The Legend of the Condor Heroes – Chapter 39

“Really?” Guo Jing said.

“I know someone who had accidentally learned the Nine Yin Manual’s excellent martial arts,” Qiu Chuji said, “But later on he realized that he had broken his own promise, he had betrayed something entrusted to him; in the end he strived to forget the skills he had learned. If you really want to follow his example, you must talk to him.”

Guo Jing jumped up immediately. “Right!” he exclaimed, “It’s Zhou Botong, Zhou Dage [big brother Zhou]!” But suddenly he remembered that Zhou Botong was Qiu Chuji’s martial uncle, while he casually called him big brother; he felt he was usurping Qiu Chuji’s seniority by one generation. He could not help but feeling really awkward.

Qiu Chuji simply smiled slightly, he said, “Zhou Shishu [Martial Uncle Zhou] has never had any regard of anybody’s seniority; you can call him whatever you like, I don’t mind a bit.”

“Where is he?” Guo Jing asked.

“I am sure Zhou Shishu will not miss the meeting at Mount Hua,” Qiu Chuji replied.

“Very well,” Guo Jing said, “In that case I will come with Daozhang to Mount Hua.”

Two men traveled together to the nearest town ahead then Guo Jing took out some silvers and bought a steed for Qiu Chuji to ride. They went riding to the west, and in less than one day arrived at the foot of Mount Hua.

This Mount Hua was one of the five mountains called the Western Mountains; people of the ancient time equate these five mountains with five scriptures. They said Mount Hua was like ‘chun qiu’ [spring and autumn period – 770-476 BC], possessed the same lethality as the Wei kingdom. Among the mountains in the world, the ruggedness of Mount Hua was matchless.

Two men arrived at the ‘shan sun ting’ [mountain grass pavilion] at the southern entrance of Mount Hua. Next to this pavilion they saw twelve big dragon rattans, so called because their trunks and branches intertwined each other resembled flying dragons.

Looking at these ancient twelve rattans with their branches rising up to the sky, suddenly the ‘fei long zai tian’ [dragon flies to the sky] came into Guo Jing’s mind. Following the Nine Yin Manual principles, these twelve rattans formed different stances of the dragon postures, creating twelve grand stances where the move might be executed. From being lost in thought, suddenly he woke up with a start, “I was hoping I could forget the martial art I already learned, how I could think about creating a new move to defeat and to kill others? I have fallen too deep, truly I am incorrigible.”

Suddenly Qiu Chuji voice was heard, “Mount Hua is our Taoist holy mountain; these twelve dragon rattans were supposedly planted by ‘chen tuan lao zu’, [ancestor Chen Tuan].

“Chen tuan lao zu?” Guo Jing asked, “Was he the deity who slept for many years without waking up?”

“Chen tuan lao zu was born toward the latter part of the Tang Dynasty,” Qiu Chuji explained, “During the Five Dynasties period: Liang, Tang, Jin, Han, Zhou, every time he heard the kingdom changed ruler, he was always worried and not happy; so he closed his door and refused to come out. Hence the people said he was sleeping for many years. Actually he was just troubled by the world’s anxiety, that the common people always suffered hardships; that’s why he was not willing to go out. Finally he heard ‘Song Dai Zu’ [the great ancestor of Song Dynasty] rose up to the throne; he laughed heartily and in his happiness he fell from the donkey’s back, saying that the world henceforth would be peaceful. Song Dai Zu was kind and had a deep affection toward the common people; his contribution was truly not a few.”

“If Chen tuan lao zu were born today, he would unavoidably close his door and sleep for exhausting years and tiring months,” Guo Jing commented.

Qiu Chuji heaved a deep sigh and said, “Mongolians rule in the north, deliberately will invade the south. It’s a pity the Song Dynasty’s princes and ministers are muddle-headed idiots; they have eyes but cannot see the problem we are facing. But we are real men, although we realize we are helpless, still we need to fight. Even though Chen tuan lao zu was an honorable person, he hid himself whenever the world was in trouble; that was a bad example of chivalry.”

Guo Jing silently agreed.

Two men had to leave their steeds at the foot of the mountain. They continued on foot; slowly climbing through the ‘tao hua ping’ [peach blossom plain], crossing the ‘xi yi xia’ [lit. rare barbarian box, I don’t know what it is], climbing ‘sha meng ping’ [grassy dream plain]. The further they went, the more dangerous the terrain became. After reaching ‘xi xuan men’ [western mysterious gate] they had to ascend holding on to an iron chain. Utilizing their lightness kungfu, two men climbed up rapidly. After about seven ‘li’s, they reached the ‘qing ping’ [green plain]. Beyond this plain they saw a row of rocks that looked like they were truncated. Toward the north of this wall there was a big rock blocking the pathway.

“This rock is called ‘hui xin shi’ [lit. turn-around heart stone],” Qiu Chuji said, “Beyond this stone the pathway is getting more rugged and dangerous than ever. Casual travelers are advised to turn back here.”

In the distant they saw a small stone pavilion. “That is the ‘du qi ting’ [gambling chess pavilion],” Qiu Chuji explained, “Legend has it that the Song Emperor, Song Dai Zu made a bet playing chess with Mister Xi Yi [the same ‘xi yi’ as in the paragraph above]. The Mount Hua was the stake. The Emperor lost, and ever since the Mount Hua territory is exempt from paying tribute.”

Guo Jing said, “Genghis Khan, the Khoresm King, the Great Jin Emperor, the Great Song Emperor; seemed like they are all gambling with this world as the stake.”

Qiu Chuji nodded. “Absolutely,” he said, “Jing’er, looks to me like you have done a lot of thinking lately. I can see the difference; you are no longer your muddle-headed-dumb-kid previous self.” Then he continued, “These emperors and generals view the world as their gambling stake; if they lose, not only they will lose the ‘jiang shan’ [lit. river and mountain – country/homeland], they will also lose their lives, as well as making the world a living hell for common people.”

Crossing the ‘qian chi xia’ [thousand-foot gorge], the ‘bai chi xia’ [hundred-foot gorge], they had to walk sideways. Guo Jing thought, “It will be very difficult to ward off if suddenly an enemy attack in this place.” He was just having this thought when suddenly someone shouted from ahead of them, “Qiu Chuji, we spared your life at the Misty Rain Tavern [yan yu lou]; what are you doing climbing Mount Hua?”

Qiu Chuji hastily rushed ahead several steps until he reached a small cavity on the side of the cliff before he raised his head to see Sha Tongtian, Peng Lianhu, Lingzhi Shangren [lit. upper/above man, a respectful term to address Buddhist monk], and Hou Tonghai, four people standing at the end of the pathway.

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