SONG OF HEROES CHAPTER 30: WHEN NIGHT COMES

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08 SPRINGMONTH 1501 AFTERFIRE, 13 YEAR OF JULIAN ERA

FIFTH MONTH OF THE MIDGARD CALENDAR

It has been three days since Charles has been residing in the Calm Heart courtyard. As he woke up and walk outside he could not help but look at the roof of his room.

‘Truly beautiful’ he exclaimed

All the buildings in the temple have tri-colored glazed roof tiles.

The color and luster looked new; some monks in the Temple were diligent enough to clean up, maybe as a part of their training so that the tiles looked like this.

The buildings would be resplendent under the bright sunshine.

On the distance the Bell tower could be seen nearby a white stone plaza.

A shrine is behind the courtyard with a bronze statue of the Enlightened One apostles riding the back of a flood dragon.

The Righteous temple look imposing looking from outside and inside. The gateways of the higher temples has white stone steps, and powerful Monks scattered all around the Halls and shrines

Statues of the Apostles of the Enlightened Ones could be seen in each Hall and each shrines

Liu Yi yesterday tour around the Temples looking at the statues of the Apostles.

Some statues closed it eyes, some opened it eyes, some have wide and had protruding forehead, some with its eyes drooping down in self-defense, but one thing they have in common is that every single one of the statues is vivid and lifelike, no different from any living being.

The layout of the Temple is also spread in a clear and good order in the direction resembling the Eight Path Wheels.

Each Path is separated by wooded path that have different trees, creating a divine atmosphere that was solemn and serene.

Charles on the other hand went to the Martial Arts yesterday and discover to his surprise that the chanting of the sutras calm down his heart and as he meditate with his eyes closed he could feel his internal energy that has always flares up when he was practicing slowly calms down.

He shakes his head and walk toward a room. Coming out of the room, on his hand right now is a sword.

He took one of the swords that he borrowed from the Martial Arts Hall yesterday since the sword he borrowed before were too heavy.

Outside the courtyard the sound of sutra chanting could be heard as the monk recites their sutra in the Meditation hall.

He walk to the opening of the courtyard and took a deep breath, closing his eyes and calming his thoughts and relaxing his muscles.

Then he swings his sword. It was leisurely as he familiarize himself with the sword and his own body.

His movement was like the flowing water, serene and peaceful

Then slowly he pick up the pace of his movement as he performs cutting, slashing and stabbing maneuver swiftly as the air around him was cut, and the winds around him stirred.

His sword energy rises up, his movement is sometimes like a tiger pouncing and sometimes like a clawing dragon.

Charles has been honing his swordsmanship since the battle at Yuyang Mountain

His movement which is leisurely in the beginning has now become even more ferocious and aggressive.

After three days of practicing he experience sore wrist and pressure on his finger. He could not trained too intensely on the way to the Temple since he was being pursued.

Now, that he is safe without any external pressure he could practice without worrying.

The training he endured for these three days also makes him even more familiarized with the Severing the Heavens swordplay.

This swordplay is truly full of variations and at its ultimate form could repel any kind of weapon attack, making one almost invincible in the path of swordplay.

This time his internal energy no longer so easily roiled as he began to understands how to control his internal energy.

While it is not at an expert control he is slowly progressing in his martial arts training

There is still a long way to go but for someone so young as Charles to already practicing such high level martial arts and could even grasp the essence of the arts, one could only imagine the comprehension ability that he possess

It is no wonder that Lin Ziyan did not hesitate to send her only disciple to the martial arts world. She truly had the confidence for her disciple

As Charles continues his movement, he slowly switch between fullness to emptiness from emptiness to fullness in his attacks, evoking an almost leisurely way of swordsmanship which is at the same time could kill one with each slash.

If not for the limitation of Charles physical body that is still short and childlike, his attack would be even more ferocious and even more elegant.

Heaving a breath that harmonized with his movement he changes his stance as an air ripping sound break the chanting of sutra.

Charles opens his eyes.

His movement becomes even more carefree, lighter, swifter and deadlier, his eyes shows enlightenment.

Slowly this time his internal energy flows in harmony with his sword movement.

Since he practices this swordsmanship in the cave on Yuyang Mountain he never stopped practicing it until he reached Qi’an.

By now he could already harmonize his internal energy to flow with his movement, making his sword not only sharper but his movement become even more lethal.

‘Swordsmanship without limits, vast as the sea, endless like the skies’ he muttered remembering the prologue of this manual.

Charles did not let anyone read the manual and adhere strictly to the teachings and orders of his teacher.

If anyone dares look at it, then he would kill that person. Even Liu Yi knows of this matter making him fear to even saw the manual of the Jade Palace Gate.

Charles swinging grew even more vigorous, his steps were like an ethereal master stepping onto water.

Charles footsteps is the Twelve Steps of Heaven, his swordsmanship is the Severing the Heavens swordplay.

Charles finally understand why his teacher gave him these manuals. They are all in a way connected.

With the Twelve Steps of Heaven his movement was like illusory movement, unpredictable like the wind.

With the Severing the Heavens swordplay, his attack was swift like thunder, formless and all-encompassing and combining it with his feet movement, he could dodge and evade, attack and stab, cut and hack in any direction he wanted.

“Sword and Body become one, the sword move according to Heaven, to cut the heaven shackles” he did not forget the core teaching of Severing the Heaven swordplay.

After many months of training this swordplay, he is no longer easily feeling tired, as his breathing is still calm.

He is now trying to transform his spirit to be acclimated with the sword to create ethereal sword intent.

Trying to achieve harmonious with the world attainment is not easy and the fact that Charles could already move this far in only two months proves that he is a genius in martial arts,

This is what is called the fish could not climb waters thus mistaking itself as dumb on the ground.

Because of his frail body and his disease, Charles has never studied martial arts and has never interested in it.

After all why would Charles try to yearn for something that he would not be able to achieve?

Who would have thought that he is a martial arts genius? Even Lin Ziyan have never met such prodigious talent in martial arts in her journey.

Of course she did not say it to Charles fearing that the child will become arrogant and overconfident.

The sound of his slash create as tearing sound right now, each one deadlier than the last. This slash if directed into a human, it will surely kills.

Liu Yi who was still sleeping was awoken by the sound of the tearing sword and he startlingly waking up almost thinking an enemy has attacked the courtyard.

He jump up from his bed and when he opens the windows of his room he saw on the outside, Charles practicing his swordsmanship.

Liu Yi frowned but he did not say anything.

He wanted to scold Charles for messing up his sleep but then seeing the movement of Charles in employing his attack like he is being possessed Liu Yi knows that Charles is in a trance right now.

Charles dexterity and nimbleness in maneuvering his sword, makes it seems like he could attack from any direction he wished.

He loosen his waist, liven his wrist, sinking his energy into his dantian as his body boils with energy that seems to turn everything round him frigid.

Liu Yi frowns. He knows this is the fabled Extreme Poisonous Yin body that is one of the characteristic of the future leaders of jade palace gate

He also heard that everyone that is afflicted with this cursed body will die early unless they could learn the miraculous Heartless Sutra of the Jade palace Gate.

Liu Yi after seeing that Charles is practicing decided to wake up and continue his search for the Sealed Pagoda.

In the courtyard, it was like nothing is in Charles mind except his sword. His spirit is refined, his movement elegant and direct

And then suddenly he stopped and with him stopping the movement, the sound of ripping once again could be heard.

And a smile bloom from Charles faces. He progressed again.

‘Hah’ he released his breath and return the sword to its sheath. Then he went to store the weapon in his other room.

Charles takes a bath and quickly dressed himself.

Liu Yi has already finish his bath and went out to meet Charles.

They then went to the main room and prepare hot water before they sit down on the chair, drinking slowly to refresh themselves.

‘How was it yesterday?’ Charles ask

‘Nothing’ Liu Yi said. Charles nodded as he understand that this could not be rushed. There is also that feeling of uneasiness he felt since the first day he is here.

‘And the Monks?’ Charles ask

‘All powerful’ Liu Yi replied with a bitter smile on his face.

‘Which area you think have the most powerful Monks?’ For awhile they sat in silence. Liu Yi tries to compare the area and then he said

‘On the Eight Path of the eight alley.’

‘How do you know?’ Charles was curios how did Liu Yi decide on this matter

‘I may not know much but I hear this from my teacher. Hear the monk of the Temple chants and you know their attainment.’

‘What does that mean?’

The way the monks are chanting is what one would call chanting the scripture in one breath; also known as chanting in a in-and-out breathing. They are even divided into two groups: one group finishes reciting, the other group continues on without the slightest bit of interruption, just like the unceasing flow of water. It is pleasant to hear, and is also one kind of superb training method.’

Charles clearly did not understand that much.

But he understand that breathing technique can sometimes complement body techniques. After all isn’t his Heartless Sutra is also in a way a breathing technique?

‘So, that is how. Hmm’ and a smile formed into Charles face

‘You have an idea?’

Charles did not say anything. He drink a gulp of hot water and then said.

‘I don’t know where the map is but it is surely is not there’

‘How do you know?’ This time it was Liu Yi that had the same dumb expression of Charles when he was explaining about the chanting technique of the monks to Charles

Charles triumphantly smiles

‘There are a few reason. First reason. Let us assume that nobody knows that Senior Wu Di and Senior Xue Hua hides the map here in the Temple. Since that is the case how would the Monk knows what to protect?’

Liu Yi nodded as he felt that this reason is logical.

‘But then what is the reason to station so many powerful monks is on the Eight Path?’

‘The Temple have the 108 Arts and many other tempting martial arts. Why do you think?’ This time Charles smiles again

Liu Yi finally understand what Charles is getting at

‘Then is there any other reason?’

‘Second reason. If the monks already knows where the treasure map is I don’t think they would put the highest security on it.’

‘Why?’ Liu Yi once again do not understand why Charles is saying it like that

‘Because that would only make it more obvious that there is something to hide’

‘Then what about what you said about the eight path monks? In this world everyone knows that the Temple have many martial arts manual. Since that has been discovered why not make it even more obvious.’

Then he continued looking at Liu Yi like an adult looking at a kid.

‘And do you think that the map is one the same level as the martial arts of the temple?’

‘It is the Ancient Han treasure!’ Liu Yi almost shouted. When one hears treasure wouldn’t one would instinctly wanted to possess it?

‘So?’ Charles ask

‘If we have the map, we might think it is valuable, but what does treasure worth in the eyes of monks? Even if they do desire it, they have only one part. Since the temple have never meddles in the martial arts world than necessary it shows that the Temple have never actively search for the other part of the map….if they even knew they have it.’

Liu Yi forgot that it is not certain that the Temple knows that one part of the map is here in the temple.

After all Wu Di and Xue Hua is also a powerful martial artist and from what both Charles and Liu Yi heard it takes the Old Immortal to personally hunt them down before they were captured.

‘And even if they have the other part of the map…. if that is the case which one do you think is more precious to the monks of the temple?’ Charles ask as he jump down from his chair

‘An unverified myth? Or…the real martial arts manual that their temple has been protecting since their founding? Of course they value their legacy martial arts then some treasures.’

Not far away from their courtyard monks with their palms clasped together came out in single file from their morning meditation and chanting.

‘The Monks has gone out’ Charles said, noticing the sound of the chanting has stooped.

‘Tonight, the martial Monks will be in the Training hall so no one will be guarding the Willow Path. I wanted to try to search the White Robe Palace Hall.

‘And me? What do you want me to do?’

‘Don’t make any trouble. That is all I’m asking from you’ Liu Yi sheepishly smiles.

Charles then went into his room and meditates, preparing himself for tonight big event.

However outside the courtyard, a monk was sweeping nearby the courtyard. There is  a peaceful smile on his face as he keep sweeping the floor.

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