The righteous scholar travelled the perilous peak.
The dark steel blade glimmered as it caught the sunlight. The young man feigned a thrust the sword at the left shoulder of his middle-aged opponent, then he struck at the man’s right shoulder. The man parried. The swords clashed loudly and hummed audibly as the blades vibrated from the force of the impact. The swords flashed again and three rapid moves were exchanged even before the hum faded.
The older man suddenly swung his sword downwards. The young man side stepped to the right to dodge the strike, and guided his opponent’s blade with his left hand. The tip of the sword nearly pierced the thigh of the older swordsman, but he instinctively shifted his legs and retaliated immediately.
Two persons sat on the eastern boundary of the practice ring. A Daoist nun about forty years old sat ashen-faced with her lips tightly sealed. An old man in his fifties sat six paces from her. He stroked his beard, seemingly pleased with what he saw. Around twenty disciples stood behind each of them. The western boundary was lined by ten over guests. The attention of the spectators was focused on the duellists in the practice ring.
Seventy exchanges have been dealt. The moves became faster and closer to hitting the target with each exchange, but the victor had yet to be determined.
The older man suddenly misjudged the force of his strike and appeared to lose his balance. The scene was so comical that a boy chuckled. He then quickly stifled his laugh with a hand over his mouth as he realised that it was improper for him to do so.
The younger duellist struck with his palm at his opponent’s exposed back. The older man stepped forward and avoided the attack. His sword suddenly swung in a circle and he shouted, “Strike!”
The sword struck the young man’s left leg, making him stagger. He stabbed his sword into the ground and steadied himself to continue the duel. However, his opponent had sheathed his sword and smiled, “Zhu shidi1师弟 – Male junior. Both of them were under different masters but were from the same martial arts school. Shi (师) means teacher. Di (弟) means younger brother., thanks for going easy on me2This phrase expresses humility in victory and is a sign of respect to the opponent. The victor claims to have won not because he is the better but because his opponent allowed him to. This can be used to indirectly mock the opponent, especially if it is obvious that the victor’s skills is far superior.. Are you badly hurt?”
The younger man’s face turned pale upon hearing those words. He bit his lower lips and replied, “Thank you for being merciful3This is to acknowledge that the opponent did not use his full strength and spared him from being more grievously hurt, Gong shixiong4师兄 – Male senior. Both of them were under different masters but were from the same martial arts school. Shi (师) means teacher. Xiong (兄) means older brother..”
“The Eastern sect has won three matches. It appears that Jianhu Palace5剑湖宫 – Name of a place. Jianhu (剑湖) literally means Sword Lake. Sword refers to the residence being a place to learn swordsmanship. Lake refers to the presence of a lake near the palace. will house the Eastern sect for another five years. Xin shimei6师妹 – Female junior. Shi (师) means teacher. Mei (妹) means younger sister., do we still need to continue the contest?” The bearded man smiled, clearly delighted at how things have proceeded.
The nun barely suppressed her anger. “Zuo shixiong has indeed nurtured capable disciples. But I wonder if Zuo shixiong has learnt anything from the Wuliang Cliff7无量玉壁 – The actual name is Wuliang Yu Bi. Wuliang means infinite or limitless. It is the name of the mountain where the palace is built. Yu literally means jade and Bi means cliff. When combined, the compound word means a beautiful cliff. So a proper translation would be the Beautiful Cliff of Wuliang. I have chosen to simply call it Wuliang Cliff.?”