Chapter 4: The exile
(1) Suffering (2) Daqin (3) The lake (4) The Cross (5) After Storm (6) Confession (7) White monks
Zhao Danfeng has never seen this person since she thrust into Icy Jade Palace fifteen years ago. Now, he is standing in front of her, she is inevitably looking at him carefully. She saw that his arrogance is everlasting, but his long beards and white hair revealed that he is an old man. No wonder that he eagerly search for immortality. Even though he is an peerless martial arts master, he still have to die. Thinking of this, Zhao Danfeng couldn’t help but squinted, and disdainfully smiled.
Miaoyin Tianjun saw her smiled. He shrunk his pupils, stretched his hand to squeeze her throat. Although he was ten feet away, his five claws stretched out in one shot. Zhao Danfeng knows that he is despicable, so she has prepared for this. She threw the basket of peaches at him. He only caught a few peaches instead of her throat. While Miaoyin was smashing the peaches with his claws. Zhao Danfeng has ran into the clay house. Miaoyin leapt forward after her, broke the door which she just slammed. He strode into the house, saw her standing by the wall as if waited for him to come in. At this time, the flood has already up to their knees.
Miaoyin sneered, stepped forward without fear. But only one more step into the clay house, he listened some sounds. When he looked up, Wu Daocai on the second floor, pouring out some slippery things on to his head. It was green-tailed snakes. Zhao Danfeng knew that she has been oposed him for twenty years. One day he would not tolerate. These green-tailed snakes have been prepared for him since then.
There were more than a hundred green-tailed snakes dropping on his head, but he didn’t avoid them. He just waved his arms and shook his bodies. Most of the green-tailed snakes have fallen, only a few left on his collar. Even they still bit him, but Miaoyin have already locked the acupuncture points on his neck to block the poison. He grabbed the snakes on his shoulder, staring at Zhao Danfeng, then threw to her.
He kept walking towards Zhao Danfeng with fire in his eyes, said: “Zhao Danfeng, you think I was still Tuoba Jincai in the past!” He shook his head and continued: “How come you haven’t changed for decades?”
Zhao Danfeng said coldly: “Who was Tuoba Jincai? I’ve never known this person.”
Miaoyin snorted and said: “You have been enemy with me for decades, and now you even received the traitor of my Icy Jade Palace. Do you really think I dare not kill you?”
Zhao Danfeng sighed: “You want to kill then kill! Anyway, you have owe us too much, not only one life?”
Miaoyin shouted: “Zhao Baicheng died for sickness. He can save others but himself. What does this to do with me? Is this also my responibilily?”
When he mentioned about Zhao Baichang, Zhao Danfeng hated him even more, said: “If you didn’t force my father to give you the perscripion of immortality, and hurt him, he would not got sick and died. Do you still have a little bit morality? ”
Miaoyin listened, laughed loudly, and said: “Oh! It was like this, then you still can’t get married, do I have to be responsible too?”
Listened to his heartless mocking, Zhao danfeng felt that she insisted to stay in the desert for 30 years, was absolutely waste of her life.
Miaoyin saw tears in her eyes, but he has no mercy at all. He suddently grabbed her throat, pulling her closed to him, said : “I will kill you. Are you happy now?” Zhao Danfeng couldn’t say a word when her throat was in his grasp. She just glared at him, tearfully, stunned and desperate.
Wu Daocai at the moment, lifted the shovel from behind and shouted: “The old thief, you… let her go!”
Although he didn’t know any martial arts, he couldn’t just watch Danfeng being bully. Miaoyin turned his head, looked at him, said: “You are that little man who came all over form Jiangnan to please her? Dan Feng, I will be the matchmaker for you today. I send you two to get married in the underworld!” After that, he chuckled, rasied his palm to slam her. Wu daocai immediately hit his back with the shovel. Miaoyin then released Zhao Danfeng, turned his back to see this little man, snorked. Zhao danfeng quickly slammed him with palms but Miaoyin receiced. The two palms slammed each other, regardless of the flood that has been on their waist.
Miaoyin was bitten by the green-tailed snakes. He couldn’t perform the wonderful bird singing palms. He could only compete with her with general internal strength. Zhao Danfeng was well versed in medical techniques, and the internet method of martial arts. In order to fight with Miaoyin, she struggled to practice her internal strength that is strong enough to against him.
Wu Daocai was watching fearfully, but he couldn’t do anything. However, he has decided. If Dan Feng died, he will not live. Dan Feng started bleeding from the corner of her mouth. At this time, the three of them has been already soaked half body in the water . Outside the clay house, it was still pulling rain, and the thunders pound, the lightning flashed. The flood was penetrating from every directions. All in a sudden, a huge torrent of water rushed in, destroyed the walls of the soft clay house. The red clay bricks collapsed instantly, and the sandy muddy water raised to cover up everything in a second. Zhao Danfeng and Miaoyin was thrust seperately. They scrambled in the turbid waves of flood. Miaoyin with his strength, he could still turn over in the waves, flew out of the rubbles, then disappeared behind the rainstorm. Zhao Danfeng and Wu Daocai were immersed in the water, struggling to survive.
But not the manor that has been established for more than a decade. It was destroyed in the desert torrent.
The dawn finally came, and the desert rain storm that had been last all night ended abruptly. The red sun rose from the east, illuminated the swamp in front of it. The uprooted dead wood floated in the rolling waves. The floods were mixed with quicksand, alluvial in the lowlands of the desert, forming a vase lake, where a flock of egrets perched.
Yueqiao stopped and looked around, found the only way back to the road, the black wind river road was also flooded. If they waited for the flood completely retreated, it would take a few days at lease. He look at Qianqian in his arms. She is so fragile and unable of self-defend at all. If now was caught up by Miaoyin, they would have no chance to survive. Behind the mountains, there was a path which buried in grass, looking untamed and dangerous, but he believed that the path is a opened door to life.
The mountain trail was rugged. Yueqiao and Qianqian riding on the thin horse, was bumping forward along the winding road. The lusty peaks were standing straight on both sides, surrounded by pine trees, towering to the sky. After the rain, the spruce was fresh and aromatic. Qianqian smelled the scent of truffles, mistaken that she had returned to Songhu Island. she shouted and opened her eyes: “Dad, I am back!”
But she only saw mountains overlapped, then she realized that she was still thousands mile away home. Yueqiao was sitting behind her, asked: “Why have you never asked to go home, you know that we are moving the opposite direction from the Central Plain?”
Qianqian slightly smiled, said: “I think you must have your reason. You know about here. I can’t even tell the east and the west, I have no opinion.”
Yueqiao was apologetic for he couldn’t bring her home, but he had no choice now. Going back to east, must met Miaoyin who has his paws everywhere. He was grateful that she trusted him. He whispered behind her ears: “How many peaks and bridges do Songhu Island have actually?”
Talking about Songhu Island, Qianqian looked ardently, replied: “Songhu Island has nine peaks, thirty-six bridges.”
Yueqiao surprised: “Wow! So many?”
Qianqian smiled proundly, continued: “Of course, Songhu Island has been established for two hundred years. In addition to the peaks and the bridges, there are also waterfalls, valleys, caves and cliffs. There are countless beautiful natures! Until my father, it’s already the ninth generation. The nine peaks were named after each generation of island owners, and the waterfalls was named after each wife of them, like Luomei, was name after my mother’s maid name.”
Yueqiao listened with gusto, asked again: “Than! Is there a moon bridge in the 36 bridges?”
Qianqian smiled delightfully, said: “Of course not, but there is one called Yuesong Bridge. The thirty-six bridges are named after the six schoolings of martial arts in Songhu Island.”
Yueqiao seriously nodded: “There are so many martial arts in Songhu Island. No wonder my master was so fascinated. ”
Qianqian continued: “Yes! because of this, my father intentionally erected a stone monument on the Songmei Bridge, written Return Here, to remind those people who wanted to pursue the martial arts of Songhu Island. My father said that those who have seen the stone monument and returned, have alreadly learned the best martial arts of Songhu Island, that is, modesty and remorse. .”
Yueqiao nodded and thought: these things have never been mentioned by Master. That’s why he had never returned. He asked: “So… what else?”
Qianqian swayed her head pleasently, answered: “The 18 paths were named after the soul foxs that you had mentioned…”
That reminded Yueqiao of mocking her in the Moon hill, he then whispered: “The soul foxs are really spiritual things, unlike those stupid animals such as cattle and sheeps, is that why they can live independently without…..” while Yueqiao was whispering into Qianqian’s ears, she turned her face to look at him, two faces was almost pasted, Yueqiao then stopped talking.
At this time, the horse strolled into a vast grassland, with a blue water lake lying on it. By the side of the lake, standing a few yurts, around with some stupid clumsy cattle and sheeps. Qianqian and Yueqiao were instantly encouraged. They didn’t expected somewhere in the nowhere would have such a paradise. Yueqiao jumped down the horse, ran to the lake rashly, plunged himself into the lake without thinking. The water was cold, but crystal clear. The lakeshore was full of reeds, reflecting the evening sunlight.
Qianqian also got off the horse, walking to the lake. She stood there, watching Yueqiao swimming, shouting like a child. He was waving to her, said: “Hey! Are you afraid of water? No wonder on that day, you didn’t dare to jump.”
While he was saying that, he swam back to pull Qianqian off the shore. But Qianqian resisted, then he just squatted beside and watching her silently. When the four eyes were caught, Qianqian suddenly sprinkled a handful of fine sand to him. Yueqiao dodged quickly, hugged her waist with one hand, lifted up and dropped into the lake. The water was just over top of Qianqian. She suddenly remembered the two times drowning with the image of Teng Kuanrou flashed in her mind. Qianqian was still frightened, but suddenly her arms were hooked, and dragged to the centre of the lake. Yueqiao around Qianqian with his arms and said: “Look! It’s so fun to be in the water! What are you still afraid of?”
After that, he carried Qianqian on back and swam together. He was overjoyed and forgetful. Then the two frisked about the green waves. Gradually, Qianqian was loosened from his grasp. She swam in the water by herself.
When the two went back to the shore. There were stood ten people, men and women wore thick sheepskins robes. They were staring at Qianqian’s face unfriendly. Yueqiao felt awkward, didn’t know what to do but walking toward to try to greet them. But those people suddenly pointed fingers and shouted at Qianqian. Some even took out drums to beat while others surrounded Qianqian. Yueqiao quickly ran in between and yelled: “Don’t touch her!”
Then they rushed back to the yurts, took out some sticks, swayed in front of the two, but didn’t move any closer. Yueqiao was confused, so he took Qianqian’s hand, turned around and run. When these people saw the two running, they chased until the two ran up to the hill. Then they lingered on the lakeside for awhile and scattered.
Yueqiao gasped, said: “What’s wrong with these people? What did we do to offend them?” When he looked back, Qianqian was sitting on the ground, scratching her arms, he knew that the second layer hell of bliss is about to break out.
Yueqiao carried Qianqian and climbed up the hill. Fortunately, he found a cave. The cave was quite wide. There were a pile of animal bones on the ground. This cave must be once home of some kind of beast. Yueqiao put Qianqian down, picked up a bone and looked at it. The bone had dried out and yellowed. He believed that this cave has been abandoned for a long time. He hoped the beast which left will no longer returned.
Qianqian has been scratching for a while, Yueqiao was helpless. Suddenly, Qianqian felt that her whole body was fired and itchy. She shouted: “Itchy! Itchy!” and then scratching fiecely. Yueqiao watched her, scratching so fiercely that her delicate skin has already been bleeding. He was afraid that if she kept scratching like this, her skin will be total lost in a short time. How can she survive with this for forty-nine days?
While he was thinking, Qianqian has unconsciously scratched away a layer of skin, but she continued to do so. The feeling of pain must be much unbearable than the itch. Yueqiao stared at her bleeding elbows until he couldn’t stand to see any longer. He held her hands and pleaded: “Don’t scratch anymore.”
Qianqian couldn’t scratch for a moment, she right away glared at him and shouted: “Let me go!” while struggling, Her strength was several times stronger than usual. Yueqiao was pulling with her for a long time, still couldn’t confort her. Eventually, he was forced to pluck out her belt, with it to tie her hands up. Qianqian saw her hands was tied, she screamed more: “Let me go! You are so bad! Let me scratch, please, Yueqiao! I beg you, let me go! Let me go!”
No matter how she yelled at Yueqiao, he just stood by side with ears covering. Qianqian couldn’t scratch, then she fell to the ground, rolled her body on the sand. The situation was getting worse and embarrassing. Yueqiao squinted at her, at last he had to pick her up, hanged her on a rock with a crack enough to put the belt in. Qianqian was hung on the rock. She couldn’t even rubbed her back. Her whole body was itchy, but nowhere she could scratch now. She only could yell at Yueqiao: “You… are ill- heart, you are cold-blooded, you are so mean, release me now, or I kill you! or I kill me! I prefer to die…..”
Yueqiao was so baffled. He was also afraid that she would really do bite her tongue to smother herself. He then saw the handkerchief fell from her belt, he picked it up just simply stuffed her mouth. Qianqian couldn’t say anything instantly, but just staring at him with anguish. The itching feeling from bones forced her to tear.
Yueqiao felt that his heart was cracked. His lips were trembling. He couldn’t see anymore. He just dashed off the cave.
After a long time, Yueqiao still didn’t dare to go back until he heard no more groans. Then he went back and found Qianqian was no longer struggling. Her head leaned against one side of her arm. Yueqiao quietly walked near to her to check her breath and pulse. It seemed that there was nothing abnormal. He felt relieved. He gently pulled out the stuff in her mouth, ran to the lake dampen it with water, hurriedly brought it back to the cave. He squeezed the water on her dry lips. Qianqian then slowly opened her eyes, but once she back to conscious, she felt ichy again, then yelled for scratching again. Yueqiao has no choice but to stuff her mouth again. It was like that, repeated countless times until the expiration of the forty-nine day period.
When the time came, Yueqiao immediately untied her, carefully removed her from the rock, let her rest on his lap, and took out the stuff on her mouth. He was watching her thoughtfully. Her eyes are still closed. Her lips cracked. Her face is pale. He felt so sorry to treat her like this. He also hated himself for being powerless. He dropped tears unconsciously, that fell on Qianqian’s cheek. Qianqian opened her eyes, and saw Yueqiao, he said: “I’m sorry!”
Qianqian saw his tearful eyes, asked faintly: “How do you cry? You are fool head.”
Yueqiao wiped the tears away, took Qianqian hands, strode with her out the cave, pointed at the silverplated moon in the sky, said: “Look! The moon tonight is so round!”
“Is it Mid-Autumn today?” Qianqian muttered. Yueqiao pointed to a straw basket on the ground and said, “Look! What is this? There are cheese, grapes, goat’s milk and naan, were brought by people near the lake.”
Qianqian wondered: “Well! Is it? Did they dislike us before?”
Yueqiao shrugged and said: “Don’t you care too much? Eat! You haven’t eaten much for dozens of days.”
Qianqian pick a piece of naan, look up at the silver moon. The moon reflected with greenish light in the forest as if there were spirits of tree. She felt safe and peace, thinks: what hell, what bliss, actually all in my feelings. I pain, I am in hell, I am not pain, I am in bliss. Looking back at Yueqiao now sitting on the ground, happily eating by himself, she understood: “The essential seven layers of bliss, all in a word of forbearance. If you could bear the people can not bear, you have no hell. If you can not bear everyone can bear, then hell is everywhere.”
Yueqiao was lying now in the moonlight, he fell asleep quickly. Qianqian moved forward to see his face and muttered to herself: “This fool head is definitely tired.”
The third layer was a land full of extreme cold. Yueqiao laid the deerskin on the ground, let Qianqian sleep on it. He also chopped woods to make a camp fire in the cave, hoping that to make her feel warmer, but she was still shivering. Yueqiao sat beside the fire, has been sweating, but he didn’t dare to put off the fire.
He kneeled beside her, watching her eyes closed, biting lips to endure the coldness. Yueqiao then asked: “If I was holding you?”
Qianqian blinked and nodded. Yueqiao then sat on the deerskin, moved her onto his chest, put arms around her shoulders, whispered, “Is there any better?”
Qianqian continued to tremble. She shook her head and said: “No.”
Yueqiao smiled bitterly: “But I feel much better. Can I continue to hold you?”
Qianqian slightly smiled, but eyes were dropped down. In his arms, although she couldn’t share his warmth, she deeply appreciated his existence. Yueqiao was fascinated by the glare outside the cave. It was a sunny day. The music with songs and laughter came from the lakeside village, presumably they were celebrating the autumn harvest!
When Yueqiao went outside the cave by the evening, he found that another straw basket of food placed in front of there. He watched the villagers surrounded the campfire and danced. The joyful laughter echoed thoughout the grassland. Yueqiao then looked up to the sky with full heart of gratitude.
The fourth layer was the torment of the other side.
A touch of autumn clouds, some fall of yellow leafs, the grassland began to be withered. And the lake was no longer sparkling.
However, Qianqian was like swallowing a hot sun in her stomach. Her body was so hot and sweaty day and night. She could not sleep, gradually wilting like the grassland.
Yueqiao just got water from the lake. The basket was dredged. The water was almost leaked off. Yueqiao touched Qianqian’s body. It was hot like metal in the stove. He immediately casted the basket, picked her up, quickly brought her to the lake, gently soaked her in the water. The water was so cold, Yueqiao was shaking his legs, but Qianqian was still like burning. At this time, there by the lake stood a child, about four years old, wrapped in thick sheepskin robe, staring at Yueqiao and Qianqian, giggling with curiosity.
Yueqiao knows that no matter he did, it is impossible to alleviate her pain, because this seven-layer of bliss is for her to bear alone. Yueqiao found that she is getting stronger and stronger, the more she suffered, the more she endured, and the more silent she is. Yueqiao but felt more guilty.
This morning, Yueqiao walked out of the cave and found everywhere was white. It seemed that there was a heavy snowfall last night. Yueqiao stood under a cedar tree on the hillside, overlooking the grassland which became much vast in the absolute white. The chilly wind blew and the snow powder sprinkled. The whole world was in it’s ethereal silence. He felt that all the sufferings have been forgotten.