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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

29 Surround and Kill

 The scene before him had gradually cleared. Trees sheltered the sunshine, leaving golden spots on the ground.

Meng Qi was prepared, warily looking around, but there was no sign of approaching enemies.

"Well..." After observing their surroundings well, Meng Qi frowned with a little surprise.

He discovered that only three people were standing about, who were all maintaining straight faces. One was Qi Zhengyan, looking so miserable and glum; one was Xiang Hui, the tough faction member; and the other was Little Zi, a girl so delicate that she even could not tie up a chicken.

"Lady Jiang and Senior Brother Zhang are both not here..." Meng Qi could only feel helpless. He reminded himself of the main task's tip: "Split up!"

But Meng Qi was not restless. Last time, he was terrified and afraid, but now he had the basic power to protect himself.

"It is not like a man to shrink and hesitate!"

"Senior Brother Qi, first we need to ask for the way to the Shaolin Temple," Meng Qi said briefly, exchanging a look with Qi Zhengyan. He did not care for the sobbing Little Zi and the anxious Xiang Hui.

He discovered that he did not know where he was now at all, nor the direction of the Shaolin Temple.

Qi Zhengyan looked into the sky and the trees around, and then said with a sigh, "I can see that the trees aren't dense, and the sound of horses and carriages in the distance can be heard. We aren't far from the main road. We should first go out and ask somebody for directions."

He knew that Meng Qi lacked experience in Jianghu. So he tried hard to recall his knowledge and lead these people.

Meng Qi turned his head to Little Zi and Xiang Hui and asked, "Will you two go by yourselves or follow us to Shaolin?"

A small evil thought kept telling Meng Qi that without these two, he and Qi Zhengyan would complete the missions easier.

"Master, Master, I'll follow you!" Little Zi shivered as if she was struck by lightning. She ran to Meng Qi and pulled his sleeve tightly.

Xiang Hui put a broad smile on his face and bowed. "Divine Monk, I only will follow you."

Meng Qi knew roughly why they flattered him. First, he was a monk, naturally merciful; second, he usually wore a smile, not dull and serious like Qi Zhengyan; and third, his techniques had impressed them.

"Donor Xiang, you unexpectedly know a lot," Meng Qi said with a smile.

Xiang Hui smiled and said immediately, "Divine Monk, thank you for your praise. I learned it all from my faction, White Paper Fan."

"This guy, at first I thought he was a rude and bold person like Lu Zhishen. But actually, he is a henchman flattering people."

Meng Qi sighed secretly and turned to Little Zi, who was pulling his sleeve, and said, "Little Zi, if you are to follow us, you'd better not do that, it will hinder our movements."

He had some evil thoughts before, but he was reminded of the last Samsara task while thinking of Xiang Hui and Little Zi. If Jiang Zhiwei and the others had been repulsed by him and were unwilling to take him, then he would definitely have been killed by the Black Men. So, he was moved as a fellow sufferer and produced the heart of compassion for them.

"As my life was saved by kind Lady Jiang, then I may be kind this time since it's not dangerous."

Meng Qi sighed in his heart. But of course, no matter how kind he was, Meng Qi would never lose his life for a stranger.

Little Zi released her hands, stepped back, and stood side by side with Xiang Hui. She restrained her sadness and meekly followed Meng Qi and Qi Zhengyan out of the woods.

The ground in the woods was not flat-bulging roots, rotten mud, and leaves intertwined together. Little Zi was staggering but she did not complain. She gritted her teeth and tried hard not to be abandoned.

"She is tough inside though."

Meng Qi nodded his head, observing secretly.

"If she still cries and is spoiled and doesn't want to endure hardships, I really might abandon her.

"Being slowed can be accepted, but an encumbrance is a total disaster for me."

Turning around, Meng Qi saw Qi Zhengyan's poker face in front of him and an idea came to his mind.

"This time, we are split into two groups, and at my side, the most powerful one is Qi Zhengyan. Though I'm not scared of him, cooperation is always better than fighting alone.

"Right, now I have to make friends with him."

Meng Qi thought for a while and then had an idea. He smiled and said, "Senior Brother Qi, how's your sword art going?"

"One month is too short. I just crossed the threshold." Qi Zhengyan nodded his head slightly, still with a serious look.

Meng Qi laughed and said, "It's pretty good to cross the threshold. With the Long River Sword Art, Senior Brother, you have made huge progress in your strength."

"No actual combat, so I can't be sure," Qi Zhengyan answered briefly.

Meng Qi's lips twitched a little. "Well actually, Senior Brother Qi, why are you always so serious and silent? Since we can't get rid of this Samsara task now, why don't we face it with a smile? A relaxed mood is better for us to exert our strength."

At that second, Meng Qi felt again like he was teaching a psychology counseling class.

"What the divine monk said is the total truth." Xiang Hui echoed back his words with a forced smile, while Qi Zhengyan did not speak.

"Your every confusion and every fear come from your heart..." Meng Qi felt a little bit proud of himself, and began to make his speech on the advantages of facing Samsara tasks positively.

While listening, Qi Zhengyan suddenly stopped without turning back, saying softly, "I was born this way..."

"Well, could it be that, Senior Brother, you have suffered things in your childhood? Or that your life was too suppressed?" Meng Qi asked casually.

"My childhood was good!" Qi Zhengyan still did not turn his head and spoke through gnashing teeth. Then his voice became louder. "Junior Brother Zhen Ding! We are facing pursuits and encirclement now. Your ears are used to hear movements, not rubbish!"

"Haha." Meng Qi laughed dryly. He smoothed out the annoyances and awkwardness, saying sincerely, "My Jianghu experience is little. Thank you, Senior Brother, for lessons and advice."

Seeing that Meng Qi was not annoyed, Qi Zhengyan felt surprised. He slowly nodded his head. "We should be careful about everything."

Their talk made Xiang Hui anxious and confused.

"That person seems even better than the divine monk, while he looks like everyone owes him money."

After walking for a while, Meng Qi and the other three saw a big rammed-earth road. A carriage passed by, raising a trail of dust.

There was a teahouse beside the road. It had an awning for selling food, and since it was not noon, there were not so many guests.

Meng Qi surveyed the place. He saw that the owner of the teahouse was an old man and there were four tables of guests. One table had a couple, worn from a long and dusty journey; one had an itinerant peddler; one had an old man playing the Huqin; and the last one had a rich childe holding his servant girl in his arms, along with his guardians.

"Senior Brother Qi, I'm going to ask for information and buy some dry food. You can help me look around." Meng Qi decided to go himself, looking at Qi Zhengyan's miserable face. He thought that at least Qi Zhengyan hiding in the back could warn and rescue him if there were attacks.

Qi Zhengyan carefully observed those people in the teahouse and the surrounding environment, and after quite a long time he said calmly, "I notice the itinerant peddler is too brisk, not a person who has traveled door to door for years. You must be careful."

As a matter of fact, he also had only a little Jianghu experience, so he was not very confident.

Hearing what he said, Meng Qi gazed at that man. He found that the itinerant peddler was truly not like a laborious businessman, especially his hand holding the teacup, which had no cracks caused by being in the sun for a long time.

"I know." Meng Qi walked over there slowly.

Meng Qi suddenly heard a horse's neigh when he was closer to the teahouse. He unconsciously turned around and saw four brown horses with a fancy carriage beside them.

"Well, riding a horse is surely faster than us using the Lightness Skill."

Meng Qi was struck by a thought. He knew his actual level of Lightness Skill, which might be comparable to a fine horse over a short distance, but would be left behind over a long distance. And riding a horse was easier than walking on foot. Moreover, he could save his strength for a counterattack.

"Ok, later I'll go to buy a horse from its owner."

He stroked the jade pendant inside his clothes, no thought of being a bandit this time. Before entering the World of Samsara, he worried that he might need some money there, so he brought the jade pendant with him.

As for the horse's owner, Meng Qi had no doubt that it was the rich childe in the fancy clothes. It was impossible for them to come here without a carriage because his servant girl was so delicate.

So Meng Qi went into the teahouse near the table of the rich childe deliberately, stealing a glimpse to look them up and down.

"Hey, you, monk! What are you looking at!" A guardian of those two came toward him with his arms folded in front.

Seeing his heavy steps and fierce face, Meng Qi found it interesting. He imitated the rascal monk from his impression and put his palms together. "Amitabha, I have observed that all of you donors are predestined with Buddhism."

"Haha, you bald-ass Buddhist monk. You don't need to say that. I know you just want some money, don't you?" The rich childe laughed out loud. While stroking the servant girl's cheeks, his face darkened. "Now go away! I hate all of you evil monks more than anything!"

"Last time, the lady gave a monk 300 ingots of silver..." the servant girl said while grinning.

"Humph. From now on, any evil monk who dares to come near our house gate will get his legs hit and broken!" The childe signaled the two guardians to drive Meng Qi away.

Meng Qi did not panic, deciding to "talk" to the rich childe later. He rounded several tables and walked over to the teahouse owner.

"Excuse me. I have something to ask you," Meng Qi said with his palms put together.

The hump-backed, white-haired old man smiled and returned his bow. "I always believe in Buddhism. Master, you can simply ask anything."

Meng Qi lowered his voice to avoid being heard by the itinerant peddler. "I want to go to Mount Shaohua. Which road leads to it?"

At the same time, Meng Qi paid most of his attention to the itinerant peddler.

The old man said, smiling, "Go forward along this state roadway, and about three days' distance..."

Before he finished his words, he abruptly changed his expression, staring in shock past Meng Qi's back.

The itinerant peddler had taken out a long sword from his shoulder pole and rushed over, making straight for Meng Qi.

"Is he making an attack directly right now? Is his hearing far better than normal people's?"

Meng Qi, though feeling surprised, was firm in his concentration. Without panic, he turned around and brandished his long saber at the itinerant peddler.

Suddenly, Meng Qi felt agony coming from his waist. Unexpectedly, the old man behind him had two knives in his hands and stabbed him hard in the waist.

Meng Qi walked forward a step, trying to avoid the knife. But at that moment, the couple also made straight for him with a blade and a sword, respectively. One was aimed at Meng Qi's throat and another swept their blade on the ground directly toward Meng Qi's legs.

"Alas." The old man playing the Huqin slightly sighed, and then drew out a thin, short sword from the Huqin. He dodged behind Meng Qi's back, stabbing him in the heart.