Sunday, 17 June 2018

Chapter 237 - Intention to kill


Stepping out from the hut, Wenmin saw Lu Xueqi standing at the side and so walked over and said, “Junior sister, are you going back now?”

Lu Xueqi shook her head slightly, said, “Since I am already out, I thought of walking around, sitting in the room all the time also make me frustrated.”

Wenmin nodded and said, “It is true as well, then you be careful by yourself, I will go back first.”

Lu Xueqi nodded and said, “Yes, take care senior sister.”

Wenmin smiled, turned and left. Watching as her figure gradually disappeared into the forest, Lu Xueqi stood at where she was and for a moment, did not know where she should go to, and so walked aimlessly.

Deep inside the bamboo forest, everywhere was verdant, the mountain breeze blew past somewhere high up, the bamboo leaves rustled with the wind, making [sha sha] sounds.

On the damp earth, new shoots broke through the earth, one could often see the sharp bamboo heads poking out from the ground, full of vitality.

Somewhere far, where the bamboos were dense, clear crisp birds cries could be heard, even the surrounding air, wafted with the bamboo unique fragrance. Lu Xueqi inhaled deeply, the air here did not carry smells from the mortal world, this was what they, cultivated Taoism practitioners, loved the most, it was also the reason why every cultivated Taoism practitioners stayed far away from the mortals.

Just that, her body although far from the mortal life, but the mortal emotions and feelings, seemed never had left.

She walked aimlessly like that, unintentionally, she suddenly realized with a start, she had came to the rear of the mountain again, she made a bitter laugh, although she did not intend to come here today but perhaps it was because she had visited here most of the time, her legs brought her here on their own.

However since she was already here, Lu Xueqi did not turn back, continued on up the mountain, up the stone stairs, not far away was the secluded Full-Moon platform.

Right now was daytime, in addition as Shuiyue Master was not in a good mood these days, not even one disciple came to this secluded place, the surroundings seemed quieter in contrast, fortunately Lu Xueqi had always been used to such stillness and so walked up, every grass and tree, every stone and rock, she couldn’t be more familiar.

Unexpectedly when she stepped up onto the Full-Moon platform, she was surprised, ahead at the Full-Moon platform, there was someone standing there alone, the person’s robe flapped dancing by the mountain wind, the back figure extremely familiar, it was Shuiyue Master whom she and Wenmin were unable to locate.

Lu Xueqi was stunned, walked up and bowed to her teacher, “Teacher.”

Shuiyue Master was taken aback, it seemed like she did not realize someone coming from behind, turned around and saw Lu Xueqi, nodded and said, “Ah it’s Xueqi.”

Lu Xueqi looked up at Shuiyue Master, saw her mentor looking slightly pale, her expression still grieving but what was more was melancholy.

Her heart worrying, said, “Teacher, the wind is strong here, you must take care of your health.”

Shuiyue Master laughed and said, “You usually stand here for the whole day and yet I don’t see you being affected, although my old bones cannot be compared to you youngsters but I am still not that weak against the wind.”

Lu Xueqi was taken aback, hurriedly said, “Teacher, disciple did not have that intention, I am…”

Shuiyue Master tiredly waved her hand, a faint bitter smile on her lips, said, “I know, you don’t have to explain.”

Lu Xueqi was silent, stood beside her teacher and for the moment, did not know what to say.

And Shuiyue Master did not look like she was intending to speak, the teacher and the student for the moment were silent.

And not knowing how much time had passed, Shuiyue Master gazed ahead, suddenly said, “Do you think that the view at this Full-Moon platform is beautiful?”

Lu Xueqi was stunned for a moment, not knowing the reason for her teacher’s question but she still honestly replied, “It is always said that the views are usually at the perilous peaks, here the rocks jutted dangerously, the precipice suspended solitarly in the air, looking up from it, the sea of clouds like sea waves, the green mountains as companion, it is an exceptional scenery.”

Shuiyue Master nodded her head, her eyes slightly misted, in a slow voice said, “Actually many years ago, when your Suru teacher aunt was still training at Small Bamboo Valley, she was also like you, loved the scenery here the most and often sneaked out here to play.”

Lu Xueqi was surprised, looked up at Shuiyue Master, saw her sighing softly, said, “Su junior sister and I grew up together, actually I only joined my mentor Zhenyu Grand Master tutelage one year earlier than her, when we were young, we ate at the same table, shared the same bed, we were really like real sisters. Her character was more lively than me but yet loved to sneak out here alone, and whenever she felt she was wronged, she also came to this Full-Moon platform, sulking by herself.”

The corner of Shuiyue Master’s lips moved slightly, seemed as if recalling the past affairs, an  expression of amused but before her smile was formed, it was replaced by an even deeper vacant expression which contained a feeling of vicissitudes of life.    

“But...ever since she got married, she never came here again.”

Lu Xueqi quietly listened to her teacher, quietly said, “Teacher, when Su teacher aunt married Big Bamboo Valley Tian teacher uncle, were you unpleased?”

Shuiyue Master was stunned and then shook her head, sighed and said, “Tian Buyi although was hot-tempered and his character was somehow disagreeable but he was an ideal spouse, your Su teacher aunt married him, it was her fortune and also she had good sense of judgement.”

Lu Xueqi was rather surprised when she heard that, everyone knew that Shuiyue Master did not like Tian Buyi but unexpectedly her view was like this, couldn’t help but ask, “Then in the past you still treated Tian teacher uncle like that…” speaking halfway, she suddenly stopped.

Shuiyue Master smiled and said, “Still glaring at him, speaking coldly to him was it?”

Lu Xueqi turned red and said, “Disciple do not dare to think that way.”

Shuiyue Master indifferently said, “The way I treated him, was not something taboo or to feel scruple about. But although I did not get along well with Tian Buyi but truthfully, he was not a bad person, in our Qing Yun sect, there wasn’t anyone who could surpass him.”

Shuiyue Master suddenly recalled something, her brows frowning, said, “Tian Buyi’s eldest disciple, is called Song Daren right?”

Lu Xueqi nodded but wondered why her teacher would suddenly enquired about Song Daren and said, “Yes, currently Song senior brother has already took over Big Bamboo Valley branch leader position. Teacher, why did you suddenly ask about Song senior brother?”

Shuiyue Master was silent for a while, said, “Your that Wenmin senior sister, is it that she is exchanging flirting glances with this Song Daren?”

Lu Xueqi was taken aback, for a moment did not know what to say. Wenmin and Song Daren indeed had feelings for each other and most of them knew that, the Small Bamboo Valley disciples usually teased Wenmin about it, however Tian Buyi had once came up and proposed marriage for Song Daren but was flatly rejected by Shuiyue Master, causing Wenmin to be secretly depressed and unhappy for several days. Now that with Shuiyue Master sudden question, Lu Xueqi did not know if she should speak directly or to conceal for Wenmin senior sister.

Shuiyue Master with her years of experience, saw Lu Xueqi hesitating, was able to surmiss from it, shook her head, inhaled deeply.

Lu Xueqi couldn’t help but feel anxious, she was close to Wenmin and although her own love life was unfavourable but she hoped that this senior sister of hers who had cared for her since young, would be able to marry well, and so gathered her courage and said, “Teacher, actually Wenmin senior sister she…”

Barely speaking a few words, Shuiyue Master indifferently said, “Forget it, forget it, find an auspicious day, just marry Wenmin over.”

Lu Xueqi was stunned, couldn’t believe her ears. Shuiyue Master glanced at her, smiled and said, “Why, is it that you all disciples always thought that I am an old die-hard, refusing to assist in disciples’ joyous occasions?”

Lu Xueqi was extremely overjoyed for Wenmin, smiled and quickly said, “Teacher, look what you are saying, how would we disciples think like that. I will first thank teacher for Wenmin senior sister!”    
Shuiyue Master saw a rare glimpse of Lu Xueqi’s sincere smile, her lips moved but it was another sigh, she turned, clasping her hands behind, facing the sea of clouds and quietly gazed out.

Lu Xueqi overjoyed, noticed Shuiyue Master’s strange expression, carefully asked, “Teacher, why did you recall this suddenly?”

Shuiyue Master was silent for a moment, instead answered with another question, “Xueqi, you have went with me to Big Bamboo Valley, how do you feel about your Su teacher aunt death?”

Lu Xueqi turned solemn, said, “Disciple thinks, Su teacher aunt was deeply in love with Tian teacher uncle, and so followed him, I did not notice any pain on her expression.”

“Yes.” Shuiyue Master gently sighed, looked vacant, after a long while said, “I actually do not want you disciples to be troubled by love, hinder your cultivation, but after cultivating for a lifetime, in the end what is the outcome?”

Lu Xueqi did not understand her teacher’s words, for a moment did not say anything. Shuiyue Master spoke slowly, “Longevity, is still faintly discernible and nothing, training hard for a lifetime, the most only in exchange for several hundred years more on worthless activities, your Su teacher aunt viewed her hundred years of cultivation and life, as nothing, this determination, is really so much more stronger than me.”

Lu Xueqi felt a pain in her heart, called out, “Teacher…”

“A lifetime of cultivation, cultivating for a lifetime, cultivating and obtaining Tao, yet inundating the human feelings, what is this for?” She sighed, faintly said, “Actually what is Tao, what is obtaining Tao, I have cultivated for a lifetime, today and now, I am really somehow muddled.”

Lu Xueqi standing beside, did not dare to speak. Shuiyue Master stood silently, after staring vacantly for a long while, shook her head and seemed did not wish to continue, turned and walked down the mountain. Lu Xueqi looked at her back figure, called out, “Teacher, where are you going?”

Shuiyue Master paused, said, “Wenmin’s affair, I have already decided, you can go over and tell her. But…”

Her voice paused, she turned around, her expression contained tenderness, looked at Lu Xueqi and said, “As for yourself, Xueqi, have you thought for yourself?”

Lu Xueqi was stunned, said, “What?” and then comprehended, her face turned pale, slowly revealed a helpless smile, quietly said, “Teacher, disciple do not have a good life, dare not hope anymore.”

Shuiyue Master watched her own disciple who was exceptionally delicate and beautiful, saw her white clothes fluttering in the wind, a celestial demeanour but the sorrow on her face, nobody knew how deep it was.

Shuiyue Master felt an inexplicable pain in her heart, called out, “Xueqi.”

Lu Xueqi looked up, saw Shuiyue Master, heard her faintly saying, “Xueqi, your love life is difficult but yet you do not wish to turn back, teacher is also at loss as to what to say to you. However for the sake of our teacher and disciple relationship, I too do not wish to see you like this, if in the future there is a favourable turn, the rules and regulations here at Qing Yun sect, you have me to shoulder for you, you just don't have to worry.” Lu Xueqi’s body shook greatly, involuntarily called out, “Teacher..” yet did not know what to say.

Shuiyue Master smiled at her but sighed again, turned and left, soon her figure disappeared from the stairs, only the wind, indistinctly carried her words, “Asking the world, what is love…”

Lu Xueqi stood where she was, for a moment her heart in turmoil, her stomach churned and sank into low spirits but she was unable to think of any conclusion, only while in that trance, she suddenly recalled: Not long ago, in the HeYang City abandoned morgue, Tian Buyi seemed to tell her the same thing too--

Majestic Fox Mountain, Ghost King Sect.

A slender figure appeared in the tunnels deep within the mountain where Ghost King sect headquarter was, the thing that was different from the surrounding gloomy grey was, surrounding the figure, there seemed to be a dazzling glow, bringing a dash of colour to the suppressed atmosphere.

In the tunnel, Ghost King sect’s disciples passed by frequently, almost not one who was not attracted by her but when this lady’s gaze swept over, all of them walked away with quick steps, did not dare to have further contact. Even in this Ghost King sect, seemed like she had a special status.

And she was really special, her brows like drawing, extremely coquettish, even though her seductive charms was slightly less than the nine-tailed celestial fox, hers had more gentleness, but even though it was so, with her past status as HeHuan sect Miao Gongzi, Jin Pinger today boldly walking in Ghost King sect realm, she appeared rather outstanding.

Jin Pinger evidently did not care about the others’ stares, to her, she was long used to it. At the very end of the demon beast catastrophe, in the southern border ten thousand great mountains Subdue Devil Cave, she managed to escape with great difficulty, returned to Central Plains, the complicated affairs between it, she did not tell anyone.

Right now, she had only one direction, Ghost King had wanted to see her.

Again another tunnel, the tunnel ahead split into three, Jin Pinger stopped, glanced at the tunnel to her left, a few flashes of glint seemed to brush past her eyes then disappeared, strided towards the right tunnel.

The unusual earthquake not long ago, caused damage to the Ghost King sect which could still be seen, on the rock walls, large and small cracks had appeared, and in this multi traversal, well ventilated tunnels, a faint blood stench still wafted, unable to wave it off.

This faint smell of blood, Jin Pinger naturally smelled it too but although she found it strange but her face did not reveal it, right not her status in Ghost King sect was different from her past HeHuan sect, naturally she would not poke her nose in. She was secretly shocked by it, with her experience and knowledge, naturally she could sense that the stench was greatly odd.

While she was pondering over it, she had followed the tunnel to where Ghost King resided, she stopped and was about to call out someone to pass the message, suddenly the stone door opened with a rumble, Ghost King’s laughter was heard from the residence, said, “Is it Pinger, quickly come in.”

Jin Pinger was surprised but her face revealed only a smile, said, “Yes.” and so walked in.

The stone room was spacious and bright, although not extravagant but it was dignified and imposing, Ghost King was sitting at a table, a large white paper in front of him, the four treasures of the study beside [Translator note: writing brush, ink stick, inkslab, paper], seemed like he was practising writing.

Jin Pinger glanced at Ghost King, smiled coquettishly and said, “Sect head today is in a good mood, why suddenly decided to do writing?”

Ghost King looked up at Jin Pinger, smiled, Jin Pinger’s smile suddenly froze, felt Ghost King’s eyes were like two sharp knives stabbing over, staring into his eyes, her eyes felt an indistinct pain.

However luckily Ghost King soon quickly looked away, looked at the paper in his hand, at the same time waved her over and said, “Come over here and look, how is my writing?”

Jin Pinger secretly felt alarmed, in the past when she had met with Ghost King, she never felt like this, how could it be in a matter of a few days, Ghost King’s skills and abilities, seemed to advance like a thousand miles in a day?

But she was afterall not a careless person, while secretly thinking about it, her face made a smile, walked over, a fragrance wafted from her, smiling said, “But I am a crude person who don’t know anything about writings, sect head requesting me to take a look, it is really placing me in a difficult position.”

Ghost King [hei hei] laughed but did not make fun of her, made room for Jin Pinger to stand near the table, she looked at the paper on the table, what she saw was, on a large sheet of white paper, a large word was written:

Kill!

Every stroke of the word was vigorous, the force used was great, as if almost breaking out of the paper, it was definitely not as proper as a regular script but it wasn’t also not as composed as a cursive script, appearing calm and at ease, a feeling of extermination, surged over.

Jin Pinger was secretly shocked, felt a cold pair of eyes looking at her but Ghost King’s amiable laughter was heard instead, said, “Pinger, how do you find the writing?"

Jin Pinger smiling, like a breeze from spring brushing past, as if filling up the room with spring, said, “Sect head this word is written so well, even if I practised for ten years, I would not be about to write it like this.”

Ghost King indifferently looked at Jin Pinger, Jin Pinger under his gaze, felt a chill seeping out from her heart but the smile on her face was still there, until her facial muscles started to ache from holding the smile, Ghost King suddenly looked away.

Jin Pinger then secretly let out a sigh of relief, at the same time was secretly alarmed, Ghost King seemed completely different, a murderous aura like an angry tide pressed over, and looking at him, he did not seem to be concealing it at all.

This was different from his usual demeanour, could it be these past few days, something had happened?

Jin Pinger while pondering, Ghost King had already spoken, “Priest, why don’t you come over and take a look too, how is my writing?”

Jin Pinger was surprised again, turned in shock, in the corner of this stone room, there was still another person, wearing a priest robes, his face solemn. Jin Pinger felt bewildered, when she first entered the room, although she was taken aback by Ghost King’s strange aura and was distracted but this person who could conceal his body presence and stood there, seemed like he could not be underestimated.

The priest acknowledged and walked over, looked at the word on the paper, after a long while, said, “Good word.”

Ghost King’s cold gaze was still there but his face was smiling, said, “Why is it good?”

The priest said, “The strokes and meaning of this word compliment each other, the word itself has the meaning of kill, revealed in the strokes, rarely seen, rarely seen!”

Ghost King stared at that person, the priest’s expression did not change, slowly stepped back, stood within three chi of Jin Pinger. Ghost King suddenly laughed out, said, “Well spoken, well spoken, I fully agree with what priest said.” The priest dipped his head, considered receiving the compliment.

Jin Pinger couldn’t help but glance at that priest, Ghost King was heard saying, “Pinger, let me introduce you, this is our sect consecrated strong ally, Taoist Cangsong.”

Jin Pinger’s both brows raised, a sharp glint flashed past her eyes and then she smiled and looked at Cangsong, “Long heard of you, long heard of you--”

Taoist Cangsong nodded to Jin Pinger, Ghost King spoke again, “Pinger, this time I summoned you, is because our holy sect will soon have a big affair that is rarely seen in a thousand years, and I wanted you to come lend a hand.” Jin Pinger smiled and said, “Sect head please go ahead and instruct, Pinger will definitely do my best.”

Ghost King laughed and said, “The details of it, I have already told most to Taoist Cangsong, you can ask him later, although this matter is not urgent now but we must act fast, you both can go off and discuss it properly.” Jin Pinger nodded, together both of them bowed to Ghost King, and left.

The stone door closed up slowly, the two of them walked together in the tunnel, for a moment none of them spoke, when they reached the trifurcation tunnels, Jin Pinger couldn’t help but glance at the left tunnel.

And at this moment, Taoist Cangsong spoke, “Vice-sect head Ghost Li has already left the mountain several days ago, still not back.”

Jin Pinger frowned, her eyes turned cold, she looked at Taoist Cangsong but after saying those words, walked off ahead by himself.

After a moment, Jin Pinger’s face had a mysterious smile, with a sneer, she followed him.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Chapter 236 - Perplexed


Entering into the night, looking in from the top of the city, although it couldn’t be described as  thousands but the tiny dots of lights, still gave one a warm feeling.

But to Ghost Li, maybe it was the most unfamiliar place to him?

He watched the scene silently and then turned, on the not-very-tall or not-very-strong city walls, there was nobody. The soughing night breeze blew over from the wide wildlands outside HeYang City, brushing past the city walls which were battled from the demon beasts catastrophe, onto he and Zhou Yixian.

For some reason, Xiao Huan and Wild Dog Taoist were not there, only Zhou Yixian and Ghost Li at this nighttime, stood at the city wall. Zhou Yixian looked perfectly composed, his hand still holding that bamboo pole with the banner, the other hand had a bottle of wine, taking a big swig, he made a satisfying sigh.

“What a good wine” he spoke with mirth in his words then spoke to Ghost Li, “The wine is still warm, do you want some?”

Ghost Li silently shook his head, said, “Senior you can have it to yourself.”

Zhou Yixian [hei hei] laughed and again took a swig, however after this mouthful, he shook the bottle and flung it down casually, seemed like there was only a mouthful left and feeling bad about it, he tried asking Ghost Li.

This night, the moon bright and stars sparse, the moonlight like water, the secluded city walls were illuminated rather brightly, Zhou Yixian after drinking, looked up at the sky and seemed to be lost in thoughts, for a moment did not speak. Ghost Li walked up to the wall, his eyes instead landed on a certain spot on the wall bricks, there was a familiar deep claw gash, beside the gash, even more gashes decorated the bricks thickly.

A terrifying sight!

“These are left by the innumerable demon beasts from the calamity.” Zhou Yixian not knowing since when, had walked over, faintly said.

On the city wall they toured on, this old man who had roamed the world was not cracking jokes as he was usually, instead from Ghost Li’s view, he looked compassionate.

Ghost Li stretched out his hand, gently brushed past the deep gashes, against his fingertips, it felt astringent, rough and hard, not knowing how many innocent souls, had cried out under these claw marks.

He was silent for a long while, “In HeYang City, were there many innocent commoners killed?”

Zhou Yixian sighed, walked to the side of the wall and looked down, in his eyes, it reflected the lights in the city, “Many, although many of them had gotten an early start and escaped to the north but there were at least fifty percent of the commoners who lost their lives and dead by those beasts.”

Ghost Li looked at Zhou Yixian, suddenly spoke, “Senior, those innocent commoners that you speak of, every one of them were the same human as us, every one of them were living well, not to say all but at least ninety percent of them, they were all harmless to humans and animals, but why is it that they would have this unexpected disaster? And with their normal life, what caused it?”

Zhou Yixian looked at Ghost Li, his hand on the city wall, said, “Today you are able to stand here, and those commoners lost their innocent lives, I ask you, what do you think is the reason?”

Ghost Li was silent for a long time, “I am different from them, I practise Taoism, even if the demon beasts come, I can avoid it.”

Zhou Yixian nodded, said, “It was so, you see everyone's the same, all have the view of the great realm and great foresight in mind [Translator note: I don’t understand the meaning of the words [乃是从大眼光,大境界着眼], please let me know if you do], like Tianyin Temple Buddhist saying that everyone is equal, it is this meaning. Actually according to Buddhist saying, not only humans, even ants and ferocious beasts, are no different from us.” He paused, smiled and continued, “However, in this world, how can it be only one kind that can look past emotions? [Translator note: I don’t understand the meaning of the words [又芑能是区区一种可以看清的], please let me know if you do] You have great abilities, have powers, and so are able to escape from desperate situations, and have surpassed the common people, although it is said that everyone is equal but in the nuances, we are never equal.”

Ghost Li’s face revealed a perplexed look, shook his head slowly and said, “I do not wish to surpass the commoners and also do not have the mercy to save the people, even though I practise the Tao but I have not the slightest interest in immortality.”

Zhou Yixian indifferently asked, “Then what is it that you want?”

Ghost Li bitterly laughed, quietly said, “This is the problem. What I want, even I myself also do not know.”

His face expression changed, the clear moon gradually shifted to the middle, the moonlight even more brilliant, shining down from the sky, pulling his shadow longer.

Zhou Yixian did not speak, quietly watched Ghost Li, just that in his gaze, it was different from the usual times, even though standing before him was Ghost Li who was the only one in the world who practised four volumes of [Tian Shu], his skills already reached the level of unfathomable but right now Zhou Yixian looked bigger than him.

His scholarly bearing, his composure, the night breeze brushed past the grey hairs on the sides of his head, even the bright moonlight, seemed to gather quietly by his side.

But Ghost Li did not sense anything different, in fact, Zhou Yixian only quietly stood before him, and he himself, was deep in his thoughts.

After a long time, Ghost Li smiled bitterly, said, “Seems like I am really good-for-nothing, even what’s the reason I am living for, what I want, I can’t comprehend it too.”

Zhou Yixian calmly looked at Ghost Li, a faint smile on his lips, said, “You are wrong, young man.”

Ghost Li was stunned, this was the first time he heard Zhou Yixian addressed him as young man, but this was not the important point, after a moment he said, “Please senior, you said I am wrong, where am I wrong?”

Zhou Yixian indifferently said, “You think that you are good-for-nothing when you are unable to comprehend this question, to me, it is on the contrary, you being able to think of this question, you have already surpassed the others in this world.”

Ghost Li was surprised, said, “What?”

Zhou Yixian smiled, beckoned him and said, “Come and look.”

Ghost Li walked over to him, following his finger pointing to the city and looked, in HeYang City, under the moonlight, the spots of light in tranquility, twinkling unceasingly.

Zhou Yixian watched those lights, his gaze also contained mixed feelings, after a period quietly asked, “What did you see?”

Ghost Li said, “These are all candlelights from numerous commoners houses.”

Zhou Yixian nodded and said, “That’s right, it is the household lights. Each spot of light, is like a living person, they are all living on this world, may be pleased or maybe displeased with their lives but they eventually still have to live on, let me tell you, in this multitudinous of living beings, how many are only living just for the sake of it, and someone like you who is in distress while reflecting on the reason why we are living, there isn’t one in ten thousands.”

Ghost Li was speechless, he had never thought like this but hearing from Zhou Yixian, it seemed to be very logical, he was unable to counter.

Zhou Yixian watched him, his face suddenly revealed a sad look but it vanished with a flash, and then he sighed, stretched out his hand and patted Ghost Li’s shoulder.

Ghost Li, although could not be said that he was taken aback but his mind indeed was in a turmoil, with his current skills and natural defense reaction, he subconsciously avoided Zhou Yixian’s hand but the strange thing happened, that obscure and usually sloppy Zhou Yixian, that hovering hand, with Ghost Li’s current cultivation, actually did not manage to avoid it, and just like that was patted by Zhou Yixian.

Ghost Li’s mind was really in a shock, before he could react to it, instead the words which made him even more shocked came from Zhou Yixian.

“Furthermore, you are the only one in this world who have practised the four volumes of [Tian Shu], how are you the same as others?”

Once the words were spoken, Ghost Li was nonplussed, this matter had always been his secret. In fact, the third volume from the Celestial Emperor Treasury and the fourth volume from Tianyin Temple Wordless Jade Wall, even Lu Xueqi and those Tianyin Temple’s monks, did not know those mysterious inscriptions were from [Tian Shu], only he from the beginning till the end had practised and so understood those were [Tian Shu] fourth volume.

And at that moment, Zhou Yixian instead clearly spoke of this secret, how could he not be shocked, for a moment his face was full of disbelief, stared at Zhou Yixian.

Zhou Yixian smiled faintly, said, “Though you are shocked but you don’t have to be like this.”

Ghost Li carefully assessed this old man in front of him, after a long time, suddenly smiled, stepped back, arranged his clothes properly and respectfully bowed, “Junior is disrespectful, in the past slighted senior, but I am still perplex, hope senior is able to enlighten me?”

Zhou Yixian’s face was calm, in front of him was a figure whose name shook the world, was being so respectful to him, he seemed not to have the slightest embarrassment, only said, “What you are feeling puzzled and confused about, if it is what others can tell you, with your formless and enigmatic [Tian Shu], how could you not figure it out?”

Ghost Li was silent, slowly said, “Could it be that what senior is thinking, the matter that junior is puzzling over, is actually unable to be solved?”

Zhou Yixian smiled and shook his head, said, “Yes, comprehending yourself, Buddha is in the heart and not outside the body, this is where [Tian Shu] is similar to Buddhism.”

Zhou Yixian said, “And so it is so. What is the reason for living, it should be something that you should realize it yourself, I can maybe show you the way but I might not say what you want to hear.”

After speaking, he smiled and clasped his hands behind, walked to a side.

Ghost Li was silent again, after a long while, the perplexed expression was still on his face, he said, “Life, death, separation, leaving, I have only seen these four words throughout life, will like to consult senior, is life inherently suffering?“

Zhou Yixian smiled and said, “Wrong, wrong, all your life your path has been rough, and so you thought everyone is suffering, actually it is not so [Translator note: I don’t understand the meaning of the words [其实不染], please let me know if you do]. Let me ask you, do you think your life is hard?”

Ghost Li was surprised, wanted to speak but stopped, Zhou Yixian had already laughed and said, “Why, not easy to say right? Even if we take the recent demises of your teacher and shiniang, do you think their lives were hard?”

Ghost Li stammered said, “Teacher and shiniang they”

Zhou Yixiang solemnly said, “Tian Buyi died a worthy death, is because he died without regrets, left with a smile; your shiniang Suru, was deeply in love with your teacher, unwilling to live alone, you thought she committed suicide because she was grieved but you didn’t know that where her soul is, to be able to be with her husband, is her greatest joy?”

Ghost Li was nonplussed, unable to speak.

Zhou Yixian indifferently said, “You are in anguish for Tian Buyi couple but you didn’t know they perhaps understood the most and were the ones with the least regrets, judge others by oneself, isn’t it ridiculous?”

Speaking till here, Zhou Yixian suddenly smiled, looked at Ghost Li, “Are you afraid of death?”

Ghost Li hesitated for a moment, quietly sighed and said, “Afraid.”

Zhou Yixian said, “Oh, then I must ask you, what are you afraid of, is it death itself?”

Ghost Li silently shook his head, “Since I am not interested in immortality, naturally I do not care about death, what I am afraid is after I am dead, I am unable to fulfill my wish.”

Zhou Yixian laughed and said, “Then this is it. Since you can look past life and death, yet in your heart there is something more important than life and death, rather than you trying to ask me in every possible ways, why don’t you think about these things which are more important to you?”

Ghost Li frowned, his eyes glinted, seemed to have comprehended something but his face did not show relief, instead he again sank into contemplation. Zhou Yixian did not disrupt him, quietly walked aside, looked up, saw the clear moon, the moonlight like water, spilled down in full.

In the vast wilderness, the night breeze soughing, stars shifted and time passed, infinite firmament.

He gazed for a long while, suddenly let out a deep sigh.

Ghost Li’s voice was heard from behind, “Senior, do you have something in your heart that you are unable to look past?”

“Me?”

Zhou Yixian did not turn, still watching the full moon in the far horizon, after a long while, he faintly said, “Since the fact I am still wandering in this world, I will still have thoughts that I can’t get past.”

“Oh, what is it?”

Zhou Yixian smiled and said, “What I can’t see through, is this reincarnation!”

Qing Yun Hill, Small Bamboo Valley.

All along, there was only females on Small Bamboo Valley, therefore the atmosphere here compared to the other branches on Qing Yun, had always been quiet and peaceful, even in the day, long hours of tranquility, only the birds’ cries and flower fragrances, reverberated in this beautiful valley.

However ever since Shuiyue Master brought the disciples back from the funeral at Big Bamboo Valley, the atmosphere at Small Bamboo Valley contained solemness and suppression within the tranquility. Many of the younger disciples for the first time saw the grief and loneliness that Shuiyue Master was unable to hide, and with her current skills, she should be long unaffected by emotions.

Wenmin had always been the one who understood Shuiyue Master the most, she had already told the girls, that they should watch themselves, especially not to talk and laugh loudly in order not to provoke their teacher, under such restrictions, Small Bamboo Valley naturally was in a blanket of solemness.

And ever since returning from Big Bamboo Valley, Shuiyue Master locked herself in her bamboo hut. Wenmin brought up her courage and went ahead to greet her teacher but did not receive permission to enter, Wenmin somehow started to be worried.

This day, Wenmin had already not seen her teacher for a day and night, worrying, she went to look for Lu Xueqi. Lu Xueqi did not look to be in a good mood, initially was unwilling to go but after Wenmin persuaded her a few times, she was also worried and so went with Wenmin.

Both of them came to the bamboo forest, standing before the hut, Wenmin signalled to Lu Xueqi, Lu Xueqi hesitated and walked up, gently knocked and said, “Teacher, disciple Lu Xueqi and Wen senior sister have something to discuss with teacher.”

It was silent in the hut, nobody answered.

Lu Xueqi and Wenmin looked at each other, Wenmin frowned, even more worried. Actually with Shuiyue Master’s character, she was slightly different from the others, in the past not only she had ignored her disciples before, there were also incidents where she even disappeared for several days. But for some reason, after they came back from the funeral, they knew to a certain degree the reasons and cause, and so was more sensitive to her behaviours these few days.

Wenmin coughed and slightly raised her voice, “Teacher, this morning senior brother Xiao Yicai sent someone over with a letter, disciple will bring it in now.”

Silence again from the hut, Wenmin took a deep breath, walked forward and pushed opened the door. Lu Xueqi followed closely behind her.

Both of them entered the hut, looked around, both of their brows frowned, the hut was not very big and the furnitures in it were simple, at one glance, they did not see Shuiyue Master.

Wenmin sighed, said, “Teacher is actually not here, I wonder where did she go to?”

Lu Xueqi quietly shook her head, said, “Senior sister, we better go back first, or maybe we worry too much, teacher and Suru teacher aunt although were very close but the most she will only be grieved, I guessed nothing will happen.”

Wenmin nodded, said, “We can only do so, but I still feel uneasy.”

Lu Xueqi sighed softly, shook her head slightly, turned and walked out. Wenmin looked around the hut again, then took out a letter and put it on the table, and walked out too. The hut door was closed by her, making a light [pa] sound.

In the hut, silence descended again.