(5) Past events
In order to avoid those people, The old man of Hanjiang sailed down the river, crossed the Yangtze, turned into Xiangshui, all the way to Dongting Lake. When the old man docked the boat, he said to Ahwu, “The market in the ruins has not yet been scattered. Go buy some grain and oil!”
Ahwu immediately said: “Know it! As well two pounds of Daqu, one pound of braised pork, right?”
When the old man heard the pork and the liquor, he smiled, walked out the cabin and said, “Yes! Yes! Let’s go!”
Ahwu took the silver ingot of Teng Kuanrou, got ashore then went to the market. At that time, there were several fishing boats parked by the pier. Some fishermen were fixing the nets. Some fishermen were sorting the goods. The old man kept eyes on Ahwu until she turned ino the alley. When he looked back, he saw a youngster standing aside, looking forward. The old man were watching his face for a long time, as if searching for something he lost. Until the boy looked back at him, he nodded and smiled: “Little Brother, are you waiting for someone?”
The youngster worn a western outfit, with a square hat. He was Yueqiao. To the old man’s question, he just nodded but still kept his mouth shut. The old man took his eyes back and sang a song quietly: “The grape ripe in September, the girl with sweet and fragrant milk!” The song whirled in the mind of Yueqiao, and the sun did not die. The golden desert, the crying gooses, the bones of travellers, lingering in his brain.
Yueqiao has heard this song since childhood. The camel merchant teams in the desert often go without return. Sometimes people die halfway, abandon the dead in wilderness became skeleton. Yueqiao liked to listen to their favorite songs because, In the desert, the most delightful thing was melons, sweet milk and the big butt girls. Although the old man was singing these songs now, he still didn’t look at him. He had to wait for the ship to come. When it came, seven or eight people embarked. Some dressed up like him in western style, some dressed up in Han style, men and women, followed him, left in a hurry.
The old man was watching them until they all disappeared at the corner, then turned his back to the cabin. He knew that, something is happening. thinking of the youngter’s face, he dropped himself into past events.
Ahwu bought rice, Daqu and braised pork. She was very happy. She saw someone juggling in the market. She stopped and watched, then forgot the time. When she awared that the sun was setting. She hurried back to the pier. Running blindly, she bumped into someone at the turn of the alley, rebounded like a gourd fell to the ground. Sees the two pounds of the Daqu immediately broken, the liquor leaking from the bottle helplessly. Without looking at the person, she shouted: “You, the turtle of the bitch, dog raised son of the bitch! must be very itchy, walking without eyes…”
Only when she started to groan, there was someone behind her: “You didn’t know any martial arts, but just yelling, shouting with bad words. Fortunately, I happened to pass by today. Otherwise, you need to have nine lives to survive.”
Looking back right away, Ahwu saw the girl standing there, was the one who hired their boat the other day. When she thought of putting drug into their meal, she immediately conscious and shutted her mouth. Turning her head to look at the person who she bumped on, it was a young westerner. Looking at the two of them, seemed like they are going to fight, so she just wait and watch.
In order to avoid stalkers, Yueqiao went back seperately with those people just embarked. In a hurry, he ran into this little girl. It was not a big deal. But, unexpectedly, this Qianqian appeared. Listen to what she said, Yueqiao felt like he has to returned: “Don’t call me a murderer, I don’t like you, kill as you wish anywhere anytime.”
Qianqian and Teng Kuanrou just have a small trip today. She was in a good mood, so she didn’t want to argue with him. She just snorted and then touched the a sword hanging on her waist. This gave Yueqiao a topic, said: “Wow! Today you have a actual sword on waist! What kind of a sword so precious, must be a gift!
Qianqian sees that he finally has a good word today, so she relied poundly: “Let’s say! Dongting Xiangzi sword.”
Yueqiao laughed like hearing something foolish, said: “What Dongting Xiangzi sword? I have never heard of it. What kind of gift it is, must be joking.”
Listening to his words, Qianqian can’t keep the rage, grabbed the handle of Xiangzi, said : “Today, let you see the power of Xiangzi sword!” then pull out Xiangzi out of sheath. But in the narrow alley, it was a bit sloppy and clumsy to use such a long sword. Yueqiao flashed back with his golden snake soft sword agilely and freely. Qianqian’s sword was stuck in the rough mud wall. The sparks of the fire were wiped out. The soft sword of Yueqiao displayed its functions in the narrow alley perfectly. His soft sword stretched out like tongue of snake, just right onto Qianqian’s ear, then it turned around her neck, patted her cheek tenderly. Qianqian abruptly freezed. She was so scared in a moment. Until Yueqiao retracted his sword, she immediately touched her face. Her expression was so honest. Yueqiao inserted the sword back to his waist. He watched Qianqian deliberately and secretly sneered. He couldn’t be more satisfied, waved his hand, said: “I have no time to play with you.”
Qianqian won’t just let him go like that, weakly opposed, “You…want to leave?”
Yueqiao turned back impatiently: “What do you want?”
Qianqian picked an excuse, pointed at Ahwu, trying to be justified : “You broke the wine bottle of her, have not you apologized to this little sister?”
Listening to this, Yueqiao exhaled and said: “Oh! Apologize! why not say it earlier.” Then he turned to Ahwu, said sincerely: ” Little girl! It is all my fault. I am sorry!” after bowing deeply, he reached the eyes of Qianqian, puzzling. Then he strode away.
A good day mood has been ruined by this person, Qianqian released a big sigh. Ahwu suddenly shouted: “Dad!” The old man of Hanjiang stood in front of them. Wondering how long he has been standing there, he looked very grim. His eyes kept staring at the back of Yueqiao: “Ahwu, you go back to the boat first.” Then he followed the youngster.
Ahwu shouted a few times, but he did not seem to hear. She was frustrated and stamped her feet. Qianqian suddenly came up an idea, then pulled the sleeve of her, said: “It is useless to stamp feet, come with me!” she pulled Ahwu on her back, then jumped on the roof of the houses in the alley, tracking the old man and Yueqiao. They just across the townstreet, walked to a remote path by the lake. Qianqian looked back at Ahwu and said: “Little girl, hold me tight!” Ahwu was small, and may be a couple more years younger than Qianqian! She rode on Qianqian doesn’t seems so heavy. Qianqian laughed while flying: “Catch well, we fly!” Then, Qianqian leaped from the roof to the bushes. The two girls flying on the treetops looked very happy. Although Ahwu’s dad bear an extraordinary martial arts, but never taught Ahwu any. He said that people who understand martial arts are not harmed by martial arts? He would rather her be an ordinary woman.
The two enjoyed flying very much and they lost Yueqiao and the old man.
Yueqiao passed through the woods and walked to a ruined temple on the lakeside. There was a stone statue of a roaring dog in front of the temple. The temple was originally dedicated to the Erlang god. It was now abandoned, buried in the reed swamp, part of the building was soaked in the lake. Yueqiao entered the abandoned temple without looking back. As soon as he entered the temple, the eight people he had just received at the pier took him to the altar. Aunt Mu saw him coming, immediatly took his hand, said anxiously: “What happened to you? Why take you so long to come here? Your hour has came. You better not late!”
Yueqiao’s face was blue and white, he looked so faint, said: “Aunt Mu, I am fine. The old man has been following me.”
Aunt Mu let him sat in front of the Altar. The statue of Erlang stood tall ahead of them, looked imposing! Yueqiao took off his upper clothes, meditated back towards to Aunt Mu. Aunt Mu was holding silver needles in her hand, inserted it onto his body one by one. said: “Eight guardians, please pray for us.”
When the eight guardians listened, they all meditated on the floor, clasped their palms together and began to mutter.
The old man was walking towards the temple, listening to the sound of chanting. It wasn’t Chinese, but a language that was very strange to the people of cental plains. The old man was listening with his heart word by word. His face gradually revealed. His eyes were gloomy and tearful.
Qianqian also saw the abandoned temple with a faint light infiltrated. She guessed they must be inside. Ahwu saw the old man standing in front of the temple statically. She wanted to yell but pressed by Qianqian: “Don’t call! you wait for me here, I go to the roof to see the situation.”
Qianqian jumped over the trees and stopped on the roof of the temple. The roof was already broken. Qianqian flashed aside and saw Yueqiao. Seeing him half naked, closed eyes, his whole body was filled with silver needles, and his sweat dripping. The expression was very painful. At the moment, the sound of chanting gradually got lighter and stopped. One of them stood up, walked slowly to the front door. The other were still in the same position. The door was closed. That person was facing it, said: “Thinking loyalty. Serving the sky. No need to worry. Long time to rest, the donor please return to the right path!”
The other person walked to the door and recited: “The dark sky was easy to open, and the sun and the moon are moving and working. The craftsman becomes a crop, but the first person, give no good peace, the donor, please return to the right path!”
It was like this, the eight gauardians took turns to do the chanting, using Chinese, and the last sentence was also, the donor, please return to the right path. The old man standing outside the door, listening to the chantings, suddenly he fell down his knees. kneeled with hands clasped, muttering together.
The sound of chanting inside and outside the door getting so loud , shook down some dry leaves from the trees.
Qianqian has also reverberated in her heart, looking up the stary sky, the universe looked so vast. There was such a solemn and sacred prayer between heaven and earth.
The Sanskrit has not finished. She heard a shout. She looked back and saw a tall man grabbing Ahwu in front of the woods. Looking at the face of this person, Qianqian couldn’t help but jeered, “Well, it’s actually evil. The thief of Duan hunling!” She was about to fly to the woods, but saw the old man was talking to Duan, she doubted for a moment: Do they know each other.
While hesitating, she heard the woman in the temple said, “Do not leave the roof, please the donor. This is the most stressful moment. Can you watch out for me? Don’t let anyone interrupt us, please!” Qianqian was shocked: she knew I am here. Replied: “Well, you can assured that I will not let anyone walk into the temple, I promised.”
Looking back at the woods, the old man has already fighting with Duan, and the eight guardians were also fighting with the other three brothers. For a moment, the swords beam and palms wind filled the woods, more leaves have fallen.
Duan Hunling grabbed Ahwu with one hand, used her as a shield. The old man was restrained, said: “Ahwu has nothing to do with us. She is absolutely innocent, immediately let her go.”
Duan Hunling insidiously smile, said: “Cao Hook, don’t you know how to kill innocent?”
This old man was not a nameless man. He was one the heads of the Qinglong gangs, white tiger head. A pair of hooks was his unique weapon. He was called Cao Hook, but he had never used any weapons in the rivers and lakes for decades. He had no words against the accusation of him. Duan Hunling continued: “Was the 14 lives of the Hai brother not innocent?”
Cao Hook felt devastating listening to what he said. He couldn’t take it anymore but just dropped his head down shamefully. Ahwu saw the old man’s remorse, said: “I don’t think this son of bitch is a good person. Dad! you helped me kill him.”
Cao Hook suddenly woke up and hatefully said: “Duan Hunling! if it wasn’t you set me up, I wouldn’t be against Hai brother? If you didn’t provoke it, I wouldn’t kill them, you… ”
He recalled that how he fled alone and left his wife and daughter in Jingling. Although He tried to find them when he retured to Jingling once, there was no news for them. Now he saw Duan hunling, even he knew that there must not a good news, but he couldn’t help to ask: “What about my wife and daughter? What happened to them after I left?”
Duan Hunling looked so indifferent, said: “How to deal with the rules, how to deal with them.”
Cao Hook knows that the Qinglong rules are strict, one person commits crimes, and the whole family is involved. He was only hope for they still alive. Now his heart was broken. He tighten his fists, continue to fight. Duan Hunling entangled with him for a dozen strokes, still not divided. The two are the same, trained under the Qinglong master. The two had also been in the position of white tiger head. Cao was from childhood with the Qinglong master. He has stonger internal strength than Duan, who only entered the Qinglong gangs when he was over twenty with no martial arts training at all. Duan became the white tigar head with means. Now, although Ahwu was in hands, it seemed that he still could not defeat Cao.
The resentment between the two, also very difficult to unravel tonight. As well, Duan hunling carried the mission of the Empress. His main purpose here was oversee the black clothes sect. The four of them did not want to confront with the people of black colthes sect now. Duan Hunling whistled as the same time push Ahwu to Cao Hook. The other three brothers stopped fighting, and joined him at once. Duan then shouted: “The Empress has an order, retrive the holy glass as soon as possible. If there were any out of order, you should know the result.” Then the four flew away to the bush.
After they left, all the people returned to the temple. They saw aunt Mu sitting aside, looked very tired. Yueqiao was draped with a coat, leaning against the post, staring at the god. Qianqian stood in the middle of them. Everyone was speechless for a moment. Aunt Mu saw Cao Hook was amongst them, said to him: “We are coming from a long way. In addition to the main business, we are also looking for you.”
Cao Hook looked at this woman, around thirty, similar to an old friend of him. He asked directly: “The Bishop of Tianmas was your …”
Aunt Mu had not waited for him to finish, replied: “It’s my father,” excitedly said, “I am Mulun.”
Cao Hook was surprised and joyful. He was tearful but speachless. Aunt Mu said again: “Papa has returned to heaven last year.”
Cao Hook was just happy, but now shocked. He immediately kneeled and cried: “The Bishop of Tianmas treated me like a brother. I am not benevolent. I owe him too much.” After Cao Hook killed the Qinglong’s family. He were chased by the Qinglong Gangs of the thirty-six courts. The Central Plains has no place for him. Only the Western Regions where he can flee. When he went through Yanzishan of the Daxia Kingdom, he encounter the sand storm. The horse died and the grain was finished. At the end of his life, he was saved by Tianmas, who was on his way returning from the Diaxia. Mulun was only seven or eight years old. Mulun was born in a Mongolian tribe in the north, so he took a Mongolian name, means the grand river. The father and the daughter placed Cao Hook on the back of the camel. They looked after them until he recovered. Later, he went to Gaochang with Tianmas, and lived there for eight years. When he left, Mulun was already a fifteen years old girl. After another fifteen years, she looked mature, but the change was not big. Cao hook still recognized her. but when he thought of his savior, The Bishop Tianmas was no longer alive, he felt that the pass thirty years was just like a dream. He couldn’t help but cried.
Ahwu saw her father knelt down and cried, she also followed him. Although she knows nothing about his dad’s past matter.
At this time, one of the gaurdian said, “Mulun has succeeded to the Bishop.”
When Cao Hook listened, he immediately bowed to Mulun and said, ” The Bishop of Mulun, may God bless you, and live forever.”
Mulun immediately raised Cao Hook and said: “It was really a blessing to be able to find you.” she said, stood up and continued: “Papa had asked me to go to the Central Plains to find you before he died. He hope we can realize his wish though your relationship with the Central Plains.”
Cao Hook sighed and said: “I have been extincted for more than a decade. I have already no influence in Central Plains.”
Although he said so, he was indeed felt gulty, because he knows the wish of the Tianmas, in this world, it is difficult to achieve.
Mulun wasn’t be forceful at all, just said: “The most urgent task was to get the holy glass back .” When she said that, she looked at Qianqian, continued: “You have helped me in crises, I haven’t thanked you yet!”
Qianqian stood among them, knows nothing of what they have said. But her instinct told her that these people are affectionate and righteous. They should not be bad people. She said, “No need to thank, I have just stood there, that’s it!”
Mulun frowned and thought for a while, then asked: “I wonder if you know where is the person who took the holy glass?”
Mulun believed that she must know where is he and the holy glass.
Asking about Liu Yicun. Qianqian stammered. After thinking for a while, she replied: “He is no fixed, and… I really don’t know where he is now.” See everybody is still staring at her, continued reluntantly: “If you are looking for him, he may appear on the Yueyang Pavillion in the day of Dragon boat fesival, but if he was willing to hand over the glass, I can’t say it.”
Having said that, she felt like she had sold him out, then added: “But you have to promise me, no matter what, you can’t hurt him.”
Mulun and the eight guardians immediately clasped their palms, and chanted: “Good deeds! Heaven honors the world, save the beings, mercy me, the sea is boundless.”
Qianqian involuntarily felt the tenaciousness in it of their chantings. A wave of sentiment aroused in her heart.