Sword Stained with Royal Blood Chapter 2B


Sword Stained With Royal Blood English Translation 

Novel by Jin Yong

Chapter 2 - Part 2

Although Sun Zhongshou and the others were experienced warriors, they were still afraid, but they did not panic. They thought to themselves, "It's a pity that the brothers on the mountain have already dispersed. Otherwise, in the Battle of Ningyuan back then, tens of thousands of elite Jurchen soldiers were defeated and chased away by us, so how could we be afraid of you Guangdong officials?" At that time, the soldiers of Liaodong were the most elite in the world, and the former subordinates of Yuan Chonghuan never took southern officials seriously.

Sun Zhongshou immediately gave orders, "General Luo, you lead the brothers who cook, clean, and guard the temple to the east mountain to light fires and shout as a feint." Luo Daqian obeyed the order and left. Sun Zhongshou continued, "Generals Zhu and Ni, you go to the front mountain and shoot ten arrows each. This will prevent the soldiers from getting too close. After shooting, immediately come back." Zhu and Ni obeyed the order and left.

Sun Zhongshou said, "Brother Cui, I have an important task to entrust to you." Cui Qiushan asked, "Do you want me to protect Chengzhi?" Sun Zhongshou replied, "Yes, that's right." He then bowed with Ying Song. Cui Qiushan was surprised and quickly returned the gesture, saying, "If you have any orders, I will certainly obey them. Please don't be like this."

There was a loud shouting, and faint sounds of golden drums. It seemed to come from the mountain, where Luo Daqian had taken out the big drums and bells from the temple and was banging them wildly to disturb the enemy. Sun Zhongshou said, "General Yuan only has this small group of soldiers, please escort him to safety, Brother Cui." Cui Qiushan replied, "I will do my best."

At this time, Zhu Anguo and Ni Hao had returned after shooting their arrows. Sun Zhongshou said, "General Zhu and I will charge down from the east after meeting with General Luo. Mr. Ying and General Ni will charge down from the west. We will attract the enemy's main force. Brother Cui and Brother Chengzhi will charge down from the back of the mountain, and we will meet at General Li Chuang's place later." Everyone agreed.

Yuan Chengzhi had been educated by Ying Song for several years. Now that they were parting, he felt sad and knelt down to kowtow a few times. He said, "Uncle Sun, Uncle Ying, Uncle Zhu, Uncle Ni, and I...I..." choked up and couldn't say more. Sun Zhongshou said, "You follow Uncle Cui and listen to him well." Chengzhi nodded in agreement.

They heard the shouts of the soldiers on the mountain, and they were coming towards them. 
Ying Song said, "Let's go. Brother Cui, you wait for a moment before you leave." Everyone picked up their weapons and rushed down the mountain.

Ni Hao saw that Cui Qiushan had not brought any weapons, so he threw his tiger fork at him and said, "Brother Cui, catch it." Cui Qiushan said, "Why don't you use it yourself, Brother Ni!" He caught the tiger fork and wanted to throw it back to Ni Hao, but he was already far away. So Cui Qiushan took the fork and handed the smaller pot lid to Yuan Chengzhi, saying, "This is your shield. Let's go!" The two of them used their lightness skills and rushed into the darkness.

In no time, the soldiers had discovered their whereabouts and chased after them, shouting and shooting dozens of arrows at them.

Cui Qiushan stood behind Yuan Chengzhi, waving his wok lid to block the arrows, and the sound of "deng deng deng" continued as many arrowheads hit the lid. The two of them rushed down the mountain. The officials and soldiers came up to stop them, but Cui Qiushan used his hunting tiger fork to injure more than ten officials and soldiers in a flash, while Yuan Chengzhi's short iron spear could only defend himself. The officials and soldiers didn't pay much attention to him because he was just a child. In a moment, the two of them had already run to the mountainside.

Just as they caught their breath, a loud shout suddenly erupted and a group of officials and soldiers rushed toward them diagonally. The leading captain held a big knife and viciously chopped at them. Cui Qiushan lifted his fork and felt the captain's strength was quite strong. He stabbed his fork with the "poisonous dragon out of the cave" move. The captain blocked with his knife and shouted, "Brothers, let's go!" Cui Qiushan didn't want to fight and waved his wok lid in front of the captain. The captain dodged to the right, and Cui Qiushan shouted loudly, lifted his fork and stabbed under his arm. When he pulled out his fork, he turned around and couldn't see Chengzhi. He was surprised to see a group of people shouting on the left side.

He rushed over with big steps, brandishing his fork, and the officials and soldiers scattered to avoid him. When he got closer, he saw that Chengzhi was surrounded by three officials and had dropped his short iron spear. He was using the tiger pounce palm technique to fight them, but he was young and weak, and his palm technique was still unskilled. Cui Qiushan didn't say a word, and with two swift movements of his fork, he knocked down two officials. He grabbed Chengzhi with his left hand and walked away. The officials and soldiers shouted and chased after them, but Cui Qiushan suddenly turned around, used two swift movements of his fork, knocked down the two officials closest to him, and then took a step forward, sweeping his fork to lift up an official and slammed him onto the rock. The soldier fell and died immediately.

Seeing his bravery, the officials and soldiers were scared and stopped pursuing them. Cui Qiushan held Yuan Chengzhi under his arm, using lightness and jumping skills, and swiftly ran toward a dark and uninhabited area. After a while, they were far away from the officials and soldiers.

Cui Qiushan put down his weapon and asked, "Are you okay?" Yuan Chengzhi raised his hand to wipe the sweat off his face and felt that it was sticky. When he looked at his hand under the moonlight, it was covered in blood. Looking at Cui Qiushan, he saw that his face, hands, and clothes were all stained with blood. He said, "Uncle Cui, blood...blood..." Cui Qiushan replied, "It's okay, it's the enemy's blood. Are you hurt anywhere?" Chengzhi answered, "No.", "Good, let's keep going!" Cui Qiushan said

The two of them crouched down and crawled through the bushes for half an hour. When they emerged, they saw bright torches and hundreds of soldiers guarding the mountain below. Cui Qiushan whispered, "We can't go down, let's retreat." They walked back a few hundred steps and found a cave with short trees in front of it, so they crawled inside.

Yuan Chengzhi was still young and despite being in a dangerous situation, he fell asleep soon after lying down due to exhaustion. Cui Qiushan gently picked him up and held him in his arms, listening carefully. He could hear the continuous shouting and after a while, he saw black smoke rising from the top of the mountain with red flames reaching the sky. He guessed that Yuan Chonghuan's ancestral temple had been burned by the soldiers. After half an hour more, he heard the sound of horns blowing on the mountain, which he knew was the order for the soldiers to retreat. Soon, a large group of soldiers passed by their hiding place as it was located beside the path the soldiers were taking down the mountain.

After a while, they heard someone sitting down outside in the bushes. Cui Qiushan picked up his steel fork with his right hand and placed his left hand near Yuan Chengzhi's mouth to prevent him from making any noise in his sleep, while listening carefully. They heard someone shout, "Where did that traitor Yuan leave his son?" The voice was loud and woke up Yuan Chengzhi. Cuì Qiūshān gently pressed his hand over his mouth.

The man shouted, "Will you speak or not? If you don't, I'll chop off one of your legs!" A voice cursed back, "Go ahead and chop! We've fought against the Tartars with swords and guns on the border, why should we be afraid of you?" It was the voice of Ying Song. Yuan Chengzhi whispered, "Uncle Ying!" The man shouted again, "Are you really not going to speak?" Ying Song spat at him and then screamed as if he had been cut by the man's knife.

Yuan Chengzhi couldn't stand it any longer and broke free from Cui Qiushan's grip, shouting, "Uncle Ying!" He rushed out and saw the man about to strike Ying Song, who was lying on the ground. Yuan Chengzhi sprang forward, using the left punch and right capture technique of the Tiger Subduing Palm, and punched the man's right eye. The man saw stars and felt a sharp pain in his wrist as Yuan Chengzhi took his knife away. Yuan Chengzhi then used the knife to cut the man's shoulder. Although the blow was weak and didn't sever the man's arm, it caused him to scream in pain. The officers and soldiers were taken by surprise and scattered, but when they realized that it was just a child, they turned back and prepared to chop him into pieces.

Suddenly, a steel fork flew out from the flames, and the officers and soldiers felt a strong jolt in their hands, causing their weapons to fall. Cui Qiushan grabbed Yuan Chengzhi from behind and leapt out. As the officers and soldiers fired arrows, the two had already run down the mountain.

Four skilled Dongchang agents, who had been sent to capture them by eunuch Cao Huachun, had been following Cui Qiushan. They saw that he was carrying a child, but he still moved like lightning and was extremely agile. One of the agents took out a slingshot arrow and threw it with all his strength.

Cui Qiushan heard the wind behind him and immediately crouched down. The arrow flew over his head and stopped for a moment. Another agent had already taken out three steel darts and threw them in rapid succession. Cui Qiushan put Yuan Chengzhi down on the ground and caught two of the darts, dodging the third. He was about to throw the darts back when the enemy's sleeve arrows and stones flew towards them. Cui Qiushan used the fork to block the projectiles and pulled Yuan Chengzhi to escape down the mountain.

Four bandits saw that Cui Qiushan's martial arts were powerful and dared not chase him anymore. They stood still and cursed loudly while throwing hidden weapons from a high vantage point with great momentum.

Cui Qiushan heard the whistling sound continuously in the dark and hurriedly pulled Yuan Chengzhi in front of his chest, dodging and avoiding. After all, he was holding someone in his hand, which made it inconvenient to jump around. He managed to avoid the three Bodhi seeds thrown from the right, but he felt a pain in his left leg, having been hit by a short arrow on the upper branch. Just as the wound started to ache, it immediately became itchy. He was greatly alarmed and knew that the arrow was poisoned, so he dared not stay and hurriedly ran down the mountain. However, this only made the poison spread faster. After running a few steps, his left leg became numb, and he stumbled and fell to the ground. Yuan Chengzhi was greatly shocked and called out, "Uncle Cui!" The four bandits saw him fall and shouted and rushed over.

Cui Qiushan said, "Chengzhi, run, run, I'll hold them off." Yuan Chengzhi quickly jumped behind Cui Qiushan, ready to face the enemy. Cui Qiushan thought to himself, "With your skills, you actually want to protect me." But he was also touched in his heart.

In a blink of an eye, the enemy caught up, and two people wielding knives rushed to the front. The person wielding the Ghost Head Knife wanted to capture them alive, so he turned the blade over and struck Yuan Chengzhi's ankle. Yuan Chengzhi leaped to avoid it.

Cui Qiushan propped up his right leg, half-kneeling on the ground, and picked up a stone to throw at the person wielding the two knives. The person tried to dodge but was too late, and the stone hit him right in the forehead. The person wielding the Ghost Head Knife was stunned, and Cui Qiushan pounced on him and tightly pinched his throat with his ten fingers. The person then tried to stab Cui Qiushan's arm with his knife, but Cui Qiushan exerted more force in his hand. Although the person's knife hit him, it had no strength, and he died shortly after. The other two people were frightened by the ferocity of the enemy and fled back. Cui Qiushan's arm was bleeding, but fortunately, the injury was not serious. However, he had lost all sensation in his left leg.

He gritted his teeth, lifted the knife and supported it on the ground, holding it with his left hand as he stood up. Although the enemy had fled, reinforcements were sure to arrive soon, so they couldn't stay there for long. He had no choice but to walk down the mountain with his left leg dangling, and Yuan Chengzhi stood to his right, allowing him to rest his right hand on his shoulder as they made their way forward with a limp.

After a while, the poison in Cui Qiushan's left leg began to spread upwards, and his left hand gradually became weak, so he had to support himself with his right hand. Yuan Chengzhi felt his shoulder becoming heavier and heavier, but he didn't utter a sound and continued to support Cui Qiushan as they moved forward.

After walking for a while, both of them were exhausted. Yuan Chengzhi suddenly saw a farmhouse on the side of the mountain and said, "Uncle Cui, there's a house up ahead, let's go in and hide for a while. Just hold on a little longer!" Cui Qiushan nodded and struggled to drag his half-body forward until they reached the door. He collapsed on the ground, completely drained.

Yuan Chengzhi was alarmed and bent down, calling out, "Uncle Cui!" The door of the farmhouse opened with a creak, and a middle-aged woman came out. Yuan Chengzhi said, "Madam, we encountered some soldiers. My uncle is injured. Can we stay here for the night?"

The woman called out a sixteen or seventeen-year-old boy to help them carry Cui Qiushan inside and put together three long benches for him to lie down on. Cui Qiushan was deeply poisoned, but fortunately his martial arts skills were excellent, and he was not mentally confused. He asked Chengzhi to move the oil lamp closer to his left leg to check it. Both of them were shocked to find that his left leg had swollen to almost twice its size, with black and purple discoloration that was very frightening.

Cui Qiushan asked the young man from the farmhouse to wrap the wound on his arm and use a cloth strip to tightly bind his left leg at the root of the thigh to prevent the poison from attacking his heart. Then he grabbed the arrow shaft and pulled it out, and black blood flowed out. Cui Qiushan bent down to suck out the poison, but his leg was too swollen and his mouth couldn't reach the wound. Chengzhi bent down and sucked out the black blood from the wound, spitting it out on the ground. After sucking a lot of blood, the color gradually turned red.

Cui Qiushan sighed and said, "Fortunately, this poison is not the most potent one. You should rinse your mouth quickly." The woman watched in silence, chanting Buddhist prayers.

The next afternoon, the young man reported that the soldiers had already retreated. Cui Qiushan's swollen leg had gradually subsided, but he was running a fever and delirious. Yuan Chengzhi was at a loss and was so anxious that he wanted to cry.

The farmer woman said, "This young official, I see that your uncle's poison gas has not been completely eliminated, you should go to the town to see a doctor." Yuan Chengzhi said, "Yes, but how do we get there?" The farmer woman had a kind heart and lent them a cart, and commanded the young man to take them to the town. After the young man brought them to the inn, he left on his own. Cui and Yuan had no money with them when they came out, and Yuan Chengzhi didn't know what to do, looking at Cui Qiushan who was unconscious on the bed with worry. 

When Cui Qiushan finally woke up after a long time, Yuan Chengzhi hurriedly asked him what to do. Cui Qiushan asked, "Do you have anything valuable on you?" Yuan Chengzhi said, "What about this collar?" and took it off from under his clothes. Cui Qiushan saw that the collar was made of gold, set with eight small pearls, and had the words "Fu Gui Heng Chang" engraved on the lock, as well as two lines of small characters, one saying "Celebrating Mister Yuan Chengzhi's first birthday" and the other saying "Taught and presented by young general Zhao Shuilv." It turned out that when Yuan Chengzhi was one year old, Zhao Shuilv, a major general under his father, presented him with the collar.

Zhao Shuilv, Zu Dashou, He Kegang, and Man Gui were the four famous generals under Yuan Chonghuan. During the Ningjin victory, Zhao Shuilv's troops killed many Qing soldiers and he was appointed as the left admiral and Ping Liaojun. In October of the second year of Chongzhen, the Qing army bypassed Shanhaiguan and entered the capital through Daankou. Yuan Chonghuan led the four generals to travel a thousand miles to aid the capital, but he was falsely accused and imprisoned by Chongzhen. Zhao Shuilv and Man Gui went to fight and were killed in battle. Zu Dashou and He Kegang were angry and led their troops to leave. 

Later, Yuan Chonghuan wrote letters to persuade Zu and He to return to the court.

Zhao Lujiao was a famous general under Yuan Chonghuan, known throughout the land. But at this moment, Cui Qiushan was in a daze and didn't think carefully before saying, "Have the shopkeeper accompany you to the pawnshop and pawn the necklace. We'll redeem it later." Yuan Chengzhi said, "Alright, I'll go." So he asked the shopkeeper to go with him to the pawnshop in town.

At the pawnshop, when the pawnbroker saw the necklace, he was surprised and asked, "Kid, where did you get this necklace?" Yuan Chengzhi said, "It's mine." The pawnbroker's expression changed immediately. He looked Yuan Chengzhi up and down for a long time and said, "Wait here." He took the necklace inside and didn't come out for a long time. Yuan Chengzhi and the shopkeeper were getting anxious and waited for a while. Finally, the pawnbroker came out and said, "Twenty taels." Yuan Chengzhi didn't understand the rules, so the shopkeeper negotiated an additional two taels on his behalf. Yuan Chengzhi took the money and pawn ticket, and on the way back to the inn, he asked the shopkeeper to accompany him to see a doctor. Little did he know that two constables were secretly following them.

When Yuan Chengzhi returned to the room, he saw that Cui Qiushan was sound asleep with a fever, and the doctor had not arrived yet. He was anxious and went outside to look around. Suddenly, he saw seven or eight constables rushing into the inn with iron chains and rulers in their hands. One of them said, "It's this kid!" The leader of the constables shouted, "Hey, kid, is your surname Yuan?" Yuan Chengzhi was startled and said, "No." The constable laughed and took out the golden necklace from his pocket, asking, "Where did you steal this necklace from?" Yuan Chengzhi anxiously replied, "I didn't steal it, it's mine." The constable chuckled and asked, "Who is Yuan Chonghuan to you?" Yuan Chengzhi didn't dare to answer and rushed into the room to push Cui Qiushan. Just then, the constables outside shouted, "The traitors from Shengfeng Ridge are hiding here, don't let them escape!" Cui Qiushan suddenly sat up, but he couldn't stand up. As soon as his feet touched the ground, he fell down.

At this point, several constables had already crowded around the shop's entrance. Yuan Chengzhi didn't have time to go and help Cui Qiushan. Instead, he rushed out of the door and, with a swift movement of his palms, blocked the entrance, thinking to himself, "I cannot let them catch Uncle Cui."
Outside the door was a large courtyard, and when the shop's staff and customers heard that someone was being apprehended, they all rushed into the courtyard to watch the excitement. They were all surprised to see seven or eight constables threatening a child who was about ten years old.
One of the constables shook a chain and tried to loop it over Chengzhi's head. Chengzhi took a step back but still blocked the entrance, not letting the constable in. The constable was skilled in catching people with chains, having been eating the government's food for over ten years, but he didn't expect that a small child would be so agile that he failed to catch him. 

Feeling embarrassed, he reached out and grabbed the child's little braid on his head.

Yuan Chengzhi was already scared and about to cry, but seeing so many constables coming at him made him even more nervous. When the constable reached out to grab him, Chengzhi instinctively used the "Single Whip" move from the Tiger Fist, pulling on his wrist. The constable stumbled and almost fell, but instead he became even angrier and kicked at Chengzhi, shouting, "You little bastard, I'll make you pay today."

Chengzhi squatted down and used both hands to lift the constable's thigh and buttocks, pushing him outward with force. The constable's bulky body flew into the air and fell heavily to the ground with a loud thud. Chengzhi didn't have that much strength himself, but he took advantage of the constable's kicking momentum and turned him over, using the Tiger Fist technique once again.

The onlookers all cheered at once. They were already angry at the mistreatment of a child by an adult, let alone the arrogance of government constables who often bullied the common people. Seeing the constable defeated instead was a cause for celebration and applause.

The other constables were all taken aback and secretly thought that this child was a little unusual. They exchanged glances and raised their single-edged swords and iron rulers, rushing towards him. Onlookers were afraid when they saw them pull out their weapons, and they all backed away. Although Yuan Chengzhi had learned martial arts for several years, he was still young and couldn't cope with so many opponents. He had no choice but to resist with all his might. Soon, his shoulder was hit heavily by an iron ruler, and he couldn't help but cry out.

At this critical moment, suddenly a big man ran out of the left wing room. He leaped and landed in front of Chengzhi, reaching out his hands and grabbing the weapons of all the constables in a flash. Several constables retreated a little slower and were punched by him, resulting in bruised eyes and swollen mouths. This big man yelled loudly with a strange voice.

A constable shouted, "We are catching criminals. Who are you? Get out of here quickly." The big man ignored him, swayed his body, and had already approached him. He grabbed his chest with his right hand and threw him outwards. The constable flew out like a kite with a broken string, and fell to the ground with a thud, half-dead. The rest of the constables dared not stay any longer and rushed out.

The big man walked to Chengzhi's side, gesturing with his hands. He muttered, and it turned out that he was mute, seemingly asking about Chengzhi's background. Chengzhi didn't know how to tell him, and was quite anxious.

Suddenly, the big man raised his left palm upwards and his right palm downwards. He started to practice from the starting position of the Tiger Fist, and stopped at the tenth move "Avoid and Attack with Feints". Chengzhi understood and continued to practice from the eleventh move "Horizontal Kick to the Tiger's Waist" and continued with the following four moves. The mute man smiled, nodded, and stretched out his arms to hug him, looking very affectionate.

Yuan Chengzhi pointed to the shop building, indicating that there was someone inside. The mute carried him into the room, where they saw Cui Qiushan sitting on the ground with a pale face. He was startled and put down Yuan Chengzhi before walking up to Cui Qiushan. Cui Qiushan recognized him and gestured towards his leg. The mute nodded, holding Yuan Chengzhi with his left hand and picking up Cui Qiushan with his right hand. He strode out of the inn with ease, despite Cui Qiushan being a large man weighing over a hundred catties, as if he were carrying a child.

Two constables hid on the side, watching as the mute walked towards the west. They followed him from afar, hoping to find out where he was staying and then catch him with a large group of people.

At this point, Cui Qiushan fainted again and was unconscious. The mute didn't hear any movement behind him, so Yuan Chengzhi tugged at his hand and gestured towards the constables with his mouth. The mute turned around but seemed to ignore them and continued walking.

After walking for two or three miles and finding themselves in a desolate and uninhabited area, the mute suddenly dropped Cui Qiushan to the ground and rushed towards the constables. The constables turned around to run away, but they were too slow and were caught by the mute. He grabbed them both by the back of their necks and threw them into the valley below, where they fell to their deaths with a long and miserable scream.

The mute killed the constables and then picked up Cui Qiushan, running forward with lightning speed. Yuan Chengzhi couldn't keep up and despite his best efforts, he was out of breath after running just a few li. The mute smiled and picked him up, holding both of them with one arm and running even faster. After running for a while, he turned left and headed towards the mountain.

They crossed two mountain peaks and saw three thatched cottages in the middle of the mountain. The mute ran straight towards them and as they approached, a woman in her twenties came out to greet them. She nodded at the mute and seemed surprised to see Cui and Yuan. They exchanged a few gestures and she led them into the cottage.

The young woman called out, "Xiaohui, quickly bring the teapot and cups." A girl's voice answered from the adjacent room and brought over a coarse teapot and a few cups, gazing blankly at Cui and Yuan with her round, rolling eyes.

The young woman wore a rough cloth skirt, but had fair skin and a pretty face, while the girl was delicate and lovely.

The young woman asked Chengzhi, "What is this child's name? How did you come across him?" Yuan Chengzhi knew that she was a friend of the mute, so he briefly explained the situation without concealing anything.

Upon hearing that Cui Qiushan was injured and poisoned, the young woman quickly took out her medicine box and poured out some white and red powder from a bottle, mixed it together, and gave it to Cui Qiushan to drink. She then took out a small knife, scraped away the rotten flesh on his leg, and applied some yellow powder, washing it off with clean water after a while and applying the powder again. She did this three times until Cui Qiushan groaned. The young woman smiled at Yuan Chengzhi and said, "It's no big deal." She gestured to the mute to carry Cui Qiushan into the inner chamber to rest.

The young woman packed up her medicine box and said to Yuan Chengzhi, "My surname is An, you can call me Madam An. This is my daughter Xiaohui. You can stay with me for a while." Yuan Chengzhi nodded. Madam An then went to the kitchen to make noodles. After Chengzhi had eaten, exhausted from a day and night of travel, he couldn't hold on any longer and fell asleep on the table.

When he woke up the next morning, he found himself already in bed. Xiaohui took him to wash his face. Chengzhi said, "I'm going to check on Uncle Cui, is he feeling better?" Xiaohui said, "The mute uncle already took him away early!" Chengzhi exclaimed, "Really?" Xiaohui nodded. Chengzhi ran to the inner room, but could not find any trace of Cui Qiushan or the mute. He felt lost and burst into tears. Xiaohui said, "Don't cry, don't cry!" But Chengzhi didn't listen. Xiaohui called out, "Mom, Mom, come quickly!" Madam An rushed over when she heard the noise. Xiaohui said, "He cried when he saw Uncle Cui and the others leave!"

Madam An spoke softly and said, "Good child, Uncle Cui is seriously injured, isn't he?" Chengzhi nodded. Madam An continued, "I can only provide temporary relief for him to prevent the poison from spreading. However, I cannot really cure him, so the mute uncle took him to another person for treatment. After he is healed, he will come and see you." Chengzhi slowly stopped crying. Madam An said, "He will be okay. Wash your face quickly and let's eat."

After breakfast, Madam An asked him to describe in detail what had happened before. She couldn't help but sigh as she listened. So Chengzhi stayed at Madam An's house.

Madam An asked him to practice his martial arts. After watching him, she nodded and said, "It's really hard for you." From then on, Madam An asked him to practice every day, but she never gave him any guidance or watched him practice. Xiaohui used to be with him all the time, but she was always called away by her mother when he practiced.

Since he lost his parents at a young age, although Ying Song, Zhu Anguo, and others took good care of him, these legendary generals were not good at taking care of children. Now Madam An takes care of him like a mother, and Xiaohui is a companion. These were the warmest days he had in recent years. But he always thought about when Uncle Cui would come back every day.

After more than ten days had passed, on this day, Madam An went to town to buy oil, salt, and other supplies. She also wanted to buy some coarse cloth to sew a set of clothes for Chengzhi. On the day he died in the Holy Peak Ridge, he had scrambled and crawled, tearing his clothes on rocks and tree branches. Although Madam An had already patched them up for him, they were still full of patches and stitches, not looking good. Madam An warned the two children to stay home and play, not to go into the mountains, for fear of encountering wolves. The two children promised.

After Madam An left, the two children did as they were told and stayed inside. They told each other some stories and played hide-and-seek for a while, and then they pretended to cook with small bowls and chopsticks. Xiaohui said, "You stay here and kill the chicken. I'll go buy some meat." "Killing the chicken" meant cutting the radish into small pieces, while "buying meat" meant picking wild chestnuts at the door.

Xiaohui went out for a while, but she didn't come back for a long time. Chengzhi called out, "Xiaohui, Xiaohui." When he didn't get a response, he remembered Madam An's warning and feared that Xiaohui had really encountered a wolf. He quickly grabbed a fire fork from the stove and rushed out of the house.

As soon as he stepped out of the door, he was shocked to see a big man in a military uniform holding Xiaohui under his arm, about to go down the mountain. Chengzhi shouted and thrust his fork towards the man's back. The man was caught off guard, but fortunately Chengzhi was short and didn't pierce his heart. However, he was struck hard on the buttocks, although the fork was blunt and did not penetrate the flesh. The man was furious, let go of Xiaohui, drew his sword, and turned to strike. Chengzhi had learned gunfighting from Ni Hao before, and he used his fire fork to use the "Yue Family Spear Technique" to counterattack, managing to both attack and defend himself, and he fought against the man.

The big man was powerful and wielded his large sword with force. Yuan Chengzhi relied on his agile body movements and managed to counterattack with about ten moves. However, the big man became impatient when he realized he couldn't defeat a child and crouched slightly, changing his sword technique. At first, the big man missed half of his attacks because Yuan Chengzhi was short, and the big man's sword moves were aimed at the upper body, all of which landed in the air. After realizing this, he changed to the Earth Hall Sword Technique, thinking that he didn't need to make a big deal out of fighting a child, so he didn't go all out and lie down on the ground.

Yuan Chengzhi was struggling when suddenly An Xiaohui picked up a long sword and stabbed it towards the big man. The big man cursed, "Bah! You little girl also came to die." He swung his single sword horizontally, intending to knock the long sword out of her hand.

An Xiaohui was agile and swirled the long sword, then quickly stabbed it towards the big man's lower back, while Yuan Chengzhi also attacked with his fire fork. The big man was caught off guard and was confused by the two children, constantly shouting and cursing.

At first, when Yuan Chengzhi saw An Xiaohui coming to help, he was worried that she would get hurt. However, after three or two moves, he saw that she was agile and her sword technique was quite skillful. Yuan Chengzhi was competitive and unwilling to fall behind, and his use of the fire fork became even more tight.

The big man saw that the two children had excellent spear and sword techniques, but their strength was too small, so it was useless. He then closed the door tightly, laughing and cursing while fighting them. After a while, the two children couldn't hold on anymore.

The big man lifted his single sword and fiercely chopped towards An Xiaohui's long sword. An Xiaohui couldn't avoid it, and her long sword collided with the single sword, slipped out of her hand, and flew away. Yuan Chengzhi was shocked and waved his fire fork in front of the big man. The big man blocked it with his sword and kicked An Xiaohui to the ground. Yuan Chengzhi, disregarding his own life, attacked with his fork, but he was in a panic and could no longer use it properly.

The big man laughed loudly and swung his knife to chop down. Chengzhi crossed his fork to block, but the big man had already grabbed the fork with his left hand and twisted it hard, causing Chengzhi to feel a sharp pain in his hand and drop the fork. The big man didn't pay any attention to him and threw the fork aside, then ran to Xiaohui and grabbed her waist with his right hand, rushing forward.

Although Chengzhi's hand was in pain, he saw Xiaohui being captured and picked up the fork to follow. The big man cursed, "You little brat, don't you care about your life?" With Xiaohui in his left arm and his knife in his right hand, he turned around and chopped fiercely, 
dismantling five or six moves. Chengzhi's left shoulder was cut off a piece of clothing by the knife, and his flesh was also injured, with blood spurting out. The big man laughed and said, "Little brat, are you still daring to come after me?"

Chengzhi didn't back down and shouted, "Put down Xiaohui, and I won't chase after you." Holding the fork, he continued to pursue him relentlessly. The big man became furious and evil thoughts arose in his mind, thinking, "If I don't finish off this little brat today, it seems that he will never give up." With a loud shout, he turned around and swung his knife fiercely, dismantling several moves. He hooked Chengzhi's leg and kicked him down, then lifted his knife and chopped down without mercy.

Xiaohui was greatly alarmed and grabbed the big man's arm with both hands, biting down hard on his wrist. The big man cried out in pain and Chengzhi took the opportunity to roll away. The big man backhandedly slapped Xiaohui's face, then lifted his knife and came towards Chengzhi. Chengzhi quickly dodged to the side, but the knife grazed his forehead and left a cut on his left eyebrow, with blood flowing out.

The big man thought he would not dare to come after him again, so he picked up Xiaohui and left. But Chengzhi, as if he had gone crazy, tightly clung to the big man's left foot and even used the "Inverted Twisting Golden Bell" palm technique to twist his left leg. Chengzhi inherited his father's stubbornness in his blood, even in a dangerous situation, he still wouldn't let Xiaohui be taken away by the enemy.

The big man was both angry and in pain. He was about to chop off the leg of Yuan Chengzhi, and had just kicked him over, when he heard someone shouting from behind. Suddenly, there was a loud thud on the back of his head, followed by a sharp pain and a wet, sticky sensation on the back of his neck. He was so startled that he turned around and saw Madam An standing several yards away with her hands raised.

Knowing that Madam An was a formidable opponent, the big man let go of Little Hui and tried to leave. Madam An raised her right hand and threw three eggs at him in quick succession. The big man dodged the first two, but was hit squarely in the nose by the third one, which burst and covered his face with yolk and egg white. Madam An reached into her basket and pulled out the last egg, which she threw at his left eye. Though it was only an egg, Madam An's strength was formidable, and the big man was left dizzy and disoriented.

"You motherfucker," he cursed. "If you're not going to fry me some eggs, why throw them at me?" He wiped his left eye with his hand and raised his knife to attack Madam An. However, Madam An had no weapon, and could only dodge his blows.

Seeing Madam An in danger, Yuan Chengzhi lunged at the big man's back with his fork. But just then, reinforcements arrived, and Chengzhi felt emboldened. He wielded his fork like a spear in the style of the "Yue Family Divine Spear". ` seized the opportunity to grab a piece of cloth she had bought to make clothes for Chengzhi, shook it in the wind, and threw it into the creek behind her. She then picked up three rocks and threw them at the big man, who was now trying to dodge both the rocks and Chengzhi's fork. He had to step back three times to avoid them.

Madam An picked up the wet cloth and shouted, "Hu Laoshan, you came to bully children while I was away. What kind of hero are you?" With a shout, she threw the wet cloth towards the big man. Although her inner strength was not yet sufficient to really turn the wet cloth into a stick, the long cloth soaked in water still had considerable force when swung. Hu Laoshan frowned, kicked Yuan Chengzhi down, and fought with Madam An. Yuan Chengzhi got up and fought back with his fire fork.

Madam An's martial arts were already superior to Hu Laoshan's, and now she was filled with anger, making the wet cloth even more powerful. Hu Laoshan was hit on the back with the end of the cloth, and water droplets splashed everywhere. He felt a faint pain in his back, and when he moved too slowly, his single knife was wrapped up by the wet cloth. Madam An pulled hard, and Hu Laoshan's knife slipped out of his hand.

He took two steps back and sneered, "I was entrusted by your husband to take his daughter back. I will haunt you and come back to you someday. Little shrew, do you not fear the law by offending the people of the Jin Yi Wei?" Madam An's eyebrows were raised, and she swung the wet cloth horizontally. Hu Laoshan was already wary of her, and as soon as he finished speaking, he turned and leaped away, cursing and pointing his finger, "Damn it, you invited me to eat raw eggs today. Next time, I'll catch you and throw you in prison. You'll have to eat stir-fried bamboo shoots and pork with your butt, and ten bamboo sticks will be inserted into your nail gaps. Then you'll know how it feels! Today, I spare you for the sake of your husband." After cursing a few times, he ran down the mountain. Madam An did not pursue him, and turned to look at Xiaohui and Chengzhi.

Xiaohui was not injured, but she was scared stiff. After a while, she threw herself into her mother's arms and cried. Chengzhi, on the other hand, was covered in blood. Madam An quickly cleaned him up and applied medicine to his wounds. Luckily, the cuts were not deep, and although there was a lot of bleeding, he was not seriously hurt. Madam An put him to bed, and Xiaohui explained how he had risked his life to save her.

Madam An looked at Yuan Chengzhi and thought to herself, "I can't believe that someone so young could be so chivalrous. We can't delay here any longer; I need to help him fulfill his potential." She told Xiaohui, "You go to bed too. We have to leave tonight."

Xiaohui was used to moving around with her mother and didn't think anything of it. Madam An packed up their things and made two bundles. After they had dinner, the three of them sat by candlelight. Madam An didn't lock the door, as if she were expecting someone.

Yuan Chengzhi noticed that Madam An frowned and seemed lost in thought. He felt his eyes start to water and thought to himself, "Hu Laosan said that Madam An's husband sent him to pick up Xiaohui. I wonder what he wants. Madam An's husband mistreated her, and when I grow up and become a skilled fighter, I'll beat him up to avenge Madam An. But I wonder if Xiaohui will be unhappy if she sees me fighting her father." He also thought, "Hu Laosan said he was from the Imperial Guards. Ha, Imperial Guards are such despicable people. They captured my mother and killed her. One day, I will slaughter all of them to avenge my mother."

After Yuan Chonghuan was executed by Emperor Chongzhen, his brothers and sisters-in-law were all sent to exile three thousand miles away by the emperor's order. When the Jinyiwei went to arrest people from the Yuan family, news had already reached Yuan Chonghuan's former subordinates, who rushed to rescue Yuan Chengzhi. However, Yuan's wife was unable to be saved. The ferocious appearance of the Jinyiwei, who ransacked homes and arrested people like wolves and tigers, had already deeply imprinted itself in young Yuan Chengzhi's mind.

= End of Chapter 2 =

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