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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

86 The Natural Disaster

 On the north side of "Quicksand Town" stood a small mountain. The side facing the Immensity Sea was beaten and weathered. In some places it was polished to a blackish brown color, giving a feeling of mystery to any who passed by.

On the other side of the mountain flowed a stream through a dense forest. At the foot of the mountain was an oasis where the local shepherds would let the livestock graze. It was evening and they were driving their cattle and sheep home.

Meng Qi and Zhen Hui walked slowly with their Master up the mountain path towards the summit. Meng Qi buried his other thoughts and asked with concern, "Master, you've warned us to be cautious of the Crying Elder and his disciples. Can you describe them to us? This way we can recognize them and won't give ourselves away if we run into them."

Xuan Bei gently nodded. "I was just about to bring this up. The Crying Elder is a Hei Xiao Elder. He often wears a black headscarf and a white robe. His most unique feature is his eyes. He was born with two pupils in each of his oddly shaped eyes. He always looks like he's crying, regardless of whether he is happy or angry. He is power hungry, and his mood can change in a flash. When he fights, he is brutal. It would be best for you to keep your distance."

Zhen Hui intently listened to his master. Meng Qi did the same. He did not want to get into a confrontation with his Master's enemy. He knew his own present skill and strength were no match for the Crying Elder. Were they to fight, the Crying Elder's mere aura would be enough to defeat him.

"The Crying Elder has three great disciples who have all entered the Exterior. I have already killed the strongest of the three, 'Heaven Wilderness Highman'." When Xuan Bei brought up 'Heaven Wilderness Highman', a wave of emotion still came over him.

Meng Qi asked with surprise, "Master, the Crying Elder only has three disciples who have entered the Exterior?"

This seemed to be too few. His strength and influence must be greater than this!

"Too few?" Xuan Bei shook his head. "Shaolin is one of the greatest schools of martial arts with thousands of years of history, and has only produced a few dozen who have entered the Exterior. For the Crying Elder, to have three Exterior disciples is a great feat. In addition, he has connections with evil spirit and powerful people that will fight by his side."

Because Shaolin had many monks who practiced Stark Meditation in isolation, the exact number of those who had entered the Exterior was unclear. Xuan Bei did not want to discuss this with Meng Qi who had yet to reach Enlightenment, so he could only speak about the numbers in abstract terms.

Meng Qi let out a slight laugh. Yet again, his ignorance had embarassed him. "Master, what your disciple had meant was, the Crying Elder only has three disciples, and all of them have entered the Exterior?"

He was trying hard cover up his own ignorance.

Xuan Bei was not fooled. "The Crying Elder is good to his own but he is cruel. He kills any disciples who displease him. Consequently, he only has a few disciples, but those who do remain are outstanding."

"I understand." Meng Qi listened and was relieved. It was a good thing he had come back in Shaolin. Had he come back as a disciple of the Crying Elder, he would be in a much worse situation.

"Master, the Crying Elder is so frightening..." The ever dull Zhen Hui was shocked. He had thought that it was status quo for a Master to be good to his disciple, for a Senior Brother to be good to a Junior Brother, and vice versa.

Now you see that things aren't so simple!

Meng Qi thought to himself.

Xuan Bei replied, "The Crying Elder is devious and is on the evil path. Shaolin is on the straight path. Naturally, his ways are different to mine."

He continued, "The Crying Elder has two disciples remaining. One is the prince of 'Hahler', Yan Shiche. The other is a horse bandit who has traveled all corners of the Immensity Sea named Ze Luoju. Both are Top Class Masters..."

He carefully described Yan Shiche and Ze Luoju to his disciples so they would be able to recognize them. Yan Shiche had golden eyes and a red mark between his eyebrows. He had the aura of a god, and although he was in his fourties he looked like a young man. He was handsome, like a god. Ze Luoju wielded a Horseman Sabre. He had a full beard and his left eye had been gouged out by the Crying Elder because he had upset him. He was also known as "Evil Blade of Immensity Sea".

"Top Class Master" was a standard created by the Great Jin Dynasty while they were making Ranking List of Young Masters. Because it incorporated many commonly encountered practices, many people used it.

After the Exterior were three Celestial Ladders. A qualitative change would occur after the Three-fold Heaven. Once you broke through, your strength would increase significantly and you would acquire Qi deterrence. In the Exterior, those in the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth-fold Heavens were called "grandmaster". This type of "grandmaster" was completely different from other "grandmasters" such as Duan Xiangfei and Cui Xu. In the Exterior, those in the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth-fold Heavens were referred to as "Peerless Master". Those in the First, Second, and Third-fold heaven were known as "Top Class Master".

At the pinnacle of the Exterior was another world for Half-step to Dharmakaya. Those who got here experienced another qualitative change and were called "Great Grandmaster". Those in the Half-step to the Exterior were known as "Second Class Master".

Opening Nine Apertures was considered "Third Class". Six, Seven, and Eight Apertures was "Fourth Class". Two and Four Acupores were "Normal".

Before Enlightenment, depending on your Qi-cultivation and martial arts skill you would be considered "In-class" or "Out-of-class". So when Meng Qi had exchanged his Iron Shirt, Jiang Zhiwei teased him by saying he was an "Out-of-class Master".

Meng Qi carefully made note of Yan Shiche and Ze Luoju's descriptions so he could avoid them in the future.

Xuan Bei did not stop after describing Yan Shiche and Ze Luoju. "The Crying Elder has also killed many of his disciples' disciples, leaving only a few. Of his grand-disciples, the two strongest are both Nine Apertures Opened. One is the leader of the Seventy-two Villains of Helian Mountain. His name is You Huanduo, also known as 'Uprising Yama'. The other is a lone bandit called An Guoxie, also known as the 'White-headed Vulture'..."

He described the Crying Elder's remaining seventeen or eighteen Enlightenment grand-disciples, emphasizing their distinguishing features. For example, "Uprising Yama" looked like a simple, honest farmer and had a dark thumb-sized mole at the corner of his eyebrow. The "White-headed Vulture", An Guoxie, was not yet thirty years of age but already had a full head of white hair. He was cruel and loved to torture others...

Xuan Bei's timing was impeccable. Just as he finished speaking, they arrived at the summit of the mountain. Here stood a number of withered trees.

He let out a gloomy sigh and stopped in front of a crooked tree that resembled the body of a dragon. Quietly, he said, "Your teacher's two sons are buried here. If they had not died they would have been about the same age as you two."

Suddenly the mood shifted. Meng Qi and Zhen Hui had nothing they could say; they could only quietly accompany their Master in his sadness.

After an indiscernible amount of time, Xuan Bei finally spoke up. Teasing himself, he said, "My mind is not clear today; I forgot to buy incense and bring the

Prajna Sutra

to burn here. Zhen Ding, Zhen Hui, go back to the inn and get the Prajna Sutra. On your way back, buy some incense."

"Yes, Master." Meng Qi had thought his Master was not one to practice these rituals, but perhaps this was a special case since it was the grave of his two sons. He suppressed his doubts and agreed.

After descending the mountain and returning to Quicksand Town, a startling thought occured to Meng Qi.

This was the perfect opportunity to run away!

Master was far away on the mountain top with an occupied mind. All I had to do was

getting

rid of Junior Brother and I could fly away from here!

"Junior Brother, let's split up. You go back to the inn and get the

Prajna Sutra

and I will go buy the incense." Meng Qi acted on his impulse.

Although he felt sorry to abondon his Master at this time, he couldn't pass up such a good opportunity to escape!

Zhen Hui did not expect anything; He agreed with a smile and jogged off to the inn. Meng Qi watched him as he went off, let out a sigh, and hurried off in the other direction towards the village center.

A cold wind blew on the mountaintop.

Xuan Bei stared at the withered tree in front of him. Somehow, a string of Buddha beads appeared in his hands.

This was a string of dark golden Buddha beads. There were three black beads among them.

"I didn't expect that you would come here to kill me," he said coldly.

"I have to settle my score with you. Just as I was getting over my grief I learned you were headed to the Jin Gang Temple. So I waited here, knowing you would come." A dark, skinny, hunchbacked old man emerged from behind the tree. It seemed that he had been standing here for a long time.

He wore a black headscarf and a white robe. Each of his eyes had two pupils. The corners of his eyes drooped, giving the impression that he was crying.

Xuan Bei emotionlessly said, "The Crying Elder, you predicted correctly."

"Did you think that by sending your disciples away you could save their lives? I have no energy for them, but I have a few grand-disciples waiting for them." The Crying Elder coughed twice just like a weak old man.

His disciples were busy with issues at "Hahler" and the Immensity Sea and could not come away, so he only brought a few grand-disciples with him.

Xuan Bei maintained expressionless. "If I had not sent them away, the aftershock of our battle would destroy them. Down there, at least they have a chance of survival."

He knew he was not as strong as the Crying Elder, but was not afraid of facing him alone. He could not, however, spend his strength protecting his disciples from the aftershock.

"Are you referring to Jiu Niang? She wouldn't dare fight me either!" The Crying Elder aloofly raised his right hand and immediately a ring of dark spirits rose up around him. Their screams were ghastly. A weaker person would immediately have his spirit stolen away.

Meng Qi was walking towards the village center when he noticed countless sand tornados rising up near the Immensity Sea. The entire area was filled with them, all heading towards the mountaintop.

The oasis at the foot of the mountain immediately dried up. The livestock and shepherds were mummy one by one.

Meng Qi watched from afar as the dry ground cracked inch by inch, just like a natural disaster!