Monday, October 29, 2007


The Kungfu That Ruled The Night - Chapter 25

Chapter 25: The King of the Vampires

The Ghost Master held the note that had just arrived by pigeon. He read it again. Pursing his lips, he muttered, "This One Eye Snake commands a hefty price! I'll be a fool to pass up the offer!"

"What is it, sifu?" asked one of his disciples.

"We have been engaged to kill a man, a most dangerous man," answered the Ghost Master. "He is a powerful fighter, it seems. But no matter how powerful a man, he will be no match for our King of Vampires."

"When is this supposed to take place?" asked the disciple.

"It is planned for tomorrow,” replied the Ghost Master. "We will have to divert him here. Then we are to immediately send his horse and carriage to the Bamboo Villa in Shibai and collect payment."

"Just the horse and carriage? They don't want his head? Why like that?"

"How should I know?" snapped the Ghost Master. "It's the client's prerogative!"

"Excuse me, sifu. How will we know who this person is? We don't want to kill the wrong man like we did the previous time!"

"Killing the wrong man is a nuisance. If we kill the wrong man, then we will just have to kill and kill until we get it right!" noted the Ghost Master. "The note says that the quarry is being followed by a man with a cage of birds. Someone called the Birdman. I want you to go and contact him. Once he confirms the mark, we will go according to plan. Otherwise, abort."

"What is the plan?"

"I'm coming to it. We will direct the quarry here and slay him with the King of Vampires. No matter how good a fighter he is, he cannot beat what cannot be killed."

The Ghost Master gathered his three disciples and started planning.

+ + + + + +

The next day, the Birdman was following Wen Yiji's carriage at a distance. It was past noon and he was hungry. He wondered when the carriage driver would stop for lunch. Suddenly, a plumpish young man walked out from the bushes and blocked the road. The Birdman reined in his horse.

"Are you the one called the Birdman?" asked the plump stranger.

"Yes," replied the surprised Birdman. "What is it that you want?"

"We have been asked to contact you by a certain Blackface. We need to verify if the One Eye Snake is the one in the carriage up ahead."

"Yes, that's the one," answered the Birdman.

"Good," answered the stranger. "I am a disciple of the Ghost Master. We have been contracted to kill the One Eye Snake."

"My job is just to observe," said the Birdman. "But I can tell you that this man will not be easy to kill."

"That is for us to decide," said the disciple haughtily. "I noticed a girl with him as the carriage passed. Who is she?"

"That, I do not know."

The disciple then leapt up a tree and hoisted up a large flag. Up ahead, a second disciple of the Ghost Master saw the flag in the distance. Quickly, the second disciple blocked the road with branches and put up a sign. A group of villagers appeared by his side.

Wen Yiji reigned in his horse when the carriage approached the blockage in the road. He looked inquiringly at the group of villagers standing there.

"Sir," one of the villagers said. "Please do not proceed any further if you are going south. There has been a strange incurable illness that plagues the next two villages. Everyone that passes through there will go mad and die. We advise you to take an alternative route!"

"Oh," said Wen Yiji. "Is there an alternative route?"

"Yes there is!" said a woman. "If you go down this side path, you will come to a place called White Mist Village. After you go through it, you should be able to rejoin the south road again."

Wen Yiji thanked them and headed down a side path. When the carriage was out of sight, the second disciple of the Ghost Master paid each villager some money. They did not know what the whole thing was about, but were only too happy to take the money.

The Birdman noted that the carriage had been diverted from its route. Carrying the cage of birds, he looked casually at the villagers as he passed them. Then he followed the new direction that the carriage had taken.

By early evening, Wen Yiji had still not reached White Mist Village. As he was passing by an old temple, a temple worker stopped him and ask, "Sir, may I know where you are going?"

"White Mist Village," answered Wen Yiji. "Is it far from here?"

"You won't reach it tonight, that is for certain," said the man. "Also, there is not a single inn around here."

"Oh," said Wen Yiji. "In that case, where do travellers stay then?"

"They usually spend the night in this temple," replied the man. "The abbot does not mind. You can sleep in the great prayer hall."

"I really should not disturb the abbot," replied Wen Yiji.

"You will need water to drink and clean up," said the man. "This is the only place with well water in this vicinity. You will be wise to spend the night here. We do not even require you to make a temple donation. All we ask is that you keep the place clean and tidy."

"Thank you," said Wen Yiji. "We will accept your offer."

The temple worker, who was the third disciple of the Ghost Master then went about his chores.

Wen Yiji and Shi Mei parked the carriage in the temple grounds. Making use of the temple water there, they washed they faces. In order not to inconvenience the abbot, they decided that they would spend the night in the carriage.

When night approached, the Ghost Master gathered his three disciples together and told them, "We have to get the One Eye Snake inside the great prayer hall."

"We can send the King of Vampires to them in the carriage, sifu," remarked a plump disciple. "No need to get them inside the hall."

"No! I will not have the vampire destroying the carriage! The terms of the contract job are that we have to deliver the horse and carriage to Shibai," said his sifu. "This is what we will do. We will invite those two into the prayer hall. Once they are inside, we will lock the door from outside. I will then activate the vampire remotely from outside."

Wen Yiji was inside the carriage when a voice called to him, "Master, the abbot wishes to talk to you for a moment."

The voice belonged to the temple worker, who was one of the three disciples of the Ghost Master.

"All right," replied Wen Yiji graciously. He made no move to get out of the carriage.

"He is waiting for you and your companion in the prayer hall. Please follow me. The abbot is a nervous old man who can hardly walk. Therefore, I have to request you not to bring any weapons as that would frighten him."

Wen Yiji sighed. However, he and Shi Mei followed the Ghost Master's disciple into the hall.

"Please wait," the disciple instructed. Then he quickly left the hall and closed the door from outside.

"Something odd is going on," said Wen Yiji. "First, he said that the abbot was waiting. Now he asked us to wait."

“Let us be patient,” suggested Shi Mei. “After all, we are guests here. If we are required to wait, then it would be the polite thing to wait.”

The hall was lighted with candles. It was empty except for a centre table and some chairs. Some big joss sticks were burning in an urn on the table.

“This prayer hall is pretty spartan,” noted Wen Yiji. “The windows have bars across them. Nothing unusual for a window to have bars, except that these bars are made of metal.”

“To keep burglars from coming in?” asked Shi Mei.

“Maybe,” he answered. “But the design is bad. It makes the prayer hall look like a huge jail cell. I hate jail cells!”

Suddenly, Shi Mei tugged at his sleeve and pointed. Something was moving, and it cast a shadow hopping along the wall.

“What’s that?” she asked in a whisper.

“Probably the abbot,” answered Wen Yiji. “We were told that he could hardly walk. But we were not told that he could hop!”

“Don’t be ridiculous! Whoever heard of a hopping abbot? This is something else!” said Shi Mei.

They turned to look at the figure hopping towards them.

“He sure is huge!” whispered Wen Yiji. "And ugly!"

“Shhhh….don’t be rude!” admonished Shi Mei.

The huge figure hopped and landed heavily in front of them. It stood still and stared at them impassively.

“You must be the abbot,” said Wen Yiji. “Thank you for allowing us to stay at your temple grounds for the night.”

The figure slowly raised both his hands outwards towards them, revealing long sharp nails.

“Do you suppose that he wishes to shake hands?” Wen Yiji whispered to Shi Mei. She was suddenly assailed by fear.

“This is no abbot… is a vampire!” she exclaimed.

“Are you certain?” he asked. “I have never actually seen a vampire.”

“I have seen pictures of vampires! Look at the nails!” she cried. “No human can have such long sharp nails! And the face is a thin skin stretched over the skull! Also, he smells like old rotting flesh!”

“Maybe he did forgot to take a bath for a few years,” commented Wen Yiji.

“Will you look at his fangs? He is a vampire!” insisted Shi Mei.

“Hey, if he is indeed a vampire, what is he doing in a temple?” asked Wen Yiji.

“That is not the question we should be asking!” she cried. “We should be asking what we are doing in this temple!”

“Well,” he answered. “We were on our way south and then we got diverted to this place, and then we got invited to stay at this temple, and then we got invited in here to meet the abbot……oh shit, we were set up!”

“Yes! That means we better leave!” she suggested.

“Good idea,” he agreed. “But I don’t think it will be that easy. Whoever set us up may have foreseen that we would try to run!”

“Do you think we are locked in?” she asked.

“I would bet on that! Look at the bars on the windows……they were meant to keep people in!”

“What do we do now?” she asked.

“We will have to fight our way out!”

“It is said that whoever gets bitten or killed by a vampire will also turn into a vampire!”

“Damn!” he exclaimed. “Oh…..damn!”

“It is not moving,” she whispered. “Maybe it is a friendly vampire!”

“It doesn’t look friendly,” he said.

“Then why is it not attacking us?”

“I think it is trying to decide which one of us to attack first,” he replied. “If a vampire is brain dead, then it will not be able to decide what to do!”

“Unless someone is controlling it!” she said. “My father used to tell me that a vampire usually has an evil mao shan controller!”

“Nah… is most probably brain dead. Here, let me test it,” said Wen Yiji. He shouted at the vampire, “Hey you! How much is 1 + 2 + 3?”

The vampire stared impassively at him.

“There!” said Wen Yiji triumphantly. “I knew it was brain dead!”

The next moment, the vampire leapt towards him with its nails headed for his face. He moved swiftly out of the way.

Shi Mei ran to the door. She tried the door but found it locked from outside.

“We are locked in!” she shouted.

“Look out! It is heading towards you!” shouted Wen Yiji.

She ran away from the door with the vampire after her. Using her Water Spider movements, she was able to dodge its outstretched nails.


Wen Yiji had came from behind the vampire and delivered a Dark Fire Iron Palm on its back. The King of Vampires flew across the room and slammed against the wall. It then dropped stiffly down to the ground and remained motionless.

“There!” exclaimed Wen Yiji. “That wasn’t too difficult! A vampire can be killed just like a human!”

“Don’t speak too soon,” advised Shi Mei. “A vampire cannot be killed!”

“Is it an endangered species?” asked Wen Yiji.

“Not that I know of,” she replied.

“In that case it can be killed,” he said. “The law will not stop us!”

“I did not mean that you are not allowed to kill it,” she explained. “What I meant was, a vampire is already dead, so it cannot be killed! The way to vanquish it is to expose it to the bright sunlight!”

“Bright sunlight?”

“Yes! Sunlight turns it into ashes! Or at least that was what my father said!”

“Is that right?” inquired Wen Yiji. “My former cellmate, Amos, once told me that vampires were afraid of garlic and the sign of a cross. He narrated to me how he killed ten vampires with wooden stakes driven to the heart! He said that they were all blood relatives of his mother-in-law!”

“We better leave before the vampire wakes up,” suggested Shi Mei.

“Don’t worry,” assured Wen Yiji. “Nothing can survive the Dark Fire Iron Palm that I just used. Nothing.”

“Run!” shouted Shi Mei suddenly. “Here it comes again!”

Wen Yiji stared in astonishment as the King of Vampires rose from the floor and leapt towards them. He fled just in time. The vampire chased both of them around the hall relentlessly.


Wen Yiji had ducked under the nails of the vampire and struck a Dark Fire Iron Palm to the heart. The vampire flew backwards and hit the wall before falling to the ground. Quickly, Wen Yiji got to work. He broke off a leg from the table. Then, using brute strength, he cracked it into two. One of the pieces looked good enough to be a wooden stakes. Just as the vampire was getting up, Wen Yiji plunged the wooden stake into its heart. The vampire fell back.

“There, I killed it,” he said with satisfaction. “And I didn’t have to resort to sunlight!”

He turned and beckoned to Shi Mei to follow him.

“Look out!” shouted Shi Mei. “Here it comes again!”

“What?” exclaimed a flabbergasted Wen Yiji as the vampire rose from the floor. “Why won’t it stay dead?”

“That’s because it is already dead!” Shi Mei shouted back. “Should we try to leave this temple?”

“That may not give us any advantage,” shouted Wen Yiji as he ran to escape the long merciless nails of the vampire. “In here we have candles. In the dark night outside, we may not be able to see it coming! This is a creature of the night, so I expect that it has developed abilities to move about easily in the darkness!”

“The candles will not last all night!” yelled Shi Mei as she ran. She stopped when she realized that the vampire was chasing after Wen Yiji. “Also, I do not think that we can keep running all night.”


A sweep of the hands by the vampire hit a huge column in the prayer hall and caused the building to rock.

“Shit! That bugger has got some awesome power!” yelled Wen Yiji. “And all this running is making me exhausted! Do you have any garlic?”

“This is not the time to thing about food, brother Wen!” admonished Shi Mei. “I don’t have garlic. But I have a char siu pau. You want?”

“No! No! No! Awww..…forget it!” panted Wen Yiji. The vampire turned. Suddenly, it was Shi Mei’s turn to run as the vampire chased after her. Round and round she ran in the hall as the vampire kept hopping after her.

Outside, in another part of the temple, the Ghost Master was prancing in front of his altar, waving his wooden sword.

“Hear my command, King of vampires!” he intoned. “Kill! Kill! Kill!”

He paused in his intonation and called one of his disciples, a plump guy, to him.

“I want you to take the horse and carriage of the One Eye Snake to Shibai now.”

“Now? Why not wait till morning?” asked the plump disciple.

“Because I want the carriage to have a head start!” snapped the sifu. “Travelling by carriage is much slower than travelling by horseback. I will leave here in the morning and if I ride hard enough, I can reach Shibai by tomorrow night. I don’t want to get to Shibai and still wait one more day for the carriage to arrive in order to collect my money! Therefore, I want you to start moving tonight.”

“But it is dark, sifu!” the plump disciple protested.

“Why are you arguing? We mao shan people travel by night most of the time! We are used to darkness! Besides, there is a moon!” answered the sifu heartlessly. “Now move!”

Glumly, the plump disciple went to get Wen Yiji’s carriage.

In the prayer hall, Shi Mei was running for her life while Wen Yiji was catching his breath. The vampire leapt upwards.

“I can’t see him!” a panicky Shi Mei yelled. She was not aware that the vampire was swooping down towards her. It stretched out its nails aimed at piercing the top of the girl’s head.


Just in the nick of time, Wen Yiji palm blasted the vampire off course. It landed on its feet and turned towards Shi Mei again. She ran and the vampire hopped after her. Wen Yiji pulled the table cloth off the table. He positioned himself and then at the opportune moment, he flipped the cloth over the jumping vampire’s head.

The vampire stopped. It turned one way and another. Then it hopped after Wen Yiji slowly, pausing every now and then.

“It can’t remove the tablecloth over its head because it cannot bend its elbow!” cried Wen Yiji triumphantly. “It can’t see us, so it is trying to track us by smell or sound!”

“I don’t know about sound, but the smelly tablecloth over its face should mask our smell,” said Shi Mei hopefully. The vampire immediately leapt after them. Shi Mei ran to the left and Wen Yiji to the right. The vampire banged headlong into a column.

“Hey! You ugly ancient idiot!” Wen Yiji called out to the vampire. “You’re so ugly that we have to cover your dumb face up with a smelly table cloth in order to talk to you!”

The vampire turned towards him, tablecloth still over its head.

“So, it appears that you can hear me!” noted Wen Yiji.

The vampire hopped towards Wen Yiji who leapt up high to land softly next to Shi Mei. He put a finger to his lips and Shi Mei got the message.

The vampire turned slowly. It cocked its head for sounds but did not hear any. It turned to the left and then to the right. Left, right, left, right as if trying to make up its mind. Finally, it stopped moving altogether.

"I still think we should try to find a way outside!" whispered Shi Mei.

"No," replied Wen Yiji. "I think we are safer here. If this vampire has a controller, the moment we are outside, the controller will remove the tablecloth and set the vampire to hunt for us outside. I have the ability to see in low light, but you don't. You won't know where to run if it comes after you! At least in here we can see where the vampire is by candlelight. "

"You do have some logic," she whispered.

"Of course. Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer!"

Outside, the Ghost Master stopped waving his wooden sword and told his two remaining disciples, “Something is wrong! I sense that the King of vampires is not moving right! Something must have happened to it!”

“What do we do?” asked a disciple.

“I will have to go into the hall and commandeer the vampire from there. You two will come with me.”

Some distance from the temple, the Birdman watched the carriage pass him. It was the carriage belonging to the One Eye Snake, but was driven by the Ghost Master's plump disciple. The Birdman ran to the front of the carriage and asked, "Isn't this the carriage of the One Eye Snake?"

The plump disciple replied, "Yes!"

"Is the One Eye Snake dead?" the Birdman asked hopefully.

"He should be dead by now!" replied the disciple.

"I will need to see in order to confirm it for myself. Where is his body?" asked the Birdman.

"In the prayer hall of the temple," replied the plump man. "But the King of Vampires is in there. I will advise you to wait till dawn before inspecting the dead body."

"What King of Vampires?"

"Look," explained the plump man. "I cannot stay here all night just to answer your questions. Go see for yourself. Remember to enter the temple only when it is light!"

The plump man cracked his whip and the horse moved. The Birdman stared at the back of the retreating carriage. He had no choice but to wait till morning.

Meanwhile, the Ghost Master and his two disciples entered the prayer hall by a secret door high above the ground just under the roof. They perched themselves on a ledge among the roof rafters. Shrouded in darkness where the light from the candles could not reach, they peered down.

“There is a tablecloth over the head of our vampire,” the Ghost Master whispered to one of his disciples “Go down and remove it!”

“Yes, sifu!” replied the disciple. He leapt down to the ground and in a swift motion, pulled the tablecloth of the vampire.

“Hey! Where did that guy come from?” asked Wen Yiji.

“Never mind the guy!” said Shi Mei. “Here comes the vampire again!”

“Oh shit!” muttered Wen Yiji. “I wonder why the vampire is attacking us but not him!”

They ran, but suddenly Wen Yiji turned and ducked under the hands of the vampire. He delivered a blow to the shoulder of the vampire. The blow spunned the vampire around to face the disciple.


Wen Yiji delivered a powerful strike at the back of the vampire. The blow propelled the vampire forwards and it shot towards the surprised disciple with its outstretched hands and nails.


The poor disciple was pierced right through by the long nails. The next moment, the vampire bent down and started biting into the neck of the unfortunate guy.

"Eeeewwww!" said Shi Mei. "That man got bitten by a vampire! He will turn into a vampire tomorrow!"

“Are you sure?”

“Yes! That was what my father said!” she replied. “He was once called to heal the son of a rich man who got bitten by a vampire. However, the condition could not be healed. The most my father could do was to slow down the process. However, one night, the son turned into a vampire. He then bit every one in the family. Soon, the house was full of vampires! A mao shan sifu came and subdued them with paper talismans. After that, he broke the roof and let the sunlight in. The vampires all turned into ashes!”

"What a way to go!" remarked Wen Yiji. “Maybe the sun god frightened them into ashes.”

“My theory is that some spectrum of sunlight reacts with the bodies of the vampires causing them to undergo rapid incineration.”

“Goodness! Where do you get all those theories!”

"Never mind. If ever I got bitten by a vampire, I want you to expose me to sunlight so that I can never become a vampire! Okay?"

"I promise you that you will never become a vampire.”

"Don’t be too sure, brother Wen," she said. "Once the vampire finished sucking the blood of that guy, it will turn its attention to us!"

"Do you have the Devil Flute?" Wen Yiji asked.

"Yes!" she replied. "But I don't think it will have any effect since a vampire is already dead."

"We will need to try."

"We can't," said Shi Mei. "I brought out the flute but I did not bring the acupuncture needles to protect myself from the Sounds of Hell. The moment I blow, I will faint."

"How many acupuncture needles do you need?" asked Wen Yiji.

"Two," she replied.

Wen Yiji searched his body and gave two needles to Shi Mei. "These were from the days when I needed the needles to maintain visibility. I don't need them now but I omitted to throw them away!"

Hastily, Shi Mei took the needles and poked them into the back of her neck. She instructed Wen Yiji, "You will have to move twelve steps away from me."

Wen Yiji nodded. Suddenly, he looked towards the vampire.

"He has finished his bloodfest! And he is now looking at us!" he said. "Better move!"

Shi Mei saw him gestulating at the vampire and ran for her life. The vampire ran after Shi Mei, but Wen Yiji got near palm blasted the legs of the vampire.


The vampire fell down onto the floor. Quickly, Wen Yiji moved away and motioned to Shi Mei to blow the flute. She put the flute to her lips and blew a long note.

Up above her, the Ghost Master and his remaining disciple felt their heads burning up inside. They clutched their heads but the devilish sounds were not to be denied. The intense pain from the Sounds of Hell caused both of them to lose their balance and they tumbled helplessly downwards from their position down to the ground below.

Thud! Thud!

"What the hell?" thought Shi Mei as she kept on blowing. "Everytime I blow this flute, it keeps raining men!"

"Where did those men come from?" mutterred a perplexed Wen Yiji.

A movement from the vampire caused him to freeze. The vampire got up, seemingly unaffected by the effects of the Devil Flute.

The Ghost Master struggled to his feet, trying hard to withstand the devilish sounds. He looked for his wooden sword, without which he could not control the vampire. A cold hand helped him up and he wondered who was so kind. The next moment, he knew; it was the vampire. Before he could react, a cold mouth with sharp fangs clamped onto his neck and suck. In spite of the pain inside his head, he was aware of the horror that had befallen him. The mao shan sifu knew that he was on the way to becoming a vampire. He screamed in terror as the vampire continue sucking.

Shi Mei stopped blowing. She could see that the flute was useless against the vampire. She removed the acupuncture needles from her neck and wondered who the strangers were.

The disciple of the Ghost Master was also attempting to get up. The vampire swung its hands and the sharp nails sliced off the disciple's head cleanly.

"Oh, heck! I wish I hadn't seen that!" cried Shi Mei. "That was grotesque!"

Wen Yiji came near when he saw that Shi Mei was no more blowing the flute. "You were right!" he admitted. "The Devil Flute had no effect on the vampire!"

"Who are those men?" asked Shi Mei. "One of them is dressed like a taoist priest!"

"If I were to guess, I would say that the taoist priest is the one who was the master of the vampire," answered Wen Yiji. "When he dropped his wooden sword, his power over the vampire was diminished, I guess. So the old ugly creature attacked its master when it had the chance!"

"I heard from my father that the mao shan controls vampires with talismans," commented Shi Mei. "The mao shan sifu would paste the talisman on the forehead of the vampire and then it would stop moving! The bag that fell down with the taoist priest may contain what we need to control the vampire."

Wen Yiji looked at where Shi Mei was pointing and noticed a cloth sling bag commonly carried by taoist priests. He said, "I have an idea. You go and goad the vampire to chase you while I go and inspect the bag!"

“What?” exclaimed Shi Mei.

“Heheh! Just joking!” smiled Wen Yiji. “I’ll go and goad the vampire to chase me while you inspect the bag!”

"How can you joke at time like this?" she asked. “At normal times you are so serious!”

"That is true!" said Wen Yiji good naturedly. "I should lighten up more often."

He went up to the vampire and said, "Hey you! Do you know that you are so ugly that everybody dies?"

The vampire stared at him with blood smeared all over its mouth. Then it hopped madly after Wen Yiji and he had to run.

Quickly, Shi Mei ran and picked up the bag and inspected the contents. There were many different kinds of paper talismans. She did not know which one to pick.

"These are too many talismans!" she shouted. "I do not know which one to pick!"

"Just pick any one!" shouted Wen Yiji as he narrowly averted the long fingernails of the King of Vampires. "I'll hold its hands while you paste the talisman on its forehead!"

"Okay!" she answered as she rushed over. She dipped her hand in the bag and extracted a talisman randomly. Leaving the bag on the ground, she spitted on the back of the piece of paper and then waited for the opportunity.

Moving quickly, Wen Yiji grabbed the wrists of the vampire and held them upwards. The next moment, Shi Mei snaked in a hand and slapped the talisman on the forehead of the vampire. The vampire froze.

Wen Yiji released the wrists of the vampire and then withdrew. The vampire moved its head and looked in Shi Mei’s direction. It winked at her. The next moment, it went after Shi Mei and she had to flee.


Wen Yiji slammed the vampire from the side with a Dark Fire Iron Palm. The vampire went down for a moment. It got up again and even though Wen Yiji was nearer, it started to go after Shi Mei.

“Why is it chasing me and not you?” shrieked Shi Mei.

“If my guess is correct, I think you just pasted a love spell on his forehead!” Wen Yiji shouted back. "Be careful! I think the vampire is faster now! The drinking of blood must have given it an energy boost! We are definitely in trouble!"

“Do something!” she screamed as she ran. "Help!"

As they ran past him, Wen Yiji palm blasted the talisman off the forehead of the vampire. The creature stopped in its tracks. It turned to face Wen Yiji. The next moment, it attacked Wen Yiji.

Shi Mei took the opportunity to inspect the contents of the bag. There were loads of paper talismans inside.

"I can't find it!" she shouted.

"What are you looking for?" asked Wen Yiji who was fighting with the vampire.

"I'm looking for something that says that it can tame a vampire! But I do not even know what I am looking for exactly!" she shouted back. "I don't want to get a love spell by mistake again!"

"Wait! The Lao Chio Monster!" shouted Wen Yiji as he narrowly averted a strike by the vampire.

"There is nothing here that says "Lao Chio Monster". What is it?" she asked.

"The Lao Chio Monster once said that he had the all-powerful five thunder talisman that protected him against vampires! Look for a five thunder talisman!" yelled Wen Yiji as he leapt over the head of the vampire.

"There is a talisman here with the "Thunder" word written five times!" shouted Shi Mei.

"Let me have it!" shouted Wen Yiji as he raced towards Shi Mei with the vampire after him. He snatched the paper talisman from her hands. The paper tore almost into two. As he took the talisman from her, he turned and to face the onrushing vampire. However, the vampire was almost on top of him. Ducking desperately under the sharp nails, Wen Yiji shot up his hand and held the five thunder talisman against the face of the vampire. The vampire froze.

For a long while, Wen Yiji stayed in that position, with his hand holding the paper against the face of the vampire. The vampire just remained there, unmoving.

"I think the talisman worked," remarked Shi Mei thankfully. "Maybe you can remove your hand now, brother Wen!"

"I can't," explained Wen Yiji. "The talisman is almost broken in two. It is my hand that is holding it together. Can you see if there is another five thunder talisman in the bag?"

Shi Mei searched and searched. Finally she said in disappointment, "There is none!"

Wen Yiji mulled over the information. Finally he said, "I will have to stay in this position all night."

"All night?" asked Shi Mei. "Maybe we can tie up the vampire with ropes or something!"

"No," said Wen Yiji. "The vampire has gathered strength after he sucked the blood from the priest. I won't be able to fight it now. This piece of almost-torn talisman is our only hope!"

"Maybe we can take turns to hold the talisman," suggested Shi Mei.

"No, Shi Mei," said Wen Yiji. "Any movement will cause the talisman to come apart. I will have to do this myself. You can extinguish some candles to save them. Light them only when the other candles have burned out. That way, we should have light throughout the night."

"Yes, brother Wen," she said.

"Make sure that I do not fall asleep," he instructed. "If I do, that will be the end of us!"

Shi Mei nodded. She kept the candles going throughout the night. Then she kept engaging Wen Yiji in convesation so that he would not sleep. It was a long night. Wen Yiji was stiff from not moving. But in the end, morning came.

Cautiously, Shi Mei opened a window on the eastern side of the hall. A long beam of sunlight streamed in through the bars of the window and lit up a patch on the floor. She opened another window and another part of the floor was lit up.

"If we can push the vampire to the sunlight, maybe we can destroy it," suggested Shi Mei.

"I doubt it," said Wen Yiji tiredly. "The early morning sunlight is not very strong. We may have to wait until the sun is stronger."

"Shhhhhh!" whispered Shi Mei. "I think someone is opening the door!"

Quickly, she flopped down on the floor next to a dead body and pretended to be dead. The door swung slowly open and the Birdman looked inside. He stared at the vampire and Wen Yiji frozen in their positions. His eyes took in the four bodies lying on the floor and tried to guess what had happened.

The Birdman waited. There was no movement inside the hall. He wondered why the vampire and Wen Yiji were standing so close to each other with both not moving. However, his job was only to report what had happened, and if the One Eye Snake was dead, then he should report the matter. Cautiously, he placed his cage of pigeons at the entrance to the hall and then walked in. Slowly, he approached the two standing figures.

"Are you dead?" he asked Wen Yiji.

"Not yet," replied Wen Yiji. "You were the man with the cage of birds who overtook my carriage two days ago!"

"Why are you holding onto the face of this huge whatnot?" asked the Birdman.

"I am unable to move," replied Wen Yiji. "This whatnot is a vampire. It is also unable to move."

The Birdman paused. This was a golden opportunity to kill off the One Eye Snake. He knew that Prince Jin would pay a handsome sum for the kill. For some reason, the One Eye Snake was unable to move. It was an opportunity that even a fool would take. Hastily, he pulled out his sword. He would kill the One Eye Snake and then claim the reward from Prince Jin. As for the vampire, it was frozen and therefore, would not be a problem.

Wen Yiji turned his head and watch the Birdman aimed a thrust at him with a sword. Stiff as he was, Wen Yiji managed to jump aside. However, he fell to the floor. In horror, he saw the five thunder talisman flutter to the ground in two separate pieces.

"Shit!" he cried. "The talisman is down!"

On hearing that, Shi Mei quickly got up. The Birdman was momentarily distracted by Shi Mei that he did not notice the vampire move slightly. As the Birdman approached the fallen Wen Yiji with a sword in hand, he heard a slight sound behind him. He turned his head just in time to see the face of the vampire looming up close. The next moment, long nails pieced into the Birdman's heart and he died with terror on his face.

Shi Mei and Wen Yiji were tired from staying up all night. They knew that they were unable to outrun the vampire to the open door. However, they managed make their way to the two patches of the floor that was lit up by sunlight coming through the two open windows. The vampire paused by the edge of the light.

"It is afraid of light! Let us open more windows!" suggested Shi Mei.

"Good idea!" agreed Wen Yiji.

Shi Mei ran out of the lighted patch and the vampire immediately hopped over towards her window. She had to quickly run back into the light again. However, the little move gave Wen Yiji the opportunity to pick up the blade of the dead Birdman. Grinning naughtily, Wen Yiji used the blade to reflect sunlight onto the body of the King of vampires. The reflected light was weak but it had the effect of making the vampire back away from them. This time Shi Mei took the opportunity to open another window. Then she opened another. And yet another. Soon, the whole eastern wall had all its windows open and the vampire had to back off to the western half of the hall. However, they would still have to cross and unlit portion of the floor in order to make it out of the door.

Wen Yiji handed the Birdman's sword to Shi Mei and then stretched himself. He was exhausted, but calmly, he gathered the Dark Fire inner energy to his palm. He needed just one good strike. The King of vampires was standing near the door waiting for them, daring them to make a run for it. Shi Mei played a ray of sunlight off the blade onto the face of the vampire. The vampire shielded its face with its sleeve. Wen Yiji rushed forward and then palm blasted the vampire who was thrown back several steps onto the ground. The vampire recovered fast but got up only just in time to see Wen Yiji and Shi Mei rush out through the door to safety.

"Phew! That was scary!" said Shi Mei.

"Yes," agreed Wen Yiji. "Let us rest for a little while. And after that I am going to make the vampire wish that it had stayed dead!"


Monday, October 22, 2007


Three sentences on what

Today, I have no bullshit to report.

Except, perhaps, for the weather.

It rained this morning, but that ain't bullshit.


Thursday, October 18, 2007



I feel sorry for one of our local politicians who recently announced to the whole world that "My ‘pipe’ is leaking here and there."

Poor guy. What an unfortunate problem.

But don't you worry needlessly......everything can be fixed.

When I see him, I'm gonna give him a roll of duct tape to solve the situation. If that doesn't work, then he'll have to use a rubber band. No choice. We can't have him leaking everywhere. If that still does not work, then I'm fresh out of ideas.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Look before jumping into fengshui

Before you buy a book on fengshui, a word of caution from fengshui Master Vin Leo is timely.

Many of the theories sprouted in fengshui books are not followed by the masters themselves. They will sprout a theory, but when it comes to actual application, they will do something else.

The number of people buying fengshui books must be considerable or else MPH will not dedicate a section to it. Most of the books are junk as fengshui students will pretty soon find out. Fengshui masters are not God, so their knowledge will be limited. Not only that, fengshui masters are not going to put the little that they know in a paperback for all and sundry to see. I mean, would you?

Let’s move on to fengshui websites. Each site parrots the other endlessly. The only subtle difference is the smell of the bull. Fengshui sites will gladly provide you with a flying star calculator knowing that it will do shit for your house in the vast majority of cases. The real kungfu is not there.

One of the few good fengshui websites that write some pretty deep stuff is the site run by Perth fengshui master Vin Leo. His article on “88 grains of rice” is seriously worth a read in case you are thinking of buying a pocket pagoda for luck. However, it is his other articles that give an insight on why many fengshui cures simply will not work. That is not to say that nothing will work. A few methods will. So now you know.



I had a brief glance at the TV just now and there was some promo for a new reality show about the search for the Ultimate Porn King and Queen. That grabbed my interest. I knew the answer to that one. For the King, it has to be ten inches. For the Queen, it would be 40 inches. Anything more would be considered grotesque.

Then some voiceover on TV explained that they were searching for the Ultimate PROM King and Queen.


Who the heck cares about PROM?


You would have thought that, for once, they could make a reality show that is at least a little bit meaningful.


Thursday, October 11, 2007


The Kungfu That Ruled The Night - Chapter 24

Chapter 24: The Birdman witnessed a battle

The innkeeper of the Small Shibai Inn bowed low before the Emperor. He and everyone else in the inn had been arrested and then taken to identify the body of the dead Chui La Pah the previous night. Then they had spent the night in captivity until the Emperor was ready to question them,

“Do you recognize the dead man, innkeeper?” asked the Emperor.

“Yes,” replied the innkeeper. “I have seen him in the company of two of my guests, Whiteface and Blackface. They addressed him as ‘sifu’.”

“What about the man whom we found in your premises, the one with three arrows in him?” asked the Emperor.

“That one was Whiteface.”

“How did Whiteface die?”

“I do not know. He and Blackface were harassing a lady patron in the inn last night. Like a pair of cheekopeks. Then suddenly, he was moving violently and crashing into the tables. I had a few tables broken by him. Finally, he crashed down to the floor and stopped moving. He appeared to be badly injured. Not long after that, soldiers arrived and arrested us!”

“This is mysterious indeed. Who shot him with the arrows?”

“He had no arrows in him while he was at the inn, Emperor. Whoever shot him with arrows must have done it while we were being escorted here.”

“I am aware of that! The three arrows in him were not there by accident. Why would anyone want to shoot at an injured man?” asked the Emperor. “Somebody must have shot him in the dark to prevent him from talking!”

“I am just a simple innkeeper, Emperor. I can offer no explanation to yesterday night’s happenings.”

“What happened to the lady patron whom Whiteface was harassing?”

“She disappeared just before the soldiers arrived. So did Blackface!”

“Odd, very odd!” commented the Emperor. “Chui La Pah came here and got killed by a masked man. Then his disciple Whiteface got killed. Blackface disappeared. I want Blackface hunted down. What does Blackface looks like?”

“Blackface has a black face, Emperor. He looks like he spends a lot of time with his face in the summer sun.”

The Emperor turned to General Wan and commanded him to search for Blackface. The innkeeper was led away to help an artist draw out the picture of Blackface. The picture would be copied and pasted on the walls of Shibai later. The rest of the people arrested from the inn were then freed.

The Emperor then summoned Royal Concubine Lin to his presence,

“Concubine Lin,” he said. “Do you have any knowledge of this dead assassin Chui La Pah?”

“No,” answered the Royal Concubine. “I have never heard of him before.”

“I have six royal concubines by the name Lin in this palace. You are the only concubine Lin to have survived.”

“Yes, aren’t I lucky?”

“Lucky indeed,” said the Emperor in an even tone. “In fact you did not want to attend the music session tonight. And when you attended, you wanted to sit in the back row. It is almost as if you knew that I would be attacked!”

“What is your majesty saying?” asked the concubine.

“Of all the princes, your son was the only one who survived the attack,” continued the Emperor. “I find the circumstances too odd to be coincidental. I have been told that you had a hand in it.”

“I do not know what you are talking about,” said the concubine. “If I am accused, then may I know who my accuser is?”

“I was saved last night by a masked man who told me about your involvement.”

“A masked man? My Emperor is willing to believe a man whose identity is unknown and take his word against the word of the Royal concubine whose face is known?” asked the concubine. “I trust that the Emperor is wise enough not to believe the lies spread by unknown persons about this concubine.”

The Emperor was silent. He had no case against the concubine and he knew it. He needed proof. Angrily, he dismissed the concubine who smirked all the way back to her quarters.

+ + + + + +

At the Bamboo Villa, Master San Cheong was pondering his next step. The Seventh Prince had asked him to keep an eye on Prince Jin. It was already past the lunch hour. So far, there had not been any news from the Birdman. Maybe the Eighteen Immortals had not caught up with the One Eye Snake yet. He wondered who the One Eye Snake was.

He was not the only one wondering. Red Wind too, wondered about the One Eye Snake. Walking about the villa deep in thought, he did not hear Phoenix calling him until she was near.

“Red Wind,” said Phoenix. “I called you twice but you did not notice me. You appeared lost in deep thought!”

“Oh, hello, Lady Phoenix,” he said politely. “I am sorry I did not hear you call. Please accept my apologies.”

“No need to be formal, my dear sir,” laughed Phoenix. “What were you thinking about?”

“I was thinking whether the One Eye Snake is a match for the Eighteen Immortals,” he replied. “I have heard once that the shadowy Eighteen Immortals have never lost a battle. They fight defensively and use superior tactics.”

“I have not heard much about the Eighteen Immortals,” said Phoenix. “Their movements are secretive. The martial underworld has it that their spears were forged by the famed God of Spears of the Outer Lands. Spears that were so sharp and hard that they could go through a wall with ease! My dead husband once told me that it was possibly the Eighteen Immortals who killed off the famed General Liang!”

General Liang was the most brilliant general in the Emperor’s army. Being young and intelligent, he acquired many envious enemies in the Emperor’s court. Assassin after assassin was sent after him but all were killed because General Liang was fast, extremely fast. It was rumored that he was finally killed by a team of eighteen horsemen, who waylaid him in a secluded place. They fought with him from morning till night, wearing him down until he was too tired to stand. Then they finished him off. The horsemen mysteriously vanished and nobody owned up to the deed.

“You dead husband could be right,” remarked Red Wind. “Few people would be able to kill off General Liang who was noted for his great inner energy. However, the battle does not always belong to the strongest or the fastest. Sometimes it belongs to those who have the longest stamina. Perhaps that was how they killed off General Liang.”

“It is doubtful then to think that the One Eye Snake can stand up to the Eighteen Immortals. We should have news from the Birdman very soon,” she remarked.

“When this is over, I would like to invite you to the nearest waterfall,” he said suggestively.

“You would, wouldn’t you?”

“Yes. It will be fun, I promise!”

She laughed and walked away. She remembered the tryst with him near the Pool of the Devil fish.

As she was walking, Blackface stopped her.

“You should not be talking so much to Red Wind, sister Phoenix,” he said.

“Why not?” she asked defensively.

“I don’t think that Prince Jin trusts him completely,” he replied.

“I was just making polite conversation with him,” she said. “This villa is not very big. You can’t go around avoiding people.”

“I know. When this is over, let us go to a waterfall for some fresh air,” he suggested.

“What?” she exclaimed. “But you just lost a toe!”

“So what? I still have nine more!”

“I’m sorry about your loss.”

“Don’t worry! There is a reason why Heaven gave me ten toes. So that if I lose one, I still got nine left!”

“That is one way of looking at it. You should get some rest. Now hobble off to your bed!”

Blackface left. Walking was an agony for him, but he managed.

Phoenix watched him leave. She was about to go to the garden when Prince Jin happened along.

“Ahhh…..Lady Phoenix,” he gushed. “Isn’t the day hot?”

“Yes,” she replied. “The weather is good today.”

“Nice day for a swim,” he commented. “We should go to a waterfall.”

“Oh no… got enough people to fit a mahjong table!” she muttered inaudibly.

“I beg your pardon, Lady Phoenix?”

“Uh…..nothing! Any news from the Birdman?”

“No, not yet,” replied the prince. “But we should have news soon.”

Phoenix excused herself and walked off. She was soon stopped by Sun Cheong.

“Excuse me, Lady Phoenix,” Sun Cheong said with a smile. "About the water......"

“Before you say anything, let me just say that I am not interested in going to a waterfall!” said Phoenix haughtily. She walked off without another word.

“What on earth was she talking about?” asked a perplexed Sun Cheong to himself. “I was just going to ask her if she needed the servants to draw water for her bath. I guess that she does not like water!”

+ + + + + +

The team of riders overtook Wen Yiji’s carriage. One by one each rider turned his head to look at Shi Mei. They rode past the carriage without stopping.

“They are in a hurry,” remarked Shi Mei. “I counted eighteen of them. All with spears. Must be part of some kungfu clan.”

“These are not ordinary spearmen,” noted Yiji. “The manner they ride is different. Effortless and confident.”

A moment later, they were overtaken by the Birdman. He turned his head to look at both of them quizzically. He looked at riders in the distance and wondered why the Eighteen Immortals did not stop. He would have to ask them that during the next time they stop to wait for him to catch up.

“A swordsman with a birdcage riding a horse,” noted Shi Mei after the Birdman had passed them. “I have not seen that before.”

“Something strange is going on!” said Wen Yiji. “But it is not our business.”

Shi Mei looked at him oddly.

“What?” he asked.

“Every time you say that it is not your business, it becomes your business,” she remarked.

“Heaven forbid!” he laughed. “But if for some reason I get myself involved, then I want you to run away and leave the fighting to me. My greatest fear is that my enemies will hold you hostage and that makes it impossible for me to fight at all.”

“Don’t worry,” she smiled. “I will not get in your way. Fighting is not what I was born to do.”

Up ahead, the Birdman finally caught up with the team of eighteen riders as they stopped for him at a clearing.

“Sirs,” he said. “We passed a carriage back there. There was a man there who possibly could be the person whom Prince Jin wanted dead.”

“We know that,” said one of the Eighteen Immortals.

“Then why did you not stop?” asked the Birdman.

“If he is the one whom we seek, then we would prefer to battle him on flat open ground such as here,” answered the Immortal. “It will be more difficult for him to escape. We shall wait for him here.”

“Good,” said the Birdman. “I will go and wait among the trees while you check out the carriage.”

The Birdman rode some distance away to some trees and then got down from his horse. He considered himself to be a decent swordsman. However, he knew that he was not in the same league as the Eighteen Immortals. They were very focused and they took great pains to ensure maximum advantage of the fighting conditions before a battle. He would hate to be their quarry. He did never seen them fight, but he was once told by Master Sun Cheong that the method of the Eighteen Immortals was to wear down their quarry until he was too exhausted to fight. Then they would finish him off leisurely. Even a powerful kungfu master would not be able to keep fighting for days. It was a case of stamina against strength.

The Eighteen Immortals tethered their horses, took up their positions and waited for the carriage.

Wen Yiji found his way blocked by a group of men when he arrived.

“May I know why you are blocking the road?” he asked.

“Please get off the carriage,” instructed one of the Immortals. “Or we will be forced to hurt your lady friend.”

“You must be trying to rob us,” commented Wen Yiji. “Damn! I hate being robbed.”

Six of the Immortals raised their spears, getting ready to throw them. “We are just looking for something. If you are not the one we seek, we will not make life difficult for you,” one of them said. “But if you do not get down, there will be no opportunity to do so later!”

“Are you threatening us?” asked Wen Yiji, flushed with anger.

Shi Mei gripped his arm and said, “We better do as they say. There are a lot of them.”

“All right,” said Wen Yiji. Both he and Shi Mei got down from the carriage and walked away from it. Immediately, one of the Immortals leapt inside the carriage and rummaged around. Soon, he came out of the carriage and held Yiji’s short bow above his head triumphantly.

All eyes turned to Wen Yiji.

“So,” said one of the Immortals. “You are the One Eye Snake! The one who killed off the Flute Master Chui La Pah last night! You thought that you could make the kill and run away! You will not live to see the night!”

“Who are you people? What do you want?” asked Wen Yiji.

“We are the Eighteen Immortals. We have a contract on your life.”

“Who put out the contract?”

“Prince Jin.”

“And what if I tell you that I am not the One Eye Snake?”

“You have the short bow that he uses. That is good enough for us. If we find out later that we have killed the wrong man, then we will have to say sorry.”

“Sorry is no cure.”

“True. Too bad!”

Wen Yiji hurriedly whispered to Shi Mei, “Get ready to run! Use your Water Spider fast horizontal movements to avoid the spears!”

“What about you?”

“I will also use your Water Spider technique!”

“You are not very good at that yet!”

“In that case I will use lightness kungfu or whatever! Never mind about me! If you can run away safely, I will be able to take care of them,” he whispered hurriedly. He was less confident then he sounded. He had heard a bit about the Eighteen Immortals, enough to know that they were dangerous.

“Where shall I run?” she whispered back. “They are everywhere!”

“I will blast a path for you! Get ready to run towards the first man who falls down!”

They had been encircled by the spearmen pointing the spears at them. Wen Yiji knew what would happen next. The circle would draw tighter and tighter until the spears reached the quarry. Wen Yiji knew lightness kungfu. He could leap out of the circle. Not all of the Immortals would leap up after him. There would be pandemonium in the air if they did, as they would probably crash into each other. He wondered what their attacking style was. It was not practical for eighteen people to fight a single man simultaneously. They would only get in each other's way. He expected that they would have a system, or several systems.

The Eighteen Immortals would expect him to leap out of the circle; he knew that. What they might not expect was that he could deliver palm blasts and Shi Mei could evade the spears using her Water Spider technique if there were not too many spears flashing in her direction.. He would have to surprise them.

“Look!” he yelled as he pointed to the sky. “Unidentified Flying Object!”

“We are not falling for that one!” said a bored voice.

“It’s shaped like a naked fairy! With legs apart!” cried Yiji.

Again, nobody looked up.

“Now it’s shaped like a camel’s ass!” continued Yiji.

This time, almost all of the men looked up.

Wen Yiji took the opportunity to palm blast two of the men.

Whammmmmmm!!!! Whammmmmmm!!!!

Both men fell down and Shi Mei immediately ran towards them. It was the break in the circle of men that she needed. The men nearest to the fallen men were not idle. As Shi Mei sped past the two fallen men, she had to swerve to avert a spear thrusted in her direction. Another spear thrust from another Immortal snagged her clothes but she wrenched herself free. Then she was out of the circle of Immortals and running.

Wen Yiji heaved a sigh of relief. As long as Shi Mei was not in immediate danger, he would be able to concentrate on battling the Eighteen Immortals.

A few of the Immortals turned as if to run after Shi Mei. However, they did not. Their goal was the One Eye Snake and they stayed focused totally on their goal. The two men who had been palm blasted started to pick themselves up.

Wen Yiji leapt out of the circle of men with a giant leap using lightness kungfu. Almost immediately, six men leapt after him as one of them shouted, “Triple Dragon formation!”

The other twelve men stayed on the ground but ran in his direction.

As Wen Yiji landed on the ground, he found himself roughly surrounded by the six men who had leapt after him. The remaining twelve men then took up positions behind their compatriots. The Immortals took note of the fact that Wen Yiji was able to do the palm blast. Wen Yiji took note of the fact that they had good lightness kungfu.

“I don’t have a weapon and there are so many of you,” he said. “At least let me have a weapon.”

“What's the point?” asked one of the Immortals. “The result is always the same! Those who are fated to die will die.”

"If that is the case, then I think that all of you are fated to bite each other's private parts and die!" retorted Wen Yiji.

He did not have time to say more. The six men moved in for the kill. Wen Yiji breathed quickly and then he extended his hands.


He had palm blasted two men down while the other four men's spears were almost reaching him. He stepped aside neatly to avoid two spears and then parried another two spears with his bare hands. The four men flashed their spears violently in his direction, but they inflicted no damage. He was grateful for the rudimentary Water Spider technique that allowed him to mount a rapid evasive defence against the four spearmen. As he parried the spears, he felt the power behind them. The spears were heavier than ordinary spears. A series of flashes of spearheads filled the air rapidly around Wen Yiji. He was kept too busy to deliver another palm blast. A wrong step would end his life. Suddenly, the four Immortals withdrew. The two men who had been palm blasted picked themselves up and dusted themselves. They were sneering contemptuously as if they were used to being palm blasted. The men were tough all right. As the men withdrew, another six men surrounded him.

"Six at a time......they are attacking me in waves," noted Wen Yiji. "Eighteen Immortals, each wave six people, enough for three waves. While one wave fights, another wave gets ready and the third wave rests! Their strategy must be to wear me down by their superior numbers! The worst part of this is that they are so fast that I can just barely fight against four Immortals, let alone six!"

Based on what he had seen on their ability so far, Wen Yiji knew that he was in deep trouble. The enemy would be able to kill him. However, he would kill a few of them in the process. Perhaps that was why they were trying to wear him down; so that they could kill him without taking any casualties. That way, they would not have to train a new Immortal to take the place of the dead.

Wen Yiji employed the same method with the second wave. He palm blasted two men down to take them out of the equation. Then he had to quickly parry and avoid the remaining four spears that were bent on perforating him from all sides. Their well coordinated combinations of spear strikes were deadly and had a great deal of power behind them. The two men who had been palm blasted made no move to join in the fight. There was no hurry. The blast had been painful. They would wait for the pain in the body to subside first and then join in when it was time for them to fight again.

The second wave was replaced by the third wave of six men. It was a quick change, but unhurried. Suddenly, Wen Yiji realized that the Immortals had not yet been fighting at their full capability yet. This was merely a rehearsal for them. They were just getting the measure of their opponent, testing his ability in order to fine tune their tactics to find the best way to overwhelm him. They were probably more concerned that he would find a means of escape. From his experienced eye, it looked like they were containing him and fighting just enough to sap his energy without taking unnecessary risks.

"This is a cunning group! Think of something fast, Wen Yiji!" he told himself. "Soon, they will increase the speed of their changeover of waves and I won't have time even to breathe! Sooner or later, I will make a mistake! Then, that will be the end!"

Taking a deep breath, he leapt skywards to change his location. As he did so, the six men from the third wave leapt after him in response. In the sky, he palm blasted two men out of the air and then he had to fight for his life again against the remaining four spears. He was kept busy avoiding and parrying the spears and, just as before, there was no opportunity to deliver another palm blast.

Shi Mei looked worriedly at Wen Yiji battling from a distance. All she could see was a whirling of spears with Wen Yiji in the centre of the action. She could tell that he was in dire straits as his clothes appeared torn in some places. Some of the Immortals were practically grinning. They had expected a tougher opposition.

The fighting had moved away from the carriage by now. Quickly, she ran to the carriage, reached inside and plucked the Devil Flute from the corner where it had been kept.

Then, she whipped out two acupuncture needles and felt the back of her neck. Swiftly, she located the spots she wanted and pierced the needles in. Instantly, her world turned silent and she could not hear a thing.

“In theory, these needles ought to protect me from the effects of the Sounds of Hell of the Devil Flute,” she thought. “There is no time to test out the theory! Brother Wen could die any moment!”

Hurriedly, she sped towards the Eighteen Immortals while muttering, “Twelve steps! I’ve got to remember that my range is twelve steps!”

When she was close to the men, two of the Immortals heard her and turned around. They held out their spears threateningly as she put the Devil Flute to her lips. She blew a note on the flute and the two men froze. She got nearer and then her sound range enveloped yet another two more men.

Wen Yiji felt the vibration in the air and he instantly knew what it was. There was no time to dwell upon it. The first wave of six Immortals had withdrawn and it was now the turn of the second wave. Two of the men from the second wave were standing within the twelve step radius of Shimei, together with another two men of the third wave. The four of them had a shock when the Sounds of Hell hit them. They felt the pain in their heads and terror in their body at the same time.

Thus, when the second wave of Immortals attacked, only four out of the six men rushed at Yiji. He palm blasted two men down at the last possible moment and then averted the spears of the remaining two men. Fighting against two Immortals was very much easier than fighting against four Immortals. A spear sped towards his eyes and he jerked his head to avoid it. In a flash, he grabbed hold of the spear and jumped sideways to avoid another spear aimed at his feet. He pulled violently at the spear that he had just grabbed and the Immortal at the other end was jerked along towards Wen Yiji. With his free hand, Wen Yiji shot it forward to hit the Immortal with an iron palm. The Immortal held forth one hand to block the blow. The Dark Fire Iron Palm met the iron palm of the Immortal with fatal results.


The Immortal flew backwards violently leaving his spear in the hand of Wen Yiji. It was the first and last time that the Immortal learned not to ever match palms with the Dark Fire Iron Palm. He would never get up again.

The last remaining active member of the second wave was in a good position to thrust his spear towards Wen Yiji’s vulnerable back. He thought that Wen Yiji was as good as dead when the spear reached Yiji. To his surprise, Yiji twisted his body away in time just as the spear tip nicked his back.

Wen Yiji winced in pain, but he was not one to waste the opportunity that Shi Mei had just given him. He knew that he had to rapidly whittle down the numbers if he hoped to get out alive. One of the two men who had been palm blasted was attempting to get up. Swinging the spear that was still in his hands, Wen Yiji brought it down heavily on the head of the unfortunate Immortal.


He was gratified to hear the skull being crushed. Quickly he whipped around and threw the spear at the other palm blasted Immortal who was groggily picking himself up.


The spear penetrated the back of the man all the way through the front.

“What a spear!” Wen Yiji remarked.

Quickly, he breathed and took stock of the situation. Three Immortals had died within the time it took a normal man to take two breaths. He could see Shi Mei moving in the background blowing her flute with four Immortals near her. Two of the Immortals were holding their ears while the other two moved drunkenly and tried to hit her with their spears. However, she evaded their spears easily while making sure that she kept all four of them within her twelve step radius. Wen Yiji wondered why Shi Mei did not faint from blowing the flute.

The remaining Immortals were shocked at the way things had turned out.

“Iron Circle Crush!” one of them shouted.

Up to now, Wen Yiji still had no idea who the leader was or what “Iron Circle Crush” meant. However, he was sure of one thing; “Iron circle Crush” was not a name of a cold fruit drink. Swiftly, he picked up the spear of the man whose skull he had just broken and held it aloft. Three Immortals were dead and four Immortals were occupied with Shi Mei’s Devil Flute. That meant that he had to contend with eleven Immortals. That was still a lot, considering that it took only four Immortals to tie him down in battle.

The eleven Immortals encircled him. They were more wary this time. Gone was the idea of attacking safely in waves to sap the energy of their quarry. Now, they would go for an all out kill. If a few immortals lost their precious lives in the process, so be it.

Through some unknown given signal, they suddenly rushed forward. Wen Yiji leapt upwards and then discovered that six of the Immortals had anticipated his action and had already leapt upwards towards him from all sides. He would be skewered in the air.

As he was springing upwards, he threw his spear in a twirling movement, more to cause distraction than to kill and at the same time, he pulled his legs up and then turned invisible. It was a risky move. Momentarily, his world turned dark and he saw nothing. He prayed that none of the spears would pierce him as his eyes adjusted to the lower amount of light reaching his retinas.

The five Immortals on the ground and six Immortals in the air who were converging on Wen Yiji, saw him suddenly vanish from sight. The twirling spear thrown by Yiji was blocked off by one of the flying Immortals and it dropped downwards only to be parried by two Immortals below. The spear fell to the ground but Wen Yiji was not to be seen.

Up in the air, Wen Yiji was floating downwards with lightness kungfu. He had hoped to be able to land far outside the circle of men, but this was not the case.

He landed almost on top of a bearded Immortal on the ground. The Immortal moved forward a step and Wen Yiji fell just behind him. Reaching out with his fingers even as he was landing, Wen Yiji hit a yuedao spot on the back of the Immortal. The bearded Immortal froze, unable to move.

Swiftly, Yiji reached out and grabbed the spear of the Immortal. With a sudden twisting movement, he wrenched the spear from the grip of the bearded man.

“Where is he? Do you see him?” asked a thin Immortal who was standing in front of the bearded man.


The next moment, he stared stupidly in the air as a hole appeared at his side. Wen Yiji, hiding behind the bearded man, had speared the thin man through and then pulled out the spear again. The thin man fell over dead.

Quickly, Wen Yiji turned visible so that he could see better. He was sure that once the element of surprise was over, the Immortals would be able to detect him in daylight.

“He’s over there!” a cry went out from another Immortal.


Wen Yiji had hit the back of the bearded Immortal with his iron palm and the man was sent flying forward. He was caught by one of his compatriots.


The spear thrown by Wen Yiji speared the bearded man from behind. It went through the body and emerged out the other side to also spear the man who had caught him, thus killing them both instantly.

“They say that one stone can kill two birds! One spear can also kill two men! What a great spear!” remarked Wen Yiji in admiration. “This is awesome, simply awesome!”

Then he turned serious again. There were still eight Immortals facing him.

“When we are through with you, you will wish that you have never been born,” snarled one the Immortals.

“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride,” commented Wen Yiji.

“What on earth are you talking about?”

“Nothing. I was just offering sagely advice.”

“That is not even sagely advice.”

“You are right! In that case I was merely making polite conversation!”

Wen Yiji’s remarks enraged the Immortals further.

“Kill at will!” one of them shouted.

“What? Kill at will? No Triple Dragon Formation? No Iron Circle Crush?” exclaimed Wen Yiji. “Come on! You gotta at least give me a Camel Toe Formation! Or even a Papaya Crush!”

With rage in their eyes, the eight Immortals held their spears and charged towards Wen Yiji. He could not possibly fight all eight of them together, so he turned to flee. He saw that Shi Mei was in his path so he tried to move to the right. However, with the Immortals coming up to the right and left of him, he could not change direction.

“Twelve step radius!” he thought furiously. “She said that her flute had a twelve step radius!”

Wen Yiji leapt high. He hoped that it was at least twelve steps high. He sailed high over Shi Mei who was still blowing on the Devil Flute. The four Immortals under her control were by now on the ground, twitching sluggishly like worms in agony, but almost dead.

Five out of the eight men chasing after Yiji leapt upwards after him. However, they did not leap high enough. They sailed right into the effective zone of the Sounds of Hell and experience a sudden excruciating pain.

Aaaarrrgghhhh” they cried as they lost control of their bodies and started dropping like flies.

Shi Mei paused in her flute blowing and looked upwards. She yelled, “Holy Mother of the Tao! It’s raining men!”

Quickly, she ran out of the way of the falling bodies before they crashed to the ground.

Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud!

One of the men crashed down awkwardly and broke his neck. The other four were hurt, but they struggled to their feet. In their pain-filled minds, they knew that it was the girl who was the cause of their agony. Drunkenly, they tried to stab at her with their spears. However, she was very much faster than them with her Water Spider movements and she easily avoided their spears while playing the flute.

The three Immortals who did not enter Shi Mei’s zone of the Sounds of Hell watched their compatriots’ ineffective attempts to spear Shi Mei. They were smarter than the rest as they sensed that there was danger in being near Shi Mei. As far as they could see, there were only seven Immortals left standing; three of them in good fighting condition and another four behaving like lumbering drunkards around the girl.

Wen Yiji had no weapon, but he was prepared to take on the three fighting fit Immortals. He raced around Shi Mei’s circle of devilish sounds to approach the three of them. However, the three sensed that Shi Mei was highly vulnerable and that this could work to their advantage. They spreaded themselves out and held their spears getting ready to throw them.

One of the called out to Yiji, “If you don’t surrender yourself to us, the girl dies!”

Wen Yiji paused in his footsteps. He looked at the three of them. He had no doubt that they could throw the spears. They could probably throw better than he could. He was about fourteen steps from Shi Mei. The three of them were less than twenty steps from Shi Mei.

“You won’t be able to hit her,” he said,

“Trust us, we can!” they insisted.

“She can avoid your spears!” Yiji retorted.

“She is busy trying to avoid the spears of our four compatriots near her!” one of them said nonchalantly. “And besides, she has her back to us! Not only that, we are throwing at three different angles. She may at most avoid one spear!”

“She will parry your spears with her hands,” argued Wen Yiji.

“She does not have the inner strength to do it. We can tell by the way she moves,” came the reply. “Now surrender to us or else she dies!”

Wen Yiji breathed in a controlled fashion. He knew that Shi Mei was in danger. The three men were smart enough not to go near her.

“I do not think that you will throw the spears,” he said. “You may hit your own compatriots! They are lumbering around here and there at the place that you wish to throw. If you kill them, I don’t think they will want to friend you any more.”

“That is a risk that we are willing to take! Now surrender to us!”

“Look! You just want to kill me. I invite you to throw your spears at me! Go ahead!”

“That will not work. You kungfu will allow you to block the spears.”

“And so you choose to threaten the girl instead? You men are worse than rats! There is no honour in what you are attempting to do.”

“We don’t believe in honour! Just shut up and surrender!”

“I am not stupid!” replied Wen Yiji. “If I surrender to you, both of us will die.”

“We are not interested in the girl. We only want you! We will let the girl go!”

“Is that right?” sneered Wen Yiji. “Pardon me, but I don’t trust your words!”

“Why not?”

“Because you have no honour!”

“How can you say that?”

“Simple! You just said that you don’t believe in honour! Your words, not mine!”

The three men glared at him in anger. Finally, one of them said. “Very well! You asked for it! We will be happy to watch you suffer when you discover how impossible it is for you to prevent her death!”


"You are perhaps thinking that you can palm blast a spear to prevent it from hitting her. But you cannot palm blast all three spears from three different angles!"

Wen Yiji kept quiet. They were right. He could not possibly palm blast the spears. At twenty steps, a good spearman could not miss. And he was sure that the Immortals were better than good spearmen. His palm blast had a range of nine steps, three less than the range of Shi Mei's flute.

A movement caught his eye. The three immortals were already throwing the spears! There was no time for hesitation. Wen Yiji leapt towards Shi Mei. He had dealt with projectiles long enough to sense that the three spears were true towards the target. The pain assailed his body when he flew into the zone of the Sounds of Hell from the Devil Flute. Ignoring the pain, he delivered his best palm blast, not at the spears, but at Shi Mei. Then he fell to the ground in agony.

The travelling blast reached Shi Mei before the spears did. It sent her flying from her position just in time and the three spears whizzed past her harmlessly.


Shi Mei dropped to the ground. She had the wind knocked out of her but was otherwise unhurt. Her flute was gone and she did not know where she had dropped it. As she was lying on the ground in a daze, an Immortal, still suffering from the after effects of the Devil Flute, lumbered drunkenly after her and raised his spear. However, Wen Yiji lunged forward and delivered a palm blast in his direction. The blast was weaker this time, but it was enough to send the lumbering Immortal stumbling away by two steps.

“Shit of a dog! My blast power is weakening!” cursed Wen Yiji. The Immortal raised his spear again unsteadily, but Wen Yiji had reached him.


A Dark Fire iron palm strike to the heart sent the Immortal tumbling dead.

Another lumbering Immortal saw Wen Yiji’s back towards him. He thought he saw an opportunity. His legs would not obey him fully yet, but he could throw.


“Look out!” gasped Shi Mei from the ground.

Wen Yiji turned just in time to catch the spear thrown at him. He was lucky that the throw was not particularly powerful. With Shi Mei no more playing the flute, the lumbering Immortals were attempting to recover their fighting abilities.

Hastily, Wen Yiji pulled Shi Mei to her feet.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

She could not hear him, but she guessed what he was saying.

“I am all right, brother Wen,” she said. “But I dropped the flute!”

“We’ll worry about the flute later,” he said. “Now step aside while I deal with these cockroaches!”

With spear in hand, Wen Yiji sprang towards the three lumbering Immortals who were not yet in serious fighting condition.

Shiiuuuuukkkkk!!! Shiiuuuuukkkkk!!! Shiiuuuuukkkkk!!!

Within one short moment, Wen Yiji had killed all three of them with the spear. There was no serious resistance and it was more an extermination than a fight.

The only ones left standing were the three Immortals who had thrown the spears at Shi Mei. The three of them stared hard at Wen Yiji. Instead of going to search and recover their own spears that they had thrown, they had picked up the spears of their fallen comrades.

“I see that the three of you are not yet dead!” Wen Yiji remarked. “That unholy situation shall be corrected in a moment!”

“We are willing to negotiate!” one of the three Immortals said.

“Negotiate?” asked a bemused Wen Yiji. “There is nothing that you can offer me except your death!”

“You do not understand! We are not negotiating our lives. We are negotiating yours!”

“Say what?”

“In case you have not noticed, the girl has lost her flute and your palm blast has lost its power because you over-exerted! You are weaker than before! The three of us will kill you!”

“The thing that I admire about you is your supreme confidence. But that does not take away the fact that you are all complete idiots!”

“Nobody calls the Eighteen Immortals idiots! Now you will die!”

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep!” admonished Wen Yiji.

And then the battle was on. The Immortals were right. Wen Yiji had weakened. The moment that he delivered the palm blast to save Shi Mei while mentally battling the effects of the sounds of Hell, he had overexerted himself. He was still fast, but not as fast as he was usually. He was kept on the defensive, weaving in and out of the spear strikes delivered by the three coordinated spearmen. He shifted his position constantly so that he would not be caught in the centre of the three of them. If he could have a short rest, he would be able to recover his full capabilities and then overpower them. However, they would not allow him the opportunity to recover. Not unless he could get away from them for a while to gather back his Dark Fire inner energy.

He leapt high and turned invisible. The three Immortals saw him vanish into thin air and the spear dropping to the ground some distance away. They rushed to the spear and looked around. Wen Yiji was crouching on the ground some distance away. While he was turning invisible, he had thrown the spear away as a distraction. Even though his invisibility was not perfect, as long as he remained unmoving, they would be unlikely to detect him. Breathing in qi from the air, he focused on his body, getting the qi to flow.

However, the three Immortals were not without ideas. They spotted Shi Mei standing alone. Without a moment’s hesitation, they turned in her direction.

In horror, Wen Yiji watched as they raced towards her. He got up immediately and turned visible while shouting, “Hey! I am here!”

Shi Mei stood her ground unmoving with her hands behind her back. As the three Immortals neared, she moved her hands from behind her back to her lips. There was a flute in her hands. She had found the Devil Flute!

“Oh shit!” muttered one of the Immortals as their momentum carried them towards her. The next moment, their legs refused to move properly as pain assailed their brains. The Sounds of Hell wreaked their havoc on them. For a few moments the three spearmen wrestled with their pain. Learning from the experience of their comrades, they knew that it was useless to attempt to attack Shi Mei. It would be a better idea to escape the Devil Flute. Painfully, they struggled to move out of Shi Mei’s radius of terror.

However, Wen Yiji was ready for them. When he saw that Shi Mei was in control of the situation, he quickly collected three spears from the ground. Keeping just outside Shi Mei’s radius of twelve steps, he took aim. At that distance, a throw could hardly miss.


One of the Immortals never made it out of the circle of death as a spear penetrated his chest.


Another Immortal went down with a spear in his back.

The last Immortal clamped his hands over his ears. He noticed a spear shooting towards his heart. Feebly, he tried to avoid it.


He stared stupidly at the spear sticking out of his chest as he died.

Shi Mei put down her flute and pulled the acupuncture needles from her back of her neck. Wen Yiji rushed to her and held her.

“Brother Wen,” she whispered.

“Shi Mei,” he whispered back. “Thank you for saving my life!”

She clung to him, glad that he was basically unhurt. After a while, he told her, “Shi Mei. The next part will be ugly. I have to make sure that none of the Immortals are alive to haunt us later. It is better that you do not look.”

Taking a spear, Wen Yiji went to every Immortal and pierced each body a couple of times through the heart. Shi Mei saw what he was doing and looked away. Killing was a cold hearted ugly business. Wen Yiji collected the spears and loaded them in the carriage.

“These are very good spears!” he said. “We will throw them into the nearest river so that no one will have them!”

In the distance, hiding among the trees, the Birdman watched quietly as the carriage left the battle scene. Quickly, he wrote a note and tied it to one of the pigeons from his cage. He released the pigeon and the bird flew towards Shibai. It did not take long for the bird to reach the Bamboo Villa.

Prince Jin was drinking tea with Blackface and Phoenix when Sun Cheong brought in a note.

“We have just received word from the Birdman,” he announced.

“Did the Eighteen Immortals find the One Eye Snake?” asked Prince Jin.

“They did!” answered Sun Cheong.

“Did they kill him?” asked Blackface.

“No,” answered Sun Cheong gravely. “He killed them all! Not a single Immortal survived!”

“What?” shouted Prince Jin. “How dare the Immortals die without completing their mission?”

“This is bad!” commented Phoenix. “We are up against a very tough opponent! Where is the One Eye Snake now?”

“Still heading southwards,” answered Sun Cheong as he handed the Birdman’s note to Prince Jin.

“Maybe we should just leave the One Eye Snake alone,” suggested Phoenix. “If he is travelling south, then he will not bother us!”

“No!” said Blackface. “He will be threat to us if the Emperor finds him before we do.”

“It says in the note that the One Eye Snake is travelling with a girl,” remarked Prince Jin. “This Birdman is very good. He gave a very good description of the carriage as well as the horse. I wonder where the girl came from.”

“Probably some traveller he picked up,” suggested Blackface.

“The Birdman did not describe the battle much, but he said that some of the Immortals appeared to move around like drunks!” said Prince Jin after reading the note. “Idiots! What I need are assassins who are serious about their mission. Assassins who cannot die! Do we know of any good killers in the south?”

“Yes we do!” exclaimed Blackface. “Mao shan sifu Ghost Master! He is a Green Scorpion Sect elder and sifu’s good friend. He is a strange man who lives in the Yiu Yiu Guai Guai Temple outside White Mist Village! If we can trick the One Eye Snake to detour to the Yiu Yiu Guai Guai Temple, then the job will be done!”

“How are you going to contact this sect elder, the Ghost Master?” asked Prince Jin.

“By pigeons!” replied Blackface. “Our sect has a secret cell in this town. There, we have pigeons that will fly to the Yiu Yiu Guai Guai Temple! If we send a message now, the Ghost Master can get the message by nightfall. That will give him ample time to make preparations. That is, if he is willing to take on the job.”

“Will he be willing to take on the job?” asked Prince Jin.

“Yes, provided that the price is right!” replied Blackface. “But he will be expensive! Very, very expensive!”

“I will pay him any price he wants,” said Prince Jin. “However, he has to send me the horse and carriage of the One Eye Snake as proof that he has accomplished the job!”

“Don’t worry!” said Blackface. “I assure you that he is trustworthy! But if you want the horse and carriage as proof, then you shall get it!”

“I hope that your Ghost Master is a good fighter,” said Sun Cheong. “Because this One Eye Snake is proving to be a formidable challenge.”

“He is a good fighter, but it is the one that he controls that will do the real fighting,” said Blackface.

“Who does he control?” asked Prince Jin.

“He controls a vampire,” replied Phoenix.

“A vampire?” asked an incredulous Prince Jin. “You want to take on the One Eye Snake with just some hopping vampire?”

“My Green Scorpion Sect elder is a powerful mao shan sifu; the best there is!” explained Blackface. “The one he controls is not just some hopping vampire! It is the thousand-year-old King of Vampires! Very ferocious! No one can hope to control it except for the Ghost Master! And the best part of it is that it cannot be killed because it is already dead!”


Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Outer space

This story, Getting students interested in space, makes me want to laugh. When I was a kid, my teachers would interrupt my constant daydreaming by shouting, "You are in outer space! Come back!"
For the sake of education, we want students to be less interested in space. Not more interested. Get it?

The wuxia Chapter 24 is about 80 per cent complete. The action sequences are more complicated to craft out. I had to keep going into outer space. Thank goodness I don't need to buy a Russian Sukhoi fighter jet to do that. I mean, where the heck am I gonna park the damn jet?


Thursday, October 04, 2007


Space participant or passenger?

The bolehnaut saga continues:
Russian envoy confirms that Malaysian is not a ‘mere passenger’

Of course he will not be a mere passenger. The Russians will make him do important experiments in space. Highly important experiments. With highly important titles. The Russian envoy has never been to outer space, but never mind that; he can talk like he knows what he is talking about. And that is important. Even if you do not know, you should always talk like you know.

You may be wondering if they will make our bolehnaut sweep the floor and clean the toilet for the cosmonauts. Don’t worry. We have an iron-clad contract that says that they cannot make our bolehnaut do stuff like sweeping the floor and cleaning the toilets. Do experiment, means do experiment, not cheap foreign labour.

You may ask, what are these highly important experiments?

That one, I cannot tell you.

Oh okay, I will tell you just one. They will be experimenting to see if a Malaysian can survive space travel on cheap Russian food. If can, then they will package a grand super-saver all-inclusive economy class space trip for Malaysian space tourists later.

Wonderful. This experiment got commercial application already.

But if our bolehnaut comes back with diarrhea and chronic indigestion, that will not necessarily mean that the highly important space experiment has failed. Nor will it mean that the cheap Russian food has failed.

In that case, what will it mean?

It will mean that we shall have to try again through the appropriate channels.

Do you get my drift?


All right, I will explain it in not so technical language.

It will mean that we will have to purchase more Sukhoi fighter jets to try again.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007


3 sentences on whom to marry

A friend told me about his theory that a woman should marry a postal worker to get licked and marry an income tax official to get screwed.

And the guy from the JKR will insist on digging your whatnot.

Better buy him a nail clipper.


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