Book 1 Chapter 1: Teng Qingshan
On the second floor of a quiet teahouse, a stream of gentle music gently flowed into the listeners’ hearts. There weren’t many customers on the second floor of the teahouse, only about a dozen or so. Small groups and pairs conversed quietly, deeply engrossed in their own topics. Suddenly, they heard footsteps coming up the stairs, and many couldn’t help but take a look.
An innocent, pony-tailed, teenage girl who was wearing jeans and a white polo shirt climbed the stairs. She walked shoulder to shoulder with a tall, short-haired lady in purple casual attire.
Inside the teahouse, everyone’s eyes suddenly brightened!
“Look, two hotties! Especially the one wearing that purple casual attire! Tsk tsk, after returning from studying for four years at Suzhou University, I didn’t expect our An Yi County would suddenly have such a beauty. What a sophisticated woman! Although the girl next to her seems a bit too immature, she is also pretty and so innocent-looking.”
“Monkey, no matter how beautiful those women are, they belong to other men. You’d better stop dreaming!”
“Yo, bro, stop hitting me where it hurts. Oh right, who is that tall, short-haired woman? I’ve lived for over twenty years, but she is absolutely one of the most beautiful women that I have ever seen. Her facial features and aura of elegance… wow… she is just too breathtaking… ”
“Monkey, let me tell you. That beautiful woman is called ‘Lin Qing’ – she’s a very powerful person with a strong background. The Land Rover car that we saw two days ago—the one that costs two million yuan—belongs to her. In An Yi County, she owns one hotel and two teahouses. Yet, those properties in our town are just a small part of all the properties registered under her name.”
“That powerful?” The young guy with the nickname “Monkey” couldn’t help but be awestruck.
An Yi County was just an ordinary county in the Jiang Su province. A two million yuan Land Rover was indeed very dazzling in such a small town.
“Ms. Lin, your room is ready for you. Please follow me,” said the teahouse waitress on the second floor, before walking upstairs. Watched by the prying eyes of many of the teahouse customers, the two women slowly followed the waitress to the VIP room and closed the door.
Inside the room.
They casually ordered a pot of tea and waited for the floor attendant to leave.
“Sister Lin, you’ve come here every day for the past few days, and you only reserve this room. Haha, your true intentions are very obvious.” The pony tailed girl smiled as she looked out the window at an orphanage across the street.
There were only a few staff members playing with the orphans in the front yard of the orphanage.
“You little gossip girl.” Lin Qing couldn’t help but curse with a smile. However, Lin Qing still glanced out of the window towards the orphanage several times as her eyes tried to search for something they couldn’t seem to find, a hint of regret showing on her face.
“It’s really strange that there is no sign of Teng Qingshan in the orphanage. Could it be that he didn’t come today? Doesn’t he know that our Ms. Lin is eagerly waiting for him here?” Complained the young pony-tailed girl.
“Alright Min, please stop joking around,” Lin Qing chuckled.
The young girl with a ponytail, Xiao Min, nodded and wondered aloud, “Sister Lin, I feel that Teng Qingshan is a very mystical person. Remember the time when we climbed up the Great Xing’An Mountain? When you were in trouble, that Teng Qingshan carried you on his back for almost twenty miles up and down a winding mountain road. A mountain road! This Teng Qingshan has a scary amount of strength.”
“He’s very mysterious,” Lin Qing agreed.
Lin Qing still clearly remembered the situation in which she had met Teng Qingshan.
At that time, Lin Qing and some of her friends had gone to the northeast to explore the Great Xing’An Mountain Range. Since they were veteran hikers, Lin Qing’s group didn’t follow the safe and public tourist trail. They hired a local villager as a guide and hiked to an area that wasn’t open to the public.
Who would’ve thought…
The exotic, untouched mountain was incredibly charming, and a rare bird species had caught Lin Qing’s attention. In order to take some photographs of the bird, she ventured off and got separated from her friends. By the time Lin Qing had realized her predicament, she could no longer see her group.
There was no cellular signal in the wilderness, so she couldn’t contact her group at all.
In such a situation, even if she shouted for a whole day, no one would be able to hear her. Lin Qing could only resign herself and walk back, but who could have imagined that she would meet a group of poachers in the Great Xing’An Mountain? When the poachers saw Lin Qing’s attire, they immediately knew what was going on. Because they were in such a deep forest, this group hadn’t touched any women for a long time, and their hormones went crazy after seeing the beautiful Lin Qing. They didn’t hesitate, immediately harassing her. Lin Qing’s spirit was unyielding, and she desperately but futilely resisted. Unfortunately, she was just a single woman fighting against five able-bodied men. How would she be able to win?
Naturally, they were able to injure Lin Qing, and she could do nothing but wait to be humiliated. Just as Lin Qing was close to desperation, Teng Qingshan suddenly appeared alone, next to her, inside the Great Xing’An Mountain. Teng Qingshan’s attacks were like lightning and before the injured Lin Qing realized it, the five guys were already lying on the ground, unconscious.
“Hmm…” While recalling those memories, Lin Qing couldn’t help making a humming sound, while a smile slowly crept up her face.
“At first, Teng Qingshan wanted to make me go back alone. Luckily, in the end, he wasn’t that cruel and carried me home on his back.” Lin Qing had memorized every second of it. Lin Qing was lying on Teng Qingshan’s back, like a small boat drifting back to harbor. Despite the bumpy mountain road, Lin Qing still felt that her mind was at peace.
Travelling twenty miles over the bumpy mountain road, Teng Qingshan carried Lin Qing on his back to their destination.
Most people would be so exhausted that they would start panting after walking twenty miles on the mountain road, let alone carrying someone else on their back. Furthermore, it was inside the wilderness of Great Xing’An Mountain. Even commandos in the army would find that unbearable.
After the mysterious Teng Qingshan and Lin Qing said good bye to each other at Great Xing’An Mountain, Lin Qing thought that she would most likely never see Teng Qingshan again, but who would have imagined that they would actually meet in An Yi County.
“Teng Qingshan…” Lin Qing muttered, still immersed in those memories.
“Ms. Lin, look! Teng Qingshan appeared!” She was woken up by the excited yell of the ponytailed girl, Xiao Min, and couldn’t help but turn to the window and look outside.
Across the street, there was an orphanage called “Hua Xin Children’s Welfare Institute”. Lin Qing and Xiao Min could clearly see the playground of the orphanage from the window. Carrying a large pot filled with apples, a young, short-haired man wearing glasses and a casual attire arrived in the playground.
“Time to eat apples!”
“Everyone line up, there are apples to eat.”
“Don’t rush, everyone stand behind me, please. Line up!”
All the children who were playing in the yard just now immediately and obediently formed two lines.
The Hua Xin Children’s Welfare Institute provided every orphan with a glass of milk every morning and a piece of fruit every afternoon. The orphan children usually didn’t have any other snacks to eat. Therefore, the fruits in the afternoon were quite appealing to them.
“Thank you, uncle Teng.”
The cute kids behaved very well as they received their lovely, ripe, red apples.
Hearing this, the short-haired youth smiled as he continued to pass out apples to the children.
From the window of the teahouse, Xiao Min and Lin Qing continued to watch the short-haired guy distribute the fruits.
“Sister Lin, Teng Qingshan looks so happy. He seems to be really fond of these children.” Xiao Min sighed.
“Yes, he is really fond of children. Otherwise, he wouldn’t volunteer at this orphanage.” Lin Qing fixed her eyes on the short-haired young man, Teng Qingshan. Teng Qingshan’s fondness of the orphans, and the sincere smile on his face, had absolutely attracted her. “Xiao Min, I suddenly recalled that I need to do one thing.”
“What is it?” Xiao Min’s eyes lit up.
Lin Qing sighed loudly. “Mrs. Hua Xin has been running that orphanage by herself for nearly thirty years. That really is worthy of respect and admiration… I would be pleased to donate one million yuan to them. Go and contact the orphanage’s representative.”
Mrs. Hua Xin was more than eighty years old, and she was the Headmistress of the Hua Xin Children’s Welfare Institute.
“That’s a good deed.” Xiao Min agreed happily.
The short-haired young man, Teng Qingshan, continued to distribute apples. Most of the little children, after receiving their fruits, started eating them happily.
“So small.” A slightly curly-haired little child looked at the apple in his hand and then stared at the apples of the other children, noticing that his apple was significantly smaller in comparison. When the orphanage bought the apples, it was naturally impossible for all apples to be of the same size. Therefore, the fruits that the children received were not all equally large.
However, children loved to compete against each other! Therefore, receiving a smaller apple was like suffering a loss.
“Brother, my apple is the smallest one. Yours is so much bigger than mine; in fact, it’s almost twice as big!” complained the curly-haired little boy to a bigger boy standing next to him.
“Well, my stomach feels unpleasant today, and I don’t think that I can eat this entire apple. Do you want to exchange apples?” laughed the bigger boy. The curly-haired boy’s black eyes lit up as he asked, “Really?” Though he asked this, his eyes were directed towards the huge apple in his big brother’s hand.
“How could I joke with you?” The big boy laughed as he took the small apple from his little brother’s hand and gave him the bigger one.
Teng Qingshan, who had finished distributing the fruit, caught that scene.
“Those two brothers …” Teng Qingshan eyes shook. A very old scene appeared in his mind.
It was on Lunar New Year’s Eve, a very long time ago …
The snowflakes fluttered, and firecrackers rang incessantly outside. In an unfurnished house, a bunch of big children were shouting in joy while surrounding a sixty-year-old woman.
“These are for everyone. Come, one at a time!” The old, grey-haired woman, who watched over these children, gave each one three white rabbit candies. During that kind of era, the era of poverty, having bunny candies on New Year’s Eve was really something incredible.
“Thank you, Grandma!”
These children were bursting with delight as they peeled off the candies’ packaging, one at a time.
They hadn’t eaten any candy for over year and a half, and they couldn’t resist the temptation. Everyone was happily eating while shrieking with excitement.
“Brother!” A child wearing an old, patched up shirt curled his lips and looked at his big brother.
“What’s the matter, Qing He?” Next to him stood a slightly taller boy wearing similarly tattered clothes, who looked at him, puzzled.
“I-I finished all the candies. It was so delicious… and I finished it in an instant…” The little child called Qing He was watching the other children slowly eating their candies and his drool drooped almost all the way to the ground. The slightly taller boy lowered his head and looked at the two sugar candies in his hand.
”Qing He, take this and eat,” said the slightly taller boy.
“Brother, you don’t want to eat it?” Qing He hesitated.
“I have a toothache,” laughed the taller boy. “I started to get a nasty toothache after I finished the first candy. This is all yours. Remember, do not chew the candy when you eat it. You chewed on them, which is why you finished all three of your candies while the others were still eating their first.”
“Yeah, I understand brother. You’re the best!” Qing He laughed. “There are two candies, so one for each of us. Okay?”
The taller boy lowered his head. He was also just a little boy, and so he also couldn’t resist the appeal of the candies. He nodded, “Okay, we’ll each take one.”
“One each.” Teng Qingshan whispered softly. “Qing He, twenty years have passed. It has already been twenty years!”
There was an echo of footsteps. Teng Qingshan looked back and saw an old white-haired lady who was accompanied by another woman coming towards him.
The large group of orphans yelled in excitement. A smile, like a blooming flower, appeared on the white-haired old lady’s face.
“Grandma-Headmistress.” Teng Qingshan hesitated in front of this white-haired old lady. In his memory, he still remembered how this grandma took care of him and his brother. “It has been twenty years. The headmaster should be eighty-three years old now.” Teng Qingshan was excited and trembled slightly.
However, he regained his composure and restored his calm in a heartbeat.
“Headmistress, this young man Teng Qingshan came of his own initiative to be a volunteer here. He has been working here for six days already and is a very diligent, smart young man,” laughed the other woman.
“Oh, Teng Qingshan?” The eighty-plus-year-old white-haired woman smiled, looking at Teng Qingshan.
“Teng Qingshan, could you please help me take care of the Chief while I go to the kitchen to prepare dinner for the little children?” The woman asked with a smile.
“No problem, Aunt Liu,” laughed Teng Qingshan.
“Headmistress, I will go first,” the woman said to the Headmistress, while Teng Qingshan went down on the ground before giving the Headmistress a helping hand. This old woman tenderly looked at Teng Qingshan with a gentle smile on her face. “Qingshan, you are twenty three years old now, right? I looked at your resume.”
“Yes, I have just graduated from college,” nodded Teng Qingshan.
“Just by seeing your delicate skin, I knew that you had never done hard work before. Have you been overworked here for the past few days?” smiled the old white haired woman.
“No, I have been extremely happy while working here.” Teng Qingshan said with a smile while escorting the Headmistress.
The Grandma-Headmistress emotionally said, “To be honest, Qingshan, I feel really close to you; each time that I see you, I can’t help but to think about the past. There was a child in this orphanage who had the same name as you, and he was about eight years old. The condition of our orphanage was very poor, and there was only me and my eldest daughter taking care of those children. There were a pair of brothers, one called Qing Shan, the other Qing He, and I gave them those names. Your name is also Qingshan… This really is fate.”
Trembling, Teng Qingshan nodded, “Yes, it really must be fate.”
“But Qing Shan was adopted and left this orphanage around twenty-two years ago. He must be around twenty-nine years old now, much older than you. Perhaps he even got married and already has children,” Grandma-Headmistress said. “He was a very well-behaved child, but I don’t know how he is doing now. I’m getting weaker day by day. If only I could see him again…”
Teng Qingshan was very touched, “I believe that Headmistress’s wish will one day come true.”
Teng Qingshan and Qing He were brothers who had been left at the doorstep of the orphanage shortly after they were born. At that time, Headmistress Hua Xin had just opened this orphanage. Teng Qingshan and Qing He were said to have been in the first group of orphans. Moreover, Grandma-Headmistress Hua Xin slowly raised those children herself. As a result, her affection towards them grew very deep.
Lin Qing and Xiao Min observed Teng Qingshan as he worked at the orphanage. He first accompanied the Headmistress, then went and played with the orphans. From beginning to end, he didn’t seem impatient at all. All the children there also loved him and called him Uncle Teng. Afterwards, Teng Qingshan took the children to the cafeteria for dinner.
“Sister Lin, he came out!” Xiao Min immediately exclaimed.
Seeing Teng Qingshan coming out of the main door of the orphanage, Lin Qing yelled out from the window, “Teng Qingshan!” Only then did Teng Qingshan look up.
“Come here and sit for a while,” smiled Lin Qing. She knew that Teng Qingshan had already eaten dinner in the cafeteria, and although she had invited him several times before, he had only ever came over twice to only talk to her for just a while.
Teng Qingshan smiled and shook his head. “It’s alright. I have something that needs to be done today. Let’s meet up next time.”
“Then… let’s do that.” Lin Qing was a bit disappointed, but she still kept smiling.
Xiao Min and Lin Qing sat and watched Teng Qingshan walk away.
“Sister Lin, Teng Qingshan didn’t give you any face. He didn’t even agree after receiving a personal invitation from the beautiful Lin Qing herself!” Xiao Min laughed.
“It’s alright. Let’s go have dinner at my place.” Lin Qing proceeded to stand up and leave the teahouse with Xiao Min.
In a farmyard in the outskirts of An Yi County.
In the empty courtyard, Teng Qingshan was bare-chested, and he had taken his glasses off. With glasses, Teng Qingshan looked modest and humble. After removing them, he looked intense and unwavering.
At this moment, Teng Qingshan was performing the Three Xing Yi Postures with his upper body naked.
He took a deep breath and suddenly threw his chest out, simulating tiger claws with his hands. His feet moved over the mud like he was riding on air. Teng Qingshan had a solid masculine appeal and gave off the firm aura of a mountain. Regardless of whether he was moving forwards, turning right, or fighting, his demeanor made people feel that he was unshakable.
Breezes could be heard in the air.
Once he was in his posture, he stood still – like a cauldron.
His left leg looked like a plow scraping on the ground. Suddenly, he stomped his right; like a big bow, his whole body was bent to the limit and his right fist shot out like a released arrow.
A sound of air exploding came out of nowhere and generated a stream of strong wind in the yard.
His Three Xing Yi Postures changed without hesitation to the Bursting Fist of the Five Elements Fists Like flowing water, it could, without exerting much force, generate a large power leading up to an explosion of air.
If people from the martial arts community could see this scene, they would be stunned with fright.
Teng Qingshan began to move around the courtyard with the Three Xing Yi Postures as the basis and occasionally changed to the Five Elements Fists. Of course, amongst the Five Elements Fists his achievement in the Cannon Fist was already at the highest possible level.[TL Note- Xing Yi Quan is a type of Chinese Martial Arts http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xing_Yi_Quan]
Turning his body around, Teng Qingshan returned to the preparation posture of the Three Xing Yi Postures Martial Arts, as he slowly exhaled.
His mind was as calm as water, like a lake that created no waves. He could clearly sense every single part of his body – from the large organs to every strand of muscle, to every pore in his skin and even all of his hair follicles. However, it was still far off when compared to the ‘inner sight’ from the legends.[ED Note: It’s being able to see inside his body physically so it’s harder to explain what inner sight actually is ;-;]
“Although it’s only missing one final step, it seems like an insurmountable natural barrier. If I am able to enter the Grandmaster Realm in this lifetime, then I can die without any regrets.” Teng Qingshan could not help but sigh.
Having comprehended the Dao in the morning, one may die content in the evening.
(TLN: The Dao here kinda means principle, truths, thoughts, knowledge.)
Xing Yi Martial Art was one of the three major Internal Martial Arts, and there were several historical people who had been capable of achieving the Grandmaster Realm. However, in modern society, it was very rare to find someone who was able to master it.
“This ground is so fragile that it’s impossible to use my full power while practicing.” Teng Qingshan looked at the concrete ground, which was already cracked. He had just been practicing, and so he hadn’t displayed everything yet. If he were to actually fight, the concrete ground would have been destroyed in an instant.
After he finished, Teng Qingshan sat cross-legged on the ground. The air moved into his nose and wound its way around his body until it reached his heart. His breath was so slight that it could hardly be heard. His mind still as calm as water.
His spirit felt infinitely relaxed.
“Wuh, wuh…” The sound of his blood flowing throughout his entire body was like the faint, slowly growing sound of gurgling water. Even his slow heartbeat could be clearly heard.
Time quickly passed, and soon it was the middle of the night.
Teng Qingshan was still sitting cross-legged in the courtyard and, at that moment, outside on the cement road, a tall, skinny man wearing black clothes lowered his voice. He talked into the microphone attached to his collar. “Grey Eagle, I have just arrived at the target’s suspected location.” The skinny man tried to calm himself down.
He approached the target quietly, taking nimble steps without making a sound.
Using both hands, he grabbed the wall and pressed with his fingers. As if he had transformed into a leopard cat, he jumped over the wall. When he landed, his hands and feet touched the ground at the same time, making an almost non-existent sound.
When the man in black looked around, he suddenly noticed a man sitting cross-legged in the middle of the yard, which scared him to death.
“You guys even chased me here?” The cross-legged man suddenly opened his eyes.
“Run!” The man in black’s face immediately went pale, and he didn’t hesitate in the slightest to flee.
The man in black knew very clearly that with a ‘stealthy assassination’, he might have had a slight chance to succeed.
However, he had been detected. According to the intelligence report, he had no hope of winning.
“Whoosh” The man in black immediately stormed back while turning around as he tried to flee the yard.
The man in black suddenly saw the cross-legged shadow rushing at him like a storm. The entire concrete floor abruptly shook and cracked open. That shadow looked like a furious tiger and leapt towards him from seven to eight meters away. The man in black was so terrified that he didn’t even have time to take his weapon out.
“Ack!” The man in black felt a strong pain in his throat.
“Wha … ha …” he tried to speak, but not a single word came out. His head hung there powerlessly as he swiftly died.
Teng Qingshan tore the sleeve off the hitman’s shirt and smeared some blood on his arm. A dark, extremely complicated barcode tattoo appeared. Despite the weak moonlight, Teng Qingshan could clearly see the tattoo due to his powerful vision. His countenance changed slightly. “I can’t believe that they were actually willing to spend such a large sum and ask the Hand of Darkness to track me down.”
“My whereabouts have already been detected. I shouldn’t stay in An Yi County any longer.”
Teng Qingshan immediately went back to his room. He changed into a new set of clothes, packed his belongings, and quietly left the An Yi County in the dead of the night.