Clinging to the Past in the Small Bamboo House
Thirteen years ago, Mount Hua Sect had an extraordinary disciple.
He was naturally intelligent and had a talent for swordplay. He was just twenty-two at the time, yet his sword skills were so incredible, it rocked Mount Hua Sect, and even the major sword schools in the north. There are very few in the martial world who attain fame at such a young age.
Mount Hua Sects sword play consists of Jade Maiden Golden Needle Nineteen Swords for female disciples, and Cradle Head Blue Stones Nine Swords, which male disciples trained. Once both taolu were mastered, one could be said to have accomplished themselves in swordsmanship.
When this particular disciple was fifteen years old, he pulled off a major upset that surprised everybody.
Utilising Jade Maiden Golden Needle Nineteen Swords, he defeated all of the male disciples. He then utilised Cradle Head Blue Stones Nine Swords to defeat all of the female disciples, shocking the entire school.
The story is simple to retell, but that is because you are unaware of the dangers involved in the accomplishment. Jade Maiden Golden Needle Nineteen Swords and Cradle Head Blue Stones Nine Swords may be Mount Hua’s swordplay, but they were created by different founders. Cradle Head Blue Stones Nine Swords was a style made as a fundamental component for all disciples to learn. It’s not powerful, but it’s the foundation of Mount Hua’s styles.
Jade Maiden Golden Needle Nineteen Sword Techniques however, was a recently crafted style by a recent senior talented master for female disciples. It contains many brilliant and innovative aspects. It’s a tough style to train but is extremely formidable. It was distinctly different compared to Cradle Head Blue Stones Nine Sword Techniques in terms of superiority.
However, the problem was that the young man was familiar with Cradle Head Blue Stones Nine Swords, while Jade Maiden Golden Needle Nineteen Sword Techniques were exclusive to female disciples. Male disciples only got to see a move of two while training together with the female disciples under the watch of the teachers, so they weren’t well-versed in the style by any means.
So defeating Jade Maiden Sword Techniques with the inferior Cradle Head Sword Techniques or using the Jade Maiden Sword Techniques he was a beginner at to defeat Cradle Head Sword Techniques were by no means easy tasks.
Yet he managed to do it, and beautifully too.
Mount Hua Sect has always been a pillar of the orthodox sects. There were thirty to forty disciples during that generation. He had defeated all of his fellow disciples despite being under twenty at the time with a single sword. Even the leader of Mount Hua at the time praised him for amazing talent that was rarer than rare.
Ever since then, the leader treated him as the next successor and thereby removed the limitations on learning swordplay, allowing him to learn all of the sword styles in Mount Hua at his discretion.
He mastered Mount Hua’s Five Peaks Swordplay, Jade Maiden and Cradle Head Sword Techniques. He also mastered Rising Sun, Lotus and Falling Wild Geese Soars the Sky from Beyond Heaven’s Three Peaks as well. Those were styles only the elders had the right to learn yet he had mastered them at a young age.
Seven years later when he was twenty-two, most of the elders in the school were no longer his match. Even the leader of the school felt he was gradually surpassing himself. The only style from Mount Hua he had yet to master was the style only the Patriarch could learn, and that was Heavenly Dragon Sword Techniques.
He gradually outgrew his young self that was focused on mastery of the sword. He understood just how superb his talent was and at the same time, disappointed with the world as he had no equal.
He slowly started to act insolently and contradicted usual standards. He wasted his days at brothels, drinking away with beauties, ignoring legitimate business. The leader of Mount Hua ordered people to descend the mountain and bring him back many times, but none could match his prowess with a sword, leading them to return empty-handed. Before the leader was a highly-talented man wasting his talent on wine and women.
But that changed due to a pair.
It was a snowy day that day.
The young man had just awoken from his afternoon nap at Xi An Manor where flower girls resided called Small Bamboo House. He saw two people standing on the stone-path with layers of snow. They both looked tall and as though they knew martial arts.
When the young man saw their posture, he knew that they were hired-muscle to bring him back. He had spent all day at Xi An Manor picking fights out of thin air and got into many fights, but never met a worthy opponent.
He laughed and went to grab his sword to leave.
“You’re my shifu’s lapdogs, aren’t you? It’s easy to catch me. Ask the sword in daddy’s hand!”
The young man was on a winning streak. Even his shifu who he considered to be the strongest in the world might not have been his equal, so he belittled everyone in the world.
The middle-aged guy smiled and asked: “Ask you sword? Can your sword speak or sumtin (something)?” The guy was dressed in clothing made from cloth, but when he spoke, he seemed extraordinary, so one would not dare underestimate him.
The young man couldn’t tell how strong he was. He angrily exclaimed: “Stop screwing with me! If you’re not going to fight, get lost.”
“Relax, relax. I received two-thousand silver ingots from your shifu to teach you a lesson. If I can’t bring a nobody like you back, I won’t be surnamed Ming.” The middle-aged guy took his time and yawned like he was tired: “But your shifu and I are different in terms of seniority. In fact, he should be calling me senior uncle. Speaking to you alones makes it bullying you let alone getting physical.”
The young man thought to himself: He’s of higher seniority than my shifu? Isn’t he the same as my grandmaster in terms of seniority then? I can fight with elders of my own school, but it will be troublesome if news that I fought with elders from other schools gets out.
But then he thought that he couldn’t give in this time.
He snickered and mocked: “What do you want then? You think you can make me go with you just by flapping your gums? You think I’m a girl from Small Bamboo House?”
The middle-aged guy glared at him and responded: “Piss off! You think you’re worthy? The most popular girl in Small Bamboo House, Miss Qing Zhu is a very elegant girl. I drank three cups with her yesterday and had a long heart-to-heart conversation. You angered the poor girl by eating and living here without paying you little twerp. If I didn’t wake up late today, I’d have taught you your lesson already. You dare mention the maiden of Small Bamboo House?”
The young man thought to himself: Miss Qing Zhu is famous throughout the entire city. I came here for her. I’ve been here for over ten days and haven’t seen her. How did this guy……
“You don’t need to look. I’ve got no interest in fighting with a junior like you.“ The middle-aged guy waved his hand: “Consider it me bullying you. I’ll let my disciple fight you.”
That’s when the young man noticed the boy that came with him.
He wasn’t old. He looked around fourteen. He was a young boy with snow-white hair who wore a lonely expression.
He wore an indifferent look like nothing in the world interested him, ignoring even himself. The entire time he was there, he only focused on looking at the snowflakes in the sky. He watched the snowflakes fall down into his palm and gradually melt while what appeared to be pain appeared between his eyes.
He watched the snow silently the entire time.
The middle-aged man cleared his throat because his disciple’s look made it awkward.
“He’s not usually like this. Recently, him and a woman, umm… cough. Cough. Hey! Hey!”
The young boy finally returned to reality like he noticed the middle-aged man’s existence.
The young man had been doted on since he was a kid so he couldn’t stand the way the boy belittled him. He aimed his sword at the boy. The boy’s sword-qi enveloped his body. A layer of energy that looked like it was yet to take full-form appeared faintly around him, which was evidence he was about to break through the qi-enveloped sword realm.
His sword-qi was like thousands of needles stabbing, causing the snow on the ground to split against its will.
The boy’s sword-qi calmed down. He narrowed his eyes and indifferently said: “… I’ll give you ten free moves.”
*Sword-qi is where you have an extra layer of qi surrounding the sword. Imagine your sword, and then the blade being enveloped in with a visible electric current (the electric part is only an example visual).