BPTH Chapter 66


Dance of the Cavalry

“Hmm, I have to say, he is eloquent. But… is he really only in the first level of the Realm of the General? Does he really possess an eighth-grade battle beast? Honestly, to me, these achievements are just so-so.” The young lord Qianjun sneered and shook his head, as he turned to Wuhen.

“Young lord, compared to you, he isn’t worth a fart. However, this dude is good at tricks, I have been on the receiving end already.” Wuhen smiled to him with full respect, which could be heard in his voice and also seen in his gestures.

“Don’t worry. Humph, to me, he’s just a weak flea. No matter how high he could jump, I’ll manage to crash him down. Listen, after the Elite Prefecture War, you’d better follow me to Immortal City.” Looking at the enthusiasm in Wuhen’s dual pupils, Qianjun encouraged him to become his follower.

“Er… Thanks so much, young lord!” Now, Wuhen’s eyes were lit up with an ardent light, and when he was about to kneel down to express his gratitude, Qianjun’s hands fell upon his shoulders and he helped him back up. Therefore, Wuhen felt even more glorified, simply by being allowed to stand behind Qianjun.

At the same time, in the near distance, Qinghan continued his speech full of fervor and assurance. Wuhen raised the corners of his mouth, shooting a scornful glance towards Qinghan, as if he didn’t fear him anymore.

Despite his outward calmness, Wuhen was inwardly thrilled by Qianjun’s acknowledgement. A decade ago, when Qianjun was just a playful kid, he occasionally fled away from Immortal City to some nearby places for fun. Coincidentally, Wuhen had encountered Qianjun, and had discovered his real identity. Since then, he had intentionally played up to Qianjun’s interests, taking him to various entertainments and scenic spots.

Today, all of Wuhen’s previous efforts finally paid off. He would, by the time the Elite Prefecture War ended, be invited to Immortal City! How could he not be excited? Although he had to enter into that holy place as a servant, he didn’t regret it at all, for he had grasped a top-confidential secret from Qianjun – a secret that could change one’s fate. Only if he could get access to Immortal City, could he have a skyrocketing rise, and challenge his destiny.

……

“Hey, look, the monkey is going to dance now!”

Qianjun’s enthusiastic scream brought Wuhen back from his daydream, as he was also curious at what Qinghan would perform in front of so many people. Wuhen reckoned that Qinghan would probably just summon his beast, and let it do the performance instead.

“Yeah, let’s watch!” The rest of the young lords booed, as they jerked their heads towards Qinghan, hoping to make fun out of this big talker.

Qinghan strode to the center of the camp, almost drowsily. To everyone’s surprise, he did nothing but raise his head, straighten his spine, and put his hands backwards. The audience was extremely tantalized by his intended delay of his performance. Suddenly, Qinghan’s expression turned solemn, and his eyes were filled with melancholy, as if he had changed from a young cultivator to a frustrated middle-aged poet.

The sudden change of temperament stunned, confused, and terrified everyone. Qinghan seemed to perfectly fit in his new “role” as a poet.

“Bring me the wine!” Disregarding other’s negative discussions, Qinghan remained in his poetic gesture, while stretching his hand towards Feng Zi, requesting a cup of wine.

With a subtle smile, Feng Zi placed a kettle of wine on his table, and pushed it forward in the air. The kettle flew towards Qinghan, without leaking a single drop of wine in the process.

Amazingly, Qinghan successfully caught the kettle without turning around, as if he had eyes on his back. He slightly adjusted himself into a challenging gesture by bending his waist backward, and swigged the wine to his heart’s content.

Under the moonlight, the transparent wine reflected a jade-like whiteness. Now, this silvery liquid poured into Qinghan’s mouth, like a waterfall, as some of it even spilled over his face, his clothing, and the lawn. All of a sudden, the strong fragrance of wine filled the air.

“Haha… good wine. Now bring me the sword!”

After having finished the whole kettle of wine, Qinghan let out a long, lasting laughter. An instant later, he threw the kettle back to Feng Zi, and pointed his finger at Dugu Jian, one of his disciples.

Dugu Jian turned to Qinghan with a friendly smile, and lifted his sword, throwing it towards his master. At the speed of lightening, the sword was now right in front of Qinghan’s face.

The tipsy Qinghan walked in drunken steps, looking up into the sky with narrowed eyes, as if he was totally unaware of the approaching sharp sword.

Abruptly, with a timely jerk of his body, Qinghan escaped the sword; and at the same time, he extended one hand and snatched the handle of the sword. Stepping forward, Qinghan held the sword up, and slowly pushed it out of its sheath.

– Clang! –

Inside the luxurious silvery sheath, a glaring sword was revealed, which was two meters in length, and about four fingers in width. In the moonlit night, the surface of the sword was gleaming with a cold light. With the slightest of efforts, Qinghan placed the tip of the sword deep into the earth. By touching the sharp edges of the sword, Qinghan stared at it with rapture, as though he was appreciating a beloved woman.

The atmosphere in the camp was directed by Qinghan, to a rare, but fantastic artistic world. As was known to all, the Flame Dragon Continent was dominated by the power of cultivation; seldom did anyone pay much attention to art. In other words, art was underdeveloped in this continent. However, Qinghan’s warm-up performance had made up for their scarcity of access to art. For the first time, they felt as if they were in a dreamlike state. Out of curiosity and excitement, they all craned their heads over each other’s shoulders, lest they missed something of the performance.

Without noticing the expectant eyes, Qinghan held the sword, once again, in the air. In his intense stare, he cared about nothing in this world but the sword. Several seconds later, he pushed his sword forward into the air, waving it in the shape of a flower. At the same time, his body leaned forward in accordance, and chanted, “At night, I stirred the wick of the candle, in order to have a look at my cherished sword…”

As soon as he finished this chant, he extended his arm out, and waved his sword here and there in graceful, continuous movements. Meanwhile, he softly sang, “So many times, in my dreams, I was sent back to the battlefield, where the sound of the warhorn rang out in the air (醉里挑灯看剑,梦回吹角连营).”

“The troopers wolf down their barbequed beef bless’d;
with sounds of string music in the wilderness.
Parading my troops, I stand with eagerness
(八百里分麾下炙,五十弦翻塞外声,沙场秋点兵。).”

Gradually, the speed of the dancing sword slowed down. However, to the audience, the radiant reflection of the sword had already blurred their vision, for they couldn’t tell exactly where the sword was.

As time went on, the weather on the island of the Tranquil Lake turned to be extremely windy. In the howling of the gusts, the young lords’ robes were fluttering with rustling noises. Nevertheless, no one was distracted by the wind, as they were completely absorbed by Qinghan’s innovative, poetic performance.

There were exceptions, like the great elders in the front row, because they all watched this performance with an anxious expression, as if they had observed something bizarre…

“Our war horses charge forth, as if they were flying;
All drawn bows release their arrows, thundering.
Now, fulfilling the sovereign-granted mission fine;
For prosperity, the great fame shall be mine.
O! A pitiable white haired guy!”
( 马作的卢飞快,弓如霹雳弦惊。了却军王天下事,赢得生前身后名,可怜白发生。)

As Qinghan slowly chanted his song, the wind became even louder and more intense. No one noticed that the atmosphere on the island of the Tranquil Lake was turning into a horrible state – the density of the spirit essence between heaven and earth was quickly surging to its ceiling point… After a long time, Qinghan stopped his performance, holding his sword in one hand, with upward face, and closed eyes. To everyone’s astonishment, the blast of wind also disappeared following Qinghan’s closure of his performance.

The end of the performance didn’t receive an ovation, but sheer silence, as even the sound of a needle falling on the ground could be heard. Looking at the solitary teenager, Qinghan, standing in the middle of the camp, people were still enjoying the poetic moments, for the songs Qinghan had chanted remained lingering in their heads. In addition, the weird gusts had come from nowhere. They were still thinking hard where it had come from, and if it had a direct relation with Qinghan’s performance.

Inspired by Qinghan’s performance, people imagined themselves standing on an ancient battlefield, as a warrior, slaying enemies with their sword. In the end, they felt as if they were left all alone on the battlefield, for their comrades had long died…

……

Yue Ji widened her eyes, glancing around with a solemn expression, trying to identify any difference in the surroundings. The other great elders also turned to each other, with a slight trace of shock on their faces.

As for the young lords… Qianjun was looking up at the sky with blank eyes; Wuhen narrowed his eyes pondering; Feng Zi and Hua Cao opened their mouths in utter disbelief; and Shuiliu confusingly licked his lips.

The five disciples of Qinghan were thrilled by their master’s marvelous performance, which could be implied by their flushed faces and ardent eyes.

Qingcheng’s face was also gleaming with excitement, and her eyes were already wet with tears.

“At night, I stirred the wick of the candle, in order to have a look at my cherished sword.
So many times, in my dreams, was I sent back to the battlefield, where the sound of the warhorn rang out in the air.”

An imaginary vision caught people’s mind – a young teenager, holding a sword in his hand, slept in drunkenness. Later, he was awakened in his dream, by the imposing sound of the warhorn.

“The troopers wolf down their barbequed beef bless’d;
with sounds of string music in the wilderness.
Parading my troops, I stand with eagerness.”

People felt as if they were in a military camp, where axes and bows were strewn all over the place. The fluttering army flag, the glistering armors, all these things emerged in their mind, as if they were one of the numerous warriors on the battlefield, ready for a ferocious fight. Qinghan’s sword dance had enacted the hidden passion inside everyone’s hearts.

“Our war horses charge forth as if they were flying;
All drawn bows release their arrows, thundering.
Now, fulfilling the sovereign-granted mission fine;
For prosperity, the great fame shall be mine.”

The later part of Qinghan’s performance brought the audience to the climax of their imaginary battle. They felt as if they were bravely running towards the enemies, leaving behind only their immortal reputation after death. The patriotic sentiment and the aspiring hopes for triumph, could also be identified in Qinghan’s song.

“O! A pitiable white haired guy!” The abrupt change of the theme led people’s emotions to drop from a cliff. The lofty ideals were infinite; while one’s lift was limited. The contradiction between ideal and reality was vividly expressed. The song had ended with a touch of tragedy. The narrative of the feelings of reality, and the idealized dreams he had, revealed the indignation of an aspiring young man.

……

This type of sword dancing was completely new, and the songs Qinghan had chanted were never heard of before. Although some people did get the gist of the song, they were still soothed, or even baptized by this extraordinary performance. Without knowing why, they’d lost themselves in their hallucinations.

A long time had passed by…

One man in the crowd slowly started to clap his hands, and broke the silence. Following his applause, a torrent of applause came over Qinghan.

They never knew, that a sword dance could be played by a man in such a way. The resonance in their hearts had greatly satisfied them. Even young lord Qianjun nodded his head, and slightly slapped himself in his own face. In his arrogant, shrewd eyes, a sense of admiration was revealed.

However, Yue Ji didn’t join the applause, she just sighed and pondered, before she finally stepped towards Qinghan, and bowed to him, “Young lord Qinghan, you’re absolutely a peerless talent in dancing. I’ve been dancing for as many as twenty years. But today, I find myself to be a mere frog in a well. I feel ashamed of myself… I hope… I hope that you can be my Sifu in this regard. I’ll accompany you wherever you go.”

……

 


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