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Ode to Gallantry Chapter 11

Chapter 11 - The Medicated Wine
Shi Potian could see dark red blood stains on the ground, lying around were a few broken swords, several crows croaked and flew over his head, he picked up the saber immediately and called out: "A’Xiu, A’Xiu!" He rushed to the big tree but A’Xiu as not there.

Shi Potian thought: "She might have returned." He quickly went back to the cave and called out: "A’Xiu, A’Xiu!" but she was not there, even Grandma Shi was not there. He got frightened, and then he saw on the ground several characters were written with coke. Of course he didn’t understand its meaning as he was illiterate and suspected that Grandma Shi and A’Xiu had left the place.

At first he was perplexed and felt lonely on the island but then he got used to it as since his childhood most of the time he had lived alone so his heart calmed. Now his chest wound was also no longer bleeding and he thought: "Everyone has gone so I should also go and look for Grandma Shi and A’Xiu." By then his uneasiness had subsided and he was feeling a lot more relaxed. He thought about Grandma Shi and A’Xiu and unconsciously took his saber and went to the waterfront.

He saw the mighty turbulent waves, but near the shore there was no ships or any other vessels. That Azure Mist island was not really big, he walked around the island in a circle but didn’t find any trace of a ships. He raised his eyes and looked in to the river but didn’t saw even a sail.

As time passed he even hoped that Grandma Shi and A’Xiu will return so he came back to the cave. He ate some persimmons to appease his hunger and then rested a bit as darkness loomed in.

In the night suddenly he heard big booming noises on the riverside, then tears of ordinary cotton cloth, followed by a rush of water. Under the pale star light he saw a ship nearby the shore, but the curtain didn’t moved. He was afraid that either of Ding Busi or Ding Busan might be traveling on the ship so he didn’t dare to go forward, he hid behind a big tree. He heard
another loud sound as a gale hit the ship, sailed got entangled but unexpectedly nobody paid any attention.

Shi Potian saw that the ship rocked again and again against the gale, curtains fluttering. He rushed to the shore and called out: "Is there someone on the ship?" He heard no sound in reply so he took a leap and landed on the bow of the ship but cannot see anything as it was quite dark.

He entered the cabin, the moment he went inside his foot stumbled and he bumped in to someone. Someone was lying on the deck.

Shi Potian said: "Sorry!" He put out his hand to hold him and pull him up but the hands were ice-cold, the person was already dead. He was surprised and struck out with his left hand reflexively; it bumped in to icy hand of another person, that person too was dead.

His heart was thumping madly, he tried to move towards the rear side of ship, his feet landed on another corpse. He called out alarmingly: "ship…in this ship some people are?" he was exceedingly terrified and only heard his sound and nothing else.

After staggering along the ship, under the star light he saw that tens of people were lying on the deck, each one bent down stiffly and obviously all dead.

By now on the river there was a very strong autumn wind, several broken sails flapped around in the wind and made large noise. The strong breeze was blowing the ship's broken bamboo pipe and creating eerie sound. Although Shi Potian has been used to be alone and was usually bold but on this night with so many corpses and such ambience he was greatly terrified. His ears start hearing different kind of sounds.

He recalled in his mind the scene in Hou Jianji when that corpse of Wu Dao Tong clutched him nearly to suffocate, he felt goose bumps on his whole body, he wanted to leap immediately and come ashore but the ship had come far from the shore. Originally this ship fluttered afloat around the Azure Mist island, but eventually ran around in circles floated along the river downstream. He didn’t dare to go in the cabin, he thought for some
time and then leapt from the boat cover, grasped the mast and sat there waiting for the dawn.

The early morning sun came out, once the brightness increased then only his fear subsided, he jumped back on the deck and then saw at least 50-60 corpses inside and outside the cabin, he was alarmed as he saw that each corpse did not have a single bloodstain, also did not have any saber or sword wound. He did not know why they died.

He circled the bow; saw in the center of the cabin door two sparkling bronze medals, approximately size of the palm of a hand. On one sign was inscribed a smiling face, kind gentle, on another sign was engraved a fierce ghost god with ominous face. He saw these two bronze medals nailed on the cabin door, appearing very strange. He gazed at the bronze medals for a moment and then saw the sign with faces and felt as if they were live and didn’t dare to look at them again and turned away immediately.

He saw numerous corpses, some holding pointed weapons in their hands, some had swords in their waist; obviously these people were from the martial arts world. When he examined carefully again he saw embroidery of live wing fish with white silk on the shoulder of each person. He suspected that on this ship all these people were from same sect and somehow met a powerful enemy and all died.

That ship was suitable for the torrential river water and it went to the downstream. Around noon suddenly two surface ships rowing side by side came within the vicinity of this ship.

The helmsman of the ship saw dripping body slanting from the boat, he yelled: "pull back, pull back!"

Since no one was steering Shi Potian’s ship, as soon as other ship came close to it in the river, the anxious whirl turned on lathe and his ship moved towards the surface ship and collided with a loud sound. He only heard the sounds of people shouting and scolding filthily.

Shi Potian was frightened, he deliberately considered: "this ship has already collided and damaged that incoming ship, they will inevitably come and
investigate the matter and once they will see the corpses will blame me for all these deaths, how was that be good?" he was desperate and shrinks hurriedly in to the cabin, opened the deck and hid into the bilge.

By now all three ships were already entangled too badly, and then he heard some people leaping to embark the ship, and called out in alarming sound, their sound ringing in air. Some person yelled: "are these people from the flying fish sect …help! How had they died?"

Also some people called out: "Lian Bangzhu .... ‘Host of the ocean’ also died here."

Suddenly some people called out: "is it really ...... 'Commands of Rewards… and Punishments..." this person really didn’t make any sound, but trembled with fear. His word had not even finished and the sound of all the people on the ship stopped all of sudden in to a twinkling silence.

Shi Potian was not able to see the look on the face of various people from the bilge, but he actually very well imagined the extreme fear and shock on their faces.

After a long time someone said: "It looks that ‘command of reward and punishment’ has resurfaced after a long time. Earlier in those days when ‘command of reward and punishment’ envoys used to roam in martial-arts world, these flying fish sect used to help them, too many evil deeds in the past Oh, things change!" he sighed and didn’t said anything.

Another person asked: "Brother Hu, I have heard that ‘command of reward and punishment’ summons the people to the island ......island of Heroes, and gives punishment by killing them on the spot there only."

Another one said: "if the person takes orders and goes then also he dies and even if he doesn’t go still he dies, whether die early or die late what’s the difference. It looks that ‘lord of ocean’ Lian Bangzhu was not willing to receive the orders so it lead this. that’s the turn of fate."

A high-pitched voice said: "These two envoys of ‘command of reward and punishment’ are extremely powerful, resourceful and wicked, who in the
martial-arts world can resist them?"

That Brother Hu said in reply: "Don’t say that?"

That person stopped and said in low voice: "The ‘command of reward and punishment’ are back in the martial-arts world now each sect and schools will face difficult time ahead…it’s a great misfortune. Oh!"

Shi Potian thought: "On this ship all the corpses are of flying fish sect people and there Bangzhu (master)" suddenly a thought came to his mind: "this ‘command of reward and punishment’ envoys are very cruel and powerful, what will happen if they go and attack my ‘Clan of eternal happiness’?"

He thought of this matter and grew impatient, he deliberately considered: "I should hurry back as soon as possible and informs master Bei that they are prepared for it."

He thought that even though the ‘clan of eternal happiness’ had mistaken him for their Shi Bangzhu and inadvertently brought him many troubles and endangered his life still each and every member of the sect has been respectful, prudent and courteous to him, although he had the intention to avoid them but when he heard: "each sect and society is in difficulty and it’s a great misfortune", he thought about the safety of all the people of his sect and was concerned about them, so he listened attentively to the various people’s discussion with rapt attention.

He heard one person saying: "Brother Hu, you said that this matter can implicate us. Can those two envoys look for our ‘Iron fork society’?"

Brother Hu said: "Since these two envoys of ‘command of reward and punishment’ have come back again in martial-arts world whichever sect or society comes across them; it will be a far as this matter is concerned it’s anyone’s luck."

He hesitated for half of the day, said: "you pass this order quietly to everyone and immediately send someone to report this matter to the chief helmsman.
All the brothers onboard will travel with this ship. On this ship don’t move anything; we will sail to the ‘Red willow’ harbor outside the small fishing village. The two envoys of ‘command of reward and punishment’ had already been on this ship and executed the flying fish sect people; it’s unlikely that they will come again."

The other person said: "right, right, Brother Hu this idea is wonderful. The two envoys of ‘command of reward and punishment’ have already killed the ‘flying fish, sect people on this ship so they have no reason to come back." then he transmitted the orders.

A lot of the people embarked on the ship. Shi Potian bent down in the bilge, and listened to various people and their discussion, their language was filled with terrified emotions and they were talking in a low voice, like a disaster is imminent.

One person said: "our sect has not offended the island of heroes; ‘command of reward and punishment’ will not necessarily come after us."

Another person said: "did the flying fish dare to offend the island of heroes? As I look at the realm of rivers and lakes in these last ten years a deathly fear is permeating this time.....this time "

Also one person asked: "Lao Li, if the chief helmsman receives orders then he has to go, then what?"

That Lao Li sighed and said: "obviously won’t return in that case. In the past 30 years whoever received the orders and went to the island of heroes, the master of several societies, the head of schools, has anyone came back? The chief helmsman is a person who never looked down on us. Do we covet our lives and fear for death and let this one person alone face hardships and dangers?"

Again someone said: "As far as one can avoid this danger we will avoid, fortunately we came out here in the morning and now know what the danger is, the God had blessed us and so our ‘Iron fork society’ can escape this misfortune. Outside that fishing village the ‘Red willow harbor’ is a
very god hiding place, everybody hides in there, and it will be pretty difficult for two envoys to find us there."

That Brother Hu said: "In the past chief helmsman used to operate from that fishing village, so today perhaps this is the most perfect place to take refuge. its paradise for us."

A thick bright sound said suddenly: "our ‘Iron fork society’ run amuck the edge of Yangtze River, we don’t fear the day or we don’t fear that old emperor, but as soon as we hear this damned island of heroes and envoys of ‘command of reward and punishment’ everybody is frightened and willing to hide in that ‘red willow harbor’ and fishing village.

What does it say about us? Even when we are hidden, some damned fellow will ask in the future, how will you face all those people? Even though we are inferior we can struggle and who knows I will be damned if we all had a very short life."

He said these inspiring courageous words, but in the cabin actually no one was willing to acknowledge if word.

He thought for half a day and the that Brother Hu said: "well we all eat this river and lakes food, we put the knife in its head and lick it’s blood, damn but what will you do if you see skin disease on first six soft-shelled turtles

"Ahh, Ahh ......"suddenly that person with thick voice shouted miserably. Instantly, there was complete silence in the cabin.

Clattered a light sound, Shi Potian thought suddenly a drop of water struck the back of his hand, as soon as he lifted the hand his nose, he felt a fishy smell actually it was blood. The blood seeped in the bilge and fell drop by drop on him. He knew that a lot of people are on top of his head; so he didn’t dare to move or create even a slight noise, whatever blood was now falling was at least not on his body.

He only heard voice of that Brother Hu saying fiercely: "you don’t blame me to kill this soft-shelled turtle?"
A person trembled and said: "don’t have, not to have ......Don’t have to! This old Wang six always spoke really rashly, also no wonder Brother Hu got angry. However ......However he was originally ......he…he was always very loyal."

Brother Hu said: "then you refuse to accept my handling of this matter?"

That person said hurriedly: "no ..., It is not ...." his words were not even finished and he also cried pitifully, he obviously was killed by that person surnamed Hu. Then again he heard blood coming drop by drop falling into the bilge from the deck seam, luckily this time the blood didn’t fell on his body directly.

That Brother Hu killed two people, said immediately: "It is not that I am cruel or merciless, I am not giving thought to the loyalty or belief of any person as right now the reality of this matter implicates several hundred brothers' lives, so as long as anyone will leak any bit of rumor about our escape, everybody will have same fate as these friends from the flying fish sect. This soft-shelled turtle old Wang six was flaunting his heroics, raised a clamor, he didn’t valued his life, actually he wanted chief helmsman to go against these people and wanted everybody to accompany him to lose one's life together with him."

The people said: "yes, yes!"

That Brother Hu said: "If you all don’t want to die, stay in the cabin. Little brother Ning, you steer and go to that broken sail and do not let the other people find the corpses."

Shi Potian bent down in the bilge, he heard the underwater sound of gurgle, in the cabin various people were there but no one spoke again. He didn’t dare to make even a bit of sound, in his heart he thought: "what kind of place is that island of heroes?

This ‘command of reward and punishment’ people send these vicious envoys for killing a ship full of people, what kind of people are these? No wonder the ‘iron fork society’ people are so terrified."
A long time passed, he had confused feeling between weariness and wanted to close his eyes to sleep, but thought that he might make some sound in the sleep, and if detected by those people in the cabin, then his life will be inevitably in danger, so he opened his eyes widely, and did not dare to close.

Suddenly he heard the shackling sound of the anchor, the hull was no longer moving, he assumed that they had dropped the anchor.

He heard that Brother Hu saying: "everybody will enter the house afterwards; No one should go inside now, wait calmly for the chief helmsman and listen to commands."

Various people complied with it; they put the light footsteps and talked in low voice and came ashore, and left the ship for good.

Shi Potian waited for half of the day, when he thought that all the people have entered the room then only he opened the deck. He probed from his head and looked around, he didn’t saw anyone, therefore with soft hands and on tiptoe came up from the bilge, saw the cabin was still filled with the corpse, picked up sword immediately, exchanged it with his rotten saber and put it his waist.

He put out a hand in the corpse bag to get some silvers, in order to buy some food to eat; after arriving on the bow he jumped gently and came ashore, bent his back to walk fast along the sandbank and directly ran for five mile or so.

He thought that this time he had somehow escaped a very dangerous situation, so it’s better to leave as farther the better, he ran full flat but fortunately this place was sparsely populated and he met no pedestrian.

In his heart he was secretly rejoiced. Actually he did not know that neighborhood actually has some peasant households, they used to provide the ‘iron fork society’ poison for secret killings. Some people came that way and were poisoned and died. That’s why all around the country it was said that the area around the ‘red willow harbor’ and the fishing village is plagued with evil spirits and will create disaster, for 78 years everybody
avoided this particular area, so ‘iron fork society’ had their secret lair in that area.

Shi Potian walked for several miles and went far away from the fishing village; he was really hungry, walked into the woods to look for a game. Fortunately the moment he went in, he heard some sound, suddenly from the long grass came out a big wild boar, it lowered its head and attacked him anxiously.

He leaned his body slightly, the right hand pulled out the sword, took advantage of opportunity and made the move ‘the elder to fold’ of Golden phoenix skill, and chopped down towards wild boar. That wild boar was extremely fierce, although it fell on the ground, still it ran around ten steps in forward direction before it fell on the ground and died.

In his heart he was overjoyed and thought: "Earlier when I have not studied this Golden phoenix sword skill whenever I saw the wild boar, I used to run away, now I dared to kill it."

He looked for a black flint in the hills side and lit a small fire. He then sheared all the four legs of the wild boar; washed off the bloodstain to the stream nearby, he returned to the fire and prepared it by his sword; he then roasted the boar on the twigs and branches. After some time a rich fragrance started to overflow.

As he was roasting the boar he heard voices, from about ten feet from behind.

Someone said: "good fragrant, good fragrant, my index finger is twitching, seriously!"

Another person said: "It looks someone is roasting a game, we might as well asked him to let us eat, isn’t it?"

The first person replied: "precisely!" and both people strolled towards him.

He saw the two people, one was tall and powerfully built, round-faced with big ears, had put on a bronze silk gown and was grinningly affably; Other
person was also tall but very thin, he wore a extravagant sky blue long unlined close-fitting gown, his body width was even one can say half of the other person and had a gloomy face. As soon as that fat person saw Shi Potian he smiled, and said: "little brothers, your this "

Shi Potian had already heard these two people talking on the road, he said: " I have a lot of wild pork here, even ten people can not finish it, although you two can help me out then."

That fat person said with a smile: "we are so impolite."

Then both people sat in a circle around the fire, in the light of flame Shi Potian saw that although the clothing of both people was magnificent and expensive, but now it was dirty, full of wrinkles, and splashed with bloodstains. There face flashed with look of surprise as they looked at the firewood pile. The wild boar's fat melted and big drops of it fell into the fire, and a very light fragrance arose, although they had not expected at arrival but it looked amazingly good.

That thin person took out a blue color bottle gourd from the waist, pulled out the plug, and after drinking said: "nice wine!"

That fat person also took out a red bottle gourd from the waist, pulled out the plug to drink one, said: "nice wine!"

Shi Potian used to often drink wine with Xie Yanke, at this moment when he smelled the fragrant liquor he also wanted to drink wine, but he saw these two people drinking alone and saying ‘good wine’ but not inviting him. In his life he never begged or asked anyone for something that’s why he swallowed the saliva and didn’t ask for the wine. He thought that even without the wine he will live and said: "It’s cooked, please eat!"

Both fat and thin people put out their hand and snatched a large piece of ham respectively, took it, opened their mouth and were just about to nip, then Shi Potian said with a smile: "although those two pieces are big but actually are the hind legs of boar, its taste is not as good as the front two leg's."
That fat person said with a smile: "Little brother has a good conscience."

He exchanged it with the foreleg and ate it. That thin person had already nipped at the hind leg so he hesitated and then didn’t exchange. Both people ate, drank and every now and then approvingly said: "nice wine!" They then put plug and hanged the bottle gourd to his their waist.

Shi Potian thought: "these two people are stingy, they drank their own wine and didn’t even ask me, is this wine really that precious?" He then approached that fat person and said: "Sir; is that wine in your bottle gourd really that good? I think I’ll also like to taste it."

Although he didn’t want to beg for something so he said it in such a way as if he was discussing about the wine.

That fat person shook his head and said: "no, no…this is not wine, don’t drink it. We have eaten your wild ham; we should give you some other gift as courtesy."

Shi Potian says with a smile: "you are deceiving me; you said obviously a moment ago `nice wine’ and even I can smell this fragrant wine." He turned his head and said to the thin person: "Sir; is that wine in your bottle gourd?"

Both eyes of that thin person turned white, he said: "this is a poison, do you have the courage then to drink it."

As he was saying these words he loosened his bottle gourd and put it on the ground.

Shi Potian said with a smile: "if its poison, how is that you didn’t die?"

He took the bottle gourd and pulled out the plug, smelled the fragrant wine.

That fat person’s complexion changes suddenly, he said: "who is deceiving you? Please keep that down quickly!" He stretched out his five fingers to grasp his right wrist to seize the hand and take the bottle gourd, the moment his fingers touched his wrist he felt a strong internal energy and immediately pulled his hands back.
That fat person was startled, "Hey" he said: "so that's how it is, we actually failed to see from our eyes. Please drink!"

Shi Potian lifted the bottle gourd; he took a big mouthful thinking that this thin person treasures this liquor, and did not dare to drink, and then plugged the wooden cork, and said: "many thanks!"

Instantly, ice-cold cold air rose straight from his pubic region. This cold air was just like an ice line inside his body, shortly he felt as his whole body was frozen stiff, his whole body shivered severely and cold was extremely difficult to bear, he moved his internal energy hurriedly against ice line and then gradually it melted. Soon he felt an unbelievable amount of pleasure in all his limbs and bones and felt comfort and enjoyed the moment.

He no longer felt any cold, instead warmth spread inside his body, he approves loudly and said: "nice wine!" He cannot bear put the bottle gourd down, pulled out the wooden cork, and drank again, and used his internal energy to melt the ice and felt more drunk and said: "Seriously, I have not drank such good wine ever, what a pity this wine is too expensive, otherwise I would have clean this out."

Both people were flabbergasted and had surprised expression on their face.

That fat person said: "little brother, if you really liked it that much, then you can drink this whole bottle gourd."

Shi Potian said with extreme pleasure: "seriously? If uncle is ready to give up, it’s my pleasure."

That thin person coldly gazed towards him and said: "this uncle’s red bottle gourd's poisoned wine is even better then mine, you must try?"

Shi Potian looked at the fat person with a look that he wants to try.

That fat person said: "At this small age, and such internal strength, is it not too early to lose one's life, what a pity?" At the same time he started to loosen his red bottle gourd and put it on the ground.
Shi Potian thought: "these two people like joking, if it is really poisoned wine, how can they drink?" He quickly took that red bottle gourd, and pulled out the plug, he smelt a wonderful fragrance and drank it. This time wine was actually like a group of raging fire and started to burn immediately in his lower abdomen.

He yelled ‘Ahh...’, then jumped and at the same time moved his strong internal energy towards that area, only then the raging fire extinguished, he called out: "good strong wine."

Strangely, the moment he said that; all the steam in his abdomen disappeared and he felt incomparable pleasure in his whole body.

That fat person said: "your internal energy is so strong, you actually managed to drink wine from both bottle gourds, actually how?"

Shi Potian said with a smile: "I drank, but not all of it. We three people met today, have formed the friendship, everybody drank wine, ate a meat, how interesting? Uncle you are invited." As he was saying, he passed the bottle gourd.

That fat person says with a smile: "Little brother is stretching my limit; I might not be a gentleman after this one!" He received the bottle gourd to drink once and again gave it to Shi Potian and said: "you drink again!"

Shi Potian after drinking passed it to the thin person and said: "Uncle, please drink!"

Suddenly thin person’s complexion changed, he said: "I drink my own wine." He took up his blue bottle gourd to drink and gave it to Shi Potian.

Shi Potian received it and drank tool a mouthful and felt perplexed. Drinking the ice wine after drinking from red wine gourd; and again ice liquor the taste was even better. When he saw all the four eyes staring at him immediately understood and said with a smile apologetically: "sorry, I drank too much this time."
That thin person coldly gazed at him and said: "you boast a lot for a real man, and even have a bigger mouth."

Shi Potian says with a smile: "if everyone doesn’t drink until one is full, then we will go to a nearby town, I have money here with me, and will drink there. Is this only a good wine." As he was saying he drunk again from the red bottle gourd and gives it back to the fat person.

That fat person sat cross-legged, secretly using his internal energy to drink more wine. He saw Shi Potian calmly sitting and drinking both wine and was greatly surprised.

The fat and the thin both people looked at each other in blank dismay. They both were martial-arts masters who practiced exactly opposite type of martial-arts.

That fat person practiced the yang type of martial-arts, powerful, positive and sturdy in whereas that thin person practiced the yin type of martial-arts, soft, flexible and fast in nature.

In the bottle gourd of both people was a medicated wine which they used as an auxiliary to improve their internal strength. In the red bottle gourd was the dry and extremely hot drug ‘red raging inferno’; when put in with wine it turns in to extremely strong and toxic wine".

In the blue color bottle gourd was a very strong coolant drug mixed with the wine and then it was further mixed with ’99 pills’. These ’99 pills’ were made of hundreds of different types of poisonous and medicinal herbs whereas ‘red raging inferno’ wine was in addition made of the gall bladder of red peacock and crane that is why it was also fatally poisonous.

These two people were using these medicated wines for years and were used to it. But both these wines were so fierce that an average man needs only to put a drop of any wine of these on the tip of tongue and by the time they would have licked it; they would be on ground, dead.

Both of these have a very high internal strength, and both were taking these poisonous wines for a long time as medicine still they have to count there
drinks and didn’t dare to take it in excess. If the fat person drinks the cold liquor by mistake or the thin person takes the ‘red raging inferno’ wine both would have died very painfully there only. So when these two people saw with their own eyes that Shi Potian was drinking both wines and still was acting as though nothing has happened were amazed, even to say that is an understatement.

Although both of these were very experienced in the martial-arts realm and knew several masters but how could have they known about Shi Potian. He had gone through such an irony of fate that even if he told them they won’t believe.

Initially he practiced the pure ‘yin’ martial-arts for about ten lunar months and thus had ‘yin’ type of internal strength first, after that he practiced the ‘yang’ martial-arts so had then ‘yang’ type internal strength, and eventually managed to have two type of internal energy streams in his body both the ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ type.

Although these two type of energy streams could have been detrimental to him and the fire deviation could have actually caused his death but accidentally his energy was discharged at the crucial moment. Furthermore he also practiced the 'Arhat’s Divine Demon-Subduing Skill’ so he had immense internal energy base.

He also drank a rare medicated wine of Ding Busan which helped to increase his resistance against any poison but also increase his internal energy. So even though both wines were highly toxic still he was impervious to any harmful effect of both the ‘red raging inferno’ wine and great cold toxicant.

Shi Potian drank the good wine which two people brought, under his heart he felt sorry, so he gain roasted some more wild pork, they all ate the grilled meat but even after Shi Potian’s persuasions both of them didn’t drank further.

That two people only said that if he wants to drink the poisoned wine to test his internal energy and didn’t want to admit defeat then please go on, so he took out bottle gourd again and drank. Both people looked at him steady
gaze, saw that despite drinking so much still he was showing no sign of any poison or drug, thought that this is really rare, where is this young hero coming from?

After that the fat person went to Shi Potian and took back his red bottle gourd; put out a hand to greet and said: "Little brother’s internal energy is really admirable. Can I ask the little brother his honored name?"

Shi Potian wrinkled his brow, and said: "this is matter which gives me most of my headache, as soon as others see me the first thing they do is to ask my name. Actually my surname is not Potian (stone) and I am kind of nameless therefore it’s really difficult to answer you."

That fat person thought: "this boy is deceiving me actually don’t want to tell his name." He asked: "then little brother who is your respected teacher? What school you belong to?"

Shi Potian said: "my master is Grandma Shi, have you seen her? She is the master of the Golden Phoenix School and I am eldest disciple of the second generation."

Both people thought: "He is talking nonsense; we know all the schools in the martial-art realm. What is this Golden Phoenix sect. who is this Grandma Shi? This boy is dodging our questions."

That fat person didn’t drink and handed back the bottle gourd, said: "So little brother is actually the Golden Phoenix sect’s eldest disciple, no wonder he drank from both the bottle gourds."

Shi Potian saw that he had not drunk, thought: "he forgot to drink while speaking to me." So he said: "you have not drunk."

The face that fat person turned a bit red, said: "Really?"

In his heart he thought that if he drank more he might injure his own body so he didn’t drink but it looks that this young fellow has seen through my trick, he got angry for a moment but felt ashamed when he realized that Shi Potian was asking with good intention in his heart.
That fat person had earlier drank twice, altogether he had drunk eight times, already the over the quantity he was used to. So he pretended to drink again, he raised the bottle gourd to his mouth but closed down his teeth tightly, made a sound from his throat as though he was drinking; the medicated wine went back in to the bottle gourd.

This way that fat person managed to show off he was drinking but how could have he deceived the thin person? The thin person also imitated the fat one and pretended that he was drinking with his blue bottle gourd but no wine entered the throat.

Initially each bottle gourd was filled with around eighth part drugs and two part wine however Shi Potian drank most of the wine from both bottle gourds. His alcohol capacity was originally not really great and although he had immense internal energy and overall it increased his resistance and totally neutralized the poisonous drugs but still he was not able to handle the alcohol completely and started speaking slowly and unintelligible.

He started to say: "where is A’Xiu, where is Dingding Dangdang. Both people heard him but were not able to make out what exactly is he speaking.

That thin person deliberately considered: "this young fellow has shown extraordinary talent and handled us admirably. He maintained composure but now is talking nonsense, it looks he is really sinister and insidious. He only feared that this person was just faking drunkenness and if they try to deal with him with martial-arts it can be dangerous for them.

The fat person thought in his heart: "today we two people are against a single person still this young person’s internal energy is very strong and rarely heard of. We should wait for him to drink even the rest of wine and let us see if can resist it." He then signaled with his eyes to that thin person.

That thin person understood his wink and nodded back, he put his hand innocuously in his bosom and took out a pill, actually it was the "99 pills" drug in his hand and when Shi Potian handed him back his blue bottle gourd, he pretended to drink, puts out his hand to wipe the saliva from
mouth of bottle gourd and secretly put "99 pill" in it, slowly swings the bottle gourd and said: "nice wine, nice wine!"

When the thin person was doing so that fat person also put "red raging inferno" drug from his bosom and mixed in to the wine.

Shi Potian only thought that he has met two generous straightforward people. He drank wine and ate meat in excess and gradually he was feeling a bit tipsy so didn’t realize they were giving his highly toxic wine.

He only heard that thin person saying: "little brothers, there isn’t much left in both these bottle gourds, your alcohol capacity is really good, drink up!"

Shi Potian said with a smile: "good! Your two are straightforward people, I am the impolite one."

He took up the bottle gourd and was just about to drink, he remembered an incident suddenly, he said: "on the long river boat, I once heard Ding dang saying that man and woman, if are perfectly suited to each other, they will tie the knots and become husband and wife, if there is good friendship between one man and another then they swear brotherhood. Its rare thing that I met you two esteemed people, why don’t we swear brotherhood and be brothers, later will drink the rest of wine, what do you two think?"

Both these people said: "Good". They both said that it is a very good idea and started toasting the wine saying: "for your health!"

Shi Potian was already feeling tipsy and didn’t understand much of the big talk but still started to speak freely.

That fat person listened to him talking affectionately and thought it’s an irony we are trying to kill him and he is speaking so. He thought that he should attack Shi Potian when he had already taken the wine this way he have to use his internal energy to suppress the poison and won’t be able to defend himself. Although this act was not really frank and upright, but it looked like this youth was really dangerous, and they both couldn’t compete with this person directly.
They feared that he might not drink the medicated wine, so anxiously said: "very good, very good, well said. Now you have to finish both the bottle gourds."

Shi Potian said to that thin person showing the bottle gourd: "Sir, how about you?"

That thin person said: "I would have really loved too..." he coughed and the said: little brother, thanks for the kindness please go ahead."

Shi Potian was already feeling drunk and his vision was also now kind of blurry still he drank up the wine from blue bottle, he was having some serious trouble to suppress the cold emanated from the wine.

At the same time that fat person clapped and said: "nice wine capacity, nice wine capacity! In this bottle gourd also there is some wine left, little brother, finish this off then we are sworn brothers."

Shi Potian took the red bottle gourd with interest, didn’t think at all and drank in one breath.

Both people looked towards him and thought: "we made this medicated wine with ‘99 pill’ and ‘red raging inferno’, we normally mix one pill with at least six bottle gourd wine and then drink that bottle gourd wine for one month, so that we can exercise our internal energy daily and thus it is harmless.

However if we mix this ‘99 pill’ with ‘red raging inferno’ then it is equal to at least twelve bottle gourds of medicated wine. It was enough for these people for at least half a year so literarily he was drinking their half year quota of medicated wine, if he could still handle it than there can’t be any justification for sure."

Suddenly they heard Shi Potian crying in extreme agony: "oh, not ......It is not good, there is extreme pain in my belly."

He held his belly to bend the waist. As soon as both people saw that they looked at each other and smiled.
That fat said with a smile: "how? Belly pain? It looks that you have eaten a lot of this pork."

Shi Potian said: "is not, oh, it is not good!" he cried, suddenly leapt about ten feet in the air.

Both people stood up and thought that at this moment he is facing death, if we strike one final swift and furious blow simultaneously than surely we will be able to get rid if this person.

Unexpectedly Shi Potian struck with his palm at the big tree, called out: "ouch, I I might die with this pain!"

His abdomen felt unbearable pain and he twisted and turned, he moved his internal energy immediately to his abdominal region; these drugs ’99 pills’ and ‘red raging inferno’ were highly toxic in nature and when given in such large quantity and together was no small matter; the toxic outbreak came on, he felt such pain that he was close to fainting, he whole body started to twitch and then he started convulsing with cramp forming in his arms and legs.

This strange pain was really hard to endure, he again shot out his left hand fist and struck a big tree, after having struck this fist, the abdominal pain reduced slightly, he immediately stuck out his right hand also. It only shook the big tree branches and leaves it in chaotic dance. He again hit with his fist palms, the abdominal pain reduced a bit, but in a short time he felt as though ten thousand steel knives have simultaneously sheared his stomach.

He constantly was yelling "Aaah…aah!"

He constantly was yelling "Aaah…aah!" His hands and feet moved in a chaotic dance sometimes he move his arms as in sword moves, and then some fist moves.

Actually unconsciously his arm and leg movement closely resembled the martial-arts moves he had seen or learnt earlier. He had not studied proficiently and at this time he felt as though someone was twisting knives in his abdomen, his brain was in total confusion, so obviously he was not
thinking about any strategic move; he was trying to distract himself from his pain and randomly throwing different kind of moves.

Although these moves were random and didn’t followed any sequence but accompanied by his strong internal energy and power were really fierce. He felt strange that every time he hit with his palm or leg the pain subsided a bit so he started to move more quickly.

Both people looked at each other in blank dismay and gradually drew backwards. They thought that this person has so much poison in their body and at the point of death has started executing all his skills in desperation.

He is just like a brave fighter who went crazy and if somehow grasps another person it will be very difficult to escape.

They saw his fist exuding a hu-hu sound, the style looked similar to the snow mountain sword sect, and also looked like Ding family’s seizing techniques, it also had some unique style of sword skills but they had not seen it before. They thought is it really possible that this person is some Golden phoenix school disciple.

Although these moves of Shi Potian were strange and ungraceful but were extremely ferocious in nature. As he made another strange vertical move it sent out a gentle breeze, both of these were inwardly amazed to see his skills.

As he started to execute his moves quickly, the breeze also unexpectedly started to get more and more swift and fierce, two people as if by prior agreement looked each other, showed a faint smile, thought: "although this boy’s internal energy is good but his martial art is not that great, even if we have not used ‘99 pills’ and the ‘red raging inferno’ still this person couldn’t have rivaled us.

Earlier as they saw his internal energy they thought that his martial arts will be even better."

As soon as such thought came they cannot help but pity themselves that they had wasted the pot of medicated wine and that pill, only if they had
known they would not have resorted to this underhand method and could have saved that precious drugs.

Both poisons were actually of ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ kind; that means that of opposite properties, because of this after sometime they start to neutralize each other.

Also originally Shi Potian had practiced the "arhat’s divine demon subduing skill". If he had only drank that fat person's ‘red raging inferno’ wine or that thin person's cold medicated wine, he would have died because of the enormous quantity only, even though he has strong internal strength.

These two people use exactly opposite kind of poison and both were extremely strong in nature too. However they had no idea that both the poison will cancel out each other.

Xie Yanke had already tried to kill Shi Potian using ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ opposite energy streams and fortunately once he was injured he had learnt the "arhat’s divine demon subduing skill" and his resistance had increased a lot so he was able to hold out the initial outburst of the poison.

Shi Potian said after some time: "It’s not as painful now!"

He put out his hand at the fire of high-piled firewood to take one piece of roasted pork, under the flame he saw his right palm had a red spot of the size of a copper coin, nearby that red spot were revolving innumerable blue color specks."

He said: "this      What is this?"

Then he looked at his left palm and saw a similar spot their too. He himself didn’t knew that his internal energy was not able to sublimate the poison directly so it forced it from his abdominal region to his palms and finally both of these poisons neutralized themselves.

When both these people saw it they understood the reason, they cannot help to think in their heart: "this boy’s internal energy is so strong that it forced such powerful drugs from his abdomen to palm, it’s unbelievable. Either
such immense internal strength of this young person is natural or accidentally he has taken some kind of a rare herb like ‘immortal lingzhi mushroom’; no wonder his internal energy is so strong.

They earlier concluded that this person had evil intension that’s why they gave him poisonous drug but when they saw that he only struck against the big trees and even after recovering from such painful abdominal pain he was not looking at them with even slight hostility they understood that it was only a misunderstanding because of the way this dumb kid has behaved.

Both felt compunction in their heart and were ashamed of them to use such underhand tactics against an honest and straightforward person. They felt as though they have lost their identity as a martial-art master.

Then they heard Shi Potian saying: "we said a moment ago that we are sworn brothers now but don’t know which one of you is older? I don’t even know your honored name?"

Both these people originally said so that Shi Potian can drink that the poisonous wine and thought that he will die immediately, so thoughtlessly consented to swear brotherhood with him, even in their wildest thought they had not expected that he will survive. These two people were usually proud; once the word leaves their mouth as a true martial-art master will never go back on their words. Although they were no willing to swear brotherhood with this dumb kid, but were also not willing to break a promise.

That fat person coughed and said: "I am called Zhang San, as far age is concerned this Brother Li Si is older then me. Little brother, you are nameless and don’t have a surname, how can we swear brotherhood with you?"

Shi Potian said: "my original name is not pleasant to hear, my master has given me a name Shi Yidao, and you can call me with this name as well."

That fat person said with a smile: "then we three people today will pay respect to each other and will swear brotherhood."
He then knelt on a single knee and said in clear and resonant voice: "Zhang San, Li Si and Shi Yidao, today swear brotherhood and hereafter have the same luck, shares sorrows and happiness; if Zhang San disobeys this word then he should be cut open like this wild boar, killed by humans, roasted and eaten, ha, ha!"

This name Zhang San was definitely a fictitious name. He kept on proclaiming Zhang San every time and never used the word "I" so he swore just to show off.

That thin person also knelt and said with a smile: "Li Si, Zhang San and Shi Yidao today become sworn brothers and are willing to die on the same month same date and in the same year, if disobeys this oath, Li Si should die a very violent death with knives gutting his intestines Ha ha ha." He also sneered repeatedly to show his deceit.

Shi Potian did not know that Zhang San and Li Si are general terms used; neither did he perceived there facial expression as false, he knelt down and sincerely said: "I, brother Zhang San and brother Li Si are sworn brothers from today onwards, If we have nice wine and good meat then I‘ll let these two elder brothers to eat first, if some people must

attack these two elder brothers then I will resist first.

If I had said these words and did not keep my promise then God punish me daily with the stomach pain like I had a moment ago."

When both people listened to him to say such words sincerely, they cannot help but felt qualms of conscience.

That fat person stood up, said: "Third younger brother, we two people have some important matter to attend, we bid good-bye."

Shi Potian said: "Elder brothers, is it really important to go now? Eldest brother just said that once we are sworn brothers, we share sorrow and happiness and I’ll be fortunate to share. In any case, it’s fine with me, Is it fine if I too go along with you two elder brothers?"
As soon as that fat person heard it he smiled and said: "we are not going for a dinner and it’s no matter of amusement; so you need not to go." He said with arrogance.

Shi Potian has got friends for the first time in his life, he never had a friend, today when he met these two and became sworn brothers, he was extremely pleased and didn’t want them to depart.

He said: "I’ll accompany the two elder brothers to whichever road they follow. I don’t know when I will see you both brothers again and whether I will get the opportunity to eat meat and drink wine again with you two."

That thin person Li Si kept the gloomy face and completely ignored Shi Potian however that fat person Zhang San was more open minded, he pulled him aside and said: "brother, you said that your master had given you this name Shi Yidao so what is your real name. Now that we are sworn brothers we shouldn’t have any secret between us?"

As soon as Shi Potian heard it he gave an awkward smile and said: "I’m not hiding the truth from elder brother but actually my real name is too coarse and not that god to listen. My mother used to call me bastard."

Zhang San laughed and said: "bastard, bastard…this name is really strange."

Then Zhang San and Li Si started to move, although it looked that they were walking normally but their speed was really swift and with in a moment they used their lightness martial art and looked like a blur passing through the trees.

In a moment Shi Potian fell behind about tens of feet from both of them, he too leapt hurriedly and pursued them. After some time he caught them and as only at about three paces from those two.

Li Si and Zhang San were eager to get rid of this dumb kid, so they used their lightness martial-art; however Shi Potian was still following them closely.
They only heard Shi Potian saying: "Elder brothers are really good, you two can effortlessly walk so quickly and here I’m running desperately still somehow only managed to keep the pace."

Speaking of posture with which they were walking, there was a great difference. Zhang San and Li Si were walking naturally and in a graceful manner on the other hand Shi Potian was actually running in strides, both his arms crazily moving like pendulum, his body bent like a bow as though he was running for his life.

When these people heard him running after them happily and still talking with no ill intension, hey can’t help but to admire his unyielding spirit.

Shi Potian saw these two people moving along the same road he came and they were going towards the same fishing village where ‘Iron fork sect’ people were hiding.

As they went near to that place he said loudly: "elder brothers, in front of us on this road is a very dangerous place and could be disastrous. If we change our way than we can avoid losing out life."

Li Si and Zhang San both paused and tuned around and asked together: "how do you know this is a dangerous place?"

Shi Potian also paused, said: "In front of us is the ‘red willow’ harbor and a fishing village. Many rivers and lakes people who want to avoid their pursuers come here and hide. If they saw us three people then they might attack and kill us."

Li Si gazed him coldly and said: "how do you know?"

Shi Potian told them how he entered the ship full of corpse, how he heard the’ Iron fork sect’ people hiding in bilge and briefly about their discussion.

Li Si said: "These people are hiding in the fishing village themselves from the ‘command of reward and punishment’, what can they do to us? Your fear is totally unwanted and irrelevant.
Shi Potian said: "No, no! These people are really ferocious and often kill people. They fear that someone will divulge their secret and have even killed people on their own side. You look, these body bloodstain, it is from the two people they have from their own sect, just look at the blood drop on my clothing, I hid under the deck in the bilge at that time, and even I didn’t dared to move."

Li Si said: "you are already afraid, you are with us…you shouldn’t be afraid!"

Shi Potian said: "Elder brothers please do not go there; this ......This       is
not joke."

Li Si turned and Zhang San turned around and lead the way without consulting with each other and thought: "This kid has such an immense internal energy but not only is his martial-arts ordinary but he is also really timid like mouse".

They started moving counting ten feet at a time. Shi Potian took half steps but still followed them closely.

Zhang San said: "you are afraid that ‘Iron fork sect’ people might kill so what are you doing now, following us closely?"

Shi Potian said: "have we not taken an oath? We have to share sorrow and happiness. If you two elder brothers have to go surely, then we will die on the same month, same date, in the same year with you. Once a man real man had said the words, he has no alternative but to keep a promise."

Li Si said gloomily: "heh…heh, the ‘Iron fork sect’ has several dozens men there, even if all of them stab you once; you will become a big hedgehog, you are not afraid?"

Shi Potian remembered how he heard on the ship the miserable cry of people killed by ‘Iron fork sect’, at this moment he felt afraid. At present in that small fishing village at least 100-200 people were hiding, even though the martial-arts of both elder brothers is very good still surely they will be overwhelmed by sheer number.
Li Si saw his face changing its color, he sneered and said: "we seek our death voluntarily; we don’t need anyone to accompany us to death. Little brother, you go home. If this time we don’t die then we will meet ten years later."

Shi Potian waved his hand saying: "you elder brothers should take as many helpers as you can. We are small in numbers and at the critical situation if we can escape and save our lives than we should."

Li Si frowned and said: "hit and then run away, what kind of a real man does that? How can we disgrace ourselves?"

Shi Potian said: "good, then I too won’t run away."

Zhang San and Li Si were not able to get rid of him, they looked at each smiled and thought in their: "This dumb kid actually very loyal, even agreed to go with us in such dangerous situation.

He is by far more heroic than all the other so called heroes of the martial arts world."

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