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  Excursus
   JIN YONG > She Diao Ying Xiong Zhuan || Chapter 7 excerpts

NOTE: So this is actually the chapter where a traveling martial arts performer, Mu Yi holds up a contest to win a spouse for his daughter. A Jin prince comes to fight for her hand but he only does so to mock them, not to marry the girl. And then, he steals her shoe, saying that he wanted to keep it as a souvenir. Guo Jing, ever the hero, steps in to retrieve the shoe (Yeah, I know. It seems pretty shallow. Ever seen Crouching Tiger? Remember that scene with the jade comb?) Fighting sequence ensues.

Guo Jing added more force to his arm, trying to match his opponent's strength but all of a sudden he sensed him give way and turn around to send a palm towards his back. Guo Jing returned a palm of his own in order to block but the opponent was steadfast.

"Take that!" The young noble said.

Their palms met. The force sent Guo Jing staggering back. To keep his balance, he flipped over in mid-air, at the same time aiming a left kick to the chest. Marveled at how quickly he maneuvered, more people crowded around them.

The young noble moved sideways to avoid the kick while he thrust out two palms, one to distract the enemy and the other to issue the real attack. Guo Jing then adopted the stance "To Disassociate the Muscle, To Dislocate the Bone" where both his hands seemed to dance in the air, yet keeping close to the body in order to protect the vital points. The young noble saw that the stance was swift and fierce so he suddenly changed tactics and unexpectedly launched "To Disassociate the Muscle, To Dislocate the Bone" stance also.

Guo Jing's "To Disassociate the Muscle, To Dislocate the Bone" was taught to him by Magic Hands Zhu Cong who incorporated into it many elements from various parts of the Central Plains. Thus, it was a little different. The fist stances were based on similar ideas but they differ greatly in execution. Where one extends to take hold of the opponent's wrist "to care for the old man's hand", the other forms a hook to grasp the knuckle. Both fought with equal ferocity but after forty stances or so, it was still hard to determine who had the upper hand.

It began to snow and the white flakes fell on the crowd to accumulate on the ground. Guo Jing was now on the defensive with the young noble not allowing him a chance to fight back. But as he attacked, he left his chest open and Guo Jing seized this opportunity and strove to strike the opponent's "Tail of the Dove" pressure point. However, he thought to himself, There is no enmity between us; I will not use this vicious stance. He adjusted his attack to hit the side of the pressure point instead, but who would have thought that the young noble would suddenly use his right arm and strike Guo Jing? His left palm formed a fist and rammed towards Guo Jing's side near the small of his back.

Guo Jing bent at the waist to avoid the blow and sent out a palm. The young noble calculated this move and immediately struck with a righthand hook in a trick stance called "Walking Off with Another's Possessions." Then he used his momentum to kick Guo Jing's right leg, making him fall hard on the ground.

Mu Yi was having his hand bandaged by his daughter and was standing under the "Contest to Find a Spouse" banner when he saw Guo Jing fall for the third time. It became obvious to him then that he was no match against the young noble. Thus, he rushed ahead and helped him up, saying: "Little brother, let's leave. We don't need to trouble ourselves with this silk-clad scoundrel."

The fall caused Guo Jing to grow dizzy and his body ached where he had been hit but anger spurred him on. He loosened Mu Yi's grip on his hand as he stood up and executed a palm. The young noble did not expect him to recover so fast from that blow but he defended himself and then leapt three steps away. He called out: "Do you give up?"

Instead of replying, Guo Jing continued to attack and was once more ruthlessly hit. The young noble said: "You stubborn fool..."

Guo Jing: "Why don't you just return the shoe? We can't fight over it forever."

The young noble smirked: "This girl is not your younger sister but the way you struggle, do you really wish to be my brother-in-law?" The speech was meant to mock and the crowd that had gathered guffawed.

Not understanding, Guo Jing said: "I don't even know her. How can she be my younger sister?"

Not knowing whether to laugh or get angry, the young noble said in a scolding tone: "Dumb kid, on your guard!"

With a bellow, they fought once more. Guo Jing had seen that the young noble was clever and resolved not to fall for his tricks. When it came to kung fu, the young noble was clearly superior but Guo Jing gave it his all. Furiously, he thrust with a fist and did not retreat even when he was outmatched.

When he was young and did not yet know martial arts, he used to fight like this, never backing down from the other children. By now, his martial arts skills were higher but his fighting method still stemmed from instinct, much like his younger days. Suddenly, his vigor increased. His fourth shifu said: "If you can't beat them, run away." Under the highest heavens, these words were true. But in his innermost feelings, he believed: "If you can't beat them, fight on." This he knew but has yet to realize.

By now, the people that surrounded them increased in numbers, forming a tight square. The wind and snow had gradually increased but still, the people looked on and none walked away. Mu Yi had been performing martial arts for some time and knew that such fights could alert the government authorities. But where others uphold justice and defend against injustice, how could one in light of this walk away?

He looked to the side anxiously and his gaze fell on the crowd where he saw several wulin characters, watching the fight in rapt attention while discussing in low voices among themselves. He had been concentrating too much on the two young fellows fighting that he did not notice these people arrive. Mu Yi moved slowly, approaching the young noble's companions who were gathered at one place. He looked askance, slanting a sidelong glance to find that among this group are three people who stood out.

One was wearing a scarlet cassock, his head covered by a gold-colored monk hat, identifying him as a Tibetan monk whose tall and powerfully built frame outdid the numerous people around by half a head in height. Beside him was another man of medium stature, with hair like silver but with complexion that was smooth and without a wrinkle, just like a baby's. His face was young, his hair white, and his expression beaming and buoyant. He was dressed up in an inconspicuous long gown of Ge cloth. The third man was of short stature with bloodshot eyes, which made his gaze electrifying, and sporting a short moustache on his upper lip.

Mu Yi was surprised as he listened to what one servant said: "That boy is causing too much trouble. You have to do something before Young Prince is injured or we'll all be sentenced to die." Astonished, Mu Yi thought, This rascal youth is the young prince? If this fight continues, the outcome could be disastrous. Fearing an accident, someone from the audience must have summoned these men of skills from the palace.

The Tibetan monk merely gave a faint smile and certainly did not reply. This prompted his white-haired companion to say: "The wise Tibetan Lingzhi is not so common as to want to fight with this muddy boy or he will lose face." Then turning to the servant, he added: "And the most that Prince would do is break your leg. Why would he want your life?"

"Besides, the young prince's skills are higher," the diminutive man said, "what is there to fear?" Although his stature was short, his voice rivalled the sound of a mighty bell. The people around were frightened by the sound and turned their heads to look at him. However, when they encountered his piercing eyes, they quickly turned away, not daring to look again.

Still smiling, the white-haired man said: "The young prince has spent many winters and summers improving his skills and this is his chance to test what he had learned. He won't be glad if anyone tries to intervene."

The diminutive man said: "Liang Gao, I ask you, which sect's palm is the young prince using?"

The white-haired man chuckled and said: "Brother Peng, are you trying to test me? The young prince is using a soaring palm stance which is not an easy skill to master. If I am not mistaken, he must be a disciple of the Quanzhen Sect Taoists."

At this, Mu Yi felt himself turn cold. This obscene youth is a Quanzhen Sect disciple?

The diminutive man said: "Liang Gao has good eyesight. You spend your days cultivating virtue and meditating in Chiangbaishang Mountain and very rarely come to the Central Plains, yet you seem to know all their kung fu teachings. I admire you greatly, brother."

"Brother Peng is too kind," said the white-haired man.

"But," the diminutive man continued, "the Taoists are patriotic fools. Why would they teach the young prince kung fu? It is quite intriguing."

The white-haired man replied: "If the prince wants something done, who could refuse? Even Brother Peng of Shandong and Shanxi can attest to that. Haven't you been to the palace, too?"

The diminutive man nodded. Thereupon, the white-haired man returned his attention to the two people fighting and saw Guo Jing change stances. His movements became slow, tightening his defenses around him. Several times, the young prince tried to attack but each time, he was met by a strong palm. He asked the diminutive man: "What kung fu teaching do you think this boy has?"

The person hesitated before saying: "This boy's kung fu is very mixed. It seems as though he has more than one shifu."

From the side, someone said: "Peng Zhaizhu is right. This boy is an apprentice of the Seven Freaks of Chiangnan."

Mu Yi looked at him, seeing that he was a thin, dark man with three bumps on his forehead. He thought, This person has called him Peng Zhaizhu. Could it be that this diminutive man is Peng Lianhu, the bandit who killed a thousand people without batting an eyelash? And for a long time, no one has heard of the Seven Freaks of Chiangnan. Could it be that they still walk this world?

While he was having these doubts, the dark-faced, thin person suddenly shouted angrily: "There you are, you smelly boy!" As he said this, he drew from his back a short-handled trident and leapt into the gathering place.

Hearing the noise, Guo Jing turned his head to find himself face to face with the person of the three bumps. He immediately recognized him as martial uncle of the Four Ghosts of the Yellow River, the Three-Bumped Dragon Hou Tonghai. At this moment, the young prince hit him on the shoulder, startling him back to the fight at hand.

Seeing Hou Tonghai enter the gathering place, the crowd thought that he was there to help one fighter against the other. They began to hoot, sensing unfairness.

Mu Yi saw him and his companions and thought that like Peng Zhaizhu, they were on the side of the young prince. He prepared to rush ahead with his double palm to give Guo Jing a hand even though he knew that they were greatly outnumbered. However, who would have thought that Hou Tonghai was in fact not after Guo Jing but another person in the opposite side?

There was a pale face in the crowd. Seeing him, the scrawny youth dressed in rags flushed and cried: "Oh!" Then, he quickly turned around and ran.

Hou Tonghai pursued, the Four Ghosts following not far behind. From the corners of his eyes, Guo Jing saw that the person Hou Tonghai was after was his little friend, Huang Rong. Hou Tonghai, followed by the Four Ghosts of the Yellow River was in hot pursuit, holding his pointed weapon fully intent on harming him. Feeling himself anxious, Guo Jing was unable to block a kick which the young prince delivered. He jumped out of the circle and called out: "Wait! I must stop now. We'll finish this some other time."

The young prince had been fighting with him for some time and had lost all taste for it. He had been secretly hoping that someone would call a halt to it as soon as possible and was actually delighted to hear him say this. He sneered: "You admit defeat well!"

Guo Jing was extremely worried about Huang Rong's safety and was just about to go after them when he suddenly heard a clip, clop, clip, clop, clip, clop sound. Laughing teasingly, Huang Rong returned, dragging a leatherskin shoe behind him while Hou Tonghai repeated angry curses after him. He undulated his trident and tried to pierce his back. However, Huang Rong was really agile and the trident kept on missing, unable to find its mark.

Sunlight glinted off the trident as it swung and each time it did, the three steel prongs hit each other, creating a sharp sound. Huang Rong moved to the west, darting through the crowd to emerge on the other side. Hou Tonghai rushed after him and seeing him, the crowd jeered to find that there were two black marks on his cheeks, indicating that the scrawny boy had somehow managed to slap him. Hou Tonghai pushed the crowd aside, seeking a path to get through but Huang Rong was already far away. Who would have thought that he was extremely mischievous? He stood firmly afar, beckoning to him again and again.

Hou Tonghai jumped, his body gliding through the air as he shouted: "When I get my hands on you, smelly boy, this Three-Bumped Dragon will teach you some manners!"

Seeing the steel trident lower once more, Huang Rong waited for him to move several steps nearer before turning around to flee. The crowd laughed and right then, they saw three people arrive, panting as they finally caught up. These three people are actually the three Ghosts of the Yellow River, lacking only Qian Qingjian, called the Killing Axe.

Guo Jing looked at Huang Rong, surprised and pleased at the same time. This person has excellent skills. He must have been the one who lured Hou Tonghai in the Black Plum Forest and hung the Four Ghosts of the Yellow River up that tree.

In the sidelines, the Tibetan monk and his companions who were watching the whole scene were also secretly surprised. Supreme Virtue Lingzhi was thinking: The Ginseng Immortal is old and proud. He has said that he spent a long time in the Chiangbaishang Mountain but actually knows a lot about the kung fu teachings of the Central Plains. Then, he said: "Ginseng Immortal, this boy has remarkable kung fu. What faction is he from? It seems that Brother Hou is losing."

The white-haired man with the youthful face was called Liang Ziwong, a great kung fu master in Chiangbaishang Mountain. He had been consuming wild ginseng and other natural herbs as sources of nourishment and that was why his face remained youthful. For this, he was called the Immortal Ginseng Liang Ziwong. He did not recognize the origins of the boy's kung fu and so he only shook his head, saying: "When I go beyond the Pass, I often hear that the Dragon King is a great master but I wonder how his martial arts brother here could lose so spectacularly to a mere child?"

The diminutive man, who was precisely Peng Lianhu, knit his eyebrows but did not reply. He was on good terms with the Dragon King who has accompanied him on many occasions during raids. He knew for some time that Huo Tonghai's kung fu was not weak but to see it so today was baffling.

The ruckus that Huang Rong and Hou Tonghai made distracted both Guo Jing and the young noble, thus putting a stop to their fight. The young noble clearly had the upperhand in the fight since he had managed to make the opponent fall several times. But to do so, his body had to receive several blows from hands and feet. He was weary, his sweat pouring through his entire body so that he took from his waist a silk handkerchief which he used to wipe himself.

Mu Yi, holding the "Contest for a Spouse" brocade banner, shook Guo Jing's hand repeatedly to express his gratitude as he prepared to leave, thinking that this place was going to attract trouble. Then suddenly, the clip clop clip clop clip clop sound from the leatherskin shoe could be heard along with the aggravated cries of the one holding the trident. Huang Rong and Hou Tonghai had returned, one chasing the other.

In Huang Rong's hands were two cloth strips, apparently coming from the front piece of Hou Tonghai's jacket which was torn, revealing a patch of furry chest. And rushing after them were Wu Qinglie and Ma Qingxiong, still breathless and holding their weapons. The Powerful Knife Shen Qinggang was missing, apparently disposed of by Huang Rong in some mysterious way.

Huang Rong and Hou Tonghai disappeared once more into the crowd. The people who had gathered laughed uproariously. Just then, a shout coming from the west could be heard as several foot soldiers came, brandishing their wicker rods and poking whoever was in the way. The crowd immediately moved to the sides. Then, a red and gold palanquin carried by six muscled men appeared.

The young prince's servants all called out: "The princess is here!"

Frowning, the young prince scolded: "Meddlesome fools, who reported this to the princess?" None of the servants dared to reply as the embroidered palanquin stopped.

A soft female voice said: "You're fighting again? It's snowing heavily today and you haven't put on your coat; you'll catch a cold." The voice was very gentle and charming.

Hearing this, Mu Yi experienced what felt like thunder and lighting shocking his body, making his ear buzz and his heart jump madly. How can this voice be so similar to hers? Then, he felt his spirits sink as he thought, She's the Jin Princess. I thought she was my wife but I'm crazy to indulge in such fancies. But even so, he could not help but inch closer to the side of the palanquin.

He saw a slender hand appear and stretch out, holding a handkerchief to wipe the sweat and dust on the young prince's face. Her voice was hushed, making it hard for others to understand but anyone could hear the concern in her tone.

The young prince was saying: "Mother, I am just amusing myself. I'm fine."

The Princess replied: "Put on your coat quickly. We're going back together."

Mu Yi was startled. How can two persons speak so similarly? Then he saw the two white hands draw back, disappearing behind an embroidered curtain of gold peonies. He tried to peer in but he could not see beyond the resplendent gold and jade curtain.

One of the young prince's servants came to stand near Guo Jing as he picked up the brocade coat. "You little animal," he scolded, "look what you did to this gown!" One of the soldiers who came with the princess stepped up and violently brandished his wicker rod at Guo Jing.

Guo Jing stepped to the side, hooked his hand, and swept his left leg, making the foot soldier fall down. Then, he shouted: "How dare you randomly attack another person?"

The crowd, who had been hit several times by the wicker rod, secretly appreciated Guo Jing. Shouting, the other soldiers rushed in to rescue their companion but Guo Jing took them by pairs and threw them away.

Angered, the young prince shouted: "You still want to cause trouble?" He then pushed aside the two soldiers whom Guo Jing threw away and rushed towards him. He aimed a kick straight at Guo Jing's stomach. Guo Jing moved sideways to avoid it and both exchanged blows again.

Repeatedly, the princess called for them to stop but the young prince was not afraid of her. Instead, he tossed his head arrogantly and called out: "Look, Mother! This peasant is doing wicked things in the capital! If I don't teach him a lesson now, he wouldn't fear his own father!"

The two exchanged dozens of stances. The young prince was fighting with even more spirit, intentionally trying to impress his mother. He moved and his body seemed to flutter, suddenly hitting Guo Jing who tried to resist and sent a fist towards him.

Meanwhile, Mu Yi was standing where he could not be seen and was once more gazing at the palanquin in rapt attention. He saw the embroidered curtain slightly raise to reveal a pair of beautiful eyes and wisps of hair framing a concerned expression trailing after the young prince and Guo Jing fighting. When Mu Yi saw this pair of eyes, his body became still like that of a clay sculpture or woodcarving nailed to the ground.

Guo Jing was losing now that he was facing a braver opponent with renewed energy. The young prince sought to inflict serious injury in order to incapacitate him but Guo Jing was tough from practicing internal strength. His body could take several blows without any serious harm. On the other hand, the young prince, though skillful, was actually restricted by his youth and lack of experience and therefore could not seriously injure him.

The young prince tried to grab Guo Jing with ten fingers forming claws which was the technique he used to injure Mu Yi's hand. However, Guo Jing quickly adopted the "To Disassociate the Muscle, To Dislocate the Bone" stance and was able to block.

As they fought, Huang Rong and Hou Tonghai could be seen running around, one pursuing the other. Inserted on Hou Tonghai's head was a piece of straw, which meant that his head was for sale. The people who saw this laughed, seeing that it was another one of Huang Rong's tricks. However, the person was unaware of this occupied as he was with chasing. Behind them, the two Ghosts of the Yellow River have disappeared without a trace and all thought that Huang Rong must have found some other way to dispose of them.

Liang Ziwong and his companions were surprised, wondering as to the exact identity of Huang Rong. They saw with their own eyes that Hou Tonghai was using all his strength to run but still, he could not overtake the boy in rags. Peng Lianhu suddenly said: "Is this boy a member of the Beggar Sect?"

The Beggar Sect was at that time the most powerful kung fu sect in Jianghu (rivers and lakes). Liang Ziwong's facial muscles twitched but he did not reply.

In the circle, the two youths fought each other with deadlier force and swifter assaults. Suddenly, Guo Jing received a palm on his left arm while the young prince got a kick on the right leg. Their bodies drew closer and their breaths came out faster. Even a beginner watching from the sidelines could see that the fighting grew more and more dangerous so that the slightest distraction could cause either to be seriously injured.

Peng Lianhu and Liang Ziwong, who have seen two people fight like this many times, prepared their projectiles in case the young prince would come into danger. Guo Jing was obstinate but his kung fu was mediocre and they thought that they could control the situation in time.

Guo Jing grew up in the harsh desert. Nature had instilled upon him a hardness and repeated sandstorm, snow, and ice developed in him a certain toughness, making him hard to put down. On the other hand, the young prince was pampered since childhood. He was unused to hard struggles and therefore tired easily during the fight. He saw that Guo Jing is about to send him a palm and thus moved sideways to evade and returned with a fist.

Not being able to avoid the fist in time, Guo Jing anxiously extended his right hand towards the opponent's right elbow even as he snatched his body to evade the left arm that snaked past his right armpit. His left hand then formed a hook to counter that stance as his right hand simultaneously moved to grab the opponent's throat.

The young prince did not expect him to be so bold. He turned quickly, cleverly using the opponent's own stance against him as he extended his hand towards Guo Jing. Thus it was so that one stance aimed at the opponent's chest while the other targeted the throat. Both stances being fierce, they felt that they ought to stop their opponent's stance to avoid getting injured. With their own eyes, they saw that the situation was urgent and that in a moment, victory and defeat would be made definite. The crowd that had gathered called out in alarm at the same moment that the princess lifted the embroidered curtains to reveal pale cheeks drained of blood.

Mu Yi's daughter who had originally been sitting in the sidelines leapt up, her complexion pale from fright. There were sharp sounds when Guo Jing was hit by a palm and the young prince suddenly changed his stance to the "Right Hand Steep Pine" which was actually a lightning-quick palm stance. Guo Jing was hit and for a moment lost his balance. Then, he suddenly shouted, grabbing the young prince by the collar of his jacket, lifting him bodily from the ground, and then threw him down hard. The technique was neither "To Disassociate the Muscle, To Dislocate the Bone" nor the normal hand-to-hand fighting stance when one is captured. Rather, it was a uniquely Mongolian technique taught to Guo Jing by his teacher, Jebe.

The young prince's kung fu was also agile. As soon as his body touched the ground, he quickly rose and grasped Guo Jing's leg as they both fell, with him at the top. He leapt up and turned in the direction of the army to snatch a lance from one of the soldiers. He tried to stab Guo Jing in the stomach but the other rolled to the side. Still, he continued to brandish the lance, his aim true.

Alarmed, Guo Jing was only able to keep himself lying supine as he tried to avoid the point of the lance. Then, he used the "To Seize the Blade With Naked Hands" technique to try to grab the lance but was unsuccessful. The young prince's lance made loud dinging sounds as it swung.

The princess called out: "My son, don't hurt him! You have won the fight!"

But the young prince seemed intent only in harming Guo Jing and thus, turned a deaf ear. Guo Jing saw that the tip of the lance was just a few inches from his nose. Desperate, he flung it away and at the same time, felt something collapse behind him. It was Mu Yi's "Contest to Find a Spouse" brocade banner. He grabbed it and used the pole to perform the "Restoring Justice" move to counter the lance. The young prince slanted his body to avoid the blow and stepped up, still brandishing his weapon.

Now, both fighters had weapons in their hands. Guo Jing used the "Exorcizing Cane" move taught to him by his first shifu, Ke Zhen'E. The length of the pole was inconvenient but Guo Jing was able to use the mystery of this technique effectively. It was originally created by Ke Zhen'E to counter the Iron Corpse, Mei Chaofeng, and the mechanics of the stance was always unexpectedly changing. The young prince was unfamiliar with it and so tried to parry the pole as it moved up and then moved down to target his lower abdomen. He was thus forced into defense.

When Mu Yi saw the young prince's dexterous lance, he was astonished for it appeared to him that all the stances -- the stabs, locks, takes, plates, hits, sits, collapses -- corresponded with the "Yang Family Marksmanship." This stance belonged to the Yang Family alone and was only handed down from father to son. The stance was rare even in the South, how could it be found in the capital of Jin Dynasty? But this stance, though it was nimble, did not quite follow the orthodox technique. It lacked the essence of the real stance.

Mu Yi's daughter who was also watching pressed her lips together. The lance and the pole swirled together, the brocade banner dancing in the snowflakes. Seeing that her son is tired and sweating profusely, the Princess felt anxious for his safety. She called out: "Stop! Stop the fight!"

Hearing the princess speak, Peng Lianhu strode towards the field, extending his left arm and struck the pole. Guo Jing felt a sharp pain in both his hands and was forced to let go, sending the pole flying away.

The brocade banner was carried by the wind where it hovered and flapped in mid-air, displaying clearly the four golden characters: "Contest to Find a Spouse." Surprised, Guo Jing did not even get a clear look of his opponent before he felt the wind and heard the sound of the coming blow. He leapt back, but not quick enough as Peng Lianhu hit him on the arm with a powerful palm. Guo Jing lost his balance and fell.

Smiling to the young prince, Peng Lianhu said: "Young prince, I'll handle this for you. This boy won't bother you anymore!"

He raised his right hand then and took two deep breaths before extending his fierce palm towards the top of Guo Jing's head. Guo Jing knew that he did not have a chance but he nevertheless tried to parry the blow with his two arms. Watching this, Supreme Virtue Lingzhi and Ginseng Immortal knew that Guo Jing would lose his arms. The Slaughterer of a Thousand People Peng Lianhu's palm was brutal and would certainly break his arms.

In a flash, someone from the crowd shouted, "Stop!"

Then, a swift shadow appeared, leaping into the air towards Peng Lianhu. He was holding a strange weapon which he wrapped around his right wrist. Peng Lianhu immediately pulled, trying to break it and failing, sent out a left palm instead. The person lowered his head and evaded that, his left hand taking hold of Guo Jing before leaping to the side.

The people saw him clearly then: He was a middle-aged Taoist priest, his hand holding a mop handle, the cloth strips torn from it by Peng Lianhu, of which some are still wrapped around his wrist.

The Taoist and Peng Lianhu gazed at each other immediately recognizing who the other was although they only traded a move. The Taoist then said: You are the prestigious Peng Zhaizhu? It's good fortune to meet you today."

Peng Lianhu replied: "I don't dare to claim such prestige. May I ask the name of Taoist Elder?"

By then, several hundred eyes were trained on the Taoist who did not reply, content only in stretching out his foot to the front and withdrawing it quickly, leaving a hole that was almost a foot deep. At the beginning, the heavy snow only began to fall to half an inch but placing his foot nonchalantly, it left such imprints on the ground. Everybody was shocked.

Peng Lianhu realized this and felt himself shake, saying: "Taoist priest is none other than Iron Foot Immortal, the honorable Jade Sun Wang?"

The Taoist priest replied: "Peng Zhaizhu's words are praising. I am indeed Wang Chuyi but I am no immortal."

Peng Lianhu, Liang Ziwong, Supreme Virtue Lingzhi, and the others knew that Wang Chuyi was a member of the renowned Quanzhen Sect and his prestige was great although his fame was inferior to Perpetual Spring Qui Chuji. They had heard about him but never seen him so they were now carefully sizing him up.

He was a man with handsome eyebrows with sparse black clumps of beard on his chin. He wore snow-white socks, feather gray shoes, and seemed like a well-dressed gentleman. If he had not demonstrated his kung fu just now, no one would have believed that this person is indeed the Iron Foot Immortal who was known for standing at the edge of a ten-thousand-feet deep canyon and swaying like "a lotus leaf in the wind", thus impressing the bold men of Hebei and Shandong.

Wang Chuyi smiled and pointed to Guo Jing, saying: "I do not know this little brother but I saw how he tried to do something right without any regard for his own safety. I am full of respect. That is why, with great courage, I ask Peng Zhaizhu to spare his life."

Listening to him, Peng Lianhu thought that the Quanzhen Taoist was an eminent persona, praising him while appealing to his human sentiment. He fisted his hands and said: "Of course, of course!"

As soon as he said this, Wang Chuyi also cupped his hand across his chest to express his thanks then turned around to address the young prince, his face and eyes turning dark and frosty as he said: "What is your name? Who is your shifu?"

The young prince heard Wang Chuyi's name mentioned and felt fear in his heart. He wanted to quickly slip away but did not expect these fierce inquiries. He stood firm and replied: "I am called Wanyan Kang but I cannot tell you the name of my shifu."

Wang Chuyi then said: "On your shifu's left cheek is a scar, am i right?"

Wanyan Kang smiled and wanted to say something in jest but seeing Wang Chuyi's stern gaze like lightning, he was startled, swallowing his joke instead and nodded.

Wang Chuyi said: "As I suspected, you are my apprentice brother Qiu Chuji's disciple. Hmph, your shifu taught you your skill in wushu but what have you learned from him?"

Wanyan Kang felt that the matter was grave and cannot help feeling anxious. If Shifu learned of the matter today, it would be catastrophic. Changing his intentions, he said: "Since Taoist priest knows my shifu, he must be my senior. Junior expects Taoist priest's arrival to junior's humble home to benefit from his teachings." Wang Chuyi humphed but before he could reply Wanyan Kang turned to Guo Jing, bowed, smiling as he said: "I am not acquainted with this brother and do not wish to fight. Little brother admires Guo brother's skill in wushu and invites him with Taoist priest to little brother's humble home. Is that not the way to make a friend?"

Guo Jing then pointed to Mu Yi and his daughter, saying: "What about the matter of marriage?"

Wanyan Kang made an awkward sound and said: "This matter is serious and needs further consideration."

Mu Yi pulled Guo Jing's sleeve and said to him: "Little Brother Guo, let's go. We don't need to deal with him any further."

Wanyan Kang bowed to Wang Chuyi again and said: "Taoist priest, junior respectfully waits for you in his humble home. Just ask where the Zhao Palace is. The weather is cold; it's better to enjoy the snow sitting by the fire and drinking several cups of good wine."

Then, he mounted his steed whose bridle was held by his servant and left, paying no attention to how his horse's hooves could have injured the many people scrambling out of the way.

Wang Chuyi saw this arrogant behavior and felt anger in his heart, but he turned to Guo Jing instead. "Little brother, you come with me."

Guo Jing replied: "I must wait for my good friend."

As he said this, he saw Huang Rong leap from the crowd, saying with a smile: "I'm alright. Don't worry. I'll look for you." After saying this, he immediately fell back down, his figure disappearing in the crowd momentarily. When he appeared again, the Three-Bumped Dragon Hou Tonghai was swinging his trident rushing after him in the distance.

Guo Jing turned then, kneeling on the snowy ground as he kowtowed and expressed his thanks to Wang Chuyi for saving his life. Wang Chuyi placed both his hands on him and helped him up, holding his arm as they squeezed past the crowd in the direction of the suburbs.

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