Thousand Autumns – Chapter 10
Quality Check: Kai
First published on Ainushi.
Ahh, I finally finished the background setting chapters. From now on, the story will pick up and we get to see INTERACTIONS finally!!!!
Synopsis: Shen Qiao: My heart is too tired to love again.
Not only was the little monk not in a mood to appreciate it, in fact, she was extremely horrified.
Because she had absolutely no idea where this hand had come from and all she could do was to let the other person hold her wrist between his fingers since she was absolutely powerless against him!
"Ahhh!!!" A sharp sensation of pain burst out of her wrist. She could not help but cry out in pain.
Any man who heard this voice would, if not have protective feelings towards the woman, then at least slightly pause their movement. However, it was a pity that since she had the simple and honest face of a little monk, the effect was not very ideal and the person she had run into had a heart of stone. As her wrist bone was brutally crushed by the grip, her body flew up immediately afterwards. But it was not due to her taking the initiative to run away–she was actually thrown off.
The delicate body crashed straight into the porch column so hard that even the pillar seemed to have shaken a little with the impact. The little monk tumbled down and vomited out several mouthfuls of blood, looking wretched.
One of her wrists was broken by the crushing grip and the other hand had just been pierced by the Cicada Wing Blades. With a pair of badly mangled hands, she was as pitiful as one could possibly be.
But she did not seem to take such a devastating condition into her heart. Instead, she fiercely gazed at the person who had injured her and asked, "Who are you…", her voice muffled by the blood in her mouth.
The black-robed man replied, "There's no need to stare at me like this. Sang Jingxing and Yuan Xiuxiu would not have dared to boast about winning against me for sure even if they were to team up, let alone you?"
Bai Rong's expression changed a little, "May I know your honorable name, Sir?"
On the other side, someone had already answered her question, "May I ask what would be the reason for Sect Master Yan to appear at this place?"
Sect Master Yan… Yan Wushi?!
Bai Rong's eyes slightly widened. She could hardly believe it.
As the most prominent disciple of the Harmony Sect, she had often heard the name of Yan Wushi. Even though the three Demonic Sects had originated from the same root, they had been on bad terms since long ago. In particular, the Harmony Sect had frequently caused troubles for the Cleansing Moon Sect during the ten years that Yan Wushi had been missing due to his Closed Door Meditation, taking the opportunity to hit them harder while they were down. Now that Yan Wushi had re-appeared in the pugilistic world, her injury… To be honest, it was not unjust.
Yan Wushi sneered, "Why can't I be here when even an old bald donkey  like you can come?"
Accompanied by his voice, the monk who was holding a jade bell in his hand slowly walked out of the shadows. However, he was nothing like the "old bald donkey" Yan Wushi had called him. He had a jade like countenance, appearing to be in the early thirties and attired in a snow-white monk's robe so clean that not even a speck of dust could be found on it. Without the need to speak, his entire body was already portrayed with the four words: "A Well-Respected Senior Monk".
His appearance did not create a big stir among the younger generation such as Murong Xun and Tuoba Liangzhe. However, the expression on Murong Qin's and Yun Fuyi's faces changed abruptly on seeing him.
Murong Qin shouted, "I didn't expect that two otherworldly experts as noble as the Great Perceptor of Zhou Dynasty, Master Xueting, and the grandmaster of the generation, Sect Master Yan, would also act so furtively, hiding in the dark and secretly sneaking into the country of Qi in order to seize the remaining book of The Strategy of the Vermillion Yang! Wanting to take advantage of our disputes to steal it away, do you still want to save your faces or not?"
Master Xueting replied, "There's no need for Patriarch Murong to get so excited. The Emperor of Zhou Dynasty has banned both Buddhism and Daoism ever since Duke Jin passed away. This old monk  is no longer the Great Perceptor of Zhou. The only reason that I came tonight is because of a request from an old friend of mine. I hope that Vice Chairman Yun could hand over the item to me so that I can return it to its rightful owner in order to fulfill his long-cherished wish."
Bai Rong spat out some bloody foam and giggled, "I've never seen a monk who has a face as thick as yours. It's obvious that you have conceived a scheme after seeing the treasure, but you just said it was a request from some old friend. Everybody knows that The Strategy of the Vermilion Yang has become a treasure with no owner after the death of Tao Hongjing. Could it be that Tao Hongjing has visited you in your dreams, asking you to collect the books and burn it for him ?"
Zen Master Xueting showed neither grief nor happiness. He put his palms together , as if he simply didn't hear Bai Rong's words.
Since there were two more people, Murong Qin and Bai Rong didn't dare to hurriedly attack Yun Fuyi again, though Yun Fuyi did not feel relaxed because of it. Instead, her heart became even heavier.
Ever since the death of Qi Fengge, there was no greater martial artist than the top ten.
Both Zen Master Xueting and Yan Wushi had their names on the list among the ten people. The former's martial arts level was a profound mystery, and it was very likely that he had already made it into the top three. As for the latter, although he had gone missing for many years, he had crushed Kunye, the new generation expert who had once defeated the sect leader of Mount Xuandu, right after his return to the pugilistic world.
Yun Fuyi would not be able to handle either one of them. Who would have expected that they would both come?
Thinking about the task which the chairman, Dou Yanshan, had entrusted to her, her mouth was filled with bitterness.
It wasn't that she did not strive her hardest, but the situation tonight was just way beyond what she had anticipated.
It was true that these people did not get along with each other, but all of them had a common goal–the remaining book of The Strategy of the Vermillion Yang that was on her.
The Strategy of the Vermillion Yang written by Tao Hongjing consisted of five books, each using one of the five elements to correspond to one of the five visceras in human body. It was divided into five sections: Knowledge of Mind, Demonic Souls, Wandering Spirits,  Turbid Energy and Free Will, integrating the philosophies of the Three Schools and was claimed to be an unprecedentedly marvelous book. The three books that were currently known were located in the Imperial Palace of Zhou Dynasty, Mount Xuandu, and the Tiantai Sect respectively, while the whereabouts of the other two books remained a mystery.
Relying on the remaining books in their hands, Mount Xuandu and Tiantai Sect each held steadfast their leading position among the Daoist sects and the Buddhist sects as if they were the grandmasters among all martial artists in the world. Qi Fengge even became the number one martial artist under the heaven through serendipity.
Although his disciple, Shen Qiao, fell quite short and was actually pushed down the cliff by other people's attacks, it was Shen Qiao's own fault for not having studied well. It had nothing to do with The Strategy of the Vermillion Yang. Even if one could possess just one book of it, by learning the essence within it and comprehending the mysteries inside, it might not be impossible for someone to achieve the strength to become the number one martial artist under the heavens, like Qi Fengge.
All of the three books for which the locations were known were stored with great security by the respective sects. It was not that easy for others to seize them by force. The other two books had no owners and were reserved for the capable. Therefore, when the news that Yun Fuyi carried the remaining book of The Strategy of the Vermillion Yang on her body was secretly spread out, they had attracted groups after groups of robbers.
The people in the Six Harmonies Association hadn't known the truth. They had simply thought that there were some rare treasures hidden in those two chests. After hearing that Yun Fuyi was carrying The Strategy of the Vermillion Yang on her, they had all been dumbfounded and were unable to react even till then.
In the silence of the confrontation, all those involved had concerns and fear towards one another. Nobody was willing to take action first.
Murong Qin had had the intention to snatch it by force, but he also knew that once he attacked, the monk Xueting and Yan Wushi would definitely strike to stop him.
Being at the center of the vortex, Yun Fuyi was deeply worried inside, but she was already at the end of her tether.
She knew at heart that even if she could survive the crisis tonight, after the news got out tomorrow, there would only be more people coming for the treasure instead of less. In the worst case, even people from the Jade Cloud Sect on Mount Tai and the Linchuan Institute would be drawn there. By that time, it might as well be said that the Six Harmonies Association could never have peaceful days again.
She made a plan in her mind and settled for the second best option, choosing the person who seemed to be the most trustworthy among all present: "The saying is right. 'Things are always reserved for the capable.' Since Six Harmonies Association does not have enough strength, hiding the treasure would be more of a misfortune to us rather than a fortune. I'm willing to hand over the book of The Strategy of the Vermillion Yang in exchange for peace. May I ask if master can guarantee the safety of me and my subordinates if I were to give the book to you?"
Zen Master Xueting declared Buddha’s name , "Vice Chairman Yun is a highly principled person. How would this old monk dare to not put in all of my efforts?"
After going through several rounds of serious considerations, Yun Fuyi secretly clenched her teeth and took out a small bamboo tube from her clothes. Hu Yan and Hu Yu couldn't resist stretching their necks for a peek and Bai Rong could not help but straighten up. It was hard to believe that this ordinary bamboo tube which was slimmer than a woman's wrist actually contained the remaining book of The Strategy of the Vermillion Yang, something that everyone in the world wanted.
Bai Rong had no strength to compete with them since both of her hands were injured, therefore she simply rested against the porch column to enjoy the show.
But Murong Qin had already turned into a shadow, flashing straight toward that bamboo tube.
However, before he could get near Yun Fuyi, the wind created by Zen Master Xueting's palm had already arrived from behind like a breeze accompanied by the endless sounds of the jade bell, with each sound seeming to pound straight on people's hearts. In Murong Qin's ears, it was no different from what Yun Fuyi had experienced just a while before. His steps suddenly became a thousand pounds heavier and his chest felt so tight that it made him sick.
He knew that it was definitely the jade bell affecting him, so he simply closed his ears and stopped listening. But the movement of his hand did not stop. It was still reaching towards the bamboo tube in Yun Fuyi's hand.
No one knew what Yan Wushi was thinking as he also put a hand in the fight. His figure shifted slightly. He had flashed behind Murong Qin so fast that even the shadow of the flowers had not yet moved from the breeze of his passing.
He reached out his hand. But instead of preventing Murong Qin from grabbing the bamboo tube, it was to stop Zen Master Xueting.
In a blink of eye, the two people had already thrown out more than a couple dozen moves. Not to mention Chen Gong, who was already dazzled and had absolutely no idea what was happening, even young talents like Hu Yan and Hu Yu were also utterly mystified.
Chen Gong got dizzy from just watching, but he could not move his eyes away. Just as he was becoming deeply entranced, Shen Qiao suddenly pressed onto his shoulder, whispering, "Get up, go!"
Normally, whenever Shen Qiao said one sentence, Chen Gong had to argue back with at least three. It was rare that he listened to him obediently this time. Clenching his teeth, he got up after a great deal of struggling and was about to leave without a word.
However, right after he stood up, Chen Gong felt a vigorous power lifting him up by his back as his whole body flew high up into the sky. He was extremely frightened and couldn't restrain his screams. By the time when Yan Wushi threw him on top of the roof, his legs were so weak that he knelt straight down and nearly fell off the roof.
He had been utterly out of luck ever since the beginning of tonight. Chen Gong started to become desperate. He looked down as he trembled and saw an extra person next to Yan Wushi.
Shen Qiao had also been fetched onto the roof.
He even had a bamboo tube in his hand–it had been forced onto him by Yan Wushi, something that he neither wanted to hold on to nor was able to throw away. He looked puzzled and helpless. "We are only two little men who happened to stayed here for the night and are not related to the business in the pugilistic world at all. The debt has its debtor. Could Sect Master Yan please not tease us like this?"
Yan Wushi smiled as he replied, "How could you call this teasing? I'm giving you an enormous benefit. Now, something that everyone in this world wants is right in your hands. Aren't you feeling a little happy at least?"
No one had expected that Yan Wushi involved himself in the fight just to give the bamboo tube to two irrelevant small potatoes who happened to be present. For a moment, everyone there stared at Shen Qiao with burning gaze, wishing they could burn a hole on him.
Zen Master Xueting frowned, "Why the need for Sect Master Yan to involve non-related people into this?"
Yan Wushi fiddled with the jade accessory tied on his clothes in a careless manner. "Aren't you all dying to see what's written in there? We're not going to reach an end if we keep fighting like this, so why not let everyone have a share of it? If I'm the one reading it out loud, the rest of you definitely won't believe what I say. If you're the one reading it, I can't trust your words either. Then it's better to let him read it. How much you hear out of what he reads, however, depends on your own luck then."
 Old bald donkey (老秃驴 Lao Tulü): An insulting way to call a monk.
 This old monk: He's referring to himself.
 Burn it for someone: In Chinese culture, it is believed that if you burn something for a deceased person, they will receive it in the underworld.