Fan Yao was startled. “Many thanks for Jiaozhu’s directions,” he delightedly said, “The admiration of your subordinate reaches the highest level. These four stances are unthinkable. They truly enlightened subordinate’s dark mind. I really wish I could bow to you and take you as my master.”
Zhang Wuji replied, “These are part of Taijiquan technique bestowed to me by my Tai Shifu, the ‘luan huan jue’ [secret of the random circles]. The main point is the circles made by the left hand. Although this man surnamed Song came from Wudang, I don’t think he has mastery over the most refined of these principles.”
With this new idea in his mind, Fan Yao was confident he could defeat Song Qingshu. However, after two streak victories, Song Qingshu was entitled to take a rest according to the competition rules. Therefore, Fan Yao must wait for him to reenter the stage before he could come forward and challenge him.
All this time Zhao Min was standing close to them. With a faint smile on her face, she looks extremely delighted. Zhang Wuji shifted to get closer to her and asked in low voice, “Min Mei, what is it? Why do you look so happy?”
Zhao Min’s jade-like cheeks blushed. Hanging her head low, she whispered, “You taught Fan You Shi these several martial art techniques only to break Song Qingshu’s arm. Why didn’t you teach him something to take the life of that person surnamed Song?”
Zhang Wuji replied, “Although Song Qingshu has done much evil, he is, after all, my Da Shibo’s [first martial (older) uncle] only beloved child. It will be up to Da Shibo to discipline him. If I told Fan You Shi to take his life, I would have been unfair to Da Shibo.”
Zhao Min said with a laugh, “If you have him killed, Zhou Jia Jiejie [older sister from Zhou family] would become a widow. Then you can rekindle the old flame. Wouldn’t that be marvelous?”
Zhang Wuji laughed. “Would you allow me to do that?” he asked.
Zhao Min smiled and replied, “I wouldn’t think of not allowing you. I’ll just wait till you turn double-minded again [orig. ‘san xin liang yi’ – three hearts, two intentions], then she’d use her fingers to poke five holes on your chest.”
While Zhang Wuji was discussing counterattack measure with Fan Yao, and talking and joking with Zhao Min, Song Qingshu had retreated to his wooden shelter under the protection of the eight Emei female disciples. The crowd of heroes saw how hair-raising and ruthlessly he killed his two opponents just now. They could not help but feeling frightened; they were not willing to go down the arena and thus subjected themselves to the danger.
A moment later, in a leisure manner Song Qingshu returned to the arena. Cupping his fists he said, “I [orig. zai4xia4 – under] have had enough rest. I am ready to take any hero who would like to give me some instructions.”
Fan Yao called out, “Let me ask for some advice from Emei Pai’s marvelous skill.” He was just about to jump into the arena when suddenly a grey shadow flashed by and stopped right in front of Song Qingshu. He turned toward Fan Yao and said, “Fan Dashi, please let me try first.” This person’s manner was very dignified. He stood with his feet sturdily grounded. His attitude was guarded. He was the Wudang Er Xia [second hero], Yu Lianzhou.
Seeing that Yu Lianzhou rushed over, and realizing he was Jiaozhu’s martial uncle, Fan Yao felt it was inappropriate to argue with him. He said, “The Ol’ Fan is lucky today to be able to see Yu Er Xia’s Wudang divine skill.”
“I do not dare,” Yu Lianzhou replied.
Since he was little, Song Qingshu had always a bit scared of this particular Shishu. Right now, seeing him with an imposing aura and stern look, he knew today’s battle was no longer a sparring while he was training on Mount Wudang, but it would be a life and death combat. Although he had learned amazing martial art from a different school, he still cowered in the end.
Yu Lianzhou cupped his fists and said, “Song Shaoxia [young hero], please!” This salute, and also the way he addressed Song Qingshu, showed clearly that he did not dare to show the slightest degree of contempt toward Song Qingshu, but also showed that he considered Song Qingshu as a total outsider.
Song Qingshu did not say anything. He simply bowed in respect. Yu Lianzhou shouted and his palm hacked down on Sing Qingshu’s face.
Yu Lianzhou had been famous in the Wulin world for the last thirty years or so, but the number of people who had actually seen him displaying his true capability was actually very few. Until today, when they saw him with soft power in his palms he rendered the strong, ruthless, explosive power of the ‘pi li lei huo dan’ [thunderbolt bullet] useless. His skill was so refined that the spectators felt ashamed of their own inadequacy. The Jianghu people had known for some time that the essence of Wudang Pai’s martial art was ‘soft subduing hard’, the style was slow moving but also very rich with subtle changes. Who would have thought that Yu Lianzhou’s palms stormed like the wind, his style was amazingly swift, that Song Qingshu’s lower part, between his legs and his waist, was successively hit by a kick and a palm.
Song Qingshu was very shocked. “Tai Shifu and Father both prepared me to be the Wudang Pai’s third generation Zhangmen [sect leader], they would not hold any martial art secret from me. Yu Ershu’s [second uncle] swift fist and quick leg were in the style I had already learned, but how could he launch the stances with such a speed? Didn’t the way he use it is contrary to our school’s main principle? Whatever it is, the result is this fierce!”
He wanted to use the finger skill Zhou Zhiruo taught him, but Yu Lianzhou did not give him even a chance to catch his breath. Thereupon he had no choice but kept stepping back and did his best to hold his position.
The crowd of heroes watched the fight between these two men with rapt attention. Presently, Yu Lianzhou was gaining an upper hand. However, in the two previous battles, Song Qingshu was also at a disadvantage before he was able to turn defeat into victory by stretching out his fingers and killing his opponents. He might be able to repeat it this time. They saw Yu Lianzhou moved faster and faster, but every style and every stance was very clear. It was just like an expert singer, although the singer sang a fast-tempo song, the enunciation of every syllable was very clear, without the slightest degree of fuzziness.
The crowd of heroes started to stand up one by one. Those who sat on the back climbed the tables and chairs. In their hearts, they were all praising, “Wudang’s Yu Er Xia truly deserves his reputation. He does not stop pressing his opponent, yet not a single stance was used twice.”
Lucky for Song Qingshu that he was a direct-line disciple of Wudang; he knew all the subtle changes of Yu Lianzhou’s hands and feet movements. However, fighting in such a pace was actually the first time for him.
The yellow dust on the field rose upward, becoming a thick fog enveloping these two men. Suddenly there was a loud bang as two palms collided. Both Yu Lianzhou and Song Qingshu leaped backward at the same time. The cloud of dust was divided. Before he was even standing firmly, with a monkey-like agility Yu Lianzhou had jumped forward again.