The Heaven Sword and the Dragon Sabre – Chapter 22

Heroes embrace the three commandments.

E Mei’s Master Mie Jue said to her disciples, “This youngster’s kung fu is very strange, but the four fighters of Kun Lun and Hua Shan have trapped him in terms of techniques. Our righteous kung fu of central plains are broad and deep, much better than the devilish Xi Yu kung fu. The two forms uses four people. The four people occupy eight locations. The front side has eight-times-eight-for-sixty-four moves. The reverse side also has eight-times-eight-for-sixty-four moves. When combined, you have sixty-four-squared, or four thousand and ninety-two different variations. This is simply unrivaled in the world.”

Zhou ZhiRuo, ever since she saw Zhang WuJi on the stage, has been worrying for his well-being. As one of Mie Jue’s favorite students, she has received much training in the realm of kung fu theory. So she began to ask loudly, “Master, although there are many variations in this front/reverse formation, it still does not deviate from the principle of Tai Chi dividing into Yin and Yang. In my opinion, the most important part of their formation lies with the positioning of their feet.” She said this in a clear, crisp voice; even Zhang WuJi could hear her in the middle of the fight. He turned his head, seeing that its Zhou ZhiRuo talking, and immediately thought, “Why is she speaking so loudly? Is she trying to help me?”

Mie Jue said, “You’re very observant to have figured out the intricacies of their formation.” Zhou ZhiRuo started to talk to herself, “Yang divides up into Tai Yang, Shao Yang, Yin divides into Tai Yin, Shao Yin, Tai Yang is split into Gan and Dui, Shao Yin is split into Li and Zhen, Shao Yang is split into Xun and Kan, Tai Yin is split into Gen and Kun. Gan is south, Kun is north, Li is east, Kan is west, Zhen is northeast, Dui is southeast, Xun is southwest, Gen is northwest. From Zhen to Gan we have the front side, from Xun to Kun is the reverse side.” Then she said to Mie Jue, “Master, just as you said: Heaven and Earth determines the location, the wind flows in between the mountains, thunder and wind complements, water and fire cancels, forming the eight divine positions. Numbers are forward, while knowledge goes backward. Kun Lun’s sword art is forward, so they obviously go from the Zhen position to the Gan position. The Hua Shan Saber art is reverse, so they obviously go from Xun to Kun. Right, master?” Mie Jue was delighted to hear her disciple point out the intricacies of the sword formation, nodded, and said, “Good girl. These years of teachings were not wasted on you.” She almost never gives praises, so these words are the biggest compliments she’ll ever make. But she did not notice that Zhou ZhiRuo’s voice was way too loud. After all, why did she need to speak up when talking to someone besides her? However, others around them did notice. Zhou ZhiRuo saw many eyes looking at her, so she simply pretended to be naïve and happy, clapping her hand saying, “Master. That’s right, that’s right! We E Mei sect’s Four Shape Circular Position encapsulates a square, combining Ying and Yang, with Yang outside the circle, and Yin inside the square, Circle symbolizes movement of heaven, while square symbolizes the stillness of the earth, seemingly even superior than theirs.” Mie Jue had always been arrogant, feeling that her E Mei Four Shape Fist is one of the best kung fu in the world. So these words really made her happy. With a smile, she said, “Although in theory this is true. But in practice, it still depends on the user’s knowledge.”

Zhang WuJi had learned some basic things about the Book of Changes when he was young. After Xiao Zhao’s help, he then figured out the Wu Wan Position. Now with Zhou ZhiRuo’s help, he realized the pattern behind the movements of the opponents. In an instant, he figured out many different ways to attack them. Each way would guarantee success.

Yet he thought again, “But should I do this right now? Mie Jue would probably blame Ms. Zhou if it seems that she has helped me. Mie Jue is very cruel, and might do terrible things to her. I can’t possibly let her suffer because of me.” So he continued to go on like before, not changing his fighting style, while examining the moves of his opponents. With Zhou ZhiRuo telling him the basics, the rest became easy for him.

But when Zhou ZhiRuo could not see any improvement, she became frustrated, and thought, “He’s concentrating on his enemies, so how can he digest all the information I told him?” She again began to speak loudly again, “Master, I bet Mr. Iron Zither will next move to the Gui Mei position, right?” Before Mie Jue could reply, Ban ShuXian yelled, “Little girl from E Mei, who the hell is this kid to you? Why are you helping him? You know, it’s not a good idea to mess with Kun Lun sect.”

Zhou ZhiRuo’s face immediately turned red, as Mie Jue yelled, “ZhiRuo, stop talking. It’s not a good idea to mess with Kun Lun sect.” Her tone made it obvious that she’s protecting her student instead of scolding her. Zhang WuJi felt much warmth in his heart, thinking that if he kept on fighting like this, Zhou ZhiRuo would likely try other methods to help him. He started to laugh loudly and said, “I’ve already lost to E Mei, even got captured by Master Mie Jue. E Mei is certainly much better than you Kun Lun.” He stepped left two steps and shot out his plum branch at the short old man. His timing and accuracy are just perfect, following the concepts in the Book of Changes. The short old man felt a strong chi pushing from behind, and unwillingly changed his direction, instead aiming his saber towards Ban ShuXian. Ban ShuXian quickly tried to change her stance to block the attack. But at this time, she saw the tall old man coming to attack her. He TaiChong quickly came to the rescue, blocking the tall old man’s saber. At this time, Zhang WuJi’s palm shot out again, this time directing the short old man’s saber towards He TaiChong. Deeply angered, Ban ShuXian quickly attacked the short old man with three sword strokes, causing him to back off and yell, “Don’t fall into this little kid’s trap!” He TaiChong realized this, and turned around to attack Zhang WuJi again. But with Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi, Zhang WuJi turned him back the other way again, his sword cutting the side of the tall old man’s arm. Screaming in pain, the tall old man counterattacked with his saber. The short old man screamed, “Brother, don’t lose your temper. It’s all because of that little kid, ouch…” Because Zhang WuJi had just turned away the sword of Ban ShuXian, prompting it to slash the back of the short old man. In an instant, both of the Hua Shan elders became hurt. The onlookers are gasped, not knowing what’s going on. They only see that simply by using his palm and a branch, Zhang WuJi could divert all attacks towards him onto someone else. After some more rounds, they saw the He couple’s sword and the two old men’s sabers collide numerous times. Everyone sees what’s happening, but no one knows how he’s doing it. Only Yang Xiao, who knows some rudimentary Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi, can understand some of theory. But even he wouldn’t believe that Zhang WuJi actually knows Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi.

Ban ShuXian started giving out orders, trying to change their positions a bit, but Zhang WuJi had covered all eight positions, so that no matter what they do, their weapons still ended up pointing towards themselves. After a while, Ban ShuXian threw away her sword and began attacking with her fists. The short old man saw this and thought, “Good idea. This kid knows some strange stuff, but he can’t divert our weapons if we don’t use any.” He followed by throwing away his saber. But as he did this, he saw Zhang WuJi diverting He TaiChong to him. Ban ShuXian yelled, “Get rid of your sword!” He TaiChong immediately changed his form, throwing back his sword in the process. The tall old man also released his grip on his saber, but just as he did so, he found something in his hand again. For Zhang WuJi had simply returned his saber to him. The tall old man yelled, “I don’t want it.” And threw it behind him. Yet Zhang WuJi once again grabbed the saber, and once again returned it to him. This repeated numerous times before the tall old man simply gave up, and began to laugh. At this time, the other three people kept attacking Zhang WuJi with bare fists. Being some of the best fighters in their sects, their bare-handed fighting techniques are also quite formidable. But no matter how much they try, they just could not touch Zhang WuJi, who escaped their attacks over and over.

At this point, the four of them realizes that they’re not going to win, and started to wonder about how they should retreat. The tall old man suddenly yelled, “Stupid kid, watch out for my hidden weapon!” A spit came out of his mouth aiming towards Zhang WuJi. Zhang WuJi turned sideways to dodge it, while the tall old man sneaked in from the other side; his saber came at Zhang WuJi. But he then had to quickly withdraw his saber midway as Zhang WuJi pushed Ban ShuXian in the way, who incidentally caught the spit in her face.

Ban ShuXian, deeply angered, tried to grab Zhang WuJi. The short old man waited behind to block off his escape. Both the tall old man and He TaiChong also attacked from other directions, thinking that this is time they’ll finally get this kid. But then Zhang WuJi utilized his Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi, both feet left the ground quickly and flipped smoothly in midair, landing far away. Only to see the four Hua Shan and Kun Lun experts ram into each other, before falling back and landing on the ground.

The tall old man got up and said, “Hey, little twerp, this isn’t fighting. You’re using witchcraft. What kind of hero does that?” The short old man realized that the longer they stay up here, the more embarrassing things will get, so he bowed to Zhang WuJi and said, “Your kung fu is incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. We admit defeat.” Zhang WuJi also bowed back and said, “Actually, if the elders hadn’t gone easy on me earlier, I would’ve already died under your sword formation.” This is actually somewhat true, for Zhang WuJi would’ve never won without Zhou ZhiRuo’s pointers. But the ‘gone easy on me’ was his own addition, in order to placate his opponents. The tall old man said, “Really? So you at least know that you didn’t win very righteously.” Zhang WuJi asked, “May I ask for your names?” The tall old man said, “My martial brother is Wei Zhen…” The short old man cut in, “Oh, shut up!” Then to Zhang WuJi, “We’re just losers. What’s the point to give our names?” As he said this, he returned to the Hua Shan group. The tall old man said, “What’s the problem with losing? Why so worrisome?” and followed back. Zhang WuJi walked up to XianYu Tong, sealed two of his pressure points, and said, “Once today’s events are over, I’ll give you the antidote.”

Suddenly, he felt a breeze in the back. In his shock, Zhang WuJi reflexively flew up, only to hear two very low sounds passing under him. As he twisted back, he saw Ban ShuXian and He TaiChong’s swords stabbing into XianYu Tong’s chest. This is a special Kun Lun technique, called ‘No Sound No Form’, used for night battles. Of course, it’s also perfect for sneak attacks in the daytime. Unfortunately, they did not know that Zhang WuJi’s Jiu Yang Shen Gong automatically alarms Zhang WuJi of back attack, allowing him to get out of the way in time. After their miss, the He couple’s thoughts were, “If we don’t kill him today, how can we still have the face to live?” They turned around and attacked again, using only offensive moves, disregarding their own safety. After Zhang WuJi dodged a few attacks, he began to wonder just how to stop this couple. Then suddenly, he got an idea. He quickly reached down on the ground and grabbed some mud, rolling it into two balls. Then he went over to XianYu Tong and pretended to reach into his pocket. When the He couple caught up, he quickly turned around and applied a huge amount of chi to their chests, forcing both to open their mouths to breathe. In this instant, Zhang WuJi shot the mud balls into their mouths, and said, “This is Master XianYu’s golden bug poison. If it hasn’t already dissolved, you just might be able to force it back out with your inner power.” He TaiChong and Ban ShuXian quickly sat down and began to gather their chi. But by that time, they realize that it’s too late. The pill has already dissolved.

Just as the couple is wondering what they should do, Zhang WuJi said, “Don’t worry. It won’t take affect within twelve hours. Once I’m done here, I’ll cure your poison. Just make sure you don’t try to give me poisoned wine in the future.” The He couple thanked him happily, even ignored his little sly remark.

At this time, Mie Jue came out from the crowd and said to Song YuanQiao, “Hero Song, looks like it’s down to just us now. We E Mei sect are mainly females, so I leave the decision to you.” Song YuanQiao said, “I have already matched palms with Master Yin, but could not win. Your swordsmanship is unparalleled. I’m sure you can beat this youngster.” Mie Jue let out a cold laugh, pulled out the Heaven sword, and entered the arena. Wu Dang’s Yu LianZhou had been watching Zhang WuJi carefully. He realizes that although Mie Jue’s swordsmanship is excellent, it’s probably not likely any better than the combined forces of four Hua Shan and Kun Lun. Should she lose also, and for some reason Wu Dang also can’t handle this kid, then this whole trip would be a total waste. So he stepped up and said, “Master Mie Jue, let us five brothers first try him out first. Then you can surely win.” His intentions are clear. Wu Dang concentrates heavily on inner power. After matching inner power with five Wu Dang experts, Zhang WuJi can’t possibly have any strength left to handle Mie Jue’s sword.

Mie Jue realizes Yu LianZhou’s meaning, but thought, “Why do we need your help? Besides, what’s the honor in winning that way?” She has always been arrogant. Even though she saw Zhang WuJi defeat so many experts, she just figured that these people are useless fools. After all, wasn’t she the one who captured him in the first place? Although he showed amazing inner power by absorbing her three palm strikes, but so what? With that in mind, Mie Jue said, “Please go back, Second Hero Yu. Once my Heaven Sword comes out, I cannot casually put it back in its sheath.”

Upon hearing this, Yu LianZhou said “Yes” and retreated. Mie Jue held up her sword, pointing at Zhang WuJi. Countless Ming sect members had died under this Heaven sword. Many began murmur. Mie Jue gave a cold laugh, said, “What are you yapping about? After I finish off this kid, it will be your turn. Afraid that you won’t die fast enough?” Yin TianZheng knows the sharpness of the Heaven sword, and asked, “Young Hero Zeng, which weapon would you use?” Zhang WuJi said, “Elder Yin, I don’t have any weapons. How about you decide which one I should use.”

Yin TianZheng took out a sword from his side, said, “I’ll give you this White Rainbow Sword. Although it’s not nearly as good as the Heaven Sword, it’s still very powerful.” As he said this, he gave the sword to Zhang WuJi, who said, “Thank you, Elder Yin.” Yin TianZheng said, “I have had this sword for many years, but have never used it. Humph, what’s so heroic about winning due to a superior weapon? Today I’ll die peacefully knowing this sword will draw the blood of this old nun.” Zhang WuJi thought, “But I can’t harm Mie Jue.” He held up the White Rainbow Sword and turned around. Then said to Mie Jue, “My sword skills are very mediocre, and certainly not on par with yours. Why don’t we just call a truce, and you let these people go?” Mie Jue said coldly, “You have to win my sword before making any requests.” The Ming sect members began to yell, “Old hag, if you’re really that good you should fight him with your bare hands.” “What’s so great about your swordsmanship? It’s just the sword that’s good.” “Why don’t you try using a regular sword? Then if you can survive three of Hero Zeng’s moves, we’ll consider you good.” “Three moves? She can’t even survive one!” Mie Jue simply ignored these remarks, yelling at Zhang WuJi, “Go ahead!”

Zhang WuJi has never learnt any sword techniques before, so he’s lost at what to do. Suddenly, he remembered He TaiChong’s sword techniques just a while back, and emulated him as he attacked. Mie Jue yelled, “Kun Lun’s ‘Mountain Cliff Breaking Cloud’!” The Heaven Sword also moved, but rather than blocking, it ignored Zhang WuJi’s attack, aiming straight for the Zhang WuJi’s vital points instead. This attack carried an unimaginable power which quickly bared down on Zhang WuJi. Zhang WuJi quickly got out of the way, faltering a bit and started to roll on the floor. Just as he was getting back up, he felt a powerful wind coming from behind. With a quick spring of the right foot, Zhang WuJi’s body shot up vertically with great speed, getting out of the way. This was an escape no one had thought possible, just as the crowd was about to cheer, they see Mie Jue change her direction midway, and renewed her attack upwards. Before he could land, the sword light had blocked off his path downward. Zhang WuJi can’t change directions in midair, unable to escape. Under the sweep of the Heaven Sword, he nearly lost both of his legs. But at the critical juncture, he was able to turn his body and the pointed the White Rainbow Sword down, its tip meeting the tip of the Heaven Sword. Only to see the White Rainbow Sword bend a bit, before Zhang WuJi utilized the bounce to shoot back up.

Mie Jue would no let up, attacking three more times at Zhang WuJi. While in midair, Zhang WuJi can only block with his sword. ‘Ding’ the White Rainbow Sword broke. Zhang WuJi then shot out with his palm at Mie Jue’s head. Mie Jue countered by trying to cut off the oncoming palm with her sword. But Zhang WuJi saw this perfectly, and flicked the Heaven Sword on its side while he backed off, landing on the ground a few yards out. Mie Jue felt a strong vibration coming from the sword, almost causing her to drop the sword. Only to see Zhang WuJi standing there blankly, holding his broken sword. This sequence of events really was beyond belief. In a few short moments, Mie Jue had unleashed eight attacks, each deadly accurate. Yet each dissipated before Zhang WuJi, who escaped near-death after each blow. The attacks were delicate and fine; the escapes were quick and clever. The spectators’ hearts almost flew out from all the action. No one had ever seen anything like it. Attacking like gods in Heaven, while evading like ghosts in Hell. Just as lightning and thunder, even when over, they can still send chills down one’s spine.

During the eight blows, Zhang WuJi was basically getting killed, while Mie Jue held all the initiative. But Zhang WuJi’s flick at the last moment temporarily froze Mie Jue. Had he taken the opportunity to immediately strike, he would’ve won the battle by now. Unfortunately, Zhang WuJi lacked the battle experience to realize this. However, Mie Jue understands the situation, so she said, “Get another weapon. Then we’ll fight again.” Zhang WuJi thought, “I broke my grandfather’s precious sword in just a few moves. What other weapon can possibly block the Heaven Sword?” As he’s pondering, Zhou Dian* said, “I have a very good saber. Go ahead and use it.” Zhang WuJi said, “The Heaven Sword is way too powerful. I’m afraid of breaking your saber.” Zhou Dian said, “Who cares? If you lose, we’re all going to die anyway. What’s the point of saving a weapon?” Zhang WuJi nodded in his mind, and went over to grab the saber. As he did this, Yang Xiao whispered, “Mr. Zhang, be aggressive. Don’t let her take the initiative.” Zhang WuJi froze a bit when he heard Yang Xiao call him ‘Mr. Zhang’. But then realized that since Yang BuHui knows his identity, she obviously told this to her dad. Wei YiXiao also whispered, “Take advantage of your lightness kung fu. DO NOT slow down even for a moment.” Zhang WuJi, happy to have received such great pointers, said, “Thank you for your advice.” Had they not been injured, Wei YiXiao and Yang Xiao on par with Mie Jue in terms of kung fu. So they have no problems pointing out the best tactics against the Heaven Sword. Zhang WuJi took the saber and went back into the arena. He then said, “Master Mie Jue, I’m coming!” Immediately, Zhang WuJi utilized his lightness kung fu to get behind Mie Jue, before she can turn around, he quickly attacked twice.

Mie Jue dodged the blows, but when she tried to counter, she couldn’t find Zhang WuJi. Even before he learnt Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi, Zhang WuJi’s lightness kung fu was superior to Mie Jue’s. Now the difference is night and day. The crowd sees him stepping left, then stepping right, quick as lightning, practically spin circles around Mie Jue. Even Wei YiXiao can’t help but be in awe. Yet no matter how fast he is, Zhang WuJi still had to keep a certain distance from Mie Jue, not wanting to come in contact with the power of the Heaven Sword. Plus, he’s hardly skilled at using weapons. So despite the obvious advantage, Zhang WuJi still could not win after several moves.

E Mei’s disciples all realize that should this fight continue, their master would surely lose. Jing Xuan yelled, “Today we’re here to root out the devil sect, not to compete in the kung fu. Let’s all go up trap him, so that he can’t keep playing hide-and-seek with our master.” As she spoke, her sword came out. The E Mei disciples all rushed forward, circling around to surround Zhang WuJi and Mie Jue. Ding MinJun said to Zhou ZhiRuo coldly, “Sister Zhou, it’s your choice whether you want to go up there or not.” Zhou ZhiRuo, her face blushing, said angrily, “What’s that comment for?”

At this moment, Zhang WuJi appeared in front of Ding MinJun. With a quick wave of his hand, he grabbed her sword and in a fluent motion sent it towards Mie Jue. Mie Jue quickly waved her sword to block the flying sword. But while breaking Ding MinJun’s sword in two, her hand vibrated intensely due to the sheer force of Zhang WuJi’s throw. Before Mie Jue could recover, more swords came at her, as Zhang WuJi kept grabbing and throwing her disciples’ swords. Although only the best disciples followed Mie Jue on this trip, they still could not do anything while Zhang WuJi take their weapons.

After cutting down a few swords, Mie Jue felt extreme pain on her right arm. So she switched over to her left hand. Her swordsmanship is the same no matter which hand she uses. Only to see broken sword pieces dance in the air, as onlookers step back to avoid the shards. In just a few moments, all the E Mei disciples become empty-handed, with Zhou ZhiRuo being the lone exception.

Still thankful of her advice earlier, Zhang WuJi did not even try to approach her. But as a result, it made things worse by singling her out. Zhou ZhiRuo thought this might happen, so she was one of the first to attack. But Zhang WuJi’s speed is simply way too fast for her. Besides, he purposely avoided her, preventing her from giving up her sword. Ding MinJun said in a cold voice, “Sister Zhou, he really does treat you differently.” By this time, Zhang WuJi went back to concentrating on fighting Mie Jue, each sword stroke aiming directly at her vital points. Mie Jue, who while trying to dodge and block the oncoming assault, heard Ding MinJun’s words clearly. She suddenly thought, “Why doesn’t this kid take ZhiRuo’s sword too? Could there really be something between them? I need to test this.” So she immediately yelled, “ZhiRuo! Are you going against your master?” As she spoke, her sword quickly shot towards Zhou ZhiRuo’s chest.

Zhou ZhiRuo didn’t dare to raise her sword to block, and could only yell in shock, “Master, I…” When she said to here, Mie Jue’s sword is nearly at her chest. Zhang WuJi does not know that Mie Jue was simply testing them. After having witnessed her personally kill Ji XiaoFu, Zhang WuJi could only assume the worst. So without thinking, he raced ahead of Mie Jue, picked up Zhou ZhiRuo by her waist, and flew several yards away.

Finally getting back the initiative, Mie Jue quickly turned her attention towards Zhang WuJi. Despite his amazing inner power, Zhang WuJi hasn’t really learnt any lightness kung fu techniques. So he can’t be like Wei YiXiao, keeping his speed even while carrying a person. Zhang WuJi felt a strong wind from behind, turned around and blocked with his saber. ‘Dang’ the saber broke as it crossed path with the Heaven Sword. Zhang WuJi quickly threw out the remaining half a saber at Mie Jue, hoping to slow her down a bit. This throw utilized ninety percent of his powers, forcing Mie Jue to lower her head and dodge it. As the saber flew right over her head, Mie Jue felt a tinge of pain from the accompanying wind, temporarily paralyzing her. Zhang WuJi sees this chance, and quickly stepped up towards her, his palm shot out, and in a fluent motion snatched the Heaven Sword from her hand.

The wrist power involved in this sword-taking method had the backing of the seventh level of Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi. Although her kung fu is high, Mie Jue still could not block such a powerful and accurate palm move. Zhang WuJi, even in triumph, did not let down his guard, pointing the Heaven Sword at Mie Jue’s throat. Then he stepped back a few steps slowly, when suddenly Zhou ZhiRuo struggled against his hold, yelling, “Let me go!” Zhang WuJi said in shock, “Oh! Forgot!” His face pure red as she let her go, only to smell a faint flowery scent as her headband went by his nose. Zhang WuJi couldn’t help but take a look at her, only to see her face a bit pale, looking very bashful. Although she tried to look mad, he could see in her eyes extreme joy and happiness. Mie Jue straightened herself. In silence, she looked at Zhou ZhiRuo, then at Zhang WuJi, her face whiter and whiter.

Zhang WuJi turned the sword around and said to Zhou ZhiRuo, “Ms. Zhou, please return this sword to your master.” Zhou ZhiRuo looked at Mie Jue and saw her incredible anger. Thousands of thoughts entered her mind at that moment, “In this situation, with the way Mr. Zhang treats me, master must think that he and I are lovers. She’ll surely throw me out of E Mei. What will I do? Although Mr. Zhang has treated me incredibly well, I never did plan on helping him fight against my own sect.” Suddenly she heard Mie Jue bark out, “ZhiRuo! Kill him!”

Back when Zhang SanFeng took Zhou ZhiRuo back to Wu Dang Mountain, he felt that it was awkward for her to stay there, since Wu Dang has no female disciples. So he took her to the E Mei sect. Zhou ZhiRuo is naturally intelligent. Plus, with her parents both dead, she concentrated solely on kung fu, and improved quickly, becoming one of Mie Jue’s favorite disciple. For the past seven years, the words of Mie Jue are like Holy Scriptures to her. She has never harbored any thoughts of defiance. So when she heard her master telling her to kill Zhang WuJi, she did not even have to think. Taking the sword from Zhang WuJi’s hand, and in one smooth motion quickly stabbing him. Zhang WuJi, never dreamed that she would possibly hurt him, did not make any attempt to dodge. In an instant, the sword has moved next to his chest. By the time he regained his senses, Zhang WuJi made a last second effort to get out of the way. But it was already too late. Zhou ZhiRuo only felt numbness in her wrist, thinking, “Am I really going to kill him?” In a state of semi-consciousness, she penetrated the sword through Zhang WuJi’s right side of the chest. Zhou ZhiRuo let out a scream, pulling out the sword, only to see red blood gushing out of Zhang WuJi’s chest, prompting everyone to gasp. Zhang WuJi blocked the wound with his hand, his body shaking, his face a strange expression, as if asking, “You really want to kill me?” Zhou ZhiRuo said, “I… I…” She wants to go over and check on him, but was too afraid, so instead she quickly turned around and ran out of the arena.

No one thought that her strike would succeed. Xiao Zhao’s face turned white, rushed forward to hold up Zhang WuJi, yelling, “You… you…” Zhang WuJi said to Xiao Zhao, “Why… why do you want to kill me…” Luckily, the sword was a bit off to the side, and didn’t penetrate Zhang WuJi’s heart. But it did skim his lungs. When he finished talking, he began to have trouble breathing, and started cough loudly. In his condition, Zhang WuJi can’t tell the difference between Xiao Zhao and Zhou ZhiRuo. Blood kept spilling out, turning Xiao Zhao’s clothing pure red. Every member of the audience, whether they are the Ming sect, Heavenly Eagle sect, or the six major sects, all became quiet. Everyone was moved deeply by the amazing kung fu and compassion Zhang WuJi showed during his bouts. When they saw the Heaven Sword penetrating his chest, all wondered whether this is a fatal blow or not. Xiao Zhao carefully put Zhang WuJi down on the ground, then yelled, “Who has the best medicine for wounds?” Shaolin’s Kong Sheng quickly stepped up and took out a bottle from his robe, said, “This is Shaolin’s best medicine for treating external wounds.” He immediately opened Zhang WuJi’s shirt and quickly applied the medicine on the deep cut. But unfortunately, the wound is too deep and blood kept spilling out. Kong Sheng muttered impatiently, “What should I do? What should I do?” The He couple also became agitated, thinking that if Zhang WuJi died, then they would die too. He TaiChong quickly walked over to Zhang WuJi’s side and asked, “Can you tell me how to cure this poison?” Xiao Zhao yelled at him while crying, “Get out of here! If Young Master Zhang can’t live, then everyone dies with him.” He TaiChong ignored her and kept asking, “How do I cure the golden bug poison?” Kong Sheng said angrily, “If you don’t leave now, I won’t be held responsible for my actions.” At this moment, Zhang WuJi regained a bit of consciousness, opened his eyes. He immediately sealed seven pressure points around the wound, greatly decreasing the blood spillage. Kong Sheng quickly applied more medicine to block the rest of the blood, while Xiao Zhao tore up some of her clothing to wrap him up. When she saw just how pale he looks, her mind became filled with unspeakable agitation and fright. After a while, Zhang WuJi regained his senses. His only thought was, “As long as I’m alive, I can’t let the six major sects destroy the Ming sect.” With that in mind, he and got up and said, “Is there anyone else from E Mei or Wu Dang who wants to challenge me?”

Mie Jue said, “E Mei has already lost today. If you don’t die, we’ll settle this later. Let’s see what’s Wu Dang can do now!” With Kong Dong, Shaolin, Kun Lun, Hua Shan, and E Mei all losing, Wu Dang is the only sect left who can challenge this youngster. Considering his injury, even second-rate fighters should have no problems with him. Any of the five Wu Dang heroes can easily beat him. Yet Wu Dang is famous for their ‘Righteousness’. How can they fight such a wounded person? However, if Wu Dang won’t challenge him, then won’t this whole attack be in vain? Song YuanQiao, Yu LianZhou, Zhang SongXi, Yin LiTing, and Muo ShengGu all looked at each other. No one can think of a good plan. Suddenly, they heard Song QingShu yell, “Dad, martial uncles, let me fight him.” The five Wu Dang heroes realizes his intentions. Song QingShu is one generation lower, so he’s much more appropriate for such a battle.

Yu LianZhou said, “No! It won’t make much of a difference if you go instead of us.” Zhang SongXi said, “Second brother, in my opinion, we should worry about the whole picture.” Muo ShengGu said, “Reputations aren’t really important. But to do such thing to such an injured youngster…” Not knowing what to do, they all looked at Song YuanQiao, deferring to him. Song YuanQiao saw Yin LiTing standing quietly on the side, knows that his fiancé lost her virginity and subsequently her life to Yang Xiao. He said, “If we don’t destroy the Devil sect today, they’ll only cause more suffering in the world. So we have no choice. QingShu, be careful.”

Song QingShu bowed and said, “Yes.” He walked over to Zhang WuJi and yelled, “Young Hero Zeng, if you aren’t a member of the Ming sect, you can leave now. The six major sects are just here to destroy the Ming sect.”

Zhang WuJi said, “Thank you for your kindness. But… I have decided to live and die with the Ming sect!” People from the Ming and Heavenly Eagle sect all began to yell, “Young Hero Zeng. We shall forever remember your incredible kindness today. At this point, you really don’t need to keep fighting us.” Yin TianZheng got up and said, “Mr. Song, let me try out your powerful Wu Dang kung fu.” But just as he got up, he immediately felt numbness in his legs, and had to sit back down again. Song QingShu said, “In that case, I have no choice but to fight you. I’m sorry.” Xiao Zhao quickly shielded in front of Zhang WuJi, and yelled, “Then you have to kill me first.” Zhang WuJi said quietly, “Xiao Zhao, don’t worry. He can’t kill me.” Xiao Zhao said, “But… but you’re injured.” Zhang WuJi said tenderly, “Xiao Zhao, why are you so kind to me?” Xiao Zhao said, “Because… because you’re kind to me.” Zhang WuJi stared at her for a moment and thought, “Even if I die today, at least I have a true friend who’s good to me.” Song QingShu yelled at Xiao Zhao, “Get out of here!” Zhang WuJi said, “Why are you so rude to this little girl?” Song QingShu grabbed Xiao Zhao’s head and pushed her away, then said, “Devilish couple, how disgusting. Get up so we can fight!” Zhang WuJi said, “I heard that your father is a very honorable and righteous man. Yet you are so bullish. You’re not worthy of me fighting standing up.” In reality, he can’t fight standing-up even if he wants to.

Yu LianZhou said, “QingShu. Simply seal his pressure point. Don’t hurt him.” Song QingShu responded, “Yes.” Then he shot out his right hand aiming for Zhang WuJi’s pressure point. Zhang WuJi didn’t move, letting him hit his own ‘Jian Zhen Point’. At the same moment, he gathered his inner power, pushing the fingers back out. It’s almost as if Song QingShu just pointed his fingers at a pond of water, showing no effect. After gathering himself, his right foot flew out, heading towards Zhang WuJi’s chest. This kick utilized much of his energy. Although Yu LianZhou told him not to hurt this youngster, for some reason, he feels much hatred towards this youngster. This really isn’t because he has an ill temper, but rather because of the caring and affectionate look on Zhou ZhiRuo’s face for this youngster. Although she did stab him in the end, one can easily see the tremendous pain on her face while doing so.

After he saw Zhou ZhiRuo, Song QingShu’s eyes rarely moved too far away from her. Although he couldn’t watch her directly all the time, none of her expressions and actions escaped his vision. He thought, “After this stab, whether this youngster lives or dies, he will forever be entrenched in her heart.” If he kills this youngster, Zhou ZhiRuo would certainly hate him. But how can he possibly pass up this only chance of killing him? Only to see Zhang WuJi’s fingers calmly pushing the feet out of the way, causing it to slide harmlessly to the side. Song QingShu immediately regained his footing, and then kicked back with his left foot, once again diverted by Zhang WuJi’s fingers.

After three exchanges, no one expected this kind of result. Song YuanQiao yelled, “QingShu, he has no strength left in his body. He’s using your force against you.”

Song QingShu immediately changed his tactics after hearing his dad’s pointer. His strokes became soft and light, sometimes seemingly lack any sort of power. This is Wu Dang’s ‘Soft Palm’. The idea of redirecting the enemy’s attacks is the basis for Wu Dang kung fu, and the ‘Soft Palm’ is the epitome of this sort of fighting style. However, there is still a limit to its softness, while Zhang WuJi has already mastered all seven levels of Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi. With his left hand holding the wound, Zhang WuJi blocked all attacks with his right hand, moving up and down in different rhythms as if playing a zither. Even after he finished using all thirty-six moves of Soft Palms, Song QingShu still could not touch this youngster.

While in frustration, Song QingShu accidentally saw Zhou ZhiRuo, only to see her face filled with concern, causing him to feel even angrier, because the concern is not for him. After taking a deep breath, Song QingShu’s left aimed towards Zhang WuJi’s right cheek, while his right palm aimed straight for Zhang WuJi’s ‘Que Pan Point’. This move is called ‘Flower Blooms Giving Fruit’. Although the name is pretty, the move is deadly. Two hands move at the same time with blazing speed, yet each hand attacks in a different way, combining two attacks in one. Song QingShu attacked with the force of a tornado and the speed of lightning, prompting the audience to gasp. Only to see his left hand hit his own right cheek, his right hand sealing his own ‘Que Pan Point’, as Zhang WuJi diverted both of his attacks back at him with Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi. Feeling a sharp pain on his Que Pan Point, Song QingShu fell back, struggled on the ground, unable to get back up. Song YuanQiao immediately went up and quickly unsealed his pressure point. S

Suddenly, Zhang WuJi opened his mouth, and big gulps of blood spilled out. Everyone looked at him with concern, thinking, “Although he fought off Song QingShu, he has used up all his remaining energy.” They then looked over at the Wu Dang sect, wondering if they will send someone else or give up. Song YuanQiao said, “Wu Dang has done all it can today. The devil sect must be fated to live on. That’s why a strange youngster appeared today to save them from destruction. How can we still be righteous if we still keep on fighting?” Yu LianZhou said, “Big brother is correct. We’ll go back and seek the advice of our master. When this youngster has recovered from his injuries, Wu Dang will come back and challenge him again.” Zhang SongXi and Muo ShengGu both then added, “Second brother is correct.” Suddenly, Yin LiTing stepped into the arena; his sword pointing at Zhang WuJi, yelling, “Mr. Zeng, I have no ill feelings towards you. So I won’t kill you. But Yang Xiao is my biggest sworn enemy. I must kill him!” Zhang WuJi shook his head, saying, “As long as I’m alive, I won’t let you kill anyone in the Ming sect.” Yin LiTing said, “In that case, I will kill you!”

Zhang WuJi coughed up another gulp of blood. His head half-conscious, his heart serene, and whispered, “Sixth Uncle Yin, then go ahead and kill me!” When Yin LiTing heard the words ‘Sixth Uncle Yin’, he thought, “WuJi always called me by this name when he was young. This youngster…” He looked closely at Zhang WuJi’s face. The more he looked, the more this face look like the child he remembered from nine years ago. So he asked, “You… are you WuJi?”

With no more energy left knowing he’s near death, Zhang WuJi felt no more need to hide his identity, and whispered, “Sixth Uncle Yin, I… I think of you… often.” Tears poured down Yin LiTing’s face. He let go of his sword, rushed forward, and held Zhang WuJi in his arms, yelling, “You’re Wuji, you’re my fifth brother’s son Zhang WuJi.” Song YuanQiao, Yu LianZhou, Zhang SongXi, and Muo ShengGu all immediately went up to Zhang WuJi upon hearing this, their face filled with extreme happiness. At this moment, nothing else in the world mattered to them.

With this yell, other than the He couple, Zhou ZhiRuo, Yang Xiao and a few others, everyone gasped. No one could believe that this youngster is actually Zhang CuiShan’s son.

Yin LiTing sees that Zhang WuJi had already fainted, so he hurriedly took out a ‘Heavenly Heart Protecting Pill’ and put it in his mouth. After handing Zhang WuJi over to Yu LianZhou, he pulled out his sword, rushed in front of Yang Xiao, and scolded, “Yang Xiao, you wicked bastard, I…I…” His throat became stuck, unable to keep yelling any further. The long sword shot out, aiming directly at Yang Xiao’s heart. Yang Xiao, unable to move, simply closed his eyes and smiled, waiting for his death. Suddenly, a young girl came from the side, blocking in front of Yang Xiao, yelling, “Don’t hurt my daddy!” Ying LiTing stopped. As he looks closely at this person, an “Ah” sound came out. His body turned cold as ice as he saw this girl. Tall and slender, eyes big and bright, she’s actually Ji XiaoFu! After Yin LiTing got engaged to Ji XiaoFu, he never could concentrate on practicing his kung fu, as his thoughts were always filled with images of his fiancé. When he later found out that Yang Xiao kidnapped her, raped her, and killed her, the pain in his heart could not be described in words. Now that she has appeared in front of him once again, he stumbled, and said with shock, “Sister XiaoFu, you… you haven’t…”

That young girl is of course Yang BuHui. She said, “My surname is Yang. Ji XiaoFu is my mom, she’s already dead.” Yin LiTing paused, then figured out what’s going on. He said, “Oh, you’re right. That was stupid of me! You should get out of the way. Today I’m here to seek revenge for you mother.”

Yang BuHui points to Mie Jue, “Fine. Uncle Yin, go kill this old nun then.” Yin LiTing asked, “W…Why?” Yang BuHui said, “Because my mom died under her palm.” Yin LiTing said, “Don’t be ridiculous! What does a child like you know?” Yang BuHui responded in a cold voice, “That day at the Butterfly Valley, old nun wanted my mom to come kill my dad. My mom refused, so the old nun killed her.” At the time of Ji XiaoFu’s death, Yang BuHui is still a little girl. So she obviously didn’t realize exactly what had happened. But as she grew up and recalled those events, she pieced everything together. Yin LiTing turned around and looked at Mie Jue, his face filled with puzzlement, asking, “Is… she… Ms. Ji really…”

Mie Jue responded in a crisp, loud voice, “She’s right. What use is there to let such a despicable student live? She and Yang Xiao loved each other. She would rather disobey me than to go kill him. Sixth Hero Yin, I only lied to save you some face. Humph, what’s the need to remember such a ****?” Yin LiTing’s face turned green, yelling, “I don’t believe you! I don’t believe you!” Mie Jue said, “Why don’t you ask this girl her name?” Yin LiTing turned towards Yang BuHui. Through his teary eyes he could only see Ji XiaoFu, but his ears heard clearly, “ My name is Yang BuHui*. My mom said that she never regretted what had happened.’”

*Bu means ‘No’. Hui means ‘Regret’.

‘Dang’, Yin LiTing dropped his sword, turned around and ran down the mountain. Song YuanQiao and Yu LianZhou yelled, “Sixth brother, sixth brother!” But Yin LiTing did not respond. As he’s running, Yin LiTing suddenly tripped, but he quickly got back up and resumed running.

Everyone only felt sympathy as they watch Yin LiTing, for how could a person of his kung fu skills trip while running? The only reason would be if his mind is in a state of total disorder. At this time, Song YuanQiao, Yu LianZhou, Zhang SongXi, and Muo ShengGu all sat around Zhang WuJi, their palms pushing against four of Zhang WuJi’s major pressure points, trying to heal him with their inner power. Only to feel a great deal of energy in his body, sucking their strength into him at a rapid pace. If they keep this up, their inner powers would be totally gone in four hours. Yet with Zhang WuJi’s life hanging in the balance, they can’t release their palms. Suddenly, Zhang WuJi opened his eyes, and in an instant, Song YuanQiao and others felt their chi moving backwards, returning to them. Song YuanQiao yelled, “Don’t! You need to rest.” The four brothers immediately released their palms, only to feel Zhang WuJi’s Jiu Yang chi rushing into their body, strengthening their inner powers. The four brothers couldn’t believe that even with his injury, Zhang WuJi can summon such great deal of inner power. Zhang WuJi said, “Eldest Uncle Song, Second Uncle Yu, Fourth Uncle Zhang, Seventh Uncle Muo, sorry about that. How is Martial Grandfather’s health?” Yu LianZhou said, “Master is doing well. WuJi, you… you’re so big…” Despite having thousands of words in his mind, no more words would come out. Only tears of joy flowed down their cheeks.

Delighted that that the youngster is his grandson, Yin TianZheng started to laugh out loud. But he could still could not muster the strength to get up.

Mie Jue waved her hands, as the E Mei disciples all followed her down the mountain. Zhou ZhiRuo followed her martial sisters slowly with her head down. After a few steps, she could not help but look back. Her gaze met that of Zhang WuJi’s, who was watching her leave. Zhou ZhiRuo’s face immediately turned red, her eyes seemingly saying, “I’m really sorry to have stabbed you so severely. Please take care of yourself.” Zhang WuJi seemingly realized her thoughts, and simply nodded. Zhou ZhiRuo’s face brightened up considerably, and with a big smile, left quickly with the rest of the E Mei sect.

Hua Shan and Kong Dong, taking their wounded, also followed down the mountain. He TaiChong came up to Zhang WuJi and said, “Little friend, congratulations on meeting your relatives…” Before he could continue, Zhang WuJi took out two common painkiller pills and said, “Here is the antidote.” He TaiChong took the pills, wondering if it really can cure his poison. Zhang WuJi added, “If I say it’s the antidote, then it really is the antidote.” Despite his low voice, everyone can see how serious he is. Besides, even if he’s lying, He TaiChong knows that he cannot force Zhang WuJi to do anything with the Wu Dang brothers around. He could only respond, “Thank you!” and swallowed the pill with Ban ShuXian. The Kun Lun sect then went down the mountain.

Yu LianZhou said, “WuJi, you cannot go down the mountain right now due to your injury, and we can’t stay here either. But when you have time, please come to Wu Dang, if only so master can take a look at you.” Zhang WuJi nodded with teary eyes. Although they have many questions, the Wu Dang brother did not ask any, for they do not want to further burden Zhang WuJi in his current state. Suddenly, they heard a Shaolin monk yelling, “Where’s brother Yuan Zhen’s body?” Muo ShengGu looked over at Shaolin’s pile of bodies, and indeed could not see his body among the dead.

Yuan Yin yelled at the Ming sect, “Give us back brother Yuan Zhen’s body!” Zhou Dian said with a smile, “Haha! Are you kidding me? If we don’t even care to keep your live bodies, what the hell would we do with a dead one?” Shaolin realizes that he’s right, and began searching around. But the body never showed up. They figured that some other sect must have taken it by mistake, and also began to head down the mountain. As Wu Dang sect started to leave, Zhang WuJi kowtowed to send them off. Song YuanQiao said, “WuJi, you are now the savior of the Ming sect. I hope you can guide them down the road of righteousness from now on.” Zhang SongXi said, “Be careful. Make sure you guard against the sinister people.” Zhang WuJi answered, “Yes.”

When the six major sects all left, Yin TianZheng and Yang Xiao looked at each other, then said together, “Members of the Ming sect and the Heavenly Eagle sect express thanks to Hero Zhang for saving our lives!” In an instant, everyone got on their knees and kowtowed on the ground. Zhang WuJi doesn’t know what to do, seeing his elders and even his grandfather and uncle among the people bowing. He tried to return the bow, but reopened his wound while trying to do so, and fainted. Xiao Zhao quickly held him back up. Two uninjured Ming sect members came by with a stretcher, putting Zhang WuJi on it. Yang Xiao said, “Take him to my room and let him rest there.”

Xiao Zhao followed Zhang WuJi as he’s being taken away. As she walked by Yang BuHui, she heard Yang BuHui say coldly, “Xiao Zhao, you really are a great actress. I knew you were strange, but I never thought that an ugly girl like you is actually a great beauty.” Xiao Zhao did not respond, only kept on walking. For the next few days, everyone on the Brightness Peak only focused on healing their wounds. After the last life-and-death battle, they all regretted the past years of inner turmoil. No one brought up any past differences, as everyone rested peacefully on Brightness Peak, healing their injuries.

(Continued by dgfds01)

Though Zhang Wuji’s injuries were not light, Zhou Zhirou’s sword had missed his heart and lungs by a few inches. With the aid of his completed Art of Nine Yang, after convalescing for seven or eight days, his wound gradually healed. Each day, Yin Tianzheng, Yang Xiao, Wei Yixiao, Shuo Bu De and others were carried into his room to visit him. They were very happy to see his condition improve day by day. After about eight days, Zhang Wuji could sit up. That night, Yang Xiao and Wei Yixiao visited him again. Zhang Wuji said: “You were both injured by the Xuan Yin Finger. How have you been feeling these last few days?” Both of them were suffering daily from cold, bone searing pain. Rather than getting better, the injuries had been getting worse. However, they did not want him to worry so they said: “There’s been great improvement!” Zhang Wuji saw that there was a shadow of black chi over their faces. Even their speech was weak and listless. He said: “My inner strenght is about sixty to seventy percent recovered. Let me try treating your injuries. ” Yang Xiao hurriedly replied: “No, no! There’s no need to rush. Hero Zhang should wait till you’ve completely recovered before treating us. How could we rest easy if you aggravate your injuries?” Wei Yixiao said: “A few days won’t make a difference. The important thing is for Hero Zhang to rest and recover.”

Zhang Wuji said: “My grandfather the Eagle King and my godfather the Lion King are from the same generation as you. You’re both my seniors. I really cannot respond to you calling me ‘hero’.” Yang Xiao smiled and replied: “From now onwards we are your subordinates. We’ll follow behind you and we won’t even dare sit without your permission. How can we speak of being your seniors?” Zhang Wuji asked in surprise: “Uncle Yang, what do you mean?” Wei Yixiao said: “Hero Zhang, you’re the only person worthy and capable of bearing the heavy burden of the Ming Cult Leader’s position.”

Zhang Wuji frantically waved both hands urgently saying: “That’s impossible! That’s Impossible!” At this instance, the sound of piercing whistles was heard from the east. This was Brightness Peak’s warning signals. Yang Xiao and Wei Yixiao were shocked thinking:” Could it be that the six sects refused to admit defeat and are attacking again?” However, their facial expressions did not betray their thoughts. Yang Xiao said: “Was the ginseng you took yesterday good enough? Xiao Zhao, go get some more and prepare some more for Hero Zhang.” Alarm whistles were now heard from the western and southern sides. Zhang Wuji said: “Are there enemies attacking?” Wei Yixiao said: “There’s no lack of good fighters from our sect and the Heavenly Evil Sect. Hero Zhang, there’s no need for you to worry. We can easily deal with little bandits!” But just a moment later, the whistles could be heard from a lot nearer. The enery was advancing very quickly, they were definately more than mere bandits. Yang Xiao said: “I’ll go out for a while to organise things. Brother Wei will stay here with Hero Zhang. Hehe, can it be that the Ming Cult is so easily pushed around?” Even though his injuries were so serious that he could not move, his speech was still heroic. Zhang Wuji pondered: “Shaolin and E-Mei are righteous sects. They will not break their word. The attackers are probably wicked, merciless people. All the top fighters on Brightness Peak are severely injured. In this last seven or eight days, not one has recovered. If they try to fight, they’ll only be throwing their lives away in vain.”

At that moment, urgent footsteps were heard outside the door. A man rushed in. His face was covered with blood and he had been stabbed in the chest with a knife. He yelled: “The enemies are attacking from three directions ……they’re coming up the mountain……our brothers fighting the enemy……can’t hold out……” Wei Yixiao asked: “Who are the enemies?” The man pointed outside and tried to reply. Instead, he fell face-down onto the ground, dying just like that. The whistling grew more incessant and frenzied, the danger of the situation was obvious. Suddenly, two more men rushed into the room. Yang Xiao saw that man in front was the deputy flag leader of the Flood Waters Flag. His whole body was covered with blood and his face as pale as death, but he still maintained his composure. Bowing slightly, he reported: “Hero Zhang, Left Emissary Yang, Protector King Wei, the people attacking us are from the Great Whale Clan, Sea Sand Sect, Divine Fist House.” Yang Xiao frowned, hrmphed and said: “These little clowns even dare to attack us?” The Deputy Flag Leader replied: “The enemy is actually not very powerful. The problem is that most of our brothers are injured……” As he said this, the Five Wanderers – Leng Qian, the Iron Hat Priest Zhang Zhong, Peng Yingyu, Shuo Bu De, Zhou Dian – were stretched in one by one. Zhou Dian yelled: “The Beggar’s Clan, Three Family Clan and the Wushan Clan have taken the opportunity to attack us as well. As long as I, Zhou Dian, has a single breath left in my body I will never let it rest……” Before he finished, Yin Tianzheng and Yin Yewang limped in supported by crutches. Yin Tianzheng said: ” Wuji my child, you just lie back and rest. Damm the Five Wind Sabre and Soul Breaking Spear sects! What can two little sects like this do to us?”

Among them, Yang Xiao was the highest ranking Ming Cult member, Yin Tianzheng was the leader of the Heavenly Eagle Sect while Peng Yingyu was the most resourceful. These three men had faced all sorts of calamities in their lives. Each time, they had managed to avert disaster with their abilitues. But they could see no way out of the present situation – they were all severly injured with a large group of enemies at their doorstep. Even if the other clans and sects had not attacked, the Beggars Clan alone with its large numbers of able fighters would have been extremely difficult to deal with. By now, everyone secretly considered Zhang Wuji their sect leader. Together, they all turned to him hoping he had some plan to get them out of this prediciament. During all this, all sorts of thoughts and ideas swirled through Zhang Wuji’s mind. Though his kungfu was greater than Yang Xiao’s, his grandfather, Wei Yixiao and the others, they were far ahead of him when it came to strategy and cunning. If they were unable to come up with a solution, there was no way he would be able to. He let out a groan. Suddenly, he thought of something and said: “Let’s go hide in the secret tunnel. The enemy might not be able to find us. Even if they discovered the tunnel, they would have difficult attacking down it.” This was the best possible solution to him so he spoke excitedly. To his surprise, the others simply looked at each other. No one agreed with him. It was if they all felt that it could not be done. Zhang Wuji said: “A true man knows when to retreat and when to advance. Let’s hide and recuperate first. When our injuries recover we’ll come out and fight. There is no disgrace in that.”

Yang Xiao said: “Hero Zhang’s plan is brilliant.” He turned to Xiao Zhao and said: “Xiao Zhao, help Hero Zhang into the secret tunnel.” Zhang Wuji said: “Let’s go together!” Yang Xiao said: “You go first, we’ll follow later.”

When he heard this, Zhang Wuji knew that they would not follow, it was just a ploy to get him to safety. He said clearly: “Seniors, though I’m not a member of your sect I have gone through dangers with you. It can be said I have a bond of life and death with you. How could I abandon you and cowardly hide away?

Yang Xiao said: “There are some things Hero Zhang is unaware off. For generations, it has been a strict Ming Cult rule that apart from the sect leader, no Ming Cult member may enter the secret tunnel. The penalty for breaking the rule is death. Both you and Xiao Zhao are not Ming Cult members so you’re exempted from the rule.”

By now the sounds of fighting could be heard from all directions. The route up to Brightness Peak was steep and rugged. Many passes steel and rock gates blocking the way. Therefore, eventhough the Ming Cult’s defenders were weak, the attackers had not had an easy time either. Added to that was the Ming Cult’s awesome reputation – the attackers were cautious and did not dare rush forward. Nevertheless from the sounds of fighting, they were slowly making their way closer. Every now and then the screams were heard as exhausted Ming Cult defenders were slaughtered.

Zhang Wuji thought: “If we don’t go now, within two hours the whole of Ming Cult will be killed.” He immediately said: “Can’t we change the rule?” Yang Xiao shook his head darkly. Peng Yingyu suddenly said: “Everyone listen to me: Hero Zhang’s kungfu is matchless and his character righteous. He’s the great saviour of our sect. Let’s set Hero Zhang up as our sect’s thirty-fourth generation leader. If the leader orders our members to enter the secret tunnel, we’ll be following his orders, not breaking the rule.” Yang Xiao, Yin Tianzheng, Wei Yixiao and the others had already intended to make Zhang Wuji the cult leader. Everyone agreeded with Monk Peng’s suggestion. Zhang Wuji anxiously waved his hand saying: “I’m very young and am neither noble nor capable. How could I dare shoulder such a heavy burden? Also, my grandteacher, Venerable Master Zhang, repeatedly told me never to enter the Ming Cult. I promised him I won’t. I accept follow Reverend Peng’s suggestion.” Yin Tianzheng said: “I’m your grandfather and I order you to enter the Ming Cult. Even if your grandfather is not closer to your than your grandteacher, at the very least we are equal. My words cancels out his, it’s like neither of us said anything. It’s your own decision whether to enter the Ming Cult.” Yin Yewang added: “Add your uncle to the equation as well – is that enough to tip the scales? It is said: to see a maternal uncle is to see mother. As your mother is no longer around, I take her place.”

Zhang Wuji was saddened by his grandfather’s and uncle’s words. He said: “Sect Leader Yang left a will before he died. I brought it out with me from the secret tunnel. I had intended to give it to you once your injuries recovered. Sect Leader Yang’s last wishes were that my godfather, the Golden Haired Lion King, temporarily assume the position of sect leader.” Saying this, he drew out the will and handed it to Yang Xiao.

Peng Yingyu said: “Hero Zhang, a true man knows how to change plans according to the circumstances. The Golden Haired Lion King is your godfather, relationship wise he’s just like your natural father. It is only natural that a son succeeds his father. Since the Golden Haired Lion King is not here, please follow the wishes of Sect Leader Yang and become our temporary sect leader.” Everyone said: “He is right.” Zhang Wuji was wrecked with anxiety hearing the sound of fighting get closer and closer. For a moment he had no idea what to do. He thought: “The most important thing is to save all these people. I’ll worry about the rest later.” So he said clearly: “Since you all value me so, if I refuse I’ll be a great sinner towards the Ming Cult. Junior Zhang Wuji will temporarily assume the office of sect leader. Once the dangers of today have passed, please elect someone more worthy.”Everyone broke out cheering at his words. Despite the fact that powerful enemies were approaching and impending danger looming, great joy was seen on everyone’s face. Since the untimely death of the late sect leader Yang Dingtian, the Ming Cult had no leader to hold them together. They had fought among themselves, killing each other and splitting the once powerful and influencial sect up. Some members had left to set up their own organisations while others had descended into evil and wickedness, further worsening the situation. Now that a strong leader had surfaced, how could they not be affected? Those who were able to move fell to their knees. Though Yin Tianzheng and Yin Yewang were Zhang Wuji’s grandfather and uncles repectively, they were no exception. Zhang Wuji quickly kowtowed back and said: “Everyone please rise. Left Emissary Yang, please pass my orders: every member of our sect is to retreat down the secret tunnel.”

Yang Xiao replied: “Yes! Your orders will be carried out. I have a suggestion – we should order the Raging Fire Flag to block the enemy with fire and burn down all buildings on Brightness Peak. The enemy will then think we’ve run away. What do you think?” Zhang Wuji said: “Your scheme is brilliant. Left Emissary Yang, please pass the orders.” Inwardly he thought: “This was the same plan that Zhu Changling used years ago. It was actually a good tactic, unfortunately he used it to deceive me. ” Yang Xiao’s orders were passed – cult members were ordered to retreat, the Flood Water and Raging Fire Flags were ordered to form the rearguard. As the Heavenly Eagle Sect were guests, their members entered the secret tunnel first. They were followed by the Heaven, Earth, Wind and Thunder Gates; the ranking officers of Brightness Peak; the Gold, Wood and Earth Flags; the Five Wanderers and Wei Yixiao. Shortly after Zhang Wuji and Yang Xiao entered the tunnel, the members of the Water Flag went in. By now, the flames were lighting up the easter and western sky. The fire burned brighter and brighter. Then the Fire Flag sprayed oil onto the flames, causing the fires to erupt even further. Though the attackers were numerous, none of them dared to approach the flames. Instead, they surrounded Brightness Peak blocking off the escape routes. The Fire Flag members went down the tunnel and shut the entrance. Not long after, the building above collapsed, covering the entrance to the secret tunnel with burning debris.

The raging fire burned for two days and two nights. Brightness Peak was the headquaters of the Ming Cult with a heritage stretching back hundreds of years. Everything, from the main reception hall to ordinary buildings, was burnt to the ground. When the fire subsided, the attackers found the remains of Ming Cult followers killed in battle among the debris, their bodies burnt beyond recognition. They assumed that the Ming Cult had refused to surrender, preferring to die instead. They assumed that Yang Xiao, Wei Yixiao and the rest had all lost their lives in the fire. The Heavenly Eagle Sect and Ming Cult used the map of the tunnels to divide the area up into living spaces. The tunnel was deep underground so they felt neither the heat of the flames nor head a sound from above. They had brought enough foodstuffs and water in to last them for two months. Each member of the Ming Cult and the Heavenly Eagle Sect maintained a respectful silence. They were all aware that the secret tunnel was a forbidden, sacred place. It was only by the sect leader’s grace that they were able to take refuge there. Therefore, no one dared to wander around at will.

Yang Xiao and the other leaders gathered around Yang Dingtian’s remains and listened to Zhang Wuji’s story on how he came across Yang Dingtian’s will and learnt Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi. When he finished, he handed the kungfu manual over to Yang Xiao. Yang Xiao refused to accept it. He bowed and said: “The late Sect Leader Yang’s will was clearly written: ‘The Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi manual shall be given to Xie Xun for safe keeping. It shall then be passed on to the new sect leader.’ It is more appropriate for you, as sect leader, to keep it.” Everyone then turned to read Yang Dingtian’s will. They sighed sadly when they finished, saying: “Sect Leader Yang was both brave and far-sighted. Yet it was his wife’s infidelity caused him to suffer a fire deviaton and die. If only we had seen the will earlier, then we would not be in this situation today.” Everyone thought of the tragic deaths of their comrades, they gritted their teeth in grief and cursed Cheng Kun. Yang Xiao said: “Though Cheng Kun was Mrs Yang’s martial brother and the Golden Haired Lion King’s master, we had never met him previously. But we have seen the result of his work. It turns out that for the last few decades,he has been trying to destroy our cult.” Zhou Dian said: “Left Emissary Yang, Bat King Wei, you’ve both fallen into his trap, you can be considered supid.” He had intended to attack Yin Tianzheng as well. However, he took Zhang Wuji’s feelings into account and swallowed the words “White Browed Old Man”. Yang Xiao’s face turned red and he said: “At least heaven is just, that evil Cheng Kun died under Brother Yewang’s palm.” The leader of the Fire Flag said with hatred: “With all his evil deeds, Cheng Kun got off easy to die like that.” They discussed the matter a little while more before breaking up to sit down and treat their injuries. After seven or eight days in the secret tunnel, Zhang Wuji’s sword wound was abut ninety percent healed leaving a inch long scar. He began to treat the external wounds of the brothers. Though there was a huge shortage of medicines, he managed to heal everyone with his skills in acupuncture and acupressure. At first everyone only knew that their young sect leader’s martial arts were unfanthomable. They had never imagined that his medical skills were so amazing, that they even rivaled the skills of the “Divine Doctor of Butterfly Valley” Hu Qingniu.

After another few days, Zhang Wuji’s wound was completely healed. He then used his Art of Nine Yang help Yang Xiao, Wei Yixiao and the Five Wanderers force out the Xuan Yin Finger’s cold poision. Within three days, they had completely recovered from their internal injuries and wanted to leave the secret tunnel and destroy the enemy. Zhang Wuji said: “You’ve just recovered from your injuries and your inner strenght has not returned completely. Since you’ve already been patient for so long, waiting a few more days can’t hurt.” For the next few days, everyone worked hard preparing themselves. Those with mediocre kungfu sharpened sabres and swords and those with better kungfu practiced regulating their chi. The Ming Cult had suffered one humiliation afte another since the six major sects beseiged Brightness Peak. Now their frustration was boiling over, needing an outlet to be released.

One night, Yang Xiao explained the Ming Cult’s creed, aim, and rules, their main power centres in different places, and the abilities and characters of their leaders to Zhang Wuji. They heard the sound of iron chains clanging as Xiao Zhao approached to serve them tea. Zhang Wuji said: “Left Emissary Yang, this young lady has committed no offence. Please unlock the chains and release her!”Yang Xiao said: “I won’t dare disobey sect leader’s orders.” He immediately called for Yang Buhui and told her: “Buhui, the sect leader wants you to unlock Xiao Zhao’s chains.” Yang Buhui said: “I left the key a drawer in my room.” Zhang Wuji said: “That’s not a problem. The key wouldn’t have been burnt.”

Yang Xiao waited until his daughter and Xiao Zhao had left before saying: “Sect leader, though Xiao Zhao is very young her behaviour is quite strange. We have to be cautious towards her.” Zhang Wuji asked: “What are her origins?” Yang Xiao answered: “Half a year ago, I took Buhui on a trip down the mountain. We found her in the desert, crying over two dead bodies. We asked her what happened and she replied that they dead were her parents. Her parents had offended a government officer in the Central Plains and her family had been exiled to the Western Regions to work for the military. A few days before, unable to bear their treatment by the Mongol soldiers any longer, they had tried to escape. However, her parents sucummed to their injuries and exhaustion. I saw that she was a young girl all alone in the world. Though her face was ugly, from her speech she was not stupid. So I helped her bury her parents, then took her in as Buhui’s maid.” Zhang Wuji nooded his head thinking: “So both Xiao Zhao’s parents have passed away. Her life is really tragic, no different from me.” Yang Xiao continued: “Back in Brightness Peak, one day when I was teaching Buhui martial arts, Xiao Zhao was listening nearby. I was explaining the sixty-four Bagua positions. Buhui had not get grasped the idea when I saw Xiao Zhao’s eyse look at the right position.” Zhag Wuji said: “It’s probably because she’s very intelligent. That’s why she understood the concept before Sister Buhui.” Yang Xiao said: “That’s what I thought at first, I was very happy. But when I considered it further, I became suspicious. I delibreately recited an extremely difficult formula, something I had never taught Buhui. Then I recited some Bagua positions worngly, only to see her frown slightly – she had noticed the mistakes. Since then I’ve kept this in mind, knowing that this little girl has been taught by a great master and probably has powerful kungfu. She must have been sent to Brightness Peak by someone to spy on us.”

Zhang Wuji said: “It might be that her father was an expert of the Book of Changes and she learnt it from him.” Yang Xiao said: “Sect leader please reflect: the literary knowledge of the Book of Changes is different from its application to martial arts. If Xiao Zhao had learnt it from her parents, then they must be top wulin experts. How could they have been killed by Mongol soldiers? At that time, I pretended I had not noticed anything. A few days later, I casually asked her about her parents’ names and origins. She smoothly asnwered everything without revealing the slightest information. At that time I showed no reaction, all I did was warn Buhui to be careful with her. Then one day, I told a joke and Buhui laughed loudly. Xiao Zhao was nearby and she couldn’t help laughing as well. She was standing behind Buhui and I, we could not see her. But it so happened that Buhui was playing with a dagger in her hand and her reflection was caught clearly in the dagger. She was no ugly girl! Her features were much more beautiful that Buhui’s. But when I turned around, her face had reassumed its squinted eye and twisted mouth look.” Zhang Wuji smiled saying: “To twist her face to look ugly all the time…that must be quite difficult.” In his heart he thought: “Left Emmissary Yang is truly amazing. There’s no Xiao Zhao could continuely fool someone like him.” Yang Xiao continued: “Even then I kept silent. Late that night, I quietly went to my daughter room to watch Xiao Zhao. I saw that girl lave Buhui’s room. She went to the eastern side of the house looking for who-knows-what. She searched carefully in every room and corner. Unable to bear it any longer, I revealed myself and questioned her – what was she looking for and who order her to spy on Brightness Peak. She calmly replied without panic that no one had sent her. She just enjoyed playing around and being inquisitive. I tried everything to threaten and persuade her but she told me nothing. I locked her up and starved her for seven days and seven nights. Even when she was faining from starvation she wouldn’t say anything. Finally, I locked her up in those iron chains. When she moves, the clanging sound follows so she can’t sleathily harm Buhui. I didn’t kill her because I wanted to find out her origins. Sect Leader, this girl is definately a spy sent by some enemy. Based on her proficiency in Bagua positions, she’s either from Kunlun or E’Mei Sect. But she’s still a young girl, no great danger to us. Let her serve you. It is her good fortune that you’re willing to show mercy on her.”

Zhang Wuji stood up and laughingly said: “We’ve been cooped up in this underground prison for so long. Don’t you think it’s now time to go up and stretch our legs?” Yang Xiao asked happily: “Are we going out now?” Zhang Wuji answered: “Those who have yet to recover cannot fight. They don’t have to contribute to our cause now. The rest can all go out. What do you think?” When Yang Xiao gave the order, the secret tunnel was filled joyous cheering and bustling activity.

They had entered the tunnel through the entrance in Yan Buhui’s room. Now they went out through the side entrance, coming out behind the mountain. Zhang Wuji pushed away the stone blocking the entrance, let everyone through, then pushed the stone back into place. The Earth Flag Leader Yan Yuan was the Ming Cult’s strongest man. He experimentally tried to move the rock but it would not even budge. It was as if he was a dragonfly trying to move a stone pillar. His admiration for his young sect leader increased.

They did not want to alert the enemy so the came out of the secret tunnel silently. Not even a cough was heard. Zhang Wuji stood on top of a large rock. The moonlight shone down on them. To the west were the ranks of the Heavenly Eagle Sect: the three halls – Heaven’s Secret, Purple Secret and Heaven’s City – and the five branches – Divine Snake, Green Dragon, White Tiger, Crimson Sparrow and Black Valiant. They formed orderly rows, each with its own leader. On the east were the Ming Cult’s Five Flags: Gold, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth. The Flags were arranged in the Five Elements position with their leaders and deputy leaders at the head. In the middle were the Brightness Peak troops, the Four Gates under Yang Xiao’s command – Heaven, Earth, Wind and Thunder – headed by their own leaders. The Heaven Gate was made out of Central Plains men, the Earth Gate out of Central Plains women,the Wind Gate out of members who had taken religious orders, and the Thunder Gate out of non-Chinese from the Western Regions. Though most of the Five Flags and Four Gates members had been wounded in last battle, they were all full of spirit and vigour. The Green Wing Bat King Wei Yixiao, Leng Qian and the rest of the Five Wanderers stood protectively behind Zhang Wuji. Everyone waited respectfully for the Sect Leader’s orders. Zhang Wuji slowly said: “Enemies have invaded our territory. No matter how patient we are, we cannot tolerate this. However I don’t want any needless killing and injuring. Keep this in mind. The Heavenly Eagle Sect will attack from the west under the command of Sect Leader Yin. The Five Elements Flags will attack from the east under the command of Wood Flag’s Flag Leader Wen Cangsong. Left Emmisarry Yang will lead the Heaven and Earth Gates to attack the north. The Five Wanderers will lead the Wind and Thunder Gates to attack the south. Bat King Wei and I will direct the proceedings.” Everyone bowed and accepted their orders.

Zhang Wuji waved his left hand and said softly: “Go!” The four divisions separated and surrounded Brightness Peak from the north, south, east and west. Zhang Wuji turned to Wei Yixiao and said: “Bat King, let us launch a surprise attack from the secret tunnel.” Wei Yixiao said happily: “Great idea!” The two of them re-entered the secret tunnel and surfaced in Yang Buhui’s room.

They had to push hard and expand a lot of energy before they could move the pile of gravel and burnt wood blocking the trapdoor. The first thing they smelt when the came out of the tunnel was the stench of burnt things. At that time, the Ming Cult troops were still a distance away. But their presence had already been discovered by the enemies still left on Brightness Peak, they called out warning their comrades. Zhang Wuji and Wei Yixiao smiled at each other, thinking: “All this fuss over nothing. Our victory is easily assured.” They hid themselves behind a partially collapsed wall. In the moonlight, they could see people running back and forth. Not long later, Shuo Bu De and Zhou Dian arrived side-by-side from the south and launched themselves into the press of enemies. Yin Tianzheng, Yang Xiao and the Five Flags soon appeared. Yelling loudly, they threw themselves forward to attack, like a tiger pouncing on a flock of sheep. The enemies who had attacked Brightness Peak were the Beggars Clan, Wushan Clan, Sea Sand Clan and about ten other sects organisations. When they saw Brightness Peak razed to the ground, they thought they had won a great victory. So the Beggars Clan, Great Whale Clan and most of the other sects had left the mountain. Theere were only four groups still on Brightness Peak: the Divine Fist Clan, Three Rivers Clan, Wushan Clan and the Five Wind Sabres Clan. The Ming Cult’s attack was very sudden. Though there were skilled fighters among the four clans, they were no match for the lights of Yang Xiao and Yin Tianzheng. In the time it took for rice to cook, a large numeber of them were dead or injured.

Zhang Wuji came out and said clearly: “The Ming Cult’s top fighters have gathered on Brightness Peak. Listen up everyone: there’s no point fighting any longer. Throw your weapons down and surrender. We’ll spare your lives and see you on your way down the mountain.”

Many members of the four clans were dead or injured. The rest could see that it was pointless to keep fighting. One by one, they threw down their weapons and surrendered. Over the last ten days, the Wushan Clan had built a number of temporary shelters. Now the Wood Flag members started cutting down trees and building more thatched shelters. The female Earth Gate members busied themselves boiling water and preparing food.

The Ming Cult built a large fire and thanked the Holy Fire for its protection. The White Browed Eagle King Yin Tianzheng stood up and shouted: “All members of the Heavenly Eagle Sect listen: Our sect and Ming Cult have the same origins, we are really the same. Over twenty years ago, I had a disagreement with my Ming Cult comrades. So I left for the south-east and set up my own sect. Now the Ming Cult has recognised Hero Zhang as their leader, all the past differences have been forgotten. From this day on, the words ‘Heavenly Eagle Sect’ no longer exists on this earth. All of us are Ming Cult members, we’ll all obey Sect Leader Zhang’s orders. Anyone who disagrees can leave the mountain now!” The Heavenly Eagle Sect members cheered joyously, all saying: “The Heavenly Eagle Sect broke away from Ming Cult, now it’s returning to its roots. It’s a wonderful thing for all of us to enter the Ming Cult. Sect Leader Yin and Sect Leader Zhang are relatives, it makes no difference whose orders we obey.” Yin Tianzheng shouted: “From today onwards, there is only Sect Leader Zhang. Anyone who calls me ‘Sect Leader Yin’ is a rebel.” Zhang Wuji saluted with his hands and said: “The Heavenly Eagle Sect’s reunification with Ming Cult is a wonderful thing. The thing is, I only accepted the position as sect leader because of the urgent circumstances. Now that the enemies have been driven away, we should select a new sect leader. There are many great heros in the sect. I’m young and ignorant, how dare I continue as sect leader?” Zhou Dian yelled: “Sect leader, please think about us all. We, who’ve been fighting among ourselves for the posiion, have set accepted you as our leader. If you insist on declining the position, just appoint someone else as sect leader. Hrmph! No matter who it is, I, Zhou Dian, will be the first to reject him. Even if you choose me, I’ll still reject it.” Peng Yingyu said: “Sect leader, if you refuse to take up this burden, the Ming Cult will return to in-fighting and killing. When that happens, are we to beg you to save us again?”

Zhang Wuji thought: “What they say is true. In these circumstances, how can I just shake my sleeves and leave? But I neither know how to nor want to be a sect leader.” He said clearly: “Since you value me so much, I won’t dare refuse. However, I have three conditions. If you don’t accept them, I would rather die than become sect leader.” Everyone said: “We would not dare disobey sect leader’s orders. No matter whether it’s three conditions or thirty, we’ll agree. Please state your conditions.” Zhang Wuji said: “Our sect has been labelled heretical and evil. That is probably because others do not understand our religion. But because of our large numbers, it is difficult to pick out our bad members and some unworthy ones have harmed the innocent. This is my first condition: from now onwards, everyone, including myself, must strictly adhere to the rules of our religion. We must destroy the wicked and uphold the righteous. We have to support and love each other, steering our brothers away from the wrongful path.” He turned to Zhou Dian and said: “Cursing and arguing is fine, fighting is forbidden. I appoint Mr Leng Qian as Disciplinary Officer. Those who break the rules or fight with a brother will be severely punished. This includes myself, my grandfather, uncle and other elders.” Everyone bowed and said: “That is how it should be.” Leng Qian took a step forward and said: “I accept your orders!” He was a man of few words. By this he meant that he accepted the responsibility and would do his very best. Zhang Wuji said: “The second condition is more difficult. The enemity between our sect and the major sects of the Central Plains is great. Both parties have had their disciples, family members and dear friends killed and injured. From now on we will let matters rest and not seek them out for revenger.” Everyone felt that this was not fair, no one spoke for some time.

Zhou Dian said: “What if they bother us again?” Zhang Wuji said: “We’ll act according to the circumstances. If they force our hand, we’ll have no to fight back.” The Iron Hat Priest said: “Alright! After all, our lives were saved by Sect Leader. If he wants us to do this, we’ll do it.” Peng Yingyu said loudly: “Brothers:The Central Plains sects killed many of our people, but we also killed meany of their people. If we get caught in a circle of killing and revenge, even more people will die. It’s for our own good that Sect Leader orders us not to go looking for revenge.” Everyone realised that he was right, so they agreed. Zhang Wuji was very happy. He cupped his fists and said: “Your open-heartedness is a blessing to the world.” He then ordered the leaders of the Five Element Flags to release the Divine Fist Sect, Wushan Clan and the other prisoners, tell them of the Ming Cult’s intentions to make peace with Central Plains sects, and escort them down the mountain.

Zhang Wuji said: “The third condition concerns the late sect leader Yang’s will. His will said that whoever recoverd the Sacred Fire Scriptures will become Ming Cult’s thirty-fourth sect leader. Until then, the Golden Hair Lion King Xie Xun is to take his place. We’ll first set out for sea to bring Protector King Xie back, then think of a way to recover the Sacred Fire Scriptures. When that is done, you can have no more objections to me retiring.” When everyone heard this, they couldn’t help looking at each other thinking: “We’ve been a headless dragon for so many years. Now we finally have a wise, brave, benevolent and righteous hero as our sect leader. What if some incompetent disciple accidently stumbles across the Sacred Fire Scriptures in the future? We can’t make someone like that our sect leader.” Yang Xiao said: “Sect Leader Yang’s will was written over twenty years ago. The situation is very different now. We definately have to bring the Golden Hair Lion King back and recoved the Sacred Fire Scriptures. But we cannot accept some one else as sect leader.” Zhang Wuji firmly stated that Yang Dingtian’s wishes had to be followed. So the rest had to grudgingly agree. They all thought: “The Golden Hair Lion King probably died a long time ago. The Sacred Fire Scriptures have been lost for hundreds of years, they may never be found. Let’s agree first, if things change in the future then we’ll reason with him.” Zhang Wuji had been thinking about these three conditions for the last 10 days. Now hearing everyone agree, he was extremely happy. He immediately ordered them to slaughter some cows and goats. Using the blood, he drank an oath with them.

Zhang Wuji said: “The most important thing to do now is to go out to sea and find Protector King Xie. I have to go personally on this mission. Who else will go with me?” Everyone stood up and said: “We’re willing to go out to sea with you.” Zhang Wuji had just been thrust into this position. He knew he lacked the skills and capabilities to handle it. So he conferred quiely with Yang Xiao for a while. Then he said clearly: “We don’t need many people to come with us to sea. Moreover, there are many other things to attend to. Let’s do it this way: Left Emmissary Yang, please remain on Brightness Peak with the Heaven, Earth, Wind and Thunder Gates to reconstruct our headquaters. The Five Flags will carry the news of our three conditions to the members in other places. Would grandfather and uncle please lead the Heavenly Eagle Flag to investigate if enemies intend to make trouble for us. Then seek out the whereabouts of the Right Emmissary and the Purple Robed Dragon King. Bat King Wei, please set out to inform the six major sects of our intentions to make peace. Even if we can’t turn enenmity into friendship, at the very least we can stop fighting. This is a very difficult task. However, with yor great wisdom you’ll definately be able to accomplish it. The Five Wanderers will accompany me out to sea to find Protector King Xie.” As the sect leader, though his speech was humble and polite, every word was an order that cannot be disobeyed. Everyone accepted this tasks. Yang Buhui said: “Dad, I want to go sea to see the iceberg.” Yang Xiao smiled and said: “You’ll have to ask sect leader for permission. I have no authority to decide.” Yang Buhui only kept silent. Zhang Wuji smiled, thinking of the time he brought her to the west. Along the way he had entertained her with stories about the polar bears, seals, strange fish and all sorts of other animals, now she wanted to see them for herself. He said: “Little sister Buhui, ocean travel is dangerous. If you’re not afraid and Left Emmissary Yang is willing to let you go, then both of you can come with me.” Yang Buhui clapped her hands and said: “I’m not afraid on anything. Dad, let’s go with Big Brrother Wuji……no, with Sect Leader!” Yang Xiao did not answer, he looked at Zhang Wuji waiting for his decision. Zhang Wuji said: “Alright then. I’ll trouble Mr Leng to remain on Brightness Peak to temporarily assume command of the Four Gates.” Leng Qian said: “Yes!” Zhou Dian clapped his hands and stamped his feet, yelling: “Wonderful, wonderful!” Shuo Bu De asked: “Brother Zhou, what’s so wonderful?” Zhou Dian replied: “Sect leader thinks so highly of Leng Qian, that’s great for the Five Wanderer’s image. Plus, who knows how long we’lll be at sea, at least there’ll be two extra people to talk to. If I want to argue with someone, there’s always Left Emmissary Yang. Otherwise I’ll have to talk to Leng Qian, and he’s just like a wooden dummy.” Everyone burst out laughing. Leng Qian did not get angry, neither did he laugh. He just acted like he had heard nothing.

They all ate their fill then separated to rest. Zhang Wuji wanted Yang Buhui to unlock Xiao Zhao’s chains. However they could not find the key amidst all the debris. Xiao Zhao said indifferently: “I like the sound these chains make when I move. It’s alright if I keep wearing them.” Zhang Wuji reassured her: “Xiao Zhao, wait here at Brightness Peak. When I bring my godfather back, I’ll borrow his Dragon Sabre to cut the chains off.” Xiao Zhao shook her head without answering.

The next moning, Zhang Wuji lead his party to bid farewell to Leng Qian. Leng Qian said: “Sect leader, take care.” Zhang Wuji said: “Mr Leng, your job at headquaters is a difficult one.” Leng Qian turned to Zhou Dian and said: “Be careful, don’t let strange fish eat you!” Zhou Dian grasped his hand feeling touched. The Five Wanderers were as close as brothers. Leng Qian rarely spoke so these few extra words showed that he was very worried that some strange fish would eat his brother in the middle of the ocean. Leng Qian and the Four Gates accompanied them to the foot of Brightness Peak, then they parted.

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