Caught by The Enemy, part 5

Holding onto a branch, Lin Pingzhi tried to stand up, only to find that his legs had no strength left in them. After raising himself up about a foot, he fell back into the bushes. His waist and backside were tremendously sore. The soreness must have come from bumping into rocks and tree roots after he fell off the horse.

Then he heard the sound of shouting followed by pounding footsteps – someone must have come after him. In a hurry, Lin Pingzhi lay motionless in the bushes. He could hear the loud clashes of weapons nearby. Several people had started a fierce fight. Quietly, he stuck his head out and watched from the bushes. One group of fighters consisted of Fang Renzhi and Yu Renhao of the Qingcheng Sword School. Opposing them were the ugly girl and a man with his face concealed behind a black cloth. Most of his hair was gray, so it was obvious that he was an old man. It didn’t take Lin Pingzhi long to conclude that he was the ugly girl’s grandfather, old man Sa.

Old Man Sa fought against Qingcheng disciples to rescue Lin Family
Old Man Sa fought against Qingcheng disciples to rescue Lin Family

   “I thought those two were also from the Qingcheng Sword School,” Lin Pingzhi pondered, “but it was actually the girl who rescued me…. Oh! If I had only known that they were both masters of Kung Fu, I wouldn’t have risked playing the hero and causing all this trouble for no reason.” Then he thought, “Since they are all so busy fighting right this moment, this is the perfect opportunity for me to rescue my father and mother.” But the acupoint on his back was still sealed, and his body just wouldn’t cooperate.

   “Who…who are you? How did you learn the sword skills of the Qingcheng Sword School?” Fang Renzhi cried out in disbelief.

The old man didn’t answer. Suddenly, with several blazing flashes, Fang Renzhi’s sword flew into the air. Fang Renzhi immediately jumped backward and Yu Renhao rushed forward to block the attacks. The old man kept pressing on with lightning fast moves.

  “You…You…!” Yu Renhao shouted, his voice betraying surprise and fear. With a loud ring, his sword also flew into the air.

The ugly girl jumped forth and lunged, but the old man parried her thrust. “Don’t kill him!” he commanded.

   “But they’re so cruel and killed so many people,” the ugly girl argued.

   “Let’s go!” the old man said. Seeing the hesitation on the ugly girl’s face, the old man reminded her, “Don’t forget our Master’s orders.”

   “Guess I’ll let them off this time,” the ugly girl nodded reluctantly, and then left through the small grove of trees. The old man followed her, and before long, both of them disappeared into the woods.

It took Fang and Yu a good while to calm down. They both picked up their own swords.

   “Unbelievable! How did he know our Qingcheng sword techniques?” Yu Renhao still could not believe it.

   “He only knew a few, but…but when he used the move ‘Goose in the Sky,’ he did really…really…Ah!” Fang Renzhi had to agree.

   “They rescued the Lin boy,” Yu Renhao said.

  “Let’s just hope this isn’t a trick to lure us away from the Lin Couple!” Fang Renzhi yelled suddenly.

   “Damn!” Yu Renhao cried.

The two turned around and rushed back to the restaurant. A short while later, the sounds of horses moving at a slow trot broke the silence as two horses walked into the woods. Fang Renzhi and Yu Renhao each led one of them, and Lin Zhennan and Madam Wang were each tied to a horse. Lin Pingzhi almost shouted out, “Mom! Dad!” Fortunately, he was able to swallow down the words. He knew that if he made any kind of noise, not only would he get himself killed, he would also ruin any opportunity he had to rescue his parents. Trailing about twenty feet behind the two horses, a man limped along. It turned out to be Jia Renda. The white cloth wrapped around his head was soaked with blood and he was cursing loudly.

   “Hell! You sons of turtles took the rabbit boy, but I’ve still got these two old rabbits. I’ll give each of these two old rabbits a good lashing every day. When we arrive at Mount Qingcheng, we’ll see how many lives they have left!”

  “Junior apprentice brother Jia!” Fang Renzhi yelled in admonishment. “Master has reminded us over and over to make sure that we capture the Lin couple alive. If any accidents were to befall them, I’d pay to see how many layers of skin Master would peel off you.”

Jia Renda snorted, but shut up instantly.

Lin Pingzhi listened as the Qingcheng disciples walked away, escorting his parents. He was actually slightly relieved after hearing those words.

   “They are going to send my parents all the way to Mount Qingcheng, and they won’t give them too hard a time on the way. Fujian is far away from Szechwan. I’ll have to find a way to rescue Father and Mother.”

Then he thought, “When I get to an Escort House branch, I’ll send a message to Grandpa in Luoyang right away.” He lay silently in the bushes, oblivious to the bites from mosquitoes and other bugs.

Several hours passed. When the sealed acupoints on his back finally opened up, it was already dark. He managed to stand up and slowly walk back to the small restaurant.

“I’d better disguise myself so those two villains won’t recognize me, even if they see me face to face. How am I going to rescue my parents if I get myself killed?” he said to himself.

After entering the restaurant owner’s room and lighting the oil-lamp, he searched for clothing, but the mountain people were so poor that they did not even own a spare set of clothes in which to change. Feeling very disappointed, he walked out of the restaurant when he spotted the bodies of the owner and his wife lying on the ground. “Well, I guess I’ll have to use the clothes of the deceased,” he thought. He took the clothes off of the dead body and held them in his hands. They looked filthy and stank badly. (To be continued)

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