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Ode to Gallantry Chapter 16

CSI
Chapter 16 - Ling Xiao City
That night, Shi Potian went to bed early but all the night he kept on tossing on his bed and all his dreams were kind of blurry.

In his sleep, he heard a voice from the window; suddenly he woke up and remembered that Dingdang used to come this way earlier. He hurriedly moved towards the window and said: "Yes, Dingdang…." Suddenly he stopped; sighed and thought: "Am I going crazy? Dingdang has already left with elder brother Shi, how can I see her again?"

He again saw the window to shove open slowly, a slender person appeared and leapt forward gently, and she smiled.

Shi Potian was shocked, he asked: "Are you Dingdang?"

She arrived inside and said with a smile in a low voice: "Have you forgotten me?"

Shi Potian was pleasantly surprised; he said: "You     how are you here?"

She said: "I was worrying about you, look at you…. What's wrong; this is unacceptable?"

Shi Potian shook his head and said: "You had found your elder brother Shi, now you have come back, I don’t understand it?"

Dingdang said with a smile: "Oh, I was angry earlier? Elder brother Shi, I even hit you, are you angry with me?" As she said these words she extended her hand and gently caressed his cheek.

Shi Potian smelled a sweet fragrance, he felt as if someone was applying some ointment on his checks and gently stroking it. He cannot help but got confused, he spoke haltingly saying: "I am not angry, Dingdang, you do not need to visit me again. You have admitted your mistake that is enough; everybody do things in their own manner, so long as you don’t think I am a swindler; that is good."
 
Dingdang said: "Young swindler, young swindler! Oh, if you are really a swindler, perhaps I would have instead liked it.

Elder brother Shi, you are an unusual honorable gentleman, you bow to Heaven and Earth to get married with me, throughout ......Has not regarded me as your wife."

Shi Potian shivered and cannot help but felt ashamed, said: "I ......I am not an honorable gentleman! I did think that way....I don’t dare! Luckily
......Luckily we did not did anything, otherwise ......otherwise….."

Dingdang stepped back one step, sat above the sides of the bed and put both her hands on her face and started sobbing and weeping suddenly.

Shi Potian was really flustered, he asked her: "What's wrong What's
wrong?"

Dingdang said: "I ......I know that you are an honorable gentleman but others Others actually do not think so. Even if I jumped in Yellow River
still I won’t come clean now. Shi Zhong Yu said.....He said that I have done obeisance to Heaven & Earth, have stayed in the room, he is not been willing to live with me."

Shi Potian stamped his foot saying: "This .....This is not good? Dingdang, you do not need to worry, I will tell the truth to him. If I tell him that we didn’t have any relation and I only respected you than…… may be."

Dingdang smiled through the tears, said: "Respected me as any other Husband and wife will respect each other…no this won’t do."

Shi Potian said: "Sorry, I spoke incorrectly. I listened to other people saying these words and actually did not understand their true meanings."

Dingdang cried and stamped her foot gently, she said: "He has a mortal hatred for you, if you said to him than also he will not believe you."

Shi Potian thought in his heart: "He does not want you, I may probably want you." But he knew that these words were not right so he started
 
babbling and only managed to say: "This won’t work then what? Oh, I am not good; I am not good at anything..."

Dingdang said: "He is without family or friends but all of them like you, you also do not have graciousness like him but instead you have bowed to Heaven and Earth with his beloved and enjoyed the wedding festivities, why won’t he hate you? He If he was not Shi Zhong Yu but Fan Yifei or
Lu Zheng Ping then you would have saved his life, however in this matter you didn’t raised a single voice.."

Shi Potian nodded and said: "Yes, yes, Dingdang, I feel quite sorry. We must think of a way. Why don’t you try to get help from your grandpa? If you ask your grandpa and explain this matter then he might help?"

Dingdang stamped her foot and cried. She said: "Useless, useless. He      by
the time he will reach there, Shi Zhong Yu will be already dead. We don’t have much time. If I had enough time than don’t you think I would have gone to him?"

Shi Potian was in great surprise, he asked: "Why don’t have Shi Zhong Yu that much time, how can he be dead so soon?"

Dingdang said: "Snow mountain sect sent that Bai Wanjian to apprehend him earlier and by mistake captured you, luckily grandpa and I saved your life. If he detained you and managed to bring you to Ling Xiao city then at this moment you would have already been dead. Don’t you remember?"

Shi Potian said: "I certainly remember. Oh, this is not good! Master Shi Qing had advocated peace with Master Bai and is himself delivering him to Ling Xiao city "

Dingdang said: "Snow mountain sect hates him. As soon as he enters the Ling Xiao city, he won’t come out alive?"

Shi Potian said: "yes, the snow mountain sect has been sending people from time to time to seize me; this matter is really not a small matter. Perhaps however the Shi couple might be able to able to talk to them and resolve this issue."
 
Dingdang clenched her teeth and said: "Do you think this matter is so easy to resolve? They will only scold him and leave him to go? Why do think that they are detaining him hundreds miles far away and bringing him back to the Ling Xiao city? The Snow mountain sect has been trying to apprehend him for years now. Do you know how many people have died for this?"

Shi Potian felt drops of cold sweat running through his back, the snow mountain sect has sent so many people to capture him and a lot of people were really dead and wounded. He knew that Shi Zhong Yu has offended them in a big way that’s why entire Snow mountain sect is looking for him and is ready to live and die.

Dingdang said: "Elder brother Shi really has a lot of faults but it would be a real pity if Shi Qing couple too will die with him. These two people are great chivalrous and kindhearted, it shouldn’t happen to them."

Shi Potian jumped up immediately and said: "You ......What did you say? Are master Shi and lady Min Rou is in danger too?"

Shi Qing and Min Rou were the people who took care of him for so many days and really loved him. Although they have admitted their mistake but in his heart, actually he still treated them as his parent so when he heard that these two people are in danger than he couldn’t restrain himself.

Dingdang said: "The Shi couple are parent of Elder brother Shi but they are going along with elder brother to Ling Xiao city and are bringing death on themselves. They are hoping to ask favor from Elder Bai. However old gentleman Bai will certainly not consent and will kill elder brother Shi. The Shi couple cherish their son will all their heart, whatever be the mistakes of their son but how can a mother or father see him die in front of their eyes so obviously at the critical moment, things will be resolved by violence. Ling Xiao city is the base of Snow mountain sect; even if the martial art skills of the Shi couple are high still these three people won’t be any match to them. Oh… I remember Madam Shi looking and talking to you. She really likes you and care for you; perhaps even as your real mother would have. She
......She ......will die unexpectedly in the Ling Xiao city, this is really sad." As she said these words she covered her face and wept.
 
Shi Potian felt as if his entire body is on fire, he said: "The Shi couple are in real risk once they enter the Ling Xiao city, I must hurry to the rescue them. Even if I save them then still it won’t be good, I will rather accompany them my entire life, Dingdang I am going!" As he said these words he moved towards the door in big strides.

Dingdang pulled his sleeve and asked: "Where are you going?"

Shi Potian said: "I am leaving tonight only and will try to catch up with the Snow mountain sect and the Shi couple by the time they reach Ling Xiao city."

Dingdang said: "Old hero Bai have very powerful martial art skills, coupled with his son, Bai Wanjian, "Wind & Fire Dragon" Feng Wanli and so on… there are several martial art exponents in Ling Xiao city. Your martial arts is good but how will you avoid those poison meshed arrows of Snow mountain sect, they will overpower you just by their numbers. If you enter into their trap, then despite all of your skills you will starve to death."

Shi Potian said: "They also shouldn’t go there too."

Dingdang said: "You are in rage and in your anxiety you will rush to Ling Xiao city and lose your life but will that save the lives of Shi couple? If you die, you won’t know how sad I will be... I can not live by. "

Shi Potian suddenly heard saying these words and couldn’t restrain his heart from jumping madly, he said: "Are you ... ... Why are you so good to me? I am not your elder ... your real elder brother Shi."

Dingdang said: "You two look exactly the same, in my heart, I found no difference, not to mention that we have met several times and you always treated me so well. "These sentiments will live" that’s the words everyone uses, isn’t?"

She grasped his hands and said: "Brother Shi, you promise me, you won’t die whatever happens"

Shi Potian said: "But I have to save Manor master Shi and his wife."
 
Dingdang said: "I am saying these words but don’t be suspicious towards me. Please don’t think that I harbor malicious intentions."

Shi Potian said: "Why will I think that you have ill will?"

Dingdang said with hesitation: "Elder brother Shi, If anyone hears that I am asking you to save the Shi couple then they will think that I am ensnaring in to a trap. No, this matter can not do so."

Shi Potian said: "So what is the other way in the end? If we don’t do anything to help manor master Shi Qing and Lady Min Rou, it will be really bad."

Dingdang said: "Elder brother Shi, if you really want to hear this plan than listen however please say frankly if you don’t want to follow this one and I won’t ask about it again. Firstly do you know that why Snow mountain sect hate Shi Zhong-Yu so much and want to kill him? "

Shi Potian said: "It seems he was disciple of the Snow mountain sect and he committed a big folly. I don’t know for sure but from what I heard, he has violated the young lady of Master Bai Wanjian and she committed suicide. Old master Bai was really angry and as a punishment his own teacher "Wind and fire dragon" Feng Wanli cut his own arm. I don’t know what else he has done."

Dingdang said: "Yes, precisely because many people lost their life and reputation they will also kill him in revenge. Elder brother Shi, you have not violated the young lady of master Bai, isn’t it?"

Shi Potian said:" Me? I certainly did not. I have not even seen her."

Dingdang said:" this is it. I knew that this will work but it’s very difficult too. You have to go to the Ling Xiao city and in place of Shi Zhong Yu with Manor master Shi Qing and his wife. So when they are going to kill you, you tell them the truth, Tell that you are not Shi Zhong Yu but Gouzazhong (Bastard).
 
They want to kill Shi Zhong Yu but not you. They might threaten you, will say that you are trying to deceive people but will eventually release you. They won’t kill you and so Master Shi Qing and his wife too won’t forfeit their lives. "

Shi Potian thought and said after some time: "This is actually a very good way to resolve this situation but Ling Xiao city is far in the Western mountains, hundreds of miles way and Master Bai and Shi couple are riding together, I'm afraid ... ... I'm afraid if I said anything than they will recognize me and I will be exposed. Dingdang you know, you know….. I am stupid and not good with words where as... this Shi Zhong Yu, he is really bright." He said these words but couldn’t help but to feel dejected.

Dingdang said: "I have thought of this. You only need to put some throat medicine so that your throat swells up, pretend that gave you have a large sore and you are no longer able to speak. After the swelling goes down don’t speak at all and pretend that you have become a mute." As she said these words, she sighed and slowly: "Brother Shi, this way is really wonderful but it isn’t easy. You are really wonderful, you know, I will rather die but won’t let you face any grievance. "

Shi Potian listened to her talking so on affectionately about love and life and at this time, he thought he is even willing to die let alone just a mute, he moved forward courageously, and said immediately: "Is very good, this idea is really wonderful!

How will I then trade place with Shi Zhong Yu?"

Dingdang said: "They are staying right now in a small town nearby. If we hurry then we can reach there before dawn. I know that Shi Zhong Yu is staying in which room, we will go quietly and he will change the clothing with you. Tomorrow morning you groan loudly and say that you have a malignant ulcer in your throat. After this until they really want to kill in Ling Xiao city, just don’t open your mouth and speak to anyone."

Shi Potian said: "Dingdang, this is a good method."
 
Dingdang said: "You may not speak with anyone all the way, may not be too intimate with the Shi couple too. Master Bai is a very astute and fierce person, so long as you won’t give anything, he will suspect you especially after that incident in temple of village god when I and grandpa rescued you. Oh….Shi couple are such chivalrous people, if they get killed in the Ling Xiao city " She shook her head and sighed.

Shi Potian nodded and said: "Don’t worry, I will pay full attention and won’t let anyone kill them. Fine, let’s go then"

Suddenly the door was pushed open and a female sound called out: "Young master, you are getting deceived by this person!"

In the dim light, he saw a young girl standing in the entrance; he was actually his maid servant Shijian.

Shi Potian said: "Elder sister Shijian.   who is deceiving me?"

Shijian said: "I heard what she said from the adjoining room. This Ding Guniang is restless and doesn’t have good intention, she ......She wants to rescue her elder brother Shi Zhong Yu and using you as a scapegoat."

Shi Potian said: "No! Ding Guniang is helping me to think of a way to save manor master Shi Qing and Madam Min Rou."

Shijian anxiously said: "Young master, think again, she doesn’t have any good intention for you."

Dingdang sneered and said: "Good, you really helped the Bangzhu of your sect by asking him to accept the invitation from Island of heroes and now you are trying to sow discord between two people."

She turned her head towards Shi Potian and said: "Elder brother, do not reason with this lowly person, you go and ask Chen Xiangzhu to get hold of some sedative incense. After that, do not come back here again, I will wait for you outside at the front gate."

Shi Potian asked: "Why do I need sedative incense?"
 
Dingdang said: "Meet me at front gate and then I will tell you, fine now go quickly."

Shi Potian said: "Yes!" he moved quickly out.

Dingdang sneered at Shijian and said: "You little girl, your conscience is really boring!"

Shijian felt that something was wrong and turned to run away but how could Dingdang let her go. She caught her by her hair and hit her with her double palm technique in her chest and killed her immediately.

Dingdang immediately moved towards window to escape then suddenly remembered to clean this up so she turned round and pulled Shijian to bed. She also pulled down her clothing so that her lower part of her body was bare. She then put the brocade quilt to cover. She thought that when the people from clan of eternal happiness will see this than obviously they will think that she tried to resist Shi Potian and was killed by him in anger. In that case Bei Haishi and others will only try to cover up this incident and will not investigate this matter to evade shame.

She left the room and quietly reached to the front gate outside, after some time Shi Potian too came and said in a low voice: "I got it."

Dingdang said: "Good…let’s move now!"

Both people arrived at the riverside and boarded the boat.

Dingdang held the oar to traverse several miles and then abandoned the boat. They came ashore and saw that two horses are already tied under the willow tree and already saddled.

Shi Potian said: "You think really thoroughly, you have prepared everything in advance including the saddles."

The complexion of her face changed and she got angry and said: "What is thorough? This is my grandfather's horse; I did not know that you will be so anxious to save the lives of the Shi couple."
 
Shi Potian did not understand why she is angry suddenly, does not dare to say anything and rode the horse. Two people quickly covered the distance and reached that small town where they were staying. They left their horse outside the town and sneaked into the town.

Dingdang led him to the inn they were staying and said him in a low voice: "The Shi husband and wife are resting in the east wing of second floor."

Shi Potian asked: "They all are in the same room. Are they afraid that the Shi Zhong Yu will try to escape?"

Dingdang said: "Humph, the parents are fearing that their son will run away from his death. They have themselves jailed him and the Snow mountain people are trying to get the confession from him day and night. They are thinking about chivalry and hero's face by actually not paying attention to fact that their own son is life is in danger. Such parents are really unusual in this world." As she spoke these words her face filled with disdain towards them.

Shi Potian listens to her but didn’t understood what she was trying to say, he asked in a low voice: "What do we do now?"

Dingdang said: "You have to ignite that sedative incense you brought with you in their window and wait till the husband and wife are in stupor. Then push that window and enter in to the room. In pushes the window to enter where Shi Zhong Yu is staying.

You have to do it extremely quietly. Your lightness martial art is good and I don’t think master Bai will be able to detect you. My lightness martial arts are inadequate and in fact inferior to you."

Shi Potian nodded and said: "That is not actually that difficult. Chen Xiangzhu told me that they have captured the Snow mountain disciple using this sedative incense only?"

Dingdang nodded and said with a smile: "This is the lowly weapon of you honorable sect but it is very effectively, otherwise the snow mountain sect disciples are not common people, how can they be so easily captured?"
 
She also said: "You must be careful and cannot make any sound. You can’t compare the Snow mountain sect people with the Shi couple."

Shi Potian complied, he ignited the sedative incense. Although they were in a spacious open place, only after smells a haze, he felt dizziness. He was slightly startled, he asked: "Will this suffocate the people"

Dingdang said: "They used this sedative incense to apprehend the snow mountain disciples earlier; I don’t think anyone got suffocated at that time or not."

Shi Potian said: "That does a not sound good but we have to do it anyway. Good, you wait for me here." He arrives around the wall, took the light leap over the wall and entered without making any sound, he found the east wing and went to the second room’s window and cocks his ear to hear if he had attracted any of them .He heard no voice and assumed that they all are sleeping soundly so he stuck out his tongue to lick the paper on window and put the ignited end of sedative incense in side that hole.

He waited for some time for the toxic smoke to take affect and moved only after the entire stick got burned. He listened attentively to for any sounds of people. He put a little internal energy to push open the window, the window buckled then broke open immediately, he moved inside the room. There was little light filtering in to the room from the courtyard, he saw the Shi Qing and Min Rou resting on one side and Shi ZhongYu on the other side, all three people are lying motionless.

He took two steps and gain felt dizziness, he understood that he might have inhaled some of the toxic gas. He knew that he can’t make any noise so he quickly grabbed Shi Zhong Yu and leapt lightly from the window outside and turned towards the wall where Dingdang was hiding.

Dingdang said in a low voice: "Good, Elder brother, you are really competent." She also said: "We should move away from here so that we do not alarm Master Bai."

Shi Potian moved away from the wall in the opposite direction and found a hiding place.
 
Dingdang said: "Elder brother, now quickly take off your clothes and, exchanged with him. Shi Potian took out a small pouch from his waist. It had the bronze medals he received from the envoys of Command of reward punishment and asked: "This should I give him this too?"

Dingdang said: "yes, give him! If someone see this with you this then they will immediately recognize you. I will go and act as lookout…in the meantime change the cloths."

Shi Potian saw her walk away them stripped away his cloths and then exchanged the cloths with Shi Zhong Yu. Once he was done, he went to Dingdang and said: "Ok, done!"

Dingdang turned towards her and said: "Elder brother, the Shi couple care about you a lot and now its responsibility to care about their life. Please be careful."

Shi Potian said: "Yes, I will be careful."

Dingdang loosened a water bag from her waist and poured some water on the face of Shi Zhong Yu to wake him up. After that she took out a small iron box from her bosom, uncovered the lid and put out her hand to take out some kind of greasy herb and said to Shi Potian: "Show me your throat!"

She spread that herb on his throat and said: "Elder brother, it is a medicinal ointment and will make your throat swell. Tomorrow you might have some pain."

Shi Potian said: "It is not important!" He only saw Shi Zhong Yu stirring and coming back to his senses so he said to Dingdang: "I I should go."

Dingdang said: "yes, leave quickly!"

Shi Potian took moved towards the room, goes out several ten feet and turned his head to see back. He saw that Shi Zhong Yu was now awake and was talking to Dingdang in low voice. Dingdang smiled as she heard him although the sound was light but it actually was filled with some illicit meaning.
 
Shi Potian felt really bad and thought in his heart: "From now on, I cannot be with Dingdang again."

He slightly hesitated and then leapt forward in to that room immediately and pushed the window to enter the room. In that room there was still the some odor of sedated incense so he moved quickly to open the window and let some fresh air in the room.

He only heard the sound of the distant hoof beats and thought that Dingdang and Shi Zhong Yu are leaving now.

He thought in his heart: "Where will they go now? Will Dingdang be happy with him? I am so awkward in front of her and can’t even speak properly and anyway she is frequently annoyed and angry with me."

He stood at the window for a long time; there was a gradual painful in his throat so he moved to his bed and lied down immediately.

The ointment Dingdang put on his throat was really effective and by dawn Shi Potian had severe pain in his throat. He put out his hand to trace the pain and felt that a large lump on his throat and he felt a burning sensation. He thought that it might be time that someone will wake up so he is scratched his throat to clean up that ointment and then reversed the cover of the quilt so that no one can see any trace of that ointment.

After some time he groaned as taught by Dingdang, he thought that this is actually a good strategy. Once they will wake up then will pay attention towards his sore throat and even if they feel dizziness than their attention will be diverted to his pain and probably won’t investigate.

He groaned for some time, Shi Qing woke up and asked: "What's wrong?" His voice was filled with irritation and anger. Min Rou stood up from bed and said: "Yu’er, are you feeling uncomfortable?"

She did not wait for Shi Potian to reply, then throws on her outer robe and went to him. She touched him and saw that his cheeks were hot as him in fire, his neck has neck swelled up, and she cannot help to restrain her and called out immediately: "Elder brother, Elder brother, you have a look!"
 
Shi Qing heard his wife crying and his heart filled with anxiousness, he jumped immediately and moved towards his son. He saw that his neck was totally inflamed and felt really uncomfortable in his heart, he said: "This is what happens when you live such an extravagant life, now be ready to face the consequences."

Min Rou asked: "Is it painful?"

Shi Potian groaned several times but did not dare to open the mouth to speak, he thought: "I have to disguise carefully and can’t speak at all or they will recognize me. These people care a lot about Shi Zhong Yu, although he has made many misdemeanors, they still love him, ahhh….but actually there is no one who loves me." His heart filled with bitter memories and he couldn’t restrain his tears.

Shi Qing, Min Rou saw him tears and thought that it’s really painful so they too got concerned. Shi Qing said: "I will find a doctor to take a look."

Min Rou said: "I am afraid you won’t find a doctor in this small town. Why don’t we return to Zhenjiang and ask Physician Bei to take a look, what do you say?"

Shi Qing shook his head and said: "No! No we can’t do that. Bai Wanjian will get suspicious and will think that we are trying to avoid going to Liao Xing city and secondly I don’t think Bei Haishi will be inexpensive." He knew that Bei Haishi was very discontented with his son, perhaps will seize this opportunity to apply some drugs and even might injure him. He moved outside immediately.

Min Rou brought a bowl of hot soup and gave to Shi Potian to drink. This toxicant property of that ointment was really fierce. Once Dingdang applied that to his throat, his pharynx and larynx both swelled up from inside and outside. Shi Potian found it pretty difficult to even drink the soup. Min Rou was really startled.

Soon Shi Qing came back with an old Physician. That doctor had a look at his throat and then took his hand and checked his nerves, he shook his head continually and said: "His pharynx and larynx are really swelled up; it will
 
be really difficult for him to eat or drink. It will be difficult to even give him the medicines. There is some kind of toxic elements in his blood. After that the old Physician started incessantly babbling about this nerve and that artery and so and so…

Shi Qing got irritated and said: "So tell me first, is my son going to live or there is some danger to his life."

That physician replied: "This brother has good luck that I am present in this small town at this moment of time, since I have examined him, his life is now safe but still it will be several days before he will recover fully and it won’t be easy."

Shi Qing, Min Rou heard that his life was not in danger and felt relieved and asked that old person to prescribe the medicine. That doctor hesitated for a long time then opened a book of medicine and afterwards wrote a prescription of several herbs.

Shi Qing roughly understood the property of these herbs and knew that all these herbs were used in cleanse the toxicity from blood.

He said to that old physician: "Wise, really excellent!" he then paid him some money and went to a medicine shop to buy the herbs.

When Bai Wanjian heard that Shi Zhong Yu was ill and a physician came to visit him then he got suspicious. He suspected that Shi couple are planning to rescue their son so she visited their room to check if they are telling truth or not.

He saw that indeed this boy’s throat has really swelled up. Min Rou was really frightened and obviously this condition can’t be faked. Bai Wanjian actually felt self-satisfied in his heart and thought: "We are anyway taking this cunning boy to the Liao Xing city where he will put to death but you are actually suffering on this journey too…This definitely is divine intervention." But as he looked at the Shi couple and their plight then he felt ashamed to that he is taking pleasure in others' misfortunes. He looked at them again and then withdrew quickly out of the room.
 
Shi Qing said to his wife who was preparing medicines for Shi Potian: "I have harnessed a large cart outside. Yu’er can travel in it until he is healthy again but this slight illness should not delay others important matters. We should move."

Min Rou hesitated and said: "Child is very ill and you want to start off immediately, I only fear his illness will get more critical."

Shi Qing said: "The two envoys of Command of reward and punishment have said that they are going to the Liao Xing city to invite old Master Bai so his apprentices must rush promptly so they are there when 'Gentleman of Impressive Strength and Virtue' Bai Zizai will get rid of those two and can help one another. If we slow them down than it will be unfair to others."

Min Rou nods saying: "Yes!"

She helped Shi Potian to put on the clothing immediately and held him to go out of the inn.

She understood that plan of her husband that he was not willing sneak off their son secretly. He knew that the envoys of Island of heroes will deliver the invitation to Snow mountain sect. This person Bai Zizai is a very hot tempered, arrogant and egoistic. He will not receive the bronze medals easily and will fight inevitably with Zhang San and Li Si.

Shi Qing wanted to rush promptly to Ling Xiao city and help the snow mountain sect to defeat those people. If he dies in battle than it is a routine for a person for in martial arts realm but if the three people from Shi family loses their life in defense of Snow mountain sect than at least they won’t suffer the infamy of their son but if they win unexpectedly, then also the snow mountain sect will be indebted to the Xuan Su manor and won’t hurt their son who has just helped them to fight the evil.

Min Rou has already seen these tow envoys in the hall of clan of eternal happiness. She knew that the martial art skills of Zhang San and Li Si are really extraordinary and so is their reputation. However how high is the martial art skill there is always a chance that someone will always make negligence and will make a mistake. If everyone is prepared to take this
 
opportunity then who knows what might happen. Both of them traveled in the martial art realm together and she never opposed his will.

Shi Qing wanted to deliver their child to the Ling Xiao city so Min Rou could easily understand his thoughts even though she was not fully sure as this as this matter have direct implications on her son’s life but eventually she was a lady in the martial art world so she pondered over her husband's idea but didn’t opposed it.

Bai Wanjian saw that the Shi couple are not waiting for their son to recover and are ready to travel despite his serious illness and really admired them from his heart.

In that small town, that physician gave Shi Potian medicines but inflammation in his throat didn’t come down much. The Shi couple were more concerned about his health and never suspected that he was not Shi Zhong Yu but is actually Shi Potian. Bai Wanjian and his fellow disciples never even gave a look towards him so naturally they didn’t know.

The facial expression of Shi Potian and Shi Zhong Yu was anyway similar and when he wore the magnificent clothing and personal adornments of Shi Zhong Yu, it was pretty difficult to distinguish. On top of that Shi Potian didn’t utter a single word and simply lied down in the large cart. There was indeed difference in the way they do things or manners but the Shi couple have not themselves met their son for years and didn’t knew much about his habits.

Some of the people from the group went ahead for the fear that Zhang San and Li Si are already ahead and they might be late to reach the Ling Xiao city so they did not dare get delayed on the road. By the time they reached Hunan, the swelling on the throat of Shi Potian has totally disappeared and he has abandoned the carriage and started riding the horse but he still was not speaking at all. Shi Qing took him to several doctors along the road but no one has a least bit clue and every one gave a different prognosis. Min Rou was really sad and several times she broke and started weeping incessantly.
 
After many days they arrived in western region. The snow mountain disciples were familiar with the way and the alleys in the mountains. They expected that Zhang San and Li Si might be quick but they don’t have much knowledge about this area and it will take some time so they will able to catch up them inevitably. On the other hand Shi Qing and Min Rou were worried that if they reach too early before the two envoys reach there. It’s possible that old master Bai might get angry once he see Yu’er and kill him immediately.

They also thought that Zhang San and Li Si are really good and they also might arrive before they reach Ling Xiao city. It was an extremely difficult situation; they can’t arrive to that place too early and neither too late. The couple discussed in secret several times but obviously they couldn’t do anything about it. They left the entire situation to one's fate with resignation and agreed to take action as the opportunity is seen.

As the destination came close numerous people went upward, they were walking on the mountain ridge and the topography was getting higher and higher. That day in the afternoon, they saw several rows of big wooden cabins. Bai Wanjian inquired the guards about the situation in Ling Xiao city. The person guarding the carriages said that there were no new incidents that he knew of. They felt greatly relieved. In the evening all of them slept in those log cabin, next day early in the morning, they left their horses there only and climbed the mountain on foot. The mountain was really steep from that point onwards and it wasn’t possible to ride a horse. Several snow mountain disciples moved ahead and led them.

Shi Potian followed his parents but didn’t move ahead of them. Shi Qing and Min Rou saw him not tired at all and thought: "This child internal energy is good, in fact it’s comparable to us." As they thought about this they also thought about their impending meeting with old master Bai and couldn’t help but to get concerned.

By evening, they saw only a single mountain peak is shooting up to the sky and on the top there were several hundred building visible from this place.

Bai Wanjian said: "Master Shi, this is Ling Xiao city, Out-of-the-way place, actually a poor township."
 
Shi Qing said: "It is majestically located and overlooking the hills, ‘Ling Xiao' (meaning: soaring to the clouds) these two characters are really worthy of the reputation." He saw with his own eyes that a foggy cloudy rose and gradually covered the entire city. When numerous people reached at the foot of the hill, it was already dark. They were carrying lodging on their back and decided to spend their night there only. Everyone was full in spirit as they prepared the bed and spent the night.

On the next morning, several people moved at the dawn only and started the journey. This part of the mountain was the steepest of all. Although these numerous people were martial art expert but still they have to actually wait twice to rest and eat as they reached halfway up the mountainside pavilion.

The sign of the Ling Xiao city was erected on gate and they saw the city wall about thirty feet high. The top of the wall was completely covered with snow and ice.

Shi Qing said: "master Bai, the top of the city wall is covered with snow and ice so it will really difficult for an outsider to get inside the city wall using iron hooks. It’s really impossible for even an army."

Bai Wanjian said with a smile: "The founding fathers constructed this city to open the sect here about One hundred and seventy years ago. Actually no foreign enemy has attacked this place but in deep winter sometimes the common greedy person might make a sneak attack, then again he can’t enter the city." Here, to protect the city, there is an ice ditch and a hanging bridge is hoisted high and it’s not laid down.

They heard an angry voice shouting loudly: "Who is turning up today? Who wants to come in?"

Someone replied: "Master Bai Wanjian and numerous other brothers from the sect are coming back."

Bai Wanjian shouted: "Manor Master Shi Qing and Lady Min Rou are visiting too, lay down the hanging bridge quickly."
 
That person said: "Yes, yes!" But even after a long time, they did not see that the hanging bridge getting down.

Shi Qing saw that ice ditch and though that it is at least thirty feet wide and such a distance is obviously not that was easy to leap. Outside the common city wall has the moat, here climate is severely cold, in the moat the river water has formed the ice, but this ditch was dug really deep, nearby the ditch there were piece of ice in the wall, no matter a person or beast, if it falls then there is no way he can come out.

Geng Wanzhong, Wanjun and others shouted out repeatedly for the disciples who were defending the city to quickly open the door. Bai Wanjian saw that the situation is quite unusual and got worried that something might have happened in the city. He said in a low voice: "Numerous fellow-disciples are worried that those two have already arrived in the city." As soon as he said these words they heard a loud sound and people got startled and cannot help but put out a hand to their sword hilt.

This was actually the rolling sound of the bridge and they saw that the hanging bridge coming down slowly. They saw a person coming out from the city, wearing a long white gown, the right sleeve tied up in his waistband; obviously this person was missing his right arm.

That person called out: "Manor-master Shi Qing and Lady Min Rou have arrived, infrequent visitors, infrequent visitors!"

That person was "Wind and fire dragon" Feng Wanli. He came himself to greet the Shi couple personally. Shi Qing saw him without his arm and thought that he has lost his arm because of the deeds of his son and felt really bad in his heart. He moved ahead and said: "Brother Feng, we husband and wife are accompanied with my disobedient son who has committed crime against old master Bai and you."

As he said these words he kneeled down and prostrated in front of him. He was a famous master in the martial art realm and since becoming famous, except when seeing elders and superiors he might have prostrated but never to a person of the same generation but Feng Wanli has lost his arm because of his son so he was really ashamed. Feng Wanli was also a famous master
 
and was studying martial arts for more than twenty years but he has lost his right arm for one mistake of his disciple.

Min Rou saw her husband kneeling in front of Feng Wanli but her son was still standing in front of his teacher and was busy on his front piece, she too knelt down to pay her respect.

Shi Qing said: "Yu’er, he is your master, kowtow immediately!" Shi Potian was afraid that they might see through his deception so he looked towards Feng Wanli and immediately knelt down with a thumping sound.

The snow mountain sect disciples paid no attention to him all the way, at this moment when he kowtowed in front of Feng Wanli then they thought: "This boy now knows that his life is short so now he is kowtowing to beg for mercy but redemption might not be so easy."

Feng Wanli actually said: "Master Shi, Madam Shi, Please don’t embarrass me." and he too knelt down hurriedly to give them face.

After the Shi couple and Feng Wanli stood up, Shi Potian was still kneeling in front of them. Feng Wanli looked at him and said to Shi Qing: "Brother Shi, Madam Shi, we met at Mount Hengshan in the past, we are meeting again after about twelve years but you two still look as elegant as in the past. Although little brother is living in this out-of-the-way place in border region, still I know that you virtuous husband and wife are upholding justice in the martial arts realm and your reputation is getting bigger and bigger, we should celebrate your success."

Shi Qing said: "My son has had been part of many improper conducts and have some unwarranted reputations. Today I see my worthy brother in this condition and I am seriously ashamed and feel have no face left in the martial art realm."

Feng Wanli laughed and said: "Our generation is in the junction of morality and justice; we are indebted to you that you have not abandoned the path of righteousness. I offend you and then you offend me, how can be this good but we will concern about this matter later. You two have completed a very long and arduous journey, please come in the city and rest quickly."
 
Although Shi Potian knelt in front of them but Feng Wanli didn’t give any attention towards him.

Shi Qing and Feng Wanli entered the city immediately shoulder to shoulder. Min Rou looked towards Feng Wanli. She saw that even though he was speaking politely to them but from his face his hatred for their son was obvious and it was clear that he is not willing to forgive their son’s mistakes.

Bai Wanjian stood in the back and then asked a disciple who was standing at the city gate in a low voice: "Is old Master Bai fine? After we left the city, what happened in the city?"

That disciple said: "Old Master......is ......is recently more hot-tempered. After you people left from the city, there was no accident as such….only
...only "

Bai Wanjian got worried and asked: "tell me what happened?"

That disciple got frightened and said: "Five days ago, the old master got really angry and killed the elder brothers from Lu and Su clan."

Bai Wanjian was startled, he asked quickly: "Why?"

That disciple said: "Disciple does not know the circumstances of the matter. Day before yesterday the old master also killed a elder brother from Yan clan and also cut the thigh of a fellow disciple from Du clan."

Bai Wanjian got really frightened and his heart started jumping madly. He thought in his heart: "Lu, Su, Yan and Du , these four clans were the founding members of the Snow mountain sect, father usually regarded them pretty high so why did he resorted to such violent methods?"

He quickly pulled that disciple to one side and waited for Min Rou and Shi Potian to walk afar and asked: "For what matter?"

That disciple said: "Disciple does not know the circumstances. Old master has killed the fellow disciples and everyone is flustered. Yesterday, younger
 
brother Zhang and Ma did not keep the books and letters properly and old master was extremely angry and tried to kill him. It was only after elder brother Feng intervened that they managed to save their life. I hope that now you people have returned, you will urge the old gentleman to …."

Bai Wanjian also asked several questions and then walked towards the hall immediately, he saw Feng Wanli accompanying the Shi couple and having teas. He said: "You two please sit here at ease. Younger brother will accompany you in a moment, I will go and pay a visit to my family and ask them to come out to see the guest."

Feng Wanli knits his brows and said: "Old Master is suffering from some illness and is resting from yesterday only. We are afraid that it might be some time before he will be able to see the guest. Otherwise he would have come out himself to pay respect to the brother Shi."

Bai Wanjian was utterly confused and said: "Let me have a look."

He anxiously entered the hall, arrived at his father's bedroom and stood near door, coughs and said: "Father, the child has come back."

The curtain raises, a beautiful woman comes out. She was concubine of master Bai.

Bai Wanjian waits for his mother. She was looking really pale and thin, she said: "Thank God, eldest son has come back; we were having a really bad time but it looks now that things will improve. Old Master Bai got ill sometimes back. A lot of physicians and priests have some and looked at him but still there is no progress. I ......I seek help from gods and Buddha but ….eldest son, you ....you " She sobbed as she spoke and then started
crying.

Bai Wanjian said: "What has happened to father actually?"

Her mother cried and said: "We don’t know. If disciples speak incorrect words, then old Master Bai is simply filled with rage and has already killed several disciples continually. The old master have went mad and is shaking all over; he is having cramps and salivating from his mouth. He is not
 
saying any words as him a stroke have hit him. Some people said it is a stroke but I did not know " she kept on sobbing as she told these words.

Bai Wanjian heard "stroke" these two characters and felt as if his whole body is just plunged in to ice water. He didn’t say anything to his mother and yelled: "Father!" He moved to the bedroom. Before seeing his father he saw his brocade hanging down, in the room there was an earthen jar of medicine and he was sitting in front of boiling medicines and braving the steam.

Bai Wanjian went closer to curtain and called: "Father!" he put out a hand to open the curtain, he saw his father sitting motionless, unexpectedly he saw not movement and got worried. He put out his hand and with great surprise saw the heart beating and felt relived.

As he extended to his hand towards his mouth, in his bedding, he heard a clattering sound and saw a bunch of metallic pins unexpectedly. Bai Wanjian calls out in alarm: "Father, it is me; your son has come back." Suddenly two fingers struck his chest and belly simultaneously and he couldn’t move.

Shi Qing and Min Rou sat in the hall and drank tea, Feng Wanli accompanied them, and Shi Potian sat beside his father and was pretty relaxed as Feng Wanli and Shi Qing talked about the matters of central plan and didn’t mention anything about Shi Zhong Yu.

Shi Qing thought that everyone in the vicinity and in Ling Xiao city is looking quite tense and its looks as if they are trying to conceal their concerns. Actually he wasn’t too surprised. He thought: "They knew that the envoys of island of heroes will be arriving soon and it will be a big moment for the Snow mountain sect and it could be matter of life or death, honor or disgrace. Everybody was bound by a common cause so obviously everyone was so heavyhearted."

Even after a long time, they did not see Bai Wanjian coming out.

Feng Wanli said: "old master Bai is seriously ill. He is their eldest son and is coming after some time; it looks elder brother Bai Wanjian is serving old
 
master with Chinese medicines. The internal energy of old master is really deep, he is always healthy, in last the several years, I can’t even remember that he has even caught cold but this illness is really sudden and unexpected. It is really fierce too. We hope that he convalesce quickly."

Shi Qing said: "The internal energy level of old master Bai is truly rare, even in his old age he will be able to recuperate easily. My worthy brother cannot be so worried." In his heart actually he cannot help but secretly rejoices and thought: "If Bai Zizai is really sick then he won’t handle the matter of my son immediately, if heaven pities me then Zhang San and Li Si will arrive and then we will see how to handle the matter."

After some time the weather gradually turned black, Feng Wanli assigns some people to arrange the banquet and also gave Shi Potian a seat. Except these four people they also some of the other Snow mountain sect disciples. Geng Wanzhong, Wanjun and others disciples who came with them didn’t make an appearance. The atmosphere was really light as they talked and argued about different matters. Lian Shibo poured wine and urged them to drink one after another.

Min Rou has already drunk three cups, she said: "This wine is really potent."

That disciple said: "Madame Shi does not know that the topography of this place. The climate is extremely cold, moreover there is always fogs and wind blowing around, the moisture is high too, although you two have really high internal strength and the cold air won’t be harmful to you but still drinking this Yang Yujiu wine will benefit the body greatly. In the Ling Xiao city, this wine is actually an indispensable thing." He said these words as he poured more wine.

Min Rou thought: "He said politely that our internal strength is deep and we do not fear the cold winds but if we don’t drink this wine then it might be difficult to survive in these conditions. It looks like some kind of a medicated wine." So she took two more cups and drank them immediately. Suddenly she saw that these people were not drinking any wine and she felt a severe pain in her lower abdomens and felt a burning sensation in her
 
chest, she repressed the pain and said with a smile: "Feng my worthy brother, this This wine is quite fierce!"

Shi Qing actually suddenly stood up and shouted: "What wine is this?"

Feng Wanli said with a smile: "This Yang Yujiu wine is really fierce, I am afraid the famous masters of Xuan Su Manor are not able to handle it."

Shi Qing said fiercely: "You ......You ......" suddenly his body twitched and he fell on the table top. Min Rou tried to help him to hold but she too was feeling dizziness and unexpectedly both people simultaneously fell unconscious.

Shi Potian slowly came back to consciousness… still he didn’t understood where he was for a moment. He puts out a hand to support the body and sit up, suddenly realized that both his hands are tied with some ice-cold hard thing. He was startled in his heart and sobered immediately. He actually felt frightened to find his hands and legs both shackled and waking up in damp dark place. He did not know where he was. He stood up immediately and tried to explore but only after two steps his head struck something and he fell to the ground.

He calm down a bit and put out his hands to touch slowly all around, he detected that he is kept in some kind of a stone chamber about ten feet wide, its floor was uneven and looked like it was underground and really old. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness he observed that there was a small glimmer of light at the left corner, as he looked closely, he found that it was a small hole about a foot wide and rats or other small animals might be using them for passage but they are not able to make it any wider.

He raised his arms and struck that part of the cliff, a loud sound exudes all around but still the cliff was firm and thick and he understood that it’s pretty hard to break.

He sat along the wall and thought: "How did I come here? These people only served us that Yang Yujiu wine, it really was a strange drink after drinking that I remember Manor Master Shi Qing and Lady Min Rou fainting and then falling down in the banquet.
 
It seems that the snow mountain people wants to kill Shi Zhong Yu in any case but they feared that the Shi couple might resist so they have given us this toxic drink However they haven’t kill me yet, why? Is it because the Old hero Bai is really sick and they have imprisoned me first so they can decide my fate once he has recovered and will personally deal with me?"

He also thought: "When old Hero Bai will ask, I only have to explain that I am Gouzazhong and not Shi Zhong Yu. We might have some resentment but after all we don’t have any enmity so after verifying the truth they will leave me but they might not actually leave the Shi couple. They might keep them in jail and wait until Shi Zhong Yu voluntarily surrenders to them. Madam Shi is such a refined person, how can she survive in such a stone chamber with no daylight. She might go mad after some time. I have to think of a way to rescue her and Manor master Shi Qing.

He thought about saving them but immediately thought about his own situation and thought: "I am myself handcuffed and shackled, I need someone else to save me now, how can I save others? In this Ling Xiao city, each person is from the Snow mountain sect, who will save me?"

Both of his arms were kind of joined and shackled, he tried to separate both his arm and exerted a lot of energy but he was shackled with iron chains and he was not able to even move them by a jot.

After some time he saw a light shooting up from that pinhole as suddenly some people came outside with lamps. They moved across and then moved a tile and put an earthen bowl of food. It had enough quantity of rice, on rice there were several brined vegetables and bamboo chopsticks were inserted in the rice. Shi Potian did not pretended to be mute again and called out: "Hello, hello, I had the words to say to the old Master Bai!"

Outside that person sneered at him and then closed the tile and the light gradually receded and unexpectedly that person walked away without saying a single word.

Shi Potian smelled the food and found its fragrance really inviting, he thought:"I feel really hungry however I have had so much food in the banquet, how can I be that hungry? It looks I was unconscious for a long
 
period of time." He held the earthen bowl and started eating the rice and the brined vegetable.

After finishing eating the food, he kept the earthen bowl to its original position and again made an effort to free himself of the chains but after struggling for several times, he detected that the shackles on his hand and foot are made of really fine quality of iron and although he used his internal energy he wasn’t able to twist it instead his ankle got rashes by continual abrasion the skin; He tried to find out the gateway again, he tried to push the door by his shoulder but didn’t manage to budge it. After some time he got disappointed and thought: "If only I could have managed to escape then I might found the Shi couple and rescue them."

He didn’t manage to think of anyway so simply laid against the cliff, closed his eyes and slept. In the stone jail, he did not know the time and waited for almost entire day, some person come to deliver the food, he only saw a hand extended from the hole, to take the bowl and replace it with another one.

Suddenly an idea flashed in his mind and Shi Potian waited for that person put his hand to take the earthen bowl and as soon as that person put his hand in, he grabbed his hand. His shackles made a lot of sound but still Shi Potian get hold of that person’s right wrist. He applied his internal energy to control that person; obviously that person couldn’t withstand his internal energy and started to squeal like a pig as he felt immense pain in his hand.

Shi Potian relaxed a bit, pulled his arm closer to take a clear look and said in a loud voice: "If you yell again than I will wrench apart your arm!"

That person entreated: "I won’t yell, you just leave my arm."

Shi Potian said: "fine then, open the door quickly and let me out." That person said: "Fine, you let me go, I will open the door."
Shi Potian said: "If I leave your arm then you will run away…I cannot do that."
 
That person said: "if you won’t leave me than how can I open the door?"

Shi Potian thought that his words are correct but if I leave his hand then he will anyway run away but if I won’t leave him then he can’t open the door, it is a great difficulty. He suddenly got another idea and said: "Throws my handcuff's key."

That person said: "Key? That.....that is not at my side, I am just a person who only cooks and delivers the food."

Shi Potian listened to his voice and felt that this person is not sincere so tightened his fingers and said: "Good, than let me first wrenched apart your hand."

That person called out in extreme pain: "Oh, oh……" This tactics finally worked as that person threw the key from the hole. This person was really sly, he threw the key but it landed far from his place. If Shi Potian has to get those keys then he had to leave this person’s hand.

Shi Potian was again struck in a difficult situation but he didn’t relinquish that person’s hand. He pulled that persons hand and extended his left leg to get hold of the key ring. Although he tried to extend himself fully and pulled that person’s hand from the hole with a lot of strength, still his foot fell short of by few feet from the key ring.

That person was in terrible pain and he called out: "If you will pull me again with such force than you will definitely take my arm with you.

Shi Potian extended his leg with every effort, but both his hand and feet were shackled so he was not able to stretch his body properly and didn’t manage to get the key ring. He looked at that feet which were extending, suddenly got another idea. He bent his left leg to take off the shoe and aimed at the wall. It hit the wall and came back and hit the key ring and moved it towards him. Shi Potian cheered and retrieved the key ring to free himself from the shackles.

He first opened the handcuffs from his left hand and then his right hand and also never left the hand of that person. Once Shi Potian had freed himself
 
from the handcuff; that person that asked: "You     What will you do now?"

Shi Potian said with a smile: "You may open the door." He put out the handcuffs from the hole. That person still hesitated; Shi Potian holds the handcuffs and pulled his arm to handcuff that person and asked him to open the door. That person tried to pull and applied a lot of strength but he immediately started bleeding from his nose. That person now knew for sure that he can’t resist so he towed along with the chains and opened the door but his shackle's another end was above the foot shackles of Shi Potian. Although the doors of the room were open but the shackle through the pinhole still tied these two people, Shi Potian has not still been able to come out.

Shi Potian pulled the shackles and said: "Give me the key for these leg shackles too."

That person looked really distressed and said: "I do not have one. I only sweep the floor and cook meal; I don’t have keys for them."

Shi Potian said: "Good, wait for me to ask you again." He pulls in that person’s arm from hole and unlocked the handcuff.

That person saw that he is free now so he tried to move away from the door and run away hurriedly. Shi Potian however quickly moved to intercept him and held again the wall. Once he came out then only he saw that this person was wearing a white gown, from his appearance he looked like a disciple of a Snow mountain sect, not someone who sweeps the floor and cooks. He held him by his collar and said in a loud voice: "If you do not open my shackles then I will hit your head on this stone wall again and again." As he said these words he gently hits his head on the stone wall. The martial art of that person was not weak but as soon as he fell in the hand of Shi Potian, he resembled like the prey in the claws of an eagle and unexpectedly he took out the keys and opened his shackles within half a minute.

Shi Potian asked that person: "Where Manor Master Shi Qing and his wife Min Rou are held? Lead me to that place quickly."
 
That person said: "Snow mountain sect and the Xuan Su manor have no resentment or enmity. We have already let them go and haven’t imprisoned them."

Shi Potian was half believing and half doubting but he didn’t trust that person at all and thought: "This person has decided to lie again and again; it’s more likely that they have imprisoned Shi couple here only." He led that person towards the next room quickly and ordered: "Quick open the door."

That person’s complexion changed and she said: "I ......I do not have the key. Inside this room, there is no person but actually is a lion, don’t open this door, I am really serious."

Shi Potian heard this person talking about Lion and was greatly surprised. He put his ears to the door and heard so sound at all. That person said: "You, since you have come out, quickly run away, what you are waiting for…if you are detected then they will catch you again and put in prison..."

Shi Potian thought: "You are not my friend, why do you care for me? Initially when I wanted you to open the handcuff and door, you were not willing, at this moment you are actually urging me to run away quickly. I think the Shi couple are held in this room only."

He spoke to that person: "Can't open? I must take a look at lion."

That person was shocked and he said: "The lion locked here is very fierce and haven’t eaten for several days. If he sees a human then will immediately attack us. "

Shi Potian heard him for some time and was getting really impatient with his random stories so he lifted that person and inverted him in the air, caught his foot and started swinging him like a yo-yo. Suddenly two more keys fell from his body. Shi Potian felt really happy, he took the keys and inserted it in the lock and turned and the lock opened. That person turned and started to run away.

Shi Potian thought: "If he runs away then he might disclose his whereabouts and it will be inconvenient." So he snatched that person again and
 
imprisoned him in his own stone chamber and threw his shackles in that room too.

He came back to that room and called out: "Master Shi, Madame Shi, are you here?"

He called out again but heard no sound. Shi Potian moved away from that room and thought I still have one more key, let me see where the other room is?

He looked for the other room and opened it with his keys and opened the door several inches, called one "Master Shi ......" He heard someone shouting abuse towards him: "Son of a Turtle, you bastard, the turtle bastard, I will shear in to thousand pieces, I will kill you like a dog "

Shi Potian heard the sound of shackles as that person moved closer to him. This person scolded with an impressive voice, his throat was hoarse and his accent was entirely different with Shi Potian and other people from central plains.

Shi Potian thought: "Although Master Shi Qing and his wife are not here but this person also looks like an enemy to the Snow mountain people, he might help me to save the Shi couple."

He said: "You did not need to scold; I am here to save you."

That person continues to scold: "What thing are you? You dare to talk nonsense and trying to deceive me? I ......I will wrench your neck "

Shi Potian showed a faint smile and thought in his heart: "This person has really a foul temper. He is imprisoned in this dark stone jail for a long time, no wonder he is angry." He moved sideways immediately and said: "Did you also have shackles on your foot?" Just as he asked these words, suddenly he heard a loud voice that person shot towards his head.

Shi Potian moved sideways toward left, avoided this move but his foothold was not steady and he slipped and that person grabbed his body, his hands clutching the pharynx and larynx and trying to squeeze them. This person
 
was a man of extraordinary strength and immediately Shi Potian found it pretty difficult to breathe and he heard a faint buzzing sound in his ear "turtle son bastard" and other verbal abuses.

Shi Potian had good intentions and he wanted to save that person’s life but he never expected that opposite party will unexpectedly try to injure him. On top of that he has met a fierce master in this dark prison. He has already lost the initiative, he shouted: "This is not good!"

He had no other alternative as that person was applying more pressure on his throat. Although the throat muscles are soft and don’t match his arm's strength but his internal energy was immense and he directed that towards his throat vigorously. It hit the person unexpectedly in several points in his hand and he immediately left his throat. Shi Potian breathed heavily for a moment and got ready for his next attack. He called out: "I want to save you and you are playing rough with me?"

That person was really astonished and said: "You ......Who are you? Your internal energy is not weak." He stared at Shi Potian for some time and then again shouted loudly: "young fellow, who are you?"

Shi Potian said: "I ......I ......" he did not want to tell him that he is called Gouzazhong but also didn’t want to pretend as Shi Zhong Yu now.

That person got angry: "You naturally are you, Are you not surnamed?" Shi Potian said: "I have saved you, first tell me who are you?"
That person sneered and said: "Do you save me? Heh heh, how could it be…..and you are asking me, who am I? What thing are you? Depending on your little three legged cat's trick, you think that you can save me?"

By this time both the doors were half opened and sunlight filtered in. he saw that the person standing in front of him had a full gray beard on his face, he was tall and powerfully built, his back a little bent and it looked as if this stone chamber was not able to contain his big body, his eyes had a twinkling brilliance like a lightning and this person exudes an overwhelming aura around himself.
 
Shi Potian saw him looking at him and got scared in his heart, he thought: "That snow mountain disciple said just now that there was a lion imprisoned here, the appearance of this person is actually a bit like a beast."

He didn’t dare to say anything but still babbled: "I will look for the key and will free you from those shackle and handcuffs."

That person got angry, he said: "Who wants you to flatter me? I will remain here voluntarily otherwise how will the people close to me live? You young boy has not brought the key but said that you are freeing me… Heh, grandpa nowadays has mellowed down, if not for my good temperament, only after hearing these words; I would have cut you in to 17-18 pieces."

He moved his both hands, swung the shackles and said: "Grandpa has cooled down a lot…actually these shackles are nothing to me. These are just like ordinary pieces of thread in my eyes."

Shi Potian did not believe these words and thought: "This person of personality and voice is impressive but he is behaving like a lunatic. He does not want me to rescue, if I insist to him to open his handcuffs and shackles, then he might hit me. His martial art skills are high, I don’t want to fight him, saving the Shi couple is more important right now."

He said: "Since this is what you want so I am leaving."

That person got angry and started abusing again: "Get out of here, your smelly duck egg, grandpa has roamed the entire world up and down and has not met a worthy rival, who want this boy to save me?" And he said other abusing words towards Shi Potian.

Shi Potian thought: "Ohhh…No, it looks that I have again done something wrong." He moved outside of the door and walked along the path.

The path was really long; he made a turn and arrived at a place. Here there was a line of doors on both sides at about every ten feet. He pushed the door on the left side but couldn’t even budge it. He then pushed the one on the right and it smoothly opened. After passing through that door, he entered a
 
small hall. He came in to the hall and saw a line of several steps and then heard the sound of several weapons and he judged by the sound that the fighting must be really intense.

Suddenly Shi Potian thought: "It might be the Shi Qing couple fighting with the Snow mountain people. He got scared and hurriedly started to look for door to get to that place.

He tried to look for a passage to reach that place but couldn’t find any way to reach that place. He was really concerned about the safety of Shi Qing and Min Rou and each passing second passed like hours for him. He saw that the wooden partitions on the left-hand side are not really thick and he hit it with his shoulder. The board rose steeply and broke. The sound of the weapon was now more abundant. He saw that in that small main hall, four white clothing men were fighting with swords and trying to besiege two females.

Shi Potian saw these two females and could not restrain himself and called out loudly: "Master, A’Xiu!"

That two people were Grandma Shi and A’Xiu.

Grandma Shi held a short-hilted broadsword, A’Xiu brandished a long sword but he saw that these two people were fighting chaotically, everyone was bearing several wounds, the blood had splashed on the clothing and the circumstance were very perilous. Both people heard Shi Potian cry but those four men were attacking really tightly; the swordsmanship was swift and fierce and had no time to turn their head and look towards him. Then he heard A’Xiu calling out in alarm as she was injured on her shoulder by a sword.

Shi Potian didn’t think anything and immediately moved towards that middle-aged person who has injured A’Xiu and was pressing her in to submission. Shi Potian suddenly attacked this person out of blue and got him in a single move. The old man on the left saw him suddenly entering in the fight and attacked him. Shi Potian sent his right hand attack to that old man.
 
That old man moved his sword point towards his lower abdomen, the sword moved really fast like a flash. Shi Potian has once learnt the sword skills of the Snow Mountain sect from Grandma Shi. The moment that old man executed this move he understood that this move is "in range double plum". This move had actually two steps, the first step was that sword attacks the lower abdomen and then the second step was to attack the legs in a continuous motion.

Shi Potian immediately shrank his lower abdomen and avoided the first attack and at the same time employed the counter move suggested by Grandma Shi. He moved his left hand immediately, extended the middle finger to grab. That old man's second sword came exactly as Shi Potian expected. He extended his fingers to grab the sword and with a zheng sound, the sword broke in to two parts. That old man shook his half- numbed hand and couldn’t restrain himself from getting ashamed. He moved back immediately and withdrew from the fight and his complexion changed immediately.

Shi Potian moved to his left hand and found out that one person was still attacking A’Xiu. He attacked that person. That person was already shocked, he withdrew his sword hurriedly, and Shi Potian took advantage of a favorable situation to take control and attacked his chest. That person moved back continually to avoid him but after three steps, he too got hit and sat on the ground.

Shi Potian now moved towards the fourth person. That person was already struggling against Grandma Shi and was somehow fending her and was already got hit several times. Shi Potian hit that person and that person fell on the ground, blood spurting from the mouth and fainted immediately.

All the four men collapse against Shi Potian in a moment and only that old man was not injured. He saw with own eyes that Shi Potian had invincible internal energy and was startled and terror-stricken, he said: "You You
......" he tried to jump and run away suddenly and rushed towards the door. Grandma Shi called out: "Do not let him go!"
 
Shi Potian swept his left leg and connected with that person and that person fell to ground. Both knees of that old man were now shaking with fear as he failed to escape.

Grandma Shi said with a smile: "Good boy, so the senior disciple of my Golden Phoenix sect is back!"

The face of A’Xiu whitened as she was badly wounded on her shoulder wound but her eyes really lit up as she stared at Shi Potian and couldn’t shield the unlimited joy she experienced.

Shi Potian said: "Master, A’Xiu, I never thought that I will see you here."

Grandma Shi wrapped the wound on the shoulder of A’Xiu hurriedly; she tore a piece of cloth from the skirt and first tied it around her wound. The injuries of both people were basically superficial sword cuts and were not any serious.

Shi Potian asked: "I could not find you in the Azure mist island; I thought of you every day and night, now after so many days we have met that’s really good…but it should have been better if we were not separated."

Grandma Shi smiled and said: "You, if you can accomplish a great merit then I can permit it. Will it be good enough if your Grandma promises verbally?" A’Xiu hung her head low and her ear turned red.

Shi Potian didn’t understand that Grandma Shi is actually accepting his marriage proposal with A’Xiu, he asked: "What will master permit?"

Grandma Shi said with a smile: "I will give my granddaughter to you as a wife, will you like that?"
Shi Potian was pleasantly surprised and happily said: "I ......I       I
obviously want, I would like this; actually I will like it very much.    "
Grandma Shi said: "But you have to complete this big merit first. The snow mountain sect are vicious bunch, we have to first find a person."
 
Shi Potian said: "Yes, I too have to find the master of Xuan Su Manor Shi and his wife. We should look quickly." As he thought about the Shi Qing couple, his heart again burnt with impatience.

Grandma Shi said: "Are Shi Qing and his wife also in the Liao Xing city? If they are also captured then it means they are really sloppy. A’Xiu, quickly kill all these four people first?"

A’Xiu took her sword and moved towards that old man. That old person was relying on the wall and as soon as A’Xiu moved towards him, his face lost all the color and she saw her with begging eyes. A’Xiu felt compassion towards her, Grandma Shi has just she accepted marriage proposal and she was extremely joyful in her heart and didn’t have the heart to kill anyone at that moment.

She said: "Grandma, these people are not the chief instigators, they are just lowly people who do as they are said, why don’t we await for the trial and will decide later."

Grandma Shi sighed and said: "Fine then walk quickly, follow me, do not delay it’s an important matter." She immediately moved outside with A’Xiu and Shi Potian following her.

Grandma Shi walked out of the lobby and moved extremely quickly, whenever she saw a person, she would quietly and quickly hide behind a door or around the corner. She seemed very familiar with each houses, roads and streets.

Shi Potian and A’Xiu walked side-by-side, he asked in a low voice: "What big merit does master want me to do? Who do I have to save?"

A’Xiu was about to answer when she heard the footsteps sound of about five-six people. Grandma Shi is hurriedly hid behind a pillar; A’Xiu pulled Shi Potian by his sleeves and found a hiding place nearby.

They only heard several people talking on the other side of the road. Someone said: "It’s good that everybody made a joint effort and managed to seize that old lunatic, now I am relaxed. Earlier I didn’t even eat or sleep
 
without worrying. I would rest for a moment and then will wake afraid after a bad dream."

Another person said: "We have not killed that old lunatic, eventually it will be huge trouble in future. Actually elder brother himself was indecisive; I thought that this matter should be finished there and then only."

Another person with a deep and gruff voice said: "Getting rid of one won’t do, Elder brother will do something only if he manages to get both of them together."

A person shouted in loud voice: "Keeps silent! How can you talk out these matters in public? If Liao or Qi hears you fellows than I am afraid then your heads will start rolling on the ground."

The person with gruff voice refused to accept his command and said, said albeit in a lower voice: "Liao and Qi are fighting themselves, I am not certain that they have time for us."

This group of people gradually moved far away, Shi Potian and A’Xiu moved towards the door. Shi Potian looked at A’Xiu and saw her trembling slightly, asked in a low voice: "A’Xiu, are you afraid?"

A’Xiu said: "I ......I am really frightened. There are so many people, how can we fight them all?"

Grandma Shi was standing behind a pillar; she came out and said in a low voice: "Walk quickly." She moved forward quickly. Shi Potian and A’Xiu followed her and passed through the courtyard and then came across the corridor and then arrived in a big garden. In the garden everywhere was snow, however a cobblestone alley was spread around it and lead to a big hall.

Grandma Shi jumped to a tree to avoid the snow and from there jumped outside the hall. She patted the snow from her cloths and moved closer to the hall. As soon as she moved in closer to the hall two people who were patrolling the area saw her and rushed towards her with sword in their hand. Grandma Shi stood rigidly and motionless, let both people come to her and
 
then moved the broadsword. In a single stroke she cut open the throat of both people and they didn’t even made a single sound.

Shi Potian was startled by the calmness with which Grandma Shi killed these two people in such a violent way. This move was also taught to him by Grandma Shi, it was called "Red flame in spring" but Shi Potian never thought that if he executes this move then he will be able kill people in such a clean way. He cannot help to restrain his heart from jumping madly.

Grandma Shi quickly hid the two corpses under a bush, doesn’t made any sound and arrived at outside of the hall and puts her ear close to the long window and listened attentively to the sounds coming from inside. Shi Potian and A’Xiu approached the window too and started listening. They only heard the voices of two people arguing intensely, although they were not fighting or shouting in loud voice but both these people looked really angry by their expressions.

They heard one person saying: "Tying up the tiger is easy but to hold him tied up is really difficult, I think you might have heard this proverb. I don’t want to sacrifice everybody for this matter. If that old lunatic get freed somehow or manage to escape then everybody will die without their burial ground."

Shi Potian thought: "They all are saying that "old lunatic", is it really possible that this was the same old person I tried to rescue in the prison? That person was really old and strange, I was trying to save him but he was not willing to come out, I am afraid he was really a lunatic, however his martial art was very fierce, no wonder everybody is so frightened of him."

They heard another person saying: "That old lunatic is already imprisoned in that jail, even if he has exceedingly high skills, still he can’t run away. We can kill him at this moment, it is really easy, you only don’t have to deliver food to him for some days, and he will starve to death in eight to ten days, isn’t it? When the people in the martial art realm will know about this that they will criticize and say that this is against righteousness and shameless, you Liao Shidi, I have no doubt that you do not care about them but what about rest of us? Will it not destroy the reputation of the Snow mountain sect in the martial art world?"
 
That person surnamed Liao sneered at him and said: "You are afraid to go against the old conventions and against the flow of events, what should a leader do at such time? Now this matter has come on head than you are pretending that you don’t want to involve yourself in this matter at all. Elder brother Qi, I recognize a hypocrite when I see one."

That person surnamed Qi said: "What exactly are you implying by saying thee words? Liao Shidi, if you want to say something than say but don’t accuse others."

That person surnamed Liao said: "I am saying what it is. Elder brother Qi, you just pretend to be an honest and upright person, you are trying to push the entire blame on my shoulder. It is actually a good strategy, killing two birds with one stone, you will get rid of me and also get the leadership uncontested." He said these words in a very loud voice.

That person surnamed Qi said: "You are seriously funny Shidi! Fellow disciple can all vouch that I already have the qualifications to take the leadership. I am the senior disciple as per the order, it’s obvious."

Some said in strong voice: "keep your struggle to yourselves, do not involve me."

That person surnamed Liao said: "Of course, you are the senior fellow- disciple, Elder brother Qi, you were honest and good-natured person. You were just acting on behalf of other people, more as a puppet. You must think clearly about this matter and then make any decision."

Shi Potian heard these words and realized that there were a lot many people in the hall than he expected earlier. He immediately licked the window paper and punctured a hole gently and put his eye to look inside. He saw that unexpectedly more than 200-300 people, everyone wearing white gown were sitting in the hall; obviously they were all the snow mountain sect disciples.

This was actually the main hall of the Snow mountain sect and they were having some kind of big meeting. There were five large round-backed wooden armchairs at the far end, the middle was empty, and on both sides
 
four people were sitting. He heard them still arguing continuously, from their talk Shi Potian understood that the person sitting on the left were surnamed Cheng and Liao and the one on the right hand side was the person surnamed Qi, another sickly looking person was sitting on the fourth chair. He was very thin, looking distressed from facial expression and extremely ugly by look.

At this time that person surnamed Liao said to that old person: "Liang Shidi, you have not said a word from beginning to end, what are your views?"

This person Liang sighed and shook his head and didn’t spoke.

That person surnamed Qi said: "Liang Shidi did not speak, as he already know that you are talking nonsense."

That person surnamed Liao got angry and said: "You are not a roundworm in the stomach of Liang Shidi then how do you know that he is thinking that? This matter can be resolved if we four people help each other and come to a conclusion. We should all take the responsibility like real men and deal with this uncertainty, what do you say?"

That person surnamed Qi said: "Everybody covets life and fears death but we have come to this situation because of the desperate risk taken by some people."

That person surnamed Liao said in a loud voice suddenly: "Wan Li, you should also say something, how should we manage this situation?"

From the crowd, one person came out with his broken hand, "Dragon of wind and fire" Feng Wanli bowed in front of them and said: "Disciple is not used to these kinds of social meetings and matters however it will be catastrophic and a heinous crime if we harm him in our custody. The disciples approve of the Qi Shishu’s idea that we cannot act again to commit such a violent treachery."

That person surnamed Liao said in a stern voice: "Then how do we deal with the disciples who have returned from the central plains?"
 
Feng Wanli said: "Shishu, I think it will be better to keep everybody of them in custody for the time being here in the city and then we will talk with each of them and decide."

That person surnamed Liao sneered and said: "Heh! Heh! Your idea is to imprison them all and then slowly interview them? I think I understand what really you want."

Feng Wanli said: "Liao Shishu, what do you mean by these words?"

That person surnamed Liao said: "Your disciples overwhelm us with numerical strength, your martial art skills are also high, and you will not attain the position of sect leader so you want to push all the blame on my head and got me killed. Four of my disciples are already dead here, you think I don’t understand your plan!"

He shouted in a loud voice and called out suddenly: "Fellow disciples, this is a really calamitous situation. These people want to get rid of us now and here. If we don’t stamp this source of trouble here then they will all butcher us!" As he said these words he took out his sword.

In a moment, several people rushed out forward and pulled out their swords. Suddenly about twenty-thirty people were surrounding Feng Wanli with swords in their hand. Another set of about sixty-seventy people surrounded then all.

Shi Potian thought: "It seems like Master Feng is being overwhelmed by sheer numbers of these people, do not know that I should help which side?"

Feng Wanli yelled: "Cheng Shishu, Qi Shishu and Liang Shishu, are you also surrounded by disciples of Liao Shishu? Fourth branch is with him; take the second, third and fifth branch to retaliate."

The person surnamed Liao shouted: "Start!" Suddenly the fight started in the hall. Someone took out his sword and tried to stab Feng Wanli at his chest. Feng Wanli moved quickly and drew out the sword with his left and parried the incoming attack. He only heard a scoffing sound as suddenly his right sleeve was cut off by another attack.
 
Feng Wan Li and Bai Wanjian shared the honor of the best second generation martial art expert of the Snow mountain sect and their level of martial art expertise was just below these four but after he lost his right arm, he was still uncomfortable with using sword his left hand. That person surname Liao moved against him. This sword move has different variations and he traversed his sword a lot however Feng Wanli knew perfectly well that move of the opposite party and his background but the sword in his left hand didn’t actually moved as he intended and unfortunately only lost a piece of his sleeve. He attacked at Feng Wanli but after two moved drew himself back and two other people took his place and attacked him.

That person surnamed Liao again shouted: "Why haven’t you attacked yet?"

At this call all the sixty-seventy disciple of his fourth branch attacked rest of the disciples. Every one was fighting with another, the entire hall was in chaos and bright light sparkled in the hall as sword clashed with clanking sound of metal filling the hall and reverberating again and again. The snow mountain sect people who have assembled to discuss official business in the hall suddenly turned it in to the battlefield immediately.

That person surnamed Liao leaped over his people and saw that only second, third and fifth branch were retaliating and fighting against his disciples.

When he saw them all moving against him, he went wild with rage and yelled: "Second branch, third branch and fifth branch, you all are manipulated. These people are taking advantage of you and you all are ruining the big dream of this Snow mountain sect!"

His both eyes turned red and he moved towards his arch rival Qi. Two people parried and stabbed each other for quite some time. In term of martial arts, that person surnamed Liao was better that Qi and after about ten moves he forced him back repetitively.

That old sickly looking person held his sword, said: "The fourth branch, as they say, if the leader is such a barbarian then what will happen to the followers?" He moved towards the person surnamed Liao and attacked him. The person surnamed Qi saw the small advantage and immediately attacked
 
Liao and stabbed towards his lower abdomen. The person surnamed Liao knew that he has met his doom so he also went reckless and started attacking all out.

Suddenly all three of them were attacking person surnamed Liao but his sword skills were good and survived against all of these three fellow apprentices but it was only a matter of time before they subdued him.

The numerous disciples of second, third and fifth branch saw their masters working in unison against the fourth branch and immediately attacked them with more vigor and intensity. In a few moments the tide turned completely and the fourth branch was butchered as shouts of anger, screams of despair echoed in the hall.

A’Xiu pulled Shi Potian on her side and said: "Elder brother, I ......I am afraid…."

Shi Potian asked: "What is the matter? Why is everybody fighting?"

At this time everybody in the hall was busy in their own matter of life and death and no one cared if someone was talking outside or not.

Grandma Shi sneered and said: "Good, good, they are hitting well, killing each other so cleanly…it really like it.

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