Sunday, June 26, 2016

Great Merchant - Dao Ming (Chapter 10 - Disciple of Parvati, Disciple of Bhaisajyaguru 5)

Errr... sorry guys, I know EC is supposed to come up next, but I was stuck at the hospital for most of the week starting from last weekend. I could work on DM during my down time, so I did just that. EC chap is almost done though, so, assuming the weather cooperates, will be posting that in a day or two.



???, Hall of Calm Intent(平意堂)

“Boss, boss!” Ming storms into the meditation hall that’s currently in use, breaking all the junior monks’ concentration. Row upon row of monks slowly open their eyes, their robes looking like a field of rapeseed being harvested as they turn to look at the source of the disturbance. The young monks-in-training shift minutely as they try to cast-off the unpleasant thoughts that come about when one is disturbed.


An old monk that served as a proctor for the monks-in-training smacks the bundled bamboo in his hand across Ming’s shoulders. “How many times did I tell you not to call me that?! I have a name, you know!”

The other proctors turn to the man, silently wondering to themselves. “Is that the first thing you should be angry about? Not the disturbance?”

“But calling you ‘Master Zingsum(静心 - Calm Heart)’ feels weird, you are neither calm nor patient, and I’m pretty sure calling you a ‘Master’ is wrong as well!” The younger monks struggle to suppress their laughter, some choking in the process; the other proctors cough or turn away, trying to hide the look on their face.

The old monk takes several deep breaths to forcefully calm himself. “What do you want? You are interrupting us.” The voice is slightly strained as he tries to keep it as flat and neutral as possible.

“One of the brother monks responsible for calligraphy might be ‘awakening’.” Ming gets right to the point since there are no longer any distractions.

“You should’ve said that sooner!” The old monk takes long strides towards the back-stairs, quickly disappearing from sight.

“For now, focus on solo-endeavours, don’t slack off, it could be one of you that awakens in the near future if you stay diligent.”

The many dozens of monks calm themselves and restore their composure, some continue their meditation, others exit the hall to complete other tasks.

???, Void Knowledge Hall, 1st floor’s copying room

“Smelly old geezer, do you understand this?” The old bone doctor asks after rolling the scrolls back and forth, scanning through its content. The rest of the monks in the copying room are peeking over his back.

[T/N: I know “smelly old geezer”(臭老騾) and “old bone freak”(老骨怪) sounds weird, but we couldn’t think of better names in english T.T E/N: ENGLESKI HARD. GAMBURGA.]

“What is there to understand, you old bone freak?” The herbalist carefully rolls up the scroll and places it back onto the table. “It’s just a farmer’s almanac, the village’s record, harvests and inventories over the years.”

A frail-looking, withered old man with numerous liver spots appears silently in the room, taking the scroll and placing it onto a half empty shelf. Likewise, Ming takes the partially copied scroll and puts it right next to where the original is now placed.

“Mister Chotin (草填先生 - Mister Grass Fill), if it’s that simple, then do you know why this was left here?” The short youth rebuts.

[T/N: 先生 used in this case is exactly how it would be used in japanese for sensei, to be accurate, this is where sensei originated from.]

“Ah, you damned brat, what do you know?” The old man turns towards the youth’s voice, straightening out his back and arching his brows as he comes face-to-face with the frail-looking monk. He quickly recovers by making a quick nod, which the monk returns amiably. Likewise, the surrounding monks recognize their grandmaster and nod their heads in acknowledgment. Unlike the sects of the outside world where decorum and etiquette play an important role in regards to one’s face, the monks here focus more on raising one’s ability and just observing the basic manners.

“I know nothing, that’s why I’m here.” Ming answers with a deadpan expression as though it’s obvious.

“You!” The gray-haired herbalist points a shaking finger at Ming.

“Give it up, smelly old geezer, you will just throw out your back again.”

The herbalist twists his lip for a moment before settling down.

“Guk!” The entranced monk chokes on a breath, a look of pain appears on his face, causing everyone to stop talking.

“Yangching(陽清 - Sun Clear), don’t try to force it, just let it be. Make use of the knowledge, don’t let it make use of you.” The ancient looking monk mutters in a soft, deep, raspy voice. His hand moves slowly, deliberately across the struggling monk’s back, preventing any mental backlash by soothing his tense body and calming his mind.

[T/N: 走火入魔 is being used in its original meaning in taoism and in older wuxia that focused heavily on meditation. Not Qi Deviation or the like used in xianxia. 走火 means run (through) fire, refers to the practice of whatever it is, which can be borderline harmful to you, 入魔 means “entering (the) evil”, it means becoming obsessive or being processed by a demon, in short, psychosis/mental illness. Originally, it had absolutely nothing to do with qigong, it’s something that’s relatively recent that was attached to this term by modern authors. E/N: Think insanity induced by a bad trip on hallucinogens]

The monk’s breathing returns to normal as a sheen of sweat appears over his forehead.

“Ming, where are they at right now?” The ancient monk asks while monitoring his disciple.

“They are copying the agriculture and census… I think?” Ming tilts his head to one side while looking up, not exactly sure.

“Master Taiheng(太興-Great Emotion), he was going through a village’s record I believe.” The herbalist offers.

The ancient monk nods slowly, keeping his hand on the young monk’s back. “Ming, for the next couple of weeks, can you stop your normal duties and support Yangching along with Yangchun(陽春 - Sun Spring)?” Just at that moment, Zingsum and some of the other proctors appear just outside of the hall, some of them looking slightly out of breath.

The monk who was teaching Ming how to read earlier smiles with a wide grin, while the other monks turn to look at Ming in curiosity. In the past, anyone going through the ‘awakening’ needs someone to keep an eye on them due to the fear of mental instability. A mortal is a mortal, even if one were to become a bodhisattva. They may have a glimpse of the dao from the accumulation of knowledge and comprehension in accordance with their bodhicitta; but they still have to come to terms with their own limitations, and how they may dedicate themselves to help others. This often mean confusion, frequently asking questions as thoughts race within their mind, and what effects would occur should they apply their knowledge. This also means that whomsoever accompanies the individual, they may also gain insight towards their own awakening. But, as far as the younger monks know, Ming isn’t one of them.

[T/N+A/N: 菩提心 -> Bodhicitta is the mindset for one to discard one’s self and to express empathy and compassion towards all sentient beings. While it may sound noble, it can be filled with a lot of dark undercurrents (thank gods for author’s note). Here’s an example, as provided by the author, there’s a worm that burrowed out of the ground, there’s a starving chick that fell from the nest. You can save the worm by guiding it back into the soil, or you can save the bird by feeding it the worm. In buddhism, they get around this by using the karma realms. The bird is on a higher realm than the worm, so there would be no problem with just saving the bird. But, now, let’s say you’ve found two identical twins in a desert, you can only carry one of them out, and whoever remains will certainly die. Who do you save? They will suffer no matter what happens. Or, would you kill them both? I’ll have to note that, the example given, most buddhist sects don’t accept any sort of mercy killing, killing is wrong, period. There are some sects that do have mercy killing though, an aspect of Guan Yin is depicted as a ferocious warrior, stomping on the skulls of demons and enemies. So, it isn’t a concrete thing, just thought I’d share the fruit of my research :P I think what the author’s note is hinting at is, it’s possible for someone to come to the conclusion that to be compassionate to all living things is to kill all living things. Tl;dr, skynet might just be filled with compassion~]

One of the proctors interjects, “But Brother Wingmuk (永目 - Eternal Sight), should we send one of the senior-brother monks? This would be a wasted opportunity since this is the first awakening in over 15 years, surely that would be more beneficial for everyone.” This causes most of the monks to knit their brows.

“Haa, Seonzik (信直 - trust straight), ah, Seonzik.” The grandmaster sighs with a tinge of disappointment. “‘Awakening’ isn’t the only way to help the world, I have never awakened to a Dao, neither did you, nor some of your senior-brothers. Does that mean the things we’ve done are wasted? Of the many physicians that roam this land, are their efforts in vain?”

The proctor closes his eyes in appreciation, ruminating on those words.

“Haa, I might as well tell you all since those looking for Ming will reach here eventually. He has already saved at least 897 villages, 43 towns, and 3 provinces. It’s probably more than that by now.”

All but a few monks widen their eyes while Chotin squints his eyes - mumbling, causing the the bone doctor to elbow him in the ribs.

“Brat!” The herbalist brushes off his friend’s elbow and tightly grabs Ming by the shoulders. “You were the one that found the cure to the ‘Scarlet Hive’!”

“Scarlet…” Ming tries to recall the somewhat familiar name. “Oh! That time when everyone got sick. No, it wasn’t me, it was Little White and Little Cloud.”

Chotin jerks his head back slightly, obviously confused.

“They are the grandma’s goats.” The youth offers, seeing the herbalist’s dazed look.

“That doesn’t matter, become-”

“I know what you are thinking, Mister Chotin, I’m sad to say, Ming has no talents in the pharmaceutical arts. It’s also true that he got the cure from the goats, a senior monk from Peace Moon Forest(安月林) who was shown the method said as much.” Zingsum cuts off Chotin’s invitation to Ming to become his disciple.

“Damn it! I’ve seen this brat all these years and I didn’t even know this?! And he says he knows nothing?! Ah Heavens! My eyes are wasted!”

[T/N: 老天爺 - means old sky grandpa, I just used Heavens as replacement since that’s what it’s referring to, just noting this down cause the way he’s saying heaven is a mix of lamentation and exasperation. 有眼无珠 - have eyes, but no eyeballs, just changed it to my eyes are wasted to keep it smooth]

“Ah Cho (familiar way of calling Chotin), what is this ‘Scarlet Hive’?” The shocked monks also turn their heads towards the herbalist.

“We know it as the ‘Small Red Devil Plague’!” Chotin says through clenched teeth as he reluctantly lets go of Ming’s shoulders, as though he’s a robber being forced to put back a piece of heavenly jade.

The monks that recovered from the earlier surprise drop their jaws at this revelation as they’ve all heard about the disease, and have even seen it mentioned in one of the scrolls on occasion. The devastation it brought usually meant a death sentence for the region, not to mention the fact that a cure hasn’t been found since records of it appeared, centuries ago.

“Brother Wingmuk, do the other senior-brothers know about this?” One of the other proctors recovers quickly. “We should nurture Little Ming… The amount of good he can do for the world is…” A shiver runs down the proctor’s spine, while others have tears in their eyes.

“Ming isn’t one of us, he has no obligations to do so.” Zingsum answers in place of the grandmaster. “And if you haven’t noticed, most of the uncommon material for the medicine we used and refined were gathered by Ming.”

“Damn it, Zingsum, so that’s why you wouldn’t let Ming work for me!” The herbalist complains with a huff.

“What are you complaining about? If it wasn’t for Ming who was so picky about the consistency of the willow bark, you wouldn’t even have willow bark crystal powder to use in the first place.” The old monk laughs lightly. “And plus, Ming should do what Ming wants to do, his parents also said as much.”

[T/N: My inner nerd is screaming… ASPIRIN PRECURSOR. For those not familiar with chemistry or medicine, willow bark alone was highly unstable, so much that it was hard to control the dosage. The correct isolation of salicin, which is the active medical ingredient in the willow bark, was what made what we now know as aspirin possible.]

“Ming, what do you want to do anyways?” The bone doctor asks.

“I want my mom, dad, and little sister to be happy. Oh, also you, Mister Bacsuk (百熟 - Hundred Familiar), the villagers, and ah, um… grandma and the people from the other village too.”

Grandmaster Wingmuk smiles slightly towards some of the proctors as everyone hears the youth’s answer. “In addition to Yangchun, I am also thinking of asking Junior Brother Tungmak(銅脈 - Bronze Vein) to watch over and train the two.”

The older monks nod slowly, finally understanding what their senior-brother is intent on doing. The younger monks are excitedly talking to one another and teasing Yangchun, since their famed Master-Uncle is going to personally train him.


  1. Random rambling - I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of hostile stares or jealous/envious looks when Ming got chosen from the monks. It was just pure curiosity, so the monks are the nice guys, but I've a bad premonition due to the other stuff I read, please don't follow the tropes, aahhhhhh.

    Ishman wanted me to point it out, the willow bark thing is a REALLY BIG DEAL. Too little of the active ingredient, it's next to useless. Too much, you will be bleeding from all your orifice. A Slight overdose causes stomach ulcers. There are different extraction processes, the first discovered process for producing aspirin could only be done with a chemical that doesn't exist naturally. So yeah, this is a pretty big deal should this medicine becomes readily available in a low tech time period.

    To put it into perspective, willow bark was used in the 4th-5th century BCE. Salicin was only first isolated in 1763 by some dude at Oxford. It took bloody over two millennium for us to to stablize it in our world. Yeah... both me and ishman was nerded out by this xP

    1. Next, he'll be refining extract of penicillum, opium, chinchona, and ephedra for their active agents.

    2. I think because this series try to avoid common troupe in xianxia like 'every person is selfish' or 'strength is justice'. This series really interesting...

  2. This story is so cool... Seems difficult as heck to Translate, so thank you!

  3. Thank yoooouuuu!

    And he has the memory of his past life? *-*


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