By then the masters from Kunlun, Kongtong and Huashan had already swarmed out the temple. Only Shaolin Pai’s Kong Wen and Kong Zhi, two ‘shen seng’ [divine monks], did not lose their seniority demeanor; they came to Zhang Wuji with clasped palms to express their gratitude. And then they exchanged some modest greetings with Song Yuanqiao, Yu Lianzhou and the others before finally they left the temple together.
Zhang Wuji had spent a lot of energy in using the ‘qian kun da nuo yi’ to rescue the masters from the Six Major Sects; his internal energy was depleted. Last of all he exchanged a palm with Miejue Shitai that he suffered a major internal injury; by now he was so weak that he could not walk. Mo Shenggu took him and carried him on his back. Zhang Wuji took that opportunity to silently cultivating his ‘jiu yang shen gong’ [the Nine Yang divine strength/energy] that at last his strength was recovered.
Meanwhile it was almost dawn; as the crowd of heroes reached the western gate, they dispersed and went out the city separately to avoid the gate guards. Several ‘li’s outside the city they met Yang Xiao who had already prepared several large mule and horse carriages. He congratulated them on escaping the danger.
Kong Wen Dashi [Reverend Kong Wen] said, “If not for the Ming Cult’s Zhang Jiaozhu and gentlemen’s help today, it is difficult to say what our Central Plains’ [zhong yuan] Six Major Sects’ fate would be, our gratitude of your kindness is unspeakable. Now about next step, how we are going to proceed, please Zhang Jiaozhu gives us instruction.”
“My knowledge is shallow,” Zhang Wuji answered, “I don’t have any plan, so I invite Reverend Abbot of the Shaolin Pai to give us orders.” But Reverend Kong Wen strongly refused.
Zhang Songxi said, “This place is not too far from the city. Today we have made an earth-shattering disturbance inside the Tartar’s capital; how could that evil king let it go? As soon as the fire in the palace is extinguished, he would certainly dispatch a cavalry to pursue us. Let us leave this place first before deciding on our next action plan.”
He Taichong said, “If that evil king sends a cavalry to pursue us, then that would be best. We can kill them all to vent our several days of built-up anger.”
“Our internal strength is not completely recovered yet,” Zhang Songxi said, “Killing the Tartars right now is not our priority; we’d better avoid them first.”
“Zhang Sixia [fourth hero Zhang] is right,” Reverend Kong Wen said, “We could kill many Tartars today, but our own casualty would not be small. We’d better withdraw for the time being.” Certainly the words of Shaolin’s Abbot carried a different weight. As soon as he opened his mouth, nobody dared to raise any objection anymore.
Reverend Kong Wen asked again, “Zhang Sixia, according to your respected opinion, where should we go to temporarily avoid the enemy?”
Zhang Songxi replied, “The Tartars would certainly expect us to go if not to the south, then to the southeast. We will go to the opposite direction; to the northwest. What do you think?”
Everybody was stunned; yet Yang Xiao actually clapped his hands and said, “Zhang Sixia’s plan is really marvelous. The people of the northwest is sparse, we can look for any uninhabited mountain and hide there for a while. The Tartars would not think of looking for us there.” The more the rest of them think, they more they realized Zhang Songxi’s plan was indeed marvelous. Thereupon they turned their carriages around and went northwest.
About fifty ‘li’s later the group of heroes stopped at a valley to take a rest and eat. Yang Xiao had already prepared dried provisions, dried meat and wine; nothing was lacking. They were talking about the rescue operation they had just undergone and they all agreed that Zhang Wuji and Fan Yao were in charge of the entire battle and the rescue operation.
On the side Zhou Zhiruo and the Emei disciples were cremating Miejue Shitai’s body. Kong Wen, Kong Zhi, Song Yuanqiao, Zhang Wuji, and the rest of them, one by one, offered their last respect. Miejue Shitai was a great hero; although her temperament was peculiar she had always upheld chivalry and justice. Her character was imposing; there was no one in the Wulin world who did not respect her. The Emei disciples cried and wept loudly, the rest of the people were also mournful.
In a loud and clear voice Reverend Kong Wen said, “The dead cannot go back to live. The heroes of Emei must carry on the will Shitai had left behind; hence although Shitai died, she will also live. This time we fell under evil people’s poisonous hands; everybody suffered a great defeat. Even our own Sect’s Kong Xing Shidi [martial (younger) brother] had died under the Tartars’ hands. This debt must be settled, but as how we are going to do this, we need to discuss it further.”
Reverend Kong Zhi said, “Initially the Six Major Sects of the Central Plains and the Ming Cult are enemies to each other; but Zhang Jiaozhu has forgotten this animosity and lent a hand to rescue us. This way the enmity between us is to be forever eradicated. From now on we are of one heart and mind, driving the invaders together.”
Everybody voiced their agreement at once. However, speaking of revenge, each sect’s opinion differed with one another; it was difficult to reach decision. Finally Kong Wen said, “We cannot decide on this matter, let us take a rest for several days, and then separately go back to our places. Someday when we are ready to launch a large attack of vengeance, then we will slowly talk it over.” Everybody nodded their heads in approval.
Zhang Wuji said, “Now that this important matter is done, I have some personal business I have to attend; I need to return to Dadou. Hereby I bid everybody farewell. Later on we will work hand in hand, fighting the Tartars to the death together.”
Everybody raised their voices together, “We will work hand in hand, fighting the Tartars to the death together.” Their shouts shook the sky, the valley reverberated with their cry; and then they send Zhang Wuji off to the mouth of the valley. Zhang Wuji raised his hands in salute and said goodbye.
“Jiaozhu,” Yang Xiao said, “The heroes of the world look up on you; you have to take a really good care of yourself in everything.”
“Xiongdi [brother] will remember that,” Zhang Wuji said. Mounting his horse he galloped to the south.