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Akolaw, the word 'mind' did indeed cross my mind, as in the more familiar term 'heart, body and mind'; however, 'yi' (idea/intention/desire) has subtle difference from 'xin/jingshen/xinjing' (mind). Xiaohu, it was not too early, was it? Anurman, what Akolaw said. Liljanger, Jaya, HPC, you are welcome. Hungry, I doubt it. It seems to me the author did not mean XZL to have superior style; the upgrade so far has always been in inner power. Lance, probably, because the author meant the two boys to be always on par with each other. But this is just my guess.

Zhen Yan Dashi spoke nonchalantly, "Don't underestimate these nine words. They are actually classical quotation from 'Baopuzi', the canonical text of Daoist School written by the Eastern Jin's Ge Hong [283-363, Jin Dynasty Taoist and alchemist]. The original text says 'facing the troops for battle, all are arrayed at the front; often when considering this, nothing will not be opened up for development'."

Xu Ziling was bewildered even more; greatly startled, he asked, "What I don't understand is not the origin and the source of this nine-character incantation; rather, I felt it strange that Dashi unexpectedly thought it out at the last moment. Plus Dashi is of Buddhist school, why did you borrow the idea from Taoist school's ancient record?"

After gazing at him for half a day, Zhen Yan Dashi spoke softly, "Laona was going to use this as a pretext to illustrate to Shizhu the incantation's heavy in spirit but not heavy in form, the key ideal place the three secrets can be put to use. Besides, Buddhism and Taoism, in the end, aren't they of the same family?"

Respect was gushing out of Xu Ziling's heart; nodding his head, he said, "Xiaozi benefits from the advice!"

Zhen Yan Dashi suddenly shouted the word 'lin' [lit. facing; the first word of the nine above], while both hands were raised high above his head, sticking close to each other like a flower bud; the ring finger inclined at an angle, the tips of the fingers fit together.

Severely shaken, Xu Ziling exclaimed, "Formidable!"

Zhen Yan Dashi put his hands down and asked in delight, "What do you perceive?"

Xu Ziling replied, "Xiaozi felt that Dashi has turned into towering mountains and precipitous ridges, and nobody could sway Dashi the slightest bit."

Zhen Yan Dashi said, "This is precisely the fundamental 'motionless' print. Although there are thousand of schools, ten-thousand kinds of handprint, 'motionless' is one of the nine kinds of fundamental models; therefore, although today laona will only talk about nine different kinds of handprints, the fact is that it is tantamount to passing on all handprints at once to you. Watch."

He suddenly rose up, but still maintaining the sitting-cross-legged-in-meditation posture, except his hands were making a series of images one after another, changing indeterminately, and suddenly shouted loudly, "Bing [lit. troops, the second of nine words above]!" to let Xu Ziling know that he had finished demonstrating the more than a hundred changes in the fundamental print 'motionless', and was demonstrating another fundamental handprint.

Responding to the incantation, Xu Ziling's tinglun [sahasrara, the crown chakra, on the top of the skull] heated up. But when he sprang up, Zhen Yan Dashi turned over and landed some distance away. "This is the Da JinGang Lun Yin [Great Vajra Wheel/Chakra Print]; it can drive out devils and treat an illness. As for how to use it to subdue the devil and defend traditional values, it will depend on Shizhu yourself!"

Seeing how Zhen Yan's hands continuously producing endless changes of handprints, Xu Ziling began to understand why until today Zhen Yan Dashi still could not find someone to whom he could pass on the [Buddhist] law.

The fact is, the mystery within it could only be grasped intuitively, but could not be conveyed in words. If one said he understood, then he understood. If he said he did not understand, then any explanation would be useless.

Then Zhen Yan Dashi demonstrated the rest of fundamental print methods one by one. They were, in order, the Wai Shizi Yin [outer lion print], Nei Shizi Yin [inner lion print], Wai Fu Yin [outer bound (tie) print], Nei Fu Yin [inner bound (tie) print], Zhi Quan Yin [wisdom/knowledge fist print], Ri Lun Yin [sun/day wheel print], and Baoping Yin [lit. treasured/precious bottle/vase, i.e. Aquarius constellation, print].

Each fundamental handprint had hundreds of distinct changes. While Xu Ziling was unable to take his eyes off - as if he was drunk and stupefied, Zhen Yan already demonstrated more than a thousand different handprints.

Were it not for his earlier experience of gaining understanding inside the Luohan Hall, Xu Ziling would definitely be confused and disoriented, without knowing the reason.

However, this moment he understood tacitly; unconsciously his hands were following the example by producing different print styles.

Even when the sun has gone down in the west and the time has shifted, he was completely oblivious.

When Kou Zhong woke up, momentarily he was in dazed and did not know where he was. All around him he heard shouts boiling over, mixed with various sound of livestock mooing and bleating.

He sat up suddenly, and realized that he had been sleeping above a simple and crude clay bed, in a narrow and small thatched hut. Flickers of torchlight could be seen outside the window, where indistinct shadows of the peasants who brought him here were dragging the men and carrying the women. It seemed like they were running away from calamity to certain direction, rushing away, striving to be the first and fearing to be the last.


The wooden door was pushed open, and the native girl rushed in. With frightened expression she said, "Why haven't you run? The pirates are coming for real!"

Stunned, Kou Zhong looked at her blankly, thinking that wasn't he the big hero that was supposed to deal with the pirates? Why did she tell him to run away with them?

By this time he had sobered up a bit, "Don't be afraid," he said, "I am on top of everything. Where is my saber?"

The girl pointed to the wall and said, "You are not dead, are you? Quickly go!" No longer paying attention to Kou Zhong, she slipped away and disappeared.

Kou Zhong looked at the wall. Sure enough, the Moon in the Well was quietly hanging there. He inwardly praised the villagers' simplicity and honesty. In this era, even an unremarkable and shabby saber like this could still be sold for a good price.

The voices were gone. There was no sound outside. Stretching his limbs, Kou Zhong found out that not only his power has come back, it even surpassed his previous level. Feeling strange in his heart, he wondered inwardly whether after his true energy was exhausted, when it recovered, could it progress even more instead?

If it were true, then he had gained another kind of training method.

Thinking about the safety of the villagers, he jumped down the clay bed, fetched the Moon in the Well, and walked outside. The village, consisting of more than a hundred mud houses and thatched huts - was as quiet as a ghost domain. Evidently the villagers were well trained in evacuation procedures; even the chicken and the dogs did not remain.

Suddenly feeling something unusual, he looked to the northeast, and saw several li away the flame illuminating the heavens, the thick smoke covering the sun, while faint cries entering his ears.

Inwardly, Kou Zhong was severely shaken; who would be so savage that unexpectedly they openly set another village nearby on fire?

Murderous intent flared up in his heart immediately. Patting the Moon in the Well on his back, he rushed over at full speed.

Xu Ziling, who incarnated as the scar-faced warrior, walked along the main street at the southern market of Chengdu, looking for the contact address Zheng Shiru left him.

Although he had not really mastered the Huan Ri Da Fa of the scroll that Yue Shan left behind, he already had the shedding-his-mortal-body-and-exchange-his-bones feeling. It could be said that in the past few years his martial art skill was collected from the east and pieced together from the west, mixed together into the final product. And each time he was facing death, like a flash of realization he made another breakthrough, which, after the event, oftentimes he forgot most of it.

The advantage was that it made him unpredictable; while the downside was that it could not become one complete gongfa.

The 'Jiu Zi Zhen Yan Shou Yin' that Zhen Yan Dashi taught him was like an ocean where all streams, brooks, rivers, and creeks converged into one, allowing him to transform all his past understanding and experience into a consummate and endlessly creative system. Even he himself did not know this. But the moment he took his leave from Zhen Yan Dashi and stepped outside the gate of the Da Shi Temple, he already obtained both the Buddhist and Taoist Schools' paramount xinfa, which established his status as a grand master of the Central Plains, which, apart from Kou Zhong, no one could compare.

This moment Xu Ziling's frame of mind was like everything was new again. His disappointment from Shi Qingxuan and Shi Feixuan has become an out-of-reach old affair, which could only occupy a minuscule space in his current mind.

There were a lot of differences between his and Kou Zhong's character, but both of them did not like to be under someone else's control. Moreover, neither one was willing to act under someone else's bidding.

Therefore, even though he promised Shi Qingxuan and Shi Feixuan that he would lure Xi Ying out to exterminate him, he was only willing to accomplish it his way, and did not want to receive any help either.

To be honest, at that time he also had a bit of desire to destroy the subtle man-woman sentiment in his heart toward Shi Qingxuan and Shi Feixuan.

But everything has become the thing of the past.

Zhen Yan Dashi was another Lu Miaozi, which made him climb an even higher peak, and see things and realms that he had not seen before.

Xu Ziling leisurely halted his steps across the street to survey the big mansion where Zheng Shiru stayed. On the surface it looked just like any other house of a rich or noble family. However, since the master of the house was able to host a martial art personage like Zheng Shiru, naturally it was, most likely, a gang or society household, or at least it had close contacts with Jianghu people.

While he was trying to figure out how to secretly enter and investigate the situation inside, a group of five, six people walked out of the open wide main gate, and heading to the north along the street; surprisingly, one of them was Zheng Shiru.

Xu Ziling cheered inwardly.

He never believed that Zheng Shiru and Yin Gui Pai's relationship was just as he explained to Xu Ziling earlier, and now was a good opportunity to find out whether Zheng Shiru was telling the truth.

Whatever the case, he believed that Zheng Shiru would be the best candidate to spread the news that Yue Shan has arrived in Chengdu.

Just like Shi Feixuan predicted, Xi Ying openly bullying the monks of the Great Stone Temple could not be as simple as it looked on the outside; rather, he must have wanted to lure his arch-enemy, the 'Heavenly Saber' Song Que - to leave his home and go down south, to be dealt with.

But Xu Ziling had his own ideas.

If Xi Ying really had the guts to openly issue a written war challenge to Song Que, then no matter how far away, Song Que must come to respond.

Evidently Xi Ying did not dare to have a fair, decisive battle against Song Que. In other words, there must be crafty plots and machinations in this affair. Sichuan was Xie Hui's territory, what gave Xi Ying such a confidence?

One of the reasons would be that Xi Ying had Yin Gui Pai behind his back, supporting his waist; hence the reason why Zheng Shiru and Wanwan had to come from far away to this place.

Supposing his conjecture matched with the facts, perhaps he could meet Xi Ying even tonight.

Xu Ziling flashed into a side lane. By the time he reappeared from another small alley, from the scar-faced hero, he had become the 'Overbearing Saber' Yue Shan, striding toward the group of people, in which Zheng Shiru was one of them - who were walking in his direction.

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