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The Thrush Chapter 11

CSI

New Theory of the Way of the Sword

Tu Gouweng, husband and wife had left, but the red lantern was still hanging over there. The fog had shrouded the top of the mountain. Under the illumination of the red lantern, the thick milky white fog looked like it had a splash of blood on it.

But all around there was still boundless darkness, still the same as when Chu Liuxiang and the others came. Hu Tiehua gazed into the distance, as if trying to find out those husband and wife, two people’s whereabouts.

However, this pair of bizarre husband and wife has disappeared like the wind. From now on, Hu Tiehua may never see them, may never hear any news about them – again.

Finally Hu Tiehua turned around and laughed at Chu Liuxiang, saying, “I knew you would let them go, and my guess was not wrong.”

Chu Liuxiang spoke leisurely, “If you were me, would you kill him?”

Hu Tiehua laughed and said, “Of course I won’t, I will never kill a man who is under his wife’s thumb, because most people who are afraid of their wives are not bad people.”

“Why?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

Hu Tiehua said, “A man, if toward his own wife he is afraid, how can he have the guts to do other bad things?”

He patted Chu Liuxiang on the shoulder and said with a laugh, “When you let that Tu Gouweng go, did you see his face? I did. I practically have never seen a face more unsightly than his face at that time. It seems that he really would rather be killed by you than go back with his wife. When he goes back, I practically cannot imagine what kind of blame he will suffer.”

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “You think he is suffering, but he may think it is some kind of enjoyment.”

“Enjoyment?” Hu Tiehua screamed, he said, “Kneeling on the abacus, wearing the chamber pot on top of his head, can that be regarded as enjoyment?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Why can’t it be regarded as enjoyment? Would Du Yupo want you to put on a chamber pot?”

Hu Tiehua cried out, “Of course not.”

“Exactly,” Chu Liuxiang said, “Du Yupo will never ask you to put on the chamber pot, just because she doesn’t like you.”

Hu Tiehua said, “So, she wants Tu Gouweng to put on the chamber pot, because she likes him?”

Chu Liuxiang spoke seriously, “That’s right, this is called the deeper the love, the deeper the blame.”

Hu Tiehua grabbed his head and groaned, saying, “If every woman loves like her, I might as well be a [Buddhist] monk.”

Chu Liuxiang sighed, “This is because you practically don’t understand the feeling between them, husband and wife.”

“Do you?” Hu Tiehua asked.

Chu Liuxiang said, “You think Tu Gouweng is really afraid of Du Yupo?”

“Of course,” Hu Tiehua replied.

Chu Liuxiang said, “Then let me ask you, why is he afraid of her? Could it be that you cannot see that Tu Gouweng’s martial art skill is much higher than Du Yupo’s?”

Hu Tiehua stared blankly. He muttered, “Right! Although Du Yupo’s shenfa is weird, Tu Gouweng’s inner power is deeper, if the two fight, Du Yupo is definitely not Tu Gouweng’s match, why is Tu Gouweng afraid of her then?”

“Let me tell you,” Chu Liuxiang said, “This is because Tu Gouweng also loves his wife very much. If a man doesn’t love his wife, he definitely will not be afraid of her. This is called feeling intimidated because of love.”

Shaking his head, Hu Tiehua said, “It doesn’t make sense, it just doesn’t make sense. Your logic practically does not make any sense.”

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “After you get married and have a wife, you will know whether my logic makes sense or not.”

The two had just been thru fire and water, they almost reached the end in other people’s hands. Although Chu Liuxiang used his wit to achieve victory this time, but the future was still full of difficulties and dangers.

Since Li Yuhan, husband and wife could find such martial art masters like Shuai Yifan and Tu Gouweng to deal with Chu Liuxiang, they could also find more formidable ones.

Although Chu Liuxiang was able to beat back Shuai Yifan and Tu Gouweng, husband and wife, one person’s energy was, after all, limited, how many more victorious battles could he fight? Not to mention that Su Rongrong, Li Hongxiu, Song Tian’er and Hei Zhenzhu were still within the other side’s grasp. It was like one’s throat was already strangled by the other side.

This simply made Chu Liuxiang’s qi could not flow freely.

In this kind of difficult and dangerous situation, the two discussed the issue of ‘being under one’s wife’s thumb’, if others heard it, they must think there was something wrong with them.

Actually, it was precisely because they knew that there would be many difficulties and dangers in the future that they tried to relax their nerves at this moment so that they could deal with even bigger crises.

If a person’s nerves were tense, it was like a stretched-taut string of a qin [musical instrument], if anybody touched it lightly, it would snap.

After another half a day, Hu Tiehua suddenly laughed again and said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Du Yubo twisted Tu Gouweng’s ears and even dragged his feet on the ground, but I really don’t think that she would take Tu Gouweng away inside her fishing net.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “That’s why Tu Gouweng himself said, once ‘disregarding law and natural morality’ entered the ‘heaven net, earth snare’, he could forget about getting away for the rest of his life.”

Shaking his head, Hu Tiehua said with a laugh, “In any case, they are really very strange husband and wife, but also really interesting.”

Heaving a sigh, Chu Liuxiang spoke heavily. “But in my opinion, Li Yuhan and Liu Wumei, that pair of husband and wife, are much more interesting than them.”

Deep halls, one after another.

Layer upon layer of bamboo, getting heavier and heavier, isolating all the ten zhang of red dust [the world of mortals (Buddhism)] on the outside, while hiding all the autumn rhythms filling the mountains deep inside the hall.

There were swallows circling around the beam among the bamboos. In the past, there was Wang Xietang of the Former Yan [of the Sixteen Kingdoms (337-370); same ‘yan’ character as in ‘swallow’], could it be that today they fly to this courtyard house? The three-legged goblet on the desk, could it be that it was an old relic of Jin Gu [lit. golden valley]? A beam of the morning sun, flower shade filling the ground, and the chirping of birds outside the hall made the hall exceptionally tranquil, three to five boys with loose hair were waiting to welcome the guests.

And Hu Tiehua and Chu Liuxiang were precisely the guests.

With smile across their faces, Li Yuhan and Liu Wumei greeted the guests with raised clasped hands.

Liu Wumei said, “We were walking and walking, and suddenly we couldn’t see you. In the dead of the night, we looked for you but could not find you, we were really anxious.”

Li Yuhan said, “Xiaodi was just thinking of sending people to look for the two gentlemen, who would have thought two gentlemen are already here. We are really happy.”

Surprisingly these two people were still able to act like this, Hu Tiehua was so angry that his belly nearly burst, but Chu Liuxiang’s voice and expression were unmoving, he smiled slightly and said, “Xiaodi coveted to see the scenery of the mountains and were lost, never thought that we made the virtuous husband and wife to be so anxious.”

Li Yuhan laughed and said, “Moonlit night on Huqiu indeed has its special appeal, but were it not for people of refined temperament like Chu Xiong and Hu Xiong, I am afraid you would not be able to appreciate.”

Hu Tiehua could not help saying, “Actually, we were not appreciating any appeal, we were sleeping soundly on Huqiu and were having a few very interesting dreams.”

Liu Wumei spoke sweetly, “Turns out Hu Xiong was dreaming on Huqiu, it must be more interesting.”

Hu Tiehua said, “Actually, the dream I had wasn’t really interesting, it was just that a few people wanted to kill us, the only interesting thing was it was you who called on these people.”

Liu Wumei laughed and said, “Oh! That’s really interesting. Only too bad we did not have such a dream. Otherwise, we all met in a dream together, won’t that be more interesting?”

By this time, they had entered the four or five layers of bamboo, the boys in dark green clothes and loose hair rolled up the bamboo and put it back down again, thereupon they were farther away from the red dust.

Hu Tiehua kept rolling his eyes, as if he wanted to say something, but Li Yuhan already laughed and said, “The people that two gentlemen want to see, you will see them soon.”

Hu Tiehua cast a glance at Chu Liuxiang, he no longer uttered a single word, no matter what, they had no choice but to see Su Rongrong and the others first and talk later.

Although outwardly Chu Liuxiang was still smiling, inevitably inwardly he was somewhat tense.

They saw the boys in dark green rolled up the bamboo ahead again, bursts of faint sandalwood incense wafted out along with the rolled-up bamboo.

Amidst the curling smoke, an old and grey-haired man was sitting quietly on the far side.

His clear-high-mountain face appeared to be very wan and sallow, very tired, his eyes were indescribably dull, he seemed to be almost completely without any vitality.

His whole person seemed to have only a shell of his body remained, with no soul, and no interest in life. He was alive, but was just waiting to die.

However, in front of him, there was a dazzling sword.

The sword blade was deep green jade, like a vast and deep limpid autumn water. Although the scabbard next to it was inlaid full of precious gems, but under the illumination of the sword light, it completely lost its color.

The old man was just staring blankly at the sword, without moving at all. The brilliance of his life seemed to only be able to continue by relying on this sword.

Could this be Li Guanyu, the number one swordsman in the world who, when he was young, crisscrossed the wind and the cloud? Unconsciously Chu Liuxiang and Hu Tiehua were taken aback, feeling both surprise and grief in their hearts – such a strong person, unexpectedly his life was so fragile.

In that case, wouldn’t life itself be a tragedy?

What alarmed Chu Liuxiang the most was naturally that Su Rongrong and the others were not here. He could not help wanting to ask, but Li Yuhan, husband and wife had already stepped forward.

The two people bowed and saluted together, and Li Yuhan said, “Child has two friends who made light of traveling a thousand li in order to see you, Senior, hence Child brought them here.”

The old man did not look up, so much so that his eyes were not even moving.

Li Yuhan said, “These two friends of Child’s, you, the Senior had often mentioned. This gentleman is world-famous Chu Xiang Shuai, and this gentleman is the equally- famous with Chu Xiang Shuai, Hua Hudie [Butterfly].”

It was only then did the old man look up to cast a glance, but his eyes were still confused and blank, it was unclear whether he understood what Li Yuhan was saying.

Chu Liuxiang and Hu Tiehua sighed in sadness, not knowing what to say.

Li Yuhan then turned around and said with an apologetic smile, “My father has been somewhat deaf in recent years, I hope the two gentlemen will forgive us for his inadequacy.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “We don’t dare.”

Hu Tiehua immediately caught on, “Wanbei [younger generation/junior] do not dare to disturb Qianbei anymore, please excuse us!”

Although they were eager to see Su Rongrong, eager to pull Li Yuhan, husband and wife aside to ask what was going on, they could not bear to act rudely in front of this aging man. Respecting the old and the virtuous was precisely the rule of chivalry in Jianghu. This kind of rule Chu Liuxiang definitely would not violate.

The old man’s lips suddenly moved, as if he wanted to say something, but he could not make a sound, the muscles on his face seemed to be numb.

“My father is lonely all the year round, it is rare that anyone would come to visit. Since the two gentlemen have come, yet unwilling to sit for a moment longer, so my father expressed his regret.”

Chu Liuxiang and Hu Tiehua looked at each other, they could only sit down.

Although they had the courage to fight a powerful army of ten thousand men, the guts to laugh proudly in front of kings and marquis [or aristocracy], but in front of this approaching-sunset, about-to-die old man, they could only bow their heads and obey orders.

Li Yuhan broke out in laughter, he said, “Two gentlemen are so kindhearted, my father must be very grateful.”

The old man’s mouth was moving again, and his expression seemed to be a little sad and a little anxious.

Knitting his brows, Li Yuhan said, “I wonder if my father has anything to say to the two gentlemen …” As he spoke, he walked over to the old man and leaned toward the old man’s mouth.

Chu Liuxiang could neither hear the old man’s voice nor see the old man’s mouth, he could only see Li Yuhan nodding his head incessantly, repeatedly saying, “Yes … yes … Child understands.”

When he turned around, his face was full of grief, but he forced a smile and said, “For many years, my father has only one wish left unfulfilled. Today, two gentlemen happened to come here, precisely with the ability to fulfill this wish of my father, the only thing to see is whether the two gentlemen are willing to undertake the task to help?”

Chu Liuxiang calmed down, he smiled and said, “I wonder what is Qianbei’s unfulfilled cherished desire? If Wanbei can serve, we will not dare to disobey the order.”

Greatly delighted, Li Yuhan said, “Since that’s the case, let Xiaodi thanked two gentlemen on behalf of my father first.”

Hu Tiehua could not help saying, “But it still depends on what Qianbei’s wish is? Whether we are capable to serve?”

Li Yuhan chuckled, he said, “Naturally Xiaodi understand this argument.”

Hu Tiehua also laughed aloud and said, “Naturally I know that Qianbei will never force someone to do something.”

Li Yuhan appeared to completely miss his implication, he spoke slowly, “My father made his name with swords, he also regards the sword as his life. As long as it has something to do with the sword, he, the Senior, is very interested. Therefore, he, the Senior, not only attempted to research and study all the famous swordsmen from ancient times to the present, but also carefully researched those famous swordsmen’s origin and history, as well as all the important battles of their lives.”

Chu Liuxiang cast a glance at the old man, he mused inwardly, “Others only know the ten years of life of strenuous studies, grinding one’s way through an ink stone, winning top marks in the imperial examinations – is not easy to come by, but they don’t know that if a swordsman wants to make his name, the effort is probably ten times more difficult. Moreover, they not only have to sacrifice scholarly honor, riches and honor, but also endure the loneliness that others seem not able to endure, but what do they get? Just an empty name in Jianghu for several decades, that’s all.”

Li Yuhan already spoke, “My father has worked hard for decades, although admittedly he gained great improvements in term of sword technique, he also discovered a few very strange and very interesting things.”

Although originally Hu Tiehua was advancing gradually and entrenching himself at every step, this moment, as he heard that, he was fascinated and could not help asking, “What thing?”

Li Yuhan said, “My father found out that the most famous sets of sword technique were not the most ingenious sets of sword technique. This is what he, the Senior considers to be the strangest thing.”

Knitting his brows, Hu Tiehua said, “This … I still don’t quite understand what it means.”

Li Yuhan said, “For example, the Mo Jiao’s [demonic cult] ‘Wan Miao Wu Fang, She Hun Da Jiu Shi’ [lit. ten-thousand amazing without-direction, intimidating-soul great nine styles], there is a move with endless changes, unexpectedly it could develop into seven hundred and twenty-nine moves. Speaking about the strange and swiftly moving moves, the style is wonderful and well-thought-of, indeed far superior to the Wudang Pai’s ‘Liang Yi Jian Fa’ [two poles (heaven and earth / yin and yang) sword technique].”

Hu Tiehua said, “That’s right, I have also heard how formidable this Mo Jiao’s secret sword. It is said that until today, there is no one person in the world who can take his seven hundred and twenty-nine moves.”

Li Yuhan said, “Forget about taking all seven hundred and twenty-nine moves, even taking their first seven moves, very few people are capable of doing that, yet for hundreds of years, people in Jianghu only know that Wudang’s ‘Liang Yi Jian Fa’ is unparalleled in the world, nothing can compare with it. While the ‘Wan Miao Wu Fang, She Hun Da Jiu Shi’, even its name, very few people know.”

Muttering to himself irresolutely, Hu Tiehua said, “This may be because the people in Jianghu who have seen this set of sword technique are really not many.”

Li Yuhan said, “Although the number of people who have seen this sword technique is not many, how many have seen the ‘Liang Yi Jian Fa’? Wudang has always been the strictest in disciple selection process, in the past, at its peak, there were no more than eighty-one Wudang disciples, moreover, out of these eighty-one Wudang disciples, not everyone trained the ‘Liang Yi Jian Fa’.”

“That’s right,” Hu Tiehua said, “I also know that this ‘Liang Yi Jian Fa’ must be taught by personally by Zhang Jiao Zhenren [lit. head/chief teaching real person (title of respect for Taoist priest)], therefore, Wudang disciples that can really obtain the handed-down teaching of the ‘Liang Yi Jian Fa’ are at most only three or four out of ten.”

Li Yuhan said, “But Mo Jiao has always been good at opening their door wide, plus as soon as entering the school, they can train sword. Wudang school’s disciples seldom comes out of the mountain, while Mo Jiao’s disciples are running wild in Jianghu. Therefore, no matter how you say it, the number of people who have seen the ‘Wan Miao Wu Fang, She Hun Da Jiu Shi’ should be at least several times higher than those who have seen the ‘Liang Yi Jian Fa’. Yet the ‘Wan Miao Wu Fang, She Hun Da Jiu Shi’ is not as famous as the ‘Liang Yi Jian Fa’. Why is that?”

Hu Tiehua could not help stroking his nose again, he muttered, “This is indeed a strange thing.”

Li Yuhan chuckled and said, “This is indeed a strange thing, but my father has also figured it out.”

Hu Tiehua suddenly said loudly, “I understand it too.”

Li Yuhan said, “Please advise.”

Hu Tiehua said: “Because this ‘Wan Miao Wu Fang, She Hun Da Jiu Shi’, the sword is too strange, mysterious and exquisite, so among those who learn it, very few can master it. They have not yet mastered the sword technique, yet they were running wild in Jianghu, inevitably they would run into walls everywhere, therefore, others think that their sword technique is not brilliant at all.”

Li Yuhan smiled and said, “Although that makes sense, but it is not the main reason.”

Hu Tiehua said, “Oh! Then what is the main reason?”

Li Yuhan said, “Just because the sword is dead, but the person is alive. Those who use the sword simply must be able to apply the sword technique, only then can they display the exquisiteness of the sword technique.”

Hu Tiehua said, “Isn’t that what I just said?”

Chu Liuxiang suddenly laughed and said, “It’s not that the sword technique of Mo Jiao’s disciples is not exquisite, rather, their minds are not right, their conduct too heretical. Therefore, when fighting, they cannot be in the right and self-confidence [idiom]. Therefore, even if their sword technique is higher than others’, inevitably they will suffer defeat. ‘The heretic cannot defeat the upright’, this is the principle that is not easy to do for all eternity.”

He turned to Liu Wumei with a smile, and said, “Virtuous husband and wife, do you think that what Zaixia said makes sense?”

Liu Wumei lightly coughed twice, she laughed and said, “That’s right, two people fighting, the one with higher martial art skill may not necessarily win. As long as a person has the confidence to win, even if his martial art skill is lacking, oftentimes he would be able to use the weak to defeat the strong [idiom].”

Chu Liuxiang’s eyes shone, he fixed his gaze on her and spoke, word by word, “But a person can only have the confidence to win when he knows what he is doing is right, right?”

Liu Wumei was silent for half a day, she laughed sweetly and said, “Naturally you, Xiang Shuai understand this logic the most, because I have already heard that Chu Xiang Shuai triumphs in every battle, no matter how strong the opponent is, you still have undefeated confidence.”

Chu Liuxiang spoke heavily, “That is because Zaixia have the confidence of what I have done, that I have never done anything to wrong people. Otherwise, no matter how high Zaixia’s martial arts skill is, I would have died I don’t know how many times.”

Before Liu Wumei could speak, Li Yuhan hurriedly laughed and said, “In the famous battles of Wulin for hundreds of years, there were many people using the weak to defeat the strong. This is exactly the other thing that my father thought is very strange. For example, in the past, the Jiaozhu [Cult Leader] of Mo Jiao Dugu Can and the great hero of the Central Plains Tie Zhongtang fought a decisive battle on the summit of Yandang mountains [southeast Zhejiang]. Before the battle, everyone in Jianghu thought that Tie Zhongtang, who was under 30 years old at that time, definitely did not have Dugu Can’s profound power, the Tie Xue Da Fu Men’s [lit. iron blood great belly school] martial arts were not as good as the Mo Jiao’s strange and exquisite martial arts, therefore, everybody in Jianghu favored Dugu Can to win, so much so that some people even put ten-to-one bet that he would win within 800 moves.”

Hu Tiehua said, “I have heard of this too.”

Li Yuhan said, “Who would have thought that the two fought decisively for three days and three nights, and even though Tie Daxia [Iron Hero] had been wounded in thirteen places and the clothes on his entire body were soaked with blood, using the Xiao Tian Xing [little celestial star] palm power he shocked and broke Dugu Can’s heart meridian. Even at death’s door, Dugu Can still could not believe that he would suffer defeat.”

Hearing that, Hu Tiehua was radiant with delight, clapping his hands, he said, “This Tie Zhongtang, Tie Daxia could be considered a good man, someday if I have the chance to see him and drink with him for three days and three nights, I cannot consider living an empty life.”

Li Yuhan said, “But what my father considers the strangest thing is that in Wulin, since ancient times, there is no one sword formation that can be considered triumphing in every battle.”

Hu Tiehua said, “Sword formation?”

“That’s right,” Li Yuhan said, “Sword formation. Quanzhen Sect’s ‘Beidou Qi Zhen Zhen’ [Big Dipper Seven True Formation], Wudang Mountain’s ‘Bagua Jian Zhen’ [Eight-Trigram Sword Formation], although their names have stirred Jianghu for a long time, but encountering real martial art masters, they seem to become useless.”

“That’s right,” Hu Tiehua said, “Until today, I haven’t heard of a martial art master who has been trapped dead in a sword formation.”

Li Yuhan said, “Jianghu’s martial art masters died under Wudang’s swordsmen are not a few at all, but no one died in the ‘Bagua Jian Zhen’, could it be that Hu Xiong did not feel a little strange about this?”

Hu Tiehua said, “Listening to you, I also feel a little strange. ‘Bagua Jian Zhen’ must have at least eight people joining hands, and they must undergo a long training, so when they make their move, the coordination must be very ingenious. It is reasonable to say that using this ‘Bagua Jian Zhen’ to meet the enemy will definitely be much more effective than fighting against people alone.”

Li Yuhan said, “However, when this ‘Bagua Jian Zhen’ faced martial at masters, it clearly became ineffective. There is no sword formation that is absolutely effective in Wulin. Why is that?”

Muttering to himself irresolutely, Hu Tiehua said, “This may be because no matter what kind of sword formation, there are inevitably flaws and loopholes.”

Li Yuhan said, “Even if there are flaws and loopholes in the sword formation, but everywhere under the heavens, no matter what kind of sword technique, inevitably there are flaws and loopholes. When everyone joins hands in sword formation, why is it not as effective as the sword technique used by one person?”

Hu Tiehua could not help stroking his nose again, he said, “Could it be that lingzun [your esteemed father] has also figure out the reason for this?”

Li Yuhan chuckled, he said, “The reason is that although the ‘Bagua Jian Zhen’ is wonderful, Wudang Pai could not find eight martial art masters with equal martial art skill. Although this sword formation is formidable, if the skill of the person who executes it is not enough, once they encounter a martial art master, it will inevitably be utter defeat. For example, even if Xiaodi can master a set of peerless sword technique, if I encounter such a martial art master expert in inner power like Chu Xiong, I will still be undoubtedly defeated.”

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