Chapter 30 --- Casually Binding The Hero
After a while, they smell a faint flowery scent. XuanNan shouted: “The enemy is releasing poison, quickly hold your breath, smell the antidote.” But after a while, he felt strange, he was clear-headed and refreshed, it seems the flowery scent did not carry any poison.
The person said: “7th sister, is that you? There some strange person in 5th brother’s house, he claims his An Lushan.” A female voice said: “Only big brother has yet to arrive. 2nd brother, 3rd brother, 4th brother, 6th brother, 8th brother, let us reveal ourselves!”
When she finish, there was a bright light outside the door, a strange ball of light shone on 5 men and 1 woman. A black beard old man among them said: “5th brother, quickly come out.” His right hand held onto a square wooden board. The female is a pretty middle-age married woman. For the other 4 men, 2 of them are dressed as scholars, 1 of them seems to be a carpenter, hand holding onto an axe and carrying a long saw on his back. The other man is green-faced and long-toothed, red hair and green beard, his appearance extremely scary, he look like a monster, his wearing a bright shining brocade robe.
Deng BaiChuan fix his concentration, he saw the person oil painted his face, it was not his original appearance, he dress himself like an opera actor, thus the one acting as Tang Emperor and Plum Consort is obviously this person, Deng BaiChuan said loudly: “May i request the honorable names of ladies and gentlemen? I am Deng BaiChuan from Gusu Murong family.”
The other party did not have the chance to reply as a black figure rush out from the main hall, his blade shining, he chop 7 times towards the opera actor, it was Feng BoE. The opera actor was caught off guard, he hide to the east and dodge to the west, he was in an awkward situation. The opera actor started singing: “My strength plucked up the hills, my might shadowed the world; But the times were against me, and Dapple (name of warhorse) runs no more; when Dapple runs no more, what then can ......” but Feng BoE attack was too quick and he could not finish the 3rd sentence.
The black bearded guy cursed: “Hey you are too unreasonable, rushing out and hacking and chopping randomly, eat my [Big Iron Net]” the wooden board in his hands flashed and he whack straight towards the top of Feng BoE’s head.
Feng BoE felt some misgivings: “I have fought over hundreds of major and minor battle, but i have never seen such square wood board being used as a weapon.” He raise his broadsword and chop towards the board. There was a ringing sound, the broadsword hit the edge of the board, but the board was motionlessly, although the board may seem like it’s made of wood but its actually made of steel, the exterior of the board is painted to make it resemble wood. Feng BoE promptly withdraw his broadsword, unexpectedly when he contract his arm the broadsword could not be withdrawn, it was stuck firmly on the steel board. Feng BoE was shock, he channeled his internal energy and exerted his force, only now did the broadsword separate from the steel board, he shouted: “What an abnormal object! Is this steel board made of lodestone?”
That person smiled and said: “Not really, not really! This is my working tool.”Feng BoE shot another glance at it, he saw many horizontal and vertical lines on the board, it’s a Go (Chess) board, he said: “What a weird object, come i will fight with you!” he swing his broadsword like the wind, attacking faster and faster, but he dare not let the broadsword touch the magnetic chess board.
The opera actor regain his breath and sing again: “When Dapple runs no more, what then can i do? Ah, Yu, my Yu, what will your fate be?” suddenly he imitated the voice of a female, he said in a gentle coy voice: “Worry not my Lord, although today’s battle is unsuccessful, lowly concubine will follow you and fight our way out of this encirclement.”
Bao BuTong said: “Shameless King of Chu and Consort Yu, quickly commit suicide, i am Han Xin.” He jump and extended his palm, trying to grab the shoulder of the opera actor. The opera actor avoided it and sing: “A great wind came fourth, the clouds rose on high. Where will i find.....AiYa, my Gaozu of Han killed your Han Xin.” His left hand went to his waist and took out a soft whip and he lash it out towards Bao BuTong.
XuanNan saw both sides are acting like children, but their martial arts are solid, only that they don’t know each other, his eyebrows narrowed slightly and said: “Everyone please temporarily stay your hands, let us clarify the matter first.”
But asking Feng BoE to stay his hands and stop fighting is almost impossible, when he contracted the frost poison, his physical strength and stamina was not the same as before, in addition the frost poison can flare up anytime, it’s extremely dangerous, his broadsword flash about as if it was shredding the wind, he wanted to achieve victory quickly.
As the four of them engaged in fierce battle, someone came out of the main hall, there was a clashing sound as two Buddhist monk's knife collided, an awe-inspiring entrance, it was XuanTong. He shouted: “You bunch of wicked thieves, using poison and harming people, old monk will break his taboo and kill you all!” he was tormented by the frost poison for many days, he could not vent his frustration, thus he did not bother to clarify and attack the two scholars with his twin-knife. One scholar dodge and avoided, the other scholar took out a judge-pen weapon from his bosom, he executed his skills and start fighting with XuanTong.
The other scholar shakes his head from side to side and said: “This is so strange! Why is this monk so hot tempered, i wonder where he comes from?” he extended his hands into his bosom and felt around, he said: “Yi, where did it go?” he touch his left and right pockets, shake his sleeves, and pat his chest, he can’t find it anywhere.
Xu Zhu was sympathetic, he ask: “Benefactor, what are you looking for?” the scholar said: “This big monk’s martial arts is extremely high, my brother is not his match, i want to find my weapon and join the fight, Yi, strange, strange! Where did my weapon go?” he knock his forehead and pondered deeply. Xu Zhu cannot help but laugh, he thought: “Coming out for a fight but forgetting where you put your weapon, this is interesting.” He ask again: “Benefactor, what kind of weapon you use?”
The scholar said: “Diplomacy is better than violence, my number one weapon is a book.” Xu Zhu said: “What kind of book? Martial arts manual?” the scholar said: “No, no. It’s the Analects of Confucius, i want to use the words of sage to reform my opponent.” Bao BuTong interrupted: “You are a scholar, you can’t even memorize the Analects of Confucius, what’s the point of studying?” The scholar said: “Elder brother, you only know part of the information. The ‘Analects of Confucius’, ‘Mencius’, ‘Spring and Autumn Annals’, ‘Book of Songs’, i know all of them by heart. But a Buddhist monk only study Buddhist scriptures, they might not know about Confucius literature, i can recite it out by heart but if he has no knowledge about it, won’t it be useless? Thus, i must show him the original text as evidence, then he can’t deny it or try to dispute it, only then will it be useful. There is a common saying, ‘Use book as evidence’.” As he said this, he kept on searching and patting around his body.
Bao BuTong shouted: “Little master, quickly attack him!” Xu Zhu said: “I will wait for Benefactor to find his weapon, after that we can fight.” The scholar said: “The Song and Chu fought at a deep river, the Chu people has yet to cross the river, their formation not ready, its a good opportunity to attack, but Duke Xiang of Song said: It’s not the way of nobleman to take advantage of the plight of others. Little master, your heart is benevolent, the same as Duke Xiang.”
The carpenter saw XuanTong’s twin-knife flying and twisting around, his moves are extremely quick and powerful, the two scholars will be in danger if the fight drags on further, he raised his axe and wanted to assist them in battle. GongYe Gan wave his palm and strike towards him. GongYe Gan’s appearance is refine and cultured, but his palm strength is vigorous and forceful, his nicknamed ‘Jiangnan Number Two’, last time he competed wine drinking and match palm with Xiao Feng, although he lost, Xiao Feng had deep respect for him, it can be seen that his internal energy is extraordinary, the carpenter slanted his body to avoid the palm and hack his axe horizontally.
The scholar still could not find his ‘Analects of Confucius’, he saw his companion judge-pen movement is really messy, it really isn’t a match against XuanTong’s twin-knife, he said to XuanTong: “Hey, big monk. Confucius says: [The superior man does not, even for the space of a single meal, act contrary to virtue. In moments of haste, he cleaves to it. In seasons of danger, he cleaves to it.] Confucius says: [To subdue one's self and return to propriety, is perfect virtue. If a man can for one day subdue himself and return to propriety, all under heaven will ascribe perfect virtue to him.] Confucius also says: [Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety.] You wave your twin-knife randomly, you are ruthless and only thinks about killing people, you did not show self-restraint, this is contrary to propriety.”
Xu Zhu whispered to Shaolin monk HuiFang: “Martial uncle, is this person pretending to be dumb?” HuiFang shook his head and said: “I don’t know. Our master instructed us to be careful when going out of Shaolin Temple, martial artists are cunning and sly, they can come up all sorts of funny ideas and traps.”
The bookworm said to XuanTong again: “Big monk, Confucius says: [Men of principle are sure to be bold, but those who are bold may not always be men of principle.] You are brave and bold, but you might not be benevolent, you cannot be considered to be a true gentleman. Confucius says: [What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others] If other people want to kill you, you will naturally be unwillingly to die, since you are unwillingly to die, how can you kill other people?”
XuanTong engage this bookworm and both of them jump about, he wave his twin-knife to attack, the bookworm follow XuanTong and suddenly move east and west, sometimes left and right, his always within 3 foot of XuanTong, constantly advising and persuading, it can be seen that his martial art is not weak. XuanTong was secretly vigilant: “This rascal is spouting nonsense, obviously his trying to distract me and divert my concentration, once he find a gap in my moves, he will definitely exploit it and attack. This person’s martial art is above the scholar with the judge-pen, i definitely have to guard against him.” Thus, he spent 60% of his concentration to guard against the bookworm and spent 40% to focus on attacking the scholar with the judge-pen. The situation of the scholar with the judge-pen improved considerably.
After exchanging 10 moves, XuanTong was getting impatient, he shouted: “Get lost!” and flip his Buddhist monk’s knife, smashing the handle of the knife towards the chest of the bookworm. The bookworm avoided it and said: “Great master your martial art is extremely strong, my 4th brother and i, although its two against one we might not be your match, thus i advise you with wise words and hope that we can stop fighting, Confucius says: [Tsang, my doctrine is that of an all-pervading unity.] Tsang said: [The doctrine of master is to be true to the principles of our nature and the benevolent exercise of them to others - this and nothing more.] As human-beings, we must be prepared to forgive, we cannot be unreasonable and barbaric.”
XuanTong felt indignant, he slash his knife horizontally and curse: “Be prepared to forgive? Be compassionate? Why did you put deadly poison in the coffin to harm others? If old monk is not careful, he would have died long ago, you still dare say: [What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others], you want to die of poisoning?”
The bookworm quickly retreated two steps and said: “Strange! Strange! Who put poison in the coffin? The coffin is for corpses. Confucius says: [Li died, he had a coffin but no outer shell.] There is poison in the coffin, won’t the corpse die of poisoning? Oh wait, the corpse died long ago.”
Bao BuTong interrupted: “Not true, Not true. You did not put any corpse in the coffin, only poison, you wanted to poison us, the living people.” The bookworm shook his head and said: “You gauge the heart of a gentleman with your own mean measures. Since there is no coffin here, there is no poison.”
Bao BuTong said: “Confucius says: [Of all people, female and vile people are the most difficult people.] You are a vile person.” He pointed at the middle-age woman and said: “You are a female, both of you are indeed difficult people. Are the words of Confucius wrong?” the bookworm was stumped for words, he finally said: “You digress from the main topic, i don’t have to bother about your words or give a reply.”
The bookworm is debating with Bao BuTong, XuanTong had one less person to deal with and he intensified his attacks, the judge-pen scholar was instantly in dire situation. The bookworm move closer to XuanTong and said: “Confucius says: [If a man be without the virtues proper to humanity, what has he to do with the rites of propriety? If a man be without the virtues proper to humanity, what has he to do with music?] Big monk, you are without the virtues proper to humanity, you are really disappointing to the extreme.”
XuanTong was furious, he said: “I am a Buddhist, detach from worldly affairs, you rotten scholar talking about literature, etiquette and music, benevolent or not, you cannot sway my heart.”
The bookworm raise his knuckles and knocks his forehead, he said: “Very true! Very true! I studied too much and became foolish, i am really a bookworm. Big monk is obviously a Buddhist, but i advise you with words from Confucius and the traditional virtues, naturally you won’t understand it.”
Feng BoE fought for a long time with the chessboard-wielding person, it hard to predict who will win, after a period of time, he start to feel the frost poison acting up in his lower abdomen. Bao BuTong compared himself with the opera actor, he felt his opponent’s martial art is not high, but his moves is extremely complicated, sometimes he acted as Xi Shi (one of the renowned Four Beauties of ancient China), his speech and laughter coy, his frown infectious, his steps lithe and graceful, it was the exact manner of a woman of peerless elegance, in an instant, he started to act as a tipsy and romantic Li Bai (renowned poet), his drunken state unpredictable, his footsteps unsteady. The miraculous thing was that when he acted as different character, he always had a unique set of martial arts to fit the character, sometimes he used his flexible whip or flick his long sleeves when acting as a beauty, or wave his pen when acting as a scholar, and Bao BuTong could not deal with him for the moment.
The bookworm was motionless for a while, suddenly he hum: “Since you gave up immersing in music, you heart should have gained benevolence, if you did not gain it quickly, it’s already ingrained in your heart?” XuanNan and XuanTong both had a huge shock, they thought: “This bookworm is extremely knowledgeable, he can even recite verses by Easter Jin eminent monk, Kumarajiva.” The bookworm continued humming: “After all, in emptiness, there is no music in heart, if you are pleased with knowledge on Buddhism, you are not enlightened by its teachings. Falsehood lies and deceit, it will not stop near your heart. Big monk, what is the next two verse, i forgot.” XuanTong said: “Buddhist teachings acquired by a humane person, it will reveal itself when desired by the heart.”
The bookworm laugh heartily and said: “Enlightening! Enlightening! You are a great Buddhist master, how can you not be humane? Moral principles under the heaven, all of them are the same. I advise you to let go of your hatred and turn back to correct path.”
XuanTong heart was shaken, he suddenly achieve enlightenment and said: “Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! Namo Amituofo, Namo Amituofo.” There was two clanking sound, the twin-Buddhist monk’s knife was thrown on the floor, he sat down on the floor, his face revealed a smile, his eyes closed.
The judge-pen scholar was getting excited in the fight, but suddenly seeing this behaviour, he had a huge shock and did not attack with this judge-pen.
Xu Zhu said: “Martial grandfather, did your frost poison flare up?” he extended his arm to support him, XuanNan said: “Don’t move!” he checked XuanTong’s breath, but he had stop breathing, he had passed away. XuanNan press both his hands together, he chanted the ‘Afterlife Prayer’. The rest of the Shaolin monk saw XuanTong had passed away, they started crying, they grab their Buddhist’s staff and Buddhist’s knife, wanting to go all out against the two scholars. XuanNan said: “Stop! Martial brother XuanTong perceived Tathata in his meditation, his in Nirvana, he has achieved enlightenment, we have to be happy for him.”
After witnessing this shocking event, everyone stop fighting immediately and retreated simultaneously.
The bookworm shouted: “5th brother, 5th brother Xue, quickly come out, someone got excited to death by my words. Quickly come out and save him! Damn Divine Physician Xue, if you don’t come out quickly, this person will really die for certain!” Deng BaiChuan said: “Divine Physician Xue is not in his house, Mr you are......” the bookworm is still shouting hurriedly at the top of his voice: “Xue MuHua, 5th brother Xue, Enemy of King of Hell, Divine Physician Xue, quickly come out and save him! Your 3rd brother excited someone till death, they are going to make life difficult for us.”
Bao BuTong was furious: “You caused his death, still pretending to be a good guy and shedding crocodile tears.” With a ‘Hu’ sound he send his palm at him, his left hand pass under his right palm, with this move [Dragon Searching For Pearl], he made a grab for the beard. The bookworm quickly dodged it. Feng BoE and GongYe Gan was aroused from their previous fight, they did not wish to stop and hence they start fighting again.
Deng BaiChuan shouted: “Lie down!” his left hand stretch out and grab the back of the opera actor. Deng BaiChuan is chief among the subordinates of Gusu Murong family, his martial art is strong, internal energy powerful and vigorous, although his reputation isn’t impressive, but of those who knew him they cannot help but deeply respect him. He easily caught hold of the back of the opera actor, he press him down towards the floor. The opera actor is quite agile and nimble, when his left shoulder touch the ground, he spin his body on the floor and sweep his right leg out, kicking towards Deng BaiChuan’s leg. This move is extremely strange and quick, Deng BaiChuan is stout and strong hence its not convenient for him to turn or rotate quickly, he saw this move is hard to avoid, he immediately gathered his internal energy into his lower body to forcibly receive the kick to his leg, there was a ‘Ka La’ sound, the two legs collided and one of the leg broke.
The opera actor kept rolling about and his already a few zhang away, he shouted: “You treacherous bandit, injuring an honest man, ouch my leg!” it seems that when the two legs met and the force collided, the opera actor was not a match against his opponent’s force, his leg broke immediately.
The pretty middle-age woman only stood courteously by the side and did not participate, when she saw the opera actor suffered a broken leg and her other companions also in danger, she said: “Who are you people, what is the reason for occupying my 5th brother’s house? You did not clarify the situation and injure people?” although she’s questioning the other party, her tone and manner is still soft and refined. The opera actor is lying on the ground, he look upward and saw two lanterns hanging by the door of the house. He pointed at the lantern and call out in shock: “What? What is this? What ‘Funeral of Xue MuHua’, my 5th brother died?”
The person wielding the chessboard, the two scholars, the axe-wielding carpenter, the pretty middle-age woman, their gaze followed the finger and they saw the lantern. The candle flame in the lantern had long die out, the surrounding is pitch-black, as everyone was busy fighting, no one paid any attention to the lantern, only when the opera actor fell onto the floor did he finally raise his head and notice the wordings on the lantern.
The opera actor burst into tears, he sang: “Alas, alas, my good brother, we swore brotherhood at the peach garden, we agreed to meet at the ancient city, you cross the five passes, slay six generals, such awe-inspiring might .....” his singing the opera ‘Weeping GuanYu’, but his too agitated and his accent is incorrect. The other five also bellowed their grievances:
“Who killed my 5th brother?”
“5th brother, 5th brother, which damnable murderer harm you?”
“We will fight to the death with you today!”
XuanNan and Deng BaiChuan gave each other a glance, both of them had the same thought: “These people seems to be the sworn brothers of Divine Physician Xue.” Deng BaiChuan said: “Some of our companions suffered some injuries, we came here to request Divine Physician Xue for medical treatment, but unexpectedly....” the middle-age woman replied: “But unexpectedly he refuse to treat and you people killed him, correct?” Deng BaiChuan said: “No......” he did not get the chance to finish as he saw the middle-age woman flick her sleeves, suddenly he smell a strong fragrance and he immediately became dizzy, he seems to be standing on soft cloud and shrouded in mist, he can’t maintain his footing. The pretty middle-age woman said: “Collapse, collapse!”
Deng BaiChuan was indignant, he shouted: “Wicked witch!” he gathered his energy into his palm and sent his palm out. The pretty middle-age woman saw Deng BaiChuan shaking and swaying about, his already affected by her attack, unexpectedly he still manage to send out his palm. As she was about to dodge the attack, it was too late, the earth-shattering force came crashing onto her, her breathing was temporarily obstructed, her body flew up. There is a ‘Ka la Ka la’ sound, a few of her ribs got broken, she fainted before her body had landed on the ground. Deng BaiChuan’s vision turn black and he collapsed onto the ground.
Both sides lost one of their fighters, the remaining people start fighting with each other. XuanNan pondered: “There is some strange matters in this incident, we have to first captured the rest so as to avoided unnecessary casualties for both side.” He said: “Get my staff!” HuiFang turn around and picked up the Buddhist monk’s staff leaning against the door, he pass it over to XuanNan. The judge-pen scholar vaulted over and wave his right hand to attack HuiFang’s chest. XuanNan strike out with his left palm, his palm had yet to arrive but the palm force had already reach his opponent’s back, the scholar was hit and collapsed. XuanNan gave a laugh, he carried the staff in his hand, took two steps forward, brandish his staff and smash towards the chessboard wielding man.
The chessboard-wielding person saw the attack was extremely powerful, the staff had yet to arrive but the accompanying wind had already shrouded his entire body, immediately he flex his arm, he use both hands to raise the chessboard and block the staff, there was a loud ringing sound, sparks flew in all direction. The person felt his arms going numb, the web between his thumb and forefinger had split open. XuanNan raised his staff and he also lifted the chessboard along with it. The chessboard had extremely strong magnetism, it the past it trapped the weapons of numerous enemies, but today it met a strong opponent and got trapped by XuanNan’s staff. XuanNan smash his staff towards the head of the person along with the chessboard. The person shouted: “This ‘Pressing Divine Head’ (the name of a chess move) along with ‘Leaning Cover’, i can’t resist both attacks!” he quickly scuttled forward.
XuanNan drag his staff and shouted loudly: “Bookworm, lie down!” he swept his staff horizontally, the power in it is unstoppable. The bookworm said: “Confucius is adaptable to current situation, once the wind blows the grass will topple, since you want me to lie down i will lie down, why not?” before he even finish his words, his already lying down on the floor. A few Shaolin monk jumped over and held him down.
The Head-Monk of Shaolin Damo-Hall is really outstanding, once he start fighting, he immediately subdued 3 experts from the opposing side.
The axe-wielding carpenter is fighting Feng BoE and Bao BuTong, his in dire situation and is about to suffer a defeat, the chessboard-wielding person said: “Forget it, forget it! 6th brother, let us just admit defeat, we don’t have to carry on playing this chess match anymore. Big monk, i want to ask you, how did my 5th brother offend you, why did you people kill him?” XuanNan said: “There is no such matter......”
Before he could finish, suddenly there is two ‘Zheng Zheng’ sound of zither, it was transmitted from afar. When the sound is transmitted to their eardrum, everyone’s heart violently palpitated two times. XuanNan was startled for the duration, another two ‘Zheng Zheng’ sound rang out. This time the sound is even closer, and everyone’s heart palpitated even more violently. Feng BoE felt a sense of uneasiness, his right hand relaxed, with a ‘Dang’ sound his broadsword dropped on the floor. Luckily Bao BuTong quickly wave his palm and guarded him, else the enemy’s axe would have split open his shoulder. The bookworm shouted: “Elder brother come over quickly, elder brother come over quickly! The situation is extremely serious! Why are you moving so slowly and still playing that stupid zither? Confucius says: [When the prince summoned him, without waiting for his carriage to be yoked, he went at once.]”
The sound of zither kept on ringing, an elderly man with big sleeves stroll towards them, his forehead high and protruding, his appearance odd and ancient, his beaming and his expression is extremely amiable, he carried a jade zither in his hand.