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  Excursus
   JIN YONG > She Diao Ying Xiong Zhuan || Chapter 10: Enemies Meet

PREVIOUSLY: It was revealed that the young prince, Wanyan Kang, was actually the son of a Song commoner, Mu Yi/Yang Tiexin. His mother, Bao Xirou, was deceived by Prince Zhao of Jin Dynasty into marrying him by telling her that her husband had died during the raid in Ox Village. Yang Tiexin and Guo Jing had been hiding in the princess' closet all the time Bao Xirou was telling the young prince all this. Meanwhile, Huang Rong was still in the Fragrant Snow Hall doing what she did best - tricking people.

Wanyan Kang was shocked to find Yang Tiexin there, and then recognizing him, he cried: "It's you!"

Brandishing the iron spear, he quickly adopted the "Line of Step of the Marching Tiger (Hang2 Bu4 Deng4 Hu3)", followed by the "Facing Upwards to Burn a Joss Stick (Chao2 Tian1 Yi1 Zhu4 Xiang1)." The tip of the spear gleamed, going straight towards Yang Tiexin's throat.

Bao Xirou called out: "He's your father, you... Don't you see?" But when she tried to stop him, he flung her away, sending her against the wall where she hit her head.

Shocked, Wanyan Kang stepped back, lowering his spear and looking down at his mother on the ground. Her whole forehead was covered in blood, her breathing shallow. Not knowing if she was still alive or dead, he could not move and could only stare at her helplessly.

It was Yang Tiexin who bent down and took his wife in his arms, carrying her outside.

Wanyan Kang shouted: "Put her down!" Then, he attacked using the "Orphaned Wild Goose Leaves the Group (Yang2 Jia1 Qiang1)," his spear moving like the wind and heading towards the enemy's chest.

Yang Tiexin heard the rushing sound behind him and quickly sent out his left hand to counter, stopping the spear's tip just when it was about five inches away.

In the battlefield, the "Yang Family Spear Play" was invincible and one move, the "Turning the Spear on Horseback (Hui2 Ma3 Qiang1)" was a unique skill passed from generation to generation. When he grasped the spear's shaft, Yang Tiexin used a variation of "Turning the Spear on Horseback," using only one hand because the other was holding Bao Xirou.

He shouted angrily: "This Yang Family Spear Play is passed only to sons. Of course, your shifu did not teach you this."

Although Qiu Chuji's kung fu was very high, he actually did not research deeper into the marksmanship. The Yang Family Spear Play was native to Song Dynasty and was famous throughout Jiang Hu but only 19 schools were direct descendants of the orthodox schools. That year when he fought with Yang Tiexin in Ox Village, he was able to observe firsthand the Yang Family Spear Play, but because the principles were only passed from father to son, he did not understand it fully. That was why Wanyan Kang also did not completely absorb the meaning behind the moves.

Since both of them applied force to the iron spear, which was already very old, the wooden handle broke into pieces with a "ka" sound.

Guo Jing jumped forward and shouted angrily: "You know that he's your father, why do you not kowtow?"

While Wanyan Kang hesitated, Yang Tiexin took the opportunity to flee from the room with his wife still clutched to him. When he got outside, Mu Nianci was waiting for him. With her help, father and daughter leapt over the wall.

Guo Jing did not dare wait and also rushed out of the room. He was just about to head towards the wall to flee when suddenly, he sensed a rustle in the darkness, rushing towards his neck. He felt the force of the palm scratch the tip of his nose and on his face, he felt a severe pain like it was scraped by a knife. This person's internal strength was fierce and moreover, there was barely a sound, taking one completely unawares.

He could not stop himself from feeling shocked as he heard the person angrily shout: "Unreasonable shrimp, this old man has waited enough! Extend your neck and let this old man drink your blood!"

It was precisely Immortal Ginseng Liang Ziwong!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

When Peng Lianhu claimed that she was a disciple of the Twin Corpses of the Dark Wind, Huang Rong laughed and said: "You lose!" Then, she turned around and sprinted towards the hall's entrance.

Peng Lianhu quickly moved his body so that he was blocking the entrance as he shouted: "Since you are a disciple of the Twin Corpses of the Dark Winds, I won't bother you. But you must tell me, why did your shifu send you here?"

Huang Rong laughingly said: "You said that if in ten moves, you can't recognize my sect, then you will let me go. Old gentleman, why are you being such a rascal?"

Peng Lianhu got angry: "That final move, the "Spirit Sea Turtle Step (Ling2 Ao2 Bu4)," didn't the Twin Corpses of the Dark Winds teach you that?"

Huang Rong laughed: "I've never met the Twin Corpses of the Dark Winds. Also, how can they match against my shifu's level of kung fu?"

Peng Lianhu said: "It's useless to lie."

Huang Rong said: "I have actually heard of the Twin Corpses of the Dark Winds. I know that these two people are dishonorable; they stop at nothing, disrespect their elders and betray their masters; their shamelessness is known throughout wulin. How can Peng Zhaizhu (Chief Peng) compare me with these horrible persons?"

The crowd at first thought that she was just unwilling to tell the truth but when they heard her slander the Twin Corpses of the Dark Winds this way, they could not help looking at each other in blank dismay. Only then did they believe that she was in no way related to the Twin Corpses' sect. Although some people still wanted to find out if she was lying, they all decided that no one would dare to insult their shifu in the presence of so many people.

Peng Lianhu stepped aside and said,"Young Miss, you win. Lao Peng admires you very much and wishes to know your name."

Huang Rong smiled: "No need for compliments. I am called Rong Er."

Peng Lianhu asked: "Your surname?"

Huang Rong: "I'll be honest. I am surnamed neither Peng nor Sha."

At that point, everyone in the hall, outside of Tibetan Monk Ling Zhi and Ouyang Ke, had lost to her. Ling Zhi was suffering from an internal injury and could not fight at the moment. That left only Ouyang Ke as the only one who could temporarily stop her. The people all turned their gazes at him.

Ouyang Ke jogged forward, smiling pleasantly as he said: "This lowly one wants to go next and exchange moves with the young miss."

Huang Rong glanced at the white clothes he was wearing and asked: "You are with those pretty girls of the White Camel Group (Bai Tuoshan)?"

Ouyang Ke smiled and said: "You have met them? But all of them put together is not enough to match even half of your beauty."

Huang Rong's face turned red when she heard his flattery though she was also pleased. She said: "Then you'll help me with these old men who insist on being unreasonable."

Ouyang Ke's kung fu was high and with the support of his uncle, he was able to run amuck in the western region for many years. His lustful nature caused him to spend all those years collecting beautiful women from different places, turning them into his concubines. Because they had nothing to do, these concubines also studied kung fu and so also became his disciples.

He brought 24 of these women with him when Prince Zhao summoned him to Yanjing. He dressed them in white robes to look like men and let them take turns riding his white camels. Eight of them encountered the Six Freaks of Chiangnan traveling with Gou Jing and also heard Zhu Cong speak of the precious Han Xie horse's origin. Wanting to give the horse as a gift to Ouyang Ke, they tried to steal it but they failed miserably.

Ouyang Ke was very proud of his collection of concubines, knowing that they were the most beautiful women in the world and that not even the ladies of the imperial palaces of the Jin Dynasty and Song Country could compare to them. But who would have thought that he would meet Huang Rong in the Zhao Palace? He saw that her eyes were bright, her cheeks tender and though still very young, her body was graceful. Her beauty was unsurpassable that even his numerous mistresses could not compare to her. And when she displayed her exquisite martial arts skills, his heart fluttered.

Now, he listened to her friendly voice, the soft and gentle words, feeling his heart burn and his bones go soft. He could not say a word.

Huang Rong: "I have to go. If they stop me, you will help me, won't you?"

Ouyang Ke smiled: "If you want me to help you, then you must obey me as your teacher and stay with me forever."

Huang Rong: "Even obeisance to the shifu does not mean staying with him forever!"

Ouyang Ke said: "My disciples are different. They're all women so they follow me wherever I go. I only need to tell them to come and they will come."

Huang Rong tossed her head, laughing as she said: "I do not believe."

Ouyang Ke whistled and at once, 20 white-clad women appeared at the entrance. Whether they were fair or dark, fat or thin, all of them were wearing the same type of clothes, their carriage proud and their smiles seductive as they trained their eyes on Ouyang Ke.

During the banquet earlier in the Fragrant Snow Hall, these mistresses served outside the wall. This is the first time Peng Lianhu and the others saw them and in their hearts, they were envious of his good fortune.

Huang Rong originally intended to get him to call his mistresses to cause disorder in the hall and take the opportunity to escape. However, who would have thought that Ouyang Ke could read her mind?

He looked at the crowd, signaling them with his folding fan to stay in the entrance. Then, he leered at Huang Rong, smiling in self-satisfaction.

Noticing that Huang Rong had somehow caught the eye of the "shifu's son," some of the mistresses felt inferior while the rest had only jealousy in their minds. They did not want her to become another "female disciple" so they gathered together to make it difficult to Huang Rong to rush past them.

Seeing that the situation was not favorable, Huang Rong said: "You really want a fight? To obey you as my teacher would be disrespectful since I already have a teacher."

Ouyang Ke asked: "Don't you at least want to try?"

Huang Rong nodded: "Alright."

Ouyang Ke said: "Good, then come. Don't be afraid. I won't hit you back."

Huang Rong: "How? If you don't hit back, I'll definitely win."

Ouyang Ke smilingly said: "I like you, so even if you hit me, how can I hit you back?"

The crowd snickered at his frivolous manner but they were also wondering, 'This young girl's kung fu is not weak. Even if you are ten times stronger, how do you expect to defeat her? What magic are you going to use?'

Huang Rong said: "I don't believe you're really not going to hit back. I must tie up both your hands."

Loosening his sash, Ouyang Ke started to hand it to her, showing Huang Rong that he was being agreeable. She continued to smile, but actually she was feeling very anxious as she pondered the situation before her. 'I have to be careful with my steps.'

After receiving the sash, she started pulling the cloth on opposite sides but found that the silk was so strong that even when she used her internal strength, she still could not destroy it. Pleased, she started tying both his hands with it and said: "How do we know who wins or loses?"

Ouyang Ke stretched out is right foot to the ground, leaving his left foot at the center, which left about three feet of distance in between. Still standing, he proceeded to move his foot against the brick floor, creating a sound like flowing water until he was able to make a complete circle, six feet in diameter.

Creating such a circle was no easy task, thus displaying his great internal strength. Sha Tongtian, Peng Lianhu and the others all looked on in admiration as Ouyang Ke stepped into the circle and said: "Whoever steps out of the circle loses."

Huang Rong asked: "And if we both leave the circle?"

Ouyang Ke replied: "Then, I lose."

Huang Rong said: "If you lose, you won't try to chase or stop me?"

Ouyang Ke replied: "Naturally. But if you leave the circle, then that would result in you becoming my little darling. Everyone here is witness to that."

Huang Rong agreed: "Alright!"

After stepping into the circle, she immediately executed the "Encircling the Wind to Stroke the Willow (Hui1 Feng1 Fu2 Liu3)" with her left palm while her right palm formed the "River of Stars in the Sky (Xing1 He2 Zai4 Tian1)." The left was light, the right was heavy, both hands exerting hard and soft forces.

Ouyang Ke moved both his shoulders and met her strikes. His internal strength was so profound that Huang Rong felt the force go through her whole body. Though he remained true to his word of not hitting back, he actually borrowed the force she used and used it as his own so that no matter how many times she hit him, he was always able to immediately retaliate. His hand remained motionless but Huang Rong was standing unsteadily, almost falling out of the circle. This was why she did not dare to attack for the moment as she paced inside the circle, saying: "If I go that doesn't mean you won. You said before that if both of us left the circle, you lose."

Ouyang Ke could only look at her in shock as she jogged out of the circle.

Afraid that any further delay would cause more complications, she quickened her steps as she rushed towards the entrance, her golden bangles sparkling and her flowing robes fluttering in the wind.

Ouyang Ke shouted loudly: "I've been cheated!" He could only shout a warning but could not pursue.

Sha Tongtian, Peng Lianhu, and the others saw how Huang Rong cleverly tricked Ouyang Ke and could not stop themselves from laughing loudly.

Huang Rong was just about to reach the entrance when a fierce sound could be heard coming from above and a large body suddenly dropped from nowhere. She moved sideways to avoid, suppressing her fear at this uknown thing. She saw that that person sitting down on a large round-backed wooden armchair was that tall Tibetan monk. He was wearing a red gown and even though he was seated, he was still able to tower over her.

The skill with which he was able to leap high with the chair still stuck to his body was no ordinary feat. Huang Rong was just about to speak when she suddenly saw the Tibetan monk whip out a pair of cymbals from beneath his robes. He struck both hands, releasing a shocking, defeaning sound, before opening the weapon like a flower and sending both, one on top of the other, flying fiercely towards her.

The cymbals turned into a blur of shining metal, moving so fast like there were a dozen of them. She tried to fend them off but the cymbals suddenly turned into three. Startled, she turned only to find that the cymbals were drawing nearer. She dashed forward, parrying, before immediately fleeing away, then reversing, sending out a right palm towards the top cymbal while sending her left foot towards the two cymbals at the bottom.

This stance was extremely ingenious but the cymbals were able to avoid being struck by separating and flying past her. Ling Zhi leapt forward, executing the "Big Hand Imprint (Da4 Shou3 Yin4)."

Everyone shouted in alarm when they saw that Huang Rong was about to be hit. They knew tht Ling Zhi's great palm was so powerful, it would probably break several bones in the young girl's body, not to mention cause severe internal injuries.

Ouyang Ke shouted: "Show mercy!" Was there enough time?

But the next thing he knew, Huang Rong was running out of the hall, her clear laughter an indication that she was not hurt. He himself had seen Ling Zhi's great palm strike her in the back and withdraw quickly, issuing an angry oath. Ling Zhi's palm was indeed strong but because he withdrew his attack just when he hit her, the force behind the blow was actually diminished.

The crowd all watched in rapt attention when they heard Ling Zhi roar out again and again. His right palm was dripping with blood!

His features changed when he saw the ten puncture wounds on his palm. He shouted: "Soft hedgehog armor! Soft hedgehog armor!" His voice revealed his great surprise, his anger, and his pain.

Startled, Peng Lianhu asked: "This girl was wearing the soft hedgehog armor? That is the treasure of the Peach Blossom Isle!"

Sha Tongtian wondered, 'How can someone her age get a hold of the soft hedgehog armor?'

Ouyang Ke had earlier ran after Huang Rong, but when he got to the entrance it was too dark for him to see anything. Though relieved to know that she was not hurt, he still whistled for his mistresses, ordering them to track her down. He thought, 'It's good that she was able to escape and did not get injured. But I have to find her.'

Hou Tonghai asked: "Shi Ge (Elder Martial Brother), what is this soft hedgehog armor?"

Peng Lianhu snapped: "Have you seen a hedgehog?"

Hou Tonghai nodded: "Of course."

Peng Lianhu replied: "Under her clothes next to the skin, she wears a set of soft armor. Though soft, this armor can withstand even the pierce of a sword or a spear. Moreover, it is covered with spines like that of a hedgehog. A single kick or punch will be enough to get you pricked!"

Hou Tonghai bit his tongue, thinking, 'It's good that I wasn't able to hit the smelly boy!'

Sha Tongtian said: "I'll get her back!"

Hou Tonghai looked at him and said: "Shi Ge, she... You can't touch her body."

Sha Tongtian: "Who asked for your opinion? I can still pull her hair."

Hou Tonghai said: "Right, right, why didn't I think of that? Shi Ge, you are truly intelligent."

And both apprentice brothers and Peng Lianhu at once gave chase.

By now, Prince Zhao Wanyan Honglie received the worried report from his son and learned that the princess was taken prisoner. Angered, both father and son, together with their personal guards left the palace to chase after the culprits. At the same time, Tang Zude led another group of armed guards to search for and arrest the intruder. Thus, the palace was on complete alert.

Guo Jing ran into Liang Ziwong near the wall but how could he extend his neck like that and let him drink his blood? In his shock, he turned around and fled. He did not know which way was north or south so he decided to hide someplace. Liang Ziwong really wanted to drink his blood and would not slow down even a bit. It was a good thing that Guo Jing's lightness kung fu was good otherwise, even though the night was dark, he would have been captured a long time ago.

The light from the torch died and he could no longer see where he was going, only sensing that he had somehow stepped into a thorny area where the ground was rugged and rocky. More people were coming out of the palace, what time did Gou Jing have to deliberate? The thorny bristles cut through his legs but when he thought about Liang Ziwong biting his throat, he could not let the tiny thorns bother him. Not even a mountain or forest of swords could stop him.

Suddenly, he felt the ground beneath him give way, causing him to cry out as he started to drop, falling some 45 feet into an extremely deep cavern. While his body was in midair, he had already circulated his internal energy so that he would not lose his balance when he landed and prevent himself from getting injured. But who would have thought that his two feet would step on round stones? He lost his balance and fell down on his seat. His hands which supported him held one of these round stones. Fear shot through him when upon tracing these round stones with his fingers, he realized that these stones were actually the skeleton heads of dead persons. It looked as though this deep hole was where the corpses of dead people executed at the Zhao Palace were dumped.

He heard Liang Ziwong call out from above: "Boy, come up here!"

Guo Jing thought, 'I'm not stupid enough to come up only to die!'

And with that, he raised his hand, feeling his way along and trying to feel the roof of the cave but he felt nothing. Thereupon, he moved forward to guard himself against Liang Ziwong who might follow him there and kill him.

After shouting several curses, Liang Ziwong thought that perhaps Guo Jing could not come up and so he shouted angrily: "Even if you run all the way to hell, this old man will still come after you!" And taking a deep breath, he jumped down.

Greatly surprised, Guo Jing took several steps back only to find empty space behind him. He turned around, stretching both his arms out to feel the way. As he continued on, he discovered that it was a tunnel.

Liang Ziwong also noticed the tunnel. His boldness was brought on by his high skill so that even though it was so dark that when he stretched his hand out, he could not even see his five fingers, he was not afraid that Guo Jing would be laying down a trap against him.

He followed, only liking the situation more: 'This is just like seizing a turtle in a jar. This boy can't get away again. How can I not drink his blood now?'

Guo Jing was secretly worried: 'Tunnels always have a deadend!'

Liang Ziwong was laughing loudly, both arms spread as he traced the tunnel walls. He was not impatient and took his steps slowly, one at a time.

Guo Jing ran several feet forward when he realized that the tunnel had ended to reveal an earth room.

Liang Ziwong also followed, laughing: "The peasant boy wants to run away but to where?"

Suddenly, from the left corner an eerie, raspy voice said: "Who is causing such disturbance?"

The two of them never expected that someone lived in this black pit but they could not deny this sound, the voice though raspy actually rumbled like thunder to their ears. Guo Jing was frightened, his heart jumping madly while Liang Ziwong also could not restrain himself from feeling absolutely terrified.

They heard the gloomy voice say: "Those who enter my cave are already rotting. Are you that impatient to die?"

The voice now began to resemble that of a woman, speaking anxiously, her breathing heavy as though she had a contracted a serious illness. When the two people discovered that the sound did not belong to any ghost, their fears subsided.

Guo Jing listened to her words and hurried to explain: "I did not mean to come here, some people are after me..."

Before he could finish his words, Liang Ziwong was able to discern where he was. He dashed forward, stretching his hands out to take him. Guo Jing heard the rustle caused by his palm and hastily dodged. Liang Ziwong changed directions at once, forcing Guo Jing to dodge once more to the right. It was pitch dark so one could only grab thoughtlessly while the other could only hide blindly. Suddenly, there was a ripping sound. Liang Ziwong had taken hold of Guo Jing's left sleeve.

The woman angrily said: "Who dares to seize a person here?"

Liang Ziwong scolded: "Even if you are a ghost, I'm not afraid of you!"

The asthmatic woman began to breathe heavily as she said: "Hmph, the young fellow can come here and hide."

Guo Jing had thought that the situation he was in was hopeless and critical in the extreme when he heard her saying this, without hesitation, he jumped as he felt five icy cold fingers touch his wrist. They were much stronger than him so that when he was pulled by her, his body was not able to resist from being thrown forwards, landing on top of a pile of hay.

Gasping for breath, the woman said to Liang Ziwong: "You were able to grasp him adeptly which means your strength is not a trifle. Are you from Guandong?"

Liang Ziwong was shocked, thinking, 'I cannot see even half of her hair, how is it possible she was able to recognize my martial arts? Is she capable of seeing things in the dark? This woman, she must be an old eccentric who's used to being proud and strict!'

He did not dare to say anything careless or indiscreet and instead said pleasantly: "This lowly one who is an invited guest from Guandong is surnamed Liang. This boy stole something from me and I'm trying to get it back. I ask your excellency not to interfere."

The woman said: "Ah, is the Ginseng Immortal Liang Ziwong trying to right a wrong? The other person seems unaware of it. I have no desire to interfere but when he rushed into my cave, the crime can already be pardoned. Lao Liang, you are a martial arts expert, how come you don't understand the rules of wulin?"

Liang Ziwong was even more surprised and asked: "May I consult the name of your excellency?"

The woman said: "I... I..."

Guo Jing felt the hand grasping his wrist shiver violently, the fingers slowly beginnning to loosen and he also heard her trying to keep down a groan as though she was in extreme pain. He asked: "You are sick?"

Liang Ziwong's high kung fu allowed him to hear her groan and surmised that this person has lost her skills not from a sickness but from an injury which caused her to be greatly weakened. Knowing this, he immediately tried to grasp Guo Jing but when he tried to grab his clothes, he met a strong resistance. Shocked, Liang Ziwong discovered that when he sent out his left hand, he managed to grab instead the enemy's arm.

The woman shouted angrily: "On guard!" A palm hit Liang Ziwong on his back. He leapt, the palm forcing him to take several steps back. Fortunately for him, his internal strength was good so that he was not injured.

Liang Ziwong said: "Hao3 zei2 po2! (Something like, you good mother-in-law of a thief! Po is sometimes used as a not-so polite term for old woman. The thief in question is of course Guo Jing.) You come here."

When that woman continued gasping for breath, remaining motionless, Liang Ziwong realized that she could not move the lower part of her body. His alarm and fear was immediately reduced and he began to slowly approach. He was just about to jump foward to attack when he suddenly felt something curl around his ankles. This thing was like a soft whip, silent, and came like electricity. Greatly alarmed, he quickly tried to leap up, aiming a kick at the woman, only to feel the whip tighten. He let out a cry when his head hit the wall.

His kicking skills was what earned him fame all over wulin for more than 20 years so this kick was definitely executed perfectly. Who would have thought that before even the tip of his toe could arrive, he would suddenly sense his "Chong Yang Acupoint" being attacked?

This "Chong Yang Acupoint" was located five inches from the instep of the foot. If this vital point was sealed by the person, his whole leg would grow numb. Luckily, he was able to withdraw his foot quickly, avoiding it, but the action of anxiously kicking and then anxiously withdrawing has caused his knee to ache.

Liang Ziwong thought as he dodged, 'This person is in this dark cave but acts as though she is dwelling in a bright and sunny place, being able to accurately find my vital point, how can she not be a witch or a demon?'

Realizing the critical situation he was in, he executed a half somersault to dodge, backhandedly sending out a palm in an effort to shake her off. He knew this stance was severe, the palm ten times stronger, and he thought that this person who was ill definitely would not have the internal strength to resist.

However, he suddenly heard a loud cry as he felt the enemy's arm heading violently towards him, its fingertips already making contact with his shoulder. Liang Ziwong's left hand sensed the opponent's ice-cold wrist, her body appearing as though it was not made of flesh and blood as it once more tried to attack.

He immediately rolled away, rushing out in a hurry, even using his hands and foot to crawl out of the tunnel, panting heavily as he thought, 'I have lived for dozens of years but I have never encountered such a strange event where I don't even know if she is a woman or a ghost! I must inform the prince about this matter.'

He hastily ran back to the Fragrant Snow Hall. On the way, he thought, 'The stinky boy is not aware whether this woman is a ghost or a demon who's after the precious blood in his body. How difficult is it to be polite with me? Oh, wanting to replace yin with yang (NOTE: I'm not sure about this), I have raised that snake to build up its blood only to meet this ghost, both of us unable to entirely avoid having our lives endangered. What use is there to refine oneself by using unorthodox methods if the envy of ghosts and gods causes one to fail even when success seems within reach?'

When Guo Jing heard him moving farther and farther away, he felt greatly relieved and fell on his knees, kowtowing to the woman as he said: "Junior politely thanks old senior for saving his life."

That woman was able to match Liang Ziwong's moves earlier but now she was exhausted, causing her illness to play up. She coughed, wheezing as she said: "Why did Lao Liang want to kill you?"

Guo Jing started to say: "Taoist Elder Wang was injured and needed medicine to treat his wounds. The disciple then came to the palace..." But then, he suddenly had a thought 'This person lives in the Zhao Palace, how do I know he's not with Wanyan Honglie's party?' He stopped talking immediately.

That woman said: "Mmm, so you have stolen Lao Liang's medicine. Heard he is researching about medicinal herbs and so you wanted to come and steal his dan1 miao4 yao4."

(NOTE: In ancient China, there used to be this supposedly powerful drug that's made out of the first menstrual blood of young girls, dried and powdered and turned into pellets. Yeah, it's disgusting but it was supposedly curative and many emperors used such a drug, even to the extent of becoming addicted to it. That drug is called dan miao yao.)

Guo Jing said: "I took some of his medicine to treat an internal injury, but he was so angry he wanted to kill me. Is the old senior injured? Disciple has several medicines, four samples of pseudoginseng, dried blood, bear's gall, mei2 yao4. Taoist Elder Wang does not have to use this many, if old senior..."

The woman angrily said: "Whether I'm injured or not, what concern is it of yours?"

At this snag, Guo Jing could only say hastily: "Right, right."

But after only a moment, he heard her gasping for breath and could not restrain himself from saying again: "If old senior cannot walk, junior offers to carry you out of here."

The woman scolded: "Who is old? Who are you to say that someone is old?"

Guo Jing no longer dared to utter a sound, thinking that she did not want to leave. However, he had always been unable to stay content even though he knew that he ought to keep his head lowered so that he once again asked: "Whatever you want, I can go get it for you."

The woman laughed coldly and said: "You are fussy like a woman but I see that your heart is good."

Then, she stretched out her left hand to pull on his shoulders. Guo Jing felt his shoulder snap and the sharp pain that followed but he was able to keep his body from falling on top of her, suddenly sensing an icy coldness as the woman's arm wound around his neck.

He heard her bark an order: "Carry me to the exit."

Guo Jing thought, 'I originally wanted to carry you to the exit.' Thereupon, he bent at the waist and slowly made his way out of the tunnel.

The woman said: "I am compelling you to carry me on your back. I don't owe anyone any favors."

It was then that Guo Jing understood that this woman was much more arrogant and was unwilling to receive any kindness from her juniors. As he walked out, he raised his head and saw the stars in the sky. He could not help giving out a sigh as he thought, 'Only a moment ago, I was saved from death when I fell into this black hole where someone was waiting to help me. If I told Rong Er about this, even she would not believe.'

He was used to climbing cliffs with Ma Yu and even though that hole was like a deep well, he was actually able to climb it effortlessly.

As soon as they left the hole, the woman asked: "Who taught you your lightness kung fu? Tell me quickly!"

Her arm suddenly tightened, clutching Guo Jing's throat so he was gasping for breath. Alarmed, he hastily circulated his internal energy to resist. The woman was intentionally trying to test his skill by tightening her grip, but then she paused before gradually relaxing.

She exclaimed: "Hey, look here, the peasant boy knows the internal strength skills of the Taoist orthodox school. You said that Taoist Elder Wang was injured, what is the name of this Taoist priest?"

Guo Jing thought, 'You have recued me, so whatever you ask, I would answer you truthfully. Otherwise, how barbaric am I?'

He immediately replied: "Taoist Elder Wang is Wang Chuyi but others call him the Son of the Jade Sun."

Suddenly, he felt the woman on his back begin to shake as he heard her breathe out heavily: "You are a Quanzhen Sect disciple? That... That is very good."

As soon as she said this, she could not contain her delight so she went on and asked: "Who is Wang Chuyi to you? You call him Taoist Elder which is not equal to shifu. Is he your shi zi (martial uncle) or shi bo (martial senior)?"

Guo Jing: "I am not a Quanzhen sect disciple but Son of the Red Sun Ma Yu has long ago taught me his breathing techniques."

The woman said: "Mmm, so you studied the internal strength methods of Quanzhen. That is good." After a moment, she asked: "Who then is your shifu?"

Guo Jing replied: "Disciple altogether has seven teachers, the Seven Freaks of Chiangnan. First shifu is called Flying Bat and surnamed Ke."

The woman began coughing violently, the sound bitter and sour as she said: "That is Ke Zhen'e!"

Guo Jing affirmed: "Yes."

The woman said: "You come from Mongolia?"

Guo Jing said: "Yes." But in his heart, he wondered, 'How did she know I come from Mongolia?'

The woman said slowly: "Your name is Yang Kang, is it not?" Her tone of voice changed from gloomy to angry.

Guo Jing said: "No. Disciple is surnamed Guo."

The woman hesitated for a moment before saying: "You sit on the ground."

Guo Jing did what was told and sat down. The woman then reached inside her bosom to fish out an object which she placed on the ground. This object was wrapped in a piece of cloth. When she revealed the thing, the star light shone on it, showing a brightly dazzling and impressive-looking dagger handle.

Guo Jing saw that it looked familiar and so he took a closer look, the dagger continuing to shine brightly and on its handle were engravings of the two characters "Yang Kang."

It was the dagger he used to kill the Copper Corpse Chen Xuanfeng!

That same year when Guo Xiaotian and Yang Tiexin met the Son of Eternal Spring Qiu Chuji who gave them the dagger handles as presents, both of them made a promise that if their wives gave birth to two sons, they would become sworn brothers and if two daughters, they would become sworn sisters. However, if both are of different genders, then they would become husband and wife. The two then exchanged the daggers as a token of their faith. This was the reason why the dagger with the inscription of "Yang Kang" actually ended up in Guo Jing's hand.

When he was younger, he did not know what the two characters "Yang Kang" meant but the shape of the dagger was enough for him to recognize it.

He thought, 'Yang Kang? Yang Kang?' But he could not remember that this name was once spoken by the princess only moments ago.

While he was hesitating, the woman clamped his hand to grab the dagger as she shouted: "You recognize this dagger, do you not?"

If Guo Jing were more quick-witted and heard how sad and shrill her voice sounded, he would have felt compelled to turn his head and look at her. Instead, he thought only of the other's kindness in saving his life, 'This person came to save my life. Certainly, that means she is a good person.' Therefore, he was not the least bit suspicious as he immediately replied: "Ah, yes! When I was young, I once used this dagger to kill an evil man. That evil man suddenly disappeared, along with the precious dagger ..."

As he spoke, he felt his neck tighten suddenly, suffocating him. In the midst of danger, he bent his arm and pushed it backwards but his wrist was held by that woman's outstretched left hand.

The woman later relaxed her right arm, allowing her body to fall so that she was sitting on the ground as she shouted: "Who do you think I am?"

Guo Jing was throttled by her earlier, making him see stars in his vision so it took him a moment to recover. Afterwards, he looked down only to glimpse through her shawl of long hair.

The face, like white paper, was precisely the face of the Iron Corpse of the Twin Corpses of the Dark Winds, Mei Chaofeng!

Frightened out of his wits, he lifted his left hand to struggle but with her fingers digging into his flesh, how could he escape?

In his mind was confusion: 'How come? Why did she save my life? It can't be! But she really is Mei Chaofeng!'

Mei Chaofeng sat on the ground, her right hand clutching Guo Jing's neck, her left holding his wrist. For more than ten years, she had been searching for the man who killed her husband and now suddenly, he was here. 'Is it the work of Zei2 Han4 zi3 (Thief Man. I think this is Mei Chaofeng's pet name for Chen Xuanfeng) from below, to have that person die in my hands?'

In her heart she was delighted beyond measure but this was quickly overcome by grief as past events of her life, no matter how much she fought it, came in brief flashes.

She thought, 'I was once an innocent young girl who played and joked around all day. My parents treated me as their most precious treasure to which they were very attached to. At that time, I was called Mei Rehua. However, my unfortunate parents died one after another, forcing me to suffer under an evil person.

'Shifu Huang Yaoshi rescued me and brought me to Peach Blossom Isle where he accepted me into his school. My name was changed to Mei Chaofeng for each of his disciples all bore the character for "wind" in each of their names.

'Under the peach trees, I saw rugged-looking youths standing in front of me. One of them picked a bright red peach and gave it to me to eat. That was apprentice brother Chen Xuanfeng. Among shifu's disciples, he was the second; I was the third. We practiced kung fu together. He often taught me and treated me very well. Even though he sometimes scolded me for not studying hard, I knew he was only doing what was good for me.

'Slowly, as everyone grew up, our feelings for each other grew. One spring evening, when the peach blossoms were turning into a brilliant red, under the peach tree, he suddenly embraced me.'

A blush colored Mei Chaofeng's face and Guo Jing heard that her laborious breathing had intensified. Then, she let out a soft, gentle sigh.

Mei Chaofeng recalled how she and Chen Xuanfeng secretly married each other and how they feared their shifu's punishment. When they ran away from the Island, her husband told her to steal the second "Nine Yin Scriptures (Jiu3 Yin1 Zhen1 Jing1)."

Later, they came to a remote mountain where they trained hard but after practicing for half a year, her husband said that he could not understand the true meaning of the text. He wanted to break his head out of frustration.

'That same year, my husband said, "Zei2 Po2 niang2 (Thief wife. His pet name for Mei Chaofeng?), we only stole one half of the Nine Yin Scripture. The first half of the scripture contains the foundation principles to practice the secret nei gong techniques. The kung fu scripture belongs to the Taoists and what our shifu taught us is completely different. We can't master this, what do you suggest we do?"

'I said, "What are our alternatives?"

'He said, "Return to Peach Blossom Isle."

'How could I dare to go back? Both of our skills had become ten times stronger but our shifu only had to use two fingers. Zei Hanzi was also afraid but knowing how many wonderful techniques he could not practice at the time, he was willing to die.

'He had made up his mind to steal the scripture and said, "If we are going to be the unmatched couple under the heaven, then Zei Poniang must be prepared to be a widow."

'I did not wish to be a widow! If one must die, then the other must also die in the same place. And so both of us decided to risk our lives by going back. We found out later that after we ran away, shifu in a great fit of temper broke the legs of all of his disciples and expelled them from his island. That was why there was only him, his wife, the two of us, and his servants.

'When we arrived in Peach Blossom Isle, we discovered two people engaged in a fight. Shifu's opponent looked like an expert. The two of them were arguing about the Nine Yin Scripture and as they quarelled, one of them opened a move. This person was Quanzhen sect and although he spoke foolish words, his kung fu was high, arriving at a level which I could not even imagine. But shifu, when compared to him, had a better chance of winning.

'Witnessing this martial arts duel only served to frighten us out of our wits. I said quietly, "Zei Hanzi, we are inferior. Let's get away!"

'But he was not willing. We watched as shifu grabbed his opponent, forcing him to take the oath of never voluntarily leaving the Island.

Remembering that shifu's wife used to treat me with kindness, I decided to look for her through the window. Who would have thought that all I would see was a mourning hall? Shifu's wife had passed away. In my heart, I felt very sad. Shifu's wife always treated me well but now that she's dead, shifu was alone. I really felt sorry for him that time. I couldn't stand it. While I was crying, I suddenly saw near the mourning hall a one-year old little girl, sitting straight up from a chair and smiling at me.

'This girl really looked like my shifu's wife so I supposed she was the daughter. Was it because of childbirth that she died? I was thinking this when shifu noticed me. He flew from the mourning hall and stepped outside. I was so frightened, my feet grew soft and I couldn't move.

'I heard the girl laughing and calling: "Daddy, hugs!"

'Her smile was like a flower as she opened her arms towards shifu. Afraid that she would fall down, Shifu stretched out a hand to grab her, and I was spared. Zei Hanzi then pulled me and we both dashed out, snatching the boat, the sea water splashing inside. My heart was thumping so hard, it seemed like it was going to jump out of my throat.

'Zei Hanzi saw shifu fighting and had henceforth lost heart. He said, "Not only have we not learned a tenth of shifu's kung fu but with this Quanzhen master, how can we compare?"

'I said: "You regret? If the shifu can do it, then one day we can also learn his kung fu."

'He said, "If you don't regret, then I do not regret."

'Thereupon, he used the fiercest martial arts method he could find and taught me everything. He said that although this method was heretical, it allowed us to increase our skills.

'At the beginning, our abilities became astounding and as we ran amuck in Jiang Hu, we earned the nickname of 'Twin Corpses of the Dark Winds.' That Shen Long who flew through the sky with his axe exorcising evil spirits, was it Zei Hanzi who killed him or was it I? My memory is not so clear as to who killed but all is the same in any case.

'One day, we were practicing in the temple ruins the "Heart Destroying Palm (Cui1 Xin1 Zhang3)," when suddenly from all directions appeared dozens of skilled people. They were lead by our fellow apprentice, Lu Chengfeng. He hated us after shifu broke his two legs and now gathered a large group of people to help him capture us to give to shifu.

'This boy really thought that he could defeat us. Humph, the 'Twin Corpses of the Dark Winds' are not that easy to defeat. Though we were able to kill 78 men and run away, we were also heavily injured.

'After several months, we found out that the Quanzhen Seven Elders were also secretly following us. We did not want to fight the opponents all at once because they were too many so thereupon, we left the Central Plains until we reached the Mongolian prairies. Zei Hanzi was worried that people would steal the Taoist scripture. He told me not to look. I did not know where he hid it.

"Good, Zei Hanzi, I don't know where to find it."

"Zei Poniang, I will be good to you. I'll take care of you and teach you everything except the Taoist nei gong. If we force it, we could harm our bodies."

"Alright! What are you waiting for?"

'Thereupon, we continued to practice the "Nine Yin White Bone Claw (Jiu3 Yin1 Bai2 Gu3 Zhua3)" and the "Heart Destroying Palm." He said these two techniques were heretical and fierce but did not require one to learn nei gong.

'Suddenly, one evening in that stark mountainside, the Seven Freaks of Chiangnan attacked me.

"My eye! My eye!"

'The pain was burning from the toxins. I crawled on the ground, scratching my eyes. I did not die but my eyes were blinded and my husband dead. That was retribution for that time when we once killed that blind Ke Zhen'e's elder brother and blinded his (Ke Zhen'e) eyes.

As Mei Chaofeng thought about this painful matter, both her hands tightened instinctively, creating a noise as she grinded her teeth.

Guo Jing felt like the bones in his left hand were going to break and secretly complained, 'This is not good. How do I know what kind of vicious method she's going to use to kill me?'

Then, he said: "Hey, I don't know what you want to do but I want to ask you something, please agree."

Mei Chaofeng said coldly: "You want to ask me something?"

Guo Jing said: "Yes. I have several medicines and I ask you to be generous. Please take away some of these and give it to Taoist Elder Wang in the Prosperity Inn outside the city."

When Mei Chaofeng did not answer and continued to stare blankly at him, Guo Jing said: "You agree? Many thanks to you!"

Mei Chaofeng said: "Many thanks what? All my life, I've never done any good deed!"

She could not call to mind how much pain she suffered in her life, nor could she recall how many people she had killed, but that night on the barren hill, she remembered clearly.

'My surroundings suddenly went black and I could not see even the stars. Zei Hanzi said, "I have failed! The Taoist scripture is hidden in my chest..."

'These were his last words.

'Suddenly, a heavy rain began to pour. When the Seven Freaks of Chiangnan, I was hit in the back with a palm. This person's internal strength was profound; my bones ached from the pain.

'I carried Zei Hanzi's corpse and escaped, descending the mountain even though I could not see. They did not pursue me which was really strange. The rain became heavier and the night had grown pitch-dark; they could not see me.

'I dashed about wildly in the rain. Zei Hanzi's body was at first hot but afterwards, it gradually turned cold. My heart also turned cold with each minute that passed. I was shaking all over; I was very cold.
"Zei Hanzi, are you really dead? Even with your fierce kung fu, how could you die so inexplicably? Who killed you?"

'I drew out a dagger from his stomach, causing the blood to spurt out. What caused this? Murdered people certainly bleed, but I did not know how many people I murdered.

"I must die with Zei Hanzi! No one else will call him 'zei hanzi', in the netherworld, he would be lonely!"

'I placed the dagger to my throat and prepared to slice when suddenly, I traced two characters on the dagger handle, the characters "Yang Kang."

'Mmm, the killer must be this person named Yang Kang. How can I not exact revenge? If I don't kill this Yang Kang first, how can I die?

'Thereupon, I went through Zei Hanzi's pockets, searching for the secret Taoist scripture, but even though I searched the whole body, I was not able to find a trace of it. I must find it! I started from his hair, not missing an inch until suddenly, while I was feeling the skin on his chest, I felt something strange.

As she came to this thought, she was unable to restrain bitter laughter from coming out of her throat.

She said: "After careful investigation, I found that tattoed on his chest is the "Nine Yin Scripture."

"You were afraid that someone would steal this from you and so you tattoed this on your body so it won't be taken away!"

"Yes, like shifu's martial arts teachings, someone could also steal the Taoist scripture from us so you came up with a way so it can't be stolen. Your idea is 'a person comes; after he is gone, everything goes with him' (or something like that). I used the dagger to cut your chest, mmm, I must tan this skin so it won't rot. I will keep it with me all the time so it will be like you are accompanying me forever."

'I was not sad anymore. When I laugh, people are usually frightened even though I was smiling.

"I used both hands to dig a pit in the ground to bury you inside. You taught me the "Nine Yin White Bone Claw" before; I used this technique to dig your grave.

'I hid in the cave, afraid that the Seven Freaks of Chiangnan would find me. At that time, I was not their match but after some practice, humph, I could grab each of their hearts. Was it really dangerous to practice the Taoist nei gong? It would cause serious injuries but I was not afraid to die. I must perfect my kung fu in the shortest time.

'It must have been some divine intervention that Zei Hanzi tattoed the Taoist scripture on his body or with my blind eye, what use would the written words have?

'All these years, even when he was playing with me, he never removed his clothing on his upper body, now I know it was for this...

When she thought about this, her face burned and she released a long sigh. 'What is it? Zei Hanzi, can you see me from the netherworld? If you married a female ghost and made it your wife, then we do not have forever...

'Two days passed, I was very hungry when suddenly, I heard a large army on horseback pass by the hole. From their dialect, I found out they were from Jin Dynasty. I came out and asked them for something to eat.

'The leader of the army saw my pitiful state and decided to give me shelter, bringing me all the way to the palace. Afterwards, I discovered that he was actually the sixth son of the Jin emperor, Prince Zhao.

'I swept the ground in the back gardens for them but in the evening, I secretly trained. Such was that I was able to practice for several years and no one noticed anything. They only thought of me as a pitiful blind married woman.

'One evening, oh, that mischievous young prince. He went looking for bird's eggs in the garden at midnight without telling anyone. I did not see him but he saw me practicing with my silver whip and thereupon coerced me into teaching him. I taught him three moves and he learned them; he was really intelligent.

'Pleased with his progress, I also passed on to him the Nine Yin White Bone Claw, Heart Pushing Palm (Tiu1 Xin1 Zhang3 Ye3). I wanted him to take the oath of not telling anyone, not even the prince or the princess. If he divulged it to anyone, I told him that I would capture him, break his bones, and send his soul to heaven.

'Young prince has practiced kung fu and his foundation was not low. He said that "Shifu, I also have another male shifu. This person is not good. I do not like him. I only like you as my shifu. I will never reveal to him that you are teaching me. He can't compare to you. His kung fu teachings are not effective."

'Humph, the young prince knew how to flatter. His male shifu was definitely not incompetent. But I only asked that he did not tell him that he was studying kung fu with me and I in turn would not question him about his shifu.

'Several years passed and the young prince said that the prince (Prince Zhao) wanted to go to Mongolia. I asked the prince to allow me to go there with him to offer sacrifice for my husband's grave. Young prince said to me that the prince agreed. The prince doted on him very much and whatever he asked, he agreed.

'Oh, even if I couldn't find Zei Hanzi's bones,I kept the skin from his flesh next to my own skin all day and all night, so why would I offer a sacrifice to his grave?

'I aimed to find the Seven Freaks of Chiangnan for revenge. But my luck was not good because the Seven Elders of Quanzhen were unexpectedly all in Mongolia. My eyes could not see, how could I match these seven people? That Son of the Red Sun Ma Yu's internal strength was profound. Even though he spoke without effort, his voice was able to travel far.

'But my going to Mongolia was not in vain because that Ma Yu was asked by me right in he face, what, how, why, and he passed on to me some nei gong (internal strength) secrets.

'After I came back to the palace, I went to the tunnel to practice diligently. Oh, this internal strength could not be completed without guidance. Two days ago, I was fiercely practicing, leaning on one thigh and vigorously dashing when suddenly my qi arrived at my hip area; I could not move it back up.

'In light of this, the lower part of my body suffered seriously. If the young prince did not look for me, how would he know that I had an accident while practicing martial arts? Or if this Guo boy did not rush in here, I would have starved to death in that tunnel. Humph, it's Zei Hanzi's ghost that sent him here to rescue me so I could I kill him to avenge Zei Hanzi. Ha ha, ha ha! Ha ha, ah, heh heh, humph, ha ha!

As Mei Chaofeng laughed madly, her whole body shook and her right hand suddenly made an effort to grab Guo Jing's neck.

Guo Jing sensed the danger to his life at this critical moment and tried to turn her hand wrong side up by grasping her wrist, using his external strength.

Ma Yu's orthodox school teachings were practiced by him for several years so his internal strength was not weak. Mei Chaofeng could not hold her fierce grip as she felt her hand being turned wrong side up by him, forcing it open.

Startled, she thought, 'This boy's kung fu is not bad!'

Even hit three times, Guo Jing applied all his strength in that palm of hand. Mei Chaofeng cried loud and long, lifting her palm to hit him. She was using her "Heart Destroying Palm" unique skill.

Guo Jing's level of skill and hers differed too much to begin with and is left was held firmly by her, how could he move to gain an opening? But he had to exert himself to overcome her strength, lifting his right hand to block.

Mei Chaofeng raised her hand to meet his but only to feel her arm shake. She changed her mind at that moment as she considered, 'I practiced nei gong without anyone to guide me so that it resulted in a serious illness where my lower body could not move. I heard him say a moment ago that Ma Yu taught him the Quanzhen Sect nei gong then it would be convenient if I force him to tell me the nei gong secrets. How could I pick his brain if I kill him now to avenge Zei Hanzi? It's fortunate he's not dead yet.'

At that moment, she returned her hand again to grasp Gou Jing's neck and said: "You killed my husband, how can you still expect to live? But if you listen to what I have to say, then I'll let you die quickly; If you're stubborn, I will let you experience suffering and misery. I'll start with your finger, biting and chewing it until everything is eaten."

She had an accident, resulting in her lower body paralysis. Afterwards, she was starving for days so when she said that she wanted to eat Guo Jing's finger, it was not just idle talk to intimidate him.

Guo Jing felt a shiver as he watched her open mouth, showing several white teeth. He did not dare say a word.

Mei Chaofeng asked: "Ma Yu taught you how to sit while meditating, how is it done?"

Guo Jing then understood, 'She wants me to teach her nei gong so she could later go after my six shifu and harm them. But I'd rather die than help this woman increase her skill and harm my six shifu.'

He shut his mouth and did not answer immediately. Mei Chaofeng's left hand tightened and Guo Jing felt the pain and the biting cold but he had made up his mind so that he said: "You want to obtain the orthodox nei gong. Give up the idea while it's still early."

Mei Chaofeng saw that he was tough and unyielding so she loosened her hands to let him go as she said softly: "I promise you that I will take the medicine to Wang Chuyi and save his life."

Guo Jing felt a shiver of cold, 'Ah, this is an important change. It's good that the lower part of her body cannot move. My six shifu have no need to fear her.'

Thereupon, he said: "Alright, you make an oath and I in return will pass on to you the training methods."

Mei Chaofeng was extremely happy and said, "Surname of Guo... The stinky boy with the surname of Guo said that he will teach me the Quanzhen Sect nei gong methods. If I, Mei Chaofeng, do not deliver the medicine to Wang Chuyi, may my entire body lose its movement and forever endure misery."

As soon as she said this, suddenly to their left some ten zhang in front of the palace, a person scolded: "Stinky boy, come out here and die!"

When Guo Jing heard the voice, he recognized it as the Three-Headed Dragon Hou Tonghai.

Another one said: "Surely, this small girl is nearby. I'm relieved. She can't run away."

The same time that the two people were talking, they were also walking away. Gou Jing was startled, 'Rong Er has not yet left; they're after her.'

Changing his intention, he turned to Mei Chaofeng and said: "You still need to do one more favor, otherwise no matter what you force me to endure, I won't tell you the secret."

Mei Chaofeng got angry: "What other favor? I don't agree."

Guo Jing said: "I have a good friend, a young girl. The group of experts from the palace are chasing her. You must rescue her and bring her out of danger."

Mei Chaofeng grunted and said: "How should I know where she is? If you want me to do it then quickly, tell me the nei gong secret!"

Her arm immediately tightened. Guo Jing felt his throat constrict, causing him great alarm. However, he was still unyielding and said: "Rescue... You said... Did not say..."

Having no other alternative, Mei Chaofeng said: "Alright. Then I'm depending on you but don't think that Mei Chaofeng does things to please others. Today is the exception, you stinky boy. This young girl is your sweetheart? You're really full of affection but dumb. We made a deal. I'm only doing my part. I have agreed to rescue your sweetheart out of danger but I haven't consented to sparing your life."

Guo Jing heard her agree and was glad. Then he raised his voice and called out: "Rong Er, come here! Rong Er..."

Just after calling twice, suddenly Huang Rong's figure appeared from behind some rose shrubs nearby.

She said: "I'm already here!"

Guo Jing was delighted: "Rong Er, come quickly. She agreed to help you. The others can't harm you now."

Huang Rong had been listening to Guo Jing and Mei Chaofeng for some time behind the rose shrubs. She heard how he never gave a thought to his own life and never forgot about her safety. In her gratitude, two drops of tears rolled down her cheeks as she shouted at Mei Chaofeng: "Mei Rehua, let him go!"

"Mei Rehua" was Mei Chaofeng's name before her shifu changed it. No one in Jiang Hu knew and for dozens of years, she had not heard these three characters uttered by anyone. However, today it was being shouted by this person.

Greatly startled, she asked: "Who are you?"

Huang Rong said clearly: "Taohua ying3 la4 fei1 shen2 jian4, bi4 hai3 chao2 sheng1 an4 yu4 xiao1! (The peach blossom shade leaves behind the divine sword, the jade ocean current gives life to the jade flute!) I am surnamed Huang."

Mei Chaofeng was even more startled and could only stammer: "You... You... You..."

Huang Rong called out: "You what? The East China Sea Peach Blossom Isle snapping finger, the pure sound of the cave, the green bamboo forest, the trial sword pavilion, you also remember?"

Mei Chaofeng knew these places during her discipleship and when she heard them mentioned now, suddenly a thought came to her and she asked: "Peach Blossom Isle Huang... Shifu Huang, is... Is...Is he your...?"

Huang Rong said: "Right! Since you have not forgotten my father, he has not forgotten you, too. He is coming to look for you!"

Mei Chaofeng only wanted to turn around and flee but how could she move her foot even one step? Frightened and shocked out of her wits, she could only clench her teeth, making a grating noise. She did not know what to do.

Huang Rong called out: "Quickly release him."

Mei Chaofeng suddenly remembered, 'Shifu swore that he would never leave Taohua Island, how could he be here? It was only because of this that I and Zei Hanzi stole the "Nine Yin Scripture." He had taken an oath and could not leave the island to pursue. This person is trying to deceive me. I won't let myself get fooled.'


When Huang Rong saw her hesitate, her left foot pointed downwards as she leapt up ten feet and successively executed two half-circles before soaring into the air and wielding a palm towards Mei Chaofeng's head, intending to hit her.

It was precisely the "Fallen Hero Divine Sword Palm (La4 Ying1 Shen2 Jian4 Zhang3)," a center move of the "River Town Flying Blossoms (Jiang1 Cheng2 Fei1 Hua1)."

She called out: "My father taught you this move. Have you forgotten?"

Mei Chaofeng heard the noise of the air rustling around her but she kept still, her suspicion still in place, though she raised her hand and softly called out: "Shi Mei (Apprentice Sister), you have spoken with shifu?"

Huang Rong let her body drop, using one hand to pull and then drag Guo Jing to her side. Originally, Huang Rong was the Peach Blossom Isle Master Huang Yaoshi's only daughter. Before giving birth to her, her mother had a turn for the worse which caused her to be physically and mentally exhausted, leading to her death after a difficult labor. Huang Yaoshi had a fit afterwards, expelling all his disciples from the island, leaving only the father and the daughter alone there.

Huang Yaoshi was called "Dong Xie" (Eastern Heretic) because of his peculiarity of conduct. He often said that the etiquette and customs of the world were all nonsense. His love for his daughter was excessive and he naturally did nothing to control her, thus allowing her to become arrogant and willful. Although she was intelligent, she was not willing to focus her mind on learning martial arts.

Her father was actually very proficient in the ying yang five lines, learning these methods from several classics. She was able to learn when still very young but even though her father had already reached a divine level, she was nevertheless unable to go beyond the Peach Blossom Isle martial arts basics.

One day, she was playing in the island when she came upon her father's enemy imprisoned in the cave. Feeling lonely, she exchanged conversation with that person. For half a day, they talked. The person's words were interesting to her so that she often returned, seeking him out only to speak with him, finding relief in that exercise. Afterwards, Master Huang Yaoshi found out and reproached her severely.

Huang Rong had never been beaten or scolded by her father so she reacted with anger and self-pity. Her cunning and unreasonable temperament manifested itself suddenly and she took the boat to escape Peach Blossom Isle with the thought that no one cared for her there. Thus, she cut all wish for it and disguised herself as a poor, miserable youth, going in all directions, dissolute, though in her heart she was still with her father.

She thought angrily, 'Since you don't love me, then I'm better off roaming the world as a pitiful beggar!'

However, she did not expect to meet Guo Jing in Zhangjiakou.

At first, she went to the wineshop with him to spend his money and cause a disturbance, intending to lay on him her resentment towards her father. Who would have thought that he would be so dumb with no idea at all, talking with her as though they were old friends and even giving her his horse, showing his concern? She was bitter and lonely, thinking about how she deceived him but he continued to treat her honestly. She was touched. Since then, the two of them became good friends.

Huang Rong once listened to her father speak about Chen Xuanfeng and Mei Chaofeng's affair in great detail and because of this, she learned about Mei Chaofeng's maiden name.

The lines "Taohua Ying3 La4 Fei1 Shen2 Jian4, Bi4 Hai3 Chao2 Sheng1 An4 Yu4 Xiao1" (The peach blossom leaves behind the divine sword, the jade green sea gives life to the jade flute) were a heretical couplet that hung inside the sword trial pavilion and embodied the principles of Huang Yaoshi's wugong. Every Peach Blossom Isle disciple knew this. Since she knew that her wugong could not rival Mei Chaofeng's, she then lied and told her that her father was coming.

As a result, Mei Chaofeng was frightened into releasing Guo Jing. She thought, 'If shifu is indeed coming, how will I know that he won't kill me?'

She remembered that Huang Yaoshi had a ruthless nature and his methods were mean. She could not stop her face from going ashen and her whole body from shaking as though Huang Yaoshi, his face grim, was already standing in front. Her whole body became limp. It was as though she had lost her kung fu skills as she bent on the ground and shakingly said: "Disciple's many sins make her deserving of death. But please, tell shifu to take pity because my two eyes are blind and my lower body is handicapped. Ask him to grant leniency to his disciple as he would a swine or a dog."

Then she remembered how Huang Yaoshi used to treat her with favor and feared that his heart had changed. Her bosom was filled with shame as she said: "No, don't ask shifu to be lenient. I deserve a harsh punishment."

Each time Guo Jing and she met one another, she always appeared to be terrible, with devilish manners. Even when faced with a great enemy or when climbing up that steep precipice, she remained unfazed as though nothing mattered. However, when Huang Rong mentioned her father, her whole person unexpectedly changed. He thought that this was strange.

Huang Rong was secretly laughing as she pulled Guo Jing by the hand and led him towards the wall outside. But before they could leap over the wall to escape, they were stopped by a clear voice.

A person came, chuckling softly, his hand holding a folding fan. He laughed: "Daughter, I'm not certain you can manage to climb that."

Huang Rong saw that it was Ouyang Ke. She knew his kung fu skills and knew that it would be difficult to get past him. So, she immediately turned to Mei Chaofeng and said: "Mei Shizi (Elder Martial Sister Mei), father is always willing to listen to me. I can ask favor for you. But first, you have to do something meritous so father can forgive you."

Mei Chaofeng asked: "What merit?"

Huang Rong said: "There's a bad person who wants to bully me. I will pretend to go along but you won't allow the enemy to strike or beat me. Once father comes and see you helping me, he'll be pleased."

Mei Chaofeng heard that her younger apprentice sister was willing to ask her father for a favor. Her spirit was revived. While they spoke, four of Ouyang Ke's concubines arrived. Huang Rong dragged Guo Jing behind Mei Chaofeng to avoid getting in the way, only waiting for Mei Chaofeng or Ouyang Ke to open moves and take the opportunity to sneak off.

Ouyang Ke saw Mei Chaofeng sitting on the ground, her hair dishevelled and her whole body covered with dark skin. She was clutching tightly the upper part of her bosom. Opening his folding fan lightly, he moved forward to catch Huang Rong when suddenly he felt a force heading towards his chest. He looked down to find the woman on the ground stretching out her hand to grab him.

He had never encountered such level of strength in one stance before. Shocked, he hastily struck towards her wrist with his fan and at the same time, leapt away. He heard a scoff, "ka" "la", and loud successive cries.

The front piece of Ouyang Ke's jacket was torn, his fan broken into two, and his four concubines collapsing to the ground. He took a quick look around and saw that all four women had been violently killed, their spirits left their bodies as soon as they were hit. The tops of their heads were covered in blood and brain matter gushed out of the five holes at the center.

The swiftness and viciousness of the move was extremely rare. Ouyang Ke was surprised and angry at the same time when he saw the woman still sitting motionless as though paralyzed. His fear was lessened and he quickly launched into a stance passed on by his family, "Divine Camel Snowy Mountain Palm (Shen2 Tuo2 Xue3 SHan1 Zhang3)."

His body floated as his palm prepared to attack. But Mei Chaofeng's ten fingers were sharp, each one poised to grab him and squeeze the air out of him while she sneered. How could Ouyang Ke dare to get close?

Huang Rong pulled Guo Jing so they could walk away when suddenly they heard a mad roar coming from behind.

Hou Tonghai's two fists were heading towards them!

Huang Rong leaned slightly to one side. When Hou Tonghai saw this, he aimed for her shoulders, feeling pleased with himself. His blunt brain did not calculate fast enough and it was then that he abruptly remembered that she was wearing the prickly soft hedgehog armor. He gave out a loud cry, hastily withdrawing his two fists, clapping both before hitting his own forehead above the three bumps, only to yell out in pain. Where else could he grab her besides her hair?

At that moment, Sha Tongtian, Liang Ziwong, and Peng Lianhu all rushed in. Liang Ziwong saw Ouyang Ke engaged in a dangerous fight, his long gown torn and ragged, and realized that this woman was the same one who pretended to be a ghost in the tunnel. Roaring angrily, he went forward to attack.

Sha Tongtian and the others saw Mei Chaofeng's stances were fierce. They were all astonished and so decided to keep close guard, waiting for the first opportunity to attack. They thought, 'Where does this woman's high wugong come from?'

Peng Lianhu watched and after figuring it out, he shouted: "The Twin Corpses of the Dark Winds!"

Huang Rong's body moved swiftly, first hiding to the east before flashing to the west. How could Hou Tonghai grab her hair? Huang Rong saw that his hands were always aiming for the top of her head and so was able to surmise his real intention. She darted towards the rose bushes and hid behind it. Then, she used a piece of metal and stuck some thorns around it before inserting it around her head. Afterwards, she poked her head out and called: "I'm over here!"

Hou Tonghai was greatly pleased, sending out a hand to grab the top of her head as he said: "This time, you can't get away, smelly boy...Ayo, ayo! Shi Ge, the smelly boy's head also has thorns...thorns!" His palm had been punctured by the metal tips, causing him to jump out in pain.

Huang Rong laughingly said: "I'd come out but you have three horns and I only have one. It's not fair!"

Hou Tonghai called out: "If you don't come out, I'll make you come out!"

Sha Tongtian scolded: "Do not shout!" Then he hurried over to his side to help.

By that time, Mei Chaofeng was engaging two masters who were attacking together. Suddenly, she sent her arm back to grab Guo Jing's chest, calling out: "Hold my legs."

Guo Jing did not understand what she meant but he wanted to help her fight the two powerful enemies. At her words, he immediately bent down and grabbed her legs.

Mei Chaofeng used her left hand to resist Ouyang Ke's palm while her right hand thrust towards Liang Ziwong. She said to Guo Jing: "Carry me to chase after that old man Liang!"

Guo Jing suddenly understood, 'Originally, her body cannot move. She wants me to help her.'

Thereupon, he placed Mei Chaofeng on his shoulders, according to her instructions, and hurried after the fleeing enemy. His body had a strong kung fu basis and Mei Chaofeng's body was not heavy so even though she was on his shoulders, it did nothing to diminish his speed. He quickly leapt and Mei Chaofeng soared along with him.

(I'm not sure about the next ones. The translation for the nei gong secret sounds a bit off. So, please, anyone...if you can piece it together, please do.)

Mei Chaofeng did not forget about the nei gong secret so even though she was facing the enemy, she also asked: "To practice nei gong, how is it done?"

Guo Jing replied: "Sit cross-legged, five hearts facing the heaven. (????,?????)"

Mei Chaofeng asked: "What are the five hearts facing the heaven? (????????)"

Guo Jing said: "Two hands, two feet, and the head all become five hearts. (?????????????,?????)"

Mei Chaofeng was delighted and her spirits rose. She reached out to brush the shoulders of Liang Ziwong, whose blood jumped as he started and ran away. Guo Jing was about to chase after him when suddenly the Dragon King Sha Tongtian ran in front of him to help his apprentice brother capture Huang Rong.

Startled, he hastily carried Mei Chaofeng towards them, shouting: "First, let's take care of these two!"

Mei Chaofeng stretched out her left arm, heading towards Hou Tonghai. Hou Tonghai anxiously withdrew, trying to dodge. Who would have thought Mei Chaofeng's arm would be so violent as though it had the strength of an ape? Although Hou Tonghai's dodging was quick, her arm was still able to follow his body, grabbing him, the fingers of her right hand already digging into him.

Hou Tonghai's entire body went numb. He could no longer move. He shouted: "Spare my life, spare my life, I have surrendered!"

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