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Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain Chapter 6.5 Encounter

Chapter 6.5 Encounter 

Entering the hall, Orchid found it full of people. They were all seated.

Those who had vanished a while before, had all suddenly returned to life

seemingly from nowhere. The party stood up, crowding around Orchid and throwing questions at her: "Has he gone?" "What did he say?" "Did he say when he would return?" "What injury did he seek to avenge by ascending the mountain?" and "Whom is he seeking?"

Orchid secretly held their cowardice in disdain. They had retreated at the first opportunity, leaving only a fragile lady to keep guard. Thus, she

answered coldly, "He said nothing."

Tree remonstrated, "It cannot be true. You were here in the hall with him for some time. You must have at least exchanged a few words."

Orchid was never fond of practical jokes but her heart, full of mirth, was beating fast. Her present mental state and the strange expressions on their faces made her bold enough to feel a little daring. She therefore decided to play a joke on them; and so she said, "That Brother Fox made it known that he ascended the mountain for the express purpose of avenging the death of his father. He said it was a shame that all his enemies had gone into hiding. He is now remaining at the foot of the mountain. He will dispatch his foes as soon as they reach the heel of the mountain. If people descend in pairs, he will dispatch them both."

The Company shuddered at the thought of descending the mountain, thinking to themselves, "What is to be done now that the mountain is empty of provisions, and yet, as bold as can be, at the foot of the mountain, is this ferocious, powerful ruffian?"

Orchid continued, "Brother Fox said that each person on the mountain had some debt to settle with him, each of varying degree. He draws a distinct line between the good and the evil. Those who have incurred more displeasure will be seriously dealt with, while those who have committed minor offenses will be leniently treated. He will not harm the innocent, though. He also asked me to discover from you the reason why you all journeyed to beyond the Pass, to a land as piercingly cold as this? Are you trying to combine against him?" While Tree was keeping silent, the rest of the Company answered in unison, "Never have we heard of someone by the sobriquet of Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain. How could we have contracted his ill-will or planned to dispatch him in concert?"

Orchid turned next to Century, "Uncle Century, the niece is still ignorant of one thing and hopes you may enlighten her on this."

"The young lady should not hesitate to ask any question," said Tree encouragingly.

Orchid put forward her question, "A while ago, Master Quad said that Uncle Gully had entrusted Tree the Great Master with the task of giving information to my father about three separate matters; but my father never once mentioned this to me when recounting the incident. Earlier, Uncle

Century suggested that he knew the reason behind all this. I wonder if you can shed light on this?"

Century hastened to reply, "I was prepared to deliver what I know, even without your asking the question of me."

Thereupon, he snarled, pointing his finger at Valour, Fortune, Curio and his party, "These hero fighters of the Dragon Lodge brought a false charge against my son, accusing him of having taken the life of Pastoral Tian, my son's father-in-law." Century had a powerful voice to start with, and the volume of his voice grew as his anger increased. "I shall explain the whole story, from the very beginning. I hope that you will all assess, strictly from facts, the right and the wrong."

Fortune broke in, "That is fine. We were about to approach Chief Century, to unravel this mystery for us."   

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