“Whatever instruction Junzhu has, I will comply,” Fan Yao replied.
Zhao Min said, “Kong Zhi Dashi of Shaolin Pai has not resolved his enmity against you. If you fight him first, victory or defeat between the two of you will be hard to predict. Even if you gain victory, your strength would be depleted.”
Fan Yao nodded. He understood that Kong Zhi Shen Seng had been famous for dozens of years. Kong Zhi’s face looked long as if he was in constant anxiety; he looked like someone who would not reach old age, but actually, his internal and external skills had reached perfection.
Zhao Min said, “There is no harm in making an appointment with him; state it explicitly that you want to fight him one on one at the Wan An Temple in Dadu. One fight to decide victory and defeat.”
“Marvelous plan, marvelous plan!” Yang Xiao and Fan Yao exclaimed. They knew that if Kong Zhi agreed to fight Fan Yao at a later date, then they could not fight today. With her idea, Zhao Min eliminated one powerful enemy to the Ming Cult.
In the mean time, the heroes and warriors of every sect and every school were whispering among themselves in their respective wooden shelters to choose their champions. From several wooden shelters came loud noises of people bickering; apparently, they have some disagreement in the selection process.
Fan Yao went to the host’s shelter. He saluted Kong Zhi and said, “Kong Zhi Dashi, I wonder if you have guts? Do you dare to meet me at the Wan An Temple?”
Hearing the word ‘Wan An Temple’, which was the only disgrace he had ever experienced in his entire life, the lines on Kong Zhi’s forehead went even deeper. His thin eyes were gleaming as he asked, “What is it?”
Fan Yao said, “We tied our enmity at Wan An Temple, we must resolve it at Wan An Temple. You, Kong Zhi Dashi, are a man of virtue and prestige. Unfortunately, I also have some insignificant reputation. In today’s battle, if you defeated me, Jianghu people would say that a strong dragon cannot repress a snake in its lair; you, a Dashi [great master], take advantage of your home turf. If by luck I gained half a style advantage, ignorant people would add fuel to the fire by saying Ku Toutuo came to Shaolin Temple to overpower Shaolin’s number one master. If Dashi is not afraid, I will be asking for Dashi’s unsurpassed artistries at the Wan An Temple, in the evening of the full moon, on the Mid-autumn festival of this year [orig. ‘ba yue zhong qiu’ – 15th day of the eighth month of lunar calendar].”
Actually, Kong Zhi was rather afraid of Fan Yao’s martial art. Besides, there was a big change in the Temple right now; he was not in a good mood to fight Fan Yao. Therefore, although he knew Fan Yao was provoking him, he agreed immediately. “Very well, the Mid-autumn festival of this year, we will meet at the Wan An Temple. I will not leave until we meet.”
Fan Yao cupped his fists to salute, and then turned around and left. He had just walked for seven, eight paces when he heard Kong Zhi unhurriedly say, “Fan Shizhu [benefactor], you wholeheartedly want to save Jin Mao Shi Wang today. That’s why you do not dare to fight with me. Am I right?”
Fan Yao was startled; he halted his steps while thinking, “This monk sees through our intention after all.” Turning his head, he laughed and said, “I don’t have the confidence I would defeat you.”
Kong Zhi smiled and replied, “Lao Na also do not have the confidence to defeat Shizhu.”
The two of them nodded. In that moment, in their hearts grew a fondness toward each other; hero admired another hero, a real man cared for another real man.