Chapter 428 Ding Hao, A Lucky Disciple
Ding Hao wanted to refuse but one thing suddenly came to his mind when the words rolled on the tip of his tongue. He pondered on it and then said with a nod, “Fairy Li, may I borrow your zither for a moment.”
There was a hint of surprise on Li Wushuang’s calm face. She raised the Chinese zither above her head and replied. “It’s called Piao Yao, one of the Heavenly Sound Valley’s three treasures. Senior Brother Ding, help yourself.”
Ding Hao thanked her before taking a seat on the ground placing the Chinese zither Piao Yao in front of him. He observed it carefully and couldn’t help praising in silence.
The antique zither was of the Brainwave style among the 14 Chinese zither styles. Three chi and six and a half cun long representing the 365 days of a year, six cun wide and two cun thick, it was pure green like a piece of emerald with a faint silver-white shine like a layer of cream. Stroking the zither, he felt a weak sense of warmth. There were seven thin strings with a silver glow, respectively the seven Chinese scales from Gong, Shang, Jue, Zhi, Yu, Wen, and Wu, roughly in the shape of a phoenix.
The name Piao Yao indicated a hint of isolation and independence.
Ding Hao thought for a moment and then began to play the zither. A refreshing, peaceful melody flew under his fingers.
On the viewing stand in a distance, the middle-aged beautiful woman in a light yellow palace dress representing the Heavenly Sound Valley shook her head. She didn’t expect Li Wushuang to make such a request.
To be honest, she didn’t think Ding Hao could play any pleasant music.
Ding Hao was indeed a talent but after all, he was only a human and a human had limited energy. Ding Hao’s extraordinary achievement in martial arts and inscription implied that he had no time to learn other things.
A talent couldn’t be an all-rounder.
Even a god couldn’t be omnipotent.
In the ring, Li Wushuang frowned upon the first sound of the tune.
Having been learning the Chinese zither since an early age, Li Wushuang was highly gifted in music, especially in Chinese zither. Considered the greatest talent the Heavenly Sound Valley ever had in one hundred years, she was cultivated to the highest possible level and placed high hopes on. At the age of 16, she was already a zither master. Ding Hao’s first plucking shocked and disappointed her.
After all, one could easily tell an expert from a single move.
Ding Hao’s first note was impure, slightly dry and rushed. His finger technique was not neat and his basic skills weak, worse than those junior nominal disciples who had only trained in the Heavenly Sound Valley for a dozen days. Obviously he didn’t have a lot of attainments on Chinese zither, and Li Wushuang felt “he failed to live up to the high reputation.”
“Could the rumors be wrong? Was the Moon Over a Fountain not performed by Ding Hao? I’ve listened to the piece for a hundred times and the feelings and imagery contained in the music was beyond the level of any musician of great attainments. When it comes to music, grasp one field and you will grasp the whole. Even though Ding Hao is not specialized in Chinese zither, he shouldn’t be this bad…” Li Wushuang thought to herself.
Although coming from a minor sect, she had a lot of pride. Much disappointed, she felt giving her precious Piao Yao to Ding Hao was like casting pearls before swine.
Li Wushuang’s face changed at once, about to stop Ding Hao from playing…
At that very moment, the sound of the zither changed abruptly with a stream of unspeakable melody flowing out of the ancient instrument Piao Yao. Her heart trembled a bit…
“Emm? Why did it suddenly change?” Li Wushuang couldn’t help letting out a sigh of confusion. Her desire to listen was reignited.
Ding Hao gradually immersed himself in the world of the “Dialogue Between the Fisherman and the Woodcutter”.
All of a sudden, he felt it was his fortune that his parents had forced him to attend various extracurricular classes in his previous life.
Holding high hopes for their son, his parents signed up for many extra instrument classes for him as if a drowning man attempting to grab everything he could get. Erhu was one of them and Chinese zither was somewhere involved. At that time, the zither teacher made Ding Hao practice the top ten ancient zither songs over and over again against his will. The “Dialogue Between the Fisherman and the Woodcutter” was one of them…
The familiar memories came to his mind.
At first, Ding Hao’s fingers were rather stiff.
After 15 or 16 bars, the feelings came back. Like his last performance of the Moon Over a Fountain, the powerful Divine Awareness, terrifying comprehension, and unbelievable seventh sense cultivated by the Mind Essential played a key role. One tenth into the song, Ding Hao completely got the hang of it.
His finger technique became more and more proficient…
The timbre became more and more clear…
Ranked one of the top ten ancient Chinese zither songs, the “Dialogue Between the Fisherman and the Woodcutter” had been passed down through the ages. It displayed the fisherman and the woodman’s delight and pleasure between green hills and blue waters. Someone once remarked. “Things change drastically over time but the beautiful country scene remains undisturbed. The loss and gain, right and wrong over the millennium was nothing in front of the conversation between the fisherman and the woodman.” The meaning and feelings hidden in the melody were profound and carefree. Flowing quietly from his fingertips were towering mountains, winding waters, an ax cutting, and an oar being pulled.
Ding Hao picked this song because it matched the name of the Chinese zither Piao Yao the best and had a very similar feeling to Li Wushuang’s aloof and independent temperament. Of course, the most important reason was that he was the most familiar with this piece among the top ten Chinese zither songs during his practice.
Before long, a Mysterious Sign emerged.
As the melody flew out of the zither, a green dim light gradually poured out of Piao Yao.
Completely enveloped in the green steam, Ding Hao slowly disappeared.
Waves of green ripples were surging in the air like a pool of the Autumn Water being disturbed by the wind. Without end, it spread in all directions and submerged everyone present around the ring like a tide.
Li Wushuang was completely dull at this time.
There were wonderful colors in her beautiful eyes as she stared at Ding Hao’s hands on the zither strings.
Nobody knew when but a mysterious power began to emerge in Ding Hao’s melody, shaking the mind of the martial artists present around the ring silently like fine rain. Stronger warriors sensed it and made effort to resist this terrifying enchanting force whilst those weaker ones completely fell into it, appearing addicted and dropping their weapon unconsciously. They looked calm and content with a faint smile…
“A new musical combat technique…” Li Wushuang bit her delicate red lips tightly.
In the match with Ding Hao, she performed the Heavenly Sound Valley’s unique Heavenly Sound Eight Chapters which was composed and refined by a dozen great musicians over the course of a hundred years. Profound and lasting, it was generally recognized as the No. 1 zither piece of Snow Province. However, compared to the piece Ding Hao was playing, it was obviously inferior…
On the viewing platform in the distance, the middle-aged beautiful woman from the Heavenly Sound Valley couldn’t resist any longer. She struck the table and rose to her feet, trembling with excitement. “This… How is this possible? Is there really an all-round talent in this world?”
She didn’t fly over right away and held Ding Hao’s hand while asking him about the origin of this song only because his performance was not yet over. She knew Ding Hao would gift this piece to Li Wushuang but was still concerned about him changing his mind…
The middle-aged beautiful woman couldn’t remember when she felt this perturbed and thrilled the last time after she had become one of the most prominent members of the Heavenly Sound Valley…
“How great it would be if Ding Hao were a disciple of our Heavenly Sound Valley!”
The middle-aged woman suddenly felt deep pity.
The last note fell and Ding Hao exhaled very slowly.
The Chinese zither Piao Yao changed again. A green beam shot into the sky abruptly as the seven strings harmonized automatically and zither buzzed and vibrated as if coming to life. A jade-colored flame flew out of the zither and circled around Ding Hao nine times before returning…
Having watched this, Li Wushuang was trembling as if struck by the thunder. “That… The zither spirit… Piao Yao’s spirit is resurrected?” The middle-aged beautiful woman on the viewing stand could wait no more. In a flash, she appeared in the ring and placed one hand on the Chinese zither Piao Yao. After a while, tears ran down her face and she bowed low to Ding Hao. “Young master, the Heavenly Sound Valley can’t thank you enough for your great kindness…”
Startled, Ding Hao quickly got up to return a salute.
He was very much puzzled.
What’s going on? It was just the “Dialogue Between the Fisherman and the Woodcutter” and his performance was far from perfect. During the performance, he actually made several obvious mistakes to test the music combat techniques he had grasped from the Suryaprabha Bodhisattva Incantation and Li Wushuang’s music.
“Young master Ding, you might not be aware of this. The Chinese zither Piao Yao was once the most precious treasure of the Heavenly Sound Valley and it witnessed an extremely glorious period of our history. One thousand years ago, our Heavenly Sound Valley was powerful in Snow Province like the Tranquility Academy these days. Unfortunately, several calamities befell and our three treasures, including Piao Yao, were severely damaged. Their spirits were obliterated and power significantly weakened. As a result, the Heavenly Sound Valley gradually declined… I didn’t expect Young Master Ding to revive Piao Yao’s spirit today… This… This huge favor… The Heavenly Sound Valley can never repay…”
Li Wushuang couldn’t maintain her usual cool temperament like an iceberg or restrain herself with excitement. She even addressed Ding Hao differently.
Ding Hao suddenly came to a realization.
That was unexpected.
Until then, the audience around the ring had finally come around from the strange music.
They felt extremely peaceful as if they had gone through a baptism. Some independent martial artists lived between life and death and accumulated morbid air in their hearts. The “Dialogue Between the Fisherman and the Woodcutter” completely washed it off and their mental state improved considerably. The bottleneck they had been stuck in began to loosen…
How magical this Chinese zither song was!
This talent of the Blade and Sword Superior Ding Hao was amazing with no match.
“Young master Ding, this Heavenly Sound jade card is the Heavenly Sound Valley’s guest elder token. The bearer of this may enter and leave the Heavenly Sound Valley at will and dispatch our earthly disciples…” The middle-aged beautiful woman took out a fish-shaped emerald card from her storage.
“This…” Ding Hao hesitated.
“Junior Brother Ding, accept it. Our disciples are allowed to serve as another sect’s guest elder. There’s no rule against it.” Rushing over from the viewing platform, Tang Folei said with a smile. He was the strong martial artist representing the Swordsmanship-seeking Sect as a judge and witness. Actually this influential figure of the Swordsmanship-seeking Sect was not as calm as he appeared. He didn’t expect Ding Hao to have such a talent to revive the Heavenly Sound Valley’s treasure spirit…
This time the Heavenly Sound Valley would surely be on the Swordsmanship-seeking Sect’s side.
Ding Hao, a lucky disciple!