(7) The Sword
Lv Jiannan defeated Lei Jun, killed and insulted him. The sword in the pool, which he was fascinated finally taken for himself. He held the sword in his hands and laughed to the sky. In the years after, he became the first swordsman in the world. He looked back at the dying of Lei Jun, there was no mercy in his heart. He was ambitious. No one else was in his sight. It was Lv Jiannan. But the short victory brought him long-term torture. He also deeply remembered Lei Jun’s awkward smile before he died. He was holding the long sword at the time. His heart was stirring, when he saw the small lines of characters engraved on the sword.
Now Qianqian who held the sword in the pool also saw the small characters that were as big as rice grains. Qianqian could not help but surprised: “Who can engrave so many words on this metal sword, must be an engraver who knows a lot about swords.”
Lv Jiannan nodded and said: “Yes, the person who engraved these small characters is the little apprentice of the swordcaster. It seems that his technique of carving is already over the master. Unfortunately, for the sword in the pool, his family was innocently killed. He himself lost his life in vain. When he decided to sink the sword to the lake, his heart was filled with resentment. He wanted to curse all the people who fought for this sword, and passed for generations to recover this blood debt.”
Having said that, looking back at Qianqian, his tone turned down: “You read those words out!”
Although Qianqian has good eyesight, it is still not easy to see the words like ants in this dim cave. She tilted the sword a few times before she can see the first word, slowly read: ” The martial arts lovers kill for nothing. The sword is innocent! Anyone who wins this sword will have to kill the forty-nine swordsmen to comfort the sword, to sacrifice the sword spirit. If there is abandoning the sword, for generations to come, the sword will endlessly revenge.”
Lv Jiannan won the sword in the pool. He only wanted to become famous swordman in the world. He did not expect that the cost of winning this sword was so great. These lines haven’t been read in the past 20 years. Now he’ve heard Qianqian of reading them. His heart is pianful: “Everyone who wins this sword has to bear the same secret as me. Some people therefore feel free to kill, thinking that as long as he can get enough with the numbers, but this only increases the dead of innocence, causing more killing on the rivers and lakes. Some people regretted to win the sword, but the spell also told that you can not abandon the sword. Abandoning the sword will cause more unfortunate death. Therefore, the sword has been entangled for more than a hundred years. For a long time, no one has ever been able to complete the task to stop the curse.”
Qianqian finally got to know this secret, but unlike Lv Jiannan, she wasn’t take it that serious, said: you have already kill forty-eight people. Isn’t it enough to kill just more one?”
Lv Jiannan laughed loudly: “Now here are only you and me. Can I kill you?”
Qianqian now understand the pain of Lv Jiannan. Winning the sword, making a name for himself, but after having the fame, what about it? When it is time to kill, it is the price for fame. That is why his life became more lonely, less joyful. Asked in a whisper: “Are you because of the spell on this sword not having a wife yet!”
Lv Jiannan’s face instantly changed. It seemed to be a matter for him. After thinking for a while, he say frankly: “I was drifting around. I was afraid that I will not kill enough. I was also afraid that someone will come to me to win the sword. Don’t ever mention the wife and children. I am afraid that the spell will endlessly cursed my future generations.” Lv Jiannan suddenly became very pitiful to Qianqian. She tried to comfort him, said: “Actually, according to me! This little disciple of the swordcaster, was a evilman. He carved these words on the sword. It’s nothing but just for revenge. He wanted you guys who are having this sword to kill each other. Every one kills forty-nine people, and then there may be mistake and revenge against each other, like you. The killers are all ambitious people for the sword. You didn’t kill any wrong one, but you are not happy for all life. I think the little apprentice knowing that underworld , must be very happy. In my opinion, the little apprentice is the most vicious.”
After listening to Qianqian of these strange theories, Lv Jiannan felt that he was such an idiot . He never thought of that kind of explanation. Isn’t it true that when there is love for the sword, he is subject to be perplexed by the sword. Qianqian of there is no sword in her heart, so that she is not perplexed .
Thinking of this, Lv jiannan suddenly felt a big release in the chest. He was shouting and laughing with ecstasy. The cave immediately echoed. The echoes filled the whole space of that awakened the bats hiding in the cracks. The bats in the cave were frightened, flying against each other and crashed.
After a long day of tossing, Qianqian was starving. She jumped up to the air, grabbed two bats in her left hand, and grabbed three in right. Before her feet landed, smiled and said: “Look, I am still useful in this cave .”
Lv Jiannan was in a good mood, and his appetite was big. He also smiled and said: “Well, let me ignite the fire.” Then he waved his sword to cut out some rocks with the blade of the goddy sword. By rubbing the rock, then a spark of fire was made. Qianqian clapped hands and screamed: “Sure enough, it is a weapon of the god.”
Lv Jiannan was busy picking up some firewood, dry branches to keep the fire on, said: “Unfortunately, apart from the realistic world, I am afraid that there will be no other use for it.” His look was a bit bitter. It seems that his infatuation with the sword remains unchanged. The two quickly plucked feathers, then washed with the water in the pool. Very soon they were grilled on the hot charcoals. In less than a moment, the meat was smelling so good. Lv Jiannan and Qianqian have long been craving for food. once they started eating, they stopped talking at all. After the great meal, both of them felt unprecedentedly satisfied.
Qianqian touched her belly, wiped the mouth, and then stood up, carefully examined the cave. She saw that the four walls are thicken with natural rocks. There seems to be no way out. Although they are not worried of eat and drink for a while, they can not stay here for a lifetime. Lv Jiannan saw her looking around then deliberately said, “You don’t have to look around. This cave is naturally formed. In addition to the little prince bedroom, there is only one other exit.”
Qianqian heard that there was another exit, immediately asked: “Yes? Where?”
While Lv Jiannan was washing his hand in the pool, said: “Here inside the pool.”
Qianqian nodded, seems understand, said: “Yes, this spring water is so clear. It must be flowing, and there must be an exit.” Squatted and see how deep the water is. : “where this water is going?” Lv Jiannan agreed: “Of course, the water flows downward and it flows out of the mountains.” After a pause, he asked: “Have you ever dive in water? How long can you keep yourself inside water?”
“When it comes to the water!” She didn’t dare to boast. “There are big rivers under the Songhu Island, but to be honest, I am playing more mountains than playing water. I have never keep my breath in the water, so I don’t know.” Qianqian told the truth, but she begins to regret she never learned to swim. Lv Jiannan can’t resist to make fun of her: “If you don’t dive then we will have to wait until outside the dynasty is changed, and then you will be able going back to the mansion. At that time, the Empress and Duan hunling were not alive anymore. Who will cares for you?”
Qianqian has not finished listening, she already knew that he is talking nonsense, so grinned: “I will not be alive as well by then.”
“Not sure yet, I may not be here, but you are still so young…” Lv Jiannan was getting seriously. He said: “The dynasty is so weak, and the government is controlled by women and villains. Do you think that the end of the Song Dynasty will be far?”
Although Qianqian do not like the way he compared women and villains, but somewhat agreed with his view, and has more respect to him.
The two talked and laughed. They passed the time together. Casuse there was nothing else in the cave to pass the time, Lv Jiannan jumped back to the wall to study the swordmanshp . He has just learned 18 strokes. Now he looked at the 19th. After reading for awhile, he felt something wrong. How the moves getting more and more slowly, So slow, how can it defeat an enemy?
Qianqian saw Lv Jiannan went back to see the murals. She was very bored so came over to watch with him. If Lv Jiannan didn’t seem to understand, she couldn’t understand it any more. Suddenly Lv Jiannan smiled and said, “kid, well, I see that you are really a good material for studying martial arts. I will take my rest of life to teach you everything about the matters of swords” Looking at Qianqian, she seems still a little hesitated, so he try to convince : “You don’t have to call me master. Anyway, we don’t have to be a master and disciple in this cave.”
Lv Jiannan opened his heart and feel free to say. He only wanted to love the sword, learn the sword, and practice the sword. Qianqian wanted to become disciple of her own father since she was a child. However, Ren Wanli, a name of a father to her, is so alienated. Now, this man who she knows only shortly, called her like a father. She has just stood and stunned. For a long time she couldn’t speak. Lv Jiannan did not wait for her answer , just threw the sword in the pool to her. He himself picked up a branch and said: “I will teach you the entry skills of the Qingcheng School. See! the sword, the sword is accurate and smother. Concentrate on your mind, one hit must be only chance. Listen carefully, the first style of the Qingcheng sword, in grass to find the snake…”
Qianqian listened wholeheartedly, and kept in mind, she really likes to practice martial arts. She thought: The matter of apprenticeship is temporarily put down, concentrate on practicing the sword! Then she waved her sword and learn carefully according to the lecture given by Lv Jiannan. One concentrates on teaching, one concentrates on learning. A dark curtain was slowly falling to the dim cave, until not even a bit light can be seen. The two are exhausted, lie down, say nothing, just fall asleep.
The time in the cave has passed unconsciously.
Qianqian rapidly progressed. Lv Jiannan soon finishing teaching her everything he knows. Today, seeing Qianqian has mastered his own three sword styles, so ready to teach her the last move. The sad song is crying, this style is created when he was at the lowest tide of life, and since then he has not created any new style . He was very strict when he taught this last one. Whenever a slightly mistake she made, he shouted: “Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! This sword is light and should be tilting up. Your eyes must follow the sword tip to the end.” ”
Qianqian asked foolishly : “If my eyes only look at the sword tip, how can I see the enemy?”
Lv Jiannan was a little impatient: “Do you know why this style is called a sad song?”
Qianqian said faintly : “I don’t know.”
Lv Jiannan sighed: “I was chased by the enemies, was forced to leave my home town. I have not returned home for more than ten years. One day I lost my way at the end of the universe. I was very missing my township, but there was already no home for me.”
“Why?” asked Qianqian without thinking.
Lv Jiannan’s dropped his eyebrows, looked sorrowful , but he understated: “Because my parents and brothers have been killed by the enemies.”
Qianqian was shocked and shouted: “What?”
Lv Jiannan did not respond, she asked again : “Have you found the enemy to take revenge?”
“No.” Lv Jiannan said softly : “I have killed a lot of people in my life too. I should’ve better avoided them .”
The more his expression is looked indifferent, the more he looks bleak. Qianqian was silent for a while, but thinking : People are in the rivers and lakes, really so involuntarily? But, I won’t, I will dominate my own life.
“What are you thinking? kid! You better keep your mind in learning. You know nothing about that.” Listening to Lv Jiannan scolding, Qianqian came back to the lesson. She raised her sword from waist, staring at the sword tip with all effort, then practice the sad song. Lv Jiannan explained the essence of this style by the side, said: “This style has its power of killing through the grief and indignation in the chest, so the swordsman must wholeheartedly infuse the grief and anger in the chest. If you don’t look at the enemy, you will become invincible to yourself. The enemy is in your heart, in your inner grief.”
Qianqian has no such a grief, how can she be concentrated on the sword tip. Lv Jiannan said continuely : “This move begins with a sad song, but it is finally far-sighted. Therefore, the final blow of this move must add your determination. Therefore, the last blow must be put down with all your mind, then, although the enemy is in front of you, you have to look into the distance, when the whole universe under the cover of the spirit of sword, what cares of the enemy?”
Qianqian listened carefully, as the same time, thought about Songhu Island. She was a little homesick, and her expression became solemn and focused. She shouted at the end with the both arms opened . It was powerful to be able to pour the river, crash the mountain, and then empty the chest.
Lv Jiannan saw Qianqian practice his own swords style with great effort, he felt inexplicably comforted, thought: I, Lv Jiannan finally succeeded. But by looking at Qianqian of self-satisfied appearances, he was a bit angry. Yelled with a smile, said: “kid, I have already taught you all I know, you can call me a master now!”
Qianqian just staring at him with her big eyes, still feeling awkward, think to herself: I have learned so much from you, I don’t know how to explain this to my father in the future, at least he will abandon my one arm by doing this. Call you Master? I never ever wanted to go back to Songhu Island. Just thinking, not dare to tell. Lv Jiannan laughed aloud: “Good kid, you are stubborn head!” Then jumped into the pool instantly without a word, like a fish slipping to the bottom of the water and disappeared. Qianqian was so surprised, called his name: “Lv Jiannan! Lv…”
The cave abruptly echos the reverberation of her words, bouncing around the four walls. She was afraid and repented. She bid her teeth and said, “Just leave me without a word . You want me to call you master, oh! Don’t ever think about it! old man.”
When she finished, still didn’t see Lv Jiannan coming back. She was so anxious and tired that she sat on the ground and looked at the rippled pool. faintly said: “Come back! Master.”
After a while, she heard a sound of running water, then saw a shadow coming up from the depths of the water. She picked up the sword, moved backward. The man then walked out of the water and it was Lv Jiannan. Angry again, she yelled: “where did you go?”
Lv Jiannan’s face was stretched long and said, “What are you so fierce?” Shaking the waterdrops of his clothes, said: “You are not afraid of anything, but afraid of being alone? ”
Qianqian’s face was much longer but found no words to say back. Lv Jiannan said seriously: “I just went to see if there is a way out in the water.”
“The way out?” Qianqian’s eyes shined again, listen carefully, Lv Jiannan continued “There should be a way out, because there is light in the water, but I have been swimming for a long time and still can not touch the shore” At a glance of her, sneered : “But with your ability, you can only go back to the mansion !”
Listening to this insulting words, Qianqian turned into rage, dropped off the sword in the pool from her hand, shouted “Lv Jiannan, what are you? with your ability, I will never call you a master.”
Lv Jiannan knows that already she didn’t know how to respect the elderly. But when she dropped the sword in the pool in front of him, he couldn’t help angrily jumped up to her, gave her two loud slaps on the cheeks, said: “Believe it or not, I will abolish you right now.”
Qianqian touched her cheeks, hot, red and painful, her eyes were wet. She hold back the falling tears, still stubbornly said: “do it! Even you don’t do it now, anyway, my dad will have to do it oneday.”
Just finished the words, a line of tears has rolled down. Lv Jiannan was so doubtful this Ren wanli, the top master of the rivers and lakes, how did he teach his daughter to have such a untamed temper. When his anger was received, he was no longer in charge of her. He went to the murals to study the swordsmanship. The two are both in their resentments, then nothing happened until dawn.
The next day, when the morning light passed through the cracks into the cave, Lv Jiannan has been already studing in front of the murals. For twenty years, he has been plagued by his fame. Although his swordsmanship has continued to improve, but the heart is farther away from it. For many years, the masters of swordsmanship that he has been encountered were not come for Kendo, but to avenge. No one has come truely for the Kendo. Some are just trying to take my sword in the pool and replace me. Being able to study the swordsmanship with such a pure mind as it is now, since he has own the fame, there was no such luxury! Lv Jiannan was excited, sleepless all night, wanted to learn all his life. Although he is in his early forties, he has already retired. Anyway, he has nothing outside. If he can study the swordsmanship in this cave for a lifetime, he should have no regret. But this swordmanship is so difficult to understand. He returned to the first step and study all over. However, the more he studies, the less he understand. He couldn’t help to glance at the end of it. Normally it was a taboo strongly against peering the end while practicing the front. Lv Jiannan just had a glimpse and dared not do it again. He sighed and said: “Only this mural paintings is enough for my lifetime training.” When he saw Qianqian woke up and sat alone at the pool without a word, he delightfully said, “kid, come over here!”
Qianqian looked tired and detached, said: “I have a name, don’t call me kid, kid, kid. ..”
“Do not want me call kid, don’t you want me to call grandma?” Lv Jiannan tried to sound funny.
Qianqian slanted her eyes, said : “I haven’t had such a blessing!” Stand up and opened her eyes : “Call me Qianqian! Everyone calls me Qianqian in my family .”
Lv Jiannan was just looking at her, his heart was warmed up for she said that to him: “Qianqian, come over, I will teach you how to practice the first 15 strokes.”
Qianqian dragged her legs, walked over to the murals, and snorted: “Forget it, you haven’t understood it yet, how can you teach me!”
Lv Jiannan is not childish like her. He speak heartly: “This set of swordsmanship is very profound and mysterious. It is so unique for a thousand years. You and I are coincidentally encountered today. Even If you can learn three or two strokes out of it, you will be able to benefit for lifetime!”
Qianqian believed that there is sort of truth. She leaned over and watched seriously. She is not bound by traditional concepts like Lv Jiannan. Look at the murals, except for the beginning there was a prelude, are all pictures, no words. There are hundreds of figures in series, but no single explanation at all. Then she decided: “In my opinion, The person who made this swordmanship was only for himself, otherwise how could there be no any explanation? I am afraid that only he understated but no others will.”
Lv Jiannan listened to her plausible argument. Although he has no expression on his face, he admired: This child is clever, and her mind is flexible. Just the neck is too stiff. But still deliberately said: “Who will spend so much effort on making a swordsmanship for himself, not for others?”
Qianqian also deliberately said: “Not everyone wants others to learn his own creation.”listened to that, Lv Jiannan just laughed and said, “Okay, can you see the relationship between these pictures?”
Qianqian read for awhile then said: “total of 81 pictures…”
“81?” Lv Jiannan frowned and said: “It’s a weird odd number.”
“Not surprising!” Qianqian continued : “I think these pictures should be divided into nine groups.” Lv Jiannan whispered to himself: “Nine is the positive number, and it is also the largest of the odd numbers. The nine is the yang of the sun, the odd of the odd, so this arrangement should have its meaning. I have just watched 18 images in a row. I followed the moves and practiced, but the 18th and 19th were completely unconnected, were also chaotic…”
When Lv Jiannan thought of that, he couldn’t help but laughed : “It makes sense, it makes sense! Kid, you are smart! ”
He couldn’t held his excitement but vaguely heard the kid said, “I don’t know if you call me a master, or do I call you a master?”
Lv Jiannan just smiled and didn’t mind at all . He turned his face back and concentrated on studying the swordsmanship. This time, he studied nine figures and stopped. then all the veins are connected. This system is self-contained between the turns. It became natural and smooth, no longer awkward now. Seeing this, Lv Jiannan could not help but pick up the branch next to him and waved.
Qianqian sat by the pool and watched carefully. He was full of confidence this time. Although he hold one hand behind, he danced, jumped with unlimited power. The branch is wood but possibly cut gold and jade with this strength. Sure enough, when the swordmanship has reached the highest level, it is no longer cares whether it is a sword or a branch. After Lv Jiannan finished the first nine styles, his face was ruddy, full, and mellow. He returned to the murals to see the next nine styles. He concentrated on himself completely in the world of sword. He has no obstacle in heart anymore. No fear, just purely being with the sword. Lv Jiannan practicing the second level now. He took effort to slam, to lift, to wave, whatever flickering fast or bouncing show made the sound of it like stream, waterfall and spring. Qianqian stood up and couldn’t help but cheer: “Wow, a wooden branch can make such a wonderful music.”
Sword training here is not just a kind of martial arts, but is an art.
At this time, both Qianqian and Lv Jiannan were thinking of the same thing: Only reached the second level, it was already so incredible. What it would be like if reach the ninth level of eighty-one styles.
But the two did not ask, they just looked at each other with satisfaction. Lv Jiannan went back to the murals, but he was thinking of Qianqian: “This kid said that she didn’t want to practice, but she watched over attentively. If she also had learned this, it is not difficult to rush out back of the mansion. But just how to force her to try?”