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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

147 The Intercepted Kill

 "You did nothing wrong?" Wu Jing asked exasperatedly. As the President of the Commandment Yard, it was his first time seeing a disciple showing no remorse after doing something wrong.

"Amitabha, forgive my sins." Kong Jian's hand that was turning his Buddha beads paused momentarily.

Xuan Bei looked at Meng Qi in alarm and opened his mouth but he did not know what to say. Once those words left Meng Qi's mouth, there was no turning back.

Was that how Meng Qi really felt or did he just not want his Master to lose the chance to practice in the stupa?

What a silly child!

There was a mixture of disappointment and gratification in Xuan Bei's eyes.

Meng Qi straightened his neck and answered fearlessly, "Does President not understand the obligation of eradicating evil? The only way to stop the cycle of vengeance is to rid of the problem from the roots and end any chance of more sinful murders.

"If villains are just taught a lesson and shown mercy, then it invites the possibility of more innocent people getting hurt. Isn't that more sinful? It's far more effective to kill the villains to protect the innocent and destroy evil, leaving no chance for its revival.

"Shaolin is a sect of Zen Buddhism. Buddhists never seek for anything and their nature is self-sufficient. Our Siddhartha Gautama is the enlightened, a mentor. He should not be some wooden sculpture sitting atop of some hall expecting offerings. And you had forgotten his nature. You just burned incense to worship him, attended on him day and night, and even regarded him as a deity to fall down in adoration. You had lost your original intention.

"The way of Zen is to seek the path of Buddha in the heart. Everyone has Buddhist nature. As long as one isn't blinded by the four major counterfeits, one can be Buddha. Then why do you still stop the killing and be merciful, accumulate karma points, and strive to be a Bodhisattva?"

"Fake! Unorthodox!"

He simply said whatever that would enrage Wu Jing, regardless if his words made any sense or in accordance with his feelings.

"You evil spawn! What twisted logic are you sprouting?" Wu Jing snapped.

As someone who had studied Sutras all his life, Wu Jing naturally knew how to refute Meng Qi's claims. But as President of the Commandment Hall and a senior by two generations, he felt it was beneath him to argue with an unrepentant disciple!

He turned to look at Xuan Bei. "What more do you have to say?"

Xuan Bei gave Meng Qi a regretful look and put his palms together. "Amitabha. I've failed in educating my disciple. I only beg Uncle Master to allow me to personally eradicate Zhen Ding's kungfu and send him to the nearby city."

Meng Qi lowered his head, feeling sad. He had disappointed Master...

Throughout the heated argument, Zhen Hui was kneeling and feeling guilty and penitent. He had no qualms about his own punishment. However, he could no longer hold back his feelings when he saw Master pressed his hand on Meng Qi's Dantian and rays of golden light flashed. He cried, "Senior Brother!"

He was still a child after all.

Meng Qi's Dantian did not hurt, as if he was submerged in warm water. It was vastly different from how it felt when he fought with An Guoxie. What he could unmistakably feel was his kungfu quickly dissipating.

Upon hearing Zhen Hui's cry, he turned around and forced a smile. "Junior Brother, don't despair. Focus on your training so you won't be too far behind me when we meet again. Haha, by then, you'd probably be a generational high-monk."

Zhen Hui was not an idiot. He knew Meng Qi had reached the point of no return. With teary eyes, he said, "Senior Brother, you have to take good care of yourself!"

"I'll become a generational swordsman." Meng Qi tried concealing his sorrow with a smile.

Afterwards, under Xuan Bei's instruction, Meng Qi had made the Soul-pledging Oath. "From here on out, I swear to never reveal the secrets of Shaolin Kung Fu to anyone." If he refused to make the oath, he would be locked up at the bottom of the stupa tower and not see daylight for decades.

Xuan Bei pulled Meng Qi up and turned to Kong Jian. "Grand Uncle Master, I'll escort Zhen Ding to Wu Liang to avoid the Crying Elder and his crew from hunting him down."

Kong Jian stopped turning the Prayer Beads in his hands and let out a sigh. "Zhen Ding, Teachings of Buddhism is neither exclusively for good or bad people. If you understand this and eliminate your desire to kill, you can still become Buddha someday. Shaolin will always be open its doors to you."

Even those who had committed unspeakable evil in the past could repent and become monks. Shaolin would naturally not forsake its own disciples. Of course, as the Heaven-connecting kungfu group, they had their ways of verifying their penitence.

Meng Qi nodded without saying anything. He allowed Xuan Bei to drag him away, disappearing from their view.

Zhen Hui bit his lip, watching the sky outside blankly as if he was still hoping for his Senior Brother's return.

...

Wu Liang City was the crossroads of both land and waterways.

As the Golden Lotus gradually disappeared, Meng Qi realized he was at the docks. The surrounding boat trackers were sweating profusely as many travelers headed down south.

Xuan Bei stood silently before Meng Qi. After a long while, he finally sighed. "Go to Luo Yang. Whatever your faults, the Su family will still take you in."

"The Su family?" Meng Qi was a little taken aback. Could his family name be Su before he became a monk?

Xuan Bei did not elaborate. After all, Meng Qi was already a teenager when he entered the temple. There was no way he would not remember his family. He looked deeply at Meng Qi again and added affectionately, "Once we part, I won't be able to look out for you anymore. Take good care of yourself."

"Yes, Master." Meng Qi forced back his tears and suppressed his heartache. For the first time, he performed such a sincere disciple's bow.

Xuan Bei took in a breath. He was about to say something but still, no words came. He sighed and turned to leave.

Golden Lotuses sprang up from under his feet and carried him. He disappeared into the sky and the people around were none the wiser.

Staring in the direction in which Master had disappeared, Meng Qi stood there silently for a moment. He exhaled and turning toward the boats.

He had once experienced the feeling of his kungfu being eradicated. It did not feel too difficult to bear. After all, he had formed a stronger body after practicing the Golden Bell Shield. He still had his acute senses after opening the Eye Apertures and Ear Apertures. Without his kungfu, those senses were at most just weakened. They would not completely disappear.

Moreover, he would not forget the moves and perforation of his bladesmanship just because his Dantian was destroyed. It was just harder for him to complete some of the transformations.

Even if he met some Jianghu thieves and rascals after money, Meng Qi would not be afraid with his four refined weapons at his disposal.

As for the Su family of Luo Yang, Meng Qi had no intentions of going there. He had no memory nor feelings of nostalgia toward them, so why would he want to cause unnecessary trouble? He just needed to find out some background information about them so they would not be implicated.

However, he was now using his real name. He was also expelled halfway through his puberty, meaning there would be changes to his appearance. In a year later, even the Shaolin monks would not recognize him, let alone some random Su family members.

He made up his mind to head southeast and visit the Sword Washing Pavilion. If by chance Zhiwei was there, he could stay with her until his kungfu recovered. But if she had gone peregrinating, he would go south to find Senior Brother Zhang at the Zhen Wu Sect. The Huanhua Swords Sect was based in Huan Zhou, where it was covered by miasma and surrounded by mountains. With his abated kungfu, it would be difficult for him to travel there.

Not long after, the moneyed Meng Qi found a Junk Ship headed to Hua Zhou. Both the Sword Washing Pavilion and the Zhen Wu Sect were located north and south of Hua Zhou.

He changed into Confucian robes and a silk ribbon scarf, coupled with an ice-sword hanging on his hips, to look like a scholar. He wrapped up his Red Sun Evil Blade, the Bloodthirsty Sword, and the Horse-cutting Blade with a cloth and carried it on his back. As he walked, he attracted many praising eyes with his dapper appearance as a rich child.

Under normal circumstances, he would smugly enjoy these looks of admiration. But now, he dared not lose focus. He was not sure if the Crying Elder had spies planted here. Hence he must get to the Sword Washing Pavilion as soon as possible.

As the Junk Ship moved, Meng Qi stood on the deck and watched. The rolling waves seemed to stretch beyond the horizon with no end in sight, making him feel refreshed and carefree.

As he reminisced his days in Shaolin, thinking about his Master, Junior Brother, Wu Jing who abhorred evils as his foes, the Crying Elder and Ze Luoju, a multitude of feelings surged up. There was sadness, disappointment, regret, hate, and anger. He still wanted to behead those thieves and rascals.

"When I reach the Exterior level, I'll return to the West Regions and properly flatten Evil Ridge!" Meng Qi muttered, clenching his fists.

Meng Qi's robes started rustling as the wind picked up. His underdeveloped body appeared a little thin. His melancholic mood was apparent to onlookers, making it difficult for others to talk to him.

Half a day later, the Junk Ship had docked to wait for cargo. Meng Qi and the other patrons stepped on land to dine in a teahouse nearby.

Meng Qi lifted his teacup and wasted no time to start remembering what he had learned. Whether his bladesmanship or sword art, all came to mind.

Tap, tap, tap. He suddenly heard the sound of galloping horses. As he lifted his head, four beautiful horses were approaching fast and dragging the dust with them.

The four men on horsebacks were burly and tough. They all carried Horseman Sabres with them.

"Horse bandits?" Meng Qi was startled, feeling both hatred and anger. He got up quickly and drew his Ice Palace Sword, as he headed for the docks.

"They actually chased me all the way here?"

Meng Qi's present speed was incomparable to the horses, so the four bandits quickly caught up to him, cornering him near the teahouse.

As there were many tables and chairs around, the bandits got off their horses and approached Meng Qi with their blades.

Not far away, outside the woods, You Huanduo was watching his men on his horse. He smiled at the man next to him. "Thank you for your timely information, Grandmaster Wu. From now on, we'll let you handle our goods."

When it came to other things, he was far beneath the high monks of Shaolin! But no one was his superior when it came to schemes and inflicting harm!

You Huanduo knew he would not be able to hide his intention from Xuan Bei and the others from the very beginning. Thus, he wasted no time using his network, ordered the clans from the West Regions to keep an eye on Meng Qi, and had them convey the information through the white-headed bird.

Unsurprisingly, a river gang found Meng Qi at the Wu Liang docks. So he and his men exhausted two horses to death and finally caught up to Meng Qi.

Grandmaster Wu snickered. "Headkeeper You, you're too modest. Why would you dirty your hands with a little bald ass with ruined kungfu?"

"If the little bald ass hadn't made a blunder, I wouldn't be able to do anything against him. But now I want to see what he can do!" You Huanduo sneered. "Today, I'm going to sacrifice him to my blade!"

He did not make a hasty move himself. He was worried Meng Qi's kungfu had not been completely eradicated and could still summon the Sky Thunder, so he ordered his men to go first.

Four horse bandits besieged the teahouse. One of them loudly shouted, "We're here to seek revenge! Those who aren't related, get out!"

In the Central Plains, the horse bandits dared not go too far.

Another bandit jeered. "Little bald ass, you thought you could kill your way to Evil Bridge with Shaolin's protection. How do you feel now? These clans with stringent commandments are the easiest to manipulate!"

"Little bald ass, I've always had a soft spot for pretty boys like you. If you get on your knees and beg, perhaps I'll spare you." Another bald horse bandit taunted as if Meng Qi was already dead.

The people scattered when they saw the four horse bandits charging at him. Meng Qi started laughing out of spite and subconsciously began utilizing his inner force. However, he could not feel anything and eventually realized his strength was gone.

But Meng Qi was able to sense and see their moves more clearly and thoroughly without his inner force.

Time had seemingly slowed and everything surrounding him had apparently disappeared. His accumulated experiences, the script he had read, all the stories flashed through his mind. He suddenly saw the light!

"Go to hell!" the bandits screamed as they charged at Meng Qi.

Meng Qi drew his sword calmly and made the first attack instead of blocking. His sword moved like a ghost, slicing the four horse bandits and turning their eyes into ammunition!

"Ah!"

The four bandits screamed in unison. They threw their Horseman Sabres away and covered their eyes in pain, blood flowing from between their fingers.

Meng Qi glanced at them before turning his gaze toward the faraway You Huanduo. He pointed at him with his sword.

"You dogs think you can kick me when I'm down? Don't kid yourselves."