SONG OF HEROES CHAPTER 31: GUIDE

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The entire monastery fell into dead silence. The sound of insects chirping gradually filled up the air over the night

The Monks many of them have retired to their courtyard and chants sutras or sleeping. Charles got up during midnight.

Tonight, like the Heavens is trying to help him, the clouds covers the moon making the area around the Temple to be dark.

Charles wears dark clothes and cover his mouth and face with a dark cloth.

Liu Yi is on the lookout though he appears to just relax himself. And Charles is staying at the main hall of his courtyard.

Usually waiting would make Liu Yi got bored but not tonight. Tonight the stake is high and it could not be said that it is boring.

Instead it is probably the most exciting experience in Liu Yi life. To rob from the Righteous Temple, this deed has never been frequent.

In the history of the temple there were many that tries to rob from the Righteous Temple. But there is only two conclusion for those that attempted it.

One, they either become monk themselves, or two they were crippled of their martial arts.

Charles walks out of his room and go into the kitchen, mustering his courage. Then shaking his head he said to himself

‘If I could not even be brave to stela form this temple, what qualification I have to vie for the world supremacy?’

Charles has always been prideful. But now he is not only prideful, but he is full of ambition. But a Palace is not built in a day. Each brick must be put upon, stacked until it is sturdy and strong.

Charles knew that he is not yet strong, to contend with the heroes of the world.

The Warring period is approaching, he of course also wanted to shine, to fight and win fame, to gain everlasting posterity, to hold power in his hand, commanding the four corners of the world.

Charles is playing to win. He would rather risk it all and win, rather than ignobly live as a normal person.

The Old Immortal, the Sage Diviner did not see wrong. They both recognize that this young child would bring about great bloodshed, would bring a great war.

The Seven Kingdoms seems peaceful in the surface, but Southern Han is eyeing Western Capital, The Two Tigers of Midgard is also waiting for the collapse of Avillon, while King Julius of Westhold is recruiting talented people.

All the Seven Kingdoms is preparing

Charles would be stupid if he could not see the trends of time. After period of long division, it is time to unite.

If Charles could see it how could not the Liao not see it? It is fortunate that the Black Dragon is still alive and protected the First Pass under Heaven, not letting the Barbarians tribes to come down plundering the fertile lands of Midgard.

He sighed and then calm himself down. Tonight is a huge undertaking and is probably his first step to realize his dream.

Charles open the side window of the kitchen which is situated on the back of his courtyard. He then look left and right, focusing his ears and closes his eyes.

He tries to hear anything that is out of the ordinary. He could only hear the wind. Then he fly out from his window and jump into a branch of a tree.

Then he started using Twelve Steps of Heaven as he flitted and fly around the roof of many courtyards and small temples inside this city of monks, his feet seems like the wind, soundlessly stepping on the tile of the roof.

When he steps, his foot did not make any sound, traceless and soundless like the wind, his speed is like lightning, yet when he stops he blend into the darkness like he is not there.

The Twelve Steps of Heaven is a mystical arts of the Jade Palace Gate, only a successor disciple of one of the candidate for the position of Sect leader would be able to learn it.

It is widely known, Lin Ziyan is the most powerful heroine under the Heavens and could be compared to the Saintess Wu Shangxiang of the Red Mountain of Western Liang.

As one of the most powerful movement arts that could be compared to the Righteous Temple manuals and the Five Fingers Temple manuals, this martial art truly lives to its name

Even though Charles did not even be able to learn this technique to its pinnacle yet, it already shows such effectiveness. Even though Charles is not that powerful, he could still run.

That is how he continues, running, stopping, hiding until he reached the Willow Path.

There he employs stealth movements, hiding behind tree s and in bushes as he avoids the detection of the patrolling monks.

Thanks to his movement technique and his small physique he was not detected. There were a few close calls but in the end he arrives at the White Robe Palace Hall.

He took a spot on top of the roof.

He is waiting for the monks there to finish their chanting.

For one hour he waited in patience, and he blended with the shadows, his movements is still and his heartbeat slows as he uses the Heartless Sutra to counters the chanting sound of the Temple that seems to be able to hypnotize one minds especially those who have impure motives.

In the end the monks finished chanting and they came out in a single file from the Hall.

They all walked solemnly, their eyes looked down toward their nose, their nose looked down toward their heart, and yet given their field of view, which could not be narrower than that, they did not stumble and fall, their step is powerful and vigorous like a sons of dragons.

Then they disperse.

‘Finally, they have went away.’

Charles was about to enter the Temple when suddenly a flash of light cough his eyes. He look towards his left and seeing nothing

‘What was that?’ Charles ask himself as he felt suspicious. But…for some reason instead of entering the Hall, he fly towards that area and went into a forest.

And then it happens again.

There was another flash of light. This time Charles felt something is wrong yet for some reason his heart wanted to go there.

It was like he felt a familiar and inviting presence.

This time ignoring his feeling that something is wrong he went deeper into the forest.

Deeper and deeper he goes until he arrives on the part of the forest that seems to be a little bit different than the rest

There is stone marking paths and roads but the roads seems to be shrouded by vines and leaves.

‘There is a path here’ Charles thought to himself. Then a flash appeared again this time on one of the discarded path that seems dark and untrekkable.

This time Charles felt like someone is guiding him. He took a deep breath and muster his courage as he goes following that light.

The light disappeared almost an instant but Charles knew the direction so he went chasing for it.

Even though the path is easy to traverse that is only true for people who do not practice martial arts.

For someone like Charles who possess an almost divine movement technique like the Twelve Steps of Heavens, the trek is only a form of training as he jumps, slide, fly, dodge and run through the vines and tree branches that falls down.

It was then he arrives and saw something unbelievable. Inside this dark deep forest that is in the middle of nowhere, there is a building of a Pagoda.

The Pagoda seems old and cobwebs fills the eaves and dust could be seen on the grounds of the Pagoda, looking like it has not been visited for a long time

Then Charles look at the plaque and then he smiles. He almost wanted to laugh. The Pagoda name is the Forbidden pagoda

Sealed could also mean forbidden. At least it is in the Aeropean language. They were searching for a Sealed Pagoda as they take it too literally.

But now that Charles is here instead of feeling happy he became vigilant. Someone guides him here.

But…for what. So, he jump into a nearby bush, hiding while looking at his left and right, even looking upwards.

For a moment, he waited.

But nothing and no one come attacking him. He went out from his hiding spot and still nothing happened. By now he is puzzled.

Who is that person? It could not be there is flashes without anyone guiding him? And how did that person knows he is seeking the Pagoda?

Even with all of this doubt Charles slowly walk forward, as he brought out his dagger preparing for anything.

He slowly enters and push open the wooden door. It is thick and heavy and even when Charles tries to push it won’t open.

This door is heavy.

The wind blows by and the rustles of leaves in the night coupled with the sounds of things creeping in the dark would make anyone felt a little bit fear.

And Charles also felt it.

The fact that tonight something like this happen makes him even more guarded. As the wind blows Charles could not help but look behind him, trying to spot any possible threat

Noticing nothing he takes a deep breath and gather his internal energy on his palm as he push the door once again.

With a loud sound the door slowly were pushed open, the dust fly upwards and cobwebs around the door handle drop to the ground.

The wind blows inside, blowing the dust and the cobwebs away from the door. Charles look up and saw the height.

The Pagodas have four floor. Seeing from afar it looked abandoned. But when Charles entered he realizes something. The inside is clean. There is no dust on the floor and no cobwebs on the ceiling of each floor.

Only on the door.

On the first floor there is nothing so Charles immediately seek a staircase.

He spotted the staircase on the left corner and quickly climb it and when he enters the second floor he saw it.

Hundreds of books lining the second floor which is designed like a rack storing books.

Charles was tempted to look at the book so he walked and reach for one of the books. It was then Charles realizes that the books are all martial arts book.

The book he pick up is the Seven Breaking Bones technique that belonged to the Stone Sect.

It was one of the deviant sect in the past and was eradicated by the Righteous Temple in the name of justice and the common people sake.

There is a hundred more book and Charles even imagine himself learning the Righteous temple martial arts.

After all, the Righteous Temple is one of the few organization that could contend with the Jade of Palace Gate in terms of martial arts technique.

But then he remember one of the lines in the Heartless Sutra and decided against it.

“The wrong the body committed, the heart remembers. The more the heart remember, the harder it is to break the boundary of the body. Being Heartless do not mean being unprincipled. Being heartless is being the Heaven. Being above it and at time supersede it, other times being below it. The Heart decides it, the Will supplement it, and the body is the instrument of the Heart and the crystallization of one Will.”

The temple has done no evil on him and treated him well. To even steal their martial arts would be too ungrateful, being a person that did not know to differentiate hatred and kindness.

Charles takes a deep breath and shakes his head and with it the temptation on his heart disappeared.

This is not easy. The temptation of this books is truly big. If this was any other person, to learn one of the Righteous temple manuals, would be one aspirations.

But Charles….the body is of a kid, the mind is a mind of a person that has been to war, in a Great War that pits millions of people, fighting in a war so great that Charles did not know whether he was fighting in a war or fighting for his life in the path of Hell.

One deep breath, and his temptation dissipated. As he was doing this a pair of eyes is looking at him, with a kind smile on that mysterious person face.

‘I need to seek the Enlightened Sage.’ As Charles enter the third floor he was greeted by something that shocked him to the core.

Sitting on the corner that leads to the fourth floor is a man dressed in black but looking old. The man like him has a cloth over his mouth are making Charles unable to identify him.

But it is clear from the wrinkles around his eyes that this person is old.

‘You have arrived’ the voice is booming, but also a little weird. Charles hearing the person voice understand that this person camouflaged his true voice by amplifying the voice that is coming out of his mouth using internal energy.

‘Who are you? Are you the one that guided me here?’

The man nodded

‘Why?’ Charles asked, as his hand tightened, forming a fist, ready to defend himself.

The man did not answer. The silence did not help in easing Charles heart

‘Do you know what I am looking for?’

‘The map’ the man said simply and Charles felt his heart tightened.

‘Are you a part of the Temple?’ The man nodded this make Charles face turns pale.

‘The Temple knew that the map is here? Why did you monks never try to search for it?’

‘There is only a few people that knows the map of the treasure is here. But even if a lot of monk learn of this matter….so what?’

‘The temple is not interested in the treasure?’ Charles tries to inquire more.

That person answered.

‘We are monks. Why would we care about treasures?

‘Then why not give it to someone else instead holding it here? I doubt I’m the first one coming here searching for this map?’ Charles did not know but he just throws this question out.

The old person did not say anything but then he sigh, his sigh reverberate inside the pagoda like it came from a distance place.

‘The last time this map surfaces in the martial arts world, the martial arts world went into a period of bloodshed. Martial families, sects and schools were destroyed. Bloodshed fills the martial arts world and people schemes and kill each other over the map, accumulating sins and wreak havoc in the peaceful life of the people of the world. When the Heroine Lin Ziyan defeated the Saber Monarch at the Flowing Water Mountain, she ended the bloodshed that started because of the map. Now it surfaces again. And with it once again comes bloodshed and killings all over the martial arts world. I have been guarding this area since I knew what’s in it.’

Charles heard his story. And he understand. But he needs to have the map all the same. How could he realizes his ambition if he did not have some form of leverage.

He had no power in his Father Princely House.

And military power lies in his brother.

Even though he could ask his father for soldiers, he dares not use those soldiers for those soldiers would surely under his brother thumb.

In the house, he has to acknowledge the legal wife as his mother, never being able to call his mother, mother.

How could he accept such things? He has been to a world where such things did not happen. And see what the world could be.

The world is beautiful and full of wonders.

This world is unfair, and the people are all duplicitous and seek power for the sake of power in times of choas.

Who want to pacify the world and improve the lives of its people? Other than him, there is not many.

He wanted to emulate the Wise Emperors of Bourbon dynasty, to enact new laws, unite the kingdoms, reform the world and pacify the entire world so that the common people could live easily and not suffer.

So how could he be stopped here?

‘Will you not let me pass?’ Charles ask, his eyes flashing.

The person then said.

‘Go over me and you can go upstairs.’ The man said, his voice is calm, as he stand. He stands there like a mountain, firm and unyielding.

But he did not release any killing intent, his eyes clear like he has seen through all of this life.

‘You won’t kill me?’ Charles ask.

‘We are monks. We do not kill.’ He stand there, proud but also seems to emit loneliness. Charles believes this man is a monk.

Should I fight? Or should I run? Charles thinks to himself. But then he think to himself. No pain, no gain.

‘Fine, then. Let us begin!’ Charles said as he charge forward.

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