Chapter 7

Sword Manual Incites Unthinkable Tragedy
One Storm Succeeds Another
Sect Leader Imparts Heavy Responsibility
Unexpected Misunderstandings Erupts Everywhere

Now more suspicious than ever, Tie Fie Long bounded on top of the fake mountain and furiously hollered three times, “Shan Hu … Shan Hu … Shan Hu!” Yet not only was he met with no response, but two silhouettes were furthermore seen to flit out from behind the back courtyard’s walls. This was directly followed by a loud “poom” sound and a wave of flames that blazed straight towards the skies. Tie Fei Long pointed to Mu Jiu Niang and screamed, “Wench! Don’t you dare move!” Yu Luo Cha snickered and then stood beside Mu Jiu Niang with her sword in her hand before gently saying to Tie Fei Long, “Go. I’ll be here to take care of things, don’t worry.”

Tie Fei Long’s short beard was bristling with a fury that caused each individual hair to stick out like sharp lances. He has been spending the last twenty or thirty years of his life living the life of a tiger whose whiskers nobody dared to mess around with. But now somebody has not only barged into his home, but has actually dared to set fire upon it! His rage at that moment was simply shooting through the roof! When he observed the two silhouettes, he noticed right away that their movements were extremely fast, indicating that they possessed a very high level of martial arts. He was already anxious to begin with, but now worried about the fact that his daughter might have come under harm, he actually felt fear. Thus he gave up the prospect of chasing after his opponents and ran towards the site of fire instead.

Just when he has flitted across two buildings, three people promptly shot out from amongst the glare of the flames. The group consisted of two women and one man – the male was Wang Zhao Xi and the two females were Meng Qiu Xia and Tie Shan Hu. Moreover, Tie Shan Hu’s face was ghostly pale as she was being carried out by Meng Qiu Xia!

With a loud “humph,” Tie Fie Long charged forward and bellowed, “Wang Zhao Xi, you have some nerve! You can take away your fiancé, but why did you have to set fire upon my house and then wound my daughter?” But just when he has grasped out with his hands, Tie Shan Hu suddenly opened up her eyes to shout, “Papa, it’s not him!” Wang Zhao Xi stole three steps to the side as Tie Fei Long also retracted his palms and growled, “Then who was it?” Tie Shan Hu replied, “It was Jin Qian Yan’s uncle!” Tie Fei Long’s face suddenly changed colours as Wang Zhao Xi said, “Right now it’s more important to put out the fire. We can hunt down those two scoundrels another time.”

Tie Fie Long thought over Wang’s words and felt that they did indeed make sense. Jin Qian Yan’s uncle was named Jin Du Yi, but he has always resided in the far Western frontiers and has not stepped foot outside the South and Northern Tian Shan area during the last thirty years. Jin Du Yi was also a practitioner of the Venomous Palms of the Yin Winds, but his skill level has reached such pinnacle levels that Jin Qian Yan was only able to capture six or seventh tenths of what his uncle has achieved. Thirty years ago, Tie Fei Long once had the chance of encountering Jin Du Yi, but at that time, Jin still has not succeeded in completing his Venomous Palms yet. Yet even then, they were already equally matched in battle. Tie heard afterwards that Jin has finally succeeded in his Venomous Palms and has publicly taken a vast number of disciples from the Western regions while his actions were also quite peculiar. But by that time, Tie Fei Long has already secluded himself within the LongMenCounty, pretty much ignoring the matters of the JiangHu world.

The two of them each went their own separate ways and had not bothered to correspond with the other person during all these years until Jin Qian Yan suddenly paid a visit along with Yun Yan Ping three days ago. But because Tie Fei Long detested Jin’s uncle, he did not grant him the right to be received into the house and thus the moment that Jin Qian Yan stepped foot inside the Villa’s front gates, Mu Jiu Niang has already acted upon Tie’s orders to shoo them right back out. This incident caused Tie Fei Long to think to himself: Could it be that the old freak was angered by how I kicked his nephew out of my house and therefore purposely came here tonight to seek revenge? But if that is the case, then his breadth of heart is seriously much too cramped. However his martial arts are indeed very powerful and even if I chased after him, I wouldn’t be able to catch up. Therefore he could only follow Wang’s advice and put out the fire first.

On the other hand, Meng Qiu Xia who has travelled a million miles in search for her husband has finally reunited with him now. Yet, she couldn’t help herself from being overcome with all sorts of emotions as she stared at Wang Zhao Xi and then looked at Tie Shan Hu under the light that cascaded from the fire’s flames. What had happened was that as soon as Meng departed from the capital, she then promptly travelled towards the Northwest regions. Since she was an alert and careful girl who was practiced in martial arts, therefore even though she had to travel through millions of miles, yet luckily nothing bad happened.

One day, she arrived in ShaanXi and happened to stumble across Tie Shan Hu and Mu Jiu Niang as she was walking along the path. Since they were all girls of the JiangHu world, they easily struck up a pleasant conversation with each other. However, in the midst of their conversation, Meng Qiu Xia happened to reveal that she was here in ShaanXi in search of her husband. Because Tie Shan Hu had her own romantic problems to think about, she took particular note of Meng’s words and purposely asked questions in order to probe into Meng’s situation. Though Meng Qiu Xia was alert and quick, yet she was still nevertheless quite inexperienced with the world and ended up making the mistake of revealing Wang Zhao Xi’s name. With a cold sneer, Tie Shan Hu struck out unexpectedly, moving with the speed of lightning to seal Meng’s acupoint.

By the time that Meng Qiu Xia finally woke up, she found that she was already situated within the Tie Villa. Because Tie Shan Hu still had the temper and disposition of a child, when she heard Meng say that she was the fiancée of Wang Zhao Xi, she immediately ignored all consequences in order to strike her down. When she returned home and reported to her father, she was initially a little uneasy for fear that her father would reprimand her. Yet Tie Fei Long only stroked his beard and laughed while saying, “Wang Jia Yin is a Lord of the Underground world, yet he would actually go and become in-laws with some kind of martial art instructor that works for the Crown Prince! So let him undergo a little ridicule.” Tie Fei Long’s character was not only very strange and eccentric, but he also didn’t allow others to ignore or oppose his own wishes. Last time Wang Jia Yin very delicately refused his marriage proposal, causing him to be quite displeased. But when he thought over it again, he realized that considering his status and position, to give a single girl a hard time was nevertheless something that was not particularly glorious when the word leaks out. Therefore, he then ordered Tie Shan Hu to treat Meng Qiu Xia with courtesy while he simultaneously sent someone over to alert Wang Jia Yin.

Yu Luo Cha and Tie Fei Long had originally made a pact to re-duel with each other one month later, but when she heard of Wang’s incident, even though she knew that the set date hasn’t arrived yet, she still insisted on personally accompanying Wang Zhao Xi on this trip. When they arrived at the Tie Villa, Yu Luo Cha then suddenly said, “Though we have come together, yet we have different things to do. I have already made a pact to have a one-on-one duel with Tie Fei Long. You have to stay here and wait until we have determined the winner before you can come out.” Therefore even though Wang Zhao Xi was greatly impatient to get inside, yet he had no choice but to pace about outside.

Wang Zhao Xi waited around outside for a long time, but when he still didn’t see Yu Luo Cha come out he immediately thought to himself: Sh*it! They’re both such competitive and proud fighters, if they can’t determine a winner they might end up fighting to the point of a double fatality before they’ll call it quits. Since I am here already, I can’t just stay on the outside and ignore everything. Thus as soon as he made this decision, he risked the chance of being reprimanded by Yu Luo Cha to stealthily sneak into the villa from the back end, hoping to catch a glimpse of how their fight was progressing.

At the very same moment that Wang snuck into the Tie Villa, Jin Du Yi was also in the midst of searching the Villa with another first rate fighter. Tie Shan Hu happened to wake up in the middle of the night to discover Jin and immediately shouted loudly for assistance. As a result, she ended up sustaining one of Jin’s palms. Because Meng Qiu Xia’s room was connected right to Tie Shan Hu’s, the instant she heard noises she leaped out her room only to bump right into Wang Zhao Xi. Meng Qiu Xia immediately went over to pick up Tie Shan Hu while Jin Du Yi threw out a small sulfur bomb and then escaped by jumping over the wall.

The fire ignited by the sulphur bomb was not particularly serious and Tie Fei Long only had to pick up a few cotton blankets to throw over the sources of fire so that in no time at all, the fire was extinguished. Tie Fei Long immediately jumped back down from the rooftops to see Wang Zhao Xi and Meng Qiu Xia on the floor, generating their internal energies into Tie Shan Hu in order to help her circulate her inner Qi. Tie Fei Long was greatly touched when he witnessed this scene. During the past few days, Tie Fei Long has already had a few conversations with Meng, and he was able to discover that contrary to his expectations, Meng Qiu Xia had a very temperate disposition and was not one who would snivel to herself with mortification or insult others with snobbish arrogance. Now watching Meng and Wang cooperate together in reviving his own daughter, he noticed an affectionate expression flowing between their gazes that expressed an endless amount of love. Yet as they were helping his daughter revive from her injuries, it was also evident that their attitude was very serious and their efforts genuine. Tie Fei Long thought to himself: This Meng Qiu Xia has already spanned the millions of miles in search for her husband – that alone is already difficult enough of a task. Now upon reuniting with her husband after sustaining repeated difficulties, she doesn’t selfishly concern herself with narrating the details of the events that ensued during her separation but would instead concern herself with reviving her “enemy” from her injuries first. Such a girl is indeed a rare find.

Wang Zhao Xi greeted him as “Old Hero Tie” and was just about to reassure him that Shan Hu’s injuries were not serious when Tie Fei Long erupted into loud laughter and said, “Though that old bandit Jin may be unruly, yet he still harbours some caution for me within his heart. If he really did have any serious intent to harm Shan Hu, she would have been finished even if she had ten lives.” It was only then did Wang Zhao Xi finally realize that the only reason why Tie Fei Long went to put out the fire first was because he knew right away that his daughter’s injuries were not serious.

By now, Tie Shan Hu has already started to regain some of the natural red glow in her face, but when Tie Fei Long suddenly shouted in a very severe tone, “Get up!” Tie Shan Hu immediately scrambled up to the sound of his command and murmured, “Papa, what are you angry about this time?” Wang Zhao Xi was also perplexed, for it was already strange enough that her father would not console her after she has just undergone a trauma, but why would he proceed to speak with her in such an angry and severe tone? Tie Fei Long shouted, “I have something to ask you, follow me!” Then dragging his daughter by the hand, they entered into the outer courtyard. Wang Zhao Xia and Meng Qiu Xia followed closely behind and immediately saw Yu Luo Cha standing on top of a large slab of rock with her sword in her hand and a cool sneer on her face. Mu Jiu Niang was sitting on the floor, her pale face was a ghostly white.

Tie Fei Long then said, “Alright. Listen carefully Yu Luo Cha, I will judge and handle this matter with the utmost impartiality.” He then whipped his head around and asked Tie Shan Hu, “Did you steal her sword manual?” Tie Shan Hu replied, “No I didn’t!” Yu Luo Cha laughed with a chilling coldness that caused Tie Fei Long’s expression to harden as he shouted fiercely, “Shan Hu! You better tell the truth! I’ll ask you again: Did you steal her sword manual?” Tie Shan Hu broke down crying and blurted out, “I did have a look at some kind of sword manual, but it wasn’t me who stole it!”

Tie Fie Long’s face instantaneously changed into all sorts of awful colours as he asked in a trembling voice, “Then how did you see it?” Tie Shan Hu replied, “Auntie brought it to me!” In that split of second, Mu Jiu Niang’s face had already turned into the colour of an ashen grey. Yu Luo Cha was laughing with satisfied merriment while Tie Fei Long’s bloodshot eyes seemed ready to spit out fire as the colour of his face turned from green with rage to red with embarrassment. Yu Luo Cha suddenly ceased her laughter and said coldly, “Old Tie, I haven’t wrongly accuse you now have I?”

Tie Fei Long’s face froze with the iciness of a winter frost as he ignored Yu Luo Cha’s words and turned towards Tie Shan Hu to say instead, “Tell me everything and don’t you dare hold one word back.” Tie Shan Hu lifted her sleeve to wipe the tears from her eyes and then said in a low voice, “Two months ago, I was journeying home from the ShaanXi area. One day I was resting by a small diner in the Ji Xian town when I suddenly saw an old Taoist priest whose face was all black and bruised as he sat on the floor, unable to move. The diner’s owner wanted to drag him outside because he said that the priest seemed to have suddenly contracted some kind of serious illness and was afraid that he was going to die right there in the diner. But when I saw how pitiful he looked, it suddenly triggered my curiosity and so I went forward to have a better look at him. That old priest was really something! He opened his eyes and knew right away that I practiced martial arts. Therefore he said to me, ‘Little girl, did you bring a sword with you? Please, tear apart my upper shirt and use your sword to cut off the rotting flesh located an inch under my shoulder blade and extract a poisonous needle for me! Hurry!’” Zhuo Yi Hang could barely croak out the words, “It’s Taoist Priest Zhen Qian!”

Tie Fei Long asked, “Did Priest Zhen Qian know that you were my daughter?” Tie Shan Hu replied, “He didn’t know at that time, but when I told him later, he then said to me, ‘I have long heard of your father’s name and understand very well that he is a passionate hero. I would like you to please tell him that I have a sword manual that was relayed to me by someone else. I was to bring this manual to Huo Tian Du of the HeavenlyMountain, but it’s now been stolen by another person. If I am unable to recover from my injuries and end up dying here, then please ask your father to bring this message to the HeavenlyMountain and ask Huo Tian Du to seek revenge for me.” Tie Fei Long has never heard anybody praise him as a “passionate hero,” thus when he heard these words his cloudy expression immediately lightened up a bit as he stroked his beard and said, “Taoist Priest Zhen Qian is really some figure.”

Tie Shan Hu continued, “Later, he wrote out a medicinal prescription and told me to go find the herbs on the list for him. I took the prescription and went to the herbal stores in town, trying to gather together the right ingredients. But the stores were all so deficient in stock that they were either missing this ingredient or some other, forcing me to run to quite a few stores before I was able to collect together all the right ingredients. But it was then when I suddenly ran into Auntie in search for me.” Tie Fei Long murmured an “mm,” and then said, “When we didn’t see you return, I sent your Auntie out to look for you.” Tie Shan Hu continued, “So I told Auntie about the whole situation and took her to see the old Taoist Priest. But to my surprise, the old priest has suddenly disappeared while two men stood in his place instead. The two guys comprised of an old man and a young guy, and they were searching around for the old priest’s whereabouts. When they saw Auntie, they quickly bowed with courtesy and asked about the well-being of you, father. Auntie suddenly said, “Old Jin, [1] come with me outside.”

Tie Fei Long snorted angrily and then turned towards Mu Jiu Niang to say, “So this masterpiece was done by you and Jin Qian Yan?” Mu Jiu Niang sobbed, “I was only trying to get him to reveal where the stolen goods were.” Tie Fei Long then said, “Fine. Shan Hu, continue on.” Tie Shan Hu thus continued, “The two guys followed us to a vacant area and then Auntie said to the old man, ‘Old Jin, hand over the sword manual!’ Initially, the old man kept insisting that he didn’t have anything and it was only when he was forced into the corner by Auntie did he finally admit to everything.” When Yu Luo Cha heard this, she again emanated a wintry laugh, as her icy and haunting gaze shot onto Tie Fei Long’s face.

Tie Fei Long retorted with anger, “What are you being so impatient for Yu Luo Cha? The sword manual will eventually be returned to you!” He then continued to ask Tie Shan Hu, “So did that Jin Qian Yan finally hand over the sword manual?” Tie Shan Hu replied, “At first he wouldn’t, but then Auntie said, “You guys should know what kind of figure Taoist Priest Zhen Qian is. He has friends all over the world and now that you guys have murdered him here, did you really think that you could get away so easily and just take his sword manual back to XinJiang [2]? Aren’t you afraid that his friends would investigate into this matter? Give me the sword manual now and I’ll keep it safe for you. When I finish reading it, I’ll return it to you guys. Otherwise, hahaha … you should know that to anger Mu Jiu Niang would not be a good idea!” That old Jin laughed and said, “Jiu Niang, then we will follow the rules of the Underground world and share the wealth amongst everyone. I will hand this sword manual over to you first and will come to retrieve it in 2 months.’ When Auntie had the sword manual in her hands, she then swiftly brought me to a nearby mountain to practice it.”

Tie Fei Long asked, “Why didn’t you tell me of this incident earlier?” Tie Shan Hu replied, “Auntie told me not to say anything. As soon as she has practiced a few stances, it was as if she has suddenly discovered a priceless treasure and straightaway said to me, ‘This is the world’s most extraordinary book, if we can practice the sword stances as outlined in this book, we can be unbeatable within the world!’ She also said, ‘Shan Hu, we will practice this sword skill together in secret, but we must not let your father know.’ I was thinking: It’s not such a bad idea to have more skills, so therefore I promised her in the midst of my ignorance.”

Zhuo Yi Hang blurted out, “Then did the two of you come across Taoist Priest Zhen Qian afterwards?” Tie Shan Hu replied, “We only saw Priest Zhen Qian again on the QingFengMountain, but weren’t you guys there that day as well?” Tie Fei Long grunted again and said, “Taoist Priest Zhen Qian made an arrangement to meet with me on top of that mountain, but when I got there he was nowhere to be found. This was very likely related to the same incident. Wench! Why is it that even now you won’t tell me the truth?”

Mu Jiu Niang didn’t dare to respond because ever since she has taken the sword manual, she has always wanted to keep it within her sole possession. When Tie Fei Long once again traveled to the Northern Shaan area to see Wang Jia Yin last month, Jin Qian Yan sent someone to secretly deliver a letter to her which said that they have discovered Zhen Qian hiding on top of the QingFengMountain. Coincidently, Tie Fei Long also happened to receive an anonymous letter which asked him to come to the QingFengMountain for a meeting and thus Tie Fei Long brought Mu Jiu Niang along with him on the trip. Afterwards, when Tie Shan Hu drew Yu Luo Cha to the mountain and Tie Fei Long ended up battling with her, Mu Jiu Niang was then free to proceed to the back of the mountain to discover Zhen Qian hiding in a cave.

Now that the truth was finally made clear, Yu Luo Cha said in an icy tone, “Stealing my sword manual is already bad enough, but why did you have to go and murder Taoist Priest Zhen Qian as well?” Tie Fei Long widened his eyes and glared at Mu Jiu Niang, causing her to stammer with panic, “I did discover Zhen Qian inside the stone cave, but by that time he was already on the verge of dying. There was some food beside his body, indicating that there was most likely somebody there to take care of him previously. But by the time I got there, there was only him! His expression indicated to me that he was in great pain and he seemed to be trying to tell me to help him end this torture. So I had no other choice but to follow his orders!” Mu Jiu Niang’s words were indeed truthful, but what she didn’t admit to was that she also had another agenda on her mind at that time. She was afraid that Zhen Qian would discover that the sword manual was in her possession and was similarly afraid that Tie Fei Long would return to discover everything, therefore hurriedly expedited Zhen Qian’s death.

After Tie Fei Long has finished his interrogation, he was greatly infuriated within his heart. But on observing how his precious concubine and daughter were both horrified and shriveled up within themselves, he was incredibly devastated at the same time. Wave after wave of chilling sorrow pierced into his heart so that even his voice was trembling and broken up as he first turned towards his daughter to say, “Fine, then bring out the sword manual and return it to its rightful owner.” Tie Shan Hu cried, “It was just stolen by someone else!”

Tie Fei Long asked, “You mean the old freak Jin?” Tie Shan Hu admitted, “Yes!” Finally, Tie Fei Long understood everything, “Jin Qian Yan just came to see me two days ago. It must be concerning this book.” When Yu Luo Cha heard that her sword manual has been stolen again, her whole face changed colour as her temper boiled to such threatening degrees that it was on the brink of exploding again.

Tie Fei Long said in a clear and loud voice, “Yu Luo Cha! The retrieval of your sword manual will now be my personal responsibility. I swear I will bring your sword manual back to you even if I have to run to the ends of the earth!” Yu Lou Cha replied, “Fine, I’ll believe it when I see it, [3]” as if trying to say that she doesn’t believe his words. Ignoring her remark, Tie Fei Long reached out his hand to lightly sweep across his daughter’s hair, a gesture he used to make when she was still a little child. When Tie Shan Hu came into contact with her father’s gaze, she couldn’t stop a haunting chill from shooting straight into her heart as she cried out, “Papa, what are you doing?”

Tie Fei Long said slowly, “Shan er, you have turned nineteen this year, am I right?” Tie Shan Hu replied, “Uh-huh. Why?” Tie Fei Long then said, “You are no longer a baby bird. You have now grown your own wings and can venture out to face the world on your own.” Tie Shan Hu cried out, “Papa! I want to always remain by your side and be your baby bird!” Tie Fei Long’s face suddenly hardened as he pushed her away and shouted in a severe tone, “From now on, you are no longer my daughter! Now get out of my house! But when you go out there, you are not to use my name for your own purposes!”

Tie Shan Hu was trembling uncontrollably from head to toe, very much desiring to cry out yet was unable to. Tie Fei Long added, “You coveted another sect’s sword manual and then kept it a secret from your own father. If it wasn’t for your deceased mother’s sake, I would have taken your little life right away!” Ever since the day she came into this world, Tie Shan Hu has never had to sustain such punishment and furthermore, she was very aware of her father’s temper and knew that he would never take back his words. When she saw Yu Luo Cha look at her with a peculiar expression, she was simultaneously ashamed and angry. Therefore she immediately knelt down on the floor and knocked her head to the ground three times before stating tearfully, “Papa, please take of yourself from now on!” and then ran out the villa’s front gates without so much as turning her head around for one last look.

Although Yu Luo Cha was used to killing human lives without so much as batting an eye, yet upon witnessing such a scene, she couldn’t help but feel saddened within her heart. When she originally saw Tie Shan Hu shriveled up on the floor, she had already wanted to say something to alleviate Tie Fei Long’s anger. Yet in that brief moment’s time, she was unable to turn around and change the tone of her words. Now that the father and daughter have had this falling out, it has already become too late for her to attempt in consoling either person.

After Tie Fei Long finished kicking his daughter out, he had to calm himself down briefly before he was able to turn to Mu Jiu Niang and shout, “Wench! Get over here!” Mu Jiu Niang suddenly thrashed her hair about and shrieked with wild laughter before screaming loudly, “C’mon you old bag of bones! I’ve wanted to die for a long time now so just kill me and get it over with!” Tie Fei Long shouted, “You have stolen another person’s sword manual and ruined my name. Such is a crime that can be rightfully justified with the punishment of death! What else do you have to say for yourself?”

Mu Jiu Niang laughed with crazed madness and screamed, “Years ago I had no choice but to marry you when my father suddenly died in a foreign hometown, leaving me without any money to conduct his burial ceremonies. But after I married you, I was not given the title nor treated with the respect of an official wife. Just because I put on a fake smile whenever I see you, did you really think that I would truly like you? I’m looking forward to dying now because I’ve wanted to be freed from these living conditions for a long time!”

Mu Jiu Niang has followed by her father’s side ever since she was a very young girl, and even though they had to go from town to town performing tricks and stunts for money, yet their lifestyle was actually quite free and unrestricted. When her father died, she was left with no other choice but to marry a much older Tie Fei Long whose white hair marked a stark contrast against her youthful face and caused them to comprise a most unattractive couple. But what made her feel even more depressed was the strictness of Tie Fei Long’s eccentric character that rarely left her with the chance to experience any moments of true happiness. Had it not been out of fear for Tie Fei Long’s deadliness, she would have escaped a long time ago, and the reason why she would actually dare to steal another’s sect’s sword manual to begin with was because she wanted to secretly succeed in the sword skill so that Tie Fei Long could no longer prevent her from leaving.

At that moment, Tie Fei Long was almost paralyzed with shock. Mu Jiu Niang delivering such a speech to him was a scene he would not have conjured up even in his wildest dreams. But when he looked at her beautiful face blooming in all its loveliness and then thought to the snowy beard that filled his own face, he realized that he truly couldn’t blame her for feeling this way. The palm that was already raised above Mu Jiu Niang’s head immediately froze in mid air and he suddenly found that he couldn’t bring himself to smash it down on her skull. Yu Luo Cha immediately leaped forward and gently pulled Tie Fei Long’s hand away from Mu Jiu Niang.

With a long sigh, Tie Fie Long then said with a sweep of his hands, “Go then! Don’t ever come back to see me again!” Mu Jiu Niang’s laughter suddenly ceased and then she also knelt down to knock her head on the floor three times before saying, “Master, please take care of yourself from now on!” Then like Tie Shan Hu, she also ran out of the front gates without so much as turning her head around for one last look.

Tie Fie Long’s face was contorted with anguish and torment while his heart was wringed by wretchedness and despondency. He suddenly felt that he truly was an old man. Crumbled on top of the fake mountain, he felt as if he has just undergone a huge illness. With a sigh he said, “Alright, we should all be going as well.”

The early morning of next day, Zhuo Yi Hang was the first to express his intentions of departing. Yu Luo Cha said to him, “I hope that you will arrive safely at the capital.” Zhuo Yi Hang replied, “I also hope that you will be able to retrieve your sword manual.”

Wang Zhao Xi and Meng Qiu Xia both came forward as well to express their farewells to Tie Fei Long. Tie Fei Long said to them, “Sonny, please give my sincere apologies to your father when you return home. I was much too impertinent in the past.” Wang Zhao Xi replied, “I dare not” and after a short pause, Tie Fei Long continued with a sad smile, “This Miss Meng is really a much more superior girl than Shan Hu. Now that the two of you have sustained such a crisis together, I’m sure that you will most definitely be able to spend the rest of your lives in happiness and will have to undergo no further separations.” Wang Zhao Xi suddenly felt greatly relieved for he knew that from now on, this old man will never bug him again. Yet though he was filled with joyful happiness, he was simultaneously struck with compassionate pity. He was feeling joyful because he knew that Meng Qiu Xia really did love him, yet he was also feeling pity because this old man standing in front of him was simply too sad and lonely.

Wang Zhao Xi then said, “We will be accompanying brother Zhuo for a short distance.” Tie Fei Long then inquired, “What about you Yu Luo Cha? Aren’t you leaving as well?” Yu Luo Cha smiled and said, “I can’t just let you go by yourself to retrieve my sword manual.” Tie Fei Long angrily snapped, “Since I have made you a promise, then this has become my own business. Did you think that I won’t be able to bring back your manual by myself?”

Yu Luo Cha was secretly amused by the extreme pride of this old man but said instead, “Since old hero Tie you have promised to personally take action, I am of course completely reassured. But I’m afraid that you might be a bit lonely if I left you to travel such long distances by yourself. Don’t you think it’s a better idea for me to accompany you and relieve you of your boredom?”

Tie Fei Long became quite joyful when he suddenly heard Yu Luo Cha praise him with such respect, but the latter part of her speech induced an even more powerful and soothing effect on him for those words were spoken with a tender affection comparable to that of which a daughter would use with her father. Though Tie Fei Long was indeed competitive and arrogant, yet he truly did admire straightforward people who possessed a bold personality and true abilities. Having gone through two intense battles with Yu Luo Cha, they have unexpectedly transformed from enemies into friends, both respecting and admiring the other person.

Tie Fei Long chortled with laughter and remarked, “It’s too bad you’re not my daughter!” to which Yu Luo Cha replied, “Then I will be your daughter!” and then immediately knelt down to bow with joyful respect while saying with genuine tenderness, “Father.” [4] Tie Fei Long hurriedly helped her to her feet and said, “How can I be worthy of such an honour?” Yu Luo Cha smiled and asked, “Are you unwilling to take me as your daughter because I once insulted you and then hit out at you? Let me tell you, if you want to vent out your anger, then I think it would be best for you to be my father. Think about it, when you become my father, only you will be allowed to hit and yell at me while I won’t be able to hit or yell at you!”

Tie Fei Long was so amused by her words that he roared out into joyful laughter and said, “Since that is the case, if I don’t accept you as my daughter, then it would make me look even more petty and immature! Too bad I don’t have any valuable presents to give you. Since your martial arts are already better than mine, there’s really not much I can give you. But in terms of inner energy cultivation, I can still be said to have a relatively acceptable grasp. Why don’t I share my understanding of it with you in the future and then we can both study it together.” The reason why Yu Luo Cha was willing to call Tie Fei Long father was because firstly, she liked how his character was similar to her own and secondly, she pitied how desolate and lonely he was. She never wished to learn his martial arts and therefore never expected him to relate to her the essence and practice methods of the internal energy cultivation that he has gathered over the last twenty, thirty years. Since to refuse such a heartfelt offer would simply be too disrespectful, she could therefore only express her gratitude without any further hesitation.

Thus Tie Fei Long, now accompanied by Yu Luo Cha saw Wang, Zhuo and Meng outside the villa’s gates. Yu Luo Cha entreated Wang Zhao Xi to take care of the matters related to her mountain fortress for her, while also specifically beseeching Meng Qiu Xia to take her female troops under her command for the time being. Meng Qiu Xia also agreed to her request. Yu Luo Cha then had to once again bid her farewells to Zhuo Yi Hang, but her unwillingness to separate from him this time was even stronger than before.

By the time they finished seeing their guests out, it was already noon hour. Tie Fei Long and Yu Luo Cha were retreating back to the house for a rest when Tie Fei Long’s eyebrows suddenly knitted together as he remarked, “That Zhuo Yi Hang has such a snobby upper class attitude, I really don’t understand why you would be on such friendly terms with him.” Yu Luo Cha just laughed and did not answer, but at that very moment, a servant suddenly ran into the room, bringing with him a black visitation box. [5]

When Tie Fei Long saw the black visitation box, his face immediately clouded over while Yu Luo Cha also remarked, “Why would this person be so disrespectful?” For it should be understood that the typical visitation box that carries within it social calling cards are usually outlined with gold or made of red wood in order to express the caller’s joyful blessings. Black visitation boxes are rarely ever seen or heard of. Tie Fei Long said, “Let’s read the card first before we say any more.” Thus he opened up the box and took out the calling card to discover that written on the card were the words, “Wu Tang’s Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf and Taoist Priest Red Cloud brings forth their disciples, humbling asking for the honour of being received into your esteemed abode.”

Tie Fei Long remarked with surprise, “Why would the Wu Tang 5 elders travel the millions of miles to come here and visit me? They have always declared themselves as the orthodox centrality of the martial arts world and then labeled me into the category of the demonic and villainous, why would they suddenly come calling upon my house with such courtesy and respect?” He thus hurriedly sent orders to invite them inside.

Amongst the 5 elders of Wu Tang, Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf ranked second and was followed by Red Cloud who was third in ranking. In terms of their respected status and exalted eminence, they were only below that of Taoist Priest Purple Sun. Tie Fei Long has once exchanged palms in the past with the fourth ranked elder Taoist Priest White Stone and in the end won over him by one stance. He knew that in both Yellow Leaf and Red Cloud’s hearts, they felt that the combat results were unjustified and unmerited. Thus when he saw their calling card, he immediately became suspicious for he did not know whether they harboured good or bad intentions behind their visit. He thus awaited their arrival with quite a serious and anxious expression whilst Yu Luo Cha just stood by one side and issued a soft chuckle every once in a while.

After just a short while, the doors opened as Yellow Leaf and Red Cloud were seen to ascend the stairs and enter into the room walking shoulder to shoulder. Tie Fei Long promptly brought his hands together to greet them while saying, “It has been ten years since our last encounter, yet the health and well-being of two respected priests are still as before. How is Taoist Priest Purple Sun?” Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf said remorsefully, “My honoured martial arts brother has left the mortal world last month to ascend into heaven and join the pantheon of deities.”

This piece of news made Tie Fei Long incredibly upset for even though the relationship between Tie and the other four elders was infused with cracks which allowed the feelings of resentment and dislike to seep in, yet towards Taoist Priest Purple Sun, Tie truly held only the highest regard and esteem. Only now did Tie Fei Long understand the reason to why Yellow Leaf and Red Cloud would use the colour black on their visitation box. Unable to stop his tears from welling up, Tie Fei Long sighed and said, “Such an unexpected tragedy. From now on, the martial arts world will know of no other elder whose actions and distinction can give others cause for true respect and esteem.” Though these words were obviously Tie’s way of exalting Taoist Priest Purple Sun, yet when Yellow Leaf and Red Cloud heard these words, they couldn’t help but feel traces of disgruntlement and unease.

Tie Fei Long turned to face the South and then bowed three times to express his last respects before suddenly thinking to himself: the Wu Tang sect is the current martial art world’s big dipper. Now that their sect leader has died, they must be most chiefly concerned with establishing another successor, not to mention there must also be a great deal of ceremonial rites that needs to be prepared and completed. Why would Yellow Leaf and Red Cloud find time to come here? Can it be that they’re trying to clear away all the scores of their sect’s past vengeances and thus came here to settle the score with me? But after thinking over it more carefully, he realized that such a conjecture did not make any sense and therefore couldn’t help but ask, “May I ask why honoured priests have called upon my house today?” Yellow Leaf looked around the room and then said coldly, “We would like to inquire about two matters. The first concerns our sect’s disciple Zhuo Yi Hang. Is he currently residing in your honoured villa?” Yu Luo Cha interrupted right away, “Why are you guys looking for Zhuo Yi Hang? Are you trying to hasten him home for the funeral?”

Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf glowered at Yu Luo Cha, but because he knew that Tie Fei Long had a daughter named Tie Shan Hu who was very unruly and ill-behaved, he therefore thought that Yu Luo Cha must be Tie’s daughter and secretly snickered at the bad manners of the Tie family. He thus continued, “The last orders of our sect leader Purple Sun states that Zhuo Yi Hang was to be established as our new sect leader. [6] We have purposely come to bring him back to the mountain.”

As soon as Yu Luo Cha heard these words, her heart was immediately filled with elation. But within her joy, there also surfaced uneasiness. She was happy for Zhuo Yi Hang when she found out that he was to be established as the leader of a sect at such a young age and would just be a step away from ascending into the exalted position of the martial art world’s leader. But she was similarly worried because she has had some past issues with the Wu Tang sect, and now that Zhuo has become their sect leader, she was afraid that it would be harder for them to get closer in the future.

Upon observing the haughtiness in Yellow Leaf’s expression, Tie Fei Long replied coolly, “Then the two of you have arrived at precisely the wrong moment. Zhuo Yi Hang has just left.” Tie had originally expected Yellow Leaf to swiftly express his farewells and run after Zhuo when he heard these words, but Yellow Leaf was surprisingly calm and nonchalant as he remarked, “Really? Then we will wait for him here” before he proceed to sit down. At first, Tie Fei Long was greatly baffled by this response, but he quickly understood the reason after analyzing over the situation briefly.

The calling card read “Wu Tang’s Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf and Taoist Priest Red Cloud brings forth their disciples, humbling asking for the honour of being received into your esteemed abode,” yet in front of them stood only Yellow Leaf and Red Cloud, which means that the other Wu Tang disciples should also be arriving promptly. To receive a sect’s leader was an extremely important and serious matter, but since these two people were Zhuo’s martial art uncles, they will therefore be assisting him in the future. Thus it could be deduced that they have come here today with the purpose of relating the final words of Zhuo’s ShiFu to him and were not here to personally comply with him. Because of this reason, the martial art brothers of Zhuo’s lineage will therefore have to arrive shortly in order to perform the proper rites and customs of recognition to a sect leader. Thinking to these rules of the martial arts world, Tie Fei Long secretly laughed at his own thoughtlessness. Since the Wu Tang disciples will be arriving soon, they will likely come across Zhuo Yi Hang and intercept him. No wonder these two old Taoist Priests would be sitting here in wait.

But Tie Fei Long still had some queries that were left unanswered and therefore he brought his hands together with respect and asked, “May I inquire about how honoured Taoist Priests managed to procure such rapid information so as to discover that Zhuo Yi Hang was at my humble abode?” Yellow Leaf did not respond, but just sat there with the same haughty nonchalance. Then he suddenly stated, “There is still a second matter which I would like to inquire about.”

Tie Fei Long was quite crossed as he declared loudly, “Please continue.” Yellow Leaf thus said, “How did Taoist Priest Zhen Qian die?” Tie Fei Long jumped up and blurted out, “Humph! So you were the one who wrote the anonymous letter?” Yellow Leaf replied, “Yes.” Tie Fei Long laughed coolly and said, “Since that is the case, then you were unable to keep our engagement” to which Yellow Leaf said in reply, “Now is not too late.”

Yellow Leaf and Red Cloud’s side of the story began with them setting out to receive Zhuo Yi Hang with six other second generation disciples. To do so, they must first arrive at the Zhuo family’s mansion located in the Shaan Xi area, but little did they expect that as soon as they arrived in Shaan Xi, they would accidentally stumble across the secret codes left behind by Taoist Priest Zhen Qian at the diner. The symbols communicated to them that Zhen Qian has undergone a furtive attack and was now hiding on the QingFengMountain, trying to recover from his injuries.

There were Wu Tang disciples situated all the country and furthermore, a Wu Tang disciple residing in the local area happened to come up to Yellow Leaf and report to him that they have discovered the traces of Tie Fei Long who was currently residing in another inn within the same small town. Since Taoist Priest Zhen Qian was close acquaintances with the Wu Tang 5 elders, Yellow Leaf therefore quickly hastened to the mountain. But by that time he got there, Zhen Qian was already unable to speak. When Yellow Leaf asked him to explain his encounter, he could only use his finger to write on the ground: “Ask Tie Fei Long.” Zhen Qian told Yellow Leaf to go ask Tie Fei Long because he has already related his whole story to Tie Shan Hu and therefore naturally conjectured that she must have told everything to her father as well. But instead, Yellow Leaf misinterpreted Zhen Qian’s intentions and ended up believing that Zhen Qian was murdered under the hands of Tie Fei Long.

When Yellow Leaf first examined the seriousness of Zhen Qian’s injuries, he already knew that it was no longer possible for Zhen Qian to recover and therefore ran back to the inn in a rampage and unhesitatingly sent out an anonymous letter to the inn that Tie Fei Long was residing in. Yellow Leaf requested Tie to meet him at the QingFengMountain so that he may list out his crimes and take revenge for Zhen Qian in front of his corpse. The reason why Yellow Leaf sent out the letter anonymously was because he was taking into account of the possibility that Tie Fei Long would be scared away by the fame of the Wu Tang 5 Elders.

Yellow Leaf was originally intending to attend the meeting, but as soon as he sent out the anonymous letter, the local disciple rushed in unexpectedly to report that the front doors of the Zhuo mansion were for some unknown reason padlocked. He also reported that the servants of the mansion were also seen to leave the mansion intermittently, each one of them carrying luggage within their hands, clearly indicating that some kind of sudden change or urgent crisis had taken place. Yellow Leaf thought over the situation carefully and felt that Taoist Priest Zhen Qian’s case was a matter which could still be taken care of later, but to bring Zhuo back to Wu Tang was the most important matter to take care of at present. Therefore after assessing the situation and weighing the consequences, Yellow Leaf had no choice but to miss this engagement.

By the time that Yellow Leaf arrived at the Zhuo mansion, Zhuo Yi Hang was already taken to the Yan An City, and by the time Yellow Leaf made it to Yan An, Zhuo Yi Hang was already rescued. Through the repeated process of searching and pursuing, they later discovered that Zhuo Yi Hang’s imprisonment was related to Wang Zhao Xi. Therefore the Wu Tang sect went over to WaYaBao to see Wang Jia Yin. But Wang Jia Yin himself wasn’t sure about the history between his son and Zhuo Yi Hang, therefore could only tell them that his son has just traveled to Shan Xi’s LongMenCounty to call upon Tie Fei Long.

Due to the fact that Wang Jia Yin and the Wu Tang 5 Elders were not close acquaintances and also because the Wu Tang sect has always looked down upon the people of the Underground world, Wang Jia Yin therefore did not explain the situation to them in detail. And of course, he definitely would not mention Yu Luo Cha’s pact to duel with Tie Fei Long and Wang Zhao Xi’s intentions of rescuing his fianc” But judging from the signs in front of him, Yellow Leaf concluded that to find Zhuo Yi Hang, they must first find Wang Zhao Xi, and since Wang Zhao Xi was at the Tie Villa, then they might as well find Zhuo and seek revenge for Zhen Qian at the same time.

Therefore, Yellow Leaf and Red Cloud immediately chased to the Tie Villa to blatantly confront Tei Fei Long about Taoist Priest Zhen Qian’s death. As soon as Tie Fei Long heard these words, he could no longer hold back his rage as he sneered and said coldly, “Then I take it that elder priests have come here today to accuse me with the crime of Taoist Priest Zhen Qian’s murder?” Yellow Leaf did not bother to conceal his true intentions, but just answered with stark honesty, “Indeed.”

As soon as these words were spoken, it was as if someone had just poured oil upon fire, for Tie Fei Long immediately surged forward with wild force and swept down on Yellow Leaf with a strike of his palm while he roared, “Yellow Leaf, what kind of person do you think I am?” Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf intercepted with a strike and said coldly, “You are fully aware of what you have done. Why come and ask me?” With a snarl, Tie Fei Long executed the “White Ape Opens Road”and then brought his two palms together before suddenly extending them out towards the left and right sides, simultaneously slashing towards Yellow Leaf’s two shoulders. Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf immediately flipped his body over and had to consecutively execute the two stances “Three Rings Covering the Moon”and “Wind Sweeps Across Drooping Willow”before he was able to dismantle Tie Fei Long’s stances. Tie Fei Long snickered and said, “I know that after Taoist Priest Purple Sun dies, the rest of you who are petty and restricted in breadth of heart will definitely not to be willing to leave me alone. Haha! Since you guys are so indignant, then come on! We’ll have another battle!”

Barely concealing the sarcasm and ridicule behind his tone, Tie Fei Long was basically saying: I once defeated one of the Wu Tang 5 Elders, and though Taoist Priest Purple Sun who was forgiving and magnanimous does not take it to heart, yet the rest of you who are trivial and narrow-minded will of course try to find any little excuse just to seek your revenge.

In truth, though Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf was indeed indignant about their defeat that occurred years ago, yet he would never be as bitter and resentful as Taoist Priest White Stone was. But now hearing Tie Fei Long’s words, he couldn’t help but feel anger erupt from the bottom of his heart as he rushed forward and took the disadvantaged position to strike up a stance and shout, “Old bandit! Come on! Did you think I was afraid of you? Taoist Priest Zhen Qian is waiting for you in the hellish underworld! If you have any last words or wishes, you better say them now while you still have the chance!”

Tie Fei Long exploded with rage as he bellowed, “I’ll make you choke on those words first! Take this!” Tie then jumped from the “Gen” position to the “Li” [7] house and with a “Bronze Pipa Hands,” the back of his hand swept#####ds, slapping towards Yellow Leaf’s face with the speed of lightning. With a flit of his body, Yellow Leaf extended his palms to slash across Tie Fei Long’s right arm while his two fingers snuck towards Tie’s acupoint, causing Tie to suddenly retract his palm. Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf’s body shot upwards while his right fist charged forward and then suddenly transformed into the “Hammer [8] striking beneath elbow” stance. He then brought his fist forward to impact upon Tie’s palm, forcing both parties to retreat three steps.

As soon as Tie Fei Long stepped back, he surged forward again right away to thunder, “Taoist Priest Zhen Qian was murdered under the hands of a malicious villain, but what does that have to do with me? You’re pushing all the blame onto me for no reason! If you don’t apologize to me right now, don’t you even think about getting out of these doors alive!” Tie Fei Long’s fiery temper exploded earlier when their conversation turned into an ugly argument, pushing him to immediately deliver a strike with his fists and resulting in an exchange of a few stances. But then he realized: combating palms is one matter, but Zhen Qian’s death concerns a completely different matter. I have to first get things straight. Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf was similarly taken back as he asked, “Are you telling the truth?” Tie Fei Long snapped with anger, “You dare to doubt my words? Stinking Taoist Priest, I can seek revenge for Zhen Qian, but I will still duel palms here with you today!” With a flit of his body, he jumped from the “Li”position into the “Kan” position, and through the power of wind and force of thunder planted within his palms, two strikes instantaneously ripped towards Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf with a loud whoosh.

When Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf saw how forceful Tie’s approaching attack was, he swiftly transformed his left fist into a palm and rounded inwards towards the center. Then with a twist and a wring of his right arm, he used the stances from the “Crane Arm Technique” to disband the force of Tie’s attack. Though Tie Fei Long’s palm strikes had the ability to alternate between both hard and soft attacks, yet his right arm was already confined by Yellow Leaf, forcing Tie Fei Long to take advantage of the pulling momentum and strike out with his left fist. With a “Charging Fist,” Tie’s confined right arm charged upwards and struck towards Yellow Leaf’s “Tai Yang acupoint” while still being locked in the band created by Yellow Leaf’s arm.

Amongst the 5 Elders of Wu Tang, the martial arts of Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf were behind only that of his elder martial arts brother, the sect leader Purple Sun. With a turn of his shoulder, a loud blast sounded as Yellow Leaf forcefully intercepted Tie Fei Long’s fist. Then with a hook of his left arm, he immediately snagged onto Tie Fei Long’s wrist and with the speed of lightning, bent his arm down towards the bottom in one twisting motion. Tie Fei Long’s punch struck Yellow Leaf so hard that sparks flew and stars danced in front of his eyes, but having had his arm snapped by Yellow Leaf, Tie Fei Long was also in unbearable and excruciating pain. He hurriedly generated the internal energies within his left palm, pushing it forward while Yellow Leaf brought out his right palm to intercept it forcibly. Although Yellow Leaf was shocked so hard by this contact that he almost toppled over, yet his right hand remained in its place and it was refusing to let go.

The battle was now caught in a deadlock for the martial art proficiency of both fighters has already reached the levels akin to the purest part of a burning blue flame. Sweat started to drip down from the foreheads of the two opponents and Yellow Leaf whose face was the colour of mouldy dust was furthermore wheezing loudly like a cow. Tie Fei Long has generated all his internal energies to withstand him, but the bones of his wrist were snapped so hard that he felt as if it was going to burst apart with pain. Although both men were now secretly regretting their moves, yet to retract their energies at this point was already a very complicated matter.

Taoist Priest Red Cloud immediately began to act out when he saw how dangerous the combat situation was, but just when he was about take action, a beautiful sight suddenly lighted up in front of his eyes. Yu Luo Cha’s white dress fluttered by and before Red Cloud could even register what was happening, she has already blazed ahead of him with a blinding speed. Then with an extension of her two arms, she simultaneously grasped towards the underarm area of both fighters, causing them both to experience an extreme itchiness. As a consequence, they both unconsciously receded the generation of their internal energies, thus allowing Yu Luo Cha to pull them apart with just a light tug.

This caused Yellow Leaf and Red Cloud to be equally taken back while Yu Luo Cha just pursed her lips into a smile and said, “Both elderly Priests are already of such an old age, but why would you still be as ignorant as I am?” Yellow Leaf was in the midst of circulating his internal energies in order to slow his rapid breathing and bring his vital functions back to normal circulation, but when he heard her words, he couldn’t help but ask with surprise, “What did you say?” Yu Luo Cha replied, “At first, I also thought that Taoist Priest Zhen Qian was murdered by old hero Tie, and like you guys, I also blindly struck up a battle without first getting everything straight. But now that I think back to it, I really have to laugh at my foolishness.” Yellow Leaf asked with astonishment, “Then, you’re not his daughter?” Yu Luo Cha smiled and replied, “Who said that I wasn’t?” Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf angrily scowled, “Humph! What kind of joke are you playing on me?”

In the midst of this conversation, sounds of footsteps were suddenly heard to approach from outside the room. Red Cloud swiftly leaped down the stone steps and then shouted back up to them in a loud voice, “Zhuo Yi Hang has returned!”

Feeling quite desolate and depressed after he has departed from Yu Luo Cha, Zhuo Yi Hang lagged behind on his horse and trotted behind Wang Zhao Xi and Meng Qiu Xia. Watching them together, riding saddle by saddle, Zhuo unconsciously thought to Yu Luo Cha and was overwhelmed by all sorts of emotions. He found that the more he thought about her, the more disconcerted and confused he became. Suddenly, a few horses were seen to gallop towards their direction with rapid speed and there was also someone who was shouting loudly, “Brother Zhuo!” Wang Zhao Xi pulled on his reins and the approaching crowd also descended their horses. The person leading the crowd was the eldest disciple within Wu Tang’s second generation, Yu Xin Cheng. Behind him were five other people, one of them being Geng Shao Nan!

Zhuo Yi Hang introduced his sect members to Wang Zhao Xi, but Geng Shao Nan who has met him previously became quite embarrassed having been reminded of their past encounter. Zhuo Yi Hang asked, “What has brought my honoured brothers here today?” Yu Xin Cheng inquired back, “Have you not seen our second and third martial arts uncles yet?” Zhuo Yi Hang remarked with surprised, “Why would the two elders come here as well?” Yu Xin Cheng tearfully cried, “During the ninth of last month, our ShiFu has passed away to ascend into the heavens!” Upon suddenly receiving this news, Zhuo Yi Hang immediately wailed “wa” and burst out into tears, nearly falling to the floor. Taoist Priest Purple Sun spent twelve arduous years educating and enriching Zhuo Yi Hang who loved him like a father, but now that they’ve been separated forever, he could no longer repay his ShiFu for the kind beneficence he has shown him all these years.

Yu Xin Cheng hurriedly held up Zhuo Yi Hang while consoling him in a soft voice, “Brother, please take care of yourself and try not to be overly saddened. Now that ShiFu has passed away, the responsibility of our Wu Tang sect will be lying on your shoulders from now on.” Zhuo Yi Hang wiped away his tears and asked, “What do you mean?” Yu Xin Cheng replied, “ShiFu’s last orders were to have you succeed him as the sect leader!”

Zhuo Yi Hang was greatly taken back as he asked in a trembling voice, “But there are still four other respected martial art uncles above me and below them are still my numerous martial art brothers. Why would I be chosen as the sect leader?” Yu Xin Cheng replied, “Brother, not only are you are skilled in both your martial and literary arts but you are also knowledgeable, resourceful, young and dynamic. The mission of glorifying our sect will now depend on you! Every single person in our sect respects and concurs with ShiFu’s last wishes. We are all rejoicing over his last decision.” After he finished these words, he immediately conducted the rites of obeisance towards a sect’s leader. Geng Shan Nan and the other four sect members also came forward to perform obeisance.

Zhuo Yi Hang hurriedly returned the act of courtesy and said, “Brothers, how can I be deserving of such high regard? I am simply too unworthy, so please, let us not mention these matters of succession for the time being. We can discuss such matters in greater detail later when we return to the Wu Tang Mountain.” Yu Xin Cheng said, “Brother, please do not be indecisive about such matters.” Geng Shan Nan also added, “Elder brother, please come with us to see second and third uncle first.” Zhuo Yi Hang asked, “Are the two elders here as well?” Yu Xin Cheng replied, “They are waiting at the Tie Villa up ahead.” Geng Shan Nan said, “We have put in a lot of effort and spent a great deal of time before we were able to find you here.” Zhuo Yi Hang said with tears, “I have put my honoured brothers and uncles through too much trouble. You have all travelled such long distances and endured such difficult toils. I feel awful to have been the cause of all this, but in regards to the high expectations my ShiFu and honoured sect members hold for me, I’m afraid that I will end up disappointing everyone.”

With tears, Zhuo Yi Hang departed from Wang Zhao Xi and then turned his horse around to begin his return journey when Geng Shao Nan suddenly asked, “Elder brother Zhuo, why would you be travelling on the same paths as that little scoundrel?” Zhuo Yi Hang asked, “What do you mean?” Geng Shan Nan said, “He is the son of Wang Jia Yin, the bandit lord of the Northern Shaan area!” Zhuo Yi Hang answered back, “I am already aware of this fact.”

Yu Xin Cheng was the eldest in rank amongst the second generation disciples, but because he was of extremely average talent, he was therefore truly satisfied and in support of Zhuo Yi Hang being established as their sect leader. However, he was also very firm and rigid about adhering to the rules of their sect; therefore upon hearing these words, he jumped back in alarm and quickly asked Geng Shan Nan, “Is that the same youngster who accompanied you on your trip last year?” All the sect members know of Geng Shao Nan’s incident because after Geng was ridiculed, he immediately hastened back to the mountain to wail about his injustice. Geng Shao Nan affirmed, “Yes” and Yu Xin Cheng’s face instantaneously underwent a change of colour as he said to Zhuo Yi Hang with a serious manner and a sombre tone, “Brother Zhuo, you are now our sect’s leader. From now on, whatever you do, you must take extra caution to set a good example for the rest of our sect.”

Zhuo Yi Hang wiped his tears and replied, “Elder brother, thank you kindly for your constructive words, I will most definitely take them to heart. But amongst the underground world, there are still a good number of heroic and valiant figures. As long as we don’t become bandits, then even if we happen to associate with them on a casual basis, that still wouldn’t be considered as violating our sect’s rules.” Yu Xin Cheng said, “That is true, but they say that this Wang Zhao Xi was connected together with Yu Luo Cha! I’m sure brother you are aware of how Yu Luo Cha burglarized your grandfather’s possessions.” Zhuo Yi Hang’s face flushed red and he could only mumble, “My grandpa did not hold her in blame.”

When Geng Shan Nan heard these words, he became quite displeased as he asked, “Have you seen Yu Luo Cha yet Brother Zhuo?” Zhuo Yi Hang nodded his head and then suddenly said, “I am feeling very upset and bewildered right now. There are still many matters which I would like to tell my honoured brothers about in the future. Brother Geng, I am infinitely grateful towards you for accompanying my grandfather on his trip for me last year,” and as soon as he finished these words, he then proceeded to strike a low bow as his gesture of appreciation. Geng Shan Nan hurriedly returned a bow in respect and muttered with a red face, “Your incompetent brother I was unable to properly complete my duties and fulfil my promise to you. Even if brother you don’t blame me, your unworthy brother I am still much ashamed.” Yu Xin Cheng interrupted, “Let’s not mention these matters anymore. Brother Zhuo is our sect’s most promising talent and now he has become our sect leader. Is there still any doubt that he will be able to settle this score for you in the future?”

Zhuo Yi Hang directed his horse forward, but his troubled heart was in a state of turmoil as his horse slowly trotted forward. The fact that his sect members would regard Yu Luo Cha as their enemy was already something that he had anticipated, but he really didn’t expect that their attitude towards her could actually turn out to be so hostile. Now that Yu Luo Cha was at the Tie Villa, they will all be coming face to face with each other very soon!

Zhuo Yi Hang’s heart palpitated wildly when Yu Xin Cheng suddenly said, “Brother, let’s usher our horses to pick up their speed.” In a muddled daze, Zhuo relaxed his hold on the reins and before he knew it, they have already arrived at the Tie Villa. But the moment they stepped foot inside the Villa, they were greeted with the sound of Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf shouting. Yu Xin Cheng was incredibly shaken and thus without even waiting for the servants to relay the message of their arrival, he has already commanded all his sect members to charge inside.

Back to Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf who was just in the process of interrogating Yu Luo Cha when he suddenly saw Yu Xin Cheng’s group accompany Zhuo Yi Hang inside. He hurriedly came forward to receive them and Zhuo immediately knelt down with a mournful wail. Yellow Leaf helped him up and then repeated Taoist Priest Purple Sun’s last words to him. But Zhuo Yi Hang insisted, “Your worthless disciple is much too incompetent and unworthy to merit the bestowment of such an important responsibility. I beseech uncle to please gather together all the Wu Tang disciples by recalling them back to the mountain and then re-establish a more suitable person as the sect leader.” Since Yellow Leaf felt that it was inappropriate to discuss such matters within the Tie Villa, he thus said, “That is a good suggestion. Let me finish this business with old Tie first and then we can all return to the mountain.”

Tie Fei Long was already quite displeased when he watched the Wu Tang sect overstep the boundaries of a guest and take over their host’s house as if it was their own, but luckily Taoist Priest Purple Sun happened to be the person he most admired and respected, otherwise his temper would have exploded a long time ago. The moment Yellow Leaf and Zhuo Yi Hang finished their conversation, he immediately jumped forward to state loudly, “Yellow Leaf, your own sect leader is here right now. You can ask him yourself who the true culprit behind Taoist Priest Zhen Qian’s murder was.” Zhuo Yi Hang discerned through Tie’s words and expression that there must be some kind of misunderstanding between him and his martial arts uncle over Taoist Priest Zhen Qian’s death, therefore he immediately reported to his uncle, “Taoist Priest Zhen Qian was murdered by the practitioner of the Venomous Palms of the Yin Winds, Jin Du Yi’s disciple. Old hero Tie was just about to travel to the Western frontiers in order to seek him out for revenge.”

Since Zhuo Yi Hang has personally confirmed Tie’s words, Yellow Leaf had no other choice but to believe Tie’s claim and as a result, blushed deeply while hurriedly bringing together his fists and bowing to Tie Fei Long to say, “Please excuse my irrational behaviour and accept my sincere apologies. When are you planning to leave senior Tie? I will most definitely send disciples to accompany you along your journey in order that they may assist you.”

Tie Fei Long snickered coldly and said, “There’s no need. I have only one thing to ask of you. When you arrive in front of the Taoist Priest Purple Sun’s tomb, please tell him that Tie Fei Long not only has an important matter to take care of, but also due to the incompatibility between our respective sects, he would not be able to arrive in person to give his last respects. I can only continue to offer my worship and veneration from afar, but I sincerely hope that I can have his understanding and forgiveness.” Yellow Leaf knew that Tie Fei Long was still angry at heart, yet he also did not know what he could do in order to mitigate his bitterness. He therefore could only bring his fists together to say, “Senior Tie, such words are much too serious.”

Zhuo Yi Hang was standing by one side during the whole conversation (for although his ShiFu did establish him as the sect leader, yet he did not dare to take on the central position of a sect leader) but when he looked over to his side, Zhuo discovered that Geng Shao Nan was standing beside his martial arts uncle Red Cloud and furthermore, the faint traces of Geng’s soft whispering could vaguely be heard. Geng appeared to be reporting something to Red Cloud and since Zhuo knew that Geng Shao Nan was Red Cloud’s favoured and esteemed disciple, a thought immediately flashed across his head causing him to secretly cry with alarm. Geng Shao Nan must be asking his ShiFu to seek revenge for him!

Zhuo Yi Hang quickly glanced towards Yu Luo Cha who was sitting behind Tie Fei Long, her animated eyes wandering nonchalantly around the room as if oblivious to what was happening around her. When her magnetic eyes happened to gaze directly into his own eyes, Zhuo Yi Hang hurriedly lowered his head while his heart palpitated so wildly that its hammering beat suddenly became audible.

After Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf expressed his apologies to Tie Fei Long, there was already nothing else left for him to say and therefore Yu Xin Cheng along with the rest of the disciples all got up and prepared to depart. Yellow Leaf forced out an awkward laugh and said, “Please do excuse us senior Tie, we will be departing now.” But before he could even finish his words, Taoist Priest Red Cloud has already jumped out to shout loudly, “Hold on brother!”

Startled, Yellow Leaf turned back around only to see Red Cloud point to the young girl standing behind Tie Fei Long and declare loudly, “We have been so very impressed by this heroine here that this menial Taoist priest has long hoped for the opportunity to learn a few things from her. Who would have thought that I would come across this chance today?” Yellow Leaf froze with alarm as he thought to himself: has my brother suddenly lost his mind? He resides as one of the 5 elders of Wu Tang, but he sounds as if he’s trying to issue a challenge to this young girl! How could he utter such words?

With a sarcastic snicker, Tie Fei Long flashed over to one side and allowed a perfectly composed Yu Luo Cha to take the center stage. But Yu Luo Cha’s expression was still one of poised tranquility as she took her time straightening up her clothes and smoothing out her dress before she very slowly stood up.

Red Cloud leaped forward a step while Yu Luo Cha smiled faintly and said, “The swordsmanship of the Wu Tang Sect is unrivaled within the world, how could I possibly dare to challenge elder priest’s skills?” With an angry grunt, Red Cloud then declared, “It’s fine if you don’t want to exchange moves. But this humble priest dares to ask young miss you to repay the debts you owe to our Wu Tang sect.” Yu Luo Cha’s eyebrows shot up as she asked, “What debts?” Red Cloud replied, “I dare to ask young miss you to please severe six of your fingers and then give them to this humble priest so that I may bring it back to Wu Tang!”

That year, when Yu Luo Cha ridiculed the five disciples of Wu Tang on the DingJunMountain, she cut off two fingers on Geng Shao Nan’s hand while the other four disciples each lost one finger. All together, it comprised a total of six fingers. As soon as Yellow Leaf heard these words, he immediately understood: So this young girl wasn’t Tie Fei Long’s daughter, but was instead the famed Yu Luo Cha whose mere name can cause the abandonment of all guts and courage amongst the gangs of the Underground world?! Who would have thought that she would be so young?

Yu Luo Cha did not bother responding but only stood there giggling incessantly. Although Taoist Priest Red Cloud was already situated in the middle of the room, yet he knew it wasn’t proper to take out his sword and push a young girl into battle.

Zhuo Yi Hang’s whole body was trembling and when Geng Shao Nan saw the peculiar expression on Zhuo’s face, he approached his side softly and whispered, “Elder brother, is anything wrong?” Zhuo Yi Hang replied, “No, nothing.” Geng Shao Nan said, “That female bandit is extremely powerful, I’m afraid that even ShiFu can’t stop her! You have to prepare yourself elder brother, we absolutely cannot let her escape today.” His head caught in a daze, Zhuo Yi Hang could only nod in response while secretly hoping within his heart that this battle won’t ensue.

Amidst the laughter, Tie Fei Long ran into the middle of the combat ring and said in a clear voice, “Lian er, do you really owe Wu Tang something?” Yu Luo Cha smiled and said, “Nah, I don’t owe them anything. What I took away with me was merely a prize! Since Wu Tang’s five disciples wanted to compare sword skills with me, they can’t expect me to return empty-handed right? Father, I’m sure you’re aware that this has always been the rule within the black societal clans.” When Yellow Leaf heard them refer to each other as father and daughter, he was again startled.

Tie Fei Long stroked his beard and laughed, “Lian er, you must have been mistaken. Those people who battled with you must have been impostors who were pretending to be Wu Tang disciples. Think about it, the Wu Tang sword skill is undefeated within the world! Why would they gang up on one person with the combined power of five fighters and still end up losing?” The father and daughter went back and forth with their playful banter, causing Red Cloud to be even more humiliated as he whipped out his sword to yell, “Yu Luo Cha, are you planning to clear this debt or not?” He then turned towards Tie Fei Long to say, “We reside on the mountains and have really gotten out of loop with the matters of the outside world, thus we never knew that you actually have such an extraordinary daughter. We realize that to seek payback from her right in front of your face may indeed be disrespectful, yet you have to repay an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Such is a reality which I cannot change!”

But Tie Fei Long only roared with laughter and said, “This daughter of mine is quite different from all others. She never needs me to worry or interfere with anything that she does. Any debts or problems she may have, she will take care of herself. What are you all coming to me for?” When Yellow Leaf heard these words, he was once again baffled for Tie’s attitude did not seem to reflect the relationship between a father and daughter. After a slight pause, Tie Fei Long continued, “But being her father, I should come forward to say a few words on her behalf. Is it just you who’s seeking payback, or will the two generations of Wu Tang’s skilled fighters gathered here today be seeking payback as a group?” Red Cloud snapped furiously, “As long as you don’t help out, our Wu Tang sect most definitely will not take advantage of our large numbers to win this battle.” Tie Fei Long smiled and said, “Really? But even if you do decide to send out a few more fighters all at once, it still won’t be much of a big deal. As long as Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf can hold back, then I don’t have to worry my old head about anything. I may as well have a seat with Yellow Leaf and just enjoy this battle.” What Tie Fei Long was obviously saying was: as long as Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf does not participate in the battle, then even if all of your fighters strike out together, you will still not be Yu Luo Cha’s match. Such words of course made Red Cloud even more infuriated.

Tie Fei Long and Yellow Leaf gestured to each other, then retreated simultaneously before Red Cloud said, “Yu Luo Cha, aren’t you going to take out your weapon? What are you waiting for?” Yu Luo Cha smiled ever so faintly and said, “Since the elders have issued orders, then this youngster dares not to disobey. But out of respect to seniors, please strike your stance first.”

Despite Taoist Priest Red Cloud’s aggressiveness, Yu Luo Cha continued to take no notice of him, and though she has said that she will follow his orders, yet her sword still remained within its sheath. Red Cloud was boiling with anger, and yet he had no other choice but to return his sword to its sheath and then swiftly blast out with his left palm. The sleeves of his robe sliced through the wind as he strained his two fingers to pierce towards Yu Luo Cha’s face using the stance “Painting the eyes on the Dragon.” But Red Cloud was surprised to find that Yu Luo Cha only had to move her body ever so slightly before he ended up attacking empty air!

The sound of a sword blade grazing through the wind instantaneously followed as a current of cool air immediately approached from behind him. Although Red Cloud was greatly alarmed, yet luckily his martial arts were also incredibly apt, and thus with a tap of his toes he executed a “bending waist to plant willow” and then by generating the energy from his whole body, he immediately snuck to one side. Even while in the midst of rotating his body, he was able to discern where the weapon of his opponent was positioned and thus with the execution of Wu Tang’s supreme martial art skill the “Yuan-Yang [9] sequential kicks,” he kicked madly towards Yu Luo Cha’s sword wielding hand. With a slide, Yu Luo Cha evaded his attack, but Red Cloud continued to kick and ended up more than ten feet away from the combat ring before he could stop himself. He turned back around only to find Yu Luo Cha asking with her long sword in her hand and a dazzling smile on her face, “Elder priest, why aren’t you taking out your sword?”

The sheer speed of Yu Luo Cha’s movements was like nothing he has ever seen before! Red Cloud had to stop and secretly take a deep breath for he really couldn’t believe that she would have the ability to extract her sword even in the midst of dodging his attacks. Because he had underestimated her abilities, he bludgeoned forward blinding and almost committed an irreversible mistake.

Taoist Priest Yellow Leaf was only observing the battle from the side, but he was similarly taken back. Even though the degree of Yu Luo Cha’s martial arts proficiency still could not be discerned yet, however it could already be ascertained that her levitation skills were above Tie Fei Long’s and therefore it seems reasonable to conclude that her martial arts were not taught by him.

By this time, Red Cloud no longer dared to take this battle lightly and as he hurriedly took out his sword, he said in a much more humbler and courteous tone, “Fine, then would young miss please strike a stance first.” Again, Yu Luo Cha only smiled faintly and said, “Then excuse my rudeness!” She then raised her left fingers above her head and immediately pushed her right arm forward. The tip of her sword was sparkling rays of light as she pierced towards Red Cloud’s chest while standing in the center position!

The theory of martial arts states that: “The Sword runs along the side, the Spear attacks along a line,” and there is a similar saying which states, “The Sabre follows the light, the Sword follows the dark.” What these phrases illustrate is that the art of sword should be chiefly concerned with agile transformations and lithe movements, thus those who use the sword will typically attack from the left or right sides. They don’t often take the centre position. But now, Yu Luo Cha has chosen the method of the frontal attack by taking the centre position with her very first stance, this was obviously a way of slighting Red Cloud’s abilities. Even though Red Cloud has already changed his attitude towards Yu Luo Cha by treating her as an equally matched opponent, yet when he observed the disregard she was showing towards him, he couldn’t stop himself from exploding with absolute rage.

With a swirl of his esteemed sword, Red Cloud’s blade approached Yu Luo Cha’s blade and with the stance “Dance of the Silver Snakes,” [10] he suddenly twisted#####ds. Such a move had the ability to dismantle the frontal attacks of one’s opponent and was a powerful attack found within the Wu Tang sect’s 72 Styles of the Sequential-Linking Sword Skill. Yellow Leaf, who was observing from the side was secretly praising his brother and thinking to himself: brother’s sword skill truly has improved greatly. This stance was executed at exactly the right time and with exactly the right force, with such a twist and pull, regardless of how powerful one’s opponent may be, this stance will most definitely cause their weapon to fly out of their hand!

Taoist Priest Red Cloud was thinking the exact same thing and was very confident that his attack was most definitely going to succeed. But he never expected that Yu Luo Cha’s sword stances would turn out to be so erratic and contrary to convention. He watched her attack from the front, but what was obviously a “Venomous snake flicks out forked tongue” stance underwent a slight vibration and somehow, the blade suddenly slid over to one side and pierced towards his left shoulder-blade while also simultaneously slashing downwards towards his arm and the side of his body. Red Cloud was greatly taken back, but by bringing his body together with his sword, he rotated in a semi-circle and managed to escape such an attack. Yu Luo Cha followed closely behind and by bending at the waist and extending her arm, her long sword tore out with the force of a tornado.

When Red Cloud observed that she was obviously attacking with the “Waves clashing against dragon gates” stance, he hurriedly lifted his sword to scrape in an upwards motion. But little did he expect that when Yu Luo Cha’s stance reached its halfway point, she would suddenly change directions, so that what should have been a stance which struck towards the top would suddenly pierced downwards and even when it appeared that she was attacking left, she would suddenly flip towards the right. Caught completely off guard, Red Cloud was all thumbs as he clumsily scrambled about and repeatedly stumbled backwards.

Yet nevertheless, the fame of Wu Tang’s sword skill was not founded on unmerited grounds. After the exchange of a few stances, Red Cloud was able to discover that even though the mysticism of Yu Luo Cha’s sword skill was incomparable to anything he has ever encountered before, yet he was also able to gradually understand some of its dynamics so that he was not as baffled and unprepared as before. He then immediately made the decision to execute all 72 styles of the Sequential-Linking Sword Skill with such intensity that it forms a shield which could prevent the invasion of wind and rain. By doing this, he was concentrating his full energy into resisting her attacks but would have to end up abandoning the prospect of initiating any attacks.

It should be understood that Wu Tang’s art of inner energy cultivation was considered as the essence of orthodoxy within the martial arts world. Similarly, their school of sword art has undergone the reformation and modification of many generations of talented martial art masters. Therefore, their sword skill truly was profound and ingenious, otherwise how could they have taken possession of the “World’s number one” title? Under the tight defense created by Red Cloud, Yu Luo Cha truly was unable to break through his barrier at the time being.

Yellow Leaf’s palms were dripping with sweat and it was only now did he finally allow himself to let out a breath of relief, but the fact remained that Red Cloud was still unable to decipher or comprehend Yu Luo Cha’s radically bizarre sword skill. Amongst this process of attacking and guarding, another fifty or seventy stances past while Yu Luo Cha continued to reside solidly in the position of the fighter with the upper hand. She took the initiative with every move, causing Yellow Leaf’s heart to eventually return to a state of nervous panic. He knew that in a situation where two skilled fighters were competing sword skills, if one fighter only had the ability to defend and not to attack, their every move will most definitely be restricted by their opponent at every turn. Once enough time passes by, they will eventually reveal an opening of which their opponent can take advantage of. His own status was extremely respected and he had further made a promise to Tie Fei Long, so of course he could not lend out a hand to help his brother.

But at that time Zhuo Yi Hang happened to be standing beside him and so he lightly tugged on his hand and then whispered to him softly, “Wait here a while longer, then go forward to substitute your martial arts uncle.” Amongst all the second generation disciples, Zhuo Yi Hang’s martial arts were recognized as being the most superb. Even though overall, he may still be slightly below that of Red Cloud, yet the fact that he was young and energetic was one area which he excels over his martial arts uncle. Therefore Yellow Leaf thought to himself: by asking him to go out, he can at least withstand fifty or so stances. Besides, Zhuo Yi Hang was a youngster and therefore even if he was defeated, it at least won’t be such a shameful loss. It is best to let him ward off the opponent for the time being while we think of another plan.

By that time, Zhuo Yi Hang was lost in a comatose daze as his eyes remained glued to the battlefield and his limbs were frozen over with terror. When Yellow Leaf pulled on his arm, he couldn’t help but be shocked as he immediately glanced towards him and asked, “Are you feeling sick?” Zhuo Yi Hang shook his head while Yellow Leaf continued in a low voice, “Did you hear what I said?” Zhuo Yi Hang nodded with bewilderment, leaving Yellow Leaf unsure of whether he could believe his answer or not. But on observing Zhuo Yi Hang’s soulless, glassy-eyed stare, he became extremely concerned.

At the same time, the fight on the battlefield was becoming increasingly intense as the sweat on Red Cloud’s forehead started to become visibly observable. With a laugh that rung out long and clear, Yu Luo Cha stroked her sword to paint out a ray of brilliant light, striking straight towards Red Cloud’s wrist. Red Cloud lifted his sword to block her, but her wrist suddenly retracted so that the tip of her blade pierced downwards, heading directly towards the joint on his kneecap. Red Cloud was incredibly surprised, for such a move was none other than the “Gold Needle Shocks World” [11] stance from his own Wu Tang sword skill!

Because Red Cloud has fought over one hundred stances with Yu Luo Cha, he had already begun to understand that her sword skill tends to run in the opposite direction of the original stances that were being imitated. But since he couldn’t figure out a way to overcome these stances, he could only exert all his efforts into defending and ignore the lure of attacking. By this way of secure shielding, he could only hope that he will not leave an opening for his opponent to make a fool of him. But when he suddenly saw his opponent approach with a stance from his very own sect, he momentarily forgot that her sword skill was based on opposite principles and actually rushed forward to take the outer position. With a swerve of his sword, he then quickly spun it around two rotations. Such a move was called “Three Turns of the Dharma Wheel [12]” and was originally an ingenious move that could be used to ward off the “Golden Needle Enters World” stance. But what he did not expect was that even though Yu Luo Cha appeared to be piercing downwards, the tip of her blade would suddenly bounce around to thrust upwards. Red Cloud’s sword was snagged within the force of her blade as the two weapons twisted together for two full circles before Red Cloud’s sword almost flew out of his hands!

Such is: Amongst the blur of dust and wind, sword skill sheds out divine light.

 

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[1] “Old Jin”: The actual text in the book should be correctly translated to “Old third Jin” referring to Jin Qian Yan’s hierarchy within his lineage. But it was shortened in the translation to induce better flow.

[2] “XinJiang”: The largest province in China, more commonly known in the ancient eras as the “Western Regions” (XiYu) that was taken over by the “Huns.” Famous landmarks belonging to the Xinjiang region includes the Silk Road, the FlamingMountains (Huo Yan Shan – the legendary landmark featured in the great Chinese classic “Xi You Ji”/”Journey to the West”), the HeavenlyLake and most pertinent to this novel, the HeavenlyMountains (Tian Shan).

[3] “I’ll believe it when I see it”: The translated phrase has actually been slightly modified to induce better comprehension of the sentence. The original text was actually a Xie Hou Yu (sometimes translated as “Informal Phrases” and “Riddle Phrases”). Xie Hou Yu relies on the pairing of two statements that answers off each other (an “answer” to the “riddle”) and then of which could be applied to reference many people, things and incidents of daily life. Some very simple and commonly used examples of a Xie Hou Yu would be “The cat who cries for the mouse” --> “Showing fake mercy/compassion” …or… “The clay bodhisattva that crosses the river” --> “Can’t even take care of himself” … or … “Lantern made of Cow’s Skin” --> “You can never illuminate it.” A Xie Huo Yu is also used here, the first part translates as “Riding the donkey while reading the musical sheets” and the later part answers the first as “Riding while reading” (literal translation), which has the double meaning of “we’ll see as we go along.” The actual implication of the phrase is basically that of showing scepticism towards the vow/statement made by another person. In this case, the translator has decided to modify it in such a way which can facilitate a more comprehensible read while simultaneously retaining the original implications.

[4] “Father”: Should be correctly translated as “Foster father,” but the word “father” was used here instead to induce better flow.

[5] “visitation box”: A box with a social calling card inside that lists the name and (possibly) also the purpose of the visitors calling upon the owner of the establishment.

[6] “sect leader”: To translate the actual term used in the novel, it should really be “sect leader-disciple.” The word “disciple” added onto the title may indicate that though Zhuo was to be established as the new sect leader, yet he was also to be guided by his elders (the other 4 elders), thus stressing the importance of his simultaneous position of the “disciple.”

[7] “Gen”, “Li” referring to the positions plotted according to the eight trigrams. Refer to footnote in Chapter 6 for further details.

[8] “Hammer” Chinese hammers that are used as weapons can be either constructed with long or short handles, and has a head shaped like a melon (therefore it is sometimes referred to as standing/lying melon hammers), while some heads are octagonal or square in shape. Some hammers are attached to a long chain or rope (referred to as Meteor Hammer). The following is a picture of a melon hammer: External Link and a meteor hammer: External Link

[9] “Yuan-yang”: translates into Mandarin duck.

[10] “Dance of the Silver Snakes”: translation shortened. Full translation should be “Dance of the Silver Snakes on Mountain”

[11] “Golden needle shocks world”: The translator believes that “golden needle” may be referring to the legendary Monkey King Sun Wu Kong’s (the main character in the Chinese classic “Journey to the West”) weapon, a golden stick which was also known as “The Divine Needle that Stabilizes the Sea”

[12] “Dharma wheel”: A Buddhist term, also known as the “Wheel of Law.”