Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chapter 1: The Girl In White (5)

Neither of the two masters pursued; Cheng Yin’s anger had subsided, and the abbot’s mind had already turned to the condition of his disciple Menghuan. A quick glance told him that the young man had already regained his color and should make a full recovery. His worries eased, the abbot turned to Cai Bangxiong. The body lay still, face covered in open wounds, clothes soaked with blood. Suppressed affection and remorse clutched at the abbot’s heart as he lowered his head and sighed. Slowly, he knelt by the fallen man.

The abbot placed a hand on the man’s barrel chest and found that it was cold; Cai Bangxiong’s soul had fled beyond the reach of even the abbot’s substantial powers. Just as the abbot thought to stand again, he remembered Bangxiong’s final words, “the Monadic Codex…” His heart raced as he reached down again to search the body. There, over his disciple’s heart, hidden beneath the folds of his blood-soaked shirt, the abbot discovered a small intricately carved jade box. The undamaged box dripped with fresh blood. The abbot opened it and removed a square sheet of white silk on which was painted a landscape in ink. The otherworldly scene depicted three mountains—two in front, the third centered above and behind. A long white strip of waterfall spilled down from the crest of the lofty central peak.

Yi Yang Zi stared for a time in bewilderment, then flipped the painting over. Traces of stitching were visible on the back. After picking out some of the thread with a fingernail, the abbot gently pulled apart what originally had been two separate sheets of silk. A glimpse of what lay inside shook the abbot to his core, and tears tumbled down his cheeks. Overcome, with lowered head, he stared blankly at the body of his fallen disciple. After another long sigh, he spoke: “How arduous the trials, my student, by which you have returned to the gates of the temple. Know, in death, that your transgressions are forgiven, and that the name of Cai Bangxiong shall be restored to the roster of the Kunlun Sect!”

* * *
Before being caught by the double palm strikes of the Twin Fiends, Yang Menghuan had had a brief window in which to circulate his internal energies to protect the vital points of his body, and thereby avoided serious injury. After Xialin assisted him by stimulating a vital point in his chest, normal circulation was restored and he regained consciousness. Opening his eyes to find the upper half of his body cradled in Xialin’s arms, Menghuan leapt to his feet, spurred by a mixture of gratitude and embarassment.

Xialin was overjoyed by the sight of his apparently instantaneous recovery. “Brother Menghuan, were you not injured?”

Menghuan shook his head. “I lost consciousness for a moment, but I think I’m all right. Thank you for your help, sister.”

Smiling, Xialin replied, “I suppose that means I should stop worrying now.”

As soon as the words were uttered, Xialin intuited that they revealed too much. She lowered her head and began fiddling with a corner of her gown.

Menghuan was both touched and troubled by Xialin’s obvious concern. He turned his head to see his master lifting the blood-stained body of the large barrel-chested man.

Menguan rushed over to offer his help, asking, “Master, who is this man?”
Yi Yang Zi took some comfort in seeing that his younger disciple was back on his feet. “He was your sect-brother, Cai Bangxiong.”

Menghuan was momentarily taken aback. For all Menghuan knew, he was Yi Yang Zi’s sole disciple. His master had never mentioned any others, and yet, here, on this day, one had seemingly dropped from the sky. He only recovered when his master scolded him sharply, saying “Quickly, bow to your elder brother!”

Menghuan decided that it was best not to ask any further questions. He dropped to his knees and bowed deeply to the bloody corpse, pressing his forehead all the way to the ground. He then rose and took the body from his master’s arms.

Yi Yang Zi turned to master Cheng Yin and said, “Please allow me the time to bury my disciple. However, when evening comes, I would be grateful for your company. There are many things I would like to discuss with you, brother of the Path. In the meantime, I apologize that you and Xialin must to proceed to the temple unescorted. Please make yourselves at home there.”


  1. Great story!! please continue with the good work!! Really, anticipating the next update!!!

  2. When is the next update? Loving this story very much!!!

  3. Thanks for your enthusiasm Allen. I'll push to get out another section soon!