Death Scripture - Chapter 969 - A Roll
Chapter 969: A Roll
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
Jueqing had become a Buddhist monk when he was eight. At the age of twenty-seven, swayed by a couple of his benefactors’ words, he resolutely chose to secularize himself. But as an orphan, both parents of whom had died, he had no relatives that he could go to after leaving the Four Noble Truths Temple. Though his Master Shifu gave him several taels of silver, it was not even enough to pay for accommodation in an inn.
Having been a receptionist monk for many years, he had a decently wide knowledge about the ways of people, especially about the importance of money. So before he told his Master Shifu his decision, he had done some careful thinking about his future life.
First, he needed a new name, and the three Chinese characters “Shi Qingjue” had instantly popped into his mind.
Then, he needed money or something that could be traded for money. He had pondered over this issue for a full day, and the steward monk had scolded him because of this, which had given him another reason to choose secularization. Eventually, he had come up with an idea.
That was a month ago. He had heard that someone wanted to buy information about the family backgrounds of eminent monks of the Four Noble Truths Temple. The one who had told him had even joked, “Even if that guy only offers ten taels of silver for one Buddhist monk, then since there are so many monks in the Four Noble Truths Temple, the total price would be huge, right?”
And just like that, Shi Qingjue left the temple that he had been familiar with since childhood and walked to southern Jade City, thinking that things would be very simple. However, it turned out that he couldn’t get in touch with the Dragon King or the Unique King, and that rumored mysterious buyer who was collecting intelligence on Buddhism monks was also nowhere to be found.
Less than one day after he left the temple, Shi Qingjue began to feel afraid, but there was no way back for him now. It was impossible for him to return to the Four Noble Truths Temple. He had no professional skills, and he didn’t dare kill people. Uproarious nights in southern Jade City was heavenly in other people’s description, but after experiencing it himself, he found that it was nothing but a mixture of noises and chaos. The roads were muddy, and the pedestrians were callous. It was no place for a secularized Buddhist monk at all.
As luck would have it, he had encountered sabersman Gao Yang.
Gao Yang was bragging about how he had obtained the respect of both the Dragon King and the Unique King. All of his listeners regarded it as a joke, but Shi Qingjue, who had happened to pass by and hear it by accident, had taken his words seriously. He had walked up to Gao Yang, respectfully cupped his hands before his chest, bowed, and then asked, “You know those two people?”
Gao Yang had glanced at him briefly before deciding that he would take in this young Buddhist monk and have him serve as his helper and attendant.
Shi Qingjue had claimed that he had a treasure of the Four Noble Truths Temple to sell. In fact, Gao Yang hadn’t really been listening to him and just continued describing how tough he was and what a good place southern Jade City was. This was merely a petty occurrence that happened in a tavern, but Xu Xiaoyi’s informer had overheard their conversation, put it down in an intelligence report, and submitted it to his superior.
If it weren’t for Gao Yang’s nonsense in the report, then Xu Xiaoyi wouldn’t have even regarded it as an intelligence report worth reading. The task of collecting information about the Buddhist monks had been progressing so slowly that he had almost forgotten about it.
Zhong Heng’s attention was on the kung fu competition that concerned the election of the Lord of Jade City, so he had merely browsed through it and then ignored it.
But Gu Shenwei’s interest in the Four Noble Truths Temple had never diminished, so he had decided to meet this Shi Qingjue who claimed to have a roll with all of the monks’ names on it.
Old Man Mu finished the job with ease. The old man whose acupoint had been struck by him was a common sabersman of the Heavenly Mountain Sect. Apparently, the secularized Buddhist monk hadn’t caught the attention of Zhang Ji or the Unique King yet.
Old Man Mu pointed at Shi Qingjue and then said to the Dragon King, “This is a talent who just defeated two old prostitutes in southern Jade City. If we send him to the Waning Moon Hall, he will defeat them all without using a weapon in less than a month.”
With a red face, Shi Qingjue nervously moved his feet but still felt indescribably satisfied.
Gu Shenwei hadn’t told Old Man Mu to take him to a brothel, but it seemed to have worked very well. Currently, Shi Qingjue gave him a feeling that he was excited and mild, which meant that he was in a very good mood to socialize with others.
“I’ve seen you before,” said Gu Shenwei.
“Yes. The Dragon King has a good memory. I used to be a receptionist monk in the Four Noble Truths Temple and I once received Dragon King with the head monk.”
“Where’s the roll?”
“Er, I’m willing to hand the roll over to the Dragon King, but there are some terms-”
Old Man Mu interjected. “Women. He just needs women. What a poor Buddhist monk. Suppressing his sexual needs for so many years must have been really tough for him.”
Shi Qingjue hurriedly shook his head. “No. I’ve already… I’ve already experienced… ”
Old Man Mu watched him in surprise. “You’re indeed a Buddhist monk. You comprehended it pretty quick;y. But as an experienced hand, I have to remind you about something. Though you think that you don’t care about women at all, after one night, you’ll be eager to go there again. It’s just like metempsychosis: cyclical and endless. Only people like me-”
Gu Shenwei stopped Old Man Mu’s endless nagging. “Tell me your terms.”
Shi Qingjue suddenly knelt down. “I want to join the Dragon Army. This is all I ask. I don’t want to be an official and I don’t want money. Just let me be a common soldier. I’ll try to make contributions all by myself. The Dragon King doesn’t have to offer me any help.”
Old Man Mu pouted and shook his head, thinking that by no means could this monk get any help from the Dragon King even if he handed over the whole Four Noble Truths Temple to him.
Gu Shenwei didn’t answer him immediately. He peered at him for a while. It was not until the look on the monk’s face switched from expectation to panic that he said, “Rise. You’re now a member of the Dragon Army.”
Rejoicing, Shi Qingjue stood up and said, “Please give me a writing brush, an ink stick, an ink slab, and some paper. I’ll write down all the names from memory.”
“Write them? There are many monks in the Four Noble Truths Temple. You remember all of them?” Old Man Mu asked in amazement.
A slightly complacent look appeared on Shi Qingjue’s face. His kung fu was just average, and he wasn’t a brilliant talker either, but he had a very good memory. “Our temple… The Four Noble Truths Temple has 1,326 Buddhist monks. 126 of them are there for a short stay. There are more than 6,000 recorded eminent monks, but only 284 are still alive. Does the Dragon King want information on all of them or just the living ones?”
It had been many years since the establishment of the Four Noble Truths Temple. There were many eminent monks whose identities were special. The succession of teachings from masters to disciples were all recorded in the roll that started from the Buddha himself to monks currently living in the temple, spanning over a time period of thousand years. Of course Gu Shenwei wasn’t interested in all of them. After being informed of this, he had requested Shi Qingjue to write down the information about those who were still alive.
There were 284 monks. The numbers of words about their biographical sketches varied from a hundred to over a thousand. It would be an arduous task to write down all of them. Gu Shenwei went to handle some miscellaneous official business, but Old Man Mu stayed behind. It was not because he wanted to supervise the Buddhist monk, but rather because he wanted to find out whether this monk’s memory was really as good as he claimed it to be.
Shi Qingjue wrote out one page after another, and Old Man Mu read every one of them. Suddenly, he pulled a page out of the roll and asked the monk what was on it. Shi Qingjue immediately recited the contents without a single mistake.
Even if this roll was false, Old Man Mu would have still admired this monk for his good memory. If it were an advanced kung fu manual, then he could memorize it after some hard work as well. But it was just a roll, the contents of which were very boring. Many narratives were very similar to one another. Upon reading those words, he gradually became sleepy, but the Buddhist monk kept writing quickly and smoothly in high spirits.
Gu Shenwei had scarcely walked out of the room when Red Bat walked towards him head-on, a faint concerned look on her face. “Dragon King, someone has requested an audience with you.”
Red Bat’s duty was to take care of Long Fanyun and help him handle the official business in the Department of Guards. She seldom directly informed the Dragon King of the arrival of visitors. “Who is it?”
“You’ll find out when you see her. She asked me not to tell you.”
There was a distinct hostility and scorn in Red Bat’s voice, from which Gu Shenwei guessed the identity of the visitor.
Luo Ningcha was walking around in the room and inspecting things as if the place would soon be her new home. “It’s so difficult to have an audience with you. Your handmaid kept asking me all kinds of questions. You must be pampering her.”
Red Bat’s face went cold. Gu Shenwei said, “She’s not a handmaid.”
“Then she must be a slave girl that you brought here from the Norland. You always take in eccentric people. There’s already a demonic, green-eyed little girl here. And now you have this-”
Before Luo Ningcha could think of disparaging words to describe the slave girl with barbarian features, Red Bat coldly said, “I’ll give you some privacy.” Then she turned around and left.
“See? She’s so impolite. Dragon King, you should teach her a lesson.”
“What can I do for you?” Gu Shenwei asked.
Luo Ningcha frowned and cast a glance at the teenager behind the Dragon King. “Get out. I want to talk with the Dragon King alone.”
Qin Yeming already had a vague idea of the Dragon King’s habits, so he didn’t move, and instead waited for the Dragon King’s order.
“Just ignore his existence,” Gu Shenwei said, as if he had no intentions of talking with Luo Ningcha alone.
Luo Ningcha peered at the teenager, puzzled. “Is he mute and deaf? I think that I used to have a handmaid who was also mute and deaf, and she did a pretty good job. I should get another one… ” She nodded, thinking of some handmaid who was going to have a misfortune. “There are several reasons why I came downtown this time. First, I’m tired of living in a tent… ”
“Haven’t you lived in a tent since your childhood?” Gu Shenwei couldn’t help remind this woman of this fact. As a daughter of the ringleader of some bandits, she had had no fixed abode and had lived in a tent before getting married.
Luo Ningcha was stunned. After quite a while, she miraculously came up with a remark to contradict him. “You used to be a slave. Are you still a slave after you became the Dragon King? I’ve lived in a tent since childhood, so naturally, I took a dislike to tents after I lived in more comfortable houses.”
There were no loopholes in Luo Ningcha’s words. Gu Shenwei could only say, “Go on. Why did you come downtown?”
A smug smile appeared on Luo Ningcha’s face. “Heh-heh. It turns out that sometimes, I can outargue you. First of all, I’m tired of tents. I want to buy a house in southern Jade City and be your neighbor.”
Given Luo Ningcha’s character, Gu Shenwei believed she should have instead bought an expensive large house in northern Jade City, but he didn’t ask any further questions.
“Second, I came downtown to visit a couple of people. There’s something that I want to figure out. Third, I came here to see you.”
“I’ve already sent Cheng’er to the camp of the Dragon Army. Why are you hiding here instead of spending more time with him?”
Gu Shenwei kept silent. Luo Ningcha didn’t push him. “All right. It’s up to you. Cheng’er is growing up every day. Sooner or later, you’ll know whose son he actually is. Actually, I came here to tell you that Pang Ning is not a good person. He’s plotting against you.”
“Did he try to bribe you?” Gu Shenwei had already been informed of every detail of the meeting between Pang Jing and Luo Ningcha.
“He must have been blind to try and make mischief in front of me. I saw through him the moment he started speaking.”
“Pang Jing doesn’t like women.”
Luo Ningcha was transfixed with shock. After quite a while, she said, “It turns out that you already knew it.” Suddenly she widened her eyes and said, “Did any of my subordinates divulge the secret? Nage. It had to be Nage. But it also might be Little Xin… ”
“I knew it the moment Pang Jing arrived in Jade City,” said Gu Shenwei. Shangguan Fei was more apt at distinguishing this kind of people from than anybody else. After the first meeting, he had promised the Dragon King that this Central Plains man probably had the same sexual orientation as him.
Luo Ningcha was deeply disappointed. She had intended to beat around the bush and then take the Dragon King aback. “I don’t care. Pang Jing tried to bribe me. He wanted to use me to prove Prince Xiao’s fraudulent claim of military exploits. I turned him down. This counts as a contribution, and it’s a big one, so you must reward me. Either you take the position of Lord of Jade City or you give it to Cheng’er. You can’t give it to an outsider, right?”
Gu Shenwei was just about to speak when Old Man Mu ran inside. “Dragon King, the people of the Four Noble Truths Temple came here to grab the Buddhist monk.”