Chapter 9: Huineng’s Disciple
“Haha, what are we standing around for? Let’s take a seat.”
Looking at the chairs and tables thrown all over the place, Pa Chun shrugged and pointed to the second floor. Pa Chun turned to Smiling Sword who was still holding onto his injured wrist and lightly tapped his shoulder.
“Brother! Why don’t you join us? It’ll help loosen the tension. Hurry, let’s go up.”
Pa Chun basically dragged Smiling Sword to the second floor. Watching this scene, the 8 young masters of the Five Clans Union let out an awkward laugh and followed him. Sul Ju-Bong followed as well, still tightly embraced in Nangong Hemi’s arms.
Their table was filled with awkwardness. Pa Chun was the only one cracking jokes and trying to liven up the situation. Laughing aloud, he offered alcohol to everyone. However, they did not know whether to put it through their mouth or nose. Smiling Sword who was seated next to Pa Chun seemed especially uncomfortable as he rolled his eyes in anxiousness. Of course, he accepted offers of drinks from Pa Chun and drank reluctantly. Everyone else on the second floor had their attention focused on this table, whispering to themselves about this odd combination of people.
“I apologize for having to hide my identity from you all for reasons I cannot disclose. Don’t blame me too much. But it is true that I am new to the world of Murim. My debut has been pretty recent. Sir Nangong, you wouldn’t be bothered by this would you? Haha.”
“Yes? Is there something you need…?”
“What is your true identity?”
As everyone had been curious about this, they focused their attention on Pa Chun, waiting for his answer.
“Mmm… I’m afraid this isn’t something I can so easily disclose… but it must have been fate that brought us together. I guess there’s no need for me to hide it. I am Shaolin’s…”
“I knew it.”
“I am someone who received the direct teachins of the 6th Patriarch of the Shaolin Temple, High Priest Huineng.”
“Huineng, you said?”
In front of shock of great magnitude, people can’t help but become dumbfounded or act in a way that they usually would not. Their reaction was exactly so. Many could only stare blankly as they blinked in surprise, and some even drooled with their mouths open. One person started drinking alcohol madly.
-Hahaha, such improvisation… amazing. Simply amazing! Looks like you’ll avoid yet another danger like this.
=Amitabul. What a blatant lie… though, in some ways, it might not be completely wrong either.
“Direct teachings of monk Huineng? How could that be possible?”
At Nangong Hemi’s words, they remembered one detail. The renowned 6th Patriarch, Huineng, was a person from the era of Tang Dynasty. To be exact, he was a High Priest born on the 11th year of Tae Jong, having passed away on the first year of Hyun Jong. He was the Great Successor of the legacy of Dharma and 2nd Patriarch Huike. It was him who brought Shaolin to the top as the greatest Buddhist temple of the Linji school*. As the current Chief Priest of the Shaolin Temple was the 27th in line, their suspicion was only natural.[TN: Linji school is a school of Chan Buddhism. Wikipedia if you’re curious.]
“I know what you all are thinking and of course, I have not directly met him. I’ve never left Mt. Tae my whole life. But one day on a secluded mountainside, I was able to find his trails and teachings. It has been over 10 years since then. High Priest Huineng had once wandered across the world, and he had stayed in Mt. Tae for about 2 years. I was lucky enough to have found his legacy, and although I am lacking, I have come to follow in his footsteps.”
The faces of the listeners had a hint of understanding in it. At the same time, there expressions were filled with envy and admiration.
“Ahem… so this is why I unwillingly had tricked you all. I hope you can find the heart to forgive me.”
“Of course of course! This is a joyous occasion for us Jung Pa Murim. It seems we must address you with greater respect from now.”
“No, what do you mean?”
“Honor is something the people of Murim care greatly about. How could we so careless treat the one who succeeded the teachings of Shaolin’s legendary High Priest? Do you not agree? Haha.”
Laughter erupted from the table, but one person stayed quiet with an uncomfortable expression on his face.[Watch it. What are you unsatisfied with to make a face like that?]
At Pa Chun’s mental message, goosebumps appeared on Smiling Sword’s body. Not only did he suffer under his boundless martial techniques, but he also just found out about his identity. Thinking about the possibility that such a character might be a murderous fiend made his hair stand on its end. He still could not forget Pa Chun’s eyes from back then. Evil, destructive, and domineering – eyes that he had never seen before. Pa Chun’s mental message once again wrung out in his mind.[You know what will happen if you dare tell anyone about me, right? …Oh? No answer?] [N-No… my lord! I will not speak about this with anyone. I swear.]
With those final words, Smiling Sword’s body was shaking in fear. Pa Chun was still heartily speaking with the others, yet he was able to send a mental message during that time. This advanced type of mental message was impossible without fully grasping two secret techniques. One was the Shaolin’s Intelligent Light Speech and the other had to be the Two Mind Separation Technique* only heard of in legends. This was a technique that allowed you to perform two different actions by separating the mind in two. Seeing this man perform such techniques with ease, Smiling Sword could only shudder in fear. Even his pride as the head of the Law Enforcement Corp or the protection under the name of North Swords seemed to be nothing in the presence of this man.[TN: Desolate Era anyone?]
Tension began to fall. Jokes began to be exchanged here and there, and the table could not seem any friendlier. As Sul Ju-Bong was still terrified, Nangong Hyuk Ryun asked his sister Hemi to send her off to a rest room. Even though she knew she had to stay with the poor girl, Nangong Hemi looked reluctant as she wanted to spend more time with this man named Munyun. Seeing Sul Ju-Bong leave the table, Nangong Hyuk Ryun faced Smiling Sword and asked.
“Sir Wu, I trust there won’t be any further trouble?”
“Of… of course. There will be no trouble. I will make sure of it.”
Listening to his response, Pa Chun grinned at Smiling Sword. Seeing this, Smiling Sword looked as if he stepped on poop.
“You can probably leave now, sir Wu… you have wounds to tend to after all.”
“Ah… yes, of course. Thank you for your patronage.”
He did not even know what he was saying in response. His previous cruel and proud demeanor had already disappeared completely. The time had already passed 11 PM. Everyone had finished drinking as they talked happily, and they were now ready to go back.
“Alright, you may leave now. Let’s meet tomorrow as fellow Jung Do-ins.”
“Yes, I’ll catch you all again tomorrow.”
Standing up, Smiling Sword clasped his hands in respect. His face full of relief would cause anyone to feel sympathetic. How tormented must he have been on the inside for him to change so much in such little time? Pa Chun didn’t forget to watch scurry by as he hurriedly left the inn.
“Sir Mun, do you know where you are staying tonight?”
It was the Moyong Clan’s second young master, Moyong Jung-Geol, that asked the question. Looking rather thin, he had a habit of twitching one of his eyes. Even while he was asking Pa Chun where he would be staying for the night, his eyes were incessantly twitching.
“No, not at all. I’ve only just arrived in the Gae Bong prefecture.”
“That’s great! We will be staying in the Zhenchen inn nearby. You should come stay there as well.”
“Yeah, sounds like a great idea.”
Nangong Ah-Yeon had not once taken her eyes off of him while she was drinking. Both Moyong Jung-Geol’s sister, Moyong Hwa, and Dang Jung-Wu’s sister, Dang So-Yoon, were entranced by him, but they only occasionally stole glances of him. Just these were enough to allow Pa Chun to get a glimpse of their personality.
He was the youngest in the current group as he was now 20. Nangong Hyun Ryuk was the oldest at 25, then Peng Jung-Hu at 24, Nangong Ah-Yeon and Moyong Jung-Geol at 23, Dang So-Yoon at 22, and Moyong Hwa at 21. Nangonog Hemi who left with Sul Ju-Bong was 19. Since they were all young and were from Jung Pa’s famous clans, they were able to easily become close. However, as they had no clue of Pa Chun’s real identity, the future would be a sight to see.
Zhenchen Inn was located in the center of Gae Bong, and was rather high class in comparison to the others. It had single-rooms for special guests, allowing Pa Chun and the others to have a comfortable stay. Other than Hemi who stayed together with Sul Ju-Bong, everyone else had gotten their own room. The girls had gathered in one room to talk as did the guys. Only Pa Chun had left for his room after saying he was tired. When he entered his room, a strong fragrance of tulip filled the air, engulfing him. Pa Chun took a deep breath, smelling this fragrance. Someone had placed tea on his table while he was gone, and he took a sip looking around the room.
It was a well-done room, with expensive Persian carpets and furniture from Zhejiang Province’s Yoo Gu-Hyun. Of course, compared to what they had in the imperial court, it was a difference between heaven and earth, but normal commoners would not be able to look at these furniture so easily. Staying a single night in this inn cost 10 silver coins, which normally would be enough for a family of three to live as they wanted for half a month. Pa Chun started to wonder if all Murim-ins lived such a glamorous life. Where did they get all these money from? His curiosity piqued as he still had no idea about the lives of Murim-ins.
He was wondering whether to just go to bed or take a bath first. After seeing the dust on his clothes, Pa Chun decided to brush the dust off his clothes and take a bath.
After a while, the door opened slightly, and he could see a glimpse of someone’s clothes. Pouring water over his body one last time, he wiped himself off with a towel.
He hurriedly covered his important place with the towel.
“Sir! Please accept me.”
“Huh… you followed me all the way here? You’re quite tenacious.”
“If you do not accept me, I have nowhere else to go. I will follow your steps until I am accepted.”
“Do as you like!”
The one who appeared in his room was precisely the Blue Faced Demon Ha Gun-Pyo, the man whose life he saved in Mt. Tae. He had hidden himself and continued following Pa Chun, even coming into his room. Although Pa Chun knew Ha Gun-Pyo would ask him to be taken in, he had not yet said anything. It’s not that he did not want to, but rather that he was not ready for such a thing yet. His loyalty and bravery from back then had left Pa Chun with a great impression of him.
“Sir, I’ve already died once. I will offer my life to your cause.”
Ha Gyu-Pyo kowtowed immediately. Although he was a little pushy, Pa Chun quite liked this about him.
“Fine, I will take you in under my command.”
“Thank you, my lord.”
“However… with your current strength, you will only be a burden. You are to head to a certain place and train until you get stronger.”
Taking out a brush and an ink slab, Pa Chun fully drowned the brush in ink. He then started writing with one stroke what seemed to be basic martial art techniques. What he wrote were techniques that he wanted Ha Gun-Pyo to learn. Pa Chun then told him location of the cave of Mt. Tae’s two Nohs, telling him to go to them for help. Not including the Nohs, Ha Gun-Pyo had become his first subordinate. After receiving the writing, he once more kowtowed to Pa Chun before leaving.
Finally, Pa Chun turned the lights off and lied down to sleep when Chun Ma started talking to him.
-Pa Chun, what are you planning on doing from now on?”
“Don’t worry, I have everything planned out. I’ll just have to adjust it a little if I run into problems… I will become Murim’s emperor, and establish a Murim Empire that no one has ever done before.”
At that moment, his eyes were filled with fiery passion.
-To accomplish that, you should focus on making our memories into yours completely.
=Shizhu, think about what is right. Everything flows in their right order. Understand how foolish it is to go against the world’s order for personal achievements. Why bet your body and mind for something that will mean nothing in death? Let go of your ambitions and live for the good of the people. It will be following the will of God who gave you such strength.
“God? What God?”
-Just ignore him. Besides, if nothing matters after death, that’s all the more reason to live your live to its fullest. Humans’ greatest pleasure come from their desire to rule. The power to rule over everything! That is what a man should seek.
“Quit it, both of you! My life decisions are mine to make! Neither of you can make me change my mind. But tell me, why is my memory of you two imperfect? Your martial art techniques have been transferred over safely, but I don’t have much of other memories. What should I do to make them mine?”
-It will happen naturally once your Inner Qi level rises. Once it gets to 10 cycles, not only can you completely combine with us, you’ll be able to do all sorts of other tricks.
-Yeah. For example, if you make yourself dead for a short time using the Turtle Breath Technique, we’ll be able to control your body. You can even free us from your body.
“Free you two?”
-Yep. We can go wherever we want, whether to the netherworld or to another body.
“I see. Okay, I’m tired right now… so don’t talk to me anymore. I’m going to bed. I have to wake up early tomorrow to go somewhere.
=Good night, Shizhu! I will chant a sutra for you as a lullaby.
“Kuk… can you just shut up? Hey, Chun Ma, do something.”
“Father, it’s me, Yunmun… can’t you recognize me?”
Why can’t he recognize me? Father’s face was turning strange. His eyes were getting torn, his nose sunken, and his mouth disappearing. He was clawing himself apart as if he was constricted by something.
“Father, what’s wrong? Father!”
Tears! He was shedding tears… tears of blood! His eyes were filled with sympathy.
“Hahahaha. Good bye, brother!”
A man slashed Father from behind. Yunmun charged at this man with full strength but his body did not listen. The man laughed showing his white teeth, his face shrouded in darkness. Father’s shredded body slowly disappeared as the man with a devilish face approached.
It was his uncle, the king of Yeon. But why?
“Uncle, what is the meaning of this?”
“Hahahaha. I’ve attained it all. I am now the emperor!”
Yunmun’s scream was tearing the air apart.
Was it a dream?
-Pa Chun, just what the hell were you dreaming about that you’d scream so loudly?”
It was the sound of Chun Ma calling me.
“Nothing… but why did you wake me up?”
-Lie back down! Someone’s coming here.[What?]
Concentrating his Inner Qi, Pa Chun used Heavenly Demon’s Hearing Technique and a faint sound of someone’s footsteps could be heard. The footsteps stopped in front of his room’s door, walking back and forth in hesitation. What is it? An assassin? Who else could it be? Blue Faced Demon should have headed to Mt. Tae by now…
Pa Chun silently lied back down on his bed, once more concentrating his hearing at the door.
-Light footsteps… it’s a woman’s.[What?]
-Ha! I see, that’s what’s going on.[You what? Who is it? Why would anyone come visit me at such an hour?]
-I’m sure there will be loads more in the future! I don’t know who’d be so daring though…]