Chapter 19: Follow Your Heart

At the peak of Cangshan…where a chessboard of black and white pieces laid…

There was only one person sitting at the chess table and he wore a long black robe. In his hand however, was a white chess piece.

“Has Tang Lian arrived at the Nine Dragons Temple yet?” A voice transmitted over from an unknown place.

The person sitting at the table shook his head and laughed, “He’s there, but he arrived empty handed.”

“Why? Did he make a mistake somewhere?”

“Yes, that’s because two old friends showed up.”

“The White Haired Immortal and the Violet Duke?”

“They had a part in that, for sure.  Although Tang Lian’s martial arts has improved tremendously and  though he can be considered an outstanding talent amongst younger generation, I’m afraid he is still doesn’t stand a chance against experts of that level.” The person sitting at the table placed down his white piece and said, “It’s your turn.”

A small hole appeared on the chess board.

The person holding the white piece shook his head, “Every time I play with you, you end up destroying one of my chess boards. Even if your sword qi has reached such a stage, is there a need to show that off to me?”

“So, that monk was taken away by the Outheaven then? If that’s the case, you shouldn’t even be here playing chess with me” The person who spoke ignored the man at the table.

“No. I’ve received information that Outheaven failed as well. During a chaotic fight, the monk managed to slip away. He even brought along two of Tang Lian’s companions, then he disappeared and no one knew where he went off to. My guess would be the Grand Sanskrit Temple. One of his father’s former close friend, Wang Rensun, is there. It is also his teacher, Master Wangyou’s homeland.”

“You mentioned there were two others traveling with Tang Lian? Are they disciples of Snow Moon City?”

“No. Tang Lian’s letter said that there was a disciple from the Lei Clan. In all likelihood, he was on his way to Snow Moon City to seek tutelage”

“Lei Clan’s disciple? The Lei Clan never said anything about sending a disciple to Snow Moon City… Could this be a plot?”

“Unlikely. Tang Lian is cautious in everything he does. There is no need to worry.”

“What about the other person?”

“The report mentioned he isn’t a martial artist. He doesn’t know any martial arts and is the owner of an inn. Because that Lei Clan disciple owes him money, he ended up tagged along. According to Tang Lian, that person isn’t simple..”

“What’s his name?”

“His surname is…Xiao,” Answered the man holding the white piece, emphasizing that last word deliberately.

The unseen person into thought for a moment then he suddenly asked another question, “Is there other news?”

“Yes, a disastrous one. Just like you thought, that person in the palace couldn’t sit idle any longer. The number two expert of the Five Grand Eunuchs, Grand Eunuch Jin Xian of the Incense quietly left the imperial palace a month ago and rushed all the way to the Kingdom of Khotan.”

“Chen Jingzhou went as well, I see. It seems like that person in the palace doesn’t trust us.”

“You can never be too careful, not to mention the fact that you never trusted that person in the palace. The imperial palace intentions are that at least one of the three of us has to make a move. Yet here we are, one of us is busy training in the way of the sword, another is busy playing chess, and the last one is off drinking wine somewhere.”

“You were supposed to make the trip this time around. Although Tang Lian is the most outstanding disciple in this generation of Snow Moon City’s disciples, he cannot possibly defeat so many experts himself. Just that monk alone is a difficult opponent.”

“The chief said to give the youngsters an opportunity to train themselves.”

“What about now? Will you head over to Khotan?”

“Hahaha, the chief said that their trial isn’t over yet” The person holding the white chess piece seemed like he was in a good mood as he lightly placed down another piece.

The other person suddenly sank into silence. After a long time, the man holding the white piece felt a falling leaf brush past his face. Raising his head, he found a blue robed man standing in front of him with a slender sword in hand.

“You’re thinking of going over alone?” The black clothed man brushed off the fragments of leaves on his body and stood up.

“Matters concerning the safety of the Central Plains have to be taken seriously.” The blue clothed man replied crisply.

“You… you take matters concerning the empire too seriously. He’s just a seventeen year old kid… How much trouble can he cause?” The black clothed man sighed.

“That’s a seventeen year old who has learnt all of the martial arts within the Rakshasa Hall and is also the child of the Outheaven’s Sect Master.”

“So what if that’s the case? There are at least seven or eight people in Snow Moon City with his level of martial arts. There are probably ten or so in the palace. And what about Tangmen? The Lei Clan? Should we be afraid of him?”

“Then what about in the Outheaven faction, how many do you think they have? And the sixteen sects of the Unorthodox Sect?” The blue clothed man returned his question.

“You’re thinking about protecting the world, but no one said that the unorthodox sects are still bent on throwing the world into chaos. The fact is, the twelve year deadline is up, he is supposed to leave anyway. Now we’re the ones trying to forcefully keep him; are we going to turn into the villains who can’t even keep their word?”

“What does the chief say?”

“The intention of the chief is very simple. Twelve years ago, when the unorthodox sects led an invasion eastward – the Snow Moon City wasn’t afraid then. Twelve years later today, with just a young sect master returning to his sect, the Snow Moon City has even less reason to be afraid. Problems concerning the younger generation should be solved by people of the younger generation. Us old fellows will only interfere when they can’t solve the problem. He has already sent a letter to Tang Lian three days ago… it should have arrived by now.”

“What was written in the letter?”

“There were only three words.”

“Follow your heart”

The blue clothed man was stunned. “Follow your heart?”

“Just like what our esteemed teacher wrote to us twelve years ago, ‘follow your heart’.” The black clothed man laughed.

“That Baili Dongjun… still as reckless as ever.” The blue clothed man thought in silence for a long time before letting out a long sigh. He kept the sword in his hand and his figure disappeared in an instant.

“Hey, are we still playing then?” The black clothed man asked in a clear voice, but there was no one to respond to him. An instant later, the chess board in front of him split in half.

The black clothed man helplessly shook his head, “Your temper is still as violent as before. When will you ever master the Water Impeding Sword Art, that which requires a heart as still as water?”

……

At the border of Biluo City, within the Nine Dragon Temple.

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Tang Lian was in the midst of releasing a messenger pigeon from the center of the courtyard. Beside him was Wuchan, head hung low as he asked, “what was in that letter?”

“My esteemed teacher only sent me a phrase.” Tang Lian raised his head to look at the moon. In that instant, it felt as though his thoughts were drifting in the wind.

Wuchan was stunned for a moment. He exhaled a breath and chanted, “Amitabha.”

“Not that phrase.” Tang Lian shook his head.

Wuchan laughed and said, “Brother Tang, this humble monk was only sighing.”

Tang Lian regained his wits then and he couldn’t help but laugh. “My mind was a little out of it. However, I don’t quite understand the three words my esteemed teacher left me. ‘Follow your heart’, what does that mean? Is there a different meaning for those words in the Buddhist teachings?”

Wuchan sank into thought for a moment and said, “The Buddha says: follow your heart, follow your self, follow your fate.”

Tang Lian heard what he said and he sighed, “I was born in Tangmen. Since I was young, I was raised strictly because of that. When I was twelve, I trained in the six arts of poisoning of the Inner Hall. When I was sixteen, I learned all thirty three hidden weapon arts of the Outer Hall. I left for Snow Moon City when I was seventeen and that was when I met my esteemed teacher. It has been nine years since then. For those past twenty six years, it felt like everything had already been laid out for me. I merely had to do as I was told. Follow my heart, follow my self and follow my fate. I really don’t understand the meaning behind these three phrases. If Wuxin was that important, shouldn’t my esteemed teacher have sent down the killing order of Snow Moon City?”

“Killing order? Brother Tang thinks that Wuxin should die?” Wuchan hesitated for a moment before asking.

“I don’t think he should die.” Tang Lian shook his head. “However, if my esteemed teacher wrote that in his letter, I wouldn’t hesitate in the slightest.”

Wuchan sighed and he said no more.

“That’s right, Master Wuchan, I never asked you before, but what kind of person is Wuxin?” Tang Lian suddenly asked.

“This humble monk left the temple at a young age so he has only interacted with Wuxin on several occasions. Back then, he was just a child so this humble monk doesn’t actually know the answer to your question.”

“However, there was a single memory that left in this humble monk’s mind. That day, this humble monk was practicing his fist arts in the temple while Wuxin sat on the edge of the roof. After this humble monk completed his training, Wuxin suddenly asked, was that the Vajra Demon Subduing Divine Skill? But with such a strong desire to subdue the demon, how are you different from the demon itself?”

“This humble monk couldn’t understand his words back then. However, Wuxin continued, to be an Arhat and to subdue demons. The sin of killing, what is meant by that is to slay one’s malicious thoughts and free the mind. What you’re slaying is your inner demons, not the outer ones. This humble monk has entered the temple for six years and trained in the Vajra Demon Subduing Divine Skill for three years. Yet his words were like a lightning bolt that day. After thinking on t for a long time, I turned around only to find that Wuxin was nowhere to be found.”

“After that, this humble monk continued training in the Vajra Demon Subduing Divine Skill, all the while bearing his words in mind -I had never felt so at ease with my training before. When Master Dajue of the Nine Dragon Temple came to the Snowy Peak Temple, I had just so happened to have reached the fourth tier of the Vajra Demon Subduing Divine Skill.” Wuchan said.

“Had it not been for master’s words just now, I wouldn’t have believed that a five year old child could speak with such wisdom.” Tang Lian nodded his head. “Can I be so bold as to ask master something? Is our current desire to subdue the demon too strong as well?”

“Wuxin isn’t a demon, master wasn’t a demon either. They were just disturbed by external demons.” Wuchan said in a grave voice.

“So, Master Wuchan, what will be our plan tomorrow?” Tang Lian asked once again.

Wuchan thought about it and laughed, “Just follow your heart.”

Tang Lian glanced at Wuchan but he was met with a candid gaze from the monk, no sense of levity to be found anywhere on his face. He sighed, “I thought master’s heart has long since petrified like a stone.”

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“It’s not like I’m those old monks inside, what stony heart is there to speak of?” Wuchan took a step forward and he leaped onto the roof. “Brother Tang, you can take your time and slowly think about it. This humble monk is going back to sleep.”

Tang Lian was stunned for a moment. This monk always had a face full of righteousness and seriousness, yet here he was, revealing a sense of youthfulness never before seen in him -it was surprising, to say the least. Wuchan spun around, and as he did so, his sleeves danced in the wind. With a light smile on his smile, he almost resembled his junior martial brother, Wuxin.

“To follow your heart, follow your self, and follow your fate, it just means not to think too much about it. That feeling in your heart tomorrow when you meet them, that’s what your heart truly desires.”

Tang Lian was stunned for a second, yet before he could react, that gray robe had already disappeared in a flash. Although Wuchan was already gone, the soft chanting could be heard from the main hall behind him. Tang Lian laughed as he raised his head to look into the distance, “Follow my heart. Is that the lesson my esteemed teacher wishes me to learn this time? Tang Lian will remember it so.”


TL: Sorry for the delay in chapters, was a little busy this week.



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