The Return of the Condor Heroes -
Chapter 2 – Child of an old friend, Part 9
Chapter 2 – Child of an old friend, Part 9
Yang Guo and Ke Zhen E were sharing the same room, and in the middle of the night he quietly got up. When he heard Ke Zhen E snoring in his deep sleep, he quietly opened the door, he slipped out of the room and went over to the wall, and to a Cinnamonum Cassia tree, climbed it, and leapt over the wall slipping away. The dogs outside the wall picked up a human scent, and started to bark. Yang Guo was prepared; he took out a piece of bone out of his bag, and threw it to them. The dogs bit onto the bone, and stopped their barking.
Yang Guo checked his bearings, and headed southwest, and in seven, eight li, he had reached the Iron Spear Monastery. He pushed open the doors and called out, “Father, I’m here!” He heard a noise coming in from within. It was Ouyang Feng. Yang Guo was happy, he went inside and felt out a table, and found candle. He lit it and saw Ouyang Feng reclining on top of some statues, his body unwell, and his breathing weak. He and Guo Jing have suffered similar injuries, but because Guo Jing has amassed an abundant amount of rich internal energy over the years, he is able to recover very rapidly; Ouyang Feng is closer to old age, his energy isn’t as good.
What had happened on the previous night was that Ouyang Feng had come again for Yang Guo, but Ke Zhen E was awake in the room, so they started to fight. Afterwards when Huang Rong and Guo Jing came and joined in the battle, Yang Guo was watching. Eventually both Ouyang Feng and Guo Jing had suffered injuries, and so Ouyang Feng escaped. In the chaos, everyone forgot about Yang Guo, and he sneaked away after Ouyang Feng. At first Ouyang Feng was moving at a fast pace, Yang Guo could not catch up, but Ouyang Feng’s injury was agitated, moving was hard. Yang Guo eventually caught up and took him aside to rest. Yang Guo knew that if he didn’t return Huang Rong and Ke Zhen E would come and look for him, and feared his stepfather’s life would be in danger. So he arranged with Ouyang Feng to meet in the Iron Spear Monastery. Both were familiar with the monastery so knew where it was. When Yang Guo was guarding the road, Guo Jing and the others had come up behind them. Only now, in the middle of the night, was he able to come and check. Yang Guo took seven or eight buns out of his bag and handed them over to Ouyang Feng, “Father, eat something.” Ouyang Feng had nothing to eat for the whole day, he was frightened he would meet one of his enemies, and was stuck in the monastery all day. He ate a few of the buns and was conscious for a while and asked, “Where are you and the others at?” Yang Guo told him everything.
Ouyang Feng said, “The one named Guo suffered from one of my palms, it would be difficult for him to recover within seven days. His wife will have to look after him, she won’t leave his side, and I’m worried about that Ke old man. If he doesn’t come tonight, he will be here tomorrow. It’s a pity I don’t have an ounce of energy in me. Hmm…I think I did kill his brothers but I don’t know whether is it four or five.” As he said this he let out a cough.
Yang Guo sat on the floor, his hand on his cheeks, many thoughts going through his little mind and suddenly thought to himself, “I’ve got it, I’ll put some sharp objects on the floor first, so when the old man comes he’ll suffer some injuries.”
He then went over to the table with the candles on it, and tipped out the candles and collected the holders, and placed them by the entrance, and then closed the entrance, and emptied an old incense holder and placed it on top of the door. He looked around, trying to think of more traps for any enemies, and saw a large bell hung in the room. Three people could not move the bell; it weighed about a thousand kilos. On the bell’s neck were an extremely thick metal hook and a large wooden trestle system. The Iron Spear monastery was old and hasn’t been maintained for a long time, but the large bell and system was undamaged. He thought, “If that old man comes, I will climb into the bell, he won’t find me.” He held the candle holders and was looking for sharp objects in the hall, when he suddenly heard a ‘du du du’ sound from the road, caused by a metal staff, and knew it was Ke Zhen E and was going to blow out the candles when he thought, “That old man is blind, I don’t need to blow it out.” The sounds came closer, Ouyang Feng sat up and wanted to transfer all of his body’s strength into his right hand, wanting to attack first and cause a violent death. Yang Guo turned the metal carvings on the candle holder up, and guarded Ouyang Feng and thought, although my martial arts skills are low, I will do my best to help stepfather to rid of the old man.
Ke Zhen E knew that Ouyang Feng had a serious injury and would not be able to travel far; the Iron Spear Monastery was close by and an old hangout of his. He won’t stay at an inn or at a family’s shelter; he would hide in the monastery. He thought about his five brothers dying at his hands and today he has a chance to get revenge, would he be able to say no? In the midst of the night he woke up and called out, “Guo’er, Guo’er!” and when he heard no reply, he thought he was sound asleep. He didn’t check and hurriedly went out. The two dogs outside the house were busy gnawing on the bone that Yang Guo threw at them and didn’t bark when they saw him. He slowly made his way to the monastery, and listened carefully. Indeed there was the sound of breathing within the monastery. He shouted out, “Old animal, old man Ke is here, if you’ve got balls, come out now.” As he said this he slammed his walking staff onto the ground. Ouyang Feng was afraid that he will lose the chi in his “dan tian” and didn’t move.
Ke Zhen E called out a few times, and stabbed his walking staff outside the monastery doors. He entered only to hear a clattering noise from above as the incense holder fell, his left foot stepped onto the candleholders metal protrusions and pierced his boots. Ke Zhen E didn’t understand and waved his metal walking stick about, when suddenly there was an extremely loud noise deafening him, he knocked away the incense holder and it rolled onto the floor, luckily the metal protrusions didn’t pierce his foot. By his side were some more of those candleholders, one of them was piercing his shoulder. He pulled it out with his left hand and blood poured. He didn’t dare to be careless anymore and listened for Ouyang Feng’s breathing. His foot sliding across the ground, getting closer step by step, until he was three meters away. He held out his iron walking staff and said, “Old animal, what have you got to say today?” Ouyang Feng had already transferred all his energy into his right hand, when the opposition raises his weapon he would send out a palm, and take Ke Zhen E with him. Ke Zhen E knew that his enemy had suffered a serious injury, but didn’t know how serious, he held his ground waiting for the opponent to move first; then he would know how much strength he has. The two of them stood there silently, motionless. Ke Zhen E could hear his breathing was heavy, his mind suddenly filled with the voices of his stepbrothers Zhu Cong, Han Bao Ju, Nan Xi Ren and others. The voices urged him to act, he couldn’t resist and with a loud shout, unleashed “King Qin’s Whipping Stone” (qin wang bian shi), sending the iron walking staff smashing downwards.
Ouyang Feng moved liked lightning, wanting to strike out his palm, but as he moved his arm half an inch he couldn’t hold on and fell down to the floor. He heard the a loud noise, sparks flying everywhere, the iron walking staff smashing down on the bricks of the floor. Ke Zhen E missed with his first move, and raised his weapon again, and struck out in the direction of Ouyang Feng. The other day, Ouyang Feng just lightly pushed back and managed to force the iron walking staff out of his hand, and forced him to leap over the roof. But today Ouyang Feng’s body was weak. He couldn’t even use an ounce of his strength; he could only roll on the floor, trying to avoid the strikes. Ke Zhen E used the “Dropping the Demon” set of strokes, with each stance faster than the last. Ouyang Feng was struggling to avoid the strokes, and eventually was hit by the “Concealed Medicine Poke” (Chu Fu Yao Cha) on the left shoulder.
Yang Guo was listening from the side, and couldn’t hide his anguish, he wanted to help his stepfather, but with his level of martial arts, he would just be sending himself to his death. Ke Zhen E managed to strike Ouyang Feng again; this time on the body. Ouyang Feng deserved what he was getting today, but his internal energy was deep. Though he had no power to attack, he could still avoid and parry some attacks. Only superficial injuries were apparent on him, his joints and his internal organs were still unharmed. Ke Zhen E was slightly surprised, and thought to himself, that old animal’s ability is certainly not simple, every time when it seems like I’m about to hit him, he manages to slip away. He manages to dissipate ninety percent of the power in my hits. If I utilize a soft type of attack, he won’t be able to dodge. He then transferred his energy into his staff, and attacked his head. Ouyang Feng moved his head and managed to avoid the attacks for a few times but all of a sudden, he was trapped by the walking staff’s wind, and he suffered a blow on the head. He managed to keep a hold of his life.
By luck he found himself within grasping range of Ke Zhen E and grabbed his chest. Ke Zhen E moved his walking staff out of reach of the enemy. He could only retaliate with his hands. The both of them rolled down on the floor together. Ouyang Feng didn’t dare release his hands, and held on tighter. His left hand reached for his waist, he felt something solid and reached out to grab it. It was a knife. It was Zhang Ah Sheng (One of Ke Zhen E’s stepbrothers) weapon, the slaughtering cow blade, however contrary to its name; it can’t actually be used to slaughter cows. The knife can chop gold and break jade; its sharpness cannot be compared. After Cheng Ahsheng was killed by Chen Xuanfeng in the plains of Mongolia, Ke Zhen E has kept the knife by his side to remind himself of him, and it never left him. Ouyang Feng went closer in to his body and snatched the knife out; he twisted his left arm, and aimed to pierce his enemy’s side. As the knife was about to enter, Ke Zhen E released his staff, and punched Ouyang Feng with his right hand a few times. Ouyang Feng was dazed, and waved the knife in the direction of the enemy. Ke Zhen E heard the wind of the knife, and dodged away, only to hear a ‘dang’ sound, the sound didn’t die down; the knife had struck the hall’s large bell. Although this thrust by Ouyang Feng didn’t carry much force, the knife’s blade was extremely sharp, and caused it to quiver.
Yang Guo was standing next to the bell, the tip of the knife was heading for his cheeks. Yang Guo was frightened, his heart jumping to his throat, and quickly scrambled on top of the bell. After this move, Ouyang Feng went behind the bell. The bell’s ringing had not diminished so Ke Zhen E could not hear the breathing sounds. He went to the side and tried to pick up the sounds. The moonlight shone on the hall in the monastery; his hair was a mess, and he was leaning on the staff listening, his appearance frightening. Yang Guo saw what had happened and reached out for the knife, and then thrust it at the bell, causing a loud ‘dang’ sound, covering their breathing. Ke Zhen E heard where the sound came from and headed in that direction. Ouyang Feng was still behind the bell. Ke Zhen E stuck out his walking staff, Ouyang Feng evaded it.
The staff struck the bell and caused another loud deafening noise. Yang Guo felt his eardrums starting to hurt. Ke Zhen E understood, and didn’t aim for the bell. The ringing sound had not disappeared when another noise came from behind, getting clearer. Ouyang Feng was concerned, although Guo Jing is hurt, if the ringing continues, Huang Rong would eventually come and help. While the sound of the bell was deafening, he would take the chance to lightly step away and escape from the back of the hall. But Ke Zhen E had very sensitive hearing, even with the loud ringing noise; he could still distinguish between light sounds, and heard the steps of Ouyang Feng. He knocked the bell with his staff, to lure out Ouyang Feng; when he is out in the open, he would attack his upper body with his walking staff. Although Ouyang Feng strength is weak at the moment, he has experienced a lifetime of storms and squalls (troubles and battles), how would he not know the tactics and tricks used in battle? When he saw Ke Zhen E’s right shoulder was raised, he knew what was going on, before the iron walking staff was raised, he moved back behind the bell. After he had suffered the serious injury, Ouyang Feng had already found it hard to move; though he has developed a profound level of internal energy in the last ten years, in this life-threatening situation he was unable to call upon it.
Ke Zhen E called out, “Even if I don’t kill you, you are going to die,” and went over to the bell. Yang Guo saw the two circling around the bell, if this is kept up, his stepfather will definitely weaken. He suddenly thought of something, and climbed up on top of the bell and waved his hands about, trying to signal with his hands. Ouyang Feng was preoccupied with his enemy and didn’t see this. Only after two more circles did he see Yang Guo, his hands pointing to the floor and telling him to move away. He didn’t understand what he meant, but if he wanted him to move away, he must have a plan so he hurried move out the way. Ke Zhen E didn’t move, he first needed to hear which direction his enemy moved in. Yang Guo took off his shoes and threw them to the back of the hall, making two thud sounds. Ke Zhen E was baffled; he had heard Ouyang Feng was moving towards the doors so how come there was a noise at the back of the hall? When Ke Zhen E was distracted, Yang Guo grasped the ‘Slaughter Cow’ knife, and with all his strength chopped at the wooden beam holding the large bell up. The beam was thick, Yang Guo was weak, the precious blade sharp; could he chop the beam in half? However the metal bell was extremely heavy, and after a few chops by the blade, the beam could not support the bell any longer. A creaking sound followed and the beam snapped, the large bell generated a wind as it fell, heading straight down on the Ke Zhen E’s head.
Ke Zhen E had already heard the wind generated above him, thinking it was strange. The large bell fell down, he couldn’t escape but the bell landed straight down on the iron walking staff, the staff held up the bell. As the bell was hindered he took this chance and slipped out of the way. He then heard a metallic snapping noise, and the metal walking staff snapped in half. The bell tipped over and rolled along the ground, hitting Ke Zhen E in the shoulder, and flinging him out of the hall. He rolled around a few times and eventually landed on his nose, causing a nosebleed, his forehead also had a cut. Ke Zhen E was blind and couldn’t see anything, and didn’t know what caused this. He was afraid that there was some strange being in the hall, and got up and escaped.
Ouyang Feng was by the side watching this, his heart able to relax and said, “What a pity, what a pity. Good son, very clever!”
Yang Guo climbed down, pleased with himself, and said, “That old man won’t dare to come back.”
Ouyang Feng shook his head saying, “He has a profound hatred for me, after a while, he will come back.
Yang Guo said, “We must go quickly.”
Ouyang Feng shook his head again and said, “My injury is very serious, I won’t be able to get far.” He had escaped temporarily, but now he felt his bones were coming loose, he couldn’t even move one step.
“What should we do?”
Ouyang Feng thought for a while and said, “There is a way. Break another bell’s beam, and put me underneath it.”
“How would you get out?” asked Yang Guo.
“I’ll be meditating under the bell for seven days. After my strength has returned, I will be able to escape. If the old man returns within these seven days, he doesn’t have the ability to lift the bell up. If Huang Rong doesn’t come, I doubt if there is anyone that can break through. If Huang Rong does come, then the plan may fail.”
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