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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Smiling Proud Wanderer: Chapter 21 (3)

Read the first 20 chapters here!

Having decided, he began tracing the handwritings on the steel plate and tried to memorized everyone word of it.
“I must completely memorize this thing, so that the formulas will simply bolt out when I teach him and he will never have any doubt about it. Only that my voice is too different from that of the senior master Ren. I’ll really have to lower my voice. I’ve got an idea! I can shout at the top of my lungs for the next two days and dampen my voice. Then I’ll also mumble when I speak, so it’ll be hard for him to detect anything unusual.”
In the next while, Linghu Chong would spend some time reading the formulas on the steel plate, and then spend the next moment shouting out loud. He knew that the dungeon was located deep underground, and with the many gates, even if he were to burn firecrackers in the cell, people outside would still not be able to hear anything. Crying at the top of his lungs, he cursed the Four Skunks of Jiangnan for a good while and then began singing songs and theater opera. Eventually, even he, himself, couldn’t withstand his own ugly singing. He burst out into loud laughter. Then he would go back to memorizing the formulas on the steel plate.
Suddenly, Linghu Chong came upon a few sentences: “Make Dan-Tian[1] an empty box and a deep valley. Empty box can store objects; deep valley is a reservoir for water. When inner energy flows through, distribute into the acupoints in the Ren Channel.”
He had actually traced these sentences with his fingers a few times before, but since he detested all energy cultivation techniques in his mind, he never really thought about the meaning inside. Now when they caught his attention, he was very dumbfounded.
“When Master taught me inner strength cultivation, the main essentials were all about storing inner energy inside Dan-Tian. The more vigorous and dense the inner entry streams inside Dan-Tian, the stronger the inner strength. Why would this formula say that there should be no inner energy stored inside Dan-Tian? If inner energy cannot reside inside Dan-Tian, then where inner strength would be coming from? No inner strength cultivation methods out there will ever suggest something like this. Is this technique a joke? Ha-ha! Black-White is a wicked and despicable man. Why don’t I pass this method on to him and make a fool out of him?”
He traced the handwritings on the steel plate and slowly pondered over the meaning. The first several hundred characters taught techniques on how to disperse one’s own inner strength and energy. The more he read it, the more shocked he felt.
“Who in the world would be so stupid and willing to dissolve the inner energy he had once diligently cultivated over his entire life? Unless he was determined to end his life. But if he wanted a suicide, he could just easily slash his throat with his own sword. Why make it so complicated? To dissolve inner energy this way is much more difficult than cultivating inner energy. Besides, what good does it do?”
He mulled over the matter some more and found himself in great depression.
“Once Black-White hears these formulas and techniques, he would know immediately that I am just messing with him. For sure he won’t fall for it. I guess my plan is not going to work at all.”
Linghu Chong became more and more annoyed as he recited the words again and again, “when there’s inner energy steams inside Dan-Tian, distribute them into the Ren Channel, like a bamboo is empty inside, like a valley is always void….” Anger built up as he went on and eventually he gave a good smack at his bed and cussed loudly, “Damn it! This guy was angry for being stuck in the dungeon, so he decided to play tricks and make fun of other people.”
He scolded for a while and then fell asleep again. In his sleep, his mind seemed to have started following the formulas on the steel plate and began the exercise. When he thought of the sentence “when there’s inner energy steams inside Dan-Tian, distribute them into the Ren Channel,” a stream of inner energy actually dispersed into his Ren Channel, and he felt ineffable comforts all over his body. This went on for a good while in his wooziness. Half-sleep and half-awake, Linghu Chong could feel the energy streams inside his Dan-Tian still flowing toward the Ren Channel. But all of a sudden, he realized what was going on.
“Oh, no! If my inner energy keeps flowing out like this, I’d turn into an invalid!”
Startled, he sat up hurriedly. The inner energy streams immediately flowed backward from the Ren Channel, and he found himself consumed by strong nausea and dizziness. After a long while, he was finally able to breathe normally. Then, a thought suddenly struck him and brought him a pleasant surprise.
“My inner injuries are so difficult to cure all because I have running wild inside me seven or eight heterogeneous inner energy streams from the Peach Valley Six Fairies and Monk No-Commandment. Even Dr. Ping One-Finger couldn’t cure me. Great Master Fang-Zheng, the abbot of the Shaolin Temple, said before that only the Tendon Altering Sutra of Shaolin would allow me to gradually tame and dissolve these heterogeneous inner energy streams. But aren’t these inner energy cultivation techniques carved on the steel plate teaching me exactly the same thing – how to dissolve the inner energy streams inside me? Ha-ha! Linghu Chong, you are such a fool! While others fear the loss of their inner energy, you actually fear that the inner energy wouldn’t go away. Now there’s this amazing method just perfect for my case. How wonderful!”
He knew that what happened was only because he dreamed what he thought. Because he recited the formulas again and again when he was awake, those meditation techniques and breathing exercises carved on the steel plate had occupied his entire mind. Once he fell asleep, his subconsciousness took over and simply started following suit involuntarily. However, since his mind was not focused in his dreams, he didn’t really follow the formulas letter to letter. Now, having figured out the great benefit, he found great inspiration. He carefully traced the carvings on the steel plate two more times and made sure he understood the true meanings before sitting down cross-legged in a meditation pose and beginning the energy cultivation step by step.
Only about two hours into the meditation, he could already sense a fraction of the heterogeneous energy streams, which had been stuck and getting wild in his Dan-Tian region for a long time, dispersing into his Ren Channel. Although he still couldn’t rid them out of his body, the pain and tension caused by those energy steams rolling over inside him had certainly been greatly reduced.
Great joy welled up in his heart and he couldn’t help but jump to his feet and sing at the top of his lungs. He soon realized how ugly and hoarse the singing was. Turned out his previous day’s screaming and shouting were very effective and had really done it for his voice.
“Ren Woxing! Ren Woxing! You had left these formulas behind with the intention to cause harm. You probably had no idea that one day I’d run into them and actually benefit instead of suffer from them! If you knew this, you’d probably turn over in your grave and cry! Ha-ha! Ha-ha!” he thought to himself.
He continued working on dispersing energy steams without any break. The more he exercised, the more comfortable he felt. Then he thought.
“After I completely disperse the energy streams from the Peach Valley Six Fairies and Monk No-Commandment, I could very well start all over with our Huashan School’s inner strength cultivation, following the instructions taught by Master. Although I’ll have to start from scratch again, and it might take a lot of time and effort, chances are, my life probably would be safe now. If Brother Xiang eventually comes and rescues me out of here, there’s a new life waiting for me out there in the martial world!”
Then he had a different thought, “Since Master had already banished me from the Huashan School, why bother practicing Huashan School’s inner strength? There are plenty of inner strength cultivation methods from the many schools in the martial world. Why can’t I study from Brother Xiang or even Ying-Ying?” Desolation and excitement entangled in his mind.
After eating the day’s meal, he practiced the techniques again and felt a great sense of soothing in his entire body. Not able to contain his joy, he burst into hearty laughter. Then, Mr. Black-White’s voice all of a sudden rose from outside of the prison door.
“How are you, revered mister? I have been humbly waiting outside for a good while!”

[1] Dan-Tian is an acupoint, but is normally used to refer to the lower abdomen region where inner energy can be stored at.

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Another great fighting scene in Kung Fu movie Ye Wen --- Ye Wen was Bruce Lee's Master in the style of Yong Chun. Here Ye Wen was played by Donnie Yen.