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Ode to Gallantry Chapter 12

Chapter 12 - Two Bronze Medals
Shi Potian saw no trace of that ship full of corpses. In the village he saw no one and it was unexpectedly very quiet, he walked one step, his heart thumping, his complexion was already pale, thought aloud: "Fortunately they are all hiding and hadn’t seen us."

Zhang San and Li Si surveyed the terrain and arrived at a small thatched hut, Zhang San puts out a hand to shove open the wooden shutter of shop. He arrived near a stove without consulting anybody, looked around and slightly hesitated, held one big stone water cylinder and placed it aside, the cylinder bottom revealed a big iron hoop. Li Si held the iron hoop and raised it upwards with a creaking sound; a sheet of iron slid smoothly and appeared a big hole suddenly.

Zhang San leapt inside it following Li Si who jumped down first. Shi Potian only looked at them with admiration, and thought that this path might lead us to the hideout of ‘Iron fork sect’ and anxiously said: "two elder brothers, under this hole there may be …."

These words were not even said and he didn’t see either Zhang San or Li Si so he too didn’t think much and jumped in.

In front of him was a narrow corridor, Shi Potian followed after both people anxiously, only after few steps, he heard some people drinking and suddenly said: "what?"

Shi Potian felt a strong breeze moving towards Zhang San. Actually it was accompanied by an iron fork which someone moved towards him to stab. Zhang San used his both hands and hit the iron fork to reverse the attack; the two people attacking him fell to ground and died in a single move.

The corridor walls were ignited with large butter candle, he goes out about ten feet, then made a turn, at each corner there were two men guards.

Whenever Zhang San saw them he only waved his hand and grasped the iron fork and killed them on the spot got rid of them quickly and neatly, not
 
even using a second move.

Shi Potian was very surprised to see such martial-art, he thought: "what Brother Zhang is using is magic martial-arts? This is martial-art is really unexpected, maybe he is even better than Grandpa Ding Busi, Ding Busan or even Master Bai."

He absent-mindedly followed both these people as he heard confused sound of a lot of people. Suddenly he felt a large dash of energy moving towards them. Zhang San and Li Si were still moving in a very casual way and show no concern. All the people facing them suddenly stood firm with a panic- stricken color on their face.

Zhang San said: "Is chief helmsman in here?"

A person with huge stature held his fist in the other hand and said: "I Yu Desheng am the chief of ‘Iron fork sect’. You two honorable people came and I apologize I missed you and have not greeted you earlier.

Please come to the hall and we can have some wine. Oh...there is also another honored guest; all three of you please honor me with your presence.

Zhang San and Li Si nodded. Shi Potian saw this strange scene and didn’t understand anything. Zhang San has killed twelve people of ‘Iron fork sect’ in one breath and unexpectedly the opposite party was willing to give up, he thought its not possible and only wanted to turn around to escape, however when he saw Zhang San and Li Si carelessly moving towards the hall he can’t withdraw now and followed them, but actually could not help his whole body to tremble.

The chief helmsman of ‘Iron fork sect’ acted in a very respectful manner, showing them the way, nearby the road was filled with numerous people of ‘Iron fork sect’, everyone holding a iron fork with sparkling edges in their hands.

Zhang San, Li Si and Shi Potian passed between two row of audiences, only made a turn, and suddenly were present in a brightly lit hall, on the wall
 
were inserted innumerable flares, and it looked as though it was daytime in their.

All around that place were again numerous ‘Iron fork sect’ people. Shi Potian saw these people and visualized them cutting his throat, got afraid and turned his head hurriedly, didn’t dare to look again.

Yu Desheng invited both Zhang San and Li Si to take the centre seat. These two people didn’t decline and sat without consulting anybody.

Zhang San smiled and referring to the seat on his side said "Little brother, you sit in here."

After Shi Potian took his seat, Yu Desheng also took his seat.

After some time several people wearing blue gown, having no belt or weapon and who looked like a part of some religious sect, arrived carrying in the cup, chopsticks, food and wine. As soon as they departed Zhang San and Li Si put their left hand in their tunic and from their gown sleeve simultaneously departs a thing, it fell on the table in front You Desheng.

They were actually two sheets of bronze and the way it was thrown it inserted on the tabletop smoothly exactly as though it is a part of table and resembling a fine piece of workmanship. On each piece was inscribed a person’s face, one a smiling face and the other angry gloomy face.

These bronze medals were exactly similar to the one nailed on the cabin door of the ship which had corpses of ‘flying fish sect’ people.

Wu Desheng’s complexion changed as he stands up, all around reverberated big ‘lang’ ‘lang’ sounds as hundreds of men vibrated their iron fork and exuded an ear-spitting sound, as various people have moved one step.

Shi Potian cried: "oh!"

He anxiously stood up so that he could flee and thought: "We are in this main hall, now it’s not easy to escape."
 
He looked at Zhang San and Li Si, one was grinning and the other had a mystifying look but still both maintained their composure, Shi Potian had no alternative so he simply sat down.

Yu Desheng said: "Is it so, or do you have something to say too?"

Zhang San said with a smile: "Chief helmsman Yu, you are the Shanxi ‘crouching tiger gate’ only disciple; in present age your ‘double short fork’ martial-arts is incomparable.

We are here to invite you to the island of heroes to eat a bowl of ‘eight meat gruel’. We don’t have any other intension and please don’t look over it suspiciously."

Yu Desheng hesitated for a moment, put out a hand on the table and the two bronze medals jumped, caught it and put in the bosom, said: "I accept the invitation for ‘eight meat gruel’."

Zhang San gave thumbs up sign and said: "many thanks Chief helmsman Yu, me and my brother didn’t came here on a futile pursuit."

From the crowd suddenly one man called out: "Although Chief helmsman Yu is our head but still our ‘Iron fork sect’ has numerous heroes who are not afraid to die. We cannot let the Chief helmsman to lose his life for us brothers."

As soon as Shi Potian heard this sound, he recognized him as that Brother Hu who killed two people in the cabin on that ship; he knew that this person is very fierce in nature and got afraid, his heart thumping madly.

Yu Desheng forced a smile and said: "give more lives in vain, what’s the gain? I have already decided; Brother Hu, no need to talk too much." As he was speaking this he took the wine pot and poured for Zhang San, but the right hand was trembling and he spilled the wine on the tabletop.

Zhang San said with a smile: "Chief helmsman Yu Desheng is a big hero, you have killed s many without batting an eye, are you a little afraid today?"
 
He took the wine glass to his mouth nearby, with a ping pong sound, the wine glass fell suddenly in ground and broke in to pieces, and his body leaned on one side on chair.

Shi Potian said: "eldest brother, how?"

He leaned to other side and asked Li Si: "elder brother, he ......He     "

His words were not even finished and he saw Li Si leaning on the chair slowly. Shi Potian was frightened and felt helpless for a while.

In the beginning Yu Desheng thought that Zhang San and Li Si are doing this intentionally, but then he saw Zhang San face having a blood red color, breathing as though he have asthma, on the other hand Li Si had actually turned white, on his face appeared faint purplish black color, obviously they were severely poisoned.

Under his heart he felt great happiness but actually didn’t dare to take any action, he said with hypocrisy: "you two…what?"
He saw Li Si shrank to the bottom of the table and not even twitching now. Shi Potian was busy helping out Li Si, he asked: "two elder brothers, you
......You are you feeling uncomfortable?"

He didn’t know that when he, Zhang San and Li Si were drinking wine it was actually poisonous wine and they had taken around eight-nine mouthful. By their skill if they normally used to drink three mouthfuls and quickly move their internal energy to neutralize the poison and face no problem.

But this time even though they faked and still were reluctant to show off at the first they drank more than they could have handled. Also even though they were used to this medicated wine but they didn’t feel any abdominal pain because they had taken anti-dote earlier.

Actually the purpose of the anti-dote was to postpone the break-out of poison inside their stomach. This poisonous wine they were taking was for
 
increasing their internal energy so this antidote didn’t neutralized the poisonous nature but only negated it to act for a limited amount of time and waits for the internal energy to sublimate the poison.

This way antidote acts only to enhance the internal strength but didn’t neutralize the poison otherwise what would have been the use of such a precious medicated wine if one use anti-dote to negate its poison.

The internal energy of these two people was not enough to neutralize the poison but because of anti-dote it didn’t break-out at that time but suddenly now after so much time it broke-out.

In meantime both Zhang San and Li Si had severe pain in their abdominal region, their whole body went numb. These two people knew the situation is very critical, they direct their internal energy towards their pubic region hurriedly trying to bind the medicated wine in that region only and hoped to contain the poison outbreak in that part only and slowly bit by bit neutralize the poison before it reaches other internal organs otherwise they feared that if reaches their heart then its too late to recover.

However by now there life hanged seriously in the hands of other people, even if they can resist the poisoned wine in their stomach, actually it will be very difficult to run away from the main hall of ‘Iron fork sect’.

Two people thought: "So we two people who have roamed the martial-art world freely, today die in here."

Chief Helmsman Yu, that person surnamed Hu and all the other people of the ‘Iron fork sect’ saw Zhang San and Li Si suddenly leaning on the chair, sweating profusely, muscles on their faces twitching, with very painful facial expression, they were amazed greatly. Various people in the martial- art world shake even by the name of these people, although when they saw them in this situation everyone thought that they won’t get a better opportunity to get rid of them in a thousand years, but no one dared to act.

Shi Potian asked: "eldest brother, elder brother, you two have gotten drunk and now suddenly got sick?"
 
Zhang San and Li Si didn’t answer him. They were partly lying and partly sitting and trying to direct their internal energy to neutralize the abdomen poison, not after much time a faint trace white smoke emitted from the top of their head.

When Yu Desheng saw the white smoke emitting from the top of the head he hurriedly said in a low voice: "Brother Hu, these two people are not injured or suffering from any foul disease and are moving internal energy to neutralize the poison, everybody move quick!"

That person surnamed Hu felt great happiness, actually he didn’t dare to approach, but the moment he heard chief helmsman he moved quickly and threw a iron fork at Zhang San. Zhang San tried to avoid it but only managed to divert it slightly, the iron fork inserted his shoulder and the blood splashed.

Shi Potian called out in great surprise: "you ......you? You dare to injury my eldest brother?"

The various people of the ‘Iron fork sect’ saw this young person looking flustered and acting with helplessness so didn’t pay him any attention. When they saw that the fork of Brother Hu has already stabbed Zhang San and let alone attack, he even didn’t managed to deflect it properly felt happy and got inspired greatly, everyone shouting and whistling, at the same time three more Iron fork flied towards Shi Potian.

Shi Potian moved his left arm and in one horizontal swipe shakes off two iron forks and extended his right hand to meets the third iron fork. He moved sideways to protect both Zhang San and Li Si. Suddenly it was confusion in there, five more iron fork were thrown at him.

Shi Potian moved his hands to deflect the iron forks in a chaotic manner and because of his abundant internal energy it flied back, two iron fork stabbed at some person’s head, another one stuck someone’s abdomen.

Yu Desheng saw that this place is very narrow and too crowded and more of his people with get injured or lose there lives if it continues so he called out: "everybody stop for a moment, let me deal with this young thief first."
 
As soon as he bent his waist, both his hand moved and by the time he straightened up, in each hand, he already had a shining short steel fork.

The ‘Iron fork sect’ people withdraw in abundance, they stood close to the wall and called with one voice: "Look at chief helmsman, how is he going to tidy up this thief boy."

In that underground secret room, the sound cannot pass on and turned in a melancholy.

Yu Desheng gave bow, and then with exceptional speed attacked Shi Potian suddenly, both short steel forks were up and down, and moved respectively toward his cheeks and his waist.

Shi Potian has not expected the opposite party to go offensive so quickly and unexpectedly, he called out: "Ahh" and yelling this he stepped out forward one step, but at the same time the iron fork connected with his waist and right arm at the same time. When he tried to grab the iron fork, Yu Desheng saw that this person’s martial-arts was not that great so his spirit soared and rest of ‘Iron fork sect’ people too sensed him and shouted repeatedly, he moved like a tornado.

Shi Potian’s right arm was injured lightly, but his waist was got stabbed and it was really aching. He saw that Yu Desheng was again moving with amazing speed and will strike his vest, immediately he leaned his body to get out of the way, turned over his palm to attack the opponent.........

This move was taught to him by Ding Busi. When Yu Desheng who was a expert in hand-to-hand fight saw Shi Potian executing a move although its posture was really ugly, but when he raised his hand he heard a faint sound and recognized the fierce internal energy and inside his heart felt terrified.

He used his life-long experience and immediately changed his move, now both small steel forks moved to stab Shi Potian’s key acupoints.

Zhang San and Li Si were trying to contain the abdomen poison and at the same time were looking at Shi Potian and You Desheng fighting, they knew that today they will live or not will be decided by the victory of Shi Potian.
 
They saw with their own eyes innumerable good opportunities missed, both were feeling pity and anxious, but didn’t dare to lose concentration.

As the fight continued, Shi Potian’s right leg was struck by the short steel fork, he cried out: "Ahhh" and shot out his right palm toward Yu Desheng. Yu Desheng sniffed a thick sweet ice-cold odor, and he felt dizziness in his head and the next moment he fainted. Shi Potian gave a foolish expression and leapt backward.

That person surnamed Hu came up quickly and saw Yu Desheng’s face turning its color and changing to purplish black, obviously he was hit by a violent poison; as soon as he sniffed that odor, he was dead.

He got shocked and angry almost at the same time, the hissing sound came out: "little thief ......this boy, you poisoned our chief, we will get you! Everybody, this boy had killed the chief helmsman."

All the ‘Iron fork sect’ people cried and took out their iron forks and pointed towards Shi Potian and started stamping it creating massive noise.

Shi Potian kept in front of Zhang San and Li Si. As he didn’t dare to leave them and knew the moment he left his place everyone will move towards these two righteous brothers.

Ten iron forks moved towards him, he desperately snatched an iron fork broke off its handle and used it as a saber executing the Golden Phoenix skill, made a horizontal swipe to keep away the attack, his exerted his formidable internal energy on the fork.

The moment iron forks connected everyone experienced an incredible shock and suddenly ten iron forks were flying in the air. One person stood his ground and tried to grasp Shi Potian and attacked him with his body.

Shi Potian saw his aggressive move and moved his left hand to strike him, he connected him above his ten fingers, only heard a ka-ka sound, the his wrist bone broke off , he stopped for a moment and then suddenly fell on the ground, dead on the spot.
 
All of sudden it was a melee. No one was paying attention to his life and hurriedly seven-eight people attacked Shi Potian, some were using their iron fork, some empty-handed. Shi Potian didn’t dare to move back even one step, saw several people attacking together; he moved his palm to hit. He didn’t know what happened but suddenly the opponents start falling down immediately as if some kind of divine help.

This way in succession he managed to knock out six people, several people yelled: "this boy’s poisonous palm is fierce, everybody be careful."

Also some people called out: "Elder brother Wang San was also killed by this boy’s poisonous palm, this young ......young ......evil heart ......" his words were not even complete and thump, he fell to the ground, an iron fork hit him hard on his face. This person was not hit by the palm of Shi Potian, still he too died.

The ‘Iron fork sect’ people got intimidated, they withdrew step by step, but heard sound of choking, the sound of something being struck or falling to the ground, several sounds of ‘Ahhh….Ohhhh..’ were heard. Several people tried to turn around so they can run away, but after two steps or so fell and died.

In an instant, in the hall hundred people were lying and that place was filled up with dead, only alive person were four highest skilled people, they put out a hand to cover up their nose and mouth and rushed outside but before they reached the hall entrance, four people then pushed a group, and also fell dead.

Shi Potian saw these scenes, and got frightened and stared speechlessly. He compared this situation to the one in the corpse ship which he met at the Azure mist island and got panic-stricken even ten times more. At that time he saw the corpses of the ‘flying fish sect’ people and they were already dead but at this moment he was fighting with them and suddenly all of them died themselves. He did not know what happened and which malicious ghost did it.

He remembered these people saying that the poisonous palm was fierce, so he looked at his palm, saw on his both palms some group of dark red spot
 
like a blood red cloud, these red cloud also had innumerable blue color stripes. When he swore brotherhood with these two people he saw a red spot on both his palms surrounded by blue spots but at that time it was really tiny, he did not know how its appearance changed so much suddenly.

He looked at it once again, cannot bear to see and felt disgusting, only thought that these two palms have become similar to belly of a poisonous snake or centipede walking on its hand, he smelt some kind of stench and also felt a thick cold breath.

He turns the head to look towards Zhang San and Li Si, he saw only gentle looks of both people, on top of their head were thick white clouds, an iron fork still sticking out of Zhang San’s shoulder.

He thought: "I should pull out this iron fork from his shoulder."

As soon as he held the fork handle to pull out gently, blood sprouted from Zhang San’s shoulder. Shi Potian hurriedly tore his front tunic and bound his wounds.

He heard Zhang San saying in a low voice: "you .....listen to ...what ...I
......say ......according to ......my words ......make ......" he said one word at a time, the sound and the intonation were both low and slow. In handling poison Zhang San and Li Si were equally matched, but because of his shoulder wound Zhang San has lost a lot of blood and also his wound had got infected so he was feeling really weak.

Shi Potian nods anxiously and said: "yes, yes, eldest brother please instruct."

Zhang San said: "put your ......left hand ......to the.......back of my …heart
......to hold the …Lingtai acu-point ......" then he spoke a few more words, spent a long time, then only he managed to teach Shi Potian how to use his internal energy to force poison out of his body, by the time he was finished Zhang San was already sweating profusely, his complexion was still red like blood.
 
Shi Potian didn’t dare to neglect, as everything depend on him he started immediately, untied his coat, with his left hand held down his Lingtai acu- point, with his right hand held the Shan-Zhong acu-point, with his left hand forcing the poison and with the left hand attracting it, within a small time a thin thread of smoke rose from his heart as poison start to dissipate.

Shi Potian used all his internal energy to force poison out Zhang San body, suddenly he heard the footsteps sounds, and around ten people rushed inside holding iron forks in their hand. These people followed orders and stayed outside to guard. A long time passed and they didn’t heard any sound so they came to check immediately, even in their worst dreams they couldn’t have expected that chief helmsman and all the brothers were lying on the ground horizontally, all dead.

At first they were panic-stricken, but then they saw Shi Potian, Zhang San and Li Si sitting on the ground, obviously they were seriously injured, various people shouted at once and attacked with their iron forks to stab these three people.

Shi Potian was treating Zhang San, unexpectedly these people rushed in. he turned around to resist them. They have just crossed about ten meter or so then suddenly all of them kind of got paralyzed, went on their knees and died by the time they fell.

Shi Potian was frightened, his heart nearly jumped up his mouth, he started to tremble and said: "big Eldest brother, in this room there is a malicious
ghost. We should quickly leave.   "

Zhang San shook his head, by now he had rested and around half the poison of his body was now neutralized, the abdominal pain was now a lot less fierce and he said: "you ......with this method ......treat ...elder brother Li Si
.....also."

Shi Potian said: "Yes. yes!"

So as instructed by Zhang San he again repeated the same process on Li Si. After some time a faint trace of cold air started to come out of him, as the
 
poison in the body of Li Si started to reduce, he felt better and asked Shi Potian to help out Zhang San.

So he started once again on Zhang San, this way he kept on alternating between both Zhang San and Li Si for three more times. Although there was still some poison left inside their body but was now harmless. They wanted to leave some part of poison inside their body so that their body gets used to it and can resist it.

When both people looked around and saw the corpses, then only remembered how dangerous the situation was just a few moments back, and cannot help but to feel a lingering fear. They thought that Shi Potian has just now neutralized their poison however some time back he himself had somehow forced the poison to his palms.

Actually when they saw his face, it looked as though he is scared, but his manner was as usual, was not feeling any poison. They really believed that this boy had unknowingly taken ‘immortal lingzhi mushroom’ that’s why he has such an internal energy and is quite impervious to such deadly poison but whatever the reason they were both very happy also felt grateful secretly.

Obviously they knew that when the ‘iron fork sect’ people attacked him he utilized his internal energy vigorously and in the process forced out the poison from his palm in the air and poisonous winds, within a few time the entire hall was polluted by this poisonous air and whoever breathed died, such was the potency of the poison.

This was not a easy matter to explain to Shi Potian, when they saw that he hasn’t asked the reason for this carnage, they also didn’t raised the issue.

Zhang San said: "Elder brother, third brother, let’s go!" he walked out followed by Li Si and Shi Potian.

As the three people come out of that tunnel, they saw about a dozen more people outside with iron forks in their hands and looking around.
 
When they saw them coming out alone, one of them shouted and others started to encircle them. Some people shouted asking questions: "Where is chief helmsman? Why is he not coming out? How are you people coming out alone?"

Zhang San said with a smile: "Your chief helmsman is inside!" That person asked again: "how did you come out first?"
Zhang San replied with a smile: "I can’t explain it right now, its better that you go inside and find it yourself."

Suddenly both of his hands moved and he held a person by his chest and threw him in the tunnel. The ‘Iron fork sect’ people called out in alarm and numerous iron forks moved to stab them. Zhang San didn’t dodge to evade their attack and fished his hand in air to seize their fork and the next moment two people were thrown backwards.

Shi Potian stood in one side, and saw Zhang San grasping the iron forks of these people conveniently, very easily, no matter what the opposite party did to resist his moves still he was able to get there forks and used it against them. The more he looked the he more he was surprised, thought earlier I saw elder brother’s martial-art and now I am seeing again, it’s really amazing and incomparable, he is truly a expert.

Li Si folded both his hands and stood behind, he didn’t go forward to help Zhang San. In a moment Zhang San has knocked down about ten people. People were lying here and there. The person lying farthest yelled: "run away!"

He tried to rush into to the tunnel, other people too followed him in.

Shi Potian called out: "There is danger inside, do not go in!" but actually no one listened to him and all went in.

Under his heart he had innumerable suspicions: How can the ‘Iron fork people’ just die like that? Why the two elder brothers got poisoned and suddenly have stomach pain? Why did eldest brother catch up with into
 
these many people in the tunnel? He did not know whether he should ask these questions then after a while finally asked: "eldest brother, second elder brother!"

Zhang San said: "well! Who is there on that side?"

As soon as Shi Potian turned his head and looked at that side, he saw no one, not even a shadow, he asked: "what person?"

He didn’t hear any response from Zhang San so he again turned around and whoop!

No one was there…there was no trace of Zhang San or Li Si too. He was shocked and didn’t understand why both elder brothers disappeared suddenly.

Shi Potian shouted: "Eldest brother, two elder brothers! Have you gone in there?"

He called several times but no person came out and he didn’t hear anything so he came out of the tunnel.

He was at loss so he thought about looking in to the houses in the village. He came out of that thatched hut and rushed in to seven-eight houses but didn’t found a single person.

In the meantime he saw the red sun glowing; it was morning now, every place was sunlit but in this big village, he saw no one and it was entirely emptily.

He remembered the situation in the tunnel and in the hall where various people died such a tragic death and cannot help but shivered. He cried loudly and then ran way. He ran for about ten miles and then only slowed down. He suddenly thought about his palms and looked at them, the palm's red cloud and the blue grain has now again reduced to about half of when he saw in the hall, also it didn’t looked that disgusting now, thinking this he tried to console his heart.
 
He still did not know that his strong internal energy actually has forced this acute poison out of his abdomen through the meridians to the palm. After learning the ‘arhat’s divine demon subduing skill’ in the ancestral hall, he was practicing his internal energy every day, so gradually as this violent poison reduced, his internal energy was also improving along with it, this way after the nineteenth day all the poison from his body will be expelled.

He leisurely strolled along the road, walked about half of the day and arrived near the Yangtze River. Along the shore he saw a main road so he took it went ahead immediately.

Shortly before noon he bought some noodles from a small town to eat and then traveled in the East direction. He had no cares, so he roamed willfully. As the evening came he saw a yellow wall in front of him in the woods. He went near that place and saw it was a temple, the house was grand, before the gate was a broad and straight greenish-black slate road, at the entrance were standing two guards carrying long sword's and wearing yellow hat like a Taoist.

The two guards saw Shi Potian approaching towards the temple. One of them a middle-aged person asked: where are you coming?"
He saw Shi Potian wearing dirty cloths, looked quite young and also a bit slow-witted; the way he was looking around, so he spoke in a very impolite manner.

Shi Potian didn’t think much about it and said with a smile: "I just walk casually and there isn’t anything specific I want. Is it a Buddhist temple? I have money, so I can buy food to eat.

That guard got angry: "this boy talks nonsense. Do we look like Buddhist priest? We have not opened a hotel here and are not selling food. Who are you showing your money? Get lost! Get lost quickly or if you deliberately start trouble again here, I will break your leg."

The other young guard pressed the sword hilt, on his face a wicked grin appeared and he looked as though he will draw his sword and kill him.
 
Shi Potian said: "I was hungry that’s why I asked to buy some food to eat. I am not interested in fights. Why should I kill you?" as he was saying he turned around to get out of the way.

That young guard got angry and said: "what did you say?" and he move ahead to catch him.

After saying that Shi Potian understood that this person might have misunderstood him; He remembered how in the tunnel hall so many ‘Iron fork sect’ people have died and in his heart regretted it. He didn’t want fight with more people, so when he saw that young guard moving towards him with an intension to fight, he was scared that he might kill him so he immediately ran away into the woods.

He only heard the two guards laughing at him and the middle-aged person saying: "That dirty boy really got frightened, a real coward, the moment he saw us he ran away with his tails in between his legs.

He saw the two Taoist priests are no longer pursuing him and also saw it was getting dark. He wanted to look for a wild fruit or something to appease his hunger, but in the forest there were only pine trees or the cedar trees or nothing that had any fruits on them.

He rushed to a small hillside took a higher position to look out. He saw only that Taoist temple and around ten or so houses. From one of the chimneys of house he saw a white smoke coming out; obviously someone was boiling the vegetable to cook.

Besides this Taoist temple, he looked out in all directions as far as the eye can see, there were no other houses.

He saw the smoke coming from kitchen chimneys and heard chaotic sound from his stomach.

He thought: "these Taoist guards are really fierce, as soon as I open my mouth they will start to fight, maybe I should take a look from behind, if it has anything to eat, I may took it and then walk away. Only in that case I need to put down the money or I will be a young thief."
 
Immediately he circled the forest around the Taoist temple, looked for the on the smoke from kitchen chimneys, jumped over a wall, stayed in line of the wall, saw one of the back door semi-open and moved sideways to enter inside.

By now it was totally dark, even one can go to the courtyard, but he heard the sounds of people talking, the sound of spoons in the vegetable pot, the ‘pssst’ sound of oil in a cooked food, the intermittent fragrance fluttered in the entire courtyard. He was looking precisely at the kitchen. Shi Potian swallowed the mouth saliva quietly and immediately hid in a dark corner in the corridor to the kitchen entrance and thought "It looks as this these meals are to be delivered there. I hope that if I walk away with a bowl of meat then these people will not fight and kill people for the rest of the food."

He was really thinking of going in, and then three people came out from the kitchen. All three were young Taoist priests, one person was raising a lantern and the other two were following him with various trays, in the plate were hot cooked food, fragrant overflowing, obviously there were several delicious meat dishes.

Shi Potian swallowed greedy saliva, put the light footsteps and followed them on the heels quietly. Three young Taoist priests passed through the corridor, and arrived in a main hall, and put down the cooked food on the table. The young Taoist priests turned around to go out, keeping down the chair for one more person, keeping the cups and chop sticks for a total of three people.

Shi Potian hid outside the long window; he looked for anyone in the hall or in the corridor. He waited with extreme anxiousness while those young Taoist priests moved out of his sight and then quickly went inside the hall. He quickly started with the bowl and the braised beef and filled them in his mouth and both his hands ripped through the steam chicken's leg.

He had only swallowed the first beef, and then he heard a sound outside the long window, someone saying: "Younger brother, younger sister, please come in."

He then heard footsteps sound and several people were arriving at the hall.
 
Shi Potian thought in his heart: "It’s not good!"

With only the steam chicken leg in his hand, he hurriedly pulled out some money from his bosom and put it on the table and then rushed to the back room, he heard the footsteps sound from back room too, and obviously there were also some people. He glanced around in the main hall and saw that there was no place for him to hide completely. He cannot help but cursed his luck: "It looks that I have to fight these people."

In a few moments all these people were already near the long window, he remembered the ‘Iron fork sect’ main hall and how everyone died. He exactly didn’t know how they all died but he still felt guilt in his conscience about their death, as he was fighting his own demons. He was desperate to avoid any fight so he glanced again and saw a big plaque hanging at the crossbeam. He didn’t think much and immediately jumped up onto the crossbeam, and hid behind the plaque.

He straightens up after bowing and performing the kowtow, and took shelter apologizing. The moment he hid behind the plaque, the long window was shoved open and several people walked in.

He only heard one person saying: "Brothers please, senior brother is really too polite to have prepared such delicious food and wine."

Shi Potian listens to this voice and felt familiar; he peeped downward from the gap between wooden plaque and crossbeam and only saw several people accompany a male and female, both these people sitting together. Obviously these two people were the famous Shi couple; Shi Qing and Min Rou. He felt really grateful to these two people, especially Madam Min Rou. He remembered how she had in the past presented him silver as a gift, also that day in temple of village god she taught him some sword skills and was very compassionate towards him. As soon as he remembered it, he felt warmth in his heart.

The person with white hair said: "Younger brother, Younger sister, you have come from far away. I am really happy and am offering did glass of ordinary wine."
 
Suddenly he saw on the table, some juice was dripping, in a large bowl, there was only left over remnant soup. In bowl's main meat dishes, a chicken leg was missing. He did not know how it suddenly vanished into thin air, also nearby the bowl were kept some silver ingots.

The person with white hair wrinkled his brows and thought that these young Taoist priests are really negligent, nobody is on guard here. It looks as if a cat has eaten some food and ran away. These visitors have come from such a far place; I can’t even reprimand these fellows for their mistake.

By now the young Taoist priest who cane to serve food and all other people too saw that bowl of remnant soup and felt awkward. That priest hurriedly moved and tidied the place as nobody said about anything.

That old person than asked Mr. and Mrs. Shi Qing to take the seat of honor and himself sit at the side, he stroked his gown sleeve stroked lightly and covered up the silver ingot. He waited for a few moments and then removed it n such a way so that no one can he see it.

In the centre these three people took their seat and the rest of the Taoist priests divided themselves in two rows and sat on the other side.

After three rounds of wine that old person sighed and said: "I’m seeing you after eight years… such a long time. Younger fellow-disciples, you look great and wonderful. Your stupid Elder fellow-disciples have grown old and withered.

Shi Qing said: "senior brother had grown his hair white but in his spirit he is still healthy and vigorous."

That old man said: "what white? I am still like a bull in my heart. All my hair turned white in only one night. Younger brother, younger sister if you people had arrived three days ago, you could have seen my beard and hair at least half black and half white.

Shi Qing asked: "Senior brother, Are you worried about the two envoys of the ‘command of reward and punishment’?"
 
That old man sighs and said: "Perhaps apart from this matter, there isn’t any other matter in this martial-arts world right now. Only two things matter right now, this ‘Shan Qing’ temple and these young Taoist apprentices."

Shi Qing said: "I and younger sister were nearby Lake Chaohu when we heard from some people that the two envoys of ‘command of reward and punishment’ have resurfaced in the martial-arts world. So we traveled through out the night and came here to discuss a strategy with the chief of ‘Shan Qing temple’ and all your fellow apprentices.

‘Shan Qing’ temple has such a high reputation in martial-arts world for past ten years. Perhaps high position invites criticism, so those two envoys of ‘command of reward and punishment’ can be targeting you senior brother as you are the head of this temple. If you don’t have any problem than younger brother and sister will like to stay in the temple for a month in case those two visit us, although our skills are pretty poor but still if senior brother doesn’t mind, we can serve with our lives."

That old person Tian Xu sighed gently, fishes out two bronze medals from his bosom, and placed them on the table.

Shi Potian was sitting above their head; saw it clearly, same two signs, a smiling face and an angry face, just as he had seen earlier. He was unable to restrain his heart to thump madly and thought: This old Taoist priest also has these two signs?"

Shi Qing too was shocked and cried: "Ohhh", then said : "so those two envoys of ‘command of reward and punishment’ already got you, so after all we are one step late. It’s a difficult matter. When did it happen? Senior brother you How did you dealt with it?"

Tian Xu sat silently, didn’t answer for a while, and then said: "This happened three days ago. As head of ‘Shan Qing temple’ and for the righteous cause, I had complied with their wishes and accepted the invitation to take the ‘Eight meat gruel’ in the island of heroes.

Shi Qing saw the two bronze medals, also saw the look in the faces of all the priests in the temple, he had already guessed the situation the moment
 
he came in, stood up suddenly and immediately bowed in front of him clasping his hand and said: "Senior brother has taken the heavy burden of taking care of this ‘Shan Qing’ temple alone, younger brother feels ashamed and expresses his thanks. But younger brother has a presumptuous request; I hope senior brother doesn’t refuse."

Tian Xu returned his salute and said: "Worldly thing, at this moment doesn’t matter to me lot. My worthy brother what ever you say I will do."

Shi Qing said: "So it means Senior brother has consented?"

Tian Xu said: "Obviously consented. My worthy brother, but can I know what exactly your instructions are?"

Shi Qing said: "Your younger brother is brazenly bold, but senior brother you must invite us husband and wife to share the command of this ‘Shan Qing’ temple."

The moment he said his words the countenance of the people in the hall changed.

Tian Xu didn’t reply and hesitated.

Shi Qing said: "Younger brother and his wife want to share the command of this sect so we can go the island of heroes and taste the ‘Eight meat gruel’."

Tian Xu laughed, but his laughter was actually filled with bitter, astringent meaning. Tears glistening in his eyes, he said: "my worthy brother, I declined your request with thanks. I have been chief of this ‘Shan Qing’ temple and the sect for past ten years. It is well-known in the martial-art world, today in time of crisis, if I evade my responsibility or even shrink back in fear than what face can I show to others.?"

He spoke these words and put out a hand to hold Shi Qing right palm, said: "my worthy brother, you are far to younger than me right now, you also have a family although small but still you have one. Your martial-arts is really very good even you are best in our sect and so is your moral behavior. I usually drink a lot and getting old.
 
I have already agreed to go to island of heroes and eat ‘Eight meat gruel’. I would have happily given you command of the ‘Shan Qing temple’ but in these circumstances I really can’t follow your instruction. ha, ha!"

His laughter was full of irony.

Shi Potian listened about that island of heroes and the ‘eight meat gruel’ and didn’t understand any thing. He once listened about it from his eldest brother at the ‘Iron fork sect’ main hall, however the way this old Taoist was speaking about eating that ‘eight meat gruel’ was entirely different. As soon as that Taoist mentioned that appointment, his look changed entirely.

He thought: "is it some fatal poison in that gruel or what?

He again heard Tian Xu saying: "my worthy brother, my hair turned white in a single night, it is not that I covet my life or am afraid of death. I am already sixty-two this year, even if I have died this year, it could have been considered as is dying of old age. My only concern is this great misfortune of the martial art world every ten year. Can we maintain the prestige and honor of our sect?

That is the true difficult matter. During the past 30 years, the island of heroes has organized this ‘eight meat gruel’ feast about three times.

At each meeting, whichever head of any sect has attended this feast, no one has come back. As soon as I die, you should not pity, but it’s a time of damage control, we actually must think of some proper method to move forward."

As soon as Shi Qing heard this he too smiled, carried his wine cup, drinks up, said: "senior brother, We husband and wife are overreaching ourselves, but still I must ask the senior brother to yield. It is not the case that we are sending two people of senior generation to deliver their life but actually we must go to find the truth about these people. Perhaps if God blesses us, we can uncover the truth of this island of heroes. Although we did not dare to say that out martial arts can match them but if in the martial-art world no one will try than how can we know about this great evil. As long as
 
someone can unravel this mystery, the martial-art world will be in chaos and no one will be able to stand off against island of heroes."

Tian Xu shakes his head slowly, said: "It is not that I am disparaging your ambitions my worthy brother. Look, the likes of Shaolin Temple’s wondrous truth abbot, Wudang sect’s simpleminded Taoist priest, Qingcheng sect’s the clear spatial Buddhist priest and so on, several master have gone there and that’s it. Although my worthy brother, your martial-arts is high, eventually ......Still in comparison to the Shaolin temple’s abbot and Wudang sect’s Taoist priest, it’s nothing."

Shi Qing said: "Younger brother actually do know about all these stuff but every thing is not just a matter of merit but also half depends on the luck. We have to somehow exterminate this big evil, or at least try to acquire some knowledge about them otherwise everything else is a futile exercise."

Tian Xu still shook his head, said: "’Shan Qing’ temple should prosper for hundreds of year. After I die you should take care of it. Hereafter my worthy brother, you husband and wife must make every effort to stop this sect from deterioration and annihilation. If you accept this offer I will be deeply grateful."

Shi Qing said over and over but that old person didn’t relent. Various people didn’t drink at all and put the wine cup as it is, even forgot to eat the delicious food. Shi Potian tore down the chicken gently, squeezes in his mouth; he was afraid that they might hear him chewing and swallowed it completely. He was eating but his entire attention was on the people and their discussion.

He saw Shi Qing and Tian Xu discussing and rest of them listening. Madam Min Rou didn’t interrupted, after some time she slowly puts out a hand and took the two bronze medals, looked at the meeting and conveniently held it to her bosom.

Tian Xu called out: "Younger sister, please lay it down!"

Min Rou shows a faint smile and said: "I am receiving it for the senior fellow-disciple, isn’t the same."
 
Tian Xu saw that she is not willing to give up these bronze medals so puts out a hand to seize. This time Min Rou stretched out her chopsticks towards the bowl of red-roasted rice field eel, intercepting his move, his right arm just blocking Tian Xu’s palm.

As soon as this happened, Madam Shi collided her empty hand with that of Tian Xu and quickly pulled it back. She exchanged the bronze medal in a flash from her other hand and said: "Now I received it from you!"

Madame Shi raised her left hand; her four fingers moved as though she was playing a pipa (a lute with four strings) to flick his wrist. Tian Xu moved his left hand towards Madam Shi right wrist. She fluttered her right wrist, the left middle finger sprang and a great force moved in the direction of Tian Xu’s chest.

Tian Xu has taken over the leadership of the ‘Shan Qing’ temple for last ten years and was adept at numerous palm techniques.

He knew both the Shi couple themselves want to go their death, even though they have originally good intention in their heart, but these two bronze medals involved him and he had already accepted the invitation in front of the entire temple, so if it falls in to someone else hand and he loses his life than what face can he show to others.

He saw Madame Shi attacking at his chest so immediately wields the palm to parry her move.

Both these people did not left their seat and had fought in a blink of a eye about seven-eight moves, both these people had learnt from the same teacher and were disciples of Shan Qing temple. Although they were using moves which were not dangerous and still it was not just a practice session and both wrestles with all their strength in that little space. When two people of same school meet and compared their martial-arts skills after about twenty years, in their heart both were really pleased by the exquisite skill displayed by the other. Even though they had met several times during these last twenty years; still they never got an opportunity to test their skill against each other.
 
The rest of the Taoist priests who were apprentices at the ‘Shan Qing’ temple watched these people comparing their skill with rapt attention. These people knew about Shi couple for more than ten years, by their astounding reputation in the realm of rivers and lakes. They also knew that how they rushed to help them and saw with their own eyes how Madam Shi had robbed bronze medal from Tian Xu showing amazing composure and thought that she really deserve the acclaim and reputation.

These two people were evenly matched for about ten moves but Madame Shi was holding those two bronze medals in her right hand so she was only able to use the fist of her right hand and was unable to cancel some Tian Xu palm moves by grasping or any other open-hand techniques, so she was at a great disadvantage. Also Tian Xu was trying to put pressure on her to open her palm so he can get back the bronze medals. Madame Shi knew in the heart that she can’t hold these medals for some time so she threw the medals using internal energy towards her husband, all the other disciples of Tian Xu saw the elegance and internal energy involved and didn’t dare to compete with Shi Qing to snatch the medals.

Shi Qing puts out a hand and was just about to take, suddenly he felt a strong force moving towards his face, it was precisely Tian Xu, he has executed the ‘Shan Qing’ temple’s sect’s double palm move, the moment he saw Madam Shi throwing the bronze medals. Although this move was not that difficult to handle but it was a very formidable move, if one does not resist then can be seriously injured, even if he took the bronze medal in the hand, still he would probably drop it after the impact. As he was left with no option he didn’t move towards the bronze medal and right away moved his palm to obstruct Tian Xu’s move.

As soon as soon as Shi Qing took the defensive posture, the medal moved towards Zhao Xu, one of their fellow-disciples, who caught it with his hand. The moment Zhao Xu caught the medals all the four started laughing and he Shi couple gave up the idea of getting the bronze medal.

After a moment Shi Potian saw Tian Xu smiling and bowing towards Madam Shi and said: "Younger brother, Younger sister, please forgive me for offending you."
 
Mr. and Mrs. Shi Qing hurriedly stood up and returned salute.

Shi Qing said: "Elder brother, please don’t say these words, actually we husband and wife were very disrespectful. The internal strength of elder brother is so strong that we can’t even think to compete against you. Although we did a stupid mistake, but still as it’s said if one part of body get injured, entire body feels the pain. Alas! we are in an utterly hopeless situation."

When Tian Xu used his internal strength then only Shi Qing realized how strong his internal strength really was.

Tian Xu forced a smile and said: "Younger brother, please don’t mind and say these word. Let’s drink!" He took a wine cup and tossed it.

Shi Potian saw Min Rou sighing at her lack of skill; he did not know that these two bronze medals have what significant responsibility. He was only concerned about her failure and thought: "this Taoist priest has snatched the bronze medals; I will take it from him and give it to Madame Shi."

He saw Shi Qing standing up and saying: "I hope senior brother returns safely. Younger brother's manners were really despicable and we didn’t even talk properly about the old days. Now we are leaving elder brother, goodbye."

Every one shivered with fear in their heart as he said these words.

Tian Xu asked: "I have heard that my worthy brother had sent his son to the ‘Snow mountain sect’ for learning martial-arts. Despite the incomparable prestige of you husband and wife still ‘Snow Mountain sect’ has shown reckless courage to capture your son?"

Shi Qing sighed and said: "This matter is a long story, most probably it’s my fault that I was not able to teach my son proper moral values. It’s my son who has committed evil so what’s the point blaming others."

His sense of rights and wrongs were absolutely clear, although Bai Wanjian has burnt down his family manor, still he knew that his son had committed
 
the crime and he didn’t have any resentment against ‘Snow Mountain sect’.

Tian Xu said in a clear, resonant voice: "Younger brother, younger sister, these people have kidnapped your beloved son, obviously they despise our 'Shan Qing temple’. No matter how big or powerful there background is, even though our skills are poor still we must help you to get your son back."

He paused for a moment and then said again: "your beloved son got captured because of their superiority in numbers, actually we can still catch up with them if we leave ‘Shan Qing’ temple immediately. We are fellow- disciples and should help each other. Younger brother tell me, are still not good friends after all these years?"

He thought that the enemy did not fear Shi Qing couple and were confident of there victory just on the basis of their numerical strength. He thought that the ‘Snow Mountain sect’ is reckless and disrespectful to send its disciples to capture Shi Zhongyu.

Shi Qing and Min Rou both were not willing to take the skeleton out of the closet. They also thought the ‘Shan Qing temple’ is right now facing a imminent disaster and already have to deal with a powerful enemy. Obviously this is not a right time to have ‘Snow Mountain sect’ as their enemy too.

Shi Qing said: "senior brother, thanks for the kindness, we husband and wife are deeply grateful. We have not yet fully investigated this matter and don’t know exactly how these things happened. Let us, younger brother and wife go and properly look in to the matter and if needed, we will return to the ‘Shan Qing temple’ to ask for senior brother’s help."

Tian Xu said: "Exactly, Younger brother, younger sister, please don’t waste more time and go and look for your beloved son. Once you get any news please come to ‘Shan Qing temple’ and then we will leave immediately."

Both Shi Qing and Min Rou cupped one hand in the other across the chest to express gratitude, however in their heart were actually downcast and thought: "The ‘Snow Mountain sect’ had already ordered the execution of
 
our child, we husband and wife should accept the fate. How can we come to the ‘Shan Qing temple’ to ask for reinforcement?"

After that both people said goodbye and moved out, Tian Xu and rest of the group too followed them out to see them off.

Shi Potian saw these people leaving and immediately leapt from the plaque on the ground and then quickly left the room and crossed the wall. Once he was outside, he thought: "That master Shi and Madam Shi said that their son was captured by some people, actually who, I don’t know right now. It looks like that bronze medal is only a plaything and is immaterial. It seems that these people are fellow disciple and were just playing with that bronze medal and they have a very good friendship.

Madame Shi treats me very well; I must help her to pursue their son. I should ask her first, her son’s age, what was his appearance and who has captured him?"

He leapt on to o a tree and saw two rows of ten lanterns in north-east direction. It looked the ‘Shan Qing temple’ disciples were seeing them of the forest.

Shi Potian thought: "These Shi couple both ride two very fast horses, I should try to run as fast as possible to catch them."

He saw that both people were taking a straight road, so he jumped from the tree and ran along the hillside after them.

He didn’t pay much attention and ran near the gate of the ‘Shan Qing temple’. He heard someone yelling: "who is there? Halt!"

When he hid behind the plaque in the main hall, he held his breath and concealed himself without making any noise so no one detected him but here he was running and using his internal strength and unconsciously created quite a ruckus and immediately caught the attention of people nearby.
 
He stopped there only maintaining his composure as the Shi couple went farther and farther on their horses.

In the darkness, suddenly Shi Potian felt two swords moving towards him, two Taoist priests took out their swords in front of them, the sword’s edge glimmering with the star light. It was extremely hazy, he saw to his left and saw that Taoist priest was that disciple of ‘Shan Qing temple’ who caught those bronze medals and in his heart, he felt happy and said: "Honorable Taoist priest?"

That Taoist priest got startled for a moment and then said: "Yes, who are you, sire?"

Shi Potian stretched his right hand and said: "I am here to take the bronze medal from you."

Zhao Xu got angry, and shouted: "You will get this!"

The sword then moved to stab his leg. In ‘Shan Qing’ temple, the commandments were very precise and rigorous, do not kill the innocents. Right now he didn’t even know the origin of the opponent, however the moment Shi Potian said he wants the bronze medal, it was kind of a taboo to him and he attacked.

Even though he was attacking the leg still it was a strategic point. Shi Potian slanted his body to avoid it; his right hand grasping his shoulder. Zhao Xu saw that he was agile, so he moved his long sword in a circle, aiming at his left shoulder.

Shi Potian lowered his head quickly to avoid it getting drilled; he feared that the sword will cut his head; so unconsciously he moved his right hand towards him. Zhao Xu only sniffed for a moment some fishy irritating stench from that dirty person, then felt dizzy, tried to stay on his feet but in a time one blink his eyes, he fell to the ground.

Shi Potian got startled, suddenly the second Taoist priest stabbed at his back with his long sword. He knew that there is something strange with his palm, as soon as he brings it to attack someone, people get killed. He didn’t dare
 
to counterattack, he took a vertical leap and scoffed a sound, and his long gown was cut from the back by the sword. That Taoist priest thought that this person has evil intension and attacked more vigorously with his long sword moving to stab Shi Potian.

Shi Potian slanted his body to escape this move; he hurriedly picked up a long sword which was dropped by the other priest. He saw that this Taoist priest’ swordsmanship was really swift and fierce, so he immediately moved his sword and executed the Golden Phoenix sword moves. In his hand the sword along with the internal energy was very formidable, the moment the two swords connected, that Taoist was not able to hold the long sword in his hands and let it go. But he was the disciple of ‘Hand of palm sect' so he was well versed with the palm and seizing techniques and didn’t feared this situation when he was empty handed.

He took crouching posture and threw himself straight on Shi Potian’s bosom, with his both hands tried to grasp the hole between his lower chest's land abdomen. In his hand he didn’t have the sword and the enemy had the sword, so it was favorable for his to have a close hand-to-hand fight, this way the enemy won’t be able to use his weapon.

Shi Potian called out: "it’s not allowed!"

He then attacked with his left hand and shoved that Taoist priest aside. By now the strong internal energy of his palm pushed the poison out along with that blow and as soon as Taoist fell to ground, he never got up.

Shi Potian stamped the foot again and again, said: "oh! I didn’t want to harm you!"

He heard the voice of dogs howling. He looked at the empty road and the two people on ground, both slumped and looked dead. In the dim light he saw two bronze medals still at his bosom. He puts out a hand to take it, puts it in the bag and stepped back and pursued anxiously after Shi couple.

In one breath he pursued them for about ten miles. He hadn’t heard the sound of the horse's hoof so thought: "These two horses are really quick, can I even catch them or not? Is it also possible that I came in the wrong
 
direction? Shi Qing and madam Shi might not necessarily take this main road."

As he was thinking suddenly he heard a sound of horse neighing from one side. He looked in that direction and saw two horses tied under a willow tree, one black and the other white. They were precisely the horses of Shi couple.

Shi Potian felt great happiness and took out the bronze medals from his bag in to his hand. He waited for moment to yawn and was just about to call the Shi couple when he heard the voice of Shi Qing from a distant place: "Younger sister, this young thief is stealthy following us. I think he harbors evil intentions. We should just wait and let him pass."

Shi Potian was startled and thought: "they do not like me coming after them?"

Although he heard the voice of Shi Qing; but didn’t see these two people. He was afraid that if they see and attack him. Then he might kill them too if he is not careful. How can that be good?

He shrank his body hurriedly in the long grass nearby and waited for few moments. He thought that he should wait for Min Rou to appear and then will toss the bronze medals towards her and then will run away.

Suddenly he saw a person’s shadow flying out from the left side, holding a long sword in his hand pointing towards him and calling out loudly: "my friend, you are following us. What are you up to? Come out quickly." She was Min Rou.

Shi Potian only managed to say: "I".

Then he heard sound of someone scoffing and then suddenly he heard three ringing sounds, someone was throwing hidden projectiles at Min Rou.

Min Rou moved her sword firmly and the projectiles fell on the thick patch of grass.
 
Then all of sudden a person with black clothing leapt out from that patch of grass and attacked Min Rou with a sword. Shi Potian felt it was strange that this person was hiding there too. He saw that person was very agile and skillful. He brandished his sword creating a hu-hu sound in the air. Min Rou resisted him very conveniently but didn’t counter-attack.

In a moment Shi Qing also came out, the long sword hanging in his waist. He crossed his hands behind the back, observed the fight for several moves and then said: "hey friend, are you a disciple of Lu’s Shiba from Taishan sect, isn’t it?"

That person said: "yes, why?" He was still attacking Min Rou and the wiry sword didn’t stopped.

Shi Qing said with a smile: "Although we don’t have friendship with Lu Shiba but we also don’t have any animosity between us. So why are you following us husband and wife for last four-five miles, what is your intention?"

That man said: "Don’t have free time to follow you people.   "

Initially Min Rou was not attacking her and just making superficial moves, but had actually thrown him in to confusion.

Shi Qing said with a smile: "The sword skills of Lu Shiba are really formidable, but you have actually not even learned the 30% of the original sword skill so it’s better for you to stop."

The moment Shi Qing said these words Min Rou moved her long sword to stab his wrist at the same time, flutters her body to go behind him, reversed the sword and hit him with the hilt of sword and sealed up his acu-point.

With a thud sound his wiry sword hit the ground. If Min Rou has completed her move with a straight sword then there would have been a big hole instead of a sealed acu-point.

Shi Qing said with a smile: "friend, what is your name?"
 
That man was really stubborn and said: "If you want to kill me then kill me, why are you asking mu name?"

Shi Qing said: "Friend, please don’t say then. It doesn’t matter. I think you have allied with a secret group and your master doesn’t know anything about it?"

The color of that man face changed to white, as if he said: "how do you know?"

Shi Qing said: "Your respected master Lu Shiba don’t have any enmity with us so why will he send someone to track us husband and wife and especially he is such a respected authority, why will he send a disciple like you to track us."

The implied meaning was obviously that your martial-art is far too poor and you are not even good enough to follow us so your master will never send you after us. That man’s face turned in to purple with shame when he heard this but fortunately it was a dark night so no one noticed it.

Shi Qing put out a hand on his shoulder, patted twice and said: "We husband and wife are very straight forward and frank people and we are not secretive about our whereabouts. If want to know than we will tell ourselves. We are just coming from the ‘Shan Qing temple’. You can visit the Taoist temple and ask master Tian Xu about us. Actually we were disciples of ‘Shan Qing temple’ in out youth and master Tian Xu was out senior fellow disciple.

Now we are going to the Snow Mountains, to Lingxiao city to pay visit to the Snow Mountain sect’s chief ‘'Gentleman of Impressive Strength and Virtue'. If the friend wants to ask anything else, then please ask away!"

That man only thought that he only patted me twice and my acu-points are open, and admired him inside his heart, then he bowed and cupped one hand in the other across his chest and said: "You Shi couple treat people justly and leave up to your reputation; the younger generation has offended you."
 
Shi Qing said: "flattery!"

That man didn’t dare to pick up his wiry sword from the ground, held his hand again in front of Madame Shi, bowed and said: "Madame Shi, forgive me for offending you!"

He then turned around to walk. Madame Shi returned the salute.

That man went ahead several steps, suddenly Shi Qing asked: "Friend, your secret society’s Shi Bangzhu can know our whereabouts?"

As soon as he said these words, that man’s body shook and he turned around and said: "you ......You had known?"

Shi Qing sighed and said: "I didn’t know. I don’t have any information. Isn’t it?"

That man shook his head and said: "I too don’t have any information." Shi Qing said: "We husband and wife are also looking for him."
All three people looked at each other for half a day and then that man turned around and walked away.

Min Rou said: "senior brother, is he from clan of eternal happiness?"

As soon as Shi Potian heard "clan of eternal happiness", these three word, he felt a jolt in his heard.

Shi Qing said: "When he turned around to get out of the way a moment ago, he raised his gown lapel; I vaguely saw a chrysanthemum embroidered on his gown. In the darkness I hadn’t saw it clearly, but as soon as I spoke thoughtlessly unexpectedly his response gave all the answers I needed. He
......He was tracking us originally for ......for our son Yu’er. If only I had known it earlier, I wouldn’t have pressed him to leave."

Min Rou sighed and said: "They ......They are helping Yu’er and are actually very loyal to him."
 
Shi Qing said: "Yu’er is the chief of ‘Clan of eternal happiness. This sect is really very powerful and has lot of people in the sect. They are definitely looking for him and will try to rescue him from the Bai Wanjian and Snow Mountain sect. I am surprised that despite there numbers and contacts, still we have heard nothing of him."

Min Rou said mournfully: "how do you know that they have not still rescued him… can’t we get back to him and ask?"

Shi Qing took her wife's hand and pulled her to sit beside him under the willow tree, and said warmly: "Look, if they had known any news about our son, they wouldn’t have sent people all around looking for him in the realm of rivers and lakes. This Lu Shiba’s disciple was sparring with us just for no reason, but only to inquire us about his whereabouts, otherwise what feud we have with this person."

Both the Shi couple sat near the thick patch of grass where Shi Potian was hiding merely at the distance of about twenty feet. Although Shi Qing spoke lightly, Shi Potian was actually able hear clearly.

Originally the martial-art of the Shi couple was very good, but after they came out of the ‘Shan Qing temple’ they were very sad and disappointed and moved out talking with each other and were a bit careless. But after sometime they realized that someone was following them that’s why they tied there horses to tree and waited for the intruder to come.

Shi Potian also had extremely high internal strength and his footsteps were also very light. No one detected his movement when he came and hid in that thick grass patch, obviously he didn’t know that that person with wiry sword was also hiding there.

Shi Potian heard these two people talking about the ‘clan of eternal happiness’ and their son being captured by Bai Wanjian. He thought about his earlier life experiences, of how he has been misunderstood most of the times so he kept hiding in the grass. If a person suddenly comes out from nowhere it’s always very awkward. So he simply decided to stay there and hear what they are saying.
 
He heard wild insects chirping, breeze moving the trees violently. Both the Shi couple were no longer speaking. Shi Potian feared that they might discover that he is hiding there, didn’t dare to breathe heavily. After a long time, he heard Madam Shi sighing and weeping gently.

He heard Shi Qing saying slowly: "We two people have been roaming the realm of rivers and lakes for such a long time but we didn’t have anything on our conscience and we owe no one. For these last few years we are looking for our son and hoping he is fine and trying to do good deeds. If God really wanted us two people to have no children then it would have been fine but to have such an unfilial child… it would have been better if we had no child."

Min Rou said in a low voice: "Yu’er, although since childhood was mischievous and naughty, he ......He still is our heart and treasure. We have always doted on him and always liked him, maybe you are tired today, but
......But you are not that resentful. That day in that small temple, I looked at him and he didn’t looked as though he was as evil as people say. In fact we competed for some time with our swords, only unconsciously I stabbed......him......" She was not able to finish her word as she remembered those scenes and sobbed.

Shi Qing said: "I have urged again and again not to feel sorry for that day, even if on that day we have rescued him still I am not sure we might be able to keep him with us. This matter is really strange. After that day the Snow mountain people disappeared without a trace suddenly in that area south of Yellow River. Also we haven’t heard any other news in martial arts world. Tomorrow we will move towards Lingxiao city. Once we get there whatever for good or bad at least we will know the truth."

Min Rou said: "If we could have taken some efficient people with us to the Lingxiao city at least in some critical situation they might have helped us, isn’t?"

Shi Qing said: "The matter of the saving him is easier said than done. If one cannot rescue him in the midway then as soon as Yu’er arrives at the Lingxiao city, its like the sheep entering the tiger’s mouth and will be really difficult to return alive."
 
Min Rou didn’t say anything, took out the handkerchief to wipe her tears, waited for some time and then said: "I think that this matter cannot be entirely our son’s fault. You saw on that day in the temple how unfamiliar he looked with the Snow mountain swordsmanship. The Snow mountain disciples didn’t looked that good in martial-arts, our son was well extremely talented and striving to excel and always tried to outdo others, that’s why they are making him suffer." As she said she again started sobbing.

Shi Qing said: " It was me who miscalculated and still regret the moment when I decided to send him to Snow Mountain school. On that day as soon as I asked him to go to Snow Mountain School to learn martial-arts, although you did not say anything, but I know in your heart actually you didn’t supported that decision. I can’t believe that 'Dragon of wind and fire' Feng Wanli will ill treat the son despite having friendship of us husband and wife."

Min Rou said: "This matter really strange. You send our son to the Lingxiao city, although you knew my thoughts still you sent him. I must go to them and despite my martial-arts skill will try to save our son. It would be inappropriate for you to go and save him but we mother and son will collaborate, and then may defeat the enemy. I know…I know…Oh!"

Shi Potian saw these two people speaking and thinking how to get out of this situation and thought: "Madame Shi really misses her child. It looks as though her son is captured by the Snow mountain sect, I must go with them to the Lingxiao city and try to help them to save him. She just said that she wanted some help?"

As he was thinking, he heard the faint sound of hoof beats from a distant place suddenly, about a dozen of horses moving towards them.

Both Shi Qing and Min Rou too heard the sound of people on horses coming towards them and didn’t talk but sat silently.

When they came closer, the horses came to a stop and some person called out: "in here!"
 
Another person yelled: "Younger brother Shi, Younger sister Min, we have few words to say."

Shi Qing, Min Rou heard the Taoist priest yelling and shouting and felt surprised and quickly stood up.

Shi Qing asked: "Elder brother Chong Xu, what’s the matter in the temple?" He saw Tian Xu, Chong Xu and all the other fellow apprentices. Two Taoist priests were holding one person each in their hand. The night was not very bright so he can't see clearly who these two people are.

Chong Xu said loudly: "Shi.....Younger brother Shi, Younger sister Min, you were not able to snatch those bronze medals of ‘Command of reward and punishment’ in the temple in front of us all so you used underhand techniques and used poison to snatch it. You did that it fine but in this process you people unexpectedly strike a vicious blow and killed Zhao Xu and Tong Xu, these two people guarding it, that ...that is too unreasonable!"

Shi Qing and Min Rou listened to him such saying that and were surprised.

Shi Qing said: "Elder brother Zhao Xu and Tong Xu are murdered by a person using vicious poison, this is violent treachery, this ......This       ?
Both senior fellow-disciples were killed by same person but why?"

He was concerned of the fellow apprentices' safety, at once didn’t differentiate himself with them.

Chong Xu said in anger loudly: "We did not know that you have colluded with some lowly assassins who dare to use such violent poison which is most despised in the martial-arts world. Although these two people have not died yet but they are pretty close to death."

Shi Qing said: "let me take a look."

He approached the body as he said these words; passed the two Taoist standing closest to him, suddenly several Taoist priests drew out their sword and came forward to block his way.
 
Tian Xu said: "Allows him to pass through! Brother Shi is not that kind of a person."

Those several Taoists sneered and lowered their swords to yield the way.

Shi Qing made his way in between the angry Taoists to Zhao Xu. He saw the faces of both these people, a purplish black color appeared, and obviously both have been hit by a violent poison. He saw both people breathing very lightly and it looked as if their life was already hanging on a very thin thread. However the martial-arts of the ‘Shan Qing temple’ was very good and their internal energy was also very deep, also Shi Potian had not directly hit them with his palm but they have only sniffed that poison from his palm and fell down feeling dizzy.

Shi Qing turned his head and asked: "Younger sister, have a look and can you tell who have done this violent treachery?"

He turned his head and saw about seven-eight Taoist priests each waving a long sword have surrounded him.

Min Rou saw the people looking at them with hostility but ignored them completely and went to see both of them. She received a folded booklet from Shi Qing, and went close to the two people to look at them. As she went she smelled the poison gas and felt dizzy and couldn’t help but to draw back one step.

She hesitated and said: "In the realm of the rivers and lakes, I have not seen this kind of poison. Can I ask Elder brother Chong and you two elder brother if you have ever seen such kind of poison? Is it that they taken this poison by mistake? Are they hit by an enemy’s hidden weapon? I don’t see any scar on the body."

Chong Xu got angry and said: "how do I know? We are here to precisely ask you people about it? We have just eaten food with you husband and wife. In fact younger sister it was you who tried to snatch the bronze medals from Elder brother. If there was any poison in the wine then you two people would be in this condition and we all would have been poisoned. Zhao Xu had the bronze medals and only he is poisoned and near his death and he
 
doesn’t have those medals now. It…it looks as if he was robbed by you people.

Min Rou got mad when she heard these words and her facial expressions changed, but she was gentle in nature, since childhood she had lived with these fellow apprentices and so was not willing to argue with them. Tears rolled out form her eyes in streams. Shi Qing knew that there is a huge misunderstanding between them and the Shan Qing temple disciples because obviously he hadn’t poisoned these people and they were squarely blaming all of this on them and the way both people behaved in the Shan Qing temple just now they were attracting significant suspicion.

He stretches out his left hand to take her wife’s right palm, comforted her and paced back and forth for a while.

Min Rou said: "I ......I ......" only said these two words and couldn’t say another word and cried. She was a top martial-art exponent and roamed the realm of the rivers and lakes but never flinched back from any challenge but today when accused by his own fellow apprentices she couldn’t help herself and her feminine side took over.

Chong Xu said furiously: "you can cry as much as you want but your crocodile tears "

He didn’t complete his words as suddenly someone shouted from behind and said: "You people don't know how to discriminate between right and wrong and treat good person carelessly?"

Everyone heard these words said in anger and got surprised. At once everyone turned around; they saw a man standing several ten feet away wearing clothing like a Han Chinese. He didn’t looked like a grown up and by his face looked really young.

Shi Qing, Min Rou saw this person and were really delighted. Min Rou said: "you…you" but she couldn’t complete her sentence and said ‘my son’.

This youth was obviously Shi Potian; he was hiding in the thick patch of grass. When he heard these people blaming Min Rou and Shi Qing he
 
thought that if I come out than more people can die because of his poisonous palm so stayed there but after some time when Chong Xu started misbehaving Min Rou he couldn’t help himself and came out shouting in anger.

Chong Xu shouted at him loudly: "who are you? Who are you to tell us what is good and what is bad?

Shi Potian said: "Master Shi Qing and Madam Min Rou are good people and hadn’t taken your bronze medal. You blamed them that they have stolen it, how can you accuse people wrongly?"

Chong Xu took his sword in his hand and said: "Young fellow, you don’t know anything and are actually talking nonsense in here!"

Shi Potian said: "obviously I know."

He originally wanted to say that obviously he had taken it but thought if he tells them now then definitely they will attack him and more people will get killed so he checked himself and didn’t speak any further.

Chong Xu moved towards him and thought may be he knows the truth. and said: "So who took it?"

Shi Potian said: "Listen there is no way Master Shi and madam Shi could have hurt your two brothers. You have offended them, and also stirred up Madame Shi to cry. Who would kill people in hurry and sit here to wait for you."

Min Rou was longing for her son for such along time and suddenly she saw the child who she has kept her in her womb for nine months safe and sound, needless to say she was extremely happy. When she heard him defending her mother in front of Chong Xu she felt very proud. Actually she had two sons, but she had suffered innumerable pain and had flowed innumerable tears for them until at this moment.

Only when she heard her son saying these words to protect her mother, her mood changed to happiness immediately. She thought that all sorts of pain,
 
sadness, anxiousness and humiliation which she had received for him for last twenty years were at not all in vain.

Shi Qing saw his wife complexion changing and she looked extremely happy, tears streaming down her face. He understood her sentiments and clasped her palm in his hand tightly to reassure her and thought in his heart: "Although my son has done all sorts of unfilial acts but at least he has been filial to his mother."

Chong Xu heard this young person contradicting him again and in his heart again felt angry and said in a loud voice: "who are you? Who are you to say me that I misbehaved with Madame Shi?"

Min Rou saw his son voicing against injustice and said: "Senior brother, there is a misunderstanding between us all. Once the truth will come out you won’t blame us. "

She turned to Shi Potian and said: "They are our seniors. Kowtow to them, quickly."

Shi Potian already had a soft corner in his heart for Madam Shi and when he saw her complexion changing to happiness, she looking at her with tearful eyes, felt a emotional attachment to her. In his life, he had rarely met with people who really loved him with sincerity, so when he saw her then cannot help but felt a warm feeling in his heart. At this moment even if she ask him to give up his life no matter what he would fulfill her every wish.

Without any hesitation, he kneeled down immediately in front of Chong Xu to kowtow and said: "Madam Shi has asked me to kowtow to you, I pay my respect!"

Tian Xu, Chong Xu and rest of the Taoist priests saw his obeying Madam Shi without any hesitation. They thought that although the Shi couple had two children but one has been killed by their enemy in his childhood and another one is captured by Snow mountain sect, then this young person should definitely be their disciple.
 
Although Chong Xu was really angry but actually he was a Taoist priest and he had practiced breathing exercise for long time. When he saw Shi Potian kowtow to him sincerely, his anger went away and he relaxed.

He put out his hand and to help him up and said: "Don’t be so polite!"

When he tried to lift him up he felt as though he was trying to move a mountain and unexpectedly couldn’t move him, he was unable to restrain his anger and said: "you, when your elder is not relying on internal strength, you are try to show off!"

He immediately moved his internal energy to his arms and made an effort to lift him and make him somersault.

Both the Shi couple saw Chong Xu taking his posture to use his internal strength. They both have learned from the same school had knew he had very good internal energy. Shi Qing felt a bit angry, but thought that Chong Xu is fellow apprentice so he has to let his son take the fall.

However Min Rou called out: "Senior brother shows mercy!"

Actually the moment she called out, they saw Chong Xu soaring in the air backwards and falling on the saddle of the horse. Chong Xu executed the move "thousand catties to fall" and landed on the horse. If it was any other ordinary horse then it would have died on the spot but this famous horse of Shi couple just hissed loudly and its forelegs kneeled down to absorb the impact.

Shi Potian had enormous internal energy, when Chong Xu tried to throw him instead got thrown backwards and nearly fell.

Everyone saw it and were extremely surprised. Both the Shi couple had already seen Shi Potian in the temple of village god and knew his internal energy cultivation is quite high but they never imagined that his internal strength is so formidable that he would be able to throw back Chong Xu, who was a top martial-arts expert of ‘Shan Qing temple’, just by restraining his attack.
 
As soon as Chong Xu stood firmly on the ground, his left hand immediately moved to his waist, he drew out his sword. He was seething with anger but still managed to smile and said: "good, good, good!" He said "good" three times, only then took a breath and said: "Young fellow, Younger sister has trained you well and she too has a outstanding disciple. Let me ask you for some pointers."

As he was saying these words his sword aimed towards Shi Potian’s chest.

Shi Potian drew back one step, waved his hand and said repeatedly: "No, no, I don’t want to fight with you."

Chong Xu was just thrown by Shi Potian. He was a fellow-disciple of Shi Qing and Min Rou. If he withdraws now then he will be laughing stock in the martial-arts world. On the other hand he was from the older generation so he couldn’t just force Shi Potian to fight.

When he saw Shi Potian himself running from fight, exactly as he was hoping so he said: "We both person are on the same side and also we don’t have any disputes. We are just comparing our skills in martial-arts."

Shi Potian said: "You are a fellow-disciple of Master Shi and Madam Shi. If in the fight I kill you then it won’t be good."

He was really feeling uncomfortable at this moment. He only feared that he might kill him with his poisonous palm and so spoke thoughtlessly.

All the Taoist of ‘Shan Qing’ temple were extremely proud of their martial- arts and thought that he is mocking all of them and has indeed bad intension in his heart. About more than ten Taoist priests moved forward towards Shi Potian in anger.

Shi Qing too shouted: "what did you say? Do not talk nonsense."

Chong Xu looked at Tian Xu and fellow Taoists. He had his sword already in his hand. After listening to these humiliating words from Shi Potian, how could have he endured such insult again. He moved forward with big strides
 
and shouted to clear the way: "Good, now I want to take a look at you and see how you will actually kill me, make your move!"

Shi Potian didn’t moved and waved his hands saying: "I won’t make move against you."

Chong Xu angrily said: "humph, you see with me such disdain!"

He moved his sword to stab his shoulder. He saw Shi Potian didn’t have any weapons in his hand, so he attacked a place which was not that critical. He was a priest in the Shan Qing temple and also didn’t want to make the Shi couples his enemy so he made his first move at his shoulder but didn’t used much internal energy.

Shi Potian moved sideways but was not to be able to avoid this move and only heard a light sound; his shoulder was stabbed by the sword, immediately a lot of blood poured out.

Min Rou called out in fear: "oh!"

Chong Xu shouted: "Take out your sword quickly!"

Shi Potian thought: "Just now I have killed two of Madam Shi’s fellow apprentices, if I kill this person than firstly it will be unfair to madam Shi and secondly I too will become a unprincipled person."

When Chong Xu stabbed him with his sword, he could have retaliated and forced him to divert his attack, but he was afraid that if he moved his hands then he might poison him, so he clasped his both hand behind his back and was unwilling to use them in fight.

When the Taoist priests of Shan Qing temple saw him not moving his hand to fight they thought in their heart that this person is really arrogant and is not even giving face to them and obviously despised him greatly.

One Taoist called out: "Elder brother Chong, this boy is arrogant, teach him some lessons!"
 
Chong Xu said: "you are treating me with disrespect from the start?" he took out his swords and brandished them in air.Suddenly he made his move. Shi Potian didn’t knew much about his sword skill, he tried to move quickly and dodge the attack, but was still unable to avoid the attack. He was hit on his left arm and right chest by the sword.

Fortunately Chong Xu was just trying him to use his hands and attacked in such a way that he won’t get any serious injury but some minor flesh injury. When he saw that he still is not attacking him and just trying to evade the attack, he quickly retracted his sword immediately.

Min Rou saw her beloved son getting three sword wounds and felt deep pain in her heart. Right away she saw Chong Xu taking posture for another move. He wielded his sword to stab Shi Potian again.

For a moment everyone heard the sound clink-clink and then sound of parched beans one after another for thirteen times. In a blink of an eye Chong Xu attacked thirteen times and Min Rou blocked each of his moves. Both people were highly skilled and from the same school and one by one executed some exquisite sword moves of Shan Qing temple ‘on the clear quick sword’, ‘jumping straight like a shooting star’, ‘the splashing flame’ and ‘rapid victory for coherence’. As soon as they executed these thirteen moves, all the Taoists and Shi Qing cried in one voice: "Excellent!"

On that place all these people, besides Shi Potian, each one of them were highly skilled martial-art expert of ‘Shan Qing’ temple. They saw Chong Xu has executed all these thirteen steps swiftly and fiercely but Min Rou’s defense against these moves was also extremely solid and compact. In a moment both of these people has displayed some extraordinary sword skills and everybody looked completely relaxed.

Tian Xu knew that if these people are again involved in fight then it won’t be easy for both of them to come out without victory or defeat.

He said: "Younger sister, so you have decided to protect this young person?"
 
Min Rou didn’t answer and looked at her husband to take them out of this situation.

Shi Qing said: "This child has no regards for elders and superiors. He shows reckless courage and disrespect. This serves him well."

He points to the three sword wounds on his body and said: "It is only his fortune elder brother Chong has showed mercy and have not taken his life. This child’s martial-art skills are really shallow, how could have he defended himself against such an exponent like elder brother? Child, quickly kowtow to all the elders and ask for forgiveness."

Chong Xu said loudly: "he despises us obviously from the start only. Why would have he said that he can kill us to get rid of us?"

Shi Potian spreads out his palm and saw a faint red spot with cloudy blue line still present there. He sighed and said: "This pair of hand will always cause trouble and will then kill people."

The color of every Taoists changed as they heard these words from Shi Potian. Shi Qing listened to his wild and crazy attitude and thought he is still threatening these people and in his heart he too felt great anger. He was unable to restrain himself and shouted: "You...boy doesn’t know the immensity of heaven and earth. You threaten the elder fellow apprentices, who have just shown mercy and have not killed you, don't you know?"

Shi Potian said: "I ......I ......I do not want to kill him, so I have also shown mercy."

Shi Qing was angry, he wanted to grab this young boy there only and hit him with his fist, his appearance changed slightly. Min Rou at once knew his intension and held on his left arm immediately.

Shi Qing pulled his arm, although didn’t make effort in a big way and stood motionless.

Chong Xu had just stabbed Shi Potian thrice and saw him trying to avoid his sword moves. Obviously he was not able to understand the entire
 
essence of his sword skills but his internal energy was exceptional. According to his knowledge it was quite unlikely that he was a disciple of the Shi couple. In his heart, he already had some suspicions, but when Shi Potian lifted the palm to look at them he smelled a light stench and his suspicion increased significantly and shouted a question: "Little boy, whose apprentice you really are, from where you got such a glib-tongue?"

Shi Potian said: "I ......I ......I am the eldest disciple of the ‘Golden Phoenix sect’."

Chong Xu thought for a moment: "what ‘Golden phoenix, silver crow sect? In the martial arts world I have never heard a sect of this name; this boy is talking nonsense mostly."

He sneers and said: "I also heard that your Excellency is also best disciple of ‘Golden Phoenix sect’. Actually this matter doesn’t involve you so don’t meddle in our internal matters."

He looked at his left side and winked at two Taoist priests.

Both the Taoist priests understood him and moved forward towards Shi Qing and Min Rou, reversed their swords and executed move "worship money to excel". This move of "worship money to excel" was one of the basic move of ‘Shan Qing’ sect. It was usually executed as a ritual to pay respect in front of opposite party when they are elders of the school or perhaps famous senior expert in martial-art world.

It was a purely defensive move, the moving sword pointing towards the ground, the left hand on the sword hilt, looks as if saluting. Both the feet pretty close and firm on the ground. This move actually defended the body up to five feet actually. If the enemy is not moving then oneself is motionless, but if the enemy assaults, then can counter-attack easily.

The Shi couples were confused. They didn’t know what to do. They knew that if they don’t make any move than these Taoist will not attack because of their past relationship but the moment they try to save their son and pick the sword up, immediately they have to accept challenge.
 
Min Rou has compared her skills earlier with these Taoists years ago in ‘Shan Qing temple’ and thought: "in the past when in Shan Qing temple, we were learning martial-arts, at that time their skills were far inferior to me, but this "worship money to excel" executed by them looks quite strong and steady. It seems they have improved a lot in these years and she was afraid it would take at least thirty-forty moves to defeat them."

As she was thinking this, she saw Chong Xu vibrating his sword continuously. He has already rounded Shi Potian and said: "If you don’t hit back again, I will execute all the evil people of Golden Phoenix sect".

He called ‘Golden phoenix’ clearly and obviously wanted the Shi couple to hear, so they don’t get angry later in case this person s really their disciple.

Shi Qing thought its time to take the bull by its horns. He knew that if his son does not hit back again then Chong Xu will really hurt his badly this time, but if hits back to fight then if he can hold him for some time and lose then maybe he can survive, so he called out immediately: "child, elder brother is a top expert in the martial-arts world, to take pointers in martial- art from him will be a greatly benefit you. Elder uncle is not going to hurt you severely so don’t fear and take out your weapon and resist quickly!"

Shi Potian only saw Chong Xu moving his sword really quickly, the dazzling sword reflection in the moonlight engulfed him, and he felt a dense cold air emanating from the sword and was really terrified. Chong Xu had already stabbed him thrice so she quickly moved aside. He already knew that this Taoist is very fierce. When he heard Shi Qing asking him to hit back, in his heart he felt happy and thought: "If I use a weapon instead of a palms to fight with him than its likely that the poison on my palms will not kill him."

He glanced at his side and saw there was a wiry long sword lying on the ground; it was precisely the one which disciple of Lu Shiba left there after losing to Madam Shi.

He called out hurriedly: "good, good! I will fight back, you ......You must not stab me from behind when I am picking this sword. If you seize this
 
opportunity to attack me from behind that it won’t count, also you will a shameless person."

Chong Xu saw him saying these words in one breath, looking helpless and also funny at the same time, he exclaimed: "Pooh!" and drew back two steps and with bu sound inserted the sword in ground.

He said: "You, you think I Chong Xu will sneak attack on a boy like you?"

He inserted both hands in the waist and waited for him to take the sword, and thought: "The sword moves of this boy doesn’t look similar to our sect, so its unlikely that he is a disciple of Shi couple. I don’t understand why this Shi fellow has called me his elder uncle then?"

Shi Potian bent down to pick up the wiry long sword, suddenly a thought came to his mind: "I should fight really carefully, if I am not careful enough then this could turn out be a very difficult situation. If unconsciously my left hand moved and hits this person than surely he will die, so to avoid this I should tie my left hand with my waist. If it is tied then obviously I can’t strike him with my palm and won’t kill him." So he stood immediately and said to Chong Xu: "sorry, I should ask you to wait for some more time."

He untied his waistband immediately, hung his left hand and started to tie it with his waist; various people were looking surprisingly at him. No one knew what exactly is he trying to do. Shi Potian tightened the waistband and knotted it firmly and then again bent down to take the wiry sword and said: "Now it’s fine, let’s compare our skill, now you won’t get killed."

Chon Xu went mad and nearly fainted as he heard this. He saw this young person tying his left hand to his waist and asking him to duel with single hand. He really hated him for this act. Several Taoist priests scolded him at once.

Shi Qing and Min Rou also reprimanded him, said: "this child is really impolite, untie this waistband quickly!"

Shi Potian hesitated for a moment; in the meantime Chong Xu moved his sword to stab at him. He didn’t have time to honor the instruction of Min
 
Rou. He simply moved his wiry long sword to keep off the attack.

Chong Xu knew that the internal strength of this person is very strong so he avoided the contact of his sword and immediately changed his move. His sword created ‘shua-shua’ sound six-seven times as he brandished his sword for stabbing him.

Shi Potian was in complete confusion, didn’t have any clue how to resist, also he was totally unaware of the opponent’s sword skill.

In his heart he called out: "This is it then!"

He started to move his wiry long sword in randomly chopping manner with absolute lack of coherence. He has learnt the seventy-three sword moves of Golden phoenix sect but at this moment his mind went blank as if all skills he learnt vanished in the thin air.

Fortunately Chong Xu knew that this person’s internal energy is extremely strong that’s why he didn’t act rashly. He was able to see lot of flaws in his sword chops but he was adamant on avoiding his wiry sword hitting his sword for fear that he might not be able to hold it after contact because all his moves were accompanied by a fierce internal energy.

Shi Potian kept on randomly swiping and chopping his wiry sword for some time.

He saw Chong Xu withdrawing a bit, decided to calm himself down. Gradually the seventy-three moves of Golden phoenix sword skill came back to his mind. Although Chong Xu withdrew a bit but he attacked again with extreme speed. Shi Potian wanted to use the sword skill of Golden phoenix sect but he remembered that Grandma Si has created this set of sword skill to defeat ‘Snow mountain sword skill’. Its move were precisely to negate the various moves of Snow mountain sect. Its use will be completely incompatible with his opponent’s sword skill. He again felt perturbed in his heart and started to brandish his wiry sword on his whim randomly.

As he was moving his sword randomly he suddenly remembered his duel
 
with Bai Wanjian on the Azure Mist Island. He remembered how he lost the fight because he was not aware of some of the moves of his opponent. At this moment this Taoist priest's sword skills were even more ufamiliar and since he didn’t know anything about it so kept on randomly brandishing his wiry sword around himself.

This disorderly chaotic sword moves using some of the Golden phoenix sword moves and with vigorous internal energy formed a dazzling circle and Chong Xu didn’t dare to attack again.

All the Taoists and Shi couple were astonished. Chong Xu too was shocked but was getting more angry. He was a bit timid inside in his heart but still was a veteran martial-art expert and had seen sword skills of various sects and knew how to deal with them.

He saw this sword skill of Shi Potian was not only extremely simple and artless, but also disorderly. It was directly opposite the basic fundamentals of martial-art, irrespective of the opponent’s move he was simply moving his sword in a random manner, but whether correct or not at least his moves were extremely effective.

Chong Xu was getting anxious as the fight dragged on so he again launched about ten moves in succession. This time Shi Potian brandishes his sword in a circular motion and suddenly there was a big impact, both the sword collided. Chong Xu was expecting it and already using his full internal energy and grasped his sword really tightly, but Shi Potian has enormous internal energy. People called out in fear as they saw the sword of Chong Xu bent from the center in to right angle and blood dripping on it from his mouth.

Actually in a single stroke the famous expert of Shan Qing temple lost the fight. Even though he could sill fight but what face now he can show in martial-art world and in the Shan Qing temple.

Chong Xu went mad and threw his bent sword at Shi Potian, stretched his both hands to move towards him to grasp him immediately. Shi Potian moved his sword to smash the bent sword in the air but didn’t know what to
 
do after that and hesitated as he saw Chong Xu was coming at great speed towards him, his palms pointing towards his critical acu-points.

This move of Chong Xu was extremely risky both ways. This move to attack the acu-point on the chest was very rare Shan Qing temple move. His both hands bumped in to his acu-points, but wasn’t able to seize them as Shi Potian’s internal energy was too strong for him and he felt a incredible force hitting him back and his body recoiled back, the more strength he applied, the more the reactive recoil hit him back. He couldn’t hold his more and actually sat on his bottom there only. He couldn’t believe he lost to this clown in such a big way.

Tian Xu quickly moved towards him to support him. He extended his palm to his left to give him support and gave a push by his internal energy. Chong Xu immediately leapt up to stand on his feet firmly but his face lost it’s color entirely.

Tian Xu drew out his sword, and said: "We really have a young hero among us, I really admire, well done! This poor priest will like to take advice from you young man; I only fears that I already have one foot in the grave, won’t be match to you."

As he was saying this he moved his sword towards Shi Potian to stab in but very slowly. Shi Potian lifted his wiry sword and blocked his move; however the moment the both swords met, suddenly the opponent’s sword strength vanished without a trace. He cannot help to restrain and called out: "strange!"

Chong Xu already knew that his internal energy is really strong that’s why he was testing his internal strength and quickly withdrew his sword back, but even in this minor contact he felt as though his right arm went numb and he felt a severe ache in his chest. He was shocked and was afraid that he suffered a serious internal injury so he waited and didn’t make his next move.

Shi Potian too lifted his wiry sword but didn’t dare to attack with his full internal energy and attacked with a slanted sword immediately.
 
Although Tian Xu was already over 60-year old, still he has not lost any agility in these past years. He moved steadily and made his move.

Shi Potian didn’t made any move towards him as though he didn’t want to hurt him and turned a blind eye on him no matter what sword move opposite party executed he simply kept on using executing his own set of moves.

In fact he was now using the various Golden Phoenix sect moves like ‘Snow blossom meets the summer’, ‘thousand honored pressure camels’ and `scorching red date’. It was really difficult for Tian Xu. He was afraid of sword collision; on the other hand Shi Potian was practicing his sword moves.

This way the two people executed about twenty more moves. The sword wind was getting violent and the circle started to get bigger and bigger as people tried to avoid it.

The two Taoist priests who were initially standing between the Shi couple and Shi Potian were now helping each other out.

Both the Shi couple were now free to help Shi Potian but Tian Xu and Shi Potian both were in the middle of a fierce fight and they couldn’t help but to watch it from the distance.

At first Shi Potian was afraid in his heart, but as he started to use different Golden phoenix sword moves, slowly he started to get more confidence and his moves became more graceful and with his exquisite internal energy, his sword play was really immaculate. Tian Xu was too was feeling a bit confident initially but as Shi Potian got more confidence he was not able to find any chink in his move. His internal energy looked inexhaustible and he saw no signs of his internal energy fading. He only thought that both his legs were gradually weakening, feeling increasing pain in his arms and he found really difficult to make his next move after some time.

By now the Shi couple too saw that the situation has changed dramatically. Tian Xu was in very weak state; they wanted to call their son and ask to
 
stop but didn’t want Tian Xu to lose his face. They were in a very difficult situation right now and saw no way out as both people were dear to them.

Shi Potian kept on executing his move, his sword came closer and closer to him, suddenly Tian Xu felt his right knee went soft and he had to kneel down to keep his balance and his complexion changed.

As soon as Shi Potian saw this opportunity his intention was to attack him but suddenly he recalled the word of A’Xiu; she said to him on Azure Mist island: "where it is possible to let people off, one should spare them; anyone can make mistakes, forgive them when possible."

As soon as he remembered this he recalled her tender bashful face and how she told him these words and at the same time executed a horizontal swipe at Tian Xu.

Tian Xu saw his sword coming at him with tremendous force, quickly retreated two steps back. His one knee was totally useless now so he somehow limped back these two steps and as the body moved he felt enormous pain and felt as though he has used his entire energy to take these two steps.

Still Tian Xu took his sword moved it towards the left, and then moved it in a circular motion towards his own face, but only stirs up a lot of underground dust to fly upwards.

Tian Xu huffed and puffed but suddenly he was shocked when he saw the wiry log sword of Shi Potian vibrating near his feet on the ground.

He retreated back two steps slowly and stood with help of his sword then he heard Shi Potian saying: "your Excellency, this sword skill is really exquisite, I really admire it, today it is very difficult to find victory or defeat, in this situation why don’t we give up this fight and everybody become friends?"

He reiterated the entire sentence A’Xiu told him. Tian Xu couldn’t believe his own ears; he stood there and didn’t speak.
 
Shi Qing showed a faint smile and felt relieved. Min Rou was extremely glad and was beaming with joy. Both husband and wife saw their son excelling in martial-arts were happy but the way he actually settled the matter even after winning made them really proud.

Min Rou thought: "This silly child really talks nonsense and irresponsibly. What is this ‘your Excellency ' and ‘become friends'. How can he call our senior fellow-disciple as his friend?"

However she thought even if language is bad still she has no regrets, and was in fact extremely happy. Who can measure the extent of happiness of a loving mother?

Tian Xu changed his tone, shook his head and said: "In Yangtze River, one wave has pushed the other wave to oblivion. I have grown old and useless."

Min Rou said with a smile: "Little child, you have offended our Senior fellow-disciple. Go forward to apologize quickly."

Shi Potian should say: "yes!" he untied his left arm from the waistband, respectfully went forward and kowtowed.

Min Rou saw it and was really satisfied. She said happily: "Senior brother, this is your little nephew, your younger sister’s mischievous child. He has not been disciplined enough in his childhood no wonder he is offending everyone."

Tian Xu was surprised, he said: "He is your worthy son, no wonder, no wonder!

Younger brother you earlier said that your worthy son is captured by Snow mountain sect, so you lied previously."

Shi Qing said: "How can younger brother dare to deceive the fellow apprentices?

This young child was originally captured by Snow Mountain sect; right now even we don’t know how he managed to escape."
 
Tian Xu nodded and said: "Oh …so this is the story. Actually it’s not that difficult to understand how he managed to escape from them. You have a very worthy son, younger brother and younger sister has passed on some incredible sword skill to him, and obviously with his amazing internal energy no wonder Snow mountain sect people couldn’t kept him in their custody. His internal energy cultivation is so strong, solid and unfathomable, and this last move of his, its pretty unfamiliar."

Shi Potian said: "A’Xiu taught me this move. She said that when others hit you, you must still show mercy. "where it is possible to let people off, one should spare them; anyone can make mistakes, forgive them when possible."

He has not lived a lot with people so he was not street smart and didn’t know what to say in front of others. Tian Xu complexion immediately changed to red, he was ashamed to hear these words in public.

Shi Qing shouted: "keep quiet, what nonsense are you talking?"

Shi Potian said: "I didn’t say anything wrong. I initially thought that if I tie my poisonous palm with my waist and use this sword to fight I won’t ..." He was going to say "kill" but thought that if complete his sentence then again there will be a big dispute with these priests so he stopped talking immediately.

Tian Xu was already feeling cold in his heart, suddenly he shouted: "what poisonous palm? Have you killed these two Taoist priests? Have you stolen those two bronze medals?"

Every Taoist priest in the group unsheathed his sword as they heard these words of Tian Xu.

Shi Potian sighed and said: "I do not want to kill them originally, as soon as I raised my palm; unexpectedly they fell on the ground motionless."

Tian Xu got extremely angry and turned towards Shi Qing and said in a loud voice: "Shi fellow, how will you explain this matter, do you want to say something!"
 
Shi Qing was extremely shocked and he couldn’t think of anything, he turned his head towards his wife and saw her tearful eyes, she looked terrified, hardened his heart immediately and said: "We are loyal to out sect. This little animal causes trouble everywhere. We husband and wife will not try to protect him now and it depends on the master of the Shan Qing temple to decide his punishment."

Tian Xu said: "It is good then!" he took out his sword and wanted to move forward to attack from both sides.

Min Rou said: "holds on a minute!"

Tian Xu looked at her indifferently and said: "what words did the younger sister have to say?"

Min Rou trembled and said in a soft voice: "According to brother Chong, these two senior fellow-disciples have not yet died. Perhaps
......Perhaps.   still they can be saved."

Tian Xu sneered at her and said: "These two people are hit by such a violently poison, does it looks if they can recover? Younger sister by saying these words, you are only wasting some more time."

Min Rou was well aware of hopelessness, still said to Shi Potian: "Little child, what kind of poison do you have in your palm? Don’t you have its antidote?"

As she was saying these words she moved closer to Shi Potian, arrived at his side and said: "I will take a look in your pocket, maybe there is an antidote for it." She pretended to search his pocket, but actually said in a low voice near his ear: "runs away quickly, runs away quickly! Today father and mother can’t save you!"

Shi Potian was surprised and called out in a loud voice: "father, mother? Who are my father, mother?"

Just now Tian Xu has said him "your worthy son" regarding him but Shi Potian didn’t understood that "Your worthy son" and "your son" are same
 
(some play of word). Shi couple too were saying him "Child" this and "child" that but it is such a generic term that Shi Potian didn’t think that they misunderstood him for their son.

Shi Qing felt extremely angry when he heard these words of Shi Potian; he somehow managed to keep his sword at his back and said: "Younger sister, we can’t go against our own sect for this animal. He cannot run away!" His words sounded extremely bitter and hurtful.

Min Rou was adamant to save her child, she said: "child, these two people are our elder fellow disciples and are hit by your violent poison, you seriously Don’t have the medicine to rescues them?"

Ling Xu saw Min Rou standing on his side, saw a big change in her facial expression, thought that Younger sister will try to defend her son no matter what the cost is. He feared that she might even commit suicide, so he extended his fingers to make contact with her, seized her sword in his hand. By now Min Rou had entirely lost her mind was concentrating on Shi Potian, she didn’t pay ant attention. Ling Xu took her sword from her hand gently without any resistance.

Shi Potian sees him bullying Min Rou, called out: "you are tricking?" He moved his right hand towards him to take back her sword.
As soon as Lian Xu saw him moving towards him he wields his sword and swiped at his palm. Shi Potian lowered his palm, and moved his hand towards his wrist. He used the move "the nine interlocking rings", one of the moves of Ding family’s eighteen palm seizing technique taught by Ding dang. It was an extremely exquisite move having several variation in each stance, however Ling Xu too was a veteran martial-art expert of Shan Qing temple, how could have he let him seize his wrist, he used his sword to force him back .

He shouted: "Good move!"

Ling Xu made a circular motion with his sword and took the stance to attack him. Suddenly he fell to the ground. Actually during the last move
 
Shi Potian brushed his sword with his hand and with it the poison too got to his sword. When he moved his sword and took a breath then, in a moment he fell down immediately.

Everyone in the group were shocked greatly, cannot help but drew back several steps. There was huge change in everyone’s complexion as though they have seen some ghost or demon.

Shi Potian knew that this disaster has increased more. He saw Ling Xu lying on the ground, all the Taoist have gone back a few steps but still had their swords out and have surrounded him so he can’t run away, but he saw Ling Xu too couldn’t move, grasping his lower abdomen, was obviously had tremendous pain in his stomach.

The internal energy cultivation of Shan Qing temple was very deep and strong that’s why he had survived until now. Suddenly Shi Potian remembered the situation in the main hall of ‘Iron fork sect’, how so many people died in his hand, how this person was in same situation as Zhang San and Li Si. He remembered that both Li Si and Zhang San's situation was even more worse than Ling Xu still he managed to save them using the technique taught by Zhang San. He thought he should try to help this person too.

Ling Xu saw him coming towards him and moved his sword toward his body to stab him. Shi Potian saved himself quickly and quickly moved his hand to hold his Lingtai acu-point, with his right hand held the pit of his stomach and used the method taught by Zhang San. Ling Xu really felt helpless, he tried to move his hands but couldn’t, he started perspiring heavily and scolded him: "Damn you…you thief...little boy...*****!"

As soon as the people listened him immediately shouting in thunderous voice, although he was shouting abuse unlike a Taoist still they understood that he is recovering.

Min Rou bursts into tears extremely, said: "Child, Elder brother Zhao Xu and Tong Xu are also our senior fellow- disciples and are poisoned, quickly treat and cure them."
 
Both the Taoist were at the point of death earlier. Zhao Xu and Tong Xu both were poisoned for a long time now, Shi Potian immediately used the same technique to cure them. However in a time to burn a joss stick he managed to take the poison out their body.

The moment Zhao Xu got his consciousness he shouted abusing him: "your paternal grandmother is a male!" Tong Xu too contributed: "A ***** has raised this bastard, he dared to poison us."

The Shi couple were endlessly happy, as they saw three fellow apprentices cursing him in such vulgar language, although it implicates them too, still found it very funny and thought: "These three senior fellow-disciples have studied Taoism for so many years, usually appear as very correct person with unyielding integrity, but today in desperate situation are actually speaking such language."

Min Rou said: "child, you have taken those bronze medals from Elder brother Zhao Xu, he is our elder and your mother doesn’t want to take it from them so return it!"

Shi Potian listened with great amazement and said: "mother? mother?"

He took out the bronze medals from his bosom and returned it to Zhao Xu. He thought aloud and said: "you you are my mother?"

Tian Xu sighed and said to Shi Qing and Min Rou: "Younger brother, Younger sister, I will say goodbye now."

He knew that hereafter they won’t have the opportunity to meet again so he didn’t say "we will meet again". The rest of Taoist too said their goodbye and left

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