A Step into the Past

Volume 1 Chapter 6

Book 1 Chapter 6 - Leader of the Mohist School

Xiang Shaolong did not want to fight them, so he can only run away. He later ended up at a dilapidated and isolated temple, walked in there and sat cross legged, hidden in a corner.

What should he do? Why don’t he go back to Mulberry Forest Village and look for Mei Canniang and live the rest of his life there. Once he thought of this, he really felt that heroes are short-lived.

Suddenly, there was someone else in the temple.

Xiang Shaolong looked over in surprise. It turns out to be a middle-aged man wearing linen clothes, his feet bare. No wonder he did not hear any footsteps.

That man was tall and well built, almost as tall as him, his features plan, his expression calm. However his eyes were alert, and besides the cloth he bun his hair with, he wore no other accessories, looking a little like a monk on a pilgrimage.

The two of them eyed each other.

The man suddenly came towards Xiang Shaolong, squat down and asked, “Where did Brother come from?”

Xiang Shaolong did not know what the other party has on his mind, so he said, “I was on my way to Handan to visit my relatives but lost my way and ended up here. If Sir can tell me how to get to Handan, I’ll be very grateful.” By now his accent and speech is about 70 to 80 percent similarity to how the people at that time talked.

The man smiled and said, “I’m not a sir, it’s just that I saw that you’re strongly built and good looking but although you ended up in such a state, you still have pride in your eyes, that’s why I asked out of curiosity. Tell me, what are you good at?”

Xiang Shaolong was secretly cursing, but he has to find out the route to Handan so he swallowed his anger and replied, “I don’t know anything, but I have brute strength. I’m not afraid of hard work or fighting.”

That man smiled, “Do you know how to use a sword?”

Of course Xiang Shaolong nodded his head.

The man said calmly, “Come with me!” He pushed open the back door of the temple and walked in.

In any case, Xiang Shaolong has no place to stay now, so he followed him in. Behind the door there’s a world of it’s own. It’s an abandoned courtyard with high walls surrounding the four sides with a dried up pond in the middle. On the other end is a small stone house.

That man walked out of the house with two wooden swords and threw one of them to Xiang Shaolong.

Xiang Shaolong was shocked when he caught hold of the sword. It’s actually a few times heavier than his previous sword, the wood was black, and he wondered what kind of tree is it made from.

That man saw his look of surprise and said, “This is a heavy sword made from a 1000 year old pomegranate tree. Fine! Show me some attacks.”

Xiang Shaolong waved the sword a little, shook his head and said, “No! I’m afraid I’ll hurt you.”

A look of appreciation shot through the man’s eyes and he smiled, “If your sword can touch my clothes, I’ll give you a detailed map to Handan as well as traveling expenses and clothes immediately.”

Xiang Shaolong was shocked when he heard that and quietly thought that this person is even more conceited than him. He laughed and said, “In that case I’ll oblige.” He went forward and was 5 steps away from the person when he made a fake move. He leaned towards the left, then moved to the right, his sword sweeping over, force meeting force, using the strength in his arms to shake his opponent’s wooden sword away.

Who would have expected that that person did not move at all, but just moved his wrist. Although he struck later, his sword reached his opponent first and slashed diagonally at his sword, then the tip of the sword slid forwarded as if it’s going to stab Xiang Shaolong’s face.

Xiang Shaolong was startled and took a step back. His opponent’s wondrous swordplay made it difficult for him to use his strength. He felt piqued and with a roar, leapt forward like a ferocious tiger. Continuously for 7 moves, his danced madly with his sword like leaves falling on a strong, windy night, suddenly attacking the top or bottom, sweeping and chopping, attacking towards him.

The corner of the man’s lips seem to curve up in a smile and yet he did not move, but no matter how he slashed, his opponent would just be able to block off his sword. His following sword moves were able to force him back, and there’s no need for him to fight with him on strength. Although he only defended and did not attack, there’s no way he can get close.

“Pak Pak” the sound kept ringing in his ears.

When he was striking for the 72th time, Xiang Shaolong was finally exhausted. He stepped back and panted, looking at this gentleman in front of him incredulously.

That man exclaimed in surprise, “So you really do not know the art of swordplay, but only depended on your strength and nimbleness. But if an average swordsman was to meet you, he’ll surely have difficulty fighting you.”

Xiang Shaolong gave him back the sword dejectedly, and admitted his loss, “I admit I can’t be compared to you. Hai! To think that I actually harbored the wish to roam the world. It turns out that a real swordsman can be so formidable. Farewell! I’ll return to the mountains now and just live out the rest of my life.” When he finished his words, he really felt completely discouraged and thought about the era he is so familiar with. If they’re dueling on marksmanship, he’ll definitely be able to win this swordsman.

That man laughed, “From the way Brother moves and talks, you’re poor but yet you’re not and your bearing is excellent. Obviously you’re an upright and extraordinary person. Come! Have a bath and change into some clean clothes. I’ll cook and we can have a good chat.”

After eating 2 bowls of rice, Xiang Shaolong’s spirit was restored.

The man saw that after he has shaved, combed his hair and changed into linen clothes, Xiang Shaolong seemed to have changed into another person and his eyes revealed a look of admiration. He said smoothly, “Just now Brother said you wanted to make a name for yourself, I wonder what kind of name are you looking for?”

Xiang Shaolong was stunned for a moment, and replied with a little embarrassment, “I’m actually not too sure, but just taking things as they come. Now that I have clothes, I’m thinking of changing this dagger for some money, and it’ll be best if I can buy a horse to bring me to Handan.”

That man furrowed his brow and said, “A man in society all alone, how can he not have goals or aspirations. Only those who create opportunities are true heroes.”

Xiang Shaolong was irked and asked, “What aspirations do you have then?”

That man smiled condescendingly and replied, “Very simple, which is to eliminate ‘the greatest bane to the world’, and to accomplish ‘the greatest benefit to the world’.”

Xiang Shaolong guffawed, “These sentences are so vague, what can be considered the greatest benefit and the greatest bane to the world?”

The man was not offended and said calmly, “The greatest bane of the world, is like the strong preying on the weak, big states conquering small states, the intelligent suppressing the foolish. And the root to all these problems, is because there’s not enough love between people. If we can all love one another, hand over our possessions, then we can all share the wealth. There’ll no longer be fights over jealousy, and accomplish the greatest benefit to the world.”

Xiang Shaolong exclaimed hoarsely, “So you’re a believer of Mohism*.”

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohist

That man was baffled, “What Mohism?”

Xiang Shaolong asked excitedly, “Is your grand-teacher Mo Zhai, his teachings are very famous, on the same standing as the Confucianism, Taoism and Legalism and it’ll be passed on forever!”

That person was totally perplexed, but since he knows the name Mo Zhai, obviously he wasn’t talking nonsense, so he nodded and said, “Mo Zhai is indeed our first Juzi, are you really from the villages?”

Xiang Shaolong asked, “What is Juzi, that I do not know.”

That man thought for a while and explained, “Juzi is the leader of the ‘Mohist Unit’. When we first started, we hoped to stop fights with fights, but we will only defend and not attack. A pity that the unit now has evolved greatly, and has split into 3 units, named after the place they are in, which is Qi Mo, Chu Mo and Zhao Mo. I am the previous Juzi, Meng Sheng’s disciple and the purpose of my journey is to unify the 3 units again and fight for our dreams.”

Xiang Shaolong asked solemnly, “Why are you telling me such a big secret?”

That man sighed and said, “Because I have the Juzi Token, so I thought it’ll be an easy task to reunite the groups. But I did not expect that when I found the leader of Zhao Mo in Handan, he’d actually send his men to kill me. Therefore I escaped to this place and felt that a single person will be weak and helpless, so I must gather all my men before I can have a chance of unifying the 3 Mo. So how can I lightly let off someone with character and skills like yours.”

Xiang Shaolong kept shaking his hands and said, “No way, I will not spill my blood over such illusionary and hopeless dream that will never come true. Hai! Trust me! The idealism of Mohism will never be fulfilled. Once wealth is equally distributed, you’ll get a lot of useless people instead. There’ll only be improvement if there’s competition.”

That man’s body shook when he heard this, and closed his eyes, deep in thought.

Xiang Shaolong begged quietly, “Why don’t you tell me how to get to Handan. As for giving me clothes and food, I, Xiang Shaolong, will never forget your kindness.”

That man opened his eyes, a gleam shooting out of it and said with a smile, “Nothing is this world is free. Learn swordplay from me! The day you can defeat the wooden sword in my hand, will be when I’ll accompany you to Handan. If you’re a man, then agree to my request! Or else even if you can reach Handan, but once you meet a real swordsman, you’ll still end up dead.”

Xiang Shaolong thought that it sounded reasonable, and asked with hesitation, “You won’t force me to join your unit, right!”

That man laughed, “Not only will I not force you to join, I can forget about accepting you as my disciple. We’re just friends exchanging pointers on equal standing. My name is Yuan Zong, you can call me Brother Yuan if you like.”

Therefore Xiang Shaolong lived in this temple, waking up before the cock crows to practice swordplay with Yuan Zong, and discussed with him ways to attack and defend.

Even Yuan Zong was impressed with the speed of his improvement and praised him. A month later, he was able to attack and defend in his duels with Yuan Zong.

Yuan Zong will leave the temple everyday, leaving Xiang Shaolong, who is now obsessed with swordplay, to practice on his own. At dusk, Yuan Zong would return with food.

Three months passed hurriedly like that.

This day, Yuan Zong returned only at night, his expression somber. He called him into the house and thought for a moment with furrowed brows before he said, “They’ve chased their way here.”

Xiang Shaolong has now forged a deep friendship with him, and asked with concern, “Who is here?”

Yuan Zong sighed, “It’s Zhao Mo’s Yan Ping. I was able to escape only after I injured 18 of his men. What he wants is the Juzi Token I have, because with it, he can conveniently become Juzi.” He paused, then shook his head and said with a bitter smile, “What an irony, even within our own unit we are unable to love everyone, and yet we talk about our ideals.”

Xiang Shaolong does not know how to console him.

Yuan Zong took out a square brass, with a single word ‘Mo’ on it, It looked like a big square seal. He gave this to Xiang Shaolong and said, “Take this token and run towards Handan immediately. I’ve drawn a map for you, and over the past few months I’ve earned enough for your traveling expenses. Leave quickly!”

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