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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

272 The River Eas

 When he heard the Dongyang Villa being mentioned, Meng Qi was instantly reminded of the wonderland of thatched cottages that Li Chong once told him about. It was a wonderland for those predestined men. It explained why Old Zhong followed Qiu Fei to the River East and changed Arrester Cai into a zombie. Back then, the latter happened to be investigating near the boat and could eavesdrop on the secrets when he hid inside the cabin.

However, Meng Qi detected something unusual after thinking it over. Turbulence should be happening in Yangxia instead of Maoling in the River East if there was indeed a wonderland of thatched cottages. Could it be that the two had nothing to do with each other? Could Arrester Cai be investigating in the wrong direction all along?

Putting the doubts away, he attacked the servant's vital point and returned to the cabin. He gave his order to Zheng Jushan and Li Chong, saying, "Keep an eye on Qiu Fei."

"Yes," Zheng Jushan answered respectfully. A superior could easily crush his subordinate, and Secret-searching Narks were allowed to report secret information about other arresters.

The next day, Meng Qi practiced his sword and bladesmanship after waking up. He had just relieved his collateral channels when he saw Zheng Jushan entering the yard.

"Green-ribbon Su, Qiu Fei directly boarded the boat to the River East after confirming Old Zhong's escape," Zheng Jushan said through Secret Voice-sending.

Meng Qi was in a daze. "The River East?"

Was everything related to the chaos in Maoling in the River East after all?

"The Qiu family's ship heading to the River East was full of cargo, but we're not sure if Qiu Fei will disembark halfway," Zheng Jushan said, stating his opinion objectively.

Many thoughts crossed Meng Qi's mind as he thought of the people and landscape in the River East. His blood boiled at once. He was itching for a try.

Then he shall go to the River East!

...

The sky was bright in autumn. Meng Qi looked at the vast river and rolling waves tapping the railings. He chanted in a whisper:

"Your sail, a single shadow, becomes one with the blue sky. Till now, I see only the river, on its way to heaven."

The landscape could really wash up one's soul and expand one's will.

A month ago, Meng Qi had failed to find the wonderland of thatched cottages. He had boarded and sailed down the river on Qiu family's ship, not being in a hurry the entire time. Now he had finally entered the border of the River East.

The River East was the collective name of the Jiang Province and the Peng Province. It was located east of the River, also known as River Left (the left taken as the east). It suffered the least damage after the great calamities. The whole city was a legend and the talents there were all widely known. The place was the first choice for young masters when they wanted to travel and challenge themselves.

Taking a few deep breaths along the river, Meng Qi felt refreshed. He returned to the cabin and took out something in his arms. It was a Jianghu Gazette he had taken from the secret station of the Six Fan School when the ship had stopped for replenishment.

The gazette, as its name implied, was a kind of newspaper issued by the headquarters of the Six Fan School. It reported all sorts of important events that had happened to prevent the arresters from becoming ignorant and ill-informed.

It was published bimonthly and written in abstracts. Most articles were related to the Exterior, while the remaining were about Acupores-Enlightening.

Meng Qi skimmed the pages about the Exterior and found nothing that affected him personally. However, he was quite attentive while reading the abstracts about Acupores-Enlightening.

"Jiang Zhiwei, the Fairy of the Extinctive Sword, appeared in Di County. She beat Cui Zhe, the Top Purple Sword and 12th of the Ranking List of Young Masters."

"Jiang Hengchuan, the Astounding, lived in seclusion in Daxing, the Jiang Province. He was longing to reconcile his mood with the Oneness of Heaven and Men."

"Wang Siyuan, the Ledgerkeeper of Lives, was ill for a month. He stayed in his family home in Guangling, the Jiang Province and never left since."

Meng Qi tapped the table and thought about it. Sure enough, the successors of the Derivation Sutra were all born weak, cursed by the heaven. They would all die before becoming Dharmakaya. However, the River East was worthy of its name. He hadn't even finished reading when he found two of the top ten young masters there.

"Yan Chong, the Unstoppable, was found practicing his bladesmanship along the seaside of the Peng Province."

"Liu Su, the Master Lotus, was found drunk outside the Ying City Pavilion."

"He Jiu, the Shapeless Sword, returned from across the sea and landed at Langya, the Peng Province."

"Tie Sheng, the Wolf King, was apparently rapidly moving south and his destination seems to be the River East."

"Qing Yu, the Five Emperors' Knife, went to Maoling on August 19. He has now retreated inside the Yellow Court Temple."

"Xuan Zhen, the Buddhist Heart Palm, went to Shaolin Temple again. He took the boat southeast."

"Ruan Bugui, the Broken-hearted at Distance, sailed out to sea on August 23. He sang sorrowful songs and the fish all approached his boat to listen."

"Wang Zai, the Right-guarding Sword, once again challenged Chu Yunyu, the Moving Stars and Moon, who ranked in the top 20 on the Ranking List of Young Masters. The match ended in a draw."

...

The records were simple and cold, but they stimulated Meng Qi. There was one amazing brilliant young person behind each newsflash, all ranked within top 20 of the Ranking List of Young Masters. They were all people he wanted to challenge.

The flames of fighting burned inside him. He looked out the window and saw how the sunshine reflected on the water surface, shining in golden brilliant beams. It was an enticing sight.

"This is how Jianghu should be like!" Meng Qi closed the gazette. Flexing his fingers, he ignited the paper using genuine Qi.

The flames slowly burned and soon turned the gazette into ashes. He threw the paper just as the fire was about to spread to his hand. The ashes turned into black butterflies that scattered over the river.

With the river glinting in the sun and the buildings looming far away, he was about to arrive in Maoling.

Meng Qi took a deep breath and boarded the deck, heart full of expectations. This time he was dressed in black clothes with a knife and a sword strapped to his back. He would be known as Su Meng, the Killing Blade, from here on and take part in the turbulence in Maoling aboveboard.

When they approached the pier, a tall junk retrograded from downstream and headed for the same place.

On the deck of the junk, a man dressed in white was seated at a chessboard. He was concentrating on the game, seemingly trying to come up with a solution.

He had beautiful, feminine looks. He looked pale and frail. His clothes danced in the wind and seemed about to fall off, giving people a sense of weakness.

The man suddenly coughed violently and he covered his mouth with his hand. The maid beside him patted his back worriedly, trying to help him relieve his discomfort.

His coughing soon stopped and the man put down his hand. With his outstanding eyesight, Meng Qi could naturally see the blood that stained the man's palm.

When Meng Qi looked at him, something intriguing happened. The man in white looked up and caught his eye.

Meng Qi nodded politely. The man in white smiled calmly in response.

The tall junk turned around to enter the pier. It kept Meng Qi's ship behind and cut off their meeting.

Just as Meng Qi was thinking that the man was seriously ill and only elixir and miraculous drugs could save him, he noticed something wrong.

Though Meng Qi couldn't figure out his enemy mentally or check his enemy with genuine Qi from far, he amazingly felt something off about the man. The man in white had behaved quite ordinarily aside from his coughing. There wasn't anything unnatural about him, as if he was no different from an ordinary person. That, however, wasn't the truth.

"Using the Oneness of Heaven and Men constantly?" Meng Qi thought in astonishment. It was in the realm where one could open the Hidden Latch of Life and Death at any time!

He suddenly laughed after a while. This was what it should be like. This was the style of the River East!

Talents were everywhere!

"Well then, I can now challenge with my knife. This is fantastic!" Meng Qi was excited that he could fight so many masters, so much so that he regarded it as a gain even as he lost.

However, who would want to lose?

The ship turned around and sailed to the pier slowly. The Water Gate of Maoling stood not far away. It was like an iron general guarding the city, waiting for a hero to open its gates.

"Was that the Ledgerkeeper of Lives earlier?"

"He also came to Maoling?" Meng Qi murmured.

He wasn't the same blind man he had been, thanks to the information he had received from the Six Fan School.

...

As the sun set, the thatched cottage looked like it was burning.

Dressed like a farmer, a young man in his twenties chopped the firewood, boiled water, and peacefully prepared the dishes. He was patiently enjoying everything.

He looked like an ordinary person with tanned skin, and the only attractive trait about him was his bushy eyebrows. He didn't seem any different from other farmers, but his every move carried a charm to it, a feature that was natural and calm.

With a sudden bang, a dart was stuck into the pillar only two rooms away from the kitchen where this young man stood.

The man smiled and shook his head, not at all upset. He walked to the pillar, took off the dart, and examined its contents.

"Maoling..."

He was half doubting and half sighing.

...

Inside a restaurant, a young childe was drunk.

His appearance was decent, elegant even when he was drunk. Moreover, people could still feel his boldness and disregard. His hair had greyed even at his young age, making him look a little bit worn. He truly seemed like a deposed god.

He took a drink and yet another when he touched a note.

"What's this?" He opened the note with his drowsy eyes.

"Maoling..." he said to himself, and immediately laughed. "How can it compare with the wine?"

He patted the table and chanted:

"The ancient sages were all lonely. Only those who drink were known widely."

...

It was time for the tide to rise at the seaside. Waves flocked to the embankment, sometimes rising rather high.

A young man dressed in black sat by the bank, with a long knife balanced across his knees. He closed his eyes and sat still, ignoring the upcoming waves and tides.

He had a square and ordinary face, giving off a valiant impression.

Waves came in a wall of water several feet high, powerful enough to split the embankment.

The man suddenly opened his eyes. The long knife flew out just then.

The blade was ferocious and seemed to transform into a tall wave itself. Along the shore, a few tall waves rose once again.

Heaven and man must be connected!

Boom!

The two waves crashed into each other, causing a deafening sound of the collision. The aftermath looked like a hurricane.

The long knife flew back and the waves broke apart, causing lots of foam.

The young man returned his knife into its sheath and turned to leave the bank. He walked up to his landlord.

"There's a letter for you." The landlord who had seen the situation earlier appeared scared and pale.

The young man opened the letter and his eyes narrowed.

"Maoling..."

...

Inside a dilapidated temple, a thin but powerful man opened his hand and let a corpse fall to the ground.

"So this is a ranked master from the Central Plains..." he commented in an obscure language. He had a poker face like a cold beast. No emotion could be seen in his eyes.

He bent over and found a leatherlike or paperlike document on the corpse. He tried very hard to read the Great Jin Dynasty's Mandarin.

"Maoling..."

...

On a tall junk, the childe in white stopped coughing. He took out a piece of paper and looked at it, smiling.

"Maoling..."

He told his maid to fetch paper, brush, and ink for him. He grabbed the brush and wrote:

"Su Meng, the Killing Blade, has come to the west. After observing his Qi, he's indeed worthy of his title. There's the Emperor's trace around him. He could be a lackey of the Zhao family or the Six Fan School."

He tore off the paper that contained these two lines and crushed them, molding them into a chess piece.