Chapter 10: The Fifth Master?
Teacher Fei’s brow slowly furrowed. Having believed that the blind man was quite capable and powerful, it never occurred to him that there would be any problems with Fan Xian’s inner energy. Checking his pulse today, however, he discovered something quite unusual.
The usually pervy teacher was pulling a rather solemn face, which Fan Xian took to mean that something may be wrong. “What’s the matter?” he laughed concernedly.
“Are you not afraid of going crazy laughing like that?” Teacher Fei glared at him. “I already gathered from the last time you practiced that your inner energy was potent; I just didn’t expect it to be that potent.”
“Potent? How potent?” Fan Xian scratched his head.
“Quite potent,” Teacher Fei replied seriously.
Fan Xian stared at him somberly. “Teacher, are we talking stupid here?”
Teacher Fei was an expert on poisons but was not a master in martial arts. Naturally, he has no way to discern the nature of the unknown inner energy Fan Xian had built from training. It was obvious, however, that the inner energy within the child’s body was dangerous. Pondering for a moment, he advised Fan Xian to look for Five-Bamboo. Xiao Fan merely sighed and told him that Uncle Five-Bamboo was only acting on Obaa-chan’s (The term here held the meaning of Old Mother, so I’m using the Japanese equivalent ~MCM) words to hand him this book. Even he himself has not tried practicing it. Further questions were also dismissed.
“Master Five is too much. As a servant in your house, how could he not teach you personally and instead allowed you to practise these dangerous martial arts alone?” Teacher Fei raged.
For more than a year now, he has already regarded the five year old child in front of him as his greatest achievement in his later life, looking forward to the time when Fan Xian could take over his mantle and continue his work. That is perhaps why, having heard about this incident, he began to berate the blind Five-bamboo.
“Is Uncle Five-bamboo that powerful?” Fan Xian narrowed his eyes in suspicion, not unlike a little fox.
“Of course!” Teacher Fei reminisced, “It’s just that there are not many who know about Master Five’s existence… I take it you’ve heard of the Four Grandmasters?”
Fan Xian certainly knew who they were. In this day and age, the four strongest martial artists whom the commoners revered were known as the Four Grandmasters. With a rough guess, it was safe to say there were two in the Qin nation, another in the Northern Qi nation and the last in the Eastern Yi city.
In recent years, under the rule of the Emperor, the Qin nation has managed to gain an overwhelming advantage in strength. (Referring to the conquest of nearby nations I suppose ~MCM) Oddly though, ever since the bloody revolution a year ago, while the nation was prospering, the Emperor began to mellow and was no longer interested in expanding the nation. As the strongest and most prosperous nation, it was not surprising that two of the Grandmasters were residing there.
“That’s right. There are two Grandmasters in our nation currently,” Teacher Fei laughed dryly. “The common folks are stupid – they only consider the strong to be those who are skilled in fighting. Have they never considered that with just a small dose of poison, even a Grandmaster would……”
Fan Xian coughed pointedly, cutting his Teacher’s bragging short.
“…….If we exclude the mysterious temple, of the two of the Four Grandmasters in the Qin nation, one of them is the current Head of the Capital’s Garrison Guards’ Master’s younger brother, Liu Yun of the Flowing Cloud Sparring technique. (Tricky one here, Liu Yun also means Flowing Cloud, so it’s literally Flowing Cloud Sparring Technique’s Flowing Cloud. Sheesh. ~MCM)
Fan Xian’s eyes widened at the ridiculously long title. However, the Capital’s Garrison guards were responsible for the safety of the entire Capital city. As it was a place of utmost significance, that Head’s Master’s…… younger brother, Liu Yun or whatever, might be really formidable.
“There is also another expert who is rumored to live in the Palace. No one has seen such a person though.”
“C’mon, teach, we’re talking about Uncle Five-Bamboo here.”
“What’s you friggin’ hurry, kid?” Teacher Fei glared at him. “That Liu Yun fellow has fought seventeen times, none of which he lost. However, your mother beat the crap out of Liu Yun’s nephew, which is the Head of the Capital’s Garrison Guard’s Master’s son, (If you’re think I’m doing this because I hate you, you’re wrong, this is the actual text ~MCM) the first time she arrived in the Capital. Afterwards, Liu Yun put out the word that he was looking for her, intending to cause trouble for her.”
Fan Xian was dazed. This was a side of his mother he didn’t expect; to think his Obaa-chan (refer to note above ~MCM) used to be such a badass nut-buster back in her days.
Teacher Fei chuckled. “I don’t know what happened afterwards, but one day Liu Yun just stopped bothering about the incident. His nephew even came to Tai Pin Pavilion to formally apologise to your mother.”
“No one knew what happened; the whole charade was suspicious as hell. But what probably happened was that Liu Yun and Master Five-Bamboo fought below (根下 refers to underneath, so I have no idea what’s going on as well ~MCM) the Imperial City. As Master Five was your mother’s servant, it is only natural for him to deal with incidents such as this,” Teacher Fei said while sipping the tea he was holding.
“Who won?” Fan Xian’s eyes were wide as saucers. Although he already knew that the blind Five-Bamboo was a formidable opponent, he did not imagine that the latter had once fought with Liu Yun, who one of the current Four Grandmasters.
“No one knew the results, but it was probably a tie,” Teacher Fei furrowed his brow. “I’ve also heard that after the fight, Liu Yun went back to his dojo (剑阁 was used here which means Sword Hall ~MCM) and trained blindfolded for half a year. It seems that after that fight, he never laid down his sword, finally developing a unique sparring technique which allowed him to become a Grandmaster. I suppose that fight was a major motivation for him.”
He tilted his little head in thought. The Four Grandmasters? Wouldn’t that mean that Five-bamboo, who was only slightly weaker, would rank as the Fifth Grandmaster?
Fan Xian’s eyes glimmered. To think the blind servant at home was actually ridiculously powerful; there would be nothing to be frightened of when he travels the world in the future. (He meant that since even a blind man could become strong, he shouldn’t have a problem as well ~MCM)
All of a sudden, he had a question. “Teacher, didn’t you say that all these were secrets? How would you know them then?”
“I am a high ranking member of the Empire Bureau of Investigation, what secrets does this
world hold that are unknown to me?” Teacher Fei replied coldly.
Without knowing why, Fan Xian has always been interested in the powerful people in the world. It was almost as if he believed that he would meet these people later in life. “What about the other three Grandmasters? Has teacher seen them before as well?”
“The other expert in the Qin nation exists solely in rumors. The best bet anyone would have of his location would be within the Imperial Palace, but no one has actually seen the person before,” Teacher Fei said. “As for the most powerful person in the Northern Qi nation, it’s naturally their leader, that pervy old baldie Ku He.”
“Baldie?” Fan Xian remembered that Buddhism does not exist in this world. Therefore, Buddhist monks should not exist.
“Yes, he was an ascetic. I’ve heard that Ku He used to be a travelling hermit; he once knelt in front of the green stone steps at the temple for three months, surviving only on rain water. Unexpectedly, this moved the people in the temple and he was thus accepted into the Tian Shou religion, eventually becoming a Grandmaster,” Teacher Fei begrudgingly said. It appears that he really admires this ascetic Ku He. “One glance and you could see that the Baldie is obviously a swindler.”
“Temple. It is a place where people worship.”
“Teacher, you’re talking stupid again.”
“……The temple is the most mysterious place in the land. According to rumors, it was used by our ancestors to worship gods. However, apart from ba you do everyday aside, how could you be so disrespectful to such a holy and sacred place?”
Caressing his head, he looked up at his teacher in surprise. For one, he was astonished to find out that the teacher he knew, who would unflinchingly poison someone, was actually respectful to the temple. Another thing he realized was that he actually accepted the far-fetched explanation regarding the Four Grandmasters and the temple casually.
It looks like he would fit in just fine in this world.