The Heavenly Sword and The Dragon Sabre
by Jin Yong
Only chapter 1 to 7 are posted here in this Forum.
You can read further at http://zhaomin.org
Chapter 1: Prologue
A spring full of joys and merriments,
On yearly Han-sit* celebration,
Peach blossoms are blooming.
The smooth white silk,
Sweet fragrance fills the air,
The trees are like jades,
They are covered by snow.
The deep night is quiet,
A light is floating in the sky,
A cold cold ray of moonlight.
Between heaven and earth,
A silver light brightens up the universe.
Ah, she is like a Goddess from Mount Kouw-sia,
She is bright and pure,
Her character is noble and natural.
There are millions of flowers' essence, big and small,
But who dares to say that she is less worthy than the most famous flowers?
Her soul is dignified,
Her ability is abundant,
But after petals fall to the ground, everything becomes the same,
So she returns to the Heaven's Palace,
To see a Beauty that will last forever.
The poem above, called "Free from Worldliness", is a poem written by a famous kung fu master living in the era of Southern Song dynasty. His surname is Qiu, and his first name is Chuji, also known as "The Everlasting One", one of the of the Seven Masters of QuanZhen (Seven Masters from QuanZhen Religious Sect).
In that poem, Qiu Chuji talked about peach blossoms. But actually, in describing the beauty and nobility of peach blossoms, he wanted to praise a very beautiful lady who was always wearing white. He compared her with an immortal, a "Goddess from Mount Kouw-sia, she is bright and pure, her character is noble and natural.". He praised her humanity further: "Her soul is dignified, her ability is abundant".
Who was this lady who received such a highest praise from such a religious kung fu master?
She is Xiao LongNu, a lady kung fu master from the Old Cemetery Clan. She loved to wear white, so she looked as if she were a jade tree covered by snow. With her character that was pure-cold, she was like a ray of moonlight which encovered heaven and earth with a cold but calm shining light.
When she was still living on Mount Ciong-lam, Xiao LongNu was neighbours with Qiu Chuji, and after he witnessed her outstanding beauty, Chuji composed that "Free from Worldliness" poem to praise her.
But now Qiu Chuji has passed away, and Xiao LongNu has married The Condor Hero Yang Guo.
One day, on a path in Mount Shaoshi in Hunan province, a young girl was seen reciting that poem "Free from Worldliness"with her head looking down.
That girl, about 18 years old or so, was wearing all yellow and she was riding on a skinny mule. The mule climbed up the narrow mountain path slowly. After pondering for some time, she thought: "Yes. Only someone like Big-sister Long suits to be his wife."
"His" here refers to The Condor Hero Yang Guo.
The mule continued to walk, slowly.
The girl took a deep sigh, and muttered softly "Being together brings happiness, being separate brings sorrow...."
She was wearing a simple robe, and there was a short sword hanging from her waist, her face looked calm, so people could easily guess that she must be used to travelling by herself in the martial art realm. She was a teenager, an age when young boys and young girls are usually happy and carefree, not knowing yet any sufferings nor sorrows. But this young girl was different from the others. On her face that was as as pretty as a rose, a gloomy shadow could be seen hanging. Her eyebrows were drawn together, as if she was burdened by something that was too heavy for her heart to bear.
The young girl's surname is Guo, and her name is Xiang, the second daughter of the Great Hero Guo Jing and the Heroine Huang rong. In the martial art realm, people named her "The Little Dissident from The East". With a mule and a sword, she wandered far and wide to erase her sorrow. But the farther and higher she went, climbing beautiful and peaceful mountains, the bigger her sorrow grew.
That narrow mountain road was built up by the order of Emperor Gaozong of the Tang dynasty, so as to make easy the people's pilgrimmage to Shaolin Temple.
After proceeding for some time, Guo Xiang saw five waterfalls on the mountain ahead of her, and from the other side of a turn of the mountain road, she could see dimly the walls and roofs af a vast monastery.
Observing the rows of walls and buildings, she thought to herself : "From a long time ago Shaolin is well known as the center of martial art. But why, twice at the kung fu Contest on Mount Hua, there was nobody from Shaolin among the Five Greatest? Did they deliberately not participate in the Contest because they knew they did not have any expert skillful enough to participate in it? Or were they already so unbeatable in martial art that they did not bother anymore to get involved with worldly matters?"
While thinking and pondering, she approached the temple.
Then she got off grom her mule and walked towards the temple's gate. Walking past some trees and bushes, she saw several stone tablets which were already so worn out and damaged that the character engravings on them could barely be read anymore.
She sighed. "Ahhh. The words on these stone tablets could fade away with the passage of time, but why the words in my heart become engaved deeper and deeper instead?", she asked herself.
After walking a bit further, she passed a very big stone tablet with characters that could still be read. That tablet was a gift from Emperor Taizong from the Tang Dynasty, he wrote praises which were engraved on the tablet as a reward for the Shaolin monks for their help to the Dynasty.
According to history, when the Emperor Taizong was still the Young King Chin-wang, he brought his soldiers to defeat and punish Wang Shichong. In that battle, there were a lot of Shaolin monks helping the Young King, but among them, there were 13 monks that were most famous. From the thirteen, only one monk was willing to accept the title of General, while the other 12 refused and went back to the monastery after the battle was over. Emperor Taizong could not stop them, so as a token of gratitude, he gave them each a very beautiful monk robe.
"During the Sui and Tang dynasties, the kung fu from Shaolin was already so famous, " Guo Xiang thought to herself. "after several hundred years have passed now, they must have improved a lot. I wonder how many martial art experts are secluding themselves now in this huge monastery."
While wondering and thinking, suddenly she heard the cling clang sound of an iron chain, followed by the voice of someone reciting Buddhist Scripture. From among the recital, she could vaguely caught these words: "Out of love arose the feeling of annoyance, out of love arose the feeling of fear. If one frees himself from love, he will be freed from the feelings of annoyance and fear...."
The girl's heart beat faster. She stood transfixed and repeated the words: "Out of love arose the feeling of annoyance, out of love arose the feeling of fear. If one frees himself from love, he will be freed from the feelings of annoyance and fear...."
In a moment, the sound of the iron chain grew fainter and the sound of the Scripture's recital grew farther and farther away.
"I must ask him," she thought. "I must ask, how can someone be free of love, how can someone be free from the feeling of annoyance and fear."
She hurriedly tied the mule's rein to a tree and ran towards the sound.
She found a steep small road behind the trees, and over there, a monk carrying two big pails was climbing up on it. Quickly Guo Xiang chased after him, and when she came nearer, she was shocked. She saw that the iron pails he was carrying were at least three times as big as the usual pails. But what shocked her was the fact that his neck, hands and feet were chained, so that each time he made a movement, the chain produced a cling clang sound. The weigh of the two big iron pails must be hundreds of kilos, and adding the weigh of the water inside them, they must be tremendously very heavy.
"Great Monk!", shouted the girl. "Please stop! I have something to ask you!"
The monk turned his head around and both looked at each other with surprise. This monk was no other than JueYuan, whom Guo Xiang ever met at the summit of Mount Hua. She knew that although the monk was rather dull and not bright, he owned a big internal power no less powerful than any martial art master.
"Ah! I was wondering who you are!", she said "So it's you, Great Monk JueYuan! What has happened to you?"
JueYuan nodded his head several times and bowed to her with both hands, but did not reply to her question. Then he turned round and started to walk away again.
"Great Monk JueYuan!" Guo Xiang exclaimed. "Don't you recognize me? I am Guo Xiang!"
JueYuan turned his head around again, he laughed and nodded his head again, but this time he did not stop.
"Who chained you? Who has humiliated you like this?"
Still walking on, JueYuan shook his left hand behind his head, as a signal for the girl to stop questioning him.
Guo Xiang became more puzzled. How could she let the matter rest just like that? She ran after him again, intending to pass him and halt his progress, but strangely although after chasing after him for quite some time, she still could not catch up with him, eventhough JueYuan was carrying two heavy pails and was in chain too. She became vexed. Like a bird, her slim figure flew forward and with one hand she tried to grab one of the pails.
From her calculation, it was impossible for her to miss. But unexpectedly, Guo Xiang's hand caught empty air, missing the pail by an inch.
"Big Monk!! You are very skillful!", she shouted. "But you see! I will catch up with you no matter what!"
The road became steeper, arriving at the other side of the mountain now. JueYuan calmly sped up his footsteps, and as a result the sound of cling clang clung from the chain became noisier. The girl chased with all her might, but she could never succeed to go nearer, and was constantly about 1-2 feet behind the monk. She got so impressed with the monk, and thought: "At the top of Mount Hua, father and mother said that this monk had a big power and skill. At that time, I did not believe it, but now it is proven that what father and mother said is not wrong."
Not long after, they arrived in front of a small house and JueYuan went to the back of the house and poured the water of the two pails into a well. Guo Xiang was perplexed. "Great Monk, are you out of your mind?", she asked. "Why did you pour the water into this well?"
But the monk's face remained calm. He just smiled.
Suddenly Guo Xiang loughed out loud. "Ah! I know now!", she said. "You are practising a martial art skill, right?"
JueYuan shook his head again.
The girl became annoyed now. "You are not mute, I heard you reciting Buddhist Scripture," she said. "Why won't you answer my questions?"
The monk brought his hands together, while from his face xpression, he seemed to ask for forgiveness. But he remained silent, and after lifting his two pails, he began to climb down the same steep road.
Guo Xiang looked down into the well. She could see clear water and could feel cold air coming out from it. But other than that, she could not find anything extraordinary. She stood there puzzled and with a big question mark in her heart, she stared at the shadow of JueYuan's back as he walked farther away.
After previously using all her power to chase, now she felt exhausted, so she sat down by the well and looked around her. She was in a place higher than the Shaolin temple. Viewed from afar, the temple looked more dignified and beautiful. She looked up and saw rows and rows of mountain peaks stretching high to the sky while below there were white clouds floating here and there. Faintly she could hear the sound of the bell from the temple, brought up by the wind to where she was. For a moment she felt she was in a holy place, far away from any worldliness.