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energy levels has reached the point of where it can course through the various acupoints of their body at will and be withdrawn with ease.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?”
Zong Wei Xia bows to Zhang Wu Ji in an act of humble reverence, and with respectful esteem to Zhang Wu Ji he says, “Thank you hero Zeng for using your inner energies to heal my bodily afflictions. Young hero Zeng, it is obviously undeniable that your divine marital arts’ proficiency is of an unfathomably deep level. Yet it is this act of repaying the injustice done upon you with an act of kindness and goodwill, this display of such greatness in character and morality that causes me to be truly humbled by and gratuitous towards.”
As soon as these words were said, there was not a single person on the battlefield that was not completely astonished and baffled. Of course nobody was aware of the fact that when Zong Wei Xia attacked Zhang Wu Ji consecutively with three punches, Zhang Wu Ji used that opportunity to generate his 9 Yang Zhen Jing, thus delivering his energy into Zong Wei Xia’s body. Although the duration was brief, sweeping over Zong’s body in a short moment’s timeframe, yet the 9 Yang Zhen Jing’s energy was extremely substantial and solidly profound, and even from that brief experience Zong Wei Xia has already benefited quite a bit. He knew that had it not been for Chang Jing Zhi’s surreptitious attack on Zhang Wu Ji, the benefits that could be have been reaped by the third punch would have been much greater.
Zhang Wu Ji replies, “ ‘greatness in character and morality,’ these are kind words of which I am not worthy of. Elder Zong at this moment, your essential nerves and the eight veins have already experienced great agitation, the best thing for you to do right now would be to immediately bring your energies back into balance. It is only through this process can all the harmful toxins that have accumulated within your body from all these years of practicing the Fists of the Seven damages be gradually eradicated within two or three years.”
Zong Wei Xia finally recognized now that his body has indeed fallen ill, so he promptly formed his hands into a fist gesturing gratitude and said earnestly “Thank you, thank you!” and without wasting a moment’s time, he immediately moved back a step and sat down on the floor in order to start generating his Qi. Although Zong Wei Xia knew very well that this gesture was somewhat unsightly and causing him to lose all dignity of appearance, yet this was a life and death situation and therefore he couldn’t allow himself to be bothered or hindered by anything else right now.
Zhang Wu Ji bent down and started to reconnect Tang Wen Liang’s broken ribs. He turned towards Chang Jing Zhi and commanded, “bring some Yang-Rejuvenating Five Dragons Paste to me.” Chang Jing Zhi obediently took out the said paste and handed it over to Zhang Wu Ji. Zhang Wu Ji then requested, “will you please ask the Wu Tang sect to borrow a dosage of their Triple-Huang Wax tablets, and ask to borrow a bit of Hua Shan sect’s Yu Zhen Powder” Chang Jing Zhi obediently followed Zhang Wu Ji’s every word, gathering the necessary items and bringing them to Zhang Wu Ji. Zhang Wu Ji explains, “your sect’s Yang-Rejuvenating Five-Dragons paste is composed of the Cao Wu (aconite) which is extremely effective, while the Wu Tang sect’s Triple-Huang Wax tablets’ ingredients of the three different kinds of Huang – Ma Huang (ephedra herba), Xiong Huang (realgar) and Teng Huang (Resina Garciniae), is also very beneficial. Add to this the Yu Zhen Powder, and as long as elder Tang gets plenty of rest in his recuperation, 2 months later his limbs will be functioning as well as before,” as he was explaining this, Zhang Wu Ji was all the while applying the medicine to Tang Wen Liang’s broken bones, finishing the treatment within a moment’s time.
The various sects each had their own unique formula of therapeutic medicine, each one unique in their remedial nature and the outcome they affect. The details of the various sects’ medicinal remedies were all clearly and explicitly recorded within Hu Qing Niu’s medicine chronicles. Zhang Wu Ji figured that since the 6 major sects were flanking the Ming sect on Guang Ming Peak, they must have each brought along their own remedial medicine in preparation for battle. But the onlookers just became all the more puzzled, not only because Zhang Wu Ji’s curative abilities far excels that of any eminent and famed doctor, but they were even more flabbergasted by the fact that Zhang Wu Ji was able to accurately assess the therapeutic properties of the various medicines belong to each sect. Chang Jing Zhi approached Tang Wen Liang and helped him to his feet, before retreating with a distinct expression of embarrassment and shame. Tang Wen Liang suddenly shouted, “You! Zeng! Tang Wen Liang is extremely indebted to you for healing my injuries. You have my word – one day I will repay your charitable act. But the demon sect is our sect’s sworn adversary. The Kong Dong sect will forever be enemies with the Ming sect, the various scores of vengeance and retribution is something that has long existed between us and is not something that can be resolved through a small favour done on me by you. You’re trying to persuade us to settle our arguments, but we will not be persuaded. If you feel that I am being an ungrateful bastard who does not appreciate the good deed you have done for me, you can just break all my limbs again, but you can’t persuade us to settle our scores with the demon sect.”
Once these words were uttered, the same thought was running through everyone’s mind, “Although they both belong to the Kong Dong sect, yet this Tang Wen Liang definitely has more integrity than that Chang Jing Zhi.”
Zhang Wu Ji replied, “If Elder Tang indeed feels this way, then may I ask what I can do in order for you to listen to my words?”
Tang Wen Liang replies, “Show us your martial art skills. If Kong Dong sect’s skill is indeed inferior to yours, then I have nothing to say.”
Zhang Wu Ji replies, “The number of skilled fighters within the Kong Dong sect are as vast as the clouds, how can I possibly compete with them? Forgive me for being bold and reckless, but today I am insisting on playing the role of the peacemaker so I’ll give it a try. I can only give it my all, using my life as a gamble.” He looks around him and sees that on the east end of the battlefield is an enormous pine tree that must have been taller than 30 feet. Its roots spanning out in all directions as it stands solidly rooted in the ground. Zhang Wu Ji walks over to the tree and speaks out in a loud and clear voice, “Once I happened to come upon the opportunity of learning a little bit of your sect’s Fists of the Seven Damages. If I do anything incorrectly, I entreat you to please be tolerant of me.” Everyone became very shocked upon hearing this, all in a state of disbelieve and questioning, “How can it be that this young man will also know even the Kong Dong sect’s Fists of the Seven Damages? From where could he have possibly learned this skill?” Zhang Wu Ji continues in a clear and steady voice, “The five central channels of energy balances Ying and Yang. Harm the heart, wound the lungs, and mutilate the liver and intestines. Viscera is shattered, energy recedes, will wanes. Once all three sectors of the stomach are reversed, along with the breath, the spirit flees away.”
Although members belonging to the other sects did not take much interest in Zhang Wu Ji’s words, however, the 5 elders of the Kong Dong sect were all shaken to the core upon hearing Zhang Wu Ji clearly and accurately recite these 4 stanzas of words that resembled neither poem nor song. What was just recited by Zhang Wu Ji was indeed the general indexical stanza for the Fists of the Seven Damages, and its composition has always remained a secret belonging to the Kong Dong sect that was not related to outsiders – how could it be that this youngster also knows how to recite it? At that moment how could they have possibly guessed that many years ago when Xie Xun stole the book containing the steps to the Fists of the Seven Damages, he had also related its contents to Zhang Wu Ji?
Zhang Wu Ji while reciting in a clear voice walks forward and strikes out with a punch. The sound of a loud “boom” echoes out and a blur of jade green flashes by the eyes as the top half of the great pine tree is severed off, flying to a side and landing on the ground almost twenty feet away from its original spot. All that is left on the ground is the bottom half of the trunk that is now only around 4 feet tall, the area of disconnection was even and levelled out.
Chang Jing Zhi mumbles to himself, “that’s … that’s not the Fists of the Seven Damages!” The theory behind the Fists of the Seven Damages requires the method of execution to embody both hard and soft elements – where within waves of solid force will also simultaneously exist traces of gentleness, as well as vice versa where soothing suppleness bears the presence of dynamic power. Although this act of severing a big tree into two parts was indeed an extremely powerful move that would call for amazement, yet the source of power derived to execute it is of an extremely solid and forceful kind of energy. Chang Jing Zhi approached the dislocated piece for a closer inspection and could he not stop his jaw from dropping into a gaping hole of disbelief. Jolted into a state of shock and astonishment, he was unable to close his mouth. Chang saw that the core of the tree was cleanly and completely severed, clearly indicating the work of one whose practice of the Fists of the Seven Damages has already reached the highest level.
In actuality, Zhang Wu Ji was intent upon using his power and ability to take control over the battle scene. Therefore, if he was to use the Fists of the Seven Damages to severe the core of the tree trunk, he must wait from 10 days to half a month for the core of the pine tree to dry and shrivel up before he could finish it off. Hence, as he delivered a blow using the Fists of the Seven Damages, he also proceeded with an extremely strong and forceful Yang energy in order to break the tree into a clean half. Years ago on the ice-fire island, his yi fu Xie Xun also employed a similar method based on the same principle of first using the Fists of the Seven Damages to crack and shatter the internal core of the tree before immediately using the dragon sabre to cleanly slice through it.
All that was heard around him were the cheers, excitement and praises coming from all the sects. The energetic enthusiasm was gushing towards Zhang Wu Ji like tidal waves, lasting quite a while before finally quieting down.
Chang Jing Zhi exclaims “Outstanding! That was indeed a demonstration of the highest achievement of the Fists of the Seven Damages skill! I truly bow to you! But I have to ask you young hero Zeng, from where did you learn this set of fists?” Zhang Wu Ji smiles faintly and does not reply. Tang Wen Liang asks in a sharp tone, “Where is the Golden Mane Lion King right now? I entreat young hero Zeng to impart upon us his whereabouts.” Tang has always been a perceptive and shrewd person, and has therefore vaguely deduced that Xie Xun must somehow be either related to, or associated with the youngster that is currently standing in front of him.
Zhang Wu Ji becomes alarmed and thinks to himself, “Darn it! Using the Fists of the Seven Damages has brought attention upon yi fu’s presence. If I truthfully relate to them my relationship with yi fu it will only make me the enemy of the 6 great sects, and then my attempts at playing the role of the peacemaker will not succeed.” He then proceeds to say, “Your sect is insisting that the ultimate figure responsible for the abduction of the manual for the Fists of the Seven Damages is the Golden Mane Lion King? That is wrong, very wrong! That night on the Kong Dong Mountain in the midst of the fight within Qing Yang temple, there was one person in your sect who was injured by the Divine Art of Originating Formation, and hence red spots started to appear all over his whole body. The attacker that night was the one who is known to all as the ‘Lightning Hands of the Originating Formation’ – Cheng Kun.”
Years ago, when Xie Xun arrived on the Kong Dong mountain intent on stealing the fist manual, Cheng Kun purposely assisted him without his awareness in order that he may generate more enemies for the Ming sect. That night, Cheng Kun used the Divine Art of Originating Formation to injure the two elders Tang Wen Liang and Chang Jing Zhi. Xie Xun was not aware that Cheng Kun had secretly assisted him that night, and it was only later when Xie Xun encountered the monk Kong Jian who elucidated for him the truth, did he finally understand what happened. Zhang Wu Ji was thinking to himself that since Cheng Kun has spent a whole lifetime engaged in implementing nothing but evil deeds, purposely framing others for his own evil feats, he may as well give him his just desserts by retaliating in the style of Cheng Kun. Zhang Wu Ji felt that not only was he not lying, but he was also uncovering the truth.
Tang Wen Liang and Chang Jing Zhi had harboured suspicions in their hearts for more than 20 years. At this moment, being presented with an explanation from Zhang Wu Ji, the various incoherencies suddenly fell into place. Tang and Chang looked at each other for a moment, unable to say anything for a while. Zong Wei Xia inquires, “May I ask you hero Zeng, this Cheng Kun – where has he escaped to at this present moment?”
Zhang Wu Ji replies, “The Lightning Hands of the Originating Formation: Cheng Kun was fuelled by only one purpose, and that was to create disorder between the 6 great sects and the Ming sect. He was later taken in under Shaolin’s wing, and changed his name to Yuan Zhen. Last night, he sneaked into the Ming sect’s inner forum and admitted to these crimes with his own mouth to the Ming sect’s head leaders. At that time, Mr. Yang Xiao, Wei Bat-King, and the 5 wanderers were all listening. I swear that this is the unembellished truth. If there is a single false word, then I am even lower than a crowd of dogs and pigs, and when I die may it be that I will be tortured by millions of diabolical calamities and doomed to suffer in eternity, never be reborn again.”
Having heard Zhang Wu Ji deliver these words with utmost sincerity and earnestness, the majority of people were struck with wonder and speculation. Only the Shaolin sect’s various monks simultaneously erupted into loud shouts of protest.
(Continued by Meh)
Only to hear a person stepping up from the crowd, chanting Buddhist prayers. He wears a gray robe, his expression stern, and his left hand holds a string of beads. This is one of the three Mystical Reverends of Shaolin, Kong Sheng. He spoke as he entered the arena, “Mr. Zeng, why do you say such lies, ridiculing my Shaolin Temple? How can I possibly let you continue to say such profane words in front these heroes?” Zhang WuJi bowed and said, “Do not by angry, reverend. Please allow Yuan Zhen monk to step up, so the truth can be told.” Reverend Kong Sheng said with a glum face, “Mr. Zeng keeps asking for my martial nephew Yuan Zhen. You are still quite a young man. Why do you have such a venomous heart?” Zhang WuJi said, “I simply would like for Monk Yuan Zhen to come out, so all the truths and lies will be sorted out. Why would this be venomous?” Kong Sheng said, “Martial nephew Yuan Zhen is my martial brother Kong Jian’s last student. His devotion to the Buddha is very strong. Other than coming with us to the Ming sect, he has never left the temple even once. How can he be the The Lightning Hands of the Originating Formation: Cheng Kun? Besides, martial nephew Yuan Zhen, in order to help us demolish the Devil sect, has already died. How can you say such things about him even in death?”
The words ‘already died’ resonate heavily into Zhang WuJi’s ears. His face instantly turns white. Whatever else Kong Sheng might have later said, he did not hear. Zhang WuJi can only stutter, “He… he really died? No… no it can’t be.” Kong Sheng then points to a pile of monk bodies on the side, and yells loudly, “You can go see for yourself!” Zhang WuJi walks in front of the dead bodies, only to indeed find the body of Yuan Zhen. He checks for breathing, then the muscles for warmth. Based on the temperature, he has already been dead for quite a while. Zhang WuJi felt sadness and happiness in his own heart. He never thought that his godfather’s mortal enemy now lies here dead. The blood in his chest boiled, as he could not hold back facing the sky and laugh, “Oh, you scoundrel. You have done so much evil in your life. Ha! Looks like even you have today’s outcome today.”
These thunderous laughs shook the mountain, trembling the minds of everyone there. Zhang WuJi turns around and asks, “Who killed Yuan Zhen?” Kong Sheng’s face looks cold as ice, and does not respond. Yin TianZheng had already retreated to the side, but now he speaks up, “He and my son Yin YeWang matched palms. One person died and one person injured as a result.” Zhang WuJi bows and says, “I see.” He thought, “I bet after taking Wei YiXiao’s Soft Ice Palm, Yuan Zhen became seriously injured. My uncle’s power is also quite incredible. So that is how he died. I am really glad that it was my uncle who helped me achieve this revenge.” He walks to Yin YeWang’s side, checks his condition, and realizes that the injuries are not life threatening. He said, “Thank you, elder!”
Kong Sheng became angrier and angrier as he watched on the side, exclaiming, “Little kid, get ready to die!” These words resonated loudly into the ears of everyone there. Zhang WuJi turns around and asks, “Why?” Kong Sheng said loudly, “You knew that martial nephew Yuan Zhen is dead. Yet you put all the blame on his shoulders. How can I let someone so malicious live? I will break the pillar not to kill today. Are you going to commit suicide, or do you want me to kill you?” Zhang WuJi thought, “The fact that the main culprit Yuan Zhen had died is originally a good thing. But now how can I show them the truth now?” Just as he is still thinking of a plan, Kong Sheng steps up and aims his right hand at Zhang WuJi’s head. His hand is straight as a stick from the wrist to the fingers, sharp and crisp. Yin TianZheng yelled, “Be careful, it’s Dragon Claws!”
Zhang WuJi’s turns to the side, gently sidestepping the attack. When Kong Sheng could not grab him the first time, he tried again. This time, he’s even quicker and more ferocious. Zhang WuJi again sidesteps his grab by evading to the left. Kong Sheng’s third, fourth, and the fifth strikes immediately followed. In an instant, a gray-robed man became a gray dragon. The dragon shadow flies in the air, the dragon claws dances rapidly, pushing Zhang WuJi to the point where he can no longer move away. A quick ‘swoosh’ sound later, Zhang WuJi’s body flew up, but Kong Sheng had already grabbed his right sleeves, pulling down. Five cuts appeared on Zhang WuJi’s shoulder as blood pour out. The Shaolin monks immediately cheered on, but a lone girl screamed in shock. Zhang WuJi looked at the direction of the voice, only to see Xiao Zhao’s expression extremely pale. She said, “Young master Zhang, you… you be careful.” Zhang WuJi’s heart felt a tingle of warmth, and thought, “This little girl is really nice to me.” After succeeding with his previous move, Kong Sheng immediately followed it up with more, each with a great deal of energy. This type of kung fu is fast and furious. More powerful than anything Zhang WuJi has seen before. He can only try to dodge the oncoming blows.
As Kong Sheng attacks continuously with his Dragon Claws, Zhang WuJi continuously backs away. They kept facing each other, one moving forward, while the other one moving back. After nine consecutive misses by Kong Sheng, he’s still about a yard away from Zhang WuJi. Although he moves forward at lightning speed, Zhang WuJi always manage to back off at the same pace. While Zhang WuJi still has not countered any attacks, one can already see just who has the edge in lightness kung fu. One is moving forward, while the other is backpedaling. The difference in difficulty between the two is easy to see. Since he could not catch up, Kong Sheng’s power in the legs is obviously much worse. Had Zhang WuJi turned around to run, he could have easily left Kong Sheng long behind. Essentially, the reason Zhang WuJi didn’t turn around is so he can see Kong Sheng use his Dragon Claws. By the time he saw the thirty-seventh claw, he realized that it was move number eight, ‘Cloud Palm form’. Obviously, Zhang WuJi does not know its name. But he knows perfectly how one would execute such a move.
This Dragon Claws only has thirty-six moves. Its aim is to be fast and deadly, not concentrating on changing variations. Whenever Kong Sheng has met a formidable enemy, he has always gained the initiative by using this Dragon Claws. Never has he needed more than twelve moves to win the fights. From the thirteenth move on, he has practiced them, but never used them in battle. He can’t believe that he couldn’t win even after using all thirty-six moves. By his thirty-seventh move, he had to reuse his previous ones. Kong Sheng thought, “This kid only has great lightness kung fu and great agility. That’s why he can avoid my strikes. But if we truly stop and fight, I doubt he can handle twelve strikes of my Dragon Claws.” Zhang WuJi by now had already figured out the workings of the Dragon Claw. He found no weaknesses, but Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi can create weaknesses from any type of forms. He thought, “At this time, I can easily kill him. But Shaolin has always held a great reputation, and this monk is one of the three most important people in Shaolin. If I beat him today, where is the face for Shaolin? Yet it’s impossible to simply make him back down willingly. His kung fu, after all, is much better than the Kong Dong elders.” Just as he’s deciding on what to do, he heard Kong Sheng say, “Little kid, you’re just trying to run away, not fighting!” Zhang WuJi said, “Fighting is…” Kong Sheng, knowing that Zhang WuJi’s chi cannot flow efficiently while speaking, and takes advantage of the situation. ‘Swoosh, Swoosh’, two more strikes shot out. Zhang WuJi again floated away, as he continued his sentence, “…also fine. If I defeat you, reverend, what will you do?” He did not pause at all during this sentence. Had someone listened with his eyes closed, he might’ve thought that Zhang WuJi said it while sitting down. No one would believe that he spoke while dodging five attacks from Kong Sheng. Kong Sheng said, “If I lose to you in a true fight, you can feel free to kill me.” Zhang WuJi said, “Oh, I certainly don’t have that in mind! If I lose, obviously you can do what you wish with me. But should I win, I hope Shaolin will leave Brightness Peak today.” Kong Sheng said, “My martial brother is the leader of our group. I do not have a say in the decision-making. Besides, I don’t believe I can possibly lose to a kid like you.”
Zhang WuJi suddenly got an idea, and says, “Shaolin Dragon Claws’ thirty-two strokes have no weakness. It can really be considered the most powerful claw technique in the world. Except it seems that you are using the Dragon Claws a bit wrong.” Kong Sheng said angrily, “Fine! If you can break my Dragon Claws, I’ll immediately go back to Shaolin, never to leave the door again!” Zhang WuJi said, “That won’t be necessary!” The others there cheered loudly as they watched this conversation. Because during this conversation, the two fighters never did take a break in fighting. In fact, they moved faster and faster as the battle went on, yet the tones for their conversation remained clear and calm, showing no signs of breakage. By the time Zhang WuJi finished his last sentence “That won’t be necessary”, his body flew up and then began to spin, spinning four times quickly in midair, each time higher than the last, until he made a final flip, before landing soft as a feather down to the ground far away. The watchers could only stare in awe as they watched. If they hadn’t seen it with their own eyes, no one would have believed that someone could possess such amazing lightness kung fu. Even the Green Bat King, who thought his own lightness kung fu is unparalleled, can only sigh in reverence. As Zhang WuJi landed, Kong Sheng also moved up to him, but didn’t attack. He asks loudly, “Are we going to start now?” Zhang WuJi says, “Sure. After you.” Kong Sheng says, “You’re not going to back off?” Zhang WuJi smiled and says, “If I take another step back, I’ll admit defeat.”
Although the top fighters of the Ming sect are all too injured to move, their hearings are still fine. All of them gasped when they heard Zhang WuJi say this. They are all experienced in the martial world, and realize the power of Kong Sheng’s Dragon Claws. To them, even trying to block one hit would be a difficult task. No matter how good Zhang WuJi is, he still would likely need more than a hundred moves before winning. How can he possibly not take a step back during this time? Only to hear Kong Sheng say, “That won’t be necessary. If I win, I want to win fairly. If I lose, I want to lose willingly.” When he finished, he yelled, “Look out!” Kong Sheng then feints with his left hand, while his right hand carries a strong wind from the other side, reaching for Zhang WuJi’s Bowl Lacking Point on his left shoulder. Zhang WuJi realizes, from the feint, that this is another ‘Cloud Palm Form’. So he also feints with his left hand, while his right hand shot out to Kong Sheng’s Bowl Lacking Point on his left shoulder. Both fighters use the same move, without any difference. Zhang WuJi moves second, but reaches his target first, gaining the initiative. While Kong Sheng’s right hand is still a few inches away from Zhang WuJi’s left shoulder, Zhang WuJi’s five fingers has reached the opponent’s Bowl Lacking Point. Kong Sheng only felt a little sting on his pressure point, as he lost all strength on his right hand. Yet Zhang WuJi did not apply any more power to his claws, instead pulling back his hand. After being stunned for a moment, Kong Sheng’s both hands shot out, attacking with the ‘Pearl Taking Form’, aiming for Zhang WuJi’s left and right Sun Point. Once again Zhang WuJi moved afterwards, and again, landed the attack first, grabbing both of Kong Sheng’s Sun Point. The Sun Point is of paramount importance to a fighter. If reached, it would mean certainly defeat. Yet Zhang WuJi simply lightly touches the Sun Point. He then spins around, and changes into the Dragon Claws’ seventeenth move ‘Moon Catching Form’, aiming Kong Sheng’s Wind Manor Point at the back of his head.
Zhang WuJi had already stunned Kong Sheng by grabbing his Sun Point, but his usage of the ‘Moon Catching Form’ left Kong Sheng dumbfounded. Kong Sheng said, “How… how did you steal Shaolin’s Dragon Claws?”
Zhang WuJi responds with a chuckle, “The martial arts under the Heavens are hardly all unique. It’s only humans who forcibly divide them into different sects. How can you be sure that this Dragon Claws is unique to Shaolin?” But in his mind, Zhang WuJi realizes, “This Dragon Claws really is something. I bet it took Shaolin hundreds of years to refine it into the form today. It probably is unparalleled in the world. If I weren’t using Dragon Claws to fight him, I don’t think I can win.”
Kong Sheng lowers his head, trying to digest this strange information. When it comes to the Dragon Claws, not even his martial brothers can match him in terms of skill. So how can this youngster twice move after him, yet also twice landing the blow first? Plus, this youngster’s accuracy, speed, and power are all incredible, as if he’s been practicing for tens of years.
All the eyes in the crowds stared at him as he stood there in silence. The two moves were over in a blur. So other than the top-level fighters, no one knows just who won the exchange. But they do see that Zhang WuJi still carries a carefree expression, while Kong Sheng is agonizing in his thoughts.
Kong Sheng suddenly roars loudly, swiftly stepping up, his palms powerful as a thunderstorm, ‘Wind Grasping Form’, ‘Shadow Catching Form’, ‘Zither Playing Form’, ‘Drum Beating Form’, ‘Carrying Form’, ‘Sham Striking Form’, ‘Evil Wrapping Form’, ‘Weakness Blocking Form’, all eight moves one after another with lightning speed. Zhang WuJi, keeping his calm, begins grasping winds and catching shadows, playing zither and beating drums, carrying and striking shams, wrapping evil and blocking weaknesses, also making the same eight moves smoothly in a row, each time he goes second, but strikes first.
Kong Sheng’s eight strikes came continuously, looking more like eight different variations of a single move, each with unparalleled speed. Who would’ve thought that Zhang WuJi is even faster? Every time he lands the blow first. Every time Kong Sheng makes a move, he has to take a step back. By the time he has retreated seven steps, he begins to use ‘Evil Wrapping Form’ and ‘Weakness Blocking Form’. These are the last two moves of the Dragon Claws. Their appearance seems to be filled with weaknesses, making the user look unsure of himself. Yet both of these forms are based on the principle of counterattacking. Every single weakness is a trap that allows for some very potent counterattacks. Although Dragon Claws is a Hard style of martial arts, it’s last two moves changes to a very Soft style. Zhang WuJi takes another breath and steps up, also using the same final two forms, but immediately changed to a ‘Cloud Palm Form’ afterwards.
Kong Sheng thought ecstatically, “Ha! Finally fell into my trap.” He sees Zhang WuJi’s right arm entering the trap, unable to possibly retreat. Kong Sheng recoils his arms and then spun them from the top, striking down on Zhang WuJi’s arms from above. He sees that this youngster is proficient in Shaolin kung fu. Afraid that he may be related to the temple, and knowing that Zhang WuJi had been lenient with him earlier, Kong Sheng did not try to take his life, only seeking to break his bones. Yet just before his attack landed, he felt a strong and warm inner power flowing into his chest, preventing his arms from going down further. At this time, Zhang WuJi’s five fingers have already reached his body.
Immediately, Kong Sheng’s heart sank. Tens of years of hard practice on this Dragon Claws, thinking it is unrivaled in the martial world, has now gone up in smoke. He nods and says, “Mr. Zeng’s Dragon Claws are indeed much better than mine.” His left hand then grabs his right hand, about to break them, when he felt numbness on his left wrist. Only to see Zhang WuJi applying some chi there, and says, “I simply used Shaolin’s Dragon Claws to defeat you. What’s the shame in that? Had I used any other type of kung fu, I could not have won today.”
Kong Sheng, in his moment of failure, had wanted to break his own fingers, never to practice kung fu again. Yet when he heard this, he realizes that Zhang WuJi had been protecting Shaolin’s integrity this whole time. If Zhang WuJi hasn’t done this, then Shaolin’s history and place in the martial world could have gone down in flames today. After he thought this through, Kong Sheng could only feel gratitude for Zhang WuJi, and says, “Mr. Zeng’s kindness is truly incredible. You have my total admiration.” Zhang WuJi responds, “I’m sorry for striking an elder. Please accept my apologies.” Kong Sheng chuckled, and says, “I can’t believe this Dragon Claws can have such amazing power in your hands. Should you have time, please come to Shaolin so you can give some more pointers.” Usually, this sort of sentence has a connotation of challenging someone to a fight. Yet Kong Sheng’s tone did not carry any of that meaning. He really does deeply respect Zhang WuJi’s kung fu.
Zhang WuJi hurriedly responds, “Oh, you are flattering me. Shaolin’s martial arts are vast and deep, while mine is shallow and thin. Should we be fated to meet again, I would also like reverend you to share some advice with me.” His words are also just as sincere.
Due to his lack of management skills, Kong Sheng doesn’t hold any position of authority within the temple. But his reputation in Shaolin is extremely good. Everyone deeply respects his character and martial arts skills. So when Shaolin’s people see that he admits to defeat so sincerely, they do not complain. Plus, seeing how Zhang WuJi did everything in his power to keep Shaolin from losing face, they all knew that Shaolin couldn’t challenge him further today. Kong Zhi is the leader of this whole attack, and knows that the six sects cannot simply back down like this. Seeing the problem with the situation at hand, he gave a look to the Master of Hua Shan sect, XianYu Tong. Xian YuTong is the brain behind this attack on Brightness Peak. When he sees Kong Zhi asking for help, he immediately steps into the arena. Zhang WuJi sees a forty-some year old middle-aged scholar come up, handsome and charismatic, and begins to like him a bit. Zhang WuJi asks, “What does the elder wish of me?” Before XianYu Tong could respond, Yin TianZheng says, “This is the Master of Hua Shan sect, XianYu Tong. Although his kung fu is average, he’s very devious. You need to watch out.” When Zhang WuJi heard the name, he thought, “Hey, this name sounds familiar. I wonder where I heard it before?” Only to see XianYu Tong walk up to a couple of yards in front of Zhang WuJi before stopping. He waves his hand and says, “After you, Mr. Zeng.” Zhang WuJi also returns the favor, and adds, “After you, Master XianYu.”
XianYu Tong says, “Young Hero Zeng’s kung fu is simply marvelous, to be able to defeat the Kong Dong elders and even the Mystic Reverend Kong Sheng. I truly respect you. So may I ask, who is your teacher? Which sect did you come from?”
Zhang WuJi has to think of how to respond, so he remains silent.
XianYu Tong laughed, and then speaks loudly, “I wonder why Young Hero Zeng is so afraid to speak about your mentor? As a wise man once said, ‘When you see someone worthy, you hold them in high regards, when you see someone not worthy…” When Zhang WuJi heard this, he immediately thought of ‘See Death but Won’t Help’*. He then remembered that five years ago in the Butterfly Valley, Hu QingNuo told him that XianYu Tong killed his sister. At that time, Zhang WuJi thought, “This XianYu Tong really is a terrible person. If he doesn’t get bad luck later in life, then the gods really need their eyes re-examined.” The words of that day came back to him, “A youngster got the Golden Bug Poison of the Miao tribe. He should’ve died from the poison, but I treated him for three days and three nights, using all my powers to cure him. We became sworn brothers afterward. Sighs. Who would’ve thought that he later killed my sister… My poor sister… Ever since our parent’s death, we had only each other for support.” When Hu QingNuo said this, his face was so frail and miserable, making Zhang WuJi quite sad. Hu QingNuo then said that he later tried to seek revenge, but Hua Shan sect simply has too many powerful people, and XianYu Tong is too cunning. So Hu QingNuo almost died in his hands. When Zhang WuJi thought of all this, he raised his eyebrows, and his eyes brightened, staring at XianYu Tong. Zhang WuJi feels the need to teach this person a lesson, so he chuckled, and then said, “I was never poisoned at the Miao Tribe, nor did I kill the sister of my best friend, why would I have anything to hide?”
*This made a lot more sense in Chinese, since the two phrases are similar.
XianYu Tong is instantly shaken when he heard this, and cold sweat pours down his face. After Hu QingNuo saved his life, he and Hu QingNuo’s sister Hu QingYang fell in love. He married Hu QingYang, and she became pregnant. But later XianYu Tong wanted to be the Master of Hua Shan, so he left behind Hu QingYang. Then he married the only daughter of the former Hua Shan Master, resulting in Hu QingYang committing suicide. This is a story that XianYu Tong kept secret for years now. Yet somehow this little kid found out about it. How could he not be shocked? XianYu Tong immediately begins to think, “Since this kid knows my secret, I must kill him. It would be disastrous for him to reveal this to the world.” This prompted him to regain his intensity. XianYu Tong says, “If you won’t reveal your teacher’s name, I guess I’ll have to test out your amazing skills then. Let’s just have a friendly duel, so please don’t hurt me too much.” As he said this his left hand shot out at Zhang WuJi’s head, yelling, “Let us start!” He obviously doesn’t want to give Zhang WuJi a chance to say something else, which Zhang WuJi has figured out. He easily blocked off the oncoming blow and keeps taking, “I know Hua Shan’s kung fu is great. So I don’t need to fight to test it out. But your ‘Repaying Kindness with Reprisal*’ skill is really quite unmatched, don’t you agree?”
*For the life of me I can’t think of the right English word for this. I think it’s a pretty simple word too. Or maybe not…
XianYu Tong immediately attacks again to prevent him from talking further, using a top move from the seventy-two road ‘Life and Death of Eagle and Snake Art’. He closed his fan in his right hand, and held it like a snake’s head. His left hand uses a type of Eagle Claw move. The snake is used to pierce into the opponent, while the eagle grabs him. The two hands use two completely different types of techniques. This ‘Life and Death of Eagle and Snake Art’ has been the top kung fu in the Hua Shan sect for over a hundred years, and can overwhelm the opponent by attacking together with great speed and accuracy.
Against normal people, this kung fu can easily mystify the enemy and prevent them from blocking properly. But Zhang WuJi easily figured out the intricacies after only a few moves. He knows that XianYu Tong’s skills are much worse than Kong Sheng’s, so he parried all the attacks quickly. Then he says, “Master YuXian, I have a question I need to ask. When you were poisoned that year, and were about to die. That person spent three days and three nights to cure you, and became your sworn brother. So why were you so cruel, killing his sister in return?”
XianYu Tong can’t answer his question, so he scolded, “Hu…” He wanted to say “Hu Shou Ba Dao*”, and then shoot down Zhang WuJi’s accusations with a false story. He is well known for his cunning in terms of word usage, so this comes easily to him. His main objective is to break Zhang WuJi’s concentration, so he can sneak in for a fatal blow. Because after seeing the fight against Kong Sheng, he knows that he cannot win on kung fu ability alone.
*Hu Shou Ba Dao means bullsh_t.
Unfortunately, just as he said the word “Hu”, he felt a powerful palm strike, pushing in front of his chest, preventing him from finishing the sentence. In the meantime, he felt as if his lungs are being sucked out by the opponent’s palm power, and hurriedly gathered his inner chi for protection. Then he heard Zhang WuJi say, “That’s right, that’s right! You do remember that her surname is ‘Hu’. Why didn’t you finish saying her name? Ms. Hu suffered so much in your hands, so don’t you feel even the slightest guilt?” Trying to regain his breath, XianYu Tong quickly made three attacks, releasing the lock Zhang WuJi’s palm had on his chest. When he finally caught his breath again, Xianu Tong says, “You…” When he got here, he felt yet another wind of chi pressing into his chest, and his speech stopped. Zhang WuJi said, “A man should always admit to what he did. Right is right. Wrong is wrong. Why are you so indecisive? Didn’t the Butterfly Valley Mystic Doctor Hu QingNuo save your life? Didn’t you kill his sister?” He doesn’t know how Hu Qingang died, so he cannot give more details. But XianYu Tong thought that he knew everything, and his face became even paler.
The audience all knows that XianYu Tong is a master at arguing. So they’re all extremely surprised that he could not speak up against Zhang WuJi. Because of this, they all felt that Zhang WuJi must have been speaking the truth. Unfortunately for XianYu Tong, he could not plead his innocence with Zhang WuJi pressuring his lungs. The others only see Zhang WuJi’s fists dances in the air, easily parrying the attacks of XianYu Tong, then counterattack with his own fist. Not even the top fighters can see the weakness of his moves. Most members of the Hua Shan sect could only shake their heads when they see their Master getting pummeled both physically and verbally. Although some felt that he must have some trick up his sleeves. Only to hear Zhang WuJi say loudly, “For us people in the martial world, it’s important to repay kindness with kindness. Hu QingNuo is obviously a member of the Ming sect. You owe your life to the Ming sect, yet you come to attack it? He saved your life, yet you kill his relative? Where is your shame? How can you possibly be the Master of a whole sect?” XianYu Tong suddenly regained his breath again, and says, “Little bastard, stop your lies!” He then immediately pointed his fan in front of Zhang WuJi’s face, and then opened it. Zhang WuJi suddenly smelled a faint scent, and he immediately became dizzy, faltering back a bit. Then he only felt the whole world spinning, and that gold stars were dancing in front of him… XianYu Tong yells, “Little bastard, let me show you the power of my ‘Life and Death of Eagle and Snake Art’.” He quickly moves forward, five fingers reaching for Zhang WuJi’s Yuan Yi Point. He figured that Zhang WuJi couldn’t possibly block this move. Yet for some reason, it came up empty.
The Hua Shan disciples all yelled, “’Life and Death of Eagle and Snake Art’ rules!” “Our master XianYu has mystical powers!” “Now you’ll see some real kung fu!” Zhang WuJi chuckled, and blew his breath towards XianYu Tong’s nose. XianYu Tong suddenly smelled a sweet scent, and became dizzy. He became so scared his soul almost popped out. Then he drops to his knees in front of Zhang WuJi, as if begging him for something. This caught everyone off guard. They all saw Zhang WuJi seemingly injured just a moment ago. Yet how could he make XianYu Tong drop to his knees in such a short time? Does he really know witchcraft or something? Zhang WuJi bents down and takes the fan, then yells, “Hua Shan is considered a righteous sect, so how can you have such an amazing poison skill. Look at this, everyone.” He opened the fan lightly, and flipped around so everyone can see both sides. He continues, “Who would’ve thought that this fan has a hidden trigger for poison!” As he speaks, he walks over to a flower tree, takes down a few flowers, and waves the fan in front of them. In an instant, the flowers all withered.
This shocked everyone, and they all thought, “What kind of poison is this? How can it be so powerful?” Only to hear XianYu Tong lie on the ground, screaming in pain like a pig to be slaughtered. Kung fu experts have a very high tolerance for pain. Under almost any circumstance, they would not yell pain in front of others. So his yells made the all the Hua Shan sect members turn pale. XianYu Tong then screams, “Hurry… hurry and kill mi…. Just kill me…” Zhang WuJi says, “But I do have a way to cure you, except I don’t know what kind of poison you used.”
XianYu Tong screams, “This… this is golden bug poison… golden bug poison… hurry… kill me… Ah…”
The younger generations may not know about this poison, but the elders were shocked at these words. Some of the more righteous people begin to scold XianYu Tong. For the Golden Bug Poison is considered one of the deadliest poisons in the world, no taste and no smell. The poisoned person feels like being eaten by thousands of bugs, the result unimaginable. Even if you have godly powers, a person who doesn’t know any kung fu can kill you in this state. Zhang WuJi then asks, “How did you poison yourself when you are the one who hid it in here?” XianYu Tong says, “I… don’t know, I don’t know…” As he says this, he started to roll on the floor, scratching everywhere. Zhang WuJi says, “You released the poison in your fan to attack me, but I used my inner power to force it back out. Do you have anything else to say?”
XianYu Tong says, “It’s my fault… my fault…” He put his hands to his throat, wanting to commit suicide. But after getting poisoned, he has no strength in his hands. This poison is so powerful it forces you to live, and keeps your mind clear so you can feel the agony. Years ago, he tried to leave a Miao girl after toying with her. She then poisoned him with the golden bug poison. But she had hoped that he would change his mind, so she only used a small amount. XianYu Tong was able to escape, and stole some of her poison before he left. But soon afterwards, he fell unconscious. By coincidence, Hu QingNuo was collecting herbs in that area, saving him. Afterwards, XianYu Tong began to raise this type of bug so he can use it in his fan. Whenever he applies the proper inner power to the switch, the poison will come out. At first, when fighting Zhang WuJi, he couldn’t apply any inner power. It’s only at the end, when Zhang WuJi released his hold, that he used the poison.
Thankfully, Zhang WuJi’s inner power is without equal. In the critical moment, he held his breath, then forced out the small amount of poison in his body with his chi. Had he had less inner strength, or didn’t react fast enough, then it would be him on the ground rather than XianYu Tong. After reading Wang NanGu’s Book of Poisons*, he knows just how powerful this golden bug poison is. So he quickly blocked off the circulation of the poison into his body. Zhang WuJi thought to himself, “I do have to save him, but I need him to confess his crimes first.” So he says, “I can make the antidote, but you have to answer my questions first. If you lie, I’ll just leave you here, letting you to endure seven days and seven nights of pain before dying.”
- Wang NanGu is Hu QingNuo’s wife. Zhang WuJi grabbed her book when he saw her corpse.
XianYu Tong, despite his pain, can still hear clearly. He thought, “Back then, that Miao girl also said that I’ll be in pain for seven days and seven nights. How can this little kid know this too?” But he still doesn’t believe that Zhang WuJi can possibly cure his poison, and said, “You… can’t cure me.” Zhang WuJi closed the fan and pointed at his waist. “If I make a cut here, and apply the right medicine, then you’ll be saved.” XianYu Tong immediately responds, “You’re… you’re…right.” Zhang WuJi then asks, “Have you done anything you felt guilty about in life?” XianYu Tong says, “N… no.” Zhang WuJi says, “Fine, have it your way.” XianYu Tong hurriedly added, “Wait… I’ll say it.” But after all, he is in front of his peers. So the words obviously have trouble coming out.
Suddenly, two people came out from the Hua Shan sect, one tall one short, both look around fifty, their hands holding large sabers. Walking in front of Zhang WuJi, the short old man says, “Mr. Zeng, you can kill us Hua Shan people, but you can’t play around with us. It’s not heroic to do such a thing to our Master XianYu.” Zhang WuJi put together his fists and bowed, asking, “And your names are?” The short old man says, “You’re not worthy of asking for my name.” He bent down and about to carry XianYu Tong back, but Zhang WuJi quickly pushed him out of the way saying, “His body is filled with poison. If you even touch him, you’ll be poisoned too. I suggest you be careful in the future.” That short man froze for a second, and shuddered. Only to hear XianYu Tong scream, “Hurry and save me… save me… Bai Yuan… Brother Bai… I used this poison to kill him… but that’s it….”
When he said this, everyone’s face in the Hua Shan sect turned pale. The short man asked, “You killed Bai Yuan? This is the truth? Then why do you say the Ming sect killed him?” XianYu Tong screams, “Brother Bai… please don’t do that…” “Brother Bai, I know you died a horrible death, but why did you blackmail me back then… You had to speak about Ms. Hu in front of the master. You know master would never forgive me for that. I … I had to silence you. Please… forgive me…” He then continued, “I killed you, so I had to blame it on the Ming sect. But…. But I burnt so much money for you, I took care of your wife, kids, and parents…” Although the sun shines brightly on the square, everyone’s hearts were filled with coldness upon hearing this. The people in the Hua Shan sect who knew Bai Yuan were even more shocked. Zhang WuJi also didn’t expect this response. He originally wanted XianYu Tong to speak about Lady Hu, not his own martial brother. But Zhang WuJi didn’t know that since Hu QingYang committed suicide, XianYu Tong, with his playboy personality, never felt all that badly about it. But he did kill Bai Yuan with his own hand, and with the same poison that’s in him now. So he felt like Bai Yuan’s ghost has come seeking for revenge.
Zhang WuJi doesn’t know who Bai Yuan is, but from XianYu Tong’s words, he can tell that the blame was put on the Ming sect. Most likely this is the reason why the Hua Shan sect came to Brightness Peak today. So he yells in the Hua Shan direction, “Listen to me, people of Hua Shan. Your elder Bai was not killed by the Ming sect. Please do not take out your revenge on the wrong people.”
That tall old man waved his sword up, about to bring it down on XianYu Tong. But Zhang WuJi lightly flicked his saber back with a finger, bouncing it back. That tall old man said, “This is a traitor of Hua Shan. How can we let him live?” Zhang WuJi says, “I promised that I’ll cure him, so I will. You can do what you want with him later.”
That short old man says, “Brother, he’s right.” He then swiftly kicked XianYu in the back, sending him flying, finally falling down in front of the Hua Shan group. Although XianYu Tong has many loyal disciples, none would dare catch him due to the poison.
That short old man says to Zhang WuJi, “We are the martial uncles of XianYu Tong. Today you have resolved a big problem within the Hua Shan sect. For this, we thank you!” Both of them then bowed, as Zhang WuJi quickly returned the favor, saying, “It’s ok. It’s ok.” The short man then pulled out his saber and says loudly, “But you have ruined the reputation of the Hua Shan sect. For this, my brother and I will fight you to the death!” The tall man also says, “Yes, we shall fight you the death.” Oddly enough, he’s much taller and bigger, but he seemingly follows the shorter old man’s orders. Zhang WuJi says, “Which sect hasn’t had a bad apple in its history? Your reputation won’t be affected by one person.” The tall old man says, “You think so?” Zhang WuJi says, “Yes.” The tall old man says, “Big brother, in that case, let’s just forget about it.” He makes it sounds like he respects Zhang WuJi, but in reality, he fears Zhang WuJi’s ability. But the short old man says, “First we take care of outside enemies, then we take care of inside problems. If we don’t kill him today, where’s the face of our Hua Shan sect?” The tall man says, “Fine. Little kid, I hope you don’t object to us fighting you two on one. If you do, then just admit defeat now.” The short man raised his eyebrows, says, “Brother, what are you…” Zhang WuJi responds, “That’s fine with me. If you two lose, then Hua Shan cannot further harass the Ming sect today.” The tall man, ecstatic with the response, yelled, “If both of us fight you, then you can’t possibly win. We have a special double saber art. Its power is unlimited, capable of sweeping thousands of enemies. So you’re definitely going to lose. But of course, it’s too late to take back your words now.” Zhang WuJi says, “Of course I won’t take back my words. So please be lenient with me, elders.” The tall old man says, “My saber is never lenient. When we use this double saber technique, we become more and more powerful, until the power cannot be stopped. I can see that you’re not a bad person, so I’m feeling a bit sad that you’ll have to die.” The short old man yelled, “Geez. Can you stop yapping for a minute?” The tall old man says, “Sure, but I have to remind him, this double saber art is a reverse technique, different from normal techniques…” The short old man cuts in, “Shut up!” He turns towards Zhang WuJi and says, “I’m coming!” Followed by slashing his saber towards Zhang WuJi. Zhang WuJi blocked the blow with XianYu Tong’s fan, which prompted the tall old man to say, “Hey, hey! We can’t compete like this! This fan is too poisonous. We have to get rid of it before someone gets hurt.”
Zhang WuJi responds, “You’re right. This sort of thing shouldn’t exist.” So he pointed the fan to the ground and threw it deep into the ground, making a tiny hole in the process. This type of ability is something no one else can emulate, and prompted wows from the audience. The tall old man then states, “Now, go find yourself a weapon.”
Zhang WuJi originally didn’t plan on fighting. But with the current situation, he knew that he needed to show off in order to gain their respect. So he said, “What type of weapon would the elder wish for me to use?” The tall old man reached out and patted him on the shoulders, smiling, “You’re a funny little kid. You even care to ask me which weapon to use?” Zhang WuJi knows that the pat was just for fun, and didn’t think much of it. But the others were all shocked. They wondered, what if the tall old man decided to apply some inner power to the pat, or sealed his pressure point? Wouldn’t Zhang WuJi lose immediately? They of course don’t know that Zhang WuJi has Jiu Yang Shen Gong for protection. So none of those things would work. The tall old man laughed, “Since your kung fu is so good. I bet you can use all the eighteen standard weapons very well. And it would be too much to ask of you to fight bare-handed.” Zhang WuJi smiled, “Actually, bare-handed is ok too.” The tall old man looked around, trying to find the worst possible weapon for him. He suddenly saw some large rocks, and said, “I’ll let you use a nice, powerful weapon.” As he spoke, he pointed to those rocks and started to laugh. These rocks have got to be two hundred to three hundred pounds. If you don’t have a lot of strength, you can’t even move one of them. How can anyone use one as a weapon? Besides, it’s quite smooth, so there’s no place to hold it.
The tall old mean wanted to purposely gave Zhang WuJi a hard dilemma. So Zhang WuJi would back off, and they won’t have to fight. However, Zhang WuJi smiled instead, and responds, “This is a strange weapon. Are you trying to test my strength?” As he spokem he walked over to the rock and lifted it with his left hand. He then yelled, “Let’s start!” Immediately, he flew to where the two old men stood with the rock in hand. The audience could not help but stare in shock, even forgetting to cheer on. The tall old man yelled, “This… this is impossible!” The short old man realizes that today’s opponent is much more powerful than anyone he has ever seen. Afer he calmed down and collected himself, the short old man yelled, “I’m coming!” Green light sparkled, as the saber advanced forward, aiming towards Zhang WuJi’s right arm. The tall old man asked, “Brother, are we really going to fight?” The short old man said, “Of course.” The saber slashed a semi-circle before changing directions, aiming for Zhang WuJi’s left shoulder. Zhang WuJi moved away, only to see another green light, as the tall old man also began his attack. Zhang WuJi said, “Good move.” Turned around and blocked with his rock, causing sparks to fly. In a smooth motion, Zhang WuJi then pushed the blocking rock forward, onto the tall old man. The tall old man stared in awe, saying, “You can use techniques with a rock?” The short old man then yelled, “Brother, watch out!” Then slashed the sword in a reverse manner, creating a crescent image, curving towards Zhang WuJi. The two old men continuously attack in synchronization, while Zhang WuJi gathers his Jiu Yang Shen Gong to roll the rock left and right. Although the reverse double sabers’ powers are great, this rock is simply too big. No matter what, they cannot strike past it. The tall old man then yelled, “Wait. You’re getting too big of an advantage in terms of weaponry. This isn’t fair.” Zhang WuJi chuckled, saying, “In that case, I won’t use it then.” and threw the rock up into the air. As the two old men stared at the rock, Zhang WuJi quickly dashed forward and sealed their pressure points. So the two old men can only stare helplessly as the rock falls towards them.
The masses all let out a collect gasp. But at the last moment, Zhang WuJi came back and pushed the rock away. He then gently tapped the chest of the two old men, and said with a smile, “Sorry about that. It was just a little joke.” The short old man’s face turned gray, and sighed, “Forget it, forget it!” But the tall old man shook his head and said, “This doesn’t count.” Zhang WuJi said, “Why?” The tall old man said, “You only won because of your superior strength, not techniques.” Zhang WuJi said, “Fine. Then let’s play some more.” The tall old man said, “Of course, but we have to switch it up a bit. Otherwise, if you keep getting all these advantages, it would be quite unfair for us, don’t you think?” Zhang WuJi nodded, “Yes, of course.”
Xiao Zhao had been watching intently on the side, but now stepped up, scraping her cheek with her hand, yelling, “Shame on you! Look at how long your beard is. And yet you keep saying about being at a disadvantage when the truth is the opposite?” The tall old man laughed, said, “What does a girl like you know? I’ve eaten more salt then you have rice. I’ve walked across more bridges than you have roads. Oh, be quiet, little kid.” He then turned around and said to Zhang WuJi, “If you don’t want to, we don’t have to compete. After all, you didn’t win or lose. Perhaps we can wait a few years before dueling again…” The short old man became increasingly annoyed at his martial brother. As a respected elder, who could he say such unreasonable things to a youngster. So he cut in, “We admit defeat. We’ll do what you say.” Zhang WuJi said, “I simply wish for there to be peace between the Ming sect and the six major sects. That is all.” The tall old man then cut in loudly, “What are you talking about? We haven’t competed with the new method yet. Are you trying to back out of that now?” The short old man stopped talking. He knows that although his tall brother acts foolishly, his thick face just might save them this time. Although it’s not righteous to do such a thing to a youngster, but at least if the plan succeeds, they won’t look too bad.
Zhang WuJi said, “So what is the elder’s suggestions?” The tall old man said, “We have a Reverse Double Saber Art. You’ve already seen it. But Kun Lun also has a Forward Double Sword Art, which is also exquisite. They match up perfectly with our sabers. Should we combine our strength, two forms turn to four, four turns to eight. A mixture of Ying and Yang…” When he said this, he shook his head and said, “Too powerful, too powerful! There’s no way you can block it!” Zhang WuJi turned to the Kun Lun sect and said, “So who would like to come out from the Kun Lun sect?” The tall old man cut in and said, “Obviously, only the Iron Zither Couple are worthy of fighting with us. I just don’t know if Master He has the courage.” The members of the six sects all thought happily, “This old man really isn’t stupid after all. He’s seeking the help of the top two fighters of Kun Lun.” He TaiChong and Ban ShuXian looked at each other. They don’t know who these two old guys are, but since they’re the martial uncles of XianYu Tong, they must be respected elders. Besides, since they don’t live on the central plains, they don’t know too many people anyway. The couple thought, “They can’t beat this little kid, so want to drag us into it. This way, if we win, then can also save some face.” Only to hear the tall old man say, “I’m not surprised that they won’t come out. Although their Forward Double Sword Art is great, it’s still not quite as good as our Reverse Double Saber Art.” Ban ShuXian yelled angrily, “Who are you?” The tall old man said, “My surname is also He, Let’s go, Mrs. He.” His little joke prompted the crowd to start laughing*
Ban ShuXian has power in Kun Lun sect is near that of the master. Even He TaiChong has to defer to her sometimes. For years, she has acted like the queen on the Kun Lun Mountain. So how can she stand for this? Out comes the sword, aiming directly at the tall old man’s left arm. This all went in a blur. One moment, her hands are empty, the next, a sword appeared in her hands and is only inches away from the tall old man’s left shoulder. The tall old man quickly blocked turned his saber to block, ‘Dang’, the sword and the saber struck each other. Ban ShuXian used the ‘Plunder with the Golden Needle’ move, while the tall old man countered with the ‘No Plunder Will Succeed’, one goes forward, the other in reverse. The forms really are the exact opposites. As both fighters stepped back after the blow, they deeply became impressed with the other person. Both began to respect each other more. They thought, “These two techniques really do complement each other perfectly.” This is like a lonely person suddenly finding a friend. Ban ShuXian thought, “Their Reverse Saber really is something. If we fight together, our powers would grow exponentially. Besides, if they can’t beat this little kid, we might not either. Although it’s really terrible for four famous people like us to fight together, at least we can say that it’s the Hua Shan sect’s idea.” So she called out to He TaiChong, “Hey, come over here!” Although He TaiChong would never disobey his wife, he still has to act like a master of a sect in front of so many people. “Humph.” He called out to four servants. As one carried a sword, one carried an iron zither, the other two servants carried Buddha symbols, the five of them walked out into the arena. The servant with the sword then handed it over to He TaiChong, who took it, and promptly called off the servants. Ban ShuXian said to He TaiChong, “Hua Shan’s Reverse Double Saber Art isn’t too bad. Let’s go ahead and play around with this little kid. See just how powerful this combination can be.” As she finished and turned around, Ban ShuXian suddenly said “Huh?” upon seeing Zhang WuJi. “You… you…” She has only been apart from Zhang WuJi for five years, so although he has grown up these years, she still can see the resemblance from their last encounter. Zhang WuJi said, “Do you really want to talk about the past? My name is Zeng AhNuo.” Ban ShuXian realizes the meanings behind his words. If she reveals his identity, then he will reveal all those things her husband and her did to him in the past. So she said, “Young Hero Zeng’s skills really have advanced quite a bit. I congratulate you. Let’s see how well you’ve progressed.” Zhang WuJi said, “I’ve long known the fame of the couple’s mystical sword arts. I hope you’ll be lenient on me.” He TaiChong said, “What type of weapon would you use?” When Zhang WuJi saw him, he immediately thought of the poison-sucking snake, which died when he fell off the cliff. He also thought of that day when they went to Wu Dang and forced his parent to commit suicide. The, he remembered when He TaiChong forced Yang BuHui and him to take the poison. Thankfully, Yang Xiao was luckily there to save him, or he would’ve died that day in the mountains. With all these things in mind, Zhang WuJi’s temper flared, thinking, “Although I can’t kill you today, He TaiChong, I am going to give you a thorough beating.” He then flew towards a nearby plum tree, and took down a plum branch before floating down. He carried the branch towards the four people, and said, “I’ll use this as my weapon to test out Hua Shan and Kun Lun’s high arts.” No one could believe what they just heard, thinking, “How can he possibly fight against swords and sabers with this little thing?” Zhang WuJi said, “I heard father say that former master He ZuDao was the master of zither, chess, and sword, and was known as the Three Saints of Kun Lun. Too bad I was born so late, unable to meet this great gentleman.” Everyone can see that by praising the former master, he’s belittling the He couple. Suddenly, a person came out yelling, “Little twerp. Who do you think you are, speaking that way about my mentor and master-uncle.” Only to see a longhaired Taoist appear from the crowd, holding a sword aiming towards Zhang WuJi’s back. This attacks is quite silent, and done while he’s talking. So despite the appearance of a warning, it’s really a sneak attack. Zhang WuJi did not turn around. Just as the sword is about to reach his shirt, Zhang WuJi’s left foot kicked to the right. By the time the foot came back down, the sword has been stuck between his foot and the ground. That Taoist tries to pull it out, but couldn’t. Zhang WuJi turned around, and saw that this was the person he met on the ship as a child, Xi HuaZi. Zhang WuJi remembered that this person has a bad temper, and repeatedly insulted his mother. His own temper flared, and asked, “You are Taoist Xi HuaZi?”
Xi HuaZi, whose face is now bright red, did not respond. He only kept on trying to pull out the sword with all his strength. Zhang WuJi suddenly released his foot while applied some chi to the sword point with his left foot. Since Xi HuaZi didn’t expect this, he immediately fell backward on his butt. Only to hear some ‘ding ding dang dang’, as his sword broke into pieces, leaving only the handle in his hand. He’s the student of Ban ShuXian, which is why he calls He TaiChong Master-Uncle. So when he saw his mentor’s face filled with rage, he knew he had disgraced her big time. Xi HuaZi hurriedly got up, and then said, “Little bastard…” Zhang WuJi originally planned on letting him go, but when he heard Xi HuaZi disparaging his parents with the word ‘bastard’, he could not hold down his anger. In a flash he swept the branch across Xi HuaZi’s chest, sealing three of his major pressure points. Then he said to the two old men and the He couple, “Let’s start!” Ban ShuXian whispered to Xi HuaZi, “Get out of here, you think you haven’t disgraced me enough already?” Xi HuaZi said, “Yes!” But he still doesn’t move. Ban ShuXian then yelled, “I told you to scram, did you not hear?” Xi HuaZi said, “Yes, mentor, yes!” Although his voice sounds respectful, he still did not move. Ban ShuXian thought, “How come he’s not listening to me?” Although she saw Zhang WuJi touch him with the branch, she couldn’t imagine that Zhang WuJi can seal pressure points through objects. So she pushed Xi HuaZi hard on the shoulders, and yelled, “Get out of here, stop disgracing yourself.”
Xi HuaZi said, “Yes, I know, mentor.” His body moved a bit, but his arms and legs didn’t. At this point, The He couple realized that Zhang WuJi had sealed his pressure points somehow. He TaiChong walked over and tried to unseal him, but for unfortunately, his inner power isn’t enough. Xi HuaZi still could not move. Zhang WuJi pointed to Yang BuHui, and said, “Five years ago, you sealed her pressure points, then made her drink down the poisoned wine. Today I’m simply returning the favor.” When the masses heard this, they all looked at Yang BuHui, seeing only a young girl. Five years ago, she must’ve been a little kid. It really is quite terrible for a leader of a sect to do such a disgusting thing. Ban ShuXian saw that it isn’t a good idea to keep this up, so she immediately raised her sword, and began to attack Zhang WuJi. The two Hua Shan elders and He TaiChong immediately followed.
Zhang WuJi moved in a blur, passing in between the sword and saber blows, his branch almost hitting He TaiChong’s face. Then Zhang WuJi’s left hand flicked the short old man’s saber, while his branch aimed at He TaiChong’s sword. He TaiChong thought that no matter how good he is, the branch could not possibly block my sword. But Zhang WuJi’s turned the branch sideways a bit, and skimmed the side of the sword. At this instant, Zhang applied inner power to the branch, shooting out a wave of chi that propelled the sword to the side, and incidentally hit the tall old man’s saber.
The tall old man yelled, “What are you doing, helping the enemy, He TaiChong?” He TaiChong’s face turned red, but he couldn’t say that his sword went off course because of Zhang WuJi’s inner power. So he snapped back, “That’s ridiculous!” and then turned his attention back to Zhang WuJi.
As He TaiChong attacked, Ban ShuXian waited from behind to cut off any escape possibilities. The two old men also utilized their reverse double sword techniques at the same time. Although they are the opposite, the sword and saber forms still follows the 8 diagrams of the Book of Changes. So they can position themselves perfectly to complement each other. As the match went out, they only attacked faster and faster. Zhang WuJi knew that this would be a tough fight. And it proved correct as the formation gave him no weaknesses to exploit. Many times, he came close to losing. If he had a real weapon in hand, he might have blocked them. But unfortunately, his attitude is too peaceful, so he just used a plum branch. Suddenly he saw the short old man’s saber coming straight at him. Just as Zhang WuJi dodge it, Ban ShuXian’s sword came from his back, skimming the back of his leg before he got out of the way. At this time, He TaiChong’s sword once again came straight at him, while the tall and short old men attacked from top and bottom. Thinking quickly, Zhang WuJi immediately sneaked behind Xi HuaZi, forcing Ban ShuXian and He TaiChong to withdraw their next attacks. Since he couldn’t figure out a way to counter this sword formation, he could only spin around Xi HuaZi, using him as a shield against oncoming attacks. In his heart, he yelled, “Zhang WuJi, oh Zhang WuJi. You really should not have been so overconfident. As they say, the arrogant is bound to lose. You really need to keep that in mind from now on. You just thought that there is indeed no inner power kung fu better than Jiu Yang Shen Gong. No kung fu technique more exquisite than Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi. But there are always someone better than you.” Laughter came from the viewers, as they see Xi HuaZi only could stare helplessly in the middle of the battle, with swords and sabers coming at him. Ban ShuXian especially felt angry, as many chances of killing Zhang WuJi were wasted because of Xi HuaZi. Then the tall old man said, “Mrs. He, if you won’t kill him, I will.” Ban ShuXian snickered, “I can’t exactly control you, can I?” The tall old man then immediately aimed his saber at Xi HuaZi. Zhang WuJi thought, “Oh no. If he dies, then I would no longer have a shield. Plus, how can I let someone die for me?” So he waved his arm, and the wind carried by his sleeves guided the tall old man’s saber away. At the same time, the short old man came from the back, his saber moving silently. Zhang WuJi immediately got out of the way, but then found that his Saber is still continuing in the same direction. So he turned back and shot out his palms towards the short old man, prompting him to stop the attack. Xi HuaZia, grateful that Zhang WuJi saved his life twice, thought, “If I live past today, I’ll make sure to get back at these two old men.” When He TaiChong and Ban ShuXian saw Zhang WuJi protecting their student, their thoughts weren’t gratitude, but rather annoyance that Xi HuaZi is still around. Hence, their attacks became even more aggressive. Although it’s nearly impossible for them to aim for Zhang WuJi in this situation, they can aim for Xi HuaZi instead, and use him as bait to make Zhang WuJi help out. Then they can take the opportunity to attack Zhang WuJi straight on. When E Mei, Wu Dang, and Shaolin saw their methods, they can only shake their heads and feeling ashamed. As the battle went on, Zhang WuJi thought, “If I can’t beat them, then it’s no big deal for me to die. But why drag down the innocent with me?” He pushed back the tall old man’s attack and then used his branch to unseal Xi HuaZi’s pressure point. The short old man came from behind aiming for Xi HuaZi, but didn’t realize that his pressure point has been unsealed. Suddenly, he felt a fist hitting his nose, and blood poured out. Although the short old man’s kung fu is much better than Xi HuaZi’s, this blow came unexpectedly. So he couldn’t dodge. When the others saw this, they all started to laugh loudly. Ban ShuXian suppressed a laugh of her own, and ordered, “Xi HuaZi, get out of here!” Xi HuaZi said, “Yes. But I still owe that tall old man a punch.” But as he tried to attack the tall old man, the short old man immediately delivered a palm blow to his chest, prompting him to retreat, blood came out of his mouth. He TaiChong then came over, grabbed the back of his robe, and threw him back out into the crowd.
The four fighters might be thoroughly pissed at each other, but with Xi HuaZi out of the way, their sword and saber combination can now execute flawlessly. Now the formation matched the strength of eight top fighters, their techniques unrivaled in variations and delicacy. For when the top kung fu theories of the central plains meets the top theories of the Xi Yu, one can see that the central plains kung fu theories are much more refined. It’s just that the Hua Shan and Kun Lun experts can only utilize twenty to thirty percent of their true potential; otherwise Zhang WuJi would’ve long been dead.
Even so, Zhang WuJi could not break the formation, and can only try to keep himself alive. Every spectator watched with their hearts pounding, only to see sabers and swords flowing like the wind, sparkling under the sun. At this moment, Zhang WuJi can still easily escape with his vastly superior lightness kung fu. But then, what about the Ming sect? With that in mind, his only choice is to drag on the fight, hoping that they will eventually tire out. Unfortunately, he does not realize that these elders have some of the best inner powers in the world, making this an impossible task.
Although the four fighters are at a huge advantage, none of them look all that pleased. They are already losing tons of face considering their reputation. How can four elders not even bring down a youngster in over three hundred moves? Thankfully, Zhang WuJi had already defeated Kong Sheng. Otherwise, this fight would already be a huge disaster.
While watching the battle, elders of each sect talked quietly with their students, taking the opportunity to teach them valuable lessons.