Ouyang Feng coldly said, “Arrive early compete early, arrive late compete late. Old Beggar, tell me, our contest today, is it just to decide victory or defeat, or is it for our lives?”
“To achieve victory sometimes means risking our lives,” Hong Qigong said, “When we start, you don’t need to be lenient.”
“Good!” Ouyang Feng said. His left hand was behind his back, but suddenly he moved it forward, showing a snake staff. Tapping the staff’s end to a rock he asked, “Here, or do you need a more open space?”
Hong Qigong has not opened his mouth when Huang Rong interrupted, “Mount Hua is not a good place to compete, we’d better go to find a boat.”
Hong Qigong was puzzled, “What?”
“To give Mr. Ouyang another good opportunity to reply kindness with evil, to make a sneak attack from behind again,” Huang Rong explained.
Hong Qigong burst out in laughter, “Fall into a trap once, learn to be smart once; don’t expect the Old Beggar to show mercy anymore.”
Listening to Huang Rong’s insult Ouyang Feng’s face did not show any emotion. He bent his knees a little bit, moved his staff to his right hand, and launched the Toad Stance with his left hand.
Huang Rong gave the dog-beating stick in her hand to Hong Qigong, “Shifu, use the Dog Beating Stick Technique and the Nine Yin Manual’s martial arts. We don’t talk about honor and honesty with an old traitor like him.”
Hong Qigong thought, “It really is not easy to win relying on my own martial arts alone; if I spend too much energy fighting the Old Poison, I won’t be able to fight the Old Heretic Huang later on.” So he nodded his head and took the dog-beating stick. Immediately his left hand launched ‘da cao jing she’ [beating the grass scaring the snake], while his right hand launched ‘bo cao xun she’ [brushing the grass aside looking for snakes]; attacking from both sides.
Ouyang Feng had fought him several times yet he had never seen Hong Qigong use the Dog Beating Stick Technique. Even in a critical situation when they were fighting on the burning boat Hong Qigong did not use this technique. Ouyang Feng had seen Huang Rong use this technique before and he did not dare to look down on the technique; now that the stick was in Hong Qigong’s hand it moved fast, carrying gusts of wind, truly not something to be trifled with. The snake staff in his hand shook; parried the left and evaded the right, he struck toward the middle.
He had lost his snake staff twice; the one currently in his hand was a new one. The staff had the same scary head carved on it, but the two venomous snakes wrapped around it were new; even though their poison was as lethal as the previous ones, but they haven’t been used too long; thus their effectiveness was inferior to the previous ones.
In the past Hong Qigong had been bitten by this kind of venomous snake, he had also suffered under Ouyang Feng’s vicious palms to the point of almost losing his life; which took him nearly two years to recover and get his martial art skill back. That was his greatest defeat and greatest danger he had to face his entire life; how could he not avenge this enmity? Thus he moved his stick with all his might, attacking furiously.
The first time those two fought was over the Nine Yin Manual during the Sword Meet of Mount Hua. The second time was on the Peach Blossom Island, fighting over Guo Jing and Ouyang Ke’s marriage proposal; this fight was to decide victory and defeat only, not a life-and-death situation. The third time was on the small boat in the middle of the sea; where life and death were separated only by a thin line, but Hong Qigong still held his uprightness. This fight was the fourth time they battled each other fiercely; each one threw everything they had, no more mercy. They both knew that the opponent had trained hard and improved their martial art skill throughout all these years; their martial arts were very fierce, so if they were careless and yield even for half a stance, it would be difficult not to lose their own lives.
Two people turning around and hitting each other for about two hundred moves when suddenly the moon disappeared, the darkness came blanketing everything. It was the darkest hour of the night before dawn. Both were afraid the opponent would launch a sneak attack, so they were focusing their attention on defense and did not care much on offense. Guo Jing and Huang Rong were anxious about their master’s safety; each moved forward several steps, ready to help if Hong Qigong’s life were threatened.
While watching intently on the fierce battle in front of his eyes, Guo Jing had a disquieting thought, “These two people are the top skilled martial artists, but one is heroically upholding justice, while the other one is deceitfully wicked. Obviously martial art in itself does not differentiate good from evil; it all comes back to the person using it. If used to do good deeds, then the higher the skill the better, but if it used to do evil deeds, then the higher the skill the more wicked the martial art becomes.”
The darkness made the battle difficult to watch, but the weapons made loud clashing sound and strong gusts of wind; Guo Jing’s heart was beating faster. “Shifu has wasted two years worth or training because of his injury. Originally they were in par with each other; this time the outcome will be decided by a step forward or backward; I am afraid Ouyang Feng will gain a half-step advantage because of that. If I knew this would happen I wouldn’t have shown mercy to him three times,” he silently mused.
Guo Jing remembered Qiu Chuji once explained the ‘xin yi’ [trust and honor], that big trust and big honor should be differentiated from small trust and small honor. If a person’s entire being lacking trust and honor, it was the same as if that person did not have any trust and honor at all. Thinking about this, he felt his blood rushing through his system, he thought, “Although Shifu and Ouyang Feng clearly said that the battle will be a one-to-one combat, but what if Ouyang Feng harmed Shifu? What if from this time on, he would run amuck in the world? I don’t know how many good people will be hurt in his hands. I wasn’t clear about truth and righteousness before, hence I committed not a few foolishnesses.” Because of this thought he lifted up his palms, ready to move forward to help his master.
But suddenly he heard Huang Rong called out, “Ouyang Feng, you and my Jing Gege had made an agreement which resulted in you being spared from death three times; who would have thought that you still relying on your strength bullying me? You proved yourself untrustworthy, much like a nameless pawn of the Wulin; yet you are still dreaming of becoming the number one martial artist of the world?”
Ouyang Feng had committed countless ruthless acts in his life, but he was a proud man, he would call ‘one’ as ‘one’, and ‘two’ as ‘two’; never backed off on his own words. If it was not because of his desire to learn the Nine Yin Manual he wouldn’t break his promise to Guo Jing. This time he was fighting a fierce battle with Hong Qigong and suddenly Huang Rong brought it up; his ears turned red and his mind was muddled; he lost his concentration and the dog beating stick almost hit him.
“You are known as the Western Poison,” Huang Rong continued, “So all kinds of evil are not stranger to you; but to have a junior sparing your life three times? You have lost your face. Where is your honor? How could you swallow your own words toward a junior? You have become the laughingstock of all the valiant people of the Jianghu till their mouths crooked. Ouyang Feng! Oh, Ouyang Feng! There is one title you deserve to have: you are the number one shameless man of the world!”