Which in retrospect just goes to show that a pretty face can inspire even a bodiless spirit of
intellect to dizzying heights of idiocy.
Quoted from blood rights, books 6 of the dresden files.
Which in retrospect just goes to show that a pretty face can inspire even a bodiless spirit of
intellect to dizzying heights of idiocy.
Quoted from blood rights, books 6 of the dresden files.
Chapter 18. cont.
Wang Yuyan smiled and said: ‘That’s what happened just now, right?’
A’Zhu said: ‘Yes. I said: ‘Chief Qiao, I and my sister are poisoned, sorry to trouble you, but could you search for the antidote on the Western Xia barbarians’ bodies please?’ Chief Qiao ferreted out a small porcelain bottle on the corpse of a Western Xia warrior. Whether it was sweet or stinking, there’s no need to talk much about that.’
Wang Yuyan asked: ‘Where’s Chief Qiao?’ A’Zhu said: ‘Hearing that the Beggar Society’s people had all been poisoned and captured he said he wanted to go save them and hurriedly left. He also asked about Mr Duan, looking very concerned.’ Duan Yu sighed and said: ‘This sworn big brother of mine really has a deep and serious sense of personal loyalty.’ A’Zhu said: ‘The Beggar Society’s people couldn’t tell good and bad apart and drove away a good Chief. Now they’re suffering from their own actions, serves them right. In my opinion, Chief Qiao doesn’t need to save them at all. Just let them taste some misfortunes. See if they’ll still rashly expel people?’ Duan Yu said: ‘My sword big brother is a faithful man. He’d rather have other people turn their backs on him but he himself won’t agree to turn his back on them.’
A’Bi said: ‘Miss Wang, where are we going now?’ Wang Yuyan said: ‘At first I and Mr Duan discussed that we had to go save you two. Now all the four of us are safe. This really can’t be better. The Beggar Society’s affairs aren’t related to us at all. In my opinion, let’s to Shaolin Monastery to look for your young master, is that okay?’ What the two pretty girls A’Zhu and A’Bi cared for the most was also Mr Murong, hearing her say so they clapped their hands and cheered at the same time. Duan Yu felt very grieved but he calmly said: ‘This young master of yours, I really admire him very much, and must meet him by all means. Anyway there’s nothing to do so I’ll follow you to Shaolin Monastery one time.’
Immediately the four people turned their horses and went towards the north. Wang Yuyan and the two pretty girls A’Zhu and A’Bi continuously smiled and talked about things like how dangerous it had been in the mill, how Duan Yu had dealt with the enemies, and how Li Yanzong, a Western Xia warrior, had spared their lives and given them the antidote in detail. A’Zhu and A’Bi were surprised ceaselessly.
Whenever the three young girls talked to an interesting part, they chuckled and often turned their heads and looked at Duan Yu. They used their sleeves to cover up their mouths but also did not dare to laugh freely. Duan Yu knew they were talking about his own foolish actions, but thinking that even though he had acted like a clown, in the end he had protected Wang Yuyan carefully, he could not help feeling both ashamed and somewhat proud; seeing that the three young girls were very close to each other and were treating him as a complete outsider, he thought that at this moment it was already like this, wait until they met Mr Murong, he himself would naturally have no place to take shelter, Murong Fu would probably be like Bao Butong and would drive himself away without any courtesy. The more he thought the more bored and apathetic he felt.
After going for several li’s (t/n: 1 li = 0.5 km) and passing through a big wood of mulberry trees, they suddenly heard the sounds of two boys crying at the edge of the wood. The four people urged their horses forward and saw that they were two fourteen or fifteen year old little Buddhist novices. Their Buddhist robes were full of bloodstains. One of them was even injured in the forehead. A’Bi softly asked: ‘Little monks, who bullied you? Why are you injured?’
The Buddhist novice who was not injured in the forehead cried and said: ‘There were lots and lots of foreign villains coming to the temple. They killed our master and chased the two of us away.’ When the four people heard the two words ‘foreign villains’, they all looked at each other and thought: ‘Are they those Western Xia men?’ A’Zhu asked: ‘Where’s your temple? Who are the foreign villains?’ That little Buddhist novice said: ‘We’re from Tianning Temple, over there…’ As he finished saying he pointed to the northeast and said again: ‘Those foreigners had captured more than one hundred beggars and went into the temple to avoid the rain. They demanded wine and meat and also wanted to kill fowls and cattle. Our master said that was a sin and did not let them kill the cattle in the temple. They then killed our master and more than ten apprentice brothers in the temple, boohoo, boohoo.’ A’Zhu asked: ‘Have they gone?’ The little Buddhist novice pointed to the wisp of kitchen smoke that was rising and waving in the wind behind the mulberry wood and said: ‘They’re cooking cattle meat. What a sin. Bodhisattva bless, please throw these foreigners into the Avici Hell.’ A’Zhu said: ‘You should quickly run a little far away from here. If you two get caught by those foreigners, they’ll butcher and eat you.’ Frightened, the two little Buddhist novices staggered away.
Duan Yu disapproved of that and said: ‘The two of them already have no way out. Sister A’Zhu, why did you need to threaten them?’ A’Zhu smiled and said: ‘This wasn’t threatening. What I said was the truth.’ A’Bi said: ‘The Beggar Society’s people have already been kept prisoners in that Tianning Temple but Chief Qiao has pursued in the direction of Wuxi city. He’s certainly rushed for nothing.’
A’Zhu suddenly had an odd idea and said: ‘Miss Wang, I wanna disguise myself as Chief Qiao and sneak in the temple, then throw that stinking bottle for the beggars to sniff. After they’ve escaped from danger, they’ll sure feel very grateful to Chief Qiao.’ Wang Yuyan smiled and said: ‘Chief Qiao is big in stature and is a tall muscular man. How can you disguise yourself as him?’ A’Zhu smiled and said: ‘The harder it gets, the more obvious A’Zhu’s skills are.’ Wang Yuyan smiled and said: ‘You can make yourself look like Chief Qiao, but you can’t immitate his unmatched extraordinary skills. There’re full of Western Xia’s First-class Hall’s experts in Tianning Temple, how can you come and go freely? In my opinion, disguishing yourself as a cook or an old peasant woman who sells vegetables would make it a bit easier to sneak in.’ A’Zhu said: ‘You want me to disguise as an old peasant woman. There’s nothing interesting about it. I’m not going.’
Wang Yuyan looked at Duan Yu, wanting to say something but not being able to say it. Duan Yu asked: ‘Miss, what do you wanna say?’ Wang Yuyan said: ‘I just wanted to ask you to disguise as a person, and go with A’Zhu to Tianning Temple, but after considering I find it inappropriate.’ Duan Yu said: ‘Who do you want me to disguise as?’ Wang Yuyan said: ‘The brave men of the Beggar Society have a very suspicious mind. They’ve wrongly accused my biaoge and Chief Qiao of colluding with each other and killing their Vice-Chief Ma. If… if… my biaoge and Chief Qiao free them from difficult situations, then they won’t blindly suspect anymore.’ Duan Yu felt very sad and said: ‘You want me to disguise as your biaoge?’ The white face of Wang Yuyan reddened. She said: ‘The enemies in Tianning Temple are very strong so it’ll be very dangerous for you two to go like this. Not going is still better.’
Duan Yu thought: ‘I’ll do whatever you want me to do. Even if my body is ground to dust I won’t hesitate.’ Suddenly he also thought: ‘When I’ve disguised as her biaoge, maybe her manner towards me will be a bit different. It’ll also be good to conveniently enjoy her tenderness in a short while.’ Thinking to here, he could not help feeling very excited and said: ‘What’s so dangerous about it? Running away is exactly my speciality.’
Wang Yuyan said: ‘I already said it was inappropriate. My biaoge kills the enemies as easily as turning his hand over, and has never run away.’ As soon as Duan Yu heard that, he felt a stream of cold air running straight down from the top of his head. He thought: ‘Your biaoge is a great hero and a great person of exceptional abilities. I’m just not suitable to disguise as him. If I imitate him and make a fool of myself in front of other people, that’ll certainly desecrate his reputation.’ Seeing that he was being in low spirits, A’Bi said to console him: ‘The enemies outnumber us so it’s urgent that we temporarily step aside. We only wanna save people, and not to become well-known by competing in martial arts.’
A’Zhu’s pair of clever eyes looked at Duan Yu from the head to the feet to size him up. After quite a while she nodded and said: ‘Mr Duan, it’s really quite hard for you to disguise as our young master. Luckily, the Beggar Society’s people have never known our young master, so we only need a person that generally looks and sounds like him.’ Duan Yu said: ‘Your skills are great, it’s suitable for you to disguise as Chief Qiao. Otherwise, because Chief Qiao was the man that the Beggar Society’s people met daily, if there’s a little bit of flaw, our true identities will immediately be exposed.’ A’Zhu smiled and said: ‘Chief Qiao is a stately man but it’s easy for me to disguise as him. Our young master is almost the same as you in stature, his age is also not older than yours too much, both of you are young masters of influential families and like to study, but if we want you to give up your true appearance and change into a Mr Murong, that’s really very hard.’
Duan Yu sighed and said: ‘Mr Murong is a phoenix or dragon among people, how can other people imitate him perfectly (Duan Yu’s words are 邯郸学步 – learn to walk the Handan style – taken from ‘Zhuangzi – Autumn Water’)? I think it’d still be better if in disguise I don’t look very similar to him, otherwise when I run away, wouldn’t that damage Mr Murong’s distinct and good reputation?’
Wang Yuyan blushed and said in a low voice: ‘Mr Duan, I made a slip of the tongue, are you still angry with me?’ Duan Yu hastily said: ‘No, no, how do I dare to be angry with you?’
Wang Yuyan gave a charming smile and said: ‘Sister A’Zhu, where’re you two going to disguise?’ A’Zhu said: ‘To able to buy the things for application we gotta go to a small town.’
The four people turned their horses and went westward. After going for seven or eight li’s, they arrived in a small town called Ma Lang Qiao. That town was very small and did not have any inn. A’Zhu came up with an idea. She hired a boat and anchored it in the middle of a river. After that she went buy clothes and necessary things, and disguised on the boat. In Jiangnan, there were small rivers everywhere, and there were a lot of boats, no less than the livestock of the North.
She helped Duan Yu change clothes and made up for him first, letting him hold a folding fan in his right hand, wear a blue robe and wear a ring on his right finger. A’Zhu said: ‘Our young master wears a Han-dynasty jade ring, but where to buy it here? Use Qingtian stone to imitate is also okay.’ Duan Yu could only force a smile and thought: ‘Murong Fu is a precious jade item. I’m a lowly stone. In the viewpoints of these three young girls, the respective positions of the two of us are also like that.’ A’Zhu spread flour on his face, made his nose look higher, and made his cheeks look rather fuller. Then she took a pen and altered his eyebrows and the edge of his eyes. After disguising Duan Yu, she smiled to Wang Yuyan: ‘Miss Wang, do you think there’s still any dissimilarity?’
Wang Yuyan did not answer and only looked at him in a trance. Her eyes were filled with affectionate feelings. Obviously she was smitten and her mind was wandering high in the air.
As soon as seeing this infatuated look of hers, Duan Yu could not help feeling as if he was floating. But he immediately thought: ‘She’s looking at Murong Fu and not looking at Duan Yu at all.’ He also thought: ‘I wonder how handsome that Murong Fu guy is. How can he be one hundred times better-looking than me? It’s a pity I can’t see myself.’ For a while he felt happy, then for another while he felt sad.
The two people looked at each other, thoughts surging in their respective minds. They did not know that A’Zhu and A’Bi had already gone to the back of the cabin to disguise themselves.
After a good while, they suddenly heard the husky voice of a man: ‘Ah, so you’re here, it was so painful for your big brother to find you.’ Frightened, Duan Yu raised his head and saw the person who had just said was Qiao Feng. He could not help feeling very happy and said: ‘Big brother, it’s you, this’s very good. We’re about to disguise as you to go save people, now you’ve personally come here, sister A’Zhu doesn’t need to disguise anymore.’
Qiao Feng said: ‘The Beggar Society’s people have expelled me from the Society, whether they’re dead or alive, I don’t care. Good brother, come here, come here, let’s disembark and go for a drink. We’ll drink twenty bowls of wine.’ Duan Yu hastily said: ‘Big brother, the Beggar Society’s brave men are all your former good brothers, can you please still go save them?’ Qiao Feng angrily said: ‘What does a bookworm like you know? Come here. Go for a drink with me!’ As he finished saying he grabbed Duan Yu’s hand. Duan Yu had no choice but to say: ‘Okay, I’ll go for a drink with you first. After drinking wine we’ll save people!’
Qiao Feng suddenly giggled in a lovely manner, his laughs sounded clear and graceful. It was really suprising that a big and tall man could be uttering this kind of girlish laugh. Duan Yu was startled but he immediately understood, smiled and said: ‘Sister A’Zhu, your disguising skills are really extremely fantastic. Even the voice and words are imitated so well like this.’
A’Zhu changed to Qiao Feng’s voice and said: ‘Good brother, let’s go. Make sure you bring that stinking bottle.’ She turned towards Wang Yuyan and A’Bi and said: ‘The two ladies had better wait here.’ As she finished saying she held Duan Yu’s hand and strode onshore. No one knew what she had applied to her hand. It was a delicate small white hand, yet when held out, it unexpectedly looked swarthy. Even though it was smaller than Qiao Feng’s hand, in short periods of time it was still hard for other people to distinguish.
Wang Yuyan looked at the back of Duan Yu. She only thought: ‘If he really was biaoge, that’d be so good. Biaoge, at this moment are you also thinking about me?’
A’Zhu and Duan Yu rode their horses towards Tianning Temple. When they were about five li’s away from the temple, fearing that the Western Xia warriors in the temple could hear the hoofbeats, they tied the horses in the cattle stall of a farmhouse and went forwards on foot.
A’Zhu said: ‘Brother Murong, after arriving at the temple, I’ll talk big, brag and terrify them, you’ll seize the opportunity to remove the poison in the Beggar Society’s people with the stinking bottle.’ She said these few sentences in a deep gruff voice, just like the way Qiao Feng spoke. Duan Yu smiled and replied.
The two people strode to the outside of Tianning Temple. They only saw more than ten Western Xia warriors standing at the gate of the temple, holding long sabers in their hands and looking very fierce. When A’Zhu and Duan Yu saw that, they got nervous and could not help feeling terrified. A’Zhu said in a low voice: ‘Mr Duan, after a while you must pull me and run away at high speed, otherwise if they wanna find and challenge me in martial arts, that can be hard to handle.’ Duan Yu said: ‘Okay.’ But he said this word in a trembling voice. In fact, he also felt extremely scared.
(To be continued)
Short update, 'cause I've been busy for the last few days. You guys will have to put up w/ the crap named DY and WYY for a couple of installments more.
Last edited by forgot password; 11-06-10 at 08:02 PM.
Any update is appriciated. Thank you very much.
This chapter is already better than the last chapter. Keep up the great work!
Chapter 18. cont.
While the two people were discussing in a low voice and sticking their heads out and looking around, a Western Xia warrior at the gate already saw them and shouted loudly: ‘Two bastards standing over there, it’s not nice to be sneaky, are you spies?’ As he was shouting, four other warriors rushed out.
A’Zhu had no alternative but to hold forth her chest and stride forwards. She said in a rough voice: ‘Quickly inform your General that Qiao Feng of the Beggar Society and Murong Fu of Jiangnan come to pay General He Lian of Western Xia a visit.’
The head warrior was astonished when he heard that. He hastily cupped his fist in his hand, bowed and said: ‘So it’s Chief Qiao of the Beggar Society visiting. Please pardon us for being disrespectful. I will report right away.’ He immediately turned around and quickly stepped inside the temple. The rest respectfully dangled their hands and stood to the sides.
Before long, sounds of bugles were heard, the gate of was opened wide. The Hall Master of First-class Hall of Western Xia He Lian Tie Shu led the experts like Nu Erhai out to welcome. Ye Erniang, South Sea Divine Alligator and Yun Zhonghe were also among them. Duan Yu lowered his head and did not dare to look directly at them, his heart pounding.
He Lian Tie Shu said: ‘I have long admired the great reputation of ‘Murong of Gusu’ with the ‘Paying Him Back Using His Own Methods’ technique. Today, being able to meet the worthy, I felt honored, ah, really honored.’ As he finished saying he cupped his fist in his hand to Duan Yu in salute. Because ‘First-class Hall’ of Western Xia and the Beggar Society had become the enemies of each other, he thought there was no need to act polite towards Qiao Feng.
Duan Yu hastily returned the salute and said: ‘General He Lian’s reputation has reached the edges of the seas so I have long been looking forward to meeting the heroes and great men of First-class Hall. Today our arrival is very sudden, hopefully you’ll be magnanimous enough to forgive this.’ He was already very good at saying these fanciful polite words therefore they sounded grandiose and did not have any flaw.
He Lian Tie Shu said: ‘I’ve often heard people in wulin say: ‘North Qiao Feng, South Murong’, and when talking about heroes of the Central Plains, they choose the two of you as the leading figures. Today the two of you visit here at the same time, how fortunate! Please, please.’ He then bent his body and invited the two people to enter the main hall of the temple.
A’Zhu and Duan Yu put on a bold face and went side by side with He Lian Tie Shu. Duan Yu thought: ‘Judging from the words and manner of this Western Xia general, it seems he respects Mr Murong more than he respects my big brother Qiao. Could it be that this Murong Fu guy’s martial arts and personality are one level above big brother Qiao’s? As I see, this’s improbable, improbable.’
Suddenly there was a strange voice: ‘Improbable, improbable.’ Startled, Duan Yu turned his head and looked at that person. It was South Sea Divine Alligator. He was squinting at Duan Yu at a slant with a pair of eyes which were as small as beans, and only shook his head. Duan Yu’s heart palpitated. He thought: ‘Terrible, terrible! Perhaps I was recognized by him.’ He heard South Sea Divine Alligator say: ‘Looks like you have less than three taels of bones (t/n: in ancient China, 1 tael ~ 38 g), what the heck are you capable of? Hey, I ask you. They say you can ‘Pay Him Back Using His Own Methods’, I, Yue Laoer (t/n: Yue the Second), certainly don’t believe so.’ Duan Yu immediately felt relieved: ‘So he doesn’t recognize me at all.’ He heard South Sea Divine Alligator say again: ‘I don’t need you to show your skills either. I only ask you, do you know what Yue Laoer’s special skills are? What fvcking skills you’ll use to deal with me to be regarded as fvcking ‘Paying Your Father Back Using Your Father’s Own Methods’?’ Saying to here he stood with arms akimbo, looking arrogant.
He Lian Tie Shu at first had wanted to talk to stop him, but he changed his mind. Murong Fu had a great reputation, but whether the name matched the reality, there was no harm in checking it out through this crazy South Sea Divine Alligator. Therefore at that moment he did not interrupt him at all.
While talking, they had already entered the main hall. He Lian Tie Shu invited Duan Yu to sit at the top but Duan Yu gave the top position up to A’Zhu.
South Sea Divine Alligator said loudly: ‘Hey, Mr Murong, you say, what’s my best skill?’ Duan Yu smiled and thought: ‘If other people ask me, I really won’t be able answer. But you asked me, that’s a lucky coincidence.’ He instantly opened his folding fan, flapped it gently several times and said: ‘South Sea Divine Alligator Yue Laosan (t/n: Yue the Third), originally your best skill was twisting off other people’s necks in a clack sound. In recent years your skills have improved. At the moment the martial arts that you’re most pleased with are the Alligator-Tailed Whip and the Alligator-Mouthed Scissors. To deal with you, naturally I’ll use the Alligator-Tailed Whip and the Alligator-Mouthed Scissors.’
He mentioned the names of the Alligator-Tailed Whip and the Alligator-Mouthed Scissors in one go. Certainly South Sea Divine Alligator was so surprised that his jaw dropped. Even Ye Erniang and Yun Zhonghe were also extremely surprised. South Sea Divine Alligator had just practiced these two weapons recently and had never put them to use in front of other people. He had only used them once when fighting Yun Zhonghe atop Mt. Wuliang in Dali. At that time, no one else besides Mu Wanqing had seen the weapons. But they could never have thought Mu Wanqing had already told this fake Mr Murong of the present about that from beginning to end.
South Sea Divine Alligator tilted his head and looked carefully at Duan Yu. Even though he was ferocious and ruthless, he admired heroes and brave men. After a while, he gave a thumb up and said: ‘Good skill!’ Duan Yu laughed and said: ‘That’s a laugh.’ South Sea Divine Alligator thought: ‘He could mention even the weapons I’ve mastered recently, there’s no need to ask him about my remaining martial arts. Too bad big brother is not here, otherwise he’d put him to the test. Ah, I got it!’ He said loudly: ‘Mr Murong, you can use my martial arts, there’s nothing strange and rare about that, but if my master comes here, you sure won’t know his martial arts.’ Duan Yu smiled and said: ‘Who’s your master? What extraordinary skills does he have?’ South Sea Divine Alligator laughed and said boastfully: ‘Needless to say, the master who first taught me martial arts passed away long ago. But the skills of my newly recognized master are no small matter. Let’s not talk about the other things, just the ‘Wave Treading Exquisite Steps’ alone, I believe no second person in the world knows.’
Duan Yu muttered: ‘The ‘Wave Treading Exquisite Steps’, hum, that’s truly an amazing technique. Who would have expected Mr Duan of Dali to accept you as his disciple? But I somewhat don’t believe this.’ South Sea Divine Alligator hastily said: ‘Why do I need to fool you? A lot of people here personally heard Mr Duan call me disciple.’ Duan Yu laughed up his sleeve: ‘At first you’d rather die than agree to call me master, but now you fear that I don’t recognize you as disciple.’ He then said: ‘Hum, if so, you most probably have already acquired your master’s unique skill? Congrats! Congrats!’
South Sea Divine Alligator shook his head continuously and said: ‘I haven’t, I haven’t! You claim that you know every martial arts technique in the world. If you can walk three steps of the ‘Wave Treading Exquisite Steps’, Yue Laoer will be convinced.’
Duan Yu smiled and said: ‘Though the Wave Treading Exquisite Steps is hard, I’ve also already learned several steps. Master Yue, come here and try to catch me.’ As he finished saying, his robe fluttered, he went to and stood in the middle of the main hall.
The Western Xia people had never heard of the ‘Wave Treading Exquisite Steps’ technique, hearing South Sea Divine Alligator say that it was extremely mysterious and fantastic like this, they all hoped to increase their knowledge. They immediately split up and stood in the four corners of the main hall to see how Duan Yu would perform.
South Sea Divine Alligator let out a fierce roar and reached out his left hand. His right hand passed below his left palm to grab Duan Yu. Duan Yu took two steps obliquely then backed off by half a step. His body was like the wind stirring lotus leaves, gently dodging it. A ‘pu’ sound was heard, South Sea Divine Alligator had been too late to withdraw his force and his five right fingers had stuck into a column in the main hall by several cun’s (1 cun = 3.333 cm). Seeing that his internal energy was this good, all the bystanders went pale. Because the first attack had missed, South Sea Divine Alligator roared more fiercely and jumped up then struck down from the air. Duan Yu did not pay any attention to that, and only concerned himself with the Eight Diagrams-based footwork that he was using to walk freely and comfortably. South Sea Divine Alligator sped up his attacks and roared more and more loudly, looking totally like a ferocious beast.
When Duan Yu caught a glimpse of that ferocious face, his heart skipped a beat. He hastily turned his head away, took out from his sleeve a towel, blindfolded himself and said: ‘Even if I’m blindfolded, you still won’t be able to catch me.’
South Sea Divine Alligator’s palms danced in the air and fiercely attacked Duan Yu, but they always missed his body by small distances. The bystanders all felt scared for Duan Yu, their palms excreting cold sweats. A’Zhu cared about Duan Yu therefore she was filled with even more apprehension. Suddenly she shouted loudly in a rough voice: ‘South Sea Divine Alligator, how is Mr Murong’s Wave Treading Exquisite Steps compared to your master’s?’
South Sea Divine Alligator was startled. All the energy in his chest was instantly discharged. He stopped moving and said: ‘Excellent, excellent! You can walk this strange footwork while having your eyes encased. I’m afraid even my master couldn’t do so. Okay! Murong of Gusu deserves his reputation. I, South Sea Divine Alligator, have respect for you.’
Duan Yu pulled off the towel on his eyes and returned to his seat. Immediately there was a round of thunderous applause in the main hall.
Waiting until the two people had settled into their seats, He Lian Tie Shu raised his teacup and said: ‘Please have some tea. As the two heroes are visiting us, I’m wondering what you have to instruct us.’
A’Zhu said: ‘Some brothers of my Society somehow offended General. I heard that General sent experts to use high-level martial arts to capture and take them here. May I be bold to request that General release them?’ She specially stressed the words ‘sent experts to use high-level martial arts to capture and take them here’ to ridicule the Western Xia people for using the despicable method of poisoning to capture people.
He Lian Tie Shu smiled and said: ‘That’s not wrong. Just now Mr Murong displayed his abilities. Sure enough, he deserves his reputation. Chief Qiao and Mr Murong are equally famous, so you too need to show off your skills to everyone and make us Western Xia people sincerely admire. Only then will we release every brave man of your Society.’
A’Zhu was very worried and thought: ‘If I imitate Chief Qiao’s skills, wouldn’t this immediately be exposed?’ While trying to find a pretext to decline suddenly she felt achy and weak in her limbs, which was the same as when she had been poisoned with the poisonous gas in the evening of the previous day. She could not help feeling very frightened: ‘How terrible, who would’ve expected these Western Xia villains to use the old trick again even at this moment? What should I do?’
Duan Yu was immune to harmful substances therefore he did not felt anything. Seeing that A’Zhu was weak and being paralyzed on her chair, he knew that she was being affected by the poisonous gas again. He hastily took out from his bosom that stinking bottle, removed its stopper and placed it at the tip of her nose. A’Zhu took some deep sniffs. Because she was not seriously poisoned, the numbness in her limbs quickly disappeared. She stretched out her hand to hold the bottle and kept sniffing nonstop. She found it strange as to why the enemies had not yet started to interfere. When looking at those Western Xia warriors, she only saw that every one of them was weak and being paralyzed on their chair. They were not budging at all and were only moving their eyeballs around chaotically.
Duan Yu said: ‘How strange, these people get caught in their own trap. Could it be that they poisoned then were poisoned by themselves?’ A’Zhu went to He Lian Tie Shu and pushed him.
The body of the general was immediately bent and he sat on the chair in a sloping posture. He was really poisoned. But he could still say, therefore he shouted: ‘Hey, who used the ‘Sad Weak Clear Wind’ without permission? Quickly take the antidote here, quickly take the antidote here!’ He shouted several times, but because all of his subordinates were being weak, they only said: ‘Sir, subordinate can’t move.’ Nu Erhai said: ‘There must be an infiltrator, if not, how can they know the complicated using method of this ‘Sad Weak Clear Wind’?’ He Lian Tie Shu angrily said: ‘Correct! Who? You quickly investigate to clear this up then smash him to ten thousand pieces for me.’ Nu Erhai said: ‘Yes, sir! But in the current situation, we must get the antidote first.’ He Lian Tie Shu said: ‘That’s right. You go and take the antidote here.’
Nu Erhai wrinkled his eyebrows, looked askance at the porcelain bottle in A’Zhu’s hand and said: ‘Chief Qiao, sorry to trouble you, but could you please let us sniff the antidote in this bottle? Our General will definitely reward you generously.’
A’Zhu laughed and said: ‘Who comes here to get your General’s generous rewards? I wanna urgently go rescue our Society’s brothers.’
Nu Erhai said again: ‘Mr Murong, there’s also a vial on my body. Could you please take it out, remove the stopper and let me sniff it a bit?’
Duan Yu reached into his bosom and fished out a vial. It really was the antidote. He laughed and said: ‘I’ve taken out the antidote but I won’t let you sniff.’ Then he went alongside A’Zhu to the back hall. When they pushed open the door of the west room they saw that it was crammed with people, all of whom were the Beggar Society’s members who had been captured.
As soon as A’Zhu went in, Elder Wu called out: ‘Chief Qiao, it’s you. Thank heavens.’ A’Zhu took the antidote for him to sniff and said: ‘This is the antidote. You go remove the poison in the bodies of all brothers one by one.’ Elder Wu was very happy. He waited until his limbs could move to detoxify Elder Song. Duan Yu then used the antidote of Nu Erhai to detoxify Elder Xu.
A’Zhu said: ‘The Beggar Society has a lot of people. If detoxifying one by one like this, when will it finish? Elder Wu, you go search the bodies of those Western Xia people to see if they still have the antidote.’
Elder Wu said: ‘Yes!’ then trotted towards the main hall. Swear words, yells, and pops of beating suddenly could be heard from the main hall. Obviously on the one hand Elder Wu was searching for the antidote, and on the other hand he was beating them to vent his anger. Before long he returned, carrying six small porcelain bottles with both hands, smiled and said: ‘I focused on searching the barbarians with flashy expensive clothes. As expected, the ones with nice clothes had the antidote on their bodies. Ha-ha, those dudes have been miserable.’ Duan Yu laughed and said: ‘Why?’ Elder Wu laughed and said: ‘I gave each of them two slaps in the mouth. With those who had the antidote, I specially used some more force.’
Suddenly he remembered that he had never seen Duan Yu, therefore he asked: ‘Brother, what, may I ask, is your name? Thank you very much for helping us.’ Duan Yu said: ‘My compound surname is Murong. I came to help too late, putting everybody to great inconvenience for a short while. This is my fault, my fault.’
Hearing that this man in front of them is the famous ‘Murong of Gusu’, the Beggar Society’s people all were extremely astonished.
Elder Song said: ‘We’ve been blinded and wrongly accused Mr Murong of killing Vice-Chief Ma. Today, if he and Chief Qiao hadn’t saved us, everybody would have fallen into the hands of these Western Xia bastards. If that happened, would we still be able to have a good end?’ Elder Wu also said: ‘Chief Qiao, a senior doesn’t mind juniors’ faults, it’d be better if you return to be our Chief.’
Quan Guanqing said coldly: ‘Master Qiao and Mr Murong really are intimate friends.’ Calling Qiao Feng as ‘Master Qiao’ instead of ‘Chief Qiao’, certainly he no longer recognized him as the Chief. Moreover he had said that he and Mr Murong really were intimate friends, which was a very dangerous sentence. The Beggar Society’s people had been suspecting Qiao Feng of making use of Murong Fu to eliminate Ma Dayuan but Qiao Feng had always denied that he and Murong Fu knew each other. Today the two of them had gone to Tianning Temple together. They had also spoken to and laughed with each other, looking fairly close. Obviously this was not the first time they had met.
A’Zhu thought that these people all were old acquaintances of Qiao Feng, if she dragged this situation out a little longer, they would surely recognize her flaws. Therefore she said: ‘It won’t be late to slowly discuss the important affairs of the Society. I go see those Western Xia bastards.’ As she finished saying she walked towards the main hall. Soon afterward Duan Yu followed her.
When the two people had arrived at the main hall, they heard He Lian Tie Shu shouting abuse: ‘Quickly find out the name of this Western Xia bastard. After returning, search and confiscate his house, kill all the males and females, old people and young people in his family, not sparing even a single fowl or dog. Fvck him, he’s a Western Xia man, why did he help strangers by stealing my ‘Sad Weak Clear Wind’ and spreading it carelessly?’ Duan Yu was surprised and thought: ‘Who’s the Western Xia man he was cursing?’ He noticed that after He Lian Tie Shu let out a cursing sentence, Nu Erhai would reply with a sentence. He Lian said again: ‘He wrote these eight characters on the wall, isn’t it obvious that he wanna ridicule us?’
Duan Yu and A’Zhu raised their heads and saw four rows of words which looked like flying dragons and dancing snakes written on the whitewashed wall:
‘Paying Him Back, Using His Own Methods, Narcotic Poisonous Wind, I Fully Return To You.’ [以彼之道，还施彼身，迷人毒风，原璧归君]
The ink strokes were still dripping wet. Obviously the writer of these words had left not long ago.
Duan Yu uttered an ‘Ah’ sound and said: ‘This… Ah… Was it Mr Murong who wrote this?’ A’Zhu said in a low voice: ‘Don’t forget you’re Mr Murong. Our young master can write different styles of calligraphy, I can’t recognize if these words were written by him.’
Duan Yu turned towards Nu Erhai and asked: ‘Who wrote this?’
Nu Erhai did not answer and secretly felt anxious, not knowing how the Beggar Society’s people would handle them. After capturing the Beggar Society’s people, they themselves had done just about everything, including beating and insulting, therefore they only needed to ‘Pay Him Back, Using His Own Methods’, that would already be very hard to bear.
Seeing that the Beggar Society’s people were coming to the main hall in succession, A’Zhu said in a low voice: ‘The important business has been done, let’s go!’ She then said loudly: ‘I have another important business and must go handle it with Mr Murong. See you later.’ As she finished saying she trotted out of the hall. The people like Elder Wu screamed out: ‘Chief, please wait, Chief, please wait.’ A’Zhu did not dare to stay there anymore. She and Duan Yu went faster and faster. The Beggar Society’s people had always revered Qiao Feng therefore no one dared to go forwards to stop them.
After the two people had gone for about a li (0.5 km), A’Zhu laughed and said: ‘Mr Duan, it was really a lucky coincidence. That hideous disciple of yours by chance wanted you to perform the Wave Treading Exquisite Steps technique. He also said that you were even better than his master.’ Duan Yu let out an ‘Um’ sound. A’Zhu continued: ‘I wonder who released the narcotic drug? That Western Xia general kept saying that there was an infiltrator. I think it was probably Western Xia men themselves who did that.’
Duan Yu suddenly recalled a person and said: ‘Could it be Li Yanzong, the Western Xia warrior we met in the mill?’ A’Zhu had never seen Li Yanzong therefore she was unable to reply. She only said: ‘Let’s go and talk to Miss Wang, asking her to consider it in detail.’
While they were going, they heard hoofbeats. On the main road a person was galloping towards them. From afar Duan Yu saw that it was no one other than Qiao Feng. He happily said: ‘He’s big brother Qiao!’ When he was about to call out, A’Zhu hastily pulled his sleeve and said: ‘Don’t shout. The real person has arrived!’ then turned her body away. Duan Yu immediately understood: ‘A’Zhu is disguising as big brother Qiao, it wouldn’t be very nice if she’s seen by him.’ Before long, Qiao Feng had already come close. Duan Yu did not dare to face him directly and thought: ‘When big brother Qiao meets the brave men of the Beggar Society, the truth will immediately come out. I wonder if he will blame A’Zhu for playing a trick like this or not.’
After saving A’Zhu and A’Bi, Qiao Feng had known that the Beggar Society’s brothers had been captured by Western Xia men. Feeling very anxious, he had been searched for them all over the place. But unlike in the North where there were only roads, in Jiangnan, there were paddy fields and mulberry groves everywhere, and waterways and land routes also intersected each other. Qiao Feng had searched for a very long time, and with great difficulty he had run into the two little Buddhist novices of Tianning Temple. He had asked them clearly about the direction, only then had he rushed for Tianning Temple. When he saw the vigorous expression and the handsome appearance of Duan Yu he thought: ‘This young nobleman and my brother Duan Yu look equally bright.’ As A’Zhu had already turned her body away he did not pay attention to her. Worrying about the Beggar Society’s brothers, he spurred the horse on to full speed and swept past them.
When he arrived at Tianning Temple, he saw more than ten disciples of the Beggar Society binding the Western Xia warriors and leading them out from the inside of the temple. Qiao Feng was very happy and thought: ‘So the Beggar Society’s brothers have turned the losing situation around and won instead.’
Seeing that Qiao Feng had gone then returned, the beggars one after another moved forwards to welcome him and said: ‘Chief, how to deal with these barbarians? Please give us instructions.’ Qiao Feng said: ‘I’m already no longer a member of the Beggar Society, don’t mention the word ‘Chief’ again. Was anyone injured?’
After the people like Elder Xu were informed, they all quickly ran out to welcome him. When they saw Qiao Feng, their faces either had an ashamed expression or lit up with happiness. Elder Song said loudly: ‘Chief, yesterday in the apricot forest, our Society’s spy in Western Xia sent back an urgent piece of military information. Elder Xu himself decided not to let you see, do you know what it was? Elder Xu, quickly take it out for Chief to see.’ His words sounded rather rude.
With an ashamed look on his face, Elder Xu took out a small paper ball that originally had been concealed in a wax ball and sighed: ‘I was wrong.’ Then he held it out to Qiao Feng.
Qiao Feng shook his head and did not receive it. Elder Song forced his way forwards, grabbed and opened that thin crinkled paper then read loudly:
‘Report to Chief: Subordinate has found out that General He Lian Tie Shu of Western Xia has led the experts of First-class Hall to the Central Plains to deal with our Society. They have a dangerous type of poisonous gas. When released it totally odorless and make people involuntarily unable to move. When we meet them, make sure we plug up our nostrils first, or defeat their leader first to snatch the awfully stinking antidote. Otherwise it’d be extremely unsafe. Urgent! Urgent! Subordinate Yi Dabiao of the Great Faith branch urgently reports.’
As Elder Song finished reading, he and such people as Elder Wu and Elder Xi glowered at Elder Xu simultaneously. Bai Shijing said: ‘This urgent report by Brother Yi Dabiao arrived in time. Too bad we didn’t open and read it in time. Fortunately all brothers only suffered a terror and no one was injured. Chief, we all apologize. Alas, really, needless to say, you’re very noble and righteous.’
Elder Wu said: ‘Chief, when you just left, everyone was instantly caught in this situation. If you and Mr Murong hadn’t come and rescued us in time, the whole Beggar Society would’ve been wiped out. If you don’t return to take charge of important matters and to be our Chief, that won’t work.’ Qiao Feng said in surprise: ‘What Mr Murong?’ Elder Wu said: ‘People like Quan Guanqing talk nonsense, please don’t listen to him. What’s wrong with making friends? I believe that you and Mr Murong have only known each other since today.’ Qiao Feng said: ‘Mr Murong? Do you mean Murong Fu? I’ve never seen him.’
Elder Xu and the four Elders Song, Xi, Chen and Wu looked blankly at each other. All of them were nonplussed and thought: ‘Just a moment ago you and Mr Murong hand in hand came in and detoxified everyone. Why at this moment do you suddenly say you don’t know Mr Murong?’ After thinking for a short while Elder Xi suddenly understood and said: ‘Ah, that’s right, just now that young master claimed that his compound surname was Murong, but he didn’t say that he was Murong Fu at all. There’re countless people with the compound surname ‘Murong’ in the world, what’s so strange about that?’ Elder Chen said: ‘But he himself wrote ‘Paying Him Back, Using His Own Methods’ on the wall. If he wasn’t Murong Fu then who was he?’
All of a sudden there was a strange voice: ‘That bratty young master could use all kinds of martial arts, moreover his skills were even better than those of the original owners, how come he wasn’t Murong Fu? Of course it was him! It was definitely him!’ Everyone looked at the speaker and saw that he had eyes which looked like those of a rat, a short beard and a sallow face. He was South Sea Divine Alligator. After being poisoned he had been tied up, but he could not help interrupting and putting in his opinion.
Qiao Feng asked in surprise: ‘So Murong Fu came here?’ South Sea Divine Alligator said furiously: ‘You're talking your mother's stinking farts! Just now you and Murong Fu came here hand in hand then played some goddamn stealthy trick, using anesthetic to make your father go numb. You quickly let me go, otherwise, humph! Humph humph…’ He uttered several ‘humph humph’ sounds in succession, but as for what would happen ‘otherwise’, he could not say it. After pondering, he merely uttered ‘humph humph’ sounds.
Qiao Feng said: ‘I see that you’re also an expert in wulin, why are you talking nonsense like this? When did I ever come here? Stuff like I and Murong Fu came here hand in hand is extremely ridiculous.’
South Sea Divine Alligator gasped with anger and shouted: ‘Qiao Feng, fvck you Qiao Feng. What a shame that despite being a Chief of the Beggar Society you dare to tell this brazen lie! My big and little fellows, Qiao Feng came here just now, didn’t him? Didn’t our General invite him to sit at the top and to drink tea?’ The Western Xia people all said: ‘Yes, Murong Fu performed the ‘Wave Treading Exquisite Steps’, Qiao Feng stood on a side and applauded, how come this was fake?’
Elder Wu pulled Qiao Feng’s sleeve and said in a low voice: ‘Chief, straightforward men don’t do sneaky things. What happened just now can’t be denied.’ Qiao Feng forced a smile and said: ‘Fourth brother Wu, don’t tell me that just a moment ago you also saw me coming here?’ Elder Wu passed the small porcelain bottle containing the antidote to him and said: ‘Chief, I return the bottle to you, maybe it’ll still be useful in the future.’ Qiao Feng said: ‘Return to me? Why return it to me?’ Elder Wu said: ‘You gave me this antidote just a moment ago, have you forgotten?’ Qiao Feng said: ‘What? Fourth brother Wu, you really saw me just now?’ Seeing him continuously denying, Elder Wu felt both unhappy and uneasy.
Even though Qiao Feng was smart and capable, how could he guess that someone had disguised as himself and just a short while ago had come to Tianning Temple and rescued everybody? He thought that there was certainly an important conspiracy concealed in this matter. As straightforward people, both Elder Wu and Elder Song definitely could not do anything that was despicable, but the schemer who had been toying with him had dangerous plots. They could have set things up appropriately to make his own conduct and deeds appeared to be absurd and wicked in all respects in everyone’s eyes.
Being saved by him, at first everyone in the Beggar Society had felt grateful for that, but now hearing him absolutely deny doing so, they were greatly amazed. Some people thought that for the past several days he had encountered a lot of unforeseen events, as a result his mind was in confusion; some thought that he had really made use of Murong Fu and killed Ma Dayuan, now fearing his evil scheme would be exposed, he bluntly insistently denied that he knew that man with the Murong surname; some thought that he had been conspiring to be the Chief of the Beggar Society again and was setting up some stratagem; there were even more people resolutely believing that he was exerting himself for Khitan by both opposing Western Xia and causing trouble to Great Song. Everyone had a different guess therefore there were all kinds of expressions on the faces of the beggars such as sorry, respectful, grieved, scornful and hostile.
Qiao Feng let out a deep sigh and said: ‘Everybody has escaped from dangers so Qiao Feng is leaving now.’ As he finished saying he cupped his fist in his hand, turned around and got on the horse. Raising the whip, he galloped away.
Suddenly he heard Elder Xu shout: ‘Qiao Feng, leave the Dog Beating Stick behind.’ Qiao Feng abruptly reined the horse and said: ‘The Dog Beating Stick? In the apricot forest didn’t I already hand it over?’ Elder Xu said: ‘We slipped up and was captured so the Dog Beating Stick fell into the hands of the Western Xia bastards. Now we have ransacked everywhere but still can’t find it. Most prolly you’ve taken it.’
Qiao Feng turned his face skywards and let out a stream of laughs, which sounded sorrowful and disappointed, then said loudly: ‘I, Qiao Feng, and the Beggar Society no longer have any connection with each other, what do I take the Dog Beating Stick for? Elder Xu, you’ve overly undervalued me.’ He gave the horse a nip with his legs. It immediately galloped towards the north with its four hooves looking like flying.
When Qiao Feng had been a child he had been loved and raised by his parents. Later, he had been taught martial arts by a Shaolin monk Xuan Ku dashi (dashi = great monk, an honorific title for monks), then he had acknowledged Chief Wang of the Beggar Society as his master. When going in jianghu, even though he had experienced a lot of hardships and dangers, his masters and friends had invariably treated him with genuine sincerity. But for the past two days, a storm had suddenly taken place in the world. A Chief who had all along been renowned, illustrious, sincere, benevolent and righteous was unexpectedly regarded as a traitor to the country who harmed the people, and as a shameless untrustworthy scoundrel. He let the horse go aimlessly as it pleased. His mind was extremely confused: ‘If I’m really a Khitan, for the past ten years I’ve killed not just a few Khitan people and ruined not just a few Khitan schemes, how come I’m not a greatly disloyal man? If my parents were really killed by Han people outside of Yanmen Pass, as I’ve regarded the murder of my parents as master and for the past thirty years called other people father and mother, how come I’m not a greatly unfilial son? Qiao Feng ah Qiao Feng, you’re this disloyal and unfilial, how do you dare to live in the world? If Sir Sanhuai isn’t my father then I’m certainly not Qiao Feng either? What’s my surname? What’s the first name that my natural father gave me? Ha-ha, not only am I disloyal and unfilial, but I also don’t have first name and surname.’
He also had another thought: ‘However, maybe all of these are due to a very treacherous arch-villain framing me. I, Qiao Feng, am confidently a dazhangfu (t/n: basically means a man of resolve or success), but I’ve been manipulated by others to the point that my reputation has totally been lost and can’t be redeemed. If I packed up and left my responsibilities at this point because of the temporary indignation and from now on became indifferent to the Beggar Society, wouldn’t that make the villain’s scheme successful? Hum, all in all, I must investigate and make things clear.’
In his mind he planned, the first step was returning to Mt Shaoshi in Henan and asking Sir Sanhuai about my own life and origin, the second step would be entering Shaolin Monastery, visiting my first martial arts enshi (kind master) Xuan Ku dashi and begging him to reveal the truth, these two people had always cherished me very much so they definitely would not hold back anything.
After planning like that he did not feel worried anymore. In the past, as the Chief of the Beggar Society, he had been able to consider the whole country his home when travelling in jianghu. Now, not only could he not go to the branches everywhere for accommodation, in order to avoid causing troubles, wherever he went he did not use roads so that he would not meet former subordinates in the Beggar Society. After going for just two days, the money on his body had been used up therefore he had to sell the horse that he had seized from the Western Xia people for travelling expenses.
One day, he arrived at the foot of Mt Song then went towards Mt Shaoshi. This was the place where he had been staying during his boyhood therefore he was already familiar with the scenery everywhere. Because the Beggar Society was the biggest society in jianghu and Shaolin School was the biggest school in wulin, if the Beggar Society’s Chief came to Shaolin, this would bring about all kinds of formalities and extravagances and disturb a great deal of people. Hence ever since he had taken up the post of the Beggar Society’s Chief, he had never returned here. Every year he had only sent people to respectfully give his parents and enshi food and clothing, and to inquire after them. At this moment, when he was returning to his old land, thinking that his own origin was very enigmatic and that in two or four hours it would be made clear, even though he was a calm and stable man, he could not refrain from getting anxious.
His old home was located beside a mountain slope on the south side of Mt Shaoshi. Qiao Feng quickly went around the mountain slope. He only saw that there were a straw hat and a teapot put under the big jujube tree beside the vegetable garden. The handle of the teapot had already been broken. Qiao Feng knew that it belonged to his father Qiao Sanhuai. He suddenly felt a burst of warm thoughts in his heart: ‘Dad is diligent and thrifty, this broken teapot has been used for several decades but he’s still unwilling to throw it away.’
As he looked at the big jujube tree he also recalled that in his childhood every time jujubes had been ripe father had always held his small hand then knocked jujubes from the tree together with him. The red ripe jujubes had been so plump that their skin had been cracked. They had been both sweet and juicy. Ever since he had left his old land, he had never tasted such delicious jujubes again. Qiao Feng thought: ‘Even if they aren’t my real parents, in this life, it’s hard for me to repay this kindness of nurturing. No matter what my real origin is, I definitely won’t change what I’ve addressed them as.’
He went to and stopped before the three-room earthen house, only seeing a bamboo mat on which there were full of vegetables spread for sunning outside of it and a mother hen which was leading a flock of chicks pecking food in the grass. He could not help beaming: ‘Tonight mom will surely kill chicken and prepare a meal to treat the son that she hasn’t seen for a long time.’ He called out: ‘Dad! Mom! This son has returned.’
He called a few times but did not hear any reply. He thought: ‘Ah, that’s right, the two oldsters’ ears have been deaf and can’t hear.’ He pushed the door open and strode into the house. Inside the main room, such things as wooden table, wooden bench, plow, harrow and hoe did not look very different than they had been when he had left home, but he saw no one.
Qiao Feng called several more times: ‘Dad! Mom!’, but still, he did not hear any reply. He felt a bit surprised and talked to himself: ‘Where have they gone?’ When he stuck his head in the bedroom, he could not help jumping out of his skin because he saw Qiao Sanhuai and his wife lying motionlessly on the ground.
Qiao Feng hurriedly jumped into the room. First he helped his mother sit up only to find that her breathing had already stopped, but her body was still a little bit warm, obviously she had been dead for less than two hours. Next, when he carried his father, he noticed the same things. Being both panicky and grieved, Qiao Feng carried the corpse of his father and ran out of the house. After examining it carefully in the sunshine, he discovered that all the ribs in his chest had been broken. It was clear that he had been stricken dead by the palm force of a martial arts expert. He looked at the corpse of his mother again and found that she had died in the same way. Qiao Feng was confused: ‘My dad and mom are faithful generous honest peasants. Why could some martial arts expert use such a cruel means to murder them? Certainly it was because of me.’
He examined carefully the three rooms inside the house, as well as the area in front of it, the area behind it, and the roof to know what kind of man the murderer was. But the murderer did not leave behind even a single footprint. Qiao Feng’s face was covered with tears. The more he thought, the sadder he became. He could not help bursting out crying.
When he had cried for just a short while, suddenly he heard someone say at his back: ‘What a pity, what a pity. We’ve come late by a step.’ Qiao Feng immediately turned around and saw four middle-aged monks dressed in clothes of Shaolin Monastery. Even though Qiao Feng had learned martial arts of Shaolin School, Xuan Ku dashi, the person who had taught him martial arts, had come to his house directly every night to teach him, therefore he did not know any monk of Shaolin Monastery. Now he was feeling miserable, hence even though he had seen the strangers, for the moment it was hard for him to hold back his tears.
A rather tall monk with a completely furious look loudly said: ‘Qiao Feng, you’re really lower than pigs and dogs. Even if Qiao Sanhuai and his wife aren’t your real parents, the kindness of bringing you up for more than ten years is no trivial matter. How could you have the heart to murder them?’ Qiao Feng sobbed: ‘I returned home just a moment ago. Seeing that my parents have been murdered I only wanna find out who the killer is to revenge my parents. Dashi, how could you say so?’ That monk said furiously: ‘The cruel heart of Khitan people is hard to change. You’ve really acted like an animal! You killed your foster parents with your own hands, what a pity we came to help too late. Surnamed Qiao, if you wanna go to Mt Shaoshi to act wildly, you’re still this far short of that.’ As he finished saying, he threw a palm attack towards Qiao Feng’s chest, creating a ‘hu’ sound.
When Qiao Feng was about to dodge, he heard the sound of wind gently moving at his back. He knew that someone was launching a sneak attack at the back. Unwilling to fight these Shaolin monks without clear reasons like this, he made a pressing with his left foot and gently leaped out for one zhang (3.333 m). As expected, a kick of another Shaolin monk missed him and hit the air.
Seeing that he had dodged so easily like this, the four Shaolin monks all had an astonished look on their faces. That tall and big monk scolded: ‘Your martial arts are good. So what? You think that having killed your foster parents you can hide your origin? Too bad you’re a descendant of the evil Khitan race. This has spread in wulin for a long time. Who in jianghu doesn’t know about it? Committing this severe betrayal, you’ve only increased the amount of your sins.’ Another monk scolded: ‘First you killed Ma Dayuan, next you killed Qiao Sanhuai and his wife, humph humph, how can these scandals be hidden?’
Even though Qiao Feng heard the two monks revile him so, he was only grieved and did not have the slightest feeling of anger. All his life he had faced important matters, decided important doubtful cases and met not just a few difficult affairs, therefore at this moment he was very capable of repressing his anger. He cupped his fist in his hand in salute and said: ‘May I ask, what are the religious names of the four dashi’s’? Are you eminent monks of Shaolin Monastery?’
A monk with a medium height who had the most pleasant temperament said: ‘We all are Shaolin disciples. Alas, your foster father and mother were faithful and generous all their lives, but they ended up being repaid this miserably. Qiao Feng, you Khitan people have acted too savagely.’
Qiao Feng thought: ‘They’re already unwilling to reveal their religious names. It’s no use asking them more. That tall monk said they had come to help too late so they must have come here to help after receiving a message. But who secretly let them know? Who predicted that my parents were going to encounter dangers?’ He then said: ‘The four of you are charitable and descended from the mountain to save my parents. What a pity you were a tad late…’
That tall monk had a fiery temper. He raised the fist which was as big as an alms bowl (t/n: rice bowls that monks used in old times) and threw a punch at Qiao Feng, making a ‘hu’ sound. He shouted loudly: ‘We let you commit this unfilial thing only because we were a tad late, yet you’re still showing your complacency and saying mocking words?’
Qiao Feng knew obviously that the four of them had good intentions because they had immediately come to save his own parents after receiving the message. Hence he was unwilling to fight them, but if he did not subdue them, he would not ever be able to make the truth become clear. He said: ‘I appreciate the kindness of the four of you. Today I have no choice but to offend you!’ As he finished saying he turned around like the wind and stretched his hand to attack the shoulder of the third monk. That monk shouted: ‘You really wanna fight?’ When this sentence was still unfinished, his shoulder had already been hit by Qiao Feng. His body immediately became weak. He flopped down on the ground.
Qiao Feng had learned martial arts of Shaolin School therefore he was totally familiar with the martial arts stances of the four monks. He continuously used palm attacks to knock them down one by one and said: ‘Sorry for offending! May I ask the four masters, you said that you had come to help too late, how did you know that my parents were gonna suffer misfortune? Who informed you four masters of this information?’
That tall monk said furiously: ‘You only wanna know about the informer to go murder him. How can Shaolin disciples yield to the oppressive interrogation of you lowly Khitan dog? Even if you use cruel torture, don’t imagine that you’ll be able to wring half a word outta my mouth.’
Qiao Feng thought: ‘The misunderstanding has become deeper and deeper. No matter what I’ll ask them about, they’ll all think that I’ll be interrogating them.’ He stretched out his hand and gave each of them a few rubs on the back, releasing the blocked acupuncture points of the four monks, and said: ‘If I wanna kill witnesses, at this moment I would’ve taken the lives of the four of you. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? What’s the truth? I always hope there’ll be a day when everything will come to light.’
Suddenly, he heard a man sneer and say beside the mountain slope: ‘Wanna kill witnesses? That wouldn’t have necessarily been so easy!’
Qiao Feng raised his head and saw more than ten Shaolin monks standing next to the mountain slope, holding weapons in their hands. The two leading monks both were about fifty years old. Each of them was holding a convenient shovel (fang bian chan - 方便铲) whose one head was a crescent blade made of refined steel which radiated a gloomy blue cold light. Those two monks had shining eyes which looked like shooting at other people. At first sight, it could be known that their internal energies were very profound. Even though Qiao Feng did not fear them, he knew the martial arts of the people who had just arrived were not bad and if he had to fight them, unless he killed and wounded some people, it would be difficult to retreat unharmed. He cupped his fist in his hand and said: ‘Qiao Feng has to be rude. Dashi’s, I beg for your forgiveness.’ Suddenly his body flew backwards. His back hit and broke the door. He entered the earthen house.
This incident happened extremely fast. All the monks exclaimed in unison. Five or six people rushed forwards at the same time but when they just reached the edge of the door, a stream of internal energy was shot out from the inside. These five or six people raised their left palms and hastily used their internal energies to resist. A loud ‘peng’ sound was heard. Dust flew upwards. All of them were forced to take four or five steps back by the power of the palm attack sent out from the inside. After standing stably, they all felt their blood and internal energies tumbling up and down in their chests. They looked at each other blankly and in their heart they totally understood: ‘Though this palm attack of Qiao Feng’s was ferocious, he still has spare power. If he sends out the second palm attack, I may not be able to ward it off.’ They all firmly believed that he was extremely ruthless and malicious, and hence they only thought that he was gathering up his power to strike again, but they could never have expected that he had actually showed mercy with that palm attack and had not wanted to harm other people.
(To be continued)
A good news for everyone: no bloody DY and WYY for the next 15 chapters!
Last edited by forgot password; 01-22-11 at 12:05 AM.
Great FP! seems we got real fights now. Though I miss reading 6msj in action, even though it is wielded by Duan Yu the incompetent.
For Buddhist monks, these people are very attached.
Also, isn't MRF spose to be illiterate? Who wrote that stuff on the wall? Wouldn't A'Zhu find it inconsistent if there was writing on the wall attributed to MRF?
Oh, I remember reading somewhere that it was mentioned MRF refused to learn the written language because it wasn't his native Yan. Maybe I misunderstood.
Chapter 18. cont.
The monks collected power and put on their guards. After a long while, the two leading monks lifted their convenient shovels and executed the ‘Two Dragons Entering the Cave’ stance simultaneously. The movement of the shovels produced powerful winds. Along with the shovels, the two monks entered the earthen house side by side. Clang clang clang, the two shovels clashed, creating a glittering net to protect their bodies. But they saw that the inside of the house was empty. Where was Qiao Feng? Even stranger was that the corpses of Qiao Sanhuai and his wife had also disappeared without a trace.
The two monks who used convenient shovels were the ‘Precept Maintaining monk’ and the ‘Rule Protecting monk’ of the ‘Institute of Precepts’ of Shaolin Monastery whose duty was supervising the conduct of the disciples of their school. They normally traveled in jianghu to examine the achievements and mistakes of the disciples of the school therefore their martial arts were no doubt very good, and they had vast knowledge which could be matched by even fewer people. Seeing that in an instant Qiao Feng had gone in a direction unbeknown to them, the two already knew that it had been extremely hard. But who could have expected that he would be able to take along the the corpses of Qiao Sanhuai and his wife? This was even more unimaginable. All the monks ransacked the areas in front of and behind the house, the head of the earthen bed (t/n: in Northern China, it was common for people to use beds made of clay or brick which were connected to kitchen stoves for warmth) and the kitchen one time. The two monks from the Institute of Precepts then rapidly chased down the mountain, but after chasing for more than twenty li’s (1 li = 0.5 km), there was still no trace of Qiao Feng at all.
No one could have expected Qiao Feng to clasp the corpses of his parents and rush up Mt Shaoshi. He fled to a steep slope which was dense with forest trees and hard for people to reach. After burying his parents, he knelt down and respectfully kowtowed eight times, praying in his mind: ‘Dad, mom, who carried out this murderous scheme and took your lives? I’ll definitely capture the killer, take them to your graves and cut their heart out alive as a sacrifice to you.’
He thought this time returning home he had been late by just a step, thus not being able to meet his parents again, otherwise seeing that he himself had already grown up to be this vigorous and imposing they would have surely been very joyful. Had the three of them been able to meet for one day or half a day, then at least they would have had a short-lived happiness. Thinking to here, he could not help crying without being able to make any noise. Since childhood he had been resilient and wept very little, but today he was extremely grieved and indignant therefore he could not prevent his tears from streaming down.
All of a sudden a thought appeared in his mind. Inwardly, he called: ‘A’yo, no good, perhaps my first enshi (kind master) Xuan Ku dashi (great monk) is gonna meet with serious dangers too.’
He suddenly understood several matters: ‘It really wasn’t by coincidence that the murderer of my parents did the killing within one hour before I returned home like this. He already had premeditated plots. After the killing he immediately told the monks of Shaolin Monastery that I was going up Mt Shaoshi to kill my parents to eliminate witnesses. Those Shaolin monks cherish heroism and righteousness and wholeheartedly wanted to save my parents, but they have bumped into me. In this world there’s still one person who knows my origin, that is, master Xuan Ku. I must beware of that thug laying his murderous hands on him again and framing me for that.’
Thinking that Xuan Ku dashi might be in danger because of himself, he could not help feeling extremely anxious and immediately dashed towards Shaolin Monastery. He knew clearly that the monastery was filled with experts and each of the few elderly monks of the Damo Hall had significant skills, if he himself showed up, the monks would attack together right away and it would not be easy to escape, and hence he only chose unfrequented trails to rush on. Caught on thorns and weeds, his trouser legs became ragged and his calves were dripping with blood, but he had to follow this way. Using these trails to go up the mountain, the distance was increased by a half. Only after running quickly for two hours had he arrived at the back of Shaolin Monastery. At that moment, it was already at dusk. He felt both happy and worried. Feeling happy because in the dark it would be easy to hide, and feeling worried because if the murderer took advantage of the dark to attack sneakily, it would be difficult to detect traces of him.
When traveling in jianghu for the past recent years he had rarely met a match, but he had never met an enemy who undoubtedly had excellent martial arts, elaborate plans and cruel calculations like this time. Even though Shaolin Monastery was an extremely dangerous place, they did not guard against someone going to the monastery to attack Xuan Ku dashi, therefore if someone launched a surprise attack, it would be hard to escape their sneaky scheme. How come Qiao Feng did not know that he himself was being under very serious suspicion? If at this moment Xuan Ku dashi had been murdered without anyone seeing the appearance of the killer and he himself was seen sneakily entering the monastery then even with one hundred mouths he would not be able to explain it away. If at this moment he only cared about himself and disregarded other people, the farther he got away from Shaolin the better it would be for him. But firstly, he thought about the safety of enshi Xuan Ku dashi, and secondly, he wanted to seize the opportunity to catch the real muderer and take revenge for the deaths of his parents, hence he did not pay attention to great risks and dangers.
He had lived at Mt Shaoshi for more than ten years, but he had never entered Shaolin Monastery, therefore he did not know anything about the directions, halls and institutes inside the monastery, and certainly he did not know where Xuan Ku dashi lived. He thought: ‘I only hope enshi is totally safe. Upon seeing him I’ll report the course of events to him and beg laorenjia (老人家 - polite term to address old people) to take care, after that I’ll ask about my origin, maybe enshi would be able to guess who the real murderer is.’
There were far more than several tens of halls and compounds in Shaolin Monastery which were located scattered on mountain slopes from the east to the west. Xuan Ku dashi did not hold any position in the monastery and there were at least more than twenty monks with the generation name ‘Xuan’ who wore similar clothes to each other, where to find him in the dark? Qiao Feng secretly planned: ‘The only way is catching a Shaolin monk then forcing him to take me to see Xuan Ku dashi. After that, I’ll explain that I had no choice and seriously apologize to him. But Shaolin monks generally respect their masters and treasure righteousness, if he thinks that I wanna harm Xuan Ku dashi, probably he’d rather die than submit and definitely be unwilling to reveal his whereabouts. Hum, I might as well find a cook and ask him to lead me, but these people may not know the place of my master.’
For the moment he hesitated and had no plan. Every time he passed by a hall or a wing-room he stooped down beside a window to listen, hoping that he would be able to have a clue. Even though he was tall and big in stature, his movements were quick, leaping up and drooping down like a lynx without being noticed by anyone.
He kept going and listening like this. When he reached the side of a small house, suddenly he heard someone say inside: ‘Abbot has important matters to discuss, shishu (apprentice uncle who is younger than one’s master) please go to the ‘Institute of Faith Attestation’ immediately.’ Another aged voice said: ‘Yes! I’m going right now.’ Qiao Feng thought: ‘Abbot’s gathering people to discuss important matters, maybe my master will go as well. I’d better follow these people to the ‘Institute of Faith Attestation’.’ A ‘ya’ sound was heard, the door was pushed open and two monks came out, the aged one going westwards, and the junior one hurriedly going eastwards, perhaps he was going to notify other people.
...To be continued...
Only a short quickie this time. But I'll try to post a longer update this weekend.
@SkyWalker and Banh Mi:
In chapter 12, WYY said that MRF refused to learn the Han language and read books written in this language. He might not be able to read classic texts like the Analects of Confucius, the Book of Changes, etc. but it's highly improbable that he was completely illiterate b/c after all his clan had been residing in Jiangnan for several hundred years, and without any knowledge of the Han language, it'd be quite impossible for him to learn martial arts as well.
Last edited by forgot password; 11-11-10 at 08:41 PM.
If I am not mistaken, MRF illiteracy is the reason why he needs WYY to read those martial arts manual for him. I could be wrong though, I don't remember it very clearly anymore.
It is possible that he does know some Han characters. Not enough to read the martial arts manual for himself, but enough to make some writing on the wall.
likely since the murong clan is from Korean region, their books are written in the language of that region. saying he did not want to learn han language is not the same as saying he did not at all. he was espousing his liking for his native culture over han culture. since he's trying to establish his nation. he needs to be aware of his surronding nations as well and learning their language is part of it.
THE KYSS OF THE SWORD IS DEADLY BUT EXQUSITE
he's the strongest in history but he's the disciple.
Chapter 18. cont.
Qiao Feng thought because the Abbot had invited this elderly monk to go discuss important matters, the rank or status of this person had to be high, and because Shaolin Monastery was different than other cloisters, it was certain that all the people with high ranks or status here also possessed profound martial arts. Not daring to follow closely behind the monk, Qiao Feng only looked at his back and followed him from a distance. He saw him go straight toward the west and walk into a westernmost house. Qiao Feng waited until the monk had entered the house, only then did he go around to the back of it. After listening out and knowing clearly that there was no one around, he bent down beside a window.
He felt both grieved and indignant, thinking to himself: ‘Since I started to travel in jianghu, when treating fellow orthodox people in wulin, has there ever been even a single matter in which I wasn’t straightforward and didn’t have superiority? Yet today I’ve been forced to be this sneaky. If by any chance I’m discovered, though I’ve always have an illustrious name, where will I be able to hide my face then?’ But he immediately had another thought: ‘In those years, master went down from the mountain every night to teach me martial arts, even if there were strong winds and heavy rain, he never skipped a night. I must repay such a serious kindness even if my body would be ground to dust, much less this tiny humiliation.’
He heard footsteps outside the house then four people successively came in. Before long, two other people came in. Their shadows fell on the paper of the window. There were more than ten people gathering in total. Qiao Feng thought: ‘If they discuss important secret matters of Shaolin and are overheard by me, then even if it’s unintentional, it’d still be improper. I’d better get away from this place. If master is inside the house, there’re lots of experts here like this, no matter how dangerous the murderer is they’d not be able to harm him. After the monks finish discussing and disperse I’ll think of a way to meet master.’
When he was about to go away quietly, he heard more than ten monks inside the house start to chant at the same time. Qiao Feng did not know what Buddhist sutra they were chanting, but he felt their voices were stately and solemn, and the chanting tones of some people also had an air of considerable sorrow and distress. This passage of sutra kept being chanted for a very long time. He gradually felt uneasy and thought: ‘It seems they’re performing some kind of Buddhist memorial service, or meditating or studying sutras, perhaps my master isn’t here.’ He tilted his ear to listen carefully, and as expected, he did not hear the composed thick voice of Xuan Ku dashi in the chorus of the monks chanting sutra.
When he still could not decide whether or not he should wait for a while, the sound of chanting stopped and a dignified voice was heard: ‘Xuan Ku shidi (younger apprentice brother), would you still like to say something?’ Qiao Feng was very happy: ‘Master really is here, laorenjia (term to call old people politely) is safe and sound too. So, just now he didn’t chant sutra together with other people.’
A person started to say in a deep and powerful voice. Hearing the voice, Qiao Feng knew that he was no one other than his first master Xuan Ku dashi, who said: ‘The day xiaodi (I, this little brother) was initiated into monkhood, my late master named me Xuan Ku. The seven sufferings (Ku) that the Buddha mentioned are birth, aging, illness, death, contact with the hated ones, separation from the loved ones, and frustrated desires. Xiaodi has made great efforts to escape from these seven sufferings, but I could only assist myself, and not other people. I feel ashamed of this. The suffering of contact with the hated ones is a state that the human life is bound to have. I deserve to get this retribution for the causes I sowed before. Shixiong’s (older apprentice brother) and shidi’s, seeing me repay my former karma like this, you should feel happy for me.’ Qiao Feng noticed that his voice was calm, but what he said was the language of Buddhism, therefore he himself did not understand what he meant.
That dignified voice continued: ‘Xuan Bei shidi lost his life at the hands of a villain several months ago. Having been chasing down the murderer with all our power, we seem to have violated the precept of not being angry. But taming demon and punishing villain are deeds that help the people everywhere. As martial arts learners, our real intentions are spreading Buddhist teachings and following the infinitely compassionate merciful heart of the Buddha to free all living creatures from sufferings…’ Qiao Feng thought: ‘The person with the dignified voice is most prolly the Abbot of Shaolin Monastery Xuan Ci dashi.’ He heard him continue: ‘… Eliminating a villain is equal to saving countless people. Shidi, is that person Murong of Gusu?’
Qiao Feng thought: ‘This matter involves the Murong clan of Gusu again. I’ve heard that Xuan Bei dashi of Shaolin School was sneakily killed in Dali. Could it be that they're suspecting Mr Murong of committing the murder?’
He heard Xuan Ku Dashi say: ‘Abbot Shixiong, xiaodi is unwilling to make you and other shixiong’s and shidi’s worry about me because that would increase the retribution for my sins. If that person can put down the butcher knife, naturally it won’t be too late for him to repent of his sins and find a way out. But if he persists in his wrongdoings, alas, he’ll only make himself suffer for nothing. There’s also no need to talk about how that person looks like.’
Abbot Xuan Ci dashi said: ‘That’s right! Shidi has great understanding and wise opinions. Being an overly intolerant shixiong, my level has fallen behind to some extent.’ Xuan Ku said: ‘Xiaodi wants to meditate for a while to ruminate and repent.’ Xuan Ci said: ‘Alright! You take good care.’
A ‘ya’ sound of the door opening was heard. A tall and skinny elderly monk slowly walked out first. After he had gone out for one zhang (3.333 m), there were seventeen other monks in total continuously following behind him. All of the eighteen monks were having their palms put together and their heads lowered in meditation, looking stately.
After the monks had gone far away, the inside of the house was totally quiet. Intimidated by the situation around, for the moment Qiao Feng did not dare to appear to knock the door. Suddenly he heard Xuan Ku Dashi say: ‘Good visitor coming from afar, why are you hesitant about entering?’
Qiao Feng was frightened and thought: ‘I’ve been holding my breath, even if other people were very close to me, they wouldn’t necessarily be able to notice that I’ve been hiding here. To have such hearing, master’s internal energy cultivation is really outstanding.’ Without delay he respectfully walked to the door and said: ‘How are you, master? Disciple Qiao Feng pays his respects to you.’
Xuan Ku softly uttered an ‘Ah’ sound and said: ‘Feng’er? I’m thinking about you and only hoping that I can meet you one time. Quickly come in.’ His voice was filled with happiness.
Qiao Feng was very happy. He hurriedly came in then immediately knelt down, kowtowed and said: ‘Master, normally I’ve rarely been at your service, making you miss me a lot. Seeing that you are healthy, this child is extremely happy.’ As he finished saying, he raised his head and looked at Xuan Ku.
Xuan Ku dashi at first was having a smiling expression on his face. When he saw Qiao Feng’s face in the light of the oil lamp, all of a sudden his expression changed greatly. He stood up and said in a trembling voice: ‘You… You… so it was you. So you’re Qiao Feng. I… I developed such a good disciple with my own hands?’ But his facial expression was both horrified and painful, and was also mixed with deep pity and regret.
Seeing that in the blink of an eye his master was already having a very strange expression, Qiao Feng was extremely astonished. He said: ‘Master, I’m Qiao Feng.’
Xuan Ku dashi said: ‘Good, good, good!’ After uttering the three ‘Good’ words continuously, he did not say anything else.
Qiao Feng did not dare to ask more and quietly waited to see if he had something to teach or instruct. He waited for a good while, but Xuan Ku dashi remained silent all along. Qiao Feng looked at his master’s face again, only seeing that his facial muscles were stiff and motionless, and his expression was exactly the same as it had been a moment ago. He could not refrain from jumping up in fright. When Qiao Feng reached out his hand to touch his master’s palm, he felt that it was rather cold. He hastily checked his master’s breathing, but it turned out to have already stopped for quite a while. This made Qiao Feng so frightened that he was dumbstruck. His mind was in chaos: ‘As soon as master saw me he was frightened to death like this? Definitely improbable, what’s so frightful about me? Prolly he was already injured.’ But he did not dare to inspect his master’s body.
After regaining composure, he decided in his mind: ‘If I quietly left at this moment, how could it be considered the action of a tough brave man like Qiao Feng? Even if today’s incidents are extremely dangerous, I should investigate and clear up everything.’ He walked out of the house and shouted loudly and clearly: ‘Abbot Dashi, Xuan Ku dashi has passed away. Xuan Ku dashi has passed away.’ The sound of these two sentences went very far and echoed through the valley. Hence the entire monastery could hear them. Even though the shouting voice was powerful, it was extremely sad.
Abbot Xuan Ci and the other people had not got back to their respective rooms yet. Suddenly hearing the shouting of Qiao Feng, they turned around at the same time and quickly came back to the ‘Institute of Faith Attestation.’ They only saw a tall and big man standing beside the door and wiping tears from his face with his sleeves. All the monks found this strange. Xuan Ci put his palms together and asked: ‘Shizhu (施主 – literally almsgiver/benefactor – a term that Buddhist monks/Taoists call normal people with), who are you?’ Concerned about Xuan Ku’s safety, he rushed into the house without waiting for Qiao Feng to reply. Seeing that Xuan Ku was still standing upright motionlessly without falling, he was even more startled. The other monks came in together. They then lowered their heads and chanted sutra.
Qiao Feng was the last to enter the house. He knelt down and secretly prayed: ‘Master, I came to inform you too late so you were already murdered by someone. The animosity between me and that villain has become deeper by one level. Even if I’d have to go through all difficulties, I’d find this villain and smash them into ten thousand pieces to avenge you, enshi.’
Abbot Xuan Ci had finished chanting sutra. He sized up Qiao Feng and asked: ‘Shizhu, who are you? Are you the person who shouted just now?’
Qiao Feng said: ‘This disciple is Qiao Feng. Seeing that my master had passed away I couldn’t bear the grief so I disturbed Abbot.’
When Xuan Ci heard Qiao Feng’s name, he was frightened and his body trembled. A strange expression appeared on his face. After gazing at Qiao Feng for a long time, he said: ‘Shizhu, you… you… are you the Beggar Society’s… former Chief?’
Hearing he said the five words ‘the Beggar Society’s former Chief’, Qiao Feng thought: ‘Messages in jianghu spread very fast. He already knows that I’m no longer the Beggar Society’s Chief. He must know the reasons why I was expelled from the Beggar Society as well.’ He then said: ‘Yes.’
Xuan Ci said: ‘Shizhu, why do you trespass on our Monastery late at night? How could you see Xuan Ku shidi pass away?’
Qiao Feng was having thousands and thousands of words that he wanted to say but for the moment he did not know what he should say. He had no alternative but to reply: ‘Xuan Ku dashi was the first enshi of this disciple. But what are the injuries that my enshi suffered? And who murdered him?’
With tears welling up in his eyes, Abbot Xuan Ci said: ‘Xuan Ku shidi was taken by surprise by someone. His chest took a serious palm attack. All his ribs were broken and his five internal organs were crushed. He could endure until now only thanks to having profound internal energy. We asked him who the enemy was but he said he didn’t know him. We also asked him how the murderer looked like and how old he was. But he said the suffering of contact with the hated ones was one of the seven sufferings of Buddhists, and meeting the enemy was the opportunity to free himself, so he resolutely didn’t say anything about the appearance of the murderer.’
Qiao Feng suddenly understood: ‘So just now the monks already knew that master had been seriously injured. They chanted sutra to see him off to the Western Pure Land.’ Tears welled up in his eyes. He said: ‘You’re eminent monks so you think of mercy and forget hatred. Being an ordinary man, I’ll catch this murderer and make him suffer the death of thousands of cuts to avenge my master, that’s for sure. Your monastery is strictly guarded, how could that murderer penetrate into here?’
While Xuan Ci was pondering and had not replied, all of a sudden, an elderly monk who was short and small in stature coldly said: ‘When shizhu penetrated into Shaolin, we couldn’t stop or detect you. That murderer of course could also come and go as he pleased, as if entering a deserted place.’
Qiao Feng bent down, cupped his fist in his hand and said: ‘Because the matter was urgent, I didn’t have time to inform and make an appointment at the main entrance. I was being too disrespectful. Masters, I sincerely beg for your forgiveness. Having deep roots in Shaolin School, by no means do I dare to have the slightest intention of looking down on or offending it.’ His last sentence hinted that if Shaolin School lost face, he would also be humiliated as a result. In his mind, he knew that after sneaking in Shaolin’s backyard, only when he himself had shouted had someone been aware of it. If this incident became known about by outsiders, it would really inflict huge damage on Shaolin School’s prestige.
Right at this moment, a little Buddhist novice, who was holding a bowl of steaming hot medicine in both hands, entered the house and said to the corpse of Xuan Ku: ‘Master, please take medicine.’ He was the Buddhist novice who served Xuan Ku. He had just decocted a dose of a medicine that cured injuries effectively called the ‘Nine Changes Rejuvenation Mixture’ at the ‘Institute of Medical King’ and was bringing it to his master for him to take. Because he saw that Xuan Ku was standing upright without falling, he did not know that his master had died. Feeling grieved, Qiao Feng said in a voice choked with emotion: ‘Master has…’
That little Buddhist novice turned his head and looked at him. Suddenly he cried out loudly: ‘It’s you! You’ve… come again!’ A ‘qiang’ sound was heard, the bowl of medicine had been accidentally dropped on the ground. Porcelain fragments and medical liquid flew on all sides. That little Buddhist novice jumped backward two steps, leaned against the wall and squealed: ‘It’s him. It’s him who injured master!’
As soon as he screamed so, everyone, without exception, was very frightened. Qiao Feng was even more terrified. He said loudly: ‘What did you say?’ That little Buddhist novice was only twelve or thirteen years old. Seeing Qiao Feng, he was extremely scared and hid behind Abbot Xuan Ci. He pulled the Abbot’s sleeve and shouted: ‘Abbot, Abbot!’ Xuan Ci said: ‘Qing Song, there’s no need to be scared. Just tell us. You say it’s him who injured master?’ The little Buddhist novice Qing Song said: ‘Yes, when he hit master in the chest using his palm I was watching from the window. Master, Master, why don’t you strike back at him?’ Until this moment, he still did not know that Xuan Ku had died.
Abbot Xuan Ci said: ‘You should watch carefully. Don’t mistake other people for him.’ Qing Song said: ‘I saw very clearly, he was wearing gray clothes made directly of cotton and had a square face, his eyebrows were slanted like this, his mouth and ears were big, it’s exactly him. Master, beat him, beat him.’
Qiao Feng felt a chill run down his spine. He thought: ‘That’s right. The murderer disguised as me to shift the blame onto me. Hearing me return, at first master was extremely joyful, but as soon as he saw my face, seeing me and his murderer look exactly alike, he then said: ‘So it was you. So you’re Qiao Feng. I developed such a good disciple with my own hands.’ Master and I haven’t met for more than ten years. From a child I already became an adult. My appearance wasn’t the same long ago.’ Recalling that Xuan Ku dashi had continuously said three ‘Good’ words before dying, he felt as if a knife was piercing his heart: ‘Master took serious attacks, but he didn’t know who the enemy was. When he saw me, realizing that I and the murderer have similar appearances, he was very sad and died because of grief. Having suffered serious injuries, master was already on the brink of death so certainly he couldn’t think carefully that: if I had really harmed him, why would I come to meet him the second time?’
Suddenly, a hubbub of human voices could be heard then a group of people trotted towards the ‘Institute of Faith Attestation’ before stopping outside it. Two monks bent forward and respectfully came in. They were the Precept Maintaining monk and the Rule Protecting monk who had fought against Qiao Feng at the foot of Mt Shaoshi. When that Precept Maintaining monk had just said: ‘Abbot…’ he saw Qiao Feng. An amazed and angry expression appeared on his face, showing that he did not know when Qiao Feng had come here. The other monks also frowned and fiercely goggled at Qiao Feng with glaring eyes.
With a stately expression, Abbot Xuan Ci slowly said: ‘Shizhu, you no longer belong to the Beggar Society, but you’re a famous figure in wulin. Today arriving at our monastery why did you strike dead Xuan Ku shidi? I hope to be counseled by you about that.’
Qiao Feng let out a deep sigh, knelt and bowed down to the corpse of Xuan Ku and said: ‘Master, at your dying moment you still said that this disciple harmed you so that you died with a grievance. I never dare to offend you, but the villain attacked you only because of me. Even if I died today to apologize to you I really wouldn’t resent it, but from now on the great wrong you suffered may not be avenged. I’ve violated the sanctity of Shaolin, please forgive me, master.’ All of a sudden, two ‘hu-hu’ sounds were heard, he had blown out two long gusts of air. The two oil lamps in the hall were immediately extinguished. In an instant, the hall went pitch dark.
(To be continued)
Short update again, lots of talking, and sorry for being late. I find this part somewhat irritating to translate as it contains some Buddhist terms that I don't really understand. The next several installments would be more interesting.
Last edited by forgot password; 11-18-10 at 09:28 AM. Reason: typos
No matter how you look at it, QF had it bad in this story =(
Thanks for the update FP!
It's only going to get worst from here on for QF.
Did JY wrote SAJH or DGSD first?
it seems that QF have the same rotten luck like LHC.
Chapter 18. cont.
When praying, Qiao Feng had already devised a plan to escape. Right after blowing out the oil lamps, he swung at the Rule Protecting monk with his left palm and hit his back. This palm attack only used Yin soft power therefore it did not injure his internal organs, but it sent his corpulent body flying out, breaking open the door of the hall in the process.
Hearing the sound of wind in the dark, all the monks thought that Qiao Feng was running away through the door. Each of them grasped at the body of the Rule Protecting monk using a grasping hand technique. They all thought the same, not wanting to use severe attacks to kill Qiao Feng, and only wanting to capture him to interrogate more about why he had killed Xuan Ku dashi. These more than ten high-level monks were first-class experts of Shaolin Monastery. First-class experts of Shaolin Monastery were naturally also first-class experts in wulin. The respective grasping hand techniques they used were different from each other, each of which had its own uniqueness. In a short period of time, the best grasping hand techniques of Shaolin School such as the Dragon Capturing technique, the Eagle-Clawed technique, the Tiger Catching technique, the Diamond Finger technique, the Stone Holding Palm technique… all were executed on the body of the Rule Protecting monk. The monks really had excellent martial arts, in the dark they could only hear the sound of wind, yet their stances did not miss even by a hair’s breadth. This time, that Rule Protecting monk tasted all kinds of sufferings. In a very short time, the important acupuncture points on his whole body were hit by various grasping hand techniques, his body was held up in the air and he was unable to talk. Perhaps no one had ever undergone this kind of experience before.
These high-level monks were very experienced therefore their improvisation methods were also remarkable. Some people immediately jumped onto the roof to guard there. And in a short while, the important places in the passages and at the front door and back door of the Institute of Faith Attestation were also occupied by experts. Needless to say, Qiao Feng was a tall and big man. Even if he morphed into a wild cat or a mouse, he would possibly not be able to escape either.
The little Buddhist novice Qing Song used a fire-striking knife and a flint to light the oil lamps in the hall. The monks then immediately discovered that they had wrongly caught the Rule Protecting monk.
The head of the Damo Institute (in an earlier paragraph JY called this building the Damo Hall) Xuan Ku ordered that every monk in the monastery keep watch on his own position and not act chaotically. The monks all thought that even if Qiao Feng had been bolder he would never dare to penetrate into an extremely dangerous place like Shaolin Monastery alone to commit murder, he definitely had strong aid, it was likely that he had other schemes to take advantage of the confusion, and they themselves were not allowed to fall victim to the tactic of luring the tiger out of the mountain.
More than 10 high-level monks in the Institute of Faith Attestation and the monks who were led by the Precept Maintaining monk then searched carefully everywhere in the vicinity of the Institute of Faith Attestation. Almost every stone was turned over, and every thicket was hit with stick. This time, even though the monks were lenient and cherished the lives of all living creatures, many toads, shrews, grasshoppers and ants were still accidentally injured.
After busying themselves for more than 2 hours, the only thing they had not done was digging up the ground, but where could they find Qiao Feng? All the monks constantly clicked their tongues saying that this was strange, and sometimes they unavoidably said a few insulting sentences. Even though the 10 precepts of Buddhism warned against using ‘Evil Words’, they were unable to pay attention to it. Right after that, they moved the corpse of Xuan Ku dashi into the ‘Sarira Institute’ for cremation and carried the Rule Protecting monk to the ‘Institute of Medical King’ to cure the injuries. They were all in very low spirits and rather silent, feeling that this time they had really lost face. Shaolin Monastery was packed with experts, and in terms of martial arts and reputation, each of these more than 10 high-level monks had a resounding name in wulin, yet they had let Qiao Feng, with bare hands and being alone, come and go as he pleased. They could not have even the least idea how he had escaped, much less killing or capturing him.
It turned out that Qiao Feng had anticipated that as soon as an unforeseen event happened, the monks would certainly search everywhere all around, but they would definitely not care about the room in which they had just gathered a moment ago. Therefore, after sending the Rule Protecting monk flying out with a palm attack, he had immediately bent his body and got into the space underneath the bed on which Xuan Ku dashi had usually slept before his death. With his 10 fingers inserted into the bed base, he had been pressing his body close to it. Even though someone had already glanced at the space under the bed, he had not seen him. After the body of Xuan Ku dashi had been moved out, the execution monk shut the door of the Institute of Faith Attestation, hence no one came in anymore.
Lying horizontally underneath the bed, Qiao Feng heard the monks cause a commotion for a long time then the sounds of human voice gradually disappear. He thought: ‘Waiting until dawn, it won’t be easy to escape. If I don’t leave here now, then when should I?’ He then quietly came out from under the bed, gently pushed open the door, jinked and hid behind a tree.
He thought, even though by now the human voices had stopped, how could it be that the high-level monks of Shaolin had given up and loosened their guard at this point? The Institute of Faith Attestation was located at the western extremity of Shaolin Monastery so he only had to go westward to enter a cluster of mountains. As soon as they came out of Shaolin Monastery, the monks would have to spread out, so even if he met them, they would definitely not be able to intercept him. But he did not want to fight Shaolin monks at all and only hoped that someday he would be able to capture the real murderer, take them to the monastery and explain the whole thing. If today he fought and defeated one more monk, he would make another enemy for nothing. If he accidentally wounded or killed someone, the consequence of it would be even more unthinkable. He thought he himself had vanished from the western part of the monastery so the monks would certainly guard the paths in the west most tightly, therefore he should go through the monastery and leave from its eastern part.
He immediately stooped and quietly went under the cover of the trees. After going past four buildings, he hid behind a sacred fig tree. Suddenly he saw two monks waiting in ambush behind a tree right in front of him. Those 2 monks were not moving a bit therefore it was hard to detect them in the dark, but with his sharp eyesight he had seen the flashes of the precept knife (戒刀 – jie dao – a Buddhist’s knife that, according to the precepts of Buddhism, must not be used to harm living creatures) that a monk was holding in his hand. He thought: ‘How dangerous! Had I gone a little bit too fast just now, I would definitely have been spotted.’ He waited behind the tree for a while, but those 2 monks remained motionless all along. This ‘Waiting for windfalls’ method was unexpectedly very dangerous. If he made a move, he would be seen by those 2 monks instantly, but he also could not afford to be locked in a long stalemate and stay motionless all the while.
He slightly considered then picked up a small stone and flicked it out. He used his power very skillfully, making the stone go slowly at first but go fast afterward. When the stone started to fly out, there was no sound at all, but after it had gone for 7 or 8 zhang’s (1 zhang = 3.333m), the sound of the air being pierced through became intense. The stone hit a big tree, making a strange sound. Those 2 monks stooped down and rushed towards that big tree.
Qiao Feng waited until the 2 monks went past him then he jumped up and climbed into a compound at his side. In the moonlight he saw clearly a horizontally inscribed board which read ‘Bodhi Institute’. He knew when those 2 monks saw nothing unusual, they would definitely return, therefore he did not stop and walked fast straight towards the backyard, passed through the front hall of the Bodhi Institute, then leaned his body and entered the rear sanctum.
In the blink of an eye, he saw the shape of a man, who was exceptionally fast, flashing by from behind him. He had rarely seen a lightness skill this fast.
‘What a skill! Who’s this man?’ Startled, Qiao Feng withdrew his palms to protect his body and turned around. He could not help but burst out laughing as what he saw before him was only a man whose one palm was being placed in an obliquely upward position to protect his front, his chest being drawn in and his back being stretched. It turned out that there was a screen placed in front of the Buddha statues in the rear sanctum, and a very big copper mirror was installed on the screen. The mirror had been polished to a high gloss and Qiao Feng’s own image was reflected in it. The copper mirror was engraved with 4 Buddhist metrical lines. As there were several oil lamps in front of the Buddha statues, in the dim light, he could vaguely see them: ‘All the elements that have a form; Are like dreams, illusions, bubbles, shadows; like dew and also like lightning; Like this should they be contemplated.’ [一切有为法，如梦幻泡影，如露亦如电，当作如是观.] (These 4 lines were taken from the Diamond Sutra)
Qiao Feng smiled and turned around. When he was about to take a step, suddenly his mind felt as if being heavily hit by something. He was dumbstruck. He only knew that at this moment he had just thought of an abnormal important matter. But he was confused and could not ascertain what that matter was.
After standing there in a trance for a short while, he unconsciously turned around again and looked at the copper mirror. Seeing his own back, he came to realize all of a sudden: ‘A little while ago I had a view of my own back, where did that happen? I’ve never seen such a big copper mirror, how could I see my own back clearly like this?’ When he was still entranced, suddenly he heard footsteps outside the institute. Some people were walking towards the sanctum.
(to be continued)
That's for today. Very short, but I think it's better to post a short update everyday/every 2 days than to post a long-@ss update every week.
Last edited by forgot password; 11-21-10 at 11:50 PM.