Chapter 10 – Unexpected Turn – Juedai Shuangjiao/ Legendary Siblings / Handsome Siblings / The Proud Twins

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Chapter 10 – Unexpected Turn

(Part 1, translated by Athena)

The cave was deep and there was a cold and eerie atmosphere. Xiao Yu’er lead the way, Zhao Quanhai followed with a torch. Liu Ruyu deliberately let Feng Tianyu follow her, Feng Tianyu put his hand on the hilt of his sword and he had a scornful smile on his face.

After walking for some time, the cave widened and up ahead was light. It was very strange, there were five men standing there. Three of them were standing and the other two sat down and exchanged palms. They were competing internal energy. One was a Buddhist monk wearing a yellow robe; the other was a skinny old man.
Their eyes bugged out and were sweating heavily now. The other three looked a bit worried, when Xiao Yu’er and others came the three men just ignored them.

Xiao Yu’er looked around and saw that Zhao Quanhai, Liu Ruyu and Feng Tianyu turned pale. It would seem that they recognized these five men and were very much afraid of them. These five men must have higher martial arts and status than them.

Zhao Quanhai muttered:”How come these five freaks are here too?”

Xiao Yu’er smiled:”Freaks? Tell me about them? Are they famous?”

Zhao Quanhai sighed:”They are very famous.” Xiao Yu’er said:”Hmm?”

Zhao Quanhai said:”Old master, you must have heard of the Wang family of Huai Nan and their [Invincible Eagle Claws], this skill has been renowned for almost 70 years.”

Xiao Yu’er said:”Hmm, yes I have heard of that.”

Zhao Quanhai said:”That old skinny man is the head of the Eagle Claw family. He is called [Regarding people like chickens] Wang Yizhua.”

Xiao Yu’er said:”Regarding people as chickens? What kind of name is that?”

Zhao Quanhai smiled wryly:”He created that name for himself. He sees everyone as chickens and eagles catch chicken with ease, meaning he is invincible.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed:”An arrogant and funny man….”

He looked at the Buddhist monk, he was tall and muscular. He was at least a head taller than Wang Yizhua.

The two of them still exchanged palms and compared to that monk Wang Yizhua looked like the chicken and the monk like an eagle.

Xiao Yu’er laughed:”Who looks more like a chicken in your opinion?”

Zhao Quanhai wanted to laugh he did not dare to, so he tried his best to keep his laughter inside. But he looked very silly by doing so, he coughed clearing his throat and said:”That Buddhist monk is reverend Huangji (translated yellow chicken) of Jiming (chicken cackle) Monastery on Mount Wutai.”

Xiao Yu’er burst with laughter:”The chicken wants to be the eagle, but eagle is called a chicken! These two are destined to be enemies of each other…..!”

Suddenly a voice interrupted:”Silence!”

The voice did not sound to loud but it was very deep. Xiao Yu’er’s ears felt numb and saw that the person shouting was an old man in a blue robe. The old man did not turn around and was observing the palm clash between Wang Yizhua and Huangji.

Xiao Yu’er asked Zhao Quanhai:”Who is that brat?” Zhao Quanhai looked pale then red, he looked at the old man first and then looked at Xiao Yu’er’s snakes. He finally whispered:”This gentleman’s internal energy is unmatched. He is called [One roar to open a mountain], the Xiaoyun hermit. He is an old friend of reverend Huangji.”

Xiao Yu’er said:”Why won’t he help since they are old friends.”

Zhao Quanhai whispered even softer:”Wang Yizhua is not here alone, those two men standing next to him are his friends. One is the leader of the Tiannan Sword School, Sun Tiannan, renowned for his sword and palm techniques. The other is the leader of the Zhejiang Qiu family; this family became famous for their excellent spear skills, seventh master Qiu Qingpo. The Wang and Qiu family have been friends for many years.”

He took a deep breath and continued:”Furthermore, with the reputation of reverend Huangji and Wang Yizhua they will not allow people to help them.”

Xiao Yu’er sneered: “What reputation! If that Wang Yizhua came alone that Xiaoyun hermit would have attacked Wang Yizhua a long time ago.”

He made a friendly gesture to Qiu Qingpo and smiled:”How are you doing seventh brother?”

Qiu Qingpo looked quite handsome, fair and solemn; he looked at Xiao Yu’er strange looks and asked with a frown:”Whom are you calling seventh brother?”

Xiao Yu’er smiled:”Don’t you recognize me? I have brought Zhao Quanhai, Feng Tianyu and Miss Liu Ruyu with me to help you. You and brother Sun Tiannan can get rid of that Xiaoyun hermit without fear, I will deal with that Buddhist monk.”

Qiu Qingpo was dumbfounded, the Xiaoyun hermit’s face changed. He made a sharp and loud cry making the fires sway. Wang Yizhua and Huangji were both disturbed by that cry and their palm contact was severed.

These five men were famous martial artists; their reactions were very fast. Immediately, all of them presented their weapons. Buddhist monk Huangji leapt up into the air and glided several metres away.

The Xiaoyun hermit roared:”The Wang and Qiu families have a good reputation, do you really want to ruin that good name!”

Xiao Yu’er lifted his head and laughed loudly:”You are all prominent dignitaries, but your actions are no different from ordinary thugs. Everyone has his ulterior motive.”

The Xiaoyun hermit looked angrily and said:”What do you want?”

Xiao Yu’er said:”Don’t get excited first! We’re not here to help either side. I just wanted to save you from dying at each other’s hands before finding the treasure.”

Wang Yizhua looked at him with his sharp eyes and said deeply:”Who are you?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed:”Don’t you know me? Ask him?” He pointed at Zhao Quanhai. All their eyes were staring at Zhao Quanhai.

Zhao Quanhai lowered his head and stuttered:”This old master Yu, he is known as [the Saint of 10,000 snakes, the sage of 10,000 swords, the king of kings undefeated throughout the China, the earthshaking Yu Wangzi.]”

Xiao Yu’er nodded and smiled:”You forgot a few words, but that is about it. If you haven’t heard of this name before you are really ignorant.”

Wang Yizhua angrily said:”You little brat, how dare you use such a name!”

Zhao Quanhai said:”Old master Yu has superb martial arts, he had just killed the Three Swords of Jinlin, the Grey Bat, the Owl and the Azure Serpent Lord.”

When those five men heard that they were shocked.

The Xiaoyun hermit looked at Zhao Quanhai and sternly asked:”How did you know that they died at his hands? Did you see him killing them?”

Zhao Quanhai said:”I…I…Of course, I saw it. Their bodies are still there.”

Although he did not see it, but he truly believed that Xiao Yu’er killed those martial arts experts. Furthermore, he had put himself in an awkward position and really could not say [No, I did not see it.]

Those five men looked at Xiao Yu’er, but this time they looked at him differently. These five men looked down upon Zhao Quanhai’s martial arts but they did not doubt the words and the name of the 17 joined guard agencies of the two rivers.

Xiao Yu’er looked around and smiled:”There was only one treasure, but somehow there are several maps. Don’t you find that a bit strange? Isn’t it more sensible to find the treasure first?”

If he said the same words just a few moments ago, no one would have listened. Even if they listened they would not pay attention to it. But now his status had gone up and his words carried a lot of weight, Wang Yizhua and Buddhist monk Huangji were beginning to think that something was amiss.

Xiao Yu’er looked up and saw a gap, suddenly the moon moved and moonlight shone through the gap.

Everyone said with surprise:”It is time.”

The Xiaoyun hermit blew out a torch and Wang Yizhua waved his palm to extinguish the other, the moonlight revealed a stone path, the way to the treasure.

Wang Yizhua was first to move forward, the Buddhist monk Huangji used his sleeves to whisk at him. Wang Yizhua’s hands formed two claws and were about to engage the sleeves. Qiu Qingpo took out his spear and aimed at the Xiaoyun hermit. Liu Ruyu’s used her sabre to hack at Feng Tianyu three times; Feng Tianyu used his sword to counter-attack twice. They were all starting to fight again.

Xiao Yu’er stood quite far away from them and sneered:”Why are you so excited? We don’t even know if there is a treasure. We can all fight to the death after finding the treasure.”

All of them stopped fighting.

The rock that blocked the path could be pushed away and a tunnel appeared. Wang Yizhua, Buddhist monk Huangji, Qiu Qingpo, the Xiaoyun hermit, Sun Tiannan, Zhao Quanhai, Feng Tianyu, Liu Ruyu entered in this order. They were watching each other and looked very solemn, like they could face their greatest enemy.

Xiao Yu’er was the last one, he was smiling. But he too was excited and curious; he could not guess what could happen at any moment.

All of a sudden, Wang Yizhua and Buddhist monk Huangji cried out in surprise. Both of them were leaders of a leading martial arts school and had profound insight and knowledge, so something must have caught their attention. Soon the others hurried for and cried out in surprise too and were a bit stunned.

At the end of the tunnel they could see about ten coffins and there was no trace of a treasure.

In the dark, those coffins looked very eerie, every coffin had an ancestral plaque above it. The wind was blowing quite hard here, the robe of Buddhist monk Huangji swayed in the wind. Liu Ruyu moved closer to Zhao Quanhai. They counted a total of 13 coffins, there were several ceremonial candles burning in here. Their torches were extinguished before they entered so it was very dark in here. Xiao Yu’er carefully looked around and he saw a plaque that wrote: [The ancestral resting place of the patriarchs].

Xiao Yu’er was a bit scared now and asked:”Where are we?”

Qiu Qingpo said deeply:”Perhaps this is the ancestral resting place of the previous Emei leaders. If it is, this is a sacred place.”

When Buddhist monk Huangji heard the word [sacred], he frowned and said:”If this is a sacred place, we must leave here at once.”

The Xiaoyun hermit agreed:”Trespassing on someone’s sacred property is a serious offence.”

Wang Yizhua’s eyes glittered and interrupted:”If that is the case, you should all leave.”

Buddhist monk Huangji thought for a moment and then turned around.

Feng Tianyu suddenly said loudly:”Reverend, please wait. Don’t be deceived.”

Buddhist monk Huangji said:”Deceived? What do you mean?”

Feng Tianyu said:”A coffin is good place to hide a treasure, won’t you agree?”

Buddhist monk Huangji stopped walking, the Xiaoyun hermit and Wang Yizhua moved to a coffin.

All of a sudden eight doors were opened around them, eight very strong lights illuminated the room. The light stunned everyone and the light shone in their eyes causing them close their eyes for a moment.

When they opened their eyes they saw swords.

A deep voice spoke from behind the lights:”Who are these audacious thugs! How dare you trespass on Emei sacred grounds!”

Another voice said sternly:”Trespassers, die! No need to ask for their identities!”

His voice was powerful and threatening.

Buddhist monk Huangji suddenly exclaimed:”Are you reverend Shenxi?

The voice only grunted.

Buddhist monk Huangji said:”Reverend, don’t you recognize me? I am Buddhist monk Huangji of Mount Wutai.”

That voice said solemnly:”Old friendships are irrelevant on sacred ground. Go!”

When he said [go], swords as fast lightening stabbed towards the throats and other vital spots of Wang Yizhua, Huangji and others.

Xiao Yu’er did not dodge when he saw those swords, those swords may be lethal but the bites of those snakes were even more lethal. Xiao Yu’er lifted his head and laughed loudly.

When he laughed, those snakes of his stuck out their tongues and shook their little heads. Everyone was surprised and shocked to see snakes on Xiao Yu’er’s body.

The two swords aimed at Xiao Yu’er retracted; the wielders of the swords were two Taoist priests in purple robes and a moustache.

The Taoist priest on the left raised his sword and said sternly:”Little child, why are you laughing?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed:”I only laugh at the arrogance and ignorance of the Emei School.”

All the Taoist priests around started to shout angrily.

That Taoist priest stepped forward and shouted:”What are you saying?”

The Taoist priest spoke with a heavy Sichuan accent.

Xiao Yu’er blinked his eyes and said:”Let me ask you this, how did you know that we trespassed on sacred grounds?”

That Taoist priest sneered:”How can we allow intruders walk about freely on our sacred grounds, how can we not know that there are intruders!”

Xiao Yu’er sneered back:”If we were discovered by you after we invaded the sacred grounds we have nothing to say. But it seems that you were awaiting us. I find it hard to believe that Emei could predict our coming.”

That Taoist priest said loudly:”That is none of your business.”

Xiao Yu’er said:”It is my business, because you were informed of our coming. And how did that informer know we were coming? Have you thought about that?”

Zhao Quanhai loudly shouted:”Very true! The informer has set us up against each other! He wants us to battle each to the death…..”

Suddenly he shouted painfully, it seemed that he was injured.

That Taoist priest frowned and said deeply:”Set up? There is no set up!”

Xiao Yu’er said loudly:”If you would stop fighting, I will explain what is happening here.”

Another Taoist priest said:”Don’t be deceived by them.”

That Taoist priest said loudly:”Yes, let us capture them first and interrogate them.”

Xiao Yu’er regretted that he did not lure away those snakes first, because he knew that he would be bitten if he tried to avoid the attacks of those two Taoist priests.
In his fluster he threw the small boxes of the Azure Serpent Lord at the Taoist priests, but the Taoist priest twirled his sword and the boxes were sliced into two. The antidote, snake food, etc. all fell down on the ground, the Taoist priest now aimed his sword at Xiao Yu’er.

Xiao Yu’er sighed and smiled wryly.

All of a sudden the lights were extinguished and Xiao Yu’er felt someone holding his hand.

A voice said softly:”Follow me.”

Xiao Yu’er felt that the hand was very cold and soft and the voice was sweet and familiar. He felt warm and comfortable hearing that voice and whispered:”Are you Tie Xinlan?”

The voice whispered back:”Yes.”

Xiao Yu’er followed her and sighed softly:”You’re much better than me in the field of secretive weaponry. Even I cannot put out all those torches at once.”

Tie Xinlan said:”I did not put out those lights.”

Xiao Yu’er was a bit shocked and asked:”Who did?”

When the lights were out there was a dead silence, but soon people started to shout and yell again.

Many people shouted:”Who is there?”

“Are there more intruders?”

“Light the torches, quick!”

Before Tie Xinlan quick tell Xiao Yu’er what had happened, the lights were lit again. The Emei disciples were standing with their backs against a wall and Wang Yizhua and others had gathered around.

Another two people had entered the room; they wore white gowns and were very pale. But they had beautiful long black hair and pretty eyes.

Xiao Yu’er had wondered what martial arts experts had put out the light; he was surprised to see two beautiful young girls here.

All the people gathered here were top martial artists even those Taoist priests in purple robes were experts of the Emei School, but these girls looked rather conceited and showed contempt.

Their arrogance silenced everyone.

The Xiaoyun hermit scoffed:”Mere girls can barge into the sacred grounds of Emei, and the Emei disciples can only watch. This is truly laughable.”

While he was talking he glanced at reverend Shenxi and the Emei disciples, everyone looked surprised and angry.

Two girls in white were not impressed by the anger and surprise of the Emei disciples. The girl on the left was a bit shorter; she had a long oval face, eyebrows like sharp willow leaves. There was a hint of naughtiness in the conceited look of her.

The girl on the right was a bit more slender; she had big eyes and some freckles on her nose. She looked cold but yet sweet.

The girl on the right scoffed:”Sister Helu, did you hear that? This is the sacred shrine of the Emei School, we are not allowed here.”

That Helu said coldly:”We can go anywhere we please, who dares to stop us? And who can stop us?”

Reverend Shenxi was angered now and said sternly:”Where did you come from? How dare you to be this insolent!”

After saying that, the Emei disciples attacked. Two swords were aimed at the chests’s of the girls.

The two girls did not pay any attention to it and when the swords were near them, they waved their hands and redirected the swords. Nobody could exactly see how they did that, but the swords were redirected back. The Taoist priest on the left stabbed his sword into the shoulder of the Taoist priest on the right and the Taoist priest on the right side had hacked off the hair bun of the Taoist priest on the left.

They could not lift their hands anymore; they were too terrified and shocked.

Even Wang Yizhua, Buddhist monk Huangji were stunned.

Reverend Shenxi leapt forward, his face was pale and exclaimed:”Is that the [jaded flower stealth substitution]?”

Helu said indifferently:”Good eyesight!”

The other girl said coldly:”Do you know now where we come from? Do you still think we are too arrogant?”

Reverend Shenxi looked awfully pale and said:”Misses, Emei and Floral Palace have no connections. May I enquire why you are here?”

Helu said:”We just here to look at the treasure of Yan Nantian. We don’t want it, we just want to have a look at it.”

Reverend Shenxi repeated with surprise:”The treasure of Yan Nantian?”

The girl on the right said:”Stop pretending! Just hand over the treasure and give us a look. Or else….”

Reverend Shenxi said:”Yan Nantian has no ties with Emei, why should there be a treasure of Yan Nantian on Mount Emei?”

He looked around and suddenly he understood, he smiled sadly:”All of you have come here to look for a treasure.”

Wang Yizhua, Buddhist monk Huangji and others kept quiet. They were afraid to talk; with the disciples of the Floral Palace present it would be wise to keep silent.

Reverend Shenxi shouted:”It is a trap, we are all deceived. If we start to fight now, we will be falling into the traps of that mastermind.”

Xiao Yu’er had backed away from everyone, he was thinking: [When I said that, you did not believe me. Why should they believe you now.]

He looked at the two girls, and was thinking of something.

The girl on the right said:”In other words, you claim that there is no treasure here.”

Reverend Shenxi sighed:”I have never heard of a treasure being hidden here.”

The girl on the right asked Helu:”Sister Helu, shall we believe his words?”

Helu said indifferently:”I never believe other people’s words.”

Reverend Shenxi said:”I can’t help it if you don’t believe me, Miss.”

The girl on the right said:”You can’t help it, but we can. We will search this place.”

Reverend Shenxi said earnestly:”Search!?!”

The girl on the right said:”Yes. We will look through those coffins. Those seem like a good place to hide a treasure, why don’t you open up those treasure so we can have a look.”

Before she finished her sentence all the Emei disciples were furious.

Reverend Shenxi was shaking with anger, he restrained his anger and said solemnly:”The late leaders of Emei are resting in those coffins, no one can open those coffins.”

The girl on the right sneered:”If there are only corpses in those coffins, would a look really be harmful? They won’t lose a bone by opening the coffins, could it be that you’re trying to hide something else. Let’s say a treasure!”

Reverend Shenxi shouted angrily:”Nobody is allowed to open those coffins, anyone who tries will have to kill all the Emei disciples first.”

The girl on the right said:”I don’t have the time to wait till all of you are dead. I will open it myself.”

Reverend Shenxi roared furiously:”The Floral Palace has gone too far! Emei will fight you to the death!”

He drew out his sword with extreme speed and aimed at the larynx of the young girl.

(Part 2, translated by Wubbles)

In his anger, this stroke contained the strength of years of training, and was truly as fast as lightning, as powerful as thunder; everyone was stunned.

The young girl was, after all, still inexperienced and, faced with such a stroke, did not dare to counter his blade. She repeated the [jaded flower stealth substitution?], and avoided him.

But now the Emei disciples drew their swords and attacked. The girls could not hope to escape.

Tie Xinlan suddenly released Xiao Yu’er’s hand, and said, “Stay here and don’t move. I …”

Xiao Yu’er stared at her and asked, “What are you going to do?”

Tie Xinlan said, “When I was lost in the wilderness, fortunately they took care of me. When you were in danger, again they intervened. Now that they are being attacked, I cannot stand by and do nothing.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed, saying, “Well, if people of the Floral Palace are in danger, do they really need other people to save them?”

He had hardly finished speaking, when behind him a voice declared: “Well spoken!”

The sound of the voice was loud and clear, but died away quickly; as soon as the voice registered in their ears, someone stepped out from Xiao Yu’er’s side. In the firelight, Xiao Yu’er could not see if the person was male, female, or even what they looked like. Even the colour of the speaker’s clothes was not clearly discernible.

In his life, Xiao Yu’er had never seen someone move so rapidly, nor could he have imagined such a lightning attack. A silhouette flashed by him, into the light cast by the swordplay.

It happened in a split second- clashing swords ringing in his ears, then a dozen blades landed on the ground as one. Although none among the onlookers could see clearly how the swords had been wrenched free, the Emei disciples themselves had felt a sudden irresistible force on their weapons. Each person’s sword, still in his grip, clashed against the clenched sword of a fellow disciple. Each person in each pair felt a terrifying strength from the opposing sword. Their wrists went numb, and the blades fell from their shocked hands. The disciples cried out in alarm as they stumbled backwards. They held their injured arms, their thoughts wild and confused, as if in a waking nightmare(?).

Although his hand still gripped his weapon, Reverend Shenxi had also been caught off guard and retreated a pace. He swept his gaze in all directions, but no one was there except for the two girls in white. And though all was visible by the firelight, and no one moved, still, the dozen blades lay, horrifyingly, on the ground.

Reverend Shenxi stopped short and gritted his teeth. He finally raised his eyes heavenward and sighed. “It’s over.” With a flick of his wrist, he slashed his sword across his own neck. Under the amazing power of this mysterious attacker, the reputation of the Emei sect was now ruined. The only thing left to do was to end his own life.

At that moment a hand snaked out from behind him to gently grasp his arm. Another hand reached around to lightly seize his weapon.

Reverend Shenxi always carried this sword with him. It had accompanied him through countless trials and dangers and never left his side. Now to find it so easily taken from him, was something he would never have dreamed of.

Reverend Shenxi was startled at this, and angry. A youth clothed in white, slowly came out from behind him and stepped forward. He held the Reverend’s sword in both hands. His demeanor was respectful; he smiled and said, “May the Reverend forgive my discourtesy. Had your esteemed sect not attempted to use force on women, I would never have dared to intervene.”

Under the torchlight, you could see that the youth was no more than 13 or 14 years of age. Yet his abilities clearly surpassed even the dreams of the various assembled experts in martial arts. He was only clothed in a plain white robe, but his air of nobility could not be matched by most men clad in brocade.

Until this moment, he had only spoken a few sentences, yet his charisma and charm were apparent. Even the Snow Sabre Liu Ruyu, whose eyes had appraised many men, felt her heart racing. Seventh Master Qiu Qingpo, who had been much admired and sought after in his younger days, felt a twinge of inadequacy, having met this young man.

Without being aware of it, everyone had fallen silent just staring at him.

Although Reverend Shenxi was furious, somehow he seemed to be intimidated by this person’s demeanour, and he found himself returning the young man’s salute. He asked, “Would you be from the Floral Palace?”

The white-robed youth replied, “My name is Hua Wuque, I am indeed from the Floral Palace. It has been many years since my people have roamed abroad, and thus we are unfamiliar with some of the formal courtesies. We beg forgiveness for any offence we may have given.”

His words were humble and polite, and yet somehow the situation resembled that of a master gently extending a courtesy to his servant. Although the master was being sincere, the servant would still feel uneasy. Some people are naturally born to be proud and noble. Although such a man would try to put the pride behind him and feel that it is wrong to be proud, others would see it and feel that he should be as he should be.

The smile on his face was peaceful and warm, yet the others still felt somehow that he was above them. Although his actions were courteous and friendly, they still found it hard to accept.

Reverend Shenxi, Buddhist monk Huangji, Wang Yizhua, Qiu Qingpo, Sun Tiannan, Feng Tianyu, Zhao Quanhai and the others were all leaders of their respective sects. But for some reason, in front of this youth, none of them could find any proper response to give.

Helu rolled her eyes and couldn’t help laughing. She said in a loud voice: “Now that my master is here, I take it we may view the contents of the coffins?”

Reverend Shenxi’s expression darkened. Before he could say a word, Hua Wuque said slowly: “The matter of the treasure will (?)… I just hope that no-one is deceived by the evil intentions of others. From now on we will never mention this day’s events again.”

The Buddhist monk Huangji murmured, “Amitaba, the young master is gracious.”

Wang Yizhua said loudly: “Whoever wanted to continue fighting would wind up being the laughingstock of everyone. Only a fool would be that stupid.”

Qiu Qingpo, Sun Tiannan and the others said in unison: “Young master, you have spoken wisely. We will take our leave now.”

Reverend Shenxi said: “Thank you young master!” What should have resulted in a bloodbath, this Hua Wuque had, with merely a few words, brought to a peaceful resolution.

Throughout all this, Liu Ruyu’s eyes had never left his face. As Tie Xinlan watched him, the corners of her mouth lifted unconsciously in a smile of admiration.

With a “hmph”, Xiao Yu’er abruptly turned and ran towards the entrance of the cave. Tie Xinlan was startled, paused briefly, then eventually ran outside and followed him.

Xiao Yu’er heard Zhao Quanhai call out to him from behind: “Hero Yu, Hero Yu…” [[ I think earlier Xiao Yu’er had told Zhao Quanhai that his name was Yu Wangzi…the long nick name starting with…Saint of 10 000 serpents etc.]]

Helu also called out: “Hey, young lady, where did you go?”

Reverend Shenxi called to him: “Young man, please stay behind and have some tea with me.”

Xiao Yu’er could not understand what they were shouting, and even if he did, he would not turn back. He ran straight outside of the cave.

Outside, there was a thin fog, yet the bright moon in the sky lit the ground; the evening was beautiful.

Xiao Yu’er had no eyes for any of this; he only stared straight ahead and kept running. After a while, he stopped, found a big stone and sat down.

Tie Xinlan took a deep breath, and said, “Who knew that the treasure hunting would turn out like this, I could never have guessed.” Xiao Yu’er said, “As if you could ever guess anything.”

Tie Xinlan was startled. She lowered her head and said quietly, “For this worthless treasure I have endured so many dangers and nearly lost my life. This is really not worth it.”

Xiao Yu’er said, “You’ll live.” (?)

Tie Xinlan bit her lips, her head even lower, and said, “At the Murong Manor, I know it was only because you were in a lot of danger, that’s why you left me behind. I don’t blame you, but you…”

Xiao Yu’er cut in: “And so what if you did blame me?”

Tie Xinlan suddenly raised her head in surprise: “You…you…why are you saying such things…”

Xiao Yu’er said, “I’ve always talked like this. If you don’t like it, then don’t listen…hmph, someone else’s words are much nicer, why don’t you go and listen to him?”

Tie Xinlan’s eyes were now red. After a brief silence, she mustered up a smile and asked, “When did you arrive at Mount Emei?”

“Hmph!” was the only response.

Tie Xinlan coaxed gently, “How did you get so many snakes on your body?”

Xiao Yu’er ignored her again.

Tie Xinlan stamped her foot, then also sat down. The two of them sat back to back and ignored each other. No one moved and no one spoke.

After a short while, Xiao Yu’er couldn’t stand it any more. He spat loudly and said: “Ha, that little rascal(?) really has an arrogant air(?) about him!”

Tie Xinlan didn’t respond, as if she hadn’t heard him at all.

Xiao Yu’er kept quiet for a bit but then couldn’t restrain himself. He nudged her with his back and said, “Hey, are you deaf? Didn’t you hear what I said?”

Tie Xinlan replied: “How could a deaf person hear someone talking?”

Xiao Yu’er was confused: “But…you answered me; you clearly heard what I just said. If you couldn’t hear someone talking, then how did you hear me…that means you aren’t…deaf…” His words became muddled, he couldn’t stop himself and laughed out loud.

Tie Xinlan had already been giggling secretly; at this point she let out a big “ha ha” and started laughing even harder.

In the midst of their laughter, the two of them unconsciously wound up sitting side by side. Neither could tell; was it Tie Xinlan who came closer first, or was it Xiao Yu’er who moved over?

After laughing some more, Xiao Yu’er abruptly said again: “That rascal really is too proud(?)!”

Tie Xinlan said softly, “Actually he’s not the proud one, it’s just the reactions of people around him that make him seem so.”

Xiao Yu’er sneered: “Of course he’s proud, look at him-what an actor. Others think he’s so humble and courteous, but he actually- Hmph, what dog crap!”

Tie Xinlan laughed: “One could say that the Floral palace is one of the meccas of wulin. Since he is the only descendant of the Floral Palace, if he is proud, that is only natural.”

Xiao Yu’er merely said: “Hmph.” “Hmph hmph…..hmph. Hmph.”

Tie Xinlan smiled charmingly and lightly touched his hand. She saw the snakes on his wrist and quickly drew back. Winking at Xiao Yu’er, she said, “Did you notice, his eyes, they really look like yours, they’re practically identical. A stranger would have thought you were brothers.”

Xiao Yu’er retorted: “If I was born looking like that sissy(?), I’d rather die.”

Tie Xinlan held back her laughter and stared at his eyes, without a word.

Xiao Yu’er cocked his head to one side, and laughed coldly: “The funny thing is, someone actually likes this pretentious, sissy man.”

Tie Xinlan said, “I…who likes him?”

“You.”

Tie Xinlan broke into stunned laughter: “I, like him? You’re crazy!”

Xiao Yu’er said, “If you didn’t like him, why would you stare at him with those bright eyes of yours? If you didn’t like him, why would you hang on his every word?”

Tie Xinlan’s face was flushed with anger; she gritted her teeth and said, “Fine. So what if I like him? It’s none of your business, we’re neither friends nor family, remember?”

She stamped her foot and turned her back on him again.

Xiao Yu’er sat down on the ground, and mumbled, “Pretentious, overacting like an old man(?), that’s the most annoying type.”

Tie Xinlan said without turning around: “Didn’t you just call him a sissy? Now he’s like an old man?”

Xiao Yu’er said, “I…I meant to say he’s like…an old sissy.”

Tie Xinlan suddenly burst out laughing.

Xiao Yu’er raised his eyes questioningly: “Why are you laughing?”

Tie Xinlan slowly and clearly pronounced each word: “You are jealous.”

Xiao Yu’er jumped up and cried out: “I, am jealous?…..What a joke….give me a break…”

Suddenly he sat back down and sighed, “That’s right. I do seem to be getting a little jealous…”

Tie Xinlan smiled sweetly and was about to snuggle into his arms, but suddenly jumped up and screamed: “Snakes….why don’t you get rid of these poisonous snakes?”

Xiao Yu’er said sadly, “If only I could.”

Tie Xinlan exclaimed in surprise: “Even you can’t get rid of them yourself?”

Xiao Yu’er sighed: “Now that the Azure Serpent Lord is dead, I’m not sure that anyone can get rid of them. They’ll bite whoever touches them.”

Tie Xinlan said anxiously, “Then…then what are we going to do? You can’t carry them around for the rest of your life.”

Xiao Yu’er said nothing for a while, discouraged. Then suddenly he made a face, smiled and said, “It’s not so bad. With the snakes all over me, girls won’t dare to touch me.”

Tie Xinlan stamped her foot and shouted: “I’m being serious, and you’re still joking around.”

She turned her back in a huff, but then turned around instantly, smiling: “I have an idea.”

Xiao Yu’er asked happily, “What idea?”

Tie Xinlan said, “Starve them to death. Once they’re dead, they’ll fall off.”

Xiao Yu’er appeared to think it over, then nodded his head: “Not bad, not bad. That is a pretty good idea.”

Tie Xinlan said, “Thank you, thank you.”

Xiao Yu’er winked at her: “Only you forgot one thing.”

“What?”

Xiao Yu’er said, “Although these snakes are hairless, it doesn’t mean they’re monks.”

Tie Xinlan was confused: “What is that supposed to mean?”

Xiao Yu’er said, holding back his laughter: “If they’re not monks, they eat meat…”

Tie Xinlan was still confused, then suddenly she jumped up and cried out: “They….if they really get hungry, they’ll eat your flesh and drink your blood.”

Xiao Yu’er sighed: “You really are a brainchild. You didn’t get it till now.”

Tie Xinlan was so worried that she wanted to weep. She stamped her foot and said: “So what do we do? What do we do? The only way is…the only way…”

As for what “the only way” was, she couldn’t say. She was so anxious, she was turning in circles. By about the seventh or eighth circle, she heard voices approaching.

Someone said, “How did that girl disappear so suddenly. That is really strange.”

Someone else chimed in coldly: “She can escape today, but can she escape tomorrow?”

As soon as they heard these two voices, Xiao Yu’er and Tie Xinlan’s expressions changed.

Tie Xinlan whispered, “Zhang Qing!” Xiao Yu’er said: “And Murong Jiumei!”

Tie Xinlan said, “Let’s escape.”

It was only at this point that they noticed they were at a dead end. They were surrounded on three sides by mountain slopes(?), and the only way out was the direction from which Zhang Qing and Murong Jiumei had come.

Tie Xinlan’s feet and hands were icy cold. She said, “This…this…”

Xiao Yu’er said, “Let’s just hide for a bit and see.”

They had just settled in their hiding places when the two girls arrived.

Zhang Qing said, “Mount Emei is a really strange place. Aside from the caves where monkeys live, the only shelter we’ve found is this place.”

Murong Jiumei said, “There’s no point in searching the entire mountain randomly. Why don’t we rest here tonight and start again tomorrow.”

Zhang Qing had sat down already, on the exact same stone that Xiao Yu’er had previously occupied. The two of them relaxed and closed their eyes.

Xiao Yu’er and Tie Xinlan suffered in silence; at this rate, who knew how long they would have to wait before being able to escape?

After a while, Zhang Qing opened her eyes and asked, “Are you cold?”

Murong Jiumei said mockingly, “You are quite the spoiled princess. Even if we were in an icy snowstorm I wouldn’t complain of cold.”

Zhang Qing shrugged, and closed her eyes again.

Xiao Yu’er thought inwardly: “Of course you’re not cold. Consider the type of martial arts you’re practicing. Even if you were naked as a dog’s butt and sleeping on ice, you wouldn’t mind. Other people however, haven’t practiced such witchcraft.”

After another pause, Zhang Qing suddenly stood up and said, “You’re not cold, good for you. But I can’t take it.”

Murong Jiumei replied, “Even if you can’t handle it, you must still endure.”

Zhang Qing smiled and said: “Please Jiu Guniang, come with me to find firewood.”

Murong Jiumei stood up slowly. They glanced in all directions, but finally decided, of all places, to approach the spot where Xiao Yu’er and Tie Xinlan were hiding.

Xiao Yu’er thought to himself: “Why did I have to pick this spot of all places? And why did this spot have to have firewood, of all places! This is really the worst luck.” Who could have guessed that they would choose to hide behind some dried rattan wood (?). And this type of wood just happened to be the best type to start a fire. Coincidence upon coincidence, this was not Xiao Yu’er’s lucky day.

Tie Xinlan’s palms were already drenched in cold sweat. Her body began to tremble.

Zhang Qing and Murong Jiumei came closer. The closer they got, the more Tie Xinlan shook. The firewood began to shake from her trembling.

Zhang Qing suddenly stopped moving and said, “Listen, what’s making that noise?”

Murong Jiumei said coldly, “Don’t worry, there are no ghosts here.” Xiao Yu’er, suddenly inspired, messed up his hair, and secretly laughed to himself, who knows what he was laughing at?

Tie Xinlan, seeing him laughing at a time like this, was both furious and frightened.

Zhang Qing approached a little further, mumbling, “Even if there were no ghosts, even snakes would be enough to scare me out of my wits.”

Murong Jiumei said coldly, “I’m here, there’s nothing to worry about.”

Before her words were finished, a monster suddenly sprung out from the darkness.

Zhang Qing jumped and screamed, cold sweat pouring down.

Murong Jiumei calmly said, “Who’s playing at monsters and ghosts?”

The monster shrieked: “Murong Jiumei… Murong Jiumei, you made me die a horrible death. Murong Jiumei…I want you to pay with your life!”

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