CHAPTER 84: ENCOUNTER AT THE TEMPLE
The trees and grass greening up around the foothill of the temple. I could see flowers blooming, daffodils, tulips and buttercups.
Buds blossoms on trees. The warm sun greets me as dawn passed and the sun shows it face. I look at the sky.
The birds began migrating to the North. The scent of flowers fills the path. Spring has come and the sun warmth can be felt in my skin, that fresh touch of the breeze as opposed to the winter cold.
And then after walking along with the people of the martial art world with no one asking anything even though they are curious but they held their tongue and they speak among their own companion.
I arrived at the temple
I moved to the entrance of the huge temple, looking at the bald headed monk that guarded the entrance.
The place is very quiet and serene if not for the chattering martial artist. There is something here.
The tension is felt. The chatters and whispers fill the entrance while each of them walks to the entrance.
Trees covered the temple and in the yard and a huge tree act as a roof shielding us from the sun.
The shades and the shadows shelter us from the heart of evil men and sinners; I’m reminded suddenly of one verse.
The other martial artist all tells their intention for visiting the Temple when they pass the monk. The monk nodded and give them way.
I approached the monk.
‘Reason for visiting?’ he asked, apparently surprised a boy of so young came here to the temple.
Even when I climbed the mountain I’ve never met someone as young as me.
I’m ten and six and still considered a greenhorn in the martial art world though Western Serpent herself is young when she roams the martial art world.
I don’t know why my age would puzzle the monk so much
‘To meet the Healer.’ I said confidently. He looks at me and from his eyes I know he is curios why is a young boy such as me wanted to meet the Healer.
‘Today there is some big event involving the martial art world. If you could come tomorrow, it will be safer.” he said maybe to warn me of the danger
“I am one of the martial artists” I said my tone is harsh and commanding until I forget no one here knows I am a lord.
And this is not my region. But at least that rattle the callous treatment that I received from the monk.
He began looking more serious.
After all, the Abbot never forbids anyone from coming to the Temple. It is not his job to try to rid of someone whose only sole purpose is just to meet the Southern Healer.
‘Fine, but anything that happen to you will not be the responsibility of the Temple, Kid” he said a little warningly.
I enter the temple and see that many have already arrived. The righteous sect and the evil sect have already assembled.
The evil sect is so called name not because they are evil but most of them are considering they use their technique to do what they want instead helping the powerless, they use their technique to help the corrupt and the sinful.
And even though they are called evil, not all do miserable thing, but they are…you can say have a complicated sense of honour.
Not to mention their technique usually inflict certain tortures and very dangerous.
After all two of the Four Immortals are said to be from evil sect, but still respected and revered among the martial art world community.
They all seemed to be crowded around one point of interest.
It seem a person is being crowded by the other sect. I could see the Ermeishan disciple, Taojing and Shadow Skulker Sect is huddled up in one corner of the huge yard.
The other corner around the entrance to the main temple is crowded by the disciple of Sun Moon Sect, Blinding Sword Sect, Yilin Temple, Lishan Sect, Limitless Blade Sect and Nanshan Sect that everyone knows their leader is the Northern Badger, Xiang Shun Guai.
So, it seems even the Northern Badger sent some representatives to help his old friend.
The friendship between the Northern Badger and Southern Healer is as famous as Northern Badger enmity with Western Serpent and his rivalry with Eastern Devil.
I just sit around the bench near the yard, looking, trying to understand what is happening here.
Then from the Inner temple a bald man with a white long beard, wearing a monk robe, a robe of coarse cloth, his eyes are brown, a sage eye and a calm demeanor. The crowd chatters and whispers quieted.
He is muscly but not like the Arathorne Brother but more like well defined. Fit and I am convinced it is from the internal technique of the Temple. He doesn’t look old but with a calming dignity. He walks with a vibrant energy and his smile calms people. His face is gentle and he looks to be welcoming
The Southern Healer I mused.
Then from the corner of the yard the voice of a woman yelled, a cold voice laced with anger. And the crowd around the person disperses away.
‘You have finally come out from your sleep, Montesquieu! I have been waiting long and you know my temperament. I hate waiting!’ She screamed and the crowd around that person disperses revealing to me the Western Serpent.
After all with the design of her palanquin and the famed Serpent Maiden behind her, 12 woman clad in white all covering their faces, there is no doubt this is the famed Western Serpent
Whatever I imagine of her it is not this. I look again just to make sure. It is not this, I mused again.
She has the look of a mature woman, her mouth is veiled but her beautiful clear green eyes scan the people and her surrounding, her gaze is determined and resolute.
She is beautiful, I have to assume and her attire make her exquisitely beautiful. It is not extravagant or full of accessories.
She wears a full length white dress in the Western style, Zettelian fabric, attached green jade belting and western tribes graphic, printed along the hem of the dress in gold.
On her head is a laurel designed to seem like a serpent. She wears a pair of elegant sandals that complement the cut on her dress and a serpent bracelet on her arms, looking dignified like a Queen.
I put her age to be 20. She is like a rose, Beheld from afar beautiful, touch it and you will be cut. Such is the appeal she possessed, a charm I did not expect that emanated from one of the most dangerous martial artist from the martial arts world.
‘No wonder people called her youngest one of the martial artist said.’ I heard some chatter.
‘She is the son of Poison Lord. No wonder she can be one of the most famous martial arts practitioner.’ another chimed in.
“Beautiful and mystifying” Another added.
I nodded in agreement. It is because of this factor, that she is so versed in poison and her prodigious skills enables her to learn and create many weird martial art technique.
‘Ah, Sharazade. You have come’ he said calmly.
‘Yes.’ She said, the hint of anger is still there.
‘What is this ruckus about then, if you don’t mind explaining?’ the Abbot asked. Surely he knows. He is trying to persuade the Serpent I believe to go down the Mountain ad return home.
Then the movement begins.
The Sect all takes their places on both corners, some supporting the Abbot, some supporting the Serpent. The evil sect support the Serpent, the righteous sect supported the Abbot.
The Serpent looks at ten Abbot with a hurt expression. ‘I have heard what you said of me. I am not the Western Serpent if I do not defeat you today.’
‘What do you mean?’ The Abbot said puzzled. From the looks of it, he really doesn’t know.
The serpent got up from her chair and began to talk about her disciple adventure.
‘One of my disciples Batrisya went to Zettel a month ago. She then encounter a man called Liao Bao’ and with that name my ears perked up.
Liao Bao? Then I remember that I sent him to Zettel a month ago.
“This Liao Bao is the disciple of the Northern Badger and he said to my disciple after defeating her, that the Western Serpent is not the only youngest among the Four Immortals but also the most weakest. He said, he doubts I could even defeat the famed Southern Healer. Imagine my anger when hearing this.’
Liao Bao is the disciple of Northern Badger! Then I remember again. That Liao Bao is crafty and maybe he said to enraged his opponent.
But if he can defeat one of the disciples of the Serpent then that means he is not any normal person.
I recognized his agility because I have once seen him fighting side by side with Helia but his internal energy is not that high. Then probably he excels in techniques.
I will ask him when my business here is settled.
The Abbot shakes his head slowly.
‘So, this is why you came? The deed of your pride?’ And he shakes his head again.
‘Would it satisfy you if I said I’m weaker than you Sharazade?” He bargained ready to exit the scene.
Apparently the Abbot doesn’t care much about his reputation as long as no one get hurts. In my position it is good of course. I could then ask him what I want to know.
‘I want to defeat you in the battle of arms, for the martial art world to see, I’m not weak’ she cried.
To me she looked like a whining child.
‘Then let just say that I lose to you.’ He said and he was about to enter the inner temple when a flying weapon fly towards him with incredible speed.
‘BE CAREFUL’ I yelled while the audience gasps.
But even when his back is turned his hand on his back held the flying weapon hovering in the air making it levitate with his sheer profound internal energy. I must admit that is quite powerful even, probably more than me.
He turned his face back staring at the Serpent, his eyes full of pity. There is something about them both. Some history none of the people here knows.
‘Abbot please take offense’ some of the other sect supporting the Abbot plead.
‘She is intent on making Linzi Temple lose face’ one of them said and this makes the Abbot uncomfortable.
I understand his dilemma. The Abbot may not want to fight her, but he could not let a thousand year of reputation crumble because of him.
I on the other hand feel the utmost respect for the Abbot. During the Invasion, they are they forces that volunteered to fight off the horde.
Them and the Knight Academy.
Thinking about it, the history is changing more rapidly than ever. There are many things that have happen, some key points in history change from my memory.
The Knight Academy is no more, after Orval and the other teachers were hunted down by the Inquisitor. For what, I don’t know. But I must admit that my meddling might have created some effect.
Even though my illness is important, the Abbot is important too.
To me and the Human Continent. Even though I might not be a match for the Western Serpent I am determined to help the Abbot if the situation calls for it.
And I am actually curios what is truly my level of internal energy? I never spar anyone of truly important. Some rogue criminals that come from the martial art world and even then I felt it was too easy.
‘Do you really intend to fight me, Sharazade?’
‘That is my intention.’ She replied
‘Then let us spar a little’ he said reluctantly.
And the energy turns around the yard. Suffocating and heavy with their internal energy swirling around the place, finding a delicate balance. The leaves rustle, the wind strengthen
I use my own internal energy to resist being weak in the knees like some of the disciple from the Sun Moon Sect.
‘YAHH’ With that battle cry the Serpent begin her attacks. I look at them began engaging each other in battle.
Then they fly to each other and employ a palm moves. The Abbot use Calming Palm a technique used to counter strength with softness.
The Serpent uses a weird palm technique, her hands look like mirage trying, undoubtedly to confuse the Abbot and attack his vital points.
Their palm hit each other and the wall behind the Serpent blow up with a terrifying sound while the trees behind the Abbot were cut to countless pieces.
The Abbot does not underestimate the Serpent that is for sure. To make that wall blow up like that….requires a strong internal energy.
I look with open eyes. I have studied Levitia technique and from there all technique arises. SO I could understand the logic of the Abbot attack.
They then exchange blows. Hand to hand, feet to feet, palm to palm. It is extremely fast and normal people surely could not follow their moves, they were like lightning, agile and fast.
Every step they take the tile cracked around them, every palm strike the wind blows a torrent of gust, every blow missed destroy any object around their vicinity.
Western Serpent technique is like the rumours sates. Vicious, cruel and deceiving. And confusing, lulling her opponent to attack her and that is when she attacks.
She tried in the beginning attack to gouge the Abbot eyes, employing her fingers in a scooping motion but thankfully the Abbot avoided that.
The Abbot is also capable, in not falling for her traps and feints. That must be hard to try to see beyond the surface of the intended intention of the Serpent
The Serpent tried to target the Abbot throat this time but with Fire Finger technique, a technique involving shooting an invisible, piercing internal energy attack to one body, the Serpent had to retreat a few step and employs a defensive stance as the Abbot press his attack.
I could see that the Abbot is just trying to incapacitate Western Serpent instead of going for her vitals.
This is not a wise move but one considered to be honorable. After all rarely monks take a life unless they had to. If he did target her vitals I doubt the Serpent can last.
But I’ve been proven wrong before. Maybe she has a hidden secret that could overturn the decision. Who knows?
After all she is not known for her internal energy but for her craftiness. How many times she has fought the Northern Badger and wins with her craftiness?
And this is where I could see how she employs her confusing technique for the first time. She is truly a genius to think of all this.
If you think she will employ feet technique, she will use palm, if you think she will use palm technique she will use strikes.
The gasping of the crowds and their cheers fill the yard while the monk all takes shelter, fearing that they would get caught in the battle. I sit calmly in the bench just waiting, watching.
Around them the tile has turned to rubble, revealing the brown earth.
The torn wall behind the Serpent and the destruction that the Serpent has inflicted on the temple entrance to the Inner temple make you believe that there is just a big battle involving two armies.
They then flew to the roof of one of the thatched house in the yard and resume their fight. Palm against palm, feet against feet as they fight in midair not giving an inch, each blows sounded like thunders. The elusive and confusing technique of the Serpent have almost made the Abbot fall into her trap.
They do not fight using weapon, but even without weapons both of them are deadly.
But I know there is a fundamental difference between the two. When engaged in hand to hand combat between two master, lives is always at stake.
The eyes of Western Serpent show determination. She may respect the Abbot but that doesn’t mean she would not kill him.
That is the twisted honour that the martial artist live by. She is determine to kill, her killing intent can be feel even from here where I’m sitting. The defensive action of the Abbot worries me.
A fight is not won by defensive action. If the Abbot attack, some vulnerable point on the Serpent will eventually be open to attack.
Some of the spectators have dry lips seeing tow of this famous figures fighting. Even the Arathorne brother gulped looking at the battle.
It has not been even half an hour but the yard look almost completely destroyed with the tile no longer exist, the walls, half destroyed, the entrance to the Inner temple look like it would crumble by a breeze of wind.
‘Yahh’ the Serpent yelled and with her internal energy she kicks the roof of the thatched house and by God the roof flew like a flying knife to the Abbot.
The roof. Not the tile but the entirety of the roof.
The Abbot yelled ‘Lion Roar!’
I recognized that technique. One of the unique techniques of Linzi Temple.
It frightens enemies but it is more than that. It allows the martial artist to take a deep breath, which in turn will allow the martial artist to stream and concentrate his internal energy at one point.
With that screaming in midair he releases a strike to the speedily approaching roof and BOOM! The roof split into two in midair while the spectators below quickly run to avoid the debris.
They both landed back at the yard. They quickly look at each other, gauging each other of their capabilities.
Western Serpent. Southern Healer. They deserve their reputation as I watched with awe. There is much to be learned.
Even though the western Serpent has been attacking the majority of time, she is sweating and has loss of breath while the Southern Healer seems unfazed. Even though he is older he is more stable in his pose and he looks at the Serpent with pity.
‘Do you meant to kill me child?’
‘I’m not your child’ she said adamantly.
‘Why won’t you use the Light Piercing Finger Technique?’ She said anger in her tone, clearly angry thinking that the Abbot took her threat easy
‘I have no enmity with the western sea or the Serpent Island. Why should I harm you?’
‘Hmph. Do you think you have won?’ she snickered.
‘The battle is far from over!’ she yelled and she with a leap began using her famed technique The Serpent Bite , a clawing technique that said can ripped apart anything.
The Abbot quickly leapt out of the way and her fingers penetrate the stone brick of the inner temple entrance just behind the Abbot.
He almost got ripped apart by that technique. If he did move away it will be him, that would be him that suffers the fate of that wall.
With a shrug she exerts some internal pressure and the stone brick crumble. And so does the entrance. ‘A miss’ she muttered under her breath.
The people gasped seeing such display of power and began distance themselves. I am alarmed. The Abbot need to advance and take the first initiative.
‘Maidens attack!’ she yelled.
And the white maiden in the corner all sheathe out of their sword obeying the western Serpent and leapt to the Abbot.
Seeing this I could no longer just sit.
‘STOP’ I yelled and I jumped from the bench and the bench were thrown off because of the force of my jump and quickly I enter the battle.
SHARAZADE VELLA DAKRIA (WESTERN SERPENT)
Someone leapt to stop the attacks of my maiden. I look at him. He was a young boy. A very young boy compared to the sea of people here
That much is sure.
‘DRAGON ROAR’ he yelled as he yelled imbued with his internal strength.
He leapt from the bench in the South corner and with one roar manages to incapacitate my maiden. My maiden by the sheer pressure of his internal energy were thrown back and landed on the ground writhing in pain.
The other spectators, even the Arathornes shut off their ears blocking in vain because the boy has imbued his yells with internal energy.
Without strong internal energy, they bled from their ears and nose. Some withstand it while looking at the boy with awe and amazement.
It is profound internal energy, hard, strong and raw. One I did not expect from a stranger. I have never seen him before, and I have seen many noteworthy martial artists before.
I’ve met the Arathorne Brothers, The Mad Scythe and many others in the martial art world. But I have never seen him.
I looked at the young boy.
He is tall, white hair and muscly. He looked intimidating, his white hair flowing gracefully behind his back, his clear blue eyes look at my maiden with reproach. He seems charismatic and exudes authority.
He doesn’t look like a wandering martial artist and there is a hint of nobility that he couldn’t hide. This is a man used to power, I mused
The other crowds shied away from the battle looking outside the broken wall, so in the yard there is me, the Abbot this young boy and my maidens writhing in pain, holding their ears as blood flowed out of their nostrils and ears. They looked at amazement at the boy, muttering and chattering asking if anyone knows where the boy comes from.
Both of us are shocked. The Dragon Roar seems almost like the Lion Roar only it seems the boy technique is a top notch more powerful and the pure energy that emanated from the roar…..is astounding. Such purity of raw power.
I could see the Abbot expression. And since the beginning of battle he was unfazed but seeing this even he is shocked.
He must have known it too. That boy is…something else. I have seen many leader of sect and I could not identify the boy technique. It seems like Linzi Temple influence but seeing the Abbot expression clearly, the Abbot has never seen him before.
So does the boy peculiar amount of internal energy. And if anyone can shed any light on this matter it will be the Abbot.
After all, among the four Immortals he is the one most expert in the matter of internal energy, considering Linzi temple specialty in handling internal energy and broken internal energy center.
Then the boy satisfied looking at my maiden writhing on the ground turn to us.
‘Venerable Abbot, forgive me for interfering in your battle. I just find it hard to stomach the inequality of the fight’ he said cupping his hand to the Abbot while clearly dissing me.
‘Boy’ I said, anger rising.
‘It is fine youngster’ the Abbot replied.
‘Thank you’ the boy said ignoring me.
Then he sits on the ground, right in the middle of the yard, just looking at us.
‘Please do not mind Junior.’ He said. And he looked at me, his blue eyes staring at me, like a predator looking at his prey.
I am alarmed. Rarely in the martial art world people would look at me directly but the impertinence this boy showed me makes me both angry and a refreshing feeling.
‘Who are you?’ I said, feeling angry and frustrated that he did not show respect to his senior. Even though I am only slightly older than him, considering his face look young, I am still his senior in martial arts.
I have been roaming the martial art world since I am ten years old. Though….and it is ahrd to admit….it does feel refreshing not to be feared and avoided.
‘No one important’ he said, clearly obvious he intend to conceal his identity.
‘YOU DON’T RESPECT ME KID!’ I yelled, with a warning tone.
‘Respect needs to be earned’ he said fearlessly.
It is…different. Usually people would be afraid. Maybe he is feigning bravery and I looked into his eyes but there is no trace of fear.
My intention of continuing this fight soured. I have been humiliated enough today. Even though my internal energy is strong, the Abbot is still at least stronger than me in internal energy mastery.
Not to mention, I have a feeling I continue this fight the boy would interfere in my fight and surely the martial art world people will not see it as an advantage after all he is a junior and to their eyes the boy must look inexperienced but I know better.
I would not survive those years if I do not have a discerning eyes on people. This boy internal energy is very profound.
If I fight the Healer alone I might have a chance but if he joined I wouldn’t be so sure. I look at the boy with curiosity.
I excel in external attacks and tricks. One on one is my weakness. Not to mention I don’t bring my tools and weapon. Hand to hand combat with The Southern Healer.
If its weapon I would not be so humiliated.
But I can’t back down either and lose face here in front of the people of the martial arts world. No, that must not happen. There is a reason why my name inspires fear.
The boy looked at me and somehow he could see through me, looking at me.
I know I looked dazed.
He then said suddenly prostrating his head into the ground,
‘I came from faraway land to seek guidance and advice from the Abbot. If the famed Western Serpent block my way and cause disturbance in Linzi Temple how can I seek guidance. Surely there is mercy in Senior heart. I beg of you to seek satisfaction for another day’
‘You demand from me!’ I said.
‘No, Senior. I beg.’
He said a little grin on his mouth.
He knows that I couldn’t keep this up any longer and telling me to save my face before it is too late.
‘Fine.’ I said feigning like I’m the one that has the advantage here. But I’m not going without having the last word.
‘2 years from now I declared’ and my voice reverberates around the mountain and hills ‘I declared I will held the martial Art Meet, to solve the question who among the martial art world is the strongest . Anyone can join. I expect your attendance’ I said cupping my hand to the Abbot.
The Abbot look amused but he nodded. 2 years is enough for me to prepare. ‘We will return to the island’ I said and my maiden tried to get up but they look unbalanced while the young boy raise his face and said
“Thank you for your generosity Senior’
‘Hmph’ I muttered under my breath.
I walk pass him and I could feel even just walking beside him the internal energy that is leaking out of him and it surprised me.
I didn’t say it but I feel like I’m seeing the Eastern Devil when his young. No…this young boy is stronger than Eastern Devil when he is at that age.
One day, he will surely be a great martial artist.
After that I took my carriage and climbed down the mountain while promising that 2 years from now I will reign supreme in the martial Art meet. Surely all the 4 Immortals would join the Meet.