Thanks for the update, Ren... and thanks for re-posting the Juxian Manor bit in the other thread. Really enjoying this translation and looking forward to more.
Thanks for the update, Ren... and thanks for re-posting the Juxian Manor bit in the other thread. Really enjoying this translation and looking forward to more.
Jiumozhi was both startled and angry. He usually had a very high opinion of his own intelligence and stratagems, but today he had been defeated by Elder Kurong twice in a row and witnessed the destruction of the manual of the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’, earning himself a bitter enemy without any reward at all. He stood up and folded his palms together. “Elder Kurong, why did you need to be rigid and inflexible to such an extent? That you would rather shatter the manuscript than allow it to fall in the hands of others shows your lofty style and temperament. That your venerable monastery’s most precious treasure was destroyed in part due to the actions of this humble monk is a source of great regret for me. Fortunately, it was impossible for any one person to fully learn the martial arts on this manuscript. Thus, it does not really matter whether or not it was destroyed. I take my leave now.”
He turned around slightly. Not waiting for Elder Kurong or Abbot Benyin to reply, he suddenly struck out and seized Emperor Baoding’s wrist, grabbing his wrist acupoints and saying, “My humble country’s ruler has long wished to meet with Emperor Baoding. Your majesty, I’ll have to invite you to make a journey to Tibet with me.”
Everyone was greatly startled by this totally unexpected turn of events. This sneak attack was executed so unexpectedly that despite Emperor Baoding’s own formidable level of martial arts, Emperor Baoding fell to it. Jiumozhi had seized the “Lieque” and “Pianli” acupoints on his wrist. Emperor Baoding hurriedly exerted his internal energy to protect himself. In the blink of an eye, he had made seven attempts to break lose, but was unable to each time. Abbot Benyin and everyone else present felt that this ambush was too despicable and contemptible, totally not in keeping with his station as an elite martial artist. However, they managed to control their anger, and yet remained unable to think of a plan for rescue. With Emperor Baoding’s acupoints under the control of the opponent, his life could be taken at any point in time.
Elder Kurong laughed. “He once was Emperor Baoding, but has since abdicated and become a monk. His religious name is Benchen. Benchen, since the ruler of Tibet wishes to meet you, you might as well go.” Helpless, Emperor Baoding could only say, “Yes!” He knew what Elder Kurong was trying to do. Jiumozhi considered him the ruler of a country, and thus a priceless hostage. But with Elder Kurong describing him as having already abdicated his throne, he was no longer a priceless royal hostage, but only a monk of the Heavenly Dragon Monastery, making him a useless personage of little importance. Perhaps, in that case, Jiumozhi would release him.
Ever since Jiumozhi had entered the Muni Pavilion, Emperor Baoding had not said a single word or revealed a single hint of his real origins. But, in order to execute even a single sword of the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’, one must be a first class master martial artist, with an extraordinarily deep and profound internal energy cultivation. The people within the wulin who could be considered first class masters were well aware of who the others were. Jiumozhi had not come to Dali unprepared. Before arriving, he had carefully made inquiries regarding the appearance and ages of each and every member of Dali’s Duan family, as well as the disciples of the Heavenly Dragon Monastery. He had an eighty or ninety percent understanding of each person’s temperament, habits, and achievements in martial arts. He knew that aside from Elder Kurong, the Heavenly Dragon Monastery had four more martial arts masters. Now, a ‘Benchen’ had appeared out of nowhere, a person he had never heard of before, and with an extremely powerful internal energy that was not one whit inferior to the four other ‘Ben’ generation monks. Seeing his majestic poise and judging from his features that he came from a luxurious background, Jiumozhi guessed that he was Emperor Baoding.
Hearing Elder Kurong say that Emperor Baoding had already abdicated the throne and become a monk, Jiumozhi’s heart was swayed. “I’ve long heard that in each succeeding dynasty, the Duan’s of Dali would often abdicate and join the monastery. It is not altogether unbelievable that Emperor Baoding might do the same and join the Heavenly Dragon Monastery. But if an Emperor were to abdicate and become a monastery, there would be grand ceremonies held throughout the country, with gifts of food being given to monks and rituals made before the Buddha. Pagodas would be renovated and new temples would be built. It would be a huge public affair, not something kept so low-key and under wraps. Even my Tibet would, upon hearing the news, send an envoy to congratulate the new monarch. There’s some trickery involved here.”
He replied, “Regardless of whether or not Emperor Baoding has abdicated, he still needs to make a trip with me and pay a visit to my humble country’s ruler.” As he spoke, he tugged on Emperor Baoding’s hand, intending to immediately exit.
Benyin loudly shouted, “Wait a moment!” His form flickered, and he, along with Bencan and the other monks, simultaneously moved in front of the door. Jiumozhi said, “I have no intentions of harming Emperor Baoding, but if all of you force me to, then there’s no other options I can take.” His right hand feinted towards the back of Emperor Baoding’s heart. The power of his ‘Blazing Flame Sabre’ was all-conquering and unstoppable. With Emperor Baoding’s meridians already under Jiumozhi’s control, Emperor Baoding was helpless to resist and had no way to defend himself. If all of the monks of the Heavenly Dragon Monastery were to attack at once, not only would they fear ‘breaking the dishes in order to pelt the rat’, they still could not be certain of victory. And yet, Abbot Benyin and the others were still hesitant. Emperor Baoding was the ruler of Dali. How could they allow an enemy to kidnap him and march him away under duress?
Jiumozhi loudly shouted, “I’ve long heard of the fame of the eminent monks of the Heavenly Dragon Monastery. I never would have imagined that they would be so irresolute over such a small matter, like little boys or girls. Please make way for me!”
After seeing his uncle being captured, Duan Yu was extremely anxious. At first, he thought to himself that with his uncle’s level of martial arts, there was no need to fear. He thought that his uncle was just being patient for now, and when the right moment came, he would free himself. But the more he watched, the more Duan Yu felt that something wasn’t right. There was a look of great arrogance on Jiumozhi’s face and his words were proud and overbearing, whereas Benyin, Benguan, and the others looked anxious, angry, and helpless. As he watched Jiumozhi head towards the exit with Emperor Baoding in tow, Duan Yu was filled with fear and worry. Without pausing to think, he shouted, “Hey you! Let go of my uncle!” Following this, he came out from behind Elder Kurong.
Jiumozhi had long ago seen a young man hiding behind Elder Kurong, but was unable to guess who that person might be, much less the reason why he was sitting in front of Elder Kurong. Now, seeing him come out, his curiosity compelled him to turn his head and ask, “Might I ask who you are, sir?”
Duan Yu replied, “Don’t ask me who I am! Let go of my uncle first!” Stretching out his right hand, he seized Emperor Baoding’s left hand.
Emperor Baoding said, “Yu’er, don’t mind me! Leave quickly and go to your father, and tell him to immediately ascend the throne and take on this heavy responsibility! I am an old monk who is like a lazy cloud or an untamed crane; what is there to be concerned about?”
Duan Yu exerted all his strength to pull at Emperor Baoding’s wrist while shouting, “Quickly let go of my uncle!” The ‘Shaoshang’ acupoint of his thumb was touching the acupoints on Emperor Baoding’s wrist. With him now exerting his strength, Emperor Baoding’s entire body trembled, and he immediately felt his internal energy flowing outwards.
At this exact same point in time, Jiumozhi also felt his internal energy being drawn away from him. His countenance immediately changed drastically. He thought to himself, “How is it that the Duan dynasty of Dali learned the ‘Great Art of Energy Dissipation?’” He immediately gathered his internal energy to fight against this evil, heterodox martial arts.
Emperor Baoding immediately felt as though two fierce and powerful streams of energy were jerking at his body. He immediately used the technique of ‘Borrowing a Sabre to Strike a Knife’, forcing these two streams of internal energy to directly face each other. At this moment in time, these two streams of energy were principally facing off against each other ,with very little focused on his wrists. With a wave of his hand, he broke free from Jiumozhi’s grip. Together with Duan Yu, he floated backwards and retreated. He cried out to himself, “How shameful! That I was able to escape is all thanks to Yu’er.”
[Translator’s note: DRATS! Too bad Emperor Baoding is such a martial arts master, else Duan Yu would now have the internal energy of Jiumozhi, his own (which should be superior to Jiumozhi), AND that of Emperor Baoding by the start of chapter 11. What fun!]
Jiumozhi was more than a little bit startled by this turn of events. He thought to himself, “Another powerful martial artist suddenly appeared in the Central Plains. How could I have been totally unaware of this? This person is very young and is only around twenty years of age. How could he have reached such a level of martial arts? He addressed Emperor Baoding as uncle; he must be of a younger generation in Dali’s Duan family.” He slowly nodded and said, “I’ve always thought that the Duan family of Dali only specialized in their own ancestral martial arts. Only now do I know that a learned member of their latter generation made friends with the Old Man of Xingxiu and studied the strange martial arts technique known as the ‘Great Art of Energy Dissipation.’ Strange, how very strange!”
Although his martial arts learning was profound and vast, even he mistook Duan Yu’s ‘Divine Art of the Northern Darkness’ as the ‘Great Art of Energy Dissipation’. Only, wanting to conduct himself according to the dignity of his station, he changed ‘Old Freak’ into ‘Old Man’ in referring to Ding Chunqiu. Likewise, the people of Wulin all considered the ‘Great Art of Energy Dissipation’ as a vile art and an evil skill; he chose to describe it as a ‘strange martial arts technique’. Just now, in their brief exchange, he felt that Duan Yu’s internal energy cultivation was definitely not inferior at all to that of Ding Chunqiu, the Old Freak of Xingxiu. He definitely was not Ding Chunqiu’s disciple or student, and thus used the phrase “made friends with”.
Emperor Baoding let out a cold laugh. “I’ve long heard that the Enlightened Lord of the Great Wheel was wise and farsighted, flexible and accommodating, with extraordinary understanding and knowledge. I wouldn’t have imagined he would say such absurd things. The Old Freak of Xingxiu is an expert at plotting and sneak-attacking, despicable and without shame. How can the the sons of the Duan family possibly have any relationship with him?” Jiumozhi’s face reddened slightly, and his heart trembled. The eight words Emperor Baoding had used, ‘Plotting and sneak-attacking, despicable and without shame’, were clearly meant to refer to his own earlier actions.
Duan Yu said, “As you, the Enlightened Lord of the Great Wheel, have come from afar and are a guest of the Heavenly Dragon Monastery, we have received you with proprietry and respect. But you dare to offend my uncle? The only reason we had been showing forebearance and restraint at every turn is because everyone here is a disciple of Buddha, but you have only become more and more overbearing and arrogant. Who, amongst Buddhist disciples, is as flagrant in breaking monastic principles as you are?”
Everyone, hearing Duan Yu righteously castigate Jiumozhi, felt secretly grateful towards him. At the same time, they became even more on guard, fearing that Jiumozhi might suddenly fly into a rage and suddenly launch an attack against Duan Yu to harm him.
They did not expect that Jiumozhi would remain calm and composed. He said, “Today, I have become acquainted with so many eminent personages. It has been my great fortune. I ask that you exchange a few stances with me as well, so as to allow this humble monk to gained great benefit from your tutelage.” Duan Yu said, “I don’t know martial arts and I’ve never learned it.” Jiumozhi laughed. “Wise, wise. I take my leave!” Leaning slightly, with a sweep of his sleeves he struck out with both arms and simultaneously launched four attacks using his ‘Blazing Flame Sabre’ technique, chopping towards Duan Yu.
The enemy had just launched an attack on him using his most ferocious skill, but Duan Yu remained muddle headed and ignorant. Emperor Baoding and Benxiang struck out with their fingers simultaneously, receiving and blocking these four attacks from Jiumozhi’s ‘Blazing Flame Sabre’. Only, under the sudden assault of Jiumozhi’s vigorous internal energy, both of their bodies swayed. Benxiang let out a ‘wa’ cry and vomited out a mouthful of fresh blood.
Only after seeing Benxiang vomit blood did Duan Yu understand that Jiumozhi had just then launched yet another sneak attack. He was absolutely enraged. Pointing at Jiumozhi’s nose, he cursed, “You couth, unreasonable barbarian monk!” With his exertion of energy from his right index finger, his mind and his internal energy connected, and he naturally executed an attack from the ‘Shangyang Sword’ technique. His internal energy was extremely powerful. In this day and age, extremely few people had reached such a level. Just previously, he had studied the manuscripts of the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’ while hiding in front of Elder Kurong, and also watched the invisible sword fighting of the seven elder monks. Now, as he struck out with his finger, his mind unconsciously followed the instructions on the manual. With a ‘chi’ sound, a simple, vigorous, and incomparably powerful energy stabbed towards Jiumozhi.
Startled, Jiumozhi hurriedly used a palm strike from the ‘Blazing Flame Blade’ technique to receive the attack. Duan Yu’s attack not only surprised Jiumozhi; it was also wildly out of the expectations of Elder Kurong, Abbot Benyin, and the others. The ones who were the most surprised of all were Emperor Baoding and Duan Yu himself. Duan Yu thought to himself, “Huh. That was weird. I just pointed at him. Why did this monk act so hurriedly to ‘block’ my point? Oh, I get it, I get it. It must be that I accidentally pointed at him in accordance with the techniques of the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’, and he thought that I knew how to use it. Haha, since that’s the case, I might as well scare him a bit!” He loudly said, “What’s so remarkable about this ‘Shangyang Sword’ technique! Take a look at the ‘Zhongchong Sword’ techniques!” As he spoke, he struck out with his middle finger. But this time, although his technique was correct, the internal energy did not rush out as it did before. He was just pointing aimlessly in the air, without any actual effect.
Jiumozhi, seeing him strike out with his middle finger, immediately gathered his internal energy to resist the attack. He didn’t expect that the ‘attack’ didn’t contain an ounce of internal energy. At first, he thought that his opponent was trying to confuse him, interchanging ‘solid’ with ‘void’. He saw Duan Yu strike out a second time, but once again it was empty and without any power behind it at all. He couldn’t help but feel delight in his heart. He thought to himself, “I was just wondering how someone who could use the ‘Shaoshang Sword’ technique could also be able to use the ‘Zhongchong Sword’ technique. Looks like I was right. This kid is just bluffing. Scared me for a moment!”
During this trip to the Heavenly Dragon Monastery, he had fallen flat on his face, so to speak, several times in a row now. He thought to himself that if he didn’t show off his power a bit, the fame and prestige of the ‘Enlightened Lord of the Great Wheel’ would suffer more than a bit of harm. His left palm immediately chopped towards both the left and the right, sealing off any rescue paths which Emperor Baoding and the others might use to aid Duan Yu. Then, he chopped out with his right palm, striking at Duan Yu’s right shoulder. This technique, ‘White Rainbow Pierces the Sun’, was a marvelous and brilliant technique from his ‘Blazing Flame Sabre’ skill. He was intending to cut off Duan Yu’s right arm with a single chop. Emperor Baoding, Benyin, Bencan, and the others cried out in unison, “Careful!” Each of them struck out with a finger towards Jiumozhi.
The three of them were naturally using the first-class martial arts principle of ‘forcing an enemy into a position where he cannot help but withdraw to defend himself’ in their attack. Jiumozhi had already used his internal energy to protect all the critical points on his body. He didn’t draw back his attack on Duan Yu in the slightest, and chopped perfectly straight down. Hearing the alarmed cries from Emperor Baoding and the others, Duan Yu knew that he was in a bad situation. He pushed outwards vigorously with both hands. His mind in a state of panic, his internal energy natural flowed out. The ‘Shaochong Sword’ of his right hand and the ‘Shaoze Sword’ of his left hand simultaneously struck out, dissolving the power of the stroke of the ‘Blazing Flame Sabre’ aimed at him. There was still plenty of energy left over from his strike, and with a ‘chi chi’ sound, the the two attacks counter-assaulted Jiumozhi. Jiumozhi didn’t have time to think, immediately sending internal energy to his left hand to ward off the attack.
After being provoked into striking out for the past few times, Duan Yu had the vague notion that it was necessary for one to first gather his internal energy, and then agitate it to strike out with a finger; only then could his internal strength and power be unleashed. But as to why this was the cause, he had no clue at all. He lightly struck out with his middle finger, once more shooting forth the ‘Zhongchong Sword’. In a blink of an eye, all of the techniques he had learned from the six manuscripts rushed to the front of his mind. All ten of his fingers struck out continuously, attacking here and there in an inexhaustible onslaught.
Jiumozhi was astounded, and hurriedly generated his internal energy to resist the attacks. Sword qi criss crossed the small room, and sabre energy danced in the air. It was as though countless miniature thunderbolts or raging gales were repeatedly clashing against each other midair. After fighting for a while, Jiumozhi felt as though his opponent’s internal energy was only growing stronger and stronger, and his sword techniques were boundless without fathom, as though creating new stances on the spot. It was totally different from his earlier fight with Benyin, Benxiang, and the others, where they were rigidly sticking to a pre-set formula; in contrast, the variations were much more difficult to predict and fathom. He was not aware that Duan Yu was not able to memorize all of the complicated changes and transformations within the sword techniques of the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’, and was simply randomly piercing and stabbing about in a critical situation, much less inventing new stances on the spot. In his heart, he was both shocked and regretful. “The Heavenly Dragon Monastery actually has such a young and extraordinarily skilled master as this person. Today, I really did bring about my own humiliation!” Suddenly, he struck out three times, with three ‘chi’ sounds, before calling out, “Hold your hand!”
Duan Yu’s internal strength could not be generated or retracted at will. Upon hearing his opponent call for him to halt, he did not know how to cease, and so his only option was to raise his fingers and point them at the ceiling. He thought to himself, “I should stop exerting my strength and hear what he has to say.”
Jiumozhi saw that a perplexed look was on Duan Yu’s face as he stopped fighting. Earlier, when he was withdrawing his internal energy, Duan Yu acted as though he were baffled and did not know what the hell he was doing at all. Jiumozhi’s heart was swayed, and he immediately leapt forwards, striking towards Duan Yu’s face with his fist.
Only through great fortune and luck did Duan Yu manage to learn this highest of martial arts techniques, the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’. He didn’t know any of the most basic empty handed or weapon based martial arts at all. Within this punch of Jiumozhi’s was hidden seven or eight separate techniques. This was already a very powerful fist skill to begin with; now, backed up by the might of the Blazing Flame Sabre’s energy, it became an infathomably deep and powerful stroke, impossible for even he himself to measure its strength.
In the martial world, there was no martial artist at all who understood deep martial arts but not superficial ones, who could comprehend complex martial arts not but not simple ones. Duan Yu was the only exception. Seeing Jiumozhi punch towards his face, he awkwardly stretched out his arm to block. Jiumozhi’s right palm flipped over, seizing the ‘Shenfeng’ acupoint on his chest. Duan Yu’s entire body immediately felt limp and he could no longer move. The ‘Shenfeng’ acupoint belonged to the ‘Zushaoyinshen’ group of acupoints, which he had never practiced in his study of the Divine Art of the Northern Darkness.
Although Jiumozhi discovered huge, gaping flaws in Duan Yu’s study of martial arts, he was unable to overcome Duan Yu’s ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’, and intended to use other high-level martial arts to defeat him. But he never would have expected to be able to so easily capture him in a single attack. He was actually afraid that Duan Yu was just play-acting and had some strange trick in mind. With his one hand on Duan Yu’s ‘Shenfeng’ acupoint, he immediately struck out with his other hand and sealed his ‘Jiquan’, ‘Dazhui,’ and ‘Jingmen’ acupoints. This acupoints belonged to the ‘Jingmai’ group, which Duan Yu also had never learned.
Jiumozhi retreated three steps. He said, “This young benefactor has memorized the method by which one might learn the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’. The original manuscript has already been burned by Elder Kurong. That makes this young benefactor a living manuscript. Burning him alive as a sacrifice in front of Mr. Murong’s tomb will be just as good.” Spreading out his left palm, he hurriedly made five chops in a row, then seized Duan Yu and dragged him out of the doorway and away from the Muni Pavilion.
Emperor Baoding, Benyin, Benguan and the others wanted to rush forward and reclaim him, but were all sealed out by this chain of five chops which Jiumozhi made. There was no way for them to rescue him.
With a toss, Jiumozhi handed Duan Yu off to the nine escorts which stood guard outside the pavilion. He called out, “Let’s go quickly!” Two of the escorts stretched their hands out simultaneously and caught Duan Yu. They did not leave the way they came in. Rather, apparently on their own intiative, they made their way out via the grove which surrounded the Muni Pavilion. Jiumozhi generated the power of his ‘Blazing Flame Blade’ and simply repeatedly hacked at the doorway of the Muni Pavilion.
Emperor Baoding and the others all urgently clashed the force of their Single Solitary Finger against Jiumozhi’s power, but were temporarily unable to break his invisible net of sabre strikes. Jiumozhi heard the sound of hoofsteps and knew that his nine subordinates had already departed northwards with Duan Yu. He laughed long and loudly. “Burning a living manual is superior to burning a lifeless manuscript! Now that Mr. Murong has someone to accompany him in the underworld, he won’t feel lonely anymore!” He made diagonal cuts with his right hand. With a ‘ka la la’ sound, two of the pillars of the Muni Pavilion were chopped in half. His body swayed slightly, then, as though his body were nothing more than a breath of thin smoke, he flew towards the grove as well. In an instant, his location became indiscernable.
Emperor Baoding and Bencan rushed out at the same time, only to see that Jiumozhi was already long gone. Emperor Baoding said, “Hurry! Chase him!” His gown fluttering in the wind, he had already moved many meters. Master Bencan and him were running shoulder to shoulder, picking up speed and pursuing northwards.
Last edited by Ren Wo Xing; 01-21-09 at 06:00 AM.
Just a demonstration of the awesomeness of 6MSJ that even someone like JMZ is unlikely to overcome.
Clearly one of the top skills of DGSD.
Btw does anyone have any theories whether RWX (the original)'s Art of Energy Absorbing is descended from either the Old Man of Xingxiu's Great Art of Energy Dissipation or the Divine Art of the Northern Darkness?
Man is glue. You are man. How then can you step away from glue?
Isn't the 'Great Art of Energy Dissipation' itself an incomplete derivation from the 'Divine Art of the Northern Darkness'? i.e. missing the 'storage' part of the art.
Wonder when did JMZ made contact with DCQ. That chapter seems to suggest JMZ knew how strong DCQ's internal was, as he commented DY>DCQ.
I just think JMZ seems to be over exaggarent about DY internal energy as if it is true by utilizing this technique can increase his internal energy until such extend, I wander why DCQ which have know this technique for such a long period don't try to do the same thing. Wandering what is the different between ‘Great Art of Energy Dissipation’ and the divine art of northern darkness?
The 'Great Art of Energy Dissipation' can suck the internal energy out of an opponent but has no means of absorbing and using it for one's own benefit. The 'divine art of northern darkness' can do both, but there are caveats to its safe use.
What made DY's 6MSJ so dangerous?
Was it the brilliant techniques? Not really. They were great but even though the techniques were new to JMZ, it couldn't do a thing to him. When DY used 6MSJ, it turns out that not using the techniques worked a lot better even.
Was it then the invisible sword chi? Again, not really. First off JMZ had those too. Second, it seems that an equal source of energy can fully dissipate the sword chi even if the counterattack is palm wind. Furthermore, the emperor was able to master making sword chi literally FIVE SECONDS after learning the technique for it since he already was at a high level (but not the highest) of 1YZ.
Does it amplify the user's existing power (like how a single palm of HL18P made GJ much more powerful)? Sure it does, but it doesn't seem to be much beyond a Great-class technique like 1YZ would. In the end, none of the monks could directly injured JMZ (that is, not using trickery to get a clear strike). If they had used 1YZ, they would've achieved pretty much the same thing.
So what made DY's 6MSJ that special? Simple. DY had monstrous internal energy (superior to XF and JMZ at this point) and was able to chain fire it like a machine gun. Even then, JMZ only found it "more difficult" to deal with the "no techniques" and was really only worn down because DY kept shooting (I guess TVB didn't get 6MSJ that wrong after all).
The real technique that was great is BMSG.
Last edited by ChronoReverse; 01-21-09 at 12:10 PM.
Gotta agree on the machine gun 6MSJ BS.
It doesn't appear to sap his internal energy either, which does make it superior to a lot of other forms of fighting.
XL18Z requires the newby user (--> GJ) to run up next to his enemy and blow them away.
However, if the same newb doesn't know martial arts (DY), he can't use it.
6MSJ is like using a submachine gun (really!). A newb can use it almost as well as a pro, since it's nearly unblockable anyway, and it's clearly spammable.
So if you have the requisite internal energy (completely broken BMSG), 6MSJ becomes the ultimate newbie weapon.
Before we blast it too much, just because it's newb, doesn't mean it's bad. It's just unbalanced.
For instance, if you look at most RTS games when they're just released, everyone builds 1 unit because its stats are way too high and requires no control. Just like in this case: the 6MSJ is way overpowered for its skill level req. It DOES have a very high "tech" requirement, but DY cheated. So think of 6MSJ as battlecruisers in SC: no skill newb move, but if you have to req tech and resources (internal energy), nearly unstoppable.
Thanks for the awesome translation. I have trouble (feel bad) reading DGSD in Chinese because everyone is so melodramatic. But now that I can read the names in English (without translating them in my head) I can make fun of their ridiculousness (although this isn't as bad as XAJH).
I'll continue the discussion in the wuxia fiction sub-forum.
Chapter 11: Crazy All Along
After Duan Yu had his acupoints sealed by Jiumozhi, he was unable to move whatsoever. Jiumozhi’s subordinates had tossed him sideways onto the saddle of a horse, facing downwards. All he saw was the ground continuously move and the hoofs of the horse rising up and down. His mouth and nose were filled with the dirt and dust of the road. He heard his captors loudly shouting, but as they were speaking in a barbaric language that he could not understand, he did not know what they were saying. Counting the number of horse-legs that he could see, all in all there were ten horses.
After galloping for ten or so li, they arrived at a fork in the road. He heard Jiumozhi jabber a few indistinct words. Five horses took the road on the left, whereas Jiumozhi, Duan Yu, and the other horses took the right. After galloping for many more li, they arrived at yet another fork. Once again, they split into two separate groups. Duan Yu knew that Jiumozhi was trying to confuse the pursuing forces and render them uncertain as to in which direction they should chase.
After travelling for another period of time, Jiumozhi leapt off his horse. He retrieved a leather belt and tied it to Duan Yu’s waist. Then, supporting Duan Yu’s body with his left hand, he began to make his way through the mountain passes on foot. His two remaining servants rode off westwards with all the horses. Duan Yu was secretly anguished. “Uncle must have sent out the heavy cavalry to pursue us by now, but at most they will capture the nine servants of this barbarian monk. They won’t be able to rescue me.”
Although Jiumozhi was carrying someone in one arm, his steps remained light and easy. He climbed higher and higher. Six hours later, he had passed into a desolate region of untamed mountains and wild ridges. Duan Yu saw that the sun was setting in the west, and its light continuously came from the left. Jiumozhi was taking them to the north.
At nightfall, Jiumozhi tied his body to a branch on a large tree, using the belt which he had wrapped around Duan Yu’s waist earlier. He didn’t say a single word to Duan Yu; for the matter, he didn’t even glance at him. His back facing Duan Yu, he handed him a few dry flour-biscuits that were used as field rations. He unsealed the acupoints on Duan Yu’s upper arm, so as to let him hold the food. Duan Yu secretly extended his left hand, intending to generate his internal energy and use the ‘Shaoze Sword’ technique to attack him. However, his major acupoints all remained sealed, causing all of his internal energy to be blocked and stifled. His finger stabbed and pointed impotently, without a single bit of power behind it.
Many days passed in such a manner, as Jiumozhi carried him northwards. Duan Yu repeatedly tried to provoke Jiumozhi into speaking, asking why he was being kidnapped and why they were headed north. But Jiumozhi never responded. Duan Yu’s belly was full of resentment. He thought to himself that in the past when his little sister Mu Wanqing had captured him, although he suffered quite a bit, he wasn’t as bored senseless and depressed as he was right now. Not to mention, being captured by a beautiful girl who smelled wonderful and had a lovely voice even when she was shouting at him, was totally different from being carried by this barbarian monk who pretended to be deaf and dumb. This wasn’t even in the same league.
After travelling in such a manner for ten or so days, Duan Yu thought that they had probably left the boundaries of Dali by now. It seemed to him that the direction in which they were travelling changed to be northeast, but they continued to avoid travelling on major roads, continuing to travel through desolate mountain passes. By now though, the terrain became smoother and smoother. The mountain ridges grew fewer in number, and more sources of running water appeared. In a single day, they would often have to ford multiple rivers. Finally, Jiumozhi bought a pair of horses, splitting them with Duan Yu. But Duan Yu’s six major acupoints naturally remained sealed.
Once, when Duan Yu was taking a leak, he thought to himself, “If I exercise the steps of the ‘Graceful Steps Upon the Waves’, this barbarian monk wouldn’t necessarily be able to follow me, right?” But after taking only two steps, the sealed acupoints prevented his internal energy from flowing through them, and he immediately fell flat on his face. He sighed, then crawled to his feet, knowing that his last hope of escape had just disappeared.
That night, the two made an overnight rest stop at an inn in a small city. Jiumozhi ordered the inn servants to bring him paper, a brush, an inkstick, and an inkstone. He placed it on the table, lit a lamp, then said, “This humble monk has offended you greatly in inviting your illustrious personage to grace me with this visit northwards. I feel deeply apologetic about this.” Duan Yu said, “Mmhmm. You are too polite.” Jiumozhi asked, “Do you know why I have acted in such a way?”
Duan Yu was thinking about this very subject during the entire trip. After seeing all those things placed on the desk, he guessed about eighty or ninety percent. He replied, “Can’t be done.” Jiumozhi asked, “What can’t be done?” Duan Yu replied, “You envy and covet my family’s ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’ and want to force me to write it out for you. This just can’t be done.”
Jiumozhi shook his head. “You misunderstand. In past years, this humble monk made a promise to Mr. Murong that I would borrow your venerable monastery’s manuscript and let him peruse it. My inability to fulfill this promise has always weighed heavily on my heart. Fortunately, you have memorized this technique in your heart. Without any other alternatives, I was forced to take you to Mr. Murong’s grave and burn you in sacrifice. In this way, I would finally be able to fulfill my promise. But you, young prince, are as a dragon amongst men, and I have no enmity with you whatsoever. How could I dare to harm you? There is a way by which both of us can be satisfied. All you need to do is write out the instructions and draw out the diagrams, without omitting anything at all. I won’t take a single peek at it and immediately seal it, then take it to Mr. Murong’s tomb and burn it to ashes. After having fulfilled this important wish, I will respectfully escort you back to Dali.”
Jiumozhi had said these words before, that day when he had arrived at the Heavenly Dragon Monastery. At the time, Benyin and the others all were inclined to agree, and Duan Yu had also felt that this was acceptable. But afterwards, Jiumozhi had first launched a sneak attack on Emperor Baoding, then kidnapped himself, Duan Yu. He used guileful and deceitful methods to avoid pursuing forces, and showed not a single care at all for the safety and well-being of his nine subordinates. He had clearly revealed his ruthlessness and committed many crimes. How could Duan Yu trust him now? He long ago had decided that the Divine Crocodile and the other three members of the ‘Four Great Evils’, in openly proclaiming to be evil people, were far superior to this ‘holy monk’ from Tibet. Although he had very little real-world experience, Duan Yu had already mulled over this matter for the past twenty days or so and understood the critical points. He said, “Master Jiumozhi, you cannot deceive me with these words of yours.”
Jiumozhi folded his hands together. “Amitabha. Everything I have done is because of the promise I made previously to Mr. Murong. This should show how highly I value my word. How can I break another promise to fulfill this one?”
Duan Yu shook his head. “No one knows whether or not you really made a promise to Mr. Murong in the past. After getting the manuscript for the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’, you will definitely give it a close read. Who knows if you’ll actually take it to Mr. Murong’s grave or not, afterwards? Even if you really plan to burn it in sacrifice, based on your intelligence, great master, after reading it a few times, you’ll have memorized it completely. Maybe, fearing that you might forget or misremember some parts, you’ll even make a duplicate copy before incinerating the original.”
Jiumozhi’s eyes widened greatly, and he fixed Duan Yu with an evil, vicious stare. But in the blink of an eye, the expression on his face turned kind and amiable. He slowly said, “Both of us are disciples of Buddha. How can you say such brash, untrue things? What a sin, what a sin. I’m afraid that I am forced to resort to compelling you a little bit. I do this to save your life. Please don’t blame me.” As he spoke, he extended the palm of his left hand, gently pressing it against Duan Yu’s chest. “When you are unable to withstand the pain and are willing to write to write it out for me, all you need to do is nod and I will immediately release you.”
Duan Yu laughed bitterly. “If I don’t write the manuscript, you won’t be able to bring yourself to kill me, because then you won’t be able to obtain it. If I actually do write the manuscript out for you, how could you allow me to remain living? Writing it is equivalent to committing suicide. Master Jiumozhi, I understood this point thirteen days ago.”
Jiumozhi let out a sigh. “Buddha, show mercy.” He began to generate energy in his palm. He expected that with this stream of internal energy passing into Duan Yu’s ‘Shanzhong’ acupoint, Duan Yu would feel as though thousands of ants were gnawing on his entire body. Even though this little princeling who had been pampered since childhood was keeping a stiff upper lip for the moment, once he suffered the torture of being in a half-dead, half-living state, he would definitely give in. He didn’t expect that as soon as he generated his internal energy, it flowed away from him and disappeared. In his startlement, he generated even more power, but this time, it only disappeared even more quickly, turbulently pouring out of his body. Jiumozhi was extremely shocked. He hurriedly pushed Duan Yu’s forehead hard with his right hand. Duan Yu let out an ‘Ah!’ cry, then fell over on top of the table, the back of his head colliding heavily with the wall.
Jiumozhi knew all along that Duan Yu had learned the ‘Great Art of Energy Dissipation’ from the Old Freak of Xingxiu, but with one’s critical acupoints sealed, no internal-energy techniques should have been executable, regardless of whether it was orthodox or heterodox. How could he have known that when he forcefully inserted his internal energy into Duan Yu’s ‘Shanzhong’ acupoint, it was like that day when Duan Yu was paralyzed, his mouth wide open, and helpless to do anything when the Cinnabar Toad hopped in? It had nothing to do with whether or not Duan Yu’s acupoints were sealed or not. Groaning and spluttering, Duan Yu sat up. “You falsely title yourself as an eminent and enlightened monk. Do eminent monks beat people up in such a manner?”
Jiumozhi said in a severe tone, “Who, exactly, taught you this ‘Great Art of Energy Dissipation’?” Duan Yu shook his head. “The ‘Great Art of Energy Dissipation’ is a reckless waste of resources. It is akin to throwing away a thousand pieces of gold rather than keeping it for one’s own use. Such a heterodox skill is laughable! Laughable!” Without intending to, he quoted the words written within the jade cave from which he learned the ‘Divine Art of the Northern Darkness.’
Jiumozhi did not understood what had happened, but did not dare to touch Duan Yu’s body. However, when he had earlier sealed Duan Yu’s ‘Shenfeng’, ‘Dazhui’, ‘Xuanshu’, and ‘Jingmen’ acupoints, he hadn’t met with any problems. Jiumozhi thought that this person’s martial arts was strange and inconceivably bizarre. It must have been some byproduct or alteration generated by his practice of the ‘Single Solitary Finger’ and the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’. Only, as he had just started to learn this new technique, he still was not very proficient at it. Following this line of thought, he found himself all the more awed by and covetuous of the martial arts learning of Dali’s Duan family. He suddenly raised his hand and struck out in the air with a stance from his ‘Blazing Sabre’, aiming the attack just slightly above Duan Yu’s head. He shouted, “You really don’t intend to write? If I aimed that strike just one foot lower, what would have happened to your head?”
Duan Yu was extremely afraid. He worried that if Jiumozhi really did get angry and poked out one of his eyes or chopped off one of his arms, what could he do about it? Some words which he had been pondering the entire trip instantly rose to the forefront of his mind, and he automatically said, “If I can’t take it anymore, then I’ll be forced to write whatever comes to mind, and it won’t necessarily be accurate. If you damage my limbs, then I will hate you to the bone and what I write will be even more inaccurate. How about this. The manuscript that I write out, you intend to burn in front of Mr. Murong’s tombstone, right? You’ll immediately seal it and won’t peek at it at all, right? So whether it is accurate or not has nothing to do with you. I’ll just write something at random. It will just be me deceiving Mr. Murong’s ghost. In the future, after his ghost in the underworld practices what I wrote and fire-deviates, damaging his ghostly meridians, he won’t blame you, right?” After saying this, he went to the table, picking up the brush and spreading the paper, preparing to write.
Jiumozhi was extremely angry. With these few words, Duan Yu had torn apart his façade of seeking the manuscript of the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’ on behalf of Mr. Murong. At the same time, Duan Yu had also made it clear that if he, Jiumozhi, used force to coerce, the ‘manual’ which Duan Yu would write out would definitely be incomplete and inaccurate. The wrong sentences would be more common than the right sentences. Not only would the manual be useless, anyone who tried to practice according to its instructions would suffer great harm. In the course of his two battles against the ‘Divine Sword of the Six Meridians’ at the Heavenly Dragon Monastery, he naturally learned what the real movements of the sword techniques were. But the main essence of the skill lay not in the movements, but purely in the internal energy formulas. There would be no way for him to discern the true instructions from the false instructions for this aspect. He barely managed to avoid flying into an utter rage out of shame, but his anger was too great, and with a ‘chi’ sound, he struck out with a stroke from the ‘Blazing Sabre’ and chopped the pen in Duan Yu’s hand in half.
Duan Yu began to laugh loudly. Jiumozhi angrily said, “Little bastard, the Buddha is trying to save your life, but you obstinately persist on the wrong path. Looks like the only option is to take you to Mr. Murong’s tomb and burn you to death there. The sword techniques which you memorized in your heart cannot be false, am I right?”
Duan Yu laughed, “I suppose that on my deathbed, I’ll just have to intentionally misremember a few of the strokes. Right, this is a great idea! From now on, I’ll try my best to misremember the technique. The more I misremember it, the better. At the very end, even I will be confused about how it was supposed to go.”
Jiumozhi glared furiously at him. It was as though there was a ‘Blazing Sabre’ in his eyes that was about to burst out. He deeply wanted to simply wave his hand, then strike out with the invisible qi of his ‘Blazing Sabre’ and chop this little bastard’s head off.
After this, they headed eastwards for another twenty days or so. Duan Yu listened to the accents of the other roadside travelers, and felt their speech was soft, elegant, and refined. There were no longer any spices in the food either.
This day, they finally arrived outside the great gates of the city of Suzhou. Duan Yu thought to himself, “We’re about to go to Murong Bo’s tombstone now. Since this barbarian monk hasn’t gotten the manuscript, he won’t actually kill me just yet. But to be placed upon Murong Bo’s tomb and be burnt a little, then baked a little, would put me in a half-dead state. That’s something to avoid as well.” Turning his mind from the subject, he began to check out the scenery. It was March now. Apricot flowers bloomed on both sides of the road, green willows hung over the lake, and a warm spring wind blew against his body. It was an intoxicating, almost giddy feeling. Duan Yu couldn’t help but feel his heart calm down and be at peace. Opening his mouth, he recited, “The waves are vast, and the willows are listening. A lonely village rests on a distant plain of fragrant grass, and the rays of the setting sun glow as apricot flowers fly across the sky.”
Jiumozhi sneered, “You’re at death’s door right now, and you still have such aimless, sentimental thoughts in your mind, to the point where you are reciting poems and ballads?” Duan Yu laughed, “Thus spoketh the Buddha: ‘Neither the world nor your life is eternal, and that which is not ephemeral is bitter. ’ Nobody lives forever. At most, one might live a few years longer than others. What’s so great about that?”
Jiumozhi ignored him. He asked a passerby for the location of the ‘Canhe Manor’. But although he asked seven or eight people, none of them knew; moreover, the language barrier made it even more difficult for them to communicate. The last person he met was an old man who said, “Inside or outside of Suzhou, there isn’t a single manor called the ‘Canhe Manor’. Master monk, you must have misheard.” Jiumozhi said, “The lord of the manor is surnamed ‘Murong’. Might I ask, where does he live?” That old man said, “Within the walls of Gusu, there are those surnamed Gu, Lu, Shen, Zhang, Zhou, Wen…those are all famous manor lords. There’s nobody surnamed Murong. Never heard of’m.”
Just as Jiumozhi was uncertain as to how to proceed, he overheard a voice from a small eastern alleyway say, “I’ve heard that the Murong family lives thirty li west of the city, in a place called the Basin of Swallows. Let’s go check it out.” Another person said, “Right, when we arrive at the edges, we need to be careful.” Their accent marked them as being from Henan’s central prefecture. The two spoke in a very low voice, but Jiumozhi’s cultivation of internal strength was very profound, and he heard their words clearly. He thought to himself, “Can it be that these two are intentionally letting me hear their words? If not, how can there be such a coincidence?” Glancing sideways, he saw that one speaker, dressed in mourning clothes, had a grand, imposing air, whereas the other was small, gaunt, and short, with the appearance of a chronically ill old pickpocket.
Jiumozhi could immediately tell that these two men possessed martial arts. Before he had decided whether or not to go meet with them, Duan Yu already shouted out, “Mr. Huo, Mr. Huo, you came here as well?” That small, sickly looking person was the ‘Golden Abacus’, Cui Baiquan. The other man was his martial nephew, the ‘Soul Pursuing Whip’, Guo Yanzhi.
After leaving Dali, the two of them wholeheartedly wished to avenge Ke Baisui. They knew that the Murong family had an extremely high level of martial arts, and that there was less than a ten percent chance of success, but they nonetheless courageously came to Suzhou. After learning that the Murong family lived at the Basin of Swallows, and that Murong Bo had died many years ago, they realized that the person who killed Ke Baisui must be another member of the Murong family. They felt that their chances of gaining revenge had improved somewhat and rushed to the lakeside just as Jiumozhi and Duan Yu passed by.
Cui Baiquan, suddenly hearing Duan Yu call out to him, was stunned. He quickly made his way to him, seeing that Duan Yu was with a mounted monk whose left hand was gripping the reins of Duan Yu’s horse. Duan Yu’s arms hung limply at his sides. Clearly, his acupoints had been sealed. He asked curiously, “Young prince, it’s you! Hey, master monk, why are you giving this young gentleman a hard time? Don’t you know who he is?”
Jiumozhi didn’t think very highly of these two men, but he thought to himself that this was the first time he entered the Central Plains, and Mr. Murong’s home was not easy to find. With these two leading the way, things would be much easier. He said, “I need to go to the Murong family’s home, and would like to trouble you two to guide me.”
Cui Baiquan replied, “Master monk, how should I properly address you? Why is it that you dare to offend the young prince of the Duan family? What is your noble purpose for paying a visit to the Murong family’s home?” Jiumozhi replied, “You shall know when we arrive.” Cui Baiquan replied, “Master monk, are you a friend of the Murong family?” Jiumozhi replied, “Correct. If you, Mr. Huo, know the location of Mr. Murong’s Canhe Manor, I’ll like to ask you to lead me there.” Jiumozhi heard Duan Yu address this man as ‘Mr. Huo’, and actually thought his surname was ‘Huo’. Cui Baiquan scratched his head. He said to Duan Yu, “Prince, let me unseal the acupoints on your arm first.” As he spoke, he took a few steps forward and stretched out his hand, planning to unseal Duan Yu’s acupoints.
Duan Yu thought to himself that Jiumozhi’s proficiency in martial arts was extremely high, and that there was perhaps no one superior to him in all the world. Cui and Guo definitely would not be able to defeat him. If they made a rash attempt at rescuing him, the only result would be two more deaths. It would be best to tell the two of them to escape as quickly as possible. He said, “Wait! This master monk defeated my uncle and five other elite fighters of Dali by himself, then took me captive. He is an extremely close bosom friend of Mr. Murong, and intends to burn me as a sacrifice to Mr. Murong on the altar of his tomb. The two of you don’t have anything to do with Gusu’s Murong family. It’d be best if you hurried away and left.”
Cui Baiquan and Guo Yanzhi, hearing that this monk had defeated the likes of experts such as Emperor Baoding, felt great shock in their hearts. After hearing that he was a bosom friend of the Murong family, they only felt even more trepidation. But Cui Baiquan also thought to himself that he had hid himself at the South-Subduing Palace for more than ten years. Today, when the young prince was in peril, how could he just look on with folded arms? They had already arrived at Suzhou. He had long since regarded his own life as expendable, since going on this voyage of revenge. There was no difference between dying to enemy abacus beads and dying at the hands of this man. He immediately placed his hand in his bosom, withdrawing a magnificent golden abacus. Raising it high in the air, he shook it, creating many clanking sounds. “Master monk, Mr. Murong is a good friend of yours, but this young prince is a good friend of mine. I urge you to let him go.” With the flick of his hand, Guo Yanzhi also drew the soft whip from his waist. The two of them simultaneously rushed towards Jiumozhi’s horse.
Duan Yu loudly shouted, “You two, hurry and leave! You can’t defeat him!”
Jiumozhi laughed dully. “You really want to fight?” Cui Baiquan replied, “This is what is known as a mosquito attacking a tiger on its head. I know that I cannot beat you, but I still need to try. Life and death-ow, ow!”
Before he finished the sentence, Jiumozhi had already reached out and seized Guo Yanzhi’s soft whip. Then, with a clapping sound, he reversed the whip and wrapped it around Cui Baiquan’s golden abacus. With a powerful tug of the whip, he ripped both weapons out of their owner’s hands and sent them flying towards the right, into the lake. Jiumozhi had calculated his use of energy perfectly. Just as it seemed as though the two weapons were about to sink into the depths of the lake, the tip of the whip floated up and wrapped around a willow that was overhanging the lake. The willow branch was soft and supple. It continuously rose and fell in a wave-like motion. The golden abacus slowly slapped against the surface of the water, creating one gentle ripple after another.
Jiumozhi folded his hands together. “Gentlemen, I’ll have to trouble you to lead the way, please.” The two of them stared at each other, not knowing what to do. Jiumozhi added, “If the two of you are unwilling to guide us, then I’d like for you to instruct me as to how to get to the Basin of the Swallows, and allow me to search for it on my own.” Seeing how awe-inspiring his martial arts was, but how mild his countenance was, the two of them felt that it wouldn’t be appropriate to become hostile against him, but it wouldn’t be appropriate not to either.
Just at this moment, a rowing sound was heard, and a small boat appeared on the lake. A young maiden in green was holding a pair of oars and slowly paddling towards them. She was sing a little ditty as she rowed. “The fragrance of lotus blossoms fills the lake, and a playful young girl tarries picking the flowers. At night, she brings her boat to the beach to play in the water. Laughing, she removes her red skirt and drapes it over the ducks.” The sound of the song was incomparably tender and sweet, joyous and pleasing to one’s senses.
In Dali, Duan Yu often chanted the poems and essays of the ancients, and long since understood the people and the songs of Jiangnan [South of the (Yangtze) River]. Now, listening to this song, he couldn’t help but feel intoxicated by it. He saw that the girl had a pair of delicate hands, with skin as white and luminous as jade. Her reflection could be seen in the green waves, which seemed almost transparent. Even Guo Yanzhi and Cui Baiquan, who were on the verge of confronting a powerful enemy, couldn’t help but turn their heads and take a glance at her.
Only Jiumozhi ignored her. He said, “Since you two are unwilling to inform me where Canhe Manor is located then I must bid you farewell.”
At this time, the girl in the boat had already reached shore. Hearing Jiumozhi’s words, she replied, “Master monk, you are going to Canhe Manor? Might I ask what business you have there?” Her voice was extremely sweet and very clear, causing listeners to feel unspeakably comfortable. This girl was around sixteen or seventeen years of age, with a gentle, soft face and a delicate body.
Duan Yu thought to himself, “I never would have imagined that the girls of Jiangnan were this beautiful.” Actually, this girl wasn’t really all that beautiful. She couldn’t compare to Mu Wanqing. But even though on a ten-point scale, she might only rank an eight in appearance, she ranked twelve in terms of gentleness and softness. Thus, she was not one whit inferior to perfect beauties.
Do you ever sleep?
This must be breaking records.
Jiumozhi said, “This humble monk desires to visit the Canhe Manor. Can you point me in its direction, miss?” The maiden smiled slightly. “The name, ‘Canhe Manor’, is not known to outsiders. Master monk, where did you hear it from?” Jiumozhi replied, “I am an old bosom friend of Mr. Murong in a distant land. I have come for the sole purpose of paying my respects before his tomb, and carry out an agreement of the past. I hope to inquire as to the location of young master Murong, his son, as well.” The maiden mumbled to herself, “Such an unfortunate coincidence, hey! Young master Murong went on a journey the day before yesterday. If you came just three days earlier, you would have met him, hey.” Jiumozhi said, “For me not to be able to meet the young master is a source of great sorrow. But I have come travelled tens of thousands of li from Tibet to come to the Central Plains. I would like to pay my respects before Mr. Murong’s tomb, and also fulfill my previous agreement with him.” The maiden said, “Master, as you are a friend of old master Murong, please take a cup of green tea first. Meanwhile, I will go deliver the news. Whatcha think?” Jiumozhi replied, “Miss, what is your position within the young master’s residence? How should I address you?”
The maiden smiled sweetly. “Aww, I’m just a minor servant girl who takes care of the young master, playing the zither and the flute for him. I’m called Ah Bi. Don’t be so polite and call me ‘miss’ this and ‘lady’ that. Just go ahead and call me Ah Bi, hey?” Her voice was filled with a heavy Suzhou accent. Originally, it was difficult to understand her words, but as she was a servant of an aristocratic wulin family, she had heard a great deal of Mandarin, and so she added a lot of Mandarin phrases and words into her speech. With a bit of effort, Duan Yu, Jiumozhi, and the others could manage to somewhat understand her. Jiumozhi immediately said, in a respectful tone, “I wouldn’t dare.” (Author’s note: The Wu dialect which Ah Bi spoke cannot be reproduced in a book; only some of its charm can be conveyed. If her dialogue was actually written in the Wu dialect, readers wouldn’t be able to understand her at all. It wasn’t easy for Duan Yu and Jiumozhi to understand her.)
Ah Bi said, “From here to the Pavilion of Zither Melodies of the Basin of Swallows is all water. If all of you want to go there, I can row you over. Is that alright?” Her words, ‘Is that alright’, were eagerly solicitous, soft in its inquiring, making it difficult for others to refuse her.
Jiumozhi replied, “If that’s the case, then thank you for your labors.” Dragging Duan Yu by the hand, he easily leapt into the boat. The small boat barely dipped downwards, and did not shake or sway in the slightest. Ah Bi smiled a little towards Duan Yu and Jiumozhi, as if to say, “Nice abilities!”
Guo Yanzhi said in a low voice, “Martial-uncle, what?...” The two of them came to seek revenge on the Murong family, but now were in a very difficult and awkward position.
Ah Bi laughed a little. “Gentlesirs, why dontcha come? Since you’ve already come to Suzhou, hey, if you don’t have any pressing business, why dontcha come over to our place to drink some tea and eat something? Don’t be worried about the boat being small; even if more people came, it still wouldn’t sink.” She gently paddled the boat, approaching the willow tree. Extending her delicate hand, she retrieved the golden abacus and the soft whip. She casually played with the abacus a bit, striking it and causing a series of clanging sounds.
After listening for just a brief moment, Duan Yu delightedly said, “Miss, you are playing the song, ‘Gathering Mulberries’, right?” As it were, when she started to play with the abacus, her fingers danced across it both quickly and slowly, with force and gently. She used a rhythm that was unexpectedly two strains from the gentle, easy song, ‘Gathering Mulberries’. Ah Bi smiled beautifully. “Young master, you have a thorough understanding of music. Why don’t you come play a melody as well?” Duan Yu saw that she was innocent, friendly, and unpretentious. Smiling, he said, “I don’t know how to play the abacus.” Turning his head, he said to Cui Baiquan, “Mr. Huo, this young miss is beating out such a lovely melody on your abacus.”
Cui Baiquan forced out a smile. “That’s so, that’s so. This young lady really is a proper person. Even such a vulgar object as this possession of mine becomes a musical instrument in her hands.” Ah Bi said, “Aww, I’m very sorry, yeah? Does this belong to Mr. Huo? This abacus is made exquisitely. You must have a lot of money at home. Even your abacus is made out of gold! Uncle Huo, lemme give it back to ya.” Holding the abacus in her left hand, she stretched her arm out towards him, but Cui Baiquan was on the shore and unable to receive it. He really could not bear to part with this old friend of his, which had never left his side for an instant in many years. With a leap, he too jumped into the boat, stretching out his arm and receiving the abacus. Leaning his head slightly, he shot a glance at Jiumozhi. A gentle, amible smile was on Jiumozhi’s face the entire time, without the slightest hint of anger.
With her left hand, Ah Bi held the tip of the whip, using the five fingers of her right hand to strap the other end around her hand. She scratched the whip with her fingernail, instantly creating a series of crystal clear ‘ding’, ‘ling’, ‘dong’, ‘long’ sounds. It was as though she were testing out a new pipa instrument. A weapon which had done battle all across the land, competing against both heroes and villains, once more became a musical instrument in her tender, pure white hands.
Duan Yu cried out, “Brilliant, brilliant! Miss, why don’t you play a song for him?” Ah Bi said to Guo Yanzhi, “Does this soft whip belong to you, sir? I very rudely toyed around with a bit. I’m so very sorry. Why don’t you come on the boat as well? In a bit, I’ll peel some fresh crimson water chestnuts for you to eat.” Guo Yanzhi held a deep and abiding hatred for the entire Murong family for the death of his master. But seeing this innocent, unaffected maiden speak and smile so sweetly, he couldn’t release upon her the anger and hatred he felt. He thought to himself, “Since she’s invited me onto the boat, I might as well go. At the very least, I’ll kill some of their people and so avenge my benevolent master’s death.” He immediately nodded and also jumped onto the boat.
Ah Bi carefully coiled up the soft whip, then handed it to Guo Yanzhi. Pulling at the oars, the boat began to move westwards.
Cui Baiquan and Guo Yanzhi exchanged a few glances. They thought to themselves, “Today, we are entering a tiger’s den. Who knows if we will live or die? The Murong family’s techniques are very sinister and deadly. This girl appears to be gentle, kind, and sweet; she doesn’t seem to be putting on an act. But who knows if this is a trick by which the Murong family uses to deceive their enemies? After we lower our guard, perhaps they will make their move.”
The boat glided across the waters. After making several turns, they arrived at a particularly large lake. As far as the eye could see, mist covered the surface of the water, which stretched out unendingly in every direction. Guo Yanzhi was secretly apprehensive. “This large lake is probably Lake Taihu, the Grand Lake. Neither I nor martial-uncle Cui know how to swim. All this little girl needs to do is overturn the boat, and the two of us will become food for the turtles and the fish. How could we possibly gain vengeance?” Cui Baiquan had thought of the same thing. He decided that if he could get his hands on the oars, it wouldn’t be an easy task for the girl to overturn the boat even if she wanted to. He said, “Miss, let me help you row the boat. Just tell me what direction we should go.” Ah Bi smiled. “Aww, I vould not dare! If the young master found out, he’d berate me for slighting our guests.” Seeing that she was unwilling, Cui Baiquan became all the more suspicious. He laughed, “To tell you the truth, we want to hear you, young miss, display your consummate skills in playing songs on the soft whip. We are unrefined people, but young master Duan here is a thorough expert in music, chess, calligraphy, and painting.”
Ah Bi glanced at Duan Yu. She laughed, “My playing is so poor, how can it be considered a consummate skill? This young gentleman appears to be very refined. He’ll laugh’n’laugh’n’laugh some more. I aint gonna!”
Cui Baiquan took the soft whip from Guo Yanzhi and put it in her hands. “Play, play!” At the same time, he took the wooden oar from her hands. Ah Bi laughed. “Alrighty! Could you lend me your golden abacus again as well?” Cui Baiquan felt extremely apprehensive. “Can it be that she has some underhanded plot in taking both of our weapons?” But at this point in time, he could not credibly refuse, and could only hand the abacus over to her. Ah Bi put the golden abacus on a wooden plank in front of her. She held the handle of the soft whip in her left hand, then gently stepped on the tip of the whip with her left foot, pulling it taut. The five fingers of her right hand plucked rapidly in succession, immediately generating a tinkling sound from the soft whip. Although the sound wasn’t as clear and strong as that of a pipa instrument, it was still very bright and crisp nonetheless.
While she was playing the soft whip with the five fingers of her right hand, she managed to simultaneously stretch her fingers out and play with the golden abacus. The clanging sound of the abacus beads, when combined with the tinkling sounds from the soft whip, became even more clear in their harmonizing. Just at this moment, a pair of swallows flit past them overhead, heading westwards. Duan Yu thought to himself, “The Murong family lives at the ‘Basin of Swallows’. I would imagine there must be many swallows here.”
Ah Bi began to sing. “Two divinities appear at an auspicious hour, and a thousand families once more see the graceful dancing of a pair of swallows. The nest of the phoenix is certainly near, for why else does the river mist follow us even now? As messy as a rich lady’s boudoir, flying low over the green shores, drawing a picture with gentle strokes, singing a song of the turning of this world. For whom do I come, and for whom do I depart? My master’s benevolence is as priceless as a string of pearls.”
Hearing how graceful and supple her voice was, Duan Yu couldn’t help but be moved. He thought to himself, “If I stayed in the southern lands of Dali all of my life, how could I have heard such a celestial melody? ‘For whom do I come, and for whom do I depart? My master’s benevolence is as priceless as a string of pearls.’ Young lord Murong must be an extraordinary person to have a servant girl such as her.”
After finishing her song, she returned the soft whip and abacus to Cui and Guo. She laughed, “Please don’t mock me for my poor singing. Master Huo, just paddle towards the small harbor towards our right!”
Cui Baiquan felt relieved after she returned their weapons to her. He immediately complied and paddled the boat towards the harbor. The surface of the water was covered with water lotuses. If it hadn’t been for her guidance, he never would have discovered that there was a way in. After paddling for a while longer, Ah Bi said, “Paddle in that direction, please.” Here, the surface of the water was covered with water chestnut leaves. The crimson water chestnuts surged up and down with the waves, forming a stupendously colorful sight. Ah Bi casually plucked a few of the water chestnuts out from the water and offered some to each person.
Although Duan Yu could move his arms, after having his major acupoints sealed, he couldn’t exert the slightest bit of strength. He couldn’t even peel the chestnut. Ah Bi laughed. “Young gentlemen, you aren’t from Jiangnan and you don’t know how to peel chestnuts. Lemme help ya!” She peeled many chestnuts in a row and placed them in his palm. Duan Yu saw that the skin of the chestnuts looked bright and clean, and put them in his mouth. They tasted savory, crisp, and outstandingly sweet and clear. He laughed, “The tastes of these chestnuts are clear and not dirty at all, just like the song you sang, miss.” Ah Bi’s blushed slightly. She laughed, “This is the first time I’ve heard anyone compare my singing to these water chestnuts. Many thanks!”
Before they finished paddling past the pool of water chestnuts, Ah Bi directed them to make another course change, having the small boat pass through a pond of reeds and wild rice. By now, even Jiumozhi was beginning to feel suspicious. He secretly began memorizing the twists and turns they made, so as to not get lost on his way out. But as he stared at the lake, all the water chestnuts, lotus leaves, and reeds looked identical. Moreover, once the wind blew, the shape and configuration of the chestnuts and leaves would suddenly change. Even if he really did memorize how everything looked, in a blink of an eye it all would look differently. Jiumozhi, Guo Yanzhi, and Cui Baiquan continuously cast side-glances at Ah Bi, trying to discern from her eyes how she was managing to discern where they should go. But all she did was cheerfully and carelessly pick chestnuts and play with the water before casually pointing out where they should go next. It was as though these countless complex interlocking channels, which were almost like a chessboard, were as familiar to her as the lines on the palm of her hand, something which she knew since birth and had no need to memorize.
And so, twisting and curving, they paddled for almost four hours. Off in the distance, green willows could be seen growing thickly, revealing a corner of upturned eaves. Ah Bi said, “Go there! Master Huo! You must be tired, after helping me row for half a day!” Cui Baiquan smiled wryly. “As long as there are red water chestnuts to eat and beautiful songs to hear, even if I rowed for another eight or ten years, I wouldn’t be tired.” Ah Bi clapped her hands and laughed. “You just wanna listen to songs and eat chestnuts? Easy breezy! Just don’t leave this lake for the rest of your life, yeah!”
Hearing her say the words, ‘Don’t leave this lake for the rest of your life, yeah’, Cui Baiquan couldn’t help but feel startled. He cast her a side glance, but saw her smiling cheerfully, without any malicious undercurrent at all. Still, he couldn’t help but continue to feel uneasy. Ah Bi took over the wooden paddle, and begin to row them towards the copse of willows. A large pine tree branch, carved into the shape of a ladder, touched the water’s surface. Ah Bi fastened the boat to the branch. The melodious call of little birds could be heard above them. Imitating the sound of the birds, Ah Bi also let out a few calls, before turning and laughing, “Please come ashore.”
As they left the boat, four or five rooms could be seen, scattered alongside the river and constructed upon an area that seemed like an island or a peninsula. The rooms were small and exquisitely constructed, appearing very refined and proper. Above the house was a plaque with two words written on it: “Zither Melody”. The calligraphy of the plaque was extremely natural and unrestrained. Jiumozhi said, “Would this place be the Canhe Manor of the Basin of Swallows?” Ah Bi shook her head. “No. This is the place which the young master has given us to live in. It’s a very small place and totally unsuitable for receiving guests. But you, master monk, said that you wanted to visit the mausoleum of old master Murong. This is something which I don’t have the authority to allow. Please wait here for a bit while I go and consult with my elder sister, Ah Zhu.
Listening to her words, Jiumozhi felt unhappy and his face sunk. He was the national protector and dharma king of Tibet, an extremely venerated and respected personage. Not only was he greatly respected and honored in Tibet, if he were to pay a visit to the imperial courts of the Great Song, Dali, or the Western Xia, the monarchs of each kingdom would personally receive him with great courtesy and proprietry. Moreover, he was a bosom friend of Mr. Murong and personally came to pay his respects to him. Since young master Murong was unaware of this, he could not be blamed for leaving. But for this underling to not invite him to the main hall and receive him with proper ceremony and instead take him to the living quarters of the servants was simply too infuriating. But, seeing the smiles and laughter on Ah Bi’s face, it didn’t seem as though she had the slightest intention of disrespecting him. He thought to himself, “This little girl doesn’t know anything. Why should I lower myself to be bothered by her?” After this thought, he became calm and good-tempered again.
Cui Baiquan asked, “Who is this elder sister Ah Zhu of yours?” Ah Bi smiled, “Ah Zhu is simply Ah Zhu. She’s a month older than me, so puts on the air of being my elder sister. I don’t have the option to not call her elder sister, since she’s a month older than me after all. But you don’t need to call her elder sister Ah Zhu, because if you do, she’ll become all the more giddy and happy.” As she chirped and tittered in her gentle, clear voice, she led the four of them into the house.
Arriving within the main hall, Ah Bi bade them sit. A male servant served them green tea and pastries. Duan Yu, holding the teacup in his hand, smelled a fragrant, aromatic scent. He removed the lid on his teacup and saw extremely fine grains of jade-green tea leaves floating on top of the tea. They appeared almost like little pearls rolled into slender hairs. Duan Yu had never seen anything like them before. Taking a sip, he felt as though his mouth was filled with a delicate fragrance which soaked into his tongue and his saliva. Jiumozhi, Cui, and Guo, seeing how strange the tea looked, did not dare to drink. These pearl-shaped tea leaves were a special local product grown in mountain peaks nearby Lake Taihu. Later generations gave it the name, “Bi Luo Chun” tea, meaning “Jade-Green Spirals of Spring”. During the Northern Song dynasty, it didn’t have such a refined, elegant name yet. The local people called it “Xia Sha Ren Xiang”, or “Extremely Scary Fragrance.” This was supposed to mean that the tea was so fragrant and rapturuous, it would scare people who tasted it. Jiumozhi had always resided in the western regions and in Tibet, and was used to drinking bitter-tasting black brick tea. Now, seeing this jade-green tea that had hair-like things in it, he couldn’t help but suspect it was poisoned.
Four different types of light refreshments were served. Rose pine nut candies, soft fuling [a type of edible fungus] cakes, jade green sweetcakes, and dumplings filled with ham and powdered lotus. Each pastry appeared elegant and was properly made, appearing so lovely that they appeared as though they weren’t meant to be eaten, but toys to look at and play with instead.
Duan Yu praised, “These delicacies are so delightfully made that they must taste wonderful as well. But how can anyone bear to eat them?” Ah Bi smiled a little. “Young gentleman, please feel free to eat. We have more.” Duan Yu began to eat, and each time he ate one, he would praise it. Jiumozhi, Cui, and Guo still did not dare to eat. Duan Yu felt some suspicion in his heart. “This Jiumozhi fellow claims to be an old friend of Murong Bo. Why is he afraid to eat? Moreover, it doesn’t appear as though they are very hospitable in welcoming him either.”
Jiumozhi’s patience was truly impressive. He waited until after Duan Yu had eaten all the dishes, tasted all the tea, and praised everything profusely before saying, “Miss, can you please go and inform your elder sister, Ah Zhu?”
Ah Bi smiled. “Ah Zhu’s hamlet is four-nines away by water. We won’t be able to make it there tonight. The four of you, please take a rest here tonight, and tomorrow morning we will go to the ‘Waterside Pavilion of Fragrant Sounds’.” Cui Baiquan asked, “What do you mean by ‘four nines away’?” Ah Bi replied, “A ‘nine-waterway’ is nine li in length, two are eighteen li, and four would be thirty six li. Just use your abacus and you’ll be able to calculate it.” As it turned out, in the Jiangnan region, when people discussed the distance of a journey or a road, they counted them by ‘one-nine’ and ‘two-nines’.
Jiumozhi said, “Miss, if this is the case, why didn’t you take us directly to the ‘Waterside Pavilion of Fragrant Sounds’? Wouldn’t that have been quicker?” Ah Bi laughed. “No one ever comes here to chat and gossip with me. I’m so bored, y’know? Finally, some guests came over, isn’t that great? No matter what, I gotta get y’all to stay here a night, yeah?”
All this time, Guo Yanzhi was controlling his temper and not speaking. Now, he suddenly rose to his feet and shouted, “Where do the family members of the Murong family live? I, Guo Yanzhi, did not come to the Canhe Manor to drink tea or eat delicacies, much less to serve as a diversion for you to relieve your boredom. I came here on a mission of killing and vengeance, to bleed and to die. Since I, the one surnamed Guo, came here, I had no intentions of leaving. Miss, please go convey the word that I am the disciples of Ke Baisui, of the ‘Hidden Ox’ sect, and have come to avenge my master!” After he spoke, he flashed his whip. With a cracking sound, a red sandalwood tea table and a mottled bamboo chair were shattered into many pieces. Ah Bi seemed neither startled nor angry. She said, “There’s plenty of heroes and valiant men who have come to visit the young master, at least several every month. Lots of those respected sirs came with such tyrannical, angry, and ferocious attitudes, but this little girl hasn’t heard of…”
Before she finished her words, an old person with silver hair and a grey beard walked out holding a walking stick. This person said, “Ah Bi, who is kicking up such a ruckus out here?” This person was speaking in perfect, pure, unaccented Mandarin.
Cui Baiquan rose up from the chair, and both he and Guo Yanzhi stood straight and erect. He shouted, “In whose hands, exactly, did my martial-brother Ke Baisui perish?”
Duan Yu saw that this old person was hunched over, with a face full of wrinkles. If he wasn’t ninety, he had to be at least eighty. He said in hoarse voice, “Ke Baisui, Ke Baisui, right. A man a hundred years of age should’ve died long ago!” [Baisui, his name, literally means ‘a hundred years old’; this is a play on words.]
Ever since Guo Yanzhi arrived at Suzhou, his every waking moment was consumed with the thought of going to the Murong family and getting into a big battle, with lots of killing and chopping to avenge his master. But, after Jiumozhi took his weapon away from him, his drive was snapped. Then, after meeting such an innocent, lovely lass as Ah Bi, he was unable to vent his anger out on her. Now, hearing that old man speak so rudely, he lashed out with his soft whip to strike the old man on the back of his heart. He saw that Jiumozhi was seated at the west seat of honor. In order to prevent him from helping out, Guo Yanzhi launched this attack of his from the east.
He didn’t imagine that Jiumozhi would stretch out his arm and pull the whip towards him from far away, as though by magnetic force. He said, “Hero Guo, we have come from afar and are guests. If there’s anything you have to say, just say it. There’s no need to use force.” He rolled the soft whip into a coil, then returned the weapon to him.
Guo Yanzhi’s face was suffused with red. It wouldn’t be good for him to refuse, but it would also be embarassing for him to accept. After a moment, he thought to himself, “Today, the most important thing is avenging my master. I can suffer some momentary humiliation in order to keep my weapon in my hands.” He reached out and accepted it.
Jiumozhi said to the old man, “Elder benefactor, might I inquire as to what is your respected name? Are you a relative of Mr. Murong, or a friend?” The old man cracked a smile. “This old fellow is an old servant of the master. What ‘respected name’ might I have? I heard that you, great master, are a dear friend of our passed away master. Might I ask what instructions you have for me?” Jiumozhi replied, “My business can only be divulged to the young master himself.” The old man said, “That’s unfortunate. The young master left just two days ago. No one knows when he will be back.” Jiumozhi asked, “Where did the young master go?” The old man inclined his head, then stretched out with a hand and knocked on his forehead. “As to this, I’m old and muddle-headed. I think he said he was going to the Western Xia. He also said something about the kingdom of Liao, and maybe Tibet as well. Or it could be Dali.”
After hearing this, Jiumozhi felt displeasure in his heart. During this era, the world was divided into five nations. Aside from the nation of the Great Song where they currently were, this old man had named all four of the other countries as possible locations. He knew that this old man was only pretending to be muddle-headed. He said, “Since this is so, I won’t wait for the young master to return. Old steward, I’d like to ask that I be taken directly to Mr. Murong’s mausoleum to pay my respects, and give thanks for our old friendship.” That old man’s hands waved violently. “I can’t make this decision on my own, and I’m not the steward.”
Jiumozhi asked, “Then who is the steward of your venerable manor? Please invite him out for us to meet.” That old man nodded repeatedly. “Great, great! Let me go invite the steward.” Turning around, he shuffled his way out while mumbling to himself, “In this day and age, there’s all sorts of bad people in the world. They dress up as monks and Taoists and beg for alms. What haven’t I seen? I won’t be tricked!”
Chapter 1-5 and following that can be found on the start of this thread.
There was a partial translation of the Ju Xuan Manor fight, and CC translated chapter 41 and partial chapter 42. There is a floating start to chapter 39 as well.
Those can be found in this forum as well.
Wishing everyone who frequents this forum, especially our translators, editors and proof-readers, a very Happy Lunar New Year, with hope for a better year ahead for you and your loved ones.
Man is glue. You are man. How then can you step away from glue?