Words about death and disaster hold uncertain meanings.
Only to see him write those words over and over, in many different ways, his strokes became longer and longer, his arm movement slower and slower, until they began to move with great ease, as if he were practicing martial arts. Zhang CuiShan, fixated on his master’s movements, was amazed and joyous. His master had combined the twenty-four characters into a single, powerful martial arts style.
Filled with pain and frustration, with nowhere to vent, Zhang CuiShan tossed and turned on the bed for over two hours. He then quietly got up, and decided to beat up Du DaJin to vent his frustration. Afraid that his big brother and fourth brother may stop him, Zhang CuiShan stayed extra quiet as he walked through the hallway. As he entered the main hall, he saw a man with both hands behind his back, pacing back and forth continuously.
In the darkness, his eyes gazed upon a tall shadow figure, making heavy footsteps, and realized that it is the master. He stopped immediately, knowing his master would detect any further movement. Should the master then ask him why he is up, Zhang CuiShan would have to tell the truth.
Only to see Zhang SanFeng pace back and forth for a while, inspecting his surroundings, when suddenly he raised his right hand, and began to write characters in the air. Zhang SanFeng is as much a scholar as he is a martial arts master, and his students often sees him reciting poems and writing characters. So it’s not unusual for him to do such a thing. Zhang CuiShan looked at the strokes he made in the air, realized the characters were ‘Grief Disorder’. After repeatedly writing those two characters a few times, he followed up with the characters ‘Tea Poison’. Then it suddenly dawned up on him, “Master’s writing out the characters in the ‘Grief-Disorder Writing Style’.” Zhang CuiShan’s received the nickname of ‘Silver Hook and Iron Brush’, because he used a silver Tiger Hook with his left hand, and a Judge’s Iron Brush with his right. After getting this nickname, he realized that scholars might snicker at him being fake scholar, so he began to study literature just as hard as his kung fu. Zhang SanFeng was indeed writing in ‘Grief-Disorder Writing Style’ created by Wang XiZhi. By now his master’s finger-brush did not lower back down or retract, did not return nor repeat, following exactly the intentions of the ‘Grief-Disorder Notice’.
Zhang CuiShan had seen this style of writing two years ago. He remembered that its usage of the brush emphasized easy top-to-bottom strokes, words clear and strong but hard to pull up. Zhang CuiShan always preferred ‘Orchid Pavilion Poem Sequential Writing Style’, ‘Seventeen Writing Style’ and others that are more majestic and solemn in nature. At this moment, as he saw his master’s finger writes in the midair, “Tired of obeisance: Incredible grief and disorder, the ancestor’s graves one again tormented, difficult to bring back.” Each stroke filled with an air of gloom and grief. He saw just how Wang XiZhi must’ve felt when he created this ‘Grief-Disorder Writing Style’.
Wang XiZhi lived in the Eastern Jin period. He was born to a prosperous family, but was not of Han origin. His family went southward to escape the chaos. During this chaotic time, his ancestor’s graves were robbed, which really saddened his heart, and quite evident in his ‘Misfortune-Disorder Writing Style’. Being a carefree youngster, how could Zhang CuiShan possibly understand the nature of this writing style? But his martial brother’s terrible injury finally allowed him to comprehend the depth of ‘Misfortune-Disorder Writing Style’.
Zhang SanFeng repeated those words several times, sighed deeply, walked to the center of the room, paused for a moment, and then started to write again. This time, his strokes again looked different. Zhang CuiShan followed Zhang SanFeng’s fingers, saw that the first character written was ‘Martial’, the second one ‘World’. In succession, Zhang SanFeng wrote out twenty-four characters total, exactly the phrase they discussed earlier, ‘Martial world’s most venerable, Prized saber dragon slaying, Controlling all under Heaven, None dares to not follow. Power of heaven not appear, who can possibly compete?’ Zhang CuiShan thought his master wrote them to better comprehend the meanings behind these words, and deduce the cause of Yu DaiYan’s injury. But how did this event have to do with the Dragon Saber and Heaven Sword, the two supreme mythical weapons?
Only to see him write those words over and over, in many different ways, his strokes became longer and longer, his arm movement slower and slower, until they began to move with great ease, as if he were practicing martial arts. Zhang CuiShan, fixated on his master’s movements, was amazed and joyous. His master had combined the twenty-four characters into a single, powerful martial arts style. Each character contained multiple moves, with even more variations. The characters ‘Dragon’ and ‘Compete’ contained numerous strokes, while the words ‘Saber’ and ‘Under’ have only a few, but the longer characters were not written in a hurry, nor the shorter characters crudely, the contracted strokes were just as striking, like a cankerworm unyielding, the vertical strokes were just as dangerous, like a cunning rabbit escaping, the dots were written with ease, yet powerful and sturdy, the long slants seemed like the blowing wind, the dancing snow, the thick and heavy parts seem like a tiger’s squat, an elephants footsteps, only to see some strokes floating in midair, like the dancing of the snow, while others heavy as tiger’s roar, moving as an elephant. Zhang CuiShan’s eyes followed the movements thoroughly, and instinctively began to memorize them. These twenty-four characters contain two ‘Not’ and two ‘Heaven’. Yet each one is written in a unique manner.
In the recent years, Zhang SanFeng rarely taught kung fu anymore. Song YuanQiao and Yu LianZhou taught his final two disciples, Muo ShengGu and Yin LiTing. So despite being the fifth disciple, Zhang CuiShan really is the last person Zhang SanFeng had ever taught kung fu firsthand. Before, Zhang CuiShan’s knowledge was limited, and rarely grasped the deep concepts behind much of the martial arts skills Zhang SanFeng demonstrated. But he had since come a long way with the experience of recent years, plus the fact that they shared the same feelings tonight, two hearts as one, meeting misfortune and felt anguish, encountering torment and whisked it away. Under these extraordinary circumstances, Zhang SanFeng changed these twenty-four characters into a type of martial arts. He obviously did not plan on it, just as it was pure coincidence that Zhang CuiShan would see him as this moment. The two of them, one watched while one practiced, immersed themselves into these words, forgetting the outside world.
Zhang SanFeng repeatedly wrote those words for over four hours, until the moon had risen to the top of the sky. Swoosh, the right palm came straight down, just like the sparkle of a star or a sword, thus completing the final stroke of the last character ‘compete’.
Zhang SanFeng then looked up into the sky, and said, “CuiShan, what do you think of my writing skills?”
Zhang CuiShan gasped in shock, as he did not expect his master to notice him without ever turning around. He promptly walked out of his hiding place, and said, “For your disciple to personally see master put on such an amazing display, words cannot even begin to describe my feelings. I’ll go get the others so they can also learn it.”
Zhang SanFeng shook his head, said, “I got caught up in the moment, which is why it looked so good. If you want me to repeat it again, I doubt I can write nearly as well. Besides, the other students don’t know much about calligraphy. Even if they do see it, they would have a hard time comprehending.” As he spoke, he walked out of the main hall.
Zhang CuiShan did not dare sleep, for fear of forgetting these intricate techniques, and immediately sat down in a meditating position. Each stroke each drag, each move each variation, silently recorded into his memory. Sometimes, he’d write out a few characters from the excitement. Even Zhang CuiShan himself could not remember how long it took him, but he finally recorded those twenty-four characters, and two-hundred-fifteen variations-there are 215 strokes within those 24 characters- into his memory.
He stood up, practiced once, and felt his body light and calm as the cloud, incredibly refreshed. When finished, he looked up, blinked a bit, only to see the sun high up in the western sky. Zhang CuiShan gathered himself, not believing that it’s past noon already, but finally realized that he had been practicing for more than half a day.
Zhang CuiShan wiped off the sweat on his face, and walked over to Yu DaiYan’s room, only to see Zhang SanFeng healing Yu DaiYan with his inner power. Upon asking, Zhang CuiShan found out that Song YuanQiao, Zhang SongXi, and Yin LiTing had left in the morning. None of them said goodbye, as they didn’t want to interfere with his meditation. The Dragon Gate Escort Agency’s people also left. Although Zhang CuiShan’s clothes were now soaked in sweat, Zhang CuiShan was in too much of a hurry to change them. He quickly grabbed his weapons and his normal change of clothing, took out some travel money, and returned to Yu DaiYan’s room, said, “Master. Your disciple will be leaving.” Zhang SanFeng nodded, smiled slightly.
Zhang CuiShan walked to the bedside, only to see Yu DaiYan’s face gray-black, his whole body almost like a dead person. With pain in Zhang CuiShan’s heart, he said, “Third brother, even if it cost me my life, I shall give you your revenge.” He then kowtowed to his master three times, and left.
He rode his long-legged spotted horse down the Wu Dang Mountain. By the time he left Wu Dang, it was already pretty late in the afternoon. Night came after riding south for only about twenty miles. Just as he entered the roadside inn, dark clouds gathered in the sky, followed by pouring rain. This rain lasted throughout the evening. The next morning, he woke up to an extremely muggy room, with loud sounds of rain hitting the rooftop outside. Zhang CuiShan bought a hat from the innkeeper, and continued to ride despite the weather. Fortunately, his horse is a prized stallion, which kept its footing despite galloping on the incredibly slippery mud.
Upon reaching the edge of the Yellow River, he saw thick yellow river waves rolling heavily in the river, the current almost impossible for anyone to cross. He found out from the local residents that the water downstream had flood the riverbanks, and devastated the people there. As Zhang CuiShan entered the nearby town, only to see the flood victims seeking refuge in the town, everyone soaked in water.
As he traveled across town, Zhang CuiShan saw a row of riders in front, who just happened to be the people of the Dragon Gate Escort Agency. He hurried up, went past them, and blocked their way.
Distressed upon seeing Zhang CuiShan, Du DaJin stuttered, “W… What do you need, Fifth Hero Zhang?” Zhang CuiShan said, “Have you seen the homeless people from the flooding?” Du DaJin didn’t expect this question, paused, and then responded, “Why do you ask?” Zhang CuiShan smirked, said, “It’s always right to do good deeds. How about donating some gold to the needy?” Du DaJin’s face turned white, said, “People like us put our lives on the line when we work. How would we find the money to save the homeless?” Zhang CuiShan lowered his voice, said, “Why don’t you take out the two thousand taels of gold, and donate them?” Du DaJin reached for his saber, asked, “Are you purposely looking for trouble today?” Zhang CuiShan said, “Yes. I’m going to get the money either way today.”
Sub-leaders Zhu and Shi took out their weapons, and moved up next to Du DaJin. Meanwhile, Zhang CuiShan remained empty-handed, smirked, and then said, “Leader Du, you took your customer’s money, but did you accomplish the task asked? Do you really have the nerve to keep the gold?”
Du DaJin said with a purple face, “But Hero Yu was sent to the Wu Dang Mountain alive, right? He was already injured when we took him in, and he’s still not dead even now.” Zhang CuiShan said angrily, “Do you really think you can weasel your way out of this? Were my third brother’s joints broken before you escorted him?”