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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

115 Dharma Name: Zhen Ding

 The flash of the blade was misty and ethereal, as if derived from thousands of years ago. Duan Mingcheng felt as though the Snow God Palace was being rebuilt before his eyes; He was seeing that no one dared to defy Wulin's commands, seeing the Man-God Border being broken, seeing the climb to the apex and seeing the loving couple fly away and much more. He was so immersed in the scene's immeasurable beauty and sweetness that he couldn't pull himself out.

He was in a dreamy state, yet when the light disappeared, so did the people. Duan Mingcheng had a rude awakening. What ensued was indescribable depression, and he wanted badly to go back to the dream.

"Alas, Master's bladesmanship is marvelous and it got through to my heart. I'm unafraid to say that it's much more superior to my own skills."

The sad tone in Duan Xiangfei's words had totally wakened Duan Mingcheng. He watched the extraordinary Master Zhen Ding and his pure, white, monk frock, as if he were not from this world. As he recollected the indescribable flash of his blade, he felt his heart beating stronger than usual.

So this is the A blade-strike connecting heaven, what a heavenly blade-strike


Once again the vast and deep world had exhibited itself to him; it was full of secrets and mystery. In the past, he, like a frog living at the bottom of the well, had only limited vision. He couldn't believe that he actually doubted the level of Master Zhen Ding's bladesmanship. He couldn't believe that such bladesmanship actually existed!

Meng Qi had hit Duan Xiangfei with the back of his blade and he retracted some power in the end, so the hit didn't cause too much damage, only making Duan Xiangfei cough a little. Of course, the "damage" to his heart was indeed severe because rebuilding the Snow God Palace had been his obsession for decades and now it's been driven by the "Mortal Dust Fall". Hence he couldn't help feeling depressed, and all these negative feelings would linger for a long time.

"Amitabha, if there were no weaknesses in your heart, then my blade would not have had a chance, so donor, you lost to no one but yourself." Replied Meng Qi, and he, of course, would not let an opportunity to build-up his high-monk stature pass by.

Duan Xiangfei was, after all, a cunning old fox, he gathered himself after a deep breath and said, "Say no more, Master, I know my own limits. How about we go get a boat tomorrow and visit Changhua Temple?"

"How many days will the trip take?" Meng Qi was the most concerned about the length of the trip because he was now quite exhausted. However, he wasn't worried about Duan Xiangfei doing something malicious because he still had the Sacrifice Formula, the Rhapsody Bladesmanship, the Grieving Wind Softener and the Die Seeing Dart at his disposal, so killing him wasn't a problem.

"If all goes smoothly, we'd get there in 10 days or so." Duan Xiangfei answered without thinking.

If it were Shun Feng, we'd arrive tomorrow... Meng Qi thought of a sick joke, "Great, Old Duan, remember my request last time? Would you please gather some common scripts for me? Especially on the art of sealing acupoints ."

Duan Xiangfei was extraordinarily astute, so he asked no questions and answered with a smile, "Piece of cake."

Meng Qi nodded and waited for Duan Xiangfei to provide him a room to rest and concentrate his Aperture acupoints, and then he thought of something, "Old Duan, you said that my blade-strike was marvelous to the point of connecting heaven, able to breakthrough space and ascend to Buddhism heights. Would I need to masquerade myself and make up an alias?"

"It matters not, for the Chang Hua and Tian Ding temples are worlds apart, like the distance between us and the moon, so no one would be able to recognize you, Maester. We'll worry about it later." Duan Mingcheng laughed like a wise man, and then added, "Besides, even if you were recognized, I'd say that 'the maester had descended upon us to break the Man-God Border, impart wisdom and skill and save the world'."

"Old Duan, your talent in eloquence exceeds that of Kung Fu." Meng Qi said "sincerely". The cunning old fox is a natural when it comes to lying!

Meng Qi wasn't really worried about being recognized either because his strength was formidable now. Though he couldn't say that he was the best of the best, but he'd be in an advantageous position even if he faced a grandmaster. As long as he wasn't ambushed by more than one Great Grand-master, he was in no danger.

"Thank you, Maester for your praise." Duan Xiangfei smilingly replied without a hint of embarrassment.

The next day, Meng Qi, who began concentrating Aperture acupoints, came to the riverside led by Duan Xiangfei and Duan Mingcheng. There was already a grandiose, jade-sculpted Junk Ship waiting for them.

"I asked Mingcheng to organize it for us." Duan Xiangfei explained casually, leading Meng Qi aboard. Inside the cabin, there was a beautiful maid making tea, and the service was lavish.

Meng Qi watched the maids flit and float about with a smile, and he joked, "Old Duan, the first time I met you, you were in a small, ragged boat, but now you are in such a luxurious Junk Ship. How unbelievable!"

Duan Xiangfei took a sip of his tea and replied while smiling, "I'm used to freedom, so I love boating. Hopefully, this could live up to Maester's high standards."

"Do I look like that sort of depraved monk?" Meng Qi replied, smiling.

"I am a depraved monk!"

Duan Xiangfei nodded slightly, "I was inconsiderate, I forgot that Maester is an enlightened monk who is beyond materialistic luxury. Shall we change to a small boat?"

Meng Qi was enjoying his tea, then he added, "It matters not, a poor monk like myself could live on scanty meals, yet could also endure luxury."

"Scanty meals and luxury are all vain, Maester is indeed an enlightened monk." Duan Xiangfei praised after a pause.

That is what you think...

Meng Qi's laugh was quite rigid.

In the following ten or so days, Meng Qi continued with this Aperture acupoints concentration, cultivating the Transformation Strategy and the 5th stage of the Golden Bell Shield. He didn't ease up on practicing the "Mortal Dust Fall", nor thinking about the "Yama Inviting" either, occasionally doing some reading on the "Nine Strategies Beyond the Swords" to boot. He really was making good use of his time.

Though practicing in this world was far slower than that of the main world, but since Meng Qi's Aperture acupoints were wide open and with the help of the "Ethereal Yihua Elixir", the difference in the speed of development could be offset. Plus, the Ear Aperture, unless struck by force, required slow and steady practice to break through, therefore the place of practice didn't matter so much. That's also the case with developing Bladesmanship and sword art, for both required good opponents, so the environment was a non-factor. Therefore the only lag in terms of improvement was the practice of the Golden Bell Shield from the fifth stage to the consummate and closure level and the Transformation Strategy.

Nevertheless, owing to the fact that his foundation and understanding of sword skills were lacking, and that the "Nine Strategies Beyond the Swords" were quite difficult, Meng Qi still had no idea how to begin even when they reached the Changhua Temple in the "Ning Cheng City".

"Maester, it's getting dark, let's rest for a day in the city and go to the Changhua Temple tomorrow." Along the way, Duan Mingcheng was very nice to Master Zhen Ding because when he had occasionally shared his knowledge on Kung Fu philosophy, it made people muse.

Meng Qi looked at Duan Xiangfei and Duan Mingcheng, then smiled and said, "I'll listen to the host, but I have to go a book store and buy a copy of the 'Yi'."

"'Book of Changes'?" Duan Xiangfei asked strangely. This world did have the 'Book of Changes', but it seemed weird that a monk wanted to read it.

"I just want to read it for reference." Of course Meng Qi was not about to reveal that he wanted to read it for some much needed catch-up on common knowledge, and the 'Nine Strategies Beyond the Swords' did require some knowledge on the 'Book of Changes'.

Duan Xiangfei did not delve in further, but instructed Duan Mingcheng to go to the inn and get things organized. After he and Meng Qi bought a copy of the 'Book of Changes' from the book shop, they were casually strolling on the streets. Then they entered a crowded restaurant.

As they entered it, the conversations and chatter were audible. Since Meng Qi had more or less completed the concentration of his sensory Aperture acupoints and especially the Ear Aperture, he could identify different voices just by concentrating a bit. Some were talking about state affairs, some were boasting about their bravery in front of bandits and some were exchanging information on the happenings and news of Jianghu. Meng Qi's name had come up quite a bit in the chatter, like how Master Zhen Ding was noble and worthy of respect, and that his white beard had swept his chest. Some had claimed to have met him and learned from him, and others said several Great Grand-masters had been driven mad by Master Zhen Ding and wanted to break the Man-God Border.

"I had thought that after reaching the grandmaster level, there was no more space for development, but Master Zhen Ding had a blade-strike to connect the heavens, and he basically cut a path between man and God. Wulin is fortunate to have such a remarkable man!"

Upon hearing these conversations, Meng Qi and Duan Xiangfei looked at each other and laughed, and they then went upstairs. They found a table near the window because there were no suites available.

"Not far from Changhua Temple there is the 'Snow Falling Blade', if Maester wanted to have a spar session, I could lead the way." Duan Xiangfei said smilingly.

Meng Qi nodded and replied, "I'll appreciate it."

After ordering a few vegetarian dishes, Duan Xiangfei let out a sigh, "The Man-God Border is mysterious and obscure, who else could have a chance apart from a maester like you... "

"Who do you think, Old Duan?" Meng Qi looked at Duan Xiangfei with a smile.

Duan Xiangfei pondered for a second and said, "Cui Xu has the will and is talented, he had also twice completed the Primal Aperture at Mid-brows concentration, which is equivalent to the consummation of the Transformation Strategy. He has also unearthed other mystical skills, so he could possibly touch the Man-God Border if he survives."

Without changing his expression, Meng Qi replied, "Cui Xu lost his chance to build a strong foundation due to his love for reaping instant benefits. Even if he could break the Man-God Border, it would be a flash in the pan, disappearing in a second and only leaving behind his Nether Spirit."

"What about Luo Qing? He had already willed his Secret Chambers open on his own, not to mention his sword art is second to none, almost Heaven-connecting. Given a bit of time, he would be a good candidate." Duan Xiangfei added.

Meng Qi thought for a while and replied, "Too many geniuses have been exceptional at a young age but end up burning out in the later stages of life; Luo Qing still has a long way to go to touch the Man-God Border with too many obstacles, so we could hardly say that he is hopeful unless there is some kind of divine intervention."

Duan Xiangfei straightened his back and looked at Meng Qi with hope, "What about me? Do I have a chance?"

Meng Qi felt like laughing.

How come so many people want to be heroes? But that's not a bad thing I suppose.

He held back his laughter and answered seriously, "Old Duan, You've travelled too far down the wrong path, unless you can turn back... "

"The wrong path... " Duan Xiangfei was a bit down, muttering to himself, as if trying to inquire Meng Qi on how to turn back, but it was clear he was embarrassed, so instead he said, "Then which grandmaster is the most hopeful to break the Man-God Border in maester's opinion?"

In an attempt to imitating Cao Aman, Meng Qi lifted his tea cup and swirled, then he said in Cao Aman's voice, "Out of all the grandmasters, only the Bei Ku Divine Monk of the Faxuan Set is hopeful to break the Man-God Border."

This was in fact the truth, because other people could not physically bear breaking through the Hidden Latch of the mid-brows, nor the countercharge of building the bridge between heaven and earth. Only the Bei Ku Divine Monk, who had decades of the Achievement of the Pure Body, had a chance. But of course, he must first find the Dharma Access to opening his spirit chambers.

"What a cocky tone!" Before Duan Xiangfei could speak, a voice came from the stairs. The voice was deep and mature, but one of a woman.

Duan Xiangfei turned back and saw a beautiful woman wearing an official imperial dress and a stern looking middle-aged man approach. Her face was so beautiful with a body to match that she could be compared to a ripe fruit, plump and voluptuous. But what drew Meng Qi's focus was the long blade fixed on her hip. The blade was extremely thin, which seemed to easily be broken into two.

"Well if it isn't Mr. Leisure, I was wondering who was chattering up here." The middle-aged woman said sarcastically, "I don't believe I've met this 'eminent monk' before. Would Mr. Leisure tell me his Dharma name so I can see if he has the right to comment the grandmaster of the land."

Duan Xiangfei kept his composure and turned to Meng Qi, smiling, "This is Madam Che, Che Wanxiu, aka 'Snow Falling Blade', and this is her husband, Mr. Xiang."

Since Che Wanxiu was a generational grandmaster, so she went by the name Madam Che instead of Madam Xiang.

Meng Qi knew what he meant and nodded in acknowledgment to Duan Xiangfei, indicating no to keep his identity from her. After all, he was planning to have a sparring session with the Snow Falling Blade.

After Duan Xiangfei got his answer, he smiled and got up, then turned to Che Wanxiu and said, "Madam Che, this maester does indeed have the seniority to remark on the grandmaster of the land."

Before Che Wanxiu could say anything, he added, "His Dharma name is Zhen Ding."