The six strongest take charge of resolving disputes.
Zong Wei Xia became secretly alarmed as he witnessed Zhang Wu Ji capture the heavy weighing Yuan Yin with such ease. But he was already situated in the middle of the battlefield, how could he possibly retreat now and thus reveal his weakness? Therefore, Zong Wei Xia shouts out loudly, “Hey! The one called Zeng! You came in here and insisted on sticking your nose into our business. Who sent you here, and whose orders are you acting on?” Zhang Wu Ji replies, “I act merely with the hope of seeing the 6 great sects being able to resolve their conflicts and make peace with the Ming sect. I am not ordered by anyone.” Zong Wei Xia barks back, “Hmph! You expect us to shake hands and make peace with the demon sect?! It’s absurd and impossible. The old bandit Yan promised to receive 3 more stances of my Fists of the Seven Damages, let me finish him first before I take care of you!” he rolls up his sleeves and prepares to fight.
Zhang Wu Ji immediately interrupts, “Elder Zong, you keep mentioning the Fists of the Seven Damages, but allow me to express my humble opinion elder – your current skill level of the Fists of the Seven Damages has still not been executed to an expertly stage yet. There are 5 elements within the human body – heart as governed by fire, lungs governed by gold, kidney by water, spleen by earth and liver by wood, in addition to that, there are the two chi(s) – Ying and Yang. Once one practices the Fists of the Seven Damages, all 7 elements will be inflicted with damage. The foundation of this set of fists was inclined to be in such a way that with every level you advance in, your own internal organs will also have to subsequently withstand an extra level of damage. Hence you have to first inflict harm upon your own self before you can harm your enemy. However, elder Zong, the good news is that you have not been practicing this set of fists for very long, therefore you can still be saved.”
Listening to these words, Zong Wei Xia recognized that they were indeed the key points delineated within the manual’s central instructions for the Fists of the Seven Damages. The manual did repeatedly describe of these side-effects, warning the practitioner that if they were to attempt this set of fist, it must not be done so unless the reserve of their energy levels has reached the point of where it can course through the various acupoints of their body at will and be withdrawn with ease. If one has not reached this level yet, then they must caution to never practice this set of fists. However, this set of fists was the most famous and powerful martial art in the Kong Dong sect, therefore as soon as Zong Wei Xia reached a fairly stable reserve of internal energy he immediately started to practice this set of fists. He suddenly found the power within his punches to have increased significantly and once his appetite was wetted, it became very hard for him to restrain from continuing the practice. Hence all traces of the manual’s warning has long since been completely forgotten. Besides, all of the 5 elders in the Kong Dong sect practices this set of fists and since Zong Wei Xia himself resided in the second position, how could he possibly allow himself to be outdone? But upon hearing Zhang Wu Ji’s words at this moment, he became suddenly alarmed. Shocked, he asked, “How did you know all this?”
Zhang Wu Ji does not reply, but continues to say, “Elder Zong, I entreat you to massage the yun-men, cloud-gate energy point on your shoulder – are you feeling a faint throbbing pain? The yun-men energy point governs the lungs, which means that the connection to your lungs has been wounded. The qing-ling, jade-spirit energy point located on the upper half of your kidney will often given you a numbing ache that becomes unbearable – am I right? The qing-ling energy point is related to the heart, meaning the heart pulse has been damaged. The wu-li, five-mile energy point on your thigh will ache with pain every time the weather rains or clouds over. This is due to the fact that the wu-li point governs the liver, meaning your liver has suffered harm. The longer you continue this practice, the more increasingly severe these faint signs of bodily disorder will become. If you continue on for another 8 or 9 years, I’m afraid that you will cripple your whole body for life.”
As Zong Wei Xia concentrated on Zhang Wu Ji’s every word, bead after bead of sweat emanated from his forehead. Little did he know that many years ago, Xie Xun had related the whole essence and nature of the Fists of the Seven Damages to Zhang Wu Ji, thus enabling Zhang to be very well acquainted with the nature of this martial art skill. On top of that, Zhang is extremely well learned in the practice of medicine, thoroughly understanding the relationship between the various pulse points and the side effects that arises from their damage. Thus every word that he utters is dead on. Over the course of these few years, Zong Wei Xia has indeed been feeling faint traces of those side effects that Zhang Wu Ji mentioned. Due to the fact that his condition has not yet reached the state of which would give cause for any serious alarm, he has therefore always secretly harboured his illnesses and remained averse to the idea of seeking medication. But hearing Zhang Wu Ji list out one after the other, details of his physical condition so accurately, he couldn’t help but be alarmed to the point of undergoing a change of colour in his countenance. It is only after the duration of a very long pause before he is finally able to utter the words, “How … how did you know this?”
Zhang Wu Ji smiles faintly and replies, “I happen to know a little about the laws of medicine. If elder you are willing to trust me, as soon as the situation here is resolved, I can think of ways to cure you of your present ailments. But I must remind you once more that practicing this skill will only bring upon harm, and will do you absolutely no good. You must not continue to practice it.”
Zong Wei Xia forces himself to refute, “The Fists of the Seven Damages is the top martial art skill within the Kong Dong sect’s establishment, how can it be as you say, harmful and unbeneficial? Back in the days, our sect’s ancestor Mu Ling Zi established worldwide fame for himself solely from this set of fists. Not only did his great name spread to the four seas, but he also lived to be 91 years old! How can it be damaging to the body? Doesn’t this prove that your words are a pile of rubbish?”
Zhang Wu Ji replies, “It can be imagined that the elder Mu Ling Zi must have achieved an extremely powerful reserve of inner energy, therefore he, of course can practice this skill. Not only will it do him no harm, it will actually work to strengthen his internal organic system. According to my humble opinion elder Zong, your level of inner energy has still not reached this level yet. If you continue to forcefully practice this skill, I’m afraid that in the end all will be to no avail, and your efforts will only result in uselessness.”
Zong Wei Xia was a famous and important figure within the Kong Dong sect, therefore even though he recognizes that Zhang Wu Ji’s words were not without its truthfulness, yet having the most famous set of fist skill that helped to establish the name of his sect being criticized by this youngster in front of a big crowd of martial art fighters as being “useless,” how can he possibly not be angry? He shouts out loudly, “Who do you think you are? How dare you criticize my sect’s greatest martial arts skill? If you think that it is really to be looked upon so lightly, then why don’t you come out and try it yourself, see whether it really is so useless?” Zhang Wu Ji smiles ever so faintly and replies, “The Fists of the Seven Damages is most definitely a superbly complex and mystical skill. The essence of the fists lies in its embodiment of raw force that still maintains a degree of gentleness, a simultaneous energy of harmonious balance that still exerts forceful power. The seven different channels of execution are each distinct, it ebbs and flows with hundreds of variations. It really catches one’s opponent off guard and renders them defenceless.” Zong Wei Xia upon hearing Zhang Wu Ji relate with straightforward honesty the intricate relationships of the Fists of the Seven Damages, he could no longer help himself from breaking into faint signs of a smile while repeatedly nodding his head in agreement. Zhang Wu Ji continues, “I am just saying that if one’s inner energy reserve has not reached an adequate level, then practicing the fist skill will definitely cause more harm than good.”
Zhou Zhi Rou was standing behind a bunch of her shi jies as she observed Zhang Wu Ji. She mused at the fact that though Zhang embodied the faint traces of a young person’s charismatic spirit, he was at the same time forcing himself to appear as this worldly, well-learned old soul as he lectured solemnly and soberly. It was as if he was teaching a lesson to Zong Wei Xia, the second elder of the Kong Dong sect’s 5 elders – she couldn’t help but be amused by the ridiculous and comical nature of the whole situation. Yet at the same time, she couldn’t help but start to secretly worry for him.
Hearing the content of Zhang Wu Ji’s words gradually becoming more and more offensive, the reckless and impulsive young disciples of the Kong Dong sect were almost unable to restrain themselves from shouting out insults. But when they looked over at Zong Wei Xia, they saw that he was harbouring a serious countenance as he devotes the utmost attention and concentration to this youngster’s words. The young disciples can therefore only force back the insults that had already arrived at the tip of their tongues.
Zong Wei Xia asks, “So from what you are saying, my inner energy levels is still not advanced enough?” Zhang Wu Ji replies, “Whether elder’s inner energy levels has progressed to an advance state yet, I dare not make any judgements rashly. But if during all this time that you have spent practicing the Fists of the Seven Damages, you are also simultaneously hurting your own body, then it is better to not practice …”
Before he could continue, he suddenly heard an angry shout from behind him, “Brother, why waste your breath on this young rascal? If he dares to look down upon our sect’s Fists of the Seven Damages, then let him withstand the taste of one of my fists!” With the termination of this person’s voice, followed his fist. His movements were both fast and deadly, a force whooshed by to deliver a heavy fist that landed upon the ling tai, spirit-temple energy point of Zhang Wu Ji’s back.
Although Zhang Wu Ji was very aware of the impending attack coming up from behind him, yet not only did he chose to completely ignore it, but he also continued to address Zong Wei Xia, “Elder Zong…”
Suddenly sounds of metal chains clanging against each other were heard, and a person rushed out from the crowd. A sweet melodious voice cries out, “You’re secretly attacking him behind his back?!” upon saying this, a set of hands joined by metal cuffs reaches out over the attacker’s head. The voice belonged to Xiao Zhao. That person struck back with his left hands, thereby blocking off the metal chains and then very concretely landed a punch on Zhang Wu Ji’s back. Although this punch landed dead on upon Zhang Wu Ji’s ling tai acupoint, yet not only did Zhang Wu Ji seem to have not even registered the blow, but instead he turns toward Xiao Zhao and smiles gently, “Don’t worry Xiao Zhao, this level of the Fists of the Seven Damages will not be of much use.” Xiao Zhao breathes a sigh of relief, her snow white skin suddenly tinged with a red blush, as she says in a low voice, “I almost forgot that you have already practiced …” upon saying this, immediately hushed up and backed away, returning to the crowds, dragging her metal chains along with her.
Zhang Wu Ji turns around and discovered that the attacker was an old man with a big head and skinny body. This man was the fourth elder of the Kong Dong sect’s 5 elders – his name was Chang Jing Zhi. Although that one punch had clearly landed directly on Zhang Wu Ji’s crucial pulse point, yet Zhang did not seem to have felt anything at all. Chang Jing Zhi was flabbergasted, as he blurted out the words, “You … you’ve already mastered the ‘Divine Art of Diamond Body Invulnerability,’ then you are from the Shaolin sect?” Zhang Wu Ji replies, “I am not a Shaolin disciple …” Chang Jing Zhi knew that all those who practiced this mystical skill of bodily-protection must depend upon the generation of a single breath of inner Qi. Once that person opens their mouth to speak, that breath of Qi will dissipate immediately. Therefore before Zhang Wu Ji can finish his sentence, Chang struck out once again, this time landing a fist upon Zhang Wu Ji’s chest.
Zhang Wu Ji smiles and says, “I’ve already said that the Fists of the Seven Damages is useless if one has not achieved an advanced level of inner energy, if you don’t believe me, then please feel free to throw another punch at me.” Chang Jing Zhi did not waste a single moment before striking out with the speed of the wind, throwing out one punch after another, as two consecutive punches landed on Zhang Wu Ji. In total, altogether of four punches were thrown, every one of them having most definitely landed on Zhang Wu Ji’s body. Yet Zhang continues to smile easily as he receives them, as if he was oblivious to the pain. The four stances of heavy hand all embodied an obliterating force capable of smashing rocks and shattering tombs, yet they were all sustained by Zhang Wu Ji as if they were nothing more than the soft touch of a light breeze and the gentle caress of smooth silk.
Chang Jing Zhi has always been known as the “mountain-splitting single fist,” and although the grandeur of this title may have been slightly exaggerated, yet the forcefulness of his punches cannot be denied. Among the older generation of martial art fighters, he has always remained a respected and well-known figure. There was not a single person on that scene who was not left in a state of utter astonishment and disbelief having witnessed with their own eyes how the four consecutive punches that Chang Jing Zhi executed all amounting to nothing more than a waste of energy. The Kun Lun sect and Kong Dong Sect have always been rivals, and although at this moment they were both cooperating with each other in their attempts to combat the Ming sect, yet in the hearts of both sides lies deep discontentment and contempt for the other sect. A voice coming from the Kun Lun sect mocks in an icy tone, “Oh, very good! A great ‘mountain-splitting single fist’ indeed!” Another person scoffs “And exactly what has those 4 punches been able to split?” It was a good thing that Chang Jing Zhi had such a dark complexion, for although his face has already flushed a deep red it was luckily not too noticeable under his dark skin.
Zong Wei Xia formed a fist with his two hands in accordance to the social etiquette of respectful courtesy, “Young hero Zeng, I am much impressed and amazed at your divine martial art skills. Can this old man ask you to engage in an exchange of 3 stances?” He knew that his Fists of the Seven Damages was at a much more advanced level compared to Chang Jing Zhi’s, therefore he figured that just because his brother fails, he himself may not necessarily lose to the opponent.
Zhang Wu Ji replies, “The Kong Dong sect’s Fists of the Seven Damages is without a doubt a superb skill IF it is practiced correctly, as it is most definitely a force that is capable of obliterating anything in its path. Even the great Shaolin monk Kong Jian who had been able to master the supreme skill of “Divine Art of Diamond Body Invulnerability” died under the Fists of the Seven Damages belonging to your sect. My martial art abilities can in no way be said to even come close to matching that of the great revered monk Kong Jian, how can I possibly be of match? But if elder you insist, I figure there is no harm in receiving 3 of your punches.” The meaning behind his words were clearly implying that though the Fists of the Seven Damages was originally powerful, yet based on the level you have achieved now, you are nowhere near the vicinity of causing any harm.
Zong Wei Xia had no time to care about what the hidden meanings behind Zhang Wu Ji’s words may have been, as he was already secretly generating a few consecutive breathes of inner Qi. Zong Wei Xia came forward a step, noises from the bones of his arm that were rattling against each other started to emanate from the force building up within him. A punch was thrown, and with force it impacted with Zhang Wu Ji’s chest. However, as Zong Wei Xia’s fist made contact with Zhang Wu Ji’s body, Zong Wei Xia immediately discovered that there seemed to be a mysterious magnetic force surrounding Zhang’s body that is momentarily locking Zong’s arm in a fixed position. Much to his alarm, Zong Wei Xia felt that there was suddenly this very soft and warm energy that was entering him through the fist and was heading straight for his dan tien, the elixir field. In that region between his chest and stomach suddenly appeared an indescribable, yet extremely comfortable and harmonious feeling. Shocked from this mysterious phenomenon, Zong Wei Xia retracts his arm and again releases yet another punch in Zhang’s direction, this time striking his lower stomach. Yet the reverberating power that resonates back towards him was extremely strong and forceful, he had to back up a step before he was able to find his balance. He again generated internally a few cycles of energy before once again stepping forward and extended his fist in a fierce punch.
At that moment, Chang Jing Zhi was situated right by Zhang Wu Ji. From Chang Jing Zhi’s perspective, Zong Wei Xia seemed to him to have sustained internal injuries as his countenance was fluctuating between flashes of deep red to moments of deathly paleness. Therefore as Zong Wei Xia threw his third punch, Chang Jing Zhi was already prepared to follow Zong with his own fist. Zong Wei Xia struck Zhang Wu Ji on the chest, while Chang Jing Zhi simultaneously attacked Zhang from the back. The two fists impacted on separate parts of Zhang Wu Ji’s body at the same time, and there can be no doubt that the force impacted upon his body was ferocious. Yet who could have expected those two extremely strong sources of energy to be mysteriously and completely dissipated within a brief instant? Chang and Zong’s combined efforts seemed to have resulted to nothing more than a mere punch into empty space.
Chang Jing Zhi knew very well that he was acting from the position of an elder, and the first time he snuck up and attacked Zhang Wu Ji from behind so as to catch him unawares was already an extremely frowned upon jiang hu taboo. However, at that time he can at least adamantly claim that Zhang Wu Ji’s disrespectful words were tarnishing the reputation of Kong Dong sect’s greatest skill, and thus blame his own actions on the momentary inability to control his temper. Yet this second time around, his sneak assault was undoubtedly the despicable act of a malicious scoundrel. He originally thought that by the combined forces generated from his brother and his own Fists of the Seven Damages, this youngster will definitely succumb to defeat under their fists. Chang knew that as long as he is able to kill the youngster, even if there surfaces any kind of gossip or talk from others afterwards, the fact remains that he has nevertheless eliminated a useless nobody for the 6 great sects and therefore could still be said to have established a heroic accomplishment. Yet strangely, as soon as his fist landed upon his opponent’s body, the entirety of his forceful strength immediately dissipated into nothingness. Chang Jing Zhi was extremely puzzled, he racked his brains yet was still unable to come up with a single clue of how all this could have happened. He could only raise his left hand to his own head, scratching it in state of contemplation.
Zhang Wu Ji addresses Zong Wei Xia with a slight smile, “How are you feeling Elder?”