The horse passed me by leaving dust behind. I took a look at the golden scabbard for one more time; it was still clear in my mind the familiar dragon carving on it. The sword itself was also made from a beautifully carved ivory.
If the sword was unsheathed from its scabbard, the golden dragon carving would be seen clearly. The sword was so thin, even the slightest movement will made it vibrate, it showed that that sword would always be owned by a warrior with powerful spiritual energy, otherwise, it would only be just a mere wall decoration. If covered with spiritual energy, even the sword that was made from meteorite stone would be cut in two as if it was a banana tree.
I recognize the sword, because I had faced the previous owner of that sword, The Golden Dragon from Tiongkok1. Thinking about the sharpness of the sword, I had to armed myself with it scabbard that I took from his back while I leapt above his head.
We fought exchanging technique one after another all night long, and I used Dragon’s Light sword technique to fight him. I did not use Shapeless Arts every time I fought, because this technique would ensure me a quick victory over my opponents so that I could not learn their technique. The failure to learn my opponent’s technique is a lost for me.
One of the martial arts techniques that is use to absorb the opponent’s technique was called The Shadow Mirror Technique. With this technique, while fighting, the opponent would not realized that every time they use their technique, there was a big chance that that technique would attack the owner in a way that the opponent did not recognize.
In that kind of situation, a martial artist that his technique was stolen would be in a big disadvantage, and then he could be defeated by his own most prized technique, that he had known for long. With that, not only that I could fight equally with Golden Dragon, but also stole his martial arts technique, which was a very elegant but deadly, Dragon Style sword technique.
In a flash, the scene where I was fighting against the Golden Dragon who always wore golden colored clothes just as that rider wore was playing inside my head. The Dragon Style sword technique that was showed by the Golden Dragon was really beautiful like a dance of an Eagle that flapping its wing and soaring eloquently, just to dive and kill its prey.
Golden silk clothes and the Golden sword were also parts of its technique that made use of reflection of light that blinded the eyes of the opponents.
Dragon Style sword technique really represented the dignity of the eloquent Golden Dragon and its beauty would distract the opponents like a beautiful death that know no mercy.
Just like that, I countered the Dragon’s Light sword technique that its speed could not be followed by commoners’ eyes, with the Shadow Mirror technique; I stole Dragon Style sword technique that was used by the Golden Dragon. On the day, I defended myself against the blinding light, but when the night came, I could play the Dragon Style sword technique with the new movements that even made Golden Dragon himself confused.
The rotation that became whirling golden light hunted the deadly part of the body, but it always blocked by the golden scabbard that moved as fast as it did.
The Golden Dragon sword was over hundreds years old, since it was bestowed by the Emperor of the Sky Roof Kingdom to the Golden Dragon as the guardian of Spiritualist teacher I tsing2 who explored the kingdoms across the sea, to learn about Buddhist in Suwardnadwipa3 even in Nanda, India.
The Spiritualist teacher I tsing arrived in the Sriwijawa5 Kingdom in 671 and learned about Sabdavidya, the structure of Sanskrit, for six months, before he departed to the Nalanda4 to learn Buddhist books that were all written in Sanskrit.
When I tsing departed to Nalanda, he left his guardian, the Golden Dragon, in Suwarnadwipa, to guard a small group of Tiongkok citizen who decided to stay in there permanently. A task that would be carried by the Golden Dragon and his descendant for more than two hundred years, because there would always be a Dragon Warrior with Golden Dragon Sword and owned Dragon Style sword technique that was tasked to ensure the safety the immigrant from the Sky Roof Kingdom.
The descendant of the Golden Dragon could be his son or grandson, it could also his disciple who inherited the Dragon Style sword technique and the Golden Dragon Sword, which was of course came from the same Kingdom, as it was his sworn duty to protect them.
People who came to seek new life from Tiongkok, slowly as time went by, they follow the cruising line that was used by I tsing or other spiritual teacher such as Hui-ning6 and Yunk’I7 who were crossing to the Yawabumi to learned and translate the scripture in Sanksrit, together with the local spiritual teachers that was well known as Jnanabhadra. In the note from I tsing that I ever read, Nan-hai-chi-kuei-nai – fap-chu’an (The notes about Buddhist as is practiced in India and the Malayan Island), there was Fa-lang, Hoai-ye, and two more spiritualist teacher that then named was not mention in the notes.
The spiritualist teachers who was bestowed the grace from the Emperor would not leave to the foreign kingdoms across the sea by themselves. They were like a small group that consisted of the spiritualist teacher that was also acted as scientist in various field, military spies, including those guardians with high level martial arts. They follow the path of their predecessors, like spiritualist Fa-Chien8 who was the first spiritualist that made a pilgrim to India, the place where Buddhist was originated, for fifteen years from 399 to 414…
Other than to track their predecessors’ path, they were also expanding their area pilgrimage to some other places such as Suwarnadwipa and Yawabumi as part of the Sriwijaya Kingdom since two hundred years ago, because it was one of the center for the Buddhist teaching that was important, especially Buddhist Updadesa about Bodhicitta9…
My fight with Golden Dragon stopped when the dawn was about to rise. I could not be certain whether the Golden Dragon whom I faced was the disciple of the Golden Dragon from what generation, but I had to admitted that If I could not make use of the Shadow Mirror technique, then, the Dragon Light sword technique would only be on equal with Dragon Style sword technique, and the fight would never be ended.
We were standing on a meadow that was wet because of the dews. I was still holding the scabbard. Because only its scabbard that could defend against the Golden Dragon Sword.
“With martial arts level that you have, I wonder who can defeat you in another time.”
I nodded with respect and bowed like in their tradition10.
“Dragon Style sword technique is an eloquent beautiful yet deadly technique, I was feeling grateful for the lesson that I received from the famous Golden Dragon Warrior.”
He bowed too.
“I was the one who received a valuable lesson, the Dragon Style sword technique is nothing compared to the Shadow Mirror technique.”
Hmmm… He did not mention Dragon Light sword technique; it meant that he felt that Dragon Style sword technique was still the most superior sword technique. But this was not the time for the martial arts to persevere the purity of its teaching, in a real battle the goal was to emerge victorious, not the purity or the beauty, because in the world of martial arts there was no undefeatable warrior, there was only either the victor or the one who was lying dead.
I considered myself not fighting against the Golden Dragon, we only trade our technique. I threw the scabbard because he was too proud to ask, and it would be difficult to keep the shining sword without the scabbard that was made for it.
He stretched out the sword and the scabbard fell right into it and taken back to his back. The other scabbard would be shattered to pieces when it touched Golden Dragon Sword.
“Today, Golden Dragon had received a valuable lesson, even though I was imagined to receive the lesson about Shapeless Arts. Fare thee well, and I hope the time for my sons and grandson to clash with you would never come, because when it happen, it would be the end of Dragon Style sword technique.”
He bowed for one more time then he disappeared before the first light was seen from behind the hills. That event happened before the Slaughter of One Hundred Martial Artists and I was filled with the desire to master every martial arts technique in this world.
I poured my big curiosity that into my deep thoughts and mind until I found the Shadow Mirror technique without even learning to any teacher for years. In the other hand, I just needed to fight with everyone that I thought was worthy enough for me to steal the technique. The better the martial arts level, I also got the same level of martial arts level as him, even, after I modified the technique, the original owner would never be able to face it. To master the Shadow Mirror technique that was able to steal and modify any technique from any school in the green jungle of martial arts was the first step to master the Shapeless Arts.
I have told earlier that I never learned techniques as the stiff movements; what I learn was the principle of why those techniques created those kinds of movements which of course, I need to get through the phase of mastering the technique, from one movement to another, from feints to feints, from one art to another. Only this time, I did all of those in an instant while fighting. Then I would turn the principle around and change it the stolen technique into something new. This kind of mastery could made my enemy astonished by their very own technique that they knew and mastered, but they could not counter it with their own technique; because I have mastered and made those technique to a whole new level.
Only by mastering the Shadow Mirror technique, then I could move to the discovery of the Shapeless Arts, because Shapeless Arts was depended heavily on the shape of the opponent’s technique, meanwhile the Shadow Mirror technique gave me a chance to stole any kind of technique, without exception.
So, who was the golden clothed rider who rode so fast and left the dust scattered behind? He brought the Golden Dragon Sword. Most probable was that he was the last inheritor of the Dragon Style sword technique. But, why did he have to ride the horse in a rush? The Golden Dragon who fought with me had Body Enlightening technique that reached perfection. We fought as two shadows flying around and could not be seen by eyes. Only the wind from our movements and the reflection from the sword that sometimes created sparks each time the scabbard that I help clashed with the Golden Dragon Sword. I mean, the high level martial artist would not need a horse to move around. He moved as fast as the wind, flew light a light, even faster than the thoughts.
Then, I was wondering what had happened in the world of martial arts that I had left for twenty five years? What did really happen after I left the noisy world and the world of martial arts that was quiet but filled with bloodbath when I buried myself in the never-ending meditation for twenty five years? I was still crooked in my cover as a beggar, stretching the pumpkin skin bowl with a poor expression as if I was lowly human.
The black horse disappeared, but from the vibration on the ground where I stood I counted there were twenty riders who would appear from behind the curved road to chase after the Golden Dragon, which made me even curious, why he did not kill those riders.
I thought of something quickly.
When the group of riders appeared, I had been lying on the ground with my face down in the middle of the street, trying to obstruct their chase. Unfortunately their leader screamed.
Those horses were spurred to pass me. Almost everyone of it stepped on my even though I did not feel anything.
In an instant, every one of them had disappeared leaving the dust scattering behind them. I rouse and cleaned myself up. Those people really did not have any humanism in them. What would happen if I were really an ordinary old beggar who was dying in the middle of the street? I would have died stepped by those horses that were running like the wheel of death.
I flew quickly towards the direction where that group disappeared to. If they succeeded to chase after the Golden Dragon who still needed a horse to run away from the pursuit of his enemies, I thought he would not be able to face them; something thing that I could not imagine from the inheritor of the Golden Dragon Sword.
But what I found out was out of my expectation. Not only that I had flown so quickly like a shadow, but in a second, the situation was changed.
In the edge of the street those twenty riders had been lying on the ground lifelessly. One of them was still even groaning, attacked by a secret weapon but was not properly aimed so I was not that deadly. I walked closer towards him. He was surprised to see me; His hands stretched out and pointed at me. He was about to say something but he died because of the poisonous needle that had clogged his blood vessels.
I looked around, and astonished when I saw the golden clothed man had also died by the deadly poisonous needles. After saw it for a few second, I knew that the Golden Dragon Sword had been gone.
I tried to rearrange the sequence of events. The Golden Dragon warrior was killed by a sudden attack. The people who were after him stopped because they saw the Golden Dragon died and they were all killed by the same sudden attack. I checked the ground and the footprints from the horses. I assumed that the Golden Warrior lost his vigilance when his horse was tripped by a rope and suddenly made it fell rolling on the ground, even fell on him. The people who were after him stopped their horses without being cautious and quickly gathered around the Golden Dragon’s body. It was easy for the attacker with their secret weapons to punish that kind of neglectfulness.
I sighed. In the world of martial arts, we could not expect everyone to be a warrior.
- Tiongkok is Indonesian term for China
- Sumatra Island or Andalas. It is Sanskrit word means Golden Island
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nalanda apparently you can find out why the author wrote Nanda in the previous paragraph from there too
- Sriwijaya or Srivijaya https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srivijaya
- I did not find who is Yunk’I because I don’t know how it is written in the original language. This novel is in Indonesian, so many of the Chinese names had been adapted into Indonesian. For example the previously I tsing. I don’t know the original writing in Chinese, but in Indonesia he was famous with that name and was written as thus.
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faxian – i don’t know whether I was right about this person or not. In the raw it was written as Fan-Chien, when I looked at the list, the closest name would be Faxian because transliterations of his name include Fa-Hien and Fa-hsien.
- as I Googled it was call as Gongshou. I don’t know whether I was right or not, but as far I know this is kind of traditional Chinese when giving a respect towards other. If I am wrong, please correct me….