Chapter 5 – Silver Lightning
April 17th. Before dawn.
Frogboy dispatched thirty-two competent disciples to make contact with Sun Jicheng’s forces, who were currently carrying out their investigation in the thirty-two districts of Jinan. Had they encountered Wu Tao and Ingot during their search?
Disciples of the Flowered Flag Sect came from every social class, so of course all of them had friends who were part of the investigation.
Before daybreak, Yang Kedong, Assistant Manager of Open Source Money Lending, had been contacted, and the whereabouts of Wu Tao and Ingot ascertained.
By that time the two of them still lay fast asleep in the little room in the back of the wine shop. In the abandoned courtyard of the haunted mansion, Frogboy had already used a pair of silver pincers to extract the tiny weapons from the wounds of corpses, and had deposited them onto a silver tray.
Neither the silver pincers nor the silver tray had experienced any change in color; the weapons clearly were not poisoned.They could kill in one shot because of their accuracy, power and speed.
The five weapons were very thin, and yet had penetrated the victims’ clothes, skin and muscle to lodge directly in the bones. It took quite a bit of effort on the part of Frogboy to pull them out.
They sat there on the silver tray, glittering. Three of them were jet black, almost like an iron nail.
The other two needles were silver colored, and shone even more brightly than the silver tray upon which they rested.
Everyone present stared at the five concealed needle weapons, and everyone carried a very serious expression on their face.
After a long time had passed, Old Master Tian let out a soft sigh.
“I never would have guessed. I really never would have guessed.” He shook his head. “I never imagined those old two freaks were still alive, let alone that they would make an appearance. No wonder someone as skilled as Three Panthers Niu didn’t stand a chance.”
“Perhaps that was because Three Panthers Niu never thought that they would show up. He was completely focused on dealing with the young beggar, and thus fell to their treachery.”
“Perhaps,” said Old Master Tian. “Or perhaps Three Panther Niu just never stood a chance.”
He picked up one of the silver needles and sighed. “I haven’t seen a concealed weapon like this in at least eighteen years. I remember, eighteen years ago, when their weapons appeared, no one could evade them. All the way until the end, at that battle on the shores of the East China Sea.”
“What happened then?”
“They finally met their match. After that, no one in Jianghu heard anything about them ever again.”
“Are you talking about ‘Soundless Thunderbolt’ Yun Zhongxue and his wife the Silver Lightning Immortal?”
Old Master Tian suddenly lost his temper. Glaring at his son, he roared, “When did you become so stupid? Other than those two, who else would be using Thunderbolt Needles and Silver Lightning Needles?”
Frogboy laughed. “Luckily, sometimes I’m really smart,” he said with a chuckle. “Things that other people can’t figure out, I can often piece together.”
“What thing? What did you piece together? Spit it out!”
“That young beggar is definitely no ordinary person, and not somebody easy to deal with. Therefore, Three Panthers Niu disguised himself as an eighth-rate bandit so that the beggar would underestimate him, which would lead to an easy victory.”
Old Master Tian was still irritated and just stared at him blank faced. But Xiao Jun had begun to nod his head.
Frogboy smiled at him and continued, “Unfortunately, Three Panthers Niu didn’t realize that two people were hiding in the shadows protecting the young begger. And of course he had no way to realize that those two people were none other than famous figures from the Jianghu of eighteen years ago, the Thunder and Lightning Immortals.”
“It makes sense,” said Xiao Jun.
“It makes as much sense as a fart!” roared Old Master Tian. “Those two old freaks had no sons or daughters, nor any disciples. When they went into retirement, that young beggar hadn’t even been born yet. What relationship could he have with them? Why would they be secretly protecting him?”
“Perhaps they were on an assignment,” said Frogboy. “Perhaps they were especially dispatched.”
“Especially dispatched?” Old Master Tian seemed to be getting even more angry. “Who on Earth would have the seniority two dispatch those two?”
“At least one person.”
“The person who defeated them 18 years ago on the shores of the East China Sea.”
Old Master Tian suddenly wasn’t angry. He said nothing, and after a long time he suddenly slapped his son lightly on the side of the face. With a sigh, he said, “Sometimes I wish you were just a little bit stupider.”
Frogboy also sighed. “Even if I was a little stupid, I couldn’t be that stupid.”
“Why is that?”
“Because I’m the son of the Fourth Master of the Flowered Flags.”
The Old Master laughed heartily.
Just as he laughed with the most joy, his palm suddenly shot out.
This palm was filled with much more power and speed than the palm he had used just moments ago.
Even though Old Master Tian played his sanxian much slower than the blind musicians of Daming Lake, his attack speed was actually three times faster than most people in Jianghu. 
Not many people could evade a palm strike like this, but luckily, Frogboy was one of them.
Just as the palm struck out, he scurried up one of the columns of the eight-sided pavilion.
Then, Xiao Jun’s stretched out. With his fingers, he made seven dots on the dusty-covered column, then drew a wavy line between the marks. “Is it him?” he asked, his voice low and hoarse. “Was it he who defeated the Thunder and Lightning Immortals on the shores of the East China Sea?”
What he had drawn appeared to be a few meaningless squiggles. But when Old Master Tian laid eyes on the seven dots and the long line, a look of respect appeared on his face that no one had ever seen before, a look you would give to a person eminently deserving of respect.
Not very many people alive on Earth could command the respect of Old Master Tian. What kind of person did those seven dots and the line represent?
He said not a word, but the look on his face had answered the question without a doubt.
“It’s really him?” Xiao Jun frowned. “Could the young beggar be connected to him?”
“He must be connected in some way,” said Frogboy.
“Why do you say that?”
“If he didn’t, even if that young beggar were being bit to death by stray dogs in the gutter, the Thunder and Lightning Immortals wouldn’t even glance at him. If the young beggar is really his disciple, then why would he steal a coin purse from a businessman?” Actually, he had already thought of the answer to this question. “Because that businessman is no ordinary businessman.”
“How would the young beggar know that he isn’t an ordinary businessman?” asked Xiao Jun. “If he isn’t an ordinary businessman, then who is he?”
“You shouldn’t be asking me these questions!” laughed Frogboy.
“Who should I ask, then?”
“Go ask them yourself. I’m sure we already have their location.”
He dared to say this because he saw that Li Dong had returned.
Li Dong was one of the Flowered Flag Sect’s most capable disciples, and one of the ones he had dispatched to gather information.
“Frogbro, we’ve already figured out where those two people are,” he said. “We got the information from Yang Kedong, and it seems reliable.” 
“Where are they?”
“At a restaurant called ‘Big Zhao’s.’”
“Yes, the whole night.”
“What were they doing together?”
“Drinking themselves half to death. They drank for five or six hours until they were as drunk as mud. They’ve been sleeping like the dead ever since then, in a little room in the back of Big Zhao’s restaurant.”
Old Master Tian suddenly laughed. “It looks like these two are no fools. On such a night, being drunk is better than being sober. The drunker the better.”
Xiao Jun laughed coldly. “If they are who we think they are, I’m just afraid they aren’t really drunk.”
“Real or not, we need to go see them,” said Frogboy. “I think it would be best if I went in first.”
Li Dong barred his way.
“You don’t need to go, Frogbro.”
“Old Pa Wang will bring them back.”
“How does he know where they are?”
“He asked me just now, outside.”
“And why would you tell him?” cried Frogboy.
With a forced smile, “Frogbro, you know Old Pa Wang’s temper. When he asked me, how could I refuse to answer?”
“Did he leave already?” asked Frogboy.
“He left a while ago. I’m afraid he’s probably already at Big Zhao’s.”
Frogboy leaped up, and shouted, “What a mess!”
“Condor King Wang’s temper is as hot as a piece of ginger, and it gets worse with age. If he said he’ll bring someone back, it doesn’t matter if he’s drunk or not, alive or dead, he’ll be dead set on bringing him back.”
“And if he doesn’t want to come?”
“Then he’ll have no choice but to attack.”
“And what if he’s not a match for that guy?”
“What a mess!”
By the time this interchange was over, Frogboy and Xiao Jun had already arrived at the room behind Big Zhao’s.
The restaurant was completely cloaked in darkness, without even a single bit of lamplight visible.
Luckily, Frogboy had been there before. He had gone drinking there, had gotten drunk, and had also spent the night in that little room in the back. So he knew exactly where to find it.
The room contained no light, nor any sound.
Frogboy sighed. With a bitter laugh, he said, “It seems the situation is really is a mess.”
He was right, it was a mess.
In the room was a person, one person. No trace could be seen of the supposedly ridiculously drunk Wu Tao and Ingot. And the incomparably sober Condor King Wang lay in the condor crushed into a pulp.
April 17. Early Morning.
Sunlight had already seeped into the wood shed in the “Forest Memory” lumberyard. Lamps need not be lit to see.
Condor King Wang, one of the top three experts of the Huianan Eagle Claw Sect, lay flat on a freshly lumbered plank of pine wood, his limbs and facial muscles stiff.
Even though his muscles had begun to contort under the stiffness, the expression of dread as he faced death could still be seen on his face.
The Condor had always been an unyielding man, and Frogboy had never seen anything that could make him afraid.
But anyone could see that this was true fear, a deathly fear.
Frogboy sighed again. “I can guarantee you what he feared was not death. He never feared death.”
“Then what did he fear?”
“That person. The man who claims his surname is ‘Wu’ and his given name ‘Tao.’”
No one had ever heard the name “Wu Tao” before. “Wu Tao” was not a person to be feared.
“Of course, his real name is not Wu Tao,” laughed Frogboy. “Only the spirits know what he used to be called.”
** Daming Lake is a famous lake in Jinan http://tinyurl.com/oyhwhl6
 People who are familiar with Frogboy call him a nickname that doesn’t translate well, so I’m going with Frogbro.
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