Part 9 - Trapped In Ice

“Up till now, there are six maps. One treasure and six maps, that is very strange.”

At the end of the road was a manor; it was not a very grand manor. But every brick, every tile, every room was built with care and flawless. After walking through the courtyard they came into the main hall, it seemed that there were no servants, but everything looked very tidy. Xiao Yu’er was panting and staggering now, the young man secretly supported Xiao Yu’er.

Xiao Yu’er gratefully smiled: “Thank you, what is your name?”

The young man’s face turned red and said: “My name is Gu Renyu.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “You’re not a Murong?”

Gu Renyu’s face was still red and said: “I am their cousin.”

Xiao Yu’er smiled: “You’re very nice, but a bit too honest. You look like a girl, blushing all the time.”

Gu Renyu stuttered: “I…I….”

If he did not have thick eyebrows and was not that tall and muscular, he did not look like a man. Xiao Yu’er would have mistaken him for a girl.

The ninth Miss did not stop and walked through the main hall and through the corridor, but they could not see anyone here. Finally she walked to a small garden with two, three elegant gates on both sides, she stopped there and said: “Enter.” With that she turned around and walked away again.

Gu Renyu said: “Please…please go inside. This is…this is my room.”

Tie Xinlan smiled too: “I think this is the only room suitable for men.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Hmm, with the exception of you, only women live here.”

Gu Renyu stared at Xiao Yu’er with some disbelief and said: “Haven’t you heard of the names of the nine Murong sisters before?”

Tie Xinlan was sitting and had closed her eyes for a moment, but when she heard this she opened her eyes again and exclaimed: “You mean the [Nine elegant ladies of the realm]?”

Gu Renyu blushed again and said softly: “Yes, you’re right.”

Xiao Yu’er looked at Tie Xinlan and smiled: “You know this too, tell me how formidable these Murong sisters are.”

Tie Xinlan sighed: “These nine sisters are excelled in every field of martial arts, from lightness, projectiles and so on. All of them are both beautiful and intelligent. They almost know anything, so a lot of people in the realm would like to have a Murong sister as spouse.”

Xiao Yu’er blinked and laughed: “Are they all married now?”

Tie Xinlan said: “All of them are married with the exception of the ninth sister, the other eight are either married to young masters of prominent Wulin families or famous young heroes…”

Xiao Yu’er laughed loudly: “No wonder everyone fears them in the realm, even if people are not afraid of the Murong sisters, they should be afraid of the eight accomplished husbands.”

His face gradually became black and breathed quite heavily now, but it did not stop him from laughing and joking.

He patted Gu Renyu’s shoulder and laughed: “Just stay close to her and pay a lot of attention to her, sooner or later she will notice you.”

Gu Renyu’s face turned even redder now, he lowered his head and looked secretly at Tie Xinlan. He said: “It is really my mother’s wishes that I would….”

At this point, that ninth Miss of the Murong family appeared, he scoffed: “Yes, these are auntie’s wishes. You’re not too keen on being treated coldly.”

Gu Renyu could almost crawl under a table and stuttered: “I didn’t…I did not mean it that way….”

Murong Jiumei said coldly: “Young master Gu, nobody invited you over and nobody will ask you to stay. Auntie thinks you’re very special, but nobody here shares that idea.”

She did not look at Gu Renyu anymore; she threw a black jaded bottle on the table in front of Xiao Yu’er. She coldly said: “Take half and smear the other half on your wound, in six hours you will be healed. And by then I want you to be gone.”

Xiao Yu’er grinned: “I have never begged for your help and I don’t want you to become my wife. There is no need for you to act conceited and such, you may think that you’re special but I don’t share that idea.”

Murong Jiumei turned around and looked at him coldly.

Xiao Yu’er pretended not to notice that, he opened the bottle swallowed half the contents, licking his lips and said: “Very sour.”

And then he smeared the remaining half on his wound. He was an intelligent man; although he was nitpicking it did not stop him from using the medicine.

Murong Jiumei hatefully looked at him, in her cold eyes there was almost a spark of fire, she slowly said: “Although I saved you, I can still kill you.”

Xiao Yu’er stuck out his tongue and laughed: “You won’t, because you look vicious but deep in your hear you are very kind.”

Somehow, Murong Jiumei blushed now, and then sternly said: “Leave now! Don’t let me ever see you again! Or else I will poke out your eyes, cut off your tongue and then kill you.”

Gu Renyu was terrified, he never saw the always cold and cool Murong Jiumei being furious. He had certainly never heard her say such bitter words before.

Xiao Yu’er still grinned: “I will leave, but don’t beg me to return when I am gone.”

Murong Jiumei was trembling with anger and said: “You…..You….”

Suddenly from afar someone shouted: “Murong Jiumei, where are you? You little sister has come to see you.”

The speaker was very fast before she was finished, she was standing outside, and Murong Jiumei bit her lip and gracefully walked outside.

When Xiao Yu’er heard that voice, his smile was gone. Tie Xinlan’s face turned pale and said: “Is it the Little Fairy Zhang Qing?”

Gu Renyu said: “You’re…you’re right. She is a good friend of the ninth Miss.”

Xiao Yu’er slowly sat down and smiled wryly: “What a small world…..”

He heard Zhang Qing laughing: “Well, aren’t we arrogant nowadays? Don’t you come out to greet friends anymore?”

Murong Jiumei said: “Who knows where you wander off to? I haven’t scolded you for forgetting about me for such a long time, you have a lot of nerves to lecture me first.”

Zhang Qing laughed: “Ha! Our ninth Miss really knows how to talk, her cheeks are all red, and you’re becoming more beautiful by the day. Tell me, how many people have come asking for your hand.”

Murong Jiumei said: “Stop being so annoying.”

Zhang Qing said: “I don’t think your heart finds this question annoying.”

Murong Jiumei coldly said: “I will never marry anyone in my life.”

Zhang Qing said: “You’re right! All men are despicable and deserve to die! Especially those who look quite handsome and have a sharp tongue.”

It was like she was talking about Xiao Yu’er, judging by her tone she deeply resented and hated Xiao Yu’er. Tie Xinlan’s limbs felt cold and asked softly: “What shall we do?”

Xiao Yu’er sighed: “We can’t run, we can’t fight. I can’t think of anything.”

After he was finished, Zhang Qing had entered. She exclaimed with shock: “How come you’re here too?”

Xiao Yu’er grinned: “Long time no see, how are you doing?”

Murong Jiumei frowned and asked: “Sister Qing, do you know him?”

Zhang Qing hatefully said: “I know him, of course I know him. But…but why is he here?”

Murong Jiumei casually said: “He was injured just outside, I….”

Xiao Yu’er loudly interrupted: “Don’t ask anymore. I am neither friend nor relative of the Murong family. I am injured now, if you want to kill me go ahead. You don’t have to give face to anyone and I will not fight back.”

Zhang Qing sneered: “Can you fight back?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “If I can fight back, you would be lying on the ground now.”

Zhang Qing slapped him and angrily said: “Stop talking!”

Xiao Yu’er did not move, and laughed: “I will keep quiet, what else can I say. You fell into my hands twice, I should blame myself for taking pity on you and sparing your life twice.”

His words were righteous and fair and quite moving, but he did not mention how he managed to defeat Zhang Qing those two times.

Murong Jiumei could not help herself but to ask: “Sister Qing, did you really fall into his hands twice?”

Zhang Qing was furious now, but she did not know how to retort Xiao Yu’er. When Murong Jiumei saw Zhang Qing’s anger, her expression changed awfully strange too.

Xiao Yu’er saw that and said with an astounded tone: “Miss Murong, let her kill me. Even if I am killed in your home, I know you look down upon her and I won’t blame you.”

Zhang Qing was boiling with anger and laughed: “You really think I won’t kill you!”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I know you can and will, the famous Little Fairy Zhang Qing is not afraid of anyone. And especially not afraid of a person who can’t fight back.”

Zhang Qing roared and her fingers looked like swords and were aimed at the temples of Xiao Yu’er. Xiao Yu’er did not move, but Tie Xinlan was scared stiff.

Suddenly a figure stood in front of Xiao Yu’er, Murong Jiumei blocked Zhang Qing. The fingers of Zhang Qing almost made contact with Murong Jiumei, she quickly retracted her attack.

She angrily shouted: “Are you siding with the enemy?”

Murong Jiumei said casually: “If it was somewhere else, I would not care who you would kill. However, she should show some respect here, sister Qing.”

Zhang Qing said: “I will apologize to you after I have killed him.”

Murong Jiumei said: “Ever since this manor was built, blood was never spilled here, nor allowed to be spilled. If you really want to break this rule, I suggest you do it now.”

Zhang Qing stamped her feet and said: “You don’t know how horrible, this little brat is.”

Murong Jiumei said: “That can be true, but you just have to wait till he…”

Zhang Qing shouted: “I can’t wait any longer.”

She changed movements seven times, hoping to evade Murong Jiumei, however Murong Jiumei quickly adapted every change she made. Even if Murong Jiumei did not block Zhang Qing and allowed her to pass, Zhang Qing would not have killed Xiao Yu’er. However, when she saw that Murong Jiumei kept blocking her, she became angrier and angrier and really wanted to kill him. She stretched out her hand and her fingers attacked Murong Jiumei seven times. Murong Jiumei avoided those seven stances and coldly said: “Sister Qing, you attacked me first, don’t blame me for being rude.”

Zhang Qing did not stop her attacks and said coldly: “Whenever I set my mind to something nobody can stop me! Not even you, just use her famous Murong needles on me…..”

She was interrupted with a powerful blast. Zhang Qing shifted her body to avoid that fist, she shouted: “Little sister Gu! You’re joining the fight too.”

Xiao Yu’er chuckled: [So he has the nickname little sister Gu, it really suits him. He is too honest, but his martial arts are very solid, worthy of a descendant of prominent martial arts family. That conceited Zhang Qing can’t defeat him.]

He did not know that Gu Renyu looked very shy and honest, but his martial arts are quite good. He is known in the realm as the Jade-faced Divine Fists Gu Renyu.

Zhang Qing looked at them and put her hands on her waist and said: “What are you waiting for?”

Xiao Yu’er was thinking the same thing: [What are you waiting for? Fight!]

But Gu Renyu just stood there not moving, he lowered his head and said: “If Miss Zhang will stop fighting I would dream of lifting my finger against you.”

Zhang Qing sneered: “The heir of the famous Divine fists of the Gu family is a useless coward. The only thing you can do is flatter up to Miss Murong here.”

Gu Renyu just stood there, not saying another word.

Zhang Qing stamped her feet and said: “Allright! Murong Jiumei, show me what you have in that seven exquisite pouch of yours.”

Murong Jiumei coldly said: “As long you won’t try to kill people here, I won’t fight you.”

Zhang Qing first looked at her and then at Gu Renyu, one was standing in front of a window the other stood in front of the door. With or without intention they had surrounded Zhang Qing.

Xiao Yu’er grinned: “No good looking around, you can’t overcome them. The famous Little Fairy is surrounded.”

Zhang Qing looked at him for a while and laughed: “You want me to fight them and then you can watch and enjoy the fight.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “If you’re too afraid to fight just leave. No need to find an excuse.”

Zhang Qing said: “I am leaving now, if you can hide in here for the rest of your life….My respects! If not the moment you leave this place, I will kill you at once.”

She turned around to Murong Jiumei and smiled: “Unless you marry him and will stay at his side, otherwise I will make sure he dies at my hands. There is no reason why I should fight you, people might say that I am bullying you.”

She took three steps back and disappeared with a sweet laughter. Xiao Yu’er did not expect her to leave like that.

He was stunned and smiled wryly: “Women….women….. The hearts of women….truly mysterious.”

Murong Jiumei sighed softly: “No one can guess the thoughts of her, nor can one perceive her character. I am the only one in the realm who can match her…”

Xiao Yu’er blinked his eyes and asked: “In other words, only you and her are worthy of being called heroes?”

Murong Jiumei said: “Yes.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “Who should be number one?”

Murong Jiumei said after some thinking: “She handles her affairs most strangely, her temperament keeps changing. Even I cannot guess what she is thinking, she is definitely the most lethal person in the realm.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “How about you?”

Murong Jiumei said coldly: “I don’t interfere in the affairs of the martial arts realm.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “If you would take an interest in the realm, she would be number two, wouldn’t she?”

Murong Jiumei just grunted. Xiao Yu’er said very seriously: “Yes, you are really number one….”

He paused for a moment; Murong Jiumei actually smiled a bit. However, Xiao Yu’er continued: “You’re self absorbing skills should really be ranked number one in the realm.”

Murong Jiumei’s mood changed again, Xiao Yu’er busted out in laughter: “I only thought men were capable of being self absorbed, but women are capable of that too and are even better than in that. You should really go out and have a look, and then you will see that there are countless of people who are just or even more capable than you. Just by closing your own doors and proclaiming to be invincible is just plain stupid, but I can’t help it if you do that.”

Murong Jiumei said: “You….You….”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “You have saved my life twice, but you did that out of your own will. I never begged for it and I won’t you show gratitude. I will certainly not flatter up to you.”

The only thing Murong Jiumei could say was: “Good….Very good….”

She wanted to look at cold and refined, but in vain. She was shaking with anger. She was a cold and not easily aggravated person, but somehow Xiao Yu’er could get to her with just a few sentences.

Gu Renyu said slowly: “She is very kind to you, why do you have to anger her?”

Xiao Yu’er grinned: “I am doing it on purpose, she is much prettier when she is angry. And that cold façade of her is quite annoying.”

Gu Renyu could not help himself but to look at Murong Jiumei. He saw her red cheeks and really made her more attractive than usual. After a look he was completely dazzled and shook his head saying:”You’re right. Much prettier.”

Murong Jiumei looked at him and said: “How dare you say such things in my presence! What do you take me for?”

Gu Renyu was shocked and quickly lowered his head, he said: “You’re not pretty, you’re ugly when you’re angry.”

Tie Xinlan was very worried and pensive, but when she heard that she had to laugh too. Without saying Xiao Yu’er was rolling on the ground laughing.

Two young girls ran through the woods, they giggled and called: “Ninth Miss, Ninth Miss….”

Murong Jiumei was still fuming and did not know how to vent her anger, she angrily shouted: “Why are you shouting? I am not deaf!”

The two maids lowered their heads and said: “Yes, ninth Miss.”

They secretly looked at Xiao Yu’er and said: “The room is ready, Miss. Are you now….”

Murong Jiumei said: “Of course now, I am going to have a look like always.”

The two girls never heard Murong Jiumei talk like this; they only muttered a soft: “Yes.”

They immediately left again. Murong Jiumei coldly said: “Young master Gu, if you have nothing else to do please watch these two here. If not you can go too.”

Gu Renyu said: “I am fine, I will….”

He stuttered some more, but Murong Jiumei had already left. Xiao Yu’er looked at Tie Xinlan for a moment and then followed Murong Jiumei. Gu Renyu looked at her absentmindedly, Tie Xinlan also looked at Xiao Yu’er a bit surprised. Gu Renyu sighed, Tie Xinlan sighed too: “You’re very kind to her, perhaps a bit too kind.”

She was talking about Gu Renyu and Murong Jiumei, but she thought of her and Xiao Yu’er. Why was Gu Renyu so nice to Murong Jiumei? What about Xiao Yu’er…..she was very confused and was caught in her own thoughts, she did not hear what Gu Renyu said. After a while, she said melancholically: “Do you love her?”

Gu Renyu said a bit dumbfounded: “I don’t know.”

Tie Xinlan smiled kindly and said: “How can you not know?”

Gu Renyu sighed: “Everyone thinks that I should love her, even I think I should love her. But….but I don’t know if I love her. I just know that I am afraid of her.”

Tie Xinlan smiled pleasantly: “You’re a very good man.”

Gu Renyu looked at her and then lowered his head saying: “You…you’re a very good person too.”

When Murong Jiumei was in the garden, she turned around and said coldly: “Why are you following me?”

Xiao Yu’er grinned: “I don’t to follow you, but I don’t kill Zhang Qing might find a chance to kill me. I don’t mind dying, but I don’t want to disgrace you.”

Murong Jiumei looked at him for a while not saying anything, then she turned around and walked away again.

Xiao Yu’er followed, he was panting and said sensitively: “I can’t walk anymore. Can you hold my hand?”

Murong Jiumei ignored him and even walked even faster. Xiao Yu’er said: “Let me die of fatigue, you can present my body to Zhang Qing when I am dead. She won’t cause anymore trouble for you when I am dead.”

Murong Jiumei did not look back, but she started to slow down. Xiao Yu’er said: “Some girls just need to look tougher than men. But when they actually meet a man, they will be useless. Hey! Have you ever seen a girl before who is afraid to hold the arm of a man?”

Murong Jiumei could not take it anymore and sneered: “Afraid? I am just….”

Xiao Yu’er interrupted: “You’re just not willing. Nobody likes to admit that they are afraid and not willing is just a better sounding excuse.”

Murong Jiumei turned back and actually held his arm.

Xiao Yu’er followed her again, he grinned: “Your hands are very small, mine should be at least twice…..”

He was talking to her, but he was also carefully observing the gardens, corridors, chambers they passed. They reached a very nice looking garden with beautiful porches, and there were a series of different chambers with different sizes, colours and designs. Xiao Yu’er counted nine chambers in total; they must be the rooms of the Murong sisters. The first chamber was cream yellow, Murong Jiumei pushed open the doors and entered. The curtains, tablecloths and bedding with all cream yellow. The room was simply decorated, but it looked very smart and sophisticated.

Murong Jiumei examined everything carefully, she inspected if there was any dust. Xiao Yu’er looked at her and asked: “Is this the room of your oldest sister? Is she coming back?”

Murong Jiumei said: “Is it allright to let her room covered in the dust when she is not here?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Right, even if she isn’t coming back everything has to be tidy too. It seems you have a good bond with your sisters.”

Suddenly he did not spout nonsense anymore, Murong Jiumei could not guess his intentions and merely grunted.

Xiao Yu’er said: “Your eldest sister must be a very sophisticated, refined and tranquil person. Not to mention gentle and beautiful. There are not many women like her in this world, who is her husband?”

Murong Jiumei finally looked at him and said: “Nobody is good enough to be her husband, but if one should look the closest match would be my eldest brother-in-law.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “How are his martial arts?”

Murong Jiumei said coldly: “Have you ever heard of the Splendid Jade Swordsman?”

Originally, she intended not to speak to this annoying brat anymore. But somehow, she started a conversation with him. The brat talked to her about something she loved to discuss. Xiao Yu’er could aggravate her with just a few sentences, but he could also pacify her again with another few sentences.

The second room was all pink, on the walls hung short swords, long bows even the scabbards of the swords were red. Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Your second sister must be very different from your eldest sister. She is a very frank and open person and has quite a temper. But she is a very nice person and is also very considerate.”

Murong Jiumei stayed quiet for a while, but in the end she asked: “How did you know?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “The secretive weaponry of the Murong family is renowned in the realm, but your sister seems to love using bows. That would point out that she is a rather open and frank, loving simplicity instead of complex projectiles and such.”

Murong Jiumei said: “Hmm and what else?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Users of long swords are usually stable, calm. Users of short swords are usually turbulent, dangerous. Your second sister’s swords almost look like daggers, meaning whenever she gets angered she will go all out and will not hold back.”

Murong Jiumei nodded in agreement and said: “The swordplay of my second sisters is renowned for being turbulent and dangerous throughout the realm.”

Xiao Yu’er smiled: “But your second brother-in-laws’s martial arts are not very high, are they?”

Murong Jiumei was surprised that he said that, she looked at him for a long time and nodded. She said: “My second brother-in-law is the only son of the famous Nangong family. The martial arts of the Nangong family are good and high, but my brother-in-law has always been sickly. That is why…(* sigh).”

Xiao Yu’er clapped his hands and laughed: “That explains it all.”

Murong Jiumei asked: “What do you mean?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “When she married to your brother-in-law, she left all her weapons at home. Meaning that her husband’s martial arts are clearly beneath her own and because she is a considerate person she deliberately left her own weapons back. She did not want to harm the feelings of her husband, she is truly a kind and considerate woman.”

Murong Jiumei silently looked at him for a while, and then they went to the third room.

The walls of the third room were covered with black wallpaper; the room was a bit dark. However, the room was decorated with style and elegance. There was a go board, a painter’s accessories and painting of lady painting hung at the wall. There was an inscription [Murong Lady]; it must be her own work.

Xiao Yu’er looked around and smiled: “Your third sister must be a literary talent, but she is a bit of a loner. She must be a rather melancholic person, but most literary women are like that.”

Murong Jiumei said slowly: “She does not like sunshine, she likes rain and she always paints or plays the qin [1] when it rains. It sometimes seems that she does not belong to this mortal world. Her music sounds so celestial, unfortunately…unfortunately I haven’t heard it in a long time.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “What about your third brother-in-law?”

Murong Jiumei said: “He is a true prodigy of the realm, he is excelled in the literary fields. And at the age of 29 he became the Wulin chancellor of the provinces Guangdong and Guangxi.”

Xiao Yu’er smiled: “A perfect match.”

Xiao Yu’er followed Murong Jiumei to each room and after walking out of the eighth room, Murong Jiumei looked

very calm and gentle. She suddenly thought this brat was not that annoying anymore, they finally arrived at the ninth chamber.

The room was light blue, it was the most magnificent and beautiful of all the rooms. Every item in this room was precious and exquisite. Murong Jiumei looked at Xiao Yu’er, as if she asked: [Do you know that this is my room? Can you tell me what kind of person I am?].

Xiao Yu’er looked around for a while, he suddenly laughed: “The owner of this room is different from the others, she is entirely different.”

There was a faint smile on the face of Murong Jiumei, but she still looked cold and indifferent. She just casually asked: “What is different?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Blue means that she is quite self absorbed and pretentious. All those antique just prove that she is childish, prestigious and very common….”

Murong Jiumei could not endure to hear the rest and stormed out the room, she looked very white. She was boiling with anger and did not look at the awful little monster again.

Xiao Yu’er laughed loudly: “If I am wrong, why should you be angry? If I am right, you should not be angry at all.”

Murong Jiumei did not look back and continued to walk, Xiao Yu’er just followed. After making a few turns here and there, they came on a brick road that lead to a big bronze door. Xiao Yu’er could not look beyond that door, but somehow that door had something mysterious and terrifying. He could not explain that feeling, he just saw Murong Jiumei taking out a key and used it to open the door. Without a sound the door opened, a cold air escaped gushed out from the door. Xiao Yu’er felt that this room looked very much like the house of uncle Wan Chunliu. There were all sorts of jars, bottles with herbal medicine. There was also a big copper cauldron for cooking and composing different medicinal herbs or herbal extracts. But the house of Wan Chunliu was built with normal bricks, but this room looked like it was built out of one giant blue stone. The house of Wan Chuliu felt warm and comfortable, but this room was eerie looking and cold.

Murong Jiumei had closed the door again; her normal white face looked a bit greenish in here.

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Miss Murong is a female physician. You are really a talented girl, why have you brought me here? Do you want to examine me?”

Murong Jiumei said: “Yes, you’re right.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “The poison in my body is gone, what else would you like to examine?”

Murong Jiumei said: “You have something in your body which is very annoying, if I cut that off you will be a much better person.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “What would that be?”

Murong Jiumei said coldly: “Your tongue.”

Xiao Yu’er stuck out his tongue and quickly backed away from her, he said: “Do my words really aggravate you that much? If so, I feel very flattered.”

Murong Jiumei turned around and sneered: “These herbal extracts are all very expensive, don’t touch them.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Do you think I will touch them?”

Murong Jiumei smiled coldly: “Go ahead and touch them if you want to. Some of the extracts could prolong life and restore vitality, but there are some extracts that are very poisonous. One mistake and no one can save you.”

Xiao Yu’er stuck out his tongue and said: “Don’t frighten me! I don’t have a lot of courage, I get scared very easily.”

Murong Jiumei said coldly: “If you just stay here and don’t move, no one can harm you.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “With you near me, nobody can harm me.”

Murong Jiumei said: “I have to practise my martial arts, I must leave now.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “Where are you going to? I will follow you.”

Murong Jiumei sternly said: “If you keep following I will kill you myself.”

Xiao Yu’er sighed: “A beautiful girl like you just have to smile and everyone will be at your mercy. Why should you study martial arts, if you reach the desired level you will probably be very old.”

Murong Jiumei did not pay any attention to him and went to another bronze door and used a golden key to open it, she turned around and said: “Don’t enter this room if you do you won’t be able to get out.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “If you lock the door how can I get in.”

Murong Jiumei scoffed: “Yes, you cannot find a way in.”

She passed through the door and the door was closed it again and locked. Xiao Yu’er was not anxious to find out what was on the other side. He stretched himself and muttered: “Women…. Women…..really have a lot problems. Do you think that all the men in the world are fools? And do you think I cannot tell the difference from poison and medicine? I grew up with herbal medicine, I probably know more about it than you do.”

While he was muttering to himself, he was looking about. He said: “No wonder she tried to scare me, most of the extracts here are of good quality. Even uncle Wan could not find some of these herbs and here there are three, four of them. Time to eat something.”

He chose three, four types of herbs and put it in his mouth and started to chew on them. If Murong Jiumei would see it, she would probably go mad with anger again. Some herbs are so rare that even Xiao Yu’er had never seen them before; he just recognized them from the books of Wan Chunliu. Wan Chunliu had been searching for some of those herbs for several decades, but he was unable to find them. These herbs are invaluable; if these herbs boiled into an herbal extract it can even save people with terminal diseases. But Xiao Yu’er just put them in his mouth, similar to a cow eating ginseng; a total waste. In a few moments it was all gone. He rubbed his tummy and said: “You really had a good meal today.”

He walked around opening some bottles and drinking or eating the contents, or he would put some bottles in his clothes. What he could not take away anymore, he would mix the extracts up. He made a funny face and laughed: “Since you have nothing to do, let me create some chores for you.”

If Murong Jiumei had to clean up this mess, she would be busy for at least five, six days.

But Xiao Yu’er was not feeling to comfortable either, eating all those things together made his stomach uncomfortable. He felt like he was on fire, he sat down and thought for a while. He took a copper thread from his clothes and poked into the lock of the other bronze door. He grinned: “Do you really think you can keep me out?”

He put his ear near the lock, he poking the lock with the copper thread, a smile gradually appeared on his face and he muttered: “Yes, that is it…..Right, here is it.”

With that the door opened and cold air gushed out. Xiao Yu’er took a deep breath and said: “Feels wonderful.”

His body felt on fire earlier, but with the cold air gushing out this room he felt much better again. He opened the door and laughed loudly: “Miss Murong, I am inside. I just want to look at your martial arts practice, I won’t disturb you.”

After he was finished, he was flabbergasted. He saw a room made of stone, there was a basement packed with huge cubes of ice. Murong Jiumei sat on an ice cube, her both hands grasped her two legs, her index fingers were pointed at the centre of her feet. She was completely naked. Xiao Yu’er had seen many things in his young life, but he had never seen a naked young woman before. He was never afraid of anything, but to this he was completely taken by surprise.

Murong Jiumei opened her eyes and saw him; her eyes were filled with shame, anger, shock, and humiliation. No words could describe her expression, but she did not move. Xiao Yu’er was stunned for a while, he turned around and looked all around but did not dare to look at Murong Jiumei anymore. He deliberately said: “Where are you, Miss Murong? Why can’t I see you?”

This little brat could perceive the thoughts of girls; he said that just to calm Murong Jiumei a bit.

While he was talking, he turned around and was walking away. He was almost through the door, but then he saw nine drawings on the wall. He could not resist having a look.

On the first drawing was a picture of a naked girl standing upside down on a piece of ice. Next to the drawing were some small characters: [Modulating Stone Craft, only virgins can study this. This is the first step op this craft, within three years success is at grasp.]

The formula is: [Craft of Modulating Stone, when the craft is mastered rotate your energy nine times through your body. Your skin hardens like stone, impervious to wounds. After nine rotations, invincibility is yours….]

Xiao Yu’er was stunned and exclaimed with surprise: “This idiotic skill wants people to become zombies, no wonder Murong Jiumei is such a cold and unfriendly woman.”

He quickly looked at the second drawing, the picture showed a girl standing upside down again and there was another line of characters: [When this level is mastered, rotate your energy twice. First go against the…..]

Xiao Yu’er did not read on, he was absolutely not interested in such an idiotic craft. If a person could turn as cold and hard as a stone, what good will that do even if you become invincible.

The position of the girl on the third drawing was similar to Murong Jiumei’s. Xiao Yu’er felt relieved and muttered: “Fortunately, she has just reached the third drawing. If she had mastered this skill, she would be some monster now. A danger to herself and others.”

He did not bother to look at the other drawings; he tore them of the wall. Murong Jiumei was looking at him, her anger was gone, and she was now begging him with her eyes.

Xiao Yu’er did not look back, he loudly said: “Miss Murong, don’t hate me! I am doing this for your own good. You’re a lively girl, you should live your life to its’ limit and not punish yourself with this martial arts.”

If Murong Jiumei could speak now, she would either curse him or beg him. If she could move, she would eat him up.

But she could not move nor talk, she could just see Xiao Yu’er walking off with those nine drawings. Tears were forming in her eyes now.

Xiao Yu’er threw the nine drawings in the furnace and quickly locked the door. He left and did not look for Tie Xinlan and jumped over the wall.

Xiao Yu’er does things as he pleases, sometimes he is right and sometimes he is wrong. It does not bother him whether it is right or wrong. What he did earlier made him feel good and he did not care about the consequences.

He was not feeling very comfortable now; he was feeling stuffed and warm. He ran through the woods as fast as he could, he felt cooler walking in the shades of the trees.

Xiao Yu’er could not move anymore and was resting under a tree. He was hoping that Zhang Qing would not come now and he also hoped that Murong Jiumei would not come either. He felt warm, stuffed, and itchy all over his body, he muttered: “I wish there was a pond here, I jump into it. All I want is water now…”

A cold voice said: “What you need is a coffin.”

Xiao Yu’er felt a chill running up his spine and a sword was pointed at his neck. He was shocked and smiled wryly: “Women are truly formidable, if men are pursued by women they cannot and never escape.”

The voice said coldly: “That is something you found out too late.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “Who are you? Are you Miss Murong or the Little Fairy?”

The voice said: “Do you think that Murong Jiumei can save you now? You’re dreaming.”

Xiao Yu’er suddenly laughed and muttered: “Good! It’s you! I am very fortunate.”

Zhang Qing did not know that Xiao Yu’er was terrified of Murong Jiumei at this moment, she sneered: “You’re right. You’re very fortunate to pick this path and I was waiting for you right here.”

She just wanted to antagonize Xiao Yu’er; even if Xiao Yu’er took a different path he could not escape her.

Xiao Yu’er said: “Your sword is very fast.”

Zhang Qing said: “It is not too fast, but I think I can cut off your hand and while your mouth is still speaking.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “I really mocked you those two times, killing me with one blow is not sufficient. If I were you, I would think of a way to torture me first.”

Zhang Qing said: “You like to be tortured. That can be arranged, what do you have in mind?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “At least beat me up severely.”

Zhang Qing said coldly: “Do you think I am afraid to hit you.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Well, I think you can’t bear to hit me.”

Suddenly he felt a blow to his neck and another to his back. Zhang Qing gritted her teeth and said: “Very good! Take this….”

She hit him twice and kicked, Xiao Yu’er was sent rolling over the ground, but he laughed loudly: “That feels great.”

He was really enjoying it, because his body was itching all over and Zhang Qing was actually giving him a massage. Zhang Qing angrily said: “Feeling great! If you like it so much, take some more.”

She put more force in her fists and struck Xiao Yu’er heavily on the back. Xiao Yu’er said: “Too soft, try again harder.”

Zhang Qing almost exploded with anger; she saw that Xiao Yu’er did not show signs of pain. She was shocked and could not guess that after eating all those herbs made Xiao Yu’er very resilient. Even an iron hammer could not inflict much damage on him. Zhang Qing’s hands felt tired now; Xiao Yu’er was still shouting: “It feels great, harder please…”

Zhang Qing remembered that fight of earlier; he could withstand all those hits to his body. She really wondered how it was possible that Xiao Yu’er was not afraid of pain.

She was wondering whether she should hit him again or just stop. All of a sudden a cold voice said: “Are you done?”

Zhang Qing turned around and saw Murong Jiumei. Zhang Qing saw that Murong Jiumei’s hair was messy and her eyes were red, her hands were shaking too. Zhang Qing did not expect her to look this; she replied loudly: “I am not done, what are you planning to do?”

Murong Jiumei said: “Then continue.”

Zhang Qing angrily said: “What will you do when I am done.”

Murong Jiumei said: “When you’re done, I want him.”

Zhang Qing scoffed: “We are not on your property anymore, don’t try to stop me. I….”

Murong Jiumei interrupted her: “Did you think that I am here to save him?”

Zhang Qing was stunned by that question and said: “Of course you’re here to save him, why else would you be here? Don’t tell me you want to kill him too?”

Murong Jiumei said: “Yes, I am here to kill him too.”

She moved over to Xiao Yu’er and drew a dagger and wanted to stab him. When Xiao Yu’er saw them both here, he was not afraid anymore. Death was inevitable, why be afraid? He took a look at the dagger and suddenly he saw a flash and heard a metallic clang sound. Zhang Qing used her short sword to intercept the dagger.

Murong Jiumei angrily said: “You wanted to kill him too, why are you stopping me?”

Zhang Qing sneered: “You were trying to protect him earlier, why do you want to kill him now?”

Murong Jiumei shouted: “That is none of your business.”

Zhang Qing said loudly: “I will make it my business.”

Murong Jiumei twirled her wrist and attacked with seven stances, she said: “No matter what, I have to kill him.”

Zhang Qing used her short sword to intercept all seven stances and said: “You did not allow me to kill him earlier, so I won’t allow you to kill now.”

Murong Jiumei jumped away and said coldly: “Fine, you can kill now. I will just stand here and watch.”

Zhang Qing was surprised, she raised her sword but then lowered it again, and she said coldly: ”I won’t kill him now because you want me to do so.”

Murong Jiumei said: “What is the meaning of this?”

Zhang Qing said: “Why should I listen to you?”

Murong Jiumei said: “Just a while ago, you had to kill him. But now you’re trying to save him…..What is wrong? Are you…Are you…..with him…”

Zhang Qing knew what word was left out, her face turned red and said loudly: “You were trying to rescue him from me earlier and now you’re trying to kill him. Are you in ……in….with him too?”

Murong Jiumei’s white face turned red and shouted: “How dare you talk to me like that!”

Zhang Qing shouted back: “You started!”

Both of them exchanged stances now, and their hands felt numb after the exchange of one stance. She backed away from each other ad suddenly both yelled.

Xiao Yu’er was gone. Zhang Qing stamped her feet and blamed Murong Jiumei: “This is all your fault!”

Murong Jiumei blamed Zhang Qing and said: “This is all your fault!”

They said the same words simultaneously and when they both turned red. They looked at each other, and both lowered their heads when their gazes met.

Zhang Qing lifted her head after a moment: “He can’t be far.”

Murong Jiumei lifted her head too and said: “After him!”

They wanted to smile to each other, but they really could not smile now. Zhang Qing bit her lip and said: “If we find him this time, we will kill him at the same time.”

Xiao Yu’er knew that with his lightness martial arts he could not escape, so he did not try to run away. Instead he ran back to the Murong Manor. He jumped over the same wall and went back to that stone house of earlier. He picked up the lock and quickly went inside. He stretched himself and rested on a block of ice, he started to laugh now. When he thought of the looks on Murong Jiumei and Zhang Qing he laughed even louder. Other people might think of them as heroines, literary female prodigies and such, but in his eyes they were just two women. In Xiao Yu’er’s heart men consisted of several hundreds of different types, but women consisted of only one type. His body still felt warm and he started to break some pieces of ice and ate that, he felt much better after consuming some ice and decided to sleep for a while. He was not an ordinary person, because not many people can sleep at a time like this. He slept for some time, suddenly he heard the outer door opening and was aroused. He did not move and even held his breath. He could hear Zhang Qing saying: “It’s very cold.”

Murong Jiumei said: “When my late mother ordered the construction of this ice cellar, it was because my late father did not like the hot weather. And a few ice cubes in the certain cold soups taste extra good in the summer. Furthermore, the ice house is also useful for another reason.”

Zhang Qing asked: “What other reason?”

Murong Jiumei stayed silent for a moment before sighing: “Well, that does not matter now. It is too late for that.”

She sounded disappointed and angry. Xiao Yu’er was really afraid now; he knew that Murong Jiumei really hated him. If they would lock him inside he could never escape.

Zhang Qing asked: “Were you afraid that he would hide in here?”
Murong Jiumei replied: “Hmm.”

Zhang Qing laughed: “You are really too careful. He would not hide in here, that would be suicidal.”

Murong Jiumei said: “I really don’t know, where else could he have disappeared to?”

Zhang Qing sighed: “That rascal is really slippery and clever, the next time we catch him and I won’t even talk to him anymore and I will immediately kill him and be done with it.”

Her voice gradually became softer meaning that she and Murong Jiumei left the icehouse and Xiao Yu’er heard the door being locked. Finally, they have left. Xiao Yu’er thought: [Fortunately, women are too careless, if they had searched this place they would have found me.]

He remained for a while longer and his body began to feel the cold in here. If he had cultivated his internal strength earlier instead of sleeping, his body would have absorbed the essences of those herbs and extracts. However, he just slept and wasting that precious time to absorb the essences.

After resting for some time, he looked through the keyhole he saw Zhang Qing and Murong Jiumei standing in the outer room. Zhang Qing leaned against a wall, thinking of something. Murong Jiumei was looking very pale. Tie Xinlan was also in the outer room; she sat in front of the cauldron. She was picking up the pills that Xiao Yu’er threw on the floor; she was separating them and putting in separate bottles.

She was weeping while she was picking up those pills. Xiao Yu’er frowned when he saw that and thought: [I just wanted to aggravate that Murong Jiumei, but Murong Jiumei must vent her anger on her and told her to do all sorts of hard jobs to compensate.]

But where is Gu Renyu? Gu Renyu must be not allowed to enter this room. Zhang Qing recomposed herself and walked over to Tie Xinlan, Tie Xinlan was a bit startled and dropped all the pills she had in her hands. Xiao Yu’er could hear Zhang Qing talking to Tie Xinlan: “Don’t be afraid. I won’t harm you. We are all deceived by that awful little fiend, we should help each other.”

Tie Xinlan lowered her head and tears flowed.

Zhang Qing smiled: “Let me help you. If we don’t clean up this mess, ninth Miss won’t let us have dinner.”

Murong Jiumei just stood there looking at them coldly not smiling. Xiao Yu’er thought: [Little Fairy looks very fierce, but she is really a nice girl…But all women are like that, you just need to flatter up to them and they will be appeased.]

After some time, Zhang Qing asked: “That map….Did you really let that rascal trick you out of the map?”

Tie Xinlan stayed quiet for a moment before saying: “He did not trick me, I gave it to him.”

Zhang Qing asked: “Why did you give it to him?”

Tie Xinlan lowered her head and just said: “I….I….”

Zhang Qing said: “You must be deceived by him, you….”

Tie Xinlan stood up resolutely and said loudly: “It is my business to whom I give that map, nobody has any say about that.”

Zhang Qing was shocked and exclaimed: “Why are you angry?”

Tie Xinlan said sternly: “Your martial arts are better and higher than mine, but I will not stand it that you laugh at me!”

Zhang Qing shook her head and sighed: “Nobody is laughing at you, nobody is.”

Xiao Yu’er chuckled and thought: [The Little Fairy looks tough from the outside but is soft on the inside, but Tie Xinlan looks weak from the outside but is tough on the inside. Their personalities are very different from each other. Murong Jiumei has started to learn that idiotic martial art ever since she was a child. She is like a cube of ice; her heart must be frozen too. Of the three girls she was the most dangerous and lethal.]

After some time, Zhang Qing asked: “Are you still angry?”

Tie Xinlan lowered her head and it looked she was a bit embarrassed. If someone was threatening her, she would never give in, but if someone treated her nicely she did not know how to react.

Zhang Qing asked: “You must have seen the map too.”

Tie Xinlan said: “Hmm.”

Zhang Qing asked: “Do you still remember it?”

Tie Xinlan said: “I can’t….can’t remember.”

Zhang Qing said: “I don’t want that treasure, I swear I don’t want it. But I…I think that the brat must have gone there. If you can remember where it is we could find him and teach him a lesson.”

Tie Xinlan lowered her head and said: “I really don’t remember, I am not lying.”

Xiao Yu’er looked through the keyhole; he noticed that Tie Xinlan blinked her eyes a few times. He chuckled and thought: [She already knew where the location is. But she won’t reveal it, she may look like honest but she knows how to tell a lie and does quite a good job too.]

But then he thought: [Why does she lie? Is it because of me? But why I treated her quite badly. But she has not said one single bad word about me and when Zhang Qing attacked me she immediately defended me and became angry, why is that?]

He was thinking about it but got confused by his own trail of thoughts, in the end he just thought: [Why should I care what her reasons are? All women are a bit mad.]

All of a sudden, Murong Jiumei walked away, Xiao Yu’er was a bit surprised and then he saw her come back. She was holding a lead ladle and a small urn.

Zhang Qing asked: “What is in there?”

Murong Jiumei replied: “Lead.”

Zhang Qing was surprised and asked: “Lead, what do you want to do with lead?”

Murong Jiumei did not answer, she put the urn on the furnace, there was a sinister glow in her eyes.

She said: “This room has become redundant, I will stuff the keyhole so no one can leave or enter it again.”

Xiao Yu’er saw her evil smile and knew something was wrong. When he heard her, he was terrified. This Murong Jiumei was very vicious; she wanted to trap Xiao Yu’er in here. She had noticed Xiao Yu’er’s presence inside, but did not say a word she knew that Tie Xinlan and Zhang Qing would try to save him.

Xiao Yu’er was shocked and wanted to open pick the lock and storm out. But Murong Jiumei was faster than he was and poured liquid lead on to the keyhole. With that Xiao Yu’er could not see nor hear anything anymore. He could vaguely hear someone knocking on the outer door. Murong Jiumei was afraid that Xiao Yu’er would bang on the door and Zhang Qing, Tie Xinlan would hear him. Nobody could hear Xiao Yu’er anymore.

He was afraid, shocked, he stamped his feet and cursed: “Murong Jiumei, you b-itch! You disgusting, horrible wretch! What have I done to you? I haven’t killed your parents nor have I raped you! Why do you have to use such a cruel method to kill me! It was because I was not interested in that skinny body of yours; otherwise you would be my woman now! If that had happened you would not try something like this!”

He cursed and cursed, he used every expletive he knew. He was a boy who grew up in the Valley of Evil; his cursing technique was really superb.

If Murong Jiumei could hear these words, she would probably cough up blood. Unfortunately, because of the thick walls, no one could hear a single word.

After cursing for a very long time, Xiao Yu’er knew that cursing was useless. He was walking up and down, thinking of a way to escape this place. But this ice cellar was practically airtight for obvious reasons a bit of warm breeze and the ice would melt. This place was prison; Xiao Yu’er could not even dig a small hole in here.

He smiled wryly: “Who says that this room is redundant? It can be used to lock people up, much better than other prisons. It seems that I will soon become a frozen fish.”

He was shivering, he sat down cross-legged and generated his internal power to fight the cold, and before soon he was not feeling cold anymore. Xiao Yu’er was not a very diligent martial arts practitioner, which is why he did not feel bad about that missed opportunity when he could absorb the essence of those herbs he ate. He thinks he is the most intelligent person alive, and never placed a heavy emphasis on his martial arts. Because he is of the assumption that no matter how powerful his adversary is, he cannot compete with pure intelligence. But in situations like this, he has to rely on martial arts. He now feels a bit sorry for wasting such an opportunity earlier.

However, there is still a part of the essence of herbs left in his body, he was cultivating his internal energy and his energy grew due to the herbs. He gradually entered a state of nothingness.

He did not know or realise how much had passed, a few hours a few days even. When he felt hungry he would take out those bottles of medicine or herbs he hid in his clothes and took some. It helped him fight the cold and hunger. But there was no way he could he escape, it seems that he accepted that he was going to die in here sooner or later. What good would mastering invincible martial arts be in here? He felt depressed when he thought of this, but if he did not cultivate his internal energy he would feel cold. He was not afraid to die, but he did not want to suffer too much. He was not an immortal and soon he felt very hungry, internal energy could stop the cold but it could stop the hunger.

He knew death was near. He did not understand that the most intelligent person in this world would die here and at the hands of a woman. He also understood that women are not that easy as he thought they would be. He was blaming himself and muttered: “It never pays to be a good person, if I had killed both Murong Jiumei and Zhang Qing I would not be in this mess….”

He also started to blame Wan Chunliu; if it wasn’t for him he would a true evil person. Utterly ruthless and cruel, he would be hated and cursed at but at least he would stay alive. He was shivering and he felt dizzy, the cold and hunger had caught up with him.

He muttered: “Everyone has to die once, at least I won’t be bothered by women anymore when I am dead.”

All of a sudden, he did not feel the cold anymore. Instead he felt warm, he noticed that the ice was melting. He was surprised and when he touched the wall, it was scorching.

Xiao Yu’er jumped up and said: “What is happening? Does she want to burn me and freeze me to death? That is not right, she treasures the rooms of her sisters as much as her own life. Why would she set fire to the manor?”

He kept walking back and forth; only one wall was a bit cool. So he leaned back against that wall to find some coolness. Suddenly it dawned to him, he muttered: “Enemies of the Murong family must have come, not only have they come to kill but also to burn the Murong Manor to a crisp. Those idiots can burn ten Murong Manors for all I care, but they do not know that I am stuck in this accursed manor too. He was cursing those enemies of the Murong family now.

In a matter of moments, the ice had melted and Xiao Yu’er was drifting in the water. He could not escape now; the water is quite warm now. Xiao Yu’er could not think of plan to escape so he took off his clothes and took a bath.

He is the type that will never be afraid of death unless he is confronted with it. Nobody can force him to be afraid or worried. But now he has reached the point of no return, the water became hotter and hotter. Xiao Yu’er was like a fish that was about to be boiled.

He was hoping the walls would give in before the water boiled him, but there was not even a crack in the walls. He was gradually becoming weak and swallowed some water in. Xiao Yu’er smiled wryly: “This will be a large bowl of fish soup, it’s a shame that I should enjoy it alone….”

Suddenly he heard a series of [ting, tang] sounds, someone was knocking at the door.

Xiao Yu’er found hope again and thought: [Good, this way someone can enjoy the soup too.]

He knew that the fire could not destroy that bronze door, but the keyhole and the lead should be destroyed. If someone would use a mallet and chisel the door could surely be opened.

And surely it did not take long and the door was opened, the water gushed out and Xiao Yu’er allowed himself to be carried out by the water.

The two men outside did not anticipate that there would be so much water inside and they were drenched. Little did they expect to someone would be riding on the rapids of the water. The water flushed Xiao Yu’er quite far away; he just stayed down and did not move. He was starved to death and soaked to death, how could he move?

He narrowed his eyes and focussed, he secretly saw that the fire outside was out. But there was burnt wood, rubble and smoke.

When Xiao Yu’er looked at those two men, he saw that one was tall, muscular and fat. He also had a big beard, he was still looking quite valiant and tough even he was soaked now. Xiao Yu’er suddenly felt that this man resembled an ox. He felt assured again, he thought that this man looked tough but did not look too bright. One or two small lies, he will be tricked.

The other one looked more difficult to handle, he wore a white robe and was much shorter than the other man. He bended his waist all the time and had hunchback, his face looked like it was gourd hanging upside down, and he had a long white beard. If he would walk among a herd of sheep, no one would recognize him from the sheep. It was clear that he was the more dangerous one of the two.

Xiao Yu’er immediately deducted that they were two of the 12 Zodiacs. Probably the white sheep and yellow ox. He gradually understood that that all the 12 Zodiacs did not look like humans, they really resembled animals. It was amazing that there exactly 12 of such characters in the world. The two men looked at Xiao Yu’er and were stunned.

The Yellow Ox said: “I should have never listened to you, years ago I promised myself that I would never listen to you again. But, why did I listen to you this time.”

The White Sheep said: “Listening to me is the smart thing to do.”

The Yellow Ox laughed strangely: “Smart? I am soaking wet now. You said that this icehouse was full of treasures, well where are those treasures?”

The White Sheep said: “This brat is the treasure.”

The Yellow Ox said: “This brat has fine flesh. Brother Li could prepare a nice meal if he was here. But you only eat grass.”

Xiao Yu’er was a bit worried when he was the White Sheep, but when he hear their conversation he knew what to do. He grinned: “Old ox and sheep, how have you been doing lately?”

The Yellow Ox was surprised and said: “This brat knows us.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Well, sometimes brother Dazui would tell me that the bravest of the 12 Zodiacs is the ox and the sheep is the smartest. I am happy to see you today.”

The Yellow Ox laughed loudly: “Thank you, thank you. You’re too kind…”

Suddenly he stopped laughing and carefully watched Xiao Yu’er, he said: “How….How is it possible that you know old brother Li?”

He addressed Li Dazui as old brother Li this time instead of brother Li and he was stuttering now. Xiao Yu’er immediately knew what to do. He said: “Brother Dazui told me that the Yellow Ox of the 12 Zodiacs is his junior. Could it be that you are an uncle of the Yellow Ox?”

The Yellow Ox’s faced turned red and said: “I am the Yellow Ox.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “If that is so, you should call me uncle too. If you carelessly address people, the gap between generations will become very muddled. And brother Dazui won’t be pleased either.”

The Yellow Ox laughed apologetically: “Yes, little brother. But please don’t tell master Li.”

Xiao Yu’er looked stern and said: “You should not address me as [little brother].”

The Yellow Ox stuttered: “Yes….I….I…”

The White Sheep sneered: “If you were not travelling with me, you would probably be sold off and you would not even know who sold you.”

The Yellow Ox looked at him and asked: “What do you mean?”

The White Sheep said: “Do you really believe that this brat is a brother of old master Li? He is even too young to be the son of old master Li.”

The Yellow Ox touched his head and said: “But, his words do make sense.”

The White Sheep said: “You, idiot! He heard what you said earlier and is trying to deceive you now. Let me ask you, why would a brother of old master Li do in the Murong Manor?”

The Yellow Ox said: “He is probably imprisoned by that Murong wretch.”

The White Sheep scoffed “Are you blind? Don’t you realize what the purposes are of that house? That Murong wretch is not an idiot, why would she imprison someone in the room where she stores treasures and valuable medicinal herbs. This brat must know where the treasures are, that is why I said that this brat is the real treasure.”

The Yellow Ox rubbed his head and said to Xiao Yu’er: “You, little brat! I was trying to defend you, but here you were lying to me.”

Xiao Yu’er sneered: “Does this room have to be the place to store treasures and herbs? When there is nothing stored inside, it could serve as a prison. That Murong wretch is not an idiot, why would she flood that house if it was filled with treasures.”

The Yellow Ox clapped his hands and said: “Yes, very true. For instance this hand of mine could caress the face of a woman but it could also slap her. The same theory could apply for this room.”

The White Sheep sneered: “If there is a man who has lived for almost 50 years can still be tricked by a mere boy, that man must be you! If he wants me to believe his lies, he should come up with some proof! For instance…”

Xiao Yu’er clapped his hands and smiled: “Come here and I will show you something.”

He was lying on the ground enjoying the sun, the White Sheep walked over and stood in front of him. All of a sudden the body of Xiao Yu’er slid and his hands and legs attacked the White Sheep. He struck out four fists and kicked at him three times. He performed this series of attacks in one short instant, there was only one person who had studied and created such stances and that man was Li Dazui. This soft of technique looked formidable but is not really useful, why would someone lie on the ground when he is fighting. Unless he was pretending to be ill or injured and wants to launch a sneak attack. Furthermore, there are not too many people who look honest like Li Dazui and have such a vile heart and the tenacity to create such martial arts. If he was not vile, he does not need to pretend to be ill or injured and could not devise such stances. And if he did not look honest, people would not believe him even if he were pretending. So this attack was unique in the realm, it was a trademark of Li Dazui.

The White Sheep was shocked and leapt up; he did not look like a sheep but like a rabbit. If Xiao Yu’er was not too tired now, the White Sheep would be a dead sheep now.

Xiao Yu’er sat down cross-legged and grinned: “Do you believe me now?”

The White Sheep was still recovering from the shock, but the Yellow Ox bowed to Xiao Yu’re three times and said: “Little exalted uncle, I don’t care how old you are even if you were just three days old if you’re a brother of Li Dazui you will be my exalted little uncle.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “How about the old sheep here?”

The White Sheep’s eyes flashed and he lifted his head, saying slowly: “How is old master Li doing in the valley?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Good people die early, he is still around.”

The White Sheep laughed sinisterly: “Everyone in the valley will live at least to be a hundred years. Old master Li will stay there and enjoy the rest he deserves, he won’t come out and be troubled again by worldly affairs.”

Xiao Yu’er rolled his eyes and laughed: “Normally, he wouldn’t.”

The White Sheep was startled and said: “How about now?”

Xiao Yu’er said slowly: “Now. Well, not only is he out but brothers Du and Yin and sister Du are also around. If not how would I dare to walk about on my own.”

The White Sheep’s face turned white and said: “But they….”

Xiao Yu’er said: “They have been trapped in that valley for too long now, and they have all mastered some incredible new martial arts which nobody has seen before. If you were them, would you not do the same thing.”

The White Sheep lowered his head and said: “Yes….do you….Does young master know where they are now?”

He had lowered his head, but Xiao Yu’er could see that his eyes were still flashing and had a something sinister in them. Xiao Yu’er saw that and just smiled: “They always like to be mysterious, even I do not know where they are now.”

The White Sheep was relieved to hear that, but Xiao Yu’er continued: “But who knows? They could be standing behind you now.”

The White Sheep was scared again, but he did not dare to look back.

The Yellow Ox laughed happily: “It would be wonderful if uncle Li would come, we would not have to fear that Murong wretch and her wrath.”

Xiao Yu’er casually asked: “Have you let her escape?”

The Yellow Ox sighed: “We are invited by the snake, but we had longed for the treasures of the Murong Manor for a long time.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “The mere thought of the herbal extracts of the Murong Manor just water your mouth.”

The Yellow Ox smiled wryly: “Unfortunately, that Murong wretch is really clever. Somehow she knew that we would attack and had already left before we came.”

Xiao Yu’er was shocked and exclaimed: “She ran off?”

The Yellow Ox hatefully said: “Not only that, she took everything valuable with her. She did not even bother to lock the door. She just left a note [Trespassers, die]. Arrogant little b-itch!”

Xiao Yu’er agreed: “The arrogant little b-itch!”

He guessed the motive why Murong Jiumei had left. Zhang Qing and Tie Xinlan must think that Xiao Yu’er had escaped and they are eager to find him. Murong Jiumei knows that they have a weak spot for Xiao Yu’er and will obviously not reveal where she hid Xiao Yu’er. She would naturally go along with them so she won’t give herself away.

When he thought of this, he cursed: “That b-itch is not only but she is also vicious. It is a good thing that you burnt her manor down. Who started the fire, I have to buy him a drink….two drinks even.”

The Yellow Ox said: “The people who started the fire have already left, but we can…”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Yes, we can still drink. We will only stop after drinking a few hundred cups. We can drink while we are on our way. I will take you to see Li Dazui, and when we see someone we like we can even ….well, we will find out what we will do then.”

The Yellow Ox clapped his hands and said: “Marvellous!”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “What about you old sheep?”

The White Sheep stuttered: “I….I….”

Xiao Yu’er said: “If you don’t want to go, I am not going to force you. When I see brother Dazui, I will just tell him that you were not too keen on seeing him again.”

The White Sheep said loudly: “Who said that? Old ox, did you hear me say that?”

He pulled the Yellow Ox and said: “Let’s go, why are we still standing here?”

And indeed the three of them travelled together, drinking along the way. Xiao Yu’er noticed that he was a talent in drinking liquor too, he could never become intoxicated. He sometimes wondered what happened to all that wine he drank, it did not even affect a bit. And his belly did not grow.

The Yellow Ox and the White Sheep obeyed his every command, Xiao Yu’er never had to worry about eating, drinking and sleeping arrangements. They took care of it for him. While they were travelling, the two of them did not even question where Xiao Yu’er was taking them. These two demons of the 12 Zodiacs were totally obedient to this young boy; nobody would believe this if they did not see it.

On their way they saw a lot of Wulin people, whenever those Wulin people saw them they would turn around or evade them. Some of these people did not recognize whom they met, but they quite taken by the strange looks of the ox and sheep and nobody dare to mess with them.

After entering YanmenPass, Xiao Yu’er noticed that some people were following them but kept a noticeable distance. Wherever they went, they would follow. But they all looked respectful and did not speak; it is obvious that they were not here to trouble them.

Xiao Yu’er looked at the ox and the sheep to see if their faces changed. But there was nothing on their faces; Xiao Yu’er did not say anything. After arriving at Jiange, they found an inn and lodged there.

Xiao Yu’er said: “Qu wine and spicy hot chicken, excellent!”

The Yellow Ox agreed and laughed. Normally, if Xiao Yu’er would say something they would immediately bring it over. But today they just sat there.

After some time Xiao Yu’er said: “If it is good, why won’t you get some for us?”

The Yellow Ox laughed: “From today onwards, we won’t have to get things personally.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Do you expect me to do it?”

The White Sheep said: “We wouldn’t dare to trouble young master to do such lowly jobs.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “But if we don’t do it and we don’t notify the proprietor who will bring the dishes of food and bottles of wine. It won’t drop from the sky.”

The Yellow Ox chortled: “Just wait and see.”

Xiao Yu’er walked up and down in the room a few times, suddenly someone knocked three times on the door. When they opened the door nobody was there but on the floor there was platter with a plate of spicy hot chicken, a plate of deep-fried pork, a plate with some small cold food, a plate with to fish cooked with tofu and a large bowl of chicken soup and one big bottle of wine, it was fragrant and it was the Qu wine Xiao Yu’er mentioned before.

Xiao Yu’er blinked his eyes and laughed: “The two of you know magic.”

The Yellow Ox laughed: “This isn’t magic, but really filial sons showing proper respect to their elders.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Hmm?”

The White Sheep said: “On our way here, did young master see all those people respectfully following us?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “I thought you just ignored them.”

The Yellow Ox said: “Those are our filial sons and grandsons.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “They are your disciples.”

The Yellow Ox laughed: “What useless disciples! We don’t even know them.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “But why do they follow you?”

The Yellow Ox laughed: “Everyone knows in the realm that whenever the 12 Zodiacs appear, they will be after something invaluable. These sons and grandsons are afraid to do something grand. We, 12 Zodiacs, are only interested in the most valuable items and will usually leave the gold and silver alone. And those scavengers can pick some rather valuable assets here and there.”

The White Sheep said: “Wherever the 12 Zodiacs go, we are always welcomed by friends of the bandit world. If they receive any news, they will even report it to us.”

Xiao Yu’er applauded them and laughed: “No wonder that the 12 Zodiacs are so wealthy and feared, you have eyes and hands everywhere.”

The Yellow Ox laughed: “But this time they are barking up the wrong tree, this time they will gain nothing.”

The White Sheep laughed too: “But they are bringing food over out of their own free will. So, we don’t need to be polite.”

Their laughter was loud but their voices stayed low.

They travelled very comfortably, no matter what they wanted they just had to say it loudly and it would be presented to them. After passing the pass earlier, Xiao Yu’er did not travel east anymore he changed direction to the southwest. They passed through Mianyang, Longquan, MountMei and finally they were near MountEmei. Xiao Yu’er seemed to know the way and wherever he went he just needed to know the name of the place and then he would know what road to take. The scenery of Sichuan province was different from the prairie. Xiao Yu’er was rather happy here; he loved the spicy food and the fine wine.

When they arrived at Emei, he snuck out when the ox and sheep were not paying attention. He would come back when it was very late in the night, the ox and sheep did not ask him where he went. And he did not tell them anything either. He did the same thing the second day and came back late at night. He did the same thing three days in a row. The two of them were very obedient and did not dare to say a word, it seemed that they feared Li Dazui a lot even after all these years.

The Ten Great Malevolents were not to be trifled with.

On the third day, Xiao Yu’er was wandering about in the market; there were Wulin people in almost all the inns, restaurants and such. All of them sat at their tables drinking and eating silently.

Xiao Yu’er did not know what the names were of these people, or if they were bandits or members of orthodox schools. They could even be famous heroes or unknown characters.

From time to time, Xiao Yu’er would see Taoist priests carrying swords. They carried long and thin swords and looked very conceited, it seemed that they looked down upon everyone. Sometimes they would carefully observe people, it did not seem that they were just taking a stroll in the city. They all looked a bit worried. Xiao Yu’er knew that these Taoist priests must belong to the EmeiSchool. The Emei swordsmanship is renowned for being swift and vicious, the disciples of the school would of course be quite arrogant. Besides, this is their terrain, the foot of MountEmei. It was only natural that they would feel proud and carefully watch people here; nobody would question their motives here.

Xiao Yu’er bought a fragrant pouch, half a catty of pork tendons, and half a catty of beef before returning to the inn. When he returned he fought the table full of food, the ox and sheep were waiting for him. The food was getting cold but still they waited for the return of Xiao Yu’er. Xiao Yu’er laughed: “The two of you are very attached to this room, you haven’t left the room for two days now. It is quite nice outside.”

The Yellow Ox said wryly: “We know that it is nice outside, but with our reputation and seeing that is MountEmei we cannot go out.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “Are those damned Taoists of Mount Emei really that formidable?”

The Yellow Ox sighed: “Let us not talk about that, let me pour you a drink first.”

Xiao Yu’er took out what he bought and laughed: “The proprietor of the shop where I bought this has a secret recipe of preparing this beef and tendons. He would soak the meat with wine several decades old and that is why it tastes better than normal dried beef and such. Have some.”

The Yellow Ox laughed: “Those so-called sons and grandsons have sent a lot of food over, my exalted uncle did not need to waste your money.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I just wanted to taste something else.”

The White Sheep said: “In that case, thank you.”

He helped himself to some beef and praised it. Well, the Yellow Ox had already eaten five pieces.

Xiao Yu’er drank two cups of wine, although he was not drunk he was feeling euphoric and laughed: “It seems that Emei swordsmanship is really quite good, all those Wulin people were very silent and looked very pensive. Sooner or later I would like to see how good it is.”

The Yellow Ox laughed: “All those accursed Taoists will run away when they see you.”

The White Sheep looked at the pouch, he said: “Do you really want to go up MountEmei, sir?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I wanted to go up with the two of you, but since you cannot go I will have to go alone.”

The Yellow Ox asked: “When will you depart, sir?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Tomorrow morning.”

The Yellow Ox sighed: “It is a shame that your plans have changed, sir.”

Xiao Yu’er frowned and asked: “What change?”

The Yellow Ox laughed at him, his laugh was very strange.

The White Sheep smiled evilly: “You little bastard! Don’t you know yet?”

The [sir] was dropped now and he called him a little bastard instead. Xiao Yu’er was shocked, but he got up and slammed his hand very hard on the table, he angrily said: “You old goat! How dare…”

But soon he sat down again, his body felt weak all over. The White Sheep laughed: “Little bastard, do you now know why?”

Xiao Yu’er fell down on the floor and said: “There was poison in the wine.”

The Yellow Ox proudly laughed: “We were afraid that we could not trick you, so we drank with you and from the same bottle. The only difference is that we took an antidote before drinking.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “Why did you this?”

The White Sheep said: “Why do you think we went to the Murong Manor? Do you really think those useless herbs of theirs can interest us? The herbal medicines of the Murong family cannot attract the attention of the 12 Zodiacs.”

The Yellow Ox said: “To tell you the truth we came for you.”

The White Sheep said: “In the world you are the only one who knows the location of Yan Nantian’s treasure. Old snake had posted a number of spies near the Murong Manor. He alerted us via carrier pigeons and when we arrived that Murong wretch had already left.”

The Yellow Ox said: “We looked everywhere for you but we could not find you, in our anger we set fire to the manor.”

The White Sheep said: “When the manor was burnt down, we saw the stone house. We thought that you might have offended that Murong girl and was locked inside.”

The Yellow Ox said: “Offending is quite easily with her strange temper….”

When Xiao Yu’er heard this he sighed and asked: “But why were there only you two?”

The Yellow Ox laughed: “We knew that you were a diabolical, cunning little bastard. If we forced you, you might even think of a few cunning plans to escape or even spout nonsense to confuse us. What is worse would be if you managed to escape us.”

The White Sheep said: “Our good fried the Yellow Ox deducted that the first place you would go to was the location of the Yan Nantian treasure. So he came up with a good plan to lead you on.”

Xiao Yu’er carefully looked at the Yellow Ox and asked: “Was it really you?”

The Yellow Ox said: “Surprised?”

Xiao Yu’er was drugged by them and could not move anymore, he just sighed: “You really cannot judge a man by his looks. A stupid ox can be as cunning as a fox, that is something I never imagined could happen.”

The White Sheep chuckled: “Uncountable people in Wulin have been tricked by him. You, little bastard are not the first one. Why all the sighing?”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “But how did you know….”

The Yellow Ox asked: “I know that you travelled together with the daughter of Tie Zhan, so he had to know the Ten Great Malevolents. I just randomly picked a name of them and you took the bait.”

Xiao Yu’er smiled wryly: “A luck hit and I must be lucky these days.”

The Yellow Ox said: “When you saw that we were that easily tricked by you, you were very proud of yourself, weren’t you? Fortunately, you are diabolical little monster that is why our plan worked perfectly. You did not suspect a thing.”

Xiao Yu’er sighed: “I was surprised to see you all so obedient and friendly, because the 12 Zodiacs are ruthless thugs. Unfortunately, I was still deceived by you….”

The Yellow Ox laughed: “You think you’re very smart, but you still have a lot to learn before you can roam the realm.”

The White Sheep said: “The 12 Zodiacs are not fools. If we did not have our motives, we would not play along with you. Even if Li Dazui was here, we would not fear him.”

The Yellow Ox said: “Initially we wanted to dispose after we have found the treasure. But you are too slippery, so we had to use other means of incapacitating you.”

The White Sheep said: “Since we now know that the treasure is on MountEmei and we are not far from it, we are not afraid of your little feeble tricks.”

The Yellow Ox laughed evilly: “If you will tell us where the treasure is we might even spare your life. You’re a smart boy, you will make the right choice, won’t you?”

Xiao Yu’er looked at them for some time and then started to laugh very hard. It looked like he was very happy and pleased.

The White Sheep angrily said: “You little bastard, do you really think we have no means to make you talk!”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Old bastard, do you really think I have fallen for your trick?”

The Yellow Ox laughed: “What devious plan do you still have? Tell us.”

Xiao Yu’er sighed: “Well, I am willing to tell you. But I am afraid when I am just in the middle of my story, you are dead.”

The Yellow Ox laughed: “Really?”

Xiao Yu’er grinned: “Not true, there was no poison on the beef you ate earlier. No poison at all.”

Before Xiao Yu’er finished his sentence, the Yellow Ox could not laugh anymore. The White Sheep’s face changed and he grabbed his Xiao Yu’er’s jacket, he said: “You little bastard, what did you say?”

Xiao Yu’er smiled: “I just said I was a fool. I knew I was going treasure hunting tomorrow and I did not want you to follow me, but I could not bear to poison you two. Instead I put the poison on those tendons and beef.”

Before Xiao Yu’er had finished, the White Sheep was terrified. He shouted: “Give us…us the antidote!”

Xiao Yu’er grinned: “Yes, of course. I should really give you the antidote. I really should even if you tried to dispose of me. Don’t forget, you need me to find the treasure, I don’t need you. The effects of immobilizing drugs can wear off, but poison is lethal.”

The Yellow Ox suddenly laughed and pulled the White Sheep up, he grinned: “Yes, we are the fools. We don’t know anything, you have to tell us that we are poisoned and then we really are poisoned.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Of course, don’t believe me. But if you would press the spot next to your Rugen acupoint under your fifth rib, you won’t find anything wrong. Don’t even try to press it.”

When Xiao Yu’er said [Don’t even try to press it], the ox and the sheep had already pressed that spot. And when they did, their faces became whiter than paper. They looked at each other back and forth and did not move.

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “It is nothing, it just feels a bit numb. You won’t die anytime soon, you can always kill me first.”

He told them to kill him first, but they would never do something like that now. Who would give them the antidote if Xiao Yu’er died?

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “If I were you, I would first give me the antidote of the immobilizing drug. And if you would listen carefully to my words and stay obedient…..”

The Yellow Ox protested: “But after you have your antidote, how do we know you will give us our antidote.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Yes, you don’t need to the antitoxin. I will give you your antidote first.”

The White Sheep and the Yellow Ox looked at each other; suddenly they walked over to Xiao Yu’er.

Xiao Yu’er slowly said: “Some types of venom cannot be cured with conventional methods. Besides, apart from the user no one knows what the poison can do. But if you don’t believe, try and see if you’re lucky.”

Both of them stopped walking, their lives were at stake now.

They both thought: [We could always kill him after taking the antidote, making false promises or swearing is what we do best.]

The two of them knelt down and swore that they would obey Xiao Yu’er no matter what, and then they respectfully fed Xiao Yu’er the antidote to the immobilizing drug. Everything else can wait, but not their lives. After some time, Xiao Yu’er could get up he dusted away the dust on his clothes and laughed: “The drug and antidote of the 12 Zodiacs are very effective.”

The Yellow Ox laughed: “I think your antitoxin must be very effective too, sir.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “What antitoxin?”

The two of them felt that someone punched them in their stomachs. Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Don’t worry, I was just joking.”

He smiled and took out a small bottle, saying: “The antidote was on me all the time, if you just searched me earlier…(* sigh). Sometimes you must not blindly believe the words of others.”

The two of them were furious and could strangle this brat, but first they had to save their own lives. The Yellow Ox grabbed the bottle and immediately poured some of the antitoxin in his mouth.

The White Sheep’s face changed and said: “Why do you have take that much?”

The Yellow Ox grinned: “I am bigger than you, so I have to take a bit more.”

The White Sheep angrily took the bottle and poured the remaining contents down his throat. They both stared at Xiao Yu’er and were thinking: [There is nowhere to run now, you little bastard].

Xiao Yu’er looked back at them and asked: “Does that spot still hurt?”

They both pressed and the numbness was gone.

The White Sheep laughed: “It is very effective.”

The Yellow Ox laughed sinisterly: “Where do you….”

Xiao Yu’er loudly interrupted him with laughter: “The spot I told you to press was where your blood flows make contact, even a slight pinch pain and numbness can occur. Now your blood flows have moved on, it is natural that the pain is gone.”

They were furious and shocked when they heard that.

The White Sheep roared: “You lying little bastard!”

Xiao Yu’er grinned: “Yes, I lied to two old bastards. You have to think here, I did not cook the beef how could I have put poison in it. And if I did, why should I save you?”

The Yellow Ox laughed loudly too: “You’re clever, but we’re not complete idiots either. Although you have taken the antidote of the immobilizing drug you cannot fully use strength for another hour. We can kill you right now.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Really?”

The Yellow Ox laughed evilly: “No, we won’t kill you. I just want to cut off your ears, half your nose and chop off one of your hands and legs.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Hmm, I am really afraid.”

The Yellow Ox said: “No need to be afraid, we are not Li Dazui. We will just feed your flesh to dogs.”

With every word he said, he moved one step forward towards Xiao Yu’er.

Xiao Yu’er did not look at him and just counted softly: “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, …..”

When he reached seven, the huge palm of the Yellow Ox hacked at him but Xiao Yu’er did not move.

Before his palm made contact the Yellow Ox’s body swayed and his face changed colour. He suddenly fell down and was foaming at the mouth.

The White Sheep was shocked and said: “What is going on?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “The beef was not poisoned but the so-called antidote is poison. He ate most of it, so he noticed the effects sooner than you.”

The White Sheep angrily roared and leapt up, but in midair his body dropped like a brick. And when he fell down he bumped his head very hard, a lump was forming.

Xiao Yu’er laughed and clapped his hands: “Now you’ve turned into a goat.”

He was still laughing loudly when someone outside sighed: “It is an utter disgrace that two full grown men can be deceived this easily by a mere boy. How can you face your peers afterwards?”

Xiao Yu’er saw that the window was opened and a man looking a snake slithered in. He looked slimy and smooth; it was the Azure Serpent Lord.

Xiao Yu’er rolled his eyes and laughed: “Long time no see, how are you doing? Take a seat and have a drink.”

The Azure Serpent Lord smiled evilly: “I created that immobilizing drug, nobody in this world knows the effects better than me. It is futile of you to think you can stall time, even if you managed to speak a hundred words to buy some time it is still not possible for you to use your internal energy.”

Xiao Yu’er sighed: “It seems that I cannot escape my fate today. Most unfortunate.”

The Azure Serpent Lord replied: “Very true.”

He looked at the ox and the sheep; they only managed to make some humming noises. Their limbs and muscles have gone stiff and they could not blink their eyes. This poison was more lethal than the venom of the Azure Serpent Lord. When he saw this, his face changed a bit and exclaimed: “The zombie powder of Yin Jiuyou.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Excellent deduction! These two good brothers here did not take enough of it. After an hour they will be as stiff as zombies, they won’t die but they can’t walk about anymore. A sheep and an ox jumping around in the market, that must be a hilarious sight.”

When the White Sheep and Yellow Ox hear this, they broke out in a cold sweat and hummed even harder. The Azure Serpent Lord said: “Do you want me to save you?”

The two of them tried to nod very hard, but it just seemed that they just moved their heads slightly.

The Azure Serpent Lord smiled sinisterly: “One treasure divided by three, everyone will only have a small portion. Furthermore, I could remember that you two promised me to leave some secret markings behind so I can follow you. But somehow I could not find those markings. Fortunately, I know you too well and arranged some of my own people amongst those so-called sons and grandsons of yours if not I could not catch up with you.”

The White Sheep and The Yellow Ox sweated even harder now, there was fear in their eyes. The Azure Serpent Lord laughed: “Since you always like to pretend to be ghastly, it is only fitting that you will become real zombies.”

He stopped laughing and walked over to Xiao Yu’er.

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “If you want to seal my acupoints, I suggest you would be gentle. I can’t use my internal strength now so if you use too much strength I might die and then it is all over.”

The Azure Serpent Lord laughed sinisterly: “In that case I won’t seal your acupoints. I will just tell my [azure silk] to bite you and I promise it won’t hurt. It will feel like you are being hugged by a woman.”

While he was talking, an azure small snake crawled out of his sleeve. The snake was almost the size of a worm, but it was very fast and its’ tongue was fiery red, it looked very scary.

Even Xiao Yu’er was a bit startled. The brocade of the Azure Serpent Lord was like a nest full of snakes; in a short while ten odd little azure snakes as thin as worms and as long as chopsticks crawled out. They all crawled up Xiao Yu’er’s body, some were around his neck, others crawled around his face, back, in his clothes and even in his boots. The feeling of a dozen cold snakes crawling up and down your body is really disgusting and repulsive.

Xiao Yu’er felt numb all over and did not dare to move.

The Azure Serpent Lord raised his thumb and middle finger and said: “All I have to do is snap my fingers all you instantly be hugged and kissed by these little maidens. Except for you nobody in this world can have the luck of being kissed by these lovely beauties all the same time.”

Xiao Yu’er sighed: “If being hugged women really feels like this, no wonder that smart people become Buddhist monks of Taoist priests.”

The Azure Serpent Lord smiled evilly: “You haven’t even…”

Xiao Yu’er loudly interrupted: “Please stop, I really can’t take this.”

The Azure Serpent Lord asked: “Are you begging me now?”

Xiao Yu’er smiled wryly: “Where do you want to go, I will lead the way.”

The Azure Serpent Lord’s eyes glittered and he was so happy that he could hardly speak: “The….Is the treasure really on MountEmei?”

Xiao Yu’er replied: “Yes, it is.”

The Azure Serpent Lord swallowed his saliva, he said: “So, tonight I could see the treasure with my own eyes?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Not only that, you can even take it away.”

The Azure Serpent Lord leapt up and said: “Let us go now.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “What…what about these snakes?”

The Azure Serpent Lord laughed: “I will allow these beauties to keep you company, don’t you feel honoured?”

Xiao Yu’er looked wryly and said: “But how can I walk with these beauties on me?”

The Azure Serpent Lord said: “I know I don’t have the ability to watch you the entire time. So they will do it for me, if you’re obedient they will stay friendly too. But if you move about too much or try to run, they might bite you….one small bite….hahahahaha!”

He started to laugh very loudly, his laughter sounded hideous. Xiao Yu’er had no choice but to obey, he would not even cough if it were not allowed. He has never been more obedient than this in his life.

When they left the door, the White Sheep and Yellow Ox were humming very loudly. It sounded like begging, crying or even cursing, anyone with a heart would feel sorry for them. Unfortunately, the Azure Serpent Lord had no heart and Xiao Yu’er was in dire straits himself, he did not have the ability to save himself now let alone others. A waiter smilingly walked over and said: “Young master, what….”

Before he was finished he saw Xiao Yu’er and screamed loudly and then fainted, he thought he saw a ghost.

Xiao Yu’er smiled wryly: “I must look very handsome now, a snake hanging from each ear. Another two snakes around my neck and another two around my wrists. I should give these beauties to Murong Jiumei.”

He was muttering to himself and the Azure Serpent Lord did not pay any notice to it.

Xiao Yu’er said: “The map was very detailed, it took my two nights to fully calculate its’ position. I did not anticipate that you would end claiming the treasure.”

The Azure Serpent Lord asked: “Is the entrance at the front or at the back?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “At the back…”

Before he finished, the Azure Serpent Lord had covered his head with a black cotton sack.

The Azure Serpent Lord said coldly: “From now on, you don’t need to lead the way. If you’re smart you will just follow me and not try to attract someone’s attention.”

Xiao Yu’er sighed in his heart, but he laughed: “Why should I attract someone’s attention? I only have enemies in this world, I don’t have friends.”

The Azure Serpent Lord shouted: “Silence!”

Xiao Yu’er sighed: “Can’t I even talk?”

He was like a blind and mute man now, he could only follow silently. If the Azure Serpent Lord increased his speed, he had to follow and if he walked slowly Xiao Yu’er had to do the same thing. Xiao Yu’er did not know how long they walked and where they went.

Suddenly, Xiao Yu’er was pulled away into the bushes by the Azure Serpent Lord. Xiao Yu’er thought: [Could he have seen some powerful adversaries?]

The Azure Serpent Lord whispered into his ear: “Don’t make a noise or else…”

Xiao Yu’er could no hear voices several ten metres away: “How could Tie Xinlan just disappear like that?”

The voice was very lovely, but Xiao Yu’er was startled when he heard that voice, it was Zhang Qing. Why was she here? Another voice said: “Maybe she noticed us.”

That voice was cold and lovely, it belonged to Murong Jiumei. Xiao Yu’er’s heart skipped a beat and hoped they would come over, normally he would run away as fast as he could if he saw or heard them. He felt that although they were his enemies but they were also very close to him.

Zhang Qing said: “We followed her here, and she did not even notice us. How could she have detected anything now? She looks all confused and woozy, she must be thinking of that rascal. She would not even detect an entire crowd behind her.”

Murong Jiumei said indifferently: “So, why are you afraid that we can’t find her?”

Zhang Qing said: “I am just afraid….afraid…”

Murong Jiumei scoffed: “You’re just afraid that you can’t find that rascal, right?”

Zhang Qing said: “You’re right. I am really afraid that I can’t find that rascal and that I can’t rip out his heart and see what colour it is.”

Murong Jiumei said coldly: “No need to look, it is bound to be black.”

The voice slowly died out, they have moved on.

Xiao Yu’er could almost call out, but if he did the snakes would bite him and that will be the end of him.

He could only be patient. From their conversation, Xiao Yu’er understood that they deliberately let Tie Xinlan go, so that they could follow her. It was a simple but good plan, which is very effective. But where is Tie Xinlan now?

Tie Xinlan is not interested in the treasure; she just wants to wait for Xiao Yu’er. She knew that Xiao Yu’er would come to MountEmei, so she would await him here. But Murong Jiumei knew that Xiao Yu’er was still trapped in the stone icehouse, why would she come here too? Was she interested in the treasure? But that is very unfitting for a cold woman like her. Xiao Yu’er rolled his eyes but he could think of the reason.

The Azure Serpent Lord said sternly: “Did you tell others about the location of the treasure?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Do you think I will tell others?”

The Azure Serpent Lord said: “But who else could know about this place except you?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “That Yan Nantian should probably know too.”

The Azure Serpent Lord felt relieved and said: “This is the back of MountEmei, you can lead now.”

Xiao Yu’er could see again and the sack was gone, it was night now but it was good to see the stars again after being blind for an entire day.

MountEmei is famous for its’ dangerous cliffs and if you would look down your heart will skip a beat.

This was one of the more desolate and high places of MountEmei, there were fog everywhere here. Xiao Yu’er wanted to climb as fast as he could and leave the Azure Serpent Lord behind, but with all those snakes on him he would not dare to do so. And with more than ten snakes crawling about, how could he climb fast. After climbing for two hours, both of them were panting heavily.

The Azure Serpent Lord panted: “Are we there yet?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Are you complaining now? If it was not for me, you would not find the treasure even if you knew it was in this area.”

Suddenly the Azure Serpent Lord laughed: “You’re a very clever boy, even more clever than me.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “You’re right about that. Before we find the treasure you might as well flatter up to me. After finding the treasure you can kill me and chop me up in small pieces.”

The Azure Serpent Lord said friendly: “Don’t worry after finding the treasure I won’t kill you. I will treat you nicely….”

All of a sudden he roared: “Come out, you little bastard!”

While he was feeling mighty proud, Xiao Yu’er had disappeared. The Azure Serpent Lord broke out in a cold sweat and shouted: “Come out now, if you don’t I will whistle and the snakes will instantly bite you. You can’t run, come out now!”

But in the darkness, there was no sign of Xiao Yu’er. The Azure Serpent Lord was jumping up and down, saying: “Those snakes of mine only obey me, without me you can never remove them. Think carefully about that.”

Suddenly he heard someone laughing behind him: “I am here, why are you so anxious?”

The Azure Serpent Lord looked for some time and finally saw an entrance to a cave.

Xiao Yu’er crawled inside and laughed: “Crawl inside too, this is the entrance to the treasure.”

The Azure Serpent Lord was fuming but now his anger was gone. He crawled in and felt the cold air in the cave, he shivered and sighed: “It is remarkable that Yan Nantian could find somewhere like this to hide his treasure.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Only places like this can safeguard a treasure.”

The Azure Serpent Lord laughed happily: “Only with the map of Yan Nantian could one find such a secretive place. Otherwise, no one can find it. Yan Nantian, Yan Nantian. You wasted so many energy and time to find this place but in the end your treasure has been found.”

It was a very secret place here and the Azure Serpent Lord was thinking about the treasure he was about to find. He felt very happy and did not feel the cold anymore.

But the cave was very dark, the Azure Serpent Lord took out a paper flint, the flint was small but the fire was very bright.

He laughed happily: “Do you see this flint? To tell you the truth, I have been preparing for this journey for a long time now. I used 300 taels of silver to buy this flint of the hand so the Fire Crow. It can be lit for an entire day and won’t go out.”

However, the fire did go out. Xiao Yu’er laughed very loud: “Some special flint!”

The Azure Serpent Lord angrily said: “That Fire Crow has a lot of nerves to deceive me!”

Xiao Yu’er said: “You can’t blame him, perhaps the fire could not withstand your arrogant breath.”

Suddenly Xiao Yu’er stepped on something and tripped. The Azure Serpent Lord made a small cry of surprise too, the flint was lit again and both cried out of shock and stared at the ground. On the ground were three corpses, the three men in expensive brocades and holding sharp swords that shone brightly in the fire. The bodies were all curled up, it seemed that these three men died a horrible death.

Upon touch they felt cold, they were dead for some time now. But their limbs were still flexible, meaning that they could not have been dead for more than two hours.

The Azure Serpent Lord turned over the bodies and looked at the face, the three men looked alike and the hand of the Azure Serpent Lord began to tremble. Xiao Yu’er asked: “Do you recognize them?”

The Azure Serpent Lord said: “The Three Swords of Jinlin, united they stand!”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Hmm, they are famous martial artists.”

The Azure Serpent Lord said: “Not only famous, but they are first rate martial arts experts. But if the location of the treasure has not leaked out how come that they came here.”

Xiao Yu’er frowned too and said: “That is strange.”

The Azure Serpent Lord sternly said: “What is strange?”

Xiao Yu’er shrugged and explained friendly: “These three are dead, why worry?”

The Azure Serpent Lord angrily said: “They are dead, but their killer could be around. This killer was able to kill the Three Swords of Jinlin, he must be a terrible opponent.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Who could that be? And how did he find out about this place?”

The Azure Serpent Lord gritted his teeth and said: “How can you now know? You must have told them. Yan Nantian went through all this effort to bury his treasure and there is only one map. And the only map was….”

All of a sudden the flint went out again.

The Azure Serpent Lord now knew someone was responsible for putting out the fire, he took three steps back and leant against a wall, he shouted: “Who is out there!”

In the dark a voice said: “You’re right, the killer is still here. And I am the killer.”

The voice sounded calm and was slow; there was nothing strange to it. But because the sound sounded too normal, it sounded extra eerie in this cave.

Even someone like the Azure Serpent Lord’s face changed and shivered, he said: “Who…who are you?”

The voice said: “Do you really want to know who I am?”

The Azure Serpent Lord gritted his teeth and picked up the flint, in the light he could see a man in a grey robe walking in the cave. His face was greyish; you could not see his eyes, nose. His face looked like a dried up lemon, and looked hideous. Xiao Yu’er knew that this man wore a mask, but even so he felt frightened. But why did he cover his eyes as well, but he could move about like nothing was wrong. Being blindfolded is not very pleasant; Xiao Yu’er experienced that just a while ago. The Azure Serpent Lord broke out in a cold sweat and said: “You’re the Grey Bat?”

The man in grey smiled faintly: “Have you taken a good look?”

The Azure Serpent Lord said: “The Owl must….”

Suddenly he stopped talking and stood still, he did not move. It was like he was turned into a statue holding a flint, but he was still sweating heavily.

Xiao Yu’er saw someone walking up to him from his behind; there was nothing strange about this man except for his eyes. His eyes were hideously big and very bright.

The man in grey smiled: “If the Grey Bat is here, the Owl cannot be far away. Remember to watch your rear when you’re talking to someone in front of you.”

With that a palm ended the life of the Azure Serpent Lord.

The Owl looked at Xiao Yu’er and chuckled: “I would like to ask you, how did you find this place?”

His voice really sounded like an owl, no wonders this man’s nickname was the Owl.

Xiao Yu’er blinked his eyes and said: “It was you who told us.”

The Owl said with surprise: “Me?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “There is only one map to the Yan Nantian’s treasure. If you did not tell me how would we find this place? And you needed our help to dispose of the Grey Bat and claim the treasure for your own. Why do you go back on your words? Have you asked the help of others?”

He put his hands on his waist and stared at the Owl, his lie was very convincing.

The Owl was furious and his face had turned red, he angrily shouted: “How dare you make such false accusations! You have a powerful forked tongue like your teacher at a young age, what will become of you when you grow up!”

He was of the impression that Xiao Yu’er was the student of the Azure Serpent Lord.

Xiao Yu’er said: “Yes, kill me now! So no one will know about your evil plans!”

The Owl roared: “I will rid the world of this little monster right now.”

He raised his hands and his fingers formed claws like an eagle and he aimed at the throat and chest of Xiao Yu’er.

Xiao Yu’er did not move, he was a bit afraid of the snake’s bite than those eagle claws. The claws were almost at him when suddenly stood in front of him. It was the Grey Bat, saying: “How can you kill a mere boy?”

The Owl retracted his attack, his face changed and said: “Why do you stop me? Do you believe the lies of this boy?”

The Grey Bat said casually: “I thought it was strange why so many people could find this place, since we have the only map.”

The Owl shouted: “We have known each other for 20 years, don’t you trust me?”

The Grey Bat said: “Blind people are often deceived by people, we are a bit more paranoid than others.”

The Owl stamped his feet and said: “Very well! I think you want to have the treasure for your own, you’re just finding an excuse to attack me. People told me that blind people are difficult lot, it is a shame that I did listen…”

The Grey Bat put out the fire with his palm. Xiao Yu’er took three steps back and heard the Owl shout: “You really want to kill me!”

There was a series of fist and palm exchange.

Xiao Yu’er thought: [Owl, you will not survive this fight.]

The Grey Bat was blind and was accustomed in the dark, although the Owl could see in the dark he was still in a disadvantage.

And then Xiao Yu’er heard a cracking sound, like bones being shattered. He heard the Owl say: “You will…will regret this one day!”

With that his voice died out.

The Grey Bat said calmly: “Little child, where are you?”

Xiao Yu’er covered his breathing and did not move, he knew that after killing the Azure Serpent Lord and the Owl he would be next.

The Grey Bat breathed normally and said friendly: “Little brother, why won’t you talk? You exposed his evil plans I would like to thank you.”

While he was talking he was walking towards Xiao Yu’er, blind people can sense better than others. Xiao Yu’er had covered his breathing, but the Grey Bat could feel the body warmth coming from Xiao Yu’er. His steps were closer and closer, Xiao Yu’er was sweating heavily.

The Grey Bat said friendly: “Here you are, why aren’t you running?”

Xiao Yu’er saw the hand of the Grey Bat reaching out to him, Xiao Yu’er did not move.

The hand of the Grey Bat were almost at his throat and slowly said: “I won’t let you suffer, just a gentle press and you will die very peacefully and without pain. Don’t blame me, but the treasure cannot be divided into two.”

All of a sudden he yelled and took two steps back, he said with a shaky voice: “Your neck….Your neck…”

His fingers were almost at the throat of Xiao Yu’er and the snake around Xiao Yu’er’s neck bit his fingers. And the Grey Bat was blind and could not see the snakes.

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Great having snakes on your body, isn’t it? How can a mere blind fellow like you kill me.”

The Grey Bat shouted: “Snake….Snake….”

He shouted loudly and stared to run, but after taking the tenth step he fell down.

Xiao Yu’er was both happy and shocked. He was happy because his adversaries are dead now, he was shocked to see how lethal those snakes were.

He took a deep breath and muttered: “Grey Bat, if you were not that vicious and wanted to grab my throat you would not be dead now. The snakes that wanted to harm me have saved me now, the world is filled with contradictions.”

He sat down now, he was totally exhausted. Only Xiao Yu’er was capable of turning the tables around in such situations.

He found the flint of the Azure Serpent Lord, but he did not dare to move too frantically those snake beauties were deadly. He sighed: “Maggots attached to the bone! How do I get rid of these snakes? I might as well die.”

All of a sudden there was some light and a tall man in expensive brocade with a big beard walked this way. He looked very tough and proud. Xiao Yu’er was shocked and the man was also surprised to see Xiao Yu’er surrounded with corpses. He took three steps back and raised his palm in front of his chest, he said sternly: “Who are you?”

Xiao Yu’er rolled his eyes and asked: “Who are you?”

The man in the expensive brocade said proudly: “Don’t you even recognize me? How can you roam the realm?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “In other words, you must be rather famous.”

The man said loudly: “I am the leader of 17 joint guard agencies. Also named the [Power that moves mountains and rivers, copper fists and iron palms shaking China] Zhao Quanhai. You must have heard of this name before!”

Xiao Yu’er smiled: “An impressive and long name, but do you know who I am?”

That Zhao Quanhai scoffed: “Who are you, why should I know who you are?”

Xiao Yu’er sneered: “I am [the Saint of 10,000 serpents, the sage of 10,000 swords, the king of kings, undefeated throughout the 63 provinces of China, earthshaking “Yu Wangzi”]. Have you heard of this name?”

He said that long nickname in one go and Zhao Quanhai was really quite shocked by that name and said: “I have never heard of that name before.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Even if you haven’t heard of my name, your teacher must have. He must know who I am, most of the older generation in realm all show great respect when they see me.”

Zhao Quanhai angrily said: “You little brat, how dare you spout nonsense like that!”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Do you think I am very young?”

Zhao Quanhai said: “You’re even too young to be my son.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Do you know when you’ve reached the ultimate level of perfection in martial arts, you will be able to rejuvenate?”

Zhao Quanhai was a bit stunned and looked at Xiao Yu’er; he did not know what to believe.

Xiao Yu’er said: “I have already killed too many today, I really don’t want to engage anymore people. You look like a good fellow, I will let you go.”

Zhao Quanhai angrily shouted: “I will not be chased away by a few words!”

Xiao Yu’er sneered: “Take a look at the bodies and see if you can recognize them.”

Zhao Quanhai bent down to have a look, suddenly he was extremely startled and said: “The Three Swords of Jinlin? The Grey Bat, the Owl? And…..and…?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Don’t you recognize the Azure Serpent Lord of the 12 Zodiacs?”

Zhao Quanhai shivered and asked: “Were they all killed by you?”

Xiao Yu’er said calmly: “That is nothing. I just want to ask you how are your martial arts compared to them?”

Zhao Quanhai was stunned for a while and said valiantly: “I have gone through a lot of troubles to get here. If old master wants me to leave I will, but I cannot leave in peace.”

He told Xiao Yu’er he did not want to go, but he had changed the manner of addressing Xiao Yu’er.

Xiao Yu’er smiled: “What do you want?”

Zhao Quanhai said: “Old master, I would like to see your martial arts so I can leave in peace.”

He looked crude, but he was quite a careful man. He did not become the leader of the 17 joined guard agencies by pure luck.

Xiao Yu’er remained calm and said: “You would like to see my martial arts, that is very easy. If you can manage to kill all the snakes on me without harming you, I will let you have the treasure.”

Zhao Quanhai’s eyes glittered and asked: “Really?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “An old master does not lie to young ones.”

Zhao Quanhai walked over with big steps and looked at the snakes. Xiao Yu’er was pleased, he hoped this man had good martial arts and could kill all those snakes. However, suddenly they were interrupted by a series of sword and sabre clashing. There were people fighting up ahead, normally there would be pauses between the clashing sounds but here the sounds did not stop. The fighters must be very swift wielders of the sabre and the sword.

Zhao Quanhai turned around and his face changed colour, he said: “Another group of people? Very swift swordplay.”

Xiao Yu’er blinked his eyes and said: “Don’t be afraid, stand behind me. Nobody will be able to harm you.”

Zhao Quanhai looked at him for a moment and saw all those snakes on him and felt eerie. He really believed that he had met a senior Wulin dignitary.

He looked at him for another moment and said: “Thank you.”

The clanging sounds came closer, a while ago they came from the entrance and now they were near where Xiao Yu’er stood.

A cold and unfriendly voice said: “Snow Sabre, do you really wish to fight to the death?”

The other voice said: “I have long heard that your swordsmanship is very swift, the swiftest of outer regions. Now is a good chance to see it for myself. I don’t know how you found out about the treasure, but let us first fight to determine who is stronger and who can survive.”

The voice was sharp and high, it was a woman.

Xiao Yu’er asked: “Is this Snow Sabre a woman?”

Zhao Quanhai sighed: “She was one of the three famous and feared Luo Sha [2]. Her sabre techniques are miraculous, even famous Peng disciples of the famous school with a long history like the Five Tiger Slashing sabre have been defeated by her.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “Who is the other?”

Zhao Quanhai said: “Judging by what the Snow Sabre said, that must be the dignitary of the Changbai Sword school, the [Dragon Sword of the Outer regions], Feng Tianyu. His swordsmanship is unmatched in the outer regions.”

Xiao Yu’er sighed deeply: “I am old, I am oblivious to all the famous martial artists of the younger generation.”

Zhao Quanhai frowned and said: “The location of the treasure should be a secret, how come so many people know of it. This is very strange.”

The fighting came closer and they could see that the sparks lit the dark cave; the flashes of sword and sabre were magnificent. One was a skinny and tall wearing black tight clothes, the other wore white and was very slender and her stances of the willow leaved sabre were very fast.

Zhao Quanhai became a bit uneasy now.

Xiao Yu’er said calmly: “They have good martial arts, but there are too many flaws. If I would attack they will be defeated within ten stances.”

The heard a loud clang and then the fighting stopped, and looked at Xiao Yu’er.

The Snow Sabre was a middle-aged woman who still looked very beautiful, her figure was very slender and her eyes were pretty too. She suddenly exclaimed with shock: “Quanhai, you’re here too?”

Zhao Quanhai put up an enforced smile and said: “After all these years, you still look the same.”

The Snow Sabre smiled sweetly: “Thank you, I never imagined I would see you here…..11 years now, almost 12 years. Why have you not looked for me? Do you only want fame and fortune, don’t you want anything else?”

Zhao Quanhai coughed and said: “I….I….”

That Feng Tianyu suddenly sneered: “Good, old lovers meeting up with each other again! But I do not fear Liu Ruyu and Zhao Quanhai even if you team up.”

The Snow Sabre, Liu Ruyu just ignored him seeing that she has found help, she looked at Xiao Yu’er and said: “Have you brought along your pupil? Why does he look so strange?”

Zhao Quanhai said: “This is old master Yu.”

Xiao Yu’er listened with disbelief and repeated: “Old master Yu?”

Zhao Quanhai said loudly: “Old master Yu had just killed the Three Swords of Jinlin, the Grey Bat, the Owl and the Azure Serpent Lord, their bodies are here.”

After he said that, both Feng Tianyu and Liu Ruyu were shocked. Feng Tianyu took a few steps back and raised his sword at Xiao Yu’er. He carefully observed Xiao Yu’er and tightened the grip on his sword.

Xiao Yu’er almost burst out in laughter, but stayed calm and serious. He said: “Miss Liu, do you have a map too?”

Liu Ruyu nodded and said: “Hmm.”

Xiao Yu’er looked at Feng Tianyu and said: “And you?”

Feng Tianyu said coldly: “Without a map I could not have reached this place.”

Xiao Yu’er eyes flashed and said: “Up till now, there are six maps. One treasure and six maps, that is very strange.”

Feng Tianyu raised his sword and said sternly: “No matter how many people will come, the last standing will be the owner of the treasure.”

Xiao Yu’er coldly said: “If you want to die that is fine. But it would be a shame to die before actually seeing the treasure, don’t you agree?”

Feng Tianyu was taken by this remark and lowered his sword. Zhao Quanhai said: “Old master Yu is right. It is better that we will take a look first. After finding the treasure we can still fight to the death.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “The leader of the joined guard agencies is more sensible.”

He turned around and started to walk, suddenly he turned around and said: “Would you be so kind to see what the Azure Serpent Lord has hidden in his clothes?”

There were three small boxes hidden in his clothes, all of the same shape and size. But there were different labels on each, on the first box there was label: immobilizing drug. On the second label there were the characters: antidote and on the third were the characters: snake grain.

Xiao Yu’er took the boxes and could almost jump in the air with happiness. With the box of snake grain he could lure those snake beauties away. But thought about it for a while and decided to put those boxes away first.

He discovered that with these little snakes he could scare and fool a lot of people and this was a time when he needed to fool and scare others.

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[1] Qin: An ancient Chinese instrument, resembling a zither. Even now a lot of people still play the qin.

[2] Luo Sha: A demon mentioned in Buddhist scriptures. The male ones are ugly and fierce. The female form are graceful and pretty.