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Demi Gods & Semi Devils Book 4
XXXIX - Unable to withdraw, the post of authority is linked to greed and wrath
Chinese title: 天龍八部 - 解不了 名缰系嗔贪Original novel written by Jin Yong (Louis Cha)
Wuxia Novel Fan Translation by darksinz
Chapter 39: Unable To Resolve The Reins Of Fame, Worry, Anger And Greed
XuZhu woke up the next morning, he found himself sleeping on a warm and soft bed, he open his eyes and look outside the bed's veil, he is resting in an enormous room, the room is spacious and empty, similar to the meditation room in Shaolin Temple, the furnishing in the room is ancient and elegant, copper cauldron and potteries, it is somewhat similar to the copper bell and iron stove of Shaolin Temple. Currently he was still in a daze, he was perplexed by the sight before him.
A young maiden prop a porcelain bowl and arrive by his bedside, it is Orchid Sword, she said: "Owner, you woke up? Please rinse your mouth."
XuZhu is still drunk from the previous night, a bitter taste lingered in his mouth, his throat parched and dry, upon seeing the glistening yellow tea in the bowl he picked it up and drank it, the liquid is sweet yet bitter, it does not taste like tea, with a 'Gudu Gudu' sound he drank all of it cleanly. Throughout his entire life, when has he ever tasted ginseng soup? He did not know what kind of bitter tea it is, he laugh and said: "Many thanks to elder sister! I....I like to get out of bed now, elder sister please go out now!"
Orchid Sword has yet to reply as another young maiden entered the room, it is Chrysanthemum Sword, she smile and said: "The two of us sisters will serve Owner and help you dress." She picked up a set of light green undergarment and underpants from the chair by the bedside and stuff it under XuZhu's quilt.
XuZhu is greatly embarrass, his entire face blush deep red, he said: "No, no, I....I don't need elder sister to serve me. I am not injured or ill, I am merely drunk, sigh, I even broke the prohibition against wine. The scripture says: 'There are 36 losses in drinking wine'. It is best if I don't drink any wine in the future. Where is third younger brother? Where is gentleman Duan? Where is he?"
Orchid Sword purse her lips, she smile and said: "Gentleman Duan already went down the mountain. Before leaving he ordered servant to report to Owner, he invite Owner to meet together at Central Plains once everything is settled at Vulture Palace."
XuZhu yell out: "Aiyo!" he said: "I still have some things to ask him, how come he left?" He is anxious and leap up from the bed, he wanted to chase after Duan Yu and inquire about the name and dwelling place of his "Dream Maiden", unexpectedly he found himself dressed in clean white underpants, he cried out in surprise and pull up his quilt to cover his body, he said: "How come my clothe is changed?" The underpants he wore out of Shaolin Temple is made of coarse fabric, he wore it for over half a year and it is unbearably filthy and tattered, the one he is wearing now is light and soft, he don't know if it is damask or satin, but nevertheless it is still a precious underpants.
Chrysanthemum Sword smile and said: "Owner was intoxicated last night, we four sisters help Owner to bathe and change clothes, Owner is not aware of it?"
XuZhu had a huge shock, he raise his head and look at Orchid Sword and Chrysanthemum Sword, they are pretty like a jade, their smiling face surpass a booming flower, he cannot help it as his heart thumped around madly, he stretch out his arm, the undergarment slide off his arm and exposed his faint red skin, evidently the filth and dirt he accumulated had all been wash off cleanly, but he still harbored a thin ray of hope, he force a smile and said: "I am indeed muddled from my intoxication, fortunately I am still able to take a bathe by myself." Orchid Sword smile and said: "Owner could not move at all last night, we four sisters help Owner to bathe." XuZhu cried out loudly in surprise, he almost fainted, he drop to the ground and cried out repeated: "Terrible, terrible!"
Orchid Sword and Chrysanthemum Sword was frighten by him as well, they ask in unison: "Owner, what's wrong?" XuZhu force a bitter laugh and said: "I am a man, in the presence of you four sisters....completely naked, isn't it.....isn't it extremely terrible? Moreover my entire body is covered with dirt, it is filthy and smelly, how can I involve you sisters in doing such sordid affairs?" Orchid Sword said: "We four sisters are Owner's slave, it is only rightful even if our bodies are torn and bones crushed, slave servant made a mistake, Owner please punish us." as she finish speaking, she and Chrysanthemum Sword prostrate themselves simultaneously.
XuZhu saw their expression of great fear, he recalled Grandma Yu, Sister Shi, etc, he treated them with due respect but they were so frightened that their bodies trembled, he presume Orchid Sword and Chrysanthemum Sword are accustomed to Child Elder's manner of speech, so long as her words are somewhat warm, her expression soft and tender, a kill will follow closely right away, he quickly said: "Two sisters....en, both of you get up quickly, go out, I will dress myself, no need for you to serve me." Orchid and Chrysanthemum Sword got up, their eyes brimming with tears, they move backwards while going out. XuZhu was baffled, he ask: "I....did I offend both of you? Why are you unhappy, your eyes brimming with tears? I am afraid I might have said something wrong, this...."
Chrysanthemum Sword said: "Owner want us to go out, we are not allowed to help Owner wear clothes and wash, surely you loathe and dislike us...." while speaking tears roll down her eyes. XuZhu wave his hands repeatedly and said: "No, no. Sigh, I am a man, all of you are women, it is....it is not too convenient...there is really no other intentions...Buddha is watching, monks cannot tell lies, I won't lie to you."
Orchid and Chrysanthemum Sword watch him gesticulate while talking, he is really anxious, he is extremely sincere and honest, their grief turn into happiness, they said in unison: "Owner please don't take offense. No man has ever reside in Vulture Palace before, we have never seen a man before. Owner you are the sky, we slave servants are the ground, how can there be a difference in male and female?" Both of them move closer, they help XuZhu wear his clothes and shoes. Soon after, Plum Sword and Bamboo Sword also entered the room, one of them help him comb his hair, the other wash his face. XuZhu is so frighten that he don't dare to speak, his expression deathly pale, his heart thumped madly, he allowed the four sisters to serve him, he don't dare to mention anything about forbidding them to serve him anymore.
He presume Duan Yu must be at a remote distance already, he cannot chase after him, he recalled the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ have yet to be remove from the bodies of the various Island-Lords and Cave-Lords, he cannot leave abruptly, after finishing his breakfast he arrive at the hall and meet up with the crowd of heroes, he remove the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ from two person who suffered the most severe pain.
Removal of ‘Life-Death Talisman’ requires the use of inner power and ‘Six Solar Palms Of Heavenly Mountain’, XuZhu's internal energy is abundant and vigorous, he remove the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ from 10 people in succession, yet he was neither tired nor exhausted, however the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ planted by Child Elder on each person is unique in it is location and use of inner power, XuZhu's method of removal is fine and meticulous, however he is still troubled by the difficulty. His knowledge on the various meridian channels and acupoint is extremely shallow, he don't dare to act rashly, any mistakes would inevitably endanger his patients. Till noon, unexpectedly he only manage to treat four people. After having his lunch he had very little rest.
Plum Sword saw him wrinkled his brows, he is contemplating the method to removing ‘Life-Death Talisman’, he is quite troubled, she said: "Owner, inside the grotto in the rear hall of Vulture Palace, there are images engraved on the stone wall, left behind several hundred years ago by the former Owner, servant heard granny mention it before, these images are related to the ‘Life-Death Talisman’, Owner why don't you go take a look?" XuZhu said happily: "Very good!"
At once Plum, Orchid, Bamboo and Chrysanthemum Sword, four pretty women guide XuZhu and arrive at the garden, they activated some mechanism and move away a rockery, revealing an entrance to a tunnel, Plum Sword lifted a torch and led the way, five of them move in a single file and entered. During the journey, Plum Sword constantly manipulated various hidden mechanisms, this is to prevent setting off the concealed weapons and booby-traps. The tunnel is winding and complicated, it spiral downwards, suddenly it open up wide, revealing a gigantic grotto, clearly the tunnel is constructed in accordance with the natural cave. XuZhu pondered: "They said the grotto contain images left behind several hundred years ago by the former Owner, the architecture of these tunnel and grotto is magnificent, it require at least 10 years of work, consuming massive resources and manpower, it is simply beyond the capabilities of these grannies and sisters of Vulture Palace, most likely the grotto is left behind by the former Owner as well."
Bamboo Sword said: "When those flunkies attacked the Palace, the sisters from Great Heaven Division got captured, we four sisters are unable to resist the enemy and escaped here to hide, we hope to wait till dusk before attempting to rescue people." Orchid Sword said: "Actually it is just our modest intentions to repay granny. If Owner did not arrive, we will inevitably die by the hands of those flunkies."
After travelling for 2 li, Plum Sword stretch out her hand and push away a rock on the left side, she stood to the side and said: "Owner please enter, this is the stone room, slave servants don't dare to enter." XuZhu said: "Why you don't dare to enter? It is dangerous inside?" Plum Sword said: "There is no danger. This room is an important place, slave servants don't dare to enter without authority." XuZhu said: "Let's us go in together, what is so important? The outside tunnel is so narrow, it is uncomfortable to stand here." The four sisters look at each other, they are pleasantly surprised.
Plum Sword said: "Before granny became an immortal, she told us, if we four sisters serve her faithfully and not commit any sins, and if we practice our skills diligently, then when we reach the age of forty, she will permit us to come to this stone cave yearly to study the martial arts on the rock wall. Even if Owner bestow great kindness upon us, without abolishing the promise made by granny, then we still have to wait another 23 years." XuZhu said: "Wait for another 23 years, won't you be stifled by the boredom? At that time all of you will be old, learn martial arts for what? Let us go in together!" The four sisters are exhilarated, at once they lie prostrate and kowtow. XuZhu said: "Please get up, please get up! This place is narrow, if I kneel down to return the greeting we will cram into a lump."
Five of them entered the stone room, the four rock walls are polished till gloss, countless circles are carved onto the walls, various figures and pictures are carved within the circles, some look like beast and animals, while some are badly damaged writings, some are seals and lines, beside the circles are annotations "Rank 1", "Rank 2", "Grade 1", "Grade 2", etc, if the number of circles does not exceed a thousand, it is at least eight to nine hundred, how can one finish looking through all of it within a short period of time?
Bamboo Sword said: "Let us look at the Rank 1 diagrams, Owner do you agree?" XuZhu nod his head in agreement. The five of them raise their torch and scrutinize the "Rank 1" circles, XuZhu gave a glance and immediately recognize the drawings within the circles as the first stance of ‘Plum Breaking Hands Of Heavenly Mountain’, he said: "This is ‘Plum Breaking Hands Of Heavenly Mountains]" he look at the Rank 2 drawings, sure enough it is the second stance of ‘Plum Breaking Hands Of Heavenly Mountain’, he look at the diagrams in succession, after finishing ‘Plum Breaking Hands Of Heavenly Mountain’ the next drawing is ‘Six Solar Palms Of Heavenly Mountain’, the various secrets and wondrous techniques imparted by Child Elder at the imperial palace of Western Xia, all of them are noted inside the circle without exception.
As for the martial arts depicted on the stone wall after ‘Six Solar Palms Of Heavenly Mountain’, XuZhu have yet to learn them. He followed the diagrams and channel his internal energy, he merely learnt a few moves and his body became as light as a feather and rise up, however there seems to be some minor mistake as he was unable to lift off the ground.
Just as he was about to concentrate and regulate his breathing to think through the diagram again, he heard two cries of "Ah" "Ah". XuZhu was startled and turn his head around, he saw the bodies of Orchid Sword and Bamboo Sword sway, immediately afterwards they collapsed. Plum Sword and Chrysanthemum Sword are supporting themselves with their hands on the stone wall, their countenance undergo a huge change, they are on the verge of collapse. XuZhu quickly support Orchid Sword and Bamboo Sword, he said in alarm: "What happen?" Plum Sword said: "Own....Owner, our internal energy is lacking, we cannot look.....look at the diagrams here...we...we will wait upon you outside." The four sisters support themselves off the stone wall and slowly walk out of the stone room.
XuZhu stood dumbstruck for a while before following them out, he saw the four sisters sitting down with their legs crossed, they are regulating their internal energy, their bodies trembling, their face revealed pain and suffering. XuZhu knew they suffered serious internal injuries, at once he executed his ‘Six Solar Palms Of Heavenly Mountain’, he pat the acupoints on their back lightly. A burst of profound energy penetrate into their bodies, the complexions of the four sisters became gentle immediately, soon after they open their eyes one after another and call out: "Many thanks to Owner for consuming your internal energy to treat slave servants." They turn over and prostrate on the ground, they kowtow to give thanks. XuZhu quickly stretch out his hands to help them up, he said: "What...what happen? You all are perfectly fine, how come you sustain injuries for no reason and nearly fainted?"
Plum Sword gave a sigh and said: "Owner, previously granny want us to wait till the age of forty, only then can we come here yearly for a single day to look at the drawings, as it turns out there is much profound meaning behind her intentions. The martial arts on the drawings are simply too profound, slave servants overestimated our capabilities, we followed the directions given by the "Rank 1" drawings, our internal energy is inadequate and instantly diverted into our meridians channels. If Owner did not rescue us, I am afraid we four sisters will be paralyzed forever." Orchid Sword said: "Granny had high expectations for us, she hope that once we reach the age of forty, we can study this high-level martial arts, however....however slave servants natural aptitude is ordinary, even if we train for another 20 to 30 years, we don't dare to enter this stone room again."
XuZhu said: "So it is, then it is my fault, I should not insist on asking you all to go in." The four Swords prostrate themselves to ask for forgiveness again, they said in unison: "Owner how can you say such a thing? Owner is benevolent, slave servants are to be blame for being arrogant and reckless."
Chrysanthemum Sword said: "Owner's internal energy is deep and profound, you will gain enormous benefit is if you practice these profound martial arts. Very often, granny will stay inside the cave for a few months and not come out at all, she will rack her brains to study the drawings on the stone wall." Plum Sword said: " 36 Caves and 72 Islands, those flunkies interrogated our sisters from Great Heaven Division, they wanted to know the location of granny's hidden treasure. Our sisters rather die than submit. Originally we four sisters thought of luring them into the tunnel, activate the trap mechanisms and annihilate every single one of them, however we feared there might be some trap-disarming experts among them, it would be disastrous if they manage to break into the stone cave and look at the drawings on the wall. In hindsight, it would be better to let them come in here."
XuZhu nod his head and said: "Indeed, if a person with insufficient internal energy sees these drawings, then the damage is much more serious than any kind of poison or weapons, luckily they did not come in here." Orchid Sword smiled and said: "Owner is truly kind, in my opinion, it would really entertaining if all of them die while practicing the martial arts."
XuZhu said: "I practiced a few moves, I felt vigorous and spirited, internal energy abundant, I will go and remove a few ‘Life-Death Talisman’ from them. All of you lie down and rest for a while." Five of them exit the tunnel, XuZhu return back to the main hall and remove the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ from 3 people."
Hereafter, XuZhu remove the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ from the crowd of people daily, when he feels tired he will simply go to the stone cave and practice high-level martial arts from the stone walls. The four sisters kept watch outside, they don't dare to step inside anymore. In his leisure time, XuZhu also instruct the four sisters and the 9 Divisions in martial arts.
XuZhu spent a total of 20 days before he manage to remove all the ‘Life-Death Talisman’ from the crowd of heroes, in addition, XuZhu studied the drawings on the stone wall intensively every day, compared to his state when he first went up Misty Peak, he made tremendous progress in both internal energy and martial arts.
Previously, the crowd of heroes were subdued and force to serve Child Elder, various kinds of ‘Life-Death Talisman’ were planted on their bodies for the sole reason of controlling them, thus they have no choice but to comply, currently the Master of Vulture Palace has change, XuZhu treat others with sincerity, courtesy and respect, he also remove the pain and suffering from each and everyone, although the crowd of heroes are arrogant and cruel people but they still know how to give their thanks, they sincerely pledged their life and loyalty, they paid their respects one by one, give thanks and left.
When all the Cave-Lords and Island-Lords left, XuZhu is the only man left on Misty Peak. He pondered inwardly: "I am orphaned since childhood, I was brought up by the Masters in Shaolin Temple, I will be too ungrateful if I did not return back to Shaolin. I must return back to the Temple and receive punishment from the abbot and my master, only then will it be reasonable." At once he explained his reasoning to the four sisters and the 9 Divisions, he have to leave the mountain the next day, all the affairs in Vulture Palace will be handled by the chiefs of the 9 Divisions, Grandma Yu, Fu MinYi, etc.
The four sisters expressed their desire to follow, XuZhu said: "I will go back to Shaolin Temple to become a monk again. Where is the logic in having servant girls serving a monk?" He repeat over and over again, but the four sisters simply refuse to agree. XuZhu picked up a razor and shave off all the hairs on his head cleanly, the four sisters had no choice but to see him off down the mountain along with the 9 Divisions, they shed tears as they parted with him.
XuZhu change into his former monk attire, he took large strides and headed east to Songshan (Mt Song). Base on his natural temperament, he will never provoke bystanders on the journey, moreover with such worn out monk clothes, robbers and wicked people will never have any evil intentions towards him. He remain silent throughout the journey and arrive safely at Shaolin Temple.
Upon seeing the yellow roof tile of Shaolin Temple again, XuZhu was deeply moved yet ashamed, he left for several months and violated quite a few monastic rules and disciples, prohibitions against killing, lascivious act, non-vegetarian food, wine, he committed all the "Parajika Offence", he did not know if the abbot will forgive him and allow him to return to Shaolin Temple.
He is anxious and worried, as he entered the main gate he immediately went to pay respect to his Master HuiLun. HuiLun saw him return, he is startled yet elated, he ask: "The abbot commission you to deliver letters, how come you only manage to return now?"
XuZhu lie prostrate on the ground, his pain and regret endless, he burst into tears and said: "Master, disciple....disciple deserve to die, when I left the mountain, I was indecisive, Master.....Master's instruction, I....I did not abide by them." HuiLun countenance changed, he ask: "What....what? You ate meat and fish?" XuZhu said: "Yes, but it is more than just meat and fish." HuiLun reprimanded him: "Damn it, damn it! You....you drank wine?" XuZhu said: "Not only did disciple drink wine, I was completely drunk." HuiLun gave a sigh, two stream of tears flow down his cheek, he said: "Ever since childhood you are honest and considerate, how come once you step into the fanciful world, unexpectedly you fall into such sinful state, *cough* *cough*...." XuZhu saw his Master is grieving, he is even more terrified, he said: "Master, the rules violated by disciple is more serious than just these, I even....even violate......" he did not get the chance to mention murder and lascivious acts as the bell echoed, for every two short sound, a pause will follow, the bell is a signal summoning all the 'Hui' generation monks.
HuiLun wipe his tears and got up, he said: "You broke too much rules, I am unable to protect you. You....you....just go to the Discipline Courtyard and volunteer to receive punishment! Even I am greatly at fault now. Alas, this....." and he left hurriedly.
XuZhu arrive at the Discipline Courtyard, he bow and reported: "Disciple XuZhu violated Buddhist's discipline, I earnest ask law enforcement elder to grant punishment." he repeated twice, a middle-age monk came out from the courtyard and said coldly: "The head-monk and law enforcement uncle have some matters, they have no time to listen to you, just kneel here and wait!" XuZhu said: "Yes!" he knelt from noon till dusk, unexpectedly nobody paid any attention to him. Fortunately XuZhu possess deep and profound internal energy, although he did not eat or drink for half a day, but nothing happen to him and he was not tired at all.
He heard the evening drum echoed, the night class in the temple has ended, XuZhu recited Buddhist scripture in low voice to repent his mistake. The middle-age monk came over and said: "XuZhu, there are some major event in the temple for the past few days, the elders have no time to settle your affair. I saw you kneeling for a long time and reciting scriptures, it seems you are indeed sincere in repenting. Let's do it this way, go to the vegetable garden and carry manure and water the vegetables, quietly wait for instructions. When the elders have time they will summon you to ask for an explanation, they will punish you according to the severity of your mistake." XuZhu said respectfully: "Yes, many thanks for your mercy." he press his palm together to salute, he got up and thought to himself: "They did not immediately expel me out of the temple, it seems there is still some hope." he felt somewhat comforted.
He walk to the vegetable garden and said to the monk in-charge of the garden: "Senior martial brother, junior monk XuZhu violated Buddhist's discipline, martial uncle from Discipline Courtyard send me to carry manure and water vegetables as punishment."
The monk in-charge is named YuanGen, he did not become a monk at Shaolin Temple, thus he did not follow generation ranking of "Xuan Hui Xu Kong". His natural aptitude is mediocre, he can't comprehend the meaning of Buddhist scriptures and he did not make much progress in martial arts, his fond of meddling in trivial matters. The vegetable garden is around 13 hectares, he directed around 30-40 long term workers, it is somewhat awe-inspiring, since a monk came from Discipline Courtyard to receive his punishment at the vegetable garden he felt it is a good time to flaunt his awe-inspiring authority. As he listen to XuZhu's words, he felt extremely happy and ask: "What rules did you violate?" XuZhu said: "Many rules, it is hard to explain in a few words." YuanGen said angrily: "What hard to explain in a few words? I order you to tell me honestly and clearly. Not to mention that you are just a junior monk without any position, even for the head-monk of Dharma Courtyard or LuoHan Hall, if they violate any rules as long as they are sent to the vegetable garden for punishment I will also ask for the truth, who dares to not reply? Looking at your appearance, your face is red and white, you must have consumed meat and fish, correct or wrong?"
XuZhu said: "Precisely." YuanGen said: "Humph, see, I can tell with just one glance. Maybe you drank some wine in secret as well, don't try to deny, it is not so easy to conceal the truth from me." XuZhu said: "Precisely, junior monk was completely drunk and lost consciousness." YuanGen laugh, he click his tongue and said: "Truly outrageous and bold, hei hei, after drinking your fill of wine you must be hyperactive and uncontrollable, this sex is emptiness, emptiness is sex, naturally you will not notice of it anymore. In your mind you must be thinking of women, correct? Not only once, you must have thought of women at least 7 to 8 times, you dare to admit or not?" his tone is extremely strict.
XuZhu sigh and said: "How can junior monk tell lies in front of senior martial brother? Not only did I thought of it, but I also commit lascivious acts as well."
YuanGen was startled yet excited, he pointed his finger and rain curses: "Little monk you are simply too brazen, you dare to ruin the reputation of Shaolin Temple. Other that lascivious acts, what crimes did you commit? Did you steal something? Stole others property? Fought with others, quarrel with others?"
XuZhu lowered his head and said: "Junior monk killed someone and it is more than just one."
YuanGen had a huge shock, his complexion changed, he move back 3 steps, he heard XuZhu mention that he killed more than one person, he is trembling with fear, he is afraid XuZhu's violent nature will flare up and most likely he won't be a match, he composed himself, he smile and said: "The martial arts of our temple is number one under the heaven, while training martial arts it is unavoidable that you will injure someone, junior martial brother's martial arts must naturally be exceptional."
XuZhu said: "Really ashamed, the martial arts of our sect was completely stripped off from me, currently none remain."
YuanGen was excited, he said: "Very good, very good! Extremely good, wonderful!" when he heard XuZhu's martial arts was stripped off, he assumed XuZhu must have committed too much sin and the temple elders crippled his martial arts, at once his complexion turn back to normal. However he is having second thoughts: "Although his martials arts are crippled, but if just a bit remain he might still be difficult to deal with." He said: "Martial brother, it is really good that you are repenting by coming to work in the vegetable garden. However we have a custom here, whoever breaks the monastic rules, monks with hands stained with blood, they have to put on leg-irons and handcuffs while working. This custom is pass down by our ancestors, martial brother are you willing to abide by it? If you refuse then I will just report to the Discipline Courtyard accordingly." XuZhu said: "Since this is the custom, then naturally junior monk will comply."
YuanGen secretly rejoice, he took out steel shackles and leg-irons and put it on XuZhu. Shaolin Temple study and impart martial arts for several hundred years, it is unavoidable there might be unworthy monks who commit wicked crimes and quite often, they possess extremely high martial arts, it is not easy to subdue these monks, thus the Discipline Courtyard, Repentance Courtyard, vegetables garden and various parts of the temple are equipped with steel shackles and leg irons. YuanGen saw XuZhu put on the shackles and leg-irons, his worries are put to rest and he rebuked: "Treacherous monk, look at your young age, unexpectedly you are so daring and brazen, you broke every single monastic rules and discipline. How can I rid the anger in my heart if I don't punish you heavily today?" He broke off a branch and blindly lash it at XuZhu's head.
XuZhu restrain himself, he dare not use his internal energy to resist, he permit YuanGen to whip him, in a short period of time his entire face was bleeding. He chanted Buddhist scriptures continuously, his face did not reveal the slightest bit of dissatisfaction.
YuanGen saw that XuZhu did not dodge or plea, he thought: "This monk truly lost all his martial arts, I can disgrace him further." as he thought about the lavish meals eaten by XuZhu, the pleasures of wine, he lived for forty years but he did not get the chance to taste such things, jealousy surge forth and he became even more heavy-handed in his beating, he broke 3 branches in succession, finally he gave up and rebuke fiercely: "Carry 100 buckets of manure everyday to water the vegetables, if you miss out 1 bucket I will use hard tablet and iron rod to break your legs."
XuZhu endured the harsh beatings, however his mind was at peace, he pondered: "I broke many rules, I should shoulder heavy responsibility, if the punishment is heavy then my sins will be dispelled more." he replied respectfully: "Yes!" he walk towards the porch and carried the manure bucket, he gathered manure and water to irrigate the vegetable plot. Watering of vegetables ladle by ladle requires delicate effort, XuZhu was not negligent at all, he distributed water evenly and meticulously, he manage to finish 100 buckets by late night before going to sleep in the firewood shed.
On the second day, the sky had not yet turn bright when YuanGen came over to punch and kick him awake, he abused him: " Treacherous monk, lazy baldy! It is broad daylight now, you still sleeping here, quickly go chop the firewoods." XuZhu said: "Yes!" he did not protest as he chop the firewoods. This went on for a few days, chopping of firewood in the day, watering vegetables at night, he endured harsh torture, his entire body riddled with scars as he suffered several hundred lashings.
On an early morning, XuZhu was chopping firewood, YuanGen move towards him, he laugh happily and said: "Senior martial brother, thanks for your trouble!" he took out a key and unlock XuZhu's shackles and leg-iron. XuZhu said: "It is no trouble at all." as he raise the axe to chop firewood, YuanGen said: "Senior martial brother, no need to chop firewood anymore, please go in the house and have some food. Junior monk offended you for the past few days, I truly deserve death, senior martial brother please forgive me."
XuZhu notice a huge change in YuanGen's manner of speech, he was flabbergasted, he raise his head, YuanGen's nose and eyes are swollen, obviously he was beaten by someone, XuZhu was even more baffled. YuanGen said with a pained expression: "Junior monk have eyes but failed to recognize an important figure, I offended senior martial brother, senior martial brother if you refuse to forgive me, then I.....I....I will face great catastrophe." XuZhu said: "Junior monk reap what he has sown, senior martial brother you are correct in punishing me."
YuanGen countenance changed, he lifted his hands, 'Pa Pa Pa Pa', he slap his hands in quick succession, he slap himself heavily four times and said: "Senior martial brother, senior martial brother, please do a good deed, a great person does not remember the offense committed by others, I.....I...." while speaking there is another 'Pa Pa' sound, he slap his cheek again. XuZhu found it weird and inquired: "Senior martial brother, what is the intention behind your action?"
YuanGen's knees soften, he knelt down, tug XuZhu's garment and said: "If senior martial brother refuse to forgive me, I.....I won't be able to keep my eyes." XuZhu said: "I really don't understand what you are saying." YuanGen said: "As long as senior martial brother forgive me, don't dig out my eyes, junior monk is willing to become cow or horse in my next life to repay your great kindness." XuZhu said: "Senior martial brother what are you saying? When did I say I want to dig out your eyes?" YuanGen's expression is ashen, he said: "Since senior martial brother refuse to forgive me, junior monk have no choice but to give up my eyes." he extended two fingers and pierce it towards his eyes.
XuZhu held out his hands to grab YuanGen's wrist and said: "Who force you to dig out your eyeballs?" YuanGen's forehead is full of perspiration, his voice trembling: "I...I don't dare to say, if I say it, they....they will kill me immediately." XuZhu said: "Is it the abbot?" YuanGen said: "No." XuZhu inquired again: "The head-monk of Damo Courtyard? The head-monk of LuoHan Hall? The head-monk Discipline Courtyard?" YuanGen said no repeatedly, he said: "Senior martial brother, I don't dare to say it, I only beg for your forgiveness. They told me, if I want to keep my eyeballs, you have to agree to forgive me." as he finish speaking he secretly glance towards his side, a fearful expression across his entire face.
XuZhu followed his gaze, he saw four monks sitting at the porch, they are dressed in gray monk robe and wore gray monk hat, they are facing inward, XuZhu cannot see their appearance. He pondered: "Could it be these four senior martial brothers? Maybe they are dispatched by some important figure from the temple to punish YuanGen for acting without permission in abusing monks sent here for punishment." XuZhu said: "I don't blame senior martial brother, I had long forgiven you." YuanGen was overjoyed, at once he knelt down and kowtow, XuZhu hastily knelt down to return the courtesy and said: "Senior martial brother please get up."
YuanGen got up, he respectfully invited XuZhu into the dining hall and personally pour tea and serve food, he is very polite in his service. XuZhu could not refuse, if he did not permit YuanGen to serve him, YuanGen would appear as if he is about to encounter huge disaster, thus he simply let him be.
YuanGen said in a low voice: "Senior martial brother, do you want to drink wine? Do you want to eat dog meat? I will go prepare it for senior martial brother." XuZhu said in alarm: " Amituofo, sin, sin, how can this be done?" YuanGen gave a wink and said: "Junior monk will bear all the blame. I will go prepare and let senior martial brother enjoy." XuZhu wave his hands and said: "No, no! Absolutely not!"
YuanGen laugh and said: "If senior martial brother feels that the temple is lacking in amusement, there is no harm in going down the mountain, if the Discipline Courtyard inquires, junior monk will tell them I dispatch senior martial brother to buy vegetable seeds, I will cover up the truth, don't worry." XuZhu feels that YuanGen is getting more and more outrageous in his speech, he shake his head and said: "Junior monk sincerely repent for his past mistakes, I don't dare to violate any monastic discipline anymore. Senior martial brother please don't say such words anymore."
YuanGen said: "Yes." but his expression is full of doubt, it seems he wanted to say: "Hypocrite monk who indulge in meat and wine, what is your intention in pretending?" but he don't dare to voice it out, after serving vegetarian food he invited XuZhu to his own room to rest. This went on for a few days, YuanGen did his utmost to serve XuZhu, not lacking in the slightest bit of respect.
This day, XuZhu finish his breakfast, YuanGen brewed a pot of tea and said: "Senior martial brother, please have some tea." XuZhu said: "Junior monk is waiting for punishment, senior martial brother you are so polite, junior monk really don't deserve it." he stood up and take over the teapot with his pair of hands.
Suddenly he heard loud 'Tang Tang' sound from the bell, it is continuous, it is a signal summoning all the monks in the temple. Other than the birthday of Buddha or ancestor Damo, the temple rarely summon all the monks. YuanGen was somewhat baffled, he said: "The abbot is summoning everyone, let us go to the Great Hall of Strength." XuZhu said: "Precisely." They accompanied 10 over monks from the vegetable garden and hurriedly rush to the Great Hall of Strength.
Over 200 monks had gathered at the hall already, yet the remaining monks still came in unceasingly. In a short period of time, over 1000 monks from the temple had gathered at the hall, everyone arrange themselves according to generation ranking, although the number is huge, but everyone is extremely quiet.
XuZhu line-up with the 'Xu' generation monks, he saw the expression of all senior monks are solemn, he is worried: "Could it be my crime is too serious, thus the abbot gathered everyone to punish me heavily? Looking at this situation, it seems they want to expel me from the temple, what should I do?" As he was feeling apprehensive he heard the bell ring 3 times, all the monks call out simultaneously: "Namo Shijia Rulai Buddha!"
Abbot XuanCi and the other 6 'Xuan' generation senior monks, along with another 6 monks, they stroll out from the rear hall. All the monks in the hall bow simultaneously, the Xuan generation monks and the 6 monks pay homage to the Buddha statue in the hall before sitting down.
XuZhu raise his head, he recognize the 6 'Xuan' generation senior monks: XuanDu, XuanJi, XuanZhi, XuanYin, XuanGou, XuanShi, in addition another 6 monks are seated at the front, these 6 monks are quite old, their robes different from those from Shaolin Temple, clearly they are guest monks from another monastery. Seated at the prime-seat is a monk roughly around 70 years of age, his figure short and small, his eyes bright and full of expression, he exudes an imposing aura.
XuanCi said in a bright voice: "This is abbot ShenShan Elder from Mount Wutai's Refreshing Temple, everyone please pay your respect." when everyone heard it they trembled, they bow to salute ShenShan Elder. Everyone knew the glorious reputation of ShenShan Elder in the martial arts fraternity, along with master XuanCi, both of them are known as "Twin LuoHan Subduing Dragon and Tiger", it is said that his martial arts is almost on par with abbot XuanCi. However, Refreshing Temple is of a much smaller scale, its standings in the martial arts fraternity cannot be compared with Shaolin, thus ShenShan Elder's prestige is inferior to XuanCi, everyone thought: "It is said that ShenShan Elder view himself highly, he rarely get involve with ongoings in the martial arts fraternity, all along he did not have any relationship with our temple, today he came here personally, what is his purpose?"
XuanCi held out his hands at the remaining 5 monks, one by one he introduce them and said: "This is Kaifeng's Daxiangguo Temple Master GuanXin, this is Jiangnan's Pudu Temple Master DaoQing, this is Lushan's DongLin Temple Master JueXian, this is Changan's Jingying Temple Master Rongzhi, this is Mount Wutai's Refreshing Temple Master ShenYin, he is ShenShan Elder's junior martial brother." Master GuanXin and the other 3 monks came from ancient temples sited at famous mountains, however Daxiangguo Temple, Pudu Temple, etc, they have always focus more on Buddhist doctrines and less on martial arts, although these four monks are immensely well-known in the martial arts fratenity, but their position in their own temple is not high. All the monks from Shaolin Temple bow in respect, Master GuanXin and the rest stood up to return the greeting.
XuanCi said: "These six masters have attained deep cultivations in Buddhist doctrine. Today they arrive together, it is truly a major honour for our temple, thus I gathered everyone here to meet them. We long for six masters to expound Buddhist teachings, so that everyone may benefit from their advice."
ShenShan Elder said: "I don't deserve your praise!" his figure is short and small, unexpectedly his voice is strangely loud, everyone cannot help but be startled, but he did not purposely shout or yell, he also did not use internal energy to deliberately excite a person's soul, his voice is naturally loud and resounding. He continued: "Junior monk long admire the stately temple of Shaolin, 60 years ago I arrive here to seek monkhood, but I was rejected. 60 years later I came back again, the walls and roof tiles are the same as before, but the ways of life are no longer the same, lamentable, lamentable!"
Everyone's heart was shaken by his words, the few sentence from him are rather hostile, could it be he came here to carry out a personal vendetta against Shaolin?
XuanCi said: "As it turns out, senior martial brother previously came to Shaolin to become a monk. All temples under the heaven are from the same family, senior martial brother currently preside over Refreshing Temple, all Buddhist, without exception admire you very much. At that time Shaolin temple did not dare to admit membership and offended senior martial brother, junior monk respectfully offer his apologies. But as a result senior martial brother wound up in a better place, propagating Buddhist teachings to the masses, it is really a great achievement and virtue. Things that happen in the past, it may be due to predestined relationship in the future." as he finish speaking he put his palms together and made a deep bow.
ShenShan Elder put his palms together to return the greeting and said: "At that time junior monk came to your precious temple to seek monkhood, admittedly it is because I admire Shaolin's dominance in the martial arts fraternity for over a century, the origin of martial arts, but more importantly, it is said that Shaolin Temple has strict monastic discipline and deal with things fairly." suddenly he flip his eyes, he raised his head and look at the golden statue of Buddha and said coldly: "Reality does not live up to it is name. If I had foreknowledge, junior monk would not have made the trip to Shaolin during that time."
The crowd of over thousand Shaolin monks change countenance together, but because Shaolin has strict monastic discipline, they did not voice out their anger.
Abbot XuanCi said: "Senior martial brother where do these words stem from? If my humble temple did any ridiculous things, I invite senior martial brother to clarify. The guilty will be punished, those who erred must correct themselves. Senior martial brother has smeared the clean reputation of Shaolin which has lasted several centuries, it is really a bit too much." ShenShan Elder said: "May I ask abbot senior, Shaolin has numerous disciples all over the world, whether their martials arts are strong or weak, do they have to abide by the righteousness and justice of martial arts practitioners, they cannot use their strength to bully the weak?"
XuanCi said: "Naturally, the disciples of your precious temple must certainly be the same as well."
ShenShan Elder gaze at the statue of Rulai and said: "Buddha is above us, telling lies, it is a serious offence for Buddhist!" he turn his head and said to XuanCi: "Roaming around the country, you see Shaolin disciples everywhere. My Refreshing Temple is small, the daily matters of our monk is focused on studying Buddhist doctrines, meditation, our martials arts are really far off and cannot be compared against Shaolin Temple. Disciples who exit Refreshing Temple and become laymen, although their numbers are small, but all of them maintain the strict disciplines of my humble temple, they don't dare to harm the innocent, they do not kill or steal. Shaolin has numerous disciples, it is hard to avoid having good and bad people intermixed together, your monastic disciple fall into disarray, what a pity, what a pity! Lamentable, lamentable!" he shakes his head repeatedly while speaking.
The crowd of Shaolin monks, without exception all of them became angry. XuZhu heard ShenShan Elder criticize Shaolin's disciples as "Good and bad people intermixed, monastic disciplines fall into disarray", he assume ShenShan Elder is criticizing him for violating the rules against eating meat, lascivious acts, murder, etc, he was so frighten that his heart thumped madly, if the abbot is to investigate, he must definitely confess all his mistakes, he cannot conceal the truth or else he would break another precept against telling lies.
XuanCi said: "May I ask senior martial brother, what is the circumstance? I invite senior martial brother to present concrete evidence, my humble temple will naturally spare no effort to investigate fully."
ShenShan Elder gave a long sigh and said: "Senior martial brother you are busy with major events in the temple, if it is just some small matter that you overlook, then it is still pardonable. But this matter happen for a long time already, the skeleton of the victim had long turn cold, words of it abuzz all over the world, the feeling of the masses at boiling point, but you precious school turn a blind eye to it, deliberately ignoring the matter, could it be you are conceited by the fact that your school is the largest in the martial arts fraternity, bystanders can doing nothing against you, aren't you a bit too tyrannical? Don't tell me from now on you are going to rely on strength alone, as long as you have great numbers and strength, you can do whatever you please?" his expression is severe, his tone aggressive and forceful.
XuanCi's expression is tranquil and indifferent, he said unhurriedly: "Senior martial brother, what matter are you referring to? Please be specific."
ShenShan Elder said: "There is a person in my humble school, Xu ChongXiao, he is junior monk's senior martial brother. His position extremely high, character honest and considerate, many years ago he joined Beggars Clan, he was hardworking and conscientious, he accumulated merit and was promoted to 9 Pouch Elder, he was highly respected by many, successive Chief Of Beggars Clan all hold him in high regards. The year before last around April, Beggars Clan gathered in Jiannan's Wuxi, they discuss about the parentage of their Chief Qiao, senior martial brother Xu step forward bravely, he presented a letter from former Chief Wang JianTong proving that Qiao Feng is a Khitan. Beggars Clan place righteousness before family, they abolished Qiao Feng's position as Chief Of Beggars Clan, this matter shake the entire world, it could be said that everyone knew about it. When senior martial brother Xu carried out this matter, he knew perfectly well the extreme dangers involved. Qiao Feng possess astonishing martial arts, he is cruel and ruthless, moreover he is a Shaolin disciple, he holds tremendous influence and power, there is no martial artist who does not fear him. Senior martial brother Xu served the country and its people, he step forward bravely to expose this huge conspiracy, he certainly disregarded his life and went all out."
Sure enough, on the 7th month, senior martial brother Xu was killed in his home, his ribs broken neatly, clearly he was killed by the hard and fierce palm strength of Shaolin. Several elders from Beggars Clan investigated the matter fully, they wrote a letter to Refreshing Temple and request junior monk to uphold justice. Shaolin is the number one orthodox school of martial arts, monastic discipline strict, since you produced such unworthy disciple then naturally you should clean up your own sect matters, there is no need for outsiders to meddle. Refreshing Temple waited for a long time, but Shaolin Temple did not show any hint of reacting, thus I had no choice but to invite all the great masters from Daxiangguo Temple, Pudu Temple, DongLin Temple, JingYing Temple, we came together to Shaolin to ask the abbot what is the true reason?" as he finish speaking, his pair of eyes look straight at abbot XuanCi.
XuanCi turn his head and said to the head-monk of Discipline Courtyard Master XuanJi: "Junior martial brother XuanJi, please narrate the underlying reason to these six eminent monk." XuanJi replied: "Yes." he got off his seat. He is in-charge of monastic discipline, he has always been honest and incorruptible, when the monks from various temple saw him all of them had some degree of dread. XuZhu knew that they are not discussing about him, but he still don't dare to look at them. He heard XuanJi's clear voice: " Beggars Clan's Elder Xu is advanced in both years and virtue, everyone in the martial arts fraternity respect him a lot, he was murdered in his home at Weihui, all of us were shaken and lamented his death. Abbot senior martial brother appointed junior monk, along with martial brother XuanDu, XuanYin and junior martial brother XuanSheng, the four of us travel the very same night to Elder Xu's residence, we were in charge of investigating the truth, if there is solid evidence proving Qiao Feng is behind the deed, then we will join up with martial brother XuanGou and junior martial brother XuanShi, both of them received orders from the abbot to investigate the case relating to the death of martial brother XuanKu by Qiao Feng, the six of us will work together to exterminate Qiao Feng by capturing or killing him, this is in accordance with our strict regulations." GuanXin, DaoQing, JueXian, RongZhi, when the four eminent monk heard this they nod their head repeatedly and said: "This should be the way."
Master ShenYin said: "What happen afterwards?"
XuanJi said: "XuanShi and XuanGou had not yet arrive, we wait for the night at a tavern, on the second day, the 7th of 7th month the two of them finally arrive. The six of us held a meeting, martial brother XuanGou said: "Elder Xu is definitely not killed by Qiao Feng!" ShenShan, ShenYin, etc, all of them were startled and said in unison: "What makes you say so?"
XuanGou stood up and said: "Buddha is merciful! Previously Qiao Feng entered Shaolin and caused a huge havoc, we were unable to capture him and he escaped, junior martial brother XuanShi and I received orders from martial brother abbot, we followed Qiao Feng secretly. That day he fought an entire crowd in JuXian Manor, due to the abbot's strict orders we can only observe his conduct and whereabouts, we cannot fight with him, thus both of us did not participate in the battle at JuXian Manor. We are really ashamed, after witnessing Qiao Feng's skill, even if both of us along with martial brother XuanNan were to join hands and attack together, we can only fight till a draw, it is not likely we can defeat or capture him. Afterwards Qiao Feng was rescued by a black-robed man and brought to a mountain to recuperate his injuries, both of us don't dare to go near, we only observe from a distant place."
Qiao Feng recuperated for over 20 days, after leaving the cave he travelled northward. At that time both of us did not wear monk robe, we changed into commoner clothings, we remain calm and collected and followed behind him. Qiao Feng is a very astute man, we don't dare to follow too closely, luckily he travelled on the main road thus it is not difficult to track him, even if we are separated by half li apart we can still follow behind him afterwards. He headed north from YanMen Pass, from there he met a bone-thin and helpless young lady. After entering YanMen Pass both of them stayed in a small inn, the next day they exit the room, unexpectedly they change into two inconspicuous man. If we did not personally witness them coming out of the room we really won't know these two person are Qiao Feng and that young lady....."
ShenShan Elder inquired: "Both of them cohabit throughout the journey?" XuanGou replied: "Yes." ShenShen Elder inquired again: "On the same bed?" XuanGou said: "I don't know. Monks do not look at things contrary to courtesy, I don't dare to pry into other people's private affairs." ShenShan Elder said coldly: "Then what if both of them quietly sneak off in the middle of the night, both of you won't know about it?" XuanGou said: "Junior monk and junior martial brother XuanShi stayed in the neighbouring room, we work in shifts and kept vigil, both of us only slept for half the night, we carry strict orders from martial brother abbot, we don't dare to be negligent and allow them to slip away without notice." ShenShan Elder said: "May I ask Master XuanShi to elaborate more?"
XuanShi step forward and said: "Junior monk is XuanShi, I received orders from abbot, together with martial brother XuanGou we are to monitor Qiao Feng's activity. After Qiao Feng met up with that young lady called AhZhu, their journey did not have any particular incident. Both of them travelled southward, martial brother XuanGou and I followed from a distant, we make an effort not to come face to face with him, it is not really difficult. On the 3rd day of the 7th month, the four of us was resting at ZhaoShang tavern in Wei prefecture, we heard AhZhu speak from the adjacent room: "Today I will make dumplings and pour wine for you, it is definitely better than those from the tavern!" Qiao Feng is very happy and said repeatedly: "Very good, very good!" AhZhu went shopping to buy meat and cabbage to make dumplings. Qiao Feng kept praising AhZhu's culinary skills, on that day he drank more wine than usual. AhZhu was by his side, urging him to drink: "When we reach Henan, the wine won't be good, we won't have the good wine from Hedong."
XuanGou said: "Many unexpected things happen in this world due to a moment of carelessness. Junior martial brother XuanShi and I don't dare to be negligent, we still sleep for half night each and kept extra vigilance. That night Xiao Feng's snore was thunderous, he was still snoring till day light. After waking up, AhZhu help him to wash face and serve soy milk and bread. Xiao Feng was in an extremely good mood that day, he made many jokes about Henan's accent. When AhZhu did not understand, Qiao Feng will explain to her. When junior martial brother XuanShi heard one of the jokes he nearly laugh out, I quickly cover his mouth and avoided any mishap. I remembered the events for that night distinctly, it was the 3rd day of 7th month. Qiao Feng depart Wei prefecture on the fourth day of 7th month, we followed at a distant and did not leave him, on the 7th day of 7th month we arrive at Weihui (Henan)."
ShenShan Elder said coldly: "You remembered the date so clearly, is it because Elder Xu was murdered on the 3rd day of 7th month?" XuanGou said: "Precisely! At a tavern in Weihui, martial brother XuanJi recounted the murder of Elder Xu. I replied: 'If he died on the 3rd day of 7th month, then he was not killed by Qiao Feng, if Qiao Feng killed him, then it is definitely not the 3rd day of 7th month!' martial brother XuanJi said: 'Elder Xu's son and daughter-in-law attended to him at night on the 3rd day of 7th month, the next morning the fourth day of 7th month, Elder Xu's rib was broken, he died on his bed.'"
ShenShan Elder said: "You remembered the date correctly?" XuanJi said: "This matter is of utmost importance, we went to Elder Xu's home and inquire every single detail."
XuanShi took over and said: "The 7th day of 7th month is QiQiao festival (Chinese valentines day), the Beggars Clan held a memorial service in Weihui to pay respect to Elder Xu, both of went to the service to see if we can uncover any clues. We kowtow, there was a thick pestle in front of the spirit tablet, it was smeared with blood. We inquired from the Beggars Clan members, it seems this pestle was the murder weapon found in Elder Xu's home, the front and back of Elder Xu's ribs broke evenly, it was broken by this stone pestle. Martial brother XuanGou and I took our leave, both of us pondered: 'If Qiao Feng really want to kill Elder Xu, he can simply strike with ‘28 Dragon Subduing Palm], there is no need for a stone pestle.'"
"Both of us followed Qiao Feng quietly, from a distant we saw him come out of a boat beside a river bank. The hull of the boat is sinking rapidly, half of it already submerged, at once we rush into the boat, we saw Granpa Tan, Grandma Tan and Zhao QianSun, all of them dead inside the boat. These 3 people are most probably killed by Qiao Feng, he is really a great evil! We return to the tavern to inform martial brother XuanJi and the others. Martial brother XuanJi said: 'Not matter what we cannot let Qiao Feng kill innocent people again, with the six of us fellow apprentices we can surely prevent him from committing crime.' We rushed ahead, we must reach Dan's manor in Tai'an before him and catch him out there. We rode swift horse and was slightly faster than Qiao Feng. However when we reach the manor it was already on fire, we rush in and saw Iron Faced Judge Shan Zheng, the corpse of his two son already lay horizontally on the ground, the entire household of 10, male and female, all of them had either their heads severed or their backs split open, none of them spared. We examined Danzheng's corpse, his ribs broke evenly, his lung and heart shattered, clearly he was killed by an extremely hard and violent fist techinique."
ShenShan Elder said coldly: "It must be ‘Vajra Fist] correct?" Abbot XuanCi said: "No! In Shaolin temple, I am the only one who knows ‘Vajra Fist]. Judge Dan is definitely not killed by me." ShenShan Elder snorted and said: "He was not killed by abbot?" XuanCi shakes his head and said: "No! ‘Vajra Fist] cannot shatter a person's heart and lung."
XuanGou said: "We buried Jude Dan's corpse and assist in putting out the fire, soon after the gongs sounded and everyone start to fight the fire. At once we retreat, from a distant place we saw Qiao Feng and AhZhu arriving on horses. We saw it with our own eyes, someone else must have killed Judge Dan, he was a few hours earlier than Qiao Feng, the entire Dan household had long been killed. As for protecting Master ZhiGuang of Mount Tiantai, martial brother abbot had already dispatch someone else. We saw Qiao Feng heading south along with AhZhu, thus we did not follow him anymore and return back to Shaolin Temple."
XuanJi, XuanGou, XuanShi, etc, their names are well known in the martial arts fraternity for over 10 years, everyone knows about their selflessness and righteousness, since they already said so, ShenShan Elder and the rest did not have doubts anymore.
ShenShan Elder said: "Master ZhiGuang died due to ‘Mohe Finger’ of Shaolin, I wonder if martial brother abbot has any explanation for it?" XuanCi put his palms together and said unhurriedly: "Buddha is merciful! Master ZhiGuang died due to consumption of poison. The poison is common arsenic, his disciple monk PiaoZhe bought it from RenJi pharmacy in Tiantai town, the poison is slowly acquired over 10 days. Monk PiaoZhe bought the arsenic according to Master ZhiGuang's orders, he told the pharmacy it is for concoction of drugs. Master ZhiGuang is famous in the east, everyone revere him greatly, thus the pharmacy don't dare to decline or even accept money when monk RenJi bought the arsenic."
Master XuanDu stood up and said: "Martial brother abbot dispatched junior monk to investigate at Mount Tiantai. Master ZhiGuang certainly died due to arsenic poisoning. Junior monk questioned that monk PiaoPu, he weep endlessly and said he was unaware that his master wanted to commit suicide using arsenic, if he had prior knowledge he would have substituted arsenic with licorice powder. He said a man surnamed Qiao and a lady Ruan came by to visit his master. His master was extremely courteous towards them, they chat for a long time, after leaving he discovered his master had died. Only until night time did the body start to bleed in the eyes and nose. Unexpectedly on the next day, his master's eyes protruded, the back of his head shattered, he did not know which wicked person secretly came by in the middle of the night to desecrate his master's body. He felt he was unworthy as he failed to protect his master's body and slap himself heavily. I told him, the person who violated his master's body had exceptional martial arts, the person used an extremely violent finger technique to seal the acupoints on the left and right temple, even if he stake everything he had he won't be able to stop him. Unexpectedly this monk PuZhe blame himself fully, he commit suicide by hanging." as he finish speaking he gave a long sigh.
ShenShan Elder said: "When Qiao Feng came to vist Master ZhiGuang, he must have demanded information for the name of the leader of the incident at YanMen Pass. Master ZhiGuang refuse to reveal the name, thus Qiao Feng use ‘Mohe Finger’ to injure him. Hence his eyes protrude out and the back of his head shattered, aren't all these due to the effects of ‘Mohe Finger’?" XuanCi said: "It is not Qiao Feng." ShenShan Elder said: "I invite martial brother abbot to elaborate the underlying reason."
XuanCi said unhurriedly: "Senior martial brother ShenShan wish to know why Master ZhiGuang did not die due to Qiao Feng's ‘Mohe Finger’. It is because Qiao Feng learnt ‘Demon Subduing Palm’ at Shaolin, hence he cannot learn ‘Mohe Finger’. These two martial arts are opposites of each other, they cannot coexist in the same body." ShenShan Elder shakes his head slowly and said: "Is the martial arts of Shaolin truly so subtle and profound to such level?" XuanCi said: "Originally all these differences are documented. ‘Demon Subduing Palm’ and ‘Mohe Finger’, both of them are listed among the 72 Ultimate Techniques of Shaolin, one is soft and gentle, the other is fierce and violent, it is extremely difficult to learn and train together. Junior martial brother XuanSheng, please go to the Scripture-Depository Pavilion and fetch the manuals for these two skills here to let ShenShan Elder and the rest have a look."
ShenShan Elder was just 17 years old when he came to Shaolin to seek tutelage. Shaolin's abbot LingMen converse with him, LingMen found him eager to show off, he also exudes an aura of arrogance, narrow-minded and self-complacent, he was unsuitable to inherit his skills, if he remain at Shaolin and become a common monk he will definitely be unwilling to be under someone else, he will certainly be a huge disaster in the future, thus LingMen tactfully refused to grant tutelage. Hence ShenShan Elder seek refuge at Refreshing Temple, he was remarkable and established himself as abbot of Refreshing Temple at the age of 30. ShenShan Elder is very intelligent, he can be considered a rare talent in the martial arts fraternity, however the martial arts of Refreshing Temple is greatly inferior to those of Shaolin, all the fist manual, sword manual, internal energy manual, etc, not only are they limited in quantity but their contents are coarse and crude, it is not first-class martial arts. He cultivated his internal energy for over forty years, he long surpassed the martial arts pass down by former leaders of Refreshing Temple, however his fist and sword technique is still inadequate, as he thought about the 72 Ultimate Techniques of Shaolin he can only endure his envy and restrain his anger.
Thus when Elder Xu died, he found an excuse to pick a fight with Shaolin and sough to invite helpers. However, once senior monks heard they are to join forces to condemn Shaolin, they made excuses and refuse to participate, ShenShan Elder persuaded for a long period of time and he manage to invite eminent monks from Daxiangguo Temple, DongLin Temple, Jingying Temple, etc.
Currently when he heard abbot XuanCi gave an order to fetch the manuals of ‘Demon Subduing Palm’ and ‘Mohe Finger’, he was extremely happy, he finally had the affinity to witness the power of Shaolin's supreme consummate skills. XuanSheng said: "Yes!" he turn around and exit the hall, not long after he manage to fetch the manuals and hand them over to XuanCi. The Hall of Great Strength is around 3 li away from the Scripture-Depository Pavilion, XuanSheng manage to fetch the manuals in a short period of time, clearly his lightness martials arts are solid, his movements extremely quick and agile. Outsiders are unaware of this and thought nothing of it, however the crowd of Shaolin monks all gasp in admiration inwardly.
The paper quality of the two manuals are turning shades of black from yellow, obviously they are extremely ancient. XuanCi place the manuals on a square table and said: "Fellow martial brothers please take a look, these two manuals each provide detail information on the origins of their respective martial arts as well as the crucial points in training." as he finish speaking he hand over handwritten copies of ‘Demon Subduing Palm’ and ‘Mohe Finger’ to ShenShan Elder and Master GuanXin. Both man respectfully receive it and cautiously flip through the manuals, the preface narrated the origins in creating these two divine martial arts, ‘Demon Subduing Palm’ was created by the 8th generation abbot of Shaolin Master YuanYuan, the palm is soft, gentle and indiscernible. ‘Mohe Finger’ was created by a 7 finger Toutuo during his stay in Shaolin for 40 years, as it was created by a foreign monk the essence of the martials arts are substantially different from Shaolin's traditional martial arts, the martials arts are completely hard and violent, the manual warns any practitioners, those who had trained the soft martial art style of Shaolin must not attempt to practice ‘Mohe Finger’ or else their inner breathing will deviate easily, if they do not take care they will vomit blood and suffer serious injuries that is difficult to cure.
Abbot XuanCi wait for the two eminent monks to browse for a while before handing it to Master DaoQing and Master JiaoJue, when all six eminent monks had look through the preface, he said: "Great masters, although my humble temple possess 72 Ultimate Techniques, but every skill is extremely difficult to practice, even those gifted with exceptional talent will find it difficult to even master one set of skill, moreover when you train to an extremely high level it just mean you are one notch better than your opponent, since you can achieve victory with one set of skill there is no need to train a second set of skill, as for the third set and fourth set, there is even less reason to train them. For successive generations we pass on the doctrines from master to disciple, Buddhist doctrine is of chief importance, martials arts are secondary, if a monk train diligently in martial arts then his Buddhist doctrine and inner meditation will surely be hindered. Even for layman disciple, our school will not teach them more than one supreme consummate skill to avoid triggering their greed for more. Qiao Feng's ‘Demon Subduing Palm’ was imparted by junior martial brother XuanKu, XuanKu does not know ‘Mohe Finger’, Qiao Feng also did not learn martial arts from any other monks, old monk is fully aware of this matter, there is no mistake. All the Xuan generation monks as well as the next generation monks who possess slightly higher martial arts, everyone start from ‘Luohan Fist’, we will learn either ‘Demon Subduing Palm’ or ‘Prajna Palm’ and stop there. At the age of forty, old monk was inspired to learn martial arts again and studied ‘Vajra Fist’, my inner strength became hard and violent, since then my progress in ‘Prajna Palm’ was obstructed, I really regret it till this day."
Suddenly a clear and bright voice transmit from a distant place: "It is truly a grand occasion to have many eminent monks gathering at Shaolin to discuss martial arts. I wonder if junior monk have the karma to be a guest as well, sitting alongside, respectfully listening to wise opinion?" every single word and sentence was delivered clearly into everyone's ears. The voice came from outside Shaolin Temple, it is clear and distinct, moreover the voice is gentle and did not shock the eardrums, one can well imagine the pure and profound internal energy of the speaker, in addition the speaker is at a distant place, how did he manage to hear the discussion in the hall?
XuanCi was slightly startled, he channel his internal energy and said: "Since we are all Buddhist please honour us with your presence." he continued: "Martial brother XuanMing and XuanShi, please accompany me to greet the esteemed guest." XuanMing and XuanShi bow and said: "Yes!" as they are about to exit the hall, the voice transmit again: "I don't dare to accept the honour. I am extremely delighted."
For every sentence, his voice will be nearer by several zhang, when he finish speaking the word "delighted", a stately middle-aged monk appeared by the Temple's gate, the monk put his palms together, his expression smiling and said: "Monk Jiumozhi from Tubo pay his respect to Shaolin's abbot."
The crowd is already extremely amazed by his skill, many people gave an "Oh" sound when they heard his introduction, they said: "So the Grand Tutor of Tubo, the Great Bright Wheel King has arrived!"
XuanCi stood up, he move forward two steps, putting his palms together he bow and said: "Grand Tutor came to the east from a distant place, fate brought us together." one by one he introduce ShenShan Elder, GuanXin, DaoQing, all the various foreign guests as well as XuanJi, XuanDu, etc, all the eminent monks from Shaolin.
After introduction has ended, XuanCi arrange for a seat in the middle and invited Jiumozhi to take the seat. Jiumozhi was unpretentious and simply sat down, he occupied the seat of honour, ahead of ShenShan Elder. Bystanders thought nothing of it but ShenShan Elder was secretly indignant: "You fake monk dressing up as god and playing the devil to deceive people, you might not have any true ability, later I will test you."
Jiumozhi sad: "Junior monk heard Master XuanCi discussing martial arts, your views are enlightening, I really receive no small measure of benefit, but there is one small section that I beg to differ." XuanCi said: "I invite Grand Tutor to given directions."
Jiumozhi smile faintly and said: "Great master abbot said that even for layman disciple, your temple will not teach them more than 1 supreme consummate skill, this is to avoid triggering their greed. But in my humble opinion, this rule might be a bit too rigid as it restricts people who possess extraordinary ability and wisdom from attaining profound level of martial arts achievements. Under such rigid rules, I am afraid the 72 Ultimate Techniques of Shaolin won't be able to develop properly, a few hundred of thousand years later, it will inevitably remain the same. Take ‘Mohe Finger’ and ‘Prajna Palm’ as an example, how difficult can it be to execute both of them simultaneously? In addition, it is not entirely impossible for a single person to execute all 72 Ultimate Techniques simultaneously." his speech may appear tranquil and calm but his intention is obvious, he look down on the martial arts of Shaolin. When the crowd of monks heard it, all of them felt indignant.
XuanSheng said in a bright voice: "According to Grand Tutor, there is someone who is able to execute all 72 Ultimate Techniques of my humble temple?" Jiumozhi nod his head and said: "Correct!" XuanSheng said: "May I ask Grand Tutor, who is this great hero?" Jiumozhi said: "This title of great hero, I really don't deserve it." XuanSheng change countenance, he said: "It is you?" Jiumozhi nod his head, he put his palms together, his expression solemn and respectful and said: "Precisely."
As he said the word "Precisely", all the monk change countenance, they had the same thoughts: "This person made such ridiculous statement, could it be he is crazy?"
Shaolin's 72 Ultimate Techniques, some specialize in training the lower parts, some specialize in lightness martial arts, some specialize in palm or fist techniques, some train in concealed weapons, saber or rod technique, each skill has it is own strong points, those who use swords cannot use Buddhist's staff, experts in fist technique are not experts in concealed weapons, those proficient in leg skills, their fist and palm technique will inevitably be somewhat lacking. There are indeed people who are proficient in three or four supreme consummate skills, but that is due to the skills not conflicting with each other. All Shaolin eminent monks are fully aware of this fact, ShenShan, DaoQing, etc, all of them have deep understanding of these facts as well. Those who claim a single person can execute all 72 Ulitmate Techniques is merely bluffing.
Out of the 72 Ultimate Techniques, 13 to 14 of them are exceptionally difficult to train, even for those gifted with immense innate talent, even if they train painstakingly for a lifetime they might not be able to master even one skill. Currently Shaolin have over a thousand monks, merging all the skills mastered by these thousand monks, the 72 Ulitmate Techniques is still not complete. Jiumozhi is no more than 50 years of age, assuming he master one set of skill per year, including the time he was born, he would require 72 years of effort, every set of skill is extremely complicated, could it be he can actually master several skills within a year?
XuanSheng sneered inwardly, however his expression remain solemn and respectful, he said: "Grand Tutor is not from Shaolin, that being the case, you are still proficient in ‘Mohe Finger’, ‘Prajna Palm’, ‘Vajra Fist], all these skills?"
Jiumozhi smile and said: "I don't dare, I invite Master XuanSheng to give some advice." he lean on one side, lifted his left palm horizontally, with a 'Hu' sound he strike his right fist, the copper incense cauldron in front of Rulai statue suffered a powerful blow, with a 'Tang' sound it bounce up, it is precisely a move from ‘Vajra Fist], "Answering Eastern Luo Bell". The fist did not touch the cauldron yet the cauldron sounded, this is still not too difficult, but this fist is launch forward, however the cauldron bounce straight up, it can be seen the power of the fist had grasp the secret essence of ‘Vajra Fist].
Jiumozhi did not wait for the copper cauldron to land, he sent out his left palm, his posture is precisely a move from ‘Prajna Palm’, "Afraid To Fall Outside The Way", the copper cauldron revolve half a circle in midair, with a 'Pa' sound something fell down, but the ashes inside the cauldron scattered, ash smoke filled the air and the object could not be seen clearly. The residue force from the previous "Answering Eastern Luo Bell" had not yet dissipate, the copper cauldron fell down rapidly, Jiumozhi extended his thumb and press forward firmly, an extreme burst of finger force shoot forward, the copper cauldron move left abruptly around half chi. Jiumozhi press 3 times in succession, the copper cauldron move 1 and half chi away and finally land on the ground.
All the senior monks from Shaolin gasp with admiration, they knew that although the moves look ordinary, the hidden power within had already exceed human level, it is a genuine move from ‘Mohe Finger’ known as "Entering Hell Three Times". The name represents the painstaking effort involved in practicing the three finger press, every finger press is akin to entering hell once.
The ash cloud gradually scattered, revealing a palm-size object. The crowd look at the object, they cannot help but cry out in shock. The object is a brass palm, the five fingers life-like, the palm and fingers emit light and sparkled like gold, however the back of the palm is ash-green.
Jiumozhi brush the sleeve of his robe, he laugh and said: "This ‘Kasaya Subduing Demon Skill], I invite martial brother abbot to give directions if there are any imperfections." as he finish speaking, unexpectedly the cauldron 7 chi in front of him start to move, it revolve several times, after it stop moving the inner side is now facing outward, however a palm-size shape was gouged out from the cauldron's body, the place where it was cut is emitting a golden glow. The younger generation monks finally understood, moments ago Jiumozhi executed a move from ‘Prajna Palm’, "Afraid To Fall Outside The Way", while executing the move, his palm force is akin to a sharp treasure saber, unexpectedly he was able to cut a palm-size block off the cauldron.
After a long time, XuanCi gave a long sigh and said: "Today, old monk is finally aware there is a sky beyond this sky, there is always someone superior. Old monk train painstakingly for over 10 years, but before Grand Tutor, it is really lacking and inadequate. I am afraid there is much to change for the old rules of Shaolin."
Jiumozhi remain calm and collected, he put his palms together and said: "Excellent, excellent! Martial brother abbot why so modest?"
All the monks from Shaolin hung their heads dispiritedly, they knew that the abbot was force to make such statement, not only did he admit Shaolin's martials arts are inferior, the so call 72 Ultimate Techniques of Shaolin is merely so-so, in addition the rules he established may not be reasonable as well. Shaolin enjoy tremendous reputation for several hundred years, it has a firm grip on the martial arts of Central Plains. But now, not only did Shaolin suffer a crushing defeat, the martial artists of Central Plains are also humiliated by the foreign monk. ShenShan, GuanXin, DaoQing, JueXian, RongZhi, ShenYin, all the guest monks are dejected and crestfallen.
XuZhu is aware of all the various incidents in the hall, after the abbot spoke his words, the senior generation monks are distressed. He look askance at his master HuiLun, tears are rolling down his eyes, he is extremely heart-broken. Although he don't understand the critical points in between, but he knew none of the monks in Shaolin is able to rival the martial arts displayed by Jiumozhi, thus the abbot had no choice but to admit defeat.
However he still had some doubts in his heart. He saw Jiumozhi execute ‘Vajra Fist], ‘Prajna Palm’ and ‘Mohe Finger’, as he never learn these skills before he don't know if the moves are right or wrong, however he understood the internal energy usage behind the fist technique, palm technique and finger technique, it is clearly ‘Minor Formless Skill’.
He inherited ‘Minor Formless Skill’ from Wuyazi, when Child Elder impart the techniques of ‘Plum Breaking Hands Of Heavenly Mountain’ to him she realize that XuZhu possess ‘Minor Formless Skill’, she was greatly enraged and heart-broken, the underlying reason is because her master only pass on ‘Minor Formless Skill’ to Li QiuShui alone, since XuZhu inherited his skills from Wuyazi, then it can be deduced that Wuyazi had a relationship with Li QiuShui. After Child Elder calm down, she explain to XuZhu how to utilize ‘Minor Formless Skill’, however Child Elder had limited knowledge on ‘Minor Formless Skill’‘Minor Formless Skill’, until much later when XuZhu studied the drawings on the stone wall of Vulture Palace did he finally grasp the profound secret and workings behind ‘Minor Formless Skill’.
‘Minor Formless Skill’ is of Taoist origins, it place emphasize on calmness and inaction, journeying the great emptiness, it is comparable to Buddhist's martial art theory of having "no end and no move", although both seem similar, but there is huge difference in its essence. Jiumozhi claims that he is proficient in all 72 Ultimate Techniques of Shaolin, however when he execute his moves it is undoubtedly just ‘Minor Formless Skill’, when he execute techniques of ‘Prajna Palm’, ‘Mohe Finger’ and ‘Vajra Fist], the crowd was intimidated by the formidable power of ‘Minor Formless Skill’, since they don't understand the inner power of ‘Minor Formless Skill’ they simply assume Jiumozhi is proficient in Shaolin's supreme consummate skill. In reality, for the 72 Ultimate Techniques, ‘Prajna Palm’, ‘Mohe Finger’ and ‘Vajra Fist] has it is own set of internal energy, they are entirely different and distinct, they do not intermix with each other.
Although this is not exactly passing off fake product as genuine as ‘Minor Formless Skill’ is not inferior to any of Shaolin's supreme consummate skills, but in the end it is still a deliberate misrepresentation, confusing right from wrong. XuZhu was baffled, apart from the abbot, unexpectedly none of the thousand monks in Shaolin is able to see through the mistake.
XuZhu is unaware that ‘Minor Formless Skill’ is wide-ranging and profound, ‘Minor Formless Skill’ is of Taoist origins, since the people in the hall are all Buddhist, no matter how high their martial arts they will never practice the internal energy of Taoist, moreover the crux of ‘Minor Formless Skill’ is in the word "Formless", it has no form or appearance, no trace to look for, if not for the fact that XuZhu is an expert in ‘Minor Formless Skill’ he would definitely not be able to see through the trick. XuanCi, XuanJi, XuanDu, etc, all of them also felt that Jiumozhi's internal energy is not the same as Shaolin's internal energy, however when they thought about the fact that Shaolin's martial art originated from India, it is reasonable for India and Central teachings to have some discrepancy. The land is separated by thousands of miles, separated in time by several hundred years, Shaolin's consummate skills also undergo various modifications by successive generations of monks, thus there is no reason for both skills to remain exactly the same, hence they did not have any suspicion.
In the beginning XuZhu assume the senior generation monks had some other profound intentions, he is only a little monk from 3rd generation, how can he take the initiative? But seeing the dramatic turn of events, the sorrow, anger and dispirited reactions from all his seniors, he had no other alternative, it is clear that the temple is facing great calamity, he have to step forward bravely and point out that Jiumozhi did not display Shaolin's supreme consummate skills. However for over 20 years, he has never spoke a single word in front of public, under the strict and solemn atmosphere of the scene he cannot help but refrain from voicing out his opinions.
He heard Jiumozhi said: "Since abbot said so, then you are admitting there is much shortcomings in Shaolin's 72 Ultimate Techniques, perhaps your precious temple did not come up with these skills at all, the word 'consummate', you have to change it."
XuanCi was silent and did not reply, he felt as if his heart was being gouged out.
A tall old monk from the 'Xuan' generation said in a stern voice: "Grand Tutor, you have gain the upper hand, our abbot already admit the old rules of our temple will be changed, why are you so overbearing and not leave the slightest bit of leeway?" the old monk is XuanZhi.
Jiumozhi smile and said: "Junior monk is merely requesting abbot to follow up his words, announce to all martial artists under the heaven. In my opinion, Shaolin might as well break up, all the senior monks join Refreshing, Pudu and various other temples for protection and shelter, each goes his own way, you can also join Tubo and study Tantric Buddhism, pay respect to ShangShi Lama, junior monk will also think of a way to accept you. Isn't this much better than living under the false reputation of Shaolin, only seeking a life of ease and comfort?"
As he said those words, no matter how good the self-restraint of Shaolin monks are, they cannot help but berate loudly. Only now did the crowd of monks realize, Jiumozhi came to Shaoshi Mountain, with the strength of a single person he wants to stir up Shaolin, not only will he gain fame for all eternity, he will also make Central Plain lose a strategic icon, it is highly advantageous for Tubo.
Jiumozhi said in a bright voice: "Junior monk came to Central Plains alone, my original intention is to witness the grandeur of Shaolin, to visit the so call "Big Dipper" of Central Plain's martial arts, to gauge how grand and stately it is. But after listening to your speech and observing the conduct of senior monks here, hei hei hei, it appears Shaolin can't be compared with the secluded TianLong Monastery of Dali's Nanjiang. Alas! Junior monk is greatly disappointed."
A person from the Xuan generation said: "Great Master Kurong and abbot Benyin from Dali's TianLong Monastery have deep Buddhist cultivation, all disciples of Shaolin admire them very much. Monks have no desire to complete or fight for success, Grand Tutor claims that Shaolin cannot be compared with TianLong Monastery, why would anyone care about it?" as he finish speaking he stroll out unhurriedly, he is an old monk, his face radiating red light. His right forefinger and thumb are press together lightly, his face revealing a smile, his expression gentle and mild.
Jiumozhi also revealed a smile and said: "I have long admired Master XuanDu's ‘Blossom Grasping Finger’, you have trained your consummate skill to perfection, how fortunate it is to meet you today." as he finish speaking his right forefinger and thumb also press together lightly, as if he is grasping a flower. The two monks extended their left hand unhurriedly at the same time, they flick 3 times at each other.
3 'Bo Bo Bo' sound echoed, the two finger force collide with each other. XuanDu's body swayed, suddenly three blood arrow shot out of his stomach and travel a few chi, in the contest of finger strength XuanDu was no match for Jiumozhi and was hit 3 times in the stomach, it seems as if he was injured by a sharp blade.
Master XuanDu is kind and amiable, he is highly respected and well-loved by monks from younger generations. When XuZhu was 16 years old, he swept floor and brew tea for XuanDu, attending to him for 8 months. XuanDu treat him extremely well, he even gave some directions for ‘Luohan Fists’. Afterwards XuanDu had to enter seclusion to meditate, XuZhu had very little chance to meet him, however he still remembered the friendship they shared. XuZhu saw XuanDu was injured by finger force, he knew that if he delay treatment XuanDu's life might be in danger, previously Su XingHe taught him healing techniques, afterwards he learn the secret to breaking ‘Life-Death Talisman’, he have profound understanding in the art of treating injuries and saving the dead, he saw blood spurting out of XuanDu's stomach, without a second thought his body flash and he was beside XuanDu, he send out an empty palm move.
Their contact is merely an instant, the 3 burst of blood had not yet land on the floor, unexpectedly under the pressure of XuZhu's palm force, it flow back into XuanDu's stomach rapidly. XuZhu pluck his left hand as if he is playing a lute, he execute a burst of circular finger sealing movement, in an instant he sealed over 11 acupoints around XuanDu's wound, blood no longer flow out, afterwards he fed Vulture Palace's legendary panacea the ‘Nine Revolution Bear Snake Pill’ into XuanDu's mouth.
Previously Duan YanQing gave directions and help XuZhu break Wuyazi's 'Zhenlong chess formation', Jiumozhi was present and saw him. Now Jiumozhi saw him appear suddenly from within the crowd, he made some circular finger movement and sealed XuanDu's acupoints, the technique is truly wonderful, internal energy strong and powerful, unexpectedly he have never witness such level of skill before throughout his entire life, he cannot help but be startled.
HuiFang and the other monks saw XuZhu kill XuanNan with a palm slap, later they saw him become the leader of some unorthodox sect, they have no time to ask for an explanation for these strange events, they carried XuanNan's corpse and return to Shaolin. Abbot XuanCi and other senior monks conducted an inquiry and found out that XuanNan was killed by Ding ChunQiu's ‘Carefree Three Smile Powder], it was not due to XuZhu's palm slap, however XuZhu did not return to the temple for a long time, they sent over 10 monks to search for him but they can't find any trace of him.
On the day XuZhu return back to Shaolin, it so happen to coincide with a major event happening in Shaolin, unexpected the chief of Beggars Clan Zhuang JuXian sent someone to dispatch an invitation card demanding Shaolin to present him as the leader of Central Plains martial art fraternity. XuanCi discuss with the rest of the Xuan generation monks for several days on how to deal with the situation, they really have no idea what kind of person Zhuang JuXian is. Beggars Clan is the number one clan of Jianghu, they have huge numbers and strength, they have always been chivalrous, along with Shaolin both assist each other mutually and uphold justice and fairness in Jianghu, now they suddenly demand to be above Shaolin, thus the senior monks really have no idea how to handle the matter. XuZhu's master, HuiLun, saw his martial uncles have important matters to attend to, thus he don't dare to report that XuZhu had return back to Shaolin or the fact that he violated several monastic discipline. Hence the senior monks had no idea that XuZhu was carrying manure and watering vegetables, now they suddenly saw him appear and execute some marvellous technique to send blood back into XuanDu's body, everyone was equally amazed.
XuZhu said: "Martial grandfather, don't channel your energy to avoid opening up your wounds." he tore off his own monk robe to bind the wound around XuanDu's stomach. XuanDu gave a bitter laugh and said: "Great Bright Wheel King...your.... ‘Blossom Grasping Finger’...is truly....truly powerful! Old monk is con....convinced." XuZhu said: "Martial grandfather, he did not use ‘Blossom Grasping Finger’, it is also not Buddhist martial arts."
When the crowd heard it they did not think it was correct. Jiumozhi's finger movement is exactly the same as XuanDu, even both their smile and expression is completely identical, if it is not Shaolin 72 Ulitmate Techniques’s ‘Blossom Grasping Finger’ then what else can it be? The crowd knew that Jiumozhi is the Grand Protector of Tubo, he is conferred the title of Great Bright Wheel King, every 5 years he will hold a session at Snow Mountain's Great Wheel Temple, giving lectures on Buddhist teachings, all the senior monks will gather to listen, debating scriptures and asking difficult questions, all of them had high praise for him. Jiumozhi is a famous monk known throughout the Buddhist circle, how can his martial arts not be of Buddhist origins?
However Jiumozhi was secretly afraid: "How did this little monk know I did not use ‘Blossom Grasping Finger’? Not Buddhist martial arts?" in an instant he understood: "Yes! ‘Blossom Grasping Finger’ is a peaceful and benevolent skill, it only seals an opponent's acupoint, it controls and not injure, in my haste to seek victory I channelled my ‘Blazing Saber Skill’, my finger strength is too violent, unexpectedly it pierce 3 small holes in that old monk, it is not the original intention of monk JiaXie's blossom smile. Presumable this little monk knows as well."
Jiumozhi is naturally wise and farsighted, from young age he had very fortunate encounter, he met Tantric Buddhist Master NingMaPai who instructed him in ‘Blazing Saber Skill’, it is a divine skill that send out waves of powerful energy, at Dali's TianLong Monastery he achieved victory over KuRong, BenYin, BenXiang, etc, numerous top experts, afterwards he had another fortunate encounter and obtained the manual of ‘Minor Formless Skill’. His purpose in coming to Shaolin is to rely on his martial arts and single-handedly topple the world-renown ancient Buddhist temple, he saw that XuZhu is merely around 20 years of age, although his ‘Circular Acupoint Sealing Finger Skill’ is rather mysterious and profound but he presume his martials arts are most likely limited, thus he smile and said: "Unexpectedly little master claims my ‘Blossom Grasping Finger’ is not Buddhist's martial arts, then what kind of martial art does the supreme consummate skills of Shaolin belong to?"
XuZhu is not gifted in debates, he merely said: "Martial grandfather XuanDu's ‘Blossom Grasping Finger’ is naturally of Buddhist's origins, you....the one executed by you...it is not...." while speaking he raise his left hand, he copied XuanDu's technique and also flick 3 times, his finger strength is empowered by ‘Minor Formless Skill’. He is respectful toward others, this 3 finger flick is not directed at Jiumozhi but at spots where no one is near, everyone heard 3 'Tang' 'Tang' 'Tang' sound, the copper bell in the main hall produced huge sound. XuZhu's finger flick all landed on the bell, it is as if someone use the bell's striker to forcefully ram the bell. When the crowd heard it they were all equally amazed.
Jiumozhi call out: "Excellent skill! Come try my ‘Prajna Palm’!" at once he raise his palm, it appear as if he is about to salute, however his palm never come together, with a 'Hu' sound a burst of palm force expel out from between his palm, it rush swiftly towards XuZhu, it is a move from ‘Prajna Palm’ called "Heavenly Wind From Canyon". The essence of ‘Prajna Palm’ is base on "Emptiness', "Negation", "Non-emptiness" and "Non-negation", Jiumozhi's palm is filled with violence and malice, it greatly differs from the original intention of ‘Prajna Palm’.
XuZhu saw the incoming palm force is too violent, he have to block it, at once he execute a move from ‘Six Solar Palms Of Heavenly Mountain’ to dispel the incoming palm force.
Jiumozhi felt the opposing palm contain a hidden suction force, it so happen to restrain his own palm force, it also use ‘Minor Formless Skill’ as the foundation, his heart trembled with fear, he smile and said: "Little master, is that Buddhist martial arts? Today I came to your precious temple to experience the divine skills of Shaolin, how come you execute heretic moves instead? Shaolin martials arts are one of the very best in Song nation, don't tell me it is false reputation and it is no different than common martial arts?" once he knew the unique nature of XuZhu's internal energy, he did not feel confident of victory, thus he tried to debate and force XuZhu to use Shaolin's martial arts.
How would XuZhu understand Jiumozhi's true intention, he reply bluntly: "Junior monk aptitude is low, I only learn ‘Luohan Fists’ and ‘Skanda Palm’, it is the basic foundation skills of Shaolin, how can I exchange blows with Grand Tutor?" Jiumozhi laugh out loud and said: "You still have some self-awareness, since you are not my match then step down!" XuZhu said: "Yes! Junior monk will take his leave now." he put his palms together and retreat back into the Xu generation crowd.
However abbot XuanCi is extremely astute, although he don't understand the origins of XuZhu's martial arts but from the few moves displayed just now, the moves are ingenious, internal energy deep and profound, it is more than sufficient to rival Jiumozhi, Shaolin is at a critical juncture of life and death, it would be better to dispatch XuZhu to ward off Jiumozhi for some time, even if he lose it is still better than doing nothing, thus he said: "Grand Tutor claims he is proficient in Shaolin's 72 Ulitmate Techniques, you are brilliant and well-learned, everyone admire you very much. As for Shaolin's basic foundation skills, naturally you would think nothing of it. XuZhu, our monks are ranked according to Xuan, Hui, Xu, Kong, you are the 3rd generation disciple of Shaolin, you are definitely not qualified to fight against the number one expert from Tubo. However Grand Tutor came from a distant place, it is difficult to chance upon this golden opportunity, you may use ‘Luohan Fists’ and ‘Skanda Palm’ to ask Grand Tutor for advice." he phrased his speech clearly, XuZhu is merely a little monk from 3rd generation, he only learn the basic foundation skills of Shaolin, Shaolin will not suffer any damage to its reputation if XuZhu suffer a defeat under Jiumozhi, but if by fluke XuZhu manage to hold on for the time taken to burn 1-2 joss-stick, he would seize the opportunity and stop the fight, by then Jiumozhi would not have any reason to tangle on.
XuZhu heard the order from abbot, he dare not disobey, he bow and said: "Yes" he took a few steps forward, press his palms together and said: "Grand Tutor please be lenient!" since his opponent is a senior expert, he definitely won't make the first move, at once XuZhu's palm descend in salute, it is the introductory gesture of ‘Skanda Palm’, "Lingshan Greeting Buddha". In Shaolin, he studied Buddhist scriptures for half of the day and practiced martial arts for the other half, its been over 10 years, he have long mastered ‘Luohan Fists’ and ‘Skanda Palm’ and know the moves inside-out. The move "Lingshan Greeting Buddha", originally it is a gesture to salute an opponent, its intention is to highlight the importance of courtesy for Buddhist disciples, they should not be fierce and eager to fight. However XuZhu currently possess the internal energy of the top 3 experts of Carefree Sect combined, the teachings and advice of Child Elder, as well as the considerable benefits gained by 10 days of study in the stone cellar of Vulture Palace, as he lowered both his palms in salute, his monk robe fluttered slightly, his internal energy circulate and protect his entire body.
- End of Chapter 39 -