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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

219 Telling a Story

 Unhappily, He Mu glanced at Meng Qi and said, "Teacher Su, am I not miserable enough? What's more, you would not understand it even if you read it."

While he was speaking, he extended his right hand to pick up the wooden sword that was on the ground. Slightly frowning, he did not understand why he had lost to his Fifth Senior Brother. He was so obsessed about it that he became gloomy.

"First, I used the 'Sails in the Vast Sea' and Fifth Senior Brother defended with the 'Solitary Sail in the Sea'. While when I used the 'Blue Ocean and Azure Sky', he combatted me with the 'Bright Moon Above the Sea' and hit the back of my hand. He never changed his moves so well or so quickly before..." He Mu wielded the sword while muttering to himself about today's competition.

He did not value Meng Qi's advice, but he was just obsessed about his loss. He wanted to rethink the battle and find his flaws so he could correct them. He wanted to win tomorrow's fight to avoid letting his master down.

Meng Qi rolled up the "Asking Heaven" and gently hit the center of his palm. After He Mu had finished practicing, he said with a smile, "I heard that 'the contest between Martial Clubs' is coming up, so it's reasonable that your Fifth Senior Brother found a master to teach him. You cannot judge him by outdated standards."

"Yes!" He Mu suddenly understood and said, "Fifth Senior Brother's father is a trader who is quite rich, so he must have asked a master to teach him!"

While talking, his lowered his head and was upset. His parents worked so hard day and night, but they only were able to afford his fees to study in a Martial Club. With no more money, how could they afford an expert? And if the fee Club Principal He demanded had been high, he would never have such an opportunity to study Kung fu!

Therefore, he was very grateful to Club Principal He. He did not want to let the Club Principal down and he himself also wanted to get ahead of others and be self-reliant to lighten his parents' burden.

This contest was an opportunity, but he could not see any hope!

Meng Qi said with a teasing smile, "You can ask me. I'm a master, a real master!"

He Mu listlessly looked up at Meng Qi, who was in broad-sleeved robes and looked gentle and somewhat scholarly. He said with a forced smile, "Mr. Su, don't joke with me."

He Mu's impression was that Teacher Su seldom went out and was a true scholar who focused on his study and did everything calmly. Although he seemed a little idle, Teacher Su worked quite hard. Moreover, he would answer He Mu's questions about writing without putting on airs but with a big smile. Teacher Su was easygoing and funny. He liked delicious food and often walked across streets and alleys. Thus, his lifestyle reminded Hu Mu of the verse, "Picking chrysanthemums under the eastern fence, and leisurely seeing Nanshan."

But his difficulty this time was not about knowledge, but about Kung Fu. From Teacher Su's appearance, he guessed that Teacher Su was young and might have only learned the Primary Level of the Six Skills of the Confucious Sect.

"You can try the 'Sails in the Vast Sea' first and then use the 'Bright Moon Above the Sea'," Meng Qi said with a smile.

He Mu was a little confused. "Teacher Su, how can I succeed?"

He's just a bookworm without any Kung Fu. The "Sails in the Vast Sea" is a move that displays forward and takes on the illusion of a sailboat, but the"Bright Moon Above the Sea" is a strike that goes from up to down. How can they be linked?

"Why could you not? When you wave your sword horizontally in the "Sails in the Vast Sea", the last sail image can be big and tall enough to block out the sky and the sun. Thus, the moonlight penetrates this image, directly to the sea." Meng Qi described the link between these two moves in a literal way.

"Big and tall... Block out the sky and the sun... The moonlight penetrates the image..." He Mu had not had much schooling, so it was hard for him to understand those words. But Meng Qi's description was vivid and lively, thus, he got the key points. He held the wooden sword out and thousands of sail shadows competed with one another. The sail shadow became larger and larger, and gradually, it blocked out the sky. Then, the moon showed up and its cold moonlight illuminated the ground.

"It, it works... But, but how can the 'Sails in the Vast Sea' be changed in this way? Master He would beat me..." Club Principal He required his disciples to display every move in accordance with the standard without any mistakes. Thus, He Mu was a little scared at the moment.

Meng Qi said with a smile, "Why can't it be? From the aspect of a story, it's totally reasonable."

"S-story?" He Mu was stunned as he looked at Meng Qi. "What is the relationship between sword art and stories?"

After seeing that there was nobody around, he said with a cunning smile, "I believe that sword art and stories are actually the same. You see, the Sails in the Vast Sea tells the story of a vast sea and numerous shadows of sails. If the shadows of sails are large enough, they could naturally reach the sky and the moon. You needn't rigidly adhere to the original structure of the story."

"This, this is different." He Mu had never heard such a theory before, so it was hard for him to accept the idea.

Putting his hands behind his back, Meng Qi said with a half smile, "Isn't competing against others using sword art the same as telling a story, on most occasions? It also has a beginning, a process, changes, traps, turning points, a climax, and an ending!"

"There are two kinds of people who use sword art to tell stories. One kind tries to prevent the enemy from knowing about the upcoming plots because the story would not be attractive from the point of view of telling a story. For a competition between sword art, that would mean losing. The other kind of people deliberately tell a story close to reality to get the enemy to fully believe it. And then, they change the story at the key points to fool everyone and end the story with a climax. This is a trick and a trap. It's a key skill and an important method used in telling a story and using a sword.

"Well, there is also another kind of person who doesn't set traps or enable his opponents to figure out the upcoming plots, where the enemy can only follow their sword art, unable to evade or break away from them. This is the Transformation of sword art."

Looking at He Mu, who was completely surprised, Meng Qi laughed and said, "Thus, I think that the skills used in telling a story could also be used in the competition of sword art."

"Teacher Su, just don't indulge in fantasies..." He Mu said feebly. It took a while for He Mu to regain his composure.

Meng Qi said with a smile, "What about giving it a try? Tomorrow, you tell your Fifth Senior Brother the story of the Sails in the Vast Sea followed by the Bright Moon Above the Sea, which is a story out of the ordinary and a story that cannot be inferred."

After finishing his words, he left He Mu behind and walked slowly into his own courtyard.

Still in a trance, He Mu remained motionless. After a long while, he finally waved the wooden sword. It was the story of thousands of sails competing with one another- the shadows of the sails blocked out the sky and the moonlight shone brightly.

Although he thought that Teacher Su's sword art and story theory was unreasonable, he was able to judge the changes in movement due to his several years of practice.

The next day-

After practicing, He Mu walked out. He cupped one hand in the other in front of his chest toward a boy in black clothes and said, "Senior Brother, please teach me today like before."

The Senior Brothers and Junior Sisters laughed in their heart. "This dork He is so dedicated. He lost so many times yesterday. He should dare to challenge his Senior Brother again."

He Ye, the Club Principal, gently nodded and praised his courage. But he needed to remind He Mu to understand his own strength to avoid being seriously hurt in the future.

The Fifth Senior Brother chuckled and lifted up his wooden sword. "He Mu, if you lose again, just don't bother me in the future. I have to learn from other Senior Brothers too."

He Mu gave a slight nod. After bowing to his Senior Brother, he waved his long sword horizontally and displayed the Sails in the Vast Sea.

Without hesitation, the Fifth Senior Brother used the Solitary Sail in the Sea, which attempted to hit He Mu from the top down and dodge the sails.

The "single sail" became smaller and smaller and almost disappeared in the sea. Then, it fell on He Mu's abdomen.

He Mu's sails suddenly became so large that they quickly blocked out the sky.

When they flew into the sky, he waved the long sword and suddenly the moonlight penetrated the sails. His attack hit the Fifth Senior Brother's shoulders before his Senior Brother had hit his abdomen.

"Pang!" The hit hurt the Fifth Senior Brother's shoulder, making his wooden sword fly away and fall in front of He Mu.

"You, how can you use the Sails in the Vast Sea in this way?" he said in anger, pointing at He Mu.

With her big eyes opened wide, Qu Tianhe was surprised that the Fifth Senior Brother, who had almost defeated Senior Brother He to the point of tears yesterday, should lose with only one move today.

Some of the disciples of the Martial Club around them had different expressions: some surprised; some puzzled; some laughing at the Fifth Senior Brother's tragedy; and some frowning. "How could the Fifth Senior Brother lose so quickly? Can the Sails in the Vast Sea be used in this way?"

"Win, win, I really did win..." He Mu was not distracted by his Senior Brother's accusation at all, he only thought about his victory. "I really told a different story that was hard to predict and deal with... Teacher Su's words seem to make sense..."

"He Mu, did you figure this out by yourself?" Club Principal He asked without any expression.

He Mu was about to honestly answer him, but he subconsciously changed his idea. "Club Principal Master, I did happen to think of it."

"It's good that you can use sword art in this way. But you're still in the stage of building up the foundation. So it's more important to learn sword art well." He Mu impartially urged him. And then he whispered to himself with his hands behind his back, "The Sails in the Vast Sea could be followed by the Bright Moon Above the Sea in this way..."

The Fifth Senior Brother thought about their fight and was unconvinced. "He Mu, let's compete again!"

He Mu's heartbeat quickened and he was nervous because he only had this one story. If he were to compete again, everyone would know the plot and the ending.

Wait a minute! Everyone does know, but I could change the plot and the ending. They must think that my "Sails in the Vast Sea" would be followed by the "Bright Moon Above the Sea". I could just do it reverse instead to tell an unexpected story!

"Umm, but how can I link them..." He Mu pretended that he was Teacher Su and did not rigidly adhere to the standards. He quickly had an idea and answered in hope, "Okay, Senior Brother, please teach me."

This time, the Fifth Senior Brother attacked first. After two or three moves, He Mu found the chance to display the "Sails in the Vast Sea".

The Fifth Senior Brother snorted in his heart. He used the "Blue Ocean and Azure Sky" instead of the "Solitary Sail in the Sea". Suddenly, the shadow of his sword blocked the moonlight.

The long sword moving up and down could produce shadows of sails, and when the shadows were high enough, they linked with the Bright Moon Above the Sea. When they were low, the shadows became invisible.

Then, He Mu changed his movement when the shadows were about to disappear. He waved his sword upward to the sky and used the move of the "Tide Rising upon an Isolated Peak"!

"Pang!"

Covering his chest and abdomen, the Fifth Senior Brother, whose wooden sword had fallen down again, said out of breath, "You, you... How could you act like this!"

He Mu was very happy. Constraining his happiness, He Mu said, "Senior Brother, please forgive my rudeness."

I could tell my own story!

After the fight, the Fifth Senior Brother did not ask for another fight for he feared that he would totally lose face, while He Mu was focused on practicing and was obsessed with telling stories. He Mu won and lost several times in the battles that he conjured up.

"He Mu, I want you to take part in the contest between Martial Clubs after the New Year." Watching their fights quietly and seeing He Mu's improvement overnight, the Club Principal planned to appoint him as one of the six contestants of the Green Peak Material Club to compete against real masters at the same age as him to challenge his disposition and train his sword art.

He did not count on He Mu for success because the top three disciples had that burden. The other six were just being sent to get some practice.

Surprised, happy, and nervous, He Mu asked, "Me? Club Principal Master, can I, can I win?"

"You will know after you give it a try," said Club Principal He with a smile.

"Once I participate in the contest, I'm likely to be chosen by some sects or aristocratic families. At least, I could be a guard..." He Mu left the Martial Club full of worry and hope. Somehow, he arrived at Meng Qi's door.

"Teacher Su, Teacher Su's 'sword art and story theory' makes sense at some points... Is he, is he a real master?" He Mu still could not believe it. "It must be a coincidence. Umm, Teacher Su has not practiced much, so he is restricted by few disciplines. Thus, he's able to think out of the 'box' and has more flexible ideas." He thought. "Maybe I could talk with him more. There are real connections between telling a story and sword art... He is not proficient at sword art, but he is adept at telling stories!"

As he knocked on the door, He Mu heard the response "come in". Pushing the door open, he saw Teacher Su in loose clothes sitting under a plum tree and heating wine with a red pot. He was holding a book and reading aloud,

"When the earth first came into being, who transmitted the Tao?

"When the heaven and the earth were in chaos, who studied its origin?"

...

Such a scene made He Mu hold his breath. Teacher Su pointed to the seat at his side, so He Mu lightly walked over to it and sat down.

"Trio Combination of Yin and Yang, which is Yin and which is Yang?"

When reading this, Meng Qi turned to He Mu and asked him, "Do you know its meaning?"