A Hero Born – Read-along, Chapter 6

Yes! Another chapter that closely follows Guo Jing’s progress on the steppe. I feel like things are hitting a groove here so let’s get started… (spoilers!)
The Six Freaks are well and truly worried now that they suspect that Guo Jing is secretly training under another master. How else would he know neigong? Who is it and why is he keeping it a secret? They follow Guo Jing later that night up to the top of the mountain. Guo Jing amazes them by climbing the cliff face with his lightness. The Six Freaks wait at the bottom of the cliff and eventually decide to climb up using ropes to assist their climb.

(Aside: Why didn’t the Six Freaks teach Guo Jing neigong? Is it a thing just for Taoists?)

At the top their worst fears are realized. They find the signature pyramid of human skulls of Cyclone Mei. Their nemesis is not only alive, but she is here and for some reason, training their own disciple, perhaps in an attempt at some twisted revenge? Whatever the case, the Six Freaks know they must take action.

What do they decide to do? They decide to kill Guo Jing. Well, they split the vote between the six of them

But still, really? What follows is one of the more humorous quotes from this chapter.

“Kill him? What about our bet with Qiu Chuji?”
“Which is more important–our lives or a bet?”

I mean, from everything else I’ve read of these guys up until now, I’d guess they’d pick the bet every time and twice on Sundays. But, not this time, I guess.
Unbeknownst to the Six Freaks, Guo Jing also found the pyramid of skulls on top of the cliff. His secret master recognized the gruesome find as Cyclone Mei’s work. In short order, Mei arrives and Guo Jing and his master hide.

It turns out that of all the unscalable cliffs in Mongolia, Cyclone Mei picked the same one Guo Jing is using to also meditate and practice her lethal kung fu. Guo Jing watches in amazement as Mei practices her techniques, demonstrating that in the years since she was blinded by the Six Freaks, she has advanced considerably.
They follow Mei to a remote encampment. There they discover that Jamuka, Temujin’s sworn brother, is conspiring with Sunggum and Wanyan Honglie to ambush and kill Temujin. They also find that Cyclone Mei has discovered the location of the Six Freaks.

Guo Jing’s secret master finally names himself. He tells Guo Jing to run and warn the Six Freaks, and tell them that Ma Yu of the Quanzhen Sect wishes to speak with them.

Guo Jing reaches his shifus before Mei and is nearly killed before Jade Han intervenes to protect him. Ma Yu reveals himself, and the Six Freaks’ anger is appeased when they discover that Guo Jing’s secret master is Someone They Respect.

Ma Yu tries to convince the Six Freaks to not pursue vengeance against Cyclone Mei because Mei’s kung fu is too great now. Thus follows the next hilarious quote.

“Her kung fu is deadly indeed, but the Seven Freaks of the South bear her a hate as deep as any ocean.”
Oh, ok. So, she’s stronger, but we hate her more. So there.

Ma Yu convinces the Freaks to confront Cyclone Mei with deception, and try to scare her off. It kind of works, but Ma Yu accidentally gives Mei a secret to advancing her skills. (Foreshadowing!)

Guo Jing then rushes off to stop Temujin from falling into Senggum’s trap. He reaches Temujin’s group before they are trapped, but Temujin finds Guo Jing’s story hard to believe. By the time the truth is revealed, they are surrounded by enemies–Ong Khan, Senggum, and Jin soldiers.

Temujin tries to sway the enemy soldiers to his side but fails. Guo Jing manage to capture Tusakha (Senggum’s son) to hold as a hostage. Jamuka arrives to parlay but even sworn brothers cannot come to an agreement. Temujin is more forward thinking, ready to break with tradition to strengthen and unite the Mongolian tribes. Jamuka and Temujin break their bond and part ways.

The next day Senggum’s forces attack. Several men dressed all in black lead the charge and reach Temujin first. Guo Jing leaps into the fray, realizing that these black-clad fighters are using lightness kung fu. After a shaky start, Guo Jing hits his groove and holds off the four Chinese fighters, finally using his years of kung fu training.

(Lol this is why I have the linked video here. It just felt like the scene in The Karate Kid when Daniel gets his legs under him at the tournament. And of course, that fantastic song! Sorry, totally an 80s kid here. And now that’s going to be stuck in your head all day!)

Guo Jing’s presence is totally unexpected. The Chinese fighters don’t know what to make of him. Guo Jing is strong, but he is young and inexperienced. Outnumbered, he slowly begins to falter.

The Six Freaks arrive in time to save our boy’s bacon. The Chinese fighters are quickly put down by the Six Freaks and Temujin’s reinforcements arrive. Senggum is wounded in battle and his soldiers break. Temujin wins the day, keeping Tusakha hostage.

That night Temujin feasts with his generals. He reveals that he has been grievously wounded and he wishes to maintain peace with Senggum. He lavishes gifts on Tusakha and sends him back to Senggum with an escort. One of Temujin’s generals protests and Temujin savagely beats the man into unconsciousness.

After Tusakha leaves, Temujin reveals that he is actually only feigning weakness in preparation for a surprise attack on Senggum’s forces. The general who got beaten (poor guy!) is released. Man, does Temujin know how to sell it, right?

The next day Temujin’s forces surprise and annihilate Senggum’s and Ong Khan’s forces. He unites the tribes and ascends into the name history knows him by, Genghis Khan. He raises up all his generals and lavishes gifts on Guo Jing as well. He also gives Guo Jing Khojin’s hand in marriage.

Lol, which confuses the poor boy terribly.

The Six Freaks finally (kind of) come clean to Guo Jing and his mom, revealing that they know about Charity, and that Charity had a son. They only reveal that they promised to bring the boys together when they are of age.

So now Guo Jing will go south with the Six Freaks. Temujin asks Guo Jing to bring him the head of Wanyan Honglie. Guo Jing says goodbye to Tolui, his sworn brother, and (awkwardly) to Khojin.

“You’re the best! Around!” 😊

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