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Ode to Gallantry Chapter 21 (End)

Chapter 21 - Who Am I?
Several people have lived on the island of heroes for tens of years, they were bewitched to unravel the mystery of these martial art. They couldn’t believe that the island is going to be destroyed and the cliffs are already gone and deeply regretted it all. Some people on the other hand repented and deep regretted that why didn’t they left it all and returned to their family. Several people sat on the boat but everyone had huge regrets and some of them even started beating their chest in despair but most of them were thinking that at least they all are returning alive to their home which was not exactly what they were thinking when they were coming to this island.

Shi Potian looked at the island of heroes as it merged with the horizon. Suddenly he remembered the incident and cannot help but started sweating, he stamped his foot to call out: "it’s bad, it’s really bad! Grandpa, now
......Today is several day ......after we left…what is the date today......what is the date?"

Bai Zizai was startled, he yelled: "Oh!" He shivered for a moment and said: "I ......I do not know ......Do not know now ......actually a lot of days have passed. lot of days?"

Ding Busi too was sitting on the same boat, he asked: "A lot of days have passed, so…so what?"

Shi Potian asked: "Grandpa Ding Busi, do you remember how many days we have spent on this island of heroes?"

Ding Busi said: "100 days is also good, 200 days is also good; who remembers. who cares?"

Shi Potian was hugely anxious, he almost came to tears and a streak of tear came out of his eyes, he came to Gao San Niangzi and said: "We came here on the 8th day of last month, is it the third month now?"
 
Gao San Niangzi counted on her fingers and said: "We have gotten out of the island on the 115th day, Today it’s the fifth day of fourth month…no…it is the 6th day of fourth month."

Shi Potian and Bai Zizai called out in alarm with one voice: "the fourth month?"

Gao San Niangzi said: "Naturally it is the fourth month!" Bai Zizai beats his chest to yell: "it’s terrible…terrible!" Ding Busi laughed and said: "terribly sweet!"
Shi Potian got angry: "Grandpa Ding, grandma Shi said that if we don’t return back by 8th day of third month then she will throw her in the sea and die….you What funny do you see here? A’Xiu also said that he will also
throw herself in the sea      "

Ding Busi said: "She said that she will throw herself on the 8th day of third month? Now ......Today it is fourth month "

Shi Potian cried and said: "Yes, so …so what?"

Ding Busi said in anger: "Xiaocui threw herself o the 8th day of third month, by now she is already dead for twenty days, why are you are you crying now? Her temperament was much hard, if she said that she will jump in the sea on 8th day then it won’t be 7th day or 9th day…it will be 8th day! Bai Zizai… damn you…old bastard…you animal, you ......Why didn't you go back early? You raised this old thief too…even he didn’t go back!"

Bai Zizai beats his chest and called out: "Good, I am an old bastard, I am the old thief."

Ding Busi again scolded: "You Gouzazhong…you Gouzazhong …why don’t you go back earlier?"

Shi Potian cried and said: "Good…I seriously a Gouzazhong."
 
They suddenly heard a harsh voice of a female: "Shi Xiaocui dies…that is good… why are you scolding other people…it’s good that this matter is closed now? Why do you curse at people?" She was of course that lady surnamed Mei.

Ding Busi was ashamed and did not dare to scold again but still talked incessantly.

Bai Zizai actually blamed Shi Potian: "You already know that your grandma was throwing herself in the sea on the 8th of third month then why didn’t you tell me earlier? You are a bastard too ….I ....I will wrench apart your neck."

Shi Potian was already sad and was not willing to argue and didn’t say anything.

In the meantime the southern wind started to blow and the sailors hoisted the sails and the navigation was really fast now. Bai Zizai was wild and crazy, he not only scolded Shi Potian but also started scolding Ding Busi and both of them actually started fighting on the boat itself and even managed to hit several other people, everyone intervened and stopped them from fighting.

By the evening of third day, they were able to see the first sight of land. As they reached closer to the shore of the South China Sea, several people cheered. Bai Zizai actually kept his both eyes on the shore or looking at the ocean waves, as if trying to seek for the corpse of Grandma Shi and A’Xiu.

As the ship moved closer to the shore, Shi Potian looked as far as the eye can see, he was able to vaguely see the sea shore, it was exactly similar to when he left from the same place, there were a row of palm tree on the beach, a cliff on the right hand side and three coconut trees nearby throwing three long shadows. He remembered that four months ago, Grandma Shi and A’Xiu were standing there to see him off and hoping that he will return well but now Grandma Shi and A’Xiu are actually already buried in some fish’s abdomen, they can’t even save their skeleton and could not restrain himself from crying.
 
As the boat came close to shore, suddenly someone shouted to draw their attention towards the cliff. The people looked together at the cliff; they only saw the silhouette of two people, one person in grey and other in white leaping from the cliff in to the sea.

Shi Potian remotely Grandma Shi and A’Xiu leaping from the cliff in to the sea, he was pleasantly surprised, in reality it was no small matter, he already assumed that they are dead but suddenly he saw them alive but also at the same time leaping towards the sea to die. He immediately gathered his entire body strength on his foot, made a crouching stance and jumped to leap high in the air. His body came out of the ship like an arrow streaming out of a bow.

The profound internal strength he learnt at the island of heroes supported him enormously to make this incredible jump. He saw with his own eyes that the moment he jumped the deck beneath his left foot deck gave up fell in the sea and the one under his right flew back several feet.

He approached towards A’Xiu from her left side; he stretches his left arm to grasp her body. He lost his momentum with the added weight of two people and started to fall in the sea but the impact of the fall was minimal. As the two legs Shi Potian sinked in to the sea, she saw that Grandma Shi dropped in the left, he immediately moved his hand to search for her and as soon as he got a grasp at her, he immediately transferred his strength and executed the move "silver saddle and white horse" to throw the body of Grandma Shi body towards the boat in a very steady pace.

On the ship the people shouted loudly with one voice. Bai Zizai and Ding Busi were already ready at the bow of ship to grasp her as they saw Grandma Shi flying towards the boat. The two people simultaneously put out a hand to grasp her.

Bai Zizai shouted loudly: "Make way!"

Ding Busi was pushing people to get ahead and catch Grandma Shi as she comes, unexpectedly that female surnamed Mei extended her palm to push, this technique was really strange and Ding Busi immediately fell in to the sea.
 
Bai Zizai immediately secured a position as per her flight and immediately caught Grandma Shi pretty easily but he didn’t expect that the internal energy of Shi Potian will be so strong. He drew back one step and his both feet skidded back and broke the deck but he still firmly grasped Grandma Shi as they sat in the big hole, he hugged Grandma Shi and put her out of that hole.

Shi Potian held A’Xiu and took support of the fallen deck to propel himself back to the boat along with A’Xiu.

Ding Busi was well versed with swimming luckily; he controlled his fall in the water and at the same time shouted abuse. The sailors on the ship threw the rope and pulled him up. Everybody was jabbering at once and people were in great confusion.

Ding Busi came back to the deck, water dripping out from his whole body and looked at that woman in veil and called out suddenly: "You ......You are not her younger sister, you are she…you are …!"

That woman wearing the veil sneered and said: "Your courage is really big, you dare to hold Shi Xiaocui in front of me!"

Ding Busi said: "You ......You are! You pushed me to that sea     This move
of "flying in to high peak", there is only one person in the world who can do that."

That female said: "You know well." She put out a hand to uncover the veil over her face and revealed her wrinkled face, her skin color was extremely white as if it was covered by the veil for a really long time and had not seen the sunlight.

Ding Busi said: "Wenxin…Wenxin…is it really you! Why did you deceive me saying that you have died?"

That woman with veiled face was in fact Mei Wenxin, she and Ding Busi were lovers in the past. They had a daughter Mei Fanggu but Ding Busi was deeply in love with Shi Xiaocui and he abandoned Mei Wenxin but after dozens of years unexpectedly they had this reunion.
 
Mei Wenxin moved her left hand and seized the ears of Ding Busi firmly and said in a grating voice: "You only hope that I have already died, that would have been good…isn’t it?"

Ding Busi felt ashamed after listening her and did not dare to struggle, he forced a smile and said: "leave it…there are numerous heroes here, it doesn’t look good."

Mei Wenxin said: "I want you to look bad in front on everyone. My Fanggu…can I come to search her?"

Ding Busi said: "Leave it quickly! Long Daozhu have said that she is on mount Xionger. We will look for her, let us find her."

Mei Wenxin said: "if I found my child then I will forgive you but if I didn’t then I will rip out both ears down!"

In all these noise and confusion, the boat already approached the shore. The Shi Qing couple, Bai Wanjian and snow mountain disciples Cheng Zixue and others came forward to welcome them as they saw with their own eyes that Bai Zizai and Shi Potian have returned well and have also saved Grandma Shi and A’Xiu from drowning.

Shi Qing couple and Bai Wanjian were genuinely happy, on the other hand the snow mountain sect disciple Cheng Zixue, Qi Zimian and Liang Zijin were all disappointed but still came forward with smiling face and hurried forward to congratulate.

On the ship the numerous heroes were impatient to get back to their families now, as soon as they came to shore. All of them leapt to the land and everyone quickly went on in their respective directions. Fan Yifei, Lu Zhengping and Gao San Niangzi said there farewell to Shi Potian and returned to Guangdong immediately.

Bai Wanjian said to his father: "Father…as mother said earlier that she will throw herself in the sea if you don’t return by 8th of the third month. When she saw that you haven’t returned by the end of day then she decided to throw herself in the sea to commit suicide. She knew that I might try to stop
 
her so she locked my acupuncture point unexpectedly suddenly. Thank God, if you were late then even if you have come back…you might not have saved her."

Bai Zizai said: "What? You said that today is 8th of third month?" Bai Wanjian said: "Yes, today is 8th."
Bai Zizai also asked: "Its 8th of third month?"

Bai Wanjian nodded and said: "yes…its 8th of third month."

Bai Zizai cannot restrain himself to put out a hand to scratch his head and said: "We reached the island of heroes on 8th of last month. We stayed for more than 100 days in the island, how can it be 8th of third month today?"

Bai Wanjian said: "You might have forgotten, this year we have an intercalary second month…we actually had two second months this year."

Bai Zizai suddenly remembered and was more than happy. He said to Shi Potian: "Young boy, why didn't you me earlier? Ha, ha! This year has an intercalary in second month. This was good!"

Shi Potian asked: "What is this intercalary second month? Why do we have two second month this year?"

Bai Zizai said with a smile: "To have two second month is actually good….if there would have been three second months then also it would have been good…. so long as my wife is alive even if there are 100 second month still it won’t be any problem!" The people loudly laugh.

Bai Zizai turned his head to ask: "Well, didn't that old thief Ding Busi was with us…where he sneaked. He has disappeared without a trace?"

Grandma Shi said with a smile: "What do you want to do with him? Mei Wenxin had turned his ear and they have left to look for their daughter Mei Fanggu!"
 
The complexion of Shi Qing couple changed as soon as they heard the words "Mei Fanggu". They asked with one voice: "You said Mei Fanggu? What place are they looking?"

Grandma Shi said: "I listened to that female surnamed Mei to say in the ship a moment ago that they must arrive at Mt. Xionger and look for their daughter Mei Fanggu."

Min Rou said: "Thank God, finally ......Finally after inquiring this female's whereabouts, senior fellow-pupil! We We must catch up."

Shi Qing nodded and said: "Yes." Both people said there farewells and moved to leave immediately.

Bai Zizai shouted: "Everybody is lively, we have met after so much time… what’s the hurry….we should be together for at least a fortnight; then only you must leave."

Shi Qing said: "Elder Bai, you did not know about this Mei Fanggu. She is out big personal enemy. She killed our new born child. We have been looking for her for last 18 years in the martial art world but didn’t find any information about her. Today unexpectedly we know about her so we can’t delay, I am afraid that she will hide again if she gets another opportunity."

Bai Zizai said: "That female killed your son? Absurd…then let me come with you too, I will tear her to shreds. Your matter is my matter, Let us move all together. That old thief Ding Busi and that female thief, Mei Wenxin are their too. That old lady's family martial art "plum blossom fist" is quite fierce; you must need some helpers to avenge your enmity."

Once Bai Zizai saw that Grandma Shi and A’Xiu are safe then his mood was really happy, at this time, he would have consented to any matter.

Shi Qing and Min Rou thought that Mei Fanggu has Ding Busi and Mei Wenxin so it would be difficult for them to hold against them but if Bai Zizai and rest of them come with them than it would be quite easier. He could not have wished for anything else. Their fellow disciple from Shan Qing temple was coming on the next ship but Shi Qing and Min Rou were
 
more interested in taking revenge so they left immediately on the journey to mount Xionger with Shi Potian and other people.

They reached Mt. Xionger after some days. That Mt. Xionger and surrounding area was spread in several hundred miles and they did not know where exactly was Caoling area that Long Daozhu mentioned at island of heroes is. They looked for several days but found no trace at all.

The search tested the patience of Bai Zizai too. He asked Shi Qing: "Brother Shi, you are a famous and chivalrous person in the central plains. You are also such skilled in martial art, how did she manage to kill your son. What enmity that female thief had with you that she actually killed your son?"

Shi Qing sighed, said: "This matter is of previous generation retribution, I don’t know how to mention."

Min Rou said: "Senior fellow-disciple, you ......you can’t hide the facts and misdirect them intentionally? If you do not want to kill her to revenge then......I ......I " As she spoke, teardrops started flowing from her eyes.

Bai Zizai said: "Why will he not want to kill her? Oh…this is not good! Brother Shi, this female thief might be very beautiful, did you have some kind of an illicit relationship with her?"

The face of Shi Qing turned red and he said: "What are you talking about Elder Bai."

Bai Zizai stared at him and said: "it’s certainly so! This female thief would have become jealous and might have struck a vicious blow to kill your newborn son!"

Bai Zizai was not so sure about the matter but he knew that his words were somewhat close to the original facts.

Shi Qing was speechless. Min Rou said: "Elder Bai, my senior fellow- disciple had a acquaintance with her but actually, that ......That female surnamed Mei was in unrequited love with him. She was being jealous and
 
really hated me. She vented her anger on my child…fate has been so cruel on my poor child "

Suddenly, Shi Potian shouted: "Ohhh… no….!" He had a strange look on his face; he said: "What's wrong How can it be here?"

He immediately dashed to a left-hand side mountain ridge. From the start he was feeling that this mountain ridge looked really familiar. He used to see this mountain ridge as he grew up in his childhood but hasn’t seen it for such a long time but he was quite sure by now that this is the same place.

His lightness martial art had improved considerably now and he immediately moved up to that mountain ridge, bypassed a stretch of grove and came near several thatched-roofed huts. He only heard the yelp sound of a yellow dog which rushed out from a hut and leapt up to his shoulder. Shi Potian held him in his arms and called happily: "A’Xiu…A’Xiu….! Come here quickly…come here…..here is my mother." He started yelling: "Mother…mother…!"

He saw three people coming out of the thatched-roofed; a middle-aged woman with yellowish complexion was in fact the mother of Shi Potian. Ding Busi and Mei Wenxin standing on either of her side.

Shi Potian shouted in ecstatic voice: "Mother!" he gave that yellow dog to A’Xiu and arrived before his mother.

That female said in a calm voice: "You came back…"

Shi Potian said: "I ......" he suddenly heard the voice of Min Rou coming from behind suddenly: "Mei Fanggu, you have put on makeup to hide from me? You can run away across the horizon ......but today…finally
......finally…."

Shi Potian was in great surprise, he leaped quickly to block his mother’s body in case they attacked and said: "Madame Shi, you ......You have made a mistake, she is my mother; she can’t be your personal enemy."

Shi Qing said: "Is this woman your mother?"
 
Shi Potian said: "Yes…. I and mother used to live in this same place......actually one day my mother disappeared….I waited for several days but she did not came back so I went to look for her but couldn’t find so I went further and further and got lost and never came back until now. This yellow dog also disappeared. You look at him...isn’t he cute?" He hugged that yellow dog and got really delighted.

Shi Qing looked at the face of that ugly woman and said: "Fanggu, you already had a child then why did you kill my child?"

Although his voice sounded calm and full of tranquil to any normal person but his words were filled with bitter and astringent meaning.

That ugly faced woman Mei Fanggu, sneered and said with a smile, her stare filled with hate: "I like killing….I killed your son what does this have to do with my son…?"

Shi Potian said: "Mother, you can’t be serious…why will you kill the child of Master Shi and madam Shi? Why…?"

Mei Fanggu sneered and said: "I like killing anyone…I killed him so what
…?"

Min Rou pulled out her sword slowly and said to Shi Qing: "senior fellow- disciple, I do not need you to feel embarrassed, you can stand aside. If I could not kill her then you did not need to come and help me."

Shi Qing frowned and his facial expressions were showed that he was really worried.

Bai Zizai said: "Ding Laosi, I want to make say these words first, if you husbands and wife step aside from your beloved daughter then everyone from our side will also keep restrain and won’t interfere however if you two people will come forward to help your daughter then brother Shi and madam Shi has already asked for our help and we have not come to Mt. Xionger as spectators."
 
Ding Busi looked at them and their numerical advantage and came up with a plan immediately. He suddenly said: "Good…this will be as you said….This will be a fight between the Shi Qing couple against Mei Fanggu and Shi Potian. Both sides have a man and a woman; everybody can see a clear victory or defeat."

He and Shi Potian had fought once and he knew that the martial art skills of this young fellow were above the Shi Qing couple and if he fought alongside Mei Fanggu then they can’t be defeated.

Min Rou looked at Shi Potian and said: "Little brother, you cannot stop us from taking revenge?"

Shi Potian said: "I ......I ......Madame Shi ......I ......" he suddenly knelt down and called out: "I kowtow in front of you…Madame Shi…your conscience is best, please do not harm my mother." As he was saying these words, he kowtowed again and again with thumping sound.

Mei Fanggu shouted fiercely: "Gouzazhong…stand up….who wants you to ask favor for me to this cheap person?"

Min Rou was startled and she asked: "Why do you call him like this? He
......He is your own son. Is it possible that ......Is it possible that      "

She turned his head to the Shi Qing and said: "senior fellow-disciple, this young boy’s facial expression and the face of out Yu’er are a perfect replica, is it possible that you and Miss Mei….?" Although she didn’t complete her sentence but her meaning was obvious.

Shi Qing shook his head hastily and said: "It is not…it is not, how you can say these words?"

Bai Zizai laughed and said: "brother Shi, you did not need to be ashamed, this certainly was your own son with this woman; otherwise what kind of a woman calls her own son a Gouzazhong (bastard)? This girl surnamed Mei really hates you in her heart."
 
Min Rou bent her waist and put down the long sword on the ground and said: "Your three people can gather to have a reunion, I ......I must go." As she said these words, she turned around and moved away slowly.

Shi Qing held her arm anxiously and said fiercely: "Younger sister… you… if you have doubt about me then I will first kill this cheap person and prove my innocence."

Min Rou smiled bitterly and said: "Not only this child is entirely alike our Yu’er but he also resembles you too."

Shi Qing immediately stretched his hand and attacked Mei Fanggu to stab her. Unexpectedly Mei Fanggu did not counter the attack but instead threw out her chest. He saw that the sword was going to prick her chest but Shi Potian extended his hand to deflect the attack, the sword immediately broke in to two sections.

Mei Fanggu said with a grieved smile: "Good, Shi Qing, you must kill me?"

Shi Qing said fiercely: "Fine! Mei Fanggu… I will say these words clearly to you again. In this world I have always had only one person in my heart and that is Min Rou. I Shi Qing in my entire life never ever had a relation with another woman. If you were good towards me in your heart then why would you harm me? I have already once said these words to you about 22 years ago and I am repeating those words again."

Suddenly his voice turned gentle and he spoke in a calm manner: "Fanggu, your son is grown up now….he is an outstanding talent …. His martial art is amazing, he will be the best martial art expert in the entire realm within a few years; his character is modest and kind. Tell me, who is his father? Why don’t you speak about him?"

Shi Potian also said: "Yes, mother, who is my father? I ......What am I surnamed? Tell me… why do you call me Gouzazhong?"

Mei Fanggu said with a sad smile: "Who is your father….in this entire world… only I know."
 
She turned to Shi Qing and said: "Shi Qing, I already know that you have only Min Rou in your heart….this was the reason of my self-destruction and this pathetic appearance."

Shi Qing muttered: "Your self-destruction and this appearance…but why?"

Mei Fanggu said: "In the past, tell me who was more beautiful, I or that Min Rou?"

Shi Qing put out a hand to grasp his wife's palm and said with hesitation: "20 years ago, you were the most famous and beautiful woman in the martial arts world, although my wife appearance is not bad but was actually inferior to you."

Mei Fanggu showed a faint smile.

Ding Busi said: "Yes, You Shi Qing are a stupid person…who do not know good and evil, If you knew that my Fanggu is was most beautiful and better than everyone else then why didn’t you love her?"

Shi Qing did not answer but gripped tightly his wife's palm, as if for fear that she will get angry and then depart again.

Mei Fanggu also asked: "In the past whose martial art was better, mine or her, who was better?"

Shi Qing said: "Your family martial art "plum blossom fist" is really strange kind of a martial art skill.…"

Ding Busi again inserted his expert comments: "What strange? This is a stupid excuse, you can’t be self satisfied like your Grandpa and say you do not know and were surprised due to ignorance. If you see a camel then you can’t say it’s just a horse with swollen back!"

Shi Qing said: "Good, your martial art skill mirrored the techniques of Ding family palm technique and plum blossom fist while at that time Min Rou was not fully versed with the Shan Qing martial art skills, so you were better."
 
Mei Fanggu also asked: "Then in literary skills, who was better?"

Shi Qing said: "You used to compose poem using fixed-style verses, we husband and wife were literate but have limited literary skills, how can we even compare ourselves with you!"

Shi Potian felt really strange and thought secretly: "My mother is so well versed in literary skills and martial arts…why didn’t she teach me anything?"

Mei Fanggu sneered and said: "If you compare the skill of needlework or the essence of culinary skills; was I inferior to your younger sister Min."

Shi Qing shook his head and said: "My wife cannot even patch a piece of cloth or sew the garments properly; she can fry the eggs but not much else, how can she be compared to you on these skills?"

Mei Fanggu said fiercely: "Then look at us and tell me, why is that I am stuck here with this icy face and did not have any good times in past so many years but look at your younger sister Min Rou, she still looks the same as earlier and is actually much happy? Why ......Why ......" As she spoke her voice sound trembled and got really excited but face still was wooden and none of the muscle move.

Shi Qing said slowly: "Madam Mei, I do not know. You were better than my younger sister in every kind…not only her but me too…you were stronger than me. When I was with you then I always felt inferior to you, this is why I couldn’t stay with you.

Mei Fanggu got lost in thought for half of the day; she cried and rushed back into the thatched roofed hut. Mei Wenxin and Ding Busi followed her.

Min Rou sighed and said to Shi Qing: "senior fellow-disciple, Madam Mei is a cruel fated person, although she has killed our children, I I am much
happier than her, I know in your heart that you always were true to me…we should leave….this enmity did not need to avenged."

Shi Qing said: "We don’t need to avenge the death of our child?"
 
Min Rou said mournfully: "Killing her now won’t make things any different…forgive her."

Suddenly they heard the sound of Ding Busi yelling: "Fanggu….why do you have to be so shortsighted? Why do have to kill yourself!"

Shi Qing and others were surprised.

They only saw Mei Wenxin coming out holding the body of Mei Fanggu in her arms. The sleeve of the left arm was held high, it revealed her snow white tender and delicate skin and a scarlet spot on it. This was actually a virgin's spot.

Mei Wenxin said in her grating voice: "Mei Fanggu maintained her moral integrity, until now she was still a virgin; obviously this Gouzazhong is not her son."

Everyone looked at Shi Potian; their heart filled with suspicion: "Mei Fanggu is a maiden so naturally she cannot be his mother. Who then is his mother? Who is his father? Why did Mei Fanggu confessed that she was his mother?"

Shi Qing and Min Rou thought: "Was it that when Mei Fanggu captured our newborn son in the past, she hasn't killed him? Afterward she sent us a corpse of some other child covered with blood with same clothes? If this young boy was not our son then why did she called him Gouzazhong? How can he and Yu’er resemble so much?"

Shi Potian was confused and thought: "Who is my father? Who is my mother? Who am I?"

Since Mei Fanggu had committed suicide, there were so many questions but no one alive to answer…

We live with several unanswered question…sometimes we die with them too …

THE END

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