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Lung Chang II - Red Feathered Golden Needles (Wuxia)

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Lung Chang


Chapter II: Red Feathered Golden Needles


Good wine is usually found in famous and popular inns. Famous and popular inns are usually found in bustling cities. Kaifeng is such a bustling city and Lung Chang is there in order to buy some good wine. He is dressed with a brown gown made of silk and, as usual, fans himself with his white folding fan. However, there is something unusual about him. He has a long black beard. 'How did he grow such a long beard in just a few days?', you will ask. If the beard was natural that would indeed be a mystery. But the beard is fake, you see. With nearly everyone in the Martial World searching for Lung Chang, he has to masquerade himself if he wants to have a chance of staying alive.


Lung Chang goes to 'Teng's Tavern', one of the most famous Taverns in all of Kaifeng. He enters the Tavern and soon a short and thin waiter leads him to one of the tables and brings him three jars of wine. Lung Chang opens the first jar and when he smells the fragrance of the wine, he repeats three times: "Excellent smell!". He then starts drinking the wine. After taking a large gulp, he shouts: "Excellent wine! Magnificent wine! That's the reason why this Tavern is so famous!". He then proceeds to drink all of the jar. As he is ready to open and the second jar, he sees two men entering the Tavern.


One of them wears a fox fur cap, a blue silver gown and carries a long sword on his waist. He is in his 30's and has an air of arrogance in him. A middle-aged man with the air of a servant is the second person. The middle-aged man follows the rich man and helps him to sit down on a table. Lung Chang hears the middle-aged man calling the rich man 'Young Master Jiang', and the rich man calling the servant 'Cao'.


Not long after, the same waiter that had served Lung Chang, serves the 'Young Master Jiang'. He brings him two jars of the tavern's best wine and the best dishes. After an hour, Jiang and Cao get up and ready to leave the Tavern, but the waiter stops them and asks them: "Will you pay me?"


"How dare you?!", Jiang shouts and slaps the unfortunate waiter. "I am the brother of the Master of the Guan Family, Guan Jong. I can eat and drink whatever I want without paying!"




Jiang pulls out his sword and makes a vertical cut which opens up the man from throat to crotch.


"The Guan Family must have great influence in this area for this man to be acting so wildly.", Lung Chang thinks. Lung Chang wants to give Jiang a good lesson, but with almost everyone in the Martial Arts World searching for him, that would not be such good idea. He then hears a man with deep voice saying: "You bastard, I am going to give you a good lesson."


The man, who is tall but not very handsome (although he could not be called ugly, either), and wears a simple black gown, approaches the table where Jiang and his servant where sitting. He softly touches it and the table, suddenly, breaks into tens of pieces.


"Great internal energy!", Lung Chang thinks but does not dare to say, afraid that if he compliments the man, he may become involved in the fight. However, he cannot help but admire him. "I cannot help him, but, at least, I shall enjoy a good fight."


"You scum!", Jiang says pointing at the man. "It is you who shall get a good lesson."


Jiang charges forward, sword raised, and chops at the man's thigh, but the man jumps and dodges the blow. Jiang attacks again and the man leaps backwards. The man quickly grabs one of the wooden legs of the table he had broken, somersaults and thrusts his weapon at Jiang's chest. The thrust is too fast to be avoided and hits with immense strength the arrogant man's chest. Jiang spits some blood and coughs.


Nevertheless, Jiang points again his sword at the man and thrusts it towards him. As the sword speeds forward, a loud sound is heard, revealing the strength behind the thrust. However, the man doesn't even move his feet. His wooden stick flickers and stabs Jiang's shoulder. Jiang, shouting in pain, lets his sword fall on the ground.


It looks like the strange man has defeated Jiang. But, as they saying goes, victory leads to arrogance. The man spits at Jiang and, laughing, he shouts: "You are a dog! Kowtow before me ten times and call me Grandpa, and I may let you live! Hahahahaha!".


Servant Cao is terrified and bows before the man, pleading with tears in his eyes for him to spare Jiang's life. But the man kicks him away. It is then when Jiang pulls out of his sleeves five golden needles and throws them with almost superhuman speed at the man's stomach. The man vomits quite a lot of blood and points with his index finger at Jiang for a few seconds. He then dies. Lung Chang, who until then had stayed quite, looks with surprise at the golden needles and shouts two times: "Those are the needles!".


Lung Chang waits for a few minutes for Jiang and his servant to leave and then runs towards the man's dead body. He pulls out the golden needles and examines them for a few seconds. His mouth opens, showing his surprise. Those golden needles have a red feather on them. "Those must be the ones that killed him!", Lung Chang shouts. Those needles bring Lung Chang back to the past.


Almost a year ago, in August 14th, Lung Chang was in Fuzhou, in South China. When he arrived at the city, that fateful day, he went to a tavern and drank alone. Then, a handsome young man entered the tavern. That man was Wu Jing, son of the Chief of Huashan Sect, Master Wu Kang. Wu Jing, who was very fond of girls, saw a young and very beautiful woman sitting alone and drinking some wine, most probably waiting for someone. Wu Jing approached her, but she refused to let him sit with her. Wu Jing then grabbed her and started kissing her. When the woman tried to resist, he slapped her so hard that her cheek became swollen. This made the woman resist even more, but he punched his fist on her face, breaking her nose.


Lung Chang could not watch this and pretend that nothing was happening. He drew his sword and approached Wu Jing. At first, he tried to reason him with polite words, but this failed and so the two men resolved to duel. Wu Jing pulled out his sword and leapt in front of Lung Chang, thrusting at his right shoulder. Lung Chang met Wu Jing's sword with his own and the two of them clashed. Both of them were pushed back, and Lung Chang attacked Wu Jing using the 'Soaring Dragon in the Sky (飛龍在天劍法)' Swordplay. Their fight continued for 120 more moves, but, slowly but steadily, Lung Chang was gaining the upper hand and slashed thrice Wu Jing's chest. The slashes were not very deep nor did they aimed at killing his opponent. However, after the third slash, Wu Jing suddenly fell on the ground, dead. Lung Chang searched Wu Jing's body for any wounds and he found stabbed on his back the same golden needles with red feather that Jiang had thrown at the man. So, it is not weird that Lung Chang was very surprised when he saw the golden needles Jiang had thrown.


Back then, his teacher, Master Song Yan, had not believed him and instead accused him of killing Wu Jing with his slashes. Now, Lung Chang has a chance to find who killed Wu Jing and blamed the crime on him. He immediately runs towards the tavern owner and asks him about the Guan Family. After giving him a few golden coins, Lung Chang is able to learn where the Guan Family lives: in a large Mansion a few miles outside the city.


After a few hours, Lung Chang heads towards the Mansion. When he arrives at the Mansion, he sees that it is rectangle and surrounded by a thick stone wall. As he is ready to knock the large wooden door at the Mansion's entrance, he hears two men, maybe servants, talking.


"Did Master punish Young Master Jiang?"


"The sworn brother of our Master's friend was enraged that the Young Master used in public the golden needles and so Master was forced to punish him."


Lung Chang realizes that behind Guan Jong, the elder brother of Jiang and head of the Guan Family, there is an other man. Could this man be also related to the murder of Wu Jing, and that's why he forced Jong to punish his brother?


Anyway, Lung Chang knocks the door of the Mansion and soon, a servant opens it. He stares at Lung Chang for a few seconds and then asks, "Sir, what do you want?"


"I want to meet Master Guan for a trade deal."


"Oh. Come inside."


Lung Chang enters the Mansion and is led in the Mansion's Great Hall. Not long after, a man in his fifties wearing a flowered silk robe and a black woollen jacket enters the Great Hall, accompanied by twenty men, all swordsmen.


"Mister, what is your name?", the man in his fifties asks.


"I am...Zhang Dongfang."


The man understands that this is an alias, since Dongfang simply means 'Orient'.


"I am Guan Jong. How can I help you?"


"I want to buy some of your golden needles."


Guan Jong is startled to hear this and, being very anxious, shouts: "We do not sell our needles!"


"Alright. Alright. No need to be so angry. So....since you do not sell your needles, where you the ones who killed Wu Jing last year, in August 14th?"


Upon hearing this, Guan Jong realizes that the man in front of him is Lung Chang and orders four of his men to charge at him with their swords. Lung Chang just smiles and waits for them. When they come close enough to him, he quickly pulls out his 'Deadly Jade Sword', moves like a flash, cuts off both of their hands and hangs his sword back to his waist.


"This time, I cut off your hands. Next time, I shall cut off your heads."


Guan Jong, very angry, shouts: "Bring my Sword to me!". Soon, a servant brings a long Jian, a double-edged straight sword, which is carved from a single solid piece of jade. The blade is 80 centimeters (31 inches) in length. The weight of the sword is approximately 900 grams (2 pounds). A hilt protects the hand of wielder from an opposing blade. The shape of the hilt is short wings pointing forward. A handle behind the hilt accommodates the grip of one hand plus two fingers of the other hand. The end of the handle is finished with a pommel for balance, to prevent the handle from sliding through the hand if the hand's grip should be loosened. Upon the Sword, the figure of a Dragon is carved.


"You have the 'Deadly Jade Sword', I see. Well, I have the 'Jade Dragon Sword'. Let's see how you shall fare against this sword!"


Guan Jong grabs the sword, somersaults and thrusts his sword directly towards Lung Chang's throat. Lung Chang goes on the defensive and the two blades clash with a great 'clang'. Lung Chang and Guan Jong exchange more than 200 moves. Their fight takes them out of the Great Hall and they continue their duel in the Mansion's yard. It is then when Lung Chang decides to use the Kunlun grappling technique 'Kunlun Wishful Hand (崑崙如意手)'. When Guan Jong charges with his sword against him, Lung Chang makes no move until the sword is only one inch from his nose, then stretches out his hand and grabs it by the hilt. Guan Jong lets out a ragged breath.


"Will you talk now?!", Lung Chang shouts. But before the man can reply, he vomits blood and falls on the ground dead. Lung Chang sees a golden needle stuck at the man's neck and hears the sound of someone running coming from outside the Mansion. Lung Chang excels in the levitational Kung Fu known as the 'Art of Flying' and, despite the fact that the stone wall surrounding the Mansion is quite high, he jumps above it and chases after a masked man clad in black garb. However, the man runs too fast and soon Lung Chang loses him. After a few minutes, he returns back to the Mansion. But, when he enters from the Main Entrance, he finds everyone dead. Lung Chang searches around for almost an hour, but he cannot find anyone alive in the Mansion. He then decides to leave and find a room to stay for the night.


He finds a room in a inn in a small village outside Kaifeng. The inn is crude and simple to the extreme, with earthen walls and mud floors. There, he thinks about the day's events. After thinking for hours, he comes to the conclusion that "The massacre at the Guan Mansion must have something to do with the sworn brother of Guan Jong's friend. I heard the servants saying that this man was angry that Jiang had used the needles in the public and forced Jong to punish his brother. So, that man must have something to do with the murder, otherwise he would not have been so afraid of Jiang using the needles. Also, when I talked about Wu Jing's murder, Guan Jong and his men attacked me. That means that they were the ones who gave the needles to the murderer. It seems that the sworn brother of Jong's friend had send some men to the Guan Mansion, to make sure that I do not learn who the murderer is. One of those men killed Guan Jong in order to lure me outside. His Qinggong was too good, so he must intentionally have let me hear him running away, so I would chase after him and the rest of his comrades could massacre the Guans. Now that the Guans are dead, I cannot find who the murderer is and that sworn brother has accomplished his goal. Dammit, I was so close!"


The next day, Lung Chang leaves the village. On his way, he sees two villagers talking about a great massacre. Lung Chang approaches them and asks them what happened. One of them replies: "Lung Chang massacred Guan Jong and his men yesterday and in the night he went to the Jia Family, whose head was sworn brother of Guan Jong, and killed him, all of his family and raped his two daughters."


"How do you know it was Lung Chang?", Lung Chang, terrified, asks.


"He wrote his name on the Guan Mansion and the Jia Mansion with red characters."


Lung Chang is sure that the 'sworn brother' had committed those atrocities. He also knows that the massacre of two so prominent and influential in the Martial Arts World families would certainly cause an uproar. Indeed, only five days pass when a student of the Kunlun Sect enters the Great Hall of the Kunlun School and informs the Sect's Chief, Master Piao Zhen, of the massacres.


Master Piao Zhen is a young man, only in his late twenties, with long black hair, a handsome face and a thin but very muscular body. He wears a black gown. He is also known in the Martial Arts World as 'Gentleman Swordsman' and 'Chivalrous Hero'. Piao Zhen was once the brother in arms of Lung Chang and the two of them were like real brothers, until the moment Lung Chang 'killed' their teacher, Song Yan. After the death of Song Yan, Piao Zhen became Chief of the Kunlun Sect.


Upon hearing the news, Piao Zhen walks up and down the Great Hall. It is then when a young woman enters the Hall. Her skin is almost as white as snow, she has a deliciously petite figure and her eyes are full of life. That woman is Song Lihua, daughter of Song Yan. She and Lung Chang were for many years much in love, and Lung Chang would have married her last year's summer, had the unexpected murder of Wu Jing not happened. Now, she is engaged to Piao Zhen.


"What is it, dear?", Song Lihua asks Piao Zhen, seeing how troubled he is.


"That Lung Chang! He is making trouble once again. Five days ago he massacred the Guan and Jia families in Kaifeng."


"Could it be a mistake?"


Song Lihua had never really accepted that her former brother in arms and lover had murdered her father and always thought that it was a misunderstanding. She knows that Lung Chang loved and respected her father as he was his own father.


"How could it be mistaken! He himself admitted it! He wrote with red characters on the walls of the Guan and Jia Mansions his name."


Piao Zhen then turns towards the student who had told him the news and says: "Go and inform the Chiefs of Huashan, Wudang, Emei, Kongtong and Qingcheng Sects, as well as the Abbot of Shaolin, to gather here to discuss about how to deal with this scum, Lung Chang."


The student leaves and Piao Zhen embraces Lihua.


"My love, I know that you still do not feel at ease with us hunting down Lung Chang, but we have to do it."


"Why us? Can't the other Sects do it?"


"My love, I also do not feel at ease when I have to fight my former brother in arms, but for the greater good, I will have to bear the pain and do it. After all, Lung Chang was a former student of the Kunlun Sect, how can I ask the other Sects to hunt him down while we, the ones who raised such a poisonous snake, do nothing?"


Will Piao Zhen be able to persuade the other Sects to join him in his quest to hunt down his former brother in arms? Will Lung Chang be able to survive from the uproar of the Martial Arts World and find who framed him? Who are the mysterious 'sworn brother' and the friend of Guan Jong? Do they have anything to do with the framing of Lung Chang?

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