ummm~ like CGA, I will update it twice on the weekends…
Book 1: A shapeless art
I had resigned from the world of martial arts; alas those people were still trying to chase me down even in their dreams. What hadn’t I done to punish myself for my prideful self in the past, which was full of spirit o conquest? After living for a long time in seclusion and it was a very long time indeed, there shouldn’t be anyone who remembers me anymore.
I disappeared from the lush jungles and rivers of the world of martial arts in my glorious time, after I defeated one hundred martial artists whom I challenged to duel to see who is mightier on the top of the steep rocky hill with sharps stones here and there, in a bloody full moon night. One hundred martial artists from the dark faction, light faction, even from the free faction which never took sides, one by one I took their lives like a mighty eagle that preyed on little mice. I, almost literally, flew in the moonlight from one stone to another, and every time I swept down, even before my feet reached the ground, one by one, those martial artists lost their lives. I gave those who belonged to light faction a merciful painless death, and those who were from dark faction, I gave them as much pain as there were sins that they had committed, and those who were from the free faction, I let them hold my martial arts as long as they could.
As martial artists, I gave them honorable death, which is to die in combat. One against many is not an honorable act, but then I was the one who invited them, each and every one of them, and beside those whom I had invited, there are no top-class martial artists left, those who weren’t here were only delinquents, henchmen, and unworthy bandits. I challenged them because I was tired to fight them one at a time. They really bothered my sleeping time!
Wrong teaching had made each martial artist feel like they weren’t one before me as they were beaten by an unbeatable master like myself. There were skies above the sky – but this philosophy of the world of martial arts had never been fully understood by them. One hundred no-name martial artists, old and young, even grandmasters whom I thought were noble-hearted, shamelessly came to kill me. They want to be a sky above me by terminating me off from this world.
It could be said that I gave them all an honorable death, in a meaning not only by giving them death in combat, but also I even invited them all at once, basically those one hundred martial artists were defeated in one on one combat. Therefore I didn’t have the right to proudly brag that I have defeated one hundred people at once, they could not gang up on me since the distance between them on the rocky hill were not too close, so I couldn’t say that I defeated one hundred martial artists alone all at once.
It was indeed that I have defeated one hundred martial artists in one full moon night on the steep rocky hill near the ocean that had big waves hitting the corals, but in reality, I defeated them one by one. Had I not done a good deed, for their honor and for my own humble self? Hehehehehe…
Now I know that my reasoning at that time was only one way to be proud and now I received the karma. That event that happened 50 years ago was known as the Massacre of One Hundred Martial Artists.
There was no one witnessing that bloody event, one hundred martial artists came and all of them died, and the bird nest seekers only found their corpses on the top of the rocky hill. Together with the fishermen, they used ropes to move the bodies down from the peak with great effort. News soon spread out wide, spiced up with stories that even I could not imagine in the world of the commoners. Of course, most of the martial artists were not known, they deliberately secluded themselves from the daily life to find knowledge and martial arts and to reach perfection. Whoever they were, they chose martial arts as their way of life, and they had no objection for their deaths in a fight that they experienced.
Unfortunately, grudge and resentment were still burning hot. I still have to feel their fiery hot embers at my old age. The event that was known as Massacre of One Hundred Martial Artists happened when I was 50 years old –too old indeed to still have pride like teenagers; now in my 100, much older than before and too old, I think, to be still walking among the living. Nonetheless, with all due respect, I refuse to be killed without resistance.
Now, being hunted by the invisible enemies through the scrapped memories of the Massacre of One Hundred Martial Artists, I had decided my own fate. My glorious victory at that time was not completely won by using my martial arts alone, it was because I used my brain too. The battlefield that was the rocky hill with sharp rocks everywhere with the steep edge bordered by the ferocious ocean had made difficulties for anyone to use their martial arts. Every martial artist was able to climb the wall on the edge of the ocean, or running sideways and jumping from one stone to another by making their body lighter with lizard style or other martial arts that were owned by many of the top-class martial artists, but all of those are not something that doesn’t require stamina.
As for me, I the wind preparations weeks ago on the top of the rocky hill, one of them is flying from one stone to the other blindly. In the darkness, I could precisely locate each stone by focusing on the sound of the blowing wind that collided with the stones, and honestly, I defeated those one hundred martial artists with my eyes closed. From the books that taught blind martial artist, I knew that everything that we saw can deceive and confuse our minds: we thought that we saw something real, while in the reality, that is limited to our sight, to our eye’s ability to see. By closing our eyes and sharpened our hearing, giving us a whole different knowledge of the world, since I wasn’t blind in the first place, the combination of the two senses became something unimaginably powerful.
[TN: how the hell those blind martial artists read the book in the first place? Have the invented braille at that time?]
Under the moonlight, the sharp stones were shining beautifully; those martial artists at least will lose one thousand milliseconds of their awareness. Jumping from one sharp stone to the other, even if it could be done with a perfect body lightening arts, it still required full awareness of those who are not used to it, while the journey to climb the hill had made their stamina depleted to an almost empty state. Common people like to exaggerate the power of the martial artists, now I told you the truth about it. One more sloppy move made by those martial artists was to force themselves to bring a lot of weapons with them. Their weapons often had strange shapes or sometimes they were really heavy so that to bring one of them was enough to drain their stamina at some point.
With that kind of situation, I, who had trained myself to move with my eyes closed for weeks, was able to penetrate their defenses. I won’t deny that many of those one hundred martial artists were sly if they didn’t send spies, they came to the place themselves long before the decided day to check up on the condition of the place. Of course, none of them escaped from my knowledge, it wasn’t even strange that whoever took a step on this rocky hill before the full moon arrived had been sent by me back to their factions and masters as a covered lifeless body inside a carriage.
My martial arts was called as shapeless art, I created it myself after I learned a lot of arts and styles from the famous grandmasters. The main point of the art was to release and to keep a distance from the structured martial arts that had been formed through the history. A shapeless art, unknown, and hard to be countered by the arts and styles known by many people. Sometimes it looked like I was dancing, sometimes I looked like a stone, standing still not moving even by an inch, but mostly I would be invisible because the one thing that I did was to distract their minds. Arts like this must be created alone because if it was received from a teacher or taught to a disciple they would give a form to it. Shapeless art, it also wasn’t a name that I gave, it was because, from its characteristic which has no form or definite stance, that name came from nowhere. Perhaps it came based on the story from the martial artists that I have defeated and were fortunate enough to still hold their dear life within them.
And so, with the strong winds that blew and the waves that crashed into the rocks, I slaughtered my enemies one by one. I made myself one with the wind, hiding in the shadows and flashed by so fast, too fast for my enemies to see me pressing their vital blood vessels to stop the blood flowing through them. But I only did it to the martial artist that belonged to the white faction. People from the black faction, in my opinion, were unworthy to be called martial artists and I terminated their lives with their own weapons, because with those weapons they had brought suffering in this world. I let them feel how those weapons brought pain upon one’s body, and for that, I needed to give them a chance to draw and use their weapons.
They would attack me as soon as I showed myself, with my eyes closed I just needed to shift my body, waving my hands or my long hair to deflect and then returned their weapons to the owner’s body. And then the mighty Boomerang died by his own weapon after my whistle added speed to its rotation and made it so that it could not be caught by him; the Nine Dragons died after he choked on his own poisonous steam breath after the wind that I pushed made that steam unable to came out and was even sucked back into his lungs; Twin Machetes had his headed cut off by a pair of swords that flew back to his neck after I flashed around his back and pinched certain nerves in the back; both arms of Iron Hands were broken without killing him to give him punishment for his hideous crimes in his life, but he actually died because of his vital spots life. I made myself as hard as stone so that I could be hit by his deadly arts.
By pinching certain nerves on them I made most of their hearing become sensitive and deafened by the sound of wind and waves, the sound that they heard became one million times louder and destroyed their nerve system inside their heads. Sometimes I made myself look weak and easy to be attacked, but by doing that they would let down their guard so that I could even kill them by only spitting. Almost everything could become my weapon, pebbles, leaves, the wind, surrounding sounds, even the creatures around me. I even used moth once that flew around to confuse my enemy, so that I could finish the fight just by blowing the rain. Like I told you before, shapeless art attacked minds and not the body, and a destroyed mind made their bodies vulnerable and easy to be destroyed.
I realized that I have acted like a God that judged people with an almighty power, an act that I swore upon my name was not my purpose. But those mighty people from the dark faction could not just be turned to the state court because, in reality, they were always able to escape easily. What were iron cuffs and bars for them who had mastered cultivation? They were hard to catch and even when they were caught it was because of their sloppiness, and in the end, they easily broke free with any means necessary. If they broke through the ceilings, climbed up to the roof, was there a common person who could have a hope to catch up to them? Even the martial artists from the light faction were often outwitted by them.
But in the Massacre of One Hundred Martial Artists, there were not only those who were from the dark faction but also from the light faction and the free faction, who were essentially needed to fight crime that died as victims of my pride. My pride had destroyed the balance of the civilization. I felt guilty. I resigned myself from the world of martial arts but the avengers hunted me even into my dreams.
At my age of 100 years old I wasn’t the martial artist like I was before. I had become obsolete and senile, even I doubt if what I have told you before matches with reality or not. For fifty years I have disappeared from the world of martial arts. First I hid myself in the daily life by doing various common jobs, but even as a pitiful beggar, my identity is really hard to hide. I have been a baker, Tofu maker, fisherman, carriage puller, carpenter, street performer, elementary school teacher, physician, dock worker, peddler, ferryman, copyist of holy books, inn owner, mask dancer, librarian, storyteller, butcher, farmer, florist, warden, puppet master, and other various jobs that I thought would erase my presence from the world of martial arts. Still, there was one or two who recognized who I was, tried to kill me and forced me to kill that person in my self-defense.
So, I secluded myself from the crowded life, from the people, and avoided meeting other people. Twenty-five years I have lived by myself in a dark tunnel inside a cave in the dense jungle that hasn’t been touched by people. But inside my meditation that had been going for forty days and nights, I heard a clear sound of soft footsteps stealthily approaching me.
I counted their number, more than twenty people. It was amazing. After twenty-five years, I didn’t know how someone was able to find me? Nonetheless, even if I became one hundred years old, obsolete, senile, and weak; I would never let anybody to kill me easily. Hmmm… as I thought, those were an amazing assassination squad. They stepped not only on the earth. Some of them walked horizontally on the wall, some walked upside down on the cave ceilings.
I meditated in the widest part of the cave, but it was also the darkest and the moistest place, a place where thousands of bats hung upside down from the ceiling and made the place amazingly smelly. Even though I closed my eyes, I knew those people were wearing masks and also covered their noses based on the breath that they held. I thought they were sent with top-class consideration. Whoever sent them, had already considered my ability, looking for my weakness, and considered everything to make me unable to fight. Hmmm…
No matter how old or obsolete I was, I was still a man raised inside the world of martial arts, ever since I saw my father and mother leave the house wielding swords on their back to answer a duel challenge and never came back.
I heard sounds of swords drawn from their scabbards….