55 Unraveling the Mystery

    There were only a few stars in the night sky, for the moon was especially bright. The cliff was bathed in moonlight. Meng Qi who was hiding in the shadows recognized the figure at once.

    Zhen Yong!

    Meng Qi had concentrated on practicing Golden Bell Shield, bladesmanship, and Lightness Skill during this period. He also had little interaction with others due to the distance from Warrior-monk Yard. Even so, after resuming his studies in Sutras Yard, he met and talked to Zhen Yong every day to learn about the trivialities happening in the temple. So he could recognize that it was Zhen Yong from the profile of the figure alone.

    Why was he here so late?

    Could there really be a major secret?

    Meng Qi was somewhat frustrated. With secrets on his own, he was unwilling to involve himself in other trifles lest his abnormity was discovered.

    He just wanted to be a quiet little monk in Shaolin Temple.

    It was precisely this mentality and consciousness of being an average swordsman that he did not rush to explore the secret passage the last time under Zhen Guan's orders. Instead he had returned and sent a signal to others.

    The grey figure turned around and looked around in alert. The dim moonlight on his face clearly confirmed Meng Qi's judgment. It was really Zhen Yong.

    Holding his breath and controlling his heartbeat, Meng Qi was unwilling to attract Zhen Yong's attention. He hoped Zhen Yong would leave soon so he could patrol again without anyone's notice. When Zhen Hui informed about the truth to their Master tomorrow, Zhen Yong's secret will definitely be revealed.

    This place was remote and secluded. Barely anyone knows it. Zhen Yong habitually looked around before taking a book out of his bosom and reading it with a smile.

    Under the cold moonlight, Meng Qi observed the book in Zhen Yong's hand through his condensed six Aperture acupoints. He noticed found the book used white papers, instead of the Mu Hua Paper they usually used for scriptures. The white papers resembled the inferior papers that the monks of Chant Hall used to copy and practice their writing, rather than those precious papers for scripts.

    "Is it a book copied using normal papers?" Meng Qi subconsciously speculated.

    Zhen Yong was immersed in the book and muttered to himself without any intention to leave after his 'wrongdoing'. This made Meng Qi secretly anxious.

    He was not worried he would not be able to stand it. Instead he was concerned about the Junior Brother beside him who had never encountered such occasions. As time went on, he might get anxious and make noise by bumping into something.

    Meng Qi tilted his head and looked at Zhen Yong. Under the shadow, his face appeared dull and a little curious as he carefully observed Zhen Yong.

    His concentration was not bad... Seeing this, Meng Qi secretly praised Zhen Yong.

    After about the duration of a burning incense, Zhen Yong adjusted his stiff posture. He happened to have accidentally kicked a pebble. It rolled all the way down the cliff, though no noise echoed.

    The movement awakened Zhen Yong and he closed the book with reluctance.

    He did not dare to stay for long and fumbled for something in the edges of the cliff.

    After a while, he retracted his hand and a package of oiled papers appeared.

    "Seems like there's a crack to hide things on the edge of the cliff. It's well concealed... " Meng Qi noded, deep in thought.

    Zhen Yong opened the package containing several books with varying thickness. He placed his book inside and rewrapped it again.

    At that very moment, a reckless mouse rushed out from the cavern. It frightened Zhen Yong and forced him to hide.

    The sound of twig snapping on a quiet night was exceptionally clear.

    With a snap, the package fell due to his trembling hands. A shocked Zhen Yong looked around in panic.

    At the same time, he subconsciously reached for the edge of the cliff.

    "Who?" Zhen Yong asked in a quiet voice, seemingly not noticing Meng Qi and Zhen Hui.

    Before his voice even faded, Zhen Yong threw himself on Meng Qi, carrying a sharp Buddhist Commandment Blade. Meng Qi could not even come up with a solution in time.

    His question turned out to be a deceit strategy!

    "It's advanced success of Qi-cultivation. He really did hide his strength... " Seeing Zhen Yong's moves, Meng Qi sighed and lowered his left shoulder. Without avoiding, he ran up against Zhen Yong's blade.

    Zhen Yong hid his goal and launched an unexpected attack, believing it would be too late for the enemy hiding in the forest to deflect and that he had better whoever it was in one move. Unexpectedly, he saw the figure running up against his blade.

    Clank! The Buddhist Commandment Blade seemed to have hit a gold rock. No good! Zhen Yong immediately retreated without a second thought.

    At this moment, a blade unexpectedly hacked him from the other side, from a tricky angle and weird position. It was hard for Zhen Yong to avoid the blade.

    Clenching his teeth, Zhen Yong wielded his blade and moved his body with it, deflecting Meng Qi's attack.

    What... ? Meng Qi was puzzled because Zhen Yong actually avoided his Blood Blade move in a hurry. Zhen Yong's bladesmanship had never been mediocre with its profound footwork and prominent moves.

    Zhen Hui stepped out silently, wearing a smile. Holding out his right hand in a delicate manner, he carried an air of being above the material world.

    Zhen Yong was aware of the presence of a second enemy, so he was not surprised at Zhen Hui's attack. With a severe countenance, he wielded his blade to ward off Zhen Hui's Flower-pinching Finger.

    He then kicked Zhen Hui with his left leg and pointed his titled blade at Meng Qi directly.

    This move was exquisite, giving Meng Qi the feeling of forgetting all his troubles.

    This was definitely a scary bladesmanship! Meng Qi did not dare to be careless and demonstrated his skill, attacking Zhen Yong with unexpected moves.

    Zhen Yong secretly practiced his bladesmanship so there were few opportunities for him to demonstrate it. The lack of life-and-death practices resulted in him panicking in the face of Meng Qi's full strength. He was exhausted to have to anticipate and guard against an unexpected second attack each time after he handled Meng Qi's.

    Zhen Hui, on the other side, was inexperience in real combat. When he was dodging Zhen Yong's kick, he did not manage to keep his balance. When he retreated to the other side, he nearly fell down from the cliff.

    "Ah!" He gave a light yell, for he found that he had kicked the package down the cliff. The package disappeared amidst cloud and mist.

    Meng Qi found the narrow cliff did not allow him to demonstrate his moves completely. He did not want to stay for long in case anything happened. Therefore, after an attack, he jumped on a panicked Zhen Yong and warded off his blade with his own chest.

    Bang! The Buddhist Commandment Blade tore Meng Qi's frock with a clank, as if it had hit a gold rock, and left a long white scratch.

    Thanks to the moon hanging high in the sky, Zhen Yong had already recognized his opponent to be Zhen Ding. Well-versed with the horrors of Golden Bell Shield, he aimed directly at its weak points. However, he was not expecting Zhen Ding's bladesmanship to be so odd and for his attacks to be so tough and vicious. He even took advantage of Zhen Yong's late timing and used his own chest to block Zhen Yong's blade!

    Caught off guard, he lost the chance to change his direction!

    Succeeded in forcing through Zhen Yong's defense, he pressed his blade against Zhen Yong's neck.

    Clank. Zhen Yong threw his blade away, gesturing that he would no longer resist.

    Zhen Hui stepped ahead again and used his Flower-pinching Finger to close Zhen Yong's several key acupuncture points.

    Meng Qi did not relax, his blade still on Zhen Yong's neck. He indicated Zhen Hui to pull out his belt to tie Zhen Yong's hands behind his back.

    "Junior Brother Zhen Hui, Junior Brother Zhen Ding, you ought to be at ease this time." Zhen Yong barely eked out a smile on his pale face.

    Meng Qi noncommittally asked, "Why are you sneaking around?"

    With his acupoints sealed, Zhen Yong could not stand up so he sat down cross-legged. His eyes rolling, he sadly said, "I have neither Zhen Hui's talent nor your achievements. If I want to learn a supreme skill, I can only go down this path. I can't waste my life in Shaolin with only the Old Buddha with the Altar Lamp here. I wouldn't be able to experience the wonderful Jianghu that way."

    "Junior Brother Zhen Hui and Junior Brother Zhen Ding, please let me off on the basis of our friendship. I promise to turn over a new leaf and never revert to the old path. If I have any scripts, I'll show them to you all."

    The rims of his eyes were red as he pleaded pitifully.

    As expected, what Zhen Yong was reading was scripts. Meng Qi said with a half-smile, "Senior Brother, I don't know how you get these supreme scripts with your identity as a normal warrior-monk."

    Basically, Zhen Yong should not use whatever nonsense about unwilling to live a nondescript life to placate him.

    Zhen Yong's expression changed and sighed. "I happen to know Great Granduncle Kong Hui who guarded the Sutras Depository had an internal injury. That injury shows effect at a fixed time at noon. So I took the chance to enter and copy the scripts, but I could only get to the third and fourth floor. I couldn't see the supreme art of Inner Eighteen Skills."

    "Oh, that's why you befriended Zhen Hui and I." Meng Qi sneered.

    Zhen Yong frowned. He did not expect his explanation would offend them both instead.

    "And where did you hear of such secrets?" Meng Qi shouted angrily just as Zhen Yong was feeling unsettled.

    Zhen Yong shivered all over. He shut up and shook his head, unwilling to speak.

    Meng Qi was unwilling to ask more lest he got into trouble, so he told Zhen Hui, "Junior Brother, go to the yards nearby and yell for help. Make sure everybody heard of you, instead of just one person."

    When patrolling the temple, they did not have anything to signal others with.

    Zhen Hui nodded and was about to walk outside.

    Knowing danger was imminent, Zhen Yong lowered his voice and said, "My two junior brothers, do you know what scripts did the package earlier contained?"

    Seeing Meng Qi and Zhen Hui stared at him, he spoke somewhat smugly.

    "Muscle-bone Strengthening Scripture!"

    "What?" Meng Qi cried in surprise. That was the Supreme Muscle-bone Strengthening Scripture, one of Shaolin Temple treasures that could turn bad into good.

    The scripture was passed down only in the forms of scripts because it was neither Dharmakaya nor Supreme Kungfu for Exterior-level. It must be under secretive and thorough protection, but how could a normal warrior-monk like Zhen Yong get it!

    There must be someone else! A person beyond his imagination!

    "So? If you forget what happened, I'll share the scripture with you," Zhen Yong said in low voice, as if he was an evil spirit that was good at temptation.

    Meng Qi did not want to have anything to do with such terrible things, but he could not forget the Muscle-bone Strengthening Scripture that equals Dharmakaya. He fell into an internal struggle and hesitated.

    "Senior Brother, I kicked that package off the cliff... " Zhen Hui said weakly.

    Meng Qi puffed and collected himself. How could he allow greed to blindfold him!

    If he chose Muscle-bone Strengthening Scripture and let Zhen Yong go, the person behind Zhen Yong would look for chances to kill them. And he would not be able to be cautious of those attacks because he did not know who it was.

    It was such a pity... Meng Qi sighed as he looked down the cloudy and misty deep gulf. It was said that it was surrounded by poisonous air and only a few creatures could survive there. These creatures had endured for thousands of years with great power. Perhaps only someone with Exterior strength could take such adventure.

    "Fell, fell down... " Zhen Yong seemed to have lost his mind.

    Meng Qi signaled Zhen Hui to immediately inform others before any unexpected events happened.

    It was so scary that even Muscle-bone Strengthening Scripture showed up!

    Zhen Hui ran out, rushing to yards nearby. Meng Qi paced around as he watched Zhen Yong, vigilantly guarding against any attacks.

    After a while, he heard Zhen Hui's scream from afar, finally relieving him.

    Sometimes later, Zhen Yong collected himself and made a last attempt to say, "Junior Brother Zhen Ding, though the scripture fell down the cliff, I've finished almost a half of it and remember first chapter of cultivation. If you release me, I'll tell you the content. You'll definitely have an opportunity to read everything in the future."

    "And I'll leave immediately. No one will know what happened. I'll tell you when I leave who you should go to for the scripture."

    Meng Qi curled his lip and was about to speak when a dark figure jumped out of the forest and hit Zhen Yong on the back with one palm!

    Due to him loosening his vigilance, Meng Qi was unable to block the attack!
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