Benguan mumbled to himself for some time while measuring up Duan Yu. He said, “Apprentice brothers, what do you think?” Bencan replied, “Even though it would cost some energy, it might not render us incapable of mastering the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’.”
Upon hearing the four words, “Liu Mai Shen Jian” [Six Meridians Divine Sword]”, Emperor Baoding felt a shock in his heart. He thought to himself, “In my youth, my father once told me that the Duan family’s ancestral homeland had an infinitely powerful skill known as the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians.’ But according to my father, this was just a legend, and no one in our family history was recorded as actually having mastered this technique. Moreover, no one actually knows if this technique is really as powerful as the legends say. From the words of master Benguan, it seems as though such a wondrous skill actually exists!”
His thoughts turned in another direction. “Judging from his words, they intend to drive away the poison from Duan Yu’s body by using their own internal energy, but doing so would tire them out and obstruct their attempts at mastering the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’. But Yu’er has been poisoned with an evil toxin and an evil skill has been implanted in his body; both are deadly and strange to the extreme. If the five of us do not combine our strengths, how can he be cured?” Although he felt extremely apologetic, in the end, he did not decline the suggestion. Benxiang did not say a single word. He rose to his feet, lowered his head, furrowed his eyebrows, then took a slanted position at the northeast side of the room. Benguan and Bencan each returned to their respective positions as well. Abbot Benyin said, “Shanzai, Shanzai!” [Shanzai is a Buddhist exclamation, usually signifying a good deed being done]. He took a position towards the west-southwest.
Emperor Baoding said, “Yu’er, these four elders of yours have decided to use their own internal energy to drive out the poison in your veins, not caring about the loss of their own strength. Quickly kowtow and thank them!” From the expression on his uncle’s face as well as that of the four monks, Duan Yu knew that this was no small matter indeed. He immediately fell to his knees and kowtowed to each of the monks in turn. Each of them smiled faintly and nodded in response. Emperor Baoding said, “Yu’er, rest on your knees. Don’t think about anything at all, and definitely don’t exert so much as an ounce of your internal energy. If you feel some strange sensations, don’t be alarmed; this is normal.” Duan Yu acknowledged the instructions, then sat down as instructed.
Benguan held up his right thumb and, exercising a precise amount of force, pressed it against the “Fengfu” acupoint behind Duan Yu’s skull. The force of his Solitary Solar Finger gradually emerged. The “Fengfu” acupoint was roughly an inch beneath the hairline, and belonged to the “Du” meridians. Next, Benxiang struck the “Zigong” acupoint of Duan Yu’s “Ren” meridians. Bencan struck the “Daheng” acupoint of his “Yinwei” meridians. Abbot Benyin struck his “Youmen” acupoint of his “Chong” meridians. Finally, Emperor Baoding struck his “Qingming” acupoint of his “Yinjiao” meridians. A human body has seven channels and eight meridians; of the eight meridians, the five of them ignored the “Yangwei” and the “Yangjiao” meridians. All five of them exercised the Solitary Solar Finger, attempting to purify his body of any toxins or evil energies with their pure Yang energy, driving them out through the acupoints of his “Yangwei” and “Yangjiao” meridians.
These five masters of the Solitary Solar Finger had each achieved a very close level of attainment within it. With a ‘chi-chi’ sound, five streams of pure Yang energy entered Duan Yu’s body at the same time. Duan Yu’s body suddenly trembled and was filled with an incredibly warm sensation that was indescribably comfortable, as though he were soaking in the sunlight during winter. The five people’s fingers moved in unison. They felt as though after their energies entered Duan Yu’s body, they would gradually vanish, never to reappear. Duan Yu had not fully mastered all of the aspects of the “Divine Art of the Northern Darkness”, but with the five masters pouring the pure Yang energy of their Solitary Solar Finger into his body, he was helpless to resist, and the energy began to collect in his ‘sea of energy’ at his “Shanzhong” acupoint. The five elite experts of the Duan family gazed at each other, startlement and bewilderment covering each and every one of their faces.
Suddenly, a powerful cry was heard. “WUHUA!” Everyone’s ears shook with the sound, a buzzing noise filling them. Emperor Baoding knew that this was an extremely high-level Buddhist technique known as the “Lion’s Roar” [Shizi Hou]. Within the roar was hidden an extremely deep internal force, easily capable of terrifying opponents or astonishing friends. The monk who was facing the wall spoke. “A powerful opponent is arriving in but a few days, and the centuries-old fame of the Heavenly Dragon Monastery is dangling above a precipice. As for this mewling babe, regardless of whether he has been poisoned or afflicted with some evil skill; is it really worth it to waste internal energy over him at this critical juncture?” These sentences were filled with an awe-inspiring dignity and majesty.
Abbot Benyin said, “Martial-uncle, your instructions are wise!” With a wave of his left hand, the five people retreated at the same time.
Upon hearing Abbot Benyin address that man as ‘martial-uncle’, Emperor Baoding hurriedly said, “I was unaware that elder Kurong was present, and am guilty of being remiss in paying my proper respects.” As it were, elder Kurong was of the highest ranking generation in the Heavenly Dragon Monastery. He had secluded himself into isolated meditation for decades now, and none of the monks of the Heavenly Dragon Monastery had ever seen his actual face. Emperor Baoding, as well, had only heard of him but had never met him before. In the past, he had heard that elder Kurong was in secluded meditation at the Two Trees Courtyard, but no one had mentioned him in over ten years. He had assumed that elder Kurong had achieved nirvana [i.e. died].
Elder Kurong continued, “One must consider a matter’s relative importance and urgency. The date of our appointment with the Shining King of the Great Wheel, from the Great Snowy Mountain, is almost upon us. Zhengming, why don’t you join us in discussing the matter.” Emperor Baoding replied, “Yes!” In his heart, he thought to himself, “The Great Snowy Mountain’s Shining King of the Great Wheel possesses a deep and erudite understanding of the dharma. I wonder what he connection he has with us?”
From within his bosom, Abbot Benyin withdrew a resplendent golden letter, passing it over to Emperor Baoding. Emperor Baoding accepted the letter. It weighed heavily in his hand. This letter was exceptionally bizarre; its ‘envelope’ was actually an extremely thin layer gold beaten into the shape of a envelope, with the words written in Sanskrit using platinum [‘white gold’]. Emperor Baoding could read it. The words were, “Respectfully Presented to the Sublime Sage Monastery”.
He withdrew the actual letter from the envelope; it, too, was made out of an exceptionally thin sheet of beaten gold. Once again, the words were written in Sanskrit. The general meaning was, “Many years ago, I had a chance meeting with the honorable Murong Bo. In the course of our meeting, we conversed at length about the various martial arts in the world. Mr. Murong held your temple’s “Divine Sword of the Six Meridians” in the highest esteem, and deeply regretted not having the opportunity to visit you to see it himself. I recently have heard that Mr. Murong passed away; my sorrow is boundless. I respectfully request that your revered monastery transmit to me the manuscript of the “Divine Sword of the Six Meridians”, so that I might burn it in sacrifice before Mr. Murong’s tomb. I will arrive in a number of days; I hope that my wish might be granted.”
The letter was signed, “Jiumozhi, disciple of the Great Wheel Temple of the Great Snowy Mountain, pays his deepest respects.” The words on the letter were also written using platinum; the carefulness and worksmanship displayed was nothing short of exquisite. Clearly, it had been crafted by a master artisan who had expended boundless efforts in making it. The letter and envelope alone could be considered an overwhelmingly priceless treasure, displaying the obvious wealth and opulence of the Shining King of the Great Wheel.
Emperor Baoding had heard before that Jiumozhi, the Shining King of the Great Wheel, was the national protector and dharma king [an extremely high rank in Tibetan Buddhism; the Golden Wheel Monk of ROCH was originally also titled ‘dharma king’] of the nation of Tibet. He had heard that the man possessed a staggering intellect and a clear understanding of Buddhism. Every five years, he would hold lectures where he would expound at length on various scriptures. Many high monks and men of great virtue of the western regions would converge at the Great Wheel Monastery of the Great Snowy Mountain to ask for clarifications regarding difficult-to-understand parts of various scriptures. After the discussions were complete and the people began to depart, there would not be a single person who was not joyful and full of praise. Emperor Baoding himself had once desired to travel there to listen to the readings of the scriptures. This letter described him as having discussed martial arts with Gusu’s Murong Bo, and even becoming intimate friends with him; clearly, then, the man was also an extremely skilled martial artist. For such a man of great intelligence and wisdom, it would be perfectly normal for him not to practice martial arts. If he really were to be a martial artist as well, then he must be a formidable character indeed.
Abbot Benyin said, “The ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’ is a precious treasure of our monastery, passed down from generation to generation. It represents the highest level of martial arts learning which the Duan family of Dali possesses. Zhengming, Dali’s Duan family’s most advanced martial arts technique resides here, in the Heavenly Dragon Monastery. You are not a monk, but a secular man; therefore, even though you are our nephew and possess a deep understanding of many abstruse martial arts concepts, we could not divulge it to you.” Emperor Baoding said, “Yes, I understand this rule.” Benguan said, “Not even Zhengming and Zhengchun knew that our monastery possessed the manuscript for learning the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’. I wonder how it is that Gusu’s Murong family learned of it.”
Duan Yu, listening, suddenly thought of the ‘Blessed Reading Ground’ within the cave near Mt. Wuliang, and its empty shelves. One of the shelves had been marked “the Duan family of Dali”, with two additional markings on it: “Solitary Solar Finger, missing” and “Divine Sword of the Six Meridians, missing.” He thought to himself, “My Dear Goddess scoured the land for the martial arts manuscripts of every family and school in the world, but was never able to acquire my family’s “Solitary Solar Finger” and “Divine Sword of the Six Meridians.” He felt delight in his heart, but also some melancholy as he imagined how much the Dear Goddess must have regretted their absence.
He heard Benguan angrily say, “The Shining King of the Great Wheel can be considered a world-famous monk of high standing. He must have lost his wits! How can he demand this manuscript from our monastery? Zhengming, as our brother abbot knows, ‘If he comes, he comes not with good intentions, but with ill will.’ This matter is of the utmost importance, and we ourselves dare not handle it by ourselves. Thus, we invited martial-uncle Kurong to lead us in handling the situation.”
Benyin said, “Although our monastery does indeed have this manuscript, I am ashamed to admit that none of us are capable of learning the divine skill written upon it. We can’t even be said to have a rudimentary knowledge of it. Martial-uncle Kurong has been practicing that which is known as ‘withered [‘Ku’, like his name] meditation’. This is a totally different type of divine skill which our monastery possesses. He, too, is lacking in understanding in the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’. But although we are incapable of learning this skill, no one in the world knows about it. Can it be that the Shining King of the Great Wheel is totally confident in himself and is not afraid of the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’ at all?
Kurong icily said, “I doubt that he dares to look down upon the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’. The respect which he holds for Murong Bo, and the respect which Murong Bo held for the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’, hmph…I am sure the Shining King of the Great Wheel himself knows which one he holds in greater import. But most likely, he has guessed that, as our monastery has not produced any exceptionally astonishing martial artists, though the manuscript may be priceless, no one can master its skills, and thus he is not worried.”
Benguan loudly shouted, “If he himself admires the skill and asked for a chance to borrow it and read it, on account of us respecting him as an eminent Buddhist monk, at most we would gently and tactfully refuse. There’s no big deal. What really pisses me off is that he’s going to go burn it in front of some dead guy. He’s really thinking too little of the Heavenly Dragon Monastery!”
Benxiang let out a sigh. “Martial brother, there is no need for you to work yourself into such a rage. I do not think that the Shining King of the Great Wheel is such an ignorant and presumptuous man. It seems he wishes to imitate the story of ‘Wu Jizha hanging a sword on the tomb’. It appears he held Mr. Murong in the utmost of esteem. Alas, an excellent friend passes away, and can never be seen again…” And he slowly began to shake his head. Emperor Baoding said, “Master Benxiang, what was the character of Mr. Murong Bo?” Benxiang said, “I do not know. But for such an extraordinary character as the Shining King of the Great Wheel to hold him in such esteem, he must have been an incredible person indeed.” And as he spoke, he seemed to be carried away and carefree.
[Here is a quick summary of the story of Wu Jizha: Wu Jizha was a man of the Zhou dynasty who had a good friend named Xu Jun. Jizha had a precious sword created for him that he needed for a special mission; his friend Xu Jun saw the sword and wanted it very much for himself, but said nothing, as it would be inappropriate. Wu Jizha saw that his friend wanted it and intended to gift him the sword, but could not do so immediately, as he needed it for the mission. He vowed to himself that he would give Xu Jun the sword when he returned, but by the time he completed the mission, Xu Jun was dead. Besides himself with grief, Wu Jizha went to Xu Jun’s tomb and hung his sword over a tree overlooking the tomb. When people asked him what was the point of him doing so, he replied, ‘Although Xu Jun has departed, the promise I made him in my heart still binds me. I promised myself that when I returned, I would make a gift of the sword to him; how could I allow such a paltry thing as death stand in the way of me keeping my oath?’]
Abbot Benyiin continued, “Martial-uncle Kurong believes that, based upon his judgement of our enemy’s capabilities, unless we are able to quickly master the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’, the precious manuscript will be forcibly taken from us, and the Heavenly Dragon Monastery will suffer a crushing blow. Unfortunately, the divine technique written on the scroll is heavily dependent upon one’s internal energy reserve, and so there’s no way to simply hasten one’s learning of it. Zhengming, it’s not that we don’t care about Duan Yu or his condition. Only, we fear that if we exhaust too much internal energy and our powerful enemy suddenly arrives, we won’t be able to fend him off. It seems that although Duan Yu’s problem is very severe, he won’t be at risk of losing his life for many days yet. Let’s have him quietly rest here for the next few days. If his condition suddenly takes a dangerous turn for the worse, we will immediately come up with a solution to cure him. After we have driven off our enemy, we will exert all of our energies into curing him and driving out the poison in his body. What do you think?”
Although Emperor Baoding was worried about Duan Yu, he also was capable of understanding the big picture. He knew that the Heavenly Dragon Monastery was a fundamental root and supporting structure of Dali’s Duan family. Whenever the imperial family was in trouble, the Heavenly Dragon Monastery would lend its support, and each time they would pull through. In the past, when the treacherous official Yang Yizhen murdered Emperor Shangde and stole the throne, it was the Heavenly Dragon Monastery who, along with loyal official Gao Zhisheng, put down rebellion and restored peace. Dali was established in the second year of Heavenly Fortune, of the Later Jin dynasty of the Five Dynasties period; it had existed for a hundred and fifty eight years now. It had undergone many trials and tribulations. One of the major reasons why the state had been able to survive them all was the calming and steadying influence of the Heavenly Dragon Monastery. Today, the Heavenly Dragon Monastery was in trouble; this was identical to the state itself being in danger. He immediately said, “Abbot, your benevolence is greatly appreciated, and my gratitude towards you is boundless. But if I might ask, how do you intend to defend against the Shining King of the Great Wheel, and how can I, Zhengming, offer my humble assistance?”
Benyin mumbled to himself, “You are a master amongst the secular members of the Duan family. If you can work together with us to defeat this powerful opponent, it will add to our prestige. But for you, a secular person, to get involved in a dispute between Buddhist disciples…no doubt, the Shining King of the Great Wheel will laugh at us, mocking the Heavenly Dragon Monastery for not being able to take care of ourselves.”
Kurong suddenly said, “If each of us were to try to individually learn the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’, it would be impossible. Simply put, our internal energy is not strong enough. I had once thought of a workaround, where six of us each master a single one of the six meridians, and all six of us strike in unison. Although there is no glory in us fighting him six against one, in the end, we aren’t challenging him to a duel, but trying to protect our monastery and our scriptures. Even if a hundred of us were to fight him at the same time, it would be acceptable. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t think of a sixth person in the Heavenly Dragon Monastery who was skilled enough to join us. I have worried about this conundrum for a long time. Zhengming, why don’t you take the sixth position? Only, you’ll have to shave your head and switch into monastery robes.” He spoke more and more quickly, as though he were getting very excited; however, his tone of voice was as icy and cold as ever.
Emperor Baoding said, “I have always desired to fully devote myself to the Buddha and his teachings. Only, with regards to the secret manuscript, well, I’ve never seen it before. For me to try and learn it so hastily, I’m afraid that…”
Bencan said, “You long ago learned the fundamentals to this skill. You only need to learn the sword techniques.” Emperor Baoding did not understand. He said, “Abbot, please explain.” Abbot Benyin said, “Be seated.” Emperor Baoding knelt down on one of the cattail hassocks.
Benyin said, “The ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’ is not an actual, physical sword. It is the transformation of the energy of the Solitary Solar Finger into sword qi. It has substance, but is invisible; it can be described as ‘invisible sword qi’. The ‘Six Meridians’ refer to the six meridians near the hand from which the energy is executed; the “Taiyinfei” channels [Lunar Lung], the “Jueyinxinbao” channels [Yin Pericardium], the “Shaoyinxin” channels [Lesser Yin Heart], the “Taiyangxiaochang” channels [Solar Intestine], the “Yangmingwei” channels [Brilliant Yang Stomach], and the “Shaoyangsanjiao” channels [Three Lesser Yang Cavities]. And as he spoke, he withdrew a rolled up scroll from behind Benguan’s hassock.
Bencan took the scroll over, unfurling it and hanging it up on the wall. The passage of many years had turned the paper a sickly yellowish-brown color. A picture of a naked male was on the paper, with all of his acupoints clearly marked out. Red and black lines were used to indicate how the internal energy was supposed to flow amongst the six meridians. Emperor Baoding was a superb expert of the Solitary Solar Finger; at a single glance, he could tell that the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’ was indeed based upon the Solitary Solar Finger as its foundation.
Duan Yu was lying on the floor, resting. Upon seeing the naked male picture on the scroll, his thoughts instantly turned to the scroll which he accidentally tore up. He thought to himself, “The acupoints of men and women are identical. Dear Goddess was so strange. Why did she draw a scroll of a naked woman instead of a man, much less use give that naked woman her own features?” He faintly felt that it was inappropriate, as though his Dear Goddess had intended to use her beauty and features to lure men into staring at the scroll and seduce them into learning its martial arts. In his delirium, he had accidentally torn up the scroll; perhaps this was actually to his benefit and had aided him in avoiding some sort of catastrophe. But thinking in such a way would profane the Dear Goddess’ purity, and so the thought only flashed by his mind, and he dared not ponder on it longer.
Benyin said, “Zhengming, you are the absolute ruler of the country of Dali. For you to change into a monk’s attire is a critical stopgap measure, but if our enemy realizes who you actually are, a huge blow will be dealt to the prestige of Dali. I leave it to you to decide whether or not the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.” Emperor Baoding folded his hands together. “Guard the dharma, protect the monastery. Honor and duty leave no other options.” Benyin replied, “Excellent. However, the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’ may not be passed down to secular disciples. You must enter the monastery gates and become an actual monk; after our opponent has been driven off, I will permit you to return to the secular world and unfrock you.” Emperor Baoding rose to his feet, then knelt down on both knees. “Great master, please be benevolent [and accept me as a disciple].”
Elder Kurong said, “Come over here. I will shave you.”
Emperor Baoding moved forwards until he was kneeling before elder Kurong. Seeing his uncle prepare to be shaven and join the ranks of the monks, Duan Yu was secretly shocked. He watched as elder Kurong stretched his hand out and pressed his palm against the top of Emperor Baoding’s head. There was not so much as a single shred of muscle on his hand; the only thing which lay underneath his skin was bone. Elder Kurong still did not turn around, as he recited, “Within this dust-speck of a world, there are three concealed truths. All accomplishments are predetermined by karma. These accomplishments are meaningless and do not even add to the dust. And yet, it is difficult to stop thinking of the present. [This translation is probably totally off; can someone who understands Buddhism help retranslate this?].” He lifted his hand up. All of Emperor Baoding’s black hair fell off, leaving his head totally bald, without so much as a single strand of hair on top. Even if a razor had been used, such a clean shave would not have been possible. Duan Yu was totally shocked, and Emperor Baoding, Benguan, Benyin, and the others were also extremely impressed. “Elder Kurong has long practiced the art of ‘Withered Meditation’. He has reached such an incredibly high level of strength!”
Elder Kurong said, “Upon entering Buddha’s doorway, you shall now be known as Benchen [Chen means dust, like what he was talking about earlier].” Emperor Baoding joined his palms together. “Master, thank you for granting me a name.” Buddhists do not adhere to secular rules regarding generational gaps. Originally, Abbot Benyin was Emperor Baoding’s uncle, but now that Emperor Baoding had been shaved by elder Kurong himself and brought into the monastery, he became Benyin’s younger apprentice-brother, on the same generational level. Emperor Baoding immediately changed into monastic shoes and clothes, his appearance completely changing into that of a learned and eminent monk.
Elder Kurong said, “That ‘Shining King of the Great Wheel’ might arrive this very night. Benyin, transmit the secrets of the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’ to Benchen.” Benyin replied, “Yes!” Pointing to the manuscript, he said, “Brother Benchen, you shall focus on the ‘Shoushaoyangsanjiao’ meridians. After your qi is collected at the dantian, circulate it upwards, through your shoulders and arms. Once it reaches the ‘Qinglengyuan’ point [Chilly Pool], curve the qi to pass through the ‘Tianjing’ point [Heavenly Well], then the ‘Sidu’ [Four Recitations] point, the ‘Sanyang’ path [Three Yang], then the Huizong [Ancestral Assembly], Waiguan [Outer Gate], Yangchi [Yang Moat], Zhongzhu [Central Islet], and Yemen [Liquid Door] points. Condense the internal energy, then fire it out from the ‘Guanchong’ acupoint [Vigorous Gate] of your ring finger.”
Emperor Baoding followed the instructions and circulated his internal energy as ordered. With a ‘chi-chi’ sound, his internal energy burst out from the ‘Guanchong’ acupoint of his ring finger.
Elder Kurong happily said, “Your cultivation of internal energy is extraordinary indeed. Although the sword techniques themselves have many heavy and complicated changes, your sword qi has already taken form. You can now execute it at will.”
Benyin said, “Originally, the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’ was supposed to be executed by a single person. But in this day and age, martial arts has declined, and there is now no one capable of gathering and cultivating such a powerful, vigorous internal energy. All we can do is divide up the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’ amongst ourselves. My martial-uncle has specialized in the ‘Shaoshang’ sword of the thumb; I specialize in the ‘Shangyang’ sword of the index finger; brother Benguan specializes in the ‘Zhongchong’ sword of the middle finger; brother Benchen specializes in the ‘Guanchong’ sword of the ring finger, brother Benxiang specializes in the ‘Shaochong’ sword of the pinky finger, and brother Bencan specializes in the ‘Shaoze’ sword of the left pinky. We must attend to the matter of combining these six swords at once.”
He once more retrieved the manuscripts of the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’, hanging them on the four walls of the room. The picture describing the ‘Shaoshang’ sword he hung next to elder Kurong. Every single picture was filled with criss-crossing lines, circles, and arcs. Each of the six focused on their respective manuscripts, and began poking and pointing in the air as they sketched out the movements.
Duan Yu slowly sat up. He felt as though the energy in his body was swaying, and even more difficult to bear than before. As it happened, just a short time ago, Emperor Baoding and the other four monks had poured a substantial amount of internal energy into his body. Seeing how his uncle and the other elders were concentrating so hard on their practice, he didn’t dare to make a sound and disturb them. Sitting down for a long while, he began to feel bored. By accident, his gaze came to rest upon the manuscript which was resting above elder Kurong. After staring at it for only a short while, he began to feel his right arm begin to tremble uncontrollably, as though something was trying to burst forth from his skin and escape. That small, mouselike creature that was trying to escape precisely from the ‘Kongzui’ acupoint, as illustrated on the manuscript.
He had successfully completed the practice of the ‘Shoutaiyinfei’ channels. The acupoints illustrated on that manuscript were identical with those on the illustration of the naked girl. However, the lines that were drawn were totally different. According to the pathways drawn by the red lines, the energy from the ‘Zikongzui’ point passed to the ‘Dayuan’ point, then immediately jumped to the ‘Chize’ point, then dropped down to the ‘Yuji’ point. Unexpectedly, as he tried to channel the wildly rushing internal energy as according to the manuscript, it actually obeyed, although it took many twists and turns as it moved towards his upper arm. As the internal energy flowed through his meridians, he felt the nausea and pain of his body immediately lessen. Immediately, he dedicated his mind to channeling the energy into his ‘Shanzhong’ acupoint.
However, this gush of energy was different, and could not be easily channeled towards his ‘Shanzhong’ acupoint as instructed by the naked female pictures. After a short period of time, he began to cry out, “Ow, ow!” in pain. Hearing his cries, Emperor Baoding immediately turned his head. “How are you feeling?” Duan Yu replied, “In my body, there are innumerable flows of qi that are running amuck. It is extremely painful. I was thinking about grandmaster Kurong’s manuscript, and the energy began to flow towards my ‘Shanzhong’ acupoint. Ow! But my ‘Shanzhong’ acupoint has been totally filled to the brim, and can’t take in any more energy! My…my…my chest is about to explode!”
This feeling which he had, only he himself could tell, due to it being caused by the internal circulation of qi. Thus, even though he proclaimed that his chest was about to explode, to outsiders, his chest seemed perfectly normal. Emperor Baoding was an expert martial artist, and knew that for a person to experience the feeling of his ‘Shanzhong’ acupoint being filled to the brim with energy would require at least twenty years of practice that resulted in an internal energy of unmatched power and vigor. As Duan Yu had never practiced martial arts, this sensation must have been caused by the evil toxins in his body. Emperor Baoding was inwardly fearful, knowing that unless the internal energy was dispersed, Duan Yu’s entire body would become paralyzed. But if the toxins were dispersed with the qi and settled deep within his body, it would become almost impossible to eradicate in the future.
Normally, when settling grave and important affairs, he would be both impartial and swift in passing judgement, uttering only a single sentence in verdict. But the matter in front of him would affect the entirety of Duan Yu’s life. If only a slight mistake were made, his life would be immediately at risk. Seeing that Duan Yu’s eyes had a dazed look, giving him the appearance of madness, he realized that he had no time to be irresolute. He decided to himself, “At this point in time, even if we have to have Duan Yu ‘drink poison to quench his thirst’, there are no other options.” He said, “Yu’er, I will teach you how to disperse your internal energy.” Immediately, he began to demonstrate while speaking and taught him the method to do so.
Not waiting for Emperor Baoding to finish speaking, Duan Yu immediately began to follow his instructions step by step. The martial arts techniques of Dali’s Duan family were incomparably marvelous. He followed the instructions precisely, and the wildly rushing internal energy in his body began to disperse, settling down into his internal organs. According to traditional Chinese medicine, a person’s organs were divided into the “Five Internal Organs and the Six Hollow Organs.” “Internal Organs” referred to ‘storage’, and “Hollow Organs” referred to ‘home’. The original term had the secondary meaning of storing and accumulating energy. Duan Yu first drained all of the internal energy of seven disciples of Mt. Wuliang’s Sword sect, then absorbed some of the energy of masters such as Duan Yanqing, the Yellow Browed Monk, Ye Erniang, the Divine Crocodile, Yun Zhonghe, Zhong Wanchou, and Cui Baiquan. This day, he gained a small portion of the internal energy of Emperor Baoding, Benguan, Benxiang, Benyin, and Bencan, five master martial artists of the Duan family. His internal energy was now incomparably deep and profound; the phrase, ‘Shocking the ancients and overawing contemporaries’ could be used to describe it. He had no equal in the entire world. Now, under his uncle’s instructions, he began to store away this powerful internal energy within his organs, and his entire body began to feel more and more comfortable. His entire body felt light and carefree, as though he was about to fly away into the sky.
Upon seeing the boundless joy and pleasure on Duan Yu’s face, Emperor Baoding feared that he had deeply fire deviated, and that the toxin in his body would forevermore give him trouble. No matter how hard they tried to remove it, most likely it would exhaust and tire him for the rest of his life. He couldn’t help but inwardly sigh.
Aftering hearing Emperor Baoding finish teaching Duan Yu how to disperse his internal energy, elder Kurong said, “Benchen, as a man sows, so shall he reap. This is true for everything in the world. Good fortune or trouble, calamity or blessing, all arise from the heart. There’s no need for you to worry too much about others. Hurry up and start focusing on mastering the ‘Shaoshang’ sword!” Emperor Baoding said, “Yes!” Putting away his feelings, he once more began to intensively study the ‘Shaoshang’ sword techniques.
The internal energy in Duan Yu’s body was extremely abundant. There was far too much of it for it to be totally stored within a short period of time. But the more he practiced the dispersion technique, the more familiar he became with it, and the more familiar he became with it, the more quickly the dispersal proceeded. The seven of them each concentrated on their own designated martial arts, and none of them noticed as light gradually appeared from the east.
By the time he heard the roosters announce the arrival of down, Duan Yu felt as though his limbs and his bones no longer contained the slightest bit of internal energy. He rose to his feet and stretched a bit. He saw that his uncle and the five elder monks were still totally, unmovingly dedicated to practicing the sword techniques. He didn’t dare to open the door to go out and take a walk, much less make a noise and disturb them. In his boredom, he casually started to check out the manuscript which his uncle was focusing on, as well as the ‘Shaoshang’ sword manuscript again. Although he had heard that the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’ could not be transmitted to secular disciples, he felt that he could not possibly understand such a high level martial arts, and so there should be no problem with him just glancing at it. As he was focusing on the manuscript, suddenly he felt a burst of internal energy pour forth from his dantian on its own accord, gushing towards his arms and pouring forth from the ring finger’s ‘Guanchong’ acupoint. But he didn’t know how to actually release the energy from his finger, and consequently felt as though the tip of his ring finger was becoming more and more swollen. He thought to himself, “I better let this burst of energy dissipate.” Just as he thought this, that gush of energy really did return to his dantian.
Duan Yu didn’t know that he had accidentally learned a secret high level technique; all he felt was that the internal energy in his arm flowed up and down as according to his hearts desire. He felt that it was very funny. Out of the three monks of the Muni Pavilion, he felt that master Benxiang was the nicest and most amiable. Turning his head, he stared at Benxiang’s “Shoushaoyinxin Channels” manuscript. The energy from this manuscript was generated from the ‘Jiquan’ [Utmost Spring] acupoint of the armpit, then flowed three inches upwards into the ‘Qingling’ [Green Spirit] acupoint, where it condensed as it passed through the ‘Shaohai’ [Young Ocean] acupoint, the ‘Jingling’ [Spirit Channel] acupoint, ‘Tongli’ [Open Within] acupoint, ‘Shenmen’ [Divine Door] acupoint, and the ‘Shaofuzhu’ [Lesser Residence] acupoint, before exiting via the pinky finger’s “Shaochong” acupoint. As he pondered the manuscript, a gush of energy really did pass through the channels as instructed by the drawing. Only, the speed of that gush of energy could not be controlled; sometimes it was extremely quick, but at other moments, it came to a complete halt. He guessed that it was probably due to him not being very good, and did not overthink it.
In the course of half a day, Duan Yu had already circulated his internal energy through every single passageway as drawn by the paintings. He felt as energetic and vigorous. Without anything to do, he once more began to study the ‘Shaoshang’, ‘Shangyang’, ‘Zhongchong’, ‘Guanchong’, ‘Shaochong’, and ‘Shaoze’ sword pictures. He saw that the red lines and black lines intercrossed in numerous and complicated ways. He thought to himself, “How could anyone memorize such annoyingly complex sword techniques? Besides, martial grand-uncle has already stated that non-monks are not allowed to learn it.” He immediately stopped looking at them. He felt a bit hungry, and thought to himself, “Why haven’t the apprentice monks brought any vegetarian dishes and rice yet? I might as well secretly creep outside and look for some food.” But at that very moment, he suddenly detected a gentle, fragrant scent of white sandalwood, and heard from the sound of a Buddhist chant waft in from afar.
Elder Kurong said, “Shanzai, shanzai! The Shining King of the Great Wheel has graced us with his presence. How well have you learned your respective skills?” Bencan replied, “Although I still have not mastered it, I believe I know enough to fight our enemy.” Kurong said, “Excellent! Benyin, I don’t want to walk. Invite the Shining King of the Great Wheel to come to the Muni Pavilion to hold discourse with us.” Abbot Benyin said, “Yes!” He left. Benguan retrieved five cassocks, arranging them in a row on the east side. On the west side, he put a single cassock. He sat down on the first cassock, Benxiang sat down on the second, Bencan the fourth, and Emperor Baoding the fifth, leaving the central cassock for Abbot Benyin. Duan Yu had no place to sit, and so stood behind Emperor Baoding. Kurong, Benguan, and the others reviewed the techniques on the manuscripts one last time before finally gathering them up and placing them in front of elder Kurong.
Han Solo, JMZ is coming up next!
PS: All these acupoints and buddhist phrases and allegories are pissing me off