Smiling Proud Wanderer

 
 

Smiling Proud Wanderer Volume 2 Chapter 11


Chapter Eleven: Energy Streams


Linghu Chong peeked inside the hall. A tall, thin old man sat at the guest of honor seat. He was holding the Command Flag of the Five Mountains Sword Alliance in his right hand; it was none other than “Crane Hands” Lu Bai from the Songshan School. A middle-aged Taoist Priest and an old man in his fifties sat next to him. Their clothing suggested that one belonged to the Taishan School and the other one the Hengshan School. Next to them sat three more people all in their fifties or sixties and each had a Huashan School style long sword hanging by his waist. The first one had a yellowish face with a stern look. He was probably the Feng Buping that Lou Dayou had mentioned earlier. Master and Master-Wife sat at the host seats in accompany. Tea and light refreshments occupied most of the tabletop.

“Brother Yue,” the old man from the Hengshan School said, “we outsiders really shouldn’t interfere with the internal affairs of your respectful school. However, because our five sword schools have joined the alliance to share both honor and disgrace, if one school didn’t handle things well and became the laughing stock of fellow martial people, the other four schools would be disgraced as well. Earlier, Madam Yue said that the three schools, Songshan, Taishan, and Hengshan should only mind their own business. I think that was inaccurate.” His two eyes were almost completely yellow as if he had a yellow fever.

“They are still in the middle of the dispute. Master hasn’t given up and stepped down from his post yet.” Linghu Chong felt some relief.

“Apprentice brother Lu, it sounds like you are determined that our Huashan School is not handling things properly and that has implicated your respectful school’s reputation, aren’t you?” Madam Yue asked.

The old man Lu from the Hengshan School sneered. “I’ve long heard that Heroine Ning is the backstage Head Master of the Huashan School. I didn’t want to believe it before, but after having the pleasure to meet you today, I have to agree that it is really a well-deserved reputation.”

“Apprentice brother Lu, you’ve come here to Mount Huashan as a guest. I don’t want to offend you because that would be an inappropriate way to treat a guest. Who would have expected such absurd nonsense from a famous master of the Hengshan School? When I see Great Mr. Mo next time, I’m sure I will discuss about this with him,” Madam Yue rebuffed angrily.

“Madam Yue, so you are holding off your offense only because I am a guest here, and if this wasn’t Mount Huashan, you would have slashed your sword toward my head, wouldn’t you?” the old man Lu said with a sneer.

“I wouldn’t dare.” Madam Yue replied. “How dare our Huashan School interfere with the internal affair of your respectful school? When people from your respectful school collaborate with the Demon Cult, there’s always Alliance Chief Zuo of the Songshan School to clean him out for you. What’s the need for our Huashan School to get involved?”

Hengshan School’s Liu Zhengfeng and Demon Cult Elder Qu Yang died outside of Hengshan Town together. It had become public knowledge in the Martial World that the Songshan School was responsible for it. Madam Yue specifically mentioned the incident here, to first jab at the old man Lu’s sore spot, and secondly, to ridicule him, implying that he not only didn’t have any grievance of losing an apprentice brother to the Songshan School, but instead, came together with the Songshan School people to give trouble to the Yue Couple.

The old man Lu immediately put on a stern face. “Throughout the ages, which school is immune of unworthy apprentices?” he screeched. “That’s exactly the reason why we have come to Mount Huashan today, to uphold justice and help brother Feng clean out the evil bunch in the school.”

“Who is the evil bunch? My husband Yue Buqun’s nickname is ‘Gentleman Sword.’ What’s your nickname?” Madam Yue said coldly as she grabbed onto her sword handle.

The old man Lu blushed, yet he didn’t answer the question and only eyed Madam Yue angrily with his two yellow piercing eyes.

The old man was a master of the Hengshan School. However, he didn’t have much fame in the Martial World. Linghu Chong had no clue about his identity, so he turned his head back and asked Lao Denuo.

“Who is he? What’s his nick name?”

Linghu Chong knew that before Lao Denuo joined the Huashan School, he had Kung Fu skills already and also much knowledge about all kinds of anecdotes of the Martial World. Sure enough, Lao Denuo knew this one.

“This old folk’s name is Lu Lianrong,” Lao Denuo answered in whisper. “His formal nickname is ‘Golden-eyed Eagle,’ but because he is always gossipy and meddlesome, quite annoying all the time, so everybody called him ‘Golden-eyed Crow’, instead, behind his back.”

Linghu Chong grinned. He thought, “Probably no one dared to call him that unpleasant nickname to his face, but as time went by, it would eventually come to his attention. When Master-Wife asked him about his nickname, he obviously knew that she was referring to ‘Golden-eyed Crow’ not ‘Golden-eyed Eagle’.”

Lu Lianrong snorted angrily. “‘Gentleman Sword?’ ‘Hypocrite Sword’ is probably more appropriate.”

Witnessing such audacious behavior of humiliating the Master right to his face, Linghu Chong could no longer hold his anger. “You damn blind crow! Get your ass out here if you’ve got any guts!” he shouted out.

Yue Buqun had heard Linghu Chong talking with Lau Denuo outside and had been wondering, “How come Chong has come down the cliff?” Now hearing Linghu Chong’s shouting, he reproved at once

“Chong, behave yourself. Uncle-Master is a guest here, how can you speak with such disrespect?”

Anger swept Lu Lianrong, and it seemed as if fire almost shot out of his piercing eyes. He had heard before how the Huashan School head apprentice Linghu Chong had run wild in Hengshan Town, so he yelled back.

“I was wondering who that might be. So it’s the chap who went whoring in Hengshan Town! Huashan School surely houses a lot of talents.”

“That’s right! When I went whoring in Hengshan Town, I slept with a bitch named Lu!” Linghu Chong grinned.

“You…you, stop the nonsense!” Yue Buqun yelled at Linghu Chong angrily.

Seeing his Master getting angry, Linghu Chong dared not to say another word, while Lu Bai, Feng Buping, and the bunch simply couldn’t help but grin.

Lu Lianrong turned around abruptly and kicked out with his left foot. With a loud bang, a frame of the long window was knocked flying in the air. He had never met Linghu Chong before, so he pointed at the general direction of the Huashan School apprentices and yelled.

“Which dirty swine said that?”

All the Huashan School apprentices stood silently and no one answered.

“God damn it! Which dirty swine just said that?” Lu Lianrong swore again.

“You were the only one talking. How would I know what kind of dirty swine you are?” Linghu Chong said with a big grin.

Lu Lianrong’s anger exploded. With a loud roar, he jumped onto Linghu Chong. Seeing the vicious force coming toward him, Linghu Chong leapt back. Suddenly, a shadow flashed as someone drifted out from inside the hall. Beams of silver light flashed while the sounds of weapon colliding echoed as the person started an all out attack on Lu Lianrong. It was Madam Yue. She leapt out of the hall, drew her sword, blocked Lu Lianrong’s attack, and launched her counter-attack in such a smooth and uninterrupted manner. Her movements were simply beautiful and graceful. Even though she executed every single move in lightening fast speed, everyone was so taken by the beautiful movement that none noticed her swiftness.

“We are all friends here. Why don’t we take our time and talk the issue through? There’s no need to start a fight,” Yue Buqun said as he strolled out of the hall without hurry.

Pulling out the sword by Lao Denuo’s waist, Yue Buqun reached out and pushed his sword down after a flip, which held both Lu Lianrong’s sword and Madam Yue’s sword down under. Lu Lianrong shifted all his strength onto his arm and lifted with a hard jerk, but to his surprise, he couldn’t move his sword even an inch. He blushed and then tried several times more, each time with a harder jerk.

“Our Five Mountains Sword Alliance has the same root with different branches. We are all like members of a big family. Apprentice brother Lu, please don’t pay much attention to the junior kids.” Yue Buqun smiled. He turned his head to Linghu Chong. “You are full of nonsense. Apologize to your Uncle-Master Lu right now,” he admonished.

Getting the command from the Master, Linghu Chong had no other choice but to step forward and salute.

“Uncle-Master Lu, I was really blind and didn’t know how to talk properly. I barked madly like a damn crow and slandered the reputation of a supreme Kung Fu master. This is so unworthy, even a dirty swine could have done better. Will your Excellency please don’t feel offended? I wasn’t talking about you. The damn crow barks like mad, but we’ll excuse him as if he was farting!”

He used the words “damn crow” back and forth. Everyone knew that he was ridiculing Lu Lianrong again. Most people were able to hold their laughs inside but Yue Lingshan started giggling loudly.

Yue Buqun could feel that Lu Lianrong tried to jerk upward three times in a row. He let out a slight smile and drew his sword back leisurely to give it back to Lao Denuo. When the tremendous pressure on Lu’s sword suddenly vanished, Lu Lianrong’s arm naturally went upward. Two cracking sounds echoed as two pieces of broken swords fell on the ground. Both Lu Lianrong’s sword and Madam Yue’s sword in their hands had only half of the blade remaining. Lu Lianrong had been using all his strength to fight Yue Buqun’s push. When his arm went up abruptly, the broken sword in his hand also slashed upward and almost cut his own forehead. Fortunately he had great arm strength and was able to stop the movement in time, but the frantic rush still looked quite awkward.

“You…you…two against one!” Lu Lianrong snapped. But he soon remembered that Yue Buqun’s inner energy broke Madam Yue’s long sword just the same. By then Lu Bai, Feng Buping, and the rest bunch had all come out of the hall to watch the fight, and Lu Lianrong knew that each of them could easily tell Yue Buqun was only reconciling and preventing the two from fighting each other without granting favor to either side. However, it was probably no big deal for a husband to break a wife’s long sword. Lu Lianrong, on the other hand, couldn’t take it so easily, so he couldn’t help but mutter:

“You…you…!”

Stamping his right foot on the floor heavily, he turned around and rushed away in rage with the broken sword still in his hand, never casting a glance back.

At the time when Yue Buqun had broken the two swords with his inner energy, he had already seen the Peach Valley’s Six Fairies standing behind Linghu Chong. Very surprised by their unusual looks, he cupped his hands and greeted.

“The six of you have come to Mount Huashan and I haven’t greeted you properly. Please pardon my ignorance.”

The six Fairies simply stared at him blankly, neither greeting back, nor speaking a word.

“This is my Master, Head Master of the Huashan School – Mr. Yue….” Linghu Chong introduced.

Before he even finished his sentence, Feng Buping interrupted.

“Your Master, he sure is. Whether he is the Head Master of the Huashan School, we’ll have to see. Apprentice brother Yue, the ‘Divine Art of Violet Twilight’ you just displayed is quite impressive. However, knowing this Qi-Gong technique does not make you competent for the authority over the Huashan School. Everyone knows that Huashan School is a sword school member of the Five Mountains Sword Alliance. Sword school, sword school! Of course, sword skill is the main driving force. But you keep working with your inner energy skills. You have gone on the evil route. What you are practicing is far from our school’s orthodox principle.”

“Brother Feng, your comments are really overstating,” Yue Buqun defended. “Sure, each school of the Five Mountains Sword Alliance uses sword as the weapon, but no matter which school or which style it is, it all follows the principle of ‘Energy Drives the Sword.’ Sword skills are external techniques while Qi-Gong techniques are the internal techniques. One must master both the external and the internal to be able to achieve perfection in Kung Fu training. If someone only practices sword techniques like how you just described, then when he meets a Qi-Gong master, he would naturally be pale in comparison.”

Feng Buping sneered. “That’s not necessarily correct. It would be wonderful if someone can be an expert in every field of the three religions and the nine schools of thought, medicine, divination, astrology, fortune-telling, the Four Books and the Five Classics, and the eighteen types of weaponry. It would be fantastic if he could be a master in every single style, let it be either knife art or spear art. But everyone’s life span is limited and it is impossible for one to master everything. When one focuses only on sword art, it is already difficult to be excellent at it, why should he get sidetracked by other Kung Fu skills? I am not saying that practicing Qi-Gong techniques is bad, only that the orthodox Kung Fu of our Huashan School is sword art. It’s totally fine if you want to get into the heterodox Kung Fu. Even if you decide to learn the ‘Essence Absorbing Art’ of the Demon Cult, it’s your own choice and nobody else’s business, let alone practicing Qi-Gong techniques. When an ordinary person ruins his own training because of greed and avarice, he has himself to blame for his suffering. Now since you are the Head Master of the Huashan School and have also chosen to go on such a destructive route, you are really misleading all the apprentices and exerting a widespread pernicious influence.”

A notion suddenly popped into Linghu Chong’s head. “Grand Uncle-Master Feng only taught me sword techniques. He…he is probably from the Sword-Branch. Is it…is it wrong that I have learned sword techniques from him?” Instantly, the thought sent cold shivers down his spine and he broke out a cold sweat.

“‘Misleading all the apprentices and exerting a widespread pernicious influence?’ That’s not true.” Yue Buqun smiled.

The short man standing next to Feng Buping suddenly cut in loudly. “Why is it not true? You have taught a bunch of damn useless apprentices. If that’s not ‘misleading all the apprentices and exerting a widespread pernicious influence,’ then what is? Apprentice brother Feng said that your Kung Fu is the heterodox and you are not worthy to be the Head Master of the Huashan School. He is absolutely right. Are you going to step down yourself, or wait for someone to drag you down?”

By then, Lu Dayou had finally arrived. Seeing that big apprentice brother stared at the short man with a questioning look, he whispered to Linghu Chong.

“I heard from their earlier conversations with Master that the short guy’s name is Cheng Buyou.”

“Brother Cheng,” Yue Buqun said, “your Sword-Branch left our school twenty-five years ago and stopped calling yourselves apprentices of the Huashan School. Why do you come back and make trouble now? If you think your Kung Fu skills are wonderful, you can simply start your own school. Once you gain great fame in the Martial World and your reputation precedes the Huashan School, I would only have admiration. However, what good does your pointless argument do other than getting us on bad terms with each other?”

“Apprentice brother Yue,” Cheng Buyou said loudly, “I have no grudge against you and really didn’t want to get on bad terms with you. You arrogated the post of Huashan School Head Master, yet you only teach the apprentices inner energy techniques instead of advanced sword techniques. That caused our Huashan School’s reputation to decline greatly. In the end, you can’t just shirk the responsibility and shift the blame onto others. I am an apprentice of the Huashan School, that’s why I can’t just watch by the side with folded arms and pretend to not see it. In addition, when the Qi-Branch pushed the Sword-Branch out, your methods weren’t that clear and aboveboard. None of our Sword-Branch apprentices were convinced of the legitimacy. We have already endured it for twenty-five years. Today is finally the time we can square the accounts.”

“The conflict between the Qi-Branch and the Sword-Branch of our sword school has a long history. On that day when the two branches had the big contest atop the Jade Maiden Peak, the winner was determined; what’s right and what’s wrong was identified. What good does it do for the three of you to bring the past history out twenty-five years later?” Yue Buqun said.

“Who saw the end result of the sword contest on that day? The three of us are all apprentices of the Sword-Branch, how come none of us saw it? In short, you took the Head Master post in a very unclear and suspicious fashion, otherwise, why would Alliance Chief Zuo, the leader of the Five Mountains Sword Alliance, grant us the Command Flag to let you step down?” Cheng Buyou challenged.

“That is really odd!” Yue Buqun shook his head. “Alliance Chief Zuo has good understanding and judgment. Based on the scenario, he would have never granted the Command Flag all of a sudden to let the Huashan School change its Head Master.”

“Are you saying the Command Flag is a fake?” Cheng Buyou pointed at the Command Flag of the Five Mountains Sword Alliance.

“The Command Flag is authentic, but the Command Flag doesn’t speak,” Yue Buqun said.

Lu Bai had been watching quietly by the side all the time. He finally cut in. “Apprentice brother Yue, you said that the Command Flag doesn’t speak, but can’t I speak either?”

“Even if Alliance Chief Zuo really thought so, his excellency still can’t give the order after hearing only one side of the story. He’s got to listen to my words as well.
Besides, Alliance Chief Zuo is the chief of the Five Mountains Sword Alliance, and his responsibilities include the common issues across the five sword schools. Regarding internal affairs of the Taishan, Heng-Shan, Hengshan, and Huashan Schools, the Head Master of each school has the authority,” Yue Buqun concluded.

“You are surely wordy! So after all, you are not going to give up the post of the Head Master. Am I not right?” Cheng Buyou croaked.

By the time he spit out the words “Head Master,” he had already drawn his sword. At the word “am,” he shot out a thrust; at the word “I,” he shot out another thrust; at the word “not,” he shot out a third thrust; and at the word “right,” he shot out one more thrust. He said the words “am I not right” in one breath, and he shot four thrusts out continuously at the same time.

The four thrusts were executed in supreme speed, and each of the four continuous thrusts used a different fierce technique with brilliant variation. The first thrust penetrated Yue Buqun’s robe on his left shoulder, the second one penetrated his robe on his right shoulder, the third penetrated the sleeve by his left arm, and the fourth penetrated the robe by his right chest. Each of the four thrusts went straight through and all four of them left a total of eight holes on Yue Buqun’s robe. The blade went right next to Yue Buqun’s skin with a mere half-inch distance each time, though none touched his skin at all. The brilliance of the moves, the supreme speed, the precise accuracy, and the fierce force of the thrusts all showed the bearing of a first-class elite fighter.

All Huashan School apprentices turned pale with terror except Linghu Chong, thinking, “These four moves are all moves of our Huashan School style, but we have never seen Master demonstrate them before. The elite fighter from the Sword-Branch surely is extraordinary.”

However, Lu Bai, Feng Buping, and the rest of the visitors felt more admiration toward Yue Buqun. When Cheng Buyou suddenly shot out four thrusts continuously, each thrust was a fierce move and capable of killing Yue Buqun on the spot, yet Yue Buqun still maintained his smile throughout the course and took the four thrusts with complete ease. The confidence he showed was exceptional. Cheng Buyou and his companions came to Mount Huashan with a clear intention to take the Head Master post from him. No matter how kind Yue Buqun was, he couldn’t have not guarded against the possibility that his opponent might launch a sudden attack to harm him, yet he didn’t dodge at all and took the four thrusts without any worries. Obviously he had a plan well thought out, and as soon as Cheng Buyou proceeded to harm him, he would have a way to counter. Within the split of a second, he was actually capable of countering the enemy and protecting himself; his Kung Fu had to be far better than Cheng Buyou’s. Yue Buqun didn’t even move a little finger, but the power he had just shown was no different than winning the fight.

Linghu Chong recognized the four moves Cheng Buyou had used easily. They really originated from a Huashan School style sword move drawn on the rock wall in the back cave. Cheng Buyou simply transformed it into four different thrusts with slight variations. Although the four thrusts looked completely different from each other, they really all came from one move. He couldn’t help but think, “No matter how brilliant Sword-Branch’s sword moves are, they still can’t exceed the scope of the drawings on the rock wall.”

“Brother Cheng, my husband has given ground again and again, considering that you are all guests here. You have made eight holes on his robe already. If you haven’t figured out how to behave yourself by now, be aware that even though our Huashan School respects its guests, there still is a limit,” Madam Yue warned.

“Giving ground? Guests? What are you talking about? Madam Yue, all you have to do is to defeat my four sword moves. If you can do that, I’ll leave the premise with no complaints. And not only that, I’ll never set foot on the Jade Maiden Peak again,” Cheng Buyou exclaimed.

Cheng Buyou considered himself an excellent swordsman, but seeing the confidence and calmness Yue Buqun just put on display, he dared not to challenge Yue Buqun. He thought, “Even though Madam Yue also has great fame in the Huashan School, she is a woman after all. Didn’t she show a frightened look when she saw the four thrusts of mine? If I can goad her into a fight, I am sure I can subdue her. By then, Yue Buqun might surrender for the sake of Madam Yue’s safety. Or, at least, he would be greatly worried and get thrown off balance. That would certainly give brother Feng Buping some advantages.

“Madam Yue, please! It is well known that Heroine Ning is a first-class master of the Huashan School Qi-Branch. Cheng Buyou from the Sword-Branch would like to check out Heroine Ning’s Qi-Gong techniques,” cupping his hands, Cheng Buyou said loudly. By saying so, he had made it very clear that this was going to be a duel between the Sword-Branch and the Qi-Branch of the Huashan School.

Although Madam Yue wasn’t sure she could beat those four clever and ingenious sword moves, she simply couldn’t stand Cheng Buyou’s overbearing attitude. With a loud ring, she unsheathed her sword.

“Master-Wife,” Linghu Chong cut in quickly, “Sword-Branch’s way of practice has gone astray. How could it ever match the orthodox Kung Fu of our Huashan School? Please allow me, the apprentice, to fight him first. If my Qi-Gong techniques are sloppy and I fail to beat him, then Master-Wife can dismiss him later.”

He didn’t even wait for Madam Yue’s approval and leapt forward immediately, hiding Madam Yue behind his back. In his right hand, he held a broom, which he had picked up randomly by the wall.

“Master Cheng,” Linghu Chong pointed the handle of the broom at Cheng Buyou, “you are no longer a member of our school. I guess I won’t be calling you an Uncle-Master. If you have already realized your mistakes and want to mend your ways so you can join Huashan School again, I am not too sure whether my Master is still willing to take you back. Even if my Master is willing to make the sacrifice and take you back in, according to school rules – the earlier the more senior status – you will have to call me a senior apprentice brother. Come on, let’s play!”

“Nonsense, you filthy swine! If you can survive these four moves of mine, I’ll submit myself to you as an apprentice,” Cheng Buyou shouted in outrage.

Linghu Chong shook his head. “I am not sure I want an apprentice like you….” Before he even finished the sentence, Cheng Buyou had interrupted him with a shout.

“Draw your sword and get ready to die!”

“Even a branch can be used as a sharp blade once it carries enough inner energy. Brother Cheng, just to counter those couple of your sloppy sword moves, I don’t think there’s a need to use a real sword,” Linghu Chong answered.

“Fine. Don’t blame me for being cruel then. Blame it on your own arrogance!”

Yue Buqun and Madam Yue both knew very well that Cheng’s Kung Fu skills were far superior to Linghu Chong’s. Using a broom against Cheng Buyou’s sword would be almost like fighting him with bare hands – way too dangerous. They shouted almost in unison.

“Chong, step back!”

In blazing flashes, Cheng Buyou lunged his thrusts toward Linghu Chong. It was the same move he had attacked Yue Buqun with a minute earlier. He had his reasons for using the exact same move. Firstly, those moves were among his best techniques. Secondly, he did say that he would use the same sword moves. Thirdly, by using the same moves again, he was letting his opponent gain certain advantages by knowing what to expect, thus getting compensated for his own advantage of using a better weapon.

Linghu Chong had already figured out ways to counter Cheng’s moves before he challenged Cheng Buyou. In those drawings on the rock wall in the back cave, all figures used unique weapons to counter sword moves. If he chose to use a sword in the fight, he wouldn’t have the certainty of success because he had not mastered the techniques in the Dugu Nine Swords. But the shabby broom had the shape of a thunderbolt mace and would be perfect for those moves in the drawings.

Seeing Cheng Buyou’s sword thrusting toward him, Linghu Chong brushed the broom toward Cheng Buyou’s face. This brushing move was a very risky move indeed. A real thunderbolt mace is made out of steel, and if the brushing move had landed squarely, the opponent would have been either killed or at least severely wounded. If he had a real thunderbolt mace in his hand, the brushing move would be an ingenious move and the opponent would be forced to suspend his thrust and draw his sword back to defend. But what kind of damage would a shabby broom do to the opponent? He only had plain ordinary inner energy strength and was just talking big when he said “Even a branch can be used as a sharp blade once it carries enough inner energy.” Even if the brushing move hit Cheng Buyou on the face, the most damage would be no more than a few scratches, nothing major at all, but Cheng Buyou’s thrust would for sure penetrate his chest all the way. Linghu Chong was really betting on the theory that a senior master like Cheng Buyou would never allow the filthy and shabby broom to hit him in the face, because the humiliation would be too great compared to the satisfaction from killing Linghu Chong.

Surely enough, in the gasping sounds from the watching crowd, Cheng Buyou turned his head aside and pulled his sword back to chop at the broom. Linghu Chong moved the shabby broom to the side and dodged the chop.

Having no choice but to pull back his sword and block the broom in his first move, Cheng Buyou couldn’t help but blush. He had no idea that Linghu Chong’s brush with the shabby broom was actually created by over ten Demon Cult Elders working their hearts out, spending countless of hours with combined efforts just to counter this exact sword move of his. It was really a masterpiece work that had been polished again and again. He figured that Linghu Chong must have come up with such a move accidentally and defeated his move by shear luck. In great rage, he launched his second thrust. This time the thrust didn’t follow the original sequence. It was really the fourth thrust he had used to pierce Yue Buqun’s robe under Yue’s armpit.

Linghu Chong turned his body to the side while handing over the broom to his left hand. It looked as if he was just dodging Cheng’s thrust, but the shabby broom in his left hand suddenly shot out in a flash and went straight toward Cheng Buyou’s chest. The broom was much longer than the sword, so even though the thrust from the broom was launched later, it reached the target earlier. Before Cheng Buyou had enough time to circle his blade around, the bamboo threads at the end of the broom had jabbed on to his chest.

“Got you!” Linghu Chong shouted.

With a quick slashing sound, Cheng Buyou’s blade slashed the end of the broom off. But all the elite fighters in the watching crowd saw clearly that Cheng Buyou had already lost. If Linghu Chong had used a real thunderbolt mace, or a spike-toothed harrow, or a crescent shaped spade, all made out of steel, Cheng Buyou would have been badly injured in the chest.

If Linghu Chong were a first-class senior master, Cheng Buyou would have no choice but to throw down his sword to admit his defeat and give up the fight, but Linghu Chong obviously was just a second-generation apprentice, how embarrassing would it be to lose to him with his shabby broom? With that in mind, Cheng Buyou launched another three thrusts, all of which used superb techniques of the Huashan School. Out of the three moves, it turned out that two of them were among the ones carved on the rock wall in the back cave. Although Linghu Chong had never seen the third move, after learning the “Sword-Breaking Stance” in Dugu Nine Swords, he had a pretty good understanding of how to counter various sword moves out there. He turned his body and dodged one of Cheng’s thrusts, then immediately countered with a technique from the rock wall that used a staff to counter sword techniques. Using the broom handle as a staff, he knocked Cheng Buyou’s sword to the side with a smack and then thrust his broom handle straight toward Cheng Buyou’s sword tip. If he had had an iron staff or iron club in his hand, then because the staff was solid and the sword was flexible, when the two forces collided, the long sword would immediately break into pieces and the sword wielding fighter would have no way out of it. But when he used the technique in a hurry without too much thinking, he completely forgot that he was only holding a bamboo stick. When the bamboo stick met the sharp sword, it was almost like a hot knife cutting through butter, with a loud cracking sound, the long sword stabbed all the way into the bamboo stick leaving only the sword handle visible outside.

Linghu Chong reacted with a very quick mind within a split second. He struck the broom handle from the side with his right hand. The broom handle, together with the sword inside it, flew high in the air toward the side.

Filled with anger and embarrassment, Cheng Buyou flipped his left palm rapidly and with a loud smacking sound, struck Linghu Chong squarely on the chest. Cheng Buyou had decades of experience in Kung Fu, but Linghu Chong was only familiar with techniques in sword moves and was no match for him in a bare handed combat. Falling backwards, Linghu Chong flew in the air and landed on the floor with his back first while blood spurted out from his month.

Suddenly, several shadows flashed forward and in a split of a second, Cheng Buyou was already lifted off ground by his four limbs. A loud scream echoed as blood and internal organs shattered all over the floor – he had been ripped into four pieces. Four extremely ugly freaks each held in their hands one of Cheng Buyou’s limbs. The four Peach Valley’s Fairies had literally ripped a once alive Cheng Buyou into four pieces.

The sudden event happened so abruptly and unexpectedly that everyone in the crowd was struck dumb by terror. Seeing the horrible sight of blood and flesh mingling together, Yue Lingshan uttered a short shriek and then fainted. Even those very experienced elite fighters in the Martial World like Yue Buqun, Lu Bai, and so on were all seized with panic.

At the time when the four Peach Valley’s Fairies ripped Cheng Buyou into pieces, Flower Fairy and Fruit Fairy had already rushed forward simultaneously. Picking Linghu Chong up from the floor, they ran toward the foothill in an amazing speed.

Yue Buqun and Feng Buping both drew their swords and thrust toward Branch Fairy and Leaf Fairy’s backs almost at the same instant. Root Fairy and Trunk Fairy each took out a short iron club and blocked the two thrusts in unison. The weapon colliding sounds echoed as the four Peach Valley’s Fairies accelerated away with their excellent Qing-Gong skills, never looking back.

Within seconds, the six freaks and Linghu Chong had all disappeared from sight. Lu Bai, Yue Buqun, and Feng Buping could only look at each other in blank dismay. Seeing how the six freaks had taken off in such amazing speed, they all knew too well that it was impossible to keep up with them. Staring at the blood and the four pieces that used to be Cheng Buyou, everyone felt great terror and shame. After a long while, Lu Bai shook his head. Feng Buping shook his head as well.

The palm strike from Cheng Buyou hit Linghu Chong solidly and squarely. Linghu Chong was so severely wounded that shortly after the two Peach Valley’s Fairies carried him away, he fell unconscious. By the time he regained his consciousness and opened his eyes slowly, he saw two horsy faces, piled with concerns and caring, with two pairs of eyes staring directly at his face without blinking.

Seeing that Linghu Chong opened his eyes, Flower Fairy said in joy, “He’s awake! He’s awake! This lad won’t die on us now.”

“Of course he won’t die on us. How could he die just because someone gave him a gentle palm strike?” Fruit Fairy commented.

“Geez, it all sounds so easy from your mouth. If this palm strike had landed on you, of course it would be nothing, but since it landed on this lad, maybe it will kill him,” Flower Fairy snubbed.

“He is obviously not dead. Why are you saying that it will kill him?” Fruit Fairy asked.

“I didn’t say that it definitely would kill him. I said that maybe it will kill him,” Flower Fairy argued.

“Since he turned out to be alive, you can’t say that ‘maybe it will kill him’.” Fruit Fairy disagreed.

“I’ve already said that. So what?” Flower Fairy charged.

“That proves that your foresight was totally wrong, and we can also say that you have no foresight,” Fruit Fairy replied.

“If you had foresight and knew that for sure he wouldn’t die, then why did you moan and groan and pull a long face?” Flower Fairy countered.

“First of all, I moaned and groaned earlier not because I worried that he might die. I was worrying about how worried the little nun would be once she sees him like this. Secondly, since we won the bet with the little nun and agreed to come to Mount Huashan and invite Linghu Chong to go see her, and now we’ve only gotten a half alive half dead Linghu Chong, I am afraid that the little nun wouldn’t concur,” Fruit Fairy explained.

“If you are so sure that he definitely won’t die, you can just go tell the little nun to not worry about it. And since the little nun won’t be worrying about it, why are you so worried?” Flower Fairy challenged.

“First of all, when I tell the little nun to not worry, she won’t necessarily listen to me. Even if she does listen to me and pretends to not worry, she will in fact still worry about it. Secondly, although this lad won’t die, he is indeed wounded pretty badly, and maybe it would be pretty hard to recover, then of course I am slightly worried,” Fruit Fairy answered.

Linghu Chong could hear the arguing back and forth between the two brothers. Their words were ludicrous, but obviously the two of them were both deeply concerned about his well being. He couldn’t help but feel grateful. When he heard the two talking about “the little nun might worry about him,” he figured that “the little nun” must have been little apprentice sister Yilin of the Heng-Shan School. So he said with a smile,

“You two can relax. Linghu Chong won’t die so easily.”

Fruit Fairy was overjoyed. “Did you hear that? He said himself that he won’t die. And you were saying that maybe it will kill him,” he said to Flower Fairy.

“When I said that earlier, he hadn’t opened his mouth and started talking yet,” Flower Fairy argued.

“He opened his eyes, then of course he would open his mouth and start talking next. Anybody can see that. Duh!” Fruit Fairy said.

Linghu Chong thought that if these two kept arguing back and forth, there would never be an end to it, so he interrupted with a smile, “I was going to die, but when I heard that the two of you really didn’t want me to die, I thought to myself, ‘Geez, Peach Valley’s Six Fairies have such immense fame and reputation in the…in the…*cough*…Martial World. When you don’t want me to die, how dare I die on you?”

These words sounded like music in Flower Fairy and Fruit Fairy’s ears. They immediately agreed in unison, “Yes, yes! This guy’s words are so logical! Let’s go tell the other brothers.” The two of them rushed out in a dash.

Linghu Chong found himself lying on a wooden bed. The netting above his head was ragged and aged. Having no idea where he was at this moment, he turned his head slightly, which only resulted in great pains coming from his chest, so he remained still in the same position. Not long after, Root Fairy and the remaining Fairies all rushed into the room. As soon as they came in, they all started talking non-stop. Some of them started claiming credits for themselves; some appraised Linghu Chong’s decision to not die on them; some others started talking about how they rushed into rescuing Linghu Chong and didn’t have any time to square the account with that old dog from the Songshan School, otherwise, they would have ripped him into four pieces and see if he could still nip Peach Valley’s Six Fairies dead like nipping puny ants after he turned into four pieces. In order to join in and share the happy mood the six Fairies were displaying, Linghu Chong struggled to gather enough strength and carried out a few dialogues, but he soon fell back into a coma.

In the wooziness, Linghu Chong felt nauseated in his chest, and almost felt like that his entire artery system had turned upside down. It was such an unspeakable discomfort. Then after a long while, he gradually regained his consciousness. This time he felt as if his body had been roasted in a huge oven. In great pain, he couldn’t help but groan. Then he heard somebody yelling at him.

“Be quiet!”

Linghu Chong opened his eyes. The first thing he saw was a tiny light from the lamp on the table. Then he found himself lying on the floor, almost completely naked. Four Peach Valley Fairies each grabbed hold of one of his four limbs, and the other two Fairies each had a palm on him, one pressed down on his stomach, the other one pressed down on the Bai-Hui point near his forehead. In great terror, Linghu Chong felt a stream of hot energy flowing upwards starting from the hallow of his left foot, passing by his left leg, lower stomach, chest, right arm, all the way up to the hallow of his right palm. Then another stream of hot energy flew downward starting from the hallow of his left palm, passing by his left arm, chest, abdomen, right leg, all the way down till the hallow of his right foot. The two streams of hot energy twirled and circled as if they were hot steams heating up Linghu Chong. Sweat streamed down all over Linghu Chong’s body. He couldn’t stand the burning heat a second longer.

Linghu Chong knew the Peach Valley’s Six Fairies were trying to heal his wounds using advanced Qi-Gong techniques with superb inner energy. While feeling grateful full heartedly, he tried to gather his own inner energy using the Huashan School style Qi-Gong techniques his Master had taught him, so that it would add to the streams of energy flow, but as soon as a stream of his own inner energy emerged from within his abdomen, an appalling pain suddenly came from his abdomen as if a knife had just cut through his stomach. Linghu Chong growled in pain as blood spurted out from his mouth like a fountain.

“Not good!” Peach Valley’s Six Fairies cried out in unison!

Leaf Fairy flipped his palm in a hurry and struck Linghu Chong on the forehead, which knocked Linghu Chong out cold immediately.

Linghu Chong stayed in a coma afterwards, feeling hot for a moment and then cold for the next. The two streams of hot energy kept flowing back and forth around his entire body, and sometimes even more steams of hot energy would emerge and collide with each other, making it even more unbearable for him.

After an unknown amount of time, he finally felt a brief period of coolness in his head and gained some consciousness. He could hear that the Peach Valley’s Six Fairies were in the middle of a heated argument. He opened his eyes slowly and saw Trunk Fairy standing next to him.

“See, he stopped sweating, and even opened his eyes. Isn’t my method the truly effective one? My stream of energy flows from Zhong-Du Point to Feng-Shi Point and Huan-Tiao Point, and then circling back and forth around his Yuan-Ye Point. I am positive that it will definitely heal his internal injuries,” Trunk Fairy claimed.

“Save your breath. If I hadn’t used my own method the day before yesterday and sent my stream of energy going back and forth along the many passages around his Foot-To-Liver Jue-Yin Channel, the lad would have been dead a long time ago. Would you still have the chance to send your energy stream circling back and forth around his Yuan Ye Point?” Root Fairy rebuffed.

“That’s right! But even though big brother’s method might heal his internal injuries, he would still not be able to walk using both of his feet. Wouldn’t that be a blemish in an otherwise perfect solution? I think my method is still the best. This lad’s internal wounds are really related to passage blockage to his pericardium. We got to use our inner energy to clear the blockage in the three visceral cavities in his Kidney Channel,” Branch Fairy concluded.

“What kind of nonsense is that? How would you know that his internal wounds are related to passage blockage to his pericardium? Did you get into his body and checked yourself?” Root Fairy rebuked angrily.

The arguing went on and on among the three brothers.

Leaf Fairy suddenly spoke out. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to let the energy stream circling back and forth around his Yuan-Ye point. It would be better to work on his Foot-To-Kidney Shao-Yin Channel first.”

Before anyone had a chance to comment, he had already grabbed onto the Yin-Gu Point on Linghu Chong’s left knee. A stream of hot energy seeped inside Linghu Chong’s body through the pressure point.

Trunk Fairy was infuriated. “Hey! Are you making trouble for me again? Let’s each give it a try then, and see who’s really right.”

After the words, he immediately worked harder on gathering more inner energy and filled them directly into Linghu Chong’s body.

Linghu Chong almost vomited and felt like that blood would spurt out of his mouth again any second. He groaned hard inwardly, “This is terrible! This is so terrible! The six of them really have good intentions and want to save my life, but they simply can’t agree with each other and each one decides to work on me in his unique way. I must have real lousy luck this time!”

He wanted to speak out and call on the six Fairies to stop right away but he didn’t even have the strength to move his tongue.

“He took the palm strike on the chest, which resulted in several internal injuries, then of course it would be logical to start healing from his Hand-To-Lung Tai-Yang Channel. The best solution will be to fill my energy stream into his Zhong-Fu, Chi-Ze, Kong-Zui, Lie-Que, Tai-Yuan, and Shao-Shang points.” Root Fairy started talking again.

“Big brother,” Trunk Fairy said, “I admire you in many different things. But you have to admit that I am much better than you in healing with inner energy. This lad is running a fever all over his body, and that’s the symptom of having too much positive energy in his body. We must start from his Hand Tai-Yang Channel. I’ve decided to open up his Shang-Yang, He-Gu, Shou-San-Li, Qu-Chi, and Ying-Xiang acupuncture points.”

“Wrong! Wrong! Totally wrong!” Branch Fairy said as he shook his head hard.

“What do you know? Why are you saying that I am totally wrong?” Branch Fairy rebuffed angrily.

Root Fairy, on the other hand, became quite happy. He said with a smile, “Third brother is the one who understand medical principles after all. He knows that I got it right, and second brother got it wrong.”

“Well, second brother sure got it wrong, but big brother, you didn’t get it right, either,” Leaf Fairy commented. “Look at him. This lad is showing a blank stare. His lips are trembling, yet he just doesn’t want to talk….”

(Linghu Chong scolded inwardly, “Who said that I don’t want to talk? After you guys sent your energy streams into a wild goose chase inside my body, how could I still have any strength left to talk?”)

Leaf Fairy continued, “…then of course his mind isn’t working right and he is turning into a retard. We must work on his Yang-Ming Stomach Channel.”

(Linghu Chong scolded inwardly again, “Your mind isn’t working right! You are the real retard here!”)

Right after Leaf Fairy’s words, Linghu Chong felt pain coming from his Si-Bai Point right below the eye sockets, and then sourness came from his Di-Cang Point by the corner of his mouth. Immediately after, severe pain came from the Da-Ying Point, Jia-Che Point on his face and many other points like Tou-Wei Point and Xia-Guang Point on top of his head. And in the next moment, great sourness and itchiness followed. His facial muscles ended up going into spasms.

“You’ve worked on him for so long, yet he still can’t talk,” Fruit Fairy spoke. “I think his brain is just fine. Maybe his tongue is real stiff. That would be the symptom of a bad cold. Let me heal him with my inner energy by working on his Yin-Bai, Tai-Bai, Gong-Sun, Shang-Qiu, Di-Ji, and those types of acupuncture points. But…but…if it doesn’t work, you’d better not blame me for it.”

“If your method doesn’t work, you’d get him killed for sure, then how could he not blame you for it?” Trunk Fairy replied.

“But if you already know that his tongue is getting stiff, and still not work on his Foot-To-Spleen Tai-Yin Channel, are you just going to watch him die?” Fruit Fairy argued.

“But if your method is wrong, it’s gonna be pretty bad!” Branch Fairy suggested.

“Wrong method would be pretty bad, but not able to heal him is just as bad,” Flower Fairy cut in. “We’ve already worked on him for so long and he is still not getting any better. I am pretty sure he is having heart problems. We’ve got to work on his Hand-To-Heart Shao-Yang Channel first. It is obvious that the key lies in Shao-Hai, Tong-Li, Shen-Men, and Shao-Chong, those four acupuncture points.”

“Didn’t you say that we should work on his Foot-To-Kidney Shao-Yin Channel yesterday? How come you are talking about Hand-To-Heart Shao-Yang Channel today? Shao-Yang is all about gathering positive energy, and Shao-Yin is all about generating negative energy. Yin and Yang are totally opposite of each other; have you made up your mind about which one is the right one?” Fruit Fairy challenged.

“Well, positive energy, Yang, only exists because negative energy, Yin, exists. They are the two sides of the same thing, representing that one divides into two. Tai Chi generates two bearings, and the two bearings merge again to make Tai Chi. Therefore, sometimes one divides into two and sometimes two merge to make one. Shao-Yang and Shao-Yin are both part of the pair. It’s not wise to just lump everything together.”

Linghu Chong couldn’t help but groan inwardly, “You might think it’s fine to make up lame excuses and nonsense, but how about my life? It’s no trifling matter!”

“We’ve tried this and that, but none seems to work. I’ve made up my mind. The only solution is to act willfully,” Root Fairy announced.

“How are you going to act willfully?” Trunk Fairy, Branch Fairy, and the rest of the Fairies asked in unison.

“This is apparently a very unique illness. Since it is a unique illness, we’ll have to start from unique acupuncture points that are outside of the various channels. I am going to seal his Yin-Tang, Jin-Lv, Yu-Ye, Yu-Yao, Bai-Lao, and Twelve-Jing points using distance point-sealing technique,” Root Fairy explained.

“Big brother, don’t do that. It’s too risky,” the five Fairies shouted all together.

“Why not? If I don’t do it now, this lad would be dead in no time,” Root Fairy shouted loudly.

Linghu Chong felt as if numerous blades had cut through his Yin-Tang, Jin-Lv, and the rest of the acupuncture points, one after another with unbearable pain. Soon the pain became so severe that he couldn’t even tell from which acupuncture point the pain came from. He tried to howl with his mouth wide open, yet not a single sound came out. Right at that moment, a stream of hot energy forced its way into his pressure points in the Foot-To-Spleen Tai-Yin Channel and started to flow inside him like a wild tide. Soon, another stream of hot energy emerged through the pressure points in the Hand-To-Heart Shao-Yang Channel. The two streams of energy clashed and splattered each other wildly. Not long after, three more streams of hot energy forced their way in from different pressure points in different channels.

Linghu Chong’s heart was filled with anger and frustration, and his body, in the meantime, experienced unprecedented and unbearable pain and suffering. In the last couple of days when Peach Valley’s Six Fairies meddled with healing him on a wild goose chase, he had been in a coma and had no idea about it. But at the current moment, he was conscious, yet had no means to stop the Peach Valley’s Six Fairies from running wild. He could feel the six streams of hot energy forcing their way through his body at random, and his liver, gallbladder, kidney, lung, heart, spleen, stomach, intestine, bladder, pericardium, the three visceral cavities, and all other vital organs had become playgrounds and battlefield for the six brothers’ energy streams. Linghu Chong was furious. He yelled out loud inwardly,

“If I am lucky enough to survive this time, I’ll chop you six pigs into ten thousand pieces.”

Deep inside his heart, he knew that Peach Valley’s Six Fairies all had good intents, and trying to heal him using inner energy would exhaust a good amount of their own inner energy. They would only have done this to friends with exceptional relationship. But at the very moment, he felt almost as if he was boiled, fried, and roasted alive. The suffering was so severe and so unbearable that if he had been able to speak, he would have spilled out the most venomous curses possible in human language.

Even while each of the six Fairies worked on healing Linghu Chong’s internal wound using his own method, they never stopped arguing against each other. They had no idea that they had really made a huge mess with the passages and channels in Linghu Chong’s body and made it a lot worse. Linghu Chong had been practicing Huashan School’s high-grade Qi-Gong techniques since he was young. Even though his achievement of inner energy wasn’t at a high level, because it was a kind of orthodox inner energy practice, he had a very solid foundation. And fortunately because of the solid foundation, he was able to linger on in a steadily worsening condition and didn’t simply give it all up at the very beginning through the many days of healing, or should it be called torturing, from the six Fairies’ meddling around.

Peach Valley’s Six Fairies worked with their energy streams for a long while, but they could all tell that Linghu Chong’s heart beat had become weaker and weaker and his breathing took longer and longer. It seemed that he could stop breathing and pass away any second now. They couldn’t help but feel worried.

“I don’t want to do this anymore. If I keep going and get him killed, he’s gonna turn into a ghost in limbo that will keep haunting me and scaring the hell out of me!” Fruit Fairy announced as he pulled his palm away from Linghu Chong’s acupuncture point.

Root Fairy yelled angrily, “If this lad kicks the bucket, he’ll definitely blame you first. And once he turned into a ghost stuck in limbo, he’ll always haunt you and only you.”

In terror, Fruit Fairy let out a scream and jumped out of the window.

Trunk Fairy, Branch Fairy, and the rest Fairies pulled their hands back one after another. Some knitted their eyebrows together and wrinkled their noses while others shook their heads back and forth – none had any idea of what to do next.

“Looks like this lad is not going to make it. What do we do?” Leaf Fairy asked.

“Why don’t you guys go tell the little nun that he couldn’t stand the palm strike from that short dude and decided to die? We have ripped that short dude into four pieces and avenged his death already,” Trunk Fairy suggested.

“Should we tell her about how we tried to heal him with our energy streams?” Root Fairy asked.

“No, no, no, no. Never. You can’t mention that!” Trunk Fairy replied in a hurry.

“But what if the little nun then asks why we didn’t try to heal him? What then?” Root Fairy asked again.

“Then we’ll have to say that we tried to heal him but couldn’t heal him,” Trunk Fairy answered.

“Then wouldn’t the little nun blame us and call Peach Valley’s Six Fairies six good for nothing and useless skunks?” Root Fairy rebuffed.

“What? The little nun called us six skunks? How rude!” Trunk Fairy yelled out in rage.

“The little nun didn’t say that. I did.” Root Fairy corrected him.

“Then how would you know that she’d call us that?” Trunk Fairy rebuked angrily.

“Maybe she will!” Root Fairy said.

“And maybe she won’t. What kind of rubbish is that?” Trunk Fairy wasn’t too happy.

“Once this lad is dead, the little nun is going to get so mad. More likely than not she will call us something like that,” Root Fairy insisted.

“I bet that the little nun will break into a loud and bitter cry, but she won’t call us bad names,” Trunk Fairy predicted.

“I’d rather have her call us six skunks than watching her cry out loud,” Root Fairy disputed.

“She may not call us six skunks but something else.” Trunk Fairy argued.

“Then what else?” Root Fairy asked.

“Do we six brothers look like skunks? I don’t think it’s even close. She might as well call us six pussy cats,” Trunk Fairy explained.

“Why? Do we look like pussy cats?” Leaf Fairy cut in.

“When you call people names, they don’t have to look like it,” Flower Fairy joined the battle. “We six brothers are six guys. If the little nun called us six guys, was she calling us bad names?”

“But if she called us six stupid guys or bad guys, then she would be calling us bad names,” Branch Fairy dismissed the theory.

“That still sounds better than six skunks,” Flower Fairy disagreed.

“What if the six skunks are smart skunks, competent skunks, brave skunks, heroic skunks, and the Six Great Skunks in the Martial World? Would six guys sound better or would six skunks sound better?” Branch Fairy questioned.

Lying in bed and in his last gasp, Linghu Chong couldn’t help but feel greatly amused at the endless debate. Somehow, a stream of energy traveled upward and provided him a burst of brief strength to actually speak out,

“Even six skunks are much better than you guys!”

The five Fairies were all astounded. Before any of them had a chance to think the words through Fruit Fairy had already asked from outside of the window.

“Why would six skunks be better than us?”

“Right, why would six skunks be better than us?” the five Fairies inside asked in unison.

Linghu Chong really wanted to spill out endless abuses and curses wholeheartedly, but he simply did not have any strength left to do it.

“You…you’d better send me…send me back to Mount Huashan. Only…only my Master can save…save my life…,” he squeezed the words out disjointedly.

“What? Only your Master can save your life? Are you saying that Peach Valley’s Six Fairies are incapable of saving your life?” Root Fairy asked in disbelief.

Linghu Chong struggled to signal a nod, and that used up the last bit of strength in his body. He opened his mouth but could no longer make any sound.

“That is just outrageous! What’s so special about your Master? How can he possibly be any better than us, Peach Valley’s Six Fairies?” Leaf Fairy mocked angrily.

“Humph! Ask his Master to have a fight with us!” Flower Fairy followed.

“We’ll grab onto his two arms and two legs. Wham! We rip him into four pieces.” Trunk Fairy added.

Fruit Fairy jumped back in through the window. “Even all the boys and girls on Mount Huashan. We’ll rip each of them into four pieces, one after another,” he suggested.

“Even all the dogs and cats and pigs and goats and chicken and ducks and turtles and fish and shrimps. We’ll grab onto their four limbs and rip them all into four pieces,” Flower Fairy added.

“Do fish and shrimps have limbs? How are you going to grab onto their four limbs?” Branch Fairy questioned.

“Err…just grab onto the head and the tail and then the top fin and the bottom fin,” Flower Fairy answered after a brief pause.

“But fish head is not a limb of the fish,” Branch Fairy pressed on.

“So it’s not a limb. It doesn’t matter,” Flower Fairy replied.

“Of course it matters a great deal. Since it’s not a limb, that means your first sentence is completely wrong,” Branch Fairy concluded.

Flower Fairy knew very well that Branch Fairy had gotten a handle here, but he still tried to defend himself by sophistry. “What do you mean by my first sentence is completely wrong?”

“You said, ‘Even all the dogs and cats and pigs and goats and chicken and ducks and turtles and fish and shrimps. We’ll grab onto their four limbs and rip them all into four pieces.’ Didn’t you say that?” Branch Fairy said.

“Sure, I said that. But that sentence isn’t the first sentence I said. I’ve already spoken hundreds and thousands of sentences, why did you say that this was my first sentence? If we start counting from the day I was born, I could have already spoken many millions of sentences. That certainly wasn’t the first sentence I spoke,” Flower Fairy argued.

Branch Fairy was stumped by the answer and found himself completely tongue-tied, having no clue about how to argue that.

“Did you say turtles?” Trunk Fairy asked.

“That’s right. A turtle has front legs and back legs, so of course it has four limbs,” Flower Fairy said.

“But when we grab onto the turtle’s front legs and back legs and pull in four directions, how are we going to rip it into four pieces?” Trunk Fairy questioned.

“Why can’t we? What kind of Kung Fu does a turtle have that can counter our four brothers’ mighty rip?” Flower Fairy didn’t get it.

“It’s very easy to rip the turtle’s body into four pieces. But what about it’s hard shell? How can you rip the shell into four pieces by pulling the turtle’s four legs? If you are not going to rip the hard shell into pieces, then we’ll end up with five pieces, not four,” Trunk Fairy explained.

“Turtle shells don’t go by piece. You can’t say a piece of shell, can you? You just said five pieces and that’s wrong,” Flower Fairy argued.

“There are a total of thirteen blocks on a turtle shell. So four is wrong and five is also wrong,” Branch Fairy clarified.

“I said rip into five pieces. I didn’t say there are five blocks on a turtle shell. You are obviously confused,” Branch Fairy snubbed.

Root Fairy picked it up this time. “You are only ripping the body of the turtle into four pieces and leaving the turtle’s hard shell alone. So you can only say ‘Rip it into four pieces plus a hard shell that can’t be ripped apart.’ That’s why what you just said, ‘Rip it into five pieces,’ is faulty wording. And it’s not only faulty wording, but also completely wrong.”

“Big brother, you just said it wrong! Faulty wording is not completely wrong, and completely wrong can’t be faulty wording. These two are totally different. How can you mix them all up and confuse one with the other?” Leaf Fairy commented.

Hearing those six rattling on and on, Linghu Chong would have burst into loud laughter if he weren’t on the verge between life and death. Those guys’ words and acts were extremely funny and laughable, yet he only became more and more annoyed. Then he thought better of it.

“What are the odds of bumping into six such unique and matchless freaks? Such a chance has got to be hard to come by. This must be a trick from the Mighty Creator, maybe one of his rare jokes. To have the chance to be present personally on such a grand occasion is really something. I guess my life has its worth already. I really should make a toast for that.”

At that thought, his unrestrained spirit took over. “Give me…give me some wine!” he shouted.

Hearing these words, Peach Valley’s Six Fairies immediately found themselves in much merrier spirits. “Excellent! Excellent! He wants to drink wine, then he’s not gonna die,” they all said.

“Doesn’t matter if…if I am gonna die…die or not. I’ve got to…got to drink my fill first,” Linghu Chong muttered in between groans.

“Sure, sure! I’ll go get some wine,” Branch Fairy replied, and soon he brought back a big kettle of wine.

Linghu Chong’s spirit immediately shot up when he smelled the wonderful scent of wine. “Feed me,” he requested.

 Branch Fairy plugged the kettle spout into Linghu Chong’s mouth and slowly poured the wine into it. A moment later, Linghu Chong finished the entire kettle of wine to the last drop, and his mind also started to work better.

“My Master…always said that among all…all the great heroes…in the world, the toughest had to be Peach…Peach…Peach….”

“Among all the great heroes in the world, the toughest had to be the Peach what?” Peach Valley’s Six Fairies asked in unison, all feeling totally anxious as if someone was tickling their hearts with a feather.

“Had to be…to be Peach…Peach…Peach….”

“Peach Valley’s Six Fairies!” the six Fairies said in unison.

“That’s right,” Linghu Chong confirmed. “My Master also said that he really wished to have the chance of drinking together with Peach Valley’s Six Fairies and make friends with them, then he would ask those six…six great…great….”

“Six great heroes!” Peach Valley’s Six Fairies said in unison.

“Yeah,” Linghu Chong confirmed again. “Then he would ask those six great heroes to give all the apprentices a demonstration and perform…perform their unique and superb Kung Fu skills….”

Peach Valley’s Six Fairies all started talking immediately afterwards.

“Then what next?”

“How does your Master know that we have superb Kung Fu skills?”

“The Head Master of the Huashan School is really a very nice guy! We’ve got to make sure that we don’t even break a branch on Mount Huashan.”

“That’s of course! We won’t even let anyone else break a branch on Mount Huashan.”

“We’ll be very glad to make friends with your Master. Let’s go up Mount Huashan right now!”

Linghu Chong quickly picked up the line. “Right! Let’s go up Mount Huashan right now!”

Wasting no time, Peach Valley’s Six Fairies carried Linghu Chong and immediately headed toward Mount Huashan. After walking for quite a while, Root Fairy suddenly cried out.

“Wait a minute! The little nun wanted us to bring the lad to see her. Why are we taking him to Mount Huashan? If we don’t bring the lad to see the little nun, wouldn’t we have just…just…ah…won another bet? Two wins in a row! That will be quite embarrassing.”

“Big brother said it right this time. Let’s first bring him to see the little nun. We will go up Mount Huashan afterwards so we won’t be winning it one more time,” Trunk Fairy agreed.

The six of them turned around and started heading south.

“Does the little nun want to see a living person or a dead one?” Linghu Chong asked, feeling very worried.

“Of course she wants to see a living lad, not a dead lad,” Root Fairy answered.

“If you don’t send me up Mount Huashan, I will shut down my arteries immediately and never come back to life again,” Linghu Chong threatened.

“That’s great! It must be a very advanced technique to be able to shut down your arteries. Please tell us the details,” Fruit Fairy said happily.

“As soon as you master this technique, you drop dead instantly. What good does it do to learn that technique?” Trunk Fairy rebuffed.

“It is still useful. If you were forced…forced by others to do things and your life have become a living hell, and all there left are unbearable worries, then it makes perfect sense to shut down your own arteries,” Linghu Chong claimed while panting hard.

Peach Valley’s Six Fairies’ faces fell at those words. “The little nun just wants to see you. She has no ill intention. We aren’t forcing you either.”

“I know the six of you have very good intents,” Linghu Chong said with a sigh, “but if I can’t tell my Master and get his permission first, I won’t comply even if that means I’ll have to give up my life. Besides, my Master and Master-Wife had long wished to meet the six…six…legendary…great… great…great….”

“Great heroes!” Peach Valley’s Six Fairies said in unison.

Linghu Chong nodded his confirmation.

“Fine! We’ll send you back to Mount Huashan then,” Root Fairy finally agreed.

Several hours later, the group of seven was back on Mount Huashan once again.

As soon as the apprentices of Huashan School spotted the group of seven, they dashed back and reported it to Yue Buqun. Hearing that the six freaks that kidnapped Linghu Chong had just returned, the Yue couple immediately greeted out with a bunch of apprentices, feeling completely astounded.

Peach Valley’s Six Fairies all traveled at great speed, so as soon as the Yue Couple stepped out of the “House of Integrity” they could already see the six freaks walking toward them along the stone slab road. Two of the six freaks carried a stretcher with Linghu Chong lying still on it.

Madam Yue rushed forward hurriedly to check on Linghu Chong. What immediately caught her eyes were his two sunken cheeks and a sallow face. She reached out to check his pulse, but what she found only confirmed the worst. Linghu Chong’s pulse was so weak and out of order. He was barely alive.

“Chong, Chong!” Madam Yue cried in shock.

“Master…Master…Master-Wife!” Linghu Chong murmured after he slowly opened his eyes.

“Chong, I’ll seek revenge for you!” Tear filled Madam’s eyes as she drew her sword, ready to stab Flower Fairy, who was one of the two carrying the stretcher.

“Wait!” Yue Buqun shouted. He cupped his hands and saluted the Peach Valley’s Six Fairies. “Please pardon me for having not greeted the six of you with proper manners. Will you bestow me the honor by informing me your names and which school you’re from?”

Hearing those words, the Peach Valley’s Six Fairies were stunned with a mixed feeling of anger and disappointment. When they heard Linghu Chong’s words, they had thought that Yue Buqun had truly admired them, the six brothers. Who would have expected that the first sentence out of Yue Buqun’s mouth was actually asking for their names? Obviously Yue knew absolutely nothing about the Peach Valley’s Six Fairies.

“We heard that you truly admired us six brothers. Could that be a false statement? But how can you be so ignorant of us? What a shame!” Root Fairy said.

“Didn’t you say that among all the great heroes the toughest had to be Peach Valley’s Six Fairies? Aha, I got it! The name Peach Valley’s Six Fairies must have long resounded in your ears, but you simply have no clue that we are the Peach Valley’s Six Fairies. Guess we can’t blame you,” Trunk Fairies followed.

“Second brother, he said that he really wished to have a drink with Peach Valley’s Six Fairies and make friends with them, but once the six of us really showed up on Mount Huashan, he looked neither wildly happy nor willing to get us some wine. So it turned out that he does know the Six Fairies’ great fame but doesn’t know the Six Fairies’ faces. Ha-ha! That is so hilarious,” Branch Fairy picked up the line.

Yue Buqun was completely baffled by those words. Not able to make any sense out of them, he simply replied coldly, “You call yourselves the Peach Valley’s Six Fairies. I am only an ordinary person. How dare I make friends with six Fairies?”

Peach Valley’s Six Fairies instantly felt great joy.

“That would be no problem! We are friends of your apprentice, so we might as well make friends with you,” Branch Fairy declared.

“Even though your Kung Fu skills are too ordinary, we won’t be looking down upon you. You don’t have to worry,” Fruit Fairy comforted him.

“If you have any questions in your Kung Fu study, you can feel free to ask us. Of course we’ll give you some pointers,” Flower Fairy promised.

“Oh, many thanks for that!” Yue Buqun said with a slight smile.

“You don’t need to thank us. Now that we, Peach Valley’s Six Fairies, consider you a friend, then of course we’ll say everything we know with no reserve,” Trunk Fairy replied.

“Why don’t I demonstrate some cool techniques to everyone of the Huashan School and widen your horizons?” Fruit Fairy suggested.

Madam Yue had no idea that the six brothers were really a bunch of childish and artless guys who lacked common senses. What they said were actually meant for showing their sincere kindness. But these words sounded so offensive and insulting in Madam Yue’s ears. She could no longer hold her anger. Raising her arm evenly with her shoulder, she pointed the sword tip right at Fruit Fairy’s Solar Plexus.

“Great! Let me get my lesson first and check out your special Kung Fu in weaponry,” Madam Yue rebuked.

“The Peach Valley’s Six Fairies rarely use weapons when we spar with people. Didn’t you say that you truly admired our Kung Fu skills? How come you didn’t know that part?” Fruit Fairy said with a grin.

In Madam Yue’s ears, Fruit Fairy’s words sounded even more insulting. “I didn’t know that part!” she yelled as she suddenly made a lunge with her long sword. The thrust was so rapid and sudden, carrying a tremendous force with it.

Fruit Fairy had already thought of Madam Yue as a friend and never expected her to start such a fierce attack all of a sudden. Within a split of a second, the sword tip had already reached his chest. If he had wanted to defend himself, he would still have had enough time to do so with his superb Kung Fu skills, but since he was such a cowardly type, he was simply struck dumb and completely forgot to dodge, only watching in terror as the sword penetrated his body.

Branch Fairy leapt forward hurriedly and struck Madam Yue in the shoulder with his palm. Madam Yue let go of her sword and stumbled a couple of steps back, leaving the long sword stabbed into Fairy’s chest, wobbling up and down.

Root Fairy and the rest Fairies all gasped in terror. Branch Fairy picked up Fruit Fairy and leapt back in a hurry while the rest four Fairies rushed forward and lifted Madam Yue by her four limbs in incredible speed. Yue Buqun knew too well what was going to happen next – the four freaks would tear at the same time and rip Madam Yue’s body into four pieces. Even though he was pretty good at staying calm, his wrist still trembled as he sent out two thrusts toward Root Fairy and Leaf Fairy separately with his long sword.

Lying on the stretcher, Linghu Chong could still see the dangerous state his Master-Wife was in. In great despair, he struggled up and shouted.

“Don’t hurt my Master-Wife! Or I will shut down all my arteries!”

Before his voice even faded, blood had squired out from his mouth. Linghu Chong fell back down unconscious.

“That lad is gonna shut down his arteries. We can’t let that happen! Let go of the bitch!” Root Fairy yelled out as he dodged the thrust from Yue Buqun.

The four Fairies dropped Madam Yue on the ground. Greatly worried about Fruit Fairy’s fatal injury, they ran after Branch Fairy and Fruit Fairy quickly.

Yue Buqun and Yue Lingshan rushed over to Madam Yue’s side at the same time. Before they even had a chance to reach out and prop Madam Yue up, she had already leapt back onto her own feet. Feeling a mixture of extreme terror and rage, she couldn’t help but tremble. Her face looked completely pale and sallow.

“Junior apprentice sister, don’t be angry. We’ll seek our revenge for sure. Those six guys are very tough enemies. Fortunately you have already killed one of them,” Yue Buqun whispered.

Madam Yue’s heart hammered even more as she remembered the scene several days earlier when Cheng Buyou was ripped apart alive. “I…I…I…,” she murmured yet could no longer speak normally because her entire body was still shaking hard.

“Lingshan, why don’t you take your mother back in to have a rest,” Yue Buqun said to his daughter, knowing that his wife had been completely horrified.

Yue Buqun walked by Linghu Chong to check on him. There was blood all over Linghu Chong’s face and chest. His breathing was so weak that it almost seemed there was more air breathed out of him than what was breathed in – he was not going to make it. Yue Buqun placed his palm on top of Linghu Chong’s Ling-Tai Point on the back in an attempt to use his own high-level inner energy to keep Linghu Chong alive, but as soon as he tried to fill his inner energy in through the pressure point, several streams of weird inner energy inside Linghu Chong’s body immediately countered it with a big shock and almost shook his palm off. Completely astounded, he soon discovered that those lunatic energy streams were clashing against each other nonstop inside Linghu Chong’s body as well. He put his palm next to Tan-Zhong Point on Linghu Chong’s chest, and sure enough, a strong shock struck his palm so hard that even his own chest started hurting with a dull pain. Yue Buqun was astonished even more this time. He could tell that those energy streams inside Linghu Chong’s body flew in odd ways. Apparently they came from some type of advanced yet unorthodox Qi-Gong techniques. Even though each energy stream by itself was slightly weaker than his “Divine Art of Violet Twilight,” as soon as two of them attack in the same direction or at the time, he could no longer hold them off on his own. After some more careful detection, he counted a total of six energy streams inside Linghu Chong, and each of them was weird and bizarre. Afraid to continue, Yue Buqun pulled his palm back and pondered.

“There are a total of six energy streams, then of course it had to be those six freaks who filled those into Chong’s body. The six freaks are so vicious. They must have tortured Chong so badly by filling their own inner energy into six different channels inside Chong’s body, so Chong would suffer constantly, and wouldn’t even have the option to end his own misery by committing suicide.”

Yue Buqun knitted his brows heavily and shook his head. After telling Gao Gengming and Lu Dayou to carry Linghu Chong inside he went to check on his wife.

Madam Yue was still in shock. While sitting on the bedside holding her daughter’s hands, she looked terrified, her face as white as a sheet. As soon as she saw Yue Buqun, she asked,

“How’s Chong doing? How serious is his injury?”

Yue Buqun explained how the six energy streams clashed and fought each other inside Linghu Chong’s body.

“We’ve got to dissolve those six heterodox energy streams one by one. Do you think there’s still time?” Madam Yue asked.

Yue Buqun raised his head and pondered. After a long while, he finally spoke again.

“Junior apprentice sister, what’s your opinion on why the six freaks tortured Chong so badly?

“I guess they wanted Chong to give in and surrender. Or maybe they were trying to force out some kind of secret of our school from him. Chong of course would rather die than submit. That’s why the six ugly freaks tortured him,” Madam Yue suggested.

“That would be a logical explanation in ordinary situations,” Yue Buqun nodded. “But our school doesn’t have any secret. Those six freaks don’t know us at all and have no grudges against us. Why would they send him back after successfully kidnapping him in the first place?”

“I am afraid…Nah, it couldn’t be.” Madam Yue thought of an idea but immediately dismissed it because it did not really make a lot of sense.

The couple stared at each other in silence, each pondering hard with knitted brows.

“Although our school doesn’t have any secret, Huashan style Kung Fu has a great reputation. Maybe those six freaks kidnapped big apprentice brother so they could force him to tell the key elements of our school’s Qi-Gong techniques and sword art techniques.” Yue Lingshan couldn’t help but cut in.

“I’ve thought about this,” Yue Buqun said, “but Chong’s inner energy isn’t that advanced. Those six freaks have very advanced inner energy themselves, so they could easily tell. And regarding sword skills, the six freaks’ Kung Fu style is far from Huashan style sword art. They don’t have anything in common. It makes no sense for them to go through so much trouble just for that. Besides, if they did want to compel Chong into telling them about sword techniques, they should have gone to somewhere far from Mount Huashan so they could torture and force Chong with no rush. Why did they bring him back here?”

From Yue Buqun’s tone of voice, Madam Yue could tell that he was getting more and more affirmative. Having been his wife for so many years, she knew that her husband had already solved the mystery. So she asked, “Then what’s really the reason behind?”

“Use Chong’s internal injury to exhaust my inner energy,” Yue Buqun said slowly, his face looking solemn and serious.

Madam Yue jumped onto her feet. “That’s right! In order to save Chong’s life, you’ve got to use your own inner energy to dissolve those six energy streams. By the time you are about to succeed, if those six ugly freaks suddenly came, while you would be totally exhausted, they would be at their ease, then they could easily kill all of us.”

She paused for a brief moment and then continued. “Fortunately there are only five freaks left. Senior apprentice brother, they had already taken me a prisoner earlier. Why did they let me go after Chong shouted at them?” She felt the terror again as she remembered the horrible incident she had just experienced moments earlier. Her voice trembled again.

“That’s exactly the cause for my conclusion.” Yue Buqun explained. “You killed one of them. They must have had extraordinary hatred for us. But they immediately set you free only because they were afraid that Chong would shut down his own arteries and commit suicide. Think about it. If they didn’t have a big conspiracy, why would they value Chong’s life so much?”

“Their wickedness and ruthlessness are to the extreme!” Madam Yue murmured as she thought to herself, “When the four freaks ripped Cheng Buyou into pieces, they showed tremendous cruelty. Such level of cruelty is rarely seen in the entire Martial World. In the last several days, my heart has been hammering every time I thought about it. Their interruption did put a pause on Feng Buping’s plan to take over the Head Master post. Feng Buping ended up leaving disappointed with Lu Bai and the bunch. Those six freaks definitely took care of the problem for the Huashan School temporarily. Who would have thought that they would come back to Mount Huashan to cause more trouble? It must have been just like what senior apprentice brother has figured out.”

At that thought, Madam Yue said, “You can’t work on Chong with your inner energy. My inner energy mastery is far less than yours, but let’s hope it’s good enough to keep him alive temporarily.” She started to head toward the door.

“Junior apprentice sister!” Yue Buqun called out.

Madam Yue paused and turned her head back.

“It’s no use. Those six freaks’ heterodox energy streams are very powerful.” Yue Buqun shook his head.

“So only your ‘Divine Art of Violet Twilight’ is capable of dissolving them, isn’t it? What should we do then?” Madam Yue asked.

“Right now we can only take one step at a time and see where it will lead us. Let’s first keep him breathing. That doesn’t require much of my inner energy anyway,” Yue Buqun suggested.

The three went into the room Linghu Chong was placed in. Madam Yue’s tears started rolling again as soon as she saw Linghu Chong lying there motionless, hardly breathing at all. She reached out to check on Linghu Chong’s pulse, but Yue Buqun caught her hand with his own. He let her hand go after shaking his head slightly. Pressing both hands onto Linghu Chong’s palms, Yue Buqun slowly passed his inner energy over. As soon as his inner energy clashed with the energy streams inside Linghu Chong, Yue Buqun’s body shook abruptly and he took a step back, his face turning violet.

Linghu Chong suddenly started talking. “Where…where is apprentice brother Lin?”

“Why do you need Little Lin?” Yue Lingshan asked in surprise.

“Before his father…passed away, he wanted me to take a message…to apprentice brother Lin. I haven’t had a chance to tell him…. I am not going to make it this time. Find…find him, hurry.” Linghu Chong murmured, his eyes still shut tight.

Tear started rolling in Yue Lingshan’s eyes. She covered her face and ran out of the room. All the Huashan School apprentices had been waiting outside. Getting the message from Yue Lingshan, Lin Pingzhi went inside right away and walked by Linghu Chong’s bed.

“Big apprentice brother, you need to take care!” Lin Pingzhi said.

“Is…is this apprentice brother Lin?” Linghu Chong asked.

“Yes, it’s me,” Lin Pingzhi answered.

“Right…right before your father…passed away, I was by…by his side. He wanted me to…to tell…you…” Linghu Chong’s voice became weaker and weaker as if he had ran out of breath. Everyone held his or her breaths. The room was swept with dead silence.

After quite a while Linghu Chong finally caught his breath. He continued, “He said that you should take good care of the thing in the old Lin House at the Xiang-Yang Alley in Fuzhou. But…but you shall never read…read it, or…or great misfortune will fall upon you…!”

“The old Lin House at the Xiang-Yang Alley? That has been left vacant for a good while. There is nothing of importance there. What is this thing that my father told me to not read?” Lin Pingzhi asked in surprise.

“I don’t know. Those are all the words…all the words…your parents wanted me to tell you. They didn’t say anything else…before they…passed…passed away….” Linghu Chong’s voice went weaker again.

The four of them waited a few more moments, but Linghu Chong remained silent. Yue Buqun heaved a sigh and then said to Lin Pingzhi and Yue Lingshan,

“Wait here by your big apprentice brother’s side. If his injury has any change, come and tell me right away.”

Lin and Yue both nodded.

The Yue couple went back to their own room, both feeling very depressed. Only moments later, tears slowly streamed down Madam Yue’s cheeks once again.

“Don’t be upset. We’ll definitely avenge Chong,” Yue Buqun assured her.

“Since those six freaks plotted this venomous scheme, they will come back again for sure. If we fight them recklessly, we might not necessarily lose, but if anything goes wrong….” Madam Yue said.

“‘We might not necessarily lose?’ That’s far easier said than done. If we fight three of them together, we would end up a draw at most. If we fight four of them together, then most likely we will lose. If the five of them all jump onto us simultaneously….” Yue Buqun shook his head slowly.

Madam Yue knew herself that the two of them would be no match for the five freaks in a fight, but she had hoped that since her husband’s Kung Fu had greatly improved in the last several years after he successfully mastered the “Divine Art of Violet Twilight,” there might still be a small chance of winning. When she heard Yue Buqun’s words, she became greatly worried.

“Then…then what do we do? Are we going to just fold our arms and await destruction?”

“Don’t get dispirited. A true man can handle both good times and bad times. Winning or losing doesn’t have to be determined right away. It is never too late for revenge, even if we have to wait for ten years,” Yue Buqun suggested.

“Are you suggesting that we run away?” Madam Yue asked.

“We are not running away. We are only avoiding them temporarily. Right now the enemies outnumber us. We only have two, how could we beat the five of them all together? Since you have already killed one of the freaks, we have really gotten the upper hand of it already. Avoiding them temporarily will do no harm to our Huashan School’s reputation. Besides, as long as we keep this to ourselves, outsiders would never know anything about it,” Yue Buqun explained.

Madam Yue said with a sob, “Even though I killed one of the freaks, Chong could die any minute now. We really only…only got even in this conflict. Chong…Chong….” She paused for a second and then said, “Alright, let’s use your idea. We’ll bring Chong together with us and then try to heal his injury gradually.”

Yue Buqun heaved a sigh but didn’t answer.

“Do you mean that we can’t bring Chong with us?” Madam Yue asked anxiously.

“Chong’s injury is very severe. If we bring him with us and travel at double the speed, he won’t even last for an hour,” Yue Buqun replied.

“Then…then what? Isn’t there anything we can do to save him?” Madam Yue asked in despair.

“Alas, I was determined to teach him the ‘Divine Art of Violet Twilight’ the other day. Who would have expected that he went off into wild flights of imagination and tumbled into the evil route of the Sword-Branch? If he had begun studying the secret formula, even just a page or two of it, he would have been able to manage his own inner energy for self-healing and not worry about the six heterodox energy streams.” Yue Buqun heaved a sigh.

“This matter brooks no delay. Why don’t you go teach him the ‘Divine Art of Violet Twilight’ right away? Maybe he won’t be able to understand all of it in his current sick state, but it would still be better than not learning it at all. Or, you can leave the ‘Violet Twilight Manuscript’ with him so he can study on his own following the book.” Madam Yue jumped onto her feet.

Yue Buqun held Madam Yue’s hands into his own and said softly, “Junior apprentice sister, my love for Chong is no less than yours. But think about it. He has been so severely injured. How could he pay attention to me when I teach him the formulas and the various techniques? If I leave the ‘Violet Twilight Manuscript’ with him so he could study from the book by himself when his mind becomes clearer, then when those five freaks come back to Mount Huashan in no time, since Chong would not be capable of defending himself, what’s going to happen to this most valued Qi-Gong manuscript of our Huashan School? Those five freaks would get their hands onto it for sure. And if those heterodox people get hold of the supreme orthodox Qi-Gong manuscript of our Huashan School, and was able to use it to help them harm the society a great deal more, I, Yue Buqun, would stand condemned through the ages.”

Thinking that her husband’s words were quite reasonable, Madam Yue couldn’t help but shed more tears.

“Those five freaks don’t do things in the ordinary order. No one can predict what they might do next. We don’t have any time to waste. Let’s get on the road right away,” Yue Buqun said.

“Are we just going to leave Chong here and let those five freaks torture him more? I’ll stay to guard him,” Madam Yue proposed.

As soon as the words came out of her mouth, she immediately realized that it was just an act on impulse of an ordinary housewife, not something that would suit her status as the “Heroine of the Huashan School.” If she stayed, it would only result in sacrificing one more life for nothing. How could she protect Linghu Chong at all? Besides, if she had decided to stay, then how would her husband and daughter ever agree to leave Mount Huashan without her? Feeling great worries and sorrows, her tears poured down nonstop.

Yue Buqun shook his head and let out a long sigh. He moved aside his pillow and took out a thin iron box. After removing the lid, he took out a brocade-covered booklet. Putting the booklet inside his chest pocket, he pushed the door open and walked out. To his surprise, he found Yue Lingshan standing outside the door.

“Daddy, I am afraid that big apprentice brother…is not going to pull through,” Yue Lingshan said.

“What happened?” Yue Buqun asked in shock.

“He keeps raving about things and it seems that he is in a state of delirium,” Yue Lingshan replied.

“What did he rave about?” Yue Buqun asked.

“I don’t understand what he raved about,” Yue Lingshan answered with a blush.

It turned out that under the torment from those six energy streams in his body, and seeing Yue Lingshan standing right in front of him, in his wooziness, Linghu Chong blunted out without thinking,

“Little apprentice sister, I…I really miss you! Have you fallen in love with apprentice brother Lin and decided to ignore me now?”

Even in her wildest imagination, Yue Lingshan had never expected that Linghu Chong would ask such a question right in front of Lin Pingzhi. She blushed big time, feeling ultimately embarrassed. Then she heard Linghu Chong murmuring again.

“Little apprentice sister, we grew up together since we were kids. We played together and practiced sword art together. I…I really don’t know how and where I displeased you. If you are mad at me, you can punch me. You can swear at me. Even if…even if you stab me with your sword I won’t have any complaints. But please don’t be so cold to me and totally ignore me….”

Linghu Chong had been thinking about those words again and again inwardly over the last couple of months. If he were to be conscious, he would not have dared to speak them out even if he was with Yue Lingshan alone. But since he had no self-constraint at the moment, he really spilled his heart out.

“I’ll just be outside,” Lin Pingzhi said in embarrassment.

“No, no! You stay here and watch over big apprentice brother,” Yue Lingshan uttered and then rushed out of the door.

She ran straight toward her parents’ room, but when she arrived at the door, she heard the using “Divine Art of Violet Twilight” to heal the injury discussion between her parents, so she waited at the door, daring not to interrupt.

“Go send out my order to everyone. I want everybody to come to the ‘House of Integrity’,” Yue Buqun said to Yue Lingshan.

“Yes, but what about big apprentice brother? Who’s going to care for him?” Yue Lingshan asked.

“Tell Dayou to look after him,” Yue Buqun answered.

Yue Lingshan took the order and then went on her way to inform everyone. Soon, all of Huashan School apprentices had gathered in the “House of Integrity” and lined up based on school seniority. Yue Buqun sat down in the armchair in the middle. Madam Yue sat in a chair next to him.

After casting a quick glance at the crowd and confirming that all except Linghu Chong and Lu Dayou had arrived. Yue Buqun started addressing all the apprentices.

“Among last generation senior masters of our sword school, some of them strayed into the wrong road. They kept perfecting sword techniques but ignored the practice of inner energy with Qi-Gong techniques. They hardly realized that all advanced martial arts require Qi-Gong techniques to build a solid foundation. If one can’t master Qi-Gong techniques, then regardless of how well he has mastered his sword techniques, he would never be able to reach the acme of martial arts. But unfortunately, those last generation senior masters obstinately stuck to a wrong course. They went on their own way to create a new branch called Huashan Sword-Branch and called our orthodox Kung Fu Huashan Qi-Branch. The dispute between the Qi-Branch and the Sword-Branch went on for many decades, which greatly obstructed the development and growth of our Huashan School. What a great calamity it is.” He paused and heaved a deep sigh.

Madam Yue thought inwardly, “Those five freaks could show up any moment, and you are still here telling old stories with leisure.” She cast a side-glance to her husband but dared not to interrupt. Throwing a peek at the inscribed board where it said “House of Integrity,” she thought to herself, “At the time when I first joined Huashan School to learn sword art, the words inscribed on the board were really ‘Force of Sword Towering the Clouds.’ But now it has been changed to ‘House of Integrity.’ No one even remembers where the old board might be. Alas, I was only a thirteen-year-old little girl at the time. Now…now….”

Yue Buqun continued. “But what’s righteous and what’s evil, what’s right and what’s wrong, the truth would eventually shine at the end. Twenty-five years ago, the Sword-Branch took a crushing defeat and withdrew from our Huashan School. I have been the Head Master of the Huashan School ever since. Several days ago, a group of expelled apprentices of our school, Feng Buping, Cheng Buyou, and some others, came back to Mount Huashan. I am not sure how they did it, but they succeeded in convincing the Alliance Chief of the Five Mountains Sword Alliance, Chief Zuo, by cheats and lies, and came to seize the Head Master post of our Huashan School with Alliance Chief Zuo’s Command Flag. I have been holding the post of Head Master in our school for many years. There are plenty of tedious internal tasks associated with the job, not mentioning all the things to deal with when the five sword schools meet. I’ve long thought about relinquishing my post in favor of somebody more qualified, so I could dedicate myself to the task of studying advanced Qi-Gong techniques of our school. I should really be only too glad to hear that somebody is willing to take over with the duties.” At that word, he paused again.

“Master, Feng Buping and the other Sword-Branch expelled apprentices have all gone on the evil route. They are really no different from members of the Demon Cult. We should never even let them come back to join our Huashan School, how can we ever let them take the Head Master post of our school with their wishful thinking?” Gao Gengming commented.

“We’ll never let their audacious plot succeed!” Lao Denuo, Liang Fa, Shi Daizi, and the rest of the apprentices exclaimed all together.

Seeing that all the apprentices’ feeling ran high, Yue Buqun let out a slight smile. “It’s really not important whether I am the Head Master or not. But if the heterodox people from the Sword-Branch ruled our school, all the hundreds of years worth of Huashan School’s vast comprehensive and profound Kung Fu techniques would all be destroyed in a moment. When we one day return to the underworld, how would we ever face the spirits of many generations of Huashan School senior masters? And the reputation of our Huashan School would be held in contempt by everyone in the Martial World.”

“That’s right! How can we ever let that happen?” Lao Denuo and the bunch of apprentices said in unison.

“I wouldn’t worry too much about Feng Buping and the rest of the Sword-Branch expelled apprentices,” Yue Buqun went on. “But since they were able to bring the Command Flag of the Five Mountains Sword Alliance and also able to collaborate with people from Songshan, Taishan, and Hengshan those schools, this is no small matter. That’s why….” He swept his eyes over the apprentices and then spoke again. “We’ll be leaving today to see Alliance Chief Zuo at Mount Songshan, and have it out with him.”

All the apprentices were shocked. The Songshan Sword School was the leader in the Five Mountains Sword Alliance, and the Head Master of the Songshan School, Zuo Lengchan, was considered a top notch in the Martial World. Not only had his Kung Fu skills reached the acme of perfection, his reputation as a quick-witted and resourceful mind was also well known. Anytime when the name “Alliance Chief Zuo” was mentioned, everyone would get a shiver of cold. In the Martial World, when one had it out with someone else, the dispute normally wouldn’t stop at an oral discussion. Any heated word might lead to a fierce physical fight. All the apprentices couldn’t help but thinking the same thought.

“Master’s Kung Fu is excellent, but he most likely is still no match for Alliance Chief Zuo. Besides, the Songshan School’s Alliance Chief Zuo has twelve apprentice brothers. People in the Marital World call them the ‘Thirteen Guardians of Songshan.’ Even though ‘Great Songyang Palm’ Fei Bin has passed away, there are still a total of twelve of them left. And each of the twelve is a first-class elite fighter – someone a second-generation Huashan apprentice would have no chance of resisting. Isn’t it a bit too reckless to stir up trouble on Mount Songshan?”

Every one of the apprentices thought so, yet no one dared to speak up.

Hearing what her husband had just said, Madam Yue immediately praised inwardly. “This idea is awesome! We are leaving our base, Mount Huashan, so we could avoid the five Peach Valley’s freaks. Once the news spreads out, Huashan School would have no face left. But if we were heading up Mount Songshan to have it out with Alliance Chief Zuo, others would only admire our courage. Alliance Chief Zuo is not the unreasonable type. Once we get to Mount Songshan, it’s not necessary that we’ll end up in a deadly fight. There’s gonna be a lot of rooms and cushions in between.” So she immediately picked up the line.

“That’s right! Feng Buping did bring the Command Flag of the Five Mountains Sword Alliance up Mount Huashan. But who knows, he could very possibly have stolen or robbed the Command Flag from someone else. Even if it’s true that Alliance Chief Zuo did award them the Command Flag of the Five Mountains Sword Alliance, this is the internal matter of our Huashan School. The Songshan School has no say in this at all. Sure, Songshan School has a lot more members, and Alliance Chief Zuo has superb Kung Fu skills, but we, Huashan School members, would rather die than submit. Any one of you who has no guts and is afraid might as well stay.”

None of the apprentices wanted to look like a coward, so they all answered, “We will follow Master and Master-Wife’s orders and never hesitate to go through fire and water for Master and Master-Wife.”

“Perfect! The matter brooks no delay. Go pack your stuff. We’ll get on the road in one hour.” Madam Yue commanded.

Before starting the trip, Madam Yue went to check on Linghu Chong again. Seeing Linghu Chong’s lifeless face, she felt great pain and grievance deep in her heart. But the five Peach Valley’s freaks could come back in any moment. She simply couldn’t risk having Mount Huashan completely wiped out just for Linghu Chong’s sake. So she had Lu Dayou move Linghu Chong into the little hut at the back.

“Dayou,” she said, “we are going to Mount Songshan to have it out with Alliance Chief Zuo for the sake of our Huashan School’s future. This is going to be a very risky trip. We just hope that under the direction from your Master, we will be able to uphold justice and all come back safely. Chong’s injury is very severe. You will take good care of him. If any enemy comes to attack, try your best to avoid conflict even if you have to endure humiliation. Don’t get Chong and yourself killed for nothing.”

Lu Dayou nodded his acknowledgement with tears in his eyes.

After Lu Dayou saw Master, Master-Wife, and all the apprentice brothers and sisters off Mount Huashan, he went back to the little hut where Linghu Chong was resting. By now, the entire Huashan School on Mount Huashan only had two residents – one was his big apprentice brother who was still in a coma, the other one was himself, completely alone and on his own. He found himself in a state of anxiety. The deepening dusk only made him more afraid of the unforeseen future.

After making a pot of rice soup in the kitchen, he filled a bowl and propped Linghu Chong up to have some. Only at the third swallow, Linghu Chong coughed all the soup out. The white rice soup had turned red. Linghu Chong must have coughed all the blood in his stomach out together with it. While feeling terrified, Lu Dayou helped Linghu Chong lie down again. Setting the soup bowl down, he stared at the darkness outside of the window blankly and fell into a trance. He had no idea how long he had been in a daze when several owl caws woke him.

“It is said that when an owl caws, it is really counting a patient’s eyebrows,” he thought. “By the time the owl finishes counting, it would be the moment for the patient to die.” So he put his finger into his mouth to gather some spit and then smeared it on Linghu Chong’s eyebrows so the owl would have a real hard job counting them.

Suddenly sounds of footsteps came from the mountain path. Lu Dayou blew out the oil lamp hurriedly. His sword in his hand, he guarded by Linghu Chong’s bedside. The sounds came closer and closer, and it seemed that someone was heading straight toward the little hut. Lu Dayou’s heart almost jumped out of his chest. He thought to himself, “It seems that the enemy knows very well that big apprentice brother is resting over here. That’s terrible! How can I protect big apprentice brother from any harm?”

Then he heard a girl’s voice whispering into the room, “Monkey Six, are you inside?” It turned out to be the voice of Yue Lingshan.

“Is that little apprentice sister? I…I am in here,” Lu Dayou answered with unspeakable joy. He lit the oil lamp again, but in the hurry and excitement, he splashed the oil all over his hands.

Yue Lingshan pushed the door open and walked in. “How’s big apprentice brother?” she asked.

“He just coughed some more blood,” Lu Dayou answered.

Yue Lingshan walked by the bedside and reached out to feel Linghu Chong’s forehead. It was burning hot.

“How come he’s coughing blood again?” she asked in a frown.

Suddenly, Linghu Chong spoke out. “Little…little apprentice sister, is it you?”

“Yes, big apprentice brother. How do you feel right now?” Yue Lingshan asked softly.

“I…I’m feeling…alright,” Linghu Chong murmured.

Yue Lingshan took out a pack from her chest pocket.

“Big apprentice brother, this is ‘Violet Twilight Manuscript.’ Dad said that….”

“Violet Twilight Manuscript?” Linghu Chong uttered in surprise.

“That’s right. Dad said that you are suffering from heterodox Kung Fu masters’ energy streams and only our own school’s most supreme inner energy techniques can dissolve them. Monkey Six, you read the manuscript word by word for big apprentice brother. But you must not study any of it yourself. Otherwise, if Dad finds out about it, humph, you know the consequences,” Yue Lingshan exclaimed.

Lu Dayou was overjoyed. He answered hurriedly, “I am just a bum. How would I ever dare to secretly study the most supreme inner energy techniques of our school? You can rest assured. This is great! In order to save big apprentice brother’s life, Master is even willing to make an exception and bestow the manuscript to him. Thank goodness, big apprentice brother can be saved now.”

“You must not mention this to anyone. I stole the manuscript from underneath my dad’s pillow,” Yue Lingshan whispered.

“Whaaaat? Did you just say that you stole Master’s…Master’s manuscript of inner energy techniques? What if Master finds it out?” Lu Dayou was shocked.

“So what? You think I am gonna get killed for doing this? Dad will probably give me a good beating and scolding at most. If big apprentice brother could survive because of it, Mom and Dad will surely be overjoyed and forgive me for what I did,” Yue Lingshan answered.

“Right! Right! Saving life is the more urgent matter here,” Lu Dayou said in agreement.

“Little apprentice sister, you bring it back to…to Master,” Linghu Chong suddenly interrupted.

“Why?” Yue Lingshan asked in surprise. “It was no easy task to steal the manuscript, and I had to travel miles of mountain path in the dark to make it back. Why don’t you want it? This is not a matter of studying Kung Fu on the sly; this is a matter of life and death.”

“She’s right! Big apprentice brother, you don’t have to study everything out of it, just enough so you can dissolve those six freaks’ evil energy streams. Then you can return the manuscript back to Master. By then, Master will probably bestow the manuscript to you officially. You are the head apprentice of our school, so of course you are the one who will get awarded this manuscript. Who else will ever have the opportunity? You are only getting it a bit earlier. What’s the matter?” Lu Dayou couldn’t agree more.

“I…I would rather die than disobey Master’s will,” Linghu Chong replied. “Master said it before that I can’t…study the Divine Art of Violet Twilight. Little…little apprentice sister, little…little apprentice sister….” Not able to catch his breath, Linghu Chong fell unconscious again.

Yue Lingshan checked under his nose. The breathing was weak, but at least he was still breathing. After a sigh, she said to Lu Dayou, “I’ve got to head back. Mom and Dad are gonna be so worried if I don’t make it back to the temple by dawn. Talk to big apprentice brother, will you? Ask him to do as I said and study the Violet Twilight Manuscript. Tell him to not forget that….” She blushed for a second and then finished the sentence. “…I went through all the trouble of running about just for him.”

“I will definitely talk to him,” Lu Dayou replied. “Little apprentice sister, where are you lodging at?”

We lodged at White-Horse Temple tonight,” Yue Lingshan answered.

“Oh, White-Horse Temple is like ten miles from here. Little apprentice sister, I am sure big apprentice brother will never forget the trouble you have gone through to make a twenty-mile round trip in one night.”

“I only wish that he could survive and recover. That would be the best. What does it matter if he remembers this or not?” Yue Lingshan sobbed.

She gently set the Violet Twilight Manuscript booklet at the head of the bed. After staring at Linghu Chong’s face for a moment, she ran out of the door.

Linghu Chong didn’t wake up until over two hours later. Before he even opened his eyes, he had already cried out, “Little…apprentice sister, little apprentice sister!”

“She left already,” Lu Dayou said.

“She left?” Linghu Chong cried out. All of a sudden, he sat up and grabbed onto Lu Dayou’s collar band.

That gave Lu Dayou a good jolt. He explained hurriedly, “Yes, little apprentice sister has left. She said that if she couldn’t make it back before dawn, Master and Master-Wife would get worried. Big apprentice brother, why don’t you lie down to rest?”

“She…she left? She left with apprentice brother Lin?” Linghu Chong murmured as if he didn’t catch any of Lu Dayou’s words.

“She is together with Master and Master-Wife,” Lu Dayou explained. But Linghu Chong only responded with a blank stare and a twitched face.

“Big apprentice brother,” Lu Dayou said in a soft voice, “little apprentice sister cares about you very much. A young girl like her, running back from White-Horse Temple late at night, making a round trip of twenty miles, she really has deep affections for you. Before she left, she urged me again and again. She wants you to study the Violet Twilight Manuscript and not to forget…forget her feelings for you.”

“Did she say that?” Linghu Chong asked.

“Yeah! Would I dare lie to you?” Lu Dayou replied.

Linghu Chong could no longer hold himself steady. The back of his head banged heavily against the brick bed as he fell back down, but he didn’t feel any pain at all.

That gave Lu Dayou another jolt.

“Big apprentice brother, let me read it for you,” Lu Dayou said. He picked up the Violet Twilight Manuscript. Turning to the first page, he started reading.

“All forms of martial arts use inner energy as the base. The vast amount of righteous energy is bestowed upon us from Heaven. But ordinary people are ignorant of the right way to preserve the energy and let their emotions to stand in the way instead. The perils of a martial are violent, arrogant, cruel, and evil. Being violent causes disturbance to the spirit, thus disrupts the energy flow; being arrogant causes separation of spirit, thus makes the energy impetuous; being cruel causes the void of humanity, thus drains the energy source; being evil causes vicious behavior, thus shortens the energy breath. Those four perils are all like blades that would block and cut off energy flow….”

“What are you reading?” Linghu Chong asked.

“That was the first chapter of the Violet Twilight Manuscript,” Lu Dayou answered. “And after those, it’s like this…,” he went on reading.

“Abstain the four perils and return to many types of delicate kindness. Restrain your violent and cruel emotion to preserve your righteous energy stream. Beat the Heaven Drum, drink the Jade Honey, rinse the Corona Pool, and tap the Golden Beam. Follow the way and soon the effect will show.”

“This is the secret formula of our school. By reading it recklessly, you have already violated our school rule. Put it away immediately,” Linghu Chong admonished in a strict voice.

“Big apprentice brother, in urgent circumstances, a true man would do what is expedient, instead of rigidly adhere to details. Right now it’s more important to save your life. Let me read to you some more,” Lu Dayou said. He went on reading and the scripts started explaining the details of the advanced Qi-Gong techniques like how to “beat the Heaven Drum and drink the Jade Honey” and how to “rinse the Corona Pool and tap the Golden Beam.”

“Shut up!” Linghu Chong yelled out loudly.

Lu Dayou was taken by shock. He raised his head and asked, “Big apprentice brother, are you…are you alright? Where does it hurt?”

“My entire body hurts when I hear…hear you read Master’s…manuscript of inner energy techniques. Are you trying to make me a…disloyal and dishonorable man?” Linghu Chong roared angrily.

“No, no! How would that make you disloyal and dishonorable?” Lu Dayou was astounded.

“Master brought the Violet Twilight Manuscript up to the ‘Cliff of Contemplation’ the other day and wanted to teach me the techniques. But he found out that not only my way of practicing was way off, but also my natural endowment, so he changed his mind…mind….” Linghu Chong panted heavily and had a hard time to speak on.

“This time, it’s for the sake of saving your life, not about studying the Kung Fu in sly, so…so it’s a totally different matter,” Lu Dayou argued.

“As apprentices, which is more important, our own lives or Master’s orders?” Linghu Chong asked.

“The most important thing is that Master and Master-Wife both want you to stay alive, let alone…let alone little apprentice sister’s affections for you. She had to make such a long round trip late at night. How can you let her down?” Lu Dayou said.

Linghu Chong felt a sudden urge to cry but he worked hard to hold the tears back.

“Just because she…she brought it here for me…I…Linghu Chong am a man with pride. Why would I ever take pity from others?”

As soon as those words came out, his body shivered as he pondered upon himself, “I am never a stickler for regulations. In order to save myself, what’s the big deal if I do study the inner energy techniques of our own school? So the real reason why I don’t want to study the Divine Art of Violet Twilight is because I am mad at little apprentice sister. Deep in my heart, I resented the fact that little apprentice treats apprentice brother Lin with much affection and treats me coldly. Linghu Chong, look at you. When have you become so stingy?” But when he thought that by the time of dawn, Yue Lingshan would join Lin Pingzhi again on the long trip to Mount Songshan and they would travel side by side, chatting and singing folk songs together again, he could no longer hold on to his tears.

“Big apprentice brother, you’ve thought it wrong. Little apprentice sister grew up together with you. You…you are almost like brother and sister,” Lu Dayou persuaded.

“That’s exactly what I don’t want to be: brother and sister,” Linghu Chong thought, but he couldn’t speak it out loud.

Lu Dayou continued. “I’ll read on. You listen carefully. If you can’t memorize it, I’ll read it a couple of more times. All forms of martial arts use inner energy as the base. The vast amount of righteous energy is bestowed upon us from Heaven….”

“Stop it!” Linghu Chong yelled out in a stern voice.

“Sure, sure, big apprentice brother,” Lu Dayou answered. “In hope for your speedy recovery, I have no other choice but to disobey your order. I’ll take all the blames for breaking Master’s order. You don’t want to listen, but I just wouldn’t let you. It was I, Lu Dayou, who insisted on reading it. You never even touched the Violet Twilight Manuscript with a finger of yours. You never looked at a word in the manuscript either. What’s your fault? You are laid up in bed and simply can’t help it. It’s I, Lu Dayou, who forced you to study it. All forms of martial arts use inner energy as the base. The vast amount of righteous energy is bestowed upon us from Heaven….” He just read on and on in a flow of eloquence.

Linghu Chong tried to ignore it, but words after words forced their way into his ears. He suddenly groaned loudly.

“Big apprentice brother, are you alright?” Lu Dayou asked hurriedly.

“Will you please pad…pad my pillow…pillow a bit higher?” Linghu Chong asked.

“Sure.” Lu Dayou answered and reached forward to pad Linghu Chong’s pillow.

Suddenly, Linghu Chong jabbed forward with all this strength, and his finger jabbed right onto the Tan-Zhong point on Lu Dayou’s chest. Lu Dayou fell down onto the bed without even a groan.

“Sixth apprentice brother, I am sorry I have to do this. You can rest on bed for half a day and then your sealed pressure point…point will open by itself.” Linghu Chong said with a wry smile.

Linghu Chong slowly struggled his way off the bed. Throwing a stare at the Violet Twilight Manuscript booklet for a moment, he finally heaved a sigh and walked by the door. Picking up the door bolt leaning against the wall, he used it as a crutch and stumbled out the door.

Greatly worried, Lu Dayou called out, “Big…big…where…are you…going…?”

Normally when someone’s Tan-Zhong point was sealed, he would not be able to talk at all, but because Linghu Chong was so weak, his jab only made Lu Dayou’s arms and legs numb and failed to completely paralyze him.

Linghu Chong turned his head back. “Sixth apprentice brother, I want to stay as far away from the Violet Twilight Manuscript as possible. I don’t want anyone to see my dead body next to the manuscript and think that I studied the supreme techniques on the sly and died from fire deviation…I don’t want to be looked down on by apprentice brother Lin….” At that word, he coughed again. More blood gushed out of his mouth and dripped down by his chin.

Afraid that he might not be able to leave at all with his almost exhausted strength from any more delay, he took a deep breath and walked forward with the help from the door bolt. Relying on his strong will, he slowly made his way forward and ultimately disappeared in the dark.

 

 Three religions: Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. Nine schools of thought: the Confucians, the Taoists, the Yin-Yang, the Legalists, the Logicians, the Mohists, the Political Strategists, the Eclectics, and the Agriculturists.

 A phrase used to include all aspects of weaponry. The eighteen types of weaponry are: Saber, spear, sword, halberd, axe, battle-axe, hook, fork, whip, mace, hammer, talon, trident-halberd, cudgel, long-handled spear, short cudgel, stick, and meteor hammer.

 According to Chinese Medical Theory, these are main and collateral channels, regarded as a network of passages, through which vital energy circulates and along which the acupuncture points are distributed.

 Tai Chi is really a term used by ancient Chinese philosophers to refer to the infinite universe.

 Heaven Drum (Tian-Gu), Jade Honey (Yu-Jiang), Corona Pool (Hua-Chi), and Golden Beam (Jin-Liang) are four different major acupuncture points on a human body.