The Return of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 7

The Yunü Heart Manual.

Yang Guo and Xiao Longnu rushed through the passages of the tomb, and hurriedly exited the tomb; Yang Guo was delighted and took some deep breaths under the starlight. He said, “Gu Gu, I’ll lower the ‘Dragon Snapping Stone’ and trap the two evil women in the tomb.” As he said this he searched around for the switch to the booby trap.

Xiao Longnu shook her head and said, “Wait, let me return inside first. My master instructed me to guard the tomb, and mustn’t allow it to fall into other people hands.”

Yang Guo said, “If we block the door, they won’t be able to live.”

Xiao Longnu said, “If that happens, I won’t be able to return to the tomb. I will never dare to disobey my master. Not like you!” She stared at him.

Yang Guo’s blood rose through his chest, he held her arm and said, “Gu Gu, I’ll listen to you orders.”

Xiao Longnu resisted her feelings, she was afraid of getting emotional, she didn’t dare to say another word and pulled his hand off, she entered the tomb and said, “Lower the stone!” She kept her back to him, she was afraid she was going to change her mind so she didn’t look at him again.

Yang Guo made up his mind, he breathed in deeply, his chest was filled with the fragrance of flowers and grasses, he looked up and saw the sky filled with stars, glittering continuously, and thought, “This is the last time I’ll be able to look at stars.” He quickly went to the left of the tomb’s monument, and followed the instructions of Xiao Longnu, he used his internal energy to shift a stone, behind it was a round stone, he held the round stone and pulled out. The stone revealed a hole, sand started to pour out, and the two large stones above the tomb’s door descended slowly down.

The two stones weighed over ten tonnes, years ago when Wang Chongyang was designing the tomb; he had used the combined strength of hundreds to complete it. Now the tomb was being sealed, even if Li Mochou, Xiao Longnu and Hong Lingbo’s skills were higher, they will not be able to escape from the tomb.

Xiao Longnu heard the sound of the stones descending; she couldn’t hold back her tears and turned around. Yang Guo waited for the stone to be two feet away from the ground and then suddenly used a stance “The Jade Girl’s Dive” (yu nuu tou suo), his body like an arrow darting through the space.

Xiao Longnu gave out an alarmed call, Yang Guo got up, smiled and said, “Gu Gu, you can’t send me out anymore.” As he finished, heavy loud sounds were heard, the two large stones had reached the ground.

Xiao Longnu’s tears and emotions reached their peak, her face looked as if she was going to faint again, she leaned against the stone wall out of breath, after a while she said, “Fine, we’ll die together.” She held Yang Guo’s hand and went back into the heart of the tomb.

Li Mochou and her disciple were searching around for the switch everywhere; they didn’t have the slightest clue and were getting anxious, when the two suddenly appeared. They couldn’t help from being pleased. Li Mochou’s body immediately darted behind the two, blocking their path of escape.

Xiao Longnu coldly said, “Apprentice sister, I’ll take you to a place.”

Li Mochou didn’t reply and thought, “There are traps everywhere in the tomb, don’t listen to her. If she’s up to something then I won’t be able to guard against it.”

Xiao Longnu said, “I’m taking you to see Master’s tomb, if you don’t want to, fine.”

Li Mochou said, “There is no need to use Master’s name to lie to me.”

Xiao Longnu chuckled and didn’t reply, and walked out of the door. Li Mochou felt that her words seemed like an order, it sounded like no one can disobey, and so the two of them followed, taking care in every step, not daring to be careless. Xiao Longnu held Yang Guo’s hand and led the way, she wasn’t afraid of being ambushed by Li Mochou, and led the two to the coffin room.

Li Mochou had never been here; she remembered the teachings of her master and felt slightly touched; but then she thought of how her Master was biased and her emotions immediately changed to anger. She didn’t kowtow to her Master’s coffin and said, “Our master disciple relationship has long been cut; why have you brought me here?”

Xiao Longnu calmly said, “There are two empty coffins, one for me and one for you. I’ll let you pick, which one do you want?” She pointed to the two coffins.

Li Mochou was alarmed and shouted, “You dare to make fun of me?” As she finished she threw out a palm towards Xiao Longnu’s chest. She didn’t know that Xiao Longnu would ignore the palm when she saw it coming.

Li Mochou was alarmed and thought, “This palm will kill you.” The palm was inches away from Xiao Longnu’s chest, when she took the palm back. Xiao Longnu said calmly, “Apprentice sister, the tomb’s ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ have been activated!”

Li Mochou’s face immediately turned white, although she didn’t know much about the tomb’s booby traps, she knew that the ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ were the tomb’s most powerful and last line of defense. Years ago her master had come up against a strong enemy, she almost activated the ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’, blocking the enemy outside, but eventually she was able to hurt the enemy with the “Soul Freezing Silver Needles” and “Jade Bee Needles”. She would never have guessed that her apprentice sister would trap herself in the tomb, alarmed and frightened, her voice quavered, “You have another way out, don’t you?”

Xiao Longnu calmly said, “When the ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ are set, there is no other way out of the tomb, don’t you know this?”

Li Mochou clutched Xiao Longnu’s dress and said, “You lie!”

Xiao Longnu didn’t move and said, “The “Jade Heart Manual” that master left is over there, if you want to take a look, go ahead. Guo’er and I are here; if you want to kill us, go ahead. But if you want to leave the tomb alive, then I’m afraid it won’t be possible!”

Li Mochou’s hand gradually loosened, and she stood still. She saw that Xiao Longnu had a carefree air, and knew that she wasn’t lying and said, “Fine, I’ll kill you two first!” She threw out a palm at Xiao Longnu. Yang Guo quickly moved in front of Xiao Longnu’s body, shielding her and called out, “Kill me first!”

Li Mochou’s palm became heavy, when the palm reached Xiao Longnu she wasn’t able to exert its power, she looked at Yang Guo with hate and said, “The way you are protecting her, you are willing to die for her, aren’t you?”

Yang Guo calmly said, “That’s correct!”

Li Mochou’s left hand darted out and took the sword from his waist, and pointed it at his throat and said, “I am only going to kill one person. Tell me, is it going to be you or her?”

Yang Guo didn’t reply, he only looked at Xiao Longnu and smiled. The two of them had already forgotten about life and death; they didn’t care who Li Mochou was going to kill.

Li Mochou sighed and said, “Apprentice sister, your oath has been released, and you can leave the mountain now.”

Years ago, the ancient Tomb’s founder Lin Chaoying recollected her feelings for Wang Chongyang, and was unable to forget him in the end. A broken hearted Lin Chaoying made a rule, those who wanted to be her heir will first have to swear an oath that they will live in the tomb forever, never to leave Mount Zhongnan; but if there was a man who was willing to die for them, then the oath will be released. But the man must not know this oath. Lin Chaoying was positive that there wasn’t a man on earth who treated love above all else. The hero Wang Chongyang had become a Taoist, for her there wouldn’t be a man who would die willingly for their loved one. If there was such a man, her descendants will not leave the mountain in vain. Li Mochou entered the sect before Xiao Longnu, but because she didn’t take the oath, Xiao Longnu became the heir.

Li Mochou saw that Yang Guo was sincere towards Xiao Longnu, and couldn’t help becoming envious. She became angry again as she remembered how Lu Zhanyuan rejected her, she frowned as she called out, “Apprentice sister, you are very lucky.” She thrust the sword towards Yang Guo’s throat. Xiao Longnu saw that she was really going to kill him, now that the time had come, she wasn’t able to stop herself from saving him. She waved her left hand; more than ten “Jade Bee Needles” were thrown out.

Li Mochou quickly leapt back to avoid the poisonous needles. Xiao Longnu took Yang Guo’s hand and darted to the door, she turned around and said, “Apprentice sister, it doesn’t matter whether my oath has been released or not, our four lives will perish in the tomb. I don’t want to see your faces, just go and die on your own.” She extended her hand to a switch and activated it, the stone door descended, separating the four again.

Xiao Longnu was emotional; it was hard for her to walk. Yang Guo took her to Grandma Sun’s room to rest, and took out two jars of Jade Bee honey; he fed her a bottle and drank one himself.

Xiao Longnu quietly sighed and said, “Guo’er, why were you willing to die for me?”

Yang Guo said, “On this earth, only you treat me well, why should I be afraid to die for you?”

Xiao Longnu didn’t say anything. Half an hour later she said, “If I’d known earlier, then there was no need for us to return to the tomb and die with them. But if we didn’t return, I wouldn’t have known that you were willingly to die for me; my oath would not have been released.”

Yang Guo said, “Why don’t we try to find a way to get out of here?”

Xiao Longnu said, “You know about the tomb, so you should know that that there is no way out for us.”

Yang Guo sighed.

Xiao Longnu said, “You regret it, don’t you?”

Yang Guo said, “No, now I’m with you, outside, there’s no one that loves me.”

Xiao Longnu had not allowed him to say ‘you care about me’ in the past, and Yang Guo never mentioned it again; but now she’s had a change of heart, when she heard this she couldn’t help but feel touched, and asked, “So why did you sigh?”

Yang Guo said, “I was thinking that if we left the mountain, there are countless fun things to do, and with you by my side, life would be immensely enjoyable.”

Xiao Longnu had grown up in the tomb, her heart has always been as cold as ice, her master and Grandma Sun never mentioned the matters of the outside world, so of course she never thought about it. Now Yang Guo mentioned it, she felt her emotions soar, but felt blood rising up into her chest, and tried to circulate her chi to counter it, however she wasn’t able to make herself calm, and was frightened. She has never experienced this in her life, and knew that after recovering from her injury, she will not be able to recover her internal energy. She didn’t know that this method of suppressing her emotions was against the natural flow of things, being loveless doesn’t mean you will be able to do this, only by applying chi strictly can one succeed. She was now past twenty, in her time of danger, a young man was willing to die for her, and she didn’t want to reveal her true feelings and wanted to guard against injuring herself further. She tried to suppress her thoughts.

She sat on the bed and meditated for a while, but became impatient, and got off the bed and walked around, she was becoming bored. Her steps became quicker and she was dashing around the room. Yang Guo saw that her cheeks were red, and she seemed emotional, he had never seen her like this before, and he was startled. After walking around for a while she sat down heavily on the bed, and looked at Yang Guo, and saw a concerned expression on his face and thought, “Right now I am about to die, so is he. Why should we distinguish ourselves as master and disciple, auntie and nephew? If he comes and hugs me, I won’t push him away, and will allow him to hold me tightly.”

Yang Guo saw that she had tears in her eyes, she was gasping for breath and assumed that she was having a reaction to her injury again and quickly said, “Gu Gu, are you okay?”

Xiao Longnu softly said, “Guo’er, come here.”

Yang Guo went over to the bedside and Xiao Longnu grasped his hand and lightly brushed her face with it and quietly said, “Guo’er, do you love me?”

Yang Guo felt her face was as hot as a fire; he was frightened and quivered, “Does your chest hurt?”

Xiao Longnu smiled and said, “No, my heart feels extremely comfortable. Guo’er, I’m going to die soon, tell me, do you love me very much?”

Yang Guo said, “Of course, on this earth, you are my only loved one.”

Xiao Longnu said, “If another girl treats you the way I treat you, would you treat them like you treat me?”

Yang Guo said, “Whoever treats me well, I’ll treat them well back.” When he said this he felt the hand that Xiao Longnu held him with quivered, and immediately turned cold as ice, he raised his head and saw that her red face had now turned pale and white, as she was normally.

Yang Guo was alarmed and said, “What did I say wrong?”

Xiao Longnu said, “If you are going to love other girls then its better that you don’t love me.”

Yang Guo smiled and said, “We’ll die in a few days, when will I be able to love other girls? Could it be that I’m going to treat Li Mochou and her disciple well?”

Xiao Longnu smiled captivatingly and said, “I’m really stupid. But I want to hear you swear an oath with you own mouth.”

Yang Guo said, “Swear what?”

Xiao Longnu said, “I want you to say, from now on you will only have me in your heart, if there is another girl, I will be allowed to kill you.”

Yang Guo smiled and said, “It goes without saying, I will never do this, if I actually did something wrong and don’t listen to you, then I deserve to die.” He then swore, “Disciple Yang Guo, I will only have Gu Gu in my heart in my lifetime, if my heart changes, there will be no need for Gu Gu to kill me, when I see her face I will kill myself.”

Xiao Longnu was delighted and said, “Very good, I can relax now.” She held his hand tightly, not letting go. Yang Guo felt warmth returning to her hands.

Xiao Longnu said, “Guo’er, I haven’t been kind.”

Yang Guo quickly said, “No, you have always been kind.”

Xiao Longnu shook her head and said, “I treated you terribly before, at first I kicked you out of the tomb, it was lucky that Grandma Sun made me promise to take care of you. If I didn’t turn you away, Grandma Sun would not have died!” When she said this, she couldn’t stop tears flowing from her eyes. She had begun to practice martial arts at the age of five, and had never cried since; now she cried heavily, she was in a disturbed state of mind, her bones and joints made cracking noises, and she felt her internal energy draining away from her.

Yang Guo was alarmed and said, “Gu Gu, what’s happening? How are you feeling?”

Just as he said this, two ‘zha’ ‘zha’ noises were heard from behind and the stone door opened, Li Mochou and Hong Lingbo entered. Once the ‘Dragon Snapping Stone’ had been set, Li Mochou thought they were going to die anyway so there wasn’t any need to be wary of the tomb’s booby traps, and boldly dashed throughout the tomb. She managed to go through some rooms before finally arriving at Grandma Sun’s room. She knew she must have had extraordinary luck, she managed to avoid the booby traps but she didn’t know that the tomb’s booby traps were actually designed to repel Jin soldiers, once the large heavy stones had been set, someone must activate the traps to ambush the enemy. Xiao Longnu didn’t do this, and so the tomb’s booby traps were not armed.

Yang Guo immediately darted across, and blocked Xiao Longnu.

Li Mochou said, “Move out of the way, I have something to say to your master.”

Yang Guo was afraid that she was going to harm his master and didn’t dare to move and said, “Just say it there.”

Li Mochou stared at him for a while and sighed, and said, “There are very few men like you left in this world.”

Xiao Longnu got up and asked, “Apprentice sister, is it good or bad that you have described him this way?”

Li Mochou said, “Apprentice sister, you have never left the mountain, you don’t know how evil people’s hearts can be. Someone who views love and passion as deeply as him, it would be difficult to find another under heaven’s skies.” She has been hurt by love, her anger and fury was great, and she killed many men in the world who were loving and passionate.

Xiao Longnu was extremely pleased and quietly said, “If that is true, then having him die with me won’t make my life be without purpose.”

Li Mochou said, “Apprentice sister, who exactly is that person to you? You want to marry him?”

Xiao Longnu said, “No, he is my disciple. He said I treat him extremely well. But whether I have been kind or not, I don’t know.”

Li Mochou was puzzled, she shook her head and said, “Apprentice sister; let me see your arm.” She stretched out her left hand and grasped Xiao Longnu’s arm, she lifted her right arm’s sleeve and saw on her white skin a red dot, it was the ‘shou gong sha’ (virginity dot) left by her master.

Li Mochou was secretly respectful, “The two of them having a relationship like this in the tomb yet they’ve kept respect, she is still a pure and untouched virgin.” She then rolled up her sleeve, a ‘shou gong sha’ was on her arm, the sight of two white arms next two each other was captivating. She had no alternative but to be chaste; however her apprentice sister has a lover who was willing to die for her, fortunate and unfortunate. The two women were very different, she couldn’t stop herself from sighing, and let go of Xiao Longnu’s hand.

Xiao Longnu said, “What have you got to say to me?”

Li Mochou had originally wanted to insult her, saying that she seduced men and had brought the sect to shame, and thereby anger her into revealing the way out of the tomb. But right now she had nothing to say. After a while, she had another idea, and said, “Apprentice sister, I have come to apologize to you.”

Xiao Longnu was shocked by this, she knew that her apprentice sister was a very proud woman, never has she lowered her head to anyone, she didn’t know what she wanted. So she calmly replied, “You live your life, and I live mine, we go our own ways, there is no need to apologize for anything.”

Li Mochou said, “Apprentice sister listen to me, in my entire life, the happiest time was when I had a lover. There’s an old saying ‘It’s easy to get money and treasures, but it’s difficult to find a lover’. There is no need to talk about sister’s bitter life. That young man treats you well, you do not lack anything.”

Xiao Longnu smiled and said, “Yes, I am very happy. I know that he will never forget about me.”

Li Mochou’s heart ached and said, “You should leave the mountain and enjoy life. It’s a beautiful world; the two of you together will have boundless pleasures.”

Xiao Longnu raised her head and quietly said, “Yes, it’s just a pity that it is too late now.”

Li Mochou said, “Why?”

Xiao Longnu said, “The ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ has been set, even if our Master was resurrected, will we not be able to get out of here.”

Li Mochou quietly breathed out, blowing through her lips and thought, “you had hoped to take advantage of Xiao Longnu’s will to live, and rely on her familiarity with the tomb to find a way out; but in the end it was useless”, she became angry and her urge to kill suddenly emerged, her hand twisted slightly and she raised a palm towards Xiao Longnu’s head.

Yang Guo was at the side listening to the two of them talking when he suddenly saw Li Mochou attack, alarmed, he automatically lowered his body and threw out two palms, called out, and unleashed the “Toad Stance” that Ouyang Feng had taught him. This was the kung fu he learned when he was younger, but since he lived in the tomb he did not practice it. But it was etched in his mind, at the most dangerous times he would use it without thinking. Li Mochou’s palm had yet to be unleashed, when she suddenly felt an extremely powerful wind pushing her from the side, she quickly sent the palm out to block the attack. Yang Guo had practiced martial arts in the tomb for two years, his internal energy had improved, though it was different to the internal energy of the “Toad Stance”, the power behind the push was still great, a thudding sound was made as he sent Li Mochou across the room, and she crashed into the wall causing pain in her back.

Li Mochou was angry and she wiped her palms, in the middle of a battle she fell into someone’s trap.

Xiao Longnu knew that Yang Guo’s last attack was a lucky hit, if her apprentice sister used her most refined “Divine Serpent Palm”, Yang Guo and she would not be able to hold her off. She grabbed Yang Guo’s arm and dashed towards the door.

Li Mochou sent out a palm, she didn’t guess that while her palm was in midair she would be struck across the left cheek. Although it didn’t hurt the sound was crisp, she heard Xiao Longnu call out, “You want to learn the skills of the “Jade Heart Manual”; well here it is!” Li Mochou was struck on the right cheek and she was also startled by what she said. She knew that the “Jade Heart Manual” was extremely powerful, and now she saw Xiao Longnu’s palm was extremely swift and quick, the variations mysterious, it was undoubtedly from their sect’s skills. But she couldn’t see through it or understand the essence of the palm, but knew that the skills just used belonged to the “Jade Heart Manual”. She immediately became frightened, and stared as her apprentice sister took Yang Guo’s hand and exited the room, shutting the door. She felt her cheek and thought, “At least she held back, if she used all her strength behind the palms, wouldn’t I have died?” She didn’t know that Xiao Longnu had yet to complete this kung fu, although the palm stances were refined, the power in them would not hurt anyone.

Yang Guo saw his master strike Li Mochou’s cheek and was delighted and said, “Gu Gu, Li Mochou would definitely not be able to beat the manual’s skills” before he finished he saw Xiao Longnu shaking and she wasn’t able to control it, alarmed, he called out, “Gu Gu, how are you…you” and Xiao Longnu shivered and said, “I’m… I’m cold.”

Although the attacks she used were light, she still had to use her internal energy. She had yet to recover her internal energy; this injury was serious. She has always practiced on the Chilled Jade Bed, her foundation was of this nature, now the strength to oppose was gone; an extreme cold penetrated her and her teeth chattered incessantly.

Yang Guo was alarmed and called out, “What should I do?” In this urgent situation he held Xiao Longnu tightly, using his body heat to counter the cold, but after a while he felt she was becoming colder, he himself gradually could not endure it for much longer.

Xiao Longnu felt her internal energy dripping away, and said, “Guo’er, I won’t make it, take me to the room with the stone coffins.”

Yang Guo was distressed and couldn’t say anything, but he thought about how they only had a few days to live anyway, it would be just the same if he died with her now so he quickly replied, “Fine.” He carried her to the room and then placed her on one of the lids and lit a candle. In candlelight, and with the backdrop of the stone coffins, Xiao Longnu appeared even weaker.

Xiao Longnu said, “Push one of the lids open and place me in the coffin.”

Yang Guo said, “Alright!”

Xiao Longnu couldn’t hear any sadness in his voice and was slightly surprised. Yang Guo pushed open one of the stone lids and placed her inside the coffin, and then leaped inside, lying together face to face with her. The two of them together in the coffin didn’t allow much space to move.

Xiao Longnu was happy and also puzzled, she asked, “What are you doing?”

Yang Guo said, “Of course I’m going to follow you. I’ll let the other two sleep in the other coffin.”

Xiao Longnu gave a deep sigh, she was feeling calm and relaxed, her body’s coldness wasn’t as severe as before. She turned her eyes on Yang Guo and saw his eyes looking at her. Her dress was on top of Yang Guo, she wished that Yang Guo would put his arms around her, but she saw his arms were straight; they were placed in his lap as they should be, afraid that he was going to touch her.

Xiao Longnu was slightly embarrassed, her face turned red, she turned her face away not daring to look at Yang Guo; her mind was enchanted for half an hour when she suddenly saw that something was written on the coffin lid. She looked closely and indeed there were some words:

“The art of the Jade Heart Manual wants to overcome Quanzhen’s. But Chongyang, in his life, was inferior no one.”

The words were written in heavy ink, the words refined and their form large. The lid was only half open yet it was very clear.

Xiao Longnu gave an ‘hmm’ sound and said, “What does this mean?”

Yang Guo followed her eyes and saw the words; he pondered and said, “It’s written by Wang Chongyang?”

Xiao Longnu said, “It looks like it was written by him. He is saying that our “Jade Heart Manual” is superior to Quanzhen’s kung fu, but he is saying that he is not weaker than our Ancestor Grandma, isn’t that it?”

Yang Guo laughed and said, “That old Taoist is bullshitting.”

Xiao Longnu looked at the words again, and saw that after them, there were many small words, because the words were small and they were lower down on the lid, Xiao Longnu couldn’t make it out and said, “Guo’er, get out.”

Yang Guo shook his head and said, “I won’t leave.”

Xiao Longnu smiled and said, “Just get out for a second and you can come back to be with me later.” Yang Guo climbed out of the coffin.

Xiao Longnu sat up, and got Yang Guo to lower the candle, and then turned her body around to read the small words. She looked at the words and read each one, after she finished two passages she felt that she had no strength left and the candle fell onto her chest. Yang Guo’s hand quickly darted in and pulled her out of the stone coffin and asked, “What is it? What does the writing say?”

Xiao Longnu regained her composure and then sighed again, and said, “After Ancestor Grandma died, Wang Chongyang returned to the tomb.”

Yang Guo asked, “Why did he come back?”

Xiao Longnu said, “He came back to pay his respects to our ancestor. He saw that the “Jade Heart Manual” martial art skills left on the ceiling of the training room had defeated all the skills of the Quanzhen sect. The writing left on the lid says that the martial arts that our ancestor defeated were Quanzhen’s basic and coarse skills, but compared with the most advanced skills of Quanzhen, the skills of the “Jade Heart Manual” could not defeat them?

Yang Guo gave an ‘humph’ sound and said, “Ancestor Grandma is dead, he could say whatever he wants.”

Xiao Longnu said, “He also said that in another room he has the techniques to defeat the “Jade Heart Manual”, if her descendants were fated to, they will know it when they see it.”

Yang Guo was curious and said, “Gu Gu. Let’s go take a look.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Wang Chongyang stated that the room is below this one. I have lived here for a lifetime and didn’t know that such a room exists.”

Yang Guo begged, “Gu Gu, let’s think of a way to get there.”

Xiao Longnu wasn’t strict with him anymore, although she was tired, she let him have his way and smiled, and said, “OK!”

They looked all around the room, and in the end they came back to the coffin they had just rested in and she said, “This stone coffin was left by Wang Chongyang. The base opens.”

Yang Guo was delighted and said, “Ah, I know, it’s the way to that room.” He leapt into the coffin and searched around; true enough, he found a hollow for a hand, he pulled up strongly, but nothing happened.

Xiao Longnu said, “First turn to the left and then pull up.”

Yang Guo followed the instructions, a ‘ka’ sound was heard as a stone panel on the base of the coffin responded to the switch; he was delighted and called out, “Let’s go!”

Xiao Longnu said, “There’s no need to rush, let the old air rush out first and then we can go.”

Yang Guo was sitting restlessly, after a while he said, “Gu Gu, can we go now?”

Xiao Longnu sighed and said, “With your impatient character, it must have been hard for you living with me for the last few years.” She slowly got up, and picked up a candle, and went down into the coffin with Yang Guo, below it was a series of stone steps that formed a short passageway, after a few turns they did indeed arrived at a stone chamber.

The room was empty, and both of them looked up at the ceiling, it was covered with carvings and symbols; on the far right were written the words “Nine Yin Manual”.

The two of them didn’t know the “Nine Yin Manual” was martial arts at its highest level; they looked at it for a while and felt that it was hard to explain.

Xiao Longnu said, “Even if that kung fu is unbeatable, it is of no use to us.”

Yang Guo sighed and was about to lower his head when something got his eye in the southwestern corner, a picture, it had nothing to do with martial arts, he looked closer and saw it looked like a map and asked, “What’s that?”

Xiao Longnu followed his finger and stared at it for a while, her body was like a corpse, not moving an inch. After a long while, she was still like statue, lost in thought as she examined the map closely. Yang Guo was frightened and tugged her sleeve, and asked, “Gu Gu, what is it?”

Xiao Longnu gave a moan, and suddenly fell into his chest and started crying.

Yang Guo softly said, “Your body hurts again, isn’t it?”

Xiao Longnu said, “No, it’s not that.” After half an hour she said, “We can escape from here.”

Yang Guo was delighted and leapt up, and called out, “Really?”

Xiao Longnu nodded her head and quietly said, “That map reveals the secret passage out of here.” She was familiar with the layout of the tomb, one look and she understood the map.

Yang Guo was ecstatic and said, “That’s great! Why are you crying?”

Xiao Longnu contained her tears and smiled, and said, “I never used to fear death, I was going to live in the tomb forever, die early, die late, what difference would it make? However in the last few days I’ve felt the urge to go and see the outside world. Guo’er, I’m afraid and happy.”

Yang Guo tugged her hand and said, “Gu Gu, when we go outside together, I’ll pick flowers for you to wear, and I’ll catch crickets for you to play with, okay?”

Although he has grown up, all his thoughts were either amusing or about things that children play and do. Xiao Longnu had never played with anyone, she listened quietly to what he said, and thought, “It’ll be better if we leave as soon as possible.” But her body was sore, and had no strength, she wasn’t able to endure anymore and slowly rested on Yang Guo’s shoulder. Yang Guo talked for a while and didn’t hear her reply so he turned his head around to take a look, her eyes were closed, her breathing slow, she had fallen into a deep sleep. He was feeling tranquil; he was tired as well and eventually also fell asleep.

After a long while, he felt his back ached; someone had sealed the ‘Centre’ (zhong shu) pressure point on his back. He woke up alarmed, and wanted to jump up but someone was holding his neck down and preventing him from moving. He turned his head and saw Li Mochou and her disciple standing there laughing; his master also had her pressure points sealed. Yang Guo and Xiao Longnu didn’t have the Jianghu experience of guarding yourself; in their delight, they had forgotten to go back up and close the coffin lid. Li Mochou had discovered that there was a room below the coffin and succeeded in her ambush.

Li Mochou chuckled and said, “Good, this is such a comfortable place here, and the two of you escaped to enjoy such comfort. Apprentice sister; think long and hard, you might be able to think of a way out of here.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Even if I knew, I wouldn’t tell you.”

Li Mochou had believed what she said before, once the ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ were set, there was no way out; but judging from the tone in her last two sentences, it sounded like she did know the way out of here. When Li Mochou heard this she was delighted, and said, “Kind apprentice sister, if you take us out of here, I will never bother you again.”

Xiao Longnu said, “You came here by yourself, you can find a way out by yourself, why do you need me to lead you out.”

Li Mochou knew that her apprentice sister was tough to break, even in the days when master was still here, she still had to be wary of her, using force would be of no use. But right now it is a matter of life and death; she still needed to try to force it out of her some way so she sealed their ‘Charging Sky’ (tian tu) pressure points on their necks, and sealed their ‘Fifth Centre’ (wu shu) pressure point on the abdomen. The ‘Charging Sky’ pressure point was where the body holds together its yin, the main blood vessels return here, the ‘Fifth Centre’ pressure point is where the ‘little yin’ vessels return. Li Mochou used the pressure point skills of the Ancient Tomb sect. She knew that in not too long, their body would start to become numb and the pain hard to endure, they would have to reveal the secret.

Xiao Longnu closed her eyes and ignored it. Yang Guo called out, “If we knew the way out, then why didn’t we escape instead of staying here?”

Li Mochou laughed and said, “You have just revealed that you know the way out, don’t deny it. Of course she would know that the tomb has to have a secret passage out, when you two had rested fully, you would have got out. Apprentice sister, are you going to tell me?”

Xiao Longnu quietly said, “When you get out, all you are going to think about is how to kill people, what good is having you leaving this place?”

Li Mochou folded her arms and sat to one side, she chuckled and did not reply.

Yang Guo couldn’t endure anymore and said, “Hey, Li Mochou, the pressure point sealing techniques that Ancestor Grandma passed down was supposed to be used on the enemy, why are you using it against us? You are using it to harm your apprentice sister, how can you face Ancestor Grandma?”

Li Mochou laughed and said, “You are calling me Li Mochou, we are not old friends.”

Yang Guo whispered into Xiao Longnu’s ear and said, “Don’t reveal the secret path out, if she doesn’t find out, she won’t kill us; once she finds out she will kill us immediately.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Ah, you are correct, I didn’t think of that. I wasn’t planning on telling her anyway.” She was lying on the floor, she opened her eyes and saw the map and thought, “It would be awful if apprentice sister finds out about the map. I mustn’t look at it in case I draw her attention.”

Years ago, Wang Chongyang had known that Lin Chaoying had left the earth, and reminisced about her; his debts to her were immeasurable, but people and ghosts are worlds apart. He wasn’t able to console the pain he had in his heart so he secretly entered the tomb. He avoided her maid, and stared at the things that his old friend left, and cried, and then took a look around the tomb he designed. He saw the painting that Lin Chaoying drew, and saw the markings left by her in the two training rooms. He saw the skills of the “Jade Heart Manual” were refined and ingenious, every stance was the “Black Star” to Quanzhen’s martial arts, he couldn’t stop his face from turning grey and he left the tomb.

He retreated deep into the mountains and built a thatched hut. He didn’t leave it for three years, studying a way to break the skills of the “Jade Heart Manual”; although there were a few successes, he wasn’t able to develop a complete set of skills to counter it. He was down heartened, and respected Lin Chaoying’s intelligence even more, he admitted defeat and stopped researching.

Ten or so years later, he managed to get his hands on the extraordinary “Nine Yin Manual” after the Mount Hua tournament. He made his mind up, he wasn’t going to learn the skills within the manual, but curiosity defeated him, and he couldn’t refrain from taking a look.

His martial arts at that time was the world’s greatest, the skills in the “Nine Yin Manual” were all profound and refined, after a glance and pondering for ten days, he understood, he laughed out loud to the sky, and returned to the tomb, and left the main aspects of the “Nine Yin Manual” on the ceiling in the most hidden room in the tomb, and the stances that would defeat the “Jade Heart Manual”. He studied the tomb’s circumstances, and assumed that the heirs of Lin Chaoying would use the empty coffin. They would only use it when they were about to die and waiting for death, and at that time then they would know that the founder of the Quanzhen sect had never lost to anyone in his life. He left words on the lid of the coffin, telling the descendants of Lin Chaoying before they died, that the martial arts of the founder of the Quanzhen sect would not be defeated by the skills of the “Jade Heart Manual”.

At that time, he was just impulsive and proud, he didn’t mean to leave the “Nine Yin Manual” behind in the world, and assumed that when the descendants of Lin Chaoying saw the “Nine Yin Manual”, they would be at their last breath and could only take the secret to the grave with them.

Wang Chongyang and Lin Chaoying were both gifted in martial arts, and formed a heavenly pair. Between the two, there wasn’t a third person that interfered with the relationship; also they didn’t have any matters to resolve with relatives, apprentice brother, sister or enemies. Before Wang Chongyang entered the priesthood, he concentrated on fighting the Jin, and had no time for relationships. When he lost the war and retreated to the tomb, it was Lin Chaoying who came and comforted him, she was kind and touching, there wasn’t any reason for them not to be together. But from love it turned to hate, one became a Taoist; the other lived until death in the stone tomb. The actual reasons behind this, Qiu Chuji and the others did not know, it was difficult for Wang and Lin to explain themselves, they could only use the words ‘not meant to be’ to label what happened. ‘Not meant to be’ was the result and not the reason for their falling out.

Both of them were highly skilled and very proud; each assumed they were the higher. Every time the seeds of love were about to sprout, they struggled over their martial arts, neither backing down, even until death. Lin Chaoying invented the “Jade Heart Manual” to defeat the skill of the Quanzhen. Wang Chongyang didn’t admit defeat and so left the “Nine Yin Manual” in the tomb. Wang Chongyang thought about how Lin Chaoying invented the “Jade Heart Manual” by herself, and he himself relied on a book written by someone else, after their exchange, he yielded. After that he always warned his students to allow for times when they will be subdued, and to learn the Taoist ways well.

The map on the ceiling was left there when the tomb was first created, just in case the Jin surrounded the tomb, they would still have a way to escape. Even Lin Chaoying did not know about this passageway. Lin Chaoying only knew that once the ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’ have been set, they will perish with the enemy, she didn’t know that when Wang Chongyang designed the tomb, he had a strong will to retake the central plains, how could he allow one defeat to stop him? Later on when Wang Chongyang gave up the tomb to Lin Chaoying, he was afraid that Lin Chaoying would look down on him for leaving a way to save his life if he had to use the ‘Dragon Snapping Stones’. He would lose his manly air, so he didn’t tell her about it out of pride.

Xiao Longnu didn’t dare to look at the map, her eyes looked at another corner, and the words “Unsealing Pressure Points Technique” caught her eye. She shivered, and looked at the words and was delighted, almost too delighted in fact as she almost forgot to hide her joy by calling out. The technique shows how to unseal one’s pressure points, if one fire deviates when refining their kung fu, and the pressure points are sealed, they could use this technique to unseal it themselves. Those who practiced the “Nine Yin Manual” would have reached an extremely high standard of martial arts, it will be very rare for them to have their pressure points sealed by someone else; this technique was devised to quell one’s inner demons. When one cultivates highly advanced skill, one’s thoughts should be pure and clear. If your concentration is suddenly disturbed by random thoughts or anxiety (inner demons) the chances are high that you’ll die. In Xiao Longnu’s present situation, it was a life saving technique.

She thought, “If I’m able to unseal my vessels, but can’t defeat my apprentice sister, then it will of no use.” She then searched the writings on the ceilings, trying to search for a skill that she can use immediately, one that will, as soon as she uses it, allow her to subdue Li Mochou. After a quick glance she could see that each skill was hard and complicated, even the easiest one will take ten of days to learn. She didn’t dare to any more; she was afraid that Li Mochou will follow her eyes, look above, and discover the ceiling’s map and “Nine Yin Manual”.

She heard Yang Guo calling and shouting, arguing with Li Mochou. It was fortunate, her careful apprentice sister was now not taking any notice of her, she suddenly thought of a plan. She turned her head and memorized the “Nine Yin Manual’s Unsealing Pressure Point Technique” and “Air Closure Technique” (bi qi mi jue) sections, she moved her lips over Yang Guo’s ear and quietly taught him. Yang Guo immediately understood.

Xiao Longnu whispered, “First unseal your pressure points.”

Yang Guo was afraid that Li Mochou and her disciple would find out, so he loudly called out and talked rubbish, “Ai ya, Martial Uncle Li, you are too ruthless, you are not respecting Ancestor Grandma, you further do not respect Ancestor Grandma’s grandma, grandma’s great grandma.”

The two followed the instructions of the “Unsealing Pressure Point Technique” left by Wang Chongyang. The two have a good foundation, and in just a short while they managed to unseal their two pressure points. On the outside the two appeared still, but Li Mochou felt something was wrong and shouted, “What are you doing?” and walked up to them. Xiao Longnu quickly got up and threw out a palm, lightly striking her shoulder, it was the more advanced skills of the “Jade Heart Manual”. Li Mochou could never have guessed in a million years that she had the ability to unseal her pressure points and was alarmed, and quickly jumped back.

Xiao Longnu said, “Apprentice sister, do you want to leave?”

Li Mochou was happy when she heard this, her kung fu seemed high, her intelligence rarely seen, right now she had been made a fool of and had been struck by the palms of a girl who has never seen the outside world. She couldn’t prevent herself from getting furious, but she thought that she must hold her temper for the time being, first leave the tomb and then it still wouldn’t be too late to finish them off. Although her stances were strange, there was no power behind them. It wasn’t that she held back but because she didn’t have internal energy; this meant that she wasn’t anything special. Li Mochou laughed and said, “That’s a good apprentice sister, I’ve already apologized, take us out of here.”

Yang Guo thought this would be a good chance to get in between the relationship of Li Mochou and Hong Lingbo and said, “Gu Gu said that she is only able to take one of you out, is it going to be you or your disciple?”

Li Mochou said, “You little scum, shut your mouth.”

Xiao Longnu didn’t know what Yang Guo meant but protected him and said, “That’s right, I can only take one person, I can’t take anymore.”

Yang Guo laughed and said, “Martial Uncle, why don’t you let apprentice sister Hong leave, you are older than her, you’ve lived enough. She’s also prettier than you.”

Though Li Mochou was older than Hong Lingbo, she was more beautiful. When she heard this she became angrier, but didn’t make a sound.

Yang Guo said, “Fine! We’re going! Gu Gu leads the way, I’m second, the last one will not be able to get out.”

Xiao Longnu now knew what he meant and smiled; she held Yang Guo’s hand and left the stone chamber. Li Mochou and Hong Lingbo moved forward at the same time and both reached the door; they were afraid that Xiao Longnu was going to switch on a trap and leave the last person there in the tomb.

Li Mochou angrily said, “Trying to take the place from me?” Her left hand shot out, wanting to strike Hong Lingbo on the shoulders. Hong Lingbo knew that her master was ruthless; if she didn’t stop she would die violently at the hands of her master. She knew she had to let her master go first; she was both angry and frightened.

Li Mochou followed the back of Yang Guo tightly, making sure she was always within one step of him; she felt Xiao Longnu turning west and winding east, the path was heading lower. At the same time she felt her feet getting damp, she knew that they would leave the tomb soon but she glanced up and saw there were branches in the path everywhere. After a while, the path suddenly became steep, almost like a straight drop, if the four of them didn’t have such good martial arts, they would have slipped long ago.

Li Mochou thought, “Mount Zhongnan is not high, if we keep going like this we’ll be at the foot of the mountain, could it be that we are in the depths of the mountain?”

After dropping for an hour the path became level, the dampness in the air became stronger, and eventually they could hear running water. Soon they were in water up to their ankles. As they went further, the water grew deeper, from the legs to the stomach, and gradually to the chest.

Xiao Longnu quietly asked Yang Guo, “Do you remember and understand the “Air Closure Technique”?

Yang Guo quietly replied, “I remember.”

Xiao Longnu said, “In a minute remember to lock your air, and don’t take in any water.”

Yang Guo said, “Yes, Gu Gu, you have to be careful yourself.” Xiao Longnu nodded.

While they were speaking the water had reached their throats. Li Mochou was secretly alarmed, and called out, “Apprentice sister, do you know how to swim under water?”

Xiao Longnu said, “I’ve lived in the tomb for all my life; how would I know how to swim underwater?”

Li Mochou became slightly more relaxed, she took another step, and felt nothing was there, water seeped into her mouth. She was alarmed and quickly leapt back, but she saw Xiao Longnu and Yang Guo dive underwater. At this stage, even if it was a mountain of knives or an ocean of swords she would still have to enter. She felt her clothes tighten, her dress was grasped by Hong Lingbo; she quickly attacked behind her, the attack wasn’t light but she wasn’t able to push her away. Right now the water was making a terrific noise, as though it was flowing down into the ground, the sound was frightening. Li Mochou and Hong Lingbo didn’t know how to swim, they couldn’t stand and floated up. Li Mochou was a skilled fighter, but right now she was alarmed and flustered, she extended her arms and legs and madly thrashed. In the midst of this she felt something so she used her strength to hold on; it was Yang Guo’s left arm. Yang Guo was sealing his air, and was following Xiao Longnu on the floor of the water passage walking forward step by step. He was grabbed suddenly by Li Mochou and quickly tried to free himself; but Li Mochou was holding on tightly, how could she let go? Water rushed into her mouth and nose, but even when she passed out she was still holding on. Yang Guo tried a few times but was unable to pry her off; he was afraid that he was exerting too much energy and will start swallowing water, so he left her alone.

The four of them moved on for a while, then Xiao Longnu and Yang Guo couldn’t hold their breath any longer and swallowed some water. Luckily the water slowed and the ground began to rise; not long after, they managed to get their heads above the water. After the time it takes for an incense stick to be burned, the path became brighter, and they exited through a cave. The two were exhausted and first circulated their chi to get rid of the water they swallowed, and then lay on the ground, recovering their breath.

Li Mochou was still holding onto Yang Guo tightly and Hong Lingbo onto her. Yang Guo loosened her fingers and took her hands off him. Xiao Longnu first sealed the pressure points on their shoulders, and then placed them on a rock, and let the water seep out of them slowly. After a while, Li Mochou spluttered and gave a few ‘ah’ sounds, she’d regained consciousness first and she saw the sun in her eyes. She was actually seeing daylight again. She remembered being trapped in the tomb and the danger and fear of diving under the water. Though her body was aching and numb, she felt much better than before. Not too long later, Hong Lingbo slowly woke up.

Xiao Longnu said, “Apprentice sister, you can go now!”

The arms of Li Mochou and her disciple were both paralyzed but the lower body could move freely; they got up, looked at each other and walked away.

Yang Guo took a look around, and saw they were in a shaded area, flowers were everywhere, he was delighted and said, “Gu Gu, isn’t this nice?” Xiao Longnu nodded and smiled. The two remembered the events of the past few days; it really was the complete opposite. There wasn’t anyone around; the cave was at the foot of Mount Zhongnan in a rare piece of uncultivated land. That night, the two slept under the shelter of a tree on the grass.

They woke up in the morning, Yang Guo said they could now go out and play, but Xiao Longnu has never seen the outside world before, and didn’t know what it was like, she was frightened and said, “No, we’ll first recover and then we’ll finish learning the “Jade Heart Manual”.”

Yang Guo slapped his head and said, “I’m so dumb! I forgot about your injuries.” He thought again about how it would be inconvenient to take off their clothes here and practice, so he first helped Xiao Longnu to cure her injuries. Within two weeks, Xiao Longnu had recovered.

Under a large pine tree, they built two thatch huts for shelter. The roof was filled with purple rattan. Yang Guo liked the scent of flowers, so in front of his hut he planted roses, jasmine and the like. Xiao Longnu however liked simple decorations, and said the scent of the pine needles was better than a flower’s, and so there wasn’t anything in her hut, and surrounding it was just open space and grass.

The two of them slept in the day and practiced at night. In a few months, Xiao Longnu had completed learning the “Jade Heart Manual”. A month or so later, Yang Guo also finished. The two had completed everything and had nothing to do, and so Yang Guo mentioned going out into the world again.

Xiao Longnu felt the way of life now was great, nothing in the world could compare to it. But then she thought about how difficult it would be for Yang Guo’s character to stay here, and so said, “Guo’er, our kung fu is now much better than before, but how are they compared to your Auntie and Uncle Guo?”

Yang Guo said, “We are still no where near them.”

Xiao Longnu said, “Your Uncle Guo passes on his skills to his daughter, and the Wu brothers, if we meet them, then we’ll have to suffer them.”

When he heard this Yang Guo leaped up and angrily said, “If they bully me again, how will I be able to just let them?”

Xiao Longnu calmly said, “You can’t beat them, it’ll just be pointless.”

Yang Guo said, “You can help me.”

Xiao Longnu said, “If I can’t beat your Uncle Guo, then it’s no use.”

Yang Guo lowered his head and tried to think of a plan. After a while he said, “Out of respect for Uncle Guo, I won’t start trouble with them.”

Xiao Longnu thought, “He has lived in the tomb for two years and practiced the Ancient Tomb’s kung fu, his temper has mellowed.”

Actually, when Yang Guo became older, he understood a lot of things; he knew that the way Guo Jing treated him was out of love and caring, he was touched. Now he was willing to back down, and besides, he didn’t really have any serious feuds with Guo Fu and the Wu brothers. All they had was a little argument over crickets when they were younger, as time passed his feelings about this went away.

Xiao Longnu said, “It’s good that you won’t have fights and arguments with them. But according to you, even if you concede to others, others will still come and bully you; if we don’t learn the kung fu that Wang Chongyang left, when we meet skilled enemies, we won’t be able to fight them off.”

Yang Guo knew that she didn’t want leave this peaceful place, and he couldn’t bear to go against her wishes and said, “Gu Gu, I’ll listen to you, from tomorrow onwards, we’ll begin practicing the “Nine Yin Manual”.

As a result of this conversation, the two lived in the valley for another year. The two went back into the tomb via the secret passage, and learned the text of the “Nine Yin Manual”. When they were sure they remembered every single word, they left and practiced outside. Within the year, their internal and external skills improved in every aspect. But the markings that were left in the tomb by Wang Chongyang were only the parts which could defeat the “Jade Heart Manual” and consisted only a small part of the “Nine Yin Manual”, compared with what they know and what Guo Jing and Huang Rong knew, it was much inferior, but now, they weren’t the only two that knew it.

One day after finishing practicing their martial arts, both of them felt that they had made great improvements. Yang Guo jumped up and down in delight, while Xiao Longnu was worried and unhappy. Yang Guo kept on telling jokes to help break her boredom. Yang Guo knew that they now have learned all the kung fu that Wang Chongyang left in the tomb. If they wanted to learn it to its highest level, one didn’t know how many years it would take, but they grasped the essence and ideas behind the skills. All they needed to do now is to keep practicing and the skills will become more refined. He knew that Xiao Longnu did not want to leave the mountain, but there wasn’t anything to stop them now, he was troubled and said, “Gu Gu, if you don’t want to leave, then we’ll stay here forever.”

Xiao Longnu delightedly said, “Good” but as she said this she stopped, she knew that Yang Guo didn’t want to stay, she wouldn’t live happily, she quietly said, “We’ll talk about this tomorrow.” She didn’t eat supper, and returned to her hut and slept.

Yang Guo sat down on the grass and stared, up until there were stars in the sky, and then retired to his hut. He slept until the middle of the night, when he heard wind sounds, the sounds were urgent, something was wrong. He woke up alarmed, and listened; it was the sound of fists and palms. He quickly darted out of his hut, and went outside of his master’s hut and quietly said, “Gu Gu, can you hear?”

Right then, the sounds of the winds were louder, Xiao Longnu would definitely hear it but there was no reply from the hut. Yang Guo called out twice, and then entered, the room was empty; his master was not here. He became even more alarmed, and searched for the origins of the wind sounds. He ran for about a hundred feet, he didn’t see anyone but from the wind sounds, he knew one of them was his master, but the opponent’s wind from their palms were heavy and severe, their kung fu level would be above his master’s.

Yang Guo dashed over, in the moonlight he saw Xiao Longnu and a strongly built person hovering around, fighting frantically. Although Xiao Longnu was swift and quick, the opponent’s skills were powerful and strong; under the force of those palms, Xiao Longnu had to use all her strength to avoid them.

Yang Guo was startled and said, “Master, I’m here!”

The two of them came down, and Yang Guo was at their sides and faced that person, he was happily surprised, the person had a beard, his limbs like lances, his long face like a thorn, it was his Godfather Ouyang Feng.

But he saw him standing there like a mountain, throwing out palms at Xiao Longnu, she could only dodge them, she didn’t dare to meet their power.

Yang Guo called out, “We all know each other, there’s no need to fight.”

Xiao Longnu was startled and thought how could this madman be a friend of theirs, while she was thinking she slowed down. Ouyang Feng threw out a palm, a strong force threw itself at her, it was extremely powerful. Yang Guo was startled and quickly leapt in front of them only to see Xiao Longnu’s left palm meeting Ouyang Feng’s right, he knew that his Master’s internal energy couldn’t compare with his Godfather, she will suffer a serious internal energy in a short while, so he stretched out his five fingers and stroked Ouyang Feng’s elbow lightly, it was the newly learnt skill from the “Nine Yin Manual” “Hand Waves Five Strings” (shou hui wu xian). Though he wasn’t too familiar with this skill, he knew the aspects of this attack, Ouyang Feng’s arm became numb, his body’s strength dispersed.

Xiao Longnu saw a chance to gain victory, she felt the enemy had become weak and immediately attacked, in a flash Ouyang Feng had become completely defenseless, just a light attack would have seriously hurt him.

Yang Guo intercepted his Master’s palm, and sandwiched himself between the two, he smiled and said, “Watch it you two, we’re friends.” Ouyang Feng had not recognized him, he just saw that this young man was extremely skilled and angrily said, “Who are you? What friends?”

Yang Guo knew he was mad and disturbed and was afraid he would forget who Yang Guo was so he loudly called out, “Father…it’s me, I’m your son.” His words were filled with emotion. Ouyang Feng stood still, he took his head and studied his face under the moonlight, it was the son he has been searching for the past few years, but because he had grown tall, and his martial arts were high, it was hard for him to recognize him. He held Yang Guo and called out, “Son, I’ve endured many hardships searching for you!” The two held each other tightly, both of them producing tears.

Xiao Longnu has always been cold and detached, she knew that the only person in the world whose emotions towards her were as hot as fire was Yang Guo, but right now, when he saw Ouyang Feng, he was also like this. She feared leaving the mountain and sat aside pondering.

After Ouyang Feng and Yang Guo separated at the Iron Spear Temple, he hid under the large bell; Ke Zhen E couldn’t get at him. He meditated with his divine skills to cure his internal injuries, after seven days and nights his internal energy had recovered. But the external injuries that he received from Ke Zhen E were not minor; he wasn’t able to recover from them in such a short time. When he left the large bell, he went to an inn and rested his wounds for twenty days. When his wounds were healed, he went and looked for Yang Guo. But a month had passed, the world is a large place, how could he find him? He thought, “The child is most probably on Peach Blossom Island.” He got a small boat and sailed to the island. He didn’t dare to approach during the day, so at night he anchored in a bay behind a mountain. He knew he wasn’t a match for Guo Jing and Huang Rong, plus he didn’t know that Huang Yaoshi wasn’t on the island. Even if his skills were twice as good, he wouldn’t be able to fight all three of them. During the day he hid in a cave on a wild piece of land, and patrolled at night. The layout of the island was ingenious; he didn’t dare run around where ever he pleased. Over the year, he was extremely cautious, in the light of day he didn’t dare to take one step out of the cave, no one discovered him. One night, after his one meeting with Yang Guo, he heard the Wu brothers chatting and then he knew that Guo Jing had sent Yang Guo to the Quanzhen sect to learn martial arts. Ouyang Feng was pleased, he stole a boat and left the island, and rushed to Chongyang Palace. But he didn’t know about the incident between Yang Guo and the Quanzhen sect, or that he was now in the Tomb of the Living Dead. Quanzhen was ashamed of what happened, no one talked about this matter, Ouyang Feng couldn’t get any news from them. He searched for miles and miles around Mount Zhongnan, but he didn’t know that Yang Guo was below ground so of course he couldn’t find him.

Tonight by chance, he was walking by the valley when he saw a girl dressed in white with folded arms, sighing and looking at the moon.

Ouyang Feng asked madly, “Hey, where’s my son? Have you seen him?”

Xiao Longnu glanced at him, then ignored him. Ouyang Feng went over to her and grabbed her arm, and shouted, “Where’s my son?”

Xiao Longnu felt that his hands were extremely powerful, she had never met someone with such high skills, even the skilled fighters of Quanzhen could not compare. She was startled and used her a little capturing hand kung fu to escape. Ouyang Feng’s grab was a certainty but he could not have guessed the opponent could just lightly brush him off; he didn’t ask who she was and attacked. That’s how the two started their fight.

The two of them told each other what had happened to them. Ouyang Feng was half clear and half confused, he wasn’t able to explain clearly what had happened in the past, and didn’t understand much of what Yang Guo said. But when he mentioned that in the past few years he has been learning martial arts from Xiao Longnu, Ouyang Feng loudly said, “Her kung fu is not as good as mine. Why are you learning from her? Let me teach you.” Xiao Longnu didn’t want to argue with him, she smiled calmly and went off to the side by herself.

Yang Guo felt this wasn’t polite and said, “Father, Master has treated me extremely well.”

Ouyang Feng was jealous and said, “So she’s good and I’m not?”

Yang Guo smiled and said, “You are good as well. On this earth, only you two treat me well.”

Ouyang Feng’s words didn’t make sense, but Yang Guo knew that he had suffered many hardships in the past few years searching for him.

Ouyang Feng held his hand, he laughed foolishly and after a while he said, “Your kung fu is not bad, it’s a pity that you don’t know the world’s two most powerful martial arts.”

Yang Guo said, “What are they?”

Ouyang Feng’s eyebrows rose and he shouted, “You are a martial artist yet you don’t know the world’s two most powerful skills. What’s the point of having her for a master?”

Yang Guo saw that he was pleased and angry; he was concerned about him and thought, “Father’s illness is serious, when will he able to recover from it?”

Ouyang Feng laughed loudly and said, “Hmm, let father teach you. The two most powerful skills are, one, the “Toad Stance”, two, “Nine Yin Manual”. I’ll first teach you the foundation of the “Toad Stance”. He then recited the formulae for it.”

Yang Guo smiled and said, “You’ve taught me before, don’t you remember?”

Ouyang Feng scratched his head and said, “So you’ve already learned it, that’s great. Show it to me.”

Since Yang Guo entered the Ancient Tomb sect, he hasn’t practiced the strange skill that Ouyang Feng taught him; when he heard what he said, he immediately did as he was told. He had practiced it when he was on Peach Blossom Island, now with the advanced internal energy he has developed; he was able to demonstrate it spectacularly.

Ouyang Feng laughed and said, “Good! Good! Even though the stances don’t match, it’s better than nothing. I’ll teach you the rest of it now.” He waved his hands and bent his legs, and started reciting non stop, he didn’t care if Yang Guo remembered it or not, he taught a section of “Toad Stance”, and then taught him a section of the “Contrary Nine Yin Manual” (the deliberately flawed version of the Nine Yin Manual). Yang Guo listened for half an hour, and felt that the formulae’s ingenuity was boundless, but it was complicated and strange, how would he able to understand in just a short while of time?

Ouyang Feng continued for a while when he caught a glimpse of Xiao Longnu from the corner of his eye, and called out, “Ah, it’s no good, I don’t want your baby Master to secretly listening in on us.” He went over to Xiao Longnu and said, “Hey, little girl, I’m teaching my son kung fu, don’t secretly listen in.”

Xiao Longnu said, “What’s so good about your kung fu? Who wants to steal it?”

Ouyang Feng thought for a while, and said, “Fine, just go far away.”

Xiao Longnu was leaning against a tree and calmly said, “Why do I want to listen? If I want to go, I’ll go, if I don’t want to go, I won’t.”

Ouyang Feng was angry, his eyebrows raised and he stretched out his hand to grab her face, but Xiao Longnu pretended she didn’t see and ignored him.

Yang Guo called out, “Father, don’t disrespect my Master.”

Ouyang Feng took his hand back and said, “Fine, fine, we are going to a far away place, are you going to follow us and listen in?”

Xiao Longnu thought that Guo’er’s Godfather was extremely impolite; she didn’t want anything to do with him and turned around without a reply. She didn’t guess that her back would suddenly become numb, Ouyang Feng had stretched out his arm and sealed a pressure point on her back, he was uncannily fast, plus Xiao Longnu wasn’t aware, by the time she felt something was wrong and put her guard up, it was too late, her whole body was paralyzed. Ouyang Feng then sealed another pressure point on her waist, he smiled and said, “Little girl, don’t be anxious, after I’ve completely taught my son kung fu, I’ll come back and release you.” He then laughed loudly and walked away.

Yang Guo was memorizing the formulae of the “Toad Stance” and the “Nine Yin Manual”, and felt that some of it was unclear and some a complete mess, but there were many ingenious points within it so he didn’t suspect anything was wrong. He pondered deeply; he didn’t know what was happening to Xiao Longnu.

Ouyang Feng came over and took his hand, and said, “We’ll go to another place so your Master can’t hear.”

Yang Guo wondered why Xiao Longnu would try to listen; even if you were trying to teach it to her she wouldn’t learn it. But his godfather’s mind was confused and disturbed, there wasn’t a need to argue with him and so he let him have his way and went with him.

Xiao Longnu was laying paralyzed on the ground, she was angry but also wanted to laugh, thinking that although her skills were refined, she has little experience in fighting real enemies. She was ambushed by Li Mochou and now her pressure points had been sealed by a crazy man; so she utilized her “Nine Yin Manual” skills, and tried to unseal the pressure points herself, she breathed in deeply to clear her pressure points. How could it be that the two pressure points did not show any sign of unsealing, but instead they became even more sore and numb, she couldn’t stop herself from being startled. Ouyang Feng’s pressure point skill was from the “Contrary Nine Yin Manual”, and she used the “Nine Yin” skills that Wang Chongyang had left in the tomb. Instead of unsealing them it became worse. She tried a few more times, but the pain just got worse so she didn’t dare to try it again and thought that after that madman has taught his kung fu, he will come back and unseal the pressure points. She thought there was no need to rush, she looked up at the sky and looked at the stars, and soon closed her eyes and fell asleep.

After a while she felt something brushing against her eyes, she could see things as clearly at night as if it were in the day, but now she couldn’t see a thing. Someone had blindfolded her eyes, and at the same time she felt someone’s arm holding her. When that person first held her, they were extremely afraid, but afterwards they gradually became more daring and didn’t show any restraint.

Xiao Longnu was extremely frightened; she wanted to open her mouth and call out, but her mouth and tongue wouldn’t move. She felt that person’s mouth was coming close and kissed her on the cheek. She first thought that it was Ouyang Feng who was trying to rape her, but she felt this person’s face was smooth; it was not Ouyang Feng’s face which was bearded. Her heart shook, and her fear gradually disappeared, a passionate desire began to appear; she thought that it was Yang Guo who had came back to her. She felt his hands were beginning to become more and more improper, slowly taking her clothes off. Xiao Longnu had no way to move, and could only let him do as he pleased, she couldn’t help herself from being embarrassed and surprised.

Ouyang Feng saw that Yang Guo was extremely clever, although he wasn’t able to understand the formulae he passed on completely, he memorized it all. He was pleased and he spoke until the sky became bright before he had explained all the main aspects of the two skills. Yang Guo memorized it all and after a while said, “I have also learned “Nine Yin” kung fu, but it is very different to your version. But what is the reason?”

Ouyang Feng said, “Rubbish, apart from this one, what other “Nine Yin Manual” is there?”

Yang Guo said, “Take for example the method to learning the “Changing Muscle Forging Bone” technique, you said the third step was air and blood must flow contrarily, surging through ‘Sky Pillar’ (tian zhu) point. My Master said, first protect the ‘dan tian’ and then surge through the ‘Sealing Door’ (zhang men) point.”

Ouyang Feng said, “No, it’s not correct, wait” he did what Yang Guo told him, and felt the way his internal energy was circulating was completely different. He didn’t know that the manual that Guo Jing wrote out for him had been changed; he couldn’t help but go mad. He murmured to himself, “Why? Am I wrong or is your baby Master wrong? How is there such a thing?”

Yang Guo saw that his eyes stared straight, he looked like he was in a trance, he called him several times but there was no reply. He was afraid that Ouyang Feng was going to go mad again and was deeply concerned. He suddenly heard a noise from a tree behind him, an image appeared; within the thickets of flowers he saw the corner of an apricot yellow Taoist gown. This place was secluded, why would someone be here? The person was sneaking around, showing they weren’t up to any good; he couldn’t help but get suspicious, and chased after him. The person’s steps were fast; from behind it appeared to be a Taoist.

Yang Guo called out, “Hey, who are you? What are you doing here?” He utilized his lightness kung fu and chased the person down.

When the Taoist heard the shouts he increased his speed; Yang Guo also increased his slightly, his was body like an arrow shooting forward and he grabbed the Taoist’s shoulder. He turned him around and saw that it was Quanzhen’s Zhen Zhibing. Yang Guo saw that his gown was untidy, his face was red for a while and then white for a while, he called out, “What are you doing here?”

Zhen Zhibing was the head of the third generation students of Quanzhen, his martial arts were high. Usually he has an air about him, but for whatever reason now, his face was flustered and he couldn’t speak a word. Yang Guo saw that he was extremely frightened, and remembered that day when he cut off his fingers and swore an oath. He wasn’t a bad person and so he loosened his hand and let him go. He said, “Since it’s nothing, go!” Zhen Zhibing turned around and took a few glances back and hurried away.

Yang Guo laughed, “That Taoist looks like he’s lost his soul, very amusing.”

He returned towards the thatch huts and saw Xiao Longnu’s legs appearing out of a thicket of flowers not moving at all, it looked as if she was asleep.

Yang Guo called out twice, “Gu Gu!” But there was no reply. He went over to her only to see Xiao Longnu lying on the ground; a blue green cloth was covering her eyes.

Yang Guo was slightly alarmed. He took off the blindfold; her eyes and cheek seemed to be different, seemingly showing a limitless delicate shyness.

Yang Guo asked, “Gu Gu, who tied this blindfold?”

Xiao Longnu didn’t reply, her eyes hinted at his responsibility. Yang Guo noticed that her body was paralyzed, it appeared that her pressure points had been sealed, he stretched out his hand to pull her up, indeed, she couldn’t move. Yang Guo thought for a while and assumed, “It must be Godfather who used his contrary pressure point sealing skill, otherwise no matter how high one’s pressure point sealing skill is, Gu Gu would be able to unseal it herself.” He then used the technique that Ouyang Feng had just taught him and unsealed her pressure points. Before, when Xiao Longnu’s pressure points were sealed, she wasn’t able to move, but he didn’t predict that when he unsealed them, she would still lay softly in his arms, as if all her muscles and bones had melted away. Yang Guo stretched out his arm and supported her shoulders and softly said, “Gu Gu, my Godfather does things without any thought, don’t take much notice of him.”

Xiao Longnu placed her head on his chest and softly said, “You do things without thinking, you should be ashamed talking about other people like that!”

Yang Guo saw that she was completely different than she normally was, he was confused and said, “Gu Gu, I…I”

Xiao Longnu raised her head and irately said, “You still call me Gu Gu?”

Yang Guo became even more confused and said, “If I don’t call you Gu Gu, what should I call you? You want me to call you Master?”

Xiao Longnu smiled and said, “The way you treated me, how can I be your master any more?”

Yang Guo asked, “How…how did I treat you?”

Xiao Longnu rolled up her sleeve and revealed an arm that was as white as jade with no flaws; where there was a red ‘Shou Gong Sha’ before, now it had disappeared, embarrassed she said, “Take a look.”

Yang Guo touched his head and stroked his ear and said, “Gu Gu, I don’t understand.”

Xiao Longnu, irritated, said, “I told you, don’t call me Gu Gu anymore.” She saw Yang Guo was frightened, and unable to speak his feelings so quietly said, “The disciples of the Ancient Tomb sect have always been virgins. Every generation has been virgins. My master gave me the ‘shou gong sha’, last night…last night what you did to me, how would my arm still have the ‘shou gong sha’?”

Yang Guo said, “What did I do to you last night?”

Xiao Longnu turned red and said, “There’s no need to talk about it.”

After a while she softly said, “Before, I was afraid to leave the mountain, it’s different now, where ever you go, I’m willing to follow you.”

Yang Guo was delighted and called out, “Gu Gu, you’re great.”

Xiao Longnu’s face changed and said, “Why are you still calling me Gu Gu? Could it be that you’ve not treated me genuinely with all your heart?” She saw that Yang Guo did not reply, her heart was anxious, she shivered, “What exactly am I to you?”

Yang Guo earnestly said, “You are my Master, you took care of me, you taught me, I swore that I will respect and revere you for the rest of my life, and listen to all you say.”

Xiao Longnu said loudly, “Could it be that you don’t regard me as your wife?”

Yang Guo had never ever thought about this; after being asked this he didn’t know how to reply, he mumbled, “No, no! You can’t be my wife, how could I be worthy to be your husband? You are my Master, you are my Gu Gu.”

The chi in Xiao Longnu’s body was aggravated; she spat out a pool of blood.

Yang Guo’s arms and legs were flailing, and called out, “Gu Gu, Gu Gu!”

Xiao Longnu heard that he was still calling her this way and stared at him with hate, she raised her left palm, wanting to strike down on his head, but the palm did not come. Her eyes turned from fury to blame, and then turned from blame to pity, she sighed and quietly said, “Since it’s like this, then there’s no need to see me ever again.” She waved her sleeve, got up and hurried down the mountain.

Yang Guo called out loudly, “Gu Gu, where are you going? I’ll come with you.”

Xiao Longnu turned around, beads of tears were swirling in her eyes, she said, “If you see me again, then I’m afraid…I’m afraid I won’t be able to control myself, I won’t be able to spare your life.”

Yang Guo said, “You are angry at me for learning martial arts with my Godfather, is that it?”

Xiao Longnu coldly said, “Why would I blame you for learning martial arts from other people?” She turned around and flew away.

Yang Guo was startled by all this and didn’t know what to do, he saw her white image gradually getting further away, and eventually disappeared around the mountain side. He was filled with sorrow; he fell onto the ground and cried. He thought and thought, he didn’t know what he did to disrespect his Master. What made her behave so strangely, she was gentle and tender one minute, the next she was furious? Why did she say she wanted to be his ‘wife’, why wasn’t he allowed to call her Gu Gu anymore, he thought for half a day. “This must have something to do with my Godfather; he must have disrespected master somehow.” So he ran to Ouyang Feng, but Ouyang Feng’s eyes still blankly stared into space, he didn’t move an inch.

Yang Guo said, “Father, what did you do to disrespect my Master?”

Ouyang Feng said, “Nine Yin Manual”, “Nine Yin Manual”.

Yang Guo said, “Why did you seal her pressure points and make her so angry?”

Ouyang Feng said, “Is it surge through ‘Sky Pillar’ contrarily, or is it surge through ‘Sealing Door’?”

Yang Guo desperately said, “Father, why did my Master run away? Tell me, what did you do to her?”

Ouyang Feng said, “Who is your Master? Who am I? Who is Ouyang Feng?”

Yang Guo saw that his illness was acting up again, he was frightened and sad, he softly said, “Father, you are tired, we’ll go and rest in the huts.”

Ouyang Feng flipped upside down, his head on the ground and called out, “Who am I? Who am I? Where is Ouyang Feng?” He waved his palms wildly, his body flipping around, he used his hands to walk, and like the wind, he flew down the mountain.

Yang Guo called out, “Father!” He wanted to grab him but was kicked on the chin by his flailing leg. It was a heavy kick; Yang Guo couldn’t keep upright and fell backwards. By the time he got back up, Ouyang Feng was over a hundred feet away.

Yang Guo chased after him for a few steps, then stopped; he stood there for half an hour, and by that time there wasn’t a trace of Ouyang Feng. He looked around, and saw the valley was empty, he could only hear the quiet sound of birds.

He became frightened and called out, “Gu Gu, Gu Gu! Father…Father!” After a while, the valley echoed back, “Gu Gu, Gu Gu! Father…Father!”

Within the past few years he had never been away from Xiao Longnu one step, like a mother and son, a sister and brother; now she suddenly went away without an explanation. How could anyone tell him not to be sad? In his grief he thought about crashing his head into a rock and killing himself. But there was optimism in his heart; if his Master could suddenly leave, she could suddenly come back. His Godfather may have disrespected her, but when she considers that I haven’t done anything, she will come back and search for me.

How could he sleep well that night, as soon as he heard the wind blow, or the cry of birds, he would think that Xiao Longnu had returned. He would laboriously get up and call out, “Gu Gu!” and go out to meet her; but each time he was disappointed. Eventually he decided against sleeping, he hurried to the summit of the mountain, and strained his eyes and looked around, he looked until the sky got bright. The peak was covered in mist, and on this large earth, there was only Yang Guo left.

Yang Guo suddenly thought, “Master isn’t coming back, I’ll find her myself. As long as I can see her, I don’t care if she shouts at me or beats me, I won’t ever leave her. If she wants to beat me to death, then I’ll let her.” He made up his mind and he felt rejuvenated. He went back to the huts and put his and Xiao Longnu’s belongings into a bag, strapped it across his back, and headed away from the mountain.

As soon as he arrived at a place where there were people, he would ask if they have seen a beautiful girl dressed in white. In half a day, he asked tens of villagers, they all shook their head and said no. Yang Guo was anxious and asked again, but he lacked any manners in the way he asked. The villagers saw this young man boldly asking about the whereabouts of a beautiful girl, they couldn’t help but get angry; someone asked him who the girl was. Yang Guo said, “That doesn’t concern you. I ask you have you seen a girl like that pass here.” The person wanted to question him instead.

An old man to one side tugged at his sleeve, pointed and said he saw a beautiful angel heading east, “I thought that the Goddess of Mercy had appeared but it was your woman.” Yang Guo did not wait for him to finish and quickly thanked him and headed in the direction he pointed, he heard a laugh behind him as he hurried, but he didn’t take any notice. He didn’t know that the old man had seen that he was young and impolite so deliberately lied to him.

After a while, a fork appeared in the road, he didn’t know which one to pick. He thought, “Gu Gu doesn’t like crowds, it’s more likely she will pick a quiet and secluded road.” He picked the small twisty path on the left. How would he know that the path became wider as he walked, after a few turns, the path joined up with a large road. He hadn’t had anything to drink or eat for one whole day, his stomach growled, and then he saw a few buildings in front of him. It was a town, he hurried to the inn and called, “Bring me some rice and vegetable dishes.”

The inn owner bought him some everyday vegetable dishes and rice, he took a few gulps before he started to feel sad, he was beginning to choke up, he couldn’t eat anymore. He thought, “Although it is dark, I still need to find Gu Gu. If I miss this chance to tonight, I’m afraid that I will never be able to see her again.” He pushed away the dishes and called out, “Inn owner, I have something to ask you.”

The inn owner smiled and walked over, “What orders has Master got for me? Aren’t the dishes to your taste? I’ll go and make something else, what does master like to eat?”

Yang Guo waved his hand and said, “It’s nothing to do with the food. I ask you, have you seen a beautiful girl dressed in white pass by here?”

The inn owner pondered and said, “In a white dress, hmm, why is the girl dressed like that? Has someone from her family died?”

Yang Guo was getting impatient and asked, “Have you seen her?”

The inn owner said, “A girl yes, and she was wearing white.”

Yang Guo was pleased and said, “Which way did she go?”

The inn owner said, “She’s been gone for half a day! Master, it’s best not to provoke that girl,” he suddenly lowered his voice and said; “I offer you advice! Don’t go and try to find her.”

Yang Guo was alarmed and pleased, he’s finally found the whereabouts of his Gu Gu, he quickly asked, “Where is she?” His voice quivered as he said this.

The inn owner said, “I’ll ask you first, do you know that girl knows martial arts?”

Yang Guo thought, “How wouldn’t I know?” He quickly said, “I know she knows kung fu.”

The inn owner said, “Why are you still looking for her? It’s dangerous.”

Yang Guo said, “What exactly happened?”

The inn owner said, “First tell me, who exactly is that beautiful girl dressed in white to you?”

Yang Guo had no other ideas, it seemed like if he didn’t answer his question the inn owner would not tell him the whereabouts of Xiao Longnu so he said, “She is…she is my older sister, I need to find her.”

When the man heard him he immediately became even more respectful but shook his head and said, “It doesn’t look like it, it doesn’t look like it.”

Yang Guo was impatient and grabbed him by the throat, then shouted, “Are you going to tell me or not!”

The inn owner’s tongue hung out and said, “Yes, yes, it looks like it!”

Yang Guo shouted, “What doesn’t look like and what does?”

The inn owner said, “Master, first let go, my throat is being choked by you, ‘hei’ ‘hei’, I can’t talk. I can of course force myself to talk but…”

Yang Guo thought about this person and decided that using force on him would be in vain so he let go.

The inn owner coughed a few times and said, “Master, I said it doesn’t look like it because that girl, ‘hei’ ‘hei’, your bigger sister looks younger than you, it looks more like your younger sister, not older. When I said it looks like it, I was talking about your fiery temper was the same as hers, both of you like using your fists.”

When Yang Guo heard this he became slightly more relaxed and a smile appeared, and said, “My…my sister fought someone?”

The inn owner said, “Is that bad news? Not only did she fight, she hurt some people as well, look, look.” He pointed to some weapon marks on a table. He said, “It was extremely dangerous, your sister’s skills are great, one chop and she cut off two Taoists’ ears.”

Yang Guo laughed and asked, “What Taoists?” thinking that it must have been the Quanzhen Taoists who were causing trouble for his Gu Gu.

The inn owner said, “They are…” as he said this, his face suddenly changed, his head shrunk back and he turned around and walked away.

Yang Guo knew something was wrong and didn’t chase after him; he picked up his bowl of rice and chopsticks, and scooped rice into his mouth. He glanced over, and saw two Taoists entering the inn. They were about twenty-six or seven years of age, there was a bandage across their cheeks and they sat at the table next to Yang Guo. A thick browed Taoist gave an order to quickly bring out some dishes and wine. The inn owner smiled and came over; he winked at Yang Guo and twisted his lips in their direction. Yang Guo pretended he didn’t see and buried his head and started eating. When he heard news of Xiao Longnu his appetite was better, after one bowl there came another. His clothes were Xiao Longnu’s work, they were rough and simple; traveling for one day and night covered his body with mud and dirt; he looked like a young villager. The two Taoists didn’t look at him; they talked to each other quietly.

Yang Guo deliberately ate noisily, and twisted his body over to listen to what they were saying.

He heard the thick browed Taoist say, “Apprentice brother Pi, do you think Han and Chen will come tonight?”

The other Taoist had a large jaw, he replied deeply, “Those two are good and honest men of the Beggar Clan, and have a friendship with our Martial Uncle Shen. At Martial Uncle Shen’s request, they will definitely be here.”

Yang Guo took a closer look at them, and surveyed their faces; he didn’t know them and thought, “The Quanzhen have over a thousand Taoists, I can’t recognize them but they could recognize that I’m the little punk that was expelled from the sect, I better not face them. Huh, they couldn’t beat my Gu Gu, now they are meeting some Beggar Clan members to get help.”

The thick browed Taoist said, “You really can’t be sure, it’s a long journey…” The Taoist named Pi said, “Hmm, apprentice brother Ji, there’s no use in worrying about it now, forget the fact that she is a girl, she has…”

The Taoist name Ji quickly said, “Drink the wine, don’t talk about it.” They talked to the inn owner, and ordered an upper class room; they were going to rest in the inn that night.”

Yang Guo heard their words, and thought that if he followed them quietly, he would be able to see his master. As he thought about this, there was no limit to his happiness. After the two went to their room, he ordered the inn owner to prepare a small room for him next to theirs. The inn owner took a lamp and quietly whispered into Yang Guo’s ear, “Master, you need to be careful, they want to take revenge on your sister for cutting their ears off.”

Yang Guo quietly said, “My sister’s temper is extremely good, why would she cut off their ear?”

The inn owner revealed a smile and quietly said, “Of course your sister treats you well, but not to others. Your sister was having a meal here… ‘Hei’ ‘hei’, is she really your sister? I don’t really believe it, even if it was your sister, all the Taoists did was sit by her and stare at her leg a few times. Your sister got into a rage; she took her sword and started to attack the Taoists…” he wanted to carry on. Yang Guo saw that the light next door had been extinguished, he waved his hand to tell him to keep quiet, he was angry and thought, “The Taoists must have seen that my Gu Gu was beautiful and stared at her, making her angry. Huh, why would there be any good people in the Quanzhen sect?” He then thought, “Gu Gu once had a fight with Chongyang Palace, the two Taoists would recognize her, why were they staring at her face?”

He waited for the inn owner to leave, and then extinguished his light and got into bed. He decided he wouldn’t sleep that night, he went over the two skills that Ouyang Feng had taught him, but the two skill’s formulae were very complex, Ouyang Feng had recited it confusingly, he could only remember at most twenty or thirty percent, he didn’t dare to give it much thought just in case he became lost in thought and become unaware of what happened next door.

He quietly kept guard up until the middle of the night, then suddenly he heard two noises; someone was jumping over the wall from outside. The window next door opened.

The Taoist named Ji asked, “Is it Han and Chen?”

Someone replied, “It’s us.”

The Taoist named Ji said, “Please enter!” He lightly opened the door and lit the oil lamp. Yang Guo concentrated and listened in.

He heard the Taoist named Ji say, “We Ji Qingxu and Pi Qingxuan greet the heroes Han and Chen.”

Yang Guo thought, “The Quanzhen follow the motto ‘Aim for Tranquility’, these two Taoists belong to the fourth generation disciples, I don’t know whether they follow the teachings of Hao Datong or Liu Chuxuan.”

He heard a person with a high voice say, “We received the message from your Martial Uncle Shen, we didn’t even stop our horses once and rushed straight here. Is that little bitch so powerful?”

Ji Qingxu said, “It’s embarrassing, the two of us fought for a while but we weren’t her match.”

That person said, “What kind of martial arts does she have.”

Ji Qingxu said, “Martial Uncle Shen suspects that she is a disciple of the Ancient Tomb sect, though she is young she has very good martial arts.”

When Yang Guo heard the three words ‘Ancient Tomb sect’ he couldn’t refrain from making two quiet grunts.

He heard Ji Qingxu add, “When Martial Uncle Shen mentioned the Ancient Tomb sect, the little bitch cursed and insulted the ‘Scarlet Serpent Deity’ Li Mochou, but we don’t know what it was about.”

That person said, “So it looks like she doesn’t have any powerful connections. You are going to meet tomorrow? How many people has the opposition got?”

Ji Qingxu said, “Martial Uncle Shen and that girl agreed to meet tomorrow at high noon, at ‘Chailang’ (wolf) valley forty li southwest from here, and having a duel to decide the matter. We don’t know how many people the opposition has. With the help of the skilled Beggar Clan fighters Han and Chen, we won’t be afraid that the opposition has too many people.”

The other older voice said, “Fine, we’ll be at that place at high noon tomorrow, brother Han, let’s go.”

Ji Qingxu showed them to the door and quietly said, “We are not far from Chongyang Palace, this duel must not be known to the Grand Masters Ma, Qiu, Wang, Liu, otherwise we’ll be punished severely.”

The one named Han laughed and said, “Your Martial Uncle Shen had already said this in his letter, and otherwise, why would you need the help of us two when Chongyang Palace has so many skilled fighters?”

The one named Chen said, “Relax, we won’t leak anything. It goes without saying that Elder Ma, Liu, Qiu, Wang, Hao, Sun mustn’t know about this; if your Martial Uncles find out about this I’m afraid that it’ll be the same result for you.” The two Taoists agreed at the same time.

Yang Guo thought, “They are ganging up together to bully my Gu Gu, but are afraid that others will find out, huh, sneaking around like this, they know they are scoundrels.”

He heard the four speak a few more words, and then Ji Qingxu and Pi Qingxuan escorted them to the wall where Han and Chen departed.