Songhu Island 6-7


(7) Qingcheng

The Qingcheng Mountain was deeply concealed in the inky night. Above the waist of it, there was the Qingcheng Taoist Temple, heftily wrapped in the dense forest. Tonight, the new moon as a hook. The gusty wind covered up a black shadow on the glazed tile of winged eaves. He appeared from the woods and overlooked inside the temple garden. Except the stone lamps were lit in the yard, there was no light everywhere. The black shadow jumped gently from the eaves, and there was no sound when he landed. After entering the Temple, passing through the Sanqing Hall, the black shadow stopped in front of the Laozi golden painted statue, saw a carp as an offering placed on the altar. It was so big of about two feet. He knew that such a big carp only survived in the Black River near Songhu Island. He immediately clapped his hands and bowed to the statue. Then swiftly he crossed the sill, walked into the inner yard. Surprisingly this person was so familiar with the area of Qingcheng Taoist Temple, and was not stumbled by the threshold even in the dark. He went directly without hesitated to the arms cave. The arms cave was the place where the Qingcheng School stored their arms. He looked around to see if there were any guards, but he saw no one. He was a bit doubtful before he walked up the stairs. Usually, the bronze door was buckled. He took out the lily lock and was about to unlock it. However, he found that the lock was already unbolt and rested on a copper ring. He was surprised and suspicious. It emerged that not only him thought of checking out the arms cave first. He carefully pushed the door opened. It seemed quiet but he sensed something noxious. Slowly stretching his feet inside and suddenly a cold blade slashed on his top. The black shadow shirked sideway, saw another black shadow holding a shining knife, also covered his face as him. That black shadow slashed the knife to this black shadow. This black shadow was just dodging and dodging. He did not fight back, it seemed that he came bare-handed without bringing any weapons. The two entwined for a while. Suddenly they heard someone screamed. This black shadow was shocked for more people inside the arms cave.  Two men in black, countered their palms against each other. They shouted twice in the dim corner.  It seemed that no one was going to win.  This black shadow felt that something really wrong. He didn’t want to stay any longer. He jumped out of the cave as soon as he pushed that shinning knife away. However, outside the cave, two other black shadows were fluttered. The one in the left held a sword in the sheath, and the one in the right struck against him. These black shadows shifting their positions, combating to each other. It appeared that they were fighting for the sword in whoever’s hand. This black shadow was dazed. All in a sudden, there were so many black shadows in the Qingcheng Taoist temple.  It was unbelievable and ridiculous. He felt he should really get out of here immediately, or he would be getting himself in big trouble. It was obviously, those men were robbing the fake sword in the pool here tonight.

He supposed if the Qingcheng School really obtained the sword, they would never place it in the arms cave where usually just for storing normal weapons. Now, knowing that the arms cave has a fake one, then the Qingcheng school claimed they obtained the sword in the pool was just a smoke screen. For if they had a real one, why they bothered to put a fake one in the arms cave? The only reason was to provoke disputes deliberately. He assumed that they claimed to have the sword of the pool was deceptive. Qingcheng School was a famous and decent school, shouldn’t’ have use such kind of unrighteous mean. Since he has already checked out what he needed to know, he was ready to leave, but unexpectedly he saw one more black shadow dropped from the eaves with a beautiful somersault, sneaked into the Baoling Hall. This person moved so brisk that was totally different from those robbing the fake sword of the pool in Sanqing Hall. He was curious. He couldn’t help followed him, breaking into the Baoling Hall.

The Baoling Hall was the place where the Qingcheng School’s head masters and eminent Taoists practiced Tao and mediated. It was also a forbidden zone for the disciples. This black shadow shielded himself behind a large red lacquered column, glimpsed at that black shadow swiftly flew to the highest beam in the center of Baoling Hall, perched on it without a sound. He could see the entire Baoling Hall from there. The Hall was secluded by many long silk curtains. Behind these fluttering curtains, was illumined with some shaky candle lights.

A silver crowned Taoist sat on the futon, asked: “Is there anyone else came to steal the sword in the pool tonight?”

Standing aside, another Taoist, wearing a yellow robe and a green crown, bowed and replied with great respect: “Yes, Master, there are several more tonight, and their martial arts are better than those of the previous two nights. So, it seemed would take a longer time to finish.”

The silver crowned Taoist sneered and said: “Let them steal! The more people came to steal, and more people found they got the fake one, more enraged they are, then tomorrow more people will give pressure to Songhu Island, force that new assigned island master to hand over the sword in the pool!”

The green crowned Toaist said: “But…Master! Miaoyin Tianjun told us this secret. Doesn’t he want to get the sword in the pool for himself too?”

The silver crowned Taoist disdainfully said: “No one in the world does not want to get the sword in the pool. However, Miaoyin Tianjun though dominated the Great Xia, I don’t think he dared to counter the whole martial arts world in the Central Plains. If the sword in the pool was returned to the Qingcheng School, he won’t dare to peer at it. He is an alien after all. The Central Plains will never let him attain the sword. He could be calculated but it will never work.”

The green crowned Taoist asked again: “The new successor of Songhu Island who has learned the swordsmanship from Lv Jiannan, what should we do about her?”

The silver crowned Taoist said grudgingly: “What the big deal was the swordsmanship of Lv Jiannan? Wasn’t that he also taught by me? This man betrayed his ancestors, he deserved to die.”

The green crowned Taoist nodded quickly and said: “Yes! Yes!”

When he didn’t speak for a moment, the silver crowned Taoist asked: “Do you have any other questions?”

The green crowned Taoist bowed and said: “No, Master.”

The silver crowned Taoist kindly smiled and said: “Look at you! Qianguang! You are the head master of the Qingcheng School. You have the responsibility to maintain her reputation. You must open the altar to examine the sword tomorrow. You must handle it carefully and strictly and do not neglect it. Do you know?”

It turned out that the green crowned Taoist was the master of Teng Kuanrou, Yu Qianguang. After he became the head master of the Qingcheng School, he was given a higher honor, named Fang Xianzi, a special symbol for reputed Taoist. And Guo Ruyun, the master taoist who participated the 100th anniversary of Emei School 38 years ago, became the eminent Taoist. Guo Ruyun managed the Qingcheng School for 50 years, passed the position to his disciple when he was one hundred-years-old, and changed his name to Ziji.

When Guo Ruyun saw that Yu Qianguang was still standing there, he was a bit irritated: “What do you still want to say? Why are you always hesitant like this?”

Yu Qianguang suddenly knelt and said: “Master, grand uncle master has been fasting for three months. If he continued, I am afraid…”

Guo Ruyun heard that he mentioned about the grand uncle master, his face sank instantly and sighed: “He has lived to one hundred and twenty years old. If he was impatient, it isn’t a bad thing for him gone for the fairy world earlier.”

Seeing that Yu Qianguang was still kneeling, he sighed again: “You are too benevolent as a woman!” He said: “All right! Go to tell him, I will see him in a few days.”

Yu Qianguang then stood up and said: “Grand uncle master was imprisoned for a hundred years. Recently he was blind and deaf, only wish is to see Master you.”

Guo Ruyun lowered his head and waved his hand, then meditated and stopped talking.

Yu Qianguang quietly retired and left. He walked through a row of red lacquered columns in the Baoling Hall. At this late at night, everywhere was quiet, and the footsteps of him were particularly sounded loud. The man hiding behind the column, held his breath, thought: “Grand grand uncle master was imprisoned for a hundred years? I have always believed that he was self-restraint. There must a hidden inside story.”

This man was Teng Kuanrou, who inadvertently learned the secret of the Qingcheng School. He was very embarrassed at this moment. He was afraid of moving a little, and discovered by his master. When he looked up, he saw the black shadow on the beam was gone. He guessed he must follow his master. By this time, there were two Taoists carrying lanterns walking by. They stopped in front of Ziji master’s meditation area and asked: “Master! What else is there you have to order us?”

Guo Ruyun replied: “No, you must keep your position and be cautious until dawn.”

Teng Kuanrou took the chance when they were talking, flipped out of Baoling Hall, jumped onto the eaves. When he looked forward, he saw that black shadow flying on the eaves, directed to the back hills of the Qingcheng Temple.

At the back hills of Qingcheng, in the depths of the bamboo forest, there was a quiet path leading to the slope. Yu Qianguang slowly picked up his steps. The black shadow and Teng Kuanrou were parted by ten feet tracking together. The path was steep and extended until the ravine below the slope, where faintly reflected a pool of clear water, surrounded with cliffs and waterfalls, concealed both sides by the dense forest. Yu Qianguang walked to the pool side, didn’t know what kind of gear he pressed. Some round piles floated up from the bottom of the pool. Yu Qianguang walked on the wooden piles crossing the pool to the cliff. After he arrived the last pile under the waterfall, he just disappeared behind it. It turned up that there was another exit beyond the waterfall. The black shadow stood in front of the pool, he saw the wooden piles were still floating on the water. He hesitated for a while, then tried to step on it, but the piles suddenly sank back into the water. The black shadow retracted his foot and looked up the abyss. The waterfall was about 30 feet off the shore. It was impossible for normal people jumped over there nonstop. But the black shadow seemed confident and sure. He stepped back, opened his arms, prepared to fly. Right after he leaped, another black shadow blocked his way. Two black shadows dashed with a blast of their palms. The power of their palms was compelling. The two men met in the air, saw the other one both covered with a black towel, only a pair of eyes were exposed. When the four eyes touched, instantly they jumped back and stopped…

The sixth chapter is finished


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