56 The Killer

    The black shadow jumped out from the woods, it was as if the ground had shrunk to just inches, and before Meng Qi could react, his palm landed on the acupoint of Zhen Yong's back.

    This hit seemed nothing out of the ordinary, no one could make out its strength or origins. But Zhen Yong's acupoint was sealed, and both his hands were bound. He had no time to make any effective reactions. His eyes were wide, his mouth opened and blood sprayed out, and he fell with a stunned expression frozen on his face.

    Judging from the moves of the black-cloaked man, Meng Qi thought, "This is definitely a skilled killer of the enlightenment period!" At the same time, his pupils shrunk and he drew his Buddhist Commandment Blade, ready to fight to the death.

    Meng Qi knew he could not just rely on defense, he had to make the black-cloaked man understand that he, too, was not an easy adversary. But this could only be achieved by attacking and fighting to the end. The black-cloaked man realized that rushing would not solve anything, only then did he worry about the other monks that were called in by Zhen Hui, hoping they would realize the difficulty and withdraw.

    The black-cloaked man was wearing a night-traveling cloak with only his nostrils and eyes exposed. After killing Zhen Yong, he did not stop, and he went toward Meng Qi without hesitation. He lifted his right palm, turning it around in the air, looking as if the wind from his palm could cover the heaven and earth.

    Meng Qi felt that no matter how he transformed his body, which of the "Lightning Changes" steps that he used, he would still be covered by the palm wind of the shadow. Meng Qi could not hide nor escape!

    What a palmsmashing art!

    Wise and accessible, peaceful and stately, the palm covered the heaven and earth!

    Meng Qi realized this was the Buddhist's mystical palm. When mastered to a high level, perhaps it could not "contain the whole country in the palm", or suppress all things, but it could shut down all of Meng Qi's transformations despite its simple appearance.

    Faced with this palm, Meng Qi clearly knew that due to his deficiency in bladesmanship, be it the Blood Bladesmanship or the Blade Art of Five Tigers Cracking the Gate Bladesmanship, he could not break through this kind of binding. His "Lightning Changes" were lacking inner understanding, hence he could not step out of the Heaven Trawl and Earth Mesh, and his fourth level Golden Bell Shield could perhaps only take one hit of the palm.

    When the black-cloaked man attacked with his palm, he never doubted whether it would hit the still-unenlightened acolyte-monk. He had confidence in his mystical palm, in his own Kung Fu.

    Prajna in the hand, Buddha in the heart, all the sufferings, peace was across the coast!

    In the moment of life and death there was much horror, yet Meng Qi shut his eyes and smiled slightly, as if he were enjoying the solemnity and peace that came with the hit of that palm.

    Then, the blade flashed, and the beautiful noise could be heard!

    This flash of blade was like beautiful art, entering into the black-cloaked man's eyes. His eyes suddenly turned soft and kind, like he remembered the faint aroma of Hong Xiu flowers and the softness of gentle voices. He remembered kneeling in front of Buddha in the middle of the night but still could not be calm inside.

    Then, his eyes showed signs of pain, like guilt, like self-blame, but not an ounce of remorse.

    Since peace had been broken, then where was the prajna? The black-cloaked man's mystical palm, which could contain heaven and earth, had turned into an ordinary palm.

    "Damn!" The black-cloaked man came to his senses, but the flash of the blade was nearing him!

    His pupils contracted rapidly, because he never thought the seemingly weak acolyte could make such a stunning blade move.

    The light spread, and he backed off.

    A deep palm print was left on Meng Qi's left shoulder. His body had a golden glow, like the cracks on a turtle shell, dark in color.

    The black-cloaked man's abdomen had a very deep wound, his guts could almost be seen.

    A layer of mist could be seen around his body, and he covered his abdomen with his hands to prevent blood from dripping out. Then he lifted his right palm to attack once again seemingly.

    Meng Qi dropped his shoulders, blade in hand. Again, he was prepared to battle to the death.

    The black-cloaked man stepped forward, his body suddenly bowed heavily. He looked at Meng Qi sternly, then did a sparrowhawk flip move and jumped into the woods.

    A few breaths later, footsteps could be heard.

    "Senior Brother, are you okay?" Zhen Hui ran in and asked worriedly. He saw a dead Zhen Yong lying horizontally on the ground, and Meng Qi standing stiffly.

    Meng Qi saw that a lot of yellow- and gray-robed monks were behind him, so he felt at ease and said huskily, "Come and give me a hand."

    He could not even stand still!

    Although the black-cloaked man's palm was interrupted by the "Peace Breaker" move, and the strength pulled back under the threat of Meng Qi's Buddhist Commandment Blade, he was still a skilled fighter of the enlightenment period. The palm still landed on Meng Qi's left shoulder, almost breaking his Golden Bell Shield.

    "The killer was definitely not at the beginning stages of Enlightenment, otherwise a palm that was not at full strength would not have done such damage." Meng Qi thought as he measured the black-cloaked man's strength.

    He got to the fourth level of Golden Bell Shield Kung Fu, and used it to negate most of the palm strength. Therefore, he was not badly hurt. It was just after using the "Peace Breaker" move that he was weakened. After all, it was high-level bladesmanship-although Meng Qi had only managed to unleash half of its strength.

    Zhen Hui rushed to Meng Qi and held him with the other monks. A plain-looking Deacon Monk carefully checked the cause of Zhen Yong's death, then checked Meng Qi's wounds.

    The other monks split up to search around.

    "The palm power is vigorous and firm, so he must be a highly skilled fighter of Enlightenment." The Deacon Monk nodded softly, then said, "Pity, he covered up his style quite well. It's hard to tell which supreme art it was from."

    "Uncle Master, there's something important. I don't know if Zhen Hui had told you, but Zhen Yong and that killer had conspired together and copied Muscle-bone Strengthening Scripture!" Meng Qi said without holding anything back.

    The black-cloaked man had escaped, which meant he was in the dark, and Meng Qi was in the light. Meng Qi thought he would not be able to eat or sleep well. He hoped that things were serious enough to put all the focus on finding the killer behind the scenes.

    As for the "oiled paper package" that was dropped, not to mention whether it could survive after being polluted by the poisonous gasses, just knowing that the scrolls of mystery had been dropped, the Shaolin Temple would send people to find it. If it were kept from them, they would ask about the whereabouts of the scrolls of mystery and whether it had been hidden.

    "What? Muscle-bone Strengthening Scripture?" The Deacon Monk that asked the questions was shocked, those monks who heard Meng Qi felt the same shock. There were a lot of facial expressions present, but all could be boiled down to shock and disbelief.

    "That's right." Since Meng Qi's strength had recovered a bit, he told them about all that had happened. The monks that came to the aid all were astounded, as if the devil had fallen on this peaceful place.

    "This is big, this is huge. Xuan Yuan go to the Bodhi Yard and report this quickly. Xuan Hua, you go to the Commandment Yard." The Deacon Monk in front of Meng Qi instructed them, trembling, with his face as white as a ghost. Since the construction of the temple, this was perhaps the first time that someone actually had successfully stolen the temple's treasure.

    When the yellow-robed monks left, he looked at Meng Qi and said, "Excuse me, my two nephews. Since this is no little matter, I have to search you both."

    This was just in case they had conspired together and made up a story about the scrolls of mystery being dropped off the cliff, when in fact, they had secretly copied Muscle-bone Strengthening Scripture.

    To avoid suspicion, Meng Qi was happy to oblige and prove his innocence, he had nothing on him anyway. He had to practice Golden Bell Shield, Blood Bladesmanship, and Lightning Changes, the scrolls to which were all kept in the meditation room.

    "I do understand Uncle Master, however, I believe it would be best if you arrange a search for all monks. Because only Shaolin monks can come and go during the enlightenment period, and I am quite certain the killer used Buddhism's mystical skills," Meng Qi said. He only wanted to find the killer quickly, hence he urged the Uncle Master. "I managed to cut his abdomen with my Buddhist Commandment Blade, the cut was deep, hence it couldn't be healed in a short time, which is why I'm pushing Uncle Master to check every monk.

    "This is an emergency. We should prevent the killer from hearing this information and start cutting monks up to blend in," he added.

    "You... you cut his abdomen?" The Deacon Monk asked rhetorically. He could not believe that a young acolyte who had just been accepted into the temple and obviously had not been enlightened could hurt a highly skilled fighter in the enlightenment period.

    When Meng Qi described the details of the battle, to hide his Ananda Oath-breaking Bladesmanship, his words were very vague. The monks all thought that the black-cloaked man was pushed back by his will to fight to the death, or their timely appearance. Who knew that he actually hurt a skilled fighter in the enlightenment period!

    "Uncle Master, I was just lucky. Please arrange the search." Meng Qi did not want to reveal everything, then added, "Uncle Master, I'm quite certain that the black-cloaked man must be a monk in the nearby yards. He must have heard Zhen Hui's words, and relying on his familiarity with the surroundings, came for the kill. Otherwise, if he had been hiding nearby for a while, Zhen Hui would not have the opportunity to inform you."

    "But he wore a night-traveling cloak, and we got here pretty fast... " the Deacon Monk said, obviously a little suspicious. The time it took to change clothing would negate the killer's familiarity with the surroundings, hence he would not have any chance to kill or escape.

    Meng Qi thought for a moment and said, "Perhaps tonight, coincidentally, was the night that he exchanged scrolls with Zhen Yong, and when he got back, he hadn't changed clothes yet... Uncle Master, when searching, please also take into account the absentees from nearby yards!"

    He felt that he made more sense as he went on.

    "Amitabha, do as Meng Qi says." An older monk wearing a red cassock instructed as he walked in.

    The Deacon Monk quickly put his palms together and said, "Uncle Master No Gain, I will follow your instructions at once."

    The older monk acknowledged, signaling to forget about formalities. He looked towards Meng Qi and Zhen Hui, announced his Buddhist title and said, "My apologies for the offense."

    He extended his right hand, grabbed the air, and both Meng Qi and Zhen Hui's frocks bulged. They felt like a gust of wind was blowing over them.

    "Zhen Hui, take me to the path you took to inform us." No Gain requested and retrieved his right hand, certain that Meng Qi and Hui Zhen did not have the scrolls on them.

    Asking Zhen Hui to lead was a precaution, just in case the informing act was just a cover for snatching the scrolls of mystery.

    Zhen Hui looked at Meng Qi, afraid that his Senior Brother would fall if he left.

    Meng Qi smiled at him, stretched his limbs to show that he had recovered quite a bit of his strength. Only then did Zhen Hui leave with No Gain.

    The rest of the monks started searching the cliff and the woods, extending their hands beyond the edge and touching all the cliff cracks, trying not to miss any spot.

    After a while, No Gain returned with Zhen Hui, asking how Meng Qi felt when the killer had attacked him.

    Meng Qi truthfully revealed all of his feelings during the attack. No Gain's eyebrows clenched as he listened, then said, "This kind of palmsmashing art is quite rare... "

    Then, the Deacon Monk also returned, followed by the Master of both Meng Qi and Zhen Hui, Xuan Bei Master, along with the Teaching Monk Zhen Miao, whom Meng Qi was very familiar.

    Zhen Miao had a weird expression on his face, a mixture of anger, sadness, uncertainty, shock, and suspicion. The Deacon Monk had a similar expression, but only Xuan Bei was expressionless.

    "Uncle Master No Gain, when we searched the yard, we found that Zhen Chang has killed himself in his meditation room. His abdomen was injured and he left a farewell letter." The Deacon Monk reported as he submitted the letter, looking at Meng Qi thoughtfully, surprised that he could hurt Disciple Zhen Chang, who was the strongest in his generation.

    "Senior Brother Zhen Chang?" Meng Qi was beyond belief that such an ambitious and obedient monk would conspire with Zhen Yong and do such a thing!

    And commit suicide?
Previous Index Next