Da Tang Shuang Long Zhuan

Chapter 9 – Early Glimpse into The Mystery

Book 2 Chapter 9 – Early Glimpse into The Mystery

By the time Yun Yuzhen and the troops under her command left, it was almost dawn when the two boys finished dragging the sacks of salt into square-shaped piles that was empty in the middle. With their body weary and their strength exhausted, they entered the square and immediately fell into a deep slumber.

By that afternoon, voices from the shore have woken them up. The two boys crawled up and saw more than a dozen fast boats anchored on the shore. What attracted their attention the most were Han Gaitian and the pretty nun. Terrified, the two boys shrunk back and returned to the forest.

Fortunately Yun Yuzhen had given them direction earlier; otherwise, this time it would be like their wings have been plucked and not able to fly.

The two boys did not even have the courage to go outside to pick wild fruits. Even when the voices have gone, they still hid inside their cozy nest.

That evening suddenly a rain came. Luckily they had built roof from tree branches and sogon grass mixed with mud, which was able to deter most of the rainwater, so that the trickling water inside their nest was still bearable.

Kou Zhong happily said, “This rain is so timely, it will wash away the traces on the ground; that Han Pudi must have thought that we are already far away from here.” [Translator’s Note: play on words: gai tian – covering the sky, pu di – falling face down on the earth/ground.]

Xu Ziling could not help laughing, “Gai Tian Pu Di, these names are as brilliant as that Yuwen Huagu.”

Kou Zhong reached out to stroke the almost-a-cun­-long beard on Xu Ziling’s face. He laughed and said, “Xiao Ling, you look a bit more macho now, it’s just that your beard is a bit shorter than mine. Do you want me to pull them clean by my miraculous hands, so that you’ll become ‘little white face’ [i.e. pretty boy]?”

Xu Ziling pushed his hand away and said, “When our beard grew until we can’t even recognize ourselves, then we can go sell our salt for profit. Do you understand?”

Kou Zhong slapped his thigh in praise; but then he said in distress, “Is our martial art skill that lacking? Why did we clearly feel in our heart that we would be able to block our beautiful Shifu’s jade move, but our hands and feet did not want to obey us?”

Xu Ziling mused, “I never thought about that. In my opinion, we learned an exceptionally amazing power from the ‘Secret to Long Life’, but we still cannot apply it to the moves. Moreover, each type of weapon has its own unique characteristic, which we have not grasped yet. Naturally we cannot use it as our hearts’ wish.”

Kou Zhong raised his thumb to praise him, “This kid is amazing, he actually came up with the same idea I did. This proves that your natural endowments are as good as mine!”

They chatted and joked until darkness fell, and then the two boys slipped out. After they saw that the Haisha Bang people have left and not a single one remained, they left to find wild fruits to allay their hunger under the cover of darkness.

After that, the two boys tore each other apart on that beach and sparred against each other in high spirit. They thought that they might as well take off their clothes and just wore shorts, playing in the sea waves joyfully. It was not until Xu Ziling accidentally made a minor scratch Kou Zhong’s arm did they stop their sparring.

Lying on the beach, the two boys found their interest waned, because no matter how diligent they trained, the true qi within their body and the styles of their movement could not be fused into one. Other than obtaining more understanding on how to use their weapons, it could be said that they did not gain anything.

Not too long afterwards, the two boys fell asleep.

When Xu Ziling awoke, bird songs entered his ears. He opened his eyes and looked up, and happened to see a seagull circling over the sea, its bearing natural and graceful, it looked so carefree and happy. The seagull suddenly dove down at an angle into the water. When it reappeared, there was a wriggling, struggling small fish in its claw.

Watching this, Xu Ziling’s mind was severely shaken. He grabbed Kou Zhong at his side and said in hoarse voice, “I understand it!”

To his surprise, he was grabbing an empty space. Looking all around, he did not see any trace of Kou Zhong. Xu Ziling jumped in fright and shouted, “Kou Zhong!”

Suddenly something emerged from the sea; it was Kou Zhong. He saw on one hand Kou Zhong was holding his sword, on the other hand he had a big fish. Immensely proud of himself he called out, “Today we won’t have to nibble those bird’s tasteless wild fruits.”

Xu Ziling did not say anything. He fetched the short halberd lying beside him and rushed toward Kou Zhong, who was walking from the sea to the beach. “Kid, take this!” he shouted.

Kou Zhong laughed aloud while brandishing his sword to meet the attack, “Little thief, you are asking for death!”

At this time Xu Ziling’s mind was filled with the image of the trajectory of the seagull swooping down into the sea, his heart and mind in harmony, his intention and his hand working together, he completely grasped Kou Zhong’s sword movement and his footwork, as well as his speed. He let out a long whistle, while imitating the seagull’s trajectory, the short halberd drew an arc in the air.

The most amazing thing happened.

The sole of his left foot heated up, but the sole of his right foot turned incomparably cold; exactly the opposite of what usually happened during his training, where the sole of his right foot would heat up first.

The amazing thing was not limited to this at all. Previously, the heat would appear first and then the cold. This time however, the heat and the cold occurred together. Followed by two separate streams of qi, one hot and one cold, rushed upward from the Yong Quan [gushing spring] acupoints on the soles of his left and right feet, passing through the Yin Qiao channel on the inside of his legs, and reached the Sheng Si orifices on his crotch, passing through the Chong channels on his left and right chest, and returned to the Jiang Guan position below his heart, the cold and hot qi converged to become one stream, going down the Dai channel, extending toward the small of his back left and right, and going up along the Du channel toward his shoulders, and rushed down via Yang Shu channel on the outside of his elbow. The true qi flowed naturally, without human interference at all. [Sorry, I am sure my translation is off since I know nothing of Chinese medicine.]

‘Dang!’ Amid the miserable groan, the palm of Kou Zhong’s hand was jolted open, his sword was thrown backward.

The two boys stopped instantly and just stared at each other blankly.

Meanwhile, the strange qi within Xu Ziling’s body kept flowing along the Yin Shu channel on the inside of his elbow, and returned to Jiang Gong, down to Sheng Si orifice, following the Yin Qiao channel inside his leg. It flowed back to the Yong Quan acupoint before vanishing.

Kou Zhong tossed away the fish he caught and used that hand to hold his other hand, which was very painful, while he squatted in the shallow water. “What bird’s thing was that?” he cried out. [Translator’s note: I just realized that Kou Zhong used the word ‘bird’ a lot …]

Xu Ziling plopped himself down in the water and said in ecstasy, “I got it now! Niang, Du Fuwei, our beautiful Shifu Bangzu, were right. ‘Secret to Long Life’ does not have anything to do with martial art, however, it is the key to unlock the mystery of the universe. We have heard it before that human body is a small universe, while the world outside our bodies is another universe. Therefore, as long as we can grasp the natural essence of these two universes, inner and outer universes will merge together, and will be fused into one entity. Just like the move I have just launched.”

This remark, perhaps only if Guang Chengzi [see Book 1, Chapter 1] came back to life would he be able to infer it clearly. However, even if top-notch expert listened to this, he might still be confused. As a matter of fact, it was precisely the martial art’s highest, most ideal principle of oneness of heaven and humanity.

By lucky coincidence Xu Ziling arrived at this conclusion and simply blurted it out, but he did not know that his remark would be the starting point of their journey to become the peerless martial art expert of this age in the future.

Throughout history, no one has ever obtained this comprehension. Of course, one of the many reasons was that no one has ever imagined that they would blindly and randomly train the internal energy cultivation according to the ‘Secret to Long Life’ either.

Xu Ziling explained what he saw about the seagull. Kou Zhong was greatly delighted; he picked up the sword and roared, “Try it again. Remember that you can only strike this martial art expert’s sword.”

Xu Ziling acknowledged the order. Grasping the short halberd, he repeated his strike just now.

‘Ding!’ Kou Zhong blocked it with all his strength.

Xu Ziling was disappointed, “How come this time it didn’t work?”

“Go back to the beach,” Kou Zhong instructed, “Rush forward just like you did last time. The problem could be that you have not generated enough heat in your body.”

Xu Ziling thought it made sense; he did as Kou Zhong instructed. Who would have thought that it was still completely useless? The brilliance was gone.

Afterwards, no matter how they trained, they could not reproduce the formidable power of that one strike. Finally the two boys lay down dejectedly on the beach, extremely frustrated.

Kou Zhong turned around to lie face down on the fine sand, with his fist he hammered the ground, “What is the problem?” he asked.

Xu Ziling had a brainwave, “That day when Li Dage was seriously injured and lost consciousness, you went out to find a mule cart, I was bored and practiced Li Dage’s ‘Bloody Battle Ten Styles’. That time Jiejie was scared and told me to stop, because my saber emitted hot wind and saber aura. But afterwards, when I fought the enemy for real, I could not generate either hot wind or saber aura. Worse yet, as soon as I met the enemy face-to-face, my saber was twisted and thrown away. If we could figure out why it was so, maybe we could solve the problem.”

Kou Zhong’s spirit was greatly aroused; he sat up and asked, “When you practiced your saber play that time, what did you think?”

Recalling the situation that time, Xu Ziling said slowly, “Nothing. I just wanted to practice my saber play so that I could protect Li Dage and Jiejie, and not let them to come to any harm.”

Greatly shaken, Kou Zhong said, “I got it. It’s what Niang told us about forgetting everything, inside and out; no-man no-self, the borderline between with and without intention. Just now you when you attacked me, basically you did not expect that it could be that formidable, hence you were able to reach the realm where inside and outside universes converged completely and became one entity, exactly like Niang said, ‘forgetting everything, inside and out’. Afterwards, you had the intention, hence you could not achieve the same realm.”

That was what they said, but for the following ten days or so, the two boys practiced from morning till evening, yet all along they failed to achieve the effect they wanted, that strike that was as if a divine being was behind it.

However, they were, after all, young boys. They were accustomed to live a lazy life back in Yangzhou; unexpectedly, they stopped training altogether, and just spending their days hunting for fish in the ocean, feeling totally free and at leisure, and very cheerful.

One day, when they returned from the sea to the beach, Kou Zhong said, “Did you notice how the fish escape our catch? At first they concentrated their attention completely, and then with a flick of their tail, they slipped away at an unimaginable angle, and it also made full use of the stream characteristics. If we could copy some of successful skill, even if our beautiful Shifu returned, perhaps it wouldn’t be so easy for her to beat us askew to the left and collapse to the right.”

Chapter 9, Part 2

Jaya, Anh, you are welcome. DongBin, thanks. Strawberry, we are going to the Super Bowl ...

Xu Ziling’s spirit was greatly aroused, “I have not thought about that. Come! Let us find some fish and learn from them.”

And that was how they spent their days. The two boys integrated frolicking and training martial art, while rising and lying down, working and resting. Gradually they returned to the lifestyle of when they lived in that small valley; they talked less and less.

When Kou Zhong trained internal strength, he would walk back and forth on the beach, while Xu Ziling would lie down unmoving.

One moving, the other still; each one had his own interest.

One day more than two months later, the two boys were chasing a big black carp when Kou Zhong slashed with his sword. The slash plainly missed, but to his surprise, the black carp was jolted, turned belly up, and died. There was no scar on the outside, but when they cut it open, unexpectedly its internal organs were ruptured.

At first the two boys were startled, and then their shock turned into great delight; henceforth they trained more diligently.

It’s just that Xu Ziling preferred to emulate the birds; he loved to watch eagles hunting the seagulls, and learned from their flying posture. Kou Zhong, on the other hand, observed and learned from all kinds of fish; he also watched how the crabs moved sideways to dodge, and their tactics in attack and defense. It could be said that the two boys were addicted to what they were doing.

Even while eating, they exchanged what they had learned, as well as sparred against each other. They also modified Li Jing’s ‘Bloody Battle Ten Styles’ to fit their own style better. However, all along they still failed to attain the thunderous strike Xu Ziling previously produced. Nevertheless, the two boys were very happy, since they were much closer to achieve the ‘what the heart wishes, the hand accomplishes’ level.

One day they woke up and walked to the beach, to their amazement they found two baskets sitting side by side on the sand. Inside they found two sets of clothes, and a couple of warm, thick, winter clothing.

They found written on the sand: ‘When the moon rise tonight, we’ll meet here. Don’t forget to put on clothes. Shifu.’

It was only then did the two boys realize that their clothes were tattered beyond repair. They looked at each other with a mixed feeling of delight and worry.

What did she want?

That night Yun Yuzhen indeed came. She wore a snow white warrior suite with yellow golden trim, her hair was rolled up in a bun on top of her head like a man, tied with yellow warrior band. All in all, her appearance cried out heroic, straightforward, melancholy, but there was also a beauty in it that dazzled and stunned others. Just like last time, she also carried an exquisite wind lantern in her hand, and the long copper flute on her back.

She had the two boys to sit cross-legged first, and placed the wind lantern between them. After scrutinizing them, she said in great astonishment, “We have not seen each other for only two months, how come not only you look taller, you also grew a bit of dignified, masculine look? The strangest thing is that your bearing is totally different. Just by looking at your eyes, I can tell that you have made great progress in your internal energy cultivation.”

Kou Zhong stroked his thick beard and said with a laugh, “Just by relying on this guy, I look a lot more bold and powerful naturally.”

Xu Ziling and Kou Zhong saw each other every day, naturally they did not pay particular attention to the changes in the other’s appearance; but in Yun Yuzhen’s eyes, the changes indeed cause her to have a whole new level of respect for them.

Moreover, the two boys’ temperament and demeanor were distinctly different.

Xu Ziling appeared to be more aloof and outstandingly talented, he had the refined, scholarly yet unrestrained temperament that Kou Zhong lacked. But he did not have the brutish, wild and lazy impression, which made Kou Zhong looked boorish, but heroic and relaxed.

Speaking about their statures, although Kou Zhong was about a cun shorter than Xu Ziling, his shoulders were broader and his back thicker, giving him an imposing physique, and made him look more heroic and ferocious.

Another reason was that Xu Ziling had delicate features; he looked a bit more like an elegant scholar. On the other hand, Kou Zhong had thick eyebrows, square face and big ears, which stood in stark contrast against Xu Ziling’s comparatively slimmer and handsome face, giving people the impression that he was the more rough and wild one.

Two boys, each with his distinct features, each with his own attractiveness.

Yun Yuzhen was wondering in her heart, why was it that last time she saw them, she did not pay attention to their outward appearance, but this time she could not help noticing their physical characteristics?

Thinking about this, her pretty face could not help turning warm; busily she tried to cover up her embarrassment by saying, “I sent people to monitor you a few times, each time they report back to me to you were enjoying yourself either on the beach or in the water. How did your internal energy improve then?”

Xu Ziling shrugged his shoulders and said, “We are playing, but never forget to study hard. But after playing for two whole months, we got bored playing, and are thinking of going out there. Beautiful Shifu, do you have any good advice?”

Yun Yuzhen did not know whether she should laugh or cry; but in her heart she was happy, “Finally you are willing to recognize me as your Shifu,” she said.

Kou Zhong laughed aloud and said, “Yun Bangzhu, please don’t misunderstand. A Shifu is a Shifu. But by calling you ‘Beautiful Shifu’, we, two brothers are simply giving you a nickname, just like Yuwen Huagu and Han Pudi; it is a unique name we are giving you.”

Yun Yuzhen did not know whether she should be angry or she should feel amused; she wanted to put on a cold expression and scare them a bit with a couple of harsh words [orig. tiger’s roar], but in the end, “Pfft!” she could not help giggling and said coquettishly, “You two big-headed ghosts, do you think I really want to take you, two little demons as my disciples? It’s just that I see some benefit in you, hence I took a good care of you.”

The two boys looked at each other with an ‘I knew it’ smile on their face.

Yun Yuzhen was irritated; she angrily said, “Believe it or not, I could put your martial art skill to waste, so that the two of you would return to your original shape; it’s much better than seeing you annoying like this.”

Kou Zhong leaned forward and laughed, “Beautiful Shifu mustn’t be that cruel, hee! Remembering that your treatment to us is actually not bad, why don’t you tell us your difficulties and needs! As long as there is enough reward, and it is a small thing that is easy to do, perhaps we will be willing to help you!”

Yun Yuzhen did not stop smiling; she cast a malicious sidelong glance at him and said with a sigh, “You, two little demons, don’t even know that your death is at hand. Right now you have become the target of hunt-and-capture competition of several powerhouses. If even one of them managed to catch you, based on lesson learned from their previous mistakes, you may forget about escaping. If you knew what’s best for you, you’d better curry favor from this Bangzhu right away!”

And then she quickly added, “If I want to harm you, it will be as easy as turning my hand over. I only need to let out the news, I guarantee you won’t find a place where you can fit in.”

Xu Ziling was puzzled, “Your martial art skill far surpasses ours, and you have countless subordinates; why do you have to entangle us and insist that we’ll have to do it?”

Yun Yuzhen indifferently said, “Have you heard about Dong Ming Pai?”

The two boys stared blankly for half a day, and then they nodded together.

Yun Yuzhen laughed and said, “I merely test you out, to see if you are really honest. The fact is, you have come in contact with them, and you jumped from their ship to the sea, and that night you spoiled Haisha Bang’s plot to attack them sneakily. Is my information wrong?”

The two boys listened with their eyes open wide and their tongue tied.

Kou Zhong let out a mouthful of cold air and said, “Turns out you also have spies inside Haisha Bang.”

Yun Yuzhen said tenderly, “The truth is, every single clan and society in Jianghu needs huge expenditure. Take Haisha Bang and Shuilong Bang for example, their principal income is from smuggling salt; hence they, along with our Jukun Bang, can be numbered among the eight Clans and ten Societies. Among the eight Clans, the most despicable, no-good at all, is Baling Bang, whose base of operations is Dongting Lake [northeast Hunan province]. They specialized in trafficking women, supplying the brothels across the world [tian xia], their profit is also the biggest.”

Xu Ziling’s voice cracked, “Isn’t there anybody in Wulin? Why would they let this kind of gang exist?”

Yun Yuzhen was unhappy, “Right now the world is in chaos, every gang has to have strong backing, otherwise they will be consumed by others. Behind Haisha Bang there is Yuwen Clan, Shuilong Bang has become Song Clan’s guard dog, Baling Bang’s backstage boss has even greater power, because he is the present old man the Emperor.”

The two boys were speechless. It’s no wonder that everyone wanted to crusade against the old man Emperor.

Kou Zhong sucked in a mouthful of air and said, “In that case, Beautiful Shifu, which strong hand is your backing?”

A hint of proud smile escaped from the corner of Yun Yuzhen’s mouth; she casually said, “I am just I am, there is no need to rely on anybody else to survive. Besides, everything I sell is first-hand intelligence. Don’t think that I only recognize money and don’t recognize people; unless it’s people whom I, Yun Yuzhen, can’t look at them with my eyes. I don’t care how much money they offer, don’t even think that this Bangzhu would sell them half a word of information.”

Xu Ziling said in hoarse voice, “Intelligence can be sold for money like other commodities?”

Kou Zhong sighed and said, “No wonder you know everything about us in great details. Turn out this is what you do for a living [orig. the rice you eat].”

“Know yourself, know the enemy, then you will come unscathed through a hundred battles [from Sunzi’s ‘The Art of War’],” Yun Yuzhen said impatiently, “Right now the world is in chaos to the level that is unprecedented throughout history; those who can control the enemy troops’ deployment, their strength and weaknesses, and the actual condition of the soldiers, will have the chance to dominate the world. My business actually emerged to meet a historic destiny. Were it not for this, I am afraid we’d have been taken over by others long ago.”

“In that case Beautiful Shifu,” Xu Ziling wondered, “You ought to want to know about the ‘Secret to Long Life’ and Duke Yang’s treasure trove.”

Yun Yuzhen calmly replied, “Those are different matters altogether. ‘Secret to Long Life’ is the treasure of the Taoists; even in their dreams those who practice Taoism yearn to obtain this heavenly book. But it has nothing to do whatsoever with the struggle to dominate the world. As for Duke Yang’s treasure trove, basically that female Luocha did not tell you anything; otherwise, you, two little demons who are dying to get rich, would not have gone to Yuhang to steal salt. Ha! Duke Yang’s treasure trove in Yangzhou? Only idiots like that Han Pudi would believe it.”

Kou Zhong was astounded, “Beautiful Shifu, you are so formidable, it would be better if you marry the two of us … Ah!”

Yun Yuzhen moved her jade hand to reward him with a slap on the face; she coldly said, “Even if I don’t have any sweetheart, I won’t even consider you, two kids whose smell of your mother’s milk has not yet dried.”

Stroking his cheek, Kou Zhong giggled, “In that case, Beautiful Shifu already has a sweetheart.”

“What business of yours is that?” Yun Yuzhen bluntly said.

Xu Ziling suddenly said, “This is called ‘relying on force to maltreat the weak’. When we master the martial art in the future, you will know how it feels.”

Yun Yuzhen smiled and said, “I am looking forward to that day! Alright! Let’s talk business: the two of you accomplish something for me, this Bangzhu will let you off. Otherwise, no matter where you go, I only need to broadcast the information, and when you come across Yuwen Huagu, Han Pudi, Du Fuwei, or what have you, what will the consequences be?”

“It’s a threat,” Kou Zhong said with a wry smile.

Yun Yuzhen said softly, “Other than coercion, there are incentives as well, to guarantee that you won’t refuse. I will pass on to you some kind of lightness skill first, so that when you flee to the end of the world in the future, you have some asset to run away. Ay! It must be that I, Yun Yuzhen, owed you something in the past life that I am most willing to pass on my most outstanding skill to you, yet I don’t even have a real status as your Shifu.”

The two boys were greatly touched; if they could really fly on and off the roof, they would be willing to give up three years of their lives.

Kou Zhong quickly smiled apologetically and said, “Albeit a bit reluctantly, we are willing to admit that you are our Beautiful Shifu; how’s that?”

Xu Ziling was a bit more principled than he; he probed further, “We simply won’t do anything to offend Heaven and reason; much less murder and arson.”

Yun Yuzhen was peeved, “You think you have that ability?” she said, “Little thief is just little thief; if I don’t want you to steal something, what do you think I want?”

The two boys were greatly baffled; speaking about stealing, wouldn’t she be more competent and well-suited?

Yun Yuzhen looked at the sky to determine the time; she said, “Don’t ask too much, of course there is a reason behind it. After you steal that thing, I will also give each of you ten taels of gold. If you are afraid of death, that should be enough for you to live incognito and live the rest of your life in peace. Right now I am going to pass on the key theory of the lightness skill to you, one month later I am coming back to catch you, a pair of dead little demons. At that time I am going to tell you what object to steal.”

Subjected to such a formidable coercion and bribery, naturally Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling ‘readily’ agreed.

Yun Yuzhen’s lucid and elegant beautiful face revealed a sweet smile; she gave the two boys several glances first, and then, after they were intoxicated by her charms, she turned serious as she said, “My lightness skill was created as the convergence of different schools’ chief skills; it is called ‘Wu Du Shu’ [crossing/passing-through crow technique]. In Wulin it is revered as ‘amazing skill pinnacle art’; it is extremely famous. So don’t think that I simply pick some random low-grade martial art skill to cajole you.”

Xu Ziling was puzzled, “What is ‘amazing skill pinnacle art’?” he wondered aloud.

Yun Yuzhen said, “I don’t have time to explain to you, but Du Fuwei’s ‘Xiu Li Qiankun’ [universe in his sleeve] and Yuwen Huaji’s ‘Bing Xuan Jin’ [mysterious ice energy] are two of those.”

After a short pause, she continued, “The so-called lightness skill is just like fish swimming freely in the water; it’s just that you replace the water with the air and wind filling the space above the earth. The most crucial point is, first and foremost, how to reduce body weight and how to breathe in the air. My ‘Bird[1] Crossing Technique’ put emphasis on the trajectory of gliding through the air. Because your internal energy already has good foundation, with only one month training according to my technique, you will see small progress.”

The two boys did not dare to interrupt; they listened attentively, while the excitement in their heart felt like blazing fire.

Yun Yuzhen asked them how they circulate their energy. Finished listening, she pondered for half a day and then said with disappointment in her voice, “Practically I have never seen internal energy like yours; I am afraid I don’t understand and cannot give you any directions.”

The two boys were greatly anxious. Xu Ziling said, “Why don’t you tell us your secret technique first, and then we’ll find a way to train it.”

Yun Yuzhen sighed and said, “You don’t seem to know there is something called fire deviation.”

Kou Zhong sneered and said, “Our internal energy cultivation is called ‘capable person is not capable of achieving’. Beautiful Shifu, please tell us quickly! At most when your sweetheart does not want you anymore in the future, you will have us as the replacement.”

Yun Yuzhen stared angrily at him. When the scared Kou Zhong rolled away to evade, she said in a grim voice, “If anything bad happened to you, don’t blame me for not giving you forewarning.”

“The first step of ‘Crow Crossing Technique’ is to understand what favorable and adverse qi is. The so-called favorable qi is when an object is thrown upward, it must fall down as soon as the momentum is exhausted. The adverse qi is when the momentum is exhausted, this is the qi being generated so that the upward momentum can continue. Only those with true qi inside their body can accomplish this.”

Subsequently she spoke a string of secret keys, telling the two boys to memorize everything, as well as giving the boys some instructions on how to jump and the technique to take a breath. Finally she sighed and said, “If during training you feel something is not right, you must not force yourself to continue. Ay! I have to go!”

Lifting up the wind lantern, she infused the lantern with her internal energy; the wind lantern immediately flickered randomly. Soon afterwards from a distant place on the surface of the sea came the responding flashing of lantern light. It was only then did the two boys find out that the lantern was actually a communication device.

The two boys were rather reluctant to part.

Yun Yuzhen looked at them, and then with a slight sigh she said, “I hope when I come again next time, you will still be alive and kicking [orig. lively dragon and animated tiger]!”

[1] FYI, previously, the text says ‘crow’ 烏; here, it changes to ‘bird’ 鳥. My guess is the OCR, but since I don’t have the book, I can’t tell which one is the correct one.

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