Mulun and Cao Hook with others left Dongting and headed for Chang’an. All of them worried about Yueqiao, but the way to Icy Jade Palace was far, and Yueqiao could not be found easily either. Mulun was also baffled, because she traveled to Central Plains from a long distance, in addition to offer the seven colors glass to the Empress, she has another important mission appointed by her father before he died. Over the years, she has finally contacted with the eight guardians who hidden in the Central Plains. She has also found Cao Hook. The resurrection has become more and more realistic. If now, because of Yueqiao, she has to offend the Icy Jade Palace which is powerful in the Daxia, the road between Huigu and Central Plains will be blocked in the future. Mulun thought of this and sighed deeply: “Yueqiao is not a member of our sect, but I can’t ignore if he was in danger. This is also violate the principles of our teaching. ” She turned to Ruoxian and Qiman, said: “I shall have to go to Chang’an. You two hurriedly go to the Icy Jade palace, search for the news of Yueqiao, and then report me with the messenger goose. ”
The two took the task, then said goodbye to everyone, whipped their houses and rode away. Mulun then looked back at Cao Hook, saw his eyebrows were deeply locked. She comforted him: “Uncle Cao, you don’t have to worry about Yueqiao, Ruoxian and Qiman is rushing to the Icy Jade Palace. They are very familiar with the terrain over there, and the most important is they are westerner. It is much easier for them to work alone. You also know that the master of Icy Jade Palace hatred the Han people. I am afraid that we have not heard the news of Yueqiao, would already get trouble with him!”
Listened to Mulun’s explanation, Cao Hook nodded and said: “You are always prudent, just like your father. Brother Tianmas has a daughter like you. It is indeed a blessing.”
Mulun smiled and looked at Cao Hook with hesitation, she seemed have something else to say: “Uncle Cao, in fact, you have just met Yueqiao, why you are so concerning of his safety?”
Cao Hook has not yet answered, Ahwu interrupted: “Aunt Mu, why are you saying this? Are you not worried about Yueqiao?”
Cao Hook still hasn’t answer. Mulun asked again: “Uncle Cao, when you took Elaine and Bendt left Huigu that day, what happened after that? I thought you had reunited with the wife and daughter in the Central Plains. That is why I dare not to ask about them, but later I know that Ahwu is your adopted daughter, then, where are Elaine and Bendt?”
Cao Hook suddenly dropped his head and felt that he was very selfish. He was sorry for the wife and daughter of Central Plains, and also for his wife and child in Huigu. Now he was pushed by Mulun. He couldn’t hide but sighed: “During the years in Huigu, because I couldn’t stand the loneliness, I married Elaine, but I couldn’t forget the Central Plains either. The brother Tianmas trusted me so much, but I really didn’t want to be involved in his mission of resurrection. So, I asked Elaine flee to the Central Plains with me, and I was surprised that Elaine promised without hesitated. In that evening, the spring frost was still sloppy, we took the four years old Bendt, left without noticed …”
Cao Hook one hand holding Bendt, the other holding Elaine, came to the front of the Black wind river, where the storm was howling. Cao Hook knew that the Black wind river in the late spring often blocked with sand storm, which could bury pedestrians and camels. Under the sand, there often found their dry out body. However, Cao Hook was reckless when he was younger. He couldn’t wait to return to the Central Plains. He made such a rash decision for he thought that he would be lucky enough to pass it through.
However, when he entered the Black wind river, the wild sand smashed onto them. Bendt buried his face in the chest of his mother. The two hid behind Cao Hook, and the three moved forward arduously, like crossing layers of sand walls. But the sand wall was getting thicker and thicker. The sand was hitting the three at a speed of arrow. They couldn’t open eyes, indeed, the sand was pushing into their ears and nostrils. At last, this family were blocked by the four walls of sand. They couldn’t move one step forward. Suddenly, the family was rolled up by a whirlwind. Bendt instantly separeted with his parents. Cao Hook watched that his wife and child was taken away by the whirl instantly. And himself was also lost in the vastness of desert.
“When I woke up, I was already in Xingqing, capital of Daxia. The camel merchant who saved me said that when he found me, I was alone. He didn’t see my wife and child. I later sneaked back to Central Plains, and I couldn’t find my wife and daughter either. From then, I have been wandering around. I am always missing them.” Cao Hook said tearfully. After listening to that, Ahwu, was the first time learned about the past of her old man. For more than a decade, they have lived together, but he had never mentioned any about this. It must be too remorseful and painful to talk about.
Mulun had forced him to tell the truth of his past, she was feeling apologetic. However, in order to understand the riddle in his heart, she had to ask: “Uncle Cao, when I saw Yueqiao, I also felt his face is very familiar.”
Cao Hook immediately responded: “Yes, when I saw him at Dongting Lake, I immediately thought of Elaine. Elaine is a Daqin woman with a high nose and deep eyes. Bendt looked exactly like his mother but not me.”
Mulun nodded. “But the black wind river and the Icy Jade Palace are hundreds of mile apart. Even Bendt was alive, it was difficult for a four years old walked to the Icy Jade Palace.”
Cao Hook said: “But the Icy Jade Palace has control all over Daxia and I heard that Miaoyin Tianjun has taken in a lot of children who were lost in the desert. Mulun, if Yueqiao is really Bendt, I can’t discard him.”
Mulun put her hand on Cao Hook’s shoulder, said firmly: “We will definitely find him. Don’t worried!”
Then, three of them got on the horses with hope, moving ahead on their way to Chang’an.
When they arrived in Chang’an, the three held their horses walking into Chengtianmen. On both sides of the city gate, there was ancient trees above their shades, in the lingering incense smoke of a ruined temple, to recall the prosperity of Tang Dynasty, though the peach blossoms remained the same. At the end of the Tang Dynasty, the rebels set fire to the city. There were still traces of burning on the pillars of Chengtianmen. After that, the residents of Chang’an were forced to move to Luoyang, then the ancient capital of the millennium was abandoned. Today, the Great Song set up Jingzhao province in the old Chang’an City. Most of the residents lived here now are westerners, and among them, most are the people of Huigu who helped the Tang to suppress the rebel of Anshi.
They stopped by a market to inquire about the location of the Yi Ning Fang in Chang’an Avenue. Mulun saw a Huigu man in Han costume, she then asked politely. He replied in fluent Chinese: “Yi Ning Fang? Just on the west side of Chang’an Avenue, you have to heading west to Chang’an Avenue.”
Mulun happily thanked for him and turned back to take her horse. Then the man suddenly asked: “What are you going to do in Yi ning fang?”
The three looked at each other for a moment, but did not answer. Then Ahwu smiled and said: “Of course, We are going to see the ancient site! Shall we going there to sell buns?”
It turned out that the man was a hawker selling buns on the side of the road. It seems that he was not offended at all. He smiled and said: “Yes! Let’s go see it! Yi ning fang has an ancient Daqin Temple, standing in the wind and rain for hundreds of year. It’s really worth seeing!”
Mulun and Cao Hook looked at each other and felt that he seemed to have something to imply. For a moment, they didn’t know what to say back. But the man has gone back to his stall to sell buns.
The three went along the Chang’an Avenue to the west, and the farther they went, the more desolated. The size of Chang’an City in the Great Song was greatly reduced compared with the Tang. During the time of Tang, Yi ning feng was an opened zone of sacred temples of all religions. But now it became historical ruins. Mulun was riding ahead. She slowed down the horse, listened to a song from a distance. The song was cheerful, but sung in a foreign language. Mulun followed his father traveling since she was a child, she got to know a little of various languages in the Western Region. she has lived for more than ten years in Huigu. She was even more familiar to Huigu than the Daqin where she was born. She listened and smiled. At this time, they stopped by the building of white stone and blue tile. The building was ruined, the wall was mottled. It was buried in the grass, hidden in the red dust. It has been withstand hundreds year of rain and sun.
The three got off the horses and walked to the stone stair in front of the building. The stone stair was covered with purple stalks, and the hibiscus lingering around it. Mulun paused to look at the building. The painted has been peeled off. Two arched red lacquered doors also full of axe marks, with the copper rings ruptured. Mulun pushed the door, to see inside is large, but nothing left. The dome has no beams, only six talc cylinders hidden half inside the walls, with ornaments of lotus and clouds on the pillars. In addition, there are only sandstone, dust, and the sun glow obliquely illuminating from the oculus.
Mulun sighed and mourned, thinking that she could find the Daqin Temple, but could not find the glory of the past, and there was no a single word to chase back the history. Ahwu was the first time seeing such a thing. She thought that this building was very large with the round roof, but a big hole in the middle, she said: “This stone house is so strong. It has a big round roof, but opened a hole in the zenith. Isn’t it self-contradicted?”
Mulun smiled and said: “Ahwu, this is the legendary Daqin Temple. It was built in the Great Tang Dynasty and it is a testimony of my church had been prospered in the Central Plains.”
Ahwu nodded and asked: “So why is it so ruined now?”
Mulun continued to explain: “According to my father, in the last years of the Tang Dynasty, there was a disaster of religious extermination, the temples was abolished, the monks were condemned. My ancestors was exiled for Daqin, encountered the war of Tubo and Huigu on their way home. The customs were closed so that they were forced to stay in Gaochang. They lived there for a few hundred years. Later, Tubo and Huigu accepted our church, so that they can survive until now. However we only have the translations of Tubo and Huigu in our teachings, so my father asked me to go to Central Plains to find a residual Chinese translation, which may promote the great resurration of our church.”
When Cao Hook heard about this, he couldn’t help but remorse, said: “The brother Tianmas was not afraid of hardships. He was full of enthusiasm. But I disregard him. I really ashamed to be his brother.”
Mulun was about to say something to comfort him. Ahwu asked again: “Aunt Mu, you keep saying your church, actually what is church, what does it mean?”
When Mulun listened to what she said, she looked surround and said: “Our church has been banned for more than 200 years in the Central Plains. Even if someone knows, he wouldn’t dare to mention it. Even if I say it now, I am afraid no one knows what it is.”
Cao Hook suddenly remembered one thing and asked: “So why did the Empress sees the seven colors glass cup and then will reopen the Daqin Temple?”
When Mulun heard that, she immediately pull the sleeve of Cao Hook and pressed her voice: “Uncle Cao, this matter involves the hidden relationship between the Empress and our church. It is inconvenient to tell you right now.”
By this time, sound of children singings was approaching here. The three then went through the portico, walked out to the back court where was actually all covered by weed. It seemed nothing there, so where did the children’s singing come from?
The three looked up and saw some figures standing behind the weed. It was the Huigu man who sold the buns at Chengtianmen. He was smiling to Mulun, then he looked down to pick up a child. The child smiled at them and waved.
Although Mulun was suspicious, she was convinced that this person was the key to solving the mystery. She then groped through the tall weed to them. Cao Hook and Ahwu as well followed.
The three came to the front of the man, he said with courtesy: “The ancient temple of Daqin has been abandoned for a long time. Today, it is my pleasure to receive my honorable guests. Could I lead you, please!”
After that, he led the three walked into the woods there was a small temple inside. When they entered the temple, they saw the statue of the earth deity. The man led the three walked behind the statue, rolled up a red carpet on the ground in there was a ramp. It was a secret room underneath. At this time, the children singings were clearly audible, then the man smiled and said, “Please come in!”
The three walked down the cellar, but saw the four ragged walls, revealing the structure isn’t stable and strong. There are several long wooden benches in the room, several children are surrounded by a woman, reading and singing. The woman is about forty years old. She also has a face of Huigu people, said: “The room is broken and nothing to serve our guests. ” The man said to Mulun: “The room is simple, but there is one thing. After you see it, you are not be regretted.”
After that, the woman went out with the children. The man showed them something which covered by a piece of black cloth. He lifted the cloth, the three immediately went forward to see what it is. All of them were astonished, especially Mulun.
There actually is an ancient stone stele, about ten feet high, four feet wide. The stone is black, engraved with auspicious clouds, and Buddhist lotus petal, but a cross in it. The engraved Chinese Characters was written “Da Qin Jing Jiao popular in China stele”.
Mulun caressed the stone stele and muttered: “The name of our church in Central Plains is really called Jing Jiao.”
The man nodded: “Since the Great Song, all the sects have been banned. There are still believers in the Central Plains, but on one dares to mention it. The name of Jing Jiao has been totally forgetten.”
Mulun then started to read it carefully, after finished reading, she gravely sighed: “The Daqin temple was acepted by the Emperor of Great Tang and the missionary was respected, but now….”
Cao Hook and Ahwu was antonished to learn such a piece of history. Ahwu only understand a few words, but she was watching quietly with respect in her eyes. Mulun suddenly ask the man: “I wonder if there is any paper and ink. Can I replicate it?”
The man was about to answer, but heard a noise. It was a noise of door opening. Everyone looked back and saw a man swaying his arms walking down the ramp, laughing: “Ha ha ha! Your anti- imperial rioters! Secretly gathering here to do what is prohibited by the Emperor. You really have not put the law of the Great Song in your eyes.”
This man walked like a wolf, with eagle’s eyes. He is Duan hunling. He and other three guards of Empress, secretly tracked Mulun from Dongting to here. Mulun and Cao Hook were too focused on the Daqin Temple and the stone stele. They were not aware of his surveillance. And now when they saw the present of Duan hunling, they were so shocked. Cao Hook was even hateful, said : “Duan hunling, I have been avoiding from you. Why are you still following me like ghost?”
Mulun thought that if she was stopped by this man and couldn’t obtain the replica, it would be so pity. She said resentfully: “The seven colors glass cup has been already returned to the Empress, why do you still follow us?”
Duan hunling sneered and said: “What cup? the Empress had sent us the order to follow you all the way. If there was anything wrong, to kill without her majesty approval. You still don’t know?”
When Mulun heard it, she was shocked but she still believed the Empress would carried out her promise.
Duan hunling turned to Cao Hook and said: “Cao Hook, your hands are full of blood. Whatever you believe is useless. Let me today do the goodness for the heaven, send you back to the West, then the world would have one less evil!”
While saying that, he pull out the nine-hole machete, slashed to Cao Hook. Cao Hook received with empty-handed, hurriedly push his palm. Duan then left handed to slash, with his right hand punching. The distance was shorter and match seamlessly. This move was his own creation. It wasn’t taugh by the Qinglong. He did not use it easily. But today, he would be anyhow to take the life of Cao hook. When the Huigu man saw this critical situation, he quickly opened a secret door behind the stele. This secret door must had been made for escaping from the officers. He quickly lead Mulun and Ahwu to the door, but Ahwu was reluctant to leave. She worried about the old man.
Duan hunling saw Ahwu was standing by the stele, he raised his machete to slash. It seems that today he is going to kill all. Cao Hook grabbed his arm and shouted: “Don’t you dare to hurt my daughter. Today is only between you and me.” Duan didn’t slash Ahwu, but the stele. Ahwu glared at him without any fear. Mulun saw it, she hastily pull her away to rush out the cellar.
Duan hunling slashed the stone stele of more than ten feet, was shaking to fall. It collapsed and destroyed a side of wall which was the base wall supporting the temple. Accompanying with a rumble noise, the temple had apparently leaned to one side. Soil and sand was sliding down. Duan stopped for a moment. Cao Hook took that moment rushing out the cellar. Duan was trying to chase, but he was block by the leaning stele, in a click, the temple was totally collapsed.
Mulun and Ahwu passed through a narrow tunnel to the ground, but blindly ran into a person. The man swung a duster, swept to Mulun’s face. Mulun hurried back and smell a flower scent. Mulun immediately felt dizzy. She quickly sealed her four acupuncture points blocking the scent into blood. However, she still felt paralyzed with her limbs. She sat on the ground, temporarily impossible to move. The man who waved the duster is a Taoist priest. He is the second brother of Duan. His named is Wuyan, means that he never speak. He saw Mulun was mediating with her eyes closed, he then walked forward to catch her. Suddenly someone screamed behind him. He turned around and saw a little girl holding a tree trunk, slamming against him. Ahwu ran after Mulun, saw that she was attacked by this Taoist Priest. She doesn’t know any martial art, but she bravely picked up a dead tree trunk thrusting blindly with all her strength. Wuyan was unexpectedly thrust by the tree trunk and fell to the ground. He was angry and ashamed. At that time, Bai and Weng, the other two brothers, was standing by the side, holding the woman, her children and husband with arms. Bai laughed and teased: “How could you be so easily knocked down by this little kid! My brother!”
Ahwu still holding the trunk, nagged: “You stupid priest, son of the bitch, shameless, using such a wicked sleazy ecstasy to a woman, go eat shit! what kind of fucking priest you are!” while nagging like singing, she robustly waved the tree trunk in front of Wuyan. Wuyan was usually speechless but he was not deaf, he clearly heard every words of her insults. He was ignited, leapt up suddenly on the trunk, waved the duster to Ahwu, wrapped her neck to smother her. She dropped the trunk, stumbled on the ground. Her face turned blue but Wuyan even tightened the duster to set her to death. At this very moment, Cao Hook flew from the secret passage into the air, slammed on Wuyan with his palms madly. Wuyan didn’t prepared at all for this. He fell down from the trunk, and the duster dropped off his hand. He immediately died without leaving a word.
Cao Hook has no mercy for him, said with rage, “What kind of Taoist priest are you, even to a child who doesn’t know any martial arts?”
Bai and Weng saw that Cao Hook suddenly appeared and slammed their brother fiecely. They were so shocked, immediately off their hands from the family, ran over to try to save him, but apparently it was too late. They were resented and rushed to Cao Hook. At the same moment, Mulun was recovered from the ecstasy, she stood up in front of them. It was late, when it was fast. A tumbling noise was heard and the temple collapsed. Bai and Weng turned around in horror, when they looked back, Cao Hook and Mulun have already taken Ahwu, disappeared into the woods.
Weng and Bai was so resentful. They saw their brother Wuyan lying on the ground, bleeding and breathless. They swayed his arms and shouted: “Brother! Brother!” It’s clear that Wuyan now could neither say nor hear.
Weng and Bai were grinding their teeth in grief and ire. Weng yelled to the sky: “Cao Hook! You actually kill my brother, I want your blood to pay.”
Suddenly, there was a squeaky sound in the rubble, and a head broke through it. Bai and Weng saw that it was Duan hunling, they were overjoyed. They thought even their big brother died inside the temple. They claimed: “Brother Duan! Wuyan was killed by Cao Hook this old thief.”
Duan hunling saw that his second brother lying on the ground with blood by his mouth, and heard he was killed by his lifetime opponent, Cao Hook. He was furious. He clenched his fists, looked back at the temple. He resented that if it was not the stone stele blocked his way, he would not let Cao Hook escape, and his second brother would not be killed. His eyes was fired. He cried out on his wrath: ” Tell someone dig a ten-foot hole, buried this temple with the stele. I want this stele never see the sky agian.” When it comes to the last few words, he waved his arm madly, with shocking voice.
Since then, the Daqin Jing Jiao popular in China stele has been buried in the underground of the ancient Chang’an City for 538 years. It was dug up by a farmer, and the stele remains intact. It was hidden in the Jinsheng Temple in Chang’an until the late 19 century.