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Thread: Dragon Sabre Heaven Sword - Retelling

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Default Dragon Sabre Heaven Sword - Retelling

    Northern Hero Enters Shaolin



    Grumbling under his breath he followed the path that lead to the monastery, swearing with every step that he would thrash his daughter to within an inch of her life when he found her. Yet even as his annoyance rose, a spark of pride flashed in his heart. The girl was so much like her mother, beautiful, smart and quick-witted. From him she had inherited an unwavering sense of justice and fair-play. Unfortunately the girl also had his stubbornness and his wife's penchant for mischief which had lead to him tracking her to this place. Still he could not help but love his wilful daughter and felt his anger starting to melt away.

    Suddenly the sound of steel striking steel rang out from up ahead and he quickened his step. It was not long before he discovered the source of the disturbance. A dozen monks in yellow robes holding wooden staffs stood around a duelling pair. One of the duellists was a monk dressed like the others with an additional chequered red slash draped across his shoulder. The duelling monk looked to be in his late fifties or early sixties, his head was bold and a thick grey beard sprouted from his chin. His build was thin but his movements were steady and he advanced with the weight of an avalanche, swinging his heavy metal staff with ease.

    His admiration for the monk's skill was short-lived as he recognised the other duellist as his daughter. In her late teens the slender girl moved with the grace of a dancer, her white cut short dress billowing like clouds. The short sword in her hand flickered out with lightning speed as she tried to stem the monk's advance. Her father caught snatches of the sophisticated Quanzhen sword art, glimpses of the exquisite Jade Flute sword art, a few strokes from the intricate Dog Beating staff art and some moves from the beautiful Jade Maiden sword art. The girl was switching between the various arts with ease, mixing and matching them in a bewildering display of spontaneous creativity.

    However she was hopelessly outclassed, with the monk fending away her dazzling attacks easily, his greater experience obvious. The girl was steadily being pushed back towards a pair of monks in grey robes. One of the grey robed monks was about the same age of the duelling monk, his wrists and ankles were chained and he carried two large metal buckets, each large enough to hold a person, across his shoulders. The other grey robed monk was a young boy in his mid teens and he stared at the duellist with concern written across his face. The boy's concern was misplaced as the girl's father observed that his daughter's opponent was holding back his true strength and could have defeated her with ease.

    The duelling monk's staff came down heavily and was met by the girl's raised sword. Suddenly the blade shattered and the metal staff fell unopposed towards the girl's head. The older grey robed monk lunged forward and stretched out his wrist chains between the girl and staff. The metal staff bounced off the tensed chain and hurled its wielder high into the air. The watching yellow robed monks raised their staffs and converged on the chained monk. The man became a blur as he leapt into the air and hurled a palm out toward the staff wielding monks. A wave of invisible power rippled from his palm, vibrating the air and creating a sound like the roar of a dragon. The wave hit the staffs turning them into splinters and knocking the yellow robed monks off their feet.

    Landing next to the chained monk he turned to face the yellow robed monks. Recognising her father the girl let out a yelp of joy:

    “Papa!” she shouted excitedly.

    Turning sharply he gave her an angry glare that wiped the smile from her pretty face:

    “Honourable sir. May this humble monk enquiry into your great name.” said the monk that had been duelling, as he picked himself up.

    Taking his eyes away from his daughter he greeted the monk with a salute:

    “Guo Jing of Peach Blossom Island at your service. Please accept my apologies for any offence my unruly daughter may have given you, Holy One.” replied the man.

    Bowing deeply in respect the monk that had been duelling Guo Jing's daughter introduced himself:

    “Guo Daxia (Hero), I am Wuse of Shaolin. Please forgive our rudeness towards your daughter. We were unaware that she was a child of your esteem self.”

    “Holy One is too kind. May I ask what my daughter Guo Xiang had done to offend your great monastery?”

    “I am afraid it was my fault.” said the chained monk.

    “Holy One's name is...?” asked Guo Jing as he turned to face him.

    “This unworthy monk is named Jueyuan. Your honourable daughter observed me receiving my rightful punishment and mistakenly thought I was in distress. She kindly offered her assistance and this misunderstanding occurred.” explained Jueyuan with a deep bow.

    Further conversation was forestalled by the arrival of a monk who came running from the monastery. He whispered urgently into Wuse's ear and the elder monk's face grew grim as he listened.

    ####

    Zhang Junbao stared at the man standing next to his Sifu, struck at how similar they looked. Apart from their hair and clothing the men could have been mistaken for brothers, both sharing tall heavy builds and sprouting slightly unkempt straggly beards. The two of them were even similar in age, both being in their late fifties. There was however one major difference, their eyes. Junbao knew that despite appearances his Sifu was a gentle giant. Everyday he would tend to the scriptures of Shaolin with a quiet dignity, never raising his voice or challenging the taunts of the other monks, who looked down on him for being a grey robed servant monk. Always Jueyuan went about his duties with a gentle smile and kind eyes completely free of anger or resentment.

    The man called Guo Jing had eyes that frankly, frightened Junbao. It was not that the boy found the man's eyes cruel, in fact he found them strong and honest. There was however an edge to them which told Junbao that this was a man of power and commanded respect. The sheltered boy had never met a man who wore power so casually as this man did and it made him uneasy. Right now both his Sifu and Guo Jing were looking at Wuse as he listened to the newly arrived monk. When the elder monk had finished listening to the message he turned to Guo Jing:

    “Guo Daxia, please for give my rudeness but an urgent matter has come up and I must return to the monastery. By your leave.” and with these words Wuse hurried along the path towards Shaolin followed by the yellow robed monks.

    Jueyuan bowed to Guo Jing:

    “Guo Daxia, I too must return to the monastery.” so saying the monk picked up his metal buckets and ran along the path with Junbao in toll.

    Guo Jing stared at Jueyuan as he left, noticing the ease with which he carried the heavy buckets, then his gaze went to the ground and he saw with a shock that the monk was leaving no foot prints in the dirt as he ran. Guo Xiang followed her father's gaze and gave a gasp of surprise as he saw the same phenomenon:

    “Papa, how is the old monk doing that?” she asked.

    “Incredible Qi power. Shaolin truly is one of the pillars of Chinese Martial Arts.” said Guo Jing in admiration.

    “Papa lets follow them.” said Guo Xiang

    “Haven't you caused enough trouble.” replied Guo Jing sternly.

    “But papa, if Shaolin is in trouble then surely it is our duty to help?” she pleaded. Her father thought for a moment. He had been impressed by Jueyuan's display and was curious to know more about the monk.

    “Besides papa, it would be extremely rude for us to just leave without paying our respects to the Abbot.” she said with a sly smile.

    Guo Jing smiled at being so easily trapped:

    “You really are the daughter of Huang Rong.” he said in defeat.

    ####

    Guo Jing and Guo Xiang arrived at the gates of Shaolin Monastery to see dozens of yellow robed monks surrounding a man sitting cross-legged on the paved stone floor in front of the gates. The man was well into middle age, clean shaven and wearing the robes of a scholar. On his lap was a zither. The man rose to his feet as Wuse accompanied by two other monks stepped forward. Wuse's companions were the same age as him and dressed in a similar fashion, except that one of them had a slash of gold and red showing his position as the monastery's Abbot.

    Rising to his feet the man greeted the monks with a small bow:

    “He Zudao pays his respect the Honourable Abbot and the elders Wuse and Wuxiang.” he said.

    “Master He, please accept this old monks greetings.” said the Abbot as he returned the bow “We are of course honoured by your presence. However I would be grateful if you would enlighten me on one matter.”

    “And what matter is that Abbot?” replied He Zudao.

    “Please can Master He explain why you have refused to come inside.” asked the Abbott.

    “That is simple, I have come to deliver a short message and did not want to take up too much of your Holiness's time, for such a trivial matter.” answered He Zudao

    “I thank Master He for your efforts. Please relay your message.” said the Abbot.

    “Honourable Abbot, before delivering the message I would like to request a small boon.” said He Zudao with a smile that came very close to being a smirk.

    “And what might that be?” asked the Abbot with a knitted brow.

    “My humble self has been a long time admirer of your monastery's legendary Martial Arts and would like to ask your Holiness for a few pointers in the Art.” He Zudao answered, this time letting his smirk show, making it plain who he thought could really learn from such an encounter.

    The smirk was caught by Wuxiang, whose eyes narrowed in anger as he stepped forward:

    “Very well. Master He, please allow this unworthy monk the pleasure of learning from you.” said Wuxiang in an angry voice that contradicted his polite words.

    “Holy one, while I am honoured by your offer. There is another I wished to learn from today.” replied He Zudao.

    “Who?” said Wuxiang bluntly.

    “May I enquiry if Reverend Jueyuan is present?” asked He Zudao.

    Jueyuan and Junbao had been standing inconspicuously in the sides but stepped forward on hearing He Zudao's words:

    “Master He. Humble monk here is Jueyuan but I am just a servant monk and do not deserve the title Reverend.” said Jueyuan with a deep bow and more than a little embarrassment at being singled out.

    Guo Jing saw He Zudao's smirk turn into a feral smile and knew the man intended violence. Although he had only met Jueyuan within the last hour, Guo Jing had taken an instant liking to the unobtrusive monk and so decided to intercede. Stepping before He Zudao he saluted the man:

    “Master He. May I be so bold and enquire into the nature of your challenge?” Guo Jing said in his most polite voice.

    “And who might you be sir?” replied He Zudao his smile replaced by a look of utter disdain.

    “Guo Jing of Peach Blossom Island at your service.” answered Guo Jing

    The disdainful look disappeared from He Zudao to be replaced by a look of surprise and respect. In a voice full of awe he replied:

    “Guo Daxia, I was unaware that you were a guest at Shaolin.”

    “I was merely passing by and decided to pay my respects to the Abbot.” replied Guo Jing as he turned to give the Abbot a polite bow, which the Abbot returned. Turning back to He Zudao, Guo Jing continued:

    “Now Master He. While I do not wish to interfere into the private affairs between you and Shaolin, I would ask you not shed blood on this holy ground.”

    “Of course Guo Daxia. I was just going to propose a friendly game of chess.” replied He Zudao, the confident smile returning to this lips.

    “Chess?” queried Guo Jing.

    He Zudao did not reply, instead he somersaulted into the air and landed in the middle of the stone paved courtyard in front of the gates. The monks quickly cleared a large space around the man and He Zudao dropped back into his cross-legged sitting position with his zither resting across his lap. His fingers quickly strummed a beautiful but powerful tune, which brought to mind the image of lightning striking the ground. With each note struck the ground around He Zudao churned up, as if an invisible sword was slicing into the stone tiles. After a very quick minutes the tune was finished and He Zudao sat in the middle of a giant chessboard carved into the stone.

    Guo Jing gave three measured claps acknowledging the display of skill and He Zudao returned a short bow before rising and stepping out of the board. Turning to face Jueyuan, He Zudao adopted his previous smirk once more:

    “Reverend Jueyuan. Will you do me the honour of moving first?” he said in a voice devoid of humility.

    Jueyuan turned to the Abbot and received a short nod from the head of his order. Laying down the metal buckets he slowly stepped into the centre of the board. Spreading his feet he adopted a horse stance with his hands held together as if in prayer. Slowly he sank into his stance but otherwise made no other movements. At first nothing appeared to be happening, then the ground started trembling. At first it was a gentle rumble, so subtle that some of those who felt it thought they might have imagined it, but gradually the trembles increased in intensity until everyone in the courtyard felt as if they were in the middle of an earth quake.

    Throughout all of this Jueyuan remained in the middle of the board his position unchanged, then suddenly his hands separated and he clenched them tightly into fists. The stone around him exploded, throwing up a massive wall of dust. When the dust finally settled it revealed Jueyuan standing on a perfectly round patch of stone and surrounded by the naked earth, the rest of the stone tiles have been destroyed. Guo Jing stared in awe at the display of raw power. Such a feat showed that the quiet servant monk's Qi power rivalled that of the very best Masters under Heaven and far outstripped anything He Zudao could manage.

    He Zudao looked on shock at the destruction of his board, his previous smirk having vanished from his lips. Stepping in front of Jueyuan he bowed deeply:

    “Reverend has won the game without making a single move. I wholehearted admit my inferiority in Qi power to you Holy One. However I would now like to see your swordsmanship.” so saying he reached into his zither and pulled out a hidden sword.

    He struck at Jueyuan with speed and skill, every blow full of aggression as he sought to avenge his wounded pride. Guo Jing looked on in shock as Jueyuan clumsily stumbled back from He Zudao's barrage of blows. It was clear that despite his immense Qi power, the monk had absolutely no combat skills. It was not long before Jueyuan tripped over his ankle chains and fell flat on his back. He Zudao stabbed down at the fallen monk, when suddenly Junbao lunged forward and landed a double fist strike onto He Zudao's back causing him to stagger away from Jueyuan.

    He Zudao stared in surprise at the young monk, shocked at being taken off guard by someone not even out of his teens:

    “Well this is a pleasant surprise. Shaolin really is a place of hidden treasures, who would have suspected that a mere child could have such skill.” Barely had he finished speaking then He Zudao went on the offensive, launching a series of lightning fast strikes and Junbao.

    The young monk blocked and evaded the blows with surprising skill and Guo Jing saw flashes of genius in the young man's movement but he was hopelessly outmatched and it was not long before he has knocked to the ground with He Zudao looming over him. Guo Jing sent a small tremor of power along the ground that ran up He Zudao's leg causing the latter to turn and face him. Having caught the man's attention Guo Jing gave him a sharp shake of the head, letting He Zudao know that he would not tolerate him harming the child. He Zudao started walking away but before he left he shouted to the Abbot over his shoulder:

    “Honourable Abbot, I was asked by a dying man to tell you that the book is within the oil.” with these words He Zudao left without so much as a backward glance.

    For a moment no one spoke then the angry voice of the Abbot rang out ordering Jueyuan and his apprentice inside.

    ####

    Guo Jing blinked in shock as the Abbot pronounced his sentence to cripple Zhang Junbao for the crime of learning Shaolin Martial Arts without permission. Jueyuan had fallen to his knees to beg the Abbot for leniency and Guo Jing's heart went out to them. Suddenly Guo Xiang dashed passed her father and stormed into the Main Hall where the monks had assembled to pass judgement on the unfortunate boy. Guo Jing hurried after his daughter but she was already standing in front of the Abbot, berating him for his unjust sentence. Grabbing his daughter's hand he dragged her away from the Abbot:

    “Xiang'er we have no right to interfere in this matter.” said Guo Jing to his daughter.

    “Father! Are we to stand idly by and allow this injustice to happen?” snapped Guo Xiang angrily.

    Guo Jing's anger rose at his daughter's disrespectful tone and he raised his hand to strike her but Guo Xiang stared back at him in defiance:

    “Father. From my earliest days you have taught me to fight injustice wherever I find it. If you can say that the Abbot's sentence is justice then I accept any punishment you deem fit.”

    Guo Jing glared at his daughter, his raised hand trembling in fury. However he could not deny the truth in her words. Although Guo Jing respected the rules of the monastery, the Abbot's sentence rankled against his innate sense of justice. The boy had not known his actions violated the rules of the order and had acted without malice, that he should be crippled could not be justified. Dropping his hand sharply Guo Jing turned to address the Abbot:

    “Honourable Abbot, my daughter's words were rash but not without truth. I beseech you to show mercy to the boy.”


    “Guo Daxia, while I have the deepest respect for you I cannot allow the boy to remain here unpunished.” replied the Abbot.

    “Then let me take him. I will act as the boy's guarantor and ensure he does not bring disgrace to your monastery.” pleaded Guo Jing.

    “Guo Daxia! I ask you to not interfere in our monastery's internal affairs.” snapped back the Abbot.

    “Honourable Abbot. I hold your monastery in the highest regard but I will not allow this boy to be harmed.” replied Guo Jing, taking pains to keep his voice level.

    “You will not allow? I was not aware that we needed your permissions to carry out punishment.” said Wuxiang as he stepped forward with a face clouding over in anger.

    “Justice is justice and can be championed by anyone.” answered back Guo Xiang in support of her father.

    “Enough! Take the boy away to be punished.” commanded the Abbott in a voice that made it clear that discussions were over.

    Dozens of yellow robed monks moved in to carry out the Abbot's order. Guo Jing whirled around unleashing a wave of invisible energy which swept up the converging monks in an unseen storm, tossing them into the air like rag dolls. Three metal staffs stabbed at Guo Jing who swatted them away with the back of his right hand, then launching a palm strike with his left hand he created a wall of Qi energy that went hurtling towards his attackers. The three elder monks leapt backwards then jabbed their staffs out, creating their own wall of power. The two opposing forces met with a mighty clash that sent shock waves across the hall, shaking the building it its foundations.

    With a roar Jueyuan snapped his chains, then grabbing Guo Xiang and Zhang Junbao by the collars hurled them into the air to land in the metal bucket he had been carrying. Lifting the buckets onto his shoulders he barged his way out of the hall, the yellow robed monks as powerless to stop him as grass opposing a charging bull. The three elder monks surrounded Guo Jing and attacked together, hoping to trap him. Using the evasive footwork of the Great Dipper Formation, Guo Jing became as light as the wind, slipping out of the closing ring. Clenching his fists Guo Jing went on the offensive, using the Vacant fists his attacks were subtle and ever changing, yet backed by enough force to crush rocks and shatter steel.

    Wuse and Wuxiang backed away from the attack but the Abbot was able to weather the storm of fists and countered with a bewildering series of quicksilver fast strikes. Guo Jing ignored the flashing staff and sent a simple, direct double palm strike at the Abbot, forcing the latter to abandon his attack and block the palms with his staff's shaft. The Abbot was almost lifted off his feet by the force of the blow and only managed to keep his footing when Wuse and Wuxiang placed their hands on his shoulder adding their Qi to his and steadying him. Power rippled from the combatants as they matched their Qi powers against each other, striking walls and pillars making them shake violently.

    Individually Guo Jing was more than a match for any of the elder monks but their combined powers were greater than his own, so he decided to switch tactics. Abandoning attack he concentrated on channelling his Qi to defending his vital organs, allowing the waves of power flowing from the elder monks to crash against his defences like the sea against a cliff. Guo Jing was relying on his limitless pool of Qi energy, accumulated from his study of the Nine Yin Manual to allow him to withstand the attack until the elder monks had exhausted themselves in trying to overcome his impregnable defence.

    The contest lasted for several minutes until Guo Jing noticed Wuse giving him a tiny nod. Catching the monk's meaning Guo Jing concentrated his powers towards Wuse and found a tiny disruption on the monk's Qi flow. Sending a burst of energy towards the disruption he broke the elder monks' formation and sent them flying into the air. Turning swiftly Guo Jing took to the air to make good his escape, offering a silent prayer of thanks to the mercy of Wuse.

    ####

    Guo Jing walked along side Jueyuan, with Guo Xiang and Zhang Junbao following. The servant monks were now clothed in laymen garb and each wore a hat to cover up their bold heads. It had been several days since their escape from Shaolin and Jueyuan had deemed it safe for them to part ways:

    “Holy one, are sure you will not reconsider? I could use your help at Xiangyang.” asked Guo Jing.

    “Guo Daxia, I thank you for your offer but as a monk I must stay out of worldly affairs. I beg your understanding in this matter.” replied Jueyuan.

    Guo Jing nodded his understanding and gave the monk a respectful bow in parting that the latter returned. Behind them the teenagers said their own farewells. Guo Xiang smiled sweetly at her new friend and removed a golden bracelet from her wrist:

    “Something to remember me by.” she said handing the gift to Junbao.

    With blushing cheeks the young man accepted and they parted ways, each heading to paths that unfortunately never crossed again.

    ####

    Zhang Sanfeng held the bracelet to the light, the piece of jewellery was still unchanged but the same could not be said about the man who held it. After nearly a hundred years his once smooth skin was covered in winkles and the boy that had been Zhang Junbao had become the aged priest Zhang Sanfeng. Eyes which had once looked upon this world with youthful enthusiasm were now heavy with age and wisdom. The voice of child came from behind and Zhang Sanfeng turned to see a ten year old boy come skipping towards his. Tucking the bracelet away in his sleeve he swept the boy up in his arms and hugged him tightly:

    “Well Wuji, should we go home?” asked the old man.

    “Yes Grand Sifu.” answered Wuji with a giggle.

    Placing the boy on his shoulders Zhang Sanfeng walked towards the temple that he had made his home.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Like to thank Ken Cheng for his thread that inspired my story.

    Thinking of running with this to make a retelling of the story, comments and suggestions are welcomed.

    (PS I know the title is reversed, it was deliberate )

  3. #3
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    Yes, it will be nice to have a story centering on adventures of Guo Xiang for we often see her as an adorable teenager in ROCH.

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