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Demi Gods & Semi Devils Book 4
XXXVI - Dreaming of real heartfelt words in a tangible fantasy
Chinese title: 天龍八部 - 梦里真 真语真幻Original novel written by Jin Yong (Louis Cha)
Wuxia Novel Fan Translation by darksinz
Chapter 36: Genuine Speech And Genuine Fantasy In A Dream
XuZhu had a shock, heed rush forward two steps. Child Elder cried out in a shrill voice, she rushed towards him. The white-clothed person said in a low voice: “Martial sister, you are so carefree here!” The voice was a female, gentle, sweet and agreeable. XuZhu walked forward two steps, he saw the white-clothed person’s slim and graceful figure, clearly she was a woman. A white silk cloth covered her face, he couldn’t see her appearance, but she called out ‘Martial sister’, thus he assumed she must be from the same sect and came here to help Child Elder, perhaps he don’t have to get involved anymore. But he looked sideways at Child Elder, her expression was extremely strange; amidst her alarm and indignant expression she also had a hint of disdain and disgust.
Child Elder rushed to XuZhu’s side, she shouted: “Quickly carry me up the mountain peak.”
XuZhu said: “This...this knot inside junior monk’s heart, I can’t resolve it yet....”
Child Elder was furious, she flipped her hand and slapped him, shouting: “This thieving **** came here to harm me, you didn’t see it?” At this moment Child Elder’s strength was not light, this slap from her immediately caused half of XuZhu’s face to swell up.
The white-clothed person said: “Martial sister, your temper is still the same as ever. The other party is not willing, yet you always force them, beat and scold them; what is the point? Little sister has some advice for you: it’s best to be courteous to others.”
XuZhu had very good opinion of her: “This person is in the same sect as Child Elder and Mr. Wuyazi, but her temperament is vastly different from them; she is so gentle and refined, fair and reasonable.”
Child Elder kept urging XuZhu: “Quickly carry me and leave, move far, far away from this ****, granny won’t forget to reward you, I will definitely heavily reward you in the future.”
The white-clothed person stood to the side in a calm and composed manner, her garment fluttered with the breeze; she was like an immortal. XuZhu assumed this person was very elegant and refine, so how come Child Elder was so afraid of her? The white-clothed person said: “Martial sister, we old sisters never see other for so many years, how come you are not happy in meeting me today; on the contrary you want to leave quickly? Little sister calculated that these past few days must be the joyous period where you revert back to a child. I heard you recruited quite a number of demons and ghosts, little sister is afraid they will take advantage of your situation to revolt. I personally came to Misty Peak's Vulture Palace to find you; I want to help you to fight off these devils, but I can’t find you.”
Child Elder saw that XuZhu was not willing to carry her to run away, she said furiously: “You calculated the time when I lose all my internal energy and martial arts and came to Misty Peak, what good intentions can you have? But you can’t predict the curious coincidence; unexpectedly someone actually carried me down Misty Peak. You found nothing up there; you must be very disappointed correct? Li QuiShui, although you found me today, but you are late by a few days. Naturally I am still not your match, but it’s not so easy for you to rob me of my entire lifetime of divine martial arts.”
The white-clothed person said: “Martial sister what are you saying? After parting with you, I am very concerned about you and think of you daily, I often thought of coming to Vulture Palace to see you. But after the misunderstanding ten years ago, every time we meet, elder sister will disregard the reason and reproach me. Firstly, little sister is afraid of provoking elder sister’s anger; secondly, I am afraid elder sister might punish and beat me, thus I don’t dare to come and visit. Elder sister you are really overly suspicious if you think I have bad intentions.” Her speech was respectful and affectionate.
XuZhu thought the Child Elder must be barbaric and unreasonable. This pair of females, one of them benevolent, the other evil, they had some hostility in the past. Obviously, it must be Child Elder’s fault.
Child Elder said angrily: “Li QiuShui, things have reached this stage already, what is the point in employing such flowery speech to ridicule me? Take a look, what is this?” When she finished speaking she stretched out her left hand and revealed the gem ring on her thumb.
Li QiuShui trembled, her voice cracked: “Sect Leader's Seven-Treasure Ring! You.... where did you get it?”
Child Elder sneered: “Obviously he gave it to me, why ask when you already knew the answer?”
Li QiuShui was slightly stumped for words, she said: “Heng, he...why would he give this to you? If you didn’t steal it then you must have snatched it away.”
Child Elder said loudly: “Li QiuShui, Carefree Sect Leader’s orders, kneel down and listen to instructions.”
Li QiuShui said: “You think you can confer this Sect Leader position onto yourself? Most likely...most likely you secretly stabbed him in the back and stole this Seven-Treasure Ring.” Initially her attitude was graceful and elegant, but after seeing the gem ring, her tone was irritable.
Child Elder said severely: “You refuse to accept Sect Leader’s orders, you intend to betray the sect, correct?”
Suddenly there was a flicker of white light, there was a ‘Peng’ sound, Child Elder’s body flew up and landed far away. XuZhu had a huge shock, he shouted: “What?” Immediately after he saw a dark red line of blood on the snowy ground. Child Elder’s severed thumb dropped onto the ground, but the gem ring was held by Li QiuShui. Evidently she was as quick as lightning, she severed Child Elder’s thumb, grabbed the gem ring and struck out a palm to send Child Elder flying. As for the weapon used to sever the thumb, or the technique, she was simply too fast, XuZhu couldn’t see them at all.
Li QiuShui said: “Martial sister, how did you harm him, it’s best if you tell little sister. Little sister has deep affection towards you, I will not embarrass you unduly.” When she obtained the gem ring, her tone changed immediately, it was extremely gentle and refine again.
XuZhu could not help but say: “Miss Li, both of you are martial sisters from the same sect, how can you be so vicious in attacking her? Mr. Wuyazi was definitely not killed by Child Elder. Monk cannot lie, I won’t deceive you.”
Li QiuShui turned towards XuZhu and said: “May I ask the religious name of great master? Where did you take your tonsure? How come you know the name of my martial brother?”
XuZhu said: “Junior monk is XuZhu, I am a Shaolin disciple. As for Mr. Wuyazi...alas, this matter is a long story...” Suddenly he saw Li QiuShui wave her sleeves lightly, the back of his knees immediately turned numb, his energy and blood reversed and turned the wrong way. He collapsed and shouted: “Hello, what are you doing? I didn’t offend you, how...how come even I am...also...also...”
Li QiuShui smiled and said: “Little master is an eminent monk from Shaolin, I am merely testing your martial arts. En, Shaolin has such a resounding reputation, but their disciple is like this. I really offended you, really sorry!”
XuZhu lay down on the ground, he peered through the white silk veil on her face, he could faintly see her face. She seemed to be 40 years of age, her facial appearance very beautiful, but there seemed to be a few lines of blood traced on her face or some kind of scar, it was hazy and indistinct. He could not help but feel a cold chill, he said: “I am the most useless disciple from Shaolin, senior you cannot look down on Shaolin just because of junior monk’s incompetence.”
Li QiuShui ignored him, she slowly walked towards Child Elder, she said: “Martial sister, these past few years, little sister missed you bitterly. Thank the heavens, little sister can finally see martial sister again. Martial sister, the benefits you showered upon me in the past, little sister remembers all of them every day and every night...”
Suddenly there was another flash of white light. Child Elder cried out miserably, a big patch of blood instantly covered the snow-white ground. Unexpectedly Child Elder’s left leg separated from her body.
XuZhu’s shock was no small matter, he shouted furiously: “Sisters from the same sect, how can you have the heart to do such vile deed? You...you...you are really worse than a beast!”
Li QiuShui slowly turned around, her left hand pulled open the white silk veil covering her face, revealing her snow white cheek. XuZhu cried out in alarm, lines criss-crossed on her face, there were four extremely long sword wounds, the lines formed the word ‘well (井)’. Due to these four sword wounds, her right eye was protruding, the left corner of her mouth was slanted and crooked; she was really ugly and unsightly. Li QiuShui said: “Many years ago, someone use a sword to scratch my face to such a state. Great master from Shaolin, you tell me, should I take revenge or not?” While speaking she slowly released the veil and covered her face again.
XuZhu said: “This...this is done by Child Elder?”
Li QiuShui said: “There is no harm in asking her yourself.”
Blood was gushing out of Child Elder’s severed leg like a wave, but she did not faint. She said: “Correct, I scratched her face. I...I succeeded in my training. When I was 26 years old, I could make my body grow up, become the same as ordinary person, but she injured me, she made me fire-deviate and I turned into a midget. You tell me, this deep hatred, should I take revenge or not?”
XuZhu looked at Li QiuShui, he considered: “If her words are true, then this person started the wicked deed first.”
Child Elder said: “Since I have already fallen into your hands, there is nothing left to say. This little monk is ‘his’ dear friend. You must not harm a single hair on this little monk. Or else, ‘he’ will never let you off.” She closed her eyes and waited for death.
Li QiuShui gave a sigh and said indifferently: “Elder sister, you are older than me, you must be much smarter than me, but you want to swindle little sister today, it’s really not so easy. If he is.... his...he is still alive, then how come this Seven-Treasure Ring fell into your hands? Fine! Little sister doesn’t have any grudge or grievance with this little monk, moreover little sister is born timid, I definitely don’t dare to feud with the big dipper of martial arts fraternity, Shaolin. This little master, little sister will not harm him. Elder sister, little sister has two ‘Nine Revolution Bear Snake Pill’, please consume it to avoid excessively bleeding.”
XuZhu heard her calling ‘Elder sister’ and ‘Elder sister’, it was incomparably affectionate and intimate, but when he thought of the situation when Child Elder asked Wu LaoDa to consume two ‘Nine Revolution Bear Snake Pill’, a burst of cold sweat came out of him.
Child Elder said angrily: “Just kill me quickly, you want me to consume this ‘Tendon Breaking Bone Decaying Pill’ and listen to your mocking insults, dream on!”
Li QiuShui said: “Little sister has good intentions towards elder sister, elder sister always misunderstood my intentions. The wound is bleeding excessively, it’s really not beneficial to elder sister’s heath. Elder sister, these two pills, please eat them.”
XuZhu looked at her hand, the palm of her jade-white hand was supporting two musty-yellow pills, they were exactly the pills that Child Elder gave to Wu LaoDa, he reflected: “Child Elder’s karmic retribution came really quick.”
Child Elder shouted: “Little monk, quickly strike your palm on the top of my head, send granny to Western Paradise to avoid suffering the insults of this ****.”
Li QiuShui laughed and said: “Little master is tired, he needs some time to rest on the ground.” Child Elder was really anxious, she spurted a mouthful of fresh blood. Li QiuShui said: “Elder sister, one of your legs is long, the other is short, if ‘he’ sees it, it might be somewhat ungraceful. Originally you are a short beauty, but now you are one side tall, one side short, a crooked beauty; won’t ‘he’ feel greatly sorry for you? Little sister will help you till the end, I will cut off both your legs!” When she finished speaking there was a flicker of white light, a weapon suddenly appeared in her hand.
This time XuZhu finally saw it clearly, she was holding onto the handle of a 1-chi dagger. This dagger seemed to be made of crystal, it was transparent. Evidently Li QiuShui wanted to make Child Elder panic, she did not attack quickly; she was waving the dagger around her unbroken leg.
XuZhu was very angry, he thought: “This female shizhu is too ruthless!” The ‘Pure Energy of Northern Darkness’ in his body circulated rapidly around his entire body, in an instant he felt the acupoints on his leg unseal, the numbness stopped immediately. He did not have time to think, he quickly rushed forward and carried Child Elder, he ran up the mountain peak swiftly.
When Li QiuShui used the technique ‘Frost Sleeve Brushing Acupoints’ to hit XuZhu, she sensed that his martials arts were mediocre, she did not take him seriously. She slowly tortured Child Elder and let him spectate by the side, since there was another person watching she gained more pleasure in tormenting her enemy. She would eventually kill XuZhu to prevent him from divulging the matter, she did not expect XuZhu to break through the acupoints which she had sealed. She was caught off guard; in an instant XuZhu carried Child Elder and rushed 5-6 zhang away. Li QiuShui extended her legs and chased after him. She laughed and said: “Little master, you are smitten by my martial sister? Don’t just look at her beautiful appearance, she is a 96 year-old old woman, she is not some 17-18 year-old young lady.” She felt at ease in her imminent victory, she knew she could overtake him in a moment, what great ability could this little monk have? Unexpectedly this swift burst of running from XuZhu caused his blood to circulate and accelerate, the strength of his ‘Pure Energy of Northern Darkness’ emerged, he was running faster and faster, they were separated by 5-6 zhang and she couldn’t catch up at all.
In a flash, she followed the slope and chase dfor around 3 li, Li QiuShui was frightened yet angry, she shouted: “Little monk, if you still refuse to stop I will use my palm strength to injure you.”
Child Elder was aware that if Li QiuShui send out her palm strength, XuZhu will immediately die by her palm, inevitably she would be captured again. She said: “Little master, many thanks for saving me, we can’t beat this ****, quickly throw me down the valley, maybe she won’t harm you.”
XuZhu said: “This...absolutely not. Junior monk definitely cannot...” He only said two sentences, his energy leaked out. Li QiuShui moved in closer, suddenly his back felt cold, an enormous slab of freezing ice seemed to stick onto his flesh. Immediately afterwards his body flew up, he fell into the valley. He knew he was hit by Li QiuShui yin-frost palm strength, but he still hugged onto Child Elder tightly. He fell straight down, he pondered: “This time our bodies will be torn and bones crushed, become a pile of mincemeat. Buddha is merciful!”
He faintly heard Li QiuShui voice carried from the top: “Aiyo, my strength is too heavy, they got off lightly...” As it turned out a mountain ledge broke off, it was covered by snow, Li QiuShui sent out her palm, she intended to make XuZhu
collapse and then capture Child Elder, and slowly use all kinds of cruel methods to torment her. She did not expect XuZhu to step onto the snow-covered ledge; the ledge broke and XuZhu, along with Child Elder, fell off the mountain.
XuZhu felt his body was empty and floating, he couldn’t control himself at all. He fell straight down, the wind made ‘Hu Hu’ noise as it rushed past his ear; the matter happened in an instant but he felt time was limitless, his fall was never-ending and eternal. He saw the snow-covered mountainside rush straight at him, he was daze by the sight, a few black dots seemed to move slowly on the snow-covered ground. He did not have time to examine carefully; he was diving swiftly down the mountainside.
Suddenly he heard someone shout: “Who is it?” A horizontal force pushed against him, it bumped against XuZhu’s waist. XuZhu’s body had yet to hit the ground as it tilted and flew out again. He glanced, the person who pushed him was Murong Fu. He was really happy, he gathered his energy to toss Child Elder out, he wanted to let Murong Fu catch her so as to save her life.
Murong Fu saw two people falling down the mountain peak, he couldn’t see clearly who they were in a short period of time. He executed his family’s consummate skill, the ‘Star Shifting Movement’, he shifted the falling force and turned it into horizontal force; the two people got shifted and flew horizontally. This ‘Star Shifting Movement’ did not use much of his own force, but XuZhu and Child Elder had fallen down from a high altitude, the force was simply too great, in a split second Murong Fu felt his vision blur, he tumbled and sat down.
XuZhu was pressured by this gigantic force, he couldn’t toss Child Elder out, his body flew around ten zhang and dropped down, both his legs suddenly stepped onto an extremely soft yet extremely tough object, there was a ‘Bo’ sound, his body spring up again. XuZhu glanced again, he saw a short and fat person, the person was shaped like a meatball and lay down on the snow-covered ground. This person was 36 Caves Verdant Rock Cave Cave-Lord Mulberry Soil Elder, his figure was big like a huge cauldron. He saw XuZhu and Child Elder flying horizontally, the power was unstoppable, he immediately lie down on the ground. It truly was a coincidence, when XuZhu dropped to the ground his legs just so happened to step onto his big belly. Although he quickly channeled his ‘Pure Energy of Northern Darkness’ and reduced the falling force, but this step on his belly caused Mulberry Soil Elder’s intestines to rupture; he died a violent death. Luckily his belly sprung up and XuZhu managed to save both his legs, his legs did not break off. With this bounce, XuZhu could not help but fly horizontally again, he rushed straight at a person, he vaguely identified the person as Duan Yu. XuZhu shout loudly: “Gentleman Duan, dodge quickly! I am rushing over!”
Duan Yu saw XuZhu’s rushing force was strangely quick, no matter what he couldn’t catch him. He shouted: “I will support you!” He turned around, he used his back as support, at the same time he executed his ‘Graceful Steps Upon the Waves’ and ran swiftly. In an instant he felt the pressure on his back was like a mountain, it pressed onto him and he could barely breathe, but with every step he took the pressure on his back would lessen by a bit; he sprinted over 30 steps with a single breath, XuZhu slid off his back lightly.
The two of them fell down from several hundred zhang high, by sheer luck Murong Fu shifted the force, Mulberry Soil Elder rebounded the force, lastly Duan Yu carried them on his back and sprinted. After these three turns of events, unexpectedly they didn’t sustain any injury. XuZhu straightened his body and said: “Buddha is merciful! Many thanks to everyone for assisting!” He was not aware that Mulberry Soil Elder was trampled to death by him, otherwise the guilt would overwhelm him. Suddenly he heard a shout, it carried from the mountainside.
After Child Elder’s leg was severed, although she bled excessively, she did not lose consciousness, she said in alarm: “That **** is chasing down. Leave quickly, leave quickly!” When XuZhu thought about Li QiuShui’s vicious and merciless methods he could not help but shiver, he carried Child Elder and rushed into the forest.
Li QiuShui rushed down quickly from the mountainside, although her footsteps were fast and nimble, ultimately they couldn’t be compared with XuZhu, who plunged straight down the mountain. In reality their distance was far apart but XuZhu was scared, he didn’t dare to linger any longer. He rushed out a few li, Child Elder said: “Put me down, tear some cloth to bind my leg wound to avoid leaving behind bloodstains and letting the **** track us. Hit my ‘HuanTiao’ and ‘QiMen’ acupoints to staunch the bleeding.”
XuZhu said: “Yes!” He followed her instructions, he also listened attentively for Li QiuShui’s movement. Child Elder retrieved a yellow pill from her bosom and ate it, she said: “This **** has deep enmity with me, she will never let me go. I still need 79 days to fully restore my divine martial arts, at that time I won’t need to fear that **** anymore. But where to hide during these 79 days?”
XuZhu wrinkled his brows and thought: “Its difficult to hide for half a day, how to hide for 79 days?”
Child Elder mumbled to herself: “If we hide in your Shaolin Temple, it’s an excellent location....”
XuZhu had a huge fright. He was trembling from head to toe. Child Elder said furiously: “Damn monk, what are you scared of? Shaolin Temple is so far from here, how can we go there?” She inclined her head and said: “If we travel west for several hundred li it would be Western Xia. That **** has a deep relationship with Western Xia, if she passes down her orders the experts from Western Xia First Class Hall will all come to search for us, then it’s difficult to escape her evil clutches. Little monk, in your opinion where should we hide?”
XuZhu said: “We should hide in deep mountains, fields and caves, hide for 79 days, I think your martial sister will not be able to find us.”
Child Elder said: “How you know? If that **** can’t find us, she will definitely return to Western Xia and gather a huge group of dogs, these several hundred hunting dogs have extremely keen noses, no matter where we hide these animals will definitely find us.”
XuZhu said: “Then we have to run south-east, move far far away from Western Xia.”
Child Elder gave a sigh, she said: “That **** has many spies under her, naturally she has already deployed her men at the southeast routes.” She muttered to herself for a long time, suddenly she clapped her hands and said: “I got it, little monk, you solved Wuyazi’s ‘Zhen Long’ chess formation, what is the first move?”
XuZhu was extremely worried about the current critical situation, unexpectedly she still had the mood to converse about chess formation. He said: “Junior monk closed my eyes and made a random move, I killed myself, I let my opponent kill a huge group of chess-pieces.”
Child Elder said happily: “Correct, for the past ten years, there are countless people who are 100 times more wise and talented than you, none of them can solve this ‘Zhen Long’ chess formation, because no one is willing to bring about their own destruction. Wonderful, wonderful! Little monk, carry me and jump up the tree, quickly travel west.”
XuZhu said: “Where are we going?”
Child Elder said: “To a place no one would ever expect us to go, although it’s dangerous but we will find a way out of the danger, we have to take this risk.”
XuZhu looked at her injured leg, he sighed and pondered: “You can’t walk, even if I am not willing to take the risk its no use.” He saw her injury was serious, he no longer cared about the rule that forbid direct contact between men and women, he carried her on his back and jump up to the treetop, he followed the directions pointed out by Child Elder and ran west swiftly.
He ran over 10 li, suddenly he heard a gentle and coy voice from far: “Little monk, have you fallen to your death? Elder sister, where are you? Little sister really misses you bitterly, quickly come out!” XuZhu’s legs turned soft when he heard Li QiuShui’s voice; he nearly fell off the treetop.
Child Elder scolded him: “Useless little monk, what are you scared of? Her voice is getting further and further, isn’t she travelling east?”
Sure enough the voice was gradually getting further and further, XuZhu was very impressed with Child Elder’s wisdom, he said: “She...how come she knows that we didn’t die after falling down from several hundred zhang high?”
Child Elder said: “Obviously someone talked too much and leaked it out.” She considered for a long time and said: “Granny never left Misty Peak for over ten years, I didn’t expect martial studies to make such rapid progress. That young gentleman who neutralized our falling force, his technique in borrowing and redirecting force, pushing aside a thousand catty with four liang, it really
reached the state of perfection. Who is the other young gentleman? How come he knows our Carefree Sect’s ‘Graceful Steps Upon the Waves’?” She mumbled to herself, she was not really asking XuZhu. XuZhu was afraid that Li QiuShui would catch up with them, he gathered his energy and ran swiftly, he didn’t hear what Child Elder said.
When they reached level ground, he chose to travel on minor roads, they rested the night in a dense jungle, the next morning they travel again; Child Elder still directed him westward. XuZhu said: “Senior, you say westward is Western Xia, I think we can’t travel west anymore.”
Child Elder sneered: “Why can’t we travel west?”
XuZhu said: “If we pass the borders of Western Xia, wouldn’t it be walking right into a trap?”
Child Elder said: “The land you are stepping on right now, it’s already the territory of Western Xia!”
XuZhu had a huge shock, he shouted: “What? This is Western Xia? But you said.... you said your martial sister has enormous power in Western Xia?”
Child Elder laugh and said: “Yes! That **** can go on a rampage in Western Xia, she can demand and do whatever she wants, but we go against expectation and break into an important place, she will never imagine it ‘til the day she dies. She looks around everywhere, but she will never expect me to be resting peacefully in her nest and practicing my skills. Haha!” She was extremely proud of herself, she said: “Little monk, I copied your method, the most stupid and most illogical chess move, but in the end it’s really wonderful and useful.”
XuZhu really admired her, he said: “Senior's divine calculation, it’s indeed hard for people to fathom, but... but...”
Child Elder said: “But what?”
XuZhu said: “Within Li QiuShui’s important place, there must be other capable people, if they discover our tracks...”
Child Elder said: “Heng, if that place is uninhabited then how can it be considered dangerous? Going against all odds and difficulties, throwing yourself into danger, that is the proper conduct of a true hero.”
XuZhu pondered: “If it’s to save a human or save the world, it’s worth it to throw myself into danger, but you and Li QiuShui are roughly the same, both of you are not really good people, why should I willingly risk this danger?”
Child Elder saw his hesitation, she had already guessed his thoughts, she said: “I ask you to brave danger, naturally I have good stuff to give you as thanks, I won’t ask you to suffer for nothing. Right now I will teach you three palm styles and three grappling styles, when you combine these six styles of martial arts it is known as ‘Plum Breaking Hands Of Heavenly Mountain’.”
XuZhu said: “Senior your injuries have yet to heal, it’s inappropriate for you to exert yourself, you should rest more.”
Child Elder rolled her eyes and said: “You resent my heretical martial arts, you disdain to learn them correct?”
XuZhu said: “This...this...junior definitely don’t have such intentions, please don’t misunderstand.”
Child Elder said: “You are the rightful successor of Carefree Sect. This ‘Plum Breaking Hands Of Heavenly Mountain’ is indeed the high-level martial art of our sect. Wuyazi ask you to go to Limitless Mountain (Mt. Wuliang) to find that **** Li QiuShui to teach you martial arts. Heng, that **** is cold and indifferent, she might not be willing to impart it to you. Today I voluntarily choose to impart it to you. It’s your enormous fortune and fate; you get it without asking. How come you are not willing to learn?”
XuZhu said: “Junior is from Shaolin, I really have no relations with Carefree Sect.”
Child Elder said: “Pei! You entire body is equipped with internal energy from Carefree Sect, you dare to claim you have no relations with Carefree Sect, you are talking rubbish. The conduct of Child Elder Of Heavenly Mountain, I never do things that benefit others and not myself. I teach you martial arts, it’s for my own benefit, I need you to act as my proxy to resist a powerful enemy. If you can’t master this six style ‘Plum Breaking Hands Of Heavenly Mountain’, you will definitely die in Western Xia. It’s not important if little monk dies in Western Xia, but your granny will also accompany you and die as well.”
XuZhu agreed and said: “Yes!” Although this person’s intention was bad, but she still said it out loud; she could be considered straightforward and upright.
Immediately Child Elder imparted him the mnemonic of the first palm style of ‘Plum Breaking Hands Of Heavenly Mountain’. This mnemonic had 7 words in a sentence, a total of 12 sentences, 84 words. XuZhu had a superb memory, Child Elder only needed to go through three times and he remembered everything. These 84 words were extremely difficult to pronounce, 7 flat tones in succession, followed by 7 oblique tones; the phonetics were completely different, it was similar to tongue twister. Luckily XuZhu usually recited “Xi tan duo, bo tan luo”, “Jiedi, jiedi, boluo seng jiedi, etc.” He was familiar with incantations in scriptures; he didn’t really find it strange.
Child Elder said: “Carry me on your back and run west, recite this mnemonic loudly.” XuZhu followed her instructions. Unexpectedly he managed to recite three words, yet he couldn’t utter the fourth word ‘Fu’; he had to stop and regain his breath and finally utter the fourth word. Child Elder raised her palm and slapped the top of his head, she scolded him: “Useless little monk, you can’t even recite the first sentence.” Although this slap was not heavy, but it hit his ‘BaiHui’ acupoint. XuZhu’s body swayed, he felt dizzy and light-headed, he recited the mnemonic again; he was obstructed on the fourth word again; Child Elder slapped him again.
XuZhu felt really strange: “How come I can’t pronounce this ‘Fu’ word smoothly?” When he recited the third time, he involuntarily gathered his energy; he blurted the ‘Fu’ word out.
Child Elder smiled and said: “Good lad, you passed the first stage!” As it turned out, the words of the mnemonic were completely opposite from regular breathing in pronunciation, it was already not easy to recite when calm and breathing normally, while running it was even more difficult to pronounce. The real purpose in reciting this mnemonic was to regulate breathing and internal energy.
As it reached noon, Child Elder ordered XuZhu to put her down, she flicked her finger, a stone flew into the sky and shot down a crow; she drank the crow’s blood and practiced her ‘Eternal Youth Never Ageing Skill’. At this moment she regained her internal energy till 17 years old, although she was still greatly inferior compared with Li QiuShui, but now it was easy for her to kill a crow with a snap of her finger.
Child Elder finished her training, she ordered XuZhu to carry her and recite the mnemonic; once he completed reciting she asked him to recite in reverse. This mnemonic was already extremely difficult to pronounce while reciting normally, when reciting in reverse it went against his breathing and obstructed his throat, disturbed his tongue and hindered his teeth, but XuZhu relied on his willpower and perseverance. The sky had yet to
turn dark, but unexpectedly when reciting the mnemonic of the first palm style, either normally or in reverse, it flowed right off his tongue and he recited with ease, there was no obstruction at all.
Child Elder was very happy, she said: “Little monk, you are really fortunate.... aiyo...aiyo!” Suddenly there was a huge change in her tone, her pair of hands turned into fists and she violently hammered the top of XuZhu’s head, she scolded him: “Little thief with no conscience, you...you must have engaged in some hidden affairs with her, I was kept in the dark all along. Little thief, you still want to deceive me? You... how can you face me?”
XuZhu had a huge shock, he quickly put her down and asked: “Senior...what you trying to say?”
Child Elder’s face had swollen purple, tears stream down her face, she shouted: “You and that **** Li QiuShui communicate in private, correct? You still
try to deny? Still refuse to admit it? If not, how come she imparted this ‘Minor Formless Skill’ to you? Little thief, you...you really conceal it from me bitterly.”
XuZhu is unable to make any sense of the matter, he ask: “Senior, what ‘Minor Formless Skill’?”
Child Elder suddenly stared stupidly, immediately she calmed down and wiped her tears, she sighed and said: “It’s nothing. Your Master is not faithful to me!”
As it turns out, when XuZhu recited the mnemonic, he cleared many difficulties swiftly, when he recited in reverse its especially smooth and easy, Child Elder suddenly recalled, it must be due to the effects of ‘Minor Formless Skill’. Child Elder, Wuyazi, Li QiuShui, although they inherited their skills from the same master, but the three of them learned different skills, Wuyazi had the highest accomplishments, his martial arts were the strongest, he succeeded his master and became Carefree Sect's Leader. As for ‘Minor Formless Skill’, their master only passed it to Li QuiShui, it was a divine skill to protect her body, the power was extremely strong. In the past years, Child Elder tried to harm her countless times, Li QiuShui relied on ‘Minor Formless Skill’ and preserved her life. Child Elder didn’t know ‘Minor Formless Skill’, but she was extremely familiar with the form and appearance of the skill. Now she noticed that not only was XuZhu equipped with this skill, the level of the skill was also deep and profound. In her shock and rage she mistook XuZhu for Wuyazi. After a while she became clear-headed, she recalled how Wuyazi deceived her and communicated with Li QiuShui in private, she was extremely angry and it aggravated her injury. In reality, she had already guessed this matter ten years ago, but now she finally had convincing proof. The three martial brother and sisters from Carefree Sect had extremely deep and profound internal energy, their martial arts were high, but other than Child Elder, the other two were not devoted in relationship matters. Originally, Wuyazi was in love with Child Elder, but afterwards Li ChunQiu deliberately sabotaged Child Elder’s training, Child Elder’s body could never grow up, she lost out in appearance, Wuyazi shifted his love to Li QiuShui, but he never broke off with Child Elder. At night, Child Elder kept cursing Wuyazi and Li QiuShui. XuZhu heard her vicious curses, but her emotions from pain and sorrow were in fact much greater than hatred and resentment, he could not help but feel sad for her, he advised: “Senior, life is variable, variable is suffering, all the worries in life, it’s all due to greed, anger and delusion. Senior, you just have to avoid these three poisons, don’t long for your martial brother, don’t hate your martial sister, your heart will naturally be free from worries.”
Child Elder said angrily: “I insist on thinking about your heartless Master, I insist on hating that evil ****. The more worries I have, the happier I am.” XuZhu shook his head, he didn’t dare to advise anymore.
The next day Child Elder taught him the mnemonic to the second palm style. Thus they kept travelling and kept on practicing their skills relentlessly. As night fell on the fifth day, they saw dense signs of human habitation ahead, they had reached a huge city. Child Elder said: “This is the capital city of Western Xia, Xingzhou, you still have one more mnemonic to master, today we have to stay at the west of Xingzhou, tomorrow we will travel 200 li westward, afterwards we will detour and come back here.”
XuZhu said: “We have to go to Xingzhou?”
Child Elder said: “Obviously we have to go to Xingzhou, how can we penetrate deep into tiger’s den without going to Xingzhou?”
Another day passed, XuZhu thoroughly memorized the six mnemonics of ‘Plum Breaking Hands Of Heavenly Mountain’. At a wilderness, Child Elder taught him how to utilize the mnemonics. With one of her legs injured, she had no choice but to sit on the ground while sparring with XuZhu. ‘Plum Breaking Hands Of Heavenly Mountain’, although it only had six styles, yet it contained the essence of Carefree Sect’s martial arts, within the palm styles and grappling styles, there was also sword art, saber art, whip art, spear art, grabbing art, axe art, etc.; all the unique finishing moves of various weapons, the moves fantastic and wonderful, the variations complicated. XuZhu couldn’t learn all of them in such a short period of time. Child Elder said: “This ‘Plum Breaking Hands Of Heavenly Mountain’ of mine, it can never be completed, in the future with higher level of internal energy, wider experience and knowledge, you can automatically incorporate any martial art moves into this six styles ‘Plum Breaking Hands’. Luckily you already mastered the mnemonics, whatever level you attain in the future it’s entirely dependent on you.”
XuZhu said: “Junior learned this martial art, it’s purely to protect senior, when senior has regained your internal energy my assignment is complete. Junior will go back to Shaolin and try to forget everything that senior taught me, I will learn Shaolin martial arts from scratch again.”
Child Elder looked at him from left to right, her expression flabbergasted. She looked as if she seen a rare monster, after a long time she finally sighed and said: “This ‘Plum Breaking Hands Of Heavenly Mountain’, how can any of your Shaolin’s martial arts be compared with it? You give up a jade and pick a roof tile, impossibly stupid. But it’s really not easy to ask little monk to forget your roots. Close your eyes and rest, when the sky turns dark we will enter Xingzhou city!”
The time was the second of the five night watch periods, Child Elder ordered XuZhu to carry her on his back, he ran to the outside of Xingzhou city, after jumping over the moat he lightly flipped over the city wall and landed softly. He saw a group of armored cavalry lifting their torches, patrolling back and forth, the soldiers were well trained and powerful, the military magnificent and powerful.
Child Elder gave her instructions softly, she ordered him to stick close to the wall and travel northwest. After walking around three li, they saw a tower, behind the tower was a building built densely layer upon layer, the structure is grand and magnificent, the roof made of glazed tile, its a dazzling sight. XuZhu saw this building was quite similar to Shaolin Temple, but it was more splendid and majestic, he said softly: “Buddha is merciful, there is a big temple here.”
Child Elder coud not help but laugh softly, she said: “Little monk really has no knowledge, this is the imperial palace of Western Xia, but you say it’s a big temple.”
XuZhu had a huge shock, he said: “This is imperial palace? We come here for what?”
Child Elder said: “To seek protection from the emperor. Li QiuShui can’t find our corpses; she knows I am not dead. Even if she has to turn over the entire Earth she will definitely try to find me. Within 2000 li, there is only one place she won’t search; it’s her own home.”
XuZhu said: “Senior is really smart, we endure for one day and senior’s internal energy will increase by another one year. We will go to your sister’s house.”
Child Elder said: “This is her house...be careful, someone is coming.”
XuZhu shrank his body and hid in a corner, he saw four people moving from east to west, immediately after another four people came from the west, as these eight people passed by each other, they clapped their palms lightly, and moved past. These eight people were nimble and
athletic; clearly their martials arts were not weak. Child Elder said: “The front guard patrol has passed, quickly flip over the palace’s wall, another group of patrol will come soon after.”
XuZhu saw their influence and power, he became timid and said: “There are so many experts in the palace, we will be in trouble if they see us. We better go to your sister’s house.”
Child Elder said angrily: “I already said it before, this is her house.”
XuZhu said: “But you said this is the imperial palace.”
Child Elder said: “That **** is the mother of the king of Western Xia, she is the Consort Dowager, the imperial palace is her home.”
This sentence was beyond XuZhu’s expectation; he was dumbfounded. Another four people moved from north to south. When the four people moved past, XuZhu said: “Sen.....” He only uttered half the word as Child Elder stretched out her hands to press his mouth. Another four people jumped out from behind the wall, they made their rounds quietly. These four people arrived suddenly, but they never expected that someone was hiding in the dark corner of the wall. When these four people move far away, Child Elder slapped his back and said: “Go to that small alley.”
XuZhu saw how the sixteen people patrolled the palace, he knew he was in a dangerous place. Without the guidance of Child Elder, even if he withdrew quickly he would definitely be discovered by the many guards, at once he followed her orders and entered the small alley. Both sides of the alley were high walls; in reality the alley was just a gap between two Palaces.
He wove through this narrow passage, he hid for a moment within a peony shrub, when the eight guards patrolled pass he entered a large rock garden. This rock garden was winding and headed north, it stretched long and continuous for 50-60 zhang. For every 10 zhang he took, he would follow Child Elder’s instruction and hide himself, it was really strange, not long after he hid himself, the guards would definitely show up and patrol, it seemed as if Child Elder was the supervisor of the guards, where they patrol, when they patrol, she knew everything like the back of her hands, she predicted everything accurately. They evaded and dodged for over an hour. The rooms in their vicinity were all simple and crude. The guards no longer appeared anymore.
Child Elder pointed at a big stone house to the left and said: “Go there.” XuZhu saw there was a large vacant land in front of the stone house, the moon light shone on the plot of vacant land, there was no place to hide in the surroundings. At once he drew his breath and rushed forward. The walls of the stone house seemed to be made of 5-chi square rock, it was exceptionally thick, the entrance was made of eight rows of pine trees; the trees were chopped in half and nailed together. Child Elder said: “Pull open the door and go in!”
XuZhu’s heart was thumping madly, his voice trembled: “Your...your martial sister...is here?” He remembers Li QiuShui’s vicious methods, he didn’t dare to enter.
Child Elder said: “No. Pull open the door.”
XuZhu gripped the iron ring on the door, he pulled open the door; the door was solid and heavy. Behind the front door was another door, a burst of cold air seeped out from behind the door. Currently the weather was hot; although snow still covered the mountain peak, it had already melted on level ground; the flowers flourished, but there was a thin layer of frost on the door. Child Elder said: “Push the interior door.” XuZhu stretched out his hands and pushed, the door open slowly, a narrow slit appeared between the door and a gust of cold air gushed out. He pushed open the door and entered, the interior was piled up with cloth-sacks, they were stacked together and were as high as the ceiling; evidently this place is a granary. There was a narrow passage to the left.
XuZhu felt really curious, he whispered: “How come this granary is so cold?”
Child Elder laughed and said: “Close the door. We have entered the ice storehouse, nothing will happen to us now!”
XuZhu said curiously: “Ice storehouse? This is not a granary?” While speaking, he closed the two sets of doors.
Child Elder was in a very good mood, she laughed and said: “Let’s go in and take a look.”
Once the two sets of doors were closed, the interior was dark. XuZhu fumbled around and entered from the left side, as he moved to the interior the cold air was getting thicker and thicker, he extend his left hand and touched something; it was a cold, stiff and damp object, evidently it was a big block of solid ice. While he was baffled, Child Elder had already lit a torch. In an instant a strange sight appeared before his eyes, he was surrounded by blocks of square shaped ice chunks. The light from the torch reflected off the ice chunks, the light was suddenly green and suddenly blue, it was really a strange sight.
Child Elder said: “Let’s descend to the bottom.” She leaned against the ice chunk, she hopped with her right leg and lead the way. She made a few turns around the ice chunks and entered a big hole by the corner of the house. XuZhu followed her; he saw a row of stone steps. After walking down the steps there was yet another huge house filled with chunks of ice. Child Elder said: “Most likely there is another level in this ice storehouse.” Sure enough, there was another huge stone room underneath the second level; it was also filled with chunks of ice.
Child Elder extinguished the torch, she sat down and said: “We’ve penetrated deep into the third level, even though that **** is smart and crafty she will not be able to find us.” She exhaled a long breath. For the past few days she had appeared calm and cool, but in her heart she was really anxious and worried. Western Xia is full of experts, they had penetrated deep into the interior of the imperial palace and avoided the attention of numerous experts. To achieve that, firstly you need to be vigilant and cautious, secondly you have to be familiar with the way things are carried out in the palace and with the guards movements. Only now did she finally feel at ease.
XuZhu sighed and said: “Strange! Strange!”
Child Elder said: “What so strange?”
XuZhu said: “Unexpectedly Western Xia stores these worthless ice chunks in a cellar, what is the purpose?”
Child Elder laughed and said: “These ice chunks are worthless in winter, but during the hot summer, this ice is very precious. Think about it, on the main street, in the open field, the sun is like steaming hot charcoal, everyone’s sweat is like sticky paste; if they have two big blocks of ice beside them, or put a few ice cubes inside the lotus seed and mung bean soup, what is the feeling?”
XuZhu suddenly realized the truth, he said: “Wonderful, wonderful! But to carry so many ice chunks and store them, the effort involved is truly not small; isn’t it very troublesome?”
Child Elder found this funny, she said: “The Emperor has hundreds of attendants at his beck and call, he can get whatever he wants; why would he even bother about troublesome or not? You think the emperor has to personally move these big ice chunks into the storehouse?”
XuZhu nodded his head and said: “The Emperor really leads an extremely comfortable life. But his comfort is really a bit too much, he will exhaust his karmic reward, his next life might not be good. Aiyo, the emperor wants to use these ice chunks, he will frequently send people here to fetch it, won’t they see us?”
Child Elder said: “The imperial palace has ‘Sky’, ‘Earth’, ‘Mysterious’, ‘Yellow’, ‘House’, ‘Time’, ‘Flood’ and ‘Desolate’, eight ice storehouses; this ice storehouse is ‘Desolate’. They have to finish withdrawing the ice from the seven other storehouses before coming to this storehouse. They might not come here for three months; at that time, there is no need to worry!”
XuZhu said: “Senior, you know everything, have you been here before? For example, you knew when and where the guards will patrol; how come you know everything?”
Child Elder said: “Obviously I came to this imperial palace before. I seek that **** to vent my anger, how can it be only once? The breathing of those guards is thick and heavy, I heard them 10 zhang away; what is so strange about it?”
XuZhu said: “So it is. Senior is born with divine ears, only extraordinary people can hope to reach your level.”
Child Elder said: “What born with divine ears? With deep internal energy, you can train this kind of skill, it’s really easy. I will teach you.”
When XuZhu heard the phrase ‘you can train this kind of skills’, he suddenly remembered, there were no birds and animals within this ice storehouse; it was difficult to obtain warm blood, how was she going to practice her skill? There was a lot of dried food and cereals in the storehouse, but they couldn’t light a fire in the ice storehouse; how to cook the rice and oats for food?
Child Elder saw he is silent for a long time, she ask: “What are you thinking about?” XuZhu told her, Child Elder laugh and said: “You think those cloth-sack contains dried food and cereals? That was only cotton; it was to prevent external heat from coming in and melting the ice. Hey hey, do you want to eat cotton or not?”
XuZhu said: “Then we have to go outside and look for food?”
Child Elder said: “The imperial kitchen has no lack of chicken and duck. But there isn’t much essence in the blood of chicken, duck, pig and sheep. It’s not as good as the sika deer and antelope on the snowy mountain. We will go to the imperial garden to catch some red-crowned cranes, peacocks, mandarin ducks, parrots, etc, I will drink the blood, you eat the meat, we can survive like this.”
XuZhu quickly said: “No, no. Junior monk cannot kill and eat meat.” He pondered, since Child Elder was safe here there was no need for him to accompany her anymore. He said: “Junior monk is a Buddhist disciple, I cannot see you kill living things, I.... I have to leave now.”
Child Elder said: “Where you going?”
XuZhu said: “Junior monk will return to Shaolin Temple.”
Child Elder said angrily: “You cannot leave, you have to stay here and accompany me, wait until I complete my divine martial arts and kill that ****, only then I will let you go.”
XuZhu heard her wanting to kill Li QiuShui after completing her skills; he was even more unwilling to accompany her in this evil plot. He stood up and said: “Senior, junior monk has to advise you but you will surely not listen to me. Moreover junior monk’s knowledge is superficial, I am clumsy and inarticulate, I can’t think of anything to persuade you. You have to resolve the grievance not deepen the grievance, it is time to let go.” While speaking he walked towards the stone steps.
Child Elder shouted loudly: “Stop moving, I forbid you to leave.”
XuZhu said: “Junior monk has to go!” Originally he wanted to say ‘I hope you can complete your divine skills’, but Li QiuShui would be in danger if she completed her skills; moreover Wu LaoDa and the 36 Cave-Lords and 72 Island-Lords, as well as Murong Fu, Duan Yu, etc, all of them will die a violent death. He was getting more and more afraid when he thought about it, he stretched out his legs and leapt up the stone steps.
Suddenly his knees felt numb, he flipped over and fell down. Immediately after, his waist ached, his entire body was paralyzed; he knew his acupoint was sealed by Child Elder. In the darkness her body was motionless, she only need to hit the empty air and his vital acupoint was sealed. It seemed he could only allow himself to be manipulated before such an expert. He was completely defenseless and couldn’t resist at all. He calmed down and chanted scriptures: “Arriving at hardship during cultivation, instinctively think about coercing by force, neglecting fundamentals and concentrating on details, excessive love and hate. Although I did not commit offense, but I lead myself to it, I willingly accept my suffering without complaint. The scripture says: ‘Do not worry during hardship, you will gain wisdom....’”
Child Elder interrupted: “What you ghost scriptures you chanting?”
XuZhu said: “Excellent, excellent! This is Bodhidharma’s “Four Passage Scripture To Enter The Way”.”
Child Elder said: “Dharma is the ancestor of your Shaolin Temple. I only know he possessed exceptional talent, but how come his so long-winded- a stinky monk with no moral backbone.”
XuZhu said: “Ancestor master is merciful, senior please don’t spout nonsense.”
Child Elder said: “Your ghost scripture says: ‘Arriving at hardship during cultivation, its due to the results of past life. You have to accept it willingly, do not blame and complain.’ Then no matter how others viciously torture you, you willingly accept it, never blame them and complain at all?”
XuZhu said: “Junior monk’s cultivation is superficial, when assaulted by external demons my inner-self will give rise to hate. I am afraid its hard for me to resist.”
Child Elder said: “Now you don’t even have a tiny bit of Shaolin martial arts. The martial arts of Carefree Sect, you only learned a tiny bit; you lose more than you gain, extremely terrible. Just listen to my orders. I will impart all the divine martial arts of Carefree Sect to you, at that time you will be unequalled under the heavens. Isn’t that glorious?”
XuZhu pressed his hands together, he chanted scriptures again: “All living things have no self, suffering and happiness is all predestined. The glory and reputation is all due to the merits of past life, now you reap the benefits. Karmic reward is exhausted and returns to nothing, how can it be a happy affair? Gains and losses are predestined, there is no difference.”
Child Elder shouted: “Pei pei, rubbish! Your martial arts are weak and lowly, you endure abuse from people everywhere you go; it’s similar to you having your acupoints sealed by me, I want to beat you and scold you, you can’t resist at all. It’s similar to my incomplete divine martial arts, I have no choice but to hide here, that **** Li QiuShui is roaming outside, overbearing and tyrannical. Your Master gave you this painting, he asked you to go beg someone to teach you martial arts and punish that little demon Ding ChunQiu. In this world, the strong gets to bully people, the weaklings have to suffer and endure; if you want to be safe and happy then you must be the strongest person under the heavens.”
XuZhu chanted his scriptures: “Common people fantasize constantly, they are greedy in all aspects, they seek fame and glory. The wise men understands the truth, their logic and action is opposite, they feel at ease and let things take their own course, their form adapts to the circumstances. There is suffering in all three realms. Who can be peaceful? The scripture says: ‘Those who seek will find suffering, those who do not seek will find happiness.’”
Although XuZhu had no talent in debating, was extremely familiar with scriptures. This "Four Passage Scripture To Enter The Way" was written by the eminent monk Tanlin. Dharma travelled from Southern India to China and accepted Tanlin as his disciple. The scripture recorded the words of Dharma. There was only a few hundred words, all Shaolin monks must definitely study it. He recited the scripture without thinking, but it refuted all of Child Elder’s words.
Child Elder’s natural disposition was competitive and eager to excel, for over ten years she gave orders and others complied; obviously none of her female servants dared to refute her words. Those men from 36 Caves and 72 Islands, they all treated her orders as God’s will, but today a little monk refuted her words and left her speechless. In her anger, she raised her right palm and struck the top of XuZhu’s head. When her palm was about to hit the ‘BaiHui’ acupoint on his head, she suddenly remember: “If I kill this monk with a single palm, he will die without knowing and without feeling, then his fallacious argument is correct and I am wrong, heng heng, how can this be so?” She withdrew her palm, she regulated her breathing and energy.
After a while she jumped up the stone steps, she pushed open the door and went out. She broke a tree branch and used it as a crutch, she rushed to the imperial garden. Currently her internal energy was competent, although she had lost a leg, her body was still light as a leaf; how can those guards detect her presence? She caught two red-crowned cranes and two peacocks and returned to the ice storehouse. XuZhu heard her going out and coming back again, he also heard the calls of birds, he chanted ‘Buddha is merciful’, since he couldn’t do anything now, he could only let nature take its course.
The next day at noon, there was no day-time and night-time in the ice storehouse, the room was pitch-black. The internal energy within Child Elder was boiling and rolling around, she knew the time to practice her skill had come; she bit the throat of a red-crowned crane and sucked its blood. After training her skill, she bit the throat of yet another red-crowned crane.
XuZhu heard the noise, he advised: “Senior, this bird, please leave it till tomorrow before drinking, why harm another life?”
Child Elder laughed and said: “I have good intentions, its for you to eat.”
XuZhu had a huge shock, he said: “No, no! Junior monk absolutely cannot eat it.”
Child Elder stretched out her left-hand, she grabbed his chin, XuZhu couldn’t resist, his mouth involuntarily opened up. Child Elder inverted the red-crowned crane, she poured the crane’s blood into his mouth. XuZhu felt warm blood flowing down his throat, he struggled and tried to seal off his throat, but his acupoint was controlled by Child Elder, there was nothing he can do. He was angry and anxious, two streams of hot tears streamed down from his eyes.
Child Elder drained all the crane’s blood, her right hand pressed against the ‘LingTai’ acupoint on his back, she helped him regulate his breathing. Immediately after she hit his ‘GuanYuan’, ‘TianTu’ and ‘LiangXue’ acupoints so that he couldn’t vomit the blood out. She laughed happily and said: “Little monk, your Buddhist’s precepts, do not eat meat and fish, you broke it correct? Since you already broke one precept, why don’t you break another one? Heng, if there is anyone who dare to oppose me, I will complete with him till the end. In short, I will make sure you can’t be a monk.” XuZhu was extremely angry; he was speechless.
Child Elder laughed and said: “The scripture says: ‘Those who seek will find suffering, those who do not seek will find happiness.’ You wholeheartedly wish to abide by the Buddhist precepts, then you are ‘seeking’, since you seek and did not get it, then your heart must be feeling bitter. You have to let nature take its own course, adapt your form according to the circumstances; if you can abide the Buddhist precepts then abide it, if you can’t abide it then don’t abide it, only then its ‘non-seeking’, haha, haha!”
This went on for over a month, Child Elder regained her internal energy to when she was 60 years-old. When she left the ice storehouse and went to the garden her movement was like a formless demon, if not out of fear of Li QiuShui she would have left the imperial palace. Everyday she would drink blood and train her skill, she would seal XuZhu’s acupoints and force the blood and meat of birds and animals into XuZhu’s stomach; after four hours, when the food in his stomach was digested and he couldn’t vomit it out anymore, she would then release his acupoints. XuZhu was compelled to devour raw meat, his life spent in darkness, he really couldn’t bear this bitter suffering. He could only rely on a sentence in a scripture ‘Do not worry during hardship, you will gain wisdom’ to forcibly console himself, but in reality he ‘worry during hardship, hard to gain wisdom’, thus he suffered more hardships.
On this day, Child Elder heard him chanting ‘arriving at hardship during cultivation, instinctively think about coercing by force’, ‘willingly accept it, without complain or blame’, she sneered: “Rabbit, deer, crane, bird, you’ve tasted all sorts of meat already, are you still considered a monk? Chanting scriptures for what?”
XuZhu said: “Junior monk was compelled by senior, I did not do it voluntarily, thus it’s not considered violating precepts.”
Child Elder sneered: “If nobody compels you, you will definitely not violate your precepts?”
XuZhu said: “Junior monk cherishes my clean self, I definitely don’t dare to break Buddhist’s rules and regulations.”
Child Elder said: “Good, we will try it out.” Thus she did not force XuZhu to drink blood and eat meat anymore. XuZhu was extremely happy, he expressed his thanks repeatedly.
The next day Child Elder still did not force him to eat meat and drink blood. XuZhu was so hungry that his stomach groaned, he said: “Senior, your divine martials arts are nearly complete, you don’t need junior monk to serve you anymore. Junior monk have to leave.”
Child Elder said: “I forbid you to leave.”
XuZhu said: “Junior monk is very hungry, then I have to trouble senior to find some vegetables or rice for me to eat.”
Child Elder said: “It’s possible.” She sealed his acupoints to prevent him from running away and went out. After a while she return to the ice storehouse.
XuZhu smelled a burst of fragrant aroma, at once his mouth was full of saliva and he craved for it. There were three ‘Tuo Tuo Tuo’ sounds; Child Elder put three big bowls in front of him and said: “One bowl of simmered fried meat, one bowl of steamed fat chicken, one bowl of sweet and sour carp; quickly eat it!”
XuZhu was frightened, he said: “Amituofo, junior monk would rather die then eat it.” The fragrant aroma of the food rushed into his nose, he forcibly restrained himself and focused on chanting scriptures. Child Elder grabbed a chicken, she ate it with gusto, she praised repeatedly, but XuZhu kept chanting.
On the third day, Child Elder went to the imperial kitchen again and stole a few bowls of meat dishes, ham, sea cucumber, bear paw, roast duck, the aroma was extremely rich and heavy. Although XuZhu was so hungry that he became weak and feeble, he still endured and refused to eat. Child Elder pondered: “You are eager to win in front of me, you will definitely refuse to eat it.” Thus she left the ice storehouse and waited outside, she did not return for half a day, she thought: “I am afraid you will definitely stealthily eat the food.” Unexpectedly, when she returned and inspected the food under bright light, XuZhu had not even touched a single drop of soup.
On the ninth day, XuZhu did not have the strength to chant scriptures anymore; he only bit a few ice cubes to quench his thirst, he did not eat any of the meat dish in front of him. Child Elder was furious, she grabbed his chest and stuffed the braised pork into his mouth. She had forced XuZhu to eat meat, thus she knew she lost the competition. In her rage, she slapped him 30-40 times and scolded him: “Damn monk, you set yourself against granny, you want to test how powerful granny is!” XuZhu was neither annoyed nor angry, he chanted scriptures softly.
From that point onwards, Child Elder forcibly stuffed him full of meat and fish. XuZhu resigned himself and endured; apart from chanting scriptures, he slept all day long.
On this day, while dreaming in his sleep,
XuZhu suddenly detected a sweet fragrance. This fragrance was not from the burning of sandalwood or from the meat dish, but he felt safe and peaceful, an indescribable feeling of comfort. In his dazed state he felt some soft object leaning on his chest, he was startled and woke up. He stretched his hands and touched the object; he felt the object was smooth soft and warm; unexpectedly it was a naked person. He had a huge shock and said: “Senior, you...what happen?”
The person said: “I...where am I? How come its so cold?” The voice is tender and lovely, it was a female voice, it was not Child Elder.
XuZhu was even more shocked, his voice trembled: “You...you...who are you?”
The female said: “I...I…I am so cold, who are you?” While speaking she leaned closer to XuZhu.
XuZhu was about to stand up to avoid her, while he pushed out to support himself his left hand held onto the maiden’s shoulder, his right hand wrapped around her soft and slender waist. XuZhu was 24 years old, in his entire life he had only communicated with three females: AhZi, Child Elder and Li QiuShui; before that, he was always at Shaolin Temple, chanting scriptures and meditating. However it is human inborn nature to be lustful. Although XuZhu adhered strictly to Shaolin’s rules and regulations, during spring when all the flowers boom, he would inevitably fantasize about the matters between male and female. But he don’t know what a proper female looked like on the inside, thus his fantasy and imagination were weird and bizarre, he was unable to determine the correct answer and he never dared to discuss with his fellow martial brothers. At this moment, his hands touched the soft smooth and delicate skin of the maiden, his heart nearly jumped out from his chest, however it was difficult for him to loosen his grip.
The maiden call out delicately, she turned her body and hooked her hands on his neck. XuZhu felt her breath was like orchid, the sweet fragrant of her lip rouge assaulted him, he couldn’t help but feel giddy, his entire body shivered, his voice trembled: “You.... you.... you...”
The maiden said: “I am so cold, but my heart is burning.” XuZhu couldn’t control himself, he exerted force in his hands and hugged her to his bosom. The maiden gave two ‘Wu Wu’ sound, her lips moved closer, both of them kissed.
Wuyazi stripped XuZhu off all his Shaolin martial arts, XuZhu lost all his discipline. He was a robust man unfamiliar with sexual affairs, under the assault of the number one temptation under the heaven, unexpectedly he did not resist at all, he hugged the maiden even tighter. At this moment his mind is somewhere else, he was not aware of his current location. The maiden’s passion was like fire, she treated XuZhu as her lover.
Nobody knew how much time has passed, XuZhu’s lust gradually faded. He shouted loudly: “Aiyo!” He was about to jump up.
However the maiden embraced him tightly, she said delicately: “Don’t...don’t leave me.” XuZhu’s mind was clear and bright, but it only lasted for a split second, immediately after he hugged the maiden to his bosom again. His pity secretly turned into love and affection, unexpectedly he did not hate her.
Both of them wrapped themselves around each other. After a long time, the maiden said: “Good brother, who are you?”
The sentence is tender and sweet, but when XuZhu heard it, it was like a thunderbolt splitting the air, his voice trembled: “I... I made a huge mistake.”
The maiden said: “What huge mistake?”
XuZhu stammered, he is unable to reply, he said: “I...I am...” Suddenly the side of his torso felt numb, his acupoint was sealed, immediately after a piece of felt covered him, the naked maiden left his embrace. XuZhu shouted: “You... don’t go, don’t go!” In the darkness someone laughed three times, it was Child Elder. XuZhu was so shocked that he nearly fainted, his entire body turned limp, his mind completely blank. He heard Child Elder grab the maiden and leave the ice storehouse.
After a while, Child Elder return, she laugh and said: “Little monk, I let you enjoy romantic happiness in life, should you give thanks?”
XuZhu said: “I...I...” His mind was muddled and confused; he was speechless.
Child Elder released his acupoints, she laughed and said: “Buddhist disciples need to guard against lust or not? Did you break this rule yourself? Or did granny force you? You words are empty, you are a lascivious and womanizing little monk, you tell me, who won? Haha, haha!” She was laughing louder and louder, she was extremely proud of herself.
XuZhu suddenly understood, Child Elder was angry over his refusal to eat meat, thus she captured the maiden and used her to tempt him to break his precepts. He couldn’t help but feel remorseful, he was ashamed, suddenly he leapt up and swiftly smashed his head against the ice block, there was a loud ‘Peng’ sound; he collapsed.
Child Elder had a huge shock, she did not expect this little monk to be so resolute and upright. He had just return from the land of the tender and immediately committed suicide. She quickly lifted him up and examined him, luckily he was still breathing, but the top of his head had a hole, blood gushed out. She quickly bandaged his wound and let him consume a ‘Nine Revolution Bear Snake Pill’, she scolded him: “Are you crazy? If not for the ‘Pure Energy of Northern Darkness’ within your body, this knock would have killed you.”
XuZhu cried: “Junior monk committed a grave sin, I harmed others and harmed myself, I cannot live anymore.” Child
Elder said: “Hey hey, if all monks commit suicide after breaking a precept, then how many will still be alive in this world?”
XuZhu was stumped for words. He suddenly recalled, committing suicide was also a huge taboo. In his rage unexpectedly he had broken yet another precept.
He was leaning against an ice chunk, his mind cloudy. He blamed and condemned himself, but he could not help but think about the maiden, all kinds of tender affairs between them, endless thoughts rushed through his mind. Suddenly he asked: “That.... that lady, who is she?”
Child Elder laughed out loud and said: “That lady is 17 years-old, beautiful, elegant and graceful; her beauty is without equal.”
In the darkness, XuZhu couldn’t see the appearance of the maiden, but their flesh had intertwined, her soft voice entered his ear, he imagined her to be an extremely beautiful woman. He heard Child Elder describe her as ‘beautiful, elegant and graceful, her beauty without equal’, he couldn’t help but give a long sigh. Child Elder laughd and said: “You miss her or not?” XuZhu didn’t dare to lie, but he also didn’t dare to admit the matter directly; he sighed again.
Several hours passed, his soul seemed to have left his body, he was in a daze. Child Elder put chicken, duck, meat, etc, in front of him, XuZhu had already given up and abandoned himself to despair, he reckoned: “I am a sinner, since I already entered other sect, I also committed murder and lust, how can I still be considered a Buddhist’s disciple?” He picked up a chicken and ate it, but he only ate the food without concern for the taste, he was in a daze as tears streamed down his cheeks. Child Elder laughed and said: “Straightforward conduct, good lad!”
Four hours later, unexpectedly Child Elder went out again and brought that naked maiden back. She delivered here to XuZhu’s embrace, afterwards she went to the second level and let both of them remain at the third level.
The maiden sighed and said: “I am having this strange dream again, I am really scared, but also.... also....”
XuZhu said: “But also?”
The maiden hugged his neck, she said delicately: “But also delighted.” While speaking she presssed her right cheek to his left cheek. XuZhu felt her face was warm; he was aroused, he stretched out his hands and hugged her slender waist. The maiden said: “Good brother, am I dreaming or not? If I am dreaming, how come I can feel you hugging me? I can touch your face, your chest, your arm.” While speaking she gently caressed XuZhu’s cheek and chest, she said: “But if this is not a dream, then how come I am sleeping here for no reason, suddenly without...without clothes, in this dark and cold place? This place is cold and dark, but you are here, you are waiting for me, to pity me, to cherish me?”
XuZhu pondered: “So you got captured by Child Elder, you are also in a daze, your mind unclear.”
He heard the maiden’s gentle voice: “Normally I am embarrassed by the voice a strange man, but how come when I am here, my.... my mind is so unrestrained, I can’t control myself? ‘Sigh’, if this is a dream it doesn’t resemble a dream, but if this is not a dream it resembles a dream. Last night I had this strange dream, tonight I had it again, could it be.... could it be our predestined relationship in previous generations? Good brother, who are you exactly?”
XuZhu was scared out of his wits, he said: “I.... I am...” He wanted to say ‘I am a little monk’, but he couldn’t say it.
The maiden stretched out her hand to cover his mouth, she said softly: “Don’t tell me, I... I am scared.”
XuZhu hugged her body tightly with both arms, he asked: “You are scared of what?”
The maiden said: “Scared that if you say something, I will wake up from this dream. You are the lover in my dream, I call you ‘Meng Lang’, ‘Meng Lang’, ‘Meng Lang’, tell me, is this name alright?” Initially she covered XuZhu’s mouth with her hands, but she shifted them and gently caressed his eyes and nose. She seemed to be showing affection yet she seemed to be using her hands as eyes, she wanted to know his appearance. The warm and soft hand touched his eyebrow, his forehead, the top of his head.
XuZhu had a huge shock, he worried: “Terrible, she touched my bald head.” Unexpectedly the maiden touched a patch of short hair. As it turns out, XuZhu had stayed in the ice storehouse for nearly two months, adding the days that had passed since leaving Shaolin, his bald head had long grown 3-chi long hair.
The maiden said delicately: “Meng Lang, why is your heart beating so fast? Why aren’t you speaking?”
XuZhu said: “I...I am the same as you, I am happy yet afraid. I tarnished your clean and pure body, I can’t repay you even if I die ten thousand times.”
The maiden said: “Don’t say that, we are dreaming, no need to be scared. What you call me?”
XuZhu said: “En, you are the goddess in my dream, I will call you ‘Meng Gu’, is this good?”
The maiden clapped her hands and laughed: “Good, you are my ‘Meng Lang’, I am your ‘Meng Gu’. This sweet dream, we have to dream for a lifetime; we will never wake up.” They were deep in passion, both of them immersed in this beautiful dream; was it really fantasy? Or are they in heaven?
After several hours, Child Elder finally used a felt cloth to wrap the maiden and carried her out.
The next day, Child Elder brought the maiden to XuZhu again. Both of them met each other for the third time, their confusion gradually faded, their shame diminished; their love and passion was everlasting and unlimited, they rejoiced in their love. XuZhu didn’t dare to reveal the truth about how they managed to meet up. The maiden also treated it as a fantasy, she did not inquire how she had ended up in this dream.
These three days of being entangled in love, XuZhu felt the dark and cold cellar
was like paradise; why the need to bother about Buddhism or seek salvation?
On the fourth day, XuZhu ate bear paws, venison, etc, various delicacies brought by Child Elder. He expecte Child Elder to go out and bring the maiden, unexpectedly he kept on waditing but Child Elder sat down silently and did not move. XuZhu was like an ant in a hot pan, he couldn’t sit still; he wanted to inquire but he didn’t dare.
He endured for four hours, his worried movements, all kinds of actions, Child Elder heard everything, but she ignored them. XuZhu couldn’t endure anymore, he ask: “Senior, that lady, is.... is she a palace maid?”
Child Elder groaned, she did not reply. XuZhu pondered: “You refuse to reply, there is nothing I can do.” But when he thought about the tender affection of the maiden, he was really hyperactive and uncontrollable, he couldn’t restrain himself; after enduring a while, he had no choice but to plead earnestly: “I beg you to do a good deed, tell me please.”
Child Elder said: “Don’t talk to me today, ask me tomorrow.” Although XuZhu was really anxious but he didn’t dare to inquire again.
With great difficulty he endured till the next day, after eating, XuZhu said: “Senior....”
Child Elder said: “You want to know the identity of that lady, how can it be difficult? Even if you want to meet her everyday, never separate again, its also easy...”
XuZhu was so happy that his eagerness was hard to bear, he didn’t know what to say. Child Elder said: “You want to know?”
XuZhu didn’t dare to reply momentarily, he stammered: “I don’t know how to repay senior.”
Child Elder said: “I don’t need you to repay anything. My ‘Eternal Youth Never Aging Skill’ will be perfected in a few days time. These few days are very important, I cannot relax or slack off for a single moment, I cannot even go out to find food; I already prepared all the cooked food and animals. You want to meet that beautiful lady, you have to wait until I complete my skill.”
Although XuZhu was disappointed, but he knew Child Elder was telling the truth. Luckily it was only a few days he’d have to endure the pain of missing her, he immediately replied: “Yes! All according to senior’s command.”
Child Elder said: “Once my divine skill is complete, I will immediately seek that **** Li QiuShui for revenge. Originally that **** is definitely not my match, but unfortunately that **** severed my leg, I
suffered great loss in my energy; I am not certain I can take my revenge. In the event I die by her hands, I can’t bring that lady to you, it’s fated, there is nothing I can do. Unless... unless...”
XuZhu’s heart was thumping madly, he asked: “Unless what?”
Child Elder said: “Unless you agree to assist me.”
XuZhu said: “Junior’s martials arts are low and weak, how can I help?”
Child Elder said: “I will duel with that ****, the outcome of the battle will hang by a thin line. It’s difficult for her to defeat me, but it’s also difficult for me to kill her. From today onwards I will teach you another martial art, ‘Six Solar Palms Of Heavenly Mountain’. At the crucial moment of our duel you will use this palm style, you only need to press your hand on her, her energy will drain off, she will lose for sure.”
XuZhu felt really awkward, he pondered: “Although I broke Buddhist precepts, and I can’t be a Buddhist disciple anymore, but to assist her in killing someone, this kind of evil deed greatly goes against my conscience, I definitely cannot do it.” He replied: “I ought to agree to assist senior, but if you kill her as a result of my action then junior will have committed another grave sin; henceforth I will sink into vice and I can’t reincarnate anymore.”
Child Elder said angrily: “Hey, damn monk, you can’t be a monk anymore, but you still have the heart of a monk; what kind of thing are you? Li QiuShui is a evil-doer, how can you sin by killing her?”
XuZhu said: “Even for a wicked traitor and evil person, we ought to instruct and reform them; we cannot be rash and commit murder.”
Child Elder’s anger burst out, she said sternly: “You refuse to listen to me, don’t ever think about seeing that lady again. You better think carefully.” XuZhu was so sad that he was speechless; he simply chanted scriptures in his heart.
Child Elder saw he was silent for a long time, she said happily: “For the sake for that little beauty, you have no choice but to agree, correct?”
XuZhu said: “I definitely cannot agree to harm another human life just for the sake of my own happiness. If I can never see that lady again, then it’s predestined in my past life. Since we exhausted our predestined relationship, I cannot force it. Since I cannot force it, let alone being forced to commit evil? I definitely cannot do it.” When he finished speaking, he recited scripture: “It’s constructed for a reason, once fate is exhausted it returns to nothing. Gains and losses are predestined, there is no addition or subtraction.” Although he said it out loud, inside he was aware that he could never meet that maiden again; he was very sad.
Child Elder said: “I ask you again, will you learn ‘Six Solar Palms Of Heavenly Mountain’ or not?”
XuZhu said: “I cannot comply, senior please forgive me.”
Child Elder said angrily: “Then get lost, scram, go far far away.”
XuZhu stood up, he bowed deeply and said: “Senior you have to take care of yourself.” He thought about their meeting. Although she made him violate his Buddhist precepts and he couldn’t be a monk anymore, but as a result he got to meet his ‘Meng Gu’. Deep in his heart, he felt more gratitude towards Child Elder and less of hate, he could not help but feel sad now that they were parting. He suddenly recalled that her powerful enemy was still around and she had yet to escape danger, he said: “Senior you have to take care, be very careful, junior cannot serve you anymore.” He turned around and walk up the stone steps.
He was afraid that Child Elder would seal his acupoints again and prevent him from leaving, once he set foot on the stone step he immediately leapt up, he gathered his ‘Pure Energy of Northern Darkness’ and rushed to the second level of the ice storehouse in an instant. Immediately after he rushed to the first level, he stretched out his hands to push the door. His right hand touch the door ring, suddenly both his legs and back ached, he shouted: “Aiyo!” He knew he had been ambushed by Child Elder again, his body swayed, both his shoulders ached as if pricked by needle; he collapsed immediately.
He heard Child Elder said gloomily: “You are hit by my hidden projectile, are you aware of it?”
XuZhu felt some of his wounds were numb and itchy, some of them were aching from being pricked by needles, it was like ten thousand ants biting him. He said: “Naturally I am aware of it.”
Child Elder sneered: “You know what kind of hidden projectile it is? It’s the ‘‘Life-Death Talisman’’!”
XuZhu ears were buzzing, at once he recalled Wu LaoDa’s frightened expression when mentioning the ‘‘Life-Death Talisman’’. He only knew that ‘‘Life-Death Talisman’’ was some charm or amulet that could control a person’s life and death; unexpectedly it was a hidden projectile. Wu LaoDa and his group were all violent and savage, but they became meek and docile when controlled by ‘‘Life-Death Talisman’’; he could well imagine the power of this hidden projectile.
He heard Child Elder say: “Once the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ enters the body, there is no cure or antidote. Wu LaoDa and those bastards revolted against Misty Peak, evidently they are not willing to be controlled by the ‘Life-Death Talisman’; they wish to steal the method to break the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ from Vulture Palace. These dogs are deluded, they can keep on dreaming; how can the method to breaking granny’s ‘Life-Death Talisman’ be stolen?”
XuZhu felt his wounds were getting more and more itchy, in addition the strange itch gradually penetrated deep, in less then the time taken to eat a meal, his vital organs started itching. He really wanted to smash his head against the wall and kill himself, as it was much better than suffering this torture; he could not bear it and groaned loudly.
Child Elder said: “The ‘Life-Death Talisman’, what is the meaning to the two words ‘life-death’? I guess you finally know it?”
XuZhu said in his heart: “I know, I know! I can neither live nor die.” Other than groaning, he did not have the slightest bit of strength to talk anymore.
Child Elder said: “Just now, when you are about to leave, twice you told me to take care of myself, your speech shows concern for me, you are not without conscience. Moreover you saved granny’s life, Child Elder Of Heavenly Mountain differentiates grudges and kindness clearly, I have my own reward and punishment. Nevertheless you are vastly different from Wu LaoDa and those scoundrels. Granny planted the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ on you, it is punishment; but I can also get rid of it for you, then it is reward.”
XuZhu groaned: “We must have prior agreement, if you try to use this matter to coerce me, ask me to commit outrageous atrocities, I... I’d rather die… then... then... then... then...” The phrase ‘I’d rather die then submit’, he was unable to say it out.
Child Elder sneered: “Heng, I can’t tell just by looking at you, unexpectedly you are such a resolute person. But why are you groaning and muttering, can’t speak properly? You know why Cave-Lord An stutters?”
XuZhu said in alarm: “He is also hit by your life... ife... thus he is in so much pain that he stu... stu… stu...”
Child Elder said: “It’s good that you know it. Once the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ flares up, it will get worse day after day. The strange itch and acute pain last for 81 days, after that it will gradually diminish; 81 days later it will progressively intensify again. The cycle repeats itself and never ends. Every year I will send my subordinates to patrol all the Caves and Islands, I will grant painkiller and medicine that stops the itch, the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ won’t activate for a year.”
XuZhu finally understood why all the Cave-Lords and Island-Lords treated Child Elder’s subordinates as gods, why they willingly allowed themselves to be beaten; it was all for the sake of the medicine that could guarantee one year of peace; but wouldn’t he also become an animal and allow himself to be manipulated by others for his entire life?
Child Elder had lived with XuZhu for almost three months now, she was very familiar with his character and temper. His conduct was soft and amiable on the outside but strong and resolute on the inside; although he was meek and amiable, he could be extremely obstinate and stubborn. He would definitely not yield to threats, she said: “I said before, you are different from Wu LaoDa and those bastards, granny won’t give you medicine every year, you will worry everyday and you can’t sleep properly at night. I planted nine different ‘Life-Death Talismans’ on you, I can remove all of them at one go, cut the weeds and eliminate the roots, you will never suffer again.”
XuZhu said: “Then, many... many... many... many....” He was unable to say the word ‘thanks’.
At once Child Elder let him consume a pill, his pain and itch stop for the moment. Child Elder said: “To get rid of ‘Life-Death Talisman’, you have to use the internal energy of palm force. I am about to complete my divine skill, I cannot exhaust my energy for you, I will teach you the method to channel your energy and the palm moves, to dissolve the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ yourself.”
XuZhu said: “Yes.”
Child Elder taught him how to channel his ‘Pure Energy of Northern Darkness’ from his dantian to his ‘TianShu’, ‘TaiYi’, ‘LiangMen’, ‘ShenFeng’, ‘ShenZang’, etc, the various acupoints; afterwards they will pass through ‘QuChi’, ‘DaLing’, ‘YangHua’ and reach the hollow of his palm. The method to channel energy from the meridians to the hollow of the palm was the unique consummate skill of Carefree Sect; she also taught him how to take in and send out large quantities of energy, how to circulate and revolve the energy, how to disperse the energy, how to control and release the energy, etc, various different methods. XuZhu’s body contained sufficient internal energy, after training for two days he became proficient.
Child Elder said: “Wu LaoDa and those bastards, although they have low moral standards, but their martial arts are really not weak. Among that gang of rouges, there are a few who have extremely deep and profound internal energy, but none of them can use their internal energy to neutralize my ‘Life-Death Talisman’; do you know the reason?” She paused for a while, she knew perfectly well that XuZhu couldn’t answer, she continued: “The reason is because I planted different kinds of ‘Life-Death Talisman’ on them, the techniques I used are also different and interesting. If they tried to use hard and ‘yang’ technique to neutralize the ‘Life-Death Talisman’, but if the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ is located at the ‘TaiYang’, ‘ShaoYang’, ‘YangMing’, etc, various meridians, the yang energy will drastically increase and intertwine, it will penetrate deep into their inner organs, the outcome is irremediable. If they tried to use soft and ‘yin’ technique to neutralize the ‘Life-Death Talisman’, the ‘TaiYin’, ‘ShaoYin’, ‘JueYin’ meridians, the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ within these meridians will flare up. In addition, every ‘Life-Death Talisman’ I planted has a different composition of yin and yang energy; how can outsiders undo it? The nine ‘Life-Death Talisman’ on your body, you have to use nine different methods to neutralize them.” At once she taught him a palm style, when he was proficient in it she would spar with him, she would use various complicated and sinister palm moves to attack him and force him to use the newly learnt palm style to counter.
Child Elder said: “My ‘Life-Death Talisman’ has countless changes and permutations. When getting rid of it, you must be adaptable and change according to the situation, if you make the slightest bit of mistake, you will either spurt blood violently, be energy-obstructed and die, or your entire body paralyzed, meridians reversed, internal energy leaked out. You have to treat the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ as a powerful enemy, make an all-out effort, you cannot allow yourself to be relaxed or complacent.”
XuZhu received instructions and trained bitterly. The techniques imparted by Child Elder were incomparably ingenious and magnificent, the energy flowed according to one’s wishes, no matter what kind of vicious or fierce palm moves she used to attack him, he could simply use this set of palm techniques to neutralize them. In addition, while neutralizing, his technique would definitely contain moves that allow fierce and violent counterattack; the more he trained the more he admired it. He finally understood, the ‘‘Life-Death Talisman’’ could make the 36 Cave-Lords and 72 Island-Lords break out in fear and become terror-stricken, the talisman indeed had its own inexhaustible might and power; if not for Child Elder’s personal instructions, how could he know there was such a wonderful and marvellous neutralizing technique?
He spent four days of effort, he was finally proficient in nine different techniques.
Child Elder was extremely happy, she said: “Little....little chap is not stupid at all. There is a saying in military tactics: ‘Know yourself, know your enemy and emerge victorious in every battle.’ You want to subdue the ‘Life-Death Talisman’, you have to know the method to planting ‘Life-Death Talisman’, do you know what ‘Life-Death Talisman’ is made of?”
XuZhu was stumped for words, he said: “It’s a hidden projectile.”
Child Elder said: “Correct, its a hidden projectile, but what kind of hidden projectile? Like a sleeve-arrow or a steel dart? Like Bodhi or Daylily?”
XuZhu considered: “I was hit by nine hidden projectiles, although its painful and itchy, but they disappear without a trace when I touch it, I really don’t know what they look like.” He found it difficult to reply.
Child Elder said: “This is a ‘Life-Death Talisman’, take it and examine it carefully.”
As he thought about this number one hidden projectile under the heaven, he was really anxious and worried, he stretched out his hands to take it. When it landed on his palm he felt an ice-cold sensation, the hidden projectile was light as a feather, it was a small circular sheet, it was only around the size of a toe; the edge was sharp and it was thin like paper. XuZhu wanted to examine it carefully, but he felt a cooling sensation on his palm, after a while the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ disappeared. XuZhu had a huge shock, Child Elder did not stretch out her hands to take it back, how come the hidden projectile would automatically disappear? It was really unpredictable and inconceivable, he shouted: “Aiyo!” He pondered: “Terrible, terrible! The ‘Life-Death Talisman’ drilled into my palm.”
Child Elder said: “You understand now?”
XuZhu said: “I… I...”
Child Elder said: “My ‘Life-Death Talisman’, it’s just a thin slice of ice.”
XuZhu cried out in surprise, he felt at ease immediately, he finally understood, the thin ice was melted by heat from the palm, gone in an instant. The energy in his palm was like furnace, it turned the ice into vapour, unexpectedly there wasn’t any water-stain at all.
Child Elder said: “In order to learn how to break the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ you have to learn how to launch it, to learn how to launch it then naturally you have to learn how to make it. Don’t underestimate this thin slice of ice, to make it as thin as paper, unbroken and undamaged, it’s really not easy. Put some water on your palm, afterwards channel your internal energy in reverse, let the energy be several times colder than ice, the clear water will naturally turn into ice.” At once she taught him how to channel his internal energy in reverse, how to convert hard and ‘yang’ energy into soft and ‘yin’ energy. The ‘Pure Energy of Northern Darkness’ imparted by Wuyazi possessed both yin and yang, the skills learned by XuZhu were all hard and ‘yang’, but since his internal energy already had a solid foundation, it was not difficult for him as long as he went against normal principles.
After learning how to make ‘Life-Death Talisman’, Child Elder taught him the hand technique and strength in firing as well as how to target acupoints. On the thin slice of ice, she taught him how to attach hard and ‘yang’ energy, how to attach soft and ‘yin’ energy, how to attach 30% yang and 70% yin, or maybe 60% yin and 40% yang. Although it was just yin and yang energy, but the sequence was different, the amount was also different, it followed one’s heart’s desire, countless changes and permutations. XuZhu spent another three days and he finally learned everything.
Child Elder said happily: “Little chap is not stupid at all, you learn rather fast, you already mastered the fundamental skills in ‘Life-Death Talisman’. As for the subtle and profound variations, being able to recognize acupoints without error, those are future matters.”
On the fourth day, Child Elder ordered him to regulate and mix his internal energy, gather internal energy in both palms, she said: “One of the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ is behind your right knee, on the ‘YinLing Quan’ acupoint, channel ‘yang’ energy to your right palm, use the 2nd palm technique to smack it quickly, channel ‘yin’ energy to your left palm, use the 7th palm technique to slowly draw and pull it out. Pull three times, the hot poison and cold poison in this ‘Life-Death Talisman’ will be neutralized.” XuZhu acted according to her instructions, sure enough, his ‘YinLing Quan’ acupoint was originally sluggish and obstructed but it cleared up, his joint flexible and agile again, he felt really comfortable.
Child Elder gave directions one by one, XuZhu simply followed and neutralized the ‘Life-Death Talisman’. Eventually he got rid of all nine ‘Life-Death Talismans’; XuZhu was extremely happy.
Child Elder sighed and said: “Tomorrow at noon, my divine skill will be complete. While completing the skill I have to resolve a multitude of loose ends, it’s incomparably dangerous. Today I have to calm down and mediate, don’t talk to me anymore to avoid disturbing my thoughts.”
XuZhu said: “Yes.” He pondered: “The days pass really quick, unexpectedly three months simply pass by.”
At this moment, he suddenly heard a tiny voice like a mosquito buzzing in his ear: “Martial sister, martial sister, where are you hiding? How come you are at little sister’s house but you did not come out to meet me? You regard me as an outsider, you somewhat upstage the host, correct?”
The voice was extremely soft and thin, but he heard every single word clearly. Who else can it be other than Li QiuShui?
- End of Chapter 36 -