Thursday, 28 January 2016

Chapter 107 - Sword Dance


Deep night.

Qing Yun Hill, Small Bamboo Valley.

The gloomy sky hid the the stars and moonlight, the boundless darkness enveloped the Small Bamboo Valley. Lu XueQi, in an attire of white, stood still by herself on the Full-Moon platform located at the mountain behind Small Bamboo Valley.

The Full-Moon platform was actually the most famous location in Small Bamboo Valley, listed together with Qing Yun TongTian Peak’s “Sea of clouds’, ‘Rainbow Bridge’ as one of the six scenic spots of Qing Yun.

The mountain behind Small Bamboo Valley was also filled with dense bamboos but different from the ‘Black Bamboo’ behind Big Bamboo Valley. Abound in Small Bamboo Valley was another type of rare bamboo - Tears Bamboo. This type of bamboo color was emerald green, it’s body slender and tall, almost half of the normal bamboo but the structure was extremely tough and durable, known as the world’s number one, ordinary woodcutters would not be able to cut through. But the most famous point about Tears Bamboo was, the emerald green body was littered with tiny pink spots, like the tear stains of a heartbroken gentle woman, extremely beautiful.

And the origin of the Small Bamboo Valley name, also came from this.

As for the Full-Moon platform, it was actually a cliff solitarily suspended in the mid-air, other than the latter part of it connecting to the body of the mountain, most of it was suspended in the air. It was said on the night of a bright moon, the moonlight would slowly rise from the bottom of the mountain, slowly making its way to the full-moon platform and at the moment when the moonlight completely covered the platform, the moon would be exactly right in the middle of the sky.

And the moment when the Full-Moon platform was at it’s most beautiful, was then. The clear and bright moonlight shone resplendently down, reflecting back from the smooth rock face of the
Full-Moon platform, instantly illuminating the entire Small Bamboo Valley. And the person who stood on the Full-Moon platform at that moment, would be like in a celestial world;  on top of that, legend said that on the first full moon night after sixty years, it would make the person feel that he was standing on the bright moon, that emotional feeling really made one yearn for it.

But tonight, the moonless and strong winds were obviously not suitable to enjoy the beauty of the full moon, and other than this Full-Moon platform behind the Small Bamboo Valley, the disciples residences in front of the mountain were pitch-black, evidently already in bed.

Only Lu XueQi, alone came to this secluded deserted area.

TianYa, which had never left her, still glowing with blue light behind her in the darkness, illuminating the area around it. The cold night breeze blew over, fluttering her snow-like white clothes.

Beside her temples, a few strands of soft hair messed up by the wind, caressing across her fair and white face but she seemed not to take any notice at all, silently standing at the most forefront of the Full-Moon platform, staring out in a daze.

The mountain breeze, gradually turned stronger, her clothes started to dance in the wind.

Just one more step forward, would be darkness, a vast abyss.

At the side of the cliff, in the faint light, that white-attired girl stood alone unmoving.

Little by little, what was it that surfaced from deep down in the heart, the feelings which were originally tender, how did it slowly turned into heartache.

Bit by bit, like an unseen knife edge, stabbed deeply into the heart.

The marks engraved deep inside the heart, was actually a person’s face.

Lovesickness, carved deep into the bones…

At the hour in the black night when it was deserted, at a secluded spot, she, slowly opened her arms, in front, was the boundless darkness, like the vast Heaven and Earth.

The wind was so urgent, charging into her embrace as if it was about to tear apart a person, the darkness below her feet suddenly began to stir, from nowhere dark hands stretched out, wrapping around her body, wanting to pull her into the abyss.

Just that she, like being witless, just quietly watched, the wind blew at her frail body, like, a lily that had bloomed in the darkness.

The night, deep.

That inexplicable chill, seeped into every inch of her skin, only her mind, only inside her mind it suddenly burned, that tender feelings hidden deeply inside her heart, suddenly like a burning flame, burst forth and then congealed into --

A face.

[Qiang Lang…]

A sharp sound, suddenly rang out in the night, reverberated far away.

TianYa Celestial Sword unsheathed, bursting forth brilliant light in the darkness. The white figure soared up, caught TianYa in the mid air, the piercingly cold mountain breeze abruptly swept upwards, accompanying that white figure. On the Full-Moon platform, a breathtaking beautiful sword dance began.

Like the sky meeting the sea in the horizon, transformed into an immense Milky Way, skillfully maneuvered in the slender fair hands, raced jubilantly in the dark night. At times it charged towards the sky, at times it landed, at times it transformed into a silver flowing light, sentimentally attached to that unparallelled face; at times it scattered out to become a sky full of tightly-packed stars, twinkling brightly.

Lu XueQi at this Full-Moon platform, bit her lips tightly, closed her eyes, her body seemed to be drifting along with the wind, like floating cotton, like a cold flower, danced out a poignant pose.

She, transformed into a white floating light, spent, her face that pale, there seemed to be faint beads of perspiration but she still did not stop, maybe only when her body was exhausted then she would be able to forget everything!

So she danced and danced, that figure in the night, indistinct and beautiful…

[Ding!]

A soft crisp sound, TianYa Celestial Sword dropped slowly from her hand, that sharp sword tip totally disregarded the hard rock, like stabbing snow, soundlessly stabbed into the heart of the stone.

Brilliant beautiful white figure, slowly lowered her head, the darkness quietly swallowed over.

Who in the darkness, softly panting?

Water beads were dripping down, landed on the stone, maybe it was the sweat from exhaustion?

She softly panted, panted, then slowly calmed down, she raised her eyes, a faint fustration.

Without realizing, she had danced to the back of the Full-Moon platform, in front of her eyes were a stretch of bamboo forest, in front of her, the slender and gentle tears bamboos.

In the weak light, the spots of tear stains, like a heartbroken girl.

She stared dazedly then suddenly laughed, soundlessly laughed, seemed to have some anguish in it and then without a care for the dust on the ground, without a care for the clean white clothes she had on, against the tears bamboos, she sat on the ground.

Looking up, gazing the sky!

The vast sky…

The night breeze blew over, there seemed to be a faint familiar smell.

She closed her eyes, breathed deeply.

As it turned out, after being exhausted, that face in the heart, seemed to be even etched even deeper.

The past, bit by bit, like carved in her heart, unable to be erased anymore.

Just like that day outside the Celestial Emperor Treasury, he, on impulse, pulled her hand to save her, totally disregarding his own danger.

She, still with her eyes closed, but a faint smiled appeared at her lips. Then, reminiscing, reminiscing...

Until the last part, the mysterious words that appeared dancing around them, she then realized, those words had already been etched deeply in her mind. Maybe, she could forget him this way?

She talked to her inner self like that, although she did not believe it herself but her mouth, was still softly chanting:

“Heaven and Earth heartless, treats all living things as straw dogs…”

In the late night, the ancient words like a demon incantation, reverberated quietly in the night.

x x x

Qing Yun Hill, TongTian Peak, Founders Ancestral Hall.

The light in the great hall was still as usual, slightly dimmed, Sect Head Reverend DaoXuan was holding three joss sticks in his hands, respectfully bowing to the countless founders and ancestors’ spirit tablets, then stepped forward and placed the joss sticks into the incense burner on the altar table.

Beside him, stood a shabby old man who took care of the Founders Ancestral Hall. The dim light shone on his face, lines of deep wrinkles seemed to be incised onto his face.

DaoXuan turned his head over, his eyes landed on his face, suddenly said, “You seem to look like you have aged again.”

That old man expressionlessly, indifferently said, “The times make one aged, what is so queer about it?”

DaoXuan smiled, looked like he wanted to continue but suddenly a voice was heard from outside the Ancestral Hall, “Senior, disciple Lin JingYu is back and have come to give my greetings to senior.”

DaoXuan frowned slightly and did not speak, that old man unhurriedly walked up but did not leave the hall, he raised his voice slightly and said, “Oh it’s you, when did you come back?”

Outside, Lin JingYu respectfully replied, “Disciple came back yesterday, after reporting to sect head, disciple first return to Long Shou Valley to greet sect leader senior brother, once free disciple came over to greet senior.”

A faint smile seemed to appear on the old man’s lips, he said, “Oh, I see. You wait outside for a while, I still have a guest here.”

Lin JingYu seemed to be surprised, the Founders Ancestral Hall rarely had visitors, unexpectedly there was one today. But he had trained under this mysterious old man for ten years and had long regarded him as his benefactor teacher, immediately he acknowledged and quietly went aside to wait.

Reverend DaoXuan slowly took a few steps, stood in the great hall’s shadows, looking out from the main door, under the warm sunlight, Lin JingYu carrying the Dragon Slayer Sword on his back, wearing a long robe, a jade belt around his waist, a handsome young face, respectfully stood by the side of Founders Ancestral Hall and patiently waited.

He quietly watched for a while and said, “This child really has good potential, regardless whether it’s aptitude, character, they are all good quality.”

That old man’s steps seemed to be slightly sluggish, he walked to him and too looked out, said, “Then why didn’t you recruit him to your branch at that time?”  

Reverend DaoXuan watched Lin JingYu from afar, that young man was at his prime, no matter looking from which angle, he gave off a vitality and trenchant air, standing out from the rest.

Reverend DaoXuan suddenly laughed, a laugh that was very very insipid and then turned around, facing that old man, “Because he is so like someone, the temperament, expression, even his aptitude, are so alike that person. If I allow him to be by my side, I will not be able to sleep.”

The old man’s face beside him, suddenly twitched.

Reverend DaoXuan glance at him, watched him indifferently, after a long time, suddenly he shook his head, smiled and said, “I am just kidding with you!” he had just completed his sentence when he suddenly frowned, his hand pressing onto his chest, quietly coughed a few times.

That old man glanced at his chest and at Reverend DaoXuan’s slightly pale face, indifferently said, “It has already been ten years, your wound still has not recovered?”

Reverend DaoXuan did not speak but his coughs gradually became louder and his complexion also turned worse, after a long while, his coughs slowly subsided.

Reverend DaoXuan heaved a long sigh, turned around and no longer watched Lin JingYu, he walked to the altar which enshrined the countless Qing Yun Hill’s ancestors spirit tablets, stared for a while and then quietly said, “I too did not expect that the rebound force from ‘Zhu Xian Sword’ was that powerful!”

That old man slowly walked over, stretched his hand to take a cloth and started to gently wipe the heavy altar table while saying, “Zhu Xian Sword’s power is so immense, including ‘Zhu Xian Sword Formation’, it is enough to go against Heaven, this type of tyrannical object, strongly violate the Heaven’s will, when you were using the Zhu Xian Ancient Sword, you should have knew it already.”

Reverend DaoXuan lightly said, “Of course I knew it, on the stone tablet inside the Illusory Moon Cave, ever since from Qing Ye founder, the successive forefathers all had left stern warning, unless it is the last resort, if not never touch the sword!”

That old man slowly wiped the altar table, his movement extremely slow, as if he had wiped like this for many years and could therefore had such concentration. His eyes looked at the table top, suddenly smiled and said, “Actually I had once thought before, maybe if you use the Zhu Xian Ancient Sword more frequently, maybe you will die earlier than me.”

Reverend DaoXuan looked at the old man’s stooped figure, his eyes pupils suddenly shrank, after a while, he slowly turned and headed towards outside.

“Are you leaving already?” that old man’s slightly desolated voice was heard behind him.

Reverend DaoXuan stopped but he did not turn back, after a moment, he was heard speaking unhurriedly, “Do you still remember the words I said to you when I saved you?”

That old man stood in the dark shadows, did not answer.

Reverend DaoXuan also did not turn back, inside the Founders Ancestral Hall, a strange atmosphere seemed to waft in it, after a long while, Reverend DaoXuan’s voice was heard speaking indifferently, “I saved you, was because I owed you but I will not let you live longer than me!”

That old man’s figure had already submerged into the shadows, unmoving, Reverend DaoXuan walked out, leaving that Founders Ancestral Hall.

x x x

Lin JingYu patiently waited outside, when he saw it was Sect Head Reverend who walked out from the Founders Ancestral Hall, he had a shock and quickly paid his obeisance. Reverend DaoXuan glanced at him, a strange gleam seemed to flash in his eyes, nodded and left.

After Lin JingYu sent Sect Head Reverend off, for some reasons, when Reverend DaoXuan came out from the Founders Ancestral Hall, Sect Head Reverend’s complexion seemed to be strangely pale.

Lin JingYu was pondering over this when from within the hall, the old man’s voice was heard unhurriedly saying, “Is it JingYu, come on in.”

Lin JingYu hurriedly acknowledged with a “Yes” and entered the hall.

When he entered the hall, Lin JingYu felt a chillness and at the same time, his surroundings darken. He subconsciously frowned, in these ten years he had followed the mysterious old man and looked after the Founders Ancestral Hall but from the first day he came, he felt something queer with this Founders Ancestral Hall, no matter when, it was always chilly and dark but it was not totally dark, instead there were many candles offered before the ancestors spirit tablets but the existence of those dim candlelights seemed to just bring out the darker shadows and not throw off the dimness and gloomy feeling in this great hall.

But he, after all, had lived here for ten years and extremely revered this old man standing in the darkness, he had long ago ignored this strange place and immediately pay his obeisance to that old man and said, “Senior, disciple has returned.”

For these ten years, Lin JingYu had more than once, wanted to address this old man as teacher but each time without exception, he was rejected by the mysterious old man, therefore Lin JingYu had always addressed him as senior. Anyway he had seen even Sect Head Reverend treated this old man differently, most likely he must once be a senior in Qing Yun Sect.

That old man smiled, walked out from the shadows and assessed Lin JingYu. He saw some signs of hardship on Lin JingYu’s face after these few months but he looked much more alert, his eyes  could not help but revealed gratification, calmy said, “This trip out, you didn’t get hurt right?”

Lin JingYu smiled and said, “I can’t say there are no injuries but they were all superficial wounds, not worth mentioning. Just that it is regrettable that we came back without any achievement during this trip out to death marsh.”

He briefly went through what happened in the death marsh, by now the news of the three big Evil sects, in their internal fights, extinguished Chang Shen Hall together, had already spread and shocked the world, Lin JingYu also heard it on his way back and relayed it to the old man too.

But the old man seemed not very interested in the demise of Chang Shen Hall, after hearing that the one of the big four Evil Sect branch was exterminated, his expression never changed and only quietly listened to Lin JingYu’s words.

After Lin JingYu finished, the old man was silent for a moment and suddenly said, “You said that this time the other three big Evil Sect branches including Wan Du Clan, all had large forces sent out?”

Lin JingYu nodded and said, “Yes.”

That old man seemed to hesitate but eventually still asked, “Did you see Cang Song?”

Lin JingYu’s body shook, he was dumbfounded but became silent after that, his expression looked complicated, after a long while he then said, “No, senior.”

The old man saw his expression, suddenly said, “Do you hated him alot?”

An anguish flashed through Lin JingYu’s eyes, he slowly said, “I do not know too but Good and Evil are irreconcilable, even if we meet again, we will be enemies that cannot exist under the same sky!”

“Humphed!” That old man suddenly sneered.

Lin JingYu was surprised and said, “What is it senior?”

That old man slowly shook his head, turned his body around, his gaze looking upwards, reflecting in his eyes were the countless of Qing Yun Hill ancestors spirit tablets high up above, the dim candlelights in front of their tablets, right now looked like their eyes, silently watching the people inside the hall.

“He has raised you since young, imparted to you the Taoist skills, taught you the ways of men, at the end even passed down the Dragon Slayer Sword to you, has he ever done anything to let you down?” the old man suddenly asked.

Lin JingYu slowly shook his head, quietly said, “He has always treated me well, in the past I have like worshiping God, regard him like a father, extremely revered and respected him. But…”

Lin JingYu did not continue, that old man suddenly became quiet, after a long while, that old man forced a laugh, in it immense grief, facing those candles before the tablets, he quietly said, “Actually, Cang Song is only a pitiful person who has walked the wrong path…”

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