Had others part of Luo Sword Manor heard the thoughts in Luo Siming’s mind, they would become more religious than before, thanking every deity under heaven and above the firmament for finally enlightening him to the beauties of romance.
Unfortunately for all of Luo Sword Manor and, fortunately for Luo Siming, Ao Xue, who couldn’t give two tosses, was occupied with analysing, “She’s a swordswoman judging from her hands. I wonder what style she trains; it’s probably one that’d pique my interest. I should spar her the day she heals – maybe the day after.”
“Young Master, the physicians have arrived,” the general manager notified from outside.
“Br-bring them in,” stuttered Luo Siming, puzzled as to why he stuttered. He estimated, “If her meridians don’t open up, she’ll be crippled. If she can’t heal from her internal injuries in coming months, she won’t make it.”
Luo Siming estimations weren’t credible owing to him primarily studying how to deal with exterior wounds that blades inflicted and not internal injuries. That was the reason he sent men to ask for the best physicians at Canhu Town. He believed that, if he couldn’t nurse Shen Yiren back to health with his true qi, surely medication could help. Therefore, he was glad to hear “physicians” came and not just “a physician”.
As the four physicians filed in, Luo Siming couldn’t take his eyes off the scholar in his eighties dressing as a scholar – Doctor Luo, arguably the best physician of Luo Sword Manor.
Doctor Luo was a branch family member who was born during Luo Siming’s grandfather’s generation. Luo Siming often called the doctor Elder Doctor as a show of intimacy. The two were acquainted from when he was a young boy for Doctor Luo was always working at the clan estate as well as helped him in numerous ways to help him improve his physical and mental health. Doctor Luo spared no efforts preparing health supplements for Luo Siming, even going as far as gate keeping Fourth Young Master’s meals to ensure he received the best nourishment. An ill man cannot train. Accordingly, it was fair to argue that Doctor Luo had a hand in Luo Siming’s accomplishments.
As a branch family member, Doctor Luo didn’t learn the clan’s smithing techniques, focusing on learning medicine and Luo Clan’s martial arts, instead. His reputation in the field of medicine saw him work as an imperial doctor at one stage until his nephew, Luo Ming, asked him to return to the clan in exchange for a handsome salary. As he established his expertise in the field of medicine through treating many ailments and restoring patients to exceptional health, they called him “Hui Chun”, meaning “to restore youth”, due to the health associated with youths. Over time, the name stuck, and virtually nobody referred to him by his real name.
Luo Siming was particularly glad Doctor Luo was among the physicians who came for the reason that having knowledge in medicine and martial arts meant he was better equipped to deal with conditions resulting from martial arts training or fights than a physician without a martial arts background.
Behind Doctor Luo was Doctor Zhang, a reputable doctor at Canhu Town in his own right, though not as lauded as Doctor Luo. The doctor behind Doctor Zhang was a notch below him and didn’t particularly raise anyone’s hopes.
“Elder Doctor, I am grateful you could make it here so late at night. I was going to see you tomorrow,” expressed Luo Siming.
“It is no big deal, Young Master. Even if this old one was asleep, waking up to serve you, not to mention to save a life, is worth waking up for.”
Seeing the daoist who announced “Empyrean Wuliang” adorning a big daoist robe, holding a stack of yellow talismans in his left, a half-empty calabash in his right and strapping a mahogany sword to his back, Luo Siming almost blurted, “Who hired the ghost-catcher daoist?”
Frowning, the daoist passed his talismans to his right hand and whipped his whisk with his left hand, swiping the teapot off the table. Then, he shook his head and lamented, “May you be forgiven for your sins.”
I thought I asked for doctors, not a vandalising ghost catcher?
Ao Xue was close to lodging her sword in the daoist’s neck when he swiped the teapot off the table if it wasn’t for Luo Siming holding her back.
Assuming the middle-aged daoist was a man who had truly found the truth of the world based off his appearance and behaviour, Luo Siming politely inquired, “Y-you ar-”
“Empyrean Wuliang!” responded the daoist, holding the “Empyrean” part for extra emphasis. “This one has foregone his daoist title long ago. Faithful followers refer to this one as Reverend Cha.”
“R-Reverend Zha?!” repeated Luo Siming, mishearing “Cha” for “Zha”.
Reverend Zha stroked his beard jovially: “A promising young man, you are.”
“May this one ask which Taoist temple you are from? This one has friends at Taihu’s Three Stars Temple and Purple Void Temple. May he ask what your rank is?”
“This one is not from Three Stars or Purple Void Temple.”
“Would you happen to be from Taiyi Temple or Dragon Tiger Temple?”
Reverend Zha shook his head.
“Zhengyi Dao? Wudang Sect? Qingcheng Sect? Kongtong Sect?”
Reverend Zha smiled.
Scratching his head, Luo Siming supposed, “This one does know dozens more temples, but with the esteemed guests present, it is not appropriate to… explicate. Could you enlighten us, Daoist?’
“This one is from Quanzhen Sect.”
Relieved, Luo Siming smiled affably and inquired, “This one had the honour of meeting Patriarch Feng in the past. How are you addressed if this one may ask?”
“That is a long story. Perhaps ‘Grandmaster’ would not be too impolite.”
Everyone from Quanzhen Sect calls him “Grandmaster”? Does he have his head on right?!
Doctor Luo couldn’t resist querying, “May this one ask for your teacher’s name?”
“Haha, this one’s teacher hails from Ninghai in Shandong. His teacher’s surname is Zhou, and his first name is Botong.”
“Your shifu is Zhou Botong?!”
My shifu must be Zhang Sanfeng, then!
Luo Siming, a cultured man, didn’t bully the maybe mentally disabled daoist, patiently questioning, “May this one ask how old you are? You look very young.”
“This one has not pursued dao for very long. He spent thirty years getting acquainted with dao in the east, thirty years learning to read the stars, thirty years to attain eternal youth and thirty years to reach the end of the dream. How many years is that?”
“So, you are one hundred and twenty years old?”
“No, no. This one is rather slow. He was rather old by the time he met his shifu. By the time he had grasped it, his life had past. He then realised he was still a step away from perfection. That is why he then journeyed Shenzhou.”
How did this nutcase sneak into this group?!
“Amazing!” praised Ao Xue, the only one convinced. “May this one ask how long a lifetime lasts?”
“Not long but not short, either. Only a hundred years.”
“May she also ask how large is Shenzhou?”
“Not big but not small, either. Six hundred and sixty thousand hectares.”
Ao Xue gasped: “Incredible…”
Luo Siming pulled Ao Xue back behind him, thinking, “He might persuade her to marry him in a second.”
“You have not stated your age, Reverend. This one is very curious now.”
Daoist Zha narrowed his small and eyes and placed his hands behind his back as immortals were commonly depicted doing in fiction: “This one is two hundred and fifty years old this year. Sadly, he has yet to learn to fly, shaming his teacher and sect.”
In the listeners’ minds: “Yeah, two hundred and fifty as in slang for mentally demented? Yeah, you are.”
Anyone with experience could tell Daoist Zha was a fraud. Nevertheless, Luo Siming was understanding of peculiar and unorthodox people carrying themselves in certain ways to draw attention, so he didn’t want to kick Daoist Zha out.
“May this one ask what the purpose of your visit is, Reverend?”
“Destiny calls. Destiny brought me to you.”
Luo Siming politely followed up, prompting Daoist Zha to close his eyes and smile.
“It was all because of yesterday,” answered Daoist Zha.
We’re finally going to hear his aim.
“This one enjoyed a game of go with Earth Lord on Mount Kunlun…”
Let’s just tie him up and lay him out, shall we?
Zhou Botong – This is a reference to the character of the same name from Jin Yong’s Condor Heroes trilogy. He is the junior of Wang Chongyang, the founder of the Quanzhen Sect. He is the most senior person in Quanzhen Sect after Wang Chongyang’s death. However, Zhou Botong neither accepts any apprentices, which is why Zha Pi’s claim sounds ridiculous. The only person he really taught any skill to was Xiao Longnyu, albeit it becoming an exchange in the end.
Zhang Sanfeng – A legendary Chinese Taoist who purportedly invented Tia Chi. He spent several years on Mount Hua before settling in the Wudang Mountains. He’s another character in part of Jin Yong’s Condor Trilogy, specifically “The Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre”, taking on the role of Wudang Sect’s patriarch.
I do recommend reading Jin Yong’s series, especially the Condor Trilogy, since MKRL does make numerous references to the trilogy in particular. If you recognised them, you’d probably be in tears reading this chapter.
Earth Lord – I’m taking liberties with translation of his name. Usually, you’d want to leave his name as Tudigong or Tudishen (pinyin) because he has a bunch of other names that would result in a different translation. People familiar with the culture will recognise his name in pinyin but react like, “Who the devil is Earth Lord (or any other variant)?” nine times out of ten.