As narrated by Grand Master Nam Anh, 1999
It was in 1935, in the moutainous region of Lai Chau, on the sino-vietnamese frontier, under the crumbling roof of an apparently abandoned mud hut. Nguyen Te Cong, unperturbed, took the time to fasten the last button on the outfit he wore on his nightly missions before turning towards the intruder :
- How did you trace me here?
Nguyen Minh did not answer:
- The grand Master demands that you return to the temple to account to him for your actions. Rumors are swooping the lakes and the rivers [ 1 ] the lakes and the rivers: The martial arts underworld. The outlaws and heroes roaming the underworld aren't subjected to government laws. that you are responsible for slaughters and that your staff, a gift which he had offered you at the ceremony of the descent from the mountain, is now blood-stained. My brother, you have seriously transgressed the teachings of Buddha and have tarnished the reputation of the temple of the Diamond!
Te Cong burst out laughing, his raucous voice resounding throughout the deep and darkening forest of the oncoming night:
- My very sensible little brother, in the lands where the forests team with brigands, even the temple doors must be bolted shut. I am all the more empowered by heaven to promote the way: help the poor and save those who are in danger. How can I be mistaken? Show me, on my pathway strewn with corpses, a single one who was not a bad landlord nor a corrupt Mandarin official.
- The way of Heaven, reminded Nguyen Minh, preaches the instinct of survival. And furthermore, human nature is good at its origin. Why then, my older brother, did you not grant them a last chance, in keeping with these principles? While good and evil dwell in each of us, it is indeed very difficult to distinguish good from evil so long as we are of flesh with mere mortal eyes and so long as our actions stem out of this weak condition. Consequently, extreme measures are not always the best nor are they even indispensable.
Te Cong hung his butterfly knives on the wall, behind a curtain of sectioned stems of rattan. He sighed:
-Very well then, out of my respect for the Grand Master and taking your remarks under consideration...
Stepping over the threshold of his temporary shelter, he took Nguyen Minh by the hand and beckoned:
- Come with me little brother, you shall understand that in a beautiful garden there is no place for wild grasses.
It was in the middle of the summer, and in this nevertheless very cold air, droplets of water glistened on the leaves in the moonlight.
A few hours later, in a remote place deep in this virgin forest, Te Cong encountered his enemy and for the first time he allowed him to escape with his life. Something he almost regretted nine years later...
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|1.||^||the lakes and the rivers: The martial arts underworld. The outlaws and heroes roaming the underworld aren't subjected to government laws.|