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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

46 Ways Out of Shaolin

 "I want to change to a completely different martial art, and learn it from the very beginning. The sooner the better," having heard Meng Qi's doubt, Qi Zhengyan said frankly.

"Brother Qi, are you not satisfied with your sword arts, the Long River Sword Art and the Sword Art of Afterglow and Autumn Water?" Jiang Zhiwei's question was like her sword, straightforwardly to the point.

Qi Zhengyan pondered for a moment, and answered indirectly, "Given my qualifications and talent, and the overall impression I left on seniors of my sect, it is unrealistic to expect that the 'Sword Art of Immortal-given Longevity' should be imparted to me. I need to become very competent one day and entrusted as one of the future leaders. But even if that day comes, it will be too late for me to learn Longevity Sword Art well, for my foundation will be formed without being deeply entrenched and finely wrought. Therefore, I need to switch immediately to another martial art, which shall directly lead me to the Dharmakaya level."

What he alluded to was that the two sword arts, the Long River Sword Art and the Sword Art of Afterglow and Autumn Water, both for the enlightenment period, stay at a much lower level. The Long River Sword Art was for common disciples of the Huanhua Swords Sect who were between the Qi-cultivation period and the enlightenment period; while Afterglow and Autumn Water was merely one of the excellent sword arts in the enlightenment period, and could pave the way to the Exterior.

In all the major sects, it was assumed that only the prodigy disciples, who had shown talents early, were expected to be imparted the sect-establishing martial arts through the Gist of Trueness before reaching Enlightenment. The rest of the disciples who had this ambition could only work ten times harder and seize every chance to show their merits to obtain the qualification. Often, their foundations were then already too rigid to adapt, and they struggled to make any progress. Only very few people could overcome this predicament and make further breakthroughs.

"If you aim high, it is indeed a good strategy." Zhang Yuanshan thought carefully and actually agreed with Qi's decision. "What do you want to change to?"

Qi Zhengyan puckered his mouth, his countenance showing some resolve as well as a bit of anxiety and excitement. "There is a certain Kung Fu I favor most, which consists of 10 layers-two of them for Qi-cultivation, three for Enlightenment, another three for the Exterior, and the last two for Dharmakaya. Different layers can be redeemed separately, and it is different from other Kung Fu methods in that it unconventionally emphasizes the Telepath with Heaven in the Qi-cultivation period, and encourages the connection between oneself and the outside universe. So, if one day I make it to the Exterior, things will become much easier."

Since he needed to change to a different martial art anyway, why not pick a promising one with boundless power!

"I read specifically about this supreme martial art in the Exchange List, for it can also generate a super strong sword art." Jiang Zhiwei gently patted her sword by her waist, surprised and exhilarated. "It is called the 'Treasury of the Sky Realm'!"

"Puff!" Meng Qi almost spewed out his saliva. He coughed twice and said, "Senior Brother Qi, is it true?"

Damn, if not for my "going astray", and having to continue my Heng training, but I also want to change to it! The reason is that it is divided into more layers compared to other Dharmakaya-level martial arts, which means its layers are suitable to be redeemed one by one, from easy to hard.

The "Treasury of the Sky Realm" was a supreme martial art in the novel Legend of Son of Heaven. Created by Mother Nvwa, if practiced perfectly, it could bring its practitioners the power to engulf everything and damage Heaven and Earth.

"You also paid attention to the 'Treasury of the Sky Realm'?" Qi Zhengyan casually asked. "Its first layer 'White Cloud Smoke' and the second layer 'Rosy Afterglow Swing' are considered Kung Fu methods for the Qi-cultivation period, and need 40 and 80 Karma points respectively. Not too expensive. Even the third layer 'Kunlun Crush' costs only 200.

"I have to redeem the Heavenly Acumen Pill first and a bottle of Ganoderma Elixir of Restorations, so this time I can only afford 'White Cloud Smoke' and 'Rosy Afterglow Swing'. When I finish learning the Sword Art of Afterglow and Autumn Water, I will exchange it to the Dominator of Samsara in Six Realms. The remaining Karma points will be enough to redeem for 'Kunlun Crush'."

The Sword Art of Afterglow and Autumn Water was priced at 380 Karma points in the Exchange List, for it contained both heart sutras and sword art. If sold to the Dominator of Samsara in Six Realms, it could fetch only 190 Karma points. If Qi Zhengyan taught it to Meng Qi, and they exchanged it respectively, they would get 95 Karma points each.

"So, 30 Karma points left for an emergency," Zhang Yuanshan said tersely.

Qi Zhengyan slightly nodded. "Aye. I was going to redeem them for some concealed weapons, for we are still incompetent to defend ourselves. But, Since Junior Brother Zhen Ding has the Pearfower Storm Needles, I no longer have any concern about exchanging for the third layer of the 'Treasury of The Sky Realm'."

"Brother Qi, don't you worry about being discovered practicing Kung Fu of other sects?" Seeing Qi Zhengyan had made up his mind, Meng Qi asked a question which he also worried about.

Qi Zhengyan was a bit dismal. "If there are other ways, why would I take this risk? Anyway, I am just a mediocre disciple who is too common to be noticed. After Enlightenment, I could apply for a peregrination or to guard some outside assets of my sect. Then I could be as free as a fish capering in the ocean or a bird soaring in the sky, and would not have any concern about practicing the 'Treasury of The Sky Realm'. As long as I don't spar too much with my sectmates, they won't notice the inner foundation under my moves."

Since the sword moves in the Autumn Water Sword Art and Qi-conducting paths in the Afterglow Chant were compulsory in his sect, and Sunset Heart Sutras provided him with an inner foundation, his sword-wielding would not betray much.

"You can travel down the mountain, but for me, that day is infinitely far away. Alas, I do want to leave Shaolin immediately, letting go of these apprehensions and fears." Meng Qi stopped talking, but continued in his mind, "But best if I leave after I have mastered the Invincibility Skill or the Vajra Body Defending Divine Skill."

But he knew if that happened, it would be even harder for him to leave Shaolin.

Jiang Zhwei burst into laughter. "Leave Shaolin? You haven't yet learned Shaolin Precepts?"

"The book of precepts doesn't say how to quit Shaolin, only the penalties for the violations of different precepts. The harshest punishment is to be exiled from Shaolin after de-martialization." This meant that Meng Qi had no guts to try.

Jiang Zhiwei smiled slightly. "It doesn't say, simply because it's impossible."

"What?" Meng Qi was shocked.

Jiang Zhiwei refrained her smile. "Finding a master and entering a sect is a truly serious thing. You have already taken an oath in the entering ceremony before Heaven and Earth. The only way to leave is to break a vital commandment and have your martial art deprived. I reckon you cannot afford the price?"

Before Meng Qi could respond, she moved on, "Of course, what I said is the official departure from Shaolin. If only to find a way downhill or be excused to peregrinate, there are surely other ways. First, you may go on errands under the supervision of elder monks, and during this time seize a chance to escape. But in general, only disciples who achieve advanced success in Qi-cultivation could be picked, and with the elders accompanying, it will be surely difficult to escape.

"Second, after you are Enlightened, you could break out of Bronzemen Lane to win the qualification of peregrinating or running errands alone downhill. You could feign your own death or go missing and repudiate Shaolin. But Shaolin's Bronzemen Lane is well-renowned for its deterrence, and for now, I myself don't have the odds over six out of ten to pass it. You may still have to wait several years. After all, since everybody would watch when you are breaking the Lane, you may not rely on the redemptions from the Dominator of Samsara to improve your body too quickly.

"Third, contribute something and look for a chance to turn to a secular disciple. Then you can 'go home' with all your learnings."

Hearing the three ways, Meng Qi frowned. "None of them are practical in the short term. Maybe turning to a secular disciple is easier, but the only problem is that I was forced into Shaolin in the custody of Xuan Zang. Will he agree to let me convert to a secular disciple and 'go home'?"

Listening for a while quietly, Zhang Yuanshan suddenly sighed. "If Junior Brother Zhen Ding were still a Chores Monk, he would be able to leave the temple after his service. We did the wrong thing."

"It doesn't matter. Others may leave, but I can't." Meng Qi knew this very well. "Xuan Zang would not allow me to leave the temple after the service anyway."

So, now I need to disguise myself well, be careful and make plans step by step. I shall never let go of any chance to learn the 72 Ultimate Arts!

After a period of silence, Qi Zhengyan went to the light beam. He exchanged a Pill of Heavenly Acumen, a bottle of Ganoderma Elixir of Restorations, and two Heaven Crystals containing the first two layers of the 'Treasury of The Sky Realm'. In one crystal, white clouds flowed like smoke, and in the other, afterglows glowed like blood. Both the crystals were riveting with their unusual beauty.

"I do not know if they are authentic or not... " Meng Qi was quite suspicious, because the Heaven Crystals carrying the 'Treasury of The Sky Realm' were all unique. The Dominator of Samsara in Six Realms could not be so generous as to have given authentic ones to Qi Zhengyan.

"Crystals imparting Kung Fu through the Gist of Trueness? What a supreme martial art leading directly to the Dharmakaya level," Zhang Yuanshan acclaimed.

Hearing this, Meng Qi suddenly had a funny thought, "Perhaps these two crystals are pirated versions duplicated by the Dominator of Samsara in Six Realms."

Looking at the crystals in his palm, Qi Zhengyan took some deep breaths and trembled slightly. From this moment on, he would usher himself into a new future!

After redemption, Meng Qi thought of something previous talked about, and asked, "Lady Jiang, are you now enrolled in the Ranking List of Young Masters?"

Jiang Zhiwei smiled and said, "I have not formally declared myself downhill and practiced in Jianghu, but for the previous martial art tourney and the opening of four Acupoints, I manage to rank last."

Speaking of the Ranking List of Young Masters, she wrinkled her ebony brows. "If my speculation is correct, Little Zi and Gu Xiaosang should be the same person, but why did she have zero Kung Fu at first? I don't think I could be wrong about this."

"Ah, schizophrenia? No, two souls in one body?" Meng Qi was obfuscated.

Jiang Zhiwei puckered her lips. "I do not know. Even if two souls were in one body, the foundation of her flesh would not disappear. I would have perceived it if she learned martial arts."

She was rather upset about her imperceptions.

"The Advent of Ajati Matriarch is known for its abstrusity. Perhaps it is one of the effects of its sorcerous arts," Zhang Yuanshan conjectured.

Jiang Zhiwei bulged her cheeks. "Maybe, or maybe it's the glitch she had mentioned before."

"Anyway, Gu Xiaosang is sophisticatedly evil and egregiously atrocious, with martial arts attaining such a high level. In the future, she will surely be ranked in the Black List." Zhang Yuanshan sighed.

"Black List?" Meng Qi felt like a country bumpkin.

Jiang Zhiwei chuckled. "This list consists of formidable devils and devious masters, and is made by the major sects and schools. It only lists the top 100. HoHo, in fact, its main function is to tell disciples to stay far away from them before possessing the strength of the Exterior level."

Suddenly, the grand, cold voice of the Dominator of Samsara in Six Realms reverberated:

"Exchange completed. Put away your items and return to your own world."

Meng Qi thought for an instant and left the Pearfower Storm Needles in his own "room".

...

After a blackout and a lightening-up, Meng Qi opened his eyes and saw Zhen Hui concentrating in meditation and Qi-harmonization, his head emanating white steam.

He smiled and began to ruminate on the first move of Ananda Oath-breaking Bladesmanship.

At that time, someone clapped upon the door, shouting, "Junior Brother Zhen Ding, Junior Brother Zhen Hui, President Wu Si would like to see you in the Bodhi Yard."