( Eh, if you are reading and have some time to spare, please leave a review - Uh, I also realized that there are a few typo errors here and there, especially with the use of symbols. They are mostly errors due to me uploading documents using firefox. I will try to remind myself to use IE from now on. By the way, "The Warlords" is a pretty good movie - try watching it. hehe, off topic. Anyway, if you are wondering, here are the chinese translations for the following terms:
Bei Ming Jian - The Sword of Sorrowful Cries / Moans
Jian Ling Ya - Cliff of the Blade Spirits OR Soulful Blades Cliff ( hehe, the latter is a rather brute translation )
Lan Ling Zi - Blue Spirit / Soul
That's about it. If you have any queries about some words, feel free to ask. They sound rather stupid in the translations, but well, they certainly are more meaningful if you read them in Chinese. More characters and plots introduced in next few chapters. Read and review! Thx! )
Chapter One – Bei Ming
The snow had long receded.
Spring had long begun.
Jian Ling Ya was long …. gone.
The last Sect Guardian … bones buried beneath a willow tree sapling; his flesh … in Bei Ming's …. in Bei Ming's …. stomach.
The now three year-old toddler sat himself lazily in a puddle of mud by the edges of a cliff. And then, there was the pile of rotting human flesh moulded into a small hill beside him.
Bei Ming stared out into the deep valleys of the cliff, his eyes searching the forests and creeks which contained life … searching for an answer as to why he was here.
And when he was hungry, he crawled four-legged to the human flesh and tucked himself in.
Two months ago …
Lan Ling Zi's wound was growing numb from the cold ... so numb, perhaps, that he didn't even feel the ache anymore …. didn't even know if the wound was still bleeding or if it had long frozen ...
He wrapped his body around Bei Ming, pulling the toddler closer and bringing him in beneath his coat. The snow was heavily piling itself above him, and painfully or "numbfully" atop his blade wounds.
"Shao Ye, you – you must not die." Lan Ling Zi whispered, not knowing if the toddler had even heard him. Perhaps, his words were lost in the hailing of the snow? All his ears could hear, were the gales of wind gushing past his temples.
Slowly and softly, Bei Ming made his reply to Lan Ling Zi's cry.
Bei Ming wailed.
He was hungry.
Lan Ling Zi closed his eyes. He knew that there wasn't food for three hundred miles to come. He also knew that he was dying, that he had already fallen, that he was wounded, that he was dying, and that there was no way he could bring food to Bei Ming.
It's the only way, Lan Ling Zi.
The Seventh Sect Guardian sighed softly, his pale cold hand creeping across the bed of snow. Calmly, he searched for his silver blade. And once his fingers found the hilt, he began carving flesh off his frame.
At the same time 2 mths ago …
Gu Ling Zi plunged the entire shaft of his sword's blade into the Hall's foundation stone in anger. The commotion stuck the entire structure of the building, sending chunks of bricks tumbling down from the roof.
The Fu Jiao Zhu of the late Jian Ling Ya Sect motioned to his men stationed in the Hall.
"Go, all of you … go and find again. I will not believe that it is not here. Search! SEARCH!!!"
"Your wish is our command, General Gu."
And with that, the legion of soldiers dispersed and swiftly reinitiated their hunt through the Jian Ling Ya Residence.
Gu Ling Zi gritted his teeth as he stared at the fifteen rows of tablets in the Hall with poisonous hatred. With a huge heavy grunt, he removed his blade from the foundation stone and cleanly swept all the tablets behind the throne to the floor. There was a crisp breaking of porcelains.
He should be satisfied.
Satisfied with the destruction of Jian Ling Ya and the scattering of the ashes of all hundred and thirty eight ancestors of Jian Ling Ya.
Yet he wasn't. He needed to find the sword. The one which his father's blood stained.
The Bei Ming Jian.
A three-year old Bei Ming stirred in the midst of his sleep. The increasing loud buzzing of the flies above and around the meat flesh pile was irritating. It was summer already, and it did nothing to help – but to attract more flies.
The afternoon sun was glaring fiercely upon the little child and the young willow tree that was Lan Ling Zi provided that little bit of shade. But it was sufficient for the small frame of Bei Ming.
Bei Ming was deep in thought. And if anyone possessing psychic powers were to read his mind right then, he would not believe what he would find within.
How long more would this meat last?
Eat. Stare into the valley. Sleep.
This was the routine life of the three-year old Bei Ming. And his life continued on this very routine until later that summer when Bei Ming bit onto a key.
A key forged of an ebony metal akin to that which the Hall's throne was forged of. It was lodged deeply within Lan Ling Zi's carcass …. as if … as if it was intentionally placed there … hidden there … for Bei Ming to discover.
And on it, carved in a lesser known language, was – "Jian Ling Ya Gu Di".
Jian Ling Ya Gu Di – The valley beneath Jian Ling Ya
Bei Ming bit his upper lip as he wondered how it ended up within Lan Ling Zi. There was the arrow wound somewhere near the area – the scar barely noticeable since the flesh had long decomposed for months. Perhaps … just perhaps … the key was attached to the arrowhead which found its way into Lan Ling Zi when he was escaping?
Bei Ming was only three years old, yet he was not all insensible. The words engraved on the key was a language that only heirs to the Jian Ling Ya Sect can hope to interpret. Bei Ming was born with knowledge of this language, and thus knew the importance of this key.
He decided to keep it.
It was autumn.
By now, Bei Ming had finally grown sick of staring into the deep valleys of this cliff. Day after day, he wondered out into the grass plains and forests – and each time, brought back the loot of his hunt, be it young deer, rabbits or mere berries. A three and a half year old human toddler would most probably be incapable of hunting at such a young age.
Yet, Bei Ming was not a mere human. He was the heir to the fallen Jian Ling Ya. And then there was Lan Ling Zi's silver blade that Bei Ming would keep by his side when he went on his hunts.
Right now, the sun was setting in the horizon; the fiery ball gradually sinking behind the range of mountains opposite the cliff. Bei Ming closed his eyes and meditated quietly, as the fire in front of him crackled, slowly heating up the small chunk of rabbit foot that he had hung up to roast.
Lan Ling Zi's blade was embedded in a huge boulder a little further away from where Bei Ming meditated. Its silver glimmer was still eminent, perhaps even so brighter with the setting sun's softly shedding its rays on the thin shaft of metal.
Bei Ming had set up a series of traps in the area, each attached with a thin thread of string, and together all circled the cliff. If a predator would stray into the area, the trap would snap, tugging at the string and breaking it.
And of course, Bei Ming would be alerted.
And that was what happened at this very moment.
Feeling the snapping of one string, Bei Ming's mind began to race instantly. His eyes snapped wide open, as he hurriedly scanned and located the predator.
Not one, but six.
Bei Ming gulped in surprise. Yet he did not hesitate in front of danger – doing so would result in death, and Bei Ming hadn't spent the past few months hunting without such encounters. The toddler stumbled to his small feet and raced towards the boulder where the silver blade resided.
As if sensing Bei Ming's intention, two foxes leapt to the boulder right as Bei Ming started for it. The remaining four foxes softly strolled about Bei Ming, enclosing him within their circle.
In the blink of an eye, the two foxes were between Bei Ming and the sword. Bei Ming was fast, yet the foxes were even faster. Signalling their victory, the foxes snarled and sniffed the air proudly.
Amidst the silent and heavy atmosphere, Bei Ming suddenly with his little teeth.
The breaking of wind. The two fox paused in their victory dance. In the next moment, both were beheaded almost instantaneously by a blur movement of silver. Bei Ming stuck out his hand ( bloodied by the blood spray that resulted from the beheading ) and caught the hilt of Lan Ling Zi's sword.
"Xie le." Bei Ming thanked the sword. Months of wielding this silver blade had led to a telepathic link of some sort between owner and sword. Of course, a normal sword would not see to the birth of such a link. Neither would a mere swordsman. Yet, this blade belonged to Lan Ling Zi and was forged of Jian Ling Ya, thus imbued with a Jian Ling. And in addition, Bei Ming was definitely not a mere swordsman.
The telepathic link resulted in a fatal response from Lan Ling Zi's sword. Swiftly, it had dislodged itself from the boulder and sped from behind the two unwary foxes and slaughtered them.
The remaining four foxes screeched and straightened their tails warily. Apparently, the deaths of their comrades had alerted them that they had too far underestimated the strength of this three year old human. Alas, their response was too slow … or perhaps … Bei Ming was fast?
The toddler had long seized the opportunity to rid himself of yet another fox while the four were still stunned and held in awe.
The last three foxes quickly garnered their attention, no longer daring to let slack their focus for even a moment. Alas, beasts are mere beasts – however intelligent they are, humans are still the kings of bestial kind …
Bei Ming easily recalled a technique that he remembered his father, the Jiao Zhu, had often practiced in seclusion.
"Bei Ming, you are my son, the heir. One day, you will sit on my throne and reign supreme over all the brothers of Jian Ling Ya … Remember this well – that is, what I'm executing. Xu Yang Jian Fa! The essence of this technique – accuracy and not brute strength. All objects beneath the sun and on this earth have weaknesses, though most are hidden and concealed well … The purpose of Xu Yang Jian Fa is to lure the enemy to reveal his weakness to us … and …."
Bei Ming had forgotten the rest. Yet it was already impressive for him to remember this much already … he was a mere two years when his father had shown him the technique. The toddler now looked back to the three foxes. Sword in hand, he lifted his arm and locked his wrist; steadying his stance and preparing to execute it any moment …
" First Stance --- Wang Xing He Yi! ( Ten thousand stars as one! )"
In a single moment, the silver blade had darted in between dozens of positions, lightly tapping and pricking the air before withdrawing and piercing into yet another location about the fox. The fluidity of such motion and the speed of it had made it seem to the mortal eye that the sole silver blade had in one instant, cloned itself into thousands of swords – each attacking from one end … each blade as real as the other …
Bei Ming's eyes were widened, his senses highly alert, ready to draw in that weakness …. that weakness that all things in the universe possess ….
"This weakness is akin to the foundation stone of a building. Once you destroy the foundation stone, the building collapses. Similarly, once you shatter your opponent's 'weakness' … his soul shatters as well …"
To the right! There was a swift slight shimmer in the fox's orange-red fur … so swift and minute that Bei Ming had almost not noticed it …
Bei Ming struck, applying only sufficient strength to move the blade.
"The 'weakness' will shatter upon contact – not mere contact but contact with neither pull nor push …"
The tip of Lan Ling Zi's sword came to a slow halt, the hilt rotating about within Bei Ming's fingers. As if the silver sword was his fifth limb, Bei Ming could almost feel the distance between metal and 'weakness' …
A finger's breadth. More ….
A hair's breadth …
Close … closer … a little more …
A slight shiver trickled up Bei Ming's spine. His blade had finally ceased to move – had he done it? Abruptly the fox lowered its body and then pranced forth, leaping towards Bei Ming in an attempt to pin him down and devour the toddler.
I failed then …
Bei Ming sighed and closed his eyes, calmly awaiting death. Months of hunting on this cliff had taught him one thing – if he was prepared to kill others, he should be prepared to die as well … Prey and predator … they are one …
Alas, death was not his to be.
Still flying through the air at Bei Ming, the fox's orange frame suddenly halted in mid-air. It shivered once slightly, before dispersing into small dust-like particles …. Blood into red dust; bones into white dust; flesh into pink …. fur … into orange …
I did it! I did it!
Bei Ming's heart leapt in joy. Yet, months as a hunter had restored in him the basic primal instinct of mankind when they still had ruled in the forests as Kings … and this very instinct warned him of the existence of the last two foxes.
He turned his attention to them at last. But it was too late – at least by a few moments.
One of the two foxes, one was larger and stronger, perhaps the leader of the pack. The latter was much smaller and considerably weaker. And the leader had sent the smaller one propelling towards Bei Ming. In other words, the larger fox had thrown the smaller fox at Bei Ming.
To use such underhand means – sacrificing one's comrade for your own survival …. Despicable but wise … how did I left that possibility out?
Bei Ming cursed ( whatever a child could possibly scold …. ) as he hurriedly brought Lan Ling Zi's blade up to parry the attack.
Blade met flesh.
Especially if its such sharp metal as Lan Ling Zi's sword, the blade had efficiently and easily sliced through the fox. Bei Ming smiled for a short moment before the smile froze. It was quickly wiped off in the next moment. The fox thrown at Bei Ming was dead. Sure. But the fox was absolutely heavier than Bei Ming, a toddler …
And right at this very moment, Bei Ming was situated near the edge of the cliff.
The weight of the fox easily threw Bei Ming off balance and he tumbled down into the valley.