo ye), and swept his leg. Yang Guo didn’t know how to dodge, he couldn’t stay upright and fell down on the ground, hitting his nose and blood flowed.

The Taoists saw how he fell, and some laughed. Yang Guo flipped around and picked himself up, he didn’t wipe the blood away; he dropped his head and jumped at the Taoist. The Taoist saw Yang Guo jumping at him and dodged to the side. Yang Guo did not use any orthodox kung fu, he reached with his two arms, and grabbed the opponent’s left leg. The young Taoist’s right palm came down, the stance “Wiping the Dust” (kai mo chen gou), it was a way to rid obstructions on your lower body. Yang Guo had not learned any martial arts when he was on Peach Blossom Island, and had not received any useful skills while at Chongyang palace, and didn’t have a clue as to what stance the opponent would use. He only heard a thudding noise, he felt a sharp pain in his shoulder; he had been struck fiercely by a punch. The more he suffered, the more ferocious he became, he head butted the opponent’s right leg; the Taoist’s leg became unsteady and he was forced onto the ground by him. Yang Guo whirled his fist, and ferociously struck out at his head.

The young Taoist gained victory from the jaws of defeat, his elbow struck Yang Guo’s chest fiercely, causing him severe pain, and used the chance to escape. He pushed and swung his hand, and caused Yang Guo to drop again; he had used the stance “No Debts No Dues” (wu qian wu yu). The young Taoist checked and said, “Apprentice brother Yang, thank you!”

Originally when dueling amongst each other from the same sect, once there was a clear winner the duel would stop, but he didn’t know Yang Guo was not finished. He came rushing forwards again. After two or three moves, Yang Guo was once again on the ground, but he became bolder as he went on, his punches and kicks coming out faster and faster.

Zhao Zhijing shouted, “Yang Guo, you’ve already lost, why are you still carrying on?”

Yang Guo ignored him, and kicked out; he had no plans to back down. The rest of the Taoists first thought it was funny but then thought, “When did our sect have such a reckless and rough kung fu?” After, they saw that he was fighting for his life and were afraid that something might happen. Many people called out, “Forget it…forget it. Its only sparring amongst apprentice brothers, there is no need to be so serious.”

They fought for another while; the young Taoist became frightened; all he did now was dodge and block, not daring to come close to him. There’s a saying: One man fighting for his life cannot be stopped by ten thousand men. Yang Guo had suffered for half a year on Mount Zhongnan, and he let it all out. The young Taoist’s skills were higher than Yang Guo’s, but how could he cope? He saw that he couldn’t block anymore, he could only hurry around the arena avoiding him.

Yang Guo chased after him, and shouted, “Rotten Taoist, you’ve had fun hitting me, now you want to run?”

The ten people who were watching from the side at that time, eight or nine of them were Taoists, when they heard him say rotten Taoist, scoundrel Taoist and other insults, they were angry but also thought it was funny. They all said, “That kid needs a good lesson.”

The young Taoist was chased and harried, he was scared and shouted, “Master, master!” and hoped the Zhao Zhijing would come out and stop Yang Guo. Zhao Zhijing shouted, but Yang Guo did not take any notice.

When Yang Guo didn’t stop, a shout came out from the crowd, and out came a large Taoist, he stepped in and grabbed Yang Guo’s neck, picked him up, and struck three times across the face, the slaps were fierce, half of Yang Guo’s face immediately swelled up. Yang Guo was dazed by the three slaps, when he looked up, it was the Taoist whom he had a run in with, Lu Qingdu. When Yang Guo first came to Mount Zhongnan, he was almost burned to death by Yang Guo, after that, his apprentice brothers ridiculed him saying he got outsmarted by a little kid. He had always kept this in his mind, now he saw Yang Guo was being rebellious; he couldn’t resist and reacted.

When Yang Guo saw that it was Lu Qingdu, he knew that he was out of luck, and since he was being held up, he couldn’t fight. Lu Qingdu smiled wryly, and struck him across the face three more times, and shouted, “You don’t listen to master’s orders, you are our sect’s traitor, and anyone can hit you.” He raised his hand again, wanting to hit out once more.

Zhao Zhijing’s apprentice brother Cui Zhifang had seen Yang Guo fight and he had not used any of their sect’s kung fu. He knew what kind of character Zhao Zhijing was, so he was afraid that there was another reason for all of this; he feared someone was going to get hurt so he called out, “Qingdu, stop!”

Lu Qingdu heard his Martial Uncle’s shout, although he didn’t want to, he had to put Yang Guo down and said, “Martial Uncle don’t you know, that child is extremely mischievous and crafty, if we don’t punish him heavily, how can there be order within our sect?”

Cui Zhifang ignored him, and went over to Yang Guo, he saw that both sides of Yang Guo’s face were heavily swollen, there were blue and purple marks, his noise and mouth were bloody; he looked a very sorry sight. He softly said, “Yang Guo, your master taught you martial arts, why didn’t you work hard and practice, and instead causing fights among your apprentice brothers?”

Yang Guo angrily said, “What master? He hasn’t taught me anything.”

Cui Zhifang said, “I heard with my own ears you reciting the formulae, not one word was wrong.”

Yang Guo remembered how on Peach Blossom Island Huang Rong had made him read books and recite manuscripts, and knew that Zhao Zhijing had taught him something that was not related to practicing martial arts. He said, “I don’t know how to incorporate them, what use is being able to recite a few words?”

Cui Zhifang pretended to be angry, and wanted to test that he really did not know any of their sect’s kung fu; he then put on a face, and said, “You are talking to a senior, how can you have no manners?” He stretched out his arm and pushed his shoulder. Cui Zhifang is one of most skilled students of the third generation, although he can’t be compared with Zhao Zhijing and Yin Zhiping, he was skilled, his internal energy high. His push was gentle yet it’s strength was judged just right, but he felt Yang Guo’s shoulder lean to the side, his internal energy emerged, and had already dispersed with just under half the force in his push. Although he stumbled back a few steps, he did not fall down.

Cui Zhifang was startled, he became suspicious and thought, “He is young, and has only entered our sect for just over half a year, how can he have such strong internal energy? He has good internal energy, just now when he was dueling; he was fighting madly, could there be something wrong here?” He didn’t know that Yang Guo had practiced Ou Yangfeng’s formulae for internal energy cultivation; unwittingly his internal energy has gone up another level. The White Camel Mountain’s sect’s internal energy is easy to learn, progress can be made very quickly, but it cannot compare with the Quanzhen sect’s kung fu foundations. Within the first ten years of practicing, the students of White Camel Mountain’s internal energy will have increased very quickly until ten years pass, then the students of Quanzhen sect will have slowly caught up and start to overtake it. The two sect’s internal energies are very different, but because Cui Zhifang had just given a push without any real intent, it was hard for him to tell the difference.

Yang Guo had been pushed by him, and was winded, and knew that he wanted to fight him. Right now, he feared neither heaven nor earth, even if Qiu Chuji was here in person, he would still fight him, why would he care about Cui Zhifang? He then lowered his head and rushed forward, aiming for his lower abdomen. How could Cui Zhifang mess around with a child, he smiled and stepped aside, he wanted to see his real kung fu, so he said, “Qingdu, come and duel with apprentice brother Yang, watch yourself and don’t be too severe!”

Lu Qingdu could not believe those words, he immediately jumped in front of Yang Guo, his left palm came down, Yang Guo escaped to the right, Lu Qingdu hit out his right palm, this palm was the “Tiger’s Way Hand”, the strength behind it was not weak, a thudding sound, as Yang Guo was struck in the chest.

If Yang Guo had not been practicing the White Camel Mountain’s internal energy, he would have definitely thrown up a pool of blood. He felt a severe pain in his chest; his face was as white as a sheet of paper. Lu Qingdu saw that he had not felled Yang Guo with this palm, and secretly felt that he was careless, his right fist now came down at Yang Guo. Yang Guo stretched out his arms to attack; he didn’t understand the finer points of fist skills; so he didn’t know the best way to repel this incoming attack. Lu Qingdu moved his right fist and came out with his left fist, another thudding sound as he hit Yang Guo in the stomach. Yang Guo bent down with pain. Lu Qingdu didn’t hold back, a right palm came crashing down on Yang Guo’s neck. He wanted to hurt him, wanting him to fall over now, wanting to avenge what he did to him. His life was on the line now but he still did not fall down, but now Yang Guo was dazed and didn’t have the strength to retaliate.

Cui Zhijing knew then that he didn’t know any martial arts skills and said, “Qingdu, hold!”

Lu Qingdu said to Yang Guo, “Do you respect me now?”

Yang Guo shouted, “You damn Taoist, I’m going to kill you one day!”

Lu Qingdu was furious, and punched him twice in the nose.

Yang Guo was beaten badly, he was wobbling and was about to fall down. He didn’t know where he was when suddenly a flow of warm chi surged through his “dan tian”, and he saw that Lu Qingdu was about to throw a third punch at him. There was no way to dodge, no where to escape, he spontaneously bent both legs and gave out a loud shout, his palm pushed out, hitting Lu Qingdu in the stomach. He saw a large body fly through the air, a thudding sound as dust flew everywhere in the arena, falling about ten feet away. The body was lying on the ground, and didn’t move.

The crowd of Taoists at the side watched Lu Qingdu taking advantage of his size and bullying someone smaller than him, and hitting Yang Guo venomously. It wasn’t right, the older generation apart from Zhao Zhijing came over to stop him, but they didn’t know there had been a sudden reversal of fortune. Lu Qingdu had been sent flying by Yang Guo’s palm, his body lying there like a corpse not moving, everyone was astounded and rushed over to take a closer look.

Normally Yang Guo would not have been able to use the “Toad Stance”, but in a life threatening situation, it could be used automatically. The first time this happened was on Peach Blossom Island where he knocked out Wu Xiuwen. After many months, his internal energy had increased; that, plus the fact that he hated Lu Qingdu, and it was comparable to the hate he felt for the Wu brothers, with this in mind, he was able to knock him flying across the arena. He heard the other Taoists say, “Oh no, it’s terrible, he’s dead! He’s not breathing; his internal organs have been hurt! Quickly go and tell the leader and bring him here.”

Yang Guo knew he had caused a major incident, no one was thinking in the midst of this chaos, he picked himself up and ran away. The Taoists were too busy with Lu Qingdu’s life and didn’t notice that Yang Guo had slipped away. Zhao Zhijing saw that Lu Qingdu’s eyes were rolled back, and didn’t know whether he was dead or alive. He was startled and angry, and shouted out, “Yang Guo, Yang Guo, where did you learn this witchcraft?” His skills were high, but he had remained at Chongyang Palace for most of the time, he didn’t know much, of course he would not recognize the techniques of the “Toad Stance”.

The Taoists turned around, but didn’t see Yang Guo. Zhao Zhijing then gave out an order, and told them to go and capture Yang Guo; they thought how far could a small child like him get to in a short space of time?

Yang Guo didn’t know the roads, and just ran, he eventually chose to dive into a forest. After a while, he heard shouts behind him, everyone was calling out from all directions, “Yang Guo, Yang Guo, come out quickly!” He was nervous, and ran away again; he felt someone was in front of him, a Taoist had seen him, and came after him. Yang Guo quickly turned around; in the west was another Taoist, who called out, “Here! Over here.” Yang Guo crouched down and crawled underneath a bush. The Taoists were too big to crawl through; they had to go around it to find him. Yang Guo managed to escape but didn’t know where to go. After Yang Guo went through the bush, he headed straight and after running for a while, he heard the voices become quieter but he still didn’t dare stop. He avoided the paths, and ran through the long grass and rocks; he became bruised and cut up all over. When he couldn’t move any more he sat down on a rock to catch his breath. He sat for a little while, but then he thought; “Escape quickly, escape quickly.” But his legs felt like they weighed a ton, he almost couldn’t stand up straight. He heard someone laugh coldly from behind, Yang Guo was startled and turned around, his heart jumped out of his mouth, as he saw a man with deep brows and flared eyes, a beard hanging to his chest, it was Zhao Zhijing.

The two stared at each other for several minutes; during this time they did not move an inch. Yang Guo suddenly shouted and turned around to run away. Zhao Zhijing went forward and stretched out his arm and grabbed his chest. Yang Guo jumped forward and it was lucky he gained a few inches and managed to escape his clutches. He then picked up a rock, and flung it backwards with all his strength. Zhao Zhijing swerved to the side, he increased his speed and the distance between the two closed. Yang Guo ran madly for about twenty steps, and saw a deep ditch in front of him but he had run out places to run to; he didn’t know whether below was a deep valley or a mountain gorge but he didn’t give it a thought and threw his body forward.

Zhao Zhijing ran to the steep ditch and looked on, he saw Yang Guo rolling through the grass down the slope, and eventually into a cluster of trees. From where he was standing to the bottom was about sixty or seventy feet, he didn’t dare jump down; he quickly ran down the grassy slope. He saw the trail of flattened grass left heading into the forest, but he didn’t see a trace of Yang Guo. As he went deeper it became tighter, eventually so dense that light was shut out. He went forward for about one hundred feet, and then suddenly stopped; he was now on the land of the Tomb of the Living Dead where the sect’s ancestor had spent his younger years. Their sect had a strict rule: no one is allowed to take one step into the place. “Had Yang Guo escaped into here?” He wasn’t pleased, he shouted, “Yang Guo, Yang Guo come out quickly!”

He shouted a few times, the forest became silent, he became bold and took a few steps forward and saw a large stone slab. He took a closer look. Some words were engraved on it, “Outsiders stop now”. Zhao Zhijing paced back and forth for an hour, he then loudly called out, “Yang Guo you little scoundrel, if you don’t come out I’ll catch you and beat you to death.” After he said this, he suddenly heard a sound coming from the forest, he saw a grey mist moving, and a swarm of white bees came out from the leaves and flew towards him.

Zhao Zhijing was startled, he waved his sleeve trying to push away the bees, his internal strength was deep, there was considerable power in his sweeps, but after waving many times, the swarm of bees became two, one coming from the front, the other coming from behind. Zhao Zhijing became even more frightened; he didn’t dare to be slow and waved his arms frantically, protecting his body. The swarms dispersed, but then came back to attack from all directions from top to bottom, east to west, north and south. Zhao Zhijing didn’t dare to defend anymore, he protected his face and turned around and ran out of the forest.

The swarm of Jade Bees followed, although they weren’t very quick there wasn’t anywhere to hide. Zhao Zhijing headed east, the Jade Bees followed and headed east, he headed west, the Jade Bees followed and headed west. His arm movements became slower; two bees flew through the gap and stung his right cheek. In a short while, Zhao Zhijing felt numb and it was hard to move, his internal organs began to itch, he thought, “My time is up today!”

Eventually he couldn’t keep his legs still, and rolled in the grass by the forest, crying out loudly. The swarm of bees flew around his body for a while, and then returned to the forest.