Endless joy at the reunion of the seven swordsmen.
The three monks Kong Wen, Kong Zhi and Kong Xing were the figures that comprised the group known as the Four Divine Reverends of Shaolin. Aside from Reverend Kong Jian who has died, the other three Reverends has all arrived here today.
After the passage of a few days, it was already the eighth day of the fourth month. Tomorrow will be Zhang SanFeng’s one hundredth year birthday and he knew that his disciples most definitely would have prepared a festive celebration. Because Yu DaiYan was crippled and Zhang CuiShan was missing, there would undoubtedly be lack amongst their celebration. Yet, in one’s time, to be able to celebrate your one hundredth birthday was nevertheless considered as something special. Furthermore, during this period, he has also entered isolated meditation in order to study the practice of the “Tai Chi Skill” and had already fully comprehended its true essence. From now on, the sect of Wu Dang can fully exhibit its colours within the martial arts world, not being inferior to even the martial arts of Shaolin that was passed down from Northern India’s DaMo. Therefore during the early dawn of that morning, Zhang SanFeng exited from his isolation.
A clear whistling sound was heard as his sleeve fluttered slightly and the two door boards opened up with an “ah” sound. The first thing that Zhang SanFeng saw wasn’t anything or anybody else, but was rather the disciple he had thought and yearned for endlessly during the last ten years, Zhang CuiShan.
Zhang SanFeng closed his eyes, believing that his eyes must have played a trick on him. But Zhang CuiShan had already thrown himself into Zhang SanFeng’s embrace, repeatedly crying out the words, “Master!” In the midst of his emotional state, he had actually forgotten to kneel down and perform obeisance. Five joyful voices coming from Song YuanQiao and the others cried out together, “Congratulations master! Fifth brother has returned to us!”
Zhang SanFeng has lived a total of one hundred years and has seek enlightenment for more than eighty years now. The clarity of pure truth had long existed within the depths of his heart, for he has long ago forsaken all traces of longing or desire for the millions of material objects of the world. But the love he shared with his seven disciples was as genuine as that of a father and son, thus when he suddenly saw Zhang CuiShan reappear in front of him, he couldn’t help himself from holding him tightly within his embrace. He was so overwhelmed with joy that tears emerged from his eyes.
The group of brothers all attended to their Master, serving him in his grooming and cleansing, bringing him a clean set of clothing. Zhang CuiShan did not dare to report any sort of news that would excite anger, and therefore only talked about the exotic adventures and rare entities of the Ice-Fire Island. Zhang SanFeng having heard that Zhang CuiShan had already married became even more joyful and asked, “Where is your wife now? Quickly bring her here to see me.”
Zhang CuiShan knelt down on the floor and said, “Master, your worthless disciple has dared to take a wife without first gaining your permission.” Zhang SanFeng stroked his beard and laughingly replied, “You were stranded on the Ice-Fire Island for ten years, unable to return home. Are you suppose to wait ten years and reported to me before you could take a wife? What a silly, silly assertion! Quickly get up, there is no need to admit to any wrong. Zhang SanFeng does not have such a old-fashioned disciple.” Zhang CuiShan continued to kneel, refusing to get up, “But my wife is not of an orthodox background. She … she is the daughter of Heavenly Eagle sect’s sect-leader.”
Zhang SanFeng continues to stroke his beard and said with a laugh, “And what matter is that? As long as your wife’s character is honest and her heart is good, then that is all that matters. Even if she is not a good person, having arrived here at our mountain, can we not slowly change and guide her towards good? So what if she is from the Heavenly Eagle sect? CuiShan, you have to understand that in life one should always take caution to never have a heart that is too restricted in breadth. You must never look down on others just because you reside in the position of the so-called orthodox sects. The two words of “good” and “evil” were originally hard to differentiate. A member of the orthodox sect when harbouring thoughts of impurity and immorality will be considered as a wicked villain, and similarly if a member from the evil sect harbours a heart that is completely directed towards goodness, then that person is a gentleman.” Zhang CuiShan was overjoyed, for he never would have thought that the very burden which had weighted heavily upon his heart for the last ten years could be so easily resolved by just a few words from his master. A beaming smile immediately lighted up Zhang CuiShan’s face as he stood up.
Zhang SanFeng continued to say, “Your father-in-law, sect-master Yin is a person whom I have wanted to make acquaintances with for very long now. I am truly respectful towards his powerful martial arts and the fact that he is a brave, forthright and extraordinary man. Although his character is somewhat extreme and his actions may be a bit peculiar, yet he is not a despicable scoundrel. We can certainly make friends with him.” Song YuanQiao and the others thought to themselves, “Master really does treat fifth brother with profound love. He even went as far as extending his love towards all those under brother’s roof, willing to make acquaintances with a big demonic lord like his father-in-law.” At this moment, a young Taoist apprentice came in and reported, “Heavenly Eagle sect’s Sect-Master Yin has sent somebody here to deliver presents to Uncle Zhang.”
Zhang SanFeng said with a smile, “Your father-in-law has sent you presents CuiSan, go out to receive your guests!” Zhang Cui Shan replied, “Yes.”
Yin LiTing said, “I’m going with fifth brother.” Zhang SongXi laughed and said, “But it’s not Golden Whip Hero old master Jie who has sent the presents, why must you follow out with such haste?” Yin LiTing’s face flushed a beet red while he continued to follow Zhang CuiShan outside.
Upon entering the main reception room, they saw two old men standing there dressed in the attire of a servant, with straight cloth hats. As soon as they saw Zhang CuiSan come out, they immediately rushed forward and knelt down together in an act of reverence while saying, “Young master, many blessings to you. We, your humble servants Yin WuFu, Yin WuLu bow down to you.” Zhang CuiShan returned the greeting by raising his joined hands and saying, “Housekeepers, please do get up” while silently thinking to himself, “The names of these two servants are so strange. The typical servant is usually given a name that blesses the house by containing words along the lines of ‘providence, well-being, blessings, opulence, longevity and happiness’. Why is it that these two people are called ‘the un-blest’, and the ‘un-prosperous’?” Zhang CuiShan then subsequently noticed that on Yin WuFu’s face was an extremely long scar left by a saber, stretching from the right corner of his forehead all the way downwards, passing over the tip of the nose and stopping at the far left corner of his lips. Yin WuLu’s face on the other hand was filled with pockmarks. These two men looked to be more than fifty years old, their appearances were extremely ugly and unpleasant.
Zhang CuiShan continued to say, “Are my father and mother-in-law well? I was originally planning to engage in a little preparation before your mistress and I immediately went to pay our respects to our honoured loved ones. But I never expected that father and mother would pay us a visit first, how can I be worthy of such generosity? The two of you must be extremely tired having travelled such a far distance, please take a seat and have a cup of tea.” Yin WuFu and Yin WuLu did not dare to sit down, but only came forward and respectfully presented the checklist for the gifts while saying, “Our master and madam said to tell you that these are merely meagre and humble presents, we hope that young master can accept them with pleasure.”
Zhang CuiShan said, “Thank you!” and opened the checklist of gifts. He was shocked to see that on the ten or so pieces of darkly coloured gold paper were listed a total of more than two hundred gifts. The first listed gift was “Exquisite jade lions – a pair,” the second was “Emerald phoenix – a pair” and after the listings of an endless number of treasures was “High Grade Purple Wolf Drawing Brushes – one hundred pieces,” “Imperial tributes, Tang dynasty ink – 20 slabs,” “Xuan  paper made with Mulberry worm silk – a hundred sheets” “Top Quality Duan  Ink-Stones – 8 squares.” Because the master of the Heavenly Eagle Sect heard that his honoured guest was well-versed in the art of writing, he thus sent over an extremely expensive pile of pens, ink, paper and ink stone. On top of that were clothes, shoes, crowns and belts. Yin WuFu turned around to exit the room, only to return with ten baggage carriers, every one of them carrying two loads balanced on a shoulder pole, which they placed to the sides of the room.
Zhang CuiShan was silently fretting to himself, “I grew up in a simple abode amongst the humble mountainous environment. What use do I have for these expensive gifts? Yet these gifts were bestowed by my father-in-law and brought here from afar, it would be too disrespectful if I don’t accept it.” Therefore he could only express words of gratitude and accept the gifts while saying “Your young mistress has contracted a slight illness through the arduous journey. Perhaps you can reside on the mountain for a few days before you see her?” Yin WuFu replied, “Master and madam are both extremely desirous to hear about young mistress, they commanded us to report back to them right away. If it is not too straining for young mistress, your humble servant I would like to request just one look at her and then we will retreat immediately.”
Zhang CuiShan replied, “If that is the case, then please wait here for a moment” while he returned to his room and told his wife about the situation. Yin SuSu was extremely happy and briefly fixed her hair before going out to the smaller reception rooms to reunite with her two family members. While she asked about her father, mother and brother’s well being, she also invited these two servants for a meal and some drinks. Afterwards, Yin WuFu and Yin WuLu asked their young master and mistress for the permission to leave.
Zhang CuiShan thought to himself, “Father and mother-in-law sent us such generous gifts, I should really grant a hefty reward to these two people. Yet I’m afraid that even if I gathered together all the money on this mountain, its meagre sum would still be hardly worthy of a mention.” Zhang CuiShan was by nature magnanimous and therefore does not take such matters to heart. With a laugh, he said instead, “Your young mistress has married a penniless master who can’t afford to grant you any rewards. Housekeepers, please do excuse us.” Yin WuFu replied, “Please do not say such things young master. To have the opportunity to meet the fifth hero of Wu Dang is my greatest pleasure and is a honour worth much more than a reward of a thousand pounds of gold.” Zhang CuiShan thought to himself, “This housekeeper expresses and enunciates his words with such poetic eloquence, he seems to be a person with an academic background.” When they arrived at the median gates, Yin WuFu said, “Young master, please cease your steps here. We hope that you and young mistress will arrive to our home as soon as possible in order to lessen master and madam’s longing. The whole sect will also be anticipating the day when they can be granted with a glimpse of your charisma.” Zhang CuiShan laughed.
Yin WuLu said, “There is still one little thing that I need to report to you young master. When my brothers and I were delivering the presents to the mountain, we encountered three escorts gathered within an inn in the town of Xiang Yang. Amongst the conversation of these three men, there was mention of you.” Zhang CuiShan said, “Oh? What did they say?” Yin WuLu said, “one man said, ‘although we are much indebted to the seven heroes of Wu Dang, yet the seventy odd lives of the Dragon Gate Escort Agency cannot be forgotten just like that.’ The three of them decided that since they themselves cannot participate in this incident, they therefore wanted to go to the KaiFeng City’s Sacred Spear Ruling Eight Directions, Old hero Tan to stand out and dispute over this incident with you young master.” Zhang Cui Shan nodded his head and did not say anything.
Yin WuFu reached inside his pockets and took out three small flags which he then presented to Zhang Cui Shan with both hands and said, “When your humble servants overheard that these three escorts were daring to dig up on the land governed by the Earth God , this incident is already considered as the business of our Heavenly Eagle Sect.”
As soon as he saw the three small flags, Zhang CuiShan could help but be taken back for he saw embroidered on one flag the head of a vivacious tiger, roaring fiercely towards the heavens while in a crouching position. It was obviously the flag that represented the “Crouching Tiger Escort Agency.” Embroidered on the second small flag was a white crane soaring through the clouds, which would naturally be the agency flag that symbolized the “JinYang Escort Agency” for the white crane amongst the white clouds symbolized the head escort Yun He . As for the third small flag, there were nine swallows embroidered with gold thread, incorporating the word “Swallow” in “Cloud Swallow Escort Agency” and the “Nine” in their head escort Gong JiuJia’s  name.
Zhang CuiShan asked with curiosity, “Why did you take their escort flags?” Yin WuFu replied, “Young master, you are the Heavenly Eagle sect’s honoured guest, who did Qi TianBiao and Gong JiuJia think they were? Especially since the seven heroes of Wu Dang has performed good deeds for them before, how dare they go to ask an old bloke such as the so-called “Sacred Spear Ruling Eight Directions” Tan RuiLai from the KaiFeng City to come and pester young master you? Is that not ridiculous? Therefore when we heard the three escorts’ offensive words of disrespect …” Zhang CuiShan remarked, “Those words really can’t be considered as being particularly disrespectful.” Yin WuFu said, “Yes, but that is because young master you are so magnanimous and forgiving, such is something that others cannot compare with. But my brothers and I really could not restrain ourselves from taking care of those three escorts and seizing the escort flags of their agencies.”
Zhang CuiShan was greatly taken back as he thought about how people like Qi TianBiao were all lords that ruled over the escort agencies of a region and who have long made a name for themselves within the martial arts world. Even though they can’t be considered as great or ultimate figures of the martial arts world, yet they all had their own unique abilities. How can it be that the three servants of his father-in-law’s household can calmly say with such ease that they have ‘taken care of them’? However, even if Yin WuFu was just boasting for show, yet they were indeed able to obtain the three agencies’ escort flags. Forget just taking it from right under their eyes, but even to steal it secretly would prove itself to be a hard task. Can it be that they used some kind of tranquilizing sedative or soporific incense at the inn to harm the three heads escorts? Thus he asked, “How were you able to obtain these three escort flags?”
Yin WuFu replied, “At that time, my second brother WuLu was the one who issued the challenge. We set up a time to meet with them at the Southern gates of Xiang Yang for a duel. It was the three of us up against the three of them. We’ve already stated before that if they lose, they must leave behind their escort flags and chop off one of their arms, while also promising to never step foot back into the Wu Bei Province for the rest of their lives.” Zhang CuiShan was becoming increasingly perplexed as he listened, no longer did he dared to take the two servants in front of him lightly. He asked, “Then what happened?” Yin WuFu replied, “Nothing much. They just left behind their escort flags, severed their left arm and stated that they will not take one step back into the Wu Bei Province for the rest of their lives.”