The Story from Qingcheng Mount, part 3

   “Monkey-Six,” the tall apprentice said, “let me ask you, when Big Apprentice Brother was shouting ‘Dumb Bear Wild Pig, The Four Asses of Qingcheng,’ did you happen to shout along with him? Speak honestly!” 

   “Big Apprentice Brother had already started shouting, how could we, as junior apprentice brothers, not chime in to help? Are you telling me that I should have helped the Qingcheng Sword School to swear at Big Apprentice Brother?” Lu Dayou grinned. 

   “See, Master didn’t judge you wrongly at all,” The tall apprentice concluded with a laugh. 

Lin Pingzhi thought, “This Monkey-Six seems to be a good guy. I wonder which school or clan they belong to?” 

   “We must all truly remember the words Master used to rebuke Big Apprentice Brother,” the old man said. “Master said, ‘In the Martial World, people have all kinds of nicknames: ‘Prestige of the South’, ‘Wind-Chasing Hero’, ‘Grass Top Flying Man’ and what have you. None of them should be taken so literally. How could anyone verify the accuracy of so many names? If someone wants to be called ‘Ying Xiong Hao Jie,’ fine, let him be called that. If they are truly chivalrous, then we should be eager to admire them and try to make friends with them, how could we have any thoughts of hatred? But if they are not chivalrous, then their infamy would be known in the Martial World. Everyone would look down upon them, so why should we bother with them?’” 

Hearing second apprentice brother’s words, everyone nodded in agreement. 

  “Still, my name ‘Monkey-Six’ is much better. No one will ever get mad at it,” Lu Dayou murmured. 

   “Since Big Apprentice Brother kicked Hou and Hong down the stairs,” the old man continued with a smile, “this incident was seen as a huge humiliation and embarrassment for the Qingcheng Sword School, so of course none of their people ever talked about it; even among fellow apprentices, few know about it. Master had exhorted us not to let the information out, thus avoiding conflicts. So starting from now on, let’s not talk about this anymore, in case somebody overhears us and spreads the story about.” 

   “To be frank, I really think Qingcheng Kung Fu has an undeserved reputation. Even if we did offend them, it wouldn’t really matter….” Lu Dayou was tempted to express his opinion. 

Before he could even finish, the old man yelled at him, “Sixth apprentice brother, if you keep talking nonsense, I will have to tell Master. Maybe you’ll get another ten strokes. Do you know that Big Apprentice Brother was able to kick those two down the stairs with a ‘Panther Tail Kick’ only because: firstly, he launched the attack unexpectedly; secondly, he is an outstanding apprentice in our school, and other apprentices are no match for him. Do you think you have the skills to kick those two down the stairs?” 

   “Don’t compare me to Big Apprentice Brother,” Lu Dayou said, sticking his tongue out and waving his hands. 

   “The Head Master of the Qingcheng Sword School, Master Yu, is really a martial genius,” the old man said with dead seriousness, “whoever underestimates him will surely be in trouble, sooner or later. Little Apprentice Sister, you have seen Master Yu before. What do you think of him?” 

   “Master Yu? He was so terrible, he…he frightens me; I don’t…don’t want to see him again,” the girl exclaimed. Her voice trembled slightly, and seemed to contain traces of fear. 

   “Master Yu was frightening? Did you see him kill somebody?” Lu Dayou asked. 

The girl shrank and did not answer the question. 

   “On the day our Master received the letter from Master Yu, he was so angry that he inflicted those harsh punishments on Big Apprentice Brother and sixth apprentice brother. The next day he wrote a letter and told me to send it to Mount Qingcheng…,” the old man said. 

   “So that was what you were doing that day when you left in such a hurry. You were actually heading to Mount Qingcheng,” several apprentices cried out. 

   “Yep,” the old man nodded, “at that time Master told me to not mention it to any fellow apprentices to avoid additional incidents.” 

   “What additional incidents? Respectful Master was just being careful. Things the Master asks us to do of course are things with good reasoning behind them. Who would agree otherwise?” Lu Dayou stated. 

   “What do you know?” The tall apprentice cut in. “If second apprentice brother had told you about it, you would surely have passed the message on to Big Apprentice Brother. Although Big Apprentice Brother wouldn’t disobey Master’s orders, it is very possible he would find some unusual ways to make trouble for the Qingcheng Sword School.” 

   “Third apprentice brother is right,” the old man agreed. “Big Apprentice Brother has many friends in the Martial World. If he really wants something done, he doesn’t necessarily have to do it himself. Master told me that the letter contained all kinds of apologetic words to Master Yu, saying that his wayward apprentice was too ill-mannered; how he found the acts reprehensible; how he should have expelled the apprentice from the school, but if he did so, everyone in the Martial World would think that conflict existed between your respectful school and our school, which wouldn’t be a good thing; now he had those two wayward apprentices….” He gave Lu Dayou a glance at these words. 

   “So I am a wayward apprentice as well!” Lu Dayou was displeased. 

   “Is placing you at the same level as Big Apprentice Brother a disgrace for you?” the girl asked. 

Lu Dayou immediately became very happy. “You’re right! Get me some wine, get me some wine!” he yelled.

The teashop only had tea for sale, not wine. The waiter rushed to the table and said, “Ha you all, our teashop only has Dragon-Well, Dongting-Spring, Puer, Iron-Buddha. Ha you all, we don’t sell wine, you all.” The people of the Hengyang and Hengshan region had their own special accent, and this waiter was no exception.  (To be continued)


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