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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

122 Gu Changqing

 Gu Changqing, lying on the trunk, looked attentively at the temple waiting for an opportunity. Then he noticed An Guoxie look to his right side quickly, where the insensible little monk had cut him with a knife. It was not very bright but shone as if in his heart. When he thought of his declining clan and his underestimated strength, he was extremely angry.

Then, he saw An Guoxie get slashed with one slice. He could not keep himself straight and struggled to avoid the hit of the Buddhist commandment blade. The little monk shot out a concealed weapon and raised his long sword. An Guoxie exerted himself to shoot the left hand. He saw the concealed weapon was divided into seven sectors in the air with most bypassing An Guoxie's defense. An Guoxie's dodging was useless. As a result, it struck him.

Afterwards, he watched An Guoxie expand as if sandstorms were about to rampantly sweep. The little monk was holding a sword in his left hand and exerted a daunting attack. The sword light was terrifying and aggressive. An Guoxie was hit in the mid-brows, and fell weakly to the ground, dead.

Wait. An Guoxie had been hit in the mid-brow, and had fallen to the ground, dead?

Gu Changqing seemed to have been watching the scene in flashes until he woke up in this last scene.

"What on earth had happened here?"

The "White-headed Vulture", An Guoxie had been hit in the mid-brow?

With Nine Apertures opened, how could he die like this? From a monk who appeared to be so weak?

With his mouth agape, Gu Changqing felt he had been dreaming. What had just happened between An Guoxie and the little monk seemed become slow-moving fragments in the playback which was so unrealistic.

Subconsciously, he pinched his cheek. Only pain could make him accept that what had happened was all real. Despite the fact that An Guoxie had been one of the most outstanding disciples of the Crying Elder, he had really died. He had indeed been killed by an unknown little monk, regardless of his fame and various titles, including being a Master with Nine Apertures opened, ranking 36th in the Ranking List of Young Masters and being known as the White-headed Vulture!

And a few minutes ago, he was the exact winner who tortured the monk almost to death and caused the little monk fall into an unconscious sleep.

Who can tell me what's going on?

He shouted heartily.

But one thing that he could confirm was that the little monk was definitely a master, much more powerful even than himself!

Meng Qi destroyed the wound and sword mark on An Guoxie's body. He was about to search the body when he suddenly heard sounds outside in the distance. He turned at once, asking, "Who's there?"

With no method to find out it was a friend or a foe, he could only make a warning.

Concealing his feeling of shock, Gu Changqing calmly leaped off the treetop and walked to the temple. "Little master, you once asked for help in the inn, so I came by to check it out. I'd planned to confirm your identity first and then asked several predecessors to help you. But unexpectedly, you killed An Guoxie all by yourself."

When it came to the last phrase, he still held a subtle sense of disbelief.

Meng Qi almost did not recall who the weak scholarly looking man before him was. While for Gu Changqing, they had just met at dusk, even though only a few hours had passed. But for Meng Qi, it felt like three months. And they'd only met once when he'd asked for help. If it weren't for his exceptional memory, Meng Qi would have surly blurted out, "Who the hell are you?"

Having experienced so much during these past few days, he put his palms together calmly in a silent meditation. "Amitabha, I was captured by An Guoxie and was tortured so much because of my master's matter. Therefore, the moment I saw you swordsmen, I couldn't help asking for help. I sincerely appreciated your aid. How should I address you?"

He did not mention the fight deliberately because he did not have a good excuse on hand.

Gu Changqing waved his hands. A little shameful, he said, "I'm Gu Changqing from Gu Castle. I've come from afar to be a helping hand?"

"The willingness of saving others and practical action show eloquently the donor's chivalrous spirit." Meng Qi said sincerely. He considered Gu Changqing to be a native of the Western Region, so he must have sufficient knowledge of the vast Gobi Desert. Perhaps he could be of help in the search for his junior brother.

He was far from being a merciless and heartless man, so after breaking away from the dilemma, he would try to search for and rescue his junior brother. There was no expectation from the Shaolin temple that the Crying Elder would suddenly show his face after years of disappearance. Plus, he'd intercepted his own master. Yet, since they dared to assign the master to the Western Region to question the "landlord" of the Jingang temple, they had absolutely known for sure that he was able to protect himself. He would have, at best, been wounded by the Crying Elder. Besides, he could be useless in the battle between pros of the Exterior.

Hearing the evaluation of chivalrous spirit, a trace of pleasure and self-satisfaction emerged on Gu Changqing's face uncontrollably. "This is what our generation with the correct path should do. Little master, you don't need to overpraise. I don't know your Dharma name? You were able to kill An Guoxie so you must be somebody in the Great Jin Dynasty."

From Meng Qi's accent, he knew that Meng Qi was a monk of the Great Jin Dynasty.

"You can call me Zhen Ding, my Dharma name. I just untied my acupoint quietly in secret. I was only able to kill An Guoxie, by chance actually, by virtue of my hidden venom and poisonous dart. And I happened to find him healing without distraction. He's a far greater opponent." Meng Qi had already thought of an excuse, which was his supreme act of untying the acupoint in secret. Anyway, An Guoxie was dead now. No one knew he had destroyed his Dantian and pinched off his arm. Nor could people know whether the sword and the blade he used were his trophies or not.

Gu Changqing recalled the fight process just now and thought all had seemed quite reasonable except for a little bit of strangeness at the beginning. The Dharma name, Zhen Ding, was unknown, so he nodded with a smile. "An Guoxie was powerful yet cruel. He was invincible all over the Immensity Sea but eventually died because of his carelessness. Oh, the karma, the justice of heaven!"

"Facing me, an unbeatable challenger, anyone would lose..."

Meng Qi self-deprecated in his mind.

Gu Changqing continued,"But your bladesmanship and sword art was so amazing, little master. Even observed from far away, I found myself trapped in an illusion and mired in a soul-stirring sense. Can I ask what school of martial arts are you from?"

"I'm a Shaolin disciple." Meng Qi said frankly, for he needed to ask Gu Changqing to help him search for his junior brother.

Gu Changqing subconsciously said, "Hmm, you're a Shaolin disciple. Now I see. So, the sword art and bladesmanship you used just now must be Ananda Oath-breaking bladesmanship and Dharma sword?"

Jin Gang Temple was known for blade art, and thus the western regions were strong in blade use. Even Gu Changqing, the man with a sword, had heard about the top-ranked Ananda Oath-breaking bladesmanship.

As for the Dharma sword art, it was his personal interest.

"I know well how slight my talent is. I don't deserve so much praise." Meng Qi replied with a tacit consent. He said, "Donor Gu, have you seen a monk in the same dress like mine but a bit younger? I got separated from my junior brother because of An Guoxie."

"No." Gu Changqing shook his head. "Western monks dress are different from that of the great Jin dynasty. I haven't seen him. May I ask what on earth made you two separate?"

Meng Qi pondered a moment. As he thought that Gu Changqing was so courageous to ask about An Guoxie, the Nine Apertured Master and so righteous to do the good things, Meng Qi described things again except for his attempt to escape. After he finished, he said, "I wonder how much the donor knows about the terrain of the Immensity Sea. Is it possible for you tell me a bit so that I can have some clues for my search?"

"What a pity that I couldn't see with my own eyes the big and fierce battle between master Xuan Bei and the Crying Elder." Gu Changqing said shortly after a few sighs, "We, the whole family have lived in the Immensity Sea for centuries, so we know the terrain here quite well. It's too complex and complicated to tell in a few words. If you don't mind, I'm willing to lead the way for you."

Meng Qi had planned to consult with him about his "geography knowledge" and had asked him for a reliable guide. But out of his expectation, Gu Changqing should volunteer to help. Meng Qi was stunned speechless for a short while. "Donor Gu, where are your companions?"

A faint look of contempt emerged on Gu Changqing's face. "I've always thought that they were chivalrous people who could share weal and woe with me, now they've all turned out to be timid. There is nothing proud I can say about them compared to your act of taking risks in searching for your younger brother, and therefore, I'd like to aid you."

There would likely be numerous dangers everywhere on the way to find Zhen Hui. They also had to venture deeply into the Immensity Sea where the horse bandits were rampant and Ze Luoju had great momentum.

Having heard the way Gu Changqing talked of his three companions, Meng Qi thought it would be better than going separately with the Snow Mountain Sect disciples, who were so timid that it was likely to betray his whereabouts.

Putting his palms together, he said with sincerity, "Amitabha, on behalf of my younger brother I would like to thank you."

"Little Master, when will we leave? So I can prepare and say farewell." Gu Changqing said.

Meng Qi waved his hand and smiled. "No rush, after daybreak. I'd like to ask for your help in buying some sets of clothing and hats later."

"Indeed, you're dressed too conspicuously. You could easily be the target of those with Ze Luoju and You Huanduo." Gu Changqing suddenly realized.

You Huanduo, another disciple who had opened Nine Apertures, was nicknamed "Uprising Yama". He was head of seventy-two bandits in Helian Mountain. Though they mainly robbed near the mountain, the Immensity Sea trade route was also an important source of wealth for them.

Meng Qi added, "There may be horse bandits and spies in the Oasis. If I go to buy these things myself, I risk being targeted. Therefore, I need your help."

"No problem. Little master, you need to change your manner of speech. Don't always say 'donor', 'donor', or others will still know you're a monk." Gu Changqing said with a smile.

After reaching their agreement, Meng Qi bent down and searched An Guoxie's dead body. Unfortunately, there was not too much to harvest for he had been sent to work for the ancestors. Naturally, he had no scripts or similar items and since he never used a sword, knife, concealed weapon or poison. Except for a decent remedy elixir, a bag of money, a few gems, and a bunch of brass keys, he found nothing else.

"This is the Crying Elder's 'Haunter's Replenishing Elixir'. It's healing effect, though not comparable to Hundred-herb Bolus, is not bad." Gu Changqing recognized the bottle of elixir, but unfortunately, there were only two left.

He did not show any greed for this stuff and just watched Meng Qi put them away. They were his trophies.

Meng Qi planned to pay for Gu Changqing once he'd found his younger brother. That would be easier for Gu Changqing to accept.

"What was this bunch of keys used for... " Meng Qi swung the brass keys with a jingling sound.

Gu Changqing thought for a while before replying. "An Guoxie is a famous robber in the Immensity Sea and has a rich family. But no one knows where he lives. These are probably the keys to all his residences."

"No one knows... how to find... " Meng Qi answered regretfully, "If I could get An Guoxie's treasure, I could live a wealthy life after leaving Shaolin Temple!"

After looking at them carefully, Gu Changqing mumbled, "Not quite without clues. For different oasises in different countries, the shape and structure of keys aren't the same, so the keys can be used to narrow down our search area."

"That makes sense." Meng Qi praised and then temporarily put the matter aside. Together with Gu Changqing, they tied An Guoxie's corpse to a stone and threw it into the small lake to destroy the evidence.

The next day, Meng Qi put on the "long-admired" white silk shirt and an official's cap and left the oasis with Gu Changqing.

At noon, An Guoxie's shopkeeper buddy frowned, feeling something wrong. "Master An Guo entered the temple last night. Usually, he would definitely have come and shown his face here. How could he not have shown up!"