Da Tang Shuang Long Zhuan

Book 63: Chapter 11: One Look, Doubt is Gone

Book 63: Chapter 11: One Look, Doubt is Gone

The religious ceremony at the Dong Da Si continued to be held day and night, with the Four Great Holy Monks, without stopping to sleep or have a rest – presiding, it particularly gave people the impression of something unusual was happening. Although Xu Ziling did not know whether the boundless Buddhist Dharma could illuminate all living beings wallowing in the sea of bitterness of the human world, he had a faint feeling that this religious ceremony marked the beginning of an auspicious and peaceful era.

Shi Qingxuan left Dong Da Si before he arrived. Xu Ziling kept Shi Qingxuan’s repeated exhortation in mind, he declined Li Jing, husband and wife’s offer to accompany him with sincere thanks, and entered the Yu He An next door alone.

Suddenly cold wind blew, the continuous spring rain sprinkled down from the sky, shrouding the quiet and solemn Buddhist nunnery in rain and fog, which appeared to be real but also like an illusion. Xu Ziling was neither worried nor saddened by the changes in the weather, his heart was brimming with the wonderful feeling of meeting again after a short period of separation.

Yu He An was quiet, without any sound, inside the rain and the fog, only the dim lantern lights emitted out of the Buddhist hall forming balls of hazy light filled with moisture.

Passing through the small path winding in the bamboo forests, his heart wondered if he would come across Shi Zhixuan? But until he entered the small courtyard where Shi Qingxuan was staying, Shi Zhixuan’s trace was still nowhere to be seen.

Shi Qingxuan was standing outside the door, she wore all white clothes, including a white flower on her hair, like a specter dissolving in the rainy night. Thinking about tonight and any night, and thinking about her bleak and cold life experience, a burst of emotion, which was more intense than at any other moment before, swept over him like a tidal wave, gripping his heart and soul tightly, causing him to hold nothing back, wishing that he could exhaust all his strength to love and protect her. But he discovered that his legs seemed to be rooted in front of the stone steps leading to the door, as he struggled hard to spit out a call, “Qingxuan”.

Shi Qingxuan’s jade countenance was pale, she stared fixedly at him for half a day, and then as if she had just recognized him as Xu Ziling, she cried in low voice, “Xu Ziling, you are finally here!” And then she slowly turned her delicate body and entered the house.

The oil lamp was bright, the flame outlined Shi Qingxuan’s graceful posture. At one end of the small hall laid Bi Xiuxin’s spirit tablet, in a solemn and sacred atmosphere. The flame of the oil lantern was like a medium connecting the netherworld and the world of the living.

Shi Qingxuan turned her head to look at him, the pair of eyes that he could not help thinking about in the lonely late night, which could be deep, hidden away and sorrowful, or could become innocent and playful bright eyes, revealing a blaming expression! Her pretty forehead was lightly knitted, showing a few tiny and lovely wrinkles, she spoke softly, “Daizi [Idiot]! What are you doing there? You haven’t come in and kowtow to pay respects to Niang?”

The rising-abruptly strange feeling and the ice-cold distance, which made Xu Ziling not daring to rush indiscriminately into action, immediately dissolved like ice and snow coming across a raging inferno; he hurriedly stepped up the stairs to enter the house, came to her side, and followed Shi Qingxuan going down on his knees.

Xu Ziling respectfully knocked his head on the ground three times, Shi Qingxuan’s sweet voice sounded in his ears, “Niang! Xu Ziling is here to see you!”

Xu Ziling’s gaze shifted from the jade xiao [vertical flute] enshrined in front of the memorial tablet to Shi Qingxuan kneeling shoulder to shoulder with him. The silhouette of her beautiful profile showed an indescribable sadness. Seemingly completely oblivious that Xu Ziling was looking at her, she continued to talk to Bi Xiuxin’s spirit tablet, saying, “Didn’t you say that when love breaks through the door, there is no way to escape? Daughter finally understands what you mean, because that door is set inside the heart. Therefore, daughter decided to marry Xu Ziling as his wife, to become husband and wife before your soul tonight, even if in the future I am heartlessly abandoned by him, I will never regret it.”

Severely shaken, Xu Ziling said, “Qingxuan!”

Shi Qingxuan still did not look at him, she spoke softly, “If you have something to say, tell Niang directly, Niang is listening!”

Xu Ziling took a deep breath to suppress the huge waves overflowing-the-heavens intense emotions, earnestly and sincerely he said, “Niang! I, Xu Ziling, will cherish Qingxuan with my heart and soul as long as I live, Qingxuan and I will be the happiest couple in the world. To be able to obtain Qingxuan’s favor that she gives herself wholly to marry me down [marrying a man of lower social status] – is the greatest special favor the Heaven has bestowed upon me, Xu Ziling.”

Shi Qingxuan said, “Niang, did you hear that? From now on, Niang, please rest in peace!”

A burst of cool breeze rolled in from the door, bringing a puff of spring rain sprinkling on their bodies.

Shi Qingxuan blissfully looked at him, she said, “Niang agrees!”

In the continuous rain in the night, Kou Zhong galloped out of the city, intercepted Shang Xiufang’s convoy, and boarded her fragrant carriage. Wuming was let soaring in the night sky.

Shang Xiufang sat her tender body upright, unable to take her eyes off him, she looked at him as he closed the carriage door and sat down beside her.

The carriage continued its journey.

Kou Zhong could not move his gaze from her, he watched Shang Xiufang’s silky breast moving up and down, suddenly it was as if she just realized something; looking left and right, she said, “Outside the city is densely packed with military camps, by the shore is full of warships, are they the troops heading for the front line? So many people!”

Four eyes looked at each other, Kou Zhong lovingly scrutinized the pair of eyes that could talk, he smiled and said, “This time I promise that there will not be a horrible situation of blood flowing into rivers; it is just to scare the other side, to bluff, to see who cannot stand it, but surely it won’t be me, Kou Zhong.”

Shang Xiufang’s beautiful eyes shot out a joyous expression carrying a bit of panic and doubt, acting somewhat bashful, wanting to avoid Kou Zhong’s burning gaze, yet she clearly was not able to. Kou Zhong was able to hear her fragrant heart beating wildly, his heart grew hot, he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into his bosom. This touching beauty let out a soft cry, her jade hands wound around his strong neck, she stroked his black hair and his cheeks, and said with a sigh, “Oh, Kou Zhong! Don’t forget that this is a big street, oh!”

Like a rain Kou Zhong’s mouth landed on her face, nose, and fragrant lips, the bottom of his heart no longer had the slightest bit of guilty conscience. The blazing, intense emotion pushed his heart and soul, he sighed contentedly and said, “We can be together forever, Zhizhi already agreed about us.”

Stunned, Shang Xiufang looked up, knitted her brows, and said, “Shaoshuai has some misunderstanding, who wants to marry you?”

Kou Zhong felt like a bucket of cold water was poured on his head, he stared at her blankly and said, “You don’t want to marry me?”

Shang Xiufang tenderly fell into his bosom, pressed his cheek, and spoke softly, “You forgot to shave.”

Kou Zhong anxiously cupped her face, forcing her to make eye contact, and repeated, “Tell me! Do you want to marry me or not?”

Shang Xiufang grabbed both of his hands, and pulled them down slowly. Sighing lightly, she said, “Didn’t I make it clear earlier? Wanting to marry you is a thing of the past.”

Kou Zhong’s heart sank straight down, hanging down his hands in despair, he said, “This is indeed a big misunderstanding, turns out Shang Xiufang doesn’t love me, Kou Zhong anymore.”

Shang Xiufang shook her head slowly, she said, “If I don’t love you, then I will let you do as you please. Because Xiufang has other ideas, all I ask for is a one night of affection from Shaoshuai.”

Kou Zhong shook his head angrily and said, “No! You practically don’t love me.”

Shang Xiufang spoke softly like she was coaxing a child, “Do you remember what Xiufang said? There is no eternal, unchanging love on earth, eternity can only be sought in musical art, and that is where Xiufang will commit myself throughout my life. From childhood, Xiufang has no interest in assisting my husband and educating the children, to bear a son and give birth to a daughter …”

His face stretched taut, Kou Zhong cut her off, “I’ve never heard any of it!”

Puzzled, Shang Xiufang looked closely at him, suddenly she noticed that the corner of his mouth was gradually expanding into a smile. Showering her flaky fists on his broad chest, feigning anger coquettishly, she said, “You are deceitful!”

Kou Zhong ignored her punches, suddenly he lifted the hanging curtain and stuck his head out of the carriage window, and shouted loudly, “Who can tell me? Where is the room with the best view in Wugong City? I’m going to spend the night there tonight.”

Shang Xiufang cried out ‘Ying Ning’ tenderly [嘤咛, no idea, lit. enjoining calling of birds, from Baike Baidu: describing clear and delicate voice], the rose-tinted color of clouds at sunset grew on her jade cheeks, blush penetrated the base of her ears, she fiercely pinched his arm with all her strength.

The imperial bodyguards ahead and behind were caught unprepared by his question, they looked at each other as if they were dumb.

Li Shimin’s voice came from the direction of the city gate, saying, “It must be the Wugong Bie Guan [annex, lit. separate building] where Zhen was born, eighteen li south of Wugong City, by the shore of Wei River, inside the mountain forest east of the wharf. Shaoshuai is willing to spend the night there, your presence will bring light to the Bie Guan.”

Kou Zhong laughed aloud and said, “Thank you for the Dragon’s kindness; guys, change the route for me.”

Pulling his head inside, he turned to the so-ashamed-that-there-was-no-place-to-put-down-her-countenance Shang Xiufang, and said, “The spring night is worth a thousand jin of gold, to absorb the living dragon vital energy of the real dragon’s birthplace shouldn’t be too bad!” And then he exhaled slowly and muttered to himself, “Luckily it coincides with the Son of Heaven going on an inspection tour. Asking for direction, one must ask the right person.”

Raindrops filling the whole sky, swirling in the air layer by layer and descending to the mother earth. Yu He An dissolved into the heaven and earth that has become fairyland, the water mist annihilated the temple halls and the residences into the forest tree, blurring the dividing line between distinct realms of one object with another, becoming more and more somber and cold and beautiful, enshrined in the memorial tablet’s solitary lamp dripping with flames.

Shi Qingxuan and Xu Ziling’s ten fingers intertwined with one another, her other hand picked up the jade flute, leaning against Xu Ziling she took a striding step out of the door.

‘Dang! Dang! Dang!’ The sound of the Dhyana bell came from the Dong Da Si on the other side of the tomb. At this very moment, Xu Ziling especially felt the Buddhism subtleties’ profound meaning of the melodious bell sound.

Suddenly, a singing voice came from somewhere in the nunnery, someone was singing, “The gale is rolling, the forest trees are devastated, the mind is bitter as in death, beckoning rest, but none came. A hundred years old is like a stream, riches and honor are cold ashes, the road is passing day by day, suffering is only for the mighty. The warrior flicks his sword, overwhelmed full of grief, desolate fallen leaves, leaking rain grew the dark blue moss.”

The singing voice was exhausted and hoarse, the emotion deep in sadness and lamentation, as if the singer has been wandering all his life, selling his art alone on the streets, or like a prodigal son who has roamed far and wide without anywhere to go home to, going through a thousand mountain and ten thousand streams, the heart weary the strength exhausted, returning to the last place to return to, singing the sad melody of regret, while the years have washed away the radiance that he once had.

Shi Qingxuan’s hand grabbed his hand even tighter, but she did not even say half a word, without blinking at all, her beautiful eyes were fixed on the courtyard gate inside the vast and indistinct rain and mist, her flowery countenance turned white.

Shi Zhixuan finally came.

“Empty deep pools dripping the spring [season], ancient mirror reflecting the deities, the body essence storing up cleanliness, riding on the moon to return to reality. While gazing at the stars, singing to the secluded people, running water of today is the precursor of the moon tomorrow.”

As the singing approached, Xu Ziling sighed inwardly, whether in term of talent, passion, or martial arts, Shi Zhixuan was definitely the number one figure of the demonic school, no one could surpass him. If it were not for his bitter love to Bi Xiuxin, he would have a great chance to revitalize the demonic school and dominate the Central Earth.

The singing changed, becoming desolate, solemn and stirring, like a traveler in a desert and barren land, after losing all hope, like silkworms spinning silk and offering to Heaven a sad song at the end its destiny.

“Searching for the sword over the last thirty years, several times the leaves fell and drew out the branches. Ever since catching a glimpse of the peach blossoms, until now there is no doubt even more.”

Xu Ziling’s heart and spirit trembled severely, this song was precisely the true portrayal of Shi Zhixuan himself, in which he could not break through Qingxuan, this only flaw, so he bowed before Bi Xiuxin to express his inner feelings.

Shi Qingxuan gently pulled out her hand, raised the xiao to her lips, the sound of the flute that made Xu Ziling’s heartstrings shuddered floated like the time between her finger rising up and her finger falling down, breaking into the rain like silk floss filling the night, everything was like a dream that was too thick to be dissolved, as if the firmament was shedding tears for the song of the xiao.

The song of the xiao that Shi Qingxuan was playing intertwined with the night sky and the spring rain to form a melody of sadness and beauty and nothingness, brewing a storm of emotions brimming with deep melancholy and depression. It made Xu Ziling feel that he was in the long river of life, and was in the midst of transformation of the blue sea turning into mulberry fields [idiom: transformation of the world], sometimes high and steep, being pulled up to the erect mountain peak, sometimes gentle and soft like a pillow, stacking up Shi Qingxuan’s soliloquy, fully immersed inside the predestination, twisting life, but also containing the beauty of tranquility that made the heart trembled.

He finally appeared. At first, it was a vague silhouette outside the courtyard gate, which gradually became clear, and finally, unexpectedly his face was full of hot tears, the ‘Demonic King’ Shi Zhixuan, who once able to move across the world unhindered without anybody able to do anything to him.

The sound of the xiao disappeared, the heaven and earth returned to its previous tranquility.

Xu Ziling gently held Shi Qingxuan’s drooping, trembling, icy-cold jade hand.

From about a zhang away, Shi Zhixuan stared fixedly at Shi Qingxuan, his pair of eyes emitted sorrowful expression as if his heart was shattered, his two lips lightly trembled, he was unable to say half a word.

‘Dang! Dang! Dang!’

The sound of the Dhyana bell came from Dong Da Si for the second time.

Shi Zhixuan’s body trembled violently, suddenly he moved forward to walk toward them.

Xu Ziling intuitively felt that he was going to offer a sacrifice in front of Bi Xiuxin’s spirit, he pulled Shi Qingxuan to the side. Surprisingly, Shi Qingxuan gently obeyed.

Shi Zhixuan stopped next to the two persons, not daring to look at Shi Qingxuan, he turned his eyes to the spirit tablet enshrined in the house, and said with a sigh, “Pick the running water, the luxuriant distant spring [season], the sweet, fair and graceful valley, it was the season to see a beauty. Qingxuan’s song ‘Weaving a marriage’ deeply catches Xiuxin’s greatest magnificent of bluish green night, the moon rises in the east. Moreover, the green stems from the blue, what can I, Shi Zhixuan say? What regret may be said?”

Finished speaking, he climbed the steps with his hands behind his back, his gait was relaxed.

Xu Ziling looked up at the night sky, the chill night rain sprinkled on his face, all sorts of feelings welled up in his heart. He could almost imagine the scene when Bi Xiuxin met Shi Zhixuan, this soul mate, when the gifted scholar met the beautiful lady [idiom: pair of ideal lovers] by chance, only it was a pity that it ended in tragedy! And the affair that have entangled them for many years was coming to an end, because Shi Qingxuan finally played the song that Bi Xiuxin left behind to Shi Zhixuan, and he even grasped that Shi Zhixuan has made up his mind to die, he was going to kill himself before Bi Xiuxin’s spirit, yet he had no way to stop it, neither was he able to find any reason to stop Shi Zhixuan’s only way to extricate himself.

Shi Qingxuan’s hands trembled even more violently, yet her expression was still heartbreakingly tranquil.

Shi Zhixuan stopped in front of the spirit tablet, shook his head and chanted, “Ice-and-snow beautiful woman [lit. fine person] has the strangest appearance, she often blew her jade flute [here, the word is di, traversing flute] to others. In the song, there are boundless flowers that moved the heart, only perhaps Dongjun [the Lord of the East, the sun god in Chinese mythology] was the first branch. Oh, Xiuxin! Do you remember that time I asked you, ‘In the world, other than being heartless, the flowers and trees blooming and falling deep in the mountains on their own, what does it have to do with my heart?’ Your answer was, ‘When you haven’t seen this flower, both this flower and thine heart belong to silence; when you look at this flower, then for a short while you understand the color of this flower, then you know that this flower is not outside your heart.’ You have always understood, I have never understood. Now that you have reached the without-suffering pure land, while I, Shi Zhixuan, am still drifting up and down in the sea of ​​bitterness in the world of the living. I wonder if I must pay the price of my own stupidity?”

Xu Ziling could not bear it any longer, he shouted, “Qianbei [Senior]!”

Hearing the call, Shi Zhixuan shook, with his back toward them, he spoke in grief, “How I wish Zi Ling would call me Yuzhang Daren [father-in-law (wife’s father)].”

Shi Qingxuan desperately grabbed Xu Ziling’s hand, she kept shaking her head, her pair of beautiful eyes looked blank. Although she was hinting to Xu Ziling not to comply with his request, but she herself was out of her wits.

Shi Zhixuan turned around slowly, tears were streaming down his face, he spoke in pain, “My little Qingxuan, Die is going to accompany your Niang! Little Qingxuan is not ready to send Die off?”

Shi Qingxuan weakly leaned against Xu Ziling, she completely relied on his hands to lightly support her silky back. She lowered her head and bit her lower lip, and after quite a while her cherry lips lightly spat, “Until the moment before her death, Niang still did not say half a word of blame toward you, she …” And then the tears flowed down, she was unable to utter a single word.

Shi Zhixuan’s whole body shook and trembled, the originally considered-himself-unexcelled-in-the-world hegemon of the demonic way seemed unable to stand firm relying on his own strength, he swayed back and forth, his pair of eyes shot a look of regret and remorse intersecting each other.

Xu Ziling knew the turn of events was far from good. Right this moment, the sound of Brahma shout arose, the sound of the Buddhist ode came from Dong Da Si in the distant, chanting, “The wonderful mind of perfect enlightenment is like an empty flower, the empty flower disappears then has the nature of a Vajra. Speaking about feeling according to illusion is also called an illusion, illusion without awareness has not departed from illusion, knowledge of illusions means separation from convenience, separation from illusions is not gradual; all sentient beings are originally Buddhas, without cultivation, without proof – is a tangible Vajra. Reincarnated empty flower is originally without life, when the empty flower disappears, it is actually not disappearing.”

Unexpectedly it was the Four Great Holy Monks chanting the ode in unison, and it was clearly sent out at this critical moment, full of boundless Dharma, the Buddhism subtleties’ artistic conception of universal crossing of all sentient beings.

Enraptured in this dream of the sea of bitterness, Shi Zhixuan showed a panic and startled expression, as if he had just woken up from a dream.

“The non-nature has the nature of perfect enlightenment, following all natures without obtaining evidence, the reality was without nothing. Without nothing, transformation appears and disappears without evidence; the Tathagata perishes with obedience, there is no real cessation and Nirvana. All obstacles are finally enlightened, attaining mindfulness and losing mindfulness is real freedom.”

The Dhyana sound disappeared, Shi Zhixuan recovered his previous expression, but it was different from normal. He took a striding step out the door, and raised his head to look up at the boundless rainy night where the Brahma chant was coming from, his pair of eyes was sparkling brightly.

Xu Ziling felt a déjà vu, as if he had seen this appearance before, his heart was suddenly moved, recalling that this was precisely the solemn treasured appearance when he was transformed into the Holy Monk Dade, presiding over the religious ceremony in Wu Liang [sic, I think it was Wu Lou before] Temple.

Shi Zhixuan suddenly stood still, his palms clasped together, his eyes turned to Shi Qingxuan, suddenly he laughed aloud again, lowered both hands, walked down the steps, and walked straight towards the courtyard gate.


Shi Zhixuan stopped peacefully, one after another the hair on top of his head fell from its roots in the drizzling rain, scattered and flew away in all directions with the spring wind and rain, in a blink of an eye he turned bald. Putting his palms together, he said, “When the dharma breaks the dharma, each is like Nirvana; wisdom and ignorance become Prajna [great wisdom], outside the Bodhisattva all roads lead to bodhi [enlightenment], there is no difference between avidya [ignorance] and Tathata [truth]. This day Shi Zhixuan can obtain the proof and proper outcome, it is entirely thanks to Little Qingxuan calling out this word, ‘Die’.”

Looking up to the sky and letting out a burst of long laughter, he calmly walked away and disappeared into the depth of the rain and the mist outside the courtyard gate.

Shi Qingxuan’s jade hand no longer trembled, her expression returned to tranquil.

Xu Ziling sighed inwardly, this should be the best conclusion for Shi Qingxuan, for Shi Zhixuan, and for him.

Shi Qingxuan spoke softly, “Oh, Ziling! Shall we find a place to bury Niang’s jade xiao? Qingxuan has observed mourning for Niang for seven days, in the future I will have nothing to worry about, so I can be a good wife to Ziling.”

The spring rain still continued to fall, but it no longer had the same bleak wind, bitter rain mood as before.

Shi Zhixuan’s sad song before he obtained the Dharma seemed to be sounding in his eardrums again, “Ever since catching a glimpse of the peach blossoms, until now there is no doubt even more.”

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