Fantasy Romance Xianxia Anime Sci-fi Historical WNMTL
Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

141 The Sworn Enemy

 A nameless fire swelled inside Meng Qi and he nearly stormed over to ask about it. Even Zhen Hui, who had his eyes on the kitchen, had turned to Gu Changqing with a concerned look.

Never implicate the family, never implicate the family... Perhaps it was because Meng Qi had a relatively stable past life. He only had a vague idea of the tragedy of losing one's entire family. After all, he had never encountered such thing. When he learned his master had killed his enemy's family as revenge for the same, he felt more sympathy and speculation back then. His feelings now were completely different because Gu Changqing's family may not his, but they were killed because of something he initiated.

His rage burned like wildfire and he wanted nothing more than to trample all over the heartless horse bandits and dismember the culprit.

Meng Qi took a few deep breaths and patted Gu Changqing on the shoulder. "Changqing, don't be upset. It may just be a rumor."

Gu Changqing cringed a little and forced a smile. "Yeah, it could be a rumor. Though the members of Gu Castle had not reached the exterior level, we're a respected family. We wouldn't fall that easily. A-And there's still Shen Duliao who had always hated Ze Luoju. He couldn't have just watched Ze Luoju's men commit such evil... "

He said a lot and found many excuses to turn what he had heard into a mere rumor.

Under such heightened emotions, he did not use Secret Voice-sending. Luckily, they sat in a quiet corner and other patrons were busy talking, so no one took notice. Then again, even if someone did notice them, Meng Qi was not scared. From the conversation they overheard earlier, they learned that Jin Gang Temple had yielded. Meng Qi's master and the others should still be at Bo Mi. The horse bandits were either in hiding or protecting their camps. No one should be a threat to them at the moment.

"Alas. How could such a respected family like Gu family sell out one of their own simply for a letter from the 'Evil Bookster' Kang Zhi? Who'd follow such a family?" said a merchant, heaving a sigh. The merchant seemed to have come from an esteemed family himself. He seemed unable to fathom the acts of the Gu family and felt contemptuous toward them.

Gu Changqing leaned backward and almost fainted when he heard this. He looked lost and his eyes looked empty even as he hid the rage of fire within him.

The one talking to the merchant was a well-informed desert tramp. He sighed as well. "It's the son's fault. If he were on good terms with the Snow Mountain Sect and killed the horse bandits under Ze Luoju, none of this would have happened. Shen Duliao would see hope and protect the Gu Castle more willingly."

"But he colluded with the monk from the Central Plains and killed two masters with Nine Apertures opened from Immensity Sea, angering Asura. Even if he's a God of the land and doesn't bother with the nonentities, Shen Duliao wouldn't risk his neck to protect the Gu Castle for someone with a ruined reputation. If not for that connection, the Crying Elder would have long murdered everyone in his family based on his history of protecting his own."

"So the 'Evil Bookster' Kang Zhi, sent two letters with his white-headed bird. One was to Shen Duliao, respectfully asking him to acquiesce. The other was to the head of the Gu family. He didn't go too far, only asking for Gu Changqing's immediate family members. Considering the possibility of Ze Luoju's vengeance and the lack of support and protection from Shen Duliao, the head of the Gu family conceded."

"It's a wise move, otherwise the whole family would have been killed by Ze Luoju."

Though the Gu Castle and Evil Ridge were located in opposite directions, with the Immensity Sea in between, the white-headed bird could still make two round trips in the span of almost a month.

The merchant tried imagining what he would do if his family were facing the same scenario and sighed deeply. He would have sacrificed a few to save the majority as well. Depressed, he added, "Perhaps there's no justice in Immensity Sea where life or death is decided by the strong and powerful."

"Haha. You've been a merchant for many years, haven't you realized that? The fist is justice, so are money and power!" the desert tramp replied with a hysterical laugh.

"That's why my Great Jin Dynasty is better. The clans still worry about their reputation and operate based on reason." The merchant shook his head.

As for the evil clans, they were suppressed by the aristocratic families and the reputable clans. They would think twice before committing evil acts.

Listening to them, Gu Changqing gritted his teeth so hard that grinding sounds could be heard. Blood flowed from his clenched fists; his nails seemed to have cut into his skin.

"Did I do something wrong? Did I really do something wrong?" He lifted his head as if he was asking Meng Qi. But his eyes were blank and no one knew who he was directing the question to.

Meng Qi's blood was boiling with grief as well. He took a few deep breaths, trying hard to calm himself. "No, you did nothing wrong. They're just evil and vile."

Gu Changqing got up abruptly and forced himself down again. With a vacant expression, he said, "Junior Brother Zhen Ding, please find out the truth for me."

His eyes were indifferent with a worrying sense of calmness.

Meng Qi nodded and went out on the streets. He grabbed a young boy and gave him some money to fish for information.

Sometime later, Meng Qi returned to the inn and saw that their table was full of roast lamb legs and other dishes they had ordered. But the dishes had all gone cold as no one had touched it. Even Zhen Hui had no time for food as he was trying to comfort Gu Changqing with stories from the Sutras.

"I'm afraid the rumors are real," Meng Qi said sternly, holding the blade handle tightly with his hand. He wanted nothing more than to cut down the horse bandits.

"How did my parents and siblings die?" Gu Changqing paused three times before finishing his question as if he was afraid to hear the answer.

Meng Qi looked around and then yelled, "Errand boy, bring the food to our room."

This was not the place to talk.

Gu Changqing stood up like a zombie and staggered to the room upstairs.

Meng Qi closed the doors and checked that no one was around before saying, "Your parents knew what would happen after they were sent to Evil Ridge. To avoid torment and humiliation, they first killed your siblings before killing themselves."

Gu Changqing stared at him blankly. Tears suddenly fell from his eyes and he wailed. "My father had risked his life many times for the family, even sustained lingering health problems. Whenever it rains, he would ache all over and won't be able to sleep. My mother came from a literary family and was a true lady. She never caused trouble for anyone and only ever concerned herself with our welfare. My brother was only ten, a strong young man. My sister was just a few years old. She was lively and adorable, and she often followed me around. How could they bear sacrificing them? How could they!"

"Changqing... " Meng Qi wanted to say something but felt that no word of comfort was enough in such a situation.

Gu Changqing buried his head in his hands and bawled. "I enlightened all my acupores at 20 and had quite the status in the family. Father expected great things from me, but... I actually implicated them... "

He suddenly lifted his head and looked at Meng Qi with teary eyes. "Was I wrong to want to be a chivalrous swordsman? What kind of swordsman am I if I can't even protect my family?"

His voice was full of doubt and confusion.

Meng Qi looked at Gu Changqing earnestly. "This was all because of me. If you want to blame someone, blame me. I don't think there's anything wrong with being a chivalrous swordsman. Our only fault is not being as ruthless as the bandits. If we want to be great swordsmen, we must be smarter and more relentless than the bandits. We need to kill every single one of them, not giving them any room to breathe."

This was his belief before reflecting on himself, so it was definitely not born out of the heat of the moment.

"Is that so?" Gu Changqing asked with a sense of uncertainty.

"Don't you want vengeance?" Meng Qi asked on purpose, trying to get Gu Changqing to stop blaming himself.

Gu Changqing stood up abruptly with rage and hatred burning in his eyes. "Of course I do! I want nothing more than to slaughter the bastard responsible for murdering my family, the Evil Bookster! He's my sworn enemy! I want to see the head of the family kneeling before me!"

Hatred and revenge had breathed life back into him.

Meng Qi nodded and answered solemnly, "You must understand, we will only have the power to avenge your family and uphold justice after gaining strength."

"You're right. I had another realization. There's no point in showing mercy to scoundrels. They must know that they'd have to pay ten-fold for their evil, and only then would they constrain themselves," Gu Changqing added with hatred.

Meng Qi did not retort as he partially agreed with him. He believed that punishment and mercy should coexist. Small mistakes could be forgiven or punished lightly. However, ultimate acts of evil should be given severe punishments. Only then would others think twice about doing the same, for mercy is useless under these circumstances.

Meng Qi pointed to the food on the table and said, "Since we want to take revenge, we must first replenish our energy."

"What should we do next?" Gu Changqing anticipated Meng Qi's plan.

Meng Qi unsheathed his Red Sun Evil Blade. "We go to Evil Ridge!"

"What?" Though Gu Changqing was yearning for revenge, he did not expect to go now. After all, there was still a big gap in their strength!

"Everything happened because of me, so I'll help you get revenge if it's the last thing I do. There's only the Evil Bookster who has Four Acupores opened and two other masters with Seven Apertures opened at Evil Ridge. The remaining bandits only have Six Apertures opened or less. They may have numbers on their sides, but it doesn't mean we don't stand a chance. We must at least get rid of Ze Luoju or another high ranking leader." Meng Qi added with a serious tone, "Only when we let the bandits know they can't escape justice even in Evil Ridge, would they refrain from evil."

He did not think about asking his master and the other elders for help because they would not break the no-killing commandment under normal circumstances. They would just bring the Evil Bookster back to Shaolin, lock him up in the back mountain, and try to get him to repent for his sins.

"You're right! The Evil Bookster would never expect that we have the courage to strike Evil Ridge!" Gu Changqing said with a twisted expression.

Meng Qi pointed in the direction of Evil Ridge with his Buddhist Commandment Blade and added, "What we're about to do is full of danger but I have no fear. I only want to kill my way to the Evil Bookster, take his head, and burn their camp. You?"

"I'm not even afraid of death. What else would I be afraid of?" Though Gu Changqing's face was pale, there were flames burning in his eyes.

"I'm going too! Brother Gu's family died because you needed to rescue me." Zhen Hui was serious.

Meng Qi thought for a moment and answered, "Okay, you can secretly set fire to their camp. Don't have any direct confrontations with them."

"Yes." Zhen Hui nodded.

Meng Qi sheathed his blade and sat down. "Let's eat! When we're done, we'll go and flatten Evil Ridge!"